Saturday, June 24, 2006
A Piece from Tom O'Bedlam
While I do sing, any food
Feeding drink or clothing?
Come dame or maid, be not afraid,
Poor Tom will injure nothing..
No gypsy, slut or doxy
Shall win my mad Tom from me
I'll weep all night, with stars I'll fight
The fray shall well become me.
From the hag and hungry goblin
That into rags would rend ye,
All the sprites that stand by the naked man
In the book of moons, defend ye.
With a thought I took for Maudlin,
And a cruse of cockle pottage,
With a thing thus tall, Sky bless you all,
I befell into this dotage.
I slept not since the Conquest,
Till then I never waked,
Till the naked boy of love where I lay
Me found and stript me naked.
I know more than Apollo,
For oft when he lies sleeping
I see the stars at mortal wars
In the wounded welkin weeping.
The moon embrace her shepherd,
And the queen of love her warrior,
While the first doth horn the star of morn,
And the next the heavenly farrier.
Of thirty years have I
Twice twenty been enragéd
And of forty been three times fifteen
In durance soundly cagéd
On the lordly lofts of Bedlam
With stubble soft and dainty,
Brave bracelets strong, sweet whips, ding-dong,
With wholesome hunger plenty.
When I short have shorn my sour-face
And swigged my horny barrel
In an oaken inn, I pound my skin
As a suit of gilt apparel.
The moon's my constant mistress,
And the lonely owl my marrow;
The flaming drake and the night crow make
Me music to my sorrow.
With a host of furious fancies,
Whereof I am commander,
With a burning spear and a horse of air
To the wilderness I wander.
By a knight of ghosts and shadows
I summoned am to tourney
Ten leagues beyond the wide world's end-
Methinks it is no journey.
The palsy plagues my pulses
When I prig your pigs or pullen
Your culvers take, or matchless make
Your Chanticleer or sullen.
When I want provant, with Humphry
I sup, an when benighted
I repose in Paul's with waking souls,
Yet never am affrighted.
The Gipsy Snap an Pedro
Are none of Tom's comradoes,
The punk I scorn, and the cutpurse sworn
And the roaring boy's bravadoes.
The meek, the white, the gentle,
Me handle not nor spare not;
But those that cross Tom Rhinoceros
Do what the panther dare not
That of your five sound senses
You never be forsaken,
Nor wander from your selves with Tom
Abroad to beg your bacon.
I now reprent that ever
Poor Tom was so disdain-ed
My wits are lost since him I crossed
Which makes me thus go chained
So drink to Tom of Bedlam
Go fill the seas in barrels
I'll drink it all, well brewed with gall
And maudlin drunk I'll quarrel