Verse > Anthologies > Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. > A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895
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Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908).  A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895.  1895.
 
The Six Carpenters’ Case
 
Sir Frederick Pollock (1845–1937)
 
“THE LAND OF WONDER-WANDER”
 
(1 Smith, L. C. 133, 7th Ed.)

THIS case befell at four of the clock
  (now listeneth what I shall say),
and the year was the seventh of James the First,
  on a fine September day.
    The birds on the bough sing loud and sing low,        5
    what trespass shall be ab initio.
 
It was Thomas Newman and five his feres
  (three more would have made them nine),
and they entered into John Vaux’s house,
  that had the Queen’s Head to sign.        10
    The birds on the bough sing loud and sing low,
    what trespass shall be ab initio.
 
They called anon for a quart of wine
  (they were carpenters all by trade),
and they drank about till they drank it out,        15
  and when they had drunk they paid.
    The birds on the bough sing loud and sing low,
    what trespass shall be ab initio.
 
One spake this word in John Ridding’s ear
  (white manchets are sweet and fine):        20
“Fair sir, we are fain of a penn’orth of bread
  and another quart of wine.”
    The birds on the bough sing loud and sing low,
    what trespass shall be ab initio.
 
Full lightly thereof they did eat and drink        25
  (to drink is iwis no blame).
“Now tell me eight pennies,” quoth Master Vaux;
  but they would not pay the same.
    The birds on the bough sing loud and sing low,
    what trespass shall be ab initio.        30
 
“Ye have trespassed with force and arms, ye knaves
  (the six be too strong for me),
but your tortious entry shall cost you dear,
  and that the King’s Court shall see.
    The birds on the bough sing loud and nought low,        35
    your trespass was wrought ab initio.”
 
Sed per totam curiam ’t was well resolved
  (note, reader, this difference)
that in mere not doing no trespass is,
  and John Vaux went empty thence.        40
    The birds on the bough sing loud and sing low,
    no trespass was here ab initio.
 

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