Verse > Anthologies > T. H. Ward, ed. > The English Poets > Vol. I. Chaucer to Donne
Thomas Humphry Ward, ed.  The English Poets.  1880–1918.
Vol. I. Early Poetry: Chaucer to Donne
The Golden Age
By Joseph Hall (1574–1656)
[From Book iii. Satire 1.]

TIME was, and that was termed the time of gold,
When world and time were young that now are old
(When quiet Saturn swayed the mace of lead,
And pride was yet unborn, and yet unbred).
Time was, that whiles the autumn fall did last,        5
Our hungry sires gap’d for the falling mast
          Of the Dodonian oaks.
Could no unhusked acorn leave the tree
But there was challenge made whose it might be
And if some nice and licorous appetite        10
Desir’d more dainty dish of rare delight,
They scal’d the stored crab with clasped knee
Till they had sated their delicious eye:
Or search’d the hopeful thicks of hedgy rows
For briery berries, or haws, or sourer sloes.        15
Or when they meant to fare the fin’st of all,
They lick’d oak-leaves bespread with honey-fall.
As for the thrice three-angled beech-nut shell,
Or chestnut’s armed husk and hid kernell,
No squire durst touch, the law would not afford.        20
Kept for the court, and for the king’s own board,
Their royal plate was clay, or wood, or stone:
The vulgar, save his hand, else he had none.
Their only cellar was the neighbour brook:
None did for better care, for better look;        25
Was then no plaining of the brewer’s scape,
Nor greedy vintner mix’d the strained grape.
The king’s pavilion was the grassy green
Under safe shelter of the shady treen.
Under each bank men laid their limbs along,        30
Not wishing any ease, not fearing wrong,
Clad with their own as they were made of old,
Not feeling shame nor feeling any cold.

Shakespeare · Bible · Strunk · Anatomy · Nonfiction · Quotations · Reference · Fiction · Poetry
© 1993–2015 · [Top 150] · Subjects · Titles · Authors · World Lit.