Verse > Anthologies > Harvard Classics > English Poetry I: From Chaucer to Gray
   English Poetry I: From Chaucer to Gray.
The Harvard Classics.  1909–14.
179. Farewell, Rewards and Fairies
Richard Corbet (1582–1635)
FAREWELL, rewards and fairies,
  Good housewives now may say,
For now foul sluts in dairies
  Do fare as well as they.
And though they sweep their hearths no less        5
  Than maids were wont to do,
Yet who of late for cleanness
  Finds sixpence in her shoe?
Lament, lament, old Abbeys,
  The Fairies’ lost command!        10
They did but change Priests’ babies,
  But some have changed your land.
And all your children, sprung from thence,
  Are now grown Puritans,
Who live as Changelings ever since        15
  For love of your demains.
At morning and at evening both
  You merry were and glad,
So little care of sleep or sloth
  These pretty ladies had;        20
When Tom came home from labour,
  Or Cis to milking rose,
Then merrily went their tabor,
  And nimbly went their toes.
Witness those rings and roundelays        25
  Of theirs, which yet remain,
Were footed in Queen Mary’s days
  On many a grassy plain;
But since of late, Elizabeth,
  And later, James came in,        30
They never danced on any heath
  As when the time hath been.
By which we note the Fairies
  Were of the old Profession.
Their songs were ‘Ave Mary’s’,        35
  Their dances were Procession.
But now, alas, they all are dead;
  Or gone beyond the seas;
Or farther for Religion fled;
Or else they take their ease.        40
A tell-tale in their company
  They never could endure!
And whoso kept not secretly
  Their mirth, was punished, sure;
It was a just and Christian deed        45
  To pinch such black and blue.
Oh how the commonwealth doth want
  Such Justices as you!


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