Songs of shepherds, rustical roundelays,

Framed on fancies, whistled on reeds,
Songs to solace young nymphs upon holidays,

Are too unworthy for wonderful deeds.
Phæbus Ismenius, or winged Cyllenius

His lofty genius, may seem to declare,
In verse better coined and voice more refined,

How stars divined once hunted the hare.

Stars enamoured with pastimes Olympical,

Stars and planets that beautiful shone,
Would no longer that earthly men only shall

Swim in pleasures, and they but look on.
Round about horned Lucina they swarmed ;

And her informed how minded they were,
Each god and goddess, to take human bodies,

As lords and ladies, to follow the hare.

Chaste Diana applauded the motion ;

And pale Proserpina sate in her place,-
Lights the welkin, and governs the ocean,

Whilst she conducted her nephews in chase.
And, by her example, her father, to trample

The cold and ample earth, leaveth the air;
Neptune, the water,--the wine, Liber Pater, -

And Mars, the slaughter,—to follow the hare.

Light young Cupid was horsed upon Pegasus,

Borrowed of Muses with kisses and prayers :
Strong Alcides, upon cloudy Caucasus,

Mounts a centaur that proudly him bears:
Postilion of the sky, light-heeled Mercury

Makes his courser fly fleet as the air:
Yellow Apollo the kennel doth follow,

With whoop and hallo after the hare.

Hymen ushers the ladies :-Astræa,

That just took hands with Minerva the bold;
Ceres the brown with the bright Cytheræa,

Thetis the wanton, Bellona the old,
Shamefaced Aurora with subtle Pandora,

And May with Flora, did company bear.
Juno was stated too high to be mated,

But oh she hated not hunting the hare! 1 One copy of the poem gives “Aeminius;" another gives "ingenious." The former word seems to be meaningless, and the latter unmeaning. I substitute, at a guess, “Ismenius,” which is one of the known appellations of Phoebus. The various texts of this composition are very inaccurate.

Drowned Narcissus, from his metamorphosis

Raised with Echo, new manhood did take:
Snoring Somnus upstarted in Cimmeris-

That this thousand years was not awake-
To see clubfooted old Mulciber booted,

And Pan promoted on Chiron's mare.
Proud Faunus pouted, proud Æolus shouted,

And Momus flouted, —but followed the hare.

Deep Melampus and cunning Ichnobates,

Nappy and Tigre and Harpy, the skies
Rends with roaring; whilst hunter-like Hercules

Sounds the plentiful horn to their cries.
Till-with varieties to solace their pieties,

The weary Deities reposed them where
We shepherds were seated, the whilst we repeated

What we conceited of their hunting the hare.
Young Amyntas supposed the gods came to breathe,

After some battle, themselves on the ground.
Thyrsis thought the stars came to dwell here beneath,

And that hereafter the world would go round.
Corydon aged, with Phillis engaged,

Was much enraged with jealous despair:
But fury vaded, and he was persuaded,

When I thus applauded their hunting the hare :-
“ Stars but shadows were, state were but sorrow,—

That no motion, nor that no delight:
Joys are jovial, delight is the marrow

Of life, and action the apple of light.
Pleasure depends upon no other ends,

But freely lends to each virtue a share:
Only is measure the jewel of treasure :

Of pleasure the treasure is hunting the hare!"
Four broad bowls to the Olympical rector

That Troy-borne eagle does bring on his knee::
Jove to Phoebus carouses in nectar,

And he to Hermes, and Hermes to me :
Wherewith infused, I piped, and I mused

In verse unused this sport to declare.
Oh that the rouse of Jove round as his sphere may move!

Health to all that love hunting the hare !

1 The poet seems to have hesitated here between introducing the eagle, or Ganymede, on the scene : and a very jumbled line is the result.

From Oberon, in fairy-land,

The king of ghosts and shadows there,
Mad Robin I, at his command,
Am sent to view the night-sports here.

What revel rout

Is kept about,
In every corner where I go,

I will o'ersee,

And merry be,
And make good sport with ho ho ho!
More swift than lightning can I fly

About this airy welkin soon,
And in a minute's space descry
Each thing that's done below the moon.

There's not a hag

Or ghost shall wag,
Or cry, 'ware goblins! where I go,

But Robin I

Their feats will spy,
And send them home with ho ho ho !
Whene'er such wanderers I meet,

As from their night-sports they trudge home,
With counterfeiting voice I greet,
And call them on with me to roam :

Through woods, through lakes ;

Through bogs, through brakes;
Or else, unseen, with them I go,

All in the nick,

To play some trick,
And frolic it with ho ho ho!
Sometimes I meet them like a man,

Sometimes an ox, sometimes a hound;
And to a horse I turn me can,
To trip and trot about them round.

But, if to ride

My back they stride,
More swift than wind away I go,

O'er hedge and lands,

Through pools and ponds,
I hurry, laughing ho ho ho!
When lads and lasses merry be,

With possets and with junkets fine,
Unseen of all the company,

I eat their cakes and sip their wine: 1 This poem has sometimes been attributed to Ben Jonson.

And to make sport

I puff and snort ;
And out the candles I do blow:

The maids I kiss,

They shriek—“Who's this?”.
I answer nought but ho ho ho !
Yet now and then, the maids to please,

At midnight I card up their wool ;
And, while they sleep and take their ease,
With wheel to threads their flax I pull.

I grind at mill

Their malt up still ;
I dress their hemp ; I spin their tow.;

If any wake,

And would me take,
I wend me, laughing ho ho ho !
When house or hearth doth sluttish lie,

I pinch the maidens black and blue;
The bed-clothes from the bed pull I,
And lay them naked all to view.

'Twixt sleep and wake,

I do them take,
And on the key-cold floor them throw;

If out they cry,

Then forth I fly,
And loudly laugh out ho ho ho!

When any need to borrow aught,

We lend them what they do require ; And, for the use, demand we nought ;

Our own is all we do desire.

If to repay

They do delay,
Abroad amongst them then I go,

And night by night

I them affright, With pinchings, dreams, and ho ho ho! When lazy queans have nought to do,

But study how to cog and lie, To make debate and mischief too 'Twixt one another secretly:

I mark their gloze,

And it disclose
To them whom they have wronged so:

When I have done,

I get me gone,
And leave them scolding, ho ho ho!

When men do traps and engines set

In loop-holes, where the vermin creep Who from their folds and houses get Their ducks and geese and lambs and sheep;

I spy the gin,

And enter in,
And seem a vermin taken so;

But, when they there

Approach me near,
I leap out laughing ho ho ho!
By wells and rills and meadows green,

We nightly dance our heyday guise ;
And to our fairy king and queen,
We chant our moonlight minstrelsies.

When larks 'gin sing,

Away we fling;
And babes new-born steal as we go;

And elf in bed

We leave instead,
And wend us laughing ho ho ho!
From hag-bred Merlin's time, have I

Thus nightly revelled to and fro;
And for my pranks men call me by
The name of Robin Goodfellow.

Fiends, ghosts, and sprites,

Who haunt the nights,
The hags and goblins, do me know;

And beldames old

My feats have told, So Vale, vale; ho ho ho !


I AM a rogue and a stout one,

A most courageous drinker ;
I do excel, 'tis known full well,
The Ratter, Tom, and Tinker.
Still do I cry,

• Good your worship,
good Sir,
Bestow one small denire, Sir ;"
And bravely at the boozing-ken

I'll booze it all in beer, Şir.
If a bung be got by the high law,

Then straight I do attend them ;
For, if hue and cry do follow, I
A wrong way soon do send them.

Still do I cry, &c.

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