The Shepherd’s Week
by John Gay

in this my language, I seem unto my self, as a London mason, who calculateth his work for a term of years, when he buildeth with old materials upon a ground-rent that is not his own, which soon turneth to rubbish and ruins.

John Gay (1685–1732) is best known for The Beggar’s Opera from 1728. But long before he got there, in 1714 he gave us the “burlesque pastoral” The Shepherd’s Week.

In addition to spoofing pastoral verse, Gay makes fun of the scholarly editorial style—which doesn’t seem to have changed much over the centuries—peppering his book with annotations. Most of them are linenotes quoting vaguely analo­gous lines from Virgil and Theocritus; there is also the occasional footnote to explain things that don’t need to be explained, or offer etymologies of sometimes-dubious reliability:

to which end, glosses and explications of uncouth pastoral terms are annexed


All Plates carry the credit “Lud. du Guernier inv. et sculp.” That’s French-born Louis de Guernier (1677–1716), who both drew and engraved the pictures.

illustrator’s credit

Other illustrations, such as the decorative capitals, were added from the first edition as described below.

From 1714 to 1924

This ebook is based on the 1924 edition of H. F. B. Brett-Smith. Or, in full, Herbert Francis Brett Brett-Smith (1884–1951)—a name strongly reminiscent of “Elizabeth Barrett Moulton-Barrett”. If there is a story behind the name, I wasn’t able to find it.

Brett-Smith’s edition is in some respects a typo­graphic facsimile, following the original line-for-line and page-for-page; it even uses long ſ. (The ebook doesn’t.) But he drew the line at other early-18th-century conventions such as Capitalizing all Nouns and italicizing—or de-italicizing, in italic body text—all Names.

As explained in the introduction, three versions of The Shepherd’s Week were published in 1714. The last calls itself the second edition, so we’ll have to call the others the first and second state of the first edition. Throughout this ebook, when I say “first edition” it should be read as “the first state of the first edition”, i.e. the version Brett-Smith didn’t use. It isn’t clear whether he compared the two versions; he seems to have had access to both, since he quotes both title pages.

title page of first 1714 edition

I haven’t restored the Italics and Capitalization. But in Wednesday (“the Dumps”) and Thursday (“the Spell”), I did italicize the refrains—My plaint, ye lasses and With my sharp heel—as in the first edition. I’ve also put back the printer’s ornaments.


If you are reading this on anything larger than a smartphone, you will see three kinds of page numbers. To the left of the text, numbers in [brackets] are from the 1924 edition, originally printed in brackets at the bottom of the page. To the right of the text are plain page numbers and signature numbers—the latter originally printed at the bottom center of the page—both carried over from 1714 to 1924. The Introduction, being new, has to make do with a single set of Roman numerals. I’ve included signature numbers on the (blank) backs of plates, where applicable, although neither edition printed them.

The 1714 edition included plates in the page count, but didn’t paginate the Proeme (prose), Prologue (verse), and Alphabetical Catalogue (at the end). The 1924 edition, conversely, doesn’t count the plates, but does paginate everything else. The result is that the two series of page numbers meet at page 53—the beginning of Saturday—after which they are the same to the end of the main text.

Line numbers, also shown to the right of the text, were the same in 1714 and 1924. Anomalies in numbering, such as marking 94 instead of 95, or 61 instead of 60, are due to long lines in the original; I haven’t regularized them.


This ebook is based on the 1924 edition as described above. Errors were checked against the (first state of the) 1714 first edition, which also provided the printer’s ornaments.

The editor’s introduction lists half-a-dozen corrections. Five of the six errors were introduced in his source text, the second state of the first edition, while the first state had the expected reading. Additional errors that he missed—or disre­garded—have been corrected for this etext if the first state had the expected form. These are marked with mouse-hover popups and are listed again at the end of each Day.

Linenotes and footnotes—Gay uses both—are grouped at the end of each stanza. In the original, linenotes were preceded by the word “Line”. I’ve left it out, as the text is cluttered enough.

In all Greek quotations, the 1924 editor has retained the original error of misplacing the breathing mark in diphthongs: ἄυριον for αὔριον, ὀισὢ for οἰσῶ and so on.

in six

By Mr. J. GAY
Edited by H. F. B. Brett-Smith

publisher’s device: DA & Co: Inter Folia Fructus





GAY’S amusing skit on the pastoral eclogue, The Shepherd’s Week, was first published in the year 1714. There is a tradition that Pope persuaded him to write it as a move in his own campaign against the Pastorals of Ambrose Philips, and certainly the idea was a happy one. The comic side of the conventional pastoral had not hitherto been much exposed by English poets, though Robert Greene had seen it clearly enough, and had made pretty play with it in Doron’s Eclogue joyned with Carmela’s. But the spirit of parody was now abroad, and the time was ripe for a more elaborate treatment; it will be remembered that Swift’s suggestion that ‘a Newgate pastoral might make an odd, pretty sort of thing’ was soon to be the origin of The Beggar’s Opera. Greene had been extravagant in his absurdity; his love-sick swain says to Carmela:

Thy lippes resemble two Cowcumbers faire,

Thy teeth like to the tuskes of fattest swine,

Thy speach is like the thunder in the aire:

Would God thy toes, thy lips, and all were mine.

Gay used a more delicate ridicule, though his system was, like Greene’s, to apply the conventions of the stock pastoral eclogue to actual rustic life and manners, and emphasize the comic incongruity. His vi success was immediate and deserved; his country pictures are pleasant in themselves, as well as ludicrous in their contrast with the Virgilian manner, and he has plenty of happy turns of phrase, as when the singing match of Cuddy and Lobbin Clout, for the conventional prize of deer-skin pouch or oaken staff, is severely closed by the umpire Cloddipole:

Forbear, contending louts, give o’er your strains,

An oaken staff each merits for his pains.

The present year seemed a propitious one for reprinting the little octavo exactly as it was bought, at Amen-Corner, by connoisseurs of topical verse in 1714;

For certes, mirth it were to see

The joyous madrigals twice three,

With preface meet, and notes profound,

Imprinted fair, and well y-bound.

The reader of this volume will be able to peruse the poem in the form in which it met the eyes of his ancestors two hundred and ten years ago, in an octavo of just 80 pages, following the original page for page and line for line (except in Gay’s footnotes to the pastorals, which are not exactly line for line), and with the pleasant frontispiece, and cuts to each Day, which appeared over the legend Lud. du Guernier inv. et sculp. The only changes in this reprint are the omission of a few printer’s ornaments, the replacing of large decorative by large plain vii initials, and the correction of half a dozen misprints: page [3] line 13, diarie (dairie), page [43] footnote, intorpreter (interpreter), page [49] footnote, μέγι (μέλι), page [57] line 70, comma after ‘blind’ (full stop), page [58] footnote, Yirg. (Virg.), and page [59] line 108, he (be).

The choice of the edition to be reprinted seemed to present no difficulties. The Shepherd’s Week came out three times in 1714; one edition has the imprint ‘LONDON, | Printed: And Sold by Ferd. Burleigh in | Amen-Corner. MDCCXIV.’ Another has the imprint of R. Burleigh, reproduced in the present volume. The third is ‘The Second Edition.’, with the imprint ‘LONDON, | Printed for J.T. and Sold by W. Taylor at the | Ship in Pater-noster-Row. MDCCXIV.’ This last was confessedly out of court, but there was a question which of the others was the earlier, and the only modern edition of Gay’s poems, that of Mr John Underhill in The Muses’ Library, appeared to decide the point. Mr Underhill states categorically that The Shepherd’s Week was first published on the 15th of April, 1714, as shown by an advertisement in The Post Boy of that date, and he gives a transcript of its title page with the R. Burleigh imprint. This seemed conclusive, and the edition with this imprint was handed to the printer of the present text.

And but for an accident, the readers of this volume might have gone on trusting Mr Underhill’s very definite pronounce­ment. But it so happened that viii during the correction of the paged proofs I had occasion to consult, for another purpose, the second volume of the Catalogue of the Ashley Library, and having the book in my hand I turned to Gay, in a spirit which all collectors will understand, to see whether Mr Wise possessed this edition of R. Burleigh which the British Museum and the Bodleian do not.1 He had not got it, but there was the octavo of Ferd. Burleigh (though the printer had vulgarized him to Fred.!) boldly catalogued as the first edition. Had the catalogue been that of any ordinary private collector, I should have passed on, ‘unshaken, unseduced, unterrified’; but it was the Ashley catalogue, and I was none of these things. Mr Underhill’s statement rested on his confident citation of The Post Boy of April 15th, 1714. I consulted that periodical—it is the 2954th number—and this is what it contains:

This Day is publish’d,

†*† The Shepherd’s Week, in Six Pastorals; adorn’d with Cutts, design’d and engraved by the best Hands. Written by Mr Gay.

———Libeat mihi sordida rura,

Atque humiles habitare Casas. Virg.

Printed for Ferd. Burleigh in Amen Corner. Price One Shilling.

1 Both these libraries have Ferd. Burleigh’s volume—the Museum has two copies of it—but not R. Burleigh’s. I am indebted to Miss M. G. Lloyd Thomas for her kindness in verifying for me, on the spot, exactly what editions of The Shepherd’s Week the British Museum possesses.


The edition here reprinted is therefore of the first year, but not the first, though it is considerably the rarer of the two. Both the Burleigh editions correspond page for page, as indeed do all the early octavos of The Shepherd’s Week, but Ferd. Burleigh’s text has a much more liberal and eighteenth-century allowance of capital letters (he gives them to every noun), and is occasionally superior in printing a title or quotation in distinctive italics. ‘The Second Edition’ was reprinted from his text, which is also followed in its use of italics, but not in its excess of capitals, by the quarto edition of Gay’s Poems on Several Occasions in 1720; but Jacob Tonson followed R. Burleigh in his editions of 1721 and 1728 (‘The Fourth Edition.’). The little book was a popular one; the Tonsons (J. and R.) published ‘The Fifth Edition’ in 1742; there was a Dublin edition in 1728, and an Edinburgh one in 1760. Why it was popular in the eighteenth century will be no mystery, I believe, to any who now read it for the first time in the twentieth.

H. F. B. Brett-Smith.

Oxford. April, 1924.


group of villagers dancing around the maypole


Notes and Corrections: Introduction

skip to Proeme

The publisher always named as Ferd. Burleigh seems to have had a very short period of activity, spanning 1714–1715. But I did find a few places that allowed his full name to be Ferdinand.

the omission of a few printer’s ornaments [and] the replacing of large decorative by large plain initials
[I have restored both from the first edition.]

This last was confessedly out of court
[This may have been a misjudgement, since the second edition’s text is cleaner than the one Brett-Smith used.]

the correction of half a dozen misprints
[Five of the six errors were introduced in the second state, while the first state has the expected reading. The sixth error is an obvious misprint in a Greek linenote.]

I turned to Gay, in a spirit which all collectors will understand
[I like this editor.]

[Illustration] Frontispice
spelling unchanged
[Etymologically he’s not wrong.]


in six


By Mr. J. GAY

——————Libeat mihi sordida rura,

Atque humiles habitare Casas.—— Virg.


Printed: And Sold by R. Burleigh in
Amen-Corner. MDCCXIV.

[1] A3

printer’s decorative headpiece

To the Courteous

G REAT marvel hath it been, (and that not unworthily) to diverse worthy wits, that in this our island of Britain, in all rare sciences so greatly abounding, more especially in all kinds of poesie highly flourishing, no poet (though otherways of notable cunning in roundelays) hath hit on the right simple eclogue after the true ancient guise of Theocritus, before this mine attempt.

Other poet travailing in this plain high-way of pastoral know I none. Yet, certes, such it behoveth a pastoral to be, as nature in the country affordeth; and [2] the manners also meetly copied from the rustical folk therein. In this also my love to my native country Britain much pricketh me forward, to describe aright the manners of our own honest and laborious plough-men, in no wise sure more unworthy a British poet’s imitation, than those of Sicily or Arcadie; albeit, not ignorant I am, what a rout and rabblement of critical gallimawfry hath been made of late days by certain young men of insipid delicacy, concerning, I wist not what, golden age, and other outragious conceits, to which they would confine pastoral. Whereof, I avow, I account nought at all, knowing no age so justly to be instiled golden, as this of our soveraign lady Queen ANNE.

This idle trumpery (only fit for schools and schoolboys) unto that ancient Dorick shepherd Theocritus, or his mates, was never known; he rightly, throughout his fifth Idyll, maketh his louts give foul language, and behold their goats at rut in all simplicity.

Ὡπολος ὅκκ’ ἐσορῆ τὰς μηκάδας οἳα βατεῦντι

Τάκεται ὀφθαλμὼς ὅτι οὐ τράγος ἀυτός ἔγεντο. Theoc.

Verily, as little pleasance receiveth a true homebred tast, from all the fine finical new-fangled fooleries of this gay Gothic garniture, wherewith they so nicely bedeck their court clowns, or clown courtiers, (for, which to call them rightly, I wot not) as would a prudent citizen journeying to his country farms, should he find them occupied by people of this motley make, instead of plain downright hearty cleanly folk; such as be now tenants to the wealthy burgesses of this realme.

[3] A4

Furthermore, it is my purpose, gentle reader, to set before thee, as it were a picture, or rather lively landscape of thy own country, just as thou mightest see it, didest thou take a walk into the fields at the proper season: even as maister Milton hath elegantly set forth the same.

As one who long in populous city pent,

Where houses thick and sewers annoy the aire,

Forth issuing on a summer’s morn to breathe

Among the pleasant villages and farms

Adjoin’d, from each thing met conceives delight;

The smell of grain or tedded grass or kine

Or dairie, each rural sight, each rural sound.

Thou wilt not find my shepherdesses idly piping on oaten reeds, but milking the kine, tying up the sheaves, or if the hogs are astray driving them to their styes. My shepherd gathereth none other nosegays but what are the growth of our own fields, he sleepeth not under myrtle shades, but under a hedge, nor doth he vigilantly defend his flocks from wolves, because there are none, as maister Spencer well observeth.

Well is known that since the Saxon king

Never was wolf seen, many or some

Nor in all Kent nor in christendom.

For as much, as I have mentioned maister Spencer, soothly I must acknowledge him a bard of sweetest memorial. Yet hath his shepherds boy at some times raised his rustick reed to rhimes more rumbling than rural. [4] Diverse grave points also hath he handled of churchly matter and doubts in religion daily arising, to great clerkes only appertaining. What liketh me best are his names, indeed right simple and meet for the country, such as Lobbin, Cuddy, Hobbinol, Diggon, and others, some of which I have made bold to borrow. Moreover, as he called his eclogues, the shepherd’s calendar, and divided the same into the twelve months, I have chosen (peradventure not over-rashly) to name mine by the days of the week, omitting Sunday or the Sabbath, ours being supposed to be christian shepherds, and to be then at church worship. Yet further of many of maister Spencer’s eclogues it may be observed; though months they be called, of the said months therein, nothing is specify’d; wherein I have also esteemed him worthy mine imitation.

That principally, courteous reader, whereof I would have thee to be advertised, (seeing I depart from the vulgar usage) is touching the language of my shepherds; which is, soothly to say, such as is neither spoken by the country maiden nor the courtly dame; nay, not only such as in the present times is not uttered, but was never uttered in times past; and, if I judge aright, will never be uttered in times future. It having too much of the country to be fit for the court; too much of the court to be fit for the country, too much of the language of old times to be fit for the present, too much of the present to have been fit for the old, and too much of both to be fit for any time to come. Granted also it is, that in this my language, I seem unto my self, as a London mason, who calculateth his work for a term of years, when he buildeth with old materials upon a ground-rent [5] that is not his own, which soon turneth to rubbish and ruins. For this point, no reason can I alledge, only deep learned ensamples having led me thereunto.

But here again, much comfort ariseth in me, from the hopes, in that I conceive, when these words in the course of transitory things shall decay, it may so hap, in meet time that some lover of simplicity shall arise, who shall have the hardiness to render these mine eclogues into such more modern Dialect as shall be then understood, to which end, glosses and explications of uncouth pastoral terms are annexed.

Gentle reader, turn over the leas, and entertain thy self with the prospect of thine own country, limned by the painful hand of

thy loving Countryman

John Gay.

Notes and Corrections: Proeme

skip to Prologue

οὐ τράγος ἀυτός ἔγεντο
[In addition to the usual breathing-mark error, our editor has faithfully reproduced the original text’s wrong accent; it should be αὐτὸς.]

Yet hath his shepherds boy at some times raised his rustick reed
text has sometimes
[Missed one, Herbert. Like all errors, this is corrected from the first edition.]

wherein I have also esteemed him worthy mine imitation
text has wherin


printer’s decorative headpiece

To the Right Honourable the
Ld Viscount Bolingbroke.

L O, I who erst beneath a tree

Sung Bumkinet and Bowzybee,

And Blouzelind and Marian bright,

In apron blue or apron white,

Now write my sonnets in a book,

For my good lord of Bolingbroke.


As lads and lasses stood around

To hear my boxen haut-boy sound,

Our clerk came posting o’er the green

With doleful tidings of the Queen;

That Queen, he said, to whom we owe

Sweet peace that maketh riches flow;

That Queen who eas’d our tax of late,

Was dead, alas!—and lay in state.

At this, in tears was Cic’ly seen,

Buxoma tore her pinners clean,

In doleful dumps stood ev’ry clown,

The parson rent his band and gown.

For me, when as I heard that death

Had snatch’d Queen Anne to Elzabeth,

I broke my reed, and sighing swore

I’d weep for Blouzelind no more.


While thus we stood as in a stound,

And wet with tears, like dew, the ground,

Full soon by bonefire and by bell

We learnt our liege was passing well.

A skilful leach, (so God him speed)

They said had wrought this blessed deed,

This leach Arburthnot was yclept

Who many a night not once had slept;

But watch’d our gracious sov’raign still,

For who cou’d rest when she was ill?

Oh, may’st thou henceforth sweetly sleep,

Sheer, swains, oh sheer your softest sheep

To swell his couch; for well I ween,

He sav’d the realm who sav’d the Queen.

Quoth I, please God, I’ll hye with glee

To court, this Arburthnot to see.

I sold my sheep and lambkins too,

For silver loops and garment blue;


My boxen haut-boy sweet of sound,

For lace that edg’d mine hat around;

For Lightfoot and my scrip I got

A gorgeous sword, and eke a knot.

So forth I far’d to court with speed,

Of soldier’s drum withouten dreed;

For peace allays the shepherd’s fear

Of wearing cap of granadier.

There saw I ladies all a-row

Before their Queen in seemly show.

No more I’ll sing Buxoma brown,

Like goldfinch in her Sunday gown;

Nor Clumsilis, nor Marian bright,

Nor damsel that Hobnelia hight.

But Lansdown fresh as flow’r of May,

And Berkely lady blithe and gay,


And Anglesey whose speech exceeds

The voice of pipe, or oaten reeds;

And blooming Hide, with eyes so rare,

And Montague beyond compare.

Such ladies fair wou’d I depaint

In roundelay or sonnet quaint.

There many a worthy wight I’ve seen

In ribbon blue and ribbon green.

As Oxford, who a wand doth bear,

Like Moses, in our bibles fair;

Who for our traffick forms designs,

And gives to Britain Indian mines.

Now, shepherds, clip your fleecy care,

Ye maids, your spinning-wheels prepare,

Ye weavers, all your shuttles throw,

And bid broad cloths and serges grow,

For trading free shall thrive again,

Nor leasings leud affright the swain.


There saw I St. John, sweet of mien,

Full stedfast both to Church and Queen.

With whose fair name I’ll deck my strain,

St. John, right courteous to the swain;

For thus he told me on a day,

Trim are thy sonnets, gentle Gay,

And certes, mirth it were to see

Thy joyous madrigals twice three,

With preface meet, and notes profound,

Imprinted fair, and well y-bound.

All suddenly then home I sped,

And did ev’n as my lord had said.

Lo here, thou hast mine eclogues fair,

But let not these detain thine ear.

Let not th’affairs of States and Kings

Wait, while our Bowzybeus sings.


Rather than verse of simple swain

Should stay the trade of France or Spain,

Or for the plaint of parson’s maid,

Yon Emp’ror’s packets be delay’d;

In sooth, I swear by holy Paul,

I’d burn book, preface, notes and all.

publisher’s decorative tailpiece

1 B

Notes and Corrections: Prologue

Queen Anne died for real on 1 August (O.S.) 1714, a few months after the book’s publication. Her physician’s name has since been standardized to Arbuthnot.


two men arguing while a third leans on a pitchfork

the Squabble

[13] 3 B2

printer’s decorative headpiece

or, the

Lobbin Clout, Cuddy, Cloddipole.

Lobbin Clout.

T HY younglings, Cuddy, are but just awake;

No thrustles shrill the bramble-bush forsake,

No chirping lark the welkin sheen invokes;

No damsel yet the swelling udder strokes;

O’er yonder hill does scant the dawn appear,5

Then why does Cuddy leave his cott, so rear?

3. Welkin the same as Welken, an old Saxon word signifying a cloud, by poetical licence it is frequently taken for the element or sky, as may appear by this verse in the dream of Chaucer. Ne in all the Welkin was no cloud.

Sheen or shine, an old word for shining or bright.

5. Scant, used in ancient British authors for scarce.

6. Rear, an expression in several counties of England for early in the morning.

[14] 4

Ah Lobbin Clout! I ween, my plight is guest,

For he that loves, a stranger is to rest;

If swains belye not, thou hast prov’d the smart,

And Blouzelinda’s mistress of thy heart.10

This rising rear betokeneth well thy mind,

Those arms are folded for thy Blouzelind.

And well, I trow, our piteous plights agree,

Thee Blouzelinda smites, Buxoma me.

7. To ween deriv’d from the Saxon, to think or conceive.

Lobbin Clout.

Ah Blouzelind! I love thee more by half,15

Than does their fawns, or cows the new-fall’n calf:

Woe worth the tongue! may blisters sore it gall,

That names Buxoma, Blouzelind withal.


Hold, witless Lobbin Clout, I thee advise,

Lest blisters sore on thy own tongue arise.20

Lo yonder Cloddipole, the blithsome swain,

The wisest lout of all the neighbouring plain.

From Cloddipole we learnt to read the skies,

To know when hail will fall, or winds arise.

[15] 5 B3

He taught us erst the heifers tails to view,25

When stuck aloft, that show’rs would strait ensue;

He first that useful secret did explain,

That pricking corns foretold the gath’ring rain.

When swallows fleet soar high and sport in air,

He told us that the welkin wou’d be clear.30

Let Cloddipole then hear us twain rehearse,

And praise his sweetheart in alternate verse,

I’ll wager this same oaken staff with thee,

That Cloddipole shall give the prize to me.

25. Erst, a contraction of ere this, it signifies sometime ago or formerly.

Lobbin Clout.

See this tobacco pouch that’s lin’d with hair,35

Made of the skin of sleekest fallow deer.

This pouch, that’s ty’d with tape of reddest hue,

I’ll wager, that the prize shall be my due.


Begin thy carrols then, thou vaunting slouch,

Be thine the oaken staff, or mine the pouch.40

Lobbin Clout.

My Blouzelinda is the blithest lass,

Than primrose sweeter, or the clover-grass.

[16] 6

Fair is the king-cup that in meadow blows,

Fair is the daisie that beside her grows,

Fair is the gillyflow’r, of gardens sweet,45

Fair is the mary-gold, for pottage meet.

But Blouzelind’s than gillyflow’r more fair,

Than daisie, mary-gold, or king-cup rare.


My brown Buxoma is the featest maid,

That e’er at wake delightsome gambol play’d.50

Clean as young lambkins or the goose’s down,

And like the goldfinch in her Sunday gown.

The witless lambs may sport upon the plain,

The frisking kid delight the gaping swain,

The wanton calf may skip with many a bound,55

And my cur Tray play deftest feats around:

But neither lamb nor kid, nor calf nor Tray,

Dance like Buxoma on the first of May.

56. Deft, an old word signifying brisk or nimble.

Lobbin Clout.

Sweet is my toil when Blouzelind is near,

Of her bereft ’tis winter all the year.60

With her no sultry summer’s heat I know;

In winter, when she’s nigh, with love I glow.

[17] 7 B4

Come Blouzelinda, ease thy swain’s desire,

My summer’s shadow and my winter’s fire!


As with Buxoma once I work’d at hay,65

Ev’n noon-tide labour seem’d an holiday;

And holidays, if haply she were gone,

Like worky-days I wish’d would soon be done.

Eftsoons, O sweet-heart kind, my love repay,

And all the year shall then be holiday.70

69. Eftsoons from eft an ancient British word signifying soon. So that eftsoons is a doubling of the word soon, which is, as it were to say twice soon, or very soon.

Lobbin Clout.

As Blouzelinda in a gamesome mood,

Behind a haycock loudly laughing stood,

I slily ran, and snatch’d a hasty kiss,

She wip’d her lips, nor took it much amiss.

Believe me, Cuddy, while I’m bold to say,75

Her breath was sweeter than the ripen’d hay.


As my Buxoma in a morning fair,

With gentle finger stroak’d her milky care,

[18] 8

I queintly stole a kiss; at first, ‘tis true

She frown’d, yet after granted one or two.80

Lobbin, I swear, believe who will my vows,

Her breath by far excell’d the breathing cows.

79. Queint has various significations in the ancient English authors. I have used it in this place in the same sense as Chaucer hath done in his miller’s tale. As clerkes been full subtil and queint (by which he means arch or waggish) and not in that obscene sense wherein he useth it in the line immediately following.

Lobbin Clout.

Leek to the Welch, to Dutchmen butter’s dear,

Of Irish swains potatoe is the chear;

Oats for their feasts the Scottish shepherds grind,

Sweet turneps are the food of Blouzelind.86

While she loves turnips, butter I’ll despise,

Nor leeks nor oatmeal nor potatoe prize.


Populus Alcidæ gratissima, vitis Iaccho,

Formosæ Myrtus Veneri, sua Laurea Phœbo,

Phillis amat Corylos. Illas dum Phillis amabit,

Nec Myrtus vincit Corylos nec Laurea Phœbi, &c. Virg.


In good roast beef my landlord sticks his knife,

The capon fat delights his dainty wife,90

Pudding our parson eats, the squire loves hare,

But white-pot thick is my Buxoma’s fare.

[19] 9

While she loves white-pot, capon ne’er shall be,

Nor hare, nor beef, nor pudding, food for me.

Lobbin Clout.

As once I play’d at blindman’s-buff, it hapt95

About my eyes the towel thick was wrapt.

I miss’d the Swains, and seiz’d on Blouzelind;

True speaks that ancient proverb, Love is blind.


As at hot-cockles once I laid me down,

And felt the weighty hand of many a clown;100

Buxoma gave a gentle tap, and I

Quick rose, and read soft mischief in her eye.

Lobbin Clout.

On two near elms the slacken’d cord I hung,

Now high, now low my Blouzelinda swung.

With the rude wind her rumpled garment rose,

And show’d her taper leg and scarlet hose.106


Across the fallen oak the plank I laid,

And my self pois’d against the tott’ring maid;

High leapt the plank; adown Buxoma fell:

I spy’d.—But faithful sweethearts never tell.110

[20] 10
Lobbin Clout.

This riddle, Cuddy, if thou canst, explain,

This wily riddle puzzles ev’ry swain.

What flower is that which bears the virgin’s name,

The richest metal joined with the same?



Answer, thou carle, and judge this riddle right,

I’ll frankly own thee for a cunning wight.116

* What flow’r is that which royal honour craves,

Adjoin the virgin, and ’tis strown on graves.

* Rosemary.


Dic quibus in terris inscripti nomina regum

Nascantur flores. Virg.


Forbear, contending louts, give o’er your strains,

An oaken staff each merits for his pains.120

But see the sun-beams bright to labour warn,

And gild the thatch of goodman Hodges’ barn.

Your herds for want of water stand adry,

They’re weary of your songs—and so am I.

120. Et vitula tu dignus & hic. Virg.

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Notes and Corrections: Monday

skip to next day

And my cur Tray play deftest feats around:
[Tray, by gum! I’d forgotten about that once-canonical Dog Name.]

[Linenote] not in that obscene sense wherein [Chaucer] useth it in the line immediately following.
[“And prively he caughte hire by the queynte”, using the word as a creative spelling of “cunt” for the sake of rhyme.]

Leek to the Welch, to Dutchmen butter’s dear
text has Leek to to the Welch

As once I play’d at blindman’s-buff, it hapt
text has blindmand’s-buff

On two near elms . . . . sweethearts never tell
[These two stanzas, totaling 8 lines, are absent from the first (state of the first) edition, putting the rest of Monday’s line count out by eight.]

This wily riddle puzzles ev’ry swain.
text has evr’y


milkmaid does not notice that cow has kicked over the milkpail

the Ditty.

[21] 13

printer’s decorative headpiece

or, the


Y OUNG Colin Clout, a lad of peerless meed,

Full well could dance, and deftly tune the reed;

In ev’ry wood his carrols sweet were known,

In ev’ry wake his nimble feats were shown.

When in the ring the rustick routs he threw,5

The damsels pleasures with his conquests grew;

Or when aslant the cudgel threats his head,

His danger smites the breast of ev’ry maid,

But chief of Marian. Marian lov’d the swain,

The parson’s maid, and neatest of the plain.10

[22] 14

Marian that soft could stroak the udder’d cow,

Or with her winnow ease the barly mow;

Marbled with sage the hard’ning cheese she press’d,

And yellow butter Marian’s skill confess’d;

But Marian now devoid of country cares,15

Nor yellow butter nor sage cheese prepares.

For yearning love the witless maid employs,

And love, say swains, all busie heed destroys.

Colin makes mock at all her piteous smart,

A lass that Cic’ly hight, had won his heart,20

Cic’ly the western lass that tends the kee,

The rival of the parson’s maid was she.

In dreary shade now Marian lyes along,

And mixt with sighs thus wails in plaining song.

21. Kee, a west-country word for kine or cows.

Ah woful day! ah woful noon and morn!25

When first by thee my younglings white were shorn,

Then first, I ween, I cast a lover’s eye,

My sheep were silly, but more silly I.

Beneath the shears they felt no lasting smart,

They lost but fleeces while I lost a heart.30

[23] 15

Ah Colin! canst thou leave thy sweetheart true!

What I have done for thee will Cic’ly do?

Will she thy linnen wash or hosen darn,

And knit thee gloves made of her own-spun yarn?

Will she with huswife’s hand provide thy meat,

And ev’ry Sunday morn thy neckcloth plait?36

Which o’er thy kersey doublet spreading wide,

In service-time drew Cic’ly’s eyes aside.

Where-e’er I gad I cannot hide my care,

My new disasters in my look appear.40

White as the curd my ruddy cheek is grown,

So thin my features that I’m hardly known;

Our neighbours tell me oft in joking talk

Of ashes, leather, oatmeal, bran and chalk;

Unwittingly of Marian they divine;45

And wist not that with thoughtful love I pine.

Yet Colin Clout, untoward shepherd swain,

Walks whistling blithe, while pitiful I plain.

Whilom with thee ’twas Marian’s dear delight

To moil all day, and merry make at night.50

[24] 16

If in the soil you guide the crooked share,

Your early breakfast is my constant care.

And when with even hand you strow the grain,

I fright the theevish rookes from off the plain.

In misling days when I my thresher heard,55

With nappy beer I to the barn repair’d;

Lost in the musick of the whirling flail,

To gaze on thee I left the smoaking pail;

In harvest when the sun was mounted high,

My leathern bottle did thy drought supply;60

When-e’er you mow’d I follow’d with the rake,

And have full oft been sun-burnt for thy sake;

When in the welkin gath’ring show’rs were seen,

I lagg’d the last with Colin on the green;

And when at eve returning with thy carr,65

Awaiting heard the gingling bells from far;

Strait on the fire the sooty pot I plac’t,

To warm thy broth I burnt my hands for haste.

When hungry thou stood’st staring, like an oaf,

I slic’d the luncheon from the barly loaf,70

With crumbled bread I thicken’d well thy mess.

Ah, love me more, or love thy pottage less!

[25] 17 C

Last Friday’s eve, when as the sun was set,

I, near yon stile, three sallow Gypsies met.

Upon my hand they cast a poring look,75

Bid me beware, and thrice their heads they shook,

They said that many crosses I must prove,

Some in my worldly gain, but most in love.

Next morn I miss’d three hens and our old cock,

And off the hedge two pinners and a smock.80

I bore these losses with a christian mind,

And no mishaps could feel, while thou wert kind.

But since, alas! I grew my Colin’s scorn,

I’ve known no pleasure, night, or noon, or morn.

Help me, ye Gypsies, bring him home again,85

And to a constant lass give back her swain.

Have I not sate with thee full many a night,

When dying embers were our only light,

When ev’ry creature did in slumbers lye,

Besides our cat, my Colin Clout, and I?90

No troublous thoughts the cat or Colin move,

While I alone am kept awake by love.

[26] 18

Remember, Colin, when at last year’s wake,

I bought the costly present for thy sake,94

Couldst thou spell o’er the posie on thy knife,

And with another change thy state of life?

If thou forget’st, I wot, I can repeat,

My memory can tell the verse so sweet.

As this is grav’d upon this knife of thine,

So is thy image on this heart of mine.100

But woe is me! such presents luckless prove,

For knives, they tell me, always sever love.

Thus Marian wail’d, her eye with tears brimful,

When goody Dobbins brought her cow to bull.

With apron blue to dry her tears she sought,105

Then saw the cow well serv’d, and took a groat.

19 C2

Notes and Corrections: Tuesday

Where-e’er I gad I cannot hide my care
text has cannot hid


young lovers by a rustic stream

the Dumps.

[27] 21 C3

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or, the

* Dumps, or Dumbs, made use of to express a fit of the sullens. Some have pretended that it is derived from Dumops a king of Egypt, that built a pyramid and dy’d of melancholy. So Mopes after the same manner is thought to have come from Merops another Egyptian king that dy’d of the same distemper; but our English antiquaries have conjectured that dumps, which is, a grievous heaviness of spirits, comes from the word dumplin, the heaviest kind of pudding that is eaten in this country, much used in Norfolk, and other counties of England.


T HE wailings of a maiden I recite,

A maiden fair, that Sparabella hight.

Such strains ne’er warble in the linnets throat,

Nor the gay goldfinch chaunts so sweet a note,

No mag-pye chatter’d, nor the painted jay,5

Nor ox was heard to low, nor ass to bray.

[28] 22

No rusling breezes play’d the leaves among,

While thus her madrigal the damsel sung.


Immemor Herbarum quos est mirata juvenca

Certantes quorum stupefactæ carmine Lynces;

Et mutata suos requierunt flumina cursus. Virg.

A while, O D——y, lend an ear or twain,

Nor, though in homely guise, my verse disdain;10

Whether thou seek’st new kingdoms in the sun,

Whether thy muse does at New-market run,

Or does with gossips at a feast regale,

And heighten her conceits with sack and ale,

Or else at wakes with Joan and Hodge rejoice,15

Where D——y’s lyricks swell in every voice;

Yet suffer me, thou bard of wond’rous meed,

Amid thy bays to weave this rural weed.


Tu mihi seu magni superas jam saxa Timavi,

Sive oram Illyrici legis æquoris—

11. An opera written by this author, called the World in the Sun, or the Kingdom of Birds; he is also famous for his song on the New-market horse-race, and several others that are Jung by the British swains.

17. Meed, an old word for fame or renown.


————Hanc sine tempora circum

Inter victrices ederam tibi serpere lauros.

Now the sun drove adown the western road,

And oxen laid at rest forget the goad,20

[29] 23 C4

The clown fatigu’d trudg’d homeward with his spade,

Across the meadows stretch’d the lengthen’d shade;

When Sparabella pensive and forlorn,

Alike with yearning love and labour worn,

Lean’d on her rake, and strait with doleful guise25

Did this sad plaint in moanful notes devise:


Incumbens tereti Damon sic cæpit Olivæ.

Come night as dark as pitch, surround my head,

From Sparabella Bumkinet is fled;

The ribbon that his val’rous cudgel won,

Last Sunday happier Clumsilis put on.30

Sure, if he’d eyes (but love, they say, has none)

I whilome by that ribbon had been known.

Ah, well-a-day! I’m shent with baneful smart,

For with the ribbon he bestow’d his heart.

My plaint, ye lasses, with this burthen aid,35

’Tis hard so true a damsel dies a maid.

33. Shent, an old word signifying hurt or harmed.

Shall heavy Clumsilis with me compare?

View this, ye lovers, and like me despair.

[30] 24

Her blubber’d lip by smutty pipes is worn,

And in her breath tobacco whiffs are born;40

The cleanly cheese-press she could never turn,

Her awkward fist did ne’er employ the churn;

If e’er she brew’d, the drink wou’d strait grow sour,

Before it ever felt the thunder’s pow’r:

No huswifry the dowdy creature knew;45

To sum up all, her tongue confess’d the shrew.

My plaint, ye lasses, with this burthen aid,

’Tis hard so true a damsel dies a maid.


Mopso Nisa datur. quid non speremus Amantes? Virg.

I’ve often sene my visage in yon lake,

Nor are my features of the homeliest make.50

Though Clumsilis may boast a whiter dye,

Yet the black sloe turns in my rolling eye;

And fairest blossoms drop with ev’ry blast,

But the brown beauty will like hollies last.

Her wan complexion’s like the wither’d leek,55

While Katherine pears adorn my ruddy cheek.

[31] 25

Yet she, alas! the witless lout hath won,

And by her gain, poor Sparabell’s undone!

Let hares and hounds in coupling straps unite,

The clocking hen make friendship with the kite,

Let the fox simply wear the nuptial noose,61

And join in wedlock with the wadling goose;

For love hath brought a stranger thing to pass,

The fairest shepherd weds the foulest lass.

My plaint, ye lasses, with this burthen aid,65

’Tis hard so true a damsel dies a maid.


Nec sum adeo informis, nuper me in Littore vidi. Virg.


Alba ligustra cadunt, vaccinia nigra leguntur. Virg.


Jungentur jam Gryphes equis; ævoque sequenti

Cum canibus timidi venient ad pocula Damæ. Virg.

Sooner shall cats disport in waters clear,

And speckled mackrel graze the meadows fair,

Sooner shall scriech-owls bask in sunny day,

And the slow ass on trees, like squirrels, play,70

Sooner shall snails on insect pinions rove,

Than I forget my shepherd’s wonted love!

My plaint, ye lasses, with this burthen aid,

’Tis hard so true a damsel dies a maid.


Ante leves ergo pascentur in æthere Cervi

Et freta destituent nudos in littore Pisces—

Quam nostro illius labatur pectore vultus. Virg.

[32] 26

Ah! didst thou know what proffers I withstood,

When late I met the squire in yonder wood!76

To me he sped, regardless of his game,

Whilst all my cheek was glowing red with shame;

My lip he kiss’d, and prais’d my healthful look,

Then from his purse of silk a guinea took,80

Into my hand he forc’d the tempting gold,

While I with modest struggling broke his hold.

He swore that Dick in liv’ry strip’d with lace,

Should wed me soon to keep me from disgrace;

But I nor footman priz’d nor golden fee,85

For what is lace or gold compar’d to thee?

My plaint, ye lasses, with this burthen aid,

’Tis hard so true a damsel dies a maid.

Now plain I ken whence Love his rise begun.

Sure he was born some bloody butcher’s son,90

[33] 27

Bred up in shambles, where our younglings slain,

Erst taught him mischief and to sport with pain.

The father only silly sheep annoys,

The son, the sillier shepherdess destroys.

Does son or father greater mischief do?95

The sire is cruel, so the son is too.

My plaint, ye lasses, with this burthen aid,

’Tis hard so true a damsel dies a maid.

89. To Ken, scire. Chaucero, to ken; and kende notus. A. S. cunnan. Goth kunnan. Germanis kennen. Danis kiende. Islandis kunna. Belgis kennen. This word is of general use, but not very common, though not unknown to the vulgar. Ken for prospicere is well known and used to discover by the eye. Ray. F.R.S.

Nunc scio quid sit Amor, &c.

Crudelis mater magis an puer improbus ille?

Improbus ille puer, crudelis tu quoque mater, Virg.

Farewel, ye woods, ye meads, ye streams that flow;

A sudden death shall rid me of my woe,100

This penknife keen my windpipe shall divide.—

What, shall I fall as squeaking pigs have dy’d!

No—To some tree this carcass I’ll suspend.—

But worrying curs find such untimely end!

I’ll speed me to the pond, where the high stool105

On the long plank hangs o’er the muddy pool,

That stool, the dread of ev’ry scolding Quean.—

Yet, sure a lover should not dye so mean!

[34] 28

There plac’d aloft, I’ll rave and rail by fits,

Though all the parish say I’ve loft my wits;110

And thence, if courage holds, my self I’ll throw,

And quench my passion in the lake below.

Ye lasses, cease your burthen, cease to moan,

And, by my case forewarn’d, go mind your own.


————vivite Sylvæ,

Præceps aerii specula de montis in undas

Deferar. Virg.

The sun was set; the night came on a-pace,

And falling dews bewet around the place,116

The bat takes airy rounds on leathern wings,

And the hoarse owl his woeful dirges sings;

The prudent maiden deems it now too late,

And ’till to morrow comes, defers her fate.120


Notes and Corrections: Wednesday

skip to next day

[Footnote] the heaviest kind of pudding that is eaten in this country,
comma missing
[Many of Gay’s footnotes can be classified as “NSS” or “Well, duhh”. But here he’s just making it up.]

The ribbon that his val’rous cudgel won, / Last Sunday happier Clumsilis put on.
[Oh what a birthday surprise / Judy was wearing his ring.]

[Linenote] To Ken, scire.
[I’d say cognoscere. Scire is the now-lost counterpart, “wit” (Ger. wissen).]

Nunc scio quid sit Amor . . . Crudelis mater magis
[All three lines are from the same source, Eclogue VIII, but there’s a gap. Nunc scio . . . is the opening of line 43; the other two lines are 49-50.]


woman sitting among trees, startled at a man climbing branches

the Spell.

[35] 31

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or, the


H OBNELIA seated in a dreary vale,

In pensive mood rehears’d her piteous tale,

Her piteous tale the winds in sighs bemoan,

And pining eccho answers groan for groan.

I rue the day, a rueful day I trow,5

The woful day, a day indeed of woe!

When Lubberkin to town his cattle drove,

A maiden fine bedight he hapt to love;

[36] 32

The maiden fine bedight his love retains,

And for the village he forsakes the plains.10

Return, my Lubberkin, these ditties hear;

Spells will I try, and spells shall ease my care.

With my sharp heel I three times mark the ground,

And turn me thrice around, around, around.

8. Dight or bedight, from the Saxon word dihtan, which signifies to set in order.

When first the year, I heard the cuckow sing,15

And call with welcome note the budding spring,

I straitway set a running with such haste,

Deb’rah that won the smock scarce ran so fast.

Till spent for lack of breath, quite weary grown,

Upon a rising bank I sat adown,20

Then doff’d my shoe, and by my troth, I swear,

Therein I spy’d this yellow frizled hair,

As like to Lubberkin’s in curl and hue,

As if upon his comely pate it grew.

With my sharp heel I three times mark the ground,

And turn me thrice around, around, around.

21. Doff and don, contracted from the words do off and do on.

[37] 33 D

At eve last Midsummer no sleep I sought,

But to the field a bag of hemp-seed brought,

I scatter’d round the seed on ev’ry side,

And three times in a trembling accent cry’d,30

This hemp-seed with my virgin hands I sow,

Who shall my true-love be, the crop shall mow.

I strait look’d back, and if my eyes speak truth,

With his keen scythe behind me came the youth.

With my sharp heel I three times mark the ground,

And turn me thrice around, around, around.36

Last Valentine, the day when birds of kind

Their paramours with mutual chirpings find;

I rearly rose, just at the break of day,

Before the sun had chas’d the stars away;40

A-field I went, amid the morning dew

To milk my kine (for so should huswives do)

Thee first I spy’d, and the first swain we see,

In spite of fortune shall our true-love be;

See, Lubberkin, each bird his partner take,45

And can’st thou then thy sweetheart dear forsake?

[38] 34

With my sharp heel I three times mark the ground,

And turn me thrice around, around, around.

Last May-day fair I search’d to find a snail

That might my secret lover’s name reveal;50

Upon a gooseberry bush a snail I found,

For always snails near sweetest fruit abound.

I seiz’d the vermine, home I quickly sped,

And on the hearth the milk-white embers spread.

Slow crawl’d the snail, and if I right can spell,55

In the soft Ashes mark’d a curious L:

Oh, may this wondrous omen lucky prove!

For L is found in Lubberkin and Love.

With my sharp heel I three times mark the ground,

And turn me thrice around, around, around.60

Two hazel-nuts I threw into the flame,

And to each nut I gave a sweet-heart’s name.

This with the loudest bounce me sore amaz’d,

That in a flame of brightest colour blaz’d.

[39] 35 D2

As blaz’d the nut so may thy passion grow,65

For ’twas thy nut that did so brightly glow.

With my sharp heel I three times mark the ground,

And turn me thrice around, around, around.


———ἐγὼ δ‘ἐπὶ Δέλφιδι δάφναν

Αἴθω, χ‘ ὡς ἀυτὰ λακέει μέτα καππυρίσασα. Theoc.

66. Daphnis me malus urit, ego hanc in Daphnide.

As peascods once I pluck’d, I chanc’d to see

One that was closely fill’d with three times three,

Which when I crop’d I safely home convey’d,71

And o’er my door the spell in secret laid.

My wheel I turn’d, and sung a ballad new,

While from the spindle I the fleeces drew;

The latch mov’d up, when who should first come in,

But in his proper person—Lubberkin.76

I broke my yarn surpriz’d the sight to see,

Sure sign that he would break his word with me.

Eftsoons I join’d it with my wonted slight,

So may again his love with mine unite!80

With my sharp heel I three times mark the ground,

And turn me thrice around, around, around.

This lady-fly I take from off the grass,

Whose spotted back might scarlet red surpass.

[40] 36

Fly, lady-bird, North, South, or East or West,85

Fly where the man is found that I love best.

He leaves my hand, see to the West he’s flown,

To call my true-love from the faithless town.

With my sharp heel I three times mark the ground,

And turn me thrice around, around, around.90

This mellow pippin, which I pare around,

My shepherd’s name shall flourish on the ground.

I fling th’ unbroken paring o’er my head,

Upon the grass a perfect L is read;

Yet on my heart a fairer L is seen95

Than what the paring marks upon the green.

With my sharp heel I three times mark the ground,

And turn me thrice around, around, around.


Transque Caput jace; ne respexeris. Virg.

This pippin shall another tryal make,

See from the core two kernels brown I take;100

This on my cheek for Lubberkin is worn,

And Boobyclod on t’other side is born.

[41] 37 D3

But Boobyclod soon drops upon the ground,

A certain token that his love’s unsound,

While Lubberkin sticks firmly to the last;105

Oh were his lips to mine but join’d so fast!

With my sharp heel I three times mark the ground,

And turn me thrice around, around, around.

As Lubberkin once slept beneath a tree,

I twitch’d his dangling garter from his knee;110

He wist not when the hempen string I drew,

Now mine I quickly doff of inkle blue;

Together fast I tye the garters twain,

And while I knit the knot repeat this strain.

Three times a true-love’s knot I tye secure,115

Firm be the knot, firm may his love endure.

With my sharp heel I three times mark the ground,

And turn me thrice around, around, around.


Necte tribus nodis ternos, Amarylli, Colores

Necte, Amarylli modo; & Veneris dic vincula necto. Virg.

As I was wont, I trudg’d last market-day119

To town, with new-laid eggs preserv’d in hay.

[42] 38

I made my market long before ’twas night,

My purse grew heavy and my basket light.

Strait to the pothecary’s shop I went,

And in love-powder all my mony spent;

Behap what will, next Sunday after prayers,125

When to the ale-house Lubberkin repairs,

These golden flies into his mug I’ll throw,

And soon the swain with fervent love shall glow.

With my sharp heel I three times mark the ground,

And turn me thrice around, around, around.130


Has Herbas, atque hæc Ponto mihi lecta venena,

Ipse dedit Mæris. Virg.


————Ποτὸν κακὸν ἄυριον ὀισὢ. Theoc.

But hold—our Light-foot barks, and cocks his ears

O’er yonder stile see Lubberkin appears.

He comes, he comes, Hobnelia’s not bewray’d,

Nor shall she crown’d with willow die a maid.

He vows, he swears, he’ll give me a green gown,

Oh dear! I fall adown, adown, adown!136

131. Nescio quid certe est: & Hylax in limine latrat.

39 D4

Notes and Corrections: Thursday

skip to next day

As if upon his comely pate it grew.
[This could have been numbered line 24, or two lines further along could have been 26. (The intervening With my sharp heel . . . is 25, but is too long to accommodate a number.)]

In the soft Ashes mark’d a curious L
[Hah! Our editor forgot to de-capitalize one Noun.]

This mellow pippin, which I pare around, / My shepherd’s name shall flourish on the ground.
[See Terry Pratchett, Wyrd Sisters, for detailed instruc­tions on how to get accurate results from this process.]


funeral in a village churchyard

the Dirge.

[43] 41

printer’s decorative headpiece

or, the

* Dirge, or Dyrge, a mournful ditty, or song of lamentation over the dead, not a contraction of the Latin Dirige in the popish hymn Dirige Gressus meos, as some pretend. But from the Teutonick Dyrke, Laudare, to praise and extol. Whence it is possible their Dyrke and our Dirge, was a laudatory song to commemorate and applaud the dead. Cowell’s interpreter.



W HY, Grubbinol, dost thou so wistful seem?

There’s sorrow in thy look, if right I deem.

’Tis true, yon oaks with yellow tops appear,

And chilly blasts begin to nip the year;

[44] 42

From the tall elm, a show’r of leaves is born,5

And their lost beauty riven beeches mourn.

Yet ev’n this season pleasance blithe affords,

Now the squeez’d press foams with our apple hoards.

Come, let us hye, and quaff a cheery bowl,

Let cyder new wash sorrow from thy soul.10


Ah Bumkinet! since thou from hence wert gone,

From these sad plains all merriment is flown;

Should I reveal my grief ’twould spoil thy chear,

And make thine eye o’erflow with many a tear.


Hang sorrow! let’s to yonder hutt repair,15

And with trim sonnets cast away our care.

Gillian of Croydon well thy pipe can play,

Thou sing’st most sweet, O’er hills and far away.

Of Patient Grissel I devise to sing,

And catches quaint shall make the vallies ring.20

Come, Grubbinol, beneath this shelter, come,

From hence we view our flocks securely roam.


Incipe Mopse prior si quos aut Phyllidis ignes

Aut Alconis habes Laudes, aut jurgia Codri.

[45] 43

Yes, blithesome lad, a tale I mean to sing,

But with my woe shall distant vallies ring.

The tale shall make our kidlings droop their head,

For woe is me!—our Blouzelind is dead.26


Is Blouzelinda dead? farewel my glee!

No happiness is now reserv’d for me.

As the wood-pidgeon cooes without his mate,

So shall my doleful dirge bewail her fate.30

Of Blouzelinda fair I mean to tell,

The peerless maid that did all maids excell.

27. Glee, Joy, from the Dutch, Glooren, to recreate.

Henceforth the morn shall dewy sorrow shed,

And ev’ning tears upon the grass be spread;

The rolling streams with watry grief shall flow,35

And winds shall moan aloud—when loud they blow.

Henceforth, as oft as autumn shall return,

The dropping trees, whene’er it rains, shall mourn;

This season quite shall strip the country’s pride,

For ’twas in autumn Blouzelinda dy’d.40

[46] 44

Where-e’er I gad, I Blouzelind shall view,

Woods, dairy, barn and mows our passion knew.

When I direct my eyes to yonder wood,

Fresh rising sorrow curdles in my blood.

Thither I’ve often been the damsel’s guide,45

When rotten sticks our fuel have supply’d;

There, I remember how her faggots large,

Were frequently these happy shoulders charge.

Sometimes this crook drew hazel boughs adown,

And stuff’d her apron wide with nuts so brown;

Or when her feeding hogs had miss’d their way,51

Or wallowing ’mid a feast of acorns lay;

Th’ untoward creatures to the stye I drove,

And whistled all the way—or told my love.

If by the dairy’s hatch I chance to hie,55

I shall her goodly countenance espie,

For there her goodly countenance I’ve seen,

Set off with kerchief starch’d and pinners clean.

Sometimes, like wax, she rolls the butter round,

Or with the wooden lilly prints the pound.60

[47] 45

Whilome I’ve seen her skim the clouted cream,

And press from spongy curds the milky stream.

But now, alas! these ears shall hear no more

The whining swine surround the dairy door,

No more her care shall fill the hollow tray,65

To fat the guzzling hogs with floods of whey.

Lament, ye swine, in gruntings spend your grief,

For you, like me, have lost your sole relief.

When in the barn the sounding flail I ply,

Where from her sieve the chaff was wont to fly,

The poultry there will seem around to stand,71

Waiting upon her charitable hand.

No succour meet the poultry now can find,

For they, like me, have lost their Blouzelind.

Whenever by yon barly mow I pass,75

Before mine eyes will trip the tidy lass.

I pitch’d the sheaves (oh could I do so now)

Which she in rows pil’d on the growing mow.

There ev’ry deale my heart by love was gain’d

There the sweet kiss my courtship has explain’d.

[48] 46

Ah Blouzelind! that mowe I ne’er shall see,81

But thy memorial will revive in me.

Lament, ye fields, and rueful symptoms show,

Henceforth let not the smelling primrose grow;

Let weeds instead of butter-flow’rs appear,85

And meads, instead of daisies, hemlock bear;

For cowslips sweet let dandelions spread,

For Blouzelinda, blithesome maid, is dead!

Lament ye swains, and o’er her grave bemoan,

And spell ye right this verse upon her stone.90

Here Blouzelinda lies—Alas, alas!

Weep shepherds,—and remember flesh is grass.


Pro molli violâ, pro purpureo Narcisso

Carduus, & spinis surgit Paliurus acutis. Virg.


Et Tumulum facite, & tumulo superaddite Carmen.


Albeit thy songs are sweeter to mine ear,

Than to the thirsty cattle rivers clear;

[49] 47

Or winter porridge to the lab’ring youth,95

Or bunns and sugar to the damsel’s tooth;

Yet Blouzelinda’s name shall tune my lay,

Of her I’ll sing for ever and for aye.


Tale tuum Carmen nobis, Divine Poeta

Quale sopor fessis in gramine: quale per æstum

Dulcis aquæ saliente sitim restinguere rivo.

Nos tamen hæc quocumque modo tibi nostra vicissim

Dicemus, Daphninque tuum tollemus ad astra. Virg.


Κρέσσον μελπομενω τευ ακουέμεν ἢ μέλι λείχειν. Theoc.

When Blouzelind expir’d, the weather’s bell

Before the drooping flock toll’d forth her knell;

The solemn death-watch click’d the hour she dy’d,

And shrilling crickets in the chimney cry’d;

The boding raven on her cottage sate,

And with hoarse croaking warn’d us of her fate;

The lambkin, which her wonted tendance bred,

Drop’d on the plains that fatal instant dead;106

Swarm’d on a rotten stick the bees I spy’d,

Which erst I saw when goody Dobson dy’d.

How shall I, void of tears, her death relate,

While on her darling’s bed her mother sate!110

These words the dying Blouzelinda spoke,

And of the dead let none the will revoke.

[50] 48

Mother, quoth the, let not the poultry need,

And give the goose wherewith to raise her breed,

Be these my sister’s care—and ev’ry morn115

Amid the ducklings let her scatter corn;

The sickly calf that’s hous’d, be sure to tend,

Feed him with milk, and from bleak colds defend.

Yet e’er I die—see, Mother, yonder shelf,

There secretly I’ve hid my worldly pelf.120

Twenty good shillings in a rag I laid,

Be ten the parson’s, for my sermon paid.

The rest is yours—My spinning-wheel and rake,

Let Susan keep for her dear sister’s sake;

My new straw hat that’s trimly lin’d with green,

Let Peggy wear, for she’s a damsel clean.126

My leathern bottle, long in harvests try’d,

Be Grubbinol’s—this silver ring beside:

Three silver pennies, and a ninepence bent,

A token kind, to Bumkinet is sent.130

Thus spoke the maiden, while her mother cry’d,

And peaceful, like the harmless lamb, she dy’d.

[51] 49 E

To show their love, the neighbours far and near,

Follow’d with wistful look the damsel’s bier.

Sprigg’d rosemary the lads and lasses bore,135

While dismally the parson walk’d before.

Upon her grave their rosemary they threw,

The daisie, butter-flow’r and endive blue.

After the good man warn’d us from his text,

That none could tell whose turn would be the next;

He said, that heav’n would take her soul no doubt.

And spoke the hour-glass in her praise—quite out.

To her sweet mem’ry flow’ry garlands strung,

O’er her now empty seat aloft were hung.144

With wicker rods we fenc’d her tomb around,

To ward from man and beast the hallow’d ground,

Lest her new grave the parson’s cattle raze,

For both his horse and cow the church-yard graze.

Now we trudg’d homeward to her mother’s farm

To drink new cyder mull’d, with ginger warm.

[52] 50

For gaffer Tread-well told us by the by,151

Excessive sorrow is exceeding dry.

While bulls bear horns upon their curled brow,

Or lasses with soft stroakings milk the cow;

While padling ducks the standing lake desire,

Or batt’ning hogs roll in the sinking mire;156

While moles the crumbled earth in hillocks raise,

So long shall swains tell Blouzelinda’s praise.


Dum juga montis Aper, fluvios dum Piscis amabit

Dumque Thymo pascentur apes, Dum rore cicadæ,

Semper honos nomenque tuam, laudesque manebunt. Virg.

Thus wail’d the louts, in melancholy strain,

’Till bonny Susan sped a-cross the plain;160

They seiz’d the lass in apron clean array’d,

And to the ale-house forc’d the willing maid;

In ale and kisses they forget their cares,

And Susan Blouzelinda’s loss repairs.

51 E2

Notes and Corrections: Friday

skip to next day

[Footnote] not a contraction of the Latin Dirige in the popish hymn Dirige Gressus meos, as some pretend
[Sorry, John, but two different dictionaries—one of them the OED—say it is from Latin Dirige. If it’s any conso­lation, they say the hymn opens Dirige nos.
I don’t know about Teutonick, but for what it’s worth, Norwegian dyrke means to cultivate, both literally and figuratively. It makes me wonder if I ought to re-check all those other footnotes.]

[Linenote] Incipe Mopse prior
[The modern edition makes it look as if there wasn’t room on the page for a source credit, but really the author just forgot. Or didn’t feel like it. As usual, it’s Vergil.]

woe is me!—our Blouzelind is dead
[As far as we know, Blouzelinda was in perfect health on Monday, when Lobbin Clout sang her praises. On the other hand Sparabella, who was considering suicide on Wednesday, must be feeling better.]

Or when her feeding hogs had miss’d their way,   51
[Typographic trivia: In the 1924 edition—as also in my fixed-pitch working text—lines 50 and 51 have identical length, making one wonder why the line number had to be moved down. But in 1714, line 50 was a little longer; it and line 49 each ran exactly to the margin.]

[Linenote] Κρέσσον μελπομενω τευ ακουέμεν ἢ μέλι λείχειν. Theoc.
[Anomalously, the first edition also has the wrong word, μέγι, in place of μέλι. All missing diacritics are carried over from the original. Gay forgot to number the linenote, but 96 seems about right; the Greek is along the lines of “I would rather hear you singing than lick honey.”]

When Blouzelind expir’d, the weather’s bell
[I’d have preferred “wether’s”, but the first edition has the same spelling.]

Yet e’er I die—see, Mother, yonder shelf,
text unchanged: error for ere

And Susan Blouzelinda’s loss repairs
[How I missed her, how I missed her / How I missed my Clementine / But I kissed her little sister / And forgot my Clementine.]


two young woman come upon a sleeping man, while others laugh and point

the Flights.

[53] 53 E3

printer’s decorative headpiece

or, the


S UBLIMER strains, O rustick muse, prepare;

Forget a-while the barn and dairy’s care;

Thy homely voice to loftier numbers raise,

The drunkard’s flights require sonorous lays,

With Bowzybeus’ songs exalt thy verse,

While rocks and woods the various notes rehearse.5

’Twas in the season when the reaper’s toil

Of the ripe harvest ’gan to rid the soil;

[54] 54

Wide through the field was seen a goodly rout,

Clean damsels bound the gather’d sheaves about,10

The lads with sharpen’d hook and sweating brow

Cut down the labours of the winter plow.

To the near hedge young Susan steps aside,

She feign’d her coat or garter was unty’d,

What-e’er she did, she stoop’d adown unseen,15

And merry reapers, what they list, will ween.

Soon she rose up, and cry’d with voice so shrill

That eccho answer’d from the distant hill;

The youths and damsels ran to Susan’s aid,

Who thought some adder had the lass dismay’d.

When fast asleep they Bowzybeus spy’d,21

His hat and oaken staff lay close beside:

That Bowzybeus who could sweetly sing,

Or with the rozin’d bow torment the string;

That Bowzybeus who with finger’s speed25

Could call soft warblings from the breathing reed;

That Bowzybeus who with jocond tongue,

Ballads and roundelays and catches sung.

[55] 55 E4

They loudly laugh to see the damsel’s fright,

And in disport surround the drunken wight.30


Serta procul tantum capiti delapsa jacebant. Virg.

Ah Bowzybeé, why didst thou stay so long,

The mugs were large, the drink was wondrous strong!

Thou should’st have left the fair before ’twas night,

But thou sat’st toping ’till the morning light.

Cic’ly, brisk maid, steps forth before the rout,35

And kiss’d with smacking lip the snoring lout.

For custom says, Who-e’er this venture proves,

For such a kiss demands a pair of gloves.

By her example Dorcas bolder grows,

And plays a tickling straw within his nose.40

He rubs his nostril, and in wonted joke

The sneering swains with stamm’ring speech bespoke.

To you, my lads, I’ll sing my carrols o’er,

As for the maids,—I’ve something else in store.


Sanguineis frontem Moris & Tempora pingit. Virg.


Carmina quæ vultis, cognoscite; carmina vobis.

Huic aliud Mercedis erit. Virg.

[56] 56

No sooner ’gan he raise his tuneful song,45

But lads and lasses round about him throng.

Not ballad-singer plac’d above the croud

Sings with a note so shrilling sweet and loud,

Nor parish clerk who calls the psalm so clear,

Like Bowzybeus sooths th’ attentive ear.50


Nec tantum Phœbo gaudet Parnasia rupes

Nec tantum Rhodope mirantur & Ismarus Orphea. Virg.

Of nature’s laws his carrols first begun,

Why the grave owl can never face the sun.

For owles, as swains observe, detest the light,

And only sing and seek their prey by night.54

How turnips hide their swelling heads below,

And how the closing colworts upwards grow;

How Will-a-wisp mis-leads night-faring clowns,

O’er hills, and sinking bogs, and pathless downs.

Of stars he told that shoot with shining trail,59

And of the glow-worm’s light that gilds his tail.

He sung where wood-cocks in the summer feed,

And in what climates they renew their breed;

[57] 57

Some think to northern coasts their flight they tend,

Or to the moon in midnight hours ascend.

Where swallows in the winter’s season keep,65

And how the drowsie bat and dormouse sleep.

How nature does the puppy’s eyelid close,

Till the bright sun has nine times set and rose.

For huntsmen by their long experience find,

That puppys still nine rolling suns are blind.70

51. Our swain had probably read Tusser from whence he might have collected those philosophical observations.

Namque canebat uti magnum per inane coacta, &c. Virg.

Now he goes on, and sings of fairs and shows,

For still new fairs before his eyes arose.

How pedlars stalls with glitt’ring toys are laid,

The various fairings of the country maid.

Long silken laces hang upon the twine,75

And rows of pins and amber bracelets shine;

How the tight lass, knives, combs and scissars spys,

And looks on thimbles with desiring eyes.

Of lott’ries next with tuneful note he told,

Where silver spoons are won and rings of gold.

The lads and lasses trudge the streets along,81

And all the fair is crouded in his song.

[58] 58

The mountebank now treads the stage, and sells

His pills, his balsoms, and his ague spells;

Now o’er and o’er the nimble tumbler springs,85

And on the rope the vent’rous maiden swings;

Jack-pudding in his parti-coloured jacket

Tosses the glove, and jokes at ev’ry packet.

Of raree-shows he sung, and Punch’s feats,

Of pockets pick’d in crowds, and various cheats.

Then sad he sung the Children in the wood.91

Ah barb’rous uncle, stain’d with infant blood!

How blackberrys they pluck’d in desarts wild,

And fearless at the glitt’ring fauchion smil’d;

Their little corps the robin-red-breasts found,95

And strow’d with pious bill the leaves around.

Ah gentle birds! if this verse lasts so long,

Your names shall live for ever in my song.


Fortunati ambo, si quid mea Carmina possunt,

Nulla Dies unquam memori vos eximet ævo. Virg.

For buxom Joan he sung the doubtful strife,

How the sly sailor made the maid a wife.100

99. A song in the comedy of Love for Love, beginning A soldier and a sailor, &c.

[59] 59

To louder strains he rais’d his voice, to tell

What woeful wars in Chevy-chace befell,

When Piercy drove the deer with hound and horn,

Wars to be wept by children yet unborn!104

Ah With’rington, more years thy life had crown’d,

If thou had’st never heard the horn or hound!

Yet shall the squire, who fought on bloody stumps,

By future bards be wail’d in doleful dumps.

All in the land of Essex next he chaunts,109

How to sleek mares starch Quakers turn gallants;

How the grave brother stood on bank so green.

Happy for him if mares had never been!

109. A song of Sir J. Denham’s. See his poems.


Et fortunatam si nunquam Armenta fuissent

Pasiphaen. Virg.

Then he was seiz’d with a religious qualm,

And on a sudden, sung the hundredth Psalm.

He sung of Taffey-Welch, and Sawney Scot,

Lilly-bullero and the Irish Trot.

[60] 60

Why should I tell of Bateman or of Shore,

Or Wantley’s dragon slain by valiant Moore,

The bow’r of Rosamond, or Robin Hood,119

And how the grass now grows where Troy town stood?


Quid loquar aut Scyllam Nisi, &c. Virg.

117. Old English Ballads.

His carrols ceas’d: The list’ning maids and swains

Seem still to hear some soft imperfect strains.

Sudden he rose; and as he reels along

Swears kisses sweet should well reward his song.

The damsels laughing fly: the giddy clown125

Again upon a wheat-sheaf drops adown;

The pow’r that guards the drunk, his sleep attends,

’Till, ruddy, like his face, the sun descends.

Notes and Corrections: Saturday

skip to Catalogue

The drunkard’s flights require sonorous lays,
[Pronounced “soNORous”. (I have previously met the same metrically required pronunciation in Thomson’s Seasons.)]

Ah Bowzybeé, why didst thou stay so long,
[The acute accent seems counterproductive, since it makes it look as if the vocative is still four syllables (like the nominative “Bowzybeus”) instead of the metrically required three.]

Cic’ly, brisk maid, steps forth before the rout
[Brett-Smith forgot to indent the line.]

[Linenote] Our swain had probably read Tusser
text has propably

[Linenote] A song in the comedy of Love for Love, beginning A soldier and a sailor
[Near the end of Act III of Congreve’s 1695 Love for Love:

A Souldier and a Sailor,

A Tinker, and a Tailor,

Had once a doubtful strife, Sir,

To make a Maid a Wife, Sir

and so on for three stanzas.]

And on a sudden, sung the hundredth Psalm.
text has hundreth


An Alphabetical Catalogue of Names, Plants, Flowers, Fruits, Birds, Beasts, Insects, and other material Things mentioned by this Author.

  A     B     C     D     E     F     G     H     IJ     K     L  
  M     N     O     P     R     S     T     UV     W     Y  

ACORNS Page 44
Adder 54
Ale-house 38
Apple 42
Apron 18, 44
Ass 21, 25
Autumn 41, 43
Barley 16, 49
Ballad-singer 56
Bat 28
Bateman 60
Bays 22
Barn 10, 45
Beech 42
Bee 47
Bran 15
Blackberry 58
Blind-man’s-buff 9
Bramble 3
Blouzelind 4, 43
Breakfast 16
Bull 18
Bumkinet 23, 41
Bun 47
Boobyclod 36
Butter 8, 44
Bowzybeus 53
Butcher 26
Butterflower 46
Buxoma 4
Calf 4, 6, 48
Capon 8
Carr 16
Cat 17, 25
Cicily 14, 55
Clover-grass 5
Cloddipole 3
Churn 24
Colworts 56
Clumsilis 23
Cock 17
Comb 57
Cow 4, 8, 18
Colin Clout 13
Clouted Cream 45
Cowslips 46
Chalk 15
Cricket 47
Curd 45
Cuddy 3
[62] Church-yard 49
Cuckow 32
Cur 6, 27
Cyder 42, 49
Corns 5
Dairy 44
Daisie 6, 46
Dandelion 46
Deborah 32
Death-watch 47
Goody Dobbins 18
Deer 5
Dick 26
Doe 4
Dorcas 55
Dragon 60
Drink 24
Goody Dobson 47
Duck 50
Duckling 48
Duckingstool 27
Eggs 37
Elm 42
Endive 49
Epitaph 46
Fair 57
Fawn 4
Fox 25
Fuel 44
Gilly-flower 6
Gloves 15, 55
Glow-worm 56
Garter 37
Goldfinch 6, 21
Ginger 49
Goose 6, 25, 48
Gillian of Croydon 42
Gooseberry 34
Green Gown 38
Grass 36
Grubbinol 41
Gypsy 17
Hare 8, 25
Holiday 7
Haycock 7
Hazel-nut 34
Harvest 16, 54
Hemlock 46
Hempseed 33
Heifer 5
Hen 17, 25
Hour-glass 49
Holly 24
Hosen 15
Hobnelia 31
Hot-cockles 9
Hog 44, 45
Hodge 22
Horse 49
Goodman Hodges 10
Hound 25
Jack-pudding 58
Jay 21
Joan 22, 58
Irish Trott 59
Katherine Pear 24
Kid 6
[63] Kerchief 44
Kidling 43
Kiss 7, 8, 45
Kite 25
Kersey Doublet 15
Knife 8, 18
Kingcup 6
Lady-Bird 36
Leather 15
Lamb 6
Lobbin Clout 3
Love Powder 38
Lambkin 6, 47
Lottery 57
Lark 3
Leathern Bottle 48
Lubberkin 31
Lilly 44
Leek 8, 24
Lilly-bullero 59
Linnet 21
Mackerell 25
May-Day 6, 34
Mag-pye 21
Milk-pail 16
Mare 59
Mug 55
Marian 13
Moore 60
Marygold 6, 10
Midsummer-Eve 33
Mole 50
Mountebank 58
Mow 13, 45
Neckcloth 15
Nuts 34, 44
Ninepence 48
Oak 5, 41
Oatmeal 8, 15
Owl 25, 28, 56
Oxen 21, 22
Ploughing 16
Pease-cod 35
Penny 48
Peggy 48
Penknife 27
Pidgeon 43
Pedlar 57
Pig 27
Pinner 17, 44
Pippin 36
Pottage 16, 47
Potatoe 8
Pudding 8
Primrose 5, 46
Patient Grissel 42
Poultry 45, 48
Parish Clerk 56
Puppy 57
Rake 23, 48
Raven 47
Robin-hood 60
Robin-red-breast 58
Ring 48, 57
Rook 16
Rosamond 60
Roast Beef 8
Ribbon 23
Rosemary 10, 49
Riddle 10
[64]   S  
Spring 32
Sawney 59
Sage 14
Scissars 57
Sheep 14
Straw-Hat 48
Sloe 24
Smock 17, 32
Snail 25, 34
Spinning Wheel 35, 48
Squirrel 25
Sugar 47
Susan 48
Squire 8, 26
Sowing 16
Swallow 5
Shore 60
Swine 45
Summer 7
Silver Spoon 57
Sparabella 21
Thimble 57
Throstle 3
Tobacco 5, 24
Gaffer Treadwell 50
Troy Town 60
Turnip 8
Threshing 16
True-loves Knot 37
Valentine’s Day 33
Udder 3
Wake 6, 13
Weather 47
Winter 7
Weed 22, 46
Will-a-Whisp 56
Wheat 60
Whey 45
White pot 8
Wood 44
Worky Day 7
Woodcock 57
Whittling 15, 44
Yarn 15, 35
Youngling 3, 14

Notes and Corrections: Catalogue

Throughout the Catalogue, everything is alphabetized as shown: “Gillian of Croydon”, for example, comes between “Goose” and “Gooseberry”. I and J, and likewise U and V, are alphabetized together. Goody Dobbins and Goody Dobson, Goodman Hodges, and Gaffer Treadwell can be found under D, H and T, respectively—but Patient Grissel is under P.

Flowers, Fruits, Birds, Beasts, Insects
text has Beassts
[Long ſ got the better of someone, whether that “someone” is the present editor (H. F. B. Brett-Smith) or his source’s typesetter:]

page image

The original of this text is in the public domain—at least in the U.S.
My notes are copyright, as are all under-the-hood elements.
If in doubt, ask.