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English Poetry I: From Chaucer to Gray.
The Harvard Classics. 1909–14.

Richard Corbet

179. Farewell, Rewards and Fairies

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

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!

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

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;

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

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,

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’,

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.

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

To pinch such black and blue.

Oh how the commonwealth doth want

Such Justices as you!