Home  »  The Book of Elizabethan Verse  »  Richard Corbet (1582–1635)

William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. The Book of Elizabethan Verse. 1907.

As When the Time Hath Been

Richard Corbet (1582–1635)

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 Ciss to milking rose,

Then merrily, 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.

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

Then maids were wont to do,

Yet who of late for cleanliness

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 domains.