Home  »  The Book of Elizabethan Verse  »  Thomas Randolph (1605–1635)

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

An Ode to Master Anthony Stafford to Hasten Him into the Country

Thomas Randolph (1605–1635)

COME, spur away,

I have no patience for a longer stay,

But must go down

And leave the chargeable noise of this great town:

I will the country see,

Where old simplicity,

Though hid in gray,

Doth look more gay

Than foppery in plush and scarlet clad.

Farewell, you city wits, that are

Almost at civil war—

’Tis time that I grow wise, when all the world grows mad.

More of my days

I will not spend to gain an idiot’s praise;

Or to make sport

For some slight Puisne of the Inns of Court.

Then, worthy Stafford, say,

How shall we spend the day?

With what delights

Shorten the nights?

When from this tumult we are got secure,

Where mirth with all her freedom goes,

Yet shall no finger lose;

Where every word is thought, and every thought is pure?

There from the tree

We’ll cherries pluck, and pick the strawberry;

And every day

Go see the wholesome country girls make hay,

Whose brown hath lovelier grace

Than any painted face

That I do know

Hyde Park can show:

Where I had rather gain a kiss than meet

(Though some of them in greater state

Might court my love with plate)

The beauties of the Cheap, and wives of Lombard Street.

But think upon

Some other pleasures: these to me are none.

Why do I prate

Of women, that are things against my fate!

I never mean to wed

That torture to my bed:

My Muse is she

My love shall be.

Let clowns get wealth and heirs: when I am gone

And the great bugbear, grisly Death,

Shall take this idle breath,

If I a poem leave, that poem is my son.

Of this no more!

We’ll rather taste the bright Pomona’s store.

No fruit shall ’scape

Our palates, from the damson to the grape.

Then, full, we’ll seek a shade,

And hear what music’s made;

How Philomel

Her tale doth tell,

And how the other birds do fill the quire;

The thrush and blackbird lend their throats,

Warbling melodious notes;

We will all sports enjoy which others but desire.

Ours is the sky,

Where at what fowl we please our hawk shall fly:

Nor will we spare

To hunt the crafty fox or timorous hare;

But let our hounds run loose

In any ground they choose;

The buck shall fall,

The stag, and all.

Our pleasures must from their own warrants be,

For to my Muse, if not to me,

I’m sure all game is free:

Heaven, earth, are all but parts of her great royalty.

And when we mean

To taste of Bacchus’ blessings now and then,

And drink by stealth

A cup or two to noble Berkley’s health,

I’ll take my pipe and try

The Phrygian melody;

Which he that hears,

Lets through his ears

A madness to distemper all the brain:

Then I another pipe will take

And Doric music make,

To civilize with graver notes our wits again.