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Thomas Randolph

(1605-1635 / England)

An Ode to Master Anthony Stafford, to Hasten him into the Country


1 Come, spur away!
2 I have no patience for a longer stay;
3 But must go down,
4 And leave the chargeable noise of this great town.
5 I will the country see,
6 Where old simplicity,
7 Though hid in gray,
8 Doth look more gay
9 Than foppery in plush and scarlet clad.
10 Farewell, you city-wits that are
11 Almost at civil war;
12 'Tis time that I grow wise, when all the world grows mad.

13 More of my days
14 I will not spend to gain an idiot's praise;
15 Or to make sport
16 For some slight puny of the Inns of Court.
17 Then, worthy Stafford, say,
18 How shall we spend the day?
19 With what delights
20 Shorten the nights?
21 When from this tumult we are got secure,
22 Where mirth with all her freedom goes,
23 Yet shall no finger lose;
24 Where every word is thought, and every thought is pure.

25 There from the tree
26 We'll cherries pluck; and pick the strawberry;
27 And every day
28 Go see the wholesome country girls make hay,
29 Whose brown hath lovelier grace
30 Than any painted face
31 That I do know
32 Hyde Park can show.
33 Where I had rather gain a kiss, than meet
34 (Though some of them in greater state
35 Might court my love with plate)
36 The beauties of the Cheap, and wives of Lombard Street.

37 But think upon
38 Some other pleasures; these to me are none.
39 Why do I prate
40 Of women, that are things against my fate?
41 I never mean to wed,
42 That torture to my bed:
43 My Muse is she
44 My Love shall be.
45 Let clowns get wealth, and heirs; when I am gone,
46 And the great bugbear, grisly Death,
47 Shall take this idle breath,
48 If I a poem leave, that poem is my son.

49 Of this, no more;
50 We'll rather taste the bright Pomona's store.
51 No fruit shall 'scape
52 Our palates, from the damson to the grape.
53 Then, full, we'll seek a shade,
54 And hear what music's made:
55 How Philomel
56 Her tale doth tell;
57 And how the other birds do fill the quire;
58 The thrush and blackbird lend their throats,
59 Warbling melodious notes;
60 We will all sports enjoy, which others but desire.

61 Ours is the sky,
62 Where at what fowl we please our hawk shall fly;
63 Nor will we spare
64 To hunt the crafty fox, or timorous hare;
65 But let our hounds run loose
66 In any ground they'll choose;
67 The buck shall fall,
68 The stag, and all.
69 Our pleasures must from their own warrants be,
70 For to my Muse, if not to me,
71 I'm sure all game is free;
72 Heaven, earth, are all but parts of her great royalty.

73 And when we mean
74 To taste of Bacchus' blessings now and then,
75 And drink by stealth
76 A cup or two to noble Berkeley's health:
77 I'll take my pipe and try
78 The Phrygian melody,
79 Which he that hears,
80 Lets through his ears
81 A madness to distemper all the brain.
82 Then I another pipe will take
83 And Doric music make,
84 To civilize with graver notes our wits again.

Submitted: Tuesday, December 31, 2002

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