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XXIV.

ROBIN GOOD-FELLOW,

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-alias PUCKE, alias HOBGOBLIN, in the creed of ancient superstition, was a kind of merry sprite, whose character and achievements are recorded in this ballad, and in those well-known lines of Milton's L'Allegro, which the antiquarian Peck supposes to be owing to it:

“ Tells how the drudging GOBLIN swet
To earn his creame-bowle duly set :
“When in one night, ere glimpse of morne,
“ His shadowy flail hath thresh'd the corn
That ten day-labourers could not end ;

Then lies him down the lubber fiend,
“And stretch'd out all the chimneys length,
• Basks at the fire his hairy strength,
“And crop-full out of doors he flings,

“ Ere the first cock his matins rings." The reader will observe that our simple ancestors had reduced all these whimsies to a kind of system, as regular, and perhaps more consistent, than many parts of classic mythology: a proof of the extensive infuence and vast antiquity of these superstitions. Mankind, and especially the common people, could not every where have been so unanimously agreed concerning these arbitrary notions, if they had not prevailed among them for many ages. Indeed, a learned friend in Wales assures the Editor, that the existence of Fairies and Gublins is alluded to by the most ancient British Bards, who mention them under various names, one of the most common of which signifies “The “spirits of the mountains.” See also Preface to Song XXV.

This song, which Peck attributes to Ben Jonson (though it is not found among his works) is chiefly printed from an ancient black-letter copy in the British Museum. It seems to have been originally intended for some Masque. This Ballad is intitled, in the old black-letter copies, merry

Pranks of Robin Goodfellow. To the tune “of Dulcina,” &c. (See No. XIII. above.)

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From Oberon, in fairye land,

The king of ghosts and shadowes there,
Mad Robin I, at his command,
Am sent to viewe the night-sports here.

What revell rout

Is kept about,
In every corner where I go,

I will o'ersee,

And merry bee,
And make good sport, with ho, ho, ho!

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More swift than lightening can I flye

About this aery welkin soone,
And, in a minutes space, descrye
Each thing that's done belowe the moone,
There's not a hag

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Or ghost shall wag,
Or cry, ware Goblins ! where I go ;

But Robin I

Their feates will spy,
And send them home, with ho, ho, ho ! 20

Whene'er Whene'er such wanderers I meete,

As from their night-sports they trudge home;
With counterfeiting voice I greete
And call them on, with me to roame

Throwoods, thro' lakes,

Thro' bogs, thro' brakes;
Or else, unseene, with them I go,

All in the nicke

To play some tricke
And frolicke it, with ho, ho, ho!

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Sometimes I meete them like a man;

Sometimes, an ox, sometimes, a hound;
And to a horse I turn me can;
To trip and trot about them round.

But if, to ride,

My backe they stride,
More swift than wind away I go,

Ore hedge and lands,

Thro' pools and ponds
I whirry, laughing, ho, ho, ho!

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When lads and lasses merry be,

With possets and with juncates fine ;
Unseene of all the company,
I eat their cakes and sip their wine;

And, to make sport,

I fart and snort;
And out the candles I do blow :

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And

The

The maids I kiss ;
They shrieke—Who's this?
I answer nought, but ho, ho, ho !

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Yet now and then, the maids to please,

At midnight I card up their wooll; And while they sleepe, and take their ease, With wheel to threads their flax I pull.

I grind at mil

Their malt up still ;
I dress their hemp, I spin their tow.

If any 'wake,

And would me take,
I wend me, laughing, ho, ho, ho !.

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When house or harth doth sluttish lye,

I pinch the maidens black and blue ; The bed-clothes from the bedd pull I, And lay them naked all to view.

'Twixt sleepe and wake,

I do them take,
And on the key-cold' floor them throw.

If out they cry,

Then forth I fly,
And loudly laugh out, ho, ho, ho !

When any need to borrowe ought,

We lend them what they do require : And for the use demand we nought;

Our owne is all we do desire. VOL. III,

If If to repay,

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They do delay,
Abroad amongst them then I go,

And night by night,

I them affright
With pinchings, dreames, and ho, ho, ho!

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When lazie queans have nought to do,

But study how to cog and lye; To make debate and mischief tod, 'Twixt one another secretlye ::

I marke their gloze,

And it disclose,
To them whom they have wronged so;

When I have done,

I get me gone,
And leave them scolding, ho, ho, ho!

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When men do traps and engins set

In loop holes, where the vermine creepe, Who from their foldes, and houses, get Their duckes and geese, and lambes and sheepe: I spy the gin,

95 And enter in, And seeme a vermine taken so;

But when they there

Approach me neare,
I leap out laughing, ho, ho, ho!

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