« PreviousContinue »
By wells and rills, in meadowes greene,
We nightly dance our hey-day guise;
When larks 'gin sing,
Away we fling;
And elfe in bed
We leave instead,
From hag-bred Merlin's time have I
Thus nightly revell’d to and fro: And for my pranks men call me by The name of Robin Good-fellow.
Fiends, ghosts, and sprites,
Who haunt the nightes,
And beldames old
My feates have told;
THE FAIRY QUEEN.
We have here a short display of the popular belief concerning Fairies. It will afford entertainment to a contemplative mind to trace these whimsical opinions up to their origin. Whoever considers, how early, how extensively, and how uniformly, they have prevailed in these nations, will not readily assent to the hypothesis of those who fetch them from the East so late as the time of the Croisades. Whereas it is well known that our Saxon ancestors, long before they left their German forests, believed the existence of a kind of diminutive demons, or middle species between men and spirits, whom they called DUERGAR or DWARFS, and to whom they attributed many wonderful performances, far ex. ceeding human art. Vid. Hervarer Saga Olaj Verelj. 1675. Hickes Thesaur. &c.
This Song is given (with some corrections by another copy) from a book intitled “The Mysteries of Love and Eloquence, &c." Lond. 1658. Svo.
Come, follow, follow me,
Come follow Mab your queene.
5 For this place is fairye ground.
When mortals are at rest,
Over tables, stools, and shelves,
And, if the house be foul
And find the sluts asleep :
But if the house be swept,
And duely she is paid :
Upon a mushroomes head
Is manchet, which we eat;
The brains of nightingales,
Is meat that's easily chew'd;
The grashopper, gnat, and fly,
And so the time beguile :
On tops of dewie grasse
Ne'er bends when we do walk :
THE FAIRIES FAREWELL,
This humorous old song fell from the hand of the witty Dr. Corber (afterwards bishop of Norwich, &c.) and is printed from his Poëtica Stromata, 1648, 12mo. (compared with the third edition of his Poems, 1672.) It is there called “A proper new Ballad, intitled, The “Fairies Farewell, or God-a-mercy Will, to be sung
or whistled to the tune of The Meddow Brow, “ by the learned; by the unlearned, to the tune of o Fortune."
The departure of Fairies is here attributed to the abolition of monkery : Chaucer has, with equal humour, assigned a cause the very reverse, in his Wife of Bath's Tale.
“In olde dayes of the king Artour,
Of limitoures and other holy freres,
“ Blissing halles, chambres, kichenes, and boures,
Thropes and bernes, shepenes and dairies, " This maketh that ther ben no faeries :