The Fairies' Farewell

By Richard Corbet

Farewell, rewards and fairies,
Good housewives now may say,
For now foul sl*ts in dairies
Do fare as well as they;
And though they sweep their hearths no less
Than 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 stol’n from thence
Are now grown puritanes
Who live as changelings ever since
For love of your domains.

At morning and at evening both
You merry were and glad;
So little care of sleep and sloth
These pretty ladies had;
When Tom came home from labor,
Or Ciss to milking rose,
Then 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 dance on any heath
As when the time had been.

By which we note the fairies
Were of the old profession,
Their songs were Ave Maries,
Their dances were procession;
But now alas, they all are dead
Or gone beyond the seas,
Or further from religion fled,
Or else they take their ease.

A tell-tale in their company
They never could endure;
And who kept not secretly
Their mirth, was punish’d sure.
It was a just and Christian deed
To pinch such black and blue;
O how the common wealth doth need
Such justices as you!

Now they have left our quarters
A register they have,
Who looketh to their charters,
A man both wise and grave;
An hundred of their merry pranks
By one that I could name
Are kept in store, conn twenty thanks
To William for the same.

I marvel who his cloak would turn
When Puck had led him round,
Or where those walking fires would burn,
Where Cureton would be found;
How Broker would appear to be,
For whom this age doth mourn;
But that their spirits live in thee,
In thee, old William Chourne.

To William Chourne of Strafford shire
Give laud and praises due,
Who ever meal can mend your cheer
With tales both old and true:
To William all give audience,
And pray ye for his noddle,
For all the fairies’ evidence
Were lost, if that were addle.

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