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Short poem

Thomas Randolph (1605-1635)

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

              1Come, spur away!
              2I have no patience for a longer stay;
              3        But must go down,
              4And 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
              9Than 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
            14I will not spend to gain an idiot's praise;
            15        Or to make sport
            16For 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?
            21When from this tumult we are got secure,
            22      Where mirth with all her freedom goes,
            23       Yet shall no finger lose;
            24Where every word is thought, and every thought is pure.

            25        There from the tree
            26We'll cherries pluck; and pick the strawberry;
            27        And every day
            28Go 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.
            33Where I had rather gain a kiss, than meet
            34      (Though some of them in greater state
            35       Might court my love with plate)
            36The beauties of the Cheap, and wives of Lombard Street.

            37        But think upon
            38Some other pleasures; these to me are none.
            39        Why do I prate
            40Of 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.
            45Let clowns get wealth, and heirs; when I am gone,
            46      And the great bugbear, grisly Death,
            47       Shall take this idle breath,
            48If I a poem leave, that poem is my son.

            49        Of this, no more;
            50We'll rather taste the bright Pomona's store.
            51        No fruit shall 'scape
            52Our 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;
            57And how the other birds do fill the quire;
            58      The thrush and blackbird lend their throats,
            59       Warbling melodious notes;
            60We will all sports enjoy, which others but desire.

            61        Ours is the sky,
            62Where at what fowl we please our hawk shall fly;
            63        Nor will we spare
            64To 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.
            69Our pleasures must from their own warrants be,
            70      For to my Muse, if not to me,
            71       I'm sure all game is free;
            72Heaven, earth, are all but parts of her great royalty.

            73        And when we mean
            74To taste of Bacchus' blessings now and then,
            75        And drink by stealth
            76A 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
            81A madness to distemper all the brain.
            82      Then I another pipe will take
            83       And Doric music make,
            84To civilize with graver notes our wits again.


1] Stafford was a contemporary theological and devotional writer, and apparently the uncle of William Stafford, whose children Randolph may have tutored.

4] chargeable: burdensome, troublesome.

13-16] Randolph was the author of several plays and "shews" acted at Cambridge and London.

16] puny of the Inns of Court: freshmen of the four legal societies (or law colleges) having the exclusive right of admitting persons to practise at the English bar.

23] In a quarrel during a drinking bout Randolph had a finger cut off. He and his friend William Heminge wrote poems on the event.

32] Hyde Park: the resort of the fashionable in London. Races were held there in Stuart times.

36] Cheap: Cheapside, famous at the time for its goldsmith shops.
Lombard Street: the financial centre of the city.

50] Romona: the Roman divinity of fruit trees.

55] Philomel: the nightingale.

72] royalty: royal rights, e.g., to hunt game.

76] Berkeley: George, eighth Baron. Stafford dedicated one of his books to him.

78] Phrygian: one of the modes of ancient Greek music, appropriate to passion.

83] Doric: another of the ancient Greek modes, of a simple and solemn character.

Online text copyright © 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.

Original text: Thomas Randolph, Poems with the Museslooking-glasse: and Amyntas (Oxford: L. Lichfield for F. Bowman, 1638). stc Fisher Rare Book Library
First publication date: 1638
RPO poem editor: N. J. Endicott
RP edition: 2RP.1.328; RPO 1996-2000.
Recent editing: 2:2002/1/30*1:2003/11/1

Rhyme: aabbccddeffe

Other poems by Thomas Randolph