God Speed The Plow, And Bless The Corn-Mow
The servingman the plowman would invite
To leave his calling and to take delight;
But he to that by no means will agree,
Lest he thereby should come to beggary.
He makes it plain appear a country life
Doth far excel: and so they end the strife.
My noble friends give ear, if mirth you love to hear,
I'll tell you as fast as I can,
A story very true, then mark what doth ensue,
Concerning of a husbandman.
A servingman did meet a husbandman in the street,
And thus unto him began:
I pray you tell to me of what calling you be,
Or if you be a servingman?
Quoth he, my brother dear, the coast I mean to clear,
And the truth you shall understand:
I do no one disdain, but this I tell you plain,
I am an honest husbandman.
If a husbandman you be, then come along with me,
I'll help you as soon as I can
Unto a gallant place, where in a little space,
You shall be a servingman.
Sir, for your diligence I give you many thanks,
These things I receive at your hand;
I pray you to me show, whereby that I might know,
What pleasures hath a servingman?
A servingman hath pleasure, which passeth time and measure,
When the hawk on his fist doth stand;
His hood, and his verrils brave, and other things, we have,
Which yield joy to a servingman.
My pleasure's more than that to see my oxen fat,
And to prosper well under my hand;
And therefore I do mean, with my horse, and with my team,
To keep myself a husbandman.
O 'tis a gallant thing in the prime time of the spring,
To hear the huntsman now and than
His bugle for to blow, and the hounds run all a row:
This is pleasure for a servingman!
To hear the beagle cry, and to see the falcon fly,
And the hare trip over the plain,
And the huntsmen and the hound make hill and dale rebound:
This is pleasure for a servingman!
'Tis pleasure, too, you know, to see the corn to grow,
And to grow so well on the land;
The plowing and the sowing, the reaping and the mowing,
Yield pleasure to the husbandman.
At our table you may eat all sorts of dainty meat,
Pig, cony, goose, capon, and swan;
And with lords and ladies fine, you may drink beer, ale, and wine!
This is pleasure for a servingman.
While you eat goose and capon, I'll feed on beef and bacon,
And piece of hard cheese now and than;
We pudding have, and souse, always ready in the house,
Which contents the honest husbandman.
At the court you may have your garments fine and brave,
And cloak with gold lace laid upon,
A shirt as white as milk, and wrought with finest silk:
That's pleasure for a servingman!
Such proud and costly gear is not for us to wear;
Amongst the briers and brambles many a one,
A good strong russet coat, and at your need a groat,
Will suffice the husbandman.
A proverb here I tell, which likes my humour well,
And remember it well I can,
If a courtier be too bold, he'll want when he is old.
Then farewell the servingman.
It needs must be confest that your calling is the best,
No longer discourse with you I can;
But henceforth I will pray, by night and by day,
Heaven bless the honest husbandman.
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(March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963)
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