John Gay (30 June 1685 – 4 December 1732 / Barnstaple, England)
The Shepherd's Week : Monday; or the Squabble
Lobbin Clout, Cuddy, Cloddipole
Thy younglings, Cuddy, are but just awake,
No thrustles shrill the bramble-bush forsake
No chirping lark the welkin sheen invokes,
No damsel yet the swelling udder strokes;
O'er yonder hill does scant the dawn appear,
Then why does Cuddy leave his cott so rear?
Ah Lobbin Clout! I ween, my plight is guest,
'For he that loves, a stranger is to rest;'
If swains belye not, thou hast prov'd the smart
And Blouzelinda's mistress of thy heart.
This rising rear betokeneth well thy mind,
Those arms are folded for thy Blouzelind.
And well, I trow, our piteous plights agree,
Thee Blouzelinda smiles, Buxoma me.
Ah Blouzelind! I love thee more by half,
Than does their fawns, or cows the new-fallen calf;
Wo worth the tongue! may blisters sore it gall,
That names Buxoma, Blouzelind withal.
Hold, witless Lobbin Clout, I thee advise,
Lest blisters sore on thy own tongue arise.
Lo yonder Cloddipole, the blithesome swain,
The wisest lout of all the neighbouring plain!
From Cloddipole we learnt to read the skies,
To know when hail will fall, or winds arise.
He taught us erst the heifer's tail to view,
When stuck aloft, that show'rs would straight ensue;
He first that useful secret did explain,
That pricking corns foretold the gath'ring rain.
When swallows fleet soar high and sport in air,
He told us that the welkin would be clear.
Let Cloddipole then hear us twain rehearse,
And praise his sweetheart in alternate verse.
I'll wager this same oaken staff with thee,
That Cloddipole shall give the prize to me.
See this tobacco-pouch that's lin'd with hair,
Made of the skin of sleekest fallow deer.
This pouch, that's tied with tape of reddest hue,
I'll wager, that the prize shall be my due.
Begin thy carols then, thou vaunting slouch,
Be thine the oaken staff, or mine the pouch.
My Blouzelinda is the blithest lass,
Than primrose sweeter, or the clover-grass.
Fair is the king-cup that in meadow blows,
Fair is the daisy that beside her grows,
Fair is the gillyflow'r, of gardens sweet,
Fair is the marigold, for pottage meet.
But Blouzelind's than gillyflow'r more fair,
Than daisy, marigold, or king-cup rare.
My brown Buxoma is the featest maid,
That e'er at Wake delightsome gambol play'd.
Clean as young lambkins or the goose's down,
And like the goldfinch in her Sunday gown.
The witless lamb may sport upon the plain,
The frisking kid delight the gaping swain,
The wanton calf may skip with many a bound,
And my cur Tray play deftest feats around;
But neither lamb nor kid, nor calf nor Tray,
Dance like Buxoma on the first of May.
Sweet is my toil when Blouzelind is near,
Of her bereft 'tis winter all the year.
With her no sultry summer's heat I know;
In winter, when she's nigh, with love I glow.
Come, Blouzelinda, ease thy swain's desire,
My summer's shadow and my winter's fire!
As with Buxoma once I work'd at hay,
Ev'n noon-tide labour seem'd a holiday;
And holidays, if haply she were gone,
Like worky-days I wish'd would soon be done.
Eftsoons, O sweet-heart kind, my love repay,
And all the year shall then be holiday.
As Blouzelinda in a gamesome mood,
Behind a haycock loudly laughing stood,
I slily ran, and snatch'd a hasty kiss,
She wip'd her lips, nor took it much amiss.
Believe me, Cuddy, while I'm bold to say,
Her breath was sweeter than the ripen'd hay.
As my Buxoma in a morning fair,
With gentle finger strok'd her milky care,
I quaintly stole a kiss; at first, 'tis true,
She frown'd, yet after granted one or two.
Lobbin, I swear, believe who will my vows,
Her breath by far excell'd the breathing cows.
Leek to the Welsh, to Dutchmen butter's dear,
Of Irish swains potato is the cheer;
Oats for their feasts, the Scottish shepherds grind,
Sweet turnips are the food of Blouzelind.
While she loves turnips, butter I'll despise,
Nor leeks nor oatmeal nor potato prize.
In good roast-beef my landlord sticks his knife,
The capon fat delights his dainty wife,
Pudding our parson eats, the squire loves hare,
But white-pot thick is my Buxoma's fare.
While she loves white-pot, capon ne'er shall be,
Nor hare, nor beef, nor pudding, food for me.
As once I play'd at Blindman's-Buff, it hapt
About my eyes the towel thick was wrapt.
I miss'd the swains, and seiz'd on Blouzelind;
True speaks that ancient proverb, Love is blind.
As at Hot-Cockles once I laid me down,
And felt the weighty hand of many a clown;
Buxoma gave a gentle tap, and I
Quick rose, and read soft mischief in her eye.
On two near elms, the slacken'd cord I hung,
Now high, now low my Blouzelinda swung.
With the rude wind her rumpled garment rose,
And show'd her taper leg, and scarlet hose.
Across the fallen oak the plank I laid,
And myself pois'd against the tottering maid,
High leapt the plank; adown Buxoma fell;
I spy'd - but faithful sweethearts never tell.
This riddle, Cuddy, if thou canst, explain,
This wily riddle puzzles every swain.
'What flower is that which bears the Virgin's name,
The richest metal joined with the same?'
Answer, thou carle, and judge this riddle right,
I'll frankly own thee for a cunning wight.
'What flower is that which royal honour craves,
Adjoin the Virgin, and 'tis strown on graves?'
Forbear, contending louts, give o'er your strains,
An oaken staff each merits for his pains.
But see the sun-beams bright to labour warn,
And gild the thatch of goodman Hodges' barn.
Your herds for want of water stand adry,
They're weary of your songs-and so am I.
Comments about this poem (The Shepherd's Week : Monday; or the Squabble by John Gay )
Top 500 Poems
The Road Not Taken
If You Forget Me
Still I Rise
Edgar Allan Poe
William Ernest Henley
Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings