Anonymous Olde English

The Old Cloak - Poem by Anonymous Olde English

This winters weather itt waxeth cold,
And frost doth freese on every hill,
And Boreas blowes his blasts soe bold
That all our cattell are like to spill.
Bell my wife, who loves noe strife,
She sayd unto my quietlye,
'Rise up, and save cow Crumbockes liffe,
Man, put thine old cloake about thee.'

'O Bell, why dost thou flyte, 'and scorne?'
Thou kenst my cloake is very thine;
Itt is soe are and overworne,
A cricke he theron cannot runn:
Then Ile noe longer borrowe nor lend,
'For once He new appareld bee,
To-morrow He to towne and spend,'
For Ile have a new cloake about mee.'

'Cow Crumbocke is a very good cowe,
She ha beene alwayes true to the payle,
Shee has helpt us to butter and cheese, I trow,
And other things shee will not fayle;
I wold be loth to see her pine;
Good husband, councell take of mee,
It is not for us to go soe fine,
Man, take thine old cloake about thee.'

'My cloake it was a verry good cloake,
Itt hath been alwayes true to the weare,
But now it is not worth a groat,
I have had it for four and forty yeere;
Sometime itt was of cloth in graine,
'Tis now but a sigh clout as you may see;
It will neither hold out winde nor raine:
And Ile have a new cloake about mee.'

'It is four and fortye yeeres agoe
Since the one of us the other did ken,
And we have had betwixt us towe,
Of children either nine or ten;
Wee have brought them up to women and men
In the feare of God I trow they bee;
And why wilt thou thyself mistaken?
Man, take thine old cloake about thee.'

'O Bell my wiffe, why dost thou floute!
Now is nowe, and then was then;
Seeke now all the world throughout,
Thou kenst not clownes from gentlemen;
They are clad in blacke, greene, yellowe, or 'gray,'
Soe far above their owne degree;
Once in my life Ile 'do as they'
For Ile have a new cloake about mee.'

'King Stephen was a worthy peere,
His breeches cost him but a crowne;
He held them sixpence all to deere;
Therefore he calld the taylor Lowne.
He was a wight of high renowne,
And thouse but of a low degree;
Itt's pride that putts the countrye downe;
Then take thine old cloake about thee.'

''Bell my wife she loves not strife,
Yet she will lead me if she can;
And oft, to live a quiet life,
I am forced to yield, though Ime good-man'
Itt's not for a man with a woman to threape,
Unlesse he first give oer the plea;
As wee began wee now mun leave,
And Ile take mine old cloake about mee.'

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Poem Submitted: Wednesday, April 7, 2010

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