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Sometimes we dance upon the shore,
To whistling winds and seas that roar,
Then we make the wind to blow,
And set the seas a-dancing too.

The thunder's noise is our delight,
And lightnings make us day by night;
And in the air we dance on high,
To the loud music of the sky.

About the moon we make a ring,
And falling stars we wanton fling,
Like squibs and rockets, for a toy,
While what frights others is our joy

But when we ’d hunt away our cares,
We boldly mount the galloping spheres
And riding so from east to west,
We chase each nimble zodiac beast.

Thus, giddy grown, we make our beds, With thick black clouds to rest our heads, And flood the earth with our dark showers, That did but sprinkle these our bowers.

Thus, having done with orbs and sky,
Those mighty spaces vast and high,
Then down we come and take the shapes,
Sometimes of cats, sometimes of apes.

Next turn'd to mites in cheese,

forsooth, We get into some hollow tooth ; Wherein, as in a Christmas hall, We frisk and dance, the devil and all.

Then we change our wily features,
Into yet far smaller creatures,
And dance in joints of gouty toes,
To painful tunes of groans and woes.


Tom D'URFEY, born 1628, died 1723.

In summer time, when flow'rs do spring,

And birds sit on each tree,
Let lords and knights say what they will,
There's none so merry as we.

There's Tom with Nell,
Who bears the bell,
And Willy with pretty Betty;
O how they skip it,
Caper and trip it,
Under the greenwood tree !

Our music is a little pipe,

That can so sweetly play ;
We hire old Hal from Whitsuntide
Till latter Lammas-day;

On Sabbath days,
And holy-days,
After evening prayer comes he ;
And then we skip it,
Caper, and trip it,
Under the greenwood tree.

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Come, play us Adam and Eve,says Dick, " What's that ?

says little Pipe; "The Beginning of the World," 1 quoth Dick, “For we are dancing-ripe ;"

“Is 't that you call ?
Then have at all ! "
He played with merry glee ;
O then did we skip it,
Caper, and trip it,
Under the greenwood tree.

O’er hills and dales, to Whitsun-ales,

We dance a merry fytte;
When Susan sweet with John doth meet,

She gives him hit for hit

1 A favourite dance-tune in the seventeenth century.

From head to foot
She holds him to't,
And jumps as high as he ;
O how they spring it,
Flounce and fling it,
Under the greenwood tree !

My lord's son must not be forgot,

So full of merry jest ;
He laughs to see the girls so hot,
And jumps it with the rest.

No time is spent
With more content,
In camp, or court, or city,
So long as we skip it,
Frisk it and trip it,
Under the greenwood tree.

We oft go to Sir William's ground,

And a rich old cub is he;
And there we dance, around, around,
But never a penny we see.

From thence we get
To Somerset,
Where men are frolic and free,
And there do we skip it,
Frisk it and trip it,
Under the greenwood tree.

We fear no plots of Jews or Scots,

For we are jolly swains ;
With plough and cow, and barley-mow,
We bury all our brains.

No city cares,
Nor merchant's fears
Of wreck or piracy;
Therefore we skip it,
Frisk it and trip it,
Under the greenwood tree.

On meads and lawns we trip like fauns,

Like fillies, kids, and lambs ;
We have no twinge to make us cringe,
Or crinkle in the hams;

When the day is spent,
With one consent,
Again we all agree,

and skip it,
Trample and trip it,
Under the greenwood tree.

From “The English Dancing-Master; or, Plain and Easy Rules for

Country Dances," 1651.
As I went through the North country,

I heard a merry meeting ;
A pleasant toy, and full of joy,

Two noblemen were greeting.

And as they walked forth to shoot,

Upon a summer's day,
They met another nobleman,

With whom they had a fray.

His name was Sir John Barleycorn,

He dwelt down in a dale;
Who had a kinsman dwelt him nigh,

They called him Thomas Good-ale.

Another named Richard Beer,

Was ready at that time;
Another worthy knight was there,

Call’d Sir William White-wine.

Some of them fought in a black-jack,

Some of them in a can;
But the chiefest in a black pot,

Like a worthy nobleman.

Sir Barleycorn fought in a bowl,

Who won the victory;
Which made them all to fume and swear

That Barleycorn should die.

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Some said " kill him," some said drown,"

Others wished to hang him high, For as many as follow Barley-corn,

Shall surely beggars die.

Then with a plough they ploughed him up,

And this they did devise,
To bury him quick within the earth,

And swore he should not rise.

With harrows strong they combed him,

And thrust clods on his head, A joyful banquet then was made,

When Barley-corn was dead.

He rested still within the earth,

Till rain from skies did fall, Then he grew up in branches green,

Which sore amazed them all.

And so grew up till Midsummer ;

He made them all afraid, For he was sprouted up on high,

And got a goodly beard.

Then he grew till St. James's-tide,

His countenance was wan;
For he was grown unto his strength,

And thus became a man.

With hooks and eke with sickles keen,

Unto the fields they hied, They cut his legs off by the knees,

And made him wounds full wide.

Thus bloodily they cut him down,

From place where he did stand, And like a thief for treachery,

They bound him in a band.
So then they took him up again,

According to his kind,
And packed him up in several stacks,
To wither with the wind


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