Robin Goodfellow

From Oberon, in fairy land,
The king of ghosts and shadows there,
Mad Robin I, at his command,
Am sent to view the night-sports here.
What revel rout
Is kept about,
In every corner where I go,
I will o'ersee,
And merry be,
And make good sport, with ho, ho, ho

More swift than lightning can I fly
About this airy welkin soon,
And, in a minute's space, descry
Each thing that's done below the moon.
There's not a hag
Or ghost shall wag,
Or cry, 'ware goblins! where I go;
But Robin I
Their feats will spy,
And send them home with ho, ho, ho!

Whene'er such wanderers I meet,
As from their night-sports they trudge home,
With counterfeiting voice I greet,
And call them on with me to roam:
Through woods, through lakes;
Through bogs, through brakes;
Or else, unseen, with them I go,
All in the nick,
To play some trick,
And frolic it, with ho, ho, ho!

Sometimes I meet them like a man,
Sometimes an ox, sometimes a hound;
And to a horse I turn me can,
To trip and trot about them round.
But if to ride
My back they stride,
More swift than wind away I go,
O'er hedge and lands,
Through pools and ponds,
I hurry, laughing, ho, ho, ho!

When lads and lasses merry be,
With possets and with junkets fine;
Unseen of all the company,
I eat their cakes and sip their wine!
And, to make sport,
I puff and snort:
And out the candles I do blow:
The maids I kiss,
They shriek—Who's this?
I answer nought but ho, ho, ho!

Yet now and then, the maids to please,
At midnight I card up their wool;
And, while they sleep and take their ease,
With wheel to threads their flax I pull.
I grind at mill
Their malt up still;
I dress their hemp; I spin their tow;
If any wake,
And would me take,
I wend me, laughing, ho, ho, ho!

When any need to borrow aught,
We lend them what they do require:
And, for the use demand we nought;
Our own is all we do desire.
If to repay
They do delay,
Abroad amongst them then I go,
And night by night,
I them affright,
With pinchings, dreams, and ho, ho, ho!

When lazy queans have nought to do,
But study how to cog and lie:
To make debate and mischief too,
'Twixt one another secretly:
I mark their gloze,
And it disclose
To them whom they have wronged so:
When I have done,
I get me gone,
And leave them scolding, ho, ho, ho!

When men do traps and engines set
In loop-holes, where the vermin creep,
Who from their folds and houses get
Their ducks and geese, and lambs and sheep;
I spy the gin,
And enter in,
And seem a vermin taken so;
But when they there
Approach me near,
I leap out laughing, ho, ho, ho!

By wells and rills, in meadows green,
We nightly dance our heyday guise;
And to our fairy king and queen,
We chant our moonlight minstrelsies.
When larks 'gin sing,
Away we fling;
And babes new born steal as we go;
And elf in bed
We leave in stead,
And wend us laughing, ho, ho, ho!

From hag-bred Merlin's time, have I
Thus nightly revelled to and fro;
And for my pranks men call me by
The name of Robin Good-fellow.
Fiends, ghosts, and sprites,
Who haunt the nights,
The hags and goblins do me know;
And beldames old
My feats have told,
So vale, vale; ho, ho, ho!
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