Verse > Anthologies > William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. > The Book of Elizabethan Verse
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William Stanley Braithwaite, ed.  The Book of Elizabethan Verse.  1907.
 
As When the Time Hath Been
By Richard Corbet (1582–1635)
 
AT morning and at evening both
  You merry were and glad,
So little care of sleep or sloth
  These pretty ladies had;
When Tom came home from labour        5
  Or Ciss to milking rose,
Then merrily, merrily went their tabor
  And nimbly went their toes.
 
Witness those rings and roundelays
  Of theirs, which yet remain,        10
Were footed in Queen Mary’s days
  On many a grassy plain;
But since of late, Elizabeth
  And later, James came in,
They never danced on any heath        15
  As when the time hath been.
 
Farewell rewards and fairies
  Good housewives now may say,
For now foul sluts in dairies
  Do fare as well as they.        20
And though they sweep their hearths no less
  Then maids were wont to do,
Yet who of late for cleanliness
  Finds sixpence in her shoe?
 
Lament, lament old abbeys        25
  The fairies lost command;
They did but change priests’ babies,
  But some have changed your land;
And all your children sprung from thence
  Are now grown Puritans;        30
Who live as changelings ever since
  For love of your domains.
 
 
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