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.
 
The Beggars’ Holiday
By John Fletcher (1579–1625)
 
CAST 1 our caps and cares away:
This is beggars’ holiday!
At the crowning of our king,
Thus we ever dance and sing.
In the world look out and see,        5
Where so happy a prince as he?
Where the nation live so free,
And so merry as do we?
Be it peace, or be it war,
Here at liberty we are,        10
And enjoy our ease and rest:
To the field we are not pressed;
Nor are called into the town,
To be troubled with the gown.
Hang all officers, we cry,        15
And the magistrate too, by!
When the subsidy’s increased,
We are not a penny sessed;
Nor will any go to law
With the beggar for a straw.        20
All which happiness, he brags,
He doth owe unto his rags.
 
Note 1. From Beggars’ Bush, act ii. sc. 1, 1622. This song is the key-note of exuberant outlawry and adventure to which the play holds. [back]
 
 
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