Tom O’Bedlam

From the hag and hungry goblin
That into rags would rend ye,
The spirit that stands by the naked man
In the Book of Moons defend ye,
That of your five sound senses,
You never be forsaken,
Nor wander from yourselves with Tom
Abroad to beg your bacon,

While I do sing, Any food, any feeding,
Feeding, drink, or clothing;
Come dame or maid, be not afraid,
Poor Tom will injure nothing.

Of thirty bare years have I
Twice twenty been enragèd,
And of forty been three times fifteen
In durance soundly cagèd
On the lordly lofts of Bedlam
With stubble soft and dainty,
Brave bracelets strong>, sweet whips ding dong                            [ handcuffs ]
With wholesome hunger plenty,

And now I sing, Any food, any feeding,
Feeding, drink, or clothing;
Come dame or maid, be not afraid,
Poor Tom will injure nothing.

With a thought I took for Maudlin>                         [ Magdalene or prostitute ]
And a cruse of cockle pottage>,                                 [ pot of weed stew ]
With a thing thus tall, sky bless you all,
I befell into this dotage.
I slept not since the Conquest,
Till then I never wakèd,
Till the roguish boy of love where I lay
Me found and stripped me naked.

And now I sing, Any food, any feeding,
Feeding, drink, or clothing;
Come dame or maid, be not afraid,
Poor Tom will injure nothing.

When I short have shorn my sow’s face
And swigged by horny barrel>,                                                [ leather flask ]
In an oaken inn I pound my skin
As a suit of gilt apparel;
The moon’s my constant mistress
And the lonely owl my marrow>;                                              [ mate ]
The flaming drake> and the night crow> make                  [ dragon / owl ]
Me music to my sorrow.

While I do sing, Any food, any feeding,
Feeding, drink, or clothing;
Come dame or maid, be not afraid,
Poor Tom will injure nothing.

The palsy> plagues my pulses                                      [ paralysis/tremors ]
When I prig> your pigs or pullen>,                                 [ steal, chicken ]
Your culvers> take, or matchless make                                      [ doves ]
Your Chanticleer or Sullen>.                                                  [ rooster ]
When I want provant> with Humphrey                              [ food ]
I sup, and when benighted,
I repose in Paul’s> with waking souls                         St. Paul’s Churchyard ]
Yet never am affrighted.

But I do sing, Any food, any feeding,
Feeding, drink, or clothing;
Come dame or maid, be not afraid,
Poor Tom will injure nothing.

I know more than Apollo,
For oft when he lies sleeping
I see the stars at bloody wars
In the wounded welkin weeping;
The moon embrace her shepherd,
And the Queen of Love her warrior,
While the first doth horn the star of morn,
And the next the heavenly Farrier>.                                                Vulcan ]

While I do sing, Any food, any feeding,
Feeding, drink, or clothing;
Come dame or maid, be not afraid,
Poor Tom will injure nothing.

The gypsies, Snap and Pedro,
Are none of Tom’s comradoes,
The punk> I scorn and the cutpurse> sworn,                            whore / pickpocket ]
And the roaring boy’s> bravadoes.                                   [ street gangster ]
The meek, the white, the gentle
Me handle, touch, and spare not;
But those that cross Tom Rynosseross
Do what the panther dare not.

Although I sing, Any food, any feeding,
Feeding, drink, or clothing;
Come dame or maid, be not afraid,
Poor Tom will injure nothing.

With an host of furious fancies
Whereof I am commander,
With a burning spear and a horse of air,
To the wilderness I wander.
By a knight of ghosts and shadows,
I summoned am to a tourney
Ten leagues beyond the wide world’s end:
Methinks it is no journey.

Yet I will sing, Any food, any feeding,
Feeding, drink, or clothing;
Come dame or maid, be not afraid,
Poor Tom will injure nothing

The Madness Engine

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