William The Coroner’s Forensic Files

Friday, 19, December, 2008

Tom O’Bedlam

Filed under: Poetry — williamthecoroner @ 14:36

Tom O’Bedlam’s Song

From the hagg and hungrie goblin
That into raggs would rend ye,
And the spirit that stands by the naked man
In the Book of Moones – defend ye!
That of your five sound senses
You never be forsaken,
Nor wander from your selves with Tom
Abroad to beg your bacon.

While I doe sing “any foode, any feeding,
Feedinge, drinke or clothing,”
Come dame or maid, be not afraid,
Poor Tom will injure nothing.

Of thirty bare years have I
Twice twenty been enraged,
And of forty been three times fifteen
In durance soundly caged.
On the lordly lofts of Bedlam,
With stubble soft and dainty,
Brave bracelets strong, sweet whips ding-dong,
With wholesome hunger plenty.

While I doe sing “any foode, any feeding,
Feedinge, drinke or clothing,”
Come dame or maid, be not afraid,
Poor Tom will injure nothing.

With a thought I took for Maudlin
And a cruse of cockle pottage,
With a thing thus tall, skie blesse you all,
I befell into this dotage.
I slept not since the Conquest,
Till then I never waked,
Till the roguish boy of love where I lay
Me found and stript me naked.
Maudlin – a prostitute. Cockle pottage could be venereal disease (cockles: the labia minor)

While I doe sing “any foode, any feeding,
Feedinge, drinke or clothing,”
Come dame or maid, be not afraid,
Poor Tom will injure nothing.

When I short have shorne my sowre face
And swigged my horny barrel,
In an oaken inn I pound my skin
As a suit of gilt apparel.
The moon’s my constant Mistrisse,
And the lowly owl my morrowe,
The flaming Drake and the Nightcrow make
Me music to my sorrow.

While I doe sing “any foode, any feeding,
Feedinge, drinke or clothing,”
Come dame or maid, be not afraid,
Poor Tom will injure nothing.

The palsie plagues my pulses
When I prigg your pigs or pullen,
Your culvers take, or matchless make
Your Chanticleers, or sullen.
When I want provant, with Humfrie
I sup, and when benighted,
I repose in Powles with waking souls
Yet never am affrighted.

While I doe sing “any foode, any feeding,
Feedinge, drinke 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 moone embrace her shepherd
And the queen of Love her warrior,
While the first doth horne the star of morne,
And the next the heavenly Farrier.

While I doe sing “any foode, any feeding,
Feedinge, drinke or clothing,”
Come dame or maid, be not afraid,
Poor Tom will injure nothing.

The Gipsie Snap and Pedro
Are none of Tom’s companions.
The punk I skorne and the cut purse sworne
And the roaring boyes bravadoe.
The meek, the white, the gentle,
Me handle touch and spare not
But those that crosse Tom Rynosseros
Do what the panther dare not.

While I doe sing “any foode, any feeding,
Feedinge, drinke or clothing,”
Come dame or maid, be not afraid,
Poor Tom will injure nothing.

With a 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 ghostes and shadowes
I summon’d am to tourney
Ten leagues beyond the wild world’s end.
Methinks it is no journey.

While I doe sing “any foode, any feeding,
Feedinge, drinke or clothing,”
Come dame or maid, be not afraid,
Poor Tom will injure nothing.

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