Bob's Byway


1609 - 1642



 * This poem provides an example of a parody. It parodies an epithalamium (wedding poem).
  I tell thee, Dick, where I have been,
Where I the rarest things have seen,
    Oh, things without compare!
Such sights again cannot be found
In any place on English ground,
    Be it at wake, or fair.

 * This poem also provides an example of tail rhyme.
  At Charing-Cross, hard by the way,
Where we (thou know'st) do sell our hay,
    There is a house with stairs;
And there did I see coming down
Such folk as are not in our town,
    Forty, at least, in pairs.

  Amongst the rest, one pestilent fine
(His beard no bigger, though, than thine!)
    Walked on before the rest.
Our landlord looks like nothing to him;
The King (God bless him) 'twould undo him,
    Should he go still so dressed.

        *        *         *        *

  But wot you what? the youth was going
To make an end of all his wooing;
    The parson for him stayed:
Yet by his leave (for all his haste),
He did not so much wish all passed,
    (Perchance), as did the maid.

  The maid (and thereby hangs a tale)
For such a maid no Whitsun ale
    Could ever yet produce;
No grape, that's kindly ripe, could be
So round, so plump, so soft as she,
    Nor half so full of juice!

  Her finger was so small, the ring
Would not stay on, which they did bring;
    It was too wide a peck!
And to say truth (for out it must)
It looked like the great collar (just)
    About our young colt's neck.

  Her feet beneath her petticoat,
Like little mice, stole in and out,
    As if they feared the light:
But oh! she dances such a way
No sun upon an Easter Day
    Is half so fine a sight!

        *        *         *        *

  Her cheeks so rare a white was on,
No daisy makes comparison,
    (Who sees them is undone);
For streaks of red were mingled there,
Such as are on a Katherine pear
    (The side that's next the sun).

  Her lips were red, and one was thin,
Compared to that was next her chin;
    (Some bee had stung it newly);
But (Dick) her eyes so guard her face,
I durst no more upon them gaze
    Than on the sun in July.

  Her mouth so small, when she does speak,
Thou'dst swear her teeth her words did break,
    That they might passage get;
But she so handled still the matter,
They came as good as ours, or better,
    And are not spent a whit!

        *        *         *        *

  Passion o' me, how I run on!
There's that that would be thought upon
    (I trow) besides the bride.
The business of the kitchen's great,
For it is fit that men should eat;
    Nor was it there denied.

  Just in the nick the cook knocked thrice,
And all the waiters, in a trice,
    His summons did obey:
Each serving-man, with dish in hand,
Marched boldly up, like our trained band,
    Presented, and away!

  When all the meat was on the table,
What man of knife or teeth was able
    To stay to be intreated?
And this the very reason was,
Before the parson could say grace,
    The company was seated.

  Now hats fly off, and youths carouse,
Healths first go round, and then the house,
    The bride's came thick and thick;
And when 'twas named another's health,
Perhaps he made it hers by stealth.
    (And who could help it, Dick?)

  O' th' sudden up they rise and dance;
Then sit again and sigh, and glance,
To Parody in the Glossary
Alphabetic Page Version Entire Glossary Version
To Tail Rhyme in the Glossary
Alphabetic Page Version Entire Glossary Version
    Then dance again and kiss;
Thus several ways the time did pass,
Whilst ev'ry woman wished her place,
    And every man wished his!