Tom O' Bedlam's Song (A Long Version)

(Traditional / variant)


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?
      Money, drink, 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,

In the lordly lofts of Bedlam,
With the stubble soft and dainty,
      Brave bracelets strong,
      Sweet whips ding-dong,
With wholesome hunger plenty.

      And now I sing "Any food, any feeding?
      Money, drink, 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,
      Sky bless 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 stripped me naked.

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


When short I have shorn my sow's 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 mistress,
And the lonely owl my marrow.
      The flaming drake
      and the night crow make
Me music to my sorrow.

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


The palsy plagues my pulses,
When I prig your pigs or pullen.
      Your culvers take,
      or matchless make
Your Chanticleer or Sullen.

When I want provant, with Humphry
I sup, and when benighted,
      I repose in Paul's
      with waking souls,
Yet never am affrighted.

      But I do sing "Any food, any feeding?
      Money, 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 mortal 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.

      While I do sing "Any food, any feeding?
      Money, 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
And the roaring boy's bravadoes.

The meek, the white, the gentle,
Me handle not nor spare not;
      But those that cross
      Tom Rynosseross
Do what the panther dare not.

      Although I sing "Any food, any feeding?
      Money, 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 tourney
      Ten leagues beyond
      The wild world's end-
Methinks it is no journey.

      Yet I do sing "Any food, any feeding?
      Money, drink, or clothing?
      Come dame or maid,
      be not afraid-
      Poor Tom will injure nothing."