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

(Traditional / variant)


From the hag and hungry goblin,
That into rags would rend ye,
      All the spirits that stand
      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.

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 stript me naked.

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.

I know more than Apollo,
For oft, while 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.

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 wide world's end-
Methinks it is no journey.