Courtesy of Mr Hamilton again, and the British Museum, here is a
transcription of the earliest surviving manuscript of Tom a Bedlam.
*A Tom a Bedlam Song *(1616) – *Giles Earle His Booke*
Transcript based on the text in *Loving Mad Tom, *checked
against a facsimile
of the MS, with contractions expanded.
From the hagg and hungry Goblin,
that into raggs would rend yee,
and the spirit that stand’s by the naked man
in the booke of moones defend yee
That of your fiue sounde sences,
You never be forsaken,
Nor wander from your selues with Tom,
abroad to begg your bacon
while I doe sing any foode, any feeding,
feedinge--drinke or clothing,
Come dame or maid, be not afraid
poore Tom will iniure nothing.
Of thirty bare yeares haue I
twice twenty bin enraged,
and of forty bin three tymes fifteene
in durance soundlie caged,
On the lordlie loftes of Bedlam
with stubble softe and dainty,
braue braceletts strong, sweet whips ding dong,
with wholesome hunger plenty,
and nowe I sing &c :
With a thought I tooke for Maudline
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 rogysh boy of loue where I lay
mee found and strip’t mee naked.
and nowe I sing &c :
When I short haue shorne my sowce face
And swigg’d my horny barrell,
In an oken Inne I pound my skin
as a suite of guilt apparrell
The moon's my constant Mistresse,
and the lowlie owle my morrowe.
The flaming Drake and the Nightcrowe make
mee musicke to my sorrowe.
while I doe sing &c :
The palsie plagues my pulses
when I prigg your piggs or pullen
your culuirs take, or matchles make
your Chanticleare, or sullen
When I want prouant with Humfrie
I sup, and when benighted,
I repose in Powles with waking soules
Yet neuer am affrighted.
But I doe sing &c :
I knowe more then Apollo,
for oft when hee ly’s sleeping
I see the starrs att bloudie warres
in the wounded welkin weeping
The moone embrace her shepheard
and the queene of loue her warryer,
while the first doth horne the star of morne :
and the next the heauenly Farrier.
While I doe sing &c :
The Gipsie snap and Pedro
are none of Tom's Comradoes
the punck I skorne and the cutpurse sworn
and the roring boyes bravadoes,
The meeke the white the gentle,
me handle touch, and spare not.
but those that crosse Tom Rynosseross
doe what the Panther dare not.
Although I sing &c :
with an hoast of furious fancies
whereof I am comaunder
with a burning speare and a horse of aire,
to the wildernesse I wander.
By a knight of ghostes and shadowes
I sumon'd am to Tourney.
ten leagues beyond the wild worlds end.
mee thinke it is noe journey
yet will I sing &c :
David Joseph Bircumshaw
Website and A Chide's Alphabet
The Animal Subsides http://www.arrowheadpress.co.uk/books/animal.html
Leicester Poetry Society: http://www.poetryleicester.com