Ben Jonson


The Particular Entertainment of the Queen
and Prince at Althrope,

[Scene I. The park at Althrope. A satyr sings.]

This is Mab, the mistress-fairy,
That doth nightly rob the dairy,
And can hurt or help the churning
As she please, without discerning;

She that pinches country wenches
If they rub not clean their benches,
And with sharper nails remembers
When they rake not up their embers;
But if so they chance to feast her,
In a shoe she drops a tester.

This is she that empties cradles,
Takes out children, puts in ladles;
Trains forth midwives in their slumber
With a sieve the holes to number ;
And then leads them from her burrows
Home through ponds and water-furrows.

She can start our franklin's daughters
In their sleep with shrieks and laughters,
And on sweet Saint Annè's night
Feed them with a promised sight,
Some of husbands, some of lovers,
Which an empty dream discovers.

discerning] being seen
tester] sixpence
Trains] Lures
franklin] farmer
discovers] reveals

Elizabethan and Seventeenth-Century Lyrics.
Matthew W. Black, Ed.
Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott & Company, 1938.  245-246.

to Works of Ben Jonson

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