“The Pastime and Recreation of the Queen of Fairies in Fairy- Land, the Center of the Earth”
Queen Mab, and all her Company,
Dance on a pleasant Mole- hill high,
To small Straw-Pipes, wherein great Pleasure
They take, and keep just Time and Measure.
All Hand in Hand; around, around, 5
They Dance upon this Fairy-ground.
And when she leaves her Dancing- Ball,
She doth for her Attendants call,
To wait upon Her to a Bower,
Where she doth sit under a Flower, 10
To shade her from the Moon-shine bright,
Where Gnats do sing for her Delight;
Some High, some Low, some Middle strain,
Making a Consort very plain:
The whilst the Batt doth flye about, 15
To keep in order all the Rout;
And with her Wings doth soundly pay
Those that make Noise, and not Obey.
A Dewy waving Leaf’s made fit
For the Queen’s Bathe, where she doth sit, 20
And her white Limbs in Beauty shew,
Like a new-fallen Flake of Snow.
Her Maids do put her Garments on,
Made of the pure Light from the Sun;
Which do so many Colours take, 25
As various Objects Shadows make.
Then to her Dinner she goes straight,
Where all Fairies in order wait.
A Cover, of a Cob-web made,
Is there upon a Mushroom laid. 30
Her Stool is of a Thistle-down;
And for her Cup, an Acorn’s Crown:
Which of strong Nectar, full is fill’d,
That from sweet Flowers is distill’d.
Flyes of all sorts, both Fat and Good, 35
As Quails, Snipes, Patridg, are her Food.
Pheasants, Larks, Cocks, and any Kind,
Both Wild and Tame, you there may find:
And Amelets made of Ants Eggs new;
Of these high Meats she eats but few. 40
The Dormouse yeelds her Milk good store,
For Butter, Cheese, and many more.
This Milk makes many a fine Knack,
When they fresh Ants Eggs therein crack.
Pudding, and Custard, and Seed-Cake, 45
Her well- skill’d Cook knows how to make.
To sweeten them, the Bee doth bring
Pure Honey, gather’d by her Sting.
But for her Guard, serve grosser Meat;
Of Stall-fed Dormice they do eat. 50
When Din’d, she goes to take the Air
In Coach, which is a Nut-shell fair:
The Lining’s Soft and Rich within,
Made of a glistering Adder’s Skin;
And there six Crickets draw her fast, 55
When she a Journey takes in hast:
Or else two serve to pace a Round,
And trample on the Fairy-Ground,
In Hawks, sometimes, she takes delight;
Which Hornets are, most swift in flight: 60
Whose Horns, instead of Talons, will
A Flye, as Hawks a Patridg, kill.
But if she will a Hunting go,
Then she the Lizzard, makes the Doe;
Which is so swift and fleet in Chase, 65
As her slow Coach cannot keep pace.
Then on a Grashopper she’ll ride,
And gallop in the Forest wide.
Her Bow is of a Willow Branch,
To shoot the Lizzard on the Haunch. 70
Her Arrow sharp, much like a Blade,
Of a Rosemary Leaf is made.
Then home she’s called by the Cock,
Who gives her warning what’s the Clock.
And when the Moon doth hide her Head, 75
Their Day is done, she goes to bed.
Meteors do serve, when they are bright,
As Torches do, to give her light.
Glow-worms, for Candles, lighted up,
Stand on her Tabl’, while she doth Sup: 80
And in her Chamber they are plac’d,
Not fearing how the Tallow wast.
But Women, that Inconstant Kind,
Can ne’re fix in one place their Mind:
For she, impatient of long stay, 85
Drives to the Upper-Earth away.
1 Queen Mab Queen of the Fairies in English folklore (Britannica).
9 Bower “A pleasant shady place under trees or climbing plants in a garden or wood” (OED).
16 Rout “a disorderly retreat of defeated troops” (OED).
31 Thistle-down “The light parts of thistle flowers that contain the seeds and that blow away in the wind” (Britannica).
54 Adder “A small venomous Eurasian snake” (OED).
62 Patridg Variant of Partridge; “a short-tailed game bird with mainly brown plumage, native to Eurasia” (OED).
70 Haunch “A buttock and thigh considered together, in a human or animal” (OED).
80 Sup Eat.
82 Tallow “A substance consisting of a somewhat hard animal fat; used for making candles” (OED).
SOURCE: Poems. Or, Several Fancies in Verse. The Third Edition (London, 1668), pp. 253-256 [Google Books]
Edited by Kayla Tinkelenberg