An Ode to Master Anthony Stafford, to Hasten him into the Country

Original Text: 
Thomas Randolph, Poems with the Museslooking-glasse: and Amyntas (Oxford: L. Lichfield for F. Bowman, 1638). stc Fisher Rare Book Library
2I have no patience for a longer stay;
3        But must go down,
5       I will the country see,
6       Where old simplicity,
7        Though hid in gray,
8        Doth look more gay
9Than foppery in plush and scarlet clad.
10      Farewell, you city-wits that are
11       Almost at civil war;
12'Tis time that I grow wise, when all the world grows mad.
14I will not spend to gain an idiot's praise;
15        Or to make sport
17       Then, worthy Stafford, say,
18       How shall we spend the day?
19        With what delights
20        Shorten the nights?
21When from this tumult we are got secure,
22      Where mirth with all her freedom goes,
24Where every word is thought, and every thought is pure.
25        There from the tree
26We'll cherries pluck; and pick the strawberry;
27        And every day
28Go see the wholesome country girls make hay,
29       Whose brown hath lovelier grace
30       Than any painted face
31        That I do know
33Where I had rather gain a kiss, than meet
34      (Though some of them in greater state
35       Might court my love with plate)
37        But think upon
38Some other pleasures; these to me are none.
39        Why do I prate
40Of women, that are things against my fate?
41       I never mean to wed,
42       That torture to my bed:
43        My Muse is she
44        My Love shall be.
45Let clowns get wealth, and heirs; when I am gone,
46      And the great bugbear, grisly Death,
47       Shall take this idle breath,
48If I a poem leave, that poem is my son.
49        Of this, no more;
51        No fruit shall 'scape
52Our palates, from the damson to the grape.
53       Then, full, we'll seek a shade,
54       And hear what music's made:
56        Her tale doth tell;
57And how the other birds do fill the quire;
58      The thrush and blackbird lend their throats,
59       Warbling melodious notes;
60We will all sports enjoy, which others but desire.
61        Ours is the sky,
62Where at what fowl we please our hawk shall fly;
63        Nor will we spare
64To hunt the crafty fox, or timorous hare;
65       But let our hounds run loose
66       In any ground they'll choose;
67        The buck shall fall,
68        The stag, and all.
69Our pleasures must from their own warrants be,
70      For to my Muse, if not to me,
71       I'm sure all game is free;
73        And when we mean
74To taste of Bacchus' blessings now and then,
75        And drink by stealth
77       I'll take my pipe and try
79        Which he that hears,
80        Lets through his ears
81A madness to distemper all the brain.
82      Then I another pipe will take
84To civilize with graver notes our wits again.


1] Stafford was a contemporary theological and devotional writer, and apparently the uncle of William Stafford, whose children Randolph may have tutored. Back to Line
4] chargeable: burdensome, troublesome. Back to Line
13] Randolph was the author of several plays and "shews" acted at Cambridge and London. Back to Line
16] puny of the Inns of Court: freshmen of the four legal societies (or law colleges) having the exclusive right of admitting persons to practise at the English bar. Back to Line
23] In a quarrel during a drinking bout Randolph had a finger cut off. He and his friend William Heminge wrote poems on the event. Back to Line
32] Hyde Park: the resort of the fashionable in London. Races were held there in Stuart times. Back to Line
36] Cheap: Cheapside, famous at the time for its goldsmith shops.
Lombard Street: the financial centre of the city. Back to Line
50] Romona: the Roman divinity of fruit trees. Back to Line
55] Philomel: the nightingale. Back to Line
72] royalty: royal rights, e.g., to hunt game. Back to Line
76] Berkeley: George, eighth Baron. Stafford dedicated one of his books to him. Back to Line
78] Phrygian: one of the modes of ancient Greek music, appropriate to passion. Back to Line
83] Doric: another of the ancient Greek modes, of a simple and solemn character. Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
RPO poem Editors: 
N. J. Endicott
RPO Edition: 
2RP.1.328; RPO 1996-2000.