The School Bag




Tom O'Bedlam's Song

From the hagg and hungry goblin
That into rags would rend ye,
The spirit that stands by the naked man
In the Book of Moones defend yee,
That of your five sounde sences
You never be forsaken,
Nor wander from yourselves with Tom
Abroad to begg your bacon.

    While I do sing ‘Any foode, any feeding,
    Feeding, drinke, or clothing?’
    Come dame or maid, be not afraid.
    Poor Tom will injure nothing.

Of thirty bare years have I
Twice twenty been enragèd,
And of forty bin three tymes fifteene
In durance soundlie cagèd
In the lordlie loftes of Bedlam,
With stubble softe and dainty,
Brave braceletts strong, sweet whips ding-dong,
With wholsome hunger plenty.

   And now I sing ‘Any food, any feeding,
   Feeding, drink, or clothing?’
   Come dame or maid, be not afraid.
   Poor Tom will injure nothing.

With a thought I tooke for Maudlin
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 wakèd.
Till the rogysh boy of love where I lay
Me found and strip’t mee naked.

   And now I sing ‘Any food, any feeding,
   Feeding, drink, or clothing.?’
   Come dame or maid, be not afraid.
   Poor Tom will injure nothing.

When short I have shorne my sowre face
And snigg’d my hairy barrel,
In an oaken inne I pound my skin
As a suite of gilt apparell.
The moon's my constant Mistrisse
And the lowlie owle my morrowe;
The flaming Drake and the Nightcrowe make
Me musicke to my sorrowe.

  While I do sing ‘Any food, any feeding,
   Feeding, drink, or clothing?’
   Come dame or maid, be not afraid.
   Poor Tom will injure nothing.

The palsie plagues my pulses
When I prigg your pigs or pullen,
Your culvers take, or matchles make
Your Chanticleare or sullen.
When I want provant with Humfrie
I sup, and when benighted,
I repose in Powles with waking soules,
Yet nevere am affrighted.

   But I do sing ‘Any food, any feeding,
   Feeding, drink, or clothing?’
   Come dame or maid, be not afraid.
   Poor Tom will injure nothing.

I knowe more than Apollo,
For oft when hee ly’s sleeping,
I see the starres att bloudie warres
In the wounded welkin weeping;
The moone embrace her shepheard
And the queen of Love her warryor,
While the first doth borne the star of morne
And the next the heavenly Farrier.

   While I do sing ‘Any food, any feeding,
   Feeding, drink, or clothing?’
   Come dame or maid, be not afraid.
   Poor Tom will injure nothing.

The Gipsie, Snap and Pedro
Are none of Tom's comradoes;
The punk I skorne and the cut purse sworn
And the roaring 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 ‘Any food, any feeding,
   Feeding, drink, or clothing?’
   Come dame or maid, be not afraid.
   Poor Tom will injure nothing.

With an host of furious fancies
Whereof I am commander,
With a burning speare and a horse of aire,
To the wildernesse I wander.
By a knight of ghostes and shadowes
I summon’d am to tourney
Ten leagues beyond the wild world's end--
Me thinke it is noe journey.

   Yet will I sing ‘Any food, any feeding,
   Feeding, drink, or clothing?’
   Come dame or maid, be not afraid.
   Poor Tom will injure nothing.


16th century


spoken = Leon Fernandez