The Little Barly-Corne

Melody - from English Dancing Master, 1651

from the Roxburghe Collection, vol. I

Come and do not musing stand,
If thou the truth discerne,
But take a full cup in thy hand,
And thus begin to learne
Not of the earth, nor of the ayre,
At evening or at morne
But joviall boyes your Christmas keep,
With the little Barly-Corne.

2. It is the cinningst alchymist
That ere was in the land;
'Twill change your mettle, when it list,
In the turning of the hand
Your blushing gold to silver wan,
Your silver into brasse
'Twill turn a taylor to a man,
And a man into an asse.

3. 'Twill make a poore man rich,
To hang a signe before his doore;
And those that doe the pitcher bang, though riche,
'Twill make them poore;
'Twill make the silliest poorest snake
The King's great Porter scorne;
'Twill make the stoutest lubber weak,
This little Barly-Corne.

4. It hath more shifts then Lambe e'er had,
Or Hocus Pocus too;
It will good fellowes shew more sport
Than Bankes his horse could doe:
'Twill play you faire above the boord,
Unless you take good heed,
And fell you, though you were a Lord,
And justifie the deed.

5. It lends more yeeres unto old age
Than e'er was lent by nature;
It makes the poets fancy rage
More than Castalian water:
'Twill make a huntsman chase a fox
And never wind his horne;
'Twill cheere a tinker in the stockes,
This little Barly-Corne.

6. It is the only Will o'th' wispe
Which leades men from the way;
'Twil make the tongue-ti'd lawyer lisp,
And nought but "hic cup" say;
'Twill make the steward droope and stoop,
His bils he then will scorne,
And at each post cast his reckning up,
This little Barly-Corne.

7. 'Twill make a man grow jealous soone,
Whose pretty wife goes trim,
And raile at the deceiving moone
For making hornes at him:
'Twill make the maidens trimly dance,
And take it in no scorne,
And helpe them to a friend by chance,
This little Barly-Corne.

8. It is the neatest serving-man
To entertaine a friend;
It will doe more than money can
All jarring suits to end:
There's life in it, and it is here,
'Tis here within the cup,
Then take your liquor, doe not spare,
But cleare carouse it up.

9. If sicknesse come this physick take,
It from your heart will set it;
If feare encroach, take more of it,
Your heart will soone forget it:
Apollo and the Muses nine,
Doe take it in no scorne;
There's no such stuffe to passe the time
As the little Barly-Corne.

10. 'Twill make a weeping widdow laugh,
And soon incline to pleasure;
'Twill make an old man leave his staffe,
And dance a youthful measure:
And though your clothes be ne'er so bad
All ragged rent and torne,
Against the cold you may be clad
With the little Barly-Corne.

11. 'Twill make a coward not to shrinke,
But be as stout as may be;
'Twill make a man that he shall thinke
That Jone's as good as my Lady:
It will inrich the palest face
And with rubies it adorne,
Yet you shall thinke it no disgrace
This little Barly-Corne.

12. It makes a man that write
Cannot to make you large indentures;
When as he reeleth home at night,
Upon the watch he ventures;
He cares not for the candlelight
That shineth in the horne,
Yet he will stumble the way aright,
This little Barly-Corne.

13. 'Twill make a mister prodigall,
And shew himselfe kindhearted;
'Twill make him never grieve at all,
That from his coyne hath parted;
'Twill make the shepheard to mistake
His sheepe before a storme;
'Twill make the poet to excell;
This little Barly-Corne.

14. It will make young lads to call
Most freely for their liquor;
'Twill make a young lasse take a fall,
And rise againe the quicker;
It will make a man that he shall
Sleep all night profoundly,
And make a man, what e'er he be,
Goe about his businesse roundly.

15. Thus the Barly-Corne hath power
Even for to change our nature,
And make a shrew, within an houre,
Prove a kindhearted creature:
And therefore here, I say againe,
Let no man tak't in scorn
That I the vertues doe proclaime
Of the little Barly-Corne.

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