In Arthur's court Tom Thumb[*] did live
* "I have an old edition of this author by me, the title of which is more sonorous and heroical than those of later date, which, for the better information of the reader, it may not be improper to insert in this place, 'Tom Thumb his Life and Death; wherein is declar'd his many marvellous Acts of Manhood, full of wonder and strange merriment.' Then he adds, 'Which little Knight liv'd in King Arthur's time, in the court of Great Britain.' Indeed, there are so many spurious editions of this piece upon one account or other, that I wou'd advise my readers to be very cautious in their choice."—A Comment upon the History of T. T. 1711. A "project for the reprinting of Tom Thumb, with marginal notes and cuts," is mentioned in the old play of The Projectours, 1665, p. 41.
“In Arthur's court Tom Thumb[*] did live,
A man of mickle might;
The best of all the table round,
And eke a doughty knight.
His stature but an inch in height,
Or quarter of a span;
Then think you not this little knight
Was proved a valiant man?
His father was a ploughman plain,
His mother milk'd the cow,
Yet how that they might have a son
They knew not what to do:
Until such time this good old man
To learned Merlin goes,
And there to him his deep desires
In secret manner shows.
How in his heart he wish'd to have
A child, in time to come,
To be his heir, though it might be
No bigger than his thumb.
Of which old Merlin thus foretold,
That he his wish should have,
And so this son of stature small
The charmer to him gave.
No blood nor bones in him should be,
In shape, and being such
That men should hear him speak, but not
His wandering shadow touch.
But so unseen to go or come,--
Whereas it pleas'd him still;
Begot and born in half an hour,
To fit his father's will.
And in four minutes grew so fast
That he became so tall
As was the ploughman's thumb in height,
And so they did him call--
TOM THUMB, the which the fairy queen
There gave him to his name,
Who, with her train of goblins grim,
Unto his christening came.
Whereas she cloth'd him richly brave,
In garments fine and fair,
Which lasted him for many years
In seemly sort to wear.
His hat made of an oaken leaf,
His shirt a spider's web,
Both light and soft for those his limbs
That were so smally bred.
His hose and doublet thistle-down,
Together weaved full fine;
His stockings of an apple green,
Made of the outward rind;
His garters were two little hairs
Pull'd from his mother's eye;
His boots and shoes, a mouse's skin,
Were tann'd most curiously
Thus like a lusty gallant, he
Adventured forth to go,
With other children in the streets,
His pretty tricks to show.
Where he for counters, pins, and points,
And cherry-stones did play,
Till he amongst those gamesters young
Had lost his stock away.
Yet could he soon renew the same,
Whereas most nimbly he
Would dive into their cherry-bags,
And their partaker be,
Unseen or felt by any one,
Until this scholar shut
This nimble youth into a box,
Wherein his pins he put.
Of whom to be reveng'”
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