Sir Andrew’s Dream by Thomas Moore

nec tu sperne piis venientia somnia portis:
cum pia venerunt somnia, pondus liubent
PROPERT. lib. iv. eleg. 7.

As snug, on a Sunday eve, of late,
In his easy chair Sir Andrew sate,
Being much too pious, as every one knows,
To do aught, of a Sunday eve, but doze,
He dreamt a dream, dear, holy man,
And I’ll tell you his dream as well as I can.
He found himself, to his great amaze,
In Charles the First’s high Tory days,
And just at the time that gravest of Courts
Had publisht its Book of Sunday Sports.[1]

Sunday Sports! what a thing for the ear
Of Andrew even in sleep to hear!–
It chanced to be too a Sabbath day
When the people from church were coming away;
And Andrew with horror heard this song.
As the smiling sinners flockt along;–
“Long life to the Bishops, hurrah! hurrah!
“For a week of work and a Sunday of play
“Make the poor man’s life run merry away.”

“The Bishops!” quoth Andrew, “Popish, I guess,”
And he grinned with conscious holiness.
But the song went on, and, to brim the cup
Of poor Andy’s grief, the fiddles struck up!

“Come, take out the lasses–let’s have a dance–
“For the Bishops allow us to skip our fill,
“Well knowing that no one’s the more in advance
“On the road to heaven, for standing still.
“Oh! it never was meant that grim grimaces
“Should sour the cream of a creed of love;
“Or that fellows with long, disastrous faces,
“Alone should sit among cherubs above.
“Then hurrah for the Bishops, etc.

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“For Sunday fun we never can fail,
“When the Church herself each sport points out;–
“There’s May-games, archery, Whitsun-ale,
“And a May-pole high to dance about.
“Or should we be for a pole hard driven,
“Some lengthy saint of aspect fell,
“With his pockets on earth and his nose in heaven,
“Will do for a May-pole just as well.
“Then hurrah for the Bishops, hurrah! hurrah!
“A week of work and a Sabbath of play
“Make the poor man’s life run merry away.”

To Andy, who doesn’t much deal in history,
This Sunday scene was a downright mystery;
And God knows where might have ended the joke,
But, in trying to stop the fiddles, he woke,
And the odd thing is (as the rumor goes)
That since that dream–which, one would suppose,
Should have made his godly stomach rise.
Even more than ever ‘gainst Sunday pies–
He has viewed things quite with different eyes;
Is beginning to take, on matters divine,
Like Charles and his Bishops, the sporting line–
Is all for Christians jigging in pairs,
As an interlude ‘twixt Sunday prayers:–
Nay, talks of getting Archbishop Howley
To bring in a Bill enacting duly
That all good Protestants from this date
May freely and lawfully recreate,
Of a Sunday eve, their spirits moody,
With Jack in the Straw or Punch and Judy.

[1] The Book of Sports drawn up by Bishop Moreton was first put forth in the reign of James I., 1618, and afterwards republished, at the advice of Laud, by Charles I., 1633, with an injunction that it should be “made public by order from the Bishops.” We find it therein declared, that “for his good people’s recreation, his Majesty’s pleasure was, that after the end of divine service they should not be disturbed, letted, or discouraged from any lawful recreations, such as dancing, either of men or women, archery for men, leaping, vaulting, or any such harmless recreations, nor having of May-games, Whitsun-ales, or Morris-dances, or setting up of May poles, or other sports therewith used.” etc.

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