The Pastime and Recreation of the Queen of Fairies in Fairyland, the Center of the Earth

Where this Queen1 Mab, and all her fairy fry2
Are dancing3 on a pleasant molehill high
To4 small straw pipes, wherein great5 pleasure
They take, and6 keep just time and measure.
All hand in hand, around, around,7                              5
They dance upon this fairy ground.
And when she leaves her dancing ball,8
She doth for her attendants call9
To wait upon her to10 a bower,
Where she doth sit under a flower                              10
To shade her from the moonshine bright,
Where gnats do sing for her delight.
Some high, some low, some middle11 strain,
Making a consort very plain,
The whilst the bat doth fly about                                 15
To keep in order all the rout,
And with her wings doth soundly pay12
Those that make noise and not obey.13
She on a dewy leaf doth bathe,14
And as she sits, the leaf doth wave.15                          20
There, like a new-fallen flake of snow,16
Doth her white limbs in beauty show.17
Her garments fair her maids put on,18
Made of the pure light from the sun,
From whence such colors she inshades19                  25
In every object she invades.20
Then to her dinner she goes straight,
Where all fairies21 in order wait,
And on a mushroom there is spread22
A cover fine of spider’s web.23                                      30
Her stool is of24 a thistle-down,
And for her cup, an acorn’s crown,
Which of strong nectar full25 is filled,
That from sweet flowers is distilled.
Flies of all sorts, both fat and good,                             35
As quails, snipes, partridge are26 her food,
Pheasants, larks, cocks, or27 any kind,
Both wild and tame, you there may28 find,
And omelets29 made of ants’ eggs new;
Of these high meats she eats but few.                          40
Her milk comes from the dormouse udder,30
Making fresh cheese, cream, and butter;31
This milk makes32 many a fine knack,
When they fresh ants’ eggs therein crack.
Pudding and custard,33 and seed-cake                        45
Her well-skilled34 cook knows how to make.
To sweeten them, the bee doth bring
Pure honey, gathered by her sting.
But for her guard serves35 grosser meat;
On stall-fed dormice36 they do eat.                               50
When dined, she calls37 to take the air
In coach, which is a nutshell fair;
The lining’s soft38 and rich within,
Made of a glistering adder’s skin.
And there, six crickets draw her fast,                          55
When39 she a journey takes in haste,
Or else two serve40 to pace a round,
And trample on the fairy ground.
In hawks41 sometimes she takes delight,
Which hornets are, most42 swift in43 flight,               60
Whose horns instead of talons will44
A fly, as hawks a partridge, kill.45
But if she will a-hunting go,
Then she the lizard makes the doe,
Which is46 so swift and fleet in chase                         65
As her slow coach cannot keep47 pace;
Then on grasshopper doth she48 ride,
And gallop in the49 forest wide.
Her bow is of a willow branch,
To shoot the lizard on the haunch;                              70
Her arrow sharp, much like a blade,
Of a rosemary leaf is made.
Then home she’s callèd by the cock,
Who gives her warning what’s o’clock,50
And when the moon doth hide her head,                   75
Their day is done; she goes51 to bed.
Meteors do serve, when they are bright,
As torches do, to give her light.
Glow-worms, for candles lighted up,52
Stand on her table while she53 sup,                             80
And in her chamber they are placed,
Not fearing how the tallow waste.
But women, that inconstant kind,54
Can ne’er fix in one place55 their mind.
For she, impatient of long stay,56                                  85
Drives to the upper Earth away.57

  1. Where this Queen] Queen 1664; QUEEN 1668
  2. fairy fry] Company 1664; Company, 1668
  3. Are dancing] Dance 1664, 1668
  4. To] With fine 1653
  5. wherein great] sweet Musicks 1653
  6. They take, and] By which they do 1653
  7. around, around,] a round, a round, 1653
  8. she leaves her dancing ball,] the Queen leaves off to dance, 1653
  9. doth for her attendants call] calls for all her Attendants, 1653
  10. To wait upon her to] Her to wait on unto 1653
  11. middle] Tenour 1653
  12. doth soundly pay] she strikes them hard, 1653
  13. Those that make noise and not obey.] Because no noise there should be heard. 1653
  14. She on a dewy leaf doth bathe,] A Dewy waving Leaf’s made fit 1664, 1668
  15. And as she sits, the leaf doth wave.] For the Queen’s Bathe, where she doth Sit, 1664; For the Queen’s Bathe, where she doth sit, 1668
  16. There, like a new-fallen flake of snow,] And her white Limbs in Beauty shew, 1664, 1668
  17. Doth her white limbs in beauty show.] Like a new fallen Flake of Snow; 1664; Like a new-fallen Flake of Snow. 1668
  18. Her garments fair her maids put on,] Her Maids do put her Garments on, 1664, 1668
  19. From whence such colours she inshades,] Which do so many Colours take, 1664, 1668
  20. In every object she invades.] As Various Objects Shadows make: 1664; As various Objects Shadows make. 1668
  21. all fairies] every one 1653
  22. And on a mushroom there is spread] A Cover of a Cob-web made, 1664; A Cover, of a Cob-web made, 1668
  23. A cover fine of spider’s web.] Is there upon a Mush-room laid; 1664; Is there upon a Mushroom laid. 1668
  24. Her stool is of] And for her stool 1653
  25. Which of strong nectar full] Wherein strong Nectar there 1653
  26. As quails, snipes, partridge are] Partridge, Snipes, Quailes, and Poult, 1653
  27. or] and 1664, 1668
  28. there may] may there 1653
  29. And omelets] Amelets 1653
  30. Her milk comes from the dormouse udder,] The Dormouse yields her Milk good store, 1664; The Dormouse yeelds her Milk good store, 1668
  31. Making fresh cheese, cream, and butter;] For Butter, Cheese, and many more; 1664; or Butter, Cheese, and many more. 1668
  32. makes] doth make 1653
  33. Pudding and custard,] Both Pudding, Custards, 1653
  34. Her well-skilled] As her skill’d 1653
  35. serves] serve 1668
  36. dormice] Dormouse 1653
  37. calls] goes 1664, 1668
  38. The lining’s soft] Lin’d soft it is, 1653
  39. When] And 1653
  40. serve] serves 1653
  41. In hawks] To hawke 1653
  42. Which hornets are, most] Which is a Hornet 1653
  43. in] for 1653
  44. instead of talons will] do serve for Talons strong, 1653
  45. A fly, as hawks a partridge, kill.] To gripe the Partridge Flye among. 1653
  46. Which is] They are 1653
  47. cannot keep] can never 1653
  48. grasshopper doth she] a Grashopper she’l 1664, 1668
  49. And gallop in the] Who gallops far in 1653
  50. o’clock,] the Clock; 1664; the Clock. 1668
  51. she goes] so goeth 1653
  52. lighted up,] are light up, 1653
  53. Stand on her Table while she] Set on her table, while she 1653; Stand on her Tabl’, while she doth 1664, 1668
  54. kind,] are by kind, 1653
  55. ne’er fix in one place] never in one place content 1653
  56. impatient of long stay,] her Charriot cals, and will away, 1653
  57. Drives to the upper Earth away.] To upper Earth, impatient is of stay. 1653