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Now, now the mirth comes,
With the cake full of plums,
Where Bean’s the king of the sport here;
Besides we must know,
The pea also
Must revel, as queen, in the court here.
Begin then to choose,
This night as ye use,
Who shall for the present delight here,
Be a king by the lot,
And who shall not
Be Twelfth-day queen for the night here.
Which known, let us make
Joy-sops with the cake;
and let not a man then be seen here,
Who, unurg’d, will not drink,
To the base from the brink,
A health to the king and queen here.
Next crown the bowl full
With the gentle lamb’s-wool
Add sugar, nutmeg, and ginger,
With store of ale too;
And thus ye must do
To make the wassail a swinger.
Give then to the king
And queen wassailing;
And, though with ale ye be wet here,
Yet part ye from hence
As free from offense,
As when ye innocent met here.
–Robert Herrick, Now, Now the Mirth Comes (1660)
Happy Twelfth Night. Enjoy Your Revels. And listen, on the way to them, to Andreas Scholl singing John Dowland’s “I Saw My Lady Weepe” from the Second Booke of Songs or Ayres (1600)
More from Scott Horton:
Six Questions — October 18, 2014, 8:00 pm
Nathaniel Raymond on CIA interrogation techniques.
Mark Denbeaux on the NCIS cover-up of three “suicides” at Guantánamo Bay Detention Camp
From the June 2014 issue
Jobs created by every billion dollars of U.S. government defense spending:
Artists tend to have twice as many sexual partners as noncreative people.
Swiss retailer Migros cut off ties with a collectible-creamer company following the distribution of 2,000 creamers whose lids bore images of Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini. “You cannot put Pol Pot or a terrorist on a milk creamer,” said a Migros spokesman.
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“I hope that after reading the following pages the leaders of the Y. M. C. A. will start a campaign to induce good young men to do nothing. If so, I shall not have lived in vain.”