This is Mab, the mistress Fairy,
That doth nightly rob the dairy,
And can help or hurt the churning,
As she please without discerning.
She that pinches country wenches,
If they rub not clean their benches,
And with sharper nails remembers
When they rake not up their embers:
But if so they chance to feast her,
In a shoe she drops a tester.
This is she that empties cradles,
Takes out children, puts in ladles:
Trains forth midwives in their slumber,
With a sieve the holes to number;
And then leads them from her burrows,
Home through ponds and water-furrows.
She can start our Franklin's daughters,
In their sleep, with shrieks and laughters;
And on sweet St. Anna's night,
Feed them with a promised sight,
Some of husbands, some of lovers,
Which an empty dream discovers.