Anonymous, c. 1400-1500



                        The Blacksmiths


Swart swarthy smiths besmattered with smoke
Drive me to death with din of their dints.
Such noise on nights heard no one never;
What knavish cry and clattering of knocks!
The snub-nosed changelings cry after 'col, col!'
And blow their bellows till all their brains burst:
'Huf, puf!' saith one; 'Haf, paf!' another.
They spit and sprawl and spell many spells;
They grind their teeth and gnash them, and groan together,
And hold them hot in their hard hammers.
Of bulls hide are their leather aprons.
Their shanks are shielded from the fierce sparks:
Heavy hammers they have; that are hard handled,
Stark strokes they strike on an anvil of steel
Lus, bus! Las, das! they strike in rotation
The Devil destroy such an doleful noise.
The master lengthens a little piece, belabours a smaller,
Twines the two together, strikes a treble note
Tik, tak! Hic, hac! Ticket, taket! Tyk, tak!
Lus, bus! Las, das! such lives they lead
All horseshoers: Christ give them sorrow
For none for these waterburners at night may rest.