A Complaint Against the Blacksmith (14th century, Anonymous)
Swart smutted smiths, smattered with smoke,
Drive me to death with din of their dints;
Such noise on nights ne heard men never.
What with knaven cry and clattering of knocks!
The crooked caitiffs cryen after coal! coal!
And bloweth their bellows till their brain bursteth.
Huf! puf! says the one; haf! paf! says the other;
They spitten and they sprawlen and they spellen many spells.
They gnawen and gnashen and they groan all together,
And holden them hot with their hard hammers.
Of a bull-hide be their barm-fells;
Their shanks be shackled for the fiery flinders;
Heavy hammers they have that are hard to be handled,
Stark strokes they striken on a steely stock,
Lus! bus! las! das! snore they by the row,
Such doleful a dream that the devil it to-drive!
The master loungeth a little and catcheth a less,
Twineth them twain and toucheth a treble,
Tik! tak! hic! hac!, tiket! taket! tyk! tyk!
Lus! bus! las! das!... Christ give them sorrow!
May no man for brenn waters on night have his rest?