Sharp was the frost, the wind was high
And sparkling stars bedeckt the sky
Sly Dick in arts of cunning skill'd,
Whose rapine all his pockets fill'd,
Had laid him down to take his rest
And soothe with sleep his anxious breast.
'Twas thus a dark infernal sprite
A native of the blackest night,
Portending mischief to devise
Upon Sly Dick he cast his eyes;
Then straight descends the infernal sprite,
And in his chamber does alight;
In visions he before him stands,
And his attention he commands.
Thus spake the sprite-- hearken my friend,
And to my counsels now attend.
Within the garret's spacious dome
There lies a well stor'd wealthy room,
Well stor'd with cloth and stockings too,
Which I suppose will do for you,
First from the cloth take thou a purse,
For thee it will not be the worse,
A noble purse rewards thy pains,
A purse to hold thy filching gains;
Then for the stockings let them reeve
And not a scrap behind thee leave,
Five bundles for a penny sell
And pence to thee will come pell mell;
See it be done with speed and care
Thus spake the sprite and sunk in air.
When in the morn with thoughts erect
Sly Dick did on his dreams reflect,
Why faith, thinks he, 'tis something too,
It might-- perhaps-- it might be true,
I'll go and see-- away he hies,
And to the garret quick he flies,
Enters the room, cuts up the clothes
And after that reeves up the hose;
Then of the cloth he purses made,
Purses to hold his filching trade.