Lawn as white as driven snow;Form: The poem is written in trochaic tetrameter. Tetrameter means there are four poetic feet per line, and "trochaic" means that the feet are trochees (TROkeys) - two-syllable feet composed of a stressed followed by an unstressed syllable: DUMta DUMta DUMta DUM(ta). That last "ta" is in parentheses because sometimes Shakespeare leaves it off, truncating the final foot.
Cyprus black as e'er was crow;
Gloves as sweet as damask roses;
Masks for faces and for noses;
Bugle bracelet, necklace amber,
Perfume for a lady's chamber;
Golden quoifs and stomachers,
For my lads to give their dears:
Pins and poking-sticks of steel,
What maids lack from head to heel:
Come buy of me, come; come buy, come buy;
Buy lads, or else your lasses cry: Come buy.
"Cyprus" here refers to a kind of black lawn or crape fabric made in Holland. A "quoif" is a variant spelling for a "coif," a type of close-fitting cap to be worn on the head. A "stomacher" was usually a jeweled or heavily embroidered piece to be worn around the waist. "Poking-sticks" were small sticks or rods used to adjust the pleats on ruffs.
You can hear a recording of John Coates singing this over at YouTube, starting at the 4:37 mark, if you're so inclined.