The Project Gutenberg eBook of A Select Collection of Old English Plays, Volume 01

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Title: A Select Collection of Old English Plays, Volume 01

Compiler: Robert Dodsley

Editor: William Carew Hazlitt

Release date: October 1, 2005 [eBook #9050]
Most recently updated: January 2, 2021

Language: English


Produced by Jonathan Ingram, Tapio Riikonen and Distributed Proofreaders






Interlude of the Four Elements
Calisto and Melibaea
Everyman: a Moral Play
The Pardoner and the Friar
The World and the Child (Mundus and Infans)
God's Promises
The Four P.P.
A New Interlude, called Thersites


After the lapse of about half a century since the issue of the last edition of Dodsley's Select Collection of Old Plays,[1] and the admittance of that work into the honourable rank of scarce and dear books, it seemed a desirable thing to attempt, with such additional improvements as might be practicable or expedient, a revival of a publication which has been a favourite with the lovers of our early drama since its first publication more than a hundred years ago. Between 1744, the date of its original appearance, and 1825, it passed through three editions; and it may be remarked that the tendency in each successive edition has been to remodel the undertaking on the principle of rejecting plays which from time to time have been lifted up (so to speak) into the collected works of their respective authors, and to substitute for them plays which have either suffered unmerited obscurity in original and rare editions, or have lain so far scattered about in various other collections; and in the present instance that principle has been strictly adhered to.[2]

It is desirable that it should be seen precisely in what manner, and to what extent, the edition now offered differs from its predecessors as regards the contents. The points of variation are three: 1. Omissions; 2. Additions of pieces not included in the former editions; 3. Additional plays now first reprinted from the originals. The first division comprises the following productions which, since the last republication of Dodsley, have been taken up into the collected editions of their respective authors:—

Ferrex and Porrex Sackville, &c.
Alexander and Campaspe Lyly.
Jew of Malta Marlowe.
Friar Bacon and Friar Bungay Greene.
Edward the First Peele
Edward the Second Marlowe.
Pinner of Wakefield Greene.
Four Prentices of London Heywood.
Mayor of Quinborough Middleton.
Malcontent Marston, &c.
All Fools Chapman.
Woman Killed with Kindness Heywood.
Honest Whore (two parts) Decker and Middleton.
The White Devil Webster.
Eastward Hoe Marston, &c.
A Mad World, my Masters Middleton.
The Roaring Girl Middleton.
The Widow's Tears Chapman.
The Widow Jonson, &c.
The Wits Davenant.
The Jovial Crew Brome.

The second and third characteristics of our book are the ADDITIONS, which, as we have stated, are of two kinds. In the first place, we may enumerate the dramas new to Dodsley's collection, though previously edited in a variety of forms:

Interlude of the Four Elements Anon.
                 Disobedient Child Ingelend.
                 Trial of Treasure Anon.
                 Youth Anon.
                 Lusty Juventus Wever.
Hickscorner, An Interlude Anon.
Everyman, An Interlude Anon.
Pardoner and Friar, An Interlude Heywood.
Jack Juggler | Anon.
Thersites | Interludes Anon.
Ralph Roister Doister Udall.
Cambyses Preston.
Conflict of Conscience Woodes.
Three Ladies of London Wilmot.
Three Lords and Three Ladies of London Wilmot.
Rare Triumphs of Love and Fortune Anon.
Knack to Know a Knave Anon.
Jeronimo (Part the First) Anon.
Two Angry Women of Abingdon Porter.
Spanish Tragedy Kyd.
Solyman and Perseda Anon.
How a Man may choose a Good Wife from a Bad Anon.
Englishmen for my Money Haughton.
Second Maiden's Tragedy Anon.
Wily Beguiled Anon.
Return from Parnassus Anon.
New Wonder Rowley.
Rebellion Rawlins.
Lust's Dominion Anon.

"The Lost Lady," by Sir William Berkley or Barkley; "The Marriage Night," by Lord Falkland; "The Shepherd's Holiday," by Joseph Butter; "Andromana," by J.S., and "All Mistaken, or the Mad Couple," which were given by Dodsley in 1744, but were omitted in the second and third impressions, have been restored to their places.

The remaining feature, recommending the undertaking to indulgent notice, is perhaps the most important and interesting. Subjoined is a list of the dramatic compositions which have never hitherto appeared in any series of Old English Plays, and of which the originals are of the utmost rarity:—

1. The Tragi-Comedy of Calisto and Melibaea, 1520. 2. Nice Wanton, An Interlude, 1560. 3. An Interlude, called Like Will to Like, by Ulpian Fulwell, 1568. 4. The History of Jacob and Esau, 1568. 5. The Marriage of Wit and Science, 1570.

A strictly chronological arrangement has been adopted. Such a plan appeared to be the most desirable and the most obvious, as it facilitates our appreciation of the gradual and progressive development of dramatic composition. If it may be thought to labour under any disadvantage, it is perhaps that it has the effect of throwing into a single consecutive series, without discrimination, pieces which are mere interludes, and others which are characterised by higher qualities, and aspire to belong to the regular drama. But the evil will be found not to be of a very serious kind, and it will disappear after the earlier volumes of the collection.

In fixing the order of sequence, the place of a production in the series has been occasionally determined by the date at which it is believed to have been written or presented, rather than by the date at which it left the printer's hands. Such is the case with Heywood's "Pardoner and Friar," and the anonymous interlude of "New Custom;" as well as with "Ralph Roister Doister," and "Gammer Gurton's Needle," all of which may be taken to belong to a period some time anterior to their publication.

A leading characteristic of the collection as now reconstructed is the great preponderance of pieces, of which the authors are not known, or by authors who have not left more than one or two dramatic productions. It was judged expedient, in the interest of purchasers, to give a preference to these single or anonymous plays, as it will probably not be long before the works of every voluminous writer are collected. Those of Jonson, Shirley, Peele, Greene, Ford, Massinger, Middleton, and Chapman, have already been edited, and Brome's, Deckers, Heywood's, and Glapthorne's will follow in due course. To all these the new DODSLEY will serve as a supplement and companion.

The editor felt himself in a position of somewhat special difficulty and delicacy, when it became necessary to consider the question of retaining or excluding the prefatory matter attached to the impressions of this work in 1744 and 1780. A careful and impartial perusal of that matter made it evident that the prudent course, on the whole, was to reject these prolegomena. There was no alternative but their entire preservation or their entire suppression; for any arbitrary alterations or curtailments would have been liable to objection or censure. In the first place, there was Dodsley's own preface, chiefly occupied by a sketch of the history of our stage, but based on the most imperfect information, and extremely unsatisfactory, if not misleading. Then there was, like Pelion heaped on Ossa, Isaac Reed's introduction, more elaborate and copious than Dodsley's, yet far from complete or systematic, and not improved by the presence of an appendix or sequel. Reed, of course, went over the same ground as Dodsley had already traversed with inferior ability and less ample resources at his command, and there were repetitions, as might be expected, of the same particulars. There seemed to be two forms of weakness—redundancy on the one hand and meagreness on the other. Again, all the information collected by Dodsley and Reed was to be found elsewhere, with innumerable improvements and corrections of mistakes, the subject itself more methodically handled, and the early annals of the English drama and theatre almost presented to the public view under a new aspect, by Mr Collier, in his well-known work printed in 1831, a publication heartily welcomed and appreciated at the time of its appearance and long after, and even now a literary monument, of which it may be said that, with whatever defects it may possess, it reflects as much credit on its author as a far more perfect performance brought to completion at the present day under more favourable auspices could reflect on any one else. It was a long advance on anything which had been attempted so far in the same direction; and to reproduce, in the face of Mr Collier's volumes, the obsolete and superseded labours of Dodsley and even Reed, seemed to be a waste of space which might be far more beneficially occupied by additional texts.

As regards the orthography, it has to be pointed out that, in consonance with the system adopted by Dyce and others, it has been reduced to our modern standard; but at the same time it should be understood that the language of the writers has in every case been held sacred. Than the spelling which occurs in early plays and tracts, more especially perhaps those of a popular character, nothing can well be more capricious and uncouth; but the phraseology and terms are on all accounts of value. Not a word, therefore, nor even part of a word, has suffered alteration; and wherever there was a doubt, as there might be in preparing for the press once more such an extensive collection of pieces, it was thought better to err on the side of caution. Weever, the author of "Funeral Monuments," retained with scrupulous exactitude the ancient spelling ipsissimis verbis; and such a plan might be advisable and convenient with sepulchral inscriptions or records; but in the matter before us what an editor had principally, if not almost exclusively, to consider, was the preservation in their fullest integrity of the language of the time and the sense of the playwright.

The first and second editions of Dodsley's collection appear, notwithstanding what is asserted to the contrary in Reed's preface, to have been superintended with no very high degree of care, and the late Mr Dyce, indeed, used to observe that the same criticism was applicable to the edition of 1825. But the latter, with the fullest admission of its defects, is certainly marked by great improvements on its predecessors in more than one way. The labours of Hawkins[3] and Dilke[4] reflect considerable honour upon those gentlemen.

It is almost superfluous to observe that the preceding editions, the last and best not excepted, present a very large number of statements, opinions, and readings, which more recent and more exact information has shown to be erroneous. All these mistakes have been carefully rectified, wherever the knowledge and experience of the editor enabled him to detect them.[5]

A certain number of corruptions and obscurities remain, which it passed the editor's ingenuity to eradicate or clear away. The printed remains of our early drama have come down to us, for the most part, in a sadly mutilated state, and the attempt to amend and restore the text to its original purity will, it may be safely affirmed, never succeed more than to a very imperfect extent. Even the late Mr Dyce's revised edition of Shakespeare, 1868, abounds with misprints and other distortions of the writer's sense; and we must abandon in some cases the hope of ever arriving at the true readings. So it is with the miscellaneous assemblage of dramatic productions here brought together. A great deal has been done by a succession of editors to reduce the errors of the printer or copyist to a minimum; but, after all, there are places where it would require the assistance of the Sphinx to supply a chasm, or rectify a palpable mistake.

The work, in its present state, should assuredly have some degree of interest and worth; for it offers in one collected body the best specimens of dramatic literature which the English language affords, castigated and enriched by some of our best commentators and critics.

In these volumes, as now rearranged, it is trusted that very few uncollected plays of real importance will be found wanting; but as an enterprise of this kind can never amount to more than a selection, as it purports to be, it appeared judicious, in making the choice, to give the preference to such pieces as either illustrated the manners of the period, or marked the gradual development of the dramatic art.

The only basis on which the present editor can rest, so far as he is aware, the slightest claim to credit is the attention which he has bestowed on the rearrangement of the collection as it now stands; the conscientious and vigilant supervision of the whole matter here brought together—prefaces, texts, and notes—and the correction of errors on the part of his predecessors, occasioned by a variety of causes. In carrying out even this unambitious programme, there was a fair share of labour and difficulty, and, of course, it has involved the addition of a new crop of notes scattered up and down the series, as well as the occasional displacement of certain illustrative remarks founded on wrong data.

The Notes without any initial attached to them in the following pages, may be presumed to be from the pen of Isaac Reed, with the exception of a limited number, which were written by Dodsley himself, and which are not easily mistakable. The matter signed S. appears to have been communicated to Reed by George Steevens. The C. notes are Mr Collier's, and O.G. stands for Octavius Gilchrist. For the notes which remain, and which have been enclosed between brackets, the present editor alone is answerable.

It is proposed to introduce in the concluding volume two indexes, one of names and another of subjects, as the want of a ready means of reference to passages, phrases, and characters in these old plays, is one which the editor himself has so strongly felt as to make him desirous of removing it, so far as possible, for his own sake and that of the public.

The long table of errata to the former edition has, of course, been attended to, and the additional notes there placed at the end have been arranged under their respective heads.

W.C.H. KENSINGTON, 1st November 1873.



Sir,—If there be anything in this collection worthy of being preserved, it is to you the public is indebted for the benefit. Your obliging readiness to communicate the stores of which you were possessed, encouraged me to undertake the design, which otherwise I should have despaired of prosecuting with success. Under the sanction of your name, therefore, I beg leave to shelter the remains of these old dramatic writers, which, but for your generosity had fallen with their authors into utter oblivion. To your candour I submit the pains I have taken to give a tolerably correct edition of them, and am with great respect, Sir, your most obliged and obedient humble servant,



A new interlude and a merry of the nature of the Four Elements, declaring many proper points of philosophy natural, and of divers strange lands, and of divers strange effects and causes; which interlude, if the whole matter be played, will contain the space of an hour and a half; but, if ye list, ye may leave out much of the sad matter, as the Messenger's part, and some of Nature's part, and some of Experience's part, and yet the matter will depend conveniently, and then it will not be past three-quarters of an hour of length. London: John Rastell.

1519. 8vo, black letter.


The curious interlude reprinted in the following pages is one of the earliest moral plays in the English language known to exist, and it possesses an interest beyond its connection with the history of the stage, as being the only dramatic piece extant in which science is attempted to be made popular through the medium of theatrical representation. Only one copy of it is known to exist, but that is unfortunately imperfect, a sheet in the middle and concluding leaves being lost, so that we are left without the means of giving the reader much information respecting it. On the other hand, while this circumstance must excuse the brevity of these preliminary observations, its singularity and extreme rarity offered additional inducements for selecting it for republication.

An allusion to the discovery of the West Indies and America, "within this twenty year," would appear to ascertain the date of the composition of the play; but I suspect from internal evidence, the form and manner of its dialogue, that it was not written so early as some authors have supposed, Dr Dibdin assigning 1510 to the period of its appearance.[8] The same writer considers it to be a production of Rastell's press; and it has been stated, on somewhat doubtful authority, that the printer was also the author; a combination that has seldom effected much service, and has too frequently deteriorated the efforts of both. Be this as it may, no great talent is displayed in the construction of the following piece, the value of which must be allowed to consist in the curious illustration it affords of the phraseology and popular scientific knowledge of the day, and its curiosity as a link in the history of the drama, rather than in any intrinsic merits of its own.

It is only necessary to add that the play was rather carelessly printed, and a few very obvious errors have been corrected. With these exceptions, the following pages present a faithful copy of the original, a very small octavo volume in black letter.[9]



Here follow the names of the players.

The Messenger, Nature Natura[t]e, Humanity, Studious Desire, Sensual Appetite, the Taverner, Experience, Ignorance; also, if ye list, ye may bring in a Disguising.

Here follow divers matters which be in this interlude contained.

Of the situation of the four elements, that is to say, the earth, the water, the air, and fire, and of their qualities and properties, and of the generation and corruption of things made of the commixtion of them.

Of certain conclusions proving that the earth must needs be round, and that it hangeth in the midst of the firmament, and that it is in circumference above 21,000 miles.

Of certain conclusions proving that the sea lieth round upon the earth.

Of certain points of cosmography, as how and where the sea covereth the earth, and of divers strange regions and lands, and which way they lie; and of the new-found lands, and the manner of the people.

Of the generation and cause of stone and metal, and of plants and herbs.

Of the generation and cause of well-springs and rivers; and of the cause of hot fumes that come out of the earth; and of the cause of the baths of water in the earth, which be perpetually hot.

Of the cause of the ebb and flood of the sea.

Of the cause of rain, snow, and hail.

Of the cause of the winds and thunder.

Of the cause of the lightning, of blazing stars, and flames flying in the air.


Th' abundant grace of the power divine,
Which doth illumine the world environ,
Preserve this audience, and cause them to incline
To charity, this is my petition;
For by your patience and supportation
A little interlude, late made and prepared,
Before your presence here shall be declared,
Which of a few conclusions is contrived,
And points of philosophy natural.
But though the matter be not so well declared,
As a great clerk could do, nor so substantial,
Yet the author hereof requireth you all,
Though he be ignorant, and can little skill,
To regard his only intent and good-will;
Which in his mind hath ofttimes pondered,
What number of books in our tongue maternal
Of toys and trifles be made and imprinted,
And few of them of matter substantial;
For though many make books, yet unneth ye shall
In our English tongue find any works
Of cunning, that is regarded by clerks.
The Greeks, the Romans, with many other mo,
In their mother tongue wrote warks excellent.
Then if clerks in this realm would take pain so,
Considering that our tongue is now sufficient
To expound any hard sentence evident,
They might, if they would, in our English tongue
Write works of gravity sometime among;
For divers pregnant wits be in this land,
As well of noble men as of mean estate,
Which nothing but English can understand.
Then if cunning Latin books were translate
Into English, well correct and approbate,
All subtle science in English might be learned,
As well as other people in their own tongues did.
But now so it is, that in our English tongue
Many one there is, that can but read and write,
For his pleasure will oft presume among
New books to compile and ballads to indite,
Some of love or other matter not worth a mite;
Some to obtain favour will flatter and glose,
Some write curious terms nothing to purpose.
Thus every man after his fantasy
Will write his conceit, be it never so rude,
Be it virtuous, vicious, wisdom or folly;
Wherefore to my purpose thus I conclude,
Why should not then the author of this interlude
Utter his own fantasy and conceit also,
As well as divers other nowadays do?
For wisdom and folly is as it is taken,
For that the one calleth wisdom, another calleth folly,
Yet among most folk that man is holden
Most wise, which to be rich studieth only;
But he that for a commonwealth busily
Studieth and laboureth, and liveth by God's law,
Except he wax rich, men count him but a daw![10]
So he that is rich is ever honoured,
Although he have got it never so falsely.
The poor, being never so wise, is reproved.
This is the opinion most commonly
Thoroughout the world, and yet no reason why;
Therefore in my mind, when that all such daws
Have babbled what they can, no force of two straws!
For every man in reason thus ought to do,
To labour for his own necessary living,
And then for the wealth of his neighbour also;
But what devilish mind have they which, musing
And labouring all their lives, do no other thing
But bring riches to their own possession,
Nothing regarding their neighbour's destruction;
Yet all the riches in the world that is
Riseth of the ground by God's sending,
And by the labour of poor men's hands;
And though thou, rich man, have thereof the keeping,
Yet is not this riches of thy getting,
Nor oughtest not in reason to be praised the more,
For by other men's labour it is got before.
A great-witted man may soon be enriched,
That laboureth and studieth for riches only;
But how shall his conscience then be discharged?
For all clerks affirm that that man precisely,
Which studieth for his own wealth principally,
Of God shall deserve but little reward,
Except he the commonwealth somewhat regard;
So they say that that man occupied is
For a commonwealth, which is ever labouring
To relieve poor people with temporal goods,
And that it is a common good act to bring
People from vice, and to use good living.
Likewise for a commonwealth occupied is he,
That bringeth them to knowledge that ignorant be;
But man to know God is a difficulty,
Except by a mean he himself inure,
Which is to know God's creatures that be:
As first them that be of the grossest nature,
And then to know them that be more pure;
And so, by little and little ascending,
To know God's creatures and marvellous working.
And this wise man at the last shall come to
The knowledge of God and His high majesty,
And so to learn to do his duty, and also
To deserve of His goodness partner to be.
Wherefore in this work declared shall ye see,
First of the elements the situation,
And of their effects the cause and generation;
And though some men think this matter too high,
And not meet for an audience unlearned,
Methink for man nothing more necessary
Than this to know, though it be not used,
Nor a matter more low cannot be argued;
For though the elements God's creatures be,
Yet they be most gross and lowest in degree.
How dare men presume to be called clerks,
Disputing of high creatures celestial,
As things invisible and God's high warks,
And know not these visible things inferial?
So they would know high things, and know nothing at all:
Of the earth here whereon they daily be,
Neither the nature, form, nor quantity.
Wherefore it seemeth nothing convenient
A man to study, and his time to bestow,
First for the knowledge of high things excellent,
And of light matters beneath nothing to know,
As of these four elements here below,
Whose effects daily appear here at eye,
Such things to know first were most meet study;
Which matter before your presence shortly
In this interlude here shall be declared
Without great eloquence in rhyme rudely,
Because the compiler is but small learned.
This work with rhetoric is not adorned,
For perhaps in this matter much eloquence
Should make it tedious or hurt the sentence.
But because some folk be little disposed
To sadness, but more to mirth and sport,
This philosophical work is mixed
With merry conceits, to give men comfort,
And occasion to cause them to resort
To hear this matter, whereto if they take heed,
Some learning to them thereof may proceed.
But they that shall now this matter declare
Openly here unto this audience,
Behold, I pray you, see where they are.
The players begin to appear in presence;
I see well it is time for me go hence,
And so I will do; therefore now shortly
To God I commit all this whole company.

Hic intrat NATURA NATURATA, HUMANITY, and STUDIOUS DESIRE, portans figuram.


The high, mighty, most excellent of all,
The Fountain of goodness, virtue, and cunning,
Which is eterne[11] of power most potential,
The Perfection and First Cause of everything,
I mean that only high Nature naturing.
Lo, He by His goodness hath ordained and created
Me here His minister, called Nature Naturate.
Wherefore I am the very naturate nature,
The immediate minister for the preservation
Of everything in His kind to endure,
And cause of generation and corruption
Of that thing that is brought to destruction.
Another thing still I bring forth again,
Thus wondersly I work, and never in vain.
The great world behold, lo, divided wondersly
Into two regions, whereof one I call
The ethereal region with the heavens high,
Containing the planets, stars, and spheres all;
The lower region, called the elemental,
Containing these four elements below,
The fire, the air, the water, and earth also.
But yet the elements and other bodies all
Beneath take their effects and operations
Of the bodies in the region ethereal.
By their influence and constellations,
They cause here corruptions and generations;
For if the movings above should once cease,
Beneath should be neither increase nor decrease.
These elements of themselves so single be
Unto divers forms cannot be divided,
Yet they commix together daily, you see,
Whereof divers kinds of things be engendered,
Which things eftsones, when they be corrupted,
Each element I reduce to his first estate,
So that nothing can be utterly annihilate;
For though the form and fashion of anything
That is a corporal body be destroyed,
Yet every matter remaineth in his being,
Whereof it was first made and formed;
For corruption of a body commixed
Is but the resolution by time and space
Of every element to his own place.
For who that will take any body corporal,
And do what he can it to destroy,
To break it or grind it into powder small,
To wash, to drown, to bren it, or to dry,
Yet the air and fire thereof naturally
To their own proper places will ascend,
The water to the water, the earth to the earth tend;
For if heat or moisture of anything certain
By fire or by water be consumed,
Yet earth or ashes on earth will remain,
So the elements can never be destroyed.
For essentially there is now at this tide
As much fire, air, water, earth, as was
Ever before this time, neither more nor less;
Wherefore thou, man—now I speak to thee—
Remember that thou art compound and create
Of these elements, as other creatures be,
Yet they have not all like noble estate,
For plants and herbs grow and be insensate.
Brute beasts have memory and their wits five,
But thou hast all those and soul intellective;
So by reason of thine understanding,
Thou hast dominion of other beasts all,
And naturally thou shouldst desire cunning
To know strange effects and causes natural;
For he that studieth for the life bestial,[12]
As voluptuous pleasure and bodily rest,
I account him never better than a beast.


O excellent prince, and great lord Nature,
I am thine own child and formed instrument!
I beseech thy grace, take me to thy cure,
And teach me such science thou thinkest expedient.


Then sith thou art so humble and benevolent,
That thing that is meet for thy capacity
And good for thy knowledge I shall instruct thee.
First of all, thou must consider and see
These elements, which do each other penetrate,
And by continual alteration they be
Of themselves daily corrupted and generate.
The earth as a point or centre is situate
In the midst of the world, with the water joined,
With the air and fire round, and whole environed.
The earth of itself is ponderous and heavy,
Cold and dry of his own nature proper;
Some part lieth dry continually,
And part thereof covered over with water,
Some with the salt sea, some with fresh river,
Which earth and the water together withal
So joined make a round figure spherical;
So the water which is cold and moist is found
In and upon the earth filling the hollowness,
In divers parts, lying with the earth round,
Yet the hills and mountains of the earth excess
Take nothing of it away the roundness,
In comparison because they be so small,
No more than the pricks do that be on a gall.
The air which is hot and moist also,
And the fire which is ever hot and dry,
About the earth and water jointly they go,
And compass them everywhere orbicularly,
As the white about the yoke of an egg doth lie.
But the air in the lower part most remaineth;
The fire naturally to the higher tendeth.
The ethereal region which containeth
The stars and planets, and every sphere,
About the elements daily moveth,
And covereth them round about everywhere.
Every star and sphere in strange manner
Upon his own poles moveth diversely,
Which now to declare were too long to tarry.
The fire and the air of their natures be light,
Therefore they move by natural providence;
The water, because it is ponderous in weight,
Moveth not naturally, but by violence
Of the stars and planets, by whose influence
The sea is compelled to ebb and flow daily,
And fresh waters to spring continually.
And though that the water be gross and heavy,
Yet nothing so gross as the earth, I wiss;
Therefore by heat it is vapoured up lightly,
And in the air maketh clouds and mists;
But as soon as ever that it grossly is
Gathered together, it descendeth again,
And causeth upon the earth hail, snow, and rain.
The earth, because of his ponderosity,
Avoideth equally the movings great
Of all extremities and spheres that be,
And tendeth to the place that is most quiet;
So in the midst of all the spheres is set
Foremost object from all manner moving,
Where naturally he resteth and moveth nothing.
Mark well now, how I have thee showed and told
Of every element the very situation
And quality, wherefore this figure behold
For a more manifest demonstration.
And because thou shouldst not put to oblivion
My doctrine, this man, called Studious Desire,
With thee shall have continual habitation,
Thee still to exhort more science to acquire.
For the more that thou desirest to know anything,
Therein thou seemest the more a man to be;
For that man that desireth no manner cunning,
All that while no better than a beast is he.
Why been the eyes made, but only to see,
The legs, to bear the body of a creature?
So everything is made to do his nature;
So likewise reason, wit, and understanding,
Is given to thee, man, for that thou shouldst indeed
Know thy Maker and cause of thine own being,
And what the world is, and whereof thou dost proceed;
Wherefore, it behoveth thee of very need
The cause of things first for to learn,
And then to know and laud the high God eterne.


O glorious Lord and Prince most pleasant!
Greatly am I now holden unto thee,
So to illumine my mind, that was ignorant,
With such noble doctrine as thou hast here shown me;
Wherefore I promise, upon my fidelity,
My diligence to do to keep in memory,
And thee for to honour still perpetually.


And sith it hath pleased thy grace to admit
Me upon this man to give attendance,
With thy doctrine here shown I shall quicken his wit,
And daily put him in remembrance;
His courage and desire I shall also enhance,
So that his felicity shall be most of all
To study and to search for causes natural.


Well, then, for a season I will depart,
Leaving you together here both twain;
What I have shown, man, print well in thine heart,[13]
And mark well this figure that here shall remain,
Whereby thou mayest perceive many things more plain
Concerning the matter I spoke of before;
And when that I shall resort here again,
Of high points of cunning I shall show thee more.


Now, Humanity, call to your memory
The cunning points that Nature hath declared;
And though he has shown divers points and many
Of the elements so wondersly[14] formed
Yet many other causes there are would be learned,
As to know the generation of things all
Here in the earth, how they be engendered,
As herbs, plants, well-springs, stone, and metal.


Those things to know for me be full expedient,
But yet in those points which Nature late showed me,
My mind in them as yet is not content,
For I can no manner wise perceive nor see,
Nor prove by reason why the earth should be
In the middes of the firmament hanging so small,
And the earth with the water to be round withal.


Me thinketh myself, as to some of those points
I could give a sufficient solution;
For, first of all, thou must needs grant this,
That the earth is so deep, and bottom hath none,
Or else there is some gross thing it standeth upon,
Or else that it hangeth, thou must needs consent,
Even in the middes of the firmament.


What then? go forth with thine argument.


Then mark well, in the day or in a winter's night,
The sun and moon, and stars celestial,
In the east first they do appear to thy sight,
And after in the west they do down fall,
And again in the morrow next of all,
Within twenty-four hours they be come just
To the east point again, where thou sawest them first.
Then if the earth should be of endless deepness,
Or should stand upon any other gross thing,
It should be an impediment, doubtless,
To the sun, moon, and stars in their moving;
Therefore, in reason, it seemeth most convenient
The earth to hang in the middes of the firmament.


Thine argument in that point doth me confound,
That thou hast made, but yet it proveth not right
That the earth by reason should be round;
For though the firmament, with his stars bright,
Compass about the earth each day and night,
Yet the earth may be plane, peradventure,
Quadrant, triangle, or some other figure.


That it cannot be plane I shall well prove thee:
Because the stars, that arise in the orient,
Appear more sooner to them that there be,
Than to the other dwelling in the Occident.
The eclipse is thereof a plain experiment
Of the sun or moon which, when it doth fall,
Is never one time of the day in places all;
Yet the eclipse generally is alway
In the whole world as one time being;
But when we, that dwell here, see it in the midday,
They in the west parts see it in the morning,
And they in the east behold it in the evening;
And why that should so be, no cause can be found,
But only by reason that the earth is round.


That reason proveth the earth at the least,
One ways to be round, I cannot gainsay,
As for to account from the east to the west;
But yet, notwithstanding all that, it may
Lese his roundness by some other way.


Nay, no doubt it is round everywhere,
Which I could prove, thou shouldst not say nay,
If I had thereto any time and leisure;
But I know a man called Experience,
Of divers instruments is never without,
Could prove all these points, and yet by his science
Can tell how many mile the earth is about,
And many other strange conclusions, no doubt.
His instruments could show thee so certain,
That every rude carter should them perceive plain.

HU. Now would to God I had that man now here
     For the contemplation of my mind!
STU. If ye will, I shall for him inquire,
     And bring him hither, if I can him find.
HU. Then might I say ye were to me right kind.
STU. I shall assay, by God that me dear bought,
     For cunning is the thing that would be sought.
SEN. Well hit, quoth Hykman, when that he smote
     His wife on the buttocks with a beer-pot.
     Aha! now good even, fool, good even!
     It is even thee, knave, that I mean.
     Hast thou done thy babbling?
STU. Yea, peradventure, what then?
SEN. Then hold down thy head like a pretty man, and take my blessing.
     Benedicite! I grant to thee this pardon,
     And give thee absolution
     For thy sooth saws; stand up, Jackdaw!
     I beshrew thy father's son,
     Make room, sirs, and let us be merry,
     With huffa gallant, sing tirl on the berry,
     And let the wide world wind![15]
     Sing, frisky jolly, with hey troly lolly,
     For I see well it is but a folly
     For to have a sad mind:
     For rather than I would use such folly,
     To pray, to study, or be pope holy,
     I had as lief be dead.
     By Gog's body, I tell you true!
     I speak as I think now, else I beshrew
     Even my next fellow's head!
     Master Humanity, sir, by your leave,
     I were right loth you to grieve,
     Though I do him despise;
     For if ye knew him as well as I,
     Ye would not use his company,
     Nor love him in no wise.
HU. Sir, he looketh like an honest man,
     Therefore I marvel that ye can
     This wise him deprave.
SEN. Though he look never so well,
     I promise you he hath a shrewd smell.
HU. Why so? I pray you tell.
SEN. For he savoureth like a knave.
STU. Hold your peace, sir, ye mistake me!
     What, I trow, that ye would make me
     Like to one of your kin.
SEN. Hark, sirs, hear ye not how boldly
     He calleth me knave again by policy?
     The devil pull off his skin!
     I would he were hanged by the throat,
     For by the mass I love him not:
     We two can never agree;
     I am content, sir, with you to tarry,
     And I am for you so necessary,
     Ye cannot live without me.
HU. Why, sir, I say, what man be ye?
SEN. I am called Sensual Appetite,
     All creatures in me delight;
     I comfort the wits five,
     The tasting, smelling, and hearing;
     I refresh the sight and feeling
     To all creatures alive.
     For when the body waxeth hungry
     For lack of food, or else thirsty,
     Then with drinks pleasant
     I restore him out of pain,
     And oft refresh nature again
     With delicate viand.
     With pleasant sound of harmony
     The hearing alway I satisfy,
     I dare this well report;
     The smelling with sweet odour,
     And the sight with pleasant figure
     And colours, I comfort;
     The feeling, that is so pleasant,
     Of every member, foot, or hand,
     What pleasure therein can be
     By the touching of soft and hard,
     Of hot or cold, nought in regard,
     Except it come by me.
HU. Then I cannot see the contrary,
     But ye are for me full necessary,
     And right convenient.
STU. Yea, sir, beware yet what ye do,
     For if you forsake my company so,
     Lord Nature will not be content.
     Of him ye shall never learn good thing,
     Nother virtue nor no other cunning,
     This dare I well say.
SEN. Marry, avaunt, knave! I thee defy!
     Did Nature forbid him my company?
     What sayest thou thereto? Speak openly.
HU. As for that I know well nay.
SEN. No, by God! I am right sure;
     For he knoweth well no creature
     Without me can live one day.
HU. Sir, I pray you be content,
     It is not utterly mine intent
     Your company to exile;
     But only to have communication,
     And a pastime of recreation
     With this man for a while.
STU. Well, for your pleasure I will depart.
HU. Now go, knave, go! I beshrew thy heart!
     The devil send thee forward!
SEN. Now, by my troth, I marvel greatly,
     That ever ye would use the company
     So mich of such a knave;
     For if ye do no nother thing,
     But ever study and to be musing,
     As he would have you, it will you bring
     At the last unto your grave!
     Ye should ever study principal
     For to comfort your life natural,
     With meats and drinks delicate
     And other pastimes and pleasures among,
     Dancing, laughing, or pleasant song;
     This is meet for your estate.
HU. Because ye say so, I you promise,
     That I have mused and studied such wise,
     Me thinketh my wits weary;
     My nature desireth some refreshing,
     And also I have been so long fasting,
     That I am somewhat hungry.
SEN. Well, then, will ye go with me
     To a tavern, where ye shall see
     Good pastance, and at your liberty
     Have whatsoever you will?
HU. I am content so for to do,
     If that ye will not fro me go,
     But keep me company still.
SEN. Company, quotha? then that I shall point-device,
     And also do you good and true service,
     And thereto I plight my troth!
     And if that I ever forsake you,
     I pray God the devil take you!
HU. Marry, I thank you for that oath!
SEN. A mischief on it! my tongue, lo!
     Will trip sometime, whatsoever I do;
     But ye wot that I mean well.
HU. Yea, no force! let this matter pass;
     But saidst even now thou knewest, where was
     A good tavern to make solace?
     Where is that? I pray thee tell.
SEN. Marry, at the door even hereby;
     If we call anything on high,
     The taverner will answer.
HU. I pray thee, then, call for him now.
SEN. Marry, I will! How, taverner, how!
     Why dost thou not appear?


     Who is that calleth so hastily?
     I shrew thine heart, speak softly;
     I tell thee I am not here.

SEN. Then I beshrew thee, page, of thine age!
     Come hither, knave, for thine advantage;
     Why makest thou it so tow?
TA. For mine advantage, marry, then I come.
     Beware, sirs, ho! let me have room!
     Lo, here I am! what sayest thou?
SEN. Marry, thus: here is a gentleman, I say,
     That neither ate nor drank this day;
     Therefore tell me, I thee pray,
     If thou have any good wine.
TA. Ye shall have Spanish wine and Gascon,
     Rose colour, white, claret, rampion,
     Tyre, Capric, and Malvoisin,
     Sack, raspice, Alicant, rumney,
     Greek, ipocras, new-made clary,
     Such as ye never had;
     For if ye drink a draught or two,
     It will make you, ere ye thence go,
     By Gog's body, stark mad!
SEN. I wot thou art not without good wine;
     But here is a gentleman hath list to dine,
     Canst thou get him any good meat?
TA. What meat, master, would ye have?
HU. I care not, so God me save,
     So that it be wholesome to eat:
     I would we had a good stewed capon.
SEN. As for capons ye can get none,
     The king's taker took up each one;
     I wot well there is none to get.
TA. Though all capons be gone, what then?
     Yet I can get you a stewed hen,
     That is ready dight.
HU. If she be fat, it will do well.
TA. Fat or lean, I cannot tell,
     But as for this I wot well
     She lay at the stews all night.
HU. Thou art a mad guest, by this light!
SEN. Yea, sir, it is a fellow that never fails:
     But canst get my master a dish of quails,
     Small birds, swallows, or wagtails,
     They be light of digestion?
TA. Light of digestion! for what reason?
SEN. For physic putteth this reason thereto,
     Because those birds fly to and fro,
     And be continual moving.
TA. Then know I a lighter meat than that.
HU. I pray thee, tell me what?
TA. If ye will needs know at short and long,
     It is even a woman's tongue,
     For that is ever stirring![16]
HU. Sir, I pray thee, let such fantasies be,
     And come hither near, and hark to me,
     And do after my bidding.
     Go, purvey us a dinner even of the most
     Of all manner of dishes both sod and roast,
     That thou canst get: spare for no cost,
     If thou make three course.
TA. Then ye get neither goose nor swan,
     But a dish of dregs, a dish of bran,
     A dish of draff, and I trow then
     Ye cannot get three worse!
HU. What, whoreson! wouldst thou purvey
     Bran, draff, and stinking dregs, I say;
     I hold thee mad, I trow.
TA. Gog's passion! said ye not thus,
     That I should purvey you three coarse dishes,
     And these be coarse enou'!
HU. Three coarse dishes, quotha?
     What, mad fool! thou mistakest me clean!
     I see well thou wott'st not what I mean,
     And understandest amiss;
     I mean this wise, I would have thee
     To purvey meat so great plenty,
     That thou shouldst of necessity
     Serve them at three courses.
     That is to understand, at one word,
     Thou shouldst bring them unto the board
     At three several times.
TA. What then, I see well ye will make a feast.
HU. Yea, by the rood! even with the greatest.
SEN. By my troth, then do your best
     Even after my mind;
     But ye must have more company.
HU. That is true, and so would I gladly,
     If I knew any to find.
SEN. Why, will ye follow my counsel?
HU. Yea.
SEN. Then we will have little Nell,
     A proper wench, she danceth well,
     And Jane with the black lace;
     We will have bouncing Bess also,
     And two or three proper wenches mo.
     Right fair and smoother of face.
HU. Now be it so! thou art sans peer.
TA. Then I perceive ye will make good cheer.
HU. Why, what should I else do?
TA. If ye think so best, then will I
     Go before, and make all things ready
     Again ye come thereto.
HU. Marry, I pray thee, do so.
TA. Then, farewell, sirs; for I am gone.
HU. And we shall follow thee anon
     Without any tarrying.
SEN. Then it is best, sir, ye make haste,
     For ye shall spend here but time in waste,
     And do no nother thing.
HU. If ye will, let us go by and by.
SEN. I pray you be it, for I am ready,
     No man better willing.

Exeat Sen. et Hu. Intrat Experiens et Stu.

     Now, cousin Experience, as I may say,
     Ye are right welcome to this country
     Without any feigning.
EX. Sir, I thank you thereof heartily,
     And I am as glad of your company
     As any man living.
STU. Sir, I understand that ye have been
     In many a strange country,
     And have had great facility
     Strange causes to seek and find.
EX. Right far, sir, I have ridden and gone,
     And seen strange things many one,
     In Africa, Europe, and India;
     Both east and west I have been far,
     North also, and seen the south star
     Both by sea and land,
     And been in sundry nations,
     With people of divers conditions,
     Marvellous to understand.
STU. Sir, if a man have such courage,
     Or devotion in pilgrimage,
     Jerusalem unto
     For to account the next way,
     How many miles is it, I you pray,
     From hence thither to go?
EX. Sir, as for all such questions,
     Of towns to know the situation,
     How far they be asunder,
     And other points of cosmography,
     Ye shall never learn them more surely
     Than by that figure yonder;
     For who that figure did first devise,
     It seemeth well he was wise,
     And perfect in this science;
     For both the sea and land also
     Lie true and just as they should do,
     I know by experience.
STU. Who, think you, brought here this figure?
EX. I wot not.
STU. Certes, Lord Nature,
     Himself not long agone,
     Which was here personally
     Declaring high philosophy,
     And laft this figure purposely
     For Humanity's instruction.
EX. Doubtless, right nobly done.
STU. Sir, this realm you know is called England,
     Sometimes Britain, I understand;
     Therefore, I pray you, point with your hand
     In what place it should lie.
EX. Sir, this is England lying here,
     And that is Scotland that joineth him near,
     Compassed about everywhere
     With the ocean sea around;
     And next from them westwardly,
     Here by himself alone, doth lie
     Ireland, that wholesome ground.
     Here then is the narrow sea,
     To Calais and Boulogne the next way,
     And Flanders in this part;
     Here lieth France next him joining,
     And Spain southward from them standing,
     And Portugal in this quarter.
     This country is called Italy,
     Behold where Rome in the midst doth lie,
     And Naples here beyond;
     And this little sea that here is
     Is called the Gulf of Venice,
     And here Venice doth stand.
     As for Almaine lieth this way;
     Here lieth Denmark and Norway;
     And northward on this side
     There lieth Iceland where men doth fish,
     But beyond that so cold it is,
     No man may there abide.
     This sea is called the Great Ocean,
     So great it is that never man
     Could tell it, since the world began,
     Till now, within this twenty years,
     Westward be found new lands,
     That we never heard tell of before this
     By writing nor other means,
     Yet many now have been there;
     And that country is so large of room,
     Much lenger than all Christendom,
     Without fable or guile;
     For divers mariners had it tried,
     And sailed straight by the coast side
     Above five thousand mile!
     But what commodities be within,
     No man can tell nor well imagine;
     But yet not long ago
     Some men of this country went,
     By the king's noble consent,
     It for to search to that intent,
     And could not be brought thereto;
     But they that were th' adventurers[17]
     Have cause to curse their mariners,
     False of promise and dissemblers,
     That falsely them betrayed,
     Which would take no pains to sail farther
     Than their own list and pleasure;
     Wherefore that voyage and divers other
     Such caitiffs have destroyed.
     Oh, what a thing had be then,
     If that they that be Englishmen
     Might have been the first of all
     That there should have take possession,
     And made first building and habitation,
     A memory perpetual!
     And also what an honourable thing,
     Both to the realm and to the king,
     To have had his dominion extending
     There into so far a ground,
     Which the noble king of late memory,
     The most wise prince the seventh Herry,
     Caused first for to be found.
     And what a great meritorious deed
     It were to have the people instructed
     To live more virtuously,
     And to learn to know of men the manner,
     And also to know God their Maker,
     Which as yet live all beastly;
     For they nother know God nor the devil,
     Nor never heard tell of heaven nor hell,
     Writing nor other scripture;
     But yet, in the stead of God Almighty,
     They honour the sun for his great light,
     For that doth them great pleasure;
     Building nor house they have none at all,
     But woods, cots, and caves small,
     No marvel though it be so,
     For they use no manner of iron,
     Neither in tool nor other weapon,
     That should help them thereto:
     Copper they have, which is found
     In divers places above the ground,
     Yet they dig not therefore;
     For, as I said, they have none iron,
     Whereby they should in the earth mine,
     To search for any wore:
     Great abundance of woods there be,
     Most part fir and pine-apple tree,
     Great riches might come thereby,
     Both pitch and tar, and soap ashes,
     As they make in the east lands,
     By brenning thereof only.
     Fish they have so great plenty,
     That in havens take and slain they be
     With staves, withouten fail.
     Now Frenchmen and other have found the trade,
     That yearly of fish there they lade
     Above a hundred sail;
     But in the south part of that country
     The people there go naked alway,
     The land is of so great heat:
     And in the north part all the clothes
     That they wear is but beasts' skins,
     They have no nother fete;
     But how the people first began
     In that country, or whence they came,
     For clerks it is a question.
     Other things mo I have in store,
     That I could tell thereof, but now no more
     Till another season.
STU. Then at your pleasure show some other thing;
     It liketh me so well your communing,
     Ye cannot talk amiss.
EX. Then will I turn again to my matter
     Of cosmography, where I was ere:
     Behold, take heed to this;
     Lo, eastward, beyond the great ocean,
     Here entereth the sea called Mediterranean,
     Of two thousand miles of length:
     The Soldan's country lieth hereby,
     The great Turk on the north side doth lie,
     A man of marvellous strength.
     This said north part is called Europa,
     And this south part called Africa,
     This east part is called India;
     But this new lands found lately
     Been called America, because only
     Americus did first them find.
     Lo, Jerusalem lieth in this country,
     And this beyond is the Red Sea,
     That Moses maketh of mention;
     This quarter is India Minor,
     And this quarter India Major,
     The land of Prester John:
     But northward this way, as ye see,
     Many other strange regions there be,
     And people that we not know.
     But eastward on the sea side
     A prince there is that ruleth wide,
     Called the Can of Catowe.
     And this is called the great east sea,
     Which goeth all along this way
     Towards the new lands again;
     But whether that sea go thither directly,
     Or if any wilderness between them do lie,
     No man knoweth for certain:
     But these new lands, by all cosmography,
     From the Can of Catowe's land cannot lie
     Little past a thousand miles:
     But from those new lands men may sail plain
     Eastward, and come to England again,
     Where we began erewhile.
     Lo, all this part of the earth, which I
     Have here descrived openly,
     The north part we do it call;
     But the south part on the other side
     Is as large as this full, and as wide,
     Which we know nothing at all,
     Nor whether the most part be land or sea,
     Nor whether the people that there be
     Be bestial or cunning;
     Nor whether they know God or no,
     Nor how they believe, nor what they do,
     Of this we know nothing.
     Lo, is not this a thing wonderful?
     How that— [Et subito Studious Desire dicat.
STU. Peace, sir, no more of this matter!
     Behold where Humanity cometh here.
SEN. How say you, Master Humanity?
     I pray you have ye not be merry,
     And had good recreation?
HU. Yes, I thank thee thereof every deal,
     For we have fared marvellously well,
     And had good communication.
TA. What, how, master! where be ye now?
SEN. What! I shrew thee! what haste hast thou,
     That thou speakest so high?
TA. So high, quotha? I trow ye be mad, by St Gile!
     For did ye not erewhile
     Make pointment openly.
     To come again all to supper,
     There as ye were to-day at dinner?
     And yet ye pointed not plain,
     What meat that ye will have dressed,
     Nor what delicacies ye love best.
     Methink you far oversayne.
HU. As for mine own part I care not;
     Dress what meat thou lovest, spare not
     Whatsoever thou dost best think.
TA. Now, if ye put it to my liberty,
     Of all meats in the world that be,
     By this light, I love best drink.[18]
SEN. It seemeth by thy face so to do,
     But my master will have meat also,
     Whatsoever it cost.
TA. By God, sir, then ye must tell what.
HU. At thy discretion: I force not,
     Whether it be sodden or roast.
TA. Well, sir, then care not! let me alone;
     Ye shall see that all things shall be done,
     And ordained well and fine.
HU. So I require thee heartily,
     And in any wise specially,
     Let us have a cup of new wine.
TA. Ye shall have wine as new as can be,
     For I may tell you in privity,
     It was brewed but yesternight.
HU. But that is nothing for my delight.
TA. But then I have for your appetite
     A cup of wine of old claret;
     There is no better, by this light!
HU. Well, I trust thee well enou'.
TA. But one thing, if it please you now—
     Ye see well I take much pain for you,
     I trust ye will see to me.
HU. Yea, I promise thee, get thee hence,
     And in this matter do thy diligence,
     And I shall well reward thee.
SEN. Because thou lookest for a reward,
     One thing for thee I have prepared,
     That here I shall thee give.
     Thou shalt have a knave's skin,
     For to put thy body therein,
     For term of thy life!
TA. Now, gramercy, my gentle brother;
     And therefore thou shalt have another,
     For voiding of strife.
SEN. Now, farewell, gentle John!
TA. Then farewell, fool, for I am gone!
SEN. Abide, turn once again! hark what I say!
     Yet there is another thing
     Would do well at our master's washing.
HU. What thing is that, I thee pray?
SEN. Marry thus, canst thou tell us yet,
     Where is any rose water to get?
TA. Yea, that I can well purvey,
     As good as ever you put to your nose,
     For there is a false wench called Rose
     Distilleth a quart every day.
SEN. By God! I would a pint of that
     Were poured even upon thy pate
     Before all this presence.
TA. Yet I had liever she and I
     Were both together secretly
     In some corner in the spence;
     For, by God, it is a pretty girl!
     It is a world[19] to see her whirl,
     Dancing in a round;
     O Lord God! how she will trip!
     She will bounce it, she will whip,
     Yea, clean above the ground!
HU. Well, let all such matters pass, I say,
     And get thee hence, and go thy way
     About this other matter.
TA. Then I go straight; lo! fare ye well.
SEN. But look yet thou remember every deal
     That I spake of full ere.
TA. Yes, I warrant you, do not fear.
                                  [Exit Taverner.
HU. God's Lord! seest not who is here now?
     What, Studious Desire! what news with you?
STU. Ye shall know, sir, ere I go.
SEN. What, art thou here? I see well, I,
     The mo knaves the worse company.
STU. Thy lewd conditions thou dost still occupy,
     As thou art wont to do.
HU. But, I say, who is this here in presence?
STU. Sir, this is the man called Experience,
     That I spake of before.
HU. Experience! why, is this he?
     Sir, ye are right welcome unto me
     And shall be evermore!
EX. Sir, I thank you thereof heartily,
     But I assure you faithfully
     I have small courage here to tarry,
     As long as this man is here.
SEN. Why, whoreson! what ailest at me?
EX. For thou hast ever so lewd a property,
     Science to despise, and yet thou art he
     That nought canst nor nought wilt learn.
SEN. Marry, avaunt, knave! I make God avow,
     I think myself as cunning as thou,
     And that shall I prove shortly!
     I shall put thee a question now; come near,
     Let me see how well thou canst answer:
     How spellest this word Tom Couper
     In true orthography?
EX. Tom Couper, quotha? a wise question hardly!
SEN. Yea, I tell thee again yet—Tom Couper, how spellest it?
     Lo! he hath forgotten, ye may see,
     The first word of his a b c.
     Hark, fool, hark, I will teach thee,
     P.a—pa.—t.e.r—ter—do together Tom Couper.
     Is not this a sore matter?
     Lo! here you see him proved a fool!
     He had more need to go to school,
     Than to come hither to clatter.
STU. Certain, this is a solution
     Meet for such a boy's question.
HU. Sensual Appetite, I pray thee
     Let pass all trifles and vanity
     For a while, it shall not long be,
     And depart, I thee require;
     For I would talk a word or two
     With this man here, ere he hence go,
     For to satisfy my desire.
SEN. Why, Gog's soul! will ye so shortly
     Break pointment with yonder company,
     Where you should come to supper?
     I trust you will not break promise so.
HU. I care not greatly, if I do;
     It is but a tavern matter.
SEN. Then will I go show them what you say.
HU. Spare not, if thou wilt go thy way,
     For I will here tarry.
SEN. Then adieu for a while, I tell you plain,
     But I promise you, when I come again,
     I shall make yonder knaves twain
     To repent and be sorry!
EX. Now I am full glad that he is gone!
STU. So am I, for good will he do none
     To no man living.
     But this is the man with whom ye shall,
     I trust, be well content withal,
     And glad of his coming;
     For he hath expound cunningly
     Divers points of cosmography,
     In few words and short clause.
HU. So I understand he hath good science,
     And that he hath by plain experience
     Learned many a strange cause.
STU. Yea, sir, and I say for my part,
     He is the cunningest man in that art
     That ever I could find;
     For ask what question ye will do,
     How the earth is round, or other mo,
     He will satisfy your mind.
EX. Why, what doubt have ye therein found?
     Think ye the earth should not be round?
     Or else how suppose ye?
HU. One way it is round, I must consent,
     For this man proved it evident;
     Toward the east and occident
     It must needs round be.
EX. And likewise from the south to north.
HU. That point to prove were some thank worth.
EX. Yes, that I can well prove,[20]
     For this ye know as well as I,
     Ye see the North Star in the sky,
     Mark well, ye shall unneth it spy,
     That ever it doth remove.
     But this I assure you, if you go
     Northward an hundredth mile or two,
     Ye shall think it riseth,
     And how that it is near approached
     The point over the top of your head,
     Which is called your zenith.
     Yet if ye go the other way,
     Southward ten or twelve days' journey,
     Ye shall then think anon
     It descended, and come more nigh
     The circle parting the earth and sky,
     As ye look straight with your eye,
     Which is called your horizon;
     But ye may go southward so far,
     That at the last that same star
     Will seem so far down right,
     Clear underneath your horizon,
     That sight thereof can you have none,
     The earth will stop your sight.
     This proveth of necessity
     That the earth must needs round be:
     This conclusion doth it try.
HU. Now that is the properest conclusion
     That ever I heard, for by reason
     No man may it deny.
     But, sir, if that a man sail far
     Upon the sea, will then that star
     Do there as on the ground?
EX. Yea, doubtless, sail northward, rise it will,
     And sail southward, it falleth still,
     And that proveth the sea round.
STU. So doth it in mine opinion;
     But know you any other conclusion
     To prove it round, save that alone?
EX. Yea, that I know right well,
     As thus: mark well when the sea is clear,
     That no storm nor wave thereon doth 'ppear,
     This mariners can tell;
     Then if a fire be made on night
     Upon the shore, that giveth great light,
     And a ship in the sea far,
     They in the top the fire see shall,
     And they on hatch nothing at all,
     Yet they on hatches be near;
     Also on the sea, where men be sailing
     Far from land, they see nothing
     But the water and the sky;
     Yet when they draw the land more near,
     Then the hill-tops begin to appear,
     Still they near more high and high,
     As though they were still growing fast
     Out of the sea till, at last,
     When they come the shore to,
     They see the hill, top, foot, and all;
     Which thing so could not befal,
     But the sea lay round also.
HU. Methinketh your argument somewhat hard.
EX. Then ye shall have it more plainly declared,
     If ye have great desire;
     For here, lo, by mine instruments,
     I can show the plain experiments.
HU. Thereto I you require.
EX. With all my heart it shall be done;
     But for the first conclusion,
     That I speak of the fire,
     Be this the sea that is so round,
     And this the fire upon the ground,
     And this the ship that is here;
     You know well that a man's sight
     Can never be but in a line right.
HU. Just you say; that is clear.
EX. Mark well then; may not that man's eye.

[Eight leaves are here wanting.]

IGNORANCE. With arguing here their foolish [saws]
     That is not worth three straws.
     I love not this whoreson 'losophers,
     Nor this great cunning extromers,
     That tell how far it is to the stars;
     I hate all manner cunning!
     I would ye knew it, I am Ignorance!
     A lord I am of greater puissance
     Than the king of England or France,
     Yea, the greatest lord living!
     I have servants at my retinue,
     That long to me, I assure you,
     Herewith in England,
     That with me, Ignorance, dwell still,
     And term of life continue will,
     Above five hundred thousand.
SEN. Gog's nails, I have paid some of them, I trow.
IGN. Why, man, what aileth thee so to blow?
SEN. For I was at a shrewd fray.
IGN. Hast thou any of them slain, then?
SEN. Yea, I have slain them every man,
     Save them that ran away.
IGN. Why, is any of them scaped and gone?
SEN. Yea, by Gog's body, every one,
     All that ever were there.
IGN. Why, then, they be not all slain.
SEN. No, but I have put some to pain,
     For one whoreson there was, that turned again,
     And straight I cut off his ear.
IGN. Then thou hast made him a cutpurse.
SEN. Yea, but yet I served another worse!
     I smote off his leg by the hard arse,
     As soon as I met him there.
IGN. By my troth, that was a mad deed!
     Thou shouldst have smit off his head,
     Then he should never have troubled thee more.
SEN. Tush! then I had been but mad,
     For there was another man that had
     Smit off his head before!
IGN. Then thou hast quit thee like a tall knight!
SEN. Yea, that I have, by this light!
     But, I say, can you tell me right
     Where became my master?
IGN. What, he that you call Humanity?
SEN. Yea.
IGN. I wot never, except he be
     Hid here in some corner.
SEN. Gog's body! and true ye say,
     For yonder, lo! behold, ye may
     See where the mad fool doth lie.
IGN. Now, on my faith and truth,
     It were even great alms
     To smite his head from his body!
SEN. Nay, God forbid ye should do so,
     For he is but an innocent, lo!
     In manner of a fool.
     For as soon as I speak to him again,
     I shall turn his mind clean,
     And make him follow my school.
IGN. Then bid him rise, let us hear him speak.
SEN. Now, rise up, Master Huddypeke,
     Your tail toteth out behind!
     Fear not, man, stand up by and by;
     I warrant you rise up boldly!
     Here is none but is your friend.
HU. I cry you mercy, master dear!
IGN. Why, what is cause thou hidest thee here?
HU. For I was almost for fear,
     Even clean out of my mind.
SEN. Nay, it is the study that ye have had
     In this foolish losophy hath made you mad,
     And no other thing, i-wis.
IGN. That is as true as the gospel!
     Therefore I have great marvel,
     That ever thou wilt follow the counsel
     Of yonder two knaves.
HU. O sir, ye know right well this,
     That when any man is
     In other men's company,
     He must needs follow the appetite
     Of such things as they delight
     Some time among, perdy!
IGN. But such knaves would alway have thee
     To put all thy mind and felicity
     In this foolish cunning to study;
     Which, if thou do, will make thee mad,
     And alway to be pensive and sad;
     Thou shalt never be merry.
SEN. Merry, quotha? no, I make God avow!
     But I pray thee, master, hark! one word now,
     And answer this thing:
     Whether thought you it better cheer
     At the tavern, where we were ere,
     Or else to clatter with these knaves here
     Of their foolish cunning?
HU. Nay, I cannot say the contrary
     But that I had mich merrier company
     At the tavern than in this place.
SEN. Then if ye have any wit or brain,
     Let us go to the tavern again,
     And make some merry solace.
IGN. If he will do so, then doth he wisely.
HU. By my troth, I care not greatly,
     For I am indifferent to all company,
     Whether it be here or there.
SEN. Then I shall tell you what we will do;
     Master Ignorance, you and he also
     Shall tarry both still here,
     And I will go fet hither a company,
     That ye shall hear them sing as sweetly
     As they were angels clear;
     And yet I shall bring hither another sort
     Of lusty bloods to make disport;
     That shall both dance and spring,
     And turn clean above the ground
     With friskas and with gambawds round,
     That all the hall shall ring.
     And that done, within an hour or twain,
     I shall at the town again
     Prepare for you a banket
     Of meats that be most delicate,
     And most pleasant drinks and wines thereat,
     That is possible to get,
     Which shall be in a chamber fair,
     Prepared point-device[21]
     With damask water made so well,
     That all the house thereof shall smell,
     As it were paradise.
     And after that, if ye will touch
     A fair wench naked[22] in a couch[23]
     Of a soft bed of down,
     For to satisfy your wanton lust,
     I shall appoint you a trull of trust,
     Not a fairer in this town!
     And when ye have taken your delight,
     And thus satisfied the appetite
     Of your wits five,
     Ye may say then I am a servant
     For you so necessary and pleasant,
     I trow none such alive!
HU. Now, by the way that God did walk,
     It comforteth mine heart to hear thee talk,
     Thy match was never seen!
IGN. Then go thy way by and by,
     And bring in this company,
     And he and I will here tarry,
     Till thou come again.
HU. And I pray thee heartily also.
SEN. At your request so shall I do.
     Lo! I am gone, now farewell!
     I shall bring them into this hall,
     And come myself foremost of all,
     And of these revels be chief marshal,
     And order all things well.
IGN. Now, set thy heart on a merry pin,
     Against these lusty bloods come in,
     And drive fantasies away.
HU. And so I will, by heaven's King!
     If they either dance or sing,
     Have among them, by this day!
IGN. Then thou takest good and wise ways,
     And so shalt thou best please
     All this whole company;
     For the foolish arguing that thou hast had
     With that knave Experience, that hath made
     All these folk thereof weary;
     For all that they be now in this hall,
     They be the most part my servants all,
     And love principally
     Disports, as dancing, singing,
     Toys, trifles, laughing, jesting;
     For cunning they set not by.
HU. I see well such company evermore,
     As Sensual Appetite is gone for,
     Will please well this audience.
IGN. Yea, that I suppose they will;
     But peace, hark! I pray thee be still,
     I ween they be not far hence.

[Then the dancers without the hall sing this wise, and they within answer, or else they may say it for need.[24]]


Peace, sirs, peace now! peace, sirs, all!


Why, who is that so high doth call?


Silence, I say, be you among,
For we be disposed to sing a song.


Come in, then, boldly among this presence,
For here ye shall have good audience.
     Time to pass with goodly sport,
     Our sprites to revive and comfort,
     To pipe, to sing,
     To dance, to spring,
     With pleasure and delight,
     Following Sensual Appetite,
     To pipe, &c.

IGN. I can you thank; that is done well;
     It is pity ye had not a minstrel
     For to augment your solace.
SEN. As for minstrel, it maketh no force,
     Ye shall see me dance a course
     Without a minstrel, be it better or worse;
     Follow all: I will lead a trace.
HU. Now have among you, by this light!
IGN. That is well said, by God Almight!
     Make room, sirs, and give them place.

[Then he singeth this song and danceth withal, and evermore maketh countenance according to the matter; and all the others answer likewise.]

     Dance we, dance we, prance we, prance we,
     So merrily let us dance ey, so merrily, &c.
     And I can dance it gingerly, and I, &c.
     And I can foot it by and by, and I, &c.
     And I can prank it properly,
     And I can countenance comely,[25]
     And I can croak it courtesly,
     And I can leap it lustily,
     And I can turn it trimly,
     And I can frisk it freshly,
     And I can look it lordly.
IGN. I can thee thank, Sensual Appetite!
     That is the best dance without a pipe,
     That I saw this seven year.[26]
HU. This dance would do mich better yet,
     If we had a kit or taberet,
     But alas! there is none here.
SEN. Then let us go to the tavern again,
     There shall we be sure of one or twain
     Of minstrels, that can well play.
IGN. Then go, I pray ye, by and by,
     And purvey some minstrel ready,
     And he and I will follow shortly,
     As fast as ever we may.
HU. Therewith I am right well content.
SEN. Then will I go incontinent,
     And prepare every thing
     That is metely to be done;
     And for lack of minstrels, the mean season,
     Now will we begin to sing.
     Now we will here begin to sing,
     For dance can we no more,
     For minstrels here be all lacking;
     To the tavern we will therefore.

[Et exeunt cantando, &c.

HU. Now if that Sensual Appetite can find
     Any good minstrels after his mind,
     Doubt not we shall have good sport.
IGN. And so shall we have for a surety;
     But what shall we do now, tell me,
     The meanwhile for our comfort?
HU. Then let us some lusty ballad sing.
IGN. Nay, sir, by the Heaven King!
     For methinketh it serveth for nothing,
     All such peevish prick-eared song!
HU. Peace, man, prick-song may not be despised,
     For therewith God is well pleased,
     Honoured, praised, and served,
     In the church ofttimes among.
IGN. Is God well pleased, trow'st thou, thereby?
     Nay, nay, for there is no reason why,
     For is it not as good to say plainly,
     Give me a spade,
     As give me a spa, ve, va, ve, va, ve, vade?
     But if thou wilt have a song that is good,
     I have one of Robin Hood,
     The best that ever was made.
HU. Then, a' fellowship, let us hear it.
IGN. But there is a burden, thou must bear it,
     Or else it will not be.
HU. Then begin and care not to …
     Down, down, down, &c.
IGN. Robin Hood in Barnsdale stood,[27]
     And leant him till a maple thistle;
     Then came our lady and sweet Saint Andrew.
     Sleepest thou, wakest thou, Geffrey Coke?
     A hundred winter the water was deep,
     I can not tell you how broad.
     He took a goose neck in his hand,
     And over the water he went.
     He start up to a thistle top,
     And cut him down a hollen club.
     He stroke the wren between the horns,
     That fire sprang out of the pig's tail.
     Jack boy, is thy bow i-broke?
     Or hath any man done the wriguldy wrag?
     He plucked muscles out of a willow,
     And put them into his satchel!
     Wilkin was an archer good,
     And well could handle a spade;
     He took his bent bow in his hand,
     And set him down by the fire.
     He took with him sixty bows and ten,
     A piece of beef, another of bacon.
     Of all the birds in merry England
     So merrily pipes the merry bottle![28]


     Well, Humanity, now I see plainly
     That thou hast used much folly,
     The while I have been absent.

HU. Sir, I trust I have done nothing
     That should be contrary to your pleasing,
     Nor never was mine intent;
     For I have followed the counsel clear,
     As ye me bade, of Studious Desire,
     And for necessity among
     Sometime Sensual Appetite's counsel,
     For without him, ye know right well,
     My life cannot endure long.


     Though it be for thee full necessary
     For thy comfort sometime to satisfy
     Thy sensual appetite,
     Yet it is not convenient for thee
     To put therein thy felicity
     And all thy whole delight;
     For if thou wilt learn no science,
     Nother by study nor experience,
     I shall thee never advance;
     But in the world thou shalt dure then,
     Despised of every wise man,
     Like this-rude beast Ignorance.

[The original here ends imperfectly.]


A new comedy in English in manner of an interlude right elegant and full of craft of rhetoric: wherein is shewed and described as well the beauty and good properties of women, as their vices and evil conditions, with a moral conclusion and exhortation to virtue. [Col.] Johes rastell me imprimi fecit. Cum privilegio regali. Folio, black letter.

The only copy known of this piece is among the books of Malone in the Bodleian Library, and it has never hitherto been reprinted. An account of it is given, however, by Collier (History of English Dramatic Poetry, ii. 408-12).



     Franciscus Petrarcus, the poet laureate,
     Saith that Nature, which is mother of all things,
     Without strife can give life to nothing create;
     And Heraclitus, the wise clerk, in his writing,
     Saith in all things create strife is their working;
     And there is nothing under the firmament
     With any other in all points equivalent.
     And, according to their diets rehearsed as thus,
     All things are create in manner of strife.
     These foolish lovers, then, that be so amorous,
     From pleasure to displeasure how lead they their life:
     Now sorry, now sad: now joyous, now pensive:
     Alas! I, poor maiden, then what shall I do,
     Cumbered by dotage of one Calisto?
     I know that Nature hath given me beauty,
     With sanguineous complexion, favour, and fairness:
     The more to God ought I to do fea'ty
     With will, life, land, and love of perfectness.
     I deny not but Calisto is of great worthiness,
     But what of that? for all his high estate,
     His desire I defy, and utterly shall hate.
     Oh, his sayings and suits so importune,
     That of my life he maketh me almost weary!
     Oh, his lamentations and exclamations on fortune,
     With similitude [of] manner as one that should die!
     But who shall pity this? In faith, not I.
     Shall I accomplish his carnal desire?
     Nay, yet at a stake rather bren in a fire.
     Of truth, I am sorry for his trouble;
     To strive with himself thus for love of me;
     But though his sorrows, I assure you, should double,
     Out of his danger[29] will I be at liberty.

[Enter CALISTO unseen.]

CAL. What amiss, woman, now Christ benedicite?
MEL. Nay, nay, he shall never that day see;
     His voluptuous appetite consented by me.
     Wist he now that I were present here,
     I assure you shortly he would seek me;
     And without doubt he doth now inquire,
     Whither I am gone, or where I should be.
     See, is he not now come? I repent[30] me
     Alas, of this man I can never be rid:
     Would to Christ I wist, where I might be hid.
CAL. By you, fair Melibaea, may be seen
     The grace, the gifts, the greatness of God.
MEL. Wherein?
CAL. In taking effect of Dame Nature's strene;[31]
     Nor yearthly, but angelic of likelihood;
     In beauty so passing the kind of woman-hood.
     O God, I might in your presence be able
     To manifest my dolours incomparable;
     Greater were that reward than the grace
     Heaven to obtain by works of pity!
     Not so glorious be the saints that see God's face,
     Ne joy not so much, as I do you to see.
     Yet difference there is between them and me,
     For they glorify by His assured presence,
     And I in torment because of your absence.
MEL. Why, thinkest thou that so great a reward?
CAL. Yea, more greater than if God would set me
     In heaven above all saints, and more in regard;
     And think it a more higher felicity.
MEL. Yet more greater thy reward shall be,
     If thou flee from the determination
     Of thy consent of mind by such temptation.
     I perceive the extent of thy words all,
     As of the wit of him, that would have the virtue
     Of me such a woman to become thrall.
     Go thy way with sorrow! I would thou knew
     I have, foul scorn of thee, I tell thee true,
     Or [of] any human creature with me should begin
     Any communication pertaining to sin.
     And I promise thee, where—thou art present,
     While I live, by my will I will be absent.
CAL. Lo! out of all joy I am fallen in woe,
     Upon whom adverse fortune hath cast her chance
     Of cruel hate, which causeth now away to go
     The keeper of my joy and all my pleasance.
     Alas, alas, now to me what noyance!

Enter SEMPRONIO, a parasite.

SEM. Dieu garde, my lord, and God be in this place!
CAL. Sempronio?
SEM. Yea, sir.
CAL. Ah, sir, I shrew thy face!
     Why hast thou been from me so long absent?
SEM. For I have been about your business,
     To order such things as were convenient,
     Your house and horse, and all things, was to dress.
CAL. O Sempronio, have pity on my distress;
     For of all creatures I am the woefullest.
SEM. How so? what is the cause of your unrest?
CAL. For I serve in love to the goodliest thing
     That is or ever was.
SEM. What is she?
CAL. It is one which is all other exceeding:
     The picture of angels, if thou her see:
     Phoebus or Phoebe no comparison may be
     To her.
SEM. What hight she?
CAL. Melibaea is her name.
SEM. Marry, sir, this would make a wild horse tame!
CAL. I pray thee, Sempronio, go fet me my lute,
     And bring some chair or stool with thee;
     The arguments of love that I may dispute,
     Which science, I find, thou[32] art without pity.
     Hie thee, Sempronio, hie thee, I pray thee.
SEM. Sir, shortly, I assure you, it shall be done.
                                           [Exit Sem.
CAL. Then farewell! Christ send thee again soon!
     Oh, what fortune is equal unto mine!
     Oh, what woeful wight with me may compare!
     The thirst of sorrow is my mixed wine,
     Which daily I drink with deep draughts of care.


SEM. Tush, sir, be merry, let pass away the mare:[33]
     How say you, have I not hied me lightly?
     Here is your chair and lute to make you merry.
CAL. Merry, quotha? nay, that will not be;
     But I must needs sit for very feebleness.
     Give me my lute, and thou shalt see
     How I shall sing mine unhappiness.
     This lute is out of tune now, as I guess;
     Alas! in tune how should I set it,
     When all harmony to me discordeth each whit,
     As he, to whose will reason is unruly?
     For I feel sharp needles within my breast;
     Peace, war, truth, hatred, and injury:
     Hope and suspect, and all in one chest.
SEM. Behold, Nero, in the love of Poppaea[34] oppressed,
     Rome how he brent; old and young wept:
     But she took no thought, nor never the less slept.
CAL. Greater is my fire, and less pity showed me.
SEM. I will not mock; this fool is a lover. [Aside.
CAL. What say'st thou?
SEM. I say, how can that fire be,
     That tormenteth but one living man, greater
     Than that fire that brenneth a whole city here,
     And all the people therein?
CAL. Marry, for that fire is greatest,
     That brenneth very sore, and lasteth longest;
     And greater is the fire that brenneth one soul,
     Than that which brenneth an hundred bodies.
SEM. His saying in this none can control. [Aside.
CAL. None but such as list to make lies!
     And if the fire of purgatory bren in such wise,
     I had liever my spirit in brute beasts should be,
     Than to go thither, and then to the deity.
SEM. Marry, sir, that is a spice of heresy.
CAL. Why so?
SEM. For ye speak like no Christian man.
CAL. I would thou knewest Melibaea worship I:
     In her I believe, and her I love.
SEM. Ah, ah, then,
     With thee Melibaea is a great woman;
     I know on which foot thou dost halt on:
     I shall shortly heal thee, my life thereupon!
CAL. An incredible thing thou dost promise me.
SEM. Nay, nay, it is easy enough to do;
     But first, for to heal a man, knowledge must be
     Of the sickness; then to give counsel thereto.
CAL. What counsel can rule him, Sempronio,
     That keepeth in him no order of counsel?[35]
SEM. Ah, is this Calisto? his fire now I know well;
     How that love over him hath cast her net;
     In whose perseverance is all inconstancy.
CAL. Why, is not Elisaeus' love and thine met?
SEM. What then?
CAL. Why reprovest me then of ignorance?
SEM. For thou settest man's dignity in obeisance
     To the imperfection of the weak woman.
CAL. A woman? Nay, a god of goddesses.
SEM. Believest that then?
CAL. Yea, and as a goddess I here confess;
     And I believe there is no such sovereign
     In heaven, though she be in earth.
SEM. Peace, peace.
     A woman a god! nay, to God, a villain.
     Of your saying ye may be sorry.
CAL. It is plain.
SEM. Why so?
CAL. Because I love her, and think surely
     To obtain my desire I am unworthy.
SEM. O fearful heart! why comparest thou with Nimrod
     Or Alexander? of this world not lords only,
     But worthy to subdue heaven, as saying go'th;
     And thou reputest thyself more high
     Than them both, and despairest so cowardly
     To win a woman, of whom hath been so many
     Gotten and ungotten, never heard of any?
     It is recited in the Feast of Saint John:
     This is the woman of ancient malice;
     Of whom but of a woman was it sung on,
     That Adam was expulsed from Paradise?
     She put man to pain whom Eli did despise.
CAL. Then sith Adam gave him to their governance,
     Am I greater than Adam myself to advance?
SEM. Nay, but of those men it were wisdom,
     That overcame them to seek remedy,
     And not of those that they did overcome.
     Flee from their beginnings, eschew their folly:
     Thou knowest they do evil things many.
     They keep no mean, but rigour of intention;
     Be it fair [or] foul, wilful without reason.
     Keep them never so close, they will be showed,
     Give tokens of love by many subtle ways:
     Seeming to be sheep, and serpently shrewd:
     Craft in them renewing, that never decays.
     Their sayings and sightings provoking their plays.
     Oh, what pain is to fulfil their appetites,
     And to accomplish their wanton delights!
     It is a wonder to see their dissembling,
     Their flattering countenance, their ingratitude,
     Inconstancy, false witness, feigned weeping:
     Their vain-glory, and how they can delude:
     Their foolishness, their jangling not mew'd:
     Their lecherous lust and vileness therefore:
     Witchcrafts and charms to make men to their lore:
     Their embalming[36] and their unshamefacedness:
     Their bawdry, their subtlety, and fresh attiring!
     What trimming, what painting, to make fairness!
     Their false intents and flickering smiling:
     Therefore lo! it is an old saying
     That women be the devil's nets, and head of sin;
     And man's misery in Paradise did begin—
CAL. But what thinkest thou by me yet for all this?
SEM. Marry, sir, ye were a man of clear wit,
     Whom Nature hath endued with the best gifts,
     As beauty and greatness of members perfit:
     Strength, lightness; and beyond this each whit
     Fortune hath parted with you of her influence,
     For to be able of liberal expense.
     For without goods, whereof Fortune is lady,
     No man can have wealth. Therefore by conjecture
     You should be beloved of everybody.
CAL. But not of Melibaea now I am sure;
     And though thou hadst praised me without measure,
     And compared me without comparison,
     Yet she is above in every condition.
     Behold her nobleness, her ancient lineage,
     Her great patrimony, her excellent wit,
     Her resplendent virtue, her portly courage,
     Her godly grace, her sovereign beauty perfit!
     No tongue is able well to express it;
     But yet, I pray thee, let me speak awhile,
     Myself to refresh in rehearsing of my style.
     I begin at her hair, which is so goodly,
     Crisped to her heels, tied with fine lace.
     Far shining beyond fine gold of Araby:
     I trow the sun colour to it may give place;
     That who to behold it might have the grace,
     Would say in comparison nothing countervails—
SEM. Then is it not like hair of ass-tails?
CAL. Oh, what foul comparison! this fellow rails.
     Her gay glassing eyes so fair and bright;
     Her brows, her nose in a mean[37] no fashion fails;
     Her mouth proper and feat, her teeth small and white;
     Her lips ruddy, her body straight upright;
     Her little teats to the eye is a pleasure.
     Oh, what a joy it is to see such a figure!
     Her skin of whiteness endarketh the snow,
     With rose-colour ennewed.[38] I thee ensure
     Her little hands in mean[39] manner—this no trow[4]—
     Her fingers small and long, with nails ruddy: most pure
     Of proportion, none such in portraiture:
     Without peer: worthy to have for fairness
     The apple that Paris gave Venus the goodness.
SEM. Sir, have ye all done?
CAL. Yea, marry, what then?
SEM. I put case all this ye have said be true;
     Yet are ye more noble, sith ye be a man.
CAL. Wherein?
SEM. She is imperfect, I would ye knew,
     As all women be, and of less value.
     Philosophers say the matter is less worthy
     Than the form; so is woman to man surely.
CAL. I love not to hear this altercation
     Between Melibaea and me her lover.
SEM. Possible it is in every condition
     To abhor her as much as you do love her
     In the woman beguiling is the danger,
     That ye shall see hereafter with eyes free.
CAL. With what eyes?
SEM. With clear eyes, trust me.
CAL. Why, with what eyes do I see now?
SEM. With dim eyes, which show a little thing much.
     But for ye shall not despair, I assure you
     No labour nor diligence in me shall grutch:
     So trusty and friendly ye shall find me such,
     In all things possible that ye can acquire
     The thing to accomplish to your desire.
CAL. God bring that to pass, so glad it is to me
     To hear thee thus, though I hope not in thy doings.
SEM. Yet I shall do it, trust me for a surety.
CAL. God reward thee for thy gentle intending;
     I give thee this chain of gold in rewarding.
SEM. Sir, God reward you, and send us good speed;
     I doubt not but I shall perform it indeed.
     But without rewards it is hard to work well.
CAL. I am content, so thou be not negligent.
SEM. Nay, be not you; for it passeth a marvel,
     The master slow, the servant to be diligent.
CAL. How thinkest it can be? show me thine intent.
SEM. Sir, I have a neighbour, a mother of bawdry,
     That can provoke the hard rocks to lechery.
     In all evil deeds she is perfect wise.
     I trow more than a thousand virgins
     Have been destroyed by her subtle devices,
     For she never faileth, where she begins:
     Alone by this craft her living she wins.
     Maids, wives, widows, and every one,
     If she once meddle, there escapeth none.
CAL. How might I speak with her, Sempronio?
SEM. I shall bring her hither unto this place;
     But ye must in any wise let rewards go,
     And show her your griefs in every case.
CAL. Else were I not worthy to attain grace.
     But, alas, Sempronio, thou tarriest too long.
SEM. Sir, God be with you.
CAL. Christ make thee strong! [Exit Sem.
     The mighty and perdurable God be his guide,
     As he guided the three kings into Bedlam[40]
     From the east by the star, and again did provide
     As their conduct to return to their own realm;
     So speed my Sempronio to quench the leme[41]
     Of this fire, which my heart doth waste and spend;
     And that I may come to my desired end!
     To pass the time now will I walk
     Up and down within mine orchard,
     And to myself go commune and talk;
     And pray that fortune to me be not hard;
     Longing to hear, whether made or marred,
     My message shall return by my servant Sempronio.
     Thus farewell, my lords; for a while I will go.

Enter CELESTINA, the bawd.

CEL. Now the blessing that our lady gave her son,
     That same blessing I give now to you all!
     That I come thus homely, I pray you of pardon;
     I am sought and send for as a woman universal.
     Celestina, of truth, my name is to call;
     Sempronio for me about doth inquire,
     And it was told me I should have found him here.
     I am sure he will come hither anon;
     But the whilst I shall tell you a pretty game:
     I have a wench of Sempronio's, a pretty one,
     That sojourneth with me: Elicaea is her name.
     But the last day we were both nigh a stark shame,
     For Sempronio would have her to himself several;
     And she loveth one Crito better or as well.
     This Crito and Elicaea sat drinking
     In my house, and I also making merry;
     And as the devil would, far from our thinking,
     Sempronio almost came on us suddenly.
     But then wrought I my craft of bawdry;
     I bade Crito go up, and make himself room
     To hide him in my chamber among the broom.[42]
     Then made I Elicaea sit down a-sewing,
     And I with my rock[43] began for to spin;
     As who saith of Sempronio we had no knowing.
     He knocked at the door, and I let him in;
     And for a countenance I did begin
     To catch him in mine arms, and said, see, see!
     Who kisseth me, Elicaea, and will not kiss thee?
     Elicaea for a countenance made her grieved,
     And would not speak, but still did sew.
     Why speak ye not? quoth Sempronio, be ye moved?
     Have I not a cause, quoth she? no, quoth he, I trow.
     Ah! traitor, quoth she, full well dost thou know!
     Where hast thou been these three days from me,
     That the imposthumes and evil death take thee!
     Peace, mine Elicaea, quoth he, why say ye thus?
     Alas! why put you yourself in this woe?
     The hot fire of love so brenneth between us,
     That my heart is with yours, wherever I go;
     And for three days' absence to say to me so,
     In faith, methinketh, ye be to blame.
     But now hark well, for here beginneth the game!
     Crito, in my chamber above that was hidden,
     I think lay not easily, and began to rumble;
     Sempronio heard that, and asked who was within,
     Above in the chamber that so did tumble.
     Who? quoth she; a lover of mine! may-hap, ye stumble,
     Quoth he, on the truth, as many one doth.
     So up, quoth she, and look, whether it be sooth.
     Well, quoth he, I go. Nay, thought I, not so,
     I said, come, Sempronio, let this fool alone;
     For of thy long absence she is in such woe,
     And half beside herself, and her wit nigh gone.
     Well, quoth he, above yet there is one.
     Wilt thou know, quoth I? yea, quoth he, I thee require;
     It is a wench, quoth I, sent me by a friar.
     What friar? quoth he. Wilt thou needs know? quoth I; then
     It is the friar[44] …
     Oh, quoth he, what a load hath that woman
     To bear him! Yea, quoth I; though women per case
     Bear heavy full oft, yet they gall in no place.
     Then he laughed; yea, quoth I, no more words of this
     For this time; too long we spend here amiss.


SEM. O mother Celestine, I pray God prosper thee.
CEL. My son Sempronio, I am glad of our meeting.
     And, as I hear say, ye go about to seek me?
SEM. Of truth, to seek you was mine hither coming.
     Mother, lay apart now all other thing,
     And alonely tend to me, and imagine
     In that that I purpose now to begin.
     Calisto in the love of fair Melibaea
     Burneth; wherefore of thee he hath great need.
CEL. Thou say'st well, knowest not me Celestina?
     I have the end of the matter, and for more speed
     Thou shalt wade no farther; for of this deed
     I am as glad, as ever was the surgeon
     For salves for broke heads to make provision.
     And so intend I to do to Calisto:
     To give him hope and assure him remedy;
     For long hope to the heart much trouble will do.
     Wherefore to the effect thereof I will hie.
SEM. Peace, for methinketh Calisto is nigh.


CAL. Parmeno.
PAR. What say you?
CAL. Wottest who is here?
     Sempronio! that reviveth my cheer.
PAR. It is Sempronio, with that old bearded whore.
     Be ye they my master so sore fordoth long?[45]
CAL. Peace, I say, Parmeno, or go out of the door!
     Comest thou to hinder me? then dost thou me wrong;
     I pray thee help for to make me more strong,
     To win this woman: else, gods forbode,
     She hath equal power of my life under God.
PAR. Wherefore to her do ye make such sorrow?
     Think ye in her arse there is any shame?
     The contrary who telleth you, be never his borrow;
     For as much she glorifieth her in her name,
     To be called an old whore, as ye would of fame.
     Dogs in the street and children at every door
     Bark and cry out, There goeth an old whore!
CAL. How knowest all this? dost thou know her?
PAR. Yea that [I do time long][46] agone
     For a false whore, the devil overthrow her!
     My mother, when she died, gave me to her alone,
     And a starker bawd was there never none.
     For that I know I dare well say:[47]
     Let see the contrary who can lay.
     I have been at her house and seen her trinkets
     For painting; things innumerable;
     Squalms and balms; I wonder where she gets
     The things that she hath with folks for to fable,
     And to all bawdry ever agreeable.
     Yet worse than that, which will never be laft,
     Not only a bawd, but a witch by her craft.
CEL. Say what thou wilt, son, spare not me.
SEM. I pray thee, Parmeno, leave thy malicious envy.
                                  [Calisto goes aside.
PAR. Hark hither, Sempronio, here is but we three;
     In that I have said canst thou deny?
GAL. Come hence, Parmeno, I love not this, I;
     And, good mother, grieve you not, I you pray.
     My mind I shall show now, hark what I say.
     O notable woman, O ancient virtue!
     O glorious hope of my desired intent!
     The end of my delectable hope to renew:
     My regeneration to this life present,
     Resurrection from death so excellent;
     Thou art above [all] other. I desire humbly
     To kiss thy hands, wherein lieth my remedy.
     But mine unworthiness maketh resistance;
     Yet worship I the ground that thou goest on,
     Beseeching thee, good woman, with most reverence
     On my pain with thy pity to look upon.
     Without thy comfort my life is gone;
     To revive my dead spirits thou may'st prefer me,
     With the words of thy mouth to make or mar me.
CEL. Sempronio, can I live with these bones,
     That thy master giveth me here for to eat?
     Words are but wind; therefore at once
     Bid him close his mouth, and to his purse get.
     For money maketh [the] merchant, that must jet.[48]
     I have heard his words, but where be his deeds?
     For without money with me nothing speeds. [Aside.
CAL. What saith she, Sempronio? alas, my heart bleeds,
     That I with you, good woman, mistrust should be.
SEM. Sir, she thinketh that money all thing feeds.
CAL. Then come on, Sempronio, I pray thee, with me;
     And tarry here, mother, awhile, I pray thee;
     For where of mistrust ye have me appealed,
     Have here my cloak, till your doubt be assoiled.
SEM. Now do ye well; for weeds among corn,
     Nor suspicions with friends, did never well.
     For[49] faithfulness of words turned to a scorn
     Maketh minds doubtful, good reason doth tell.
CAL. Come on, Sempronio, thou givest me good counsel.
SEM. Go ye before, and I shall wait you upon.
     Farewell, mother, we will come again anon.
PAR. How say ye, my lords? see ye not this smoke,
     In my master's eyes that they do cast?
     The one hath his chain, the other his cloak;
     And I am sure they will have all at last.
     Ensample may be by this that is passed,
     How servants be deceitful in their master's folly,
     Nothing but for lucre is all their bawdry. [Aside.
CEL. It pleaseth me, Parmeno, that we together
     May speak, whereby thou may'st see I love thee,
     Yet undeserved[50] now thou comest hither;
     Whereof I care not; but virtue warneth me
     To flee temptation, and follow charity:
     To do good against ill, and so I read thee,
     Sempronio, and I will help thy necessities.
     And in token now that it shall so be,
     I pray thee among us let us have a song.
     For where harmony is, there is amity.
PAR. What, an old woman sing?
CEL. Why not among?
     I pray thee no longer the time prolong.
PAR. Go to; when thou wilt, I am ready.
CEL. Shall I begin?
PAR. Yea, but take not too high. [Cantant.
CEL. How say ye now by this, little young fool?[51]
     For the third part Sempronio we must get.
     After that thy master shall come to school
     To sing the fourth part, that his purse shall sweat;
     For I see craftly the song can set.
     Though thy master be hoarse, his purse shall sing clear,
     And taught to solf,[52] that woman's flesh is dear.
     How say'st to this, thou praty[53] Parmeno?
     Thou knowest not the world nor no delights therein:
     Dost understand me? in faith, I trow no,
     Thou art young enough the game to begin;
     Thy master hath waded himself so far in,
     And to bring him out lieth not in me, old poor—
PAR. Thou shouldst say it lieth not in me, old whore.
CEL. Ah, whoreson, a shame take such a knave!
     How darest thou with me, thou boy, be so bold?
PAR. Because such knowledge of thee I have.
CEL. Why, who art?
PAR. Parmeno, son to Albert the old;
     I dwelt with thee by the river, where wine was sold,
     And thy mother, I trow, hight Claudena.
     That a wild-fire bren thee, Celestina!
CEL. But thy mother was as old a whore as I.
     Come hither, thou little fool, let me see thee:
     Ah, it is even he, by our blessed lady!
     What, little urchin, hast forgotten me?
     When thou layest at my bed's-feet, how merry were we!
PAR. Ah, thou old matron,[54] it were alms thou were dead!
     How wouldest thou pluck me up to thy bed's head,
     And embrace me hard unto thy belly!
     And for thou smelled'st oldly, I ran from thee.
CEL. A shameful whoreson! fie upon thee, fie, fie!
     Come hither, and now shortly I charge thee,
     That all this foolish speaking thou let be.
     Leave wantonness of youth; then shalt thou do well;
     Follow the doctrine of thy elders and counsel.
     To whom thy parents (on whose souls God have mercy!)
     In pain of cursing bade thee be obedient.
     In pain whereof, I command thee straitly,
     Too much in mastership put not thine intent:
     No trust is in them, if thine own be spent.
     Masters nowadays covet to bring about
     All for themselves, and let their servants go without.
     Thy master, men say, and as I think he be,
     But light care ich[55] not—who come to his service;
     Fair words shall not lack, but small rewards, trust me.
     Make Sempronio thy friend in any wise;
     For he can handle him in the best guise.
     Keep this, and for thy profit: tell it to none;
     But look that Sempronio and thou be one.
PAR. Mother Celestine, I wot not what ye mean;
     Calisto is my master, and so I will take him,
     And as for riches I defy it clean;
     For whosoever with wrong rich doth make him,
     Sooner than he gat it, it will forsake him.
     I love to live in joyful poverty,
     And to serve my master with truth and honesty.
CEL. Truth and honesty be riches of the name;
     But surety of wealth[56] is to have riches,
     And after that for to get him good fame.
     By report of friends, this is truth, doubtless;
     Then no such manner friend can I express
     As Sempronio, for both your profits to speed;
     Which lieth in my hands now, if ye be agreed.
     O Parmeno, what a life may we endure!
     Sempronio loveth the daughter of Eliso—
PAR. And who? Arusa?
CEL. Likest her?
PAR. Peradventure?
CEL. I shall get her to thee, that shall I do.
PAR. Nay, mother Celestine, I purpose not so.
     A man should be conversant, I hear tell,
     With them that be ill, and think to do well.
     Sempronio, his ensample shall not make me
     Better nor worse; nor his faults will I hide;
     But, mother Celestine, a question to thee—
     Is not sin anon in one espied?
     That is drowned in delight, how should he provide
     Against virtue to save his honesty?
CEL. Like a child without wisdom thou answerest me.
     Without company mirth can have none estate:
     Use no sloth; nature abhorreth idleness,
     Which leseth delight to nature appropriate.
     In sensual causes delight is chief mistress;
     Specially recounting love's business.
     To say thus doth she: the time thus they pass,
     And such manner they use, and thus they kiss and bass;
     And thus they meet and embrace together.
     What speech, what grace, what plays is between them!
     Where is she? there she goeth; let us see whither:
     Now pleased, now froward; now mum, now hem!
     Strike up, minstrel, with saws of love, the old problem.
     Sing sweet songs; now jousts and tourney.
     Of new inventions what conceits find they?
     Now she goeth to mass; to-morrow she cometh out.
     Behold her better; yonder goeth a cuckold.
     I left her alone: she cometh: turn about!—
     Lo thus, Parmeno, thou mayest behold
     Friends will talk together, as I have told.
     Wherefore perceive thou, that I say truly,
     Never can be delight without company.

Hic iterum intrat CALISTO.

CAL. Mother, as I promised to assoil thy doubt,
     Here I give thee an hundred pieces of gold.
CEL. Sir, I promise you I shall bring it about,
     All thing to purpose, even as ye would;
     For your reward I will do as I should.
     Be merry, fear nothing, content ye shall be.
CAL. Then, mother, farewell; be diligent, I pray thee.
                                            [Exit Celestine.
     How sayest, Sempronio, have I done well?
SEM. Yea, sir, in my mind, and most according.
CAL. Then wilt thou do after my counsel?
     After this old woman will thou be hieing,
     To remember and haste her in everything.
SEM. Sir, I am content, as ye command me.
CAL. Then go, and bid Parmeno come, I pray thee.
                                            [Exit Sempronio.
     Now God be their guides! the posts[57] of my life,
     My relief from death, the ambassadors of my wealth!
     My hope, my hap; my quietness, my strife;
     My joy, my sorrow; my sickness, my health.
     The hope of this old woman; my heart telleth
     That comfort shall come shortly, as I intend.
     Or else come, death, and make of me an end.


PAR. In faith, it maketh no force nor matter mich,
CAL. What sayest, Parmeno, what sayest to me?
PAR. Marry, I say plainly, that yonder old witch
     And Sempronio together will undo thee.
CAL. Ah, ill-tongued wretch, will ye not see?
     Thinkest thou, lurden, thou handlest me fair?
     Why, knave, wouldest thou put me in despair?
                                           [Exit Calisto.
PAR. Lo, sirs, my master, ye see, is angry;
     But this it is, tell fools for their profit,
     Or warn them for their wealth, it is but folly;
     For strike them on the heel, and as much wit
     Shall come forth at their forehead to perceive it.
     Go thy way, Calisto, for on my charge
     Thy thrift is sealed up, though thou be at large.
     Oh, how unhappy I am to be true;
     For other men win by falsehood and flattery:
     I lose for my truth: the world doth so ensue,
     Truth is put back, and taken for folly.
     Therefore now I will change my copy.
     If I had done, as Celestine bad me,
     Calisto to his mission still would have had me.
     This giveth me warning from henceforward
     How to deal with him for all thing as he will:
     I will [be] the same forward or backward.
     I will go straight to him, and follow him still:
     Say as he saith, be it good or ill;
     And sith these bawds get good provoking lechery,
     I trust flattery shall speed as well as bawdry.

Hic exeat PARMENO et intret MELIBAEA.

MEL. I pray you, came this woman here never sin'?[58]
     In faith, to enter here I am half adrad;
     And yet why so? I may boldly come in:
     I am sure from you all I shall not be had.
     But, Jesus, Jesus, be these men so mad
     On women, as they say? how should it be?
     It is but fables and lies, ye may trust me.


CEL. God be here!
MEL. Who is there?
CEL. Will ye buy any thread?
MEL. Yea, marry, good mother, I pray you come in.
CEL. Christ save you, fair mistress, and God be your speed;
     And health be to you and your kin;
     And Mary, God's mother, that blessed virgin,
     Preserve and prosper your womanly personage,
     And well to enjoy your youth and pucellage!
     For that time pleasures are most escheved;[59]
     And age is the hospital of all manner sickness,
     The resting-place of all thought unrelieved;
     The sport of time, past the end of all quickness:
     Neighbour to death; a dry stock without sweetness:
     Discomfort, disease all age alloweth;
     A tree without sap, that small charge boweth.
MEL. I marvel, mother, ye speak so much ill
     Of age, that all folk desire effectuously.
CEL. They desire hurt for themselves as all of will;
     And the cause why they desire to come thereby,
     Is for to live; for death is so loathly.
     He that is sorrowful would live to be sorrier,
     And he that is old would live to be older.
     Fair damsel, who can show all the hurts of age?
     His weariness, feebleness, his discontenting;
     His childishness, frowardness of his rage;
     Wrinkling in the face, lack of sight and hearing;
     Hollowness of mouth, fall of teeth, faint of going;
     And, worst of all, possessed with poverty,
     And the limbs arrested with debility.
MEL. Mother, ye have taken great pain for age,
     Would ye not return to the beginning?
CEL. Fools are they that are past their passage,
     To begin again, which be at the ending;
     For better is possession than the desiring.
MEL. I desire to live longer; do I well, or no?
CEL. That ye desire well, I think not so;
     For as soon goeth to market the lamb's fell
     As the sheep's;[60] none so old but may live a year;
     And there is none so young but, ye wot well,
     May die in a day. Then no advantage is here
     Between youth and age; the matter is clear.
MEL. With thy fabling and thy reasoning, i-wis,
     I am beguiled; but I have known thee ere this:
     Art not Celestine, that dwelleth by the river side?
CEL. Yea, forsooth.
MEL. Indeed, age hath arrayed[61] thee!
     That thou art she, now can scant be espied.
     Me thinketh by thy favour thou shouldest be she:
     Thou art sore changed, thou mayest believe me.
CEL. Fair maiden, keep thou well this time of youth;
     But beauty shall pass at the last, this is truth:
     Yet I am not so old as ye judge me.
MEL. Good mother, I joy much of thine accointenance,[62]
     And thy motherly reasons right well please me.
     And now I thank thee here for thy pastance.
     Farewell, till another time, that hap may chance,
     Again that we two may meet together.
     Mayhap ye have business, I know not whither.
CEL. O angelic image! O heart so precious!
     Oh, how thou speakest, it rejoiceth me to hear.
     Knowest thou not by the divine mouth gracious,
     That against the infernal fiend Lucifer
     We should not only live by bread here,
     But by our good works, wherein I take some pain:
     If ye know not my mind now, all is in vain.
MEL. Show me, mother, hardily all thy necessity,
     And, if I can, I shall provide the remedy.
CEL. My necessity! nay, God wot, it is not for me:
     As for mine, I left it at home surely.
     To eat when I will, and drink when I am dry;
     And I thank God ever one penny hath been mine,
     To buy bread when I list, and to have four for wine.
     Before I was widow, I cared never for it,
     For I had wine enough of mine own to sell;
     And with a toast in wine by the fire I could sit,
     With two dozen sops the colic to quell;
     But now with me it is not so well,
     For I have nothing but that is brought me
     In a pitcher-pot of quarts scant three.
     Thus I pray God help them that be needy;
     For I speak not for myself alone,
     But as well for other, however speed I.
     The infirmity is not mine, though that I groan,
     It is for another that I make moan,
     And not for myself: it is another way,
     But what I must moan, where I dare not say.
MEL. Say what thou wilt, and for whom thou lest.[63]
CEL. Now, gracious damsel, I thank you then,
     That to give audience ye be so prest,
     With liberal readiness to me old woman,
     Which giveth me boldness to show what I can
     Of one that lieth in danger by sickness
     Remitting his languor to your gentleness.
MEL. What meanest thou, I pray thee, gentle mother?
     Go forth with thy demand, as thou hast done.
     On the one part thou provokest me to anger,
     And on the other side to compassion:
     I know not how thy answer to fashion.
     The words which thou speakest in my presence
     Be so misty, I perceive not thy sentence.
CEL. I said I left one in danger of sickness,
     Drawing to death for ought that I can see:
     Now choose you or no to be murderess,
     Or revive him with a word to come from thee?
MEL. I am happy, if my word be of such necessity,
     To help any Christian man, or else gods forbid:
     To do a good deed is liking to God,
     For good deeds to good men be allowable,
     And specially to needy above all other;
     And ever to good deeds ye shall find me agreeable,
     Trusting ye will exhort me to none other.
     Therefore, fear not, speak your petition, good mother,
     For they that may heal sick folk, and do refuse them,
     Surely of their death they cannot excuse them.
CEL. Full well and graciously the case ye consider,
     For I never believed that God in vain
     Would give you such countenance and beauty together,
     But charity therewith to relieve folk in pain;
     And as God hath given you, so give him again.
     For folks be not made for themselves only,
     For then they should live like beasts all rudely,
     Among which beasts yet some be pitiful,[64]
     The unicorn humbleth himself to a maid;[65]
     And a dog in all his power ireful,
     Let a man fall to ground, his anger is delayed:[66]
     Thus by nature pity is conveyed.
     The cock, when he scrapeth, and happeth meat to find,
     Calleth for his hens: lo! see the gentle kind!
     Should human creatures then be of cruelness?
     Should not they to their neighbours show charity,
     And specially to them wrapped in sickness,
     When[67] they that may heal them cause the infirmity?
MEL. Mother, without delay, for God's sake show me,
     I pray thee heartily, without more praying,
     Where is the patient that so is paining.[68]
CEL. Fair damsel, thou mayest well have knowledge hereto:
     That in this city is a young knight,
     And of clear lineage, called Calisto,
     Whose life and body is all in thee, I plight.
     The pelican, to show nature's right,
     Feedeth his birds,—methinketh I should not preach thee!
     Thou wotest what I mean, as nature should teach thee.
MEL. Ha, ha, is this the intent of thy conclusion?
     Tell me no more of this matter, I charge thee.
     Is this the dolent[69] for whom thou makest petition?
     Art thou come hither thus to deceive me?
     Thou bearded dame, shameless thou seemest to be!
     Is this he that hath the passion of foolishness?
     Thinkest, thou ribald, I am such an one of lewdness?
     It is not said, I see well, in vain:
     The tongue of man and woman worst members be;
     Thou brute bawd, thou great enemy to honesty, certain;
     Cause of secret errors: Jesu, Jesu, benedicite
     Some good body take this old thief from me,
     That thus would me deceive with her false sleight!
     Go out of my sight now! get thee hence straight!
CEL. In an evil hour came I hither, I may say;
     I would I had broken my legs twain.
MEL. Go hence, thou brothel, go hence, in the devil way!
     Bidest thou yet to increase my pain?
     Wilt thou make me of this fool to be fain?
     To give him life, to make him merry,
     And to myself death, to make me sorry?
     Wilt thou bear away profit for my perdition,
     And make me lese the house of my father,
     To win the house of such an old matron
     As thou art, shamefullest of all other?
     Thinkest thou that I understand not, thou false mother,
     Thy hurtful message, thy false subtle ways?
     Make amends to God, thou livest too long days!
     Answer, thou traitress, how darest be so bold?
CEL. The fear of thee maketh me so dismayed,
     That the blood of my body is almost cold.
     Alas! fair maiden, what hast thou said
     To me poor widow? why am I denied?
     Hear my conclusion, which is of honesty;
     Without cause ye blame this gentleman and me.
MEL. I say I will hear no more of that fool:
     Was he not here with me even now?
     Thou old witch, thou bringest me in great dole:
     Ask him what answer he had of me, and how
     I took his demand, as now know mayest thou,
     More showing is but lost, where no mercy can be.
     Thus I answered him, and thus I answer thee.
CEL. The more strange she maketh, the gladder am I:
     There is no tempest, that ever doth endure. [Aside.
MEL. What say'st thou, what say'st, thou shameful enemy?
     Speak out.
CEL. So 'feard I am of your displeasure;
     Your anger is so great, I perceive it sure,
     And your patience is in so great an heat,
     That for woe and fear I both weep and sweat.
MEL. Little is the heat in comparison to say
     To the great boldness of thy demeaning.
CEL. Fair maiden, yet one word, now I you pray:
     Appease with patience, and bear my saying.
     It is for a prayer, mistress, my demanding,
     That is said ye have of Saint Appoline,
     For the toothache, whereof this man is in pain.
     And the girdle there thou wearest about thee,
     And so many holy relics it hath touched,
     That this knight thinketh his boot thou may'st be.
     Therefore let thy pity now be avouched;
     For my heart for fear like a dog is couched.
     The delight of vengeance whoso doth use,
     Pity at their need shall them refuse.
MEL. If this be true, that thou say'st to me now,
     Mine heart is lightened, perceiving the case:
     I would be content well, if I wist how,
     To bring this sick knight unto some solace.
CEL. Fair damsel, to thee be health and grace:
     For if this knight and ye were acquainted both two,
     Ye would not judge him the man that ye do.
     By God and by my soul, in him is no melancholy:
     With grace endued in freedom as Alexander,
     In strength as Hector, in countenance merry:
     Gracious, envy in him reigned never.
     Of noble blood, as thou knowest, and if ye ever
     Saw him armed, he seemeth a Saint George.
     Rather than to be made in nature's forge,
     An angel thou would'st judge him, I make a vow.
     The gentle Narcissus was never so fair,
     That was enamoured on his own shadow;
     Wherefore, fair maid, let thy pity repair:
     Let mercy be thy mother, and thou her heir.
     This knight, whom I come for, never ceaseth.
     But crieth out of pain, that still increaseth.
MEL. How long time, I pray thee, hath it holden him?
CEL. I think he be twenty-four years of age;
     I saw him born, and holp for to fold him.
MEL. I demand thee not thereof: thine answer assuage;
     I ask thee how long in this painful rage
     He hath lain?
CEL. Of truth, fair maiden, as he says,
     He hath be in this agony this eight days.
     But he seemeth, [as] he had lain this seven year.
MEL. Oh, how it grieveth me the ill of my patient,
     Knowing his agony and thy innocency here.
     Unto mine anger thou hast made resistance,
     Wherefore thy demand I grant in recompense.
     Have here my girdle: the prayer is not ready;
     To-morrow it shall be: come again secretly.
     And, mother, of these words passed between us
     Show nothing thereof unto this knight,
     Lest he would report me cruel and furious.
     I trust thee now be true, for thoughts be light.
CEL. I marvel greatly thou dost me so atwite
     Of the doubt, that thou hast of my secretness:
     As secret as thyself I shall be doubtless.
     And to Calisto with this girdle Celestina
     Shall go, and his leady heart make whole and light.
     For Gabriel to our lady with Ave Maria
     Came never gladder than I shall to this knight.
     Calisto, how wilt thou now sit upright?
     I have showed thy water to thy physician:
     Comfort thyself: the field is half-won. [Aside.
MEL. Mother, he is much beholden unto thee.
CEL. Fair maiden, for the mercy thou hast done to us
     This knight and I both thy beadfolks shall be.
MEL. Mother, if need be, I will do more than thus.
CEL. It shall be needful to do so and righteous;
     For this thus begun must needs have an end,
     Which never can be without ye condescend.
MEL. Well, mother, to-morrow is a new day:[70]
     I shall perform that I have you promised.
     Show to this sick knight in all that I may.
     Bid him be bold in all things honest,
     And though he to me as yet be but a guest,
     If my word or deed his health may support,
     I shall not fail; and thus bid him take comfort.
                                    [Exit Melibaea.
CEL. Now, Christ comfort thee, and keep thee in thy need!
     Now say you, now is not this matter carried clear?
     Cannot old Celestina her matter speed?
     A thing not well handled is not worth a bean.
     Now know ye by the half tale what the whole doth mean:
     These women at the first be angry and furious:
     Fair weather cometh after storms tempestuous.
     And now to Calisto I will me dress,
     Which lieth now languishing in great pain,
     And show him that he is not remediless;
     And bear him this to make him glad and fain;
     And handle him, so that ye shall see plain,
     That I am well worthy to bear the name,
     For to be called a noble arch dame. [Exit.


     O marvellous God, what a dream had I to-night!
     Most terrible vision to report and hear!
     I had never none such, nor none yearthly wight.
     Alas! when I think thereon, I quake for fear;
     It was of Melibaea, my daughter dear.
     God send me good tidings of her shortly,
     For, till I hear from her, I cannot be merry.


MEL. O dear father, nothing may me more displease,
     Nothing may do me more annoyance,
     Nothing may do me greater disease,
     Than to see you, father, in any perturbance,
     For me chiefly, or for any other chance.
     But for me I pray you not to be sad,
     For I have no cause but to be merry and glad.
DAN. O sweet Melibaea, my daughter dear,
     I am replete with joy and felicity,
     For that ye be now in my presence here,
     As I perceive, in joy and prosperity;
     From death to life me thinketh it reviveth me;
     For the fearful dream that I had lately.
MEL. What dream, sir, was that, I pray you heartily?
DAN. Doubtless, me thought that I was walking
     In a fair orchard, where were places two:
     The one was a hot bath, wholesome and pleasing
     To all people that did repair thereto,
     To wash them and clean them from sickness also;
     The other a pit of foul stinking water;
     Shortly they died, all that therein did enter.
     And unto this wholesome bath methought that ye
     In the right path were coming apace,
     But before that methought that I did see
     A foul, rough bitch—a prick-eared cur it was—
     Which straking her body along on the grass,
     And with her tail licked her so, that she
     Made herself a fair spaniel to be.
     This bitch then (methought) met you in the way,
     Leaping and fawning upon you apace,
     And round about you did run and play,
     Which made you then disport and solace;
     Which liked you so well, that in short space
     The way to the hot bath anon ye left it,
     And took the straight way to the foul pit.
     And ever ye looked continually
     Upon that same bitch, and so much her eyed,
     That ye came to the foul pit-brink suddenly,
     Like to have fallen in, and to have been destroyed,
     Which when I saw, anon then I cried,
     Starting in my sleep, and therewith did awake;
     That yet for fear, methink, my body doth quake.
     Was not this a fearful dream and marvellous?
     I pray you, daughter, what think ye now to this?

Hic MELIBAEA certo tempore non loquitur, sed vultu lamentabili respicit.

     Why speak ye not? why be ye now so studious?
     Is there anything that hath chanced you amiss?
     I am your father: tell me what it is.
MEL. Alas, now your dream, which ye have expressed,
     Hath made me all pensive and sore abashed.
DAN. I pray you, dear daughter, now tell me why?
MEL. Sir, I know the cause of your vision,
     And what your dreadful dream doth signify.
DAN. Thereof would I fain now have knowlition.
MEL. Alas, dear father, alas, what have I done?
     Offended God as a wretch unworthy!
DAN. Wherein? despair not; God is full of mercy.

Et genuflectat.

MEL. Then on my knees now I fall down,
     And of God chiefly asking forgiveness;
     And next of you; for into oblivion
     I have put your doctrine and lessons doubtless.
DAN. Fear not, daughter, I am not merciless;
     I trust ye have not so greatly offended,
     But that right well it may be amended.
MEL. Ye have fostered me up full lovingly
     In virtuous discipline, which is the right path
     To all grace and virtue; which doth signify
     By your dream the fair, pleasant, wholesome bath:
     The foul pit, whereof ye dreamed, which hath
     Destroyed so many, betokeneth vice and sin,
     In which, alas, I had almost fallen in.
     The prick-eared cur and the foul bitch,
     Which made herself so smooth and fair to see,
     Betokeneth an old quean, a bawdy witch,
     Called Celestina, that woe might she be!
     Which with her fair words aye so persuaded me,
     That she had almost brought me hereunto,
     To fulfil the foul lust of Calisto.
DAN. Alas, dear daughter, I taught you a lesson,
     Which way ye should attain unto virtue:
     That was every morning to say an orison,
     Praying God for grace all vice to eschew.
MEL. O dear father, that lesson I have kept true;
     Which preserved me, for though I did consent
     In mind, yet had he never his intent.
DAN. The virtue of that prayer, I see well one thing,
     Hath preserved you from the shame of that sin;
     But because ye were somewhat consenting,
     Ye have offended God greatly therein;
     Wherefore, daughter, ye must now begin
     Humbly to beseech God of His mercy
     For to forgive you your sin and misery.
MEL. O blessed Lord, and father celestial,
     Whose infinite mercy no tongue can express,
     Though I be a sinner, wretch of wretches all,
     Yet of thy great mercy grant me forgiveness.
     Full sore I repent, my sin I confess:
     Intending henceforth never to offend more:
     Now humbly I beseech thy mercy therefore.
DAN. Now that is well said, mine own fair daughter;
     Stand up therefore, for I know verily,
     That God is good and merciful ever
     To all sinners which will ask mercy,
     And be repentant and in will clearly
     To sin no more. He of His great goodness
     Will grant them therefore His grace and forgiveness.
     Lo, here ye may see, what a thing it is
     To bring up young people virtuously,
     In good custom; for grace doth never miss
     To them that use good prayers daily,
     Which hath preserved this maid undoubtedly,
     And kept her from actual deed of shame:
     Brought her to grace: preserved her good name.
     Wherefore, ye virgins and fair maidens all,
     Unto this example now take good heed;
     Serve God daily; the sooner ye shall
     To honesty and goodness no doubt proceed;
     And God shall send you ever his grace at need
     To withstand all evil temptations,
     That shall come to you by any occasions.
     And ye, fathers, mothers, and other, which be
     Rulers of young folks, your charge is doubtless
     To bring them up virtuously, and to see
     Them occupied still in some good business;
     Not in idle pastime or unthriftiness,
     But to teach them some art, craft, or learning,
     Whereby to be able to get their living.
     The bringers-up of youth in this region
     Have done great harm because of their negligence,
     Not putting them to learning nor occupations:
     So, when they have no craft nor science,
     And come to man's state, ye see the experience,
     That many of them compelled be
     To beg or steal by very necessity.
     But if there be therefore any remedy,
     The heads and rulers must first be diligent
     To make good laws, and execute them straitly,
     Upon such masters that be negligent.
     Alas! we make no laws, but punishment,
     When men have offended. But laws evermore
     Would be made to prevent the cause before.
     If the cause of the mischiefs were seen before,
     Which by conjecture to fall be most likely,
     And good laws and ordinance made therefore
     To put away the cause, that were best remedy.
     What is the cause, that there be so many
     Thefts and robberies? It is because men be
     Driven thereto by need and poverty.
     And what is the very cause of that need?
     Because they labour not for their living;
     And truth is, they cannot well labour indeed,
     Because in youth of their idle upbringing.
     But this thing shall never come to reforming,
     But the world continually shall be nought,
     As long as young people be evil up-brought.
     Wherefore the eternal God, that reigneth on high,
     Send his merciful grace and influence
     To all governors, that they circumspectly
     May rule their inferiors by such prudence,
     To bring them to virtue and due obedience,
     And that they and we all by his great mercy
     May be partners of his blessed glory.




For a list of the editions, see Hazlitt_ ut infrâ. A facsimile of the title-page of one of the editions by Skot is here given. Neither of the editions by Pynson has the title.


This morality, or moral play, was published early in the reign of Henry VIII.,[72] and is given from a black-letter copy,[73] preserved in the library of the church of Lincoln. It was communicated to the editor with the greatest politeness by the Rev. Dr Stinton, chancellor of that church. The design of it was to inculcate great reverence for old mother church and her Popish superstitions.

As the most ingenious Dr Percy has given an analysis of this and the following moralities, they are, with his permission, prefixed to the present edition:—"The subject of this piece is the summoning of man out of the world by death; and its moral, that nothing will then avail him but a well-spent life and the comforts of religion. This subject and moral are opened in a monologue spoken by the Messenger (for that was the name generally given by our ancestors to the prologue on their rude stage). Then God is represented, who, after some general complaints on the degeneracy of mankind, calls for Death, and orders him to bring before his tribunal Everyman, for so is called the personage who represents the human race. Everyman appears, and receives the summons with all the marks of confusion and terror. When Death is withdrawn, Everyman applies for relief in this distress to Fellowship, Kindred, Goods, or Riches, but they successfully renounce and forsake him. In this disconsolate state he betakes himself to Good Deeds, who, after upbraiding him with his long neglect of her, introduces him to her sister Knowledge, and she leads him to the holy man Confession, who appoints him penance; this he inflicts upon himself on the stage, and then withdraws to receive the sacraments of the priest. On his return he begins to wax faint; and, after Strength, Beauty, Discretion, and Five Wits, have all taken their final leave of him, gradually expires on the stage; Good Deeds still accompanying him to the last. Then an angel descends to sing his requiem; and the epilogue is spoken by a person called Doctor, who recapitulates the whole, and delivers the moral.


'This moral men may have in mind;
Ye hearers, take it of worth old and young,
And forsake pride, for he deceiveth you in the end,
And remember Beauty, Five Wits, Strength, and Discretion.
They all at the last do Everyman forsake;
Save his Good Deeds there doth he take:
But beware, and they be small,
Before God he hath no help at all.'

"From this short analysis it may be observed that Everyman is a grave, solemn piece, not without some rude attempts to excite terror and pity, and therefore may not improperly be referred to the class of tragedy. It is remarkable that in this old simple drama the fable is conducted upon the strictest model of the Greek tragedy. The action is simply one, the time of action is that of the performance, the scene is never changed, nor the stage ever empty. Everyman, the hero of the piece, after his first appearance, never withdraws, except when he goes out to receive the sacrament, which could not well be exhibited in public; and during this, Knowledge descants on the excellence and power of the priesthood, somewhat after, the manner of the Greek chorus. And, indeed, except in the circumstance of Everyman's expiring on the stage, the 'Samson Agonistes' of Milton is hardly formed on a severer plan."[74]

The woodcuts accompanying this and the succeeding piece (Hickescorner), occur in the original editions by Skot, and presumably were also in those by Pynson.







I Pray you all give your audience,
And hear this matter with reverence,
By figure a moral play;
The Summoning of Everyman called it is,
That of our lives and ending shows,
How transitory we be all day:
This matter is wonders[75] precious,
But the intent of it is more gracious,
And sweet to bear away.
The story saith: man, in the beginning
Look well, and take good heed to the ending,
Be you never so gay:
Ye think sin in the beginning full sweet,
Which in the end causeth thy soul to weep,
When the body lieth in clay.
Here shall you see how Fellowship and Jollity,
Both Strength, Pleasure, and Beauty,
Will fade from thee as flower in May;
For ye shall hear, how our Heaven King
Calleth Everyman to a general reckoning:
Give audience, and hear what he doth say.

GOD[76] speaketh.

I perceive here in my Majesty,
How that all creatures be to me unkind,
Living without dread in worldly prosperity:
Of ghostly sight the people be so blind,
Drowned in sin, they knew me not for their God;
In worldly riches is all their mind,
They fear not my rightwiseness, the sharp rod;
My law that I showed, when I for them died,
They forget clean, and shedding of my blood red;
I hanged between two, it cannot be denied;
To get them life I suffered to be dead;
I healed their feet, with thorns hurt was my head:
I could do no more than I did truly,
And now I see the people do clean forsake me:
They use the seven deadly sins damnable,
As pride, covetise, wrath, and lechery,
Now in the world be made commendable:
And thus they leave, of angels the heavenly company,
Every man liveth so after his own pleasure,
And yet of their life they be nothing sure:
I see the more that I them forbear
The worse they be from year to year;
All that liveth appaireth[77] fast,
Therefore I will in all the haste
Have a reckoning of every man's person;
For, and I leave the people thus alone
In their life and wicked tempests,
Verily they will become much worse than beasts;
For now one would by envy another up eat;
Charity they do all clean forget.
I hoped well that every man
In my glory should make his mansion,
And thereto I had them all elect;
But now I see, like traitors deject,
They thank me not for the pleasure that I to them meant,
Nor yet for their being that I them have lent;
I proffered the people great multitude of mercy,
And few there be that asketh it heartly;
They be so cumbered with worldly riches,
That needs on them I must do justice,
On every man living without fear.
Where art thou, Death, thou mighty messenger?


Almighty God, I am here at your will,
Your commandment to fulfil.


Go thou to Everyman,
And show him in my name
A pilgrimage he must on him take,
Which he in no wise may escape;
And that he bring with him a sure reckoning
Without delay or any tarrying.


Lord, I will in the world go run over all,
And cruelly out-search both great and small;
Every man will I beset that liveth beastly,
Out of God's laws, and dreadeth not folly:
He that loveth riches I will strike with my dart,
His sight to blind, and fro heaven to depart,
Except that alms be his good friend,
In hell for to dwell, world without end.
Lo, yonder I see Everyman walking:
Full little he thinketh on my coming:
His mind is on fleshly lusts and his treasure;
And great pain it shall cause him to endure
Before the Lord, heaven's King.
Everyman, stand still; whither art thou going
Thus gaily? hast thou thy Maker forgot?


Why askest thou? Wouldest thou wit?


Yea, sir, I will show you; in great haste I am sent to thee
Fro God out of his Majesty.


What! sent to me?


Yea, certainly:
Though you have forgot him here,
He thinketh on thee in the heavenly sphere;
As, ere we depart, thou shalt know.


What desireth God of me?


That shall I show thee;
A reckoning he will needs have
Without any lenger respite.


To give a reckoning longer leisure I crave;
This blind matter troubleth my wit.


On thee thou must take a long journey,
Therefore thy book of count with thee thou bring,
For turn again thou cannot by no way:
And look thou be sure of thy reckoning;
For before God thou shalt answer and show
Thy many bad deeds, and good but a few,
How thou hast spent thy life, and in what wise,
Before the chief lord of paradise.
Have ado that[78] we were in that way,
For, wit thou well, thou shalt make none attorney.


Full unready I am such reckoning to give:
I know thee not; what messenger art thou?


I am Death, that no man dreadeth;
For every man I 'rrest, and no man spareth,
For it is God's commandment
That all to me should be obedient.


O Death, thou comest, when I had thee least in mind;
In thy power it lieth me to save;
Yet of my good will I give thee, if thou will be kind,
Yea, a thousand pounds shalt thou have,
And [thou] defer this matter till another day.


Everyman, it may not be by no way;
I set not by gold, silver, nor riches,
Ne by pope, emperor, king, duke, ne princes;
For, and I would receive gifts great,
All the world I might get;
But my custom is clean contrary;
I give thee no respite, come hence, and not tarry.


Alas! shall I have no lenger respite?
I may say Death giveth no warning:
To think on thee it maketh my heart sick;
For all unready is my book of reckoning:
But, [for] twelve year and I might have abiding,
My counting-book I would make so clear,
That my reckoning I should not need to fear.
Wherefore, Death, I pray thee for God's mercy,
Spare me, till I be provided of remedy.


Thee availeth not to cry, weep, and pray:
But haste thee lightly, that thou wert gone this journey;
And prove thy friends, if thou can;
For, wit thou well, the tide abideth no man,
And in the world each living creature
For Adam's sin must die of nature.


Death, if I should this pilgrimage take,
And my reckoning surely make,
Show me, for Saint Charity,
Should I not come again shortly?


No, Everyman, and thou be once there,
Thou mayest never more come here,
Trust me verily.


O gracious God, in the high seat celestial,
Have mercy on me in this most need.
Shall I have no company from this vale terrestrial
Of mine acquaince,[79] that way me to lead?


Yea, if any be so hardy,
That would go with thee, and bear thee company:
Hie thee that thou were gone to God's magnificence,
Thy reckoning to give before his presence.
What, weenest thou thy life is given thee,
And thy worldly goods also?


I had ween'd so verily.


Nay, nay; it was but lend thee;
For, as soon as thou art gone,
Another awhile shall have it, and then go therefro,
Even as thou hast done.
Everyman, thou art mad, thou hast thy wits five,
And here on earth will not amend thy life;
For suddenly I do come.


O wretched caitiff, whither shall I flee,
That I might escape this endless sorrow!
Now, gentle Death, spare me till to-morrow,
That I may amend me
With good advisement.


Nay, thereto I will not consent,
Nor no man will I respite;
But to the heart suddenly I shall smite
Without any advisement.
And now out of thy sight I will me hie;
See thou make thee ready shortly,
For thou mayest say, this is the day
That no man living may 'scape away.


Alas! I may well weep with sighs deep:
Now have I no manner of company
To help me in my journey, and me to keep;
And also my writing is full unready.
How shall I do now for to excuse me!
I would to God I had never be got;[80]
To my soul a full great profit it had be;
For now I fear pains huge and great.
The time passeth: Lord, help, that all wrought!
For though I mourn, it availeth nought:
The day passeth, and is almost ago;
I wot not well what for to do.
To whom were I best my complaint to make?
What, and I to Fellowship thereof spake,
And showed him of this sudden chance!
For in him is all mine affiance;
We have in the world so many a day
Be good friends in sport and play,
I see him yonder certainly;
I trust that he will bear me company,
Therefore to him will I speak to ease my sorrow,
Well met, good Fellowship, and good morrow.

FELLOWSHIP speaketh.

Everyman, good morrow, by this day:
Sir, why lookest thou so piteously?
If anything be amiss, I pray thee, me say,
That I may help to remedy.


Yea, good Fellowship, yea;
I am in great jeopardy.


My true friend, show to me your mind;
I will not forsake thee, to my life's end,
In the way of good company.


That was well spoken and lovingly.


Sir, I must needs know your heaviness;
I have pity to see you in any distress:
If any have you wronged, ye shall revenged be,
Though I on the ground be slain for thee;
Though that I know before that I should die.


Verily, Fellowship, gramercy.


Tush! by thy thanks I set not a straw;
Show me your grief, and say no more.


If I my heart should to you break,
And then you to turn your mind fro me,
And would not me comfort, when ye hear me speak,
Then should I ten times sorrier be.


Sir, I say as I will do in deed.


Then be you a good friend at need;
I have found you true here-before.


And so ye shall evermore;
For in faith, and thou go to hell,
I will not forsake thee by the way.


Ye speak like a good friend, I believe you well;
I shall deserve it, and I may.


I speak of no deserving, by this day;
For he that will say and nothing do,
Is not worthy with good company to go:
Therefore show me the grief of your mind,
As to your friend most loving and kind.


I shall show you how it is:
Commanded I am to go a journey,
A long way, hard and dangerous;
And give a strait account without delay
Before the High Judge Adonai;[81]
Wherefore, I pray you, bear me company,
As ye have promised in this journey.


That is matter indeed; promise is duty;
But, and I should take such a voyage on me,
I know it well, it should be to my pain:
Also it make[s] me afeard certain.
But let us take counsel here as well as we can,
For your words would fear a strong man.


Why, ye said, if I had need,
Ye would me never forsake, quick ne dead,
Though it were to hell truly.


So I said certainly;
But such pleasures be set aside, the sooth to say,
And also if ye took such a journey,
When should we come again?


Nay, never again till the day of doom.


In faith, then will not I come there:
Who hath you these tidings brought?


Indeed, Death was with me here.


Now, by God that all hath bought,
If Death were the messenger,
For no man that is living to-day
I will not go that loath journey,
Not for the father that begat me.


Ye promised otherwise, pardy.


I wot well I said so truly,
And yet if thou wilt eat and drink, and make good cheer,
Or haunt to women the lusty company,
I would not forsake you, while the day is clear,
Trust me verily.


Yea, thereto ye would be ready;
To go to mirth, solace and play,
Your mind will sooner apply
Than to bear me company in my long journey.


Now, in good faith, I will not that way;
But, and thou will murder, or any man kill,
In that I will help thee with a good will.


Oh, that is a simple advice indeed:
Gentle fellows[hip,] help me in my necessity;
We have loved long, and now I need,
And now, gentle Fellowship, remember me.


Whether ye have loved me or no,
By Saint John, I will not with thee go.


Yet, I pray thee, take the labour, and do so much for me,
To bring me forward, for Saint Charity,
And comfort me, till I come without the town.


Nay, and thou would give me a new gown,
I will not a foot with thee go;
But, and thou had tarried, I would not have left thee so:
And as now God speed thee in thy journey!
For from thee I will depart, as fast as I may.


Whither away, Fellowship? will you forsake me?


Yea, by my fay; to God I betake thee.


Farewell, good Fellowship; for this my heart is sore:
Adieu for ever, I shall see thee no more.


In faith, Everyman, farewell now at the end;
For you I will remember that parting is mourning.


Alack! shall we thus depart in deed,
O Lady, help, without any more comfort,
Lo,[82] Fellowship forsaketh me in my most need:
For help in this world whither shall I resort?
Fellowship here before with me would merry make;
And now little sorrow for me doth he take.
It is said, in prosperity men friends may find,
Which in adversity be full unkind.
Now whither for succour shall I flee,
Sith that Fellowship hath forsaken me?
To my kinsmen I will truly,
Praying them to help me in my necessity;
I believe that they will do so;
For kind will creep, where it may not go.[83]
I will go say; for yonder I see them go:
Where be ye now, my friends and kinsmen [lo?]


Here be we now at your commandment:
Cousin, I pray thee, show us your intent
In any wise, and do not spare.


Yea, Everyman, and to us declare
If ye be disposed to go any whither;
For, wot ye well, we[84] will live and die together.


In wealth and woe we will with you hold;
For over his kin a man may be bold.


Gramercy, my friends and kinsmen kind,
Now shall I show you the grief of my mind.
I was commanded by a messenger,
That is an high king's chief officer;
He bad me go on pilgrimage to my pain,
But I know well I shall never come again:
Also I must give a reckoning strait;
For I have a great enemy that hath me in wait,
Which intendeth me for to hinder.


What account is that which ye must render?
That would I know.


Of all my works I must show,
How I have lived, and my days spent;
Also of ill deeds that I have used
In my time, sith life was me lent,
And of all virtues that I have refused:
Therefore, I pray you, go thither with me
To help to make mine account, for Saint Charity.


What, to go thither? Is that the matter?
Nay, Everyman, I had liever fast bread and water,
All this five year and more.


Alas, that ever I was bore!
For now shall I never be merry,
If that you forsake me.


Ah, sir! what, ye be a merry man!
Take good heart to you, and make no moan.
But one thing I warn you, by Saint Anne,
As for me ye shall go alone.


My cousin, will you not with me go?


No, by our lady, I have the cramp in my toe:
Trust not to me; for, so God me speed,
I will[85] deceive you in your most need.


It availeth not us to tice:[86]
Ye shall have my maid with all my heart;
She loveth to go to feasts, there to be nice,
And to dance, and abroad to start:
I will give her leave to help you in that journey,
If that you and she may agree.


No, show me the very effect of your mind;
Will you go with me, or abide behind?


Abide behind! yea, that will I, and I may;
Therefore farewell till another day.


How should I be merry or glad?
For fair promises men to me make;
But, when I have most need, they me forsake;
I am deceived, that maketh me sad.


Cousin Everyman, farewell now;
For verily I will not go with you:
Also of mine own life an unready reckoning
I have to account, therefore I make tarrying;
Now God keep thee, for now I go.


Ah, Jesu, is all come hereto?
Lo, fair words maketh fools fain;[87]
They promise, and nothing will do certain.
My kinsmen promised me faithfully,
For to abide with me steadfastly;
And now fast away do they flee:
Even so Fellowship promised me.
What friend were best me of to provide?
I lose my time here longer to abide;
Yet in my mind a thing there is:
All my life I have loved riches;
If that my Good now help me might,
It would make my heart full light:
I will speak to him in this distress:
Where art thou, my Goods and Riches?


Who calleth me? Everyman? what, hast thou haste?
I lie here in corners trussed and piled so high,
And in chests I am locked so fast,
Also sacked in bags, thou mayest see with thine eye,
I cannot stir; in packs, lo, where I lie!
What would ye have, lightly me say.


Come hither, Good, in all the haste thou may;
For of counsel I must desire thee.


Sir, and ye in the world have sorrow or adversity,
That can I help you to remedy shortly.


It is another disease that grieveth me;
In this world it is not, I tell thee so,
I am sent for another way to go,
To give a strait account general
Before the highest Jupiter of all:
And all my life I have had my pleasure in thee,
Therefore I pray thee now go with me;
For, peraventure, thou mayest before God Almighty
My reckoning help to clean and purify,
For it is said ever among,
That money maketh all right that is wrong.


Nay, nay, Everyman, I sing another song;
I follow no man in such voyages,
For, and I went with thee,
Thou shouldest fare much the worse for me:
For because on me thou diddest set thy mind,
Thy reckoning I have made blotted and blind,
That thine account thou cannot make truly;
And that hast thou for the love of me.


That would grieve me full sore,
When I should come to that fearful answer:
Up, and let us go thither together.


Nay, not so; I am too brittle, I may not endure:
I will follow no man one foot, be ye sure.


Alas! I have thee loved, and had great pleasure
All my life-days on my good and treasure.


That is to thy damnation without lesing,
For my love is contrary to the love everlasting;
But if thou had me loved moderately during,
As to the poor give part for the love of me,
Then shouldest thou not in this dolour have be,
Nor in this great sorrow and care.


Lo, now was I deceived, ere I was ware,
And all, I may wete, mis-spending of time.


What, wenest thou that I am thine?


I had went[88] so.


Nay, Everyman, I say no:
As for a while I was lent thee;
A season thou hast had me in prosperity;
My condition is man's soul to kill,
If I save one, a thousand I do spill:
Weenest thou that I will follow thee?
Nay, not fro this world, verily.


I had weened otherwise.


Therefore to thy soul Good is a thief,
For when thou art dead, this is my guise,
Another to deceive in the same wise,
As I have do thee, and all to his soul's reprefe.


O false Good, cursed may thou be,
Thou traitor to God, thou hast deceived me,
And caught me in thy snare.


Marry, thou brought thyself in care,
Whereof I am right glad:
I must needs laugh, I cannot be sad.


Ah, Good, thou hast had long my hearty love;
I gave thee that which should be the Lord's above:
But wilt thou not go with me indeed?
I pray thee truth to say.


No, so God me speed;
Therefore farewell, and have good day.


Oh, to whom shall I make my moan,
For to go with me in that heavy journey?
First Fellowship he said he would with me gone;
His words were very pleasant and gay,
But afterward he left me alone.
Then spake I to my kinsmen all in despair,
And also they gave me words fair,
They lacked no fair speaking;
But all forsake me in the ending.
Then went I to my Goods that I loved best,
In hope to have found comfort; but there had I least:
For my Goods sharply did me tell,
That he bringeth many in hell.
Then of myself I was ashamed,
And so I am worthy to be blamed:
Thus may I well myself hate.
Of whom shall I now counsel take?
I think that I shall never speed,
Till that I go to my Good Deed;
But, alas! she is so weak,
That she can nother go nor speak:
Yet will I venter on her now.
My Good Deeds, where be you?


Here I lie cold in the ground;
Thy sins have me so sore bound,
That I cannot stir.


O Good Deeds, I stand in great fear;
I must you pray of counsel,
For help now should come right well.


Everyman, I have understanding,
That thou art summoned account to make
Before Messias of Jerusalem King;
And you do by me, that journey with[89] you will I take.


Therefore I come to you my moan to make:
I pray you, that ye will go with me.


I would full fain, but I cannot stand verily.


Why, is there anything on you fall?


Yea, sir, I may thank you of all;
If ye had perfectly cheered me,
Your book of account full ready now had be.
Look, the books of your works and deeds eke!
Behold how they lie under the feet,
To your soul's heaviness.


Our Lord Jesus help me,
For one letter herein can I not see.


Here is a blind reckoning in time of distress!


Good Deeds, I pray you, help me in this need,
Or else I am for ever damned indeed;
Therefore help me to make my reckoning
Before the Redeemer of all thing,
That king is, and was, and ever shall.


Everyman, I am sorry of your fall,
And fain would I help you, and I were able.


Good Deeds, your counsel, I pray you, give me.


That shall I do verily:
Though that on my feet I may not go,
I have a sister that shall with you also,
Called Knowledge, which shall with you abide,
To help you to make that dreadful reckoning.
                                [Enter Knowledge.


Everyman, I will go with thee, and be thy guide,
In thy most need to go by thy side.


In good condition I am now in every thing,
And am wholly content with this good thing,
Thanked be God my Creature.[90]


And when he hath brought thee there,
Where thou shalt heal thee of thy smart,
Then go thou with thy reckoning and thy good deeds together.
For to make thee joyful at the heart
Before the blessed Trinity.


My Good Deeds, I thank thee heartfully:
I am well content certainly
With your words sweet.


Now go we together lovingly
To Confession, that cleansing river.


For joy I weep: I would we there were;
But I pray you to instruct me by intellection,[91]
Where dwelleth that holy virtue Confession?


In the house of salvation;
We shall find him in that place,
That shall us comfort by God's grace.
Lo, this is Confession: kneel down, and ask mercy;
For he is in good conceit with God Almighty.


O glorious fountain that all uncleanness doth clarify,
Wash from me the spots of vices unclean,
That on me no sin may be seen;
I come with Knowledge for my redemption,
Redempt with heart and full contrition,
For I am commanded a pilgrimage to take,
And great accounts before God to make.
Now I pray you, Shrift, mother of salvation,
Help hither my good deeds for my piteous exclamation.


I know your sorrow well, Everyman:
Because with Knowledge ye come to me,
I will you comfort as well as I can;
And a precious jewel I will give thee,
Called penance, voider[92] of adversity:
Therewith shall your body chastised be
With abstinence and perseverance in God's service;
Here shall you receive that scourge of me,
Which is penance strong that ye must endure,
Remember thy Saviour was scourged for thee
With sharp scourges, and suffered it patiently:
So must thou, ere thou pass thy pilgrimage.
Knowledge, keep him in this voyage,
And by that time Good Deeds will be with thee;
But in anywise be sure of mercy,
For your time draweth fast; and ye will saved be,
Ask God mercy, and he will grant truly:
When with the scourge of penance man doth him bind,
The oil of forgiveness then shall he find.


Thanked be God for his gracious work;
For now I will my penance begin:
This hath rejoiced and lighted my heart,
Though the knots be painful and hard within.


Everyman, look your penance that ye fulfil,
What pain that ever it to you be;
And I shall give you counsel at will,
How your account ye shall make clearly.


O eternal God, O heavenly figure,
O way of rightwiseness, O goodly vision,
Which descended down in a virgin pure,
Because he would Everyman redeem,
Which Adam forfeited by his disobedience,
O blessed Godhead, elect and high Divine,
Forgive me my grievous offence;
Here I cry thee mercy in this presence:
O ghostly treasure, O ransomer and redeemer!
Of all the world hope and conduyter,
Mirror of joy, foundation of mercy,
Which enlumineth heaven and earth thereby,
Hear my clamorous complaint, though it late be,
Receive my prayers of thy benignity,
Though I be a sinner most abominable,
Yet let my name be written in Moses' table.
O Mary, pray to the Maker of all thing
Me for to help at my ending,
And save me from the power of my enemy;
For Death assaileth me strongly:
And, Lady, that I may by mean of thy prayer
Of your son's glory to be partiner.
By the mean of his passion I it crave;
I beseek you help me my soul to save.
Knowledge, give me the scourge of penance,
My flesh therewith shall give acquittance;
I will now begin, if God give me grace.


Everyman, God give you time and space!
Thus I bequeath you in the hands of our Saviour;
Now may you make your reckoning sure.


In the name of all the Holy Trinity,
My body punished sore shall be,
Take this body for the sin of the flesh;
Also thou delightest to go gay and fresh;
And in the way of damnation thou did me bring,
Therefore suffer now strokes and punishing:
Now of penance I will wade the water clear,
To save me from purgatory, that sharp fire.[93]


I thank God, now I can walk and go,
And am delivered of my sickness and woe;
Therefore with Everyman I will go, and not spare,
His good works I will help him to declare.


Now, Everyman, be merry and glad;
Your Good Deeds cometh now, ye may not be sad:
Now is your Good Deeds whole and sound,
Going upright upon the ground.


My heart is light, and shall be evermore;
Now will I smite faster than I did before.


Everyman pilgrim, my special friend,
Blessed be thou without end;
For thee is prepared the eternal glory:
Ye have me made whole and sound,
Therefore I will bide by thee in every stound.


Welcome, my Good Deeds, now I hear thy voice,
I weep for very sweetness of love.


Be no more sad, but evermore rejoice,
God seeth thy living in His throne above;
Put on this garment to thy behove,
Which with your tears is now all wet,
Lest before God it be unsweet,
When ye to your journey's end come shall.


Gentle Knowledge, what do ye it call?


It is the garment of sorrow,
From pain it will you borrow;
Contrition it is,
That getteth forgiveness,
It pleaseth God passing-well.


Everyman, will you wear it for your hele?[94]


Now blessed be Jesu, Mary's son;
For now have I on true contrition:
And let us go now without tarrying.
Good Deeds, have we clear our reckoning?


Yea, indeed, I have here.


Then I trust we need not to fear;
Now, friends, let us not depart in twain.


Nay, Everyman, that will we not certain.


Yet must thou lead with thee
Three persons of great might.


Who should they be?


Discretion and Strength they hyght,[95]
And thy Beauty may not abide behind.


Also ye must call to mind
Your Five Wits[96] as for your councillors.


You must have them ready at all hours.


How shall I get them hither?


You must call them all together,
And they will hear you incontinent.


My friends, come hither, and be present,
Discretion, Strength, my Five Wits and Beauty.


Here at your will we be all ready;
What will ye that we should do?


That ye would with Everyman go,
And help him in his pilgrimage:
Advise you, will ye go with him or not in that voyage?


We will bring him all thither
To help and comfort him, ye may believe me.


So will we go with him altogether.


Almighty God, loved may Thou be;
I give Thee laud[97] that I have hither brought
Strength, Discretion, Beauty, Five Wits: lack I nought:
And my Good Deeds, with Knowledge clear,
All be in my company at my will here;
I desire no more to my business.[98]


And I Strength will by you stand in distress,
Though thou wouldest in battle fight on the ground.


And though it were thorow the world round,
We will not depart for sweet ne for sour.


No more will I unto death's hour,
Whatsoever thereof befall.


Everyman, advise you first of all,
Go with a good advisement and deliberation;
We all give you virtuous monition
That all shall be well.


My friends, hark what I will you tell;
I pray God reward you in His heavenly sphere:
Now hearken all that be here;
For I will make my testament
Here before you all present:
In alms half my good I will give with my hands twain
In the way of charity with good intent,
And the other half still shall remain:
I it bequeath to be returned there it ought to be.
This I do in despite of the fiend of hell,
To go quit[99] out of his peril[100]
Ever after this day.


Everyman, hearken what I will say;
Go to priesthood, I you advise,
And receive of him in any wise
The holy sacrament and ointment[101] together,
Then shortly see ye turn again hither,
We will all abide you here.


Yea, Everyman, hie you that ye ready were:
There is no emperor, king, duke, ne baron,
That of God hath commission,
As hath the least priest in the world being;
For of the blessed sacraments pure and benign
He beareth the keys, and thereof hath cure
For man's redemption, it is ever sure,
Which God for our soul's medicine
Gave us out of his heart with great pain,
Here in this transitory life for thee and me:
The blessed sacraments seven there be,
Baptism, confirmation, with priesthood good,
And the sacrament of God's precious flesh and blood,
Marriage, the holy extreme unction, and penance;
These seven be good to have in remembrance,
Gracious sacraments of high divinity.


Fain would I receive that holy body,
And meekly to my ghostly father I will go.


Everyman, that is the best that ye can do;
God will you to salvation bring,
For good priesthood exceedeth all other thing;
To us holy scripture they do teach,
And converteth man fro sin heaven to reach;
God hath to them more power given
Than to any angel that is in heaven:
With five words he may consecrate
God's body in flesh and blood to take,
And handleth his Maker between his hands,[102]
The priest bindeth and unbindeth all bands
Both in earth and in heaven;
He[103] ministers all the sacraments seven:
Though we kiss thy feet, thou wert worthy:
Thou art the surgeon that cureth sin deadly,
No remedy may we find under God,
But all only priesthood.
Everyman, God gave priest[s] that dignity,
And setteth them in His stead among us to be;
Thus be they above angels in degree.


If priests be good, it is so surely,
But when Jesu heng on the cross with great smart,
There he gave us out of his blessed heart
The same sacrament in great torment.
He sold them not to us, that Lord omnipotent;
Therefore Saint Peter the Apostle doth say,
That Jesus' curse hath all they,
Which God their Saviour do buy or sell,
Or they for any money do take or tell,
Sinful priests giveth the sinners example bad,
Their children sitteth by other men's fires, I have heard,
And some haunteth women's company,
With unclean life, as lusts of lechery;
These be with sin made blind.


I trust to God, no such may we find:
Therefore let us priesthood honour,
And follow their doctrine for our soul's succour;
We be their sheep, and they [our] shepherds be,
By whom we all be kept in surety.
Peace! for yonder I see Everyman come,
Which hath made true satisfaction.


Methink it is he indeed.


Now Jesu Christ be your alder[104] speed!
I have received the sacrament for my redemption,
And then mine extreme unction;
Blessed be all they that counselled me to take it:
And now, friends, let us go without longer respite;
I thank God that ye have tarried so long.
Now set each of you on this rod your hand,
And shortly follow me;
I go before, there I would be:
God be our guide.


Everyman, we will not fro you go,
Till ye have gone this voyage long.


I Discretion will bide by you also.


And though this pilgrimage be never so strong,
I will never part you fro:
Everyman, I will be as sure by thee,
As ever I was by Judas Maccabee.


Alas! I am so faint I may not stand,
My limbs under me do fold:
Friends, let us not turn again to this land,
Not for all the world's gold;
For into this cave must I creep,


And turn to the earth, and there to sleep.


What, into this grave? Alas!


Yea, there shall ye consume more and less.


And what, should I smother here?
Yea, by my faith, and never more appear;
In this world live no more we shall,
But in heaven before the highest Lord of all.


I cross out all this: adieu, by Saint John;
I take my cap in my lap, and am gone.


What, Beauty? whither will ye?


Peace! I am deaf, I look not behind me,
Not, and thou wouldst give me—all the gold in thy chest.


Alas! whereto may I now trust?
Beauty doth fast away hie:
She promised with me to live and die.


Everyman, I will thee also forsake and deny,
The game liketh me not at all.


Why then ye will forsake me all:
Strength, tarry, I pray you, a little space.


Nay, sir, by the rood of grace,
I will hie me from thee fast,
Though thou weep till thy heart brast.


Ye would ever bide by me, ye said.


Yea, I have you far enough conveyed:
Ye be old enough, I understand,
Your pilgrimage to take on hand;
I repent me, that I hither came.


Strength, you to displease I am to blame;
Yet promise is debt;[105] this ye well wot.


In faith, as for that I care not:
Thou art but a fool to complain;
Thou spendest thy speech and wasteth thy brain:
Go, thrist[106] thee into the ground.


I had ween'd surer I should you have found:
But I see well, he that trusteth in his Strength,
Is greatly deceived at the length;
Both Strength and Beauty hath forsaken me,
Yet they promised me steadfast to be.


Everyman, I will after Strength be gone;
As for me, I will leave you alone.


Why, Discretion, will ye forsake me?


Yea, in faith, I will go fro thee;
For when Strength is gone before,
Then I follow after evermore.


Yet, I pray thee, for love of the Trinity,
Look in my grave once piteously.


Nay, so nigh will I not come.
Now farewell, fellows everichone.[107]


Oh, all thing faileth, save God alone,
Beauty, Strength, and Discretion;
For, when Death bloweth his blast,
They all run fro me full fast.


Everyman, of thee now my leave I take;
I will follow the other, for here I thee forsake.


Alas! then may I both wail and weep;
For I took you for my best friend.


I will no lenger thee keep:
Now farewell, and here an end.


Now, Jesu, help! all hath forsaken me.


Nay, Everyman, I will abide with thee,
I will not forsake thee indeed;
Thou shalt find me a good friend at need.


Gramercy, Good Deeds, now may I true friends see
They have forsaken me everychone;
I loved them better than my good deeds alone:
Knowledge, will ye forsake me also?


Yea, Everyman, when ye to death shall go;
But not yet for no manner of danger.


Gramercy, Knowledge, with all my heart.


Nay, yet I will not from hence depart,
Till I see where ye shall be come.


Methinketh, alas! that I must be gone
To make my reckoning, and my debts pay;
For I see my time is nigh spent away.
Take ensample, all ye that this do hear or see,
How they that I loved best now forsake me;
Except my Good Deeds, that bideth truly.


All earthly things is but vanity,
Beauty, Strength, and Discretion do man forsake,
Foolish friends and kinsmen, that fair spake;
All fleeth save Good Deeds, and that am I.


Have mercy on me, God most mighty,
And stand by me, thou mother and maid Mary.


Fear not, I will speak for thee.


Here I cry, God mercy!


Short our end and minish our pain:
Let us go, and never come again.


Into thy hands, Lord, my soul I commend,
Receive it, Lord, that it be not lost;
As thou me boughtest, so me defend,
And save me fro the fiend's boast,
That I may appear with that blessed host
That shall be saved at the day of doom:
In manus tuas, of might most,
For ever commendo spiritum meum.
                                  [Everyman dies.


Now hath he suffered that we all shall endure:
The Good Deeds shall make all sure;
Now hath he made ending,
Methinketh that I hear angels sing,
And make great joy and melody,
Where Everyman's soul shall received be.


Come, excellent elect spouse to Jesu,
Here above thou shalt go.
Because of thy singular virtue:
Now thy soul is taken thy body fro,
Thy reckoning is crystal clear;
Now shalt thou into the heavenly sphere,
Unto the which all ye shall come
That liveth well, after the day of doom.


This memory all men may have in mind;
Ye hearers, take it of worth, old and young,
And forsake pride, for he deceiveth you in the end,
And remember Beauty, Five Wits, Strength, and Discretion,
They all at last do Everyman forsake,
Save his Good Deeds; [them he] there doth take:
But beware, for, and they be small,
Before God he hath no help at all;
None excuse may be there for Everyman:
Alas, how shall he do then?
For after death amends may no man make,
For then mercy and pity doth him forsake;
If his reckoning be not clear, when he doth come,
God will say, Ite, maledicti, in ignem aeternum;
And he that hath his account whole and sound,
High in heaven he shall be crowned;
Unto which place God bring us all thither,
That we may live body and soul together;
Thereto help the Trinity:
Amen, say ye, for Saint Charity.[108]




_Hyckescorner. [At the end:] Enprynted by me Wynkyn de Worde. 4°, Black letter.

Hycke scorner. [At the end:] Thus endeth the enterlude of Hycke scorner.
Imprinted at London in foster laene by John Waley. 4°, Black letter_.


This piece is printed from a black letter copy in Mr Garrick's collection,[109] of which the following is a very accurate analysis, extracted from Dr Percy's "Relics of Ancient English Poetry," vol. i. p. 130:—

"Hickscorner bears no distant resemblance to comedy: its chief aim seems to be to exhibit characters and manners, its plot being much less regular than the foregoing. The prologue is spoken by Pity, represented under the character of an aged pilgrim; he is joined by Contemplation and Perseverance, two holy men who, after lamenting the degeneracy of the age, declare their resolution of stemming the torrent. Pity then is left upon the stage, and presently found by Freewill, representing a lewd debauchee who, with his dissolute companion, Imagination, relate their manner of life, and not without humour describe the stews and other places of base resort. They are presently joined by Hickscorner, who is drawn as a libertine returned from travel, and agreeably to his name scoffs at religion. These three are described as extremely vicious, who glory in every act of wickedness. At length two of them quarrel, and Pity endeavours to part the fray; on this they fall upon him, and put him into the stocks, and then leave him. Pity then descants in a kind of lyric measure on the profligacy of the age, and in this situation is found by Perseverance and Contemplation, who set him at liberty, and advise him to go in search of the delinquents. As soon as he is gone, Freewill appears again, and after relating in a very comic manner some of his rogueries and escapes from justice, is rebuked by the two holy men who, after a long altercation, at length convert him and his libertine companion, Imagination, from their vicious course of life, and then the play ends with a few verses from Perseverance, by way of epilogue.

"It would be needless to point out the absurdities in the plan and conduct of the foregoing play: they are evidently great. It is sufficient to observe that, bating the moral and religious reflections of Pity, &c., the piece is of a comic caste, and contains a humorous display of some of the vices of the age. Indeed, the author has generally been so little attentive to the allegory, that we need only substitute other names to his personages, and we have real characters and living manners."

The woodcuts prefixed to this and the foregoing play were very minutely traced and executed by a masterly hand; and there being something singular in giving the portraits of the dramatis personae, it is presumed the following will be particularly pleasing to the reader.[110]

[It appears to have been from this drama or interlude, that the saying arose of "Hickscorner's jests." (See Mr J.P. Collier's Diary, part iii. p. 13.)]





Now Jesu the gentle, that brought Adam fro hell,
Save you all, sovereigns, and solace you send:
And, of this matter that I begin to tell,
I pray you of audience, till I have made an end;
For I say to you, my name is Pity,
That ever yet hath been man's friend.
In the bosom of the second person in Trinity
I sprang as a plant, man's miss to amend;
You for to help I put to my hand:
Record I take of Mary that wept tears of blood;
I Pity within her heart did stand;
When she saw her son on the rood,
The sword of sorrow gave that lady wound;
When a spear clave her son's heart asunder,
She cried out, and fell to the ground;
Though she was woe, it was little wonder,
This delicate colour [had] that goodly lady,
Full pale and wan, she saw her son all dead,
Splayed on a cross with the five wells of pity,
Of purple velvet powdered with roses red.
Lo, I Pity thus made your errand to be sped,
Or else man for ever should have been forlore.
A maiden so laid his life to wed,
Crowned as a king the thorns pricked him sore.
Charity and I of true love leads the double rein;
Whoso me loveth damned never shall be.
Of some virtuous company I would be fain;
For all that will to heaven needs must come by me,
Chief porter I am in that heavenly city,
And now here will I rest me a little space,
Till it please Jesu of his grace
Some virtuous fellowship for to send.


Christ that was christened, crucified, and crowned,
In his bosom true love was gaged with a spear,
His veins brast and bruised, and to a pillar bound,
With scourges he was lashed, the knots the skin tare,
On his neck to Calvary the great cross he bare,
His blood ran to the ground, as Scripture doth tell:
His burden was so heavy, that down under it he fell,
Lo, I am kin to the Lord, which is God's son;
My name is written foremost in the book of life,
For I am perfect Contemplation,
And brother to holy church that is our Lord's wife.
John Baptist, Anthony, and Jerome, with many mo,
Followed me here in holt,[111] heath, and in wilderness;
I ever with them went where they did go,
Night and day toward the way of rightwiseness:
I am the chief lantern of all holiness,
Of prelates and priests I am their patron;
No armour so strong in no distress,
Habergeon, helm, ne yet no Jeltron,
To fight with Satan am I the champion,
That dare abide, and manfully stand:
Fiends flee away, where they see me come;
But I will show you why I came to this land
For to preach and teach of God's sooth saws,
Ayenst vice that doth rebel ayenst him and his laws.


God speed, good brother; fro whence came you now?


Sir, I came from Perseverance to seek you.


Why, sir, know you me?


Yea, sir, and have done long; your name is Pity.


Your name fain would I know.


Indeed I am called Contemplation,
That useth to live solitarily;
In woods and in wildness[112] I walk alone,
Because I would say my prayers devoutly;
I love not with me to have much company:
But Perseverance oft with me doth meet,
When I think on thoughts that is full heavenly;
Thus he and I together full sweetly doth sleep.


I thank God that we be met together.


Sir, I trust that Perseverance shortly will come hither.


Then I think to hear some good tiding.


I warrant you, brother, that he is coming.


The eternal God, that named was Messias,
He give you grace to come to his glory,
Wherever is joy in the celestial place,
When you of Satan winneth the victory,
Everyman ought to be glad to have in company,
For I am named good Perseverance,
That ever is guided by virtuous governance;
I am never variable, but doth continue,
Still going upward the ladder of grace,
And lode in me planted is so true,
And from the poor man I will never turn my face:
When I go by myself oft I do remember
The great kindness that God showed unto man,
For to be born in the month of December,
When the day waxeth short, and the night long,
Of his goodness that champion strong
Descended down fro the Father of rightwiseness,
And rested in Mary the flower of meekness.
Now to this place hither come I am
To seek Contemplation my kinsman.


What, brother Perseverance? ye be welcome.


And so be you also, Contemplation.


Lo, here is our master Pity.


Now truly ye be welcome into this country.


I thank ye heartily, sir Perseverance.


Master Pity, one thing is come to my remembrance;
What tithings hear you now?


Sir, such as I can I shall show you:
I have heard many men complain piteously;
They say they be smitten with the swerd of poverty.
In every place where I do go:
Few friends poverty doth find,
And these rich men been unkind;
For their neighbours they will nought do,
Widows doth curse lords and gentle men,
For they constrain them to marry with their men,
Yea, whether they will or no:
Men marry for good,[113] and that is damnable,
Yea, with old women that is fifty and beyond:
The peril now no man dread will;
All is not God's law that is used in land;
Beware will they not, till death in his hand
Taketh his sword, and smiteth asunder the life vein,
And with his mortal stroke cleaveth the heart atwain:
They trust so in mercy, the lantern of brightness,
That no thing do they dread God's rightwiseness.


O Jesu, sir, here is a heavy tiding.


Sir, this is true, that I do bring.


How am I beloved, master Pity, where ye come?


In good faith, people have now small devotion;
And as for with you, brother Contemplation,
There meddleth few or none.


Yet, I trust, that priests love me well?


But a few, i-wis, and some never a deal.


Why, sir, without me they may not live clean.


Nay, that is the least thought that they have of fifteen;
And that maketh me full heavy.


How, trow you that there be no remedy?


Full hard, for sin is now so grievous and ill,
That I think that it be growen to an impossible,
And yet one thing maketh me ever mourning:
That priests lack utterance to show their cunning;
And all the while that clerks do use so great sin,
Among the lay people look never for no mending.


Alas, that is a heavy case,
That so great sin is used in every place;
I pray God it amend.


Now God, that ever hath been man's friend,
Some better tidings soon us send!
For now I must be gone.
Farewell, good brethren here;
A great errand I have elsewhere,
That must needs be done:
I trust I will not long tarry;
Thither will I hie me shortly,
And come again, when I have done.


Hither again, I trust, you will come;
Therefore God be with you.


Sir, needs I must depart now;
Jesu me speed this day.


Now, brother Contemplation, let us go our way.


Aware, fellows, and stand a-room:
How say you? am not I a goodly person?
I trow, you know not such a guest:
What, sirs, I tell you, my name is Freewill,
I may choose whether I do good or ill;
But for all that I will do, as me list:
My conditions ye know not, perdè,
I can fight, chide, and be merry;
Full soon of my company ye would be weary,
And ye knew all.
What, fill the cup, and make good cheer!
I trow I have a noble here:
Who lent it me? By Christ, a frere;
And I gave him a fall.
Where be ye, sir? be ye at home?
Cock's passion, my noble is turned to a stone.
Where lay I last? Beshrew your heart, John;
Now, by these bones, she hath beguiled me:
Let see; a penny my supper, a piece of flesh ten-pence;
My bed right nought: let all this expense—
Now, by these bones, I have lost a halfpenny.
Who lay there? my fellow Imagination;
He and I had good communication
Of Sir John and Sybil,
How they were spied in bed together;
And he prayed her oft to come hither,
For to sing lo, le, lo, lowe.
They twain together had good sport;
But at the stews' side I lost a groat:
I trow I shall never i-the.[114]
My fellow promised me here to meet,
But I trow the whoreson be asleep
With a wench somewhere.
How, Imagination, come hither,
And you thrive, I lose a feather;
Beshrew your heart, appear.


What, how, how, who called after me?


Come near, ye shall never i-the,
Where have ye be so long?


By God, with me it is all wrong,
I have a pair of sore buttocks,
All in irons was my song,
Even now I sat gyved in a pair of stocks.


Cock's passion, and how so?


Sir, I will tell you what I have do:
I met with a wench, and she was fair,
And of love heartily I did pray her,
And so promised her money:
Sir, she winked on me, and said nought,
But by her look I knew her thought;
Then into love's dance we were brought,
That we played the pyrdewy:
I wot not what we did together,
But a knave catchpole nighed us near,
And so did us aspy;
A stripe he gave me, I fled my touch,
And from my girdle he plucked my pouch:
By your leave he left me never a penny:
Lo, nought have I but a buckle,
And yet I can imagine things subtle
For to get money plenty;
In Westminster Hall every term I am,
To me is kin many a great gentleman,
I am knowen in every country;
And I were dead, the lawyers' thrift were lost:
For this will I do, if men would do cost,
Prove right wrong, and all by reason,
And make men lese both house and land,
For all that they can do in a little season,
Peach men of treason privily I can,
And when me list, to hang a true man.
If they will be money tell,
Thieves I can help out of prison,
And into lords' favours I can get me soon,
And be of their privy council.
But, Freewill, my dear brother,
Saw you nought of Hickscorner?
He promised me to come hither.


Why, sir, knowest thou him?


Yea, yea, man; he is full nigh of my kin,
And in Newgate we dwelled together;
For he and I were both shackled in a fetter.


Sir, lay you beneath or on high on the seller?[115]


Nay, i-wis, among the thickest of yeomen of the collar.[116]


By God, then you were in great fear.


Sir, had I not been, two hundred had been thrust in an halter.


And what life have they there, all that great sort?


By God, sir, once a year some taw halts of Burport:[117]
Yea, at Tyburn there standeth the great frame.
And some take a fall that maketh their neck lame.


Yea, but can they then go no more?


Oh, no, man; the wrest is twist so sore,
For as soon as they have said In manus tuas once,
By God, their breath is stopped at once.


Why, do they pray in that place there?


Yea, sir, they stand in great fear,
And so fast tangled in that snare,
It falleth to their lot to have the same share.


That is a knavish sight to see them totter on a beam.


Sir, the whoresons could not convey[118] clean;
For, and they could have carried by craft as I can,
In process of years each of them should be a gentleman.
Yet as for me I was never thief;
If my hands were smitten off, I can steal with my teeth;
For ye know well, there is craft in daubing:[119]
I can look in a man's face and pick his purse,
And tell new tidings that was never true, i-wis,
For my hood is all lined with lesing.[120]


Yea, but went ye never to Tyburn a pilgrimage?


No, i-wis; nor none of my lineage,
For we be clerks all, and can our neck verse,
And with an ointment the judge's hand I can grease,
That will heal sores that be incurable.


Why, were ye never found reprovable?


Yes, once I stall a horse in the field,
And leapt on him for to have ridden my way:
At the last a baily me met and beheld,
And bad me stand; then was I in a fray:
He asked, whither with that horse I would gone;
And then I told him it was mine own:
He said I had stolen him; and I said nay:
This is, said he, my brother's hackney.
For, and I had not excused me, without fail,
By our lady, he would have lad me straight to jail;
And then I told him the horse was like mine,
A brown bay, a long mane, and did halt behine,
Thus I told him, that such another horse I did lack;
And yet I never saw him, nor came on his back:
So I delivered him the horse again.
And when he was gone, then was I fain:
For and I had not excused me the better,
I know well I should have danced in a fetter.


And said he no more to thee but so?


Yea, he pretended me much harm to do;
But I told him that morning was a great mist,
That what horse it was I ne wist:
Also I said, that in my head I had the megrin,
That made me dazzle so in mine eyen,
That I might not well see.
And thus he departed shortly from me.


Yea, but where is Hickscorner now?


Some of these young men hath hid him in
Their bosoms, I warrant ye:
Let us make a cry, that he may us hear.


How now, Hickscorner, appear;
I trow thou be hid in some corner.


Ale[121] the helm, ale, veer, shoot off, veer sail, veer-a.


Cock's body, hark, he is a ship on the sea.


God speed, God speed; who called after me?


What, brother, welcome by this precious body;
I am glad that I you see,
It was told me that you were hanged;
But out of what country come ye?


Sirs, I have been in many a country;
As in France, Ireland, and in Spain,
Portingal, Sevile, also in Almaine;
Friesland, Flanders, and in Burgoine,
Calabria, Pugle,[122] and Erragon,[123]
Britain, Biske, and also in Gascoine,
Naples, Greece, and in middes of Scotland;
At Cape,[124] Saint Vincent, and in the new found island,[125]
I have been in Gene[126] and in Cowe,
Also in the land of Rumbelow,[127]
Three mile out of hell;
At Rhodes, Constantine, and in Babylon[128]
In Cornwall, and in Northumberland,
Where men seethe rushes in gruel;
Yea, sir, in Chaldsea, Tartary, and India,
And in the Land of Women, that few men doth find:
In all these countries have I be.


Sir, what tidings hear ye now on the sea?


We met of ships a great navy,
Full of people that would into Ireland;
And they came out of this country:
They will never more come to England.


Whence were the ships of them? knowest thou none?


Harken, and I will show you their names each one:
First was the Regent, with the Michael of Brikilse;
The George, with the Gabriel, and the Anne of Fowey;
The Star of Saltash, with the Jesus of Plymouth;
Also the Hermitage, with the Barbara of Dartmouth,
The Nicolas and the Mary Bellouse of Bristow,
With the Ellen of London and James also:
Great was the people that was in them,
All true religious and holy women:
There was Truth and his kinsmen,
With Patience, Meekness, and Humility,
And all true maidens with their virginity,
Royal preachers, sadness and charity,
Right conscience and faith, with devotion,
And all true monks that keep their religion,
True buyers and sellers, and alms-deed doers,
Piteous people, that he of sin destroyers,
With just abstinence and good councillors,
Mourners for sin, with lamentation,
And good rich men that helpeth folk out of prison,
True wedlock was there also,
With young men that ever in prayer did go,
The ships were laden with such unhappy company,
But at the last God shope[129] a remedy,
For they all in the sea were drowned,
And on a quicksand they strake to ground;
The sea swallowed them everychone,
I wot well alive there scaped none.


Lo, now my heart is glad and merry;
For joy now let us sing "Derry, derry."


Fellows, they shall never more us withstand;
For I see them all drowned in the Rase of Ireland.


Yea, but yet hark, Hickscorner,
What company was in your ship, that came over?


Sir, I will aid[130] you to understand,
There were good fellows above five thousand,
And all they been kin to us three:
There was falsehood, favell,[131] and jollity,
Yea, thieves, and whores, with other good company,
Liars, backbiters, and flatterers the while,
Brawlers, liars, jetters, and chiders,
Walkers by night, with great murderers,
Overthwart guile[rs] and jolly carders,
Oppressors of people, with many swearers,
There was false law with horrible vengeance,
Froward obstination with mischievous governance,
Wanton wenches, and also michers,
With many other of the devil's officers;
And hatred, that is so mighty and strong,
Hath made a vow for ever to dwell in England.


But is that true, that thou dost show now?


Sir, every word as I do tell you.


Of whence is your ship? of London?


Yea, i-wis from thence did she come;
And she is named The Envy,
I tell you, a great vessel and a mighty:
The owner of her is called Ill-Will,
Brother to Jack Poller of Shooter's-Hill.


Sir, what office in the ship bare ye?


Marry, I kept a fair shop of bawdry,
I had three wenches that were full praty,
Jane true and thriftless, and wanton Sybil,
If you ride her a journey, she will make you weary,
For she is trusty at need:
If ye will hire her for your pleasure,
I warrant, tire her shall ye never,
She is so sure in deed;
Ride, and you will, ten times a-day,
I warrant you she will never say nay,
My life I dare lay to wed.[132]


Now pluck up your hearts, and make good cheer;
These tidings liketh me wonder well,
Now virtue shall draw arear arear:
Hark, fellows, a good sport I can you tell,
At the stews we will lie to-night,
And by my troth, if all go right,
I will beguile some praty wench,
To get me money at a pinch.
How say you? shall we go thither?
Let us keep company altogether,
And I would that we had God's curse,
If we somewhere do not get a purse;
Every man bear his dagger naked in his hand,
And if we meet a true man, make him stand,
Or else that he bear a stripe;
If that he struggle, and make any work,
Lightly strike him to the heart,
And throw him into Thames quite.


Nay, three knaves in a leash is good at nale:[133]
But thou lubber Imagination,
That cuckold thy father, where is he become?
At Newgate doth he lie still at jail?


Avaunt, whoreson, thou shalt bear me a stripe;
Say'st thou, that my mother was a whore?


Nay, sir, but the last night
I saw Sir John and she tumbled on the floor.


Now, by Cock's heart, thou shalt lose an arm.


Nay, sir, I charge you do him no harm.


And thou make too much, I will break thy head too.


By Saint Mary, and I wist that, I would be ago.


Aware, aware! the whoreson shall aby,
His priest will I be, by Cock's body.


Keep peace, lest knaves' blood be shed.


By God, if his was nought, mine was as bad.


By Cock's heart, he shall die on this dagger.


By our Lady, then will ye be strangled in a halter.


The whoreson shall eat him,[134] as far as he shall wade.


Beshrew your heart, and put up your blade,
Sheathe your whittle, or by Jis,[135] that was never born,
I will rap you on the costard with my horn;
What, will ye play all the knave?


By Cock's heart, and thou a buffet shalt have.


Lo, sirs, here is a fair company, God us save;
For if any of us three be mayor of London,
I-wis, i-wis, I will ride to Rome on my thumb:
Alas! ah, see; is not this a great feres?
I would they were in a mill-pool above the ears;
And then I durst warrant, they would depart anon.


Help, help, for the passion of my soul;
He hath made a great hole in my poll,
That all my wit is set to the ground:
Alas! a leech for to help my wound.


Nay, i-wis, whoreson, I will bite thee, ere I go.


Alas! good sir, what have I do?


Ware, make room, he shall have a stripe, I trow.


Peace, peace, sirs, I command you.


Avaunt, old churl; whence comest thou?
And thou make too much, I shall break thy brow,
And send thee home again.


Ah, good sir, the peace I would have kept fain;
Mine office is to see no man slain;
And where they do amiss, to give them good counsel,
Sin to forsake, and God's law them tell.


Ah, sir, I ween'd thou hadst been drowned and gone:
But I have spied, that there scaped one.


Imagination, do by the counsel of me,
Be agreed with Freewill, and let us good fellows be;
And then, as for this churl Pity,
Shall curse the time that ever he came to land.


Brother Freewill, give me your hand,
And all mine ill will I forgive thee.


Sir, I thank you heartily;
But what shall we do with this churl Pity?


I will go to him, and pick a quarrel,
And make him a thief, and say he did steal
Of mine forty pound in a bag.


By God, that tidings will make him sad;
And I will go fetch a pair of gyves,
For in good faith he shall be set fast by the heels.


Have ado lightly, and be gone,
And let us twain with him alone.


Now, farewell, I beshrew you everychone.


Ho, ho, Freewill you threw, and no mo.


Thou lewd fellow, say'st thou that thy name is Pity?
Who sent thee hither to control me?


Good sir, it is my property
For to despise sinful living,
And unto virtue men to bring,
If that they will do after me.


What, sir, art thou so pure holy?
Ah, see, this caitiff would be praised, I trow;
And you thrive this year, I will lose a penny.
Lo, sirs, outward he beareth a fair face;
But, and he meet with a wench in a privy place,
I trow he would show her but little grace:
By God, ye may trust me.


Lo, will ye not see this caitiff's meaning?
He would destroy us all, and all our kin,
Yet had I liever see him hanged by the chin,
Rather than that should be brought about;
And with this dagger thou shalt have a clout,
Without thou wilt be lightly be gone.


Nay, brother, lay hand on him soon;
For he japed my wife, and made me cuckold,
And yet the traitor was so bold,
That he stale forty pound of mine in money.


By Saint Mary, then he shall not scape;
We will lead him straight to Newgate,
For ever there shall he lie.


Ah, see, ah, see, sirs, what I have brought,
A medicine for a pair of sore shins;
At the King's Bench, sirs, I have you sought,
But I pray you, who shall wear these?


By God, this fellow that may not go hence,
I will go give him these hose rings;
Now, i-faith, they be worth forty pence,
But to his hands I lack two bonds.


Hold, whoreson, here is an halter;
Bind him fast, and make him sure.


O men, let truth, that is the true man,
Be your guider, or else ye be forlorn;
Lay no false witness, as nigh as ye can,
On none; for afterward ye will repent it full sore.


Nay, nay, I care not therefore.


Yea, when my soul hangeth on the hedge-cast stones,
For I tell thee plainly by Cock's bones,
Thou shalt be guided, and laid in irons,
They fared even so.


Well-a-way,[136] sir, what have I do?


Well, well, that thou shalt know, ere thou go.


O sirs, I see it cannot be amended,
You do me wrong, for I have not offended:
Remember God that is our heaven king,
For he will reward you after your deserving;
When death with his mace doth you arrest;
We all to him owe fea'ty and service,
From the ladder of life down he will thee thrust,
Then mastership may not help, nor great office.


What, death, and he were here, he should sit by thee;
Trowest thou, that he be able to strive with us three?
Nay, nay, nay.


Well, fellows, now let us go our way;
For at Shooter's Hill we have a game to play.


In good faith, I will tarry no lenger space.


Beshrew him for me, that is last out of this place.


Lo, Lords, they may curse the time they were born,
For the weeds that overgroweth the corn,
They troubled me guiltless, and wote not why,
For God's love yet will I suffer patiently:
We all may say well-a-way, for sin that is now-a-day.
Lo, virtue is vanished for ever and aye;
Worse was it never.[137]
We have plenty of great oaths,
And cloth enough in our clothes,
But charity many men loathes,
Worse was it never.
Alas, now is lechery called love indeed,
And murder named manhood in every need,
Extortion is called law, so God me speed;
Worse was it never.
Youth walketh by night with swords and knives,
And ever among true men leseth their lives,
Like heretics we occupy other men's wives,
Now-a-days in England:
Bawds be the destroyers of many young women,
And full lewd counsel they give unto them;
How you do marry, beware, you young men,
The wise never tarrieth too long;
There be many great scorners,
But for sin there be few mourners;
We have but few true lovers
In no place now-a-days;
There be many goodly-gilt knaves,
And I know, as many apparelled wives,
Yet many of them be unthrifty of their lives,
And all set in pride to go gay.
Mayors on sin doeth no correction,
While[138] gentle men beareth truth adown;
Avoutry[139] is suffered in every town,
Amendment is there none,
And God's commandments we break them all ten.
Devotion is gone many days sin.[140]
Let us amend us we true Christian men,
Ere death make you groan.
Courtiers go gay, and take little wages,
And many with harlots at the tavern haunts,
They be yeomen of the wreath that be shackled in gyves;
On themselves they have no pity:
God punisheth full sore with great sickness,
As pox, pestilence, purple, and axes,
Some dieth suddenly that death full perilous,
Yet was there never so great poverty.
There be some sermons made by noble doctors;
But truly the fiend doth stop men's ears,
For God nor good man some people not fears;
Worse was it never.
All truth is not best said,
And our preachers now-a-days be half afraid:
When we do amend, God would be well apaid;
Worse was it never.


What, Master Pity, how is it with you?


Sir, we be sorry to see you in this case now.


Brethren, here were three perilous men,
Freewill, Hickscorner, and Imagination;
They said, I was a thief, and laid felony upon me,
And bound me in irons, as ye may see.


Where be the traitors become now?


In good faith, I cannot show you.


Brother, let us unbind him of his bonds.


Unloose the feet and the hands.


I thank you for your great kindness,
That you two show in this distress;
For they were men without any mercy,
That delighteth all in mischief and tyranny.


I think, they will come hither again,
Freewill and Imagination, both twain:
Them will I exhort to virtuous living,
And unto virtue them to bring,
By the help of you, Contemplation.


Do my counsel, brother Pity;
Go you, and seek them through the country,
In village, town, borough, and city,
Throughout all the realm of England:
When you them meet, lightly them arrest,
And in prison put them fast,
Bind them sure in irons strong;
For they be so fast and subtle;
That they will you beguile,
And do true men wrong.


Brother Pity, do as he hath said,
In every quarter look you espy,
And let good watch for them be laid,
In all the haste that thou can, and that privily;
For, and they come hither, they shall not scape,
For all the craft that they can make.


Well, then will I hie me as fast as I may,
And travel through every country;
Good watch shall be laid in every way,
That they steal not into sanctuary.
Now farewell, brethren, and pray for me;
For I must go hence in deed.


Now God be your good speed.


And ever you defend, when you have need.


Now, brethren both, I thank you.


Make you room for a gentleman, sirs, and peace;
"Dieu garde, seigneurs, tout le preasse,"[141]
And of your jangling if ye will cease,
I will tell you where I have been:
Sirs, I was at the tavern, and drank wine,
Methought I saw a piece that was like mine,
And, sir, all my fingers were arrayed[142] with lime,
So I conveyed a cup mannerly:
And yet, i-wis, I played all the fool,
For there was a scholar of mine own school;
And, sir, the whoreson espied me.
Then was I 'rested, and brought in prison;
For woe then I wist not what to have done,
And all because I lacked money,
But a friend in court is worth a penny in purse:[143]
For Imagination, mine own fellow, i-wis,
He did help me out full craftily.
Sirs, he walked through Holborn,
Three hours after the sun was down,
And walked up towards Saint Giles-in-the-Field:
He hoved still, and there beheld,
But there he could not speed of his prey,
And straight to Ludgate he took the way;
Ye wot well, that pothecaries walk very late,
He came to a door and privily spake
To a prentice for a penny-worth of euphorbium,[144]
And also for a halfpenny-worth of alum plumb;
This good servant served him shortly,
And said, is there ought else that you would buy?
Then he asked for a mouthful of quick brimstone;[145]
And down into the cellar, when the servant was gone,
Aside as he kest[146] his eye,
A great bag of money did he spy,
Therein was an hundred pound:
He trussed him to his feet, and yede his way round,
He was lodged at Newgate at the Swan,
And every man took him for a gentleman;
So on the morrow he delivered me
Out of Newgate by this policy:
And now will I dance and make royal cheer.
But I would Imagination were here,
For he is peerless at need;
Labour to him, sirs, if ye will your matters speed.
Now will I sing, and lustily spring;
But when my fetters on my legs did ring,
I was not glad, perde; but now Hey, troly, loly,
Let us see who can descant on this same;
To laugh and get money, it were a good game,
What, whom have we here?
A priest, a doctor, or else a frere.
What, Master Doctor Dotypoll?
Cannot you preach well in a black boll,
Or dispute any divinity?
If ye be cunning, I will put it in a prefe:[147]
Good sir, why do men eat mustard with beef?
By question can you assoil me?


Peace, man, thou talkest lewdly,
And of thy living, I reed,[148] amend thee.


Avaunt, caitiff, dost thou thou me!
I am come of good kin, I tell thee!
My mother was a lady of the stews' blood born,
And (knight of the halter) my father ware an horn;
Therefore I take it in full great scorn,
That thou shouldest thus check me.


Abide, fellow, thou hast little courtesy,
Thou shalt be charmed, ere thou hence pass,
For thou troubled Pity, and laid on him felony:
Where is Imagination, thy fellow that was?


I defy you both; will you arrest me?


Nay, nay; thy great words may not help thee,
Fro us thou shalt not escape.


Make room, sirs, that I may break his pate;
I will not be taken for them both.


Thou shalt abide, whether thou be lief or loth;
Therefore, good son, listen unto me,
And mark these words that I do tell thee:
Thou hast followed thine own will many a day,
And lived in sin without amendment;
Therefore in thy conceit essay
To axe God mercy, and keep His commandment,
Then on thee He wilt have pity,
And bring thee to heaven that joyful city.


What, whoreson? Will ye have me now a fool?
Nay, yet had I liever be captain of Calais;
For, and I should do after your school,
To learn to patter to make me peevish,
Yet had I liever look with a face full thievish:
And therefore, prate no lenger here,
Lest my knave's fist hit you under the ear.
What, ye daws, would ye reed me
For to lese my pleasure in youth and jollity,
To bass and kiss my sweet trully mully,
As Jane, Kate, Bess, and Sybil?
I would that hell were full of such prims,
Then would I renne thither on my pins,
As fast as I might go.


Why, sir, wilt thou not love virtue,
And forsake thy sin for the love of God Almighty?


What God Almighty, by God's fast at Salisbury,
And I trow Easter-day fell on Whitsunday that year,
There were five score save an hundred in my company,
And at petty Judas we made royal cheer,
There had we good ale of Michaelmas brewing;
There heaven-high leaping and springing,
And thus did I
Leap out of Bordeaux unto Canterbury,
Almost ten mile between.


Freewill, forsake all this world wilfully here,
And change by time; thou oughtest to stand in fear;
For fortune will turn her wheel so swift,
That clean fro thy wealth she will thee lift.


What, lift me, who? and Imagination were here now,
I-wis with his fist he would all-to clout you:
Hence, whoreson, tarry no lenger here;
For by Saint Pintle the apostle I swear,
That I will drive you both home,
And yet I was never wont to fight alone:
Alas, that I had not one to bold[149] me,
Then you should see me play the man shamefully;
Alas, it would do me good to fight;
How say you, lords, shall I smite?
Have among you, by this light:
Hence, whoresons, and home at once,
Or with my weapon I shall break your bones.
Avaunt, you knave: walk, by my counsel.


Son, remember the great pains of hell,
They are so horrible that no tongue can tell;
Beware, lest thou thither do go.


Nay, by Saint Mary, I hope not so;
I will not go to the devil, while I have my liberty,
He shall take the labour to fet me, and he will have me;
For he that will go to hell by his will voluntarily,
The devil and the whirlwind go with him:
I will you never fro thence tidings bring;
Go you before, and show me the way,
And as to follow you I will not say nay:
For, by God's body, and you be in once,
By the mass, I will shit[150] the door at once,
And then ye be take in a pitfall.


Now, Jesus, soon defend us from that hole,
For, "Qui est in inferno nulla est redemptio:"
Holy Job spake these words full long ago.


Nay, I have done; and you laid out Latin with scope,
But therewith can you clout me a pair of boots?[151]
By our lady, ye should have some work of me,
I would have them well underlaid and easily,
For I use alway to go on the one side;
And trow ye how? by God, in the stocks I sat till,
I trow a three weeks, and more a little stound,
And there I laboured sore day by day,
And so I tread my shone inward in good fay;
Lo, therefore methink you must sole them round.
If you have any new boots, a pair I would buy,
But I think your price be too high.
Sir, once at Newgate I bought a pair of stirrups,[152]
A mighty pair and a strong,
A whole year I ware them so long,
But they came not fully to my knee,
And to clout them it cost not me a penny:
Even now, and ye go thither, ye shall find a great heap,
And you speak in my name, ye shall have good cheap.


Sir, we came never there, ne never shall do.


Marry, I was taken in a trap there, and tied by the toe,
That I halted a great while, and might not go.
I would ye both sat as fast there;
Then should ye dance as a bear,
And all by gangling of your chains.


Why, sir, were ye there?


Yea, and that is seen by my brains;
For, ere I came there, I was as wise as a woodcock,
And, I thank God, as witty as a haddock.
Yet I trust to recover, as other does,
For, and I had once as much wit as a goose,
I should be merchant of the bank;
Of gold then I should have many a frank,
For if I might make three good voyages to Shooter's Hill,[153]
And have wind and weather at my will,
Then would I never travel the sea more:
But it is hard to keep the ship fro the shore,
And if it hap to rise a storm,
Then thrown in a raft, and so about borne
On rocks or brachs[154] for to run,
Else to strike aground at Tyburn,
That were a mischievous case,
For that rock of Tyburn is so perilous a place,
Young gallants dare not venture into Kent;
But when their money is gone and spent,
With their long boots they row on the bay,[155]
And any man of war[156] lie by the way,
They must take a boat and throw the helm ale;[157]
And full hard it is to scape that great jeopardy,
For, at Saint Thomas of Watering and they strike a sail,
Then must they ride in the haven of hemp without fail;
And were not these two jeopardous places indeed,
There is many a merchant that thither would speed:
But yet we have a sure channel at Westminster,
A thousand ships of thieves therein may ride sure;
For if they may have anchor-hold and great spending,
They may live as merry as any king.


God wot, sir, there is a piteous living,
Then ye dread not the great Master above:
Son, forsake thy miss[158] for His love,
And then mayst thou come to the bliss also.


Why, what would you that I should do?


For to go toward heaven.


Marry, and you will me thither bring,
I would do after you.[159]


I pray you, remember my words now:
Freewill, bethink thee that thou shalt die,
And of the hour thou are uncertain,
Yet by thy life thou mayest find a remedy;
For, and thou die in sin, all labour is in vain,
Then shall thy soul be still in pain.
Lost and damned for evermore;
Help is past, though thou would fain,
Then thou wilt curse the time that thou were bore.


Sir, if ye will undertake that I saved shall be,
I will do all the penance that you will set me.


If that thou for thy sins he sorry,
Our Lord will forgive thee them.


Now of all my sins I axe God mercy;
Here I forsake sin, and trust to amend:
I beseech Jesu that is most mighty
To forgive all that I have offend.


Our Lord now will show thee His mercy,
A new name thou need none have;
For all that will to heaven high,
By his own freewill he must forsake folly,
Then is he sure and safe.


Hold here a new garment,
And hereafter live devoutly,
And for thy sins do ever repent:
Sorrow for thy sins is very remedy:
And, Freewill, ever to virtue apply,
Also to sadness[160] give ye attendance,
Let him never out of remembrance.


I will never from you, sir Perseverance;
With you will I abide both day and night,
Of mind never to be variable,
And God's commandments to keep them right,
In deed and word, and ever full stable.


Then heaven thou shalt have without fable,
But look that thou be steadfast,
And let thy mind with good will last.


Huff, huff, huff! who sent after me?
I am Imagination, full of jollity,
Lord, that my heart is light,[161]
When shall I perish? I trow, never;
By Christ, I reck not a feather:
Even now I was dubbed a knight,
Where at Tyburn of the collar,
And of the stews I am made controller—
Of all the houses of lechery;
There shall no man play doccy[162] there,
At the Bell, Hartshorn, ne elsewhere,
Without they have leave of me.
But, sirs, wot ye why I am come hither?
By our lady, to gather good company together:
Saw ye not of my fellow Freewill?
I am afraid lest he be searching on a hill;
By God, then one of us is beguiled.
What fellow is this that in this coat is filed?
Cock's death, whom have we here?
What, Freewill, mine own fere?[163]
Art thou out of thy mind?


God grant the way to heaven that I may find;
For I forsake thy company.


God's arms, my company? and why?


For thou livest too sinfully.


Alas, tell me how it is with thee.


Forsake thy sin for the love of me.


Cock's heart, art thou waxed mad?


When I think on my sin, it makes me full sad.


God's wounds, who gave thee that counsel?


Perseverance and Contemplation, I thee tell.


A vengeance on them, I would they were in hell.


Amend, Imagination, and mercy cry.


By God's sides, I had liever be hanged on high;
Nay, that would I not do: I had liever die.
By God's passion, and I had a long knife,
I would bereave these two whoresons of their life:
How, how? twenty pounds for a dagger!


Peace, peace, good son, and speak softer,
And amend, ere death draw his draught;
For on thee he will steal full soft,
He giveth never no man warning,
And ever to thee he is coming:
Therefore remember thee well.


Ah, whoreson, if I were jailer of hell,
I-wis, some sorrow should thou feel;
For to the devil I would thee sell,
Then should ye have many a sorry meal,
I would never give you meat ne drink,
Ye should fast, whoresons, till ye did stink,
Even as a rotten dog; yea, by Saint Tyburn of Kent.


Imagination, think what God did for thee;
On Good Friday He hanged on a tree,
And spent all His precious blood,
A spear did rive His heart asunder,
The gates He brake up with a clap of thunder,
And Adam and Eve there delivered He.


What devil! what is that to me?
By God's fast, I was ten year in Newgate,
And many more fellows with me sat,
Yet he never came there to help me ne my company.


Yes, he holp thee, or thou haddest not been here now.


By the mass, I cannot show you,
For he and I never drank together,
Yet I know many an ale stake;[164]
Neither at the stews, i-wis, he never came thither:
Goeth he arrayed in white or in black?
For, and he out of prison had holp me,
I know well once I should him see,
What gown weareth he, I pray you?


Sir, he halp you out by his might.


I cannot tell you, by this light;
But methought that I lay there too long,
And the whoreson fetters were so strong,
That had almost brought my neck out of joint.


Amend, son, and thou shall know him,
That delivered thee out of prison;
And if thou wilt forsake thy miss,
Surely thou shalt come to the bliss,
And be inheritor of heaven.


What, sir, above the moon?
Nay, by the mass, then should I fall soon;
Yet I keep not to climb so high;
But to climb for a bird's nest,
There is none between east and west,
That dare thereto venter better than I:
But to venter to heaven—what, and my feet slip?
I know well then I should break my neck,
And, by God, then had I the worse side;
Yet had I liever be by the nose tied
In a wench's arse somewhere,
Rather than I would stand in that great fear,
For to go up to heaven—nay, I pray you, let be.


Imagination, wilt thou do by the counsel of me?


Yea, sir, by my troth, whatsomever it be.


Amend yet for my sake,
It is better betime than too late;
How say you? will you God's hests fulfil?


I will do, sir, even as you will;
But, I pray you, let me have a new coat,
When I have need, and in my purse a groat,
Then will I dwell with you still.


Beware, for when thou art buried in the ground,
Few friends for thee will be found,
Remember this still.


No thing dread I so sore as death,
Therefore to amend I think it be time;
Sin have I used all the days of my breath,
With pleasure, lechery, and misusing,[165]
And spent amiss my five wits; therefore I am sorry:
Here of all my sins I axe God mercy.


Hold, here is a better clothing for thee,
And look that thou forsake thy folly;
Be steadfast, look that thou fall never.


Now here I forsake my sin for ever.


Sir, wait thou now on Perseverance,
For thy name shall be called Good Remembrance;
And I will dwell with Contemplation,
And follow him wherever he become.


Well, are ye so both agreed?


Yea, sir, so God me speed.


Sir, ye shall wait on me soon,
And be God's servant day and night,
And in every place where ye become,
Give good counsel to every wight:
And men axe your name, tell you Remembrance,
That God's law keepeth truly every day;
And look that ye forget not repentance,
Then to heaven ye shall go the next[166] way,
Where ye shall see in the heavenly quere
The blessed company of saints so holy,
That lived devoutly while they were here:
Unto the which bliss I beseech God Almighty
To bring there your souls that here be present,
And unto virtuous living that ye may apply,
Truly for to keep His commandments;
Of all our mirths here we make an end,
Unto the bliss of heaven Jesus your souls bring.[167]



A mery Play between the Pardoner and the frere, the curate and neybour Pratte. [Col.] Imprynted by Wyllyam Rastell, the v. day of Apryll, the yere of our lorde m.ccccc.xxxiii. Small folio.

This piece by John Heywood differs from those which have preceded it. It is destitute of the allegorical element, and like some other productions which are to follow, is a mere dramatic interlocution, lightly and inartificially constructed, with little or no plot. A former editor[168] remarks: "It was printed in 1533, but must have been written before 1521, because Leo X. is spoken of in it as living."



Deus hic, the Holy Trinity,
Preserve all that now here be!
Dear brethren, if ye will consider
The cause, why I am come hither,
Ye would be glad to know my intent:
For I come not hither for money nor for rent,
I come not hither for meat nor for meal,
But I come hither for your soul's heal:
I come not hither to poll nor to shave,
I come not hither to beg nor to crave,
I come not hither to gloss nor to flatter,
I come not hither to babble nor to clatter,
I come not hither to fable nor to lie,
But I come hither your souls to edify.
For we friars are bound the people to teach,
The gospel of Christ openly to preach,
As did the apostles by Christ their master sent,
To turn the people and make them to repent.
But since the apostles from heaven would not come,
We friars now must occupy their room.
We friars are bound to search men's conscience,
We may not care for groats nor for pence,
We friars have professed wilful poverty,
No penny in our purse have may we;
Knife nor staff may we none carry,
Except we should from the gospel vary.
For worldly adversity may we be in no sorrow,
We may not care to-day for our meat to-morrow,
Barefoot and barelegged must we go also:
We may not care for frost nor snow;
We may have no manner care, ne think
Nother for our meat nor for our drink;
But let our thoughts fro such things be as free
As be the birds that in the air flee.
For why our Lord, cleped sweet Jesus,
In the gospel speaketh to us thus:
Through all the world go ye, saith He,
And to every creature speak ye of me;
And show of my doctrine and cunning,
And that they may be glad of your coming.
If that you enter in any house anywhere,
Look that ye salute them, and bid my peace be there;
And if that house be worthy and elect,
Th'ilk peace there then shall take effect;
And if that house be cursed or pervert,
Th'ilk peace then shall to yourself revert.
And furthermore, if any such there be,
Which do deny for to receive ye,
And do despise your doctrine and your lore,
At such a house tarry ye no more;
And from your shoes scrape away the dust
To their reprefe; and I, both true and just,
Shall vengeance take of their sinful deed.
Wherefore, my friends, to this text take ye heed:
Beware how ye despise the poor freres,
Which are in this world Christ's ministers;
But do them with an hearty cheer receive,
Lest they happen your houses for to leave;
And then God will take vengeance in His ire.
Wherefore I now, that am a poor friar,
Did inquire where any people were
Which were disposed the Word of God to hear;
And as I came hither, one did me tell
That in this town right good folk did dwell,
Which to hear the Word of God would be glad;
And as soon as I thereof knowledge had,
I hither hied me as fast as I might,
Intended by the grace of God Almighty,
And by your patience and supportation,
Here to make a simple collation;
Wherefore I require all ye in this prese[nce]
For to abide and give due audience.
But, first of all,
Now here I shall
To God my prayer make,
To give ye grace
All in this place
His doctrine for to take.

[And then kneeleth down the friar saying his prayers, and in the meanwhile entereth the pardoner with all his relics, to declare what each of them been, and the whole power and virtue thereof.


God and Saint Leonard send ye all his grace,
As many as been assembled in this place!
Good devout people that here do assemble,
I pray God that ye may all well resemble
The image after which you are wrought,
And that ye save that Christ in you bought.
Devout Christian people, ye shall all wit,
That I am comen hither ye to visit;
Wherefore let us pray thus, ere I begin:
Our Saviour preserve ye all from sin,
And enable ye to receive this blessed pardon,
Which is the greatest under the sun:
Granted by the Pope in his bulls under lead,
Which pardon ye shall find, when ye are dead;
That offereth outher groats or else pence,
To these holy relics which, ere I go hence,
I shall here show in open audience,
Exhorting ye all to do to them reverence.
But first ye shall know well that I come from Rome;
Lo, here my bulls, all and some:
Our liege Lord seal here on my patent
I bear with me my body to warrant;
That no man be so bold, be he priest or clerk,
Me to disturb of Christ's holy wark;
Nor have no disdain nor yet scorn
Of these holy relics which saints have worn.
First here I show ye of a holy Jew's hip[169]
A bone—I pray you, take good keep
To my words and mark them well:
If any of your beasts' bellies do swell,
Dip this bone in the water that he doth take
Into his body, and the swelling shall slake;
And if any worm have your beasts stung,
Take of this water, and wash his tongue,
And it will be whole anon; and furthermore
Of pox and scabs, and every sore,
He shall be quite whole that drinketh of the well
That this bone is dipped in: it is truth that I tell
And if any man, that any beast oweth,[170]
Once in the week, ere that the cock croweth,
Fasting will drink of this well a draught,
As that holy Jew hath us taught,
His beasts and his stores shall multiply.
And, masters all, it helpeth well,
Though a man be foul in jealous rage,
Let a man with this water make his pottage,
And never more shall he his wife mistrist,[171]
Though he in sooth the fault by her wist,
Or had she been taken with friars two or three.
Here is a mitten eke, as ye may see:
He that his hand will put in this mitten,
He shall have increase of his grain,
That he hath sown, be it wheat or oats,
So that he offer pence or else groats,
And another holy relic eke here see ye may:
The blessed arm of sweet Saint Sunday;
And whosoever is blessed with this right hand,
Cannot speed amiss by sea nor by land.
And if he offereth eke with good devotion,
He shall not fail to come to high promotion,
And another holy relic here may ye see:
The great toe of the Holy Trinity;
And whosoever once doth it in his mouth take,
He shall never be diseased with the toothache;
Cancer nor pox shall there none breed:
This that I show ye is matter indeed.
And here is of our lady a relic full good:
Her bongrace which she ware, with her French hood,
When she went out always for sun-burning:
Women with child which be in mourning
By virtue thereof shall be soon eased,
And of their travail full soon also released,
And if this bongrace they do devoutly kiss,
And offer thereto, as their devotion is.
Here is another relic eke, a precious one,
Of All-Hallows the blessed jaw bone,
Which relic without any fail
Against poison chiefly doth prevail;
For whomsoever it toucheth without doubt,
All manner venom from him shall issue out;
So that it shall hurt no manner wight.
Lo, of this relic the great power and might,
Which preserveth from poison every man!
Lo, of Saint Michael eke the brain-pan,
Which for the headache is a preservative
To every man or beast that beareth life;
And further it shall stand him in better stead,
For his head shall never ache, when that he is dead,
Nor he shall feel no manner grief nor pain,
Though with a sword one cleave it then a-twain;
But be as one that lay in a dead sleep.
Wherefore to these relics now come crouch and creep,
But look that ye offering to them make,
Or else can ye no manner profit take.
But one thing, ye women all, I warrant you:
If any wight be in this place now,
That hath done sin so horrible, that she
Dare not for shame thereof shriven be,
Or any woman, be she young or old,
That hath made her husband cuckold:
Such folk shall have no power nor no grace
To offer to my relics in this place;
And whoso findeth herself out of such blame,
Come hither to me, on Christ's holy name.
And because ye
Shall unto me
Give credence at the full
Mine auctority
Now shall ye see
Lo, here the Pope's bull!

[Now shall the friar begin his sermon, and even at the same time the pardoner beginneth also to show and speak of his bulls and auctorities come from, Rome.


"Date et dabitur vobis:"
Good devout people, this place of Scripture—


Worshipful masters, ye shall understand—


Is to you that have no literature—


That Pope Leo the Tenth hath granted with his hand—


Is to say in our English tongue—


And by his bulls confirmed under lead—


As depart your goods the poor folk among—


To all manner people both quick and dead—


And God shall then give unto you again—


Ten thousand years and as many Lents of pardon—


This is the gospel, so is written plain—


When they are dead, their souls for to guardon—[172]


Therefore give your alms in the largest wise—


That will with their penny or alms deed—


Keep not your goods: fye, fye, on covetise!


Put to their hands to the good speed—


That sin with God is most abhominable—


Of the holy chapel of sweet Saint Leonard—


And is eke the sin that is most damnable—


Which late by fire was destroyed and marred—


In Scripture eke but I say, sirs, how—


Ay, by the mass, one cannot hear—


What a babbling maketh yonder fellow!


For the babbling of yonder foolish frere—


In Scripture eke is there many a place—


And also, masters, as I was about to tell—


Which showeth that many a man so far-forth lacketh grace—


Pope Julius the Sixth hath granted fair and well—


That when to them God hath abundance sent—


And doth twelve thousand years of pardon to them send—


They would distribute none to the indigent—


That ought to this holy chapel lend—


Whereat God having great indignation—


Pope Boniface the Ninth also—


Punished these men after a divers fashion—


Pope Julius, Pope Innocent, with divers popes mo—


As the gospel full nobly doth declare—


Hath granted to the sustaining of the same—


How dives Epulus reigning in welfare—


Five thousand years of pardon to every of you by name—


And on his board dishes delicate—


And clean remission also of their sin—


Poor Lazarus came begging at his gate—


As often times as you put in—


Desiring some food his hunger to relieve—


Any money into the Pardoner's coffer—


But the rich man nothing would him give—


Or any money up unto it offer—


Not so much as a few crumbs of bread—


Or he that offereth penny or groat—


Wherefore poor Lazarus of famine straight was dead—


Or he that giveth the Pardoner a new coat—


And angels his soul to heaven did carry—


Or take of me other image or letter—


But now the rich man, of the contrary—


Whereby this poor chapel may fare the better—


When he was dead, went to misery and pain.


And (God wot) it is a full gracious deed—


Wherefore evermore he shall remain—


For which God shall quite you well your mede—


In brenning fire, which shall never cease—


Now help our poor chapel, if it be your will—


But I say, thou Pardoner, I bid thee hold thy peace!—


And I say, thou friar, hold thy tongue still!—


What, standest thou there all the day smattering!—


Marry, what standest thou there all the day clattering!—


Marry, fellow, I come hither to preach the Word of God,
Which of no man may be forbode;
But heard with silence and good intent,
For why it teacheth them evident
The very way and path that shall them lead
Even to heaven's gates, as straight as any thread.
And he that letteth the Word of God of audience,
Standeth accursed in the great sentence;
And so art thou for interrupting me.


Nay, thou art a cursed knave, and that shalt thou see;
And all such that to me make interruption,
The Pope sends them excommunication
By his bulls here ready to be read,
By bishops and his cardinals confirmed;
And eke if thou disturb me any thing,
Thou art also a traitor to the king.
For here hath he granted me under his broad seal,
That no man, if he love his heal,[173]
Should me disturb or let in any wise;
And if thou dost the king's commandment despise,
I shall make thee be set fast by the feet,
And, where thou saidst that thou art more meet
Among the people here for to preach,
Because thou dost them the very way teach,
How to come to heaven above:
Therein thou liest, and that shall I prove,
And by good reason I shall make thee bow,
And know that I am meeter than art thou.
For thou, when thou hast taught them once the way,
Thou carest not whether they come there, yea or nay;
But when that thou hast done altogether,
And taught them the way for to come hither,
Yet all that thou canst imagine
Is but to use virtue, and abstain fro sin.
And if they fall once, then thou canst no more:
Thou canst not give them a salve for their sore.
But these my letters be clean purgation,
Although never so many sins they have done.
But when thou hast taught them the way and all,
Yet, ere they come there, they may have many a fall
In the way, ere that they come thither
For why the way to heaven is very slidder.
But I will teach them after another rate,
For I shall bring them to heaven's gate,
And be their guides, and conduct all things,
And lead them thither by the purse-strings,
So that they shall not fall, though that they would.


Hold thy peace, knave, thou art very bold:
Thou pratest, in faith, even like a Pardoner.


Why despisest thou the Pope's minister?
Masters, here I curse him openly,
And therewith warn all this whole company
By the Pope's great auctority,
That ye leave him, and harken unto me;
For, till he be assoiled, his words take none effect,
For out of holy church he is now clean reject.


My masters, he doth but jest and rave;
It forceth not for the words of a knave;
But to the Word of God do reverence,
And hear me forth with due audience.
Masters, I showed you ere while of alms-deed—


Masters, this pardon which I showed you before—


And how ye should give poor folk at their need—


Is the greatest that ever was, sith God was bore—


And if of your parts that thing once were done—


For why without confession or contrition—


Doubt not but God should give you retribution—


By this shall ye have clean remission—


But now further it ought to be declared—


And forgiven of the sins seven—


Who be these poor folk, that should have your reward—


Come to this pardon, if ye will come to heaven—


Who be those poor folk, of whom I speak and name?—


Come to this pardon, if ye will be in bliss—


Certes, we poor friars are the same—


This is the pardon, which ye cannot miss—


We friars daily take pain, I say—


This is the pardon, which shall men's souls win—


We friars daily do both fast and pray—


This is the pardon, the ridder of your sin—


We friars travail and labour every hour—


This is the pardon that purchaseth all grace—


We friars take pain for the love of our Saviour—


This is a pardon for all manner of trespass—


We friars also go on limitation[174]—


This is the pardon, of which all mercy doth spring—


For to preach to every Christian nation—


This is the pardon, that to heaven shall ye bring—


But I say, thou Pardoner, thou wilt keep silence soon!—


Yea, it is like to be, when I have done!—


Marry, therefore the more knave art thou, I say,
That perturbest the Word of God, I say;
For neither thyself wilt hear God's doctrine,
Ne suffer other their ears to incline,
Wherefore our Saviour, in His holy Scripture,
Giveth thee thy judgment, thou cursed creature,
Speaking to thee after this manner:
"Maledictus qui audit verbum Dei negligenter"—
Woe be that man, saith our Lord, that giveth no audience,
Or heareth the Word of God with negligence.


Now thou hast spoken all, sir daw,
I care not for thee an old straw;
I had liever thou were hanged up with a rope,
Than I, that am come from the Pope,
And thereby God's minister, while thou standest and prate,
Should be fain to knock without the gate.
Therefore preach hardly thy bellyful,
But I nevertheless will declare the Pope's bull.


Now, my friends, I have afore showed ye—


Now, my masters, as I have afore declared—


That good it is to give your charity—


That pardoners from you may not be spared—


And further I have at length to you told—


Now hereafter shall follow and ensue—


Who be these people that ye receive should—


That followeth of pardons the great virtue—


That is to say us friars poor—


We pardoners for your souls be as necessary—


That for our living must beg fro door to door—


As is the meat for our bodies hungry—


For of our own proper we have no proper thing—


For pardons is the thing that bringeth men to heaven—


But that we get of devout people's giving—


Pardons delivereth them fro the sins seven—


And in our place be friars three score and three—


Pardons for every crime may dispense—


Which only live on men's charity—


Pardon purchaseth grace for all offence—


For we friars wilful charity profess—


Yea, though ye had slain both father and mother—


We may have no money nother more nor less—


And this pardon is chief above all other—


For worldly treasure we may nought care—


For who to it offereth groat or penny—


Our souls must be rich and our bodies bare—


Though sins he had done never so many—


And one thing I had almost left behind—


And though that he had all his kindred slain—


Which before came not to my mind—


This pardon shall rid them from everlasting pain—


And doubtless, it is none other thing—


There is no sin so abhominable—


But when ye will give your alms and offering—


Which to remit this pardon is not able—


Look that ye distribute it wisely—


As well declareth the sentence of this letter—


Not to every man that for it will cry—


Ye cannot, therefore, bestow your money better—


For if ye give your alms in that wise—


Let us not here stand idle all the day—


It shall not both to them and us suffice—


Give us some money, ere that we go our way—


But I say, thou lewd fellow thou,
Haddest none other time to show thy bulls but now?
Canst not tarry and abide till soon,
And read them then, when preaching is done?


I will read them now, what sayest thou thereto?
Hast thou anything therewith to do?
Thinkest that I will stand and tarry for thy leisure?
Am I bound to do so much for thy pleasure?


For my pleasure? nay I would thou knowest it well:
It becometh the knave never a deal
To prate thus boldly in my presence,
And let the Word of God of audience.


Let the Word of God, quod a? nay let a whoreson drivel
Prate here all day, with a foul evil,
And all thy sermon goeth on covetise,
And biddest men beware of avarice;
And yet in thy sermon dost thou none other thing,
But for alms stand all the day begging!


Leave thy railing, I would thee advise—


Nay, leave thou thy babbling, if thou be wise—


I would thou knowest it, knave, I will not leave a whit—


No more will I, I do thee well to wit—


It is not thou shall make me hold my peace—


Then speak on hardly, if thou thinkest it for thy ease—


For I will speak, whither thou wilt or no—


In faith, I care not, for I will speak also—


Wherefore hardly let us both go to—


See which shall be better heard of us two—


What, should ye give ought to parting pardoners—


What, should ye spend on these flattering liars—


What, should ye give ought to these bold beggars—


As be these babbling monks and these friars—


Let them hardly labour for their living—


Which do nought daily but babble and lie—


It much hurteth them good men's giving—


And tell you fables dear enough at a fly—


For that maketh them idle and slothful to wark—


As doth this babbling friar here to-day—


That for none other thing they will cark—


Drive him hence, therefore, in the twenty-devil way!


Hardly they would go both to plough and cart—


On us pardoners hardly do your cost—


And if of necessity once they felt the smart—


For why your money never can be lost—


But we friars be not in like estate—


For why there is in our fraternity—


For our hands with such things we may not maculate—


For all brethren and sistren that thereof be—


We friars be not in like condition—


Devoutly song every year—


We may have no prebends ne exhibition—


As he shall know well that cometh there—


Of all temporal service are we forbode—


At every of the five solemn feasts—


And only bound to the service of God—


A mass and dirge to pray for the good rest—


And therewith to pray for every Christian nation—


Of the souls of the brethren and sistren all—


That God witsafe to save them fro damnation—


Of our fraternity in general—


But some of you so hard be of heart—


With a hearse there standing well arrayed and dight—


Ye cannot weep, though ye full sore smart—


And torches and tapers about it brenning bright—


Wherefore some man must ye hire needs—


And with the bells eke solemnly ringing—


Which must intreat God for your misdeeds—


And priests and clerks devoutly singing—


Ye can hire no better, in mine opinion—


And furthermore, every night in the year—


Than us God's servants, men of religion—


Twelve poor people are received there—


And specially God heareth us poor friars—


And there have both harborow and food—


And is attentive unto our desires—


That for them is convenient and good—


For the more of religion the more heard of our Lord—


And furthermore, if there be any other—


And that it so should, good reason doth accord—


That of our fraternity be sister or brother—


Therefore, doubt not, masters, I am even he—


Which hereafter happen to fall in decay—


To whom ye should part with your charity—


And if ye then chance to come that way—


We friars be they that should your alms take—


Nigh unto our foresaid holy place—


Which for your soul's health do both watch and wake—


Ye shall there tarry for a month's space—


We friars pray, God wot, when ye do sleep—


And be there found of the place's cost—[175]


We for your sins do both sob and weep—


Wherefore now, in the name of the Holy Ghost—


To pray to God for mercy and for grace—


I advise you all, that now here be—


And thus do we daily with all our whole place—


For to be of our fraternity—


Wherefore distribute of your temporal wealth—


Fie on covetise! stick not for a penny:—


By which ye may preserve your souls' health—


For which ye may have benefits so many—


I say, wilt thou not yet stint thy clap?
Pull me down the Pardoner with an evil hap!


Master Friar, I hold it best
To keep your tongue, while ye be in rest—


I say, one pull the knave off his stool!


Nay, one pull the friar down like a fool!


Leave thy railing and babbling of friars,
Or, by Jis, I'sh lug thee by the sweet ears![176]


By God, I would thou durst presume to it!—


By God, a little thing might make me to do it—


And I shrew thy heart, and thou spare—


By God, I will not miss thee much, thou slouch;
And if thou play me such another touch,
I'sh knock thee on the costard, I would thou it knew—


"Marry that I would see, quod blind Hew." [177]


Well, I will begin, and then let me see,
Whether thou darest again interrupt me,
And what thou would once to it say—


Begin and prove, whether I will, yea or nay—


And to go forth, whereas I left right now—


Because some percase will think amiss of me—


Our Lord in the gospel showeth the way how—


Ye shall now hear the Pope's authority.


By Gog's soul, knave, I suffer thee no lenger—


I say some good body lend me his hanger,
And I shall him teach by God Almighty,
How he shall another time learn for to fight!
I shall make that bald crown of his to look red;
I shall leave him but one ear on his head!


But I shall leave thee never an ear, ere I go:


Yea, whoreson friar, wilt thou soe—

[Then they fight.


Loose thy hands away from mine ears—


Then take thou thy hands away from my hairs;
Nay, abide, thou whoreson, I am not down yet;
I trust first to lay thee at my feet.


Yea, whoreson, wilt thou scrat and bite?


Yea, marry, will I, as long as thou dost smite.—

[Enter the Curate.


Hold your hands, a vengeance on ye both two,
That ever ye came hither to make this a-do!
To pollute my church, a mischief on you light!
I swear to you, by God Almight,
Ye shall both repent, every vein of your heart,
As sore as ye did ever thing, ere ye depart.


Master Parson, I marvel ye will give licence
To this false knave in this audience,
To publish his ragman-rolls[178] with lies
I desired him, i-wis, more than once or twice
To hold his peace, till that I had done;
But he would hear no more than the man in the moon—


Why should I suffer thee more than thou me?
Master Parson gave me licence before thee;
And I would thou knowest it, I have relics here
Other manner stuff than thou dost bear.
I will edify more with the sight of it,
Than will all the prating of holy writ;
For that except that the preacher himself live well,
His predication will help never a dell,
And I know well that thy living is nought:
Thou art an apostate, if it were well sought.
An homicide thou art, I know well enough,
For myself knew where that thou slough
A wench with thy dagger in a couch:
And yet, as thou say'st in thy sermon, that no man shall touch.


No more of this wrangling in my church!
I shrew your hearts both for this lurch:
Is there any blood shed here between these knaves?
Thanked be God they had no staves
Nor edge-tools;[179] for then it had been wrong.
Well, ye shall sing another song!
Neighbour Prat, come hither, I you pray—


Why, what is this nice fray?


I cannot tell you; one knave disdains another;
Wherefore take ye the one, and I shall take the other.
We shall bestow them there as is most convenient;
For such a couple, I trow, they shall repent
That ever they met in this church here.
Neighbour, ye be constable; stand ye near,
Take ye that lay knave, and let me alone
With this gentleman; by God and by Saint John,
I shall borrow upon priesthood somewhat;
For I may say to thee, neighbour Prat,
It is a good deed to punish such, to the ensample
Of such other, how that they shall mell
In like fashion, as these caitiffs do.


In good faith, Master Parson, if ye do so,
Ye do but well to teach them to beware.


Master Prat, I pray ye me to spare;
For I am sorry for that that is done;
Wherefore I pray ye forgive me soon,
For that I have offended within your liberty;
And by my troth, sir, ye may trust me
I will never come hither more,
While I live, and God before.


Nay, I am once charged with thee,
Wherefore, by Saint John, thou shalt not escape me,
Till thou hast scoured a pair of stocks.


Tut, he weeneth all is but mocks!
Lay hand on him; and come ye on, sir friar,
Ye shall of me hardly have your hire;
Ye had none such this seven year,
I swear by God and by our lady dear.


Nay, Master Parson, for God's passion,
Intreat[180] not me after that fashion;
For, if ye do, it will not be for your honesty.


Honesty or not, but thou shall see,
What I shall do by and by:
Make no struggling, come forth soberly:
For it shall not avail thee, I say.


Marry, that shall we try even straightway.
I defy the churl priest, and there be no more than thou.
I will not go with thee, I make God a vow.
We shall see first which is the stronger:
God hath sent me bones; I do thee not fear.


Yea, by thy faith, wilt thou be there?
Neighbour Prat, bring forth that knave,
And thou, sir friar, if thou wilt algates[181] rave.


Nay, churl, I thee defy!
I shall trouble thee first;
Thou shalt go to prison by and by;
Let me see, now do thy worst!

[Prat with the Pardoner and the Parson with the Friar.


Help, help, neighbour Prat, neighbour Prat,
In the worship of God, help me somewhat!


Nay, deal as thou canst with that elf,
For why I have enough to do myself.
Alas! for pain I am almost dead;
The red blood so runneth down about my head.
Nay, and thou canst, I pray thee help me.


Nay, by the mass, fellow, it will not be;
I have more tow on my distaff than I can well spin;
The cursed Friar doth the upper hand win.


Will ye leave then, and let us in peace depart?


Yea, by our lady, even with all our heart.


Then adieu to the devil, till we come again.


And a mischief go with you both twain![182]



When the Rev. T.F. Dibdin asserted ("Typographical Antiquities," ii. 9.) that "in the Drama there is no single work yet found, which bears the name of Winken de Worde as the printer of it," he committed one of those singular over-sights of which very learned men have before been sometimes guilty. "Hickscorner," perhaps the most ancient printed dramatic piece in our language, and well-known to those who are at all acquainted with the history of our stage, was from his press, and his colophon is at its conclusion: "Enprynted by me Wynkyn de Worde." Mr Dibdin, in opposition to his own statement, inserts it among the works of that early professor of the typographic art.

The subsequent dramatic production is also from the types of Wynkyn de
Worde, but it was not discovered in the Library of Trinity College,
Dublin, until after the appearance of the second volume of Mr Dibdin's
new edition of Ames.[183]

[Yet a copy was in the "Bibliotheca Anglo-Poetica," 1815, and in 1817 the piece was reprinted for the Roxburghe Club].

"Hickscorner" is without date, but "The World and the Child" was printed in July 1522. Only one other copy of it is known, and it is here republished from a faithful transcript of the original.[184] As a specimen of our ancient moralities, it is of an earlier date, and in several respects more curious, than almost any other piece in the present collection. From a line in the epilogue, it might be inferred that it was performed before the king and his Court.


MUNDUS. Sirs, cease of your saws what so befall,
And look ye bow bonerly[185] to my bidding,
For I am ruler of realms, I warn you all,
And over all fodes[186] I am king:
For I am king, and well known in these realms round,
I have also palaces i-pight:
I have steeds in stable stalwart and strong,
Also streets and strands full strongly i-dight:
For all the world[187] wide I wot well is my name,
All riches readily it renneth in me,
All pleasure worldly, both mirth and game.
Myself seemly in sale[188] I send with you to be,
For I am the world, I warn you all,
Prince of power and of plenty:
He that cometh not, when I do him call,
I shall him smite with poverty,
For poverty I part[189] in many a place
To them that will not obedient be.
I am a king in every case:
Methinketh I am a God of grace,
The flower of virtue followeth me!
Lo, here I sit seemly in se,[190]
I command you all obedient be,
And with free will ye follow me.

INFANS. Christ our king, grant you clearly to know the case.
To meve[191] of this matter that is in my mind,
[And] clearly declare it, Christ grant me grace.
Now, seemly sirs, behold on me,
How mankind doth begin:
I am a child, as you may see,
Gotten in game and in great sin.
Forty weeks my mother me found,[192]
Flesh and blood my food was tho:
When I was ripe from her to sound,
In peril of death we stood both two.
Now to seek death I must begin,
For to pass that strait passage
For body and soul, that shall then twin,[193]
And make a parting of that marriage.
Forty weeks I was freely fed
Within my mother's possession:
Full oft of death she was a-dread,
When that I should part her from:
Now into the world she hath me sent,
Poor and naked, as ye may see,
I am not worthily wrapped nor went,
But poorly pricked in poverty.
Now into the world will I wend,
Some comfort of him for to crave.
All hail! comely crowned king,
God that all made you see and save!

MUNDUS. Welcome, fair child, what is thy name?

INFANS. I wot not, sir, withouten blame;
But oftime my mother in her game
Called me Dalliance.

MUNDUS. Dalliance, my sweet child,
It is a name that is right wild,[194]
For when thou waxest old,
It is a name of no substance,
But, my fair child, what wouldst thou have?

INFANS. Sir, of some comfort I you crave:
Meat and clothes my life to save,
And I your true servant shall be.

MUNDUS. Now, fair child, I grant thee thine asking:
I will thee find while thou art ying,[195]
So thou wilt be obedient to my bidding.
These garments gay I give to thee,
And also I give to thee a name,
And clepe thee Wanton in every game,
Till fourteen year be come and gone,
And then come again to me.

WANTON. Gramercy, world, for mine array;
For now I purpose me to play.

MUNDUS. Farewell, fair child, and have good day:
All recklessness is kind for thee.

WANTON. Ha, ha, Wanton is my name:
I can many a quaint game.
Lo, my top I drive in same,
See, it turneth round!
I can with my scourge-stick
My fellow upon the head hit,
And lightly[196] from him make a skip,
And blear on him my tongue.
If brother or sister do me chide,
I will scratch and also bite:
I can cry, and also kick,
And mock them all berew.[197]
If father or mother will me smite,
I will ring with my lip,
And lightly from him make a skip,
And call my dame shrew.
Aha, a new game have I found:
See this gin, it renneth round!
And here another have I found,
And yet mo can I find.
I can mow[198] on a man,
And make a lesing[199] well I can,
And maintain it right well then.
This cunning came me of kind,
Yea, sirs, I can well geld a snail,
And catch a cow by the tail:
This is a fair cunning,
I can dance and also skip,
I can play at the cherry-pit,[200]
And I can whistle you a fit,[201]
Sires, in a willow rine:
Yea, sirs, and every day,
When I to school shall take the way
Some good man's garden I will essay,
Pears and plums to pluck.
I can spy a sparrow's nest,
I will not go to school but when me lest,[202]
For there beginneth a sorry feast,
When the master should lift my dock.
But, sirs, when I was seven year of age,
I was sent to the world to take wage,[203]
And this seven year I have been his page,
And kept his commandment.
Now I will wend to the world the worthy emperor.
Hail! Lord of great honour,
This seven year I have served you in hall and in bow'r
With all my true intent.[204]

MUNDUS. Now welcome, Wanton, my darling dear.
A new name I shall give thee here:
Love-Lust, Liking, in fere;
These thy names they shall be,
All game and glee, and gladness,
All love-longing in lewdness.
This seven year forsake all sadness,
And then come again to me.

LUST AND LIKING. Ha, ha, now Lust and Liking is my name.
I am as fresh as flowers in May,
I am seemly-shapen in same,
And proudly apparelled in garments gay:
My looks been full lovely to a lady's eye,
And in love-longing my heart is sore set:
Might I find a fode[205] that were fair and free,
To lie in hell till doomsday for love I would not let.
My love for to win
All game and glee,
All mirth and melody,
All revel and riot,
And of boast will I never blin.
But, sirs, now I am nineteen winter old,
I-wis, I wax wonder bold:
Now I will go to the world
A higher science to assay:
For the World will me avance,
I will keep his governance,
His pleasing will I pray,
For he is a king in all substance.
All hail! master, full of might,
I have you served both day and night:
Now I comen, as I you benight.[206]
One and twenty winter is comen and gone.

MUNDUS. Now welcome, Love-Lust and Liking,
For thou hast been obedient to my bidding.
I increase thee in all thing,
And mightly[207] I make thee a man:
Manhood Mighty shall be thy name.
Bear thee prest[208] in every game,
And wait[209] well that thou suffer no shame,
Neither for land nor for rent:
If any man would wait thee with blame,
Withstand him with thy whole intent,
Full sharply thou beat him to shame
With doughtiness of deed:
For of one thing, Manhood, I warn thee,
I am most of bounty,
For seven kings sewen[210] me
Both by day and night.
One of them is the king of pride,
The king of envy doughty in deed,
The king of wrath that boldly will abide,
For mickle is his might:
The king of covetise is the fourth:
The fifth king he hight sloth,
The king of gluttony hath no jollity,
There[21l] poverty is pight:[212]
Lechery is the seventh king,
All men in him have great delighting,
Therefore worship him above all thing,
Manhood, with all thy might.

MANHOOD. Yea, sir king, without lesing
It shall be wrought.[213]
Had I knowing of the first king, without lesing
Well joyen I mought.

MUNDUS. The first king hight pride.

MANHOOD. Ah, Lord, with him fain would I bide.

MUNDUS. Yea, but wouldst thou serve him truly in every tide?[214]

MANHOOD. Yea, sir, and thereto my troth I plight:
That I shall truly pride present
I swear by Saint Thomas of Kent.[215]
To serve him truly is mine intent,
With main and all my might.

MUNDUS. Now, Manhood, I will array thee new
In robes royal of right[216] good hue,
And I pray thee principally be true,
And here I dub thee a knight,
And haunt alway to chivalry.
I give thee grace and also beauty:
Gold and silver great plenty,
Of the wrong to make thee right.

MANHOOD. Gramercy, World and Emperor,
Gramercy, World and Governor,
Gramercy, comfort in all colour,
And now I take my leave. Farewell!

MUNDUS. Farewell, Manhood, my gentle knight:
Farewell, my son, seemly in sight.
I give thee a sword, and also strength and might
In battle boldly to bear thee well.

MANHOOD. Now I am dubbed a knight bend,[217]
Wonder wide shall wax my fame:
To seek adventures now will I wend,
To please the world in glee and game.

MUNDUS. Lo, sirs, I am a prince perilous y-proved,
I-proved full perilous and pithily y-pight:
As a lord in each land I am beloved,
Mine eyen do shine as lantern bright.
I am a creature comely out of care,
Emperors and kings they kneel to my knee:
Every man is afeard, when I do on him stare,
For all merry middle earth maketh mention of me.
Yet all is at my hand-work, both by down and by dale,
Both the sea and the land, and the fowls that fly:
And I were once moved, I tell you in tale,
There durst no[218] star stir that standeth in the sky,
For I am Lord and leader, so that in land
All boweth to my bidding bonnerly about.
Who that stirreth with any strife or waiteth me with wrong,
I shall mightly make him to stammer and stoop:
For I am richest in mine array,
I have knights and towers,
I have brightest[219] ladies in bowers.
Now will I fare on these flowers:
Lordings, have good day.

MANHOOD. Peace, now peace, ye fellows all about:
Peace now, and harken to my saws,
For I am Lord both stalworthy and stout,
All lands are led by my laws.
Baron was there never born that so well him bare,
A better ne a bolde[r] nor a brighter of ble,[220]
For I have might and main over countries far,
And Manhood Mighty am I named in every country.
For Salerno and Samers,[221] and Andaluse:[222]
Calais, Kent, and Cornwall have I conquered clean,
Picardy and Pontoise, and gentle Artois,
Florence, Flanders, and France, and also Gascoigne.
All I have conquered as a knight:
There is no emperor so keen,
That dare me lightly tene,[223]
For lives and limbs I lene,
So mickle is my might.
For I have boldly blood full piteously dispilled:
There many hath left fingers and feet, both head and face.
I have done harm on heads, and knights have I killed;
And many a lady for my love hath said alas.
Brigand harness[224] I have beaten to back and to bones,
And beaten also many a groom[225] to ground:
Breastplates I have beaten, as Stephen was with stones,
So fell a fighter in a field was there never y-found.
To me no man is maked,[226]
For Manhood Mighty that is my name.
Many a lord have I do lame:[227]
Wonder wide walketh my fame,
And many a king's crown have I cracked.
I am worthy and wight, witty and wise:
I am royal arrayed to reven under the ris,[228]
I am proudly apparelled in purpur and bis,
As gold I glister in gear:
I am stiff, strong, stalwart, and stout,
I am the royallest readily that renneth in this rout,
There is no knight so grisly that I dread nor doubt,
For I am so doughtly dight there may no dint me dere,
And the king of pride full prest with all his proud presence,
And the king of lechery lovely his letters hath me sent,
And the king of wrath full wordily with all his intent,
They will me maintain with main and all their might:
The king of covetise, and the king of gluttony,
The king of sloth, and the king of envy,
All those send me their livery.
Where is now so worthy a wight?
Yea, as a wight witty,
Here in this seat sit I,
For no loves let I
Here for to sit.

CONSCIENCE. Christ, as he is crowned king,
Save all this comely company,
And grant you all his dear blessing,
That bonnerly bought you on the rood-tree.
Now pray you prestly on every side
To God omnipotent,
To set our enemy sharply on side,
That is the devil and his covent:
And all men to have a clear knowing
Of heaven bliss, that high tower,
Methink it is a nessary[229] thing
For young and old, both rich and poor,
Poor Conscience for to know,
For Conscience clear it is my name.
Conscience counselleth both high and low,
And Conscience commonly beareth great blame,
Yea, and oftentimes set in shame:
Wherefore I reed you men, both in earnest and in game,
Conscience that ye know,
For I know all the mysteries of man.
They be as simple as they can,
And in every company where I come
Conscience is out-cast:
All the world doth Conscience hate,
Mankind and Conscience been at debate,
For if mankind might Conscience take
My body would they brast:
Brast, yea, and wark me much woe.

MANHOOD. Say how, fellow, who gave thee leave this way to go?
What! weenest thou I dare not come thee to?
Say, thou harlot,[230] whither in haste?

CONSCIENCE. What! let me go, sir; I know you nought.

MANHOOD. No, bitched brothel, thou shalt be taught,
For I am a knight, and I were sought;
The world hath avanced me.

CONSCIENCE. Why, good sir knight, what is your name?

MANHOOD. Manhood, mighty in mirth and in game,
All power of pride have I tane:[231]
I am as gentle as jay on tree.

CONSCIENCE. Sir, though the world have you to manhood brought,
To maintain manner ye were never taught;
No, Conscience clear, ye know right nought,
And this longeth[232] to a knight.

MANHOOD. Conscience! what the devil man is he?

CONSCIENCE! Sir, a teacher of the spirituality.

MANHOOD. Spirituality! what the devil may that be?

CONSCIENCE. Sir, all that be leaders into light.

MANHOOD. Light! yea, but hark, fellow, yet light fain would I see.

CONSCIENCE! Will ye so, sir knight, then do after me.

MANHOOD. Yea, and it to pride's pleasing be;
I will take thy teaching.

CONSCIENCE. Nay, sir, beware of pride, and you do well.
For pride Lucifer fell into hell:
Till doomsday there shall he dwell,
Withouten any outcoming;
For pride, sir, is but a vain glory.

MANHOOD. Peace, thou brothel, and let those words be,
For the world and pride hath avanced me
To me men lewt[233] full low.

CONSCIENCE. And to beware of pride, sir, I would counsel you;
And think on King Robert of Sicile,[234]
How he for pride in great poverty fell,
For he would not Conscience know.

MANHOOD. Yea, Conscience, go forth thy way,
For I love pride, and will go gay:
All thy teaching is not worth a stra',[235]
For pride clepe I my king.

CONSCIENCE. Sir, there is no king but God alone,
That bodily bought us with pain and passion,
Because of man's soul's redemption:
In Scripture thus we find.

MANHOOD. Say, Conscience, sith thou wouldst have pride from me,
What sayest thou by the king of lechery?
With all mankind he must be,
And with him I love to ling.

CONSCIENCE. Nay, Manhood, that may not be:
From lechery fast you flee.
For incumbrance it will bring thee,
And all that to him will lind.[236]

MANHOOD. Say, Conscience, of the king of sloth.
He hath behight me mickle troth,
And I may not forsake him for ruth.
For with him I think to rest.

CONSCIENCE. Manhood, in Scripture thus we find,
That sloth is a traitor to heaven king:
Sir knight, if you will keep your king[237]
From sloth clean you cast.

MANHOOD. Say, Conscience, the king of gluttony:
He sayeth he will not forsake me,
And I purpose his servant to be
With main and all my might.

CONSCIENCE. Think, Manhood, on substance,
And put out gluttony for cumbrance,
And keep you with good governance,
For this longeth to a knight.

MANHOOD. What, Conscience, from all my masters thou wouldst have me:
But I will never forsake envy,
For he is king of company,
Both with more and lass.[238]

CONSCIENCE. Nay, Manhood, that may not be.
And[239] ye will cherish envy;
God will not well pleased be
To comfort you in that case.

MANHOOD. Ay, ay, from five kings thou hast counselled me,
But from the king of wrath I will never flee,
For he is in every deed doughty,
For him dare no man rowt.

CONSCIENCE. Nay, Manhood, beware of wrath;
For it is but superfluity that cometh and goeth:
Yea, and all men his company hateth,
For oft they stand in doubt.[240]

MANHOOD. Fie on thee, false flattering frere:[241]
Thou shalt rue the time that thou came here.
The devil mot set thee on a fire,
That ever I with thee meet,
For thou counsellest me from all gladness,
And would me set into all sadness;
But ere thou bring me in this madness,
The devil break thy neck!
But, sir frere, evil mot thou the,[242]
From six kings thou hast counselled me,
But that day shall thou never see
To counsel me from covetise.

CONSCIENCE. No, sir, I will not you from covetise bring,
For covetise I clepe a king.
Sir, covetise in good doing
Is good in all wise:
But, sir knight, will ye do after me,
And covetise your king shall be?

MANHOOD. Ye, sir, my troth I plight to thee.
That I will wark at thy will.

CONSCIENCE. Manhood, will ye by this word stand?

MANHOOD. Yea, Conscience, here my hand.
I will never from it fong,[243]
Neither loud ne still.

CONSCIENCE. Manhood, ye must love God above all thing.
His name in idleness ye may not ming:
Keep your holy-day from worldly doing:
Your father and mother worship aye:
Covet ye to sle no man,
Ne do no lechery with no woman:
Your neighbour's good take not by no way,
And all false witness ye must denay:
Neither ye must not covet no man's wife,
Nor no good that him be-lith.
This covetise shall keep you out of strife.
These been the commandments ten:
Mankind, and ye these commandments keep,
Heaven bliss I you behete,[244]
For Christ's commandments are[245] full sweet,
And full necessary to all men.

MANHOOD. What, Conscience, is this thy covetise?

CONSCIENCE. Yea, manhood, in all wise:
And covet to Christ's service,
Both to matins and to mass.
Ye must, Manhood, with all your might,
Maintain holy church's right,
For this longeth to a knight
Plainly in every place.

MANHOOD. What, Conscience, should I leave all game and glee?

CONSCIENCE. Nay, Manhood, so mot I the,
All mirth in measure is good for thee:
But, sir, measure is in all thing.

MANHOOD. Measure, Conscience? what thing may measure be?

CONSCIENCE. Sir, keep you in charity,
And from all evil company,
For doubt of folly doing.

MANHOOD. Folly! what thing callest thou folly!

CONSCIENCE. Sir, it is pride, wrath, and envy,
Sloth, covetise, and gluttony,
Lechery the seventh is:
These seven sins I call folly.

MANHOOD. What, thou liest! to this seven
The world delivered me,
And said they were kings of great beauty,
And most of main and mights.
But yet I pray thee, sir, tell me,
May I not go arrayed honestly?

CONSCIENCE. Yes, Manhood, hardily
In all manner of degree.

MANHOOD. But I must have sporting of play.

CONSCIENCE. Sickerly,[246] Manhood, I say not nay:
But good governance keep both night and day,
And maintain meekness and all mercy.

MANHOOD. All mercy, Conscience: what may that be?

CONSCIENCE. Sir, all discretion that God gave thee.

MANHOOD. Discretion I know not, so mot I the.

CONSCIENCE. Sir, it is all the wits that God hath you send.

MANHOOD. Ah, Conscience! Conscience! now I know and see
Thy cunning is much more than mine:
But yet I pray thee, sir, tell me,
What is most necessary for man in every time?

CONSCIENCE. Sir, in every time beware of folly:
Folly is full of false flattering;
In what occupation that ever ye be,
Alway, ere ye begin, think on the ending for blame.
Now farewell, Manhood, I must wend.

MANHOOD. Now farewell, Conscience, mine own friend.

CONSCIENCE. I pray you, Manhood, have God in mind,
And beware of folly and shame.

MANHOOD. Yes, yes: yea, come wind and rain,
God let him never come here again.
Now he is forward, I am right fain,
For in faith, sir, he had near counselled me all amiss.
Ah, ah! now I have bethought me, if I shall heaven win,
Conscience teaching I must begin,
And clean forsake the kings of sin,
That the world me taught;
And Conscience' servant will I be,
And believe, as he hath taught me,
Upon one God and persons three,
That made all things of nought:
For Conscience clear I clepe my king,
And his knight in good doing:
For right of reason, as I find,
Conscience teaching is true:
The world is full of boast,
And saith he is of might most:
All his teaching is not worth a cost;
For Conscience he doth refuse.
But yet will I him not forsake,
For mankind he doth merry make:
Though the world and Conscience be at debate,
Yet the world will I not despise,
For both in church and in cheaping,[247]
And in other places being,
The world findeth me all thing,
And doth me great service.
Now here full prest
I think to rest,
Now mirth is best.

FOLLY. What, heigho! care away!
My name is Folly, I am not gay.
Is here any man that will say nay
That renneth in this rout?
Ah, sir, God give you good eve.

MANHOOD. Stand utter,[248] fellow, where dost thou thy courtesy preve?

FOLLY. What, I do but claw mine arse, sir, by your leave.
I pray you, sir, rive me this clout.

MANHOOD. What, stand out, thou sained[249] shrew!

FOLLY. By faith, sir, there the cock crew;
For I take record of this rew
My thedom[250] is near past.

MANHOOD. Now, truly, it may well be so.

FOLLY. By God, sir, yet have I fellows mo,
For in every country, where I go,
Some man his thrift hath lost.

MANHOOD. But hark, fellow, art thou any crafts-man?

FOLLY. Yea, sir, I can bind a sieve and tink a pan,
And thereto a curious buckler-player I am.
Arise, fellow, will thou assay?

MANHOOD. Now truly, sir, I trow thou canst but little skill of play.

FOLLY. Yes, by Cock's bones, that I can.
I will never flee for no man,
That walketh by the way.

MANHOOD. Fellow, though thou have cunning,
I counsel thee leave thy boasting,
For here thou may thy fellow find,
Whether thou wilt, at long or short.

FOLLY. Come, look and thou darest, arise and assay.

MANHOOD. Yea, sir, but yet Conscience biddeth me nay.

FOLLY. No, sir, thou darest not in good fay,
For truly thou failest no[w], false heart.

MANHOOD. What sayest thou? have I a false heart?

FOLLY. Yea, sir, in good fay.

MANHOOD. Manhood will not that I say nay.
Defend thee, Folly, if that you may,
For in faith I purpose to wete what thou art.
How sayest thou now, Folly, hast thou not a touch?

FOLLY. No, i-wis, but a little on my pouch.
On all this meyne[251] will me vouch
That standeth here about.

MANHOOD. And I take record on all this rew,
Thou hast two touches, though I say but few.

FOLLY. Yea, this place is not without a shrew:
I do you all out of due.

MANHOOD. But hark, fellow, by thy faith, where was thou bore?

FOLLY. By my faith, in England have I dwelled yore,
And all mine ancestors me before.
But, sir, in London is my chief dwelling.

MANHOOD. In London? where, if a man thee sought?

FOLLY. Sir, in Holborn I was forth brought,
And with the courtiers, I am betaught,
To Westminster I used to wend.

MANHOOD. Hark, fellow, why dost thou to Westminster draw?

FOLLY. For I am a servant of the law.
Covetise is mine own fellow:
We twain plete[252] for the king,
And poor men that come from upland,
We will take their matter in hand,
Be it right or be it wrong,
Their thrift with us shall wend.

MANHOOD. Now hear, fellow, I pray thee, whither wendest thou than?

FOLLY. By my faith, sir, into London I ran,
To the taverns to drink the wine:
And then to the inns I took the way,
And there I was not welcome to the ostler,
But I was welcome to the fair tapester,
And to all the household I was right dear,
For I have dwelled with her many a day.

MANHOOD. Now I pray thee, whither took thou then the way?

FOLLY. In faith, sir, over London bridge I ran,
And the straight way to the Stews I came,
And took lodging for a night:
And there I found my brother lechery.
There men and women did Folly,
And every man made of me as worthy,
As though I had been a knight.

MANHOOD. I pray thee yet tell me mo of thine adventures.

FOLLY. In faith, even straight to all the freres,
And with them I dwelled many years,
And they crowned Folly a king.

MANHOOD. I pray thee, fellow, whither wendest thou tho?

FOLLY. Sir, all England to and fro:
Into abbeys and into nunneries also,
And alway Folly doth fellows find.

MANHOOD. Now hark, fellow, I pray thee tell me thy name.

FOLLY. I-wis, I hight both Folly and Shame.

MANHOOD. Ah, ah! thou art he that Conscience did blame,
When he me taught.
I pray thee, Folly, go hence, and follow not me.

FOLLY. Yes, good sir, let me your servant be.

MANHOOD. Nay, so mot I the,
For then a shrew had I caught.

FOLLY. Why, good sir, what is your name?

MANHOOD. Manhood Mighty, that beareth no blame.

FOLLY. By the rood, and Manhood mistereth[253] in every game
Some deal to cherish Folly:
For Folly is fellow with the world,
And greatly beloved by many a lord,
And if ye put me out of your ward,
The world right wrath will be.

MANHOOD. Yea, sir, yet had I liever the world be wrath,
Than lese the cunning that Conscience me gave.

FOLLY. A cuckoo for Conscience[254]; he is but a daw:
He cannot else but preach.

MANHOOD. Yea, I pray thee, leave thy lewd clattering,
For Conscience is a councillor for a king.

FOLLY. I would not give a straw for his teaching:
He doth but make men wrath.
But wottest thou what I say, man?
By that ilk[255] truth that God me gave,
Had I that bitched Conscience in this place,
I should so beat him with my staff,
That all his stones should stink.

MANHOOD. I pray thee, Folly, go hence and follow not me.

FOLLY. Yes, sir, so mot I the,
Your servant will I be.
I axe but meat and drink.

MANHOOD. Peace, man: I may not have thee for thy name,
For thou sayest thy name is both Folly and Shame.

FOLLY. Sir, here in this clout I knit Shame,
And clepe me but proper Folly.

MANHOOD. Yea, Folly, will thou be my true servant?

FOLLY. Yea, Sir Manhood, here my hand.

MANHOOD. Now let us drink at this comnant,[256]
For that is courtesy.

FOLLY. Marry, master, ye shall have in haste.
Ah, ah, sirs, let the cat wink,[257]
For all ye wot not what I think,
I shall draw him such a draught of drink,
That Conscience he shall away cast.
Have, master, and drink well
And let us make revel, revel,
For I swear by the church of Saint Michael,
I would we were at stews:
For there is nothing but revel rout.
And we were there, I had no doubt
I should be knowen all about,
Where Conscience they would refuse.

MANHOOD. Peace, Folly, my fair friend,
For, by Christ, I would not that Conscience should me here find.

FOLLY. Tush, master, thereof speak no thing,
For Conscience cometh no time here.

MANHOOD. Peace, Folly, there is no man that knoweth me.

FOLLY. Sir, here my troth I plight to thee,
And thou wilt go thither with me,
For Knowledge have thou no care.

MANHOOD. Peace, but it is hence a great way.

FOLLY. Pardè, sir, we may be there on a day.
Yea, and we shall be right welcome, I dare well say,
In Eastcheap for to dine:
And then we will with lombards[258] at passage[259] play,
And at the Pope's-Head sweet wine assay,
We shall be lodged well a-fine.

MANHOOD. What sayest thou, Folly, is this the best?

FOLLY. Sir, all this is Manhood, well thou knowest.

MANHOOD. Now, Folly, go we hence in haste.
But fain would I change my name:
For well I wot, if Conscience meet me in this tide,
Right well I wot, he would me chide.

FOLLY. Sir, for fear of you his face he shall hide:
I shall clepe you Shame.

MANHOOD. Now gramercy, Folly, my fellow infere,[260]
Go we hence, tarry no lenger here.
Till we be gone, methink it seven year:
I have gold and good to spend.

FOLLY. Ah, ah! master, that is good cheer,
And ere it be passed half a year,
I shall thee shear right a lewd frere,
And hither again thee send. [Aside.

MANHOOD. Folly, go before, and teach me the way.

FOLLY. Come after, Shame, I thee pray,
And Conscience clear ye cast away.
Lo, sirs, this Folly teacheth aye:
For where Conscience cometh with his cunning,
Vet Folly full featly shall make him blind.
Folly before, and Shame behind.
Lo, sirs, thus fareth the world alway.

MANHOOD. Now, I will follow Folly, for Folly is my man:
Yea, Folly is my fellow, and hath given me a name:
Conscience called me Manhood, Folly calleth me Shame.
Folly will me lead to London to learn revel;
Yea, and Conscience is but a flattering brothel;
For ever he is carping of care:
The world and Folly counselleth me to all gladness,
Yea, and Conscience counselleth me to all sadness;
Yea, too much sadness might bring me into madness.
And now have good day, sirs,
To London to seek Folly will I fare.

CONSCIENCE. Say, Manhood, friend, whither will ye go?

MANHOOD. Nay, sir, in faith my name is not so.
Why, frere, what the devil hast thou to do,
Whether I go or abide?

CONSCIENCE. Yes, sir, I will counsel you for the best

MANHOOD. I will none of thy counsel, so have I rest:
I will go whither me lest,[261]
For thou canst nought else but chide.

CONSCIENCE. Lo, sirs, a great ensample you may see,
The frailness of mankind,
How oft he falleth in folly
Through temptation of the fiend:
For when the fiend and the flesh be at one assent,
Then Conscience clear is clean outcast.
Men think not on the great judgment,
That the seely soul shall have at the last,
But would God all men would have in mind
Of the great day of doom,
How he shall give a great reckoning
Of evil deeds that he hath done:
But [it is] needless, sith it is so,
That Manhood is forth with Folly wende,
To seech[262] Perseverance now will I go,
With the grace of God omnipotent.
His counsels been in fere:
Perseverance' counsel is most dear,
Next to him is Conscience, clear
From sinning.
Now into this presence to Christ, I pray,
To speed me well in my journey:
Farewell, lordings, and have good day:
To seek Perseverance will I wend.

PERSEVERANCE. Now, Christ, our comely creator,[263] clearer than crystal
That craftly made every creature by good recreation,
Save all this company that is gathered here bi-dene,[264]
And set all your souls into good salvation.
Now, good God, that is most wisest and welde of wits,
This company counsel, and comfort, and glad,
And save all this simplitude that seemly here sits.
Now, good God, for his mercy, that all men made:
Now, Mary mother, meekest that I mean,
Shield all this company from evil inversation,
And save you from our enemy, as she is bright and clean,
And at the last day of doom deliver you from everlasting damnation,
Sirs, Perseverance is my name,
Conscience born brother [that] is,
He sent me hither mankind to indoctrine,
That they should to no vices incline:
For oft mankind is governed amiss,
And through Folly mankind is set in shame,
Therefore in this presence to Christ I pray,
Ere that I hence wend away,
Some good word that I may say
To borrow[265] man's soul from blame.

AGE. Alas! alas! that me is woe!
My life, my liking, I have forlorn
My rents, my riches, it is all y-go:
Alas the day that I was born!
For I was born Manhood most of might,
Stiff, strong, both stalwart and stout,
The world full worthily hath made me a knight:
All bowed to my bidding bonerly about:
Then Conscience, clear, comely and kind,
Meekly he met me in seat, there I sat,
He learned me a lesson of his teaching,
And the seven deadly sins full loathly he did hate:
Pride, wrath, and envy, and covetise in kind,
The world all these sins delivered me until,[266]
Sloth, covetise, and leechery, that is full of false flattering,
All these Conscience reproved both loud and still.
To-Conscience I held up my hand,[267]
To keep Christ's commandments.
He warned me of Folly, that traitor, and bad me beware,
And thus he went his way:
But I have falsely me forsworn,
Alas the day that I was born!
For body and soul I have forlorn.
I clang, as a clod in clay,
In London many a day;
At the passage I would play,
I thought to borrow and never pay.
Then was I sought and set in stocks,
In Newgate I lay under locks,
If I said aught, I caught many knocks.
Alas where was Manhood tho?
Alas, my lewdness hath me lost.
Where is my body so proud and prest?
I cough and rought,[268] my body will burst,
Age doth follow me so.
I stare and stacker[269] as I stand,
I groan glisly upon the ground.
Alas, death, why lettest thou me live so long?
I wander as a wight in woe and care;
For I have done ill.
Now wend I will
My self to spill,
I care not whither nor where.

PERSEVERANCE. Well y-met, sir, well y-met; and whither away?

AGE. Why, good sir, whereby do ye say?

PERSEVERANCE. Tell me, sir, I you pray,
And I with you will wend.

AGE. Why, good sir, what is your name?

PERSEVERANCE. Forsooth, sir, Perseverance, the same.

AGE. Sir, ye are Conscience' brother, that me did blame,
I may not with you linger.

PERSEVERANCE. Yes, yes, Manhood, my friend in fere.

AGE. Nay, sir, my name is in another manner.
For Folly his own self was here,
And hath cleped me Shame.

Nay, Manhood, let him go:
Folly and his fellows also,
For they would thee bring into care and woe,
And all that will follow his game.

AGE. Yea, game who so game:
Folly hath given me a name,
So, wherever I go,
He cleped me Shame.
Now Manhood is gone,
Folly hath followed me so.
When I first from my mother came,
The world made me a man,
And fast in riches I ran,
Till I was dubbed a knight;
And then I met with Conscience clear,
And he me set in such manner,
Me thought his teaching was full dear,
Both by day and night.
And then Folly met me,
And sharply he beset me,
And from Conscience he fet[270] me:
He would not fro me go,
Many a day he kept me,
And to all folks he cleped me
And unto all sins he set me,
Alas, that me is woe!
For I have falsely me forsworn.
Alas, that I was born!
Body and soul, I am but lorn,
Me liketh neither glee nor game.

PERSEVERANCE. Nay, nay, Manhood, say not so.
Beware of Manhood, for he is a foe.
A new name I shall give you too:
I clepe you Repentance,
For, and you here repent your sin,
Ye are possible heaven to win:
But with great contrition ye must begin,
And take you to abstinence:
For though a man had do alone
The deadly sins everychone,
And he with contrition make his moan
To Christ our heaven king,
God is all so glad of him,
As of the creature that never did sin.

AGE. Now, good sir, how should I contrition begin?

PERSEVERANCE. Sir, in shrift of mouth without varying;
And another ensample I shall show you too.
Think on Peter and Paul, and other mo:
Thomas, James, and John also,
And also Mary Magdalene.
For Paul did Christ's people great villainy,
And Peter at the passion forsook Christ thrice,
And Magdalene lived long in lechery,
And St Thomas believed not in the resurrection:
And yet these to Christ are darlings dear,
And now be saints in heaven clear.
And therefore, though ye have trespassed here,
I hope ye be sorry for your sin.

AGE. Yea, Perseverance, I you plight,
I am sorry for my sin both day and night.
I would fain learn with all my might,
How I should heaven win.

PERSEVERANCE. Sir,[272] to win heaven five necessary things there been,
That must be knowen to all mankind.
The five wits doth begin,
Sir, bodily and spiritually.

AGE. Of the five wits I would have knowing.

PERSEVERANCE. Forsooth, sir, hearing, seeing, and smelling,
The remanant tasting and feeling:
These being the five wits bodily,
And, sir, other five wits there been.

AGE. Sir Perseverance, I know not them.

PERSEVERANCE. Now, Repentance, I shall you ken.
They are the power of the soul:
Clear in mind, there is one,
Imagination and all reason,
Understanding and compassion:
These belong unto Perseverance.

AGE. Gramercy, Perseverance, for your true teaching.
But, good sir, is there any more behind
That is necessary to all mankind,
Freely for to know?

PERSEVERANCE. Yea, Repentance, more there be,
That every man must on believe:
The twelve articles of the faith,
That mankind must on trow.
The first, that God is in one substance,
And also that God is in three persons,
Beginning and ending without variance,
And all this world made of nought.
The second, that the Son of God sickerly
Took flesh and blood of the Virgin Mary,
Without touching of man's flesh-company:
This must be in every man's thought.
The third, that the same God-Son,
Born of that holy virgin,
And she after his birth maiden as she was beforne,
And clearer in all kind.
Also the fourth, that same Christ, God and man,
He suffered pain and passion,
Because of man's soul redemption,
And on a cross did hing.
The fifth article I shall you tell:
Then the spirit of Godhead went to hell,
And bought out the souls that there did dwell
By the power of His own might.
The sixth article I shall you say:
Christ rose upon the third day,
Very God and man without nay:
That all shall deem and dight,
He sent man's soul into heaven
Aloft all the angels everychone,
There is the Father, the Son, and the soothfast Holy Ghost.
The eighth article we must believe on,
That same God shall come down,
And deem man's soul at the day of doom,
And on mercy then must we trust.
The ninth article without strife,
Every man, maiden and wife,
And all the bodies that ever bare life,
And at the day of doom body and soul shall 'ppear.
Truly the tenth article is,
All they that hath kept God's service
They shall be crowned in heaven bliss,
And Christ's servants to Him full dear.
The eleventh article, the sooth to sayne,
All that hath falsely to God guided them
They shall be put into hell pain,
There shall be no sin-covering.
Sir, after the twelfth we must worch,
And believe in all the sacraments of holy church,
That they been necessary, both last and first,
To all manner of mankind.
Sir, ye must also hear and know tho commandments ten.
Lo, sir, this is your belief;[273] and all men
Do after it, and ye shall heaven win
Without doubt, I know.

AGE. Gramercy, Perseverance, for your true teaching
For in the spirit of my soul will I find,
That it is necessary to all mankind
Truly for to know.
Now, sirs, take all ensample by mo,
How I was born in simple degree,
The world royal received me,
And dubbed me a knight,
Then Conscience met me,
So after him came Folly:
Folly falsely deceived me,
Then Shame my name hyght.[274]

PERSEVERANCE. Yea, and now is your name Repentance,
Through the grace of God almight.
And therefore without any distance
I take my leave of king and knight,
And I pray to Jesu, which has made us all,
Cover you with his mantle perpetual. Amen.[275]



"A Tragedy or Interlude manifesting the chief promises of God unto man by all ages in the old law, from the fall of Adam to the incarnation of the Lord Jesus Christ. Compiled by John Bale, Anno Domini MDXXXVIII. In the word (which is now called the eternal son of God) was life from the beginning, and that life was the light of men. This light yet shineth in the darkness, but the darkness comprehendeth it not."—JOAN I.[276] … 4°, black letter.


John Bale, author of the morality of "God's Promises," is more known as an historian and controversialist than as a dramatic writer. He was [the son of Henry and Margaret Bale, and was] born on the 21st of November 1495, at Cove, a small village near Dunwich, in Suffolk. His parents, having many other children, and not being in very affluent circumstances, sent him, at the age of twelve years, to the monastery of Carmelites at Norwich,[277] where he received part of his education, and whence he removed to [Jesus] College,[278] Cambridge.[279] While he continued at the University, being as he says seriously stirred up by the illustrious the Lord Wentworth, he renounced the tenets of the Church of Rome; and, that he might never more serve so execrable a beast, I took, says he, to wife the faithful Dorothy, in obedience to that divine command, "Let him that cannot contain, marry," Bishop Nicolson insinuates that his dislike to a state of celibacy was the means of his conversion, more than any doubts which he entertained about the truth of his faith. The change of his religion exposed him to the persecution of the Romish clergy, particularly of Lee, Archbishop of York, and Stokesley, Bishop of London; but he found an able and powerful protector in the person of Lord Cromwell, the favourite of Henry the Eighth. On the death of this nobleman, he withdrew into the Low Countries, and resided there eight years; in which time he wrote several pieces in the English language. On the accession of King Edward the Sixth, he was recalled into England, and obtained the living of Bishopstoke, in the county of Southampton. During his residence at his living, he was almost brought to the point of death by an ague; when hearing that the king was come in progress to Southampton, five miles only from where he dwelt, he went to pay his respects to him. "I toke my horse," says he, "about 10 of the clocke, for very weaknesse scant able to sytt him, and so came thydre. Betwixt two and three of the clocke, the same day, I drew towardes the place where as his majestie was, and stode in the open strete ryght against the gallerye. Anon, my frinde Johan Fylpot, a gentylman, and one of hys previe chambre, called unto him two more of hys companyons, which in moving their heades towardes me, shewed me most frendely countenaunces. By one of these three the kynge havynge informacion that I was there in the strete, he marveled thereof, for so much as it had bene tolde hym a lytle afore that I was bothe dead and buried. With that hys grace came to the wyndowe, and earnestly behelde me a poore weake creature, as though he had upon me so symple a subject an earnest regard, or rather a very fatherly care." This visit to the king occasioned his immediate appointment to the bishopric of Ossory, which was settled the next day, as he declared[280] afterwards, against his will, of the king's own mere motion only, without suit of friends, meed, labour, expenses, or any other sinister means else. On the [2d February] 1553,[281] he was consecrated at Dublin by the archbishop of that see, and underwent a variety of persecutions from the Popish party in Ireland, which at length compelled him to leave his diocese, and conceal himself in Dublin. Endeavouring to escape thence in a small trading vessel, he was taken prisoner by the captain of a Dutch man-of-war, who rifled him of all his money, apparel, and effects. The ship was then driven by stress of weather into St Ives in Cornwall, where he was taken up on suspicion of high treason, but soon discharged. From thence, after a cruise of several days, the ship arrived in Dover Road, and he was again put in danger by a false accusation. On his arrival in Holland, he was kept prisoner three weeks, and then obtained his liberty on payment of a sum of money. From Holland he retired to Basil in Switzerland, and continued abroad during the remainder of Queen Mary's reign. On the accession of Queen Elizabeth, he returned to England; but being disgusted with the treatment he met with in Ireland, he went thither no more. He was promoted on the 15th of January 1560, to a prebend in the Cathedral Church of Canterbury, and died in that city in [or before] November 1563, in the sixty-eighth year of his age. According to the manners of the times in which he wrote, he appears to have taken very indecent liberties with all his antagonists in his religious controversies, and to have considered himself as not bound by any rules of decorum in replying to those from whom he differed in matters, wherein the interests of religion were concerned. The acrimony of his style on these occasions acquired him the appellation of "Bilious Bale," and it was applied to him with singular propriety. His principal work is esteemed the "Scriptorum illustrium majoris Brytaniae quam nunc Angliam et Scotiam vocant Catalogus;" a Japheto per 3618 annos usque ad annum hunc domini 1557, &c., first printed imperfectly at Wesel in 1549, and afterwards more completely in 1557 and 1559.[282] He was the author of a great number of dramatic pieces, [four[283]] of which only appear to have been published.

This present copy is taken from an old black letter edition in 4to, in the valuable collection of David Garrick, Esq.[284] The title-page being damaged, I am unable to give the date of it.

What is remarkable in this drama is that it is divided into seven acts,[285] and at the end of each act has a kind of chorus, which was performed with voices and instruments.


Justus NOAH. ABRAHAM fidelis.
MOSES sanctus. DAVID rex pius.
ESAIAS propheta. JOANNES baptista.
               BALEUS prolocutor.[286]


BALEUS prolocutor.

If profit may grow, most Christian audience,
By knowledge of things which are not transitory
And here for a time, of much more congruence
Advantage might spring by the search of causes heavenly,
As those matters are that the gospel specify.
Without whose knowledge no man to the truth can fall,[287]
Nor ever attain to the life perpetual.
For he that knoweth not the living God eternal,
The Father, the Son, and also the Holy Ghost,
And what Christ suffered for redemption of us all,
What he commanded, and taught in every coast,
And what he forbode, that man must needs be lost,
And clean secluded from the faithful chosen sort,
In the heavens above, to his most high discomfort.
You therefore, good friends, I lovingly exhort
To weigh such matters, as will be uttered here,
Of whom ye may look to have no trifling sport
In fantasies feigned, nor such-like gawdish gear,
But the things that shall your inward stomach cheer,
To rejoice in God for your justification,
And alone in Christ to hope for your salvation.
Yea, first ye shall have the eternal generation
Of Christ, like as John in his first chapter writes,
And consequently of man the first creation,
The abuse and fall, through his first oversight,
And the rise-again through God's high grace and might:
By promises first which shall be declared all:
Then by his own Son, the worker principal.
After that Adam bewaileth here his fall,
God will show mercy to every generation,
And to his kingdom of his great goodness call
His elected spouse or faithful congregation,
As here shall appear by open protestation,
Which from Christ's birth shall to his death conclude:
They come, that thereof will show the certitude.


PATER COELESTIS. In the beginning, before the heavens were create,
In me and of me was my Son sempiternal,
With the Holy Ghost, in one degree or estate
Of the high Godhead, to me the father coequal,
And this my Son was with me one God essential,
Without separation at any time from me.
True God he is, of equal dignity.
Since the beginning my Son hath ever be,
Joined with his Father in one essential being.
All things were create by him in each degree,
In heaven and earth, and have their diverse working:
Without his power was never made anything,
That was wrought; but through his ordinance
Each have his strength and whole countenance.
In him is the life and the just recoverance
For Adam and his, which nought but death deserved.
And this life to men is an high perseverance
Or a light of faith, whereby they shall be saved.
And this light shall shine among the people darkened
With unfaithfulness. Yet shall they not with him take,
But of wilful heart his liberal grace forsake.
Which will compel me against man for to make
In my displeasure, and send plagues of correction,
Most grievous and sharp, his wanton lusts to slake
By water and fire, by sickness and infection,
Of pestilent sores molesting his complexion,
By troublous war, by dearth and painful scarceness,
And after this life by an extreme heaviness.
I will first begin with Adam for his lewdness,
Which for an apple neglected my commandment.
He shall continue in labour for his rashness,
His only sweat shall provide his food and raiment.
Yea, yet must he have a greater punishment,
Most terrible death shall bring him to his end,
To teach him how he his Lord God shall offend.

Hic praeceps in terram cadit ADAMUS, ac post quartum versum denuo resurgit.

ADAM PRIMUS HOMO. Merciful father, thy pitiful grace extend
To me careful wretch, which have me sore abused,
Thy precept breaking. O Lord, I mind to amend,
If thy great goodness would now have me excused;
Most heavenly Maker, let me not be refused,
Nor cast from thy sight for one poor sinful crime;
Alas! I am frail, my whole kind is but slim.

PATER COELESTIS. I wot it is so, yet art thou no less faulty,
Then thou hadst been made of matter much more worthy.
I gave thee reason and wit to understand
The good from the evil, and not to take on hand,
Of a brainless mind, the thing which I forbade thee.

ADAM PRIMUS HOMO. Such heavy fortune hath chiefly chanced me,
For that I was left to mine own liberty.

PATER COELESTIS. Then thou art blameless, and the fault thou layest to me?

ADAM PRIMUS HOMO. Nay, all I ascribe to my own imbecility.
No fault in thee, Lord, but in my infirmity,
And want of respect in such gifts as thou gavest me.

PATER COELESTIS. For that I put thee at thine own liberty,
Thou oughtest my goodness to have in more regard.

ADAM PRIMUS HOMO. Avoid it I cannot: thou layest it to me so hard.
Lord, now I perceive what power is in man,
And strength of himself, when thy sweet grace is absent.
He must needs but fall, do he the best he can,
And danger himself, as appeareth evident;
For I sinned not too long as thou wert present;
But when thou wert gone, I fell to sin by and by,
And thee displeased. Good Lord, I axe thee mercy.

PATER COELESTIS. Thou shalt die for it, with all thy posterity.

ADAM PRIMUS HOMO. For one fault, good Lord, avenge not thyself on me,
Who am but a worm or a fleshly vanity.

PATER COELESTIS. I say thou shalt die, with thy whole posterity.

ADAM PRIMUS HOMO. Yet mercy, sweet Lord, if any mercy may be.

PATER COELESTIS. I am immutable, I may change no decree;
Thou shalt die, I say, without any remedy.

ADAM PRIMUS HOMO. Yet, gracious Father, extend to me thy mercy,
And throw not away the work which thou hast create
To thine own image, but avert from me thy hate.

PATER COELESTIS. But art thou sorry from bottom of thy heart?

ADAM PRIMUS HOMO. Thy displeasure is to me most heavy smart.

PATER COELESTIS. Then will I tell thee what thou shalt stick unto:
Life to recover, and my good favour also.

ADAM PRIMUS HOMO. Tell it me, sweet Lord, that I may thereafter go.

PATER COELESTIS. This is my covenant to thee and all thy offspring.
For that thou hast been deceived by the serpent,
I will put hatred betwixt him for his doing
And the woman kind. They shall hereafter dissent;
His seed with her seed shall never have agreement;
Her seed shall press down his head unto the ground,
Slay his suggestions, and his whole power confound.
Cleave to this promise with all thy inward power,
Firmly inclose it in thy remembrance fast;
Fold it in thy faith with full hope day and hour,
And thy salvation it will be at the last.
That seed shall clear thee of all thy wickedness past,
And procure thy peace with most high grace in my sight.
See thou trust to it, and hold not the matter light.

ADAM PRIMUS HOMO. Sweet Lord, the promise that thyself here hath made me
Of thy mere goodness, and not of my deserving,
In my faith I trust shall so established be
By help of thy grace, that it shall be remaining,
So long as I shall have here continuing,
And show it I will to my posterity,
That they in like case have thereby felicity.

PATER COELESTIS. For a closing up, take yet one sentence with thee.

ADAM PRIMUS HOMO. At thy pleasure, Lord, all things might ever be.

PATER COELESTIS. For that my promise may have the deeper effect
In the faith of thee and all thy generation,
Take this sign with it as a seal thereto connect.
Creep shall the serpent for his abhomination;
The woman shall sorrow in painful propagation.
Like as thou shalt find this true in outward working.
So think the other, though it be an hidden thing.

ADAM PRIMUS HOMO. Incessant praising to thee, most heavenly Lord,
For this thy succour and undeserved kindness:
Thou bindest me in heart thy gracious gifts to record,
And to bear in mind now, after my heaviness,
The bruit of thy name with inward joy and gladness.
Thou disdainest not, as well appeareth this day,
To fetch to thy fold thy first sheep going astray.
Most Mighty Maker, thou castest not yet away
Thy sinful servant, which hath done most offence.
It is not thy mind for ever I should decay,
But thou reservest me of thy benevolence,
And hast provided for me a recompense
By thy appointment, like as I have received
In thy strong promise, here openly pronounced.
This goodness, dear Lord, of me is undeserved,
I so declining from thy first instruction
At so light motions. To one that thus hath swerved,
What a Lord art thou to give such retribution!
I, damnable wretch, deserved execution
Of terrible death without all remedy,
And to be put out of all good memory.
I am enforced to rejoice here inwardly,
An imp though I be of hell, death, and damnation,
Through my own working: for I consider thy mercy
And pitiful mind for my whole generation.
It is thou, sweet Lord, that workest my salvation
And my recover. Therefore of a congruence
From hence thou must have my heart and obedience.
Though I be mortal by reason of my offence,
And shall die the death,[289] like as God hath appointed:
Of this am I sure, through his high influence,
At a certain day again to be revived.
From ground of my heart this shall not be removed.
I have it in faith, and therefore I will sing
This anthem to him that my salvation shall bring.

Tunc sonora voce, provolutis genibus, Antiphonam incipit, O sapientia, quam prosequetur chorus cum organis, eo interim exeunte.

Vel sub eodem tono poterit sic Anglicè cantare.

O eternal sapience, that proceedest from the mouth of the highest, reaching forth with a great power from the beginning to the end, with heavenly sweetness disposing all creatures, come now and instruct us the true way of thy godly prudence.

Finit Actus primus.


PATER COELESTIS. I have been moved to strike man diversely.
Since I left Adam in this same earthly mansion;
For why he hath done to me displeasures many,
And will not amend his life in any condition:
No respect hath he to my word nor monition,
But doth what him lust without discreet advisement,
And will in no wise take mine advertisement.
Cain hath slain Abel his brother, an innocent,
Whose blood from the earth doth call to me for vengeance:
My children with men so carnally consent,
That their vain working is unto me much grievance:
Mankind is but flesh in his whole dalliance.
All vice increaseth in him continually,
Nothing he regardeth to walk unto my glory.
My heart abhorreth his wilful misery,
His cankered malice, his cursed covetousness,
His lusts lecherous, his vengeable tyranny,
Unmerciful murther and other ungodliness.
I will destroy him for his outrageousness.
And not him only, but all that on earth do stere,[290]
For it repenteth me that ever I made them here.

JUSTUS NOAH. Most Gentle Maker, with his frailness somewhat bear;
Man is thy creature, thyself cannot say nay.
Though thou punish him, to put him somewhat in fear,
His fault to knowledge,[291] yet seek not his decay.
Thou mayest reclaim him, though he goeth now astray,
And bring him again, of thy abundant grace,
To the fold of faith, he acknowledging his trespass.

PATER COELESTIS. Thou knowest I have given to him convenient space,
With lawful warnings, yet he amendeth in no place.
The natural law, which I wrote in his heart,
He hath outrased, all goodness putting apart:
Of health the covenant, which I to Adam made,
He regardeth not, but walketh a damnable tread.[292]

JUSTUS NOAH. All this is true, Lord, I cannot thy words reprove,
Let his weakness yet thy merciful goodness move.

PATER COELESTIS. No weakness is it, but wilful working all,
That reigneth in man through mind diabolical.
He shall have therefore like as he hath deserved.

JUSTUS NOAH. Lose him not yet, Lord, though he hath deeply swerved.
I know thy mercy is far above his rudeness,
Being infinite, as all other things are in thee.
His folly therefore now pardon of thy goodness,
And measure it not beyond thy Godly pity.
Esteem not his fault farther than help may be,
But grant him thy grace, as he offendeth so deeply,
Thee to remember, and abhor his misery.
Of all goodness, Lord, remember thy great mercy
To Adam and Eve, breaking thy first commandment.
Them thou relieved with thy sweet promise heavenly,
Sinful though they were, and their lives negligent.
I know that mercy with thee is permanent,
And will be ever, so long as the world endure:
Then close not thy hand from man, which is thy creature.
Being thy subject, he is underneath thy cure,
Correct him thou mayest, and so bring him to grace.
All lieth in thy hands, to leave or to allure,
Bitter death to give, or grant most sovereign solace.
Utterly from man avert not then thy face;
But let him savour thy sweet benevolence
Somewhat, though he feel thy hand for his offence.

PATER COELESTIS. My true servant Noah, thy righteousness doth move me
Somewhat to reserve for man's posterity.
Though I drown the world, yet will I save the lives
Of thee and thy wife, thy three sons and their wives,
And of each kind two, to maintain you hereafter.

JUSTUS NOAH. Blessed be thy name, most Mighty Merciful Maker,
With thee to dispute it were inconvenient.

PATER COELESTIS. Why dost thou say so? be bold to speak thy intent.

JUSTUS NOAH. Shall the other die without any remedy?

PATER COELESTIS. I will drown them all for their wilful, wicked folly,
That man hereafter thereby may know my power,
And fear to offend my goodness day and hour.

JUSTUS NOAH. As thy pleasure is, so might it always be,
For my health thou art, and soul's felicity.

PATER COELESTIS. After that this flood have had his raging passage,
This shall be to thee my covenant everlasting.
The seas and waters so far never more shall rage,
As all flesh to drown, I will so temper their working;
This sign will I add also, to confirm the thing.
In the clouds above, as a seal or token clear,
For safeguard of man my rainbow shall appear.
Take thou this covenant for an earnest confirmation
Of my former promise to Adam's generation.

JUSTUS NOAH. I will, blessed Lord, with my whole heart and mind.

PATER COELESTIS. Farewell then, just Noah, here leave I thee behind.

JUSTUS NOAH. Most Mighty Maker, ere I from hence depart,
I must give thee praise from the bottom of my heart.
Whom may we thank, Lord, for our health and salvation,
But thy great mercy and goodness undeserved?
Thy promise in faith is our justification,
As it was Adam's, when his heart therein rested,
And as it was theirs, which therein also trusted.
This faith was grounded in Adam's memory,
And clearly declared in Abel's innocency.
Faith in that promise old Adam did justify,
In that promise faith made Eve to prophecy.
Faith in that promise proved Abel innocent,
In that promise faith made Seth full obedient.
That faith taught Enos on God's name first to call,
And made Methuselah the oldest man of all.
That faith brought Enoch to so high exercise,
That God took him up with him into paradise.
Of that faith the want made Cain to hate the good,
And all his offspring to perish in the flood.
Faith in that promise preserved both me and mine.
So will it all them which follow the same line.
Not only this gift thou hast given me, sweet Lord,
But with it also thine everlasting covenant,
Of trust for ever, thy rainbow bearing record,
Nevermore to drown the world by flood inconstant,
Making the waters more peaceable and pleasant,
Alas! I cannot to thee give praise condign,
Yet will I sing here with heart meek and benign.

Magna tunc voce Antiphonam incipit, O oriens splendor, &c., in genua cadens; quam chorus prosequetur cum organis ut supra.

Vel Anglicè sub eodem tono.

O most orient clearness, and light shining of the sempiternal brightness! O clear sun of justice and heavenly righteousness, come hither and illumine the prisoner sitting now in the dark prison and shadow of eternal death.

Finit Actus secundus.


PATER COELESTIS. Mine high displeasure must needs return to man,
Considering the sin that he doth day by day;
For neither kindness nor extreme handling can
Make him to know me by any faithful way,
But still in mischief he walketh to his decay.
If he do not soon his wickedness consider,
He is like, doubtless, to perish altogether.
In my sight he is more venom than the spider,
Through such abuses as he hath exercised,
From the time of Noah to this same season hither.
An uncomely act without shame Ham commised,
When he of his father the secret parts revealed.
In like case Nimrod against me wrought abusion,
As he raised up the castle of confusion.
Ninus hath also, and all by the devil's illusion,
Through image-making upraised idolatry,
Me to dishonour. And now in the conclusion
The vile Sodomites live so unnaturally,
That their sin vengeance asketh continually,
For my covenant's sake I will not drown with water,
Yet shall I visit their sins with other matter.

ABRAHAM FIDELIS. Yet, merciful Lord, thy graciousness remember
To Adam and Noah, both in thy word and promise:
And lose not the souls of men in so great number,
But save thine own work, of thy most discreet goodness.
I wot thy mercies are plentiful and earnest.
Never can they die nor fail, thyself enduring,
This hath faith fixed fast in my understanding.

PATER COELESTIS. Abraham, my servant, for thy most faithful meaning,
Both thou and thy stock shall have my plenteous blessing.
Where the unfaithful, under my curse evermore,
For their vain working shall rue their wickedness sore.

ABRAHAM FIDELIS. Tell me, blessed Lord, where will thy great malice
My hope is, all flesh shall not perish in thy sight.

PATER COELESTIS. No, truly, Abraham, thou chancest upon the right.
The thing I shall do I will not hide from thee,
Whom I have blessed for thy true fidelity:
For I know thou wilt cause both thy children and servants
In my ways to walk, and trust unto my covenants,
That I may perform with thee my earnest promise.

ABRAHAM FIDELIS. All that will I do, by assistance of thy goodness.

PATER COELESTIS. From Sodom and Gomorrah the abhominations call
For my great vengeance, which will upon them fall:
Wild fire and brimstone shall light upon them all.

ABRAHAM FIDELIS. Pitiful Maker, though they have kindled thy fury,
Cast not away yet the just sort with the ungodly.
Paraventure there may be fifty righteous persons
Within those cities, wilt thou lose them all at once,
And not spare the place, for those fifty righteous' sake?
Be it far from thee such rigour to undertake.
I hope there is not in thee so cruel hardness,
As to cast away the just men with the rechless,
And so to destroy the good with the ungodly.
In the judge of all be never such a fury.

PATER COELESTIS. At Sodom, if I may find just persons fifty,
The place will I spare for their sakes verily.

ABRAHAM FIDELIS. I take upon me to speak here in thy presence,
More than becomes me; Lord, pardon my negligence:
I am but ashes, and were loth thee to offend.

PATER COELESTIS. Say forth, good Abraham, for ill dost thou not intend.

ABRAHAM FIDELIS. Happily there may be five less in the same number:
For their sakes I trust thou wilt not the rest accumber.[293]

PATER COELESTIS. If I among them might find but five-and-forty,
Then would I not lose for that just company.

ABRAHAM FIDELIS. What if the city may forty righteous make?

PATER COELESTIS. Then will I pardon it for those same forty's sake.

ABRAHAM FIDELIS. Be not angry, Lord, though I speak indiscreetly.

PATER COELESTIS. Utter thy whole mind, and spare me not hardily.

ABRAHAM FIDELIS. Paraventure there may be thirty found among them.

PATER COELESTIS. May I find thirty, I will nothing do unto them.

ABRAHAM FIDELIS. I take upon me too much, Lord, in thy sight.

PATER COELESTIS. No, no, good Abraham, for I know thy faith is right.

ABRAHAM FIDELIS. No less, I suppose, than twenty can it have.

PATER COELESTIS. Could I find twenty, that city would I save.

ABRAHAM FIDELIS. Once yet will I speak my mind, and then no more.

PATER COELESTIS. Spare not to utter so much as thou hast in store.

ABRAHAM FIDELIS. And what, if there might be ten good creatures found?

PATER COELESTIS. The rest for their sakes might so be safe and sound,
And not destroyed for their abhomination.

ABRAHAM FIDELIS. O Merciful Maker, much is thy toleration
And sufferance of sin. I see it now indeed,
Witsafe yet of favour out of these cities to lead
Those that be faithful, though their flocks be but small.

PATER COELESTIS. Loth and his household I will deliver all,
For righteousness sake, which is of me and not them.

ABRAHAM FIDELIS. Great are thy graces in the generation of Shem.
PATER COELESTIS. Well, Abraham, well for thy true faithfulness,
Now will I give thee my covenant or third promise.
Look thou believe it, as thou covetest righteousness.

ABRAHAM FIDELIS. Lord, so regard me, as I receive it with gladness.

PATER COELESTIS. Of many peoples the father I will make thee,
All generations in thy seed shall be blessed.
As the stars of heaven, so shall thy kindred be;
And by the same seed the world shall be redressed.
In circumcision shall this thing be expressed,
As in a sure seal, to prove my promise true;
Print this in thy faith, and it shall thy soul renew.

ABRAHAM FIDELIS. I will not one jot, Lord, from thy will dissent,
But to thy pleasure be always obedient,
Thy laws to fulfil, and most precious commandment.

PATER COELESTIS. Farewell, Abraham, for here in place I leave thee.

ABRAHAM FIDELIS. Thanks will I render, like as it shall behove me.
Everlasting praise to thy most glorious name,
Which saved Adam through faith in thy sweet promise
Of the woman's seed, and now confirmest the same
In the seed of me. Forsooth, great is thy goodness:
I cannot perceive, but that thy mercy is endless
To such as fear thee in every generation,
For it endureth without abbreviation.
This have I printed in deep consideration,
No worldly matter can rase it out of mind.
For once it will be the final restoration
Of Adam and Eve, with other that hath sinned;
Yea, the sure health and raise of all mankind.
Help have the faithful thereof, though they be infect,
They, condemnation, where as it is reject.
Merciful Maker, my crabbed voice direct,
That it may break out in some sweet praise to thee;
And suffer me not thy due laws to neglect,
But let me show forth thy commendations free,
Stop not my windpipes, but give them liberty,
To sound to thy name, which is most gracious,
And in it rejoice with heart melodious.

Tunc alta voce canit Antiphonam, O rex gentium, choro eandem prosequente cum organis, ut prius:

Vel Anglicè hoc modo.

O most Mighty Governor of thy people, and in heart most desired, the hard rock and true cornerstone, that of two maketh one, uning the Jews with the Gentiles in one church, come now and relieve mankind, whom thou hast formed of the vile earth.

Finit Actus tertius.


PATER COELESTIS. Still so increaseth the wickedness of man.
That I am moved with plagues him to confound.
His weakness to aid I do the best I can,
Yet he regardeth me no more than doth an hound.
My word and promise in his faith taketh no ground,
He will so long walk in his own lusts at large,
That nought he shall find his folly to discharge.
Since Abraham's time, which was my true elect,
Ishmael have I found both wicked, fierce, and cruel,
And Esau in mind with hateful murder infect.
The sons of Jacob to lusts unnatural fell,
And into Egypt did they their brother sell
Laban to idols gave faithful reverence,
Dinah was corrupt through Shechem's violence.
Reuben abused his father's concubine,
Judah gat children of his own daughter-in-law;
Yea, here in my sight went after a wicked line.
His seed Onan spilt, his brother's name to withdraw.
Achan lived here without all Godly awe.
And now the children of Israel abuse my power,
In so vile manner, that they move me every hour.

MOSES SANCTUS. Pacify thy wrath, sweet Lord, I thee desire,
As thou art gentle, benign, and patient,
Lose not that people in fierceness of thine ire,
For when thou hast showed such tokens evident,
Converting this rod into a lively serpent,
And the same serpent into this rod again,
Thy wonderful power declaring very plain.
For their sakes also puttest Pharaoh to pain
By ten diverse plagues, as I shall here declare:
By blood, frogs, and lice; by flies, death, blotches, and blain.
By hail, by grasshoppers, by darkness, and by care:
By a sudden plague all their firstgotten ware
Thou slewest in one night for his fierce cruelness.
From that thy people withhold not now thy goodness.

PATER COELESTIS. I certify thee, my chosen servant Moses,
That people of mine is full of unthankfulness.

MOSES SANCTUS. Dear Lord, I know it, alas! yet weigh their weakness,
And bear with their faults of thy great bounteousness.
In a flaming bush, having to them respect,
Thou appointed'st me their passage to direct:
And through the Red Sea thy right hand did us lead,
Where Pharaoh's host the flood overwhelmed indeed.
Thou went'st before them in a shining cloud all day,
And in the dark night in fire thou showed'st their way.
Thou sent them manna from heaven, to be their food.
Out of the hard stone thou gavest them water good.
Thou appointed'st them a land of milk and honey.
Let them not perish for want of thy great mercy.

PATER COELESTIS. Content they are not with foul nor yet with fair,
But murmur and grudge, as people in despair.
As I sent manna, they had it in disdain,
Thus of their welfare they many times complain.
Over Amalech I gave them the victory.

MOSES SANCTUS. Most Glorious Maker, all that is to thy glory,
Thou sentest them also a law from heaven above,
And daily showest them many tokens of great love.
The brazen serpent thou gavest them for their healing,
And Balaam's curse thou turned'st into a blessing.
I hope thou wilt not disdain to help them still.

PATER COELESTIS. I gave them precepts which they will not fulfil.
Nor yet acknowledge me for their God and good Lord,
So do their vile deeds with their wicked hearts accord,
While thou hast talked with me familiarly
In Sinai's mountain the space but of days forty,
Those sights all they have forgotten clearly,
And are turned to shameful idolatry.
For their God they have set up a golden calf.

MOSES SANCTUS. Let me say somewhat, Sweet Father, in their behalf.

PATER COELESTIS. I will first conclude, and then say on thy mind.
For that I have found that people so unkind,
Not one of them shall enjoy the promise of me,
For entering the land, but Caleb and Joshua.

MOSES SANCTUS. Thy eternal will evermore fulfilled be.
For disobedience thou slewest the sons of Aaron,
The earth swallowed in both Dathan and Abiram.
The adders did sting other wicked persons else,
In wonderful number. Thus hast thou punished rebels.

PATER COELESTIS. Never will I spare the cursed iniquity
Of idolatry for no cause, thou mayest trust me.

MOSES SANCTUS. Forgive them yet, Lord, for this time, if it may be.

PATER COELESTIS. Thinkest thou that I will so soon change my decree?
No, no, friend Moses; so light thou shalt not find me,
I will punish them, all Israel shall it see.

MOSES SANCTUS. I wot, thy people hath wrought abhomination.
Worshipping false gods, to thy honour's derogation.
Yet merciful thou mayest upon them look
And if thou wilt not, thrust me out of thy book.

PATER COELESTIS. Those great blasphemers shall out of my book clean,
But thou shalt not so, for I know what thou dost mean.
Conduct my people, mine angel shall assist thee,
That sin at a day will not uncorrected be.
And for the true zeal that thou to my people hast,
I add this covenant unto my promises past.
Raise them up I will a prophet from among them.
Not unlike to thee, to speak my words unto them.
Whoso heareth not that he shall speak in my name,
I will revenge it to his perpetual shame.
The Passover lamb will be a token just
Of this strong covenant. This have I clearly discussed
In my appointment this hour for your deliverance.

MOSES SANCTUS. Never shall this thing depart from my remembrance.
Laud be for ever to thee, most merciful Lord,
Which never withdrawest from man thy heavenly comfort,
But from age to age thy benefits doth record,
What thy goodness is, and hath been to his sort.
As we find thy grace, so ought we to report.
And doubtless it is to us most bounteous,
Yea, for all our sins most ripe and plenteous.
Abraham our father found the benevolence.
So did good Isaac in his distress among.
To Jacob thou wert a guide most gracious,
Joseph thou savedst from dangerous deadly wrong.
Melchisedec and Job felt thy great goodness strong,
So did good Sarah, Rebeccah, and fair Rachel,
With Zipporah my wife, the daughter of Revel,
To praise thee, sweet lord, my faith doth me compel,
For thy covenants' sake, wherein rest our salvation,
The seed of promise all other seeds excel,
For therein remaineth our full justification.
From Adam and Noah, in Abraham's generation,
That seed procureth God's mighty grace and power,
For the same seed's sake, I will sing now this hour.

Clara tunc voce Antiphonam incipit, O Emmanuel, quam chorus (ut prius) prosequetur cum organis.

Vel Anglicè canat:

O high King Emmanuel, and our liege lord! the long expectation of
Gentiles, and the mighty saviour of their multitude, the health and
consolation of sinners, come now for to save us as our Lord and our

Finit Actus quartus.


PATER COELESTIS. For all the favour I have showed Israel,
Delivering her from Pharaoh's tyranny,
And giving the land fluentem lac & mel,
Yet will she not leave her old idolatry,
Nor know me for God. I ahhor her misery:
Vexed her I have with battles and decays,
And must I plague her, I see no other ways.

DAVID REX PIUS. Remember yet, lord, thy worthy servant Moses,
Walking in thy sight, without rebuke of thee.
Both Aaron, Jethro, Eleazar, and Phineas,
Evermore feared to offend thy majesty,
Much thou acceptedst thy servant Josua.
Caleb and Othniel sought thee with all their heart,
Aioth and Shangar for thy folk did their part.
Gideon and Tola thy enemies put to smart,
Jair and Jephtha gave praises to thy name.
These to leave idols thy people did court
Samson the strongest for his part did the same.
Samuel and Nathan thy messages did proclaim.
What though fierce Pharaoh wrought mischief in thy sight:
He was a Pagan, lay not that in our light.
I wot the Benjaminites abused the ways of right,
So did Eli's sons, and the sons of Samuel.
Saul in his office was slothful day and night,
Wicked was Shimei, so was Ahithophel.
Measure not by them the faults of Israel,
Whom thou hast loved of long time so entirely,
But of thy great grace remit her wicked folly.

PATER COELESTIS. I cannot abide the vice of idolatry,
Though I should suffer all other villany.
When Joshua was dead, that sort from me did fall
To the worshipping of Ashteroth and Baal,
Full unclean idols, and monsters bestial.

DAVID REX PIUS. For it they have had thy righteous punishment,
And for as much as they did wickedly consent
To the Philistines and Canaanites, ungodly
Idolaters, taking to them in matrimony,
Thou threwest them under the king of Mesopotamia,
After thou subduedst them for their idolatry
Eighteen years to Eglon, the king of Moabites,
And twenty years to Jabin, the king of Canaanites,
Oppressed they were seven years of the Midianites,
And eighteen years vexed of the cruel Ammonites.
In three great battles, of threescore thousand and five
Of this thy people, not one was left alive.
Have mercy now, lord, and call them to repentance.

PATER COELESTIS. So long as they sin, so long shall they have grievance.
David my servant, somewhat must I say to thee:
For that thou lately hast wrought such vanity.

DAVID REX PIUS. Spare not, blessed lord, but say thy pleasure to me.

PATER COELESTIS. Of late days thou hast misused Beersheba,
The wife of Uriah, and slain him in the field.

DAVID REX PIUS. Mercy, Lord, mercy, for doubtless I am defiled.

PATER COELESTIS. I constitute thee a king over Israel,
And thee preserved from Saul, which was thy enemy.
Yea, in my favour so much thou didst excel,
That of thy enemies I gave thee victory.
Philistines and Syrians to thee came tributary.
Why hast thou then wrought such folly in my sight,
Despising my word against all godly right?

DAVID REX PIUS. I have sinned, Lord; I beseech thee, pardon me.

PATER COELESTIS. Thou shalt not die, David, for this iniquity,
For thy repentance; but thy son by Beersheba
Shall die, for as much as my name is blasphemed
Among my enemies, and thou the worst esteemed.
From thy house for this the sword shall not depart.

DAVID REX PIUS. I am sorry, Lord, from the bottom of my heart.

PATER COELESTIS. To further anger thou dost me yet compel.

DAVID REX PIUS. For what matter, Lord? I beseech thy goodness tell.

PATER COELESTIS. Why didst thou number the people of Israel?
Supposest in thy mind therein thou hast done well?

DAVID REX PIUS. I cannot say nay, but I have done indiscreetly,
To forget thy grace for a human policy.

PATER COELESTIS. Thou shalt of these three choose which plague thou wilt
For that sinful act, that I thy soul may save:
A scarceness seven years, or else three months' exile,
Either for three days the pestilence most vile,
For one thou must have: there is no remedy.

DAVID REX PIUS. Lord, at thy pleasure, for thou art full of mercy.

PATER COELESTIS. Of a pestilence then three score thousand and ten
In three days shall die of thy most puissant men.

DAVID REX PIUS. O Lord, it is I which have offended thy grace,
Spare them and not me, for I have done the trespass.

PATER COELESTIS. Though thy sins be great, thy inward heart's contrition
Doth move my stomach in wonderful condition.
I find thee a man according to my heart;
Wherefore this promise I make thee, ere I depart.
A fruit there shall come forth issuing from thy body,
Whom I will advance upon thy seat for ever.
His throne shall become a seat of heavenly glory,
His worthy sceptre from right will not dissever,
His happy kingdom of faith shall perish never.
Of heaven and of earth he was author principal,
And will continue, though they do perish all
This sign shalt thou have for a token special,
That thou mayest believe my words unfeignedly.
Where thou hast minded, for my memorial,
To build a temple, thou shalt not finish it truly.
But Solomon thy son shall do that action worthy,
In token that Christ must finish everything
That I have begun, to my praise everlasting.

DAVID REX PIUS. Immortal glory to thee, most heavenly King,
For that thou hast given continual victory
To me thy servant ever since my annointing,
And also before, by many conquests worthy.
A bear and lion I slew through thy strength only.
I slew Golias, which was six cubits long.
Against thy enemies thou madest me ever strong.
My fleshly frailness made me do deadly wrong,
And clean to forget thy laws of righteousness.
And though thou visitedst my sinfulness among
With pestilent plagues and other unquietness,
Yet never tookest thou from me the plenteousness
Of thy godly spirit, which thou in me didst plant.
I, having remorse, thy grace could never want;
For, in conclusion, thy everlasting covenant
Thou gavest unto me for all my wicked sin;
And hast promised here by protestation constant,
That one of my seed shall such high fortune win,
As never did man since this world did begin.
By his power he shall put Satan from his hold,
In rejoice whereof to sing will I be bold.

Canora voce tunc incipit Antiphonam, O Adonai, quam (ut prius) prosequetur chorus cum organis.

Vel sic Anglicè:

O Lord God Adonai, and guide of the faithful house of Israel, which sometime appearedest in the flaming bush to Moses, and to him didst give a law in Mount Sinai, come now for to redeem us in the strength of thy right hand.

Finit Actus quintus.


PATER COELESTIS. I brought up children from their first infancy,
Which now despiseth my godly instructions.
An ox knoweth his lord, an ass his master's duty;
But Israel will not know me nor my conditions.
O froward people, given all to superstitions:
Unnatural children, expert in blasphemies,
Provoketh me to hate by their idolatries.
Take heed to my words, ye tyrants of Sodom,
In vain ye offer your sacrifice to me.
Discontent I am with you, beasts of Gomorrah,
And have no pleasure when I your offerings see;
I abhor your fasts and your solemnity;
For your traditions my ways ye set apart,
Your works are in vain, I hate them from the heart.

ESAIAS PROPHETA. Thy city, sweet Lord, is now become unfaithful,
And her conditions are turned upside down.
Her life is unchaste, her acts be very hurtful,
Her murder and theft hath darkened her renown.
Covetous rewards doth so their conscience drown,
That the fatherless they will not help to right,
The poor widow's cause come not afore their sight.
Thy peaceable paths seek they neither day nor night;
But walk wicked ways after their fantasy.
Convert their hearts, Lord, and give them thy true light,
That they may perceive their customable folly:
Leave them not helpless in so deep misery,
But call them from it of thy most special grace,
By thy true prophets, to their soul's health and solace.

PATER COELESTIS. First they had fathers, then had they patriarchs,
Then dukes, then judges, to their guides and monarchs.
Now have they stout kings, yet are they wicked still,
And will in no wise my pleasant laws fulfil.
Always they apply to idol-worshipping,
From the vile beggar to the anointed king.

ESAIAS PROPHETA. For that cause thou hast in two divided them,
In Samaria the one, the other in Jerusalem.
The king of Judah in Jerusalem did dwell,
And in Samaria the king of Israel.
Ten of the twelve tribes became Samaritans,
And the other two were Hierosolimitans.
In both these countries, according to their doings,
Thou permittedst them to have most cruel kings.
The first of Judah was wicked king Rehoboam,
Of Israel the first was that cruel Jeroboam;
Abijam then followed, and in the other Nadab,
Then Baasha, then Etah, then Zimri, Jehoram, and Ahab.[294]
Then Ahaziah, then Athaliah, then Jehoash;
On the other part was Jotham and Ahaz.
To rehearse them all that have done wretchedly
In the sight of thee, it were long verily.

PATER COELESTIS. For the wicked sin of filthy idolatry,
Which the ten tribes did in the land of Samaria.
In space of one day fifty thousand men I slew,
Three of their cities also I overthrew,
And left the people in such captivity,
That in all the world they wist not whither to flee.
The other two tribes, when they from me went back
To idolatry, I left in the hand of Sesack,
The king of Egypt, which took away their treasure,
Conveyed their cattle, and slew them without measure.
In time of Ahaz, an hundred thousand and twenty
Were slain at one time for their idolatry.
Two hundred thousand from thence were captive led,
Their goods dispersed, and they with penury fed.
Seldom they fail it, but either the Egyptians
Have them in bondage, or else the Assyrians.
And alone they may thank their idolatry.

ISAIAS PROPHETA. Well yet, blessed Lord, relieve them with thy mercy.
Though they have been ill by other princes' days.
Yet good Zedekiah hath taught them goodly ways.
When the prince is good, the people are the better;
And as he is nought, their vices are the greater.
Heavenly Lord, therefore send them the consolation,
Which thou hast covenanted with every generation.
Open thou the heavens, and let the lamb come hither,
Which will deliver thy people altogether.
Ye planets and clouds, cast down your dews and rain,
That the earth may bear out healthful savour plain.

PATER COELESTIS. May the wife forget the child of her own body?

ISAIAS PROPHETA. Nay, that she cannot in any wise verily.

PATER COELESTIS. No more can I them which will do my commandments,
But must preserve them from all inconvenients.

ISAIAS PROPHETA. Blessed art thou, Lord, in all thy acts and judgments.

PATER COELESTIS. Well, Isaias, for this thy fidelity
A covenant of health thou shalt have also of me.

ISAIAS PROPHETA.[295] For Zion's sake now I will not hold my peace,
And for Jerusalem to speak will I not cease,
Till that righteous Lord become as a sunbeam bright,
And their just saver as a lamp extend his light.

PATER COELESTIS. A rod shall shoot forth from the old stock of Jesse,
And a bright blossom from that root will arise,
Upon whom always the spirit of the Lord shall be,
The spirit of wisdom, the spirit of heavenly practice,
And the spirit that will all goodness devise.
Take this for a sign: a maid of Israel
Shall conceive and bear that Lord Immanuel.

ISAIAS PROPHETA. Thy praises condign no mortal tongue can tell,
Most worthy Maker and king of heavenly glory,
For all capacities thy goodness doth excel,
Thy plenteous grace no brain can compass truly,
No wit can conceive the greatness of thy mercy,
Declared of late in David thy true servant
And now confirmed in this thy latter covenant.
Of goodness thou madest Solomon of wit most pregnant,
Asa and Jehosaphat, with good king Hezekiah,
In thy sight to do what was to thee right pleasant.
To quench idolatry, thou raisedest up Elijah,
Jehu, Elisha, Micas, and Abdias,
And Naaman Syrus thou purgedest of a lepry.
Thy works wonderful who can but magnify?
Arise, Jerusalem, and take faith by and by,
For the very light that shall save thee is coming.
The Son of the Lord appear will evidently,
When he shall resort, see that no joy be wanting.
He is thy saver and thy life everlasting,
Thy release from sin and thy whole righteousness.
Help me in this song to acknowledge his great goodness.

Concinna tunc voce Antiphonam inchoat, O radix Jesse quam chorus prosequeter cum organis.

Vel Anglicè hoc modo canet.

O fruitful root of Jesse, that shall be set as a sign among people, against the worldly rulers shall fiercely open their mouths. Whom the Gentiles worship as their heavenly Lord, come now for to deliver us, and delay the time no longer.

Finit Actus sextus.


PATER COELESTIS. I have with fierceness mankind oftentimes corrected,
And again I have allured him by sweet promise,
I have sent sore plagues, when he hath me neglected,
And then by and by most comfortable sweetness.
To win him to grace, both mercy and righteousness,
I have exercised, yet will he not amend;
Shall I now lose him, or shall I him defend?
In his most mischief most high grace will I send,
To overcome him by favour, if it may be.
With his abusions no longer will I contend
But now accomplish my first will and decree.
My word being flesh, from hence shall set him free,
Him teaching a way of perfect righteousness,
That he shall not need to perish in his weakness.

JOHANNES BAPTISTA. Manasses, Lord, is past which turned from thee his
Ahaz and Ammon have now no more ado,
Jechonias with other, which did themselves avert
From thee to idols, may now no farther go.
The two false judges, and Baal's wicked priests also,
Phassur and Shemias, with Nebuchadnezzar,
Antiochus and Triphon, shall thee displease no more.
Three score years and ten thy people into Babylon
Were captive and thrall for idols' worshipping.
Jerusalem was lost, and left void of dominion,
Brent was their temple, so was their other building;
Their high priests were slain, their treasure came to nothing.
The strength and beauty of thine own heritage.
Thus didst thou leave them in miserable bondage.
Oft had they warnings, sometimes by Ezekiel,
And other prophets, as Isaias and Jeremiah,
Sometimes by Daniel, sometimes by Hosea and Joel,
By Amos and Obadiah, by Jonah and by Zephaniah,
By Nahum and Micah, by Haggai, and by Zachariah,
By Malachi, and also by Habakkuk,
By Olda the widow, and by the prophet Baruch.
Remember Josias, which took the abhomination
From the people, then restoring thy laws again.
Of Rechab consider the faithful generation,
Whom to wine-drinking no friendship might constrain.
Remember Abimelech, the friend of truth certain,
Zerubabel the prince, which did repair the temple,
And Jesus Josedec, of virtue the example.
Consider Nehemiah and Ezra the good scribe,
Merciful Tobiah and constant Mordecai:
Judith and queen Esther of the same godly tribe:
Devout Mathias and Judas Macabeus.
Have mind of Eleazar and then Joannes Hircanus,
Weigh the earnest faith of this godly company,
Though the other clean fall from thy memory.

PATER COELESTIS. I will, John, I will, for as I said afore,
Rigour and hardness I have now set apart,
Minding from henceforth to win man evermore
By wonderful kindness to break his stubborn heart,
And change it from sin. For Christ shall suffer smart,
In man's frail nature for his iniquity,
This to make open my messenger shalt thou be.

JOHANNES BAPTISTA. As thy pleasure is, so, blessed Lord, appoint me,
For my health thou art and my soul's felicity.

PATER COELESTIS. Long ere I made thee, I thee predestinate:
Before thou wert born, I thee endued with grace.
In thy mother's womb wert thou sanctificate
By my godly gift, and so confirmed in peace
A prophet, to show a way before the face
Of my most dear Son, which will come; until then
Apply thee apace thine office to fulfil.
Preach to the people, rebuking their negligence,
Dop[296] them in water, they acknowledging their offence;
And say unto them, "The kingdom of God doth come."

JOHANNES BAPTISTA. Unmeet, Lord, I am, Quia puer ego sum.
And (other than that), alack, I have no science
Fit for that office, neither yet clean eloquence.

PATER COELESTIS. Thou shalt not say so, for I have given thee grace,
Eloquence and age to speak in the desert place.
Thou must do therefore as I shall thee advise,
My appointed pleasure forth utter in any wise,
My strong mighty words put I into thy mouth,
Spare not, but speak them to east, west, north, and south.

Hic extendens Dominus manum, labia Johannis digito tanget, ac ori imponet auream linguam.

Go now thy way forth, I shall thee never fail,
The spirit of Elias have I given thee already.
Persuade the people, that they their sins bewail,
And if they repent their customable folly,
Long shall it not be, ere they have remedy.
Open thou their hearts, tell them their health is coming:
As a voice in desert, see thou declare the thing,
I promise thee sure, thou shalt wash him among them
In Jordan, a flood not far from Jerusalem.

JOHANNES BAPTISTA. Show me yet, good Lord, whereby shall I know that man,
In the multitude which will resort to Jordan.

PATER COELESTIS. In thy mother's womb of him hadst thou cognition.

JOHANNES BAPTISTA. Yea, that was in spirit, I would now know his person.

PATER COELESTIS. Have thou no fear, John, him shalt thou know full well,
And one special token afore will I thee tell.
Super quem videris spiritum descendentem et manentem
Super eum, hic est qui baptizat spiritu sancto
Among all other whom thou shalt baptize there,
Upon whom thou seest the Holy Ghost descend
In shape of a dove, resting upon his shoulder,
Hold him for the same that shall the world amend
By baptism of spirit, and also to man extend
Most special grace. For he must repair his fall,
Restoring again the justice original.
Take now thy journey, and do as I thee advise.
First preach repentance, and then the people baptize.

JOHANNES BAPTISTA. High honour, worship, and glory be unto thee,
My God eternal, and patron of all purity:
Repent, good people, for sins that now are past,
The kingdom of heaven is at hand very nigh.
The promised light to you approacheth fast,
Have faith, and apply now to receive him boldly.
I am not the light, but to bear testimony
Of him am sent, that all men may believe,
That his blood he will for their redemption give.
He is such a light as all men doth illumine,
That ever were here, or shall be after this.
All the world he made by his mighty power divine,
And yet that rude world will not know what he is.
His own he entering is not regarded of his.
They that receive him are God's true children plain,
In spirit regenerate, and all grace shall attain.
Many do reckon that I, John Baptist, am he,
Deceived are they, and that will appear in space.
Though he come after, yet he was long afore me.
We are weak vessels, he is the well of grace,
Of his great goodness all that we have we purchase.
By him are we like to have a better increase,
Than ever we had by the law of Moses.
In Moses' hard law we had not else but darkness,
Figure and shadow. All was not else but night;
Punishment for sin; much rigour, pain and roughness.
An high change is there, where all is turned to light,
Grace and remission anon will shine full bright.
Never man lived that ever see God afore,
Which now in our kind man's ruin will restore.
Help me to give thanks to that Lord evermore,
Which am unto Christ a crier's voice in the desert,
To prepare the paths and highways him before,
For his delight is on the poor simple heart.
That innocent lamb from such will never depart,
As will faithfully receive him with good mind.
Let our voice then sound in some sweet musical kind.

Resona tunc voce Antiphonam incipit, O clavis David, quam prosequetur chorus cum organis, ut prius.

Vel in Anglico sermone sic:

O perfect key of David, and high sceptre of the kindred of Jacob, which openest, and no man spereth;[297] thou speakest, and no man openeth; come and deliver thy servant mankind, bound in prison, sitting in the darkness of sin and bitter damnation.

BALEUS prolocutor.

The matters are such that we have uttered here,
As ought not to slide from your memorial.
For they have opened such comfortable gear
As is to the health of this kind universal,
Graces of the Lord and promises liberal,
Which he hath given to man for every age,
To knit him to Christ, and so clear him of bondage.
As St Paul doth write unto the Corinthians plain.
Our forefathers were under the cloud of darkness,
And unto Christ's days did in the shadow remain:
Yet were they not left, for of him they had promise,
All they received one spiritual feeding doubtless.
They drank of the rock which them to life refreshed,
For one saving health in Christ all they confessed.
In the woman's seed was Adam first justified:
So was faithful Noah; so was just Abraham,
The faith in that seed in Moses forth multiplied,
Likewise in David and Esay, that after came.
And in John Baptist, which showed the very lamb.
Though they see afar, yet all they had one justice,
One Mass (as they call it) and in Christ one sacrifice.
A man cannot here to God do better service
Than on this to ground his faith and understanding.
For all the world's sin alone Christ paid the price,
In his only death was man's life always resting,
And not in will-works, nor yet in man's deserving,
The light of our faith makes this thing evident,
And not the practice of other experiment.
Where is now free-will, whom the hypocrites commend,
Whereby they report they may at their own pleasure
Do good of themselves, though grace and faith be absent,
And have good intents their madness with to measure?
The will of the flesh is proved here small treasure,
And so is man's will, for the grace of God doth all.
More of this matter conclude hereafter we shall.[298]



See Hazlitt's "Handbook," 1867, p.269.


John Heywood, or Heewood, one of the most ancient dramatic writers in the English language, was born in the city of London,[299] and educated in the University of Oxford, at [Broadgate, afterwards called Pembroke, College,] in St Aldgate's parish. He was in his time more celebrated for his wit than his learning; and having some fair possessions at North Mims, he resided there after he left Oxford, and became intimately acquainted with Sir Thomas More, who lived in that neighbourhood.[300] Here the latter wrote his celebrated work called "Utopia," and is supposed to have assisted Heywood[301] in the composition of his "Epigrams."[302] Through Sir Thomas More's means, it is probable our author was introduced to the knowledge of King Henry the Eighth, and of his daughter the Princess, afterwards Queen Mary; by the former of whom he was held in much esteem for the mirth and quickness of his conceits; and so much[303] valued by the latter, that he was often, after she came to the throne, admitted to the honour of waiting upon and exercising his fancy before her, even to the time she lay lauguishing on her deathbed. His education having been in the Roman Catholic faith, he continued steadily attached to the tenets of that religion; and during the reign[304] of Edward the Sixth, fell under the suspicion of practising against the government, and narrowly escaped the halter. After the death of his patroness the queen, he left the nation, says Wood,[305] for religion's sake, and settled at Mechlin in Brabrant, where he [appears to have been still living in January 1576-7. The exact date of his death is uncertain, but] he died,[306] leaving several children; one of whom, Jasper Heywood, translated three of Seneca's Plays, and wrote several poems, printed in the "Paradise of Dainty Devises," 4to, 1576. This Jasper Heywood was, according to Fuller, executed in the reign of Queen Elizabeth; but more probably, as Sir Richard Baker asserts, was among those who were taken in 1585, and sent out of England.[307]

John Heywood[308] was one of our earliest [writers of a dramatic cast. He can hardly be called a dramatist.] Oldys[309] says he began to write about the year 1530, but that he could not find he published anything so early. [His first production in point of date may have been the play of the "Pardoner and the Frere," printed April, 1533; but two other interludes by him appeared the same year without note of the month. They were perhaps all written a little before.[310]

Mr Collier remarks of Heywood's "Spider and Fly:"] "This parable, apologue, or allegory (for it is one and all three), is not perhaps so 'dull, tedious, and trifling,' as Warton contends; and if it be without much 'fancy,' it has both meaning and moral. In 'the conclusion,' Heywood informs us that he began the work twenty years before it was finished, and that he did nothing to it during an interval of nineteen years. He adds, that it was commenced 'with the first, and ended with the last,' of his poor works. The maid who sweeps down the spider he explains to mean Queen Mary, in 'sense allegorical' also."

Wilson, in his "Rhetorique," published in 1553, speaks of Heywood's "Proverbs" as then in print.[311] They were also republished in 1561; and the title-page professes that the work has been "newly overseen, and somewhat corrected, by the sayde John Heywood." The only copy I have met with is imperfect at the end, and the title-page does not state who was the printer of it. "John Heywoodes Woorkes" were printed collectively in 156[2]; they consist of proverbs and epigrams.

Winstanley expressed a doubt whether the author of the epigrams and of the plays were not different persons. The following epigram will be sufficient to set that fact beyond contradiction, and at the same time exhibit a specimen of the author's manner:—

    "Art thou Heywood with the mad mery wit?
       Ye, forsooth, master, that same is euen hit.
     Art thou Heywood that applyeth mirth more then thrift?
       Ye, sir, I take mery mirth a golden gift.
     Art thou Heywood that hath made many mad plaies?
       Ye, many playes, fewe good woorkes in all my daies.
     Art thou Heywood that hath made men mery long?
       Ye, and will, if I be made mery among.
     Art thou Heywood that woulde be made mery now?
       Ye, sir, helpe me to it now, I beseche yow."

Winstanley and Philips ascribe to him falsely the "Pinner of Wakefield" and "Philotus," [the latter] printed at Edinburgh, 1603.

Fuller[312] mentions a book written by our author, entitled "Monumenta literaria," which are said to be Non tam lambore condita, quam lepore condita. [But this was not by John Heywood. It is apparently Thomas Heywood's account of the "English Poets" referred to by more than one of his contemporaries.

The curious old relic here reprinted went through three known editions,[313] of which the earliest may be assigned to 1540 or thereabouts, the latest bearing date 1569. The colophon of the former will be found at the end.]



THE FOUR P.P.[314]

PALMER.[315] Now God be here; who keepeth this place?
Now by my faith I cry you mercy;
Of reason I must sue for grace,
My rudeness showeth me[316] so homely.
Whereof your pardon axed and won,
I sue you[317], as courtesy doth me bind,
To tell this, which shall be begun,
In order as may come best in mind.
I am a Palmer, as ye[318] see,
Which of my life much part have[319] spent
In many a fair and far[320] country.
As Pilgrims do of good intent.
At Jerusalem[321] have I been
Before Christ's blessed sepulchre:
The mount of Calvary have I seen[322],
A holy place, you may be sure.
To Jehosaphat and Olivet[323]
On foot, God wot, I went right bare:
Many a salt tear did I sweat,
Before thy carcase could [324] come there.
Yet have I been at Rome also,
And gone the stations [325] all a-row:
St Peter's shrine and many mo,
Than, if I told all, ye do know.
Except that there be any such,
That hath been there, and diligently
Hath taken heed, and marked much,
Then can they speak as much as I.
Then at the Rhodes[326] also I was;
And round about to Amias.[327]
At St Uncumber and St Trunnion;[328]
At St Botoph[329] and St Anne of Buxton.[330]
On the hills of Armenia, where I saw[331] Noe's ark;[332]
With holy Job, and St George in Southwark;[333]
At Waltham[334] and at Walsingham;[335]
And at the good rood[336] of Dagenham[337];
At Saint Cornelys[338]; at Saint James in Gales[339];
And at Saint Wenefrid's well[340] in Wales;
At our Lady of Boston;[341] at Saint Edmund's burgh;[342]
And straight to Saint Patrick's Purgatory[343];
At Redburne,[344] and at the blood of Hales,[345]
Where pilgrims' pains right much avails;
At Saint David's,[346] and at Saint Denis;[347]
At Saint Matthew, and Saint Mark in Venice;[348]
At Master John Shorn at Canterbury;[349]
The great God of Catwade,[350] at King Henry[351]
At Saint Saviour's;[352] at our lady of Southwell;[353]
At Crome,[354] at Willesden,[355] and at Muswell;[356]
At Saint Richard,[357] and at Saint Rock;[358]
And at Our Lady that standeth in the oak.[359]
To these, with other many one,
Devoutly have I prayed and gone,
Praying to them to pray for me
Unto the blessed Trinity,
By whose prayers and my daily pain
I trust the sooner to obtain[360]
For my salvation, grace, and mercy.
For be ye sure I think surely,[361]
Who seeketh saints for Christ's sake,
And namely such as pain do take
On foot, to punish their[362] frail body,
Shall thereby merit more highly
Than by anything done by man.

PARDONER.[363] And when ye have gone as far as ye[364] can,
For all your labour and ghostly intent,
Ye[365] will come home as wise as ye went.

PALMER. Why, sir, despised ye pilgrimage?

PARDONER. Nay,[366] fore God, sir, then did I rage;
I think ye right well occupied,
To seek these saints on every side.
Also your pain[367] I not dispraise it;
But yet I discommend your wit:
And ere[368] we go, even so shall ye,
If you in this will answer me.
I pray you show what the cause is,
Ye went all these pilgrimages?

PALMER. Forsooth, this life I did begin
To rid the bondage of my sin:
For which these saints rehearsed ere this
I have both sought and seen, i-wis;
Beseeching them to bear record
Of all my pain unto the Lord,
That giveth all remission,
Upon each man's contrition;
And by their good mediation,
Upon mine[369] humble submission,
I trust to have in very deed
For my soul health the better speed.

PARDONER. Now is your own confession likely
To make yourself[370] a fool quickly.
For I perceive ye would obtain
No other[371] thing for all your pain,
But only grace your soul to save:
Now mark in this what wit ye have!
To seek so far, and help so nigh;
Even here at home is remedy;
For at your door myself doth dwell,
Who could have saved your soul as well;
As all your wide wandering shall do,
Though ye went thrice to Jericho.
Now since ye might have sped at home,
What have ye won by running[372] at Rome?

PALMER. If this be true that ye have moved,
Then is my wit indeed reproved.
But let us hear first what ye are?

PARDONER. Truly I am a pardoner.

PALMER. Truly a pardoner! that may be true;
But a true pardoner doth not ensue.
Right seldom is it seen, or never,
That truth and pardoners dwell together,
For be your pardons never so great,
Yet them to enlarge ye will not let
With such lies that ofttimes, Christ wot,
Ye seem to have that ye have not.
Wherefore I went myself to the self thing
In every place and without saying:
Had as much pardon there assuredly,
As ye can promise me here doubtfully.
Howbeit, I think ye do but scoff:[373]
But if ye had all the pardon ye speak[374] of,
And no whit of pardon granted
In any place where I have haunted:
Yet of my labour I nothing repent;
God hath respect how each time is spent;
And as in his knowledge all is regarded,
So by his goodness all is rewarded.

PARDONER. By the[375] first part of this last tale,
It seemeth ye came of late[376] from the ale.
For reason on your side so far doth fail,
That ye leave reasoning,[377] and begin to rail.
Wherein you[378] forget your own part clearly,
For you[379] be as untrue as I:
And in one point ye are beyond me,
For you[380] may lie by authority,
And all that have[381] wandered so far,
That no man can be their controller.
And where you[382] esteem your labour so much,
I say yet again my pardons are[383] such,
That if there were a thousand souls on a heap,
I would bring them to heaven as good cheap.[384]
As ye have brought yourself on pilgrimage,
In the least[385] quarter of your voyage,
Which is[386] far a side heaven, by God:
There your labour and pardon is odd.
With small cost and without any pain,
These pardons bring[387] them to heaven plain;
Give me but a penny or two pence,
And as soon as the soul departeth hence,
In half-an-hour, or threequarters at the most,
The soul is in heaven with the Holy Ghost.

'POTHECARY. Send ye any souls to heaven by water?

PARDONER. If we do,[388] sir, what is the matter?

'POTHECARY. By God, I have a dry soul should thither;
I pray you let our souls go to heaven together,
So busy you twain be in soul's health;
May not a 'pothecary come in by stealth?
Yes, that I will,[389] by St Anthony,
And, by the leave of this company,
Prove ye false knaves both, ere[390] we go,
In part of your sayings, as this, lo!
Thou by thy travail thinkest heaven to get:
And thou by pardons and relics countest no let,[391]
To send thine own soul to heaven sure;
And all other whom thou list to procure.
If I took an action, then were they blank;
For like thieves the knaves[392] rob away my thank.
All souls in heaven having relief,
Shall they thank your crafts? nay, thank mine chief.
No soul, ye know, entereth heaven-gate,
Till from the body he be separate:
And whom have ye known die honestly,[393]
Without help of the 'pothecary?
Nay, all that cometh to our handling,
Except ye happen to come to hanging;
That way perchance ye shall not mister[394]
To go to heaven without a glister.
But be ye sure I would be woe,[395]
If[396] ye should chance to beguile me so.
As good to lie with me a-night,
As hang abroad in the moonlight.
There is no choice to flee my hand,
But, as I said, into the band.
Since of our souls the multitude
I send to heaven, when all is viewed,
Who should but I then altogether
Have thank of all their coming thither?

PARDONER. If ye killed a thousand in an hour's space,
When come they to heaven dying out of grace?[397]

'POTHECARY. If a thousand pardons about your necks were tied,
When come they to heaven, if they never died?

PALMER. Long life after good works indeed
Doth hinder man's receipt of mead;
And death before one duty done,
May make us think we die too soon.
Yet better tarry a thing than[398] have it;
Than go too soon, and vainly crave it.

PARDONER. The longer ye dwell in communication,
The less shall ye like this imagination.
For ye[399] may perceive, even at the first chop,
Your tale is trapped in such a stop.
That at the least ye seem worse than we.

'POTHECARY. By the mass, I hold us nought all three.

[Enter Pedlar.

PEDLAR. By our lady, then have I gone wrong;
And yet to be here I thought it long.

'POTHECARY. Ye have gone wrong no whit,
I praise your fortune and your wit,
That can direct you so discreetly
To plant you in this company.
Thou a Palmer, and thou a Pardoner,
I a 'Pothecary.

PEDLAR. And I a Pedlar.

'POTHECARY. Now, on my faith, well watched;
Where the devil were we four hatched?

PEDLAR. That maketh no matter, since we be matched,
I could be merry if that I had catched
Some money for part of the ware in my pack.

'POTHECARY. What the devil hast thou there at thy back?

PEDLAR. What! dost thou not know that every pedlar
In all kind of trifles[400] must be a meddler?
Specially in women's triflings;
Those use we chiefly[401] above all things,
Which things to see, if ye be disposed,
Behold what ware here is disclosed!
This gear showeth itself in such beauty,
That each man thinketh[402] it saith, Come, buy me!
Look where yourself can like to be chooser,
Yourself shall make price, though I be loser.
Is here[403] nothing for my father Palmer?
Have ye not a wanton in a corner,
For all your walking to holy places?
By Christ, I have heard of as strange cases.
Who liveth in love, and love would win,
Even at this pack he must begin.
Wherein[404] is right many a proper token,
Of which by name part shall be spoken:
Gloves, pins, combs, glasses unspotted,
Pomades, hooks, and laces knotted;[405]
Brooches, rings, and all manner of beads;
Laces,[406] round and flat, for women's heads;
Needles, thread, thimble, shears, and all such knacks,[407]
Where lovers be, no such things lacks:
Sipers[408], swathbands,[409] ribbons, and sleeve laces,
Girdles, knives, purses, and pincases.

'POTHECARY. Do women buy their pincases of you?

PEDLAR. Yea, that they do, I make God a vow.

'POTHECARY. So mot I thrive then for my part,
I beshrew thy knave's naked heart,
For making my wife's pincase so wide,
The pins fall out, they cannot abide:
Great pins she must have, one or other;
If she lose one, she will find another.
Wherein I find cause to complain:
New pins to her pleasure and to my pain!

PARDONER. Sir, ye seem well-seen in women's causes!
I pray you tell me what causeth this:
That women, after their arising,[410]
Be so long in their apparelling?

PEDLAR. Forsooth, women have many lets,
And they be masked in many nets:
As frontlets,[411] fillets, partlets,[412] and bracelets;
And then their bonnets and their poignets:[413]
By these lets and nets the let is such,
That speed is small when haste is much.

'POTHECARY. Another cause why they come not forward,
Which maketh them daily to draw backward;
And yet[414] is a thing they cannot forbear;
The trimming and pinning up their gear;
Specially their fiddling with the tail-pin;
And when they would have it pricked[415] in,
If it chance to double in the cloth,
Then be they[416] wood[417], and sweareth[418] an oath.
Till it stand right they will not forsake it,
Thus though it may not, yet would[419] they make it.
But be ye sure they do but defer it;
For when they would make it, oft times mar it.
But prick them and pin them as nice[420] as ye will,
And yet will they look for pinning still.
So that I durst hold with you a joint,
Ye shall never have them at a full[421] point.

PEDLAR. Let women's matters pass, and mark mine:
Whatever their points be, these points be fine.
Wherefore, if ye be willing to buy,
Lay down money, come, off[422] quickly.

PALMER. Nay, by my troth, we be like friars;
We are but beggars, we be no buyers.

PARDONER. Sir, ye may show your ware for your mind.
But I think ye shall no profit find.

PEDLAR. Well, though this journey acquit no cost,
Yet think I not my labour lost:
For, by the faith of my body,
I like full well this company.
Up shall this pack, for it is plain
I came not hither all for gain.
Who may not play one day in a week,
May think his thrift is far to seek.
Devise what pastime that ye think best,
And make ye sure to find me prest.[423]

'POTHECARY. Why, be ye so universal,
That ye can do whatsoever ye shall?

PEDLAR. Sir, if ye list for to oppose me,
What I can do, then shall you see.

'POTHECARY. Then tell me this: are you perfit in drinking?

PEDLAR. Perfit in drinking? as may be wished by thinking.

'POTHECARY. Then, after your drinking, how fall ye to winking?

PEDLAR. Sir, after drinking, while the shot[424] is tinking;
Some heads be swimming,[425] but mine will be sinking,
And upon drinking my eyes will be pinking:
For winking to drinking is alway linking.

'POTHECARY. Then drink and sleep you can well do;
But if ye were desired thereto,
I pray you tell me, can you sing?

PEDLAR. Sir, I have some sight in singing.

'POTHECARY. But is your breast[426] any thing sweet?

PEDLAR. Whatever my breast be, my voice is meet.

'POTHECARY. That answer showeth you a right singing man.
Now what is your will, good father, then?

PALMER. What helpeth will, where is no skill?

PARDONER. And what helpeth skill, where is no will[427]!

'POTHECARY. For will or skill, what helpeth it,
Where forward knave be lacking wit[428]?
Leave off this curiosity.
And who that list, sing after me. [Here they sing.

PEDLAR. This liketh me well, so mot I the.

PARDONER. So help me God, it liketh not me.
Where company is met and well agreed,
Good pastime doth right well indeed.
But who can sit in daliance,
Men sit in such a variance?
As we were set, ere[429] ye came in,
Which strife this man did first begin;
Alleging that such men as use
For love of God, and not[430] refuse
On foot to go from place to place
A pilgrimage, calling for grace,
Shall in that pain with penitence
Obtain discharge of conscience:
Comparing that life for the best
Induction to your endless rest.
Upon these words[431] our matter grew:
For if he could avow them true,
As good to be a gardener.
As for to be a pardoner.
But when I heard him so far wide,
I then approached and replied:
Saying this, that this[432] indulgence,
Having the foresaid penitence,
Dischargeth man of all offence
With much more profit than this pretence.
I ask but twopence at the most;
I-wis this is not very great cost,
And from[433] all pain without despair,
My soul for to keep[434] even in his chair,
And when he dieth, he may be sure
To come to heaven even at pleasure.
And more than heaven he cannot[435] get,
How far soever he list to jet.
Then is his pain more than his wit,
To walk[436] to heaven, since he may sit.
Sir, as we were in this contention,
In came this daw with his invention;
Reviling us, himself avaunting,
That all the souls to heaven ascending
Are most bound to the 'pothecary,
Because he helpeth most men to die,
Before which death he saith indeed,
No soul in heaven can have his mede.

PEDLAR. Why, do 'pothecaries kill men?

'POTHECARY. By God, men say so, now and then.

PEDLAR. And I thought ye would not have mit
To make them live as long as ye list.

'POTHECARY. As long as we list? nay, as long as they can.

PEDLAR. So might we live without you then.

'POTHECARY. Yea, but yet it is[437] necessary
For to have a 'pothecary:
For when ye feel your conscience ready,
I can send you to heaven[438] quickly.
Wherefore, concerning our matter here,
Above these twain I am best clear;
And if ye[439] list to take me so,
I am content: you and no mo
Shall be our judge as in this case,
Which of us three shall take the best place.

PEDLAR. I neither will judge thee best nor worst;
For be ye blest or be ye curst,
Ye know it is no whit my sleight
To be a judge in matters of weight.
It behoveth no pedlars nor proctors
To take on them judgment as doctors:
But if your minds be only set
To work for soul-health, ye be well met:
For each of you somewhat doth show,
That souls toward heaven by you do grow.
Then if ye can so well agree,
To continue together all three;
And all you three obey one will,
Then all your minds ye may fulfil.
As if ye came all to one man,
Who should go pilgrimage[440] more than he can?
In that ye, Palmer, as deputy,[441]
May clearly discharge him, parde;
And for all other sins once had contrition,
Your pardons giveth him full remission.
And then ye, Master 'Pothecary,
May send him to heaven by and by.

'POTHECARY. If he taste this box nigh about the prime,
By the mass, he is in heaven ere evensong time.
My craft is such, that I can right well
Send my friends to heaven and myself to hell.
But, sirs, mark this man, for he is wise,
Who[442] could devise such a device:
For if we three may be as one,
Then be we[443] lords everychone;
Between us all could not be mist
To save the souls of whom we list.
But for good order, at a word,
Twain of us must wait on the third.

'POTHECARY. And unto that I do agree,
For both you twain shall wait on me.[444]

PARDONER. What chance is this, that such an elf
Command two knaves beside himself?
Nay, nay, my friend, that will not be;
I am too good to wait on thee.

PALMER. By our lady, and I would be loth
To wait on the better of you both.

PEDLAR. Yet be ye sure for all this doubt,
This waiting must be brought about.
Men cannot prosper, wilfufly led;
All things decay,[445] where is no head.
Wherefore, doubtless, mark what I say,
To one of you three twain must obey.
And since ye cannot agree in voice,
Who shall be head, there is no choice
But to devise some manner thing,
Wherein ye all be like conning;
And in the same who can do best,
The other twain do make them prest,
In every thing of his intent,
Wholly[446] to be at commandment.
And now have I found one mastery,[447]
That ye can do indifferently;
And is nother selling nor buying,
But even on very lying.
And all ye three can lie as well,
As can the falsest devil in hell.
And though afore ye heard me grudge
In greater matters to be your judge,
Yet in lying I can some skill,[448]
And if I shall be judge, I will
And be you sure, without flattery,
Where my conscience findeth the mastery,
There shall my judgment straight be found,
Though I might win a thousand pound.

PALMER. Sir, for lying, though I can do it:
Yet am I both for to go to it.

PEDLAR. Ye have no[449] cause for fear, be bold,[450]
For ye may here[451] lie uncontrolled.
And ye in this have good advantage,
For lying is your common usage.
And you in lying be well sped,
For all your craft doth stand in falsehood.
Ye need not care who shall begin;
For each of you may hope to win.
Now speak all three even as ye find:
Be ye agreed to follow my mind?

PALMER. Yea, by my troth, I am content.

PARDONER. Now, in good faith, and I assent.

'POTHECARY. If I denied, I were a noddy; For all is mine, by God's body, [Here the 'Pothecary hoppeth.

PALMER. Here were a hopper to hop for the ring!
But, sir,[452] this gear goeth not by hopping.

'POTHECARY. Sir, in this hopping I will hop so well,
That my tongue shall hop better[453] than my heel:
Upon which hopping I hope, and not doubt it,
To hop[454] so, that ye shall hop[455] without it.[456]

PALMER. Sir, I will neither boast ne brawl.
But take such fortune as may fall:
And if ye win this mastery,
I will obey you quietly:
And sure I think that quietness
In any man is great riches
In any manner company,
To rule or be ruled[457] indifferently.

PARDONER. By that boast thou seemest a beggar indeed,
What can thy quietness help us at need?
If we should starve, thou hast not, I think,
One penny to buy us one pot of drink.
Nay, if riches might rule the roost,
Behold what cause I have to boast!
Lo, here be[458] pardons half a dozen,
For ghostly riches they have no cousin.
And moreover to me they bring
Sufficient succour for my living.
And here be[459] relics of such a kind,
As in this world no man can[460] find,
Kneel down all three, and when ye leave kissing,
Who list to offer shall have my blessing.
Friends, here shall ye see even anon
Of All-Hallows the blessed jaw-bone,[461]
Kiss it hardily with good devotion.

'POTHECARY. This kiss shall bring us much promotion.
Foh, by St Saviour, I never kissed a worse;
Ye were as good kiss All-Hallows' arse;
For, by All-Hallows, yet me-thinketh,
That All-Hallows' breath stinketh.

PALMER. Ye judge All-Hallows' breath unknown:
If any breath stink, it is your own.

'POTHECARY. I know mine own breath from All-Hallows,
Or else it were time to kiss the gallows.

PARDONER. Nay, sirs, behold, here may ye see
The great toe of the Trinity:
Who to this toe any money voweth,
And once may roll it in his mouth,
All his life after, I undertake,
He shall never be vexed with the toothache.[462]

'POTHECARY. I pray you turn that relic about:
Either[463] the Trinity had the gout,
Or else, because it is three toes in one,
God made it as much[464] as three toes alone.

PARDONER. Well, let that pass, and look upon this.
Here is a relic that doth not miss
To help the least as well as the most:
This is a buttock-bone of Pentecost.

'POTHECARY. By Christ, and yet for all your boast,
This relic hath beshitten the roast.

PARDONER. Mark well this relic: here is a whipper,
My friends[465] unfeigned: here[466] is a slipper
Of one of the Seven Sleepers, be sure.[467]
Doubtless this kiss shall do you great pleasure;
For all these two days it shall so ease you,
That none other savours shall displease you.

'POTHECARY. All these two days! nay, all these[468] two years;
For all the savours that may come here
Can be no worse; for at a word
One of the seven sleepers trod in a turd.

PEDLAR. Sir, me-thinketh your devotion is but small.

PARDONER. Small! marry me-thinketh he hath none at all.

'POTHECARY. What the devil care I what ye think?
Shall I praise relics, when they stink?

PARDONER. Here is an eye-tooth of the Great Turk.
Whose eyes be once set on this piece of work,
May happily lese part of his eyesight,
But not till he be blind outright.

'POTHECARY. Whatsoever any other man seeth,
I have no devotion unto[469] Turks' teeth:
For although I never saw a greater,
Yet me-thinketh I have seen many better.

PARDONER. Here is a box full of humble bees,
That stang Eve as she sat on her knees,
Tasting the fruit to her forbidden.
Who kisseth the bees within this hidden,
Shall have as much pardon of right,
As for any relic he kissed this night.

PALMER. Sir, I will kiss them with all my heart.

'POTHECARY. Kiss them again, and take my part,
For I am not worthy: nay, let be:
Those bees that stung Eve shall not sting me.

PARDONER. Good friends, I have yet here[470] in this glass,
Which on the drink at the wedding was
Of Adam and Eve undoubtedly.
If ye honour this relic devoutly,
Although ye thirst no whit the less,
Yet shall ye drink the more, doubtless:
After which drinking ye shall be as meet
To stand on your head as on your feet.

'POTHECARY. Yea, marry, now I can[471] you thank;[472]
In presence of this—the rest be blank.
Would God this relic had come rather:[473]
Kiss that relic well, good father.
Such is the pain that ye palmers take
To kiss the pardon-bowl for the drink sake.
O holy yeast, that looketh full sour and stale,
For God's body, help me to a cup of ale.
The more I behold[474] thee, the more I thirst:
The oftener I kiss thee, the more like to burst.
But since I kiss thee so devoutly,
Hire me,[475] and help me with drink, till I die.
What, so much praying and so little speed?

PARDONER. Yea, for God knoweth when it is need
To send folks drink; but, by St Anthony,
I ween he hath sent you too much already.

'POTHECARY. If I have never the more for thee,
Then be thy relics no riches to me;
Nor to thyself, except they be
More beneficial than I can see.
Richer is one box of this triacle,[476]
Than all thy relics, that do no miracle.
If thou hadst prayed but half so much to me,
As I have prayed to thy relics and thee,
Nothing concerning mine occupation,
But straight should have wrought one[477] operation:
And as in value I pass you an ace,
So here lieth much richness in little space.
I have a box of rhubarb here,
Which is as dainty as it is dear.
So[478] help me God and halidom,
Of this I would not give a dram
To the best friend I have in England's ground,
Though he would give me twenty pound.
For though the stomach do it abhor,
It purgeth you clean from the choler;
And maketh your stomach sore to walter,
That ye shall never come to the halter.

PEDLAR. Then is that medicine a sovereign thing
To preserve a man from hanging.

'POTHECARY. If ye will taste but this crumb that ye see,
If ever ye be hanged, never trust me.
Here have I diapompholicus,
A special ointment, as doctors discuss,
For a fistula or for a canker:
This ointment is even shot-anchor;[479]
For this medicine[480] helpeth one and other,
Or bringeth them in case that they need no other.
Here is a syrapus de Byzansis,
A little thing is enough of this;
For even the weight of one scruple
Shall[481] make you as strong as a cripple.
Here are others, as diosfialios,
and sticados,
Blanka, manna, diospoliticon
Mercury sublime and metridaticon,
Pellitory and arsefetita;
Cassy and colloquintita.
These be[482] the things that break all strife
Between man's sickness and his life.
From all pain these shall you deliver,
And set you even at rest for ever.
Here is a medicine no mo like the same,
Which commonly is called thus by name
Alikakabus or Alkakengy,
A goodly thing for dogs that be[483] mangy.
Such be these medicines, that I can
Help a dog as well as a man.
Not one thing here particularly,
But worketh universally;
For it doth me as much good, when I sell it,
As all the buyers that taste it or smell it.
Now since my medicines be so special,
And in one operation so general,
And ready to work whensoever they shall,
So that in riches I am principal;
If any reward may entreat ye,
I beseech your maship be good to[484] me,
And ye shall have a box of marmalade,
So fine that you may dig it with a spade.

PEDLAR. Sir, I thank you; but your reward
Is not the thing that I regard:
I must and will be indifferent;
Wherefore proceed in your intent.

'POTHECARY. Now if I wist this wish no sin,
I would to God I might begin.

'PARDONER. I am content that thou lie first.

PALMER. Even so am I; now[485] say thy worst.
Now let us hear, of all thy lies,
The greatest lie thou mayst devise.
And in the fewest words thou can.

'POTHECARY. Forsooth, ye be[486] an honest man.

PEDLAR. There said ye much, but yet no lie.

PARDONER. Now lie ye both, by Our Lady.
Thou liest in boast of his honesty,
And he hath lied in affirming thee.

'POTHECARY. If we both he, and ye say true,
Then of these lies your part adieu!
And if ye win, make none avaunt,
For you are sure of one ill servant.
You may perceive by the words he gave,
He taketh your maship[487] but for knave.
But who told truth[488] or lied indeed,
That will I know, ere[489] we proceed.
Sir, after that I first began
To praise you for an honest man,
When ye affirmed it for no lie:[490]
Now, by your[491] faith, speak even truly;
Thought ye your affirmation true?

PALMER. Yea, marry, for I would ye knew,
I think myself an honest man.

'POTHECARY. What thought ye in the contrary then?

PARDONER. In that I said the contrary,
I think from truth I did not vary.

'POTHECARY. And what of my words?

PARDONER. I thought ye lied.

'POTHECARY. And so thought I, by God that died.
Now have you twain each for himself laid,
That none[492] hath lied, but both true said:
And of us twain none hath denied,
But both affirmed that I have lied.
Now since both ye[493] the truth confess,
How that I lied, do bear witness,
That twain of us may soon agree,[494]
And that the lier the winner must be,
Who could provide such evidence,
As I have done in this pretence?
Me-thinketh this matter sufficient
To cause you to give judgment;
And to give me the mastery,
For ye perceive these knaves cannot lie.

PALMER. Though nother[495] of us yet had lied,
Yet what we can do is untried;
For as yet we have devised nothing,
But answered you and given you hearing.

PEDLAR. Therefore I have devised one way,
Whereby all three your minds may say,
For each of you one tale shall tell,
And which of you telleth most marvèl,
And most unlikest[496] to be true,
Shall most prevail, whatever ensue.

'POTHECARY. If ye be set on marvelling,
Then shall ye hear a marvellous thing.
And though, indeed, all be not true,
Yet sure the most part shall be new.
I did a cure no longer ago,
But in anno domini millesimo,
On a woman young and so fair,
That never have I seen a gayer.
God save all women of[497] that likeness.
This wanton had the falling sickness,
Which by descent came lineally,
For her mother had it naturally:
Wherefore this woman to recure,
It was more hard, ye may be sure.
But though I boast my craft is such,
That in such things I can do much:
How oft she fell were much to report;
But her head so giddy, and her belly so short,
That, with the twinkling of an eye,
Down would she fall even by and by.
But ere[498] she would arise again,
I showed much practice much to my pain.
For the tallest man within this town
Could[499] not with ease have broken her swoon.
Although for life I did not doubt her,
Yet I did take more pains[500] about her,
Than I would take with my own sister.
Sir, at the last I gave her a glister:
I thrust a tampion in her tewell,[501]
And bade her keep it for a jewel;
But I knew there[502] it was too heavy to carry,
That I sure was it would not tarry:
For where gunpowder is once fired,
The tampion will no lenger be hired:
Which was well seen in time of this chance,
For when I had charged this ordnance,
Suddenly, as it had thundered,
Even at a clap loosed her bombard.[503]
Now mark, for here beginneth the revel:
This tampion flew ten long mile level,
To a fair castle of lime and stone,
For strength I know not such a one,
Which stood upon a hill full high,
At foot whereof a river ran by,
So deep, till chance had it forbidden,
Well might the Regent[504] there have ridden.
But when this tampion at this[505] castle did light,
It put the castle so fair to flight,
That down they came each upon other,
No stone left standing, by God's mother!
But rolled down so fast the hill
In such a number, and so did fill
From bottom to brim, from shore to shore,
This foresaid river so deep before,
That who list now to walk thereto,
May wade it over and wet no shoe.
So was this castle laid wide open,
That every man might see the token.
But in a good hour may these[506] words be spoken
After the tampion on the walls was wroken,
And piece by piece in pieces broken.
And she delivered with such violence
Of all her inconvenience,
I left her in good health and lust;
And so she doth continue, I trust.

PEDLAR. Sir, in your cure I can nothing tell;
But to your[507] purpose ye have said well.

PARDONER. Well, sir, then mark what I can say.
I have been a pardoner many a day,
And done greater[508] cures ghostly
Than ever he did bodily.
Namely this one, which ye shall hear,
Of one departed within this seven year,
A friend of mine, and likewise I
To her again was as friendly:
Who fell so sick so suddenly,
That dead she was even by and by,
And never spake with priest nor clerk,
Nor had no whit of this holy work;
For I was thence, it could not be,
Yet heard I say she asked for me.
But when I bethought me how this chanced,
And that I have to heaven avanced
So many souls to me but strangers,
And could not keep my friend from dangers,
But she to die so dangerously,
For her soul-health especially;
That was the thing that grieved me so,
That nothing could release my woe,
Till I had tried even out of hand,
In what estate her soul did stand.
For which trial, short tale to make,
I took this journey for her sake.[509]
Give ear, for here beginneth the story:
From hence I went to Purgatory,
And took with me this gear in my fist,
Whereby I may do there what I list.
I knocked and was let in quickly:
But, Lord, how low the souls made curtesy;
And I to every soul again
Did give a beck[510] them to retain,
And asked them this question then,
If that the soul of such a woman
Did late among them there appear?
Whereto they said, she came not here.
Then feared I much it was not well;
Alas, thought I, she is in hell;
For with her life I was so acquainted,
That sure I thought she was not sainted.
With this it chanced me to sneeze;
Christ help, quoth a soul that lay for his fees.
Those words, quoth I, thou shalt not lese;
Then with these pardons of all degrees
I paid his toll and set him so quit,
That straight to heaven he took his flight,
And I from thence to hell that night,
To help this woman, if I might;
Not as who saith by authority,
But by the way of entreaty.
And first to the devil that kept the gate
I came, and spake after this rate:
All hail, sir devil, and made low curtesy:
Welcome, quoth he thus smilingly.[511]
He knew me well, and I at last
Remembered him since long time past:
For, as good hap would have it chance,
This devil and I were of old acquaintance;
For oft, in the play of Corpus Christi,[512]
He hath played the devil at Coventry.
By his acquaintance and my behaviour,
He showed to me right friendly favour,
And to make my return the shorter,
I said to this devil: Good master porter,
For all old love, if it lie in your power,
Help me to speak with my lord and your.
Be sure, quoth he, no tongue can tell,
What time thou couldst have come so well:
For as on[513] this day Lucifer fell,
Which is our festival in hell.
Nothing unreasonable craved this day,
That shall in hell have any nay.
But yet beware thou come not in,
Till time thou may[514] thy passport win.
Wherefore stand still, and I will wit,[515]
If I can get thy safe-conduit.
He tarried not, but shortly got it
Under seal, and the Devil's hand at it,
In ample wise, as ye shall hear;
Thus it began: Lucifer,
By the power of God, chief devil of hell,
To all the devils that there do dwell
And every of them, we send greeting,
Under strait charge and commanding,
That they aiding and assistant be
To such a Pardoner, and named me,
So that he may at liberty
Pass safe without any[516] jeopardy,
Till that he be from us extinct,
And clearly out of hell's precinct.
And his pardon to keep in safeguard,
We will they lie in the porter's ward.
Given in the furnace of our palace,
In our high court of matters of malice,
Such a day and year of our reign.
God save the devil, quoth I, amain.[517]
I trust this writing to be sure:
Then put thy trust, quod he, in ure[518],
Since thou art sure to take no harm.
This devil and I walked arm in arm
So far, till he had brought me thither,
Where all the devils of hell together
Stood in array in such apparel,
As for that day there meetly fell.
Their horns well-gilt, their claws full clean,
Their tails well-kempt, and, as I ween,
With sothery[519] butter their bodies annointed;
I never saw devils so well appointed.[520]
The master-devil sat in his jacket,
And all the souls were playing at racket.
None other rackets they had in hand,
Save every soul a good firebrand:
Wherewith they played so prettily,
That Lucifer laughed merrily;
And all the residue of the fiends[521]
Did laugh thereat full well like friends.[522]
But of my friend I saw no whit,
Nor durst not ask for her as yet.
Anon all this rout was brought in silence,
And I by an usher brought in presence
Of Lucifer; then low, as well I could,[523]
I kneeled, which he so well allowed,
That thus he becked, and, by St Anthony,
He smiled on me well-favouredly,
Bending his brows as broad as barn-doors,
Shaking his ears as rugged as burrs;
Rolling his eyes as round as two bushels;
Flashing the fire out of his nosthrils;
Gnashing his teeth so vaingloriously,
That me-thought time to fall to flattery,
Wherewith I told, as I shall tell:
O pleasant picture! O prince of hell!
Feutred[524] in fashion abhominable,
And since that is inestimable
For me to praise thee worthily.
I leave of praise, as unworthy
To give thee praise, beseeching thee
To hear my suit, and then to be
So good to grant the thing I crave;
And, to be short, this would I have:
The soul of one which hither is flitted,
Delivered[525] hence, and to me remitted.
And in this doing, though all be not quit,
Yet in some part I shall[526] deserve it,
As thus: I am a pardoner,
And over souls as controller,
Thorough out the earth my power doth stand,
Where many a soul lieth on my hand,
That speed in matters as I use them,
As I receive them or refuse them.
Whereby what time thy pleasure is,
I[527] shall requite any part of this,
The least devil here that can come thither,
Shall choose a soul and bring him hither.
Ho,[528] ho! quoth the devil, we are well pleased;
What is his name thou wouldst have eased?
Nay, quoth I, be it good or evil,
My coming is for a she devil.
What callst her, quoth he, thou whoreson?[529]
Forsooth, quoth I, Margery Corson.
Now, by our honour, said Lucifer,
No devil in hell shall withhold her;
And if thou wouldest have twenty mo,
Wert not for justice, they should go.
For all we[530] devils within this den
Have more to do with two women,
Than with all the charge we have beside;
Wherefore, if thou our friend will be tried,
Apply thy pardons to women so,
That unto us there come no mo.
To do my best I promised by oath;
Which I have kept, for, as the faith goeth,
At this day[531] to heaven I do procure
Ten women to one man, be sure.
Then of Lucifer my leave I took,
And straight unto the master-cook
I was had into the kitchen,
For Margery's office was therein.
All things handled there discreetly,
For every soul beareth office meetly:
Which might be seen to see her sit
So busily turning of the spit.
For many a spit here hath she turned,
And many a good spit hath she burned:
And many a spitful hot hath roasted,
Before the meat could be half roasted,
And ere the meat were half-roasted indeed,
I took her then fro the spit with speed.
But when she saw this brought to pass,
To tell the joy wherein she was!
And of all the devils, for joy how they
Did roar at her delivery!
And how the chains in hell did ring.
And how all the souls therein did sing;
And how we were brought to the gate,
And how we took our leave thereat,
Be sure lack of time suffereth not
To rehearse the twentieth part of that,
Wherefore, this tale to conclude briefly,
This woman thanked me chiefly,
That she was rid of this endless death,
And so we departed on Newmarket-heath.
And if that any man do mind her,
Who lists to seek her, there shall he find her.

PEDLAR. Sir, ye have sought her wonders[532] well,
And where ye found her as ye tell,
To hear the chance ye had[533] in hell,
I find ye were in great peril.[534]

PALMER. His tale is all much perilous;[535]
But part is much more marvellous:
As where he said the devils complain,
That women put them to such pain.
Be their conditions so crooked and crabbed,
Frowardly fashioned, so wayward and wrabbed. [536]
So far in division, and stirring such strife,
That all the devils be weary of their life.
This[537] in effect he told for[538] truth.
Whereby much marvel to me ensueth,
That women in hell such shrews can be,
And here so gentle, as far as I see.
Yet have I seen many a mile,
And many a woman in the while.
Not one good city, town, or borough
In Christendom, but I have been thorough,
And this I would ye should understand,
I have seen women five hundred thousand:
And oft with them have long time tarried.[539]
Yet in all places where I have been,
Of all the women that I have seen,
I never saw nor knew in my conscience
Any one woman out of patience.

'POTHECARY. By the mass, there is a great lie.

PARDONER. I never heard a greater, by our Lady.

PEDLAR. A greater! nay, know ye any so great?

PALMER. Sir, whether that I lose or get,
For my part judgment shall be prayed.

PARDONER. And I desire, as he hath said.

'POTHECARY. Proceed, and ye shall be obeyed.

PEDLAR. Then shall not judgment be delayed,
Of all these three, if each man's tale
In Paul's Churchyard were set on sale,
In some man's hand that hath the sleight,
He should sure sell these tales by weight;
For as they weigh, so be they worth,
But which weigheth best, to that now forth.
Sir, all the tale that ye did tell
I bear in mind, and yours as well:
And as ye saw the matter meetly,
So lied ye both well and discreetly;
Yet were your lies with the least, trust me;
For if ye had said ye had made flee
Ten tampions out of ten women's tails,
Ten times ten mile to ten castles or jails,
And filled ten rivers ten times so deep,
As ten of that which your castle-stones did keep;
Or if ye ten times had bodily
Fet[540] ten souls out of purgatory;
And ten times so many out of hell:
Yet, by these ten bones, I could right well,
Ten times sooner all that believed,
Than the tenth part of that he hath meved.

'POTHECARY. Two knaves before one lacketh two knaves of five:[541]
Then one, and then one, and both knaves alive.
Then two, and then two, and three at a cast,
Thou knave, and thou knave, and thou knave at last.
Nay knave, if ye try me by number,
I will as knavishly you accumber[542]
Your mind is all on your privy tithe,
For all in ten me-thinketh your wit li'th.
Now ten times I beseech him that high sits,
Thy wife's ten commandments may search thy five wits.
Then ten of my turds in ten of thy teeth,
And ten on thy nose, which every man seeth;
And twenty times ten this wish I would
That thou hadst been hanged at ten year old:
For thou goest about to make me a slave.
I will thou know that I am a gentle[543] knave.
And here is another shall take my part.

PARDONER. Nay, first I beshrew your knave's heart,
Ere I take part in your knavery:
I will speak fair, by our[544] lady.
Sir, I beseech your maship to be
As good as ye can[545] be unto me.

PEDLAR. I would be glad to do you good,
And him also, be he ever so wood;[546]
But doubt you not I will now do
The thing my conscience leadeth me to.
Both your tales I take for impossible,
Yet take I his farther incredible.
Not only the thing itself alloweth it,
But also the boldness thereof avoweth it.
I know not where your tale to try;
Nor yours, but in hell or purgatory.
But his boldness hath faced a lie,
That may be tried even in this company.
As if ye list to take this order,
Among the women in this border,
Take three of the youngest, and three of the oldest,
Three of the hottest, and three of the coldest,
Three of the wisest, and three of the shrewdest,
Three of the chastest, and three of the lewdest,[547]
Three of the lowest, and three of the highest,
Three of the farthest, and three of the nighest,
Three of the fairest, and three of the maddest,
Three of the foulest, and three of the saddest,
And when all these threes be had asunder
Of each three, two justly by number
Shall be found shrews, except this fall,
That ye hap to find them shrews all.
Himself for truth all this doth know,
And oft hath tried some of this row;
And yet he sweareth by his conscience,
He never saw woman break patience.
Wherefore, considered with true intent,
His lie to be so evident,
And to appear so evidently,
That both you affirmed it a lie;
And that my conscience so deeply
So deep hath sought this thing to try,
And tried it with mind indifferent;
Thus I award by way of judgment:
Of all the lies ye all have spent,
His lie to be most excellent.

PALMER. Sir, though ye were bound of equity
To do as ye have done to me,
Yet do I thank you of your pain,
And will requite some part again.

PARDONER. Marry, sir, ye can no less do,
But thank him as much as it cometh to;
And so will I do for my part.
Now a vengeance on thy knave's heart,
I never knew a pedlar a judge before,
Nor never will trust pedling knave more.
What doest thou there, thou whoreson noddy?

'POTHECARY. By the mass, learn to make courtesy:
Courtesy before, and courtesy behind him,
And then on each side, the devil blind him!
Nay, when ye[548] have it perfitly,
Ye shall have the devil and all of courtesy:
But it is not soon learned, gentle[549] brother,
One knave to make courtesy to another.
Yet when I am angry, that is the worst,
I shall call my master knave at the first.

PALMER. Then would some master perhaps clout ye,
But, as for me, ye need not doubt ye;
For I had liever[550] be without ye,
Than have such business about ye.

'POTHECARY. So help me God, so were ye better;
What, should a beggar be a jetter?[551]
It were no whit your honesty
To have us twain jet after ye.

PARDONER. Sir, be your sure he telleth you true,
If we should wait, this would ensue:
It would be said, trust me at a word,
Two knaves made[552] courtesy to the third.

PEDLAR. Now, by my troth, to speak my mind,
Since they be so both to be assigned,[553]
To let them lose I think it best.
And so shall ye live the better[554] in rest.

PALMER. Sir, I am not on them so fond,
To compel them to keep their bond;
And since ye list not to wait on me,
I clearly of waiting do discharge ye.

PARDONER. Marry, sir, I heartily thank you.

'POTHECARY. And likewise I, to God I vow.[555]

PEDLAR. Now be ye all even as ye began;
No man hath lost, nor no man hath wan.
Yet in the debate wherewith ye began,
By way of advice I will speak as I can.
I do perceive that pilgrimage
Is chief[556] the thing ye have in usage;
Whereto in effect, for the love of Christ,
Ye have, or should have been enticed:
And who so doth with such intent,
Doth well declare his time well-spent.
And so do ye in your pretence,
If ye procure thus[557] indulgence
Unto your neighbours charitably,
For love of them in God only.
All this may be right well applied
To show[558] you both well occupied:
For though ye walk not both one way,
Yet walking thus, this dare I say,
That both your walks come to one[559] end;
And so for all that do pretend
By aid of God's grace to ensue
Any manner kind of virtue;
As some great alms for to give:
Some, in wilful poverty to live:
Some, to make highways and such like[560] works,
And some to maintain priests and clerks
To sing and pray for soul departed:
These, with all other virtues well marked,
Although they be of sundry kinds,
Yet be they not used with sundry minds.
But as God only doth all those move,
So every man only for his love,
With love and dread obediently
Worketh in these virtues uniformly.
Thus every virtue, if we list to scan,
Is pleasant to God and thankful to man.
And who that, by grace of the Holy Ghost,
To any one virtue is moved most,
That man by that grace that one apply,
And therein serve God most plentifully,[561]
Yet not that one so far wide to wrest:
So liking the same, to mislike the rest.
For who so wresteth, his work is in vain;
And even in that case I perceive you twain:
Liking your virtue in such wise,
That each other's virtue ye do despise.
Who walketh this way for God, would find him,
The farther they seek him, the farther behind him.
One kind of virtue to despise another,
Is like as the sister might hang the brother.

'POTHECARY. For fear lest such perils[562] to me might fall,
I thank God I use no virtue at all.

PEDLAR. That is of all the very worst way;
For more hard it is, as I have heard say,
To begin virtue where none is pretended,
Than where it is begun, th' abuse to be mended.
How be it, ye be[563] not all to begin,
One sign of virtue ye are entered in:
As this, I suppose ye did say true,
In that ye said ye use no virtue.
In the which words I dare well report,
You are well beloved of all this sort,
By your railing here openly
At pardons and relics so lewdly.

'POTHECARY. In that I think my fault not great;
For all that he hath I know counterfeit.

PEDLAR. For his and all other that ye know feigned,
You be not[564] counselled nor constrained
To any such thing in any such case,
To give any reverence in any such place.
But where ye doubt, the truth not knowing.
Believing the best, good may be growing,
In judging the best, no harm at the least;
In judging the worst, no good at the best.
But best in these things it seemeth to me,
To make[565] no judgment upon ye;
But as the church doth judge or take them,
So do ye receive or forsake them.
And so be you sure ye cannot err,
But may be a fruitful follower.

'POTHECARY. Go ye before, and as I am true man,
I will follow as fast as I can.

PARDONER. And so will I, for he hath said so well,
Reason would we should follow his counsel.

PALMER. Then to our reason God give us his grace,
That we may follow with faith so firmly
His commandments, that we may purchase
His love, and so consequently
To believe his church fast and faithfully;
So that we may, according to his promise,
Be kept out of error in any wise.
And all that hath scaped[566] us here by negligence,
We clearly revoke and forsake it;
To pass the time in this without offence,
Was the cause why the Maker did make it;
And so we humbly beseech you to take it,
Beseeching our Lord to prosper you all
In the faith of his Church Universal.[567]



A new Enterlude called Thersytes. This Enterlude followynge dothe declare howe that the greatest boesters are not the greatest doers.


THERSITES, a boster. MATER, a mother.
MULCIBER, a smyth. MILES, a knyght.
            TELEMACHUS, a childe.

[Col.] Imprinted at London, by John Tysdale and are to be solde at hys shop in the vpper ende of Lvmbard streete, in Alhallowes Churche yarde neare vntoo grace church. 4°. Black letter.


In the comic movements of life, the chief dependence of society will ever be upon the drama; still the history of the English stage remains very imperfect, obscure, and unsatisfactory. Perhaps of no period are fewer particulars known than that in, which a struggle for precedence arose between "the moral new interlude" and "the merry new interlude;" or when common sense, being partially relieved from bigotry and cold superstition, gave licence to the infant votaries of the drama to drive from thespian scaffolds old Vice, the prosing, loquacious hero of "Mysteries and Moralities." Somewhere near that period, the two following pieces, written for "buskined boys," were performed, and being undoubtedly esteemed popular, both printed, but without dates. An entry was made of the first as "Jack Juggeler and Mrs Boundgrace," in the stationers' book, by William Copland, in 1562-63. In "Thersites," the author, by the epilogue, has noted the precise time of its being written, in mentioning the birth of Prince Edward (afterwards King Edward VI.), which happened the 12th of August 1537, and invoking the Almighty to save the "Queen, lovely Lady Jane," who is supposed to have died the second day after that event. If then acted, it was probably revived on the accession of Queen Elizabeth, and printed by Tysdale, whose typographical labours did not commence in All-Hallows' Churchyard until 1561. So rare were both interludes, that their existence had long been doubted, when, in 1810, they were discovered in a private collection of ancient plays.[569] That collection was so large, and contained specimens of the early drama so little known, as to induce a spirited bibliopolist to purchase the whole, projecting a republication of "Old English Mysteries, Moralities, Interludes, Pageants, and Plays." It was to have extended to twenty octavo volumes. Unfortunately, an announcement of a similar nature, although upon a smaller scale (and afterwards meagrely executed), deterred the intended proprietors from the venture of the large capital necessary to complete so extensive an undertaking. Hence the whole collection was promiscuously dispersed, and so widely, as to prevent a reference to these interludes, when needed, to ascertain the character and size of the black letter type used. That circumstance has occasioned a deviation from the strict rule of a facsimile, followed in all other respects, except adding, for convenience, a pagination. By the use of modern type, however, another specimen is secured from the valuable private press of an absent member. At the same time, convinced such a deviation can seldom be tolerated, there can only be pleaded the opportunity of extending some knowledge of two unique copies: the now almost "olden" venial transgression of him who will, probably, continue sinning, until the forced guest to banquet with the doctor and his associate.

May 29, 1820.

Mr Child observes:[570] "The play does not require particular notice. Its lively absurdity could not have failed to be entertaining to an easy audience, and is not tiresome now. Thersites indulges plentifully in one of the privileges of the old Vice—that of talking incoherent nonsense. There is a vigour in some parts quite unusual in these things, and many of the lines in Skelton's metre have some of his power, together with all his coarseness. The passage, pp. 84-86, may remind the reader of that remarkable poem, 'Elynour Rummyng.'"


Thersites cometh in, first having a club upon his neck.[571]

Have in a ruffler forth of the Greek land,
Called Thersites, if ye will me know:
Aback, give me room, in my way do ye not stand;
For if ye do, I will soon lay you low.
In Homer of my acts ye have read, I trow:
Neither Agamemnon nor Ulysses I spared to check:
They could not bring me to be at their beck.
Of late from the Siege of Troy I returned,
Where all my harness except this club I lost.
In an old house there it was quite burned,
While I was preparing victuals for the host.
I must needs get me new, whatsoever it cost;
I will go seek adventures, for I can not be idle;
I will hamper some of the knaves in a bridle.
It grieveth me to hear how the knaves do brag;
But by supreme Jupiter, when I am harnessed well,
I shall make the dasters[572] to renne[573] into a bag,
To hide them fro me as fro the devil of hell,
I doubt not but hereafter of me ye shall hear tell:
How I have made the knaves for to play couch-quail.
But now to the shop of Mulciber to go I will not fail.

[Mulciber must have a shop made in the place, and Thersites cometh before it saying aloud:

Mulciber, whom the poets doth call the god of fire,
Smith unto Jupiter, king over all:
Come forth of thy office, I thee desire,
And grant me my petition, I ask a thing but small.
I will none of thy lightning, that thou art wont to make
For the gods supernal, for ire when they do shake;
With which they thrust the giants down to hell
That were at a convention heaven to buy and sell.
But I would have some help of Lemnos and Ithalia,[574]
That of their steel by thy craft condatur mihi galea.


What, fellow Thersites, do ye speak Latin now?
Nay then, farewell, I make God a vow,
I do not you understand, no Latin is in my pallet.
       [And then he must do, as he would go away.


I say, abide, good Mulciber, I pray thee make me a sallet.[575]


Why, Thersites, hast thou any wit in thy head?
Wouldst thou have a sallet now? all the herbs are dead!
Beside that it is not meet for a smith
To gather herbs and sallets to meddle with.
Go get thee to my lover Venus,
She hath sallets enough for all us:
I eat none such sallets, for now I wax old,
And for my stomach they are very cold.


Now I pray to Jupiter, that thou die a cuckold!
I mean a sallet, with which men do fight.


It is a small tasting of a man's might,
That he should for any matter
Fight with a few herbs in a platter:
No great laud should follow that victory.


God's passion, Mulciber, where is thy wit and memory?
I would have a sallet made of steel.


Why, sir, in your stomach long you shall it feel,
For steel is hard for to digest.


Man's bones and sides, he is worse than a beast!
I would have a sallet to wear on my head,
Which under my chin with a thong red
Buckled shall be:
Dost thou yet perceive me?


Your mind now I see:
Why, thou peevish lad,
Art thou almost mad,
Or well in thy wit?
Get thee a wallet:
Would thou have a sallet?
What wouldst thou do with it?


I pray thee, good Mulciber, make no mo bones,
But let me have a sallet made at once.


I must do somewhat for this knave; [Aside.
What manner of sallet, sir, would ye have?


I would have such a one, that nother might nor main
Should pierce it through, or part it in twain;
Which nother gunstone nor sharp spear
Should be able other to hurt or tear.
I would have it also for to save my head,
If Jupiter himself would have me dead;
And if he in a fume would cast at me his fire,
This sallet I would have to keep me from his ire.


I perceive your mind.
Ye shall find me kind;
I will for you prepare:—

[And then he goeth into his shop, and maketh a sallet for him; at the last he saith:

Here, Thersites, do this sallet wear,
And on thy head it bear;
And none shall work thee care.

[Then Mulciber goeth into his shop, until he is called again.


Now would I not fear with any bull to fight,
Or with a ramping lion, nother by day nor night.
Oh, what great strength is in my body so lusty,
Which for lack of exercise is now almost rusty.
Hercules in comparison to me was but a boy,
When the bandog Cerberus from hell he bare away:
When he killed the lion, hydra, and the boar[576] so wild.
Compare him to me, and he was but a child!
Why, Samson, I say, hast thou no more wit?
Wouldst thou be as strong as I? come, suck thy mother's teat!
Ween you that David, that little elfish boy,
Should with his sling have take my life away?
Nay, i-wis, Goliath, for all his five stones,
I would have quashed his little boyish bones.
Oh, how it would do my heart much good
To see some of the giants before Noe's flood!
I would make the knaves to cry crik,[577]
Or else with my club their brains I will break
But, Mulciber, yet I have not with thee do:
My head is armed, my neck I would have too;
And also my shoulders with some good habergin,
That the devil, if he shot at me, could not enter in.
For I am determined great battle to make,
Except my fumishness by some means may aslake.


Buckle on this habergin, as fast as thou can,
And fear for the meeting of nother beast nor man.
If it were possible for one to shoot an oak,
This habergin will defend thee from the stroke.
Let them throw milestones at thee as thick as hail,
Yet thee to kill they shall [of] their purpose fail.
If Malvern Hills should on thy shoulders light,
They shall not hurt them, nor suppress thy might.
If Bevis of Hampton, Colburn, and Guy,
Will thee assay, set not by them a fly!
To be brief, this habergin shall thee save
Both by land and water; now play the lusty knave.
                 [Then he goeth into his shop again.


When I consider my shoulders, that so broad be,
When the other parts of my body I do behold,
I verily think that none in Christian'ty
With me to meddle dare be so bold.
Now have at the lions on Cots'old![578]
I will neither spare for heat nor for cold.
Where art thou, King Arthur and the knights of the Round Table?
Come, bring forth your horses out of the stable!
Lo, with me to meet they be not able:
By the mass, they had rather wear a bable.
Where art thou, Gawain the courteous and Kay the crabbed?
Here be a couple of knights cowardish and scabbed!
Appear in thy likeness, Sir Libeus Disconius,[579]
If thou wilt have my club light on thy headibus.
Lo, ye may see he beareth not the face
With me to try a blow in this place.
How, sirrah, approach, Sir Launcelot de Lake,
What, renne ye away, and for fear quake?
Now he that did thee a knight make
Thought never that thou any battle shouldst take.
If thou wilt not come thyself, some other of thy fellows send:
To battle I provoke them; themselves let them defend.
Lo, for all the good that ever they see,
They will not once set hand to fight with me.
O good Lord, how broad is my breast
And strong withal, for whole is my chest.
He that should meddle with me should have shrewd rest.
Behold you my hands, my legs, and my feet;
Every part is strong, proportionable, and meet.
Think you that I am not fear'd in field and street?
Yes, yes, God wot, they give me the wall,
Or else with my club I make them to fall.
Back, knaves, I say to them, then for fear they quake;
And take me then to the tavern, and good cheer me make.
The proctor and his men I made to renne their ways,
And some went to hide them in broken hays.[580]
I tell you at a word,
I set not a turd
By none of them all:
Early and late I will walk,
And London streets stalk,
Spite of them great and small:
For I think verily,
That none in heaven so high,
Nor yet in hell so low,
While I have this club in my hand,
Can he able me to withstand,
Or me to overthrow.
But, Mulciber, yet I must thee desire
To make me briggen[581] irons for mine arms,
And then I will love thee as mine own sire;
For without them I cannot be safe from all harms.
Those once had, I will not set a straw
By all the world, for then I will by awe
Have all my mind, or else, by the holy rood,
I will make them think the devil carrieth them to the wood.[582]
If no man will with me battle take,
A voyage to hell quickly I will make,
And there I will beat the devil and his dame,
And bring the souls away: I fully intend the same.
After that in hell I have ruffled so,
Straight to old Purgatory will I go.
I will clean that, [and] so purge [it] round about,
That we shall need no pardons to help them out.
If I have not fight enough this ways,
I will climb to heaven and fet away Peter's keys;
I will keep them myself and let in a great rout;
What, should such a fisher keep good fellows out?


Have here, Thersites, briggen irons bright,
And fear thou no man manly to fight;
Though he be stronger than Hercules or Samson,
Be thou prest and bold to set him upon.
Nother Amazon nor Xerxes with their whole rabble
Thee to assail shall find it profitable.
I warrant thee they will flee from thy face,
As doth an hare from the dogs in a chace.
Would not thy black and rusty grim beard,
Now thou art so armed, make any man afeard?
Surely, if Jupiter did see thee in this gear,
He would renne away, and hide him for fear!
He would think that Typhaeus the giant were alive,
And his brother Enceladus, again with him to strive.
If that Mars, of battle the god stout and bold,
In this array should chance thee to behold,
He would yield up his sword unto thee,
And god of battle (he would say) thou shouldst be.
Now fare thou well, go the world through,
And seek adventures, thou art man good enou'.


Mulciber, while the stars shall shine in the sky,
And Phaeton's horses with the sun's chariot shall fly;
While the morning shall go before noon,
And cause the darkness to vanish away soon:
While that the cat shall love well milk,
And while that women shall love to go in silk:
While beggars have lice,
And cockneys are nice:
While pardoners can lie,
Merchants can buy,
And children cry:
While all these last, and more,
Which I keep in store,
I do me faithfully bind
Thy kindness to bear in mind.
But yet, Mulciber, one thing I ask more:
Hast thou ever a sword now in store?
I would have such a one that would cut stones,
And pare a great oak down at once.
That were a sword, lo, even for the nonce.


Truly I have such a one in my shop,
That will pare iron, as it were a rope.
Have, here it is, gird it to thy side:
Now fare thou well, Jupiter be thy guide!


Gramercy, Mulciber, with my whole heart
Give me thy hand, and let us depart.[583]

[Mulciber goeth into his shop again, and Thersites saith forth:

Now I go hence, and put myself in prease:[584]
I will seek adventures; yea, and that I will not cease.
If there be any present here this night,
That will take upon them with me to fight,
Let them come quickly, and the battle shall be pight.
Where is Cacus, that knave not worth a groat,
That was wont to blow clouds out of his throat;
Which stole Hercules kine, and hid them in his cave?
Come hither, Cacus, thou lubber and false knave:
I will teach all wretches by thee to beware!
If thou come hither, I trap thee in a snare;
Thou shalt have knocked bread and ill-fare.
How say you, good godfather, that look so stale,
Ye seem a man to be born in the vale?
Dare ye adventure with me a stripe or two?
Go, coward, go, hide thee as thou wast wont to do!
What a sort of dastards have we here!
None of you to battle with me dare appear.
What say you, heart of gold, of countenance so demure?
Will you fight with me? no, I am right sure.
Fye, blush not, woman, I will do you no harm,
Except I had you sooner to keep my back warm.
Alas, little pums, why are ye so sore afraid?
I pray you show how long it is, since ye were a maid?
Tell me in mine ear; sirs, she hath me told
That gone was her maidenhead at thrusteen[585] year old!
By lady, she was loth to keep it too long:
And I were a maid again[586] now may be here song.[587]
Do after my counsel of maidens the whole bevy,
Quickly rid your maidenheads, for they are vengeance heavy,
Well, let all go: why, will none come in
With me to fight, that I may pare his skin?

[The Mater cometh in.


What say you, my son, will ye fight? God it defend!
For what cause to war do you now pretend?
Will ye commit to battles dangerous
Your life that is to me so precious?


I will go, I will go; stop not my way!
Hold me not, good mother, I heartily you pray.
If there be any lions or other wild beast,
That will not suffer the husbandman in rest,
I will go seech them, and bid them to a feast:
They shall aby bitterly the coming of such a guest.
I will search for them both in bush and shrub,
And lay on a load with this lusty club.


O my sweet son, I am thy mother;
Wilt thou kill me, and thou hast none other?


No, mother, no, I am not of such iniquity,
That I will defile my hands upon thee.
But be content, mother, for I will not rest
Till I have fought with some man or wild beast.


Truly, my son, if that ye take this way,
This shall be the conclusion, mark what I shall say.
Other I will drown myself for sorrow,
And feed fishes with my body before to-morrow,
Or with a sharp sword surely I will me kill:
Now thou mayst save me, if it be thy will.
I will also cut my paps away,
That gave thee suck so many a day;
And so in all the world it shall be known,
That by my own son I was overthrown.
Therefore, if my life be to thee pleasant,
That which I desire, good son, do me grant.


Mother, thou spendest thy wind but in waste;
The goddess of battle her fury on me hath cast.
I am fully fixed battle for to taste:
Oh, how many to death I shall drive in haste!
I will ruffle this club about my head,
Or else I pray God I never die in my bed.
There shall never a stroke be stroken with my hand,
But they shall think that Jupiter doth thunder in the land.


My own sweet son, I, kneeling on my knee,
And both my hands holding up to thee,
Desire thee to cease, and no battle make:
Call to thee patience, and better ways take.


Tush, mother, I am deaf; I will thee not hear.
No, no, if Jupiter here himself now were,
And all the gods, and Juno his wife,
And loving Minerva that abhorreth all strife:
If all these, I say, would desire me to be content,
They did their wind but in vain spent;[588]
I will have battle in Wales or in Kent,
And some of the knaves I will all-to rent.[589]
Where is the valiant knight, Sir Isenbras?
Appear, sir, I pray you, dare ye not show your face?
Where is Robin John and Little Hood?[590]
Approach hither quickly, if ye think it good;
I will teach such outlaws with Christ's curses,
How they take hereafter away abbots' purses.
Why, will no adventure appear in this place?
Where is Hercules with his great mace?
Where is Busiris, that fed his horses
Full like a tyrant with dead men's corses?[591]
Come, any of you both,
And I make an oath,
That ere I eat any bread,
I will drive a wain,
Yea, for need twain,
Between your body and your head.
This[592] passeth my brains;
Will none take the pains
To try with me a blow?
Oh, what a fellow am I,
Whom every man doth fly,
That doth me but once know!


Son, all do you fear,
That be present here;
They will not with you fight.
You, as you be worthy,
Have now the victory
Without tasting of your might.
Here is none, I trow,
That proffereth you a blow:
Man, woman, nor child.
Do not set your mind
To fight with the wind:
Be not so mad nor wild.


I say, arise, whosoever will fight:
I am to battle here ready-dight.
Come hither, other swain or knight;
Let me see who dare present him to my sight!
Here with my club ready I stand,
If any will come to take them in hand.


There is no hope left in my breast
To bring my son into better rest:
He will do nothing at my request;
He regardeth me no more than a beast.
I see no remedy; but still I will pray
To God my son to guide in his way;
That he may have a prosperous journeying,
And to be safe at his returning.
Son, God above grant this my oration
That, when in battle thou shalt have concertation
With your enemies, other far or near,
No wound in them nor in you may appear,
So that ye nother kill nor be killed.


Mother, thy petition, I pray God, be fulfilled,
For then no knaves' blood shall be spilled.
Fellows, keep my counsel; by the mass, I do but crake:[593]
I will be gentle enough, and no business make.
But yet I will make her believe that I am a man—
Think you that I will fight? no, no, but with the can.
Except I find my enemy on this wise,
That he be asleep, or else cannot arise.
If his arms and his feet be not fast bound,
I will not proffer a stripe for a thousand pound.
Farewell, mother, and tarry here no longer,
For after prowess of chivalry I do both thirst and hunger:
I will beat the knaves as flat as a conger.

[Then the mother goeth in the place which is prepared for her.

What, how long shall I tarry; be your hearts in your hose?
Will there none of you in battle me oppose?
Come, prove me, why stand you so in doubt?
Have you any wild blood that ye would have let out?
Alack, that a man's strength cannot be knowen,
Because that he lacketh enemies to be overthrowen!

[Here a snail must appear unto him, and he must look fearfully upon the snail, saying:

But what a monster do I see now,[594]
Coming hitherward with an armed brow!
What is it? ah, it is a sow!
No, by God's body, it is but a gristle,
And on the back it hath never a bristle.
It is not a cow—ah, there I fail:
For then it should have a long tail.
What the devil, I was blind! it is but a snail:
I was never so afraid in east nor in south;
My heart at the first sight was at my mouth.
Marry, sir, fy, fy, fy, I do sweat for fear:
I thought I had craked but too timely here.
Hence, thou beast, and pluck in thy horns,
Or I swear by him that crowned was with thorns,
I will make thee drink worse than good ale in the corns.
Hast thou nothing else to do,
But come with horns and face me so?
How, how, my servants, get you shield and spear,
And let us worry and kill this monster here.
                          [Here Miles cometh in.


Is not this a worthy knight,
That with a snail dareth not fight,
Except he have his servants' aid?
Is this the champion that maketh all men afraid?
I am a poor soldier come of late from Calais,
I trust, ere I go, to debate some of his malice.
I will tarry my time, till I do see
Betwixt him and the snail what the end will be.


Why, ye whoreson knaves, regard ye not my calling?
Why do ye not come, and with you weapons bring?
Why shall this monster so escape killing?
No, that he shall not, and God be willing.


I promise you this is as worthy a knight,
As ever shall bread out of a bottle bite.
I think he be Dares, of whom Virgil doth write,
That would not let Entellus alone,
But ever provoked and ever called on,
But yet at the last he took a fall,
And so within a while I trow I make thee[595] shall.


By God's passion, knaves, if I come, I will you fetter:
Regard ye my calling and crying no better?
Why, whoresons, I say, will ye not come?
By the mass, the knaves be all from home:
They had better have fet me an errand at Rome.


By my troth, I think that very scant
This lubber dare adventure to fight with an ant.


Well, seeing my servants come to me will not,
I must take heed that this monster me spill not;
I will jeopard with it a joint,
And other with my club or my sword's point
I will reach it such wounds,
As I would not have for forty thousand pounds.
Pluck in thy horns, thou unhappy beast;
What, facest thou me? wilt not thou be in rest?
Why, will not thou thy horns in hold?
Thinkest thou that I am a cuckold?
God's arms, the monster cometh toward me still,
Except I fight manfully, it will me surely kill!

[Then he must fight against the snail with his club.


O Jupiter Lord, dost thou not see and hear,
How he feareth the snail, as it were a bear!


Well, with my club I have had good luck;
Now with my sword have at thee a pluck!

[And he must cast his club away.

I will make thee, ere I go, for to duck,
And thou were as tall a man as Friar Tuck.
I say yet again, thy horns in draw,
Or else I will make thee to have wounds raw.
Art thou not afeard
To have thy beard
Pared with my sword?

[Here he must fight then with his sword against the snail, and the snail draweth her horns in.

Ah well, now no more:
Thou mightest have done so before.
I laid at it so sore,
That it thought it should have be lore[596]
And it had not drawn in his horns again,
Surely I would the monster have slain.
But now, farewell, I will work thee no more pain.
Now my fume is past,
And doth no longer last,
That I did to the monster cast.
Now in other countries both far and near
Mo deeds of chivalry I will go inquire.


Thou needst not seek any further, for ready I am here:
I will debate anon, I trow, thy bragging cheer.

THERSITES. [Not hearing him.
Now where is any mo that will me assail?
I will turn him and toss him, both top and tail;
If he be stronger than Samson was,
Who with his bare hands killed lions apace.


What needeth this boast? I am here at hand,
That with thee will fight; keep thy head, and stand!
Surely for all thy high words I will not fear
To assay thee a touch, till some blood appear;
I will give thee somewhat for the gift of a new year.

[And he beginneth to fight with him, but Thersites must run away, and hide him behind his mother's back, saying:


O mother, mother, I pray thee me hide:
Throw something over me, and cover me every side.


O my son, what thing eldeth[597] thee?


Mother, a thousand horsemen do persecute me.


Marry, son, then it was time to fly;
I blame thee not, then, though afraid thou be.
A deadly wound thou mightst there soon catch:
One against so many is no indifferent[598] match.


No, mother, but if they had been but ten to one,
I would not have avoided, but set them upon;
But seeing they be so many, I ran away.
Hide me, mother, hide me, I heartily thee pray.
For if they come hither, and here me find,
To their horses' tails they will be bind,
And after that fashion hale me, and kill me;
And though I were never so bold and stout,
To fight against so many I should stand in doubt.


Thou that dost seek giants to conquer,
Come forth, if thou dare, and in this place appear.
Fie for shame, dost thou so soon take flight!
Come forth, and show somewhat of thy might.


Hide me, mother, hide me, and never word say—


Thou old trot, seest thou any man come this way,
Well-armed and weaponed, and ready to fight?


No, forsooth, master, there came none in my sight.


He did avoid in time, for without doubts
I would have set on his back some clouts;
If I may take him, I will make all slouches
To beware by him, that they come not in my clutches.

[Then he goeth out, and the mother saith:


Come forth, my son, your enemy is gone:
Be not afraid, for hurt thou canst have none.

[Then he looketh about, if he be gone or not; at the last he saith:


I-wis, thou didst wisely, whosoever thou be,
To tarry no longer to fight with me;
For with my club I would have broken thy skull,
If thou were as big as Hercules' bull.
Why, thou cowardly knave, no stronger than a duck,
Barest thou try masteries with me a-pluck.
Which fear nother giants nor Jupiter's fire-bolt,
Nor Belzebub the master-devil, as ragged as a colt?
I would thou wouldst come hither once again:
I think thou hadst rather alive to be flayn.
Come again, and I swear by my mother's womb,
I will pull thee in pieces no more than my thumb;
And thy brains abroad I will so scatter,
That all knaves shall fear against me to clatter.

[Then cometh in Telemachus, bringing a letter from his father Ulysses, and Thersites saith:

What, little Telemachus!
What makest thou here among us?


Sir, my father Ulysses doth him commend
To you most heartily, and here he hath you send
Of his mind a letter,
Which show you better
Everything shall,
Than I can make rehearsal.
              [Here he must deliver him the letter.


Lo, friends, ye may see
What great men write to me.
                    [Here he must read the letter.
As entirely as heart can think,
Or scrivener can write with ink,
I send you loving greeting,
Thersites, my own sweeting!
I am very sorry,
When I cast in memory
The great unkindness
And also the blindness,
That hath be in my breast
Against you ever prest:
I have be prompt and diligent
Ever to make you shent,
To appal your good name,
And to 'minish your fame:
In that I was to blame;
But well all this is gone,
And remedy there is none,
But only repentance
Of all my old grievance,
With which I did you molest,
And gave you sorry rest:
The cause was thereof truly
Nothing but very envy;
Wherefore now, gentle esquire,
Forgive me, I you desire,
And help, I you beseech,
Telemachus to a leech,
That him may wisely charm
From the worms that do him harm;
In that ye may do me pleasure,
For he is my chief treasure.
I have heard men say,
That come by the way,
That better charmer is no other,
Than is your own dear mother.
I pray you of her obtain
To charm away his pain.
Fare ye well, and come to my house
To drink wine and eat a piece of souse;
And we will have minstrelsy,
That shall pipe Hankin boby.
My wife Penelope
Doth greet you well by me.
         Writing at my house on Candlemas-day,
         Midsummer month, the Calends of May,
         By me, Ulysses, being very glad
         That the victory of late of the monster ye had.
Ah, sirrah, quoth he? how say you, friends all,
Ulysses is glad for my favour to call.
Well, though we oft have swerved,
And he small love deserved,
Yet I am well content,
Seeing he doth repent,
To let old matters go,
And to take him no more so,
As I have done hitherto,
For my mortal foe.
Come go with me, Telemachus; I will thee bring
Unto my mother to have her charming.
I doubt not, but by that time that she hath done,
Thou shalt be the better seven years agone.
      [Then Thersites goeth to his mother, saying:
Mother, Christ thee save and see,
Ulysses hath send his son to thee,
That thou shouldst him charm
From the worms that him harm.


Son, ye be wise, keep ye warm!
Why should I for Ulysses do,
That never was kind us to?
He was ready in war
Ever thee, son, to mar;
Then had been all my joy
Exiled clean away.


Well, mother, all that is past;
Wrath may not always last,
And seeing we be mortal all,
Let not our wrath be immortal.


Charm that charm will, he shall not be charmed of me.


Charm, or, by the mass, with my club I will charm thee.


Why, son, art thou so wicked to beat thy mother?


Yea, that I will, by God's dear brother!
Charm, old witch, in the devil's name,
Or I will send thee to him to be his dame.


Alas! what a son have I,
That thus doth order me spitefully!
Cursed be the time that ever I him fed!
I would in my belly he had be dead!


Cursest thou, old whore? bless me again,
Or I will bless thee, that shall be to thy pain.

[Then he must take her by the arms, and she crieth out as followeth:


He will kill me,
He will spill me,
He will bruise me,
He will lose me,
He will prick me,
He will stick me.


The devil stick thee, old withered witch,
For I will stick nother thee nor none such.
But come off, give me thy blessing again:
I say, let me have it, or else certain
With my club I will lay thee on the brain.


Well, seeing thou threatenest to me affliction,
Spite of my heart, have now my benediction.
Now Christ's sweet blessing and mine
Light above and beneath the body of thine,
And I beseech with all my devotion,
That thou mayst come to a man's promotion!
He that forgave Mary Magdalen her sin,
Make thee highest of all thy kin!


In this word is double intelliment[599]:
Wouldst thou have me hanged, mother, verament?


No, son, no; but to have you high
In promotion is my mind, verily.


Well then, mother, let all this go,
And charm this child that you is send to.
And look hereafter to curse ye be not greedy:
Curse me no more, I am cursed enough already.


Well, son, I will curse you no more,
Except ye provoke me too-too sore;
But I marvel why ye do me move
To do for Ulysses, that doth not us love.


Mother, by his son he hath send me a letter,
Promising hereafter to be to us better,
And you, and I with my great club,
Must walk to him, and eat a sillabub;
And we shall make merry,
And sing tyrl on the bery,
With Simkin Sydn'am Sumn'nor
That killed a cat at Cumnor;
There the trifling taborer, troubler of Tunis,
Will pick Peter Pie-baker a pennyworth of prunes;
Nichol Nevergood a net and a nightcap
Knit will for Kit, whose knee caught a knap;
David Doughty, dighter of dates,
Grin with Godfrey Good-ale will greedy at the gates;
Tom Tumbler of Tewksbury, turning at a trice,
Will wipe William Waterman, if he be not wise:
Simon Sadler of Sudeley, that served the sow,
Hit will Henry Heartless, he heard not yet how.
Jenkin Jacon, that jobbed jolly Joan,
Griud will gromaly-seed[600], until he groan.
Proud Pierce Pick-thank, that picked Parnel's purse,
Cut will the cakes, though Kate do cry and curse.
Rough Robin Rover, ruffling in right rate,
Bald Bernard Brainless will beat, and Bennet bate;
Foolish Frederick Furberer of a fart
Ding Daniel Dainty to death will with a dart.
Marculph Merrylees, mourning for mad Mary,
Tink will the tables, though he there not tarry.
Andrew All-Knave, alderman of Antwerp,
Hop will with hollyhocks and harken Humphrey's harp.
It is too-too, mother, the pastime and good cheer
That we shall see and have, when that we come there;
Wherefore, gentle mother, I thee heartily pray,
That thou wilt charm for worms this pretty boy.


Well, son, seeing the case and matter standeth so,
I am content all thy request to do.
Come hither, pretty child,
I will thee charm from the worms wild;
But first do thou me thy name tell.


I am called Telemachus, there as I dwell.


Telemachus, lie down upright on the ground,
And stir not once for a thousand pound.


I am ready here prest
To do all your request.

[Then he must lay him down with his belly upward, and she must bless him from above to beneath, saying as followeth:


The cowherd of Comerton[601] with his crooked spade
Cause from thee the worms soon to vade!
And jolly Jack Tumbler, that juggleth with a horn,
Grant that thy worms soon be all-to torn!
Good grandsire Abraham, godmother to Eve,
Grant that this[602] worms no longer this child grieve!
All the court of conscience in Cuckoldshire:
Tinkers and taborers, tipplers, taverners:
Tittifills, triflers, turners and trumpers:
Tempters, traitors, travellers and thumpers:
Thriftless, thievish, thick and thereto thin:
The malady of this worms cause for to blin!
The virtue of the tail of Isaac's cow,
That before Adam in paradise did low!
Also the joist of Moses' rod,
In the Mount of Calvary that spake with God:
Facies ad faciem, turning tail to tail,
Cause all these worms quickly to fail!
The bottom of the ship of Noe,
And also the leg of the horse of Troy:
The piece of the tongue of Balaam's ass,
The chawbone[603] of the ox that at Christ's birth was,
The eye-tooth of the dog that went on pilgrimage
With young Tobias, these worms soon may suage!
The butterfly of Bromwicham that was born blind,
The blast of the bottle that blowed Aeolus' wind,
The buttock of the bitter[604] bought at Buckingham,
The body of the bear that with Bevis came,
The backster[605] of Bal[d]ockbury with her baking peel,[606]
Child, fro thy worms, I pray, may soon thee heal
The tapper of Tavistock and the tapster's pot!
The tooth of the titmouse, the turd of the goat,
In the Tower of Tennis-balls toasted by the fire,
The table of Tantalus turned trim in the mire,
The tomb of Tom Threadbare that thrust Tib through the smoke,
Make all thy worms, child, to come forth at thy dock!
Shem, Cam,[607] and Japhet, and Coll the miller's mare,
The five stones of David that made Goliath stare,
The wing with which St Michael did fly to his mount,
The counters wherewith Cherubim did cherry-stones count,
The hawk with which Asuerus[608] killed the wild boar,
Help that these worms, my child, hurt thee no more!
The maw of the moor-cock that made Maud to mow,
When Martlemas at Morton mourned for the snow:
The spear of Spanish spilbery sprent with spiteful spots,
The lights of the laverock laid at London lots,
The shinbone of St Samuel shining so as the sun,
Grant, child, of the worms that soon thy pains be done!
Mother Brice of Oxford and great Gib of Hinksey,
Also Maud of Thrutton[609] and Mabel of Chertsey,
And all other witches that walk in Dimmings Dale,[610]
Clittering and clattering there your pots with ale,
Incline your ears, and hear this my petition,
And grant this child of health to have fruition!
The blessing that Jordan to his godson gave,
Light on my child, and from the worms him save!
Now stand up, little Telemachus, anon:
I warrant thee by to-morrow thy worms will be gone.


I thank you, mother, in my most hearty[611] wise;
Will ye, sir, to my father command me any service?


No, pretty boy, but do thou us two commend
To thy father and mother; tell them that we intend,
Both my mother and I,
To see them shortly.


Ye shall be heartily welcome to them, I dare well say;
Fare ye well, by your leave: now I will depart away.


Son, give me thy hand. Farewell.


I pray God keep thee from peril.
      [Telemachus goeth out, and the mother sayeth:
I-wis it is a proper child,
And in behaviour nothing wild;
Ye may see what is good education:
I would every man after this fashion
Had their children up brought.
Then many of them would not have been so nought:
A child is better unborn than untaught.


Ye say truth, mother; well, let all this go,
And make you ready Ulysses to go to
With me anon; be ye so content?


I am well pleased; to your will I assent,
For, although that I love him but very evil,
It is good to set a candle before the devil.
Of most part of great men, I swear by this fire,
Light is the thank, but heavy is the ire.
Farewell, son, I will go me to prepare.


Mother, God be with you and keep you from care.

[The mother goeth out, and Thersites saiyeth forth:

Whatsomever I say, sirs, I think ill might she fare;
I care not if the old witch were dead:
It were an almsdeed to knock her in the head,
And say on the worms that she did die;
For there be many that my lands would buy.
By God's blessed brother,
If I were not sick of the mother!
This toothless trot keepeth me hard,
And suffereth no money in my ward;
But, by the blessed Trinity,
If she will no sooner dead be,
I will with a cushion stop her breath,
Till she have forgot Newmarket heath.
Ill might I fare,
If that I care
Her to spare:
About the house she hoppeth,
And her nose oft droppeth,
When the worts she choppeth:
When that she doth brew,
I may say to you,
I am ready to spew,
The drops to see down renne,
By all Christian men,
From her nose to her knen[612]
Fie, God's body, it maketh me to spit,
To remember how that she doth sit,
By the fire brawling,
Scratching and scrawling,
And in every place
Laying oysters apace.
She doth but lack shells:
The devil have they whit else.
At night, when to bed she goes,
And plucketh off her hose,
She knappeth me in the nose
With rip, rap,
Flip, flap,
That an ill-hap
Come to that tap,
That venteth so,
Wheresoever she go!
So much she daily drinketh,
That her breath at both ends stinketh;
That an horse-comb and an halter
Her soon up talter!
Till I say David's psalter
That shall be at Nevermass,
Which never shall be, nor never was.
By this ten bones,
She served me once
A touch for the nonce.
I was sick and lay in my bed;
She brought me a kerchief to wrap on my head,
And I pray God that I be dead,
If that I lie any whit,
When she was about the kerchief to knit,
Break did one of the forms' feet,
That she did stand on,
And down fell she anon,
And forth withal,
As she did fall,
She girdeth out a fart,
That me made to start:
I think her buttocks did smart:
Except it had be a mare in a cart,
I have not heard such a blast.
I cried and bid her hold fast:
With that she, nothing aghast,
Said to me, that no woman in this land
Could hold fast that which was not in her hand.
Now, sirs, in that whole pitch and fire-brand
Of that bag so fusty,
So stale and so musty,
So cankered and so rusty,
So stinking and so dusty,
God send her as much joy,
As my nose hath alway
Of her unsavory spice.
If that I be not wise,
And stop my nose quickly,
When she letteth go merrily.
But let all this go. I had almost forgot
The knave that here erewhile did jet,
Before that Telemachus did come in.
I will go seech him; I will not blin,
Until that I have him:
Then, so God save him,
I will so beknave him,
That I will make to rave him;
With this sword I will shave him,
And stripes when I have gave him,
Better I will deprave him,
That you shall know for a slave him.

[Then Miles cometh in saying:


Wilt thou so indeed?
Hie thee, make good speed!
I am at hand here prest,
Put away tongue-shaking
And this foolish craking.
Let us try for the best:
Cowards make speech apace;
Stripes prove the man:
Have now at thy face!
Keep off, if thou can.

[And then he must strike at him, and Thersites must run away, and leave his club and sword behind.

Why, thou lubber, runnest thou away,
And leavest thy sword and club thee behind?
Now this is a sure card: now I may well say,
That a coward craking here I did find.
Masters, ye may see by this play in sight,
That great barking dogs do not most bite.
And oft it is seen that the best men in the host
Be not such that use to brag most.
If ye will avoid the danger of confusion,
Print my words in heart, and mark this conclusion:
Such gifts of God, that ye excel in most,
Use them with soberness, and yourself never boast;
Seek the laud of God in all that ye do:
So shall virtue and honour come you to.
But if you give your minds to the sin of pride,
Vanish shall your virtue, your honour away will slide.
For pride is hated of God above,
And meekness soonest obtaineth his love.
To your rulers and parents be you obedient,
Never transgressing their lawful commandment.
Be ye merry and joyful at board and at bed:
Imagine no traitory against your prince and head.
Love God, and fear him, and after him your king,
Which is as victorious as any is living.
Pray for his grace, with hearts that doth not feign,
That long he may rule us without grief or pain.
Beseech ye also that God may save his queen.
Lovely Lady Jane, and the prince that he hath sent them between,[613]
To augment their joy and the Commons' felicity!
Fare ye well, sweet audience, God grant you all prosperity.



1. A Select Collection of Old Plays. A new edition, with Additional Notes and Corrections, by the late Isaac Reed, Octavius Gilchrist, and the Editor (J.P. Collier. London, 1825-27-28. 13 vols. post 8vo, including a Supplement).

2. Not only has the editor brought together, and arranged in their proper sequence, certain dramas of great curiosity hitherto not reprinted at all, but he has incorporated with the old series of Dodsley all the pieces in the collections of Dilke, Hawkins, &c., which still remained uncollected. Of course, of those writers of whom we possess valuable texts by Gifford, Dyce, and other scholars, no specimens were necessary. To the library editions of Jonson, Shirley, Greene, Peele, &c., these new volumes, from which they have been intentionally excluded, ought to be acceptable companions.

3. Origin of the English Drama. 1773. 8vo, 3 vols.

4. Old English Plays, being a selection from the early dramatic writers. 1816. 8vo, 6 vols.

5. For many of the notes contributed by Dodsley and his followers, the present editor should not be held answerable; nor would he have retained them, had he not apprehended a complaint that the work was by their omission impaired in value. In certain cases, nevertheless, where a remark or explanation was absolutely erroneous, it seemed to be an imperative duty to suppress it, and if necessary to substitute another for it. A large proportion of the extracts at the foot of the pages have been collated, by which process a variety of mistakes has been removed.

6. The tone of this inscription almost renders it allowable to infer that Sir Clement Dormer had communicated to Dodsley some of the plays which appear in his collection as originally published. Sir Clement Cotterel, who was probably related to Sir Clement Cotterel Dormer, was master of the ceremonies during the early Georgian era, and curious old books with his book-plate occasionally occur.

7. "Interlude of the Four Elements: An Early Moral Play." Edited by James Orchard Halliwell, F.R.S. London: Percy Society, 1848.

8. But see Mr Collier's reason for assigning it to 1517. "History of English Dramatic Poetry," ii. 321.

9. See Hazlitt's "Handbook," p. 463.

10. That is, a fool. "Good faith, I am no wiser than a daw."—"I Henry VI." ii. 4; Malone's Shakespeare, xviii. 61.—Halliwell.

11. Everlasting. It occurs twice in Shakespeare: see "Macbeth," iii. 2, apud Malone, xi. l54.—Halliwell.

12. That is, animal. This word is not always used by early writers in a bad sense. "By bestial oblivion" Hamlet refers to the want of intellectual reflection in animals, there applied to human beings. Still more clearly in "Othello"—"I have lost the immortal part, sir, of myself, and what remains is bestial." Even "bestial appetite," in change of lust, in "Richard III.," may be similarly interpreted.—Halliwell.

13. Establish or fix firmly in thy mind.

      "Why doth not every earthly thing
      Cry shame upon her? Could she here deny
      The story that is printed in her blood!"

Halliwell. —Much Ado about Nothing, iv. 1.

14. Wondrously; and so "wonders" for "wondrous," elsewhere in this interlude. In "Adam Bel," 1536, we have "wonderly"—

"These gates be shut so wonderly well."

15. Similar to the phrase, "Let the world slide," in the "Taming of the Shrew."—Halliwell. But the latter saying occurs in the "Towneley Mysteries," p. 101.

16. Compare "A.C. Mery Talys," No. 7. If the edition of that work, dated 1526, was the first, of which we have no proof, we might almost be tempted to infer that this interlude was not printed till after that time, since it is more likely that a passage in a play would be borrowed from a prose jest-book than the reverse.

17. Old copy, they venteres.

18. See "Merie Tales of Skelton," No. 4. Old English Jest-Books, 1864, vol. ii.

19. Perhaps this may be one of the earliest passages, in which this afterwards rather favourite phrase occurs. The meaning is clear.

20. The work of Copernicus appeared in 1543, but the author's silence on the new theories of that astronomer can scarcely be considered an argument one way or the other in the question that has been raised respecting the date of the interlude. Even Recorde, in 1556, who appears to have been one of the earliest Copernicans in this country, dared only to allude to it, and thus prefaces his observations on the subject:—"But as for the quietnes of the earth, I neede not to spende anye tyme in prooving of it, syth that opinion is so firmelye fixed in moste mennes headdes, that they accompt it mere madnes to bring the question in doubt; and therefore it is as muche follye to travaile to prove that which no man denieth, as it were with great study to diswade that thinge which no man doth covette, nother anye manne alloweth; or to blame that which no manne praiseth, nother anye manne lyketh."—Castle of Knowledge, 1556. There is no scientific advance in the play on what we find in the very curious poem of the time of Edward I., printed in Wright's Popular Treatises on Science, 8vo. 1841.—Halliwell.

21. That is, with great exactness, complete in every respect. "You are rather 'point-device' in your accoutrements," As you Like it, iii. 2.

      "The wenche she was full proper and nyce,
      Amonge all other she bare great price,
      For sche coude tricke it point-device,
      But fewe like her in that countree."
                           The Miller of Abingdon, n.d.

Halliwell. But see Hazlitt's Popular Poetry, iii. 117.

22. This passage is not so licentious as might be supposed, for night linen had not then become in general use.

      "A dolefulle syght the knyghte gane see
      Of his wyfe and his childir three,
        That fro the fyre were flede;
      Alle als nakede als thay were borne
      Stode togedir undir a thorne,
        Braydede owte of thaire bedd."
                      Romance of Sir Isumbras, 102.

Halliwell. The illustration itself is not very apt, but still more remarkable examples are in Hazlitt's Popular Poetry, ii. 48, iii. 51, &c.

23. Bed.

24. Here follows some blank music in the original. The song on the next page is set to music.—Halliwell.

25. A very old MS. note here says, "Sensuall Appetite must syng thys song, and hys cumpany must answere hym lykewyse."

26. A common proverbial expression, occurring in Shakespeare, and other writers.

      "O, the body of a gorge,
      I wold I had them heare;
      In faith, I wold chope them.
      They ware not so hack this seven yeer!"
            Mariage of Witt and Wisdome, p. 33.

27. The songs here quoted are very curious. Mr Gutch does not seem to have been able to obtain a copy of the one relating to Robin Hood.— Halliwell. See Hazlitt's "Handbook," p. 513.

28. This is a very early example of a string of nonsensical incongruities, possessing, however, no further value, except perhaps as affording an insight into what was regarded at that time as comic effects.

29. i.e., Beyond his reach or interference.

30. Old copy, "report."

31. Gift. Properly or usually said of a new year's gift. Fr. Etrenne.

32. Old copy, "the."

33. See Hazlitt's "Popular Poetry," iii. 63. Compare also Breton's "Fantasticks," 1626, reprinted in Halliwell's "Books of Characters," p. 328.

34. Old copy, "tapaya."

35. In the old copy, "keepeth" is erroneously repeated.

36. Enamelling or tincturing of the face to produce artificial beauty.

37. Medium.

38. Painted.

39. Moderate, middle. i.e., No fancy or hypothesis, but a fact.

40. Bethlehem.

41. Flame.

42. Probably, the rushes, with which the room was laid.

43. Distaff.

44. The rest of this line has been cut out.

45. Are you the party that has long been ruining my master?

46. Part of this line has been cut out.

47. Original has see.

48. The person (for merchant was used colloquially, as we now say chap, abbreviated from chapman, for a man or fellow) that must hold his head up.

49. Old copy, Or.

50. Rather read undeserving, in allusion to what Parmeno has said against Celestina above.

51. Fool is here employed as a term of endearment. It will occur again below, similarly employed.

52. "To call over the notes of a tune."—Halliwell's Dictionary v. Solfe.

53. Pretty.

54. Here used contemptuously.

55. Old copy, karych.

56. Welfare.

57. Query, the supports.

58. Since.

59. Query, a misprint, as there seems to be no sense in escheved or eschewed, i.e, avoided.

60. The old proverb. Perhaps this is the earliest occurrence of it in this form in print.

61. Disfigured, spoiled.

62. Acquaintance.

63. List.

64. Compassionate.

65. See "Popular Antiquities of Great Britain," 1870, iii. 319, 320.

66. Checked.

67. Old copy, Then. Perhaps we should read, Then when a common expression.

68. So the old copy, but perhaps we ought to read pining.

69. Patient, invalid.

70. A proverbial expression.

71. The colophon is: "Johes rastell me imprimi fecit. Cum privilegio regali." Beneath is the printer's device.

72. It is now known that at least four editions of this moral play were printed, two by Richard Pynson, and two by John Skot. See Hazlitt's "Handbook," p. 463-4, where all will be found described.

73. Afterwards sold with others to Dibdin for 500 guineas, and advertised in the Lincoln Nosegay, 1814.

74. For the present edition the two impressions by Pynson, unknown to Hawkins, and one of those issued by Skot about 1530, have been collated. Hawkins was not aware that Skot printed the piece more than once. The imperfect copy by Pynson, in the British Museum, restores not only words, but portions of lines dropped in Skot's two issues, and has been of the greatest value on this occasion. But, on the other hand, both Pynson's editions, so far as they respectively go, exhibit misreadings, which are set right in Skot's.

75. Skot's other edition, wonderous.

76. The Second Person of the Trinity seems here to be meant.—Percy. [In this opinion it is hardly easy to concur. It appears to have been the Godhead whom the writer intended to personify, and although he makes the speaker refer to his Passion and Redemption, it is evidently only in a delegated sense; for Death refers to him spiritually as the Almighty.]

77. Appaireth the same as impaireth, grows worse, degenerate, &c.

78. Skot's other edition, used by Hawkins, reads, Have I do we.

79. Acquaintance.

80. Been begotten.

81. Adonai, one of the names of God; it is the plural of Adoni, which signifies Lord.

82. The copy of Pynson's edition in the British Museum begins abruptly at this line, sign. B. recto, and is complete thenceforward to the end.

83. The old proverb. This is perhaps the earliest instance of its use in print.

84. So Skot's other edition, and Pynson's in British Museum. Hawkins printed For wete you well will.

85. The other edition by Skot reads will not, according to Hawkins.

86. Entice.

87. The earliest instance in print, perhaps, of this proverb being used.

88. i.e. Weened.

89. Hawkins printed what.

90. i.e., Thanked be God my Creator.

91. Information, knowledge.

92. Hawkins printed voice voider.

93. Skot's other edition, from hell and from the fire.

94. Health.

95. Are called.

96. Five Wits, i.e., the Five Senses. These are frequently exhibited as five distinct personages upon the Spanish stage. See Riccoboni, p. 98; but our moralist has represented them all by one character. In Shakespeare's "King Lear," the Madman says, "Bless thy Five Wits!" meaning the Five Senses.—Percy.

97. Praise.

98. This portion has been collated with the Douce fragment printed by Pynson ("Shakespeare Society's Papers," iii. 149), as well as with the other impression by Pynson in the British Museum.

99. Clear, free.

100. Out of the peril or danger of anything, equal to out of its control or cognizance.

101. Unction.

102. Hand.

103. Edits, Those.

104. Older, chief. Hawkins omitted the word Christ.

105. The proverb. This is the earliest use of it which has occurred.

106. Thrust.

107. Every each one.

108. The colophon in one of Skot's editions is at the end; in his other there is only his mark. But see Hazlitt's "Handbook," p. 463-4.

109. The only one known. There is a later edition in the Bodleian, printed by John Waley, and also apparently unique.

110. [This is an odd remark, the woodcuts being all common cuts of the time, turned to an extraordinary variety of uses. They are very ineffectively given by Hawkins, whoever his masterly hand may have been.]

111. Holt sometimes signifies a wood, grove, or forest: so Chaucer:—

       "When Zephyrus eke, with his sweet breath
       Inspired hath, in every holt and heath
       The tender croppis;"

it sometimes signifies a hill: so in the old Scotish song of "Robin and Makin"—

       "Makyne went home blyth anneuche,
         Attour the holttis hair."
                —Henryson's Works, by Laing, p. 7.
112. Wilderness.

113. Property or money.

114. Thrive.

115. Apparently the prison cell, divided into two parts, so as to hold two persons.

116. Prisoners in chains.

117. An allusion I do not understand.

118. i.e., steal. So Shakespeare:—

[Nim. The good humour is to steal at a minim's rest. Pist. Convey, the wise it call: steal? foh; a fico for the phrase. —Merry Wives of Windsor.

i. 3, Dyce's second edition, i. 353.]

119. [A proverb. See Hazlitt's "English Proverbs," 1869, p. 395.]

120. Lying or falsehood.

121. Heel.

122. Apulia.

123. Arragon.

124. The Cape of Good Hope.

125. Newfoundland.

126. Genoa.

127. See "Halliwell'a Dictionary," in v. The exact origin and meaning of the word, which seems to be a mere fantastic phrase, is apparently unknown.

128. Egypt.

129. Shaped, contrived.

130. Original reads said.

131. Favour or favouritism.

132. Pledge.

133. At nale, at the alehouse. So Chaucer in the "Frere's Tale":—

       "And thay were glad to fille wel his purs,
       And make him grete festis atte nale."
                           —Bell's Chaucer, ii. 91.

134. i.e., The dagger.

135. Old copy, hyz.

136. Original, away.

137. Compare "A Treatise of a Galaunt," printed about this time, and reprinted in "Hazlitt's Popular Poetry," iii. 151 et seq.; also the ballad called "The Manner of the World Now-a-days," in Collier's "Old Ballads," 1840.

138. Original reads with.

139. Adultery.

140. Since.

141. Perhaps Freewill was intended to speak incorrect French.

142. Soiled.

143. A proverb.

144. A medicinal gum.

145. Quick brimstone, gunpowder.

146. Cast.

147. Proof.

148. Advise.

149. Encourage.

150. Shut.

151. A play on the similarity of the words Latin and Latten.

152. Fetters.

153. A celebrated place for foot-pads.

154. This word, in its present sense, shoals, seems to be unglossed.

155. i.e., Haunt Shooter's Hill in the chance of meeting with prey.

156. Constable.

157. Heel.

158. Error, misdoings.

159. According to your bidding.

160. Sobriety of conduct.

161. i.e., How light my heart is.

162. Doxy.

163. Comrade, friend.

164. Ale-stake, a maypole, a sign before an alehouse. Chaucer, in "The Pardoner's Prologue," calls it ale-stake—

       "But first, quod he, here at this ale-stake
       I wil both drynke and byten on a cake."
                            —Bell's Chaucer, iii. 68.

165. Query, an euphemism for theft.

166. Nearest.

167. The colophon is: Enprynted by me Wynken de Worde.

168. Mr Child, in "Four Old Plays," Cambridge, U.S., 1848.

169. Old copy reads shepe.

170. Owneth.

171. Mistrust.

172. Guerdon, recompense.

173. Health, in a spiritual sense.

174. These were what were called friars-limiters.

175. At the charge of the place.

176. By Jesus, I'll pull thee by the sweet ears.

177. The pardoner quotes a proverb.

178. See a long note in Nare's, edition 1859, in v. The sense is really equivalent to our modern rigmarolle.

179. Original has eyoteles.

180. Treat.

181. Always, continually.

182. The colophon is: Imprinted by Wyllyam Rastell the v. day of Apryll the yere of our lorde M.CCCCC.XXXIII. Cum priuilegio. The only copy known, formerly Heber's, is now in the library of the Duke of Devonshire.

183. Another work must in future be added to the list of Wynkyn de Worde's pieces, although only a fragment of it was very recently discovered by Mr Rodd, of Newport Street. It is the last leaf of a tract, the running title of which is "Ragmannes Rolle," and it purports to be a collection of the names and qualities of good and bad women in alternate stanzas. The meaning of "Ragman's Roll" may be seen in Todd's "Johnson's Dictionary," vide "Rigmarolle;" but in the following Envoy, Wynkyn de Worde speaks of "King Ragman," a new personage in history. It is inserted only as a literary curiosity.

           "Explicit Ragmannes rolle.
             "Lenvoy of the prynter.
    "Go lytyl rolle, where thou arte bought or solde,
    Amonge fayre women behaue the manerly:
    Without rewarde of any fee or golde,
    Saye as it is, touchynge trouthe hardely:
    And yf that they do blame thee wrongfully,
    Excuse thy prynter, and thy selfe also,
    Layenge the faute on kynge Ragman holly
    Whiche dyde the make many yeres ago.
—nprynted at London, in the Fletestrete, at the
——e of the Sonne, by Wynkyn de Worde."

The words "Enprynted" and "Signe," have been partly torn away, with the corner of the leaf. See the poem printed from a MS. in Hazlitt's "Popular Poetry," i. 68-78, and compare "Towneley Mysteries," p. 311.

184. This interlude has now been again collated with the Dublin copy, and a certain number of inaccuracies removed.

185. Bonerly or bonairely, i.q., debonaire.

186. See Halliwell's Dictionary, in v. This word is very common, yet its precise meaning rather obscure. It is used where its import is equivalent to folks.

187. Storlde in old copy.

188. See Halliwell in v.

189. Distribute.

190. Seat, throne.

191. Move.

192. Kept, supported.

193. Divide in two.

194. Vague, loose.

195. Young.

196. By an error of the press this word is printed "wyghtly" in the original.

197. In a row.

198. Make mouths.

199. Tell a falsehood.

200. See "Popular Antiquities of Great Britain," ii. 305.

201. Air or bar.

202. List.

203. To take hire.

204. Hence it is evident that the audience was to suppose seven years to elapse during the speaking of this soliloquy. The progress of time is elsewhere sufficiently marked.

205. Fellow; here, of course, a mate or mistress.

206. Promised, pret. of Behete.

207. Mightily.

208. Hold thee ready; be forward.

209. Watch.

210. Wait on.

211. Where.

212. Placed.

213. Done.

214. Time, occasion.

215. i.e., St. Thomas a. Becket, at Canterbury.

216. Original reads right of.

217. Hende, Sax.: civil, courteous.

218. Do in the original.

219. Original has ladies brightest.

220. Countenance, more literally, colour, complexion; the more correct orthography seems to blea—yellow. Some have rudde in the same sense.

221. Samoa.

222. Original has Ynde the loys.

223. Tene, Sax,: grieve.

224. See Nares, edit. 1859, p. 111.

225. Man.

226. Mated, matched.

227. Made lame.

228. Dream or muse under the branch of a tree.

229. For necessary.

230. This term used to be applied indifferently to both sexes.

231. Taken.

232. Belongeth.

233. i.e., Lout, or bow.

234. See Hazlitt's "Popular Poetry," i. 264, et seq.

235. Straw.

236. Lend, lean.

237. King seems a misprint here; perhaps kind or mind ought to be substituted.

238. Less.

239. If.

240. Fear.

241. Friar.

242. i.e., Thrive.

243. Fonge, Sax, take. It is here used in the sense of depart.

244. Promise.

245. Orig. reads all.

246. Certainly, securely.

247. Market.

248. i.e., Out or off.

249. Blessed, in a bad sense.

250. Thrift.

251. Or meinie, alluding to the audience.

252. Plead.

253. Ministereth.

254. A proverbial expression of contempt.

255. Same.

256. i.e., Covenant or agreement.

257. Probably the earliest mention of this proverb.

258. Generally bankers, but perhaps here merely city-men.

259. A game at dice.

260. Infere, i.e., in company.

261. List, like.

262. Seek.

263. Original has creature.

264. i.e., Together.

265. Borwe, Sax., is pledge or security, and to borrow is to secure.

266. Unto.

267. A symbol of submission or agreement.

268. Usually spelt route, from the Fr., to roar or snore.

269. Stagger.

270. Fetched.

271. The word fro or from in original is too much, and has been inserted by error: the sense is, "And to all folks he called me shame."

272. Orig. has So.

273. Or creed.

274. Was called.

275. The colophon is: Here endeth the Interlude of Mundus & Infans. Imprynted at London in Fletestrete at the sygne of ye Sonne by me Wynkin de worde. The yere of our Lorde M.CCCCC. and xxij. The xvij. daye of July.

276. The greater part of this quotation is torn off in the only copy known with certainty to exist, as well as the date and printer's name, if any were ever appended.—Collier.

277. It is said by Mr Wallis, in "The Natural History and Antiquities of Northumberland," 4to, vol. ii. p. 390, that John Bale lived and studied at the Abbey of Hulme in that county, of which society he was a member. [See Cooper's "Athenae," i. 225.]

278. Mr A. Chalmers, in his "Biographical Dictionary," says that Bale was of Jesus College, Cambridge.—Collier.

279. The writer of art. Bale in the "Biographia Britannica" hath fallen into a mistake, asserting him to have been of St John's College, Oxford. Bale's own words are these: "In omni literarum barbarie ac mentis coecitate illic et Cantabrigiae pervagabar, nullum habens tutorem aut Mecaenatem; donec, lucente Dei verbo, ecclesiae revocari coepissent ad verae theologiae purissimos fontes." Dr. Berkenhout hath adopted the same error.—Reed.

280. See his "Vocacyon."

281. Mr A. Chalmers gives the date of Bale's consecration, February 2, 1553, and not the 20th of March. The former is correct.—Collier.

282. Five centuries of writers seem to have been printed at Wesel in 1549, under the following title: "Illustrium Majoris Britaniae Scriptorum, hoc est Angliae, Cambriae, et Scotiae, Summarium." The most complete and enlarged edition was printed at Basil by Oporinus in 1559.— Collier.

283. Not including his "King Johan," printed by Collier, 1838. Of these and his other works, see a very copious list in Cooper's "Athenae," i. 227-30. See also Hazlitt's "Handbook," v. Bale. The list given in the former edition of Dodsley was so imperfect and unsatisfactory as not to appear worth retention.

284. But in Dodsley's own edition, 1744, occurs the following interesting notice omitted in that of 1825: "This antient piece I found in the Harleian Collection of Old Plays, consisting of between 600 and 700, which are now in my possession." Very probably, Garrick was partly indebted to Dodsley for his dramatic rarities.

285. It will be seen that the design of the author necessarily divided itself into seven ages or periods, for the seven promises by the Creator to Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, Esaias, and John the Baptist.— Collier.

286. This list of characters is not in the old copy, but was made out from the mention of persons in the progress of the piece.—Collier.

287. The old copy from which this dramatic piece was first reprinted by Dodsley, and subsequently by Mr Reed, having been damaged, and a part of the leaf lost, it was not possible to ascertain exactly the last word of this line: it was therefore supplied by conjecture, and not very happily: the line has till now stood—

"Without whose knowledge no man to the truth can come."

But the form of the stanza, and the rhyme in the next line, shows decidedly that this is wrong. In Davenport's "City Night Cap," Act 3, we meet with a not very dissimilar use of the word fall.

    "I have made a modest choice of you, grave sir,
    To be my ghostly father; and to you I fall for absolution."

288. The commencement of this Act is not marked in the original, although notice is given of its conclusion.—Collier.

289. This scriptural expression occurs very frequently in our ancient dramatic writers—

       "Never this heart shall have the thoughtful dread
       To die the death that, by your grace's doom,
       By just desert shall be pronounc'd to me."
                        —Ferrex and Porrex, A. 4, S. 2.

       "Either to die the death, or to abjure
       For ever the society of men."
                  —Midsummer Night's Dream, A. 1, S. 1.

       "Or else he must not only die the death,
       But thy unkindness shall his death draw out
       To lingering sufferance."
                      —Measure for Measure, A. 2, S. 4.
See Dr Johnson and Mr Steevens's notes on the two latter passages.

       "Wert thou my bosom-love, thou dyst the death;
       Best ease for madness is the loss of breath."
                             —Machin's Dumb Knight, A. 2.

290. Stir. Glossary to Mandevile's Voyage, 1725. It is a very common form.

291. Acknowledge.

292. Original has trade.

293. Chaucer, in his "Canterbury Tales," l. 509, describing the Parson, says—

       "He set not his benefice to hire,
       And laft his sheep accombred in the mire," &c.

Dr Morrell spells the word accumbrit, and explains it in this manner— "Accumbrit may be interpreted to wallow, to lie down, qu. accumbere." But Chaucer sometimes uses it in another sense—

       "That they were acombrit in their own distreyt."
                              —Merchant's Second Tale, 2910.

i.e., They were encumbered, brought into great straights. A vet. Gall. Combre or Comble.

       "Trough wine and women there was both accombred."
                                     —Pierce Plowman's Vision.

None of these explanations exactly agrees with the text. Bishop Bale certainly means, agreeably to the passage in the Bible to which he alludes, to destroy or overwhelm.

294. Achab in original, and Latimer in his First Sermon before King Edward VI., calls him Hachab.

295. In the former edition this and the next five lines were given to Pater Coelestis.

296. Dip.

297. i.e., Asketh, inquireth. So, in Henryson's "Testament of Creside"—

      "Quha had bene thair, and lyking for to heir
         His facound toung and termis exquisite,
       Of Rhetorick the prettick he micht leir,
       In breif sermone are pregnant sentence wryte,
       Befoir Cupide veiling his cap alyte,
       Speiris the caus of that vocatioun?
       And he anone schew his intentioun."
                              —Laing's Edit., 1865, p. 84.

Again, Douglas's "Virgil," B. iii. p. 72—

      "The seik ground deny is frute and fudis,
       My fader exhortis us turn againe our studis
       To Delos, and Apollois ansure spere,
       Be seiking him of succours us to lere."

Again, B. v. p. 140—

"Ane uthir mache to him was socht and sperit."

298. The colophon is: Thus endeth thys Tragedy or enterlude, manyfestynge the chefe promyses of God unto Man by all ages in the olde lawe, from the fall of Adam to the incarnacyon of the Lorde Jesus Christ. Compyled by Johan Bayle, Anno Domini 1538.

299. Wood, in his "Athenae Oxonienses," vol. 1, p. 149, positively fixes his birth at this place. Other writers have made him a native of North Mims in Hertfordshire, but apparently without any authority. [See Warton's "H.E.P.," edit. 1871, i. 80.] Bale, who lived nearest to the author's time, calls him Civis Londinensis; which words, though they do not absolutely prove that he was born in London, yet surely are sufficient in a matter of this uncertainty to warrant any one to conclude that he was a native of that city, as no circumstance appears to induce a belief that he acquired the title of Citizen of London otherwise than by birth.

300. Peacham's "Compleat Gentleman," 4to, 1627, p. 95.

301. Gabriel Harvey's "MS. Note to Speght's Chaucer," as quoted in Mr Steevens's "Shakspeare," vol. 5.

302. T. Bastard, in his "Chrestoleros, Seven Bookes of Epigrams," 1598, has the following, addressed Ad Johannem Dauis, in which he speaks of Heywood and his reputation in this department—

      "Yf witt may make a Poet, as I gesse,
         Heywood with auncient Poets may I compare.
       But thou in word and deed hast made him lesse
         In his owne witt, hauing yet learning spare
       The goate doth hunt the grasse, the wolfe the goat
         The lyon hunts the wolfe by proofe we see;
       Heywood sang others downe, but thy sweete note,
         Dauis, hath sang him downe, and I would thee.
       Then be not mou'de, nor count it such a sinn,
         To will in thee what thou hast done in him."

The subsequent Ad Lectorem is to the same effect—

      "Reader, if Heywood liued now againe,
         Whome time of life, hath not of praise bereaued;
       If he would write, I could expresse his vaine:
         Thus would he write, or else I am deceiued."

Sir J. Harington quotes one of Heywood's Epigrams in the Notes to B. 38 of his Translation of "Orlando Furioso;" and Thomas Wilson, in his "Rhetorique," 1553, speaks of Heywood's "Proverbs," adding that his "paynes in that behalfe are worthye of immortall prayse." In Barnaby Googe's "Husbandry," "our English Martiall, John Heywood," is quoted regarding Essex Cheese. It would not be difficult to add several other authors who quote or applaud him.—Collier.

303. "Athen. Oxon.," vol. 1, p. 149.

304. "But to step backe to my teske (though everie place I step to, yeeldes me sweeter discourse) what thinke you by Haywood, that scaped hanging with his mirth; the king being graciously and (as I thinke) truly perswaded, that a man that wrate so pleasant and harmlesse verses, could not have any harm full conceit against his proceedings, and so by the honest motion of a gentleman of his chamber saved him from the jerke of the six-string'd whip." (Harington's "Metamorphosis of Ajax," 1596, p. 25).

305. "Athen. Oxon.," vol. 1, p. 149.

306. The subsequent anecdote is given by Puttenham in his "Arte of English Poesie," 1589, p. 230:—

"The like hapned on a time at the Duke of Northumberlandes bourd, where merry John Heywood was allowed to sit at the tables end. The Duke had a very noble and honorable mynde alwayes to pay his debts well, and when he lacked money would not stick to sell the greatest part of his plate; so had he done few dayes before. Heywood being loth to call for his drinke so oft as he was dry, turned his eye toward the cupbord and sayd, 'I finde great misse of your graces standing cups.' The Duke thinking he had spoken it of some knowledge that his plate was lately sold, said somewhat sharply, 'Why, sir, will not those cuppes serve as good a man as your selfe?' Heywood readily replied, 'Yes, if it please your grace; but I would haue one of them stand still at myne elbow, full of drinke, that I might not be driven to trouble your men so often to call for it.' This pleasant and speedy reuers of the former wordes holpe all the matter againe, whereupon the Duke became very pleasaunt, and dranke a bolle of wine to Heywood, and bid a cup should alwayes be standing by him."

This story, in itself of very little worth, serves to show the sort of terms Heywood was upon with the nobility of his time.—Collier.

307. The editor of the last edition of the "Biographical Dictionary" asserts, but without citing his particular authority for the fact, that "after many peregrinations, he died at Naples, January the 9th, 1598."— Collier.

308. [In the former edition of this work there was a note stating that he had been preceded by Palsgrave in his "Acolastus." But "Acolastus" was merely a translation by Palsgrave from the Latin of Fullonius, performed in 1529 in Holland. The English was not printed till 1540.]

309. MSS. Notes on Langbaine.

310. [Here followed, in the former editions, an elaborate list, full of errors, of Heywood's writings, for which see Hazlitt's "Handbook," in v. Dyce (Middleton's Works, ii., 277) thought there was no ground for assigning to him No. 4 of Hazlitt.]

311. [They appear to have been first published in 1546.]

312. "Worthies," p. 221.

313. [Hazlitt's "Handbook," 1867, p. 269.]

314. Although more pains than usual were bestowed on the collation of this piece, yet, as it was printed originally by Dodsley from the most corrupt of the old copies, many of the errors and a few interpolations were allowed by the subsequent editor to remain. The orthography also, professed to be observed, was very frequently abandoned.—Collier.

315. "The difference between a pilgrim and a palmer was thus: The pilgrim had some home or dwelling-place; but the palmer had none. The pilgrim travelled to some certain designed place or places; but the palmer to all. The pilgrim went at his own charges; but the palmer professed wilful poverty, and went upon alms. The pilgrim might give over his profession and return home; but the palmer must be constant till he had obtained the palm, that is, victory over all spiritual enemies, and life by death, and thence his name Palmer, or else from a staff, or boughs of palm, which he always carried along with him" (Staveley's "Romish Horseleech," 1769, p. 93).

316. The first edition gives this line:

"My rewdnes sheweth me no so homely,"

and that of 1569 has it:

"My rudenes sheweth me not so homely."

The negative certainly seems to have been inserted by mistake.— Collier.

317. Sue now, edition 1569.

318. You, edit. 1569.

319. Hath, 1st edit.

320. Far and faire, edit. 1569.

321. Jerusalem, edit. 1569.

322. I have, edit. 1569.

323. Mandevile thus mentions these places:—"And toward the Est syde, with oute the walles of the cytee (i.e., Jerusalem) is the vale of Josaphathe, that touchethe to the walles, as thoughe it were a large Dyche. And anen that vale of Josaphathe out of the cytee, is the Chirche of Seynt Stevene, where he was stoned to dethe" ["Voiage and Travaile," 8vo, 1839, p. 80.] "And above the Vale is the Mount of Olyvete, and it is cleped so; for the plentee of Olyves, that growen there. That mount is more highe than the Cytee of Jerusalem is; and therfore may men upon that mount, see manye of the Stretes of the Cytee. And betwene that Mount and the Cytee, is not but the vale of Josaphathe, that is not fulle large. And fro that Mount, steighe oure Lord Jesu Crist to Hevene, upon Ascencioun-day: and it there schewethe the schapp of his left Foot in the Ston" (Ibid. p. 96).

In Borde's "Introduction of Knowledge," 1542, Sign. N 3, that writer, who had been on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, says:—"And that there is a great confluence of pylgrims to the holy Sepulchre, and to many holy places, I will wyshe somewhat that I doo know, and haue sene in the place. Who so ever that dothe pretende to go to Jerusalem, let him prepare himselfe to set forth of England after Ester vii. or viii. dayes," &c. He then directs the route a traveller ought to take, and adds, "when you come to Ierusalem, the friers which be called cordaline, they be of saynct Fraunces order, they wyl receaue you with devocion & brynge you to the sepulcre: the holy sepulcre is wythin the church, and so is the mount of Calvery, where Iesu Chryst did suffer his passions. The churche is round lyke a temple, it is more larger than anye temple that I haue sene amonges the Iues. The sepulcre is grated rounde about wyth yrone, that no man shall graet or pycke out any stones. The sepulcre is lyke a lytle house, the which by masons was dydged out of a rocke of stone. There maye stonde wythin the sepulcre a x. or a xii. parsons, but few or none dothe go into the sepulcre, except they be singulerly beloued, & than they go in by night wyth great feare and reuerence." [Furnivall's edit. pp. 219, 220.]

324. Would, edit. 1569.

325. Answered to the stages between London and Rome, or Holy Land, of which there is a map in a MS. of Math. Paris Roy. Libr. 14 C. VII. and Benet. Coll. c. ix. and PI. VII. "Brit. Topog." vol. i. p. 85. G. [A poem, called "Stacyons of Rome," has been printed in the Early English Text, Society's Series, by Mr Furnivall.]

In Borde's "Introduction" (before quoted) it is said, "And forasmuch as ther be many that hath wrytten of the Holy Lande of the stacyons & of the Iurney or way, I doo passe ouer to speake forther of this matter," &c. [Edit, ut supra.]

326. Rhodes, an island to which the Knights Hospitallers, now Knights of Malta, retired, on being driven out of Jerusalem.

327. Probably Emaus, near Jerusalem.

328. [Respecting St Uncumber, see "Popular Antiquities of Great Britain," ii., 136.]

Mr Steevens, in a letter to the printer of the Saint James's Chronicle, points out the following mention of Saint Tronion, in Geffrey Fenton's "Tragical Discourses," 4to, 1567, fo. 114 b: "He returned in haste to his lodgynge, where he attended the approche of his hower of appointment wyth no lesse devocion than the Papistes in France performe their ydolatrous pilgrimage to the ydoll, Saynt Tronyon, upon the mount Avyon, besides Roan."—Reed.

This worthy is also noticed in the following terms in "Apius and
Virginia," 1575, Sign. E 2:—

      "Nay, softe, my maisters, by saincte Thomas of Trunions,
       I am not disposed to buy of your onions."—Collier.

329. Saint Botulph is said to have been born in Cornwall, and was eminent for working miracles about the time of Lucius. He was buried at Boston, in Lincolnshire.

330. "Within the parish of Bacwell, in Derbyshyre, is a Chappel (somtyme dedicated to St Anne), in a place called Bucston, wheare is a hoate Bathe, of suche like Qualitie as those mentioned in Bathe be. Hyther they weare wont to run on pilgrimage, ascribinge to St Anne miraculously, that Thinge which is in that and sondrye other Waters naturrally" ("Lambarde's Dictionarium," p. 48). Drayton says—

      "I can again produce those wondrous wells
       Of Bucston, as I have, that most delicious fount
       Which men the second Bath of England do account,
       Which in the primer reigns, when first this well began
       To have her virtues known, unto the blest St Anne,
       Was consecrated then."
                        —Poly-Olbion, Song xxvi.

331. Saw, 2d edition.

332. "And so passe men be this Ermonie, and entren the see of Persie. Fro that Cytee of Artyroun go men to an Hille Sabissocolle. And there besyde is another Hille, that men clepen Ararathe: but the Jewes clepen it Taneez; where Noes Schipp rested, and it is upon that Montayne: and men may seen it a ferr in cleer Wedre; and that montayne is wel a 7 Myle highe. And sum men seyn, that thei han seen and touched the Schipp; and put here fyngres in the parties, where the Feend went out, whan that Noe seyde Benedicite. But they that seyn suche wordes, seyn here wille: fora man may not gon up the Montayne, for great plentee of Snow, that is alle weys on that Montayne: nouther Somer ne Wynter; so that no man may gon up there, ne nevere man dide, sithe the tyme of Noe, saf a Monk that, be the grace of God broughte on of the plankes doun; that it is in the Mynstre, at the foot of the Montayne" [Maundevile's "Voiage and Travaile," 1839, p. 148.]

333. Formerly belonging to the priory of Bermondsey. See Stow's "Survey."

334. The famous holy Cross of Waltham, which tradition says was discovered in the following manner: A carpenter, in the reign of Canute, living at Lutegaresbyry, had a vision in the night of Christ crucified, by whom he was commanded to go to the parish priest and direct him to walk, accompanied with his parishioners, in solemn procession to the top of an adjoining hill, where on digging they would find a cross, the very sign of Christ's passion. The man neglecting to perform the orders of the image was visited by it a second time, and his hands were then griped in such a manner that the marks remained some time after. He then acquainted the priest, and, as they were ordered, they proceeded to the place pointed out, where they discovered a great marble, having in it of black flint the image of the crucifix. They then informed the lord of the manor of the transaction, and he immediately resolved to send the cross first to Canterbury, and afterwards to Reading; but on attempting to draw it to these places, although with the force of twelve red oxen, and as many white kine, it was found impracticable, and he was obliged to desist. He then determined to fix it at Waltham, and immediately the wain began to move thither of itself. In the way many persons were healed of disorders, and the relick soon became much resorted to by the pilgrims on account of the miracles performed by it (Lambarde's "Dictionarium," 1730, p. 431).

335. "Walsingham, in Norfolk, where was anciently an image of the Virgin Mary, famous over all Europe for the numerous pilgrimages made to it, and the great riches it possessed. Erasmus has given a very exact and humorous description of the superstitions practised there in his time. See his Account of the VIRGO PARATHALASSIA, in his Colloquy entitled, 'PEREGRINATIO RELIGIONIS ERGO.' He tells us the rich offerings in silver, gold, and precious stones, that were there shown him, were incredible: there being scarce a person of any note in England, but what some time or other paid a visit, or sent a present, to our LADY OF WALSINGHAM. At the dissolution of the monasteries, in 1538, this splendid image, with another from Ipswich, was carried to Chelsea, and there burnt in the presence of commissioners." See Percy's "Relics of Ancient Poetry," vol. ii. p. 79.

In his ["Vision concerning Pierce Plowman," W. Langland] says—

      "Heremites on an heep, wyth hoked staues,
       Wenten to Walsyngham, and here wenches after.
       Grete lobyes and longe, that loth were to swynke,
       Clotheden hem in copis to ben knowen from othere,
       And shopen hem heremites; here ese to haue."

Edit. [Skeat, 1869, p. 3.] See also Weever's "Funeral Monuments," p. 131.

336. Hearne, in his Glossary to "Peter Langtoft," p. 544, under the word cross observes that, although the cross and the rood are commonly taken for the same, yet the rood properly signified formerly the image of Christ on the cross, so as to represent both the cross and the figure of our blessed Saviour as he suffered upon it. The roods that were in churches and chapels were placed in shrines, that were styled Rood-lofts. "Rood-loft (saith Blount), a shrine, whereon was placed the cross of Christ. The rood was an image of Christ on the cross, made generally of wood, and erected in a loft for that purpose, just over the passage out of the church into the chancel." But rood-loft sometimes also signifies a shrine, on which was placed the image or relics of a saint, because generally a crucifix, or a cross, used likewise to attend such image or relics.

337. Dagenham, in Essex.

338. Saint Cornelys, according to the "Legenda Aurea," succeeded Fabyan in the Papacy, and was beheaded in the reign of Decian, for refusing to sacrifice in the Temple of Mars. There was a fraternity in his honour at Westminster. See their pardon, "Brit. Top.," I. 772.

339. Weever, in his "Funeral Monuments," p. 172, observes that "the Italians, yea, those that dwell neare Rome, will mocke and scoffe at our English (and other) pilgrims that go to Rome to see the Pope's holinesse and St Peter's chaire, and yet they themselves will runne to see the reliques of Saint Iames of Compostella in the kingdom of Galicia in Spaine, which is above twelve hundred English miles." See also Dr Geddes's "Tracts."

340. Saint Wenefrid's well, near Holywell, in the county of Flint, is a spring which rises at the foot of a steep hill out of a rock, and is formed into a beautiful polygonal well, covered with a rich arch supported by pillars; the roof exquisitely carved in stone; over the fountain is the legend of St Wenefrid on a pendent projection, with the arms of England at the bottom. Numbers of fine ribs secure the arch, whose intersections are coupled with some sculpture. To this place the resort of pilgrims was formerly very great; and, though considerably diminished, there are still to be seen in the summer a few in the water, in deep devotion, up to their chins for hours, sending up their prayers, or performing a number of evolutions round the polygonal well; or threading the arch between well and well a prescribed number of times. The legend of St Wenefrid is well known. Those who desire more information on this subject may be referred to "The Legenda Aurea," Bishop Fleetwood's Works, or Mr Pennant's "Tour in Wales," p. 28.

341. Or Botolph's town, in Lincolnshire, where St Botolph was buried—

"Delicious Wytham leads to holy Botolph's town." —Poly-Olbion, Song xxv.

342. "Is named of Kinge Edmunde, whom the comon Chronicles call St Edmund, or Edmund the Martyr; for Bury is but to say a Court or Palace. It was first a Colledge of Priests, founded by Athelstane the kinge of Ingland, to the Honour and Memorye of Edmund that was slayne at Hoxton (then called Eylesdund [or Eglesdon], as Leland thinketh), whose Bones he removed thyther. The hole hystorie of this matter is so enterlaced with miracles, that Polydor himselfe (who beleaved them better then I) began to delye with it; sayinge, that Monkes weare much delighted with them" (Lambarde's "Dictionarium," p. 35).

343. This place, which was much frequented by pilgrims, was situate on a lake called Logh Derg, in the Southern part of the county of Donegal, near the borders of Tyrone and Fermanagh. It was surrounded with wild and barren mountains, and was almost inaccessible by horsemen even in summer time, on account of great bogs, rocks, and precipices which environed it. The popular tradition concerning it is as ridiculous as is to be found in any legend of the Romish Martyrology. After continuing in great credit many years, it began to decline; and in the 13th of Henry the Seventh was demolished with great solemnity, on St Patrick's Day, by the Pope's express order. It, however, afterwards came into reputation again, insomuch that, by an order of the Privy Council, dated 13th of September 1632, it was a second time destroyed. From this period, as pilgrimages grew less in fashion, it will appear extraordinary that the place should be a third time restored to its original state, and as much visited as in any former period. In this condition it continued until the second year of Queen Anne, when an Act of the Irish Parliament declared, that all meetings and assemblies there should be adjudged riots and unlawful assemblies, and inflicted a penalty upon every person meeting or assembling contrary to the Statute. The ceremonies to be performed by the pilgrims are very exactly set forth in Richardson's "Great Folly, Superstition, and Idolatry of Pilgrimages in Ireland, especially of that to St Patrick's Purgatory," Dublin, 8vo. 1727.

Enough hath been already said on the subject of "Saint Patrick's Purgatory," I shall therefore only add, that it is often mentioned in Froissard's "Chronicle," and that Sir James Melvil, who visited it in 1545, describes it as looking "like an old coal-pit, which had taken fire, by reason of the smoke that came out of the hole" (Melvil's "Memoirs," p. 9., edit. 1683).

It is mentioned in Erasmus's "Praise of Folie," 1549, Sign. A: "Whereas before ye satte all heavie and glommyng, as if ye had come lately from Troponius cave, or Saint Pattrickes purgatorie."

344. Within three miles of St Alban's. "At this place," says Norden, "were founde the reliques of Amphiball, who is saide to be the instructour and convertour of Alban from Paganisme, of whose reliques such was the regard that the abbottes of the monasterie of Alban had, that they should be devoutly preserved, that a decree was made by Thomas then abbott, that a pryor and three munckes should be appointed to this holie function, whose allowance in those dayes amounted yearely to 20 pound, or upwardes, as much as three hundred pound in this age" ("Description of Hartfordshire." p. 22).

See also Weever's "Funeral Monuments," p. 585. Dr Middleton, in his "Letter from Home," says: "Bishop Usher has proved that this saint never existed, and that we owe the honour of his saintship to a mistaken passage in the Legend of St Alban, where the Amphibolus there mentioned is nothing more than a cloak."

345. The abbey of Hales, in Gloucestershire, was founded by Richard, King of the Romans, brother to Henry the Third. This precious relic, which was commonly called the blood of Hailes, was brought out of Germany by Richard's son Edmund, who bestowed a third part of it upon his father's abbey of Hales, and some time after gave the other two parts to an abbey of his own foundation at Ashridge, near Berkamstead. It was given out, and believed to have this property, that, if a man was in mortal sin, and not absolved, he could not see it; otherwise, he might see it very well: therefore, every man that came to see this miracle, this most precious blood, confessed himself first to one of the priests there; and then, offering something at the altar, was directed to a chapel, where the miracle was shown; the priest who confessed him, in the meantime, retiring to the back part of the said chapel, and putting forth a little cabinet or vessel of crystal, which being thick on the one side, that nothing could be seen through it, but on the other side thin and transparent, they used diversely, as their interests required. On the dissolution of the abbey, it was discovered to be nothing more than honey clarified and coloured with saffron, "an unctowse gumme coloured, which in the glasse apperyd to be a glisterynge red resemblyng partlie the color of blood, and owte of the glasse apparaunte glystering yelow colour like amber or basse gold" (Certificate of visitors, printed at end of Hearne's Benedictus Abbas, II. 751).

346. i.e., Saint David. Drayton, in his "Poly-Olbion," Song xxiv., says—

      "Whose Cambro Britons so their saints as duly brought,
       T' advance the Christian faith, effectually that wrought;
       Their David (one deriv'd of th' royal British blood),
       Who 'against Pelagius' false and damn'd opinions stood;
       And turn'd Menenia's name to David's sacred see.
       The patron of the Welsh deserving well to be."

See an account of him in an extract from Bale, in Godwin "de Praesulibus Angliae," p. 573, edit. 1743. He is said to have been bishop 65 years, and to have lived 146. He died, according to some accounts, in the year 546, according to others, in the year 542. His shrine, I am informed, remains in the wall of his cathedral in Pembrokeshire.

347. St Denis, the patron of France, is said to have been the disciple of St Paul, and the first who preached the gospel to the French. The legend concerning him affirms that, after he was beheaded near Paris, he walked four miles with his head in his hands. His body was said to be entombed very magnificently at the abbey of St Denis, to which the pilgrims used to resort.

348. At the Church of St Mark, in Venice, they pretend to have the body of that evangelist, which was brought thither by certain merchants from Alexandria, in Egypt, in the year 810. Coryat says, that the treasure of this church was of that inestimable value, that it was thought no treasure whatsoever in any other place in Christendom might compare with it, neither that of St Denis in France, nor St Peter's in Rome, nor that of Madonna de Loretto in Italy, nor that of Toledo in Spain, nor any other. See Coryat's "Crudities," p. 214, and "The Commonwealth and Government of Venice," by Contareno, translated by Lewes Lewkenor, Esq., 1599, p. 165.

349. Who this John Shorn was, I can give no account. In the preface to "The Accedence of Armorie," 4to, 1562, a story is told of one who had been called to worship in a city within Middlesex, and who being desired by a herald to show his coat (i.e., of arms), "called unto his mayd, commanding her to fetch his coat, which, being brought, was of cloth garded with a burgunian gard of bare velvet, well bawdefied on the halfe placard, and squallotted in the fore quarters. Lo, quoth the man to the heraught, here it is, if ye will buy it, ye shall have time of payment, as first to pay halfe in hand, and the rest by and by. And with much boste he said, he ware not the same since he came last from Sir John Shorne," &c.

350. Catwade Bridge is in Samford Hundred, in the county of Suffolk, where there may have been a famous chapel and rood.—G.

351. Herry edit. 1569.

352. "In September, the same yeare (says Weever), viz., an. 30 Hen. 8, by the speciall motion of great Cromwell, all the notable images, vnto the which were made any especiall pilgrimages and offerings, as the images of our Lady of Walsingham, Ipswich, Worcester, the Lady of Wilsdon, the rood of grace of our Ladie of Boxley, and the image of the rood of Saint Saviour at Bermondsey, with all the rest, were brought vp to London, and burnt at Chelsey, at the commandement of the foresaid Cromwell, all the Iewels and other rich offerings to these, and to the shrines (which were all likewise taken away, or beaten to peeces) of other Saints throughout both England and Wales were brought into the King's Treasurie" (Edit. 1631, p. 111).

353. The church dedicated to Saint Mary at Southwell, in Nottinghamshire.

354. In the county of Kent, near Greenwich.

355. In Finsbury Hundred, Middlesex, the chapel dedicated to St Mary. See above, note 1.

356. "Muswell Hill, called also Pinsenall Hill: there was a chapple sometime bearing the name of our ladie of Muswell: where now Alderman Roe hath erected a proper house, the place taketh name of the well and of the hill, Mousewellhill; for there is on the hill a spring of faire water, which is now within the compass of the house. There was sometime an image of the ladie of Muswell, whereunto was a continuall resort, in the way of pylgrimage, growing, as is (though as I take it fabulouslie) reported in regard of a great cure which was performed by this water, upon a king of Scots, who being strangely diseased was, by some devine intelligence, advised to take the water of a well in England, called Muswell, which after long scrutation and inquisition, this well was found and performed the cure" (Norden's "Speculum Britanniae," p. 36, edit. 1723). I am informed that the mosaic pavement and other ruins of this well and its chapel were to be seen about twenty-five years ago [Edit. 1780].

357. This was probably Richard Fitz[-Neale,] bishop of London, and treasurer of England, in the time of Henry the Second. His shrine was, as Weever observes, p. 714, in St Paul's Church; and as he contributed largely to the building of the church, he conjectures it to have been erected there on that account. Drayton, however, in his "Poly-Olbion," Song xxiv., speaks of others of that name, as

      "Richard, the dear son to Lothar king of Kent,
       When he his happy days religiously had spent;
       And feeling the approach of his declining age,
       Desirous to see Rome in holy pilgrimage;
       Into thy country come, at Lucca left his life,
       Whose miracles there done, yet to this day are rife."


      "So countries more remote with ours we aid acquaint,
       As Richard for the fame his holiness had won,
       And for the wondrous things that through his prayers were done;
       From this his native home into Calabria call'd,
       And of St Andrew's there the bishop was installed;
       For whom she hath profess'd much reverence to this land."


      "So other southern sees, here either less or more.
       Have likewise had their saints—
                     —we have of Chichester
       Saint Richard, and with him St Gilbert, which do stand
       Inroll'd amongst the rest of this our mitred band."

358. Saint Roke, or Roch, was born at Montpelier, in France; and died in prison at Angleria, in the province of Lombardy, where a large church was built in honour of him. See "Legenda Aurea," p. 238.

359. Stephanus' "World of Wonders," 1607, translated by R.C., p. 316.— O[ctavius] G[ilchrist].

360. Obtaye, 1st edit. 361. Assuredly, 2d edit.

362. Thy, 1st edit.

363. Pardoner. "Pardoners were certaine fellowes that caried about the Pope's Indulgences, and sold them to such as would buy them; against whom Luther, by Sleydans report, incensed the people of Germany in his time, exhorting them ne merces tam viles tanti emerent" (Cowell's "Interpreter," 1607, Sign. A A A 2).

364. You, edit. 1569.

365. Yet welcome, 1st edit.

366. For, 1st edit.

367. Paynes, 2d edit.

368. Ere, edit. 1569.

369. My, edit. 1569.

370. You, edit. 1569.

371. Nother, 1st edit.

372 Running, 1st edit.—Dodsley. This is a mistake, the first edition reading ronnying, which is the old spelling of running. Another error was committed in printing it hitherto "running to Rome," the correct reading being "ronnying at Rome."—Collier.

373. Scofte, 1st. edit.

374. Kepe, 1st edit.

375. This, edit 1569.

376. You come late, 1st edit.

377. Sonyng, 1st edit.

378. Ye, 1st edit. 379. Ye, 1st edit.

380. Ye, 1st edit.

381. Hath, 1st edit.

382. Ye, 1st edit.

383. Be, 1st edit.

384. Cheap, as Dr Johnson observes, is market, and good cheap therefore is bon marchè. The expression is very frequent in ancient writers, as in Churchyard's "Worthiness of Wales," Evans's edition, 1776, p. 3—

"Victuals good cheap in most part of Wales."

Lyly's "Euphues," 1579, p. 8, "Seeing thou wilt not buy counsel at the first hande good cheape, thou shalt buye repentaunce at second-hande at such an vnreasonable rate that thou wilt cursse thy hard penyworth, and ban thy harde heart." Decker's "Lanthorne and Candlelight," H 4, "He buyes other men's cunning good cheap in London, and sels it deare in the countrey." See other instances in Mr Steevens's note on "First Part of King Henry IV.," A. 3, S. 3.

385. Leste, 1st edit.; least, edit. 1569. And as least is probably the reading the author intended, and is supported by both the old copies, it is restored; the Pardoner means in the smallest quarter of the Palmer's voyage.—Collier.

386. _As, 1st edit.

387. Bryngeth, 1st edit.

388. Dyd, 1st edit.

389. We will, edit. 1569.

390. Or, 1st edit.

391. Hinderance.

392. They rob, edit. 1569.

393. Hostely, 1st edit.

394. Master, achieve.

395. To be woe is often used by old writers to signify to be sorry. So Shakspeare's "Tempest," A. 5, S. 1—

"_I am woe for't, Sir."

Chaucer's "Court of Love"—
                 "I wolde be wo,
       That I presume to her is writin so."

See Mr Steevens's note on Shakspeare, vol. 1, p. 106.

396. That, edit. 1569.

397 From state of grace, 1st edit.

398. Then. Mr Dodsley read and.

399. You, edit. 1569.

400. Every tryfull, 1st edit.

401. Chefe, 1st edit.

402. Thinks, edit. 1569.

403. There, edit. 1569.

404. Where, 1st edit.

405. Unknotted, edit. 1569.

406. Lace, 1st edit. Lasses = leshes, or laces.

407. Needles, thread, thimbles, and such other knacks, edit. 1569.

408. i.e., Cyprus; thin stuff of which women's veils were made. So in Shakspeare's "Winter's Tale," A. 4, S. 3—

       "Lawn as white as driven snow,
        Cyprus black as any crow."

Again, in "Twelfth Night"—

              "A cyprus, not a bosom
        Hides my poor heart."—S.

409. i.e., Rollers in which infants were swathed. So, in "Timon of Athens"—

"Had thou, like us, from thy first swath," &c.—S.

410 Uprising, edit. 1569. 411. Frontal, Fr., a frontlet, or forehead band.—Cotgrave. A frontlet is mentioned as part of a woman's dress in Lyly's "Midas," 1592: "Hoods, frontlets, wires, cauls, curling-irons, periwigs, bodkins, fillets, hair laces, ribbons, rolls, knotstrings, glasses," &c. See also Mr Steevens's note on "King Lear," A. 1, S. 4.

412. Ruffs or bands for women. See Glossary to Douglas's "Translation of Virgil."

413. Little bodkins or puncheons.—Cotgrave, voce pinçonnet.

414. It, edit. 1569.

415. Prycke, 1st edit. 416. They be, edit. 1569.

417. Wood signifies mad, furious, or violent. So, in Aseham's "Toxophilus" [1545, repr. Arber, p. 56], "Howe will you thinke that such furiousness, with woode countenaunce and brenning eyes, with staringe and bragging, with heart redie to leape out of the belly for swelling, can be expressed ye tenth part to the vttermost" (Churchyard's "Worthiness of Wales," p. 103, Evans's edit., 1776).

      "It flowes with winde, although no rayne there bee.
       And swelles like sea, with waves and foming flood:
       A wonder sure to see this river Dee,
       With winde alone, to wax so wild and wood,
       Make such a sturre, as water would be mad,
       And shewe such life, as though some spreete it had."

418. Swere, edit. 1569.

419. Wyl, edit. 1569. Neither edition reads wyl, nor wil, but wolde.—Collier.

420. The oldest copy has it "as nyche as ye wyll," and the edition of 1569, "as nie as ye wilt;" perhaps the meaning is "as much as you will."—Collier. [More probably nice, which word seems to have borne a somewhat different pronunciation formerly. Compare a passage in Ingelend's "Disobedient Child"—

       "Even as to a greate man, wealthy and ryche,
        Service and bondage is a harde thynge,
        So to a boye, both dayntie and nyce,"

where nyce must be pronounced nyche, though not so spelled.]

421. Fall, 1st edit.

422. Pay down.

423. Ready; pret, Fr. So in "Caesar and Pompey," 1607:

"What must be; Caesar's prest for all."

See a note on "The Merchant of Venice," A. 1, S. 1.—S. Again
Churchyard's "Challenge," 1593, p. 80—

       "Then shall my mouth, my muse, my pen, and all,
        Be prest to serve at each good subject's call."
                             Cynthia's "Revels," A. 5, S. 4—

"I am prest for the encounter."

424. The reckoning. See Mr Steevens's note to "The First Part of King Henry IV.," A. 5, S. 3.

Again, in Churchyard's "Worthiness of Wales"—

       "Behold besides, a further thing to note,
        The best cheap cheare they have that may be found;
        The shot is great when each man pais his groate,
        If all alike the reckoning runneth round."

425. The third edition reads swynking. See note 26 to "Gammer Qurton's Needle," vol. ii.

426. In Sir John Hawkins's "History of Musick," vol. iii., p. 466, a passage, in Tusser's "Five Hundred Points of Husbandry," 1580, is cited, in which this line occurs—

"The better brest, the lesser rest;"

upon which he makes this observation: "In singing the Bound is originally produced by the action of the lungs, which are so essential an organ in this respect, that to have a good breast was formerly a common periphrasis to denote a good singer. The Italians make use of the terms Voce di Petto and Voce di Testa to signify two kinds of voice, of which the first is the best. In Shakespeare's 'Twelfth Night,' after the clown is asked to sing, Sir Andrew Aguecheek says—

'By my troth, the fool hath an excellent breast'

And in the statutes of Stoke College, in Suffolk, founded by Parker, Archbishop of Canterbury, is a provision in these words: 'Of which said queristers, after their breasts are changed (i.e., their voices broke), we will the most apt of wit and capacity be holpen with exhibitions of forty shillings,'" &c.

See also the notes of Mr Warton and Mr Steevens to "Twelfth Night," A. 2,
S. 3.

Again, in Middleton's "More Dissemblers besides Women," A. 1, S. 3 (Dyce's edit, iii., 575), Dondolo, after a song by his page, says, "Oh rich, ravishing, rare, and inticing. Well, go thy ways, for as sweet a brested page as ever lay at his master's feet in a truckle-bed." And in the same writer's "Women beware Women," A. 3, S. 2—

    Duke. "Yea the voice too, sir?"
    Fab. "Ay, and a sweet breast too, my lord, I hope,
             Or I have cast away my money wisely."
                                        —Dyce's edit, iv., 583.

Yet in the very next line of the text the Pedlar seems to take a distinction between the breast and the voice, which induces the Apothecary to observe—

"That answere sheweth you a ryght syngynge man."—Collier.

427. Wyt, 1st edit.

428. Wyll, 1st edit.

429. See note 48 to "Gammer Gurton's Needle."

430. Not and, 1st edit.

431. Hitherto misprinted— "Upon these workes our mater grewe."—Collier.

432. His, edit. 1569.

433. For, edit. 1569.

434. So, edit. 1569

435. May, edit. 1569.

436. Wake, 1st edit.

437. It is very, edit. 1569.

438. Added in edit. 1569.

439. The first edition reads—

"And if he lyste to take me so."

which is altered in the edit, of 1569, to ye, and it is probably right.—Collier.

440. Should go on pilgrimage, edit. 1569.

441. Original reads debite.

442. Howe, 1st edit.

443. Were we as, edit. 1569.

444. First edition reads—

       "For bothe you twayne shall wait on me.
        What chaunce is this, that suche an elfe
        Commaunded two knaves be besyde himselfe."

Both editions have it so, and the alteration was made by Dodsley, and followed by Reed, although it is by no means necessary to the due understanding of the passage.—Collier.

445. Thynge decayed, 1st edit.

446. Holly, 1st edit., holy, edit. 1569.

447. i.e., One magisterium; a chymical term expressive of the highest powers of transmutation, and sometimes used for any masterly performance.—S.

Mastery seems here used in the sense of mystery or trade, which is derived from the French mestier, and that perhaps from magisterium. See Warton's "Hist. Engl. Poetry," III. xxxvii.—Collier. [But see edit. 1871, i., 263.]

448. Both the old copies agree in reading—

"Yet in lyenge, I can some skyll,"

which has hitherto been altered to

"Yet in lyenge I can boste some skyll,"

a word having been foisted in as if the former editors were not aware that "I can some skyll," was a phrase of the time and perfectly intelligible.—Collier.

449. Not, 1st edit.

450. Beholde, edit. 1569.

451. May here, 1st edit., may lie, edit. 1569.

452. Sirs, edit. 1569.

453. As well as, 1st edit.

454. Hope, 1st edit.

455. Hope, 1st edit.

456. The word it is omitted in the first edition, but it is necessary for the rhyme.—Collier.

457. To be rulde, edit. 1569.

458. Here are, edit. 1569.

459. Are, edit. 1569.

460. May, edit. 1569.

461. All hallowes is All Saints. Mr Steevens, in his note on the "First Part of King Henry IV.," A.1, S.2, remarks on the absurdity of appropriating a word formed to express a community of saints to a particular one of the number.

462. He shall be ryd of the toth ake, 1st edit.

463. Other, 1st edit.

464. Muche, 1st edit.

465. Freend, edit. 1569.

466. This, edit. 1569.

467. These seven sleepers are said to have lived at Ephesus in the time of the Emperor Decian. Being commanded to sacrifice according to the Pagan manner, they fled to a cave in Mount Ceylon, where they fell asleep, and continued in that state 372 years, as is asserted by some, though according to others only 208 years. They awoke in the reign of one Emperor Theodosian who, being informed of this extraordinary event, came from Constantinople to see them, and to satisfy himself of the truth of the relation. Having communicated to him the several circumstances of their case, they all, as the "Legenda Aurea" expresses it, "enclyned theyr hedes to th' erth, and rendred their spyrites at the commaundement of our Lorde Jesu Cryst, and soo deyed." See "Legenda Aurea," 196.

468. Thys, 1st edit.

469. To, 1st edit.

470. Yet, edit. 1569.

471. Can, 1st edit.

472. See note 34 to "Gammer Gurton's Needle."

473. Sooner.

474. See, edit. 1569.

475. Hyre me is reward me, and afterwards we meet with this line—

"But answered you, and geven you hyring."—Collier.

[But the word in the two passages appears to be identical in the old orthography only. In the latter, cited by Mr Collier, it may mean hearing, but here it is seemingly hire, i.e., give me my hire or reward.]

476. Theriaca, a remedy against poison—Blount. The word triacle is also not unfrequently used for a balsam, or indeed any kind of infallible or powerful medicine.—Collier.

477. In, 1st edit.

478. An addition. The word so is no addition, but is found in both the old copies.—Collier.

479. I should suppose we ought to read sheet-anchor. The sheet-anchor is the largest belonging to a ship, and is the last refuge of mariners; for when that fails to take hold of the ground, the vessel is left at the mercy of the storm. The sheet-anchor was called by the ancients anchora sacra; and by the French maitresse ancre.—S.

480. Ointment, edit. 1569.

481. Will, edit. 1569.

482. Are, edit. 1569.

483. Are, edit. 1569.

484. Unto, edit. 1569.

485. And, 1st edit.

486. You are, edit. 1569.

487. Your mastership.—S.

488. True, 1st edit.

489. Ere, edit. 1569; or, 1st 4to.

490. For no lie, edit 1569.

491. Our, 1st edit.

492. One, edit. 1569.

493. Your, 1st edit.

494. First edition reads—

       "And that we both my lye so witnes,
        That twayne of us thre in one agree."

495. Neither.

496. Unlike, 1st edit.

497. From, 1st edit.

498. So, edit. 1569.

499. Should, 1st edit.

500. Payne, 1st edit.

501. The allusion is to gunnery. Thampion (tampon, Fr., a bung, cork, or plug of wood) is now written tampion, and signifies the stopper with which the mouths of cannon are closed up, to prevent the admission of rain, or sea water, whereby their charges might be rendered incapable of service. A tewel (tuyau, or tuyal, Fr.) is a pipe; and is here used (for the sake of continuing the metaphor) for bore or calibre. Moxon, in his "Mechanick Exercises," defines the tewel to be that pipe in a smith's forge into which the nose of the bellows is introduced; and in a MS. fragment, said to be written by Sir Francis Drake, concerning the stores of one of the ships under his command, the word tewel is applied to a gun.—S.

In Lambarde's "Dictionarium," p. 129, it is said: "It happened in the Reigne of Quene Marye, that the master of a Shippe passinge by while the Court lay theare, and meaninge (as the maner is) with Sayle and Shot to honor the Place, unadvisedly gave Fyre to a Piece charged with a Stone instede of a Tampion, which lightinge on the Quenes house ranne throughe a Chamber, and did no further Harme."

Our antiquary writes like one unacquainted with his subject; no man, I believe, ever talked of charging a gun with a tampion; neither would the said tampion (consisting of a piece of hard oak) have done much less mischief than a stone, if pointed from the Thames at the Queen's Palace at Greenwich.—S.

502. Addition in the 2d edit.

503. A piece of ordnance.—S.

504. The Regent was one of the largest ships of war in the time of King Henry the Eighth. In the fourth year of his reign, Sir Thomas Knevet, master of the horse, and Sir John Carew, of Devonshire, were appointed captains of her, and in company with several others she was sent to fight the French fleet near Brest haven. An action accordingly ensued, and the Regent grappled with a French carrick, which would have been taken, had not a gunner on board the vessel, to prevent her falling into the hands of the English, set fire to the powder-room. This communicating the flames to both ships, they shared the same fate together, being both burnt. On the part of the French 900 men were lost; and on that of the English more than 700 (See Hall's "Chronicle," 1548, fol. 21).

505. On thys castell lyght, 1st edit.

506. This, edit. 1569. 507. Our, 1st edit.

508. The edit. of 1569 has this line—

"And done more cures ghostely."—Collier.

509. [Mr Child observes: "The Pardoner's descent into hell, in the 'Four P.P.,' is one of the most capital passages in our comic poetry" ("Four Old Plays," 1848, xxvi.)]

510. A beck, among other significations, has that of a salutation with the head. So, in Shakespeare's "Timon of Athens"—

"_A serving of becks, and jutting out of bums_."—S.

511. Thys, 1st edit.

512. "Before the suppression of the monasteries, this city (i.e., Coventry) was very famous for the pageants that were played therein upon Corpus Christi day (this is one of their ancient faires), which occasioning very great confluence of people thither from far and near, was no small benefit thereto; which pageants being acted with mighty state and reverence by the friers of this house, had theaters for the several scenes very large and high, placed upon wheels, and drawn to all the eminent parts of the city, for the better advantage of spectators, and contained the story of the New Testament, composed in old English rithme, as appeareth by an ancient MS. entitled 'Ludus Corporis Christi,' or 'Ludus Coventriae,' in Bibl. Cotton, (sub Effigie Vesp. D. 9)" (Dugdale's "Warwickshire," p. 116). [See the "Coventry Mysteries," edited by Halliwell, 1841.]

513. Addition in the 2d edit.

514. Maist, edit. 1569.

515. Mr Dodsley has write.

516. His, 1st edit.

517. For playne, 1st edit.

518. Cure, edit. 1569.—Collier. [The former editor printed cuer.]

519. Sweet or fresh-made, from the old word sote.

520. See note 3 to "The Ordinary."

521. Frendes, 1st edit.

522. First edition reads, "Dyd laugh full well together lyke frendes."

523. First edition reads, "Then to Lucyfer low as I coude."

524. [Featured.]

525. Deliver, edit. 1569.

526. Wil, edit. 1569.

527. So 1st edit., and properly, the meaning being that the Pardoner is ready to requite part of this favour whenever it shall be the devil's pleasure.—Collier_.

528. Nowe, 1st edit.

529. Horyson, 1st edit.

530. The, edit. 1569.

531. Dayes, 1st edit.

532. Wunderous, edit. 1569.

533. Founde, 1st edit.

534. Parell, 1st edit.

535. Parellous, 1st edit.

536. I suppose wrabbed to be a word coined for the sake of rhyme.—S. [But see Nares, 1859, in v., where it is said: "Probably for rabid, but so written for the sake of looking to the eye more like a rhyme to crabbed."]

537. Thus, edit. 1569.

538. Of, edit. 1569.

539. Maryed, 1st edit. It will be observed that there is no rhyme to the line—

"And oft with them have long tyme taried,"

and it is probable that a line has here dropped out ending with maryed, which is the word in the oldest of the three editions.—Collier.

540. i.e., Fetch'd. The word is used by Tusser, Spenser, and Shakespeare.—S.

541. i.e., Five knaves and two more there, iii.

542. Overcome. See note 1 on "God's Promises." So Eleanor, in the "Second Part of King Henry VI.," A. 1, S. 3, says—

"I'd set my ten commandments in your face"

Ten Commandments seem to have been cant terms for the nails of the hands. See also Mr Steevens's note on the above passage.

543. Gentleman, 1st edit.

544. One, 1st edit.

545. You may, 1st edit. 1569.

546. Mad, furious.

547. Addition in the third edition.

548. I, 1st edit.

549. Addition in the third edition.

550. Rather, edit. 1569.

551. i.e., One who struts or agitates his body in a pompous manner. So, in Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night"—

"How he jets under his advanced plumes."—S.

552. Make, edit. 1569.

553. I believe we should read affin'd, i.e. joined by affinity to each other. So in "Othello":

"If partially affin'd or leagued in office."—S.

It probably means assigned to the Palmer to wait on him, which was part of the agreement, before the contention began.—Collier.

554. Beste, 1st edit.

555. First edition reads—

"And I lykewyse, I make God a vowe."

556. Cheefest, edit. 1569.

557. This, edit. 1569.

558. Shewell, 1st edit.

559. On, edit. 1569.

560. Other, 1st edit.

561. Plenteously, edit. 1569.

562. Perhaps by parels is meant pareilles, Fr., i.e., things similar, or parels. Or it may be only a corruption of perils.—S.

563. Are, edit. 1569.

564. Nother, 1st edit.

565. Take, edit. 1569.

566. Escapte, edit. 1569.

567. [The colophon of the first edition is: "Imprynted at London in Fletestrete at the sygne of the George, by Wyllyam Myddylton." For the particulars of the other two editions, that by Copland being unknown to the former editors, see Hazlitt's "Handbook," p. 269.]

568. Two Interludes: Jack Juggler and Thersites. Edited by Joseph Haslewood, 4to, 1820.

569. At Lee Priory, the seat of Sir Egerton Brydges. Sir Egerton Brydges subsequently decided on selling the entire collection, though entailed, and it was disposed of by Mr. Sotheby, April 12, 1826. In the auction catalogue it is described as "a small but high interesting collection of the Rarest Old Plays in the English Drama." There were, in fact, only 142 lots, of which Jack Juggler and Thersites were 141 and 142, and "The Taming of a Shrew," 1594, No. 109. Mr. Inglis seems to have been the purchaser of all three.

570. "Four Old Plays," 1848, xv.

571. Shoulder.

572. Dastards.

573. Run.

574. Ilva in orig.

575. A sort of helmet.

576. Original has bere, i.e., bear.

577. See Way's edit, of the "Promptorium" v. Crykke.

578. Sheep.

579. A corrupt form of the name of an old romance, printed by Ritson, and in the original French by Hippeau.

580. Hedges.

581. Short.

582. A curious phrase, not met with elsewhere.

583. i.e., Apart or separate.

584. Readiness.

585. Thirteen.

586. This appears to be an allusion to a song beginning with these words.

587. Sung.

588. Spend. For the mere sake of the rhyme.

589. Rend.

590. The error or transposition is perhaps intentional.

591. An error, perhaps equally designed. It was Diomedes, to whom the mythology ascribed this practice.

592. Original has thus.

593. Boast.

594. This incident was improved upon in the modern nursery-rhyme of the four-and-twenty tailors and the snail.

595. Original has the, perhaps we should read thou.

596. Have been lost.

597. Hindereth, troubleth.

598. Fair, impartial

599. Meaning.

600. See "Promptorium," edit. Way, v. Gromaly, and Halliwell's "Dict." v. Gromyl.

601. This and some of the other names appear to be fanciful. Forsan, however, Compton.

602. For these, and so a few lines below.

603. Jawbone.

604. Bittern.

605. Baker.

606. Shovel. See Halliwell's "Dict." v. Peel, No. 6.

607. Ham.

608. Ahasuerus.

609. Thropton.

610. Dimsdale, which name is borne by two places, one in Durham, the other in Yorkshire.

611. Original has hartelye.

612. Knees.

613. Jane Seymour and Prince Edward, afterwards Edward VI. This fixes the date of the play, though not necessarily of its publication, at least approximately.