The Project Gutenberg EBook of Early English Dramatists--Recently
Recovered "Lost" Tudor Plays with some others, by Various

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Title: Early English Dramatists--Recently Recovered "Lost" Tudor Plays with some others
       Comprising Mankind--Nature--Wit and
              Science--Respublica--Wealth and Health--Impatient
              Poverty--John the Evangelist--Note-Book and Word-List

Author: Various

Editor: John S. Farmer

Release Date: May 28, 2014 [EBook #45805]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1


Produced by Richard Tonsing, Jonathan Ingram and the Online
Distributed Proofreading Team at

[Pg i]

Early English Dramatists


[Pg ii]
[Pg iii]

Early English Dramatists
Recently Recovered
Mankind—Nature—Wit and Science
Respublica—Wealth and Health
Impatient Poverty—John the Evangelist
Note-Book and Word-List



This edition, published in 1966, is a facsimile of the edition published by the


[Pg iv]
[Pg v]


Unquestionably the chief interest of this volume will centre in the three recently recovered "lost" Tudor Plays: Wealth and Health, Impatient Poverty, and John the Evangelist. It was, in truth, a unique and notable "find"—one that gladdened the world's scholarship. In June 1906 it was announced that no fewer than seventeen of the rarest pre-Shakespearean interludes, including three "lost" plays and four apparently unknown or unrecorded editions, had been unearthed in an Irish country house. Yet the owner of this quarto volume of old plays, the hammer value of which ultimately proved to be over £2600, thought so little, or knew so little, of its value that it was sent over to the London auctioneers without a cover!

It is a matter of surmise, perhaps idle enough, how these old plays got so far afield from the usual centres of early dramatic interest and effort. Still it shows that we need not despair of further "recoveries"; in the most unlikely quarters and when least expected other lost plays of the Tudor period may turn up; and, it must be confessed, if only a tithe of known plays not now traceable are restored, the gain to scholarship will be invaluable.

Public interest in this recent recovery was[Pg vi] at once aroused; and the contest for possession, when brought to the hammer, was of the keenest. Mr. Bernard Quaritch secured every one. It is, however, a matter of profound satisfaction to know that the rarest and best items of the collection, the "lost" plays and unrecorded editions, were bought for the nation.

As a matter of record I may state that the British Museum authorities secured—the prices given are the hammer prices—King Darius (unknown edition, £132); John the Evangelist (lost play, £102); The Nice Wanton (unknown edition, £169); Play of the Weather (unknown edition, £90); Wealth and Health (lost play, £95); Lusty Juventus (unknown edition, £140); and Impatient Poverty (lost play, £150).

America took The Trial of Treasure (£160) and Apius and Virginia (£101). I have not, however, as yet, been able to locate them more definitely.

Mr. T. J. Wise purchased Cambyses (£169) and Gammer Gurton's Needle (£180).

Octavia (£82) was purchased for Mr. J. H. Wrenn.

Others were announced for sale by Mr. Quaritch in his catalogue (No. 254) dated Dec. 1906. The titles of these plays and the auction price were: Jacob and Esau (£148); The Tide Tarrieth for no Man (£176); The Disobedient Child (£233); Youth; and The New Custom (£155).

It is my good fortune in the present volume to be the first to make the three "lost" plays available for scholars. The greatest care has been taken to furnish a faithful rendering of[Pg vii] the original texts; these have been set from rotary-bromide photographs of the unique copies now in national custody. Moreover, to meet the requirements of "textual experts" and the "higher criticism" these three plays form the first series of my Tudor Fascimile Texts, and will shortly be available in collotype. The four "unknown" editions already noted are also being reproduced by the same process and will form Series II. of the same collection.

Space—this volume is already much over-grown—forbids further comment. Nor would it be proper here and now. The recovery is too recent to have afforded an adequate opportunity for more than the most cursory examination; indeed, my strong feeling has been that I should best serve the wishes of the subscribers to the Early English Drama Society's publications by losing no time in placing these texts before them.

The other early interludes which complete the present collection are likewise rare and more or less difficult of access.


18 Bury Street, W.C.

[Pg viii]


Mankind 1
Nature. By Henry Medwall 41
The Play of Wit and Science. By John Redford 135
Respublica 177
An Interlude of Wealth and Health 273
An Interlude of Impatient Poverty 311
The Interlude of John the Evangelist 349
Note-book and Word-list 369

[Pg 1]

c. 1475

[Pg 2]

[The Names of the Players:

[Pg 3]


[Enter Mercy.]

Mercy. The very Founder and Beginner of our first creation,
Among us sinful wretches He oweth to be magnified;
That, for our disobedience, He had none indignation
To send His own Son to be torn and crucified.
Our obsequious service to Him should be applied:
Where He was Lord of all, and made all thing of nought,
For the sinful sinner, to have him revived,
And, for his redemption, set His own Son at nought.
That may be said and verified: Mankind was dear bought;
By the piteous death of Jesu he had his remedy;
He was purged of his default—that wretchedly had wrought—
By His glorious passion, that blessed lavatory.
O sovereigns! I beseech you your conditions to rectify;
And, with humility and reverence, to have a remotion
To this blessed Prince, that our nature doth glorify;
That ye may be participable of His retribution.
I have be[en] the very mean for your restitution:
Mercy is my name, that mourneth for your offence.
[Pg 4] Divert not yourself in time of temptation,
That ye may be acceptable to God at your going hence;
The great mercy of God, that is of most pre-eminence,
By meditation of our Lady, that is ever abundant
To the sinful creature that will repent his negligence:
I pray God, at your most need, that Mercy be your defendant.
In good works I advise you, sovereigns! to be perseverant;
To purify your souls that they be not corrupt;
For your ghostly enemy will make his avaunt,
Your good conditions if he may interrupt.
O! ye sovereigns that sit, and ye brothern that stand right up,
Pryke not your felicities in things transitory!
Behold not the earth, but lift your eye up!
See how the head the members daily do magnify.
Who is the head? forsooth! I shall you certify:
I mean our Saviour that was likened to a lamb;
And His saints be the members, that daily He doth satisfy
With the precious river that runneth from His womb.
There is none such food by water, nor by land;
So precious, so glorious, so needful to our intent;
For it hath dissolved Mankind from the bitter bond
Of the mortal enemy, that venomous serpent:
From the which, God preserve you all at the last judgment!
For, sikerly, there shall be a strerat examination:
The corn shall be saved; the chaff shall be brent—
I beseech you heartily have this premeditation.

[Pg 5]

[Enter Mischief.]

Mischief. I beseech you heartily leave your calculation!
Leave your chaff! leave your corn! leave your dalliation!
Your wit is little; your head is mickle; ye are full of predication!
But, sir! I pray [you] this question to clarify:
Driff, draff! mish, mash!
Some was corn, and some was chaff;
My dame said my name was Raff.
Unshut your lock and take an halfpenny!
Mer. Why come ye hither, brother? ye were not desired.
Mis. For a winter corn thresher, sir! I have hired.
And ye said: the corn should be saved and the chaff should be fired;
And he proveth nay, as it showeth by this verse:
Corn serveth breadibus, chaff horsibus, straw firibusque.
This is as much to say, to your lewd understanding,
As: the corn shall serve to bread at the next baking; chaff horsibus, et reliqu[i]d,
The chaff to horse shall be good produce;
When a man is for-cold the straw may be brent;
And so forth, etc.
Mer. Avoid, good brother! ye been culpable
To interrupt thus my talking delectable.
Mis. Sir! I have nother horse nor saddle;
Therefore, I may not ride.
Mer. Hie you forth on foot, brother! in God's name!
Mis. I say, sir! I am come hither to make you game;
[Pg 6] Yet, bade ye me not go out in the devil's name,
And I will abide.

[A leaf of the manuscript has probably been lost at this point. It commences again by the entry of New Guise, Nought and Now-a-days with a band of minstrels.]

New Guise. And ho, minstrels! play the common trace;
Lay on with thy bales till his belly brest!
Nought. I put case: I break my neck—how than?
New G. I give no force, by saint Anne!
Now-a-days. Leap about lively! thou art a white man;
Let us be merry while we be here!
Nought. Shall I break my neck to show you sport?
Now. Therefore, ever beware of thy report!
Nought. I beshrew you all! here is a shrewd sort;
Have there at them, with a merry cheer!

[Here they dance. Mercy saith,

Mer. Do way! do way this revel, sirs! do way!
Now. Do way, good Adam! do way!
This is no part of thy play.
Nought. Yes, marry! I pray you; for I love not this revelling;
Come forth, good father! I you pray;
By a little ye may assay.
Anon, off with your clothes! if ye will pray.
Go to! I have had a pretty scottling.
Mer. Nay, brother! I will not dance;
New G. If ye will, sir! my brother will make you to prance.
[Pg 7]
Now. With all my heart, sir! if I may you avance;
Ye may assay by a little trace.
Nought. Yea, sir! will ye do well?
Trace not with them, by my counsel!
For I have traced somewhat to fell;
I tell [you] it is a narrow space.
But, sir! I trow, of us three I heard you speak.
New G. Christ's curse have ye, therefore! for I was in sleep.
Now. A[nd] I had the cup in my hand, ready to go to meat—
Therefore, sir! curtly, greet you well!
Mer. Few words! few, and well set!
New G. Sir! it is the new guise and the new jet.
Many words and shortly set—
This is the new guise every deal.
Mer. Lady, help! how wretches delight in their simple ways!
Now. Say no[ugh]t again the new guise now-a-days!
Thou shall find us sh[r]ews at all assays:
Beware! ye may soon lick a buffet.
Mer. He was well occupied that brought you hither!
Nought. I heard you call New Guise, Now-a-days, Nought: all these three together.
If ye say that I lie, I shall make you to slither:
Lo, take you here a trepitt!
Mer. Say me your names! I know you not.
New G. [Now, and Nought, in turn]. New Guise, I! Now-a-days, [I]! I, Nought!
Mer. By Jesu Christ! that me dear bought;
Ye betray many men.
New G. Betray? nay, nay, sir! nay, nay!
We make them both fresh and gay.
[Pg 8] But, of your name, sir, I you pray!
That we may you ken.
Mer. Mercy is my name and my denomination.
I conceive ye have but a little force in my communication.
New G. Ay, ay! your body is full of English Latin.
Now. I pray you heartily, worshipful clerk!
I have eaten a dishful of curds,
And I have shitten your mouth full of turds.
Now, open your satchel with Latin words,
And say me this, in clerical manner:
Also, I have a wife; her name is Rachael;
Betwixt her and me was a great battle;
And fain, of you, I would hear tell
Who was the most master.
Nought. Thy wife, Rachel, I dare lay twenty lice!
Now. Who spake to thee? fool! thou art not wise;
Go and do that longeth to thine office:
Osculare fundamentum!
Nought. Lo, master! here is a pardon by limit;
It is granted of Pope Pockett:
If ye will put your nose in his wife's socket,
Ye shall have forty days of pardon.
Mer. This idle language ye shall repent;
Out of this place I would ye went.
New G. Go we hence, all three, with one assent;
My father is irk of our eloquence;
Therefore, I will no longer tarry.
God bring you, master, and blessed Mary!
To the number of the demonical frayry—
Now. Come wind: come rain!
Though I come never again;
The devil put out both your eyne!
Fellows! go we hence tight!
[Pg 9]
Nought. Go we hence, a devil way!
Here is the door; here is the way!
Farewell, gentle Geoffrey!
I pray God give you good night! [Exiunt sil.
Mer. Thanked be God! we have a fair deliverance
Of these three unthrifty guests:
They know full little what is their ordinance.
I preve by reason they be worse than beasts:
A beast doth after his natural institution;
Ye may conceive, by their disport and behaviour,
Their joy and delight is in derision
Of their own Christ, to His dishonour.
This condition of living, it is prejudicial;
Beware thereof! it is worse than any felony or treason.
How may it be excused before the justice of all
When, for every idle word, we must yield a reason?
They have great ease; therefore, they will take no thought;
But how then, when the angel of heaven shall blow the trump,
And say to the transgressors that wickedly have wrought:
"Come forth unto your Judge, and yield your account!"
Then shall I, Mercy, begin sore to weep;
Nother comfort nor counsel, there shall none be had;
But, such as they have sown, such shall they reap;
They be wanton now; but, then, shall they be sad.
[Pg 10] The good new guise, now-a-days, I will not disallow;
I discommend the vicious guise—I pray have me excused—
I need not to speak of it; your reason will tell it you:
Take that is to be taken, and leave that is to be refused!
[Enter Mankind.]
Mankind. Of the earth and of the clay we have our propagation;
By the providence of God thus we be derived:
To whose mercy I recommend this whole congregation.
I hope unto His bliss ye be all predestinate:
Every man, for his degree, I trust shall be participate;
If we will mortify our carnal condition,
And our voluntary desires that ever be pervertionate—
To renounce these and yield us under God's provision.
My name is Mankind; I have my composition
Of a body and of a soul, of condition contrary.
Betwixt the twain is a great division:
He that should be s[u]bject, now he hath the victory.
This is to me a lamentable story:
To see my flesh, of my soul to have governance;
Where the good wife is master, the goodman may be sorry.
Alas! what was thy fortune and thy chance
To be associate with my flesh, that stinking dunghill?
Lady, help! Sovereigns! it doth my soul much ill
[Pg 11] To see the flesh prosperous, and the soul trodden under foot.
I shall go to yonder man; and assay him I will;
I trust of ghostly solace he will be my boot.

[Mankind approaches Mercy.

All hail, seemly father! ye be welcome to this house;
Of the very wisdom ye have participation.
My body with my soul is ever querulous;
I pray you, for Saint Charity! of your supportation.
I beseech you, heartily, of your ghostly comfort;
I am unsteadfast in living; my name is Mankind;
My ghostly enemy, the devil, will have a great disporte
In sinful guiding, if he may see me end.
Mer. Christ send you good comfort! ye be welcome, my friend!
Stand up on your feet! I pray you, arise!
My name is Mercy; ye be to me full hend:
To eschew vice I will you advise.
Man. O, Mercy! of all grace and virtue ye are the well:
I have heard tell, of right-worshipful clerks,
Ye be approximate to God and near of His counsel;
He hath institute you above all His works—
Oh! your lovely works to my soul are sweeter than honey.
Mer. The temptation of the flesh ye must resist, like a man;
For, there is ever a battle betwixt the soul and the body:
Vita hominis est milicia super terram.
[Pg 12] Oppress your ghostly enemy, and be Christ's own knight;
Be never a coward again your adversary;
If ye will be crowned, ye must needs fight!
Intend well; and God will be you[r] adjutory!
Remember, my friend! the time of continuance;
So, help me God! it is but a chery-time.
Spend it well! serve God with heart's affiance!
Distemper not your brain with good ale, nor with wine!
Measure is treasure; I forbid you not the use;
Measure yourself! ever beware of excess!
The superfluous guise, I will that ye refuse:
When nature is sufficed, anon that ye cease.
If a man have an horse, and keep him not too high,
He may then rule him at his own desire;
If he be fed over well he will disobey;
And, in hap, cast his master in the mire.
New G. Ye say true, sir! ye are no faitour;
I have fed my wife so well till she is my master.
I have a great wound on my head; lo! and thereon layeth a plaster;
And another—there! I piss my peson.
And my wife were your horse, she would you all to-samne.
Ye feed your horse in measure: ye are a wise man!
I trow and ye were the king's palfry-man,
A good horse should be gesumme.
Man. Where speaks this fellow? will he not come near?
Mer. All too soon, my brother! I fear me for you.
He was here right now—by Him that bought me dear!—
With other of his fellows; they can much sorrow.
They will be here right soon, if I out depart.
[Pg 13] Think on my doctrine! that shall be your defence;
Learn while I am here! set my words in heart!
Within a short space I must needs hence.

[Now-a-days and Nought return.]

Now. The sooner the liever; and that be even anon!
I trow your name is Do-little—ye be so long from home;
If ye would go hence we shall come, everyone,
Mo than a good sort!
Ye have liever, I dare well say!
To them ye will go forth your way—
Men have little dainty of your play
Because ye make no sport.
Nought. Your pottage shall be for-cold, sir! when will ye go dine?
I have seen a man lost twenty nobles in as little time;
Yet it was not I, by saint Quintin!
For I was never worth a potful a' worts sithen I was born.
My name is Nought; I love well to make merry;
I have be sithen with the common tapster of Bury.
I played so long the fool that I am even very weary:
Yet shall I be there again, to-morrow. [Exeunt.
Mer. I have much care for you, my own friend!
Your enemies will be here anon; they make their avaunt.
Think well in your heart—your name is Mankind—
Be not unkind to God, I pray you! be His servant!
Be steadfast in condition! see ye be not variant!
Lose not, through folly, that is bought so dear.
God will prove you soon; and, if that ye be constant,
[Pg 14] Of His bliss perpetual ye shall be partner.
Ye may not have your intent at your first desire;
See the great patience of Job in tribulation:
Like as the smith trieth iron in the fire,
So was he tried by God's visitation.
He was of your nature, and of your fragility:
Follow the steps of him, my own sweet son!
And say, as he said, in your trouble and adversity:
Dominus dedit, Dominus abstulit, sicut sibi placuit; sit nomen Domini benedictum!
Moreover, in special, I give you in charge:
Beware of New Guise, Now-a-days and Nought!
Nice in their array, in language they be large;
To pervert your conditions all their means shall be sought.
Good son! intermise yourself not in their company!
They heard not a mass thi[s] twelvemonth, I dare well say;
Give them none audience! they will tell you many a lie;
Do truly your labour, and keep your holyday!
Beware of Titivillus—for he leseth no way—
That goeth invisible and will not be seen;
He will rond in your ear, and cast a net before your eyne;
He is worst of all: God let him never thene!
If ye displease God, ask mercy anon;
Else Mischief will be ready to brace you in his bridle.
Kiss me now, my dear darling! God shie[l]d you from your fone!
Do truly your labour, and be never idle!
The blessing of God be with you, and with all these worshipful men!
[Pg 15]
Man. Amen! for saint Charity, Amen!
Now, blessed be Jesu! my soul is well satiate
With the mellifluous doctrine of this worshipful man.
The rebellion of my flesh, now it is superate,
Thanking be [to] God, of the cunning that I can.
Here will I sit, and tittle in this paper
The incomparable estate of my promotion.
Worshipful Sovereigns! I have written here
The glorious remembrance of my noble condition,
To have remo[r]se and memory of myself: thus written it is
To defend me from all superstitious charms:
Memento, homo, quod cinis es, et in cinerem reverteris.
Lo! I bear on my breast the badge of mine arms.

[New Guise enters, but remains in the background.]

New G. The weather is cold; God send us good fires!
Cum sancto sanctus eris, et cum perverso, perverteris.
Ecce quam bonum et quam jocundum, quod the devil to the friars,
Habitare fratres in unum.
Man. I hear a fellow speak; with him I will not mell.
This earth with my spade I shall assay to delve;
To eschew idleness I do that mine own self;
I pray God send it His fusion!

[Enter Now-a-days and Nought.]

Now. Make room, sirs, for we have be long!
We will come give you a Christmas song.
[Pg 16]
Nought. Now, I pray all the yemandry, that is here,
To sing with us with a merry cheer:
[Nought sings.

It is written with a coal, it is written with a coal
New G. and Now. It is written with a coal, it is written, etc.
Nought. He that shitteth with his hole, he that shitteth with his hole
New G. [and] Now. He that shitteth with his hole, etc.
Nought. But he wipe his arse clean, but he, etc.
New G. [and] Now. But he wipe his arse clean, but he, etc.
Nought. On his breech it shall be seen, on his breech, etc.
New G. [and] Now. On his breech it shall be seen, on his breech, etc.
Cantant omnes. Holyke, holyke, holyke! holyke, holyke, holyke!
New G. Hey, Mankind! God speed you with your spade!
I shall tell you of a marriage:
I would your mouth and his arse, that is made,
Were married junctly together!
Man. Hie you hence, fellows! with breeding;
Leave your derision and your japing!
I must needs labour; it is my living.
Now. What, sir! we came but late hither—
Shall all this corn grow here
That ye shall have the next year?
If it be so, corn had need be dear;
Else ye shall have a poor life.
[Pg 17]
Nought. Alas, good father! this labour fretteth you to the bone;
But, for your crop I take great moan;
Ye shall never spend it alone—
I shall assay to get you a wife.
How many acres suppose ye here, by estimation?
New G. Hey! how ye turn the earth up and down!
I have be, in my days, in many good town,
Yet saw I never such another tilling!
Man. Why stand ye idle? it is pity that ye were born!
Now. We shall bargain with you; and nother mock nor scorn—
Take a good cart in harvest, and load it with your corn,
And what shall we give you for the leaving?
Nought. He is a good, stark labourer; he would fain do well—
He hath met with the good man, Mercy, in a shroud cell:
For all this, he may have many a hungry meal.
Yet, well ye see, he is politic:
Here shall be good corn; he may not miss it;
If he will have rain, he may overpiss it;
And if he will have compos[t] he may overbliss it
A little, with his arse like.
Man. Go, and do your labour! God let you never thee!
Or, with my spade, I shall you ding, by the holy Trinity!
Have ye none other man to mock, but ever me?
Ye would have me of your set?
Hie you forth, lively! for hence I will you driffe!

[Mankind belabours them with his spade.

[Pg 18]

New G. Alas, my jewels! I shall be shent of my wife!
Now. Alas! and I am like never for to thrive;
I have such a buffet!
Man. Hence, I say, New Guise, Now-a-days, and Nought!
It was said beforn: all the means shall be sought
To pervert my conditions and bring me to nought—
Hence, thieves! ye have made many a leasing!
Nought. Marred I was for cold, but now am I warm!
Ye are evil advised, sir! for ye have done harm.
By Cock's body sacred! I have such a pain in my arm
I may not change a man a farthing!
Man. Now, I thank God, kneeling on my knee:
Blessed be His name! He is of high degree.
By the aid of His grace, that He hath sent me,
Three of mine enemies I have put to flight; [Shows his spade.
Yet this instrument, sovereigns! is not made to defend—
David saith: Nec in hasta, nec in gladio, saluat Dominus.
Nought. No, marry! I beshrew you! it is in spadibus!
Therefore, Christ's curse come on your headibus,
To send you less might! [They go out.
Man. I promit you, these fellows will no more come here;
For some of them, certainly, were somewhat too near!
My father, Mercy, advised me to be of a good cheer,
And again my enemies manly for to fight.
[Pg 19] I shall convict them, I hope, every one—
Yet I say amiss; I do it not alone—
With the help of the grace of God I resist my fone
And their malicious heart.
With my spade I will depart, my worship[f]ul sovereigns!
And live ever with labour, to correct my insolence.
I shall go fet corn for my land; I pray you of patience;
Right soon I shall revert. [Exit.

[Enter Mischief.]

Mis. Alas, alas! that ever I was wrought!
Alas! the while I [am] worse than nought!
Sithen I was here, by Him that me bought!
I am utterly undone!
I, Mischief, was here, at the beginning of the game,
And argued with Mercy; God give him shame!
He hath taught Mankind, while I have be vane,
To fight manly again his fone;
For, with his spade—that was his weapon—
New Guise, Now-a-days, Nought hath [he] all to-beaten:
I have great pity to see them weeping.
Will ye list? I hear them cry!

[New Guise, Now-a-days, and Nought enter.]

Alas, alas! come hither! I shall be your borrow.
Alack, alack! veni, veni! Come hither, with sorrow!
Peace, fair babies! ye shall have a napple to-morrow:
Why greet you so, why?
New G. Alas, master! alas my privity!

[Commences to untruss.

Mis. A! where? alack! fair babe, ba me!
Abide! too soon I shall it see!
Now. Here, here! see my head, good master!
[Pg 20]
Mis. Lady, help! silly darling! veni, veni!
I shall help thee of thy pain;
I shall smite off thy head, and set it on again.
Nought. By our Lady, sir! a fair plaster!
Will ye off with his head? it is a shrewd charm!
As for me I have none harm;
I were loth to forbear mine arm.
Ye play: in nomine Patris, chop!
New G. Ye shall not chop my jewels, and I may!
Now. Yea, Christ's cross! will ye smite my head away?
There! we're on anon; out! ye shall not assay—
I might well be called a fop!
Mis. I can chop it off, and make it again.
New G. I had a shrewd recumbentibus, but I feel no pain.
Now. And my head is all safe and whole again.
Now, touching the matter of Mankind,
Let us have an interlection sithen ye be come hither;
It were good to have an end.
Mis. Ho, ho! a minstrel! know ye any aught?
Nought. I can pipe on a Walsingham whistle, I, Nought, Nought.
Mis. Blow apace! thou shall bring him in with a flowte.

[Titivillus roars from outside.

Titivillus. I come with my legs under me!
Mis. Ho! New Guise, Now-a-days, hark! or I go:
When our heads were together I spake of "Si didero."
New G. So! go thy way! we shall gather money unto;
Else there shall no man him see.
[Pg 21] Now, ghostly to our purpose, worshipful sovereigns!
We intend to gather money, if it please your negligence,
For a man with a head that [is] of great omnipotence—
Now. Keep your tail! in goodness, I pray you, good brother!—
He is a worshipful man, sirs, saving your reverence!
He loveth no groats, nor pence, nor two pence;
Give us red royals if ye will see his abominable presence!
New G. Not so! ye that mow not pay the tone, pay the tother—
At the good man of this house first we will assay!
God bless you, master! ye say us ill, yet ye will not say nay.
Let us go by and by, and do them pay!
Ye pay all alike? well mu[s]t ye fare!
Nought. I say, New Guise, Now-a-days!
Estis vos pecuniatus?
I have cried a fair while, I beshrew your patus!
Now. Ita vere magister; come forth now, your gatus!
He is a goodly man, sirs! make space and beware!

[Enter Titivillus dressed devilwise, net in hand.]

Titi. Ego sum dominantium dominus, and my name is Titivillus!
Ye that have good horse, to you I say, Caveatis!
Here is an able fellowship to trise him out at your gates.

[Loquitur ad New Guise.

Ego probo sic: sir New Guise, lend me a penny!
New G. I have a great purse, sir! but I have no money:
By the mass! I fail two farthings of an half-penny;
[Pg 22] Yet had I ten pounds this night that was.

[Loquitur ad Now-a-days.

Titi. What is in thy purse? thou art a stout fellow!
Now. The devil have [thee]! while I am a clean gentleman
I pray God I be never worse stored than I am!
It shall be otherwise, I hope, or this night pass.

[Loquitur ad Nought.

Titi. Hark now, I say! thou hast many a penny?
Nought. No[n] nobis, Domine, non nobis; by saint Denis!
The devil may dance in my purse for any penny;
It is as clean as a bird's arse.
Titi. Now I say, yet again, Caveatis!
Here is an able fellowship to trise them out of your gates.
Now, I say, New Guise, Now-a-days, and Nought,
Go and search the country, anon, that be sought!
Some here, some there—what if ye may catch aught—
If ye fail of horse, take what ye may else!
New G. Then speak to Mankind for the recumbentibus of my jewels!
Now. Remember my broken head in the worship of the five vowels!
Nought. Yea, good sir! and the sitica in my arm—
Titi. I know full well what Mankind did to you;
Mischief hat[h] informed [me] of all the matter through;
I shall venge your quarrel, I make God a vow!
Forth! and espy where ye may do harm!
Take W[illiam] Fide if ye will have any mo—
I say, New Guise! whither art thou advised to go?
[Pg 23]
New G. First, I shall begin at m[aster] Huntington of Sanston;
From thence I shall go to William Thurlay of Hanston,
And so, forth to Pichard of Trumpington:
I will keep me to these three.
Now. I shall go to William Baker of Walton;
To Richard Bollman of Gayton;
I shall spare Master Wood of Fulbourn:
He is a noli-me-tangere!
Nought. I shall go to William Patrick of Massingham;
I shall spare Master Allington of Bottisham,
And Hammond of Swaftham,
For dread of In manus tuas queck.
Fellows, come forth! and go we hence together!
New G. Sith we shall go, let us see well where and whither;
If we may be take, we come no more hither;
Let us con well our neck-verse that we have not a check.
Titi. Go your way—a devil way—go your way, all!
I bless you with my left hand: foul you befall!
Come again, I warn, as soon as I you call,
A[nd] bring your advantage into this place!

[They go out and leave Titivillus.

To speak with Mankind I will tarry here this tide,
And assay his good purpose for to set aside;
The good man, Mercy, shall no longer be his guide:
I shall make him to dance another trace!
Ever I go invisible—it is my jet—
And before his eye, thus, I will hang my net
To blench his sight; I hope to have his foot met.
[Pg 24] To irk him of his labour I shall make a frame:
This board shall be hid under the earth, privily;
His spade shall enter, I hope, unreadily.
By then he hath assayed he shall be very angry,
And lose his patience, pain of shame!
I shall menge his corn with drawk and with darnel;
It shall not be like to sow nor to sell—
Yonder he cometh: I pray of counsell;
He shall ween grace were wane.

[Enter Mankind.]

Man. Now, God, of His mercy, send us of His sonde!
I have brought seed here to sow with my lond;
While I over-delve it, here it shall stond.
In nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus sancti! now I will begin.
This land is so hard, it maketh unlusty and irk;
I shall sow my corn at winter, and let God work.
Alas! my corn is lost; here is a foul work!
I see well, by tilling, little shall I win;
Here I give up my spade, for now and for ever.

[Here Titivillus goes out with the spade.

To occupy my body, I will not put me in dever;
I will hear my evensong here or I dissever.
This place I assign as for my kirk;
Here, in my kirk, I kneel on my knees:
Pater noster, qui es in celis

[Pg 25]

[Enter Titivillus.]

Titi. I promise you I have no lead on my heels;
I am here again to make this fellow irk.
Whist! peace! I shall go to his ear and tittle therein—

[Goes to Mankind.

A short prayer thirleth heaven—of thy prayer blin!
Thou art holier than ever was any of thy kin:
Arise, and avent thee! nature compels!
Man. I will into thi[s] yard, sovereigns! and come again soon;
For dread of the colic, and eke of the stone,
I will go do that needs must be done;
My beads shall be here for whosomever will come. [Mankind goes out.
Titi. Mankind was busy in his prayer, yet I did him arise;
He is conveyed, by Christ! from his divine service.
Whither is he? trow ye? I-wis, I am wonder-wise:
I have sent him forth to shit lesings.
If ye have any silver, in hap pure brass,
Take a little pow[d]er of Paris and cast over his face;
And even in the owl-flight let him pass—
Titivillus can learn you many pretty things!
I trow Mankind will come again soon,
Or else, I fear me, evensong will be done:
His beades shall be triced aside, and that anon.
Ye shall [see] a good sport if ye will abide—
Mankind cometh again; well fare he!
I shall answer him ad omnia quare.
[Pg 26] There shall he set abroach a clerical maller;
I hope of his purpose to set him aside.

[Re-enter Mankind.]

Man. Evensong hath be in the saying, I trow, a fair while;
I am irk of it; it is too long by one mile.
Do way! I will no more, so oft, on the church stile;
Be as it may, I shall do another.
Of labour and prayer, I am near irk of both;
I will no more of it though Mercy be wroth.
My head is very heavy; I tell you, forsooth!
I shall sleep, full my belly and he were my brother.

[Mankind sleeps and snores.

Titi. And ever ye did, me keep now your silence!
Not a word! I charge you, pain of forty pence!
A praty game shall be showed you or ye go hence.
Ye may hear him snore; he is sad a-sleep.
Whist! peace! the devil is dead! I shall go rond in his ear:
Alas, Mankind, alas! Mercy [has] stolen a mare;
He is run away from his master, there wot no man where;
Moreover, he stale both a horse and a neat.
But yet, I heard say, he brake his neck as he rode in France;
But I think he rideth over the gallows, to learn for to dance,
Because of his theft: that is his governance.
Trust no more on him; he is a marred man!
Mickle sorrow with thy spade beforn thou hast wrought;
Arise, and ask mercy of New Guise, Now-a-days, and Nought!
[Pg 27] They come! Advise thee for the best; let their good will be sought;
And thy own wife brethel, and take thee a leman!
Farewell, everyone! for I have done my game;
For I have brought Mankind to mischief and to shame.

[Titivillus goes out.

Man. Whoop! ho! Mercy hath broken his neckercher, a vows!
Or he hangeth by the neck high up on the gallows.
Adieu, fair master! I will haste me to the ale-house,
And speak with New Guise, Now-a-days, and Nought;
A[nd] get me a leman with a smattering face.

[Enter New Guise.]

New G. Make space! for Cock's body sacred, make space!
Aha! well! on! run! God give him evil grace!
We were near saint Patrick's way, by Him that me bought!
I was twitched by the neck; the game was begun;
A grace was; the halter brast asunder—Ecce signum!
The half is about my neck: we had a near run!
"Beware!" quod the good wife when she smote off her husband's head—"beware!"
Mischief is a convict, for he could his neck-verse—
My body gave a swing when I hung upon the casse.
Alas! who will hang such a likely man, and a fierce,
For stealing of an horse? I pray God give him care!
Do way this halter! what [the] devil doth Mankind here? with sorrow!—
Alas, how my neck is sore, I make avow!
[Pg 28]
M[an]. Ye be welcome, New Guise! Sir! what cheer with you?
New G. Well, sir! I have no cause to mourn.
M[an]. What was there about your neck? so God you amend!
New G. In faith! saint Audrey's holy bend;
I have a little dishele, as it please God to send,
With a running ringworm.

[Enter Now-a-days.]

Now. Stand, aroom! I pray thee, brother mine!
I have laboured all this night; when shall we go dine?
A church, here beside, shall pay for ale, bread, and wine;
Lo! here is stuff will serve.
New G. Now, by the holy Mary! thou art better merchant than I!

[Enter Nought.]

Nought. Avaunt, knaves! let me go by!
I can not geet, and I should starve.

[Enter Mischief.]

Mis. Here cometh a man of arms; why stand ye so still?
Of murder and manslaughter I have my belly fill.
Now. What, Mischief! have ye been in prison? and it be your will,
Meseemeth ye have sco[u]red a pair of fetters.
Mis. I was chained by the arms; lo! I have them here.
The chains I brast asunder and killed the jailor;
Yea, and his fair wife halsed in a corner:
A! how sweetly I kissed that sweet mouth of hers!
[Pg 29] When I had do, I was mine own bottler;
I brought away with me both dish and doubler.
Here is enou' for me: be of good cheer!
Yet, well fare the new che[vi]sance!
Man. I ask mercy of New Guise, Now-a-days, and Nought;
Once, with my spade, I remember that I fought;
I will make you amends if I hurt you aught,
Or did any grievance.
New G. What a devil liketh thee to be of this disposition?
Man. I dreamt Mercy was hang[ed]: this was my vision;
And that, to you three, I should have recourse and remotion.
Now, I pray you, heartily, of your good will;
I cry you mercy of all that I did amiss!
Now. [Aside.] I say, New Guise, Nought! Titivillus made all this;
As siker as God is in heaven, so it is!
Nought. Stand up on your feet! why stand ye so still?
New G. Master Mischief! we will you exhort,
Mankind's name, in your book, for to report.
Mis. I will not so! I will set a court—
Ah! do it [in] forma juris d'hasard!

[Now-a-days make[th] proclamation.

Now. Oyez! oyez! oyez!
All manner of men, and common women,
To the Court of Mischief either come or send;
Mankind shall return, he is one of our men!
Mis. Nought! come forth! thou shall be steward.
New G. Master Mischief! his side-gown may be sold;
He may have a jacket thereof, and money told.
Man. I will do for the best, so I have no cold.
[Pg 30] Hold! I pray you, and take it with you.
Nought (scri[bit]). And let me have it again in any wise.
New G. I promise you a fresh jacket after the new guise.
Man. Go! and do that longeth to your office;
A[nd] spare that ye may!

[New Guise goeth out.

Nought. Hold, Master Mischief, and read this!
Mis. Here is blottibus in blottis,
Blottorum blottibus istis:
I beshrew your ears! a fair hand!
Now. Yea! it is a good running fist;
Such an hand may not be missed! [Goes out.
Nought. I should have done better, had I wist.
Mis. Take heed, sirs, it stand you on hand!
Curia tenta generalis,
In a place—there good ale is!—
Anno regni regitalis.
Edwardi millatene,
On yestern-day in Febru'ry—the year passeth fully—
As Nought hath written—here is our Tulli,
Anno regni regis nulli.
Now. What ho, New Guise! thou makest much [tarrying];
That jacket shall not be worth a farthing.

[Re-enter New Guise.]

New. G. Out of my way, sirs! for dread of fighting!
Lo! here is a feat tail, light to leap about!
Nought. It is not shapen worth a morsel of bread;
[Pg 31] There is too much cloth; it weighs as any lead.
I shall go and mend it; else I will lose my head—
Make space, sirs! let me go out!

[Nought goes out.

Mis. Mankind, come hither! God send you the gout!
Ye shall go to all the good fellows in the country about;
Unto the good-wife when the good-man is out—
"I will," say ye!
Man. I will, sir!
New G. There arn'[t] but six deadly sins; lechery is none;
As it may be verified by us brethels everyone.
Ye shall go rob, steal, and kill, as fast as ye may gone—
"I will," say ye!
Man. I will, sir!
Now. On Sundays, on the morrow, early betime,
Ye shall with us to the ale-house early, to go dine;
A[nd] forbear mass and matins, hours and prime—
"I will," say ye!
M[an]. I will, sir!
Mis. Ye must have by your side a long dapacem,
As true men ride by the way, for to unbrace them;
Take their money, cut their throats; thus over face them—
"I will," say ye!
Man. I will, sir!

[Re-enter Nought.]

Nought. Here is a jolly jacket—how say ye?
[Pg 32]
New G. It is a good jake of fence for a man's body—
Hi, dog! hi! whoop, ho! go your way lightly!
Ye are well made for to ren!
Mis. Tidings! tidings! I have espied one!
Hence with your stuff! fast we were gone!
I beshrew the last shall come to his home!
Amen! [Dicant omnes.

[Enter Mercy.]

Mer. What ho, Mankind! flee that fellowship, I you pray!
Man. I shall speak with [thee] another time; to-morn or the next day.

[To the others.

We shall go forth together to keep my father's year-day:
A tapster! a tapster! stow, statt, stow!
Mis. A mischief go with [thee]! here I have a foul fall.
Hence! away from me! or I shall beshit you all!
New G. What ho, ostler! ostler, lend us a foot-ball!
Whoop! ho! anow, anow, anow! [They go out.
Mer. My mind is dispersed; my body tir-trimmeleth as the aspen leaf;
The tears should trickle down by my cheeks, were not your reverence!
It were to me solace, the cruel visitation of death!
Without rude behaviour I can[not] express this inconvenience:
Weeping, sighing, and sobbing, were my sufficiance;
All natural nutriment, to me, as carene, is odible;
My inward affliction yieldeth me tedious unto your presence;
[Pg 33] I cannot bear it evenly that Mankind is so flexible.
Man unkind, wherever thou be! for all this world was not apprehensible
To discharge thine original offence, thraldom and captivity,
Till God's own well-beloved Son was obedient and passible:
Every drop of His blood was shed to purge thine iniquity.
I discommend and disallow this often mutability!
To every creature thou art dispectuous and odible—
Why art thou so uncurtess, so inconsiderate? alas, woe is me!
As the vane that turneth with the wind, so thou art convertible!
In trust is treason: thy promise is not credible;
Thy perversious ingratitude I cannot rehearse;
To go over, to all the holy court of heaven thou art dispectable,
As a noble versifier maketh mention in his verse:
"Lex et natura, Christus et omnia jura
Damnant ingratum; lugetur eum fore natum."
O, good Lady, and Mother of Mercy! have pity and compassion
Of the wretchedness of Mankind, that is so wanton and so frail!
Let mercy exceed justice, dear Mother! admit this supplication!
Equity to be laid over part[l]y, and mercy to prevail!
Too sensual living is reprovable, that is now-a-days,
As by the comprehence of this matter it may be specified.
New Guise, Now-a-days, Nought, with their allectuous ways
They have perverted Mankind, my sweet son, I have well espied.
[Pg 34] A! with these cursed caitiffs, and I may, he shall not long endure;
I, Mercy, his father ghostly, will proceed forth and do my property.
Lady, help! this manner of living is a detestable pleasure;
Vanitas vanitatum: all is but a vanity!
Mercy shall never be convict of his uncurtess condition;
With weeping tears, by night and by day, I will go and never cease.
Shall I not find him? Yes, I hope; now, God be my protection!
My predelict son! where be ye? Mankind! Ubi es?

[Mischief re-enters with his companions.

Mis. My prepotent father! when ye sup, sup out your mess!
Ye are all to-gloried in your terms; ye make many a lesse.
Will ye hear? he cryeth over Mankind, Ubi es?
New G. Hic, hic, hic! hic, hic, hic! hic, hic!
      *       *       *       *       *
That is to say: here! here! here! nigh dead in the crick.
If ye will have him, go and seek, seek, seek!
Seek not over long, for losing of your mind!
Now. If ye will have Mankind—ho, domine, domine, domine!—
Ye must speak to the shrive for a cepe coppus;
Else ye must be fain to return with non est inventus.
How say ye, sir? my bolt is shot!
Nought. I am doing of my needings; beware how ye shoot!
Fie, fie, fie! I have foul arrayed my foot!
Be wise for shooting with your tackles, for, God wot!
[Pg 35] My foot is foully over-shit.
Mis. A parlement! a parlement! come forth, Nought, behind!
A counsel, belive! I am afeared Mercy will him find.
How say ye? and what say ye? how shall we do with Mankind?
New G. Tush, a fly's wing! will ye do well?
He weeneth Mercy were hung for stealing of a mare.
Mischief! go say to him that Mercy seeketh everywhere;
He will hang himself, I undertake, for fear.
Mis. I assent thereto; it is wittily said, and well.
Now. I whip it in thy coat! anon it were done!
Now, saint Gabriel's mother save the clothes of thy shoon!
All the books in the world, if they had be undone,
Could not a counselled us bet.

Hic exit Mischief [apparently meeting Mankind as he is going out, and salutes him].

Mis. Ho, Mankind! Come and speak with Mercy; he is here, fast-by!
Man. A rope! a rope! a rope! I am not worthy.
Mis. Anon, anon, anon! I have it here ready;
With a tree also that I have get.
Hold the tree, Now-a-days! Nought! take heed and be wise!
New G. Lo, Mankind! do as I do! this is thy new guise;
Give the rope just to thy neck: this is mine advice.
Mis. Help thyself, Nought! lo, Mercy is here!
He scareth us with a bales; we may no longer tarry.
New G. Queck, queck, queck! alas, my throat! I beshrew you, marry!
[Pg 36] A, Mercy! Christ's copped curse go with you, and saint Davy!
Alas, my weasand! ye were somewhat too near!

[All but Mercy and Mankind go out.

Mer. Arise, my precious redempt son! ye be to me full dear.
He is so timorous; meseemeth his vital spirit doth expi[re].
Man. Alas! I have be so bestially disposed; I dare not appear;
To see your solicitous face, I am not worthy to desire.
Mer. Your criminous complaint woundeth my heart as a lance.
Dispose yourself meekly to ask mercy, and I will assent.
Yield me neither gold nor treasure, but your humble obeisance,
The voluntary subjection of your heart, and I am content.
Man. What! ask mercy yet once again? alas! it were a wild petition.
Ever to offend, and ever to ask mercy—that is a puerility.
It is so abominable to rehearse my worst transgression;
I am not worthy to have mercy, by no possibility.
Mer. O, Mankind! my sing'ler solace! this is a lamentable excuse!
The dolorous fears of my heart, how they begin to amount!
O, blessed Jesu! help thou this sinful sinner to redeem!
Nam hæc est mutatio, dexteræ Excelsi; vertit Impios, et non sunt.
Arise! and ask mercy, Mankind! and be associate to me.
Thy death shall be my heaviness; alas! 'tis pity it should be thus.
[Pg 37] Thy obstinacy will exclude [thee] from the glorious perpetuity.
Yet, for my love, ope thy lips and say, Miserere mei, Deus!
Man. The egal justice of God will not permit such a sinful wretch
To be revived and restored again: it were impossible.
Mer. The justice of God will, as I will, as Himself doth precise:
Nolo mortem peccatoris, inquit, and if he will [be] reducible.
Man. Then, mercy, good Mercy! what is a man without mercy?
Little is our part of paradise were mercy ne where.
Good Mercy! excuse the inevitable objection of my ghostly enemy;
The proverb saith: the truth tryeth thyself. Alas! I have much care!
Mer. God will not make you privy unto His last judgment:
Justice and equity shall be fortified, I will not deny;
Truth may not so cruelly proceed in his straight argument
But that mercy shall rule the matter, without controversy.
Arise now, and go with me in this deambulatory.
Incline your capacity; my doctrine is convenient.
Sin not in hope of mercy; that is a crime notory;
To trust overmuch in a prince, it is not expedient.
In hope, when ye sin, ye think to have mercy—beware of that adventure!
The good Lord said to the lecherous woman of Canaan—
The holy gospel is the authority, as we read in Scripture—
"Vade! et jam amplius noli peccare!"
[Pg 38] Christ preserved this sinful woman taken in advoutry;
He said to her these words: "Go, and sin no more!"
So to you; Go, and sin no more! Beware of vain confidence of mercy!
Offend not a prince on trust of his favour! as I said before.
If ye feel yourself trapped in the snare of your ghostly enemy,
Ask mercy anon: beware of the continuance!
While a wound is fresh it is proved curable by surgery;
That, if it proceed over long, it is cause of great grievance.
Man. To ask mercy and to have—this is a liberal possession:
Shall this expeditious petition ever be allowed, as ye have in sight?
Mer. In this present life mercy is plenty, till death maketh his division;
But when ye be go, usque ad minimum quadrantem—ye sha[ll] reckon this right.
Ask mercy and have, while the body with the sou[l] hath his annexion;
If ye tarry till your decease, ye may hap of your desire to miss;
Be repentant here; trust not the hour of death; think on this lesson:
Ecce nunc tempus acceptabile! ecce nunc dies salutis!
All the virtue in the wor[l]d, if ye might comprehend,
Your merits were not premiable to the bliss above;
Not to the lowli'st joy of heaven, of your proper effort to ascend;
With Mercy ye may: I tell ye no fable—Scripture doth prove.
Man. O, Mercy! my suavious solace and singular recreatory!
[Pg 39] My predelict special! ye are worthy to have my love;
For, without desert and means supplicatory,
Ye be compatient to my inexcusable reproof.
A! it swimmeth my heart to think how unwisely I have wrought!
Titivilly, that goeth invisible, hung his net before my eye;
And, by his fantastical visions, sedulously sought,
By New Guise, Now-a-days, Nought, caused me to obey.
Mer. Mankind! ye were oblivious of my doctrine manitory;
I said before: Titivilly would assay you a bront.
Beware from henceforth of his fables delusory!
The proverb saith: Jacula prefata minus ledunt.
Ye have three adversaries—he is master of them all—
That is to say, the devil, the world, the flesh, and the fell;
The New Guise, Now-a-days, and Nought, the world we may them call;
And, prope[r]ly, Titivilly signifies the fiend of hell;
The flesh, that is the unclean concupiscence of your body.
These be your three ghostly enemies in whom ye have put your confidence;
They brought you to Mischief to conclude your temporal glory:
As it hath be showed before this worship[f]ul audience.
Remember how ready I was to help you; from such I was not dangerous;
Wherefore, good son! abstain from sin evermore after this!
Ye may both save and spoil your soul, that is so precious:
[Pg 40] Libere velle, libere velle! God may not deny, I wis.
Beware of Titivilly with his net, and of all his envious will;
Of your sinful delectation that grieveth your ghostly substance:
Your body is your enemy: let him not have his will.
Take your leave when ye will; God send you good perseverance!
[Man]. Sith I shall depart, bless me, father! hence then I go—
God send us all plenty of His great mercy!
Mer. Dominus custodi[a]t te ab omni malo!
In nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti.
Amen! [Hic exit Mankind.


Worship[f]ul sovereigns! I have do my property;
Mankind is delivered by my several patrociny.
God preserve him from all wicked captivity;
And send him grace, his sensual conditions to mortify!
Now for His love, that for us received His humanity,
Search your conditions with due examination!
Think and remember: the world is but a vanity,
As it is proved daily by d[i]verse transmutation,
Mankind is wretched; he hath sufficient proof;
Therefore, God [keep] you all per suam misericordiam,
That ye may be pleyseris with the angels above,
And have to your portion vitam eternam.


[Pg 41]

O liber, si quis cui constas forte queretur, Hyngham, quem monacho dices, super omnia consta[s].

[Reduced Facsimile of Title-page of "Nature," from copy now in the British Museum. C34,e,54.]

[Pg 42]


A goodly Interlude of Nature, compiled by



The Names of the Players:

Cum Privilegio

[Pg 43]


First cometh in Mundus, and sitteth down, and saith nothing; and with him Worldly Affection, bearing a gown and cap and a girdle for Man.

Then cometh in Nature, Man, Reason, and Innocency; and Nature sitteth down and saith.

Nature. Th' almighty God that made each creature,
As well in heaven as other place earthly,
By His wise ordinance hath purveyed me, Nature,
To be as minister, under Him immediately,
For th' encheson that I should, perpetually,
His creatures in such degree maintain
As it hath pleased His grace for them to ordain.
To me it longeth, by natural engendure,
Thing to continue that hath spirit of life;
Which, nor were my help, should never endure,
But suddenly perish and wax all caitiff.
Atwixt th' elements, that whilom were at strife,
I have suaged the old repugnance
And knit them together, in manner of alliance.
Eke, I have ordained the goddess Diane,
Lady of the sea and every fresh fountain,
[Pg 44] Which commonly decreaseth when she ginneth wane,
And waxeth abundant when she creaseth again.
Of ebb and flood she is cause certain;
And reigneth, as princess, in every isle and town
That with the sea is compassed environ.
I am causer of such impression
As appeareth wondrous to man's sight:
As of flames that, from the starry region,
Seemeth to fall in times of the night;
Some shoot sidelong, and some down right:
Which causeth the ignorant to stand in dread
That stars do fall, yet falleth there none indeed.
What needeth it to speak of things here below?
As fowls, beasts, and fishes in their kind;
Of trees, herbs, and stones, how they grow.
In which, men sundry and many virtuous find
One thing, be ye sure, and think it in your mind:
No manner creature may take on him the cure
Of these works, but only I, Nature.
And, plainly, there is in earth no manner thing
That is not partner of my influence;
I do provide, for every beast living,
Of natural food always sufficience;
And give them, also, a manner of prudence
Whereby they may naturally ensue
Thing that is delectable, and th' other eschew.
Who taught the cock his watch hours to observe,
And sing of courage with shrill throat on high?
Who taught the pelican her tender heart to carve
[Pg 45] For she nold suffer her birds to die?
Who taught the nightingale to record, busily,
Her strange entunes in silence of the night?
Certes! I, Nature, and none other wight.
But if that I should clepe to memory
Each strange effect, and every great marvel
That I have caused, I ensure you faithfully
That rather time than process should me fail.
It were your pain, and to me but travail
All such matters as now to bring in place;
Wherefore, I let pass them till other time and space.
But, if ye covet now to know th' effect
Of things natural, by true conclusion,
Counsel with Aristotle, my philosopher elect;
Which hath left in books of his tradition
How every thing, by heavenly constellation,
Is brought to effect; and, in what manner wise,
As far as man's wit may naturally comprise.
Wherefore, sith God, of His great largesse
Hath thus enriched me with dower of His grace,
And made me, as who saith, a worldly goddess,
Of duty I can no less do in this case
But with heart's joy and entire solace
Myself address to do His high pleasures,
And to this same move all other creatures.
Enforce you, therefore, His creatures each one
To honour your Maker with humble obeisance—
Namely, thou man! I speak to thee alone
Before all other, as chief of His creance.
Think how He hath made thee this semblance;
Pluck up thine heart, and hold thine head upright;
And evermore have heaven in thy sight.
[Pg 46] Ovid in his book, cleped The Transformation,
Among all other his fables and poesies
Maketh special mention of thy creation;
Showing how God wondrously gan devise
When He thee made, and gave to thee th' emprise
Of all this world, and feoffed thee with all
As chief possessioner of things mortal.
In token whereof He gave thee upright visage;
And gave thee in commandment to lift thine eye
Up toward heaven, only for that usage
Thou shouldest know Him for thy Lord Almighty,
All other beasts as things unworthy;
To behold th' earth with grovelling countenance;
And be subdued to thine obeisance.
But, as touching the cause specially
Wherefore I have ordained thee this night to appear,
It is to put thee in knowledge and memory
To what intent thou art ordained to be here.
I let thee wit thou art a passenger
That hast to do a great and long voyage,
And through the world must be thy passage.
Address thyself now towards this journey;
For, as now thou shalt no longer here abide,
Lo! here Reason to govern thee in thy way,
And Sensuality upon thine other side.
But Reason I depute to be thy chief guide,
With Innocency that is thy tender nourice;
Evermore to wean thee from th' appetite of vice.
Man. O Lord of Lords, my Lord God immortal!
To Thee be honour and joy ever to endure;
Whose heavenly empire shall never be final,
[Pg 47] But world without end remain stable and sure;
Whom heaven and hell and earthly creature,
With one assent, and all with one accord,
Honoureth, praiseth, and knowledgeth for their Lord.
To Thee mine head I humbly incline,
Thanking Thy grace that first hast ordained me
To be as a silly creature of Thine;
And, after that, of Thy great bounty
Thou hast me set in sovereign degree,
And given me the profits of every earthly thing,
As well of fruits as of beasts living;
And that, that is also most precious,
Thou hast me inspired with heavenly wisdom,
Whereby I may do works marvellous.
In every place, wheresoever I come,
Of each perfection Thy grace hath lent me some;
So that I know that creature nowhere
Of whose virtue I am not partner.
I have, as hath each other element
Among other in this world, a common being;
With herbs and trees continual nourishment
That is sufficient to natural living;
With sensual beasts I have a manner of knowing
Whereby I should in good things delight,
And flee the contrary of mine appetite.
And, over all this, Thou hast given me virtue
Surmounting all other in high perfection:
That is, understanding, whereby I may aview
And well discern what is to be done;
Yet, for all that, have I free election
[To] do what I will, be it evil or well;
And am put in the hand of mine own counsel.
And, in this point, I am half angelic;
Unto Thy heavenly spirits almost egal;
Albeit in some part I be to them unlike.
[Pg 48] For, they be ordained to endure perpetual;
And I, wretched body! shall have my funeral
When it pleaseth Thy grace so to provide:
Man is not ordained alway here to abide.
Wherefore, unto Thy sovereign and high estate,
Most heavenly prince! I make mine orison
Sith it hath pleased Thy noble grace algate
That I, unworthy of so great renown,
In this world shall have possession:
Thou give me grace myself to enure
As may me profit, and be to Thy pleasure.
Nature. God hath heard thy prayer, Mankind, no doubt,
In all thy requests and right full petition.
Now, forth thy journey! and look well about
That thou be not deceived by false prodition.
Let Reason thee govern in every condition;
For, if thou do not to his rule incline,
It will be to thy great mischief and ruin.
I wot well Sensuality is to thee natural,
And granted to thee in thy first creation.
But, notwithstanding, it ought to be over all
Subdued to Reason, and under his tuition.
Thou hast now liberty, and needest no main-mission;
And, if thou aband thee to passions sensual,
Farewell thy liberty! thou shalt wax thrall.
Sensuality. What, lady Nature! have I none intress
As well as Reason or Innocency?
Think ye this, lady! a good process
That they are advanced and I let go by?
Ye know right well that I ought naturally,
Before all other, to have of him the cure:
I am the chief perfection of his nature.
[Pg 49] Alas! what could the silly body do?
Or, how should it live nor were the help of me?
Certes! it could not well creep nor go;
At the leastwise it should neither feel here nor see,
But be as other insensate bodies be;
In much worse case than worms of the ground
In which unneth any token of life is found.
Meseemeth it should abhor him for to hear
That I destrained should be in any wise,
Standing that I was create to be his fere;
Of all his guiding to take the enterprise:
And now ye put me out of his service,
And have assigned Reason to be his guide—
With Innocency, his nourice, thus am I set aside.
Ye clepe him lord of all beasts living;
And nothing worthy, as far as I can see.
For, if there be in him no manner of feeling,
Nor no lively quickness, what lord is he?
A lord made of clouts, or carved out of tree;
And fareth as an image graved out of stone
That nothing else can do but stand alone.
If ye intend him to continue long
In honour, or worldly felicity,
He must needs follow his appetite among;
And conform himself to the more part.
I tell you men will have no dinty
To do service or homage to a block:
All the world will think it but a mock.
Suffer me, therefore, to have with him a room,
And to be with him as chief counsell[or];
And if he do so, I think to doom
He shall reign in the world as chief governor.
But, if Reason tickle him in the ear,
[Pg 50] Or bear him on hand the cow is wood,
He shall never be able to do earthly good.
Nat. My friend! as I said to you before,
A room shall ye have: no man saith nay;
But Reason must be preferred evermore.
For he can best lead him to the way
Of virtue and grace, whereby he may
Longest continue to God's high pleasure;
To the which end God hath ordained this His creature.
Content thyself now with Reason, my friend!
And meddle thee no further than thou hast to do.
Thou has brought many a man to a wretched end
And so thou wouldst spoil His creature also.
But whatsoever he say take no heed thereto
Without that Reason will allow the same;
For whoso doth the contrary deserveth much blame.
God and I, Nature, have set thee in better case
Than any creature under the firmament.
Abuse not, Man! abuse not thy grace
Of God Almighty that from above is sent!
Thou shalt be the first that shall repent
If ever thou flee Reason and sue folly,
When once thou feelest the smart of misery.
But, be of comfort! hardely God shall send
Both ghostly aid and worldly help also;
And I shall never fail, unto thy life's end,
To minister unto thee as me oweth to do.
Lo! yonder the world which thou must needs to:
Now, shape thee thither; there is no more to say—
Thy Lord and mine guide thee in thy way!

[Then Nature goeth out.

[Pg 51]

Sen. Well, lady Nature! leave ye me in this case?
Shall I have of you none other comfort?
By Christ! yet will I not hide my face;
For, as soon as we shall to the world resort,
I put no doubt he will me support.
He hath been my good master many a day;
And he will not see me thus cast away.
Rea. Siker thyself, man! I advise thee hardely.
Be not so passionate, nor yet so furious;
Thou tormentest thyself and wottest not why.
No well-advised body will demean him thus;
Be sure thy mind is all erroneous;
Thou takest a self will and wrong opinion
Which shall be thine and others confusion.
Sen. Yea, Reason! sir, ye speak like a noble man;
But yet are ye taken with a point oversight.
What, would ye make me stand as a lurdan,
And not speak one word for mine own right?
I see it well that if your lordship might,
By means possible, once bring it about
Yourself should be a ruler, and I but a cast-out.
Rea. A ruler? certes! and so I ought to be;
And a lord also, though ye say it in scorn.
Sens. A lord! whose lord?
Rea. Thy lord.
Sens. Nay, so mote I thee!
Thou liest! it may no longer be forborne;
Thou camest but to-night and mayst hap go to-morn.
For, if thou be as haughty as thou beginnest,
Thou shalt avoid much sooner than thou weenest.
[Pg 52]
Rea. As for mine avoidance, how soon soever it be,
It shall not skill as for this intent;
But he that first fleeth or forsaketh me
He shall have greatest occasion to repent.
It shall be to his great trouble and torment
That he hath left Reason, and sued his own folly,
That thereby is fallen to wretched penury.
But now, as touching the honour and degree
That I am ordained to, I will thou understand
That Almighty God, of His grace and bounty,
Of thee and such hath given me the overhand;
And will that I use thee as a servant,
To advise thee and reform thee when thou ginst to err;
And to clepe thee homeward if thou rail too far.
And, where thou sayst thou art so necessary
That man without thee can have no living,
As in that point we shall not much vary:
I wot thou art necessary to his being.
But, be thou sure that is not the very thing
That maketh him to appear so wondrous;
And to be, in his nature, so noble and precious.
It is a thing that doth right far exceed
All other perfections and virtues natural.
For sensuality, in very deed,
Is but a mean which causeth him to fall
Into much folly, and maketh him bestial;
So that there is no difference, in that at the least,
Betwixt man and an unreasonable beast.
But this other cometh of great tenderance
And spiritual love that God oweth to mankind,
Whom He hath created to His own semblance;
And endued with a wondrous mind
[Pg 53] Whereby he may well discern and find
Sufficient difference betwixt good and bad:
Which is to be left, and which is to be had.
Lo! this is it that doth him dignify;
And causeth him to be reputed so excellent.
And of all this the chief doer am I,
Which from Heaven into earth by God am sent,
Only for that cause and final intent
That I should this, His creature, demean and guide
For the season that he doth in this world abide.
Now, compare thy virtues and mine together,
And say which is the worthier of them two.
Sens. Which is the worthier? forsooth! I trow neither;
We be good fellows.
Rea. Nay, my friend, not so!
Thou ought to obey me wheresoever I go.
Sens. Nay! that shall I never do; for, to-day
I shall thy fellow be, look thou never so high.
And, therefore, hardely be somewhat fellow-like;
Leave thy haut conceits, and take a meetly way.
For shame of the world, man! let us not stick
At a matter of right nought, and traverse here all day.
Have me in few words, man! and hark what I say:
Meddle thou in no point that belongeth to me,
And I shall promise thee never to meddle with thee.
And, standing the nonage of this gentleman,
On my peril take no care therefore.
I shall demean it as well as I can
Till he be passed forty years and more;
And Reason then, if ye will undershore
[Pg 54] His crooked old age, when lusty youth is spent,
Then take upon you: I hold me content.
For, trust ye me! the very truth is this:
This man is put in his own liberty;
And, certainly, the free choice is his
Whether he will be governed by thee or by me.
Let us, therefore, put it to his own jeopardy,
And therein stand to his arbitrament
To which of us twain he had liefer assent.
Rea. Nay, sir, not so! I know his frailty;
The body is disposed for to fall
Rather to the worse than the better part;
But it be holpen by power supernal.
Sens. Yet, Reason! when thou hast said all,
If thou see him not take his own way,
Call me cut when thou meetest me another day.
Rea. For certain yet, according to mine office,
I must advertise and counsel him, at the least,
To haunt virtue and 'schew all vice;
And therein assist him to the uttermost;
And if he will algates be a beast,
And take none heed to my lore and doctrine,
The peril and hurt shall be his, not mine.
Inno. Sirs! I shall answer for this man, as yet
That he is maiden for all such folly
As should disdain nature, or dishonour it.
Brought up with me, full well and tenderly,
Wherefore I dare the surelier testify
For Innocency, that he is yet virgin,
Both for deed and eke consent of sin.
And longer will not I be of his acquaintance
Than he is virtuous, and of good living;
For, fleshly lust and worldly pleasance
Is, with Innocency, nothing according.
[Pg 55] But, if his behaviour and daily demeaning
Be of such draught as reason will allow,
I shall him favour and love, as I do now.
Sens. Well spoken and wisely! now have ye all done?
Or, have ye ought else to this man to say?
Rea. O, sir, yea!
Sens. Peace, no more of this disputation!
Here be many fantasies to drive forth the day;
That one chattereth like a pie; that other like a jay;
And yet, when they both have done what they can,
Maugre their teeth, I shall rule the man.
Man. O, blessed Lord! what manner strife is this
Atwixt my reason and sensuality,
That one meaneth well, and that other all amiss.
In one is sikerness, and in tother great frailty;
And both they be so annexed to me
That needest I must with one of them abide.
Lord, as Thou thinkest best for me, do provide!
For, I am wondrously entriked in this case,
And almost brought into perplexity;
Notwithstanding, thanked be Thy grace,
As I did never assent, nor agree
To things that should be contrarious unto Thee;
Of sinful deed and thought all innocent,
Subdued to Reason as his obedient.
Rea. Christ grant you therein good continuance!
To be ever of the same mind and intent.
But now, will ye call to your remembrance
For what cause ye be hither sent?
I hold it well done, and right expedient
That ye were brought unto the world's presence.
[Pg 56]
Man. Be it so! in God's name I pray you go we hence!
Rea. And will ye that I shall for you declare
Unto the world the cause of your coming,
What is your intent, and what person ye are?
Man. Yea! I would be glad that everything
Be done even after your devising.
Sens. Shall I then stand as I were tongue-tied?
Man. Yea, hardely! till Reason have said.
Rea. Sir World! it is the mind and also pleasure
Of lady Nature, as she bade us to you tell,
That ye accept and receive this her creature
With you, for a season here to dwell;
Desiring you heartily to entreat him well,
With all the favour that ye can devise;
Wherein ye shall do her great pleasure and service.
The World. Sirs! ye be welcome to us heartily.
Your message is to us right acceptable.
Be ye assured there is nothing earthly
To us so joyful, nor yet so delectable,
As to be acquainted with persons honourable;
Namely, such as ye seem to be,
Men of high honour and of great dignity.
And, as touching the message that ye have brought,
Have thereof the full mind and intent;
Assuring you that our busy thought
Shall be to do dame Nature's commandment.
And, thereunto, we will be diligent
To do her pleasures in that we may;
And so we would ye should to her say.
And where ye show unto me that this man
Is ordained to reign here, in this empery
I assent well; for, or nature began
[Pg 57] To shape the world she thought finally
To ordain man therein to occupy;
He to take upon him as mighty governor,
Having all things subdued to his power.
Wherefore, I receive greatly his coming.
Mankind, sir, heartily welcome ye be!
Ye are the person, without feigning,
That I have evermore desired to see:
Come! let me kiss you. O, benedicite!
Ye be all naked! alas, man! why thus?
I make you sure it is right perilous.
Man. I thank you; but I need none other vesture;
Nature hath clothed me as yet sufficiently.
Guiltless of sin, and as a maiden pure,
I wear on me the garment of innocency.
Inno. Yea, hardely wear that garment continually:
It shall thy body sufficiently safeguard
From stormy weather, my life to jeopard.
The World. Be peace, fair woman! ye are not very wise;
Care ye not if this body take cold?
Ye must consider this is not paradise,
Nor yet so temperate by a thousandfold.
Whoso liveth here, be he young or old,
He must suffer both fervent cold and heat;
And be out of temperance oft time in his diet.
Also, he must needs do as the world doth
That intendeth any while here to reign;
And follow the guise that now-a-day goeth,
As far as his estate may it maintain.
And who doth the contrary—I will be plain—
He is abject and despised utterly;
And standeth ever banished from all good company.
[Pg 58] Sith God, therefore, had ordained this body
To dwell here in this earthly region,
Of convenience he must himself apply
To worldly things; and be of such condition
As all men be; and leave each fond opinion
That is not approvable of wiser men than he;
To take such way it is but vanity.
Take this garment! man, do as I you bid!
Be not ashamed hardely to do it on.
So, lo! now this girdle have gird it in the mid;
And this for your head go set it upon:
By the charge of me! you be a goodly one
As ever I saw sith that I was born;
Worth a thousand that ye were beforne.
Give me your hand! be not in fear!
Sit down as ye are born to occupy this place!
I give you here authority and power
Over all thing that conceived is, in the space
Of all the earth that round is in compass,
To be as lord of every region;
And, thereof, I give you peaceable possession.
Man. Blessed be Thou, my Lord, most bounteous!
That of Thy great abundant charity
Me, Thy wretched creature, hast honoured thus
With natural gifts and worldly dignity.
Now, I beseech Thee, for Thy great pity,
Sith Thou hast set me in so noble way,
Suffer me not hereafter wretchedly to decay.
For, certes! it is mine heart's desire
So to demean me in this life present
As may be most unto Thy pleasure,
And unto nature not disconvenient.
This is my will and my chief intent;
This will I observe, Thy grace to borrow,
Though I, therefore, suffer much worldly sorrow.
[Pg 59]
Rea. Forsooth! these words be greatly to allow
If they from meek and lowly heart proceed.
Now, Mankind, sith thou hast made this vow,
Shape thee, thereafter, thy life to lead;
And let thy word be cousin to thy deed:
That is to say, do thou none otherwise
Than thou here openly to God dost promise.
Inno. Yea, sir! and ever look that ye abstain,
Not only from deed, but also from the assent;
See that ye commit neither of them twain
If ye will observe the high commandment.
For, surely ye may not be cleped innocent,
Nor guiltless of sin, as far as I can find,
If once ye assent to folly in your mind.
Mun. This is an hard word, sister, that ye have spoken;
An hard word, surely, and an heavy sentence!
But think ye God's commandment broken
For a light trifle and matter of insolence?
Alas! have ye such a spiced conscience
That will be entriked with every merry thought?
Leave it, woman! leave it! For it is nought.
[Loquitur ad ho[minem].
And man! as for you, ye shall not take that way;
That manner of observance is too hard and strait.
Ye must attempt the world; and, therein assay
Whether ye can live after that endrait.
These two folk harp both on refrait;
And ever enbusieth them to rebuke you of sin
That never was spotted, nor found guilty therein.
[Pg 60]
Take no heed of them! their words be but wind;
And, as for this time, I command them to silence.
And let us see now how prately ye can find,
By sage policy and worldly prudence,
To maintain the state, in honour and reverence,
That ye shall be in while ye in the world dwell.
Speak of this matter and ponder it well!
First, meseemeth necessary to provide
What manner folks your servants shall be;
For, surely, ye are nothing accompanied
According to a man of your degree:
Ye have here with you two persons or three
That pleaseth you happily, in the best wise;
Yet it appeareth not so to every man's guise.
What man is this?
Man. Reason, sir! my chief counsellor;
And this Innocency, my nourice hitherto;
And Sensuality that other, by whom I have power
To do as all sensate beasts do.
But Reason and Innocency, chiefly these two,
Have the whole rule and governy of me;
To whom eke is subdued my Sensuality.
Sens. For certain, sir! Reason hath done me wrong;
More than ever he shall be able to recompense.
God knoweth, sir! I thought the season very long
Till we were brought unto your presence.
But now, I pray you to annul the sentence
That Nature gave unto me by Reason's advice,
To my great hurt and utter prejudice.
And sir! I ask none amends earthly,
But that Reason may have a checkmate;
A little knack, a little pretty congy,
His haut courage some thing to abate.
[Pg 61] For, hitherto, he hath kept great estate;
And had of me the over hand and stronger:
But be not displeased! I will suffer it no longer.
Mun. Thou hast had great wrong, and that is pity;
For, if thou be the person that I take thee for,
Thou should'st be as honourable as he.
      *       *       *       *       *
Sens. Lord! ye say well; but would God ye would see
Some manner help and remedy for this evil;
And let me not alway live thus like a drivel.
Mun. Sir! ye know well that if so it were
A man should suddenly come to a strange place,
Wherein he is but alien and stranger,
He must needs be compelled, in that case,
To put himself in the favour and grace
Of some singular person, that can show him the way
Of all the behaviour and guise in that country.
So it is now that ye be hither sent;
This country, as yet, to you unknown.
In mine opinion it is expedient
To take some other counsel than your own,
Of well inured men, such as have grown
In worldly experience, and have thereof the drift,
And can best for you in time of need shift.
Homo. Certes! ye move right well and prudently;
And I am well content that it so be;
But, as yet, have I not the policy
To know which men have most ability.
Mun. Dare ye commit the matter unto me?
[Pg 62]
Homo. Yea, sir! right well; I am fully content
That all thing be done by your assignment.
Mun. Then thus I will, that above all thing,
From henceforward, ye be like and conformable
Unto other persons in all your demeaning;
Namely, to such as be companable,
Be they never so vicious or abominable;
For every man clepeth him wise
That doth after the common guise.
And, as for men that should do you service,
I know divers persons that be right honourable
That can you serve, alway point device.
In all the world be there none so able,
So wise, so politic, nor yet so profitable.
Lo! here is one of them that I speak for;
And he himself can tell you where ye shall have more.
Worldly Affection is this man's name;
He is well brained, and wondrous of invention;
A forecasting man and, payne of shame!
Ye shall not find in any Christian region
A wiser fellow in things to be done;
Specially of matters that be concerning
Worldly pleasure, that is for you according.
Suffer him, therefore, never to depart;
But, if it be for matters of great substance,
And for sensuality, I pray you with all my heart
To accept him to your favour and tendrance.
He hath been long of mine acquaintance;
And, on my faith! my heart cannot but grudge
To think that ye should use him as a drudge.
Do as he adviseth you, hardely now and then;
And despise not utterly his counsel
Think that ye be here a worldly man;
[Pg 63] And must do as men that in the world dwell.
Ye are not bound to live like an angel;
Nor to be as God, alway immutable:
Man's nature of himself is full miserable.
I have told you now my counsel and advice;
And ye have promised to be ruled thereby.
Now, let each man execute his office;
And see how wisely ye can them occupy
To increase the world, and it thereto ye must apply.
Now, address you thereto; and demean you thus:
I shall be to you ever good and prosperous.
Man. Sir! I thank you of this courtesy,
Undeserved as yet; but, be ye sure,
I shall myself endeavour busily
To do that may be to your pleasure.
And, for the season that I shall here endure,
I shall them cherish; and to my power maintain
That unto you in anywise do pertain.
The Wor[ld]. Then, to begin withal, I will advise you
To put this man from your company.
I tell you every man will despise you
As long as ye be ruled by Innocency:
To follow such counsel it is but folly;
For, he can neither good, neither evil;
And, therefore, he is taken but for a drivel.
Man. By my faith! even as ye say:
It liketh me not right well
With Innocency long to dwell;
Therefore, according to your counsel,
I will not, after this day,
With his company myself affere;
As mute as it were a grey friar.
I suppose there is no man here,
Whatsoever he be,
[Pg 64] That could in his mind be content
Always to be called an innocent.
Wherefore, it is mine intent
To do as ye advise me.
The World. Yea, hardely, do even so!
Inno. Forsooth, and I hold me well content
To depart at your commandment,
Ye shall find me obedient
Whatsoever ye bid me do.

[Here Innocency goeth out.

Sens. So, the company is well amend;
Let him go the devil of hell!
He is but a boy, I warn you well;
And, should ye follow his counsel,
Almighty God defend!
If ever ye lust to play the man
It is time that ye now began.
Marry! to play the boy, now and then,
For your disport and solace,
It forceth not though ye do
When ye may have leisure thereto;
And among I will help you also
In due time and place.
The World. Yea, that ye will indeed!
But now, sir! will ye anything
Command me before my departing?
Man. Nothing at all, to my witting;
But our Lord have you in His keeping,
And send you well to speed!

[He goeth out. Mankind calls to Worldly Affection.]

Worldly Affection, come hither! ye are politic;
And much better inured in this world than I.
I pray you dispose for me, as ye think most like,
That I may live here well and honourably.
[Pg 65]
[Wor. Affec.] Yea, sir! I shall. Doubt ye not, hardely!
If it like you to put me in so great trust,
And I trow ye shall find me true and just.
Man. I wot well I shall. Surely you be bound
To the world that hath given you so great commendation?
[Wor. Affec.] Yea, sir! some men had liever than a thousand pound
They might be commended of the same fashion.
But, sir! let pass all this commendation;
And answer to me, I pray you, fruitfully,
In that I shall move you substantially.
Sir! at few words I you exhort,
Sith that ye be come to your own,
Cast yourself to bear such a port
That, as ye be, ye may be known;
Eke it is necessary, for that behove,
That there be made some manner of purveyance
Whereby ye may bear out your countenance.
Will it like you, therefore, that I survey
And see th' extent of all your land,
And thereupon in all thee hast purvey,
Both for you and yours, all manner of viand,
With other utensils ready at your hand;
So that ye be purveyed all times, early and late,
Of each thing that belongeth to your estate?
Man. Your counsel is good; do as ye think best;
I commit all such thing to your discretion.
[Wor. Aff.] I shall do my true business, at the least
To bring all things to good conclusion.

[Pg 66]

[He maketh to go out.

Man. Abide, Worldly Affection! ye made no mention
Who should await and give attendance;
I must have mo servants whatsoever chance.
Wor. Aff. What? ye have Sensuality! ask never other counsel
Of such matter; he can you best advise.
He knoweth where all such manner persons dwell
As be most apt to do you worldly service.

[Then he goeth out.

Sens. Yea, on my peril, sir! I shall take the enterprise
Of all such matters; and, look! where I find
Any man of pleasure, on him set your mind.
Lo! will ye see—lo! here cometh one;
Even the last man that was in my thought.
Man. What is he?
Sens. Ye shall see anon.
A well-drawn man is he; and a well-taught,
That will not give his head for nought;
And, thereto goodly, as ye shall see in a day
As well-apparelled at each point of his array.

[Mankind goes aside.

[Pride.] Who dwelleth here? will no man speak?
Is there no fool nor hoddypeak?
Now, by the bell! it were alms to break
Some of these knaves' brows.
A gentleman comes in at the doors,
That all his days hath worn gilt spurs,
And none of these knaves nor cutted whores
Bids him welcome to house!
Wot ye not how great a lord I am?
Of how noble progeny I came?
My father a knight; my mother called madame;
Mine ancestors great estates.
[Pg 67] And now the livelood is to me fall
By both their deaths natural:
I am spoken of more than they all,
Hence to Paris gates.
How say ye, sirs, by mine array?
Doth it please you, yea or nay?
In the best wise, I dare well say!
By that ye know me awhile
And one thing I put you out of doubt;
I have wherewith to bear it out
As well as any man hereabout
Within these hundred mile.
Behold [the rest of the line, almost cut away, is indecipherable.]
A staring colour of scarlet red:
I promise you a fine thread
And a soft wool.
It cost me a noble at one pitch—
The scald capper sware sithich
That it cost him even as mich—
But there Pride had a pull.
I love it well to have side hair
Half a wote beneath mine ear;
For, evermore, I stand in fear
That mine neck should take cold.
I knit it up all the night;
And the daytime comb it down right;
And then it crispeth and shineth as bright
As any purled gold.
My doublet is on-laced before—
A stomacher of satin and no more;
Rain it, snow it never so sore,
Methinketh I am too hot.
Then have I such a short gown,
With wide sleeves that hang a-down—
They would make some lad in this town
A doublet and a coat.
[Pg 68]
Some men would think that this were pride;
But it is not so—ho, ho, abide!
I have a dagger by my side
Yet thereof spake not I.
I bought this dagger at the mart,
A sharp point and a tart;
He that had it in his heart
Were as good to die.
Then have I a sword or twain;
To bear them myself it were a pain;
They are so heavy that I am fain
To purvey such a lad,
Though I say it, a pretty boy—
It is half my life's joy.
He maketh me laugh with many a toy,
The urchin is so mad.
I begat the whoreson in bast;
It was done all in haste:
Ye may see there was no waste,
He occupied no great place.
Sometime he serveth me at board;
Sometime he beareth my two-hand sword—
Come forth, thou little lick-turd!
Look in thy father's face!
But, now to do that I come for,
And of these things to speak no more—
Hark, sirs! me longeth sore
To hear some novelty.
I hear say there is a great state
Come into this country late;
And is disposed algate
An householder to be.
Father's soul, sirs! ye shall understand
That, if he keep household in this land,
I will thrust in on hand,
Whosoever say nay.
[Pg 69] Whatsoever the man intend,
To appair the world or to amend,
I will be with him at that one end;
Hap what hap may!
I met Worldly Affection erewhile,
From this town scant a mile;
And he hath showed me a pretty wile,
If I may put it in ure.
He tells me that Sensuality
Begins a great ruler to be;
And, if it be so, care not for me—
The matter is cock sure!
Ay, good lord, what man is that?
Father's soul! this is some great wat.
Garcon. This is he that ye seek.
Pride. See this, brat!—
This boy is passing taunt—
Come behind, and follow me;
Set out the better leg, I warn thee!
Garcon. Yes, in the best wise trust ye me!
Allez, seigneur! allez vous avant!
Pride. Salutem to you, sir!
Man. And to you also!
Whence are ye?
Pride. I shall tell you or I go;
But, first would I speak a word, and no mo,
With this servant of yours.
Sens. With me, sir? Would ye speak with me?
Pride. Yea, fore God! are ye not Sensuality?
Sens. Yes, surely!
Pride. Yea, such a gentleman ye seem to be.
Sens. Your poor servant at all hours!

[Then Pride speaketh to Sensuality in his ear that all may hear.

Pride. Sir! I understand that this gentleman
is born to great fortunes, and intendeth
[Pg 70] to inhabit herein the country. And I am
a gentleman that alway hath be brought
up with great estates, and affeed with them;
and, if I might be in like favour with this
gentleman, I would be glad thereof, and
do you a pleasure.
Sens. Where is your dwelling?
Pride. I dwell hereby.
Sens. What is your name?
Pride. Pride!
Sens. Pride?
Pride. Yea, sikerly!
But I am cleped Worship, commonly,
In places where I dwell.
Sens. Worship, now, in faith, ye say true;
Ye be radix viciorum—root of all virtue.
Pride. Yea, yea, man! ye would say so if ye me knew.
Sens. Turd! I know you well.
Sir! ye are welcome, as I may say;
I shall bring you in service if I may;
And if one man stand not in the way.
Pride. One man? what the devil is he?
Sens. By God! one that loveth not thee,
Nor me neither.
Pride. I pray thee tell me
What manner of man he is,
And I shall give him a lift, as I guess.
Sens. Wilt thou so, doubtless?
Pride. Yea, and that within a short process—
In faith! I will not miss.
Sens. Surely I cannot spy the ways how!
Pride. Let me alone; I shall do well enow.
Acquaint me with that man, and care not thou!
The matter shall speed.
Sens. Hark, cousin! first speed this matter,
[Pg 71] And if yonder man make thee not good cheer
As any man that ever came here
Let me, therefore, be dead!
Pride. Sir! I shall tell thee how when I am in
To thy master's service; I will first begin
To set his heart on a merry pin,
And bid him make good cheer.
I will bid him think how he is create
To be a worthy potestate,
And eke that he is predestinate
To be a prince's peer.
And other things more than this:
I shall bring that heart of his
To be more haut than it is
By a deuce ace.
Specially, I will commend his wit
That no man can amend it;
And that he is able thereby to sit
As a judge in common pleas;
And when I praise him this wise
I think his heart will begin to rise
And after that utterly despise
Any opray counsel to hear;
He shall trust all to his own brain;
And then would Reason never so fain,
Though he come and such opry twain:
He shall be never thee near.
Sens. Surely this conceit is well found!
I shall bring thee in service for twenty pound.
Pride. Gramercy, brother! I think me much bound
To thee for thy courtesy.
But, sir! abide here one thing—
I will not be known that it is my seeking.
Sens. No more would I, for forty shilling:
Let me alone hardely! [Mankind comes forward.
[Pg 72]
Sens. Sir! if it please you, here is come a stranger
That never was acquainted with you ere;
Somewhat shamefaced, and half in fear
To put himself in prese;
A goodly person, be ye sure,
Both of countenance and of feature
If he were drawn in portraiture;
And a good man, doubtless!
Yea, and a wise man at all—
Will it please you that I him call
To speak with you?
Man. Bid him come!
Sens. I shall.
Sir! will ye come near? [To Mankind.
Sir! bid him welcome for the manner sake;
Another day I am sure he will crake
And say, such a gentleman did him make
Very great cheer.
Desire him for to dwell with you;
I tell you he is a man for your prow,
And knoweth the world well; I know
No man better than he.
Man. Sir! ye be welcome to this place.
Pride. I thank you, sir! but I do you trespass
To come thus homely.
Sens. Yea, a parlous case!
God wot ye are welcome hither.
On my faith, by my will
Ye shall dwell with us still.
Go near to him and talk your fill:
I leave you together.

[He goeth forth.

Man. Now, sir! what have ye to say to me?
[Pg 73]
Pride. No great thing, sir! but I come to see
And to know what manner man ye be
That all men praiseth so much.
Man. Praise! whom praise they?
Pride. Marry, you!
Man. Me?
Pride. Yea, sir! I make mine avow
They give you a praising good I know;
I heard never none such.
And, surely, ye be right worthy!
I see well now they do not lie;
And, therefore, I did me hither hie
To acquaint me with you—
But ye may say that I am bold.
Man. Nay, ye are worth thy weight of gold!
Methinketh me to you much behold;
I pray you what is your name?
Pride. My name is Worship.
Man. Worship? now, surely,
The world told me it was my destiny
To come to Worship or I die.
Pride. Truly, I am the same.
Man. Now, Worship, I pray you me tell
Your wisdom and also counsel;
Ye can advertise me passing well
In things that I have to do.
Pride. In good faith! anything that I
May do to your pleasure it is ready;
I am your own, and pray you, heartily,
That ye accept me so.
But where ye ask counsel of me
Meseemeth ye save not your honesty!
Man. Mine honesty? Wherefore, let see;
I pray you show me why!
Pride. Marry, sir! for it is right fitting
[Pg 74] That a man of your behaving
Should have alway sufficient cunning
Of worldly wit and policy
To guide himself everywhere;
And not to be led by the ear,
And beg wit, here and there,
Of every Jack-a-pie.
Ye are well complexioned, be ye sure;
And Nature hath done on you her cure
As much as upon any creature
That ever I saw with mine eye.
And, by likelihood, sir! I wis
Ye have wit according to all this;
Or else Nature hath wrought amiss:
And that is not likely.
Man. Now, certain, thanked be heaven's king!
I have a right quick understanding.
If ye show me anything
I can soon perceive it;
But I was forbid by Reason
On mine own fantasy to run,
Or to take any presumption
Of mine own wit.
Pride. Said Reason so? Marry, fie on him, knave!
It were better the hangman were in his grave
Than ever the lewd fool should have
The governance of you.
Man. Certain, Nature advised me
To follow Reason what time that she
Put me first in authority
That I stand in now.
Pride. Alas, alas, man! ye be mad—
I see well ye be but a very lad.
On my faith! I was very glad
Of your first acquaintance;
[Pg 75] And now, I forthink it utterly
That ever I knew you: fie, fie, fie!
I heard never, certainly,
Of such another chance.
Will ye draw to that fellowship?
I would ye had three stripes with a whip,
Even upon the bare hip,
If I should you not grieve.
He that would lordship enjoy,
And play ever still the old boy,
Meseemeth he doth but make a toy
And ye will me believe.
Man. Worship! for God's sake grieve ye not.
Pride. I wis ye are but an idiot—
I pray you, sir, make not me a sot;
I am no trifler!
I have been in honour heretoforne,
Ye allow the counsel of a carl born,
Before mine I have it in scorn—
It is a thing I cannot bear.
Man. Whom mean ye, Reason?
Pride. Yea, that same daw!
Man. What, is he a wise man?
Pride. He is a straw
Because he keeps you under awe;
Ye be therein blind.
Man. And so doth he, without faining;
For, hitherto, I might do nothing
But after his will and bidding:
And that groged my mind.
Pride. Groge, quotha! it is no marvel, hardely;
It shall grieve me, certainly,
As long as I am in your company
To see you demeaned in that wise.
Ye be now in good way;
[Pg 76] But, in faith! I like not your array;
It is not the fashion that goeth now-a-day,
For now there is a new guise.
It is now two days agone
Sith that men began this fashion,
And every knave had it anon;
Therefore, at this season,
There is no man that setteth thereby
If he love his own honesty.
Man. So seemeth, certainly,
That every man is fresher than I,
And I wis that is no reason.

[Here cometh in Worldly Affection and Sensuality.

Sens. Reason, quotha! no, no!
But, sir! wot ye what ye shall do?
Hardely let us two go
To some tavern here beside.
Come on! I can bring you there;
And let them alone with all this gear.
Care ye nothing for the matter;
But, let them here abide;
And ye will suffer, and let them alone,
Ye shall see them devise you a new fashion
That all the world shall wonder thereon.
Man. By God! that will I do goodly;
But, I pray you, sirs! do your diligence
For this array, and spare none expense;
And, for a while, I will go hence
And come again shortly.

[Here Man and Sensuality go out.

Wor. Aff. Brother Pride! now the weight
Of all this matter resteth in thee.
Pride. Tush! thou shalt see me devise it even straight;
It is but japes, that gear, with me.
[Pg 77] I have none other study a-days, parde!
But how I may new fashions find;
And, thereon, I set all my labour and mind.
Sir! Our master shall have a gown
That all the gallants, in this town,
Shall on the fashion wonder:
It shall not be sewed but with a lace
Betwixt every seam, a space
Of two handful asunder.
Then a doublet of the new make;
Close before, and open on the back,
No sleeve upon his arm;
Under that a shirt as soft as silk,
And as white as any milk
To keep the carcase warm.
Then shall his hosen be striped
With corselets of fine velvet, sliped
Down to the hard knee;
And, from the knee downward,
His hosen shall be freshly gard
With colours two or three.
And when he is in such array—
"There goeth a rutter," men will say;
"A rutter, huffa gallant!"
Ye shall see these fools on him gaze,
And muse as it were on a maze
New brought into the land.
Wor. Aff. Ha, ha, ha! now, by the Mary Virgin!
This will set him on a merry pin,
Even as it should be.
But ever I am in great fear
That Reason will whister him in the ear,
And turn his mind clean from this gear:
This thing feareth me!
Pride. Reason! nay, nay, hardely!
He is forsaken utterly
[Pg 78] Sith I came to his company;
He would not once appear.
Nevertheless, for a surety,
Worldly Affection, I advise thee
As shortly as ever it may be
For speed of the matter,
To bring him shortly in acquaintance
With all the company of mine affiance;
And let them give continual attendance,
Every man busily,
After the property of his office;
Then shall ye see him utterly despise
Reason's counsel, on warrantise,
And forsake him, utterly.
Sens. Nay, nay, sirs! care ye nothing
That matter is sped well and fine.
Pride. Is it so?
Sens. Yea, by heaven king!
Even as we sat together at the wine.
Wor. Aff. Thou shalt have God's blessing and mine—
But is it true?
Sens. Yea, sir! by this day!
Our master and Reason have made a great fray.
Pride. How so?
Sens. By my faith! we sat together
At the tavern, next hereby;
And, anon, who should come together
But flee[r]ing Kate and Margery,
She that beguiled you, parde! so prately
And bare away your shirt the last morning
Stead of her smock, while ye lay sleeping.
Pride. I wot whom ye mean, well I know;
But that is nothing to this purpose—
Tell on thy tale, for God avow!
Sens. I shall, anon, had I wiped my nose:
[Pg 79] Sir! when I spied them, anon I rose;
And called them unto me by name;
And, without more tarrying, anon they came;
And sat down with us, and made nothing strange,
As they be full courteous—ye know it well.
And, anon, our master's colour began to change—
Whereof it came I cannot tell;
His cheer was appalled, every deal,
And scant that he could speak to me one word;
But start him even up and rose from the board.
He said he would go lie down on a bed;
And prayed me, for the manners' sake,
That Margery might come hold his head
Which, as he told me, began to ache.
And so she hath him undertake
To make him whole, in an hour or twain,
Whensoever he hath any such sudden pain.
What it meaneth, I wot never;
But he liketh her physic so well
That I trow the devil of hell
Can not them two dissever!
Lo! this have I done; and what trow ye more?
Yet can I tell you better tiding.
Wor. Aff. What is that?
Sens. Marry! Reason, that ye two spake of before,
Came even to us as we sat so drinking;
And gave our master a heat, worth a hanging,
Because that Margery sat on his knee,
While that other whore sat talking with me.
My master saw that he could have no rest,
Nor never be rid of this controlling,
He played the man and thought it best—
And with an angry look to my seeming—
Drew out his sword without more tarrying
[Pg 80] And smote Reason so on the head
That I have great marvel but he be now dead.
Wor. Aff. Marry! then fill all the cups at once
If this be true.
Sens. Yes, by these ten bones!
I lie never a word.
Pride. Trowest thou it is no feigned strife
Betwixt them two?
Sens. No, on my life!
For, when they fought, I ran between
And cried, "Keep peace and leave debate!"
But ye would have laughed had ye seen
How I departed them; and, for all that,
Sometime I clapped Reason on the pate,
And cried "Keep the peace," as fast as I could
Till I was hoarse, I cried so loud.
Wor. Aff. But, can our master play the man now
And fare with this gear?
Sens. Yea, make God avow!
And, beware ye of one thing:
Meddle ye no more with Margery;
For, by Cock's precious body!
If our master may it espy,
Or have an understanding
That ye use her company,
I tell you he will be angry;
He is so full of jealousy
As ever I knew man.
Wor. Aff. Jealousy? peace, man, be still!
He can thereof no manner of skill.
Sens. No! but say what ye will
I am sure he can.
He is now as familiar
With bodily lust as ever ye were;
Yea! and thereto as great a swearer.
[Pg 81] When time requires
Knew I never, of his age,
A man of better courage
To do all manner of outrage
After our desires.
Sith Reason and he were thus at variance
He hath be full of such dalliance;
And hath called to his favour and acquaintance
Your kinsmen by and by—
Envy, Wrath, Gluttony, and Covetise,
Sloth and Lechery become to his service;
And utterly he hateth their contrariwise,
And that he professeth openly.
Wor. Aff. And be these folks of his retinue?
Sens. Yea, every one, I tell you true.
But, marry! their names be changed new
For to blear his eye.
I tell you he is a serefull man,
For Reason stirreth him, now and than;
And, therefore, do we what we can
It is little enow, hardely!
Sirra! there is first Pride, as ye wot well,
The sweet darling of the devil of hell:
How his name is changed ye can tell.
Wor. Aff. Yea, marry! on the best wise—
Worship I ween is now his name.
Sens. Yea, by the rood! even the same.
And Covetise, to eschew all blame,
Doth his name disguise,
And calleth himself Worldly Policy.
Wrath, because he is somewhat hasty,
Is called Manhood. Then is there Envy,
And he is called Disdain.
Gluttony, for Good Fellowship is taken;
And Sloth his old name hath forsaken,
And as fair a name hath he shapen
[Pg 82] As ever man could ordain—
He is called Ease; right comfortable to the blood,
Specially for them that lust to do no good.
And, among all other, I would ye understood
That Lechery is called Lust.
Lo! these be fair names, parde!
Both good and honest as seemeth me;
As for their conditions, what they be,
Ye know well!
Wor. Aff. Very just!
I know their conditions on the best wise
If they keep still their old guise.
Sens. Yes! that they do, on warrantise.
Wor. Aff. But yet, I have great marvel
That Covetise should dwell in his company.
Sens. By my troth, lo! and so have I.
But one thing I ensure you faithfully,
And that I have espied well;
That, hitherto, our master setteth no store
By his counsel, nor his lore.
Marry! when his head waxeth hoar
Then shall be good season
To follow Covetise and his way;
Yea, time enow another day—
Even so I heard our master say.
Wor. Aff. By my faith! he said but reason—
But all the remanent be well retained?
Sens. Yea, be ye sure it is matter unfeigned;
And wot ye who is greatly disdained
With our master now?
Pride. Who?
Sens. By God! even Shamefacedness.
When he shall do any such excess
No shame can fear him, doubtless,
I may say to you.
Pride. No! then the craft were nought.
[Pg 83] But now, sirs! well bethought,
Sith the matter is hereto brought,
It is time for me
To go and make some provision
Of garments after the new invention,
As he commanded me to be done:
Thereto must I see.
For it is committed to my negligence;
And, if he come hither while I am hence,
I pray thee excuse mine absence.
Sens. Yea, and mine also!
Pride. Why, wilt thou go with me?
Sens. Will I, quod a? yea, parde!
It is according for Sensuality
With Pride for to go.

[Sens. and Pride go out.

Wor. Aff. Now the matter is almost in good case,
After the world's mind and pleasure;
There is no more but now must I compass,
With all my wit and busy endeavour,
How it may be stablished and continued sure.
For, a little fantasy of man's own will
May quail this matter, and utterly it spill.
And if he vary again
Of scruple imagination,
Or else by the suggestion
Of the foresaid Reason,
One thing I am certain—
He will no longer me support;
And that were a shrewd crank dort.
Therefore, it is best that I resort
To my master's presence,
And see of what demeanour he is.
I am greatly to blame, I wis,
For that I saw him not or this
[Pg 84] Sith he departed hence.

[He goeth out and Reason cometh in.

Rea. O good Lord! to whom shall I complain
And show the sorrows of my mind?
And nothing for mine own cause, certain;
But only for the decay of mankind;
Which now, of late, is waxen so blind
That he hath despised and forsaken me,
And followeth every motion of his Sensuality.
What availed at the beginning
That Nature committed me to his service?
And charged me that, before all thing,
Of all his guiding I should take th' enterprise
When he lusteth not to follow mine advice,
But followeth th' appetites of his sensual affection,
As a brute beast that lacketh reason?
And yet, notwithstanding
That he doth me disdain,
I will resort to him again;
And do my labour and busy pain
To assay if I can him refrain
From such beastly living.
But, first will I stand hereby,
In secret manner, to espy
Some token of grace in him, whereby
I may discern and find
That he hath any shamefacedness
After his great surfeit and excess;
And, if it be so, doubtless,
It shall content my mind. [Reason goeth aside.

Man cometh in [followed by Wor. Affec.

Man. I say, sirs! where is Worship, can ye tell?
[Pg 85] In this place I left him last.
Wor. Aff. Sir, I warrant you he is occupied well
In ordaining your garments, full fast;
He departed from me in great haste
For that intent; and so he desired
That I would tell you when need required.
He showed me his mind or he went;
How he had devised your garment;
And, if it be made after that intent,
As he told me,
When ye wear on that vestour
Every man shall do your honour,
As becometh a man of your haviour;
And so it should be.
Man. Yea, but what will Reason say
When he seeth me in that array?
Wor. Aff. Reason? Marry! let him go play
To the devil of hell:
Ye promised me, at the beginning,
That ye would no more be under his guiding.
Man. No! but yet it were according
To have therein his counsel;
Man, without Reason, is but blind;
And, if I should speak after my mind,
I can well a difference find
Betwixt man and a beast
When he hath Reason in presence,
And duly obeyeth his law and sentence.
Wor. Aff. Why have ye such a spiced conscience
Now, within your breast,
That changeth your mind so suddenly?
I am sorry and ashamed, truly,
On your behalf!
Man. No force, hardely!
[Pg 86] Thou leadest me all wrong;
And, therefore, will I no more follow thee.
Wor. Aff. Not Worldly Affection?
Man. No, parde!
Nor yet thy brother Sensuality:
I have followed you too long.
Wor. Aff. Is that your mind?
Man. Yea, doubtless!
And now will I seek Shamefacedness,
By whom I trust I shall redress
All my misdeed.
Wor. Aff. And, sith thou wilt needs to Shame bow,
I pray God send thee shame enow.
And yet I trust, make God avow!
Once thou shalt have need
To call me again to thy service.
Man. Nay, nay, on warrantise!
Now, sirs! who can me advise
What is best to do?

[Enter Shamefacedness.]

Shame. Sir! if ye lust to have mine acquaintance
I am ready to give you attendance;
Happily my service shall you advance:
I am called Shamefacedness.
Man. By your troth! are ye the same?
Shame. Yea, forsooth! that is my name.
Almsdeeds I can atame;
And help for to repress
When ye have done offence or sin;
If ye will mercy and grace win
With Shamefacedness ye must begin:
This way must ye take.
Man. Ye be the man, without feigning,
That I wished for or ye came here;
[Pg 87] And glad am I now of your coming,
Praying you with heart entire
When I have need thus to come near.
Shame. So will I do; ye may trust it, verily!
Whensoever ye call ye shall find me ready.

He goeth out [and Reason cometh forward.]

Rea. Sir! is it your mind to do as ye say?
Man. Yea, that is it, as God me speed!
Heard ye all this matter—yea or nay?
Rea. Yes, that I did, in very deed!
Man. O ghostly Reason! I have greater need
Of your help than ever I had before:
Help me now and I shall never forsake you more.
Sith I forsook your company
I have committed much folly;
I am ashamed, certainly,
When I think thereon.
But now have I refused utterly
All such manner of company;
And thus have I done, verily!
Of mine own motion.
Rea. Then my help shall be ready as oft as ye me call;
It is my duty so for to do.
And of your offences will I make no rehearsal;
But whatsoever ye have done, hitherto,
To me ward let it pass and go:
Against God your offence is great;
Of the which matter I will not long treat.
But this comfort of me ye shall have:
If ye be contrite, as ye pretend,
God is merciable if ye lust to crave;
Call for grace and soon He will it send.
And be not in purpose hereafter to offend;
Accustom yourself in the ways of virtue,
And—be not in doubt—grace will ensue.
[Pg 88]
Man. Sir! it is my mind and intent
Hereafter to be your true obedient;
And never more to assent
To such folly again.
Rea. And, upon that condition,
I take thee unto my tuition
With all heart's affection,
Never to part atwain.
And, for this season,
Here we make an end
Lest we should offend
This audience; as, God defend!
It were not to be done.
Ye shall understand, nevertheless,
That there is much more of this process;
Wherein we shall do our business,
And our true endeavour
To show it unto you, after our guise:
When my lord shall so devise
I shall be at his pleasure.

Thus endeth the first part.]

[Pg 89]


Reason and Man come in.

Rea. I assemble the life of mortal creature
To the assiege again a strong town or castle:
In which there is much busy endeavour;
Much worldly policy; with diligent travail,
On every side, which part shall prevail
By sleight of engines, or by strong power,
That other to subdue and bring into danger.
In such case and manner of condition
Is wretched man, here in this life earthly,
While he abideth within the garrison
Of the frail carcase and caronous body;
Whom to impugn laboureth incessantly
The world, the flesh, the enemy—these three—
Him to subdue and bring into captivity.
And, for to show you what wise they us impugn,
First doth the world give us an allective
To covet riches and worldly renown,
With other vanities that be used in this life.
Next, that our flesh, which ever is in strife,
Again our spirit doth provoke and excite
Us to accomplish our sensual appetite.
The last of all is our great enemy;
Which ever hath us in continual hatred
Of old encankered malice and envy
That he oweth to us, and all the kindred
[Pg 90] Of all the ancestors of whom we do succeed;
Nor yet ceaseth his malice, unto this day,
Us to endanger in all that he can or may.
And certes! these, our said enemies,
Be of their nature so mighty and so strong
That hard it will be for us, in any wise,
Again them war or battle to underfong;
Also our garrisons and fortress to maintain long
Again their engines; without spiritual grace
We can not perform in no manner case.
Wherefore, it is to us right behovable
Busily to pray to God, that is immortal,
Beseeching Him, as He is merciable,
To have compassion and pity on us all;
And not to suffer us any wise to fall
Into such folly and utter mischance
As should them grieve and do displeasance.
Also, it behoveth on our part
To flee all such manner of occasion
As may us put in fear and jeopardy
Of their displeasure, in any condition.
Newfangleness, and other nice invention,
We must forsake in all manner wise;
And acquaint us with their contraries:
Quia contraria contrariis curantur. etc.
I tell this tale, sir! to you,
Trusting that it be not done in waste:
Ye remember, as I suppose, well enow,
How it is not fully three days past
Sith ye me promised, and bound it fast,
From that day forth to be obedient
Unto my counsel and advisement?
Man. Yea, sir! so I did, in very deed;
And yet it is my mind and intent
To follow the same—have ye no dread!
Rea. If ye do not, yourself shall repent;
[Pg 91] Now, fare ye well! for I must be absent
As for a season; and, for your comfort,
Whensoever ye call me I shall to you resort.

Then he goeth out and Sensuality cometh in.

Sens. God forbid that ever he come again!
Jesu! how may ye this life endure?
Meseemeth it should be to you a great pain,
Sith ye be of good complexion and nature,
To forbear the worldly sport and pleasure;
As ye have done now a great season,
And all by the foolish counsel of Reason.
Where is your lusty heart become
That served you so well this other day?
Now, so help me God and halidom!
I have great marvel how ye may
Live in such misery; and, this dare I say,
Without ye take some other ways,
By my troth! it will shorten your days.
And, though I say it, that were pity;
For, by Christ! and ye were gone
Many a good fellow would make great mone. [Then he weepeth.
Man. Why weep ye so?
Sens. Let me alone!
It will none otherwise be.
And ye saw the sorrowful countenance
Of my company, your old acquaintance,
That they make
For your sake—
I daresay ye would mone them in your mind
They be so loving and so kind
That I am sure
If ye endure
In this peevish opinion,
It will be their confession
[Pg 92] There is none other remedy
But, for sorrow, they shall die.
Man. Nay, God forbid they should so do!
Sens. In faith! without ye help thereto
There is none other way.
Man. I will help it in all that I may
And I wist by what mean.
Sens. Marry! call them to your company!
Man. By Saint John! I am content.
For, I may say here to thee,
Since I forsook my liberty
And did to Reason assent
I had never merry day;
But lived under awe and dread alway,
Nothing to mine intent.
Another while I will me disport
And to mine old company resort.
Sens. O then shall ye them comfort,
And your self also.
Wot ye who will be very glad?
Man. Who?
Sens. Margery!
Man. Why, was she sad?
Sens. Yea, by the mass! she was stark mad,
Even for very woe
When she heard tell of this chance;
And, because she would live in penance
Her sorrow for to quench,
She hath entered into a religious place,
At the Green Friars hereby.
Man. Yea, has'e?
Alack, good little wench!
Is it an house of strait religion?
Sens. Yea, as any that ever was bygone
Sith the world stood.
Man. Be they close nuns as other be?
[Pg 93] Sens. Close, quod a? nay, nay, parde!
That guise were not good—
Ye must beware of that gere!
Nay, all is open that they do there;
As open as a goose eye!
Man. And cometh any man into their cells?
Sens. Yea, yea, God forbid else!
It is free for everybody;
And, beside all this, they be
Ex omni gente cognite.
No nation they forsake;
Without it be beggars, going by the way,
That have never a penny to pay
For that that they do take.
And yet can I beggars thither lead
Where they shall, for lumps of bread,
Satisfy their desire:
Such drabs some there be
That require none other fee,
Not yet any other hire.
Man. Be they not wedded, as other folk be?
Sens. Wedded, quod a? no, so mot I thee!
They will not tarry therefore;
They can wed themselves alone.
"Come kiss me, John;" "Gramercy, Joan!"
Thus wed they evermore.
And it is the more to commend;
For, if the woman hap to offend,
As it is their guise,
A man may let her alone with sorrow
And wed another whore on the morrow;
Even of the same wise.
Man. Forsooth! this is a noble religion;
It stirreth me to great devotion
For to see that place—
Canst thou bring me thither, well enow?
[Pg 94] Sens. Yea, and it were midnight, I make God avow!
As dark as ever it was.
Man. But, where is Bodily Lust now?

Then cometh in Bodily Lust, with him Worldly Affection:
Sensuality standeth aside.

Bod. Lust. Marry, sir! I have seeken and sought you
This three or four hours.
Man. I make God avow!
Ye give shrewd attendance;
All this two days I could not thee espy.
Bod. Lust. Sir! ye know well that ye and I
Be never much asunder
Albeit I be from you among.
Man. And now meseemeth thou hast tarried too long,
Which is to me great wonder.
Bod. Lust. Wonder? yea, parde! for an hour or twain;
Forth for a passing while and come again—
Here is a sore matter:
When was I so long absent as now?
And yet I was for to seek you
At the other side of the water;
The place that ye wot of, parde!
Understand ye what I mean?
Man. Yea, yea!
Bod. Lust. Tell me in mine ear!
Man. Quid est Latinum propter le stewys?
Bod. Lust. What! Latin? now this of the news;
I heard never this ere:
I trow ye begin to wax shamefaced!
Man. Nay, nay, hardely! that gear is past,
Many days agone.
I am as wanton as ever I was.
[Pg 95] Bod. Lust. It were alms to hang you else—by the mass!—
By the hard neck bone.
But will ye now go with me to a place
And I shall show you the smorterst place
That ever ye saw with eyes?
Man. What thing is it? young or old?
Bod. Lust. Whatever it be, it is able to be sold:
It shall like you on the best wise.
Man. For my love let us some night be there,
At a banket or a rare supper;
And get us some wanton meat
So we may have some dainty thing—
Yet would I spend twenty shilling
Wheresoever I it get.
Bod. Lust. Nay, nay! will ye spend a couple of crowns?
And there shall no gentleman in these ten towns
Be better served than ye;
Nor be received more honestly,
As to an house of bawdry,
For a banket or a junkery,
For a dish two or three.
Man. Yes! that will I spend with all mine heart.
Bod. Lust. By your leave, I will depart
To make ready this gear.
Man. What! now, in all this haste?
Bod. Lust. Yea, fore God, sir! I am aghast
That other knaves will come thither
Before us and take up all.
Man. See thereto, I pray thee!
Bod. Lust. So I shall;
Else, fie on all together! [Then goeth he out.
[Pg 96]
Wor. Aff. Now will Margery make great mone
Because ye come not.
Man. Yea, let her alone!
I am not her bondman, parde!
She hath disappointed me or now.
Wor. Aff. Yet, on my faith, sir! and I were as you
At the least I would excuse me.
Send her word that ye in no wise
May this night keep her promise;
And, if ye do not so,
She will so mourn that, as I think,
Of all this night she will sleep no wink,
She shall be so full of woe.
Man. Yea, on my peril! take no care;
This answer will I defer and spare
Till I be certain
What answer Bodily Lust shall bring
Of this other pretty new thing
When he cometh again.
Wor. Aff. Will it please you that I go to Margery
In your stead?
Man. Marry! that were merry;
Wouldst thou serve me so?
Wor. Aff. Why, sir, by my troth! I mean but well.
Man. Yea, what thou meanest I can not tell,
But that shall thou not do.
Wor. Aff. In good faith, sir! ye may do worse;
For, while I have anything in my purse,
Or any penny to spend,
I will make her even such cheer
As I would mine own wife if she were here;
Else, God defend!
[Pg 97] Man. Yea, I thank thee for thy good will;
But as for that cheer, keep it still
Till I call thereon!
Wor. Aff. By God, sir! for good love I spake it;
And now that I see ye will not take it
I shall let it alone. [Re-enter Bodily Lust.
Man. How now? hast thou been yonder away?
Bod. Lust. Yea, sir!
Man. Et que novellys?
Bod. Lust. Je nescey.
I could not speak with her
No[r] with none of her folks.
Man. Not with one?
Bod. Lust. No! they be asleep everyone:
All that ever dwell there.
Man. How knowest thou whether they be asleep or no?
Bod. Lust. Marry! she herself told me so
When I rapped at the door.
Man. It seemeth she was not asleep then.
Bod. Lust. No! she was abed with a strange man.
Man. A mischief on her, whore!
I would this fire were in her tail, I make God avow!
Bod. Lust. That needeth not; she is hot enow;
It were more alms to get
Some cold water her fire to quench:
I tell you, it is as warm a wench
As any in all this street—
I supposed I had angered her ill.
Man. How so?
Bod. Lust. For I rang her a knil
That waked her from her sleep;
I gave her a peal for her friends' souls—
[Pg 98] A man might have heard the noise from Poules
To the farthest end of Cheap.
She saw that I would not cease but knock
And rap still at the gate;
She opened a window and put forth her head—
Hence, Forty Pence! quo' she, Jack Noble is a-bed!
This night ye come too late.
Ah! standeth the wind so cold, quod I?
K. q. tytle! we have a bry—
This gear goeth all wide.
And so I came thence a great pace
Till I came hither; lo! this is the case—
Have I not well hied?
Man. Well, man! there is no more to do;
That we cannot have we must forego;
There is none other remedy.
Lo, Worldly Affection! now mayst thou see
Thy counsel was nought that thou gavest me.
Wor. Aff. No more it was truly!
Man. Yea, I told thee as much before,
It is good to be sure evermore;
Therefore, now let us go
And resort again to our old hostess:
That is the best way now, as I guess.
Wor. Aff. Yea, hardely do so!

[Then they three go out, [Sensuality remaining,] and Pride cometh in.

Pride. Sirs! remember ye that this other day
Man promised me, even in his stead,
That I should with him dwell; and now, I hear say
The wild worm is come into his head;
So that by Reason only he is led:
It may well be so; but, I am sure
That Reason shall not alway with him endure.
[Pg 99] Methinketh that Sensuality doth not his part
According to the duty of his office;
For, nobody can better turn a man's heart,
Nor yet a readier mean devise
To put away such foolish fantasy,
Than Sensuality if he lust to assay,
For he is chief ruler when Reason is away.
Sens. [coming forward]. Yea, a ruler will I be though Reason say Nay.
Pride. Ah, Sensuality! welcome, by this day!
What, tidings good?
Sens. Yea, by my fay!
As good as can be told.
I have brought this man to his old guise.
Pride. Hast thou so?
Sens. Yea, on warrantise!
Pride. Now, forsooth! I give thee prick and praise;
Thou art worth thy weight of gold.
Of this tidings I am glad and fain;
But shall I be welcome to him again
And all our company?
Sens. Yea, hardely!
As welcome as ever ye were before.
Pride. God's blessing have thine heart, therefore;
Thus am I in thy debt, more and more.
Sens. Japes! why say ye so?
Pride. For—I speak it after my mind—
Thou art to me alway so kind.
But, where shall I our master find?
To him will I go.
Sens. He is busy—hark! in your ear—
With little Margery—ye wot where?
And, as soon as I had brought him there
I came my way apace.
And, because he should not be alone,
[Pg 100] I left with him Worldly Affection,
And other errand had I none.
Now to this place,
But even to show you what is done;
And from hence I must anon,
For to seek another companion
To give attendance.
Pride. Who is that?
Sens. Marry! Gluttony.
Our master calleth for him busily—
Sawest thou him not?
Pride. No, certainly!
To my remembrance.
Sens. I must go seek him without any tarrying—
But, Pride! I warn you of one thing
While I think thereon:
When my master and ye shall meet,
In any wise see that ye him greet
In the old fashion;
And make as though ye know nothing
Of his divers and variable dealing;
Keep that in your breast.
Ye cannot do him more displeasure
Than thereof to make reporture;
Therefore, let it rest!
To speak thereof it is high treason. [Then he goeth out.
Pride. I am glad ye warn me thus in season;
I shall be the better ware.
By this warning I shall be wise
And do as ye me advertise:
Take thereof no care. [Enter Sloth.
Sloth. Will ye be wise, quod a? marry! that is a thing—
By God! ye had need to have better warning
Or ye bring that about.
[Pg 101]
Pride. What, brother Sloth! from whence comest thou?
Sloth. Straight from my bed, I make God avow!
Mine eyes be almost out
For lack of sleep—but this, sir! to you:
Methought ye called me Sloth, right now;
Peace, no more of that!
I have a new name as well as ye.
Pride. What is that? Ease?
Sloth. Yea, parde!
But it forceth not
While our master is not present.
Between us twain I am content
Call me what ye will—
But where is our master?
Pride. Wottest thou ne'er?
Sloth. No!
Pride. No more do I.
Sloth. There, there, there!
Thou shalt dwell with me still;
Thou art as good a waiter as I.
Pride. I shrew the better of us both, hardely!
But, surely we do not well;
We shall not continue with yonder man
But we await better, now and than.
Therefore, by my counsel,
Let us twain go together
To seek our master.
Sloth. But wottest thou whither
We shall now go
To find our master?
Pride. I shall assay.
Thou shalt see me guess the way;
And, happily, find him too.
Now must I to the stewes, as fast as I may,
To fetch this gentleman; but, sirs! I say,
[Pg 102] Can any man here tell me the way?
For I came never there.
Ye know the way, parde! of old;
I pray thee tell me which way shall I hold—
Will ye see this whoreson cuckold?
I trow he cannot hear—
Now it were alms to clap thee on the crown!

[Then cometh in Man and Worldly Affection.

Man. Why, be there any cuckolds in town?
Pride. Yea, I durst hold thereon my gown
That there be a score;
But, fore God! I cry you mercy;
For, by my faith! I wist you not so nigh.
Had I wist it I ensure you, faithfully,
That word I would have forbore.
Man. No force, hardely! it toucheth not me—
But worship! tell me, where have ye be?
Methinketh long sith I you see:
Pride. Sir! it is no marvel.
Bade ye not me, the last day,
To go purvey for your array,
And ye remember well.
Man. Yea, fore God! have ye done the same?
Pride. Yea, by the rood! else were I to blame.
All thing is ready, in pain of shame,
Else I quit me ill.
The tailor told me yester night
That all your garments were ready dight—
Will ye go thither and have a sight?
Man. Yea, marry! with a good will.
Sloth. Will ye that I go with you also?
Man. I wot never whether ye may attend thereto;
For ye do nothing
But even after your own sweet will.
[Pg 103]
Sloth. Why should I ever wait nay that I nill?
For, to be a king,
I may not endure continual business.
I was never used thereto; doubtless
I should not live a year
If I followed you, I am sure;
Ye stir and labour out of measure:
I saw never your peer:
Ye ween there can nothing be do
But if ye put your hand thereto;
And I wis that is no need.
Ye have servants, that be true and just,
If it would like you to put them in trust,
And quit well their meed.
What should I attend you for to please,
When I see well ye set by none ease,
Which belongeth to me?
Man. Why, Ease! what meaneth thee thus to say?
I do but eat, drink, sleep, and play,
And none other labour, parde!
Sloth. Yea, ye may say what ye will
But I can never see you idle,
And quiet as ye should be.
Your body laboureth as doth an hackney
That beareth the burden every day,
That pity it is to see;
And your mind, on that other side,
Is never idle, nor unoccupied.
I wis it grieveth me
To see you demeaned that wise:
I trow ye be set all on covetise!
Man. Covetise? nay, let be!
It is a thing of greater cure
That sticketh in my mind, be thou sure!
Sloth. So methought, by the rood!
I wist as much there was something,
[Pg 104] By your lowering cheer and your sighing,
That was not all thing good—
But, what is the matter? I pray you, heartily!
Man. I wis thou canst not devise the remedy
With all the wit thou hast.
But this is the case, to tell it shortly:
A thing was told me as I came hereby
How Reason purveyeth fast,
And maketh very great labour and ordinance
To dash us all out of countenance;
And, for that purpose,
He hath gathered a great company.
Sloth. What to do?
Man. I wot ne'er I.
But, as I suppose,
It is to bring me in captivity;
And to take from me my liberty—
So he hath oft said.
Pride. Fear ye that matter?
Man. Nay, never a deal!
But I care for it, wit ye well,
Yet am I not afraid.
For I will withstand it proudly;
And, sirs! I trust ye will stand thereby
When it shall be need.
Pride. Yea, by the way that God went!
Or he have of you his intent
First shall I bleed
The best blood that is in this carcase.
Man. Well, Ease! go thy way hence, apace,
And make therein good speed.
Call my company all together,
And bid them every man come hither
That is with me affeed.
Sloth. Marry, sir! that shall be do. [Then he goeth out.
[Pg 105] Man. Worship! in the meantime let us go
To see my new apparel.
Pride. Will ye so? Now, for your lady's sake,
Go do it on you; and I undertake
It shall become you well.
Man. Worldly Affection! abide thou here
For I will go do on this new gear
As Worship doth me counsel.

[Then Man and Pride goeth out.

Wor. Aff. Marry, I shall! with all mine heart!
This good fire and I will not depart;
For very cold mine hands do smart:
It maketh me woe-begone.
Get me a stool! here! may ye not see?
Or else a chair will it not be—
Thou pild knave! I speak to thee;
How long shall I stand? [Enter Gluttony.
Glut. Let him stand, with a foul evil!
[The lower margin is shaved off] the devil
Will ye see—lo! every drivel,
Nowadays I warrant,
Must command as he were a king:
Let him stand on his feet with breeding.
Wor. Aff. What, Gluttony! I can tell thee one thing:
In faith you will be shent!
Glut. Why?
Wor. Aff. My master hath sent Sensuality
To seek thee all about the country—
Spakest thou not with him?
Glut. Yes, parde!
I know all his intent;
And, thereupon, I am come here
For to await; but wottest thou where
Our master is now?
[Pg 106]
Wor. Aff. Nay, I wot ne'er;
I am not very certain
But Pride and he together be gone.
He said he would come again, anon,
Within an hour or twain.
Tarry thou here, and go not away!
I will go break my fast and I may,
For I ate never a morsel this day. [Then he goeth out.
Glut. Marry! that is a thing:
Go when thou wilt, I will abide.
My stomach he shall not rule or guide
That is now fasting—
Nay, of all thing earthly I hate to fast;
Four times a day I make repast;
Or thrice as I suppose.
And, when I am well fed
Then get I me to a soft bed
My body to repose;
There take I a nap or twain.
Up I go straight and to it again;
Though nature be not ready,
Yet have I some meat of delight,
For to provoke th' appetite
And make the stomach greedy.
After all this needs I must
Sometime follow the wanton lust

[This line is shaved off at the foot of the page.

For hot drinks and delicate refection
Causeth fleshly insurrection:
Ye know it as well as I. [Man entereth.
Man. Troth! as ye say, I know it well.
Glut. What gentleman is this, can ye tell?
Bod. Lust. Wottest thou never?
Glut. No, by the bell!
I saw him never before.
[Pg 107]
Bod. Lust. Is it our master?
Glut. Nay, by the rood!
It is not he; wouldst thou make me wood?
Man. Yes, I am the same.
Glut. I cry you mercy! I see it well now;
Before, I knew you not, I make God avow!
In earnest nor in game.
Man. Why? Because I have changed mine array?
Glut. For that cause, trow ye? nay, nay!
That is not the thing
That can deceive me, be ye sure.
But, I pray you, who hath had you in cure
Since my last departing?
Man. By my faith! a little season
I followed the counsel and diet of Reason.
Glut. There went the hare away!
His diet, quod a! it may be, verily:
For ye be haltered marvellously—
Altered, I would say.
Alas! the while had ye no meat
As long as ye were under his diet?
Man. Meat? yes, I had some,
Without it were on fasting days;
Then he withdrew my supper always
And gave me never a crumb.
Glut. No force, hardely; why would ye then
Favour him as ye did like a madman?
Ye look now as it were a ghost.
Had ye dwelt with him till this day
Ye had been pined even away,
As ye be now almost:
Your flesh is gone every deal—
A vengeance on the morsel
That is left thereon!
Bod. Lust. Now, talk of the remedy.
[Pg 108] Glut. Marry! now must he eat and drink fast;
Other remedy is there none.
Bod. Lust. Yea, but where is the meat? now let us see!
Glut. Ye are passing hasty, benedicite!
First must ye go
Whereas provision thereof is made;
Let us go thither and it shall be had.
Man. But what is the mistress of the inn?
A wedded woman or a virgin?
Glut. Neither of both, I wis!
Bod. Lust. No! but for a maiden she goeth.
Glut. Yea, fore God! that she doth;
But yet she is none, by Jis!
Bod. Lust. No, no! what then?
Glut. I wis I not; but, as men clatter,
They say she is innupta mater,
Hardely an holy woman.
Man. Well, thither we will! go we hence!
Bod. Lust. Sir! ye will give me licence
To sport me for a season?
Man. Yes, for a while ye well enow;
But go not out of the way, I charge you;
For hither will come, anon,
All my company, as I suppose:
Keep them together! for I purpose
To come again anon,
And show them my mind what I will do. [Then he goeth out.
Bod. Lust. Marry! I shall do what I can thereto;
And yet, it is hard for me
To keep them together any while.
But I shall tell you what:
I had liever keep as many fleas,
Or wild hares in an open lese,
As undertake that.
[Pg 109]

[Entereth Wrath and Envy.

Wrath. Where be these knaves that make this array?
Bod. Lust. Marry! they be gone that other way—
Tell me whom ye mean.
Wrath. I trow, thou scornest!
Bod. Lust. Nay, certainly!
Howsobeit, if I should not lie
At the first blush, I ensure you, faithfully,
I had forgot you clean;
Because ye be thus defensibly arrayed.
What meaneth that? are ye afraid?
Who hath you grieved?
Wrath. Nay, I fear no man that beareth a head;
Yet had I liever that I were dead
Than that should be proved.
Bod. Lust. By my faith! ye are wont to be as bold
As it were a lion of Cotswold;
But now, to my question:
What meaneth all this defensible array?
Wrath. Marry! Sloth warned us two this same day,
Even sith it was noon,
That our master and Reason should make a fray;
And, therefore, he had us, without delay,
To await on our captain.
Bod. Lust. Ah! now I know the matter right well;
But what shall come thereof I cannot tell:
It passeth my brain.
Our master willed that we twain
Should tarry here till he come again.
Envy. What wilt thou do then?
Bod. Lust. Who, I? nay, care not for me!
I will not come where strokes be;
I am not so mad a man.
[Pg 110] And I wis it is not for any fear;
But it is a thing that I can well forbear,
And will as long as I can.
Of lust and pleasure is all my mind;
It longeth to me of property and kind;
And if I should to the war,
And lie in mine harness, as other men do,
With hunger and thirst a day or two,
It should me utterly mar.
Envy. It were a great loss if thou were marred!
Now, fie on the stark whoreson coward!
By Cock's precious blood!
It were no sin to slay such a knave.
Hast not thou wages as other men have?
And few of us so good;
Yet wilt thou fail us at this need!
Now, whosoever shall quit my meed,
I will no further go
Till I have slain him [with] mine own hand,
Though I should forswear the land
Even when I have do. [Then goeth out Bodily Lust.
Hold him in, sirs! I you require—
Alas! would ye not, at my desire,
Do so much for me?
I wis it would have done me more good
To have seen the knave's heart-blood
Than twenty shillings of fee. [Man returneth.
Man. What ho, sirs! what meaneth this gear?
Will ye slay each other here?
No more of this work!
Envy. By the heart of God! and he had abiden
A little while he should never have spoken
With priest nor with clerk.
Man. Who was that?
[Pg 111] Envy. Your own minion,
Bodily Lust.
Man. Why, what hath he done?
Envy. Even like a lurden
He saith that ye have given him licence
To abide at home, and keep residence
While we bear the burden,
And serve you now at your need!
Man. He prayed me so, in very deed,
Within these two days.
He said he would serve me with a good will;
But of the wars he could no skill,
Nor knew thereof the ways:
Howbeit I gave him thereof none answer.
Envy. No! but I am sure he will not come there;
And now may ye see
That no man is so much to blame
As yourself.
Man. I?
Envy. Yea, by Saint Jame!
No man but even ye.
For, I am well assured of one thing,
Ye gave him better clothing
Than ye did me;
And better wages and fees also;
And though I said but little thereto,
But suffered evermore,
Yet I disdained it ever in my mind;
And though[t] that ye were to me unkind
To set so great store
By such a knave as he was—
I would I had him here, by the mass!
And no man but we twain.
Man. By my troth! this is ever thy guise:
Look! by whom I set any prize
Him thou wilt most disdain.
[Pg 112]
Wrath. By Christ! he can do none otherwise.
But now, sir! is there any service
That ye will command me?
Man. Yea, marry is there! but my company
Dresseth them forward, passing slowly;
I trow it will not be.
Manhood! thou art good I know for one.
Wrath. Yea, by Christ! and they came everyone
I will not greatly fear.
Envy. By my troth! because he saith so
I shall tell you what I saw him do.
I was present there—
Sir! it happened in Westminster Hall,
Even before the judges all—
His hands were bound fast;
And, never upon him, that ever God made,
Dagger, sword, nor knife he had.
And yet, at the last,
He drave twelve men into a corner;
And an hour after durst they not appear.
How say ye hereto?
And his hands had been at liberty
He would have put them in great jeopardy—
It is to suppose so.
Man. Marry! there he quit him well—
But where be mine other folk, can ye tell?

Then cometh in Gluttony with a cheese and a bottle.

Wrath. Marry! here cometh one—
Good Fellowship meseemeth it should be.
Glut. Sirs, God speed ye!
Man. What tidings with thee?
Glut. I shall tell you anon

[A line has been shaved away at the foot of the page.]

Marry, sir! I am come here
[Pg 113] For to attend upon you;
We shall a warfare it is told me.
Man. Yea, where is thy harness?
Glut. Marry! here may ye see—
Here is harness enow.
Wrath. Why, hast thou none other harness but this?
Glut. What the devil harness should I miss,
Without it be a bottle?
Another bottle I will go purvey
Lest that drink be scarce in the way;
Or happily none to sell.
Wrath. Thou must have other harness than this, man!
Glut. Other harness? nay, I shrew me then!
I can no skill thereon—
Why, trowest thou that I will fight?
Envy. Yea, so I trow!
Glut. Nay, by God Almight!
Thereof will I none;
I was never wont to that gear.
But I may serve to be a victualler—
And thereof shall ye have store—
So that I may stand out of danger
Of gun shot; but I will come no near;
I warn you that before!
Envy. Now, such a knave I betake to the devil!
This is even such another drivel
As was here whilere:
They be two knaves anointed.
I fear me, sir! ye shall be disappointed;
I like not this gear.
Glut. O! I had forgotten, I make God avow!
Sir! my fellow, Ease, commandeth me to you.
Man. Commandeth thee to me?
Glut. You to me!
[Pg 114]
Man. Me to thee!
Glut. Commandeth you to him, I would have said.
Man. Why cometh he not hither?
Glut. By God! for he is afraid;
And lieth sick in his bed.
He took such a conceit when he heard of this gear
That for thought and very fear

[A line is shaved away at the foot of the page.]

Wrath. And he were hanged it were no reck:
I pray God, the devil break his neck!
And all such as he is.
Man. Well, let us suffer for awhile;
I will go walk hence half a mile;
And for all this,
Happily, all this gear shall not need
Howbeit that I doubt and dread
The worst, as wise men do.
Manhood! come thyself with me.
Glut. And I too, sir?
Man. Yea, parde!
Wouldst thou be prayed thereto?

Then goeth out Man, Gluttony and Wrath.

Envy. Now, he that would have war or strife
I pray God send him a shrewd wife;
And then shall he have enow.
But, I shall tell you, sirs! as for me,
I am none of them; so mot I thee!
I may say to you
I will no such reckonings abide.
God's body! here cometh Pride
As crank as a peacock!
As soon as he and I meet,
Without he stand right upon his feet,
He shall bear me a proud mock. [Pride entereth.]
[Pg 115]
Pride. What tidings, sirs? can any man tell?
Envy. Yea, marry! that can I do as well
As any that was in field;
Ye have tarried so long about your gay gear
That the field is done or ye come there.
Pride. Done? marry, God shield!
Envy. It is done without fail;
But which of them hath won the battle
I cannot tell you certain.
Pride. Thou were not there it seemeth thereby!
Envy. Not I there, quod a? yes, hardely!
And that to my great pain;
But, as soon as the battles joined together,
I came my way straight hither
For to tell tidings.
Pride. What the devil tidings canst thou tell?
Envy. Marry! I can show you nothing of the battle,
But of many other tidings.
Ye are out of conceit, I tell you, for ever;
Because ye did not you[r] endeavour
At this great voyage;
Insomuch that ye are like to lese,
Both your office and all your fees,
And put clean out of wages.
Pride. That is not true, as I suppose.
Envy. Sir! and it be not, take my nose
And my head also!
Your office was given or I came thence.
Pride. Marry! that was a very short sentence;
And I not called thereto.
Now, Envy, what counsel wilt thou give me?
Envy. By my troth, Pride! thou mayst believe me,
[Pg 116] If I were in thy case
I would withdraw me for a season;
Though it be neither felony, nor treason,
Nor yet wilful trespass.
Yet the same is worst of all;
For every knave will thee call
A coward to thy face.
Pride. I am unhappy, I see it well,
For th' expense of mine apparel
Towards this voyage,
What in horses and other array,
Hath compelled me for to lay
All my land to mortgage.
And now, when I have all do,
To lose mine office and fees also
For my true intent,
I may say that all my cost
And all my time is evil lost
In service that I have spent.
Well, whatsoever betide me,
For a season I will hide me,
After thy counsel.
And, sith it will no better be,
Farewell! I take my leave of thee.
Envy. Now, gentle Pride, farewell! [Exit.
Alas! that I had no good fellow here
To bear me company, and laugh at this gear:
This game was well found.

[Sensuality entereth.

Sens. Yes, and ye lust to play the knave
Some manner of company ye might have,
Here within this ground.
Envy. Some I can think, young or old;
And else it were a small household
As any might be found.
Sens. It is not small; the company showeth well;
[Pg 117] But, methought thou were about to tell
Of some merry jest,
Or some merry game at my coming.
Envy. Yea, hardely! it is a game for a king,
When he lusteth best,
To laugh for his disport and solace.
Sir! I shall tell thee this is the case:
Right now, as I stood
In this place, and never a man with me,
In came Pride garnished as it had be
One of the royal blood.
It grieved me to see him so well besene;
But, I have abated his courage clean,
For a little season.
By the rood! I have given him a checkmate;
For I bare him a hand that he came too late,
And that the field was done,
And how his office was given away
Because he failed our master that day:
I made him to believe so.
And when I had told him all this tale,
Anon, he began to wax all pale,
Full of care and woe.
And now he hideth himself for shame;
I gave him mine advice to the same;
And so he is gone.
Sens. Now, on my faith! this was madly do!
But, in faith! what moveth thee thereto?
Envy. Marry! cause had I none;
But only that it is my guise
When I see another man arise,
Or fare better than I,
Then must I chafe and fret for ire,
And imagine, with all my desire,
To destroy him utterly.
But now, in earnest, Sensuality!
[Pg 118] Tell me when this fray shall be;
I pray ye heartily!
Sens. What, against Reason?
Envy. Yea, the same!
Sens. Tush! they be agreed, in pain of shame!
And good company they keep.
Envy. Agreed, quod a? in the mere name;
Marry, sir! that were a game
To make some of us weep.
Sens. Weep or laugh, man! so it is;
And who, trow ye, is the cause of this?
Envy. Who?
Sens. Age, the devil him quell!
Envy. Why, is Age now come in place?
Sens. Yea, and that may ye spy by his face
And ye mark it well.
His stomach fainteth every day;
His back crooketh; his head waxeth gray;
His nose droppeth among;
His lust is gone and all his liking;
I see it well, by everything,
He may not live long;
And all maketh Age, as I said before.
He is the doer, and what trow ye more
This Age hath done?
Envy. What?
Sens. By my faith! he hath brought in Reason
In such wise that, at no season,
Nothing can be wrought
But Reason must be called thereto:
I fear me he will us all undo
Within few days.
As soon as Gluttony had espied
All this gear, he would not abide;
[Pg 119] But went even his ways.
Our master prayed him to tarry a season—
Nay, nay, quoth he! now have I done;
I may no longer tarry:
For Age and I may not together dwell.
And straightway he departed, fair and well.
Bodily Lust stood by,
And saw that Gluttony would needs be gone.
Have with thee, Gluttony, quod he! anon,
For I must go with thee.
So that two be gone together;
Came there none of them both hither?
Envy. Never a one, that I see!
Sens. Well, they be gone some other way
To get a new master as soon as they may;
They cannot be unpurveyed.
And, as soon as they two were gone,
Our master sent for Covetise anon,
And heartily him prayed
To await on him well for a year or two;
And he hath promised him so to do,
As for a year or twain;
But Reason may not thereof know.
Envy. Reason, quod a? no, so I trow!
He will that disdain;
But where hath Covetise been many a day?
Sens. He dwelt with a priest, as I heard say;
For he loveth well
Men of the church, and they him also;
And lawyers eke, when they may tend thereto,
Will follow his counsel.
Envy. So men say there, as I dwell.
But, Sensuality! canst thou tell,
Now in this case,
What were best for us to do?
[Pg 120]
Sens. Marry! I hold it best that we go
Hereby, to some place,
And semble together all our company;
To hear their minds, by and by,
And every man's opinion
What shall be best for to do.
Envy. By my troth, and be it so!
I hold it well done.

[Then they go forth and Reason and Man come in.

Rea. Sir! I have ofttimes you advised
To live virtuously, and showed you the way;
And that notwithstanding ye have me despised,
And followed Sensuality many a day.
Will ye so continue? yea, or nay?
If ever ye purpose yourself to amend,
It is time; for your life draweth fast to th' end.
Man. I cannot continue though I would;
For Age hath wained me clean therefro.
And yet, Reason! when ye me told
Of this gear, many day ago,
I thought little I should have come hereto,
But had of your words great scorn and disdain.
Would God that my life were to begin again!
Rea. Speak not thereof! that may not be.
A thing done cannot be called again;
But the thing that most feareth me,
On your behalf, I tell you plain,
Is that ye would in nowise abstain
From sinful lusts, as I willed you to do
Till now that age compelleth you thereto.
Man. That is full true, without feigning;
As long as mine appetite did endure
I followed my lusts in everything;
Which now, by the course and law of nature,
And not of my policy or good endeavour,
[Pg 121] Is taken from me for evermore:
And so can I deserve no meed therefore.
But notwithstanding this mine abusion,
I trust that by the help of your good advice
I may be made the child of salvation.
Rea. Yes, and ye will, sir! on warrantise;
So that ye utterly forsake and despise
All your old servants, in will and deed,
And do by my counsel.
Man. Yes, have ye no dread!
Rea. Then, my soul for yours I lay to wed;
Ye shall do well—have ye no mistrust!
And first, to begin with, I you forbid
All manner of despair; and secondly, ye must
Put to your mind and good will
To be recured of your great excess;
For, without your help, it cannot be, doubtless!
As in this example: if so be the patient
Of himself be willing to have any remedy,
It is a great furtherance to that intent
So that to the precepts of physic he apply;
And whoso doth the contrary, no marvel, truly,
Though he miscarry. What! should I bring
Any mo examples for so plain a thing?
Man. It shall be no need, as in this case;
I know right well what ye mean thereby;
And that will I follow, by God's grace!
Rea. Then, as I told you, it shall be no maistry
Yourself to comfort, and to have good remedy
Against the great surfeits that thou hast done,
By which thou hast deserved endless damnation.
But do as I shall tell thee, and have no dread;
And, for to give thee medicines most according
Ayenst thy sores, do by my rede.
[Pg 122] Look! what disease is hot and brenning
Take ever such a medicine as is cold in working;
So that the contrary, in all manner of wise,
Must heal his contrary, as physic doth devise.
Right so whoso lusteth from sin to arise,
Where he hath in pride done any offence,
He can be helpen thereof none otherwise
But only by meekness: that is the recompense.
Again wrath and envy, take charity and patience;
Take alms deed again the sin of covetise.
And, to repress gluttony, acquaint ye with abstinence;
Again foul lust of body, take chastity and continence.
Much sin groweth by sloth and by idleness,
And that must be eschewed by men of good business.
Lo! these be preparatives, most sovereign,
Against thy sores, which be mortal
Unless that these medicines to them be lain.
When thou hast received these preparatives all
I will come again, if thou me call,
And order thee further after my mind.
Man. Yea, but where shall I these preparatives find?
Rea. Thou shalt them find within thine own breast.
Of thee it must come; it must be thy deed;
For voluntary sacrifice pleaseth God best.
Thou canst not thereof have help or meed
But if this gear of thine own heart proceed.
Man. Well, I shall endeavour me to the uttermost;
And till I have found them I shall never rest.
But how shall I know them? that wot I ne'er;
I pray you show me that before your departing.
[Pg 123]
Rea. It needeth not thereof to inquire:
Thou shalt know them at the first meeting.
Of two contraries there is but one learning;
That is to say, when thou knowest well that one
The other contrary is known anon.

Then he goeth out and Meekness cometh in.

Meekness. Whoso wotteth histories of scripture well
Shall find that for pride and presumption
Lucifer, which sometime was a glorious angel—
For that his offence had such correction
That both he, and eke many a legion
Of his order—was cast down to hell
By rightful Justice, perpetually there to dwell.
Remember also Adam, the first of our line,
What pain he suffered for pride and disobedience!
Causeth he not a great decay and ruin,
In all the progeny, for the same offence?
In suchwise that he, and all that were born since,
Be utterly disherited and put from paradise;
And so we be made thrall unto sin and vice.
And lost should we be all, of very justice,
Ne had be that God of His merciful goodness
Did us, soon after, with His own blood mainprize
And us redeemed from pains endless;
So that we do not disobey or transgress
His high commandments, but demean us well
After His laws while we here dwell.
And forasmuch as man's nature
Is frail, and lightly to sin will assent,
Either of purpose or on witting peradventure,
There the said good Lord hath him sent,
Again every sin, a remedy convenient.
[Pg 124] For He ne would have one soul to be lore
Whom He hath dear bought, as I said before.
The root of all sin is pride, ye know well;
Which is mine adversary in all that he may;
Where I am in place he may not dwell.
His malicious power I can right well allay;
And teach every creature the remedy and way
How to subdue pride; which no man can do
Without that I, Meekness, must help thereto.
Man. Then your help and counsel is necessary to me:
Whereof, I pray you, with all heart's affection!
Meek. All ready at hand—whosoever it be
That lusteth to have me for his consolation.
Man. I myself have sinned in pride and elation:
Show me your counsel what way shall I take
A due satisfaction for that sin to make.
Meek. Thou must, before all thing, set little prize
By thine own self; and take no heed
Whether the people do thee praise or despise.
Be thou meek in heart, in word, and in deed;
Think not that thou wouldst any man over lead;
Be soft and lowly in speech to every wight;
And use none array that staring is to sight!
Lo! in these three things only standeth pride
If thou commit the least of them three.
Man. From this day forth I will set them aside
And follow the counsel that ye give me.
Meek. Do so, and I will clearly discharge thee:
As for the sin of pride, my soul for thine,
Thou shalt be all whole if thou take this medicine.
Then he goeth out.
[Pg 125]
Man. Yes, I shall take it; think not the contrary!
Now am I well eased, yet have I not done all.

[Enter Charity.

Charity. There is no living physician, no poticary
That can devise so sovereign cordial
Again the sore of envy, which is mortal.
No man living, I you ensure,
Without my help may undertake that cure.
For, I am called Charity, the salve for that sickness,
Whom th' Apostle Paul commandeth singularly,
In divers his epistles: I can well repress
The rancour of Envy and give therein good remedy.
Man. Then is your counsel to me full necessary:
If ye be Charity ye are bound, doubtless,
To have some compassion of your neighbours' distress.
Char. Why, hast thou been envious before this day?
Man. Yes, as God knoweth well! and that I rue sore.
Char. Well, this must be the remedy—mark what I say:
There is no sin that displeaseth God more
Than doth this sin of Envy; and, therefore,
If so be thou wilt thine own soul safeguard,
Be thou never envious from this day forward.
Also, that sin is to man unnatural;
More than any other, in mine opinion.
For all other sins—mark therein well—
A man committeth with some delectation;
But Envy is ever full of pain and passion,
And tormenteth himself with sorrowful sadness
When he seeth his neighbour's prosperity or gladness.
[Pg 126] He is never glad, nor taketh any solace
But at his neighbour's harm, loss, or heaviness.
He speaketh sometime fair before a man's face,
And yet within his heart he is full of doubleness;
For, behind his back, he will never cease
With slanderous words, to appair his good name;
And many a-falsely doth he report for the same.
Ye know, sir! whether it be thus or no;
But now another while to speak of remedy.
If ye will be holpen, sir! thus must ye do:
First, before all things, love God entirely;
Next, that thy neighbour love as thine own body;
That is to say, thou must thee to him behave
And do him such courtesy as thou wouldst of him have.
Observe these two things: and do no more
In recompense of thy great trespass,
Touching the sin of envy, rehearsed before.
Man. To observe them well, God send me His grace!
And I thank you for your comfort and counsel in this case:
I shall myself endeavour according thereto.
Char. God send thee His grace well so to do!

`Then he goeth out [and Patience cometh in].

Patience. The remedy of wrath and outrageous ire
Must needs come of me, and none otherwise.
For I am called Patience, which quencheth the fire
And flames of wrath: it is also my guise,
By soft words and sufferance, to overcome mine enemies.
[Pg 127]
Man. Now, welcome Patience, for whom I have sought!
Help me with your counsel for His love that all wrought.
Pat. This is my counsel: if thou wilt withstand
Thy ghostly enemy, and this temptation,
Thou must have me, Patience, ever ready at hand;
Specially in suffering of worldly tribulation.
Remember how Christ died, in time of His passion!
There mayst thou learn how to be patient
In any adversity that to thee shall be sent.
And yet there may be no comparison
Betwixt the least part of His pain
And the greatest wrong that to thee can be done:
Wherefore, thou, wretch! shouldst not disdain;
But gladly thou shouldst thyself refrain
From ireful passions, as I said before,
Sith thou shalt have a reward in heaven therefore.
Man. It is my full mind and intent,
Hereafter, to do as ye me advertise.
Pat. Now, He that all goodness to us hath sent,
Send you His grace to demean you that wise! [Then he goeth out.
Man. I shall do my good will, on warrantise!
Now, who can me best direct,
My slothful idleness for to correct?

[Good Occupation cometh in.

Good Occupation. The sin of sloth I can well repress;
And I shall teach thee to do the same.
Man. How should I do it?
Good Occ. By mean of me, Good Business,
And so am I called, for that is my name.
Idleness is never without sin or blame;
[Pg 128] By mean thereof much sin cometh in:
For it is the very mother and mistress of sin.
In eschewing thereof thou must ever use
Some good occupation, in body or mind;
And if thou do this my counsel refuse,
So that the devil in idleness thee find,
Then according to his property and kind
He laboureth fast, by mean of temptation,
To bring thy soul unto endless damnation.
Therefore do some good occupation alway,
As well with the body as with mind inward.
And if thou do not this counsel obey,
Thou shalt thine own soul greatly enjeopard.
On that other side thou mayst be no coward,
Nor fearful of penance, or other good deed,
Sith thou shalt be sure to have heaven to thy meed.
Man. This counsel is good; I thank you, therefore;
My mind is well eased therein, be ye sure!
Good Occ. Is there anything else that I can do more?
Man. None to my knowledge, for ye have done your cure.
Good Occ. See that ye wisely now put in ure.

Then he goeth out [and Liberality cometh in].

Man. Yes, hardely think not the contrary!
Sith it is to me so behoveful and necessary.
Liberality. I am Liberality, the virtue cardinal;
By whom is confounded the sin of avarice.
Whosoever lusteth on me to call
I am ready therein to give mine advice.
Man. Sir! I pray you, in my most hearty wise,
[Help] to reform and order my mind.
Lib. First, thou must be sorry for the abusing
Of temporal goods, before this day;
Next, that I will advise thee, before all thing,
[Pg 129] If thou hast wrongfully taken away
Any man's good, go without delay
And thereof to thy power make due restitution;
For erst shalt thou have of thy sin no remission.
Man. Why, trow ye that I shall not be excused
By alms deed of that offence?
Lib. No, no, hardely! thou art greatly abused:
Think not thereby to make recompense;
For, by that alms, thou doest great offence
And displeasure to God.
Man. Why say ye so?
Christ Himself bade that we should alms do.
Lib. Yea, fore God! but that should be do
Of well-gotten goods; else it is nought.
Man. Well, I assent gladly thereto;
As in that one point I am fully taught:
Wit is nothing worth till it be dear bought!
But what other amends shall I make,
The foul sin of avarice to suage and a-slake?
Lib. Thou must have compassion, and also be liberal
Unto thy neighbour at his necessity.
Man. I trow ye would have me to give away all,
And leave myself nought!
Lib. I mean not so, pardy!
For that is waste and sinful prodigality.
Take the midway, betwixt them two,
And flee the extremities howsoever thou do.
Thou must thy worldly goods so employ,
In charitable deeds with due compassion,
That thou mayest buy everlasting joy
For the good intent of that distribution.
Thou mayest also give them to thy damnation;
As when thou doest it to win thereby
Praising of the people, or some other vain glory.
[Pg 130] For, trust it well! thou must give a reckoning
Of all the goods that come to thine use.
The high Judge that knoweth all thing,
To whom thou shalt thyself accuse,
Without any appeal or feigned excuse
... in this case
From whom thou canst not hide thy face.
There shalt thou openly show and confess
How that goods came to thy possession;
What mind and pleasure thou had'st in riches;
And why thou had'st therein such affection;
What alms-deed or other good distribution;
Or how thou hast these goods wasted or abused—
There it shall be known: it cannot be refused.
Then, as I said to thee before,
Thou shalt receive after thy deserving:
Joy or else pain to endure evermore.
Man. Truly this is a fearful thing!
Lib. Therefore, remember well my saying;
Mark well my counsel, and follow the same.
Man. If I did not I were greatly to blame!

Then Liberality goeth out and Abstinence and Chastity come in.

Abst. The remedy of Gluttony I can well teach:
I am ordained only for that intent.
Man. And I have great need of such a leech;
Your counsel to me is right expedient.
Abst. Sir! if ye lust to be my patient,
And take such remedy as I shall devise
I shall make you whole of that sin, on warrantise!
Man. What is your name?
Abst. My name is Abstinence;
And this other that cometh with me
[Pg 131] Is called Chastity, or else Continence:
It is his guise, and his property,
To follow me wheresoever I be;
Likewise as lechery, that deadly sore,
Followeth the beastly sin of gluttony evermore,
Quia delicia sunt instrumenta voluptatis.
But now to do that I came for.
Again the sin of gluttony the remedy is this:
Use scarcer diet than thou did'st before;
Beware of superfluity and surfeit evermore;
Take no more than sufficeth nature;
Nor of delicate meat set thou no store.
Now have I said all that longeth to my cure.
Chas. And I must needs confirm his saying:
For, as he rehearsed now right well,
Glutting of hot meats and delicate feeding
Causeth sinful lusts in a man to swell;
And, over that, this is my counsel:
Eschew idleness before all thing
If thou wilt be chaste and clean of living.
Flee also the company and the occasion
Of that sin, which is damnable;
As soon as thou feelest any temptation
Put it clean away, by means convenable.
Of all other sins it is most abominable;
And soonest will thy soul endanger and blame—
There be so many great sins annexed to the same.
If thou list not, for fear of damnation,
This sin to forbear; then, on that other side,
Do it for love of thine own salvation.
Think what rewards in heaven doth thee abide
Which, if thou live chaste, cannot be denied.
My wit sufficeth not to tell and express
What joy thou shalt have for thy chaste cleanness.
[Pg 132]
Man. I thank you both for your advice.
And now would I speak with Repentance fain.
Abst. I can bring you to him on the best wise.
Man. Then will I await upon you twain;
And after that I will come hither again,
Trusting that God will send me the grace
To comfort my soul with ghostly solace.

Then they go out and Reason cometh in.

Rea. I hear say, to my great joy and gladness,
That according to my counsel and advice,
This mortal creature doth well his business
To correct and forsake all his old vice.
And that he is in good way, and likely to arise
From the vale of sin, which is full of darkness,
Toward the contemplation of light that is endless.
Lo, sirs! are not we all much behold
To our Maker for this great patience.
Which, notwithstanding our sins manifold
Wherein we daily do Him offence,
Yet of His merciful and great magnificence
He doth not punish as soon as we offend,
But suffereth in hope that we will amend.
He suffereth a sinner sometime to endure
A long life in honour and great prosperity:
It is a thing that daily is put in ure.
And many a great danger escapeth he
Where good men perish: this may ye see;
And all because that He would him win
And have him to turn and forsake his sin.

[Mankind returns.

Oh, here cometh he that I look for.
Sir! have ye done as I willed you to do?
[Pg 133]
Man. Yea, that have I done; and what trow ye more?
I have been with Repentance also,
Which from my heart shall never go;
For he brought me unto Confession;
And anon I was acquainted with heart's contrition.
They advised and charged me to do satisfaction;
And so have I done, to my best power.
Rea. Then art thou fully the child of salvation!
Have good perseverance, and be not in fear;
Thy ghostly enemy can put thee in no danger;
And greater reward thou shalt therefore win
Than he that never in his life did sin.
And to the intent that thou mayest well
Persevere and continue in this sure way,
Or we depart hence, by my counsel,
Let us by one accord together sing and pray
With as humble devotion as we can or may;
That we may have grace from sin thus to rise
As often as we fall; and let us pray this wise.

[Then they sing some goodly ballet.

[Here follow "The Names of the Players" as given on page 42.]

[Pg 134]
[Pg 135]


Made by Master JOHN REDFORD

The Names of the Players:

[1] Ignorancy, but see pp. 152-157]

[Pg 136]

[Reduced facsimile of the penultimate page of manuscript copy of "Wit and Science" now in the British Museum.]

[Pg 137]


[By John Redford.]

      *       *       *       *       *
Reason. Then, in remembrance of Reason, hold ye
A glass of Reason, wherein behold ye
Yourself to yourself. Namely, when ye
Come near my daughter, Science, then see
That all things be clean and trick about ye;
Lest of some sluggishness she might doubt ye;
This glass of Reason shall show ye all;
While ye have that, ye have me, and shall.
Get ye forth, now! Instruction, farewell!
Instruction. Sir, God keep ye!

Here all go out save Reason.

Rea. And ye all from peril!
If any man now marvel that I
Would bestow my daughter thus basely,
Of truth I, Reason, am of this mind:
Where parties together be inclined,
By gifts of graces, to love each other,
There let them join the one with the tother.
This Wit such gifts of graces hath in him
That maketh my daughter to wish to win him:
Young, painful, tractable and capax—
These be Wit's gifts which Science doth axe.
[Pg 138] And, as for her, as soon as Wit sees her,
For all the world he would not then lese her.
Wherefore, since they both be so meet matches
To love each other, straw for the patches
Of worldly muck! Science hath enough
For them both to live. If Wit be through
Stricken in love, as he since hath showed,
I doubt not my daughter well bestowed:
Th' end of his journey will prove all.
If Wit hold out, no more proof can fall;
And, that the better hold out he may,
To refresh me soon, Wit, now, by the way,
Some solace for him I will provide.
An honest woman dwelleth here, beside,
Whose name is called Honest Recreation;
As men report, for Wit's consolation
She hath no peer; if Wit were half dead,
She could revive him—thus is it said.
Wherefore, if money or love can hire her,
To hie after Wit I will desire her. [Reason goeth out.

Confidence cometh in with a picture of Wit.

[Confidence.] Ah, sir! what time of day is't, who can tell?
The day is not far past, I wot well;
For I have gone fast, and yet I see
I am far from whereas I would be.
Well! I have day enough yet, I spy;
Wherefore, or I pass hence, now must I
See this same token here, a plain case,
What Wit hath sent to my lady's grace. [Examines his packet.
Now, will ye see a goodly picture
Of Wit himself? his own image sure!
[Pg 139] Face, body, arms, legs, both limb and joint,
As like him as can be, in every point;
It lacketh but life. Well I can him thank;
This token indeed shall make some crank;
For, what with this picture so well favoured,
And what with those sweet words so well savoured—
Distilling from the mouth of Confidence—
Shall not this appease the heart of Science?
Yes! I thank God I am of that nature,
Able to compass this matter sure;
As ye shall see now, who list to mark it,
How neatly and featly I shall work it.

[Confidence goeth out.

Wit cometh in without Instruction, with Study, etc.

[Wit.] Now, sirs! come on! which is the way now?
This way or that way? Study! how say you?

[Study reflecteth.

Speak, Diligence! while he hath bethought him.
Diligence. That way, belike; most usage hath wrought him.
Study. Yea, hold your peace! Best we here now stay
For Instruction; I like not that way.
Wit. Instruction, Study? I ween we have lost him.

[Instruction cometh in.

[Inst.] Indeed, full gently about ye have tossed him!
What mean you, Wit, still to delight
Running before thus, still out of sight;
And, thereby, out of your way now quite.
What do ye here except he would fight?
Come back again, Wit! for, I must choose ye
An easier way than this, or else lose ye.
[Pg 140] Wit. What aileth this way? Peril here is none.
Inst. But as much as your life standeth upon;
Your enemy, man! lieth here before ye:
Tediousness, to brain or to gore ye!
Wit. Tediousness? Doth that tyrant rest
In my way now? Lord! how am I blest
That occasion so near me stirs,
For my dear heart's sake, to win my spurs!
Sir! would ye fear me with that foul thief,
With whom to meet my desire is chief?
Inst. And what would ye do, you having nought
For your defence? for, though ye have caught
Garments of Science upon your back,
Yet weapons of Science ye do lack!
Wit. What weapons of Science should I have?
Inst. Such as all lovers of their loves crave:
A token from Lady Science whereby
Hope of her favour may spring, and thereby
Comfort; which is the weapon doubtless
That must serve you against Tediousness.
Wit. If hope or comfort may be my weapon,
Then never with Tediousness me threaten;
For, as for hope of my dear heart's favour—
And thereby comfort—enough I gather.
Inst. Wit, hear me! Till I see Confidence
Have brought some token from Lady Science,
That I may feel that she favoureth you,
Ye pass not this way, I tell you true.
Wit. Which way then?
Inst. A plainer way, I told ye,
Out of danger from your foe to hold ye.
Wit. Instruction, hear me! Or my sweetheart
Shall hear that Wit from that wretch shall start
[Pg 141] One foot, this body and all shall crack!
Forth I will, sure, whatever I lack!
Dil. If ye lack weapon, sir, here is one!
Wit. Well said, Diligence, thou art alone!
How say ye, sir? is not here weapon?
Inst. With that weapon your enemy never threaten;
For without the return of Confidence
Ye may be slain, sure, for all Diligence!
Dil. Good, sir! and Diligence, I tell you plain,
Will play the man or my master be slain!
Inst. Yea, but what? saith Study no word to this?
Wit. No, sir! ye know Study's office is
Meet for the chamber, not for the field—
But tell me, Study, wilt thou now yield?
Study. My head acheth sore; I would we return.
Wit. Thy head ache now? I would it were burn!
Come on! walking may hap to ease thee.
Inst. And will ye be gone, then, without me?
Wit. Yea, by my faith, except ye hie ye after,
Reason shall know ye are but an hafter.

Exeat Wit, Study and Diligence.

Inst. Well, go your way! When your father, Reason,
Heareth how ye obey me, at this season,
I think he will think his daughter now
May marry another man for you.
When wits stand so in their own conceit,
Best let them go; till pride, at his height,
Turn and cast them down headlong again:
And ye shall see proved by this Wit, plain.
If Reason hap not to come, the rather
His own destruction he will sure gather;
[Pg 142] Wherefore to Reason will I now get me,
Leaving that charge whereabout he set me.

[Exeat Instruction.

Tediousness cometh in with a visor over his head.

[Tediousness.] Oh, the body of me!
What caitiffs be those
That will not once flee
From Tediousness' nose;
But thus disease me
Out of my nest,
When I should ease me
This body to rest!
That Wit, that villain,
That wretch—a shame take him!
It is he plain
That thus bold doth make him,
Without my licence
To stalk by my door
To that drab, Science,
To wed that whore!
But I defy her;
And, for that drab's sake,
Or Wit come nigh her,
The knave's head shall ache;
These bones, this mall,
Shall beat him to dust
Or that drab shall
Once quench that knave's lust!
But, ha! methinks
I am not half lusty;
These joints, these links,
Be rough and half rusty;
I must go shake them,
Supple to make them!
[Pg 143] Stand back, ye wretches!
Beware the fetches
Of Tediousness.
These caitiffs to bless,
Make room, I say;
Round every way—
This way, that way!
What cares what way?
Before me, behind me,
Round about wind me!
Now I begin
To sweat in my skin;
Now am I nemble
To make them tremble.
Pash head! pash brain!
The knaves are slain,
All that I hit!
Where art thou, Wit!
Thou art but dead!
Off goeth thy head
At the first blow!
Ho, ho! ho ho! [Wit speaketh at the door.
[Wit.] Study!
Study. Here, sir!
Wit. How, doth thy head ache?
Study. Yea, God wot, sir! much pain I do take!
Wit. Diligence!
Dil. Here, sir, here!
Wit. How dost thou?
Doth thy stomach serve thee to fight now?
Dil. Yea, sir, with yonder wretch—a vengeance on him
That threateneth you thus. Set even upon him!
Study. Upon him, Diligence? Better nay!
Dil. Better nay, Study? Why should we fray?
[Pg 144]
Study. For I am weary; my head acheth sore.

[The last three lines are, in the manuscript, scored through.]

Dil. Why, foolish Study! thou shalt do no more
But aid my master with thy presence.
Wit. No more shalt thou neither, Diligence!
Aid me with your presence, both you twain;
And, for my love, myself shall take pain!
Study. Sir! we be ready to aid you so.
Wit. I ask no more, Study! Come then, go!

[Tediousness riseth up.

[Ted.] Why, art thou come?
Wit. Yea, wretch, to thy pain!
Ted. Then have at thee!
Wit. Have at thee, again!

[Here Wit falleth down and dieth.

[Ted.] Lie thou there! Now have at ye, caitiffs!
Do ye flee, i' faith? A, whoreson thieves!
By Mahound's bones! had the wretches tarried,
Their necks without heads they should have carried!
Yea, by Mahound's nose! might I have patted them,
In twenty gobbets I should have squatted them,
To teach the knaves to come near the snout
Of Tediousness! Walk further about
I trow, now, they will! And, as for thee,
Thou wilt no more now trouble me.
Yet, lest the knave be not safe enough,
The whoreson shall bear me another cuff.

[Striketh him.

Now, lie still, caitiff! and take thy rest
While I take mine, in mine own nest.

[Exeat Tedi[ousness].

[Pg 145]

Here cometh in Honest Recreation, Comfort, Quickness, and Strength, and go and kneel about Wit; and at the last verse raiseth him up upon his feet, and so make an end.

Give place, give place to Honest Recreation;
Give place, we say now, for thy consolation.
When travels great, in matters thick,
Have dulled your wits and made them sick,
What medicine then your wits to quick?
If ye will know, the best physick
Is to give place to Honest Recreation;
Give place, we say now, for thy consolation!
Where is that Wit that we seek than?
Alas! he lieth here, pale and wan.
Help him at once now, if we can:
O Wit! how doest thou? Look up, man!
O Wit, give place to Honest Recreation!
Give place, we say now, for thy consolation!
After place given, let ear obey;
Give an ear, O Wit! now we thee pray;
Give ear to that we sing and say!
Give an ear, and help will come straightway!
Give an ear to Honest Recreation!
Give an ear now for thy consolation!
After ear given, now give an eye!
Behold! thy friends about thee lie:
Recreation I, and Comfort I,
Quickness am I, and Strength, hereby.
Give an eye to Honest Recreation!
Give an eye now for thy consolation!
[Pg 146]
After eye given, an hand give ye!
Give an hand, O Wit! feel that ye see!
Recreation feel! feel Comfort free!
Feel Quickness here! feel Strength to thee!
Give an hand to Honest Recreation!
Give an hand now for thy consolation!
Upon his feet, would God he were!
To raise him now we need not fear.
Stay you his hands, while we him bear;
Now, all at once, upright him rear!
O Wit, give place to Honest Recreation!
Give place, we say now, for thy consolation!

And then Honest Recreation saith as followeth:

[Honest Recreation.] Now, Wit! how do ye? Will ye be lusty?
Wit. The lustier for you needs be must I.
Hon. Rec. Be ye all whole yet, after your fall?
Wit. As ever I was, thanks to you all!
Reason cometh in, and saith as followeth:
[Rea.] Ye might thank Reason that sent them to ye;
But since the[y] have done that the[y] should, do ye
Send them home soon, and get ye forward!
Wit. Oh father Reason! I have had an hard
Chance since ye saw me!
Rea. I wot well that.
The more to blame ye, when ye would not
Obey Instruction, as Reason willed ye.
What marvel though Tediousness had killed ye?
But let pass now, since ye are well again.
Set forward again Science to attain!
[Pg 147]
Wit. Good father Reason, be not too hasty!
In honest company no time waste I.
I shall to your daughter all at leisure.
Rea. Yea, Wit, is that the great love ye raise her?
I say, if ye love my daughter, Science,
Get ye forth at once, and get ye hence!

[Here Comfort, Quickness, Strength go out.

Wit. Nay, by Saint George! they go not all yet.
Rea. No? will ye disobey Reason, Wit?
Wit. Father Reason! I pray ye, content ye!
For we part not yet.
Rea. Well, Wit! I went ye
Had been no such man as now I see.
Farewell! [Exeat.
Hon. Rec. He is angry.
Wit. Yea, let him be!
I do not pass!
Come now, a bass!
Hon. Rec. Nay, sir, as for basses,
From hence none passes
But as in gage
Of marriage.
Wit. Marry, even so!
A bargain, lo!
Hon. Rec. What, without licence
Of Lady Science?
Wit. Shall I tell you truth?
I never loved her.
Hon. Rec. The common voice goeth
That marriage ye moved her.
Wit. Promise hath she none.
If we shall be one,
Without mo words grant!
[Pg 148]
Hon. Rec. What, upon this sudden?
Then might ye plain
Bid me avaunt!
Nay, let me see
In honesty
What ye can do
To win Recreation;
Upon that probation
I grant thereto.
Wit. Small be my doings,
But apt to all things
I am, I trust.
Hon. Rec. Can ye dance than?
Wit. Even as I can.
Prove me ye must.
Hon. Rec. Then, for a while,
Ye must exile
This garment cumbering.
Wit. Indeed, as ye say,
This cumbrous array
Would make Wit slumbering.
Hon. Rec. It is gay gear
Of Science clear—
It seemeth her array.
Wit. Whosever it were,
It lieth now there! [Taketh off his gown.
Hon. Rec. Go to, my men, play!

Here they dance, and in the meanwhile Idleness cometh in and sitteth down, and when the galliard is done, Wit saith as followeth, and so falleth down in Idleness' lap.

Wit. Sweetheart, gramercys!
Hon. Rec. Why, whither now? Have ye done, since?
[Pg 149]
Wit. Yea, in faith! with weary bones ye have possessed me;
Among these damsels now will I rest me.
Hon. Rec. What, there?
Wit. Yea, here; I will be so bold.
Idleness. Yea, and welcome, by him that God sold!
Hon. Rec. It is an harlot; may ye not see?
Idle. As honest a woman as ye be!
Hon. Rec. Her name is Idleness. Wit! what mean you?
Idle. Nay! what mean you to scold thus, you quean, you?
Wit. There, go to! Lo! now for the best game!
While I take my ease, your tongues now frame!
Hon. Rec. Yea, Wit! by your faith, is that your fashion?
Will ye leave me, Honest Recreation,
For that common strumpet, Idleness,
The very root of all viciousness?
Wit. She saith she is as honest as ye.
Declare yourselves both now as ye be!
Hon. Rec. What would ye more for my declaration
Than even my name, Honest Recreation?
And what would ye more her to express
Than even her name, too, Idleness—
Destruction of all that with her tarry?
Wherefore come away, Wit! she will mar ye!
Idle. Will I mar him, drab? thou callet, thou!
When thou hast marred him already now?
Callest thou thyself Honest Recreation,
Ordering a poor man after this fashion,
To lame him thus, and make his limbs fail,
Even with the swinging there of thy tail?
[Pg 150] The devil set fire on thee! for now must I,
Idleness, heal him again, I spy.
I must now lull him, rock him, and frame him
To his lust again, where thou didst lame him.
Am I the root, sayest thou, of viciousness?
Nay! thou art root of all vice, doubtless!
Thou art occasion, lo! of more evil
Than I, poor girl—nay, more than the devil!
The devil and his dam cannot devise
More devilishness than by thee doth rise!
Under the name of Honest Recreation,
She, lo! bringeth in her abomination!
Mark her dancing, her masking, and mumming—
Where more concupiscence than there coming?
Her carding, her dicing, daily and nightly—
Where find ye more falsehood than there? Not lightly!
With lying and swearing, by no poppets;
But tearing God in a thousand gobbets.
As for her singing, piping and fiddling—
What unthriftiness therein is twiddling!
Search the taverns and ye shall hear, clear,
Such bawdry as beasts would spue to hear.
And yet, this is called Honest Recreation!
And I, poor Idleness, abomination!
But which is worst of us twain, now judge, Wit!
Wit. By'r Lady! not thou! wench! I judge yet.
Hon. Rec. No? Is your judgment such then that ye
Can neither pe[r]ceive that beast, how she
Goeth about to deceive you, nor yet
Remember how I saved your life, Wit?
Think you her meet with me to compare
By whom so many wits cured are?
When will she do such an act as I did,
Saving your life when I you revived?
[Pg 151] And, as I saved you, so save I all
That in like jeopardy chance to fall.
When Tediousness to ground hath smitten them,
Honest Recreation up doth quicken them
With such honest pastimes, sports or games,
As unto mine honest nature frames;
And not, as she saith, with pastimes such
As be abused little or much:
For, where honest pastimes be abused,
Honest Recreation is refused;
Honest Recreation is present never
But where honest pastimes be well used ever.
But, indeed, Idleness, she is cause
Of all such abuses; she, lo! draws
Her sort to abuse mine honest games;
And, thereby, full falsely my name defames.
Under the name of Honest Recreation
She bringeth in all her abomination,
Destroying all wits that her embrace,
As yourself shall see within short space.
She will bring you to shameful end, Wit,
Except the sooner from her ye flit.
Wherefore, come away, Wit, out of her paws!
Hence, drab! let him go out of thy claws!
Idle. Will ye get ye hence? or, by the mace!
These claws shall claw you by your drab's face!
Hon. Rec. Ye shall not need; since Wit lieth as one
That neither heareth nor seeth, I am gone. [Exeat.
Idle. Yea, so? farewell! And well fare thou, tongue!
Of a short peal, this peal was well rung,
To ring her hence, and him fast asleep,
As full of sloth as the knave can creep!
How, Wit! awake! How doth my baby?
[Pg 152] Neque vox neque sensus, by'r Lady!
A meet man for Idleness, no doubt.
Hark, my pig! how the knave doth rout!
Well, while he sleepeth in Idleness' lap,
Idleness' mark on him shall I clap.
Some say that Idleness cannot wark;
But those that so say, now let them mark!
I trow they shall see that Idleness
Can set herself about some business;
Or, at the least, ye shall see her tried,
Neither idle, nor well occupied. [She marketh Wit.
Lo, sir! yet ye lack another toy!
Where is my whistle to call my boy?

Here she whistleth, and Ingnorancy cometh in.

[Ingnorancy.] I come! I come!
Idle. Come on, ye fool!
All this day or ye can come to school?
Ingn. Um! mother will not let me come.
Idle. I would thy mother had kissed thy bum!
She will never let thee thrive, I trow!
Come on, goose! Now, lo! men shall know
That Idleness can do somewhat, yea!
And play the schoolmistress, too, if need be.
Mark what doctrine by Idleness comes!
Say thy lesson, fool!
Ingn. Upon my thumbs?
Idle. Yea, upon thy thumbs: is not there thy name?
Ingn. Yeas.
Idle. Go too, then; spell me that same!
Where was thou born?
Ingn. Chwas i-bore in England, mother said.
Idle. In Ingland?
Ingn. Yea!
[Pg 153]
Idle. And what's half Ingland?
Here's Ing; and here's land. What's 'tis?
Ingn. What's 'tis?
Idle. What's 'tis? whoreson! what's 'tis?
Here's Ing; and here's land. What's 'tis?
Ingn. 'Tis my thumb.
Idle. Thy thumb? Ing, whoreson! Ing, Ing!
Ingn. Ing, Ing, Ing, Ing!
Idle. Forth! Shall I beat thy narse, now?
Ingn. Um-m-m—
Idle. Shall I not beat thy narse, now?
Ingn. Um-um-um—
Idle. Say no, fool! say no.
Ingn. Noo, noo, noo, noo, noo!
Idle. Go to, put together! Ing!
Ingn. Ing.
Idle. No!
Ingn. Noo.
Idle. Forth now! What saith the dog?
Ingn. Dog bark.
Idle. Dog bark? Dog ran, whoreson! dog ran!
Ingn. Dog ran, whoreson! dog ran, dog ran!
Idle. Put together: Ing!
Ingn. Ing.
Idle. No!
Ingn. Noo.
Idle. Ran!
Ingn. Ran.
Idle. Forth now; what saith the goose?
Ingn. Lag! lag!
Idle. His, whoreson! his!
Ingn. His, his-s-s-s-s!
Idle. Go to, put together: Ing.
Ingn. Ing.
Idle. No.
Ingn. Noo.
[Pg 154]
Idle. Ran.
Ingn. Ran.
Idle. Hys.
Ingn. His-s-s-s-s-s-s.
Idle. Now, who is a good boy?
Ingn. I, I, I! I, I, I!
Idle. Go to, put together: Ing.
Ingn. Ing.
Idle. No.
Ingn. Noo.
Idle. Ran.
Ingn. Ran.
Idle. His.
Ingn. His-s-s-s-s-s-s.
Idle. I.
Ingn. I.
Idle. Ing-no-ran-his-I.
Ingn. Ing-no-ran-his-s-s-s.
Idle. I.
Ingn. I.
Idle. Ing.
Ingn. Ing.
Idle. Foorth!
Ingn. His-s-s-s.
Idle. Yea, no, whoreson! no!
Ingn. Noo, noo, noo, noo.
Idle. Ing-no.
Ingn. Ing-noo.
Idle. Forth now!
Ingn. His-s-s-s-s.
Idle. Yet again; ran, whoreson! ran, ran!
Ingn. Ran, whoreson, ran, ran.
Idle. Ran, say!
Ingn. Ran-say.
Idle. Ran, whoreson!
Ingn. Ran, whoreson.
[Pg 155]
Idle. Ran.
Ingn. Ran.
Idle. Ing-no-ran.
Ingn. Ing-no-ran.
Idle. Foorth, now! What said the goose?
Ingn. Dog bark.
Idle. Dog bark? His, whoreson! his-s-s-s-s-s.
Ingn. His-s-s-s-s-s.
Idle. I: Ing-no-ran-his-I.
Ingn. Ing-no-ran-his-I-s-s-s.
Idle. I.
Ingn. I.
Idle. How sayest, now, fool? Is not there thy name?
Ingn. Yea.
Idle. Well then; can me that same!
What hast thou learned?
Ingn. Ich cannot tell.
Idle. Ich cannot tell—thou sayest even very well!
For, if thou couldst tell, then had not I well
Taught thee thy lesson which must be taught;
To tell all, when thou canst tell right naught.
Ingn. Ich can my lesson.
Idle. Yea; and, therefore,
Shalt have a new coat, by God I swore!
Ingn. A new coat?
Idle. Yea, a new coat, by-and-by.
Off with this old coat! a new coat, cry!
Ingn. A new coat, a new coat! a new coat!
Idle. Peace! whoreson fool!
Wilt thou wake him now? Unbutton thy coat, fool!
Canst thou do nothing?
Ingn. I note how choold be.
Idle. I note how choold be! A fool betide thee!
So wisely it speaketh; come on, now! when?
Put back thine arm, fool!

[Pg 156][Taketh off Ingnorancy's coat.

Ingn. Put back?
Idle. So, lo! now let me see how this gear
Will trim this gentleman that lieth here.
Ah! God save it! so sweetly it doth sleep!
While on your back this gay coat can creep,
As feat as can be for this one arm.

[Putteth Wit's gown on Ingnorancy.

Ingn. Oh! cham a-cold.
Idle. Hold, fool! keep thee warm!
And, come hither! hold this head here! soft now, for waking!
Ye shall see one here brought in such taking
That he shall soon scantily know himself.
Here is a coat as fit for this elf
As it had been made even for this body!

[Putteth Ingnorancy's coat on Wit.

So! It beginneth to look like a noddie!
Ingn. Um-m-m-m—
Idle. What ailest now, fool?
Ingn. New coat is gone!
Idle. And why is it gone?
Ingn. 'Twool not bide on.
Idle. 'Twool not bide on? 'Twould if it could!
But marvel it were that it should—
Science['s] garment on Ingnorancy['s] back!
But now, let's see, sir! what do ye lack?
Nothing but even to buckle here this throat,
So well this Wit becometh a fool's coat!
Ingn. He is I, now!
Idle. Yea; how likest him now?
Is he not a fool as well as thou?
Ingn. Yeas!
Idle. Well, then, one fool keep another!
Give me this, and take thou that, brother!
[Pg 157]
Ingn. Um-m—
Idle. Pike thee home, go!
Ingn. Chill go tell my moother! [Exit.
Idle. Yea, do!
But yet, to take my leave of my dear, lo!
With a skip or twain, here lo! and here lo!
And, here again! and now, this heel
To bless his weak brain! Now are ye weel,
By virtue of Idleness' blessing tool,
Conjured from Wit unto a stark fool! [Exit Idleness.

Confidence cometh in with a sword by his side; and sayeth as followeth:

[Confidence.] I seek and seek, as one on no ground
Can rest; but, like a masterless hound,
Wandering all about seeking his master.
Alas, gentle Wit! I fear the faster
That my true service cleaveth unto thee,
The slacker thy mind cleaveth unto me;
I have done thy message, in such sort,
That I not only, for thy comfort,
To vanquish thine enemy have brought here
A sword of comfort from thy love dear;
But also, further, I have so inclined her
That, upon my words, she hath assigned her,
In her own person, half-way to meet thee:
And, hitherward, she came for to greet thee.
And sure, except she be turned again,
Hither will she come or be long, plain,
To seek to meet thee here in this coast.
But now, alas! thyself thou hast lost;
Or, at the least, thou wilt not be found.
Alas! gentle Wit, how dost thou wound
[Pg 158] Thy trusty and true servant, Confidence,
To lese my credence to Lady Science?
Thou lesest me, too; for if I cannot
Find thee shortly, longer live I may not;
But shortly get me even into a corner
And die for sorrow through such a scorner! [Exit.

Here they [Fame, Favour, Riches, and Worship] come in with viols.

Fame. Come, sirs! let us not disdain to do
That the World hath appointed us to.
Favour. Since, to serve Science, the World hath sent us,
As the World willeth us, let us content us.
Riches. Content us we may, since we be assigned
To the fairest lady that liveth, in my mind!
Worship. Then, let us not stay here mute and mum;
But taste we these instruments till she come.

Here the[y] sing "Exceeding Measure."

Exceeding measure, with pains continual,
Languishing in absence, alas! what shall I do?
Unfortunate wretch! devoid of joys all,
Sighs upon sighs redoubling my woe;
And tears down falling from mine eyes too.
Beauty with truth so doth me constrain
Ever to serve where I may not attain!
Truth bindeth me ever to be true,
Howso that fortune favoureth my chance.
During my life none other but you
Of my true heart shall have the governance!
O, good sweet heart! have you remembrance
Now, of your own, which for no smart
Exile shall you from my true heart!

[Pg 159]

[Experience and Science entereth while they sing.]

Experience. Daughter, what meaneth that ye did not sing?
Science. Oh mother, for here remaineth a thing!
Friends! we thank you for these your pleasures,
Taken on us as chance to us measures.
Wor. Lady! these our pleasures, and persons, too,
Are sent to you, you service to do.
Fame. Lady Science! to set forth your name
The World, to wait on you, hath sent me, Fame.
Fav. Lady Science! for your virtues most plenty
The World, to cherish you, Favour hath sent ye.
Rich. Lady Science! for your benefits known
The World, to maintain you, Riches hath thrown.
Wor. And as the World hath sent you these three,
So he sendeth me, Worship, to advance your degree.
Sci. I thank thee, World! but, chiefly, God be praised!
That, in the World, such love to Science hath raised!
But yet, to tell you plain, ye four are such
As Science looketh for, little nor much;
For being, as I am, a lone woman,
Need of your service I neither have nor can.
But, thanking the World, and you, for your pain,
I send ye to the World even now again!
Wor. Why, lady! set ye no more store by me,
Worship? Ye set nought by yourself, I see!
Fame. She setteth nought by Fame; whereby I spy her—
She careth not what the World sayeth by her.
[Pg 160]
Fav. She setteth nought by Favour; whereby I try her—
She careth not what the World sayeth or doeth by her.
Rich. She setteth nought by Riches; which doth show
She careth not for the World. Come, let us go!

[Fame, Favour, Riches, and Worship go out.

Sci. Indeed, small cause given to care for the World's favouring,
Seeing the wits of [the] World be so wavering!
Exp. What is the matter, daughter, that ye
Be so sad? Open your mind to me.
Sci. My marvel is no less, my good mother,
Than my grief is great, to see, of all other,
The proud scorn of Wit, son to Dame Nature,
Who sent me a picture of his stature,
With all the shape of himself there opening:
His amorous love thereby betokening,
Borne toward me in abundant fashion;
And also, further, to make right relation
Of this his love, he put in commission
Such a messenger as no suspicion
Could grow, in me, of him—Confidence.
Exp. Um!
Sci. Who, I ensure ye, with such vehemence,
And faithful behaviour in his moving,
Set forth the pith of his master's loving
That no living creature could conjecte
But that pure love did that Wit direct.
Exp. So?
Sci. Now, this being since the space
Of three times sending from place to place,
Between Wit and his man, I hear no more
Neither of Wit, nor his love so sore!
[Pg 161] How think you by this, my own dear mother?
Exp. Daughter! in this I can think none other
But that it is true—this proverb old:
Hasty love is soon hot, and soon cold!
Take heed, daughter! how you put your trust
To light lovers, too hot at the first!
For had this love of Wit been grounded,
And on a sure foundation founded,
Little void time would have been between ye
But that this Wit would have sent or seen ye.
Sci. I think so.
Exp. Yea; think ye so or no,
Your mother, Experience, proof shall show
That Wit hath set his love, I dare say—
And make ye warrantise!—another way.

[Wit cometh before.

[Wit.] But your warrantise warrant no troth!
Fair lady! I pray you be not wroth
Till you hear more; for, dear Lady Science!
Had your lover, Wit—yea, or Confidence,
His man—been in health all this time spent,
Long or this time Wit had come or sent;
But the truth is, they have been both sick,
Wit and his man: yea, and with pains thick
Both stayed by the way, so that your lover
Could neither come nor send by none other.
Wherefore blame not him, but chance of sickness!
Sci. Who is this?
Exp. Ingnorancy, or his likeness.
Sci. What, the common fool?
Exp. It is much like him.
Sci. By my sooth! his tongue serveth him now trim.
What sayest thou, Ingnorancy? Speak again!
Wit. Nay, lady! I am not Ingnorancy, plain,
[Pg 162] But I am your own dear lover, Wit,
That hath long loved you, and loveth you yet;
Wherefore I pray thee now, my own sweeting!
Let me have a kiss at this our meeting.
Sci. Yea, so ye shall, anon, but not yet.
Ah, sir! this fool here hath got some wit.
Fall you to kissing, sir, now-a-days?
Your mother shall charm you; go your ways!
Wit. What needeth all this, my love of long grown?
Will ye be so strange to me, your own?
Your acquaintance to me was thought easy;
But now your words make my heart all queasy,
Your darts at me so strangely be shot.
Sci. Hear ye what terms this fool here hath got?
Wit. Well, I perceive my foolishness now;
Indeed, ladies no dastards allow;
I will be bold with my own darling!
Come now, a bass, my own proper sparling!
Sci. What wilt thou, arrant fool?
Wit. Nay, by the mass!
I will have a bass or I hence pass!
Sci. What wilt thou, arrant fool? Hence, fool, I say!
Wit. What! nothing but fool, and fool, all this day?
By the mass, madam! ye can no good.
Sci. Art a-swearing, too? Now, by my hood!
Your foolish knave's breech six stripes shall bear!
Wit. Yea, God's bones! fool and knave too? be ye there?
By the mass, call me fool once again,
And thou shalt sure call a blow or twain!
Exp. Come away, daughter! the fool is mad.
Wit. Nay, nor yet neither hence ye shall gad!
We will gree better, or ye pass hence.
[Pg 163] I pray thee now, good sweet Lady Science!
All this strange manner now hide and cover,
And play the goodfellow with thy lover!
Sci. What good-fellowship would ye of me,
Whom ye know not, neither yet I know ye?
Wit. Know ye not me?
Sci. No! how should I know ye?
Wit. Doth not my picture my person show ye?
Sci. Your picture?
Wit. Yea, my picture, lady!
That ye spake of. Who sent it but I?
Sci. If that be your picture, then shall we
Soon see how you and your picture agree.
Lo, here! the picture that I named is this.
Wit. Yea, marry! mine own likeness this is.
You having this, lady! and so loth
To know me, which this so plain showeth?
Sci. Why, you are nothing like, in mine eye.
Wit. No? How say ye? [To Experience.
Exp. As she saith, so say I.
Wit. By the mass, then are ye both stark blind!
What difference between this and this can ye find?
Exp. Marry, this is fair, pleasant, and goodly;
And ye are foul, displeasant, and ugly.
Wit. Marry, avaunt, thou foul ugly whore!
Sci. So, lo! now I perceive ye more and more.
Wit. What! perceive you me as ye would make me
A natural fool?
Sci. Nay, ye mistake me;
I take ye for no fool natural,
But I take ye thus—shall I tell all?
Wit. Yea, marry! tell me your mind, I pray ye,
[Pg 164] Whereto I shall trust. No more delay ye!
Sci. I take ye for no natural fool,
Brought up among the innocents' school;
But for a naughty, vicious fool,
Brought up with Idleness in her school:
Of all arrogant fools thou art one!
Wit. Yea, God's body!
Exp. Come, let us be gone! [The two go out.
Wit. My sword! is it gone? A vengeance on them!
Be they gone, too, and their heads upon them?
But, proud queans! the devil go with you both!
Not one point of courtesy in them goeth.
A man is well at ease by suit to pain him
For such a drab, that so doth disdain him!
So mocked, so louted, so made a sot—
Never was I erst, since I was begot!
Am I so foul as those drabs would make me?
Where is my glass that Reason did take me?
Now shall this glass of Reason soon try me
As fair as those drabs that so doth belie me.
Ha! God's soul! what have we here? a devil?
This glass, I see well, hath been kept evil.
God's soul! a fool, a fool, by the mass!
What—a very vengeance!—aileth this glass?
Other this glass is shamefully spotted,
Or else am I too shamefully blotted!
Nay, by God's arms! I am so, no doubt!
How look their faces here round about?
All fair and clear they, everyone;
And I, by the mass, a fool alone,
Decked, by God's bones, like a very ass!
Ignorance['s] coat, hood, ears—yea, by the mass!—
[Pg 165] Cockscomb and all; I lack but a bauble!
And as for this face it is abominable;
As black as the devil! God, for His passion!
Where have I been rayed after this fashion?
This same is Idleness—a shame take her!
This same is her work—the devil in hell rake her!
The whore hath shamed me forever, I trow!
I trow? Nay, verily, I know!
Now it is so, the stark fool I play
Before all people; now see it I may.
Every man I see laugh me to scorn;
Alas, alas! that ever I was born!
It was not for nought, now well I see,
That those two ladies disdained me.
Alas! Lady Science, of all other—
How have I railed on her and her mother!
Alas! that lady I have now lost
Whom all the world loveth and honoureth most!
Alas! from Reason had I not varied,
Lady Science or this I had married;
And those four gifts which the World gave her
I had won, too, had I kept her favour;
Where now, instead of that lady bright
With all those gallants seen in my sight—
Favour, Riches, yea, Worship and Fame—
I have won Hatred, Beggary and Open Shame!

Shame cometh in with a whip. [Reason followeth him.]

Wit. Out upon thee, Shame! what doest thou here?
Rea. Marry! I, Reason, bade him here appear.
Upon him, Shame! with stripes enow smitten,
While I rehearse his faults herein written!
[Pg 166] First, he hath broken his promise formerly
Made to me, Reason, my daughter to marry;
Next, he hath broken his promise promised
To obey Instruction, and him despised;
Thirdly, my daughter Science to reprove,
Upon Idleness he hath set his love;
Fourthly, he hath followed Idleness' school
Till she hath made him a very stark fool;
Lastly, offending both God and man,
Swearing great oaths as any man can,
He hath abused himself, to the great shame
Of all his kindred, and loss of his good name.
Wherefore, spare him not, Shame! beat him well there!
He hath deserved more than he can bear.

[Wit kneeleth down.

[Wit.] Oh father Reason, be good unto me!
Alas! these stripes of Shame will undo me!
Rea. Be still awhile, Shame! Wit, what sayest thou?
Wit. Oh sir! forgive me, I beseech you!
Rea. If I forgive thee thy punishment,
Wilt thou then follow thy first intent
And promise made, my daughter to marry?
Wit. Oh sir! I am not worthy to carry
The dust out where your daughter should sit.
Rea. I wot well that; but if I admit
Thee, unworthy, again to her wooer,
Wilt thou then follow thy suit unto her?
Wit. Yea, sir! I promise you, while life endureth.
Rea. Come near, masters! here is one ensureth

[Pg 167]

Here cometh Instruction, Study, and Diligence in.

In words to become an honest man!
Take him, Instruction; do what ye can!
Inst. What, to the purpose he went before?
Rea. Yea to my daughter prove him once more!
Take him, and trim him in new apparel,
And give that to Shame there to his farewell!
Inst. Come on your way, Wit! be of good cheer!
After stormy clouds cometh weather clear.

[Instruction, Study, Wit and Diligence go out.

Rea. Who list to mark now this chance here done,
May see what Wit is without Reason.
What was this Wit better than an ass
Being from Reason strayed, as he was?
But, let pass now! since he is well punished;
And thereby, I trust, meetly well monished.
Yea, and I like him never the worse, I,
Though Shame hath handled him shamefully;
For like as if Wit had proudly bent him
To resist Shame, to make Shame absent him,
I would have thought then that Wit had been—
As the saying is, and daily seen—
Past Shame once, and past all amendment:
So contrary, since he did relent
To Shame, when Shame punished him even ill,
I have, I say, good hope in him still.
I think, as I thought—if join they can—
My daughter well bestowed on this man.
But all the doubt now is to think how
My daughter taketh this; for I may tell you
[Pg 168] I think she knew this Wit even as well
As she seemed here to know him no deal,
For lack of knowledge in Science there is none;
Wherefore, she knew him, and thereupon
His misbehaviour perchance even striking
Her heart against him, she—now misliking,
As women oft-times will be hard-hearted—
Will be the stranger to be reverted.
This must I help; Reason must now walk,
On Wit's part with my Science to talk.
A near way to her know I, whereby
My son's coming prevent now must I.
Perchance, I may bring my daughter hither;
If so, I doubt not to join them together

[Exeat Reason.

Confidence cometh in.

[Conf.] I thank God, yet at last I have found him;
I was afraid some mischance had drowned him,
My master, Wit, with whom I have spoken;
Yea, and delivered token for token,
And have another to Science again—
A heart of gold, signifying, plain,
That Science hath won Wit's heart forever—
Whereby, I trust, by my good endeavour,
To that good lady, so sweet and so sortly,
A marriage between them ye shall see shortly.

[Confidence exeat.

Instruction cometh in with Wit, Study, and Diligence.

[Inst.] Lo, sir! now ye be entered again
Toward that passage where doth remain
Tediousness, your mortal enemy;
Now may ye choose whether ye will try
[Pg 169] Your hands again on that tyrant stout,
Or else walking a little about.
Wit. Nay; for God's passion, sir, let me meet him!
Ye see I am able now for to greet him:
This sword of comfort, sent from my love,
Upon her enemy needs must I prove!
Inst. Then, forth there! and turn on your right hand
Up that mount, before ye shall see stand.
But hear ye! If your enemy chance to rise,
Follow my counsel in anywise;
Let Study and Diligence flee their touch—
The stroke of Tediousness—and then couch
Themselves, as I told ye: ye wot how.
Wit. Yea, sir! for that how, mark the proof now!
Inst. To mark it, indeed, here will I abide,
To see what chance of them will betide;
For here cometh the pith, lo! of this journey.
That mountain, before which they must assay,
Is called in Latin Mons Parnassus;
Which mountain, as old authors discuss,
Who attaineth once to sleep on that mount,
Lady Science his own he may count.
But or he come there ye shall see fought
A fight with no less policy wrought
Than strength, I trow, if that may be praised.
Ted. Oh! ho! ho!
Inst. Hark!
Ted. [entering]. Out, ye caitiffs!
Inst. The fiend is raised!
Ted. Out, ye villains! be ye come again?
Have at ye, wretches!
Wit. Flee, sirs! ye twain!
Ted. They flee not far hence!
[Pg 170]
Dil. Turn again, Study!
Study. Now, Diligence!
Inst. Well said! Hold fast now!
Study. He fleeth!
Dil. Then follow!
Inst. With his own weapon now work him sorrow!
Wit lieth at receipt!
Ted. (dieth). Oh! ho! ho!
Inst. Hark! he dieth!
Where strength lacketh, policy supplieth.

Here Wit cometh in and bringeth in the head upon his sword, and sayeth as followeth:

[Wit.] I can ye thank, sirs! this was well done!
Study. Nay, yours is the deed!
Dil. To you is the thank!
Inst. I can ye thank, all; this was well done!
Wit. How say ye, man? Is this field well won?

Confidence cometh running in.

[Conf.] Yea, by my faith, so sayeth your dear heart.
Wit. Why, where is she, that here now thou art?
Conf. Upon yonder mountain, on high,
She saw ye strike that head from the body;
Whereby ye have won her, body and all;
In token whereof receive here ye shall
A gown of knowledge, wherein you must
Receive her here straight.
Wit. But sayest thou just?
[Conf.] So just I say that, except ye hie ye,
Or ye be ready, she will be by ye.
[Pg 171]
Wit. Hold! Present unto her this head here,
And give me warning when she cometh near.

[Exit Confidence.

Instruction! will ye help to devise
To trim this gear now in the best wise?
Inst. Give me that gown, and come with me, all!
Dil. Oh, how this gear to the purpose doth fall!

Confidence cometh running in.

[Conf.] How, master, master! Where be ye now?
Wit. Here, Confidence! what tidings bring'st thou?
Conf. My lady at hand here doth abide ye;
Bid her welcome! What, do ye hide ye?

Here Wit, Instruction, Study, and Diligence sing "Welcome, my own," and Science, Experience, Reason and Confidence come in at L[eft], and answer every second verse:

Welcome, mine own!
Welcome, mine own!
Wit and his Company. O lady dear,
Be ye so near
To be known?
My heart you cheer
Your voice to hear;
Welcome, mine own!
Sci. and her Company. As ye rejoice
[Pg 172] To hear my voice
Fro me thus blown,
So in my choice
I show my voice
To be your own.
Wit and his Company. Then draw we near
To see and hear
My love long grown!
Where is my dear?
Here I appear
To see mine own.
Sci. and her Company. To see and try
Your love truly
Till death be flown,
Lo! here am I,
That ye may spy
I am your own.
Wit and his Company. Then let us meet,
My love so sweet,
Half-way here thrown!
Sci. and her Company. I will not sleet
My love to greet.
Welcome, mine own!
Wit and his Company. Welcome, mine own!
All sing: Welcome, mine own!

[And when the song is done, Reason sendeth Instruction, Study, and Diligence, and Confidence out; and then, standing in the middle of the place, Wit sayeth as followeth:

Wit. Welcome, mine own! with all my whole heart,
Which shall be your own till death us depart!
I trust, lady! this knot even since knit.
Sci. I trust the same; for since ye have smit
[Pg 173] Down my great enemy, Tediousness,
Ye have won me forever, doubtless,
Although ye have won a clog withal!
Wit. A clog, sweetheart? what?
Sci. Such as doth fall
To all men that join themselves in marriage,
In keeping their wives; a careful carriage!
Wit. Careful? Nay, lady! that care shall employ
No clog, but a key of my most joy.
To keep you, sweet heart! as shall be fit,
Shall be no care, but most joy to Wit!
Sci. Well, yet I say—mark well what I say!—
My presence bringeth you a clog; no nay!
Not in the keeping of me only,
But in the use of Science chiefly;
For I, Science, am, in this degree,
As all, or most part, of women be:
If ye use me well, in a good sort,
Then shall I be your joy and comfort;
But if ye use me not well, then doubt me,
For sure ye were better then without me!
Wit. Why, lady! think you me such a wit,
As being affianced by you, and yet
Would misuse ye? Nay, if ye doubt that,
Here is one loveth thee more than somewhat:
If Wit misuse ye at any season,
Correct me then your own father, Reason.
Rea. Ho, daughter! can ye desire any more?
What need these doubts? Avoid them, therefore!
Exp. By' lakyn, sir! but, under your favour,
This doubt our daughter doth well to gather
For a good warning now, at beginning,
What Wit, in the end, shall look for in winning.
[Pg 174] Which shall be this, sir! if Science here,
Which is God's gift, be used mere
Unto God's honour, and profit both
Of you and your neighbour, which goth
In her, of kind, to do good to all:
This seen to, Experience! I, shall
Set you forth, Wit, by her to employ
Double increase to your double joy;
But if you use her contrariwise
To her good nature, and so devise
To evil effects to wrest and to wry her,
Yea, and cast her off and set nought by her,
Be sure I, Experience, shall than
Declare you so before God and man;
That this talent from you shall be taken
And you punished for your gain forsaken.
Wit. "Once warned, half-armed," folk say, namely when
Experience shall warn a man, then
Time to take heed. Mother Experience!
Touching your daughter, my dear heart, Science,
As I am certain that to abuse her
I breed mine own sorrow, and well to use her
I increase my joy; and so to make it
God's grace is ready if I will take it:
Then—but ye count me no wit at all—
Let never these doubts into your head fall;
But, as yourself, Experience, clearing
All doubts at length, so, till time appearing,
Trust ye with me in God; and, sweetheart,
While your father, Reason, taketh with part
To receive God's grace as God shall send it,
Doubt ye not our joy till life's end [end] it!
Sci. Well, then, for the end of all doubts past,
And to that end which ye spake of last,
[Pg 175] Among our wedding matters here rendering,
Th' end of our lives would be in remembering;
Which remembrance, Wit, shall sure defend ye
From the misuse of Science and send ye
The gain my mother to mind did call:
Joy without end—that wish I to all!
Rea. Well said! and as ye, daughter! wish it,
That joy, to all folk in general,
So wish I, Reason, the same; but yet
First in this life wish I here to fall
To our most noble King and Queen in especial,
To their honourable Council, and then to all the rest,
Such joy as long may rejoice them all best! [All say Amen.

Here cometh in four with viols and sing, "Remember me," and, at the last, choir all make curtsey, and so go forth singing.

Thus endeth the Play of Wit and Science, made by Master John Redford.

[Pg 176]
[Pg 177]

A.D. 1553

[Pg 178]

A Merry Interlude, entitled


Made in the Year of our Lord 1553, and
the First Year of the most Prosperous
Reign of our Most Gracious
Sovereign Queen Mary
the First

The Parts and Names of the Players:

[Pg 179]



First, health and success, with many a good new year,
Wished unto all this noble presence here!
I have more t' entreat you of gentle sufferance
That this our matter may have quiet utterance.
We, that are th' authors, have ourselves dedicate
With some Christmas devise, your spirits to recreate;
And, our poet trusteth, the thing we shall recite
May, without offence, the hearers' minds delight;
Indeed, no man speaketh words so well fore pondered,
But the same, by some means, may be misconstrued.
Nor, nothing so well meant but that, by some pretence,
It may be wrong interpreted from the author's sense.
But, let this be taken no worse than it is meant,
And I hope nor we, nor our poet, shall be shent.
But now, of th' argument to touch a word or twain:
The name of our play is Respublica, certain.
Our meaning is—I say not, as by plain story,
But as it were in figure by an allegory—
[Pg 180] To show that all commonweals ruin and decay
From time to time hath been, is, and shall be alway,
When Insolence, Flattery, Oppression,
And Avarice have the rule in their possession.
But, though these vices, by cloaked collusion,
And by counterfeit names hidden their abusion,
Do reign for a while to commonweals' prejudice,
Perverting all right, and all order of true justice;
Yet time trieth all, and time bringeth truth to light;
That wrong may not ever still reign in place of right.
For, when pleaseth God such commonweals to restore
To their wealth and honour, wherein they were afore,
He sendeth down His most tender compassion,
To cause truth go about in visitation.
Verity, the daughter of sage old Father Time,
Sheweth all as it is, be it virtue or crime;
Then doth Justice, all such as commonwealth oppress—
Tempered with mercy—endeavour to suppress;
With whom, anon, is linked tranquillity and peace,
To commonweals' joy and perpetual increase.
But shall boys, (saith some now), of such high matters play?
No! not as discussers; but yet, the book doth say:
Ex ore infantium perferisti laudem.
For, when Christ came riding into Jerusalem,
The young babes, with th' old folk, cried out all and some:
"Blessed be the man that in the Lord's name doth come!"
[Pg 181] So, for good England's sake, this present hour and day,
In hope of her restoring from her late decay,
We children, to you old folk, both with heart and voice,
May join all together to thank God, and rejoice
That He hath sent Mary, our sovereign and queen,
To reform th' abuses which hitherto hath been;
And that ills which long time have reigned uncorrect
Shall now, for ever, be redressed with effect.
She is our most wise and most worthy Nemesis;
Of whom our play meaneth, t' amend that is amiss;
Which, to bring to pass, that she may have time and space,
Let us, both young and old, to God commend her grace!
Now, if you so please, I will go and hither send
That shall make you laugh well, if ye abide th' end.


[Pg 182]




Avarice. Now, godigod! everyone, both great and small,
From highest to lowest, Godigod to you all!
Godigod! what should I say? even or morn,
If I mark how the day goeth—God give me sorrow!
But, godigod! each one, twenty and twenty score
Of that ye most long for—what would ye have more?
Ye must pardon my wits, for I tell you, plain,
I have a hive of humble bees swarming in my brain;
And he that hath the compass to fetch that I must fetch,
I may say, in counsel, had need his wits to stretch.
But now, what my name is, and what is my purpose—
Taking you all for friends—I fear not to disclose.
My very true, unchristian name is Avarice,
Which I may not have openly known, in no wise;
For, though to most men I am found commodious,
Yet, to those that use me, my name is odious.
[Pg 183] For, who is so foolish that the evil he hath wrought
For his own behoof, he would to light should be brought?
Or, who had not rather, his ill doings to hide,
Than to have the same bruited on every side?
Therefore, to work my feat, I will my name disguise;
And call my name Policy instead of Covetise.
The name of Policy is praised of each one;
But, to rake gromwell-seed, Avarice is alone;
The name of Policy is of none suspected—
Policy is ne'er of any crime detected.
So that, under the name and cloak of Policy,
Avarice may work facts, and scape all jealousy.
And, now is the time come that—except I be a beast,
E'en to make up my mouth, and to feather my nest—
A time that I have waited for, a great long space;
And now may I speed my purpose, if I have grace.
For, hear ye, sirrah! our great, grand lady mother,
Noble Dame Respublica, she and none other—
Of the offals, the refuse, the rags, the parings;
The baggage, the trash, the fragments, the sharings;
The odd ends, the crumbs, the driblets, the chippings;
The patches, the pieces, the broklets, the drippings;
The flittance, the scrapings, the wild wai[f]s and strays;
The skimmings, the gubbings of booties and preys;
The gleanings, the casualties, the blind escheats;
The forging of forfeit[s], the scape of extreats;
[Pg 184] Th' excess, the waste, the spoils, the superfluities;
The windfalls, the shreddings, the fleecings, the petty fees;
With a thousand things more, which she may right well lack—
Would fill all these same purses that hang at my back.
Yea! and ten times as many more bags as these,
Which should be but a flea-biting for her to lese;
That, if I may have the grace and hap to blind her,
I doubt not, a sweet lady I shall find her.
To her it were nothing; yet, many a small maketh a great;
And all things would help me whatever I may geat:
Full little know men the great need that I am in.
Do not I spend daily of that that I do win?
Then, age cometh on; and what is a little gold
To keep a man by drede that is feeble and old?
No man, therefore, blame me though I would have more:
The world waxeth hard, and store, (they say), is no sore.
Now, the chance of thieves, in good hour be it spoken—
Out, alas! I fear I left my coffer open.
I am surely undone! alas! where be my kays?
It is gone, that I have sweat for all my live-days!
Woe worth all whoreson thieves, and such covetous knaves!
That, for their winding sheet, would scrape men out of their graves!


[Pg 185]


Adulation. Insolence. Oppression.

Intrant Canta[n]tes.

Adulation. Oh, noble Insolence! if I could sing as well,
I would look in heaven among angels to dwell.
Insolence. Sing! now, do I sing but as other many do?
Adul. Yes, an angel's voice ye have, to hearken unto.
Insol. Yea! but what availeth that to high dignity?
Oppression. By His arms! not a whit, as far as I can see!
Insol. Or, what helpeth that thing to set a man aloft?
Oppr. By His wounds! not a straw; so have I told you oft.
Adul. No! but ye are one of such goodly personage,
Of such wit and beauty, and of sage parentage,
So excellent in all points of every art—
Insol. Indeed, God and nature in me have done their part—
Adul. That, if ye will put yourself forward to the most,
Ye may, throughout the whole land, rule all the roste—
How say you, Oppression? is it not even so?
Oppr. Thou sayest sooth, Adulation! so might I go:
If he were disposed to take the charge in hand,
I warrant him a chive to rule all the whole land.
Adul. So, Master Insolence! ye hear Oppression?
Insol. I thank both him and thee, good Adulation!
[Pg 186] And long have I dreamed of such an enterprise;
But how, or where to begin, I cannot devise.
Oppr. Wherefore serve friends, but your enterprise to allow?
Adul. And then must you support them, as they must maintain you.
Oppr. And, wherefore do friends serve, but to set you in?
Adul. Ye shall have all my help whenever ye begin.
Insol. But we may, herein, nothing attempt, in no wise,
Without the counsel of our founder, Avarice.
Adul. He must direct all this gear by his holy ghost.
Oppr. For he knoweth what is to be done in each coast;
He knoweth where, and how that money is to be had—
And, yonder he cometh! methinketh more than half mad!

[Intrat Avarice.


Avarice. Insolence. Oppression. Adulation.

Avarice. It was a fair grace that I was not undone clean;
Yet my key was safe locked under mine locks, I ween.
But e'en, as against such a thing my heart will throb,
I found knaves about my house, ready me to rob.
There was such tooting, such looking, and such prying;
Such hearkening, such stalking, such watching, such spying.
[Pg 187] "What would ye, my masters?" "We look after a cat."
"What make ye hereabout?" "We have smelled a rat."
Now, a weal on such noses! thought I, by and by,
That so quickly can scent where hidden gold doth lie.
But had I not come when I did, without all fails,
I think they had digged up my walls with their nails!
Insol. Let us speak to him, and break his chafing talk.
Avar. Such greediness of money among men doth walk
That, have it they will, either by hook or by crook!
Oppr. Let us call to him that he may this way look.
Avar. Whether by right, or by wrong, in faith! some care not:
Therefore, catch that catch may, hardely, and spare not!
Adul. All hail our founder and chief, Master Avarice!
Avar. The devil is a knave, an I catch not a flyce.
Adul. When ye see your time, look this way, your friends upon!
Avar. I doubt not to scamble and rake as well as one.
Adul. Here be that would fain be disciples of your art.
Avar. I will not be behind to get a child's part.
Adul. Now, if ye have done, I pray you look this way back.
Avar. Who buzzeth in mine ear so? what? ye saucy Jack!
Adul. Are ye yet at leisure, with your good friends to talk?
Avar. What, clawest thou mine elbow, pratling merchant? walk!
[Pg 188] Ye flatterabundus, you! you flearing clawback, you!
You the-crow-is-white, you! you the-swan-is-black, you!
You John-hold-my-staff, you! you what-is-the-clock, you!
You ait-aio you! you negat-nego you!
Adul. I marvel you speak to me in such fashion.
Avar. Why troublest thou me then in my contemplation?
Adul. I came of right good love, not minding you to let.
Avar. Thou ne'er camest to any man of good love yet.
Adul. And these men's minds it was I should so do.
Avar. As false wretches as thine own self, and falser too!
Insol and Oppr. We have been loving to you, and faithful alway.
Avar. For your own profits, then; and not mine, I daresay;
And e'en, veray! you three it was, and others none,
That would have robbed me, not yet half an hour gone.
Insol., Oppr., Adul. We never robbed any man, later or rather.
Avar. Yes, many a time and oft, your own very father.
Oppr. And to you have we borne hearty favours alway.
Avar. And, I warrant you hanged for your labours one day.
Oppr., Adul. And, as our god, we have alway honoured you.
Avar. And, e'en as your god, I have aye succoured you.
[Pg 189]
Oppr. We call you our founder, by All Holy Hallows!
Avar. Founder me no found'ring; but beware the gallows!
Insol. I pray you leave these words, and talk friendly at last.
Avar. Content! at your request, my fame is now well past;
And, in faith! what saith our friend, Adulation?
Adul. I wonder at your rough communication,
That ye would to me use words of such vehemence.
Avar. Faith, man! I spake but even to prove your patience,
That if thou hadst grunted or stormed thereat.
Adul. Nay! few times do I use such loud manner as that.
Avar. Come! shake hands! for ever we two be at one.
Adul. As for grudge in me, there shall never remain none.
Avar. Now, Master Insolence! to your ghostly purpose!
Insol. We accorded a matter to you to disclose.
Avar. I understand all your agreement and accord;
For, I laid in your bosoms when ye spake the word;
And I like well the advice of Oppression,
And eke of Flattery, for your progression.
Insol. If there were matter whereon to work, I care not.
Avar. Ye shall have matter enough; be doing, spare not!
Insol. What! to come to honour and wealth for us all three?
Avar. Ah then! ye could be content to leave out me!
[Pg 190]
Insol. No! for I know ye can, for yourself well provide.
Avar. Yea! that I can; and for twenty hundred beside.
Adul. Oh, would Christ, good founder! ye would that thing open.
Avar. Bones, knave! wilt thou have it ere it can be spoken?
Oppr. For the passion of God! tell it us with all speed!
Avar. By the cross, not a word! here is haste made indeed.
Insol. Yes, good, sweet Avarice! dispatch, and tell at once!
Avar. Nay then, cut my throat! ye are fellows for the nonce—
Will ye have a matter before it can be told?
If ye will have me tell it, ye shall your tongues hold.
Whist! silence! not a word! Mum! let your clatter cease!
Are ye with child to hear, and cannot hold your peace?
So sir! now Respublica, the lady of estate,
Ye know, now lately, is left almost desolate.
Her wealth is decayed; her comfort clean ago;
And she at her wit's end what for to say or do.
Fain would she have succour, and easement of her grief;
And highly advance them that would promise relief;
Such as would warrant her spirits to revive
Might mount to high estate, and be most sure to thrive.
Insol. So!
Adul. Well said!
Oppr. Ha!
Avar. What is this hum, ha, hum?
[Pg 191]
Insol. On forth!
Adul. Go too!
Oppr. Tell on!
Avar. Body of me!
Adul. Mum!
Avar. What say ye?
Insol. Haik!
Adul. Tuff!
Oppr. Hem!
Avar. Who haiken, tuffa, hum—what say ye?
Oppr. Nothing!
Insol. Not a word?
Avar. Nor you, neither?
Adul. Mum!
Avar. Did ye speak or not?
Insol. No!
Oppr. No!
Adul. No!
Avar. Nor yet do not?
Insol. No!
Oppr. No!
Adul. No!
[Oppr. No!
Insol. No!
Adul. No!
Avar. That, that, that! that, that, that!
Sir, I intend Dame Respublica t'assail;
And, so to creep in to be of her counsel;
I hope well to bring her in such a paradise
That herself shall sue me to have my service;
Then shall I have time and power to bring in you three.
Oppr. Do this out of hand, founder! and first, speak for me;
Bring me in credit that my hands be in the pie:
[Pg 192] An I get not elbow room among them, let me lie.
Avar. Nay! see an Oppression, this eager elf,
Be not since more covetous than covetous self!
Soft! be not so hasty, I pray you, Sir! soft awhile!
You will over the hedge ere ye come at the stile.
Oppr. I would fain be shouldering and rumbling among them.
Avar. Nay! I will help javels as shall wrong them.
Adul. I pray you, good founder! let not me be the last.
Avar. Thou shalt be well placed where to thrive very fast.
Adul. I thank you, Master Avarice! with all my heart.
Avar. And when thou art in place, see thou play well thy part.
When ye claw her elbow, remember your best friend;
And let my commendations be ever at one end.
Adul. I warrant you!
Insol. And what! shall [I] be left clean out?
Avar. No, sir! ye shall be chief to bring all things about;
Ye shall among us have the chief pre-eminence;
And we to you, as it were, owe obedience:
Ye shall be our leader, our captain, and our guide;
Then must ye look aloft, with hands under the side.
I shall tell Respublica ye can best govern:
Be not ye, then, squeamish to take in hand the stern.
Then shall we assist you, as friends of perfect trust,
To do and to undo, and command what ye lust,
[Pg 193] And, when you have all at your own will and pleasure,
Part of your livings to your friends ye may measure;
And punish the proudest of them that will resist.
Oppr. He that once winceth shall feel the weight of my fist.
Adul. Yea! we must all hold and cleave together like burrs.
Avar. Yea! see ye three hang and draw together like furze.
Oppr. And so shall we be sure to get store of money
Sweeter than sugar!
Avar. Sweeter than any honey!
Insol. Very well spoken! this gear will right well accord.
Adul. Did not I say ye were worthy to be a lord?
Avar. I will make Insolence a lord of high estate.
Insol. And I will take upon me well, both early and late.
Oppr. But, Insolence! when ye come to the encroaching of lands,
Ye may not take all alone into your hands;
I will look to have part of goods, lands, and plate.
Insol. Ye shall have enough, each body after his rate.
Adul. I must have part, too; ye must not have all alone.
Insol. Thou shalt be laden till thy shoulders shall crack and groan.
Adul. I pray you, let me have a good lordship or two.
Insol. Respublica shall feed thee till thou wilt say, ho!
[Pg 194]
Adul. And I must have good manor places, two or three.
Insol. But the chief and best lordship must remain to me.
Oppr. Mass! and I will look to be served of the best;
Or else some folk, somewhere, shall sit but in small rest.
Insol. I must have castles and towns in every shire.
Adul. And I, change of houses—one here, and another there.
Insol. And I must have pastures, and townships, and woods.
Oppr. And I must needs have store of gold and other goods.
Insol. And I must have change of farms, and pastures for sheep;
With daily revenues my lusty port for to keep.
Avar. I would have a bone here, rather than a groat,
To make these snarling curs gnaw out each other's throat!
Here! be eager, whelps! lo! to it Boy! box him Ball!
Poor I may pick straws; these hungry dogs will snatch all.
Oppr. Each man snatch for himself; by gosse! I will be sped.
Avar. Lack who lack shall: Oppression will be corn fed!
Is not Dame Respublica sure of good handling
When these whelps, ere they have it, fall thus to scambling?
And me, their chief founder, they have e'en since forgot.
Insol. Thou shalt have gold and silver enough to thy lot:
Respublica hath enough to fill all our laps.
Adul. Then, I pray you, sir! let our founder have some scraps!
[Pg 195]
Avar. Scr[a]ps? ye doltish lout! feed you your founder with scraps?
If you were well served your head would have some raps.
Adul. I spake of good will.
Insol. Nay, fight not, good Avarice!
Oppr. What any of us getteth, thou hast the chief price.
Avar. Then, whatever ye do, ye will remember me?
Insol. Oppr. Adul. Yea!
Avar. Well, so do then; and I forgive you all three.
Insol. But, when do we enter, every man his charge?
Avar. As soon as I can spy Respublica at large
I will board her; and, I trow, so win her favour
That she shall hire me, and pay well for my labour.
Then will I commend the virtues of you three
That she shall pray and wish under our rule to be;
Therefore, from this hour, be ye all in readiness!
Oppr. Doubt not of us! thou seest all our grediness.
Insol. If it be at midnight, I come at the first call.

[They go forward, one after other.

Adul. Do but whistle for me, and I come forth withal.
Avar. That is well spoken; I love such a toward twig.

[He whistleth.

Adul. I come, founder!
Avar. That is mine own good spaniel, Rig—
And come on! back again, all three! come back again!
Insol. Our founder calleth us back.
Oppr. Return then, amain.

[Pg 196]


Avarice. Adulation. Insolence. Oppression.

Avar. Come on, sirs, all three! And first to you, best be trust:
What, is your brainpan stuffed withal? wool or sawdust?
Adul. Why so?
Avar. What is your name?
Adul. Flattery!
Avar. E'en so, just!
Adul. Yea! or else Adulation, if you so lust:
Either name is well known to many a body.
Avar. An honest mome! ah, ye dolt! ye lout! ye noddy!
Shall Respublica hear your commendation
By the name of Flattery or Adulation?
Or, when ye commend me to her, will ye say this:
Forsooth! his name is Avarice or Covetise?
And you, that should have wit, is't your discretion
Bluntly to go forth, and be called Oppression?
And you, Insolence! do ye think it would well frame
If ye were presented to her under that name?
Insol. I thought nothing thereupon, by my halidom!
Oppr. My mind was another way, by my christendom!
Adul. That thing was le[a]st part of my thought, by Saint Denis!
Avar. No marry! your minds were all on your halfpenny.
[Pg 197] But, my masters! I must on mine honesty pass,
And not run on 'head, like a brute beast or an ass.
For is not Oppression eachwhere sore hated?
And is not Flattery openly rebated?
And am not I, Avarice, still cried out upon?
Adul. Yes! I could have told you that, a great while agone;
But I would not displease you.
Avar. And you, Insolence!
I have heard you ill-spoken of a great way hence.
Adul. In my conscience! the devil himself doth love you.
Avar. But changing your ill-name, fewer shall reprove you—
As I, mine ownself, where my name is known
Am right sore assailed, to be overthrown.
But doing, as I will now, counterfeit my name,
I speed all my purposes, and yet escape blame.
Insol. Let us then have new names, each man, without delay.
Avar. Else will some of you make hanging stuff one day.
Oppr. Thou must new christen us.
Insol. First, what shall my name be?
Avar. Faith, sir! your name shall be Mounsire Authority.
Oppr. And, for me, what is your determination?
Avar. Marry, sir! ye shall be called Reformation.
Adul. Now, I pray you, devise for me an honest name.
Avar. Thou art such a beast, I cannot, for very shame!
Adul. If ye think good, let me be called Policy.
Avar. Policy—a rope ye shall! nay, Hypocrisy!
[Pg 198]
Adul. Fie! that were as slanderous a name a[s] Flattery.
Avar. And I keep for myself the name of Policy.
But, if I devise for thee, wilt thou not shame me?
Adul. Nay! I will make thee proud of me; or, else, blame me!
Avar. Well, then, for this time, thy name shall be Honesty.
Adul. I thank you, Avarice! Honesty, Honesty!
Avar. Avarice, ye whoreson! Policy, I tell thee!
Adul. I thank you, Policy! Honesty, Honesty!
How say you, Insolence? I am now Honesty.
Avar. We shall at length have a knave of you, Honesty!
Said not I, he should be called Mounseer Authority?
Adul. Oh, friend Oppression! Honesty, Honesty!
Avar. Oppression? ha! is the devil in thy brain?
Take heed! or, in faith! ye are Flattery again.
Policy! Reformation! Authority!
Adul. Hypocrisy! Defamation! and Authority!
Avar. Hypocrisy? ha! Hypocrisy? ye dull ass!
Adul. Thou named'st Hypocrisy even now, by the Mass!
Avar. Policy, I said; Policy! knave Policy!
Now say as I said.
Adul. Policy, knave! Policy!
Avar. And what callest thou him here?
Adul. Defamation!
Avar. I told thee he should be called Reformation.
Adul. Very well!
Avar. What is he now?
Adul. Deformation!

[A line is probably lost.

[Pg 199]

Avar. Was ever the like ass born, in all nations?
Adul. A pestle on him, he comes of the Asians.
Avar. Come on! ye shall learn to solfe Reformation!
Sing on now: Re.
Adul. Re.
Avar. Refor.
Adul. Reformation.
Avar. Policy, Reformation, Authority!
Adul. Policy, Reformation, and Honesty!
Avar. In faith, ye ass! if your tongue make any mo trips,
Ye shall both be Flattery and have on the lips.
And now, Mounsire Authority! against, I you call;
Ye must have other garments; and so must ye all—
Ye must, for the season, counterfeit gravity.
Insol. and Oppr. Yes! what else?
Adul. And I must counterfeit honesty.
Avar. And I must turn my gown in and out, I ween;
For these gaping purses may in no wise be seen.
I will turn it e'en here—come help me, Honesty!
Adul. Here, at hand!
Avar. Why, how now? play the knave, Honesty!
Help! what doest thou now?
Adul. I counterfeit Honesty.
Avar. Why, then, come thou! help me, my friend Oppression!
What help call you that?
Oppr. Fit for your discretion!
Avar. Oh, I should have said: help, sir Reformation!
Oppr. Yea, marry, sir! that is my nomination.
[Pg 200]
Avar. And when you are [in] your robe, keep it afore close.
Oppr. I pray you, Master Policy! for what purpose?
Avar. All folk will take you, if they peep under your gown,
For the veriest caitiff in country or town.
Now, go! and when I call, see that ye ready be!
Insol. I will.
Oppr. And I will.
Adul. And so will I, Honesty!


Avar. Well, now will I depart hence, also, for a space;
And, to bourd Respublica, wait a time of grace.
Wherever I find her a time convenient,
I shall say and do that may be expedient!

[Exeat Avarice.



Resp. Lord! what earthly thing is permanent or stable?
Or, what is all this world but a lump mutable?
Who would have thought that I, from so florent estate,
Could have been brought so base as I am made of late?
But, as the waving seas do flow and ebb by course,
So all things else do change to better and to worse.
Great cities and their fame, in time, do fade and pass;
Now is a champion field where noble Troy was.
[Pg 201] Where is the great Empire of the Medes and Persians?
Where be th' old conquests of the puissant Grecians?
Where Babylon? where Athens? where Corinth so wide?
Are they not consumed with all their pomp and pride?
What is the cause hereof? man's wit cannot discuss;
But, of long continuance, the thing is found thus.
Yet, by all experience, thus much is well seen:
That, in commonweals, while good governors have been,
All thing hath prospered; and, where such men do lack,
Commonweals decay, and all things do go back.
What marvel then, if I, wanting a perfect stay,
From most flourishing wealth be fallen in decay?
But, like as by default, quick ruin doth befall,
So may good government at once recover all.

[Intrat Avar[ice] cogitabundus et ludibundus.


Avaricia. Respublica.

Avar. Alas, my sweet bags! how lank and empty ye be;
But, in faith and troth, sirs! the fault is not in me.
Resp. Well, my help and comfort, oh Lord! must come from Thee.
Avar. And my sweet purses here, I pray you all, see, see!
[Pg 202] How the little fool[s] gasp and gape for gromwell-seed!
Resp. If it be Thy will, Lord! send some redress with speed.
Avar. But, in faith, good sweet fools! it shall cost me a fall.
But I will shortly fill you, and stop your mouths all.
Resp. Oh, that it were my hap, on friendly friends to light!
Avar. Ha, ha! who is that same, that speaketh yonder in sight?
Who is't? Respublica? yea, by the Mary mass!
Resp. Then might I be again as well as ere I was.
Avar. Hide up these pipes! now, I pray God she be blind;
I am half afraid lest she have an eye behind.
We must now change our copy: oh, Lord! how I fray,
Lest she saw my toys, and heard what I did say!
Resp. Is there no good man that on me will have mercy?
Avar. Remember now: my name is Master Policy:
All thing, I tell you, must now go by Policy.
Resp. Hark! methink I hear the name of Policy.
Avar. Who calleth Conscience? here am I, Policy!
Resp. I pray you come to me, if you be Policy!
Avar. Yea, forsooth! yea, forsooth! my name is Policy.
Resp. I am sore decayed through default of Policy.
Avar. Yea, most noble Respublica! I know that well;
And do more lament it than any tongue can tell.
[Pg 203] For, an if good Policy had had you in hand,
Ye had now been the wealthiest in any land:
But good Policy hath long been put to exile.
Resp. Yea, God wot! ye have been barred from me a great while.
Avar. Yea! I have been put back, as one clean off-shaken;
And, what can a man do till he be forth taken?
Resp. Well, I feel the lack of your helping hand, by the rood!
Avar. Alack, noble lady! I would I could do you good.
Resp. Yes, Policy! ye might amend all, if you lust.
Avar. Yea, faith! I durst put myself to you of trust.
But, there be enough that, for you, could shift make.
Resp. Yet, none like to you! if you would it undertake—
And I will put myself wholly into your hands:
Metal, grain, cattle, treasure, goods and lands—
Avar. Well! I will take some pain; but this to you be known:
I will do it, not for your sake, and not for mine own.
Resp. How say ye that, Policy?
Avar. This to you be known:
I will do all for your sake, and not for mine own.
Resp. I thank you, Policy!
Avar. Nay, I thank you, lady!
And I trust ere long to ease all our malady—
Well, ye put yourself now wholly into my hands?
Resp. Order me as you will.
Avar. Treasure, goods, and lands?
Resp. Yea, every whit!
Avar. Well! I thank you once again.
But, now that you may think my dealing true and plain,
[Pg 204] And, because one cannot do so well as many,
Ye must associate me with mo company:
And first, by my will, ye shall set up Honesty.
Resp. Marry! with all my very heart—but where is he?
Avar. Very hard to find: but I think I could fet him.
Resp. Call him straightways hither! see that nothing let him!
Avar. It were best if I shall go fet men for the nonce;
To make but one viage, and bring them all at once.
Resp. Whom more than him?
Avar. Ye must stablish Authority.
Resp. That must needs be done.
Avar. And eke Reformation—
We four will rule things of another fashion.
Resp. Policy! I pray you go fet all these straightway.
Avar. Yes! for this your present case may bide no delay.
I will go and come with all festination. [Exeat.
Resp. I like well this trade of Administration:
Policy for to devise for my commodity;
No person to be advanced but Honesty;
Then Reformation, good wholesome laws to make;
And Authority see the same effect may take;
What commonweal shall then be so happy as I?
For this, (I perceive), is the drift of Policy.

[Intrat Avarice, adducens Insolence, Oppression, and Adulation.

And, behold! where he is returned again since:
He showeth himself a man of [much] diligence.

[Pg 205]


Adulation. Avarice. Respublica. Insolence. Oppression.

Adul. I will do her double service to another!
Avar. Ye double knave, you! will ye never be other?
Adul. She shall have triple service of me, Honesty.
Avar. Ye quadrible knave! wi[ll] ye ne'er use modesty?
Thou drunken whoreson! dost thou not see nor perceive
Where Respublica stands, ready us to receive?
Resp. What talk have they yonder, among themselves together?
Adul. I have spied her now, shall I first to her thither?
Avar. Soft! let me present you.
Resp. I ween they be in fear—
Policy, approach! and bring my good friends near.
Avar. Come on, my dear friends! and execute with good will
Such office as each of you shall be put until.
Dame Respublica it is that for you hath sent.
Come on, friends! I will you unto her grace present.
Insol. [and] Oppr. To serve her, we are pressed with heart and whole intent.
Avar. Madame! I have brought you these men for whom I went.
Resp. Policy! I thank you; ye have made speedy speed;
Therefore, ye be double welcome, and welcome friends, indeed!
[Pg 206]
Avar. Madame! your grace to serve we all are fully bent.
Adul. And, Madame! ye shall find me double diligent.
Resp. That is spoken of a good heart: but who be ye?
Adul. Forsooth, Madame! my name is Master Honesty.
Resp. Honesty? well said!
Avar. Madame! this is Honesty.
Adul. Yea, forsooth! and please your grace, I am Honesty.
Avar. Madame, he is for you: on my word, regard him!
Resp. Yes, and with large preferment I will reward him.
Adul. I thank your grace; and, I will, for you, take such pain
That, ere I deserve one, ye shall give me twain.
Avar. Honesty! your tongue trippeth!
Resp. How said ye? take such pain—
Adul. That ere ye give me one, I will deserve twain—
By your licence, Madame! to take away this mote.
Avar. Nay! Honesty will not see a wem on your coat.
Now unto you I commend Reformation.
Resp. Of him is no small need now, in this nation.
Oppr. Well, now that ye bid me abuses to redress,
I doubt not all enormities so to repress,
As shall redound to your wealth and honour at length.
Resp. Thereto shall authority aid you with his strength.
Avar. Yea! for Authority to govern is most fit.
Insol. If ye, Dame Respublica! do me so admit,
[Pg 207] I doubt not to hamper the proudest of them all.
Resp. And among you, destroy Avarice!
Adul. Hem!
Insol. and Oppr. We shall!
Resp. Vanquish Oppression and Adulation!
For those three have nigh wrought my desolation.
Avar. Hem, sirs! hem! there, keep your gowns close afore, I say!
Have ye forgotten now what I told you one day?
There is another, too, that would be chased hence.
Resp. Who is that?
Avar. Lucifer's son, called Insolence.
Resp. Ye say truth, and many naughty ones mo than he.
Insol. and Oppr. If ye dare trust us!
Insol. All!
Oppr. All shall reformed be!
Resp. I thank you; and, I trust you for my maintenance,
To be administere[d] for your good governance.
Insol. Then, without fear or care, ye may yourself repose.
Oppr. And let us alone with all such matters as those.
Resp. Then, I leave you here, on our affairs to consult.

[Exeat Resp[ublica.

Insol. When you please, in God's name!
Oppr. We must both sift and bolt.
Adul. She is gone.
Avar. Well then, sirs! let us make no delay;
But, about our market depart, each man his way.
Adul. Nay! first let us sing a song to lighten our hearts.
Avar. Then are ye like, for me, to sing but of three parts.
[Pg 208] Can Avarice['s] heart be set on a merry pin,
And see no gain, no profit at all coming in?
Insol. We shall have enough to drive away all sorrow.
Avar. Then sing we On bowne viage! and Saint George thee borrow!
[Cantent: "Bring ye to me and I to ye," etc. et sic exeant.



Resp. The good hope, that my masters have put me in,
To recover ruin that in me doth begin,
Hath so recomforted my spirits and mine heart,
That I feel much easement of my great grief and smart,
Now, I do less wonder that lost men, life to save,
Far from land do labour, against the roaring wave;
For hope, I see, hath mighty operation
Against the mortal sting of drooping desperation.
Now, if I might but hear what Policy hath wrought,
Or some one good thing that my friends to pass had brought,
I would put no doubts but all thing should soon be well—
Lo! where cometh Honesty: he will the truth tell.

[Pg 209]


Adulation. Respublica.

Adul. Three hundred pound by year, and a good manor place—
Well, it is metely well, in so short time and space!
More will come right shortly; this gear doth gaily walk.
Bones! here is Respublica, what use I such ta[l]ke?
I seek lady Respublica!
Resp. Lo, I am here!
And welcome, Honesty! what do my friends most dear?
Adul. Certes, Madame! we rest nor day, nor night, nor hour,
[To] practise and travail for your wealth and honour.
But, O Lord! what a prudent man is Policy!
What a deep head he hath to devise and to spy!
Resp. He is fine, indeed!
Adul. Also Reformation—
How earnest he is in his operation!
Resp. I think of him no less.
Adul. Now, then, Authority,
The stoutest in his office that ever I did see—
I will no farther praise them, Madame! for, doubtless,
They far surmount all praise that my tongue can express:
Ye may bless the time ye met with such as they be;
And I do my poor part.
Resp. I doubt not, Honesty!
And condign reward shall ye all have for your pain.
Adul. I have scarce an house wherein myself to maintain.
Resp. Honesty shall not lack.
[Pg 210]
Adul. I do not crave nor care;
We shall take but scraps and refuse, that ye may spare;
We will not encroach the people's commodity;
We shall take only that may come with honesty.
Resp. Christ's blessing have ye! but, lo! yonder cometh People.
Adul. I had thought as soon to have met here Paul's steeple!


People. Adulation. Respublica.

People. Where's Rice-Puddingcake? I pray God she be in heal.
Adul. Who? Rice-Puddingcake?
People. Yea! alise dicts commonweal.
Adul. I know her not.
People. Mass! you liest valeslie in your heart!
She is this way, che wa'r't—a false harlot you art!
Adul. I know Respublica.
People. Yea, marry! where is she?
Adul. She is busy now.
People. Mass! ere ich go, chill her zee,
For this way she came.
Resp. Let my people come to me!
Adul. God forbid, else! Come on, People! is this same she?
People. Yea, malkin is't!
Resp. People! what would you with me now?
[Pg 211]
People. Marry, mustress, madame, my lady! how do you?
Resp. Even so so, People! I thank you with all my heart:
And I hope for better.
People. Then let poor volk ha zome part;
Vor we ignoram people, whom itch do perzent,
Wer ne'er zo i-polld, zo wrong, and zo i-torment.
Lord Jhese Christ, when he was i-pounst and i-pilate,
Was ner zo i-trounst, as we have been of years late.
Adul. How so? who hath wrought to you such extremity?
People. Nay! to tell how zo passeth our captivity.
Resp. It passeth any man's imagination.
People. You zai zouth; it passeth any man's madge mason;
Vor we think ye love us well as e'er ye did.
Resp. My love towards you, my people, cannot be hid.
People. And we think ye would we zelie poor volk did well.
Resp. And better than e'er ye did; if how, I could tell.
People. And we think ye would we zelie poor volk should thrive.
Resp. Yea, doubtless, as any like creature alive!
Adul. What need ye of her good will, towards you, to doubt?
People. Peace, thou, with zorow! and let me tell my tall owt.
Resp. Say on, my good People! let me hear your mind.
People. Bum vai! we ignoram people beeth not zo blind
[Pg 212] But we passeive there falleth of corn and cattle,
Wull, sheep, wood, lead, tin, iron and other metal,
And of all things, enough vor good and bad,
And as commediens vor us, as e'er we had;
And yet, the price of everything is zo dear,
As though the ground did bring vorth no such, nowhere.
Resp. Indeed! I have enough, if it be well ordered;
But few folk the better, if I be misordered.
People. Nay! now you zai zouth; e'en this same way goeth the hare:
Ill ordering 'tis hath made both you and we threadbare.
Adul. What naughty folks were they? can you their names read?
People. Yea! that I scan; a whole mess of om for a need.
There is vorst and vormost Flattery—ill a thee!
A slipper, sugar-mouthed whorecop, as can be.
He fleareth on you, and beareth us fair in hand;
And, therewhile, robbeth both you and we of our land.
Then cometh the sour, rough, crabbed child Oppression:
He tumbleth whom a lust out of possession.
Then is there the third—I scannot member his name—
What call ye this same, fellows!—God give them a shame—
That beeth still climbing up aloft for promidence,
And cannot be content with their state!
Adul. Insolence?
People. Yea, this same is he, Zoriless!
Resp. Nay, Insolence!
[Pg 213]
People. Well, he'll roil all the roast alone, cha hard it zaid;
Or else, make the best of them aghast and afraid.
And zuch good men as could, and would, order you well,
He is so copped, he will not suffer to mell.
If they will not be rold, then hence, out of favour;
[Yea, and per]haps corrupt om zore vor their labour!
Yet he, and th' other twain work all after the vice
Of cha-forget-tone-name, t'other is Covetise.
This hungry whorecop hath such a policate wit,
That he teacheth them to rake and scrape up each whit.
And zo these vowre—but it shall never come out for me—
Volk think will never cease to spoil both you and me.
Vor, sometime they face us, and call us peason knaves;
And zwareth: God's bones! they will make us all slaves.
Therevore, chwas besirance your ladydom to zee,
And to give you warning.
Resp. Hear ye this, Honesty?
People. Well, and God amend all, and a be zo good a clerk—
Resp. Hear ye this, Honesty?
People. —though tinkers should lack work.
Resp. I am put in comfort all shall shortly amend—
Adul. It is in good way already; else, God defend!
[Pg 214]
Resp. Lo, People! hearest thou this? be of good cheer!
People. Yea! ich hear his vair words: but what beeth we the near?
Resp. People! understand ye that this is Honesty?
People. Where a be, trow? mass! cha zeen zome as zmothe as he,
Have be a trial, be vound valse flatterers to be.
Resp. I take this man for no such: this is Honesty!
People. A gay smoult smirking whorecop 'tis; zo mot I thee!
Resp. Well, credit my words, People! this is Honesty.
People. When Is[e] find it, chil believe it!
Resp. 'Tis Honesty!
People. I scry him mercy, then!
Resp. He and Authority,
Joining with Policy and Reformation,
Travail to restore th' old wealth to this nation.
People. Whough! then chil wa'r't all within two years as plenty
As 'twas any time within these years twice twenty:
But how may we know, and see, that this thing is true?
Adul. Ye shall prove, at length, by th' effect that shall ensue.
People. Nay! and we shall alway be served but with shales;
Then chil believe, e'en still, that vain words beeth but tales.
Adul. The thing, already, to such forwardness is brought,
That much to your benefit is already wrought.
[Pg 215]
People. Yea? what any good act have ye already done?
Adul. It is but young days yet; things are but now begun:
The fruit of our doings cannot so soon appear.
But, People! ye shall feel it within seven year:
Ye know it is no small work, from so great decay—
Resp. People! he saith truth.
Adul. —to set all in good stay.
Therefore, be ye quiet, and hope for a good end!
People. Yes! chil tarry laisure, and take what God shall send.
Resp. Then, People! let us twain depart in quietness;
For, this talking here may hinder their business.
People. Come on! I chil wait avore you, and be your man.


Adul. And I will to my fellows as fast as I can.
Be they gone? farewell, they! God send them both the pip!
But, in faith, People! I will have you on the hip;
I will be even with you for your broad carping—
Ah, ye peasant wretch! on us four to be harping!
And yet, must we our matters handle discreetly;
Or else, I fear, it will end not very sweetly.
But now, I would Avarice, or else Insolence,
Or Oppression were here rather than sixpence.
And lo, where Avarice cometh! a wolf in the tale,
(As the proverb saith)—what doth he after him hale?

[Pg 216]


Avarice. Adulation. Oppression.

Avar. Come on, sweet bags of gold! come on, with a good will!
I, on you so tender, and ye so froward still?
Come forward, I pray you, sweet bags! ah, will ye so?
Come! or I must draw you, whether ye will or no.
I know your desire; ye would fain be in my chest—
When the belly is full, the bones would be at rest!
Be content, awhile! I will couch you all up soon
Where ye shall not be spied, neither of sun nor moon.
What now, brother Honesty! what pry ye this way?
Is there anything here that is yours—can ye say?
Look off from my bags! it is a pretty matter:
Ye can see no green cheese but your teeth will water!
Adul. In nomine Patris, hast thou got all this sens?
Avar. Why, thinkest thou I have sat idle since I went hence?
Nay! I have filled my little purses too, each one.
Adul. Hast thou so indeed? thou art a fellow alone.
Avar. With old angelots and Edwardes I think I have.
Come forth! how say ye, sir? peep out, ye little knave!
How think you by this bunting? is he full or no?
And his fellows all, doth not their skin stretch for woe?
[Pg 217] Now these little buttons, no bigger than two nuts,
Have they not played gluttons, and filled well their guts?
Adul. But look! who cometh yonder, puffing and tuffing?
Avar. Come the devil, if him lust, staring and snuffing!


Oppression. Avarice. Adulation.

Oppr. In all my whole life was I never wearier.
Avar. Come near, on God's half! the mo knaves, the merrier!
Where have ye lost your breath? in some coffer diving?
Oppr. Shouldering among them for a piece of a living.
Adul. And what, are you now in any good hope to thrive?
Oppr. Faith! if I lust, I may wear mitres four or five;
I have so many half bishoprics, at the least.
Adul. By th' arms of Calais! then am I a very beast.
Avar. Why, what hast thou gotten to thy share in this space?
Adul. Three hundred pound by the year, and one manor place.
Avar. Ah, the passion of God! three hundred pound! and no more?
Adul. Is not that fair for him that had nothing before?
[Pg 218]
Avar. What, three hundred pound by years! call thee Honesty?
Call thee a knave! thou shamest our fraternity!
Three hundred pound! if some man had been in thy room,
A thousand pound a year, ere this time, might have come.
Three hundred pound a year! against our next meeting
Get more! or, I shall give a homely greeting.
Adul. He here hath flitched the bishoprics already.
Avar. Yea! I can him thank; he hath been somewhat speedy.
Oppr. But yet have I left many a good gobbet loose:
Change thou for the rest! give a feather for a goose!
Adul. Didst thou with any one of them make such exchange?
Oppr. Yea! I almost left them never a farm nor grange.
I told them, Respublica at their wealth did grutch;
And, the fifth penny they had was, for them, too much.
So Authority and I, did with them so chop
That we left the best of them a threadbare bishop.
To some we left one house, to some we left none;
The best had but his see place, that he might keep home.
We informed them, and we deformed them;
We conformed them, and we reformed them!
Adul. And what gave ye them in your permutations?
Oppr. Bare parsonages of appropriations,
[Pg 219] Bought from Respublica, and first emprowed;
Then at the highest extent to bishops allowed,
Let out to their hands for fourscore and [nineteen] year.
Avar. Lo, cousin Honesty! lo! do ye hear this gear?
Faith! your marsship will thrive at the latter Lammas!
Adul. I now grant myself to have been a very ass;
But all is not yet gone, in case I have good luck.
Oppr. No! there is yet enough left for a better pluck.
For some of them were aged, and yet would not die;
And some would, in nowise, to our desires apply.
But we have rods in piss for them everyone,
That they shall be fleeced, if we reign, one by one.
Avar. And how did all frame with our Mounsire Authority?
Oppr. At length he won the full superiority.
Adul. But the rude gross People at him repineth sore;
And against us, all four, with a wide throat doth he roar.
But soft! peace! methinketh I hear him hem and hake;
If we meet here, all four, we shall some order take.


Insolence. Adulation. Oppression. Avarice.

Insol. What, mine old friends, all three? by my truth, sirs, well found!
Adul. and Oppr. Faith, sir! most heartily welcome into this ground.
[Pg 220]
Insol. Bones! what have we here?
Avar. Aha!
Insol. Bags of money, I trow!
Avar. Have we? Nay! I have; but none for you, that I know!
Lo, sir! thus might an honest man come to his harms;
I will lie down on them, and keep them in mine arms.
Insol. Hast thou got all this? I myself have not so much.
Avar. Then have ye whole towns and castles; I have none such.
Yet will ye not deny, I judge, in my fancy,
That ye got them by the drift of me, Policy.
Insol. I confess that.
Oppr. All my lands are scarce so much worth.
Avar. They were less when I, Policy, first set you forth.
Adul. He hath purses with gold; would I had so many!
Avar. It were pity that such a goose should have any.
Your good marsship appointed me to crumbs and scraps;
But Policy will live by his neighbours, perhaps!
But thus, I see, you would poll me, an ye wist how;
Therefore, I will go hoard it, I make God a vow!
I will make it sure under mine doors and mine locks;
And, who but looketh that way, shall sit in nine stocks!
Insol. Nay! first declare to us how thou didst all this get.
Avar. For your learning I will you a spectacle set;
But first get ye from me, and stand a good way hence;
This shall not lie within your reach, by your licence!
[Pg 221] Nay, yet farther! lest ye take my bags for bloodings;
For, such hungry dogs will slab up sluttish puddings.
Adul. Is it well now?
Avar. Yea! now hardely stand there still,
And the names of my bags to you declare I will.
First and foremost, this bag is my very clear gain
Of leases encroached, and forthwith sold again.
This bag is mine interest of this year's usury;
And this is of matters bolstered up with perjury.
This is bribes above my stipend in office;
This fifth I have by selling of benefices.
This is my rents that my clerks yearly render me,
To be and continue in office under me.
This same I got by sectorship of my mother—
A vengeance on her, old witch, for such another!
This bag have I kept of other sectorships whole,
Which the mad knaves would have scattered by penny dole.
This is of church goods, scraped up without a law;
For which was as quick scambling as ever I saw:
Of their plate, their jewels, and copes, we made them louts,
Stopping People's barking with linen rags and clouts.
They had th' altar cloths, th' albs, and amices,
With the sindons in which were wrapt the chalices.
This ninth hath beguiled the king of his custom;
This tenth of selling counterfeit wares hath come.
Now this eleventh is of tallow, butter, cheese,
Corn, rawcloths, leather—by stealth sent beyond seas.
[Pg 222] This twelfth is of grain, bell-metal, tin and lead—
Conveyed out by creeks when Respublica was in bed.
This thirteenth I filled through facing out of daws,
Both from lands and goods, by pretence of the laws.
Thus, these thirteen small jobs are mine by Policy;
All men must shift for a poor living honestly.
If e'er I bestow them it shall be, the next Lent,
To the prior of Prickingham and his co[n]vent.
Adul. Well now, we may come near; may we not, if we lust?
Avar. Ye are near enough: out of my reach I dare you trust.
Adul. Well now, let us sing, if it please Authority;
To refresh our spirits it is restority.
Insol. I reck not, for company sake, to sing once [more].
Avar. I have less mind to sing now than I had before:
Then had I no lust to sing, because I was bare;
And now, how to keep that I have got, I do care.
Oppr. Solace we must needs have, when that we are weary.
Adul. It prolongeth life of man to be merry.
Avar. An if ye sing so much, Honesty! without fail,
Christ and you, at length, I fear, will make a battle.
But go to! sing on! if there be no remedy—
An ye look at my bags ye mar my melody.
Cantent: "Hey, nony, nony, ho for money!" etc.
[Pg 223]
Oppr. Now, about profit devise we ourselves abroad.
Avar. Yea, and hear ye, masters! while time is, lay on load!
Consider! ye have but a time of haymaking;
And harvest is not mowed without painstaking.
Now, time will not tarry; and, therefore, take good heed!
Despatch while time serveth, and all your matte[r]s speed!
Time hath no rein nor bridle, but renneth apace!
Insol. Mark Policy's words, sirs! excellent in our case.
Avar. And time hath this one ungracious property:
To blab at length, and open all that he doth see.
Then, a daughter eke he hath, called Verity;
As unhappy a long-tongued girl as can be:
She bringeth all to light; some she bring[eth] to shame;
She careth not a groat what man hath thank or blame.
If men be praiseworthy, she doth so declare them;
And, if otherwise, in faith! she doth not spare them.
Oppr. We will feather our nests ere time may us espy;
Or Verity have power, our doings to descry.
Avar. Remember this verse: Ut sint omnia salva,
Fronte capillata, post hec occasio calva.
Oppr. Make me understand that fine rag of rhetoric!
Avar. Lo! here a fine fellow to have a bishopric!
A verse of Latin he cannot understand;
Yet, dareth he presume, boldly to take in hand,
Into a deanery or archideaconry to chop;
And to have the livelood away from a bishop!
[Pg 224]
Oppr. A mercy! show thy verse, and leave this persuasion!
Avar. Forsooth, sir! it was of the goddess Occasion!
She weareth a great long tuffet of hair before;
And, behind, hath not one hair, neither less nor more!
Whereby is taught you that, when Occasion is,
Ye must take it betime, or of your purpose miss.
Adul. Then, while Occasion doth now serve so well,
I pray you, give ear to one thing that I must tell.
Insol. and Oppr. What is that?
Adul. Mounsire! if ye hear People mumbling,
Ye must storm, and sharply take him up for stumbling.
Ye would not think what he said, a little while since,
Of us, to Respublica, in mine own presence!
Insol. When I meet them next I shall tell them both my mind.
Avar. And Policy, to help you, will not be behind.
Adul. Gentle Respublica was soon pacified;
But People was sturdy, and would not be qualified.
Avar. Alas! good, poor, silly soul! bear her fair in hand,
And ye may win her, as you lust, to use her land.
Oppr. But of goddess Occasion one little more.
Avar. Marry, sir! even as I would have said before:
She standeth with winged feet on a rolling wheel,
To take flight or any grass may grow on her heel.
And, even while we stand, jangling in this presence,
I dare say she is flown twice twenty score mile hence.
[Pg 225]
Oppr. Yea? Cock's bones! then adieu!
Insol. Farewell!
Adul. And I am gone!

[Exeant currentes.

Avar. Faith! and have after, as fast as I can, anon!
Now, my godamighties! as I did hither tug you,
So will I, on my back, to your lodging lug you;
And sure, if ye can be quiet there, and lie still,
I will shortly bring you mo fetlows; so I will.
I have a good benefice of an hundred marks:
It is small policy to give such to great clerks:
They will take no benefice but they must have all—
A bare clerk can be content with a living small!
Therefore, Sir John Lack-Latin, my friend, shall have mine;
And, of him, may I farm it for eight pounds or nine.
The rest may I reserve to myself for mine own share;
For, we are good feeders of the poor, so we are!
And we patrons are bound to see, (I do you tell),
The church patrimony to be bestowed well.
Other odd corners, besides these, I have many;
Which, with all good speed shall increase your comp[any].
Come on now, therefore! in faith! I do great wrong
To promise you lodging, and keep you thence so long. [Exeat.

[Pg 226]



Resp. O, Lord! what may it mean to be thus borne in hand;
And yet, none amendment to feel, nor understand?
People doth daily and hourly to me resort,
Challenging my promise of relief and comfort.
I report to him, as my rulers do to me:
People still affirmeth that they devourers be.
The more I do him cheer, the more he doth despair.
I say, his wealth doth mend; he saith, it doth appair,
What should I judge of this? may it be credible,
Or, by any reason, may it be possible
That such four as those, in whom I have put my trust,
Showing such face of friendship, should be men unjust?
I will know if People feel yet any redress
Of his former sores, and of his rueful distress.
We shall meet soon, I doubt not, and talk together.

[Intrat People.

And lo! as I would wish, he approacheth hither.

[Pg 227]


Respublica. People.

Resp. Well met, People! what place go ye now unto?
People. I cham at the farthest to zee how you do.
We twain must oftwhiles come physic either other;
Vor, we beeth your children, and you beeth our mother.
Resp. And how do you mend now, in your thrift and your purse?
People. As zour ale in summer; that is, still worse and worse!
Resp. People, what should I say?
People. Nay, mass! I scannot tell:
But we ignorams all would fain ye should do well.
And how feel you yourself? better than ye did, trow?
Resp. Till God send better hap, rather decay than grow:
This bringeth me in a conceipt of jealousy—
Rather than much good would I speak with Policy.
People. Was not he drowned, trow, last year, when Conscience was?
Resp. I see him yonder appear; this cometh well to pass.
People. Is this same he?
Resp. Yea!
People. An ich heard not you zo zai
Chould zware a had be dead, or else clean run away!

[Pg 228]


[Avarice.] Respublica. People.

Avarice. O most noble lady! that I have not, of late,
Made to you relation how ye stand in state,
Hath not been of negligence, nor to wo[r]k by stealth;
But of my deep studies, devising for your wealth.
Resp. To hear the truth thereof, I wished you to see.
People. Doth you stud your brains, mas gentman!—pray you tell me!—
For our lady Ricepudding-cake's commodity?
Avar. I devise what I can for the prosperity
Of this Lady Respu[b]lica and her people.
People. That lie, ere this, is flown as far hence as Poule steeple!
I spray God, ye stud not, as cha hard of zome elves
That study for the common profit of their own selves!
Avar. To study for both your wealths, I am a debtor.
People. Vay, then! as good ne'er a whit, as ne'er the better.
Avar. I do nothing but compass therefore, without doubt.
People. I vay, then! thee vent too far a compass about,
Vor zome good might ha' be doon in all this season.
Avar. So there is, if to perceive it ye had reason!
Resp. Truly! I feel myself, hitherto, worse and worse.
People. And I svele the same, both in my ground and my purse;
[Pg 229] Vive or zix year ago chad vowre kine to my pale;
And, at this prezent hour, cham scarce worth a good cow tail;
And that time chad a widge, and her vole and ten sheep;
Now, I scan geat nothing, myzelf and my wife to keep.
Then an chad, I be with the king's mass constable,
Chould zet myself vorth prettily, and zo chwas able;
Now, vor lack of a sallet, when my liege hath need,
Cham vain to take an hat of God's good on my head.
And vor God!—my dame, this is but small amendment!
I scomport me to you: how thinketh your judgment?
Compassing? ka! gentman! call ye this same compassing?
And, whom shall we twain thank? you, for this compassing?
Avar. No, sir!
People. Now, by the compass that God compassed!
Resp. Blame have they of God and man, that this compassed!
People. A small compass more, now, may zoon compass, by th' rood!
To make fowerty thousand volks hair grow through their hood!
Avar. That is their own fault; not the fault of Policy.
Resp. God above, He knoweth whose fault it is, and not I.
People. But did not ich, daily, give you warning?
Resp. Doubtless!
People. And did not ich plain me to you?
Resp. I grant no less!
[Pg 230]
People. And when ich made my mone, what would [ye] me tell?
Resp. As my hope was; that, at length, all thing should be well.
People. Compassing? ka!
Resp. People! I put trust in other.
People. Valse bezeivers of zembity, by God's mother!
Avar. Well, suffer me then, for my declaration,
To set Authority and Reformation;
That ye may both hear, and charge them as well as me.
Resp. With all my heart, good Policy! let it so be.
I pray you call them hither, if they may be got.
People. Anch hear om; I scan tell whe'er they say true or not!


Avarice. Insolence. Respublica. Oppression. People.

Avar. The foulest open-mouthed wretch that e'er ye heard!
Insol. Could thou, by no means, make the peasant afeard?
Avar. No! but anon, I trow! we shall his masship trim—
Convey her away; and then all we three chide him.
But, whist! and come apace!
Resp. I hear Policy's voice.
Avar. That I met you, so well, I do much rejoice:
Lady Respublica! would you come her before?
Insol. Madame, God ye save!
Oppr. And preserve for ever more!
[Pg 231]
Resp. This is happy hap ye come so soon together?
Avar. As I went I met them, both twain, hasting hither.
Resp. Never in better time!
Insol. Madame! what is your will?
Oppr. Is there any thing that you would say us until?
Resp. People crieth out, and I am much aggrieved
That we feel ourselves in nothing yet relieved.
Oppr. No? that is not true; many declare I can—
Resp. Even in brief words, I pray you, do it than.
People. Pray you let me spose with this same new come gentman.
Insol. No, sir!
People. Mass! but chil speak anch can spy my time whan?
Oppr. First, your priests and bishops have not as they have had.
Resp. [When] they had their livings, men were both fed and clad.
Oppr. Yea! but they ought not, by scripture, to be called lords.
Resp. That they rule the church, with scripture well accords.
Oppr. They were proud and covetous, and took much upon them.
People. But they were not covetous that took all from them!
Oppr. The coin also is changed.
People. Yea! from silver to dross—
'Twas told us vor the best: but poor we bear the loss!
[Pg 232] When chad with zwet of brows got up a few small crumbs,
At paying of my debts ich could not make my sums.
My landlord, vor my corn, paid me zuch sums and zuch;
When he should ha't vor rent, it was but half zo much.
Zix pence in each shilling was i-strike quite away;
Zo, vor one piece ich took, che was vain to pay him tway.
One would think 'twere brass, and zorow have I else;
But, ich ween most part on't was made of our old bells!
Insol. Yet, if ye mark it well, for one piece ye have three;
Which, for your People is no small commodity.
People. Well, I will meddle in this same matter no more;
But Is reck not an 'twere zilver, as 'twas avor.
Oppr. People! ye shall, at length, find it all for the best.
People. Cha hard our parish clerk say:
Diuum este, justlum weste.
Resp. Undoubtedly, I feel many things are amiss!
People. Yea! I scan tell more things yet, an me lust, by Jis!
They have all the woods throughout the realm destroyed,
Which might have served long years, being well employed.
And then, the great cobs have zo take the rest to hire,
That poor volk cannot get a stick to make a fire.
[Pg 233] Then their great grazing hath made flesh so dear, I wot,
That poor volk, at shambles, cannot bestow their groat.
Resp. I lament it, People! Alack! what may I do?
I, myself, I fear, shall come to ruin too.
Policy! what comfort? when will you ease my smart?
Avar. Ye are as safe, even now, but for your false heart,
As any lady of your name in Christendom.
People. If ich had zo zaid, chad lied, by my halidom!
Resp. Ye hear what People saith, which feeleth as I do?
Avar. But rude People's words, will ye give credit unto?
Will ye judge yourself after his foolish [jangling?]
Ye were well enough till he began his wrangling.
Insol. Will ye believe People, that hath no manner of skill
To judge, or to discern what thing is good or ill?
He is so headstrong, he must be bridled with laws.
People. Though zome be stark bedlams, yet wise volks beeth no daws!
Insol. We have oft found People most disobedient
To orders most requisite and expedient.
Who such a maintainer of wrong opinions
As People, in all countries and dominions?
Ye ought, therefore, to rebuke him, at all hours,
For discouraging any minister of yours.
Oppr. Ye must tarry time, ere we can your purpose serve.
People. Ye[a], and then, while the grass shall grow, the horse shall sterve.
[Pg 234]
Insol. Do ye not see this, by all experience plain,
That men, from diseases recover[ed] again
Do, after sickness passed, remain a long time weak?
Resp. People, hark! Authority doth good reason speak.
Insol. So ye, though oppressed with long adversity,
Yet, doubt not! are toward wealth and prosperity.
Resp. Lo! People! to hope a while longer shall be best.
People. Well, then cham perswaged to do at your inquest.
Insol. Madame! mistrust not us, your painful ministers!
Avar. Never had lady more watchful officers!
Oppr. For my part, I will swear the gospel book upon,
That if the laws I have made should, everyone,
Redound to mine own singular commodity,
They could not be friendlier framed than they be.
Insol. Therefore, repose yourself, Madame, awhile, and wink!
Ye are in better case toward than you can think.
Avar. We shall here remain, and give People good counsel;
Quiet for to be, till Policy may prevail.
Resp. He will do well with your good informations.
People. Yea, vay! chil volow their good exaltations.
Resp. Then I leave you all here to God: I will depart.

[Exeat Resp[ublica].

People. Now, ho! destructions to member in my heart?
[Pg 235]
Avar. Destructions? ye miser!
Insol. Ye peasant!
Oppr. Ye lout!
Insol. [Can ye naught] else do but rage, and rave, and cry out?
Oppr. And cannot tell on whom?
Avar. No more than can a daw!
Oppr. Crow against your betters!
Insol. And murmur against the law!
Let me hear thee prate as thou hast done heretofore!
Avar. Or trouble Lady Respublica any more!
Oppr. Thou canst not see, thou wretch! canst thou, when thou art well?
Avar. Is't part of thy play with such high matters to mell?
Insol. Doth it become thee to bark with such a wide throat?
Avar. And to have an oar in everybody's boat?
Insol. If thou do so again, it shall with thee be worse.
Oppr. We shall wring and pinch thee, both by belly and purse.
Insol. I would advise you, friend! to grunt and groan no more.
Oppr. Do the like again, and thou shalt rue it full sore!
Avar. It were best for you, friend! all murmuring to cease.
People. Bum vay, then! chil e'en go home, and vair hold my peace.
Insol. Do so by my rede, and fall to honest labour.
Avar. Hence home, and be quiet! and thou shalt find favour.
[Pg 236]
People. Then chil bid you varewell!
Oppr. No words, but hence, apace!
This was done as should be.
Avar. This was done in right place.
People. But ho! one word erch go; ye'll give volk leave to think?
Oppr. No, marry! will we not, nor to look, but wink!
People. Yes, by Gis! but chil lo[ok]; nay, lo there! thought is free,
And a cat, they zaith, may look on a king, pardy! [Exeat.
Insol. Now, where do we be come? I, home! [Exeat.
Oppr. And I abroad! [Exeat.
Avar. And I must see what feet about my door have trod.




Miser. Wherein appeareth the graciousness of God
More than, infinitely to exceed man's goodness,
But that He keepeth back the sharp stroke of His rod
When man would rage in most furious woodness?
Scarce any amends may man's eagerness appease;
Yea, and though he forgive, he will not soon forget;
Towards true penitence God's wrath forthwith doth cease,
And He, their past sins, behind His back doth set.
[Pg 237]
Of long sufferance He is with weakness to bear,
While any hope of amendment doth remain;
And though He plague sinners, to call them home by fear,
Yet His mercy and grace are aye ready again.
His grievous displeasure dureth not for ever.
And why? quia miserationes ejus;
Which to show He chiefly delighteth ever,
Manent super omnia opera ejus.
It grieveth Him sore when He must needs take vengeance;
His delight and glory is mercy to practise;
His tender compassion, on true repentance,
He hath still, from the beginni[n]g, sought t' exercise.
The mass of this world in His mercy did He frame:
The sky, earth, and sea His mercy replenished;
In His mercy did He after redeem the same,
When else, remediless, it must have perished.
In His mercy was Israel delivered
From the 'gyptian thraldom and captivity;
In His mercy the same through the Red Sea was led;
And through wilderness to a land of liberty.
Sith that time all commonwealths He hath protected;
And to such as, with earnest prayer, have made moan,
Me, Compassion, He hath amically directed
To revive and recover them every one.
[Pg 238]
Now, lastly, hath he heard the most doleful lament
Of woeful Respublica, his darling most dear!
Therefore me, Compassion, with speed he hath sent,
Her most sorrowful heart to recomfort and cheer.
I tarry her coming that I may her salute:
And lo! methinketh I see her appear in place;
Of friendship devoid, and of succour destitute—
I will hear her, and then give words of solace.


Respublica. Misericordia. Avarice. Adulation.

Resp. O Lord! hast Thou for ever closed up Thine ear?
Wilt Thou never more the desolate's prayer hear?
Wilt Thou still turn away Thy face from my distress?
Wilt Thou clean forsake me and leave me comfortless?
The secret sighs, and sobs, and prayers of mine heart,
Shall they not forever Thine eyes to me convert?
I grant that mine offences have so much deserved;
But for whom, save sinners, is this mercy reserved?
[Thou reservst it] so, which hitherto hath been just;
Despair, Lord! I will not; nor Thy goodness mistrust.
Lo[ok] down on my distress! and for Thy glory sake,
Though I be ill worthy it, mercy on me take!
[Pg 239]
Miser. Now will I speak to her.
Resp. Who maketh me afeard?
Miser. No, I will thee comfort: God hath thy prayer heard;
And now, Respublica, be of good hope and trust!
Resp. O Lord! now do I see that Thou art ever just.
Miser. I am sent to recomfort thee, Respublica!
Resp. O Lady Compassion! Misericordia!
Miser. What say ye to me? What, woman! can ye not speak?
I am come down, all your sorrows at once to break.
Speak, woman!
Resp. Misericordia!
Miser. Out, comfortably!
Ye shall have now no more cause to speak despairably.
Resp. My heart, in God's mercy, is so dilated,
That my very spirit to heaven is elated.
O Lady Compassion! welcome, verament!
Ever be God praised that you, to me, hath sent!
Miser. Now that I have put you in sure hope of relief,
I must go fet Verity to try out all your grief.
Verity shall oper how your decay hath grown;
And then, the causers thereof shall be overthrown.
Resp. Who be the causers thereof I cannot discern:
But yond cometh one of them that do me govern.
Miser. What is his name?
Resp. Policy!
Miser. Policy is good;
He doth work you many good things of likelihood.
[Pg 240]
Avar. A vengeance upon him! and God give him His curse!
I am besieged now of every cutpurse;
I can go nowhere now; in city, neither town,
But Piers Pickpurse playeth at organs under my gown.
Miser. What talketh he?
Avar. Who speaketh yond, Respublica?
Resp. What of the pickpurse?
Avar. Forsooth, dame Respublica!
I said, an we had two pillories mo, 'twere no the worse;
For it is a light thing now to meet Piers Pickpurse.
God preserve you, right fair lady! and Christ you save!
Who are you? and what would ye in this country have?
Resp. This same is the Lady Misericordia,
Sent from God purposely.
Avar. Unto you, Respublica?
Miser. Yea!
Avar. Then must ye needs be most heartily welcome:
We had ne'er more need of you, by my halidom!
There be in this country which, but ye comfort [send],
Are full like to make both a mad and a short end.
Miser. I will go to do that I said, Respublica!
And return with speed.
Resp. Sweet Misericordia!

[Exeat Mi[sericordi]a.

Avar. Good Misericordia, now! and lady most dear!—
Christ blister on your heart! what make you here?
Resp. Come back, Policy!
Avar. I come!
[Pg 241]
Resp. Whither would ye now?
Avar. Convey myself hence honestly, if I wist how.
Resp. When come ye, Policy? what look ye? something lost!
Avar. Anon! if I tarry, it will turn to my cost.
Resp. Ah, friend, Policy!
Avar. Yea!
Resp. Now shall I be in bliss.
Avar. Thanks to God!—we must find provision for this.
Resp. Ha!
Avar. Did not I e'er tell you that God would you save?
Ye may see now what it is, good rulers to have.
Resp. Ye say truth; but look! yonder cometh Honesty.
Avar. Pray God, amen!
Resp. Yes, look else!
Avar. What news bringeth he?
Adul. I should speak a word in th' ear of Policy;
If I may not so, I will speak it openly.
Resp. I have not seen you a great while, Honesty.
Adul. O noble Lady Respublica! well you be?
Resp. All shall be now, such news I have to me brought.
Adul. I hear it told for truth, Policy, all will be nought.
Resp. Hearest thou any joyful news abroad, or not?
Adul. Yea! I have certain news, which are both brim and hot.
There is new start-up, a lady called Verity.
Resp. Then am I all safe, and sure of prosperity.
[Pg 242] How was it spoken?
Adul. This is Latin, gross and blunt:
Misericordia et Veritas sibi obviaverunt;
That is, Mercy and Truth are both met together.
Resp. Then will it not be long ere they both come hither.
Avar. Hither? how so?
Resp. Yea, both Mercy and Verity.
Avar. A pestle on them both, saving my charity!
But soft, brother Honesty! ye might mistake it:
Of which Verity was't, trow you, that they spake it?
Adul. Of the general Verity, Old Time's daughter.
Avar. Faith! they were not our friends that first hither brought her.
Old Time's daughter? that shuttle-brained, tall, long man!
That ne'er standeth still, but flyeth as fast as he can,
Much like as he swimmed or glided upon ice?
Adul. Yea!
Resp. For all that, of wise men, he is thought most wise.
Avar. I know him; he carrieth a clock on his head;
A sand glass in his hand, a dial in his forehead.
Resp. Ye say truth, Policy: the same is very he.
Avar. Old Time, the eavesdropper: I know him, pardy!
An ancient turner of houses upside down,
And a common consumer of city and town.
Old Time's daughter, (quod he?), I shrew his naked heart!
Many of my friends hath he brought to pain and smart.
[Pg 243] Compassion and that Truth come hither to you?
Resp. Mercy, before ye came, promised so right now.
Avar. It is no time now, Honesty, to be idle.
Adul. Something breweth?
Avar. It is time for us to bridle.
Well, go your ways, afore, in all haste, Honesty:
And tell Reformation and Authority
That both these ladies, in all goodly fashion,
Must be entertained here in this nation.
Madame Respublica! is't not your pleasure so?
Resp. What else? in all the haste, Honesty, see ye go:
Avar. Say further, that I would we four, anon, might meet
Here, or where they will, save in the open street.
And hear you, Honesty!
Adul. What now?
Avar. A little near!
Provide in any wise that Verity come not here:
Let Insolence and Oppression keep her hence.
Adul. We shall, all three, therein do our best diligence.
Avar. Bid them well remember the world will wax quaisy;
Some of us, ere long, may hap leap at a daisy;
Or put out the i of Misericordia,
And without an i play e'en plain trussing corda.

[Exeat Adul[ation].

Resp. Policy, what is it that ye talk there so long?
Avar. I send instructions that they may not do wrong.
Resp. Send ye aught to him that may not be told to me?
Avar. Should we with ery trifling trifle trouble ye?
[Pg 244] Well then, ye look for these two ladies, [I am sure].
Resp. I trust they will not fail on me to do their cure.
Avar. I told you ever, did I not, that your wealth would frame?
Resp. I shall reward your pains: or else I were to blame.
Avar. Then best I go now straight to my fellows and see—
Resp. That things needful for us may not unready be;
Do so, I pray you!
Avar. Fare ye well, Respublica,
Till I see you next! [Exeat.
Resp. Now, Misericordia!
When shall be thy pleasure? bring hither Verity?
Behold! e'en with the word speaking, where they both be.

Intrant Mi[sericordi]a and Veritas.


Misericordia. Veritas. Respublica.

Miser. I daresay Respublica thinketh the time long.
Ver. Who can blame her, having endured so much wrong?
But as meat and drink, and other bodily food
Is never found to be so pleasant, nor so good,
As when fretting hunger and thirst hath pinched afore;
And as health after sickness is sweeter evermore,
So, after decay and adversity overcome,
Wealth and prosperity shall be double welcome.
[Pg 245]
Miser. How now, Respublica? have I not been long hence?
Resp. Come ye first or last, ye bless me with your presence.
Miser. As I was commanded, I bring you Verity,
To help you, your people, and their posterity.
Ver. Dear jewel Respublica! I do you embrace.
Resp. I thank your goodness, and submit me to your grace.
Miser. Embrace Verity for ever, Respublica,
And cleave fast to her!
Resp. Yes, Misericordia!
Miser. Now please it you to declare, sister Verity!
How she may recover her old prosperity;
Her honour, her wealth, her riches, her substance,
Her commons, her people, her strength, and her puissance.
Ver. All this will be recovered incontinent;
And, to better state also, by good government.
Resp. No lady of my name upon earth, I esteem,
Hath had better administers than mine have been:
Policy, Reformation, and Authority.
Miser. These three be very good.
Resp. And the four[th], Honesty.
Ver. But what if these, which have had you and yours to keep,
Have been ravening wolves in the clothing of sheep?
Resp. If I heard not you, Verity, such sentence give,
By no man's persuasion I could it believe.
Ver. Ah, good Respublica! thou hast been abused;
Whom thou chosest are vices to be refused.
[Pg 246] Whom thou callst Honesty, is Adulation;
And he that in pretence was Reformation,
Is indeed Oppression and huge violence;
Whom thou callst Authority, is proud Insolence;
Then he that was Policy, the chief man of price,
Indeed is most stinking and filthy Avarice.
He first inveigled thee, and his purpose to frame,
Cloaked each of these vices with a virtuous name.
Resp. Benedicite! is this a possible case?
Ver. Ye shall see it proved true before your own face;
They shall be convinced before you, one by one.
Resp. O Lord! what marvel if my thrift were well nigh gone?
But what redress shall I have hereof? and when?
Miser. Such as may be most fit, and as soon as we can.
Justice and peace are appointed to descend;
Th' one to keep you quiet; the other you to defend.
As soon as we four sisters together shall be met,
An order for your establishment shall be set:
By the eternal providence it is decreed so.
Resp. O most merciful Lord, all praise be thee unto!
Miser. I will leave you here with my sister Verity,
And learn of their coming with all celerity.
Ver. Ye need not; for I know they be now very near;
And, behold! they begin already to appear.

[Pg 247]


Pax. Justitia. Veritas. Misericordia. Respublica.

Peace. Now, once again, in God let us two sisters kiss,
In token of our joining to make a perfect bliss.
Justitia. And now, let us never be sundered any more
Till we may Respublica perfectly restore.
Ver. Let us meet them, sister Misericordia!
Miser. And unto their sight present Respublica.
Just., Pax. All hail, most dear sisters, Mercy and Verity!
And, all hail, Respublica, with all sincerity!
Resp. O ye ladies celestial! how much am I bound
With thanks to fall flat before you on the ground,
That ye thus vouchsafe a forlorn creature
By your heave[n]ly protection to recure.
Just. I, Justice, from heaven am come you to visit.
Pax. And I, Peace, for ever with you to inhabit.
Miser. And all we four sisters, to th' utmost of our power,
Shall restore, establish, and defend your honour.
Just. We shall first restore your most happy estate,
And suppress all them that had made you desolate.
Ver. Verity shall all truth open as it is.
Just. I, Justice, shall redress whate'er is found amiss.
Miser. I, Mercy, where the member may recured be,
Shall temper the rigour and slake extremity.
[Pg 248]
Pax. I, Peace, when th' uncurable is clean cut away
And th' ill made good, shall flourish for ever and aye.
Resp. And I, which cannot otherwise your goodness deserve,
Shall your wholesome directions duly observe.
And what if Insolence shall come, or Avarice?
Ver. Detest them, abhor them, and refuse their service.
I doubt not but they will be still haunting hither,
Till we four shall them four take here altogether.
Miser. Now, sisters! go we, and Respublica with us,
To be new apparelled otherwise than thus.
Just. Come on, Respublica! with us to wealth from woe:
God hath given us in charge that it must be so.
Ver. The blissful renovation ye shall reign in
Must, from henceforth, now immediately begin.

[Cantent: "The mercy of God," et exeant, etc.


Avarice. Adulation.

Avar. Such greedy covetous folk as now-of-days been,
I trow, before these present days were never seen;
An honest man can go in no place of the street
But he shall, I think, with an hundred beggars meet.
"Give for God's sake!" "Give for saint Charity!"
"Give for our Lady's sake!" "Give for the Trinity!"
[Pg 249] "Give in the way of your good-speed!" "Give, give!" "Give, give!"
Find we our money in the street, do they believe?
If I had not a special grace to say Nay,
I were but undone amongst them, in one day.
But who cometh yond? Honesty? he cometh in haste.
Adul. I seek Policy.
Avar. Here, boy!
Adul. All is in waste!
Avar. How so?
Adul. We strive against the stream, all that we do.
Avar. Wherein?
Adul. That Verity come not this place unto.
For wot ye what?
Avar. I shall when he have spoke the word.
Adul. Justice, and Peace too, with full consent and accord
Are come down from heaven and have kissed together.
Avar. God give grace that they twain also come not hither!
Adul. As Mercy and Truth sibi obviaverunt,
So Justicia et Pax osculatae sunt.
Avar. Is it true? are they come?
Adul. And have kissed together.
Avar. Then carry in apace for fear of foul weather.
Have they kissed together?
Adul. Yea!
Avar. What needeth that?
Men should kiss women—and what point be they at?
Adul. All the four sisters, I do you t' understand,
Have already taken Respublica in hand.
[Pg 250] They four progress with her in every border,
And mar all that ever we have set in order.
Avar. And what doth Insolence, or what saith he to that?
Adul. He stampeth, he stareth, and snuffeth sore thereat.
Avar. I advise him to storm, and to show himself stout:
They be women and perchance may be faced out;
And Peace is an honest lady and a quiet.
Adul. Verity and Justice are not for our diet.
Avar. Then Mercy is a good one; I like her well.
Adul. Yet oft turneth she her face away, and will not mell.
Avar. Well—fall back, fall edge—I am once at a point,
If Respublica come, t' adventure a joint.
Adul. She is fresh and gay and flourisheth; who but she?
Avar. Who brought it to such pass, will I tell her, but we?
Or else, making these new ladies of her weary,
We should triumph and reign.
Adul. Oh, never so merry!
Avar. Well, go to our company, I will remain here;
I may perhaps see Dame Respublica appear:
I will in hand with her, and make a good face.
Adul. And what shall I do?
Avar. Give warning, in the mean space,
That Insolence shrink not, but play the stout man.
Adul. That I know, he will do; for once I know he can.
[Pg 251]
Avar. And that you, all three, be pressed to come hither;
When need shall require, we lay our heads together.
Why, art thou here yet?
Adul. I am gone with all my might.


Avar. And, lo! where Respublica appeareth in sight.

[Intrat Resp[ublica].

She is now at [hand,] her nymphs bearing up her train;
I will stand aside, and listen a word or twain.


Respublica. Avarice.

Resp. O Lord! Thy mercies shall I sing evermore
Which dost so tenderly Thy handmaid restore.
But what creature would suspicion have had
That my late administers had been men so bad?
Or, who would have thought them counterfeits to have been
That had heard their words, and their countenance seen?
And chiefly Avarice, which did the matter break?
Avar. That word toucheth me: now is time for me to speak.
Resp. I thought him Policy, as just and true as steel.
Avar. I am glad that by me ye do such goodness feel.
Resp. And that my wealth did grow, as it hath grown of late.
Avar. I ever told ye you should grow to this estate.
[Pg 252]
Resp. Thou tell me?
Avar. Yea! I told you so in very deed;
And highly I rejoice it doth so well succeed.
And salva festa dies upon you, Madame!
I am glad ye have got a new robe, so I am:
What saint in the calendar do we serve to-day,
That ye be so gorgeously decked, and so gay?
Resp. In rejoicing that I shall be clean rid of thee.
Avar. Nay, by this cross! ye shall never be rid for me.
Resp. And of thy compeers.
Avar. Well, let them do as they lust!
I will ride upon Jill, mine own mare; that is just.
Other ways I shall do you service of the best.
Resp. Thou wicked wretch! darest thou with me to jest?
Avar. What? I now see, honores mutant mores,
But, as seemeth here, raro in meliores.
Resp. Thee, and all thy service I do from me exile.
Avar. Is that the high reward ye promised me erewhile?
Is not this a wise woman, and minded to thrive,
That would me, Policy, out of the country drive?
Resp. Thee and thy complices from me I shall outcast.
Avar. Then, I pray you, pay us for our pains that are past.
Resp. Ye shall be paid.
Avar. Once I have done the best I can;
Authority also, he hath played the man;
Reformation hath done his part, I can tell.
If ye mistrust Honesty, faith! ye do not well.
And as for Avarice, he is conveyed quite:
I bade him get him hence, or I would him indite.
[Pg 253] I, Policy, have made him to pluck in his horns:
I sware I would else lay him on prickles and thorns,
Where he should take no rest, neither day nor night;
So he had as lief be hanged as come in sight.
Resp. I may say with Job, how vainly do ye cheer me,
When all the words ye give, from truth doth disagree;
And with the wise man, I may most justly say this:
Just[ici]a tamen non luxit in nobis.
Or else, with the prophet, in most sorrowful mood,
The fruit of our justice is turned into wormwood.
Well, the best of you is a detestable vice;
And thou, for thy part, art most stinking Avarice.
Avar. Jesu! when were you wont so foul-mouthed to be,
To give such nicknames? Ah, in faith! dame Verity
Hath had you in schooling of late; well, in God's name!
I am sorry for you, e'en sorry, that [I am].
I wis I have wrought to set you in good state,
And watched for that purpose, both early and late.
And I wis, if you would abide my framing,
And not thus to have fall to checking and blaming,
I would, ere long, of you made such carpenter work
That ye should have said, Policy had been a clerk;
Nay! you should have seen, how I would have you compact.
Resp. Yea, no doubt! ye would have done some great and fine act.
[Pg 254]
Avar. I would have brought half Kent into Northumberland;
And Somersetshire should have raught to Cumberland.
Then would I have stretched the county of Warwick
Upon tenter hooks, and made it reach to Berwick.
A piece of the bishopric should have come southward—
Tut, tut! I tell you, I had wondrous feats toward.
Resp. God hath placed me already in the best wise.
Avar. Yea! but yet not half so well as I could devise—
But no force; well then, I see ye will none of me?
Resp. No!
Avar. Then ye can be content I depart from ye?
Resp. Yea!
Avar. Well! yet and ye pray me, I will tarry still.
Resp. No!
Avar. Well, speak me fair, and woo me yet, and I will.
Resp. No; hence, avaunt!
Avar. Have I had of you such a clog,
And now [you] bid me avaunt and make me a dog?
Resp. Hence, at once!
Avar. Nay, tut! and ye will ha' us, ha' us.
Resp. Out of my presence!
Avar. Well then, ye will not ha' us?
Resp. No, avoid, I charge thee!
Avar. Then needs depart I must.
Adieu! in faith, I would have served ye of trust!
But, since Respublica hath put me to exile,
Where may I go keep myself secret for a while?
Is there never a good chaplain in all this town,
That will, for a while, hide me under his gown?
[Pg 255] Never a good farmer? never a good merchantman?
Well, I will go pick out some corner, if I can.
But, first will I monish my fellows of this gear;
And we stay this plunge, I care not for the next year. [Exeat.
Resp. Now will I to Justice and th' other ladies three,
And pray that these vices may all suppressed be.

[Intrat People.

But lo! here cometh People; I will now turn again,
And first know of his good state by a word or twain.


Respublica. People.

Resp. What standeth he prying? dareth he not enter?
People. Chould vain zee my lady: but I sdare not venter.
Resp. Shrink not back from me, but draw to me, my dear friend!
People. Chill virst know an ye be alone, zo God me mend!
Resp. Come! here be none but thy friends, me believe.
People. Well then, chill be zo bold to peak in, by your leave.
Resp. How happeneth that thou hast so long been me fro?
People. Marry! chill tell you: as soon as ye were ago,
Hither came a zort of courtnals, hard men and zore:
They shaked me up, chwas ne'er zo rattled avore.
[Pg 256] They vell all upon me, catch a word that might catch;
Well was him that at me, People, might get a snatch.
Chould have been at home rather than a new groat;
Ich may zedge to you, Is feared pulling out my throat.
They bade me pike me home, and come at you no more.
An ich did, they zware, Is should be corrompt therefore.
Zo this prowt whorecop—what call ye him?
Resp. Insolence!
People. Yea! even this same, he vair popt me to silence.
Resp. And how is it with you now? better than it was?
People. All beginneth now to come gaily well to pass.
We hear of your good vortune that goeth about;
How ye beeth permounted, which maketh all us prout;
And ich am able since to buy a new coat;
And, Is thank God, chave in my purse a zilver groat.
I wis ich could not zo zai these zix years afore;
Whoever caused it, ill thank have they therefore.
Resp. They will be here soon; bide you them here for a train.
People. Mass! but I ninnat; would ye have om squat out on's brain?
Resp. They shall not do thee harm the value of a point.
People. Then, an you zai the word ichill jeopard a joint.
[Pg 257]
Resp. If they but offer thee wrong, they shall smart therefore.
People. Nay! will ye be zo good to tie om up avore?
And what shalche zai to om?
Resp. Nothing; but be abate,
Till take them all here suddenly I may await.


People. Well, it shall be do, chould laugh and both my hands clap,
To zee Ricepuddingcakes envies take in a trap.
And azee, pray! if zome of om come not yonder;
Chould my lady had bide ne'er zo little longer.


Insolence. Adulation. Oppression. People. Avarice.

Insol. Where is Avarice? Ho! He doth not now appear.
Adul. He bid me monish you that we might all meet here.
Oppr. But see where People standeth!
Adul. What doth he here now?
Oppr. About little goodness, I dare my word avow!
Insol. Let us speak unto him. People! wherefore and why,
Like a loitering losell, standest thou here idly?
Oppr. Thou comest to Respublica to make some mone?
Adul. Or else some complaint.
People. You all see cham here alone.
[Pg 258]
Insol. Ye must have silver money, must ye, gentleman?
You cannot be content with such coin as we can?
Oppr. Ye must burn wood and coal, must ye, all of pleasance?
Burn turves, or some of thy bedstraw, with a vengeance!
Adul. Ye must eat fresh meat bought from the shambles, must ye?
Eat garlic and onions, and roots or grass, and lust ye!
Insol. In faith! I will whip you for this, peasant lout!
Adul. And twig you!
Insol. Ere another year come about.
Adul. But, see! where Avarice cometh, running very fast.

[Intrat Avarice.

Avar. I have trod and scud till my wind is almost past,
Yet my mates are not where.
Insol. and Adul. We be here come of late.
Avar. Be there not, trow we, honester men in Newgate?
Insol. No words of reproach, brother mine! I rede you.
Avar. None but godigod eve, and godigod speed you.
Fare ye well again, an ye be falling out now.
Insol., Adul. We mind it not.
Avar. 'Twere more need to look about you.
Insol. How goeth all? tell us!
Avar. My lady is waxed froward;
Our names be all known, so there is array toward.
Insol., Oppr. God speed us well!
Avar. Once I am thrust out of service.
Adul. Alas! what may I do?
Insol., Oppr. Tell us thy best advice.
[Pg 259]
Avar. Nay! I cannot have you, when I would none of you all;
Therefore, shift for yourselves, each one, for me, you shall.
Adul. Nay, for the pash of God! tell us what best to do;
Ye know I was ne'er slack to restore you unto.
Avar. These ladies that are come for commonweal's relief,
Prepare to work us woe, and do us all mischief.
Insol. Nay, by His precious populorum! I swear
Not the proudest of them all can hurt me a hair.
Oppr. If they offer, of us, to make them gauds or toys
They shall [find], I trow! we are no babes nor boys.
Avar. To prevail against them with force I do despair.
Insol. Be that as be may.
Adul. I will fall to speaking fair;
But, of all this trouble, we may thank People, this wretch.
Oppr. Faith, villain! if we scape, thou shalt an halter stretch.
Adul. But what remedy therewhile?
Avar. Faith! all will be nought.
Adul. Tell us what to do.
Avar. I will—they come—we are caught.
Adul. Whither shall I run?
Avar. Now sing a song, Honesty!
Adul. I am past singing now.
Avar. Yes, one song, Honesty!
Hay! hay! hay! hay!
I will be merry while I may.

[Pg 260]


Verity. Justice. Avarice. Respublica. Adulation. Misericordia. Peace. People. Insolence. Oppression.

Ver. Here they be, all four! this is a happy chance.
Avar. Take each man a lady, sirs! and let us go dance!
Resp. I left People here for a train, to hold them talk:
Alas, that I could tell which way best hence to walk!
Avar. What be these fair ladies? and whither will they, trow?
Just. We arrest you, sirs! all four, as ye stand in a row;
Not so hardy in your hearts, our arrest to gainsay.
Avar. Nay! we are content, if ye let us go our way.
Just. No, not a foot! we must first your reckoning take.
Avar. I ne'er bought nor sold with you, reckoning to make;
Nor I know not who you be.
Just. Justice is my name.
Avar. Where is your dwelling?
Just. In heaven; and, thence I came.
Avar. Dwell ye in heaven and so mad to come hither?
All our hucking here is how we may get thither!
Just. I bring heaven with me, and make it where I am.
Avar. Then I pray you let me be your prentice, Madame!
I will be at your beck.
[Pg 261]
Just. Ye shall, ere ye depart.
Avar. I would learn how to make heaven, with all my heart.
Well, as for Lady Misericordia,
I remember I saw you with Respublica.
Adul. You, if you so please, may do much good in this land;
Many, at this hour, do need your good helping hand.
Avar. And ye came down from heaven too, I judge?
Miser. Yea, sure!
Avar. Why, what folk are ye that cannot heaven endure?
And what may I call you, lady?
Pax. My name is Peace.
Avar. Ye have long dwelt with us; we have been long in peace.
Peace. Call ye it peace, sirrah! when brother and brother
Cannot be content to live one by another?
When one for his house, for his land, yea, for his groat,
Is ready to strive and pluck out another's throat?
I will in all such things make perfect union.
Avar. Then, good-night! the lawyers gain, by Saint Tronnion!
Westminster Hall might go play, if that came to pass.
Faith! we must serve you with a supersedeas.
Ver. Well! leave vain prattling, and now come answer to me.
Avar. I must hear first what ye say, and who ye be.
Ver. I am dame Verity.
Avar. What? the daughter of Time?
Ver. Yea!
Avar. I know my master, your father, well afine.
[Pg 262] Welcome, fair lady! sweet lady, little lady,
Plain lady, smooth lady, sometime spital lady;
Lady Long-tongue, lady Tell-all, lady Make-bate:
And, I beseech you, from whence are ye come of late?
Ver. I am sprung out of the earth.
Avar. What, ye do but jest!
Ver. The book sayeth: Veritas de terra orta est.
Avar. Happy is he which hath that garden plat, I trow!
Out of which such fair blossoms do spring and grow;
Yet this one thing, I say.
Ver. What?
Avar. Ye are friend to few,
Pressed to open all things, and men's manner to show.
Ver. If ye be true and just, that is your benefit.
Avar. True or untrue, just or unjust, it is your spite;
And glad ye are to take other folks in a trip.
[Yes! ye do it no]w and then, your ownself, on the whip.
Well, ye might be honest of your tongue, if you would.
Ver. If your acts were honest, ye did but as ye should.
Avar. Who chargeth me with the crime of any vice?
Ver. Thou callst thyself Policy, and art Avarice.
Avar. Nay, I defy your malice, I am Policy—
Ask of my fellows here! am not I Policy?
Ver. Ladies! will ye all see him openly tried?
Just. If he be an ill one, let him be descried.
Ver. What hast thou in thy bosom?
Avar. Nothing, I, truly!
Ver. Nothing truly got, say! show it forth openly.
Avar. What should I show forth?
[Pg 263]
Ver. That bag in thy bosom hid.
Avar. It lieth well, I thank you; as much as though I did.
Ver. Nay, come on! out with it!
Avar. Lo! here 'tis, for your fancy.
Ver. Give it me!
Avar. Yea, nay; I defy that Policy!
Ver. Open it!
Avar. Yea, that each body might be catching:
Some's teeth, I think, water e'en since to be snatching.
Ver. We must needs see what it is.
Avar. 'Tis a bag of rye!
Ver. Rye, what rye?
Avar. A bag of rye [...]
Ver. ... such as men do eat?
Avar. A bag of rye flour, a great deal better than wheat.
Ver. Let us see what rye it is! pour it out in haste!
Avar. Yea, shall? I trow not! indeed, so might we make waste.
Ver. There is no remedy; pour it out in my lap!
Avar. Nay! if there be no choice, I will use mine own cap.
Ver. So! a bag of rye, quod thou?
Avar. Yea, so God me speed!
Ver. Thou sayest even truth; 'tis a bag of rye indeed:
Usury, perjury, pitchery, patchery;
Pilfery, bribery, snatchery, catchery;
Flattery, robbery, cloutery, botchery;
Trumpery, harlotry, misery, treachery!
Avar. There is too, an please you, a little sorcery,
Witchery, baudery, and such other grossery.
[Pg 264]
Ver. And how gottst thou all this in thy possession?
Avar. Pardon me! and I will make my confession:
The world is hard, and the bag is but very small;
I got it where I could, to go on beg[ging] withal—
A plain true dealing man that loveth not to steal;
And I durst not be bold to crave of commonweal.
Ver. Now, do off thy gown, and turn the inside outward!
Aver. Let me alone, and an angel for a reward!
Ver. Come, off at once! when? come off! no more gaudies [n]or japes.
Avar. Must I needs whip over the chain like Jack-a-napes?
Resp. Out! in the virtue of God! what do ye here see?
Avar. All this had been lost, Respublica, but for me!
Resp. O Lord! where hast thou dragged up all these purses?
Ver. Where he hath had for them many thousand curses.
Resp. Where hast thou gotten them? tell truth, and do not lie!
Avar. Where no honest man could have gotten them but I.
In blind corners, where some would have hoarded them,
Had not I take them with the manner and burdened them.
Resp. And whither was it thine intent to convey them now?
Avar. I hid them that I might bring them safely to you.
[Pg 265] I durst not bear them openly, to God I vow!
I wis ye have heard me blame pickpurses or now—
And this is all yours.
Ver. It is hers, in very deed!
Avar. With sufferance I could get mo to help her need.
Ver. How say ye, Respublica! now to Policy?
Resp. I ne'er suspect him nor had him in jealousy.
Ver. In such like counterfeits shall all the rest appear.
Sirs! do off your utmost robes, each one even here.
Now, what these are, ye see plain demonstration.
Resp. Insolence, Oppression, Adulation!
O Lord! how have I be used these five years past!
People. Nay, Is ne'er thought better of om, ich, by God's vast.
Vey! madame, my lady! such strussioners as these
Have oft made you believe the moon was a green cheese.
Ver. Now ye see what they are; the punishment of this
Must be referred to the goddess Nemesis:
She is the most high goddess of correction;
Clear of conscience, and void of affection;
She hath power from above, and is newly sent down
To redress all outrages, in city and in town;
She hath power from God all practice to repeal
Which might bring annoyance to lady Commonweal;
To her office belongeth the proud to overthrow,
And such to restore as injury hath brought low;
[Pg 266] 'Tis her power to forbid and punish in all estates
All presumptuous immoderate attemptates.
Her cognisance, therefore, is a wheel and wings to fly,
In token her rule extendeth far and nigh;
A rudder, eke, she beareth in her other hand,
As directri[c]e of all things in every land;
Then pranketh she her elbows out, under her side,
To keep back the heady, and to temper their pride.
To her, therefore, dear sisters! we must now resort,
That she may give sentence upon this naughty sort;
She knoweth what is fittest for their correction;
Nemesis must, therefore, herein give direction.
Just. Then, People! while we lady Nemesis do fet
All these offenders in this custody we set;
Them to apprehend and keep till we come again.
People. An ye give me tority, chill keep om, that is plain.
Insol., Oppr. Shall People keep us, of whom we have been lords?
People. Stand still, or by Jis! [chill] bind you vast with cords.
Nay, sirs! ich ha' you now in my custodity.
Avar. Mass, I will be gone for my mine own commodity.
People. Zoft! whither wilt thou? wilt thou not be roiled?
Stand still, skitbrained thief, or thy bones shall be coiled!
[Pg 267] Yond be they coming now, che war't that will tame ye.
A, zee! art thou gone too? come back, and evil a thee!


Nemesis. Respublica. Misericordia. Veritas. Justice. Pax. People. Insolence. Oppression. Adulation. Avarice.

Nem. Come forth, Respublica, our darling most dear!
Resp. At your word, most gracious lady! I am here.
Nem. Are these your trusty men that had you in government?
People. The skitb[r]ains nold not be roiled ne'er, since ye went.
Nem. People! why art thou bashful and standest so far?
Be of good cheer now; and, I warrant thee, come near!
People. I will come no near: cha not be haled up with states,
But I scannot be fichant enough amongst my [mates].
Nem. Come near, when I bid thee
People. Marry! but I ninnat;
I namnot worthy to perk with you, no, I nam not.
Nem. Well, Respublica! are these your late governors,
Whom ye took for faithful and trusty counsellors?
Resp. Yea, forsooth, Madame!
[Pg 268]
Avar. These three be, but I am none;
For I was discharged nigh half-an-hour agone.
Nem. Come! first stand forth here, thou Adulation!
Adul. Speak a good word for me, lady Compassion!
People. Nay! she shall not need, I chill speak for thee myself—
Madame, take good heed! for this is a naughty elf.
Adul. Nay, Madame! the cause of all this was Avarice;
He forged us new names, and did us all entice.
Oppr. We neither did nor could work, but by his advice.
Adul. Because I got no more, he chid me once or twice.
Insol. Madame! only Avarice made us all to fall.
Avar. Yea? Fall to preaching? Nay! then will I tell all.
Madame! ere I had taught these merchants any while,
They were cunninger than I, all men to beguile.
And Verity saw mine were small purses and bags,
Tottering loose about me, like wind-shaken rags.
But he that should have bagged that Insolence did win,
Must have made a poke to put five or six shires in;
He must have made wide sacks for castles, towns, and woods:
The canvas to make them of, were worth ten times my goods.
Then Oppression here, to feather well his nest,
Cared not, of their livelood whom he dispossest.
[Pg 269] Bishops, deans, provosts, the poor folk from the spital,
Lands with church and chapel, all was for him too little.
Poor I did not so; I scraped but little crumbs;
And, here and there, with odd ends, patched up my sums.
Flattery got his thrift by counterfeit honesty;
Yet, by these ten bones! I bid him use modesty.
Therefore, spare not him; he will ne'er come to good pass;
But I may well be mended, by the Mary Mass!
Miser. Lady Nemesis! now have ye occasion
And matter to show your commiseration.
[It is much] more glory, and standeth with more skill,
Lost sheep to recover, then the scabby to spill.
Just. But how shall this redress be well persecuted,
If justice with mercy shall be executed?
Straight Justice must such great enormities redress;
Severity must put men in fear to transgress;
Justice must give each man that he doth deserve.
Miser. If offenders were not, wherefore might mercy serve?
Avar. Stick hard to it, good, sweet lady Compassion!
We are all else undone, by Cock's bitter passion!
Miser. Verity! how say you? have I not spoken well?
Ver. Mercy in one place with Justice sometime may dwell,
And right well agree together—how say you, Peace?
Pax. Where all thing is well amended, I do increase.
[Pg 270]
Nem. Ladies, we have heard all your discreet advises;
And each one shall have some part of your devises.
Neither all nor none shall taste of severity
But as they are now known through lady Verity;
So shall they receive our mercy or our ire,
As the wealth of Respublica shall best require.
Now, Adulation! what sayeth you in this case?
Adul. Nought in mine excuse, but submit me to your grace.
Only this: I promise, if I may Mercy find,
Utterly for ever to change my wicked mind;
I ne'er sought afore mine own private gain so much,
But I will further Commonweal's ten times so much.
Nem. Well, thou mayest become a worthy subject, it is plain.
Adul. Else ye know at all times how to reach me again.
Nem. Thou mightest swerve of frailty, thou might'st do to please;
Thou might'st do for fear, thou might'st do to live in ease;
Well, upon thy promise, for once we pardon thee.
Go, and see that from henceforth thou be perfect Honesty!
Adul. So long as shall please God to give me life and heale,
I shall most duly serve God and the Commonweal.
Now to thee, Avarice; have at thy petticoat!
Nem. Now the plague of commonweals, as all men do note:
Come forth, Avarice! to spare thee will be no boot;
Thou must be plucked up, e'en by the very root,
[Pg 271] Because thou scraped'st up whatever thou might'st get.
Avar. Indeed, I thank God there is no man in my debt!
Nem. And, because thou caught'st it by wrong contribution,
Thou shalt first and foremost make restitution.
Avar. Let me then, with pardon, go hence about it lightly.
Nem. No! ye shall have help to see it done uprightly.
People, take this fellow—
Avar. God save me from this plunge!
Nem. —that he may be pressed as men do press a sponge;
That he may drop aught, t' every man his lot,
To the utmost farthing that he hath falsely got.
People. An ye bid me, chill squeeze him as dry as a kyx.
Avar. Nay, the pash of God! I shall then die of the flix.
Nem. Nay! thou shalt deliver him to the head officer
Which hath authority, justice to minister.
People. Chil 'liver him to the constable, and come again.
Nem. Now, Justice, for these two that do here remain:
Because the fault of Insolence is heinous and great—
Lucifer's own fault t' aspire to the highest seat—
And because Oppression hath wronged men so sore
That he spoiled innocents of all they had and more,
People shall deliver them unto safe custody,
Where they may no farther annoy anybody.
When the time may serve t' examine and try their cause,
Call them both before you, and judge them by the laws.
[Pg 272]
People. And shalche carry away these same two men also?
Nem. Yea; go deliver them to an officer, go!
Now, darling Respublica! ye are in th' old good estate;
And they taken away that spoiled you of late.
Now cleave to these ladies, from heaven to you direct;
They from all corruption will you safe protect.
Well, I must go hence to another count[r]y now,
That hath of redress the like case that was in you.
I leave you for this time, immortal thanks to give
To God, and your Sovereign, which do you thus relieve.
Resp. Thanks be to Thee, O Lord! which hast this world wrought,
And hast me to this state from utter ruin brought.
Pax. Now let us all together, both with heart and voice,
In God and in Queen Mary most joyfully rejoice.
Ver. Praying that her reign, most graciously begun,
[May] long years endure, as hitherto it hath done.
Just. Pray we for her Council, to have long life and health,
Their sovereign to serve.
Pax. And to maintain Commonwealth.
Omnes. Amen!

[Cantant et exeant.


[Pg 273]

[A reduced Facsimile of the Title-page of "Wealth and Health" from the unique recently recovered copy of the Play now in the British Museum.]

[Pg 274]

An Interlude of
very merry and full of Pastime, newly at this time Imprinted

The Names of the Players:

Four may easily play this Play

Extract from the Stat. Reg. 1557 [Arber I. 75]

To master John wally these bokes Called Welth and helthe / the treatise of the ffrere and the boye / stans puer ad mensam another of youghte charyte and humylyte an a b c for cheldren in englesshe with syllabes also a boke [Pg 275]called an hundreth mery tayles.... ijs


A2,r. Here entereth Wealth and Health singing together a ballat of two parts, and after speaketh Wealth.

Wealth. Why is there no courtesy now I am come?
I trow that all the people be dumb;
Or else, so God help me and halidom!
They were almost asleep.
No words I heard, nor yet no talking;
No instrument went, nor ballats singing;
What ails you all, thus to sit dreaming?
Of whom take ye care?
Of my coming ye may be glad;
Therefore, I pray you be not sad,
For all your desire shall be had:
I can amend your cheer.
By God! I think ye have forgotten me.
I am Wealth of this realm; look upon me!
For I am to every man loving and friendly:
For Wealth hath no peer.
Health. Brother Wealth! have ye not yet done?
Ye praise yourself above the moon.
Every man may perceive thereby, soon,
That you lack discretion.
Wealth. Wherefore? by God! I cannot say too much.
[Pg 276] I am so wealthy of substance and rich;
In all the world where is one such
As I am of comparison?
Health. Wealth is good, I cannot denay;
Yet praise yourself too much ye may;
For wealth, oftentimes, doth decay:
And wealth is nothing sure.
Wealth. Wealth hath been ever in this country; A2,v.
And here I purpose still for to be;
For this is the land most meet for me,
And here I will endure.
Health. Therein ye speak full lovingly;
For, in this realm, wealth should be;
Yet, no displeasure, I pray you heartily!
But in the way of communication,
And for pastime, I would speak some ways,
Of no comparison, nor to you no dispraise—
I do not intend that manner always—
But for a recreation.
Wealth. Brother! whatsoever ye say to me
I will hear you patiently.
I am content, and I thank you heartily;
Begin, and say your pleasure.
Health. I thank you heartily; then will I
Somewhat unto my purpose apply:
Though Wealth be praised marvellously,
Yet to mine understanding
Wealth is mutable, and that in shame;
And Wealth is haughty and proud of name;
Wealth is cruel and in great blame;
For Wealth is ever wavering.
Wealth. To whom have I done any harm—can ye say?
Ye slander me now; yet I trust I may
Answer for myself in every manner way;
[Pg 277] Ye will not deny that?
Health. God forbid but ye should do so!
And ye may do it whether I will or no.
In like wise I must answer you, also,
When ye say not true.
Though I be but to you a poor man, A3,r.
Yet Health I hight; the same I am:
That is desired universally than—
Some calls me as good as you!
Wealth. As I? marry! there, indeed, ye do compare;
Such words might bring you soon in care.
Lewd person! thou art not ware
Of what substance I am.
Health. Yes! I can tell what you are; be not displeased.
Wealth is of great substance; that cannot be denied.
Yet, show your commodities, and ye shall be answered:
I promise you wealth is fugitive.
Wealth. What sayst thou? am I a tagetive?
I was never so taken up in my life,
Nor called unsure—well! I will make no strife.
Yet, whereas thou dost say
That I should show my commodities always,
The best for myself, whereof I ask praise,
If I should stand here all my life days
Yet I could not say.
Nor half the benefits that cometh of me,
It cannot be told nor recited shortly.
Wealth is the flower of all thing earthly—
That you cannot deny.
First, God save our sovereign lady, the Queen;
With all the Council, and all that with them been.
[Pg 278] Am not I, Wealth, with them ever at ene?
Who should be there but I?
Men of the law, and jolly rich merchants
There be, wealthy both; of goods and lands,
Without comparison, is in their hands:
I, Wealth, have all treasure.
Health. O good sir! of whom cometh all this? A3,v.
Of God only: to you no thank, I wis.
And yet man's wealth stands not all in riches:
I dare say that boldly.
When a man hath a competent living,
With the grace of God that passeth all thing,
Love of his neighbour, and good reporting:
Then is he wealthy.
Wealth of goods is but a fame;
He is wealthy that hath a good name;
Every wise man will covet the same:
For other wealth I not rech.
If a man have never so much good name
Every wise man will covet the same;
If his dispositions be nought and wood,
Then he is but a wretch.
Wealth. Nay! thou art a wretch, and a fool unwise,
Wealth of riches thus to despise;
Dost thou not see all the world arise
By goods and substance?
He that hath plenty of silver and gold
May have all thing, whatsoever he would.
When can Wealth lack, seeing all thing is sold,
And Wealth is of assurance?
Health. I deny that; your saying is nought:
Grace, heaven, nor cunning cannot be bought
Without great pain, and good deeds wrought;
Else man cannot them have.
[Pg 279]
Wealth. Stop thereat, and hold thy peace!
May not men buy heaven with richesse,
As to build churches and make by-ways?
Such deeds man's soul doth save.
Health. Yea! but yet ye must mark one thing, A4,r.
If these goods came with wrong-doing
Shall ye have heaven for so spending,
Or yet any meed?
Nay, nay! except that man himself do meek,
And make resistance the right honour to seek,
Else all such good deeds is not worth a leek.
Wealth! hereof take heed!
Wealth. Why thinkest thou that all men which hath wealth
Getteth their goods with bribery and stealth?
Thy report is nought; therefore, Health,
I counsel thee to say the best.
Health. So I will; but yet, I must say true.
And now a little more I will say to you:
Much sorrow and care wealth doth brew;
He is seldom in rest.
When a man is a little hite and wealthy,
And hath in his chest treasures plenty,
Then will he wrangle, and do shrewdly
By his power and might.
With his neighbours he will go to law;
And a-wreak his malice for value of straw:
Wealth is fickle and out of awe,
Wilful in wrong or right.
Wealth. Thou speakest with a slanderous tongue,
All of evil will; and yet, it is wrong:
Wealth in this realm hath been long;
Of me cometh great honour.
Because that I, Wealth, hath great port,
All the world hither doth resort;
[Pg 280] Therefore I, Wealth, am this realm's comfort,
And here I will endure.
Health. So I would ye should, and I shall do the same. A4,v.
Health I am called, and that is my name;
If I would not abide here I were to blame,
For here I am well cherished.
Yet say yourself now, indifferently,
And if every man do not love me,
Health, as well as Wealth? yes, verily!
Thereof I dare be reported.
Wealth. Why should they love thee—that would I know—
As well as me? I pray you, show!
I am the superior of high and low;
No man may compare with me.
Health. To show why, I will not be afraid;
For, I can bide by that I have said:
If wealthy men be very well apaid,
Or much they set you by.
But of wealth, if they have never so much—
Goods, treasure, and gold—and be called rich,
Yet, if they lack health, their pain is such
That they were better die.
A man to wear gold and be in pain,
What joy hath he? None! but would be fain
To give all his treasure for health, plain;
Or else he were very mad.
For, if a man be never so poor,
Yet if he have health, that is a treasure;
Then, for his living, he may labour,
And in his heart be glad.
Wealth. I never marked thus much, nor understood
That health was such a treasure, and to man so good;
[Pg 281] Wherefore, I am sorry, and will change my mood:
Now, I pray you, forgive me!
Health. I will forgive, or else I were to blame; B1,r.
And I pray you to forgive me the same;
I love you heartily, and will praise your name
If it please you to keep my company.

Here entereth Liberty with a song, and after speaketh.

Liberty. Why tarry, sirs! whither are ye going?
I see well ye looked not for my coming.
Lo! out of sight, out of remembering;
Absence is cause of strangeness.
What look ye on? wherewhy are ye so strange?
From your fellow, Liberty, doth your minds change?
In your company I was wont to range;
What needs all this business?
Wealth. By Liberty, now, I do not set
Seeing that Health and I am met,
As felloweth together; no man shall let
Me for to love him best.
Lib. Let me hear what ye do say:
Then ye are about to cast me away!
How haps this? Marry! then I may
Go pick straws and take me rest.
I pray you, tell me whom I have offended;
If I have made a fau[l]t it shall be amended;
With so short warning let me not be voided:
I trow yet ye do but jest.
Health. Why do ye make this cavillation?
We intend to make no alteration;
Wealth and I have had communication:
He is my friend of old.
[Pg 282]
Lib. What was the matter? I pray you tell!
Methinks, I ought to be of counsel;
Or else, I promise you, ye do not well:
With you I should behold. B1,v.
Wealth. The matter is done; we are agreed;
To reason it more it shall not need.
O, brother Health! thou art, indeed,
More preciouser than gold.
Lib. God's body! how cometh this gear to pass?
I am cast out at the cart's arse;
The world is nothing as it was
For I am here refused.
Health. Why be you angry that we do agree?
Then are ye not wise; for, if ye love me,
I will love him again; so it should be;
Or else, I were misadvised.
Lib. Then of my love ye set no store;
My company, I see well, ye looked not for.
Farewell! I will get me out of the door;
Yet I am your betters, and so am I called.
Wealth. Such presumptuous words will have a fall;
Your comparison is but feeble and small:
What can ye do? nothing at all
As you have reputed!
Lib. What were ye both two, were not I?
Wretches and caitiffs! look not so high;
Think no scorn hardly,
For I may be your peer.
If Wealth have never so much substance,
Lacking Liberty and were in durance,
Within a whit—I am in assurance—
Ye would pray me come near.
If Health be never so lust and strong,
Yet, if Liberty were kept from him long,
[Pg 283] Then sorrow and care would be his song:
It would abate your cheer. B2,r.
Fie of Wealth, which lacketh Liberty!
Fie of Health, and be in captivity!
Fie of Riches, and lack good company!
Liberty hath no peer!
Health. Will ye hear how he doth clatter?
What need ye to rehearse all this matter?
Ye know that we twain, afore any other,
Liberty must needs have still.
Liberty on us is glad to wait;
Ye stand too far in your own conceit:
I wis, Liberty, ye can make no bate
To catch us at your will!
Lib. Now, there ye lie! I can suffer no longer:
Wealth for Liberty doth labour ever;
And Health for Liberty is a great store;
Therefore, set me not so light.
Wealth. Liberty! I pray ye, reason no more!
Ye are welcome to us as ye were before;
Indeed, of Liberty it is great suitor:
Therefore welcome, by this light!
Lib. Now, I thank you both, full kindly!
Your strange words a little did grieve me;
And now, at your commandment, I am ready,
And at your own will.

Here entereth with some jest Ill-Will.

Ill-Will. Marry! I am come at the first call:
Will, your own man, have me who shall;
For I am Will, servant to you all;
Ye shall not need to send for me.
Wealth. Who is acquainted with this man?
He is very homely, and little good he can B2,v.
[Pg 284]
To come in here so boldly; then
Drive him away quickly!
Ill-W. Why, I came not till I was called.
Your own Will openly ye named;
Then I came apace, lest I should be blamed:
Therefore, I pray you, let me bide still.
[H]eal[th.] Whose will, or what will, doth he mean?
Thou art not my will, I forsake thee clean;
My will and their wills is often seen:
Our wills can none ill.
Ill-W. Alas, good masters! I can none ill.
Yet, by my troth! I am your evil will—
Your will, and your will, and your will; therefore, keep me:
I love ye, by God's mother!
Lib. This is a strange saying unto me:
My will, your will, and his will—this cannot be;
For in our wills is great diversity;
For one is not like another.
Ill-W. Yet, by Christ! your own will I am;
The maddest will, and the merriest than.
For God's sake! now let me be your man
Till ye have better acquaintance.
Wealth. I perceive this fellow is kind,
And oweth to us good will and mind;
Some kinds again then let him find:
Let him have some furtherance.
Ill-W. By God, sir! and I durst be so bold,
Acquaintance of this man claim I would,
And kindred, too; if the truth were told
We be of one consanguinity.
Health. How so? let me hear that, I pray thee heartily!
[Pg 285]
Ill-W. Will and Liberty is of ancestry old: B3,r.
Without Liberty, Will dare not be bold;
And where Will lacketh, Liberty is full cold;
Therefore, Will and Liberty must needs be of kin.
Lib. Indeed, as he saith, it may well be;
For Will ever longeth unto Liberty:
Therefore, good friend, welcome to me!
I pray you all be good to him. [And goeth out.
Wealth. For your sake he is welcome to us all;
Let him come to our place, and then he shall
Have succour of us and help withal:
And now we will depart.

[And Wealth and Health goeth out.

Ill-W. Will ye go hence? I thank ye, masters, with all my heart!
I will seek you out, I warrant you! fear not!
Now they be gone; I am glad, by Saint Mary!
A little while here I purpose to tarry:
How to deceive Wealth, Health, and Liberty
Now must I devise.
For I am a child that is past grace;
Ill-Will—I am called that in every place—
Doth much mischief; this is a plain case:
Virtue I do utterly despise.
But if they wist what I were,
Then of my purpose I should be never the near:
I will keep my tongue lest that I mar
My whole intent and will.
But now I marvel, by this day!
Where Shrewd Wit is gone astray;
Some crafty touch is in his way—
I hear him! peace! stand still!

[Pg 286]

[Entereth Shrewd Wit with a song.

Dieu vous garde playsaunce!
On seven or on mumchance, what yonkers dare avance B3,v.
To play a groat or twain?
Lo! here I have in store
Two or three groats, and no more;
I take great thought, therefore,
For to keep it; it is much pain.
I come now out of a place
Where is a company of small grace:
Thieves and whores that spends apace—
They were drunken all the sort.
One of their purses I did aspy
Out of his sleeve, where it did lie;
And one winked on me with his eye:
But there began the sport.
There False Falsehood, and I, Crafty Wit
Got the purse: lo! here I have it.
I came my way and let him sit,
Smoke and shitten arse together.
And if that I had Ill-Will here,
With this money we would make good cheer.
Gentle brother Will! I pray thee, appear!
For thou art in some corner.
Ill-W. [from without.] I would come in, but I am afeard
Lest that I be taken by the beard
With some catchpoll; I have heard
How thou hast stolen a purse.
Wit. Thou whoreson! art thou mad? come in, I say!

[Ill-Will comes in.

This is not the first hazard that I have scaped;
If I make an hand to deck myself gay,
What am I the worse?
Ill-W. From thy company I cannot abide;
I must needs hold upon thy side:
[Pg 287] Ill-Will and Shrewd Wit, who can hide? B4,r.
For they will be together.
Wit. Now welcome, Will! and what cheer?
By God! I thought for thee a thousand year.
Peace! for God's body! who cometh there?
Hance Beerpot, a scon router!

[Entereth Hance with a Dutch song.

[Hance.] Gut, mynen scone rutters, by the moder Got!
Ic heist nowne schon, for stave ye nete
De qusteke man, iche bie do do?
Van the groate bumbarde well ic wete
Dartyck dowsant van enheb it mete
Ic best de manikin van de keining dangliter
De grot keyser kind ic bene his kusketer.
Ill-W. Hear ye not drunken Hance, how he begins to prate?
The malapert Fleming is a little too checkmate.
Wit. Let the knave alone! for his name is War:
Such drunken Flemings your company will mar.
Hance. Ic best nen einond; ic best in soche;
Ye fecte nete vell; ic forstave ye in doche.
Ill-W. Com'st here leyt with your gound? stand near!
It becomes you better to handle a pot of beer.
Hance. Dat maght ic veil dan, ic can skynke frelyck;
Tab bers frew; ic bringes brore, begotts nemerick!
Wit. The whoreson knave, by the mass! is drunk
A winking, for deep his eyen be clean sunk.
Hance. Ic forave ye vell ye seg dac ic slepe
[Pg 288] Nenike, nenike, ic compta hore for an audor cepe.
Ill-W. Well coppin, I pray thee, heartily tell us true
Wherefore comest thou hither for anything to sue?
Hance. Ye icke feger en bumbardere van de koyning wei it be
Heb twe skelling de dagh ic con scote de culveryn.
Wit. Nay! ye shall walk, a Fleming knave! will ye not see B4,v.
We have English gunners enow? there is no room empty.
Hance. Ic best en bomberde mot ye to me spreken
What segge ye? bones! it sal ye yode staen.
Ill-W. We speak not to thee; thou art a scon man,
But go thy way! they be not here that promote thee can.
Hance. Cant ye me a de house dragen van de grot here?
Wit. Hance! ye must go to the court, and for Wealth inquire.
Hance. What segte ye, Wealth? nenyke he is net hore;
Wealth best in Flanders; ic myself brought him dore.
Ill-W. Beshrew your whoreson Fleming's heart, therefore!
Indeed, as he saith, by war in Flanders there is wealth.
Hance. Segt ye dat brower? by the moder Got dan!
Gut naught ic mot watt, to sent Cafrin, to mi lamnan store.

[And goeth out.

Ill-W. Is he gone? farewell, Hanijkin Bowse!
I pray God give him a hounded drouse;
For I trow a knave brought him to house.
But now, Brother Wit!
[Pg 289] We must devose how that we may
Be in service with Wealth alway;
Let me hear what thou canst do, or say,
To help for to contrive it.
Wit. For thy pleasure that I shall.
This will I do first of all:
Flatter and lie, and evermore call
Them my good masters still.
Then with swearing, lying, and polling,
Bribery, theft, and privy picking,
Thus I, Shrewd Wit, will ever be doing,
I warrant thee, Ill-Will!
Ill-W. I can thee thank; this is well devised;
And I, Ill-Will, would have every man despised.
But now, another thing must be contrived, C1,r.
Or else all will be nought.
There is one they call Good Remedy
In this realm; he hath great authority;
He is a noble man, and much worthy:
Many things he hath wrought.
He is called lust, discreet, and indifferent,
Willing to fulfil his sovereign's commandment;
He is not 'fraid to do right punishment;
Therefore of him I am afraid!
Wit. So am I, too; this maketh me very sad.
Yet, oftentimes, I have been hard bestrad;
Now that I am warned of him I am very glad:
S[ome crafty wile] for him [shall ye] had.
Ill-W. Peace! no mo words; but mum!
Methink I hear mast Wealth come.
Kneel down and say such devout orison
That they may hear us pray.
Now, Jesu save Wealth, Health, and Liberty!

[Liberty and Health returneth back[Pg 290] with Wealth.

Wealth. Sirs! you will have both God's blessing;
So are ye worth for your praying;
Ye are well disposed, and of good living—
I will love you the better alway.
Ill-W. Sir! this do we use every day;
For Wealth, Health, and Liberty to pray.
This same is my brother to you I [say]:
He is an hard honest man!
Wit. Forsooth, master! I am his brother;
To be your servant was my coming hither;
As long as we could be together
Ye shall not perish than.
Health. To have you both to service I am content. C1,v.
How say you, Liberty? will you thereto consent?
Will and Wit God hath us lent:
We may be glad of them.
Lib. If we should refuse Will and Wit
We were to blame; for they be fit.
Therefore, by my will they shall not flit:
They be welcome to me.
Ill-W. God thank you, masters, all three!
Ye shall find us poor, but true we cannot be—
My tongue stumbles, I cry you mercy!—
We will be true, I should say.
Wealth. Sirs, go your way home, unto one place!
And we will hie us after a-pace;
And when we come, we shall set you in case
To have a living alway.
Health. Then look ye do both truly and just;
For we must put you in great trust;
All our household guide ye must:
Behave you[r]self well.
Wit. Masters, fear not! for I have wit enough
[Pg 291] To beguile myself, and to beguile you;
I have beguiled many one, I may say to you:
I pray you keep that in counsel.
Lib. Beware of that! what doth he say?
Beguile us all? yet I charge thee, Nay!
Ye shall not beguile us: if I may,
I will beware betime.
Ill-W. Sir, be not angry! I you pray;
The fool wotteth not he doth say;
He meaneth that he will be profitable alway,
And save you many things.
Health. What he meaneth I cannot tell, C2,r.
But his saying is not well.
Depart hence, sirs! by my counsel,
And tarry us at our lodging.
Wit. Now and it please ye, will ye hear any singing?
Therein, I tell you, I am somewhat conning;
Ye shall hear and ye list.
Lib. Sir! I pray you sing and ye can.
Ill-W. Now will I begin like a lusty blood than.

[They sing and go out.

[Health.] Sirs! now go your way, of you I am glad
As of any servants that ever I had;
For these can do both good and bad:
We must needs have such men.
What were we if we lacked Will?
And without Wit we should live ill;
Therefore, Will and Wit I will keep still:
I promise you I love them.

[Here cometh Remedy in and to him saith

Wealth. Sir! your mastership is heartily welcome;
Take your place here above, as it is reason.
[Pg 292]
Health. I pray you pardon us, we know not what ye be;
Ye seem a man of honour and of great authority.
Lib. Sir! to know wherefore ye come we are desirous.
Remedy. I am he that ought for to be well known
Of you three specially; and of duty
Great pain and business, as for mine own,
For you I have taken because I love you heartily;
To maintain you is all my desire and faculty;
Yet hard it is to do, the people be so variable;
And many be so wilful: they will not be reformable.
Wealth. Sir! I pray you pardon us of our ignorance now;
I see well ye know us better than we do you.
Rem. I pardon you for I do know you well, both; C2,v.
Wealth and Health is your right names:
The which England to forbear were very loth.
For by Wealth and Health cometh great fames;
Many other realms, for our great wealth, shames
That they dare not presume, nor they dare not be bold
To strive again England, or any right withhold.
Health. Sir! ye be welcome; I beseech you show us your name.
Rem. Good Remedy, forsooth! I am the same.
Lib. If I durst be so bold I would pray you heartily
To show us a part of your great authority.
Rem. My authority is given to me, most special,
[Pg 293] To maintain you three in this realm to be:
What mine intent is I will tell, but not all,
For that were too long to rehearse, of a surety;
And I desire you all for to be loving to me,
For your own ease, come wealth and profit.
Wealth. Good Remedy! then we must desire your aiding;
For by Good Remedy cometh all our preferring.
Rem. All that I do intend, if ye will thereto agree,
And to be reformable for your own ease,
It is not the thing that lieth only in me.
But my good will, therefore, I will not cease,
To have your love and favour; and thereby to please
All the world over, and to promote this realm;
That you three may prosper—ye perceive what I mean?
The chief part of all wealth lieth in great estates:
Their substance and lands is right commendable.
Prelates of the church is wealthy of riches;
Merchants hath merchandise and goods incomparable,
Men of law and franklins is wealthy, which is laudable:
Thus wealth of riches is divided diverse ways; C3,r.
And to these many charges come now-a-days.
Health. My heart rejoiceth to hear your good reporting;
Much are we bound to God which provideth all thing.
Rem. Forsooth! here is not half that I could rehearse
The benefits of God that He showeth to you, Wealth.
Consider Englishmen, how valiant they be and fierce;
[Pg 294] Of none nations none such when they have their health;
No land can do us harm but with falsehood or stealth.
Remember what number of men, or artillery, and good ordinance;
Specially the grace of God which is our chief furtherance.
If there be any that will grudge, surmise, or do
Again Wealth, Health, and Liberty, then must I, for the same,
Show mine authority and power, for to remedy it, so
That none of you shall diminish, nor amiss be tane.
I, Good Remedy, therefore, may and will speak without blane
For the commonwealth, and health both of the soul and body:
That is my office and power; and therefore I have my authority.
Wealth. Our Lord continue ye, and we thank you heartily
Both for your good instruction, and for your kindness
That you intend so well for us, Good Remedy.
When we have need, we will desire your goodness.
Health. When we be infect in the soul or body,
Then will I seek Good Remedy for succour.
As yet, I thank God, I have no need greatly;
If I have, then will I seek to have your favour.
Lib. Sir! now we will depart hence, with your license,
For other divers business that we must have together.
Rem. Sirs! I am content; now, when ye will depart,
[Pg 295] To God I commit you; I will not make you tarry.
But yet, I pray with all my mind and heart,
Take heed! in any wise eschew ill and shrewd company.
If a man be never so ... [original is illegible] C3,v.
He shall lose his name, and to some vice they will him tempt;
Therefore beware of such people, and from them be exempt.
Health. Yes, yes, I warrant you! of such I will beware—
Farewell, Good Remedy, and well to fare!

[And goeth out.

Rem. I pray God be your speed, and preserve you from pain!
It is my mind ye should prosper; I would have it so, fain.

[Ill-Will and] Wit returneth.

Ill-W. Here is none of our acquaintance:
We have made too long tarriance—
That will ye say, perchance;
And they be gone home, come away apace.
Wit. Nay, by God! not so hasty;
A little while we will tarry.
Good even, sir, to you, marry!
Dwell ye in this place?
Rem. Nay, good fellow! I dwell not here:
Wherefore dost thou that inquire?
Holdest thou aught with any here?
Speak! be not afraid!
Ill-W. By God! I would I had your gown,
And were a mile without the town;
Thereon I would borrow a crown,
It is I that so said.
[Pg 296]
Wit. How, lookest thou on him half a-scorn?
I promise you he is a scant gentleman born:
What sayest thou in his face?
Rem. For somewhat in his face I look;
Indeed, his mastership stands a-crook:
For false shrews both of you I took,
And children that be past grace.
Ill-W. I will swear for him, as for these years twenty,
That he hath been ever as true as I;
Yet sometime he will steal and make a lie. C4,r.
He is of my alliance.
Rem. In good faith, the same think I,
That ye be both like, full unthrifty.
Sirs! how do ye live? show me quickly,
Or I shall put you in durance.
Wit. How live we? marry, our meat!
Comest thou hither for to threat?
So lordly sir Wittam doth speak!
From whence doth he come—can ye show?
Ill-W. What dost thou ail? Canst thou tell?
Hast thou anything with us to mell?
By the mass! thy hands doth tickle—
Thou shalt bear me a blow.
Rem. You false thieves! I know ye well:
I shall let your purpose every deal,
Ill-Will and Shrewd Wit, the devil of hell
Take ye both, for me!
Wit. Marry, thou liest! our names be not so:
Call us but Wit and Will—add no more thereto.
If thou dost, thou were as good know
We shall handle you shrewdly.
Rem. Sirs, farewell! here I will no longer abide:
For you both, shortly, I will provide
[Pg 297] That all your false craft shall be outtried,
And your subtilty known. [And goeth out.
Wit. To go so soon, the whoreson was wise;
Therefore some now I must devise
That each man may Wealth, Health, and Liberty despise;
Or else he will mar all our matter.
Brother wat! let me alone:
When they come you shall see me anon;
Complain of him unto them, each one, C4,v.
And put him out of favour.
Ill-W. Peace! no mo words, for they come yonder.

[Wealth, Health, and Liberty cometh in.]

Wealth. Sirs! I am glad that you be here.
How doth all our household? with them what cheer?
Is everything in order there,
After our intent?
Ill-W. Yea, Sir! they be all merry and glad;
With revel and rout sometime they be mad—
Pipe whore, hop thief, every knave and drab
Is at our commandment.

[Health turneth him.

Health. What do ye say? then ye are to blame,
And we put you in trust for the same;
To keep such rule, it is a shame;
It is not for our honour.
Wit. By the mass! the whoreson doth lie;
There is no such rule, by God's body!
A man may break his neck as lightly
As his fast in your kitchen or cellar, truly!

[Liberty turneth him.

Lib. With that neither I am not content;
I would there should be liberality competent;
And, with honesty, it is convenient
That our neighbour fare the better.
[Pg 298]
Ill-W. You be angry with all that we have done?
Come away, brother! let us go hence soon;
I know a new master where we shall be welcome.
God be with you, gentle master!
Wealth. Why, will ye be gone for a word?
Peradventure, we did but bord;
Methink ye should your master ford
For to speak my mind. D1,r.
Wit. Nay, nay! I can tell what was the matter:
Remedy was here, and he did flatter;
Ye trust he more than us, and better;
But, mark the end! what ye shall find.
Health. With Good Remedy we spake, indeed;
To follow his counsel we had need.
He warned us that we should take heed
Of excess and prodigality.
Wit. I marvel ye speak so of Good Remedy:
It is I that can do more than he.
Wit can make shift at necessity
When Remedy cannot be heard.
I know some that hath, this thousand year,
Sought Good Remedy, and yet never the near;
Wit can put Remedy by, yea, this is clear;
For Wit is a crafty lad.
Ill-W. And Will is an ungracious stay;
Will hath done many things men say;
And if ye let Wit and Will go his way,
Ye will repent it soon.
Lib. Why, what cause have you to go your way?
Ye shall abide with us, though you say, Nay;
I will follow Will and Wit alway;
And so I have ever done.
[Pg 299]
Wit. If I wist all my masters would so do,
Then from your service I would not go;
Speak now! whether ye will or no,
And let us know your mind.
Health. Sirs! ye be welcome to me, plain;
And for your company I am full fain;
I had liever suffer great pain
Than to leave my Wit and Will.
Ill-W. Then, let us go hence; with kindness my heart do kill. D1,v.
Health. I pray you, let us go; wherefore do we bide still?

[And goeth out. [Remedy cometh in.

Rem. As touching my first purpose, hither I am come again.
I trow ye know me; Good Remedy is my name;
That every day doth take great labour or pain
To amend all faults: I am chosen to the same.
If any man's conscience here doth grudge or shame,
Having in himself remorse, and mends in time and space,
I am Good Remedy, and God is full of mercy and grace.
Therefore I will stand aside, and a little while remain,
Of Wealth, Health, and Liberty for to inquire
How they be ordered; and if any man complain
I will be glad to show my remedy—methink I see one appear!

[Hance cometh in.

Hance. Be Got's drowse! ic myself bin cumpt heye scon lansman;
Ic mot in ander land lopen, all is quade dan.
Rem. Thou Fleming! from whence comest thou, and what dost thou here?
Hance. Ic myself cumt from sent Katryn's doxe, mot ic skyne de can beer.
[Pg 300]
Rem. Get thee thither again, and tarry here no longer!
Hance. Sir! ic mot mid ye spreken; ic myself be en scomaker.
Rem. What and thou be? therewith I have nothing ado.
Hance. Ic dest al forlore; copin is dod, ic maght not do thereto.
Rem. I pray thee, go hence, for thou dost trouble me ill.
Hance. Nen ic seker, ic wil not gon, ic wold fain live hore stil.
Rem. There is too many aliants in this realm; but now I,
Good Remedy, have so provided that Englishmen shall live the better daily.
Hance. What segt ye? by Got's drowse! dai is de quade man;
Be de moro goi, ic myself love de scone Englishman.
Rem. Fie on thee, flattering knave! fie on you aliants all, I say!
Ye can, with craft and subtle figure, Englishmen's wealth away.
Hance. O, skon mester! ic heb hore bin this darten yeore.
Ic can skote de culverin, and ic can be de beare broer.

[A line (or lines) apparently missing here.

[Rem.] Trust see so provide that Wealth from you have I shall. D2,r.
Hance. Ic seg to you dat Wealth is lopen in an ander contry;
Wat hebegy dar brough forstan ye net, segt me.
Rem. I understand thee well; yet, thou liest, like a knave.
Wealth is here in England, and Wealth still I trust we shall have.
[Pg 301]
Hance. Ic ment no quad, ic love de English man, by min bere!
Cump by sent Katrin, and ic shal ye geven twe stope bere.
Rem. Get thee hence, drunken Fleming! thou shalt tarry no longer here.
Hance. Mot it net mare herebin woder sal ic gewest kiskin;
Ic wil to de kaizer gan, dar sall ic wal skinkin.

[And goeth.

Rem. Is he gone? I pray God the devil go with him!
Where is Wealth, Health, and Liberty? I would see them come in.

[Health cometh in with a kercher on his head.

Health. O, good Lord, help me! by your license, my Sovereign!
I am homely to come here in your presence, thus diseased.
Need constraineth me, for Remedy I would have fain;
I am infect, both body and soul, I pray you be not displeased.
Rem. Why, what ail you? show me! yet, you I do not know;
Glad I am to remedy any man that is affirmity;
I perceive by your phisn'amy that ye are very weak, feeble, and low;
Yet show me your grief, and I will help you gladly.
Health. Gracious Remedy! I thank you; yet I am half ashamed
To show you my malady and my name—I was called Health;
Therefore, I am well worthy to be punished and blamed
Because I have not followed your counsel, but all thing may be suffered save Wealth.
[Pg 302]
Rem. Are you Health? this maketh me very pensive and sad:
Yet be of good cheer, and show how you were infect;
To remedy you and succour you, I would be very glad;
For God will punish the people when they be detect.
Health. Sir! I thank God therof; for well worthy I am,
My conscience doth judge; some trouble have I must;
Amends I will make to God, and if I can.
Wit and Will hath deceived me: in them I put my trust. D2,v.
Rem. If thou have done amiss and be sorry therefore,
Then half amends is made, for that is contrition.
Let that pass! now will I axe you one thing more:
Where be Wealth and Liberty? be they of good disposition?
Health. As for Wealth [he] is fallen in decay and necessity
By waste and war, through Ill-Will and Shrewd Wit;
And Liberty is kept in durance and captivity.
God help us all, and send us good remedy for it!
Rem. For to hear this tale, it maketh my heart heavy;
Yet, be of good comfort! God is full of grace, and I am good.
Health. Sir! then I beseech you, help us in the way of charity!
Rem. I would fain, but I cannot tell which way to begin,
Except I might catch Will and Wit; then, I trow, I could
Tie them shorter; for they destroy Wealth, Health, and Liberty by sin.
If I had the thieves, punish them extremely I would.
[Pg 303]
Health. You may soon catch them if ye will stand aside;
From this place they two will not long abide.
Rem. Methinketh I hear them come; help to hold them fast.

[Ill-will turneth.

Ill-W. Come in, Wit! for here is nobody;
We may be bold, and talk largely
Our hearts to ease, and show plainly
What we have done. [Shrewd Wit comes in.
Wit. I must needs laugh, I cannot forbear
To remember War, that knave! Will ye hear?
The whoreson Fleming was beshitten for fear,
Because he should void so soon.
Ill-W. Hark! now do I marvel, by this bread!
For I ween, surely, that Health be dead!
I saw him go with a kercher on his head,
As he should go to hanging.
Wit. Hark, in thine ear!—if the whoreson hap
To complain to him that wears the red cap,
I fear then shortly he will us clap D3,r.
By the heels from our living.
Ill-W. Nay, nay! there is no doubt;
By him I have reported, all about,
That he doth not well his good name to put out:
Ill-Will cannot say well.
Rem. Friend! therein thou art the more to blame,
To slander me wrongfully and undeserved;
But, or thou depart thou shalt answer for the same.
Where is Wealth and Liberty? how hast thou them ordered?
Ill-W. Qury cisis quest is un malt ombre;
Me is un Spyanardo compoco parlavere.
[Pg 304]
Health. Thou false thief! is thine English tongue gone?
As mischievous Ill-Will and Shrewd Wit ye have destroyed many one.
Wit. Sir! hurt not me, and I will tell you truth, anon:
This same is as false a knave as ever came within Saint John's.
Ill-W. Per amor de my as pica un poco
Eo queris andar pour lagtaunt creae so.
Rem. I cannot tell what thou dost mean, babbler!
But thou shall speak English, and confess another matter.
Health. Sir! I beseech your lordship, in the way of charity,
Let not these thieves escape your hands: they have destroyed us utterly.
Wit. Sir! believe him not! he speaks but of malice only.
We be true men; thereof we shall fetch good witness,
An honest man that shall be bound for him and me.
The law saith plain: Nulla fides contra testes.
Rem. That is truth; but who will be witness or bound for thee?
Ill-W. There is three among you in this house.
Wit. I will go to fetch them quickly.
Rem. They will come unsend for, I warrant you, if they wist.
What be their names? tell me what they be!
Ill-W. That one is John Irische and John Sholer:
But full these be honest men, all three. D3,v.
Health. Trust not their words! they will dissemble still;
They are so false and crafty, all their intent is ill.
[Pg 305]
Ill-W. Ye lie falsely! I speak but right and reason;
And by the law of arms, ye must needs be tane.
You are called Good Remedy which, at all season,
Should lean to man's life, and maintain the same.
We be here both your prisoners, wrongfully accused by defame:
Keep one of us fast; let him lie for all;
That other for friends and witness go shall.
Wit. Sir! let him not go, and leave me behind;
He will ever be a false knave, for I know his mind.
Ill-W. Hold thy tongue, foolish knave! I do not mean so.
Rem. I hear now ye cannot agree which of you should go.
Ill-W. No, by God's body! there shall none go but I.
Wit. Thou playest the knave! it must needs be I!
Health. Keep them safe, I pray you; for if they scape again
Many men shall repent it: it shall be to our pain.
Rem. They be here yet; to keep them fast is mine intent.
Have them away, both to prison, incontinent!
Ill-W. Lo, false knave! this is for thy crafty wit;
Now fast by the heels we are like to sit.
Wit. I am content so that I may have company;
If I should be hanged I would be hanged honest.

[And goeth out.

Rem. Go hence with them, and bring Wealth and Liberty.
Health. Come away, ye thieves! now I shall keep you surely!

[And goeth out.

[Pg 306]

Ill-W. Lock us up, and keep us as fast as ye can,
Yet Ill-Will and Shrewd Wit shall be with many a man.
Rem. I am half ashamed that long it hath been said
That noble men by such wretches hath been deceived.
They did rejoice and jest, and were very well apaid,
Trusting to scape clear and still for to have reigned.
But now, they shall not so; let them be well assured
That Ill-Will and Shrewd Wit shall have but ill rest; D4,r.
For wheresoever they be I will break their nest.
Wealth. In the honour of God we ask you forgiveness, all three;
We ought to be ashamed to look you in the face.
By our folly and negligence we have done so unwisely;
We were foully deceived; we put us to your grace:
This shall be a good warning for us a long space;
When man is well punished then he will beware;
Who that knoweth what need is, will after dread care.
Rem. I may not blame you greatly, for by mine own reason
I know Ill-Will and Shrewd Wit deceiveth great and small.
If ye can remember this, and beware another season,
This is a good example and learning to you all:
Now serve God and love Him, and for grace ever call,
And Ill-Will and Shrewd Wit from you I shall abstain:
Ye have used them too long to your damage and pain.
[Pg 307]
Health. Forsooth, sir! ye say truth; they did us great displeasure;
Full hard it is to vanquish the ungracious Ill-Will,
He is so crooked by flattery, dissimulation, and such other.
Man's mind is so variable, and glad to report ill,
I fear many one yet would have him reign still;
For some unto their own will hath so much affection:
Yet the devil and Ill-Will is both of one complexion.
Lib. Ill-Will is nought, but worse is Shrewd Wit;
For he contriveth all subtle imagination;
It were unpossible for a man else to do it.
Shrewd Wit breweth mischief, and false conspiration;
He hath put me, Liberty, in prison and great tribulation;
If it had not been for your good remedy and furtherance,
I, and other that hath liberty, should have been in durance.
Rem. Be all of good cheer, and have no mistrust!
The end of Ill-Will and Shrewd Wit is but shame.
Though they reign awhile, wrongfully and unjust,
Yet Truth will appear, and their misdeeds blame; D4,v.
Then wrong is subdued, and good remedy tane;
Though falsehood cloak and hide his matters all,
Craft will out, and deceit will have a fall.
Whereas ye are now in distress, all three,
Near were ye brought in case like to mar;
[Pg 308] Now, have ye no doubt! if ye will be ruled after me
I shall restore ye again as well as ever ye were.
Wealth! keep still this realm; look ye stray not far!
And Health! be of good cheer! your disease I can soon mend.
Liberty! now ye be released, do no more offend!
Wealth. Now let us all thank God, that Good Remedy hath send;
Trust to Him only for His grace and goodness.
We axe forgiveness of our trespass; I trust we will amend,
And clean forsake sin, folly, and unthriftiness.
Thus we will here conclude. Sovereign! of your graciousness,
We beseech you to remit our negligence and misbehaviour:
There we have said amiss, we commit all to your favour.
Health. And for your preservation heartily we will pray;
Your realm to increase with joy and tranquillity;
That Wealth, Health, and Liberty may continue here alway,
By the oversight and aid of him that is Good Remedy;
Which willingly doth his duty under your authority,
As part here appeareth, your purpose to maintain:
God continue his goodness, that long he may reign.
Rem. Jesu! preserve Queen Elizabeth, the noble princess worthy!
Jesu! continue her health long for to endure!
Jesu! endue her in virtue, grace, and honour!
[Pg 309] Jesu! maintain the Lords of the Council to execute good remedy ever!
Jesu! speed and help all them God's honour to further!
Jesu! increase the commonalty to prosper and do well!


[The printing of this play in the original is atrocious—à la Cock-Robin shop: type worn and battered; bad spelling; turned letters—b, d, f, long s, k, l—all long "stamps" used interchangeably; throughout a monument of bad Caxtonship.]

[Pg 310]
[Pg 311]

[Reduced Facsimile of the Title-page of "Impatient Poverty" from a copy now in the British Museum.]

[Pg 312]

A New Interlude of
newly Imprinted, 1560

Four men may well and easily play this Interlude

Peace, and
Colhazard, and
for one man

Abundance and
for another man

Impatient Poverty
Prosperity, and
for one man

Envy, and the
for another man

Imprinted at London, in Paul's Churchyard at the Sign of the Swan, by John King

[Pg 313]


Peace beginneth. A2,r.

Peace. The puissant Prince and Innocent most pure,
Which humbly descended from the seat sempiternal,
Illumine his beams of grace to every creature;
To withstand the conflict of our enemies mortal;
The devil, the world, and the flesh, these three in special,
Which setteth division between the soul and the body;
In like wise envy setteth debate between party and party.
I speak for this cause: daily ye may see
How that, by envy and malice, many be destroyed;
Which, if they had lived in peace with patient humility,
Riches and prosperity with them had been employed.
For thereas is peace, no man is annoyed;
For by peace men grow to great richesse;
And by peace men live in great quietness.
I am named Peace, which Envy doth expel.
Envy with me shall never rest;
For Envy is one of the pains of hell.
When that he sojourneth within a man's breast,
Like the burning Phœnix in her own nest,
Though she can none other hurt, ne grieve,
Yet she doth not cease herself to mischieve
[Pg 314]
Envy. A, sir! here was a long predication:
Methought ye said, in your communication,
To every man peace was most behoved.
Peace. Forsooth! and so said I.
Envy. That shall be proved contrary, by and by;
For by peace much people are undone.
Peace. What people are tho[se]?
Envy. The armourer, the fletcher, and the bowyer,
Mariners, gunners, and the poor sowdyer;
Yea, and also many another artificer
Which I do not rehearse by name.
Peace. I say the universal people doth best obtain A2,v.
Whereas Peace is ever abiding.
Envy. Thou liest! so God me help and halidom!
For then were surgeons clean undone.
Of them that will fight, and break a pate,
They get good living, both early and late;
And what sayest thou by men of law?
Their living were not worth a straw
And every man should live in peace!
Peace. That is not for the commons increase;
For by peace they profit in many a thing.
Peace setteth amity between king and king;
In time of peace merchants have their course
To pass and repass.
Envy. Thou liest, knave! by the mass!
For under colour of peace much subtlety hath been wrought;
And ships are taken the merchants dear have bought—
Was that for their promotion?
Nay, in time of war,
Such a knave durst not stir.
[Pg 315] By the mass! were it not for shame thou shouldst bear me a blow.
Peace. Hold thy hands, thou lewd fellow!
Thou art of evil disposition
Thus against peace to repugne;
The which from heaven descended down
To bring man out of captivity.
Envy. A, whoreson! why dost thou lie?
When were thou in heaven? tell me by and by!
How camest thou down? with a ladder or a rope?
Peace. It were no sin to hang thee by throat;
Thy words be envious, not grounded on charity.
Envy. Sir! one thing, I pray you, tell me.
Peace. What is that?
Envy. Have ye any wife, or no? A3,r.
Peace. Wherefore ask ye so?
Envy. Because ye say peace is most expedient:
If your wife made you cuckold, you being present,
What would ye do?
Peace. Give her such punishment as longeth thereto.
Envy. A false, flattering whoreson, lo!
Now thou sayest against thine own declaration:
If thou fight, where is then peace become?
Peace. I break not peace with doing due correction;
For correction should be done charitably—
Irascemini et nolite peccare.
Envy. I shall meet that at omnium quare:
Peace should forgive, and not be revenged.
Hence, whoreson! by our Lady of Wolpit,
I shall rap thee of the pate!
Peace. Go hence, wretch! thou makebate!
It were alms to set thee in Newgate.
[Pg 316] Ho, Master Constable, come near!
Here is a wretch without reason;
Take and put him in prison,
With as many irons as he may bear!
Envy. By our lady! I will come no near.
A constable, quod ha! nay, that will I not abide;
For I am loth to go shorter tide.
Yet long, whoreson! for all thy pride,
I shall meet with thee another day,
When one of us two shall go a knave away.
Peace. O, thou wretch! thou ought to remord
That so far art exiled from charity.
Lo! he thinketh not how meekly his Maker and Lord
Suffered reprefe, and died upon a tree,
Giving us example that with humil[it]y
Every man should follow his trace, A3,v.
That in heaven will claim a place.

[Enter Impatient Poverty.]

Imp. Pov. Keep, keep, for Cock's face!
Peace. Why art thou so out of patience?
Imp. Pov. A knave would have rested me:
I owe him but forty pence—
He shall abide, by God's dear blest!
Peace. Take heed, my friend! thus saith the text:
In little meddling standeth great rest.
Therefore, pay thy duty well and honestly,
With few words discreetly;
Another time ye shall be the better trust.
Imp. Pov. That will I never do while I live; let him do his best.
I had liever lay all my good to pledge
To get a writ of privilege;
So may I go by his nose at large,
[Pg 317] Spite of his teeth, whosoever say Nay.
Peace. This is but a wilful mind: if thou wilt not pay
Thy very duty, which cannot be denied,
Getting of thy writ and expense in the law
Will cost more than thy duty—this well I knaw.
Thy debt therewith cannot be paid;
It is only a deferring of the payment.
Imp. Pov. Yet the knave shall not have his intent.
Peace. Thou shalt pay by rightful judgment,
For the law is indifferent to every person.
Imp. Pov. I see thou holdest on his opinion.
Yet, I set not by you both a rish:
And I meet the knave I shall hew his flesh;
Help him, thou old churl and thou can!
Peace. I see thou art an evil-disposed man:
I utterly forsake thy condition.
Imp. Pov. Marry! avaunt, long, precious whoreson!
I set not by thee nor him, I make God avow!
I am as good a man as thou, for all thy good: A4,r.
Let it be tryd by manhood, and thereto I give thee my glove.
Peace. All such warriors I do reprove,
For peace loveth not to fight.
Imp. Pov. No, old fool! thou hast lost thy might;
For in age is nought else but cowardise.
Peace. Youth with his courage light,
Nor strength with multitude, I do thee plight
Are not only the cause of victory.
Imp. Pov. No, good sir! what then?
Peace. Grace and good governance of man.
For with good discretion they began
That were the great winners of victory.
Imp. Pov. Then victory is gotten by discretion;
I pray you, sir, show me this lesson:
[Pg 318] How to come to richesse, for that is all my care.
For I am ever in great necessity;
Meat and drink with me is scarcity;
No man will trust me of a penny;
And, also, my clothes are but bare.
Good sir! what say you therein?
Peace. I hold it punishment for thy sin:
Show me what is thy name!
Imp. Pov. I am named Impatient Poverty.
Peace. Forsooth! that may full well be:
Thou art so full of wrath and envy
In thee can grow no grace;
But if thou wilt forsake sensuality,
And be governed by reason, as I shall induce thee,
Thou shalt come to richesse within short space.
Imp. Pov. Show me that now, in this place,
And thereto I will agree.
Peace. Thou must love thy neighbour with charity; A4, v.
Do unto him no manner of disease;
Look how thou would he did to thee,
Do to him no worse, in no degree;
And then thou shalt Our Lord please.
Imp. Pov. Shall I love him that loveth not me?
Those that trouble and rebuke me shamefully?
That will I never do, while I live!
Peace. Thou must charitably all faults forgive;
Whatsoever any man to thee say
Let as thou heard it not; turn thine ear away;
Thou shalt please God if thou so do.
Imp. Pov. Nay, by God! there ho!
What is he, in all this place,
That will do as this man said?
Show me or I go!
[Pg 319] If a man do you a great offence
Will ye keep your patience?
Nay, by God, not so!
I put case: I break your head—
Will ye suffer that in very deed?
Peace. To suffer, for Christ's sake, I shall have meed.
Imp. Pov. That shall I know, by God's bread!
Peace. Hold thy hand, and keep patience;
Think what Christ suffered for our offence!
He was beaten, scourged, and spit on with violence,
And suffered death for our sake.
Yet He took it patiently;
He forgave His death, and prayed for His enemies:
Pater dimitte illis, His saying was; truly
An example for us to take
To be meek in heart: beati pauperes spiritu
Shall Christ say full even;
Et venite benediciti, come my blessed children B1,r.
To the kingdom of heaven!
Imp. Pov. Sir! I thank you for your ghostly instruction;
Unto your saying I can make no delayance;
I put me under your governation,
And, for m' ill-deeds, I take great repentance.
Peace. Then, to my saying take good remembrance:
Exercise yourself in virtue from this time hence;
And, unto peace, evermore be obedient;
Set before every sharp word a shield of sufferance;
And when time is of your concupiscence,
Then pacify it with benign resistance.
Imp. Pov. Sir, gramercy that ye have brought me to this estate;
[Pg 320] By your advertisement I am willing to live in Christ's law;
Thereas I have offended Him, both early and late;
I served Him not for love, nor for awe;
Therefore, now right well I know
That poverty and misery that I my life inlead
It is but only punishment for my misdeed.
Peace. Now, or we any further proceed,
Hold this vesture, and put it on thee;
From henceforth thou shalt be called Prosperity.
Prosperity. I thank God, and you! I am in felicity.
Peace. Now, unto you I shall here shew
Of such things as ye shall eschew.
First, your soul look that ye keep clean;
Beware of misrule in any wise;
Play not at cailes, cards, nor dice;
Also from miswomen, for by them mischief may rise,
As it doth often; this daily is seen;
Haunt no taverns, nor sit not up late;
Let not hassard nor rioter with you be checkmate;
For then will Envy come, and make debate,
The which shall cause great trouble. B1,v.
Be plentiful of such as God hath sent;
Unto the poor people give with good intent;
For every penny that so is spent
God will send thee double—
Take heed and do as I have said.
Pros. Sir! therewith I hold me well apaid;
As ye have commanded me, it shall be done.
Peace. Then let us depart for a season;
If ye need, I will be your protection.

[Exeunt ambo.

[Pg 321]

[Enter Abundance and Conscience.]

Abundance. Joy and solace be in this hall!
Is there no man here that knoweth me at all?
I am beloved, both with great and small;
Abundance is my name.
I have all things as me list:
Meat, drink, and cloth of the best;
Gold and silver, full is every chest—
In faith! I will not layne.
I think ye know not my ways,
How I get goods, now-a-days,
By a proper mean.
Think you that I wold
Lend either silver or gold?
That day shall not be seen.
But I will lend them ware,
That shall be both bad and dear,
Not worth the money he shall pay;
And if he can no surety get,
Of my ware he getteth right nought
Without a good pledge he lay.
Then will I, for mine avail,
He shall make a bill of sale;
To me full bought and sold.
If the day be expired and past, B2,r.
Then will I hold it fast;
He shall not have it though he would.
Thus, craft I have long used;
And some men do not yet refuse it:
This is be openly known.
What is he, in all this town,
That will lend without singular commodum?
Should I lend without a profit?
Nay, then I hold nought worth my wit.
Conscience. All this ye say is against Conscience.
[Pg 322]
Abun. Conscience, quod a? Nay, then shall we never thrive!
For I know him not alive
By conscience that cometh to substance.
I have all manner of marchandy;
I sell for long days to them that are needy,
And for the payment I have good surety,
Bound in statute marchant.
Because I may forbear,
I sell my ware so dear;
I make forty of twenty in half a year:
Other men do so as well as I.
Cons. Evensine very shame! marry, fie!
These goods are gotten untruly;
Many a man is undone thereby,
To take this ware so dear.
Abun. They seek to me both far and near;
Methink it is a good deed
To help a man at his need.
Yet have I other means
Whereby I get great gains:
I think ye know not that.
Cons. I? no, God wot!
Abun. No, ye are but an idiot! B2,v.
I sold a man as much ware as came to forty pound,
And in an obligation I had him bound
To pay me at a certain day;
And when the bargain was made plain,
Mine own servant bought the same ware again
For the third penny it cost—ye wot what I mean!
But was not this a wise way?
Cons. Thou shalt repent it another day;
I charge thee, as far as I may,
Such false ways never begin.
[Pg 323]
Abun. Wherefore? this is no sin:
It is plain buying and selling;
Lawful it is for a man to win,
Else rich shall he never be.
Cons. Winning, to be had with due sufficiance,
In true buying and selling is not to discommend;
But for thy false usury thou art cursed in the sentence.
I pray God give thee grace for to amend.
Abun. Is every man accursed that doth buy and sell?
Then shall no man with merchandise mell:
How shall the world then be uphold?
Cons. Nay, sir, amiss ye do understand me:
All those that occupy false usury,
And transgresseth the laws of God by iniquity,
All such are accursed I you told;
As for buying and selling needs must be;
And God commandeth to lend to them that are needy,
So it be not to their injury
For lucre to them sold.
Abun. How should I sell? show me your ways!
Cons. Ye may not sell the dearer, for days;
If ye do, it is contrary to God's laws.
Abun. It is used in our country. B3,r.
Cons. It is the more pity;
One such is able to destroy a city.
And God show not His great mercy,
All such are damned by His equity.
Abun. God forfend that should be!
How shall men do that be of great reputation,
Which kept their goods on this same fashion,
By usury, deceit, and by extortion?
I do so myself: wherefore should I lie?
[Pg 324] Cons. Thou mayst be the more sorry.
Abun. It is so now—what remedy?
Cons. To make restitution.
Abun. What call ye restitution?
Cons. Restore such goods as ye have gotten
Wrongfully, by oppression.
Abun. Then shall I have little in my possession:
I will make God amends another way.
I will fast, and I will pray,
And I will give alms every day,
That I have done amiss, I am sorry, therefore.
Cons. This is not sufficient; thou must restore;
Quia non dimittitur peccatum
Nisi restituatur ablatum:
Ye must restore to them ye have offended unto.
Abun. Then I shall show you what I shall do!
I will put it in my testament
That my executors shall pay and content;
For while I live I will not have my good spent,
For if I do, I am but spilt.
Cons. Make amends, man, for thy guilt;
Rather spoil thy body than spoil thy soul.
Abun. Men of substance are ashamed to fall.
Cons. That causeth them to rest in their sin. B3,v.
Abun. Yet ever with thy strongest part renneth the ball.
Cons. Yesterday thou canst not again call.
When thou art dead the gate of mercy is shut; you cannot come in.
Abun. Then let him stand without.
Cons. So of thy soul thou hast no doubt?
Abun. When thou seest my soul torn, set on a clout.
If falsehood, usury, and extortion should not rout,
[Pg 325] Thousands in this realm should be put out;
The third part should not bide, by Saint Paul!
Cons. Yet often falsehood hath a great fall:
An example, by King Achab, which is soth,
Desired the vineyard of that poor man Naboth,
By counsel of Jezebel that king's wife.
Because he would not sell his possession,
Of two false witnesses he was peached of high treason;
And, through the mouth of a false quest, it rave;
Which caused the poor man to lose both land and life.
After that, of God's own bidding,
Came Helias the prophet to Achab the King;
Saying he should have evil ending.
And so he had; for by the way as he rode,
He fell and brake his neck where dogs lapped his blood.
This example, to all usurers and oppressors, as thinketh me,
Should cause them of God sore adread to be.
Abun. Sir, ye preach very holily, but our deeds be often contrary;
Ye be so acquainted with covetise and simony
That maketh us to take the same way.
Cons. So every evil disposed person doth say.
The frailty of man doth often offend;
Then call for grace, and shortly amend;
Therefore I counsel thee to pretend
To repent, and be sorry for thy misdeed.
Abun. Yet thus I will my life lead; B4,r.
For of your saying I take no heed.
Ye will mucker up both gold and treasure;
Ye have riches without measure;
And of the flesh ye have your pleasure;
Ye can find no ways to amend yourself, I you insure.
[Pg 326] Therefore rebuke not me for my sin ne good:
God be with you! ye shall not rule me.
Cons. O dull wit! plunged by ignorance,
Regarding nothing of ghostly instruction,
Setting more his mind on worldly substance
Than on the everlasting life that is to come!
God will strike when He list; ye know not how soon.
Therefore to every man this counsel I give:
To be sorry for your sin and do penance while ye live.

Here cometh Envy running in, laughing, and saith to Conscience.

Envy. Now, in faith! I would ye had be there.
Cons. Where should I have be?
Envy. A better sport ye never see.
Cons. Whereat laugh ye so fast?
Envy. He to go, and she after;
And, within a while, he caught her.
He took of her an incroke,
And chopt her on the heel with his foot;
Anon he whipt her on the back.
A, whoreson! quod she; playest thou me that?
And with her heel she gave him a spat,
That he was fain to go back again.
Cons. Good fellow, thou art to blame
Such words to have: no good thou can.
Envy. I said it to make you sport and game.
I cry you mercy! I was to blame:
I see ye are some virtuous man. B4,v.
Cons. Shortly hence, that way thou came!
For here thou shalt not be.
Envy. Good Lord! some succour Thou send me,
That I be not outcast!
Cons. What is thy name? shortly, show me!
[Pg 327]
Envy. I dare not, sir, by Christ Jesu,
Except ye keep it privily.
Cons. Fear not; say on, heartily!
Envy. Sir, my right name is Charity.
Sometime beloved I was with the spiritualty;
But now covetise and simony doth them so avance
That good institution is turned to other ordinance;
And bonum exemplum is put to such hindrance
That here I dare not appear.
Cons. Simony is not now in the spiritualty:
Bonus pastor ovium thereto will see;
Therefore methink this is a lie:
In holy church simony cannot abide.
Envy. He goeth in a cloak, he cannot be espied;
And coveteous so craftily doth provide
That bonus pastor ovium is blind, and will not see.
Cons. This that ye speak is upon Envy;
Therefore, I think ye be not Charity,
For Charity alway will say the best.
Envy. Amongst them can I have no rest.
Cons. How do ye with the temporalty?
Envy. There is pride, sloth, and lechery,
Which putteth me from that place.
Cons. Then be ye with the commonalty?
Envy. They despise me utterly.
One of them love not another;
The sister cannot love the brother;
Ne the child the father, ne mother: C1,r.
There I dare not show my face.
Cons. This is to me a strange case:
What hear ye by Conscience?
Envy. Spiritual and temporal set against him, marvellously;
Merchants, men of law, and artificers of every degree;
[Pg 328] They will hang him and they him espy.
Such exclamation goeth through this realm, round.
Cons. Why what fault have they found
With him, so to do?
Envy. His wit is nought, they say; also,
Every man putteth his will thereto,
To banish him for ever.
Cons. I know well it is not as ye say;
For I am Conscience, the high judge of the law.
Envy. Be ye Conscience? alas! that ever I this day saw!
If ye be taken, ye shall be hanged and draw;
For they have utterly put you down,
And set Covetise in your room,
Subtilty the scribe, his own cousin,
And Falsehood the Sumner, for the Court's promotion.
Cons. I marvel wherefore this was done.
Envy. When riches came before you, that much will pay—
There he had lived in sin many a day—
Ye should for money let him go quit away,
And put him to no shame.
Let poverty do penance for a little offence:
He is not able to promote you of twenty pence.
Then should ye have kept your residence,
And gotten yourself a good name.
Cons. Who so doeth they are to blame
In misordering them in such wise.
[Envy.] Y-wys, cousin! I show you as now is the guise;
For by covetise much people doth uprise, C1,v.
Which is against both you and me.
[Pg 329]
Cons. Charity, I pray you show what remedy
In this matter, for me, may be found.
Envy. Shortly, get you to wilderness, or some other region;
For they will hang you up at the Tyborn
If they find you in this place;
And I must depart also.
Cons. This is to me much sorrow and woe;
I will go into some far country.
Farewell, gentle cousin, Charity!
Envy. I shall pray for you: pray ye for me!
This is an heavy departing, [Et plora.
I can in no wise forbear weeping.
Yet kiss me or ye go;
For sorrow my heart will break in two.
Is he gone? then have at laughing!
A, sir! is not this a jolly game
That Conscience doth not know my name?
Envy, in faith! I am the same:
What needeth me for to lie?
I hate Conscience, Peace, Love and Rest;
Debate and Strife, that love I best,
According to my property.
When a man loveth well his wife,
I bring them at debate and strife—
This is seen daily;
Also, between sister and brother;
There shall no neighbour love another
Where I dwell by.
And now I tell you plain,
Of one man I have disdain;
Prosperity men do him call.
He is nigh of my blood; C2,r.
And he to have so much worldly good,
That grieveth me worst of all.
Pros. Jesus, that is both steadfast and stable,
[Pg 330] Ever perseverant, and never mutable—
He save this congregation!
Envy. Welcome, Poverty! by Cock's passion!
How have ye done this many a day?
Pros. I thank God, as well as any may.
Ye call me wrong: my name is Prosperity.
Envy. Prosperity, with an evil hap!
How the devil fortunest that?
I knew thee Impatient Poverty.
Pros. Whatsoever I was, let that matter pass,
And take me as I am.
Envy. I cry you mercy! I was to blame
To call you by your old name;
Yet all these people think ye are the same
Impatient Poverty, as I said before.
Pros. Avaunt! I tell thee, I am gentleman bore;
If I hear thee report such words any more,
Thou shalt be punished like a knave.
Envy. A knave, quod a? by Cock's passion!
I am your own cousin,
And nigh of your consanguinity.
Pros. Thou and I are not of one affinity.
Envy. If I were a rich man ye would not say so by me;
Ye would then say, I were your next kinsman on live.
Pros. I say, go hence, and make no more strife;
I set not by such a poor haskard.
Envy. Sir, do not ye know my name?
Pros. I know thee not, by Saint Jame.
Envy. Charity, in faith! I am the same:
What needeth me for to lie? C2,v.
I am your cousin, and so will I die;
Ye may be glad such a kinsman to have.
Pros. Shall we have more ado yet, thou knave?
[Pg 331] I charge thee, never know me for your kin!
Envy. I pray you, one word or I go.
Pros. Say on, shortly; then have I do.
Envy. Sir, I have of gold three hundred pound,
In a bag fast i-bound,
At home locked in my chest.
I purpose to go to Jerusalem;
Ye shall keep it till I come again:
I put you best in trust.
Pros. Cousin, I would fain do the best
Because ye are near of my blood.
Envy. What! are ye now in that mood?
Now I am your kinsman, because of my good;
Before of me he had disdain!
Pros. As for that, I was to blame;
I knew you not—be not angry.
Ye are welcome to me, cousin Charity.
Envy. Then all these matters let be!
I come hither with you to dwell;
Ye must have more servants, I do you tell,
Such as were necessary for your person.
Pros. I am content after your provision;
In every thing let it be done
As ye think most expedient.
Envy. Sir, I shall do mine intent
To get you servants mo.
Pros. I pray you heartily it may be so:
A little season I will from you go,
To solace me with some recreation. [Exit.
Envy. He that sitteth above the moon C3,r.
Evermore be in your protection!
Aha! here is sport for a lord,
That Prosperity and I be well at accord!
I shall bring his thrift under the board,
I trust, within short space.
[Pg 332] For it grieveth my heart right sore
He hath so much treasure in store,
And I have never the more.
I must find some proper shift
That from his good he may be lift;
To bring him to Misrule I hold it best,
For he can soon bring it to pass.

Here Misrule singeth, without coming in.

How! what rutterkin have we here?
I would he were our subchanter
Because he can so well sing. [Enter Misrule.
Misrule. Venir avecque vous gentyl compaygnon
Faictes bone chere pour lamour de sainct John
Mon coeur iocund is set on a merry pin
By my troth! I am disposed to revelling.
Envy. So methinketh, by your coming in.
What, Misrule! where hast thou been many years?
Mis. By my troth, even amongst my peers.
I came now straight from the stews,
From little pretty Jone—
Lord! that she is a pretty one!
Envy. Hold thy peace; let that alone.
Hark! a word or twain to thee:
I dwell now with Prosperity,
Which hath much worldly treasure;
If thou can contrive, in thy thought,
How that he may be brought to nought,
In all this world I desire no more.
Mis. Tush! take no thought therefore; C3,v.
I can provide for that in the best wise.
Envy. Then let me hear thy device.
Mis. I will bring him to clash, cards, and dice,
And to proper trulls, that be wanton and nice,
Which will not be kept with a small price.
[Pg 333] How thinkest thou? will not this do well?
Envy. Yes; but hearken in counsel;
Thou must change thy name.
Mis. I will say I hight Mirth.
Envy. And I will say the same.
Peace! whist! I see him come. [Enter Prosperity.
Pros. God save all this honourable company.
Envy. Sir, you be welcome, by our blessed lady!
I have thought for you full long.
Here is a gentleman; I pray you, for my sake,
Say he is welcome, and into your service him take,
For great courtesy he can.
Pros. Sir, you be welcome; give me your hand,
And show me what is your name.
Mis. Sir, my name is Mirth;
Beloved with lords and ladies of birth,
At every triumph I am them with:
They can me not once forbear.
Envy. And ye had sought this thousand year
Such another ye shall not find;
Wherefore I counsel you, in my mind,
Let him dwell with you for one year.
Pros. At your request, I am content;
Such a pretty man for me were expedient;
And of his counsel fain would I hear.
Mis. Ye must sing and dance, and make good cheer:
I would ye had some proper wench
That were young and lusty; at a pinch, C4,r.
Her heel were not so broad as an inch,
She would quicken your courage.
Pros. Peace hath forbid all that outrage.
Envy. He would set you at dotage
Because he is old, and nature is past;
He would now every man should fast.
[Pg 334] If ye do so ye do but waste,
And unto you no meed.
Mis. A straw for him! ye have no need
Of him to stand in awe or dread;
A merrier life now may ye lead:
Therefore, be at your own liberty.
Pros. By my troth! I may say to thee
Sith I to him did assent
Had I never merry day;
But lived in fear and dread alway,
Nothing to mine intent.
Another while I will me sport,
Sing and dance, to my comfort.
Envy. And among merry company do resort;
For that shall length your life.
Mis. Spare neither maid, ne wife;
Take both and they come in your way.
Envy. Off with this lewd array!
It becometh you nought, by this day!
Pros. By my troth! even as ye say.
Yea, marry! now am I well apaid;
Methinketh I am properly arrayed.
If I had a proper trull, she should be assayed
In the worship of the new year.
Envy. Rush up mutton, for beef is dear!
Have, and revel, and chance!
Mis. Now let us both sing and dance. C4,v.
Will ye have a French round?
Pros. And thou shalt see me bounce above the ground:
Hey, with revel dash!

Peace entereth.

Peace. What, Prosperity! is it come hereto?
Pros. What devil of hell hast thou to do?
Shall I not make merry when me list?
[Pg 335]
Peace. Yet I say, beware of Had I wist!
Envy. Hence, ye knave! or else thou shalt lick my fist:
I trow thy head would have some knocks.
Pros. Go, set him in a pair of stocks,
That I him no more see.
Peace. Yet, man! I say, remember thee,
And think what I to thee have said:
Eschew evermore these rioters' company,
And be ruled by reason, as I thee bade.
Put from thee these two persons, by whom thou art lade—
Envy and Misrule, with their sinful and great abusion,
Which, if thou wilt not forsake, will be thy confusion.
Pros. Avaunt, lorel! and take this for a conclusion:
These men from me thou shalt not separate.
Go! out of my sight! or, by Cock's passion!
I shall lay thee fast in Newgate.
Peace. It is better to forsake them betime than too late.
Mis. This knave would have a broken pate;
Let me alone, by God's bread!
This same sword shall strike off his head.
Pros. I pray you, hence that he were rid—
Shortly have him out of my sight!
Peace. A little while give me respite,
And take heed what I do say:
Remember in what condition thou was
When I first met thee in this place—
Full simple, in poor array. B1,r.
Now, by the grace of God and counsel of me,
Thou art come to great prosperity;
And so mayst continue, until thou die,
If thou wisely take heed.
Let not sensuality lead the bridle;
[Pg 336] Be occupied in virtue, and be not idle;
The better shalt thou proceed.
These wretches will thy goods spend and waste;
Then shalt thou be taken for an outcast,
And mocked and scorned with most and least;
Then will no man thee help at need.
Envy. A, sir, evil mote thou speed,
That so can read his destiny!
Mis. Will ye suffer this knave in your company?
Then God be with you! I will forsake you.
Pros. Go hence! or in faith I shall make you!
Peace. Then to almighty God I betake you.
Envy. Let me come to that bragger!
I shall thrust him through the arse with my dagger.

[And here they face Peace out of the place.

How say ye? was not this a good face,
To drive a knave out of the place?
Mis. In faith, thou made him run apace!
Thou looked as thou had been mad.
Pros. Now, by my troth! my heart is glad;
Some minstrel now I would we had,
To revel and dance; for, by saint Chad!
I am so light methink I flee!
Envy. Yea, marry! so should it be;
For now I hold you wise.
Mis. Sir, and ye will do mine advice,
Let us go straight to the Fleur de Lys;
There shall ye find a man will play at dice D1,v.
With you for an hundred pound.
Pros. What man is he?
Mis. Colhazard; came late from beyond the sea,
Ragged and torn, in a garded coat;
And, in his purse, never a groat;
[Pg 337] And now he goeth like a lord!
Pros. I pray thee tell me at one word—
Is he a gentleman bore?
Envy. Tush! take no thought therefore!
For be he gentleman, knave, or boy,
If he come hither with trifle or a toy,
He can no money lack.
Pros. Now by the bread that God brake!
I think long till I him see!
Mirth! go before and ordain a good dish;
One of flesh and another of fish.
Envy. Nay, let all be flesh!
A young pullet, tender and nesh,
That never came on broach—have with thee or thou go!
Mis. What shall I have?
Envy. Four quarters of a knave,
Roasted upon a spit! [Exit Misrule.
Pros. Now, by my troth! and Colhazard will sit,
I will play as long as an hundred pound will last.
Envy. And ye will play an hundred pound at a cast,
He will keep you play.
Pros. Then let us go our way;
I sit on thorns till I come there.
Envy. That shall make your thrift full bare.
Pros. What will it do?
Envy. I say, we shall have good cheer
When we come there. [Exeunt ambo.

[Peace entereth.

Peace. When Phebus draweth into the occidental, D2,r.
And obscured with clouds misty and dark,
Then trees, herbs, and grass, by course natural,
Want their chief comfort: thus saith many a clerk.
[Pg 338] And, likewise, that a man in his wark
Is destitute of reason following sensual operation.
The last time I was in this place
Prosperity unto Misrule put his whole confidence.
He regarded not my counsel; he lacked grace;
Which, in time coming, shall turn him to inconvenience.
With hazarders and rioters he keepeth residence
At clash and cards, with all unthrifty game;
Which, in continuance, shall bring him shame.
To him yet I will resort:
If he be brought in poverty
I shall do him all the comfort
And all the help that lieth in me;
I will never rest till I him see.
But seek about, from place to place,
And bring him to some better grace. [Exit.

[Enter Misrule.]

Mis. Colhazard! art thou there?
Whoreson knave! wilt thou no appear?
By my troth! I had went to have found him here;
I hold him gone some other way.
And where is Envy? I cannot him espy:
I trow he is with Prosperity. [Enter Envy.
Prosperity? Nay! I may call him Foolish Poverty,
As wise as a drake.
I have brought him to dice, cards, and clash;
And ever on his side ran the loss,
That he is not worth a handful of moss,
Neither hath not a whole brat to his back!
Envy. Passion of God! is it come to that? D2,v.
These tidings maketh my heart glad.
[Pg 339]
Mis. In faith! he has neither gold, silver, ne plate:
Colhazard and I be both at one.
He promised me to have half the game;
That everything shall be divided in twain—
He to have the one half, and I the other.
Envy. Then let us be partners, as brother and brother.
Mis. I cannot say till Colhazard come;
Then shall we know, both all and some.

[Enter Colhazard.

Col. Here is a bag of gold so round,
Herein is two thousand pound;
Of Prosperity me it won.
What man is able with me to make comparison?
Now shall I take a merchant's place
To occupy; I trust, within short space,
To be in credence with English men;
And when I am so well betrust,
I may borrow so much as me lust.
A subtle craft then find I must
To convey under colour, like free men.
Envy. Hark, this knave! so proud and stout,
That had not to his arse a whole clout
When he came to this land; and now hath brought about
To compare with a state.
Mis. Now must I have half money, and half plate.
Col. Nay, by God! there thou spake too late;
None thereof from me shall scape:
Then had I lived too long.
Mis. Thou promised me, when thou began,
Half thy winning I should have.
Col. Hold thy peace, lewd knave!
Knowest thou to whom thou dost speak?
[Pg 340]
Mis. A, whoreson, thy head shall I break! D3,r.
Envy. For the passion of God, sober your mood!
I fear shedding of knave's blood.

Here they fight and run all out of the place, and then entereth Prosperity poorly [clad] and saith.

Pov. O Jesu! what may this mean?
My goods are spent and wasted away!
Also my men are from me clean;
I see them not this seven nights' day.
As long as I might spend and pay,
They held me up with false dissimulation;
And now they forsake me in my most tribulation.

[Envy returneth followed by Misrule.

Envy. Come! for Cock's bones! why tarry ye so long?
Mis. In faith! I come as fast as I can;
I am so angry, I wot not what to do,
That yonder knave scaped from me so.
Envy. What knave is this? I hold him some spy.
Pov. I am your master; know ye not me?
Envy. Thou art come alate out of Marshalsea.
Mis. Methink his hair groweth through his hood!
Pov. Alas! Colhazard hath won all my good,
And left me never a groat.
Envy. Marry! so methink; ye have changed your coat;
But now ye have one vantage.
Pov. What is that?
Envy. Your executors shall not strive for your goods another day;
Nor thieves shall not rob you, going by the way:
[Pg 341] Thus ye shall stand out of doubt.
Mis. Hence, ragged knave! or thou shall bear me a clout:
His clothes smell all of the smoke.
Envy. Now, by saint Hugh, that holy bishop!
This matter is well brought to pass:
He is now a knave as he was—
First a knave, and then a man; D3,v.
And now he is a knave again.
Pov. Why say ye so? ye be to blame:
I am your master, Prosperity!
Mis. Avaunt, lorel! and evil to thee!
Get thee out of this company!
Beginnest thou now to make comparison?
Envy. Let him be your under page;
Give him meat and drink, but no wage;
Go! brush his gown and make clean his shoon!
Mis. Well, knave! canst thou no courtesy?
Envy. He hath such a disease in his knee
He cannot chance a main groat:
It is not as ye ween.
Mis. Come and see my shoon made clean!
Envy. By my faith! he shall wipe mine.
Mis. This knave is not meet for me;
It grieveth my heart when I him see;
I will go hence, and leave you twain;
For Envy, thou mayest with Poverty reign.


Envy. Nay, I had liever he were slain:
I am gone as soon as ye. [Exit.
Pov. Abide still with me, gentle Charity!
O, to whom should I sue, to whom should I plette?
O mortal worm, wrapped all in woe!
As a man all mortified, and mased in my wit,
I, a captive in captivity, lo, fortune is my foe!
[Pg 342] I am in endless sorrow; alas! what shall I do?
These caitiffs, through their counsel and false imagination,
Have brought me to nought that was of great reputation.
Woe worth the time that I them knew!
I may well sigh, and say Alas!
For now I find these words full true
That Peace showed me here in this place. D4,r.
I regarded not his counsel; I lacked grace;
Wherefore needy poverty on me doth blow his horn,
That every man and woman doth laugh me to scorn.
Example to all young men, when they take in hand
To occupy in the world: for your behoof
Look wisely before, and also understand
Evil company destroyeth man—on me ye see the proof.
Make a sure foundation or ye set up the roof.
Of a good and virtuous beginning cometh a good ending;
And evermore beware of unmeasurable spending!

[Here entereth the Sumner.

Sumner. I ascite you in our court to appear!
Pov. I pray you tell me wherefore?
Sum. Ye be great slanderer, and full of envy.
Pov. There will no man say so but ye.
Sum. What wilt thou give me and thou shalt go quit?
Pov. By my troth, I have not one mite!
Sum. Then open penance and thou art like.
Pov. By my troth, I slander no man!
Sum. Then come and secule thyself as well as thou can.

[They go out.

[Pg 343]

Abundance entereth.

Abun. What man is he that can me dismay?
For I obtain all thing at my will.
Or who dare anything against me say,
Whatsoever I do, be it good or ill?
For if he do, he were better be still;
I shall him punish be it right or wrong,
For with my purse I can both save and hang.
To repugn against me he were better be still.
I have a proper trull for my pastance;
In my chamber I her keep, both night and day;
My neighbours therewith taketh great grievance;
Yet I keep her still, whosoever say nay. D4,v.
Howbeit, there is one, a poor caitiff, I hear say,
Hath me accused in the court spiritual.
And it cost me a hundred pound, punish him I shall.

[The Sumner returneth.

Sum. Open sin must have open penance;
God speed, my master Abundance!
Abun. What knave art thou, with a very mischance,
That cometh in so homely?
Sum. Sir! I pray you be not angry.
I am an officer of the spiritualty.
There is upon you a great slande[r];
Ye keep another man's wife in your chamber,
And live in great advoutry.
Abun. What wretches doth so say by me?
Sum. It is openly known everywhere.
Before my master I charge you to appear;
Upon a book there shall ye swear
Whether it be so, or no.
Abun. What is the best for me to do?
Rather than I to the court will go
[Pg 344] I had liever spend twenty pound.
Sum. Sir! of such a way may be found
To excuse you; what will ye then say?
Abun. Now thereof heartily I thee pray!
Sum. Ye shall come home to my master's place
And say that ye be put up of malice;
Thrust money in his hand apace;
And so shall ye go quit away.
Abun. For thy counsel, gramercy! Hold! here is forty pence!
Sum. Come on, sir! I will do my diligence.

Exeunt ambo.

Here entereth the Sumner again, and Poverty followeth him with a candle in his hand doing penance about the place. And then sayeth the Sumner:

Sum. Room, sirs! avoidance!
That this man may do his penance. E1,r.
Pov. Now have I my penance done.
Sum. Nay! thou shalt about once again.
Pov. The poverty and trouble that I endure
I cannot to you in few words express.
If it should be unto God no displeasure
I would desire death, my pain to release;
Such is my penury and troublesome heaviness,
That I could, in no wise, suffer it patiently
But that I trust to win heaven thereby.

[Peace entereth.

Peace. What man art thou that maketh such lamentation?
Pov. Master Peace! I desire you of pardon;
I am your servant, sometime called Prosperity.
Peace. How came thou to this perplexity?
[Pg 345]
Pov. Colhazard, Misrule, and false Envy
Brought me to this distress.
Peace. I showed thee before, plain, express:
Then of my words thou haddest disdain?
Pov. Therefore now it is to me great pain.
Peace. What persons are those that did him accuse?
Sum. Sir! he is put up by suit of office.
Peace. Suit of office? then it is so
There hath been credible persons, three or two,
Such articles to the judge did show.
He ought thereto to have good respect;
And do swear these persons upon a book—
For love, ne dread, they say but true—
For it is not leeful for a callet, a caitiff, or a knave
Against honest persons such matters for to have,
To put a man to open penance, without due proof.
Sum. Sir! when I entered mine office this was my oath:
To hearken about and hear
For backbiters, slanderers, and false jurors,
Schismatics, homicides, and great usurers, E1,v.
Bawds, advouterers, fornicators, and escheaters:
All such must penance do.
Pov. I know one such came never thereto.
Peace. Who is that?
Pov. His name is called Abundance,
Which hath done many a great offence;
For he keepeth another man's wife.
No manner of penance ye make him do,
But redeemeth with money, and let him go;
So in advoutry still he leadeth his life.
Sum. He made his purgation upon a book,
Or else redeemed with the silver hook.
Peace. Silver hook? that I deny!
[Pg 346] For it is a plain decree
That open sin must do open punishment;
There can be no such judgment
That money shall stop the law.
Pov. Nay, there stop, and lay a straw!
Where see ye any man a substance
Put to open penance,
But punished by the purse?
A poor man, that hath nought to pay,
He shall be punished: this ye see every day;
But if he be obstinant, and will not obey,
Anon they will him curse.
Sum. Well, for thy saying another day thou shall fare the worse.

[Exit Sumner.

Pov. Sir, I beseech you comfort me with some solace!
Peace. Thou art well punished for thy trespass.
By thine own sensual and undiscreet operation
Hath brought thee to all this tribulation.
Stand up! with this vesture I shall thee renew.
Pov. Sir! I thank you, and will do at your reformation; E2,r.
And for my time mispent I am sore ashamed.
Peace. If ye do as I you bid, ye shall not be blamed.
Forsake Envy and Misrule with all their old peers;
Be conversant with good men; goodness thereof will grow.
Follow the saying of David: Cum sancto sanctus eris;
For wicked men evermore wicked seed do sow.
What cometh of evil company, now thyself doth know;
Print it well in thy memory, and do it not forget:
Many a man doth decay for lack of good forewit.
[Pg 347]
Pros. Sir! your sayings is full true; I have perceived it;
And for the virtuous counsel that ye to me have give,
I shall be your orator while I have a day to live.
Peace. Sovereigns! here may ye see proved, before you all,
Of this wanton world the great fragility;
Ever mutable of the turning, as a ball.
Now, flood of riches; now, ebb of poverty:
What should men set by this world's vanity?
Think on this lesson, and do it not forget:
The gayest of us all is but worms' meat.
Pros. With the supportation of this noble audience,
We have here showed this simple interlude;
Beseeching you of your benevolence to take patience.
It is but a mirror vice to exclude.
The maker hereof, his intent was good,
No man to displease, old nor young;
If any fault be therein we desire you of pardon.
Peace. Let us pray all to that Lord of great magnificence
To send among us rest, peace, and unity.
And Jesu preserve our sovereign Queen of preclair pre-eminence,
With all her noble consanguinity;
And to send them grace to the issue to obtain,
After them to rule this most Christian realm. E2,v.
O good Lord! as Thou art omnipotent,
Have regard unto my petition!
Conserve this noble realm, and all that are present,
[Pg 348] Of thy eternal Deity grant them all thy fruition;
And from our mortal enemies be our protection.
Jesu! as Thou us redeemed, bring us to the bless
Thereas angels sing: Gloria in excelsis.

Thus endeth the interlude called Impatient Poverty.

[Here follow two ornaments and between them the colophon as on page 312.]

[Pg 349]

[Reduced Facsimile of the Title-page of "John the Evangelist" from a unique copy, recently recovered, now in the British Museum.]

[Pg 350]


[The Names of the Players:

Imprinted at London, in Foster Lane,
by John Waley

[Pg 351]


A2,r. St. John the Evangelist.

Domine, ante te omne desiderium meum,
Et a te gemitus meus non est absconditus.
The sweetest life, Sovereign, in this world with some
Is to have meditation of our Lord Jesus,
Very contemplative God worshipped thus,
Bethinking in the soul without any speech.
God tendeth right more the prayer with the heart of us
Than the prayer of the mouth. The text doth teach
In meditation whoso hath forfence,
The mouth cannot express the thoughts of the heart.
That holiest fruition is of so high intelligence
As it ravisheth the soul into a blessèd desert;
It feeleth no earthly thing unto the time it revert.
Thus fared Magdalen when Martha complained:
She heard her not, in God her heart was so expert;
Nor the angel at the sepulchre, love so her constrained—
The cause why I rehearse you, the holy meditation,
For it is mine exercise express.
Whoso will labour in this must see His habitation,
Be solitary in soul, of great quietness.
[Pg 352] Therefore ever to the church I do me dress;
Rest, reverence, and worship therein should be,
With crying on Christ, and our sins confess.
Beati qui habitant in domo tua, Domine!
Eugenio. Qui cum Deo Patri—granted by the pope
A thousand four hundred, and never a day less—
That hath heard this noble sermon, and thereon doth hope,
A pœna et culpa here I them release.
Is it not pity such a pulpit man to lose?
I pray you, sir, let us hear more of your pope holiness,
For methink I have heard you preach on this at Paul's Cross. A2,v.
Irisdision. Whom call you pope-holy?
Eug. Such a fool as thou art, that clappest ever in divinity.
Iris. All virtuous people to commend is my property.
Eug. Then is Caton false, and that he indites,
For he saith "Nec te collaudas nec te culpaberis ipse."
Great laudations loveth these hypocrites!
Qui se collaudat, etc.
No more to you at this time.
But understand you this Latin?
Iris. Yea, sir, I trow.
Eug. Responde, tunc, domine, doctor clericorum.
But sir, know you any justice of quorum?
Iris. Why so?
Eug. A fellow of mine was take[n] with a cuculorum
For a couple horses he stole in an evening.
[Pg 353]
Iris. What would ye have me do in that case?
Eug. Sursum corda for him to sing,
Ye should have [? known] well why.
Iris. I cannot sing.
Eug. No, sir, ye should but make a spring A3,r.
Under a perch looking up toward the sky.
Iris. Without God be thy friend, that same death thou shalt die.
Eug. Marry, I beshrew his heart that so can prophesy!
Iris. What is thy name?
Eug. A, read!
Iris. Eugenio, I trow; the same!
Eug. A, sir; the devil strike off thy head!
Whoreson, who taught thee so right to read?
I trow some evil spirit be within thee.

[The continuation seems imperfect.]

Iris. In the city of Jerusalem, that is so called.
I fear thou wilt never come to that holy Sion
That with twelve precious stones is surely walled.
Full strait is the way thither to gone,
And into that castle entering is none
Without thou acquaint thee with two porters before:
Hope is the first, and Faith the other one.
Eug. Lo! so ghostly he prateth evermore;
Ye dare not cough, your conscience is so holy!
But I pray you show me before
Which is the way to yonder castle ye praise so greatly?
Iris. Over the Mead of Meekness mark thou the way;
Then to the Path of Patience shalt thou pass
Into the Land of Largeness; hold for the lay, A3,v.
[Pg 354]
And in the Lane of Business look thou not bash;
Then measure in a marsh a fair manor hasse;
Rest there hardely, and abide all night.
Eug. Nay, that I will not, by this light!
But what callest thou this way?
Iris. Via recta, leading to life;
So David named it in his day—
Spes mea stetit in via recta.
Eug. Passeth all men by this journey?
Iris. Nay, and the more pity, verily, I say.
Eug. What be they that go that way most?
Iris. They that be inspired with the Holy Ghost,
As innocents and virgins.
Eug. Marry, I know none such in all this coast!
Iris. They that go thither must be gratia electi.
Eug. Why, is there no other way but this?
Iris. Yes, on the left side another there is,
That is called via obliqua et via circularis.
Eug. And whither draweth this?
Iris. Even right to death; A4,r.
Whoso walks that way, himself he slayeth.
Eug. Sir, who goeth that way so ill?
Iris. All they that worketh the devil's will,
As omnes iniquo in circuitu impii ambulantes.
Eug. Thou art a lowler, by my troth, I warrants!
How many by-paths be in that way?
Iris. Six score and odd, I say.
Eug. Then one cannot fail where he go by night or day.
But may a man go to the stews that way
At his pleasure, if he list to play?
Iris. It brings men to the seat of rueful array;
The lady of confusion lieth therein,
[Pg 355] That Babylon is called; she is the end of all sin.
Eug. Which way coasteth that country?
Iris. To an isle in the north, I say;
Ab aquilone pandetur omne malum.
Eug. That is the first place that men should assay,
Whether it be hedged or walled.
Iris. With boughs and trees it is marvellously paled.
There groweth the elders of envy,
Staked with pride full high,
And the briars of backbiting with wrath wreathed about, A4,v.
Full of slouthy bushes and lecherous thorns dry,
With gluttonous posts and covetise railed throughout,
And at Mischief's Gate many doth in run.
Eug. And where do they all become?
Iris. Down to the dungeon where the devil dwelleth,
Lucifer, that loathly lord, that is in bale blisses.
There is woe upon woe, as Christ us telleth;
All that may disease and nothing please, ever restless.
There is frost, there is fire,
Hope is lost and her desire;
There care hath no recover;
Without pity there is pain;
To cry for mercy it is in vain,
For grace is gone for ever.
Fumus tormentorum suorum
Ascendit in secula seculorum.
Lo! thus hath lost wedded confusion,
Lucifer's daughter damnation
In hell to have heritage.
Septum dominium peccati est mors.
Eug. In faith, that is a knavish way to walk.
Now awhile of some mirth let us talk,
[Pg 356] For I forsake that passage.
Iris. Now farewell, sir, and have good day,
For I must go another way;
Forget not my reasons sage!
Eug. What! will ye go your way? B1,r.
Ye have done a fair journey to-day.
[Iris.] It is time for to be walking,
For I am weary of your talking. [Exit.
[Eug.] Lo! sirs, he spake full holily,
But yet I beshrew him for all his clergy;
He may well be called witless Sir Will,
For I trow his brain is steadfast as a windmill.
But now well remembered, by books Amromes

[Here again something appears to be missing.]

I would have a plaster for all harms,—
Some fair wench to lie in mine arms;
That would avoid all strifes.
It were to me administrate nos,
Et restaurate nos, also comfortate nos.
Yea, and sometime I will take men's wives;
For cuckold-makers have merrier lives
Than they that do all the cost
As to wed at the church-door, and there to be sworn.
Perhap her husband should have an horn;
Then may he curse the time that ever he was born,
For all the love is lost.
Clerks say that of wedlock God that knot doth knit;
And yet women do venture to break it.
For though their souls should lie in hell pit,
They will use that sorry work;
And if they so die,
Atropos cometh full suddenly,
And or they beware, full slily
He leadeth them all down in the dark.
The courtesy of England is oft to kiss,
[Pg 357] And of itself it is lechery where pleasure is.
All young folk remember this—
Intentio judicat quenquam. B1,v.
So great delight thou mayst have therein
That afore God it is deadly sin.
But farewell! yonder cometh Sir William of Trentram. [Exit.
St. John the Evangelist. That lord which is principal,
Conserve and keep this congregation,
And cover you with his mantle perpetual.
After that ye do pass with death's visitation,
This prince bring you to that holy nation
Where love doth dwell with virginity.
And to give you plain information,
In that realm dwelleth the Holy Trinity.
I am that John that presently doth appear,
Called "the grace of God" by interpretation,
And of my doctrine if ye list to hear,
Much can I show you of Christ's incarnation,
And of His passion; for verily I was there.
I saw Him hang on the Cross, on high, on high;
His mother and I stood there under,
And I heard when He cried "Eli, Eli,"
And saw Lungis smite His heart asunder.
His laws to the people will I preach,
And all that ever do follow me in peace,
The kingdom of heaven their souls shall reach,
There having joy that never shall cease,
But now the true love, that we should to God owe,
Men giveth it to richesse that is mutable;
Full sore they will it repent, I trow,
That ever they were of mind so unstable.
If any man will have richesse ghostly, B2,r.
I will hastily again be here,
And thereof he shall have gladly;
At all times I will him cheer.
[Pg 358] My coming hither was for your furtherance,
And now I leave you in God's governance.

[Exit, Enter Actio.

Actio. Now merry might you be!
Who was that that calléd me
So early to-day?
One resided me with a bowl of water;
Here was a shrewd matter,
Suddenly one to affray!
It was some knave, my brother:
Beshrew him and none other
For that array!
I was fast asleep;
Till I felt the wet
Full still I lay.
He brake mine old custom,
For I would have lain till noon,
And then have risen to play.
But now to the purpose;
For by the faith that now goes
I love to go gay!
And with other men's wives
That be wanton of lives
Oft do I run away.
And wheresoever I go
One good condition have I so—
I use never truth to say.
Also I have a great disease, if ye will me leave,
Even here, sirs, in the bottom of my sleeve. B2,v.

[Enter Eugenio.

Eug. By God, sir, and I do lay a plaster to your coat
I will heal it, I dare lay a groat!
Actio. Eugenio, from whence come you?
Eug. From thence that ye were spoke of right now;
[Pg 359] Ye shall have an office.
Actio. What is that? I pray you tell me!
Eug. By my faith, ye shall be hangman of Calais;
Thereto ye be appointed, verily!
Actio. Then the first man that shall be hanged shalt thou be,
For I tell thee I will begin with thee.
Eug. Nay, sir, but hark what I shall thee say.
Here was one late this same day
That dispraised richesse worldly.
He said he that doth forsake prosperity,
And take him to wilful poverty,
He shall have joy eternally.
Actio. What was he?
Eug. A doctor, as seemed me;
He spake as holily
As though God had been his cousin.
Actio. Yea, but was he not mired with hypocrisy?
Eug. No, man; he spake so ghostly B3,r.
He had almost changed my mood.
I had thought to give away my good
And then ask myself for charity.
Actio. Why, wouldest thou have been so witty?
Nay, thou art a fool and thou wilt for any egging
Give away thine own good, and go thyself a-begging,
For so will not I do yet, trust me!
Eug. Sir, he promised most largely
That I should in joy live ever,
Where I shall die never.
Thus also he said verily,
That I should feel there no ill,
And have all that I desire will,
And see God in His majesty.
[Pg 360] Also he promised me a greater hire
That I should have all that I would desire.
Actio. I rede thee lay that thought away;
For mayst thou not see all day
That they that useth sport and play
Liveth at ease merrily?
They have most heartiest rest
And fareth of the best
That thus spendeth their lives in jollity.
Eug. Well, then, my wit I will renew,
For I trow thou sayest full true.
If I do it, and afterward rue it
As to give away my good,
I trow I should it forethink. B3,v.
Without a cup then might I drink,
For that purse that sowneth not trink
His master weareth a thread-bare hood.
Actio. Yea, yea, man, that is true indeed.
But let us go walk a space,
For Evil Counsel hither will speed;
That person, I trow, he be void of all grace.
Eug. Go we hence then in time;
Hastily we will come again,
For John will be here by prime;
His sermon would I hear fain.

[They go out and Evil Counsel entereth.

Evil Counsel. By your leave, let me come near.
What doth all this company here?
Whereafter is your gaping?
By our lady and master! I have sought nigh and far;
For sith I came from Rochester
I have spent all my winning.
By our lady! I will no more go to Coventry,
For there knaves set me on the pillory,
And threw eggs at my head
[Pg 361] So sore that my nose did bleed
Of white wine gallons thirty.
Some time in London did I dwell;
I was prentice with Evil Counsel,
And so men calleth me.
I hope again to go thither,
If summer were come and fair weather,
And live full merrily.
I have sought England through and through, B4,r.
Village, town, city, and borough;
With many a thousand bequainted I am,
As ill-tongued churls and many a proud gentleman,
That shrewdly roundeth many a pistle
When they in young wives' ears doth whistle
Of matters pertaining to Venus' acts;
With fair flattering words and pretty knacks
Both men and women they bring to lechery,
Through me, Evil Counsel, to live in advoutry.
In Cornwall I have been and in Kent,
Westminster, St. Catherine's, and in Unthrift's Rent,
There I rested very lately.
Now fain would I have a master [Enter Idleness.
That would do by my counsel,
For though he spend and be a waster
To get money I can teach him the craft well.
Idleness. What art thou, tell me, that speaketh this?
Evil C. Marry, sir, a man that would have a service;
Great need have I thereto.
Idle. Why, what service canst thou do?
Evil C. Both steal and lie, and on your errand go
To fet another man's wife to your bed.
Idle. If I of such things may be sped,
I am glad that we be met.
[Pg 362]
Evil C. In England shall nothing me let.
With you will I bide for ever. B4,v.
But master, have ye any wife?
Idle. Yea, more than twenty-five, by my life;
But some other men keepeth them for me.
Evil C. Marry, sir, no force; it costeth you the less money,
But you have good cheer when you come.
Idle. Yea, at meat I am merry, and at bed if I list to play.
Evil C. Then their husbands be out of the way,
Or else ye come not there.
Idle. Yes, yes, daily! and make good cheer,
And not spied at all, I have such policy.
Evil C. I am glad that ye be so witty;
And sir, if you will have a fresh lusty trull
I will get her you, or a house-wife that can spin a pound of wool.
Idle. Then will we drink wine at the full,
In one place if thou canst help me.
Evil C. I pray you tell me; what is she?
Idle. An artificer's wife—a pretty woman.
Evil C. Sir, I will go to my brother Temptation
And then to Wanton Youth I will make a station;
For between us three
Of her your pleasure ye shall have hardely.
Idle. Shall I go with you also? C1,r.
Evil C. Yea, sir, and it please you so to do.
How say you? Have not they merry lives
That may kiss and bass other men's wives.
Lo! youth is full of jollity.
But when saw you your brother Sensuality?
Idle. Sir, I left him on the plain of Salisbury.
He told me that he would lift
Some good fellow from his thrift;
[Pg 363] And as I trow somewhat he will get
To make with the penny.
Many one for their good do labour and sweat;
But he doth not so; he getteth it lightly.
Evil C. Sir, he did me a shrewd turn, as I you tell.
Idle. I pray thee show me how it befel.
Evil C. The last day, sir, I wist
The puttock that he ware on his fist
Would have trod my hen,
And up I caught a rottock
And hit him on the buttock
That there lay in a thenne.
Idle. Whereby knowest thou that it was he?
Evil C. For he had a bell about his cue,
And thereby each him knew.
I bid him hold in the wind, C1,v.
Till at the last he had his mind;
God give him an ill pew.
Idle. And what meat did thou give him?
Say on hardely!
Evil C. Sir, a fair piece of bacon,
And a black bowl full of barley.
Idle. By Jesu, this is a gentle meat for a hawk;
To keep birds thou art very conning.
Thy thrift, I trow, is laid a sonninge;
But tell me now where is thy wonning?
Evil C. Sir, at the stews is my most abiding;
Otherwise going and sometime riding;
And if the ground be slipper and sliding,
In faith I fall down mosellinge.
Idle. What, some pleasure then there appears;
Beshrew your head between your ears!
Evil C. Nay, sir, it shall be yours and theirs;
[Pg 364] For when a man hath enow
Let him part with his neighbours.
Idle. It is thy destiny, I trow,
For to be clad all in briars,
And ride the horse with four ears.
Evil C. Nay, sir, not afore you
For I love ill to waiter; C2,r.
A ride in a saddle, but ye shall ride in a halter.
Idle. In good faith, knave, thou shalt bear me a stripe.
Evil C. And thou shalt have another an I can hit thee aright.
Idle. Why smitest thou not? Come off!
Evil C. Nay, I trow ye do but scoff.
But I would not for an hundred pound fight with thee.
Idle. Why so? Tell me!
Evil C. For I never fought with man but he died;
And so should you and ye did my strokes abide.
Idle. Marry, I had liever thou were tied;
Thou art as manly as ill chieving;
Thou were a good bold fellow to go a thieving.
Evil C. Well, let us go to Unthrift's a while hence,
And let some other keep residence;
For I dare lay thereon forty pence
We shall have a sermon or night.
Idle. I trow then he will come hither
That laid first In principio together.
Ambo. Go we, for we two will go thither,
Thereas we will make merry, by this light!

[They go out. Enter Actio and Eugenio.

Actio. A, sir, I have been long away;
I said I would see you by the light day. C2,v.
Eug. There hath be a fair array.
[Pg 365] Where we two have be,
There was laying of the law,
And all was not worth a new straw,
So God help me!
Actio. Sir, I saw the wench that did your neck claw,
That bare in her hand a gay gewgaw;
Methought it was like a paw
Of a whiting;
She held me with a tale of titmary tally,
Till my thrift was gone as quit as a dally.
God wot, it is a nice thing.
Eug. Peace, man! ye shall hear a sermon i-fashion
Of the eagle that riseth full high;
If he do hear thy exclamation
He will make thee to fly.
Actio. Not in a string, I trow.
Peace! for he is come now. [Enter St. John.
St. John. O men unkind, wretched and mortal,
Hearken to this parable that I shall tell.
Eug. The hearing thereof give you I shall.
Actio. And I to do by your counsel, if ye say well.
St. John. Now I begin; give good audience!
Two men ascended once to a temple to pray, C3,r.
Their conversation having great difference.
It was the Pharisien and the Publican, I say.
Two ensamples by them perceive we may.
The great pride of the Pharisee:
Other men's faults he dispraised aye,
And his own counsel hid under false hue.
In the Publican's prayers there was than
A great excellence of meekness;
He despised himself, a wretched man,
[Pg 366] Thinking each creature exceeded him in goodness.
His faults he did confess
With great sorrow for his transgression.
And in the Pharisee's prayer did express
Of full pride and adulation.
He prayed not, but praised himself there,
Standing upright with a pert face.
The mass beginneth with Confiteor,
And endeth with Deo gratias.
Even the reverse he did in this case.
There the mass endeth, he began proudly,
Making no confession of his trespass,
But said Deo gratias ago tibi,
In that he thanked God he was not to blame,
But in that he thanked Him not with very meekness.
Three species of sin he rehearsed by name
In which all sins be comprehended express.
By raveners is understand covetise;
In unrightful to say pride of him than;
In advoutry all lechery that men can rehearse.
And thus he excused himself, and slandered the publican.
I pay my tithes, he said also; C3,v.
And so he did, but not of the best.
In that cayme he was like to,
For he tithed alway of the worst.
Twice in the week, he said, he did fast;
From meat and drink he did, but not from deadly sin;
And that is the fast that pleaseth God best.
But thereat hypocrites will not begin.
Against God he sinned grievously,
In that he justified himself so,
And his even Christian slandering maliciously.
[Pg 367] Tu testimonium perhiberis de teipso,
Et testimonium tuum non est verum—I say so.
Wherefore God did him divide
From the nine parts of angels the tenth, so
There Lucifer is falle[n] for his pride.
The Gospel said, who doth hie him shall be ho.
All they that praiseth themself do sin, be you sure.
And so, you curséd men, do your cure;
For by God's judgment,
If ye forsake not your sin, be you sure
You go to hell. Wherefore, repent!
Ambo. I cry God mercy for mine offence;
My wicked life I do defy.
Eug. Also I am sorry of my negligence;
Your doctrine I will follow full meekly.
St. John. This sample God sayeth us to,
That we should consider it wisely.
Who deemeth himself good is far therefro,
And he that thinketh himself sinfullest is blessed hardely.
Think now that your purpose was set cursedly, C4,r.
In sin thus to lead lives vain
Under colour of virtue, deeming yourself good.
You and all they that it doth sustain
Be worlde than the Pharisee; men's laws are wood;
Remember this for the reverence of Him that died on rood;
And to the laws of the Church abide every man,
And ye shall be partners of Christ's precious blood,
And blessed of God, as was the Publican.
[Pg 368] Thus if ye will be stedfast and true
Jesus will then with His grace you renew.
To that Lord's bliss ye shall come all a
Qui vivit per infinita seculorum secula. Amen.


Thus endeth the Interlude of St John the Evangelist.

Imprinted at London in Foster Lane by John Waley.

[Pg 369]



Contemporary References, Bibliography, Variorum Readings, Notes, &c., together with a Glossary of Words and Phrases now Archaic or Obsolete; the whole arranged in One Alphabet in Dictionary Form

[Pg 370]


Reference from text to Note-Book is copious, and as complete as may be; so also, conversely, from Note-Book to text. The following pages may, with almost absolute certainty, be consulted on any point that may occur in the course of reading; but more especially as regards

The scheme of reference from Note-Book to text assumes the division, in the mind's eye, of each page into four horizontal sections; which, beginning at the top, are indicated in the Note-Book by the letters a, b, c, d following the page figure. In practice this will be found easy, and an enormous help to the eye over the usual reference to page alone in "fixing" the "catchword." Thus 126a = the first quarter of page 126; 40c = the third quarter of page 40; and so forth.


M. Mankind.
N. Nature.
WS. Wit and Science.
R. Respublica.
WH. Wealth and Health.
IP. Impatient Poverty.
JE. John the Evangelist.
[Pg 371]


With Some Others, viz.:

Mankind—Nature—Wit and Science—Respublica—Wealth and Health—Impatient Poverty—John the Evangelist

A, (a) (passim), of varying usages: e.g. (1) I: "to God a vow"; (2) "a be" (R213,d)—"He tumbleth whom a lust" (R212,c) = he; (3) = one; (4) "a potful a worts" (M13,c) = of; (5) = on; (6) = have; (7) sometimes used to lengthen a line, to accent a syllable, or to make a rhyme-ending: also merely pleonastic. For examples see other volumes of this series.

(b) "azee" (R257,b)—"A, zee!" (R267,a), look! see!

Aband, "if thou aband thee" (N48,c), forsake, abandon. "And Vortiger enforst the Kingdome to aband."—Spenser, Fairy Queen (1590), ii. v. 63.

Able, "zo chwas able" (R229,b), fit, proper, "fettled": in original hable—cf. habile. "Noye, to me thou arte full able, And to my sacrifice acceptable."—Chester Plays (c. 1400), i. 55.

Abry, see Jack Noble.

Abusion, "hidden their abusion" (R180,a), abuse, malpractice. "The vtter extirpation of false doctrine, the roote and chief cause of all abusions."—Udall, Pref. to St. Mark. "To print[Pg 372] such abusion."—Albion Knight, Anon. Pl. 2 Ser. (E.E.D.S.), 131,d.

Adjutory, "God will be you[r] adjutory" (M12,a), properly an adjective = helpful; the exigencies of the rhyme has, however, apparently led to its use substantively: the original manuscript, as indicated, has "be yow adiutory."

Adventure, see Joint.

Affeed, "affeed with them" (N70,a), hired, engaged with for profit: cf. fee (A.S.) = property, money, annual salary, reward. "There is not a thane of them but in his house I have a servant feed."—Shakespeare, Macbeth (1606), iii. 4.

Affere, "With his company myself affere" (N63,d), belong, be identified with, "of a kidney with." "He was then buryed at Winchester in royall wise, As to suche a prince of reason should affere."—Hardyng, Chronicle (d. 1465), f. 106.

Affiance, "Company of my affiance" (N78,a), close connection, affinity, trusted advisers or servants: see other volumes of this series.

Afine, "well afine" (R261,d), perfectly, thoroughly; i.e. well a (= and) fine: a generic intensive. "Till grapes be ripe and well a-fine."—Chaucer, Romaunt of the Rose (1360), 3690.

Against, "against I you call" (R199,b), again: the converse usage (again = against) was also common enough in old writers.

Aged, "some of them were aged ... one by one" (R219,b). Mr. Magnus thinks that in these lines there must be some hint at the treatment of Bishops Gardiner and Bonner, who were imprisoned and their lands seized: see Respublica.

Albs, "th' albs and amices" (R221,d), a long white linen garment or robe worn by officiating priests of the Roman communion. It reached nearly to the feet, and differed from the modern surplice (Rev. H. J. Tod), inasmuch as it was worn close at the wrists, similar to a bishop's lawn sleeves now-a-days. "They (the bishops) shall have upon them in time[Pg 373] of their ministration, besides their rochet, a surplice or alb, and a cope or vestment."—Rubric of K. Edw. VI. (1548).

Ale, "mend ... as zour ale in summer" (R227,b), i.e. not at all: see Heywood, Works (E.E.D.S.), II., 91b.

Algate, "hath pleased thy noble grace algate" (N48,a), always.

Aliants, "too many aliants in this realm" (WH 300,b and c), aliens. Foreign immigration seems to have become a burning question early enough: how dealt with history informs us; and posterity has, in the main, confirmed the generally judicious and far-sighted policy of welcome extended to refugees and others, with its consequent introduction of new blood, new ideas, new crafts, and the benefits arising therefrom.

Alise dicts (R210,b), i.e. alias dicta. People's manglement of both English and Latin phrases is a noteworthy characteristic of the play—see Divum, Captivity, Commediens, Enquest, Policate, etc.

All, "then am I all safe" (R241,d), quite, entirely. "Woe to the bloody city! it is all full of lies and robbery."—Nah. iii. 1. Bible, Auth. Vers. (1611).

Allectuous, "allectuous ways" (M33,d), alluring, enticing: allective is a commoner form. "Woman yfarced with fraude and disceipt, To thy confusion most allective bait."—Chaucer, Rem. of Love, ver. 14.

Allow, "these words be greatly to allow" (N59,a), approve, sanction: American by survival. "First, whether ye allow my whole device—And if ye like it, and allow it well."—Norton and Sackville, Gorboduc (1570. 1), 94,a and b (E.E.D.S.).

All thing, "all thing hath prospered" (R201,b)—"All thing I tell you" (R202,c)—"all thing should soon be well" (R208,d), everything.

Aloft, "look aloft with th' hands under the side" (R192,d), i.e. Insolence when presented to Respublica as the captain of the marauding crew is to assume a butter-will-not-melt-in-my-mouth expression.

[Pg 374]

Amically, "he hath amically' directed" [(R237,d), amicably, in a friendly fashion. "An amical call to repentance and the practical belief of the Gospel."—W. Watson, M.A., 1691, in A. Wood, Ath. Ox., 2nd ed., vol. ii., col. 1133.

Amices, "th' albs and amices" (R221,d), a piece of fine linen worn by officiating priests: it was oblong-square in form, folded diagonally. It covered the head, neck, and shoulders, and was buckled or clasped before the breast, and when the altar was reached was thrown back upon the shoulders. It forms the uppermost of the six sacerdotal garments, the others being the alb, cingulum, stole, manipulus, and the planeta. The amice is still worn under the alb.

Among, "follow his appetite among" (N49,c), in company—elliptical: see other volumes of this series.

Amromes, "books Amromes" (JE356,b), so in original. I can suggest nothing beyond a misprint for "amorous"; but, in that case, why the capital A? A line (or lines) may also be missing at this point, the connection being not at all obvious. However, there is nothing to suggest a break, the printing being unusually regular and clear at this point in the original.

Anch, "anch hear om" (R230,b)—"anch can spy my time" (R231,c), for an ich = if I.

Angel, (a) "an angel for a reward" (R264,b). Mr. Magnus thinks that here is enshrined a play on the proper meaning of the word, and angel = a coin of the realm.

(b) see Angelot.

Angelot (R216,d). Mr. Magnus in his note (E.E.T.S. ed., p. 67, line 768) seems to identify this coin with the angel. He may be right; but on the other hand, it is not out of place to point out that in numismatics an angelot is generally regarded as an ancient French coin first struck at Paris when that capital was in English occupation (1420). It bore on it the figure of an angel supporting the escutcheon of England and France. The angel of Edward VI.[Pg 375] was a gold coin, named from the fact that on one side of it was a representation of the Archangel Michael in conflict with the Dragon (Rev. xii. 7). The reverse had a ship with a large cross for the mast, the letter E on the right side and a rose on the left; whilst against the ship was a shield with the usual arms. Angels were first struck in France in 1340, and were introduced into England by Edward IV. in 1465. Between his reign and that of Charles I. it varied in value from 6s.8d. to 10s. The last struck in England were in the reign of Charles I.—H. Noel Humphreys, Coins of England, 5th ed., 1848; and other authorities. Angelots (i.e. half the value of an angel), were also struck by Edward VI. in 1550: see Edwards.

Annexion, "the soul hath his annexion" (M38,c), conjunction: Shakespeare in The Lover's Complaint employs it in the sense of addition.

Anointed, "two knaves anointed" (N113,d), thorough-paced, "out-and-out"; a double pun is intended the references being to anointed = beaten, with an eye on anointed = consecrated by the pouring on of oil. "Then thay put hym hout, the kyng away fly, Which so well was anoynted indede, That no sleue ne pane had he hoe of brede."—The Romans of Partenay (ed. Skeat), 5652-4.

Apaid, "very well apaid" (WH280,c), glad, satisfied, pleased, paid. "They buy thy help: but sin ne'er gives a fee, He gratis comes; and thou art well appay'd, As well to hear as grant what he hath said."—Shakespeare, Rape of Lucrece (1594), l. 913.

Appair, "I say his wealth doth mend, he saith it doth appair" (R226,b), becomes worse, degenerates. "All that liveth appaireth fast."—Everyman, Anon. Pl. 1 S. (E.E.D.S.), 94,d.

Apple (19,d), in original a nappyl.

Applied, "to Him should be applied" (M3,b), given, rendered, one's heart or mind fixed upon: the only sense of apply in the English Bible.

Apply, see Aged.

[Pg 376]

Apprehensible, "was not apprehensible" (M33,a), competent.

Appropriations, "bare parsonages of appropriations" (R218,d), technically, at law (according to Blackstone, I. 11) an appropriation is the transference to a religious house, or spiritual corporation, of the tithes and other endowments designed for the support of religious ordinances in a parish; also these when transferred. When the monastic bodies were in their glory in the Middle Ages they begged, or bought for masses and obits, or in some cases even for actual money, all the advowsons which they could get into their hands. In obtaining these they came under the obligation either to present a clergyman to the church, or minister there in holy things themselves. They generally did the latter, and applied the surplus to the support and aggrandisement of their order. On the suppression of the monasteries in the reign of Henry VIII. the appropriated advowsons were transferred to the king, and were ultimately sold or granted out to laymen, since called impropriators. See Respublica.

Array, (a) "array toward" (R258,d), i.e. preparations in progress. (b) "nice in their array" (M14,b), dress, equipment, outward appearance. "But for to telle you of his aray, His hors was good, but he ne was nought gay."—Chaucer, Cant. Tales (1383), Prologue, 73-4.

Ascite, "I ascite you ... to appear" (IP342,c), summons, call. "Hun answered that the infant had no propertie in the shet, wherupon the priest ascited him in the spiritual courte."—Hall, Henry VIII., f. 50.

Aspen-leaf, "tir-tremmeleth as the aspen-leaf" (M32,c), an early example of a common simile. The text, "tir-trimmeleth," etc., is as in original.

Assay, subs. and verb, "assay him I will" (M11,a),—"at all assays" (M7,c), as verb = try, tempt, essay; as subs. = at all points, in every respect. "I will assay ere long."—Jacob and Esau, Anon. Pl. 2 Ser. (E.E.D.S.), 15d; "at all assays" (Ibid. 53b).

[Pg 377]

Assemble, "I assemble the life" (N89,b), compare, liken: cf. Shakespeare's use of assemblance.—"Care I for the limb, the thewes, the stature, bulk, and big assemblance of a man!"—Shakespeare, 2 Henry IV. (1598), iii. 2.

Assiege (N89,b), siege: see Halliwell, s.v. Assege.

Atame, "almsdeed I can atame" (N86,d), commence, begin: Fr. entamer. "Yes, hoste, quod he, so mote I ride or go, But I be mery, y-wis I wol be blamed; And right anon his tale he hath attamed."—Chaucer, Cant. Tales (1383), 14824.

Attempt, "Ye must attempt the world" (N59,d), try, "sample," experience: cf. Shakespeare, Lear, ii. 2.

Attemptates, "immoderate attemptates" (R266,a), attempts, endeavours: specifically to commit a crime. Puttenham, in 1589, said this word was a recent importation, but it had already been in use half a century at least. "To forbear that attemptate."—Sadler (A.D. 1543), in Froude, Hist. Eng., vol. iv. p. 241.

Avent, "avent thee! Nature compels" (M25,b), i.e. relieve the bowels.

Avoid, "Avoid, good brother!" (M5,d)—"avoid! I charge thee" (R254,d), begone, make room, depart, "get out." "I shall make you avoid soon."—Youth, Anon. Pl. 2 Ser. (E.E.D.S.), 94,b.

Avoidance, "as for mine avoidance" (N52,a), departure: see Avoid.

Avore, "I chil wait avor you" (R. passim), afore: there are numerous examples of v for f in this play: also of z for s.

Avoutry, "taken in avoutry" (passim), adultery: see other volumes of this series.

Ayenst, "ayenst thy sores" (N121,d), against. " ... whan he wente in batayle ayenst them...."—Invention of the Holy Cross (ed. Morris), p. 159.

Ba, "ba me" (M19,d), kiss: cf. basse or buss.

Badge, "bear on my bryst the badge of mine arms" (M15,b), badge. Princes, noblemen, and other[Pg 378] gentlemen of rank had formerly, and still retain, distinctive badges, and servants and dependants wore these cognisances on their liveries. Douce, in his Illustrations of Shakespeare (1839), pp. 205-7, says: "The history of the changes which badges have undergone is interesting. In the time of Henry IV. the terms livery and badge seem to have been synonymous. A badge consisted of the master's device, crest, or arms on a separate piece of cloth, or sometimes on silver in the form of a shield fastened to the left sleeve. In Queen Elizabeth's reign the nobility placed silver badges on their servants. The sleeve badge was left off in the reign of James I., but its remains are still preserved in the dresses of porters, firemen, and water-men, and possibly in the shoulder-knots of footmen. During the period when badges were worn the coat to which they were affixed was, as a rule, blue, and the blue coat and badge still may be seen on parish and hospital boys."

Baggage, "the baggage, the trash," etc. (R183,c), rubbish, refuse, trumpery, scum. "Fill an egg-shell newly emptied with the juice of singreen, and set it in hot embers; scum off the green baggage from it, and it will be a water."—Lupton, Thousand Notable Things (1579).

Bags, "the names of my bags" (R221,a), purses: those carried by Avarice were probably, for the sake of "business," more like small sacks; he is represented as hugging them (216,a), as hauling them (215,d), and as dragging them out (225,d). " ... see thou shake the bags Of hoarding abbots; imprison'd angels Set at liberty."—Shakespeare, King John (1596), iii. 3.

Bale blisses (JE355,c), probably blisses which are evil, and the reverse of blisses; with an eye on A.S. bale = "fiery"; as in bale-fire, etc. "... bring me forth toward blisse with se bale here."—MS. Cott., Titus, D. xviii., f. 146b.

Bales, "lay on with your bales" (M6,a). "Scared us with a bales" (M35,d), in the first example the manuscript has ballys, in the second bales, but I think the context in each case shows the meaning[Pg 379] to be the same. Bales = a rod or scourge, and specifically a bow: at 6,a it is the minstrels who are charged to "lay on."

Ball, "to it Boy, box him Ball" (R194,c), a dog: cf. 195,d. Halliwell says the name was given to various animals: "it is mentioned as the name of a horse in Chaucer and Tusser, of a sheep in the Promptorium, and of a dog in the Privy Purse Expenses of Henry VIII., p. 43."

Banket, see Junkery.

Baudery, "sorcery, witchery, baudery" (R263,d), the manuscript has bandery, but? baudery as in present text. If bandery, plotting is doubtless meant.

Bash, "look thou not bash" (JE354,a), i.e. timidly, or with too much inattention. "No, Leonato, I never tempted her with word too large, But, as a brother to his sister, shew'd Bashful sincerity and comely love."—Shakespeare, Much Ado (1600), iv. I.

Bast, "begat the whoreson in bast" (N68,b), fornication, adultery. "For he was bigeten o baste, God it wot."—Artour & Merlin, 7643.

Be (passim), been.

Bedlams, "stark bedlams" (R233,c), madmen: see other volumes of this series.

Bees, "hive of humble bees swarming in my brain" (R182,c), proverbial: cf. modern "bee in the bonnet." Here = restless, whimsical, full of projects: see Heywood, Works (E.E.D.S.), II. 385; s.v. Head.

Beforn, Beforne (passim), before.

Bells, "one would think 'twere brass, most part on't was made of our old bells" (R232,b). People states an historical fact, and refers to the reformation of the coinage which occurred in the previous reign. Under Edward VI. (1547-53) the Protector Somerset reduced the coinage to its true value and the export of bell-metal was forbidden (2 & 3 Edw. VI., c. 37). The pence of the coinage of 1552 (the fourth of the reign, other issues having been made in 1546-47, 1548, and 1550: see Respublica) was both of fine and base metal. The[Pg 380] fine penny has (on the obverse) the king seated, with arms and cross on the reverse. The base penny has a full-blown rose (the Tudor rose) instead of the enthroned king. Half-pence are nearly the same as the pence.

Belly, "when the belly is full the bones would be at rest" (R216,b), proverbial: see Heywood, Works (E.E.D.S.), II. 55,b.

Benefices, "the fifth I have by selling of benefices" (R221,b). "I have a good benefice of a hundred marks" (R225,b)—"they will take no benefice, but they must have all" (R225,b), references apparently to the prevalence of simony. Although a bill had been passed by a parliament of Edward VI., it did not receive the royal assent; and it was not until 1588-89, under Elizabeth, that any serious attempt was made to remedy the evil.

Berwick (R254,a), in original Barwicke, to rhyme with "Warwicke."

Besene, "so well besene" (N117,b), good appearance, comely. "And sad habiliments right well beseene."—Spencer, Fairy Queen (1590), I. xii. 5.

Besirance, "chwas besirance your ladydom to zee" (R213,c), desirant.

Bet, "could not a counselled us bet" (M35,c), better. "Perhaps he shall be bet advisde within a weeke or twayne."—"Romeus and Juliet," Supp. to Sh., i. 292 (Nares).

Bezeivers, "valse bezeivers" (R230,a), deceivers.

Bide, "had bide ne'er so little longer" (R257,b) bided.

Bird's arse, "clean as a bird's arse" (M22,b), a proverbial simile not uncommon in old writers: Heywood varies it—"as bare," etc. (Works, E.E.D.S., II., 89,a).

Blane, "without blane" (WH294,b), ceasing.

Blench, "to blench his sight" (M23,d), deceive, hinder, obstruct. "The rebels besieged them, winning the even ground on the top, by carrying up great trusses of hay before them, to blench the[Pg 381] defendants' sight, and dead their shot."—Carew, Survey of Cornwall (1602).

Blest, "God's dear blest" (IP316,c), i.e. happy or blessed, "people" being understood. Also bliss, happiness.

Blin, "of thy prayer blin" (M25,b), cease, stop. "How so her fansies stop—Her tears did never blin." "Romeus and Juliet," Supp. to Sh., i. 287 (Nares).

Bloodings (R221,a), black (or blood) puddings.

Blottibus, etc. (M30,b), kitchen Latin.

Board, Bourd, "I will board her" (R195,b)—"to bourd Respublica" (R200,b). Mr. Magnus says "to engage in tilting," but is not the sense that of Fr. aborder = to accost, address, woo. The spelling in the present text should, of course, have been uniform. "I am sure he is in the fleet; I would he had boarded me."—Shakespeare, Much Ado, ii. I. " ... for, sure, unless he knew some strain in me, that I know not myself, he would never have boarded me in this fury."—Shakespeare, Merry Wives of Windsor, ii. I.

Boat, "an oar in everybody's boat" (R235,c): see Heywood, Works (E.E.D.S.), II., 24,b; 207,a; 417,c.

Bolt, "my bolt is shot" (M34,d), an arrow: for examples of the proverb, see Heywood, Works (E.E.D.S.), II. 58,d; 91,a; 205,d; 332,d; 370,c.

Bolt, "sift and bolt" (R207,d), the legal sense is probably intended rather than redundancy for the rhyming's sake. Oppression means that matters must be gifted and discussed privately in order to improve their opportunities for rascality. "And having performed the exercises of their own houses called boltes, mootes, and putting of cases, they proceed to be admitted and become students, in some of these four houses or innes of court, where continuing by the space of seven yeares (or there-aboutes) they frequent readings, meetings, boltinges, and other learned exercises."—Stowe, Survey of London, p. 59. "The judge, or jury, or parties, or the counsel, or attornies, propounding questions, beats and bolts out the truth much better[Pg 382] than when the witness delivers only a formal series."—Sir M. Hale (d. 1676).

Bones, see Belly.

Boot, "he will be my boot" (M11,a), help, remedy, cure. "Ich haue bote of mi-bale."—William of Palerne (c. 1300), 627. "God send every trewe man boote of his bale."—Chaucer, Cant. Tales (1383), 13,409.

Bord, "we did but bord" (WH298,a), jest: see other volumes of this series.

Borrow, (a) "I shall be your borrow" (M ), security, pledge, surety, protector. "Their borrow is God Almighty."—Piers Plowman (1363), 37,b. (b) see St. George.

Bourd, see Board.

Boy, see Ball.

Boys, "shall boys ... of such high matters play" (R180,d). Mr. Magnus asks whether this reference to "boy-chorister-actors" may not "have some special reference to Edward VI.'S theological precocity."

Brast, "the halter brast asunder" (M27,c; also 28,d), burst. "But with that percing noise flew open quite, or brast."—Spenser, Fairy Queen (1590), I. viii. 4.

Brat, "a whole brat to his back" (IP338,d), cloak, mantle. "Ne had they but a shete Which that they might wrappen hem in a-night, And a bratt to walken in by day-light."—Chaucer, Cant. Tales (1383), 16,347.

Breadibus, "breadibus ... horsibus ... firibusque" (M5,b), for bread, for horses, and for fires: a form, of dog-Latin which has always been, and still is, popular: see Misericordia.

Brethel, "and thy own wife brethel, and take thee a leman" (M27,a), brethell in original: the E.E. text editors suggest [be] brethell, that is, "if thy own wife be adulterous." This, however, seems beside the mark of the context, as why should Mankind be counselled to take a whore because his[Pg 383] wife is unchaste? May brethel not be a mis-script for A.S. betelle (Halliwell)=to deceive? The meaning is then clear enough and the reading sound. On the other hand, I fail to find any authority for Halliwell's suggestion betelle=deceive, mislead, in either Anglo-Saxon or M.E. dictionaries, and the r in the word brethel, perhaps precludes the adoption of betelle, r being a highly characteristic letter. An alternative suggestion is that brethel is meant for brechell, from breken, to break, to injure, to vex, harass, torment, or destroy. "Breken" has among its derivatives "brac," "brake," "brek," "breche," "briche," "bruche," "bruchel."

Brenning, "hot and brenning" (N122,a), burning: also brent=burnt: see other volumes of this series.

Brest, "till his belly brest" (M6,a), burst.

Briars, "all in briars" (JE364,a), in trouble, misfortune, difficulty, doubt: see Anon. Plays, 2 Ser. (E.E.D.S.), 341,a.

Brim, "brim and hot" (R241,d). Magnus glosses this "brimhot": but cf. brim=well-known, spoken of, public. "That thou dost hold me in disdain, Is brim abroad, and made a gibe to all that keep this plain." Warner, Albion's England (1586-1606).

Broklets (R183,d), crumbs; of Scots brock.

Bront, "Titivilly would assay you a bront" (M39,b), brunt, charge.

Brothern, "ye brothern" (M4,b), an old plural: cf. childern still in dialect use.

Bum vay (R211,d), by my faith: original spelling vei: cf. Fr. foi.

Bunting, "how think you by this bunting" (R216,d), Mr. Magnus glosses this "swelling"; but is it not a term of endearment, perhaps with an eye on the diminutive form of bunt="a swelling part, an increasing cavity, the bagging of a fishing net or the like" (Ency. Dict.).

Burrs, "cleave together like burrs" (M193,a), proverbial.

By and by (passim), immediately.

[Pg 384]

Cailes, "play not at cailes, cards, nor dice" (IP320,b), ninepins (Minshew).

Calais, arms of Calais (R217,c), a common oath of the period. The French citadel was lost to the English in 1558, after an occupation lasting for upwards of two centuries: see other volumes of this series.

(b) "hangman of Calais" (JE359,a), this mention (see supra) may have some bearing on the date of the play. Halliwell in Old Plays gives 1566 as the date of printing, but does not state how he arrives at the figures: see John the Evangelist.

Can (passim), able to do; does.

Capax, "tractable and capax" (WS137,d), capable, sharp, knowing: Latin. "I am a trew flie; sure I can no false knackes; Alas! master spyder, ye be to capackes." Heywood, Works (E.E.D.S.), III., Spider and Flie, 1556.

Capper, "the scald capper" (N67,c), a cap-maker. "Cappar, bonnettier."—Palsgrave, Lang. Franc.

Captivity, "passeth our captivity" (R211,b), capacity: part of People's mumble-jumble.

Careful, "a careful carriage" (WS173,a), full of care: cf. Painful, Hateful. "By him that raised me to this careful height."—Shakespeare, Rich. III. (1597), i. 3.

Caren, "as carene" (M32,d), carrion. "I felte the stench of caren here present."—Wisdom (E.E.T.S.), 71, 1103.

Caronous, "caronous body" (N89,c), rotten: of Shakespeare (Julius Cæsar, iii. 1), "That this foul deed shall smell above the earth With carrion men, groaning for burial."

Casse, "I hung upon the casse" (M27,d), apparently a frame of some sort.

Cat, "a cat ... may look on a king" (R236,b); see Heywood, Works (E.E.D.S.), II., 340, s.v. Cat a.

Catch, "Catch that catch may" (R187,b). An early example of this proverbial saying.

[Pg 385]

Caton (JE352,c), Cato, the Roman Censor: the pattern of sternness and austere manner, he stabbed himself at Utica 46 B.C. because, considering freedom as alone sustaining the dignity of man, he felt himself unable to survive the independence of his country. He was frequently quoted by writers of this period—"Caton, the grete clerke "—Cast. Persev. (E.E.T.S., 103, 868).

Caveatis, "I say Caveatis" (M21,d; 22,b), Beware!

Cavillation, "make this cavillation" (WH281,d), frivolous objections, cavilling. "I might add so much concerning the large odds between the case of the eldest churches in regard of heathens, and ours in respect of the Church of Rome, that very cavillation itself should be satisfied."—Hook.

Cayme, "in that cayme he was like to" (JE366,c), in original Cayme. I can make nothing of it except that it is a misprint for Cain.

Cepe, "speak to the sheriff for a cepe coppus" (M34,d), i.e. cape corpus for capias corpus, a writ of attachment.

'Ch (passim) = I: e.g. cha = I have (ich 'a'); chad = I had; cham = I am, etc.; see Dialect.

Cha, che, "Che wa'r't" (R210,c),—"Che was vair" (R232,b),—"Cha not be haled up" (R267,c). I.

Chad (passim), I had—'ch 'ad.

Cham (passim) I am—'ch am.

Champion, "now is a champion field" (R200,d), i.e. champagne = flat open country. "Fra the thine thay went fourty dayes, and come intille a champayne cuntree that was alle barayne, and na hye place, ne na hilles mighte be sene on na syde."—MS. Lincoln, A. i. 17, f. 31. "... the Canaanites, which dwell in the champaign over against Gilgal, beside the plains of Moreh?"—Bible, Auth. Ver. (1611), Deut. xi. 30. "The verdant meads are drest in green, The champion fields with corn are seen."—Poor Robin (1694).

Charity, see St. Charity.

[Pg 386]

Chave (passim), I have—[i]ch 'ave.

Check, "let us con well our neck-verse that we have not a check" (M23,c), i.e. be hung.

Chery-time, "but a chery-time" (M12,a), a short time, "like cherry blossoms" (Furnivall and Pollard).

Che[vi]sance, "the new che[vi]sance" (M29,a), chesance in original: usually chevisance = treaty, agreement, bargain; but here, as Mischief is speaking of the food and other cheer he has stolen, the meaning may be gain, booty, plunder, spoil. "Eschaunges and chevysaunces, with swich chaffare I dele."—Langland, P. Plowman (1363), 2969.

Chill (passim), I will—'ch 'ill.

Chive, "I warrant him a chive" (R185,d), a chip, fragment: a small standard of value. "If any chive, chip, or dust skip into the eye, ... then can you not cure the eye but by removing and drawing the said chive."—Barrough, Method of Physick (1624.)

Chop, Chope (a) "in nomine Patris, chope ... Ye shall not chop my jewels" (M20,a), in both cases the original has choppe; but as Nought and New Guise were funning and punning, I have preserved the play on the words which I think was intended—chope = ch'ope (I hope) and chop = cut off; but the student can choose, and regard the first chop also to mean "cut!" "strike!" "Chope you'll consider my pain."—Misogonus, Anon. Plays, 2 Ser. (E.E.D.S.), 210b.

(b) "Into a deanery ... to chop" (R223,d). Mr. Magnus glosses this as "snap"; but is it not used in the closer sense of to pop? cf. chop-church = (1) one who exchanges livings, or (2) such an act of barter. "As flise at libertee in and out might chop."—Heywood, Spider and Flie (1556), Works, III. (E.E.D.S.).

Chould (passim), I would—'ch 'ould.

Christendom, "by my christendom" (R196,d). See E.E.D.S., Anon. Plays, Series 2 and 3, Note-Books, s.v.[Pg 387] 4.2]

Christmas device (R179,b), Christmas was better kept as a festival in olden times than in modern days, lasting at this period from Christmas Eve to Old Christmas Day or Twelfth night. At Court, and in the Inns of Court, high revel was kept; from references such as the above it is clear that many a play was specially written for, and first presented at, these festivals. The sources of detailed descriptions are too well known to need particular reference.

Christmas song (M15,d; 16,a to c). Prof. Manly omits this precious production; perhaps rightly in view of his text being prepared for class-room use; the E.E.T. Society's issue gives it as a matter of course, as do I.

Church, "a church here beside," etc. (M28,b), i.e. the abbey larder should provide the requisite cheer.

Church-stile, "on the church stile" (M26,a), a stile in, or leading to, the precincts of the church.

Chwas (passim), I was—'ch was.

Clarify, "This question to clarify" (M5,a), make clear or intelligible, answer, clear up. "A word to you I wold claryfy."—Towneley Myst., p. 67.

Clash, "at clash and cards" (IP338,b), bawdy talk, gossiping, tittle-tattle, quarrelling. "Good Lord! what fiery clashings we have had lately for a cap and a surplice!"—Howell, Lett. (1644-45), iv. 29.

Clawback, "you flearing clawback you" (R188,a), lickspittle, flatterer. The whole passage is a striking early instance of sarcastic vituperation, and the gradual piling up of the weight of abuse.

Clean, "a clean gentleman" (M22,a), fair, comely, noble: a general appreciative. "With the clennest cumpanye that euer king ladde."—Will. of Paleren (c. 1360), 1609.

Clepe, "if I should clepe to memory" (N45,a), call. "I shall inwardly clepe the Lord."—Wycliffe, Psalm xvii. 4.

[Pg 388]

Clerical, "clerical manner" (M8,b),—"a clerical matter" (M26,a), clerk-like, scholarly, abstruse, learned.

Clothes, "the clothes of thy shoon" (M35,b), generic for fabric and material as well as for dress and apparel.

Cloutery, (R263,d). Mr. Magnus glosses this as "mending," and probably he is right. On the other hand, a glance may be given to the Northern clouter = to do dirty work.

Cobs, "the great cobs" (R232,d), a rich but grasping person, a person of superior rank and power. "Susteynid is not by personis lowe, But cobbis grete this riote sustene."—Occleve, MS. Soc. Antiq. 134, f. 267. "But, at leisure, ther must be some of the gret cobbes served likewise, and the king to have ther landes likewise, as, God willing, he shall have th' erle of Kildares in possession, or somer passe."—State Papers, ii. 228 (Nares).

Cock's (passim), God's. Hence Cock's body sacred = God's consecrated body.

Commediens, "as commediens vor us" (R212,a), commodious.

Commodity (passim), advantage and many allied senses: see other volumes of this series.

Companable, "such as be companable" (N62,a), affable, sociable, companionable. "Frendly to ben and compaygnable at al." MS. Fairfax 16.

Conformed, see Respublica.

Congy, "a little pretty congy" (N60,d), bow of salutation.

Convert, "thine eyes to me convert" (R238,c), turn, move.

Convertible (M33,b), unstedfast, changeable.

Convict, "convict them" (M19,a)—"Mercy shall never be convict of his uncurtess condition" (M34,a), conquer, persuade.

[Pg 389]

Convinced, "they shall be convinced" (R246,b), convicted: cf. convict. "Which of you convinceth me of sin?"—Bible, Auth. Vers. (1611), John viii. 46.

Coped, (a) "Christ's coped curse" (M36,a); in original coppyde: cf. copie, copy = abundance, plenty (Trevisa, i. 301), and copped, coppyd = rising to a point, heaped-up as a measure; hence "Christ's copious, abundant, overflowing malediction." "This Spayne ... hath grete copy, and plente of castelles."—Trevisa, i. 301.

(b) "he is so copped" (R213,a), apparently a variant of coppet = saucy, impudent, overbearing.

Copy, "change our copy" (R202,b), manner.

Corrompt, "Is should be corrompt therefore" (R256,b); punished is meant, but the usual sense is "corrupted."

Couch, "I will couch you all up" (R216,b), conceal, hide away, put in safe keeping. "In the seler of Juppiter ther ben couched two tunnes."—Chaucer, Boethius, p. 35.

Courtesy, "the courtesy of England is oft to kiss" (JE356,d). In The English Historical Review (vol. vii., p. 270) there is an article by Major Martin A.S. Hume on "Philip's visit to England" in 1554. The article is founded on a Spanish account written by Andres Muñoz, a servant in the household of Don Carlos, Philip's son, then a child. Muñoz did not himself go to England, but probably got his account from someone, much in the same position as himself, who did go. The writer describes how Philip met Queen Mary at Winchester, "and kissed her on the mouth, in the English fashion." On taking leave Philip was introduced to Mary's ladies, all of whom he kissed "so as not (says Muñoz) to break the custom of the country, which is a very good one." This no doubt explains the passage in the play, but there was at law another courtesy of England with which, in the origins, it may have some obscure connection. Cowel, in his Law Dictionary (1607), describes a tenure by which, if a man marry an inheritrix, that is, a woman seised of land, and getteth a child of her that comes alive into the world, though both the child and his wife die forthwith, yet, if she[Pg 390] were in possession, shall he keep the land during his life, and is called tenant per legem Angliæ, or by the courtesy of England.

Courtnals, "a zort of courtnalls" (R255,d), courtiers: in contempt (Halliwell).

Court spiritual (IP343,b), Abundance was accused of fornication, and so came under ecclesiastical jurisdiction. These courts were made separate to the Secular or Civil Courts in 1085, but until the establishment of the Divorce and Probate Courts in 1857 the Ecclesiastical Courts took cognisance of blasphemy, apostasy, heresy, schism, ordinations, matters pertaining to benefices, matrimony, divorces, bastardy, tithes, incest, fornication, adultery, probate of wills, administrations, and similar matters (Haydn).

Creance, "chief of His creance" (N45,d), ordinarily faith, belief, credit, payment: I subjoin examples of each usage, but neither seem to fit the sense. There is an alternative which is nearer the mark, in the Latin creans, pr. p. of creo, to create; but I find no authority beyond creant, which, as far as I know, is modern: see last example. "This mayden tauzte the creance Unto this wyf so perfitly."—Gower, MS. Soc. Antiq. 134, f. 66. "And with his precyous bloode he wroote the bills Upon the crosse, as general acquytaunce To every penytent in ful creaunce."—Rom. of the Monk, Sion College MS. "The creant word Which thrilled around us."—Mrs. Browning.

Creaseth, "when she creaseth again" (N44,a), short for increaseth.

Creature (R. passim), throughout a trisyllable.

Crow, see Clawback.

Cuculorum, "taken with a cuculorum" (JE352,d), the rhyming exigency no doubt influenced the form of the word, but in any case the use is obscure, probably slang now lost. Whether, however, it originated in cucullus, a hood, or cuculus, a cuckoo (whence cuckold), or whether the word enshrines a play on both, I cannot say.

[Pg 391]

Cumberland, see Respublica.

Curia, etc. (M30,c), the proceedings of Manorial Courts were generally headed "Curia generalis tenta ibidem," etc. Mischief, with assumed official authority, means that the document was written in an alehouse (or where ale was plenty) with a sham date.

Custodity, "in my custodity" (R266,d), custody.

Cut, "Call me cut" (N54,b), properly a gelding or any animal with a short or cut tail, and specifically an intensive reproach. The classical illustration to the present passage is, of course, from Shakespeare, "If I tell thee a lie, spit in my face and call me horse" (1 Hen. IV., ii. 1). Compare again, "cutted whore" (N66d): see other volumes of this series.

Dainty, "men have little dainty of your play" (M13,b), i.e. little that is agreeable or pleasant, small liking for or delight in. "It was daynte for to see the cheere bitwix hem two."—Chaucer, Cant. Tales (1383), 8983. "... and all things which were dainty and goodly are departed from thee, ..."—Bible, Auth. Vers. (1611), Rev. xviii. 14.

Daisy, "leap at a daisy" (R243,c), be hanged: see Anon. Plays, 3 Ser. (E.E.D.S.).

Dalliation, "leave your dalliation" (M5,a), dallying.

Dally, "quit as a dally" (JE365,b), what "a tale of titmary tally" (see previous line) or "quit as a dally" mean I am unable to discover. The original is, "She helde me with a tale of tytemary tally Tyll my thryfte was gone as quyte as a dally."

Da pacem (M31,d), literally "give us peace"; here slang for a knife or dagger: cf. modern "Arkansas toothpick" = a bowie knife, "Meat-in-the-pot" = a gun, and similar locutions.

Darnel, see Drawk.

Deambulatory (M37,c), a covered walk, cloister, ambulatory.

Delectable, "my talking delectable" (M5,d), pleasing, delightful.

[Pg 392]

Delver (passim), delve.

Departed, Depart, (a) "how I departed them" (N80,b).

(b) "till death us depart" (WS172,d), i.e. (a) left them; (b) till death divides, or parts: now corrupted in the Marriage Service into "do part." "We wille departe his clothing."—Towneley Myst., p. 228.

Destructions, "destructions to 'member in my heart" (R234,d), instructions: part of People's mangled English.

Detected, "ne'er of any crime detected" (R183,b), possibly here = accused.

Dever, "put me in dever" (M24,d), duty, service. "Do the deuer that thow hast to done."—William of Palerne (c. 1360), 2546.

Devose, "we must devose how that we may" (WH289,a), devise.

Dialect and Jargon, see Respublica, Wealth and Health.

Dinty, "no dinty to do" (N49,d), pleasure, liking: see Dainty.

Disease (passim), generic for absence of ease—discomfort, annoyance, trouble, difficulty, sorrow, etc.: see other volumes of this series.

Dispectible, "thou art dispectible" (M33,c), despicable.

Dispectuous, "dispectuous and odible" (M33,a), unsightly: see previous entry.

Divum, "Divum este justlum weste" (R232,c), Prof. Brandl suggests Divites estis justi fuistis.

Do, see Way.

Dogs, "hungry dogs will slab up sluttish puddings" (R221,a), see Heywood, Works (E.E.D.S.), II. 14a; 357,d(n).

Dort, "a shrewd crank dort" (N83,d), fit of sulks, a pet, sullen humour.

[Pg 393]

Doubler, "both dish and doubler" (M29,a), a large dish, plate, or bowl. "A dysche other a dobler that dryghtyn onez serued."—Early Eng. Allit. Poems; Cleanness, 1145.

Draff, "driff, draff, mish, mash" (M5,b), rubbish, refuse, dregs: see other volumes of this series. Mish, mash = mess.

Drawk, "drawk and ... darnel" (M24,a), a weed very similar to darnel—Bromus secalinus; darnel is Lolium perenne.

Driff, see Draff.

Driffe, "hence I will you driffe" (M17,d), drive.

Drivel, "live thus like a drivel" (N61,b), a generic reproach; drudge, servant, idiot, dotard, fool; see other volumes of this series.

Drouse, "a hounded drouse" (WH288,d), in view of the wretched printing of this play it serves little useful purpose to suggest a correct reading; the most probable would seem to be hounded = hundred and drouse = douse; i.e. a god give him a hundred duckings.

Dutch Jargon, see Wealth and Health.

Eachwhere, "eachwhere sore hated" (R197,a), everywhere.

Edwards, "angelots and Edwards" (R216,d), see Angelots. I am further inclined to doubt whether the pieces referred to were of current or recent striking. It is true Edward VI. reformed the coinage, but as the angelots (at least) are specifically referred to as "old," and as the angelot is probably that of 1420, the Edward is also likely to be the angel of Edward IV. introduced in 1465, which bears an effigy of that king. The angel of Edward VI., of the third coinage of the reign, does not bear an effigy of Edward VI. It may not be out of place to detail the various issues, though this cannot, of course, settle the point as to what coin was meant by the Edward. Kenyon, on "The Gold Coins of England," says there were four distinct series of gold coins issued during the reign of Edward VI. First Coinage (January 1546-47):—Half-sovereigns (value 10s.). Obverse—king in robes[Pg 394] and crowned, enthroned, the figure of an angel on each arm of the throne; reverse—shield bearing arms of France and England quarterly, supported by lion and dragon. Crown (value 5s.). Obverse—rose, crowned; reverse—shield with arms, crowned. Half-crowns (value 2s. 6d.). Type like the crowns. Second Coinage (1548):—Treble Sovereign (value £3). Type like last half-sovereign, except that king has no robes, and holds a sword instead of a sceptre. Sovereign (value £1). Same as £3, only with different mint-mark. Half-sovereign (value 10s.). Obverse—bust in profile to right; reverse—oval shield, crowned, and garnished. Crowns (value 5s.). Same as half-sovereign of this coinage. Half-crowns (value 2s. 6d.). Same as half-sovereign of this coinage. Third Coinage (1550):—Double Sovereign (value 48s). Obverse—king seated, holding sceptre and orb; reserve—shield with arms, upon a large double rose. Sovereign (value 24s.). Same as double sovereign. Angel (value 8s.). Type similar to angels of Henry VIII. The type seems to have been fixed in Henry VI.'s reign. The Archangel Michael was on the obverse, trampling with his left foot upon the dragon, and piercing him through the mouth with a spear. Reverse has shield bearing arms of England and France upon a ship. [No effigy of Edward VI.] Angelet (value 4s.). Same as angel. Fourth Coinage (1552):—Sovereign (value 20s.). Obverse.—three-quarter length of king in profile; reverse—same as sovereign of second coinage. Half-sovereign (value 10s.). Obverse—same as sovereign; reverse—square shield crowned between E.R. Crown (value 5s.). Same as half-sovereign. Half-crown (value 2s. 6d.). Same as crown. Hawkins, on "The Silver Coins of England," says of Edward VI. Silver coinage, there were Groats, Half-groats, Pennies, Half-pennies. Note—All silver. ShillingsObverse—king's bust in profile, crowned; reverse—arms upon an oval shield. CrownsObverse—the king mounted on a horse; reverse—arms, and cross fleuree. Half-crowns. Same as crowns. ShillingsObverse—the king on horsebark, galloping; reverse—a square-topped shield, crowned. Sixpence. Exactly the same as the shilling. Threepence.[Pg 395] Same as shilling. Pence of this coinage (1552) occur both of fine and base metal. The fine penny has (on the obverse) the king seated, with arms and cross on the reverse. The base penny has a full-blown rose, instead of the enthroned king. Half-pence are nearly the same as pence.

Empery, "in this empery" (N56,d), empire, dominion; also more loosely, region. "Ruling in large and ample empery o'er France."—Shakespeare, Henry V. (1599), i. 2. "A lady So fair, and fastened to an empery, Would make the great'st king double."—Shakespeare, Cymbeline (1605), i. 7.

Emprise, "th' emprise of all this world" (N46,a), generally an undertaking more or less onerous or risky. Here—the responsibility of subduing and righteously governing the material creation. "Then shal rejoysen of a grete empryse Acheved wel."—Chaucer, Troilus and Cressida (1369), ii. 1391.

Emprowed, "bought ... and emprowed" (R219,a), improved: with an eye to a higher rent.

Encheson, "for th' encheson" (N43,c), reason, cause, occasion. "Certes, said he, well mote I shame to tell The fond encheason that me hither led."—Spenser, Fairy Queen (1590), II. i. 30.

Encroaching of Lands, see Respublica.

Endrait, "live after that endrait" (N59,d), quality.

Enformed, see Respublica.

England, see Courtesy.

Enquest, see Inquest.

Entriked, "I am wondrously entriked" (N55,c; 59c), deceived, entangled, tricked, hindered. "That mirrour hath me now entriked."—Romaunt of the Rose, 1642.

Entunes, "entunes in silence of the night" (N45,a), songs, tunes, chants, melodies. "So mery a soune, so swete entewnes."—Chaucer, Boke of the Duchesse (1371), 307.

Enure, "myself to enure" (N48,b), use, make a habit of, accustom. "He gan that Ladie strongly to appele[Pg 396] Of many haynous crymes by her enured."—Spenser, Fairy Queen (1596), v. ix. 39.

Envies, "to see ... envies take in a trap" (R257,b), enemies.

Equity, see Mankind, Amended Readings.

Erch (passim), ere I—er' 'ch—ere ich.

Escheats, "the blind escheats" (R183,d), lands or tenements which fell to the crown or lord of the fee through failure of heirs or corruption of blood: the latter kind was abolished by the Felony Act, 33 & 34 Vict., ch. xxiii. "The last consequence of tenure in chivalry was escheat; which took place if the tenant died without heirs of his blood, or if his blood was corrupted by commission of treason or felony. In such cases the land escheated or fell back to the lord—that is, the tenure was determined by breach of the original condition of the feudal donation. In the one case there were no heirs of the blood of the first feudatory, to which heirs alone the grant of the feud extended; in the other the tenant, by perpetrating an atrocious crime, forfeited his feud, which he held under the implied condition that he should not be a traitor or felon."—Blackstone, Commentaries, bk. ii., ch. 3.

Exaltations, "follow their good exaltations" (R234,d), exhortations.

Extent, "at the highest extent," etc. (R219,a), sale under compulsory powers (M).

Extreats, "the scape of extreats" (R183,d), i.e. estreats, enforced by trick. At law an estreat is an official copy of the specification of fines or penalties (such as a forfeited recognisance for use of the bailiff or sheriff's officer in levying). "A forfeited recognisance," if taken by a justice of the peace, "is certified to the next sessions; and if the condition be broken by any breach of the peace in the one case, or any misbehaviour in the other, the recognisance becomes forfeited or absolute; and being estreated or extracted, taken out from among the other records, and sent up to the Exchequer; the party and his sureties, having now become absolute debtors[Pg 397] of the Crown, are sued for the several sums in which they are respectively bound."—Blackstone, Comment., bk. iv., ch. 18. See Respublica for authorities dealing with the systems of extortion referred to in these lines.

Faitour, "ye are no faitour" (M12,c), deceiver, imposter: a generic reproach. "There be many of you faitours."—Gower, Confessio Amantis (1393), i. 47.

Fall, "fall back, fall edge" (R250,b), i.e. whichever way it turns out I am prepared (edge = aside or sideways).

Farthing, "I may not change a man a farthing" (M18,b), in the least or smallest degree. A farthing, the fourth part of a penny, and the smallest copper coin current in Great Britain, is mentioned as far back as Robert of Gloucester. It seems to have become a simile of small value or amount in most early writers. "In hire suppe was no ferthing sene Of grese, whan she dronken hadde hire drauht."—Chaucer, Cant. Tales (1383), Prologue, 134.

Fashion, see I-fashion.

Feather, "feather my nest" (R183,b); this proverbial saying does not occur in Heywood.

Fell, "the world, the flesh, and the fell" (M39,c), the devil (Furnivall & Pollard).

Fellowship, "flee that fellowship" (M32,b), company, body of associates, confederacy, joint interest. "Parry felle in felaschepe with Willyum Hasard at Querles."—Paston Letters, i. 83. "Antenor fleenge with his felowschippe."—Trevisa, i. 273.

Feoffed, "feoffed thee with all" (N46,a), endowed. "May God forbid to feffe you so with grace."—Chaucer, Court of Love.

Fere, "create to be his fere" (N49,b), companion, partner, fellow. "He wod into the water, his feren him bysyde."—Political Songs, p. 217.

Festination, "with all festination" (R204,c), speed, hurry, expedition. "Sweet Frank, when shall my[Pg 398] father Security present me?" "With all festination."—Jonson and Chapman, Eastward Hoe (1605), ii. 1.

Fetches, "beware the fetches of Tediousness" (WS143,a), stratagems, tricks, contrivances, artifices: the word does not always carry a bad or unworthy meaning.

Fichant, "Ise cannot be fichant enough" (R267,c), sufficient; i.e. better received and esteemed. Mr. Magnus suggests Je m'en fiche, as origin.

Fide, W[illiam] (M22,d), so given in the E.E.T.S. text, Fide being Fyde.

Fierce, "a likely man and a fierce" (M27,d)—"how valiant ... and fierce" (WH293,d), strong, full of fire and ardour. "Yet have I fierce affections."—Shakespeare, Antony and Cleopatra (1608), i. 5. "The ships, though so great, are driven of fierce winds; yet are they turned about with a very small helm."—Bible, Auth. Vers. (1611), James iii. 4.

Firibusque, see Breadibus.

Fist, "a good running fist" (M30,b), writing: an early example of a common present-day colloquialism.

Flaterabundus, "ye flaterabundus you" (R188,a), see Clawback.

Flear, Flearing, Fleereth (passim), mock, gibe, leer, smirk; and as verb = to grin contemptuously or scornfully, sneer, smirk.

Flexible, "Mankind is so flexible" (M33,a), pliant, easily influenced, wavering in disposition.

Flitched, "hath flitched the bishopricks" (R218,b), so in orignal, but? filched. Mr. Magnus says, "Cut up into strips."

Flittance (R183,d), "a ghost word for fleetings, i.e. skimmings" (Mr. Magnus quoting Prof. Skeat).

Flix, "die of the flix" (R271,c), flux, dysentery. Mr. Magnus glosses this "flyxe [flixe in E.E.T.S. text], flick, thief, 62, 1908." The mistake in giving the text spelling in glossary leads one to suspect[Pg 399] that all the rest, save the page and line reference, is wrong also. At all events, how could Avarice "die of the thief"? Perhaps, however, the E.E.T.S. editor meant the Great Thief of Thieves—Old Age!! "Diseased with the bluddy flixe."—Udal, Matt. ix.

Florent, "so florent estate" (R200,d), flourishing, prosperous. "Sinopa was a florent citee."—Udal, Apoph. of Erasmus (1543), p. 77.

Flouthy, "full of flouthy bushes" (JE355,b)? slouthy as in my text and in original: if flouthy from flout = mock, jeer, treat with contempt: cf. lecherous thorns, backbiting briars, elders of envy, and other kindred similes in the same passage.

Fond, "each fond opinion" (N58,a; et passim), foolish, silly, unwise.

Fone, "God shield you from your fone" (M14,d; et passim), foes: an old plural.

Foot, "I hope to have his foot met" (M23,d), i.e. caught by the foot, tripped.

Football, "lend us a football" (M32,c). Dr. Brandl says this is the earliest mention of the game.

Forborne, "it may no longer be forborne" (N51,d), endured. "I may not certes, though I shulde die, Forbere to ben out of your compagnie."—Chaucer, Cant. Tales (1383), 10,056.

Force, Forceth (passim), as sub. = matter, consequence, importance, ground for care or anxiety; as verb = to care, regard, value, to be of importance or signify. "What fors were it though al the town bihelde?"—Chaucer, Troilus and Cressida (1369), ii. 373. "It little forceth how long a man liue, but how wel and vertuously."—Udal, Mark v. "I force not argument a straw."—Shakespeare, Rape of Lucrece (1594), 1021.

For-cold, "pottage shall be for-cold" (M13,b)—"when a man is for-cold" (M5,c), very cold: as a prefix for- has (1) an intensive force; (2) a negative or privative force; and (3) a deteriorative force. Typical examples of each class are——(1) forlorn = utterly lonely; for-drunken = beastly drunk; (2) forbid, forfend; (3) forshapen = badly formed, etc.

[Pg 400]

Forma, see In.

Forty Pence, see Jack Noble.

Founder, "our founder and chief—founder me no foundering" (R186,b; 187c; 189a), patron, benefactor: see other volumes of this series.

Four Ears, see Horse.

Fragility? "of your nature and of your fragility" (M14,a), frailty, weakness, proneness to fall. "Earnestly beseeching the dictatour to forgive this humane fragilitie and youthful folly of Qu. Fabius."—P. Holland, Livius, p. 307.

Fray, "how I fray" (R202,c), fear. "The troubled ghost of my father Anchises So oft in sleepe doth fray me, and aduise."—Surrey, Virgil, Æneis, iv.

Frayry, "the demonical frayry" (M8,d), friary, conventicle.

Fusion, "God send it His fusion" (M15,d),? foison, fusoan, fusin = plenty, abundance: in original, fusyon.

Gan, "how God ... gan devise" (N46,a), began: auxiliary with force of did. "Not with less dread the loud Ethereal trumpet from on high gan blow."—Milton, Paradise Lost (1667), vi. 60.

Gard, "freshly gard" (N77,c), trimmed, edged. "Those of the forewarde vnder the Duke of Norffolke, were apparelled in blue coats garded with redde."—Stow, Henry VIII. (1544).

Gaudies, "no more gaudies or japes" (R264,b), trick, jest. "Thynke wel that it is no gaude."—Chaucer, Troilus (1369), ii. 351.

Gear (passim), formerly a word-of-all-work = outfit, ornament, dress, accoutrements, arms, harness, tackle, goods, property, tools, implements, material, stuff, matter, business, affair, manners, habits, customs, rubbish, trash—and what not? See other volumes of this series.

Generalis, see Curia.

[Pg 401]

Gentle-Meat, "Gentle meat for a hawk" (J.E. 363,c), the pun is double-barrelled: gentle also = a trained hawk.

Gentman (R231,b), gentleman: cf. jentman.

Geoffrey, "farewell, gentle Geoffrey" (M9,a), apparently a common tag or catch-phrase, or from some song of the period. Heywood (Works, E.E.D.S., II. 36b) quotes almost the identical words of Mankind: "Now, here is the door, and there is the way; And so, (quoth he), farewell, gentle Geoffrey!"

Gere, read Gear.

Gesumme, "a good horse should be gesumme" (M12,d). Dr. Bradley (quoted by E.E.T.S. editors) suggests geason (A.S. gœsne = empty, scarce). The whole passage from the beginning of the speech is obscure and apparently corrupt: at all events, it hardly "reads" as it is. The following suggestion is made with a view to eliciting a re-examination. The original is (E.E.T.S.)—

"Ande my wyf were yowur hors, sche wolde yow att
Ȝe fede yowur hors in mesure; ze are a wyse man.
I trow, & Ȝe were þe kyngis palfrey-man,
A goode horse xulde be gesumme."

Now, take as miswritten the words yow and to-samne in the first line, and substitute respectively be and to-famen, and sense is obtained. New Guise has overheard Mercy saying that too much corn for a horse makes it unruly and unmanageable. "Good!" says New Guise, "you are no liar, for I fed my wife so well that she has given me a clouting—here is the plaster!... If my wife were your horse she would be altogether famished. I trow if ye were the King's palfrey-man a good horse would go empty or be scarce (King's horses, for parade purposes requiring plenty of the best fodder). The misscripts are not unlikely ones, and—well, 'tis but a suggestion." "Steuen wille vs traueile and famen vs to dede."—Robert de Brunne, p. 122.

Ghost, Ghostly (passim), soul, breath, spirit, will; spiritual, not carnal or secular, religious: Ger., geistlich. As, his holy ghost (of the will of a man),[Pg 402] ghostly purpose, ghostly enemy, ghostly solace ghostly comfort, ghostly, ghostly to our purpose, father ghostly, ghostly reason.

Ginneth, "when she ginneth wane" (N44,a), beginneth. "This lessoun thus I ginne."—William of Palerne, 1929. "Into hyr bedde the boy gan crepe."—Octovian, 176.

Ginst, "ginst to err" (N52,b), see previous entry.

Gis, "by Gis" (passim), Jesus: also Jis and Gisse.

Give, "give the rope just to thy neck" (M35,d), put, adjust.

Godamighties (R225,a), a term applied to any person or thing greatly idolised: also and mostly, now-a-days, in sarcasm, e.g. a little God-almighty (of a conceited prig), etc. Avarice is speaking of his money bags.

Godigod (R182,c), "God give you good [day]," a gloss of Prof. Brandl's. Also (R258,c), Godigod eve and Godigod speed.

God's Good, "a hat of God's good" (R229,b), yeast; sallet = helmet (see E.E.D.S., Anon. Plays, 1 Ser. 274a). People means that instead of being well enough off to get a helmet to serve the king, he is fain to be content with a yeast tub; probably it was meant also as a bit of "business" for the groundlings' sake.

Goss, "by Goss" (R194,c), God.

Governance, "this is his governance" (M26,d), behaviour, manners, conduct, mode of life. "Now schalle I telle you the governance of the court of the grete Cham."—Maundeville, p. 232.

Governy, "the whole rule and governy" (N60,c), control, management, guidance.

Grass, "while the grass shall grow the horse shall sterve" (R233,d), see Heywood (E.E.D.S., Works, II., 378), s.v. Grass.

Green cheese, "Ye can see no green cheese but your teeth will water" (R216,c), cream cheese, the material of which "the moon is made": see Heywood, Works (E.E.D.S.), II., 97c.

[Pg 403]

Green Friars (N92,d), no such order is known either to the highest living English authority on monastic orders, or to Helyot or Dugdale; The Catholic Dictionary likewise makes no reference to Green Friars. And, in truth, having regard to the context, it seems tolerably certain that Medwall (a priest himself) was merely satirizing known abuses, with an eye perhaps on "Friar Tuck" and "Lincoln green": the "hedge-marriages" alluded to later (93,c) would also support this interpretation.

Groge, Groged (N75,d), grudge, grudged: as subs = discontent, ill-will, anger, unwillingness to benefit; as verb = grieve, repine, murmur, raise objection, feel ill-will. "Perish they That grudge one thought against your Majesty."—Shakespeare, 1 Henry VI. iii. (1592), iii. 1.

Gromwell-seed (R183,b), properly grey millet; here a slang term for money: see other volumes of this series.

Grossery, "such other grossery" (R263,d), i.e. grossness, enormities, obscurity, with an eye on "grocery" (fr. O.F. grossier, one who sells by the gross, or wholesale).

Grutch (passim), grudge: see Groge.

Gubbings, "the gubbings of booties and preys" (R183,d), properly the parings of haberdine, but also generic for fragments of any kind.

Guise, "good new guise ... vicious guise," etc. (passim), generic for fashion, style, manner, mien, conduct.

'Gyptian, "the 'Gyptian thraldom" (R237,c), Egyptian.

Ha (passim), have.

Had, see Wist.

Hafter, "ye are but an hafter" (WS141,c), wrangler, caviller: also a generic reproach; here specifically a falterer, laggard. "Of ale he doth so stinke, That whether he go before, or behynde, Ye shall hym smell without the winde. For when he goeth[Pg 404] to it, he is no hafter."—Doctour Double Ale, 216 (c. 1547).

Haik, Hake (R191,b and c; R219,c), "an exclamation, generally a signal of defiance" (Halliwell): cf. "hack" ("hawk") = to clear the throat.

Hair, see Hood.

Hale, "What doth he after him hale" (R215,d), haul.

Haled, see States.

Halfpenny, "your minds were all on your halfpenny" (R196,d), i.e. with an eye to the main chance, generally attentive, cautious, or prudent. The proverb is in Heywood (Works, E.E.D.S., II. 14,c; 174,b). "Ri.: Dromio, looke heere, now is my hand on my halfepeny. Half.: Thou liest, thou hast not a farthing to lay thy hands on."—Lyly, Mother Bombie (1594), ii. 1. "But the blinde [deafe] man, having his hand on another halfe-penny, said, What is that you say, sir? Hath the clocke strucken?"—Notes on Du Bartas, To the Reader, 2nd page.

Halsed, "his fair wife halsed in a corner" (M28,d), embraced (hals = neck): the special use of the word is singularly appropriate, as Mischief had just escaped the halsman (= executioner or jailer) himself.

Hance Beerpot (W.H.), i.e. Hans, but there was no object in carrying the modernisation of the orthography so far as to alter the original Hance: see Wealth and Health.

Hand, "I bless you with my left hand" (M23,c), i.e. curse: cf. "over the left" = altogether wrong, or the reverse of what is said. Such "left-handed" colloquialisms are by no means rare to express insincerity, ill-omen, underhandness, or inferiority. The earliest quotation in the O.E.D., s.v. Left, is 1705, so this example carries its use back upwards of 200 years.

Hands, see Aloft.

Hangman, see Calais.

Hanston, see Respublica.

[Pg 405]

Hardely (passim), steadily, boldly, certainly.

Hare, "this same way goeth the hare" (R212,b), i.e. that's the gist, trend, secret, why and wherefore of the matter: in Heywood.

Hassard, "fet not hassard nor rioter" (IP,320,c); so in original. It may be a contraction of hasarder = gamester, or a misprint for haskard = a rough, blustering fellow (Dekker); probably, however, the former fits the context best.

Hasse, "a fair manor hasse" (JE354,a), so in original; and but for the rhyme-word bash being spelt basshe one might suspect a misprint, especially as Dr. Murray records no such form as hasse for house, nor anything like it. The meaning, however, is clear enough.

Hat (passim), have it—ha[ve i]t.

Haut, Hauty, "his haut courage" (N60,d),—"Wealth is hauty" (WH276,d), high, lofty, proud. Also see N53,c, where haut is misprinted hawt.

Have (a) (passim) bears several idiomatic meanings in old writers. Thus to have after = to follow; to have at (a person or thing) = to try, attempt, begin, strike, hit; to have with (a person) = to go with, come on. Also, have at him (subs.) = a thrust, blow; and so forth. "Have after, to what issue will this come."—Shakespeare, Hamlet (1596), i. 4. "Have at it, then."—Shakespeare, Cymbeline (1605), v. 5. "Have at thee with a downright blow."—Shakespeare, 2 Henry VI. (1594), ii. 3. "I'll venture one have-at-him."—Shakespeare, Henry VIII. (1601), ii. 2.

(b) see Petticoat.

Haviour, "a man of your haviour" (N85,b), conduct, manners, demeanour, as in Shakespearean usage. But possibly it may, and probably does, stand here for the Anglo-Norman havoir = wealth, property. The context would seem to indicate this, "Into a haviour of less fear."—Shakespeare, Cymbeline (1605), iii. 4.

Hawt, see Haut.

Headibus, "your headibus" (M18,c), heads.

Heal (passim), health.[Pg 406] Hedge, "over the hedge ere ye come at the stile" (R192,a), proverbial: in Heywood (Works, E.E.D.S., II. 97,d and 443,c).

Heels, see Lead.

Helpen, "he can be helpen thereof" (N122,a), helped; also holpen. Still in use.

Hend, "to me full hend" (M11,c), courteous, civil, polite. "So loveth she this hendy Nicholas."—Chaucer, Cant. Tales (1383), 3386.

Hey, "Hey nonny nonny, ho for money" (R222,d), if not a popular song, a popular refrain. The words occur in many old writers, not infrequently with an obscene meaning or reference: see Slang and its Analogues, s.v. Nonny.

Hie, "Hie you forth lively" (M17,d), probably a snatch of some old song, which, however, I have been unable to trace. A somewhat similar reference occurs in Misognus (Anon. Plays, 2 Ser., E.E.D.S., 185,d) during a dancing scene: "O lively with high, child, and turn thee; ah, this is good sport!" Although this does not settle the source of the saying, yet it adds force to Mankind's words.

High, "on high, on high" (JE357,c), a duplication necessitated by the rhyme—Eli, Eli, but all the same a very striking one.

Hight, "Health I hight" (WH277,a), am called, have for a name: the only passive verb in English: see other volumes of this series.

Hip, "have you on the hip" (R215,c), to have or get an advantage: see Slang and its Analogues, s.v. Hip.

Hite, "when man is a little hite and wealthy" (WH279,c) = idle: in original hit. I take the word to be akin to the northern hite, to run up and down idly (Halliwell). Still, this may be wrong, and the now obsolete sense of hit = to be fortunate or successful may be meant.

Ho (passim) is used in varying senses in all old writers. Thus Ho! = a command to stop, cease, or refrain from the continuance of any action. Hence, as[Pg 407] verb = to cry out, shout, etc. Whence many colloquialisms. To be ho (JE367,a) = to be restrained, stopped, delayed; out of all ho = out of all bounds or restraint; no ho with = restive of control, out of hand; let us ho = let us stop; and so forth. Ho, ho, ho! occurs in many old plays, being given to the devil or vice when making an entry.

Holpen, "if it be holpen" (N54,b), helped: see Helpen.

Holyke (M16,c). From the nature of the song itself it must be inferred that a triple pun was intended, Holy (sacred refrain)—wholly (holelyche = wholly)—Hole-lick (osculare fundamentum): probably the "roof" was intended to be "raised" by the medley of interpretations thus offered, the business of each of the chorus being different.

Holy nation (JE357,b), i.e. the Saints and redeemed. The reference to love and virginity is apparently founded on a passage in Revelations, attributed by many to St. John the Evangelist: see Rev. xi. 4, and John Evangelist, p. 416 ante.

Hood, "his hair groweth through his hood" (IP340,c; also R229,d), i.e. comes to poverty.

Hook, "by hook or by crook" (R187,b), by some means or other, by fair means or foul, at all hazards, probably of forestal origin. "Their work was by hook or crook ... to bring all under the emperor's power."—Thomas the Rymer, On Parliaments (d. 1298).

Horse, (a) "horse with four ears" (JE364,a), apparently a reference to some form (or rather means) of punishment—the gallows (or mare with three legs), the pillory, or the timber-mare (or horse) for flogging purposes. Probably the latter, as its construction would justify the "four ears" of the text.

(b) see Grass.

Horsibus, see Breadibus.

Hours, see Prime.

Huffa Gallant, see Rutter.

Hyngham, see Macro Plays.

[Pg 408]

I (passim) occurs in several connections now archaic. (a) It is frequently repeated in conversation for the sake of emphasis, "I am hight Mercy, I."

(b) = Ay.

(c) = An augment or prefix to represent the A.S. ge, the most frequent example being i-wis = gewiss: see i-fashion (JE365b) = fashioned.

Ich (passim), I: see other volumes of this series.

Ignorum, "we ignorum people" (R211,a)—"we ignorams all would fain," etc. (R227,c), (adj. and subs.: ignorant, ignoram[use]s.)

Impatient Poverty. The text will be found on pages 311-348. Hitherto little indeed seems to have been known concerning this interlude. As far as I can learn no copy has been traceable, at all events in modern days, until "the Irish find" was put up at Sotheby's in July 1906. Part of this "recovery" (see Preface) was a copy of Impatient Poverty, which is now national property in the custody of the trustees of the British Museum, the price paid for the item being no less than £150. It is true that the title, together with one or two details of the baldest description, occur in most catalogues of early English plays, from that of Rogers and Ley in 1656 down to Mr. W. W. Greg's "hand-list" prepared for, and issued by, the Bibliographical Society in 1900. It is, however, an obvious fact that in each case all the authorities appear to quote from mention only. Further, though "known" to a similar extent to latter-day critics—to Collier, Halliwell, Hazlitt, Fleay, Ward, Gayley, Brandl, Greg, and Pollard—all these, likewise, quote either from an early mention, or from one another; none seem to have seen a copy of the play. Dyce alone was explicit. In a note to Sir Thomas More (Shakes. Soc., p. 55) he records Impatient Poverty as "non-extant." After an interval of more than sixty years since Dyce wrote, and 350 years or more after publication, the "lost" play has been recovered; and it is now my good fortune to make it generally accessible to scholars. The British Museum Catalogue entry is as follows:

[Pg 409]

Poverty. A new Interlude of Impacyente Poverte, newlye Impreynted, M.V.L.X., B.L. John Kynge, London [1560], 4o.—c. 34. i. 26. The title-page is enclosed in a woodcut border bearing the initials T. R.

in which the Museum catalogue has made a slight blunder in copying from the title-page, which may be consulted on page 311. Impatient Poverty, as already stated, is mentioned in the old play of Sir Thomas More, itself only extant in a somewhat mutilated manuscript. The passage is as follows:

Moore. I prethee, tell me, what playes have ye?

Player. Diuers, my lord; The Cradle of Securitie, Hit Nayle o' th' Head, Impacient Povertie, The Play of Foure Pees, Diues and Lazarus, Lustie Juuentus, and The Mariage of Witt and Wisedome.—Shakes. Soc. ed., 55-56.

The copy now happily recovered shows the play to have been "newly" printed in 1560 by John King, who was in business at the Sign of the Swan in St. Paul's Churchyard from 1555 to 1561. There is no entry in the Stationers' Register for the year 1560 or earlier. The British Museum copy is a tolerably well-printed black-letter quarto of its kind; it is also in excellent preservation. A reduced facsimile of the title-page is given on page 311, but unfortunately the paper used in these volumes is not altogether suitable for illustrative work. The old copy is, however, announced among The Tudor Drama Facsimile Texts, and will shortly be available in collotype. The collation is A to Eii in 4s (18 leaves). The first sheet (A) has no signature, but the others are regular in notation. Impatient (= intolerable, unendurable) Poverty is by an unknown author, but a very shrewd attribution might even now be made were not the time, as yet, hardly ripe for scientific deductions. The materials are not at hand for anything like a systematic study of pre-Shakespearean dramatic effort and achievement; and the study of isolated plays can, at best, lead to imperfect and perhaps erroneous conclusions. Unquestionably, however, the Tudor drama deserves to be studied, as Shakespeare is now-a-days studied: as a whole, and not piecemeal. But—alack and alack!—where is the accessible material for such an inquiry? Still, if at present we do not know the author's name, we[Pg 410] can nevertheless learn something of him from his play. He was evidently a sedate man, serious to a degree, with apparently deep-seated religious principles: note the long-sustained exhortations and the general tone of the play. It is also noteworthy that, for the period, the bawdry is "cut" to the lowest limit. There are no women's parts, and the Vice is a watered-down specimen of his class. There is little internal evidence to enable one to form an idea of the date of composition, though this may, I think, be fixed as probably not earlier than 1545, but before 1552. The allusions to usury seem to point to a period anterior to the repeal by Edward VI. in 1552 of the Usury Act of 37 Henry VIII., which was re-enacted by Elizabeth in 1570. Yet the reference to "the Queen" (347,d), unless a later interpolation, is obviously to Queen Elizabeth, and not to Queen Mary. The play is too distinctly and settled Protestant—indeed, the tone is even that of "the new learning" victorious—to admit of a Marian chronology. In this latter case the downward limit would be extended at least to 1558. Other allusions are likewise scanty or unilluminating—"Joy and solace be in this hall" (321,a), seems suggestive of a College or Inns of Court audience, as distinguished from a purely Court performance; the joining of simony with covetise (325,c) recalls the Edward VI. Act against simony (1552); "Conscience, the high judge of the law" (328,b), is reminiscent of Respublica: cf. 227,d; other references are to Newgate, Tyburn, the Fleur de Lys, etc., but they do not appear to have any special meaning. The present text is transcribed direct from a rotary-bromide copy of the original, and having been twice collated, once with the photo-text, and again finally with the original, it will, I hope, be found as accurate as human care can make it. Variations and Corrigenda are as follows: The colophon (312,d) is in original given on Eii. v. at the end of the play—The text begins at the top of Aii r without title—The stage directions in brackets do not appear in the original—The names of the speakers are in the present text systematised a little, and are consequently, in some cases, slightly different to the original—"What people[Pg 411] are tho[se]" (314,a), in original tho (A.S. = those)—"for shame thou shouldst bear" (315,a), in original shuls—"that with humility" (316,b), in original humyly—"Thy very duty" (317,a), in original They—"this well I knaw" (317,a), in original wyll—"Let it be tryd by manhood, and thereto I give thee my glove" (317,c), in original tryet and thertho—"I pray you sir" (317,d), in original your—"I hold it punishment" (318,a), in original punisshment—"Nay by God! there ho!" (318,d), in original good ... hoo—"I break your head" (319,a), in original heed—"Pater dimitte illis" (319,b), in original misprinted dimitie—"beati pauperes spiritu" (319,b), in original beaty pauperes spiritu—"As it doth often" (320,c), in original doeth—"Exeunt ambo" (320,d), in original Exiunt ambo—[Enter Abundance] (321,a), throughout this is Haboundaunce—"though he would" (321,d), in original thought—"be openly known" (321,d), in original he—"Singular commodum" (321,d), so in original—"to them that are needy" (322,a), in original theym—"Because I may forbear" (322,b), in original Bycause—"Cons. Evensine very shame" (322,b), in original, Evensynne—"Cons. To make restitution" (324,a), in original Doo—"Make amends" (324,c), in original Mke—"you cannot come in" (324,d), should be thou, as in original—"Now in faith" (326,b), in original fayte—"He goeth in a cloak" (327,b), in original clocke—"the temporalty" (327,c), in original themporaltye—"pride, sloth, and lechery" (327,c), in original slewth—"Set covetire in your room" (328,b), in original rowm—"[Envy] Y-wys, cousin" (328,d), not in original, but the speech is clearly to Envy—"by Cocks passion" (330,a), in original coxs; so also at 330,c—"I have of gold three hundred pound" (331,a), in original hundreth—"I am your kinsman" (331,b), in original Kyngman—"Ye must have more servants" (331,c), in original moo—"most expedient" (331,c), original expedyende—"Because he can so well sing" (332,b), in original Bycause—"Tush! take no thought" (332,d), in original though—"at a pinch ... broad as an inch" (333,d), the punctuation may not rightly interpret the exact sense here, but it seems elliptical[Pg 412] and to require If before her heel: i.e. how little light-heeled she were she would still serve to inflame Prosperity; the whole speech in original is without a single punctuation mark—"Because he is old" (333,d), in original Bycause—The signature (335,d) given as B1,r should of course have been D1,r—"That so can read his destiny" (336,a), in original destanye—"tell me at one word" (337,a), in original our—"obscured with clouds" (337,d), original obscruedColhazard (passim), this in original is variously spelt; Colhasard, Collhasard, Colehazard, Collhassard, etc.—"Sober your mood" (340,a), in original sobre you mode—"won all my good" (340,c), original wome—"Cannot chance a main groat" (341,c), original man—"for I obtain all thing" (343,a), in original optayne—"upon you a great slande[r]" (343,c), in original sclaunde—"and live in great advoutry" (343,d), original misprints aduantrye—"what will ye then say" (344,a), original thed—"And then sayeth the Sumner" (344,b), original them ... somuer—"be unto God" (344,c), original into—"brought me to this distress" (345,a), original his—"leeful for a callet" (345,b), original called—"and great usurers" (345,c), in original usures—"Bawds, advouterers" (345,c), in original Bandes—"fornicators, and escheaters" (345,c), in original echeters—"made his purgation" (345,d), original is—"as Thou art omnipotent" (347,d), in original onypotent.

In, (a) in manus tuas (M23,b), from Psalm xxx. 6: in manus tuas commendo spiritum meum = into Thy hands I commit my spirit. The queck in text should not have been in italics.

(b) "i[n] forma juris d'hazard" (M29,c), restored by Prof. Brandl: in original, "do yt forma jurys dasard."

Incroke, "He took of her an incroke" (IP326,c),?—As a verb, Murray has incrook and inkroke = to bend or bow down; e.g. in Rom. xi. 10, the phrase "and bow down their back alway" is given by Wyclif as "in kroke" their back.

Ingham, see Macro Plays.

Inquest, "to do at your inquest" (R234,b), request: in original, enquest.

[Pg 413]

Institute, "He hath institute you above all His works" (M11,d), appointed, set, invested. "Cousin of York, we institute your Grace to be our Regent in these parts of France."—Shakespeare, 1 Hen. VI. (1596), iv. 1, 162.

Institution, "a beast doth after his natural institution" (M9,b), nature, established order.

Interlection, "Let us have an interlection" (M20,c), talk, consultation, conference: not in O.E.D. Though regularly formed, probably a nonce word.

Intermise, "intermise yourself not in their company" (M14,b), mix, interfere, interpose, concern, or occupy oneself with: not in O.E.D., but sufficiently indicated (s.v. Inter-, p. 381, 1. 1 b and Intermise, subs.).

Inventus, "non est inventus" (M34,d), i.e. he is not to be found.

I-pilate, "he was i-pounst and i-pilate" (R211,b), pilated = brought before Pilate, "beaked": see I.

I-polld, "were ne'er so i-polld" (R211,a), fleeced, robbed, cheated. Mr. Magnus, however, glosses it as "pulled about." "And have wynked at the pollyng and extorcion of hys unmeasurable officiers."—Hall, Union (1548).

I-pounst, "he was i-pounst and i-pilate" (R211,b), ? beaten, scourged; an eastern counties word.

Irisdision, see Trentham.

Irk, "unlusty and irk" (M24,c)—"I am near irk of both" (M26,b), tired, bored, disgusted.

Is (R. passim), I; oftentimes the sibilant is carried to the next word.

I-strike, "sixpence in each shilling was i-strike quite away" (R232,a), struck: see Respublica.

I-torment, "zo i-torment" (R211,a), tormented.

I-trounst, "so i-trounst" (R211,b). Prof. Brandl refers to M.E. trunsioun and O.F. tronchon.

Jack-a-napes (R264,b), here = a tame ape or monkey. The origin of the term in this and its more usual[Pg 414] sense (= an ape-like, pert, or ridiculous person) is obscure. Dr. Murray says that so far as yet found the word appears first as an opprobrious nickname of William de la Pole, the Duke of Suffolk who was murdered in 1450, whose badge was a clog and chain such as was attached to a tame ape. Thus in contemporary poems (e.g., Pol. Poems, c. 1499 [Rolls], II. 222) several noblemen are designated by their badges, Suffolk being named the "ape-clogge." We find Jack-napes generic for an ape in Skelton (1522), and shortly afterwards the term was current in the present and more common sense. But the connection between Jack Napes and an ape (again to quote Dr. Murray) "is uncertain."

Jack Noble, "Hence Forty Pence ... Jack Noble is a-bed" (N98,a), a pun on the value of the coins (forty pence being half a noble) and the lady's preference. What K. q. title means I cannot divine. Prof. Brandl suggests King—Queen, but confesses it obscure; a bry appears to signify a breeze, awkward affair or predicament.

Jake, "a good jake of fence" (M32,a), coat of defence; a sleeveless tunic or jacket formerly worn by foot-soldiers and others, usually of quilted leather. Sometimes = a coat of mail.

Javels, "javels as shall wrong them" (R192,b), a generic reproach—rascal, good-for-nothing. "How much more abhominable is that pieuish pride in a lewde vnthriftye, iavell."—More, Treat. Pass. (1534), Introd. Wks., 1272.

Je, Je nescey (N97,b), i.e. Je ne sais [pas].

Jet (passim), formerly as hard a worked word as "commodity" or "cast"; it signified any device, contrivance, art, fashion, style, mode, manner, or custom. As verb = to strut, walk with consequence, and so forth.

Jewels (M18,a), privities: see privity (19,d): New Guise's and Mankind's "business" seems to have been not over fastidious.

Jis (passim), Jesus: cf. Gis.

[Pg 415]

Joan (passim), a generic name for an alewife, strumpet, and the like: see Doctour Double Ale and next entry.

John, "Come kiss me, John" (N93,c). Chappell says that nothing remains of the words except "Jon come kisse me now, Jon come kisse me now; Jon come kisse me by and by, and make no more adow." The music is given in Citharen Lessons, 1609; Airs and Sonnets, MS., T.C. Dublin, etc. It is also mentioned in Jacob and Esau, in Heywood's A Woman Kill'd with Kindness (1600); in 'Tis merry when Gossips meet (1609); in a song in Westminster Drollery (1671 and 1674); in Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy (1611); The Scourge of Folly (N.D.); Brathwayte's Shepherd's Tales (1623); in Hy. Bold's Songs and Poems (1685); and in Sir W. Davenant's Love and Honour.

William Byrd.

John-Hold-my-Staff (R188,a), a parasite, lickspittle. "And here it is the fortune of a man to be married to a woman of so peevish and domineering a temper that she will wear the breeches and the cap too: so that the poor fop at home is like John-Hold-my-Staff; she must rule, govern, insult, brawl," etc.—[Pg 416]Fifteen Comforts of Matrimony.

John Irische (WH304,d), the allusion is lost.

John Shole (WH304,d), see previous entry.

John the Evangelist. The text of this play is given on pages 349-368, together with a reduced facsimile of the title-page. Until recently John the Evangelist was looked upon as one of the innumerable "lost" plays of the Tudor period. It has now been recovered under the notable circumstances narrated in the preface to this volume. Curiously enough, John the Evangelist was at first, in the sale catalogue, confused with Bishop Bale's John Baptist's Preaching in the Wilderness, no copy of which also is now traceable, being known only through the reprint in the Harleian Miscellanies. However, there is no doubt that if a choice of "finds" had to be made the lot would fall to the present play, which has been untraceable in any form, save that of mere mention, for hundreds of years. The British Museum Catalogue entry is:

John Saint and Apostle. Here begynneth the interlude of Johan the Evangelist [with a woodcut]. B.L. John Waley, London [1560?]. 4o. [c. 34. i. 20.]

Greg, in his "notes" to Early Play Lists (App. II. lxxix), says: "Neither Langbaine nor any of his followers had seen the piece. The Biographica Dramatica gives the date 1566, which, however, appears to be an invention of Chetwood's." The colophon indicates that it was printed by John Waley (or Walley), who was in business in Foster Lane from 1546 to 1586. This, of course, decides nothing as to the date of the play. Moreover, there is, as far as I am at present aware, only one allusion in the play itself that serves the purpose; even allowing more weight to such evidence than I am inclined to consider safe in the circumstances—Eugenio appoints Actio (359,a) "hangman of Calais." It is hardly likely such an allusion to what was at the time regarded as a national "disaster" would have been made after the loss of Calais in 1558. On the other hand, the absence of the concluding prayer for the sovereign—its presence being a pretty certain indication of an Elizabethan play—seems to confirm the downward[Pg 417] limit of date. One other allusion may be pertinent—"the sweetest life, Sovereign ... is to have meditation of our Lord Jesus." A Marian date is, from the tone of the play, unlikely; to suppose the reference is to Henry VIII. is equally incongruous. Both considerations are, moreover, emphasised by the fact that had the "Sovereign" been a queen, regnant or dowager, some qualification indicative of sex would in such courtly times most assuredly have been given. We are thus reduced, by the process of exhaustion, to the days of Edward VI.: i.e. between 1547 and 1553. Beyond that point I do not think we can safely go at present. The play, as now bound by the British Museum authorities, shows no signs of mutilation, and the numbering of the sheets is consecutive. The type is, for the most part, clear and good; nothing obliterated, very little blurred, and only occasionally is there exhibited a wrong letter (e.g. "laue" for "lane"); but as a whole very correct. The construction of the play is of the slightest, turning at its most serious point on the incident of "The Pharisee and the Publican going up to the Temple to pray." Indeed, the whole piece seems curiously incomplete and disconnected. Yet there are no signs whatever, in the original, of mutilation or of lines omitted. The text goes straight on, though the relation of one part to another is by no means obvious. Is it possible that the play as it has reached us is only a draft, or an imperfect, or a "pirated" copy? I am inclined on first glance to think this interlude one of the same class as those that Bishop Bale speaks of as being played at market crosses on Sunday afternoons by way of religious instruction—"thin," slight moral plays. Indications are not wanting which point to this conclusion. Such a fact, if established, would account for the transparent looseness of construction, the deep religious feeling, the reticence and restraint, the apparent confusion of one of the players at once with the apostle, the parish priest, and the actor—and much else. The original is almost devoid of punctuation; the modernised text conforms in that respect to present-day standards. The names of the speakers are likewise not always consistently given in the old copy; they are now[Pg 418] standardised. Latin Quotations and Origins: It is thought convenient, in respect to this play, to group these as follows:—"Domine, ante ... absconditus" (351,b), "Lord, all my desire is before thee, and my groaning is not hid from thee" (Psalm xxviii. 9): in original a te is omitted after Et in second line—Beati .. . Domine!" (352,a), "Blessed, O Lord, are they that dwell in Thy house" (Psalm lxxxiv. 4)—"Qui cum Deo Patri" (352,a), "Who with God the Father," the beginning of an ascription or gloria—"A pœna et culpa" (352,b), from penalty and fault: part of the Latin absolution—"Nec te collaudas .. . ipse" (352,c), the sense is, "You will not be blamed so long as you don't extol yourself"—"Qui se collaudit" (352,c), "Who praises himself"; probably from same source as preceding—"Responde, tunc. .. clericorum" (352,d), "Answer then, master, doctor of the clergy"—"Sursum corda" (353,a), "Lift up your hearts"; from the office of the mass—"Via recta" (354,a), "the right way"—"Spes mea. .. via recta" (354,a), "My hope stood in the right way" (or way of righteousness): several passages like this in sense appear in the Psalms, but none exactly parallel—"gratia electi" (354,b), "chosen by grace"—"via obliquia .. . circularis" (354,c), "the crooked way and circular way": no doubt scriptural—"omnes iniquo in circuitu impii ambulantes" (354,c), iniquo in original reads iniqui, which I take to be a misprint: it now reads, "all the ungodly walking in the ungodly path" (or path of ungodliness): probably from the Psalms—"Ab aquilone. .. omne malum" (355,a), "from the north is spread every evil": a parallel passage is found in Jeremiah iv. 6, "I will bring evil from the north," etc.—"Fumus tormentorum. .. secula seculorum" (355,d), in original fumus reads finit, most likely a misprint: the passage as it now stands is intelligible, "The smoke of their torment ascendeth for ever and ever; a quotation from Revelation xiv. 11—"Septum .. . mors" (355,d), Septum conveys the idea of a surrounding fence or hedge (cf. 355,a and b), "the enclosing (or surrounding) master of sin is death; but?—"administrate. .. comfortate nos" (356,c), dog-Latin: "administers, restores, com[Pg 419]forts"—"Intentio judicat quenquam" (357,a), "The intention decides everything"; no doubt proverbial—"In principio" (364,d), "in the beginning": the first two words of the Latin version of St. John's Gospel—"Confiteor". .. Deo gratias .. . Deo gratias ago tibi" (366,b), "I confess ... thanks be to God ... God I thank thee": see Luke xviii. 11—"Tu testimonium. .. est verum" (367,a), "Thou bearest testimony of thyself; and thy testimony is not true"; an adaptation of John viii. 13—"Qui vivit. .. seculorum secula" (368,a), "Who lives through the infinite ages of age." Amended Readings, Corrigenda, Suggestions, &c. The collation is A to Civ in 4s, with A1,v blank.—Names of Players are not in the original.—The colophon is transferred from Civ,v—Stage directions and words in brackets do not appear in the original: this is not further mentioned in these notes—"Et a te gemitus" (351,b), a te not in original—"As it ravisheth the soul" (351,c), original rauysshet—"such a pulpit man to lose" (352,b), original lese—"Reponde, tunc, domine" (352,d), original tunice—"that same death thou shalt die" (353,a), erroneously given in my text: the original has shalt thou—["The continuation seems imperfect"], there may be several causes for this. Certainly here, as in other places, there are no signs whatever in original of mutilation or of lines omitted. The text goes straight on, though the relation of one part to another is by no means obvious. The whole play seems curiously incomplete and scrappy, even for early dramatic effort, oftentimes of the "thinnest" and crudest. True, the action may be modelled somewhat on the lines of Heywood's Pardoner and the Friar, in which the "interruptions" of one speaker with another lead to "business." Or the play may be a mere fragment of the "book," as it left the author's hands—surreptitious, unauthorised, or unrevised. In the former case, especially assuming that it was intended as a kind of a "dramatic sermon," the action shows order of a kind: commencing with what is obviously intended as the commencement of an exhortation and omitting the "comic" and "lighter" parts, the sermon would, in a measure, be naturally complete by[Pg 420] "following on" the speeches as follows: St. John the Evan. 351,b to 352,a; Irisdision, 353,c (with asides, incentives, or interruptions) to 356,a; St. John the Evan. 357,b to 358,a; then comes an "interval," and the discourse is resumed at (JE365,c to end) winding up with the "application" which was soon to form such an important feature in Puritan worship. So for the point directly at issue; but another puzzle confronts the student and one concerning which at this early stage I do not pretend to offer a solution. Personally, I should have preferred to have deferred publishing the text, in order to have had an opportunity of careful and exact comparative study of the piece in its relation to the Tudor drama as a whole as well as "play"-meal. On the other hand, I felt that the generous support we have met with at the hands of the Society's subscribers would be best repaid by speedy publication—"In the city of Jerusalem ... walled" (353,c), if the play has come to us intact, and the lack of continuity is intentional, the punctuation of this passage must be altered: