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A Select Collection of Old English Plays, Vol. II by Robert Dodsley

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Originally published by Robert Dodsley in the Year 1744.





The Interlude of Youth
Lusty Juventus
Jack Juggler
A Pretty Interlude, called Nice Wanton
The History of Jacob and Esau
The Disobedient Child
The Marriage of Wit and Science.



_See Hazlitt's "Handbook," 1867, p. 464, and Remarks_.


The "Interlude of Youth" is probably the most interesting early-printed
moral play that has descended to our times, and it may therefore be
considered somewhat singular that it has hitherto escaped the notice of
the publication societies. Its great rarity may, however, account for
this circumstance, only two or three copies of any edition being known
to exist. Waley's edition appeared probably about the year 1554, and
has a woodcut on the title-page of two figures, representing Charity
and Youth, two of the characters in the interlude. Another edition was
printed by Copland, and has also a woodcut on the title-page,
representing Youth between Charity, and another figure which has no
name over its head. The colophon is: "Imprented at London, in Lothbury,
over against Sainct Margarytes church, by me, Wyllyam Copland." See
Collier's "History of Dramatic Poetry," vol. ii., p. 313. "The
'Interlude of Youth,'" observes Mr Collier, "is decidedly a Roman
Catholic production, and I have therefore little doubt that it made its
appearance during the reign of Mary;" and he adds, p. 315, "on the
whole, this piece is one of the most amusing and most humorous of the
class to which it belongs." A fragment of a black-letter copy of the
interlude is preserved at Lambeth Palace,[2] and is described by Mr
Maitland in his "List of Early Printed Books," p. 311.


Jesu that his arms did spread,
And on a tree was done to dead,
From all perils he you defend!
I desire audience till I have made an end,
For I am come from God above
To occupy his laws to your behove,
And am named Charity;
There may no man saved be
Without the help of me,
For he that Charity doth refuse,
Other virtues though he do use,
Without Charity it will not be,
For it is written in the faith:
_Qui manet in charitate in Deo manet_.
I am the gate, I tell thee,
Of heaven, that joyful city;
There may no man thither come,
But of charity he must have some,
Or ye may not come, i-wis,
Unto heaven, the city of bliss;
Therefore Charity, who will him take,
A pure soul it will him make
Before the face of God:
In the ABC, of books the least,
It is written _Deus charitas est_.
Lo! charity is a great thing,
Of all virtues it is the king:
When God in earth was here living,
Of charity he found none ending.
I was planted in his heart;
We two might not depart.[3]
Out of his heart I did spring,
Through the might of the heaven-king:
And all priests that be,
May sing no mass without charity:
And charity to them they do not take,
They may not receive him, that did them make
And all this world of nought.

Aback, fellows, and give me room,
Or I shall make you to avoid soon!
I am goodly of person;
I am peerless, wherever I come.
My name is Youth, I tell thee,
I flourish as the vine-tree:
Who may be likened unto me,
In my youth and jollity?
My hair[4] is royal and bushed thick;
My body pliant as a hazel-stick;
Mine arms be both big[5] and strong,
My fingers be both fair and long;
My chest big as a tun,
My legs be full light for to run,
To hop and dance, and make merry.
By the mass, I reck not a cherry,
Whatsoever I do!
I am the heir of all my father's land,
And it is come into my hand:
I care for no more.

Are you so disposed to do,
To follow vice, and let virtue go!

Yea, sir, even so:
For now-a-days he is not set by,
Without he be unthrifty.

You had need to ask God mercy;
Why did you so praise your body?

Why, knave, what is that to thee?
Wilt thou let[6] me to praise my body?
Why should I not praise it, and it be goodly?
I will not let for thee.

What shall it be, when thou shalt flit
Fro thy wealth into the pit?
Therefore of it be not too bold,
Lest thou forethink[7] it, when thou art old:
Ye may be likened to a tree,
In youth flourishing with royalty,
And in age it is cut down,
And to the fire is thrown:
So shalt thou, but thou amend,
Be burned in hell without end!

Ye whoreson, trowest thou so?
Beware, lest thou thither go!
Hence, caitiff, go thy way,
Or with my dagger I shall thee slay!
Hence, knave, out of this place,
Or I shall lay thee on the face!
Sayest thou that I shall go to hell,
For evermore there to dwell?
I had liever thou had evil fare.[8]

Ah, yet, sir, do by my reed,
And ask mercy for thy misdeed,
And thou shalt be an heritor of bliss,
Where all joy and mirth is;
Where thou shalt see a glorious sight
Of angels singing, with saints bright,
Before the face of God.

What, sirs, above the sky?
I had need of a ladder to climb so high!
But what, and the ladder slip?
Then I am deceived yet,
And if I fall, I catch a queck;
I may fortune to break my neck,
And that joint is ill to set:
Nay, nay, not so.

Oh, yet remember, and call to thy mind,
The mercy of God passeth all thing.
For it is written by noble clerks,
The mercy of God passeth all works;
That witnesseth Holy Scripture, saying thus:
_Miseratio domini super omnia opera ejus_:
Therefore doubt not God's grace;
Thereof is plenty in every place.

What, methink ye be clerkish,
For ye speak good gibb'rish!
Sir, I pray you, and you have any store,
Soil[9] me a question, ere ye cast any more,
Lest when your cunning is all done,
My question have no solution.
Sir, and it please you this,
Why do men eat mustard with salt fish?
Sir, I pray you soil me this question
That I have put to your discretion.

This question is but a vanity;
It longeth not to me
Such questions to assoil.

Sir, by God, that me dear bought,
I see your cunning is little or nought;
And I should follow your school,
Soon ye would make me a fool!
Therefore crake no longer here,
Lest I take you on the ear,
And make your head to ache!

Sir, it falleth not for me to fight,
Neither by day, ne by night;
Therefore do by my counsel, I say,
Then to heaven thou shalt have thy way.

No, sir, I think ye will not fight;
But to take a man's purse in the night
Ye will not say nay;
For such holy caitiffs
Were wont to be thieves,
And such would be hanged as high
As a man may see with his eye:
In faith, this same is true.

God save every Christian body
From such evil destiny,
And send us of his grace
In heaven to have a place!

Nay, nay, I warrant thee,
He hath no place for thee;
Weenest thou he will have such fools
To sit on his gay stools?
Nay, I warrant thee, nay!

Well, sir, I put me in God's will,
Whether he will me save or spill;
And, sir, I pray you do so,
And trust in God, whatsoever ye do.

Sir, I pray thee hold thy peace,
And talk to me of no goodness;
And soon look thou go thy way,
Lest with my dagger I thee slay!
In faith, if thou move my heart,
Thou shalt be weary of thy part,
Ere thou and I have done.

Think what God suffered for thee,
His arms to be spread upon a tree;
A knight with a spear opened his side,
In his heart appeared a wound wide,
That bought both you and me!

God's fast! what is that to me?
Thou daw, wilt thou reed me
In my youth to lose my jollity?
Hence, knave, and go thy way,
Or with my dagger I shall thee slay!

O sir, hear what I you tell,
And be ruled after my counsel,
That ye might sit in heaven high
With God and his company.

Ah, yet of God thou wilt not cease
Till I fight in good earnest;
On my faith I tell thee true,
If I fight, it will thee rue
All the days of thy life.

Since[10] I see it will none otherwise be;
I will go to my brother Humility,
And take good counsel of him,
How it is best to be do therein.

Yea, marry, sir, I pray you of that;
Methink it were a good sight of your back;
I would see your heels hither,
And your brother and you together
Fettered fine fast!
I-wis, and I had the key,
Ye should sing well-away,
Ere I let you loose!

Farewell, my masters everychone!
I will come again anon,
And tell you how I have done.

And thou come hither again,
I shall send thee hence in the devil's name.
What! now I may have my space
To jet here in this place;
Before I might not stir,
When that churl Charity was here;
But now, among all this cheer,
I would I had some company here;
I wish[11] my brother Riot would help me,
For to beat Charity
And his brother too.

Huffa! huffa![12] who calleth after me?
I am Riot, full of jollity.
My heart as light as the wind,
And all on riot is my mind,
Wheresoever I go.
But wot ye what I do here?
To seek Youth my compeer:
Fain of him I would have a sight,
But my lips hang in my light.
God speed, master Youth, by my fay.

Welcome, Riot, in the devil's way!
Who brought thee hitherto?

That did my legs, I tell thee:
Methought thou did me call,
And I am come now here
To make royal cheer,
And tell thee how I have done.

What! I weened thou hadst been hanged,
But I see thou art escaped,
For it was told me here
You took a man on the ear,
That his purse in your bosom did fly,
And so in Newgate you did lie.

So it was, I beshrew your heart:
I come lately from Newgate,
But I am as ready to make good cheer,
As he that never came there;
For, and I have spending,
I will make as merry as a king,
And care not what I do;
For I will not lie long in prison,
But will get forth soon,
For I have learned a policy
That will loose me lightly,
And soon let me go.

I love well thy discretion,
For thou art all of one condition;
Thou art stable and steadfast of mind,
And not changeable as the wind.
But, sir, I pray you at the least,
Tell me more of that jest,
That thou told me right now.

Moreover, I shall tell thee,
The Mayor of London sent for me
Forth of Newgate for to come,
For to preach at Tyburn.

By our Lady! he did promote thee,
To make thee preach at the gallow-tree!
But, sir, how didst thou 'scape?

Verily, sir, the rope brake,
And so I fell to the ground,
And ran away, safe and sound:
By the way I met with a courtier's lad,
And twenty nobles of gold in his purse he had:
I took the lad on the ear,
Beside his horse I felled him there:
I took his purse in my hand,
And twenty nobles therein I fand.[13]
Lord, how I was merry!

God's fate! thou didst enough there
For to be made knight of the collar.

Yea, sir, I trust to God Allmight
At the next sessions to be dubbed a knight.

Now, sir, by this light!
That would I fain see,
And I plight thee, so God me save,
That a sure collar thou shalt have;
And because gold collars be so good cheap,
Unto the roper I shall speak
To make thee one of a good price,
And that shall be of warrantise.

Youth, I pray thee have ado,
And to the tavern let us go,
And we will drink divers wine,
And the cost shall be mine;
Thou shalt not pay one penny, i-wis,
Yet thou shalt have a wench to kiss,
Whensoever thou wilt.

Marry, Riot, I thank thee,
That thou wilt bestow it on me,
And for thy pleasure so be it;
I would not Charity should us meet,
And turn us again,
For right now he was with me,
And said he would go to Humility,
And come to me again.

Let him come, if he will;
He were better to bide still;
And he give thee crooked language,
I will lay him on the visage,
And that thou shalt see soon,
How lightly it shall be done;
And he will not be ruled with knocks,
We shall set him in the stocks,
To heal his sore shins!

I shall help thee, if I can,
To drive away that hangman;
Hark, Riot, thou shalt understand
I am heir of my father's land,
And now they be come to my hand,
Methink it were best therefore,
That I had one man more
To wait me upon.

I can speed thee of a servant of price,
That will do thee good service;
I see him go here beside;
Some men call him Master Pride;
I swear by God in Trinity
I will go fetch him unto thee,
And that even anon.

Hie thee apace and come again,
And bring with thee that noble swain.

Lo, Master Youth, here he is,
A pretty man and a wise;
He will be glad to do you good service
In all that ever he may.

Welcome to me, good fellow,
I pray thee, whence comest thou?
And thou wilt my servant be,
I shall give thee gold and fee.

Sir, I am content, i-wis,
To do you any service
That ever I can do.

By likelihood thou should do well enou';
Thou art a likely fellow.

Yes, sir, I warrant you,
If ye will be ruled by me,
I shall you bring to high degree.

What shall I do, tell me,
And I will be ruled by thee.

Marry, I shall tell you:
Consider ye have good enou'
And think ye come of noble kind;
Above all men exalt thy mind;
Put down the poor, and set nought by them;
Be in company with gentlemen;
Get up and down in the way,
And your clothes look they be gay;
The pretty wenches will say then,
Yonder goeth a gentleman;
And every poor fellow that goeth you by,
Will do off his cap, and make you courtesy:
In faith, this is true.

Sir, I thank thee, by the rood,
For thy counsel that is so good;
And I commit me even now
Under the teaching of Riot and you.

Lo, Youth, I told you
That he was a lusty fellow.

Marry, sir, I thank thee
That you would bring him unto me.

Sir, it were expedient that ye had a wife,
To live with her all your life.

A wife? nay, nay, for God avow,
He shall have flesh enou',
For, by God that me dear bought,
Over-much of one thing is nought;
The devil said he had liever burn all his life
Than once for to take a wife;
Therefore I say, so God me save,
He shall no wife have:
Thou hast a sister fair and free,
I know well his leman she will be;
Therefore I would she were here,
That we might go and make good cheer
At the wine somewhere.

I pray you hither thou her do bring,
For she is to my liking.

Sir, I shall do my diligence
To bring her to your presence.

Hie thee apace, and come again;
To have a sight I would be fain
Of that lady free.

Sir, in faith I shall tell you true,
She is fresh and fair of hue,
And very proper of body;
Men call her Lady Lechery.

My heart burneth, by God of might,
Till of that lady I have a sight.

(_Intret Superbia cum Luxuria et dicat Superbia_.)

Sir, I have fulfilled your intent,
And have brought you in this present,
That you have sent me for.

Thou art a ready messenger;
Come hither to me, my heart so dear,
Ye be welcome to me as the heart in my body.

Sir, I thank you, and at your pleasure I am;
Ye be the same unto me.

Masters, will ye to tavern walk?
A word with you here will I talk,
And give you the wine.

Gentleman, I thank you verily,
And I am all ready
To wait you upon.

What, sister Lechery?
Ye be welcome to our company.

Well, wanton, well, fie for shame!
So soon ye do express my name:
What! if no man should have known,
I-wis I shall you beat! well, wanton, well!

A little pretty niset,[14]
Ye be well nice, God wot!
Ye be a little pretty pye! i-wis, ye go full gingerly.

Well, I see your false eye
Winketh on me full wantonly;
Ye be full wanton, i-wis.

Pride, I thank you of your labour
That you had to fetch this fair flow'r.

Lo, youth, I told thee
That I would bring her with me.
Sir, I pray you tell me now,
How she doth like you?

Verily, well she pleaseth me,
For she is courteous, gentle, and free.
How do you, fair lady?
How fare you, tell me.

Sir, if it please you, I do well enou',
And the better that you will wit.

Riot, I would be at the tavern fain,
Lest Charity us meet and turn us again:
Then would I be sorry, because of this fair lady.

Let us go again betime,
That we may be at the wine,
Ere ever that he come.

Hie thee apace, and go we hence;
We will let for none expense.

Now we will fill the cup and make good cheer;
I trust I have a noble here.
Hark, sirs, for God Almighty,
Hearest thou not how they fight?
In faith we shall them part.
If there be any wine to sell,
They shall no longer together dwell;
No, then I beshrew my heart.

No, sir, so mot I the,
Let not thy servants fight within thee;
For it is a careful life
Evermore to live in strife;
Therefore, if ye will be ruled by my tale,
We will go to the ale,
And see how we can do;
I trust to God that sitteth on high,
To lese that little company
Within an hour or two.

Now let us go, for God's sake,
And see how merry we can make.

Now let us go apace;
And I be last there, I beshrew my face!

Now let us go: that we were there
To make this lady some cheer.

Verily, sir, I thank thee,
That ye will bestow it on me,
And when it please you on me to call,
My heart is yours, body and all.

Fair lady, I thank thee;
On the same wise ye shall have me,
Whatsoever you please.

Riot, we tarry very long.

We will go even now with a lusty song.

In faith, I will be rector of the choir.

Go to it then hardily, and let us be agate.

Abide, fellow; a word with thee:
Whither go ye, tell me?
Abide, and hear what I shall you tell,
And be ruled by my counsel.

Nay, no fellow ne yet mate,
I trow thy fellow be in Newgate;
Shall we tell thee whither we go?
Nay, i-wis, good John-a-Peepo!
Who learned thee, thou mistaught man,
To speak so to a gentleman?
Though his clothes be never so thin,
Yet he is come of noble kin;
Though thou give him such a mock,
Yet he is come of a noble stock,
I let thee well to wit.

What! Sir John,[15] what say ye!
Would you be fettered now?
Think not too long, I pray ye;
If misfortune come soon enou',
Ye shall think it a little [too] soon.

Yet, sirs, let this cease,
And let us talk of goodness.

He turneth his tail, he is afeard;
But, faith, he shall be scared;
He weeneth by flattering to please us again,
But he laboureth all in vain.

Sir, I pray you me not spare,
For nothing I do care
That ye can do to me.

No, whoreson? sayest thou so?
Hold him, Pride, and let me go;
I shall set a pair of rings,
That shall set to his shins,
And that even anon.

Hie thee apace and come again,
And bring with thee a good chain,
And hold him here still.

Jesus, that was born of Mary mild,
From all evil he us shield,
And send you grace to amend,
Ere our life be at an end;
For I tell you truly,
That ye live full wickedly;
I pray God it amend!

Lo, sirs, look what I bring.
Is not this a jolly ringing?
By my troth, I trow it be:
I will go with Charity.
How say'st thou, Master Charity?
Doth this gear please thee?

They please me well indeed!
The more sorrow, the more meed!
For God said, while he was a man,
_Beati qui persecutionem patiuntur propter justitiam_;
Unto his apostles he said so,
To teach them how they should do.

We shall see how they can please;
Sit down, sir, and take your ease;
Methink these same were full meet
To go about your fair feet.

By my truth, I you tell
They would become him very well;
Therefore hie that they were on,
Unto the tavern that we were gone.

That shall ye see anon,
How soon they shall be on;
And after we will not tarry long,
But go hence with a merry song.

Let us begin all at once.

Now have at thee, by Cock's bones,
And soon let us go!

[_Exeunt Pride, Youth, Riot, and Lechery_.]

Lo, masters, here you may see beforne,
That the weed overgroweth the corn:
Now may ye see all in this tide,
How vice is taken, and virtue set aside.
Yonder ye may see youth is unstable,
But evermore changeable;
And the nature of men is frail,
That he wotteth not what may avail
Virtue for to make.
O good Lord, it is a pitiful case,
Sith God hath lent man wit and grace
To choose of good and evil,
That man should voluntarily
To such things himself apply,
That his soul should spill.

Christ that was crucified, and crowned with thorn,
And of a virgin for man was born,
Some knowledge send to me
Of my brother Charity.

Dear brother Humility,
Ye be welcome unto me;
Where have ye be so long?

I shall do you to understand,
That I have said mine evensong;
But, sir, I pray you tell me now,
How this case happened to you?

I shall tell you anon;
The fellows that I told you on,
Have me thus arrayed.

Sir, I shall undo the bands
From your feet and your hands.
Sir, I pray you tell me anon
Whither they be gone,
And when they come again.

Sir, to the tavern they be gone,
And they will come again anon,
And that shall you see.

Then will we them exhort
Unto virtue to resort,
And to forsake sin.

I will help you that I can
To convert that wicked man.

Aback! gallants, and look unto me,
And take me for your special,
For I am promoted to high degree,
By right I am king eternal;
Neither duke ne lord, baron ne knight,
That may be likened unto me,
They be subdued to me by right,
As servants to their masters should be.

Ye be welcome to this place here;
We think ye labour all in vain;
Wherefore your brains we will stir,
And keel[16] you a little again.

Sayest thou my brains thou wilt stir,
I shall lay thee on the ear,
Were thou born in Trumpington,[17]
And brought up at Hogsnorton?[18]
By my faith it seemeth so;
Well, go, knave, go!

Do by our counsel and our reed,
And ask mercy for thy misdeed;
And endeavour thee, for God's sake,
For thy sins amends to make
Ere ever that thou die.

Hark, Youth, for God avow,
He would have thee a saint now;
But, Youth, I shall you tell
A young saint an old devil;
Therefore I hold thee a fool,
And thou follow his school.

I warrant thee I will not do so;
I will be ruled by you two.

Then shall ye do well,
If ye be ruled by our counsel;
We will bring you to high degree,
And promote you to dignity.

Sir, it is a pitiful case,
That ye would forsake grace,
And to vice apply.

Why, knave, doth it grieve thee!
Thou shalt not answer for me.
When my soul hangeth on the hedge once,
Then take thou, and cast stones,
As fast as thou wilt!

Sir, if it please you to do thus,
Forsake them and do after us,
The better shall you do.

Sir, he shall do well enou',
Though he be ruled by neither of you;
Therefore crake no longer here,
Lest you have on the ear,
And that a good knock.

Lightly see thou avoid the place,
Or I shall give thee on the face.
Youth, I trow that he would
Make you holy, ere ye be old;
And, I swear by the rood,
It is time enough to be good,
When that ye be old.

Sir, by my truth, I thee say
I will make merry, whiles I may,
I cannot tell you how long.

Yea, sir, so mot I thrive,
Thou art not certain of thy life;
Therefore thou wert a stark fool
To leave mirth and follow their school.

Sir, I shall him exhort
Unto us to resort,
And you to forsake.

Ask him if he will do so,
To forsake us and follow you two;
Nay, I warrant you, nay!

That shall you see even anon;
I will unto him gone,
And see what he will say.

Hardily go on thy way;
I know well he will say nay.

Yea, sir, by God that me dear bought,
Methink ye labour all for nought;
Weenest thou that I will for thee
Or thy brother Charity
Forsake this good company?
Nay, I warrant you.

No, master, I pray you of that,
For anything forsake us not,
And all our counsel rule you by;
Ye may be emperor, ere ye die.

While I have life in my body,
Shall I be ruled by Riot and thee.

Sir, then, shall ye do well,
For we be true as steel;
Sir, I can teach you to play at the dice,
At the queen's game[19] and at the Irish;[20]
The treygobet[21] and the hazard[22] also,
And many other games mo;
Also at the cards I can teach you to play,
At the triump and one-and-thirty,
Post,[23] pinion,[24] and also aums-ace,
And at another they call dewce-ace;
Yet I can tell you more, and ye will con me thank,
Pink[25] and drink, and also at the blank,[26]
And many sports mo.

I thank thee, Riot, so mot I the,
For the counsel thou hast given me;
I will follow thy mind in every thing,
And guide me after thy learning.

Youth, leave that counsel, for it is nought,
And amend that thou hast miswrought,
That thou may'st save that God hath bought.

What say ye, Master Charity?
What hath God bought?
By my troth, I know not
Whether he goeth in white or black;
He came never at the stews,
Nor in no place, where I do use;
I-wis he bought not my cap,
Nor yet my jolly hat;
I wot not what he hath bought for me;
And he bought anything of mine,
I will give him a quart of wine,
The next time I him meet.

Sir, this he did for thee;
When thou wast bond, he made thee free,
And bought thee with his blood.

Sir, I pray you tell me,
How may this be:
That I know, I was never bond
Unto none in England.

Sir, I shall tell you--
When Adam had done great trespass,
And out of Paradise exiled was;
Then all the souls, as I can you tell,
Were in the bondage of the devil of hell,
Till the Father of heaven, of his great mercy,
Sent the Second Person in Trinity
Us for to redeem,
And so with his precious blood
He bought us on the rood,
And our souls did save.

How should I save it, tell me now,
And I will be ruled after you
My soul to save.

What, youth; will ye forsake me?
I will not forsake thee.

I shall tell you shortly;
Kneel down and ask God mercy,
For that you have offended.

Youth, wilt thou do so?
Follow them, and let us go?
Marry, I trow, nay.

Here all sin I forsake,
And to God I me betake;
Good Lord, I pray thee have no indignation,
That I, a sinner, should ask salvation.

Now thou must forsake Pride,
And all Riot set aside.

I will not him forsake,
Neither early ne late;
I ween'd he would not forsake me;
But if it will none otherwise be,
I will go my way.

Sir, I pray God be your speed,
And help you at your need.

I am sure thou wilt not forsake me,
Nor I will not forsake thee.

I forsake you also,
And will not have with you to do.

And I forsake thee utterly:
Fie on thee, caitiff, fie!
Once a promise thou did me make,
That thou would me never forsake,
But now I see it is hard
For to trust the wretched world;
Farewell, masters, everychone.

For your sin look ye mourn,
And evil creatures look ye turn;
For your name, who maketh inquisition,
Say it is Good Contrition
That for sin doth mourn.

Here is a new array,
For to walk by the way,
Your prayer for to say.

Here be beads[27] for your devotion,
And keep you from all temptation;
Let not vice devour.
When you see misdoing men,
Good counsel give them,
And teach them to amend.

For my sin I will mourn,
All creatures I will turn;
And when I see misdoing men,
Good counsel I shall give them,
And exhort them to amend.

Then shall ye be an heritor of bliss,
Where all joy and mirth is.

To the which eternal
God bring the persons all
Here being, amen!

Thus have we brought our matter to an end
Before the persons here present;
Would every man be content,
Lest another day we be shent.

We thank all this presence
Of their meek audience.

Jesu that sitteth in heaven so high,
Save all this fair company:[28]
Men and women that here be,
Amen, amen, for Charity.[29]



_An Enterlude called Lusty Juuentus, lyuely describing the frailtie of
youth: of natur prone to vyce: by grace and good counsayll traynable to

The parsonages that speake.

Lusty Juuentus,
Good Counsaill,
Sathan the deuyll,
Abhominable Lyuyng,
Gods mercifull promises.

Foure maye playe it easely, takyng such partes as they thinke best: so
that any one take of those partes that be not in place at once.

[Col.] Imprynted at London, in Lothbury, ouer agaynst Sainct Margarits
Church, by Wyllyam Copland. 4 deg., black-letter_.[30]


The editor has been favoured with two copies of this moral interlude;
one of which is preserved in the library belonging to Lincoln
Cathedral,[31] the other is in the possession of Mr. Garrick. It was
written in the reign of Edward the Sixth by one R. Wever, of whom the
editor can give the reader no further information. The former was
printed at London by Abraham Vele. The latter is a very different copy
from the other. A more obsolete spelling runs through the whole, and it
contains great variations besides, which the reader will find at the
bottom of each page. The conclusion being imperfect, the printer's
colophon is wanting, so that it cannot be known where this edition was
printed. According to Dr Percy's tables, it was printed by Richard

The design of this interlude was to expose the superstitions of the
Romish Church, and to promote the Reformation. The stage (as the
learned Dr Percy observes) in those days literally was what wise men
have always wished it--a supplement to the pulpit: chapter and verse
are as formally quoted as in a sermon. See "Prologue of the Messenger,"
&c. From this play we learn that most of the young people were new
gospellers, or friends to the Reformation; and that the old were
tenacious of the doctrines imbibed in their youth, for thus the Devil
is introduced lamenting the downfall of superstition--

The old people would believe still in my laws,
But the younger sort lead them a contrary way;
They will not believe, they plainly say,
In old traditions and made by men,
But they will live as the scripture teacheth them, &c.

And in another place Hypocrisy urges--

The world was never merry,
Since children were so bold;
Now every boy will be a teacher,
The father a fool, and the child a preacher.

[This is certainly a piece of rather heavy and tedious morality,
replete with good instruction, but didactic to a fault. It is deficient
in the curious allusions, which abound in other productions of the same
kind; and even that mysterious character, _Abominable Living_, whose
introduction promises some amusement and illustration, moves off the
scene almost immediately after her first appearance, while _Little
Bess_, whose entrance might have been a vehicle for some diverting or
sentimental situation, does not "come on" at all.]



For as much as man is naturally prone
To evil from his youth, as Scripture doth recite,[33]
It is necessary that he be speedily withdrawn
From concupiscence of sin, his natural appetite:
An[34] order to bring up youth Ecclesiasticus doth write,--
An untamed horse will be hard, saith he,
And a wanton child wilful will be.

Give him no liberty in youth, nor his folly excuse,
Bow down his neck, and keep him in good awe,
Lest he be stubborn: no labour refuse
To train him to wisdom and teach him God's law,
For youth is frail and easy to draw
By grace to goodness, by nature to ill:
That nature hath ingrafted, is hard to kill.

Nevertheless, in youth men may be best
Trained to virtue by godly mean;
Vice may be so mortified and so supprest,
That it shall not break forth, yet the root will remain;
As in this interlude by youth you shall see plain,
From his lust by Good Counsel brought to godly conversation,
And shortly after to frail nature's inclination.
The enemy of mankind, Satan, through Hypocrisy
Feigned or chosen holiness of man's blind intent,
Forsaking[35] God's word, that leadeth right way,
Is brought to Fellowship and ungracious company,
To Abhominable Living till he be wholly bent,
And so to desperation, if good counsel were not sent
From God, that in trouble doth no man forsake
That doth call, and trust in him for Christ's sake.

Finally, youth by God's special grace
Doth earnestly repent his abhominable living
By the doctrine of good counsel, and to his solace
God's mercy entereth to him reciting
God's merciful promises, as they be in writing:
He believeth and followeth, to his great consolation.[36]
And these parts ye shall see briefly played in their fashion.

_Here entereth_ LUSTY JUVENTUS, _or_ YOUTH, _singing as followeth_:

In a herber[37] green, asleep[38] where as I lay,
The birds sang sweet in the middes of the day;
I dreamed fast of mirth and play:
In youth is pleasure, in youth is pleasure.

Methought I walked still to and fro,
And from her company I could not go;
But when I waked, it was not so:
In youth is pleasure, in youth is pleasure.

Therefore my heart is surely pight[39]
Of her alone to have a sight,
Which is my joy and heart's delight:
In youth is pleasure, in youth is pleasure.


LUSTY JUVENTUS, _or_ YOUTH, _speaketh_.

What, ho? Are they not here?
I am disappointed, by the blessed mass!
I had thought to have found them making good cheer;
But now they are gone to some secret place.
Well, seeing they are gone, I do not greatly pass;[40]
Another time I will hold them as much,
Seeing they break[41] promise, and keep not the tweche.[42]

What shall I do now to pass away the day?
Is there any man here that will go to game?
At whatsoever he[43] will play,
To make one I am ready to the same:
Youth full of pleasure is my proper name.
To be alone is not my appetite,[44]
For of all things in the world I love merry company.

Who knoweth where is e'er a minstrel?
By the mass, I would fain go dance a fit[45]
My companions[46] are at it, I know right well;
They do not all this while in a corner sit:
Against another time they have taught me[47] wit:
I beshrew their hearts for serving me this,[48]
I will go seek them, whether I hit or miss.

_Here entereth_ GOOD COUNSEL, _to whom_ YOUTH _yet speaketh_.

Well i-met, father, well i-met:
Did you hear any minstrels play,
As you came hitherward upon your way?
And if you did, I pray you wish[49] me thither,
For I am going to seek them, and, in faith, I know not whither.

Sir, I will ask you a question by your favour:
What would you with the minstrel do?

Nothing but have a dance or two,
To pass the time away in pleasure.

If that be the matter, I promise you sure,
I am the more sorrier that it should so be;
For there is no such passing the time appointed in the Scripture,
Nor yet thereunto it doth not agree!
I wish that ye would so use your liberty,
To walk as you are bound to do,
According to the vocation which God hath called you to.

Why, sir, are you angry, because I have spoken so?
By the mass, it is alone for my appetite.

Show me your name, I pray you heartily,
And then I will my mind express.

My name is called Juventus, doubtless:
Say what you will, I will give you the hearing.

For as much as God hath created you of nothing,
Unto his own likeness by spiritual illumination,
It is unmeet that ye should lead your living
Contrary to his godly determination.
Saint Paul unto the Ephesians giveth good exhortation,
Saying, walk circumspectly, redeeming the time;
That is, to spend it well, and not to wickedness incline.

No, no, hardily none of mine;
If I would live so strait, you might count me a fool;
Let them keep those rules, which are doctors divine,
And have be brought up all their days in school.

Moses in the law exhorteth his people,
As in the book of Deuteronomy he doth plainly write,
That they should live obedient and thankful;
For in effect[50] these words he doth recite:
All ye this day stand before the Lord's sight,
Both princes, rulers, elders, and parents,
Children, wives, young, and old; therefore obey his commandments.

I am too young to understand his documents;[51]
Wherefore did all they stand before his presence?

To enter with God peace and alliance,
Promising that they would him honour, fear, and serve:
All kind of people were bound in those covenants,
That from his law they should never swerve;
For God useth no partiality.

What, am I bound, as well as the clergy,
To learn and follow his precepts and law?

Yea, surely, or else God will withdraw
His mercy from you, promised in his covenant;
For, except you live under his obedience and awe,
How can you receive the benefits of his Testament?
For he that[52] submitteth himself to be a servant,
And his master's commandment will not fulfil nor regard,
According as he hath done, is worthy his reward.

It is as true a saying as ever I heard;
Therefore your name, I pray you[53] now tell,
For, by my truth, your communication I like wonders well.

My name is called Good Counsel.

Good Counsel?
Now, in faith, I cry you mercy:
I am sorry that I have you thus offended;
But, I pray you, bear with me patiently,
And my misbehaviour shall be amended:
I know my time I have rudely spended,
Following my own lust, being led by ignorance;
But now I hope of better knowledge through your acquaintance.

I pray God guide you with his gracious assistance
Unto the knowledge of his truth, your ignorance to undo,
That you may be one of those numbered Christians,
Which followeth the lamb whither he doth go:
The lamb Jesus Christ my meaning is so,
By sure faith and confidence in his bitter death and passion,
The only price of our health and salvation.

Sir, I thank you for your hearty oration:
And now, I pray you, show me your advisement,
How I may live in this my vocation,
According to God's will and commandment.

First of all, it is most expedient,
That you exercise yourself in continual prayer,
That it might please the Lord omnipotent
To send unto you his holy spirit and comforter,
Which will lead you every day and hour
Unto the knowledge of his word and verity,
Wherein you may learn to live most christianly.

O Lord, grant me of thy infinite[54] mercy
[_He kneeleth_.
The true knowledge of thy[55] law and will,
And illumine my heart with spirit continually,
That I may[56] be apt thy holy precepts to fulfil;
Strengthen me, that I may persever still
Thy commandments to obey:
And then shall I never slip nor fall away.
[_He riseth_.

Full true be these words, which Christ himself did say,
He that seeketh shall surely find.

KNOWLEDGE _entereth_.
Behold, Youth, now rejoice we may,
For I see Knowledge of God['s][57] Verity stand here behind:
He is come now to satisfy your mind
In those things which you will desire;
Therefore together let us approach him near.

Ah, Good Counsel, now[58] it doth appear,
That God never rejecteth the humbles[t] petition.

Now the Lord bless you all with his heavenly benediction,
And with his fiery love your hearts inflame,
That of his merciful promises you may have the fruition,
The subtlety of the devil utterly to defame.
Now, good Christian audience, I will express my name,
The True Knowledge of God's Verity, this[59] my name doth hight,
Whom God hath appointed to give the blind their sight.

All praise be given to that Lord of might,
Which hath appointed you hither at this present hour;
For I trust you will so instruct youth aright,
That he shall live according to God's pleasure.

And I thank Jesus Christ my Saviour,
That he is come to my company.


I thank you, my friends, most heartily
For your gentle salutation.

Sir, I will be so bold, by your deliberation,
To open my mind unto you now,
Trusting that, by your good exhortation,
I shall learn those things which I never knew:
This one thing chiefly I would learn of you,
How I may my life in this my vocation lead,
According as God hath ordained and decreed.

The prophet David saith, that the man is blessed,
Which doth exercise himself in the law of the Lord,
And doth not follow the way of the wicked;
As the first psalm doth plainly record:[60]
The fourscore and thirteenth psalm thereunto doth accord;
Blessed is the man whom thou teachest, O Lord, saith he,
To learn thy[61] law, precepts, word, or verity.
And Christ in the gospel saith manifestly:
Blessed is he which heareth the Word of God and keepeth it;
That is, to believe his word and live accordingly,
Declaring the faith by the fruits of the spirit,
Whose fruits are these, as St. Paul to the Galathi doth write,
Love, joy, peace, long suffering, and faithfulness,
Meekness, goodness, temperance, and gentleness.

By[62] these words, which unto you he doth express,
He teacheth that you ought to have a steadfast faith;
Without the which[63] it is impossible doubtless
To please God, as Saint Paul saith:
Where faith is not, godly living decayeth;
For whatsoever is not of faith, saith St. Paul, is sin,
But where a perfect faith is, there is good working.

It seemeth to me, that this is[64] your meaning,
That, when I observe God's commandments and the works of charity,
They shall prevail unto me nothing,
Except I believe to be saved thereby.

No, no, you are deceived very blindly;
For faith in Christ's merits doth only justify,
And make us righteous in God's sight.

Why should I then in good[65] works delight,
Seeing I shall not be saved by them?

Because they are required of all Christian men,
As the necessary fruits of true repentance.

But the reward of the heavenly inheritance
Is given us through faith, for Christ's deservings;
As St. Paul declareth in the fourth chapter to the Romans,
Therefore we ought not to work as hirelings:
Seeing Christ hath purged us once from all our wicked living,
Let us no more wallow therein,
But persever, like good branches, bearing fruit in Him.

Now I know where about you have been:
My elders never taught me so before.

Though your elders were blind, doubt not you therefore;
For Saint Peter saith, vain is the conversations
Which ye receive by your elders' traditions.

I will gladly receive your godly admonitions:
But yet, I pray you, show me the cause
That they, being men of great discretions,
Did not instruct me in God's laws,
According to His will and ordinance.

Because they themselves were wrapped in ignorance,
Being deceived by false preachers.

O Lord, deliver me from wicked teachers,
That I be not deceived with their false doctrine.

To God's word you must only incline;
All other doctrine clean set apart.

Surely that I will from the bottom of my heart;
And I thank the living God which hath given me the knowledge
To know His doctrine from the false and pervart,[66]
I being yet young and full tender of age;
And that He hath made me partaker of the heavenly inheritage,
Of his own[67] mercy, and not of my deserving,
For hell I have deserved by my sinful working.
I know right well, my elders and parents
Have of a long time deceived be
With blind hypocrisy and superstitious intents,
Trusting in their own works, which is nothing but vanity;
Their steps shall not be followed for me:
Therefore, I pray you, show me a brief conclusion,
How I ought to live in Christian religion.

The first beginning of wisdom, as saith the wise Solomon,
Is to fear God with all thy[68] heart and power;
And then thou must believe all his promises without any exception,
And that He will perform them both constant and sure:
And then, because He is thy only Saviour,
Thou must love Him with all thy soul and mind,
And thy neighbour as thyself, because he hath so assigned.

To love my neighbour as myself? I cannot be so[69] kind:
I pray you tell me, what mean you?

My meaning is, as Christ saith in the sixth chapter of Matthew,[70]
To do to Him as you would be done to.

I pray God give me grace so for to do,
That unto His will I may be obedient.

Here you shall receive Christ's testament
To comfort your conscience, when need shall require,
To learn the contents thereof, see that you be diligent;
The which all Christian men ought to desire,
For it is the well or fountain most clear,
Out of the which doth spring sweet consolation
To all those that[71] thirst after eternal salvation.

Therein shall you find most wholesome preservation
Both in troubles, persecutions, sickness, and adversity,
And a sure defence in the time of temptation,
Against whom the devil cannot prevail with all his army:
And, if you persever therein unfeignedly,
It will set your heart at such quietness and rest,
Which cannot[72] never be turned with storms nor tempest.

With this thing you must neither flatter nor jest,
But stedfastly believe it every day and hour,
And let your conversation openly protest,
That of your heart it is the most precious treasure:
And then your godly example shall other men procure
To learn and exercise the same also:
I pray God strengthen you so for to do.

Now for this godly knowledge which you have brought me to,
I beseech the living God reward[73] you again:
From your company I will never depart nor go,
So long as in this life I do remain;
For in this book I see manifest and plain,
That he that followeth his own lusts and imagination,
Keepeth the ready path to everlasting damnation:
And he that leadeth[74] a godly conversation
Shall be brought[75] to such quietness, joy, and peace,
Which in comparison passeth all worldly gloriation,
Which cannot endure, but shortly cease.
Both the time and hour I may now bless,
That I met with you, father Good Counsel,
To bring me to the knowledge of this[76] heavenly gospel.

This your profession I like very well,
So that you intend to live according;
I pray God, your living do not rebel,
But ever agree unto your saying,
That, when ye shall make accounts or reckoning,
Of this talent which you have received,
You may be one of those, with whom the Lord shall be pleased.

For this conversation of Youth the Lord's name be praised:
Let us now depart for a season.

To give God the glory it is convenient and reason:
If you will depart, I will not tarry.

And I will never forsake your company,
While I live in this world.

_Here entereth the_ DEVIL.

O, O, all too late!
I trow this gear will come to naught;
For I perceive my power doth abate,
For all the policy that ever I have wrought:
Many and sundry ways I have fought,
To have the Word of God deluded utterly;
O for sorrow! yet it will not be.
I have done the best that I can,
And my mistress also in every place,
To root it clean from the heart of man;
And yet for all that it flourisheth apace;
I am sore in dread to show my face,
My auctority and works are so greatly despised,
My inventions, and all that ever I have devised.
O, O, full well I know the cause,
That my estimation doth thus decay;
The old people would believe still in my laws,
But the younger sort lead them a contrary way;
They will not believe, they plainly say,
In old traditions and made by men,
But they will live, as the Scripture teacheth them.
Out, I cry, upon them, they do me open wrong,
To bring up their children thus in knowledge;
For, if they will not follow my ways, when, they are young,
It is hard turning them when they come to age:
I must needs find some means this matter to 'suage;
I mean, to turn their hearts from the Scripture quite,
That in carnal pleasures they may have more delight.
Well, I will go haste[78] to infect this youth
Through the enticement of my son Hypocrisy,
And work some proper feat to stop his mouth,
That he may lead his life carnally:
I had never more need my matters to apply.
O my child Hypocrisy, where art thou?
I charge thee of my blessing appear before me now.

[_Here entereth_ HYPOCRISY.

O, O, quoth he, keep again the sow;
I come as fast as I can, I warrant you:
Where is he that hath the sow to sell?
I will give him money, if I like her well;
Whether it be sow or hog, I do not greatly care,
For by my occupation I am a butcher.

O my child, how dost thou fare?

_Sancti amen_, who have we there?
By the mass, I will buy none of thy ware;
Thou art a chapman for the devil.

What, my son, canst thou not tell,
Who is here, and what I am?
I am thine own father Satan.

Be you so, sir? I cry you mercy then;
You may say I am homely, and lack learning,
To liken my father's voice unto a sow's groaning:
But, I pray you, show me the cause and why,
That you called me hither so hastily?

Ah, Hypocrisy, I am undone utterly.

Utterly undone! nay, stop there hardily;
For I myself do know the contrary
By daily experience:
Do not I yet reign abroad?
And as long as I am in the world,
You have some treasure and substance.
I suppose I have been the flower
In setting forth thy laws and power
Without any delay:
By the mass, if I had not been,
Thou haddest not been worth a Flander's pin
At this present day.
The time were too long now to declare,
How many and great the number are,
Which have deceived be;
And brought clean from God's law
Unto thy yoke and awe,
Through the enticement of me.
I have been busied since the world began,
To graff thy laws in the heart of man,
Where they ought to be refused:
And I have so mingled God's commandments
With vain zeals and blind intents,
That they be greatly abused.
I set up great idolatry
With all[79] kind of filthy sodometry,
To give mankind a fall:
And I [have] brought up such superstition,
Under the name of holiness and religion.
That deceived almost all.
As holy cardinals, holy popes,
Holy vestments, holy copes,
Holy hermits and friars,
Holy priests, holy bishops,
Holy monks, holy abbots,
Yea, and all obstinate[80] liars:
Holy pardons, holy beads,
Holy saints, holy images,
With holy, holy blood,
Holy stocks, holy stones,
Holy clouts, holy[81] bones;
Yea, and holy holy wood.
Holy skins, holy bulls,
Holy rochets and cowls,
Holy crouches and staves,
Holy hoods, holy caps,
Holy mitres, holy hats;
Ah good holy holy knaves.
Holy days, holy fastings,
Holy twitching, holy tastings,
Holy visions and sights,
Holy wax, holy lead,
Holy water, holy bread,
To drive away spirits.
Holy fire, holy palm,
Holy oil, holy cream,
And holy ashes also;
Holy brooches, holy rings,
Holy kneeling, holy censings,
And a hundred trim-trams mo.
Holy crosses, holy bells,
Holy relics, holy jewels,
Of mine own invention;
Holy candles, holy tapers,
Holy parchments, holy papers:
Had not you a holy son?

All these things, which thou hast done,
My honour and laws hath maintained;
But now, O alas! one thing is begun,[82]
By the which my kingdom is greatly decayed;
I shall lese all, I am sore afraid:
Except thy help, I know right plain,
I shall never be able to recover it again.
God's Word is so greatly sprung up in youth,
That he little regardeth my laws or me;
He telleth his parents that is very truth,
That they of long time have deceived be:
He saith according to Christ's verity
All his doings he will order and frame,
Mortifying the flesh with the lusts of the same.

Ah, sirrah, there beginneth the game:
What, is Juventus become so tame,
To be a New Gospeller?

As fast as I do make, he doth mar;
He hath[83] followed so long the steps of Good Counsel,
That Knowledge and he together doth dwell;
For who is so busy in every place as youth,
To read and declare the manifest truth?
But, O Hypocrisy, if thou could stop his mouth,
Thou shouldst win my heart for ever.

What would you have me to do in the matter?
Show me therein your advisement.

I would have thee go incontinent,
And work some crafty[84] feat or policy,
To set Knowledge and him at controversy;
And his company thyself greatly use,
That God's Word he may clean abuse.

At your request I will not refuse
To do that thing, which in me doth lie:
Doubt ye not, but I will excuse
Those things, which he doth plainly deny;
And I will handle my matters so craftily,
That, ere he cometh to man's state,
God's Word and his living shall be clean at the bate.

Thou shalt have my blessing both early and late;
And, because thou shalt all my counsel keep,
Thou shalt call thy[85] name Friendship.

By the mass, it is a name full meet
For my proper and amiable person.

O, farewell, farewell, my son;
Speed thy business, for I must be gone. [_Exit_.[86]

I warrant you, let me alone.
I will be with Juventus anon,
And that, ere he be ware;
And, i-wis, if he walk not straight,
I will use such a sleight,
That shall trap him in a snare.
How shall I bring this gear to pass?
I can tell now, by the mass,
Without any more advisement:
I will infect him with wicked company,
Whose conversation shall be so fleshly,
Yea, able to overcome an innocent.
This wicked Fellowship
Shall him company keep
For a while:
And then I will bring in
Abhominable[87] Living,
Him to beguile.
With words fair I will him 'tice,
Telling him of a girl nice,
Which shall him somewhat move;
Abhominable Living though she be,
Yet he shall no other ways see,
But she is for to love.
She shall him procure
To live in pleasure,
After his own phantasy;
And my matter to frame,
I will call her name
Unknowen Honesty.
This[88] will I convey
My matter, I say,
Somewhat handsomely;
That, through wicked Fellowship
And false pretended Friendship,
Youth shall live carnally.
Trudge, Hypocrisy, trudge!
Thou art a good drudge,
To serve the devil:
If thou shouldest lie and lurk,
And not intend thy work,
Thy master should do full evil.

_Here entereth YOUTH, to whom HYPOCRISY yet speaketh_.

What, Master Youth?
Well i-met, by my truth;
And whither away?
You are the last man,
Which I talked[89] on,
I swear, by this day.
Methought by your face,
Ere you came in place,
It should be you:
Therefore I did abide

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