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

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Here in this tide[90]
For your coming, this is true.

For your gentleness, sir, most heartily I thank you,
But yet you must hold me somewhat excused;
For to my simple knowledge I never knew,
That you and I together were acquainted:
But nevertheless, if you do it renew,
Old acquaintance will soon[91] be remembered.

Ah, now I see well, Youth is feathered,
And his crumbs he hath well gathered,
Since I spake with him last;
A poor man's tale cannot now be heard,
As in times past.
I cry you mercy, I was somewhat bold,
Thinking that you mastership would
Not have been so strange;
But now I perceive, that promotion
Causeth[92] both man, manners, and fashion
Greatly for to change.

You are to blame this[93] me to challenge;
For I think I am not he, which you take me for.

Yes, I have known you ever since you were bore;
Your age is yet under a score,
Which I can well remember:
I-wis, i-wis, you and I
Many a time have been full merry,
When you were young and tender.

Then, I pray you,[94] let us reason no lenger;
But first show your nomination.

Of my name to make declaration
Without any dissimulation,
I am called Friendship:
Although I be simple and rude of fashion,
Yet by lineage and generation
I am nigh kin to your mastership.

What, Friendship?
I am glad to see that you be merry;
By my truth, I had almost you forgot,
By long absence brought out of memory.

By the mass, I love you so heartily,
That there is none so welcome to my company:
I pray you, tell me whither are you going?

My intention is, to go hear a preaching.

A preaching, quod-a? ah, good little one!
By Christ, she will make you cry out of the winning,
If you follow her instruction so early in the morning.

Full great[95] I do abhor this your wicked saying;
For, no doubt, they increase much sin and vice:
Therefore I pray you, show not your meaning,
For I delight not in such foolish fantasies.

Surely, then you are the more unwise:
You may have a spurt amongst them now and then;
Why should not you, as well as other men?

As for those filthy doings[96] I utterly detest them;
I will hear no more of your wicked communication.

If I may be so bold by your deliberation,
What will you do at a preaching?

Learn some wholesome and godly teaching
Of the true minister of Christ's gospel.

Tush, what he will say, I know right well;
He will say that God is a good man,[97]
He can make him no better, and say the best he can.

I know that, but what then?
The more that God's Word is preached and taught,
The greater the occasion is to all Christian men
To forsake their sinful livings, both wicked, vile and naught:
And to repent their former evils, which they have wrought,
Trusting by Christ's death to be redeemed:
And he that this doth shall never be deceived.

Well said, master doctor, well said!
By the mass, we must have you into the pulpit:
I pray you be remembered, and cover your head;
For indeed you have need to keep in your wit:
Ah, sirrah, who would have thought it,
That youth had been such a well-learned man!
Let me see your portous,[98] gentle Sir John!

No, it is not a book for you[99] to look on,
You ought not to jest with God's Testament.

What, man? I pray you be content;
For I do nothing else, but say my phantasy:
But yet, if you would do after my advisement,
In that matter you should not be so busy;
Was not your father as well-learned as ye?
And if he had said then as you have now done,
I-wis he had been like to make a burn.

It were much better for me than to return
From my faith in Christ and the profession of his word.

Whether is better a halter or a cord,
I cannot tell, I swear by God's mother:
But I think[100] you will have the one or the other:
Will you lose all your friends' good will,
To continue in that opinion still?
Was there not as well-learned men before as now?
Yea, and better too, I may say to you?
And they taught[101] the younger sort of people
By the elders to take an example:
And if I did not love you, as nature doth me bind,
You should not know so much of my mind.

Whether were[102] I better to be ignorant and blind,
And to be damned in hell for infidelity;
Or to learn godly knowledge, wherein I shall find
The right path-way to eternal felicity?

Can you deny, but it is your duty
Unto your elders to be obedient?

I grant I am bound to obey my parents
In all things honest and lawful.

Lawful, quod-a? ah, fool, fool!
Wilt[103] thou set men to school,
When they be old?
I may say to you secretly,
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 pretty gear:
The foul presumption[104] of youth
Will turn shortly to great ruth,
I fear, I fear, I fear.

The sermon will be done, ere I can come there:
I care not greatly whether I go or no;
And yet for my promise, by God I swear,
There is no remedy but I must needs go:
Of my companions there will be mo,
And I promised them, by God's grace,
To meet them there as the sermon was.

For once breaking promise do not you pass;
Make some excuse the matter to cease,
What have they to do?
And you and I were, I wot[105] where,
We would be as merry as there,
Yea, and merrier too.

I would gladly in your company go;
But, if my companions should chance to see,
They would report full evil by me:
And peradventure, if I should[106] it use,
My company they would clean refuse.

What, are those fellows so curious,
That yourself you cannot excuse?
I will teach you the matter to convey;
Do what your own lust, and say as they say;
And if you be reproved with your own affinity,
Bid them pluck the beam out of their own eye:
The old popish priests mock and despise,
And the ignorant people, that believe their lies,
Call them papists, hypocrites, and joining of the plough;
Face[107] out the matter, and then good enough!
Let your book at your girdle be tied,
Or else in your bosom that he may be spied;
And then it will be said both with youth and age,
Yonder fellow hath an excellent knowledge.
Tush, tush!
I could so beat[108] the bush,
That all should be flush,
That ever I did.

Now, by my truth, you are merrily disposed;
Let us go thither as you think best.

How say you? shall we go to breakfast?
Will you go to the pie-feast?
Or, by the mass, if thou wilt be my guest,
It shall cost thee nothing;
I have a furny card in a place,
That will bear a turn besides the ace,
She purveys now apace
For my coming:
And if thou wilt sibber[109] as well as I,
We shall have merry company:
And I warrant thee, if we have not a pie,
We shall have a pudding.

By the mass, that meat I love above all thing;
You may draw me about the town with a pudding.[110]

Then you shall see my cunning:
A poor shift for a living
Amongest poor men used is;
The kind heart of hers
Hath eased my purse,
Many a time ere this.

[_Here entereth_ FELLOWSHIP.

I marvel greatly where Friendship is;
He promised to meet me here ere this time:
I beshrew his heart, that his[111] promise doth miss;
And then be ye sure, it shall not be mine.

Yes, Fellowship, that it shall be thine,
For I have tarried here this hour or twain;
And this honest gentleman in my company hath been,
To abide your coming, this thing is plain.

By the mass, if you chide, I will[112] be gone again;
For in faith, Friendship, I may say to thee,
I love not to be there, where chiders be.

No, God it knoweth, you are so full of honesty,
As a mary-bone is full of honey:
But, sirrah, I pray you, bid this gentleman welcome,
For he is desirous in your company to come:
I tell you he is a man of the right making;
And one that hath excellent learning;
At his girdle he hath such a book,
That the Popish priests dare not in him look:
This is a fellow for the nonce.

I love him the better, by God's[113] precious bones:
You are heartily welcome, as I may say,
I shall desire you of better acquaintance;[114]
That of your company be bold I may,
You may be sure, if in me it lie
To do you pleasure, you should it find:
For, by the mass, I love you both with heart and mind.

To say the same to you your gentleness doth me bind;
And I thank you heartily for your kindness.

Well[115] you see this gentleman fines[116]
Your gentleness and your kindness,
I thank him, and I thank you;
And I think, if the truth were sought,[117]
The one bad and the other naught,
Never a good, I make God a vow!
But yet, Fellowship, tell me one thing,
Did you see little Bess this morning?
We should have our breakfast yesternight, she said,
But she hath forgotten it now, I am afraid.

Her promise shall be performed and paid;
For I spake with her, since the time I rose,
And then she told me how the matter goeth:
We must be with her between eight and nine,
And then her master and mistress will be at the preaching.

I purposed myself there to have been;
But this man provoked me to the contrary,
And told me that we should have merry company.

Merry, quod-a? we cannot choose but be merry;
For there is such a girl where as we go,
Which will make us to[118] be merry, whether we will or no.

The ground is the better on the which she doth go;
For she will make better cheer with that[119] little, which she can get,
Than many a[120] one can with a great banket of meat.

To be in her company my heart is set;
Therefore, I pray you, let us be gone.

She will come for us[121] herself anon;
For I told her before, where we would stand,
And then, she said, she would beck us with her hand.

Now, by the mass, I perceive that she is a gallant:
What, will she take pains to come for us hither?

Yea, I warrant you; therefore you must be familiar with her:
When she cometh in place,
You must her embrace
Somewhat handsomely;
Lest she think it[122] danger,
Because you are a stranger,
To come in your company.

Yea,[123] by God's foot, that I will be busy,
And I may say to you, I can play the knave secretly.

[_Here entereth_ ABHOMINABLE LIVING.[124]

Hem! come away quickly,
The back door is open;[125] I dare not tarry:
Come, Fellowship, come on away!

What, Unknown Honesty? a word!
[_Draws_ A. L. _aside_.[126]
You shall not go yet, by God I swear;
Here is none but your friends, you need not to fray,
Although, this strange young gentleman be here.

I trust, in me she will think no danger;
For I love well the company of fair women.

Who, you? nay, ye are such a holy man,
That to touch one ye dare not be bold;
I think,[127] you would not kiss a young woman,
If one would give you twenty pound in gold.

Yes, by the mass, that I would;
I could find in my heart to kiss you in your smock.

My back is broad enough to bear away that mock
For one hath told me many a time,
That you[128] have said you would use no such wanton company as mine.

By dog's[129] precious wounds, that was some whoreson[130] villain;
I will never eat meat that shall do me good,
Till I have cut his flesh, by God's precious blood:
Tell me, I pray you, who it was,
And I will trim the knave, by the blessed mass.

Tush! as for that, do not you pass;
That which I told you was but for love.

She did nothing else but prove,
Whether a little[131] thing would you move
To be angry and fret;
What, and if one had said so?
Let such trifling matters go,
And be good to men's flesh for all that.

To kiss her since she came, I had clean forgot:
You are welcome to my company.

Sir, I thank you most heartily;
By your kindness it doth appear.

What a hurly-burly is here!
Smick smack, and all this gear!
You will to tick-tack,[132] I fear,
If you[133] had time:
Well, wanton, well;
I-wis, I can tell,
That such smock-smell
Will set your nose out of tune.

What, man? you need not to fume,
Seeing he is come into my company now;
He is as well welcome as the best of you:
And if it lie in me to do him pleasure,
He shall have it, you may ye sure.

Then old acquaintance is clean out of favour:
Lo, Friendship, this gear goeth with a sleight;[134]
He hath driven us twain out of conceit.

Out of conceit, quod-a? no, no;
I dare well say, she thinketh not so:
How say you, Unknown Honesty?
Do not you love Fellowship and me?

Yea, by the mass, I love you all three;
But yet indeed, if I should say the truth,
Amongst all other, welcome Master Youth.

Full greatly I do delight to kiss your pleasant mouth.
I am not able your kindness to recompence;
I long to talk with you secretly, therefore let us go hence.

I agree to that; for I would not for twenty pence,[135]
That it were known where I have been.

What, and it were known? it is no deadly[136] sin:
As for my part, I do not greatly care,
So that they find not your proper buttocks bare.

Now much fie upon you! how bawdy[137] you are!
I-wis, Friendship, it mought[138] have been spoken at twice:
What think you, for your saying that the people will surmise?

Who dare be so bold us to despise?
And if I may hear a knave speak one word,
I will run thorough his cheeks with my sword.

This is an earnest fellow, of God's Word!
See, I pray you, how he is disposed to fight!

Why should I not, and if my cause be right?
What, and if a knave do me beguile,
Shall I stand crouching like an owl?
No, no; then you might count me a very cow;
I know what belongeth to God's law as well as you.

Your wit therein greatly I do allow;
For, and if I were a man, as you are,
I would not stick to give a blow,
To teach other knaves to beware,
I beshrew you twice, and if you do spare,
But lay load on the flesh, whatsoever befall,
You have strength enough to do it with all.

Let us depart, and if that we shall;
Come on, masters, we twain will go before.

Nay, nay, my friend, stop there;
It is not you, that shall have her away,
She shall go with me, and if she go to-day--

She shall go with none of you, I dare well say;

To forsake any of your company I would be very loth;
Therefore I will follow you all three.

Now I beshrew his heart, that to that will not agree;
But yet because the time shall not seem very long,
Ere we depart, let us have a merry song.

_They sing as followeth_:

Why should not youth fulfil his own mind,
As the course of nature doth him bind?
Is not everything ordained to do his kind?
_Report me to you, report me to you_.

Do not the flowers spring fresh and gay,
Pleasant and sweet in the month of[139] May?
And when their time cometh, they fade away.
_Report me to you, report me to you_.

Be not the trees in winter bare?
Like unto their kind, such they are;
And when they spring, their fruits declare.
_Report me to you, report me to you_.

What should youth do with the fruits of age,
But live in pleasure in his[140] passage?
For when age cometh, his lusts will suage.
_Report me to you, report me to you_.

Why should not youth fulfil his own mind,
As the course of nature doth him bind? &c.
[_They go forth_.

_Here entereth_ GOOD COUNSEL.

O merciful Lord, who can cease to lament,
Or keep his heart from continual mourning,
To see how Youth is fallen from thy word and testament,[141]
And wholly inclined to Abhominable Living?
He liveth nothing according to his professing;[142]
But, alas! his life is to thy word['s] abusion,
Except thy great mercy, to his utter confusion.
O, where is now[143] the godly conversation,
Which should be among the professors[144] of thy word!
O, where may a man find now one faithful congregation,[145]
That is not infected with dissension or discord?
Or amongst whom are all vices utterly abhorred![146]
O, where is the brotherly love between man and man!
We may lament the time our vice began.
O, where is the peace and meekness, long suffering and temperance,
Which are the fruits of God's holy spirit?
With whom is the flesh brought under obedience,
Or who readeth the scripture with intent to follow it?
Who useth not now covetousness and deceit?
Who giveth unto the poor that which is due?
I think, in this world few that live now.
O, where is the godly example, that parents should give
Unto their young family by godly and virtuous living?
Alas! how wickedly[147] do they themselves live,
Without any fear of God or his righteous threatening!
They have no respect unto the dreadful reckoning,
Which shall be required of us, when the Lord shall come,
As a rightful judge at the day of doom.
O, what a joyful sight was it for to see,
When Youth began God's word to embrace?
Then he promised Godly Knowledge and me,
That from our instruction he would never turn his face;
But now he walketh, alas! in the ungodly's chase!
Heaping sin upon sin, vice upon vice:
[_Here entereth_ JUVENTUS.
He that liveth most ungodly is counted most wise--

Who is here playing at the dice?
I heard one speak of cinque[148] and sice[149];
His words did me entice
Hither to come.

Ah, Youth, Youth, whither dost thou run?
Greatly I do bewail thy miserable estate;
The terrible plagues, which in God's law are written,
Hang over thy head both early and late:
O fleshly Capernite, stubborn and obstinate,
Thou hadst liever forsake Christ, thy Saviour and King,
Than thy fleshly swinish lusts and abhominable living.

What, old whoreson, art thou a-chiding?
I will play a spurt, why should I not?
I set not[150] a mite by thy checking:
What hast thou to do, and if I lose my coat?
I will trill the bones, while I have one groat;
And, when there is no more ink in the pen,[151]
I will make a shift,[152] as well as other men.

Then I perceive you have forgotten clean
The promise, that you made unto Knowledge and me:
You said such fleshly fruits should not be seen;
But to God's word your life should agree.
Full true be the words of the prophet Hose,
No verity nor knowledge of God is now in the land,
But abhominable vices hath gotten the upper hand.

Your mind therein I do well understand:
You go about my living to despise,
But you will not see the beams in your own eyes.

The devil hath you deceived, which is the author of lies,
And trapped[153] you in his snare of wicked Hypocrisy;
Therefore all that ever you do devise,
Is to maintain your fleshly liberty.

I marvel, why you do this[154] reprove me;
Wherein do I my life abuse?

Your whole conversation I may well accuse,
As in my conscience just occasion I find;
Therefore be not offended, although I express my mind.

By the mass, if thou tell not truth, I will not be behind
To touch you as well again.

For this thing most chiefly I do complain:[155]
Have you not professed the knowledge of Christ's gospel?
And yet, I think, no more ungodliness doth reign
In any wicked heathen, Turk, or infidel;
Who can devise that sin or evil,
That you practise not from day to day?
Yea, and count it nothing but a jest or a play.
Alas! what wantonness remaineth in your flesh!
How desirous are you to accomplish your own will!
What pleasure and delight have you in wickedness!
How diligent are you your lusts to fulfil!
St Paul saith, that you ought your fleshly lusts to kill:
But unto his teaching your life ye will not frame;
Therefore in vain you bear a Christian name.
Read the Five to the Galatians, and there you shall see,
That the flesh rebelleth against the spirit,
And that your own flesh is your[156] most utter[157] enemy,
If in your soul's health you do delight:
The time were too long now to recite,
What whoredom, uncleanness, and filthy communication
Is dispersed with youth in every congregation.
To speak of pride, envy, and abhominable oaths,
They are the common practices of youth,
To avance your flesh, you cut and jag your clothes,
And yet ye are a great gospeller in the mouth:
What shall I say for this blaspheming[158] the truth?
I will show you what St Paul doth declare
In his Epistle to the Hebrews and the tenth chapter.
For him, saith he, which doth willingly sin or consent,
After he hath received the knowledge of the verity,
Remaineth no more sacrifice, but a fearful looking for judgment,
And a terrible[159] fire, which shall consume the adversary;
And Christ saith that this blasphemy
Shall never be pardoned nor forgiven
In this world, nor in the world to come.

JUVENTUS [_He lieth down_].
Alas, alas! what have I wrought and done!
Here in this place I will fall down desperate;
To ask for mercy now, I know, it is too late.
Alas, alas! that ever I was begat!
I would to God I had never been born!
All faithful men, that behold this[160] wretched state,
May very justly laugh me to scorn;
They may say, my time I have evil-spent and worn,
Thus in my first age to work my own destruction:
In the eternal pains is my part and portion.

Why, Youth, art thou fallen into desperation?
What, man, pluck up thine heart, and rise,
Although thou see nothing now but thy condemnation,
Yet it may please God again to open thy eyes:
Ah, wretched creature, what doest thou surmise?
Thinkest not that God's mercy doth exceed thy sin?
Remember his Merciful Promises, and comfort thyself in him.

O sir, this state is so miserable, the which I lie in,
That my comfort and hope from me is separated:
I would to God I had never been!
Woe worth the time, that ever I was created!

Ah, frail[161] vessel, unfaithful and faint-hearted,
Doest thou think that God is so merciless,
That when the sinner doth repent, and is converted,
That he will not fulfil his merciful promises?

Alas, sir! I am in such heaviness,
That his promises I cannot remember.

In thy wickedness continue no lenger;
But trust in the Lord without any fear,
And his Merciful Promises shall shortly appear.

I would believe, if I might them hear,
With all my heart, power and mind.

The living God hath him hither assigned:
Lo, where he cometh even here by,
Therefore mark his sayings diligently.


The Lord, by his prophet Ezekiel, saith in this wise plainly,
As in the thirty-third chapter it doth appear:
Be converted, O ye children, and turn unto me,
And I shall remedy the cause of your departure;
And also he saith in the eighteenth chapter,
I do not delight in a sinner's death,
But that he should convert and live: thus the Lord saith.

Then must I give neither credit nor faith
Unto St Paul's saying, which this man did allege.

Yes, you must credit them, according unto knowledge;
For St Paul speaketh of those which resist the truth by violence,
And so end their lives without repentance.
Thus[162] Saint Augustine[163] doth them define,
If unto the Lord's word you do your ears incline,
And observe these things which he hath commanded,
This sinful state, in the which you have lain,
Shall be forgotten and never more remembered:
And Christ himself in the gospel hath promised,
That he, which in him unfeignedly doth believe,
Although he were dead, yet shall he live.

JUVENTUS [_He riseth_].
These comfortable sayings doth me greatly move
To arise from this wretched place.

For me his mercy sake thou shalt obtain his grace,
And not for thine own desertes, this must thou know;
For my sake alone, ye shall receive solace;
For my sake alone, he will thee mercy show:
Therefore to him, as it is most due,
Give most hearty thanks with heart unfeigned,
Whose name for evermore be praised.

The prodigal son, as in Luke we read,
Which in vicious living his good doth waste,
As soon as his living he had remembered,
To confess his wretchedness he was not aghast;
Wherefore his father lovingly him embrac'd,
And was[164] right joyful, the text saith plain,
Because his son was returnen[165] again.

O sinful flesh, thy pleasures are but vain:
Now I find it true, as the scripture doth say,
Broad[166] and pleasant is the path which leadeth unto pain,
But unto eternal life full narrow is the way.[167]
He that is not led by God's spirit surely goeth astray;
And all that ever he doth shall be clean abhorred;
Although he brag and boast never so much of God's word.
O subtle Satan, full deceitful is thy snare;
Who is able thy falsehood to disclose?
What is the man, that thou doest favour or spare,
And doest not[168] tempt him eternal joys to lose?
Not one in the world, surely I suppose.
Therefore happy is the man, which doth truly wait,
Always to refuse thy deceitful and crafty bait.
When I had thought to live most christianly,
And followed the steps of Knowledge and Good Counsel,
Ere I was aware, thou haddest deceived me,
And brought me into the path, which leadeth unto hell:
And of an earnest professor of Christ's gospel
Thou madest me an hypocrite, blind and pervert,
And from virtue unto vice thou hadst clean turned my heart.
First, by hypocrisy thou didest me move,
The mortification of the flesh clean to forsake,
And wanton desires to embrace and love;
Alas! to think on it my heart doth yet quake:
Under the title of Friendship to me ye spake,
And so to wicked Fellowship did me bring,
Which brought me clean to Abhominable Living.
Thus, I say, Satan did me deceive,
And wrapped me in sin many a fold;
The steps of Good Counsel I did forsake and leave,
And forgot the words which before to me he told:
The fruits of a true Christian in me waxed cold;
I followed mine own lusts, the flesh I did not tame,
And had them in derision which would not do the same.
Yet it hath pleased God of his endless mercy
To give me respite my life to amend;
From the bottom of my heart I repent my iniquity,
I will walk in his laws unto my life's end:
From his holy ordinance I will never descend,
But my whole delight shall be to live therein,
Utterly abhorring all filthiness and sin.[169]
_All Christian_ people which be here present,
_May learn_ by me hypocrisy to know,
_With_ which the devil, as with a poison most pestilent,
Daily seeketh all men to overthrow:
Credit not all things unto the outward show,
But try them with God's word, that squire[170] and rule most just,
Which never deceiveth them, that in him put their trust.
Let no flattering friendship, nor yet wicked company,
Persuade you in no wise God's word to abuse;
But see that you stand steadfastly unto the verity,
And according to the rule thereof your doings frame and use,
Neither kindred nor fellowship shall you excuse,
When you shall appear before the judgment seat,
But your own secret conscience shall then give an audit.
All you that be young, whom I do now represent,
Set your delight both day and night on Christ's Testament:
If pleasure you tickle, be not fickle, and suddenly slide,
But in God's fear everywhere see that you abide:
In your tender age seek for knowledge, and after wisdom run,
And in your old age teach your family to do as you have done:
Your bodies subdue unto virtue, delight not in vanity;
Say not, I am young, I shall live long, lest your days shortened be:
Do not incline to spend your time in wanton toys and nice,
For idleness doth increase much wickedness and vice:
Do not delay the time, and say, my end is not near;
For with short warning the Lord coming shall suddenly appear.
God give us grace, his word to embrace, and to live thereafter,
That by the same his holy name may be praised ever.

Now let us make our supplications together
For the prosperous estate of our noble and virtuous king,[171]
That in his godly proceedings he may still persevere,
Which seeketh the glory of God above all other thing:
O Lord, endue his heart with true understanding,
And give him a prosperous life long over us to reign,
To govern and rule his people as a worthy captain.

Also let us pray for all the nobility of this realm;
And, namely, for those whom his[172] grace hath authorised
To maintain the public wealth over us and them,
That they may see his gracious acts published;
And that they, being truly admonished
By the complaint of them which are wrongfully oppressed,
May seek reformation, and see it redressed.

Then shall this land enjoy great quietness and rest:
And give unto God most hearty thanks therefore,
To whom be honour, praise, and glory for evermore.[173]



_A new Enterlued for Chyldren to playe named Iacke Iugeler both wytte
and very playsent. Newly Imprented.

The Players' Names.

Mayster Boungrace, A Galant.
Dame Coye, A Gentlewoman.
Iacke Iugeler, The vyce.
Ienkin Careway, A Lackey.
Ales trype and go, A Mayd.

[Colophon.] Imprinted at London in Lothbury by me Wyllyam Copland. 4to,
black letter_.

Beneath the players' names occurs a woodcut, of which we annex a



[Some account of this piece may be found in Haslewood's Preface, which
precedes our text of "Thersites." It may be added, that whatever
shortcomings may be apparent in these productions from a literary and
dramatic point of view, they are by no means devoid of a fair share of
shrewd humour and pointed vivacity, and are, moreover, not unimportant
contributions, especially when their early date is considered, to the
illustration of manners. The low-comic view predominates in most of
them, and we meet with occasional grossnesses which, so far as "Jack
Juggler" itself is concerned, are the more remarkable when it is
recollected that the performance was presented by youths. In none of
these ruder specimens of the drama is any distribution to be found into
acts and scenes; nor is it invariably clear how the entrances and exits
were introduced.

As to the groundwork of this interlude, Mr Child observes:--[174]]

"Plautus's tragi-comedy of 'Amphitryon' has been perhaps more popular
on the modern stage than any other ancient play. It is the groundwork
of one of the best comedies of the great Moliere, and of a once
favourite English drama, which Sir Walter Scott, in an introduction not
everywhere distinguished by his usual judgment, styles 'one of the
happiest effusions of Dryden's comic muse.' It has been several times
translated into our tongue, and by Bonnell Thornton, with an elegance,
spirit, and correctness that leave nothing to be desired.

"This is not the place to expatiate on the merits of the Latin play;
but the assertion may be hazarded without much risk, that both the
original and Thornton's version are, taken as wholes, considerably
superior to any of the imitations. Indeed, the character of Alcmena, as
drawn by Plautus, so truly innocent, simple, and loving, her distress
on being suspected by her husband, and his agony at finding her, as he
believes, dishonest, immediately suggest, as the accomplished
translator has observed, a not discreditable comparison with our
'Othello.' We may add, too, that the conclusion of the fourth act,
where Amphitryon, 'perplexed in the extreme,' and defying the gods in
the intensity of his despair, rushes to the house to wreak his
vengeance on his family, and is struck down by lightning, rises to
grandeur, almost to sublimity, and must produce immense dramatic effect
in the representation. Very little of this sort of thing appears in the
modern play. What Dryden has made of Alcmena will be understood, when
we observe that he adapted her to the standard of contemporary taste.
Yet Scott has strangely said, that, 'in the scenes of a higher cast,
Dryden far outstrips both the French and Roman poet!'

"The reader will not find any such important characters as gods and
generals in the drama before him. 'Jack Juggler' can hardly be called
an imitation of the comedy of Plautus. It is the play of 'Amphitryon'
without the part of Amphitryon, and resembles more than anything else
one of those pieces made up of the comic portions of plays, which used
to be called 'drolls.' In fact, 'Jack Juggler' is a caricature even of
the comic parts. All dignity is stripped from the characters, every
ridiculous feature is much exaggerated, and the language and incidents
are ingeniously vulgarized to reduce everything to the grotesque, the
quaintness of the expressions greatly heightening the effect to a
modern reader. The amiable Alcmena becomes a 'verie cursed shrew.'
General Amphitryon sinks into Master Boungrace, a commonplace
'gentilman,' somewhat subject, we suspect, to being imposed upon by his
wife and servants. Bromia, the insignificant and well-conducted
attendant, is changed into the smart and malicious Aulsoon tripe and

"There is no proper plot to the piece, the whole action consisting in
getting Jenkin Careawaie into as much trouble as possible, when he is
left to go to bed with aching bones, and wishing bad luck to his second
self. He does not get off with a beating from Jack and his master. The
servant-maid lends her tongue, and her mistress both tongue and hand,
for the amusement of the spectators and the revenge of Jack Juggler.
Those who are acquainted with the tedious performances of those times
will recognise with pleasure an uncommon raciness and spirit in this
little interlude. The lines are rude, but sharp and bold, and Dame Coye
may even be called a well-drawn and original character.

"In Mr Wright's 'Early Mysteries, and other Latin Poems of the Twelfth
and Thirteenth Centuries,' will be found a rather clever and once very
popular poem, founded on 'Amphitryon,' the 'Geta' of Vital of Blois.
Amphitryon in this is a student of Greek learning, and the awkwardness
of Alcmena's situation, after Jupiter's visit is got over, by her
assuring her confiding husband that she thinks the whole affair must
have been a dream."



_Interpone tuis interdum gaudia curis,
Vt possis animo quemvis sufferre laborem_.
Do any of you know what Latin is this?
Or else would you have an Expositorem
To declare it in English _per sensum planiorem?_
It is best I speak English, or else within a while
I may percase mine own self with my Latin beguile.

The two verses, which I rehearsed before,
I find written in the Book of Cato the wise
Among good precepts of living a thousand more,
Which to follow there he doth all men avise
And they may be Englished briefly in this wise:
Among thy careful business use sometime mirth and joy,
That no bodily work thy wits break or 'noy.

For the mind (saith he), in serious matters occupied,
If it have not some quiet mirth and recreation
Interchangeable admixed, must needs be soon wearied,
And (as who should say) tried through continual operation
Of labour and business without relaxation.
Therefore intermix honest mirth in such wise
That your strength may be refreshed, and to labours suffice.

For as meat and drink, natural rest and sleep,
For the conservation and health of the body,
Must needs be had, so the mind and wits to keep
Pregnant, fresh, industrious, quick and lusty,
Honest mirth and pastime is requisite and necessary;
For, _Quod caret alterna requie durabile non est_:
Nothing may endure (saith Ouid) without some rest.

Example proof hereof in earth is well found,
Manifest, open, and very evident;
For except the husbandman suffer his ground
Sometimes to rest, it woll bear no fruit verament;
Therefore they let the field lie every second year
To the end that, after rest, it may the better corn bear.

Thus then (as I have said) it is a thing natural,
And naturally belonging to all living creatures,
And unto man especially above others all,
To have at times convenient pastance, mirth and pleasures,
So they be joined with honesty, and kept within due measures;
And the same well allowed not only the said Cato,
But also the Philosophers, Plutarch, Socrates, and Plato.

And Cicero Tullius, a man sapient and wise,
Willeth the same, in that his first book,
Which he wrote and entituled of an honest man's office:
Who so is disposed thereupon to look,
Where to define and affirm he boldly on him took,
That to hear interludes is pastime convenient
For all manner men, and a thing congruent.

He reckoneth that namely as a very honest disport,
And above all other things commendeth the old comedy,
The hearing of which may do the mind comfort;
For they be replenished with precepts of philosophy:
They contain much wisdom, and teach prudent policy;
And though they be all writers of matters of none importance,
Yet they show great wit, and much pretty conveyance.

And in this manner of making Plautus did excel,
As recordeth the same Tullius, commending him by name:
Wherefore this maker delighteth passingly well
To follow his arguments, and draw out the same,
For to make at seasons convenient pastimes, mirth and game:
As now he hath done this matter, not worth an oyster shell,
Except percase it shall fortune to make you laugh well.

And for that purpose only this maker did it write,
Taking the ground thereof out of Plautus first comedy
And the first sentence of the same; for higher things indite
In no wise he would, for yet the time is so queasy,
That he that speaketh best, is least thank-worthy.
Therefore, sith nothing but trifles may be had,
You shall hear a thing that only shall make you merry and glad.

And such a trifling matter, as when it shall be done,
Ye may report and say ye have heard nothing at all.
Therefore I tell you all, before it be begun,
That no man look to hear of matters substantial,
Nor matters of any gravity either great or small
For this maker showed us that such manner things
Do never well beseem little boys' handlings.

Wherefore, if ye will not sourly your brows bend
At such a fantastical conceit as this,
But can be content to hear and see the end,
I woll go show the Players what your pleasure is;
Which to wait upon you I know be ready ere this.
I woll go send them hither into your presence,
Desiring that they may have quiet audience.

* * * * *

Our Lord of heaven and sweet Saint John
Rest you merry, my masters everychone;
And I pray to Christ and sweet Saint Stephen
Send you all many a good even!
And you too, sir, and you, and you also,
Good even to you an hundred times and a thousand mo.
Now by all these crosses of flesh, bone, and blood,
I reckon my chance right marvellous good,
Here now to find all this company,
Which in my mind I wished for heartily;
For I have laboured all day, till I am weary,
And now am disposed to pass the time, and be merry.
And I think none of you, but he would do the same,
For who woll be sad, and needeth not, is foul to blame;
And as for me, of my mother I have been taught
To be merry when I may, and take no thought.
Which lesson I bare so well away,
That I use to make merry once a day.
And now, if all things happen right,
You shall see as mad a pastime this night,
As you saw this seven years, and as proper a toy
As ever you saw played of a boy.
I am called Jack Juggler of many an one,
And in faith I woll play a juggling cast anon.
I woll conjure the nowl,[175] and God before!
Or else let me lese my name for evermore.
I have it devised, and compassed how,
And what ways I woll tell and show to you.
You all know well Master Bongrace,[176]
The gentleman that dwelleth here in this place?
And Jenkin Careaway his page, as cursed a lad,
And as ungracious as ever man had,
An unhappy wage, and as foolish a knave withal,
As any is now within London wall.
This Jenkin and I been fallen at great debate
For a matter, that fell between us a-late;
And hitherto of him I could never revenged be,
For his master maintaineth him, and loveth not me;
Albeit, the very truth to tell,
Nother of them both knoweth me not very well.
But against all other boys the said gentleman
Maintaineth him all that he can.
But I shall set little by my wit,
If I do not Jenkin this night requite.
Ere I sleep, Jenkin shall be met,
And I trust to come partly out of his debt;
And when we meet again, if this do not suffice,
I shall pay Jenkin the residue in my best wise.
It chanced me right now in the other end of the next street
With Jenkin and his master in the face to meet.
I abode there a while, playing for to see
At the bucklers, as well became me.
It was not long time; but at the last
Back cometh my cousin Careaway homeward full fast:
Pricking, prancing, and springing in his short coat,
And pleasantly singing with a merry note.
Whither away so fast? tarry a while, said one.
I cannot now, said Jenkin, I must needs be gone.
My master suppeth hereby at a gentleman's place,
And I must thither fetch my dame, Mistress Bongrace.
But yet, ere I go, I care not much
At the bucklers to play with thee one fair touch.
To it they went, and played so long,
Till Jenkin thought he had wrong.
By Cock's precious podstick, I will not home this night,
Quod he, but as good a stripe on thy head light!
Within half an hour, or somewhat less,
Jenkin left playing, and went to fetch his mistress;
But by the way he met with a fruiterer's wife:
There Jenkin and she fell at such strife
For snatching of an apple, that down he cast
Her basket, and gathered up the apples fast,
And put them in his sleeve, then came he his way
By another lane, as fast as he may;
Till he came at a corner by a shop's stall,
Where boys were at dice, faring at all;
When Careaway with that good company met,
He fell to faring withouten let,
Forgetting his message, and so did he fare,
That when I came by, he gan swear and stare,
And full bitterly began to curse,
As one that had lost almost all in his purse.
For I know his old guise and condition,
Never to leave, till all his money be gone.
For he hath no money but what he doth steal,
And that woll he play away every deal.
I passed by, and then called unto my mind
Certain old reckonings, that were behind
Between Jenkin and me, whom partly to recompense
I trust by God's grace, ere I go hence.
This garments, cape, and all other gear,
That now you see upon me here,
I have done on all like unto his
For the nonce; and my purpose is
To make Jenkin believe, if I can,
That he is not himself, but another man.
For except he hath better luck than he had,
He woll come hither stark staring mad.
When he shall come, I woll handle my captive so,
That he shall not well wot whither to go.
His mistress, I know, she woll him blame,
And his master also will do the same;
Because that she of her supper deceived is,
For I am sure they have all supped by this.
But, and if Jenkin would hither resort,
I trust he and I should make some sport,
If I had sooner spoken, he would have sooner been here,
For me seemeth I do his voice hear.

All, sir, I may say I have been at a feast:
I have lost two shillings and sixpence at the least.
Marry, sir, of this gains I need make no boast;
But, the devil go with all, more have I lost!
My name is Careaway, let all sorrow pass!
I woll ere to-morrow night be as rich as ever I was;
Or at the furthest within a day or twain:
My master's purse shall pay me again.
Therefore ho! Careaway, now woll I sing _hei, hei_!
But, by the Lord, now I remember another thing:
By my faith, Jenkin, my mistress and thou
Are like to agree--God knoweth how--
That thou comest not for her incontinent,
To bring her to supper, when thou were sent?
And now they have all supped, thou wolt surely abi',
Except thou imagine some pretty and crafty lie.
For she is, as all other women be,
A very cursed shrew, by the blessed Trinity,
And a very devil, for if she once begin
To fight or chide, in a week she woll not lin;
And a great pleasure she hath specially now of late
To get poor me now and then by the pate;
For she is an angry piece of flesh, and soon displeased,
Quickly moved, but not lightly appeased.
We use to call her at home Dame Coy,
A pretty gingerly piece, God save her and St Loy!
As dainty and nice as an halfpenny-worth of silver spoons,
But vengeable melancholy in the afternoons.
She useth for her bodily health and safeguard
To chide daily one fit to supperward;
And my master himself is worse than she,
If he once thoroughly angered be.
And a maid we have at home, Alison Trip-and-go:
Not all London can show such other two:
She simpereth, she pranketh, and jetteth without fail,
As a peacock that hath spread and showeth her gay tail:
She minceth, she bridleth, she swimmeth to and fro:
She treadeth not one hair awry, she trippeth like a doe
Abroad in the street, going or coming homeward:
She quavereth and warbleth, like one in a galliard,
Every joint in her body and every part:
O, it is a jolly wench to mince and divide a fart.
She talketh, she chatteth like a pie all day,
And speaketh like a parrot popinjay,
And that as fine as a small silken thread,
Yea, and as high as an eagle can fly for a need.
But it is a spiteful lying girl, and never well,
But when she may some ill tale by me tell;
She woll, I warrant you, anon at the first
Of me imagine and say the worst,
And whatsoever she to my mistress doth say,
It is written in the gospel of the same day.
Therefore I woll here with myself devise
What I may best say, and in what wise
I may excuse this my long tarrying,
That she of my negligence may suspect nothing.
For if the fault of this be found in me,
I may give my life for halfpennies three.
[_Hic cogitabundo similis sedeat_.]
Let me study this month, and I shall not find
A better device than now is come to my mind.
Mistress, woll I say, I am bound by my duty
To see that your womanhood have no injury;
For I hear and see more than you now and then,
And yourself partly know the wanton wiles of men.
When we came yonder, there did I see
My master kiss gentlewomen two or three,
And to come among others me-thought I see,[177]
He had a marvellous great phantasy:
Anon he commanded me to run thence for you,
To come sup there, if you would; but (I wot not how)
My heart grudged, mistrusting lest that I, being away,
My master would some light cast play;
Whereupon, mistress, to see the end,
I tarried half supper-time, so God me mend!
And, besides that there was such other company
As I know your mistress-ship setteth nothing by;
Gorgeous dames of the court and gallants also,
With doctors and other rufflers mo:
At last when I thought it time and season,
I came to certify you, as it was reason;
And by the way whom should I meet
But that most honest gentleman in the street,
Which the last week was with you here,
And made you a banket and bouncing cheer?
Ah, Jenkin, quod he, good speed! how farest thou?
Marry, well, God yield it you, master, quod I: how do you?
How doth thy mistress? is she at home?
Yea, sir, quod I, and suppeth all alone;
And but she hath no manner good cheer,
I am sure she would gladly have you there.
I cannot come now, said he, I have business;
But thou shalt carry a token from me to thy mistress.
Go with me to my chamber at yon lane-end,
And I woll a dish of costards unto her send.
I followed him, and was bold, by your leave,
To receive and bring them here in my sleeve.
But I would not for all England, by Jesus Christ,
That my master Bongrace hereof wist,
Or knew that I should any such gear to you bring,
Lest he misdeem us both in some worse thing;
Nor show him nothing of that I before said,
For then indeed, sir, I am arrayed:[178]
If you do, I may nothing hereafter unto you tell,
Whether I see my master do ill or well.
But[179] if you now this counsel keep,
I woll ease you perchance twice in a week;
You may say you were sick, and your head did ache:
That you lusted not this night any supper make,
Specially without the doors; but thought it best
To abide at home and take your rest;
And I will to my master to bring him home,
For you know he woll be angry, if he come alone.
This woll I say and face it so well,
That she shall believe it every deal.
How say you, friends, by the arms of Robin Hood,
Woll not this excuse be reasonable good?
To muse for any better great folly it is;
For I may make sure reckoning of this
That, and if I would sit stewing this seven year,
I shall not else find how to save me all clear.
And, as you see, for the most part our wits be best,
When we be taken most unreadiest.
But I woll not give for that boy a fly,
That hath not all times in store one good lie,
And cannot set a good face upon the same:
Therefore Saint George thee borrow, as it woll let him frame.
I woll jeopard a joint, be as be may,
I have had many like chances before this day;
But I promise you I do curstly fear;
For I feel a vengeable burning in my left ear;
And it hath been a saying of time long,
That sweet meat woll have sour sauce among;
And surely I shall have some ill hap,
For my hair standeth up under my cap.
I would knock, but I dare not, by our lady,
I fear hanging, whereunto no man is hasty.
But seeing there is no nother remedy,
Thus to stand any longer it is but folly.
[_Hic pulset ostium_.
They be so far within, they cannot hear--

Soft thy knocking, saucy knave, what makest thou there?

What knave is that? he speaketh not to me, I trow,
And we meet, the one of us is like to have a blow!
For now that I am well chafed, and somewhat hot,
Twenty such could I hew as small as flesh to pot;
And surely, if I had a knife,
This knave should escape hardly with his life:
To teach him to ask of me any more,
What I make at my own master's door.

But if thou come from that gate, thou knave,
I well fet thee by the sweet locks,[180] so God me save!

Woll the whoreson fight indeed, by mine honesty?
I know no quarrel he hath to me;
But I would I were within the house,
And then I would not set by him a louse;
For I fear and mistrust such quarreling thieves:
See, how he beginneth to strike up his sleeves!

His arse maketh buttons now, and who lusteth to feel,
Shall find his heart creeping out at his heel,
Or else lying hidden in some corner of his hose,
If it be not already dropped out of his nose.
For, as I doubt not but you have heard beforne,
A more dastard coward knave was never born.

The devil set the house a-fire! I trow it is accurst;
When a man hath most haste, he speedeth worst;
If I be robbed or slain, or any harm get,
The fault is in them, that doth not me in let.
And I durst jeopard an hundred pound,
That some bawdry might now within be found;
But except some of them come the sooner,
I shall knock such a peal, that all England shall wonder.

Knock at the gate hardily again, if thou dare;
And seeing thou wolt not by fair words beware,
Now, fists, me-thinketh, yesterday seven past,
That four men asleep at my feet you cast,
And this same day you did no manner good,
Nor were not washen in warm blood.

What whoreson is this that washeth in warm blood?
Some devil broken loose out of hell for wood!
Four hath he slain, and now well I see,
That it must be my chance the fifth to be!
But rather than thus shamefully to be slain,
Would Christ my friends had hanged me, being but years twain!
And yet, if I take good heart and be bold,
Percase he woll be more sober and cold.

Now, hands, bestir you about his lips and face,
And strike out all his teeth without any grace!
Gentleman, are you disposed to eat any fist-meat?

I have supped, I thank you, sir, and list not to eat:
Give it to them that are hungry, if you be wise.

It[181] shall do a man of your diet no harm to sup twice:
This shall be your cheese to make your meat digest,
For I tell you these hands weigheth of the best.

I shall never escape: see, how he waggeth his hands!

With a stroke they will lay a knave in our Lady-bonds,[182]
And this day yet they have done no good at all.

Ere thou essay them on me, I pray thee lame them on the wall--
But speak you all this in earnest or in game?--
If you be angry with me, truly you are to blame;
For have you any just quarrel to me?

Ere thou and I part, that woll I show thee--

Or have I done you any manner displeasure?--

Ere thou and I part, thou shalt know, thou mayest be sure--

By my faith, if you be angry without a cause,
You shall have amends made with a couple of straws;
By thee I set whatsoever thou art;
But for thy displeasure I care not a fart.
May a man demand whose servant you be?

My master's servant I am, for verity!

What business have you at this place now?

Nay, marry, tell me what business hast thou?
For I am commanded for to watch and give diligence
That, in my good Master Bongrace's absence,
No misfortune may happen to his house, certain.

Well now I am come, you may go hence again,
And thank them that so much for my master hath done:
Showing them that the servants of the house be come home,
For I am of the house, and now in woll I go.

I cannot tell whether thou be of the house or no;
But go no near,[183] lest I handle thee like a stranger;
Thank no man but thyself, if thou be in any danger.

Marry, I defy thee, and plainly unto thee tell,
That I am a servant of this house, and here I dwell.

Now, so God me snatch, but thou go thy ways,
While thou mayest, for this forty days
I shall make thee not able to go nor ride
But in a dung-cart or wheelbarrow lying on one side.

I am a servant of this house, by these ten bones--[184]

No more prating, but get thee hence at once!

Why, my master hath sent me home in[185] his message--

Pick and walk, a knave, here away is no passage--

What, wilt thou let me from mine own master's house?

Be tredging, or in faith you bear me a souse.[186]
Here my master and I have our habitation,
And hath continually dwelled in this mansion,
At the least this dozen years and odd;
And here woll we end our lives, by the grace of God.

Why, then, where shall my master and I dwell?

At the devil, if you lust: I cannot tell.

_In nomine patris_, now this gear doth pass:
For a little before supper here our house was;
And this day in the morning I woll on a book swear,
That my master and I both dwelled here.

Who is thy master? tell me without lie,
And thine own name also let me know shortly;
For, my masters all, let me have the blame,
If this knave know his master or his own name.

My master's name is Master Bongrace:
I have dwelled with him a long space;
And I am Jenkin Careaway his page--

What, ye drunken knave, begin you to rage!
Take that: art thou Master Bongrace's page?
[_Strikes him_.

It I be not, I have made a very good voyage--

Barest thou to my face say thou art I?

I would it were true and no lie;
For then thou shouldest smart, and I should bet,[187]
Where as now I do all the blows get.

And is Master Bongrace thy master, doest you then say?

I woll swear on a book, he was once this day--

And for that thou shalt somewhat have,
Because thou presumest, like a saucy lying knave,
To say my master is thine. Who is thy master now?
[_Strikes him again_.

By my troth, sir, whosoever please you:
I am your own, for you beat me so,
As no man but my master should do.

I woll handle thee better, if fault be not in fist--
[_Prepares to strike him_.

Help! save my life, masters, for the passion of Christ!

Why, thou lousy thief, dost thou cry and roar?--

No, faith, I woll not cry one whit more:
Save my life, help, or I am slain--

Yea, dost thou make a rumouring yet again?
Did not I bid thee hold thy peace?--

In faith, now I leave crying; now I cease: help, help!

Who is thy master?

Master Bongrace--

I woll make thee change that song, ere we pass this place;
For he is my master, and again to thee I say,
That I am his Jenkin Careaway.
Who art thou? now tell me plain.

Nobody but whom please you, certain--

Thou saidest even now thy name was Careaway?

I cry you mercy, sir, and forgiveness pray:
I said amiss, because it was so to-day;
And thought it should have continued alway,
Like a fool as I am and a drunken knave.
But in faith, sir, ye see all the wit I have,
Therefore I beseech you do me no more blame,
But give me a new master and another name.
For it would grieve my heart, so help me God,
To run about the streets like a masterless nod.[188]

I am he that thou saidest thou were,
And Master Bongrace is my master, that dwelleth here;
Thou art no point, Careaway; thy wits do thee fail.

Yea, marry, sir, you have beaten them down into my tail;
But, sir, might I be bold to say one thing
Without any blows and without any beating?

Truce for a while; say on what thee lust:

May a man to your honesty by your word trust?
I pray you swear by the mass you woll do me no ill--

By my faith, I promise pardon thee I will--

What, and you keep no promise?

Then upon Careaway[189]
I pray God light as much or more as hath on thee to-day.

Now dare I speak, so mote I the,
Master Bongrace is my master, and the name of me
Is Jenkin Careaway!

What, sayest thou so?

And if thou wilt strike me, and break thy promise, do,
And beat on me, till I stink, and till I die;
And yet woll I still say that I am I!

This Bedlam knave without doubt is mad--

No, by God, for all that I am a wise lad,
And can call to remembrance every thing
That I did this day sith my uprising;
For went not I with my master to-day
Early in the morning to the tennis-play?
At noon, while my master at his dinner sat,
Played not I at dice at the gentleman's gate?
Did not I wait on my master to supper-ward?
And I think I was not changed the way homeward!
Or else, if thou think I lie,
Ask in the street of them that I came by;
And sith that I came hither into your presence,
What man living could carry me hence?
I remember I was sent to fetch my mistress,
And what I devised to save me harmless;
Do not I speak now? [is] not this my hand?
Be not these my feet that on this ground stand?
Did not this other knave here knock me about the head?
And beat me, till I was almost dead?
How may it then be, that he should be I?
Or I not myself?--it is a shameful lie.
I woll home to our house, whosoever say nay,
For surely my name is Jenkin Careaway.

I woll make thee say otherwise, ere we depart, if we can--

Nay that woll I not in faith for no man,
Except thou tell me what thou hast done[190]
Ever sith five of the clock this afternoon:
Rehearse me all that without any lie,
And then I woll confess that thou art I.

When my master came to the gentleman's place,
He commanded me to run home a great pace,
To fet thither my mistress; and by the way
I did a good while at the bucklers play;
Then came I by a wife, that did costards sell,
And cast down her basket fair and well,
And gathered as many as I could get,
And put them in my sleeve: here they be yet!

How the devil should they come there,
For I did them all in my own sleeve bear?
He lieth not a word in all this,
Nor doth in any one point miss.
For ought I see yet between earnest and game
I must go seek me another name;
But thou mightest see all this:--tell the rest that is behind,
And there I know I shall thee a liar find.

I ran thence homeward a contrary way,
And whether I stopped there or nay,
I could tell, if me lusteth, a good token;
But it may not very well be spoken.

Now, may I pray thee, let no man that hear,
But tell it me privily in mine ear.

Ay, thou lost all thy money at dice, Christ give it his curse,
Well and truly picked before out of another man's purse!

God's body, whoreson thief, who told thee that same?
Some cunning devil is within thee, pain of shame!
_In nomine patris_, God and our blessed lady,
Now and evermore save me from thy company!

How now, art thou Careaway or not?

By the Lord, I doubt, but sayest thou nay to that?

Yea, marry, I tell thee, Care-away is my name.

And, by these ten bones, mine is the same!
Or else tell me, if I be not he,
What my name from henceforth shall be?

By my faith, the same that it was before,
When I lust to be Careaway no more:
Look well upon me, and thou shalt see as now,
That I am Jenkin Careaway, and not thou:
Look well upon me, and by every thing
Thou shalt well know that I am not lesing.

I see it is so without any doubt;
But how the devil came it about?
Whoso in England looketh on him steadily,
Shall perceive plainly that he is I:
I have seen myself a thousand times in a glass;
But so like myself, as he is, never was;
He hath in every point my clothing and my gear;
My head, my cap, my shirt, and knotted hair,
And of the same colour: my eyes, nose, and lips:
My cheeks, chin, neck, feet, legs, and hips:
Of the same stature, and height, and age:
And is in every point Master Bongrace page,
That if he have a hole in his tail,
He is even I mine own self without any fail!
And yet when I remember, I wot not how,
The same man that I have ever been me thinketh I am now:
I know my master and his house, and my five wits I have:
Why then should I give credence to this foolish knave,
That nothing intendeth but me delude and mock?
For whom should I fear at my master's gate to knock?

Thinkest thou I have said all this in game?
Go, or I shall send thee hence in the devil's name!
Avoid, thou lousy lurden and precious stinking slave,
That neither thy name knowest nor canst any master have!
Wine-shaken pillory-peeper,[191] of lice not without a peck,
Hence, or by Gods precious,[192] I shall break thy neck!

Then, master, I beseech you heartily take the pain,
If I be found in any place, to bring me to me again.
Now is not this a wonderful case,
That no man shall lese himself so in any place?
Have any of you heard of such a thing heretofore?
No, nor never shall, I daresay, from henceforth any more.

While he museth and judgeth himself upon,
I will steal away for a while, and let him alone.
[_Exit Jack Juggler_.

Good Lord of heaven, where did I myself leave?
Or who did me of my name by the way bereave?
For I am sure of this in my mind,
That I did in no place leave myself behind.
If I had my name played away at dice,
Or had sold myself to any man at a price,
Or had made a fray, and had lost it in fighting,
Or it had been stolen from me sleeping,
It had been a matter, and I would have kept patience;
But it spiteth my heart to have lost it by such open negligence.
Ah, thou whoreson, drowsy, drunken sot!
It were an alms-deed to walk[193] thy coat,
And I shrew him that would for thee be sorry,
To see thee well curried by and by;
And, by Christ, if any man would it do,
I myself would help thereto.
For a man may see, thou whoreson goose,
Thou wouldest lese thine arse, if it were loose!
Albeit I would never the deed believe,
But that the thing itself doth show and preve.[194]
There was never ape so like unto an ape,
As he is to me in feature and shape;
But what woll my master say, trow ye,
When he shall this gear hear and see?
Will he know me, think you, when he shall see me?
If he do not, another woll as good as he.
But where is that other I? whither is he gone?
To my master, by Cock's precious passion:
Either to put me out of my place,
Or to accuse me to my master Bongrace!
But I woll after, as fast as I can flee:
I trust to be there as soon as he.
That if my master be not ready home to come,
I woll be here again as fast as I can run.
In any wise to speak with my mistress,
Or else I shall never escape hanging doubtless.

I shall not sup this night, full well I see;
For as yet nobody cometh for to fet me.
But good enough, let me alone:
I woll be even with them every-chone.
I say nothing, but I think somewhat, i-wis:
Some there be that shall hear of this!
Of all unkind and churlish husbands this is the cast,
To let their wives sit at home and fast;
While they be forth, and make good cheer:
Pastime and sport, as now he doth there.
But if I were a wise woman, as I am a mome,
I should make myself, as good cheer at home.
But if he have thus unkindly served me,
I woll not forget it this months three;
And if I wist the fault were in him, I pray God I be dead,
But he should have such a curry,[195] ere he went to bed,
As he never had before in all his life,
Nor any man else have had of his wife!
I would rate him and shake him after such a sort,
As should be to him a corrosive full little to his comfort!

If I may be so bold, by your mistress-ship's license,
As to speak and show my mind and sentence,
I think of this you may the boy thank;
For I know that he playeth you many a like prank,
And that would you say, if you knew as much as we,
That his daily conversation and behaviour see;
For if you command him to go speak with some one,
It is an hour, ere he woll be gone;
Then woll he run forth, and play in the street,
And come again, and say that he cannot with him meet.

Nay, nay, it is his master's play:
He serveth me so almost every third day;
But I woll be even with him, as God give me joy,
And yet the fault may be in the boy--
As ungracious a graft, so mot I thrive,
As any goeth on God's ground alive!

My wit is breeched in such a brake,
That I cannot devise what way is best to take.
I was almost as far as my master is;
But then I began to remember this,
And to cast the worst, as one in fear:
If he chance to see me and keep me there,
Till he come himself, and speak with my mistress,
Then am I like to be in shrewd distress:
Yet were I better, thought I, to turn home again.
And first speak with her, certain--
Cock's body, yonder she standeth at the door!
Now is it worse than it was before.
Would Christ I could get again out of her sight:
For I see by her look she is disposed to fight.
By the Lord, she hath there an angry shrew's look--

Lo, yonder cometh that unhappy hook!

God save me, mistress, do you know me well?

Come near[196] hither unto me, and I shall thee tell
Why, thou naughty villain, is that thy guise,
To jest with thy mistress in such wise?
Take that to begin with, and God before!
When thy master cometh home, thou shalt have more:
For he told me, when he forth went,
That thou shouldest come back again incontinent
To bring me to supper where he now is,
And thou hast played by the way, and they have done by this.
But no force I shall, thou mayest trust me,
Teach all naughty knaves to beware by thee.

Forsooth, mistress, if ye knew as much as I,
Ye would not be with me half so angry;
For the fault is neither in my master, nor in me, nor you,
But in another knave that was here even now,
And his name was Jenkin Careaway--

What, I see my man is disposed to play!
I ween he be drunken or mad, I make God a vow!

Nay, I have been made sober and tame, I, now:--
I was never so handled before in all my life:
I would every man in England had so beaten[197] his wife!
I have forgotten with tousing by the hair,
What I devised to say a little ere.

Have I lost my supper this night through thy negligence?

Nay then were I a knave, mistress, saving your reverence.

Why, I am sure that by this time it is done--

Yea, that it is more than an hour agone--

And was not thou sent to fetch me thither?

Yea, and had come right quickly hither,
But that by the way I had a great fall,
And my name, body, shape, legs, and all:
And met with one, that from me did it steal;
But, by God, he and I some blows did deal!
I would he were now before your gate,
For you would pummel him jollily about the pate.

Truly this wage-pasty[198] is either drunken or mad.

Never man suffered so much wrong as I had;
But, mistress, I should say a thing to you:
Tarry, it woll come to my remembrance even now
I must needs use a substantial premeditation;
For the matter lieth greatly me upon.
I beseech your mistress-ship of pardon and forgiveness,
Desiring you to impute it to my simple and rude dulness:
I have forgotten what I had[199] thought to have said
And am thereof full ill-afraid;
But when I lost myself, I knew very well,
I lost also that I should you tell.

Why, thou wretched villain, doest thou me scorn and mock,
To make me to these folk a laughing-stock?
Ere thou go out of my hands, thou shalt have something;
And I woll reckon better in the morning.

And if you beat me, mistress, avise you;
For I am none of your servants now.
That other I is now your page,
And I am no longer in your bondage.

Now walk, precious thief, get thee out of my sight!
And I charge thee come in my presence no more this night:
Get thee hence, and wait on thy master at once.

Marry, sir, this is handling for the nonce:
I would I had been hanged, before that I was lost;
I was never this[200] canvassed and tossed:
That if my master, on his part also,
Handle me, as my mistress and the other I[201] do,
I shall surely be killed between them three,
And all the devils in hell shall not save me.
But yet, if the other I might have with me part,
All this would never grieve my heart.

[_Enter Jack Juggler_.

How say you, masters, I pray you tell,
Have not I requited my merchant well?
Have not I handled him after a good sort?
Had it not been pity to have lost this sport?
Anon his master, on his behalf,
You shall see how he woll handle the calf!
If he throughly angered be,
He woll make him smart, so mot I the.
I would not for a price of a new pair of shone,
That any part of this had been undone;
But now I have revenged my quarrel,

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