or Jestes from the University
A Renaissance Jestbook
Pepared by a Group of Students
from the Department of English
Memorial University of Newfoundland
For George Story, in memory
To the introduction
or, Jestes from the University.
By H.L. Oxon.
Mart. Dic mihi quid melius desidiosus agas.
Printed at London by Tho. Cotes
for Humphrey Mosley, 1638
The title means literally the joking or playing graces. A grace is a permission, in the
language of the university (a "gratia docendi" for instance is a permission to teach). H.L.,
the author, has not been identified. The line from Martial (8.3.12) translates "Tell me,
what better will you find to do in your idleness?" (Martial's Muse is asking him what he
will do if he doesn't continue to write poetry; perhaps the implication here is that the
writer will compose a jestbook). The printed date of 1638 is found in only one of the three
extant copies; the other two read 1628 in print, but both are corrected by hand to read
On a Scholler.
A Scholler that chanc'd in the night time to bee lockt out of their Colledge gates, wherfore hee
knockt and a friend of his that heard it, came to the gates, of whom hee desired that hee would
goe to the head of the house to get the keyes, he being within side answered him that he were best
to goe him selfe for hee feared he should not prevaile.
The scholar is late returning, an offence in the college regulations. But the jest resides in
the impossible suggestion of the friend inside the college.
Of some that went to ste[ale] Conies.
A Company [of] wilde Scholler[s] in the University, went forth on a time to steale conies, and
warned a novice or freshman that was among them, that hee should make no noise for feare of
scaring them away, so having separated themselves, at last it was his fortune to espy a stocks,
wherfore he cryed aloud to his companions, Ecce cuniculi multi, (in English, loe where
are many conies) and straightway the conies all ran to their berries, for which his fellowes chiding
him, hee saide why, who (a devill) would have thought that conies could understand Latine.
A "conie" is a rabbit and "stocks" and "berrie" both refer to a rabbit burrow.
A Certaine Noble man sitting at table, opposite to Scotus, amongst other discourse merrily asked
him, what was the difference betweene Sot and Scot, he answered him, nothing but the table Sir.
Scotus is the philosopher Duns Scotus (ca 1265-1308) who studied at Oxford and
taught at Oxford, Cambridge, Paris, and Cologne. Late medieval philosophy, despite
humanist contempt, was still being taught at Oxford in the early 17th century, so the name
was still known, though mostly by reputation.
On a Curate.
A Country Curate comming to Oxford to take his degree of Mr. of Arts, was askt by the
head of the house whereof he was [a] small member, how hee durst being so greene, to enter
himself into the Ministry? the Curate answered him; because the Lord hath neede of me, the other
replyed, I never heard the Lord had need of anything but an Asse.
The reference is to Matthew 21:2-3 "Go into the village over against you, and
straightaway ye shall find an ass tied, and a colt with her ... And if any man say ought unto
you, ye shall say, The Lord hath need of them ..."
On a Bishop bearing Armes.
A Bishop that had borne Armes against a King, was by him taken and kept prisoner: whereupon
the Pope writ to the King, that hee had much violated the priviledge of the holy Church, in taking
one of his sonnes captive, and keping him as a prisoner. The King having received his letters, sent
backe to him the armour wherein the Bishoppe was taken, with these words; Vide nunc haec
sit vestis filii tui: see (I pray) if this be the habit of one of your sonnes?
Of an Heretique.
A Certaine Heretick whose Bookes were (for the wrong tenents in them) condemned to the fire,
he himselfe being at the pile, a spectator made use of that verse of Ovid, Parve, nec invideo,
sine me liber ibis in ignem. One who was standing by and heard him, made reply with the
next verse, Hei mihi quod Domino, non licet ire tuo.
The original verse, taken from Ovid's Tristia book I, was written when Ovid was
in exile; it reads, "Parve, nec invideo, sine me, liber, ibis in urbem." The spectator replaced
"urbem", meaning "city", with "ignem" which means "fire". The English translation is "O
little book, and I do not envy you, without me you will go into the fire." The reply in the
next verse is "Alas, for me because it is not permitted for your master to go with you."
While Ovid was in exile, his books could be taken into the city without him, but the heretic
was being burned with his books.
Of an Alderman.
A Discreet Alderman of Oxford, told some of his brethren that they should overthrow the
Vniversity in a law case (which was then in agitation) if by searching the ancient records they
could prove Henry the second to have beene before Henry the first.
On unlacing a Rabbet.
A Plaine, but an understanding scholer, being at table with certaine Ladies, they concluded
privately to make some sport with him, wherefore one of them sent him a Rabbet, desiring him to
unlace it, hee scarce knowing the terme, lesse how to performe her desire, tooke out of the
Rabbet the kidneies, and putting them on a trencher sent them to her, desiring her to pardon him,
for though hee had not unlac't it, yet he had unbutton'd it for her Ladiship.
On an Oxford Townesman.
A Townesman of Oxford being in company with Scholers, and hearing them discourse, wold
needs intermingle with them, and told them that though they were Schollers, yet could he tell as
well as any of them, what was Latine for any part in a mans body, yea, saies one of them, prethee
what is Latine for a Townesmans head? a head, saies hee, and withall producing his Almanacke,
lookt on the Anatomy and answered, why, Aries head and face, at which the company laughing,
he swore that if it were not Aries it was Taurus.
Of a Country Curate.
A Silly Country Curate came to London in the time of the sicknesse, and seeing Lord have mercy
upon us, written on the doore of an infected house, Marry quoth he, it is a very goodly sentence,
and great pity it is, but it should bee written on every house in London.
On a Welchman in Oxford.
At a stageplay in Oxford, a Cornish man was brought forth to wrestle with foure Welchmen, one
after the other, and when he had put them all to the worst, hee called out a loud have you any
more Welchmen? which words a scholler of Iesus Colledge, being himself of the Brittish Nation
tooke in great endagine, insomuch that he leapt upon the stage and threw the Player in earnest,
and saide have you any more, etc.
The scholler did not understand that it was a stage play. The word "endagine" may come
from the form "endigned" from the Latin "indignatus," outraged. (OED has only
"endogen," 19c, "a force that originates from within"). It seems here to have the same
force as our "dudgeon." (For this word see also below, no. 110, "On a jealous man.")
Of a Scholler being troubled with a tyred horse
A Scholler upon the way was tormented with a tired horse, and not knowing otherwise how to
make him goe, held out on a stick a bottle of hay before his head, which the horse being greedy to
overtake, put forward and so performed the journey.
The scholar tricks the horse by dangling a "bottle" or bundle of hay before his eyes.
Of an old Henne
A Certaine Alderman had heard a Scholler at table say of an old goose, (as once
Erasmus) that it was one of those that saved the Roman Capitoll, the jest being
by the company applauded, the Alderman himself said it afterward of an old henne, that it was one
that saved the Capitoll.
The passage in Erasmus has not been traced; the story is in Livy (5.47) and tells how the
cackling of geese awoke Marcus Malius who aroused the city and saved it from an attack
by the Gauls. The alderman is quite taken with this laughing comment on the old goose
they are forced to eat, and on the next occasion mistakenly applies it to a hen.
Of a Scholler and a Townesmans wife
A Scholer comming to a Townesmans wife, enquiring of her very earnestly for her husband,
telling her withall that hee was surely falne into the fire, she presently looking, and finding no such
matter, demanded what shold make him thinke so? why (quoth hee) there is such a stink of hornes
before the doore, that I would have sworne your husband had burnt his head.
The horns are those of a cuckold; the scholar is mocking the townsman and his wife.
On the falling of a Meteor
One seeing a Meteor fal down when an Astronomer was taking the height of a Starre with his
Jacobs staffe, cryed out unto him, O well shot ifaith!
A fool thinks the astronomer has shot down the star with his Jacob's staff, a cross-staff or
astronomical instrument for taking the altitude of the sun.
Of a Blinde man
When Julian the Apostate in a mocke demanded of blinde Ignatius, why he went not to
Galilee to recover his eyesight, hee made him this answer, no, I am contented with my
blindenesse, because I may not see such a tyrant as thou art.
The episode is based on Socrates Scholasticus, Ecclesiastical History, 3.12 (3.10
in the Elizabethan translation), where Julian (the late 4th century emperor, who abandoned
the Christian faith of his uncle Constantine) mocks Maris, Bishop of Chalcedon, not
About that tyme Maris Bishop of Chalcedon in Bythynia
being led by the hande unto Iulian the Emperour (for that he was olde he
had a webb growen in his eyes which bereaved him of his sight) beganne to rebuke
the Emperour sharpely, calling him an impious person, an Apostata and an
Atheist. He of the contrary answered him opprobriously, recompenced him
with the like, called him a blind foole and sayd unto him farther: thy God of
Galilee will not restore thee thy sight agayne. for Iulianus called
Christ a Galilaean and all the Christians in like sort. Maris a litle
after answered the Emperour somewhat freely, I thanke God (sayth he) which
made me blinde lest that ever I should set mine eye upon so ungracious a face as
thine is. Wherunto the Emperour made no answere but handled the Bishop
(from The Auncient Ecclesiasticall Histories of the First Six Hundred Yeares after
Christ, Wrytten in the Greeke Tongue by Three Learned Historiographers, Eusebius,
Socrates, and Evagrius, trans. Meredith Hanmer [London: T. Vautrollier, 1576-7], p.
Of a Boy like Augustus
Augustus Caesar, an Emperor of Rome, travelling through one of the Provinces; saw a boy very
like to himselfe, wherefore in a scoffe hee askt him if his mother was never at Rome, the boy
answered no, but my Father was.
The implication in the sly answer is that the emperor is the boy's illegitimate father.
On a Player coughing
A Player being slain upon the stage, was troubled with a suddain cough, which hee endeavouring
to suppresse was manifestly seene to shake and move, and at last did cough indeed. At which the
Spectators laughing, one of his owne Company standing by, said that hee was wont to drinke in
The phrase "drink in his pottage" is here obscure.
Of a Welch Minister
A Welch Minister being to Preach on a Sunday, certaine merry companions had got him into a
celler, to drinke his mornings draught, and in the meane while stole his Notes out of his pocket.
Hee nothing doubting went to the church, into the pulpit, where having ended his prayer, he mist
at last his Notes, wherefore hee saide: My good neighbours I have lost my Sermon, but I will
reade you a Chapter in Job shall be worth two of it.
Job in the Bible represents destitution and patience. Both representations are relevant. One
meaning of destitution is simply "without resources," the situation of the minister.
Consequently, he punishes the merry companions who tried to sabotage his sermon (so
they would not have to listen to it) with a lesson in patience: reading a lengthy chapter of
the awkwardly written book of Job (the archetype of patience). There may also be an
implication here of the phrase "Job's comforter": one who, like Job's friends, under the
guise of administering comfort, aggravates distress. The merry companions seem to be
toasting the minister, when actually they intend to steal his notes, leaving him in a state of
On a great messe of Broth.
A Certaine merry Gentleman seeing a great messe of broth set on the Table with a little chop of
Mutton in the middest of it, hastily unbuttoned his doublet, and being asked by the rest what was
his meaning, why, quoth hee, I meane to swimme through this Sea of pottage, unto the Isle of
A "pottage" is a thick soup.
Of a great Eater.
A Gormandizer being about to sit downe at table, complained that hee had lost his stomack. Well
(quoth one that stood by) if a poore man hath found it, he is directly undone.
Of a Cavilleire.
A Certaine Cavalleire slighted a man in his company as being a Scholler. Well Sir (answered he)
God might have made you a Scholler too if had pleased him.
One being to take a journey.
One being taking a journey into the Country was advised by a friend of his not to go that day for
certainely (quoth hee) it will raine, puh (replies the other) it is no matter for raine, so it hold up
Of one that married a crooked woman.
A Gentleman had taken to wife a woman of good conditions, but crooked of body, which being
by some objected unto him, hee said that God had bowed and sent her to him for a token.
Genesis 9:13: "I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant
between me and the earth."
An Oxford Townsman speaking of his former wife, said thus? if a man first marry a whore and
after her death an honest woman, am I a Cuckold then?
A division of a Text.
A Scholler of the University of Oxford, being to Preach there in one of the Parish Churches, and
owing much money unto men of the same Parish, chose this Text out of the Gospell. Have
patience, and I will pay you all.
Which he divided into these parts.
1. An Exhortation, have patience with me.
2. A Promise, and I will pay you all.
At this time of my Exhortation, And of the Promise, when God shall enable mee.
Matthew 18:23-34 tells of the man who is forgiven debt, but does not respond in kind to
his debtor. And cf Matthew 18:26 and 19:29: "have patience with me, and I will pay thee
Of A Mayor.
A Major of a Towne wherein were many Tanners, had caused the wayes to be repaired against the
Kings comming thither, by casting good store of hornes into the deepe places amongst the stones.
The King at his comming commended his care. Nay (an't please your Majesty) quoth he, my
brethren and I did lay our heads together that wee might make good way for your Majesty, at
which the King heartily laughed.
These tanners seem unaware that by telling the king they have placed their heads together
to produce horns are declaring themselves to be cuckolds.
Of one who had long haire
A Scholler calling after one that had long haire; hee not hearing him at the first or second call,
askt him whether his eares were lock[t].
One asking Diogenes the Cynicke what hee would have to take a cuffe on the eare, he answered
him a helmet. The same man walking in the fields, and seeing a young man shooting very
unskilfully, went and sate downe very neere the marke, some asking him why hee did so, hee
answered least peradventure hee should hit mee that shootes.
Diogenes Laertius on "Diogenes" in Lives of the Philosophers 6.41: "When some one
him a blow with his fist, 'Heracles,' said he, 'how came I to forget to put on a helmet when
I walked out?'" And, ibid, 6.67: "Seeing a bad archer, he sat down beside the target with
the words 'in order not to get hit.'" (The apophthegms of Diogenes the Cynic and other
philosophers in Diogenes Laertius provide a model for the early modern jestbook.)
Mistakes in reading.
One reading the history of Elisha, in the old Testament, and how the children mocked him, read,
and there came three shee Boares out of the forrest and devoured them.
2 Kings 2:24: "And he turned back, and looked on them, and cursed them in the name of
the Lord. And there came forth two she bears out of the wood, and tare [bore off] forty
and two children of them."
Another reading part of an Epistle in the new Testament, read, for salute Epaphras the chosen of
the Lord, salute Epaphras the cozen of the Lord. The same man reading of the uncovering the
house in the Gospell, to let downe the diseased, read, and they let them downe in Coaches, for
Epaphras is greeted in Colossians 1:7 4:12 and Philemon 1:23 but he is never referred to
directly as "the chosen of the Lord". The second passage appears to come from Acts 5:15:
"Insomuch that they brought forth the sick into the streets, and laid them on beds and
couches, that at the least the shadow of Peter passing by might overshadow some of
Another reading in the Psalmes, hee shall flourish like a greene bay (tree following) turned over
two leaves, and read on, horse and mule, in which is no understanding.
The first passage is from Psalms 37:35 "I have seen the wicked in great power, spreading
himself like a green bay tree." The second passage actually precedes it at Psalms 32:9: "Be
ye not as the horse, or the mule, which have no understanding." Apparently the reader was
reading backwards, not just skipping pages, an exemplary lack of understanding.
Another reading of the Parable of the Sower, having it as he thought by heart, and not much
attending the booke, but did halfe read it thus, and some seed fel amongst stones, and the stones
grew up and choaked it. The same at another time read, and the Sheepe eate up one of the
mountaines, for, the Sheepe eate upon the mountaines.
A typical instance of what in proof-reading is called eye-skip. The passage in Matthew
13:5-7 reads: "Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith
they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth: And when the sun was up, they
were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away. And some fell among
thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them". The second error in reading is not in
the King James Bible.
Another being to read that of Saint Paul, in the Acts,Hebraei sunt, sum et ego, read, ebrei sunt
sum et ego, whereas hee was drunke indeed.
II Corinthians 11:22 "Are they Hebrews? so am I." The pun is in the dropped "h" (they
are drunk, and so am I).
The division of a Text.
A Certaine Country Minister divided his Text after this manner, my Text hath two par[ts],
whereof like those two women grinding at the Mill, the one must be chosen and the other left.
Another thus, my text like Judas doth burst asunder, and naturally divides it selfe into these two
The first passage is Matthew 24:41: "Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one
shall be taken, and the other left." The second is Acts 1:18 "Now this man purchased a
field with the reward of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midst, and
all his bowels gushed out." Only half of the text is worth listening to.
Another dividing this Text, seeke, and you shall finde, and willing to imitate the second division in
Logicke distinguished the four sorts of seekers.
1. Some seeke and finde not.
2. Others finde and seeke not.
3. Some both seke and find.
4. Others neither seeke nor finde.
Matthew 7:7: "Ask, and it shall be given to you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall
be opened unto you." And Luke 11:9: "And I say unto you; Ask, and it shall be given
you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you." There is a play on a
basic rule of textbook logic.
Another taking this Text, of the feast in the Gospell, how camest thou hither without thy wedding
garment? and the man was speechlesse, divided it thus.
1. A question, how camest thou hither without thy wedding garment?
2. An answer, and the man was speechless.
Matthew 22:12: "And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou hither not having a
wedding garment? And he was speechless."
Of unequall legges.
A Chaplaine in Oxford, having one legge bigger than the other, was told by a Scholler that his
legges might well bee Chaplaines too, for they were never like to be fellowes.
"Fellow" is the title of the senior member of many Oxford colleges; college chaplains were
generally not made fellows (J.K. McConica, in correspondence).
Of a Schollar.
A schollar had beene walking in the fields, and comming home againe said, this winde is the
unconstantest thing that is in the earth, I walkt out right halfe a mile even now, and it blew
directly in by face; I was no sooner returned and it blew in my backe. The same man comming
into their Colledge Kitchen, chose out of the skillet all the swimming egges (which are most
commonly the worst) for his owne dinner, and being askt why hee did so, because (quoth hee)
these should be Duck eggs by their swimming.
He seems to believe that because ducks swim, their eggs should also swim. Eggs that
"swim" or float do so because their contents are decomposed (see, for instance, Pliny,
Natural History 10.75.151).
Of two being at bowles.
Two being together at bowels, at last they wrangled with each other, in reckoning their games,
one of them deepely swearing that it was thus, the other said, how horribly dost thou sweare, it is
the great mercy of God, that the bowling greene doth not fall about thy eares.
The humour of this jest is rooted in the punning of the word "swear." In the first part of
the jest, the two bowlers are "reckoning," or calculating their scores. One of the two
bowlers "deepely swears," or makes a solemn declaration to God, that his score is a
certain figure. The other bowler criticizes the first bowler for his swearing, for the first
bowler's swears are not declarations to God, but rather are profane maledictions.
Of the death of Julius Caesar.
Certaine Schollers were discoursing of the death of Julius Caesar, and all concluded that he was
slaine with bodkins, one hearing it, demanded whether that were not Julius Caesar, whose picture
stands before the Almancke.
The humour of this jest rests in the suggestion that there are two Julius Caesars, the
historical figure who was stabbed and another one, whose engraved picture is found at the
front of an almanac. ("Almancke" is an early variant spelling of "almanac.")
A translation of a Disticke.
Pistor erat quondam, laborando qui fregit collum.
Qui fregit collum, collum fregitque suum.
Translated by the Scholler that made them after this manner. There was a Baker heretofore with
labor and great paine: Did break his neck, and breake his necke, and breake his necke againe.
The scholar misconstrues the expression "to break one's neck through labour" as "to break
one's neck with labour." The Latin may be translated, "There was once a baker who,
through labour, broke his neck, who broke his neck, who broke his own neck." The
scholar misunderstands the Latin to mean that the baker exerted great labour for the
express purpose of breaking his own neck.
A Schoole Boy being to construe that in Terence, ventum erat ad vestae, rendred it in this
manner, ventum the winde, erat was, vestae in the West, at which the Schoole Master laughing
said, it was then time to hoyst up sayle, and withall untrust the boy and trimmed his pinnace.
The schoolboy mistranslates the Latin word "ventum." The line of "Terence" (actually
Horace Satires 1.9.35) may be translated "He had come [to the temple] of the Vesta."
However, the boy misconstrues "ventum" to mean "wind" and "Vestae" is a wild shot he
makes for "West." The schoolmaster extends the wind motif to sailing when he chastises
the boy by raising his shirt, untrussing the boy's clothing, and "trimming his pinnace," or
physically punishing him.
A Young Deacon, being to bee made Minister, the Bishop in his examination put him to construe
that verse of Seneca the Tragedian; Curae leves loquuntur, ingentes stupent, Hee did it thus,
Curae leves, little Curates, loquuntur, doe Preach, Ingentes great Bishops, Stupent doe hold their
The young deacon mistranslates the line from Seneca (Phaedra 607 "small cares speak;
great ones astound" or "great ones are too big to talk about") and in doing so insults the
Of a piece pawned.
A Scholler having beene in the fields a shooting, comming home went into an Alehouse, where
wanting money for the present hee left his peece to discharge the shot. The same man comming
from Sermon went into a Taverne where having outdranke his purse hee desired the Vintner to
take his word, which because hee refused, hee threw him his Bible, and told him if hee would not
take his word, hee should take Gods Word for it.
An ignorant Papist.
A Jesuite administering the Sacrament to a sicke Papist on a Friday, according to the order said,
Take eate, this is Christs body, the sicke man answered him, that it stood against his conscience to
eate flesh on a Fryday, for he never used so to doe.
Of a Neates tongue let fall.
A Servitor in Oxford, serving to the Table a Neates tongue, let it fall by the way, being chid by his
M. for it, he said it was but Lapsus Linguae. Another by chance shed a dish of broath on
Masters Table, hee reprending him said, sirra, I could have done so much my selfe, no marvaile
Sir (quoth he) now you have seene mee doe it before you.
The first joke is a pun on lapsus linguae or "slip of the tongue" -- very clever for a
serving-man who has dropped a beef tongue on the floor. ("M." is short for "Master.")
Of a Skull.
An Oxford Skull being asked how he got so much wit, being but a skull, hee answered where
should the wit bee but in the skull.
A "skull" is short for "scullion" or kitchen worker (though by the 18th century a "skull"
was the slang name for a head of a college or hall at Oxford).
Of a Taylor.
A Taylour of the same Towne having his legges well beaten at cudgels, the company laughing at
him, hee said, Gentlemen why laugh yee, they are not my legs I stand upon.
"Cudgel-play" is a game or contest where the participants use short clubs. The "legges"
are both clubs and the limbs of the player.
Of a dry Preacher.
A Gentleman being at Sermon, where a dull fellow preacht almost all his Auditory out of the
Church, said that he made a very mooving Sermon.
Of a Clowne.
A Country fellow comming into the Schoole of Medicine in Oxford, and seeing there the mans
skinne tanned, said that the skin wold make good Bucks-leather gloves.
Of a cleare night.
One walking abroad in a cleare Mooneshining night, said it was as fine a night as any is in
England. Another swore it was as fine a night as a man shall see in a Sommersday.
Of a Scholler.
A Scholler as he was blowing the fire in a winter night, his bellowes nose fell out, Gentlemen
quoth he, it must needs bee cold weather when the bellowes no[s]e doth droppe.
Of a Welchman.
A Scholler examining a Welchman who was also a Scholler in the Meteoro-logickes, asked him,
quid est capra saltans? The Welchman answered in English, that it was a capring Goat.
Capra saltans can mean "capering goat," "she-goat," or the goat "constellation." The
Welsh scholar's answer suggests that he hasn't been studying his meteorologics or study of
the heavens (a standard university course that was usually based on Aristotle's
Meteorologica [though this work does not itself cover constellations]).
Of a Scholler that had soare legges.
A Scholler keeping his chamber very closely, by reason of his sore legges, was askt by another,
how hee could keepe in so much, having such running legges.
Of a young Scholler.
A Young Scholler was very much perplexed, because in all his Dictionary, hee could not finde
what was Latine for Aquavitae.
Another because he could not finde Latine for a Noble.
Both words are Latin forms commonly used in standard English of the time (hence, they're
not in the student's dictionary). The former is a liquor; the latter a gold coin (6s 8d or
Of two Schollers requiting each others kindnesse.
A Certaine S[c]holler had occasion to make use of a booke which hee himselfe wanted, wherefore
he sent to another to borrow it for a short time, but hee sent him word that hee could not lend his
booke out of doores, but that he should come to his chamber and reade while he would. The
Scholler being to have private use of it, furnished himself anotherwhere, and afterward wayled a
requitall, which was thus offered: Two dayes after the other came to him to borrow his bellowes,
hee made him answer, indeede I cannot lend my bellowes out of doores, but come to my chamber
and blow whiles you will.
Qu. Why is Coelum which is Latine for Heaven, onely of the masculine gender, in the plurall
An. Because that I thinke few women sha[l]l come there, or at least such as are singular.
Qu. Why amongst the rest of the planets doth Venus cast a shadow?
An. Because her deeds doe most want it.
Qu. Why doth the man weare the horns whereas the woman doth make them?
An. Because the man is the head.
Qu. Suppose you and I were in a roome together, you being naked, pray which part would you
An. Your eyes Sir. A Question proposed to a Gentlewoman, at the play of Questions and
Qu. Of all creatures, which dyeth best like a Swan?
An. A theefe, because hee sings before hee dies.
A Witty Answer.
A Glocestershire man intruded at a Devonshire feast, in Oxford (for once a yeare they have a
solemne meeting that are of one shire) wherefore he was askt if he were their Countryman or no,
he answered, there went but a paire of sheeres betwixt us.
A play on the word "sheeres" (the "shared" word "shire" in the names of the two counties
and a "paire of sheeres" for shearing sheep).
A Scholler being to take his degree for Batchelor of Divinity, in disputations slighted the
Authority of Piscator, with these words, Audio Apostolum non piscatorem. The
answered him, why, fuit Apostolus Piscator.
The Latin translates as "I hear the Apostle not the fisherman" and "the Apostle was a
fisherman." Piscator is both a "fisherman" and Johann Piscator, the late 16th century
controversial theologian (his Latin series of logical analyses of the books of the New
Testament were well known in England in the 1590s). The divinity student says,
essentially, "I won't take Piscator's word over the apostles'," which the moderator cleverly
turns around by arguing that Piscator must have been one of the apostles, who were both
fishermen and "fishers of men."
Of one being distressed in his bed.
A Gentleman being distressed in his naked bed, told his Chamberfellow, that he must needs rise
and untrusse a point. Another (being a Welchman) used the same phrase, when hee saw a henne
shiting on a Table.
The meaning of the jest is ambiguous. The gentleman needs to relieve himself (to do so
requires him to loosen his "point" or "tagged lace or cord ... for attaching the hose to the
doublet" [OED]). Apparently, a typical Welshman, seeing "a henne shiting on a Table,"
becomes sexually aroused, and needs to loosen the rising "point" in his pants. (Or so it
seems to us!)
Of a foolish wish.
A Scholler whose study was adjoyning to an Orchard, and seeing a tree of very faire plummes out
of his window, wisht himselfe a crow that hee might fly out and fill his pockets, and so come
A foolish Resolve.
TWo Schollers having beene abroad tipling, etc. about 8. or 9. resolved at last to goe home and
study like horses, wherefore they agreed to locke each other into their studies.
On a Scholler whose cup was overfull.
A Fellow whose cup was overfilled and so delivered unto him did once or twice very gingerly sip
there of, whereat the company laughing, he sa[i]d Gentlemen it was too full before, but now it is
very faire, and so hee dr[a]nke off all the rest. The same man at another time, swore that hee
dranke once as good beere as ever he did in his life.
Of a Scholler to be presented Batchelour.
A Scholler that was to take his degree of Batchelour of Arts, was asked by the Deane that was to
present him to the congregation with what conscience hee could sweare him to bee fit for that
degree both in learning and manners sith hee had spent his time so ill in the University? The
Scholler answered him, hee might well sweare him to bee fit tam mo[r]ibus quam doctrina, for so
the oath Deanes are to take doth runne in the Latine.
Fit tam moribus quam doctrina: "made as much by his manners as by his learning."
Of a Duns made M. of Arts
A Duns being created M. of Arts, one askes how it is possible hee should attaine to that degree,
being so meane a Scholler, another answered, it might well bee, for Omnis creatio est ex
Omnis creatio est ex nihilo: "All creation is from nothing"
On an order in Magdalene Colledge in Oxford.
In Magdalene Colledge in Oxford, it is an order that every morning one shall go about to every
Schollers doore that is of the foundatio[n], knocking loudly and crying pars a quinta
signifies a quarter after five of the clocke) and warnes them all to prayers, one hearing this related
said, doth hee knocke at every doore, yes saith the other, then replies he, hee had neede rise at
three of the clocke to cry pars a quinta.
Of a young Scholler.
A Schoole Master asked one of his Schollers in the Winter time, what was Latine for cold, O Sir,
answered the lad, I have that at my fingers ends.
Of a Minister.
A Minister whose name was Thorn, having almost tyred his Auditory in a Sermon, desired them
to have patience, with him but for a while and they should gather Grapes from Thorne.
Matthew 7:16: "Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?"
Of one Taxed for false Latine.
A Servitor in Oxford being a Scholler, and having freely given his Tutor an Epistle for a New
yeares gift, hee read it and taxed him for false Latine in it. Sir hee replies, I thought that you
would not looke a gift horse in the mouth.
Of a yong man and a Doctor
A Young man being in a bowling greene where was a grave Dr. at bowles, the Dr. said hee would
win the former cast, the young man hearing it, said, Ile lay halfe a dozen on it.
A bowls player wins the game if balls that have been thrown lie closer than those of the
opponent to the target ball, or "jack." In this instance, the doctor is boasting that he will
win the game on the last jack thrown. The student's retort, "Ile lay half a dozen on it,"
could refer to either the student's willingness to bet money on the doctor's skill or to his
intention of throwing half a dozen of his balls around the jack, thereby winning the game
Of a fellow of an house, and an under graduate.
A Fellow of a Colledge was chiding an under graduate, for prating too loud in dinner time, and
with all told him that vir sapit qui pauca loquitur, the other replies yes, vir loquitur qui pauca
Vir sapit qui pauca loquitur: "the man is wise who speaks little." Vir loquitur qui
sapit: "the man speaks who knows little." The Fellow is quoting a Latin proverb,
apparently of medieval origin (Hans Walther, Proverbia [G”ttingen: Vandenhoeck &
Ruprecht, 1963ff], no. 33578a).
Of a Curate.
A Country Curate asking a young Scholler to which University hee intended to go, the [S]choller
answered him, to Cambridge. That is a very unhealthy place said the first, and I thinke if I had
lived there till this time, I had beene dead five yeares since. Another told a melancholy man, that if
he lived long that sad kind of life, he would dye shortly.
The unhealthiness and humidity of Cambridge and its surrounding fens was well known.
Taylor also has a jest about Cambridge's unhealthy atmosphere, [(67)] "One said that hee
could never have his health at Cambridge, and that if hee had lived there till this time, hee
thought in his conscience that hee had dyed seven yeeres agoe.
I will not say the man that spake so ly'd,
Seven yeeres agoe, no doubt hee might have dy'd;
He by his trade perhaps might be a dyer,
And daily dy'd to live, and bin no lyer."
Of a Cooke.
A Cooke of a Colledge on a Winter night being much busied in dressing supper, and withall halfe
tipled, cut up the sheathe of his knife and broyled it for a red hearing.
Of one at a non plus.
One haveing brought himselfe to a non plus, in the te[l]ling of a tale, desired another to
out, no quoth he, you are out enough already.
Non plus: standstill, perplexity
On a little study.
A Scholler haveing a very little study, and a company in his chamber desiring to see it, hee told
them, ifaith Gentlemen if you goe all in, it will not hold you.
Of a sluggard.
A Fellow that used to lye abed long every morne, once got up about the rising of the Sunne,
wherefore hee told some that the Sunne did rise sooner that morning then it had done these five
On a house of office.
One asking another which was the way to the house of office, was bid by him to follow his nose,
and hee could not misse the way. The same man coming back againe, said that hee had ---- his
The "house of office" (OED "house" sb1 14) could be a "pantry" or a "privy." The
ambiguity of the long dash could be that he "had eaten" his bellyful or he "had shit" it.
One that wore but one Spur.
A Scholler beeing jeer'd on the way for wearing but one Spurre, said that if one side of his horse
went on, it was not likely that the other would stay behinde.
On a Bull.
Some being talking concerning jests, buls, and the like, one of them averred that there was as
much wit shewed in breaking a good bull, so it were voluntarily do[n]e, as in the best jest, which
s[p]eech another confirming, said, that it was harder to speake good nonsence, than bad
Of a Scholler sleighted.
A Scholler neglecting or not seeing one of his former familar acquaintance, the other tooke it in
endugine, and imputing it to his pride, said to those of his company, hee sees me well enough, but
hee will not looke on me.
"Endugine" is equated with "dudgeon" in OED and means "a feeling of anger or
resentment; ill humour," the latter meaning more present in the jest than the former.
Of an ignorant Priest.
An ignorant Priest at the celebration of Masse, saw written in his booke salta per tria
signifies folia or paginas, in English, turne ore three leaves at once, he leaps downe
staires from the Altar. The Country people thinking him madde bound him hand and foote, and
carryed him out of the Church.
Latin salta means "skip, jump ahead" and per tria means "for three." Hence, the
rather than skipping three pages, skipped down three stairs and made a fool of himself.
Of a foolish Scholler.
In a certaine monastery did live studious youths under the discipline of an Abbot and their severall
Tutors, there one being bid to construe an hymne in which was this word pedo, which
sheepe-crooke, the Scholler was thereat puzzeled. Wherefore the Abbot bad him looke out that
word in the Dictionary, where having lookt, hee cryes out pedo pedis pedere, which
fart, at which the rest brak forth into a loud laughter. The Abbot being thereat very angry strooke
one of them, saying you rascals d[o]e laugh whilest wee are talking of sacred things?
The Latin word pedo, which the student was obliged to look up, is the ablative form of
pedum (shepherd's crook or staff). The second meaning of the word pedo is
fart." [We read "doe" for "dee" in the original.]
Of a Scholler.
A University Scholler, many times striving to bee graced with the degree of a Batchelour of Arts,
could never obtaine it. At last all hope forsaking him, hee said why there is no necessity I should
bee Batchelor, for Christ had twelve Disciples, and yet none of them was a Batchelor.
According to the foolish scholar, Christ, the great master, never saw his pupils proceed to
the degree of Bachelor of Arts. And these disciples turned out all right, didn't they? There
may ba additional punning ("grace" in two senses, religious and academic, the latter the
permission to proceed to a degree) and the suggestion that the disciples may have been
"married" to the church.
On Platoes yeare.
Two young Phylosophers went into an Inne to drink, where the hoast was an old man, but very
witty and conceited. Where having disputed most part of the night, concerning the opinions of
Philosophers, especially of Platoes great yeare, (how after thirty thousand yeares they should
againe bee entertained in the same Inne,) At last they intreated the old man, that untill that time he
would forbeare the reckoning, and when then they came againe they promised to pay him. To
which hee answered, In the yeare past beeing 30000. yeares since, I remember you were here and
did not pay your reckoning, pay that now, and I will trust you for this untill the next yeare.
"Platoes great yeare" is the cycle of some 30,000 years. In this cycle the heavenly bodies
take all their possible positions and then return to their original one. Because of this, all
events recur in the same order as before.
Of a young Scholler.
A Company of Schollers were talking of an impudent woman that hit her owne husband in the
teeth with his ho[r]nes; a puny amongst them saith, what a foole was hee to let his wife know he
was a Cuckold.
Along with the conventional association of "hornes" with a Cuckold, the word "horne"
was also used to refer to items made out of an animal's horn, such as a vessel used to hold
liquid. Perhaps the literal meaning of the story is that wife hit her husband with such an
item. The "puny" man takes "hornes" in the figurative sense, implying that somehow the
wife's infidelity was unknown to her. [We read "hornes" for "hosnes" in the original.]
Of a Tutor.
A Tutor in the University reprehending some of his Schollers for too much frequenting the waters,
said that hee would have no man venture to goe into the water untill hee could swimme well.
The Tutor has heard the students are "frequenting the waters," which he takes to mean
"spending time bathing." But it is likely that the real problem is their excessive drinking.
On a Country man.
A Country fellow went to the University of Oxford to see his young Landlord, who was there a
student. And having found him discouraging amongst Schollers, he said he would give twenty
pounds his Sonne were so good a scholar as he. Wouldst thou replies the Scholler, it has cost my
Father five hundred pound. Hath it so saith the other. Then you and your Father are both
On certaine Schollers.
Certaine Schollers speaking in the company of one whose name was Hill, that H was no letter, no
saith he, it will then goe very ill with me.
A Grave man coming into the Hall to dispute with a Batchelour of Arts, on this question; An
Monarchia fit optimus status Reipublicae, began with this supposition, supponas me esse
Monarchiam te subditum, etc. the other answers hoc non est supponendum (replies
Supponias disputation[i]s gratia non disputation[i]s gratia, saith the Batchelour,
the first, saith the other quia uno dato absurdo sequantur mille.
The disputed question is: "Whether Monarchy may be the best condition for the
state." Grave Man: Let you suppose that I, put beneath you, am a monarchy, etc. B.A.: This
should not be supposed! Grave Man: No? B.A.: Argue this for the sake of argument, not for the
sake of argument. Grave Man: Why? B.A.: Because for one absurd premise, one thousand may
The Grave Man, who is less learned, places himself below the lowly Bachelor of
Bachelor objects, and asks him to argue in terms of the argument itself (not to start a
quarrel). But even then the premise is absurd (how can the Grave Man "be a monarchy"?)
and the whole argument will lead off into a thousand false directions.
On a Grove.
The same man hearing a Grove commended which was neere unto his house, said that indeede it
wold be a good grove were it not for the trees.
Of a quarrell betweene two Schollers.
A Scholler being big and tall of stature, quarrelling with another, that was much less then himself,
the latter said a great Clowne, were he cut in two, hee would make three of me.
A relation of Newes.
A Certaine Scholler asking another what newes in the Country, hee said that at a Towne in Dorset
shire, a man being to be buryed in a blustering and stormy day, when hee was brought into the
Church, and set downe from the mens shoulders, the Beere gave a great cracke. The Minister
asking what it was that did cracke so (fearing it had beene a beame of Church) nothing said the
dead man. And when hee was to be interrred, the grave being in the Churchyard, was halfe full of
water, which when the dead man felt, he said, what doe you meane to bury me and drowne me
too. Not withstanding they buryed him, and it is now questioned.
The "Beere" is a "bier" or moveable stand for a corpse before it is buried.
A mistake in reading.
A Curate being to reade that passage in the Scripture, and Abraham did solace his wife, read, and
Abraham did so lace his wife.
"Solace" appears only at Proverbs 7.18, so it's not clear how the Curate made the
connection with Abraham and Sarah.
At Woodstocke by Schollers.
King James, of Famous memory being at Woodstocke, the Schollers of Christ-Church, presented
him with a play, named the Marriage of Artes, a Comedy very good, but not well taken by the
Court, whereon one made this disticke to the Authour.
Sixe miles thy Muse had travell'd that I thinke.
The cause that made thy verses feete to stinke.
Technogamia, or the Marriage of the Arts by Barten Holyday, an undergraduate of
Church, was presented before James I at Woodstock (just north of Oxford) on 26 August
1617 by the scholars of the college (John Nichols, The Progresses, Processions, and
Magnificent Festivities of King James the First, iv, 713-15; the performers are listed at
ibid., 1108-9; a satirical poem "Whoop Holyday," against the author, the play, and the
performance was written by Peter Heylen, of Magdalen, ibid., 1109). The play is still
extant in editions of 1618 and 1638 (STC 13617-18).
On a French Priest.
A Priest under our Popish ignorance willing to prove that the Parish must pave the Church and
not hee, proved it out of the old Testament, in these words, paveant illi non paveam ego.
Paveant illi non paveam ego from Jeremiah 17:18 (in the King James Version "Let
be dismayed, but let not me be dismayed"). The confusion is over the verb paveo which
the ignorant priest interprets as "let them pave [or lay the floor for the church], not I."
On a meere Scholler
A Certaine meere Scholler being to ride before a Gentlewoman on the same horse, out of curtesie
desired her to get up first, which she denying, hee very earnestly urged her to it, thinking it as I
suppose a part of good manners.
Women first, the scholar urges, not realizing the inconvenience he'll be putting the
Gentlewoman to when he tries to climb up and seat himself before her on the horse.
(There is a parallel jest in Taylor's Wit and Mirth [(7)]: "An exceeding tall
was riding behinde a very short little, so that the mans head reached no higher then her
breast; which the aforesaid Monsieur perceiving, said, Madam, you will ride a greate deale
better, if you put your legge over that same pummell of your saddle.")
An Epigramme on this saying
Quot capita tot ingenia.
So many heads so many wits, fie, fie;
It is a shame for Proverbes thus to lye:
For I, though my acquaintance bee but small;
Know many heads that have no wit at all.
Quot capita tot ingenia: So many heads, so many wits. This is an English proverb
H279), a variation on a common Latin proverb, Quot homines, tot sententiae, "So
men, so many opinions" (Erasmus Adages 1.3.7; see also Tilley M583).
On a paire of foule bootes
A Scholler being hasty on his journey, the other was over curious in making cleane his bootes, hee
jestingly told him, I prethee leave, for the old dirt will serve to keepe out the new.
Of a Scholler
A Scholler having brought his Tutor an exercise in prose, he dislikt it, and bad him turne it into
verse the next day the yong Scholler brought it, so saith hee now there is rime in it, before neither
rime nor reason.
On a Country man
A Country man being told by his Minister that he must defie the world, the flesh, and the devill,
made this answer; Sir I hope you will pardon mee in that, you Worship knowes mee to bee a
poore man, and therefore it becomes not me to defie any man.
On a Gentleman
A Gentleman being in place where there was wondrous small beere, said to his friend, O Sir, this
beere sweates extreamely, your reason said he, why? I tell you man its all in a water.
The beer "sweats" or is still in fermentation.
Another of the same
The same Gentleman complained that the beere at such a Colledge was dead, that may very well
be said his Companion, for it was weake when I were here last.
Of a Scholler
A Master of a Colledge, seeing one of the foundation clad with an extreame short Gowne,
reprehended him sharply, and told him it was a disparagement to the whole Society, for him to
goe so ridiculously accoutred, good Sir, replies the fellow, have patience a while, for it will bee
long enough Ile warrant you before I have another.
In Taylor Wit and Mirth, [(109)] "One borrowed a cloake of a Gentleman, and met one
him, who said, I thinke I know that cloake: it may be so, said the other, I borrowed it of
such a Gentleman: the other told him that it was too short: yea, but quoth he that had the
cloake, I will have it long enough before I bring it home again."
An Oxford Townesman.
A Certain Townesman was boasting what revenge hee would take on an other whom hee
conceived had wronged him: the same party hearing his threats, answered him that curst cowes
have short hornes: the former mans wife standing by, and willing to take her husbands part,
replyed yea? but I hope my husband is none of those Cowes Sir.
The play on "horns" as the sign of the cuckold is fairly tired. But the jest takes it a bit
further when the woman hopes that her husband is not a "cow" lacking in length.
On one that had lost at cards.
A Gentleman much bemoaning his bad fortune, that hee had lost forty peeces at cards, but at last,
its no great matter (said he) I am (I thinke) in part revenged, for I am sure he tooke some light
gold: and therewithall rested himselfe contented.
The foolish gentleman is happy because the winners made off with shaved coins, or "light"
A bitter Jeaster.
In the time of Queen Elizabeth, lived one Pace a very bitter Jeaster, who being once a[d]mitted
into the presence of some Court Ladyes, they said unto him, come on Pace we shall now heare of
our faults, no replies hee, I doe not use to talke of that which all the towne talkes of.
John Pace (1523?-90?) studied at Eton and Cambridge and was a professional fool to
Queen Elizabeth (Dictionary of National Biography, 15:21-2). Anecdotes about him
recorded by John Heywood. This jest is found in Francis Bacon's Apophthegms
ed. Spedding, et al., 7:125).
On a Mercer.
An Oxford Mercer, one that had a great opinion of his owne wit, being asked by a Country fellow
if hee would sell him a mat, called forth his daughter Martha, whom hee usually so called, and
askt him what hee would give him for that mat, the Clowne made him answer, that he would
willingly have such a mat as was never laine upon, which quite abasht both the Mercer and his
On an Englishman and a Frenchman.
An English man being in the company of a Frenchman, and with many swaggering tearmes,
braving him amongst the rest, said that wee give the Lyon, the Prince of all beasts for our Armes:
the Frenchman answered him, true, yet Leo gallum per-horrescit.
The Latin translates "The Lion is thoroughly afraid of the cock," a traditional belief (Pliny
8.19.52: "Yet though of ... such ferocity this animal is frightened by wheels turning round
and by empty chariots, and even more by the crested combs and the crowing of cocks, but
most of all by fires"). Sir Thomas Browne amusingly rejects the belief in his Pseudodoxia
Epidemica 3.27.7 (see edition of R. Robbins, i, 280-1 and ii, 888). The pun here is of
course on "gallus," the cock, and "Gallus," the Frenchman (or Gaul).
On a jealous man.
A Certaine man that was somewhat too jealous of his wives honesty, used oftentimes when shee
walkt, to looke out of the doore to watch whether his wife went. Which shee often perceiving,
and taking in great endugine, roundly told him, that if hee used to continually to looke after her,
shee would clappe such a paire of hornes upon his he[a]d, that from thenceforth he should not bee
able to put his head out of the doores.
For "endugine," dudgeon, see above, no. 11, "Of a Welchman in Oxford."
Of a poore Souldier.
A Captaine seeing a poore Souldier march sweating in a Winter morning, askt him how hee could
sweate in such cold weather? The Souldier answered him marry Captaine if you carryed all your
goods on your backe as I do, you would sweate as well as I.
A silly young Gentlewoman.
A Silly Country Gentlewoman being begot with childe by one that was much her inferiour, to save
her credit, accused the man of rape, whereupon the matter was had in question before a neighbour
Justice of peace, who somewhat perceiving the matter, after hee had heard her complaint, how
deepely shee had beene injured, as pittying her said, alas poore Gentlewoman, I warrant this was
not the first time the rogue ravisht you, shee to aggravate his crime, replyed, no Ill be sworn he
ravisht mee above twenty times, which procured much laughter, and the fellowes freedome.
On an old Lady.
An ancient Lady was sitting at Table, with company who were questioning each others age, shee
being desirous to bee thought younger then indeede she was, said, that shee was but forty yeares
old, Cicero being then present, and hearing it, rounded him that sate next him in the eare, saying
you must beleeve her, for I have heard her say so, any time these Tenne yeares.
We haven't been able to trace this anecdote in the life of Cicero; it may or may not be
based on an actual account.
Of a Tyler.
A Tyler and his man were together at worke upon a house, when the Rafters breaking, his man fel
down through the roofe, the Tyler looking after him, said, I like a fellow that will goe through his
Another falling from a house top, kild with his weight a man that was under, but saved his owne
life, the other mans friend prosecuting the Law, and requiring Lex talionis, was adjudged
up on the house and to fall downe on the Tyler.
Lex talionis is the law of retaliation (an eye for an eye).
A Country man.
A Country fellow comming into Cheapeside, tooke up a waster and a buckeler to play with an
Apprentice, the Apprentice beating him soundly, breaking his head, etc. the fellow cast downe his
waster againe, and said that if he had not thought that the Apprentice would still have struck on
the Buckler, (as he thought) he would not have plaid.
To play at buckler and waster was a common sport throughout the early modern period.
"The youthes in this Citie also have used on holy dayes after Evening prayer, at their
Maisters doores, to exercise their Wasters and Bucklers" (Stow, Survey, 1598, as
OED under "waster2"). The "waster" was a wooden sword or a foil used in
or fencing; the "buckler" ("a clownish dastardly weapon" Florio First Fruites
 cited in OED) was a small round shield, usually carried by a handle at the back
used less as a shield than "as a warder to catch the blow of an adversary." The buckler, in
particular, took some skill to use. Thus, having lost this match to the apprentice, the
country man complains, in essence, that if he had known the apprentice was going to try
to win, he would not have played.
On a boy serving in a pigges head.
A Certaine company of Gentlemen were met together at dinner, at a friends house, where a boy
was serving in a pigshead to the Table, in a foule dish, for which his Master being angry did much
chide him, one of them standing by excused the boy in this manner, faith Sir (said he,) you need
not be so angry, for the dish is so clean that the boy may see his face in it.
Of an old man and a judge.
Not long since was an old man brought before a Judge to be a witness of an ancient custome of a
Parish, which was then controverted,the Judge therefore in his examination enquired of him how
many yeares old hee was, hee answered one and threescore, the Judge trying to put him out of
countenance saith, and why not threescore and one (whereas indeed the greatest number should
be put first) the old man replies because (may it please your Lordship) I was one before I was
The jest appears in a slightly different form in John Taylor's Wit and Mirth [(70)]: "A
Judge upon the Bench did aske an old man how old he was: My Lord, said he, I am eight
and forscore: and why not fourescore and eight, said the Judge; the other repli'd, because I
was eight before I was fourescore."
On a Gentlewoman and her servant.
A Gentle-woman was boasting what an overthrow shee had given an adversary of hers in a suit of
Law; yes Mistress (quoth one of her servants that stood by) hee tooke the wrong sow by the eare,
when first hee beganne to meddle with you.
"To take the wrong sow by the ear" is a common proverb (Tilley S685) here not so subtly
redirected. (The jest seems to be an abbreviated version of one in Taylor's Wit and
[no. 14]: " A Lady having beene ten yeeres in suite of Law, had a triall at last, where the
Judgement went on her side; whereupon she would presently expresse her joy by inviting
some of her neerest tenants and neighbours to supper; amongst whom was a plaine
downe-right countrey Yeoman, to whom the Lady said; Tenant, I thinke I have tickled my
Adversary; now, though it were long first, I trow hee will make no brags of his medling
with mee. The honest Yeoman replyed, Truly Madam I did ever thinke what it would
come to at last, for I knew when he first medled with your Ladyship, that hee had a wrong
Sow by the eare.")
Of a Gentlewoman betraying herself.
A Gentle-woman was in company te[l]ling a tale of a Curtezan who was like to bee surprized in
bed with a Lord, and that they were so neere taken, that to save both their credits, the lord was
enforced to let her downe at the window with one of the sheetes: In conclusion quoth shee, the
knot slipt and downe fell I.
A Gentleman and his Wife.
A Conceited Gentleman seeing his wife in a very sullen mood, asked her how she did, she
answered him, that shee was not sick, nor yet very well. Nay (quoth hee) then I may even turne
thee out of doores, for I only promised to cherish thee in sicknesse or in health, which answer
awakened her sullen humour.
Of a Welsh Barber.
A Welsh Barber shaving a leane man, put in his finger into his mouth, to bend out his hollow
cheek, that hee might doe it more conveniently, but by neglect, he cut his owne finger through the
fellowes cheeke, he gave him a greate cuffe on the eare saying, A pox on your thinne choppes,
thus to make mee hurt my finger.
Of a young Barber.
A Young Barber comming to trim a Gentleman, the Gentleman asked him what was become of
his Master, (who was formerly wont to trim him,) Sir quoth the shaver, my Master hath left off
shop-keeping, and hath turned your Worship over to me.
Of two Fryers.
Two Shavelings were in disputation whether God had made more worlds then one? the one of
them alleadged that passage in the Gospell, concerning the cleansing of tenne Leapers, being
Christs words. An non decem facti Sunt mundi? the other having had recourse first to the
answered him as learnedly with the words following, sed ubi sunt illi novem?
Luke 17:17 in the Latin Bible reads "Nonne decem mundati sunt? et novem ubi sunt?"
(King James Version: " Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine?"). The
shaveling (a tonsured ecclesiastic) has misremembered the phrase and has turned it into a
typical late scholastic quaestio: "An non decem facti sunt mundi?" ("Were not ten worlds
made?") His companion's answer is closer to the biblical text.
How many sorts of Cuckolds
There are of Cuckolds three severall sorts.
1. A Goate-Cuckold who is abused, and doth not thinke of it, for his hornes
those of the goat, quite backeward, and so out of sight, out of minde.
2. An Asse Cuckold, who taking the shadow of his eares for his hornes thinks
Cuckold, but is not.
3. A Ramme Cuckold who knowes hee hath hornes, sees them and thinkes it no
disparagement to weare them.
[O]f a paire of stockes.
A Fellow that was set in the stockes, said that the last night hee was in a wood, where hee could
see over, and under, and quite through, and yet could by no meanes get out of it.
On one that would borrow money.
A Gamester having lost all his money in a roome where was one with whom hee had some small
acquaintance, on the bed, came to him and said, Sir, if you bee not asleepe, I pray lend me five
shillings, the other, --- fastasleepe I protest.
Of one wanting beere.
A Tenant dyning at his Lords table, could get no liquor, wherefore he rose up and desired leave to
go home and drinke, saying, that he would returne againe presently.
Of a Welchman.
A Welchman that had beene at the Assizes, and seeing the prisoners hold up their hands to the
Bar, comming thence saide, that they were [v]ery good fortune tellers, for doe but hold up hur
hand, and they was tell hur whether hur shall live or dye presently.
The Assizes are sessions held periodically in each county of England, for the
purpose of administering civil and criminal justice. The joke is a pun on fortune
tellers. As each prisoner holds up his or her hand, the judge passes sentence and
like a fortune teller knows whether the prisoner will live or die. The "hur" is a
Welsh prenomial form.
Of a Lobster being shot.
A Company of Inland Cock-neyes, shot a living Lobster which was let fall on the high way, for a
Serpent, and made a solemne thankes giving for their deliverance from it. One of them being
somewhat wiser then the rest, tooke the Serpent and invited the Minister of the Parish to dine
thereat, who being derided for his error, said that in all his life time, he never saw a blacke Lobster
An "Inland Cock-neye" is a derisive term for an effeminate townsman. The
"somewhat wiser" of these Cockneys is mocked for mistaking a lobster for a
serpent. The only way out for the Cockney is to say that of course he knows what
a lobster looks like, he's just never seen a black lobster (i.e., a lobster covered with
gunsmoke) before. An early road-kill story.
A mistake in a mans name.
A Fellow was sent in a message to one whose name was Anckeeill, and that hee might the better
remember his name, he was bid remember the anckle of his legge, he went on his errant, and
comming to the place where hee lived, mistooke Anckle and enquires for one Master Calfe.
Of a strumpet being with childe.
A Strumpet saying that shee was begot with childe by Aristippus, he answered her, you no more
know that, then if you went through a hedge of thornes, you could say, that this thorne prickt me.
Aristippus was the ancient philosopher who argued for rationality over pleasure. This
episode appears in the well-known account of Aristippus in Diogenes Laertius' Lives of
the Philosophers (2.81)
Of a Souldier whose stones were cut out.
A Scholler hearing a begging Souldier complaine that his stones were cut out at the Isle of Rea,
did thus bemoane him, Ille dolet vere qui sine teste dolet.
"Stones" are testicles. The Latin translates "he truly grieves who grieves without a
witness" (from Martial 1.33.4), or - a lame pun - "without a testicle." The isle of Rea or
Rhé, off La Rochelle in the Bay of Biscay, was subject to dispute; there was an
attack on the garrison on the island by the duke of Buckingham in the summer of 1627.
Of a Welchman.
A Welchman observing a fellow to cut his Masters purse, came behind him and cut off his eare, at
which the cheater starting, hee said, nay Sir, no wrong, give my Master his purse againe, and you
shall have your eare.
Of granting suites.
The Lord Treasurer in the raigne of Que[e]ne Elizabeth advised her not to grant mens suites too
speedily, for said he, bis dat qui cito dat, if you give so soone, they will come to you
A variation on the proverb "he gives twice who gives quickly" (Erasmus Adages
Tilley G125). Lord Burghley was Elizabeth's Lord Treasurer.
Of a Welchman being to bee hanged.
An Englishman being on the gallowes, said nothing so much grieved him, as that hee must bee
hangd with that shabbed Welchman, Godsplit hurnailes (quoth the Welchman, in a great rage) hur
will hang cheeke by joule with the proudest of you all, and hur would have you know, that hur
keepes as cood company as you, every day in the weeke. The hang-man dealing somewhat rudely
in fitting the halter about the same Welchmans necke, he lookt about very angerly upon him
saying, why how now; what dost thou meane to throttle me.
Of a Spanish cheater.
A Spanish cheater had gotten him under wide hanging sleeves a paire of false armes, which he
artificially lifting up in time of prayer did with his true armes (if so I may call them) cut the purses
of all the votaries that were near him.
Of a prisoner.
A Prisoner at Newgate, having lost money out of his pockets, looking about on his fellow
Prisoners said, how now Gentlemen what have wee theeves among ourselves.
Newgate was the noted London prison.
Of a name on a cap.
A Gentleman seeing one whose name was Hill, to weare a cap with the first letter of his name
wrought upon it, said that hee might very well weare a cappe for hee had a great H. o'his head.
An "H." is an "ache" (pronounced "aitch") or pain in early modern English. "An aitch" or
"a nache" was also the buttocks of an animal. The pun seems to reside in these meanings.
Of a stinking breath.
One being in company with a man that had a stinking breath, told him that he would make a good
Trumpeter, being asked the reason why hee thought so, hee answered him, because you have a
very strong breath.
Of a Gentlewomans legges.
One seeing a Gentlewoman garter her stockin[g] in the streete, said to her, Mistris, you have a
good legge, Sir, said shee, I thinke I have two: he replies they are two indeed, I th[in]ke they are
twins, not so said shee, for there was a man borne betweene them.
On a dogge.
A Dog named Rose pist on a Gentlewomans bed, at which she being angry, did beate the dogge,
one being present, excused the dogge, saying you need not fret so much at it, for it was but a little
Of a Jugge whose hander was broken.
One seeing a Jugge without a hander, and willing to breake a jeast on it, said that the Jugge had
beene in the Pillary, being asked why? because (quoth hee) hee hath lost his hander. The same
man having at table given a pidgeons legge to another, (the other smelling to it to try if it were
sweete) told him that hee should not smell a gift horse in the mouth.
On a light wench.
A Certaine kindehearted Creature affirming her selfe to bee a maid, was asked by one in the
company how shee could proove that, another answered for her, per demonstrationem a
The literal translation of the Latin text is "by demonstration after the fact," with the
predictable pun on the maid's "posterior."
One complaining for want of sleepe.
One complaining how little sleepe hee enjoyed the night before, said I could not sleepe the last
night, betweene twelve and one of the clocke, for two houres together.
Of a Miser gathering wooll.
A Rich Miser was often observed to goe abroad in the fields and picke wool, which having done,
hee would put it into his breeches, least hee should be seene, wherefore some in a waggery put
wooll full of lice, on the hedges where hee was wont to gather it.
On one that was accused for stealing a Bull.
One being accused at the Assizes for stealing a Bull, pleaded that hee had brought him up from a
calfe, defended himselfe, and was freed. A Welchman who was endited, for stealing of a sword,
was next tryed, and he hoping for the like successe, pleaded that hur had brought up hur sword
from a dagger.
On a Welchman
A Welchman seeing the moone shine into the bottome of a Well, told another that there was a
sheece in the bottome of the Well, and hastily leapt in to take it out. Another seeing the Moone
shine in a poole, ranne home and swore that the poole was on fire.
"Sheece" is a Welsh pronunciation of "cheese"; that the moon was made of cheese was
common popular lore.
Of a theefe.
A Theefe being accused of a roguish fact, denying it said, I am a very rogue if ever I did it.
On an old woman.
There being some Aqua vitae offered to an old woman of fourescore, she asked them what it was,
they answered hot water, wherefore she would not drinke of it, untill she had blowne on it a long
Aquavitae is a general name for brandy or whisky, etc. (OED "Aqua-vitae" 2)
Of the Sea betweene England and Holland.
One reporting that it is a dangerous Sea, betweene England and Holland. Another said hee neere
knew one drowned there in his life, no replies hee, I say, A. M. came over from Holland into
England, and was drowned by the way.
How did A.M. make it to England, if he drowned on the way over?
Of one that spake bigge.
A Scholler being about to describe one that spake very bigge, said he spake as if he had a
Bow-bell in his mouth.
Bow-bell: "The bells of Bow Church, i.e. St. Mary-le-Bow... in Cheapside, London ..."
(OED "bow-bell" often used to refer either to a Cockney (as in the proverb "To be
within the sound of Bow bell" [S 671] or a loud-mouth)
A womans desire.
A Gentlewoman when her husband was carving at the Table, desired him to give her a flap o' the
Coney, her husband answered her, how wife, what before all this company.
The bawdy sense is perhaps clear even without knowing that a "coney" is a rabbit and a
sexually charged woman (OED "cony" 1 and 5b) and that a "flap" is either a piece or
and a light woman ("flap" 6 and 9).
Of a thinne peece of cheese.
A Thinne peece of cheese being set before a Scholler, hee presently layd his finger on his mouth,
and being asked why hee did so, hee answered least my breath should blow it away.
On a tatling Wench.
One hearing a talkative Wench, said that her tongue ranne upon wheeles, another; that she had her
tongue at her fingers ends.
On a fat man.
One seeing a fat man whose legges were swolne with drinking, said that his body was like an
hogges-head, set upon two flaggons.
Of a Clowne.
A Country fellow having seene a gay Gentlewoman in a paire of Sattin slippers, describing her
attire to his companion, said that the upper leather of her slippers was Sattin.
Of one oretaking another on the way.
A Country fellow riding on the way and wanting Company, at last hee espies one before, and
setting spurres to his horse, ridde and oretooke him, where his first salutation was, Well met Sir.
The same being at another time oretaken on the way by a Gentleman, hee said you are well
oretaken friend, hee answered, and so are you Sir.
On Blacke berries.
One told his companion that hee had this yeare already seene red blacke berries, how can that be
possible, saith the other, why
replies hee, are they not red, when they are greene?
Of a large-beard.
One seeing a fellow with a large promisse beard, said he lookt as if he had eaten a horse, and the
taile of it did hang out of his mouth. Another seeing a little fellow with a great bushy beard askt
who it was that stood behind the beard.
A "promisse beard" hangs down, long and pendent, rather than broad or bushy (OED
Of long Mustachos.
A Judge seeing a fellow come within the barre, that had great Mustachoes, standing out streight,
and no haire on his chinne, called to him, ho? you there with a ruler in your mouth, what
businesse have you to presse in after this rude manner, etc.
Hee that is fit to drink wine, must have Sugar on his beard, his eyes in his pockets, and his feet in
It was normal to put sugar in wine, hence the requirement for sugar in the beard (to strain
the wine for drinking); eyes are needed in your pocket to pay for the wine and to watch
for thieves; and you need feet in your hands to crawl about when you're drunk.
Of one that went a Souldier.
One having a Son which was an unthrift, compeld him to goe a Souldier into the Low Countryes;
A friend of his meeting him told him that he heard he wold goe a voluntary, I God knowes, quoth
the other much against my will.
The interjection "I" is an alternate spelling for "aye."
Of a foolish Frenchman.
A French man (saith Eustathius) going to sleepe, put a brasse pot under his head, and because the
hardnesse of it did offend him, hee stuft it with feathers and chaff, and so sleept on it thinking it
Eustathius: not identified (not in this context the saint).
On a Tertian Ague.
A Gentleman went to visit a friend of his that was sicke, and comming into the roome where he
lay, hee enquired of him what his disease was, hee answered him a Tertian ague, saith the other,
how doth it take you? O lasse said the sicke man, I am much troubled with it, for it takes me
A tertian ague is a form of fever that strikes every other day (in other words, the cycle
happens over three days). The bedridden man gives himself away by saying that the
sickness happens every day.
Of a young Sutor.
Some asking a young man, why he lookt after a wife so soone, he answered them they must give
him leave to looke before he leape.
A We[n]ches honesty.
One was praysing a Wenches honesty, whom a standerby knew to be a whore, wherefore he said
to him, is shee honest pray had shee never a childe? the first answered him, indeed she had a
childe, but it was a very little one.
A Sweete tooth.
One refusing certaine meate at the table, said, that was not for his pallate, and that hee had a
sweete tooth. A stander by answers, who ever knew a Calves head without one.
Two women scolding, and casting the lye on each other, one of them said thou lyest like a whore,
a theefe, and a witch, the other replies, but thou lyest like an Almanacke-maker, for thou lyest
every day and all the yeare long.
The implication is that the almanac-maker, who is never right in his predictions, lies about
the weather all year round.
On a Miller.
There was a certain man named Regulus, who having caught his Miller in a theft, would have him
hanged for it; the Miller being now on the gallowes, he entreated and conjured him by his faith to
tell him of an honest Miller. The Miller upon his oath affirmed that he knew none. If it be so sayd
Regulus come thou downe againe and live, least I meete with a worse theefe than thou art.
The miller informs Regulus that all millers are thieves. Regulus, fearing that his next miller
could be worse, decides to stay with the thief he already knows.
Of a Player.
A Player having in the night taken theeves in his house, hee sayd to them, I wonder what you
would finde here in the night, whereas I can finde nothing here in cleare day.
Of one being in a tempest.
One being in a dangerous tempest (all being commanded to throw those thinges that were most
burthenous into the sea) threw first his wife, saying, that hee was burthened with nothing somuch
as with her.
On a red head.
One seeing a fellow with a carretpate, sayd that hee would rayse notable tumults if hee were a
chymny-sweeper, being askt the reason, hee answered because if hee should put his head out of
the chimny, the people would thinke it were fire, and all runne to quench it.
The term "carrot" (to describe red hair) began to appear in the 17th century (first OED
citation is 1685; the collocation "carrot-pate" does not appear).
Of a Bavarian
Two Bavarians were travelling towards Rome, and by the way went into an Inne, and eate egges
for their dinner. After they were again gone forth on their journey saith the one of them to the
other, I have deceived mine host very cunningly, the other asking him how, he answered, because
I ate a whole chicke in one of the egges, and paid nere a farthing for it.
Of a Traveller
A traveller comming into a Taverne, and calling for Grecian wine, the woman brought him some
of her owne urine, he tasting it, and perceiving her guile, said hee would have none of that Wine
for it did taste of the caske.
On a Wilde-ducke
A Gentleman being at the table where was a very fat wild-ducke, hee said, hee thought the ducke
was crambd, at which the rest laughing, asked him who should crambe it, he answered them the
man in the Moone.
The duck has been "crammed" or stuffed with dough to appear to be fatter than it really is.
We do not understand the merry reference to the Man in the Moon. Perhaps he's saying
"no one" crammed the duck.
On a private marriage
A Gentleman describing a couple that were marryed privately, said that they were marryed
without a wedding.
On the Romane Julia
Julia the daughter of Augustus Caesar, being gravely admonished by a friend of hers, that shee
should compose her self to the example of her fathers temperance and frugality, shee answered,
Hee forgets himself to bee Caesar, but I remember myself to be Caesars daughter.
The like answer was given by the Romane Populia, a luxurious woman, who when one of her
friends said that hee wondred why beasts never desire to couple with their males, (otherwise in
women) but when they desire to conceive young; she answered, because they are beasts.
Two travailing on the way, they came to a very narrow path, where one doubting they were gon
amisse because of the narrownesse of the track, the other answered, pish, it is a great rode man of
A ridiculous speech.
A Gentleman newly being come from London, another askt him how such a friend of his fared
who was then in London, the other answered him that hee did not see him. No (replyes hee) why
had you not sought him: seeke a man there (cries the other) seeke a man in a bottle of hay.
A bottle of hay is a bundle (see above, no. 12, "Of a Scholler Being Troubled")
On a tyred horse.
A Gentleman seeing anothers horse at a stand, he not able to make him goe maugre his spurring
him, said, that the man was mounted on a posthorse.
Maugre in this instance would mean "notwithstanding" (OED "maugre" B1) A similar
in Taylor Wit and Mirth [no.40] "A Scholler riding from Cambridge towards London,
his horse being
tyred (a lazie disease often befalling such hacknies) met a Poste on the way, who
notwithstanding he did what he could to make his horse give him place, by spurre, switch,
and bridle, yet the Poste was faine to give him the way: to whom (in anger) he said, thou
paltry fellow, dost thou not see I am a Poste? The Scholler straight replyed, and thou
ignorant fellow, dost thou not see that I ride upon a Poste".
On a Phoenix
Another reporting that hee had seene a Phoenix in his travels, a Phoenix one askt him in the
company, whether it were a cocke Phoenix or a henne.
The joke is that the Phoenix, which reproduces itself, has no gender (Pliny 10.23-5; in
Ovid Metamorphoses 15.391ff the phoenix that gives birth is called a father).
On one in the stocks.
A Gentleman being for a misdemeanour set in the stocks, a friend of his who the meane while had
beene at the Taverne, hearing of it, came hallowing into the Temple hall in London where it was
done. And being demanded why he did so, hee answered that hee had lost a friend of his in a
wood, and therefore hallowed for him as is the use.
An Epigramme on a drunken Smith.
I heard that smug the Smith, for Ale and spices,
Sold all his tooles, and yet he kept his vices.
On a close stoole.
A Clowne seeing a Gentleman make use of a close stoole, ranne downe the staires and cryed to
the host, that the Gentleman did
---- in his pewter chest, which mooved much laughter.
A close stool was a box cover with lid for a chamber pot. The most likely word to fill the
modest blank is "shit."
On foule table-clothes.
A Scholler having on a Friday invited some of his friends to a dinner of fish, and having very foule
table-clothes, desired them to fall too, and be merry, for there was plenty both of fish and
An Epitaph on a Cobler.
Come hither, reade my gentle friend;
And here behold a Coblers end:
Longer in length his life had gone,
But that he had no last so long.
O mighty death, whose power can kill,
The man that made him soules at will.
One said that hee had seene a Nobleman eate a herring half an houre after his head was of.
Another that he had heard one sweare a great oath, two houres after hee was dead.
On a jealous man.
A Certaine man was so farre past in jealousie of his wives looseness, at the very conceit grew
melancholicke, and consequently sicke, whereupon a friend of his that came to visit him, asked
him where was his disease, whether in head, stomacke, etc. hee answered that hee was onely
troubled with a bad liver, meaning his wife, who as hee thought lived loosely.
On a Cuckhold.
A Certaine man in Spaine being to be markt in the forehead for having three wives, one said that
hee might bee spared, for hee was marked on the forehead when he had but one wife.
On a stout fellow.
A Stout fellow being prest for a Souldier, with many teares bewailed his sad misfortune, and being
rebuked by one of his friends for it, he answered, it would never grieve me Sir, if I might stay at
home and fight with my friends.
Of a G[e]ntleman.
A Gentleman who was troubled with the Jaundice, was advised by his Physition to drink Lice for
his disease, whereupon he sent his servant to Newgate to purchase some, hee bought two
peniworth, but finding one of them to be very small, hee desired his Merchant to exchange him,
nay Sir you shall excuse mee, quoth hee, doe you thinke I will cull my ware for two pence.
"Drinking lice" was a variation of one of the standard cures for jaundice in the 16th
through the 18th centuries. The more common remedy was to dry earthworms, render
them as a powder, and then mix the powder with ale or wine. A good description of the
remedy (in this instance, for "black Iaundice," is found in [Thomas Brugis], The Marrow
of Physicke. Or, a Learned Discourse of the Severall Parts of Man's Body [London:
Richard Hearne, 1640; STC 3931] 67).
Of a Taylor.
A Taylour meeting his debtor on the Exchange, bespake him with these words Sir, there is
something between you and I, is there so quoth the other, why dost thou not take it up then.
Tailors "take things up" as part of their business.
Of a Glutton.
One beholding a Glutton falling hard on his victuals, said that he devoured his meate like any
The subject seems to have confused the words "Hanniball" (the North African enemy of
Rome) and cannibal.
A Glutton being to encounter his enemy, was encouraged by a Spectator in this wise, thou needst
not doubt of the victory, for to my knowledge, thou art armed with the better stomacke.
One falling by chance into company with another that had much injured him, brake out into this
passionate speech, well, said he, if I am here, there is a knave not farre off[.]
A Witty inscription.
Witty was that conceite of him who bestowed this inscription on the doore of a jakes, Here are
farts to bee let.
A "jakes" is a privy or toilet.
Of a Red nose.
One said that your Red nose would looke so blue in a frosty morning.
Not much unlike was that of him, who would needs lay a wager that there was Coventry blew
"Coventry-blue" was a kind of blue thread manufactured in Coventry and used for
embroidery (OED "Coventry" 4). The one who lays the wager believes that one kind of
Coventry-blue is a brown thread.
One said of a man sparing in his diet, that he lived by the aire like the Cormorant.
The speaker seems to have confused the chameleon, who proverbially devours the air
(Tilley M226; cf Ovid Metamorphoses 15.411), with the cormorant, traditionally
for its greediness (see Erasmus Adages 2.10.48).
On a Tinker.
A Tinker comming through Cheapeside, and sounding bravely on his kettle to the tune of have
you any worke for a Tinker, a forward Linnen Draper, that thought to put a jeast on the Tinker,
there being a Pi[l]lory before his doore, told him hee should doe well to stoppe those two holes,
pointing to the Pillory, the Tinker returnd him this answer, that if he would afford him his head
and eares, hee would finde a hammer and nailes, and give him worke into the bargaine.
On a Begger.
One comming to begge an Almes of a gentleman, and being very importunate, the Gentleman not
knowing how to berid of him, after he had askt him a few questions, told him that a man knew not
to whom to bee charitable for there are such a company of sturdy beggers, that if one do not give
something to them, they wil bid a pox take one. O Sir replies the begger, you are mistaken in me,
I am none of those, the Gentleman replyed, then goe your wayes, Ile try you for once.
On a Baker.
A Baker riding through a Yeomans Close, spyed a fat Goose, and being a merry fe[l]low, hee
lights downe, tooke up the Goose, and weighing her in his hands, hee liked her so well that hee
put her into one of his coffers, and thumping old Brocke his Mare with his feete, hee began to trot
homewards as fast as hee could, the Countryman that owed the Goose, observing the Bakers
knavery, strained his throate, cryed aloud Baker, Baker, the Baker made as if hee did not heare,
but rides home as fast as he could, the Countryman knowing who he was, got a warrant to have
him before a Justice, the businesse being examined, the Baker was askt what he could say for
himselfe: And like your Worship saith hee, I went to buy a Goose, and comming into this mans
close I took one up, wayed her, liked her, and carryed her home, this man cals mee to Bake her,
which I have done, and if your Worshippe as he loves a goose, truly both of you shall be welcome
to the pye.
Of an old man marrying a young woman.
A Young maid being married to an old man, shee was very sad all the time the wedding was
holden, wherefore one comforting her said, bee of good cheere woman for an old horse will
performe as long a journey as a young. She sighing and withall stroking downe her belly
answering, But not in this rode Sir.
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Last modified 28 January 1998