(navigation image)
Home American Libraries | Canadian Libraries | Universal Library | Community Texts | Project Gutenberg | Biodiversity Heritage Library | Children's Library | Additional Collections
Search: Advanced Search
Anonymous User (login or join us)
Upload
See other formats

Full text of "Shakespeare jest-books; reprints of the early and rare jest-books supposed to have been used by Shakespeare. Edited with an introd. and notes by W. Carew Hazlitt"

UZABETHAN BOOKSELLER 

.'GAN. ll 



si) 3Jest-33oofes. 



VOL. I. 




REPRINTS OF THE EARLY 

AND VERY RARE JEST-BOOKS SUPPOSED TO 
HAVE BEEN USED BY SHAKESPEARE. 



FROM THE ONLY KNOWN COPY. 
II. 

ales anfc (Siuicfa 

FROM THE RARE EDITION OF 1567. 

Edited, with Introduction and Notes, 



HAZLITT, 
i 

OF THE INNER TEMl'I.K, BARRISTER-AT-LA\\ . 



- Thai 1 was disdainful, and that 
I had my good wit out of the Hundred Merry Tales. 

BEATRICE, in Much Ado about Nothing. 



LONDON : 
WILLIS & SOTHERAN, 136, STRAND. 



MDCCCIJCIV. 




v. 



Cfie Cable. 



PAGE 

"!T Of him that said there were but two com- 

mandementes. i 1 1 

T Of the wyfe who lay with her prentys and 
caused him to beate her Jmsbande disguised 
in her rayment. ii 12 

IT Of John Adroyns in the dyuyls apparell. iii. 14 
IT Of the Ryche man and his two sotines. iv. . 18 

*T Of the Cockolde who gained a Ring by his 

iudgmcnt. \ 19 

IT Of the scoler that gave his shoes to cloute. vi. 20 

*\ Of him that said that a womans tongue was 

lightest of digestion, vii id. 

^F Of the Woman that followed her fourth hus 
bands here and wept, viii 21 

^T Of the Woman that sayd her woer came to 

late, ix 22 

> 

IT Of the My bier with the golden thombe. x. . 23 

^T Of the horseman of Irelande that prayde 

Oconer for to hange tip the frere. xi. . . ib. 

"I Of the preest that sayd nother Corpus meus 

nor Corpum meum. xii 26 



viii The Table. 

I'AGE 

U Of the twofreres whereof the one loued natthe 

ele heed nor the other the tayle. xiii. ... 27 

IF Of the welche man that shroue hym for brek- 

ynge of hys faste on thefryday. xiv. ... 28 

^T Of the merchaunte of London that dyd put 

nobles in his mouthe in hys dethe bedde. xv. 30 

IF Of the mylner that stale the nuttes of the 

tayler that stale a shepe. xvi 31 

^F Of the foure elementes where they should sone 

befounde. xvii 36 

IF Of the woman that poured the potage in the 

iudges male, xviii 37 

IF Of the wedded men that came to heuen to 

claytne theyr herytage. xix 39 

IF Of the merchaunte that charged his sonne to 

fynde one to synge for hys soule. xx. ... 40 

IF Of the mayde wasshynge clothes that answered 

the frere. xxi 42 

H Of the thre wyse men of Gotam. xxii. . . . ib. 

IF Of the gr aye frere that answered his penytente. 

xxiii 43 

IF Of the gentylmen that bare the sege borde on 

hys necke. xxiv 44 

IF Of the merchantes wyfe that sayd she ivolde 

take a nap at a sermon, xxv 47 

IF Of the woman that said and she lyued another 
yere she wolde haue a cockoldes hatte of her 
owne. xxvi 48 

IF Of the gentyhiiau that wysshed his tothe in 

the gentylwomans tayle. xxvii ib. 

IF Of the Welcheman that confessyd hym howe he 

had slayne a frere. xxviii 49 

IF Of the Welcheman that coude nat gette but a 

lytell male. xxix. 50 



The Table. ix 

PAOtt 

IT Of the gentyll woman that sayde to a gentyll 
man ye haue a berde aboue and none benethe. 
xxx 51 

IT Of thefrere that sayde our Lorde fed fyue M. 

people with iiifysshys. xxxi 52 

II Of the frankelyn that wold haue had thefrere 

gone, xxxii 53 

IT Of the prest that sayd Our Lady was not so 

ciiryous a woman, xxxiii 54 

T Of the good man that sayde to his wyfe he had 

euyll fare, xxxiv 55 

T Of thefrere that bad his childe make a laten. 

xxxv ib. 

*\ Of the gentylman that asked the frere for his 

beuer. xxxvi 56 

IT Of the thre men that chose the woman, xxxvii. ib. 

T Of the gentylman that taught his cooke the 

medycyne for the tothake. xxxviii. ... 58 

IT Of the gentylman that promysed the sealer of 

Oxford a sarcenet typet. xxxix 60 

IT Of mayster Skelton that broughte the bysshop 

of Norwiche ii fesauntys. xl 62 

IF Of the yeman of garde that sayd he wolde bete 

the carter, xli 65 

11 Of the fole that saide he had leiier go to hell 

than to heuen. xlii 66 

IT Of the plowmannys sonne that sayde he sawe 

one to make a gose to*creke swetely. xliii. . 67 

IT Of the maydes answere that was wyth chylde. 

xliv ib. 

T Of the seruaunt that rymyd with hys mayster. 

xlv 68 

If Of the Welcheman that delyuered the letter to 

the ape. xlvi . ... 60 



x The Table. 



PAGE 



IT Of hym that solde ryght nought, xlvii. . 71 

IT Of the frere that tolde the thre chyldres for 
tunes, xlviii 72 

*!T Of the boy that bare the frere his masters 

money, xlix 74 

TT Of Phylyp Spencer the bochers man. 1. . . 75 
IT Of the cotirtear and the carter, li 76 

IT Of the yong man that pray d his felow to teche 

hym hys paternoster, lii 77 

IT Of the frere that prechyd in ryme expownynge 

the ave maria. liii 78 

T Of the curat that prechyd the Artycles of the 

Crede. liv So 

IT Of the frere that prechyd the x commaunde- 

mentis. Iv 82 

IT Oj the ivyfe that bad her husbande ete the 

candell fyrste. Ivi 84 

IT Of the man of lawes sonnes answer. Ivii. . . ib. 

IT Of the frere in the pulpct that bad the woman 

leue her babelynge. Iviii 85 

IT Of the Welcheman that cast the Scotte into the 

see. lix 86 

IF Of the man that had the dome wyfe. Ix. . . 87 

IT Of the Proctour of Arches that had the lytel 

wyfe. Ixi 89 

*$Of it nonnes that were shryuen of one preste. 

Ixii ib. 

IT Of the esquyer that sholde haue ben made 

knyght. Ixiii gi 

IT Of hym that wolde gette the maystrye of his 

wyfe. Ixiv 92 

IT Of the pcnytent that sayd the shcpe of God 

hauc mercy vpon Me. Ixv 93 



The Table. xi 

PAGE 

*F Of the husbandc that say d he was John daw. 

Ixvi 94 

T Of the scoler of oxforde that proued by souestry 

ii chykens Hi. Ixvii 95 

IF Of the frere that stale the podynge. Ixviii. . . 97 

IF Of the frankelyns sonne that cam to take 

ordres. Ixix 98 

IF Of the husbandman that lodgyd the frere in 

his owne bed. Ixx 99 

IF Of the preste that wolde say two gospels for a 

grote. Ixxi 100 

^F Of the coutear that dyd cast the frere ouer the 

bote. Ixxii '. 101 

^F Of the frere that prechyd what tnennys sowles 

were. Ixxiii ib. 

IF Of the husbande that cryed ble inider the bed. 

Ixxiv. 102 

IF Of the shomaker that asked the colyer what 

tydynges in hell. Ixxv 103 

IF Of Seynt Peter that cryed cause bobe. Ixxvi. . 104 

IF Of hym that aduenturyd body and soiile for 

hys pry nee. Ixxvii. . 105 

IF Of the parson that stale tJie my liter's elys. bcxviii. 106 

IF Of the Welchman that saw one xls. better 

than God. Ixxix ib. 

IF Of the frere that said dyryge for the hoggys 

soule. Ixxx ib. 

If Of the parson that sayde masse of requiem for 

Crystes soule. Ixxxi. . s . 108 

IF Of the herdeman that sayde: rydf apace ye 

shall haite rayn. bcxxii 1 09 

II Of hym that sayde : I shall haue neuer a peny. 

Ixxxiii no 



xii The Table, 

PAGE 

IT Of the husbande that sayde his wyfe and he 

agreed well. Ixxxiv in 

IT Of the prest that sayde Comede episcope. Ixxxv. ib. 

IT Of the woman that stale the pot. Ixxxvi. . . 112 

IT Of mayster Whyttyntons dreme. Ixxxvii. . . 113 

IT Of the prest that killed his horse called 

modicus. Ixxxviii 114 

If Of the Welcheman that stale the Englysshmans 

cocke. Ixxxix 115 

IT Of hym that brotight a botell to a preste. xc. ib. 

IF Of the endytement of Jesu of Nazareth. xcL 116 

^F Of the frere that preched agaynst them that 

rode on the Sondaye. xcii 117 

IF Of the one broder that founde a purs, xciii. . 118 

IT Of the answere of the mastres to the mayde. 

xciv. 119 

IT Of the northern man that was all harte. xcv. ib. 

^1 Of the burnynge of olde John. xcvi. . . . ib. 

IT Of the courtear that ete the hot custarde. xcvii. 121 

IT Of the thre pointes belonging to a shrewd 

wyfe. xcix .122 

IT Of the man that paynted the lamb upon his 

wyfes bely. c 123 



INTRODUCTION. 



WHEN a small impression of these quaint old 
books issued from the Chiswick Press, many 
years ago, under the auspices of the late Mr. S. W. 
Singer, that gentleman merely designed the copies 
struck off for presentation to a select circle of 
literary friends who, like himself, felt a warm 
interest in every relic of the past which helped to 
illustrate Shakespeare and ancient English manners. 
He did not consequently feel under the necessity 
of furnishing notes, and he preserved not only the 
old orthography, but the old punctuation, and the 
most palpable errors of the press. His edition 
unfortunately laboured under one disadvantage : 
when he printed, in 1814, the Mery Tales and 
Quick Answers from Berthelet's edition, he ima 
gined that this was the book to which Beatrice is 
made to allude in Much Ado About Nothing, and 



ii Introduction. 

under this idea he christened the volume Shake 
speare's Jest Book. He also thought he was safe 
in assuming that the edition by Berthelet was the 
only one extant. But Mr. Singer discovered, before 
his undertaking was a year old, that he had come 
to an erroneous conclusion on both these points : 
for an impression of the Mery Tales, &*<;. printed 
by Henry Wykes in 156?, and containing, with all 
the old matter, twenty-six additional stories, was 
brought under his notice, and about the same time 
a totally unknown work, bearing the very title 
mentioned by Beatrice, was accidentally rescued 
from oblivion by the Rev. J. J. Conybeare, who, 
it is said by Dunlop, picked up the treasure at a 
bookstall. This was no other than A C. MERY 
TALYS. 

The copy of C. Mery Talys thus casually brought 
to light, had been used by a binder of or about 
the time of its appearance as pasteboard to another 
book, and it was in this state when it fell in the 
way of Mr. Conybeare. As might have been ex 
pected, many of the leaves were damaged and 
mutilated ; but (which rendered the matter still 
more curious) it happily chanced that more than 
one copy had been employed by the aforesaid 
binder in fashioning the aforesaid pasteboard, and 
the consequence was that a much larger fragment 



Introduction. Hi 

than would have been otherwise saved was formed 
by means of duplicate leaves. Still several gaps 
in the text remained, which it was found impossible 
to fill up, and as no other copy has since occurred, 
no better means exist now than existed fifty years 
ago of supplying the deficiencies. Where the 
hiatus consisted of a word or two only, and the 
missing portion could be furnished by conjecture, 
Mr. Singer took the liberty of adding what seemed 
to be wanting, in italics ; his interpolations have 
been left as they stood. The old orthography and 
language, besides the charm of quaintness, appeared 
to the editor to possess a certain philological value, 
and he has rigidly adhered to it. In respect to the 
punctuation, the case was different ; there were no 
reasons of any kind for its retention ; it was very 
imperfect and capricious ; and it has therefore been 
modernized throughout. 

The C. Mery Talys, of which the copy above 
described has a fair pretension to the distinction 
of uniqueness, were first printed by John Rastell, 
without date but circa 1525, in folio, 24 leaves. 
Whether Rastell printed more than one edition is 
an open question. The book was not reprinted, 
so far as we know at present, till 1558, when John 
Walley or Waley paid two shillings to the Stationers' 
Company for his licence to produce this and other 



iv Introduction. 

pieces. Walley reprinted a great number of books 
which had originally come from the press of 
Wynkyn de Worde and other early masters of the 
art, but it is not very likely that the C. Mery Talys 
made their appearance prior to 1525, and there is 
room to doubt whether even then the severe re 
flections on the scandalous lives of the Roman 
Catholic priesthood were not slightly premature. 
The almost total destruction of copies may be, 
after all, due, not to the excessive popularity of 
the publication, but to its early suppression by 
authority or otherwise. After the triumph of the 
Reformation, and until the death of Edward VI. 
however, although these tales still remained as un 
palatable as ever to a certain party, there was 
nothing to hinder their circulation, and that there 
were intermediate impressions between that from 
Rastell's press, and the one licensed to Walley, 1 if 
not printed by him, is not at all improbable. The 
C. Mery Talys were subsequently and successively 
the property of Sampson Awdley and John Charl- 
wood, to the latter of whom they were licensed on 
the 1 5th January, 1582. All trace of editions by 

(i) Walley obtained his licence for the C. Mery Talys in 1557-8, 
during the reign of Mary, perhaps in anticipation of a change in the 
government, and in order to forestall other stationers. If Walley 
printed the Tales, it is most likely that he waited, till Elizabeth came 
to the throne. 



Introduction. v 

Walley, Awdley, or Charlwood, has disappeared, 
although doubtless all three printed the work. 

Of the MERY TALES AND QUICKE ANSWERES, 
which forms the second portion of the present 
volume, only two impressions are known. One 
of these, supposed to be the original, was printed 
by Thomas Berthelet, without date (about 1535), 
in 4to. ; it contains 114 anecdotes. The other, from 
the press of Henry Wykes, bears the date 1567, 
and is in the duodecimo form ; it reproduces with 
tolerable exactness the text of Berthelet, and has 
twenty-six new stories. Besides these, at least 
one other impression formerly existed : for, in 
1576-7, Henry Bynneman paid to the Stationers 
Company fourpence "and a copie "for "abooke 
entituled mery tales, wittye questions, and quycke 
answers." 1 No copy of Bynneman's edition has 
hitherto been discovered ; a copy of that of 1567 
was in the Harleian library. At the sale of the 
White-Knights collection in 1819, Mr. George 
Daniel of Canonbury gave nineteen guineas for 
the exemplar of Berthelet's undated 4to, which 
had previously been in the Roxburghe library, and 
which, at the dispersion of the latter in 1812, had 
fetched the moderate sum of 5/. i$s. 6d. 

The reader who is conversant with this class of 

(i) Collier's Extracts from the Reg. Stat. Co. ii. 25. 



vi Introduction. 

literature will easily recognise in the following 
pages many stories familiar to him either in the 
same, or in very slightly different, shapes ; a few, 
which form part of the Mery Tales and Quick 
Answers, were included in a collection published 
many years since under the title of Tales of the 
Minstrels. No. 42 of the Mery Tales and Quick 
Answers was perhaps at one time rather popular 
as a theme for a joke. There is an Elizabethan 
ballad commencing, " ty the mare, torn-boy, ty the 
mare," by William Keth, which the editor thought, 
before he had had an opportunity of examining it, 
might be on the same subject ; but he finds that it 
has nothing whatever to do with the matter. 1 It 
may also be noticed that the story related of the 
king who, to revenge himself on God, forbad His 
name to be mentioned, or His worship to be 
celebrated throughout his dominions, is said by 
Montaigne, in one of his essays, to have been 
current in his part of France, when he was a 
boy. The king was Alfonso xi of Castile. No. 68 
of A C. Mery Talys, "Of the Friar that stole 
the Pudding," is merely an abridgment of the 
same story, which occurs in Tarltons Newes out of 

(i) An abridgment of this ballad was published in Ritscn's Ancient 
Songs and Ballads, 1829, ii. 31. But see the Townley Catalogue, 

No. 358. 



Introduction. vii 

Purgatorie, where it is told of the " Vickar of 
Bergamo." Many of the jests in these two pam 
phlets are also to be found in Scoggins Jests, licensed 
in 1565 ; a few occur in the Philosopher's Banquet, 
1614 ; and one that where the lady ties a string to 
her toe as a signal to her lover is repeated at greater 
length in the " Cobler of Canterbury," edit. 1608, 
where it is called "the old wives' tale." It would 
be a curious point to ascertain whether the anec 
dotes common to these collections and to "Scog- 
gin's Jests," do not refer to the same person ; and 
whether Scoggin is not in fact the hero of many of 
the pranks attributed to the " Scholar of Oxford," 
the "Youngman," the "Gentleman," &c. in the 
following pages, which were in existence many 
years before the first publication of Scoggins Jests. 
It will hardly be contested at the present day, that 
" books of the people," x like these now reprinted, 
with all their occasional coarseness and frequent 
dulness, are of extreme and peculiar value, as illus 
trations of early manners and habits of thought. 

The editor has ventured to make certain emen 
dations of the text, where they were absolutely 
necessary to make it intelligible ; but these are 
always carefully noted at the foot of the page 

(i) The elder Disraeli has a chapter on this subject in his Amenities 
of Literature. 



viii Introduction. 

where they occur. A word or two, here and 
there, has been introduced between brackets to 
complete the sense ; and a few notes have been 
given, since it was thought desirable to point out 
where a tale was common to several collections in 
various shapes or in the same shape, to indicate the 
source from which it was derived, and to elucidate 
obscure phrases or passages. But he has refrained 
from overloading the book with comment, from 
a feeling that, in the majority of cases, the class of 
readers, to which a publication such as this addresses 
itself, are fully as competent to clear up any appa 
rent difficulties which may fall in their way, as 
himself. 

The allusions to the C. Mery Talys and to its 
companion in old writers are sufficiently nume 
rous. 1 

Bathe, in his Introduction to the Art of Mustek, 
1584, says : "But for the worthiness I thought it 
not to be doubted, seeing here are set forth a 
booke of a hundred mery tales, another of the 
bataile between the spider and the flie, &c." A few 
years later, Sir John Harington, in his Apologie (for 
the Metamorphosis of Ajax] 1596, writes : "Ralph 
Horsey, Knight, the best housekeeper in Dorset- 

(i) For some of these notices I am indebted to Mr. Singer ; others I 
have added myself from the various sources. 



In troduction. i x 

shire, a good freeholder, a deputie Lieutenant. 
Oh, sir, you keep hauks and houndes, and hunting- 
horses : it may be som madde fellowe will say, 
you must stand up to the chinne, for spending 
five hundred poundes, to catch hares, and Par 
tridges, that might be taken for five poundes." 
Then comes this note in the margin : " according 
to the tale in the hundred Mery Tales." It is 
No. 57. In the Epilogue to the play of Wily 
Beguild, printed in 1606, but written during the 
reign of Elizabeth, there is a passage in which 
the C. Mery Talys are coupled with Scoggins Jests, 
and in his Wonderful yeare, 1603, Decker says: 
" I could fill a large volume, and call it the second 
part of the Hundred Merry Tales, only with such 
ridiculous stuff as this of the justice." From this 
extract, first quoted by Mr. Collier in his valuable 
History of the Drama, and from the manner in 
which Shakespeare, through the mouth of Beatrice, 
speaks of the Mery Talys, it is to be gathered that 
neither writer held this book of jests in very high 
estimation ; and, as no vestiges are traceable of an 
edition of the work subsequent to 1582, it is 
possible that about that time the title had grown 
too stale to please the less educated reader, and 
the work had fallen into disrepute in higher 
quarters. The stories themselves, in some shape 



x Introduction. 

or other, however, have been reproduced in every 
jest-book from the reign of Elizabeth to the Res 
toration, while many of them multiply themselves 
even to the present day in the form of chap 
books. 

A C. Mery Talys was one of the popular tracts 
described by the pedantic Laneham, in his Letter 
from Kenilworth, 1575, as being in the Library of 
Captain Cox, of Coventry. 1 

(i) In Act v. Sc. iii. of Fletcher's Nice Valour (Dyce's B. & F. x. 361) 
there is mention of the Hundred Novels, alluding, not to the C. Mery 
Talys, but to the Decameron of Boccaccio, of which an English trans 
lation appeared in 1620-5. 



A C. 
MERY TALYS. 



IT Of hym that said there were but two commande- 
mentes. i. 

T A CERTAYNE Curate in the contrey there was 
that preched in the pulpet of the ten comaunde- 
mentys, saye;^ that there were ten commaunde- 
mentes that euery man should kepe, and he that 
brake any of them commytW syn, howbeit he 
sayd, that somtyme it was dedely and somtyme 
venyal. But when it was dedely syn and whan 
venyall there were many doutes therin. ^ And a 
mylner, a yong man, a mad felow that cam seldom 
to chyrch and had ben at very few sermons or none 
in all his lyfe, answered hym than shortely this 
wyse : I meruayl, master person, that ye say there 
be so many commaundementes and so many doutes : 
for I neuer hard tell but of two commaunde 
mentes, that is to saye, commaunde me to you and 



12 AC. Mery Talys. 

commaunde me fro you. Nor I neuer harde tell of 
more doutes but twayn, that ys to say, dout the 
candell and dout the fyre. 1 At which answere all 
the people fell a laughynge. 

By this tale a man may well perceyue that they, 
that be brought vp withoute lernynge or good 
maner, shall neuer be but rude and bestely, all 
thoughe they haue good naturall wyttes. 

IF Of the wyfe who lay with her prentys and caused 
him to beate her husbande disguised in her ray- 
ment. ii. 

II A WYFE there was, which had apoynted her 
prentys to com to her bed in the nyght, which 
seruaunt had long woed her to haue his plesure ; 
which acordyng to the apoyntement cam to her 
bed syde in the night, her husbande lyenge by her. 
And whan she perceyuyd him there, she caught 
hym by the hande and helde hym fast, and incon- 
tynent wakened her husbande, and sayde : syr, it is 
so ye haue a fals and an vntrue seruant, which is 
Wylliam your prentys, and hath longe woyd me to 
haue his pleasure; and because I coulde not auoyde 

(i) i.e. do out. It is, perhaps, scarcely necessary to mention that in 
French, the term commander has a double signification, to command a.n& 
to commend. In our language, the two words are of course distinct; 
hence the jest. 



A C. Mcry Talys. 13 

his importunate request, I haue apoynted hym 
this nyght to mete me in the gardeyne in the 
herber ; and yf ye wyll aray your selfe in myn aray 
and go theder, ye shall see the profe therof ; and 
than ye may rebuke hym as ye thynk best by your 
dyscrecyon. This husbande, thus aduertysed by 
hys wyfe, put upon him his wyue's rayment and 
went to the herber ; and whan he was gone thyder 
the prentys cam in to bed to his mastres ; where for 
a season they were bothe content and plesyd ech 
other by the space of an hour or ii ; but whan she 
thoughte tyme conuenient, she said to the prentyse : 
now go thy way into the herber, and mete hym and 
tak a good waster 1 in thy hand, and say thou dyd 
it but to proue whether I wold be a good woman 
or no ; and reward him as thou thinkyst best This 
prentys doyng after his mastres councell went in 
to the herber, where he found his master in his 
mastres' apparell and sayd : A ! thou harlot, art 
thou comen hether ? now I se well, if I wod be fals 
to my master, thou woldest be a strong hore ; but 
I had leuer thou were hangid than I wold do him 
so trayterous a ded : therefor I shall gyve the som 
punyshment as thou lyke an hore hast deseruyd ; 
and therewith lapt him well about the sholders 
and back, and gaue him a dosen or ii. good stripes. 

(i) Cudgel. 



14 AC. Mery Talys. 

The master, felyng him selfe somwhat to smarte, 
sayde : peace, Willyam, myn own trew good 
seruant ; for Goddis sake, holde thy handes : for I 
am thy mayster and not thy maystres. Nay, hore, 
quod he, thou fotowest thou art but an harlot, and 
I dyd but to proue the ; and smote him agayn. 
Hold! Hold! quod the mayster, I beseech the, no 
more : for I am not she : for I am thy mayster, for 
I haue a berde ; and therwith he sparyd hys hand 
and felt his berd. Good mayster, quod the prentyse, 
I crye you mercy ; and then the mayster went unto 
hys wyfe ; and she askyd hym how he had sped. 
And he answeryd : I wys, wyfe, I haue been 
shrewdly betyn ; howbeit I haue cause to be glad : 
for I thank God I haue as trew a wyfe and as trew 
a seruant as any man hath in Englonde. 1 

By thys tale ye may se that yt ys not wysdome 
for a man to be rulyd alway after his wyuys councell. 

^ Of John Adroyns in the dyuyls appardl. iii. 

^ IT fortunyd that in a market towne in the counte 
of Suffolke there was a stage play, in the which 
play one, callyd John Adroyns which dwellyd in a 

(i) This story is merely the latter portion of the seventh novel of the 
Seventh Day of the Decameron ; but Boccaccio tells it somewhat differ 
ently. It may also be found in the Pecorone of Ser. Giovanni Fiorentino, 
and in A Sackful of Netties, 1673 (a reprint of a much older edition). 
In the latter there are one or two trifling particulars not found here. 



A C. Mcry Talys. 15 

nother vyllage ii. myle from thens, playde the dyuyll. 
And when the play was done, thys John Adroyns in 
the euynyng departyd fro the sayde market towne 
to go home to hys own house. Because he had 
there no change of clothying, he went forth in hys 
dyuylls apparell, whych in the way comyng home 
ward cam thorow a waren of conys * belongyng to 
a gentylman of the vyllage, wher he him self dwelt. 
At which tyme it fortunyd a preste, a vycar of a 
churche therby, with ii or iii other vnthrifty felows, 
had brought with them a hors, a hey 2 and a feret 
to th'entent there to get conys ; and when the feret 
was in the yerth, and the hey set ouer the pathway 
where thys John Adroyns shuld come, thys prest and 
hys other felows saw hym come in the dyuyls ray- 
ment. Consideryng that they were in the dyuyls 
seruyce and stelyng of conys and supposyng it had 
ben the deuyll in dede,[they] for fere, ran away. Thys 
John Adroyns in the dyuyls rayment, an' because 3 it 
was somewhat dark, saw not the hay, but went forth 
in hast and stomblid therat and fell doun, that with 
the fal he had almost broken his nek. But whan 
he was a lytyll reuyuyd, he lookyd up and spyed it 
was a hay to catch conys, and [he] lokyd further 
and saw that they ran away for fere of him, and 
saw a horse tyed to a bush laden wyth conys whych 

(i) A rabbit-warren. (2) Net, Fr. haie. (3) In orig. and because. 



1 6 AC. Mery Talys. 

they had taken ; and he toke the horse and the 
haye and lept upon the horse and rode to the gen- 
tylmannys place that was lorde of the waren to the 
entente to haue thank for takynge suche a pray. 
And whan he came, [he] knokyd at the gatys, to 
whome anone one of the gentylmanny's seruauntys 
askyd who was there and sodeinly openyd the gate ; 
and assone as he percyuyd hym in the deuyls ray- 
ment, [he] was sodenly abashyd and sparryd the 
dore agayn, and went in to his mayster and sayd 
and sware to his mayster, that the dyuell was at 
the gate and wolde come in. The gentylman, 
heryng him say so, callyd another of his seruauntys 
and bad him go to the gate to knowe who was 
there. Thys seconde seruant [that] came to the 
gate durst not open it but askyd wyth lowd voyce 
who was there. Thys John Adroyns in the dyuyls 
aparell answeryd wyth a hye voyce and sayd : tell 
thy mayster I must nedys speke with hym or 1 I 
go. Thys seconde seruaunt heryng * 

8 lines of the original are wanting. 

the deuyll in dede that is at the gate syttynge vpon 
an horse laden with soules ; and be lykelyhode he 

(i) i.e. ere, before. 



A C. Mcry Talys. 17 

is come for your soule. Purpos ye to let him have 
your soule and if he had your soule I wene he 
shulde be gon. The genlylmaxi, than, meruaylously 
abasshed, called his chaplayne and sayd : let a 
candell be light, and gette holy water ; and [he] 
wente to the gate with as manye seruzntes as durste 
go with him ; where the chaplayne with muche con- 
iuracyon sayd : in the name of the father, sonne 
and holy ghost, I commande and charge the in the 
holy name of God to tell me wherefore thou comeste 
hyther. ^f This John Adroynes in the deuylls 
apparell, seying them begynne to coniure after such 
maner, sayd : nay, feare not me ; for I am a good 
deuyll ; I am John Adroynes your neyghboure in 
this towne and he that playde the deuyll to day in 
the playe. I bryng my mayster a dosen or two of 
his owne conyes that were stolen in dede and theyr 
horse and theyr haye, and [I] made them for feare 
to ronne awaye. Whanne they harde hym thus 
speke by his voyce, [they] knewe him well, and 
opened the gate and lette hym come in. And so all 
the foresayd feare was turned to myrthe and disporte. 
By this tale ye may se that men feare many 
tymes more than they nede, whiche hathe caused 
men to beleue that sperytes and deuyls haue ben 
sene in dyuers places, whan it hathe ben nothynge 
so. 

c 



1 8 AC. Mcry Talys. 

\ Of the ryche man and his two sonnes. iv. 

If THERE was a ryche man whiche lay sore sycke 
in his bedde to deth. Therefore his eldest sonne 
came to hym, and besechyd him to gyue him hys 
blessyng, to whome the father sayde : sonne, thou 
shalt haue Goddes blessyng and myne ; and be 
cause thou hast ben euer good of condicyons, I 
giue and bequethe the all my lande. To whome 
he answered and sayd : nay father, I truste you 
shall lyue and occupy them your selfe full well by 
Goddes grace. Sone after came another sonne to 
him lyke wyse and desyred his blessyng, to whome 
the father said : my sonne, thou hast ben euer 
kynde and gentyll ; I gyue the Goddes blessyng 
and myne ; and I bequethe the all my mouable 
goodes. To whome he answered and said : nay 
father, I trust you shall lyue and do well and 
spende and vse your goodes yourself * 



8 Lines wanting. 



By this tale men may well perceyue that yonge 
people that ******* theyr frendes counsell 
in youthe in tymes ***** full ende. 



A C. Mery Talys. 19 

IF Oj the cockolde who gained a ring by his 
iudgment. v. 

T Two gentylmen of acquoyntaunce were apoynted 
to lye with a gentylwoman both in one nyght, the 
one nat knowynge of the other, at dyuers houres. 
^ Thys fyrste at hys houre apoynted came, and in 
the bedde chanced to lese a rynge. The seconde 
gentylman, whanne he came to bedde, fortuned to 
fynde the same rynge, and whan he hadde stayde 
som tyme departed. And two or thre dayes after, 
the fyrste gentylmanne saw hys rynge on the others 
fynger, and chalenged it of hym and he refused it, 
and badde hym tell where he had loste it : and he 
sayd: in suche a genty/womans bedde. Than 
quod the other : and there founde I it. And the 
one gentylman wolde haue it and the other said he 
shulde nat. Than they agreed to be decyded by the 
nexte man that they dyd mete. And it fortuned 
them to mete the husbande of the said gentyll 
woman and desyred hym of his moment, shewynge 
hym all the hole mater. Than quod he : by my 
iudgmente, he /hat ought 1 the shetes shulde haue 
the rynge. Than quod they : and for your good 
iudgement you shall haue the rynge. 

(i) Owned. In Northward Hoe, 1607, by Decker and Webster, 
act i. scene i., the writers have made use of this story. See Webster's 
Works, edit Hazlitt, i. 178-9. 

C 2 



20 A C. Mery Talys. 

^ Of the scoler that gave his shoes to cloute. vi. 

^ IN the Uniuersyte of Oxeforde there was a 
scoler that delyted moche to speke eloquente 
englyssshe and curious termes, and came to the 
cobler with his shoes whyche were pyked before 
(as they used that tyme), to have them clouted, and 
sayde this wyse : Cobler, I praye the sette two try- 
angyls and two semycercles vpon my subpedytales, 
and I shall paye the for thy laboure. The cobeler, 
because he vnderstoode hym nat halfe, answered 
shortely and sayd : syr, your eloquence passeth 
myne \n\.e\\ygence. But I promyse you, yf he 
meddyll with me the clowtynge of youre shoon 
shall cost you thre pens. 

By this tale men may lerne, that it is foly to 
study to speke eloquently before them, that be 
rude and vnlerned. 

^ Of hym that said that a womans tongue was 
lightest of digestion, vii. 

' A CERTAYN artificer in London there was, whyche 
was sore seke and coulde not well dysgest his meat. 
To whom a physicyon cam to give hym councell, 
and sayd that he must vse to ete metis that be 
light of ^estyon and small byrdys, as sparowes, 



A C. Mery Talys. 21 

swalowes, and specyally that byrd which is called 
a wagtayle, whose flessh is meruelouse lyght of 
dygestyon, by/cause that byrd is euer mouying and 
styryng. The sekeman, herynge the phesicion say 
so, answered hym and seyd : sir, yf that be the 
cause that those byrdes be lyght of dygestyon, 
than I know a mete moch lyghter of dygestyon 
than other* sparow swallow or wagtaile, and that 
is my wyues tong, for it is neuer in rest but euer 
meuying * and sterryng. 

By this tale ye may lerne a good generall rule of 
physyke. 

^ Of the woman that followed her fourth husbands 
bere and wept. viii. 

H A WOMAN there was which had had iiii husbandys. 
It fourtuned also that this fourth husbande dyed 
and was brought to chyrche vpon the bere ; whom 
this woman folowed and made great mone, and 
waxed very sory, in so moche that her neyghbours 
thought she wolde swown and dye for sorow. 
Wherfore one of her gosseps cam to her, and 
spake to her in her ere, and bad her, for Godds 
sake, comfort her self and refrayne that lamen- 
tacion, or ellys it wold hurt her and perauenture 
put her in ieopardy of her life. To whom this 

(i) either. (2) moving. 



22 AC. Mery Talys. 

woman answeryd and sayd : I wys, good gosyp, I 
haue grete cause to morne, if ye knew all. For I 
haue beryed iii husbandes besyde this man ; but 
I was neuer in the case that I am now. For there 
was not one of them but when that I folowed the 
corse to chyrch, yet I was sure of an n other 
husband, before the corse cam out of my house, 
and now I am sure of no nother husband; and 
therfore ye may be sure I haue great cause to be 
sad and heuy. 

By thys tale ye may se that the olde prouerbe ys 
trew, that it is as great pyte to se a woman wepe 
as a gose to go barefote. 

If Of the woman that sayd her woer came too 
late. ix. 

If ANOTHER woman there was that knelyd at the 
mas of requiem, whyle the corse of her husbande 
lay on the bere in the chyrche. To whome a 
yonge man cam and spake wyth her in her ere, as 
thoughe it had ben for som mater concernyng the 
funerallys ; howe be it he spake of no suche 
matter, but onely wowyd her that he myght be 
her husbande to whom she answered and sayde 
thus : syr, by my trouthe I am sory that ye come 
so late, for I am sped all redy. For I was made 
sure yesterday to another man. 



A C. Mery Talys. 23 

By thys tale ye maye perceyue that women ofte 
tymes be wyse and lothe to lose any tyme. 

^ Of the mylner with the golden thombe. 1 x. 

^ A MARCHAUNT that thought to deride a mylner 
seyd vnto the mylner syttynge amonge company : 
sir, I haue harde say that euery trew mylner that 
tollyth trevvlye hathe a gylden thombe. The 
myllner answeryd and sayde it was true. Than 
quod the marchant : I pray the let me se thy 
thombe ; and when the mylner shewyd hys thombe 
the marchant sayd : I can not perceyue that thy 
thombe is gylt ; but it is as all other mens thombes 
be. To whome the mylner answered and sayde : 
syr, treuthe it is that my thombe is gylt ; but ye 
haue no power to se it : for there is a properte 
euer incydent vnto it, that he that is a cockolde 
shall neuer haue power to se it. 2 

^ Of the horseman of Irelahde that prayde Oconer 
for to hange up thefrere. xi. 

H ONE whiche was called Oconer, an Yrysshe 
lorde, toke an horsman prisoner that was one of 

(1) See Brand's Popular Antiquities, edit. 1849, "' 3^7- 

(2) The reverse of the Somersetshire saying. The proverb is well 
known : " An honest miller hath a golden thumb ; " but to this the 
Somersetshire folks add, "none but a cuckold can see it." 



24 A C. Mery Talys. 

hys great enmys whiche for any request or entrety 
that the horsman made gaue iugement that he 
sholde incontynent be hanged, and made a frere 
to shryue hym and bad hym make hem redy to 
dye. Thys frere that shroue hym examyned hym 
of dyuers synnes, and asked him amonge other 
whiche were the gretteste synnes that euer he dyd. 
This horsman answered and sayd : one of the 
greatest actys that euer I dyd whiche I now most 
repent is that, whan I toke Oconer the last weke 
in a chyrche, and there I myght haue brennyd x 
hym chyrche and all, and because I had conscience 
and pyte of brennyng of the chyrche, I taryed the 
tyme so long, that Oconer escaped ; and that same 
deferrynge of brennynge of the chyrche and so 
longe taryeng of that tyme is one of the worst 
actes that euer I dyd wherof I moste 2 repent. 
This frere perceuynge hym in that mynde sayde : 
peace in the name of God, and change thy mynde 
and dye in charite, or els thou shalt neuer come 
in heuen. Nay, quod the horsman, I wyll neuer 
chaunge that mynde what so euer shall come to 
my soule. Thys frere perceyuynge hym thus styl 
contynew his minde, cam to Oconer and sayde : 
syr, in the name of God, haue some pyte vppon 
this mannys sowle, and let hym not dye now, tyl 

(i) Burned. (2) orig. reads tnuste. 



A C. Mery Talys. 25 

he be in a beter mynde. For yf he dye now, he 
is so ferre out of cheryte, that vtterly his soule 
shall be dampned, and [he] shewyd hym what 
minde he was in and all the hole mater as is 
before shewyd. Thys horsman, herynge the frere 
thus intrete for hym, sayd to Oconer thus : Oconer, 
thou seest well by thys mannys reporte that, yf I 
dye now, I am out of charyte and not redy to go 
to heuen ; and so it is that I am now out of charyte 
in dede ; but thou seest well that this frere is a 
good man and he is now well dysposed and in 
charyte and he is redy to go to heuen, and so am 
not I. Therfore I pray the hang vp this frere, 
whyle that he is redy to go to heuen and let me 
tary tyl another tyme, that I may be in charyte 
and redy and mete to go to heuen Thys Oconer, 
herying thys mad answere of hym, sparyd the man 
and forgaue hym hys lyfe at that season. 

By thys ye may se, that he that is in danger of 
hys enmye that hath no pite, he can do no beter 
but shew to hym the vttermost of his malycyous 
mynde whych that he beryth to ward hym. 



26 A C. Mery Talys. 

^ Of the freest that sayd nother corpus metis nor 
corpus meum. xii. 

^ THE archdekyn of Essex 1 that had ben longe in 
auctorite, in a tyme of vysytacyon, whan all the 
prestys apperyd before hym, called asyde iii. of the 
yonge prestys which were acusyd that thy could 
not wel say theyr dyvyne seruyce, and askyd of 
them when they sayd mas, whether they sayd 
corpus meus or corpum meum. The fyrst prest 
sayde that he sayd corpus meus. The second 
sayd that he sayd coq^um meum. And than he 
asked of the thyrd how he sayde ; whyche answered 
and sayd thus : syr, because it is so great a dout 
and dyuers men be in dyuers opynyons : therfore 
because I wolde be sure I wolde not offende, whan 
I come to the place I leue it clene out and say 
nothynge therfore. Wherfore the bysshoppe than 
openly rebuked them all thre. But dyuers that 
were present thought more defaut in hym, because 
he hym selfe beforetyme had admytted them to be 
prestys. 

By this tale ye may se that one ought to take 
hede how he rebukyth an other lest it torne moste 
to his owne rebuke. 

(i) Richard Rawson was Archdeacon of Essex from 1503 to 1543, and 
was perhaps the person here intended. See Le Neve's Fasti, ed. Hardy, 
ii- 336. 



A C. Mery Talys. 27 

t Of two freres "whereof the one lotted nat the ele 
heed nor the other the tayle, xiii. 

1 Two freres satte at a gentylmans tabyll, whiche 
had before hym on a fastyng day an ele and cut 
the hed of the ele and layd it vpon one of the 
frerys trenchars ; but the frere, bycause he wold 
haue had of the middle parte of the ele, sayd to 
the gentylman he louyd no ele hedes. Thys 
gentylman also cut the tayle of the ele, and layde 
it on the other frerys trenchar. He lyke wyse, 
because he wolde haue had of the myddle parte 
of the ele, sayde he loued no ele tayles. This 
gentylman, perceuynge that, gaue the tayle to hym 
that sayd he louyd not the hed, and gaue the hed 
to hym that sayd he loued not the tayle. And as 
fore the myddell part of the ele, he ete parte hym 
selfe and parte he gaue to other folke at the table ; 
wherfore these freres for anger wolde ete neuer a 
morsell, and so they for al theyr craft and subtylte 
were not only deceyued of the best morsell of the 
ele, but thereof had no parte at all. 

By this ye se that they that couet the best 
parte somtyme therfore lese the meane parte 
and all. 



28 AC. Mery Talys, 



^ Of the welche man that shroue hym for brekynge 
of hys faste on the fry day. xiv. 

^ A WELCHEMAN, dwellynge in a wylde place of 
Walys, cam to hys curate in the tyme of Lente 
and was confessyd ; and when hys confessyon was 
in maner at the end, the curate askyd hym, and x 
he had any other thyng to say that greuyd his con 
science. Which sore abasshid answered no worde 
a great whyle ; at last by exhortacyon of his 
goostly fader he sayde that there was one thyng 
in his mynde that greatly greued his conscyence, 
which he was asshamed to vtter : for it was so 
greuous that he trowed God wold neuer forgyue 
hym. To whom the curate answerd and sayd, 
that Goddes mercy was aboue all, and bad hym 
not dyspayre in the mercy of God. For what so 
euer it was, yf he were repentant, that God wolde 
forgyue hym. IF And so by longe exortacyon at 
the last he shewyd it and seyde thus. Syr, it 
happenyd ones that, as my wyfe was makynge a 
chese vpon a Fry day, I wolde fayne haue sayed 
whether it had ben salt or fresshe, and toke a 
lytyll of the whey in my hande, and put it in my 
mouthe ; and or 2 I was ware, parte of it went 

(j) if. (2) before. 



A C. Mery Talys. 29 

downe my throte agaynst my wyll and so I brake 
my faste. To whom the curate sayde : and if 
there be non other thynge, I warant God shall 
forgyue the. So whan he had well comforted hym 
with the mercy of God, the curate prayed hym to 
answere a questyon and to tell hym trueth ; and 
when the welchman had promysed to tell the 
truth, the curate sayd that there were robberyes 
and murders done nye the place where he dwelte 
and diuers men found slayn ; and asked hym 
whether he knew ought poyntynge 1 to any of 
them To whom he answeryd and sayd yes and 
sayd he had ben firiuyo. to many of them, and 
dyd helpe to robe and to slee dyuers of them. 
Then the curate asked hym, why he dyd not con- 
ffesse hym therof. The Welshman answeryd and 
sayde he toke that for no synne : for it was a 
custome amongest them that, whan any boty cam 
of any ryche merchant rydyng, that it was but 
a trewe neyboure dede one to help another when 
one callyd another ; and so they held it but for 
good felowshyp and neyghbourhood. 

Here maye ye se that some haue remorse of 
conscyence of small venyall sinnis and fere not 
to do gret offencys without shame of the worled 2 

(i) appertaining or relevant. (2) World. 



3O AC. Mery Talys. 

or drede of God; and, as the comon prouerbe is, 
they stumble at a strawe and lepe ouer a blocke. 

*f Of the merchaunte of London that dyd put nobles 
in his mouthe in hys dethe bedde. xv. 

IT A RYCHE couetous marchant there was that 
dwellid in London, which euer gaderyd mony and 
could neuer fynd in hys hert to spend ought iipon 
hym selfe nor vpon no man els. Whiche fell 
sore syke, and as he laye on hys deth bed had 
his purs lyenge at his beddys hede, and [he] had 
suche a loue to his money that he put his hande 
in his purs, and toke out therof x or xii li. in 
nobles and put them in his mouth. And because 
his wyfe and other perceyued hym very syke and 
lyke to dye, they exortyd hym to be confessyd, 
and brought the curate vnto hym. Which when 
they had caused him to say Benedicite, the curate 
bad hym crye God mercy and shewe to hym his 
synnes. Than this seyck man began to sey : I 
crey God mercy I haue offendyd in the vii dedly 
synnes and broken the x commaundementes ; but * 
because of the gold in his mouth he muffled so 
in his speche, that the curate could not well vnder- 

(i) Orig. reads and; but seems to be required. 



A C. Mery Talys. 3 1 

stande hym : wherfore the curat askyd hym, what 
he had in his mouthe that letted his spech. I wys, 
mayster parsone, quod the syke man, muffelynge, 
I haue nothyng in my mouthe but a lyttle money ; 
bycause I wot not whither 1 I shal go, I thought 
I wold take some spendynge money with me : for 
I wot not what nede I shall haue therof; and 
incontynent after that sayeng dyed, before he was 
confessyd or repentant that any man coulde per- 
ceyue, and so by lyklyhod went to the deuyll. 

By this tale ye may se, that they that all theyr 
lyues wyll neuer do charyte to theyr neghbours, 
that God in tyme of theyr dethe wyll not suffre 
them to haue grace of repentaunce. 



^ Of the mylner that stale the nuttes of the tayler 
that stale a shepe. xvi. 

^ THERE was a certayne ryche husbandman in a 
vyllage, whiche louyd nuttes meruelously well and 
sette trees of fylberdes and other nutte trees in 
his orcharde, and norysshed them well all his lyfe ; 
and when he dyed he made his executours to 
make promyse to bery with him in his graue a 
bagge of nuttes, or els they sholde not be his 

(i) Orig. reads whether. 



32 AC. Mery Talys. 

executours ; which executours, for fere of lesynge 
of theyre romes x fulfylled his mynde and dyd so. 
It happenyd that, the same nyghte after that he 
was beryed, there was a mylner in a whyte cote 
cam to this mannes garden to the entent to stele a 
bagge of nuttes ; and in the way he met wyth a 
tayler in a black cote, an vnthrift of hys acquayn- 
tance, and shewyd hym hys intent. This tayler 
lykewyse shewyd hym, that he intendyd the same 
tyme to stele a shepe ; and so they bothe there 
agred to go forwarde euery man seuerally wyth hys 
purpose ; and after that they apoynted to make god 
chere eche wyth other and to mete agayn in the 
chyrch porch, and he that cam fyrste to tarye for 
the other. This mylner, when he had spede of 
hys nuttys, came furst to the chyrch porch, and 
there taryed for his felow, and the mene whyle 
satte styll there and knakked nuttes. It fortuned 
than the sexten of the church, because yt was 
was about ix of the cloke, cam to ryng curfue ; and 
whan he lokyd in the porche and sawe one all in 
whyte knakkynge nuttes he had wente 2 it had 
bene the dede man rysyn owt of hys graue, 



(1) Places or appointments. This is one of the best stories of the 
kind in the present or any other collection, in our own or other 
languages. The construction is excellent. 

(2) Weened (guessed). 



A C. Mery Talys. 33 

knakkynge the nuttes that were beryed wyth hym, 
and ran home agayne in all hast and tolde to a 
krepyll that was in his house what he had sene. 
Thys crepyll, thus herynge hym, rebuked the sexten 
and sayd that yf he were able to go he wolde go 
thyder and coniure the spyryte. By my trouthe, 
quod the sexten, and yf thou darest do that, I wyll 
bere the on my neck; and so they both agreed. 
The sexten toke the creple on his nek, and cam 
in to the chyrchyarde again, and the mylner in 
the porch seeing 1 one comynge beryng a thynge 
on his necke had went 2 it had ben the tayler 
comynge with the shepe, and rose vp to mete them. 
And as he cam towarde them, he askyd and 
sayd : is he fat, is he fat \ The sexten, heryng 
hym sey so, for fere cast the crepull down and 
sayd : fatte or lene, take hym as he is ; and ranne 
awaye ; and the creple by myracle was made hole, 
and ran away as fast as he or faster. Thys mylner 
perceyuyng that they were two, and that one ran 
after an other, thoughte that one had spyed the 
tayler stelyng the shepe, and that he had ron after 
hym to haue taken hym ; and fearyng that one 
had spyed hym also stelynge the nuttes, he for 
feare lefte hys nuttes behynd him ; and as secretly 
as he cowde ran home to hys myll. And anon 

(i) Orig. reads saw. (2) Weened. 
D 



34 A C. Mery Talys. 

after that he was gone, the tayler cam wyth the 
stolen shepe vppon hys necke to the chyrche 
to seke the mylner; and whan he fownde there 
the nutte shalys, 1 he supposyd that his felow had 
ben ther and gone home, as he was in dede ; 
wherfore he toke vp the shepe agayne on his necke, 
[and] went towarde the myll. But yet durynge 
this while, the sexten which ranne away went not 
to hys owne house, but went to the parysh prestys 
chamber, and shewyd hym how the spyryt of the 
man was rysen out of hys graue knacking nuttes, 
as ye haue hard before : wherfore the prest sayd 
that he wolde go coniure hym, yf the sexten wolde 
go wyth hym ; and so they bothe agreed. The 
prest dyd on hys surples and a stole about hys 
necke, and toke holy water wyth hym, and cam 
wyth the sexten toward the church; and as sone 
as he entred in the chyrche yard, the talyer wyth 
the whyte shepe on hys neck intendyng, as I 
before haue shewyd yow, to go downe to the myll, 
met with them, and had went that the prest in his 
surples had ben the mylner in his whyte cote, and 
seyd to hym : by God ! I haue hym, I haue hym ! 
meanynge thereby 2 the shepe that he had stolen. 
The prest, perceyuynge the tayller all in blake and 
a whyte thynge on hys nek, had went it had ben 

(i) Shells. (2) In Orig. by. 



A C. Mery Talys. 35 

the deuyll beryng away the spyryte of the dede 
man that was beryed, and ran away as fast as he 
coude, takyng the way down towarde the myl, and 
the sexten ronnyng after hym. Thys tayler, seying 
one folowyng hym, had went that one had folowed 
the mylner to haue done hym som hurt, and 
thought he wold folow, if nede were to help the 
milner ; and went forth, tyl he cam to the mill 
and knocked at the myll dore. The mylner 
beynge wythin asked who was there. The tayler 
answeryd and sayd : by God ! I haue caught one 
of them, and made hym sure and tyed hym fast by 
the legges. But the mylner, heryng him sey that 
he had hym tyed fast by the legges, had went it 
had ben the constable, that had taken the tayler 
for stelyng of the shepe, and had tyed hym by 
the legges ; and ferid that he had come to haue 
taken hym also for stelynge of the nuttes : wher- 
fore the mylner opened a bak dore, and ran away 
as fast as he could. The tayler, herynge the 
backe dore openynge, wente on the other syde of 
the myll, and there saw the mylner ronnyng away, 
and stode ther a lytyll whyle musyng wyth the 
shepe on his necke. Then was the parysshe 
preest and the sexten standynge there vnder the 
mylhouse hydyng them for fere, and seeing 1 the 

(i) Orig. reads saw. 
D 2 



36 A C. Mery Talys. 

tayler agayn with the shepe on hys nek, had wende 
styll it had ben the deuyll wyth the spyryt of the 
dede man on a hys nek, and for fere ran awaye ; 
but because they knew not the grounde well, the 
preste lepte into a dyche almoste ouer the hed 
lyke to be drownyde, that he cryed wyth a loude 
voyce : help, helpe ! Than the tayler lokyd about, 
and seeing 2 the mylner ronne away and the sexten 
a nother way, and hearing 3 the preste creye helpe, 
had went it had ben the constable wyth a great 
company cryeng for helpe to take him and to 
bring hym to pryson for stelyng of the shepe : 
wherfore he threwe down the shepe and ran away 
another way as fast as he coud ; and so euery man 
was afferd of other wythout cause. 

By thys ye may se well, it is foly for any man 
to fere a thyng to moche, tyll that he se some 
profe or cause. 

^ Of the foure elementes where tliey shoulde sone be 

founde. xvii. 

"f IN the old world when all thyng could speke, 
the iiii elementys 4 mette to geder for many thynges 
whych they had to do, because they must meddell 
alway one wyth a nother, and had communicacion 

(i) Orig. reads of. (2) The Orig. saw. (3) Orig. hard, i. e. heard. 
(4) There is perhaps an allusion here to the Interlude of the Four 
Elements, supposed to have been printed about 1510 by John Rastell. 



A C. Mery Talys. 37 

to gyder of dyuers maters ; and by cause they coulde 
not conclude all theyr maters at that season, they 
appoyntyd to breke communicacion for that tyme 
and to mete agayne another tyme. Therfore eche 
one of them shewed to other where theyr most 
abydyng was and where theyr felows shoulde fynde 
them, yf nede shuld requyre ; and fyrste the erthe 
sayde : bretherne, ye knowe well as for me I am 
permanent alway and not remouable : therfore ye 
may be sure to haue me alway whan ye lyste. The 
wather sayde : yf ye lyst to seke mej ye shall be 
sure to haue me under a toft of grene rushes or 
elles in a womans eye. The wynde sayde : yf ye 
lyst to speke wyth me, ye shall be sure to haue 
me among aspyn leuys or els in a womans tong. 
Then quod the fyre : yf any of you lyst to seke 
me, ye shall euer be sure to fynd me in a flynt 
stone or elles in a womans harte. 

By thys tale ye may lerne as well the properte of 
the iiii elementys as the properteis 1 of a woman. 

^ Of the woman that poured the potage in the iudges 

male, xviii. 

^f THERE was a iustyce but late in the reame of 
England callyd master Vavesour, 2 a uery homely 
man and rude of condycyons, and louyd neuer to 
spend mych money. Thys master Vauysour rode 

(i) orig. reads proprete is. (2) Vide infra. 



38 AC. Mery Talys. 

on a tyme in hys cyrcuyte in the northe contrey, 
where he had agreed wyth the sheryf for a certain 
some of money for hys charges thorowe the shyre, 
so that at euery inne and lodgynge this master 
Vauysour payd for hys owne costys. It fortunyd 
so, that when he cam to a certayn "lodgyng he 
comaunded one Turpyn hys seruant to se that he 
used good husbondry 1 and to saue suche thynges 
as were left and to cary it wyth hym to serue hym 
at the nexte baytynge. Thys Turpyn, doyng hys 
maystres commandement, toke the broken bred, 
broken mete and all such thyng that was left, and 
put it in hys maysters cloth sak. The wyfe of the 
hous, perceyuing that he toke all suche fragmentys 
and vytayle wyth hym that was left, and put it in 
the cloth sake, she brought vp the podage that was 
left in the pot ; and when Turpyn had torned hys 
bake a lytyl asyde, she pouryd the podage in to 
the cloth sake, whych ran vpon hys robe of skarlet 
and other of hys garmentys and rayed 2 them very 
euyll, that they were mych hurt therwyth. Thys 
Turpyn, sodeynly turnyng 3 hym and seeing 4 it, 
reuyled the wyfe therfore, and ran to hys mayster 

(1) Economy. 

(2) Defiled, from Fr. rayer, to shine and give light, as the rays of the 
sun, and thence to streak with lines of dirt, and so to soil. The word 
is not common. See Nares art ray (edit. 1859), and Cotgrave art rayer 
(edit. 1650.) 

(3) orig. reads turnyd. (4) orig. reads saw. 



A C. Mery Talys. 39 

and told hym what she had don : wherfore master 
Vauesour incontinent callyd the wyf and seyd to 
her thus : thou drab, quod he, what hast thow 
don 1 ? why hast thou pourd the podage in my 
cloth sake and marrd my rayment and gere 1 O, 
syr, quod the wyfe, I know wel ye ar a iudge of 
the realme, and I perceyue by you your mind is 
to do ryght and to haue that is your owen ; and 
your mynd is to haue all thyng wyth you that ye 
haue payd for, both broken mete and other thynges 
that is left, and so it is reson that ye haue ; and 
therfore be cause your seruant hath taken the 
broken mete and put it in your cloth sak, I haue 
therin put the potage that be left, because ye haue 
wel and truly payed for them. Yf I shoulde kepe 
ony thynge from you that ye haue payed for, par- 
aduenture ye wold treble me in the law a nother 
tyme. 

Here ye may se, that he that playth the nygarde 
to mych, som tyme it torneth hym to hys owne 
losse. 

^ Of the wedded men that came to heuen to clayme 

theyr herytage. xix. 

^ A CERTAYN weddyd man there was whyche, whan 
he was dede, cam to heuen gates to seynt Peter, 
and sayd he cam to clayme hys bad heretage 
whyche he had deseruyd. Saynt Peter askyd hym 



40 A C. Mery Talys. 

what he was, and he sayd a weddyd man. Anon 
Saynt Peter openyd the gatys, and bad hym to 
com in, and sayde he was worthye to haue hys 
herytage, bycause he had had much treble and 
was worthye to haue a crowne of glory. Anon 
after there cam a nother man that claymyd heuen, 
and sayd to Seynt Peter he had hade ii wyues, to 
whom Saynt Peter answered and said : come in, 
for thou art worthy to haue a doble crown of 
glory : for thou hast had doble trouble. At the 
last there cam the thyrd, claymynge hys herytage 
and sayde to Saynt Peter that he had had iii wyues, 
and desyryd to come in. What ! quod Saynt Peter, 
thou hast ben ones in troble and thereof delyueryd, 
and than wyllingly woldyst be troblyd again, and 
yet agayne therof delyueryd ; and for all that 
coulde not beware the thyrde tyme, but enterest 
wyllyngly in troble agayn : therfore go thy waye 
to Hell : for thou shalt neuer come in heuen : for 
thou art not worthy. 

Thys tale is a warnyng to them that haue bene 
twyse in paryll to beware how they come therin 
the thyrd tyme 

^ Of the merchaunte that charged his sonne to fynde 

one to syngefor hys soule. xx. 
^ A RYCHE marchant of London here was, that 
had one sonne that was somewhat vuthryfty. Ther- 



A C. Mery Talys. 41 

fore hys fader vppon hys deth bed called hym to 
hym, and sayde he knew well that he had ben 
vnthryfty ; how be it, yf he knew he wold amend 
hys condycyons he wolde make hym hys executour 
and leue hym hys goods, so that he wolde promyse 
hym to pray for hys soule and so fynde one dayly 
to syng for hym : which thyng to performe hys 
sonne there made a faythfull promyse. After that 
this man made hym hys executour, and dyed. But 
after that hys sonne kept such ryot, that in short 
tyme he had wasted and spente all, and had 
nothynge left but a henne and a cocke that was 
his fader's. It fortunyd than that one of hys 
frendys came to hym, and sayd he was sory that 
he had wasted so moch, and askyd hym how he 
wolde performe hys promyse made to hys fader 
that he wolde kepe one to syng for hym. Thys 
yong man answered and sayde : by God ! yet I 
wyll performe my promyse : for I wyll kepe this 
same cocke alyue styl, and he wyl krow euery day, 
and so he shall synge euery day for my faders 
soule; and so I wyl performe my promyse wel 
ynough. 

By thys ye maye se, that it is wysdome for a 
man to do good dedys hym selfe, whyle he is 
here, and not to trust to the prayer and promyse 
of hys executours. 



42 A C. Mery Talys. 

^ Of the mayde wasshynge clothes that answered the 
frere. xxi. 

^ THERE was a mayde stode by a reuers syde in 
her smoke, 1 wasshynge clothes, and as she stouped 
ofttymes, her smocke cleued betune her buttockkes. 
By whome there cam a frere, seynge 2 her and sayde 
in sporte : mayde, mayde, take hede : for Bayarde 
bytes on the brydell. 3 Nay, wys [I], master frere, 
quod the mayden, he doth but wype hys mouthe, 
and wenyth ye wyll come and kysse hym. 

By thys ye may se that womans answer is neuer 
to seke. 

^ Of the thre ivyse men of Gotam. xxii. 

H A CERTAYN man there was dwellynge in a towne 
called Gotam that went to a fayre iii myle for to 
bye shepe ; and as he cam ouer a bryge he met 
with one of hys neyghbours and told hym whether 4 
he went, and askyd hym whych way he wold bryng 
them. Whyche sayd he wolde brynge them ouer 
the same bryge. Nay, quod the other man, but 
thou shalt not, by God ! quod 

4 lines of the original are -wanting. 

(i) Smock. (2) i.e. who saw her. 

(3) An unregistered proverb, perhaps. The meaning is tolerably clear. 
See Tarltons Newes Out of Ptirgatorie (1590), edit. Halliwell, p. 93. 

(4) Whither. 



A C. Mery Talys. 43 

Presently there came a milter, who bore a sack of 1 
mele vpon a horse, a neybour of theyrs, and 
paciently askyd them what was the cause of theyr 
varyaunce ; which than shew)'*/ to hym the mater 
and cause, as ye haue harde. Thys thyrde man, 
the mylner, beganne for to rebuke them by a 
famylyer example, and toke his sacke of mele 
from his horse backe and openyd it, and pouryd 
all the mele in the sacke ouer the brydge into the 
ronnynge ryuer ; wherby all the mele was lost, and 
sayde thus : by my trouthe, neybours, because ye 
stryue for dryuynge ouer the brydge those shepe 
which be not yet boughte, nor wotte not where 
they be, me thynketh therfore there is euen as 
nioche wytte in your hedes as there is mele now 
in my sacke. 

Thys tale shewyth you, that som man takyth 
upon him for to teche other men wysdome, when 
he is but a fole hymselfe. 

^ Of the graye frere that answered his penytente. 
xxiii. 

^ A MAN there was that cam to confesse hym to 
a prest and tolde hym, that he had layne with a 

(i) I am myself responsible for these few words in italic, which I have 
supplied from conjecture. 



44 AC. Mery Talys. 

yonge gentyll woman. The prest then asked hym 
in what place ; and he sayde it was in * * * 
all nyght longe in a soft warme bed. The frere 
herynge that * * * thys and sayd : Now, 
by swete seynt Francys, then, wast thou very 1 



^ Of the gentylman that bare the sege borde on hys 
necke. xxiv. 

^ A CHANDELER beynge a wydower, dwellynge at 
Holborne, neere London, had a fayr doughter whom 
a yonge gentelman of Dauys Ynne 2 woyd 3 sore to 
haue hys pleasure of her, whyche by longe sute to 
her made, at the last graunted hym, and poynted 
hym to com upon a nyghte to her faders hous in 
the euenynge, and she wold conuey hym into her 
chamber secretly, which was an inner chamber 
within her faders chamber. So accordynge to the 
poyntment all thynge was performed, so that he 
lay wyth her all nyght, and made good chere tell 
about foure a clocke in the mornynge, at whyche 
tyme it fortunyd this yonge gentylman fell a cough- 
ynge, whych cam vpon hym so sore that he could 

(1) Perhaps this story, of which we have here a fragment only, was 
similar to the one narrated a little farther on. See Tale 57. 

(2) Thavies Inn, near St. Andrew's Church, in Holborn. 

(3) Wooed. 



A C. Mery Talys. 45 

not refrayn. Thys wench, than fering her fader 
that lay in the next chamber, bad hym go put hys 
hede in the draught, lest that her fader shold here 
hym : whych after her councel rose in his shyrte, 
and so dyd. But than because of the sauour of 
the draught it causyd hym to coughe moche more 
and louder, that the wenchys fader herde it, and 
askyd of hys daughter what man it was that coughed 
in her chamber. She answered and said : no body. 
But euer this yong man coughed styll more and 
more, whom the fader herynge sayd : by Goddes 
body ! hore, thou lyest ; I wyll se who is there ; 
and rose out of his bedde. Thys wenche per- 
ceyued her fader rysinge, [and] cam to the gentyl- 
man and sayde : take hede syr to your selfe : for 
my fader comyth. This gentylman, sodeynly ther- 
wyth abasshyd, wolde haue pullyd his hede oute 
of the draughte hole, which was [so] very streyghte 
for hys hede that he pullyd the sege borde vp 
thenvyth, and, [it] hangyng about his neck, ran 
vpon the fader beynge an olde man, and gaue 
hym a great fall and bare him to the ground. 

8 lines wanting. 

there was two or thre skyttysh horses whych, when 
they se this gentylman ronnyng, start[ed] asyde and 
threwe downe the cart wyth colys, and drew backe 



46 A C. Mery Talys. 

and brake the carte rope, wherby the colys fell out, 
some in one place and some in another ; and after 
the horses brake theyr tracys and ranne, some 
towarde Smythfelde and som toward Newgate. 
The colyar 1 ran after them, and was an houre and 
more, or 2 euer he coulde gette his horses to gyder 
agayne ; by which tyme the people of the strete 
were rysen and cam to the place, and saw yt strawyn 
with colys. Euery one for hys parte gaderyd vp 
the colys, tyll the most parte of the colys were gone, 
or the colyar had got his horses agayne. Duryng 
thys whyle the gentylman went thrugh Seynt 
Andrews Chyrch Yarde towarde Dauys Inne, and 
there met with the sexten commynge to attend to 
ring the bell for morow mas : whych, whan he saw 
the gentylman in the Chyrche Yarde in hys shyrt 
wyth the draught borde 3 about his neck, had wend 4 
it had ben a spryt, and med : alas, alas, a spryt ! 
and ran back again to his house almost atte b * * 
for fere was almoste out of his wytte that he was 
the worse a long tyme o/ter. This gentilman, than, 
because dauys inne gatys were not open, ranne to 
the /facksyde and lept ouer the garden wal; but, 
in lepyng, the draught-bord so troubled hym, that 
he fell downe into the gardyn and had almoste 

(i) orig. reads that the colyar. (z) before. 

(3) the seat of the commode. (4) weened. 



A C. Mety Talys. 47 

broken his necke ; and ther he lay styll, tyll that 
the pryncypall cam into the garden; which, wan 
he saw hym lye there, had wente some man had 
ben slayne and there caste ouer the wall, and durst 
not come nye him, tyll he had callyd vp hys com- 
panye which, when many of the gentylmen 1 wer 
com to gether loked well vppon hym, and knewe 
hym, and after releuyd hym; but the borde that 
was about hys necke caused his hed so to swell, 
that they coulde not gette it of, tyll they were 
mynded to cutte it of with hatchettys. Thus was 
the wenche well iaped, 2 and for fere she ranne from 
her fader ; her faders arme was hurte ; the colyar 
lost his coles ; the sexton was almost out of hys 
wyt ; and the gentylman had almost broke his 
necke. 



^ Of the merchantes wyfe that sayd she wolde take 
a nap at sermon, xxv. 

H A MARCHANTYS wyfe there was in Bowe parysh 
in London, somewhat slepte in age, to whom her 
mayde cam on a Sonday in Lente after dyner and 
sayde : maystres, quod she, they rynge at Saynte 
Thomas of Acres, for there shall be a sermon 

(1) orig. reads gentylman. 

(2) mocked, made a jest of. See Nares (edit 1859) in voce. 



48 A C. Mery Talys. 

prechyd anon ; to whome the mastres answered 
and sayde : mary ! Goddys blessynge haue thy 
harte for warnynge me thereof; and because I 
slepte not well all this nyght, I pray the brynge 
my stole with me : for I wyll go thyder to loke, 
whether I can take a nappe there, whyle the preest 
is prechynge. 

By this ye may se, that many one goth to chyrch 
as moch for other thynges as for deuocyon. 

H Of the woman that said and she lyued another 
yere she wolde haue a cockoldes hatte of her 
owne. xxvi. 

Of the above tale but a few words remain in the fragment. 

11 Of the gentylman that wysshed his tothe in the 
gentylwomans tayle. xxvii. 

IT A GENTYLMAN and gentylwoman satte to gyder 
talkyng, which gentylman had great pain in one of 
his tethe, and hapnyd to say to the gentylwomzn. 
thus : I wys, maystres, I haue a tothe in my hede 
which greuyth me z^ery sore : wherfore I wold it 
were in your tayl. She, heryng him say this, 
answeryd thus : in good fayth, syr, yf your tothe 
were in my tayle it coulde do it but lytle good ; 



A C. Mery Talys. 49 

but yf there be any thynge in my tayle that can 
do your tothe good, I wolde it were in your tothe. 
By this ye may se that a womans answere is 
seldome to seke. 1 



^1 Of the Welcheman that confessyd hym howe he 
had slayne afrere. xxviii. 

^ IN the tyme of Lente, a Welcheman cam to be 
confessyd of his curate ; whych in his confessyon 
sayde that he had kylled a frere ; to whome the 
curate sayd he coulde nat assoyle hym. Yes, quod 
the Welchman, yf thou knewest all, thou woldest 
assoyle me well ynoughe ; and when the curate 
had commandyd hym to shew hym all the case, 
he sayd thus : mary, there were ii freres ; and I 
myght haue slayn them bothe, yf I had lyst ; but 
I let the one scape : therfore mayster curate set 
the tone agaynst the tother, and than the offence 
is not so great but ye may assoyle me well ynoughe. 
By this ye may se, that dyuers men haue so euyll 
and larg conscyence that they thynke, yf they do 
one good dede or refrayn from doynge of one euyll 
synne, that yt ys satysfaccyon for other synnes and 
ofencys. 

(i) This moral is also attached to Tales 21, 44, and 56, in all which 
cases the lady's rejoinder is not less opposed to modern notions of female 
delicacy. 

E 



50 AC. Mery Talys. 

t Of the Welcheman that coude nat gette but a lytell 
male. xxix. 

H THERE was a company of gentylmen 1 in Nor 
thampton shyre which wente to hunte for dere in 
the porlews 2 in the gollet besyde Stony Stratford, 
amonge which gentylmen there was one which 
had a Welchman to his seruante, a good archer ; 
whiche, whan they cam to a place where they 
thought they should find dere, apoynted thys Welch 
man to stand still ^ and forbade him in any wyse to 
shote at no rascal 3 dere but to make sure ofthegreate 
male and spare not. Well, quod this Welchman, 
/ will do so. Anon cam by many greate dere and 
Rascall ; but euer he lette them go, and toke no 
hede to them; and within an houre after he saw 
com rydynge on the hye-waye a man of the contrey, 
whych had a boget hangynge at hys sadyll bowe. 4 
And whan this Welcheman had espyed hym, he 
bad hym stande, and began to drawe his bow and 
bad hym delyuer that lytell male that hunge at his 
sadyll bowe. Thys man, for fere of hys lyfe, was 
glad to delyuer hym hys boget, and so dyd, and 
than rode hys waye, and was glad he was so 

(i) orig. reads gentylman. (2) purlieus. 

(3) a lean beast not worth hunting Nares. 

(4) The jest here, such as it is, lies in the play on the words male (of 
the deer) and the mail, or post 



A C. Mery Talys. 5 1 

escapyd. And when this man of the contrey was 
gone, thys Welcheman was very glad and wente 
incontynente to seke hys mayster, and at the laste 
founde hym wyth hys companye ; and whan he 
saw hym he came to hym, and sayd thus : mayster, 
by cottes plut and her nayle ! I haue stande yonder 
this two hourys, and I colde se neuer a male but 
a lytell male that a man had hangynge at his sadell 
bow, and thet I haue goten, and lo here it is ; and 
toke his master the boget whiche he had taken 
away from the forsayd man, for the whiche dede 
bothe the mayster and the seruante were aftenvarde 
in greate trouble. 

By this ye may lerne, yt is greate folye for 
a mayster to putte a seruaunte to that besynes 
whereof he can nothynge skyll and wherin he 
hath not ben usyd. 

If Of the gentyll woman that sayde to a gentyll man : 
ye haue a berde abone. and none benethe. xxx. 

^f A YONGE gentylman of the age of xx yere, 
somwhat dysposed to myrth and gaye, on a tyme 
talked wyth a gentylwoman whyche was ryght wyse 
and also mery. Thys gentylwoman, as she talked 
with hym, happenyd to loke vpon hys berde which 
was but yonge and somewhat growen vpon the ouer 

E 2 



52 AC. Mery Talys. 

lyppe, and but lyttell growen benethe as all other 
yonge mennys berdes comynly vse to grow, and 
sayd to hym thus : syr, ye haue a berde aboue 
and none beneth ; and he, herynge her say so 
sayde in sporte : maystres, ye haue a berde beneth 
and none aboue. Mary, quod she, than set the 
tone agaynst the tother. Which answere made 
the gentylman so abasshed, that he had not one 
worde to answere. 



^ Of the frere that sayde our Lorde fed fyue M. 
people with iii.fysshys. xxxi. 

If THERE was a certayn White Frere whiche was 
a very glotton and a great nyggyn, 1 whiche had 
an vngracyouse boy that euer folowed hym and 
bare his cloke, and what for the freres glotony 
and for his chorlysshnes the boy, where he wente, 
cowlde scante gette meate ynoughe : for the frere 
wolde eate almoste all hym selfe. But on a tyme 
the frere made a sermone in the contry, wherin he 
touched very many myracles whyche Cryste dyd 
afore hys passyon, amonge which he specyally 
rehersyd the myracle whyche Cryste did in fedynge 
fyue thousande people with fyue louys of brede 
and with iii lytell fysshes ; and this frerys boy 

(i) niggard. 



A C. Mery Talys. 53 

which caryd not gretely for hys mayster * *, 
by reason that hys mayster was so great a churle, 
cryed out aloude that all the church harde, and 
sayd : by my faith, then, there were no fryers there ! 
whyche answere made all the people laughe, so that 
for shame the frere wente out of the * * 
* * he than departyd out ot the 
churche * * 

By thys ye may se that it is honeste * 
depart with suche as he hath to them 

^ Of the frankelyn that wold haue had the frere 
gone, xxxii. 

^ A RYCHE fraynklyn dwellyn in the countie oj 
* * * had a frere in his house, of whom he 
could neuer be ryd any meanes, but he wold tarrye 
by the space of a senyght x and wold neuer depart ; 
wherfore the franklyn was sore grevud and sadly 
wery of hym. On a tyme as he and hys wyfe 
and this frere were togydder, he faynyd hymselfe 
very angry wyth hys wyfe, in somoche that he smote 
her. Thys frere perseyuyng well what they ment 
sayd * * * I haue bene here this seuenyght 
whan ye were frendys, and / will tarrye a forte- 
nyght lenger but I wyll se you frendys agayne, or 

(i) a week. 



J/nj Taiys. 



perceyuyuge that he conde 
epart by none dAtr magma, 
and sayd : by God ! frere, 
bere DO longer; and toke 
ind thrust hirm oat of the 



rthy to be taught wyth open rebuke. 
Of tkt prat tk*t *rrd Our LmJty 



^ Ix the towne of Bottefley d weflyd a mytner, 
-. - :>.r >.il i _ ::.: >. : t'y - ir. :>.r :: > - :: j.:"-.:tr. 
:- ---. r :>.;- :_-::r ::" :>.r -.-.--: ~ : '.:.; : :r. ". 
as the une vent, bad her at kjs pleasure. Bat 
on a IjfiBC. tfays cwal preoijd of* those curroose 
wyues now a daresy and whether k woe for die 
- :- </- \- '- ;-.'--.: :: :a- _: : i: z" - i-r-V-- - r.r 
had penjd. to say tins in hjs artmon : ye vjiuu^ 
ye be so cntjoos in aB your vaikes, that ye wot 
not what ye meane, but ye shold fblow One Lady. 
For Oar Lady was nothynge so uujuos as ye be ; 

--" . 1- _ _-'.'- Jl I _ ; . v .-_:.". r :: ". ^ ; 

of Botteky. At wnych sayng 



A C. Mery Talys. 5$ 

all the parishons made gret laughyng, and specyally 
they that knew that he louyd that same wenche. 

By this ye may se, it is gret foly for a man that 
is suspectyd with any person to praise or to name 
the same parson openly, lest it bryng hym in forther 
sclaunder. 

T Of the good man that sayde to his wyfe he had 
euyllfare. xxxiv. 

* A FRERE Lymytour ' come into a pore mannys 
howse in the countrey, and because thys pore man 
thought thys frere myght do hym some good, he 
therefore thought to make hym good chere. But 
bycause hys wyfe wold dresse hym no good mete 
for coste, he therfore at dyner tyme sayd thus : by 
God ! wyfe, bycause thou dyddest dresse me no 
good mete to my dyner, were it not for mayster 
frere, thou shouldest haue halfe a dosyn strypes. 
Nay, syr, quod the frere, I pray you spare not for 
me ; wherwyth the wyfe was angry, and therfore at 
souper she caused them to fare wors. 

T Of the frere that had hys chylde make a laten. 

XXXV. 

But vcryfeto Toords remain of this Tale. 
(i , Mendicant friar. 



56 AC. Mery Talys. 

^ Of the gentylman that asked the frere for his 
beuer. xxxvi. 

^ IN the terme tyme a good old gentylman, beyng 
a lawyer, cam to \jQi\don to the terme ; and as he 
cam he hapenyd to ouertake a frere, which was an 
zwthrift and went alone wythout hys beuer : wrier- 
fore this gentylman asked thys frere, where was hys 
beuer that shold kepe hym compa/y, and sayd it 
was contrary to his relygyon to go alone, and it 
wolde cause people to suppose hym to be som 
apostata or som vnthryft. By God, syr, quod the 
frere! my beuer commaundeth hym unto your 
master-shyp. Why, quod the gentylman, I knowe 
hym not. Than (quod the frere to the gentylman), 
ye are the more fole to aske for hym. 

By thys tale ye may se, that he that geueth 
counsell to any vnthryft, and /#r//eth hym hys 
dutye, shall haue oftymes but a mock for his 
labour. 

^ Of the thre men that chose the woman, xxxvii. 

^ THRE gentylmen cam into an Inne, where a 
fayre woman was tapster : wherfore, as these thre 
satte there makynge mery, eche of them kyssed 
her, and made good pastyme and plesure. How- 



A C. Mery Talys. 57 

belt one spake merley : and sayde : I can not se 
how this gentylwoman is able to make pastyme 
and pleasure to vs all thre excepte that she were 
departed in thre partes. By my trouthe, quod one 
of them, yf that she myght be departed, than I 
wolde chuse for my parte her hed and her fayre 
face, that I myghte alway kysse her Than quod 
the seconde : I wolde haue the breste and harte : 
for there lyeth her loue. Than quod the thyrd : 
then ther is nothyng left for me but the loynys, 
buttockes and legges ; I am contente to haue it for 
my parte. And whan these gentylmen had passed 
the tyme there by the space of one hour or ii, they 
toke theyr leue and were goynge awaye; but, or 
they went, the thyrd man whych had chosen the 
bely and the buttockys did kys the tapyster and 
bad her farewell. What ! quod the fyrste man that 
had chosen the face and the mouth, why dost thou 
so 1 thou dost me wronge to kysse my parte that I 
haue chosen of her. O ! quod the other, I pray 
the be nat angry : for I am contente that thou shal 
kys my parte for it. 



(i) Merrily 



58 AC. Mcry Talys. 

^ Of the gentylman that taught his cooke the medy- 
cyne for the tothake. xxxviii. 

^ IN Essex there dwellyd a mery gentylman, 
whyche had a coke callyd Thomas that was 
greatly dysseasyd with the tothake, and complay- 
nyd to hys mayster thereof; whych sayd he had a 
boke of medecins and sayd he wold loke vp hys 
boke to se whether he could fynd any medecyn 
therin for it, and so sent x one of hys doughters 
to hys study for hys boke, and incontynent lokyd 
uppon yt a long season ; and than sayd thus to hys 
coke : Thomas, quod he, here is a medesyn for 
your tothake ; and yt ys a charm ; but yt wyl do 
you no good except ye knele on your knees, and 
aske yt for Sent Charyte. Thys man, glad to be 
relesyd of hys payn, kneled and sayd : mayster, 
for Seint Charyte, let me haue that medecyne. 
Than, quod thys gentylman, knele on your knees 
and say after me ; whyche knelyd down and sayd 
after hym as he bad hym. Thys gentylman began 
and sayd thus : 

" The son on the Sonday." 

" The son on the Sonday," quod Thomas. 

" The mone on the Monday." 

(i) orig. reads send. 



A C. Mcry Talys. 59 

"The mone on the Monday." 

"The Trynyte on the Tewsday." 

" The Trynyte" on the Tewsday." 

" The wyt on the Wednysday." 

"The wyt on the Wednysday." 

" The holy holy Thursday." 

"The holy holy Thursday." 

"And all that fast on Fryday." 

" And all that fast on Friday." 

" in thy mouthe on Saterday." 

Thys coke Thomas, 1 heryng hys mayster thus 
mokkyng hym, in anger stert vp and sayd : by 
Goddys body ! mokkyng churle, I wyll neuer do 
the seruyce more ; and went forth to hys chamber 
to gete hys gere to geder to thentent to haue gon 
thens by and by ; but what for the anger that he 
toke wyth his mayster for the mok that he gaue 
hym, and what for labor that he toke to geder hys 
gere so shortly togeder, the payne of the tothake 
went from hym incontynent, that hys mayster cam 
to hym and made hym to tarry styll, and tolde hym 
that hys charme was the cause of the ease of the 
payne of the tothake. 

By thys tale ye may se, that anger oftymes 
puttyth away the bodely payne. 

(i) orig. reads Thomas coke. In the orig. the text runs on in the 
above passage, which is generally done in old books to save room. 



60 A C. Mery Talys. 

^ Of the gentylman that promysed the scoler of 
Oxforde a sarcanet typet, xxxix. 

^ A SKOLER of Oxford latley made Mayster of 
Art cam in to the cyte of London, and in Poulys 
mette with the sayd mery gentleman of Essex, 
which was euer disposyd to play many mery 
pageants, 1 wyth whom before he had bene of 
famylyer accoyntaunce and prayd hym to give 
hym a sercenet typet. This gentylman, more 
lyberall of promyse than of gyfte, grauntyd hym 
he should haue one, yf he wold com to hys 
lodgyng to the sygne 2 of the Bull wythout 
Byshops gate in the next mornynge at vi of the 
cloke. Thys scoler thankyd hym, and for that 
nyght departyd to hys lodgyng in Flete Strete, and 
in the mornyng erely as he poyntyd cam to hym 
to the sygne of the Bull. And as [soon as] thys 
gentylman saw hym, he bad hym go wyth hym in 
to the Cyte, and he sholde be sped anon ; whyche 
incontynent went togyder, tyll they 3 cam in to seynt 
Laurence Church in the Jury, where the gentylman 
espyed a preste raueshyd to masse 4 and [he] told 

(i) tricks and pranks. (2) orig. reads synne. (3) orig. reads he. 

(4) Intently engaged in the celebration of mass. "St. Lawrence 
Jewry," says Mr. Cunningham {Handbook of Land. 471,) "stood in 
King Street, Cheapside. It was destroyed in the Fire of 1666, and was 
rebuilt by Sir C. Wren." 



A C. Mery Talys. 61 

the skoller that " yonder is the preste that hath the 
typet for you," and bad hym knele downe in the 
pew, and he shold speke to hym for it. And in- 
contynent thys gentylman went to the preest and 
sayd : syr, here is a skoller, a kynnysman of myne, 
gretly dyseasyed wyth the chyncough. 1 I pray you, 
whan masse is donne, gyue hym iii draughtys of 
your chales. The preest grantyd hym, and tornyd 
hym to the skoler, and sayd : syr, I shall serue you 
as sone as I haue sayd masse. The skoler than 
taryed styll and herd the mas, trusting that whan 
the masse was done, that the preste wold giue hym 
hys typet of sarcenet. Thys gentylman in the 
meane whyle departyd out of the chyrche. Thys 
preste, whan mas was done, putte wyne in the 
chales, and cam to the skoler knelyng in the pew, 
profferyng hym to drynk of the chales. Thys 
skoler lokyd upon hym, and musyd and sayd : 
why, master parson, wherfore prefer ye me the 
chales ? Mary, quod the prest, for the gentylman 
told me ye were dysseasyd with the chyncough, 
and prayd me therfor that for a medecyne ye 
might drynk of the chales. Nay, by seynt mary, 
quod the scoler, he promysyd me ye shulde delyuer 
me a tipet of sarcenet. Nay, quod the preest, he 
spake to me of no typet, but he desyred me to 

(i) Hooping-cough. 



62 A C. Mery Talys. 

gyue yow drynk of the chales for the chyncough. 
By Goddis body, quod the scoler, he is, as he was 
euer wont to be, but a mokkyng wretch, and if 1 I 
lyue I shall quyte hym ; and so departid out of the 
church in great anger. 

By thys tale ye may percyue, it is no wysdom for 
a man to truste to a man to do a thing, that is con 
trary to hys old accustumyd condycyons. 

^ Of mayster Skelton that brought the bysshop of 
Norwiche ii fesauntes. xl. 

^ IT fortuned ther was a great varyance bitwen 
the bysshop of Norwych and one master Skelton 1 
a poyet lauryat, in so much that the bysshop com- 
maundyd hym that he shuld not come in his gatys. 
Thys mayster Skelton dyd absent hym selfe for a 
long seson ; but at the laste he thought to do hys 
dewty to hym, and studyed weys how he myght 
obtayne the bysshopys fauour, and determynyd hem 
self that he wold come to hym wyth some present 
and humble hym self to the byshop ; and [he] gat 
a cople of fesantes and cam to the bysshuppys 
place, and requyryd the porter he might come in 
to speke wyth my lord. This porter, knowyng his 

(1) orig. reads ever. 

(2) The celebrated poet. The bishop was of course Bishop Nykke, 
Nikke, or Nyx, as the name is variously spelled. He held the see from 
1501 to 1536. 



A C. Mery Talys. 6j 

lordys pleasure, wold not suffer him to come in at 
the gatys : wherfor thys mayster Skelton went on 
the baksyde to seke some other way to come in 
to the place. But the place was motyd, [so] that 
he cowlde se no way to come ouer except in one 
place, where there lay a long tree ouer the motte 
in maner of a brydge that was fallyn down wyth 
wynd : wherfore thys mayster Skelton went a long 
vpon the tree to come ouer ; and whan he was 
almost ouer hys fote slypyd for lak of sure fotyng, 
and [he] fel in to the mote vp to the myddyll. 
But at the last he recoueryd hym self, and as wel 
as he coud dryed hymself ageyne, and sodenly 
cam to the byshop, beyng in hys hall than lately 
rysen from dyner, whyche, whan he saw Skelton 
commyng sodenly, sayd to hym : why, thow catyfe, 
I warnyd the thow shuldys neuer come in at my 
gatys and chargyd my porter to kepe the out. 
Forsoth, my lorde, quod Skelton, though ye gaue 
suche charge and though your gatys by neuer so 
suerly kept : yet yt ys no more possible to kepe me 
out of your dorys than to kepe out crowes or pyes : 
for I cam not in at your gatys, but I cam ouer the 
mote, [so] that I haue ben almost drownyd for my 
labour ; and shewyd his clothys how euyll he was 
arayed, whych causyd many that stode therby to 
laughe apace. Than quod Skelton : yf it lyke 



64 A C. Mcry Talys. 

your lordeshyp, I haue brought you a dyshe to 
your super, a cople of Fesantes. Nay, quod the 
byshop, I defy the and thy Fesantys also, and, 
wrech as thou art, pyke the out of my howse, for I 
wyll none of thy gyft how * * 

Skelton, than consyderynge that the bysshoppe 
called hym fole so ofte, sayd to one of hys famy- 
lyers therby that, thoughe it were euyll to be 
christened a fole, yet it was moche worse to be 
confyrmed a fole of suche a bysshoppe : for the 
name of confyrmacyon must nedes abyde Ther- 
fore he ymagened howe he myghte auoyde that 
confyrmacyon, and mused a whyle ; and at the 
laste sayde to the bysshope thus : if your lorde- 
shype knewe the names of these fesantes ye wold 
be contente to take them. Why, caytefe, quod the 
bisshoppe hastly and angrey, what be theyr names? 
Y wys, my lorde, quod Skelton, this fesante is 
called Alpha, which is in primys the fyrst; and 
this is called O, that is novissimus, the last ; and 
for the more playne vnderstandynge of my mynde, 
if it plese your lordeshype to take them, I promyse 
you this alpha is the fyrste that euer I gaue you, 
and this O is the laste that euer I wyll gyue you 
whyle I lyue. At which answere all that were 
by made great laughter, and they all desired the 
Bishoppe to be good lorde vnto him for his merye 



A C. Mery Talys. 65 

conceytes, at which earnest entrety, as it wente, the 
bysshope was contente to take hym vnto his fauer 
agayne. 

By thys tale ye may se, that mery conceytes 
dothe a man more good than to frete hymselfe with 
anger and melancholy. 

^ Of the yeman of garde that sayd he wolde bete the 
carter, xli. 

If A YOMAN of the kynges garde, dwellynge in a 
vyllage besyde London, had a very fayre yonge 
wife. To whome a carter of the towne, a mery 
fellowe, resorted and laye with her dyuers tymes, 
whan her husbande was on garde ; and thys was 
so openly knowen that all the towne spake therof. 
A certaine yonge man of the towne well acquoyntyd 
with thys yeman told him that suche a carter hadde 
layne by his wyfe. To whome this yeman of the 
garde sware by Goddes body, if he mette with hym 
it should go harde but he wolde bete him well. Hey, 
quod the yonge man, if ye go streyght euen nowe 
the right way, ye shall ouertake him dryuyng a 
carte laden with haye towarde London ; wherfore 
the yeman of the garde incontynent rode after 
this carter, and within shorte space overtoke him 
and knewe him well ynoughe, and incontynent 
called the carter to him and sayd thus : Syrra, I 
F 



66 A C. Mery Talys. 

vnderstande that thou doste lye euery nyght with 
my wyfe, whan I am from home. Thys carter beynge 
no thynge afrayde of hym answered, ye, marry, 
what than ? What than, quod the yeman of garde ! 
By Goddys harte ! hadst thou nat tolde me truth, 
I wolde haue broke thy hede. And so the yeman 
of garde retourned, and no hurte done, no stroke 
stryken nor proferyed. 

By this ye may se, that the greatyst crakers som- 
tyme, whan it commeth to the profe, be moste 
cowardes. 

^ Of the fole that saide he had leuer go to hell than 
to heuen. xlii. 

H A POLE there was, that dwelled with a gentyl- 
man in the countrey, whiche was called a great 
tyraunte and an extorcyoner. But this fole loued 
his mayster meruaylously, because he cherysshed 
hym so well. It happened 

3 lines wanting. 

to heuen : for I had leuer go to hell. Than the 
other asked hym why he had leuer go to hell. By 
my trouthe, quod the fole : for I wyll go with my 
master ; and I am sure my master shall go to hell. 
For euery man seyth he shall go to the deuyll in 
hell ; and therfore I wyll go thyder with hym. 



A C. Mery Talys. 67 

^ Of the plowmannys sonne that sayde he sawe one 
make a gose to creke sweetly, xliii. 

^ THERE was a certayn plowmans son of the contrey 
of the age of xvi yeres, that neuer coming moche 
amonge company but alway went to plough and 
husbandry. On a tyme this yonge lad went to a 
weddyng with his fader, where he se one lute x vpon 
a lute; and whan he came home at nyght his 
moder asked hym, what sporte he had at weddynge. 
This lad answeryd and sayd : by my trouth, moder, 
quod he, there was one that brought a gose in his 
armes and tykled her so vpon the neck, that she 
crekyd the sweetlyest that I hard gose creke in my 
lyfe. 

^ Of the maydes answere that was with 
chylde. xliv. 

^ AT a merchauntes house in London there was 
a mayde whiche was great with chylde, to whom 
the maystres of the house cam, and comaunded 2 
her to tell her who was the fader of the chylde. 
To whom the mayde answered : forsooth, nobody. 

(1) Lute, as a verb, appears to be obsolete. We still say to fiddle 
and no doubt to lute was formerly just as much in use. 

(2) Orig. reads and that commanded. 

F 2 



68 A C. Mery Talys. 

Why, quod the maystres, it is not possyble but som 
man is the fader thereof 1 ? To whom the mayd 
answered : why, maystres, why may I not haue a 
chyld without a man as well as hennys lay eggys 
withhout a cocke 1 

By this ye may se it is harde to fynde a woman 
wythout an excuse. 

If Of the seruaunt that rymyd with hys 
mayster. xlv. 

^' A GENTLEMAN there was dwellynge nygh Kyngs- 
ton upon Tamys, and rydynge in the contrey with 
his seruaunt which was not the quyckest felowe, but 
rode alway sadly * by his maysters side and uttered 
uery fewe wordys. Hys mayster sayd to him : 
wherefore rydyst thou so saddly 1 I wolde have the 
tell me some tale to beguyle the tyme with. By 
my trouthe, mayster, quod he, I can tell no tale. 
Then sayd his mayster : canst thou not synge ? No 
by my trouthe, quod he, I coulde neuer synge in 
all my lyfe. Quod the mayster : canst thou ryme ? 
No, by my trouthe, quod he, I can not ; but yf ye 
wyll begyn to ryme, I wyll folow as well as I can. 
By my trouth, quod the mayster, that is well ; 
therfore I wyll begyn to make a ryme. Let me se 

(i) Quietly. 



A C. Mery Talys. 69 

how well thou canst folowe thy mayster mean- 
whyle ; and then [hej began to ryme thus : 

" Many mennys swannys swymme in Temmys, 
And so do myne." 

Then quod the seruant : 

"And many a man lyeth by other mennys wyues, 
And so do I by thyne." x 

What dost thou, horeson, quod the mayster ? 
By my trouthe, mayster, no thynge, quod he, but 
make vp the ryme. But quod the mayster : I 
charge the tell me why thou sayest so ? Forsothe 
Mayster, quod he, for nothynge in the worlde but 
to make vp your ryme. Than quod the mayster : 
yf thou doist for nothynge ellys, I am content. So 
the mayster forgaue hym hys saynge, all thoughe 
he sayd trouthe peraduenture. 

IF Of the Welcheman that delyuered the letter to the 
ape. xlvi. 

5 first lines "wanting. 

fauoure to his seruant and commaunded his 
seruant shortely to \)iynge hym an answere. This 

(i) This, to save space, is printed like prose in the orig. ; but it was 
evidently meant to be verse. 



70 A C. Mery Talys. 

Welcheman came to the chefe lustyce' place, and 
at the gate saw an ape syttynge there in a cote 
made for hym, as they use to apparell apes for 
disporte. This Welchman dyd of hys cappe, and 
made curtsye to the ape and sayd : my mayster 
recommendeth hym to my lorde youre father, and 
sendeth hym here a letter. This ape toke this 
letter and opened it, and lokyd theron, and after 
lokyd vpon the man, makynge many mockes and 
moyes, as the properties, of apes is to do. This 
Welcheman, because he \T\farstood hym. nat, came 
agayne to his mayster accordynge to his com- 
maundes, and tolde hym he delyuered the letter 
vnto my lorde chefe lustyce' sonne, who was at the 
gate in a furred cote. Anone his mayster asked 
hym what answere he broughte. The man sayd he 
gaue hym an answere ; but it was other Frenche 
or Laten : for he understode him nat. But, syr, 
quod he, ye nede nat to fere : for I saw in his 
c0untena.unce so moche, that I warrante you he 
wyll do your errande to my lorde his father. This 
gentylman in truste therof made not o.nye further 
suite, for lacke wherof his seruaunte, that had done 
the felonye, within a monthe after was rayned at 
the kynges benche and caste, and afterwarde 
hanged. 

By this ye may se that euery wyse man ought 



A C. Mery Talys. 71 

to take hede, that he sende nat a yfrlysshe seruaunte 
vpon a hasty message that is a matter of nede. 



IT Of hym that solde ryght nought, xlvii. 

11 A certaine felowe there was whiche profered 
a dagger to sell to a fellowe, the which answered 
hym and sayd, that he had ryght nought to giue 
therfore ; wherefore the other sayde that he shulde 
haue hys dagger upon <rondycyon that he shulde 
gyue and delyuer vnto hym therefore -within Hi 
dayes after ryghte nought, or els forty shyllynges 
in money : whenw the other was contente. Thys 
bergayne thus agreed, he that shulde delyuer 
his ryght noughte toke no thoughte, vntyll suche 
tyme that the day apoynted drewe nye. At the 
whiche tyme he began to ymagen, howe he myght 
delyuer this man ryght nought. And fyrst of 
all he thought on a feder, a straw, a pynnes 
poynte, and suche other ; but nothynge could 
he deuyse but that it was somwhat; wherfore he 
came home all sadde and pencyfe for sorowe of 
losynge of his xl. shyllynges, and coulde nother 
slepe nor take reste, wherof hys wyfe, beynge 
agreued, demaunded the cause of his heuynes ; 
which at the last after many denayes tolde her all. 
Well, syr, quod she, lette me here with alone and 



72 A C. Mery Tafys. 

gette ye forthe a towne ; and I shall handell this 
matter well ynoughe. This man folowynge his 
wyfes counsell wente forthe of the 

5 lines wanting. 

Therfore, syr, quod she, put your hande in yonder 
potte, and take your money. This man beynge 
glad thrust his hande in it, supposyng to haue 
taken xl shyllynges of money, and thrust his hande 
thoroughe it vp to the elbowe. Quod the wyfe 
than : syr, what haue ye there 1 Mary, quod he, 
ryghte nought. Syr, quod she, than haue ye youre 
bergayne, and than my husbande hathe contented 
you for his dagger accordynge to his promyse. 

By this ye may se, that oftentymes a womans 
wytte at an extremyte is moche better than a mans. 

IF Of the frere that tolde the thre chyldres 
fortunes, xlviii. 

^F THERE was a frere lymyttour whyche wente a 
lymyttynge to a certayne towne, wherin dwellyd a 
certayne ryche man of whome he neuer coulde 
gette the value of an hal[f]peny : yet he thought 
he wolde go thyder and assaye hem. 1 And as he 

(i) z. e. him. The Orig. reads them. 



A C. Mery Talys. 73 

wente thyderwarde, the wyfe standjw^ at the dore, 
perceyuynge hym commynge a farre of, thoughte 
that he was commynge thyther, and by and by ranne 
in and badde her chyldren standyng thereby, that 
if the frere asked for her, say she was nat within. 
The frere sawe her runne in and suspected the 
cause, and came to the dore and asked for the 
wyfe. The chyldren, as they were bydden, sayde 
that she was nat within. Than stode he styll 
lokynge on the chyldren ; and at the laste he 
called to hym the eldeste and badde hym let hym 
se his hande ; and whan he saw his hande : O 
Jesu ! quod he, what fortune for the is ordayned ! 
Then he asked the seconde sonne to se his hande 
and, his hande sene, the frere sayd : O Jesu ! 
what destenye for the is prepared. Than loked 
he in the thyrde sonnes hand. O God ! quod he, 
thy desteny is hardest of all ; and therwith wente 
he his way. The wyfe, heryng these thinges, sod- 
enly ranne out and called the frere againe, and 
pray&z hym to come in, and after to sytte downe, 
and sette before hym all the vitailo. that she had. 
And whan he had well eaten and dronken, she 
besought hym to tell her the destenyes of her 
chyldren; which at the last after many difficulties 
tolde her that the fyrste shulde be a beggar, the 
seconde a thefe, the thyrde a homicyde ; whiche 



74 -^ C. Mery Talys. 

she hearynge fell downe in a soone x and toke it 
greuouslye. The frere comforted her and said 
that, thoughe these were theyr fortunes, there 
myght be remedy had. Than she besought of 
him 2 his counsell. Than said the frere : you must 
make the eldest that shalbe a beggar a frere, and 
the seconde that shalbe a thefe a man of lawe, 
and the thyrde that shalbe an homicyde a 
phisicyon. 

By this tale ye may lerne, that they that will 
come to the speche or presence of any persone 
for theyr owne cause, they muste fyrste endeuer 
them selfe to shewe suche matters as those per- 
sones most delyte in. 

^ Of the boy that bare the frere his masters 
money, xlix. 

4 lines wanting. 

Ye, quod the frere. Than wente the man to 
the boye and sayd : syr, thy mayster byddeth the 
gyue me xl pens. I wyll nat, quod the boye. 
Than called the man with an hye voyce to the 
frere and sayd : syr, he sayeth he wyll not. Than 
quod the frere : bete him ; and whan the boye 

(i) Swoon. (2} Orig. reads besought him oj. 



A C. Mery Talys. 75 

harde his mayster say so, he gaue the man xl 
pens. 

By this ye may se, it is foly for a man to 
say ye or nay to a matter, excepte he knewe surely 
what the matter is. 



If Of Phylyp Spencer the backers man. 1. 

Tf A CERTAYNE bocher dwellynge in Saynt Ni 
colas x Flesshambles in London, called Poule, 
had a seruaunte called Peter. Thys Peter on a 
Sonday was at the churche herynge masse ; and 
one of his felowes, whose name was Phylyppe 
Spencer, was sente to call him at the commaunde- 
ment of his maister. So it happened at the tyme 
that the curat preched, and in his sermonde 
touched many auctoryties of the holy scriptures, 
amonge all, the wordes of the pystles of saynt 
Poule ad 2 phylypenses : howe [we] be nat onely 
bounde to beleue in Chryste but also to suffre for 
Chrystes sake ; and [he] sayd these wordes in the 
pulpet : what sayeth Poule ad Phylyppenses to 

(i) Ong. reads Nocolas. The Church of St. Nicholas Shambles, 
which formerly stood in the neighbourhood of Newgate Market, was 
pulled down at the Reformation. See Cunningham, Handbook of 
London, in voce. 

(2) Orig. reads and. 



76 A C. Mery Talys. 

this ? Thys yonge man, that was called Philyppe 
Spenser, hadde went he had spoken of him [and] 
answered shortely and sayd : mary, syr, he bad 
Peter come home and take his parte of a podynge, 
for he shulde go for a Calfe anone. The curate 
herynge this, was abasshed, and all the audyence 
made great laughter. 

By thys ye may se, that it is no token of a wyse 
man to gyue a soden answere to a questyon, before 
he knowe surely what the matter is. 

^ Of the courtear and the carter, li. 

^ THERE came a courtyer by a carter, the whiche 
in derysyon preysed the carters backe, legges, and 
other membres of his body meruaylously, whose 
gestynge the carter perceyued and sayde, he had 
another properte than the courtyer espyed in hym ; 
and whan the courtyer had demanded what it 
shulde be, he lokyd asyde ouer hys shulder vpon 
the courtyer and sayde thus : lo ! syr, this is my 
propertie. I haue a walle eye in my hede : for I 
neuer loke ouer my shulder thys wyse but lyghtlye x 
I spye 2 a knaue. 

By this tale a man may se, that he that useth to 
deryde and mocke other folkes, is somtyme him 
selfe more deryded and mocked. 

(i) Quickly. (2) Orig. reads lyghtlye espye. 



A C. Mery Talys. 77 

^ Of the yong man that pray d hisfelow to teche hym 
hys paternoster, lii. 

^ A YONGE man of the age of xx yere, rude and 
unlerned, in the tyme of Lente came to his curate 
to be confessed ; whiche, whan he was of his lyfe 
serched and examyned could not saye his Pater 
noster : wherfore his confessoure exorted him to 
lerne his Pater noster and shewed him what an 
holy and goodly prayer it was and the effecte ther- 
of and the vii peticyons therin contayned. The i. 
sanctificetur &>c. halowed be thy name. The ii. 
adueniat regnum <&c. thy kingdome come The in. 
Fiat voluntas &C. thy will be done in earth as it is 
in heuen. The iv. Panem nostrum &*c. geue 1 us 
our dayly sustenaunce alway and helpe vs as 
we helpe 2 them that haue nede of us. The v. 
Dimitte &c. Forgyue vs our synnes done to the 
as we forgyue them that trespas agaynste vs. The 
vi. Et ne nos. Let vs nat be ouercome with euyll 
temptacyon. The vii. Sed libera &c. But delyuer 
us from all euyll. amen. And than his confessour, 
after this exposicyon to hym made, injoyned hym in 
penaunce to faste euery Fryday on brede and water, 
tyll he had his Pater noster well and sufficiently 

(1) Singer's ed. reads yeve. 

(2) Orig. ed. and Singer read vie haue and helpe them. 



78 A C. Mery Talys. 

lerned. This yonge man, mekely acceptyng his 
penaunce, so departed and came home to one of his 
companyons, and sayde to his felowe : so it is that 
my gostely father hathe gyuen me in penaunce to 
faste euery Fryday [on] brede and water, tyll I can 
say my Pater noster. Therfore I pray thee teche 
me my Pater noster, and by my truthe I shall 
therfore teche the a songe of Robyn Hode that 
shall be worth xx of it. 

By thys tale ye may lerne to knowe the effecte 
of the holy prayer of the Pater noster. 

If Of the frere that prechyd in ryme expownynge the 
ave maria. liii. 

^ A CERTAYNE frere there was whiche, vpon Our 
Lady day the Annuncyacion, made a sermon in the 
Whyte Freres in London, and began his antetexte 
thys wyse. Aue Maria gracia plena dominus te- 
cum &c. These wordes, quod the frere, were 
spoken by the aungell Gabryell to Oure Ladye, 
whan she conceyued Christe ; which is as moche 
to saye in our mother tonge as : all hayle, Mary, 
well thou be ; the sonne of God is with the. And 
furthermore the aungell sayde : thou shall conceyue 
and bere a sonne, and thou shalt call his name 
Jesum ; and Elyzabeth thy swete cosyn, she shall 



A C. Mery Talys. 79 

conceyue the swete Saynt John. And so [he] pro- 
ceded styll in his sermon in suche fonde ryme, that 
dyuers and many gentylmen of the court that were 
there began to smyle and laughe. The frere that 
perceyuyng said thus : Maysters, I pray you, harke ; 
I shall tell you a narracyon. There was ones a yonge 
preest, that was nat all the best clerke, sayd masse 
and redde a colect thus : Deus qui vigenti filii tui 
&c. wherfore he shulde haue said vnigeniti filii tui 
&c; and after, whan masse was done, there was 
suche a gentylman, as one of you are, nowe that had 
herde this masse, came to the preest and sayde 
thus : syr, I pray you tell me how many sonnes 
had God Almyghty 1 Quod the preest : why aske 
you that ? Mary, syr, quod the gentylman, I sup 
pose he had xx sonnes : for ye sayd right nowe : 
Deus qui viginti filii tui. 2 The preest, perceyuynge 
how that he deryded hym, answered hym shortely 
and said thus : howe many sonnes so euer God 
Almyghty had, I am sure that thou arte none of 
them : for thou scornyst the worde of God. And 
so sayde the frere in the pulpet : no more are ye 
none of the chyldren of God : for ye scorne and 
laughe at me nowe, that preche to you the worde 
of God whiche 

3 lines wanting. 
(i) This portion of the tale is repeated in Scoggiris or Scogiris Jests. 



8o A C. Mery Talys. 

By this ye may 1 perceyue wel that the best, the 
wysyst and the most holyest matter that is, by fond 
pronuncyacion and otterauns, may be marry d nor 
shall not 2 edyfye to the audyence. Therfore euery 
proces shold 3 be vtteryd wyth wordys and coun- 
tenaunce conuenyent to the matter. 

Also yet by thys tale they that be vnlearnyd in 
the laten tonge may know the sestence 4 of the 
Aue Maria. 



^ Of the curat that prechyd the artydes of the 
Crede. liv. 

^ IN a wyllage in Warvvykshyre there was a parysh 
prest, all though he wer no great clarke nor gradual 
of the vnyuersyte, yet he prechid to hys paryshons 
vppon a Sonday, declaryng to them xii artycles 
of the Crede ; shewyng them that the furst artycle 
was to beleue in God the fader almyghty maker of 
heuen and erth ; the second, to beleue in Jesu Cryste 
hys onely son our Lorde coequal wyth the fader in 
all thynges perteynyng to the deyte ; the thyrd, that 
he was conceyuyd of the holy goost, borne of the 

(1) I have supplied these four words from conjecture. They are not 
in the original nor in Singer's reprint. 

(2) The double negative is very common in old English books. 

(3) Orig. reads wold. 

(4) Essence? 



A C. Mery Talys. 81 

vyrgyn Maiy ; the fourthe, that he suffred deth 
under Pons pylate and that he was crucyfyed, dede 
and beryed ; the fyft, that he descended to hell, 
and fet 1 out the good sowlys that were in feyth 
and hope, and than the thyrd day rose from deth 
to lyfe ; the syxt, [that] he assendyd into heuen to 
the ryght syde of God the fader, where he syttyth j 
the seuynth, that he shall come at the day of dome 
to judge both us that be quyk and them that be 
dede ; the eyght, to beleue in the Holy Gost equall 
God wyth the fader and the sone ; the nynth, [to 
beleue] in the holy churche Catholyk and in the 
holy communyon of sayntes ; the tenth, [to beleue] 
in the remyssion of synnys ; the levynth, [to beleue] 
in the resurreccyon generall of the body and soule ; 
the twelfth [to beleue] in euerlastynge lyfe that God 
shall rewarde them that be good. And [he] sayd 
to his paryshons further, that these artycles ye be 
bounde to beleue : for they be trewe of auctoryte. 
And yf you beleue not me, than for a more surete 
and suffycyent auctoryte go your way to Couentre, 
and there ye shall se them all playe in Corpus 
Cristi playe. 

By redynge of this tale, they that understand no 
Laten may lerne to knowe the xii articles of the 
fayth. 

(i) Fetched. 
G 



82 A C. Mery Talys. 

^ Of the frere that prechyd the x commaunde- 
mentis. Iv. 

IT A LYMYTOUR of the Gray Freres in London 
prechyd a in a certaine vyllage in the contrey in the 
tyme of his lymytacyon, and had prechyd a sermon 
which he had lernyd by hart, that of the declaring 
of the x. commaundementis. The fyrst, to beleue 
in one God and to honoure him aboue all thynges. 
The seconde, to swere not in vayn by hym nor 
none of his creatures. The thyrde, to absteyne 
from wordely operacyon on the holy day, thou and 
all thy seruauntys of whome thou hast cherg. The 
fourthe, to honour thy parentys and to help them 
in theyr necessyte. The fyft, to sle no man in 
dede nor wyll, nor for no hatred hurte his bodye 
nor good name. The syxte, to do no fornycacyon 
actuall nor by no vnlefull 2 thought to desyre no 
fleshly delectacyon. The seuenthe (eighth), to 
stele nor depryue no mannes goodes by thefte. 
The ninth, not to bear false witness against thy 
neighbour. The tenth, not 3 to couete nor desyre no 
mannes goodes vnlefullye. Thou shalt not desyre thy 

(1) Orig. reads whych prechyd, which the context will scarcely allow. 

(2) Unlawful. 

(3) The words in italics are supplied by me from conjecture. They 
are not in orig. or in Singer's reprint ; but it is evident what the context 
requires. 



A C. Mery Talys. 83 

neyghbours wyfe for thyne owne apetyte vnlaufully. 
And because this frere had preched this sermonde 
so often, one that had herde it before tolde the 
frefes seruaunte, that his maister was called frere 
John x. Commaundementes ; wherfore this ser 
uaunte shewed the frere his mayster therof, and 
aduysed him to preche some sermonde of some 
other matter : for it greued him to here his maister 
so deryded and to be called frere John x. Com 
maundementes. For euery man knoweth [quod 
he] what ye wyll say, as sone as euer ye begyn, be 
cause ye haue prechyd it so ofte. Why than, quod 
the frere, I am sure thou knowest well whiche be 
the x commaundementes that hast herde them so 
ofte declared. Ye, syr, quod the seruaunte, that I 
do. Than, quod the frere, I pray the reherse them 
vnto me nowe. Mary, quod the seruaunte, they be 
these. Pride, couetise, 1 slouthe, enuy, wrathe, glotony 
and lechery. 

By redyng thys tale ye may lerne to knowe the 
x commaundementes and the vii dedely synnes. 2 

(1) Covetousness. Orig. reads covetous. 

(2) Whitford, in his Werke for Householders, 1533, says: "yet 
must you have a lesson to teche your folkes to beware of the vn pryncipall 
synnes, whiche ben coramunely called the seven dedely synnes, but in dede 
they doue call them wronge : for they be not alway dedely synnes. 
Therfore they sholde be called capytall or pryncipall synnes, and not 
dedely synnes. These ben theyr names by ordre after our dyvysion 
Pryde, Envy, Wrath, Covetyse, Glotony, Slouth, and Lechery." 

G 2 



84 A C. Mery Talys. 



^ Of the wyfe that bad her husbande ete the candell 
fyrste. Ivi. 

^ THE husbande sayde to his wyfe thus wyse : by 
this candell, I dremed thys nyght that I was cocke- 
colde. To whom she answered and sayd : hus 
bande, by this brede, ye are none. Than sayd 
he : wyfe, eate the brede. She answered and sayd 
to her husbande : than eate you the candell : for 
you sware fyrste. 

By this a man may se, that a womans answer is 
neuer to seke. 



^ Of the man of lawes sonnes answer. Ivii. 

^ A WOMAN demaunded a questyon of a little 
chylde, sonne unto a man of lawe, of what crafte 
his father was ; whiche chylde sayde, his father was 
a craftye man of lawe. 

By this tale a man may perceyue, that somtyme 
peraduenture yonge Innocentes speke truely vn- 
aduysed. 



A C. Mery Talys. 85 

^ Of thefrere in the pulpet that bad the woman leue 
her babelynge. Iviii. 

H IN a certayne parrysshe churche in London, 
after the olde laudable and accustomed maner, 
there was a frere Mynor, all thoughe he were nat 
the best clerke nor coulde nat make the best ser- 
mondes, yet by the lycence of the curate he there 
prechyd to the Parysshons. Among the whyche 
audyence there was a wyfe at that tyme lytell dis 
posed to contemplacyon, [who] talked wyth a 
gossype of hers of other femenyne tales so loude 
that the frere harde and somwhat was perturbed 
therwith. To whome therfore openly the frere 
spake and sayd : thou woman there in the tawny 
gowne, holde thy peace and leaue thy babelynge ; 
thou troubles! the worde of God. This woman 
therwith sodenly abasshed, because the frere spake 
to her so openly, that all the people her behelde, 
answered shortly and said : I beshrowe his harte 
that babeleth more of us two. At the which 
seyng the people dyd laugh e, because they felte 
but lytell frute in hys sermonde. 

By this tale a man may lerne to beware howe he 
openly rebuketh any other, and in what audyence, 
lest it come to his owne reprofe. 



86 A C. Mery Talys. 

^ Of the Welchman that cast the Scotte into the see. 
lix. 

5 first lines wanting. 

they toke many great interpryses and many shyppes 
and many prisoners of other realmes that were 
theyr enemyes. Amonge the whiche they hap 
pened on a season to take a Scottes shype ; and 
dyuers Scottes they slewe and toke prisoners, 
amonge whome there was a Welcheman that had 
one of the Scottes prysoners, and bad him that he 
shulde do of his harneys, whiche to do the Scotte 
was very lothe ; howe be it for feare at the laste he 
pulled it of with an euyll wyll, and sayd to the 
Welcheman : and if thou wylte nedes haue my 
harneys, take it there, and cast it ouer the borde 
into the see. The Welcheman, seynge that, sayd : 
by Cottes blud and her nayle, 1 I shall make her 
fette 2 it agayne ; and toke him by the legges, and 
caste hym after ouer the borde into the see. 

By this tale a man may lerne, that he that is 
subiecte to another, ought to forsake his owne 
wyll and folowe his wyll and comaundement that 
so hathe subieccyon ouer him, leste it turne to his 
great hurte and damage. 

(i) i. e. By God's blood and His nail. (2) Fetch. 



A C. Mery Talys. 87 



H Of the man that had the dome wyfe. Ix. 

^ THERE was a man that maryed a woman whiche 
had great ryches and beautie ; howe be it she had 
suche an impedyment of nature, that she was 
domme and coulde nat speke. Whiche thinge 
made him to be ryght pensyfe and sadde ; wher- 
fore, vpon a day as he walked alone ryght heuy in 
harte, thynkynge vpon his wyfe, there came one to 
him and asked hym, what was the cause of his 
heuynesse ; whiche answered that it was onely 
because his wife was borne domme. To whome 
this other sayde : I shall shewe the sone a remedye 
and a medecyne therfore, that is thus : go take an 
aspen lefe and laye it vnder her tonge this nyght, 
she beynge a slepe ; and I warante the that she 
shall speke on the tnorowe. Whiche man, beynge 
glad of this medycyne, prepared therfore and 
gathered aspyn leaues ; wherfore he layde thre of 
them vnder her tonge, whan she was a slepe. And 
on the morowe whan he hymselfe awaked, he, de- 
syrous to knowe howe his medecyne wrought, 
beynge in bedde with her, he demaunded of her 
howe she dyd ; and sodenly she answered and 
sayd : I beshrowe your harte for wakenynge me so 
erly; and so by the virtue of that medycyne she 



88 A C. Mery Talys, 

was restored to her speche. But in conclusyon 
her speche so encreased day by day, and she was 
so curste of condycyon, that euery daye she brauled 
and chydde with her husbande so moche, that at 
the laste he was more vexed, and hadde moche 
more trouble and disease with her shrewde wordes, 
than he hadde before whan she was dome. Wher- 
fore, as he walked another tyme abrode, he hap 
pened to meate agayne with the same persone that 
taughte hym howe to make his wyfe speke J 

2 or 3 lines -wanting. 

and more wery of her nowe than I was before, 
whan she was domme ; wherfore I praye you teche 
me a medycyne to modefye her, that she speke 
nat so moche. This other answered and sayd 
thus : syr, I am a deuyll of hell ; but I am one of 
them that haue leste power there. All be it yet I 
haue power to make a woman to speke, but and if 
a woman begyn ones to speke, I, nor all the deuyls 
in hell that haue the more power, be nat able to 
make a woman to be styll, nor to cause her to 
leaue her spekynge. 

By thys tale ye may note, that a man ofte tymes 
desyreth and coueteth moche that thynge, that ofte 
turneth to his displeasure. 

(i) These words in Italics I have supplied from conjecture. They are 
not in orig. or in Singer. 



A C Mery Talys. 89 



^ Of the Prodour of Arches that had the lytel wyfe. 
Ixi. 

^ ONE askyd a Proctour of the Arches, lately 
before maryed, why he chose so lytel a wyfe ; 
whiche answered : because he had a texte sayenge 
thus : ex duobus malis minus * est eliendum, that is 
to saye in englyshe, amonge euyll thinges the leste 
is to be chosen. 

^ Of ii nonnes that were shryuen of one preste. Ixii 

^ IN the tyme of Lente there came two nonnes to 
saynte Johnns in London bycause of the great 
pardon, there to be confessed. Of the whyche 
nonnes, the one was a young lady and the other 
was olde. This yonge lady chose fyrst her con- 
fessour, and confessed her that she hadde synned 
in lechery. The confessour asked, with whome it 
was ; she sayd it was with a lustye gallante. He 
demaunded where it was ; she sayd : in a plesaunte 
grene herber. He asked further : whan it was. 
She sayd : in the mery moneth of Maye. Than 
sayd the confessour this wyse : a fayre yonge lady, 
with a lusty galante, in a plesaunte herber, and in 

(i) orig. reads: ex duobus malis minus malis. 



90 A C. Mery Talys. 

the mery moneth of Maye ! Ye dyd but your 
kynde ! Nowe, by my truthe, God forgyue you, 
and I do ; and so she departed. And incontynent 
the olde nonne mette with her, askynge her howe 
she lyked her confessour ; whiche sayd he was the 
best gostly father that euer she hadde and the 
most easyest in penaunce-geuyng. For comfort 
wherof this other nonne went to the same con 
fessour and shroue her lykewyse, that she had 
synned in lechery. And he demaunded with 
whonie. Whiche sayde : with an old frere. He 
asked where. She said : in her olde cloyster. He 
asked : what season. She sayde ; in Lente. Than 

the confessour sayd : an old , to lye with an 

old frere, in her olde cloyster, and in the holy tyme 
of Lente ! by cockes body, 1 if God forgyue the, 
yet wyll I neuer forgyue the. Which wordes 
caused her to departe all sadde and sore abasshed. 
By this tale men may lerne, that a vicyous acte 
is more abhomynable in one person than in another, 
in one season than in another, and in one place 
than in an other. 2 



(1) By God's body. 

(2) If meant as quiet irony, this moral is admirable. 



A C. MeryTalys. 91 



Of the esquyer that sholde haue ben made knyght. 
Ixiii. 



4 lines of the original are wanting. 

and the trumpettes began to blowe, a yonge 
squyer of Englande rydynge on a lusty courser 
of whych horse the noyse of the trumpettes so 
prycked the corage, that the squyer could nat him 
retayne ; so that agaynste his wyll he ranne vpon 
hys enemyes. Whyche squyer, seynge none other 
remedy, sette his spere in the rest and rode throughe 
the thyckest of hys enemyes, and in conclusyon 
had good fortune, and saued hym selfe alyue without 
hurte ; and the Englysshe hooste folowed and had 
the victorye. And after, whan the felde was wonne, 
this kynge Edwarde called the squyre and badde 
hym knele down, and he wolde make hym knyght, 
because he valyauntely was the man that day, which 
with the moost couragyous stomake aduentured 
fyrste vpon theyr enemyes. To whome the squyer 
thus answered : if it lyke your grace to make any 
one knyghte therfore, I beseche you to make my 
horse knyght, and nat me: for certes it was his 
dede, and nat myne, and full sore agaynst my wyll. 
Whiche answere the kynge herynge refrayned to 



92 A C. Mery Talys. 

promote hym to the order of knyghthode, re- 
putynge hym in maner but for a cowarde; and 
euer after fauored hym the lesse therfore. 

By this tale a man may lerne, howe it is wyse- 
dome when he is in good credence to kepe hym- 
[self] therein, and in no wyse to dysable 1 hym selfe 
to moche. 



Tf Of him that wolde gette the maystrye of his wyfe. 
Ixiv. 

If A YONGE man, late maryed to a wyfe, thought 
it was good polecye to gette the maystrye of her 
in the begynnynge, came to her, the potte sethynge 
ouer the fyre, all thoughe the meate therein were 
nat ynoughe soden [and] commaunded 2 her to 
take the potte fro the fyre ; whiche answered and 
said that the meate was nat redy to eate. And 
he said agayne : I wyll haue it taken of for my 
pleasure. This good woman, lothe yet to offende 
hym, sette the potte besyde the fyre, as he badde. 
And anone after he commaunded her to sette the 
potte behynde the dore, and she said agayne : ye 
be nat wyse therin. But he precysely said, it shuld 
be so, as he bad. And she gentylly againe dyd 

(1) disparage. 

(2) orig. is here apparently very corrupt ; it reads : " all thoughe the 
meat therein were nat ynoughe, sodenfye commaunded," &c. 



A C. Mery Talys. 93 

his commaundement. This man, yet nat satisfyed, 
comaunded her to set the pot a-hygh vpon the 
henne roste. What ! quod the wyfe, I trowe ye 
be madde. And he fyerslye than comaunded her 
to sette it there, or els he sayd she shulde repente 
it. She, somwhat afrayde to moue his pacyence, 
toke a ladder, and sette it to the rost 1 and wente 
her selfe vp the ladder, and toke the potte in her 
hande, prayeng her husbande than to holde the 
ladder faste for [fear of] slydynge ; whiche so dyd. 
And whan the husbande loked up, and sawe the 
potte stande there on hyght, he sayd thus : Lo ! 
nowe standeth the potte there, as I wolde haue 
it. This wyfe hearynge 

4 lines -wanting 

^T Of the penytent that sayd the shepe of God haue 
mercy upon me. Ixv. 

If A CERTAYNE confessour, in the holy tyme of 
Lente, enioyned his penytente to saye dayly for 
his penaunce this prayer : Agnus Dei miserere mei, 
whiche was as moche to saye in englysshe as the 
Lambe of God haue mercye vpon me. This peny 
tente acceptynge his penaunce departed, and that 
tyme twelfe monthe after came agayne to be con 
fessed of the same confessoure, whiche demaunded 

(i) planted it against the roost. 



94 A C. Mery Talys. 

of him whether he had fulfylled his penaunce that 
he hym enioyned the laste yeare. Than he sayde 
thus : ye, syr, I thanke God I haue fulfylled it. 
For I haue sayd thus to daye in the mornynge 
and so dayly : the shepe of God haue mercy vpon 
me. To whome the confessour said : nay, I bad 
the say : Agnus Dei miserere mei, that is, the 
Lamb of God haue mercy vpon me. Ye, syr, 
quod the penytente, ye say truthe ; that was the 
laste yeare. But now it is a twelfemonthe since, 
and it is a shepe by this tyme. Therfore I muste 
nedes say nowe : the shepe of God haue mercy 
vpon me. 

By this tale ye may perceyue, that if holy 
scripture be expowned to the lay people onely 
in the lytterall sence, peraduenture it shall do 
lytell good. 

Tf Of the husbande that sayd he was John Daw. 
Ixvi. 

If IT happened dyuers to be in communicacyon, 
amonge whome there was a curate or a parysshe 
preest and one John Dawe, a parisshon of his ; 
whiche ii had communicacyon more busy than 
other in thys maner. This preest thought that 
one myght nat by felynge knowe one from a 
nother in the darke. John Dawe his parysshone, 



A C. Mcry Talys. 95 

[being] of the contrary opinyon, layde with his 
curate for a wager xl pence ; whervpon the parysshe 
preest, wyllynge to proue his wager, wente to this 
John Dawes house in the euenynge, and sodenly 
gate hym to bedde with his wyfe ; where, whan 
he began to be somwhat busye, she felynge his 
crowne sayde shortely with a loude voyce : by 
God ! thou art nat John Dawe. That hearynge, 
her husbande answered : thou sayest trouthe, wyfe, 
I John Dawe am here. 1 Therfore, mayster persone, 
gyue me the money : for ye haue loste your xl. 
pence. 

By this tale ye may lerne to perceyue, that it is 
no wysedome for a man to be couetous of wynnynge 
of any wager to put in ieopardye a thynge, that 
maye turne him to greatter displeasure. 



If Of the scoler of Oxforde that proued by souestry 
ii chykens tit. Ixvii. 

If A RYCHE Frankelyn in the contrey hauynge by 
his wyfe but one chylde and no mo, for the great 
afleccyon that he had to his sayd chylde founde 
hym at Oxforde to schole by the space of ii or 
iii yere. Thys yonge scoler, in a vacacyon 2 tyme, 
for his disporte came home to his father. It for- 

(i) orig. reads I am here John Dawe. {2} orig. reads vocacyon. 



96 A C. Mery Talys. 

tuned aftervvarde on a nyght, the father, the mother 
and the sayd yonge scoler 

5 lines wanting. 

I haue studyed souestry, and by that scyence I 
can proue, that these ii chekyns in the dysshe be 
thre chekyns. 1 Mary, sayde the father, that wolde 
I fayne se. The scoller toke one of the chekyns 
in his hande and said : lo ! here is one chekyn, 
and incontynente he toke bothe the chekyns in 
his hande iointely and sayd : here is ii chekyns ; 
and one and ii maketh iii : ergo here is iii chekyns. 
Than the father toke one of the chekyns to him 
selfe, and gaue another to his wyfe, and sayd thus : 
lo ! I wyll haue one of the chekyns to my parte, 
and thy mother shal haue a nother, and because 
of thy good argumente thou shalte haue the thyrde 
to thy supper : for thou gettyst no more meate 
here at this tyme ; whyche promyse the father kepte, 
and so the scoller wente without his supper. 

By this tale men may se, that it is great foly to 
put one to scole to lerne any subtyll scyence, 
whiche hathe no naturall wytte. 

(i) The same story is to be found in Scogin's Jests, with a trifling 
variation. Scogin's Jests were published before 1565. Several of the 
anecdotes, here narrated, were re-produced in that and other collections. 
See also Joake upon Joake, 1721, where the present story is told of King 
Charles the Second, Nell Gwynne, and the Duchess of Portsmouth. In 
this version the Duchess is the sufferer. 



A C. Mery Talys. 97 

^ Of thefrere that stale the podynge^ Ixviii. 

T A FRERE of London there was that on a Sonday 
in the mornynge yerly 2 in the somer season came 
fro London to Barnette to make a colacyon, 3 and 
was there an houre before hye masse began ; and 
bycause he wolde come to the churche honestly, 
he wente fyrst to an ale house there to wype his 
shoes and to make him selfe clenly. In the whyche 
house there were podynges to sell, and dyuers 
folkes there brekynge theyr faste, and eatynge 
podynges. But the frere brake his faste in a 
secrete place in the same house. This frere sone 
after came to the church, and by lycence of the 
curate entered into the pulpet to make a colacyon 
or sermon. And in his sermon there he rebuked 
sore the maner of them that met to breke theyr 
faste on the Sonday before hye masse, and said it 
was called the deuyls blacke brekefast. And with 
that worde spekynge, as he dyd caste his armes 
out to make his countenaunce, there fell a podyng 
out of his sleue, whiche he hym selfe had stolen 
a lytell before in the same alehouse ; and whan 
the people saw that, and specially they that brake 

(i) This story, as already mentioned in the Introduction, is taken from 
the tale of the " Vickar of Bergamo" in Tarltons N ewes out of Pur- 
gatorie (1590). See Halliwell's ed. of Tarltons Jests, &c. p. 82 
(Shakesp. Soc.). (2) Early. (3) Homily. 

H 



98 A C. Mery Talys. 

theyr faste there the same mornynge, and knewe 
well that the wyfe had complayned howe she had 
one of her podynges stolen, they laughed so moche 
at the frere, that he incontynente wente downe out 
of the pulpet for shame. 

By this tale a man may se that, whan a precher 
dothe rebuke any synne or vyce wherin he is knowen 
openly to be gyltie him selfe, suche prechynge shall 
lytell edefye to the people. 

^ Of the frankelyns sonne that cam to take ordres. 
Ixix. 

1 A CERTAYNE scoler there was, intendynge to be 
made a preest, whyche hadde nother great wytte 
nor lernynge, came to the bysshoppe to take 
orders, whose folysshenes the bysshoppe percey- 
uynge, because he was a ryche mannes sonne 
wolde nat very strongly oppose him, but asked 
him thys questyon : Noye had thre sonnes, Sem, 
Came, and Japhete; nowe tell me, who was Japhetes 
father ? But the scoler was all abashed, and knew 
nat what to answere: wherefore the bysshoppe sayde : 
get the home and consider awhile, and come agayne 
and soyle 1 me this questyon, and thou shalte haue 
orders. This scoler so departed and came home 
to his father, and shewed hym the cause of the 

(i) Satisfy, a very rare word. 



A C. Mery Talys. 99 

hynderaunce of his orders. Hys father, beyng 
angry at his folisshenes, thought to teche hym the 
solucyon of this questyon by a familier example, 
and called his spanyels before hym, and sayd 
thus : Thou knowest well, Colle my dogge hathe 
these iii. whelpes, Ryg, Trygge and Tryboll. 
Muste nat all my dogges nedes be syre to Try- 
boll 1 Than quod the scoler : by God ! father, 
ye [have] sayd trouthe. Let me alone nowe ; ye 
shall se me do well ynoughe the nexte tyme. 
Wherfore on the morowe he wente to the bys- 
shoppe agayne, and sayd he coulde soyle his 
questyon. Than sayd the bysshoppe : Noye had 
thre sonnes, Sem, Came, 1 and Japhete. Now, tell 
me who was Japhetes father. Mary, syr, quod 
the scoler, if it plese youre lordeshyppe, Colle 
my fathers dogge. 

By this tale a man may lerne, that it is but loste 
tyme to teche a fole any thynge, whiche hathe no 
wytte to perceyue it. 

H Of the husbandman that lodgyd the frere in his 
own bedde. Ixx. 

1 IT fortuned so that a frere, late in the euenynge, 
desyred lodgynge of a poore man of the countrey 

(i) Ham. 
H 2 



ioo AC. Mcry Talys. 

the whiche for lacke of other lodgyng, glad to har- 
borowe the frere, lodged him in his owne bedde. 
And after, he and his wyfe, the frere beynge a 
slepe, came and laye in the same bedde ; and in 
the mornynge after the poore man rose and went 
to the market, leauyng the frere in the bedde with 
his wyfe. And as he wente he smiled and laughte 
to hym selfe ; wherfore hys neyghbours demaunded 
of hym, why he so smyled. He answered and 
sayd : I laughe to thynke, howe shamefaste the frere 
shal be whanne he waketh, whome I left in bedde 
with my wyfe. 

By this tale a man may lerne, that he that ouer- 
shoteth hym selfe doth folysshely : yet he is more 
fole to shewe it openly. 



^ Of the preste that wolde say two gospels for a 
grote. Ixxi. 

H SOMTYME there dwelled a preest in Stretforde 
vpon Auyne of small lernyng, which vndeuoutly 
sange masse and oftentymes twyse on one day. So 
it happened on a tyme, after his seconde masse 
was done in shorte space, nat a myle from Stret 
forde there mette with hym dyuers marchaunte 
men whiche wolde haue harde masse, and desyred 
hym to synge masse and he shuld haue a grote ; 



A C. Mery Talys. 101 

whiche answered them and sayd : syrs, I \vyll say 
masse no more this day; but I wyll say you two 
gospels for one grote, and that is dogge chepe [for] 
a masse in any place in Englande. 

By this tale a man may se, that they that be rude 
and unlerned regarde but lytell the meryte and 
goodness of holy prayer. 

^ Of the coutear that dyd cast the frere ouer the 
bote. Ixxii. 

Too much damaged to decypher. 

^ Of the frere that prechyd what mennys sowles 
were. Ixxiii. 

A PRECHER in pulpet whiche prechyd the worde of 
God, amonge other matters spake of mennes soules 
and sayd that the soule was so subtyll that a thou- 
sande soules myght daunce on the space of the nayle 
of a mannes fynger. Amonge which audyence 
there was a mery conceyted fellow of small deuo- 
cyon that answered and sayde thus : mayster doctour, 
if a thousande soules may daunce on a mannes 
nayle, I praye you than, where shall the pyper 
stande ? 

By this tale a man may se, that it is but foly to 
shewe or to teche vertue to them, that haue no 
pleasure nor mynde therto. 



102 AC. Mery Talys. 

^ Of the husbande that cryed ble under the 
bed, Ixxiv. 

IN London there was a certayne artifycer hauyng a 
fayre wife, to whom a lusty galante made pursute 
to accomplisshe his pleasure. This woman, deny- 
eng, shewed the matter vnto her husband whiche, 
moued therewith, bad his wyfe to appoynte him a 
tyme to come secretly to lye with her all nyght, 
and with great crakes and othes sware that, 
agaynst his corny ng, he wolde be redy harneysed 
and wolde put him in ieopardye of his lyfe, except 
he wolde make hym a great amendes. Thys nyght 
was then appoynted ; at whiche tyme thys courtyer 
came at his houre, and entred in at the chamber, 
and set his two-hande sworde downe, and sayde 
these wordes : stande thou there, thou sworde, the 
dethe of thre men ! This husbande lyenge vnder 
the bedde in harneys, herynge these wordes, lay 
still for fere. The courtyer anone gat him to bed 
with the wyfe about his prepensed busynesse ; and 
within an houre or two the husbande, beynge 
wery of lyenge, beganne to remoue hym. The 
courtyer, that hearynge, asked the wyfe what thinge 
that was that remoued vnder the bedde ; whiche, 
excusyng the matter, sayd it was a lytell shepe, 
that was wonte dayly to go about the house ; and 



A C. Mery Talys. 103 

the husbande, that herynge, anone cryed ble, as it 
had ben a shepe. And so in conclusyon, whan 
the courtyer sawe his tyme, he rose and kissed the 
wyfe, and took his leaue and departed. And as 
sone as he was gone the husbande arose; and, 
whan the wyfe loked on him, somwhat abasshed 
began to make a sad countenance ; and [she] 
sayde ; alas ! syr, why did you 

The remainder of this tale is wanting. 

By this tale ye may se, that he is not wyse that 
will put his confydence in bosters and great crakers, 
whiche ofte tymes wyll do but ly/<?//, when it comes 
to the poynte. 

If Of the shomaker that asked the colyer what 
tydynges in hell. 1 Ixxv. 

^ A SOUTER 2 syttynge in his shope, that sawe a 
colyer come by, deryded hym, because he was so 
blacke, and asked hym, what newes from hell and 

(1) The blackness of colliers was employed of course from a very early 
period as a ground for satirical insinuations as to their connexion with 
the Evil One. In 1568, Ulpian Fulwell, a distinguished writer of the 
Elizabethan era, published A Pleasant Interlude intituled Like will 
to L ike quoth the Devil to the Collier ; and in the old play of Grim the 
Collier of Croydon, the epithet grim was intended to convey a similar 
idea. In Robin Goodfellow His Mad Pranks and Merry Jests, 1628 
however, Grim is the name of a Fairy. 

(2) Shoemaker or Cobbler. Lat. Sutor. 



104 AC. Mery Talys. 

howe the deuyll fared. To whome the colyer 
answeryd hym : he was well, whan I sawe hym 
laste ; for he was rydynge and waited but for a 
souter to plucke on his botes. 

By this ye may se that he, that vseth to deryde 
other folkes is somtyme him selfe more deryded 
and mocked. 

^ Of Seynt Peter that cryed cause bobe. Ixxvi. 

IT I FYNDE wrytten amonge olde gestes, 1 howe God 
mayde Saynt Peter porter of heuen, and that God 
of hys goodnes, sone after his passyon, suffered 
many men to come to the kyngdome of Heuen 
with small deseruynge ; at whiche tyme there was 
in heuen a great company of Welchemen, whyche 
with their crakynge and babelynge troubled all the 
other. Wherfore God sayde to saynte Peter, that 
he was wery of them, and that he wolde fayne 
haue them out of heuen. To whome saynte Peter 
sayd : Good Lorde, I warrente you, that shal be 

(i) It is not very usual to find this word in its jocular sense spelled in 
this manner. It continued to be used in its original signification (action 
or exploit) even to the Restoration, perhaps later. The most recent 
example of its employment with which the Editor has happened to meet 
is at p. 29 of Mauley's Her Carolinum, 1660, where the writer speaks 
of " His Majesties Gests from Newcastle to Holdenby in Feb. 1646."' 
These gests were certainly no jests. Since the former part of this note 
was written, a more recent instance of the use of g-est in the sense in 
question has occurred to the Editor in the Life and Gests of S. Thomas 
Cantilupe, Gant, 1674. .Svo. 



A C. Mery Talys. 105 

done. Wherfore saynt Peter wente out of heuen 
gates and cryed wyth a loud voyce Cause bobe, that 
is as moche to saye as rosted chese, whiche thynge 
the Welchemen herynge, ranne out of Heuen a 
great pace. And when Saynt Peter sawe them all 
out, he sodenly wente into Heuen, and locked the 
dore, and so sparred all the Welchemen out 

By this ye may se, that it is no wysdome for a 
man to loue or to set his mynde to moche vpon 
any delycate or worldely pleasure, wherby he shall 
lose the celestyall and eternall ioye. 

If Of hym that aduenturyd body and souk for hys 
prynce. Ixxvii. 

^ Two knyghtes there were which wente to a 
standynge fylde with theyr prynce; but one of them 
was confessed before he wente, but the other wente 
into the felde without shryfte or repentaunce. 
Afterwarde thys prynce wanne the fylde, and had 
the victory that day ; wherfore he that was con 
fessed came to the prynce, and asked an offyce 
and sayd that he had deserved it, for he had done 
good seruice and aduentured that day as farre as 
any man in the felde. To whome the other that 
was unconfessed answered and sayd : nay, by the 
masse, I am more worthy to haue a rewarde than 



io6 AC. Mery Talys. 

he : for he aduentured but his body for your sake, 
for he durst nat go to the felde tyll he was con 
fessed ; but I that was unconfessed adventured my 
soulel * * * * 

TJie remainder of this tale is wanting. 

^ Of the parson that stale the mylners elys. Ixxviii. 

Too imperfect to decyplier. 

^ Of the Welchman that saw one xlr. better than 
God. Ixxix. 

^ A WELCHMAN on a tyme went to churche to be 
shryued, and chanced to come in euyn at the sacryng- 
time. 2 When he had confessed him he went home, 
wher one of his felowes askyd hym vi\\ether he had 
seen God Almighty to day ; which answerd and 
sayd : nay, but I saw one forty shillings better. 

^ Of the frere that said dyryge for the hoggys 
soule. Ixxx. 

^ UPON a tyme certayn women in the countrye 
were wppoyntal* to dfcryde and mokke a frere limi- 

(1) The words in Italics are supplied from, conjecture. They are not 
in orig. or in Singer. 

(2) Sacrament. 

(3) Prepared, i. e. had made themselves ready. 



A C. Mery Talys.' 107 

tour, that vsed moche to trouble them; whereupon 
one of them, a lytyll before the frere came, tooke a 
hogge, and for dysport leyd it under the horde after 
the manner of a corse ; wid told the frere it was 
her good man and dysyrd hime to say dirige for 
his soule. Wherefore the frere and his felaw began 
Placebo and Dirige and so forth, thorough the 
seruyse full devowtly, which the wyues so heryng 
could not refraine them selfe from lawghynge and 
went in to a lytyll parler to lawgh more at theyr 
pleasure. These freris somwhat suspected the 
cause, and quikly, or that the women were ware, 
lokyd under the borde, and spying ] that it was an 
hog, sodenly toke it bytwene them and bare it 
homeward as fast as they might. The women, 
seyng that, ran after the frere and cryed : com 
agayn, maester frere, come agayne, and let it allone. 
Nay by my faith, quod the frere, he is a broder of 
ours, and therefore he must nedys be buryed in 
oure cloyster. And so the frerys gate the hog. 

By this ye may se, that they that use to deride 
and mok other, somtyme it tornyth to theyre owne 
losse and damage. 

(t) Orig. reads spyed. 



io8 AC. Mery Talys. 



^ Of the parson that sayde masse of requiem for 
Crystes soule. Ixxxi. 

^ A CERTAYN prest there was that dwellyd in the 
cuntry which was not very well lerayd. Therfore 
on Ester- Euyn he sent his boy to the prest of the 
next town, that was ii. myle from thens, to know 
what masse he sholde synge on the morowe. This 
boy came to the sayd prest, and dyd his maysters 
errande to hym. Then quod the prest : tel thy 
mayster that he must * * 

Several lines -wanting. 

masse he shuld synge on the morowe. By my 
trothe, quod the boy, I have forgotten it ; but he 
bad me tell you it began * * * Then quod 

the prest: I trowe thou sayest trewth : for now I 
remem&r me it is the masse of requiem : for God 
Almyghty dyed upon Good fryday, and it is meet 
we shulde say masse for hys soule. 

By thys tale ye may se, that when one fole 
sendyth another fole on hys errand, hys besynes 
folyshly sped. 



A C. Mery Talys. 109 

^ Of the herdeman that sayde : ryde apace, ye shall 
haue rayn. Ixxxii. 

T A certayne skoler of Oxenford which had studied 
the iudicials of astronomy, upon a tyme as he was 
rydyng by the way, came a by a herdman ; and he 
asked thys herdm&n how far it was to the next 
town. Syr, quod the herdwa/z, it is rather past 
a mile and an half ; but, sir, quod he, ye nede to 
ryde apace : for ye shal ^aue a shower of rayn, or 
ye com thider. What, quod the skoler, maketh 
ye say so ? There ys no token of rayn : for the 
cloudes be both fayr and clere. By my troth, 
quod the herdman, but ye shall fynd it so. The 
skoler then rode forth, and it chanced or he had 
ryden half a myle forther, there fell a good showre 
of rayn and* thys skoler was well washyd and wett 
to the skyn. The skoler then tornyd hym backe, 
and rode to the herdman, and desyryd hym to 
tech him that connyng. Nay, quod the herdman. 
I wyll not tech you my connynge for nought. 
Than the skoler profferyde hym xl shyllyngs to teche 
hym that connynge. The herdman, after he had 
reseyuyd hys money, sayd thus : syr, se you not 

(1} Orig. reads which came. 

(2) Singer's conjectural reading is that ; but and seems to me to be 
the word required. 



i io AC. Mery Talys. 

yonder blacke ewe with the whyte face 1 Yes, quod 
the skoler. Suerly, quod the herdman, when she 
daunsith and holdeth up her tayle, ye shall haue 
a showre of rayn within half an howre after. a 

By this ye may se, that the connyng of herdmen 
and shepardes, as touchinge alteracyons of weders, 
is more sure than the iudicials of astronomy. 

^ Of hym that sayde : I shall haue neuer a 
peny. Ixxxiii. 

^ IN a certayne towne, there was a rych man that 
lay on his deth bed at poynte of deth, whyche 
chargyd hys executours to dele 2 for hys soule a 
certayne some of money in pence, and on thys 
condicion chargyd them as they would answere 
afore God, that euery pore man that cam to them 
and told a trew tale shulde haue a peny, and they 
that said a fals thing shuld haue none j and in the 
dole-tyme there cam one whych sayd that God 
was a good man. Quod the executours : thou 
shalt haue a peny, for thou saist trouth. Anone 
came a nother and said, the deuil was a good man. 
Quod the executours : there thou lyest ; therefore 
thou shalt haue nere a peny. At laste came on[e] 
to the executors and said thus : ye shall gyue me 

(i) See Scoggitis Jests (reprint 1796), p. 47. (2) Count out. 



A C. Mery Talys. 1 1 1 

nere a peny : which wordes made the executors 
amasyd, and toke aduysment whyther they shuld 



The end of this tale is wanting. 

^ Of the husbande that sayde hys wyfe and he 
agreed well. Ixxxiv. 

Too imperfect to decypher. 

H Of the prest that sayde Comede episcope. Ixxxv. 

IT IN the tyme of visitacyon a bysshoppe, \f\\\che 
was maryed^ and had gote many chyldren, prepared 
to questyon a preest what rule he kepte, whiche 
preest had a \eman ***** an d by her had 
two or thre small chyldren. In shorte tyme before 
the ^vshoppes commynge, he prepared a rowme 
to hyde his leman and children ouer in the rofe of 
his hall ; and whan the bysshoppe was come and dis 
coursing with him in the same hall, hauynge x of 
his owne chyldren about him, the preest, who coude 
speke lytell lytyn or none, bad the bysshoppe in 

(i) These two words are not in orig. or in Singer ; but they seem to be 
what the context requires. 



H2 AC. Mery Talys. 

latyn * * Comede, 1 episcope. This woman 

in rofe of the house, hearing the freest say so, had 
went 2 he had called her, byddynge her : come, 
Ede ; and answered him and sayde : shall I brynge 
my chyldren with me also 1 The bysshoppe, 
hearing this, sayde in sporte : vxor tua sicut vitis 
abundans in lateribus domus tuae. The preest 
than, halfe amasyd, answerd and sayd : filii tui 
sicut nouellae oliuarum in circuitu mensae tuae. 

By this ye may se, that they, that haue but 
small lernyng, som tyme speke truely unaduysed. 

^ Of the woman that stale the pot. Ixxxvi. 

^ ON Ashe Wednesday in the mornynge, was a 
curate of a churche whyche had made good chere 
the nyght afore and sytten up late, and came to 
the churche to here confessyon, to whome there 
came a woman ; and among other thynges she 
confessed her that she had stolen a potte. But 
than, because of greate watche that this preest 
had, he there sodenly felle aslepe ; and whan this 
woman sawe him nat wyllynge to here her, she 
rose and went her waye. And anone an other 
woman kneled down to the same preest and began 
to say : Benedicite ; whenvith this preest sodenly 

(i) Orig. reads Coniode. (2) Weened 



A C. Mcry Talys. 113 

awaked, and wenynge she had ben the other 
woman, 1 sayd all angerly, what ! arte thoti nowe at 
Benedicite agayne ? tell me, what dyddest thou 
whan thou haddest stolyn the potte ? 



^ Of mayster Whyttynton dreme? Ixxxvii. 

^ SONE after one rnaister Whyttington had bylded 
a colege, on a nyght as he slepte, he dremed that 
he satte in his church and many folkes there also ; 
and further he dremed that he sawe Our Lady in 
the same church with a glas of goodly oyntemente 
in her hande goynge to one askynge him what 
he had done for her sake ; which sayd that he had 
sayd Our Ladyes sauter 3 euery daye : wherfore she 

(1) Orig. reads and after woman. 

(2) The celebrated Sir Richard Whittington. In his If you know Not 
me you know No Body, Part ii, 1606, Heywood introduces the following 
dialogue respecting Whittington between Dean Nowell and Old Hobson, 
the haberdasher of the Poultry : 

" Dr. Now. This Sir Richard Whittington, three times Mayor, 
Son to a knight, and 'prentice to a mercer, 
Began the library of Gray-friars in London, 
And his executors after him did build 
Whittington College, thirteen almshouses for poor men, 
Repair'd Saint Bartholomew's, in Smithfield, 
Glazed the Guildhall, and built Newgate. 

Hob. Bones a me, then, I have heard lies ; 
For I have heard he was a scullion, 
And rais'd himself by venture of a cat. 

Dr. Now. They did the more wrong to the gentleman." 
(3) Psalter. 

' 



U4 AC. Mery Talys. 

gaue him a lytel of the oyle. And anone she 
wente to another * 

Several lines -wanting. 

he had buylded a great college, and was very gladde 
in hys mynde. Whan that Oure Ladye cam to hym, 
she asked him what he hadde suffred for her sake, 
this questyon made him greatly abashed, because 
he had nothing to answer : wherefore Our Lady him 
informed that for all the great dede of buyldynge 
of a colege he must haue no parte of that goodly 
oyntemente. 

By this ye may perceue, that to suffre for Goddes 
sake is more acceptable to God than to buyld or 
gyue great goodes. 

If Of the prest that killed his horse called modicus. 
Ixxxviii. 

"f A certayne Bysshoppe appoynted to go on visyta- 
cion to a preeste's ; and, bycause he would haue 
the preest do but lyttel coste vpon him, he told 
him to prepare but lytell meate saying thus : 
Preparas ***** modicus. This preest 
whyche understode hym nat halfe well, had some 
desire?- wherfore he thoughte to obtayne the 
bysshoppes fauour; and therfore againste the bys- 

(i) Wanting in orig. and left blank by Singer. I have supplied them 
from conjecture: 



A C Mery Talys. 1 1 5 

shoppes comynge kylled his horse that was called 
Modicus, whereof the bysshoppe and his seruauntes 
etc parte ; whiche, whan the fysshoppe knewe after- 
warde, was greatly displeased. 

By this ye may se, that many a fole dothe moche 
coste in makyng good chere at dyners, whiche 
hathe but lytell thanke for his laboure. 

^ Of the Welcheman that stale the Englysshmans 
cocke. Ixxxix. 

^ A WELCHEMAN dwellynge in Englande fortuned 
to stele an Englysshemans cocke, and set it on 
the fyre to sethe ; wherefore thys Englysheman, 
suspecting the Welcheman, came to his house, and 
sawe the cocke sethyng on the fyre and said to 
the Welcheman thus : syr, this is my cocke. Mary, 
quod the Welcheman ; and if it be thyne, 
thou shake haue thy parte of it. Nay, quod the 
Englyssheman, that is nat ynoughe. By cottes 
blut and her nayle ! quod the Welcheman, if her 
be nat ynoughe nowe, her will be ynoughe an one : 
for her hath a good fyre under her. 

^ Of hym that brought a botell to a preste. xc. 

^ CERTAYNE vycars 1 of Poules, disposed to be 
mery on a Sonday at hye masse tyme, sente 

(i) Priests. 
I 2 



Ii6 AC. Mery Talys. 

another madde felowe of theyr acquointance unto 
a folysshe dronken preest to gyue hym a bottell, 
whiche man met with the preest upon the toppe of 
the stayres by the chauncell dore, and spake to 
him and sayd thus : syr, my mayster hath sente 
you a bottell to put your drynke in, because he 
can kepe none in your braynes. This preest, 
therwith beynge very angry, all sodenly toke the 
bottell, and with his fote flange it downe into the 
body of the churche upon the gentylmans hede. 1 



^ Of the endytement of Jesu of Nazareth, xci. 

^ A CERTAYNE Jury in the countye of Myddelsex 
was enpaneled for the kynge to enquere of all 
endytements, murders, and felonyes. The persones 
of this panell were folyshe, couetous and unlerned : 
for who so euer wolde gyue them a grote, they 
wolde afFyne and verifye his byll, whether it were 
true or fals, withoute any profe or euydence; 
wherefore one that was * * 

Some lines wanting. 

the Jury loking on the grote and nothing on the 
byll as was their custome, which byll whan it was 

(i) Orig. reads gentylmens. 



A C. Mery Talys. 1 1 7 

presented into the courte, the judge said openly 
before all the people : lo ! syrs, here is the straung- 
est byll euer presented by an enquest : for here 
they haue indyted Jesu of Nazareth for stelyng of 
an asse. Which whan the people harde it, it made 
them all to laughe, and to wonder at the folysshenes 
and shamefull periury of the Jury. 

By this ye may se, it is great parell x to enpanell 
men -upon an enquest, whiche be folysshe and 
haue but small witte or honesty. 



^ Of the frere that preched agaynst them that rode 
on the Sonday. xcii. 

^ IN a certayne parryshe, a frere preched and said 
moche againt them, that rode on the Sonday euer 
lokyng upon one that was there, spurred redy to 
ryde. This man, perceuyng that the frere loked at 
hym, sodenly halfe in angre answered the frere 
thus : / meruayle that ye say so moche agaynste 
them that ryde on the Sonday : for Christe rode 
into Jerusalem on Palme Sonday, as thou knowest 
well it is wrytten * * To whome the frere 
sodenly answered and sayd thus : but knowe ye not 
also what came thereof? Was he nat hanged on 

(i) Peril. 



ii8 A C.Mery Talys. 

the Fryday after. Whiche hearing all them that 
were in the churche fell on laughynge. 



^ Of the one broder that founde a purs, xciii. 

THERE was a certayne man that had two sonnes 
eche other. For the eldyst was lustye and 
quycke, and vsed moch^ betimes to walke into the 
fyldes. Than was the yonger slowe, and vsed moche 
to lye in his bed as long as he myght. So on a day 
the elder, as he was vsed, rose erly and walked into the 
fyldes ; and there by fortune he founde a purse 
of money, and brought it home to his father. His 
father, whan he had it, wente strayght to hys other 
sonne yet lyenge than in his bed and sayd to him : 
o thou slogarde, quod he, seyst thou nat thyne 
eldest brother, howe he by hys erly rysyng had 
founde a purse with money whereby we shall be 
greatly holpen all our lyfe, whyle thou sluggynge 
in thy bedde dost no a good but slepe ? He than 
wyst nat what to say, but answered shortly and 
said : father, quod he, if he that hathe loste the 
purse and money had lyne in hys bedde that same 
tyme that he loste it, as I do nowe, my brother 
had founde no purse nor money to day. 

(i) Orig. reads thou sluggynge in thy bedde dost thou no good which 
repetition of thou seems unnecessary. 



A C. Mery Talys, 119 

By this ye may se, that they that be accustomed 
in vyce and synne will alwaye fynde one excuse or 
other to cloke therewyth theyr vyce and vn- 
thryftynes. 



^ Of the answere of the mastres to the mayde. xciv. 

^ A CERTAYNE wyfe there was, whiche was som- 
what fayre, and, as all women be that be fayre, was 
somwhat proude of her beautye ; and as she and 
her mayde satte together, she, as one that was 
desyrous to be praysed, sayd to her thus : I, faythe, 
Jone, howe thynkest thou ? am I nat a fayre wyfe 1 
Yes, by my trouth, maistres, quod she, ye be the 
fayrest that euer was excepte * 

The end is wanting. 

1 Of the northern man that was all harte. xcv. 

Of this tale but a small fragment remains. 

*f Of the burnynge of olde John. xcvi. 

H In a certayne towne there was a wife somewhat 
aged, that had beryed her husbande, whose name 
was John, whome she so tender/ye loued in his lyfe, 
that after hys dethe she caused an ymage of tymber 



120 AC. Mery Talys. 

to be made in forme and persone as lyke to hym 
as coulde be ; whiche ymage she kept carefully 
under her bedde ; and euery nyghte she caused 
her mayde to wrap the ymage in a shete and lay 
it in her bedde ; and called it olde John. Thys 
widowe had a prentyse whose name was John ; 
whiche John wolde fayne haue married hys mays- 
tres, nat for no great pleasure, but onely for her 
good substance: for she was ryche. Wherefore he 
ymagened howe he myght obtayne hys desire and so 
dyd speke to the mayde of the house, and desyred 
her to lay hym in his maystres bedde for one 
nyghte in stede of the pycture, 1 and promysed her 
a good rewarde 'for her laboure ; whyche mayde 
ouer nyghte wrapped the sayde younge man in 
a shete, and layde hym in his maysters bedde, 
as she was wonte to laye the pycture. Thys 
wydowe was wonte euery nyght, before she slepte 
and dyuers tymes whan she waked, to kysse 
the sayde pycture of olde John : wherefore the 
sayde nyghte she kyssed the sayde yonge man, 
beleuynge that she hadde kyste the picture. And 
he sodenly sterte, 2 and toke her in his armes, and 
so well pleased her than, that olde John from 

(i) Not here put as a painting, but in a general sense, as a 
representation . 
(2) The old perfect of start. The orig. reads starte. 



A C. Mery Talys. 121 

thens forth was clene out of her mynde, and [she] 
was contente that this yonge John shulde lye with 
her styll all that nyghte, and that the pycture of 
olde John shulde lye styll under the bedde for a 
thynge of noughte. After thys in the mornynge, 
thys wydovve, intendynge to please this yonge John 
whyche had made her so good pastyme all the 
nyght, bad her mayde go dresse some good mete 
for their brekefast to feaste therwith her yonge 
John. This mayde, whan she had longe sought 
for wode to dresse the sayde mete, told her 
maystres that she coude fynde no wode that was 
drye, except onelye the pycture of olde John that 
lyeth under the bed. ******** 

Some lines wanting. 

and dressyd the brekfast; and so olde John was 
brenyd; and from thens forth yong John occupyed 
his place. 

^ Of the courtear that etc the hot custarde. xcvii. 

^ A CERTAYNE merchaunt and a courtear, being 
upon a time together at dyner hauing a hote custerd, 
the courtear being somwhat homely of maner toke 
parte of it and put it in hys mouth, whych was so 
hote that made him shed teares. The merchaunt, 



122 AC. Mcry Talys. 

lokyng on him, thought that he had ben weeping, 
and asked hym why he wept. This curtear, not 
wyllynge [it] to be known that he had brent his 
mouth with the hote custerd, answered and said, 
sir : (\uod he, I had a brother whych dyd a certayn 
offence wherfore he was hanged ; and, chauncing 
to think now vppon his deth, it maketh me to 
wepe. This merchaunt thought the courtear had 
said trew, and anon after the merchaunt was 
disposid to ete of the custerd, and put a sponefull 
of it in his mouth, and brent his mouth also, that 
his eyes rvatered. This courtear, that perceuyng, 
spake to the merchaunt and seyd : sir, quod he, 
pray why do ye wepe now ? The merchaunt per- 
seyued how he had bene deceiued and said x : mary, 
quod he, I wepe, because thou wast not hangid, 
when that thy brother was hangyd. 

^ Of the thre pointes belonging to a shrewd 
wyfe. xcix. 

^ A YONG man, that was desirous to haue a wyf, 
cam to a company of /%/losofers which were 
gadred to gider, requiring them to gif him their 
opinion howe he might chose him sich a wyf that 

(i) Singer inserts answered before and said; but the word does not 
appear to be required. 



A C. Mery Talys. 123 

wer no shrew. These /%z7<?$ofers with gret study 
and delyberacion determinid and shewd this man 
that there were Hi especial pointes, wherebi he 
shuld sure know if a woman were a shrew. The 
i point is that if a woman have a shril voyce, it is 
a gret token that she is a shrew. The ii point is 
that, if a woman have a sharp nose, then most 
commenly she is a shrew. The iii point that neuer 
doth mis is 1 that if she were [a] kerchefer, 2 ye 
may be sure she is a shrew. 

^ Of the man that paynted the lamb upon his wyfes 
bely. c. 

^ A CONNING painter ther was dwelling in London, 
which had a fayre yong wife, and for thingis that 
he had to do went ouer se ; but because he was 
somwhat jelous, he praed his wyfe to be content, 
that he might paint a lamb upon her bely, and 
praed her it might remain ther, til he cam home 

(1) Orig. reads the iii point is that never mis that &*c 

(2) A very costly article of female dress during the reigns of the 
Tudor and Stuart sovereigns. It constituted part of the head-gear, and 
from the way in which it was worn by some women, was calculated to 
convey a notion of skittishness. In the Neva Courtly Sonet of the Lady 
Greensleeves, printed in Robinson's " Handful of Pleasant Delites," 
1584, the lover is made to say to his mistress : 

" I bought three kerchers to thy head, 
That were wrought fine and gallantly : 
I kept thee both at board and bed, 
Which cost my purse well-favourdly." 



124 -AC. Mcry Talys. 

again ; wherewith she was content. After which 
lamb so painted he departid ; and sone after that, 
a lusti yong merchaunt, a bacheler, came and 
woed his wyf, and obteined her fauor, so that she 
was content he shuld lye with her ; which resortid 
to her and had his plesure oftymes ; and on a 
time he toke a pensell, and to the lamb he painted 
ii hornys, wening to the wif that he had but re 
freshed the old painting. Than at the last, about 
a yere after, her husband cam home again, and the 
first night he lay with his wyfe, he loked uppon 
his wifes bely, and saw the ii homes painted 
there. He said to his wif, that some other body 
had ben besy there, and made a new painting : 
for the picture that he painted had no 
homes and this hath homes ; to 
to whome this wif shortly 



cetera desunt. 

Here endeth the bookc of a C. mery Talys. Imprinted 

at London at the sygne of the meremayde 

at powlys gate nexte to chepesyde. 

1f Cum priuelegio Regali. 



ADDITIONAL NOTES AND ILLUSTRATIONS. 



A C. MERY TALYS. 



Introduction, vi. I might have mentioned that Taylor the Water- Poet 
cites The Hundred Merry Tales as one of the authorities employed by 
him in the composition of his Sir Gregory Nonsense His Ncuues from 
No Place, 1622 (Taylor's Works, 1630), and see also Epistle Dedicatory 
to Meredith's Eusebiits, 1577. 

P. 19. This story is found in the Ducento Novelle of Celio Malespini, 
printed at Venice, 1609, 4. 

P. 22. Of the Woman that say d her Woer cam too late. 
" If thou be slow to speake, as one I knew, 

Thou wouldst assure thy selfe my counsels true ; 

Hee (too late) finding her upon her knees 

In Church, where yet her husbands coorse she sees, 

Hearing the Sermon at his funerall, 

Longing to behold his buriall, 

This sutor being toucht with inward love, 

Approached neare his lovely sute to move, 

Then stooping downe he whispered in her eare 

Saying he bore her love, as might appeare. 

In that so soone he shewed his love unto her, 

Before any else did app[r]och to woo her, 

Alass (said she) your labour is in vaine, 

Last night a husband I did entertaine." 

Uncasing of Machivils Instructions to his Sonne, 1613, Sign. C 3. 
Stories of this kind are of very common occurrence in the modern 
collections of facetix. 

P. 23. "When Davie Diker diggs, and dallies not, 

When smithes shoo horses, as they would be shod, 
When millers toll not with a golden thumbe." 
The Steel Glas, a Satyre, by George Gascoigne, Esquire (1576), 

Sign. H 3 verso. 

A writer in the Retrospective Review, New Series, ii. 326, states that 
thi story of the "Miller with the golden thumb" "is still (1854) a 
favourite in Yorkshire." 

T * 



1 26 Notes. 

P. 30. Stumble at a Straw, <5rc. This proverb is quoted in Macltirils 
Instructions to his Sonne, 1613, p. 16. 

P. 35. Oftltegood man that sayd to his wyfe, &=c. 

" Dr. South, visiting a Gentleman one morning, was ask'd to stay 
Dinner, which he accepted of; the Gentleman slept into the next Room 
and told his Wife, and desired she'd provide something extraordinary. 
Hereupon she began to murmer and scold, and make a thousand Words ; 
till at length, Her husband, provok'd at her Behaviour, protested, that if 
it was not for the Stranger in the next Room, he would kick her out of 
Doors. Upon which the Doctor, who heard all that passed, immediately 
slept out, crying, / beg, Sir, you'll make no Stranger of me." 

Complete London Jester, ed. 1771, p. 73. 

P. 44. Draught hole. See Dekker's Guls' Horn Book, 1609, ed. Nott, 
p. 121-2-3. 

P. 47. Saynte Thomas of Acres. 

"A the Austen fryers 
They count us for lyers : 
And at Saynt Thomas of Akers 
They carpe us lyke crakers." 

Skelton's Colin Clout (Works, ed. Dyce, i. 357). 
This tale is imitated in Hobson's Conceits. 

P. 60. Of the gentylman that promysed the scoler of Oxforde a 
sarcenet typet, Sarcenet, at the period to which this slory refers, was a 
material which only certain persons were allowed to wear. See Nicolas' 
note to a passage in the Privy Purse Expenses of Elizabeth of York, 
p. 220. This jest is transplanted by Johnson, with very little alteration, 
into the Pleasant Conceits of Old Hobson, 1607. 

P. 78. Therefore I pray thee, teche me my Pater nosier, and by my 
truihe, I shall therfore teche thee a songe of Robyn Hade that shall 
be -worth xx of it ! 

The following passage from a poem, which has been sometimes ascribed 
to Skelton, is a curious illustralion of this paragraph : 

Thus these sysmatickes, 

And lowsy lunatickes, 

With spurres and prickes 

Call true men heretickes. 

They finger their fidles, 

And cry in quinibles, 

Away these bibles, 

For they be but ridles ! 



Notes. 1 27 

And give them Robyn Whode. 
To red howe he stode 
In mery grene wode, 
When he gathered good, 
Before Noyes ffloodd ! 

The Image of Ipocrysy, Part iii. 

P. 84. Of the ivyfe that bad, &>c. 

Of swearing- between a tvyfe and her husband. 
" Cis, by this candle in my sleep I thought 
One told me of thy body thou wert nought. 
Good husband, he that told you ly'd, she said, 
And swearing, laid her hand upon the bread. 
Then eat the bread, quoth he, that I may deem 
That fancie false, that true to me did seem. 
Nay, sir, said she, the matter well to handle, 
Since you swore first, you first shall eat the candle." 
Wits Interpreter, the English Parnassus. By John Cotgrave. 
1662, p. 286. 

P. 87. Of the man that had the dome wyfe. 
" A certain man, as fortune fel, 
A woman tungles wedded to wive, 
Whose frowning countenance perceivlg by live 
Til he might know what she ment he thought long, 
And wished ful oft she had a tung. 
The devil was redy, and appeared anon, 
An aspin lefe he bid the man take, 
And in her mouth should put but one, 
A tung, said the devil, it shall her make ; 
Til he had doon his hed did ake ; 
Leaves he gathered, and took plentie, 
And in her mouth put two or three. 
Within a while the medicine wrought : 
The man could tarry no longer time, 
But wakened her, to the end he mought 
The vertue knowe of the medicine ; 
The first woord she spake to him 
She said : ' thou whoresonne knave and theef, 
How durst thou waken me, with a mischeef ! 

From that day forward she never ceased, 
Her boistrous bable greeved him sore : 

I ** 



128 Notes. 

The devil he met, and him intreated 
To make her tungles, as she was before ; 
' Not so,' said the devil, ' I will meddle no more. 
A devil a woman to speak may constrain, 
But all that in hel be, cannot let it again.' " 

Schole-kouse of Women, 1542 (Utterson's Select Pieces of Early 
Popular Poetry, ii. 74). 

P. 89. Of the Proctour of arches that had the ly'teltttyfe. 

" One ask'd his Friend, why he, so proper a Man himself, marry'd so 
.small a Wyfe? Why, said he, I thought you had known, that of all 
evils ive should 1 chuse the least." Complete London fester, ed. 1771, 
p. 65. 

P. 92. Of him that ivolde set, &c. 

In the Scholehouse of Women, 1542, the same story is differently 
related : 

" A husband man, having good trust 
His wife to him bad be agreeable, 
Thought to attempt if she had be reformable, 
Bad her take the pot, that sod over the fire, 
And set it aboove upon the astire. 

She answered him : ' I hold thee mad, 
And I more fool, by Saint Marline ; 
Thy dinner is redy, as thou me bad, 
And time it were that thou shouldst dine, 
And thou wilt not, I will go to mine. 
' I bid thee (said he) vere up the pot.' 
' A ha ! (she said) I trow thou dote.' 

Up she goeth for fear, at last, 
No question mooved where it should stand 
Upon his bed the pottage she cast, 
And heeld the pot stil in her hand, 
Said and swore, he might her trust, 
She would with the pottage do what her lust.'' 

As this story in the C. Mery Talys is defective in consequence of the 
mutilation of the only known copy, the foregoing extract becomes valu 
able, as it exhibits what was probably the sequel in the prose version, 
from which the author of the Scholehouse of Women was no doubt a 
borrower. 

P. 101. If a thousands soules may dance on a mannes nayle. This is 
a different form of the common saying that a thousand angels can stand 



Notes. 129 

on the point of the needle. "One querying another, whether a thousand 
angels might stand on the point of a needle, another replied, ' That was 
a needles point.' " Ward's Diary, ed. 1839, p. 94. 

P. 106. Scot, in his Discovery of Witchcraft, 1584, ed. 1651, p. 191, 
has a story, which bears the mark of being the same as the one here 
entitled: "Of the parson that stale the mylner's elys." The passage 
in Scot, which may help to supply the unfortunate lacuna in the C. Mery 
Talys, is as follows : 

" So it was, that a certain Sir John, with some of his company, once 
went abroad jetting, and in a moon-light evening, robbed a miller's weire 
and stole all his eeles. The poor miller made his mone to Sir John 
himself, who willed him to be quiet ; for he would so curse the theef, 
and all his confederates, with bell, book, and candel, that they should 
have small joy of their fish. And therefore the next Sunday, Sir John 
got him to the pulpit, with his surplisse on his back, and his stole about 
his neck, and pronounced these words following in the audience of the 
people : 

' All you that have stolne the millers eeles, 

Laudate Dominum de coelis, 
And all they that have consented thereto, 

Benedicamus Domino! 
Lo, (saith he) there is savoe for your eeles, my masters." 

P. 108. Of the parson that sayde masse of requiem, &"c. This story 
is also in Scoggin's Jests, 1626, and perhaps the lacunae may be supplied 
from that source. Thus (the words supplied from Scoggin's Jests are in 
italics) : 

"Then quod the prest : tel thy mayster that he must say the Masse 
which doth begin with a great R. [when the boy returned, the Prest 
asked him whether the Parson had told him what] masse, &c." 

And again, a line or two lower down, there can be no doubt, on a 
comparison of Scoggin's Jests, p. 74, what the missing words are. We 
ought to read : " but he bad me tell you it began with a great R." 



If CatcS, autJ qtwfec 

ansfocrcs, btrg merw, 

anti pleasant to 

rcfcc. 




MERT 
, HJl'ttU 

Questions 
and Quicke Answeres, 

plrasant to 



IMPRINTED 

at London 

in Fleete strete, by 

H. Wykes. 

1567- 




Cable, 



PAGE 

Of hym that rode out of London, and had his 

seruaunt folowynge hym onfoote. i. . . . 15 

IT Of hym that preached on saynte Christofers 

day, ii 16 

IT Of the frenche man that stroue with the 

Janwaye for his armes. iii ib. 

IT Of the ciirate that sayde our lorde fedde fyue 

hundred persones. iiii 17 

IF Of hym that profered his daughter to one 

in maryage, v 18 

T Of the men of the countrey, that came to 

London to bye a crucifixe of ivodde. vi. . ib. 

IF Ofhymthatfolowedhiswyfetoburyeng. vii. 19 
IF Of hym thatfelle in to thefyre. viii. . . . ib. 

If Of hym that vsed to calle his seruaunte the 

kynge of fooles. ix 20 

If Of the yonge woman, that screwed so greatly 

the deathe of her husbande . x 21 

IF Of hym that kyssed the fay re mayde with the 

longe nose, xi ib. 

K 2 



viii Table. 

PAGE 

IF Of the vplandysshe mans ansivere concernyng 

the steple and pulpy tie. xii 23 

IF Of the beggers aunswere to mayster Skelton 

the poete. xiii ib. 

IF Of the chaplen that sayde our ladye mattens 

lyengein his bedde. xiiii 24 

IF Of hym that loste his purse in London, xv. . 25 

IF Of the marchaunt that loste his boudget be- 

twene ware and London, xvi 26 

IF Of him that was called kockold. xvii. ... 27 

IF Of the iolus man. xviii 28 

IF Of the fat -woman that sat and solde fmte. xix. z#. 

IF Of apoller that begyled a preste. xx. . . . 29 

IT Of Papirius pretextatus. xxi 31 

IF Of /fo corrupte man of lawe. xxii 33 

IF Of kynge Lowes of Fraunce and the husband 
man Conon. xxiii 34 

IF Of a picke thanke, that thought to begyle the 

same moste prudent kynge. xxiiii 37 

1F Of Thales the great astronomer, the whiche 

felle in to a diche. xxv 38 

IF Of the astronomer that theues robbed, xxvi. . 39 

IF Of the plough man that wolde saye his pater 

nosier witfi a stedfast mynde. xxvii. . . . ib. 

IF Of him that dreamed he founde golde. xxviii. 40 

IF Of the crakynge yonge gentyll man that wolde 

ouerthrowe his enemy s a myle of. xxix. . . 42 

IF Of him that fell of a tre and brake a rybbe in 

his syde. xxx 44 

IF Of the fryer that brayed in his sermon, xxxi. 45 



Table. ix 

PAGE 

IT The oration of th ambassadour that was sent 

to Pope Urban, xxxii 46 

IT Of the ambassadour that was sent to the prince 

Agis. xxxiii 47 

*T The answere of Cleomenes to the Samiens 

ambassadour. xxxiiii ib. 

IT Of the wyse man Piso, and his seruant. xxxv. 48 

IT Of the marchant that made a wager with his 

lorde. xxxvi 49 

IF Of the scrowes that the frier gaue out against 

the pestilence, xxxvii 51 

IF Of the physition that vsed to wryte bylles 

ouer nyght called resceytes. xxxviii. ... 52 

IT Of him that wolde confesse him by a lybell in 

wrytynge. xxxix 53 

If Of the hermite of Padowe. xl 54 

IT Of the vplandissh man that saw the kyng. xli. 56 

IT Of the courtier that bade the boye to holde his 

horse, xlii 57 

IT Of the deceytfull scriuener. xliii ib. 

IT Of him that sayde he beleued his wyfe better 

than other, that she was chaste, xliiii. . . 59 

IT Of him that paid his det with cryeng bea. xlv. 60 

IT Of the woman that appeledfrom kynge Philip 

to kynge Philip, xlvi 62 

IT Of the aide woman that pray d for the welfare 

of the tyran Denyse. xlvii 63 

IT Of the phisitian Eumonus. xlviii 64 

IT Of Socrates and his scoldynge wyfe. xlix. . 65 

^T Of the phisitian that bare his pacient on hand 

he had eaten an asse. 1. . ib. 



x Table. 

PAGE 

IF Of the inholders wyfe, and her ii louers. li. . 67 
IF Ofhym that healed franticke men. lii. . . 68 

*IF Of hym that sayd he was nat worthy to open 

the gate to the kynge. liii 70 

IF Of Mayster Uauasoun and Turpyn his manne. 

liiii ib. 

IF Ofhym that sought his wyfe, that was drowned, 

agaynst the streme. Iv 72 

IT Of hym that at a skyrmyssh defended hym 

valiaiintly with his feete. Ivi. ..... 73 

IT Of hym that wolde gyue a songe to the tauer- 

nerfor his dyner. Ivii 74 

IF Of the foole that thought him selfe deed, whan 

he was a lyue. Iviii 75 

IF Of the olde man and his sonne that brought 

his asse to the towne to sylle.' lix 78 

IT Of him that sought his asse, and rode upon his 

backe. Ix. 80 

IF The answere of Fabius to Liuius. Ixi. . . 8 1 

IF The answere of Poltis the kynge of Trace to 

the Troyan ambassadours. Ixii 82 

IF The wyse answere of Haniball to kynge An- 

tiochus concerninge his ryche army. Ixiii. . 83 

IF The wordes of Popilius the Romayn ambassa- 

dour to Antiochus the kynge. Ixiiii. . . . ib. 

IF Ofhym that loued the marchantes wyfe. Ixv. . 84 

IF Of the woman that couered her heed, and 

shewed vp her tayle. Ixvi 86 

IT How Alexander was monisshed to slee the 

firste that he mette. Ixvii 86 

IF How the aunciente cyte of Lamsac was saued 

from destruction. Ixviii 87 



Table. xi 

PAGE 

IF Howe Demosthenes defended a mayde. Ixix. . 88 
IT Of him that desyred to be a gentylman. Ixx. . 89 
IF Of the gentyllman and his shrewd wife. bod. 90 

IF Of the two yonge men that rode to Walsyng- 

ham to geiher. Ixxii. 91 

IT Of the yong man of Brugis and his spouse. 

Ixxiii 92 

IT Of him that made as he hadde ben a chaste 

lyuer, Ixxiiii 93 

IF Of him that the olde roode fell on. Ixxv. . . 94 

IF Of the wydowe that wolde not weddefor bodely 

pleasure. Ixxvi 95 

IF Of the couetous ambassadour, that wolde here 

no musike for sparinge of his purse. Ixxvii. ib. 

IT Howe Denyse the tyran of Syracuse serued 

a couetouse man. bcxix 97 

IT Of the old man that quyngered the boy cute of 

the aple tre with stones. Ixxx 98 

1" Of the ryche man that was sycke and wolde 

not receyue a glyster. Ixxxi 99 

IT Of him that feyned him selfe deed, to proue 

what his wyfe wolde do. Ixxxii ib. 

IF Of the poiire man, in to the whose house theues 

brake by nyght. Ixxxiii 101 

IF Of him that shulde haue ben hanged for his 

scoffinge and his iestynge. Ixxxiiii. . . . ib. 

IF Of him that had his goose stole. Ixxxv. . , 102 

IF Of the begger that sayde he was of kynne to 

kynge Phylip of Macedone. Ixxxvi. . . . 103 

^F Of Dantes answere to the tester. Ixxxvii. . . ib. 
^F Ofhym that had sore eies. Ixxxviii 104 



xii Table. 

PAGE 

IF Of the olde woman that had sore eies, Ixxxix. 105 
IF Ofhym that had the custody of a warde. xc. 106 

IF Of the excellente peynter, that hadde foule 

chyldren, xci ib. 

IF Of the scoffer that made one a southsayer. xcii. 107 
IF Of the marchant of Florence, Charles, xciii. ib. 
IF Of the chesshire man called Eiilyn. xciiii. . 108 

IF Of hym that desyred to be sette vpon the 

pyllorye. xcv 109 

IF Of the ivy domes daughter, that was sente to 

the abbot with a couple of capons, xcvi. . 1 1 1 

IF Of the two men that dranke a pynte of whyte 

wyne together, xcvii 112 

IF Of the doc tour that desyred to go with a fouler 

to catche byrdes. xcviii 114 

IF Of hym that undertake to teache an asse to 

spelle and rede, xcix 115 

IF Of the fryer that confessed the fayre woman, c. 116 

IF Of the chapplen of Louen called syr Antony e 

that deceyued an vserer. ci 118 

IF Of the same chaplen and his spiter. cii. . . 119 

*IF Of the olde manne that putte hym selfe in his 

sonnes handes. ciii 121 

IF Of hym that had a flye peynted in his shilde. 

ciiii 122 

IF Of th emperour Augustus and the olde men. cv. 123 
IF Of Phocions oration to the Atheniens. cvi. . ib. 
IF Of Demosthenes and Phocion. cvii 124 

IF Of the aunswere of Phocion to them that brought 

hym a great gyfte from Alexander, cviii. . ib. 



Table. xiii 

PAGE 

IF Of Denyse the tyran and his sonne. cix. . . 125 

IF Of Pomponius the Romayne that was taken 

and brought before Mithridates. ex. ... ib. 

IF Of Titus and the scoffer, cxi 1 26 

IF Of Scipio Nasica, and Ennius the poete. cxii. ib. 
U Of Fabius Minutiits and his sonne. cxiii. . 127 

IT Of Aurelian the emperour, that was dis 
pleased, by cause the citie Tyana was closed 
agaynste him. cxiiii 128 

IT Of the Nunne forced that durst not crie. cxv. 129 

IT Of him that sayde he was the Diuelles man. 

cxvi ib. 

T Of the vplandishe priest, that preached of 

Charitie. cxvii 130 

IT An other sayinge of the same preest. cxviii. . 131 

IT Of the fryer that praysed sainct Frauncis. 

cxix 133 

IT Of hym that warned his wife of wasshynge her 

face in foule piiddell water, cxx ib. 

IF Of the husband man that caused the fudge to 

geue sentence agaynst him selfe. cxxi. . . 134 

IF Of the Italian frier that shoiilde preach before 

the B. of Rome and his cardinals, cxxii. . ib. 

IF Of the doctour that sayd, in Erasmus workes 

were heresies, cxxiii 136 

IF Of the frier that preached at Paules crosse 

agaynst Erasmus, cxxiv 137 

IF Of an other frier that taxed Erasmus for 

writyng Germana theologia. cxxv. . . . 138 

IF Of an other that inueighed agaynst the same 

Erasmus, cxxvi. . . ib. 



xiv Table. 

PAGE 

IF Of kyng Richarde the Hi. and the Northern 

man. cxxvii 139 

IF Of the Canon and his man. cxxviii. . . . 140 
*fF Of the same Canon and his sayd man. cxxix. ib. 

IF Of the gentilman that checked hys seruant 

for talke ofryngyng. cxxx 141 

IF Of the blynde man and his boye. cxxxi. . . 142 
IF Of him that sold two lodes of hey. cxxxi i. . ib. 

IF How a mery man deuised to cal people to a 

playe. cxxxiii 145 

IF How the image of the dyuell was lost and 

sought, cxxxiiii 148 

IF Of Tachas, kyng of Aegypt, and Agesilaus. 

cxxxv 149 

IF Of Corar the Rhetorician, and Tisias hys 

scoler. cxxxvi 150 

IF Of A^tgustus and Athenodorus the Phyloso- 

pher. cxxxvii 151 

IF Of the frenche kyng and the brome seller. 

cxxxviii 152 

IF An other tale of the same frenche kyng. 

cxxxix 153 

IF What an Italy an fryer dyd in his preaching. 

cxl 155 



TALES 

AND 

QUICKE ANSWERES. 



^ Of hym that rode out of London and had his 
seruaunt folowynge on foote. i. 

^ THERE was a manne on a tyme that rode v myle 
out of London, and had his seruaunt folowyng 
after hym on fote, the whiche came so nere, that 
the horse strake hym a great stroke vpon the 
thye. The seruaunte, thynkynge to be reuenged, 
toke and threwe a great stone at the horse, and 
hytte his mayster on the raynes of the backe, who 
thought it had bene his horse. He within a whyle 
loked backe and chydde his seruaunte, bycause 
he came haltynge so farre behynde. The seruaunt 
aunswered : Sir, your horse hath gyuen me suche 
a stroke vpon my thygh, that I can go no faster. 
Trewely, sayde his mayster, the horse is a great 



1 6 Tales and 

kyckar, for lyke-wyse with his hele right nowe x he 
gaue me a great stroke vpon the raynes of my 
backe. 



^ Of hym thatpreched on saynt Chrystophers 
day. ii. 

T A FRYERE that preached vpon a saynt Chris- 
tofers daye, greatly laudynge saynte Christopher, 
sayde : what a prerogatyue hadde he here in erthe 
in his armes to beare our Sauioure ! was there 
euer any lyke hym in grace? A homely blount 
felowe, heryn ghym aske twyse or thryse that 
question so ernestly, answered : yes, mary : the 
asse that bare both hym and his mother. 

^ Of the frenche man, that stroue with the Janway 
for his armes. iii. 

^ THERE was one amonge the Janwayes 2 that the 
Frenche kyng had hyred to make warre agaynst the 
Englysshe men, which bare an oxe heed paynted in 
his shelde : the whiche shelde a noble man of 
France challenged : and so longe they stroue, that 
they must needs fyght for it. So, at a day and 
place appoynted, the frenche gallaunt came into 

(i) Just now. (2) The Genoese. 



Quicke A nsweres. 1 7 

the felde, rychely armed at all peces. 1 The Janway 
all vnarmed came also in to the felde, and said to 
the frenche man : wherfore shall we this day fyght 1 
Mary, sayd the frenche man, I wyll make good with 
my body, that these armes were myne auncetours' 
before thyne. What were your auncetours' armes, 
quod the Janwaye ? An oxe heed, sayd the frenche 
man. Than, sayde the Janwaye, here needeth no 
batayle : for this that I beare is a cowes heed. 

By thys tale ye perceyue howe nycely the vayne 
braggynge of the frenche man was deryded. 



IT Of the curate that sayde our Lorde fedde U. C. 
persons, iiii. 

H A CERTAYNE curate, preachynge on a tyme to 
his parysshens sayde, that our Lorde with fyue 
loues fedde v hundred persones. The clerke, 
herynge hym fayle, 2 sayde softely in his eare : Sir, 
ye erre ; the gospell is v. thousande. Holde thy 
peace, foole, said the curate ; they wyll scantly 
beleue, that they were fyue hundred. 



(i) At all points. 2) Make a mistake. 



1 8 Talcs and 



^ Of hym that prof ered his daughter in manage, v. 

H THERE was a man vpon a tyme, whiche profered 
his doughter to a yonge man in manage, the which 
yonge manne refused her, sayenge, that she was 
to yonge to be maryed. I wys, quod her foolysshe 
father, she is more able than ye wene. For she 
hath borne iii. children by our parysshe cleeke. 

Lo, by this tale ye se, that foles can nat telle 
what and whan to speake : therfore it were best 
for them to kepe alway silence. 



Tf Of them that came to London to bye a 
Crucifixe. vi. 

^ THERE were certayne men vpon a tyme sent 
out of a village to London to bye a Crucifixe of 
wodde. The Caruer that they came to, seynge 
and herynge by theyr wordes, that they were but 
folysshe blount felowes, asked them, whether they 
wolde haue the ymage a lyue or elles deade; whiche 
question so abasshed them, that they went a syde 
to deuyse whether x was beste. So whan they had 
spoken priuely to gether, they came to the caruer 

(i) Which of the two. 



Quicke A nsweres. 1 9 

agayne and said they wold haue the image a lyue : 
for, if theyr neighbours at home were nat so con- 
tente, they myghte lyghtly l kylle hym. 



^ Of hym that folowed his wyfe to buryenge. vii 

H A MAN, that wepynge folowed his wyfe to 
buryenge, rebuked his lyttel sonne, that wente 
with hym, because he sange, sayenge that he was 
peuysshe and madde to synge at his mothers 
buryenge, but he shulde rather be sory and wepe. 
The chylde answered : father, seynge ye gyue to 
these prestes money to synge at my mothers 
buryenge, why be ye angry with me, that aske you 
nothynge for my syngynge 1 His father aunswered : 
the preestes offyce and thyne is nat all one. 

By thys tale ye may perceyue that all thynges 
beseme nat euery body. 



^ Of hym that felle into thefyre. viii. 

^ A FELOWE, that was frowarde to his wyfe, vsed 
to be oute drynkynge many tymes verye late. So 
on a nyghte he taryed so longe oute, that his wyfe 
wente to bedde, and badde her mayde make a 

(i) A too literal translation of the French word legierement, which 
ought here to have been rendered readily, rather than lightly. 



2O Tales and 

good fyre, and tarye vp for hym. About xij. of 
the clocke home he came, and as he stode warmynge 
him by the fyre his hede was so tottye, 1 that he 
felle into the fyre. The mayde, seing him fall, ranne 
vp cryenge to her maistres, and sayd : Alas ! my 
maister is fallen and lyeth longe straughte in the 
fyre. No force, 2 mayde, said her maistres, let him 
lye and take his pleasure in his owne house, where 
so euer him listeth. 



^ Of him that vsed to cal his servant the kinge of 
foles. ix. 

^1 THERE was a man that had a dulle lumpisshe 
felow to his seruant, wherfore he vsed commonly 
to call him the kinge of fooles. The felow at 
laste waxed angry in his minde to be alway so 
called and sayde to his mayster : I wolde that I 
were the kinge of foles : for than no man coulde 
compare with me in largenes of kingedome, and 
also you shulde be my subiect. By this one may 
perceiue, that to moch of one thing is not good : 
many one calleth an other fole, and is more fole 
him selfe. 

(i) Giddy. (2) No matter. 



Quicke A nsweres. 2 1 

^ Of the yonge woman that sorowed so greatly her 

husbondes deth. x. 

^ THERE was a yonge woman, the whiche for her 
husbande, that laye a dyenge, sorowed oute of all 
measure, wherfore her father came often to her 
and sayde : daughter, leaue your mourninge : for 
I haue prouyded for you a nother husbande, a 
farre more goodly man. But she did nat onely 
continue in her sorowe, but also was greatly dis 
pleased, that her father made any motion to her 
of an other husbande. As sone as she had buryed 
her husbande, and the soule masse was songe, and 
that they were at dyner, betwene sobbynge and 
wepynge she rowned 1 her father in the eare, and 
sayde : father, where is the same yonge man, that 
ye said shuld be min husbande 1 Lo, thus may 
ye se, that women sorowe ryght longe, after theyr 
husbondes be departed to God. 

^ OJ him that kissed the mayd with the longe nose. 

xi. 

H A BABLYNGE gentylman, the whiche on a tyme 
wolde haue bassed 2 a fayre mayde, that had nat 
the leest nose, sayde : how shulde I kysse you : 
youre nose wyll not suffre our lyppes to mete? 
The mayden, waxinge shamfast and angrye in her 

(i) Whispered Singer. (2) Kissed, from the French word, 

L 



22 Tales and 

mynde (for with his scoffe he a lyttell touched her) 
answered on this wyse : syr, if ye can not kysse 
my mouth for my nose, ye may kysse me there as 
I haue nere a nose. 

Ye may by this tale lerne, that it is folye so to 
scoffe, that youre selfe therby shulde be laughed 
to scorne agayne. One that is ouer-couetous ought 
nat to attwite 1 an other of prodigalite. Thou arte 
her brother (sayd Alcmeon to Adrastus) that slewe 
her husbande. But he blamed nat Alcmeon for 
an others faute, but obiected against him his owne. 
Thou hast with thy hande (sayd he) slayne thin 
owne mother. It is nat ynough to haue rebukes 
redie, and to speke vyle wordes agaynst other : for 
he, that so shuld do, ought to be without any vyce. 
For of all men, sayth Plutarchus, he ought to be 
innocent and haue the lyfe vnculpable, that wolde 
reprehende the fautes of other. The lyttell morall 
boke 2 saythe : 

It is a foule thynge worthye rebuke and blame 
A vyce to reprehende and do the same. 

(1) i.e. twit or taunt 

(2) Parvus et Magrnis Catho, printed by Caxton, n. d. 410. Chaucer, 
in his Miller's Tale (Chaucer's Works, ed. Bell, i. 194), describes the 
old carpenter of Oxford, who had married a young girl, as having 
neglected to study [Magnus'] Catho, which prescribed that marriages 
ought to take place between persons of about the same age. 

' He knew not Catoun, for his wyt was rude, 

That bad man schulde wedde his similitude." 

No doubt both Cato and Parvus Cato circulated hi MS. before the 
invention of printing. The former was printed by Caxton in 14834. 
See Blades (Life and Typography of William Caxton, ii. 53-4). 



Quicke A nsweres. 2 3 

^ The Uplandisshe mans answere, concerninge the 
steple and pulpitlt xii. 

^ IN a certayne place, on a tyme the perysshyns J 
had pulled downe theyr steple, and had buylded 
it vp newe agayne, and had put out theyr belles 
to be newe-founded : and bycause they range nat 
at the bysshops entrynge into the village, as they 
were wont and acustomed to do, he asked a good 
homely man, whether they had no belles in theyr 
steple : he answered : no ! Than, sayde the bys- 
shop, ye may sylle aweye 2 your steple. Why so, 
and please your lordship sayd the man 1 Bycause 
hit stondeth vacant, said the bysshop. Than^ayde 
the man, we may well sylle away an other thinge, 
that we haue in our churche. What is that, sayd 
the bysshop ? That is a pulpit, quod he. For this 
vii yere ther was no sermon made therm. 

^ Of the beggers answere to M. Skelton the poete, 
xiii. 

^ A POURE begger, that was foule, blacke and 
lothlye to beholde, cam vpon a tyme vnto mayster 
Skelton the poete, and asked him his almes. To 

(i) Parishioners. This jest is included by Johnson in his Pleasant 
Conceits of Old Hobson, the Merry Londoner, 1607 (reprinted 1843, 
p. 17). (2) Sell away. 

L 2 



24 Tales and 

whom mayster Skelton sayde : I praye the, gette 
the awaye fro me : for thou lokeste as though thou 
earnest out of helle. The poure man, perceyuing 
he wolde gyue him no thynge, ansvverd : For soth, 
syr, ye say trouth, I came oute of helle. Why 
dyddest thou nat tary styl there, quod mayster 
Skelton? Mary, syr, quod the begger, there is 
no roume for suche poure beggers as I am ; all is 
kepte for suche gentyl men as ye be. 



^ Of the chaplen, that sayde our lady matens a bed. 
xiiii. 

If A OERTAYNE lorde's chaplen bosted on a tyme, 
syttynge at his lorde's table, that he sayde our 
lady matyns euery morninge besyde all his other 
seruice and orisons. The lorde, to proue whether 
his chaplen did as he sayde, arose yerly on a 
morninge, and went to his chaplen's chamber, 
and called him, saying : where be ye, syr wylliam 1 
Here, and please your lordshyp (quod he), in my 
bedde. Why, sayd the lorde, I thought ye had 
ben vp and sayenge of our lady matyns. I am 
nowe sayinge it, quod the chappleyn. What ! 
lienge in your bedde, quod the lord 1 ? why, syr, 
sayd the chapplain, where shudde women be serued 
but a bedde ? 



Qnicke Answer es. 25 

^ Of him that lost his purse in London, xv. 

^ A CERTAYN man of the countre, the whiche for 
busines came vp to London, lost his purse as he 
wente late in the euenynge ; and by cause the 
somme therin was great, he sette vp bylles in 
dyuers places that, if any man of the cyte had 
founde the purse, and wolde brynge it agayne to 
him, he shulde haue welle for his laboure. A 
gentyll man of the Temple wrote vnder one of the 
byls, howe the man shulde come to his chamber, 
and tolde [him] where. So, whan he was come, 
the gentyll man asked him fyrst what was in the 
purse; secondli, what countrey man he was, and 
thirdly, what was his name? Syr, quod he, xx 
nobles was inne the pourse ; I am halfe a walshe 
man ; and my name is John vp Janken. 1 John 
vp Jankyn (sayde the gentyll man), I am gladde 
I knowe thy name : for so longe as I lyue, thou 
nor none of thyn name shal haue my purse to 
kepe ; and nowe fare well, gentyll John vp Jan 
kyn. Thus he was mocked to scorne and went 
his way. 

Hereby ye may perceyue, that a man can not 
haue a shrewde tourne, but otherwhyle a mocke 
withall. 

(i) John ap Jenkin. 



26 Tales and 



If Of the marchaunt that lost his bodgette betwene 
Ware and Lon\don\. xvi. 

^ A CERTAYNE marchant betwene Ware and London 
lost his bodget and a c li. therin, wherfore he caused 
to proclayme in dyuers market townes, that who so 
euer 1 founde the sayde bodget, and wolde bryng 
it agayne, shulde haue xx li. for his labour. An 
honeste husbandeman, that chaunsed to fynde the 
sayde bodget, brought it to the baily 2 of Ware, 
accordynge to the crye, and required his xx li. for 
his labour, as it was proclaymed. The couetous 
marchant, whan he vnderstode this, and that he 
muste nedes pay xx li. for the fyndynge, he sayd, 
that there was an c and xx li. in his bodgette, 
and so wolde haue hadde his owne money and 
xx li. ouer. So longe they stroue, that the matter 
was brought before mayster Vauasour the good 
Judge. Whan he vnderstode by the bayllye, that 
the crye was made for a bodget with an c li. 
therin, he demanded where hit 3 was ? Here, quod 



(1) The original has who so ever that. 

(2) Baillie or magistrate, from the old French word bailli. 

(3) This form of it, though it does not occur in the C Mery Tales, 
is very common in old English works ; see the Seven Sages, edited by 
Wright, 1845, for the Percy Society, and the Anglo-Saxon Passion 
of St. George, 1850 (Percy Soc.)- 



Quicke A nsweres. 27 

the bailly, and toke it vnto him. Is it iust an 
c li. sayde the Judge ? Ye, trulye, quod the baillye. 
Holde, sayde the Judge (to him that founde the 
bodget), take thou this money vnto thyne ovvne 
vse : and if thou hap to fynde a bodgette with a 
c and xx li. therm, brynge it to this honest mar- 
chante man. It is myn ; I lost no more but an 
c li. quod the marchant Ye speke nowe to late, 
quod the Judge. 

By this tale ye may vnderstande, that they that 
go about to disceyue other, be often tymes dis- 
ceyued them selfe. And some tyme one fallethe 
in the dytche, that he him selfe made. 



^ Of him that was called cuckolde. xvii. 

^ A CERTEYNE man, whiche vpon a tyme in com 
pany betwene ernest and game was called cuckolde, 
went angerly home to his wife and sayde : wyfe, 
I was this day in company called kockolde ; 
whether am I one or nat ? Syr, truly, sayde she, 
ye be none. By my fayth (sayde he), thou shall 
swere so vpon this boke ; and helde to her a boke. 
She denyed it longe ; but whan she sawe there was 
no remedy, she sayde : well, sythe I must nedes 
swere, I promyse you by my faythe, I will swere 
truly. Yea, do so, quod he. So she toke the boke 



28 Talcs and 

in her hande and sayd : By this boke, syr, ye be a 
cokolde. By the masse, hore, sayd he, thou lyest! 
thou sayste it for none other cause but to anger me. 
By this tale ye may parceyue, that it is nat best 
at all tymes for a man to beleue his wife, though 
she swere vpon a boke. 

^ Of the iolous man. xviii. 

H A MAN that was ryght iolous on his wyfe, dreamed 
on a nyght as he laye a bed with her and slepte, 
that the dyuell aperd vnto him and sayde : woldest 
thou nat be gladde, that I shulde put the in suretie 
of thy wife? Yes, sayde he. Holde, sayde the 
dyuell, as longe as thou hast this rynge vpon thy 
fynger, no man shall make the kockolde. The 
man was gladde therof, and whan he awaked, he 
founde his fynger in********. 

^ Of thefatte -woman that solde frute. xix. 

If As a greate fatte woman sate and solde frute in 
a Lente, there came a yonge man bye, and behelde 
her frute ernestly, and specially he caste his eyes 
on her fygges. She asked him, as was her gyse : 
syr, wyll ye haue any fygges ; they be fayre and 
good? And whan she sawe he was content, she 



Quicke A nsweres. 29 

sayde, howe manye ? wyll ye haue fyue li ? He 
was content. So she wayed him oute fyue li. into 
his lappe : and whyle she layde aside her balaunce, 
he wente his waye faire and softely. Whan she 
tourned to haue taken her l money, and sawe her 
chapman go his waye, she made after apace, but 
faster with her voice than with hir fote. He, dis- 
semblinge the mater, wente styll forth on. She 
made suche a cryenge and folkes gathered so faste, 
that he stode styll. So in the preace he shewed 
to the people all the matter, and said : I bought 
nothing of hir ; but that that she vnbyd gaue me, 
I toke ; and if she wyll, I am contente to go before 
the Justice. 

^ Of a poller that begyled a prest. xx. 

^ VPON a tyme in Andwarpe a false pollynge 2 
felowe came vnto a certeyne preste, that hadde 
his purse hangynge at his gyrdell strouttinge 3 oute 
full of money that he a lytell before had resceyued, 
and gentilly gretynge hym sayde : good Mayster, 
our parysshe preste bad me bye him a palle 4 (which 

(1) The original has whan she turned her to have taken money. 

(2) Cheating. 

(3) The word seems to be here used in a rare sense. The meaning is 
bulging. 

(4) This word (Latinfe pallium} was originally used in a special and 
exclusive signification. 



3O Tales and 

is the vppermoste vestement, that a preste syngeth 
masse in) ; if it wolde please you to go with me, 
I were nioche bounde to you : for our curat and 
you be of one stature. The preste was contente. 
Whan they came there where he wolde bye it, the 
palle was broughte forth, and the preste dyd it on : 
the poller loketh and toteth 1 thereon, and preyseth 
it, but he layde a wyte, 2 that it was to shorte before. 
Nay, quod the syller, the faute is nat in the veste 
ment, hit is the strouttinge purse vnderneth that 
beareth hit up. Shortely to speake, the prest dyd 
of his purse, and layde hit by, and than the vesti- 
ment they behelde agayne. Whan the poller sawe 
the preste was tourned, he snatched vp the purs, 
and toke his legges and to go. 3 The preste rounne 
after with the vestement on his backe : and the 
vestement-maker after the prest. The prest bad 
stop the thefe, the siller bad stop the prest, the 
poller bade holde the mad preste, and euery man 
wende 4 he had ben mad in dede, bicause he had 
the vestement on his backe ; and so whyle one 
letted an other, the false poller went his waye. 



(1) Singer explains this to mean gazetk. 

(2) Found fault with it. 

(3) There is probably some corruption here. We ought perhaps 
read : " and toke to his legges as if to go." 

(4) Weened. 



Quicke A nsweres. 3 1 

*& Of Papirius pretextatus, xxi. 

^ AULUS GELLIUS l reherseth, how the Senatours of 
Rome on a tyme helde a great counsaile. Before 
which tyme the senatours chyldren, called of their 
garmentes Pueri pretextati, vsed to come into the 
parlemente house with theyre fathers. So at this 
tyme a chylde, called Papyrius, cam in with his 
father and herde the great counsayl the which was 
straytely commaunded to be kept secrete, tyll hit 
was decreed. Whan this chylde came home, his 
mother asked him what the counsaile was. The 
chylde answered, hit oughte nat to be tolde. Now 
was his mother more desyrous to knowe hit than 
she was before ; wherfore she enquered more 
straitly and more violentlye. The chylde, beinge 
sore constrayned of his mother, shortelye deuysed 
a propre merye leasynge. 2 It is reasoned in the 
parlemente (quod he), whether of both 3 shulde be 
more profytable for the comon welth, a man to 
haue ii wiues or els a woman ii husbandes. Whan 
she harde him saye so, her mynde was pacified : 
and forth-with she wente and tolde hit to the other 
matrones. 

(1) Nodes Attica, translated by Belue, vol. i. p. 86. The Historic of 
Papyrius Prcetexatus is related in the i8th Novel of the ist Tome of 
Painter's Palace of Pleasure. 

(2) Deceit, or what would now be called a white lie. 

(3) i.e. which of the two. 



32 Tales and 

On the morowe, a great company of the moste 
notable wyues of Rome came to the parlemente 
house weping, and humbly prayeng, that rather 
one woman shuld be maryed vnto ii men than ii 
wemen to one man. The Senatours entringe into 
the court, what with the sodayn assembling of the 
wyues and of their request, were right sore astonied. 
Than the child e Papyrius stode forth, and enformed 
the senatours, how his mother wold haue compelled 
him to vtter the secrete counsayle : and howe he, 
to contente her mynde, feyned that leasynge. For 
which dede the Senatours right hyghly commended 
the childes fydelite and wytte. And forth-with 
they made a law, that no child after that (saue 
only Papirius) shuld come in to the parlement house 
with his father. And for his great prudence in 
that tender age he hadde gyuen to hym, to his 
great honour, this surname Pretextatus. 

Whereby ye may se, that the hygh treasure of 
man, and greattest grace, resteth in well-ordrynge 
of the tonge. The moste prudent poete Hesiodus 
sayth : The tonge shulde not ronne at large, but 
be hydde as a precious treasure : for, of all the 
membres of man, the tonge yll-ordered is the 
worste. The tonge blasphemeth God. The tonge 
slaundereth thy neyghbour. The tonge breaketh 
peace, and stereth vp cruell warre, of all thynges 



Quicke A nsweres. 3 3 

to mankynde moste mischefull; the tonge is a 
broker of baudrye ; the tonge setteth frendes at 
debate; The tonge with flatterynge, detraction 
and wanton tales enfecteth pure and clene myndes ; 
the tonge without sworde or venome strangleth thy 
brother and frende ; and brefely to speake, the 
tonge teacheth cursed heresyes, and of good 
Christiens maketh Antichristes. 



^ Of the corrupte man of lawe. xxii. 

T THERE was a man of lawe, whiche on a tyme 
shulde be iudge betwene a poure man and a ryche : 
the poure man came, and gaue hym a glasse of 
oyle (whiche was as moche as his power wold 
stretche to] and desyred, that he wolde be good in 
his matter. Yes, quod he, the matter shall passe 1 
with the. The riche man, perceyuynge that, sente 
to the same iudge a fatte hogge, and prayed hym 
to be fauorable on his syde. Wherfore he gaue 
iudgement agaynst the poure man. Whan the 
poure man sawe that he was condemned, pytously 
complaynyng he sayd to the Judge : syr, I gaue 
you a glasse of oyle, and ye promysed by your 
faith, the matter shulde passe with me. To whom 
the iuge sayde : for a trouth there came a hogge 

(i) Go easily. 



34 Tales and 

into my house, whiche founde the glasse of oyle, 
and ouerthrewe and brake it : and so through 
spyllynge of the oyle I cleane forgot the. 

Wherby ye may se, that euermore amonge 

The ryche hath his wyll, the pore taketh wronge. 



^ Of kynge Lowes of France, and the husbandman. 
xxiii. 

^ WHAT tyme kynge Lowes of Fraunce, the xi of 
that name, bycause of the trouble that was in the 
realme, kepte hym selfe in Burgoyne, he chaunced 
by occasion of huntinge to come acqueynted with 
one Conon a homely husbande man, and a plaine 
meanynge felowe, in whiche maner of men the 
hygh princes greatly delyte them. To this man's 
house the kynge ofte resorted from huntynge. 
And with great pleasure he wolde eate radysshes 
rotes with hym. Within a whyle after, whan 
Lowes was restored home, and had the gouern- 
aunce of France in his hande, this husbandeman 
was counsailed by his wyfe to take a goodly sorte 
of radysshe rotes and to go and gyue them to the 
kyng, and put him in mind of the good chere, that 
he had made hym at his house. Conon wolde nat 
assente therto. What folysshe woman ! quod he, 
the greate princes remembre nat suche smalle 



Quicke A nsweres. 3 5 

pleasures. But for all that she wolde not reste, 
tyll Conon chose out a great syght 1 of the fayrest 
rootes, and toke his iourney towarde the courte. 
But as he went by the way, he yete vp all the 
radysshes save one of the greattest. 

Conon peaked 2 into the courte, and stode where 
the kynge shulde passe by : By and by the kynge 
knewe hym, and called hym to hym. Conon stepte 
to the kynge and presented his rote with a gladde 
chere. And the kynge toke it more gladly, and 
bad one, that was nerest to hym, to laye it vp 
amonge those Jewels that he best loued ; and than 
commaunded Conon to dyne with hym. Whan 
dyner was done, he thanked Conon : and whan 
the kyng sawe that he wolde departe home, he 
commaunded to gyue hym a thousande crownes of 
golde for his radisshe rote. Whan this was knowen 
in the kinges house, one of the court gaue the kyng 
a propre mynion 3 horse. The king, perceiuing 
that he dyd it, bicause of the liberalite shewed 
vnto Conon, with very glad chere he toke the gyft, 
and counsailed with his lordes, howe and with what 

(i) This old phrase is still in colloquial use. " A good sight better," 
or a "great sight more," are well understood terms among us, though 
vulgar. 

(z) A rare word as a verb, though the adjective peakish is common 
enough in old English writers. ~&y peaked we must understand "stole " 
or got admission by stealth. 
( 3) A literal rendering of the Fr. migtion, delicate or dainty. 



36 Tales and 

gyft he myght recompence the horse, that was so 
goodly and faire. This meanewhile the picke- 
thank had a meruailous great hope, and thought 
in his mynde thus : if he so wel recompensed the 
radysshe rote, that was gyuen of a rusticall man, 
howe moche more largely wyl he recompence 
suche an horse, that is gyuen of me that am of 
the courte 1 Whan euery man had sayde hys 
mynde, as though the kynge had counsayled 
aboute a great weyghty matter, and that they 
hadde longe fedde the pycke-thanke with vayne 
hope, at last the kyng sayd : I remembre nowe, 
what we shal gyue hym ; and so he called one of 
his lordes, and badde hym in his eare go fetche 
hym that that he founde in his chambre (and told 
hym the place where) featly 1 folded vp in sylke. 
Anone he came and brought the radysshe roote, 
and euen as it was folded vp, the kyng with his 
owne hande gaue it to the courtier, sayenge : we 
suppose your horse is well recompensed with this 
iewell, for it hath cost vs a thousande crownes. 
The courtier went his way neuer so glad, and whan 
he had vnfolded it, he found none other treasure 
but the radysshe rote almoste wethered. 2 

(1) Neatly. 

(2) The germ of this and the following story may be found in Lane's 
Arabian Tales and Anecdotes, p. 112. 



Q uicke A nsweres. 3 7 

^ Of an other picke-thanke, and the same kinge. 
xxiiii. 

^ VPON a time a seruant of the fornamed kinges, 
seynge a louce crepe vpon the kynges robe, kneled 
downe and put vp his hande, as though he wolde 
do somwhat, and as the kynge bowed hym self a 
lyttell, the man toke the louce, and conueyed her 
away priuely. The kynge asked hym what it was, 
but he was ashamed to shew. So moche the kyng 
instanted 1 hym, that at laste he confessed hit was a 
louce. Oh ! quod the kynge, it is good lucke : 
for this declareth me to be a man For that kynde 
of vermyne principally greueth mankynde, specially 
in youth. And so the kynge commanded to gyue 
him fyfty crownes for his labour. 

Nat longe after, an other, seynge that the kynge 
gaue so good a rewarde for so smalle a pleasure, 
came and kneled downe, and put vp his hande, 
and made as though he toke and conueyed some 
what priuelye awaye. And whan the kynge con- 
strayned him to tell what hit was, with moche 
dissemblyng shamfastnes he sayd, hit was a flee. 
The kynge, perceyuinge his dissimulation, sayd to 
him : what, woldest thou make me a dogge ? and 

(i) Importuned. 
M 



38 Tales and 

so for his fifty crownes, that he prooled 1 for, the 
kinge commaunded to gyue him fiftye strypes. 

Wherby ye maye note, that there is great dif 
ference betwene one that doth a thynge of good 
will and mynde, and hym that doth a thynge by 
crafte and dissymulation ; whiche thinge this noble 
and moste prudent prince well vnderstode. And 
one ought to be well ware 2 howe he hath to do 
with highe princes and their busynes. And if 
Ecdesiast\es\ forbid, that one shall mynde none 
yll to a kynge, howe shulde any dare speake yll ? 

^ Of Thales the astronomer that fell in a ditch. 
xxv. 

H LAERTIUS wryteth, 3 that Thales Milesius wente 
oute of his house vpon a time to beholde the 
starres for a certayn cause : and so longe he went 
backeward, that he fell plumpe in to a ditche ouer 
the eares ; wherfore an olde woman, that he kepte 
in his house laughed and sayde to him in derision : 
O Thales, how shuldest thou haue knowlege in 
heuenly thinges aboue, and knowest nat what is 
here benethe vnder thy feet 1 

(i) Prowled. (2) Careful. 

(3) Diogenes Laertius(Zzz' of 'the Philosophers, translated by Yonge, 
1853, p. 18). 



Quicke Answeres. 39 

\ 

^ Of the astronomer that theues robbed, xxvi. 

^ As an astronomer that satte vpon a tyme in the 
market place of a certayne towne, and toke vpon 
him to dyuine and to shewe what theyr fortunes 
and chaunses shuld be, that came to him : there 
came a felow and tolde him (as it was in deede) 
that theues had broken in to his house, and had 
borne away all that he hadde. These tidinges 
greued him so sore, that all hevy and sorowe- 
fullye he rose vp and wente his waye. Whan the 
felowe sawe him do so, he sayde : O thou folissh 
and madde man, goest thou aboute to dyuine other 
mennes matters, and arte ignorant in thine owne ? 
This tale (besyde the blynde errour of suche 
foles) touch eth them, that handell theyr owne 
matters lewdly, and wyll entermedle in other mens. 
And Cicero saythe : That wyse man, that can nat 
profytte him selfe, hath but lytell wysdome. 

^ Of the plough man that sayde his pater noster. 
xxvii. 

H A RUDE vplandisshe ploughman, on a tyme 1 re- 
prouynge a good holy father sayd, that he coude 

(i) The orig. reads luhicke on a tyme. I have therefore ventured to 
strike out the unnecessary word. 

M 2 



4O Tales ana 

saye all his prayers with a hole mynde and stedfaste 
intention, without thinkyng on any other thynge. 
To whome the good holy man sayde : Go to, saye 
one Pater nosier to the ende, and thynke on none 
other thinge, and I wyll gyue the myn horse. That 
shall I do, quod the plough man, and so began to 
saye : Pater noster qui es in celts, tyll he came to 
Sanctificetur nomen tuum, and than his thought 
moued him to aske this question : yea, but shal I 
haue the sadil and bridel withal ? And so he lost 
his bargain. 

^ Of him that dreamed he fonde golde. xxviii. 

H THERE was a man, that sayde in company vpon 
a tyme, howe he dreamed on a nyghte, that the 
deuyll ledde him in to a felde to dygge for golde. 
Whan he had founde the golde, the deuyll sayde : 
Thou canste not carye hit a waye nowe, but marke 
the place, that thou mayste fetche hit an other tyme. 
What marke shall I make, quod the man 1 S**** 
ouer hit, quod the deuyl : for that shall cause euery 
man to shonne the place, and for the hit shall be a 
speciall knowlege. The man was contente, and 
dyd so. So whan he awaked oute of his slepe, he 
parceyued, that he had foule defyled his bedde. 
Thus betwene stynke and dyrte vp he rose, and 



Q u icke A nsweres. 4 1 

made him redy to go forth : and laste of all he 
put on his bonette, wherin also the same nighte 
the catte hadde s*** ; For great stinke wherof he 
threwe away his couer knaue, 1 and was fayne to 
wasshe his busshe. 2 Thus his golden dreame 
tournedde all to dyrte. 3 

Tibullus sayth : Dreames in the nyght begylen, 
and cause fearefull myndes to drede thynges that 
neuer shalbe. But yet Claudian sayeth : Dreames 
in sondrye wyse fygured gyueth warnynge of vn- 
luckye thynges. And Valerius Maximus wryteth 
that, as Hamylcar besiged the cyte of Syracuse, he 
dreamed, that he harde a voyce saye, that he the 
nexte daye shulde suppe with in the cyte. Wrier- 
fore he was ioyfull, as thoughe the victorye from 
heuen had ben to him promised. And so [he] 
apparayled his hooste to assaute the towne : in 
whiche assaute he chaunced to be taken in his 
lodgynge by them of the cyte, and so bounden 
lyke a prysoner, they ledde hym in to theyr cite. 
Thus he more disceyued by hope, than by his 
dreme, supped that nyghte within the citie as a 
prisoner, and nat as a conquerour, as he presumed 

(i) A cant term for a bonnet. (2) Thick bushy hair. 

(3) See Brand's Popular Antiquities, ed. 1849, iii. 132, where Brand 
cites Melton's Astrologaster, or the Figure-Caster, 1620, to show that to 
dream of the devil and of gold was deemed an equally lucky portent. 
To dream of gold is also pronounced a happy omen in the Countryman's 
Counsellor. 1633. 



42 Tales and 

in his mynde. Alcibiades also hadde a certayne 
vision in the nyghte of his miserable ende. 

This tale shevveth that dreames sometyme come 
to passe by one meane or other. And he that 
desyreth to knowe more of dreames wrytten in 
our englysshe tonge, let hym rede the tale of the 
nounnes preste, that G. Chauser wrote : and for 
the skeles howe dreames and sweuens x are caused, 
the begynnynge of the Boke of Fame, the whiche 
the sayde Chauser compiled with many an other 
matter full of wysedome. 



^ Of the crakynge yonge gentyll man, that wold ouer- 
throwe his enmyes a myle of. xxix. 

^ A YONGE gentyl man in a cite that was beseged, 
rebuked the other and called them cowherdes, 
bycause they wolde nat issue out and fight with 
their enmyes. So he armed at all peces lepte on 
horsebacke, and galopte out at the gates. Whan he, 

(i) Dreams. Thus Chaucer, in the opening lines of the House of 
Fame (called in the old editions and in the present text the Boke of 
Fame], says : 

" God turne us every dreme to goode ! 

For hyt is wonder thing, be the roode, 

To my wytte, what causeth swevenes 

Eyther on morwes, or on evenes." 

For examples of the later use of the word, see Nares by Halliwell and 
Wright, art. Siveven. 



Quicke A nsweres. 43 

thus crakynge, 1 hadde prycked on aboute a myle, 
he encountred with manye, that retourned home 
from the skyrmysshe sore wounded ; wherfore he 
beganne to ryde a softer pace. But whan he harde 
the hydous noyse, and sawe a myle frome hym howe 
fyerslye they of the citie and theyr enmyes assayled 
eche other, he stode euen stylle. Than one, that 
harde his crakynge before, asked hym, why he 
rode no nere[r] to fyghte with their enmyes. He 
answered and sayde : Trewly I fynde nat my selfe 
so able and stronge in armes, that my harte wyl 
serue me to ryde any nere[r] to them. 

Wherby may be noted, that nat onely the force 
of the mynde, but also of the body, shulde be wel 
consydred. Nor one shulde nat bragge and bost 
to do more than he maye welle atcheue. There be 
many, whiche with their wordes slee 2 theyr enmyes 
a great waye of, but whan they se theyr 1 enmye, 
they put on a sure breste plate and a gorget of a 
myle of lengthe. Plutarche wryteth that, whan 
Memnon made warre for Darius agaynste Alex 
ander, he harde one of his souldyours crake and 
speake many yll wordes agaynst Alexander; wher 
fore he rapte hym on the pate with a iauelynge, 
sayenge : I hyred the to fyght agaynste Alexandre, 
and not to crake and prate. 

i) Boasting. (2} Singer reads flee. 



44 Tales and 

Otherwhyle sayth Quintus Curtius, the coue- 
tousnes of glory and insaciable desire of fame 
causeth, that we thynke nothing ouermoche or 
ouer hard. But Salust saith : Before a man enter 
prise any feate, he ought fyrst to counsayle : and 
after to go in hande there with nat heedlynge 1 nor 
slowly. 

"II Of hym that fell of a tre and brake his rybbe. 
xxx. 

If THERE was a husbande man whiche, on a tyme, 
as he clymbed a tree to gette downe the frute, 
felle and brake a rybbe in his syde. To corn- 
forte hym there came a very merye man whiche, 
as they talked to gether sayde, he wolde teache 
hym suche a rule that, it he wold folowe it, he 
shuld neuer falle from tree more. Marye, sayde 
the hurte man, I wolde ye hadde taught me that 
rule before I felle : neuer the lesse, bycause it may 
happe to profyte me in tyme to come, lette me 
here what it is. Than the other sayd : Take hede, 
that thou go neuer downe faster than thou wentest 
vp, but discende as softly as thou clymmest vp ; 
and so thou shalt neuer fall. 

By this tale ye may note, that abidyng and 

(i) Headlong. 



Quicke A nsiveres. 45 

slownesse otherwhile are good and commendable, 
specially in those thynges, wherin spede and hasti- 
nes cause great hurte and damage. Seneca saythe : 
A sodayne thynge is nought 



^ Of the frier that brayde in his sermon, xxxi. 

1 A FRYER, that preached to the people on a tyme, 
wolde otherwhyle crie out a loude (as the maner of 
some fooles is) whiche brayenge dyd so moue a 
woman that stode herynge his sermone, that she 
wepte. He, parceyuyng that, thought in his mynde 
her conscience being prycked with his wordes had 
caused her to wepe. Wherfore, whan his sermon 
was done, he called the woman to hym, and asked 
what was the cause of her wepynge, and whether 
his wordes moued her to wepe or nat 1 Forsoth, 
mayster (sayde she), I am a poure wydowe : and 
whan myne husbande dyed, he lefte me but one 
asse, whiche gotte parte of my lyuynge, the whiche 
asse the wolues haue slayne : and nowe, whan I 
hard your hyghe voyce, I remembred my selye 
asse : for so he was wonte to braye bothe nyghte 
and daye. And this, good mayster, caused me 
to wepe. Thus the lewde brayer, rather than 
preacher, confuted with his folysshenes, wente his 
way; which, thinkynge for his brayenge lyke an 



46 Tales and 

asse to be reputed for the beste preacher, de- 
serued well to here hym selfe to be compared to 
an asse. 

For truely one to suppose hym selfe wyse 
Is vnto folysshenes the very fyrste gryce. ' 



H The oration of the ambassadour sent to Pope 
Urban, xxxii. 

^ OUT of the towne of Parusyn were sente vpon 
a tyme thre ambassadours vnto our holye father 
Pope Urban, whom they founde sycke in his bed. 
Before whose holynes one of the sayde ambassa 
dours had a longe and a tedious oration, that he 
had deuysed by the way ; the whiche, er it was 
ended, ryght sore anoyed the popes holynesse. 
Whan he hadde all sayde, the pope asked : Is 
there anye thynge elles? An other of the thre, 
percevuynge howe greately the ambagious 2 tale 
greued the popes holynes to here it out, sayde : 
Moost holy father, this is all the effecte, and if 
your holynes spede vs nat forthewith, my felowe 
shall telle his tale agayne. At whiche sayenge 
the pope laughed, and caused the ambassadours 
to be spedde incontinent. 

(1) Step, from the Latin grassus or gressus. 

(2) Circumlocutory. SINGER. 



Quicke Answeres. 47 

By this tale one maye lerne, that superfluous 
wordes ought dilygently to be auoyded, specially 
where a matter is treated before an hygh prince. 



1 Of the ambassadour sent to the prince Agis. xxxiii. 

^ NAT moch vnlike the forsayd tale, Plutarche 
reciteth that, whan the ambassadour of the Abde- 
rites had at laste ended a longe tale to the prynce 
Agis, he asked what answere he shulde make to 
them that sent him 1 Say vnto them (quod the 
prince), whan thou comest home, that all the longe 
tyme that thou didest dispende in tellynge thy 
tale, I sate styll and harde the paciently. 

^ The answere of Cleomenes to the Samiens ambas 
sadour. xxxiiii. 

^ PLUTARCHE rehersethe also, that what tyme an 
ambassadour, that was sente frome the Samiens, 
had made a longe oration vnto Cleomines, to per- 
swade him to make warre to Polycrates, he an 
swered the ambassadour on this maner of wyse : 
I remembre nat, what thou sayddest in the begyn- 
nyng of thy tale, and therfore I vnderstand nat the 
myddis ; and thy conclusion pleaseth me nat. 
Wherby we may perceyue, that the noble wyse 



48 Tales and 

men loue fewe wordes. And as the Rhetoriciens 
say : amonge the vices of an oratoure, there is 
none more hurtefull than the superfluous heape 
of wordes. 



^ Of the wyse man Piso and his seruant. xxxv. 

^ A CERTAYN wise man called Piso, to auoyde 
greuous ianglynge, commaunded that his ser- 
uauntes shulde saye nothinge, but answere to that 
that thei were demaunded, and no more. Vpon 
a daye the sayde Piso made a dyner, and sente 
a seruaunt to desire Clodius the Consull to come 
and dyne with him. Aboute the houre of diner 
al the guestes came saue Clodius, for whom they 
taryed tyll hit was almoste nyght, and euer sente 
to loke if he came. At laste Piso sayde to his 
seruaunt : diddest thou byd the Consull come to 
dyner? Yes, truely, sayde he. Why cometh he 
nat than, quod Piso] Mary, quod the seruaunt, 
he sayde he wolde nat. Wherfore toldest me nat 
so incontinent, quod Piso ? Bycause, quod the 
seruaunt, ye dyd nat aske me. 

By this tale seruauntes may lerne to kepe theyr 
maisters biddyng : but yet I aduise maysters therby 
to take hede, howe they make an injunction. 



Quickc A nsweres. 49 



^ Of the marchant that made a wager with his 
lord, xxxvi. 

^ A CERTAYNE marchaunt, before his lorde that he 
was subiecte vnto, amonge other thynges praysed 
his wyfe, and sayde, that he neuer harde her lette 
a *****. Wherat the lorde meruailed, and sayd it 
was impossible: and so layde and ventred a souper 
with the marchant, that before thre monethes were 
ended, he shulde here her lette a ***** or twayne. 
On the morowe, the lorde came to the marchaunt, 
and borowed fyfty crownes, the whiche he pro- 
mysed trewely to repay agayne within viij dayes 
after. The marchaunt ryght sore agaynst his wylle 
lent it, and thoughtfully abode, tyll the daye of 
payment was come : and than he wente to his 
lorde and requyred his moneye. The lorde, 
makynge as though he had hadde more nede 
than before, desyred the marchaunt to lende hym 
other fyftye crownes, and promysed to paye all 
within a monethe. And all though the good man 
denyed hit longe, yet for feare lest he shulde lose 
the first somme, with moche grutchynge he lente 
hym the other fyfty crownes. And so wente 
home to his house ryghte heuye and sorowfull in 
his mynde. Thus thynkynge and dredynge diuers 



5O Tales and 

thynges, he passed many nyghtes awaye without 
slepe. And as he laye wakyng, he harde his wyfe 
nowe and than rappe out *****. At the monethes' 
ende the lorde sente for the marchant, and asked 
him, if he neuer sythe harde his wyfe let a *****. 
The marchant aknovveleginge his folye, answered 
thus : Forsothe, syr, if I shulde for euery ***** 
paye a souper, all my goodes and landes wolde 
nat suffice therto. After whiche answere, the 
lorde payde the marchant his money, and the 
marchant payde the souper. 

Here by ye maye se, that many thinges passe by 
them that slepe, and it is an old sayenge : He that 
slepeth, byteth no body. By this tale ye may note 
also that they, the whiche fortune swetelye en- 
braceth, take theyr reste and slepe soundely ; And 
contrarye wyse, they that bene oppressed with 
aduersite, watche sorowefullye whan they shulde 
slepe. This man, which for a very folisshe thing 
preysed his wyfe, afterwarde whan a lyttell care be- 
ganne to crepe aboute his stomacke, he perceiued 
that faute in her ryght great. The morall boke, 
called Cato, 1 counsayleth vs to watche for the 
more parte : For moche slomber and slepe is the 
norisshinge of vice. 

(i) Vide supra, p. 22. 



Quicke Answeres. 5 1 



t Of the friere that gaue scrowes agaynst the 
pestilence, xxxvii. 

H AMONGE the limitours 1 in the cyte of Tiburtine 
(Tivoli), was a certayne friere, which vsed to 
preache about in the villages to men of the coun- 
trey : and for as moch as they greately suspecte[d] 
that a plague of pestilence shulde come amonge 
them, he promysed eche of them a lytell scrowe: 2 
which he sayde was of suche a vertue, that who so 
euer bare hit hangynge aboute his necke xv dayes 
shulde nat dye of the pestilence. The folisshe 
people trustynge herevpon, euerye one after his 
power gaue him money for a scrowe ; and with a 
threde of a mayden's spynninge, they hanged hit 
aboute their neckes. But he charged them that 
they shuld nat open it tyll the xv dayes ende : for, 
if they did, he sayde hit had no vertue. So whan 
the frire hadde gathered moche moneye, he wente 
his waye. Soone after (as the desyre of folkes is 

(1) A word used by Chaucer. It signifies a person licensed to preach 
and beg within a certain limit. There was an order of mendicant friars. 

" Lordings, ther is in Engelond, I gesse, 
A mersschly land called Holdernesse, 
In which there went a lymytour aboute, 
To preche and eek to begge, it is no double." 

CHAUCER'S Sompnout>s Tale; Works, ed. Bell. ii. 103. 

(2) Scrowl. 



52 Tales ana 

to knowe newes) the sayd scrowes were redde, in 
which was writen in Italian speche : 

Donna, sifili et cadeti lo fuso, 
Quando ti pieghi, tieni lo culo chiuso.(\) 

Which is to saye in englysshe : woman, if thou 
spynne, and thy spyndell falle awaye, whan thou 
stoupest to reache for him, holde thyne **** close. 
He sayde, that this passed all the preceptes and 
medicines of the phisitians. 

By whiche tale one may lerne, that all is nat 
gospell that suche wanderers about saye, nor 
euerye word to be beleued : For often tymes : 

Gelidusjacet anguis in herba. 

^ Of the phisition, that used to write bylles ouer 
sue. xxxviii. 

H A CERTAYNE phisitian of Italy vsed ouer night 
to write for sondry diseasis diuers billes, called 
resceitz, and to put them in a bag al to gether. In 
the morning whan the vrins (as the custome is) 
were brought to him, and he [was] desired to showe 
some remedy, he wolde put his hand in to the bag, 
and at al auentures take oute a bille. And in takinge 
oute the bille he wolde say to him that came to 
seke remedye in their language : Prega dio te la 

(i) In orig and in Singer this is printed as prose, according to the usual 
practice. The same is the case with the line below. 



Q uicke A nsweres. 5 3 

mandi bona. That is to saye : Praye God to sende 
the a good one. 

By this tale ye may se, that miserable is their 
state whiche fortune muste helpe and nat reason. 
Suche a phisitian on a tyme sayde to Pausanias : 
Thou aylest nothinge. No, sayde he, I haue nat 
had to do with thy phisicke. And an other tyme a 
frende of his sayde : Syr, ye ought not to blame 
that phisitian : for his phisicke dyd you neuer hurte. 
Thou sayest trouthe, quod he : for, if I hadde 
proued his phisicke, I shulde nat nowe haue been 
alyue. And ageyne to an other that sayde : Syr, 
ye be an olde man, he answered : yea, thou were 
nat my phisitian. Such maner [of] checkes are to 
lyttell for the leude foles, that wyll practise phisicke, 
before they knowe what [be]longeth to theyr name. 

H Of hym that wolde confesse hym by 
writinge. xxxix. 

^ THER was a yonge man on a tyme, which wrote 
a longe lybell T of his synnes ; whether he did hit 
for hypocrisy, folysshenesse, or oblyuion I can not 
say : and whan he shulde confesse him, he gaue 
hit to the confessour to rede : whiche confessor, 

(i) Narrative or account. In its original signification, libel merely 
implied libelhis, a little book or volume, a pamphlet, but not necessarily 
one of an offensive kind. 

N 



54 Tales and 

beinge well lerned and experte in that busynes, 
parceyued hit wolde requyre a longe tyme to rede 
ouer : wherfore after a fewe wordes he sayde : I 
assoyle the frome all the synnes conteyned in this 
lybell. Yea, but what shall my penaunce be, quod 
the yonge man? Nothinge els, sayde the con- 
fessour, but that thou shake the space of a moneth 
rede this lybell ouer euery daye vii tymes. And 
all thoughe he sayde it was impossyble for him to 
do, yet the confessour wolde nat chaunge his sen 
tence. By which mery subtyle answere he confuted 
the breble brable * of the folysshe felowe. 

By this tale ye may perceyue that he that occu- 
pyeth this office, that is to saye, a confessour, ought 
to be discrete, prudent, and well lernedde. This 
confessour knewe well the ordinaunce of holye 
churche : whiche wylleth confession to be made 
with the mouthe, and nat by wrytynge. 



^ Of the hermite of Padowe. xl. 

^ AN hermite of Padow, 2 that was reputed for an 
holy man, vnder the semblaunce of confession, 

(i) Silly and licentious talk. Taylor the Water-Poet, at the end of 
his Wit and Mirth, 1622 ( Works, 1630, folio I. p. 200), uses the ex 
pression Kibble-rattle of Gossips, which seems to be a phrase of very 
similar import. 

(a) Padua. 



Quicke A nsweres. 5 5 

entyced many of the notablest wyues of the towne 
vnto folye and lewednes. So at last, whan his 
offence was dyuulgate and knowen (for hypocrisy 
can nat longe be hid) he was taken by the prouost, 
and brought before the prince of Padowe, duke 
Francis the vii of that name, whiche for his dis- 
porte sent for his secretarye, to wryte the womens 
names, that the hermit had layen by. Whan the 
hermyte had rehersed manye of the dukes ser- 
uantes wyues, and the secretarye merely laughenge 
had writen them, he semed as he had al said. Be 
there any mo, sayde the duke 1 No forsothe, said 
the hermite. Tel vs trouth, quod the secretarie, 
who be mo, or els thou shalte be sharply pun- 
isshed. Than the hermyte sighinge said : Go 
to, write in thin owne wife amonge the nomber of 
the other ; which saienge so sore greued the secre 
tarye, that the penne felle out of his hande and the 
duke laughed right hartily, and sayde it was well 
done : that he that with so great pleasure harde 
the fautes of other mennes wyues, shulde come in 
the same nombre. 

By this ieste we may lerne, that one ought nat 
to reioyce at an others grefe or hurte : For lytell 
woteth a man what hangeth ouer his owne heed. 



N 2 



56 Tales and 



IT Of the Uplandysshe man, that sawe the 
kynge. xli. 

^ AN vplandysshe man, nourysshed in the woddes, 
came on a tyme to the citie, whanne all the stretes 
were full of people, and the common voyce amonge 
them was : The kynge cometh. This rurall manne, 
moued with noueltie of that voyce, had great desyre 
to se, what that multitude houed x to beholde. 
Sodaynly the kynge, with many nobuls and states 
before hym, came rydynge royally. Than the 
people all about stedfastly behelde the kynge and 
cryed aloude : God saue the kynge : God saue the 
kynge. This villayne 2 herynge them crye so, sayde : 
O where is the kynge, where is the kynge 1 Than 
one, shewynge hym the kynge, sayde : yonder is 
he, that rydeth upon the goodly whyte horse. Is 
that the kyng, quod the villayne? what, thou 
mockest me, quod he ; me thinke that is a man in 
a peynted garment. 

By this tale ye may perceyue (as Lycurgus proued 
by experience) that nourysshynge, good bryngynge 
vp and exercyse ben more apte to leade folke to 

(1) Hovered. This form of the word is used by Gower and Spenser. 
See Nares (ed. 1859), voce Hove. 

(2) Rustic. 



Quicke A nsweres. 57 

humanite and the doynge of honest thynges than 
Nature her selfe. They for the mooste part are 
noble, free, and vertuous, whiche in their youthe 
bene well nourysshed vp, and vertuously en- 
doctryned. 

1T Of the courtier that bad the boy holde his 
horse, xlii. 

If A COURTIER on a tyme that alyghted of his 
horse at an Inde T gate sayde to a boye that stode 
therby : Ho, syr boye, holde my horse. The boye, 
as he had ben aferde, answered : O maister, this a 
fierce horse ; is one able to holde him 1 Yes, quod 
the courtier, one may holde hym well inough. 
Well, quod the boye, if one be able inough, than I 
pray you holde hym your owne selfe. 2 

Tf Of the deceytfull scriuener. xliii. 

^ A CERTAYNE scriuener, whiche hadde but a bare 
lyuynge by his crafte, imagyned howe he myght 
gette money. So he came to a yonge man, and 
asked hym if he were payde x li. whiche a certayne 
man, that was deade, borowed and ought to paye 
his father in tyme paste. The yonge manne sayde 

(i) Inn. (2) See Introduction vi. 



58 Tales and 

there was no such duetye 1 owynge in his father's 
name, that he knewe of. It is of trouthe, quod 
the scriuener : for here is the oblygacyon therof, 
whiche I made my selfe. He prouoked the yonge 
manne so moche, that he gaue hym money for the 
oblygation, and before the mayre he required the 
duetie. His sonne, that was named to be dettour, 
sayde playnely, that his father neuer borowed 
money : for if he had, it wolde appere by his 
bokes, after the marchantes' maner. And forth 
Avith he went to the scriuener and sayde to hym, 
that he was a false man to write a thing that neuer 
was done. Sonne, sayde the scriuener, thou 
wotteste nat what was done that tyme : whan thy 
father borowed that somme of money, thou were 
nat borne : but he payde it agayne within thre 
monthes after, I made the quittance therof my 
selfe : wherby thy father is discharged. So the 
yonge man was faine to gyue hym money for the 
quittaunce. And whan he had shewed the quit- 
taunce he was discharged of that greuance. Thus 
by his faire fraude he scraped money from them 
bothe. 

By this tale ye may se, that the children in this 
our tyme be very prudent to get money. 

(i) Debt. 



Quicke A nsweres. 59 

^ Of hym that saide he beleued his wyfe better than 
other, that she was chaste, xliiii. 

^ A CERTAYNE man, whose wyfe (as the voyce 
wente) was nat very chaste of her bodye, was 
warned of his frendes to loke better to the matter. 
The man wente home and sharpely rebuked his 
wyfe, and told her betwene them bothe, what his 
frendes had sayde. She, knowynge that periurye was 
no greatter offence than aduoutry, 1 with wepynge 
and swerynge defended her honestie : and bare 
her husbande on hande, that they feyned those 
tales for enuye that they hadde to se them lyue 
so quietly. With those wordes her husbande was 
content and pleased. So yet an other tyme 
agayne, his frendes warned him of his wyfe, and 
badde hym rebuke and chastice her. To whome 
he sayd : I pray you trouble me no more with 
suche wordes. Telle me, whether knoweth better 
my wiue's fautes, you or she 1 They sayde : She. 
And she (quod he), whom I beleue better than you 
all, sayth playnly, that ye lye. This was well and 

(i) Adultery. The word occurs in Bacon's Essays. In his Essay of 
Empire, the writer says: "This kind of danger is then to be feared 
chiefly when the wives have plots for the raising of their own children, 
or else that they be advoutresses." Sir Simonds D'Ewes, in his account 
of the murder of Sir Thomas Overbury, in 1613, describes the Countess 
of Essex as "Somerset's advoutress " (A utobiography and Correspon 
dence of Sir Simonds U Ewes, ed. Halliwell, I. 74). 



60 Talcs and 

wysely done : For one ought nat to gyue light 
credence to those thinges, wherin resteth per- 
petuall grefe of mynde. 

^ Of hym that pay de his dette with crienge bea. xlv. 

^ THERE was a man on a tyme, which toke as 
moche ware of a marchaunt, as drewe to fyftie li. 
and riottously playde and spente the same awaye 
within shorte space. So whanne the day of paye- 
mente came, he hadde nother 1 moneye nor ware to 
paye : wherfore he was arrested, and muste come 
before the Justyce ; whan he sawe there was none 
other remedye, but that he shulde be constrayned 
eyther to pay the dette, or else to go to prison. 
Wherfore he went to a subtyle man of lawe, and 
shewed to hym his matter, and desyred of hym 2 
his counsayle and helpe. What wylt thou gyue 
me (quod the man of lawe), if I rydde the of this 
dette 1 By my faythe, sayde the dettour, v marke : 
and lo, here it is redy ; as sone as I am quitte, ye 
shall haue hit. G*ood inough, quod the man of 
lawe ; but thou muste be ruled by my counsaile, 
and thus do. Whan thou comest before the Jus 
tice, what som euer be saye 3 vnto the, loke that 

(i) An old form of neither. (2) In orig. desired him of. 
(3) Orig. reads sayd. 



Quicke A nsweres. 6 1 

thou answere to nothing, but cry bea styl : and 
lette me alone with the reste. Content, quod he. 

So, whan they were com before the Justice, he 
said to the dettour : doste thou owe this marchant 
this somme of money or no 1 Bea ! quod he. 
What beste ! (quod the Justice) answere to thy 
plaint, orels thou wilte be condemned. Bea ! 
quod he agayne. Than his man of lawe stode 
forth, and sayd : Sir, this man is but an ideot. 
Who wolde beleue that this marchauht, whiche is 
both wyse and subtyle, wolde truste this ideot, 
that can speke neuer a redy worde, of xl peny 
worth of ware 1 and so with suche reasons he 
perswaded the Justyce to caste the marchaunt in 
his owne action. So whan the sentence was gyuen, 
the man of lawe drewe the dettour asyde, and said : 
Lo, howe sayst thou nowe ? Haue not I done 
well for the 1 Thou arte clere quitte of the dette 
that was demanded of the : wherfore giue me my 
money, and God be with the. Bea ! quod he- 
What, quod the laweer, thou nedest not to crie 
bea no longer ; thy matter is dispatched ; all is at 
a poynt, there resteth nothynge but to gyue me my 
wages, that thou promysyddest. Bea ! quod he 
agayne. I saye, quod the man of lawe, crie bea 
no longer nowe, but gyue me my money. Bea ! 
quod he. Thus the man of lawe, neyther for fayre 



62 Tales and 

nor foule, coulde gette any other thinge of his 
client but Bea : wherfore all angerly he departed, 
and went his waye. 

By this tale ye may perceyue, that they whiche 
be the inuenters and diuisers of fraude and disceit, 
ben often times therby deceyued them selfe. And 
he, that hath hyd a snare to attrap an other with, 
hath hym selfe ben taken therin. 



^ Of the woman that appeledfro kyng Philip to 
kynge Philippe, xlvi. 

^ A WOMAN, whiche [was] gyltlesse, on a tyme was 
condempned by kynge Philippe of Macedone, 
whan he was not sobre : wherfore she sayde : I 
appele. Whether 1 , quod the kynge 1 To kynge 
Philippe, quod she ; but that is whan he is more 
sobre and better aduysed ; whiche sayenge caused 
the kynge to loke better on the matter, and to do 
her ryght. 

This wryteth Val. Maximus. But Plutarche 
sayth, it was a man, and kynge Philip was halfe a 
slepe, whan he gaue sentence. 

(i) Whither. 



Quicke A nsweres. 63 



^ Of the olde woman, that pray de for the welfare 
of the tyrant Denise. xlvii. 

1 WHAT tyme Denyse 1 the tyranne raygned, for 
his cruelte and intollerable dealynge he was hated 
of all the 2 cite of Syracuse, and euery body 
wysshed his dethe, saue one olde woman, the 
whiche euery morning praid God to saue him in 
good life and helth. Whan he vnderstode that 
she so dyd, he meruailed greatly at her vn- 
deserued beniuolence : wherfore he sente for her, 
and asked, why and howe he had deserued, that 
she prayde for hym ] She answered and sayd : I 
do it nat with out a cause. For, whan I was a 
mayde, we had a tyran raignynge ouer us, whose 
death I greatly desyred ; whan he was slayne, there 
succided an other yet more cruell than he, out of 
whose gouernance to be also deliuered I thought 
it a hygh benifyte. The thyrde is thy selfe, that 
haste begon to raygne ouer vs more importunately 3 
than either of the other two. Thus, fearynge leest, 
whan thou arte gone, a worse shuld succede and 
reigne ouer vs, I praye God dayly to preserue the 
in helth e. 

(i) Dionysius. (2) Orig. reads che. 

(3) Importunate seems to be used here in the sense of oppressive or 
overbearing. 



64 Tales and 



^ Of the phisitian Eumonus. xlviii. 

^ A PHISITIAN called Eumonus tolde a sicke man, 
that laye in great payne, that he coulde nat scape, 
but he muste nedes dye of that disese. This sicke 
man within a whyle after, nat by the phisitians 
helpe, but by the wille of God, guerysshed 1 and 
was holle of his disease : howe be hit, he was verye 
lowe and bare 2 broughte. And as he walked forth 
on a daye, he met the same phisytian, whiche, 
doubtynge whether hit were the same sycke man 
or nat, sayd : Arte nat thou Gaius 1 yes, truelye, 
quod he. Arte thou alyue or deed, sayde the 
phisitian 1 I am deed, quod he. What doste thou 
here than, said the phisitian 1 Bycause, quod he, 
that I haue experience of many thinges, God hath 
commanded me that I shulde come and take vp 
all the phisitians that I can get, to him. Whiche 
sayenge made Eumonus as pale as asshes for fere. 
Than Gaius sayd to him : drede thou nat, Eumonus, 
thoughe I sayd all phisitians : for there is no man 
that hath wytte, that wylle take the for one. 

(i) Fr. "guerir," to heal. (2) Poor, or, perhaps, poorly. 



Quicke A nsweres. 65 



IT Of Socrates and his scoldings wyfe. xlix. 

^ LAERTIUS wryteth, that the wyse man Socrates 
had a coursed scoldinge wyfe, called Xantippe, 
the whiche on a daye after she hadde alto 1 chydde 
him powred a ***** potte on his heed. He, 
takynge all paciently, sayde : dyd nat I tell you 
that, whan I herde Xantippe thonder so fast, that 
it wolde rayne anone after ? 

Wherby ye maye se, that the wyser a man is, the 
more pacience he taketh. The wyse poet Virgil 
sayth : all fortune by suffrance must be ouercome. 

H Of the phisitian that bare his paciente on honde, 
he had eaten an asse. 1. 

' A PHISITIAN, which had but smalle lerning, vsed 
whan he came to viset his pacientes to touche the 
pulce ; and if any appayred, he wolde lay the 
blame on the paciente, and beare him on hande, 2 
that he did eate fygges, apples, or some other 
thinge that he forbade : and bicause the pacientes 
other whyle confessed the same, they thought he 

(1) Orig. reads all to. We take the true reading to be alto, as above, 
i.e. in a loud key. 

(2) Delude him with the false notion. To bear on hande, I presume 
to be synonymous with To bear in hande, of the use of which among 
old authors several examples are furnished by Nares (edit. 1859). 



66 Tales and 

had ben a very connynge man. His seruante hadde 
great maruayle, howe he parceyued that, and de- 
syred his mayster to telle hym, whether he knewe 
hit by touching of the pulce, orels by some other 
hygher knowlege. Than sayde his mayster : for 
the good seruice that thou haste done me, I wyll 
open to the this secrete point. Whan I come in 
to the pacientes chamber, I loke al a bout : and, 
if I spye in the flore shales, 1 parynge of chese, of 
aples, or of peares, or any other scrappes, anone I 
coniecte, 2 that the paciente hoth eaten thereof. 
And so to th' ende I wold be blameles, I lay the 
faute on theyr mysdiettynge. 

Nat longe after, the same seruaunte toke on hym 
to practise physike, whyche in lyke maner blamed 
his pacientes, and sayde, that they kepte nat the 
diete that he gaue them ; and he bare them on 
hande that they yete some what, wherof he sawe 
the scrappes in the flore. On a tyme he cam to a 
poure man of the countre, and promysed to make 
him hole, if he wolde be gouerned after him, and 
sa gaue him to drinke I wote nat what, and 
went his waye tyll on 3 the morowe. Whan he 
came agayne, he founde the man sicker than euer 
he was. The rude fole, nat knowinge the cause, 
behelde here and there aboute, and whan he coude 

li) Shells. (2) Conjecture. (3) Orig. and Singer read an. 



Quicke Answeres. 67 

se no skrappes nor parynges, he was sore troubled 
in his mynde. So at the last he espied a saddel 
vnder the bed. Than said he all a loude, that he 
hadde at length parceyued, howe the sicke man 
enpayred : he hath so excessiuely passed diete 
(quod he), that I wonder he is nat deed. How so, 
quod they ? Marye, quod he, ye haue made him 
to eate an holle asse ! Lo, where the saddell 
lyethe yet vnder the bedde. For he thoughte the 
saddell had be lefte of the asse, as bones are of 
fleshe. For which folysshnes he was well laughed 
to skorne and mocked. 

Thus as a good faythfull phisitian is worthy of 
greate honour : for truely of hym dependethe the 
greattest parte of mans helthe, so lyke wyse a 
folysshe and an vnlerned, that thynkethe to cure 
with wordes, that he ought to do with herbes, is nat 
onely worthy to be deryded and mocked, but also 
punysshed : for nothynge is more perillous. 

^ Of the inholders wyfe and her it louers. li. 

^ NERE vnto Florence dwelled an inh older, whos 
wyfe was nat very dangerous of her tayle. Vpon 
a nyghte as she was a bed with one of her louers, 
there came a nother to haue lyen with her. Whan 

(i) Innkeeper. (2) Jealous, careful. 



68 Tales and 

she herde him come vp the ladder, she met him, 
and bade hym go thence, for she hadde no tyme 
than to fulfylle his pleasure. But for all her wordes 
he wolde nat go a waye, but stylle preaced 1 to 
come in. So longe they stode chydinge, that the 
good man came vpon them, and asked them why 
they brauled so. The woman, nat unprouyded 
of a disceytefull answere, sayde : Syr, this man 
wolde come in per force to slee or myschiefe an 
other, that is fled in to our house for succoure, 
and hitherto I haue kepte him backe. Whan he, 
that was within, herde her saye so, he beganne to 
plucke vp his harte and say, he wold be a wreked 2 
on him withoute. And he that was withoute made a 
face, as he wolde kylle him that was within. The 
folysshe man, her husbande, enquered the cause of 
theyr debate, and toke vpon him to sette them at 
one. 3 And so the good sely man spake and made 
the pese betwene them both ; yea, and farther he 
gaue them a gallon of wyne, addynge to his wiues 
aduoutry the losse of his wine. 

^ Of hym that healed franticke men. lii. 

1 THERE dwelled a man in Italy, whiche vsed to 
heale men, that were franticke, on this maner. 

(i) Pressed. (2) Wreaked, revenged. (3) Reconcile them. 



Quicke Answeres. 69 

He had within his house a gutter, or a ditche, 
full of water, wherin he wold put them, some to 
the middell legge, some to the knee, and some 
dypper, as they were madde. 1 So one that 
wsa well amended, and wente aboute the house 
to do one thinge and other for his meate, as 
he stode on a tyme at the gate, lokinge in to 
the strete, he sawe a gentyll man ryde by with a 
great sorte 2 of haukes and houndes j the which 
he called to him and said : you gentyll man, 
whither go ye ? On huntynge, quod the gentyll 
man. What do you with all those kytes and 
dogges, quod he 1 ? They be haukes and houndes, 
quod the gentyll man. Wherfore kepe you 
them, quod the other ? For my pleasure, quod 
the gentyl man. What costeth it you a yere 
to kepe them, quod the other ? XL duckettes, quod 
the gentyll man. And what do they profytte you, 
quod he 1 Foure duckettes, quod the gentyll man. 
Gette the lyghtlye hense, quod the madde man : 
for, if my mayster come and fynde the here, he 
wyll put the in to the gutter vp to the throte. 

This tale toucheth suche young gentyll menne, 
that dispende ouer moche good 3 on haukes, 
houndes, and other trifils. 

(1) i. e. according to their degree of madness. See Introduction, 
viii. ix. 

(2) Assortment. (3) Goods. 

O 



/o Tales and 



*t Of hym that sayde he was not -worthy to open the 
gate to the kynge. liii. 

1 As a kynge of Englande hunted on a tyme in 
the countie of Kent, he hapte to come rydynge to 
a great gate, wherby stode a husbande man of the 
countrey, to whom the kynge sayde : good felowe, 
putte open the gate. The man perceyuynge it 
was the kynge, sayde : no, and please your grace, 
I am nat worthy ; but I wyll go fetche Mayster 
Couper, that dwelleth nat past ij myles hense, 
and he shal open to you the gate. 

^ Of mayster Uauasour and Turpin his man. liiii. 

^ MAYSTER Vauasour, 1 sometyme a iudge of Eng 
lande, hadde a seruaunt with hym called Turpin, 
whiche had done hym seruyce many yeres ; wher- 
fore he came vnto his mayster on a tyme, and 
sayde to hym on this wyse : syr, I haue done you 
seruice longe; wherfore I pray you gyue me 
somwhat to helpe me in myn old age. Turpin, 

(i) This old Yorkshire family produced several persons eminent in 
the legal profession from the time of Henry I. downward ; but the 
one here intended was, in all probability, John Vavasour, who became 
Recorder of York, i Henry VII., and was made a justice of the Common 
Pleas in August, 1490. See Foss's Judges of England, v. 78, 79. 



Quicks A nsweres. 7 1 

quod he, thou sayst trouthe, and hereon I haue 
thought many a tyme ; I wyll tell the, what thou 
shalt do. Nowe shortly I must ride vp to London ; 
and, if thou wilt beare my costis thether, I wyll 
surely gyue the suche a thing, that shall be worth 
to the an hundred pounde. I am contente, quod 
Turpin. So all the waye as he rode Turpin payd 
his costis, tyll they came to theyr last lodginge : 
and there after souper he cam to his mayster and 
sayde : sir, I haue born your costes hitherto, as 
ye badde me ; nowe, I pray you let me se, what 
thynge hit is, that shulde be worthe an hundred 
pounde to me. Dyd I promise the suche a thynge, 
quod his maister \ ye, forsoth, quod Turpin. Shewe 
me thy wrytinge, quod maister Vauasour. I haue 
none, sayde Turpin. Than thou arte lyke to haue 
nothinge, sayde his maister. And lerne this at 
me. 1 Whan so euer thou makest a bargayne with 
a man, loke that thou take sure wrytynge, and be 
well ware howe thou makest a writynge to any man. 
This poynte hath vayled 2 me an hundred pounde 
in my dayes : and so hit may the. Whan Turpin 
sawe there was none other remedy, he helde him 
selfe contente. On the morowe Turpin taryed a 
lytelle behynde his mayster to reken with the 
hostes, where they laye, and of her he borowed so 

(i) Of me. (2) i, e. availed, has been worth .100 to me. 

O 2 



72 Tales and 

moche money on his maysters skarlet cloke, as 
drewe to 1 all the costes that they spente by the 
waye. Mayster Vauasour had nat ryden past ii 
myle but that it began to rayne; wherfore he 
calledde for his cloke. His other seruauntes saide, 
Turpin was behinde, and had hit with him. So 
they houedde z vnder a tre, tylle Turpin ouer toke 
them. Whan he was come, Mayster Vauasour all 
angerly sayde : thou knaue, why comest thou nat 
aweye with my cloke ? Syr, and please you, quod 
Turpin, I haue layde hit to gage 3 for your costes 
al the waye. Why, knaue, quod his mayster, 
diddiste thou nat promyse to beare my charges to 
London? Dyd I, quod Turpin? ye, quod his 
mayster, that thou diddest. Let se, shew me your 
wriytinge therof, quod Turpin ; wherto his mayster, 
I thinke, answered but lytell. 



^ Of hym that sought his wyfe agaynst the 
streme. Iv. 

^ A MAN the[re] was whose wyfe, as she came 
ouer a bridg, fell in to the ryuer and was drowned ; 
wherfore he wente and sought for her vpward 
against the stream, wherat his neighboures, that 

(1) i. e. came to, or amounted to, covered. 

(2) Hovered, i. e. halted for shelter. (3) Laid it in pledge. 



Quicke Answer es. 73 

wente with hym, maruayled, and sayde he dyd 
nought, he shulde go seke her downeward with the 
streme. Naye, quod he, I am sure I shall neuer 
fynde her that waye : for she was so waywarde 
and so contrary to euery thynge, while she lyuedde, 
that I knowe very well nowe she is deed, she wyll 
go a gaynste the stream. 



^ Of hym that at a skyrmyske defended him with 
his feet. Ivi. 

^1 A LUSTYE yonge gentyll man of France, that 
on a tyme was at a skyrmysshe, and defended him 
selfe valyantly with his feet, came in to the courte, 
in to a chambre amonge ladies, with a goodly ringe 
vpon his fynger, to whom a fayre lady sayde : syr, 
why weare ye that rynge vpon your fynger 1 Wher- 
fore aske you, madame, quod he ? Bycause (sayde 
she) your feet dyd you better seruice than your 
handes at the last skyrmysshe that ye were at. 

By this tale yonge men may lerne to beare them 
well and valyantly for drede of reproche. Better 
it is with worshyp to dye than with shame to lyue, 
albe hit that Demosthenes sayde : he that fleethe 
cometh agayne to batayle. 



74 Tales and 

*b Of hym that wolde gyue a songe for his 
dyner, Ivii. 

11 THERE came a felowe on a tyme in to a tauerne, 
and called for meate. So, whan he had well 
dyned, the tauerner came to reken and to haue his 
money, to whom the felowe sayde, he had no 
money, but I wyll, quod he, contente you with 
songes. Naye, quod the tauerner, I nede no 
songes, I must haue money. Whye, quod the 
felowe, if I synge a songe to your pleasure, will ye 
nat than be contente ? yes, quod the tauerner. So 
he began, and songe thre or foure balades, and 
asked if he were pleased ? No, sayde the tauerner. 
Than he opened his pourse, and beganne to synge 
thus : 

Whan you haue dyned make no delaye 
But paye your oste, and go your waye. 

Dothe this songe please you, quod he 1 Yes, marye, 
sayd the tauerner, this pleaseth me well. Than, 
as couenant was (quod the felowe), ye be paide 
for your vitaile. And so he departed, and wente 
his waye. 

This tale sheweth, that a man may be to hastye 
in makynge of a bargayne and couenantynge ; 
and therfore a man ought to take good hede, what 



Quick e Answeres. 75 

he sayth : for one worde may bynde a man to 
great inconuenience, if the matter be weighty. 



^ Of the foole that thought hym selfe deed. Iviii. 

If THERE was a felowe dwellynge at Florence, 
called Nigniaca, whiche was nat verye wyse, nor 
all a foole, but merye and iocunde. A sorte T of 
yonge men, for to laughe and pastyme, appoynted 
to gether to make hym beleue that he was sycke. 
So, whan they were agreed howe they wolde do, 
one of them mette hym in the mornynge, as he 
came out of his house, and bad him good morowe, 
and than asked him, if he were nat yl at ease 1 
No, quod the foole, I ayle nothynge, I thanke 
God. By my faith, ye haue a sickely pale colour, 
quod the other, and wente his waye. 

Anone after, an other of them mette hym, 
and asked hym if he had nat an ague : for your face 
and colour (quod he) sheweth that ye be very 
sycke. Than the foole beganne a lyttel to doubt, 
whether he were sycke or no : for he halfe beleued 
that they sayd trouth. Whan he had gone a lytel 
farther, the thyrde man mette hym, and sayde : 
Jesu ! manne, what do you out of your bed ? ye 

(i) Knot, party. 



76 Tales and 

loke as ye wolde nat lyue an houre to an ende. 
Nowe he doubted greatly, and thought verily in 
his mynde, that he had hadde some sharpe ague ; 
wherfore he stode styll and wolde go no further ; 
and, as he stode, the fourth man came and sayde : 
Jesu ! man, what dost thou here, and arte so sycke? 
Gette the home to thy bedde : for I parceyue thou 
canste nat lyue an houre to an ende. Than the 
foles harte beganne to feynte, 1 and [he] prayde 
this laste man that came to hym to helpe hym 
home. Yes, quod he, I wyll do as moche for the 
as for myn owne brother. So home he brought 
hym, and layde hym in his bed, and than he fared 
with hym selfe, as thoughe he wolde gyue vp the 
gooste. Forth with came the other felowes, and 
saide he hadde well done to lay hym in his bedde. 
Anone after, came one whiche toke on hym to be 
a phisitian ; whiche, touchynge the pulse, sayde the 
malady was so vehement, that he coulde nat lyue 
an houre. So they, standynge aboute the bedde, 
sayde one to an other : nowe he gothe his waye : 
for his speche and syght fayle him ; by and by he 
wyll yelde vp the goste. Therfore lette vs close his 
eyes, and laye his hands a crosse, and cary hym forth 
to be buryed. And than they sayde lamentynge 

(i) To grow faint. 



Quicke Answer es. 77 

one to an other : O ! what a losse haue we of 
this good felowe, our frende 1 

The foole laye stylle, as one [that] were deade ; 
yea, and thought in his mynde, that he was deade 
in dede. So they layde hym on a bere, and caryed 
hym through the cite. And whan any body asked 
them what they caryed, they sayd the corps of 
Nigniaca to his graue. And euer as they went, 
people drew about them. Among the prece 1 ther 
was a tauerners boy, the whiche, whan he herde 
that it was the cors of Nigniaca, he said to them : 
O ! what a vile bestly knaue, and what a stronge 
thefe is deed ! by the masse, he was well worthy 
to haue ben hanged longe ago. Whan the fole 
harde those wordes, he put out his heed and sayd : 
I wys, horeson, if I were alyue nowe, as I am deed, 
I wolde proue the a false Iyer to thy face. They, 
that caryed him, began to laugh so hartilye, that 
they sette downe the bere, and wente theyr waye. 

By this tale ye maye se, what the perswasion of 
many doth. Certaynly he is very wyse, that is nat 
inclined to foly, if he be stered therevnto by a 
multitude. Yet sapience is founde in fewe persones : 
and they be lyghtly 2 olde sob re men. 3 

(i) Crowd. (2) Usually. See Nares, edit. 1859, in voce. 

(3) This story is to be found in Poggius, who calls it Mortuus Loquens, 
and from Poggius it was transferred by Grazzini to his collection of 
Tales, not published till after his death \ 



78 Tales and 

^ Of the olde man and his sonne that brought his 
asse to the towne to sylle. lix. 

^ AN olde man on a tyme and a lyttell boye his 
sonne droue a litel asse before them, whiche he 
purposed to sylle at the markette towne, that they 
went to. And bicause he so dyd, the folkes that 
wrought by the way syde, blamed hym ; wherfore 
he set vp his sonne, and went hym selfe on fote. 
Other, that sawe that, called hym foole, by cause 
he lette the yonge boye ryde, and he, beynge so 
aged, to goo a foote. Than he toke downe the 
boye, and lepte vp and rode hym selfe. Whanne 
he hadde rydden a lyttell waye, he harde other 
that blamed hym, bycause he made the lyttell 
yonge boye ronne after as a seruaunte, and he his 
father to ryde. Than he sette vppe the boye be- 
hynde hym, and so rode forthe. 

Anone he mette with other, that asked hym if 
the asse were his owne, by whiche wordes he con- 
iected, that he did nat wel so to ouercharge the 
lyttell sely asse, that vnethe 1 was able to beare 
one. Thus he, troubled with their dyuers and 
manyfolde opinions ; whiche, neither with his asse 
vacant, nor he alone, nor his sonne alone, nor 

(i) Scarcely. 



Quicke A nsweres. 79 

bothe to gather rydyng at ones on the asse, coulde 
passe forth with out detraction and blame. Wher- 
fore at last he bounde the asse[s] feet to gether, 
and put through a staffe ; and so he and his sonne 
began to beare the asse betwene them on their 
shulders to the towne. The nouelte of whiche 
syght caused euery body to laughe and blame the 
folysshenes of them both. The sely olde man was 
so sore agreued that, as he sat and rested hym on 
a ryuers syde, he threwe his asse in to the water ; 
and so whan he had drowned his asse he tourned 
home agayne. Thus the good man, desyrynge to 
please euerye bodye, contentynge none at all, loste 
his asse. 

By this tale appereth playnelye, that they, whiche 
commyt them selfe to the opinion of the common 
people, ben oppressed with great myserye and 
seruage : for how is it possible to please all, whan 
euerye man hath a dyuers opinion, and dyuerslye 
iudgeth 1 and that was well knowen to the poet, 
whan he sayde : 

Scinditur incertum stiitita in contraria vulgus. 

And as Cicero, Persius, and Flaccus say : as 
many men so many myndes : as many heedes so 
many wyttes. That, that pleaseth one, displeaseth 
an other : Fewe alowe that that they loue nat : and 



8o Tales and 

that that a man aloweth, he thynketh good. Ther- 
fore the beste is, that euery man lyue well, as a 
good Christen man shulde, and care nat for the 
vayne wordes and ianglynge of the people. For 
bablynge (as Plutarchus sayth) is a greuous disease, 
and harde to be remedied. For that that shulde 
heale it (which is wordes of wisdome) cureth them 
that harkneth there vnto ; but pratlers wille here 
none but them selfe. 



IT Of him that sought his asse and rode on his 
backe. Ix. 

^ THERE was in the countrey of Florence an 
husbande man, that vsed to carye corne to the 
market vpon many lytell asses. On a time as he 
came home warde, bycause he was somewhat werye, 
to ease him selfe, he rode on one the strongest of 
them. And as he rode, dryuinge his asses before 
him, he counted them, and forgot the asse that he 
rode on ; wherfore he thought still that he lacked 
one. Thus sore troubled in his mynde, he bad 
his wyfe set vp his asses, and hastily rode agayne 
backe to the towne vii myles of, to seke the asse 
that he rode on. He asked euery body that he 
met, if they sawe an asse straye alone. Whan he 
herde euery bodye saye they sawe none suche, 



Quicke A nsweres. 8 r 

makynge great sorowe, he retourned home agayne. 
At laste, whan he was alyghted his wyfe parceyued 
and shewedde hym playnlye, that the asse, that he 
rode on, was the same that he soughte, and made 
suche sorowe fore. 

This ieste may be well applied vnto suche as 
note the defautes, that they lyghtly 1 spy in other, 
and take none hede, nor can nat se, what ils they 
haue or 2 bene spotted with them selfe. 



1 The answere of Fabius to Liuius. Ixi. 

if WHAN Anniball, the capitayne of Cartage, had 
conquered Tarent (a towne perteinyng to the 
Romayns), all saue the castell, and had lefte a 
garnison to kepe it, whan the worthy Romayne 
Fabius had knowelege therof, he pryuely con 
ducted an armye thether, and got the towne agayne, 
and pylled 3 it. Than M. Liuius that kepte the 
castell with a garnison, sayde bostynge him selfe, 
that Fabius had gotte the towne through him and 

(i) Readily. A story very like this occurs in A Sackful of Newes, 
1673. It was originally related by Poggius in his Facetiae, where it is 
entitled Asinus Perditits, and it has been imitated by La Fontaine in the 
fable of " Le Villageois qui cherche son veau." It is also the i2th tale 
of Les Cent Nouvelles Nouvelles. 

(2) Before. (3) Pillaged. 



82 Tales and 

his helpe. You saye trouth, quod Fabius : for if 
you had nat loste the towne, I shulde neuer haue 
gotte hit. x 



^ The answere of Poltis, the kynge of Thrace, to the 
Troy an embassadors? Ixii. 

^ PLUTARCHE lyke wyse reherseth that, durynge 
the warre of Troy, the Grekes and also the Troians 
sente arabassadours to a kynge of Thrace calledde 
Poltis, whiche kynge answered th ambassadours 
and bade, that Alexandre shulde delyuer agayne 
Helayne (for she was the cause of the warre), and 
he wolde gyue him ii fayre wyues for her. 

(1) " Now there was one Marcus Livius, a ROMAINE that was Go- 
uernour of TARENTUM at that time when Hanniball tooke it,' and never- 
thelesse kept the castell still out of Hannibals hands, and so held it 
untill the city came againe into the hands of the ROMAINES. This 
Livius spited to see such honour done to Fabius, so that one day in open 
Senate, being drowned with enuy and ambition, he burst out and said, 
that it was himselfe, not Fabius, that was cause of taking of the city 
of TARENTUM again. Fabius, smiling to hear him, answered him opely : 
' Indeed, thou saiest true, for if thou hadst not lost it, I had neuer won 
it again." " Plutarch's Lives, transl. by Sir T. North, ed. 1603, fol. 192. 

(2) noXrur, 6 Qpanwv /Jao-iXeii? v T Tp<oiK<jJ iroAt/uy Trpecr/Jeixrajuei/ioi' 
ffpor airoi/ ajua TCOI/ Tpuiajv (cat rZv 'Axattav, t'KeAeuffe TOV 'AAefai/3poi/ 
u7To3oin-a rijv 'EXei/nv, Svo rrap' atnov \a(3elv xa\ar 7ui/aTKar. Plutarchi 
Apotkegmata (Opera Moralia et Philosophica, vol. vi. p.] 665, edit. 
Lipsije, 1777). 



Quicke A nsweres. 83 



^ The wyse answere of Hanibal to kynge Antiochus, 
concerninge his ryche armye. Ixiii 

^ WHAN kynge Antiochus had prepared to make 
warre to the Romayns, he caused his armye to 
mustre before Anniball. So they shewed and 
mustred, both horse men and fote men ; of whose 
ryche and sumptuous armour and apparaile al the 
felde glistred and shone. How saye you, quod 
the kynge to Hanibal, is nat this armye sufficient 
ynough for the Romayns ? Yes, quod Haniball, and 
though they were the moste couetous of all the 
worlde. The kynge mente one thing, and he 
answerd an other. 1 



^ The ivordes of Popilius the Romayn embassadour 
to Antiochus the kynge. Ixiiii. 

1 ONE C. Popilius was sente vp[o]n a tyme by the 
Senatours of Rome with letters to Antiochus the 
kynge of Syrye, wherin the kyng was commaunded 
to calle his armye backe agayne oute of Aegipte . 
and that he shulde suffer the chyldren of Ptolome 
and theyr realme in peace. As th embassadour 

(i) See the 2ist Novel of the ist tome of the Palace of Pleasure 
(Haslewood's edit. i. 74). 



84 Tales and 

came by the kynges tentes and pauylyons, Antiochus 
a good waye of saluted him, but he did nat salute 
the kynge agayne, but delyuered to him his letters. 
Whan the kynge hadde redde the letters, he sayde, 
that he muste take counsayle, before he made him 
an answere. Popilius, with a rod that he had in 
his hande, made a compace aboute the kynge, and 
sayde : euen here standinge, take counsayle, and 
make me an answere. Euery man hadde meruayle 
at the grauite and stout stomacke of the man ; and 
whan Antyochus was contente to do as the Romayns 
wolde haue hym, than Popilius both saluted and 
embraced him. 1 



If Of him that lotted the marchants wyfe. Ixv. 

^f THER was a yonge lusty gentyll man vpon a 
tyme that was ryght amorous, and loued a certayne 
marchauntes wyfe oute of all measure, in so moch 
that he folowed her to the churche and other 
places, but he durste neuer speake. At the laste 
he, with two or thre of his felowes, folowed her to 

(i) " Quibus perlectis, quum se consideraturum, adhibitis amicis, quid 
faciendum sibi esset, dixisset, Popilius, pro cetera asperitate animi, virga, 
quam in manu gerebat, circumscripsit regem : ac, ' Priusquam hoc circulo 
excedas,' inquit, ' redde responsum, senatui quod referam.' Obstupefactus 
tarn violento imperio paruraper quum haesitasset, ' Faciam,' inquit ' quod 
censet Senatus.' Turn demum Popilius dextram regi, tanquam socio 
atque amico, porrexit." Livy, lib. xlv. c. 12, edit. Twiss. 



Q uicke A nsweres. 8 5 

a fryers, where he hadde tyme and place con- 
ueniente to speake thre or four wordes to her, 
that he before had deuysed. So one of his 
felowes sayde : go nowe, speake to her. But he 
stode styll all astonied. They egged 1 and pro- 
uoked him so moche, that at last he wente vnto 
her, and, clene forgettynge those wordes that he 
had thoughte to haue spoken, he said to her on 
this wise : maistres, I am your owne lytel seruante ; 
wherat she smyled and sayd : syr, I nede nat your 
seruyce : for I haue seruantes inow at home, that 
can brusshe, sponge, wasshe and do all my other 
busines. The whiche answere and folysshe basshe- 
mente of the gentyl man caused his felowes to 
laugh hartelye. This maner of folye was well 
knowen to the poet, whan he sayde : 

Incipit ajffari, ntediaq-ue in voce resistit. 

Folysshe loue maketh folkes astonied 

And eke to raue without remembrance 

Whan they shulde speake, they bene abasshed 

And of theyr wordes can make none vtterance 

Nor be so hardye them selfe to auance 

What tyme they se of her the swete face 

Of whom the loue theyr hartes doth enbrace. 



(i) Edged. 



86 Tales and 



^ Of the woman that couerd her heed and shewed 
her taile. Ixvi. 

^ As a woman, that for a certayne impedimente 
had shaued her heed, sat in her house bare heed, 
one of her neighbours called her forth hastely 
into the strete, and for haste she forgotte to putte 
on her kerchefe. When her neighbour sawe her 
so, she blamed her for cominge abrode bare heed : 
wherfore she whypte vp her clothes ouer her heed. 
And so to couer her hed she shewed her ***. They, 
that stode by, beganne to laugh at her folysshenes, 
whiche to hyde a lytell faute shewed a greatter. 1 

This tale touchethe them, that wolde couer 
a smalle offence with a greatter wyckednesse ; 
and as the prouerbe saythe : Stomble at a strawe, 
and leape ouer a blocke. 

^ Howe Alexander was monysshed to slee the fyrste 
that he mette. Ixvii. 

1T WHAN great Alexander wolde entre in to Perse 
lande with his armye, he counsayled with Apollo 
of his good spede : 2 and by lotte 3 he was warned, 
that he shulde commaunde to slee the fyrst that 

(i) " Mai est cachfe a qui Ion void le dos." Leigh's Select French 
Proverbs, 1664. (2) Good fortune. (3) Casting of lots. 



Quiche Answeres. 87 

he mette, whan he issued out at a gate. Per- 
chaunce, the fyrste that he mette was a man 
dryuynge an asse before hym. Incontinent the 
kyng commaunded to take and put hym to dethe. 
Whan the poore man sawe, that they wolde slee 
him, he said : what haue I done 1 Shall I that am 
an innocent [man] be putte to deathe ? Alexander, 
to excuse his dede, sayde, he was warned by 
diuine monition to commaunde to slee the fyrste, 
that he mette comynge out at that gate. If it be 
so, myghty kyng (quod the man), than the lotte 
dyuine hath ordeyned an other to suffre this deth 
and not me : for the lytel asse, that I droue before 
me, mette you fyrste. 

Whiche subtyle sayenge greatly pleased Alex 
ander : for elles he had done amysse ; and so he 
caused the beaste to be slayne. 

By this tale one may note, that it is better some- 
tyme to be laste than fyrste. 

^ Howe the cite of Lamsac was saued from 
destruction. Ixviii. 

1 As great Alexander on a tyme was fully purposed 
to haue vtterly distroyed a great cite, called Lam- 
sac, 1 he sawe his mayster Anaximenes 2 come to- 

(i) Lampsacus. 
2 Anaximenes, the historian, who wrote an account of the Life of 

P 2 



88 Tales and 

warde him withoute the walles : and bicause the 
kynge perceyued manifestlye, that he came to 
entreate hym for the cite, he sware a great othe, 
that he wolde nat do that that he came to desyre 
hym fore. Than Anaximenes sayde : sir, I desyre 
your grace, that this same cite Lampsac may be 
vtterly distroyed. Through which sage and subtile 
sayeng the noble auncient citie was saued from 
ruyne and destruction. 



^[ Howe Demosthenes defended a mayde. Ixix. 

If THERE were two men on a time, the whiche 
lefte a great somme of money in kepyng with 
a maiden on this condition, that she shulde nat 
delyuer hit agayne, excepte they came bothe to 
gether for hit. Nat lang after, one of them cam 
to hir mornyngly arayde, and sayde that his felowe 
was deed, and so required the money, and she 
delyuered it to hym. Shortly after came the 
tother man, and required to haue the moneye 
that was lefte with her in kepyng, The maiden 
was than so sorowfull, both for lacke of the 
money, and for one to defende her cause, that 
she thought to hange her selfe. But Demosthenes, 

Alexander the Great. He was a native of Lampsacus, and the nephew 
of the orator of the same name. 



Quicke Answer es. 89 

that excellent oratour, spake for her and sayd : 
sir, this mayden is redy to quite her fidelite, 1 and 
to deliuer agayne the money that was lefte with 
her in kepynge, so that thou wylt brynge thy 
felowe with the to resceyue it. But that he coude 
nat do. 

^ Of him that desired to be made a gentilman. Ixx. 

^ THERE was a rude clubbysshe 2 felowe, that 
longe had serued the duke of Orliance ; wher- 
fore he cam on a tyme to the duke, and desired 
to be made a gentyll man. To whom the duke 
answered : in good feyth, I may well make the 
ryche, but as for gentyl man I can neuer make 
the. 3 

(i) i. e. Discharge, or acquit herself of, her trust. 

(z) Uncouth. " If thou shuldest refuse to do any of these thynges, 
and woldest assaye to do some thing of more sadnes and prudence, they 
wyll esteme and count the vnmanerly, cloubbysshe, frowarde, and clene 
contrarye to all mennes myndes." Erasmus De Contemptu Mundi, 
transl. by Thomas Paynel, 1533, fol. 42. " Rusticitie may seem to be an 
ignorance of honesty and comelinesse. A Clowne or rude fellow is he, 
who will goe into a crowd or presse, when he hath taken a purge : and 
hee that sayth, that Garlicke is as sweet as a gilliflower : that weares 
shooes much larger then his foot : that speakes alwaies very loud : " &c. 
TJieophrastus His Characters translated by John Healey, 1616, pp. 15, 
16. It is a generally received opinion that this work has come down to 
us in a corrupt shape. 

(3) Times were altered when the curious ballad " These Knights will 
hack," printed by Mr. Halliwell from Addit. MS- 5832, in one of the 
Shakespeare Society's publications, (Marriage of Wit and Wisdom, &c. 
p. 144), was directed against the mushroom-knights of James I. : 



go Tales and 

By which wordes appereth, that goodes and 
riches do not make a gentyl 'man, but noble 
and vertuous conditions do. 



^ Of the gentyll man and his shrewde wyfe. Ixxi. 

"f THERE was a certayne gentyll man, that had 
a cursed chydynge wyfe, that wente euery day, and 
complayned on hym to a religious man, the whiche 
religious man toke vpon hym by weye of confession 
to reconcile and accorde them to gether : and the 
gentyll man was very well contente, that he so shulde 
do, and came to him therfore. Whan the gentyll 
man was come, the religious man badde hym 
shewe his offences and trespaces. No, quod the 
gentyll man, that nedeth nat : for I knowe verye 
well my wyfe hath shewed vnto you all the offences 
that euer I dyd, and moche more. 

" Come all you farmers out of the countrey, 

Carters, plowmen, hedgers, and all, 
Tom, Dick, and Will, Ralph, Roger, and Humphrey, 

Leave of your gestures rusticall. 
Bidde all your home-sponne russets adue, 
And sute yourselves in fashions new : 
Honour invits you to delights ; 
Come all to court, and be made knights. 
He that hath fortie pounds per annum 

Shalbe promoted from the plow : 
His wife shall take the wall of her grannam, 

Honour is sould so dog-cheap now," dr'c. 



Quicke A nsweres. 9 1 



If Of the two yonge men that rode to Walsyng- 
ham}- Ixxii. 

If ONE John Roynoldes 2 rode oute of London 
vpon a tyme towarde Walsyngham, in company 
of a yonge man of the same cite, that hadde 

(i) Consult the new edition of Nares' Glossary, voce Walsingham. 
"This is an Image of oure Ladye. Ergo it is oure Ladye, and here 
she wyll worke wounders more than in an other place, as she dyd at 
Walsingham, at Boston, at Lincoln, at Ipswiche, and I cannot tell 
where." Wilson's Rule of Reason, 1531, 8vo. sign S ii verso. In 
Percy's Reliques, ii. 91, is the ballad "As I went to Walsingham." 
" Have with you to Walsingham" is mentioned as a musical composition 
in Ward's Lives of the Professors of Gresham College. See also Bur- 
ney's Hist, of Music, iii. p. in. When people employed this form of 
adjuration, as was formerly very common, they were said, for brevity's 
sake, " to swear Walsingham." In the play of The Weakest Goeth tc 
the Wall, 1600, 4to. Barnaby Bunch the Botcher sings : 
" King Richard's gone to Walsingham, 

To the Holy Land I " 

with what are intended for comic interlocutions. In March, 1502 3, 
Elizabeth of York, consort of Henry VII. made an oblation of six 
shillings and eightpence to "oure lady of Walsingham" (Privy Purse 
Expenses of Elizabeth of York, edited by Nicolas, p. 3). This offering 
may not appear very large, but it was thought a considerable sum to 
devote to the purpose in those days ; for in the Northumberland House 
hold Book, ed. 1827, p. 337, we find that the yearly offering of the Earl 
of Northumberland (Henry Algernon Percy, 5th Earl, b. 1478, d. 1527) 
to the same shrine was fourpence. There is a fuller account of the 
Shrine of Walsingham &c. in Chappell's Popular Music of the Olden 
Time, 121, et seqq. 

(2) It is just possible that this individual may be identical with the 
"John Reynolde" mentioned in the subjoined extract from the Privy 
Purse Expenses of Elizabeth of York, under date of December, 1502 : 

" Itm the xv'h day of Decembre, to John Reynolde for money by him 
payed to a man that broke a yong hors of the Quenes at Mortymer by 
the space of v wekes, every weke iis. sm, xj. 



92 Tales and 

nat moche ben accustomed to ryde. So they 
came to an Inne, where a 1 great companye was 
lodged. And in the mornynge whan euery man 
made hym redy to ryde, and some were on horse- 
backe setting forwarde, John Roynoldes founde 
his companion, syttynge in a browne study at the 
Inne gate, to whom he sayd : for shame, man, how 
syttest thou 1 Why doste thou nat make the redy 
to horsebacke, that we myght sette forwarde with 
companye? I tary (quod he) for a good cause. 
For what cause, quod Roynoldes ? Marye (quod 
he), here be so many horses, that I can nat telle 
whiche is myne owne amonge the other, and I 
knowe well, whan euery man is riden and gone, 
the horse that remain eth behynde must nedes be 
myn. 

1 Of the yonge man of Bruges, and his spouse. 
Ixxiii. 

11 A YONGE man of Bruges, that was betrouthed 
to a fayre mayden, came on a tyme, whan her 
mother was out of the way, and had to do with 
her. Whan her mother was come in, anone she 
perceyued by her doughters chere, what she had 
done ; wherfore she was so sore displesed, that she 

(i) Orig. reads as. 



Quicke A nsweres. 93 

sewed a diuorse, and wolde in no wyse suffre that 
the yonge man shulde marye her daughter. 

Nat longe after, the same yonge man was maryed 
to an other mayden of the same parysshe : and as 
he and his \vyfe satte talkynge on a tyme of the 
forsayde dammusell, to whome he was betrouthed, 
he fell in a nyce 1 laughyng. Whereat laugh ye, 
quod his wyfe 1 It chaunced on a tyme (quod he), 
that she and I dydde suche a thyng to gether, and 
she tolde hit to her mother. Therin (quod his 
wyfe) she playde the foole : a seruante of my 
fathers playde that game with me an hundred 
tymes, and yet I neuer tolde my mother. Whan 
he herde her saye so, he lefte his nyce laughynge. 

^ Of hym that made as he hadde ben a chaste 
lyuer. Ixxiiii. 

H A FELOWE, that toke vpon him, as he had ben 
the moste chaste and beste disposed man lyuinge, 
was by one of his felowes on a tyme taken in 
aduoutry, 2 and sharpely rebuked for it, bycause he 
prated so moche of chastite, and yet was taken in 

(1) Foolish. Used in this sense by Chaucer and Shakespeare. See the 
last edit, of Nares in voce. 

(2) I have already explained this word to signify adultery. The latter 
form appears to have been little used by old writers (though it occurs 
in the Rule of Reason, 1551, 8vo. by Thomas Wilson). Thus in Payne s 



94 Tales and 

the same faute. To whome he answerde againe : 
O fool, doste thou thinke that I did it for bodely 
pleasure 1 No ! no ! I dyd it but onely to subdue 
my flesshe, and to purge my reynes. 

Wherby ye may perceyue, that of all other 
dissemblynge hipocrytes are the worste. 

If Of hym that the olde roodefell on. Ixxv. 

^ As a man kneled vpon a tyme prayenge before 
an olde rode, the rode felle downe on him and 
brak his hede ; wherfore he wolde come no more 
in the churche halfe a yere after. At lengthe, by 
the prouocation of his nighbours, he cam to the 
churche agayne ; and bycause he sawe his nigh 
bours knele before the same rode, he kneled downe 
lyke wyse and sayde thus : well, I may cappe and 
knele to the; but thou shake neuer haue myn 
harte agayne, as long as I lyue. 

By which tale appereth, that by gentyll and cour- 
teyse entreatinge mens myndes ben obteyned. 1 For 
though the people cappe and knele to one in highe 
authorite, yet lyttell whoteth he, what they thynke. 

translation of Erasmus De Contemptu Mundi, 1533, fol. 16, we find 
" Richesse engendre and brynge forth inceste and advoutry." 
" Hobs. Mass, they say King Henry is a very advowtry man- 
King. A devout man ? And what King Edward ? " 

Heywood's Edward IV. Part I. 1600. 
(i) Orig. and Singer read optcyned. 



Quicke A nsweres. 95 

H Of the wydow that wolde nat weddefor bodily 
pleasure. Ixxvi. 

^ THERE was a ryche wydowe, whiche desyredde a 
gossyp of hers, that she wold get her an husband : 
nat for the nyce playe, quod she, but to th'entente 
he may kepe my goodes to gether, whiche is an 
harde thinge for me to do, beynge a lone woman. 
Her gossyp, whiche vnderstode her conceyte, pro- 
mysed her so to do. Aboute iii or iiii dayes after, 
she came to her agayne, and sayde : gossyp, I haue 
founde an husbande for you, that is a prudente, a 
ware, and a worldlye 1 wyse man, but he lacketh his 
priuey members, wherof ye force nat. Go to the 
dyuell with that husbande (quod the wydowe) : for 
though that I desyre nat the nyce playe : yet I 
wylle that myne husbande shall haue that, where 
with we may be reconciled, if we falle at variance. 

T Of the couetous ambassodour, that wolde here no 
musike. Ixxvii. 

^ WHAN a couetous man on a time was come vnto 
a certain cite, whither he was sent as ambassadour 
for his contrey, anon the mynstrels of the cite 
came to him to fil his eares with swete din, to th' 
intente he shuld fyl their purses with money. But 

(i) Orig. and Singer read ivardlye. 



g6 Tales and 

he, perceyunge that, bad one of his seruauntes go 
and telle them, that he coulde nat than intende 1 to 
here their musicke, but he muste demene great 
sorow, for his mother was deed. So the minstrels, 
disapointed of theyr purpose, all sadlye went theyr 
waye. And whan a worshipfull man of the cite, 
that was his frende, herd tell of his mourning, he 
came to visete and comforte him ; and so in talkynge 
together he asked, howe longe a go it was that his 
mother deceased ? Truelye (quod he), hit is xl 
yere ago. Than his frende, vnderstandinge his 
subtilte, beganne to laughe hartely. 

This tale is aplyed to the couetous men, whiche 
by al crafte and meanes study to kepe and encreace 
theyr money and substance ; agaynst whiche vyce 
many thinges ben wryten. As farre (sayth one) is 
that frome a couetous man that he hath, as that he 
hath nat. 2 And Diogenes calleth couetousnes the 

(1) Give attention. 

(2) The covetous man is servaunt and nat mayster vnto riches : and 
the waster will nat longe be mayster therof. The one is possessed and 
doth nat possesse ; and the other within a shorte whyle leueth the pos 
session of riches." Erasmus De Contemptu Mundi, 1533, fol. 17 (Pay- 
nel's translation). So also, in the Rule of Reason, 1551, 8vo. Wilson 
says : " Is a covetous man poore or not? I may thus reason with my 
self. Why should a couetous man be called poore, what affinitie is 
betwixt theim twoo ? Marie, in this poynct thei bothe agree, that like 
as the poore man ever lacketh and desireth to have : so the covetous 
manne ever lacketh, wantyng the use of that whiche he hath, and 
desireth stil to have." "To a covetous ma he (Pythagoras) sayde : 
" O fole, thy ryches are lost upon the, and are very pouertie." Baldwin's 
Treatise of M or all Phylosophie, 1547. 



Quicke A nsweres. 97 

heed of all yuels, and saynt Hieronyme calleth 
couetousnes the rote of all yuels. And for an 
example, the tale folowinge shall be of couetousnes. 



^ How Denise the tirant serued a couetous man. 
Ixxix. 

H IT was shewed to Denise the tyran, that a coue 
tous man of the cite had hyd a great some of money 
in the grounde, and lyued moste wretchedly : wher- 
fore he sente for the man, and commaunded him to 
go dyg vp the money, and so to deliuer it vnto 
him. The man obeyed, and delyuered vnto the 
tyran all the golde and treasure that he hadde, saue 
a small some, that he priuelye kept a syde : where 
with he wente in to an other cite, and forsoke Sy 
racuse : and there bought a lytell lande, where 
vpon he lyued. Whan the tyran vnderstode that 
he hadde so done, he sent for him agayne ; and 
whan he was come, the tyran sayde to him : syth 
thou haste lerned nowe to vse well thy goodes, and 
nat to kepe them vnprofytably, I wyll restore them 
all to the agayne. And so he dyd. 



98 Tales and 



^ Of the olde man, that quengered 1 the boy oute of 
the apletree with stones. Ixxx. 

^ As an olde man walked on a tyme in his orcherd 
he loked vp, and sawe a boye sytte in a tree, steal- 
ynge his apples; whom he entreated with fayre 
wordes to come downe, and let his apples alone. 
And whan the olde man sawe, that the boye cared 
nat for him, by cause of his age, and set noughte 
by his wordes, he sayde : I haue harde saye, that 
nat onlye in wordes, but also in herbes, shulde be 
greatte vertue. Wherfore he plucked vp herbes, 
and beganne to throwe them at the boye, wherat 
the boye laughed hartelye, and thought that the olde 
man hadde ben mad, to thynke to driue him out of 
the tree with casting of herbes. Than the olde man 
sayde : well, seynge that nother wordes nor herbes 
haue no vertue agaynste the stealer of my goodes, 
I wylle proue what stones wylle do, in whiche, I 
haue harde men saye, is great vertue ; and so he 
gathered his lappe full of stones, and threwe them 
at the boye, and compelled hym to come downe, 
and renne awaye. 

This tale sheweth, that they, that bene wyse, 
proue many wayes, before they arme them. 

(i) Conjured, 



Quicke A nsweres. 99 

1 Of the ryche man that wolde not haue a glyster. 
IxxxL 

T THERE was a certayn riche man on a tyme, 
whiche felle sycke, to the whose curynge came 
many phisitians (for flyes by heapes flee to honye). 
Amonge them all there was one that sayde, that he 
muste nedes take a glyster, if he wolde be holle. 
Whan the sicke man, that was nat envred with that 
medicine, harde hym saye so, he sayde in a great 
furye : out a dores with those phisitians ! they be 
madde : for, where as my payne is in my heed, they 
wolde heale me in myne * * * * . 

This fable sheweth that holsom thynges to them, 
that lacke knowlege and experyence, seme hurtfull. 



thatfeyned hym selfe deed to proue what 
his wyfe wolde do. Ixxxii. 

' A YONGE married man on a time, to proue, to 
here and to se what his wyfe wolde do, if he were 
deed, came in to his house, whyle his wyfe was 
forthe wasshynge of clothes, and layd him downe 
in th *. floore, as he had ben deed. Whan his wyfe 
came in, and sawe him lye so, she thought he had 
ben deed in dede ; wherfore she stode euen stylle, 



ioo Tales and 

and deuysed with her selfe whether was better to 
bewayle his dethe forth with, or els to dyne fyrste : 
for she had eate of no meate l all the day. All other 
thinges consydered, she determined to dyne fyrste. 
So she cut a coloppe of baken, and broyled it on 
the coles, and began to eate theron a pace ; she 
was so hungrye, that she toke no hede of drynke. 
At laste, the saltenes of the meate made her to 
thyrste so sore, that she muste nedes drynke. So, 
as she toke the potte in her hande, and was goyng 
downe into her seller to drawe drynke, sodaynely 
came one of her neyghbours for a cole o' fyre. 2 
Wherfore she stepped backe quickely, and though 
she was right thyrsty, yet she sette the potte a syde ; 
and as [if] her husbande had than fallen downe 
deed, she beganne to wepe, and with many lament 
able wordes to bewayle his dethe ; which wepynge 
and walyng and sodaine dethe of her husbande 
caused all the neyghbours to come thyther. The 
man laye stylle in the floore, and so helde his 
brethe, and closed his eies, that he semed for cer- 
tayne to be deade. At laste, whanne he thought 
he had made pastyme inough, and herynge his 
wyfe saye thus : alas ! dere husbande, what shall I 
do nowe 1 he loked vp and sayde : full yll, my 
swete wyfe, excepte ye go quyckely and drynke ; 

(i) Orig. reads no meat of. (a) Orig. reads afire. 



Quicke A nsweres. I o I 

wherwith they al from wepyng tourned to laughynge, 
specially whan they vnderstode the matter and the 
cause of her thyrste. 

Wherby ye may se, that nat without a good skyl 
the poete sayde : 

Utflerent oculos emediere SUPS. 

^ Of the poure man, into whose house theues brake 
by nyghtel Ixxxiii. 

Tf THERE was a poore man on a tyme, the whiche 
vnto theues, that brake into his house on nyght, he 
sayde on this wyse : syrs, I maruayle, that ye thynke 
to fynde any thyng here by nyght : for I ensure you 
I can fynd nothing, whan it is brode day. 

By this tale appereth playnly 
That pouerte is a welthy mysery. 

11 Of hym that shulde haue ben hanged for his 
scoffynge. Ixxxiiii. 

^ THERE was a mery felowe in hygh Almayn, the 
whiche, with his scoffynge and iestynge, had so 
moche displeased a great lorde of the countreye, 
that he thretned to hange hym, if euer he coude 
take kym in his countrey. Nat longe after, this 

(i) This tale, which is a very old one, is also found in Jests to Make 
You Merie, by T[homas] D[ekker] and George Wilkins, Lond. 1607, 
4to. and in the Philosophers Banquet, 1614, 8vo. 

Q 



IO2 Tales and 

lordes seruauntes toke hym, and hanged he shulde 
be. Whanne he sawe there was no remedy but 
that he shulde dye, he sayde : my lorde, I muste 
nedes suflfre dethe, whiche I knowe I haue wel 
deserued. But yet I beseke you graunte me one 
peticion for my soule[s] helthe. The lorde, at the 
instaunce of the people that stode aboute, so it 
dydde not concerne his lyfe, was contente to 
graunte it hym. Than the felowe sayde : I desyre 
you, my lorde, that after I am hanged, to come iii 
mornynges, fresshe and fastynge, and kysse me on 
the bare * * * * . Where vnto the lorde answered : 
the deuyll kysse thyne **** : and so let hym go. 

H Of hym that had his goose stole. Ixxxv. 

11 A MAN, that had a goose stoole from hym, went 
and complayned to the curate, and desyred hym 
to do so moche as helpe, that he had his goose 
again. The curate sayde he wolde. So on Son- 
day the curate, as though he wolde curse, wente 
vp in to the pulpit, and bade euery body syt downe. 
So, whan they were set, he said : why sit ye nat 
downe ? We be set all redy, quod they. Naye 
(quod the curate) he that dyd stele the goose sitteth 
nat. Yes, that I do, quod he. Sayste thou that, 
quod the curate ? I charge the, on peyne of cursing, 
to bryng the goose home ageyn. 



Quicke A nsweres. 1 03 

t Of the begger that sayd he was kyn to kyng 
Philip of Macedone. Ixxxvi. 

IT THERE came a begger to kyng Philip of Mace- 
done on a tyme, and prayde the kyng to gyue hym 
some what ; and farther he sayde he was his kynse 
man. And whan the kyng asked hym which way, 
he answered and sayde howe they came bothe of 
Adam. Than the kynge commanded to gyue hym 
an almes. Whan the begger sawe it was but a 
small pece of moneye, he sayde, that was nat a 
semely gyfte for a kynge. The kynge answered : 
if I shuld gyue euery manne so moche, that is my 
kynse manne lyke as thou arte, I shuld e leaue 
nothynge for my selfe. x 

^ Of Dantes answere to the tester. Ixxxvii. 

IT DANTES the poete dwelled a whyle with Can, 
the Prince de la Scale, 2 with whome also dwelled an 

(1) In Clievraana, premiere partie, Paris, 1697, 8vo. p. 119, this story is 
altered to suit the Emperor Maximilian I. 

(2) See Balbo, Vita di Dante, edit. 1853. Can de la Scala, mentioned 
in the text, was one of the sons of Alberto de la Scala, Lord of Verona, 
and was born in 1292. Some account of Alberto de la Scala may be 
found in my Venetian History. 

The anecdote related here probably refers to the earlier period of 
Dante s acquaintance with the prince, about A.D. 1318-20. Balbo does 
not seem to have thought this story worthy of notice, though he furnishes 
one or two other examples of the poet's powers of retort. See also Cin- 
thio's Hecntommithi, Deca Settima, Novella settima, edit. 1608. 

Q 2 



IO4 Tales and 

other Florentyne, that hadde neyther lernynge nor 
prudence, and was a man mete for nothynge but 
to scoffe and ieste ; but yet with his mery toyes, he 
so moued the sayd Can, that he dydde greatly en- 
ryche hym. And, bycause Dantes dispised his 
foolysshenes, this scoffer sayd to hym : how cometh 
it, Dantes, that thou art helde 1 so wyse and so well 
lerned, and yet arte poore and nedy ? I am an 
vnlerned man and am an ignorant fole, and yet I 
am farre richer than thou art. To whom Dantes 
answered : if I may fynde a lord lyke and con 
formable to my maners, as thou hast founde to 
thyn, he wyll lyke wyse make me ryche. 

If Of hym that had sore eyes? Ixxxviii. 

H ONE, that had sore eies, was warned of the 
phisitian, that he shulde in any wyse forbeare 
drinking or els lose his eies : to whom he sayd : 
it is more pleasure for me to lose myne eies with 
drinkynge, than to kepe them for wormes to eate 
them oute. 

(1) Orig. reads holde. 

(2) "On Sore Eyes, 
fuscus was councell'd if he would preserve 
His eyes in perfect sight, drinking to swerve ; 
But he reply"d, 'tis better that I shu'd 

Loose the, then keep them for the worms as food." 

Wits Recreations, 1640 (p. 35 of reprint 1817) 



Quicke A nsweres. 1 05 

By this tale ye may perceyue, that it auayleth 
nat to warne some for theyr owne profytte. 



H Of the olde woman that had sore eyes. Ixxxix. 

If THERE was an olde woman, the whiche bargayned 
with a surgean to heale her sore eyes; andwhanne 
he hadde made her eies hole, and that she sawe 
better, she couenaunted that he shulde be payde 
his moneye, and not before. So he layde a medy- 
cyne to her eyes, that shulde not be taken awaye 
the space of v dayes, in whiche tyme she myghte 
nat loke vppe. Euery daye, whan he came to 
dresse her, he bare awaye some what of her house- 
holde stouffe, table clothes, candelstickes and 
disshes. He lefte no thinge, that he coulde carye 
clene. So whan her eies were hole, she loked vp, 
and sawe that her householde stouffe was caryede 
awaye. She sayde to the surgian, that came and 
required his money for his labour : syr, my promise 
was to pay you, whan ye made me se better than 
I did before. That is trouth, quod he. Mary, 
quod she, but I se worse nowe than I did. Before 
ye layde medicins to myn eies, I saw moche fayre 
stoufffc in myn house, and now I se nothinge at 
all. 



io6 Tales and 



*' Of hym that had the custodi of a warde. xc. 

H A CERTAYN man, that had the custody of a ward 
and his goodes, and in shorte space had spente all 
awaye, was by the gouernour of the cite com 
manded to bring in his bookes of Introitus et exitus, 
that is to saye, of entraunce and layenge oute, and 
to gyue accompte of the orphlins 1 goodes. So 
whan he came, he shewed fyrste his mouthe, and 
sayde, here it wente in : and after he shewed vp his 
****, and sayde : here hit wente out, and other 
bookes of Introitus et exitus I haue none. 



^ Of the excellent paynter, that had foule 
children, xci. 

11 THERE was a peinter in Rome that was an ex 
cellent counnynge man, and bycause he had foule 
children, one sayde to him : by my feyth, I mar- 
uayle that you paynte so goodelye, and gette so 
foule chyldren. Yea, quod the peynter, I make 
my chyldren in the darke, and I peynte those 
fygures by daye lyght. 2 

(1) See the new edition of Naresz voce. Orphlin is merely a contrac 
tion of the French orphelin. 

(2) " A Skilfull Painter such rare pictures drew, 

That every man his workemanship admir'd : 



Quicke Answer es. 107 

IT Of the scoffer that made a man a south sayer. 
xcii. 

^ THERE was a mery scoffynge felowe on a tyme, 
the whiche toke on him to teach a man to be a 
south sayer. Whan they were agreedde, what he 
shuld haue for his labour, the scoffer sayde to the 
man : holde ! eate this rounde pellet, and I warant 
thou shalte be a south sayer. The man toke and 
put it in his mouth, and began to champe theron, 
but hit sauered so ill, that he spyt it out forth with, 
and said : phy ! this pellet, that thou gyueste me 
to eate, sauereth all of a *****: Thou sayst trouth 
(quod the scoffer), nowe thou arte a south sayer ; 
and therefore paye me my money. 1 

T Of the marchaunt of Florence called Charles. 
xciii. 

^ A MARCHAUNT of Florence, called Charles, came 
frome Auignone to Rome ; and as he sate at souper 

So neere the life in beautie, forme and hew, 

As if dead Art 'gainst Nature had conspir'd. 

Painter, sayes one, thy wife's a pretty woman, 

I muse such ill-shapt children thou hast got, 

Yet mak'st such pictures as their likes makes no man, 

I prethee tell the cause of this thy lot ? 

Quoth he, I paint by day when it is light, 

And get my children in the darke at night." 

Taylor's Sculler, 1612 (Works, 1630, iii. 22). 
(i) See Scoggin's Jests, p. 28 (edit. 1796). 



io8 Tales and 

with a great company, one asked him how the 
Florentins at Auignone fared ? He sayde they 
were merye and gladde : for they that dwelle there 
a yere (quod he) be as men that were franticke and 
out of theyr myndes. Than an other, that sate at 
souper with them, asked this Charles, how longe 
he had dwelled there. He answerde : vi monethes. 
Charles (quod he that asked him the question), 
thou haste a great wytte : for hit, that other be 
about xii monethes, thou hast fulfylled in halfe a 
yere. 

IT Of the chesshire man called Eulyn. xciiii. 

H THER dwelled a man in Chesshyre called Eulyn, 
whiche vsed to go to the towne many tymes ; 
and there he wolde sytte drynkyng tyl xii of the 
clocke at nyghte, and than go home. So on a 
tyme he caryed a lyttell boye his sonne on his 
shulder with him, and whan the chylde fell a slepe 
about ix of the clocke, the ale wyfe brought him to 
bed with her chyldren. At mydnyghte Eulyn wente 
home, and thought no more on his chylde. As 
sone as he came home, his wyfe asked for her 
chyld. Whan she spake of the chylde, he loked 
on his shulder ; and whan he sawe he was not 
ther, he said he wist nat where he was. Out vpon 



Quicke Answeres. 109 

the, horson (quod she), thou hast let mi child fal in 
to the water (for he passed ouer the water of Dee 
at a brige). Thou list, 1 hore (quod he) : for if he 
had fallen into the water, I shuld haue hard him 
plump. 

"f Of him that desired to be set vpon the pillori. 
xcv. 

^ THERE were iii loytteringe felowes fell in com- 
panye on a tyme, the whiche wente so longe to 
gether tylle all theyr money was spente. Whan 
their money was gone, one of them sayd : what 
shal we do now ? By my faith (quod an other), if 
I might come where preace of people were, I 
coulde get moneye inough for vs. And I (quod 
the iii) can assemble people to gether lyghtly. So 
whan they came in to a lyttelle towne, where a 
newe pillory was sette vp, he, that sayde he coude 
lyghtly assemble people to gether, went to the 
bayly of the towne whiche was a boucher, and 
desyred him, that he wolde gyue him leaue to haue 
the u^aidenheed of the pyllory. Whiche requeste 
at the fyrste abasshed the bayllye : for he wyst not 
what he mente therby ; wherfore he toke counsayle 
of his neighbours, what was best to do, and they 

(ij Liest. 



i ro Tales and 

bade him set vp the knaue, and spare nat. So 
whan he was on the pillorye, he loked aboute, and 
sawe his ii felowes busy in the holes of the bouchers 
aprons, where thei vsed to put theyr money. Than 
he said : ther now, go to a pace. The people 
gaped vp styll and laughed ; and whan he saw that 
his felowes had sped their maters, and were going 
away, he said to the peple : now turne the pilori 
ones about, and than I wyl com downe. So they 
laughing hartily did. Whan the felow was com 
downe from the pyllory, the baylie sayde to hym : 
by my faythe, thou arte a good felowe, and by 
cause thou haste made vs so good sporte, holde I 
wyll gyue the a grote to drynke, and so putte his 
hande in the hole of his apron. But there he 
founde neuer a penye. Cockes * armes ! (quod the 

(i) (?) God's alms. Browne calls this a dung hill oath : 

"With that the Miller laughing brush'd his cloathes. 
Then swore by Cocke and other dung-hill oathes." 

Britannia* Pastorals, lib. i. p. loo (ed. 1625). 

It is very commonly found in the early dramatists, and long before the 
statute of James the First, By cock and similar phrases were used, in 
order to evade the charge of profaning the name of the Deity. It is 
of particularly frequent occurrence in Skelton's Magnyfycence '. 

" O[afty] CV[veyance]. Cockes armes, thou shall kepe the brew- 
house boule. 
Fol [ye]. But may I drynke thereof whylest that I stare ? " 

Magnyfycence (Skelton's Works, ed. Dyce, i. 268). 

But this writer seems to have employed it rather fantastically than from 
any desire to soften the oath ; for elsewhere in the same piece we find 



Quicke A nsweres. 1 1 1 

bayllye) my pourse is pycked, and my moneye is 
gone. Syr (quod the felowe), I truste ye wyll beare 
me recorde, that I haue hit nat. No, by the masse, 
quod he, thou were on the pyllorie the whyle. 
Than, no force, quod the felow, and wente his 
waye. 



^ Of the wydowes daughter that was sent to the 
abbot with a couple of capons, xcvi. 

^ THERE was an abbot that had a wydowe to his 
tenant, which wydow on a tyme sent her doughter 
with a couple of capons to the abbotte. And 
whan the mayden came with her present, she 
founde the abbot syttyng at dyner, to whom she 
sayd : moch good dutte 1 the, my lorde ! Ha ! 
welcome, mayden, quod he. My lorde (quod she), 
my mother hath sent the here a couple of capons. 



By C ', Goddesfote, &c. The practice of swearing had grown to such a 
pitch in the time of Taylor the Water-Poet, that that writer says {Against 
Cursing and Swearing, Works, 1630, i. 50) : " If the penalty of twelve 
pence for every oath had been duly paid (as the statute hath in that case 
provided) I doe verily beleeve that all the coyned money in England would 
have been forfeited that way." Whitford, in his Werkefor Housholders, 
first printed about 1528 'edit. 1533, sign. c. ii et seqq.), relates several 
remarkable judgments as having fallen, within his personal knowledge, 
on profane swearers, who were as plentiful and as reckless in the time of 
Henry VIII. as they were a century later, 
(i) Do it. 



1 1 2 Tales and 

God a mercy, 1 mayden, quod he. And so he 
made her to be sette downe atte his owne table 
to eate some meate. Amonge other meates, the 
abbotte had than a grene goose with sorell sauce, 
wherof he dyd eate. So one, that sat at the 
abbottes tables, gaue the rompe of the goose to 
the mayde to picke theron. She toke the rompe 
in her hande, and bycause she sawe the abbot 
and other wete their meate in the sorell sauce, 
she sayde : my lorde, I pray the gyue me leue to 
wete myn rompe in thy grene sauce. 

1 Of the two men, that dranke a pynte of whyte 
wyne to gether. xcvii. 

^ THERE came two homely men of the countreye 
in to a tauerne on a tyme to drinke a pynte of 
wine. So they satte stylle, and wyste not what 
wyne to calle for. At last, herynge euerye man 
call for white wyne as clere as water of the rocke, 
they bad the drawer brynge them a pynte of 
whyte wyne as clere as water of the rocke. The 
drawer, seyng and perceyuyng by their wordes 
that they were but blont felowes, he brought 
them a pinte of clere water. The one of them 
fylled the cuppe, and dranke to his felow, and 

(i) God thank you. 



Quicke A nswcres. 113 

sayd : holde, neighbour, by masse, chadde 1 as lefe 
drynke water, saue only for the name of wyne. 2 

(1) z>. I had. 

(2) The beverage of which these persons are here supposed to partake, 
was probably what, in Charles the First's time, was called -white wine ; 
which, if diluted, as was no doubt very commonly done, would present a 
very watery aspect. A very curious account of the wines in vogue 
during the reigns of Elizabeth and James I. is given by Taylor the 
Water-Poet in his Praise of Hempseed. Cartwright, in his Ordinary, 
has the following passage, describing the various sorts of wine used in 
his day : 

"Hearsay. Thou hast forgotten Wine, Lieutenant, wine. 
Slicer. Then to avoid the grosse absurdity 

Of a dry Battel, 'cause there must some bloud 

Be spilt (on th' enemies side, I mean) you may 

Have there a Rundlet of brisk Claret, and 

As much of Aligant, the same quantitie 

Of Tent would not be wanting, 'tis a wine 

Most like to bloud. Some shall bleed fainter colours, 

As Sack, and white wine. Some that have the itch 

(As there are Taylors still in every Army) 

Shall run with Renish, that hath Brimstone in't" 

Aligant mentioned in this extract was the wine grown in Alicante, a 
province of the ancient Kingdom of Valencia. Sometimes it was spelled 
Aligaunt or Aligaunte : 

"Pseud. In Ganges lies I thirty rivers saw 

Fill'd with sweet nectar. 
Loch. O dainty Iyer ! 
Pseud. Thirty rivers more 
With Aligaunte." 

Timon, a Play, p. 39. 

In the Privy Purse Expenses of Henry VIII., under date of Feb. 16, 
1530, occurs the following item : " Paied to the S'geant of the Sello' for 
iii tonne of white wyne of galiake (Gaillac in Languedoc)." See also the 
Northumberland House-Hold Book, ed. 1827, p. 414; and Taylor's 
Penniless Pilgrimage, 1618 ( Works, 1630, i. 136). 



114 Tales and 

^ Of the doctour that went with the fouler to catche 
byrdes. xcviii. 

H THERE was a doctour on a tyme, whiche desired 
a fouler, that went to catche byrdes with an owle, 
that he might go with hym. The byrder was con 
tent, and dressed hym with bowes, and set hym by 
his oule, and bad hym say nothynge. Whan he 
saw the byrdes alyght a pace, he sayde : there be 
many byrdes alyghted, drawe thy nettes ; where 
with the byrdes flewe awaye. The byrder was 
very angry, and blamed him greatly for his 
speakyng. Than he promysed to holde his peace. 
Whan the byrder was in agayn, and many byrdes 
were alyghted, mayster doctour said in latyn : aves 
permulta adsunt; wherwith the byrdes flewe away. 
The byrder came out ryghte angrye and sore dis 
pleased, and sayde, that by his bablynge he had 
twyse loste his pray. 1 Why, thynkest thou, foole 
(quod the doctour), that the birdes do vnderstand 
latin 1 This doctour thought that the vnderstand- 
ynge, and nat the noyse, hadde feared awaye the 
byrdes. 

(i) " He that will take the bird, must not skare it" Herbert's Out 
landish Proverbs, 1640, No. 41. 



Quicke A nsweres. 115 



' Of hym that vndertoke to teache an asse to 
rede. xcix. 

^ THERE was a certayne tyran, 1 the which, to pylle 
one of his subiectes of his goodes, commaunded 
hym to teache an asse to spelle and rede. He 
sayd it was impossible, except he might haue space 
inough therto. And whan the tyran bade hym 
aske what tyme he wolde, he desyred x yeres 
respite. But yet, bycause he vndertoke a thynge 
impossible, euerye bodye laughed hym to scorne. 
He tourned towarde his frendes and sayde : I am 
nothynge affrayde : for in that space, either I, the 
asse, or elles my lorde may dye. 

By whiche tale appereth, that it is holsome to 
take leyser inough aboute a thynge that is harde to 
do, specially whanne a man can nat chose to take 
hit ->n hande. 2 

(1) This word, which frequently occurs in the course of the present 
work, must be understood to be merely equivalent to the Greek rvpawot, 
a prince whose authority is unlimited by constitutional restraints. There 
seems to be some ground for the supposition that rvpawot is nothing 
more than the Doric form of Koipavot. It may be mentioned that in 
middle-Greek the word despota (iecnrorrit) bore no harsher meaning 
than that of a petty prince, acting independently, but acknowledging 
a suzerain. It is to be found in this sense, I think, almost in all the 
Byzantine historians. 

(2) i.e. when the undertaking is no matter of choice. 



1 1 6 Tales and 



^ Of the fryer that confessed the woman} c. 

T As a fayre yong woman of the towne of Amilie 
confessed her to a friere, he beganne to burne so 
in concupiscence of the flesshe, that he entyced 
her to consente to his wylle. And they agreed, 
that she shulde feyne her selfe sycke, and sende 

(i) This is a very favourite tale with the early Italian novelists. In 
Dunlop's History of Fiction, ii. 364-5 (Second Edition), the incident is 
said to have been founded on a real adventure of a French priest. In 
the following extract from a highly curious pamphlet, it appears in a 
different form : 

' ' There was a rich Burgess of Antwerp, a Mercer by his trade, who 
was a Bawd to his own Wife (though it was against his will or knowledge), 
but I blame him not, for I doubt hee hath many more fellowes as innocent 
and ignorant as himselfe, but this was the case, his wife wearing corke 
shooes, was somewhat light-heel'd, and like a foul player at Irish, some 
times she would beare a man too many, and now and then make a wrong 
Entrance. The summe was, that shee lov'd a Doctor of Physicke well, 
and to attaine his company shee knew no better or safer way, than to 
faine her selfe sicke, that hee under the colour of visitation might feele her 
pulses, and apply such cordiall Remedies as might either ease or cure her. 

In briefe, the Doctor being sent for, comes and finds the Mercer her 
husband walking in his shop with a neighbour of his, where after a leash 
of Congees, and a brace of Baza los manus, the Mercer told him that his 
Wife is a languishing sicke woman, and withall entreats him to take the 
paines to walke up the staires, and minister some comfort unto her : 
Master Doctor, who knew her disease by the Symptomes, ascends up 
into the Chamber to his longing patient, staying an houre with her, 
applying such directions and refections, that her health was upon the 
sudden almost halfe recovered ; so taking his leave of her (with promise 
of often visitation) he comes downe into the shoppe, where the guiltlesse 
Bawd her husband was, who demanding of the Doctor how all did above, 
truely quoth hee, much better than when I came, but since I went up, 
your wife hath had two such strange violent fits upon her, that it would 
have grieved your very heart to have scene but part of one of them." 
Taylor's Bawd (Works, 1630, ii. 94). 



Qtiicke A nsweres. 117 

for hym to shryue her. Within iij dayes after, she 
feyned her selfe sycke, and laye downe in her 
bedde, and sente for the same fryere to shryue 
her. Whan the friere was come, and euery body 
voided out of the chambre, he went to bedde to 
the woman, and there laye a longe space with her. 
Her husbande, suspectyng so longe a confession, 
came in to the chaumbre ; whose sodayne comynge 
so sore abasshed the fryer, that he went his way 
and lefte his breche behynde him lyenge on the 
bedde. Whan her husbande sawe the breche, he 
sayd a loude, this was nat a frier, but an aduouterer ; 
and for great abbomination of the dede he called 
all his householde to se hit. And forthe with he 
went and complayned to the warden of that couent, 
and thretned to slee hym that had done the dede. 
The wardyen, to appease his anger, sayde, that 
suche publysshynge was to the shame of hym and 
his householde. The man said, the breche was so 
openly founde, that he coude nat hyde it. The 
warden to remedy the matter sayde, it was saynt 
Fraunces' breche, an holy relyke that his brother 
caryed thither for the womans helth, and that he 
and his couent wolde come and fetche hit home 
with procession. With those wordes the man was 
contente. Anone the warden and his frieres, with 
the crosse before them, and arayed in holye veste- 
R 



1 1 8 Talcs and 

mentes, went to the house and toke vppe the 
breche ; and two of them, on a clothe of sylke, 
bare it solemlye on hyghe betwene theyr handes, 
and euerye bodye that mette them kneled downe 
and kyssed it. So, with great ceremony and songe, 
they brought it home to their couente. But after, 
whanne this was knowen, ambassadoures of the 
same citie wente and complayned therof before 
the Holy See Apostolyke. 

^ Howe a chaplen of Louen deeeyued an vsurer. ci. 

^ IN the towne of Louen 1 was a chaplayne called 
Antonye, of whose merye sayenges and doynges is 
moche talkynge. As he mette on a daye one or two 
of his acqueyntaunce, he desyred them home with 
him to dyner : but meate had he none, nor money. 
There was no remedy but to make a shefte. Forth 
he goth, and in to an vserers kytchynne, with 
whome he was famylier ; and priueilye vnder his 
govvne he caryed oute the potte with meate, that 
was sod 2 for the vsurers dyner. Whan he came 
home, he putte oute the meate, and made the pot 
to be scoured bryght, and sente a boye with the 
same pot to the vserer to borowe ii grotes theron, 
and bade the boye take a bylle of his hande, that 
suche a brasse potte he delyuered hym. The boy 

(ii Louvaine (2) Cooked. 



Qnicke Answer es. 1 19 

did as he was bydde ; and with the money that he 
hadde of the vsurer, he bought wine for theyr 
dyner. Whan the vsurer shulde go to dyner, the 
potte and meate was gone, wherfore he alto chydde 
his mayde. She said there came no bodye of all 
the daye, but syr Antony. 1 They asked him, and 
he sayde he had none. At length, they sayde in 
erneste, he and no man els had the pot. By my 
fayth (quod he), I borowed suche a potte vpon a 
tyme, but I sente hit home agayne ; and so called 
witnes to them, and sayde : lo, howe peryllous it 
is to deale with men nowe a dayes withoute 
wrytynge. They wolde lay thefte to my charge, 
an' if I had no wrytinge of the vsurers hande; 
and so he shewed oute the wrytinge. And whan 
they vnderstode the disceyte, there was good 
laughynge. 

^ Of the same chaplen and one that spited him. cii. 

H THE same Antony dyned on a tyme with a sorte 
of merye felowes, amonge whome there was one 

(i) It is scarcely necessary to mention that formerly all priests were 
styled Sir. One of John Heywood's interludes is called : A Play 
between Johan the Hrisband, Tyb the Wife, and Sir Johan the Prest. 
In an old ballad in the Ashmole Collection, beginning, "Adew! my 
pretty pussy," there is this passage : 

" But the gyrld ys gon, syr, 
With a chokynge bon, syr, 
For she hath got Syr John, syr, 
And ys oure vyckars wyff." 

R 2 



1 20 Tales and 

that greatly spited 1 him in his scoffes and merye 
iestes. And as they sate laughynge and sporting, 
one asked whiche was the most reuerent part of 
mans bodye? One sayd the eie, an other the nose ; 
but Antony, bycause he knew his enuyer wolde 
name the clene contrarye, sayde the mouth was 
the most reuerent parte. Naye, quod his enuyer, 
the parte that we sytte on is the moste reuerent ; 
and bicause they meruayled whye, he made this 
reason, that he was moste honourable amonge the 
common people, that was fyrsl sette ; and the parte 
that he named was fyrste sette. Whiche sayenge 
contented them, and they laughed merelye. He 
was nat a littell proude of his sayenge, and that 
he hadde ouer come Antonye. This past forth. 
Four or fyue dayes after, they were bothe bydde to 
dyner in a nother place. Whan Antony cam in, he 
found his enuier, that sat talkynge with other, whyle 
the diner was makynge redy. Antony tourned 
his backe to him and lette a great ***** agaynst 
his face. His enuyer, greatlye disdayninge, sayde : 
walke knaue with a myschiefe, where hast thou ben 
nourtered ? Why and dysdaynest thou, quod 
Antony? if I had saluted the with my mouthe, 
thou woldest haue saluted me agayne ; and nowe 
I grete the with that parte of my body, that by 

(i) Thwarted, crosse I. 



Q uicke A nsweres. 121 

thyn owne sayenge is moste honourable, thou 
callest me knaue. 

Thus he got agayne his praise, that he hadde 
loste before. 



^ Of the olde man that put him selfe in his sonnes 
handes. ciii. 

^ THERE was a certayne olde man, whiche let his 
sonne to mary, and to brynge his wyfe and his 
chyldren to dwelle within him, and to take all the 
house in to his owne hande and gydinge. So a 
certeyne tyme the olde man was sette and kepte 
the vpper ende of the table ; aftenvarde they sette 
him lower, aboute the myddes of the table ; thyr- 
dely they set him at the nether ende of the table ; 
fourthly he was set amonge the seruantes ; fyfthly 
they made him a couche behynde the halle dore, 
and cast on him an olde sacke clothe. Nat longe 
after, the olde man died. Whan he was deed, the 
yonge mans sonne came to him and sayde : father, 
I prey you gyue me this olde sacke cloth, that was 
wonte to couer my graundfather. What woldest 
thou do with it, sayde his father 1 ? forsoth, sayd 
the chylde, it shall seme to couer you whan ye 
be olde, lyke as it did my grandfather ; at whiche 
wordes of the chylde this man ought to haue ben 



122 Tales and 

ashamed and sory. For it is wryten : sonne, 
reuerence and helpe thy father in his olde age, 
and make him not thoughtfull and heuy in his 
lyfe, and though he dote, forgyue it him. He that 
honoreth his father, shall lyue the longer, and 
shall reioyce in his owne chyldren. 1 

^ Of hym that had a flye peytited in his shilde. 
ciiii. 

IT A YONGE man, that on a tyme went a warfare, 
caused a flye to be peynted in his shylde, euen of 
the very greatnes of a flye ; wherfore some laughed 
at him and sayde : ye do well, because ye wyll 
not be knowen. Yes, quod he, I do it because 
I wyll be knowen and spoken o For I wyll 
approch so nere our enemys, that they shall well 
decerne what armes I beare. 

Thus it, that was layde to him for a blame of 
cowardise, was by his sharpe wytte turned to a 
shewe of manlynes; and the noble and valiaunt 
Archidamus sayde : shotte of crossebowes, slynges, 
and suche lyke ingins of warre are no proffe of 
manhode ; but whan they come and fyghte hande 
to hande, appereth who be men and who be not. 

(i) The original of this is the Fabliau of La Honce Partie, in 
Barbazan's Collection. The Story has been used by Lando, in his 
Varii Componimentii 1552, 8vo. 



Quicke A nsweres. 123 

^ Of th emperour Augustus and the olde men. cv. 

^ As the noble emperour Augustus on a time cam 
in to a bayne, 1 he behelde an olde man, that hadde 
done good seruice in the warres, frotte 2 him selfe 
a gaynste a marble pyller for lacke of one to helpe 
to wasshe him. Th emperour, moued with pite, 
gaue an annuite to fynde hym and a seruaunt to 
wayte vpon him. Whan this was knowen, a great 
sorte of olde men drewe them to gether, and stode 
where as the emperour shulde passe forth by, euerye 
one of them rubbynge his owne backe with a 
marble stone. The emperour demaunded why 
they dyd so ? Bycause, noble emperour, sayd 
they, we be not able to kepe seruantes to do it. 
Why, quod the emperour, one of you maye clawe 
and frote an others backe well inough. 

^ Phocions oration to the Athen\ian~\s? cvi. 

^ PHOCION on a daye, treatynge a longe oration 
to the people of Athenes, plesed them very wel ; 
and whan he sawe, that they all to gether allowed 
his wordes, he tourned to his frendes and sayd : 

(i) Bath. (2) Rub, from the French, frotter. 

(3) Phocion, the celebrated Athenian patriot, b. 402 B.C. d. 317 B.C. 
Full particulars about him may be found in Mr. Grote's History of Greece, 
and in Dr. Smith's Dictionary of Classical Biography. 



1 24 Tales and 

haue I vnwarely spoken any hurte? So moche 
he perswaded hym selfe, that nothyng coude plese 
them that was well and truely spoken. 



^ Of Demosthenes and Phocion. cvii. 

^ DEMOSTHENES sayde to Phocion : if the Athe- 
niens falle ones in a madnes, they woll slee the. 
To whom he answered : ye, surely, if they waxe 
madde they woll slee me ; but an' they waxe ones 
wyse, they wyll slee thee. For Demosthenes spake 
moche to the peoples pleasure, and spake thynges 
rather delytable than holsome. 

H Of Phocion that refused Alexanders gyfte. cviii. 

^ WHAT tyme Alexander, kynge of Macedone, sent 
an hundred besauntes of golde for a gyfte to Pho 
cion, he asked them that brought the money, how 
it came that Alexander sent it to hym alone, seyng 
there were many other men in Athenes beside him. 
They answered : bycause he iugeth you alone to 
be an honest and a good man. Therfore, quod 
he, let hym suffre me to be taken to be suche 
one styll. 1 

Who wolde not wonder at the cleane and vn- 
corrupt courage of this Phocion? He was but a 

(i) Orig. reads unnecessarily, and to be such one styll. 



Quicke A nswercs. 125 

poore man, and yet the greatnes of the gyft coude 
nothinge moue hym. Besyde also he shewed, that 
they the whiche, while they mynistre the common 
welthe, absteyne not from takyng of gyftes, neyther 
be nor ought not to be taken for good men. 

^ Of Denyse the tyranne and his sonne. cix. 

^ WHAT tyme Denyse the tyranne vnderstode that 
his sonne, that shulde reigne after hym, had com- 
mytted aduoutry with a worshypfull mans wyfe, 
angerly he sayde to hym : dyd I, thy father, euer 
suche a dede ? The yonge man answered : no, 
ye had not a kynge to your father. Nor thou, 
sayde Denyse, art not lyke to haue a sonne a 
kynge, excepte thou leaue commyttynge of suche 
wyckedde dedes. 

^ Of Pomponius the Romayne, that was brought 
before Mithridates. ex. 

*" POMPONIUS, a noble man of Rome sore hurte 
and wounded, was taken and brought before 
Mithridates, whiche asked hym this questyon : if 
I cure and heale thy woundes, wylte thou than 
be my frende 1 He answered hym agayne thus : 
if thou wylte be a frende to the Romaynes, thou 
shalt than haue me thy frende. 



126 Tales and 

This was a noble stomacke, that preferred the 
welth of his countrey before his owne helth. 

^ Of Titus and the tester, cxi. 

1 SUETONIUS sheweth that Titus the father pro- 
uoked a scoffer, that stode iesting with euery body, 
that he shulde lyke wyse saye somewhat to hym. 
I woll, sayde the scoffer, after ye haue done youre 
easement. He iested at the emperours counti- 
nance ; he loked alway as one that streyned hym 
selfe. 

On suche a visaged man writeth Martiall. 

Utere lactucis, ac tnollibws utere maluis, 
Namfaciem durum Phebe cacantis hales. 

^ Of Scipio Nasica and Ennius thepoetel cxii. 

IT WHAN Scipio Nasica came on a tyme to speake 
with Ennius the Poete, he asked his mayde at the 
dore, if 4ie were within ; and she sayde, he was 
not at home. But Nasica perceyued, that her 
mayster badde her say so, and that he was within ; 
but, for that tyme dissemblynge the matter, he wente 
his waye. Within a fewe dayes after, Ennius came 

(i) The celebrated Latin poet. "Quintus Ennius," Gellius tells us 
(N. A. lib. xvii. cap. 17), "said he had three hearts, because he under 
stood the Greek, Oscan, and Latin languages." 



Quicke Answer es. 127 

to Nasica, and knockynge at the dore, asked if 
he were within. Nasica hym selfe spake oute a 
loude and sayd, he was not at home. Than sayde 
Ennius : what, manne, thynke you that I knowe 
not your voyce 1 Wherevnto Nasica aunsweredde 
and sayde : what a dishoneste man be you 1 Whan 
I sought you, I beleued your mayde, that sayde ye 
were not at home, and ye wyll not beleue me myn 
owne selfe. 



^ Of Fabius Minutius and his sonne. cxiii. 

H FABIUS Minutius was of his sonne exhorted on 
a tyme to gette and conquere a place that was 
mete for them, and to theyr great auauntage, the 
whiche thynge he sayde, they myght do with the 
losse of a fewe men. Wyll ye be one of those 
fewe, sayde Fabius to his sonne ? 

Therby shewynge, that it is a poynt of a good 
capiteyne to care for the lest of his souldiours, and 
to saue them as nere as he can. 1 

Th' emperour Antoni[n]us Pius loued moche this 
sentence of Scipio, whiche wolde ofte saye : I 
hadde leauer saue one citezen, thanne slee a 
thousande ennemyes. 

(i) Orig. reads coude. 



128 Tales and 

^ Of Aurelian, that was displeased, by cause the cite 
Tyna was closed agaynst hym. cxiiii. 

1 WHAT tyme the emperour Aurelian came to the 
cytie Tyana, he founde hit closed agaynste hym ; 
wherfore all angerly he sayde : I woll not leaue 
a dogge a lyue in this towne ; whiche wordes 
reioyced moche his menne of warre, by cause of 
the great praye and botye that they thoughte to 
wynne there. One of the citezins, called Hera- 
damon, for feare lest he shuld be slayne amonge 
the other, betrayed the cyte. Whan Aurelian had 
taken the cite, the fyrste thinge he dyd, he slewe 
Heradamon the traytour to his contrey; and to 
his souldiors that came to hym and desyred, that 
they myght accordynge to his promyse, ouerren 
and spoile the cyte, he answered : go to, I sayde, 
I wolde nat leaue a dogge a lyue ; spare nat, kyll 
al the dogges in the towne. 

By this meane the gentyl prince rewarded 

the traytoure accordinge to his 

deseruinge, and dispointed 

the couetise of his 

souldyours. 1 

(i/ So far extends Berthelet's edition, of which the colophon is : 
Imprinted at London in Flete Strete in the house of Thomas Berthelet 
nere to the Cundite, at the sygne of Lucrece. V Cum priuilegio. The 
remaining 26 tales are from the Ed. of 1567. 



Quicke A nsweres. 129 



H Of the Nunne forced that durst not crie. cxv. 

If A CERTAYNE Nunne with swellyng of hir bealie 
was bewrayed to haue companied with a man. 
And beyng called before the couente, was right 
sharpely rebuked of the Abbesse, for puttinge of 
their house to so great a shame. She, to excuse 
hir-selfe, sayde, she was forced by a yonge man, 
that came into hir bedde chaumbre, agaynst whom 
(beynge stronger than she) it was in vain for hir to 
striue, and force coulde not be imputed to hir for 
a cryme. Then sayde the Abbesse : thou mought 
est haue bene helde excused, if thou haddest cryed. 
The Nunne sayed : so woulde I haue doone, had 
it not beene in our Dortour 1 where to crye is con 
trary to our Religion. 

If Of him that sayde he was the Diuelles man. cxvi. 

If IN the ciuile seditious time of Edwarde the fourth 
and Henry the syxte, 2 one chaunced to mete with a 
company, that quickly asked him : whose man art 

(1) Dormitory. 

(2) During the Warsof the Roses. In The First Part of Edward IV., 
by Thomas Heywood, 1600 (Shakesp. Soc. repr. p. 41), Hobs, the 
Tanner of Tarn worth, says : 

"By my troth, I know not, when I speak treason, when I do not. 
There's such halting betwixt two kings, that a man cannot go upright, 
but he shall offend t'one of them. I would God had them both, for me.' 



130 Tales and 

thou? Kinge Edwardes, quoth he. Art thou so (quoth 
they) 1 and all [set] to beate him : For they were 
of Henrie's syde. Wherefore to the nexte com 
pany that mette him and demaunded whose man he 
was, he answered : kyng Henries. Art thou so (quoth 
they), and likewyse all [set] to bete him. For 
they were on Edwardes parte. The Felow, thus 
sore beaten, went foorth, and met with another 
route, who asked him : whose man art thou ? He, 
beynge at his wittes ende what to saye, aunswered : 
the Dyuelles man. Than the dyuell goe 1 with 
thee (saide they). Amen (quoth he) : For it is the 
best maister that I [have] serued this daie. 

By this tale ye maye perceiue, how greuouse and 
perillous all ciuyle sedicions be, so doubtfull may it 
stand, that a man can not tel on which side to 
holde. For he that now is stronger another tyme 
is weaker, as Fortune list to turne hir wheele. 

^ Of the vplandishe 2 priest, that preached of 
Charitie. cxvii. 

^ A PRIEST in the countrey, not the wysest nor the 
best learned, preached to his parisheners of charitie 
so vehemently, that he sayed plainely, that it was 

(1) This word is in the original text printed twice by an oversight. I have 
struck out the duplicate. 

(2) i. e. a person dwelling in the uplands or mountainous districts 



Quicke A nsweres. 131 

impossible for anye man to be saued or to come to 
heauen without charitie, except onely the kynges 
grace, God saue hym. 

' Another sayinge of the same freest, cxviii. 

^ BEFORE the kynges Maiestyes commissioners 
sent 1 downe intoo the realme in visytacyon, it 
chaunced the forsayd preest among other to appere : 
to whom one of the vysytours (guessyng quickly 
what docter he was) sayde : Mayster parsone, howe 
spende you youre tyme 1 what rede you ? For- 
soothe, syr (sayd the preest), I occupy my selfe in 
readyng the New Testament. That is very well 
done (sayd the commissioner). But sir, I pray you, 
who made the newe Testament ? That dyd (said 
the preest) kynge Henry the eyghte, God haue 
mercye vpon hys soule ! 2 

where the learning of the cities had not very deeply penetrated. Hence 
the word became synonymous with ignorant and uninformed. Alexander 
Barclay's fifth eclogue is "Of the Citizen and Uplandish Man." The 
poem of Jack Upland is printed in the old editions of Chaucer and in 
Wright's Political Poems and Songs, 1861. ii. 16. Mr. Wright assigns 
to it the date of 1401. 

" He hath perus'd all the impressions 
Of Sonnets, since the fall of Lucifer, 
And made some scurvy quaint collections 
Of fustian phrases, and itplandish words. 

Heywood's Fair Maid of the Exchange, 1600. 

(1) Perhaps went is the true reading. 

(2) " What must he (the king) do then? He must be a student. He 
must write God's booke himselfe, not thinking because he is a king [but 



132 Tales and 

^ Of the fryer that pray sed sainct Frauncis. cxix. 

H A FRYER, preachyng to the people, extolled saynct 
Frauncis aboue confessors, doctours, vyrgins, mar 
tyrs, prophetes, yea, and aboue one more than 
prophetes, John the Baptist, and finially aboue the 
Seraphicall order of angels ; and stil he sayd : yet 
let vs goe higher. So whan he could goe no fur 
ther, excepte he shoulde put Christe out of hys 
place, whiche the good man was halfe afrayed to 
do, hee sayd aloude : and yet we haue founde no 
fit place for hym. And staying a lyttell whyle, hee 
cryed out at laste, sayinge : Where shall we place 
this holy father? A frowarde felowe, standyng 
among the audeynce, saide : if thou canst find 
none other, than set hym here in my place : for I 
am weary. And so went his way. 



t Of hym that warned his wife of wasshynge her 
face in foule puddell water, cxx. 

IT A MAN dwellyng in the countrey, takynge his 
iourney, bad hys wife in his absence playe the good 
husewyfe, that he at his home comyng 1 might finde 

he hath licence to do what he will, as these worldly flatterers are wont 
to say." Latimer's Second Sermon before King Edward VI. 1549. 
(i) i.e. coming home. 






Quicke Answer es. 133 

all thynges well. Swete husbande (quoth she), 
commaunde what ye wyll, and you shall fynde me 
obedyense in al thynges. Dere heart (sayd he), I 
wil you no more but this one thynge, which e is 
easye ynough to do. What is that (quoth she) ? 
That you wasshe not your face wyth this water, 
shewing hir a puddell in a donghill, foule blacke, 
and stinkynge. As oft as she in his absence went 
by that puddell, hir mynde was meruallously moued, 
for what cause hir husebande so diligently warned 
hir of that thynge onely. Nor shee coulde not per- 
swade hir selfe, but that there was some great 
thynge in it. To be brefe, it tempted hir so, that 
she wasshed, that is, she defiled hir face. She 
loked in the glasse, and was greatly displeased 
with hir self. Yea, and it was foure or fyue daies 
after, er shee coulde wasshe out the stynke and 
steinyng. Whan the good manne came home, hee 
found his wyfe very pensife and loking angerly. 
What is the matter (quoth he)? Shee at laste 
coulde not forbeare, but blamed him for warnyng 
hir to wasshe in that water, and shewed hym what 
had chaunced. Why wasshed you in it (quoth 
he) 1 I gaue you warnynge, that you shoulde not 
wasshe therein, to the intente this harme shoulde 
haue not happned. 

By thys tale ye may perceyue, that the more yee 
s 



1 34 Tales and 

forbydde some women a thynge, the greater desyre 
they haue to do it. 

' Of the husbandman that caused the iudge to geue 
sentence agaynst him selfe. cxxi. 

*fl AN husbandman in Zeland came before the chiefe 
ruler of the countrey (whose bull had kyld the 
poore mans cow) and after he had leaue to speake, 
hee sayde : my bull leapyng ouer the dyche hath 
kyld your cow ; what is the law ? The ruler, mis- 
trustyng no deceit, answered : thou muste paie for 
hir. Than with licence the poore man sayd : Sir, 
I failled in my tale : your bull hath kyld my cow. 
The ruler, beyng a little amoued, sayde : this is an 
other matter. The poore man sayd : Verely it is 
all one thyng : and you haue truely iudged. 

By this tale ye perceyue, that a wyse iudge wyll 
first know the cause well, and yet will not be hasty 
to geue sentence. The prouerbe biddeth thus : 
Iudge righteously the cause of the pore and needy. 

"H Of the Italian friar that shoulde preach before 
the B. of Rome and his cardinals, cxxii. 

^ A FAMOUS frier in Italye, called Robert Liciens, 1 
appoincted to preache before the bishop of Rome 

(i) Better known as Roberto Caraccioli-Caraccioli. He was born n 1425 
at Licio, in the Neapolitan territory, and was thence often called Robertus 



Quicke A nsweres. 135 

and his cardynals beinge in the pulpit, and be- 
holdyng the bishop and his cardinals, enter into 
the churche with so great pompe, noise, and rufflyng, 
that no king vse[d] the lyke, and seyng the bishop 
borne by vi men, and beynge at great leysure set 
downe, and harkenyng what he would saye, he 
sayd nought elles but this : Phy on S. Peter ! phy 
on S. Paule ! and with rauyng he spit now on the 
ryght side, and nowe on the left syde : and so, 
without more ado, shouyng through the preace, 1 gat 
hym awaie, leauyng them all astonied : some thynk- 
yng hym to bee fallen into a furie : other supposyng 
him to bee fallen into some heresy, lewishe or Pa 
ganise belefe, that he so burst out intoo suche 
blasphemies. And whan it was consulted to laie 
hym in prison, a cardinall, who knewe his wytte, 
and loued hym, perswaded, that he shoulde fyrste be 
called before the bishop and certayne cardinals, to 
here what he would saye. And so beyng inquired, 
why hee burste out into so horrible blasphemies, 

Liciensis. Watt (Bibliotheca Britannica, voce Lido) mentions only his 
sermons : but he published several other tracts. 

(i) Usually spelt precise or prese. The word signifies crerwti. It occurs 
in this sense in Edwardes' Damon and Pythias, composed about 1564. 
" Yet shall there no restraynt 
Cause me to cese, 
Among this prese, 
For to encrese 
Youre goodly name." 

Skelton's Garlande 0/Laurell, 

S 2 



136 Tales and 

he answered, that he had appointed a farre other 
argument : and in fewe woordes declared the whole 
summe of hys sermon. But whan I (sayde he) 
sawe you lyue so pompously, and in so great delites 
and pleasures : and on th'other side consydered, 
howe homely, howe peyneful, and how harde a lyfe 
the Apostles ledde, whose places you supplie, I 
gathered, that eyther they were mad, that by so 
sharpe a waye contended to come to heauen, or 
els that you holde x the streight way to hell. But of 
you that beare the keyes of heauen, I could not 
perswade my self to deeme euill. Than what els 
could I do, but detest theyr foolyshnes whiche, 
whan thei might after this facion haue liued glo 
riously in all welth and pleasure, wold rather all 
their life turment them selfes with watchynges, fast- 
ynges and other peynfull labours ? 

^1 Of the doctour that sayd, in Erasmus workes 
were heresies, cxxiii. 

t A NOTABLE doctour, preachyng in a solemn e 
audience, sayd, that in Erasmus workes were cer- 
tayne heresies. Who, beyng come out of the pulpit, 
was desired of a learned man to shewe foorthe 
some place hereticall. Hee aunswered, that he had 

(i) Orig. and Singer read or elsyou to holde. 



Quicke Atisweres. 137 

neuer red Erasmus bookes : hee began once to 
reade the woorke intitled Moria^- but by reason 
it was so high a stile, he feared to fal into some 
heresy. 



^ Of the frier that preached at Paules crosse agaynst 
Erasmus, cxxiv. 

if A GREAT clerke, noseld 2 vp in scoole doctours, 
not well vnderstanding the latin stile and phrase , 
that than began to florishe apase, and hauynge 
smale acquaintaunce with the noble authours of the 
latyne tongue, saide, that Erasmus, with his rhe- 
torike and eloquence went about to corrupte the 
Byble. For this (quoth he) I dare be bolde to 
say : that the holy scripture ought not to be 
mingled with the eloquence of Tully, nor yet of 
Cicero. 3 



(1) The celebrated Morue Encomium, of which an English version 
appeared in 1549. 

(2) Nosled or nousled'vs, the same as nursled, brought up. See Todd's 
Johnson, 1827, in voce nosled; and Richardson's Diet. ibid. The word 
is not in Webster or Nares. 

(3) The allusion in the text is probably to the paraphrastic version of 
the New Testament by Erasmus, which had then recently appeared in 
two volumes, folio (1516). The work did not appear in an English dress 
til 1548. 



138 Tales and 

H Of an other frier that taxed Erasmus for 
writyng Germana theologia. cxxv. 

^ A FRYER, that preached on a tyme too the people, 
inueighed greatly agaynste Erasmus, because he, 
in his booke called Enchiridion^- preysyng the 
Apostles doctryne, sayde, that theirs was Germana 
theologia, that is to saye in English e, the very ryght 
diuinitee. Lo (sayeth this dotishe fryer), here 
may ye see, what a man Erasmus is : he sayeth, 
there is no diuinite but in Germonie, where 
heretikes are specially fauored and maintayned. 

^ Of an other that inueighed agaynst the same 
Erasmus, cxxvi. 

^ BECAUSE Erasmus wrote, that it wer better for 
the monke of the charterhouse to eate fleshe than 
to suffer his brother Venire in capitis discrimen, 
that is to saye, than his brother should stand in 
ieoperdie of his life : this dotishe doctour inter- 
pretat his wordes thus : The charterhouse monke 
wer better eate fleshe, than his head shoulde a 
littell ake. 2 

(1) Enchiridion Militis Christiani. An English translation of this 
work appeared in 1533, in which Enchiridion is rendered The Handsome 
IV cap on. 

(2) These pleasantries at the expense of the preachers in the time of 



Quicke Answer es. 139 

By these tales we may se, what peuysshe preachers 
haue been in this world : And be thei neuer so 
foolishe : yet the ignorant people, lacking lerninge 
to iudge suche matters, thinke them selues well 
taught, when they be cleane misledde. . 



^ Of kyng Richarde the Hi, and the Northern 
man}- cxxvii. 

H AFTER kyng Richard the iii had vsurped the 
crowne of England, he to staye and stablishe the 
people, that sore murmured against his dooynges, 
sent for fyue thousand men out of the North partes 
vp to London : and as he was mustryng of them 
in Thickettes feelde, one of the souldiers, cam, 
and clappynge the kyng on the shoulder, said : 
Diccon, Diccon, by the mis, ays blith that thaust 
kyng ! 2 

Henry VIII. bear perhaps a little hard upon the fraternity. The rendering 
of Latin authors was not much improved a century or two later. 

(T) The Northern men seem to have been formerly favourite subjects 
for story-tellers and ballad-writers. Martin Parker published a poem 
called "The King and a Poore Northern man," and there is a ballad 
entitled "The King and the Northern man." Neither has anything to 
do with the present tale. No. 95 of the C. Mery Talys, of which only a 
small fragment is at present known to exist, is entitled, "Of the northern 
man that was all harte." 

(z) " Richard, Richard, by the mass I am glad that thou art king ! " 



140 Tales and 

^ Of the Canon and his man. cxxviii. 

^ A CANON in Hereforde, that kepte a good house, 
toke into his seruice a gentilmans sonne, to trane 
and bryng hym vp, to wayte and serue at the 
table. 1 So on a day the sayde canon, hauynge 
many strangers at his bourd, made a signe to his 
man, that there wanted some thyng. He, nought 
perceuyng, cam to his maister and sayde : Sir, what 
lacke you ? Seest not, man (quoth he), they haue 
no bread on the table 1 Sir, saide his man, there 
was enough euen now, if they woulde haue let it 
alone. 



^ Of the same Canon and his sayd man. cxxix. 

H THE same Canon, an other tyme, bad his sayd 
seruant after supper, go downe and draw a cuppe of 
wyne, to make his guestes drinke at theyr departing, 
whom he had before taught, how he shuld take of 
the couer. So the yong man, bringyng the candell 
in one hand, and the cup of wine couered in the 

(i) A very usual practice in those days. At p. 254 of the North 
umberland Hottse-hold Book (ed. 1827) we find : 

" Two Gentlemen waiters for the Bordes Ende and a servaunt betwixt 
theim iii Hannsmen and Yonge Gentlemen at their Fryndes fynding 
v (as to say Hanshmen [Henchmen] iii and yong Gentlemen iii)." 

Orig. and Singer, for trane read trade. 



Quicke Answeres. 141 

other, offred it vnto them. His mayster, seyng 
that, made a token to hym. He, not knowyng 
wherfore, sayd : Sir, what woulde you haue 1 Take 
of the couer (quoth his mayster). Than holde you 
the candell (saide the seruaunt). 



^ Of the gentilman that checked hys seruantfor 
talke of ryngyng. cxxx. 

It A GENTILMAN, brought vp at London in an In 
of court, was maryed, and kepte an house in the 
countrey : and as he sate at supper with his neygh- 
bours aboute hym, vpon an alhalow-daie at night, 
amonge other communication, he talked of the 
solemne ringyng of the belles (as was the vsage 
than). His man, that waited on the table, sayd to 
his maister : sir, he that were this nyghte in London, 
shoulde here wonderfull ryngyng, and so began a 
tale. Hys mayster, not content with his talke, 
said : Hold thy peace, foole, wilt thou tel me of 
ringing in London? I know it (I trow) a lyttell 
better than thou. For I haue beene there an C 
alhalow nyghtes. 



142 Tales and 

H Of the blynde man and his boye. cxxxi. 

H A CERTAYNE poore blynde man x in the countrey 
was ledde by a curst boy to an house where a 
weddyng was : so the honest folkes gaue him 
meate, and at last one gaue hym a legge of a good 
fatte goose : whiche the boy receyuyng kept a syde, 
and did eate it vp hym selfe. Anon the blynde 
man saide : lacke, where is the leg of the goose 1 
What goose (quod the boy) ? I haue none. Thou 
liest (quoth the blinde man), I dyd smell it. And 
so they wente forth chidyng together, tyll the 
shrewde boye led the poore man against a post : 
where hittyng his brow a great blow, he cryed out : 
A hoorson boy, what hast thou done 1 Why (quod 
the boy) could you not smell the post, that was so 
nere, as wel as the goose that was so farre from 
your nose ? 

TT Of him that sold two lodes of hey. cxxxii. 

^ IN London dwelled a mery pleasant man (whiche 
for [t]his tyme we may call Makeshift 2 ) who, beyng 

(1) Tricks upon blind persons naturally form a feature in the jest 
books. The eighty-third adventure of Tyl Owlglass is a practical joke 
on a blind man, and in ScoggMs Jests, 1626, there are one or two 
examples. 

(2) A cheat or rogue. See Rowlands' Knave of Clubbs, 1600 (Percy 



Quicke A nsweres. 1 43 

arrayed somewhat haruest lyke, with a pytcheforke 
on his necke, went forth in a mornyng and mette 
with twoo lode of hey comeyng to the citieward, 
for the whiche he bargayned with the owners to 
paye xxx shillynges. Whyther shall we bring 
them, quoth thei ? To the Swan in Longe Lane l 

Soc. ed. p. 18). The word Shifter is employed by Rowlands in the 
Knave of Harts, 1613, and by others of our elder writers in the same 
sense. In the following passage, shift is used to signify a piece of 
knavery : 

" Ferd. Brother, you lie ; you got her with a shift. 

Frank. I was the first that lov'd her." 

Hey wood's Fair Maid of the Exchange, 1607 (Shakesp. Soc. ed. p. 87). 
See also Taylor's Works, 1630, ii. 144. In his Sculler, 1612, the last- 
mentioned writer introduces a sharper into one of his epigrams under 
the name of Mounsieur Shift, " cozen-german to Sir Cuthert Theft" 
( Works, iii. 25). 

(i) Antiently, no doubt, Long Lane ran between hedges into Smith- 
field ; but it appears that even in the early part of Elizabeth's reign 
building had commenced in this locality. Stow (Survey of London, edit. 
1720, lib. iii. p. 122) says: "Long Lane, so called from its length, 
coming out of Aldersgate Street against Barbican, and falleth into 
West Smithfield. A Place also of Note for the Sale of Apparel, Linnen, 
and Upholsters Goods, both Secondhand and New, but chiefly for old, 
for which it is of note." See also p. 284 of the same book, and Cun 
ningham's Hand Book of London, edit 1848. in voce, with the authorities 
and illustrations there given. Rowlands, in his Letting of Humors 
Blood \in the Head Vein, 1611, Sign. C, 2, verso, celebrates this spot as 
one of the principal haunts of the pawnbrokers. In Wits Recreations, 
1640 (edit. 1817, p. 109), there is the following epigram : 
" He which for "s wife a widow doth obtain, 

Doth like to those that buy clothes in Long Lane, 

One coat's not fit, another's too too old, 

Their faults I know not, but th' are manifold." 

Day, in the Parliament of Bees, 1641, 4, Sign. G, speaks very dis 
respectfully of the population of Long Lane in his time. See Maroccus 
Extaticus, 1595 (Percy, Soc. ed. p. 16), Dekker"s Knights' Conjuring, 
1607, ed. Rimbault, p. 54. Webster's Works, by Hazlitt, i. 94, and 



144 Tales and 

by Smithfeeld (quoth he), and soo left them, and 
sped him thether the next x waye. Whan he came 
to the good man of the Swanne, he asked, if he 
would bye two good lodes of hey 1 ? Yes marie, 
sayde he. Where be thei ? Euen here they come 
(quoth Makshyft). What shall I paye ? sayde the 
inholder. Foure nobles (quoth hee) : but at length 
they agreed for xx shilling. Whan the hey was 
come, Makshyft bad them vnlode. While they 
were doyng so, 2 he came to the inholder, 3 and 
said : sir, I prai you let me haue my monei : for, 
while my men be vnloding, I wil goe into the citee 
to buy a littell stuffe to haue home with me. The 
good man was content, and gaue it hym. And so 
he went his way. Whan the men had vnloded 
the hey, they came and demanded their money. 
To whom the inholder saide : I haue paid your 
maister. What master (quoth they) 1 Mary, quod 
he, the same man that made you bring the hey 
hether. We know hym not, quod they. No more 
doe I (quod he) ; that same man bargayned with 
me for the hey, and hym haue I payed : I neyther 

Taylor's Works, 1630, Sign. Ggg4- The Swan Inn has disappeared, but 
whether it has merged iu the Barley Mow, or the Old Red Cow, I do 
not know. 

(1) Nearest. 

(2) The original reading is, so while they were doying. 

(3) Innkeeper. This form of the word continued to be used by English 
writers even in the later half of the seventeenth century. 



Quicke Answeres. 145 

bought nor sold with you. That is not enough 
for vs, quod they ; and thus thei stroue together. 
But what ende thei made, I know not For I 
thynke Makeshift came not againe to agree them. 



^ How a mery man deuised to cal people to a 
playe. cxxxiii. 

' A MERY man, called Qualitees, 1 on a tyme sette 
vp billes vpon postes aboute London, that who so 
euer woulde come to Northumberlande Place, 2 
should here suche an antycke plaie 3 that, both for 
the mattier and handelyng, the lyke was neuer 
heard before. For all they that shoulde playe 
therin were gentilmen. 

Those bylles moued the people (whan the daye 
came) to come thyther thycke and threfolde. Now 
he had hyred two men to stande at the gate with 
a boxe (as the facion is), who toke of euery persone 
that came in a peny, or an halfe peny at the least. 
So whan he thought the market was at the best, 
he came to the gate, and toke from the men 4 the 

(1) Perhaps this, like Make-shift, was merely intended as a phrase to 
disguise the real name of the person intended. 

(2) Northumberland A lley was in Fenchurch Street, and was notorious 
for bowling-greens, gaming-houses, &c. Probably this is the locality 
intended. See Cunningham's Handbook to London, 596, edit. 1848. 

(3) i. e. a burlesque play. 

(4) Orig. and Singer read man. 



146 Tales and 

boxe with money, and geuynge theym their duitie, 
bade them go into the hall, and see the rome kepte : 
for hee shoulde gooe and fetche in the plaiers. 
They went in, and he went out, and lockt the gate 
faste, and toke the key with hym : and gat hym on 
hys geldynge, whiche stode ready saddilled without 
Aldryshegate * at an In, 2 and towarde Barnet he 
roade apace. The people taryed from twoo a 
clocke tyll three, from three to foure, styll askyng 
and criyng : Whan shall the plaie begyn ? How 
long shall we tarye ? Whan the clocke stroke foure, 
all the people murmured and sayed : Wherefore 
tarye we any longer? Here shall be no playe. 
Where is the knaue, that hath beguyled vs hyther 1 
It were almes to 3 thruste a dagger throughe hys 

(i) Aldersgate. In the Ordinary, by W. Cartwright, Moth the Anti 
quary says : 

" Yclose by Aldersgate there dwelleth one 
Wights clypen Robert Moth; now Aldersgate 
Is hotten so from one that A Idrich hight ; 
Or else of Elders, that is, ancient men ; 
Or else of Aldern trees which growden there ; 
Or else, as Heralds say, from Aluredus." 

(z) Inns were not so plentiful at this time as they afterward became. 
Perhaps the establishment here referred to was the celebrated Bell Inn, 
which was still standing in the time of James the First, and which is 
mentioned by Taylor the Water-Poet in his Penniless Pilgrimage, 1618 
( Works, 1630, i. 122) : 

" At last I took my latest leave, thus late 

At the Bell Inn, that's extra Aldersgate." 

(3) i. e. it were a charity to thruste, &c. The original and Singer 
have, "it were almes it thruste." 



Quicke A nsiveres. 1 47 

chekes, sayeth one. It were well done to cutte 
of hys eares, sayeth an other. Haue hym to 
Newgat ! sayeth one : nay, haue hym to Tyburne ! 
sayed an other. Shall wee loose our money thus, 
saieth he ? Shall wee bee thus beguiled, sayeth this 
man? shulde this be suffered, saieth that man? 
And so muttrynge and chydyng, they came to the 
gate to goe oute ; but they coulde not. For it was 
faste lockt, and Qualitees had the key away with 
him. Now begynne they a freshe to fret and fume : 
nowe they swere and stare : now they stampe and 
threaten : for the locking in greeued them more 
than all the losse and mockery before : but all 
auayle not. For there muste they abide, till wayes 
may be founde to open the gate, that they maye 
goe out. The maidens that shoulde haue dressed 
theyr maisters suppers, they wepe and crye ; boyes 
and prentises sorow and lament ; they wote not 
what to say, whan thei come home. 

For al this foule araye, 

For al this great frai, 

Qualites is mery ridyng on his waie.(i) 

(i) In the original this is printed as prose, perhaps to economize space. 
Array, or araye, as it is here spelled, signifies obviously disturbance 
or clamour. So in the History of King Arthur, 1634, Part iii. cap. 
134 : " So in this rumour came in Sir Launcelot, and found them all at 
a great aray;" and the next chapter commences with, "Aha! what 
aray is this? said Sir Launcelot." 



148 Tales and 

' How the image of the dyuell was lost and sought. 
cxxxiiii. 

H IN the Goldesmithes hall, amonge theyr other 
plate, they had a fair standyng cuppe, with an 
image of S. Dunstane on the couer, whiche image 
hadde an image of the dyuell at his foote. 1 So it 
chaunced at a banket that the sayed image of the 
dyuell was lost and gone. On the morow after, the 
bedyll of the company was sent about to serche 
amonge the goldesmythes, if any suche came to be 
sold. And lyke as of other 2 he enquired of one, 
if any man had brought to hym to be solde the 
foole that sate at sainct Dunstanes foote vpon the 
couer of the cuppe ? What foole meane you 1 
quoth he. Mary, the diuell, sayde the bedill. Why, 
quoth the other, call ye the diuell a foole ; ye shal 
find him a shrewd foole, if ye haue ought to do 
with hym ? And why seke you for him here 
amonge vs ? Where shoulde I els seke for hym 1 

(1) Probably the cup bequeathed by Sir Martin Bowes to the Gold 
smiths' Company, and still preserved, is here meant See Cunningham's 
Handbook of London, art. Goldsmiths' Hall, and for some account of 
the Bowes family, which intermarried with that of D'Ewes, see Auto 
biography and Correspondence of Sir Simonds HEwes, ii. 17, 18. It 
seems to have been a rather common practice formerly to engrave figures 
of Saints, representations of the Passion, &c. on the bottom of drinking 
cups. See Rowlands' Knave of Clubbs, 1600. (Percy Soc. repr. p. 64.) 

(2) In the same manner that he inquired of others, &c. 



Quicke A nsivcre s. 149 

(sayde the bedill). Mary in hell, quoth he, for 
there ye shall be sure to fynde the dyuell. 



^ Of Tachas, kyng of Aegypt, and Agesilaus. 
cxxxv. 

^ WHAT tyme Agesilaus, king of the Lacede 
monians, was come to Tachas the kyng of Egipt, 
to aide him in his wars : Tachas beholdyng Agesi 
laus to bee a man of so litel stature and smal 
personage tauntyng hym with this scofTe, sayde : 
The mountayne hath trauayled, lupiter forbode, 
but yet hee hathe broughte forth a mouse. 1 Agesi 
laus beynge offended wyth hys saying, answered : 
and yet the tyme wyl come, that I shall seeme to 
the a Lyon. And not longe after, it chaunced 
through a sedycion that arose amonge the Aegyp- 
cyans, whan Agesilaus was gone from him, the king 
was constreyned to flee to the Persians. 

(i) This is related differently in Plutarch. "Now Agesilaus being 
arrived in /EGYPT, all the chiefe Captaines and Governors of King 
Tachos came to the seashore, and honourably received him : and not 
they onely, but infinite numbers of ^Egyptians of all sorts . , . came 
thither from all parts to see what manner of man he was. But when they 
saw no stately traine about him, but an olde gray-beard layed on the 
grasse by the sea side, a litle man that looked simply of the matter, and 
but meanely apparelled in an ill-favored thread-bare gowne : they fell 
a-laughing at him, remembring the merry tale, that a mountaine," &c. * 
North's Plutarch, edit. 1603, fol. 629-30. 



150 Tales and 



^ Of Corar the Rhetorician, and Tisias hys scoler. 
cxxxvi. 

' A CERTAYNE man called Corar, determyned hym 
selfe for mede 1 to teache the arte of Rhetorycke, 
with whom a yong man, named Tisias, couenanted 
on this wyse that he wold pay him his wages, whan 
he had perfectly learned the scyence. So whan he 
had lerned the art, he made no haste to paye his 
teacher, wherfore hys mayster sued hym. Whan 
they came before the iudges, the yonge man de- 
maunded of hys mayster, what was the effecte of 
the scyence 1 He aunswered : In reasonyng to per- 
swade. 2 Than go to, if I perswade these honour 
able iudges, that I owe you nothing, I wil pay you 
nothyng : for you are cast in your action. And yf 
T can not perswade them, than wil I pay you 
nothing, because I haue not yet perfectly learned 
the art. Corar wrestyng 3 the yonge mans owne 
argumente agaynst hym selfe, said : If thou per 
swade them, that thou oughteste 4 me nothynge, than 
(accordynge to the couenaunt) thou must nedes pay 
mee my wages : for thou haste the art perfectly. 

(i] Remuneration. (2) To persuade by reasoning. 

(3; Turning by force of ingenuity. (4) Owed. 



Quicke A nswercs. 151 

Now yf thou canst not perswade them : yet shalt 
thou pay mee my wages, because thou arte con 
demned by the Judges' sentence to be my detour. 



^ Of Augustus and Athenodorus the Phylosopher. 
cxxxvii. 

^ WHAT tyme Athenodorus the Phylosopher had 
(by reason of hys greate age) obteyned lycence of 
Auguste to depart home, he admonysshed him, 
that beyng angry, he should neyth saye nor dooe 
any thyng, before he had by hym selfe rehearsed 
ouer the xxiiii Greeke letters. Whych saying whan 
the prince heard, he sayed : he had yet nede of 
him to teache hym the arte to keepe sylence, by 
coloure whereof he retayned the olde man about 
hym a whole yere longer. 

By this tale we maie perceyue, that of al things 
a prince, a ruler, a iudge ought specyaily to eschewe 
wrathe. For the morall booke sayeth : Anger 
troubleth the mynde, that it can not discerne the 
truth. And Seneca wryteth, that slowe tarryinge 
doeth profite in nothyng but in wrathe. 



T 2 



152 Talcs and 

^ Of thefrenche kyng and the brome seller?- 
cxxxviii. 

^ As a Frenche kyng on a tyme was in huntyng, 
he hapned to lose his companie, and comyng 
through a brome heath, he herde a poore man and 
his wife piteously complayne on fortune. The 
kyng, after he had wel heard the long lamentacion 
of theyr poore and miserable state, came vnto them, 
and after a few words he questioned with them 
howe they liued. They shewed him, how they 
came daily to that heath, and all the brome, that 
thei and their asse coud cary home, was lyttell 
enough to finde theim and their poor children 
meat. Well (quoth the kyng), loke that you bryng 
to morow early to the court gate as many bromes 
as you and your asse can carye, and see that you sell 
them well. For I warrant you thei shalbe bought 
apase. They thanked hym, and so he departed 
from them. Anon came the lordes, knightes, and 
gentilmen to the kinge, and home they rode. After 
supper the kyng called them all before hym, and 
gaue them in commaundement that neither lord, 
knyght, nor gentilman, should on the morow come 
into the courte wythout a new brome in his hande. 

(i) See Lane's Arabian Tales and Anecdotes, 1845, p. 73, fora story 
similar to this. 



Quicke A nswcres. 153 

For he had a thyng to doe, whiche they shoulde 
know afterwarde. So on the morowe, whan they 
come to the court gate, there found they the poore 
man, his wife and the asse loded with bromes, 
whiche hee solde to the galauntes of the court, 
euen as he wolde him selfe. Wherby the sayd 
poore man was made riche for euer and they lyttell 
the woorse. Thus whan the kynge sawe the states 
and gentilmen of his court come in so wel furnished 
with grene bromes, and consydring the cause wher- 
fore it was, he laughed merilye. 



If An other tale of the samefrenche kyng. 1 cxxxix. 

^ THERE chaunced, in a certaine part of the 
realme, an offyce to fal into the kings handes by 
the deth of a man which was worth a cccc crounes 
by the yere. An honest witty gentilman, dwelling 
therby, trustyng to obteyne the sayde offyce, made 
as good speede to the courte as hee could, and as 
soone as he might come to the kynges presence, 
he kneled downe, and in most humble wise desired 
his grace to geue vnto hym that offyce, declaring 
what it was. The king perceiuing how good an 

(i) This story is applied by Richard Johnson, editor of the Pleasant 
Conceits of Old Hobson the Merry Londoner, 1607, 410, to his own 
purposes. J ohnson was an unscrupulous appropriator. 



154 Tales and 

office it was, and thinking therwith to rewarde 
some suche one of hys seruauntes, that had well 
deserued it, answered quickely, and sayd : My 
frend, be content ; you get it not. The gentilman, 
heryng those wordes, sayd : I most hertely thancke 
your grace ; both I and myne are mooste bounden 
to praye for your hyghnesse ; and so, makynge 
lowe obeysaunce, wente his waye. Whan he had 
gone a lyttell waye, the kyng commaunded to call 
hym againe. Whan he was come backe, the kyng 
asked him if he dyd well vnderstand, what answere 
he gaue hym. Yes, truely, sayd the gentilman. 
What sayd I, quoth the kynge 1 Marye, your grace 
bad me bee contente, for I shoulde not haue the 
offyce. Why dyd you than (quoth the kyng) geue 
me so great thankes 1 Because, sayde the gentyl- 
man, your grace gaue me so sone an answere 
without longer suite and losse of tyme, whiche 
would haue bene to me a very muche hyndraunce. 
For I haue at home a great householde, vnto the 
which it behoueth me to loke dylygently, or els 
it wyl be wrong wyth me. The kynge, markynge 
well the wysedom and dexterytee of the gentylman, 
and conceyuyng a fauoure towarde hym, sayd : 
Wei, nowe shal you thanke me twyse : for you 
shall haue the offyce that you sewe for : and than, 
castynge hys eyes vpon hys Chauncelloure, com- 



Quickc Ansn'crcs. I ; 5 

raaunded hym, that all suche wrytynges as con 
cerned [t]hys sayd offyce, shoulde wyth al speede 
bee made oute, that he were at home agayne to 
ouerloke hys famyly. 



^ What an Italyan fryer dyd in his preachy ng. cxl. 

If ROBERT Lyciense, a fryer of Italye (of whome 
we spake before), preachyng on a tyme with great 
vehemencye of wordes and gesture, exhorted the 
prynces and people to make warre agaynste the 
Turkes and other the enemies of chrystendome : 
and whan he came to the very effect, and [was] 
moste hotte and earnest in his tale, he began to 
wepe, that there were none, that wold to so godly 
a purpose offer them selfe to be capitains. If this 
be the let 1 of the mattier, beholde me here, whiche 
will be nothynge abasshed to cast aside this grey 
friers coate, and to take vpon mee to be a 
souldiour, or your capitaine. And euen with that 
woorde he caste of his vpper coate ; and vnder- 
neth he was a playne souldiour, arraied in a skarlet 
cloke, and a long rapier hangeyng by his side. 
And in this warlyke apparell, in the personage of 
a Capitan, he stode and preached halfe an houre. 

(i) The obstacle to the matter. 



156 Tales and Quick c Answer es. 

Being sente for of the Cardinals with whom he 
was familiar, hee was asked what was the pretence 
of that new example. He answered, that he did 
it for his wenches pleasure, who familiarly con 
fessed that nothynge in the sayd Robert displeased 
hir, saue his friers coate. Then saide he to hir : 
In what apparell shal I best plese you 1 In a 
man of warres quoth shee ? Than se 
that you be at my sermon to 
morow, quoth he. 1 



(i) This tale is followed by the colophon, which is : Imprinted at 
London in Fletestrete, by Henry Wykes. Cum priuilegio ad impri- 
mendum solum. 



ADDITIONAL NOTES AND ILLUSTRATIONS. 



MERY TALES AND QUICK ANSWERES. 



P. 16. Of him that preched on Saynt Christophers day. 
In A Booke of Meery Riddles, 1617 (repr. of ed. 1629, p. 73 of Mr. 
Halliwell's Literature of the xvith and xviith centuries Illustrated, 
&"c. 1851), we have the following: 

The xvii Riddle 
" Who bare the best burthen that ever was borne 

At any time since, or at any time befor[n]e 

Solution. It was the asse that bare both Our Lady and her Sonne 
out of Egypt." 

P. 21. Of ike yonge woman that sorowed so greatly her husbondes 
deth. 

" There was a poor young Woman who had brought herself even to 
Death's Door with grief for her sick Husband, butthegood Man her Father 
did all he could to comfort her. Come, Child, said he, we are all mortal. 
Pluck up a good heart, my Child : for let the worst come to the worst, / 
have a better Husband in store for thee. A las, Sir, says she, what d'ye 
talk of another Husband for'? Why, you had as good have stuck a 
Dagger to my Heart. No, no; if e?'er I think of another Husband, 
may .' Without any more ado, the Man dies and the Woman, imme 
diately, breaks into such Transports of tearing her Hair, and beating her 
Breast, that everybody thought she'd have run stark-mad upon it. But, 
upon second Thoughts, she wipes her Eyes, lifts them up, and cries, 
Heaven's will be done ! and turning to her Father, Pray, Sir, says she, 
about t'other Husbandyou were speaking of , is lie here in the House" 
Complete London Jester, 1771, p. 49. 

This story was appropriated by the Editor of Pasquil's Jests, mixed 
u-iih Mother Bunch's Merriments, of which there were several editions, 
the first appearing in 1604. In Pasquil's Jests, the tale is told of a 
" young woman of Barnet." 

She roivned her father in the eare. 

Gower (Confessio Amantis, ed. Pauli, Vol. i. p. 161) has a precisely 
similar expression : 

" But whan they rounen in her ere, 
Than groweth all my moste fere." 



158 Notes. 

P. 21. Of him that kissed the mayde -with the longe nose. 

" ' Good Sir William, let it rest,' quoth shee, ' I know you will not 
beleeue it when I haue reuealed it, neither is it a thing that you can 
helpe : and yet such is my foolishnesse, had it not beene for that, I thinke, 
verily I had granted your suite ere now. But seeing you vrge me so 
much to know what it is, I will tell you : it is, sir, your ill-fauoured great 
nose, that hangs sagging so lothsomely to your lips, that I cannot finde 
in my heart so much as to kisse you.'" Pleasant History of Thomas of 
Reading, by T. D. circa 1597, p. 73 (ed. Thorns). 

P. 26. Of the Marchaunt that lost his lodgette betwene Ware and 
Lon\dori\. 

In Pasquil's Jests, 1604, occurs an account substantially similar to the 
present, of "how a merchant lost his purse between Waltam and 
London." 

P. 28. Of the fatte woman that soldeftute. 

" Being thus dispatcht he layes downe Jacke 
A peny for the shot : 
' Sir, what shall this doe ? ' said the boy. 
' Why, rogue, discharge my pot ! 
So much I cald for, but the rest 
By me shall nere be paid : 
For victualls thou didst offer me ; 
Doe and thou woot, I said.' " 
The Knave of Clubbs, by S. Rowlands, 1600 (Percy Soc. ed. p. 10). 

P. 31. Wilson introduces the " notable historic " of Papirius Pretex- 
tatus into his Rule of Reason, 1551, 8, and it had previously been related 
in Caxton's Game and Play e of the Chesse, 1474. 

P. 33. Of the corrupte man of law. 

" An arch Barber at a certain Borough in the West, where there are but 
few Electors, had Art enough to suspend his Promise till the Voters, by 
means of Bribery, the old Balsam, were so divided, that the casting 
Vote lay in himself. One of the Candidates, who was sensible of it, came 
into his little dirty Shop to be shaved, and when the operation was 
finish'd, threw into the Bason Twenty Guineas. The next Day came 
the other Candidate, who was shaved also, and left Thirty. Some Days 
after this, the first return'd to solicit the Barber's Vote, who told him very 
coldly, That he could not promise. Not promise ! says the Gentleman ; 



Notes. 159 



why I thought I had been shaved here ! 'Tis true, says the Barber, you 
was, but another Gentleman has been triitnn' d since that ; however, if 
you please, I'll trim you again, and then tell you my mind." Complete 
London Jester, ed. 1771, p. 99. 

P. 35. Conon peaked into the court. So in Skelton's Colin. Clout 
(Works by Dyce, i, 312), we have : 

" He cryeth and he creketh, 
He pryeth and he peketh. 
He chides and he chatters," &c. 

In the Posthnme Poems of Richard Lovelace, Esq. 1659, 80, p. 60, the 
word is employed in a different sense : 

"Have you not marked their Coelestial play, 
And no more peek'd the gayties of day?" 

To peak, however, in the sense in which it is used by Skelton, and in 
the Merie Tales, &c. is of rather frequent occurrence in Scoggiris Jests, 
1626 (but first printed before 1565) ; and Gascoigne employs the word in 
the same manner in the Steel Glas, n. d. (1576), 4. The passage in 
Gascoigne, which I perused long ago, was brought back to my recol 
lection by a note by the Rev. A. Dyce to Skelton's Colin Clout. 

P. 38. See Diogenes Laertius, transl. by Yonge, p. 226. Diogenes the 
Cynic evidently had Thales in his mind when he said " that mathema 
ticians kept their eyes fixed on the sun and moon, and overlooked what 
was under their feet." 

P. 40. Of him that dreamed Jiefonde golde. 

In PasquiCs Jests, we are told " how drunken Mullins of Stratford 
dreamed he found golde." It is the same story. 

P. 52. Gelidus jacet anguis in herba. Whoever edited this collection 
of stories seems to have had a great fancy for quotations. Throughout 
the C. Mery Talys, on the contrary, there is not a single instance of this 
passion for extracts. Sir Thomas Overbury, in his Characters (if at 
least they were written by him), ed. 1632, sign. K4, describes "An Innes 
of Court man" as talking " ends of Latine, though it be false, with as 
great confidence as ever Cicero could pronounce an oration." I suspect 
that the Mery Tales and Quicke Answeres were collected by some 
person more or less versed in the classics and in foreign authors, which 
was probably not the case with the C. Mery Talys, which do not smell 
so much of the inkhorn, as Gascoigne would have said. 



160 Notes. 

P. 54. Breble-brable. 

In Twelfth Night, act iv. sc. 2, Shakespeare makes the Clown use 
bibblf-babble in a similar sense ; but afterwards in the same drama, 
act v. sc. i, brabble is put for "a brawl." 

This word is no doubt the same as the " pribbles and prabbles " which 
Sir Hugh uses more than once in the Merry Wives of Windsor. See 
act v. sc. 5. 

P. 60. Of hytn that payde his dette -with cricnge bea. Compare the 
story of "the subtility of Kindlewall the lawyer repayed with the like 
craft," printed in PasquiFs Jests, ed. Gilbertson, n. d. 4. 

P. 65. All to. I fear that I too hastily adopted the self-suggested 
notion that the former words might be read more properly as one word 
and in the sense which I indicated. Perhaps as all to or al to is not 
uncommonly used by early writers in this way, though the meaning in 
the present case is not particularly clear, it may be better to restore the 
original reading. 

P. 67. Of the InJiclders ivyfe and her ii lovers, See Rowlands' 
Knave of Clubbs, 1600, ed. Rimbault, p. 25. 

P. 67. Daungerous of her tayle. So in the Schole-hoiise of Women, 
1542, the author says : 

" Plant them round with many a pin, 
Ringed for routing of pure golde, 
Faire without, and foule within, 
And of their tailes have slipper holde." 

P. 70. Of Mayster Vavasour and Turpin his wan. 

" A Lawyer and his Clerk riding on the Road, the Clerk desired to 
know what was the chief Point of the Law. His Master said, if he would 
promise to pay for their Suppers that Night, he would tell him ; which 
was agreed to. Why then, said the Master, good Witnesses are the chief 
Point in the Law. When they came to the Inn, the Master bespoke a 
couple of Fowls for Supper ; and when they had supped, told the Clerk 
to pay for them according to Agreement. O Sir, says he, where's your 
witness." Complete London Jester, ed. 1771, p. 102. 

P. 72. One of PasqitiTs Jests is " how mad Coomes, when his wife was 
drowned, sought her against the stream." It is merely a new application 
of the present anecdote. 



Notes. 161 

P. 75. Of tJiefoole that thought hym selfe deed.-^-A story of a similar 
character occurs in The Meeting of Gallants at an Ordinarie, or, the 
Walkes in Pomles, 1604, (repr. 1841 p. 19), where " mine Host" gives an 
account of " how a yong fellow was even bespoke and jested to death 
by harlots." 

P. 93. He fell to a nyce laughyng. 

Nice, in the sense of foolish, is also used by Gower, who likewise employs 
the substantive nicete in a similar way : 

" But than it were a nicete 
To telle you, how that I fare ! " 

Confessio Amantis, lib. vi. 

Chaucer employs the word in a similar sense very frequently. In the 
Cuckoo and the Nightingale, is the following passage : 
" To telle his might my wit may not suffice, 
For he can make of wise folks ful nice." 

P. 103. Crakers. See the last edition of Nares, voce Crake and 
Craker. But an earlier example of the use of the word than any given 
in the glossary occurs in Lupset's Works, 1546, 13110 (A Compendious 
Treatise teachying tlie waie of dying -well, fol. 34 verso ; this treatise 
was first printed separately in 15411. In a reprint of the C. Mery Talys, 
which appeared in 1845, the Editor, not knowing what to make of crake 
and craker, altered them, wherever they occurred, to crack and cracker 
respectively ! 

P. 113. Ch' adde. In Wits Interpreter, The English Parnassus, by 
J. Cotgrave, 1655, ed. 1662, p. 247, is "the Devonshire Ditty," from 
which the following is an extract : 

" Cockbodikins, chil work no more, 
Dost think chi labour to be poor ? 
No, no, ich chave a do " &c. 
But this phraseology is not peculiar to Devonshire. 

P. 113. note 2. Some additional particulars of interest, relative to 
ancient wines, may be found in Morte Arihure, ed. 1847, pp. 18, 20; 
and in the Sqnyer of Low Degre (Ritson's Ancient Engl. Met. Ra- 
nancces, iii). 

P. 121. Of the Co^^rtear that ete the hot costerde, 

"An arch Boy being at Table where there was a piping hot Apple- 
pye, putting a Bit into his Mouth, burnt it so that the Tears ran down 
his Cheeks. A Gentleman that sate by, ask'd him, Why he wept? Only, 



1 62 Notes. 

said he, because it is just come into my Remembrance, that my poor 
Grandmother died this Day Twelvemonth. Phoo ! says the other, is 
that all ? So whipping a large Piece into his Mouth, he quickly sympa 
thized with the Boy ; who seeing his Eyes brim-full, with "a malicious 
Sneer ask'd him, Why he wept ? A Pox on you, said he, because you 
were not hanged, you young Dog, the same Day your Grandmother 
died." Complete London Jester, ed. 1771, p. 53. 

P. 140. Of the Canon and his wan, note. 

"When King James came into England, coming to Boughton.heewas 
feasted by Sir Edward Montague, and his six sonnes brought upp the 
six first dishes ; three of them after were lords, and three more knights, 
Sir Walter Montague, Sir Sydney, and Sir Charles, whose daughter 
Lady Hatton is." Ward's Diary, ed. Severn, p. 1701. 

P. 143. For al this foul araye. So, in the Child of Bristow, an early 
metrical legend, we read : 

" When the burges the child gan se, 
He seid then, "benedicite, 
Sone, what araye is this?" 

Some later writers thought it necessary to use this word with a quali 
fying adjective, as shrewd array, &c. thus, in fact, reducing it to some 
thing like its ordinary and modern signification. 

P. 148, note i. See Pepys' Diary, 6th ed. I. 29. " They brought me 
a draft of their drink in a brown bowl, tipt with silver, which I drank 
off, and at the bottom was a picture of the Virgin with the child in her 
arms, done in silver." 27th Feb. 165960. See also Brydges' British 
Bibliographer, vol. ii. p. 109. 



THE END. 



PR Hazlitt, William Carew 

2953 (ed.) 

W5H3 Shakespeare jest-books 

v.l 



PLEASE DO NOT REMOVE 
CARDS OR SLIPS FROM THIS POCKET 

UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO LIBRARY