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Sixteenth-Century Jests

The following jokes and anecdotes were culled from two sixteenth-century books of humor: to wit, Tales, and quick answeres (Anonymous, ca. 1535), and Wits Fittes and Fancies (Anthony Copley, 1595). As the spelling in the former work makes it difficult for the modern eye to read, I have modernized the orthography of those excerpts, except for the jokes' titles (indicated in red). Excerpts from the latter work (section headings from which are entitled in blue text) have not been altered, except where archaic characters (such as the "long s") have been replaced with their modern equivalents.

Certain words, displayed in green, contain annotations; under most modern browsers, holding your cursor over the annotated word for a second or two should pop up a brief "tooltip" window containing the annotation.

HTML transcription and edition copyright © 2001 Jeffrey S. Lee.


From Tales, and quick answers

Of the iolous man.

A man that was right jealous on his wife, dreamed on a night as he lay abed with her & slept, that the Devil appeared unto him and said: Wouldst thou not be glad, that I should put thee in surety of thy wife? Yes, said he. Hold, said the Devil, as long as thou hast this ring upon thy finger, no man shall make thee cuckold. The man was glad thereof, and when he awaked, he found his finger in his wife's arse.


Of the wydow that wolde nat wedde for bodily pleasure.

There was a rich widow, which desired a gossip of hers, that she would get her an husband: Not for the nice play, quoth she, but to the intent he may keep my goods together, which is an hard thing for me to do, being a lone woman. Her gossip which understood her conceit, promised her so to do. About three or four days after, she came to her again, and said: Gossip, I have found an husband for you, that is a prudent, aware, & a worldly wise man, but he lacketh his privy members: whereof ye force not.

Go to the Devil with that husband (quoth the widow), for though that I desire not the nice play, yet I will that mine husband shall have that, wherewith we may be reconciled, if we fall at variance.


Of hym that shulde haue ben hanged for his scoffynge.

There was a merry fellow in high Almain, the which with his big scoffing and jesting had so much displeased a great lord of the country, that he threatened to hang him, if ever he could take him in his country. Not long after, this lord's servants took him, and hanged he should be. When he saw there was no remedy but that he should die, he said: My lord, I must needs suffer death, which I know I have well deserved: But yet I beseech you, grant me one petition for my soul's health. The lord, at the insistence of the people that stood about, as long as it did not concern his life, was content to grant it to him. Then the fellow said: I desire you, my lord, that after I am hanged, to come three mornings fresh and fasting, and kiss me on the bare arse. Whereunto the lord answered: The Devil kiss thine arse: and so let him go.


Of the olde woman that had sore eyes

There was an old woman the which bargained with a surgeon to heal her sore eyes: and when he had made her eyes whole, and that she saw better, she covenanted that he should be paid his money, and not before. So he laid a medicine to her eyes, that should not be taken away for the space of five days, in which time she might not look up. Every day, when he came to change her dressing, he bore away some of her household stuff: tablecloths, candlesticks and dishes; he left nothing that he could carry away clean. So when her eyes were whole, she looked up, and saw that her household stuff was carried away, she said to the surgeon when he came and required his money for his labour: Sir, my promise was to pay you, when ye made me see better than I did before.

That is truth, quoth he.

Marry, quoth she, but I see worse now than I did. Before ye laid medicines to mine eyes, I saw much fair stuff in mine house, and now I see nothing at all.


Of hym that had the custodi of a warde.

A certain man, that had the custody of a ward and his goods, and in short space had spent all away, was by the governor of the city commanded to bring in his books of Introitus et Exitus — that is to say, of entrance and laying out — and to give account of the Orphan's goods. So when he came, he showed first the child's mouth, and said, "Here it went in," and then he showed up the child's arse, and said, "Here it went out; and other books of introitus et exitus I have none."


Of the scoffer that made a man a south sayer.

There was a merry scoffing fellow on a time, the which took it upon himself to teach a man to be a soothsayer. When they were agreed what he should have for his labour, the scoffer said to the man: Hold, eat this round pellet, and I warrant thou shalt be a soothsayer.

The man took and put it in his mouth, and began to champ thereon, but it savoured so ill that he spit it out forthwith, and said: Fie, this pellet that thou givest me to eat, savoureth all of a turd!

Thou sayest truth (quoth the scoffer). Now thou art a sooth sayer, and therefore pay me my money!


Of the marchaunt of Florence called Charles.

A merchaunt of Florence, called Charles, came from Avignon to Rome: And as he sat at supper with a great company, one asked him how the Florentines at Avignon fared. He said they were merry and glad; for they that dwell there a year (quoth he) be as men that were frantic and out of their minds.

Then another that sat at supper with them asked this Charles how long he had dwelt there. He answered: Six months.

Charles (quoth he that asked him the question), thou hast a great wit, for that which others take twelve months, thou hast fulfilled in half a year.


Of hym that had a flye peynted in his shilde.

A young man that on a time went a-warfare, caused a fly to be painted on his shield, even of the very greatness of a fly. Wherefore some laughed at him and said: You do well, because you will not be known.

Yes, quoth he, I do it because I will be known and spoken of. For I will approach so near our enemies, that they shall well discern what arms I bear.

Thus it that was laid to him for a blame of cowardice, was by his sharp wit turned to a show of manliness.


Of Demosthenes and Phocion.

Demosthenes said to Phocion: If the Athe­niens fall once in a madness, they will flee thee. To whom he answered: yea, surely, if they wax mad they will flee me, but if they wax once wise, they will flee thee. (For Demosthenes spoke much to the people's pleasure, and spoke things more delightable than wholesome.)


From Wits Fittes and Fancies

Of Kings and Princes

The Duke of Nazareth, comming to the Court to doe his dutie to the Emperour in moste riche and sumptuous robes, and his liueries most gallant: The Emperour seeing him out at a window, saide: It seemeth that Nazareth comes rather to bee seene of vs, then to see vs.


A Moore King shewing his Nobles much treasure, and a great heap of iewelles, they all commended his Majesty for so rich spoiles ouer his enemies. And one amongst the rest saide, And it like your Maiesty, how great a felicity were all this, if a man were to liue euer. The King answered, You haue spo­ken very fondly, for were not men mortall, I had neuer beene a King.


The Earle of VVarwicke asked King Henrie the sixt, why it pleased his Maiesty to goe so meanly attyred: The King an­swered, It beseemes a king to excell his Subiects in vertue, not in vesture.


The Emperour Nero hearing that his predecesor Clau­dius was related among the Gods, and knowing that he died of a poysoned Sallade, said: I had not thought that sallades had beene the food of the Gods.


Of Noblemen and Ambassadors

A Pick-thanke told Don Lopez de Haro, that such a one had greatly misused him in tearmes behind his backe, aduising him to reuenge the iniurie highly: Whereunto Don Lopez answe­red: Now I giue God thankes, that though he be able to speak ill of me, yet hath he not the power to hurt me.


The Earle of Vrenia meeting an Archbishoppe in the street, saluted him with all due reuerence: And the Prelate but slightlie resaluted him, touching only his hat brim: Which the Earle noting, stepped to one of his Gentlemen and tolde him: It seemes your Lord is either balde, mangie, or earelesse, that he dares not venture off his hatte, for feare belike to haue it seene.


The Earle of Vrenia asked one that came from the Court, what was reported of him there? Who answered: Neither good nor bad (my Lord) that I could heare: With that the Earle commanded him to be throughly blowe-basted and bea­ten: and then afterward gaue him fiftie Duckets, saying: Now maist thou report of Vrenia both good and bad.


Gonzalo Fernandes, a braue Spanish Generall, walking in a Church, heard a Priest loudly praying: To whome hee sayd: Father, what prayer is that you say? Hee answered, the Prime: Straine it not then so high (replyd the General) least you break it. (For Prime in Spanish signifieth also a treble Lute string.)


The Earle of Cifuentes woonted to say, that Noblemen in times past vsed to cast accompt with their Launces, and now adaies with compters.


Don Bernardin de Velasco delighted so exceedingly in cros­bowes, that he deputed an especial roome in his house for their safe custody. It chanced on a time, that being to purchase a good­ly manour & much cuntrey about it in Andaluzia, he had stored vp treasure, to the value of 60000 pounds, which, his Treasurer for more safety had coffered vp, & disposed in the said cros­bow roome, as being the strongest place in all the house. Don Bernardin one day comming thither, to see his cros-bowes, and seeing those coffers there, asked what trumpery it was. The Treasurer answered: Treasure. Treasure (said Velasco) tis trash; away with it, what makes it here to endanger my cros bowes?


Cardinall Saluiates, the Popes Legate in Spaine, at the Em­perour Charles his espousall, being in mery conuersation, said: That Fraunce tasted of pride, Spaine of malice, Italie of wisdom, England of vanity, Portugall of fooles.


Of Gentlemen

A poore Gentleman dying, had three faire haukes, which he thus disposed of: viz. Th'one to be sold for the benefit of his soule; th'other for the discharge of certain dribling debts; and the third to remaine to his sonne, whome he made his Execu­tor. This good Executor within a while after missing one of the hawkes, sayd: So wel fare thy heart (hawke) be thou gone for my fathers soule.


A Gentleman being releast out of prison, the porter at par­ting demanded his fee, and the Gentleman gaue him but a common prisoners fee, viz. three pence: Wherunto the Porter ex­cepting, and challenging sixe pence. The Gentleman shaming belike to haue been prisoner for so foule a matter: answered: I am content thou take me for a pesant for this once.


A yoong Gentleman that had follwed the warres, com­plained when he came home of the Sciatica: And being asked how he came by that ache, he answered: By lying in franke te­nements, viz. Vpon the bare earth.


One asking a Gentleman his acquaintance what good hor­ses he had, he answered: As stately a one as euer you saw. Th'o­ther then desirous to see it, to the stable they went, where when they came, a piteous poore iade it was (God wot) of pure skin and bone. But looking still about for the foresaid stately horse, and not seeing any such there, he maruelled, and often asked where he was become. Then th'other answered: Why loe heer where he standes (pointing to the poore Iade) I warrant yee (quoth hee) that he goes not aboue halfe a mile an houre to dy for it, and can you haue a statelier horse then so?


A vertuous Gentleman seeing a malicious person looke downe on the ground, and continue gazing thereon a good space, said: Questionlesse either some mischiefe is befallen yon­der man, or some good to some other body.


A Gentleman that had been to see the Peake, trauelling the same day homeward again, alighted that night in an In: where, when hee was to goe to bed, a bonny-Lasse stepped into his chamber and offred him her seruice all night: Hee seeing her impudence, answered: I list not (wench) to enter into the Peake twise in twelue houres: and so dismist her.


A poore Gentleman and a rich Courmougeon being at chol­lericke tearmes with one another, the Churle sware that hee was a good a Gentleman as he. Euen so (repli'd the gentleman) then I assure thee, I am the veriest pesant in the world.


A pick-thanke was telling a vertuous Gentleman, howe such a one spake ill of him behind his back in the presence of a great many. Of a great many? (answered the gentleman) Beleue me, so I had rather one should say ill of mee before many, then many before one.


Of Gallants and Upstarts

A Presumptuous gallant besought the King of Spaine in a meriment to make him his Secretary; The King answe­red, that hee was already prouided of a sufficient one. Yea, well I wot (reply'd the gallant) your Maiesty hath a Secre­tary indeed, but he can speake no Latine, which is a foule de­fault. The Secretary standing by, then answered, But it is a grea­ter shame not to speake good Spanish.


A Spanish Hidalgo vsed to say, that in a case of brabble be­tweene king Phillip and him, hee might with more right giue the King the lie, then the King giue it him, because he himselfe is a pure Spaniard, and the King but an Ostrich.


A Gallant was brought before a merrie Recorder of Lon­don for getting a maid with childe, and the Recorder said: It is a maruel (master N.) that you being a Gentleman of good qua­lity, would venture to get maides with child: The Gentleman answered: Nay rather were it a maruell, if a maide had gotten me with child.


A vaine Gallant ranne his head by chaunce against ano­thers bellie, and the companie asking this other how he felt his bellie, he answered: Well, for a wind-bladder neuer giues great blowe.


A Parish in the west Country called Lent was by fortune set on fire: and by chance a good fellow passing by at the same time, and seeing it, asked the Parishes name: They answered, Lent: Lent (quoth he) I pray ye then in with Fridayes and Sater­dayes to, that the fire may consume them altogether.


Of Coronels and Captaines

Gonzalo Fernandes vsde to say: That souldiors in peace, are like chimneyes in Summer.


The saide Gonzalo Fernandes marching on a time to bid the French-men battell, chanced to stumble and fall: Whereat his Army seeming dismay'd, at rising vp he said vnto them: Why (sirs) this is no worse then that the ground embraceth mee for ioy.


A Souldiour came and told his Captaine, that hee thought such a Fortresse of the enemy might be wonne onely with the losse of some few men: Whereunto the Captaine answered: But will you be one of those few?


The Castle of Endouen in Brabant being surpriz'd by night, by the States souldiours, the Captaine thereof being an Italian, was then a bed with his wench: To whome his Lieutenant came, and said: Vp and fight (Captaine) or saue your selfe, for th'enemie is within the walles He answered, You and the rest fight there, for I haue as much as I can turne mee to heere: Anon after came one of his Sergeants, and said: Captain, vp and away, th'enemie preuailes: He answered: I, now I come, my launce is in the rest: At last came rushing in his Ancient, and said: Cap­taine, your collours are lost, and the Castle tane: He answered: Yet haue I broken my Launce, what will you more? Then last of all rusht in th'enemie into his chamber, & would haue slaine him: With that he kist his whore, and said vnto them: Oh Sirs, Bon guerre, bon guerre, see here Bon guerre.


Of Souldiours

A Captaine and a souldiour fought a combate, and the Cap­taine hurte the souldiour in the Arme. So as downe fel his sword from out his hand, he resting at the Captains mer­cy. Then the Captain saying: Now yeeld (villaine) or die. Is it as I list (answered the Souldiour) know ye then, that though my Arme now failes me to fight, yet my courage serues me wel to die.


A Gallego of Spaine went to the warres, and was shot with an arrowe into the head. The Surgeon searching the wound, said, that he could not possibly liue, for that the arrow had pierst his braine. The Gallego answered: That cannot be, for I haue no braine at all; had I had braines I trow I had neuer come to the warres.


At the siege of Barcelona, a Portugall horsman entred pelle melle, in th'enemies throng into the towne gate, and wrote with a chalke within the gate: Hetherto aduentured Vasco Fer­nandes. The next day a Spaniard hearing him boast thereof, was no lesse aduenturous, and brauely hazarded himselfe the next skirmish, in at the same gate, and wrote with a cole beyond his: Hetherto Vasco Fernandes did not aduenture.


A valiant Souldiour being demaunded how many men he durst encounter withall at once, answered: If he be an honest man, one is ynough, if villaines, a whole street-full.


A nouice souldiour putting on his first harnesse, trembled, and said: Now that I see my selfe in Armes, I am afraide of my selfe.


A souldiour was a telling how that in a battell in which he was, th'enemies Arrowes were so infinite in the aire, that they darkened the sunne ouer them: Wherunto an other answered: Then had you the ods, to fight with them in the shade.


Of Challenges and Combates

In Spaine single combate is not allowed, but betweene per­sons of like bloud and linage: A Spanish Gentleman hauing a quarrell with another not his equall, sent him a challenge thus: I, N. doe acknowledge my selfe as base a villaine as thou thy selfe; and therefore, see thou meet me to morrow at such a place.


A Spanish souldiour challenged an Italian Gentleman to the field: Wherunto the Italian excepted, as in respect he was his better; neuertheles (he said) I haue a boy that shall fight with thee in the right of my quarrell, where er'e thou darest to ap­point: The Spaniard herunto thus answered: Let that boy come, for boy, or base how er'e he be, I will accompt him thy better.


Of Trauellers by Land and Sea

A Trauelling Gentleman being return'd home out of Italy discoursed to a friend of his a very vnlikely accident that had befallen him by the way. Wherat his page standing by, said: I beseech your worship giue me leaue to beleeue it.


Two Trauaylers met together at an Inne, and a fat Capon was seru'd vp to their boord: At dinner time one asked th'o­ther, whether he had a father liuing or no: Hee answered, no: And withall told him a long discourse how, and where, and howe long since his father died: Meane time th'other eate vp the best of all the Capon: Which the tale-teller at last percei­uing, halfe angry, said vnto him: Now that you haue heard the discourse of my fathers death: I pray you tell me, haue you also er'e a father liuing: He answered:No. Now I pray you then tell mee (quoth th'other) how hee died? Hee very earnest at his vittailes, briefly answered: Suddainly, very suddainly.


A Mastiffe dog flue vpon a passenger, and he with the pike of his staff: ran him into the guttes, and kill'd him: The owner of the dog hereupon commenc'd his action against the partie: And the matter being brought to the vpshot, the Iudge asked him, why he did not rather strike the dog with the wood end of the staffe, then with the pike: He answered: And like your Honor, he flue at me with his teeth, not with his taile.


Don Iohn de Figueroa vsed to say: That he that euermore al­leadgeth in his conuersation other mens sayings, is like a gow­tie naile, that cannot enter the wood, except an augar make the way before.


An Hostler taking a Gentlemans bootes downe to make cleane: The Gentleman said vnto him, I pray thee (fellow) let my boots alone, for th'old durt will serue to keep out the new.


One traueyling on a frosty morning through a countrey village, was set vpon by a greate Mastiffe: Hee stooping for a stone to throw at him, and feeling it hard frozen to the earth, said: A poxe on the countrey where stones are ty'd, and dogs let loose.


A plaine Gentleman riding vpon a leane large horse, a Gal­lant that met him, ask'd him what a yarde of his horse was woorth: With that he bid his man alight, and lift vp his horse taile vnto him, and then he answered, Enter into the shop, and they within will shew you.


Don Iuan de Vrbina vsed to say: That such as report newes of strange countries, are like vagabonds, whose garmentes con­sist rather of patches, than of anie principall peece.


In a perillous storm at sea, a passenger of the company, whiles all the rest were a weeping and praying, and making humble vowes to God for their safeties, fell hard to his vittailes: And being for such his impietie reprehended, he answered: Being to drink by and by so great a draught of water, is it not meet (trow ye) that I vittaile my paunch well aforehand?


A Passenger at sea feeling his stomacke rise, sayd to the mai­ster of the ship: I pray holde still the ship a while, til I vomite.


A ship sayling toward Peru, a mighty storme arose and en­dangered it: Wherupon the Captaine charged euery man to throw into the sea, the heauiest thing he could best spare, to the ende to lighten somewhat the ship. A passenger that had his wife there, offred then to throw her ouer boord, but the com­pany rescued her: And being asked what he ayled so to doe, he answered: She is the heauiest thing I haue, and I can best spare her.


Of Sute and Suters

A reuerend person besought a largesse of a Prince for a friend of his, and the Prince refus'd it him: He neuertheles stil entreated & it would not be, til at last, humbling himself vpon his knee at the princes foot, with much entreatie he obtain'd it: A many gentlemen standing by, condemn'd such his too much basenes; considering his grauitie and wisdom, & told him, that he had therin greatlie discredited his reuerence & magnanimitie: He an swered: That is not my fault (Gentlemen) but the princes, whose eares (as you see) are in his heeles.


Of Game and Gamesters

One vsed to say, that dice and purging pilles were of like nature:For that a litle of th'one purgeth a mans panch through­ly, and as litle of the other a mans purse.


Of Popes and Prelates

An olde seruitor of a Pope besought him of the Archbi­shopricke of Sylence in the Isle of Serdinia, the said suppliant be­ing a verie talkatiue and prating man: Wherunto the Pope an­swered: Trust me, you haue no reason to craue that Sea of all others, beeing it will euermore approue you a lyar.


A Cardinall complained vnto Pope Clement the seuenth, how one Michael Angelo his painter in a picture which he had drawne of Dooms-day in S. Peters chappel at Rome, had ther­in figured him in hell amongst the damned, beseeching him to bid it be altered to some other fauour: Whereunto the Pope answered: Well you wot, I can release a soule out of Purgatory but not out of hell.


The Cardinall Don Alonso Manrique spent much, and ow'd much: There was in his Church a Channon, who was so good a fellow that he seldome eat at home, & yet neuertheles retain'd a Steward in continuall standing wages. Wherupon the Car­dinall vpon a time merrily asking him what he meant to keep a Steward, hauing so little vse to put him to: The Channon no lesse merrilie answered: Your Grace hath great reason, for in sooth (my Lord) my Steward and your Treasurer may very well be whipt at a Carts tayle for vagabondes.


The Archbishop of Cullen riding along the plaine all rou­nded about with men of warre, & himselfe most brightly glitte­ring in Armes: A Swaine ploughing therabouts laughed to see him so: Which the Prelate perceiuing, commanded him straight before him, and asked him why he laughed so: Mary I laugh (answered the Pesant) to see an Archbishop so souldiourly gal­lant. Why sirrha (said the Bishop) I am thus as a Duke, not as an Archbishop or a priest: Euen so Sir (reply'd the swaine) now I pray then, crack me this nut. Were my L. Duke at the deuil, where (trowe ye) were my L. Archbishop then?


Bishop Gardener being depriued of his Bishoprick, one thus saluted him in derision: Farewell Bishop olim. He answered: Gramercie Knaue semper.


Of Priests and Friers

A Confessor comming to visite a sicke poore woman in bed, and after hauing heard her confession, and giuen her good ghostly aduise to God-ward: At his departure the poore wid­dow willed her maid to giue him the fattest Capon shee had. The maide did so, and the Priest accepted it, and went his way. Shortly after the woman recouered her health, and wal­king abroad she missed among other her poultrey this Capon, and forgetting how she had bestowed it, she called her maid to her, and asked her what was become of it: Wherunto the maid answering that she had giuen it in her sicknes time to the priest: she said: What a foule ill, did I so? So often had I giuen it heer­tofore to the Deuill when I missed it, and still it came againe, and giuing it but once to the Priest hath hee caried it quite a­way?


A great preacher ambitious of a Bishoprick: On a time af­ter his sermon ended comming downe the pulpit, a Gentle­man of great worship standing by, proffered him his hande to help him fown: Pardon me sir (said the preacher) may it please you rather to help me vp with your friendlie hand, for downe (alas) I can come alone all-too easilie.


A famous Preacher, who had long sued for a Bishopricke, and could not attaine to any, vsed to say, that out of doubt if it rain'd myters, not any one would light vpon his head.


A Dominican and a Franciscan Frier traueiling together on the way, arriued at a brook, where the Dominican requested the Franciscan, in as much as he was barefoot, to carie him ouer the water on his back: The Franciscan was content, and vp he took him, and into the riuer he went; and being stept into the chan­nell, there he paws'd, & said to the Dominican: Tell me (brother) haue you any money about you? The Dominican thinking that he aimed thereby at a consideration for his paines, answered: Yea marie haue I a little, but not much: Much or little then (re­ply'd the Franciscan) well you wot my order allowes me not to carie any money about me, though well you may. And there­fore: and with that downe hee let slip the Dominican into the channell, where his money could not saue him from being ve­rie well wet.


A Frier whose name was Bonaduenture comming to be ac­quainted with an other Frier, whose name was Malauer, as much to say in English as speed yll: Bonaduenture saide vnto him: Lord (brother Malauer) how many seeke for me and chance on you!


Of Doctors and Schollars

It was a great controuersie in the Vniuersitie of Leyden be­tweene the Physicke and Law Doctors, whether of them should take place foremost at the Commencements: And a merrie Chanceller being deputed judge of the difference, asked them whether at an execution, the fellon or the hangman ought to goe foremost to the gallowes: They al answered: The fellon: Euen so? (reply'd the Chancellor) Then yee Lawyers, goe yee foremost as theeues, and yee Physitians follow ye after as hang­men.


One Doctor Villiabos saying grace before the Emperour Charles, did it silentlie: Wherunto a vaine Gallant afterward excepting, & saying that it were much better if he spake it out: He answered: Make mee but a foole, and I'le speake as loud as you; but it will marr the grace quite.


A manie Schollers went to steale Conies, and by the way they warn'd a nouice among them to make no noise for feare of skarring the Conies away: At last he espying some, said aloud in Latine: Ecce Cuniculi multi: And with that the Conies ranne into their berries: Wherewith his fellowes offended, and chy­ding him therefore, hee sayd: Who (the Deu'll) would haue thought that Conies vnderstood Latine.


Of Poets and Musitions

A Seruing-man seru'd in a Kids head to his masters boord, and by the way eat vp all the braine of it: Wherupon his ma­ster asking what was become of the braine: He answered: Sir, it is a Musition-kid.


One vsed to say, that a foole and a dauncer differ but in this, That a foole is a foole all his life, and a Dauncer but whiles hee daunceth.


A miser-Nobleman turn'd away his Musitions, and will'd them the next morning that they were to depart, to come and play him their last farewell vnder his windowe: They did so, and when they had all done, he paid them but their bare wages, and so dismist them: Whereupon one of them at parting sayd vnto him: And like you Honour, so great miserie deserues bag pipes.


A Gentleman that plaid verie well vpon the Bandore, and had but a bad voyce, plaid and song in an Euening vnder his Maistresse window, and when he had done, ask'd her how she liked his musicke: She answered: You haue plaid very well, and you haue sung to.


Of Physick and Physitions

A Graue physicke Doctor reading by candle-light the se­crets of Nature, and finding among other thinges that a large and a broad beard betokens a foole: He straight took the candle in one hand, and a looking glasse in th'other, and be­gan to view what maner of beard his owne was. Now, holding the candle ouer neer: the flame set it on fire, and burnt it half off. Then all in a chafe throwing down the glasse, he took pen and ink, and wrot in the margin of this secret, Probatum est.


A Doctor of physick examining a student, who was to take degree in that faculty, among other questions asked him, what was the reason that the plague-sore commonly takes men in the groyne, or in the Arme-pit: He answered: Because it is the fashion.


One compar'd Physitions to haukes, which if they kill but Partridges, are valued not aboue thirtie Crownes: If Duckes & Mallards at fiftie: if Herons at two hundred: So Physitions, if they kill but Clownes and pesants, are not greatly esteemed: if Gentl. or Knights, they are reasonable; but if they kill Lords or great states, then are they great Clearks, & highly accompted of.


A Physition riding ouer Shooters hill in Kent was afraide of Theeues, and by chance he saw farre off a troope of people a­fore him. Wherupon he bid his man ryde towards them, to dis­couer what they were: Meantime he hid himselfe close behind a bush: The fellow comming vnto them, vnderstood that they conducted a murtherer to execution: Wherupon (being a mad knaue) he straight set spurres to his horse, & galloped back again amain toward his maister, stil beckning vnto him all the way as he posted, to be gone, and shift for himselfe: Which the Doctor perceiuing, away hee flinges backe againe toward London, as though he had had a deuill at his tayle, and being alighted at his Inne, he there attended his mans comming: Who eftsoons ar­riued, all panting, and blowing, said vnto him: Happy you (ma­ster) that are so well escaped. Gogs nownes, he to be hang'd for killing only one man, what would they haue done with you (I trow) who haue slaine so many in your dayes?


Of Iustices, Lawyers, and Scriueners

An Abbot disclaiming before a Iustice to the temporal law, and saying that hee was to be tri'd by the Cleargie, and not by the Layety: The Iustice straight will'd his Mule to be seas'd vp­on for the Plaintiffes debt and then answered: At leastwise (fa­ther) your Mule is of the Layety.


Of Loue and Louers

One asked a Scholler how a man ought to demean himselfe in his first loues to his Maistresse: He answered: Tell her once that you loue her, and then let the Deuil worke the rest.


A maid was cheapning somewhat at a Haberdashers shop, and as they were iesting together, shee asked him who was his maistresse: With that the Haberdasher took downe a looking glasse and held it before her, and said: Loe there may you see her, if you please.


One being asked why he loued so extreamly such a foule, crooked, and squint ey'd creature: he answered: She makes yee a most daintie Sallade of Lettuce.


Of Husbands and Wiuing

A Duke being highlie offended with his slaue, wold haue hang'd him, but at last aduising vpon a worser torment (as hee thought) said: No, hanging is all too easie a death, I'le marie him to a shrowe.


A Musition singing vnder a Gentlemans windowe, The faire wife proou'd a shrewe, &c. The Gentleman straight arose from out his bed, and looking out at the window, said vnto him: The faire wife you speake of, well may you goe seeke her els where, for here she is not: but as for the shrew, she is heer a bed with me.


One woonted to say, that to a peaceable life in mariage it were meet the husband were deaf, and the wife blind.


A Bride-groome said vnto his spouse: When as at such a time I sollicited thy chastity, hadst thou then condiscended, I should neuer haue lou'd thee after, neither had we been now man and wife, for I did it purposely to trie thee: She answe­red: Faith I thought as much, but such a one taught mee more wit then so seuen yeares agoe.


One ask'd a yoong Gentleman, what he meant to marie so deafe a Gentlewoman: he answered: Because I hop'd she was also dumbe.


Of Women

A woman in anger said, what (I pray yee) doe you doubt of my honestie: No (answered th'other,) for it neuer stood in my way.


King Edward the fourth was woont to say, that a womans greatest difficulty is, to hold her peace.


A Gent. requested a thing of an vnchast Gentlewoman: and she answered, Faith sir no: had I a hundred things, you should not haue any one of them. Say you so (reply'd the Gent.) I knew the time whan hauing but one onely thing, you let a hundred vse it.


One in wrangle with a woman gaue her the lie: an other that stood by then answered: why, women are best when they lie.


A Gentleman taking his leaue of his mistresse, said: I kisse your hands and your feete: She answered, Forget not (I pray) the station betweene.


One saying to a woman: Vpon my soule doe this: Shee an­swered: Stake downe some other pawne, for that's forfeited already.


An old woman seeing the Bride her daughter vnarray her selfe tearfullie to bedward, as who would say: Lord, is this the last houre of my maiden-head? She said vnto her: Faith (Daugh­ter) and if it pleas'd God, would I were to abide all thy paines too night.


The Earle of Vrenia used to say, that a womans greatest jayle is modesty, and silence.


A Preacher in his good-friday sermon said vnto his parishi­oners: Sirs, who of you all will not in honour of this day for­giue his enemie with all his heart: With that a woman stept foorth and said: Sir, I doe: Whome (said the preacher:) Marie whosoeuer (quoth she) will doe so much as kill the knaue my husband.


Of Cuckolds

A countreyman came to aske for a Gent. in a place where were a many other Gent. besides, and it was his chance to aske the Gent. himselfe: Who answered: My good friend, hee that you aske for, was hang'd many a day agoe: And wherefore I pray you sir? (reply'd the stranger:) Marie (hee answered) for a robberie: A robberie (quoth the stranger) Oh th'vngratious man, was he not content to be a Cuckold all his life, but hee would also prooue himselfe a theefe in th'end?


Of Table Matter

A friend of Don Alonso de Aguilar being at dinner with him call'd for a little wine: Wherupon Don Alonso told him: In this house (sir) is neither a litle to be demanded, nor a litle to be giuen.


An old Doctor complaining how that hauing but one only tooth left him in his head, it was lately fallen away with eating a verie ripe fig: an other answered: But your tooth was a greate deale riper.


Two Gent. went to breake their fast in a Tauerne, and a bagpiper stood piping at the doore: At last in came one, and set them downe a couple of egges: Whereat one of the Gent. ex­cepted, and said: Hath all this cackling been but for these two poore egges?


One being caru'd the rump of Mutton, he refused it, saying: I brook no couers of close-stooles.


Of Nations and Citties

An Italian Traueiller vs'd to say, that the Por­tugall seemes a foole, and is a foole; the Spani­ard seemes wise and is a foole; the Frenchman seemes a foole, and is wise; the Englishman wise, but cannot shew it; the Italian both wise and so seemeth, and that the Dutch man wold bee wise, but for the pot.


In the North of Ireland, where they eate but Oaten cake­bread, a Kearnes mother hearing that her sonne was slaine in fight against Englishmen, came the morrow after into the field and finding her dead sonne there, after much mone and lamen­tation ouer him, she chanced to cast her eye aside, and there by espy'd a dead Englishman: Then vp she arose, and much accur­sing our nation for the death of her sonne, in the end she strip­ped him of his apparell, and chanced to find a stale lofe of bread in his breeches, which was of the prouision hee brought with him from the English pale: which after she had a good while well viewed & wondred at: in the end burst foorth into fresh teares, and said: No maruell if my deare sonne be slaine by one that voydes so hard and huge a sturd.


A Scot was a preaching how that all men are one an others neighbour and brother in Christ, euen the Turke, the Iew, the Moore, the Caniball, the farre Indian: and then concluded: Yea and the very Englishman is our neighbour too.


A Spaniard brauing an English fugitiue souldiour in the Low-Countries, said, that in his dayes yee had slaine as manie Englishmen, as he had buttons in his doublet: The English­man answered: So often kisse you my tayle.


One saying that French paper was better cheape in England then English paper: An other answered: No maruell, for why, they haue more ragges to make paper of in France, then wee haue in England, by reason they haue more beggers.


A Portugals wife calling a Castilian, skeruy Spaniard: Her husband said: Alas (wife) it is mischiefe ynough that the poore soule is a Spaniard, though he be not skeruie too.


A Spanish Jester woonted to say, that in the citie of Sigouia were eight moneths of winter, and foure of hell.


It is prouerbiall in our country, From Hull, Hell, & Halifax, good Lord deliuer us.


Of Attires

An elder brother was commending his yoonger bro­thers greene cloak, and said it became him passing well: Th'other answered: But a black mourning cloake from you, would become me better.


A Gent. came in a maske vested all in blacke, ouer-figured with Deaths heads, and one that saw it said: Iesu, what a num­ber of Fooles faces haue we there. The Gent. Page standing by answered: Nay, there lackes yours to make it seeme so.


Of Officers

One chaunced vpon the night watch, and the Constable demaunded his weapon, who straight discouered his cloake, and shew'd him a bottle of wine, and said: Loe heere all my weapon: The Constable took his said weapon from him, & he and his mates drunk vp all the wine, and then deliuer'd him the emptie bottle, saying: Holde heer (friend) the sheath againe.


A Maior of London died the verie same day that hee was e­lected, vvhereupon one thus merrilie saide : A vigilant Maior he was, that neuer slept all the time of his Maioralty.


A merrie Recorder of London, being to discide a brable be­tween two Citizens, the one called Dunscombe, the other Cox & vnderstanding what a paltrie matter it was, hee thus jestinglie said vnto them: Sirs, I verie wel conceiue your case, and thus I sentence it: Namely, you Dunscombe, deliuer ye vp to Cox al your combe, reseruing only Duns to your selfe: So be you still a Duns, and he a Coxcombe.


A Spaniard trauelling on the way, alighted at a poor Inne, and they ask'd him his name: he answered: Don Pedro Gonzales Garetan de Gueuara: Wherunto they reply'd: Sir wee haue not meat ynough for so many.


Of Marchants and Misers

One ask'd a Marchant how he could sleep soundlie a nights owing so much as he did: he answered: Why man, my Credi­tors doe sleepe.


A officious Welshman seeing a cripple Marchants wid­dow snayling ouer London bridge, took pitie on her trembling gate, and friendly offred her his helping hand all along: And as they footed it together, the old woman ask'd him by the way what countryman he was: he answered: A Welshman: where­upon she straight desir'd him to shift on the other side of her: which he did, and so led her safe to her house at the bridge-foot At parting she hartilie thank'd him for such his good nature, and pray'd God to blesse him: an hee ask'd her what was the reason that vpon his saying that he was a Welshman, she straight desir'd him to shift on the other side of her: shee answered: Oh (sonne) my purse hung on that side.


A Miser said vnto his man: Sirrha, you had best bee gone least I giue you that you would not willinglie haue. The ser­uing-man answered, Sir, I beleeue you not, for you neuer giue.


A rich Churle was so miserlie minded, that hee thought all mischiefes that befell any of his neighbours, was in respect that they wisht him yl, or went about to do him some despight. It chaunced that his man riding in an euening to water his horse, both he and the horse drowned: Whereupon the miser said: See, see, out of doubt the Varlet hath done this to spight mee.


Two Gent. dwelling together in one house, were at dead­lie food with one another: And the one of them being a most niggish and miserable man, for the more safety of his person a­gainst all poison that th'other might prepare against him, en­tertained a trustie fellow into his seruice, and gaue him due in­structions how to serue him at boord, and especiallie to be very warie what drinke he gaue him, and generallie of all poyson, and in conclusion, offered him but 18. pence wages a moneth. The seruing-man seeing such his miserie, sayd: For ought I can see, your worship is rather in danger of famin then of poyson.


Of Artizans and Prentises

A Gentleman will'd an Arras-maker to work him a peece of Tapistrie, figur'd with a faire Castle, and within the Castle a Dog barking, and at the Castle-gate a man all in compleat ar­mour, brandishing in his hand a naked sword: The work-man wrought it, and brought it home: Which the Gent. viewing, and missing the Dog, angerlie excepted thereunto: The work­man then merrily answered: Belike (Sir) it is now dinner time within the Castle, and the skeruie Curre is gnawing a bone somewhere in a corner.


One ask'd a Painter how it chanced he drew so faire pictures and begat so fowle children: He answered: I paint by day, and beget by night.


A Tyler and his sonne were a tyling of a house, and the father did his worke so loosely, that his sonne found fault there­with: Whereunto he answered: Foole, doe it well to day, and beg to morrow.


An Artizan fed his Prentise onlie with Liuers and Lightes: And being on a day to goo doe a little worke out of towne: hee bid his Prentise come after, and meet him at such a place: Meane time hee went afore, and being come to the place appointed, there he staid for his Prentise, whom at last he might see com­ming aloose off with a load on his shoulders, and being come neer him, he marueill'd thereat, and ask'd him why he brought that great log with him: the Prentise answered: So many lights haue I eaten, that I thought the open country-ayre would haue caried me quite away, and therefore did I take this loade vpon me.


A Scauinger loading a dung-cart, by chaunce a Kyte flew ouer him, and a Tayler in the next shop seeing it, sayd: Oh, see there (sirrha) your fellow Scauinger: No, (answered the Sca­uinger) Prick-louse, it is a Bussard like you.


A London-Printer sent his Prentise for a messe of Mustard, who asking him where he should fetch it, he surlie answered: In France. Very good sir (quoth the Prentise) And with that he tooke a Mustard-pot in his hand, and forthe he went to Billingsgate where finding a ship bound for France, he imbark'd therein, & to France he went: vvhere he remain'd the space of almost a yeere: At last return'd home again, he came that very same day twelue-moneth to his maister, and deliuer'd him the foresaid pot-full of Mustard, saying: Hold here (Maister) your messe of French Mustard.

The said Prentise entring by and by after into his maisters Printing-house, and finding a Dutch-man there working at the Presse, straight stept vnto him, and snatching the balles out of his hands, gaue him a good cuffe on the eare, & sayd: Why how now (Butter-boxe?) Cannot a man so soon turne his back to fetch his maister a messe of Mustard, but you to step straight into his place?


Of Iesters

A Iester being ask'd what time he would gladliest choose to die in: he answered: When Iohn a Nokes dies: And why so? (said th'other) Marie because (quoth he) hee is so errand an V­suring Cuckold-maker, that whensoere hee dies, I am sure the deuilles will be all so busie about his soule, that mine may sneak along by them and nere be seene.


Of Seruing-men and Pages

A Gent. Cooke forsooke him, and went to serue another maister, whom the Gent. meeting certaine moneths after atti­red all in greene, said vnto him: Me thinkes (N.) you looke ve­rie greene now a daies: True sir (answered the Cooke) for I am sow'd in a good ground.


A seruing-man was discoursing to his maister how boun­tifull Don Diego Desa, Bishop of Ciuill, was vnto his Seruants: who answered: He doth well, for that all that he hath, he hath it but during his life. The Seruing-man reply'd: Now I pray you (sir) for how many liues enioy you your goods?


A many Pages pratling together in the Court, and euerie one of them wishing his wish: I wish (said one of them) that I were a Mellown, that euerie man might smelto my tayle how good I am.


A Seruing-man vs'd still to say to his maister: Now I be­seech God (sir) to take away my dayes, and bestow them vpon your worship, that long may yee liue: Riding before his maister on a time in a darke euening, and in a great snow, far from any housing, and quite out of the way, he then said vnto his mai­ster: Oh (sir) these are the dayes I alwayes pray'd God to take from me and bestow vpon your Worship.


One asking a Seruing-man how much his miserly maisters reuenue was: he answered: Able to starue a thousand persons.


An angry Gent. gaue one of his men two good flurrets in the eare, whereat one of his fellowes by, fell a laughing: which he perceiuing, flew straight to his maister, & gaue him a box on the eare, and said: Sir, I returne your Worship this againe, to bestow vpon yonder knaue that stands laughing at me so.


A Noble-man gaue an old seruant of his two boxes on the eare: And the next day being displeas'd with one of his Pages, merrily then said vnto him: I pray thee N. restore me one of the boxes I gaue thee yesterday, to bestow vpon this villain-boy: he answered: Not onely that (my Lord) for your Boyes, but the other also (if you please) for your Hobberdehoyes.


A Seruing-man being brought before a Iustice vpon sus­pition of fellonie, the Iustice ask'd him whom he seru'd: he an­sered:God: With that the Iustice straight commanded him away to prison: Shortly after being brought before him againe at the Sessions, he ask'd him (as before) whom hee seru'd: And he answered: My Lord Chancellour: My Lord Chancellor? (said the Iustice) why what (a deu'l) mak'st thou heer then? why told'st thou me not as much at first? He answered: Because I did not think you had lou'd my L. Chancellour better then God.


Of Biscayns and Fools

A Physition sent a sicke Biscayn purging pilles to loose him withall, and he tasting and chewing one of them in his mouth, & finding it passing bitter, spet it out againe, the rest he wrapt in bundle of hay, saying: There rest ye till yee bee through ripe.


A Spanish Preacher will'd his Biscayn-boy to goe break his fast at one Dauids a Cooke, vpon his skore. Meane while hee went to Church to preach: And reciting in his sermon a many authorities out of Scripture, for the probate of his text, he said: And now (sirs) what sayes Dauid (trow ye) to this geere? Euen as he said so, in-stept the boy at the Church-door, and hearing him talke of Dauid, answered him aloud: Marie, no more Pies (he saith) till you haue paid him the old skore.


A Cockney seeing a Squirrell in a shop, greatly admir'd it, and said, Iesu God, what pretie things are made for money!


It was a controuersie in law betweene two wise men, whe­ther of them a Cuckoe (which they saw in a tree) call'd cuckoe vnto: And after that they had therein wasted all their pence, in th'end they agreed to put it to compremize to a neighbour of theirs, whom in the meane time they both plyed with butter & Bacon ynough, & such other like country-cates to draw him on their side: But he finding himselfe beholding to both their bounties alike, at last when the houre was come, he thus awar­ded, saying: My good neighbours, to neither of you both did the Cuckoe crie Cuckoe, but to mee, and there an end.


A Seruing-man was jesting with his maisters foole, and made him beleeue he would cut off his head: The Foole ranne straight to his maister and told him of it: who answered: Hee shall not cut off thy head, if hee doe, I'le hang him the next day after: Nay I pray (reply'd the Foole) rather hang him a day before.


One chid a Foole for that he had throwne dust at his face, and some of it was gotten into his eyes: The Foole answered: Truly I tooke you for a letter.


In a tumult in a towne of Biscay, the Maior read the kinges Proclamation thus: King of Castile, Leon, Arragon, Nauarre, &c. Wherunto they all answered: King & Queen God blesse them, but as for &c. the Deuill take him, wee'll none of him.


Two Biscaynes traueilling on the way, were a hunger'd, and into a victualing-house they went, and call'd for meat: The good wife answered, that she had nothing at that present, but only a couple of Honey-combes: Hony-combes (saide one of them) what's that I pray ye? Know ye not what a Hony-comb is (answered th'other?) I doe. Goe to (Hostesse) Frie the one, and boyle the other, and bring them vs presently piping hot.


A Biscayn forgetting the name of the Halbardiers-street, demaunded of one which was the way to the coate of Male-street.


One asked a Biscayn how many horses his father had: he an­swered: Fiue, with foure that are dead.


A Spanish Gent. borrowed his friends Biscayn-Page to at­tend him to his Maistresse, and being there he was dispos'd to iest with the boy, and sayd vnto him, Tell me (sirrha) is it true that all you Biscayns are discended of the fart of a Iew? The Page answered: If that bee true (sir) you may doe well, euer­more when you are dispos'd to fart, to have a Biscayn your companion, and not your borrowed Page.


A S. Albons-man trauelling on the way, his horse tyr'd & wold no further: Wherupon he tooke the saddle from off his backe, and clapt it vpon his owne, and so march'd on, leading the horse in hand faire and softly after: By chance a Barnet-man of his ac­quaintance meeting him, and marueilling thereat, ask'd him why hee caried the saddle so himselfe: he answered: I shame the villaine-jade.


Of Country-men and Clownes

A Country-lad had stept aside with a wench, and done I know not what, but his father mainly belamb'd him for the fact, the wench proouing afterward with child: Certain daies after, one asking him wherfore his father had so grieuouslie beaten him: he answered: Faith, for nothing but only for boun­sing at the next doore to the priuie.


A manie Clownes were eating of a Posset together, & one of them burn'd his chappes, and for verie paine let flie a mon­strous fart, and said: Goe thy wayes, thou art euen the happiest fart of al thy fellowes, for hadst thou staid stil within, thou hadst been most miserablie skalded.


A crooked country clowne of extreame rude behauiour, was chosen by his Parishioners to sollicite their law-matter with their learned Counsell: Vp he came to the Tearm, and to his Counsel hee hy'd him: who seeing so deformed and slouen­lie a fellow, excepted vnto him, and sayd: What (a deu'l) art thou the onely sufficient man of all thy parish to followe this matter? The Clowne answered: As for the matter (sir) I cannot tell, but as for your Worship (well I wot) they haue thought me good ynough to come to you.


Certaine Gentlewomen walking in a fielde after supper, met a country-man carrying a young Kid vpon his shoulders: and one of them feeling vnto it, how tender it was, said it must needs be tender, hauing yet no horns out: The Countrie-man answered: True (maistresse) for it is yet vnmaried.


A Country man lent his neighbour an Asse, and he negle­cted to return him home againe at the day appointed, so as the partie was fain to go fetch him himself: Who when he came, th'other deny'd that the Asse was yet come home, and made many flim flam excuses to detaine him a while longer: In the meane time the Asse bray'd in the stable, whereby his maister knew that there he was, who then waxed verie angry with his neighbour for so abusing him. Wherunto th'other in a rage answered: Gogs nayles (neighbour) will you beleeue your Asse before mee?


A Gent. was saying to a plaine countrie-man: Beleeue me (father) if this hot weather hold, it is like to go hard with poore beasts this next winter: The Countrie-man answered: God preserue your Worship.


A Traueiller being come to a ponde, ask'd a country-man ther by, whether it were passable or no: who answered: Yea (sir) you may verie well: With that the Traueiller plunging there­into, stoocke fast, and had much adoe to get out againe: but at last getting out, hee all to rated the poore Swaine, and woulde have beaten him: who answered: Trulie (sir) all my neighbour Baals Geese and mine passe ouer it euery day.


A plain Countrey-fellow being to trauell home ward from the Tearme, & passing along London-streets, asked of the shop­men & others whom he met, which was the way to Wakefield.


Iohn a Nokes was driuing his cart toward Croydon, and by the way fel a sleep therein: Mean time a good fellow came by & stole away his two horses, and went faire away with them. In th'end he awaking, and missing them, said: Either I am Iohn a Nokes, or I am not Iohn a Nokes: if I be Iohn a Nokes, then haue I lost two horses, and if I be not Iohn a Nokes, then haue I found a cart.


A Country-man had kill'd a dog, and a neighbour of his with a great codpeece, meeting him the next day, quarrellous­ly ask'd him why he did so: affirming that it was his dog: Th'o­ther espying his codpeece, then answered: Had he had such an other codpeece as yours, happely I should haue taken him for you dogge indeed, and so forborne to haue kill'd him.


A country-Viccar preaching to his parishioners, against the excesse and vanitie of apparell that is nowe a dayes vsed, compar'd womens Vardingalles to hell, and mens Codpeeces to the deuill, and concluded: Now put that Deuill in that hell, and (behold) hee's where he would be.


Of Fellons and Theeues

A smith had slaine one, and was to be condemn'd for the fact: Then his Parishioners came in and besought the Iudge to spare him, affirming that they had no more Smithes but him, nor any one neer them of many a mile: They further alleadged, that besides that hee was a good Farrier, hee could also make lockes and keyes, and all maner of Ironage belonging either to cart or plough: wherunto the Iudge answered: My maisters, I haue heard your allegations, but on the other side, a man is slaine, and how shall justice then be perfourmed? They repli­ed: Mary, and like your L. we haue heer a couple of weauers a­mongst vs, and one of them wil serue our turnes well ynough, we pray you therfore, hang the other weauer, & saue the smith.


Quarto is a small Spanish Brasse-coin, also it signifieth in Spa­nish, a quarter of any thing: A Iudge pronouncing sentence vp­on a Fellon, and saying [He to be hang'd and made into foure Quartos] The Fellon answered: Nay, I pray (sir) turne me into better coyne than so.


A Passenger complain'd to a Captaine, how certaine his Souldiours had robb'd him of all that euer he had. Wherunto the Captain answered: Tell mee (friend) ware you that doublet when they robb'd you? He answered: Yea: Then get you gone, (said the Captaine) for well I wot, had they beene my Souldi­ours, they would haue left you neuer a rag to your backe.


Two Theeues came by night to rob a Marchantes shop, and it chanced that a boy lay there that night, who ouer-hearing their attempt, said vnto them: Sirs, get you gone, and come a­gain anon, for I am not yet asleepe.


One did a robbery in one sheere, and was taken in an other, and being brought before the Iustice there, the Iustice thought good to returne him backe againe to the other sheere where he committed the robberie: Wherupon the theefe saide vnto him: I pray (sir) if that be Lawe, let me aske you one question: How if a man be taken a bed to night with his neighbors wife, ought he to be sent thether againe the next night too?


A Fellon at the gallowes said vnto the Hangman: Villain, better yet be hang'd, then bee a Hangman, like thee: True (an­swered the Hang-man) were it not for hanging.


Of Equiuocates in speech

A Gentleman taking his leaue of a Gentlewoman, said: May it please you to will me any seruice: Shee answered: No, I doe not yet make my will.


A Gentleman whose maistresse name was Field, saying in a morning to a friend of his: See howe I am all bedew'd with comming ouer yonder field: The other answered: Rather is it with lying all night in the field.


Of Extrauagant speech

A Cooke seeing his fat wife sit stradling at the shop doore, said vnto her: Fie on thee (slut) shut vp that shop of thine: The Goodwife answered: The Deu'll take him that hath the key and doth it not.


Of Sence reversed by Identitie of Speech

One call'd an other foole, who answered: Indeed, so may I seeme, because I speak in such sort as you may vnderstand me.


Of Emblemes, Poesies, and Endorcements

A Suter wrote a whole Loue-letter to his maistresse word for word out of Amadis de Gaule: who when she had read it, & remembred from whence he had it, she deliuer'd it again to the bearer, saying, Friend, you mistake: This letter is to Maistresse Laureola.


Of Similes

One being ask'd why hee refus'd to answere one that had highly abus'd him in outragious tearmes: hee answered: I am like a deafe man in a Belfrie, that heares not the jangling of the Belles.


Of a Gentlewoman that had a bad face and a good waste, an other said, that the circumstance was better then the sinne.


One hearing a bagpipe sownd yll-fauouredly, said, it was like the noise of a Cat, whiles her taile is a cutting off.


Of Drunkards

One aduis'd a great Drunkard still to mingle water with his wine, hee answered: If that were good, God would haue done it in the grape.


Of Noses

One that had a huge nose hearing another say that, in Ger­many, theeues are punished with diminution of their noses, said: Then will I goe into Germanie, and commit some halfe dozen robberies there, and so returne home again both rich and with a better nose.


Of Breath

A Great tosted cheese-eater had baited his trap with cheese, and another seeing it, said vnto him: What need you bait your Trap with cheese? doe you but sleepe with your mouth wide open a nights, and all the Mise in the chamber will enter therinto.


Of Face and Skarres

A Gent. hauing a quarrell with a neighbour of his, sent vp and down the country for hackstars, & good fellowes: Among others, two that had vglie great skarres in their faces proffered him their seruice, which he refused, saying: Bring me them that gaue you those skarres.


Of Beard

A Iudge condemn'd a red bearded fellow to be whipt at a cartes-taile: and it was afterward euident that hee was inno­cent of the fact: The Iudge being told asmuch, answered: Yet is he justly whipt for hauing a red beard.


Of Blindnesse

A Seruing-man hauing but one eie, came into a Fence-Schoole, and play'd with an other at fence, & it was his chance to have th'other eie strooken out too: Hee then seeing himselfe all in dark, layd downe the foyles, and sayd vnto the company: My masters, God giue you all good night.


Of Talnes

A verie little Gent. riding on the way, out-rid his men a prettie way before: They meeting with a Traueiler, ask'd him whether hee met not such a Gent. before: he answered: Not a­nie, only I met some halfe mile hence a horse that carried a hat vpon the saddle-pummell, and a boot hanging downe on ey­ther side.


Of Leannes

Vpon the Tombe of a verie leane Lady this Epitaph was engrauen: Heer in this graue repose a Ladies bones, As full of flesh as when they were liuing ones.


Of Age

A Noble-man had attain'd to 86. yeares of age, and neuer in all his life had taken physick: at last he sickned verie grieuously; and at the earnest instants of his friendes condiscended to take physick: Then came the Pothecarie to him three or foure daies together with preparatiue sirrops and potions; all which he re­ceiued, and bid his man after the Pothecary was gone, to put it al together into a close stoole. At last came maister Doctor him selfe to visit him, & viewing what filthy stuffe was in the close stoole, hee sayd: Sir, you are a happy man to be rid of these bad humours in your bodie: see heer the benefit of Phisicke, and your life preseru'd: The Noble-man answered: Gramercie close stoole.


An old man viewing himselfe in a looking-glasse all wrin­kled and hoarie, his eies deep sunke into his head, & his cheeks also for want of teeth, said: Lord, to see the difference of looking glasses: I remember when I was a yoong man, I took pleasure to view my self in a glasse, so well mettled were they in those daies.


An old Noble-man lay in the same chamber in a seueral bed from his Lady, and rising one night to put himself vnto her, he chanced to stumble his nose against the bed-sted: wherwith she awaking, and saying: Who is there? he answered: Somewhat it was (Ladie) was comming towards you, but now it is downe againe.


An olde Gentlemans yoong corriuall in loue meeting him in a morning said vnto him: Olde sir, sweet Loue beseemes not your yeeres: hee answered: If you meane it by mee, knowe ye that in my country a man of fiftie years is accompted yoonger then an Asse of 15.


Of Sicknes

A Gent. being extream sick, his kinsmen will'd him in any case to send for a Physition: he answered: No (I pray,) let me dy at leisure.


Of Littlenes

A little pretie souldiour dismounted his foe-man, and said: Now yeeld or die: Th'other looked round about him, and an­swered: I see not to whome.


A tall personable man offered to accompany a dwarfe in the street, saying, that the people would the lesse gaze and woonder at his miserable littlenesse: The Dwarfe answered: Rather will they woonder at my follie, to see me lead an Asse along by me, and not ride.


Of Death

One said to an other who had a very narrow mouth: Que­stionles, when you die, your soul will fly out at your breech.