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IN Bath a wanton wife did dwell,
     As Chaucer he doth write;
Who did in pleasure spend her days
     In many a fond delight. 

Upon a time sore sick she was
     And at the length did die;
Her soul at last at Heaven's gate,
     Did knock most mightily.

Then Adam came unto the gate,
     Who knocketh there? quoth he:
I am the Wife of Bath, she said,
     And fain would come to thee.

Thou art a sinner, Adam said,
     And here no place shall have,
And so art thou, I trow, quoth she,
     And gip* a doting knave.

I will come in in spite, she said,
     Of all such churls as thee;
Thou wert the causer of our woe,
     Our pain and misery.

And first broke God's commandments
     In pleasure of thy wife:
When Adam heard her tell this tale,
     He run away for life. 

Then down came Jacob at the gate,
     And bids her pack to hell;
Thou false deceiver why? said she,
     Thou may'st be there as well.

For thou deceiv'dst thy father dear,
     And thine own brother too.
Away slunk Jacob presently,
     And made no more ado.

She knocks again with might and main,
     And Lot he chides her straight;
Why then, quoth she, thou drunken ass,
     Who bid thee here to prate?

With thy two daughters thou didst lie,
     On them two bastards got;
And thus most tauntingly she chaft
     Against poor silly Lot.

Who calleth there, quoth Judith then,
     With such shrill sounding notes?
This fine minks surely came not here,
     Quoth she, for cutting throats.

Good Lord, how Judith blush'd for shame
     When she heard her say so;
King David hearing of the same,
     He to the gate did go.

Quoth David, who knocks there so loud
     And maketh all this strife?
You were more kind, good Sir, she said,
     Unto Uriah's wife.

And when thy servant thou didst cause
     In battle to be slain,
Thou caused'st then more strife than I,
     Who would come here so fain.

The woman's mad, said Solomon,
     That thus doth taunt a king;
Not half so mad as you, she said,
     I trow in many a thing. 

Thou hadst seven hundred wives at once,
     For whom thou didst provide,
And yet three hundred whores, God wot,
     Thou didst maintain beside.

And those made thee forsake thy God,
     And worship stocks and stones,
Besides the charge they, put thee to
     In breeding of young bones.

Hadst thou not been besides thy wits,
     Thou wouldst not thus have ventur'd,
And therefore I do marvel much,
     How thou this place hast entered.

I never heard, quoth Jonas, then,
     So vile a scold as this;
Thou whore-son run away, quoth she,
     Thou diddest more amiss.

They say, quoth Thomas, women's tongues
     Of aspen leaves are made;
Thou unbelieving wretch, quoth she,
     All is not true that's said.

When Mary Magd'len heard her then,
     She came unto the gate;
Quoth she, good woman, you must think
     Upon your former state.

No sinner enters in this place,
     Quoth Mary Magdalen then,
'Twere ill far you, fair mistress, mild
     She answered her again.

You for your honesty, quoth she,
     Had once been ston'd to death,
Had not our Saviour Christ come by,
     And written on the earth. 

It was not by your occupation
     You are become divine,
I hope my soul by Christ's passion
     Shall be as safe as thine.

Then rose the good apostle Paul,
     Unto this wife he cried,
Except thou shake thy sins away,
     Thou here shalt be denied. 

Remember, Paul, what thou hast done,
     All thro' a lewd desire,
How thou didst persecute God's church
     With wrath as hot as fire.

Then up starts Peter at the last,
     And to the gate he hies,
Fond fool, quoth he, knock not so fast,
     Thou weariest Christ With cries.

Peter, said she, content thyself,
     For mercy may be won,
I never did deny my Christ
     As thou thyself hast done.

When as our Saviour Christ heard this,
     With heavenly angels bright,
He comes unto this sinful soul,
     Who trembled at his sight.

Of him for mercy she did crave;
     Quoth he, thou hast refused
My proffer'd grace and mercy both,
     And much my name abused.

Sore have I sinn'd, O Lord, she said,
     And spent my time in vain,
But bring me, like a wand'ring sheep,
     Into thy fold again.

O Lord, my God, I will amend
     My former wicked vice:
The thief for one poor silly word
     Past into Paradise.

My laws and my commandments,
     Saith Christ, were known to thee,
But of the same in any wise,
     Not yet one word did ye.

I grant the same, O Lord, quoth she,
     Most lewdly did I live,
But yet the loving father did
     His prodigal son forgive.

So I forgive thy soul, he said,
     Through thy repenting cry,
Come you therefore into my joy,
     I will not thee deny.

*Gip is an expression of contempt.


"A most excellent and famous Ditty of Sampson, judge of Israel, how hee Wedded a Philistine's Daughter, who at length forsooke him: also how hee slew a Lyon, and propounded a Riddle, and after how hee was falsely betrayed by Dalila, and of his death."

[Black Letter, for the assigns of T. Symcocke.]

WHEN Samson was a tall young man.
His power and strength encreased then,
And in the host and tribe of Dan,
     The Lord did bless him still.
It chanced so upon a day,
As he was walking on his way,
He saw a maiden fresh and gay
                         In Timnath.

With whom he fell so sore in love,
That he his fancy could not move,
His parents therefore he did prove,
     And craved their good wills:
I have found out a wife, quoth he,
I pray you, father, give her me,
Though she a stranger's daughter be
                         I pass not.

Then did bespeak his parents dear,
Have we not many maidens here,
Of country and acquaintance near,
     For thee to love and like:
O no, quoth Samson, presently,
Not one so pleasant in my eye,
Whom I could find so faithfully
                         To fancy.

At length they granted their consent,
And so with Samson forth they went
To see the maid was their intent,
     Which was so fair and bright:
But as they were agoing there,
A lion put them in great fear,
Whom Samson presently did tear
                         In pieces. 

With whom he fell so sore in love,
That he his fancy could not move,
His parents therefore he did prove,
     And craved their good wills:
I have found out a wife, quoth he,
I pray you, father, give her me,
Though she a stranger's daughter be.
                         I pass not.

Then did bespeak his parents dear,
Have we not many maidens here,
Of country and acquaintance near,
     For thee to love and like:
O no, quoth Samson, presently,
Not one so pleasant in my eye,
Whom I could find so faithfully
                         To fancy.

At length they granted their consent,
And so with Samson forth they went
To see the maid was their intent,
     Which was so fair and bright:
But as they were agoing there,
A lion put them in great fear,
Whom Samson presently did tear
                         In pieces.

When they were come unto the place,
They were agreed in the case,
The wedding day appointed was,
     And when the time was come:
As Samson went for beauty's fees,
The lion's carcase there he sees,
Wherein a sort of honey bees
                         Had swarmed.

Then closely Samson went his way,
And not a word thereof did say,
Untill the merry feasting day
     Unto the company.
A riddle I will shew, quoth he,
The meaning if you tell to me,
Within seven days I will give ye
                         Great riches.

But if the meaning you do miss,
And cannot shew me what it is,
Then shall you give to me (I wiss)
     So much as I have said:
Put forth the riddle then, quoth they,
And we will tell it by our day,
Or we will lose as thou dost say
                         The wager.

Then make (quoth he) the total sum,
"Out of the eater meat did come,
And from the strong did sweetness run,"
     Declare it if you can:
And when they heard the riddle told,
Their hearts within them waxed cold,
For none of them could then unfold
                         The meaning.

Then unto Samson's wife went they,
And threatened her, without delay,
If she would not the thing bewray,
     To burn her father's house,
Then Samson's wife with grief and woe,
Desired him the same to shew,
And when she knew she straight did go
                         To tell them.

Then were they all full glad of this, 
To tell the thing they did not miss,
What stronger beast than a lion is,
     What sweeter meat than honey!
Then Samson answered them full round,
If my heifer had not ploughed the ground,
So easily you had not found
                         My riddle.

Then Samson did his losses pay,
And to his father went his way,
But wisht with them he there did stay,
     His wife forsook him quite,
And took another to her love,
Which Samson's anger much did move,
To plague them therefore. he did prove
                         His cunning.

A subtle thought he then had found,
To burn their corn upon the ground,
Their vineyards he destroyed round,
     Which made them fret and fume,
But when they knew that Samson he
Had done them all this injury,
Because his wife did him deny
                         They killed her.

And afterward they had decreed
To murder Samson for that deed,
Three thousand men they sent with speed
     To bring him bound to them;
But he did break his cords apace,
And with the jaw-bone of an ass
A thousand men ere he did pass
                         He killed.

When all his foes were laid in dust,
Then Samson was full sore athirst,
In God therefore was all his trust,
     To help his fainting heart:
For liquor thereabout was none,
The Lord therefore from the jaw-bone
Did make fresh water spring alone
                         To help him.

Then Samson had a joyfull spright,
And in a city lay that night,
Whereas his foes with deadly spite
     Did seek his life to spill:
But he at midnight then awakes,
And tearing down the city gates,
With him away the same he takes
                         Most stoutly.

Then on Delilah fair and bright,
Did Samson set his whole delight,
Whom he did love both day and night,
     Which wrought his overthrow;
For she with sweet words did intreat,
That for her sake he would repeat,
Wherein his strength, that was so great,

At length unto his bitter fall,
And through her suit, which was not small,
He did not let to shew her all
     The secrets of his heart:
If that my hair be cut, quoth he,
Which now so fair and long you see,
Like other men then shall I be
                         In weakness,

Then through deceit which was so deep,
She lulled Samson fast asleep,
A man she call'd, which she did keep,
     To cut off all his hair;
Then did she call his hateful foes,
Ere Samson from her lap arose,
Who could not then withstand their blows
                         For weakness.

To bind him fast they did devise,
Then did they put out both his eyes,
In prison woefully he lies,
     And there he grinds the mill;
But God remembered all his pain,
And did restore his strength again,
Although that bound he did remain
                         In prison.

The Philistines now were glad of this,
For joy they made a feast (I wiss)
And all their princes did not miss,
     To come unto the same:
And being merry bent that day,
For Samson they did send straightway,
That they might laugh to see him play
                         Among them.

Then to the house was Samson led,
And when he had their fancies fed,
He pluck'd the house upon their head
     And down they tumbled all;
So that with grief and deadly pain;
Three thousand persons there were slain,
Thus Samson then with all his train
                         Was brained.



[From a black letter copy printed for J. Wright.]

WHEN David in Jerusalem
     As royal king did rule and reign,
Behold what happened unto him,
     That afterward procured his pain.

On the top of all his princely place, 
A gallant prospect there had he,
From whence he might, when 't pleas'd his grace;
     Many a gallant garden see.

It chanced so upon a day
     The king went forth to take the air,
All in the pleasant month of May,
     From whence he spied a lady fair.

Her beauty was more excellent
     And brighter than the morning sun,
By which the king incontinent,
     Was to her favour quickly won.

She stood within a pleasant bower,
     All naked for to wash her there,
Her body, like a lilly flower,
     Was covered with her golden hair.

The king was wounded with her love,
     And what she was he did inquire,
He could not his affection move, 
He had to her such great desire.

She is Uriah's wife, quoth they,
     A captain of your princely train,
That in your wars is now away,
     And she doth all alone remain.

Then, said the king, bring her to me,
For with her. love my heart is slain,
The prince of beauty sure is she,
For whom I do great grief sustain.

The servants they did soon prepare,
     To do the message of the king,
And Bath-sheba the lady fair
     Unto the court did quickly bring.

The king rejoiced at her sight,
     And won her love, and lay her by,
Till they in sport had spent the night,
     And that the sun was risen high.

The king his leave most kindly took
     Of the fair lady at the last:
And homeward then she cast her look
     Till that three months were gone and past.

And then in Bath-sheba so fair,
     She found her former health exil'd,
By certain tokens that she saw,
     The king had gotten her with child.

Then to the king she made her moan,
     And told him how the case did stand, 
The king sent for her husband home,
     To cloak the matter out of hand.

When from the camp Uriah came,
     The king received him courteously,
Demanding how all things did frame
     Concerning of the enemy.

Uriah shewed his highness all
     The accident of warlike strife,
Then, said the king, this night you shall
     Keep company with your own wife.

The Ark of God, Uriah said,
     With Judah's hast and Israel,
Sleep in the field, and not a man
     Within the house where they do dwell.

Then should I take my ease, quoth he,
     In beds of down with my fair wife?
O king, he said, that must not be,
     So long as I enjoy my life.

Then did the king a letter frame
     To Joab, general of the host,
And by Uriah sent the same,
     But certainly his life it cost.


And when the king for certain knew,
     Uriah thus had murdered been,
Fair Bath-sheba to court he drew,
     And made of her his royal queen.

Then God, that saw his wicked deed,
     Was angry at King David's sin,
The prophet Nathan then with speed
     Came thus complaining unto him.

O David, ponder what I say,
     A great abuse I shall thee tell,
For thou that rul'st in equity
     Should see the people ruled well.

Two men within the city dwell
     The one is rich, the other poor,
The rich in cattle doth excell,
     The other nothing had in store.

Saving one little silly sheep,
     Which young he did with money buy,
With his own bread he did it feed
     Amongst his children tenderly. 

The rich man had a stranger come,
     Unto his house, that lov'd him dear,
The poor man's sheep therefore he took,
     And thereof made his friend good chear. 

Because that he his own would save,
     He us'd the man thus cruelly,
Then by the Lord, the king did swear,
     The rich man for that fault should die.

Thou art the man, the prophet said,
     Thy princely crown God gave to thee,
Thy lord's wives thou thy own hast made,
     And many more of fair beauty.

Why hast thou so defiled thy life,
     And slain Uriah with thy sword,
And taken home his wedded wife,
     Regarding not God's holy word.

Therefore behold, thus saith the Lord,
     Great wars upon thy house shall be,
Because thou hast my laws abhorr'd,
     Much ill, be sure, I'll raise on thee.

I'll take thy wives before thy face,
     And give them to thy neighbour's use,
And thou thereby shall have disgrace,
     For men shall laugh at thine abuse.

Then David cried out piteously,
     Sore have I sinned against the Lord,
Have mercy, God, therefore on me,
     Let not my prayers be abhorr'd.

But as the prophet told to him,
     So did it after chance indeed,
For God did greatly plague his sin,
As in the Bible you may read.

The scourge of sin thus you may see,
     For murder and adultery,
Lord grant that we may warned be, 
Such crying sins to shun and fly!



Whose dwelling was neere unto Bassings Hall in London."

To the tune of Flying Fame.

SORE sick, dear friends, long time I was,
     And weakly laid in bed,
And for five hours, in all men's sight,
     At length I lay as dead.

The bell rung out, my friends came in,
     And I key cold was found,
Then was my carcase brought from bed
     And cast upon the ground.

My loving wife did weep full sore,
     And children loud did cry,
My friends did mourn, yet thus they said,
     All flesh is born to die.

My winding sheet prepared was,
     My grave was also made,
And five long hours, by just report
     In this same case I laid.

During which time my soul did see
     Such strange and fearful sights,
That for to hear the same disclos'd,
     Would banish all delights.

Yet sith the Lord restor'd my life,
     Which from my body fled,
I will declare what sights I saw,
     That time that I was dead.

Methought along a gallant green,
     Where pleasant flowers sprung,
I took my way, whereas I thought
     The Muses sweetly sung.

The grass was sweet, the trees full fair,
     And lovely to behold,
And full of fruit was every twig,
     Which shin'd like glistering gold.

My cheerful heart desired much
     To taste the fruit so fair:
But as I reached, a fair young man
     To me did fast repair.

Touch not (quoth he) that's none of thine,
     But wend and walk with me,
And see thou mark each several thing,
     Which I shall show to thee.

I wonder'd greatly at his words,
     Yet went with him away,
Till on a goodly pleasant bank,
     With him he bade me stay.

With branches then of lillies white
     Mine eyes there wiped he,
When this was done he bad me look,
     What I far off could see. 

I looked up, and lo at last
     I did a city see,
So fair a thing did never man
     Behold with mortal eye!

Of diamonds, pearls, and precious stones,
     It seem'd the walls were made;
The houses all with beaten gold
     Were tiled, and overlaid.

More brighter than the morning sun,
     The light thereof did show,
And every creature in the same,
     Like crowned kings did go.

The fields about this city fair,
     Were all with roses set,
Gilly-flowers, and carnations fair,
     Which canker could not fret.

And from these fields there did proceed
     The sweet'st and pleasant'st smell
That ever living creature felt,
     The scent did so excell.

Besides such sweet triumphant mirth,
     Did from the city sound,
That I therewith was ravished,
     My joy did so abound.

With musick, mirth, and melody,
     Princes did there embrace,
And in my heart I long'd to be
     Within that joyful place.

The more I gaz'd, the more I might,
     The sight pleas'd me so well;
For what I saw in every thing,
     My tongue can no way tell.

Then of the man I did demand,
     What place the same might be,
Whereas so many kings do dwell
     In joy and melody?

Quoth he, that blessed place is heaven,
     Where yet thou must not rest,
And those that do like Princes walk,
     Are men whom God hath blest.

Then did he turn me round about,
     And on the other side.
He bad me view, and mark as much,
     What things are to be spied.

With that I saw a coal-black den,
     All tann'd with soot and smoke?
Where stinking brimestone burning was,
     Which made me like to choke.

An ugly creature there I saw,
     Whose face with knives was slasht,
And in a caldron of poison'd filth,
     His ugly corpse was wash'd.

About his neck were fiery ruffs,
     That flamed on every side;
I ask'd, and lo! the young man said,
     That he was damn'd for pride.

Another sort then did I see,
     Whose bowels vipers tore,
And grievously with gaping mouth
     They did both yell and roar.

A spotted person by each one
     Stood gnawing on their hearts,
And this was Conscience, I was told,
     That plagued their envious parts.

These were no sooner out of sight,
     But straight came in their place,
A sort still throwing burning fire,
     Which fell against their face.

And ladles full of melted gold
     Were poured down their throats;
And these were set (it seem'd to me)
     In midst of burning boats.

The foremost of this company
     Was Judas, I was told,
Who had for filthy lucre's sake,
     His lord and master sold.

For covetousness these were condemn'd,
     So it was told to me:
And then methought another rout
     Of hell-hounds I did see.

Their faces they seem'd fat in sight,
     Yet all their bones were bare,
And dishes full of crawling toads 
Was made their finest fare.

From arms, from hands, from thighs and feet,
     With red hot pincers then,
The flesh was pluck'd even from the bone
     Of these vile gluttonous men.

On coal-black beds another sort
     In grievous sort did lie,
And underneath them burning brands,
     Their flesh did burn and fry,

With brimstone fierce their pillows eke,
     Whereon their heads were laid,
And fiends with whips of glowing fire,
     Their lecherous skin off flaid.

Then did I see another come,
     Stab'd in with daggers thick,
And filthy fiends; with fiery darts,
     Their hearts did wound and prick.

And mighty bowls of corrupt blood,
     Was brought for them to drink,
And these men for murder plagued,
     From which they could not shrink.

I saw, when these were gone away,
     The Swearer, and the Liar,
And these were hung up by their tongues,
     Right o'er a flaming fire.

From eyes, from ears, from navel and nose,
And from the lower parts,
The blood, methought, did gushing run,
     And clodded like men's hearts.

I asked why that punishment
     Was upon Swearers laid;
Because, quoth one, wounds, blood, and heart,
     Was still the oath they made.

And therewithal from ugly bell,
     Such shrieks and cries I heard,
As though some greater grief and plague
     Had vexed them afterwards.

So that my soul was sore afraid,
     Such terror on me fell:
Away then went the young man quite,
     And bad me not farewell.

Wherefore unto my body straight,
     My spirit return'd again,
And lively blood did afterwards
     Stretch forth in every vein.

My closed eyes I opened
     And raised from my swound,
I wonder'd much to see myself
     Laid so upon the ground.

Which when my neighbours did behold,
     Great fear upon them fell,
To whom soon after I did tell,
     The news from heaven and hell.




The Wooing in the Wood, being a pleasant new 
Song of two Constant Lovers."

To the tune of The North Country Lass.

[Black letter, for the Assigns of T. Symcocke]

WHEN Flora she had deckt
     The fields with flowers fair,
My love and I did walk abroad,
     To take the pleasant air.

Fair Phoebus brightly shin'd,
     And gently warm'd each thing,
Where every creature then did seem
     To welcome in the Spring.

Into a pleasant grove,
     By nature trimly made:
My love and I together walkt,
     To cool us in the shade.

The bubbling brooks did glide,
     The silver fishes leap,
The gentle lambs, and nimble fawns.
     Did seem to leap and skip.

The birds with sugar'd notes,
     Their pretty throats did strain,
And shepherds on their oaten pipes,
     Made music on the plains.

Then I began to talk
     Of lovers in their bliss,
I wood her, and courted her.
     For to exchange a kiss.

With that she straightway said,
     Hark how the nightingale,
Although that she doth sweetly sing,
     Doth tell a heavy tale.

That in her maiden years,
     By man she had much wrong,
Which makes her now with thorn in breast
     To sing a mournful song.

With that I lent an ear,
     To hear sweet Philomel,
Amongst the other birds in woods,
     And she this tale did tell.

Fair maids be warn'd by me,
     I was a maiden pure,
Until by man I was o'er-reach'd;
     Which makes me this endure.

To live in woods and groves
     Sequestred from all sight,
For heavily I do complain,
     Both morning, noon, and night.

The throstle-cock did say,
     Fy! Phil, you are to blame,
Although that one did do amiss,
     Will all men do the same?

No quoth, the ousel then,
     Though I be black of hue,
Unto my mate. and dearest love
     I always will, prove true.

The blackbird having spoke,
     The lark began to sing,
If I participate of aught,    
     My love to it I bring.

The mag-pie up did start,
     And straight began to chatter,
Believe not men, they all are false,
     For they will lie and flatter.

Then up upon a leaf
     The wren leapt by and by,
And said bold parrot your pied-coat,
     Shews you can cog and lie.


Then robin redbreast said,
     'Tis I in love am true.
My colour shews that I am he,
     If you give me my due.

No, said the linet then,
     Your breast it is too yellow,
For let your love be ne'er so true,
     You'll think you have a fellow.

Another bird starts up,
     Being call'd the popinjay,
And said, fair mistress, view me well,
     My coat is fine and gay.

Away With painted stuff,
     The feldefare did say,
My colour it the auburne is,
     And bears the bell away.

The goldfinch then bespake,
     My colours they are pure,
For yellow, red, for black and white,
     All weathers will endure.

Each bird within the wood,
     A several sentence gave,
And all did strive with several notes,
     Pre-eminence to have.

Then from an ivy bush
     The owl put forth her head,
And said, not such another bird
     As I, the wood hath bred.

With that each bird of note
     Did bear the owl away,
That never more he durst be seen,
     To stay abroad by day.

And then they all agreed
     To choose the turtle dove,
And that he should decide the cause
     Betwixt we and my love.

Who thus began to speak,
     Behold, sweet maiden fair,
How my beloved and myself
     Do always live a pair.

We never use to change,
     But always live in love,
We kiss and bill, and therefore call'd
     The faithful turtle dove.

And when that each doth die,
     We spend our time in moan,
Bewailing our deceased friend,
     We live and die alone.

We never match again,
     As other birds do use,
Therefore, sweet maiden, I tell you,
     Do not your love refuse.

Thus ending of his speech,
     They all did silent stand,
And then I turn'd me to my love,
     And took her by the band.

And said, my dearest sweet,
     Behold the love of these,
How every one in his degree
     Does seek his mate to please.

Then, fairest, grant to me
     Your constant heart and love,
And I will prove as true to thee,
     As doth the turtle dove.

She said, here is my hand,
     My heart, and all I have,
I kist her, and upon the same
     A token to her gave.

And then upon the same,
     The birds did sweetly sing,
That echoes through the woods and groves
     Most loudly then did ring.

Then up I took my love,
     And arm in arm did walk
With her unto her father's house,
     Where we with him did talk;

Who soon did condescend,
     When we were both agreed, 
And shortly to the church we went,
     And married were with speed.

The bells aloud did ring,
     And minstrels they did play,
And every youth and maid did strive
     To grace our wedding day.

God grant my love and I
     May have the like success,
And live in love until we die
     In joy and righteousness.



A Dialogue betweene the Will the Simple, and Nan the Subtill, with their Loving Agreement."

To the tune of — The New Dance at the Red Bull Play-house.

[Black letter, for the Assigns of T. Symcocke.]

SWEET Nancy I do love thee dear,
     Believe me if thou can,
And shall, I do protest and swear,
     While thy name is Nan.
I cannot court with eloquence
     As many courtiers do,
But I do love entirely, wench,
     And must enjoy thee too.
Spite of friends that contend
     To separate our love,
If thou love
me as I love thee,
     My mind shall ne'er remove.

Peace, goodman clown, you are too brief,
     In proffering love to me,
And if thou use such rustic speech,
     We two shall ne'er agree.
Do'st think my fortunes I'll forsake
     To marry with a clown,
When I have choice enough to take
     Of gallants in the town?
The eagle's eye doth scorn the fly,
     She'll find a better prey,
Therefore leave off thy doatish suit,
     Away, fond fool, away.

Why prithee, Nan, ne'er scorn my love,
     Although I be but plain,
Where Will doth once but set his love,
     He must not love in vain;
For all you speak so scholar like,
     And talk of eagle's eyes,
Know I am come a wooing, wench,
     And not a catching flies.
Then ne'er reply, nor yet deny,
     I will not be denied,
I would not have the world report
     I twice did woo a maid.

But twice and thrice, and twenty times,
     You'll woo before you win,
To match with ignorance, 'mongst maids
     Is held a sottish sin,
Therefore, I'll match, if ere I match,
     One equal to my spirit,
And such a one, or else no one,
     Shall my best love inherit.
A man of wit best doth fit
     A maiden for to take,
Then such a man, if that I can,
     My husband I will make.

Why, Nan, I hope thou do'st not take
     Thy Will to be a fool,
Thou know'st my father, for thy sake,
     Three years kept me at school,
And if that thou hast spirit enough,
     To yield to be my joy,
I warrant I have spirit enough
     To get a chopping boy,
Then ne'er deny, yield and try,
     Or try before you trust,
Let who will seek for to enjoy,
     For Will both will and must.


Why I have those that seek my love,
     That are too stout to yield,
And rather than they'd lose my love,
     They'd win me in the field.
Their shill in martial exercise
     So much doth thine surpass,
That should they hear thee sue for love,
     They'd count thee but an ass.
Then be mute, thy foolish suit
     Is all but spent in vain,
'Tis an impossibility
     Thou should'st my love obtain.

Dost hear me, Nan, what ere he be,
     Doth challenge love of thee,
I'll make him like to Cupid blind,
     He shall have no eyes to see.
I think I have a little skill,
     My arms be strong and tough,
And I will warrant they shall serve
     To baste him well enough.
If he, but starts to touch thy skirts,
     Or in the least offends,
By all the hopes I have of love,
     I'll cut off his fingers ends,

How should I grant to fancy thee,
     Whom others do disdain,
If thou shouldst chance to marry me,
     How would'st thou me maintain:
Thou know'st not how to use a wife,
     Thou art so homely bred:
And soon I doubt to jealousy,
     Thy fancy might be led.
Many fears urge my ears,
     That I should careful be,
I fear I match a crabbed piece,
     If I should marry thee.

Nan, I am plain, and cannot cog,
     Nor promise wondrous fair:
When all my promises shall prove,
     Like castles built with air.
My true performance shall be all,
     My word shall be my deed,
And, honest Nan, if I have thee,
     You shall have all you need.
Clap hands, be bold, say and hold,
     Let us make quick dispatch,
If thou love me as I love thee,
     We'll straight make up the match.

Then, Will, here is both hand and heart
     I'll love thee till I die,
The world may judge I match for love,
     And not all for the eye,
I had rather match a lusty youth,
     Whose strength is not at full,
Then match a small weak timber'd man,
     Whose strength had had a pull,
Maidens all, both great and small,
     That hope to marry at length,
Do not marry for bravery,
     But unto strength add strength.



[From a black letter copy by H. Gosson,]

You gallants and you swaggering blades,
     Give ear unto my ditty,
I am a boon companion known
     In country, town, or city,
I always lov'd to wear good clothes, 
And ever scorned to take blows,
I am belov'd of all me know,
     But God a mercy penny. 

My father was a man well known,
     That us'd to board up money,
His bags of gold, be said, to him
     More sweeter were than honey,
But I, his son, will let it fly
     In tavern or in ordinary,
I am beloved in company,
     But God a mercy penny.

All sorts of men, both far and near,
     Wherever I resorted,
My fellowship esteemed dear,
     Because I was reported
To he a man of noted fame,
     Some said I well deserved the same,
Thus have I got a gallant name,
     But God a mercy penny. 

All parts of London I have tried,
     Where merchant's Wares are plenty,
The Royal Exchange, and fair Cheapside,
     With speeches fine and dainty,
They bring me in for to behold
     Their shops of silver anti of gold,
There might I choose what wares I would,
     But God a mercy penny. 

For my contentment once a day
     I walk for recreation,
Through Paul's, Ludgate, and Fleet-street gay;
     To raise an elevation;
Sometimes my humour is to range
     To Temple, Strand, and New Exchange,
To see their fashions rare and strange,
     But God a mercy Penny. 

I have been in Westminster Hall,
     Where learned lawyers plead,
And shown my bill among them all,
     Which when they see and read,
My action quickly hath been tried,
     No party there my suit denied,
Each one spake bravely on my side,
     But God a mercy penny.


The famous abbey I have seen,
     And have the pictures viewed
of many a noble king and queen,
     Which are by death subdued.
And having seen the sights most rare,
     The watermen full ready were,
Me o'er the river Thames to bear,
     But God a mercy penny.

Bear Garden, when I do frequent,
     Or the Globe on the Bank-side,
They afford to me most rare content,
     As I full oft have tried:
The best pastime that they can make,
     They instantly will undertake,
For my delight and pleasure sake,
     But God a mercy penny.

In every place whereas I came,
     Both I and my sweet penny
Got entertainment in the same,
     And got the love of many,
Both tapsters, cooks, and vintners fine,
     With other jovial friends of mine,
Will pledge my health in beer or wine,
     But God a mercy penny.

Good fellows company I used,
     As also honest women,
The painted drabs I still refus'd,
     And wenches that are common;
Their luring looks I do despise,
     They seem so loathsome in my eyes,
Yet one a project did devise
     To gull me of my penny.

One evening as I past along,
     A lass with borrow'd hair
Was singing of a tempting song,
     Kind Sir, quoth she, draw near,
But he that bites this rotten crab,
     May after chance to catch the scab,
No pandar, bawd, nor painted drab
     Shall gull me of a penny.

But curled hair and painted face
     I ever have refrained,
All those that get their living base,
     In heart I have disdained,
My conscience is not stain'd with pitch,
     No tempting tongue shall me bewitch,
I'll make no punck nor pandar rich,
     I'll rather keep my penny.

Yet will I never niggard be,
     While I remain in earth,
But spend my money frolickly
     In friendship, love, and mirth;
I'll drink my beer, I'll pay my score,
     And eke dispense some of my store,
And to the needy and the poor,
     I'll freely give my penny.

Thus to conclude as I began
     I wholly am inclin'd,
Wishing that each true hearted man,
     A faithful friend may find:
You that my verses stay to hear,
     Draw money for to buy me beer,
The price of it is not too dear,
     'T will cost you but a penny.




A Warning to Youth, shewing the lewd life of a Marchant's Sonne of London, and the miserie that at the last he sustained by his notoriousnesse."

To the tune of Lord Darley.

[From a black letter copy printed for the Assigns of Symcocke.]

IN London dwelt a merchant man,
     That left unto his son
A thousand pounds in land a year,
     To spend when he was gone:

With coffers cramm'd with golden crowns,
     Most like a father kind,
To have him follow his own steps,
     And bear the self same mind.

Thus every man doth know, doth know,
     And his beginning see,
But none so wise can shew, can shew,
     What will his ending be.

No sooner was his father dead,
     And closed in his grave,
But this his wild and wanton son,
     His mind to lewdness gave. 

And being but of tender years
     Found out such company,
Which prov'd his fatal overthrow,
     And final misery.

In gluttony and drunkenness
     He daily took delight,
And still in strumpet's company
     He spent the silent night,

Forgetting quite that drunkenness,
     And filthy lechery,
Of all the sins will soonest bring
     A man to misery.

Within the seas of wanton love,
     His heart was drowned so deep,
A night he could not quietly
     Without strange women sleep.

And therefore kept them secretly
     To feed his foul desire,
Apparrell'd all like gallant youths
     In pages' trim attire.

Their garments were-of crimson silk,
     Bedeckt with cloth of gold,
Their curled hair was white as milk,
     Most comely to behold.

He gave them for their cognizance
     A purple bleeding heart,
In which two silver arrows seem'd
     The same in twain to part.

Thus secret were his wanton sports,
     Thus private was his pleasure,
Thus harlots in the shape of men,
     Did waste away his treasure.

Oh, woe to lust and treachery!
     Oh, woe to such a vice!
That buys repentance all too late;
     And at too dear a price.

Yet he repented not at all,
     So wilful was his mind,
He could not see his infamy?
     For sin had made him blind.

But in his heart desired a change
     Of wanton pleasures so,
That day by day he wishes still,
     Strange women for to know.

And so discharging of his train,
     And selling of his land,
To travel into country's strange,
     He quickly took in hand.

And into Antwerp speedily,
     Thus all aflaunt he goes,
To see the dainty Flemish girls,
     And gallant Dutchland froes.

For still, quoth he, the Dutchland froes
     Are kind to Englishmen,
I'll have my pleasure of those girls,
     Or never come again:

And being arriv'd in Antwerp streets,
     He met a lovely dame,
That was a widow's daughter dear,
     Of good report and fame.

Her beauty, like the purple rose,
     So glistered in his eye,
That ravish'd with the same, he crav'd
     Her secret company.

But she like to an honest maid,
     By no means would consent,
To satisfy his lustful eye,
     As was his false intent.

An hundred days he wholly spent,
     As many nights in vain,
As many angels he consum'd,
     Her maidenhead to gain.

But nothing he prevail'd at all,
     Untill that Satan's aid,
And cursed counsel helping him,
     For to deflower this maid.

For like a lustful lecher be
     Found such convenient time,
That he enforced her to drink,
     Till she was drunk with wine.

And being overcharged with wine,
     As maiden-heads be weak,
He ravish'd her there, when that she
     Could no resistance make.

For being senseless there, she lost
     Her sweet virginity,
Which she had kept full twenty years,
     With great severity.

Therefore, good virgins, take good heed,
     Lest you be thus beguiled,
When wine is settled in your brain,
     You may be got with child.

And mark, I pray, what then befell
     Unto this modest dame,
When she recovers her lost sense
     And knew of her defame. 

In pining grief she languish'd long
     Like Philomel by night,
And would not come, for very shame,
     In honest maidens sight.

Her womb at last began to swell,
     Her babe received life;
And being neither widow nor maid,
     Nor yet a married wife,

Did wish that she had ne'er been born,
     Or in her cradle died,
Then angels at the gate of heaven
     Had crown'd her virgin bright.

This babe that breedeth in my womb,
     Quoth she, shall ne'er be born,
Nor called a bastard by such wives
     That hold such love in scorn.

For I, a strumpet in disgrace,
     Though one against my will,
Before I will so shame my friends,
     My dear life's blood I'll spill.

For as with wine I was deceiv'd,
     And made a vitious dame,
So will I wash away with wine,
     My scarlet spots of shame.

Then drinking up her burning wine,
     She yielded up her breath,
By which likewise the unborn babe,
     Was scalded unto death.

Her mother falling on her knees
     To heaven did cry and call;
If ever widow's curse, quoth she,
     On mortal man did fall,

Then say, Amen, to mine, O Lord,
     That he may never thrive,
That was the cause of this mischance,
     But rot away alive!

His nails from off his fingers dropt,
     His eyes from out his head,
His toes they rotted from his feet,
     Before that he was dead.

His tongue that had false-sworn so oft
     To compass his desire,
Within his mouth doth glow and burn
     Like coals of sparkling fire.

And thus in torment in his sin
     This wicked caitiff died,
Whose hateful, carcase after death
     In earth could not abide.

But in the maws of carrion crows,
     And ravens made a tomb,
A vengeance just on those that use
     On such sins presume.

For widows' curses have full oft
     Been felt by mortal wights,
And for oppressed widows wrongs
     Still heavenly angels fight.

For when King Henry the Sixth by force
     Was murdered in the tower,
And his fair queen a widow made
     By crook-back'd Richard's power,

She so exclaimed to the heavens,
     For to revenge that deed,
That they might die in such like sort,
     Which caused him to bleed.

Her curses so prevail'd, God wot,
     That every one was slain,
Or murder'd by like cruell hand,
     Not one there did remain.

Both crook-back'd Richard and his mates,
     Lord Lovel and Buckingham,
With many more, did feel her curse,
     Which needless are to name.

For widows' wrongs still pierce the gate
     Of God's celestial throne,
And heaven itself will still revenge
     Oppressed widows moans.

Take heed, take heed, you wanton youths,
     Take heed by this mishap,
Lest for your lust and lechery,
     You be caught in a trap.

Leave off your foul abuses,
     You shew to maids and wives,
And by this wanton merchant's fall,
     Learn how to mend your lives.



IN Pescod-time, when hound to horn.
     Gives ear till buck be kill'd,
And little lads with pipes of corn
     Sat keeping beasts a-field,

I went to gather strawberries tho'
     By woods and groves full fair;
And parch'd my face with Phoebus so
     In walking in the air;

That down I laid me by a stream,
     With boughs all over-clad,
And there I met the strangest dream,
     That ever shepherd had.

Methought I saw each Christmas game,
     Each revel, all and some,
And every thing that I can name,
     Or may in fancy come.

The substance of the sights I saw,
     In silence pass they shall;
Because I lack the skill to draw,
     The order of them all.

But Venus shall not pass my pen,
     Whose maidens in disdain
Did feed upon the hearts of men,
     That Cupid's bow had slain.

And that blind boy was all in blood,
     Be-bath'd up to the ears;
And like a conqueror he stood,
     And scorned lovers tears.

I have, quoth he, more hearts at call,
     Than Caesar could command:
And, like the deer, I make them fall,
     That runneth o'er the lawn.

One drops down here, another there,
     In bushes as they groan;
I bend a scornful, careless ear
     To hear them make their moan.

Ah Sir, quoth Honest-meaning then,
     Thy boy-like brags I hear,
When thou hast wounded many a man,
     As hunts-man cloth the deer,

Becomes it thee to triumph so?
     Thy mother wills it not:
For she had rather break thy bow,
     Than thou should'st play the sot.

What saucy merchant speaketh now,
     Said Venus in her rage,
Art thou so blind thou knowest not how
     I govern every age?

My son doth shoot no shaft in waste,
     To me the boy is bound,
He never found a heart so chaste,
     But he had power to wound.

Not so, fair Goddess, quoth Free-will,
     In me there is a choice;
And cause I am of mine own ill,
     If I in thee rejoice.

And when I yield myself a slave
     To thee, or to thy son,
Such recompence I ought not have,
     If things be rightly done.

Why, fool, stept forth Delight, and said,
     When thou art conquer'd thus,
Then lo dame Lust, that wanton maid,
     Thy mistress is I wus:

And Lust is Cupid's darling dear,
     Behold her where she goes!
She creeps the milk-warm flesh so near,
     She hides her under close.

Where many privy thoughts do dwell,
     A heaven here on earth,
For they have never mind of hell,
     They think so much on mirth.

Be still, Good-meaning, quoth Good-sport,
     Let Cupid triumph make,
For sure his kingdom shall be short,
     If we no pleasure take.

Fair Beauty, and her Play-feres gay,
     The Virgins-vestal too
Shall sit, and with their fingers play,
     As idle people do.

If Honest-meaning fall to frown,
     And I, Good-sport, decay
Then Venus' glory will come down,
     And they will pine away.

Indeed, quoth Wit, this your device 
With strangeness must be wrought,
And, where you see these women nice,
     And looking to be sought,

With scowling brows their follies check,
     And so give them the trig:
Let Fancy be no more at beck, when.
     Beauty looks so big.

When Venus heard how they conspired,
     To murder women so,
Methought indeed the house was fired
     With storms and lightnings tho'.

The thunderbolt through windows burst,
     And in there steps a wight,
Which seem'd some foul, or sprite accurst,
     So ugly was the sight!

I charge you ladies all, quoth he,
     Look to yourselves in haste,
For if that men so wilfull be,
     And have their thoughts so chaste,

That they can tread on Cupid's breast,
     And march on Venus' face,
Then they shall sleep in quiet rest
     When you shall wail your case.

With that had Venus all in spite
     Stirr'd up the dames to ire,
And Lust fell cold, and Beauty white,
     Sat babbling with desire;

Whose muttering words I might not mark,
     Much whispering there arose,
The day did lower, the sun wax'd dark,
     Away each lady goes.

But whither went this angry flock,
     Our Lord himself doth know,
For then full loudly crew the cock,
     And I awaked so.

A dream, quoth I, a dog it is,
     I take thereon no keep,
I gage my head such toys as this
     Do spring from lack of sleep.



[By Thomas Lodge.]

IN pride of youth, in midst of May,
When birds with many a merry lay,
     Salute the sun's up-rising;
I sat me down fast by a spring,
And while these merry chaunters sing
     I fell upon surmising.

Amidst my doubt, and mind's, debate
Of change of time, of world's estate,
     I spied a boy attired
In silver plumes, yet naked quite,
Save pretty feathers fit for flight,
     Wherewith he still aspired.

A bow he bare to work men's wrack,
A little quiver at his back,
     With many arrows filled.
And in his soft and pretty hand
He held a lively burning brand,
     Wherewith he lovers killed.

Fast by his side in rich array
There sat a lovely lady gay,
     His mother, as I guessed:
Who set the lad upon her knee,
And trimm'd his bow, and taught him flee,
     And mickle love professed.

Oft from her lap at sundry stowres
He leapt, and gathered summer's flowers,
     Both violets and roses;
But, see the chance that followed fast
As he the pomp of prime doth waste,
     Before that he supposes.

A bee that harboured hard thereby,
Did sting his hand, and made him cry
     Oh mother, I am wounded!
Fair Venus, that beheld her son,
Cried out, alas! I am undone!
     And thereupon she swounded.

My little lad, the goddess said,
Who hath my Cupid so dismay'd?
     He answer'd, gentle mother,
The honey-worker in the hive,
My grief and mischief did contrive;
     Alas! it is none other.

She kissed the lad, now mark the chance,
And straight she fell into a trance,
     And crying, thus concluded:
Ah, wanton boy like to the bee,
Thou with a kiss hast wounded me,
     And hapless love included.

A little bee doth thee affright,
But ah, my wounds are full of spite,
     And cannot be recured:
The boy, that guessed his mother's pain;
'Gan smile, and kissed her whole again,
     And made her hope assured,

She sucked the wound, and swaged the sting,
And little Love y-cured did sing,
     Then let no lover sorrow,
To day, tho' grief attaint his heart,
Let him with courage bide the smart,
     Amends will come to morrow.



To the tune — "I Loved her Over Wel."

[From the "Handefull of Pleasant Delites," 1584]

THE soaring hawk from fist that flies,
     Her falconer doth constrain
Sometimes to range the ground unknown,
     To find her out again;
And if by sight, or sound of bell
     His falcon he may see,
Wo ho! he cries, with cheerful voice,
     The gladdest man is he.

By hire then in finest sort,
     He seeks to bring her in;
But if that she full gorged be,
     He cannot so her win,
Although with becks, and bending eyes
     She many proffers makes,
Wo ho! he cries, away she flies,
     And so her leave she takes.

This woful man with weary limbs
     Runs wandring round about;
At length by noise of chattering pies
     His hawk again found out:
His heart was glad his eyes had seen
     His falcon swift of flight,
Wo ho! he cries, she empty gorged
     Upon his lure doth light. 

How glad was then the falconer there,
     No pen nor tongue can tell,
He swam in bliss, that lately felt
     Like pains of cruel hell.
His hand sometimes upon her train,
     Sometimes upon her breast,
Wo ho! he cries, with cheerful voice,
     His heart was now at rest.

My dear, likewise behold thy love,
     What pains he doth endure,
And now at length let pity move
     To stoop unto his lure,
A hood of silk and silver bells,
     New gifts I promise thee,
Wo ho! I cry, I come, then say,
     Make, me as glad as he.

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