The Pinder of Wakefield Jest-Book



Being the merry History of George a Greene the lusty Pinder of the North.


Briefly shewing his manhood and his braue merriments amongst his boone Companions.


A Pill fit to purge melancholy in this drooping age.


Read, then judge.


With the great Battel fought betwixt him and Robin Hood, Scarlet and little Iohn, and after of his liuing with them in the Woods.


Full of pretty Histories, Songs, Catches, Iests, and Ridles.


LONDON, Printed by G. P. for E. Blackamoore, dwelling in Pauls Churchyard at the signe of the Angell, 1632.


Being the mad merry History of George a Greene the lusty Pinder of the North.

Part [1]

Of the birth and parentage of George a Greene, and the first beginning of his braue exployts.

Greate care had our ancient fathers in former ages, to ordaine good orders, lawes and customes, for the preuention of ciuill discord and other abuses, which man might doe to man. And so it is continued in these our later yeeres, and brought more to perfection and maturity, as ignorance decayeth and is vnmasked, and truth illustrated and reuealed.

And to giue you a light of some of these for a taste of the rest, Yorkeshire had many priuiledges, as the Towne of Hallifax in the same shire, a place of great cloathing, few better in England, yet much subiect to robberies and theeues, which swarmed the more in respect that when any felony was committed, they could not get any man to play the executioners part, though the King had giuen them by act of Parliament to vse Martiall law. A Fryer there liued in those dayes that was very ingenious, he inuented an Engin, which by the pulling out of a pin, would fall, and so cut off the necke, this deuice kept them in awe a great while, till at the last this Fryer had committed a notorious fact and for the same was the first that hanseled the new Engin his owne inuention: the like I haue heard truly related though not pertinent to my story, yet I will here recite, in the Ile of Silly, that through the hollownesse of the Rocke, which with the winde blowing into the same into the same, it made such a huge noyse that it might easily be heard a league off, insomuch that it was called the Gulfe by sea men, & was an extraordinary great safeguard for sea men, both in the night and day time to auoid the dangerous rocks: In the same Iland there dwelt a fisherman, that thinking the noyse thereof was a hindrance vnto his trade and draue away the fish; at seuerall times carried in his boate, Stones, that at the last hee stopped it vp quite. But marke the chance that befel; afterward this fisherman being abroad in his boate, was ouertaken with a storme in the night, and driuen shrewdly to and fro, not knowing where hee was, till at the length it fortuned that he was cast away vpon the same place, and so according to the old Prouerb, he digged a pit for others, and was the first that fell into the same.

But to returne to our history, by reason of the many dammages done by one mans cattell or other, in breaking out of their own grounds into other mens corne and pasture, the Pownd was first inuented to put cattle in that had trespast, vntill restitution was made according to the fact committed; Wakefield amongst the rest was famous in respect of a lusty proper stout fellow that had the keeping of the said Pownd, called by the name of George Greene the stout Pinder of Wakefield, of whose merryments and valiantnesse the history ensuing declareth. He came of honest parentage, his father a husbandman, his very childhood fore told his happy fortunes to succeede after in his riper peeres he became the captaine of all the boyes in the Towne of Wakefield, & al his little Souldiers wore in their hats a sprig of greene bay for their captaines colours, whom they called by the name of George a Greene, and as he grew further in yeeres, so more and more grew he magnanimous dayly exercising himself with playing at Cudgels, and vsing all manner of weapons, as also exercising himselfe at running, leaping, wrestling, ringing, shooting, and still he bore the bell away: and as he was couragious so also he was courteous and gentle, and much giuen to mirth, insomuch that he had the loue of all both old and young, that happy were they that were acquainted with him, and all England sounded forth the praise of George a Greene, the mad merry Pinder of Wakefield; there was no pastime, Wakes, King-ale, dancing, wedding, Running at quintaine, or any other exercise, as the Maypole, bringing in of the Cuckoo, but it was al not worth a fiddlesticke, if George a Greene had not a hand in it, especially when any poore man was wronged still honest George was ready for to right his cause.

Amongst all the crue of George his mad companions, he selected halfe a dozen of lusty fellowes for to accompany him in all his pastimes and merriments, which were as officers vnder him; and these were they, Tom the Taberer, hee was made Drummer, Cuthbert the Cobler, he was made Lieftenant, and Stitch the Taylor bore the colors, and Tobit the Thresher, Miles the Miller, Smug the Smith Serieants. George hauing got his crue about him to my host Bankes his house there where good liquor grew, and was sold by the pownd, for that was appointed for their meeting place, and hauing whetted their wits with a little nappy ale, George a Greene began to make this oration following to his Souldiers, Louing friends and Countreymen my true and lusty boone companions, seeing it hath pleased you out of your loues and good wills that you heare me, to chuse me for your Captaine and commander, you shall finde me euer ready at all times to the vtmost of my power in all honest attempts ready and diligent, now on the other side I must request you also according to your places you are now chosen in to be carefull therein, and chiefely to obserue these following orders: First, if the lye be giuen by any, not to put it vp, but to haue a bout with them at Cudgels, which if they refused, then to lay downe their tweluepence to be kept in banke to be spent at their next meeting. Secondly, any that made pathes ouer the corne, or broke downe hedges when they had the faire roade way to go in, to force them to haue a bout at Quarter-staffe, else lay downe twelue pence. Thirdly, any man foote or horse that went through the towne of Wakefield with a long staffe on his necke, to make them trayle it after them, or else to haue a bout at Sword and Buckler, or else to lay down there twelue pence. Fourthly, to take part with the wronged side alwaies. Fiftly, in all attempts to be still ready to helpe one another if they should chance to be ouermatched. Sixtly, they should neuer drinke small drinke to make their guts lowsie, so long as they might haue good strong liquor for their money. Seuenthly if it chanced that they should catch a fox, or be drunke, to goe quietly away and not to moue any discontented quarrell. Eighthly, euery munday morning to meete at my host Bankes his house if they were in good health, and euery one to spend his halfe dozen, and I for my part quoth George, will spend my dozen. To these things you shall all sweare on a Primer, and I my selfe will doe the like, and as you like the orders shew it by your consent thereto: with that they all with one accord did shoute, and cryed, Agreed, agreed noble Captaine, thou shalt be our second Saint George for England: and thus each one hauing spent his allowance, they all departed about their affaires. George hee went about prouiding of weapons for the due keeping of their orders, the keeping of the weapons was to deliuered according as they had skill to vse them and George he would bee the last man that should stand at stake to answer for them all, and the orders George sent for a Painter presently, and had them painted presently at each end of the towne brauely.

Of a great fray that hapned in Wakefield betwixt Kendall men, Hallifax men and George and his companions.

There dwelt in the North two welthy Yeomen, which dealt much in cloathing, namely, Cuthbert of Kendall and Hoskins of Hallifax, which kept lusty waine-men to goe with their cloth from place to place. It was their chance to come through Wakefield with their long staues on their necks, which Tobit the Thresher perceiuing called vnto them, saying, Down with your staues, for you must not beare them so vp: and so stepping to them shewed them their orders, saying, if that you cannot reade I will reade them vnto you, and if you cannot vnderstand them I will make you to vnderstand them: what a prating keepes the knaue, quoth the men? art thou out of thy wits? Out of my wits, quoth he yon are deceiued, and that you shall finde presently, with that he steps hardby, and fetcht out the Quarter staues, and long staues with the other of the weapons. Down with your staues I say, or else you must haue a bout or two with me at these weapons. Stay the carts, quoth a Kendall-man, I warrant you that be shall haue his belly full. And so to it they went stiffely; but Tobit layd about him so stoutly that he made the Kendall man giue ouer and lay downe his weapons. Come another, quoth Tobit, stay not: another came and to their busines close they went, but Tobit behaued himselfe so well, that hee broke the pate of him, which the Kendall and Hallifax men perceiuing their fellowes to be beaten, all of them at once come vpon Tobit; but he defended himselfe stoutly against them all. In the meane time came Miles the Miller, Tom the Taberer, Smug the Smith with the rest of the crue, and seeing all vpon Tobit, this is foule play and amongst them they all rushed, insomuch that such a fray was hardly seene in Wakefield many yeeres before: the Townsmen they rung the Commonbell, which George a Greene perceiuing, he came running to know the newes, and knowing it came amongst the hottest of them laying about him manfully, vntill at last he had made the poore Kendall men and Hallifax men to lay downe their staues, and yet they were in all a dozen of proper fellowes. Nay you haue not done yet, quoth George, looke vpon the orders, down with your staues, and dril and draw them after you through the Towne: the which poore men they willingly did, and so they departed with heauy hearts and broken Pates and shinnes, vowing to be reuenged withall threatning them to come againe; and withall challeng’d George and his companions to play with them on Midsummer day next comming at all manner of weapons whatsoeuer, especially these that follow,


1. The Cudgels.
2. Quarter Staffe.
3. Sword and Buckler.
4. Back Sword.
5. The Halbert.
6. The Fawcheon.
7. Sword and Dagger
8. The Pitch-Forke.


And the morrow after they would play a match at footeball with them in the morning, for an angell a man; and in the afternoone to wrestle with them for the like tenne shillings a man, or any other exercise whatsoeuer. God haue mercy my braue lads, quoth George, doubt not but you shall be answered to the full; come saith my bunny bulchins, for this your challenge I loue you, you shall along with me to my host Bankes his house; I haue a fiue shilling piece to bestow on you, with that they agreed, and they said they had their dozen of ale apiece for him, quoth Tom the Taberer, and the rest of George his Souldates we will haue our dozens apiece also, and so away they went together, where they did liquor there insides as well as they had their outsides basted, and so they departed, each taking leaue of one another in kindly manner with a faithfull promise on each side not to faile on Midsummer day: for quoth George, I know that the Countrey will take notice, and I doe meane to haue printed bils, and because we will haue it done in ample forme and order, and be sure that you bring of your primest men, for I doe assure you that you shall heere finde your match: and so the Kendall and Hallifax men departed, but George and his Souldates had the other round in good Liquor, quoth George, I am glad my braue blades you haue so brauely behaued your selues this day, I like it well it is a good beginning to our orders: come honest Tom thou shalt keepe the Register of all our pastimes and merriments: I Captain, quoth he, it is done already, because those that come after vs in latter ages should heare of our braue deedes.

Kendall and Hallifax men did contend
Our orders to breake and bring to an end,
But such a bad banquet we gaue them that day,
We basted them soundly, and sent them away.

How George serued old Cooke for his iealousie without cause.

There dwelt in Wakefield one goodman Cooke, which was well acquainted with George a Greene, to whose house George daily resorted, this old Cook, not Cuckold had a very proper woman to his wife, well bred and of good behauiour, which alwaies made George still kindly welcome, because shee saw that her husband did alwaies make much of him also, and he also being of a courteous nature was very kinde and gentle towards her, which familiarity of theirs made many idle people to coniecture of the worst, that this great familiarity tended to some other end, in plaine tearmes that he made old Cooke a Cuckold, and to this end so buzzed it in the old mans eares, and age of it selfe is subiect to that idle humor, and to weare the yellow hose at the least occasion: he now began to powte aud lowre vpon her, as also vpon his friend George a Greene, snubbing his wife shrewdly, George knowing the womans and his owne honesty, studied with himselfe how to be reuenged and to cleere himselfe of this scandall, yet to beate the old man, or to vse the like violence to him he would not, and the more people talked, yet he still the more behaued himselfe gently towards Mistris Cook: old Cook hauing many cattle stolne from him at seueral times, vsed oftentimes for to rise in the night to see if by chance he could light vpon the thiefe, George a Greene noting this, thought with himselfe that he had enough for to turne old Cookes minde from ielousle. Got a great Cow hide a long piece of lighted match, and an old cane, and away hyeth to old Cookes ground where he vsed to watch, hauing an old vgly vizard, gets him into a great hollow tree, and puts on his vizard and his hide with the large hornes, and squibs and wet gunpowder he had also prepared for wildfire, wayting old Cookes comming: long he had not stayed there, but Cooke came, which George perceiuing, came towards him, wheeling the lighted match about, and then put it in the cane, and then pulld it out againe, which the old man perceiuing such an vgly thing come toward him, and the fire sometimes lighted and suddenly out, was so affrighted thereat, especially when the squibbes went off, and George came hissing with wet powder out of his mouth with a quill, he screekt out and began to run away, and George after him wheeling his match as before, but George was lighter afoote than the old man, and ouertooke him standing iust before him and the stile. Stand, quoth George, or I will carry thee quick away with me: why what art thou, quoth Cooke, that thus huntest me, and what is thy will? speake in the name of God, and if it lye in my power I will doe any thing that thou shalt will me to doe. Why then quoth George, and fetching a circle about old Cooke, hee began to coniure old Cooke and charged him that he should not stirre out of that place vntill hee had heard what his message was, for if he did hee would carry him away quick with him: old Cook must be contented, George he begins, Rumbos Ragdayan colucandrion hoysploys, know Cooke, that I am a spirit, and am sent from Plutoes Court to torment thee, for that thou art troubled with iealousie against thy wife and thy friend without any cause, and all such persons I must whip them, and night and day I will torment them; wherefore in time leaue off this idle humour now thou hast warning, goe home make much of thy wife, doe her no wrong, for she is true to thee, and so is thy friend; if thou take not this warning assure thy selfe, I will be with thee before it bee long to thy smart, and so thou mayst depart for thou hast thy liberty, for time calleth me away: and then letting off squibs and wheeling his match about his head, spitting wildfire, away he went; and the poore old man also hastned home, being shrewd agast, looking so pale as ashes, his haire stood an end, and in this pittifull plight, away he came home, and put them all in a maze to see him in that case. What is the matter good husband, quoth Mistris Cooke, in the name of God tell me? poore woman, she ran to and fro for things to comfort her husband. At last, old Cooke came to himselfe a little better, and spoke, O wife, said he, pardon me, for I haue done thee much wrong, in thinking that thou didst mee wrong, with my good friend George a Greene, but it was long of naughtie neighbours, but I defie them all, for this night an vgly fiend hath appeared vnto me, and hath threatned me much if I did not change my humour because thou wast innocent; and therefore I pray thee forgiue me, and thou shalt euer hereafter finde me more kind to thee; truly husband, quoth she, I did much maruell that of late you were so vnkind vnto me without any cause, but I doe forget it in hope that you will hereafter haue any such idle thought of me George he puts of his hide, came home, and went to bed, and the next morning came to old Cookes house as though he knew nothing, which when Cooke saw him, hee bade him wondrous welcome, so did his wife, and George had time to tell the goodwoman that it was his deuice for to change her husbands minde after that manner, whereat she did laugh most heartily, thanking him a thousand times, and euer after that time shee loued George more than she did before, and yet honestly yet notwithstanding all this George his Souldates amongst: themselues would make a Catch, and one time being merry amongst themselues, sung it to his face.


To the tune of, Iohn come kisse me now.

Whose three Hogs are these, are these,
whose three Hogs are these:
They are John Cookes, I know them by their lookes,
I found them in the Pease;
Goe pound them, goe pound them, I dare not for my life, my life,
I dare not for my life;
No, for once thou knewest John Cooke very well,
but better thou know’st his wife.

Well, well, my masters, I perceiue you are all Wagges, and that your meaning is not according to your Song; and therefore I cannot be angry with you.

How George a Greene made a great Riding at Wakefield for a woman that had beaten her Husband.

Many mad pranks were made and done by George a Greene, and his Companions: which made them famous ouer all England. Amongst all the rest of his other Iests, this was one, there dwelt in the Towne of Wakefield, an honest labouring man, called commonly by the name of Goodman Patience: whose ill hap was so that he in his marriage met not with his like (I meane, a patient woman) nay rather he was matcht with a ranke scold, that after hunny moone was past began to call him Rogue and Rascall instead of Lord and Master: this poore man led such an vntoward life with her, that he made his moane to an honest friend, who gaue him the God giue you ioy of your new marriage. Ioy neighbor, quoth he, marry you might as well bid God giue me ioy of a halter instead of my wedding sheete; which I wish had betided mee, for they say marriage and hanging goeth by destiny; and also married couples, they say, haue but two good dayes in their life, the day of marriage, the day of death, how can that be, quoth the neighbour? thus, quoth hee: first, the day of marriage in respect that then hee had the content, not onely of a new wife, but also the comfort of her friends, but alacke this lasts but for a day, when hee is in Lobs Pownd, and the poore man hath done that with his tongue hee cannot vndoe with his teeth. Oh, then is the time for curtaine sermons, for I tell you good neighbour, in my dayes, I could haue ruled two Hogs, but now I assure you, I cannot rule one Sow. But this is the mischiefe, I must be married with a pestlence, and now I thinke on it good neighbour, I will tell you such another iest like to this. There was an honest friend of mine, called by the name of Bilbo Iack, that thought himselfe to be so strong as Hercules, and his friends would haue married him to an honest Farmers daughter, which being told to Iack, he said, he must haue two wiues; nay, his friends had much adoe to perswade him to take one first, promising him, if he would take one first he should haue another after, so married hee was to one first; but my youth was so wearied with the bad vntowardnesse of that one, that the hunny moneth being out, hee did not much desire the other: and meeting one morning with me, told me, that he wisht hee had neuer been married: and in the midst of our talke, there came a company of Butchers, running after a mad Oxe, which ran ouer Hedge and Ditch, and the Butchers after him. Alack quoth the Butchers, what shall wee doe? Why truly, quoth Iack, I will tell you, let him haue a wife, let him haue a wife; I am sure it is the only medicine to tame him, thus you may see honest neighbour what is my case, truly neighbour, quoth the man, I will tell you what you shall doe. There was a friend of mine had such an vntoward wife that he could not rest, night nor day for her, insomuch that he could not any way tell how to please her, nay hee could not get as much as to get a peny towards her own maintenance, though she had any thing to her content from her husband, & put the man to much charge, a friend of his noting her qualities and conditions, aduised him to buy her a wheele, thereby to imploy her hands, because her tongue should not walke: which she perceiuing her husbands purpose, was more madder than before, and vowed she would not worke at all; but leaues her spinning, and away she goes, hauing got two or three friends along with her, abroad to walke in the fields, to make merrie, and to play at Stooleball and the like pastime. Hauieg spent the day, homeward they came, and still the goodly Gossip continued in her old humour: her husband seeing no amendment came friendly vnto her, and told her flatteringly that she should not worke, but take her pleasure to the full, and to the same purpose he had purchased a braue house for her with a braue garden walled about with brick and fitted euery thing therein to delight all her fine senses withall; the poore woman thinking all true that her husband had spoken, was contented, and inclosed she was in the same place, where she had no keeper, but her husband, which euery morning would com to see how she fared, or did, looking ouer a wal, that she could not come neere him, asking her, what more pleasure would she haue, and then throw her some tennis Balles, and such idle things, for pastime: but her answer was, Alack husband, I haue pleasure enough, but I want victuals. Oh wife, quoth he, those that will not worke, must not eate, and therefore good wife to your pastime againe, no meate without worke I assure you: and thus he kept her till hee had brought her so low that shee begged of her husband to take all pleasures from her and giue her but meate, shee would worke with all her heart; he taking her word vpon many submissiue tearmes, carrieth her to the Tauerne, bestoweth the wine and the best meate could be had for money vpon her, vsing her very gentle, and kinde: which the poore woman noting an alteration, thought with her selfe, is my husband thus kinde to me, and shall not I be kinde to him, tell close vnto all kinde of huswifery, and euer after both husband and wife agreed as man and wife should doe. This was a pretty one, quoth the good man, I care not if I serue my wife so, and home he went but she rang him such a peale that made the very water stand in his eyes, nay more than that, tooke the ladle and broke his pate, which the neighbours perceiuing, pittying the poore man went to George a Greene, telling him all the matter: let mee alone, quoth George, if she haue any shame left in her, I will make her leaue this life; and so calling his Companions about him, they got a Boy drest in womens apparell like the woman, and a man like her husband, and put them both on a horse: All the Town and all the Countries thereabouts hauing notice of this new iest, came to see it. Thorow the Towne thus they rid, the woman beating the man, and scolding at him terribly, the poore man wringing his hands spinning with a Distaffe, Tom the Taberer with his Taber and Pipe playing before them, others playing on Gridirons, Tongs, Bagpipes, tinging on brasse Ketles, other some with paring Shouels, Pitch-forkes, Broomes, Maps, Spits, and such rablement, and all the people running and hooting after them; and thus went they vp and downe. What a pelting chafe you may imagin was my Gammer scold in, to see all this sport for her sake. Neighbours all did reioyce, good women cryed she was well serued; euery one praised George a Greene for the same inuention: but my Gammer scold she fell a rayling at her Neighbours pittifully; which George a Greene perceiuing, inuented a new engin to coole her courage, and that was the Cucking-stoole, which is vsed to this day for all scolds: And euer after this all women feared to anger their husbands, it kept all such women in awe euer after: and to this day is the same orders obserued throughout England, that whosoeuer beats her husband, the next Neighbour to the Church must ride: as also the Cucking-stoole is appointed for scolds.

Of a merry Iest that George a Greene serued a Country Farmer and a Souldier.

We note oft times in men a contrariety of nature, as some cannot endure one thing, some another thing, whereupon the Prouerb first came vp, One mans meat is another mans poyson: and partly to shew this I will relate a pretty story, how Miles the Miller could not endure a Cat, this being pertinent to my story, because hee was one of George his Souldates, and George was chiefe in the Iest. This Miles, George and the rest being at my Host Bankes one munday, still one or other, noting their merriment, would drop in amongst them for their dozen of ale. It hapned a Farmers sonne, a young fellow to bee amongst them, who was more prating than in performance, and being in drinke, fell out with Miles the Miller, and challenged him the field, and gaue his gloue for a pledge; which Miles being a lusty sturdy fellow, would not refuse, but promised before his Captaine to answer his challenge, the weapon was sword and buckler. All being kept in quietnesse by George a Greene that night, each one departed vntill the next morning, longing to see the euent of this challenge: morning being come, Miles he prouided himselfe for the field, waiting my youngsters comming, which was the challenger, and should haue been in the field first. The friends of the Farmers sonne wondring why hee lay so long a bed, came with George a Greene to rouze him vp, and entring into his chamber, gaue him the good time of the day, and withall said George a Greene to him, I much wonder you are not stirring Iohn, according to your promise. Why, said hee, what is the matter? Haue you forgot said George, I doe not know what you meane, quoth the fellow, with that George laughed heartily, you may see euening song and morning song is not alike: why, I tell you, yesternight you challenged a stout fellow, a notable old souldier to the field, and haue giuen him your gloue to meete him this morning, and he expects your comming. Still he could not remember any thing: which George noting for he could not abide a prating coward, thought to play one mad tricke to bee talked on, began to tell him againe, and stirre him vp forward, saying, Your reputation will bee called in question if you goe not thither, and wheresoeuer hee meetes you, he will kick you, nay you will be the common talke of euery one, and pointed at by euery one: all this could not animate my younker to goe, saying, He was sorry for what hee had done, and he did it in his drinke, he owed him no ill will: well, I hope you will not wrong your selfe, it will be a great discredit vnto you, all this could not moue him; which madded lusty George, well said he, what saiest thou if I thinke of a pretty iest and tricke, that thou shalt goe to the field and meet him to saue thy credit, nay, and driue him out of the field, let him be neuer so valiant? I loue you both, and will haue you friends, but meet him thou shalt. Say you so Captaine, quoth the yonker, I will giue you forty shillings to be spent in a dinner, and fiue shillings to be spent in browne Ale to make vs merry. Downe with your money, quoth George, and be sure to follow my aduice to the full in euery thing, lest that it turns to your own wrong. I will, quoth he, and laid down his forty fiue shillings: well, quoth George, I will put a Crowne to your money more, and the rest of my mates wil, I know, spend their twelue pence a piece to make vs merry. Wel to the matter you must get you a Cat, and carry her vnder your Cloake to the field, and wait the comming of your aduersary, and when he is come catch vp the Cat, and hold her instead of a Buckler, and part not with the Cat by any meanes. Oh braue noble Captaine, quoth the yonker: come I pray you let vs haste, I long to be in the field. Well, hee got a Cat and tyed her legs together, and with a Broome-staffe in his hand; to the field he hasts, and vnder his Cloake he hid his Cat, and there walkes strouting along, waiting Miles his comming, and many more of the Towne came to see the braue challenge. Well, at last came Miles with his Sword and Buckler, both the braue Champions talked together, shooke hands and to it they prepared, Miles hee to his Sword and Buckler, and my yonker to his Broome-staffe, and his braue Target the Cat: when Miles saw the Cat, hee swet, he swore, he fretted, chafed, stampt, crying, the diuell, the diuell: my yonker he followes, and Miles he retires back, that all the people laughed heartily to see my yonker domineere with his braue Target the Cat: well Miles was faine to flye out of one field into another, at the last into the highway, my yonker following and thinking he had been Master of the field, and the day had been his, threw his Cat at the head of Miles, forgetting what George had commanded him. Miles perceiuing the Cat his deadly enemy gone; ran presently with all speed to my yonker, strooke vp his heeles, Now sirrah, said Miles, I will rib-rost you for your roguery, and your diuell the Cat, but I will vse you kindly, you shall bee dry basted: so he threw downe his Sword and Target, tooke vp the yonkers Broom-staffe, and so bebasted him soundly, that there was such a shout and cry among the people, wonderfull to heare; but at last George was faine to run in betwixt them to part them; saying, Come, come, my Masters enough, I will haue you friends, and therefore I pray you take part of a dinner, which stands ready for vs: Miles was agreed: quoth George to the yonker, you shall bee agreed and ruled by mee in this, though that you would not be ruled by mee in the other: and so away they went George and all his Companions to my Host Bankes, where their dinner was prouided.

Dinner being prouided George and all his Companions sate down, and after thankes-giuing, George began and said, my Masters and friends and boone Companions, you are all welcome, fall to it while our meat is hot, we are all Souldiers and therefore looke not for entreating, here is that which is good: thanks, noble Captaine, quoth all of them, and to it they tell, and not a word spoken, but all their grinders at worke. Quoth George, my hearts what no liquor stirring, my Hostes forgets her owne gaine. What hoe there, quoth my Host, shall Colon bee sed with nothing but all meat and no drinke? Drinke was brought presently, and not of the worst, a great bowle was deliuered to George, another to my Host, and foure more amongst the rest, my Host hee begins a round to George and all the rest, bidding them all welcome; God ha mercy my Host, quoth George, and you shall not goe vnpledged, and therefore my Soldates here’s to you all, let the Pitcher walke a little, we are come to be merry, now we may talke a little to driue downe our good liquor and good cheere. Here is liquor as browne as a Berry, it will make vs al blith & merry, if we follow it smug a little: quoth Smug, I pray you speake to Stitch the Taylor Captaine, for hee to somewhat too busie with it, but I thinke he thinkes not of the tale of the Italian Taylor, I pray thee tell it, quoth George: I will Captaine, quoth Stitch.

The Tale.

In Italy there dwelt a Taylor a great precisian or Puritan, that though all his purity, had a hell vnder his shop-boord; but it chanced that he dreamed, and in his dreame he thought he was in hell for all his theeuery, and that the Diuels did shew him the colours of all the cloth, silke, veluet, stuffe, lace, that hee had stolne, all in a flag. This dreame did hee tell to his man, aduising him to take heed to remember the dreame. Not long after this a Gentleman put a suit of clothes of Ueluet and gold lace to the same Taylor to make, and hee could not forbeare but must be a nimming of somewhat for himselfe out of the same; which his man perceiuing, said, oh Master remember the dreame of the Flag. It is true Boy, quoth he, thou sayest true, I thinke vpon it, but I cannot remember that I saw such a colour as this in all the Flag: hereat all the company laughed heartily. Tom the Taberer, quoth Stitch, may wet his whistle with this liquor, for hee hath piped vntill he is almost dry: saist thou so, honest Stitch, giue me some more nappy Ale.

I remember when I was a pretty Springall, and followed Taplash a little too hard, my Father told mee of a pretty Enigme of this Ale. Sirrah, said he, this Ale is made of a thing called Malt, and you must spell it thus; M much, A Ale, L little, T thrift: which put together, is much Ale little thrift. God ha mercy honest Tom, quoth George, I thanke you Captaine, quoth Tom: and here is to thee honest Tobit; what all a mort man? drinke stout of this, and thou needest not to thresh in thy Cloake: well bold Tom, quoth Tobit, and I will not forget Miles the Miller, because he can vse a broome-staffe so well; but beware the Cat: wel, quoth Miles, chil vnderuang thee, let it come, and in the mean time I will tell you a pretty Iest and document out of a Broom my Father taught mee. Sirrah, said he, what doe you cut such a Broom-staffe to make you a trap, they will helpe to make a flaile: and a Broome standing by, he bade me reach it, and I will tell you what you shall trust to hereafter. Now you are yong sirrah, said he, here is Birch to correct you; and they say, it is good to bowe the Birch while it is greene, and vp hee takes mee whiscome whascome, (bad fare verily) then puts me downe; take heed sirrah hereafter, if you offend, when you grow more riper in yeeres, and leaue not off your knaueries, with this Broome-staffe I will baste your sides, and then if all this will not mend your manners, here is a withe to hang you. Well here’s to thee honest Cuthbert, I thinke thou hast not wet thy whistle with this round yet. I feare, quoth Smug. Cut hath found the Merchants bag. What meanest thou by that, quoth George, I will tell you Captaine. Old Cuthbert the Cobler of Cob Hall dwelling neere to Pentweesel Castle, great Granfather to this our honest Cuthbert, was such a merry man, that from morning till night hee would doe nothing but sing so merrily as a Nightingale; which being noted by a great Gentleman, dwelling neere thereunto, he thought with himselfe to make tryall whether hee could alter Cuthberts note. One morning he tooke a bag of mony, and came to Cuthberts shop, bidding him Good morrow neighbour, here is a paire of shooes, I pray you mend them well for me: and so amongst other talke, quoth hee, I commend you Father you haue a light heart. I faith Master, quoth Cut, a light heart and a beggers purse: but who can sing so merry a note, than hee that cannot change a groat. The Merchant he goes away and left his Bag of money behind him: awhile after Cut found it, and opening it, seeing such treasure, that hee had not seene so much in all his life together: hee said, is there so much money in all the world: but what vse shall I put this money to, shall I goe build, purchase Land, or put it out to vse? Faith I will goe home to Margery my wife, and aske her aduise, and thus was poore Cut troubled with this bag of money, that he forgot all his sing-songs, and was as mute as an old horse: and thus for a whole weeke did he remaine as one dumbe. And the Merchant came againe, saying, how now honest neighbour, what all a mort, mee thinkes I cannot heare you sing as you were wont to doe; what is the matter, sure you can change a groat now. I left a bag of mony here with you a weeke agoe, I pray you restore it againe. With mee, quoth Cut? I with you, quoth the Merchant: and is it yours? I mine, said he: marry and you shall haue it againe, and the diuell giue you good with it, for I am sure I haue had but little ioy since I had it in keeping: here, there it is, I will take me to my worke againe: and so he fell a singing, as merrily as euer he did before. Thus you may see what money can doe. Nay, quoth Tom, now to quite your tale, I will tell you another tale of a Cobler and a Gentlemans Ape: and this it is.

The Tale of the Cobler and the Ape.

There dwelt in London a rich Merchant that kept a great Ape, which when he had broke loose, would doe much mischiefe, and he could not see any thing done before him, but hee would be a doing the like. There dwelt a Cobler ouer against this Gentlemans, which the Ape would view how he cut out his Leather, and when the Cobler was gone abroad, Iacke would come ouer & play such reakes, spoyling all the shooes & leather he could come neere; which was much hinderance to the poore man, and he knew not how to be reuenged, because he had all his worke from thence: yet at last a crotchet came into his head, and spying the Ape looking vpon him: to work hee went cutting his leather, and then whetting his knife of his whetstone, and then would he with the backe of the knife seeme to cut his throat: this did hee oftentimes; and out of the shop he goes, and leaues his knife and whetstone as sharp as a razer; which Iacke perceiuing, vp he comes to the shop of the Cobler, and tooke the knife and whetstone, and as the Cobler had done, so did he, till at the last he cut his own throat. This is a pretty one, quoth George, the Ape was well serued in his kind. I but, quoth Cut, Smug can iest of others, but he hath forgotten what an honest Gentleman did write of him lately. Tell on, quoth Smug, I feare thee not: why this.

Smug the Blacksmith that loued good Ale and spice,
Sold all his Tooles, and yet he kept his Vice.

The Millers Tale of the Smith and his Sweet-heart.

There was a Smith that loued a pretty Lasse thereby, but shee did not care for him, but for another young man, a Baker was hee that had the possession of her heart. It fortuned that one night, the Baker and his Sweet-heart were together making merry, and the Smith comming by by chance called at the window, the wench knowing his voyce, answered him, that she was in bed, Smug being foxt, desired her but to come to the window, and shee should but bestow a kisse on him, and hee would bee gone: quoth the Baker, let me goe to him Sweet-heart, and Ile warrant thee I will send him away; with that he went to the window, let down his breeches and held vp his blind cheeks, his back parts, and the poore Smith did so smacke, as though hee had his Sweet-hearts cheekes there. The Baker hee fisled, me thinkes, quoth Smug, thy breath stinckes a little. The Baker could not containe himselfe from laughter, but told him he had eaten Onions lately, and so shut the window: the woman laughed heartily, but Smug smelling a piece of knauery, went home vowed to bee reuenged, and tooke a barre of Iron, and heated it hot, and with it ran to the window, and called to his Sweet-heart, begging one other busse, else he should not sleepe quietly: the Baker started vp, went to the window as before; and the Smith prayed her to put her cheekes so neere and she could, and the Smith put the hot Iron to the Bakers Breech, and burned him cruelly, that the Baker cryed out lamentably, but thinking to bee reuenged, run and fetcht the Chamber pot, which was full of pisse and other such stuffe; thinking to through it in the Smiths face: In the meane time came the watch by, asking what was the matter: Smug he ran away. Who is there, quoth the Baker? The watch, quoth they. Quoth the Baker, harme watch, harme catch, and threw the pot on them: But there was such a tumult, that the Baker was forced to goe out at a backe doore, and the watch could haue no mends, but were faine to go home to wash themselues. How like you this, quoth Tom exceeding well, quoth George. But stay, where lyeth the fault, truely Captaine, quoth Tom, here in this, my Neighbour Iacke Bragger, that fought so manfully with a Cat and a Broom-staffe, he feares the whipping of this Ale Cat, because Miles did bast him for losing his other Cat. Enough of that, quoth George, we are all friends, giue him his bowle, and I will tell you in the meane time a Iest.

The Iest of the Seruing-man.

It is the custome of Gentlemens seruants when they doe come to one anothers Lords houses, to haue them downe into the Cellars, and there the healths goe round, as ours heere does; as to this Lord, and that Lady, this Knight, this Gentleman, that Gentlewoman and the like. As I sayd, there was a seruingman sent to a lords house on businesse, the lords seruants had him down in the Cellar, where the healths went stiffely round, that the poore man had his loade, at the last, being forced to pledge them all, at last, quoth the man. My masters and louing friends, seeing I haue pledged you all your healths, I hope that you will pledge mee one health. Agreed quoth all of them, nay, I must haue all bare on your bare knees, quoth the man, heere is a health to my Punte, thy Punke, quoth one, thy Punke, quoth another. Pox on her, will you not pledge her, quoth he? speake: no quoth they, with that he put his finger in his throate, quoth he, here then, take your Lords and Ladies againe, and so went reeling away. Quoth George, now let vs rise and stretch our legges, and so to it againe to beguile the time with some honest mirth: I would we had some honest mirth to Toms Taber and Pipe. Well vp they rose, and George called for more Cider, come, lets be merry my fat chopt Rascals, I hope you will follow my direction: agreed noble Captain, qd. they, come lets euery one haue his dance, strike vp Tom, come play me a Lancashire horne-pipe to begin, and that will put my liuely lads in a little heate, and so to it they went roundly vntill they were all aweary, and so left off after they had euery one their dance, which put them in such a heate, that they were faine to call for more liquor, which they plied so fast, that few of them but had got on the fudling cap neatly, only George a Green had a care of the maine chance, lest that his Souldates should mutiny. He gaue the word, which made them all silent, and George began to speake, Enough of this my bonny Hearts, let vs haue a quiet Catch, and then depart: agreed noble Captaine quoth all.


The Catch.
To the tune of, Wellcome to Towne mad Tom.

Now out and alas, how comes it to passe,
my Hosts Cat scratches shrewdly,
Now doe I know the fault, it lyeth in the Malt,
which makes his Dog bite deadly:
He hath bit me so sore, behind and before
that I must haue a plaister,
He hath bit me, and he will bite thee,
for the Cur will bite his Master.

How like you this Catch my Host, quoth they; this was for your sake I assure you, I hope all our reckoning is payd. I, I thanke you noble Captaine, but I pray you stay a little, my dozen of ale is comming to relieue the Comp withall, and here it is, come my Ioane, my black Girle, thou shalt begin to my braue Captaine, and my fellow Souldats: that I will by my Christendome, God willing and heere Gentlemen to the health of you all, and to all our friends wheresoeuer they be.

God-a-mercy Hostis quoth George, we will now depart, and the next Sunday wee will haue more of these Iests, Catches and Songs and Riddles to make our selues merry withall, and therefore I pray you, be assured to bee prouided of store of them, for this shall be the Law, he that cannot tell his tale, reade his riddle, sing his song or Catch, shall lay downe his six pence presently to be called in, and so taking leaue of one another they all departed quietly.

How George a Greene saued a Gentleman from hanging himselfe.

There dwelt neere to Wakefield, a rich old Usurer, that had more bagges than good almes-deedes to the poore: this penny father had neuer a child to leaue his land, gold, and goods and iewells to, his nearest kin was his brothers son, a proper young Gentleman, well educated and brought vp, yet was he somewhat wild, which proceeded, because his Uncle kept him in so close, and was so penurious to him, contrary to the disposition of the young Gentleman: yet many times when he got out, he made his Uncles Coyne fly when he met with it hansomely. A great while he kept himself ciuilly, perceiuing that his Uncle could not liue long, & when he dyed hee was sure to haue all, if hee pleased him. Which pleased Grandfire Grey Beard very well, for he then thought his Nephew had sowed all his wild Oates; and therefore he put him in trust much more than euer he did before.

It fortuned that there was a debter that owed him two hundred pound at that present, which the old Caitiffe knew was due at that present, and therefore he sent his Nephew to demand it, and withall bade him tell them for the non-payment he would take the forfeiture of the morgage, which was foure times as much more as the mony lent, and was his only desire. Away went the Yongman after he had had many faire promises from his Uncle for his well-doing, and many threats for his ill-doing, and that hee should neuer looke for any kindnesse from him, if hee did once more amisse. Away, I say, went the yonker, and came and demanded his money, which at the first was denyed, the Yongman told them what his Uncles minde was, and they knowing well his cruelty, payd the money and tooke the receipt for their discharge, and away with the money went he, and as the diuell would haue it, for he is ready still to bring in his instruments to seeke the ouerthrow of the good, I meane, certaine companions that heretofore had sought the ouerthrow of the said Yongman, by drawing him into many inconueniences, and now knowing of the receipt of this two hundred pound, plodded how to get part of it, and to spend the rest, met with him, vsing many flattering words, and much dissimulation, although hee did as much as hee could to auoid them: yet their Sirens tongue so bewitched him, that needs they must goe to drinke together, and hauing got him once in their custody, away they would not easily depart, they being vp to the eares (as I may terme it) they thought not to leaue him so, vntill they had him ouer head and eares; and to spend his whole two hundred pound, which being gone by degrees, they left him with the prodigall Child to eat the Huskes with the Swine, but the Prodigall Childe was in a farre better case, for hee had his father, an honest old man and mercifull, that would forgiue him though he had done amisse, vpon his submission. But this Yongman had a cruell cut-throat Uncle, that if hee should go to him, would vse all meanes he could to hang him, which cast him in so deepe and dangerous a melancholy, that he was euen in despaire with himselfe, and knew not what to doe. Wandring thus vp and down in this passion, he came into a solitary wood, and being in despaire, thought there to end his dayes, and for the same purpose had bought him a two penny halter, which was all that hee had left of his two hundred pound. In this same solitary place, in this melancholy wood, he lighted on a hollow tree, guided as it seemeth vp the hand of fate thither, thinking there to act this tragedy. Now as good lucke would haue it, it was George a Greenes fortune to bee neere to the same place, hid close vnder a hedge, and knowing him, and that hee had beene mist so long, and had spent all his money, and durst not goe home to his Uncle, hee gathered all his wits together of a sudden to preuent this danger, and to saue the soule of the Yongman: and now hee perceiuing that it was darke, went softly vnder the Tree muffled in his Cloake, and finding the tree hollow, for this purpose hee forthwith stept into it, hauing writ these lines before, which hee left in the same tree. But first he spake them that the Yongman might heare him, thus hollowly:

Take heed fond youth to doe this deed,
Lest thou reape hell fire for thy meed:
Come downe, search in this hollow place,
And thou shalt finde the way to grace,
Great treasure here thou shalt finde,
For to ease thy troubled minde;
Delay not then, Oh doe not stay,
The time is short, I must away.

Hauing thus spoke, away he hastens softly, watching the euent of his proiect. The Yongman was much agast, hearing this voyce, and pondering the words well. Sure, said hee, this was some good Spirit, sent purposedly at this instant to saue me, for his words doe intend so much. But stay, me thought he spake of great treasure hid here, and this is a hollow Tree: I will come here to morrow and search, doubtlesse but some good may come of the Spirits words: I will goe seeke my lodging for this night; and then in the morning I will come and search: and then Diuell or Spirit, or whatsoeuer thou art, I will try if thy words be true or not, which if I finde to the contrary, I will keepe my rope, and to morrow end my tragedy.

In this resolution he wandred vp and downe; and George watching him, did ouertake him, asking him, How doe you Sir: I thanke you Sir, quoth the Gentleman, so, so. But I pray you Sir, what newes in Wakefield. Quoth George, truely for your Uncle keepeth a heauy life for you, for hee heard that you haue receiued all your money, and spent it. With that the Yongman told him all from the beginning to the end, asking his aduice what to doe, withall telling him his resolution, how hee meant to haue hanged himselfe, and how a Spirit appeared and related vnto him the words that he spoke to him. Quoth George, truely you shall goe along with me to night, and to morrow you shall goe search, and in the meane time I will make meanes to your Uncle for you, and so the yongman was content, & away together they went, George thinking with himselfe that it was nothing but the note of good counsell that he should find there, but mark, there was greater matters than the note in the same place, though vnknowne to them both, well in the morning early went the youngman to the wood, and searching there narrowly, and there found the note first, sure, quoth hee, this is not all, I will search further: and digging the earth a little away, met with a great pot, and in the pot a great deale of Gold and Siluer, which made him amazed: to tarry there long, hee thought it not fit, but to remooue the pot away, hee thought good, studdying thus with himselfe hee drew his Pen and Inke-horne out, and writ these lines, and wrapt it about the halter, and there left it, in stead of the pot of money.

Thanke Heauen for this thy goodly deede
That comfort sends in time of neede,
Oh mortall man, doe not mistrust,
For God in promise he is iust:
Despaire not then in any case,
But euer call to God for grace.
Away foule Fiend, I thee deny,
Heere take the rope, I it defie.

And so away he goes cheerely with his pot of money, and hauing found out a Caue, into it he went, and thought better to hide it for a while, there only took the two hundred pound to pay his Uncle, and home he hasts to his Uncle, not reuealing what had past and what had befalne him, his Uncle seeing him, was ready to runne at him to kill him with his Dudgeon Dagger. I pray you Uncle quoth hee, heare mee speake, and I will giue you satisfaction; heere is your money, what can you haue more? to a very penny, what I did, was but to try your patience, but I hope here is satisfaction; and so powred downe the money, which the old Caitiffe seeing, was so ouerioyed ran presently and imbraced him, saying, now I see thou art my good Nephew indeed, and thou shalt finde it, Goe fetch me the Scriuener presently: which being come, hee made a Deed of gift of all that euer hee had to his Nephew. But how this Gold came into the hollow tree, the sequell sheweth, it was his Uncle hid it there, who within a while after went to this hollow tree to visit his God, his Gold, and finding none there but a halter and a note, read the note, thought that it was left a purpose for him to hang himselfe withall, vp the tree he got, and spoke these words;

Come fatall Cord, and be my death,
My Gold being gone come stop my breath.

And so putting the rope about his necke most desperately hung himselfe, and being found after, and newes brought to his Nephew, he seized vpon all his Uncle had, and bestowed a funerall of his Uncle, all men being glad that such a deale of wealth should fall into so kind a Gentlemans hands, that would doe good with it, whereas the other would do nothing at all with it. The Gentleman euer after became a good husband, doing many good deeds of hospitallity, kept an open house for the poore neighbours, and remembring George a Greenes kindnesse, sent for him, who confessed vnto him that it was hee that spoke to him in the hollow tree, which hee knowing, imbraced him louingly, bestowing vpon him a faire house and lands also belonging to the same, and euer after rested a louing and kinde friend to him at all times, thus you may see what strange matters it pleaseth God to bring to passe, and by extraordinary strange meanes.

A pretty Iest that George a Greene serued a Sumner or Petty-fogging Parater.

There dwelt in the Towne of Wakefield a troublesome Knaue, that vpon the least occasion would haue his good Neighbors vp in the Spirituall and other Courts, which bred much trouble and caused the spending of much money, all which made him so hated of all, especially George a Greene, which vowed to be reuenged on him, and after this manner he did it. In the time of Lent he did inuite all his Neighbors to a great feast of flesh, with all his Soldates; and amongst the rest, this Knaue was one, who came to spye whether hee could picke a hole in any of their coates, as the old terme is. All the guests being come together, George entertaines them all kindly, bids them welcome, places them, and to the victuals, which was the best meat and fish that could bee got for mony, they wanted not for good drinke. But this villaine for the curtesie shewed him by honest George, was spyed to conuey some of the bones of the meat into a Handkercher into his pocket; which being noted by one that sate next him, that knew he did it for an ill intent, told George thereof. Let me alone, quoth George, I will fit him a penny worth I warrant you: and so speaking to his Soldates, charging them all to ply the Knaue with drinke. Well, dinner being ended, vp they rose, and to the fire they went: Come nye honest friends you are all welcome, sit down, and we will be merry, I hope you will stay a few houres with me to passe the time. Come, let vs haue a health goe round, and here to begin, here is to you all: and all gaue him thankes, thus the liquor tossed to fro, euery one plying the Parator still, that he began to talke of matters of State and the like, aboue his reach. Come let vs haue a Catch or two to helpe vs down with our liquor. Come Tom, strike vp thy Taber, you are neuer without a Treble Uioll my good Neighbour Iobson, I pray you let vs haue a straine or two, whiles I and my Mates sing. What Neighbour Medle, you are not merry, speaking to the Parator, giue him a bowle of Wine here; and let vs sing the while.


The Catch.

Of all the Birds that euer I see,
The Owle is the fairest in her degree,
For all the day long shee sits in a Tree,
And when the night comes away flies shee.

To whit to whooe,
To whom drinke you,
Sir Knaue to you.

All while he drinks. ]This Song was well sung, I make a great vow,
And he is a Knaue that drinketh now,
Now, now, now, now, now, now,
And he is a Knaue that drinketh now.

Well sung my bonny hearts, quoth George, let euery one haue his cup; which was done, and to another new Catch they all began a new health.

Heigh hoe Knaue canst thou
Knit a knot in the Cup, in the Cup knit a knot,
Knot knit in the Cup Knaue canst thou.

Brauely done my Lads, let this goe round to euery one, and we will haue one more Catch while it is hot.

Three Geese in a pudle, Gigle gagle, gigle gagle,
Three Puddings in a ladle, Wible wable, wible wable.

Thus did they spend the time, and the drinke went brauely downe: But my Gaffer Medle had his Cups to the full that he was forced to goe sleepe: and George had then his desire, for before all his good Neighbours, hee pulled the flesh bones out of his pocket, and instead thereof put the fish bones, knowing his knauish intent, and so prayed his Neighbours, that if he were called in question whether he had flesh or no, that they should deny it, and they should see a good iest, they all consented; and so taking leaue of George, thanking him for his kindnesse and good cheere, they all departed home; my Gaffer Medle and all: but in the morning he hyed him to the Iustice, and there made such an oration against George, certifying him what a deale of flesh George had drest against the Law. The Iustice could doe no lesse but grant a Warrant for him, which was serued vpon him: and George got his Neighbours and went presently; the Iustice began to check George for his dressing of flesh in Lent: George denyed it, so did all his Neighbours; but Medle hee auouched it to bee truth, and he did eat thereof himselfe, and to bee sure that it is true that I haue said: see Sir, here be the bones of some of it that I saued to testifie the truth, and so he drew forth his Handkercher, and there was none but the fish bones; but Medle looked so blanke as could be. Why, how now, quoth the Iustice, these be fish bones. Truly Sir, quoth George, my Neighbours know we had none but fish, but Medle was so disguised in drink, that he did take the fish for flesh: so it seemeth, quoth the Iustice; and said, Sirrah Medle, you are a medling Knaue, cannot you be content to fare well at your Neighbors house, but presently you must cry rost-meat, here is witnesse enough, that you were drunke, lay downe fiue shillings for the poore, and twenty shillings for eating flesh this Lent, according to your owne confession: so presently laying downe his money, away went Medle with a flee in his eare. The Iustice called George to him, and rounded him in the eare; saying, you are a wagge; but I pray when you haue flesh another time, keepe such Knaues as these out of your house: so George thanking him for his curtesie went away: But Medle euer after that was called by the name of Fish-bone, and George a Greene much loued for this pretty Pranke.

How George serued a great Lyer neere to Wakefield in his kinde.

There dwelt neere to Wakefield a man, that looke what company soeuer hee came in, would tell the notablest lyes, impossible to be beleeued. It chanced this man to bee in the Company of George and his associates, and amongst other talke, hee began to tell what a great Traueler hee had beene; Why, how farre, quoth George. Why so farre, that I did driue a tenne penny Nayle in the Skye. Why, quoth one, that is a lye. I thinke so, saith another. Quoth George, I say it is no lye, I doe assure you it is a true tale: for I was on the other side and clencht that nayle. Iudge you I pray you, did not he go beyond him in his trauels, as also in his lye. But, quoth George, what haue you seen in your great trauels? What, saith he, why I haue seene such huge Cabages in Russia, that a hundred men and horses might haue walkt vnderneath dry in a showre of raine. Whew, quoth one, here is a great lye indeed. I pray you be content, quoth George, for I will tell you as strange a thing, but it may be, that you will say it is a lye: I haue seene such a huge Caldron made, that there was an hundred men at worke theron; and those that were on worke driuing in of the Nayles of one side, could not heare them on the other, and when they would speake or call to one another, they had a Trumpeter, which should blow at that time his Trumpet. Oh strange, quoth one; oh strange, quoth another. I pray you, quoth the Traueler, what was that Caldron made for: Why truely Sir, quoth George, it was made onely to boyle your Cabage. Whereat the company fell greatly a laughing, and the man was so abasht, that he knew not what to doe. But euer after this my Traueler would take heed how that he told a lye in George his company.

How George rimed with a Gentleman.

There was a Gentleman named Master Glister, that vsed to be oft in George his company: Upon a time being together, and not knowing how to passe the time, said, what shall wee doe? why, let vs goe rime: agreed, quoth George, begin you first.

Iohn Glister lay with thy Sister.
But that is not true, quoth George,
O but it is rime, quoth Master Glister.

Well, quoth George, I must rime now. I that you must and therefore begin.

George Greene lay with thy Wife.
But that is not rime, quoth Master Glister.
I but it is true, quoth George.

The people hearing this sudden riming, and crosse and witty answer, made them laugh heartily.

How George shewed a pretty Christmas Gamboll vpon a foolish fellow in the Christmas time.

There was no merriment whatsoeuer thorow the whole yeere, but still George had a hand in it: as it fortuned that the Gentleman, George his friend, Nephew to the Usurer, keeping such great merriment and open house, that all Neighbours there-abouts resorted thither to make merry: George willing to shew some sport, among the rest, got all his Comrades about him: willing them whatsoeuer he did, to say nothing at all. For, saith hee, there is a fellow here at this time, on whom my mirth must be shewed; and so he goeth into the Kitchin, getteth grease and soote, wherewith he did so begrime his hands mightily, and standing all in a ring round, George began and said, my masters and friends, you must all sing as I sing, and doe as I doe each to other: therefore marke the Song.

It was the Fryer of Frickingham,
And his Bow bent, and his Bow bent:
And wee be all Brothers, Twice.
And by the nose take each others: Twice.
And what you see nothing say,
Thus the Fryers they doe play.
And wee be all Brothers,
And by the cheeke take each others,
And what you see nothing say,
Thus the Fryers they doe play.
And wee bee all Brothers, &c.

Euery one singing and doing as George did, vntill they had toucht all the parts of the face: but hee that was next George, was so begrim’d, that he lookt like a yong diuell of two yeere old with the grease and the tallow, that there was such a laughter amongst them all, to see the fellow in that case, and he laughed as much, not knowing what they laughed at: but at last they brought him a Looking-glasse, which when he saw his black face, he was somewhat angry, but the company were extraordinary merry at this Iest of George a Greene,

How George serued one that got his Purse.

In the time of Lent your Players doe range all the Countries from place to place: and comming to Wakefield, they had great audience euery day. George amongst the rest would needes bee one; but it chanced when he came from the Play. and going to Bankes house to drinke with some associates, looking for his Purse, it was gone, which put him in a pelting chafe. Well, hee brooked it so well as he could vntill next day, hammering in his head, how to take the theefe, at last an odde conceit came in his head, he got a many fishhooks and sowed them full in his pockets, the beards downeward, that it was no hurt to trust downe ones hand, but to get out impossible, without great tearing of the hand to peeces: then hee gets many Counters and puts them in his pocket also, and to the Play he goes amongst the greatest crowd, still iustling & gingling his pocket to draw the fish to the bait: George seemed to affect the Play very well, and carelesse of his pockets still gingling of the Counters, which being noted by a notable nimmer, hee was quickly in George his pocket: which he perceiuing, wrings his body on one side then on the other. Oh, quoth the Cutpurse, thinking to draw out his hand, but alacke hee was fast enough. George being in the crowd would not take any notice that he had caught, but still wrested his body from place to place, vntill all the hookes had got hold; which made the Cutpurse cry out vehemently, that all about him wondred what he ayled, at last George seemed to take notice; saying, what the Diuell aylest thou, art thou mad. Oh my hand, my hand, good Master, quoth the Cutpurse; what the Diuell doth thy hand in my pocket? quoth George, pull it out or I will so baste you, and so he was as good as his word, for he pummelled him soundly: the theefe cryed, George stroue to goe out of doores, the Players stood still, all the Audience bent their eyes that way, people about them wondred to see the mans hand in George his pocket, and could not pull it out, euery one said George was a coniurer, some said he had a Diuell in his pocket, some one thing, some another thing: but George he got out of the house, the man of force must needs follow, crying out still with his hand in his pocket. People thronged after to see this new Comedy, and so forsooke the other Play, the Players being left alone, they followed also. But George perceiuing such a multitude stood still, and desired them to make a stand for a while, and they should all see him release him presently: With that the people all stood still, and George walkt along with his prize, certifying him hee had lost a purse the day before, and some forty shillings and odde in it, and he knew hee had it, or that he knew that some of his fellowes had it: and therefore willed him without any more trouble to deliuer it, or else hee would haue him hang’d, and should also walke so before the Iustice with your hand in my pocket: you fared so well yesterday that made you bee so ready in the same place to day. Come, come, quoth George, you must re-deliuer, or goe. The Cutpurse seeing that there was no remedy, and sich a multitude of people about him, also perceiuing George to be much beloued, prayed him for Gods sake to forgiue him, and not to let the people to wrong him, and hee would giue him all that he had, and that was a purse with fiue pounds odde mony in it: which George taking and making him to sweare also to forsake his trade; tooke a knife and cut out his pocket, for there was no other way to release him: and then tooke his girdle and did so bebaste him; crying, runne, runne, you Rogue, the fellow being at liberty, ranne so fast, that none could ouertake him, and so escaped. The people all did wonder what the matter should bee, but knew not any thing. All flocked about George, but hee hasted to Bankes his house, where hee told all the passages to his friends: some were mad that he let the Cutpurse goe, because they had lost their purses. Nay, it is no matter, quoth George, you laught at mee because I had lost mine. Come, giues a little drinke, quoth George, where he spent an angell of his money for ioy amongst his friends, which reioyced them much, euery one praised George for his wit, especially for this of the fishhookes, to catch those that sought to catch, euery one commended him for it, both old and yong: and to this day it is remembred there to his praise.

A ready witty answer a Maid gaue George a Greene.

George was alwaies ready to take any occasion to moue mirth. A Maid was a washing by the Riuer side: you haue a handsome legge Sweet-heart, quoth George, I haue a couple Sir, quoth the Maid. I thinke they are twins, quoth George; no indeed Sir you are much deceiued, for there hath been a man borne betwixt them: God-a-mercy Sweet-heart, quoth George, here is somewhat for thy witty answer, and gaue her a shilling.

Of a great robery like to be done neere vnto Wakefield, and how George tooke the Theeues.

Neere vnto Wakefield there dwelt a Gentleman, that had great skill in setting in of bones out of ioynt, who was very rich, and dwelt in a great house farre from any other Neighbours: which being perceiued by a company of yonger brothers, they laid a plot how to rob him, after this manner. One of them should take on him to be lame, and the rest should be as his seruants, for by that meanes they knew they should haue accesse vnto him; and to further their purpose, they made one of the Gentlemans seruants a party therein, promising him great rewards to bee priuate; which hee did yeeld vnto, but considering after with himselfe, what an honest Gentleman and good Master he had been vnto him, hee thought good to reueale it after this manner, dropt a piece of paper in his Masters Chamber, thus written:

There are a crue of Theeues
within this twenty mile,
That meane to rob your worship
within this little while;
These Theeues are pleasant Gentlemen,
and say they will not spare,
Your Chests and Trunkes ope to breake,
and so your gold they’l share;
A warning faire I doe you giue,
if warning you will take,
A friend I am you shall mee know,
that doe this for your sake.

These lines found and shewed to the Gentleman, hee wondred much at it, but knowing diuers such attempts had beene made to rob him, thought good to preuent the danger, and to be prouided of lusty fellowes about him: And hauing heard and knowne the manlinesse of George and his Companions, sent for him, and broke his minde to him, and shewed him the note. Quoth George, let me alone, I and my Souldates will take them I warrant you. But I pray you doe not discouer them, or make it knowne vntill they haue bound you or some of your folkes, for wee will be all ready about you to take them. I will reward you well, quoth the Gentleman. George hee got all his Souldates, furnished them with weapons, in the meane time the seruant that writ the lines, did discouer all the plot, how and what night and in what manner they would come to rob him, as you shall heare hereafter. Which being told to George, he accordingly fitted himselfe and his Companions to resist and to take them. The night being come, in which they thought to doe this great robbery. George was ready with his Companions, some within and some without, with mastiue doggs to take them, that none should escape, aduising the fellow to obserue all things that he had promised the theeues to doe; which was when they had some of them with the supposed Gentleman, seized on the fore doores, to let the rest in at the backe doore. Wee, all things being in a readinesse, waited their comming. By and by came a Gentleman on horseback with two men, and a Page waiting on him at the edge of the euening and knockt at the gate, the seruants opening the doore, askt what they would haue, answer was made by the lame Gentleman, that hee would speake with the Master of the house who readily came to him after some curtesies past betwixt them: the Gentleman began to tell him that hee had broke his leg, or it was out of ioynt; and hearing of his great skill, hee was come to him for helpe, and hee would reward him extraordinary: The Gentleman of the house had him welcome, and so betwixt his seruants, hee was carried into the house and placed in a faire chaire, he making such anticke faces as though he had been in great paine. Quoth the Gentleman of the house, I warrant you sir, I will giue you ease anon: so calls for a bowle of Wine, dranke to the Gentleman; his two men standing bare vnto him, as though he had been some great Lord, for so they gaue out he was. Whe they had sate a while, the Gentleman of the house called for supper: the Gentleman desired to be drest: Nay stay, Sir, you shall take your lodging here to night: For this is my manner to doe so to such Gentlemen as you are.

Supper was set on the Table, where there was fare and wine and Beere fit for an Emperour. Quoth the lame Gentleman, you keepe a good house Sir, you are very bountifull: Truely Sir, quoth hee, I haue no great charge, and what should I doe, quoth the Gentleman: I would we had many more of your bounteous mind. Thus in the midst of their supper, and midst of their conference, were all the rest of the confederates at the backe doore: the watch-word was one cryed like a Cat, and scrapt on the doore: Which the Gentlemans seruant of the house knowing, opened the doore and let them into the Hall with their swords drawne, and their vizards on their faces; crying, money, money, money. Quoth the Gentleman of the house, what meaneth this? Why, I will tell you in briefe Sir, I am not lame as you take me to bee; but as sound as you are, only in the purse; and that is it these Gentlemen and I doe lacke, and you can remedy it; therefore delay not, for it is in vaine to resist: there shall no violence be done to you, onely this, wee will bind you and your men, which was done presently, and then they began to search and breake open Chests: but then George and those of his associats that were within the house, came with their Muskets, onely laden with powder and no shot, discharged in the room amongst them; which made the theeues all amazed, striuing to runne away, which some of them did, but George and his Soldates drawing their swords, layd about them so manfully; crying, I pray you my masters, let vs share a little with you; so they tooke all sauing three or foure of them, which no sooner were got out, but thought themselues safe, but it fell out otherwise, for those that watcht without let goe the mastiue doggs, which run after them, seized vpon them, and so tooke them all, brought them into the house: George commanded them to pull off their vizzards, which being done, he knew most of them. Quoth George, come let vs binde them all, I will haue them all hang’d. With that they fell all vpon their knees, begging mercy at George and the Gentlemans hands, shewing their pouerty, bowing neuer to doe the like, praying them to saue their liues; which with much intreaty, at last they pardoned, after George had sworne them neuer to doe the like to any Gentleman. Away they sent them, some cut pittifully, some bang’d soundly, and the other bitten with the doggs; but some of them comming to their meanes afterward, rewarded George very kindly for his curtesies, and the Gentleman gaue George and his Companions ten pounds amongst them, to make merry with all, and they would purchase no lands therewith, but away they hastned to my Host Bankes, where some of their money walked.

George his Iest of a Puritan Barber.

George and his Companions being met together to bee merry, one of them chanced to sneeze, quoth some of the Company, Christ help you: it chanced at that time there was a Puritan Taylor amongst them, & told them they spok vainly, but if you would needs say so, you should haue said so before he had sneezed. Saist thou so, quoth George. Within a little while after, oh I sneeze, I sneeze, quoth George; Christ helpe you, with that George rapt out a great fart, but the Taylor for anger went out of the company.

George his resolution to a question of a Neighbor.

There dwelt neere to George a Greene an honest simple fellow, whose hose the Rats had eaten shrewdly; and meeting with George, say’s he, Oh Neighbour, I pray you tel me one thing; Is it not an euill signe or token of some mischance to befall mee, because the Rats haue eaten my hose. George noting his ignorance, answered him and told him; Oh Neighbour, the Rat did but his kind in eating your hose, but if that your hose had eaten the Rat, then assuredly it had been a sore-token of some great euill, not onely to befall you, but also of all the whole Country. I thanke you Neighbor, quoth the poore man, I will remember this another time.

George his Iest of his Lawyer.

George hauing some occasion of businesse in London in the Law, and being put off from time and Tearme to Tearm, by his Lawyer: It fortuned that one of George his Neighbours, hauing some businesse with the said Lawyer, he askt him how his Neighbour George a Greenes businesse went. Quoth the Lawyer, it is remoued to the Kings Bench; This Neighbour meeting with George, told him; oh neighbour, I am sorry to heare this newes. What is the matter, quoth George? Why, quoth the man, your businesse is remoued to the Kings Bench. Quoth George, let them remoue it to the diuell, I will haue a Lawyer to follow it.

Chap. [21]

Another time as George was walking down in the Old Baily in London, a Gentleman askt him the way to Newgate. Quoth George, truely Sir the way I doe not well know, but if you will but cut a purse, or picke a pocket, I warrant you shall find the ready way.


George hauing businesse in the Chancery, and his businesse going reasonable well on his side: My Lord told him hee should haue an order; and thus from time to time a great while he was put off order by order still: well thought George, I hope to haue such an order, that shall beget no more orders. Well, George his businesse being called vpon. George was very importunate. Why quoth my Lord, thou shalt haue an order, honest fellow. If I must needs haue another order, let mee haue a gelded order good my Lord. A gelded order, quoth he, what dost thou meane by that? Why quoth George, that may not beget more orders, for I haue had thirty two orders already, and I would willingly haue no more; with that my Lord laughed heartily, so did all the rest of the Bench; and George by this conceipt had an end of his businesse.


Vpon a time George had businesse in Guild Hall before the Recorder of London, which was one Master Fleetwood, who was a merry conceited Gentleman; George hauing somewhat a high colour, and Master Fleetwood thinking to put a tricke on him, called vnto him; saying, you with the Copper nose, come hither, what is your businesse? Quoth George, truely Sir I would bee loth to change my Copper nose for your Brazen Face.

THE SECOND PART OF George a Greene:

Containing the great Fight between him and Robin Hood, and afterwards of his liuing with him in the woods; full of merry Iests, Tales, Songs, and Catches.

How the Kendall men and Hallifax men, according to promise, came to play their Prize with George and his Companions.

You haue heard before of the great fray that was before betwixt the Kendall and Hallifax men, and George and his Soldates, and of the challenge they made against George, to bee plaid on Midsummer day following, according to their promise, they were eight to eight. George hearing of their comming, was wondrous glad, bidding them welcome with a dozen or two of Ale. In the morning, as the order is, the Drumms and Colours went vp and down the streets, which made such a great concourse of people: The weapons were brought and throwne downe, George and his Companions on the one side, and the Hallifax and the Kendall on the other side; and to it they went: George he began with a lusty Kendall man at Back-Sword, but he did so cut him both on the leggs and the head, that all the company cryed Wakefield, Wakefield hath got the Prize. Stitch the Taylor was the next of the Cudgels, to whom came a lusty Hallifax man, but Stitch was so nimble, that he broke the head of the Hallifax man at the second bout, that he could not play the third. Then came Tom the Taberer, he tooke vp the Quarter-staffe, against whom a Kendall man came, at which they both played stiffely two bouts, that one could hardly tell which would get the better, but at the last bout Tom gaue him such a knock o’the costard that downe came the poore Kendall man. Then out steps Smug, to whom came an Hallifax man, and to Sword and Buckler they went close, but Smug did couer himselfe with his Buckler, being a little man, that the Hallifax man swore hee could see no part on him, but one of his great toes, the which he gaue a wipe at; but Smug in the meane time gaue him such a cut from the eare to the cheeke, that they were forced to giue ouer before they had played out their three bouts. Then staps in Miles the Miller, against whom come a Kendall man, and to the Halbert they went, and the first and second bout was played well on both sides, but at the third bout Miles hoskt the Kendall mans Halbert out of his hands, and with the but end of his owne threw him cleane off the Stage; that there was a great shout among all the people. Then out comes Cuthbert the Cobler, against whom came an Hallifax man, and the Fawlchion were then throwne out for them, whereat they had a ciuill bout or two, whereon both sides had sound knocks, but at the third bout Cut being somewhat angry receiued a knocke of his left hand, but with his Fawlchion on the right hand he claue the Hallifax mans head that downe he fell for dead. The last weapon to be plaid was the Sword and Buckler, and then stept out my Host Bankes, for at that he was expert, and a Kendall man out to him, at which they both parted at reasonable termes the first bout, at the second the Kendall man cut my Host a little cut in the legge, which made him so mad, that at the third bout he followed on so close, that he cut the Kendall man all the side of the head and his right eare off; whereat all the people did shout, and crying, Wakefield hath got the Prize. Then out steps George a Greene, whereat all the people were hush’d, and challenged both Kendal and Hallifax men, if they durst to answer him at any of these weapons that were played before or any other. None a great while durst stirre, at the last, quoth a Kendall man, it shall neuer bee said that I was here, and durst not haue one bout or two: Choose thy weapons, quoth George. That I will, quoth he, and that is the Pitch-forke, that daily I handle. So doe not I, quoth George, but come, let vs to it: But George at the first bout striking his Pitch-forke aside, got so neere to him, that he ran him into the forehead, whereat the people shouted, telling him George had made a paire of holes for his hornes. The second bout George ran him into the arme. And at the third bout George ayming at his eye, whips with his left hand the others Pitch-fork away and ran him into the thigh, and presently turning himselfe round, the Kendall man made a thrust at him, when his backe was toward him, which George feeling it smart, got a little within him, and strooke vp his heeles, and fell iust on him, with that the people gaue a great shout, the Drums did beat, the Trumpets did sound, and the Masters of Defence, gaue the Prize to the Wakefield Townesmen. Then all cryed Wakefield, Wakefield.

Then George againe stept out, asking if there were any that durst challenge him or any of his Soldates, at any weapons or any of the liberall Sciences, they were ready to answer them. None durst stirre, whereat the people cryed, Saint George for England, and George a Greene for Wakefield, and so the gamesters departed, but the Townesmen of Wakefield and other Kendall and Hallifax men, fell one against the other to the Cudgels, where there was braue knocking of each side, that the like was neuer before seen in Wakefield. But the gamesters they went to my Host Banks where kindly imbracing one another, the Kendall and Hallifax men confesse they had the worst of the day, and so they that were hurt were drest, and to drinking they went merrily: for the Towne of Wakefield had giuen George for this braue Prize, by them so well performed, twenty Markes, which George vowed should all be spent betwixt them, before the Kendall and Hallifax men should depart.

A good supper being timely prouided for them, all to it they went roundly, and after supper all things taken away; Quoth George, my Masters when wee were here last wee had many pretty Iests told, and then I prayed you to be prouided of some more against another time: Come to beguile the time a little, lets euery one haue his Iest and a Catch or two, and so we will to bed. Agreed, quoth euery one, Captaine you shall begin: Well, quoth George, I will, and therfore silence.

George his Iest of a Foole.

There was a Gentleman dwelling not farre from this place that kept a Iester that was more Knaue than foole; this fellow comming into the Market-place, & seeing a Countrey woman a selling of Woodcocks. Quoth he to her, what been these woman. Why these been Woodcocks Woodcocks, quoth hee, where had you them? Why, quoth shee, wee had them for the catching. For the catching, quoth he, may any one haue them for the catching? I, quoth the woman, you or any may haue them for the catching: With that he snatcheth them away from the woman, and ran away with them, and the poore woman after him: The Clowne being stopt at last, people desired to know what was the matter, the Foole told them all what the women had told him, that he or any might haue them for the catching: they all laughed heartily, and gaue the woman her Woodcocks againe.


A couple of fellowes being brought to Newgate, the one had stolne a Watch, the other a Mare, and lying in two seuerall beds, say’s he that had stolne the Mare, I pray you mate what is it a clocke by your Watch: Truely mate, quoth hee, that had stolne the Watch, it is almost time to water your Mare.


A notable Cutpurse being brought to Newgate, and being seene there by one of his Comrades: quoth he, Iack what a murrain, how comest thou there? Faith Will, quoth the other, any blinde man might haue come as easily as I here, for I was led here.


A lady dancing with one of her Gentlewomen, was very angry with her, because she did not dance, as shee said, the right way; the Gentlewoman shee did dance it the right way: the Lady said no, and gaue her a box on the eare, and asked the Musition which of them danct it the right way? Quoth the Musition, I haue seene it danced, and shal’t please you as you doe dance it, and I haue seene it danced as your Gentlewoman doth dance it, but I haue neuer seene it danced with a box on the eare before; whereat the Lady laught heartily.


A gentlewoman comming to a Fryer to confession, shee confest many things vnto him, and had her absolution. Quoth the Fryer, is there any other thing that troubles you? shee seemed to say no: Quoth the Fryer, your absolution is not worth a Rush, vnlesse you confesse all. Why quoth shee, this child I now haue is none of my owne husbands, absolue me of this and I will giue you any thing: I cannot, quoth the Fryer, vnlesse you confesse it to your husband: oh I dare not, quoth shee. Well, quoth the Fryer, take my aduice: When you are a bed with your husband make the child cry much, and at last perswade him to rise and cry like a bul-begger, and when he doth so, doe you say away Bul-begger it is none of your child, and then assure your selfe I will absolue you: she thankt him; and at night when her husband and she were in bed with the child together, she made the child to cry exceedingly, that the Gentleman was so troubled, that hee could not take any rest. Good husband, quoth shee, if you would but rise and cry Boe, the child would be quiet presently; with that vp got the Gentleman, and stood in his shirt, and cryed Boe, Boe. Away Bul-begger, quoth the Gentlewoman, it is none of your child, away I say, and then left off pinching the child, the child was presently still and quiet, and her husband came to bed againe. This was a pretty tricke, quoth her husband: So it is, quoth the Gentlewoman; and thus was this Gentlewoman absolued by the Fryer, and the Fryer liberally rewarded.


A young Gentleman being in a Tauerne a drinking amongst some of his friends, espied one of his Tenants, to come by at the same instant, an old man that was deafe. Quoth the Gentleman, you shall see what a pretty Iest I will put on yonder old man my Tenant. With that hee beckned vnto him, and the old man came to him presently. Quoth the Landlord, here old man, I will drinke to you, and to all the Whores, Bawdes, Rogues, and Cutpurses, in the whole Kingdome. The poore man put off his hat and made a great legge, saying, thinking hee had drunke to him and all his friends: I doe thanke your good worship, and I pray you remember your Father, your Mother, your Brothers and Sisters, and all the whole generation of you. Whereat all the Gentlemen laughed heartily; saying, to the Gentleman you haue put a pretty tricke vpon your selfe assuredly, but the poore man was abasht, not knowing what they laughed at.


A preacher being in the middest of his Sermon, most of the Parishioners being asleepe. There was a Maid at the same time had a Childe in her armes, which cryed mightily, and the Maid could not still it. Away Maid, quoth the Preacher, take the childe, and carry it home, and let it not waken the Church-wardens and the Masters of the Parish, but let them sleepe in quietnesse: with that they rouzed themselues. Quoth the Minister, I wonder you doe not bring your pillowes, and put vnder your heads, when you come to Church, but knock your heads against your Pewes, as though you had no mercy of your selues.


There was a Schoolmaster in Wakefield, that had taught his Scholars H non est litera; that is, H is no letter, and bade them remember it well. The Schoolmaster hauing bought some puddings giues a couple of them to an vnhappy wagge, and bids him go heat these Puddings, the boy when he had heated them did eat them. Well, his master called for the Puddings. Why, quoth the boy, I haue eaten them as you bade me. Yon Crack-rope, quoth the Master, did not I bid you heat them, and you haue eaten them. Oh Master, did not you teach me that H is no letter, therfore I thought I should eat them. The Master noting the quick wit of the boy, forgaue him, and fetcht two more Puddings, and bade him here sirrah. I pray you let me see whether you can heat these two with an H.

What, quoth George, hath all the Iests gone round? yea, said euery one, why that is very well, quoth George; I doe assure you they were pretty ones. Come my Host Bankes, I wonder you drinke not to vs, wee haue deserued it out of our Iests. I that I will Captaine, quoth my Host, here is a couple of dosens a comming. That’s well, come I will pledge you, and then here is to my honest Country-men Kendall and Hallifax men; they thanked him kindly for his curtesie, and thus to it they stucke, till they had whitled themselues soundly. One Catch, quoth George, would doe well to draw downe our liquor. Agreed Captaine, quoth Tom, one significant to your owne name.

Greene leaues growes on a Tree,
Greene leaues growes greene a;
Ten and nine, eight and seuen,
Sixe and fiue, sing foure and three,
Greene leaues growes on a Tree,
Greene leaues growes greene a.

Brauely done my liuely lads, come drinke, drinke, and set us haue the other Catch.

The Hart loues the high Wood,
the Hare loues the hill,
The Knight loues his bright sword,
the Churle loues his Bill.

Come Tom, neuer a merry song in thy Budget, come I pray thee. Yes that I haue, Captaine; and therefore tell me will you haue a merry one or not? I by all meanes, quoth George.


The Song.

I met with my true Loue downe in the dale,
She brought Apples and I brought Ale,
And cannot you sing browne berry browne berry
And cannot you sing browne berry.

I met with my true Loue down in the seggs,
Shee brought butter, and I brought eggs,
And cannot you sing, vt supra, &c.

I met with my true Loue downe in the Corne,
Shee was drunke ouer night, I the next morne,
And cannot you sing, &c.

I met with my true Loue in the high way,
And there at blind-mans buffe we did play,
And cannot you sing, &c.

I went with my true Loue ouer the water,
Shee pickt a Rose, and I did—
And cannot you sing, &c.

I met with my true Loue in the green fields,
I asked her true loue, vnto me she yeelds,
And cannot you sing, &c.

I met with my true Loue on a high hill,
Shee went to the Bakehouse, and I to the Mill,
And cannot you sing, &c.

I met with my true Loue in the green wood,
I kist her, she said it did her no good,
And cannot you sing, &c.

I danct with my true Loue downe in the hole,
She brought fire I brought cole,
And cannot you sing, &c.

My Loue and I leaped ouer the Ditch,
She tore her smock, I tore my breech,
And cannot you sing, &c.

My Loue and I walked ouer the Strand,
She had no liuing, nor I had no land,
And cannot you sing, &c.

My true Loue and I like two good fellowes,
Were iudged for to be hang’d on the Gallowes,
And cannot you sing browne berry, browne berry,
And cannot you sing browne berry.

And if you will haue any more, sing it your selfe, quoth Tom, for I am aweary; some other sing, and in the meane time I will play on my Taber and Pipe.


Miles the Miller his Song.

Vpon the twelfth day of December,
and in the fourth yeere of Yedwards reigne,
A mighty hoast as I doe remember,
met in England all on a plaine,
Downe downe derry, derry downe,
hey downe a downe, hey downe a derry.

And many a good lord we had then there,
and with them many a thousand men,
But God be thanked we gaue them such a Banquet,
they carried but few of them back again,
Downe downe derry, &c.

They carded all night for our Soldiers coates,
they fisht before their Nets were spun,
A white for sixe pence, a red for two groates,
wisdome would haue stayed till they had been won,
Downe downe, &c.

Our Drumms did beat, and our Trumpets did sound,
our Musketeers ratled vnto the Skye,
Our Colours they flourisht, our men well cherisht.
which made them fight couragiously.
Downe downe, &c.

But Lord when they heard our great guns cracke,
oh then their hearts fell into their hose,
They threw down their weapons they turned their back,
they ran so fast they fell on their nose,
Down down, &c.

The Spaniards haue threatned our Land to inuade,
but God I hope will vs defend,
At 88. meeting, we gaue them such a greeting,
I hope they will feare to come here againe,
Downe downe, &c.

O God preserue our King and Queene,
the Nobles and Gentry and Commons all,
And send vs heauen at our ending,
before our enemies let vs neuer fall,
Downe downe derry, derry downe,
hey downe a downe, hey downe derry.

God-a-mercy Miles, quoth George, this is a good Song. What Smug hast thou neuer a Song? Yes, quoth Smug, that I haue, if you will heare the bob or burthen. I, that we will, quoth all.


Smugs Song.

When Vulcan wrought on Cyclops,
he was both dry and thirsty,
The fire did heat, it made him sweat,
to drinke Nector he was lusty.
All sing. ]No more of sorrowes heigh hoe then,
but drinke we of the strongest
Laugh and be fat sing merrily merrily,
let him take all liues longest.

What though thy nose bee red,
shall body fare the worse,
By drinke the life is fed,
let plague consume thy purse,
No more of sorrowes, &c.

How scapt the iouiall Tinker,
when hang’d were foure and twenty,
Hee was a good Ale drinker,
and dranke omnipot empty,
No more of sorrowes, &c.

The Ballad singers daily,
of old Simon doe sing,
His thread-bare coat and Malmsey nose,
ouer all the world doth ring,
No more of sorrowes, heigh, &c.

Why are you sad my masters,
here’s Ale as browne as berry,
While wee are here, lets make good cheere,
drinke stiffe and sing downe derry.
No more of sorrowes heigh hoe then,
but drinke wee of the strongest.
Laugh and be fat sing merrily merrily,
let him take all liues longest.

So let him for me, quoth Cut the Cobler, but I pray you let vs haue one round betwixt vs all, with the old Catch of Nose, Nose.

Nose, nose, iolly red nose,
And who gaue thee that iolly red nose,
Nutmegs, Ginger, Cinamon and Cloues,
And Ale gaue me this iolly red nose.

If from thy drinke thou dost shrinke,
We will fill it againe vp to the brinke,
Then drinke it vp and doe not start,
And if thou dost beshrew thy heart.
Nose, nose, iolly red nose,
And who gaue thee that iolly red nose,
Nutmegs, Ginger, Cinamon and Cloues,
And Ale gaue thee that iolly red nose.

Oh brauely done my masters all, I pray you fill mee a full bowle, and I will drinke to you all, and so let vs depart, for it groweth late, quoth George: which health hauing gone round, they all tooke leaue of one another, all promising, both the Kendall and Hallifax and Wakefield men euer after to take part with one another, being Countrey men, against any other Country men whatsoeuer, and so with many farewels, and loth to departs, they at last parted.

How Robin Hood, Scarlet and little Iohn, hearing of the braue deedes of the Pinder, and of his merriments, came to see him.

Fame with her golden Trump had so proclaimed the braue deeds and merriments ouer all England: Amongst the rest, it came to the eares of Robin Hood a great out-law, and very valiant, liued onely in woods, doing many braue exploits. This Robin Hood, desirous to see whether this were true, that euery one reported of George a Greene the Pinder of Wakefield, did breake his minde to two more of his men, that were trusty, charging them not to reueale it to any what his intent was, so secretly they departed towards Wakefield, and drawing neere thereunto, hauing giuen all in instruction hee could to his two men what to doe, the one being by the name of Scarlet, the other Iohn, they did begin to play their reakes, tearing downe of hedges, making new pathes ouer the Corne, cutting downe of stiles, carrying long staues on their shoulders, breaking all the good orders that George had made. Word being brought to him of it, he made no delay at all to call any of his Soldates, but away hee hastens with a long Pike-staffe on his necke, and finding them out. What doe you meane my masters? know you not, nor haue you not heard of the orders of this place, that thus you so rudely behaue your selues, doing such iniuries? that assure your selfe you shall make amends for before you depart? What prating fellow art thou, quoth Robin, that thus dare affront vs, and tell vs of orders, a rush for thy orders, knowest thou who we are? Why no, quoth the Pinder, nor I care not. Why then, quoth Robin, know that I am Robin Hood, and these two are two of my men, Scarlet and Iohn. Oh I haue heard of you before, and in good time you are come to me, for if you had not come to mee, I had been with you before this time. But I pray thee, quoth Robin, tell mee who thou art? Why know that I am George a Greene, the mad merry Pinder of Wakefield, and that you shall know before you depart. You talke boldly sir, quoth Robin, if your actions proue as good as your words, indeed you are the man that wee desired to meete withall. Come on then, quoth George, make ready, haue at you, defend your selfe if you will. With that they all drew their Swords, and fell to their Bucklers, for George began very hotly against them all, and not any of the three durst come neere him to come within him, he was so excellent at the long Pike: and thus the fight continued sixe long houres. Quoth Robin, hold I pray thee a little, with that all held still. What doe you breath, quoth George? come, come, I am not warme yet: I will make you breath anon. Quoth Robin, I assure thee honest George a Greene I haue tryed the strength of many a man, but thou dost surpasse them. Quoth Scarlet, I thinke hee is one of Hercules bastards, he layeth about him, as if he were about one of his labours. Quoth little Iohn, I thinke rather hee is one of the Diuels Bastards, for hee layeth about him like a young Diuell, Iam sure I feele some of his clawes.

After they had rested themselues a good while and parlied: Quoth George, come let vs to it againe. Hast thou such a stomacke to it, quoth Robin: come then, haue at you all againe. With that setting his backe to a hedge, hee began againe to lay about him brauely. Stay, quoth Robin, it shall not bee said, that thou gauest vs such odds, thou art but one, and wee bee three. Stay your hands my merry men, quoth George, let him and I haue a single bout at the Sword and Buckler, and to it they went like two Boares a fighting, grieuous bangs giuen on both sides: this fight lasted for foure houres, and at the last Robin Hood began to faint, and then Scarlet and Iohn, and all three set on George, but he was so nimble, that hee leapt to and fro and got vp his long staffe againe, with which hee againe so belaid about him, as though hee had beene starke madde.

All the while of this great fight, which was almost a long Summers day. George was not mist, neither knew they where to finde him, at last being espyed: newes was brought to his Soldates, which hastned to him. Hold all your hands, to his Souldates quoth George. Mary, quoth Iohn, and if they bee all like to thee, you will make vs hold our hands, and eat vs vp. Quoth Robin Hood, let vs haue done our fight, I and mine will obserue your orders, what I haue done was nothing but to try thy manhood that I haue heard so great report of, but now I finde it greater than the report, let it suffice I am and will bee thy Friend till death.

Come I pray thee George, liue with me in the woods and what pleasure the woods can afford thou shalt haue it to the full. Oh there is delight for a King. Know George, I am a Lord of high degree, & finding such pleasure in the life I lead in woods, I choose it rather than the Palace, for it is a Palace of pleasure. Come, deny me not man, I will allow thee forty Marks a yeere, beside thy dyet shall be at my owne Table, and in woods wee’l hawke, hunt, wee’l dance and sing, ride, run, with all delights whatsoeuer, come I will not be denyed man. Quoth George, Robin Hood thou hast almost perswaded me, because I know thou louest a man, and of thy prowesse I haue heard before. Nay, quoth little Iohn, thou shalt haue also one hundred more lusty braue fellowes to thy companions. I, quoth Scarlet, those that will not shrink, but drinke and sing, and merrily trowle the bowle. God-a-mercy my braue sparkes, come all wee are friends; come lusty Robin Hood, goe first along with me to my Host Bankes, for there you shall rest this night, and then I will tell thee more of my mind. With that there was such imbracing betwixt George his Soldates and Robin Hood, Scarlet and little Iohn wonderfull to behold, and towards Wakefield Towne they went, and so to my Host Bankes, where a great supper was prouided, all the people in Wakefield reioycing, especially my Host Bankes, of Robin Hoods being there, of whom they had heard great talke, but neuer saw him before: All sung the praise of George a Greene in a new Song, made by a Poet; the Musitions they played it, that George was now more famous than before. Well at supper being set, George bid them welcome, where they wanted not for dilicious fare and good drinke, and after supper and all taken away, to the fire they went to passe the time, as it was George his manner, and his Souldates in Songs, Catches, dancing and such reuelling, and still the liquor walked, that it contented Robin Hood extraordinary. Quoth Robin, George I will tell thee thou hast giuen mee great content: and therefore thou must along with me, and thou shalt finde that I will recompence thy kindnesse. But what shall I doe with my Souldates? take them with thee, they shal al be welcome. No, quoth George, I will take none along but Tom my Taberer, all the rest I will leaue to defend the Towne, and to see my orders obserued, and to choose a generall amongst themselues, and if at any time there should bee extraordinary neede, hee charged them to send for him, and he would come. So will I, quoth Robin. But his Soldates were loth to part with him, so was my Host Bankes, and all the whole Towne, but all would not serue, goe hee would and gaue his hand to Robin Hood; bidding Tom be ready. I Captaine, quoth hee, with all my heart. What quoth George, mee thinkes you are all mute, what cheere my bonny hearts. Come giue vs some drinke, and let vs haue a Catch, and let vs be merry, I will not forsake you though I goe a little way from you for recreation to see some fashions. Come quoth little Iohn, I will giue my Master and you a Catch: Haue we drink there? I, I warrant thee, quoth George, wee will not want for drinke.


The Catch.

Bachus the god of Grapes and Wine,
To thee this crowned cup resigne,
Wherein all pleasure springs,
Blacke is the Bowle and the Byas will keepe,
And whiles it lasts we will drinke deepe,
Then fill it vp to the brimme,
And merrily laugh and merrily quaffe,
And merrily merrily drinke all off,
And merrily we will sing.

Behold and see what I haue done,
I haue not spilt it in my shun,
Nor drunk my drinke in vaine,
But I haue drunke the same all vp,
Vnlesse it be a little sup,
Then haue at it once againe.
And merrily laugh, and merrily quaffe,
And merrily, &c.

Oh braue Lads, quoth George a Greene and Robin Hood, here was a braue Catch, let the health goe round, bee sure that euery one haue it, if you lacke any liquor call for more: good my Host see they want none; thus hauing spent the euening, I thinke wee that haue laboured so hard to day, may desire a little rest at night: and therefore I pray you let vs depart for this time. Agreed, quoth Robin, I must make haste because I am mist before this time: and so they all hauing taken leaue of one another, departed to their rests where we will leaue them till next morning.

The next morning by the dawning of the day, George was vp, and came to my Host Bankes, cald Robin Hood vp and the rest, telling them he had setled all his businesse in order, and therefore requested them to haste, lest the Townesmen and his friends stayed him. Up they all got, to breakfast they went, and so drinking halfe a score Rounds, calling to pay, all being in readinesse, a bill was made, and it came to foureteene ponuds odde money; but Robin Hood would haue discharged all. No, quoth George, howsoeuer here is my sixe pounds. Quoth Robin Hood, seeing you will be so wild, come giue your money, and so all being discharged, with many farewels, and loth to departs, betwixt all friends, especially betwixt George and his Souldates and my Host Bankes. Away they hasted towards the greene woods, and had they not gone when they did goe, all the Towne and all the places adioyning came of purpose to Bankes his house to haue preuented Captain George his departure, but too late they came for they were most part of the way to their home, I meane to the woods, and of their entertainment there, and of their merriments, you shall heare in the next Chapter following.

Of the great entertainment that Robin Hood and all his followers gaue to George a Greene.

Robin Hood with George being arriued at home to the wood, all his men flockt about them being glad of his comming home againe: Robin told them who George a Greene was, bidding them make him welcome, which they did to the vtmost of their powers, both in feasting, dancing, hunting, shooting, and all the delights that could be deuised to make sport, was too little for George a Greene to giue him content: but a solemne day was appointed, which was about Bartholomewtide, whereon they were disposed to be merry: and which at last being come, euery one prepared to be merry that day, Robin and George being the Ring-leaders to the rest, euery one being clad in greene, sutable to their desires. In the morne there was such running at Quintaine by the youths, that there was great sport to see how they did striue who should doe best, to win his Sweet-hearts fauour, but some of them had such bangs with the Sand-bag, because their horses were not quick enough, that downe they tumbled, whereat was great laughing. This sport being ended, euery man chose his Lady, he being the Lord, & a great banquet being made in the woods, where store of good cheere was not wanting, nor good drinke: each Lord sate by his Lady, and whiles they banqueted, the Musicke played, and there was such braue Songs, as their hearts could not desire better, and this is called a King-ale, they haue one Lord which they call the chiefe Lord, and hee is to make them merry, which Lord is a notable merry fellow for the most part: and for this feast little Iohn was chosen the Lord, which made such sport amongst them, that hee was commended of all in generall; two of his songs I brought away along with mee when I was there, but when I get the rest you shall haue them.


A Song.

Tom a Lin was a Swelch man borne,
His head was pold, his beard was shorne,
His cloathes were ragged, his shirt was thin,
Who euer saw any like Tom a Lin.

Tom a Lin had no more wiues but one,
Hee had a blacke Daughter her name was Ioane,
Shee was the flippers of all her Kin
For wantonnesse, say’s Tom a Lin.

Tom a Lins Wife got vp betimes,
And into the field to milke her Kine,
Shee calld vp her Daugter the Creame to skim,
Wee shall haue good Butter, quoth Tom a Lin.

Tom a Lins Wife went ouer a bridge,
The bridge was narrow and shee fell in:
I haue lost a good Slut, quoth Tom a Lin,
Who euer saw any like Tom a Lin.

Then Tom a Lin would a wooing ride,
With a good Point Norton by his side,
His Scabbard was made of a fat Eeles skin,
It’s a flaunting blade, quoth Tom a Lin.

Tom a Lin had a good balde Mare,
Her heeles were gald, her backe was bare,
Her belly set out, her belly set in,
Tis a fleering Iade, quoth Tom a Lin.

Tom a Lin had no boots to weare,
But a good pide Calues skin hornes and haire,
Hee buckled them on fast to his skin,
Come let vs ride, quoth Tom a Lin.

Tom a Lin riding ouer a bridge,
The bridge was narrow and he fell in,
His foot it slipt, his heeles vp tript,
This is ill lucke quoth Tom a Lin.

Tom a Lin hee got vp againe,
Hee spyed a bonny Lasse walking then,
O I am Iocky wilt thou bee Gin,
Are not wee well married, quoth Tom a Lin?

Tom a Lin hee danct vp the Hall,
Ginny came after ragges and all.
Shee scrapt the scabs all from her skin:
Wee’l haue them fry’d in butter, quoth Tom a Lin.

And here is an end of a mad marriage my masters, I pray you remember my Lord, all the company laught heartily, and made a gathering for my Lord round, and prayed him the other Song.


The Song.

A Cobler would a wooing ride,
in Summer when Sunne did shine,
He met with a Maid in the morning tide,
a driuing to field of her Kine.

Hee said faire Maid and will you kisse,
in Summer now Sunne doth shine:
No Cobler not now I wis,
I am driuing to field my Kine.

But if thou wilt come to my Chamber window,
in euening when Moone doth shine,
I will haue a kisse in store for thee,
if thou’lt driue to field my Kine.

The Cobler he came to the Maids window,
at euening when Moone did shine,
Said, where is the kisse you promised me,
for driuing to field of your Kine.

The Maid set ope the Casement window,
in euening when Moone did shine,
Shee turned vp her lips for the Cobler to kisse,
for driuing to field of her Kine.

By my faith Maiden you doe me great wrong,
in the euening now Moone doth shine a,
Your lips they are thicke, your breath it is strong,
for driuing to field of your Kine a.

Goe thy waies Cobler into the Marsh,
now Summer the Sunne doth shine a,
And say thou hast kist a Maidens arse,
for driuing to field of her Kine a.

I had rather he had kist those lips than I, quoth my Lord little Iohn; all the company laughed heartily: But, quoth Tom the Taberer, to George a Greene, Captain I hope it was not our Cut the Cobler: makes no matter, quoth George Tom. Lets rise good Robin Hood, and let vs to dancing to stretch our legs a little, and so they did rise, & some fell a dancing, some to vaulting, some to dice and cards, some to fling Dice for Pewter, some to tend the Mare, which was a great wooden horse, which carryed all that had not tasted of my Lords beere to the buttery. Night being come all departed quietly till the next morning, and day no sooner appeared, but there was the brauest Morris dance that euer was seene in England, made by George a Greene, Robin Hood, Scarlet, little Iohn, Tom the Taberer, and they did choose a lusty Lasse for their Maid marrian, a Lancashire Lasse, called Long Meg, that dwelt at Westminster, with many of Robins fellowes more, that such a Morris was neuer seene in England. The Morris dance being done, word was brought to Robin Hood, that Adam Bell, Clim of the Clough, and William of Clowdeslee, were arriued at the woods. They come in good time, quoth George, to mend our sports and pastimes, and so the markes being vp, some went to Prickes, some to Rouers, some to Butts that such a mach of shooting was neuer knowne to be in England. And to this day the markes remaine what a huge way they did shoot, a mile in length and called Robin Hoods markes. After the shooting to foot-ball they went for two long houres where there were falls giuen on both sides, but being aweary, they gaue ouer on equall tearmes. After the foot-ball to wrastling they went, the Northerne men against the Westerne men; but the Northerne men had the day: and from wrestling to the Cudgels, and some to running, some to leaping; some to one pastime, some to another, that the like was neuer heard of since the Olympian Games were which Hector himselfe was at: But Robin Hood, George a Greene, Tom the Taberer, Scarlet, little Iohn, Adam Bell and the rest, they had all the praise.

Euening drawing on, they all setled themselues to bee merry at a braue supper, which in the woods was prepared for them; where they lacked for no good cheere or good entertainment to welcome them all: That if Iupiter himselfe, and all the Gods and Goddesses had come thither of purpose to feast.

Supper being ended vp all rose. Quoth George and Robin, come my Masters all, let vs spend the rest of this euening, in some good pastime or other; with that they all sate downe vnder the braue trees, and there began some to read Ridles, some to tell merry Tales, some to sing merry Catches, and to say hard things one after another; and because I was an eye-witnesse of all these things, I was not so blockish but I could bring some of them away with mee, and when I haue got the rest, as I am promised them, you shall bee sure to haue them: In the meane time, take these for a taste of the rest to come.

A Tale told by George a Greene.

Neere to Wakefield there dwelt two honest old men that were great Companions a long time, that the one could not lacke, if the other had it. It fortuned vpon a time, that one of them, named Stiles, lacking some money to layout for his good, breaking his minde to Father Chapman, hee lent him ten pounds on his owne bare word (for in those dayes the honest word passed bills and bonds.) Time passing on a pace, Stiles thinking that Father Chapman had forgot his ten pounds, and had neuer the honesty to pay it him: But at last Chapman wanting money, asked him for his money; Stiles he denyed that he euer had any of him. Chapman hee stampt and chaft; saying, will thou deny it? I must needes deny that, quoth he, that I neuer knew. Oh naughty man, quoth Chapman; come, come, if you will sweare before the Iustice that thou hadst not ten pounds of me, I will lose it the morrow following. This Stiles being a crafty man had gotten a hollow staffe made, wherein hee put in Gold the valew of ten pounds, and with Chapman before the Iustice they went. Chapman making his complaint, that hee lent him so much money, the other denying it; Quoth the Iustice put Stiles to his oath, for that is all I can doe. The Booke being brought, and being bidden to lay his hand on the Booke, and to sweare the truth. Hold my staffe, quoth Stiles, to Chapman, which Chapman taking, and Stiles laying his hand on the booke, hee said, that hee neuer had no money of Chapman, and swore it, but what he had paid him againe: Chapman seeing him about to sweare; cryed, oh naughty man, doe not sweare, doe not damne thy soule, I will lose my money first, and fell a clapping of the staffe of Stiles to the ground so hard, that at last before the Iustice, the staffe broke and all the gold scattered about, whereat all were amazed, but the Iustice perceiuing Stiles his knauery, rebuked him shrewdly for his knauery, and but for his age hee had beene iudged to be whipt, as well he deserued by right, and Chapman had the tenne pounds in Gold which came out of the hollow staffe.

Another Tale.

There dwelt a Gentleman in the North that did buy great store of Lands, amongst the rest some he did buy that were wrongfully taken from the right heire, though not by himselfe, yet it seemed that one house none could dwell in it, for they did see such things in the night, that would amaze any to heare it related, many had tryed to dwell in the house, but all were frighted away still. It chanced a lusty Souldier, newly to come out of the Low-Countries, and to come to this Gentlemans house to beg an almes; and hearing the Gentleman making moane that he could not get any to dwell in his house; saying, I would giue any thing to any, nay, they should haue it rent-free for the dwelling in it. Quoth the Souldier, what say you to me. I am a bold Souldier, and feare not any thing, try me a little, and if there were a thousand diuels there, I feare them not: but you must giue mee such things as I desire: Thou shalt not lacke for any thing, quoth the Gentleman. Let mee alone, quoth the Souldier. I pray you, quoth he, let me haue as much wood as will keep me a good fire this night, and some Tobacco and good strong beere. Well, all things being fitted according to his desire, into the house he enters, makes him a good fire, about twelue a clocke at night, there appeared vnto, as hee thought, the Skipper that had wafted him from place to place, and they were much acquainted. Skipper, quoth hee, what a Diuell how camest thou here at this time of night. The Skipper or Diuell would not speake a word to him, onely nod his head at him: Why dost not thou speake, quoth the Souldier, I know thee well enough, I drinke to thee, and filling a bowle of beere, still the Skipper had as great a fire as hee and beere and Tobacco, which amazed the Souldier; saying, why dost not speake: the Skipper still nodded at him, and the Souldier could neuer drinke one glasse, but the Skipper would drinke two, and for one pipe of Tobacco, the Skipper he would drinke two. Quoth the Souldier, I pray thee speake to me, drinke with me, I know thee well enough, still nodded at him the Skipper: Nod on, nod more, quoth the Souldier, and I will pay you soundly with this Billet: The Skipper he nodded, the Souldier tooke vp a Billet out of the fire, the Skiper tooke another, the souldier he strooke the Skipper, with that there was such a cruell bout betwixt them extraordinary, but the souldier he had the worst. Morning come the Gentleman knocked to see whether the souldier were aliue or not, the souldier hee come to the gate, told the Merchant all that had passed betwixt him and the Skipper; the Gentleman was glad, asking him if hee would stay any longer or not? Quoth the Souldier I will make the skipper speake before I haue done, and therefore against this night prouide me the best good cheere you thinke fit for mee, with beere, Tobacco and a good fire and let mee alone. All this was done, and about the same time of the night at twelue of the clocke, in comes the Skipper: Art come, quoth the souldier: the skipper nodded: dost nod? I hope thou wilt speak to me by and: by still the souldier could not doe any thing but the Skipper would doe the same, if the Souldier had thrown a Faggot on the fire, the Skipper would haue throwne two on his fire: The Souldier set his meat on the Table, the Skipper he did the like at the lower end of the Table, and had as good variety of flesh and fish as the souldier had: I pray thee come sup with me, the Skipper he nodded: I know thee, thou art a Skipper, and thy name is Hauns, I pray thee come drinke with mee, or I will throw the Iug at thy head, the Skipper he nodded at him, and still the Souldier whatsoeuer he did, the Skipper he would doe the like: the Souldier was so mad that he threw the Iugge at the Skipper, and the Skipper threw at him, and to it they fell close, but the souldier still had the worst, the skipper vanished: A Pox on you, are you gone, quoth the souldier, you haue almost lamed mee. Well, next morning the Gentleman came againe to see his souldier, who told him all that had passed betwixt them; the Gentleman told him he was glad to see him in good health; demanding if hee would stay any longer: I saith, quoth the souldier, I will try the third night, but I pray you let mee haue all things fitting as before; I will see if I can make the skipper speake: Pox on him, I thinke he will not speake to me, because he cosened me of a faire suit of apparell at Skedam. The Gentleman hee prouided all things to his hearts desire. Night being come the souldier hee made a good fire, and after to his victuals he went, still looking when the skipper would come, but no skipper came; after supper the souldier rose, sate by the fire, still no skipper came, the souldier was somewhat heauy and sleepy after drinking his Tobacco, and hauing sate vp two nights before knowing that there was good beds in the house, vp hee went and lay downe, but he had not lay long there, but he did heare such a noyse of tinking on Ketles and Tongs, and such a wonderfull light in the Hall, as also great showting and roaring of Beares, out of the bed leapes he, and downe he came, where hee did see the skipper a playing at foot-ball with a great many of vgly creatures, as Beares, Cats, Apes, and the like, are you there skipper with your Beares, I saith, what at foot-ball hoe? I will in amongst you, and striking at the Ball, Beares, Skipper and all fell vpon him, he laying about him like a mad man, but they wearied the Souldier shrewdly, and so all vanished, onely the Skipper, which began to speake: Souldier now thou hast preuailed, know that I am no Skipper, but thou maist tell the Gentleman that hee must looke out the right heire, and agree with her for this house and land, or else we will still thus trouble this house, that none shall liue quietly therein; tell him moreouer, that she is an innocent woman, and doth beg from doore to doore in the next Towne, her Inne is the Cage of the Towne: I haue spoke, now thou knowest my minde, the dawning of the day commeth on, I cannot stay, farewell: Farewell and behang’d, quoth the Souldier, thou hast giuen be bangs enow, but I am glad thou hast told me what must be done, and before I doe reueale it I will be paid soundly. The morning appearing, the Gentleman came to visit his Souldier, whom he found at his breake fast, as briske as a body louse: What cheere, quoth the Gentleman: Boone courage, quoth the Souldier. Come & you will well reward me, I think nay I doubt not, but to tell you how you shall keepe your house in quiet. Quoth the Gentleman, I will giue thee a house rent-free, and be also a friend vnto thee, if thou wilt tell mee, so long as I liue and thou together. Agreed quoth the Souldier, and accordingly told him all that the Skipper had spoke to him, and presently the Gentleman went and enquired for this woman, and hauing found her, tooke her home and allowed her her Maid to attend vpon her all her life time: And also, according to his promise, gaue the Souldier a house rent-free, and enioyed all his owne Lands with quietnesse euer after.

Another Tale.

There was a Gentleman that was amongst his friends, & Colon crying out betwixt them to be fed, I mean their bellies crowed for victuals, but mony they had none: Quoth one amongst the rest, my masters, if you will make shift for bread and wine, I will get you meat enough, and away hee went, and comming to a Butchers he cheapned the best meat he could lay his hands on, and hauing bargaind, desired that he might haue his man to helpe him home with it, and then he should receiue his money: Away goeth the Gentleman with the Butchers man, and comming neere to a Church, espying the Parson; Stay, quoth the Gentleman, this meat that I haue bought, is for the Quest-house, and the Parson must pay me, I will goe speake with him, and away he goeth to the Parson, and saluting him, desired a fauor at his hands, telling him and pointing to the Butchers man, that his friend that Yongman was much troubled in mind, and therefore he had brought him to his worship to be satisfied in mind. Quoth the Parson, truely sir I am a little busie yet that the Yongman might heare him; but by and by Yongman, quoth the Parson, I will satisfie you. The Gentleman thanked the Parson, and came to the Yongman and told him that the Parson would pay him by and by, and wil’d him to stay there a little, whilest he carried the meat to be drest, and he would come to him againe: but hee neuer meant it, but carried it quite away to his Companions, telling them the mad pranke he had play’d. But to returne to the Parson, who seeing the Butchers boy to wait to speake with him, came to him and asked him what it was that troubled his minde? My mind, quoth the Butchers boy? nothing truely Sir, quoth he, but I pray you pay mee my mony, I shall bee shent for staying so long: Mony, why I owe you none: Yes sir, for the meat the Gentleman bought for the Quest. Hee told me that you were troubled in minde, and I see it is, come you must not be so distracted, thinking of worldly matters, and began to giue him good counsell: The Butcher he cryed his money. Nay, quoth the Parson, and you be so mad, Ile finde a meanes to remedy you, and so calling a couple of Beadles to him, threatning him to haue in Bedlem. Oh, quoth the Butcher, Master Parson I am not mad, but desire but my money for my meat the Gentleman bought. This madded the Parson more, that one might plainely see that he was the madder of the two. By chance a Neighbour of the Butchers came by, to whom the fellow called and sent for his Master, the Master comming and examining the matter found that the Parson himselfe and his man were all cheated.

Thus some past the time in telling of Tales, others at reading of Ridles, which some of them I can remember.



What is that is fittest for the body when the life is out?


Some said a graue, some said a winding sheet: No, quoth another, a hot Candle and a warme bed is fittest for a woman newly deliuered.


What is that hangs, beares; and blowes not?


A porridge Pot.


Red beat blacke on the belly, and made her belly rumble.


Fire vnder a pot making it seeth.


A man and wife fell at strife for an vndone deed, vp steps the good man and stopt the hole that open was, and so they were agreed.


They fell out about the stopping of the Ouen.


There dwels a Shoomaker by this Hall,
That makes his shooes without an Aull,
Though men of them they doe not weare,
Yet of them they buy many a paire.


A Smith making Shooes for horses.


I am no Viper, yet I feede
On mothers breasts, that did me breed,
I sought a husband, in which labour
I found out the kindnesse in a father,
Hee is father, husband, brother too;
Who this may be, resolue it you.


One that married her owne Father.


There was a man bespoke a thing,
The which another did him bring,
Hee that made it did refuse it,
Hee that bespake it would not vse it,
And he that vs’d it did not know,
Whether he vs’d it I or no.


A Coffin for a dead man.


Thus hauing finished this day in pleasant sports, and the next day following also, quoth George to Robin, I would it were euening, for now I begin to be aweary. Nay, quoth Robin, I pray you let vs end this night with our Reuels, I will tell you a pretty Iest of a Pedler.

The Iest.

A certaine Pedler, walking abroad with his wife, and seeing a wedding, whereat were many Maids. Quoth the Pedler, dost thou see yonder lusty wench in the Stammel Petticoat? I that I doe, quoth the Pedlers wife, thou wilt little thinke that I haue layne with her twice or thrice. Oh fie vpon you husband, quoth shee, doe you tell tales? I tell you husband, I haue layne a hundred times with Iohn my Fathers man, and neuer told it before this time. Quoth George, truely the woman serued him well enough, and I will requite your Iest.

Night being come, on againe to supper they hasted, and being downe set in the middest of their supper, they heard the sound of the braue still musicke was wonderfull, and after that great light appeared all were amazed at it; but being all still to see the euent, there appeared before them the ancient Prophesier Merlin, giuing them the All haile, and vttering these words; Know worthy Gentlemen, that my name is Merlin, and hearing of your braue Reuels, am come to helpe to adde some more sport to your sport, and to this end I haue here summoned to your triumphs to make an end of the same for this time, these pretty night-walkers, I pray you sit still and you shall see their pretty pastime, with that appeare: King Oberon King of the Fairies in rich apparell with a Scepter in his hand, a Crowne on his head, also King Twuddle King of the Pigmyes, and a Fairy Qeene, Robin Good-fellow, Tom Thumbe with all the Fairies in a ring, dancing such braue dances with such braue Musicke, that it was delightfull to all the beholders Tom Thumbe he playd on the Taber and Pipe, Robin Good-fellow with a Broome on his necke dancing in the middle of the ring. Quoth Tom the Taberer to George, Captaine yonder is a pretty Taberer, poynting to Tom Thumbe, I pray you hire him to carry in your pocket. Peace Tom, quoth George marke the sport. The Faries and the Nimps did so trip it after the Musicke, that it was admirable to behold, giuing delight to euery one, euery one crying that they had neuer seene the like in their life before: No masking in the world could excell them, and thus they continued a dancing till midnight, and then doing their obesience to Robin Hood, George a Greene and the rest only Robin Good-fellow sung a Song which you shall find it, a little after on a sudde they al vanished. Robin Hood came to Merlin, thanking him for gracing him so at his feasts, and gaue him twenty pounds for his paines, and thus each one taking leaue of one another, they finished their merriments and pastime, and so departed, where we will leaue George a Green with Robin Hood, taking all the delight with the rest of their Compeeres, euen so much as the woods could afford them. Ending this my History, with the Song of George a Greene the Pinder of Wakefield, made by his Souldates in Wakefield.

In Wakefield dwelt there a iolly Pinder,
In Wakefield all on a greene,
In Wakefield all on a greene
There was no Knight nor no Squire,
Nor barron that durst be so bold,
Nor Barron, &c.

Durst make any trespasse toth’ Towne of Wakefield,
But his pledge went to the pinfold,
But his, &c.

All these be heard three wighty young men,
Was Robin Hood, Scarlet, and Iohn,
Was, &c.

Now backe againe, back again quoth the Pinder,
For a wrong way haue you gone,
For a wrong, &c.

For you haue forsooke the King his high way,
And made a path ouer the Corne,
And made a path, &c.

The Pinder leapt backe full thirty good foot,
‘Twas thirty good foot and one,
‘Twas thirty good foot and one.

Hee leaned his backe fast vntill a thorne,
And his foot vntill a stone, &c.

And there they fought halfe a long Summers day,
A Summers day all till noone, &c.

Vntill that their swords and their broad Bucklers,
Were beaten fast vnto their hands, &c,

Now hold thy hand, hold thy hand, quoth Robin Hoods
And my merry men each one, &c.

For this same is one of the stoutest Pinders,
That euer I laid my hands on, &c.

If thou wilt forsake thy Pinder his craft,
And wend to the greene wood with mee, &c.

Thou shalt haue thy Liuery twice in the yeere,
And forty Crownes shall be thy fee, &c.

If Martlemas time were come nye and gone,
And my master had paid me my fee, &c.

I would set as little by the Towne of Wakefield,
As the Townesmen set by mee, &c.

In Wakefield dwels there a iolly Pinder,
Oh ho, no, no, no, ho, no, no, no,
In Wakefield all on a greene,
In Wakefield all on a greene.