make any description necessary. It is only surprising
that this deception which has been carried on for two
* Chaucer and Spencer both make use oiholsterie as an inn or
place of reception for travellers.
hundred and forty-five* years, and probably much longer,
should still find persons sufficiently simple to become
dupes to it.
The xxv Orders of Knaves," which conclude the
tract, are " i. Troll andTrole by. 2. Trole with. 3. Trole
hazard of trace. 4. Trole hazard of tri trace. 5. Chafe
Litter. 6. Obloquium. 7. Prince Pytcher. 8. Jeffrey
Gods Fo. 9. Nichol Hartles. 10. Simon soone agon.
1 1. Grene winchard. 12. Proctour. 13. Commitour of
Tidinges. 14. Gyle Hather. 15. Bawde Phisicke.
16. Mounch present. 17. Cole prophet. 18. Cory fauele.
19. Dyng thrift. 20. Esen Droppers. 21. Coplogyke.
22. Vnthrifte. 23. Vngracious, 24. Nunquam. 25. In-
Explanations of a few of these singular terms shall end
" Chafe Litter is he that wyll plucke vp the fetherbed or
matrice, and pysse in the bedstraw, and wyl neuer ryse vn-
called. This knaue berayeth many tymes in the corners of
his maisters chamber, or other places inconuenient, and maketh
cleane hys shooes with the couerlet or curtaines.
Obloquium is hee that wyll take a tale out of his maisters
mouth and tell it him selfe. He, of right, may be called a
Ieffery Gods Fo is he that wil sweare & maintaine othes.
This is such a lying knaue that none wil beleue him, for the
more he sweareth y e les he is to be beleued.
Proctour is he that will tary long, and bring a lye, when
his maister sendeth him on his errand. This is a flibber gibberf
knaue that doth fayne tales,
Cory fauel J is he that wyl lye in his bed and cory the bed
bordes in which hee lyeth in steede of his horse. This slouthfull
knaue wyll buskill and scratch when he is called in the
morning for any hast.
Dyng thrift is he that wil make his maisters' horse eate pies
and xvbs of beefe and drinke ale and wyne. Such false knaues
oft tymes will sell their maisters' meate to their owne profit."
* The first edition of this tract was in 1565.
f Hibber gibber I conceive to mean talkative. Minshew calls
gibbrisb, rjbble gabble.
\ See Purtenham Arte of English Poesie, 4-t- J 5^9- P- M+-
What buskil signifies is not so easy, at this time, to discover.
To busk in the Scottish language is to dress sr attire. It may here
mean to delay, to dress sk-wlj.
^ Chronological List of the Works, in verse and
prose, of George Wither.
[continued from vol. i. p. 4-lO.J
79. " Tula Pacifica. Seasonable precautions, whereby
is sounded forth a retreat from the War intended be-
tween Enoland and the United Provinces of Lower
Germany. By George Wither; a lover of peace, and
heartily well affected towards both nations. 8vo. 1664.
Imprinted for the Author, and is to be disposed of
rather for Love than Money." *
This begins: u An ancient Emblem (two pitchers)
relating to the said nations, Si collidimur, frangimur.
Tf we knock, we are broke." These pitchers are England
and Holland. The Dutch having invaded the rights of
the English in India and Africa, the Parliament petitioned
Charles II to make reprisals, which was done upon
their merchant-ships; and war was declared against
them in March 1664-5. Wither, before this event took
place, blew the metrical trump of pacification, but with
a tone that was little likely to be heard, and still less to be
regarded. Yet some of his political monitions are valuable.
" If wrongs are clone, let all good means be us'd
To judge between th' accuser and accus'd,
Ere sentence pass: and do not then prolong
Due recompence to them who have had wrong.
Ere battle you begin, let peace be offer'd ;
Accept a good expedient, when 'tis profler'd.
Make not the sword your umpire, till you see
A remedy no other way can be:
Yet to avoid the mischief and the curse
Of war, make not a peace that shall be worse."
While employed on this tract, he says
" . there doth appear
A blazing star within cur hemisphere.'"
* Qu. whether given away, or disposed of at a very lo* price ?
The tmct was not known to Wood-
VOL. II. C ThiS
This must have been the comet, visible in Nov. 1664;
on the alarm excited by which he thus reasons.
. this exhalation doth portend
Some judgment on offenders will descend
Ere long, to make them watchful, and prepare
To do those duties which expected are.
He that is so affected, seldom fears
The influence of comets, or of stars;
Whereas, they who in folly are benighted,
Oft with a harmless glow-worm are affrighted." *
80. " A Memorandum to London. Occasioned by the
pestilence there begun, this present year MDCLXV:
and humbly offered to the Lord-Maior, Aldermen, and
Commonalty of the said City. By George Wither.
Thereto is by him added, a Warning-piece to London,
* He then proceeds to speak of himself, with an egotism that
becomes more interesting to modern readers than all that concerns
the local events of the turbid time in which he wrote :
" Thus far, my mind I have once more exprest,
And hopeful am ere long to be at rest
From all my labours: for my life, almost,
To bring this seasonably forth, it cost.
But some perhaps will now say what is he
That your Remembrancer presumes to be?
To those I make this answer : I am one
Who stands instead of such a block or stone,
As Charity did set up heretofore
By high-way sides, and sometimes at each door,
To save men from the violent approaches
Of drunken horse-men, waggons, carts, and coaches ;
And in that service often are abused, [bruised,
Curs'd, broken, hackt, trackt, cut, slasht, knockt, and
By those who, stumbling on them, heedless are
To what good purpose they were fixed there.
If you consider these things as you ought,
And shall not be displeas'd to hear them brought
Thus bluntly to remembrance, I have hope
I may still 'scape the gallows and the rope
For speaking truths in season, unto them
Who their well-willers causelessly condemn;
And from their native countries banish those,
For whose sakes God hath kept them from their fees."
Wither seems frequently to have written with Tyburn or
transportation in his immediate view, yet without any relaxation
of his censorial rigour.
discharged out of a loophole in the Tower, upon medi-
tating the deplorable Fier which consumed the house
of an eminent Citizen, with all the persons and goods
therein, at the beginning of our most joyful festival,
in December 1662. Also, a Single Sacrifice offered
to Almighty God, by the same Author in his lonely
confinement, for prevention of the Dearth feared, and
probably portended, by immoderate raines in June
and July, 1663. Moreover, in regard many have re-
ported and helieved this Author to be dead, we have
annexed his Epitaph, made by Himself upon that oc-
casion " Ver. 8vo. 1665.
In the pestilence of 1625, which swept away more than
35,000 persons, within the bills of mortality, Wither
first sounded, in the desolate streets of London,* that
warning: voice which would have roused its remaining
inhabitants to serious thought and moral reformation.
Of course he was slighted as a superstitious alarmist.
Not discomfited however by unsuccess, he again mounts
his watch-tower of observation, at the distance of forty
years ; and during the terrific and more calamitous
plague of 1665, he renews his solemn exhortations to the
Londoners, that they would improve each favour and
deliverance of their Almighty Preserver, to the advance-
ment of his glory, and to the charitable relief of such of
* Which, as an act of conscience, he forbore to quit.
" During that plague, not one night, all the while
Remov'd I thence, the distance of a mile ;
Or shunned either person, place, or sight,
Which me experimentally then might
Acquaint with any thing, whereby to learn
My Duty, or what would my work concern."
With the same temper and principles he meets the second Visi-
tation of the Plague at London,
" anil this (he says) inclineth me
To send these Memorandums now to thee ;
Intending, in thy sickness, here to stay
Once more, when thy false lovers fly away;
And in or near thy borders to remain,
Till God restores thee unto health again ;
Or till by being quite deseited here,
I shall be fore a to seek my bread elsewhere."
c 2 their
their fellow-creatures as were in want instead of tin-
profitably squandering their superfluous money upon
noisy rejoicings, as is usually the case at all public fes-
tivities. Hence he observes, with much poignancy of
satire, manly sense, and humane indignation of feeling,
" It is no beseeming Thank-oblation
For mercies, when a city or a nation,
Shall solemnize it with but little else
Save gun-shot, bonfires, jangling of the bells,
Or making others of their joys partakers,
Only in smoke and stink of squibs and crackers;
Or gathering rude throngs of men and boys,
To make about those flames a barb'rous noise ;
Which must be fed with fewelforc'd from some,
IVlio had none left to make afire at home."
From a prose PS. to this piece, it appears that some
of Wither's civic friends, after the publication of his
i( Britain's Remembrancer," had proposed, when the
office became vacant, to have the City- Remembrancer-
ship conferred on him : but the proposal failed. His
(C Warning-piece to London," * was written in the
Tower, 1662, and has less pith than is usual. In his
" Single Sacrifice/' he complains that he was not suf-
fered to present a prayer to the King, Lords, or Parlia-
ment: he therefore prefers his petition to the throne of
grace ! This was meditated and composed during the
Author's close confinement in the Tower, 1663. It is
followed by " a precaution relating to the time present,
June 15, 1665." To this succeeds " the Author's Epi-
taph:"^ most of which has been printed in the Bib-
liographer, I. 16. And the tract closes with " a
petitionary meditation on the behalf of F. S. the author's
much honoured and charitable friend, then visited by a
languishing sickness." This well sustains the character
of being earnestly supplicative, and meekly pious.
* This * Warning-piece" was occasioned by a sudden fire
which happened during the night, at Lothbury, in the city of
London, and consumed the house of a citizen, with all its tenants.
t This has a " Preface" and an " Epilogue :" in the latter he
states his apprehension that the " Epitaph'' will need a larger
stone than his estate can buy, to write it on.
8i. " Three private Meditations : which being for the
most part of publick concernment, are therefore pub-
lished by their Author, George Wither. The first is
a private Thanksgiving, consisting of three Hymns,
whereby God is magnified for his mercy vouchsafed in
the late Ingagement between the English and the
Dutch in June 1665: composed after celebrating the
publick Thanksgiving commanded by the King. The
second is, a sacrifice of praise and prayer by him offered
to Almighty God for his providential respect to Him,
his Wife, and Children, during his Imprisonment in
the disgraceful goal of Newgate, when left destitute of
all ordinary means of subsistence, by being deprived
both of his estate and liberty. The third, intituled
Nil Ultra, is a Soliloquium, wherein this Author ex-
presses the improbability of an effectual proceeding
further, to prevent the Sins and Plagues increasing,
by ought which he can offer to consideration. Re-
printed in the year 1666. 8vo. Ver.
First printed in 1665, and includes a prose address to
his " dearly beloved Children," dated from Newgate,
Feb. 15, 1662; which is followed by a poem from New-
gate, with a prose advertisement from his " house in the
Savoy, June 1665." In the latter he says ; ' When
that private poem was taken from me, for which I am
now a prisoner, many printed books, writings, and evi-
dences, be:n my proper good-, were therewith unlaw-
fully taken away; among which there was a manuscript
in verse intituled " A Legacy to my Children;'" consist-
ing (as I remember) of about three or four sheets,
wherein that which is prayed for in the preceding Medi-
tation, in relation to my posterity, was much enlarged.
And this Advertisement is inserted, in hope one of those
to whose hand it may come, will be a means of restoring
unto me, both that MS. and an Elegy, which was also
therewith taken from me. 1 would be thankful to the
restorer."' The tract closes with a brief " Defence" in
answer to private Objections made against some passages
in the Author's writings.*
' ir. tlr^ he briefly declares the Christ : nn profession* nr.d tole-
' ' ' '-','- -/ his cre.KJ " It is fj.>i-"tioiu.'d \v some what I
< 7 am
$2. " Meditations upon the Lord's Prayer: with a
preparatory preamble, to the right understanding and
true use of this pattern. Contemplated by the Author,
during the time wherein his House was visited by the
Pestilence,* 1665: and is dedicated to them, by
am as to religion, and of what society I profess myself to be?"
Whereto I answer, that I profess myself a Catholick Christian.
Mistake me not: I do not mean a Roman Catholick ; which are
terms contradictory to themselves, being so united; because the
addition of Roman to Catholick, destroys that denomination. I
am a member of that Church which is universal, and of every par-
ticular Church in those places where I reside, so far forth only,
and no further, as it is a member of the Church Catholick, pro-
fessing and practising in purity the faith, doctrine and discipline
thereof. I separate from no Church, adhering to the foundations
of Christianity. Our national Church was my first nurse, and I
confess, with thankfulness, I from thence first drew nourishments,
strengthening me towards eternal Hie. I had there also dry nurses,
some of which fed me wholesomely, and some to the endangering
my being poisoned or starved. But I have but one spiritual
mother, which is the Catholick Church aforementioned. I am
not of Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or of any society, but as they
are of Christ Jesus.- I can communicate with any professing be-
lief in Christ Jesus, either in humiliations, thanksgivings, bi cak-
ing of bread in commemoration of our Saviour 5 passion, or in
prayer : where nothing is so practised that it derogates irom the
honour of God, or is contrary to the canon of his word, &c."
These sentiments seem to range him with the Independents .
but Wood pronounces him a Presbyterian satirist.
* The dedication of this book, to the Author's Christian
friends, is dated from the "Savoy, Dec. 30, 166s. 1 ' In April
the Plague revealed itself, and in June it appears he had escaped
contagion; for he says in his "Memorandum to Loudon," p. 28.
'* God be praised ! not so much as otic hath been sick of any
disease in my house, since the Plague began ; nor is it, to my
knowledge, rear my habitation.'" But afterwards it appears that
he had been a sufferer by this dreadful calamity ; and bore it with
his habitual firmness ; as a Preamble to this book states: " During
the great mortality yet continuing, and wherein God evidently
visited his own houshold, my little family, consisting of three
persons only, was visited: and I, with my dear consort, long de-
tained in daily expectation of God's divine purpose concerning
our persons ; yet w ; th confidence, whether we were smitten or
spared, lived or died, it would be in mercy: for having nothing
left to make us in love with this world, we had placed our best
hopes in the world to come." With a versatility of thought, less
peculiar to Wither than to human nature, he soon afte expresses
himrelr, like a sturdy begger, in terms of almost dramatic levity :
whose charity God preserved him and his family from
perishing m their late Troubles.
That which we have, we are oblig'd to give,
In recompence of that which we receive ;
And with some this will relish, though it be
Fruit gather'd from an aged Wither d tree.
Many particulars pertinent to these last times, are
humbly offered to consideration, by the said Authour,
Legite, et perlegitc.
Read all, lest wrong, by prejudice ensue,
Either unto this Author, or to you:
For since all cannot be exprest together,
One place must often help expound another.
London, printed in the year 1665." Pr. 8vo.
Walkley the stationer had put forth a concise version
of the Lord's Prayer by Wither, at the end of his Works,
.1620. These Meditations on the same Christian and
Catholic pattern of prayer and praise, were composed in
his solitary seclusion during the great Plague of London.
' Providence (he says) then inclined my heart to con-
template the foresaid Prayer, when I seemed but ill ac-
commodated to prosecute such an undertaking; for it
was in the eleventh climaotcrical year of my life, and
when, beside other bodily intirmities, J was frequently
assaulted with such as were perhaps pestilential symp-
toms; and the keeping of two fires requiring more than
nn income seemed likely long io maintain, 1 prosecuted
my Meditations all the day- lime, even in that room
wherein mv family and all visitants talked and dispatched
their affairs, yet was neither diverted nor discomposed
'hereby: but, by God's assistance, finished my under-
taking within a short time after the recovery of my ser-
' when I .sought the world, I lost it, with all I had therein; sc
r'liit it Cod had not inclined his servants to provide for me, I
iiijrht truly lwve sung this old catch
' Now I ,i;n a galla.it; for my friends have left me
N: ithei money in my purse, nor a rr>g to shift me."
c 4 vanr.
vant (whose life God spared); not gathering ought, as
bees do, from flowers growing without me ; but spinning
out, like the silk-worm, that only which God had stored
up within me. And having put into words, that which
was, as it were, distilled out of my heart bv fire, (as were
my Remembrances to this nation in the great Pestilence
this time forty years,) I do now, as a testimonial of my
thankfulness, bequeath it to my friends, by whose charity
I was then and heretofore seasonably furnished with such
necessaries as have hitherto preserved me and mine
from likely ruin: and in the first place offer it for a
thank-oblation to God." Wither had well prepared his
mind for such an oblation by his former scriptural studies,
and by the tenor of these comments. At the close he
adds, " a new version of our Lord's Prayer," which I
" Our Father, who in heaven doth reside,
Thy name for evermore be sanctified.
Thy kingdom come. Thy will on earth be done
Even as it is in heaven, by every one.
This present day with daily bread relieve us;
As others we forgive, our sins forgive us :
And when thou leadest us into temptation,
From evil then vouchsafe us preservation.
For thine the kingdom, power, and glory be
For ever : and belong to none but thee." *
* On a few succeeding pages follows " a Hymn of Praise to
God, for his abatement of the late raging pestilence; containing
some cautionary acknowledgments cf our undeserving so great a
mercy :" and the volume concludes with five stanzas intended for
insertion in his c< Warning-piece to London,'''' mentioned at p.
18; but being in manuscript in the hands of friends, they were
not recovered till after the tract itself was printed. I insert-
" Our seeming pious Holy Days
In which the vulgar much delight,
Are kept as little to God's praise,
As heathenish Bacchanalian rite.
The feast-days which thou dost pretend
In honour of our Saviour's birth,
Thou dost in lawless gaming spend,
In drunken riot and vain mirth;
Whereas, if thou hadst fed the poor,
hy teasting him would honour more."
83. " Sighs for the Pitchers : breathed out in a perso-
nal Contribution to the national Humiliation the last
of May, 166; in the cities of London and West-
minster, upon the near approaching Engagement then
expected between the English and Dutch Navies.
Wherewith are complicated such Musings as were oc-
casioned by a report of their actual Engagement : and
by observing the publicke rejoycing whilst this was
. preparing by the author, George Wither. Imprinted
in the sad vear expressed in this seasonable chrono-
gram LorD haVe MerCicVponVs.' , Ver. 1666. 8vo.
In the title-page of this, as in (e Tuba Pacifica," is
an emblem of two pitchers, for England and Holland,
with an inscription between " If ye knock. \e are
broke: unless God prevent." Then follows a short ad-
dress to the English nation and to every individual person
within the British isles. The poem itself is long, desul-
tory, and little interesting; and with less pretension
perhaps than any of Wither's rhyming productions to be
called a poem. The following allusion to himself and
Lis writings is the only passage that invited transcrip-
'' I had some education in the schools,
But my best touchstone came another way;
And neither to the wisest, nor nicer fools,
Is that intended, which I have to say.
My Muse is to a middling temper fitted,
What suits with their capacities to write,
Who (not much under nor much over witted)
More in the matter than the- words delight.
By that means, when with trifles I begin,
Things useful are oft thereby, screwed in ;
Which, peradventuie, had r>ot else been sought
Where they appear'd more likely to be taught:
So sometimes, twenty businesses are done
Bv him, who went from home to do but one."
.''.4. u Ecchoes from Ike sixth Trumpet. Reverberated
by a review of neglected Remembrances, abreviating
precautions and predictions heretofore published at
several times, upon sundry occasions; to forewarn
what the future effects of Divine Justice would be, as
soon as our Sinnes were full ripe, if not prevented by
timely repentance. Most part of the predictions have
been already seen or heard verified, both by the
Author, yet living, and by many others who observed
at what times, in what manner, upon what persons,
and in what places they were literally or mystically
fulfilled. Collected out of the said Author's printed
books, who conscientiously observed on what divine
prophesies the said predictions were grounded : as
also God's late frequent intermixture of Judgments and
Mercies to reclaim this generation. The first part. *
Imprinted in the year chronogrammically expressed in
this seasonable prayer LorD haVe MerCIe Vpon Vs.'*
1666. Ver. and Pr. 8vo.
This had a second title of " Nil Ultra " in 1668, and
a third of " Fragwenta Prophetica, f or the remains
of George Wither, Esq." in 1669, being the last work
of the Author, and collected by his own hand a little be-
fore his death, in 1667. His Preface is biographically
retrospective. He was thirteen \ears old (he tells us)
when Queen Elizabeth reigned; (or rather ceased to
reign) i e. in 1603. " He came into the world at a time
which gave him such an experimental knowledge both of
God and men, as he could not have had in many pre-
ceding generations ; for he hath lived to see eleven sigruj!
changes, in which not a few signal transactions provi-
dentially occurred: to wit, under the government of
Queen Elizabeth, King James, Charles I. the King and
Parliament together; the Parliament alone, the Armv,
* Colophon > " A second part shall be added, as God enables
and permits." This was prevented hy the death of Wither.
f With this seems to have been puhlished Vera Effigies Georg^i
Wither, Armigeri, qui obiit Anno 1667, JEtat. sua; 79, a laureate
portrait in armour, with a military scarf, and the following Urns
" The shaddow of the body's here design'd,
Because ve know not how to draw the mind
Ot him, who ; <= exactly did presage
The greatest changes of this latter age:
And 'tis an ill sign of our doeing well,
When those are gon who us'd oyr sign? to tell."
Oliver Cromwell, Richard Cromwell, a Council of State,
the Parliament again, and now King Charles the Second:
durinn- all which times he lived in those places, and in
such middling stations, which gave him opportunity to
heed what was done by those who were above and below
him. God had also bestowed upon him a faculty, which
(though it be despised, and he therewith but meanly en-
dowed) would not permit him to be altogether idle or
silent; for it compelled him to a conscientious exercise
of his talent in that which he thought required at his
hand; and to take all occasions to commemorate and
ofTer to consideration those things whereby God might
be glorified, and his countrymen benefited in some de-