Thomas Dekker.

The guls hornbook : and The belman of London in two parts online

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How inn- Thus the liberallitie of a Nobleman, or of a

keepers Qentleman is abused : thus learning is brought

masters ^^^^ scorne and contempt : Thus men are

are cheated of their bountie, giving much for that

abused (out of their free mindes) which is common

abroad, and put away for base prices. Thus

villanie sometimes walkes alone, as if it were

given to Melancholly, and some-times knaves

tie themselves in a knot, because thev may be

more merry, as by a mad sort of Comrades

whome I see leaping into the Saddle, anon it

will apeare.


The manner of Cozening Inn-keeper s^
Post-maisters and Hackney-men.


There is a troope of Horsemen, that runne
up and downe the whole kingdome : they are
ever in a gallop, their businesse is weightie,
their journies many, their / expences greate,
their Innes everie where, their lands no where :
they have onely a certaine Free-holde cald
Tyburne (situate neere London, and many a
faire paire of Gallowes in other Countries
besides,) uppon which they live verie poorely till
they dye, and dye for the moste part wickedly,
because their lives are villanous and desperate.
But what race so ever they runne, there they


end it, there they set up their rest, there is their The
last hake, whether soever their journey lyes, company
And these horsemen have no other names but ^}^^^^'
Rank- Riders.

To furnish whome foorth for any journey,
they must have Riding sutes cut out of these
foure peeces.

1. The Inne-kceper or Hackney-man, of
whome they have horses, is cald A Co/t.

2. He that never alights ofFa rich Farmer or
country Gentleman, till he have drawne money
from him, is called T6e Snaffle.

3. The m.oney so gotten, is The Ring.

4. He that feedes them with money is called
The provander.

These Rank- Riders (like Butchers to Rumford
Market) sildome goe under sixe or seaven in a
company, and these Careeres they fetch.
Their pursses being warmly lined with some
purchase gotten before, and they themselves well
booted and spur'd, and in reasonable good
outsides, arrive at the fairest Inne they can
choose, either in Westminster, the Strand, the
Cittie, or the Suburbes.

Two of them who have cloathes of purpose
to fitte the play, carrying the shew of Gentle-
men : the other act their partes in blew coates,
as they were their Servingmen, though indeede
they be all fellowes. They enter all durted or
dustied (according as it shall please the high
way to use them) and the first bridle they put
into the Colts mouth (thats to say the Inkeepers)
is at their comming in to aske alowde if the
footeman be gone backe with the horses ? tis


Their answered yes. Heere, the Ranck-riders lye
initial pro- t^j-ge or foure daies, spending moderately enough,
* yet abating / not a penny of any reckoning to
shew of what house they come : in which space
their counterfeit followers learne what country-
man the maister of the house is, where the
Hostlars and Chamberlaines were borne, and
what other countrie Gentlemen are guests to the
Inne ? which lessons being presently gotten by
heart, they fal in studdy with the Generall rules
of their knaverie : and those are, first to give
out, that their Maister is a Gentleman of such
and such meanes, in such a shire (which shall be
sure to stand farre enough from those places
where any of the house, or of other guests were
borne,) that bee is come to receive so many
hundred poundes uppon land which he hath
solde, and that bee meanes to Inne there some
quarter of a yeare at least.

This Brasse money passing for currant through
the house, hee is more observed and better
attended, is worshipped at everie word : and the
easier to breake and bridle the Colt^ his Worship
will not sit downe to Dinner or supper, till the
Maister of the house be placed at the upper end
of the boord by him.

In the middle of Supper, or else verie earely
in the following morning, comes in a counterfeit
footeman, sweatingly, delivering a message that
such a Knight hath sent for the head-Maister of
these Rank-ryders, and that hee must bee
with him by such an houre, the journey being
not above twelve or foureteene miles. Upon
deliveiie of this message, (from so deere and


noble a friend) he sweares and chafes, because The
all his horses are out of Towne, curseth the second
sending of them backe, offers any money to have ^^^P
have himselfe, his couzen with him, and his men
but reasonably horst. Mine host being a
credulous Asse, suffers them all to get uppe
upon him, for hee provides them horses either
of his owne (thinking his Guest to be a man of
great accompte, and beeing loath to loose him,
because hee spends well) or else sendes out to
hire them of his neighbours, passing his word
for their forthcomming / with in a day or two.
Up they get and away Gallop our Rank-riders,
as far as the poore Jades can carry them.

The two daies being ambled out of the
worlde, and perhaps three more after them, yet
neither a supply of Horse-men or Foote-men,
(as was promised) to be set eye uppon. The
lamentable In-keeper (or Hackney man, if he
chance to be Sadled for this journey too) loose
their Colts teeth, and finde that they are made
olde arrant Jades : Search, then runnes up and
downe like a Constable halfe out of his wittes
(uppon a Shrove-tuesday) and hue and cry
followes after, some twelve or foureteene miles
off, (round about London) ; which was the
farthest of their journey as they gave out. But
(alas !) the horses are at pasture foure score or
a hundred miles from their olde mangers : they
were sould at some blinde drunken theevish faire,
(there beeing enow of them in company to save
themselves, by their Toll-booke,) the Serving-
men cast off their blew coates, and cried All
fellowes : the money is spent upon wine, upon


How the whores, upon fidlers, upon fooles (by whom they
proceeds wil loose nothing) and the tyde beeing at an
^^^^ ebbe, they are as ready to practise their skill in
horse-manship to bring Cokes to the saddle in
that Towne, and to make Nags run a race of
three-score or a hundred miles of from that
place, as before they did from London.

Running at the Ring,

Thus, so long as Horseflesh can make them
fat, they never leave feeding. But when they
have beaten so many high-waies in severall
countries, that they feare to be over taken by
Tracers^ then (like Soldiers comming from a
Breach) they march faire and softly on foot, lying
in garrison as it were, close in some out townes,
til the foule Rumor of their Villanies (like a
stormy durty winter) be blown over : In which
time of lurking in that shel, they are not idle
neither, but like snailes they venture abroad tho
the / law hath threatned to rain downe never so
much punishment upon them: and what do they ?
they are not bees, to live by their owne painiull
labors, but Drones that must eat up the sweet-
nesse, and be fedde with the earnings of others :
This therefore is their worke. They carelesly
inquire what gentleman of worth, or what rich
Farmers dwell within five, six or seaven miles
of the Fort where they are insconc'd (which
they may do without suspition) and having gotte
their names, they single out themselves in a
morning, and each man takes a severall path to
himselfe : one goes East, one JVest^ one North,


and the other South : walking either in bootes Strollers
with wandes in their handes, or other wise, for
it is all to one purpose. And note this by the
way, that when they travell thus on foot, they
are no more call'd Rank-riders hnX. Strozvlers ;
a proper name given to Country platers, that
(without Socks) trotte from towne to towne upon
the hard hoofe.

Being arriv'd at the Gate where the Gentleman
or Farmer dwelleth, he boldly knocks, inquiring
for him by name, and steppes in to speake with
him : the servant seeing a fashionable person,
tells his Maister there is a Gentleman desires to
speake with him : the maister comes and salutes
him, but eying him well, saies he does not know
him : No Sir, replies the other (with a face
bolde ynough) it may be so, but I pray you. Sir,
will you walke a turne or two in your Orchard
or Garden, I would there conferre : Having got
him thether, to this tune he plaies uppon him.

How the snaffle is put on.

Sir, I am a Gentleman, borne to better meanes
then my present fortunes doe allow me : I
served in the field, and had commaunde there,
but long peace (you knowe Sir) is the Cancker
that eates up Souldiers, and so it hath mee. I
lie heere not far oif, in the Country at mine
Inne, where staying uppon the dispatch / of
some businesse, I am indebted to the house in
moneys, so that I cannot with the credit of a
Gentleman leave the house till I have paide
them. Make mee, sir, so much beholden to your


Obtain- love as to lend me fortye or fiftie shilings to

^"S beare my horse and my selfe to London ; from

on false whence within a day or two, I shall send you

pretences many thanks with a faithful repayment of your


The honest Gentleman, or the good natur'd
Farmer beholding a personable man, fashionably
attir'd, and not carrying in outward coullors, the
face of a cogging knave, gives credit to his words,
is sorry that they are not at this present time so
well furnished as they could wish, but if a matter
of twenty shillings can stead him, he shall com-
maund it, because it were pittie any honest
Gentleman should for so small a matter miscarry.
Happilye they meete with some Chap-men that
give them their owne asking ; but howsoever,
all is fish that comes to net ; they are the most
conscionable market folkes that ever rode be-
tweene two paniers, for from fortie they will fall
to twentie, from twenty to ten, from ten to five:
nay these mountibanckes are so base, that they
are not ashamed to take two shillings of a plaine
husbandman, and sometimes sixe pence (which
the other gives simply and honestly) of whome
they demaunded a whole fifteene.

In this manner doe they digge silver out of
mens purses, all the day, and at night meet to-
gether at the appointed Rendevoux ; where all
these Snaffles are loosed to their full length, the
Ringes which that day they have made are
worne. The Provender is praised or dispraised,
as they finde it in goodnesse, but it goes downe
all, whilst they laugh at all.

And thus does a Common-wealth bring up


children, that care not how they discredit her, The end
or undoe her : who would imagine that Birdes of the
so faire in shewe, and so sweete in voice, should ^^
be so dangerous in condition ? but Ravens thinke
carryon the daintiest meate, and villains /
esteeme most of that money which is purchast
by basenes.

The Under SherifFe for the county of the
Cacodemons, knowing into what arrearages these
Rank-riders were runne for horse-flesh to his
maister, (of whome he farmed the office) sent
out his writs to attach them, and so narrowly
pursued them, that for all they were wel horst,
some he sent post to the gallowes, and the rest
to severall jayles : After which, making all the
hast he posibly could to get to London againe,
he was way-layd by an army of a strange and new
found people.


A discovery of a strange wild people^ very
dangerous to townes and country villages.


A Moonman signifies in English, a mad-man,
because the Moone hath greatest domination
(above any other Planet) over the bodies of
Frantick persons. But these Moon-men (whose
Images are now to be carved) are neither ab-
solutely mad, not yet perfectly in their wits.


How Their name they borrow from the Moon, be-

moon- (,^^gg 2g ^.^jg Moon is never in one shape two

their nights together, but wanders up and downe

name Heaven, like an Anticke, so these changeable-

stufFe-companions never tary one day in a place,

but are the onely, and the onely base Ronnagats

upon earth. And as in the Moon there is a

man, that never stirres without a bush of thornes

at his backe, so these Moon-men lie under bushes,

and are indeed no better then Hedge creepers.

They are a people more scattred then Jewes,
and more hated : beggerly in apparell, barbarous
in condition, beastly in behavior : and bloudy
if they meete advantage. A man that sees them
would sweare they had all the yellow jawndis,
or that they were Tawny Moores bastardes, for
no Red-oaker man caries a face of a more filthy
/ complexion ; yet are they not borne so,
neither has the Sunne burnt them so, but they
are painted so : yet they are not good painters
neither, for they do not make faces, but marre
faces. By a by-name they are called Gipsies,
they call themselves Egiptians, others in mockery
call them Moon-men.

If they be Egiptians, sure I am they never
discended from the tribes of any of those people
that came out of the land of Egypt : Ptolomy
(King of the Egiptians) I warrant never called
them his Subjects : no nor Pharaoh before him.
Looke what difference there is betwcene a civell
cittizen of Dunlin and a wilde Irish Kerne, so
much difference there is betweene one of these
counterfeit Egiptians and a true English Begger.
An English Roague is just of the same livery.


They are commonly an army about foure- How they
score strong, yet they never march with all their travel
bagges and baggages together, but (like boot-
halers) they forrage up and downe countries, 4.
5. or 6. in a company. As the Swizer has his
wench and his Cocke with him when he goes to
the warres, so these vagabonds have their harlots,
with a number of litle children following at their
heeles : which young brood of Beggers, are
sometimes cartied (like so many greene geese
alive to a market) in payres of panieres, or in
dossers like fresh-fish from Rye that comes on
horsebacke, (if they be but infants.) But if
they can stradle once, then aswell the shee-
roagues as the hee-roagues are horst, seaven or
eight upon one jade, strongly pineond, and
strangely tyed together.

One Shire alone and no more is sure stil at one
time, to have these Egiptian lice swarming
within it, for like flockes of wild-geese, they
will evermore fly one after another : let them be
scattred worse then the quarters of a traitor are
after hees hang'd drawne and quartred, yet they
have a tricke (like water cut with a swoord) to
come together instantly and easily againe : and
this is their pollicy, which way soever the
formost rauckes lead, they / sticke up small
boughes in severall places, to every village
where they passe ; which serve as ensignes to
waft on the rest.

Their apparell is odd, and phantasticke, tho it
be never so full of rents : the men weare scarfes
of Callico, or any other base stuife, hanging their
bodies like Morris-dancers, with bels, and other


Gipsy toyes, to intice the countrey people to flocke about
women them, and to wounder at their fooleries or rather
rancke knaveryes. The women as ridiculously
attire themselves, and (like one that plaies the
Roague on a stage) weare rags, and patched
filthy mantles upermost, when the under garments
are hansome and in fashion.

The battailes these Out-Iawes make, are many
and very bloudy. Whosoever falles into their
hands never escapes alive, and so cruell they are
in these murders, that nothing can satisfie them
but the very heart-bloud of those whom they
kill. And who are they (thinke you) that thus
go to the pot ? Alas ! Innocent Lambs,
Sheep, Calves, Pigges, &c. Poultrie-ware are
more churlishly handled by them, then poore
prisoners are by keepers in the counter i'the
Poultry. A goose comming amongst them
learnes to be wise, that hee never wil be Goose
any more. The bloudy tragedies of al these,
are only acted by the Women, who carrying long
knives or Skeanes under their mantles, do thus
play their parts : The stage is some large Heath :
or a Firre bush Common, far from any houses :
Upon which casting them-selves into a Ring,
they inclose the Murdered, till the Massacre be
finished. If any passenger come by, and
wondring to see such a conjuring circle kept by
Hel-houndes, demaund what spirits they raise
there : one of the Murderers steps to him,
poysons him with sweete wordes and shifts hiro
off, with this lye, that one of the women is falne
in labour. But if any mad Hamlet hearing this,
smell villanie, and rush in by violence to


see what the tawny Divels are dooing, then Gipsy
they excuse the fact, lay the blame on those lodgings
that are the Actors, and perhaps (if they see
/ no remedie) deliver them to an officer, to be
had to punishment : But by the way a rescue
is surely laid ; and very valiantly (tho very
villanously) do they fetch them off, and guard

The Cabbines where these Land-pyrates lodge
in the night, are the Out-barnes of Farmers and
Husbandmen, (in some poore Village or other)
who dare not deny them, for fear they should
ere morning have their thatched houses burning
about their eares ; in these Barnes, are both their
Cooke-roomes, their Supping Parlors, and their
Bed-chambers : for there they dresse after a
beastly manner, what soever they purchast after
a theevish fashion : sometimes they eate Venison,
and have Greyhoundes that kill it for them, but if
they had not, they are Houndes them-selves and
are damnable Hu?iters2.hQY: flesh : Which appeares
by their ugly-fac'd queanes that follow them :
with whom in these barnes they lie, as Swine do
together in Hogsties.

These Barnes are the beds of Incests, Whore-
domes, Adulteries, and of all other blacke and
deadly-damned Impieties ; here growesthe cursed
Tree of Bast ar die ^ that is so fruitfull : here are
written the Bookes of al Blasphemies, Szveari?igs
and Curses, that are so dreadful 1 to be read. That
the simple country-people will come running out of
their houses to gaze upon them, whilst in the
meane time one steales into the next Roome, and
brings away whatsoever hee can lay hold on.


Gipsy Upon dales of pastime and libeitie, they Spred
triCKS them-selves in smal companies amongst the
Villages : and when young maids and batchelers
(yea sometimes old doting fooles, that should be
beaten to this world of villanies, and forewarn
others) do flock about them : they then professe
skil in Palmestry, and (forsooth) can tel fortunes :
which for the most part are infallibly true, by
reason that they worke uppon rules, which are
grounded upon certainty : for one of them wil
tel you that you shal shortly have some evill
luck fal upon you, and within halfe an houre after
you shal find your pocket pick'd, or your purse
/ cut. These are those Egiptian Grashoppers
that eate up the fruites of the Earth, and destroy
the poore corne fieldes : to sweepe whose swarmes
out of this kingdome, there are no other means
but the sharpnes of the most infamous and basest
kinds of punishment. For if the ugly body of
this Monster be suffred to grow and fatten it selfe
with mischiefs and disorder, it will have a neck
so Sinewy and so brawny, that the arm of the law
will have much ado to strike of the Head, sithence
every day the members of it increase, and it gather
new joints and new forces by P riggers. Anglers y
Cheat ors., Morts, Yeomens Daughters (that have
taken some by blowes, and to avoid shame, fall
into their Sinnes:) and other Servants both men
and maides that have bcene pilferers, with si the
rest of that Damned Regiment, marching together
in the first Army of the Bell-man, who running
away from theyr own Coulours (which are bad
ynough) serve under these, being the worst.
Lucifers Lansprizado that stood aloof to behold


the mustrings of these Hell-hounds, took delight The
to see them Double their Fyles so nimbly, but "ends
held it no pollicy to come neere them (for the gender in
Divell him-selfe durst scarce have done that. ) the city
Away therefore hee gallops, knowing that at
one time or other they would all come to fetch
their pay in Hell,

The Infection.

Of the Suburbs.


The Infernall Promoter beeing wearied with
riding up and downe the Country, was glad when
he had gotten the Citty over his head, but the
Citty being not able to hold him within the
freedome, because he was a Forreiner, the gates
were sette wide open for him to passe through,
and into the Suburbes hee went. And what saw
hee there? More Ale-houses than there are
Tavernes in all Spayne and France. Are they so
dry in the Suburbs ? Yes, pockily dry. What
saw he besides ?

Hee / saw the dores of notorious Carted
Bawdes, (like Hell-gates) stand night and day
wide open, with a paire of Harlots in Taffata
gownes (like two painted posts) garnishing out
those dores, beeing better to the house then a
Double signe : when the dore of a poore Artificer
(if his child had died but with one Token of death
about him) was close ram'd up and Guarded for


The evils feare others should have beene infected : Yet the
^ !^^ plague that a Whore-house layes upon a Citty is
worse, yet is laughed at : if not laughed at, yet
not look'd into, or if look'd into, W'lncked at.

The Tradesman having his house lockd up,
looseth his customers, is put from worke and
undone ; whilst in the meane time the strumpet
is set on worke and maintain'd (perhaps) by
those that undoe the other : give thankes O
wide mouth'd Hell ! laugh Lucifer at this.
Dance for joy all you Divells.

Belxebub keepes the Register booke, of al ye
Bawdes, Panders and Curtizans : and hee knowes,
that these Suburb sinners have no landes to live
upon but their legges : every prentice passing by
them, can say. There sits a zvhore : Without
putting them to their booke they will sweare so
much themselves : if so, are not Counstables,
Churchwardens, Bayliffes, Beadels and other
OiHcers, Pillars and Pillowes to all the villanies,
that are by these committed ? Are they not
parcell-Bawdes to winck at such damned abuses,
considering they have whippes in their owne
handes, and may draw bloud if they please ? Is
not the Land-lord of such rentes the Graund-
Bawde ? and the Dore Keeping mistresse of such
a house of sinne, but his Under-Bawd ? sithence
hee takes twenty pounds rent every yeare, for a
vaulting schoole (which from no Artificer living
by the hardnesse of the hand could bee worth five
pound.) And that twenty pound rent, hee
knowes must bee prest out of petticoates : his
money smells of sin : the very silver lookes pale,
because it was earned by lust.


How happy therefore were Citties if they had The
no Suburbes, sithence they serve but as caves, ^^^"^"^8^
where monsters are / bred up to devo wre the Citties 3^^
them-selves i Would the Divell hire a villaine
to spil bloud ? there he shall linde him. One
to blaspheme ? there he hath choice. A Pandar
that would court a matron at her praiers ? hes
there. A cheator that would turne his owne
father a begging ? He's there too : A harlot
that would murder her new-borne Infant ?
Shee lies in there.

What a wretched wombe hath a strumpet,
which being (for the most) barren of Children,
is notwithstanding the onely Bedde that breedes
up these serpents ? upon that one stalke grow all
these mischiefes. Shee is the Cockatrice that
hatcheth all these egges of evills. When the
Divell takes the Anatomy of all damnable
sinnes, he lookes onely upon her body. When
she dies, he sits as her Coroner. When her
soule comes to hell, all shunne that there, as
they flie from a body struck with the plague
here. She hath her dore-keeper, ^xAske herselfe
is the Divells chamber-maide. And yet for all
this, that shee's so dangerous and detestable,
when she hath croak'd like a Raven on the Eves,
then comes she into the house like a Dove.
When her villanies (like the mote about a
castle) are rancke, thicke, and muddy, with
standing long together, then (to purge her-
self) is she dreined out of the Suburbes (as
though her corruption were there left behind
her) and as a cleere streame is let into the


The What armor a harlot iveares comm'tng out of the

poison Suburbes to bes'ieg-e the Citty within the wals.
brought ^ -^

city Upon what perch then does she sit ? what
part plaies she then ? onely the Puritane. If

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Online LibraryThomas DekkerThe guls hornbook : and The belman of London in two parts → online text (page 14 of 18)