Thomas Dekker.

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

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of the weather binde you to sit it out, my coun-
sell is then that you turne plain Ape, take up a
rush, and tickle the earnest eares of your fellow
gallants, to make other fooles fall a laughing :
mewe at passionate speeches, blare at merrie,
fmde fault with the musicke, whew at the
childrens Action, whistle at the songs : and
above all, curse the sharers, that whereas the
same day you had bestowed forty shillings on an
embrodered Felt and Feather, (Scotch-fashion)
for your mistres in the Court, or your punck in
the city, within two houres after, you encounter
with the very same block on the stage, when the
haberdasher swore to you the impression was
extant but that morning.


Hoard up To conclude, hoard up the finest play-scraps
the play- y^^ ^^^ g^^.^ upon which your leane wit may
^ most favourly feede, for want of other stufFe,
when the Arcadian and Euphuized gentlewomen
have their tongues sharpened to set upon you :
that qualitie (next to your shittlecocke) is the
onely furniture to a Courtier thats but a new be-
ginner, and is but in his A B C of complement.
The next places that are filled, after the Play-
houses bee emptied, are (or ought to be)
Tavernes : into a Taverne then let us next march,
where the braines of one Hogshead must be
beaten out to make up another.


How a Gallant should behave himself in a Taverne.

Whosoever desires to bee a man of good reck-
oning in the Cittie, and (like your French Lord)
to have as many tables furnisht as Lackies (who,
when they keepe least, keepe none) whether he
be a yong Quat of the first yeeres revennew, or
some austere and sullen-faced steward, who (in
despight of a great beard, a satten suite, and a
chaine of gold wrapt in cipers) proclaimes him-
selfe to any (but to those to whom his Lord
owes money) for a ranck coxcombe, or whether
he be a country gentleman, that brings his / wife
up to learne the fashion, see the Tombs at West-
minster, the Lyons in the Tower, or to take
physicke ; or else is some yong Farmer, who
many times makes his wife (in the country)


beleeve he hath suits in law, because he will The
come up to his letchery : be he of what stamp rendez-
he will that hath money in his purse, and a good UQQni*
conscience to spend it, my councell is that hee company
take his continuall diet at a Taverne, which (out
of question) is the onely Rendezvous of boone
company ; and the Drawers the most nimble,
the most bold, and most sudden proclaimers of
your largest bounty.

Having therefore thrust your selfe into a case
most in fashion (how course soever the stuffe be,
tis no matter so it hold fashion) your office is
(if you meane to do your judgment right) to en-
quire out those Tavernes which are best customd,
whose maisters are oftenest drunk, (for that con-
firmes their taste, and that they choose wholesome
wines) and such as stand furthest from ye coun-
ters ; where, landing yourself and your followers,
your first complement shall be to grow most in-
wardly acquainted with the drawers, to learne
their names, as Jack, and Will, and Tow, to dive
into their inclinations, as whether this fellow
useth to the Fencing Schoole, this to the
Dauncing Schoole ; whether, that yong con-
jurer (in Hogsheads) at midnight keepes a
Gelding now and then to visit his Cockatrice,
or whether he love dogs, or be addicted to any
other eminent and Citizen-like quality : and
protest your selfe to be extreamely in love,
and that you spend much money in a yeare,
upon any one of those exercises which you per-
ceive is followed by them. The use which you
shall make of this familiarity is this : If you want
money five or six dales together, you may still


How to pay the reckoning with this most Gentlemanlike
^^A ^t ^^ng^^g^) Boy^ fetch me money from the harre^ and
keepe yourself most providently from a hungry
melancholy in your chamber. Besides, you shal
be sure (if there be but one fawcet that can
betray neate wine to the barre) to have that
arraigned before you, sooner then a better and
worthier person.

The first question you are to make (after the
discharging of your pocket of Tobacco and
pipes, and the houshold stuffe thereto belonging)
shall be for an inventorie of the Kitchen : for it
were / more then most Tailor-like, and to be
suspected you were in league with some Kitchen-
wench, to descend your selfe, to offend your
stomach with the sight of the Larder, and
happily to grease your Accoustrements. Having
therefore received this bill, you shall (like a
capten putting up deere paies) have many Sallads
stand on your table, as it were for blankes to the
other more serviceable dishes : and according to
the time of the yeare, vary your fare, as Capon
is a stirring meate sometime. Oysters are a
swelling meate sometimes, Trowt a tickling
meate sometimes, greene Goose, and Woodcock,
a delicate meate sometimes, especially in a
Taverne, where you shall sit in as great state
as a Church-warden amongst his poore Par-
ishioners, at Pentecost or Christmas,

For your drinke, let not your Physitian con-
fine you to any one particular liquor : for as it
is requisite that a Gentleman should not alwaies
be plodding in one Art, but rather bee a generall
Scholler, (that is, to have a licke at all sorts of


learning, and away) so tis not fitting a man What to
should trouble his head with sucking at one discourse
Grape, but that he may be able (now there is a ?^^
generall peace) to drink any stranger drunke in
his owne element of drinke, or more properly in
his owne mist language.

Your discourse at the table must be such as
that which you utter at your Ordinary : your
behaviour the same, but somewhat more care-
lesse : for where your expence is great, let your
modesty be lesse : and, though you should be
mad in a Taverne, the largeness of the lUms
will beare with your incivility : you may, with-
out prick to your conscience, set the want of
your wit against the superfluity and sauciness of
their reckonings.

If you desire not to be haunted with Fidlers
(who by the statute have as much libertie as
Roagues to travel into any place, having the
pasport of the house about them) bring then no
women along with you : but if you love the
company of all the drawers, never sup without
your Cockatrice : for, having her there, you
shall be sure of most ofRcious attendance.
Enquire what Gallants sup in the next roome,
and if they be any of your acquaintance, do not
you (after the City fashion) send them in a
pottle of wine ; and your name, sweetned in two
pittiful papers of Suger, with some filthy Apology
cramd into the mouth of / a drawer ; but rather
keepe a boy in fee, who underhand shall pro-
claime you in every roome, what a gallant
fellow you are, how muck you spend yearely in
Tavernes, what a great gamester, what custome


How to you bring to the house, in what witty discourse
g-et a yQu rnaintaine a table, what Gentlewomen or
Cittizens wives you can with a wet finger have
at any time to sup with you, and such like. By
which Encomiastic ks of his, they that know you
not shall admire you, and thinke themselves to
bee brought into a paradice but to be meanely in
your acquaintance ; and if any of your endeered
friends be in the house, and beate the same
Ivybush that your selfe does, you may joyne
companies, and bee drunke together most

But in such a deluge of drinke, take heede that
no man counterfeit him selfe drunck, to free his
purse from the danger of the shot ; tis a usuall
thing now amongst gentlemen ; it had wont bee
the quality of Cocknies : I would advise you to
leave so much braines in your head, as to pre-
vent this. When the terrible Reckoning (like
an inditement) bids you hold up your hand, and
that you must answere it at the barre, you must
not abate one penny in any particular, no,
though they reckon cheese to you, when you
have neither eaten any, nor could ever abide it,
raw or toasted : but cast your eie onely upon the
Totalis, and no further ; for to traverse the bill
would betray you to be acquainted with the rates
of the market, nay more, it would make the
Vintners beleeve you were Paterfamilias, and
kept a house ; which, I assure you, is not now
in fashion.

If you fall to dice after Supper, let the
drawers be as familiar with you as your Barber,
and venture their silver amongst you ; no matter


where they had it : you are to cherish the The
unthriftinesse of such yong tame pigions, if you chariot of
be a right gentleman : for when two are yoakt Madam
together by the purse strings, and draw the g^j[° ^^'
Chariot of Madam Prodigalit'ie, when one faints
in the way and slips his homes, let the other
rejoice and laugh at him.

At your departure forth the house, to kiss
mine Hostess over the barre, or to accept of the
courtesie of the Celler when tis offered you by
the drawers, and you must know that kindnes
never creepes upon them, but when they see you
almost cleft to the shoulders, or to bid any of
the Vintners good night, is as commendable, as
for a Barber after trimming, to lave your face
with sweete water.

To conclude, count it an honour, either to
invite or be invited to any Rifling: for commonly,
though you iinde much satten there, yet you
shall likewise find many cittizens sonnes, and
heirs, and yonger brothers there, who smell out
such feasts more greedily then taylors hunt upon
sundaies after weddings. And let any hooke
draw you either to a Fencers supper, or to a
Players that acts such a part for a wager ; for
by this meanes you shall get experience, by
beeing guilty to their abhominable shaving.



How a Gallant is to behave himselfe passing
through the Cittie, at all houres of

"511 \.ii\- >^iiiicj aL ail uuuic

the night, and how to passe
by any watch.

How the After the sound of pottle-pots is out of your
giill must eares, and that the spirit of Wine and Tobacco
the street "^^^^^^ in your braine, the Taverne door being
shut uppon your backe, cast about to passe
through the widest and goodliest streetes in the
Cittie. And if your meanes cannot reach to the
keeping of a boy, hire one of the drawers, to be
as a lanthorne unto your feete, and to light you
home : and, still as you approch neere any
night-walker that is up as late as yourselfe curse
and swear (like one that speaks High Dutch) in s
lofty voice, because your men have used you so
like a rascall in not waiting upon you, and vow
the next morning to pull their blew cases over
their eares, though, if your chamber were well
searcht, you give onely six pence a weeke to
some old woman to make your bed, and that she
is all the serving-creatures you give wages to.
If you smell a watch (and that you may easily
doe, for commonly they eate onions to keep them
in sleeping, which they account a medicine
against cold) or, if you come within danger of
their browne bils, let him that is your candle-
stick, and. holds up your torch from dropping
(for to march after a linck is shoomaker-like),
let I^riis FaiuuSf I say, being within the reach


of the Constables staffe, aske aloud, Sir Giles, How to
or Sir Ahram, will you turne this way, or downe hoodwink
that streete ? It skils not, though there be none ^hewatcn
dubd in your Bunch ; the watch will winke at
you, onely for the love they beare to armes and
knighthood : mary, if the Centinell and his court
of Guard stand strictly upon his martiall Law
and cry stand, commanding you to give the
word, and to shew reason why your Ghost
walkes so late, doe it in some Jest (for that will
shew you have a desperate wit, and perhaps
make him and his halberdiers afraid to lay fowle
hands upon you) or, if you read a mittimus in
the Constables booke, counterfeit to be a French-
man, a Dutchman, or any other nation whose
country is in peace with your owne ; and you
may passe the pikes : for beeing not able to
understand you, they cannot by the customes of
the Citie take your examination, and so by con-
sequence they have nothing to say to you.

If the night be old, and that your lodging be
some place into which no Artillery of words can
make a breach, retire, and rather assault the
dores of your punck, or (not to speak broken
English) your sweete mistris, upon whose white
bosome you may languishingly consume the rest
of darknesse that is left, in ravishing (though
not restorative) pleasures, without expenses,
onely by vertue of foure or five oathes (when the
siege breakes up, and at your marching away
with bag and baggage) that the last night you
were at dice, and lost so much in gold, so much
in silver ; and seeme to vex most that two such
Elizabeth twenty-shilling peeces, or foure such


How to spur-ryals (sent you with a cheese and a bakt
get the nieate from your mother) rid away amongst the
tiorfof^a ^^^^* -^^ which tragicall yet pollitick speech,
spend- you may not only have your nighte worke done
thrift Gratis, but also you may take dyet there the
next day, and depart with credit, onely upon the
bare word of a Gentleman to make her restitu-

All the way as you passe (especially being
approcht neere some of the Gates) talk of none
but Lords, and such Ladies with whom you have
plaid at Primero, or daunced in the Presence the
very same day. It is a chaunce to lock up the
lippes of an inquisitive Bel-man : and being
arrived at your lodging doore, which I would
councell you to choose in some rich Cittizens
house, salute at parting no man but by the name
of Sir (as though you had supt with Knights)
albeit you had none in your company but your
Perinado, or your Inghle.

Happily it will be blowne abroad, that you
and your Shoale of Gallants swum through such
an Ocean of wine, that you danced so much
money out at heeles, and that in wild-foule there
flew away thus much : and I assure you, to have
the bill of your reckoning lost of purpose, so that
it may be publisht, will make you to be held in
deere estimation : onely the danger is, if you
owe money, and that your revealing gets your
Creditors by the eares ; for then looke to have a
peal of ordinance thundring at your chamber
doore the next morning. But if either your
Tailor, Mercer, Haberdasher, Silkeman, Cutter,
Linen Draper, or Sempster, stand like a guard


of Szviizers about your lodging, watching your A method
uprising, or, if they misse of that, your down to get rid
lying in one of the Counters, you have no ^^ duns
meanes to avoid the galling of their small-shot,
then by sending out a light horseman to call your
Apotecary to your aide, who, encountring this
desperate band of your Creditors, only with two
or three glasses in his hand, as though that day
you purgd, is able to drive them all to their
holes like so many Foxes : for the name of
taking physicke is a sufficient Quietus est to any
endangered Gentleman, and gives an acquittance
(for the time) to them all, though the twelve
Companies stand with their hoods to attend
your comming forth and their Officers with

I could now fetch you about noone (the houre
which I prescribed you before to rise at) out of
your chamber, and carry you with mee into
Paules Churchyard ; where planting your selfe
in a Stationers shop, many mstructions are to
bee given you, what bookes to call for, how to
censure of new bookes, how to mew at the old,
how to looke in your tables and inquire for such
and such Greeke, French, Italian, or Spanish
Authors, whose names you have there, but
whom your mother for pitty would not give you
so much wit as to understand. From thence
you should blow your selfe into the Tobacco-
Ordinary, where you are likewise to spend your
judgment (like a Quack-salver) upon that mysti-
call wonder, to bee able to discourse whether
your Cane or your Pudding be sweetest, and
which pipe has the best boare, and which burnes


The black, which breakes in the burning, &c. Or,
education j£ yQ^ jj.^,]^ ^q g^^p j^^q |.j^g Barbers, a whole

Cockney ^^^^^^"^O' cannot afFord more wordes to set
downe notes what Dialogues you are to maintaine
whilest you are Doctor of the Chaire there.
After your shaving, I could breath you in a
Fence-schoole, and out of that cudgell you into a
Dauncing schoole, in both which I could weary
you, by shewing you more tricks then are in
five galleries, or fifteen prizes. And, to close
up the stomach of this feast, I could make
Cockneies, whose fathers have left them well,
acknowledge themselves infinitely beholden to
me, for teaching them by familiar demonstration
how to spend their patrimony and to get
themselves names, when their fathers are dead
and rotten. But lest too many dishes should
cast into a surfet, I will now take away ; yet so
that, if I perceive you relish this well, the rest
shall be (in time) prepared for you. Fare-




The poore Belman of London.

To all those that either by office are
sworne to punish, or in their owne
love to vertue, wish to have the dis-
orders of a State amended, humbly
dedicateth these his Discoveries.

jit your Gates the Belman of London beateth, to
awaken your eies, to looke back after certaine
Grand and common Abuses, that daily lualke by
you^ keeping aloof e (in corners J out of the reach of
Laiv, It must bee the hand of your authoritie
that must fetch in these Rebels to the IVeale-
publick^ and your arme that must strike them. I
chuse you as Patrons, (not to my booke) but to
defend me from those Monsters^ whose dennes I
hreake open in this my discovery. More dangerous
they are to a State, than a Civill Warre, because
their vi/Ianies are more subtile and more enduring.
The Belman notwithstanding hath plaid the Owle
(who is the\emQ of wisedome ) for sleeping
in the day, as abhorring to behold the impieties of
this last and ivorst a^^e of the worlde. In the
night therefore hath hee stolne forth, and with the
helpe of his lanthorne and candle, (by which is


figured Circumspection^ hath he brought to light
that broode of mis chief e / which is ingendred in the
luombe of darknesse, A monstrous birth is it, and
therefore ivorthy to be looked at : from monstrous
parents doth it proceed, and therefore the sight of
it to be fearefull. But of such rare temper are
your eies, that fas if they had sunne-beames in
them) they are able to exhale up all these contagious
breathes which poison a kingdome, and so to sperse
them into thin aire, that they shall utterly vanish,
and be no more offensive. In this black shore oj
mis chief e have I sailed along, and beene afaithfull
discoverer of all the creekes, rocks, gulfes, and
quick-sands in and about it : Bee you therefore as
second adventurers, and furnish men armed with
justice, and well furnished in all points with a
desire to conquer these Savages, and send them to
set strong and fearfull footing amongst them. It
shall be honour to yourselves, and them, and a rick
benefit e to the Republick wherein you live. For
my owne parte I vowe, that as I dedicate these
my labours to your hands, so will I devote my life
to the safe tie of my country in defending her from
these Serpents : I ivill fwaste out mine eies ivith
my candles, and watch from midnight till the rising
up of the morning, my Bell shall ever be ringing,
and that fait hfull servant of mine (the Dog that
folio we s me J be ever biting of these wilde beastes,
till they be all driven into one heard, and so hunted
into the toyles of the Lawe. Accept therefore oj
this Night-prize (my Grave and worthy Patrons^
drawne rudely, and presented boldly, because I
know the colours laide upon it, are not counterfeit,
as those of borrowed beauties : but this is a picture


0/ Villany, drawne to the life, of purpose that Ufe

might be draivne from it. None can be offended

nvith it, but such as are guilty to themselves, that

they are such as are en r old in this Muster bookcy

for whose anger, or ivhose stab, I care not. At

no mans bosome doe I particularly strike, but onely

at I the bodie oj Vice in Generall ; if my manner

0/ Fight (with these dangerous Maisters of the

Ignoblest Science that ever was in any kingdome)

doe get hut applause ; the Belman shall shortly

bid you to another Prize, where you shall see

him play at other kind of weapons.

Devoted night and day yours y
The Belman of London./

A Fable of the principall matters
contained in this Booke.

A Discover ie of all the idle Vagabonds in England :
their conditions: their lawes amongst themselves:
their degrees and orders : their meetings, and their
maners of living, (both men and women. J

A dis cover ie of certaine secret Villanies, nvhich
horroiv to themselfes the names of Laives,


Cheating Law.
Vincents Law.
Courbing Law.
Lifting Law.
Sacking Law.

Barnards Law.
The Black Art.
Prigging Law.
High Law.
Figging Law.

Five Jumpes at Leap-frog. /



Discovering the most notable villanies
now in the Kingdome.

Entring into a contemplation of the Changes of The
Time ; how all things that are under the Moone author
are as variable as her lookes are : how Goodness laments
grows crooked, and hath almost lost her shape : , , ^ 5]^
how Vertue goes poorely, and is not regarded :
how Villany jets in silkes, and (like a God)
adored : And when I consider, how all the
pleasures of this life are but as childrens dreames,
how all the glories of the world are but artificiall
fire workes that keepe a blazing for a time, and
yet die in stinking smoakes : and how al the
labours of man are like the toiling of the winds,
which strive to cast up heapes of dust, that in
the ende are not worth the gathering : Then,
even then, doe I grow wearie of myselfe : then
am I neither in love with the beautie of the Sunne,
neither stand I gazing at the dancing of the
starres : I neither wonder at the stately measures
of the cloudes, the nimble galliards of the water,
nor the wanton trippings of the wind, nor am I
delighted when the earth dresses up her head
with flowers ; I wish my selfe a Beast ^ because


In praise men are so bad that Beasts excell them in good-
of the jj^gg^ ^^^ abhorre all company, because the best
^ is but tedious, the worser loathsome, both are
the destroyers of Time, and both must be main-
tained with cost.

Since then that in the Noblest Streames there
are such Whirhpooles to swallow us up, such
Rocks that threaten danger, (if not shipwracke,)
and such Quick-sands to make us sinke, who
would not willingly take downe all the sayles of
his ambition, and cast anchore on a safe and re-
tired shore, which is to be found in no place, if
not in the Countrie. O blessed life ! patterne /
of that which our first Parents lead, the state of
Kinges (now) being but a slavery to that of
theirs. O schoole of contemplation ! O thou
picture of the whole world drawne in a little
compasse ! O thou Perspective glasse, in
whom we may behold upon earth, all the
Frame and IVonders of heaven. How happy,
(how thrice happy) is hee that not playing with
his winges in the golden flames of the Court,
nor setting his foot into the busie throngs of the
Cittie, nor running up, and downe, in the intricate
mazes of the law, can bee content in the winter
to sit by a country fire, and in the summer to
lay his head on the greene pillowes of the earth ?
where his sleepe shall be soft slumbers and his
wakings pleasant as golden dreames. Hast thou
a desire to rule ? get up to the mountaines, and
thou shalt see the greatest trees stand trembling
before thee, to do thee Reverence ; those mayest
thou call thy Nobles : thou shalt have rankes of
Oakes on each side of thee, which thou mayest


call thy Guard : thou shalt see willowes bending In praise
at every blast, whome thou mayest call thy ^^ the
flatterers ; thou shalt see vallies humbled at thy country
feete, whom thou mayest terme thy slaves.
Wouldest thou behold battailes ? step into the
fields, there shalt thou see excellent combats
betweene the standing Corne and the Windes.
Art thou a tyrant and delightest in the fall of
Great ones ? muster then thy harvesters togeather,
and downe with those proud summer lordes, when
they are at the highest. Wouldest thou have
Subsidies paid thee ? the Plough sends thee in
corne, the Medow gives thee her pasture, the

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Online LibraryThomas DekkerThe guls hornbook : and The belman of London in two parts → online text (page 4 of 18)