Joseph Woodfall Ebsworth.

Merry drollery compleat, being jovial poems, merry songs, &c. online

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Angler's Recreations (p. 146), such as Izaak Walton
and his friend Charles Cotton delighted to troll
merrily. A Fox hunt (pp. 38, 300, 30), Coursing the
Hare (p. 296), Cock-fighting (242), and Sir Eglamore's
encounter with a stupendous dragon, which carries off
his trusty sword for an internal decoration (257), as
also the mirthful account of rare Arthur O' Bradley 's
wedding festivities (312), help to vary the diversions.



Mirthful rogues chant lustily their own praises, and tell
how they impose upon the sober citizens (204) : " The
Vagabond" sings of his numerous disguises, as lame,
blind, naked, maimed, disbanded, or shipwrecked,
nay, even resorting in extremity to the likeness of an
honest hawker, "Oftimes to 'scape the Beadles."
Pedlers and Gipsies were always musical in their wan-
derings from before the days of that incorrigible pilferer
Autolycus, whose lay contains so much of sound
philosophy :

"Jog on, jog on the foot-path way,

And merrily hent the stile-a;
Your merry heart goes all the day ;

Your sad tires in a mile-a.

" Your paltry money-bags of gold,
What need have we to stare for?

When little or nothing soon is told,
And we have the less to care for.

" Cast care away, let sorrow cease,

A fig for melancholy !
Let's laugh and sing, or, if you please,

We'll frolick with sweet Dolly."

(Antidote against Melancholy.)

We are glad to find Autolycus, even at so late a date
as 1 66 1, far enough advanced on the path of Reform-
ation to confine his frollics to the companionship
of a Dolly, whether sweet or otherwise. His earlier
choice of his "aunts," when inclined to enjoy the hay
field (according to the unquestionable authority of



Shakespeare, at the beginning of the century, if not
earlier) was scarcely to be commended. Our excellent
friend Andrew Wilson could offer nothing of plea in
extenuation, beyond the admission that Autolycus
"his tastes were peculiar." In another gay " Song of
the Pedlers" (p. 291), beginning

Sf From the fair La'vinian shore
I your markets come to store,"

we are brought to what has been guessed at as a
possibly Shakesperian relic, certainly set to music by
that Dr. John Wilson who loved to be associated with
the lyrics of "Sweet Willy." For the Tinker of
Turvey (see p. 27) ; for Gipsies and Beggars (92, 197,
196, 230), and for praise of Sailors, Soldiers, and
Country ploughmen (162, 182, 338) these pages need
not be searched in vain.

Less of railing against Matrimony meets us at this
date than a few years later, when the Comedies in
favour were crammed full of jests against hood-winked
or hen-pecked citizens, and all the estimable gallants
seemed to take their motto from Rochester, "Never
Marry !" We have, it may be conceded, a satirical
praise of the Bull's Feather (p. 264), or, in other
words, of that matrimonial horn which was not absent
from the prognostics of Benedict, who sagely remem-
bered that no staff was so reverend as one tipped with
it. The lamentations of an ill-used husband (p. 85),
who finds his family newly increased after he has been



seventeen months beyond seas, may be read with
varying emotions. As Mephistopheles mildly observes,
"She is not the first." One determined wife-hater
(p. 342), gives an almost exhaustive list of female can-
didates whom "persons about to marry" are carefully to
avoid. He leaves few to choose from. The expenses
of matrimony are summed up alarmingly to warn
Bachelors (23). Another singer (p. 302) admits, with
an affectation of candour sitting easily on him,
that "Some wives are good, and some are bad."
The manner in which the chorus take up any reference
to their individual help-mates is suggestive of a very
closely-tiled Lodge indeed, and no clock-case admitted
for fear of accident.

It would be intolerable if we found no love songs
here to relieve the atmosphere. Gladly we turn to
Nicholas Breton's song of 1580 (p. 99), telling of
Phillida and Coridon's wooing " in the merry month
of May." James Shirley's " Come, my Daphne," and
" A Rhapsody," may also be mentioned (91, 7); and
the lively ditty, "Come, my delicate bonny sweet
Betty" (34). No one but the most rigid formalist
need censure the sly fun of the whimsical confession
beginning, " I came unto a Puritan to wooe " (p. 77) ;
which is perfection in its own way : so dainty and
" pawky" in humour that we must go to the North,
beyond the Border, to find its equal. As Robert
Browning's dying but only half-penitent old sinner
admits, in his confessions : "Alas,


" Alas,

We lov'd, Sir used to meet :
How sad and bad and mad it was
But then, how it was sweet ! "

It is not expected that this volume will ever be seen
by any one belonging to the gentler sex (would that
they were indeed all gentle ! but we have heard whispers
to the contrary ; let us say, in other lands). Two or
three pages, here or there, that need not be specified,
are sufficiently objectionable to cause it to be " banned
and barred, forbidden fare." We may as well honestly
declare our intense disgust at such things, coarse, ribald,
and degraded, utterly destitute of humour as of excuse.
Like King Lear, we need an ounce of civet after compul-
sorily fingering them " to sweeten our imagination ! "
Students of old literature, we are not so ferociously
proper as to utter a war-whoop against every mild
impropriety. We do not go out of our way, like some
folks of pseud-anonymity whom we could mention,
to hunt for naughty words or double meanings. If
people will let us go on blindly, deafly, unregardingly,
and not poke us in the ribs with their clumsy fingers
(as S. T. Coleridge's neighbour at Drury Lane did,
quite unnecessarily, regarding Maturings "Bertram "),
we shall remain none the worse, and they will be all
the better. But our honest acknowledgment is, con-
cerning some few things in the Drollery, that if the
four original editorial " Lovers of Wit " had exercised a



more rigid censorship, keeping out Sir John Denham's
and half-a-dozen other objectionable pieces, the book
would have been doubly welcome to nearly everybody
two hundred years ago, and now. An expurgated
edition is wholly valueless for antiquaries and historical
students : If an editor tampers with his original by
excision, few persons know where he may stop, or can
rely upon his discretion. Scissors are dangerous in
the hands of infants or pedants. Worse still, if he
leave out six bad things, and in mere ignorance or
slovenliness retain a seventh, readers are more shocked
and disquieted than when he tells them plainly that he
is not answerable for such selection, but preserves the
text with all its manifest corruptions. He marks up
Cave Canem, with a hint of spring-guns and Upas
trees. If anybody wander into quagmires after this,
it must be intentionally.

One word more : disagreeable as such flaws may be,
they are not without historical value, as showing pre-
cisely the plague spot and the canker-worm which ac-
count for mortality. Here, in whatever is foul, we see
the cause of the decay among the Cavaliers. This book
was essentially an offspring of the Restoration year,
1 660-6 1, and it thus gives us a genuine record of the
triumphant party of the Royalists in their festivity.
Whatever is offensive, therefore, is still of historical
importance. The bitterness of sarcasm against the
Rump Parliament, under whose rule so many families



had long groaned; the personal invective, the un-
sparing ridicule of leading Republicans and Puritans ;
were such as not unnaturally had found favour during
the recent Civil Wars and usurpation. The prepon-
derance of songs in praise of Sack and loose revelry is
not without significance. A few pieces of coarse
humour, double entendre, and breaches of decorum,
attest the fact that already among the Cavaliers were
spreading immorality and licentiousness. The fault of
an impaired discipline had borne evil fruit, beyond
defeat in the field and banishment from positions of
power. Mockery and impurity had been welcomed as
allies, during the warfare against bigotry, hypocrisy,
and selfish ambition. We find, it is true, few of the
sweeter graces of poetry in Choice Drollery, 1656, and
in Merry Drollery, of 1661 ; less than in the West-
minster Drollery of 1671, '72 ; but, instead, even amid
the very faults and deficiencies, much that helps us
to a sounder understanding of the social, military, and
political life of those disturbed times immediately
preceding and following the Restoration.

J. W. E.

2QTH MAY, 1875.

Merry Drollery,


M E R &:





f Jovial Poems,
Of < Merry Songs,
\ Witty Drolleries,

Intermixed with Pleasant Catches.

The First Part.

Collected by W.N. C.B. R.S. J.G.


Printed for William Miller, at the Gilded Acorn, in St.
Paul's Church -yard, where Gentlemen and others may be
furnished with most sorts of Acts of Parliament, Kings,
Lord Chancellors, Lord Keepers, and Speakers Speeches,
and other sorts of Speeches, and State Matters ; as also
Books of Divinity, Church -Government, Humanity, Ser-
mons on most Occasions, &c. 1691.

[5] 3



Courteous Reader,

R do here present thee
with a Choice Col-
lection of Wit and
Ingenuity, many of
which were obtained with much
lifficulty, and at a Chargeable
A 2 Rate ;

6 [4] .To the Reader.

Rate; It is Composed so as to
please all Complexions, Ages,
and Constitutions of either Sexes,
and is now Completed.



[7] 5

Merry Drollerie.

A Rapsody.

j\0W I confess I am in love,

Though I did think I never could,
But 'tis with one dropt from above,
Whose nature's made of better mould :
So fair, so good, so all divine,
I'd quit the world to make her mine.

Have you not seen the Stars retreat (jrf*.
When Sol salutes our Hemisphear,
So shrink the Beauties, called great,
When sweet Rosela doth appear j
Were she as other women are,
I should not love, nor yet despair.

But I could never wear a mind
Willing to stoop to common Faces,
Nor confidence enough can find
To aim at one so full of Graces ;
Fortune and Nature did agree,
No woman should be wed by me.

A 3 Mirth

6 [8] Merry Drollerie,

Mirth in Sorrow.

BE merry with Sorrow : why are you so sad ?
Let some mirth be found to make your heart
If troubles afflict thee, lament not therefore ; (glad :
For all men are subject to sorrows full sore.

Though grief be to night, yet joy comes to morrow,
And therefore, I pray you, be merry with sorrow.

With what grief soever a man be afflicted,
Unto over-much sorrow be not thou addicted,
For a sorrowful heart, the wise-man doth say,
Doth dry up the bones, and the body decay ;
And therefore I say, both evening and morrow,
In all thy afflictions be merry with sorrow.

Hast thou been a rich man, and now art thou poor ?
Be merry with sorrow, and pass not therefore ;
For riches have wings to fly when they lust,
Both to thee, and from thee, as God hath discust \
And therefore I say, &c.

Art thou pinched with poverty, sickness, or need ?
Be merry with sorrow, the better to speed :
For God is the God of the poor and oppressed,
Commit thy cause to him, and it shall be redressed ;
And therefore I say, &c.


Complete, [9] 7

Art thou close in Prison, and locked up fast ?
Whatsoever thy faults be, a God still thou hast :
Believe, serve, and fear him, thou shalt never lack,
If thou wilt cast thy cares on his back ;
And therefore I say, &c.

Art thou a Minister the people to teach,
And dost thou study good words for to Preach,
And for thy labour dost thou sustain blame ?
Be merry with sorrow, and shrink not for shame ;
Such persons, I say, both evening and morrow,
Ought still to rejoyce, and be merry with sorrow.

Hast thou enemies abroad, that seek for thy life,
Or hast thou at home, a shrew to thy wife ?
Such sorrows, indeed, doth a number molest,
Those that be cumbred can tell their tale best,
For they do sustain many a sowre good-morrow,
But yet I could wish them to be merry with sorrow.

God make us all merry in Christ our Redeemer ;
God save merry England & our Good King for ever,
God grant him long years, and many to raign
His word and his Gospel now still to maintain :
And those that do seek to procure his sorrow, (row,
God send them short lives, not to live till to mor-

A 4

8 [io] Merry Drollerie,

A Catch.

AMarillis told her swain,
Amarillis told her swain,
That in love he should be plain,
And not think to deceive her,

Still he protested on his truth,
That he would never leave her.

If thou dost keep thy vow quoth shee,
If thou dost keep thy vow quoth shee,
And that now ne'er dost leave me,
There's never a swain in all this Plain,
That ever shall come near thee,

For Garlands and Embroidered Scrips,

For I do love thee dearly.

But Colin if thou change thy love,
But Colin if thou change thy love,
A Tigris then lie to the[e] prove,
If ere thou dost come near me ;

Amarillis fear not that,

For I do love thee dearly.


Complete. [11] 9

The Hectors and the Vintner.

CA11 for the Master, O ! this is fine, (wine

For you that have London's brave Liquors of
For us the Cocks of the Hectors [:]
Wine wherein Flies were drown'd the last Summer ;
Hang't let it pass, here's a Glass in a Rummer,
Hang't let it, &c.

Bold Hectors we are of London, New Troy,
Fill us more wine : Hark here, Sirrah Boy,
Speak in the Dolphin, speak in the Swan,
Drawer Anon Sir, Anon.
Ralph, George, speak in the Star,

The Reckoning's unpaid ; we'l pay at the Bar,

The Reckoning's unpaid, 6^.

A Quart of Clarret in the Mytre score :
The Hectors are Ranting, Tom, shut the door ;
A Skirmish begins, beware pates and shins,
The Piss-pots are down, the candles are out,
The Glasses are broken and the pots flies about.
Ralph, Ralph, speak in the Chequer. By and by,
Robin is wounded, and the Hectors do flie,
Call for the Constable, let in the Watch, (match,

The Hectors of Holborn shall meet with their

The Hectors, &c.


io [12] Merry Dr oiler ie,

At Midnight you bring your justice among us,
But all the day long you do us the wrong ;
When for Verrinus you bring us Mundungus :
Your reckonings are large, your Bottles are small,
Still changing our wine, as fast as wee call ;
Your Canary has Lime in't, your Clarret has Stum,

Tell the Constable this, and then let him come,

Tell the Constable, &c.

The Jovial Lover.

ONce was I sad, till I grew to be mad,
But I'll never be sad again boys ;
I courted a riddle, she fancied a fiddle,
The tune does run still in my brain boys.


The Gittarn and the Lute, the Pipe and the Flute
Are the new Alamode for the nan-boys ;
With Pistol and Dagger the women out-swagger
The blades with the Muff and the Fan boys.

All the Town is run mad, and the Hectors do pad,

Besides their false Dice and slur boys :

The new-formed Cheats with their acts and debates

Have brought the old to a demur boys.

Men stand upon thorns to pull out their horns,

And to cuckold themselves in grain boys ;


Complete. [13] 11

When to wear 'urn before, does make their heads
But behind they do suffer no pain boys. (sore,

The Protestant, Presbyter, Papist, and Prester John,

Are much discontented wee see boys :

For all their Religion no Mahomets Pidgeon

Can make 'um be madder then we boys.


There is a mad fellow clad alwaies in yellow ;
And somewhat his nose is blew boys ;
He cheated the divel, which was very evil
To him, and to all of his crew boys.

But now he intends to make even amends

By wearing a crown of thorns boys ;

For him that is gone, but before it be one

We shall his humility scorn boys.


For all our new Peers are turn'd out with jeers,
The new Gentlemen Lords are trapan'd boyes ;
Since the King, & no King, would pretend to a thing,
Which the Commons won't understand boyes.


And whilst we are thus mad, my Princess is glad

To laugh at the World, and at me boyes,

'Cause I can't apprehend what her colour command,

But it is not my self you see boyes.

Mar dike.

12 [14] Merry Drollerie,


WHen first Mardike was made a Prey,
'Twas Canrea carried the Fort away,
And do not lose your Valorous Prize
By staring in your Mistris eyes,
But put off your Petticoat-Parley,
Fame and Honour are covered early ;

Potting and sotting,

And laughing, and quaffing of Canary
Will make good souldiers miscarry,
And ne'er travel for a true renown ;
And turn to your marshall Mistris,
Fair Minerva the souldiers sister is ;

Calling, and falling, and cutting,

And slashing of wounds Sir,
With turning, and burning, of Towns, are
High steps unto a Statesmans throne.

Let bold Bellona's Brewer frown,
And his Tun shall o'er flow the Town ;
Or give a Cobler sword and State,
And a Tinker shall trapan the State,
Such fortunate Foes as these be
Turned the Crown to a Cross at Naseby

Father and Mother, and Sister

And Brother confounded,


Complete. [15] 13

With many good families wounded

By a terrible turn of State ;

Such plentiful power the sword has,

And so little of late the word has ;
He that can kill a man,
Thunder, and plunder precisely ;

It's he is the man that does wisely,

And may climbe to a Chair of State.

It is the sword that doth order all,
Makes Peasants rise, and Princes fall ;
All Syllogisms in vain are spilt [,]

No Logick like a basket hilt :
It handles 'urn joint by joint Sir,
And doth nimbly come to the point Sir,

Thrilling, and drilling,

And killing, and spilling profoundly,
Untill the despiter on ground lye,
And hath ne'er a word to say,
Unless it be Quarter, Quarter ;
Truth confuted by a Carter,

Whipping, and stripping,

And ripping, and stripping Evasions
Doth conquer the power of perswasions,
Aristotle has lost the day.

The Gown and Chain cannot compare
With Red-coat and his Bandeliers

The Musquets gave Saint Pauls the lurch,


14 [16] Merry Drollerie,

And beat the canons from the Church,
The pious Episcopal Gown too ;

Taro, Tantaro, Tantaro,

Tantaro, the trumpet
Hath blown away Babylons strumpet,
And Cathedrals begin to truck,
Your Councellors are struck dumb too ;

Dub a dub, dub a dub,

Dub a dub dub, an alarum,
Each Corporal now can out-dare 'urn,
Learned Littleton now goes to rack.

Then since the Sword so bright doth shine
Let's leave our Wenches and our Wine ;
We'll follow Fate where ere she runs,
And turn our pots and pipes to guns :
The bottles shall be Grenadoes,
We will march about like bravadoes,

Huffing, and Puffing,

And snuffing and calling the Spaniard,
Whose brows have been dyed in a tann-yard :
Well-got fame is a Warriors wife,
The Drawer shall be a Drummer,
We'll be Generals all next summer,

Pointing, and jointing,

And hilting and tilting like brave boys ;
We shall have gold or a grave boys,

There's an end of a Souldiers life.


Complete. 17

A merry Song.

OF all the Crafts that I do know,
That in the Earth may be,
Threshing is one of the weariest trades
That belong to husbandry.

Upon a time there was a poor man,
I swear by sweet Saint Ann,
And he had a wife and seven children,
And other goods had he none.

As he was a walking on the way,

Hard by a Forrest side,

There met him the divel, that Grisly Ghost,

This poor man to abide.

All hail, all hail, then quoth the divel,
I am glad to have met with thee ;
What is thy business in this Country
Thou goest so hastily ?


I have a wife, and seven children, quoth the poor
And other goods have I none,
And I am to the Market going
To fetch them something home.

B Wilt

1 8 Merry Drollerie,

Wilt them be my servant, quoth the divel,
And serve me for seven year,
And thou shalt have cattel and corn enough,
And all things at thy desire.

What shall be my office, quoth the poor man ?
I am loth to bear any blame ;
Thou shalt bring a beast unto this Forrest,
That I cannot tell his name.

If thou dost not bring me such a beast,
The name that I cannot tell,
Then both thy body and thy soul
Shall go with me to hell.

Indentures and Covenants were made anon,
And sealed by and by ;
The poor man he to the market went
So fast as he could high.

And when that he came home again,

Corn and Cattel he had anon :

O this was some Lord, then quoth the Poor man,

For to believe upon.

His neighbours dwelling round about,
They marvelled very much :
They thought he had either robb'd or stole,
He was become so rich.


Complete. 19

But when the seven years was near expir'd,
And almost at an end,
He made his moan unto his wife
Which was his own dear freind.

What aile you, what aile you, husband, quoth she,
What ailes you so sad to be ?
You had wont to be one of the merriest men
In all the whole Country.

I have made a bargain, quoth the poor man,
I am loth to bear the blame :
I must carry the divel a beast to the Forrest
That he cannot tell his name.

If I don't carry him such a beast,
The name that he cannot tell,
Then both my body and my soul
Must go with him to hell.

Lie still, lie still then, quoth the good Wife,

Lie still and sleep a while,

And I will bethink me of a thing,

We will the devil beguil.

Buy Feathers and Lime, then quoth the good wife,
Such as men catch birds in,
And I will put off all my cloaths,
And roul them over my skin [.]

B2 He

2O Merry Drollerie,

He wrapt his wife in Feathers and Lime,
Till no place of her was bare,
He tied a string about her hams,
And led her for chapmens ware.

He led her backwards of all four,
Till he came to the Forrest side,
There met he the divel, that grisly Ghost,
This poor man to abide,


I have brought thee the beast, then quoth the poor
Thy bargain thou canst not forsake :
The devil stood as still as any stone,
And his heart began to quake.

What beast hast thou brought me, quoth the divel,
His cheeks they are so round ?
I thought there had not been any such beast
Brought up in all this ground.

I have looked East, I have looked West,
I have looked over Lincoln and Lyn>
But of all the beasts that ever I saw
I never saw one so grim.

Where is the mouth of this same beast ?
His breath is wondrous strong.
A little below, quoth the poor man,
His mouth stands all along.


Complete. 2 1

That is a mad mouth, then quoth the divel,
It has neither cheeks nor chin,
Nay has but one eye in his head,
And his sight is wondrous dim.

If his mouth had stood but overthwart,
As it stands all a-length,
I would have thought it some Whale fish
Was taken by some mans strength.

How many more hast thou, quoth the divel,
How many more of this kind ?
I have seven more, then quoth the poor man,
But I left them all behind.

If thou hast seven more of these beasts,
The truth to thee I tell,
Thou hast beasts enough to scare both me,
And all the devils in hell.

Here take thy Indentures and Covenants too,
I'll have nothing to do with thee,
The poor man he went home with his wife,
And they lived full merrily.

B 3 On

22 Merry Dr oiler ie.

On Drinking, out of Anacrion.

THe thirsty Earth drinks up the Rain,
And drinks, and gapes for drink again;
The Plants suck in the Earth, and are
With constant drinking fresh and fair.
The sea it self, (which one would think
Should have but little need to drink,)
Drinks ten thousand Rivers up,
So fill'd that they o'reflow the cup.
The busie Sun, as one would guess
By's drunken fiery face, no less
Drinks up the sea, and when that's done,
The Moon and Stars drinks up the Sun.
They drink, and dance by their own light,
They drink and Revel all the night ;
Nothing in Nature's sober found
But an eternall health goes round :
Fill up the boale, and fill it high,
Fill all the glasses here : for why
Should every creature drink but I ?
Thou man of moralls, tell me why.


Complete. 23

The Married Estate, or Advice to

Batchelors and Maids. -^* 1

i ^J*^r

O freind and to foe


To all that I know
That to marriage estate do prepare ;

Remember your days

In severall ways
Are troubled with sorrow and care :

For he that doth look

In the married mans book,
And read but his Items all over,

Shall find them to come

At length to a sum
Shall empty Purse, Pocket, and Coffer :

In the pastimes of love,

When their labours do prove,
And the Fruit beginneth to kick,

For this, and for that,

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