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_With Nearly 400 Illustrations Engraved in Facsimile of the

"Next to a collection of the chap-books themselves, nothing could
give a better idea of this branch of the popular literature of the
eighteenth century than the volume before us. The author's hope
that he has 'succeeded in producing a book at once both amusing and
instructive' is fully justified; and his book is certain to remain the
standard authority on the subject, and to be consulted by every one
who wishes to know what was read in the cottage, and the roadside inn,
and the village school in the eighteenth century." - _Academy._

"Mr. Ashton knows his subject well, and gives us not only the quaint
prose or verse and the still quainter cuts, but also all sorts of
collateral information.... The book is a delightful contribution to
the history of literature." - _Graphic._


_With 84 Illustrations._

"Mr. Ashton has selected an interesting subject, and has done justice
to his choice. There can be no doubt either of Mr. Ashton's diligence
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versed in the diaries and correspondence of Queen Anne's time will
find something that is new to him in every chapter.... On these
subjects, and on every curiosity of Queen Anne's reign, Mr. Ashton
has much to say, and he tells his story with good taste and without
unnecessary amplification. His volumes will serve a double purpose.
They will amuse the ordinary reader of the day, and instruct the
student of English manners in the habits of a time which has never
failed to attract." - _Academy._

"Mr. Ashton has produced, beyond a doubt, the most accurate and
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"With commendable diligence Mr. Ashton has assembled a vast number
of documents, advertisements, and what not, which he has skilfully
grouped in chapters illustrating the education, food, dress,
amusements, science, art, and manners of the time. His book is, in
fact, a valuable and trustworthy collection of _mémoires pour servir_.
In these pages the reader may wander at will in that lesser London of
which Covent Garden and Leicester Square were the centres. With Mr.
Ashton's book all things are feasible, provided the reader carry with
him a decent amount of curiosity and a fairly good memory. And as Mr.
Ashton, with commendable and indeed unusual honesty, gives chapter and
verse for his statements, our pilgrim may be moderately sure that his
imaginings will possess a certain verisimilitude." - _Athenæum._


[Illustration: RICHARD TARLTON.

_Tarlton's Jests, Edit. 1638._]

of the

Collected and Illustrated by


[Illustration: The foole Rides mee]


_All rights reserved_

_Printed by_ R. & R. CLARK, _Edinburgh_.


Our forefathers delighted to call their country "Merrie England;" and
so, in very truth, it was. All sorts of sports and pastimes, such as
no other nation can show, were then in use; and even the elders, in
their hours of relaxation, were wont to exchange a merry jest with one

Perhaps some of their jokes lacked the refinement of the present age,
but they denoted a keen sense of humour. Many, nay most, cannot
be reproduced at the present day, and much has this book suffered
therefrom; and it is for this reason that the jest-books and ballads
of this century are so little known. Some few have been printed in
small editions, either privately, or for dilettante societies; but
they are not fit for general perusal, and the public at large know
nothing of them. This is specially the case with the ballad literature
of the century, which is unusually rich. The Pepys, Roxburghe,
Bagford, Luttrell, and other collections, are priceless treasures;
but I know no publisher who would be bold enough to reproduce them,
in their entirety, for the use of the general public. By this I do
not wish to cast any slur, either on the modesty, or morality, of our
ancestors; but their ways were not quite as ours.

The Bibliographical Reference, which forms an Appendix, will show the
wide range that the humour of this century takes; and this does not
exhaust the store by any means. In it I have given, for the use of
students, the British Museum Catalogue number of every authority (to
save trouble, should they wish to refer to the books); and, to avoid
the multiplicity of footnotes, I have placed against each paragraph a
number, by means of which (on turning to the reference) the work from
which it was taken can at once be seen.

Political satire ought to be a work in itself, so that I have but
sparingly used it; and as religious satire hardly comes within the
scope of such a book as this, I have but just glanced at it.

In every instance that I have found possible, I have given the tunes
of the ballads, taken from the books in which they first appeared,
such as _The Dancing Master_, and _Wit and Mirth_; also, in two
instances, where I could not thus find them, I have taken them from
_The Ballad Literature and Popular Music of the Olden Time_, by W.
Chappell, Esq., F.S.A.

If the perusal of this book gives a tithe part as much pleasure and
amusement to the Reader, as it did to me when compiling it, I am more
than content with my labour.



Humour, Wit, and Satire
of the
Seventeenth Century.

[1.] There was a man that had been drinking so hard that he could
scarse stand upon his feet, yet at night he would go home, and as he
went through a green Meadow, neer a hedge side the Bryers held him by
the cloaths and the legs, and he had thought that one had holden him,
and would have had him to drink more, and he said, Good fellow, let
me go, by my troth I can drink no more, I have drank so much already,
that I cannot go home; and there he abode all the same night, and on
the morrow went his Ways.

When _Marcus_ hath Carrowst March beere and sacke, [2.]
And feels his head grow dizzy therwithall.
Then of Tobacco he a pype doth lacke,
Of Trinidade in cane, in leafe, or ball,
Which tane a little he doth Speet and Smacke,
Then layes him on his bed for feare to fall
And on Tobacco layes the blame of all,
But that same pype that Marcus brain did lade
Was of Madera not of Trinidade.

I had a love, and she was chaste, [3.]
Alack the more's the pity,
But wot you how my love was chaste,
She was chaste right through the City.

[4.] A Justice of Peace overtaking a Parson upon the Road, between
_London_ and _Bow_, told his Company that he would put a Trick upon
him: and so, coming up to him, said, _Sir, You don't follow your
Master's Rule, for he was content with an Ass, but you have a very
fine Horse_. The Parson replyed, the reason was, because the King had
made so many Asses Justices, that a Clergyman could not get one to
Ride on.

_On a drawer drunk._

Drawer with thee now even is thy wine [5.]
For thou hast pierced his hogs-head, and he thine.

_Upon the weights of a Clock._

I wonder time's so swift, when as I see, [5.]
Upon her heeles such lumps of lead to bee.


Oh that my Lungs could bleat like butter'd Pease; [3.]
But bleating of my lungs hath Caught the itch,
And are as mangy as the Irish Seas,
That doth ingender windmills on a Bitch.

I grant that Rainbowes being lull'd asleep,
Snort like a woodknife in a Lady's eyes;
Which makes her grieve to see a pudding creep,
For Creeping puddings only please the wise.

Not that a hard row'd herring should presume
To swing a tyth pig in a Cateskin purse;
For fear the hailstons which did fall at Rome,
By lesning of the fault should make it worse.

For 'tis most certain Winter woolsacks grow
From geese to swans, if men could keep them so,
Till that the sheep shorn Planets gave the hint,
To pickle pancakes in Geneva print.

Some men there were that did suppose the skie
Was made of Carbonado'd Antidotes;
But my opinion is, a Whales left eye,
Need not be coyned all King _Harry_ groates.

The reason's plain, for Charons Westerne barge
Running a tilt at the subjunctive mood,
Beckoned to Bednal Green, and gave him charge
To fasten padlockes with Antartic food.

The end will be the Mill ponds must be laded,
To fish for white pots in a Country dance;
So they that suffered wrong and were upbraded
Shall be made friends in a left handed trance.

[1.] There was three young men going to Lambeth along by the Water
side, and the one plaid with the other, and they cast each others Cap
into the water, in such sort as they could not get their Caps again:
but over the place where their Caps were, did grow a great old tree,
which did Cover a great deale of the Water. One of them said to the
rest, Sirs, I have found out a notable way to come by them. First I
will make myself fast by the middle, with one of your girdles unto the
tree, and he that is with you shall hang fast upon my girdle, and he
that is last shall take hold on him that holds fast on my girdle, and
so with one of his hands he may take up all our caps and cast them on
the sand. And so they did; but when they thought that they had been
most secure and fast, he that was above felt his girdle slack, and
said, Soft, sirs, my girdle slacketh; make it fast quickly, said they,
but as he was untying it to make it faster they fell all three into
the water, and were well washed for their pains.

_Of Lynus borrowing._

_Lynus_ came late to me sixe crownes to borrow, [6.]
And sware G - d - - him, hee'd repai't to morrow.
I knew his word as current as his band
And straight I gave to him three crownes in hand;
This I to give, this he to take was willing
And thus he gain'd, and I sav'd fifteene shilling.

=The Woman to the Plow=


The Man to the Hen Roost.

Or, a fine way to cure a _Cot Quean_ - .

The Tune is, _I have for all good Wives a Song_. -



Both Men and Women listen well,
A merry Jest I will you tell,
Betwixt a Good man and his Wife,
Who fell the other day at strife:
He chid her for her Huswivery,
And she found fault as well as he,
With him for's work without the door,
Quoth he (_we'l quarrel thus no more_)
Sith you and I cannot agree,
Let's change the work. Content, quoth she,
My Wheel and Distaffe here take thow,
And I will drive the Cart and Plow.
This was concluded 'twixt them both,
To Cart and Plow the good-wife goeth,
The Good man he at home doth tarry,
To see that nothing doth miscarry.
An apron he before him put,
Judge, was not this a handsome slut.
He fleets[F. 1] the Milk, he makes the Chese,
He gropes[F. 2] the Hens, the Ducks, & Geese,
He Brews and Bakes as well as he Can,
But not as it should be done, poor man:
As he did make his Cheese one day,
Two Pigs their Bellies broke with whey;
Nothing that he in hand did take,
Did come to good; once he did Bake,
And burnt the Bread as black as a stock,
Another time he went to Rock
The Cradle, and threw the child o' th' floor,
And broke his Nose, and hurt it sore.
He went to milk one Eventide
A Skittish Cow on the wrong side,
His pail was full of Milk, God wot,
She Kickt and spilt it every jot.
Besides she hit him a blost o' th' face
Which was scant well in six weeks space.
Thus was he served, and yet too well
And more mischances yet befell.
Before his apron he'd leave off,
Though all his neighbours did him scoff.
Now list and mark one pretty jest,
'Twill make you laugh above all the rest,
As he to churn his Butter went,
One Morning with a good intent,
The Cot[F. 3] Quean fool did surely dream,
For he had quite forgot the Cream,
He churn'd all Day with all his might,
And yet he could get no Butter at night.
'Twere strange indeed for me to utter
That without Creame he should make Butter.
Now having shew'd his huswivery,
Who did all things thus untowardly,
Unto the good-wife I'll turn my Rhime,
And tell you how she spent her time;
She us'd to drive the Cart and Plow,
But do't well she Knew not how,
She made so many banks i' th' ground,
He been better have given five pound
That she had never ta'ne in hand
So sorely did she spoil the Land.
As she did go to Sow likewise,
She made a Feast for Crows and Pies,
She threw away a hanful at a Place,
And left all bare another Space.
At the Harrow she could not rule the Mare
But hid one Land, and left two bare.
And shortly after, one a day,
As she came home with a Load of Hay
She overthrew it, nay, and worse
She broke the Cart, and Kill'd a Horse:
The good-man that time had ill luck,
He let in the Sow, and Kill'd a Duck,
And being grieved at his heart,
For loss on's Duck, his Horse and Cart,
The many hurts on both sides done,
His eyes did with salt water run;
Then now, quoth he, full well I see
The Wheel's for her, the Plow's for me,
I thee intreat, quoth he, good-wife,
To take thy Charge, and all my life
I'll never meddle with huswivery more,
Nor find such faults as I did before;
Give me the Cart Whip and the Frail,
Take thou the Churn and Milking pail.
The good-wife she was well content
And about her Huswivery she went;
He to Hedging and to Ditching,
Heaping, Mowing, Lading, Pitching,
He would be twatling[F. 4] still before,
But after that ne'r twatled more.
I wish all Wives that troubled be
With Hose and Doublet Huswivery,
To serve them as this Woman did,
Then may they work and ne'r be chid.
Though she i' th' intrim had some loss,
Thereby she was eased of a Cross;
Take heed of this you husband men,
Let Wives alone to grope the Hen,
And meddle you with Horse and Ox.
And keep your Lambs safe from the Fox,
So shall you live Contented lives,
And take sweet pleasure in your Wives.


Printed for J. Wright,[F. 5] J. Clarke,[F. 6] W. Thackeray,[F. 7] and
T. Passinger.[F. 8]

[Footnote 1: Floats, _i.e._ skims the cream floating on the

[Footnote 2: Feels whether they have eggs.]

[Footnote 3: One who meddles in women's business.]

[Footnote 4: Chattering.]

[Footnote 5: Published from 1670 to 1690.]

[Footnote 6: From 1650 to 1682.]

[Footnote 7: From 1660 to 1680.]

[Footnote 8: From 1670 to 1682.]

[8.] The Marquess of _Worcester_, calling for a glass of Claret wine,
it was told him by his Physician, that Claret wine was naught for his
gout; What, said the Marquess, my old friend Claret? nay, give it me
in spight of all Physicians and their books, it never shall be said
that I forsook my friend for my enemy.

_On a cowardly Souldier._

_Strotzo_ doth weare no ring upon his hand, [5.]
Although he be a man of great command;
But gilded spurs do jingle at his heeles;
Whose rowels are as big as some coach wheels,
He grac'd them well, for in the Netherlands,
His heels did him more service than his hands.

_On a fly in a glasse._

A fly out of his glasse a guest did take, [5.]
'Ere with the liquor he his thirst would slake,
When he had drunk his fill, again the fly
Into the glasse he put, and said, though I
Love not flyes in my drink yet others may,
Whose humour I nor like, nor will gainsay.

_Upon a Churle that was a great usurer._

A Chuffe that scarce hath teeth to chew his meate, [9.]
Heares with deafe ears, and sees with glassy eies,
Unto his grave his path doth daily beate,
Or like a logg upon his pallett lies:

Hath not a thought of God, nor of his grace,
Speaks not a word but what intends to gaine,
Can have no pitty on the poore Mans case,
But will the hart-strings of the needy straine:

Cries not till death, and then but gives a groane,
To leave his silver, and his golden bags,
Then gapes and dies, and with a little moane
Is lapped up in a few rotten ragges:
What will this Clunch fist leave upon his grave?
Here lies the Carkasse of a wretched Knave.

[4.] An Arch Wag speaking of the late dreadful Fire of _London_, said
Cannon Street roared, Wood Street was burnt to Ashes, Bread Street was
burnt to a Coal, Pie Corner was over bak'd and Snow hill melted down.

[4.] A Highway man being to be hang'd in a Country Town, Order was
sent to the Carpenter to make a Gallows; which he neglecting to do,
the Execution was forc'd to be defer'd, for which the Judge was not a
little angry, who sending for the Carpenter, asked him why he had not
done it? Why Sir, said he, I have done two or three already, but was
never paid for them; but had I known it had been for your Worship, I
would have left all other business to have done it.

Sir _Egley More_[F. 9] that Valiant Knight, [3.]
With his fa, la, lanctre down dille;
He fetcht his sword and he went to fight
With his fa, la, lanctre down dille;
As he went over hill and dale,
All cloathed in his coat of Male,
With his fa, la, lanctre down dille.

A huge great Dragon leapes out of his Den,
With his &c.
Which had kill'd the Lord knowes how many men,
With his &c.
But when he saw Sir _Egly More_,
Good lack had you seen how this Dragon did roare
With his &c.

This Dragon he had on a plaguy hide,
With his &c.
Which could both sword and speare abide,
All the trees in the wood did shake,
With his &c.
Stars did tremble and man did quake,
With his &c.
But had you seen how the birds lay peeping,
'Twould have made a mans heart to a' fallen a weeping.
With his &c.

But now it was too late to feare,
With his &c.
For now it was come to fight dog, fight beare,
With his &c.
And as a yawning he did fall,
He thrust his sword in, hilts and all.
With his &c.

But now as the Knight in coller[F. 10] did burne,
With his &c.
He ow'd the Dragon a shrewd good turne;
With his &c.
In at his mouth his sword he bent,
The hilt appeared at his fundament.
With his &c.

Then the Dragon like a Coward began to fly,
With his &c.
Unto his Den that was hard by.
With his &c.
And there he laid him down and roar'd;
The Knight was vexed for his sword,
With his &c.

The Sword it was a right good blade,
With his &c.
As ever Turk or Spaniard made;
With his &c.
I for my part do forsake it,
And he that will fetch it, let him take it.
With his &c.

When all this was done to the Ale house he went,
With his &c.
And by and by his two pence he spent;
With his &c.
For he was so hot with tugging with the Dragon,
That nothing could quench him but a whole Flagon.
With his &c.

Now God preserve our King and Queen,
With his &c.
And eke in London may be seene,
With his &c.
As many Knights, and as many more,
And all as good as Sir _Eglemore_.
With his &c.

[Footnote 9: For tune see Appendix.]

[Footnote 10: Choler, anger.]

[1.] There was a Fryer in _London_, which did use to go often to the
house of an old woman, but ever when he came to her house, she hid
all the meat she had. On a time this Fryer came to her house (bringing
certain Company with him) and demanded of the Wife if she had any
meat. And she said, Nay. Well, quoth the Fryer, have you not a
whetstone? Yea (qd. the Woman) Marry, qd. he, I would make meat
thereof. Then she brought a whetstone. He asked her likewise if she
had not a Frying-pan. Yea, said she, but what the devil will ye do
therewith? Marry (said the Fryer) you shall see by and by what I will
do with it; and when he had the pan, he set it on the fire, and put
the whetstone therein. Cocks body, said the woman, you will burn the
pan. No, no, qd. the Fryer, if you will give me some eggs, it will not
burn at all. But she would have had the pan from him, when that she
saw it was in danger; yet he would not let her, but still urged her to
fetch him some eggs, which she did. Tush said the Fryer, here are
not enow, go fetch ten or twelve. So the good Wife was constrayned to
fetch more for feare lest the Pan should burn; And when he had them,
he put them in the Pan. Now, qd he, if you have no butter the pan will
burn, and the eggs too. So the good wife being very loth to have her
pan burnt, and the eggs lost, she fetcht him a dish of butter, the
which he put into the pan, and made good meat thereof, & brought to
the table, saying, Much good may it do you my Masters, now may you
say, you have eaten of a buttered Whetstone. Whereat all the Company
laughed, but the woman was exceeding angry because the Fryer had
subtilly beguiled her of her meat.

_The Devill and the Fryar._

The Devill was once deceived by a fryar, [5.]
Who though he sold his soul cheated the buyer.
The devill was promist if he would supply,
The Fryar with Coyn at his necessity,
When all the debts he ow'd discharg'd were quite,
The Devill should have his soul as his by right;
The Devill defray'd all scores, payd all; at last
Demanded for his due, his soul in haste:
The Fryar return'd this answer, if I owe
You any debts at all, then you must know
I am indebted still, if nothing be
Due unto you, why do you trouble me?

_On Battus._

Battus doth bragge he hath a world of bookes [5.]
His studies maw holds more than well it may,
But seld' or never he upon them looks,
And yet he looks upon them every day,
He looks upon their out side, but within
He never looks nor never will begin:
Because it cleane against his nature goes
To know mens secrets, so he keeps them Close.


Unconscionable Batchelors of DARBY,

or the

Young Lasses Pawn'd by their Sweethearts, for a large
Reckoning, at _Nottingham_ Goose Fair; where
poor Susan was forced to pay the Shot.

To the Tune of _To thee, To thee &c._

You lovers of mirth attend a while, [10.]
a merry new ditty here I write,
I know it will make you laugh and smile,
for every line affords delight:
The Lasses of Darby with young Men,
they went to Goose Fair for recreation,
But how these Sparks did serve them then,
is truly worth your observation,
Truly, truly worth your observation,
therefore I pray observe this Ditty;
The Maids did complain they came there in vain
and was not, was not that a pity.

So soon as they came into the Fair,
The Batchelors made them conjues[F. 11] low,
And bid them a thousand welcomes there,
this done to a tippling school they go;
How pleasant was honest Kate and Sue,
believing they should be richly treated,
But, Neighbours and Friends, as I am true;
no Lasses ever was so cheated;
Cheated, cheated, very farely cheated,
as you may note by this new Ditty;
They were left alone, to make their moan,
and was not, was not that a pity?


The innocent Lasses fair and gay,
concluded the Men was kind and free,
Because they pass'd the time away,
a plenty of cakes and ale they see;
For sider and mead they then did call,
and whatever else the House afforded,
But Susan was forc'd to pay for all,
out of the mony she had hoarded,
Hoarded, hoarded, mony she had hoarded;
it made her sing a doleful Ditty,
And so did the rest with grief opprest,
and was not, was not that a pity?

Young Katy she seemed something Coy,
because she would make them eager grow,
As knowing thereby she might enjoy
what beautiful Damsels long to know,
On complements they did not stand,
nor did they admire their charming features;

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