W. W. (Walter Wilson) Greg.

The pedlar's prophecy. 1595 online

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• » . > .




This reprint of the Pedlar'* s Prophecy has been pre-
pared under the direction of the General Editor.

Dec. 1 9 14. W,W. Greg.

• • • •

• • • • • « '

- , . • •« • • * •" •

* • <

The Registers of the Stationers' Company contain
the following entry :

xiij° maij [i5'94]
Entred for his copie vnder thandes of master warden Ca wood / Thomas
a plea booke intituled the Pedlers Prophesie . . . . v}^ C/ '^^^ ^'

[Arber's Transcript, II. 6^4.5.]

A quarto appeared with the date ifpf, printed by
Thomas Creed and to be sold by William Barley.
It was printed in type of a body approximating to
modern pica (20 11. = 83 mm.). Copies are in the
British Museum and the Bodleian Library.

It has been usual to ascribe this play to Robert
Wilson the elder on the ground of its supposed
resemblance to the Cobler's Prophecy. The similarity
of the titles is indeed striking, and it should be
observed that the Pedler^s Prophecy^ though appa-
rently published later, was entered on the Register
before its companion or rival, and that the latter
was presumably an old piece at the time of printing.
At the same time it must be remembered that
though the characters of the Pedler's Prophecy are
certainly abstract, they are not allegorical, as is the
case with those of the Cobler'^s Prophecy and of other
plays usually ascribed to Wilson.

List of Doubtful Readings, &:c.

ao thertfore


pure] pure BM\ pu r(

murthers :


7+ will



107 rhe


fubftance] possibly

114 haphie

lubftan ce

116 ffonc] ff" broken so as to


wihhold :

resemble ft


a way

\-]6 fliitt,



2,^2 tell] possibly t ell


amifle,] oripnal auiifle,

27^ yonrl turned u in original


on fought.

283 ftom



a^o thkir


[speaker's name omitted)

^oy intra



31+ By by



315) Pedler] possibly P edier

()<^4 [speaker's name omitted^

337 aunceftbrs] ff broken so as


to resemble ft



341 Aliant


cofF,] fF broken so as to re

4x3 (ito c.iu.^

semble ft

427 childreu



447 yongman



457 (Ale,


Jw.] 7iot indented

461 H/V, Content.


why are

473 Alexaadry^



580 Betore

i'i^G6 V^d\tx'\ possibly P edler

650 waffes?] S broken so as to



resemble ft



66-) fearlets



704 vnreuently.




List of Characters

in order of appearance.

a Pedler.
a Maid,
her Mother,
her Father,
a Mariner,
a Traveller.

an Artificer,
a Landlord,
an Interpreter,
a Justice,
a Judge.



■*•'"■ •



Prophccic. ^


Printed by Tho. Creede^

and arc to be fold by William Bailey,at his
ihopin Gratiouj ftrcctc

» 5 9 5.

Title-Page (B. M.)

The PcdlcrsProphecie.

Tlic Prologue.

FOr as much as uc mull wlkc of Prophccic,
Wc intend with par<ion and fupport.ition,
As learned men dot!i well define and teibfic,
Thereof to make a true and pure declaration:
To prophecie of things is a diuuie infpiration.
Telling things to come with vnmoneable vcritic i
Agift onely proceeding from Gods high maicflie.
A dioinc inspiration he calleth prophecie,
That which doth all other Prophecies exclude :
Which arc no prophecies, but tilings of mens fantacics,
Inucntcd to dccciuc the ignorant and rude :
But Sathanis rcadie vnbelecucrs to delude,
Though his members who aic proued to be lycrs,
Yet they Hiame not to call thcmfclues true prophet icrs.
The falfhood and vanities oftlicic preni!>ijtors,
Saint /n^ujiine in nine or ten bookcs dt ciwtate dcL
Confutcth and proueth them no true Relators j
But blafphcmersand vene AthaiOs,
And thertfoie by the ludgcment of God murthcri:
Not worthic to hue, by the fcntencc of Gods mouth,
For into Lies and Fables they hauc turned the truth.
Saint Ht^romypon Mtcha do teftificj
That the termc or vocable dmmanon,
^ Which the diuels mancyplcs calleth prophecie,

A 2 h

A 1 RECTO (B. M.)





Printed by Tho.Creede,

and are to be fold by William Barley, at his
lliop in Gratious Itreete.

I S 9 S-

The Pedlers Prophecie.

The Prologue.

FOr as much as we mufl talke of Prophecie,
We intend with pardon and fupportation.
As learned men doth well define and tellifie,
Thereof to make a true and pure declaration :
To prophecie of things is a diuine infpiration,
Telling things to come with vnmoueable veritie :
A gift onely proceeding from Gods high maieftie.
A diuine infpiration he calleth prophecie,
That which doth all other Prophecies exclude: lo

Which are no prophecies, but things of mens fantacies,
Inuented to deceiue the ignorant and rude :
But Sathan is readie vnbeleeuers to delude,
Though his members who are proued to be lyers.
Yet they fliame not to call themfelues true propheciers.
The falfhood and vanities of thefe pref tigiators.
Saint ylugujlinem nine or ten bookes ^e ciuitate dei^
Confuteth and proueth them no true Relators ;
But blafphemers and verie Athaiits,

And thertfore by the iudgement of God murthers: ^o

Not worthie to liue, by the fentence of Gods mouth.
For into Lies and Fables they haue turned the truth.
Saint Hierom vpon Micha do teitifie,
That the terme or vocable diuination,
Which the diuels mancyples calleth prophecie,

A 2 Is

The Pedlers

Is often taken In an euill confideration.

As in the fame place he maketh a plaine relation :

That the true Prophets, In fcrlpture Prophets are named,

Diuinators, are reproued, condemned, and blamed.

To that pernicious fcience Diuination, jo

Are added a number of dyabiluall vanities,

Whereof I am not able to make recitation.

Neither do I elteeme fuch wicked fliculties,

I wlfh them extinct in all communalties.

For where they were they were permitted :

There was the prince & the people fore punlfhed

And although I fhall not rehearfe them in order,

The firft of all, he nameth Negromanlie,

Phytonia fome fay, Is of as high degree,

Peromanlie, Heromanlie, Hydromanfie, Geomanfie, 40

Phyftonomy, Metapollopy, Spatulmanfie, Gheromanfie,

Then haue you Homen, Agurium, Poflyguum,

Afpicium, Magyam, Venefillimum, Sortilogullum,

There be a great many moe then I can recite.

Whereof euerie one hath his right :

That is to fay, euery one hath his diulllih fuperflitlon,

Contrary to Gods word, aiid Chrills erudition,

Confounded be thofe children of perdicion.

Mofes confounded them, fb did lobe and Efay,

With all the Apoflles, Prophets, and Doctors, vtterly. 50

Of Gods Prophets, thus doth Lactancius write.

They did not onely of things to come prophecie,

But they fpake of one truth in one fprite.

Which was fulfilled In their times openly.

Thefe were fent of God by precept verelie.

To be meilengers of his diuine maieilie.

And to be correctors of mens iniquitie.

To deride thefe, our Author hath a Plaie compiled.

Which he calleth the Pedlers Prophecie.

Out of the which, all fuch lewdnefTe (hall be exiled, 60

And other things fpoken of very merely;



We {hall vfe the maner of a comely Comedie.

The propertie thereof, is honeft mirth to make,

The which to do at this time, I do vndertake.

And whereas we fhal fpeake of certaine trauellers,

We deiire all honeft perfbns not to be offended,

For we meane none but bankerouts and vfurers,

Which to vndo, other hath intended :

Their abufe I wifh heartily to be amended.

For the paffc fhame bankrout, borroweth beyond his eflate, 70

Then he fleeth, keepeth his houfe, or taketh Ludgate.

Vnlefle our Preface fhould too farre it felfe extend:

And engender tedioufnefle vnto our audience,

With a fewe words more I will make an end :

Befeeching you to heare the refl with patience.

So doing, of our mirth you fhall haue intelligence.

I take my leaue of you, for yonder commeth the Pedler,

Which will take vpon him to be a great medler,

Pedler. O this packe, this packe, this heauy packe, Sc

It is fo heauie, it hath almolt broke my backe.
Weary, nay I was neuer fo weary, 8 1

Since I pafTed Carowfe Ferry :
Time it is to fet it downe.

Would to God I were neare fome good Towne :
A peny for a pot of drinke,
I fhall die for thirft, truly I thinke.
A great way haue I gone fince I dranke,
Fourteene myle beyond the Scottifh banke.
Fewe Pedlers take fuch paine :

I am faine to buy all my ware in Spaine. 90

And becaufe I would haue all my ware good.
Sometimes I pafle vnto lafons wood.
Vnder the poole Antartkke there I was.
Whereas I fpake with the mightie Atlas.
Of whom for mony I had a pafport.
That through Celum Imperium^ I might refort.
From thence vnto Primum Mobilj/,
There bought I a flone called Idake Toy, In

The Pedlers

In the which there is a fpirit inclofed.

Whom truly when I am difpofed, loo

I can tell what is faid or done ;

From vnder the Conilellation of the Moone:

Vnto the centor of the earth indeed,

Whither I purpofe to go with all fpeed.

To Celum aquinum^ I came from thence,

And there bellowed I the moft of my pence :

Yet to tell you rhe truth of the matter,

I was almolt perifhed with water;

Time it was to call for a boat.

Three dayes in the water, I flood vp to the throat; no

Yet as hard as the world went there.

To fill vp my packe I bought more geare.

There bought I a Hone called Calbrates,

Oh haphie is he that hath fuch a flone :

I tell you that thoufands cannot get one.

For this ffone giueth wifedome, honor and grace.

And defendeth from perils in euery place.

If that with Dyojiarydes you could fpeake,

Your mind vnto him you might breake.

Then came I to the firmament, izo

And to pafl[e thence I had commandement.

Saturne was angry and verie fearfe.

The caufes why, I will not now rehearfe :

lupiter could not pacifie the caufe.

Then Mars eafed them with llafford lawes.

Soil engendred fuch a fort of flyes :

So that they had almoll bitten out mine eyes.

Then pafled I by Venus^ Mercury^ & the Moone,

From whence I came fince yeilerday at noone :

Yet as hard as the world was there, 130

To fill vp my packe I bought more geare.

A flone I bought which Tenya they call,

This flone hath the befl propertie of all :

For it will make him to fpeake that is dumbe,



And be able to tell of things to come.
This ftone I beare vnder my tongue alway,
So that I can tell what they do or fay.
Well vp with my packe and get me hence,
There is no reraedie I muft trudge for fmal pence.
Conyskins maydes, Conyskins mayde, '4°

Yonder commeth one, I am well apayde.
Here the mayd enters.

Mayd. Welcome Pedler, haft thou any fine needles here ?
Or any ftiffe pinnes fharpe at the*.^oynt I pray you.

Fed. I haue indeed, but they be fomewhat deare :
Such as will breake before they will bow.
Not like vnto maydens the truth for to fpeake.
Which before they will breake they will bend.

Ma. Wifely fpoken lohn Hoddy-peake,
Your thrift and your wit, at the good ale you do fpend : 150

If thou haft any, at once bring them forth :
I may not ftand pratling all day with thee.

Ted. I tell you my needles and pinnes be more worth,
Than you are worthie for your faire lookes to fee :
You will not buy, I know fo much of your minde.
Therefore at this time you fhall not haue your lult:
For if my needles or pinnes fhould take any winde,
They would canker by and by, and take ruft.

Ma. Wilt thou haue me buy the pig in the poake ?
I may fee for loue, and buy for mony. 160

Fed. Where fire is, a man may perceiue by the fnioake,
Thinke not but that I know a Cat from a Cony :
I am acquainted well inough with hopes lay,
Learned I haue to know chaffe from corne:
Before ought you haue of me you fhall pay.
You fhall not beguile, and then laugh me to fcorne.

Ma. By God, and I know chalke from cheefe,
I can difcerne an honeft man from a knaue.
If naught I gaine by thee, naught, naught, will I leefe.
None of thy wares, none of my mony thou {halt haue. 170


The Pedlers

Better then any thou hafl; I can buy.

But to perceiue what thou art I do begin :

If thou haft either needles or pinnes there let me die.

You compalle the country, fome cheat by craft to win :

I neuer knew honefl man of this occupation.

But either he was a dyfer, a drunkard, or a maker of ihift,

A picker, a cutpurfe, a raifer of fimulation,

Or fuch a one as runne away with another mans wife.

Fed. Mayd I pray you, let me haue a word or two in your
By the fame token there "ftandeth a fat. (eare, i8o

Ma. God for his padion, when were you there ?
T beflirew his heart, that told you that.
I thought you had not bene a Pedler long :
You were one of thofe that flood on the pillerie,
That you were not all hangd you had wrong,
For by the diuell you wrought fome forcerie.

Fed. So fiire as you are a mayd and virgin pure,
So fure I flood on the pillarie.
And as fure as you are gentle and demure,
I neuer vfed inchantment or forcerie, 190

But mayd a word or two in your eare againe,
If it may be it fhall be as you faide :
The fame day there fell a great tempefl of raine ;
Staie a while, as hitherto you haue jflaide.

Ma. You are infpired with the holy Ghofl newly.
But the diuell is within you fo God me faue.

Fed. This was faid and done, the eighth day of luly,
You (hall haue that you had not, and lofe that you haue.
Did you neuer heare of a maid called Pleias ?
She had fixe fiflers, and her felfe made vp the feuenth, 200

Thefe were the daughters of the mightie Atlas.,
Who by his owne power holdeth vp the heauen.
But marke what I fay, when Hely (hall flop her light
Then maids of England, weepe, waile, and fbrrow :
For they that go maydens to bed ouer night,
I will not fay I, what they fhall do on the morrow.



Ma. I will keep counfell, I know not what ye meane,
You are too wife for me goodman Pedler,

Ved. I wifh you to keep your raifed worke cleane,
But in needle-worke I will be no medler. ^ ' °

Mother. Whope, where with forrow art thou fo long ?
Haft thou not bought thy needles yet ?
You will haue your fcoperlets alway among,
Get you home with Ibrrow I fay, and laie to the fpit :
When your father (hall come to flipper anon,
Then the meate to the fire (hall fcarely be laide.
What, you looke that I fhould do all thing alone.

Ma. Mother, of this Pedler take heed and beware.
For he can tell all things that I haue faid and done.

Moth. He may fee what a good hufwife ye are, ^^o

Your idlenelTe I warrant, he may perceiue foone.

Fed. By my troth mother you fay the truth,
By the frutes a man may foone know the tree.
There was neuer feene fuch idlenefle in youth,
And that in high and low of euery degree.
For yoong men to be idle it is intollerable,
But maydens to be idle and of any f tate :
Is a thing molt pernicious and deteflable.
For idlenefle vnto all mifchiefe is an open gate.
I could rehear fe a fort of damfels by name, ^jo

Which through idlenefle, learned things not to be fpoken.
But what was their end they came all to fhame : (token.
As fhe did which daunce for lohn Baptifts head, by the fame

Ma. As a lame man hath no profit by his faire legs.
So out of the mouth of him that is not honeft,
A good fentence is not worth a couple of egs.
But is as profitable as is fnow in haruefl,
Who may fpeake worfe againft an euill life.
Then Pedlers whole whole trade is idlenefle:
Dycers, drunkards, makers of ftrife, 240

Very fincks and fentences of all wickedneflc.

Moth. Hold thy peace with forrow, by S, lemy I fay,

B Get

The Pedlers

Get thee fortli, and go about thy bufinefle,
It is a pretie hearing for a mayd to fcold alway.
He may fweare that thou art full of idlenelFe,
But I pray you tell me, haue you any good pepper ?
I would haue an ounce and if it be good.

Pe(J. Without doubt you neuer fpent better,
As fine lenuper as any is in FangringoflTe wood,
But I pray you let me anfwere your daughter, ijo

Of her I tell you, you may haue very great ioy.
She is yours, and you haue dearly bought her.
But yet you mull bid her beware of one euil toy.
Well mayd I pray you let me fee your hand,
I will keep counfell, I fweare by mine honellie.

Ma. Say what thou wilt, thou (halt not fee my hand,
For in thee is neither maners nor modellie.

Mo. He may fee your hand perde fo he may,
I cry you mercy, as angry as a thing of nought:

Ma. He fhall fee no hand of mine here to day, i^o

I am as I am, and as you haue me vp brought.

Ped. I can tell as much by your :^ce and looke.
As I can tell by looking the lines of your hand :
Now furely of late I red in a booke.
That fewe maidens flialbe left in the land.
But to my words I would haue you be attendant.
The fin of maidens God hath already fb punifhed,
That a man cannot get an honell maid feruant.
Dead they are I weene, and cleane extinguilhed :
But when the dog holdeth the bull with the golden homes, zjo
Then thus it fhall come to pafle, I dare laie my head :
That for mony we fliall get no new Ale in cornes.
For all Englifli maids that yeare fhall be dead.

Ma. When the Rambe pufheth againfl the Serpent,
Then perifli all Pedlers and peaking Proctors :
The day will come that the Lion will be feruent.
Then take heed all dreamers, and doating Doctors.

Pei^. Paflion of God, now am I put to my trumpe.



Mother, I perceiue yonr daughter hath gone to fchoole :
Marry there fhe paid me home againe iumpe. ^So

But mother, I pray you let me aske you one thing.
Can your daughter worke at times voyd ?

Mo. Yea forfooth, flie worketh ftom morning to euening.
With the needle, and very well fhe can inbrayd.

Ped. Well, to hufwiferie let her applie her minde :
For within a while fhall be one Eclipfe of the Sun,
As by good learning, furely I do finde.
That then fhall be finifhed that now is begun.
Proud lookes, Itretched out neckes, and wanton eies,
Their frolike cheare, thkir fine walkes, and tripping : zpo

With all their pleafures which they now do deuife,
Their fealting, difguifing, their killing and clipping.
Rich fhowes, llrange funerals, precious abilliments.
Golden collers, (pangs, bracelets, bonets, and hoods.
Painted and laid out haire, filides, and nether ornaments.
Their chains, & fumptuous apparrell, that coft great goods,
Earing iewels, iemmes, to fet out their faces,
Chaunge of garments, caflocks, vales, launes fine.
Needles, glafles, partlets, fillets, and bungraces.
With cullours curious do make the face fhine, 300

After this your needle worke will be naught worth.
Therefore lome other occupation you mufl learne :
You that intend to let your children forth,
Mufl teach them to labour, their linings to earne.

Hie intra Pater.

Father. A couple of good hufwifes, the mother and the
To fland prating here all the day long : (daughter.

What time of night fhall we go to fupper ?
Euerie day I muft be feine to fing one fong.

Mo. By my troth husband you are like to haue no roafl- 310
For I haue had other bufines to day in hand : (meat to night,
Here is come fuch another wight.
As the like was neuer heard of in this land.

'Daugh. By by troth father, he is but a pratling Pedlcr,

B 2 And

The Pedlers

And to fay tlie truth hath nothing to fell :

But in foothfaying he would appeare to be a medler.

But beleeue you nothing that he doth tell.

Fa. A Pedler, marry the more naughtie pack thou,
Haft thou nothing elfe to do but with a Pedler to prate :
Get thee home, thou ill fauoured Sow, jzo

It were well done to beate thee about the pate.

Z). I belhre w thy knaues hart, thou halt angred my father,
If thou haib no needles, thou mightefl tell me fb than.

Fed. And it had pleafed you, you might haue gone away
But heare you, declare what good you can : (rather,

Father why fuffer you not your daughter to marry ?
She is old inough to haue an husband.

Mo. Nay alalle poore wench, a while fhe may tarry.
For in faith fhe hath neither houfe nor land.

Fa. Friend, whereas you fpake of my daughters mariage, 33<^
I am not of that mind that many an other man is,
Chaftitie with Gods helpe is a light carriage.
And therefore in this, I thinke I do not greatly amille.
To marry my daughter I am halfe in doubt,
I will tell you other nations are ^o fcattered about :
That marriages, that I do not greatly allow.
I and mine aunceffors were Englifh men borne,
And though I be but a fimple man.
To marry my daughter to an Allan I thinke fcorne.
And therefore I keepe her from it, fo long as I can. 340

Mo. Yea either they be Allans, or Aliant fonnes indeed.
Who through marriage of Englifh women of late.
Hath altered the true Englifh blood and feed.
And therewithall Englifli plaine maners and good ftate.
All the naughtie fafhions in the world at this day,
Are by Ibme meanes brought into England.
If by fbme meanes they be not commanded away,
Within a while they will vs all withfland.
For here they do not only deuoure and Ipend ;
As they be moft deuourers truly : 350



But our commodities away they do fend,
Rob and fteale from Englifh men daily.

Ped. Mother, there is a ftorie of King J^ertyger^
"Whether it be true to fay or no, I am not able :
JZuguJlus plaid the part of a murtherer ;
But fbme men taketh it but for a fable.
But this is true, out of the South Eaft,
Caine commeth before, and Ihall come againe,
A flraunge, horrible, and monflerous beaft.
By whom all old women (halbe deuoured plalne. jfJo

Daugh. Now mother, fo God helpe me.
They that will beleeue him, is worfe then mad.

Ped. The womanhead of your daughter here I do fee.
I fay no more, of mine honeflie it is too bad.

Ma. By your honeflie, a man may you affbone beleeue,
As I will do a dog when he fweareth by his chriftendome.

Ped. A flopping morfell anon to you I will giue,
I will be euen with you, I fweare by my holydome.

Mo. Is there fuch a beafl as you fpeake off?
And will he deuoure none, but women that be old } 370

Ped. I promife you mother, I do not fcoffe,
DreadfuU he is, and horrible to behold.
An huge beaft, and of a maruellous flrength.
From Douer to JVayd., head, taile, and mouth :
We efteeme him to be larger in length.
And in bredth, from Donwijh to Porchmoutbj
He hath deuoured all the old women in Ajfrkke.,
And now he hafleth into Droppe with all fpeed :
Marchant men can tell you, that vfe there to traflicke.
To talke any more of the matter, what fhall it need. 380

Fa. A Pedler going about to fell lies :
I thinke of them you haue more plenty, than you haue ware,
Such fellowes do nothing elfe but deuife
Tales and Fables, and fuch Lemers as thefe are.

Ped. Father be thefe lies that I fpeake.
He fhall fnatch vp the husband with the wife:

B I And

The Pedlers

And becaufe the old man Gods lawes do breake,

In a flraunge nation he fliall end his life.

But when this fhall come to palTe,

As it fhall come to pafTe be fure of that, 390

Then fathers and mothers fliall crie alafle,

For their own children fhalbe throwne down flat.

Mo. By Saint Anne., but thofe words make me afraide.
The man knoweth more then we perchance:

Ma. Now furely mother as I am true maide,
He knoweth no more then the Faukener of France.

Fed. True maid, fie for fhame, why do ye fweare ?
I know more then the priell fpake of on Sunday :
Remember you not what I faid euen now to you in your
The matter was broken the fix day of May. (eare .-^ 400

But when angrie Saturne fhall haue the regiment,
And rule againe as he did firft:
Then faire maides fliall die through famifhment,
And yoong fpringals fliall perifh for thirfl.

Fa. I loue none of this bibble bable I, by this light,
Pedler hafl thou anie pure fpectacles to fell ?
I would haue a paire that were of an old fight.
For I am aboue threefcore and ten, to you I may tell.

Ma. He hath as manie fpectacles, needles, and pinnes.
He goeth about the countrie vnder that pretence. 410

Mo. Much mony for wares you may take in Innes,
And befides the fame, your charges and expence.

Fed. Father I haue a paire of fpectacles in my packe,

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Online LibraryW. W. (Walter Wilson) GregThe pedlar's prophecy. 1595 → online text (page 1 of 4)