Ajax - THE FIRST SECTION

THE FIRST SECTION

THERE was a very tall and serviceable gentleman, sometime lieutenant of the ordnance, called M. Jaques Wingfield; who coming one day, either of business or of kindness, to visit a great lady in the court, the lady bade her gentlewoman ask, which of the Wingfields it was; he told her Jaques Wingfield: the modest gentlewoman, that was not so well seen in the French, to know that Jaques was but James in English, was so bashful, that to mend the matter (as she thought), she brought her lady word, not without blushing, that it was M. Privy Wingfield; at which, I suppose the lady then, I am sure the gentleman after, as long as he lived, was wont to make great sport.

I fear the homely title prefixed to this treatise (how warlike a sound soever it hath) may breed a worse offence, in some of the finer sort of readers, who may upon much more just occasion condemn it, as a noisome and unsavoury discourse: because without any error of equivocation, I mean indeed to write of the same that the word signifies. But if it might please them a little better to consider, how the place we treat of (how homely soever) is visited by themselves once at least in four and twenty hours, if their digestion be good, and their constitution sound; then I hope they will do me their favour, and themselves that right, not to reject a matter teaching their own ease and cleanliness, for the homeliness of the name; and consequently, they will excuse all broad phrases of speech, incident to such a matter, with the old English proverb that ends thus, For lords and ladies do the same. I know that the wiser sort of men will consider, and I wish that the ignorant sort would learn, how it is not the baseness or homeliness, either of words or matters, that make them foul and obscene; but their base minds, filthy conceits, or lewd intents that handle them. He that would scorn a physician, because for our infirmities' sake, he refuseth not sometime the noisome view of our loathsomest excrements, were worthy to have no help by physic, and should break his divine precept that saith, honour the physician: for necessities' sake God hath ordained him. And he that would honour the makers of aposticchios, or rebatoes, because creatures much honoured use to wear them, might be thought perhaps full of courtesy, but void of wit.

Surely, if we would enter into a sober and sad consideration of our estates, even of the happiest sort of us, as men of the world esteem us, whether we be noble, or rich, or learned, or beautiful, or healthy, or all these (which seldom happeneth) joined together, we shall observe, that the joys we enjoy in this world consist rather in indolentia (as they call it), which is an avoiding of grievances and inconveniences, than in possessing any passing great pleasures; so durable are the harms that our first parents fall hath laid on us, and so poor the helps that we have in ourselves: finally, so short and momentary the contentments that we fish for, in this ocean of miseries, which either we miss (fishing before the net, as the proverb is), or if we catch them, they prove but like eels, sleight and slippery. The chiefest of all our sensual pleasures, I mean that which some call the sweet sin of lechery, though God knows it hath much sour sauce to it, for which notwithstanding many hazard both their fame, their fortune, their friends, yea their souls, which makes them so oft break the first commandment, that when they hear it read at Church, they leave the words of the Communion book, and say, Lord have mercy upon us, it grieves our hearts to keep this law. And when the commination is read on Ash-Wednesday, wherein is read, Cursed be he that lieth with his neighbour's wife, and let all the people say, Amen:<1> these people either say nothing, or as a neighbour of mine said he hem: I say this surpassing pleasure, that is so much in request, and counted such a principal solace, I have heard confessed before a most honourable person, by a man of middle age, strong constitution, and well practised in this occupation, to have bred no more delectation to him (after the first heat of his youth was past) then to go to a good easy close-stool, when he hath had a lust thereto (for that was his very phrase). Which being confessed by him, and confirmed by many, makes me take this advantage thereof in the beginning of this discourse, to prefer this house I mind to speak of, before those which they so much frequent:<2> neither let any disdain the comparison. For I remember, how not long since, a grave and godly lady,<3> and grandmother to all my wife's children, did in their hearings, and for their better instruction, tell them a story, which though I will not swear it was true, yet I did wish the auditory would believe it, namely, how an Hermit being carried in an evening, by the conduct of an Angel, through a great city, to contemplate the great wickedness daily and hourly wrought therein, met in the street a gong-farmer with his cart full laden, no man envying his full measure. The poor Hermit, as other men did, stopped his nostrils, and betook him to the other side of the street, hastening from the sour carriage all he could; but the Angel kept on his way, seeming no whit offended with the savour. At which, while the Hermit marvelled, there came not long after by them, a woman gorgeously attired, well perfumed, well attended with coaches and torches, to convey her perhaps to some nobleman's chamber. The good Hermit somewhat revived with the fair sight and sweet savour, began to stand at the gaze. On the other side, the good Angel now stopped his nose, and both hastened himself away, and beckoned his companion from the place: at which the Hermit more marvelling than before, he was told by the Angel, that this fine courtesan laden with sin, was a more stinking savour afore God and his holy angels, than that beastly cart, laden with excrements. I will not spend time to allegorize this story, only I will wish all the readers may find as sure a way to cleanse and keep sweet the noblest part of themselves, that is, their souls, as I shall show them a plain and easy way to keep sweet the basest part of their houses, that is, their sinks. But to the intent I may bind myself to some certain method, I will first awhile continue as I have partly begun, to defend by most authentical authorities and examples, the use of these homely words in so necessary matters. Secondly, concerning the matter itself, I will show how great an extraordinary care hath been had in all ages, for the good ordering of the same. Lastly, for the form, I will set down the cheapest, perfectest, and most infallible, for avoiding all the inconveniences the matter, is subject to, that hitherto (if I and many more be not much deceived) was ever found out.

When I was a truantly scholar in the noble university of Cambridge, though I hope I had as good a conscience as other of my pew-fellows, to take but a little learning for my money, yet I can remember, how a very learned and reverend divine held this question in the schools, Scripturae stiles non est barbarus; The style or phrase of the Scripture is not barbarous. Against whom one replied with this argument:

That which is obscene, may be called barbarous.
But the Scripture is in many places obscenous:
Therefore the Scripture may be called barbarous.

To which syllogism was truly answered (as I now remember, denying the minor), that though such phrases to us seem obscene, and are so when they are used to ribaldry, or lasciviousness; yet in the Scripture they are not only void of incivility, but full of sanctity: that the prophets do in no place more effectually, more earnestly, nor more properly beat down our pride and vanity, and open to our eyes the filthiness and horror of our sins, than by such kind of phrases; of which they recited that, where it is said, that the sins of the people were, quasi pannus menstruatae universae justitiae nostrae <4> that a common or strange woman (for so the Scripture covertly termeth a harlot), hath her quiver open for every arrow; that an old lecherous man, is like a horse that neigheth after every mare, &c.: to which I could add many more; if I affected copiousness in this kind; some in broad speeches, some in covert terms, expressing men's shame, men's sins, men's necessities. Quinque aureos, anos facietis pro quinque satrapis: which our English of Geneva translates very modestly. Ye shall make five golden emeralds for five noblemen or princes. <5> Which word I am sure, many of the simple hearers and readers, take for a precious stone of the Indians, set in gold; and so they shall still take it for me; for that ignorance may perhaps do them less hurt in this matter, then further knowledge; but yet what a special Scripture that is to God's glory and their shame, appears by David's prophecy in the 77th Psalm; where he saith, Percussit inimicos suos in posteriora, opprobrium sempiternum dedit illis; He smote his enemies in the hinder parts, and put them to a perpetual shame. In remembrance whereof, in some solemn liturgies until this day, the same chapter of Aureos anos is read.

What should I speak of the great league between God and man, made in circumcision? impressing a painful stigma or character in God's peculiar people; though now most happily taken away in the holy Sacrament of baptism. What the word signified, I have known reverent and learned men have been ignorant: and we call it, very well, circumcision and uncircumcision; though the Rhemists (of purpose belike to vary from Geneva) will needs bring in prepuce: which word was after admitted into the theatre with great applause, by the mouth of master Tarlton the excellent comedian; when many of the beholders, that were never circumcised, had as great cause as Tarlton to complain of their prepuce. But to come soberly, and more nearly to our present purpose; in the Old Testament, the phrase is much used of covering the feet; and in the New. Testament, he that healeth and helpeth all our infirmities, useth the word draught; that that goeth into the man, is digested in the stomach, and cast out into the draught.<6> Lastly, the. blessed apostle St. Paul, being rapt in contemplation of divine blissfulness, compares all the chief felicities of the earth, esteeming them (to use his own word) as stercora, most filthy dung, in regard of the joys he hoped for. In imitation of which zealous vehemency, some other writers have affected to use such phrase of speech, but with as ill success as the ass that leaped on his master at his coming home, because he saw a little spaniel, that had so done, much made of: for indeed, these be counted but foulmouthed beasts for their labours.

But to conclude these holy authorities, worthy to be alleged in most reverent and serious manner, and yet here also I hope without offence: let us come now to the ridiculous rather than religious customs of the pagans; and see, if this contemptible matter I treat of, were despised among them; nay, rather observe, if it were not respected with a reverence, with an honour, with a religion, with a duty, yea with a deity, and no marvel: for they that had gods and goddesses, for all the necessaries of our life, from our cradles to our graves; viz. 1. for sucking, 2. for swathing, 3. for eating, 4. for drinking, 5. for sleeping, 6. for husbandry, 7. for venery, 8. for fighting, 9. for physic, 10. for marriage, 11. for childbed, 12. for fire, 13. for water, 14. for the thresholds, 15. for the chimneys: the names of which I do set down by themselves, to satisfy those that are curious; 1. Lacturtia, 2. Cunina, 3. Edulcia, 4. Potina, 5. Morpheus, 6. Pan, 7. Priapus, 8. Bellona, 9. Aesculapius, 10. Hymen, 11. Lucina and Vagitanus, 12. Aether, 13. Salacia, 14. Lares, 15. Penates. I say, you must not think they would commit such an oversight, to omit such a necessary, as almost in all languages hath the name of necessity, or ease: wherefore they had both a god and a goddess, that had the charge of the whole business: the god was called Stercutius, as they write, because he found so good an employment for all manner of dung, as to lay it upon the land: or perhaps it was he that first found the excellent mystery of the kind setting of a parsnip (which I will not here discover, because I heard of a truth, that a great lady that loved parsnips very well, after she had heard how they grew, could never abide them); and I would be loath to cause any to fall out of love with so good a dish. Nevertheless (except they will have better bread than is made of wheat), they must (how fine soever they be) give M. Stercutius leave to make the land able to bear wheat. But the goddess was much more especially, and properly assigned for this business, whose name was Dea Cloacina; her statue was erected by Titus Tatius, he that reigned with Romulus, in a goodly large house of office (a fit shrine for such a saint), which Lodovicus Vives cites out of Lactantius.

But he that will more particularly inform himself of the original of all these petty gods and goddesses, as also of the greater, which they distinguish by the name of Dii consentes, which are, according to old Ennius' verse, divided into two ranks of lords and ladies.

Juno, Vesta, Minerva, Ceresque, Diana, Venus.
Mars, Mercurius, Neptunus, Jovis, Vulcanus, Apollo.<7>

Of all which, St. Augustine writes most divinely to overthrow their divinity; and therefore I refer the learned and studious reader to his fourth and sixth books de Civitate Dei; where the original and vanity of all these gods and goddesses is more largely discoursed: with a pretty quip to Seneca the great philosopher; who being in heart half a Christian, as was thought,<8> yet, because he was a senator of Rome, was fain (as St. Augustine saith) to follow that he found fault with, to do that he disliked, to adore that he detested. But come we to my stately dame Cloacina, and her lord Stercutius; though these were not of the higher house called Consentes, yet I hope for their antiquity, they may make great comparison; for he is said to have been old Saturn, father to Picus that was called Jupiter; and Cloacina was long before Priapus, and so long before Felicity, that St. Augustine writes merrily, that he thinks verily, Felicity forsook the Romans for disdain that Cloacina and Priapus were deified so long before her; adding, Imperium Romanorum propterea grandius, quam felicius fuit. The Roman empire therefore was rather great than happy. But howsoever lady Felicity disdains her, no question but madam Cloacina was always a very good fellow: for it is a token of special kindness to this day, among the best men in France, to reduce a syllogism in Bocardo together: insomuch, as I have heard it seriously told, that a great magnifico of Venice, being ambassador in France, and hearing a noble person was come to speak with him, made him stay till he had untied his points; and when he was new set on his stool, sent for the nobleman to come to him at that time, as a very special favour. And for other good fellowships, I doubt not but from the beginning it hath often happened, that some of the nymphs of this gentle goddess have met so luckily with some of her devout chaplains, in her chapels of ease, and paid their privy tithes so duly, and done their service together with such devotion, that for reward she hath preferred them within forty weeks after to Juno Lucina, and so to Vagitana, Lacturtia, and Cunina; for even to this day such places continue very fortunate. And, whereas I named devotion, I would not have you think, how homely soever the place is, that all devotion is excluded from it; for I happening to demand of a dear friend of mine, concerning a great companion of his, whether he were religious or no, and namely, if he used to pray: he told me, that to his remembrance he never heard him ask any thing of God, nor thank God for any thing, except it were at a Jakes, he heard him say, he thanked God, he had had a good stool. Thus you see a good stool might move as great devotion in some men, as a bad sermon; and sure it suits very well, that Quorum Deus est venter, eorum templum sit cloaca. He that makes his belly his god, I would have him make a Jakes his chapel: but he that would indeed call to mind how Arius, that notable and famous, or rather infamous heretic, came to his miserable end upon a Jakes, might take just occasion even at that homely business to have godly thoughts, rather than as some have, wanton, or most have, idle. To which purpose, I remember in my rhyming days, I wrote a short elegy upon a homely emblem; which; both verse and emblem, they have set up in Cloacina's chapel, at my house, very solemnly. And I am the willinger to impart it to my friends, because I protest to you truly, a sober gentleman protested to me seriously, that the, conceit of the picture and the verse was an occasion to put honest and good thoughts into his mind. And Plutarch defends with many reasons, in his book called Symposeons, <9> that where the matters themselves, often are unpleasant to behold, their counterfeits are seen not without delectation.

{Illustration 3 an elder tempted while at stool}

A godly father, sitting on a draught,
To do as need and nature hath us taught,
Mumbled (as was his manner) certain prayers,
And unto him the devil straight repairs!
And boldly to revile him he begins,
Alleging that such prayers are deadly sins;
And that he show'd he was devoid of grace,
To speak to God from so unmeet a place.
The reverent man, though at the first dismay'd,
Yet strong in faith, to Satan thus he said:
Thou damned spirit, wicked, false and lying,
Despairing thine own good, and ours envying;
Each take his due, and me thou canst not hurt,
To God my prayer I meant, to thee the dirt.
Pure prayer ascends to him that high doth sit,
Down falls the filth, for fiends of hell more fit.

Wherefore, though I grant many places and times are much fitter for true devotion, yet I dare take it upon me, that if we would give the devil no kinder entertainment in his other suggestions, than this father gave him in his causeless reproof (for he gave it him in his teeth, take it how he would); I say we should not be so easily overthrown with his assaults, as daily we are, for lack of due resistance. <10> But come we now to more particular, and not so serious, matter. Have not many men of right good conceit, served themselves with divers pretty emblems of this excremental matter; as that in Alciat, to show that base fellows oft-times swim in the stream of good fortune, as well as the worthiest?

Nos quoque poma notamus.<11>

Or as the old proverb, as well as emblem, that doth admonish men not to contend with base and ignominious persons:

Hoc scio pro certo, quod si cum stercore certo
Vinco ceu vincor, semper ego maculor.
I know if I contend with dirty foes,
I must be soil'd, whether I win or lose.

Which emblem had almost hindered me the writing of this present discourse, save that a good friend of mine told me, that this is a fancy, and not a fight; and that if it should grow to a fight, he assured me I had found so excellent a ward against his chief dart, which is his strong breath, that I were like to quit my hands in the fray as well as any man. But to proceed in these rare emblems: who hath not read or heard of the picture made in Germany, at the first rising of Luther? where to show, as it were by an emblem, with what dross and draff the Pope and his partners fed the people, they caused him to be portrayed in his pontificalibus riding on a great sow, and holding before her taster a dirty pudding: which dirty device, Sleidan the historian, very justly and gravely, both reports and reproves; yet it served a turn for the time, and made great sport to the people. But when this May-game was done, an hundred thousand of them came home by weeping-cross; so as the poor sow was not only sold by the ears, but sold by a drum, or slain by the sword. Yet the Flanders cow had more wit than the German sow: for she was made after another sort; viz. the mirror of princes feeding her, the terror of princes spurring her; the Prince of Orange milking her; or after some such fashion, for I may fail in the particulars; but the conclusion was, that Monsieur d'Allanson <12> (who indeed with most noble endeavour, though not with so happy success, attempted them) would have pulled her back by the tail, and she defiled his fingers. And thus much for emblems. Now for poesy (though emblems also are a kind of poesy), I rather doubt that the often usage of such words will make the poets be condemned, than that the poets' authorities will make the words be allowed: but if their example can give any countenance to them, they shall want none.

It is certain, that of all poems the epigram is the wittiest; and of all that write epigrams, Martial is counted the pleasantest. He, in his 38th epigram of his first book, hath a distichon that is very pliable to my purpose: of one that was so stately, that her close-stool was of gold, but her drinking-cup of glass:

Ventris onus puro, nec te pudet excipis auro:
Sed bibis in vitro, carius ergo cacas.
<">13>

And in the same book, to a gentlewoman that had a pleasure to have her dog lick her lips, as many do now a days:

Os et labra, tibi lingit Manneia, Catellus:
Non miror, merdas si libet esse cani.
The dog still licks thy lips, but no hurt;
I marvel not, to see a dog eat dirt
. <14>

Further, in his third book, he mocks one of his fellow poets, that drove away all good company with his verses; every man thought it such a penance to hear them.

Nam tantos, rogo, quis ferat labores?
Et stanti legis, et legis sedenti:
Currenti legis, et legis cacanti,
In Thermas fugio: sonas ad aurem, &c.
Alas my head with thy long readings aches,
Standing or sitting, thou readest every where.
If I would walk, if I would go t'AJAX:

If to the bath, thou still art in mine ear.<15>

Where, by the way, you may note that the French courtesy I spake of before, came from the Romans; since, in Martial's time, they shunned not one the other's company at Monsieur AJAX. But now it may be, some man will say, that these wanton and ribald phrases were pleasing to those times of licentiousness and paganism that knew not Christ; but now they are abhorred and detested, and quite out of request. I would to God, with all my heart, he lied not that so said; and that indeed religion could root out, as it should do, all such wanton and vain toys (if they be all wanton and vain); yet I am sure, that even in this age, and in this realm, men of worth and wit have used the words and phrases, in as homely sort as Martial; some in light, some in serious matter. Among Sir Thomas More's epigrams, that fly over all Europe for their wit and conceit, the very last (to make a sweet conclusion) is this:

Sectile ne tetros porrum tibi spiret odores,
Protinus a porro fac mihi cepe vores.
Denuo foetorem si vis depellere cepe:
Hoc facile efficient allia mansa tibi;
Spiritus at si post etiam gravis, allia restat,
Aut nihil, aut tantum, tollere merda potest.

Which, for their sakes that love garlic, I have taken some pains with, though it went against my stomach once or twice.

If leeks you leek, but do their smell disleek,
Eat onions, and you shall not smell the leek:
If you of onions would the scent expel,
Eat garlic, that shall drown the onions' smell:
But against garlic's savour, at one word,
I know but one receipt, what's that? go look. <16>

Nay fie, will you name it, and read it to ladies: thus you make them blame me that meant no less. But to come again to pleasant Sir Thomas; he hath another epigram, that though this was but a sour one, I durst as lief be his half at this, as at that, and it is about a medicine for the colic.

Te crepitus perdit nimium, si ventre retentes,
Te propere emissus servat item crepitus:
Si crepitus servare potest, et perdere, nunquid
Terrificis crepitus regibus aqua potest?

Thus illfavouredly in English; for I will tell you true, my muse was afraid to translate this epigram, and she brought me out three or four sayings against it, both in Latin and English; <17> and two or three shrewd examples, both of this last poet who died not of the colic, and of one Collingborne that was hanged for a distichon of a cat, a rat, and a dog. Yet I opposed Murus aheneus esto nil conscire sibi,<18> and so with much ado she came out with it.

To break a little wind, sometime one's life doth save,
For want of vent behind, some folk their ruin have.
A power it hath therefore, of life and death express:
A king can cause no more, a crack doth do no less.

And when she had made it in this sorry fashion, she bade me wish my friends, that no man should follow Sir Thomas More's humour, to write such epigrams as he wrote, except he had the spirit to speak two such apophthegms as he spake; of which the last seems to fall fit into our text. <19> The first was, when the king sent to him to know if he had changed his mind; he answered, yea: the king sent straight a counsellor to him to take his subscription to the six articles. Oh, said he, I have not changed my mind in that matter, but only in this; I thought to have sent for a barber, to have been shaved ere I had died; but now, if it please the king, he shall cut off head, and beard, and all together. But the other was milder and prettier; for after this, one coming to him as of good will, to tell him he must prepare him to die, for he could not live: he called for his urinal, and having made water in it, he cast it and viewed it (as physicians do) a pretty while; at last he sware soberly, that he saw nothing in that man's water, but that he might live, if it pleased the king. A pretty saying, both to note his own innocency, and move the prince to mercy. And it is like, if this tale had been as friendly told the king, as the other perhaps was unfriendly enforced against him, sure the king had pardoned him. But alas! what cared he, or (to say the truth) what need he care, that cared not for death? But to step back to my teshe (though every place I step to yields me sweeter discourse); what think you by Haywood, that escaped hanging with his mirth? The king being graciously and (as I think) truly persuaded that a man that wrote so pleasant and harmless verses, could not have any harmful conceit against his proceedings; and so by the honest motion of a gentleman of his chamber, saved him from the jerk of the six stringed whip. This Haywood, for his proverbs and epigrams, is not yet put down by any of our country, though one M. Davies doth indeed come near him, that graces him the more in saying he puts him down. But both of them have made sport with as homely words as ours be; one, of a gentlewoman's glove, save that without his consent it is no good manners to publish it; but old Haywood saith:

Except wind stand, as never wind stood,
It is an ill wind blows no man good.

And another not unpleasant, one that I cannot omit.

By word without writing one let out a farm,
The lessee most lewdly the rent did retain,
Whereby the lessor wanting writing had harm:
Wherefore he vowed, while life did remain,
Without writing never to let thing again.
Husband, quoth the wife, that oath again revart,
Else without writing you cannot let a crack.
God thank thee, sweet wife, quoth he, from my heart.
And so on the lips did her lovingly smack.

Such a thing it was; but not having the book here, and my memory being no better than I would have it, I have stumbled on it as well as I can. But now to strike this matter dead with a sound authority indeed, and in so serious a matter, as under heaven is no weightier, to such a person, as in the world is no worthier, from such a scholar, as in Oxford was no learneder, mark what a verse here is in an eucharistical and parenetical verse. He saith:

Italici Augiae stabulum foedamque cloacam,
A te purgari Romanaque
σκυβαλα(skybala) tolli.<20>

If he had said stercora, I could guess well enough what it had meant, but that the Greek hath in some ears a better emphasis. Thus writes their great Campiano μαστιξ (mastix)<21> that confounds all the Puritano Papistas; and yet to say truly, I make no great boast of his authority to my text. If I had alleged him in divinity, I would have stood lustily to it, and said αυτοσ εφα (autos epha)<22>, but for verses in praise of his mistress, there be twenty of us may set him to school: for be it spoken, without disgrace or dispraise to his poetry, such a metaphor had been fitter for a plain dame abhorring all princely pomp, and not refusing to wear russet coats, than for the magnificent majesty of a maiden monarch. Believe me, I would fain have made him speak good rhyme in English; but (as I am a true Misacmos) I beat my brains about it, the space that one may go with the tide from London Bridge, down where the priest fell in upon the maid, and from thence almost to Wapping, yet I could not couch it into a cleanly distichon. But yet, because I know mistress Philostilpnos will have a great mind to know what it means, I will tell her by some handsome circumlocution. His meaning is, that a lady of ladies, did for zeal to the Lord of lords, take the like pains to purge some popish abuses, as the great giantly Hercules did for Augeus. Now what manner of work that was, in the process of this discourse, one way or other, you shall see me bring it in; though yet I know not where will be the fittest place for it: here yet you see by the way I have told, the man's meaning reasonable mannerly; yet still methink I can say of his metaphor,

That still (methink) he us'd a phrase as pliant,
That said, his mistress was for wit a giant.

But I pray you let me go back again to merry Martial: for I should have one more of his, if I have not lost it. Ad Phoebum. Oh, here I have it.

Utere lactucis et mollibus utere malvis,
Nam faciem, duram, Phoebe, cacantis habes
.<23>

He advises him to take somewhat to make him soluble; for his face looked as if he were asking, who should be M. Mayor the next year. But I think this jest was borrowed of Vespasian's fool, or else the fool borrowed it of him; but the jest is worthy to be received into this discourse. This fool had jested somewhat at all the board, and Vespasian himself: and belike he thought it was ill playing with edge tools and emperors; but Vespasian commanded him, and promised him frank pardon, to break a good jest upon him. Well, sir (then said the fool), I will but tarry till you have done your business; whereby he quipped the Emperor's ill feature of face, that even when he was merriest, looked as if he had been wringing hard on a close-stool. But let us seek some better authorities than epigrams and jesters: sure I am I shall find in history, which is called nuncia vetustatis, vita memoriae, the reporter of antiquities, the life of memory, many phrases expressing the same action, and not thinking their style any whit abased thereby. He that writes the first book of Samuel, tells that David did cut off the lap of Saul's coat, and leaves not to tell what Saul was then doing.<24> The writer of Bassianus' life, tells how he was not only privily murdered, but murdered at the privy. Heliogabulus' body was thrown into a Jakes, as writeth Suetonius. Lastly, the best, and the best written part of all our chronicles, in all men's opinions, is that of Richard the Third, written as I have heard by Moorton; but as most suppose, by that worthy and uncorrupt magistrate, Sir Thomas More,<25> some time Lord Chancellor of England; where it is written, how the king was devising with Terril, how to have his nephews privily murdered; and it is added he was then sitting on a draught (a fit carpet for such a counsel). But to leave these tragical matters, and come to comical; look into your sports of hawking and hunting: of which noble recreations, the noble Sir Philip Sidney was wont to say, that next hunting, he liked hawking worst: but the falconers and hunters would be even with him, and say, that these bookish fellows, such as he, could judge of no sports but within the verge of the fair fields of Helicon, Pindus, and Parnassus. Now I would ask you, sir, lest you should think I never read Sir Tristram: Do you not sometime (beside the fine phrase, or rather metaphor, of inewing a woodcock) talk both of putting a heron to the mount, and then of his slicing? tell of springing a pheasant and a partridge, and find them out by their dropping? Do you not further, to judge of your hawk's health, look on her casting? If it be black at one end, and the rest yellow, you fear she hath the philanders: if it be all black, you shall see and smell she is not sound. Lastly, you have a special regard to observe, if she make a clean mute. Moreover for hunting, when you have harboured a stag, or lodged a buck, doth not the keeper before he come to rouse him from his lodging (not without some ceremony), show you his femishing, that thereby you may judge if he be a seasonable deer? And soon after follows the melodious cry of the hounds, which the good lady could not hear because the dogs kept such a barking. And when all this is done, and you are rehearsing at dinner what great sport you have had, in the midst of your sweet meats, in comes Melampus or Ringwood, <26 > that sang the base that morning, and in the return home lighted upon some powdered vermin, and lays a chase under the table that makes all as sweet as any sugar-carrion; and all this you willingly bear with, because it is your pastime. Thus you must needs confess it is more than manifest, that without reproof of ribaldry or scurrility, writings, both holy and profane, emblems, epigrams, histories, and ordinary and familiar communication, admit the use of the words with all their appurtenances: in citing examples whereof I have been the more copious, because of this captious time; so ready to backbite every man's work, and I would forewarn men not to bite here, lest they bite an unsavoury morsel. But here methink it were good to make a pause, and (as it were at a long dinner) to take away the first course, which commonly is of the coarsest meat, as powdered beef and mustard; or rather (to compare it fitter) fresh beef and garlic, for that hath three properties more suiting to this discourse: to make a man wink, drink, and stink. Now for your second course, I could wish I had some larks and quails, but you must have such as the market I come from will afford; always remembered, that our retiring place, or place of rendezvous (as is expedient when men have filled their bellies), must be Monsieur AJAX, for I must still keep me to my teshe: wherefore, as I say, here I will make the first stop; and if you mislike not the fare thus far, I will make the second course make you some amends.

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