1. Or rather a Retractation;
2. Or rather a Recantation;
3. Or rather a Recapitulation;
4. Or rather a Replication;
5. Or rather an Examination;
6. Or rather an Accusation;
7. Or rather an Explication;
8. Or rather an Exhortation;
9. Or rather a Consideration;
10. Or rather a Confirmation;
11. Or rather all of them;
12. Or rather none of them.
††††††††††† WHEN I had finished the precedent pamphlet, and in mine own fantasy very sufficiently evacuated my head of such homely stuff, of which it might seem it was very full charged, and showed how little conceit or opinion I had of mine own ability to handle stately matters, by choosing so mean a subject to discharge myself upon: I thought now to rest me awhile, and to gather some strength, by feeding on some finer meats, and making some cullisses and restoratives, for myself out of some other men's kitchens, and not open this vein any more. But I laboured all in vain to stop such a vein: for certain people, of the nature of† those that first dwelt in the Canaries, have, forced me to a further labour. <1> For, whether it were overwatching myself at primero, or eating too much venison, which they say is a very melancholy meat, I know not how: but betimes one morning, when we use commonly to take our sweetest sleep, namely, between eight and half hour past ten, I was either in so strange a dream, or in so strange a melancholy, that methought there came to me a nimble dapper fellow (I cannot hit on his name); one that hath pretty pettifogging skill in the law, and hath been an under sheriff (but not thrice), <2> , and is now in the nature of an attorney; this honest friend told me this solemn tale: I was (saith he) yesternight at supper at ordinary, and there met M. Zoilus, M. Momus, and three or four good natured gentlemen more of the same crew; and toward the end of supper they fell to talking (as their manner is) of certain books lately come forth. And one of them told how Lipsius the great politic (that learned to speak so good English but awhile since) had written a book de Cruce<3>, protesting that though he understood not the language, yet it offended his conscience to see so many crosses in one book, and he have so few in his purse: then they spake of M. Raynold's book against Bellarmine, but they could find no fault with it; for they said it was of a matter they used not to trouble themselves withal: thirdly, they descanted of the new Faerie Queene, and the old both; and the greatest fault they could find in it, was that the last verse disordered their mouths, and was like a trick of seventeen in a sinkapace: Finally, they ran over many men's writing, saying, some wanted rhyme, some wanted reason, and some both. One, they said, was so young that he had not yet learned to write; another, so old he had forgotten to write, and was fit now to be donatus rude,<4> as Horace saith. But to make short, at last one of them pulled out of his bosom a book that was not to be sold in Paul's Churchyard, but only that he had borrowed it of his friend; and it was entitled, The Metamorphosis of A JAX; at which they began to make marvellous sport: and because it was a rainy night they agreed to read over the whole discourse to pass the time with. First, they read the author's name, and though they understood it not, yet that it might not pass without a jest, they swore that it signified, Mise in a sack of moss. They read the letters, and stumbling once or twice on a figure called Prolepsis, or prevention, they were angry their scoffs were so prevented. But when they found Rabelais named, then they were at home; they looked for pure stuff where he was cited for an author.
††††††††††† The letters being ended, they perused the pictures; they swore they were fit for a gong-farmer and a chimneysweeper. <5> Then they fell to the Metamorphosis; it pleased them well: they said it was scurrill, base, shallow, sordid; the ditty, the dirge, the etymology, the pictures, gave matter of jest, of scorn, of derision, of contempt. At last they came to the intent (as they thought) of the whole discourse of reforming master AJAX' ill breath; why, they were so pleased with it, they were ready to untruss, and thought to have gone to it presently: but when they came to the exposition of the name Misacmos, and found it was a hater of filth, it was such a jerk, that they were half out of countenance with it. Zounds! saith one of them, this fellow is an enemy to us; for we are counted but filthy fellows among the grave greybeards. But at last, when they were come to the double distichon directly entitled to them by name, they had no sooner read it but there was such spitting and spelling, as though they had been half choked; they thought they should never get the taste out of their mouths, yet they took immediately, fifty pipes of tobacco between five of them, and an ounce or two of kissing comfits.<6> And soon after swearing over a paternoster or two, and cursing two or three credos (I mean the pox and three or four small curses), they vowed a solemn revenge; and taking pen and ink, they fall to quoting of it, meeting with some matter almost in every page, either to deride or to carp at; and when they had done (for it would make a book to tell all that passed among them), at last one of them who had some judgment, but not less malice than the rest, said in great choler, doth this idleiheaded writer, because he can tell a tale of old Stercutius out of St. Augustine, think that his wit will serve him to find means to amend the ill savours in Richmond and Greenwich? No, if Hercules that served Augeus, if Atlas that sustained the world, if St. Christopher that is painted at
††††††††††† The manner of the accusation was not much unlike the assault of a town: For first, they skirmished as it were with small shot, which I bare off with the armour and shield of plain dealing and honest supplicity; but finding their forces increase, I was glad to retire me into the castle of innocency; where they made a sore battery with rabinets, minions, sakers, and demicanons; for, as God would have it, they had no canons: <9> but thus they objected, and thus I answered.
††††††††††† 1. Some laid to my charge, I was an idle fellow, and showed by my writings I had little to do. Alas! said I, it is too true; and therefore, if you know any man that hath an office to spare, you may do well to prefer me to it: for it were a bad office that I would not change for this I have taken upon me; and if I had another, I would be content this were divided among you.
††††††††††† 2. Some said I was such a fool, to think seriously the device worthy to be published, and put in practice as a common benefit; trust me that is true too.
††††††††††† 3. Some supposed that because my writings now lay dead, and had not been thought of this good while, I thought (as Alcibades cut off his dog's tail to make the people talk of his curtail), so I would send my muse abroad masking naked in a net, that I might say,
Num iterum volito viva per ora virum.<10>
††††††††††† Of my honour that is not true. Will you deny it on your oath? Nay, by our Lady, not for a thousand pounds.
††††††††††† 4. Some said plainly, because my last work was another man's invention, and that some fine phrase-making fellows had found a distinction between a versifier and a poet, I wrote this to show I could be both when I listed, though I mean to be neither: as Thales Milesius, by making himself rich in one year, showed his contempt of riches. The devil of the lie that is.
††††††††††† 5. Some surmised against me, that because the time is so toying, that wholesome meats cannot be digested without wanton sauce, and that even at wise men's tables, fools have most of the talk, therefore I came in with a babble to have my tale heard: I must needs confess it.
††††††††††† 6. Some said, that in emulation of outlandish wits, and to be one of the first English that had given the venture to make the title of his work the worst part of it, I was persuaded to write of such an argument: I will never deny that while I live.
††††††††††† 7. Some affirmed, that I had taken this laughing liberty to grace some that have favoured me, and grate against some that had galled me: guilty, my lord.
††††††††††† Alas! poor gentleman (say the standers by), he will be condemned certainly for this that he hath confessed already, if he be not saved by his book: let us hear what he will answer to the rest of the indictment.
††††††††††† 8. You did mean some disgrace in the letter afore the book, and in many passages of the book itself, to ladies and gentlewomen. Who, I? Gó damn me if I love them not; I fear more to be damned for loving them too well.
††††††††††† 9. You did think to scoff at some gentlemen that have served in some honourable services, though with no great good success. As I am a gentleman, not guilty; neither do I mean any; but such as will needs be called M. Captains, having neither carried out with them, nor brought home with them, worth, wealth, or wit.
††††††††††† 10. You did seek to discredit the honest meaning and laudable endeavours of some zealous and honest men, that seek for reformation, and labour faithfully and fruitfully in the world. To this, in all and every not guilty; provided they rail not against bishops, nor against the communion book.
††††††††††† 11. You did intend some scorn to great magistrates and men in authority, either alive or deceased, under covert names to cover some knavery. Knavery? no, as God judge me, my lord, not guilty: the good year of all the knavery and knaves for me. By whom will you be tried? By the queen and the ladies, by the counsel and the lords. What, saucy younker, will not meaner trial serve you? No, good faith, my lord; I loved alway to be the worst of the company.
††††††††††† Well, sirrah, this is the judgment of the court: that because there is hope that you may prove a wiser man hereafter, and that you have some better friends than you are worthy of, you shall have this favour; if the indictment happen to be found, you shall traverse it, and you shall choose twelve freeholders bonos et legales homines,<11> that shall inquire of the quality of your discourse, and bring in their verdict quindena pascha;<12> and if they find you guilty, you shall have a hole bored in your ear. What to do; to wear my mistress' favour at? Now, God save your mistress' life, my lord. Clerk of the peace, draw his indictment upon the four last articles that he denied, and upon the statute of Scandala; <13> for I tell you we must teach you to learn the laws of the realm, as well as your rules of poetry. Laws? I trow I have the law at my fingers ends:
Aurea perdentes super et sint pillory stantes
Scanda rumantes in regis consiliantes;
Aut in magnates nova sediciosa loquentes,
Non producentes autores verba serentes.
Their ears must on the pillory be nail'd
That have against her Highness' counsel rail'd;
Or such as of the peers foul brutes do scatter,
And cannot bring their author for the matter.
††††††††††† Wherefore, you shall find I will keep me safe enough from scandalizing. And if you do, it is the better for you.
††††††††††† What is your name? Misacmos. What? it is a Welsh name, I think: Of whence do you write yourself? Misacmos, of
††††††††††† But having somewhat better pondered with myself this foresaid fancy, I was somewhat troubled with it, not so much for those hanging metaphors, for as a good knight of our country said, gog's soul sirs, the best gentleman of us all, need not forswear hanging, but that I thought that my genius hereby presaged to me some peril to my reputation, of the sundry censures I should incur, by letting such a pamphlet fly abroad at such a time, when every thing is taken at the volley; and therefore I held it not unnecessary, as much as in me lay, to keep it from the view and censure of all such as were like to deride it, despise it, or disgrace it; and to recommend it only to all such as I thought would allow it and approve it. For to confess the truth frankly to you, my good cousins, ο και η φιλοστιπνος (O kai e philostilpnos)<15>, I desire not altogether to have it concealed, lest some hungry promoting fellows should beg it as a concealment, and beg the author also, for writing a thing that he were ashamed to show; but if I might govern the matter as I would, I would generally recommend it only to such as have houses and families of their own. For I remember I have read of a certain king of the Lacedemonians, that being one day private in his garden, was teaching one of his sons of five years old to ride on a stick, and unawares a great ambassador came to speak with him, and found him in the manner: at which, both the king and the ambassador in the king's behalf began to blush at first; but soon after, the king put away the blush and the hobby-horse together, and with a pretty smile asked the ambassador if he had any little children of his own; he answered, no: then, said he, I pray you tell not what you found me doing, till you have some little ones of your own, and then tell it, and spare not: for even so, I would request men to forbear reading of this discourse, or at least reproving of it till they had of their own that, that would make them know the commodity and cleanliness of it; and for those that will not, I would but wish them (as Martial wishes to Charinus),
Quid imprecabor O Severe liventi,
Opto Mulos habeat et suburbanum.<16>
††††††††††† So I would they could ride on their footcloth, and had a house, and A JAX of their own. Yet, surely it may be, it were the wisest way to show it to none at all; and so I half wish sometimes: but because every general rule must have his exception, you shall see whom I would be content both the discourse and the device may be showed unto.
††††††††††† <17>1. First, to a good and judicious scholar; for he will read it, ere he will judge of it, and say, omnia probate;<18> and then perhaps, after he hath read it, he will smile, and say it is some young scholar's work, that would have showed more wit if he had had it; but it is well, ridentem dicere verum quis vetat,<19> etc. And then he will say, it were good some of his friends would advise him to spend his talent and his time on some better subject. But some supercilious fellow, or some stale scribe, that think men will not judge them to be learned except they find faults, they will swear a man would have written as well, that had read but Marcus Aurelius.
††††††††††† 2. Secondly, I would have it showed to a housekeeper that hath much resort to him; for it were not only a deed of charity to help such a one, but a sin to hide it from him; for else he may pick a quarrel, and say, that this same company hath so stenched up his house, that he must be forced to lie at London till his house be made sweeter.<20>
††††††††††† 3. Thirdly, if one be a builder and no housekeeper, let him see it too, for he loves to have all fine for his heir; and perhaps I would be content for the love I have had to that humour, that my master his son, were married to his mistress my daughter, as Heywood saith of a lusty old widower, that wooed a young woman, and boasting how well he would provide for his son:
In a short tale, when his long tale was done,
She pray'd his go home, and send her his son.
††††††††††† But if one be a builder and a housekeeper both, then I will come home to his house to him; I will read him a lecture of it, I will instruct his workman, I will give him plots and models, and do him all the service I can; for that is a man of my own humour, and a good commonwealths-man; but yet I will give him a caveat in his ear that I learned of Sir Thomas More, if his purse be not well furnished:
Aedificare demos multas, et pascere multos,
Est ad pauperiem, semita laxa nimis.
The way from wealth and store, to want and need,
Is much to build, and many mouths to feed.
††††††††††† 4. Fourthly, if you would know whether you should show it to ladies. Yea, in any wise to all manner of ladies; of the court, of the country, of the city; great ladies, lesser ladies, learned, ignorant, wise, simple, foul, well-favoured, painted, unpainted, so they be ladies, you may boldly prefer it to them: for your milkmaids and country housewives may walk to the woods to gather strawberries, &c.
††††††††††† But greater states cannot do so; and therefore for them it is a commodity more than I will speak of; yet upon a touch of this point, make me but a good rhyme to this line afore dinner:
Within yon tower there is a flower that holds my heart.
††††††††††† Howbeit, you must not show it after one fashion to all; but to the wise and sober, after a plain fashion; to the wanton and waggish, after another fashion; as namely, if they cry (fie for shame) when they hear the title read or such like, do but you say (for company) that it is a mad fantastical book indeed; and when you have done, hide it away, but where they may find it, and by the next day they will be as cunning in it as you; for this is not the first time that I have said of such a kind of book,
In Brutus' presence, Lucrece will refuse it;
Let him but turn his back, and she'll peruse it.
††††††††††† 5. Fifthly, you may show it to all amorous young youths, that will scratch their head but with one finger at once (as Cato noted of Caesar), and had rather be noted of three disorders in their lives than of one in their locks; and especially if they be so cleanly that they will not eat pottage (no not alone), but that they will wipe their spoon between every spoonful, for fear lest their upper lip should infect the nether: for I would think certainly, that such a one, if he be so cleanly as he would seem to be, would make great account of A JAX so well reformed. But yet the world is so full of dissimulation and hypocrisy, that we of the plainer sort may be easily deceived: for I heard of one the last day, in a town a hundred mile from London, that had engrossed all the fine fashions into his hands, of the curling, perfuming, wiping the spoon, &c.; and yet after all this cleanliness went to as common and as deformed A JAX of the feminine gender as any was in the town; and then, alas! what will such a one care for my device.
††††††††††† <21>Lastly, I would have it showed to all good, fat, corpulent men, that carry with them a writ of Corpus cum causa,<22> for they are commonly the best natured men that be; without fraud, without treachery, as Caesar said of Anthony and Dolobella, that he never mistrusted them for any practise because he saw they were fat; but rather Casca and Cassius, that were lean hollow fellows, and cared not for a good dinner: and therefore I would be censured by those good fellows that have less gall; and the rather, because I look every day for press money from the captain, to be employed in the conquest of that country,<23> and this engine of mine is like to be in great request for those services.
††††††††††† But methinks you may say, that here is a marvellous restraint made of showing this discourse of mine, not much unlike to our stage-keepers in Cambridge, that for fear lest they should want company to see their comedies, go up and down with vizors and lights, puffing and thrusting, and keeping out all men so precisely, till all the town is drawn by this revel to the place; and at last, tag and rag, freshmen and subsizars, and all be packed in together so thick, as now is scant left room for the prologue to come upon the stage: for so you may suppose that I would bar all from this pamphlet of mine, save those that can write, or read, or understand. But if you take it thus, you do much mistake it; for there be divers from whom I would keep it as I would from fire and water, as for example:
††††††††††† <24>1. First, from a passing proud fellow, such a one as Naaman the Syrian, that would disdain to wash in Jordan though it would cure him of the leprosy or the pox; and to such, for my part, I would wish they might lay all in their gold breeches, rather than to abase their high conceits so much, as to think upon poor master A JAX.
††††††††††† 2. Secondly, from all manner of fools and jesters, whether they be artificial or natural; for those be so dull, they cannot taste the salt in a piece of well powdered writing; and those be so tart, they will rather lose a friend than a jest: yet if their railing were allayed a little, with the two excellent virtues of flattering and begging, one might hope for some kindness at their hands.
††††††††††† 3. Thirdly, if you spy a fellow with a bay leaf in his mouth, avoid him; for he carrieth a thing about him worse than master A JAX, that all the devices we have cannot reform.
††††††††††† 4. Fourthly, if you see a stale, lean, hungry, poor, beggarly, threadbare cavaliero, like to Lazarillo's master, that when he dined at his own house, came forth with more crumbs of bread on his beard than in his belly, and that being descended of divers nobilities, will do a mean gentleman the honour to borrow ten shillings of him, show it not him; for though he can say nothing against it, yet he will leer under his hat as though he could speak more than he thinks. For such a one that makes not a good meal at home once in a month, hath not a good stool above once in a week, and then he will never say us gramercy for it: and this I may say to you is a consideration of no small importance; for though I must acknowledge that is not one of the meritorious works I look to be saved by, yet to have a prayer or two from some, that perhaps never say a prayer anywhere else, would do me no hurt, nor them neither. And methink I might much better deserve a kn-ave mary to be said for me where my stately A JAX is admitted, and stands men instead, than he for whose soul the young gentleman, the first time he consummated his marriage with his wife, said a paternoster; and being asked for whom he prayed, he told his wife it was for his soul that had taken the pains to make his way so easy for him. Oh! sir, said she, it is a sign you have travelled such ways more than an honest man should have done, that you are so cunning; and so they became good friends. But ware riot, ho! whither am I running? I said, I would keep me from scandalizing; but if I stop not betime, some will think to have their action in the case against me; yet it is good to cast the worst. Suppose, that for my bad inditing, I should be indicted, as it is twenty to one but if the grand jury were pricked by a bad sheriff, out of those four last mentioned suits (and of three of them you shall have a full appearance in most courts of Christendom),<25> they will sure say, billa vera, though they should say of right nothing but ignoramus <26>. But see, see, even with thinking of it I fall again into my former melancholy; methink the indictment is found, I am arraigned, I plead not guilty, I would still be tried by the nobility, by such as build stately palaces and keep great courts, but it will not be granted me; I must have none but freeholders, I chafe at it and would appeal: they cry it is not the course of the common law; I praise the civil law; for there a man may hold play with appealing, if he have a little idle money to spend, three or four years. At last comes the little dapper fellow, my honest attorney, that knew better the course of these matters than I did; and he rounds me in the ear, and tells me, that for forty shillings to master high-sheriff's man that wears the russet satin doublet and the yellow silk stockings, he will undertake I shall have a jury of good freeholders, but for the nobility, it is out of their commission: and, sir (saith he), what need you to stand so much on the nobility, considering you desire to have none but great housekeepers and builders? For suppose you could get three or four to appear, one at Petworth, another hard by there at Coudrey (where, in the old viscount's time, Jupiter hospitalis, is said to have dwelt); and the young lord I hear doth patrisare, or rather I should say avisare<27> (and that is a good word if he will mark it). Say also another dwelt at Ragland in Monmouthshire, where I heard a good knight of Gloucestershire affirm, the most honourable house of that realm was kept; and a fourth at Nonesuch, where the housekeeper for true English noblesse and honour, deserves the name better than the house. But when you shall think to make up the tales, where will you have them? some will be non est inventus in baliva,<28> some that you love best will not be perhaps intro quatuor maria<29>: wherefore the judge was your friend more than you were aware, that gives you choice of freeholders.
††††††††††† Believe me (said I), I think it is so indeed; hold thee, my little dapper knave, there is forty shillings for master sheriff's man to buy him another pair of silk stockings, <30> and there is forty pence for thy good counsel; and see you find me a jury of substantial freeholders, that are good housekeepers, to try my honesty by.
††††††††††† He goeth, and ere an ape can crack a nut (as they say) he brings the names; and master crier he comes, twenty shillings in his shoes, and calls them, though he be sure they cannot hear him, as followeth:
††††††††††† 1. John Harington, of Exton in the county of Rutland, knight; alias John Har: of Burleigh in the county aforesaid, alias of Combe in the county of Warwick, alias of Ooston in the county of Leicester, come into the court, or else, &c. Hath he freehold? Yea, he is a pretty freeholder in all these shires: Moreover, saith a third man, though he be a freeholder, yet he hath married his daughter to one, that for a grandfather, for a father, for two uncles, and three or four aunts, may compare with most men in England. Lastly, a fourth said, and four hundred confirm it, that he relieves many poor and sets them to work; he builds not only his own houses, but colleges and hospitals. Marry, sir, then shall he be foreman of my jury with all my very heart: a builder and an housekeeper both? you cannot devise to please me better. I would there were a decem tales<31> in every shire in
††††††††††† 2. Who is next? Sir John Peter, of Stonden in the county of Essex, knight, a good housekeeper, and a builder both. Hath he freehold? Yea, so, so, I think he may wear velvet and satin (by the statute of 4 and 5 Phil. Ma.), for he may dispend twenty marks a year, ultra reprisas.<32>
††††††††††† Well, because he is a builder and a housekeeper, I hope he will not deny me to be of my jury. The same charge, &c. that Sir John Harington took, you &c.; and so long may you keep a good house. Jury Peter.
††††††††††† 3. Sir John Spenser, knight, a good substantial freeholder in Northamptonshire, and a good housekeeper , and so was the father afore him: Oh! I remember him; he had a poor neighbour once dwelt at Holmeby, that made four verses, if I have not forgot them, were forty shillings out of his way:
Erupuit sors dura mihi, sors altera reddit.
Haec loca quae veteri, rudere structa vides:
Aeternos vivat, magna Elizabetha per annos,
Quae me tam grato, laeto favore beat.<33>
††††††††††† By St. Mary he had good cause to say, well fare a good mistress, or else Holmeby had been joined to your freehold. How say you, worthy knight (and the best man of your name that is, but not that hath been), <34> will you be of our jury? You will say, you know not this same Misacmos. It may be so very well; for I think the fellow doth scarce know himself at this instant, and yet he learned γνοθι σεαυτον (gnothi seauton) <35> twenty years ago. Well, I presume you will not refuse it; for though you never heard of him, it seems he hath heard of you: I will tell you two or three good tokens; you have three or four sisters, good, wellfavoured, wellfeatured, wellstatured, wellnatured women, for plain country wenches; and they were married to men a step or two, or three or four, above the best yeomen of Kent (well fare all good tokens); and one of them is a widow; I beshrew their hearts, and I would their wives were widows that made her so: I trow it was Sir James Harington and your father, that went a begging to make a purse to marry their daughters: but you will make a hundred of us go a begging, if we should follow you: will you have any more tokens yet? you had a brother of Lincoln's Inn, and another they say keeps a good house, for I ween the best housekeeper in England was at his house: yet one token more: you have a learned writer of your name, make much of him, for it is not the least honour of your honourable family. Jury Spenser.
††††††††††† 4. Thomas Stanop, knight, of Shelford in the
††††††††††† 5. Matthew Arundell, knight, of Wardour in the county of Wiltshire, a good freeholder and a builder. Tush! he is no housekeeper, so said one that dwells threescore miles to
††††††††††† Secondly, I have seen both lords and ladies as well entertained in his poor house, and served in as fine plate and porcelain as any is in the north. And admit he were no housekeeper, yet I would have him, because I hear he is a good horsekeeper, a red deer keeper, a fallow deer keeper, and other such base things as may enable him for my jury. Come on, old father Peleus; he looks like Prester John in his furred nightcap; but he hath more wit under that cap than two or three of his neighbours. Will it please you, sir, to be of our jury? It shall cost the life of one of the baldfaced bucks else. What, are you angry I call you Peleus? If I were but another Prometheus, I would swear your fortune should be, to be like Peleus: for the time was, that one wrote of your Thetis, when she waited on Diana at Hatfield;
Who marketh well her grace, thereby may plainly see
A Laura in her face, and not a
††††††††††† Whist! peace (saith my little attorney in mine ear)! you that are so full of your poetry; we shall have a new indictment framed against you, upon the statute of rogues, for telling of fortunes. Have you a verse for that too? Yes, marry, have I, sir:
Fati narrator, Aegiptus prestigiator,
Aure perurantur, simul atque flagella sequantur.
All fortune-tellers, jugglers, and Egyptians,
Are burn'd in th' ear, or whipp'd by law's prescriptions.
††††††††††† Notwithstanding, I trust a man may by poetica licentia, and by example of Virgil, tell fortunes that be past, yet little said is soon amended; howbeit, I will not forget to be thankful to this good knight for one special favour he did me; and that was, he made me go when I was with him at Wardour to as stately A JAX house (for a summer house), and as sweet as any can be, in a standing made in an oak, that hangs over a pond; and marvel not I call it stately: for this master A JAX, if you bring but an angle-rod and a cross-bow with you, will afford choice of three royal sports, to kill deer, fowl, and fish. Now this, I take it, was more than common kindness; and so much for jury Arundell.
††††††††††† 6. Francis Willoughby, knight, of Wollerton in the
††††††††††† 7. John Berin, knight, of the same county, a great good housekeeper; marry, God's blessing on his heart for it. Indeed, I remember they would say, that Sir John Berin for Nottinghamshire, was as great a housekeeper as Sir Edward Baynton in Wiltshire; and then I will be sworn he was a good one. Well, let us make much of him, for there is but a few of them left; I trust he will not refuse me for my jury. Jury Berin.
††††††††††† 8. George Sampoole, knight, a Lincolnshire man, and a Lincoln's Inn man, a good freeholder, and keeps a good house in his country (as I hear); but I know my neighbours of Bath will affirm that he kept good hospitality there; and that he and his fair lady both, are a worthy, virtuous, and a godly couple.
††††††††††† Well, let them be as godly as they may, and as perfect in the Scripture as Priscilla and
††††††††††† 9. Ralph Horsey, knight, the best housekeeper in Dorsetshire, a good freeholder, a deputy lieutenant. Oh, sir, you keep hawks, and hounds, and hunting horses; it may be some mad fellow will say, you must stand in the bath up to the chin, for spending five hundred pounds to catch hares and partridges, that might be taken for five pounds.<38>
††††††††††† But if you do come to
††††††††††† 10. Sir Hugh Portman, of Orchard in the
††††††††††† Well, Sir Hugo, I will come shortly and see your new builded orchard (I think there is not two better orchards in England, and put Kent to it); and when we have conferred for reforming one fault there (you can smell my meaning I am sure), then would I ask your opinion, which makes a man happier, to be wise or rich: I asked a philosopher once, and he said he could not tell, because he saw still the wise men wait at the rich men's doors.
††††††††††† Well, happy are you if you can decide this question, and happier if you cannot decide it. A rich man, a wise man, a builder, and especially a bachelor. Franco, sciolto, slegato, O che felice, stato?<41> Wherefore keep you so still, and believe me it is the happiest state; yet tell not my wife that I say so, for (of my honesty) she will make me unsay it again with all my heart. Jury Portman. Crier count them.
††††††††††† Sir John Harington, one; Sir John Peter, two; Sir John Spenser, three; Sir Thomas Stanop, four; Sir Matthew Arundell, five; Sir Francis Willoughby, six; Sir John Berin, seven; Sir George Sampoole, eight; Sir Ralph Horsey, nine; Sir Hugh Portman, ten. Whoop! why how now, master K. sheriff's man? Here is but ten, give me a noble of my forty shillings back again. Oh, speak soft, sir, you shall have a tales<42> for two more, the best we can get, but we can find no more knights. There is two names more for you. Who have we here? Ralph Sheldon, of Beeley in the
††††††††††† First, let us see what this Sheldon is. Hath he freeholds? Yea, sir, he is a good freeholder, a great housekeeper, a builder, an excellent commonwealths man as any is in all his country; I will warrant you he will be for you.
††††††††††† Not too much of your warrants.<43> What said Henry Tuttle to his grandfather? Give me leave I pray you a little, I have heard he is an unthrift; I have forgotten at what game it was, but I am sure it was said, if he had not fair play played him, he was in danger within these two years to have lost his land by one play or other. By the mass, it is true there was such a matter. Well, let him thank a guiltless conscience and a gracious princess that he sped no worse.<44> Oh, these same oves et boves, et pecora campi,<45> a flock of white sheep in a green field, and a new house on a high hill; I tell you they be perilous tempting marks to shoot at.
††††††††††† It is strange to see the world; not half a year before, I heard one that was a great courtier say, that he thought him one of the sufficientest wise men of England, and fittest to have been made of the council but for one matter; and indeed, by Cornelius Agrippa's rule, that is a right courtier's commendation: For after they had roved three or four idle words to praise a man, straight they mar all at the buts: I would to God, for their own sakes and mine too, they could leave it. Well, master Sheldon, I pray you be of our jury, for you have made a fine house at Weston (but I know one fault in it). Now, though I praise your house like a courtier with a but, you must bring in your verdict like a plain countryman without the but.
††††††††††† Thomas Markham, gentleman, come to the court: which
Thomas Markham, the gentle squire,
Whom Sir Fulke Greville call'd a grimsire.
††††††††††† Yea, it is true; but the case is altered since:† for that same good knight is lame, or else I dare answer he would have appeared on this jury himself (and his son is an honourable gentleman, and a great statesman may do a man displeasure about the queen, it is not good troubling of him). If he be that
††††††††††† Thomas Markham, gentleman, come to the court. Yet again? I tell thee I will none of him, one said he looked black on him: yea, but he that found such fault with his complexion, I heard one tell him was dead, and he answered very charitably, young he was, and poor he was, and knave he was; and so God have mercy on his knave's soul. <49> Accused and said, Lopus had bid him say he was a dangerous man with Cave credas Tanquam stercus memoria impiorum <50> Faith, that is like enough to be his answer. Then it may be he is clear otherwise, though he look black.
††††††††††† Clear, yea on my word. Candido piu nel cuor che di fuor cigno:<51> What is that? Rara avis in terris nigroque similimo cigno;<52> Just as Jermin's lips; now you have compared him well, as white as a black swan. Well, I have no mind to have him of my jury, he is but a poor freeholder, he hath no credit. No credit? why his bond hath been taken for twenty thousand pounds. Hath it? more fool he, I will never trust him for half so much; I pray thee look me some better freeholder. Why, sir? I advise you do not scorn him; though he be no knight, he had a knight to his father, and hath a knight to his son, you may well admit him of your jury. I tell thee, my little knave, thou dost press me beyond good manners; I will not have him. Hark in your ear, they say he is malcontent. Who saith so? Nay, who saith so? Unton is undone;
††††††††††† So you worthy members of your country (God amend you, for I was saying the plague take you all), when you would make malcontents, then your policy gives out first that they be so. Oh, take heed of such a one, he is a dangerous man. A puritan, why so? He will not swear nor ride on a Sunday; then he wishes too well to the Scottish church; note him in your tables. Another is a Papist. How know you? He said he hoped his grandfather's soul was saved. Tush! but he goes to church. Marry, they be the most perilous men of all. And why so, I pray you? If they will venture their souls to pleasure their prince, what do you suspect them of? Oh, if they be Catholic they are Spanish in their hearts, for he is their Catholic king. By my fay, that is somewhat you say; but I pray you, you that are not Spanish but all for the French, what religion is the French king of? Oh, no more of that; you will answer that when
††††††††††† Thomas Markham, gentleman, come into the court, and pluck up thy old spirits. Is not this he that should have been comptroller, and now he is afraid rather to be controlled? What evil hath he done? His second son grew so great he could not find room enough in
††††††††††† Thomas Markham, gentleman, her majesty's servant extraordinary, come to the court. Why, was he once ordinary? Yea, that he was: ask old Hatfield men, and ask them quickly too, for they be almost all gone. Why, man, he was standard-bearer to the worthy band of Gentlemen Pensioners. What! did he leave such a place gratis? yea, gratis the adverb. Why would he leave it? Because it asked such perpetual attendance. Oh, now you have answered me; he shall be none of my jury for that: had he so little wit? Well, sir, saith my attorney, I pray you dally no more but take him, for you may have a worse else: I say unto you he is a right Englishman; a faithful, plain, true, stout gentleman, and a man of honesty and virtue. Out, ass! What dost thou tell me of these stale fashions of the sword and buckler time? I tell thee they are out of request now; honest and virtuous, I durst as leave you had told me a tale of an old Jakes. Of A JAX? Marry, that I can do too: I assure you he loves an easy cleanly Jaxe, marvellous well; and he is a very good fellow at the Jaxe; for if one be his dear friend, he will let him tarry with him, while he is at his business: I think he saith his prayers there, for I will be sworn I heard him say oft-times, I thank God I have had a good stool, &c. May I believe this of your word? Yea, be bold of it, I can prove both this and all the rest by very good witness. Why didst thou not say thus much at the first? I would have had him, though I had gone to Berwick on foot for him: What! a good freeholder, a builder, and a housekeeper, and loves a sweet Jaxe too? though he cannot be Alpha of my jury, yet he shall be Omega. Come on, M. Markham, I must crave less acquaintance of you as grim as you look; did not a lady say once that I should fare the better for that good face of yours, and God thank her for it, so. I did indeed; yet now some will make me believe I fare the worse for it. Be of good cheer, man: What makes you so sad? I have commendations for you from your old friend; Thomas of Ormond<64> hath sent you a hawk will make you live one year the longer. I cannot make him look merrily on me for all this; he sees he cannot live long, he must think of his grave. Tush, man! though you cannot live long, you may linger (an please God) as others have done, some three or four-and-twenty years yet. What say you? no life? M. Richard Drake hath you commended, and would have you get the queen another gelding, for grey Markham will have his old M. fault and fortune both; he will be old, and then they will not care for him. Not a word yet? I will make him speak anon. You shall have your son joined patent with you for Bescood, if he will come home and be a true knight to the crown: what say you to that? Marry, gospel in your mouth, and if he can be proved other I renounce him for my son. Oh, have you found your tongue now? Well, sir, I have a suit to you; I pray you appear on my jury, and give a good verdict of our book called M. AJAX: you know the book well enough; I read you asleep in it once or twice as we went from Greenwich to Westminster. Out upon it, have you put it in print? did not I tell you then, Charles Chester and two or three such scoffing fellows would laugh at you for it? Yes: and did not I tell you again that I would laugh too, and so we might all be merry? Well, grim sire, let me have a friendly verdict, if it be but for teaching you to amend a fault at Bescood, that I felt there twenty-four winters ago; and if you do not say well of it, I will cause one or other that hath been at M. AJAX with you, report it in court to your disgrace; and your Joan shall be disgraced too for tying your points and sitting by you so homely (yet I would I had given a hundred pounds she never had had worse nor untruer tale told of her); and so fare you well, good master Markham, and God send you many a good stool. And thus with much ado the jury was empanneled.
††††††††††† Now began I to have a good hope, nay, rather a firm assurance of my acquittal, having got a jury of so good sufficiency, so great integrity, so sound ability: but it is commonly seen, that in matters depending in controversy, the greatest danger is bred by too much security; for the accusation was so hard followed, that some of the jury began to be doubtful of their verdict, the witnesses were so many, their allegations so shrewd, and the evidence so pregnant. And not only the faults of this present pamphlet, but my former offences, which were before the pardon (contrary to the due course of all courts), were enforced against me. As first, to prove I had wronged not only ladies of the court, but all women's sex, they had quoted a stanza in Hary Osto,<65> beginning thus;
Ye courtly dames that are both kind and true,
Unto your lords, if kind and true be any;
As sure I am in all your lovely crew,
Of so chaste minds there are not over many.
And after, in the host's tale, worse, if worse may be:
Now he began to hold his wife excused;
His anger now a little is relented;
And though that she her body had abused,
And to a servant had so soon consented;
Not her for this, but he the sex accused,
That never can with one man be content;
If all (quoth he) with one like stain are spotted,
Yet on a monster mine was not besotted.
And after, in the person of Rodomont,
Ungrateful,false, crafty you are, and cruel;
Born of our burning hell to be the fuel.
††††††††††† And lastly, in this pamphlet to compare, or rather to confound bawdy houses and Jakes houses, courtesans and carters, with angels and hermits, there were three or four of the jury that said, the time had been, they would have thought it no good manners. But Alpha and Omega, that have ever thought chastity a virtue, acquitted me at last; saying, to scorn vice showed a love of virtue. And for the rest, I pleaded not only a general but a special pardon. Yet, lest the standers by should think I had been guilty, or that I had been burnt in the hand for the like fact before, I answered, that in the verse I did but follow my author, the whole work being enjoined me as a penance by that saint, nay, rather goddess, whose service I am only devoted unto. And as for the verses before alleged, they were so flat against my conscience, that I inserted somewhat more than once, to qualify the rigour of those hard speeches. For example, against railing Rodomont, I said thus:
I tremble to set down in my poor verse,
The blasphemies that he to speak presumes:
And writing this, I do know this, that I
Oft in my heart do give my pen the lie.
††††††††††† And in another place, to free me from all suspicion of pretended malice, and to show a manifest evidence of intended love, where my author very sparingly had praised some wives, I added of mine own (<66>) so much as more
††††††††††† I think was never said for them; which I will here set down ad perpetuam rei memoriam,<67> and that all posterity may know how good a husband I would be thought:
Lo, here a verse in laud of loving wives,
Extolling still our happy married state;
I say they are the comfort of our lives,
Drawing a happy yoke, without debate.
A playfellow, that far off all grief drives;
A steward, early that provides and late;
Faithful and kind, sober and. sweet, and trusty;
Nurse to weak age, and pleasure to the lusty.
††††††††††† Further, for the faults escaped in this fore-alleged pamphlet, I protested I was ready to make a retractation for their better satisfaction; as namely, first, for that homely comparison that I made between my lady Cloacina's house and my lady Flora's nymphs, I take it not to hold in general, but within this exception; except it be a very foul and deformed harlot, or a very clean and reformed AJAX.
††††††††††† Secondly, for the rules of taming a shrew, that I commended for the wiser, I here protest against that rule: for if it have not been followed within the first year or a day, it is too late to prove a new rule afterwards:<68> and therefore I hold it as a rule or maxim, proved by natural philosophy, confirmed by ancient history, and therefore may here be concluded in our poor poetry in this sort:<69>
Concerning wives, take this a certain††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† rule,
That if at first you let them have the†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† rule,
Yourself at last with them shall have no†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† rule,
Except you let them evermore to††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† rule.
††††††††††† At this the whole jury were merry, and agreed all to acquit me. And as for those that articuled against me, some of them are so tickled with this answer, as I am sure they will never accuse me for an enemy to ladies any more.
††††††††††† The next article was for abusing the name of a great soldier, both in that being a Grecian I make him speak in Latrina lingua,<70> and that having been so renowned for his valour in wars, I would say his picture was set in so homely a place, that it might also thereby seem to have been called after his name in English. Now this matter was followed very hotly by half a dozen gallant soldiers, that never saw naked sword out of Fleet-street; and these came in swearing that I had touched them in honour, and they would therefore fight with me about it. The jury seemed to make but light of the matter; but yet to satisfy the gentlemen, especially two of them that had been likened to Brutus and Cassius, and called ultimi Ruffianorum,<71> they wished me to answer them, which I did in this sort: I said I was loath to fight for the justification of my wit: and further, I could name them two honest gentlemen that had offered M. AJAX as great abuse as this, and he had put it up at their hands. They asked who they were? I told them they were two of his countrymen; one they called M. Plato, the other M. Plutarch; of whom the one in his tenth book de Repub. saith, that the soul of AJAX went into a lion, and the other saith, it had been as good for it to have gone into an ass; and both agree that it went into hell. And if reading of this will satisfy you, I will turn you to the place, and lend you the book in Latin or in French; for that I think is your better language; and I protest to you it is an excellent chapter, wherein the same Plutarch very divinely showeth how predestination, and freewill, and chance, may all stand together. The pox on Plutarch and you too (saith one of these fighting fellows), read him who list, for I will never read him: but why should he or you either abuse a soldier's name? Oh, sir, said I, good words I pray you, though I dare say you wish me no worse than you have yourself, for I know you are a gentleman of three descents; but if that be beyond your reading, let me come within compass of your study: I know you have read old Scoggin's jests. Did not he when the French king said he had set our king's picture in the place where his close-stool stands. Sir, saith he, you do the better, for every time you look on him you are so afraid, that you have need of a close-stool. Now, I hope I offer
††††††††††† These swearing fellows being thus discharged, there comes a couple of formal fellows, in black cloaks faced with velvet, and hats suitable to the same; and under their hats little nightcaps, that covered their Epimetheus, but not their Prometheus, having special care to keep their brain warm; yet one of them was said to be a hot-brained fellow; the other had no great fault that I know, save that he would say too long a grace afore dinner; insomuch that one of his own coat told him one day, that if he had thought to have heard a collation, he would have sung a psalm before it. These whispered two or three of the jury in the ear, and after having made a ducking courtesy or two, bade the Lord to guide their worships, and so went back to their chambers at the sign of the Bible; leaving a mad fellow their attorney, to urge the accusation they had brought; which was in show very sharp and heinous, to this effect: That they supposed me to be in heart a Papist.<73> Straight I searched every corner of my heart, and finding no such thought in it, I asked why any man should say so? I know (say I) some of you would see my heart out, by your wills; but for that you shall pardon me: But this ye know, ex abundantia cordis, os loquitur; out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. And here I protest to you all, I never defended any opinion of religion, either by way of argument or writing, that in any point gainsayeth the Communion book: let my accusers say so if they can. Yes, sir, saith their zealous attorney, I heard one testified viva voce in a pulpit, that you had defended a popish opinion, of a second coming of Elias. And if I mistake him not much, I trow, his good living grows not so fast with his new benefice, as his good name withers with his ill behaviour. But if he use no better behaviour, than to tell me my faults at Bath when I am at London, I may, fortune, play the bad horseman, and spur him at London for stumbling so ill favouredly at Bath: or if I would ride like a hotspur, he might happen like a dull jade (as he is) be wrung on the withers, as one of his coat was for such a matter in the same place. It may be he thinks he hath advantage of me, because he can prate in a pulpit cum licentia;<74> but he shall see by this little, that I have liberty if I list to reply in print cum privilegio;<75> and my replication may, fortune, be as forcible as his answer.
††††††††††† More I would have said (for I was in choler), but some of the jury wished me (for satisfying the company) to tell what religion I was of. It was a strange question to be asked me afore such a jury (considering I came not thither to be catechised)<76>, and therefore I determined to make them as strange an answer, such as should please them all, or displease them all ere I had done. First, I said, neither Papist, Protestant, nor Puritan. Then all said they would condemn me as a neuter, or nulli fidian, except I gave a better answer.
††††††††††† Then I said, I am a Protesting Catholic Puritan. Tush, say they, how can that be? Forsooth, even thus; to believe well, to do well, and say well; to have good faith, good works, and good words; is not that a good religion? Yes, indeed, so done, were very well said. But said they, directly we expect your answer, what you count to be true religion? Why then directly thus I answer, out of St. Justus' epistle, the two last verses, you shall see who be of a wrong religion, and who be of the right. Justus? Oh, saith one, byandby, I think he means James; and straight he pulls a little book out of his sleeve that looked like Janus' picture, with two faces standing east and west (but it was a testament bound to the backside of David's psalms), and turning to the place, he read as followeth:
††††††††††† If a man think himself religious, not refraining his tongue, but seducing his heart, this man's religion is vain. <77>
††††††††††† Pure religion and undefiled before God, even the Father, is this;<78> to visit orphans and widows in their afflictions, and to keep yourself undefiled from the world.
††††††††††† Why then, saith one, if you profess so pure a religion, it seems you are a Puritan. Even so.
††††††††††† More time would have been spent in this matter, but that Sir H. P. told them these things belonged to the high commissioners, and therefore wished them to proceed to the next.
††††††††††† Now for the last article, because it was concerning only the pamplet itself, the whole jury referred the censuring thereof to Sir H. P. to say if any thing therein were against the law, because he was well seen in the law.
††††††††††† He told them, that indeed he had read it more than once, and that for ought he could observe in it, it did not in any point offend either common or statute law. But (said he) there is a law (as I take it) more common than civil, that saith, things must be as they be taken.<79> Yet, for my part, in my verdict I would not say any man's ears are horns; what the rest said, I could not tell, for that I was sent away; yet I overheard one of them say, he would talk with a counsellor to inform him better of the law.
††††††††††† But I finding that to grow so doubtful, that I thought to have been so clear, began now to think it my safest course to sue for a pardon. <80> And with that I awaked, vowing I would never write any more such idle toys if this were well taken; praying the readers to regard it but as the first line of Aesop's Fables:
Gallus gallinaceus dum vertit stercorarium, invenit gemmam.<81>