The Vnfortunate Traveller, or The Life Of Jack Wilton - With An Essay On The Life And Writings Of Thomas Nash By Edmund Gosse
by Thomas Nash
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"The portrait of Surrey which is now at Hampton Court, and which is attributed to Holbein, though probably by his imitator, Guillim Stretes, apparently dates from a period when he was a very young man. It is a valuable and highly interesting picture; especially in regard to the dress, which, except for the white shirt, embroidered with Moresque work, is entirely red, and with the flat red cap, red shoes ornamented with studs of gold, the richly chased dagger and sword, is an admirable example of the gorgeous style of costume prevalent at Court at the latter end of the reign of Henry VIII, 'Law's History of Hampton Court Palace in Tudor Times.'"


London Printed And Issued By Charles Whittingham & Co At The Chiswick Press MDCCCXCII


An Essay on the Life and Writings of Thomas Nash

The Dedication to the Earl of Southampton

To the Gentlemen Readers

The Induction to the Pages of the Court

The Unfortunate Traveller


It is mainly, no doubt, but I hope not exclusively, an antiquarian interest which attaches to the name of Thomas Nash. It would be absurd to claim for a writer so obscure a very prominent place in the procession of Englishmen of letters. His works proclaim by their extreme rarity the fact that three centuries of readers have existed cheerfully and wholesomely without any acquaintance with their contents. At the present moment, the number of those living persons who have actually perused the works of Nash may probably be counted on the fingers of two hands. Most of these productions are uncommon to excess, one or two exist in positively unique examples. There is no use in arguing against such a fact as this. If Nash had reached, or even approached, the highest order of merit, he would have been placed, long ere this, within the reach of all. Nevertheless, his merits, relative if not positive, were great. In the violent coming of age of Elizabethan literature, his voice was heard loudly, not always discordantly, and with an accent eminently personal to himself. His life, though shadowy, has elements of picturesqueness and pathos; his writings are a storehouse of oddity and fantastic wit

It has been usual to class Nash with the Precursors of Shakespeare, and until quite lately it was conjectured that he was older than Greene and Peele, a contemporary of Lodge and Chapman. It is now known that he was considerably younger than all these, and even than Marlowe and Shakespeare. Thomas Nash, the fourth child of the Rev. William Nash, who to have been curate of Lowestoft in Suffolk, was baptized in that town in November, 1567. The Nashes continued to live in Lowestoft, where the father died in 1603, probably three years after the death of his son Thomas. Of the latter we hear nothing more until, in October, 1582, at the age of fifteen, he matriculated as a sizar of St. John's College, Cambridge. Cooper says that he was admitted a scholar on the Lady Margaret's foundation in 1584. He remained at Cambridge, in unbroken residence, until July, 1589, "seven year together, lacking a quarter," as he tells us positively in "Lenten Stuff."

Cambridge was the hotbed of all that was vivid and revolutionary in literature at that moment, and Robert Greene was the centre of literary Cambridge. When Nash arrived, Greene, who was seven years his senior, was still in residence at his study in Clare Hall, having returned from his travels in Italy and Spain, ready, in 1583, to take his degree as master of arts. He was soon, however, to leave for London, and it is unlikely that a boy of sixteen would be immediately admitted to the society of those "lewd wags" who looked up to the already distinguished Greene as to a master. But Greene, without doubt, made frequent visits to his university, and on one of these was probably formed that intimate friendship with Nash which lasted until near the elder poet's death. Marlowe was at Corpus, then called Benet College, during five years of Nash's residence, but it is by no means certain that their acquaintance began so early. It is, indeed, in the highest degree tantalizing that these writers, many of whom loved nothing better than to talk about themselves, should have neglected to give us the information which would precisely be most welcome to us. A dozen whole "Anatomies of Absurdity" and "Supplications of Pierce Penniless" might be eagerly exchanged for a few pages in which the literary life of Cambridge from 1582 to 1589 should be frankly and definitely described.

It has been surmised that Nash was ejected from the university in 1587. His enemy, Gabriel Harvey, who was extremely ill-informed, gives this account of what occurred:—

"[At Cambridge], (being distracted of his wits) [Nash] fell into diverse misdemeanours, which were the first steps that brought him to this poor estate. As, namely, in his fresh-time, how he flourished in all impudency towards scholars, and abuse to the townsmen; insomuch that to this day the townsmen call every untoward scholar of whom there is great hope, a very Nash. Then, being bachelor of arts, which by great labour he got, to show afterwards that he was not unworthy of it, had a hand in a show called Terminus et non terminus; for the which his partner in it was expelled the college; but this foresaid Nash played in it (as I suppose) the Varlet of Clubs.... Then suspecting himself that he should be stayed for egregie dunsus, and not attain to the next degree, said he had commenced enough, and so forsook Cambridge, being bachelor of the third year."

But, even in this poor gossip, we find nothing about ejection. Nash's extraordinary abuse of language is probably the cause of that report. In 1589, in prefacing his "Anatomy of Absurdity," he remarked:—

"What I have written proceeded not from the pen of vainglory, but from the process of that pensiveness, which two summers since overtook me; whose obscured cause, best known to every name of curse, hath compelled my wit to wander abroad unregarded in this satirical disguise, and counselled my content to dislodge his delight from traitors' eyes."

That the young gentleman meant something by these sentences, it is only charitable to suppose; that he could have been intelligible, even to his immediate contemporaries, is hardly to be believed. This "obscured cause" has been taken to be, by some, his removal from the University, and, by others, his entanglement with a young woman. It is perhaps simpler to understand him to say that the ensuing pamphlet was written, in consequence of an intellectual crisis, in 1587, when he was twenty years of age.

At twenty-two, at all events, we find him in London, beginning his career as a man of letters. His first separate publication seems to have been the small quarto in black letter from which a quotation has just been made. This composition, named an "Anatomy" in imitation of several then recent popular treatises of a similar title, is only to be pardoned on the supposition that it was a boyish manuscript prepared at college. It is vilely written, in the preposterous Euphuism of the moment; the style is founded on Lyly, the manner is the manner of Greene, and Whetstone in his moral "Mirrors" and "Heptamerons" has supplied the matter. The "absurdity" satirized in this jejune and tedious tract is extravagant living of all kinds. The author attacks women with great vehemence, but only in that temper which permitted the young Juvenals of the hour to preach against wine and cards and stageplays with intense zeal, while practising the worship of all these with equal ardour. "The Anatomy of Absurdity" is a purely academic exercise, interesting only because it shows, in the praise of Sidney and the passage in defence of poetry, something of the intellectual aptitude of the youthful writer.

In the same year, and a little earlier, Nash published an address "to the gentlemen students of both universities," as a preface to a romance by Greene. Bibliographers describe a supposititious "Menaphon" of 1587, which nobody has ever seen; even if such an edition existed, it is certain that Nash's address was not prefixed to it, for the style is greatly in advance of his boyish writing of that year. It is an interesting document, enthusiastic and gay in a manner hardly to be met with again in its author, and diversified with graceful praise of St John's College, defence of good poetry, and wholesome ridicule of those who were trying to introduce the "Thrasonical huffsnuff" style of which Phaer and Stanihurst were the prophets.

Still in 1589, but later in the year, Nash is believed to have thrown himself into that extraordinary clash of theological weapons which is celebrated as the Martin Marprelate Controversy. As is well known, this pamphlet war grew out of the passionate resentment felt by the Puritans against the tyrannical acts of Whitgift and the Bishops. The actual controversy has been traced back to a defence of the establishment of the Church, by the Dean of Sarum, on the one hand, and a treatise by John Penry the Puritan, on the other, both published in 1587. In 1588 followed the violent Puritan libel, called "Martin Marprelate," secretly printed, and written, perhaps, by a lawyer named Barrow. Towards the close of the dispute several of the literary wits dashed in upon the prelatical side, and denounced the Martinists with exuberant high spirits. Among these Nash was long thought to have held a very prominent place, for the two most brilliant tracts of the entire controversy, "Pap with an Hatchet," 1589, and "An Almond for a Parrot," 1590, were confidently attributed to him. These are now, however, clearly perceived to be the work of a much riper pen, that, namely, of Lyly.

It is probable that the four anonymous and privately printed tracts, which Dr. Grosart has finally selected, do represent Nash's share in the Marprelate Controversy, although in one of them, "Martin's Month's Mind," I cannot say that I recognize his manner. The "Countercuff," published in August, 1589, from Gravesend, shows a great advance in power. The academic Euphuism has been laid aside; images and trains of thought are taken from life and experience instead of from books. In "Pasquils Return," which belongs to October of the same year, the author invents the happy word "Pruritans" to annoy his enemy, and speaks, probably in his own name, but perhaps in that of Pasquil, of a visit to Antwerp. "Martin's Month's Mind," which is a crazy piece of fustian, belongs to December, 1589, while the fourth tract, "Pasquil's Apology," appeared so late as July, 1590. The smart and active pen which skirmishes in these pamphlets adds nothing serious to the consideration of the tragical controversy in which it so lightly took part. It amused and trained Nash to write these satires, but they left Udall none the worse and the Bishops none the better. The author repeatedly promises to rehearse the arguments on both sides and sum up the entire controversy in a "May-Game of Martinism," of which we hear no more.

During the first twelve months of Nash's residence in London he was pretty busily employed. It is just conceivable that six small publications may have brought in money enough to support him. But after this we perceive no obvious source of income for some considerable time. How the son of a poor Suffolk minister contrived to live in London throughout the years 1590 and 1591, it is difficult to imagine. Certainly not on the proceeds of a single pamphlet. It is not credible that Nash published much that has not come down to us. Perhaps a tract here and there may have been lost.{1} He probably subsisted by hanging on to the outskirts of education. Perhaps he taught pupils, more likely still he wrote letters. We know, afterall, too little of the manners of the age to venture on a reply to the question which constantly imposes itself, How did the minor Elizabethan man of letters earn a livelihood? In the case of Nash, I would hazard the conjecture, which is borne out, I think, by several allusions in his writings, that he was a reader to the press, connected, perhaps, with the Queen's printers, or with those under the special protection of the Bishops.

1 One long narrative poem, the very name of which is too coarse to quote, was, according to Oldys, certainly published; but of this no printed copy is known to exist. John Davies of Hereford says that "good men tore that pamphlet to pieces." I owe to the kindness of Mr. A. H. Bullen the inspection of a transtript of a very corrupt manuscript of this work.

His only production in 1591, so far as we know, was the insignificant tract called "A Wonderful Astrological Prognostication," by "Adam Fouleweather." This has been hastily treated as a defence of "the dishonoured memory" of Nash's dead friend Greene against Gabriel Harvey. But Greene did not die till the end of 1592, and in the "Prognostication" there is nothing about either Greene or Harvey. The pamphlet is a quizzical satire on the almanac-makers, very much in the spirit of Swift's Bickerstaff "Predictions" a hundred years later. Of more importance was a preface contributed in this same year to Sir Philip Sidney's posthumous "Astrophel and Stella." In this short essay Nash reaches a higher level of eloquence than he had yet achieved, and, in spite of its otiose redundancy, this enthusiastic eulogy of Sidney is pleasant reading.

In 1592, doubtless prior to the death of Greene, Nash published the earliest of his important books, the volume entitled "Pierce Penniless his Supplication to the Devil." This is a grotesque satire on the vices and the eccentricities of the age. As a specimen of prose style it is remarkable for its spirit and "go," qualities which may enable us to forget how turbid, ungraceful, and harsh it is. Nash had now dropped the mannerism of the Euphuists; he had hardly gained a style of his own. "Pierce Penniless," with its chains of "letter-leaping metaphors," rattles breathlessly on, and at length abruptly ceases. Any sense of the artistic fashioning of a sentence, or of the relative harmony of the parts of a composition, was not yet dreamed of. But before we condemn the muddy turbulence of the author, we must recollect that nothing had then been published of Hooker, Raleigh, or Bacon in the pedestrian manner. Genuine English prose had begun to exist indeed, but had not yet been revealed to the world. Nash, as a lively portrait-painter in grotesque, at this time, is seen at his best in such a caricature as this, scourging "the pride of the Dane":—

"The most gross and senseless proud dolts are the Danes, who stand so much upon their unwieldy burly-boned soldiery, that they account of no man that hath not a battle-axe at his girdle to hough dogs with, or wears not a cock's feather in a thrummed hat like a cavalier. Briefly, he is the best fool braggart under heaven. For besides nature hath lent him a flab-berkin face, like one of the four winds, and cheeks that sag like a woman's dug over his chinbone, his apparel is so stuffed up with bladders of taffaty, and his back like beef stuffed with parsley, so drawn out with ribbands and devises, and blistered with light sarcenet bastings, that you would think him nothing but a swarm of butterflies, if you saw him afar off."

On the 3rd of September, 1592, Greene came to his miserable end, having sent to the press from his deathbed those two remarkable pamphlets, the "Groatsworth of Wit" and the "Repentance." For two years past, if we may believe Nash, the profligate atheism of the elder poet had estranged his friend, or at all events had kept him at a distance. But a feeling of common loyalty, and the anger which a true man of letters feels when a genuine poet is traduced by a pedant, led Nash to take up a very strong position as a defender of the reputation of Greene. Gabriel Harvey, although the friend of Spenser, is a personage who fills an odious place in the literary history of the last years of Elizabeth. He was a scholar and a university man of considerable attainments, but he was wholly without taste, and he concentrated into vinegar a temper which must always have had a tendency to be sour. In particular, he loathed the school of young writers who had become famous in direct opposition to the literary laws which he had laid down.

Harvey's wrath had found a definite excuse in the tract, called "A Quip for an upstart Courtier, or a quaint dispute between Velvet-Breeches and Cloth-Breeches," which Greene had published early in the year 1592. Accordingly, when he heard of Greene's death, he hastened to his lodgings, interviewed his landlady, collected scurrilous details, and, with matchless bad taste, issued, before the month was over, his "Four Letters," a pamphlet in which he trampled upon the memory of Greene. In the latest of his public utterances, Greene had made an appeal to three friends, who, though not actually named, are understood to have been Marlowe, Peele, and Nash.

Of these, the last was the one with the readiest pen, and the task of punishing Harvey fell upon him.

Nash's first attack on Harvey took the form of a small volume, entitled, "Strange News of the Intercepting of Certain Letters," published very early in 1593. It was a close confutation of the charges made in Harvey's "Four Letters," the vulgarity and insolence of the pedant being pressed home with an insistence which must have been particularly galling to him as coming from a distinguished man of his own university, twenty years his junior. Harvey retorted with the heavy artillery of his "Pierce's Supererogation," which was mainly directed against Nash, whom the disappearance of Peele, and the sudden death of Marlowe in June, had left without any very intimate friend as a supporter. Nash retired, for the moment, from the controversy, and in the prefatory epistle to a remarkable work, the most bulky of all his books, "Christ's Tears over Jerusalem," he waved the white flag. He bade, he declared, "a hundred unfortunate farewells to fantastical satirism," and complimented his late antagonist on his "abundant scholarship." Harvey took no notice of this, and for four years their mutual animosity slumbered. In this same year, 1593, Nash produced the only play which has come down to us as wholly composed by him, the comedy of "Summer's Last Will and Testament."

Meanwhile "Pierce Penniless" had enjoyed a remarkable success, and had placed Nash in a prominent position among London men of letters. We learn that in 1596, four years after its original publication, it had run through six editions, besides being translated in 1594 into French, and, a little later, into Macaronic Latin. In "Christ's Tears" the young writer, conscious of his new importance, deals with what the critics have said about his style. He tells us, and we cannot wonder at it, that objections have been made to "my boisterous compound words, and ending my Italianate coined verbs all in ize." His defence is not unlike that of De Quincey; we can imagine his asking, when urged to be simple, whether simplicity be in place in a description of Belshazzar's Feast He says that the Saxon monosyllables that swarm in the English tongue are a scandal to it, and that he is only turning this cheap silver trash into fine gold coinage. Books, he says, written in plain English, "seem like shopkeepers' boxes, that contain nothing else save halfpence, three-farthings, and two-pences." To show what sort of doubloons he proposes to mint for English pockets, we need go no further than the opening phrases of his dedication of this very book to that amiable poet, the Lady Elizabeth Carey:—

"Excellent accomplished court-glorifying Lady, give me leave, with the sportive sea-porpoises, preludiately a little to play before the storm of my tears, to make my prayer before I proceed to my sacrifice. Lo, for an oblation to the rich burnished shrine of your virtue, a handful of Jerusalem's mummianized earth, in a few sheets of waste paper enwrapped, I here, humiliate, offer up at your feet."

These, however, in spite of the odd neologisms, are sentences formed in a novel and a greatly improved manner, and the improvement is sustained throughout this curious volume. Probably the intimate study of the Authorized Version of the Bible, which this semi-theological tractate necessitated, had much to do with the clarification of the author's style. At all events, from this time forth, Nash drops, except in polemical passages where his design is provocative, that irritating harshness in volubility which had hitherto marked his manner of writing. Here, for example, is a passage from "Christ's Tears" which is not without a strangely impressive melody:—

"Over the Temple, at the solemn feast of the Passover, was seen a comet most coruscant, streamed and tailed forth, with glistering naked swords, which in his mouth, as a man in his hand all at once, he made semblance as if he shaked and vambrashed. Seven days it continued; all which time, the Temple was as clear and light in the night as it had been noonday. In the Sanctum Sanctorum was heard clashing and hewing of armour, while flocks of ravens, with a fearful croaking cry, beat, fluttered and clashed against the windows. A hideous dismal owl, exceeding all her kind in deformity and quantity, in the Temple-porch built her nest. From under the altar there issued penetrating plangorous howlings and ghastly deadmen's groans."

He tells us, in the preface, that he takes an autumnal air, and in truth there is a melancholy refinement in this volume which we may seek for in vain elsewhere in Nash's writings. The greater part of the book is a "collachrimate oration" over Jerusalem, placed in the mouth of our Saviour; by degrees the veil of Jerusalem grows thinner and thinner, and we see more and more clearly through it the London of Elizabeth, denounced by a pensive and not, this time, a turbulent satirist.

In 1594 Nash's pen was particularly active. It was to the Lady Elizabeth Carey, again, that he dedicated "The Terrors of the Night," a discourse on apparitions. He describes some very agreeable ghosts, as, for instance, those which appeared to a gentleman, a friend of the author's, in the guise of "an inveigling troop of naked virgins, whose odoriferous breath more perfumed the air than ordnance would that is charged with amomum, musk, civet and ambergreece." It was surely a mock-modesty which led Nash to fear that such ghost-stories as these would appear to his readers duller than Holland cheese and more tiresome than homespun. To 1594, too, belongs the tragedy of "Dido," probably left incomplete by Marlowe, and finished by Nash, who shows himself here an adept in that swelling bombast of bragging blank verse of which he affected to disapprove. A new edition of "Christ's Tears" also belongs to this busy year 1594, which however is mainly interesting to us as having seen the publication of the work which we are here introducing to modern readers.

An eminent French critic, M. Jusserand, whose knowledge of English sixteenth-century literature is unsurpassed, was the first to draw attention to the singular interest which attaches to "The Unfortunate Traveller, or the Life of Jack Wilton," 1594. In his treatise, "Le Roman au Temps de Shakespeare," 1887, M. Jusserand insisted upon the fact that this neglected book was the best specimen of the picaresque tale written in English before the days of Defoe. He shows that expressions put in the mouth of Nash's hero, which had been carelessly treated as autobiographical confessions of foreign travel and the like, on the part of the author, were but features of a carefully planned fiction. "Jack Wilton" describes the career of an adventurer, from his early youth as a page in the royal camp of Henry VIII. at the siege of Tournay, to his attainment of wealth, position, and a beautiful Italian wife.

The first exploit of the page is an encounter with a fraudulent innkeeper, which is described with great spirit, and M. Jusserand has ingeniously surmised that Shakespeare, after reading these pages, determined to fuse the two characters, mine host and the waggish picaroon, into the single immortal figure of Falstaff. After this point in the tale, it is probable that the reader may find the interest of the story flag; but his attention will be reawakened when he reaches the episode of the Earl of Surrey and Fair Geraldine, and that in which Jack, pretending to be Surrey, runs off with his sweet Venetian mistress, Diamante. It will be for the reader of the ensuing pages to say whether Nash had mastered the art of narrative quite so perfectly as M. Jusserand, in his just pride as a discoverer, seems to think. The romance, no doubt, is incoherent and languid at times, and is easily led aside into channels of gorgeous description and vain moral reflection.

It will doubtless be of interest, at this point, to quote the words in which, in a later volume, M. Jusserand has reiterated his praise of "Jack Wilton" and his belief in Nash as the founder of the British novel of character:—

"In the works of Nash and his imitators, the different parts are badly dovetailed; the novelist is incoherent and incomplete; the fault lies in some degree with the picaresque form itself. Nash, however, pointed out the right road, the road that was to lead to the true novel. He was the first among his compatriots to endeavour to relate in prose a long-sustained story, having for its chief concern: the truth.... No one, Ben Jonson excepted, possessed at that epoch, in so great a degree as himself, a love of the honest truth. With Nash, then, the novel of real life, whose invention in England is generally attributed to Defoe, begins. To connect Defoe with the past of English literature, we must get over the whole of the seventeenth century, and go back to 'Jack Wilton,' the worthy brother of 'Roxana,' 'Moll Flanders,' and 'Colonel Jack.'"

It is to be regretted that Nash made no second adventure in pure fiction. "Jack Wilton," now one of the rarest of his books, was never reprinted in its own age.

How Nash was employed during the next two years, it is not easy to conjecture. When we meet with him once more, the smouldering fire of his quarrel with the Harveys had burst again into flame. "Have with you to Saffron Walden," 1596, is devoted to the chastisement of "the reprobate brace of brothers, to wit, witless Gabriel and ruffling Richard." No fresh public outburst on Harvey's part seems to have led to this attack; but he bragged in private that he had silenced his licentious antagonists. Nash admits that his opponent's last book "has been kept idle by me, in a bye-settle out of sight amongst old shoes and boots almost this two year." Harvey was known to have come from Saffron Walden; Nash invites his readers to accompany him to that town to see what they can discover, and he retails a good deal of lively scandal about the rope-maker's sons. "Have with you" is perhaps the smartest and is certainly the most readable of Nash's controversial volumes. It gives us, too, some interesting fragments of autobiography. Harvey had accused him of "prostituting his pen like a courtisan," and Nash makes this curious and not very lucid statement in selfdefence:—

"Neither will I deny it nor will I grant it. Only thus far I'll go with you, that twice or thrice in a month, when res est angusta domi, the bottom of my purse is turned downward, and my conduit of ink will no longer flow for want of reparations, I am fain to let my plough stand still in the midst of a furrow, and follow some of these newfangled Galiardos and Senior Fantasticos, to whose amorous villanellas and quipassas, I prostitute my pen in hope of gain.... Many a fair day ago have I proclaimed myself to the world Piers Penniless."

Gabriel Harvey must have felt, on reading "Have with you to Saffron Walden," that his antagonist was right in saying that his pen carried "the hot shot of a musket." Unfortunately, while Harvey was smarting under these insulting gibes and jests, the jester himself got into public trouble. Little is known of the circumstance which led the Queen's Privy Council, in the summer of 1597, to throw Nash into the Fleet Prison, but it was connected with the performance of a comedy called "The Isle of Dogs," which gave offence to the authorities. This play was not printed, and is no longer in existence. The Lord Admiral's Company of actors, which produced it, had its licence withdrawn until the 27th of August, when Nash was probably liberated. Gabriel Harvey was not the man to allow this event to go unnoticed. He hurried into print with his "Trimming of Thomas Nash," 1597, a pamphlet of the most outrageous abuse addressed "to the polypragmatical, parasitupocritical and pantophainoudendecontical puppy Thomas Nash," and adorned with a portrait of that gentleman in irons, with heavy gyves upon his ankles. According to Nash, however, the part of "The Isle of Dogs" which was his composition was so trifling in extent that his imprisonment was a gratuitous act of oppression. How the play with this pleasing title offended has not been handed down to us.

Nash was now a literary celebrity, and yet it is at this precise moment that his figure begins to fade out of sight For the next two years he is not known to have made any public appearance. In 1599 he published the best of all his books; it was unfortunately the latest "Nash's Lenten Stuff; or, the Praise of the Red Herring" is an encomium on the hospitable town of Yarmouth, to which, in the autumn of 1597, he had fled for consolation, and in which, through six happy weeks, he had found what he sought The "kind entertainment and benign hospitality" of the compassionate clime of Yarmouth deserve from the poor exile a cordial return, and, accordingly, he sings the praise of the Red Herring as richly as if his mouth were still tingling with the delicate bloater. In this book, Nash is kind enough to explain to us the cause of some of the peculiarities of his style. His endeavour has been to be Italianate, and "of all styles I most affect and strive to imitate Aretine's."

Whether he was deeply read in the works of il divino Aretino, we may doubt; but it is easy to see that this Scourge of Princes, the very type of the emancipated Italian of the sixteenth century, might have a vague and dazzling attraction for his little eager English imitator.

Be that as it may, "Lenten Stuff" gives us evidence that Nash had now arrived at a complete mastery of the fantastic and irrelevant manner which he aimed at. This book is admirably composed, if we can bring ourselves to admit that the genre is ever admirable. The writer's vocabulary has become opulent, his phrases flash and detonate, each page is full of unconnected sparks and electrical discharges. A sort of aurora borealis of wit streams and rustles across the dusky surface, amusing to the reader, but discontinuous, and insufficient to illuminate the matter in hand. It is extraordinary that a man can make so many picturesque, striking, and apparently apposite remarks, and yet leave us so frequently in doubt as to his meaning. If this was the result of the imitation of Aretino, Nash's choice of a master was scarcely a fortunate one.

Thomas Nash was now thirty-two years of age, and with the publication of "Lenten Stuff" we lose sight of him. His old play of "Summers' Last Will and Testament" was printed in 1600, and he probably died in that year. The song at the close of that comedy or masque reads like the swan-song of its author:—

Autumn hath all the summer's fruitful treasure; Gone is our sport, fled is poor [Nash's] pleasure! Short days, sharp days, long nights come on apace;

Ah! who shall hide us from the winter's face? Cold doth increase, the sickness will not cease, And here we lie, God knows, with little ease:

From winter, plague and pestilence, Good Lord, deliver us!

London doth mourn, Lambeth is quite forlorn, Trades cry, Woe worth that ever they were born; The want of term is town and city's harm.

Close chambers we do want, to keep us warm; Long banished must we live from our friends: This low-built house will bring us to our ends.

From winter, plague and pestilence, Good Lord, deliver us!

Whether pestilence or winter slew him, we do not know. In 1601 Fitzgeoffrey published a short Latin elegy on Nash in his "Affaniae," alluding in happy phrase to the twin lightnings of his armed tongue and his terrible pen; and Nash had six lines of tempered praise in "The Return from Parnassus." But all we know of the cause or manner of Nash's death has to be collected from a passage in "A Knight's Conjuring," 1607, written by the satirist on whom his mantle descended, Thomas Dekker. Nash is seen advancing along the Elysian Fields:—

"Marlowe, Greene, and Peele had got under the shades of a large vine, laughing to see Nash, that was but newly come to their college, still haunted with the sharp and satirical spirit that followed him here upon earth; for Nash inveighed bitterly, as he had wont to do, against dry-fisted patrons, accusing them of his untimely death, because if they had given his Muse that cherishment which she most worthily deserved, he had fed to his dying day on fat capons, burnt sack and sugar, and not so desperately have ventured his life and shortened his days by keeping company with pickle herrings."

This looks as though Nash died of a disease attributed to coarse and unwholesome cheap food. His fame proved to be singularly ephemeral. So far as I am aware, no book of his was reprinted after his death, with the single exception of "Christ's Tears over Jerusalem," which was issued again in 1613. His name was mentioned and some interest in his writings was awakened at the close of the next century by Winstanley and by Langbaine, but Oldys, the celebrated antiquary, was the first person who seriously endeavoured to trace the incidents of his life.

Dr. A. B. Grosart saved the works of Nash from all danger of destruction by printing an issue of them, in six volumes, for fifty private subscribers, in 1883-85. But he still remains completely inaccessible to the general reader.

Edmund Gosse.


The Life of Iacke Wilton.



Earle of sovthhampton, and baron OF TICHFEELD.

Ingenvovs honorable Lord, I know not what blinde custome methodicall antiquity hath thrust vpon vs, to dedicate such books as we publish, to one great man or other; In which respect, least anie man should challenge these my papers as goods vncustomd, and so, extend vpon them as forfeite to contempt, to the seale of your excellent censure loe here I present them to bee seene and allowed. Prize them as high or as low as you list: if you set anie price on them, I hold my labor well satisfide. Long haue I desired to approoue my wit vnto you. My reuerent duetifull thoughts (euen from their infancie) haue been retayners to your glorie. Now at last I haue enforst an opportunitie to plead my deuoted minde. All that in this phantasticall Treatise I can promise, is some reasonable conueyance of historie, & varietie of mirth. By diuers of my good frends haue I been dealt with to employ my dul pen in this kinde, it being a cleane different vaine from other my former courses of writing. How wel or ill I haue done in it, I am ignorant: (the eye that sees roundabout it selfe, sees not into it selfe): only your Honours applauding encouragement hath power to make mee arrogant. Incomprehensible is the heigth of your spirit both in heroical resolution and matters of conceit. Vnrepriueably perisheth that booke whatsoeuer to wast paper, which on the diamond rocke of your iudgement disasterly chanceth to be shipwrackt. A dere louer and cherisher you are, as well of the louers of Poets, as of Poets themselues. Amongst their sacred number I dare not ascribe my selfe, though now and then I speak English: that smal braine I haue, to no further vse I conuert, saue to be kinde to my frends, and fatall to my enemies. A new brain, a new wit, a new stile, a new soule will I get mee, to canonize your name to posteritie, if in this my first attempt I be not taxed of presumption. Of your gracious fauor I despaire not, for I am not altogether Fames outcast. This handfull of leaues I offer to your view, to the leaues on trees I compare, which as they cannot grow of themselues except they haue some branches or boughes to cleaue too, & with whose iuice and sap they be euermore recreated & nourisht: so except these vnpolisht leaues of mine haue some braunch of Nobilitie whereon to depend and cleaue, and with the vigorous nutriment of whose authorized commendation they may be continually fosterd and refresht, neuer wil they grow to the worlds good liking, but forthwith fade and die on the first houre of their birth. Your Lordship is the large spreading branch of renown, from whence these my idle leaues seeke to deriue their whole nourishing: it resteth you either scornfully shake them off, as wormeaten & worthies, or in pity preserue them and cherish them, for some litle summer frute you hope to finde amongst them.

Your Honors in all humble seruice: Tho: Nashe.


Gentlemen, in my absence (through the Printers ouersight and my bad writing) in the leaues of C. and D. these errours are ouerslipt:

C. pag. 2. lin. 33. for sweating read sneaking. Pag. 3. li. 1. for hogges read barres, lin. 7. for Calipsus, read Rhaesus. Pag. 4. lin. 34. for Liue read I liue. Pag. 5. li. 14. for vpon his read vpon him his. Pag. 7. lin. 13. for drild read dyu'd. lin. 22. (for colour, read collar nor his hatband).

D. Pag. 1. lin. 2. for blacke read cape. lin. 5. for fastens read thirleth. lin. 7. for badge read budge, lin. 8. for shinne read chinne. lin. 11. for in this begun read thinking in. Pag. 3. lin. 33. for increased then read inclosed them. Pag. 5. lin. 8. for threed button, read brest like a thred bottom. Pag. 8. lin. 3. for Essa read Ossa. lin. 4. for dissolution read desolation. lin. 13. betweene also, and but read If you know Christianitie, you know the Fathers of the Church also. lin. 18. for quocunque read qua gente.

Other literall faults there are which I omit

Yours T. N.

[Note.—The foregoing corrigenda are printed as part of the original edition, though they have been corrected in the text.]


Gallant squires, haue amongst you: at mumchance I meane not, for so I might chaunce come to short commons, but at nouus, noua, nouum, which is in English, newes of the maker. A proper fellow Page of yours called Iacke Wilton, by mee commends him vnto you, and hath bequeathed for wast paper heere amongst you certaine pages of his misfortunes. In any case keep them preciously as a Priuie token of his good will towards you. If there be some better than other, he craues you would honor them in their death so much, as to drie and kindle Tobacco with them: for a need he permits you to wrap veluet pantofles in them also, so they be not woe begone at the heeles, or weather-beaten like a blacke head with graye haires, or mangie at the toes like an ape about the mouth. But as you loue good fellowship and ames ace, rather turne them to stop mustard-pots, than the Grocers shuld haue one patch of them to wrap mace in: a strong hot costly spice it is, which aboue all things hee hates. To anie vse about meate or drinke put them too and spare not, for they cannot doo their Countrey better seruice. Printers are madde whoresons, allow them some of them for napkins. lost a little nerer to the matter and the purpose. Memorandum, euerie one of you after the perusing of this Pamphlet, is to prouide him a case of ponyards, that if you come in companie with any man which shall dispraise it or speake against it, you may straight cry Sic respondeo, and giue him the stockado. It stands not with your honors (I assure yee) to haue a Gentleman and a Page abusde in his absence. Secondly, whereas you were wont to sweare men on a pantofle to bee true to your puissaunt order, you shall sweeare them on nothing but this Chronicle of the King of Pages henceforward. Thirdly, it shalbe lawfull for anie whatsoeuer to play with false dice in a corner on the couer of this foresaid Acts and monuments. None of the fraternitie of the minorites shall refuse it for a pawne in the times of famine and necessitie. Euery Stationers stall they passe by whether by day or by night they shall put off their hats too, and make a low leg, in regard their grand printed Capitano is there entoombd. It shalbe flat treason for any of this forementioned catalogue of the point trussers, once to name him within fortie foote of an ale-house. Marry the tauerne is honorable. Many speciall graue articles more had I to giue you in charge, which your wisdomes waiting together at the bottome of the great Chamber staires, or sitting in a porch (your parlament house) may better consider of than I can deliuer: onely let this suffice for a tast to the text & a bit to pull on a good wit with, as a rasher on the coales is to pull on a cup of wine. Heigh passe, come aloft: euery man of you take your places, and heare Iacke Wilton tell his owne tale.


Abovt that time that the terror of the world, and feauer quartan of the French, Henrie the eight, (the onely true subiect of Chronicles) aduanced his standard against the two hundred and fiftie towers of Turney and Turwin, and had the Empereur and all the nobility of Flanders, Holland, and Brabant as mercenarie attendants on his fulsailed fortune, I Jacke Wilton (a Gentleman at lest) was a certaine kinde of an appendix or page, belonging or appertaining in or vnto the confines of the English court, where what my credit was, a number of my creditors that I coosned can testifie, Caelum petimus stultitia, which of vs all is not a sinner. Be it knowen to as many as will paie monie inough to peruse my storie, that I followed the campe or the court, or the court & the camp, when Turwin lost her maidenhead, & opened her gates to more than Iane Trosse did. There did I (soft let me drinke before I goe anie further) raigne sole king of the cans and black iackes, prince of the pigmeis, countie paltaine of cleane strawe and prouant, and to conclude, Lord high regent of rashers of the coles and red herring cobs. Paulo maiora canamus: well, to the purpose. What stratagemicall actes and monuments do you thinke an ingenious infant of my age might enact? you will saie, it were sufficient if he slurre a die, pawne his master to the vtmost pennie, & minister the oath on the pantoffle arteficially. These are signes of good education, I must confesse, and arguments of In grace and vertue to proceed. Oh but Aliquid latet quod non patet, theres a farther path I must trace: examples confirme, list Lordings to my proceedinges. Whosoeuer is acquainted with the state of a campe, vnderstands that in it be many quarters, & yet not so many as on London bridge. In those quarters are many companies: Much companie, much knauerie, as true as that olde adage, Much curtesie, much subtiltie. Those companies, like a great deale of corne, doe yeeld some chaffe, the corne are cormorants, the chaffe are good fellowes, which are quickly blowen to nothing, with bearing a light hart in a light purse. Amongst this chaffe was I winnowing my wits to liue merily, and by my troth so I did: the prince could but command men spend theyr bloud in his seruice, I coulde make them spend all the monie they had for my pleasure. But pouerty in the end parts frends, though I was prince of their purses, and exacted of my vnthrift subiects, as much liquid allegeance as anie keisar in the world could do, yet where it is not to be had the king must loose his right, want cannot be withstood, men can doe no more than they can doe, what remained then, but the foxes case must help, when the lions skin is out at the elbowes.

There was a Lord in the campe, let him be a Lord of misrule, if you wil, for he kept a plaine alehouse without welt or gard of anie Iuibush, and solde syder and cheese by pint and by pound to all that came (at that verie name of syder, I can but sigh, there is so much of it in renish wine now a dayes). Wei, Tendit ad sydera virtus, thers great vertue belongs (I can tell you) to a cup of syder, and verie good men haue solde it, and at sea it is Aqua colestis, but thats neither heere nor there, if it had no other patrone but this peere of quart pots to authorize it, it were sufficient This great Lorde, this worthie Lord, this noble Lord, thought no scorne (Lord haue mercy vpon vs) to haue his great veluet breeches larded with the droppings of this daintie liquor, & yet he was an olde senator, a cauelier of an ancient house, as it might appeare by the armes of his ancestrie, drawen very amiably in chalke, on the in side of his tent doore.

He and no other was the man, I chose out to damne with a lewd monylesse deuice: for comming to him on a daie, as he was counting his barrels, & setting the price in chalke on the head of euerie one of them, I did my dutie verie deuoutly, and tolde his alie honor, I had matters of some secrecie to impart vnto him, if it pleased him to grant me priuate audience. With me young Wilton quoth he, marie and shalt: bring vs a pint of syder of a fresh tap into the three cups here, wash the pot, so into a backe roome he lead mee, where after hee had spit on his finger, and pickt off two or three moats of his olde moth eaten veluet cap, and spunged and wrong all the rumatike driuell from his ill fauoured Goates beard, he badde me declare my minde, and there vpon he dranke to me on the same. I vp with a long circumstance, alias, a cunning shift of the seuenteenes, & discourst vnto him what entire affection I had borne him time out of mind, partly for the high discent and linage from whence he sprung, & partly for the tender care and prouident respect he had of poore soldiers, that whereas the vastitie of that place (which afforded them no indifferent supplie of drinke or of victuals) might humble them to some extremity, and so weaken their hands, he vouchsafed in his own person to be a victualer to the campe (a rare example of magnificence & honorable curtesie) and diligently prouided, that without farre trauel, euery man might for his money haue syder and cheese his bellyfull, nor did he sell his cheese by the way onely, or his syder by the great, but abast himselfe with his owne hands, to take a shoomakers knife (a homely instrument for such a high personage to touch) and cut it out equally like a true iusticiarie, in little pennyworthes, that it woulde doo a man good for to looke vpon. So likewise of his syder, the pore man might haue his moderate draught of it (as there is a moderation in all things) as well for his doit or his dandiprat, as the rich man for his halfe souse or his denier. Not so much, quoth I, but this tapsters linnen apron, which you weare before you, to protect your appareil from the imperfections of the spigot, most amply bewrais your lowly minde. I speake it with teares, too fewe such humble spirited noble men haue we, that will draw drinke in linen aprons. Why you are euerie childs felow, any man that comes vnder the name of a souldier and a goodfellowe, you will sitte and beare companie to the last pot, yea, and you take in as good part the homely phrase of mine host heeres to you, as if one saluted you by all the titles of your baronie. These considerations, I saie, which the world suffers to slippe by in the channell of carelesnes, haue moued me in ardent zeale of your welfare, to forewarne you of some dangers that haue beset you & your barrels. At the name of dangers hee start up, and bounst with his fist on the boord so hard, that his Tapster ouerhearing him, cried anone anone sir, by and by, and came and made a low leg and askt him what he lackt. Hee was readie to haue striken his Tapster, for interrupting him in attention of this his so much desired relation, but for feare of displeasing me he moderated his furie, and onely sending him for the other fresh pint, wild him looke to the barre, and come when hee is cald with a deuilles name. Well, at his earnest importunitie, after I had moistned my lips, to make my lie runne glib to his iourneies end, forward I went as followeth. It chaunced me the other night, amongst other pages, to attend where the king with his Lords, and many chiefe leaders sate in counsel, there amongst sundrie serious matters that were debated, and intelligences from the enemy giuen vp, it was priuily informed (no villains to these priuie informers) that you, euen you that I now speak to, would I had no tongue to tell the rest, by this drink it grieues me so I am not able to repeate it. Nowe was my dronken Lord redie to hang himself for the end of the ful point, and ouer my necke he throws himselfe verie lubberly, and intreated me as I was a proper young Gentleman, and euer lookt for pleasure at his hands, soone to rid him out of this hell of suspence, & resolue him of the rest, then fell hee on his knees, wrong his handes, and I thinke, on my conscience, wept out all the syder that he had dronke in a weeke before, to moue me to haue pitie on him, he rose and put his rustie ring on my finger, gaue me his greasie purse with that single money that was in it, promised to make mee his heire, & a thousand more fauours, if I would expire the miserie of his vnspeakable tormenting vncertaintie. I being by nature inclined to Mercie (for indeed I knew two or three good wenches of that name) bad him harden his eares, & not make his eyes abortiue before their time, and he should haue the inside of my brest turnd outward, heare such a tale as would tempt the vtmost strength of life to attend it, and not die in the middest of it. Why (quoth I) my selfe, that am but a poore childish welwiller of yours, with the verie thought, that a man of your desert and state, by a number of pesants and varlets should be so iniuriously abused in hugger mugger, haue wept al my vrine vpward. The wheele vnder our Citie bridge, carries not so much water ouer the city, as my braine hath welled forth gushing streames of sorow. I haue wept so immoderatly and lauishly, that I thought verily my palat had bin turned to pissing conduit in London. My eies haue bin dronk, outragiously dronke, with giuing but ordinary entercourse through their sea-circled Hands to my distilling dreariment What shal I saie? that which malice hath sayde is the meere ouerthrow & murder of your daies. Change not your colour, none can slander a cleere conscience to it selfe, receiue all your fraught of misfortune in at once.

It is buzzed in the kings head that you are a secret friend to the enemy, & vnder pretence of getting a license to furnish the campe with syder and such like prouant, you haue furnisht the enemy, and in emptie barrells sent letters of discouerie, and come innumerable, I might well haue left here, for by this time his white liuer had mixt it selfe with the white of his eie, & both were turned vpwardes, as if they had offered themselues a fayre white for death to shoote at. The troth was, I was verie loth mine hoste and I should parte to heauen with dry lips, wherefore the best meanes that I could imagine to wake him out of his traunce, was to crie loude in his eare, hough host, whats to pay, will no man looke to the reckning heere and in plaine veritie, it tooke expected effect, for with the noise he started and bustled, like a man that had beene scard with fyre out of his sleepe, and ranne hastily to his Tapster, and all to belaboured him about the eares, for letting Gentlemen call so long and not looke in to them. Presently he remembred himselfe, and had like to haue fallen into his memento againe, But that I met him halfe waies, and askt his Lordship what he meant to slip his necke out of the coller so sodainly, and being reuiued, strike his tapster so rashly.

Oh, quoth he, I am bought & solde for doing my Country such good seruice as I haue done. They are afraid of mee, because my good deedes haue brought me into such estimation with the communalty, I see, I see it is not for the lambe to liue with the wolfe.

The world is well amended, thought I, with your Sidership, such another fortie yeeres nappe together as Epemenides had, would make you a perfect wise man. Answere me, quoth he, my wise young Wilton, is it true that I am thus vnderhand dead and buried by these bad tongues?

Nay, quoth I, you shall pardon me, for I haue spoken too much alreadie, no definitiue sentence of death shall march out of my wel meaning lips, they haue but lately suckt milke, and shall they so sodainly change theyr food and seeke after bloud?

Oh but, quoth he, a mans friend is his friend, fill the other pint Tapster, what sayd the king, did hee beleeue it when hee heard it, I pray thee say, I sweare to thee by my nobility, none in the worlde shall euer be made priuie, that I receiued anie light of this matter from thee.

That firme affiance, quoth I, had I in you before, or else I would neuer haue gone so farre ouer the shooes, to plucke you out of the mire. Not to make many wordes (since you will needs know) the king saies flatly, you are a miser & a snudge, and he neuer hopt better of you. Nay then (quoth he) questionlesse some planet that loues not syder hath conspired against me. Moreouer, which is worse, the king hath vowed to giue Turwin one hot breakfast, onely with the bungs that hee will plucke out of your barrells. I cannot staie at this time to reporte each circumstance that passed, but the only counsell that my long cherished kinde inclination can possibly contriue, is now in your olde daies to be liberall, such victuals or prouisions as you haue, presently distribute it frankly amongst poore souldiers, I would let them burst their bellies with syder, and bathe in it, before I would runne into my Princes ill opinion for a whole sea of it. The hunter pursuing the beauer for his stones, hee bites them off, and leaues them behinde for him to gather vp, whereby he liues quiet. If greedie hunters and hungry teltales pursue you, it is for a little pelfe which you haue, cast it behind you, neglect it, let them haue it, lest it breed a further inconuenience. Credit my aduice, you shall finde it propheticall, and thus I haue discharged the parte of a poore friend. With some few like phrases of ceremonie, your honors suppliant, & so forth, and farewel my good youth, I thanke thee and will remember thee, we parted. But the next daie I thinke we had a dole of syder, syder in boules, in scuppets, in helmets, & to conclude, if a man would haue fild his bootes full, there hee might haue had it, prouant thrust it selfe into poore souldiers pockets whether they would or no. We made fiue peals of shot into the towne together, of nothing but spiggots and faussets of discarded emptie barrels: euerie vnderfoote soildiour had a distenanted tunne, as Diogenes had his tub to sleepe in, I my selfe got as many confiscated Tapsters aprons, as made me a Tent, as bigge as any ordinarie commanders in the field. But in conclusion, my welbeloued Baron of double beere got him humbly on his marybones to the king, and complained hee was olde and striken in yeres, and had nere an heire to cast at a dogge, wherefore if it might please his maiesty to take his lands into his hands, and allowe him some reasonable pension to liue on, hee shoulde bee meruailous wel pleased: as for the warres, he was wearie of them, and yet as long as highnes shoulde venture his owne person, hee would not flinch a foot, but make his withered bodie a buckler, to beare off anie blow that should be aduanced agaynst him.

The king meruailing at this strange alteration of his great marchant of syder (for so hee woulde often pleasantly tearme him), with a little further talke bolted out the whole complotment Then was I pittifully whipt for my holy day lie, although they made themselues merrie with it many a faire winters euening after.

Yet notwithstanding his good asseheaded honor mine host, perseuered in his former simple request to the king to accept of the surrender of his landes, and allowe him a beadsmanry or out-brother-ship of brachet, which at length, through his vehement instancie tooke effect, and the king ieastingly sayd, since he would needs haue it so, he would distrain on part of his land for impost of syder, which hee was behinde hande with him, and neuer payd.

This was one of my famous atchieuements, insomuch as I neuer light vpon the like famous foole, but I haue done a thousand better ieasts if they had bin bookt in order as they were begotten. It is pittie posteritie shoulde bee depriued of such precious recordes, and yet there is no remedie, and yet there is to, for when all fayles, welfare a good memorie. Gentle readers (looke you be gentle now since I haue cald you so) as freely as my knauerie was mine owne, it shall be yours to vse in the way of honestie.

Euen in this expedition of Turwin (for the king stoode not long thrumming of buttons there) it happened me fall out (I would it had fallen out otherwise for his sake) with an vgly mechanical Captaine. You must thinke in an armie, where tronchios are in their state house, it is a flat stab once to name a Captaine without cappe in hand. Well, suppose hee was a Captaine, & had nere a good cap of his owne, but I was faine to lend him one of my Lords cast veluet caps, and a weatherbeaten feather, wherewith he threatned his souldiers a farre off, as Iupiter is sayde, with the shaking of his haire to make heauen and earth to quake: suppose out of the paringes of a paire of false dice, I apparelled both him and my selfe many a time and oft: and surely not to slander the deuill, if anie man euer deserued the golden dice, the king of the Parthians sent to Demetrius it was I, I had the right vaine of sucking vp a die twixt the dintes of my fingers, not a creuise in my hande but coulde swallowe a quater trey for a neede: in the line of life many a dead lifte dyd there lurke, but it was nothing towards the maintenance of a family. This Monsieur Capitano eate vp the creame of my earnings, and Crede mihi res est ingeniosa dare, any man is a fine fellow as long as he hath anie monie in his purse. That monie is like the marigolde, which opens and shuts with the Sunne, if fortune smileth, or one be in fauour, it floweth: if the euening of age comes on, or he falleth into disgrace, it fadeth and is not to be found. I was my crafts master though I was but yong, and could as soone decline Nominatiuo hic asinus, as a greater clarke, wherefore I thought it not conuenient my soldado should haue my purse anie longer for his drumme to play vppon, but I woulde giue him Iacke drummes entertainment, and send him packing. This was my plot, I knewe a peece of seruice of intelligence, which was presently to bee done, that required a man with all his fiue senses to effect it, and would ouefthrow anie foole that should vndertake it, to this seruice did I animate and egge my foresayd costes and charges, alias, senior veluet-cappe, whose head was not encombered with too much forecast, and comming to him in his cabbin about dinner time, where I found him verie deuoutly paring of his nailes for want of other repast, I entertained him with this solemne oration.

Captaine, you perceiue how neere both of vs are driuen, the dice of late are growen as melancholy as a dog, high men and low men both prosper alike, langrets, fullams, and all the whole fellowshippe of them will not affoord a man his dinner, some other means must be inuented to preuent imminent extremitie. My state, you are not ignorant, depends on trencher seruice, your aduancement must be deriued from the valour of your arme. In the delayes of siege, desert hardly gets a daye of hearing, tis gowns must direct and guns enact all the wars that is to bee made against walls. Resteth no waie for you to climbe sodainly, but by doing some straunge stratageme, that the like hath not bene heard of heeretofore, and fitly at this instant occasion is ministred.

There is a feate the king is desirous to haue wrought on some great man of the enemies side, marie it requireth not so much resolution as discretion to bring it to passe, and yet resolution inough shalbe showen in it to, being so full of hazardous ieopardy as it is, harke in your eare, thus it is. Without more drumbling or pausing, if you will vndertake it, and worke it through stitch (as you may ere the king hath determined which waie to goe about it) I warrant you are made while you liue, you neede not care which waie your staffe falles, if it proue not so, then cut off my head.

Oh my auditors, had you seene him how he stretcht out his lims, scratcht his scabd elbowes at this speech, how hee set his cap ouer his eie browes like a polititian, and then folded his armes one in another, & nodded with the head, as who should saie, let the French beware, for they shall finde me a deuill, if I say, you had seen but halfe the actions that he vsed of shrucking vp his shoulders, smiling scornfully, playing with his fingers on his buttons, and biting the lip, you wold haue laught your face and your knees together. The yron being hot, I thought to lay on loade, for in anie case I would not haue his humour coole. As before I layd open vnto him the briefe summe of the seruice, so now I began to vrge the honorablenesse of it, and what a rare thing it was to be a right polititian, how much esteemd of kings and princes, and how diuerse of meane parentage haue come to be monarches by it. Then I discourst of the qualities and properties of him in euerie respect, how lyke the wolfe he must drawe the breath from a man before he be seen, how lyke a hare he must sleepe with his eyes open, how as the Eagle in flying casts dust in the eyes of crowes & other foules, for to blind them, so he must cast dust in the eies of his enimies, delude their sight by one meanes or other, y they diue not into his subtilties: how he must be familiar with all & trust none, drinke, carouse and lecher with him out of whom he hopes to wring anie matter, sweare and forsweare, rather than be suspected, and in a word, haue the art of dissembling at his fingers ends as perfect as anie courtier.

Perhaps (quoth I) you may haue some few greasie cauelliers that will seeke to disswade you from it, and they will not sticke to stand on theyr three halfe pennie honour, swearing and staring that a man were better be an hangman than an intelligencer, and call him a sneaking eausdropper, a scraping hedgecreeper, and a piperly pickthanke, but you must not bee discouraged by theyr talke, for the most part of those beggerly contemners of wit, are huge burlybond butchers like Aiax, good for nothing but to strike right downe blowes on a wedge with a cleauing beetle, or stande hammering all daie vppon barres of yron. The whelpes of a Beare neuer grow but sleeping, and these bearewards hauing big limmes shall bee preferd though they doe nothing. You haue read stories, (He bee sworne he neuer lookte in booke in his life) how many of the Romane worthies were there that haue gone as spies into theyr enemies campe? Vlysses, Nestor, Diomed, went as spies together in the night into the tentes of Rhosus and intercepted Dolon the spie of the Troians: neuer anie discredited the trade of intelligencers but Iudas, & he hanged himselfe. Danger will put wit into anie man. Architas made a wooden doue to flie: by which proportion I see no reason that the veryest blocke in the world should despayre of anie thing. Though nature be contrarie inclined, it may be altered, yet vsually those whome she denies her ordinarie giftes in one thing, she doubles them in another. That which the asse wants in wit, hee hath in honestie, who euer sawe him kicke or winch, or vse anie iades trickes, though he liue an hundred yeeres you shall never heare that he breakes pasture. Amongest men, hee that hath not a good wit, lightly hath a good yron memorie, and he that hath neither of both, hath some bones to carrie burthens. Blinde men haue better noses than other men: the buls horns serue him as well as hands to fight withall: the lions pawes are as good to him as a polaxe, to knock downe anie that resists him: so the Bores tushes serue him in better stead than a sword and buckler, what need the snaile care for eyes, when he feeles the waie with his two homes, as well as if hee were as sharpe sighted as a decypherer. There is a fish that hauing no wings, supportes her selfe in the ayre with her finnes. Admit that you had neither wit nor capacitie, as sure in my iudgement there is none equall vnto you in idiotisme, yet if you haue simplicitie and secrecie, serpents themselues will thinke you a serpent, for what serpent is there but hydeth his sting: and yet whatsoeuer bee wanting, a good plausible alluring tong in such a man of imployment can hardly be spard, which as the forenamed serpent, with his winding tayle fetcheth in those that come neere him: so with a rauishing tale, it gathers all mens heartes vnto him, which if hee haue not, let him neuer looke to ingender by the mouth, as rauens and doues doe, that is, mount or be great by vndermining. Sir, I am assertayned that all these imperfections I speake off, in you haue theyr naturall resiance, I see in your face, that you were borne with the swallow, to feede flying, to get much treasure and honour by trauell. None so fit as you for so important an enterprise, our vulgar reputed polititians are but flyes swimming on the streame of subtiltie superficially in comparison of your singularitie, theyr blind narrowe eyes cannot pearce into the profunditie of hypocrisie, you alone with Palamed, can pry into Vlysses madde counterfeting, you can discerne Achilles from a chamber maide, though he be deckt with his spindle and distaffe: as Ioue dining with Licaon could not be beguiled with humane flesh drest like meate, so no humane braine may goe beyond you, none beguile you, you gull all, all feare you, loue you, stoupe to you. Therefore, good sir, be rulde by mee, stoupe your fortune so lowe, as to bequeath your selfe wholy to this businesse.

This siluer sounding tale made such sugred harmonie in his eares, that with the sweete meditation, what a more than myraculous polititian he should be, and what kingly promotion should come tumbling on him thereby, he could haue found in his heart to haue packt vp his pipes & to haue gone to heauen without a baite, yea, hee was more inflamed and rauishte with it than a young man called Tauritnontanus was with the Phrigian melodie, who was so incensed and fyred therewith, that he would needes runne presently vpon it, and set a curtizans house on fire that had angered him.

No remedie there was but I must helpe to furnish him with monie, I did so, as who wil not make his enemy a bridge of golde to flie by. Verie earnestly he coniurd me to make no man liuing priuie to his departure in regard of his place and charge, and on his honour assured mee his returne shoulde bee verie short and succesfull, I, I, shorter by the necke, thought I, in the meane time let this be thy posie, I liue in hope to scape the rope.

Gone he is, God send him good shipping to Wapping, & by this time, if you will, let him bee a pittifull poore fellowe, and vndone for euer, for mine owne part, if he had bin mine owne brother, I coulde haue done no more for him than I did, for straight after his backe was turnd, I went in all loue & kindnesse to the Marshall generall of the field, & certefide him that such a man was lately fled to the enemie, and gotte his place beggd for another immediatly. What became of him after you shall heare. To the enemie he went and offered his seruice, ratling egregiously on the king of England, he swore, as he was a Gentleman and a souldier, hee would bee reuenged on him, and let but the king of France follow his counsell, hee woulde driue him from Turwin wals yet ere ten dayes to an end. All these were good humours, but the tragedie followeth. The French king hearing of such a prating fellow that was come, was desirous to see him, but yet he feared treason, wherfore he wild one of his minions to take vpon him his person, and he would stand by as a priuate man whilest hee was examined. Why should I vse anie idle delayes? In was Captaine Gogges wounds brought, after he was throughly searched, not a louse in his doublet was let passe, but was askt Queuela, and chargd to stand in the kings name, the mouldes of his buttons they turnd out, to see if they were not bullettes couered ouer with thread, the codpeece in his deuills breeches (for they were then in fashion) they sayd playnly was a case for a pistoll, if hee had had euer a hobnaile in his shooes it had hangde him, & he shuld neuer haue knowen who had harmd him, but as lucke was, he had not a mite of anie mettal about him, he tooke part with none of the foure ages, neither the golden age, the siluer age, the brasen nor the yron age, onely his purse was aged in emptinesse, and I thinke verily a puritane, for it kept it selfe from any pollution of crosses. Standing before the supposed king, he was askt what he was, and wherefore he came. To the which in a glorious bragging humour he aunswered, that hee was a gentleman, a captaine commander, a chiefe leacjer, that came away from the king of England vppon discontentment. Questiond particular of the cause of his discontentment, hee had not a word to blesse himself with, yet faine he would haue patcht out a poltfoote tale, but (God he knowes) it had not one true legge to stand on. Then began he to smell on the villaine so rammishly, that none there but was readie to rent him in peeces, yet the minion king kept in his cholar, and propounded vnto him farther, what of the king of Englands secrets (so aduantageable) he was priuie to, as might remoue him from the siege of Turwin in three daies. Hee sayde diuerse, diuerse matters, which askt longer conference, but in good honestie they were lies, which he had not yet stampt. Heereat the true king stept forth, and commanded to lay handes on the lozell, and that he should be tortured to confesse the truth, for he was a spie and nothing else.

He no sooner sawe the wheele and the torments set before him, but he cride out like a rascall, and sayde hee was a poore Captaine in the English camp, suborned by one Iacke Wilton (a noble mans page) and no other, to come and kill the French king in a brauery and returne, and that he had no other intention in the world.

This confession could not choose but moue them all to laughter, in that he made it as light a matter to kill their king and come backe, as to goe to Islington and eate a messe of creame, and come home againe, nay, and besides hee protested that he had no other intention, as if that were not inough to hang him.

Adam neuer fell till God made fooles, all this coulde not keepe his ioyntes from ransacking on the wheele, for they vowed either to make him a confessor or a martir in a trice, when still he sung all one song, they tolde the king he was a foole, and some shrewd head had knauishly wrought on him, wherefore it should stand with his honour to whip him out of the campe and send him home. That perswasion tooke place, and soundly was he lasht out of theyr liberties, and sent home by a Heralde with this message, that so the king his master hoped to whip home all the English fooles verie shortly: answere was returned, that that shortlie, was a long lie, and they were shrewde fooles that shoulde driue the French man out of his kingdome, and make him glad with Corinthian Dionisius to play the schoole-master.

The Herald being dismist, our afflicted intelligencer was cald coram nobis, how he spedde, iudge you, but something hee was adiudged to. The sparowe for his lecherie liueth but a yeere, he for his trecherie was turnd on the toe, Plura dolor prohibet.

Here let me triumph a while, and ruminate a line or two on the excellence of my wit, but I will not breath neither til I haue disfraughted all my knauerie.

Another Swizer Captaine that was farre gone for want of the wench, I led astraie most notoriously, for he beeing a monstrous vnthrift of battle axes (as one that cared not in his anger to bid flie out scuttels to fiue score of them) and a notable emboweller of quart pots, I came disguised vnto him in the forme of a halfe a crowne wench, my gowne and attire according to the custome the in request. I wis I had my curtesies in cue or in quart pot rather, for they dyu'd into the very entrailes of the dust, and I simpered with my countenance lyke a porredge pot on the fire when it first begins to seeth. The sobrietie of the circumstance is, that after he had courted me and all, and giuen me the earnest pennie of impietie, some sixe crownes at the least for an antipast to iniquitie, I fained an impregnable excuse to be gone, and neuer came at him after. Yet left I not here, but committed a little more scutcherie. A companie of coystrell clarkes (who were in band with sathan, and not of anie souldiers collar nor his hatband) pincht a number of good mindes to Godward of theyr prouant. They would not let a dram of dead pay ouerslip them, they would not lend a groat of the weeke to come, to him that had spent his money before this weeke was done. They outfaced the greatest and most magnanimious servitours in their sincere and finigraphicall cleane shirts and cuffes. A lowse that was anie Gentlemans companion they thought scorne of, their nere bitten beardes must in a deuils name bedewdeuerie daiewith rosewater, hogges could haue nere a hayre on theyr backes, for making them rubbing brushes to rouse theyr crab lice. They woulde in no wise permitte that the moates in the Sunnebeames should be full mouthde beholders of theyr cleane phinikde appareil, theyr shooes shined as bright as a slike-stone, theyr handes troubled and soyled more water with washing, than the camell doth, that nere drinkes till the whole streame bee troubled. Summarily, neuer anie were so fantastical the one halfe as they. My masters you may conceiue of me what you list, but I thinke confidently I was ordayned Gods scourge from aboue for theyr daintie finicalitie. The houre of theyr punishment could no longer be proroged, but vengeance must haue at them at al a ventures. So it was, that the most of these aboue named goosequil braccahadocheos were meere cowards and crauens, and durst not so much as throw a penfull of inke into the enimies face, if proofe were made, wherefore on the experience of their pusellanimitie I thought to raise the foundation of my roguerie. What did I now but one daie made a false alarum in the quarter where they laie, to trie how they would stand to theyr tackling, and with a pittifull outcrie warned them to flie, for there was treason afoot, they were inuironed and beset. Upon the first watch worde of treason that was giuen, I thinke they betooke them to theyr heeles verie stoutly, left theyr penne and inke-hornes and papers behinde them for spoile, resigned theyr deskes, with the mony that was in them to the mercie of the vanquisher, and in fine, left mee & my fellowes (their foole-catchers) Lords of the field: how wee dealt with them, their disburdened deskes canne best tell, but this I am assured, we fared the better for it a fortnight of fasting dayes after. I must not place a volume in the precincts of a pamphlet, sleepe an houre or two, and dreame that Turney and Turwin is wonne, that the king is shipt againe into England, and that I am close at harde meate at Windsore or at Hampton court. What will you in your indifferent opinions allow me for my trauell, no more seigniorie ouer the Pages than I had before? yes, whether you will parte with so much probable friendly suppose or no, He haue it in spite of your heartes. For your instruction and godly consolation, bee informed, that at that time I was no common squire, no vndertroden torch-bearer, I had my feather in my cap as big as a flag in the foretop, my French doublet gelte in the belly as though (lyke a pig readie to be spitted) all my guts had beene pluckt out, a paire of side paned hose that hung down like two scales filled with Holland cheeses, 'my long stock that sate close to my docke, and smoothered not a scab or a leacherous hairie sinew on the calfe of my legge, my rapier pendant like a round sticke fastned in the tacklings for skippers the better to climbe by, my cape cloake of blacke cloth, ouerspreading my backe lyke a thornbacke, or an Elephantes eare, that hanges on his shoulders lyke a countrie huswiues banskin, which shee thirleth her spindle on, and in consummation of my curiositie, my handes without gloues, all a more French, and a blacke budge edging of a beard on the vpper lip, & the like sable auglet of excrements in the first rising of the anckle of my chinne. I was the first that brought in the order of passing into the court which I deriued from the common word Qui passa, and the heralds phrase of armes Passant, thinking in sincerity, hee was not a Gentleman, nor his armes currant, who was not first past by the pages. If anie prentise or other came into the court that was not a Gentleman, I thought it was an indignitie to the preheminence of the court to include such a one, and could not be salud except we gaue him armes Passant, to make him a Gentleman. Besides, in Spaine, none compasse anie farre waie but he must be examined what he is, & giue three pence for his passe. In which regard it was considered of by the common table of the cupbearers, what a perilsome thing it was to let anie stranger or outdweller approch so neere the precincts of the Prince, as the great chamber, without examining what he was and giuing him his passe, wherevppon we established the lyke order, but tooke no monie of them as they did, onelie for a signe that he had not past our hands vnexamined, wee set a red marke on either of his eares, and so let him walke as authenticall. I must not discouer what vngodly dealing we had with the blacke iackes, or how oft I was crowned king of the dronkards with a court cuppe, let mee quietly descend to the waining of my youthfull dayes, and tell a little of the sweating sicknesse, that made me in a cold sweate take my heeles and runne out of England.

This sweating sicknesse, was a disease that a man then might catch and neuer goe to a hothouse. Many masters desire to haue such semants as would worke till they sweate againe, but in those dayes he that sweat neuer wrought againe. That Scripture then was not thought so necessarie, which sayes, Earne thy liuing with the sweat of thy browes, for then they earnd their dying with the sweat of their browes. It was inough if a fat man did but trusse his points, to turne him ouer the pearch: mother Cornelius tub why it was lyke hell, he that came into it neuer came out of it Cookes that stande continually basting theirfaces before the fire, were nowe all cashierd with this sweat into kitchinstuffe: theyr hall fell in to the kings handes for want of one of the trade to vpholde it. Feltmakers and furriers, what the one with the hot steame of their wooll new taken out of the pan, and the other with the contagious heate of their slaughter budge and connyskins, died more thicke than of the pestilence: I haue seene an olde woman at that season hauing three chins, wipe them all away one after another, as they melted to water, and left her selfe nothing of a mouth but an vpper chap. Looke how in May or the heat of Summer we lay butter in water for feare it shuld melte awaie, so then were men faine to wet their clothes in water as Diers doo, and hide themselues in welles from the heate of the Sunne.

Then happie was he that was an asse, for nothing wyll kill an asse but colde, and none dide but with extreame heate. The fishes called Seastarres, that burne one another by excessiue heate, were not so contagious as one man that had the sweate was to another. Masons paid nothing for haire to mix their lime, nor giouers to stuffe their balls with, for then they had it for nothing, it dropt off mens heads and beardes faster than anie Barber could shaue it. O if haire breeches had then beene in fashion, what a fine world had it beene for Taylers, and so it was a fine world for Tailers neuerthelesse, for hee that could make a garment sleightest and thinnest, carried it awaie. Cutters I can tell you, then stood vpon it, to haue their trade one of the twelue Companies, for who was it then that would not haue his doublet cut to the skin, and his shirt cut into it to, to make it more colde. It was as much as a mans life was worth, once to name a freeze ierken, it was treason for a fat grosse man to come within fiue miles of the court, I heard where they dide vp all in one family, and not a mothers childe escapt, insomuch as they had but an Irish rug lockt vp in a presse, and not laide vpon anie bedde neither, if those that were sicke of this maladie slept on it, they neuer wakt more. Phisitions with their simples, in this case were simple fellowes, and knew not which way to bestir them. Galen might goe shop the gander for anie good he could doe, his secretatyes had so long called him diuine, that now he had lost all his vertue vpon earth. Hippocrates might well helpe Almanack makers, but here he had not a worde to saie, a man might sooner catch the sweate with plodding ouer him to no end, than cure the sweat with any of his impotent principles. Paracelsus with his spirit of the butterie, and his spirits of minerals, could not so much as say, God amend him, to the matter. Plus erat in artifice quant arte, there was more infection in the phisition himselfe than his arte could cure. This mortalitie first began amongst olde men, for they taking a pride to haue their breasts loose basted with tedious beards, kept their houses so hot with these hairy excrements, that not so much but their very wals sweat out salt Peter, with the smoothering perplexitie, nay a number of them had meruailous hot breaths, which sticking in the briers of their bushie beardes, could not choose, but (as close aire long imprisoned) engender corruption. Wiser was our brother Bankes of these latter dais, who made his iugling horse a cut, for feare if at anie time hee should foist, the stinke sticking in his thicke bushie taile might be noisome to his auditors. Should I tell you how many purseuants with red noses, and sargeants with precious faces shrunke away in this sweat, you would not beleeve me. Euen as the Salamander with his very sight blasteth apples on the trees, so a purseuant or a sargeant at this present, with the verie reflexe of his fine facias, was able to spoile a man a farre of. In some places of the world there is no shadow of the sunne, Diebus illis if it had bene so in England, the generation of Brute had died all and some. To knit vp this description in a pursuat, so feruent and scorching was the burning aire which inclosed them, that the most blessed man then aliue, would haue thoght that God had done fairely by him, if he had turnde him to a goat, for goates take breath not at the mouth or nose only, but at y eares also.

Take breath how they would, I vowd to tarrie no longer amongst them. As at Turwin I was a demie souldier in iest, so now I became a martiallist in earnest. Ouer sea with my implements I got me, where hearing the king of France and the Swizers were together by the ears, I made towards them as fast as I could, thinking to thrust my selfe into that faction that was strongest It was my good lucke or my ill, I know not which, to come iust to ye fighting of the battel, where I sawe a wonderfull spectacle of bloud shed on both sides, here the vnwildie swizers wallowing in their gore, like an oxe in his doung, there the sprightly French sprawling and turning on the stayned grasse, like a roach newe taken out of the streame, all the ground was strewed as thicke with battle axes, as the carpenters yard with chips. The plaine appeared like a quagmire, ouerspread as it was with trampled dead bodies. In one place might you beholde a heape of dead murthered men ouerwhelmed with a falling steed, in stead of a tombe stone, in another place a bundle of bodies fettered together in theyr owne bowels, and as the tyrant Romane Empereurs vsed to tie condemned liuing caitifes face to face to dead corses, so were the halfe liuing here mixt with squeazed carcases long putrifide. Anie man might giue armes that was an actor in that battell, for there were more armes and legs scattered in the field that daie, than will be gathered vp till dooms daie, the French king himselfe in this conflict was much distressed, the braines of his owne men sprinkled in his face, thrice was his courser slaine vnder him, and thrice was hee strucke on the breast with a speare, but in the end, by the helpe of the Venetians, the Heluesians or Swizers were subdude, and he crowned victor, a peace concluded, and the cittie of Millain surrendered vnto him, as a pledge of reconciliation. That warre thus blowen ouer, and the seueral bands dissolued, like a crow that still followes aloofe where there is carrion, I flew me ouer to Munster in Germanie, which an Anabaptisticall brother named Iohn Leiden kepte at that instant against the Emperor and the Duke of Saxonie. Here I was in good hope to set vp my staffe for some reasonable time, deeming that no Citie would driue it to a siege except they were able to holde out, and pretily well had these Munsterians held out, for they kept the Emperour and the Duke of Saxonie sound plaie for the space of a yeere, and longer wold haue done, but that dame famine came amongst them, wherevppon they were forst by messengers to agree vpon a daie of fight, when according to theyr anabaptisticall errour they might be all new christned in theyr owne bloud.

That daie come, flourishing entered lohn Leiden the botcher into the field, with a scarfe made of lists, like a bowcase, a crosse on his brest like a thred bottom, a round twilted Tailers cushion buckled lyke a tancard bearers deuice to his shoulders for a target, the pike whereof was a packe needle, a tough prentises

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