Page images

Which frameth the minde of man, all honest

The last Songe: thinges to doo; Unhonest thinges friendshippe ne craveth ne yet The strongest gards that kynges can have, consents thereto.

Are constant friends their state to save : In wealth a double joye, in woe a present stay, True friendes are constant both in word and deede, A sweete compagnion in each state true friend- True friendes are present, und helpe at each neede : ship is alway:

True friendes talke truely, they glose for no gayne, A sure defence for kinges, a perfect trustie When treasure consumeth, true friendes wyli rebande,

mayne : A force to assayle, a shielde to defende the ene- True friendes for their true prince refuseth not inies cruell hande,

their death: A rare, and yet the greatest gift that God can The Lord graunt her such friendes, most noble geve to man :

queene Elizabeth. So rare, that scarce four couple of faithful friends

have ben since the worlde began. Longe may she governe in honour and wealth, A gift so strange, and of such price, I wish all Voide of all sicknesse, in most perfect health : kyngs to have;

Which health to prolonge, as true friends require, But chiefely yet, as duetie bindeth, I huinbly God graunt she may hate her owne hartes desire : crave,

Which friendes wyll defend with most stedfast True friendship and true friendes, full fraught

faith, with constant faith,

The Lorde graunt her such friendes, most noble The gever of friends, the Lord, grant her, most

queene Elizabeth. noble queene Elizabeth.


(1.) “ The excellent Comedie of two the moste faithfullest freendes Damon and Pithias. Newly imprinted as the same was shewed before the queenes majestie, by the children of her graces chappell

, except the prologue, that is somewhat altered for the proper use of them that hereafter shall have occasion to plaie it either in private or open audience. "Made by Maister Edwards, then beynge nuaister of the children, 1571. Imprinted at London, in Fleetelane, by Richard Jones, and are to be solde at his shop joyning to the south-west doore of Paule's churche." 4to, black letter.

(2.) Another edition in 4to, B. L. 1582. Both in Mr Garrick's collection,


This dramatic piece is the first performance which appeared in England under the name of a comedy. As a former editor of -it (Mr Hawkins) observes,“ There is a vein of familiar humour in this play, and a kind of grotesque imagery not unlike some parts of Aristophanes, but without thuse graces of language and metre for which the Greek comedian was eminently distinguished.” The a ihor of it is wholly unknown. In the title-page he is only stiled Mr Sm, master of arts; and we, are informed it was acted at Christ's College, Cambridge.

The former edition of this play, and that of Mr Hawkins, were both printed from a re-publication in the year 1661, full of every kind of errors, and some of them so gross as to render the sense of the author totally unintelligible. The present is given from a copy printed in the year 1575, which is probably the first edition; although Chetwood, in his British Theatre, hath set down the dates of 1551 and 1559 : but these, like some of the editions of Shakespeare's plays, enumerated in that work, are supposed never to have existed but in the compiler's own imagination.


Diccon,' the Bedlem. 2
HODGE, Gammer Gurton's Servante."
TYB, Gammer Gurton's Mayde.
Cock, Gammer Gurton's Boye.

Doctor Rat, the Curate.
Doll, Dame Chat's Mayde.
SCAPETURYFT, Mayster Bailye's Servante.


· Diccon, the Bedlem-Diccon is the ancient abbreviation of Richard. See Mr Steerens's note on Richard III. A. 5. S. 3.

2 The Bedlem-after the dissolution of the religious houses where the poor of every denomination were provided for, there was for many years no settled or fixed provision made to supply the want of that care which those bodies appear always to have taken of their distressed brethren. In consequence of this neglect, the idle and dissolute were suffered to wander about the country, assuming such characters as they imagined were most likely to insure success to their frauds, and security from detection. Among other disguises, many affected madness, and were distinguished by the name of Bedlam Beggars. These are mere lioned by Edgar, in King Lear :

“ The country gives me proof and precedent,
Of bedlam beggars, who, with roaring voices,
Stick in their numb'd and mortify'd bare arms
Pins, wooden pricks, nails, sprigs of rosemary,
And with this horrible object from low farms,
Poor pelting villages, sheep-cotes, and mills,
Sometime with lunatic bans, sometime with prayer,

Inforce their charity." In Dekker's Belman of London, 1616, all the different species of beggars are enumerated. Amongst the rest are mentioned Tom of Bedlam's band of mad caps, otherwise called Poor Tom's flock of wild geese, PROLOGUE.

As Gammer Gurton, with manye a wyde styche, | Mas Doctor was sent for, these gossyp3 to staye : Sat pesynge and patching of Hodge her mau's Because he was curate, and estemed full wyse, briche,

Who found that he sought not, by Diccon's device. By chance or misfortune, as shee her geare tost, When all thinges were tombled and cleane out In Hodge lether bryches her needle she lost.

of fashion, When Viccon the bedlam had hard by report, Whether it were by fortune, or some other chuaThat good Gammer Gurton was rohde in thys sorte,

stellacion, He quyetlye perswaded with her in that stound, Sodenlye the neele Hodge found by the prickynge. Dame Chat her deare gossyp this needle had found. And drew out of his bottocke, where he found it Yet knew shee no more of this matter, alas,

stickynge. Then knoeth Tom our clarke what the priest saith Theyr hartes then at rest with perfect securytie,

With a pot of good ale they stroake up theys Hereof there ensued so fearfull a fraye,


at masse.



Dic. Many a myle have I walked, divers and

sundry waies,
And many a good man's house have I bin at in

my dais; Many a gossip's cup ia my tyme have I tasted,

And many a broche and spye have I both turned

and basted; Many a peece of bacon have I had out of this

balkes, 3 Io ronnyng over the countrey, with long and were

walkes; Yet came my foote never within those doore

cheekes, To seek flesh or fysh, garlyke, onyons, or lockcs,

(whom here thou seest by his black and blue naked arms to be a man beaten to the world,) and those wild geese, or hair brains, are called Abraham-men. An Abraham-man is afterwards described in this manner : “ Of all the mad rascals, (that are of this wing,) the Abraham-man is the most fantastick. The fellow (quoth this old Lady of the Lake unto me) that sate balf-naked (at table to-day) from the girdie upward, is the best Abraham-man that ever came to my house, and the notablest villain : he swears he hath been in Bedlam, and will talk frantickly of purpose : you see pins stuck in sundry places of his naked flesh, especially in his arms, which pain he gladly puts himself to, (being indeed no torment at all, his skin is either so dead with some foule disease, or so hardened with weather,) only to make you believe he is out of his wits: he calls himself by the name of Poor Tom, and coming near any body, cries out, Poor Tom is a cold. Of these Abraham-men, some be exceeding merry, and do nothing but sing songes, fashioned out of their own braines ; some will dance ; others will do nothing but either laugh or weep; others are dogged, and are sullen both in look and speech, that, spying but a small company in a house, they boldly and bluntly enter, compelling the servants through fear to give them what they demand, which is commonly bacon, or something that will yield ready money."

of this respectable fraternity Diccon seems to have been a member.

Massinger mentions them in A new way to pay old Debts, A. 2. S. 2. “ Are they padders, or Abrammen, that are your consorts ?”

3'- out of thir balkes--the summer beam, or dorman. Poles laid over a stable, or other building. Ray's Collection oj English Words, p. 167.

pots of ale, 6

That ever I saw a sorte in such a plyght, 4 And caught a slyp of bacon, when I saw none As here within this house appereth to my syght;

spyed mee, There is howlynge and schowlyng, all cast in a which I intend not far hence, unles my purpose dumpe,

fayle, With whewling and pewling, as though they had Shall serve for a shoing horne to draw on two

lost a trump:
Syghing and sobbing, they weepe and they wayle ;
I marvel in my mynd, what the devil they ayle.

The olde trot syts groning, with alas, and alas!?
And Tib wringes her hands, and takes on in

Hodge, Diccon.

Hodge. See so cham arayed with dablynge in With poore Cocke theyr boye, they be dryven in the durt! such fyts,

She that set me to ditchinge, ich wold she had the I feare mee the folkes be not well in theyr wyts. squirt. Aske them what they aile, or who brought them was never poore soule that such a life had?

Gog's bones, thys vilthy glaye hase drest mee too They answer not at all, but alacke and welaway. bad. When I saw it booted not, out at doores I byed God's soule, see how this stuffe teares !


worse case.

in this stay?

[ocr errors]

4 That ever I saw a sorte in such a plyghtma sort is a company. So, in Jonson's Every Man out of his Humour, A. 2. S. 3. “ Į speek it not gloriously, nor out of affectation, but there's he and the count Frugale, signinr Illustre, signior Luculento, and a sort of them, &c.”

Also, in Pierce Pennilesse's Supplication to the Devil, 1592, p. 6. : " I know a great sort of good fellows that would venture, &c.”

Again, in the Vocacyon of Johan Bale, 1533 : “ . in parell of pyrates, robbers, and murthirors, and a great sort more." And, in Skelton's works, edit. 1736, p. 136 :

" Another sorte of sluttes

Some brought walnutes."
See also Dr Johnson and Mr Steevens's notes on Shakespeare, Vol. III. p. 69.

s The olde trot syls groning, with alas, and alas !-an old trot, or trat, Dr Gray says, signifies a decrepid old woman, or an old drab. In which sense it is used in Gawin Douglas Virgil's Æneid, B. 4. p. 96, 97 :

Out on the old trat agit wyffe or dame. And p. 122. 39:

Thus said Dido, and the tother with that,

Hyit or furth with slow pase like ane trot. And Shakespeare: “ Why give him gold enough, and marry him to a puppet, an aglet baby, or an old trot with ne’er a tooth in her head.”—Taming of the Shrew, A. 1. S. 5. Critical notes on Shakespeare, Vol. I. p. 118. It is also used by Churchyard :

Away young Frie that gives leawd counsell nowe,

Awaie old trotts, that sets young flesh to sale, &c.—Challenge, 1593, p. 250. And by Gascoigne :

Go! that gunpowder consume the old trot.--Supposes, A. 3. S. 5. Again, in Nashe’s Lenten Stuff, 1599 : “ – a cage or pigeon-house, roomsome enough to comprehend her, and the toothless trot her nurse, who was her only chat mate and chamber maid, &c."-See also Mo Steevens's notes on Shakespeare, Vol. II. p. 93.

6 Shall serve for a shoing horne to draw on two pots of ale—so, in Pierce Pennilesse's Supplication, p. 3. “ – wee have generall rules and injunctions, as good as printed precepts, or statutes set downe by acte of parliament, that goe from drunkard to drunkard as still to keepe your first man, not to leave anie flockes in the bottom of the cup, to knock the glasse on your thumbe when you have done, to bave some shooeing horne to pull on your wine, as a rasher of the coles, or a redde herring."

Iche were better to bee a bearward, and set to Tome Tannkard's cow, (be Gog's bones) she set keepe beares.

me up her sail, By the masse, here is a gashe, a shamefull hole And flynging about his halse aker, frysking with indeade,

her taile, And one stytch teare furder, a man may thruste As though there had been in her ars a swarme of in his heade.

bees; Dic. By my father's soule, Hodge, if I shulde and chad not cryed tphrowh hoore, shea'd lept now be sworne,

out of his lees. I cannot chuse but say thy breech is foule betorne. Dic. Why, Hodge, lies the connyug in Tome But the next remedye in such a case and hap,

Tannkard's cowe's tail? Is to plaunche on a piece as brode as thy cap. Hodge. Well, ich chave hard some say such toHodge. Gog's soule, man, 'tis not yet, two dayes

kens do not fayle. fully ended,

But ca'st thou not tell, in faith, Diccon, why she Synce my dame Gurton (cham sure) these breches frowns, or whereat? amended,

10 Hath no man stolen her ducks, or henes, or But chan made such ? a drudge to trudge at every gelded Gyb her cat? neede,

Dic. What devyll can I tell, man, I cold not Chwold rend it, though it were stitched wath stur- have one word, dy packthreede.

They gave no more hede to my talke then thou Dic. Hodge, 8 let thy breeches go, and speake

woldst to a lord. and tell me soone,

Hodge. Iche cannot styll but muse, what merWhat devil ayleth Gammer Gurton, and Tib her vaylous thinge it is: mayd to frowne.

Chyll in and know myselfe what matters are amys. Hodge. Tush, man, th’art deceyved, 'tys theyr Dic. Then farewell, Hodge, a while, synce thou dayly looke;

doest inward hast, They coure so over the coles, theyreyes be blear'd For I will into the good wyfe Chat’s, to feele how with smooke.

the ale does tast. Dic. Nay, by the masse, I perfectly perceved as I came hether,

THE THIRD SCEANE. That eyther Tib and her dame hath ben by the eares together,

Hodge, Tyb. Or els as great a matter, as thou shalt shortly see. Hodge. Cham agast, by the masse, ich wot not Hodge. Now iche beseeche our Lord they ne- what to do. ver better agree.

Chad nede blesse me well before ich go them to. Dic. By Gog's soule, there they syt as still as Perchaunce some fellon sprit may haunt our house stones in the streite,

indeed, As though they had hen taken with fairies, or els And then chwere but a noddy to venter where with some il spreet.

cha no neede. Hodge. Gog's hart, I durst have layd my cap Tyb. Cham worse then mad, by the masse, to to a crowne,

be at this staye, Ch'would learn of some prancome as soon as ich Cham chyd, cham bland, and beaton all th’ours came to town.

on the daye. Dic. Why, Hodge, art thou inspyred? or dedst Lamed and hunger starved, prycked up all in thou thereof here?

jagges, Hodge. Nay, but ich saw such a wonder, as ich Havyng no patch to hyde my backe, save a few saw nat this seven yere,

rotten ragges.


* Succ, other editions.

Hoge, other editions. 9 They coure-This is the reading of the first edition, which in all the subsequent ones is very impropere ly altered to cover. To coure, is to bend, stoop, hang, or lean over. See Beaumont and Fletcher's Monsieur Thomas, A. 4. S. 6. and Pierce Pennilesse's Supplication to the Devil, 1592, p. 8. Again,

« He much rejoyst, and cour'd it tenderly,
“ As chicken newly hatcht, from dreaded destiny."

Spenser's Fairy Queen, B. II. c. viii. st. 9. Again,

" As thus he spake, each bird and beast behold
“ Approaching two and two, these cow'ring low
“ With blandishment, each bird stoop'd on his wing."

Paradise Lost, B. VIII. I. 349, 10 Hath no man stolen her ducks, or henes, or gelded Gyb her cal?-(iyb was the name by which all male or ram cats were distinguished. See Mr Warton's note on the first part of Henry IV. A. I, S. 2,

« PreviousContinue »