Pierce Penilesse His Supplication to the Divell
to the Divell.
Barbaria grandis habere nihil.
Written by Tho. Nash, Gent.
printed by Abell Jeffes, for
I. B. 1592.
PUBLISHED BY Abell Jeffes
PUBLISHED FOR I.B.
FAith I am verie sorrie (Sir) I am thus unawares betrayed to infamie. You write to me my book is hasting to the second impression: he that hath once broke the Ice of impudence need not care how deepe he wade in discredit. I confesse it to be a meer toy, not deserving any judicial mans view: If it have found any friends, so it is, you knowe very wel that it was abroad a fortnight ere I knewe of it, & uncorrected and unfinished, it hath offred it selfe to the open scorne of the world. Had you not beene so forward in the republishing of it, you shold have had certayne Epistles to Orators and Poets, to insert to the later end; As namely, to the Ghost of Machevill, of Tully, of Ovid, of Roscius, of Pace the Duke of Norfolks Jester; and lastly, to the Ghost of Robert Greene, telling him, what a coyle there is with pamphleting on him after his death. These were prepared for Pierce Penilesse first setting foorth, had not the feare of infection detained mee with my Lord in the Countrey.
Now this is that I woulde have you to do in this second edition; First, cut off that long-tayld Title, and let mee not in the forefront of my Booke, make a tedious Mountebanks Oration to the Reader, when in the whole there is nothing praise-worthie.
I heare say there bee obscure imitators, that goe about to frame a second part to it, and offer it to sell in Paules Churchyard, and elsewhere, as from mee. Let mee request you (as ever you will expect any favour at my hands) to get some body to write an Epistle before it, ere you set it to sale againe, importing thus much; that if any such lewde devise intrude it selfe to their hands, it is a coseanage and plaine knavery of him that sels it to get mony, and that I have no manner of interest or acquaintance with it. Indeed if my leysure were, such as I could wish, I might haps (halfe a yeare hence) write [Page] the returne of the Knight of the Post from hel, with the Devils answer to the Supplication: but as for a second part of Pierce Penilesse, it is a most ridiculous rogery.
Other news I am advertised of, that a scald trivial lying pamphlet, cald Greens groats-worth of wit is given out to be of my doing. God never have care of my soule, but utterly renou[n]ce me, if the least word or sillable in it proceeded from my pen, or if I were any way privie to the writing or printing of it. I am growne at length to see into the vanity of the world more than ever I did, and now I condemne my selfe for nothing so much, as playing the dolt in Print. Outupon it, it is odious, specially, in this moralizing age, wherein every one seeks to shew himselfe a Polititian by mis-interpreting. In one place of my Booke Pierce Penilesse saith, but to the Knight of the Post, I pray how might I call you, & they say I meant one Howe, a Knave of that trade that I never heard of before. The Antiquaries are offended without cause, thinking I goe about to detract from that excellent profession, when (God is my witnesse) I reverence it as much as any of them all, and had no manner of allusion to them that stumble at it. I hope they wil give me leave to think there be fooles of that Art as well as of al other; but to say I utterly condemne it as an unfruitfull studie, or seeme to despise the excellent qualified partes of it, is a most false and injurious surmise. There is nothing that if a man list he may not wrest or pervert, I cannot forbid anie to thinke villainously, Sed caveat emptor, Let the interpreter beware: for none ever hard me make Allegories of an idle text. Write who wil against me, but let him look his life be without scandale: for if he touch me never so litle, Ile be as good as the Blacke Booke to him & his kindred. Beggerly lyes no beggerly wit but can invent: who spurneth not at a dead dogge? but I am of another mettal, they shall know that I live as their evil Angel, to haunt them world without end, if they disquiet me without cause. Farewell, and let me heare from you as soone as it is come forth. I am the Plagues prisoner in the Country as yet: if the sicknesse cease before the thirde impression. I wil come and alter whatsoever may be offensive to any man, and bring you the latter ende.
1.1. Pierce Penilesse his Supplication to the Divell.
HAving spent many yeeres in studying how to live, and liv'de a long time without mony: having tired my youth with follie, and surfetted my minde with vanitie, I began at length to looke backe to repentaunce, & addresse my endevors to prosperitie: But all in vaine, I sate up late, and rose eraely, contended with the colde, and conversed with scarcitie: for all my labours turned to losse, Dicite qui sapitis, cum hae quae scimus inertes: Sed trepidas acies, & fera bella sequi. my vulgar Muse was despised & neglected, my paines not regarded or slightly rewarded, and I my selfe (in prime of my best wit) laid open to povertie. Whereupon (in a malecontent humor) I accused my fortune, raild on my patrones, bit my pen, rent my papers, and ragde in all points like a mad man. In which agony tormenting my selfe a long time, I grew by degrees to a milder discontent: and pausing a while ever my standish, I resolved in verse to paint forth my passion: which best agreeing with the vaine of my unrest, Est aliquid fatale is Ium, per verba Ievare. I began to complaine in this sort.
These Rymes thus abruptly set downe, I tost my imaginations a thousand waies to see if I could finde any meanes to relieve my estate: But all my thoughts consorted to this conclusion, that the world was uncharitable, & I ordaind to be miserable. Thereby I grew to consider how many base men that wanted those parts which I had, enjoyed content at will, and had wealth at commaund: I cald to minde a Cobler, that was worth five hundred pound, an Hostler that had built a goodly Inne & might dispende fortie pound yerely by his Land, a Carre-man in a lether pische, that had whipt out a thousand pound out of his horse taile: and have I more wit than all these (thought I to my selfe) am I better borne? am I better brought up? yea and better favored? and yet am I a begger? What is the cause? how am I crost? or whence is this curse?
Even from hence, that men that should employ such as I am, are enamoured of their own wits, and thinke what ever they do is excellent, though it be never so scurvie: that Learning (of the ignorant) is rated after the value of the inke and paper: & a Scrivener better paid for an obligation, than a Scholler for the best Poeme he can make; that* Scribimus iuderi doctique every grosse braind Idiot is suffered to come into print, who if hee set foorth a Pamphlet of the praise of Pudding-pricks, or write a Treatise Tom Thumme, or the [Page] exployts of Untrusse; it is bought up thicke and threefold, pocquiata passim. when better things lie dead. How then can we chuse but be needy, when ther are so many Droans amongst us? or ever prove rich that toyle a whole yeare for faire lookes. Gentle Sir Phillip Sidney, thou knewst what belongd to a Scholler, thou knewst what paines, what toyle, what travel conduct to perfection: wel couldst thou give every Vertue his encouragement, every Art his due, every writer his desert: cause none more vertuous witty, or learned than thy selfe.
But thou art dead in thy grave, and hast left too few successors of thy glory, Heurapiun mala too few to cherish the Sons of the Muses, or water those budding hopes with their plenty, which thy bounty erst planted.
Beleeve me Gentlemen, for some crosse mishapes have taught me experience, ther is not that strict observation of honour, which hath beene heeretofore. Men of great calling take it of merite, to have their names eternizde by Poets, & whatsoever pamphlet or dedication encounters them, they put it up in their fleeves, and scare give him thankes that presents it. Much better is it for those golden Pens, to raise such ungratfull Peasants from the Dunghil of obscuritie, and make them equal in fame to the Worthies of olde, when their doting selfe-love shall challenge it of dutie, and not onely give them nothing themselves, but impoverish live [...]ality in others.
This is the lamentable condition of our Times, that men of Arte must seeke almes of Cormorantes, and those that deserve best, be kept under by Dunces, who count it a policie to keepe them bare, because they should follow their bookes the better: thinking belike, that as preferment hath made themselves idle, that were earst painefull in meaner places, so it would likewise slacken the endevours of those Students that as yet strive to excell, in hope of advauncement. A good policy to suppresse superfluous liberalitie. But had it beene practised when they were promoted, the Yeomandry of the Realme had beene better to passe than it is, and one Droane should not have driven so many Bees from their hony-combes.
I, I. weele give loosers leave to talke, it is no matter what Sicprobo and his pennilesse companions prate, whilest we have [Page] the gold in our coffers: this is it that will make a knave an honest man, and my neighbour Cramptons stripling a better Gentleman than his Grandsier. O it is a trim thing, when Pride the sonne goes before, and Shame the father followes after. Such presidents there are in our Commonwealth a great many: not so much of them whome Learning and Industry hath exalted, (whom I preferre before Genus and proavos) as of Carterly upstarts, that out-face Towne and Country in their Velvets, when Sir Rowland Russet-coat their Dad, goes sagging every day in his round Gascoynes of whyce cotton, and hath much a doo (poore pennie-father) to keepe his unthrift elbowes in reparations.
Marry happy are they (say I) that have such fathers to worke for them whilest they play, for where other men turne over many leaves to get bread and cheese in their old age, and study twentie yeeres to distill golde out of inke; our young maisters doe nothing but devise how to spend and aske counsaile of the Wine and Capons, how they may quickliest consume their patrimonies. As for me, I live secure from all such perturbations: for (thankes be to God) I am vacuus viator, and care not though I meete the Commissioners of Newmarket-heath at high midnight, for any Crosses, Images, or Pictures that I carry about me more than needes.
Than needes (quoth I) nay I would be ashamde of it, if Opus and Usus were not knocking at my doore twentie times a weeke when I am not within; the more is the pittie, that such a franke Gentleman as I, should want: but since the dice do runne so untowardly on my side, I am partly provided of a remedie. For whereas those that stand most on their honour, have shut up their purses, and shifte us off with court-holie-bread: and on the other side, a number of hypocriticall hot-spurres, that have God alwayes in their mouthes, will give nothing for Gods sake; I have clapt up a handsome Supplication to the Divell, and sent it by a good fellow, that I know will deliver it:
And because you may beleeve me the better, I care not if I acquaint you with the circumstance.
I was informde of late dayes, that a certaine blind Ketayler called the Divell, used to lend money upon pawnes, or any thing, [Page] and would lette one for a neede have a thousand poundes uppon a Statute Merchant of his soule: or if a man plide him thoroughly, would trust him uppon a Bill of his hande without any more circumstance. Besides, he was noted for a privy Benefactor to Traitors and Parasites, and to advance fooles and Asses far sooner than any, to be a greedy pursuer of newes, and so famous a Politician in purchasing, that Hel (which at the beginning was but an obscure Village) is now become a huge Cittie, whereunto all Countries are tributary.
These manifest conjectures of Plentie, assembled in one common-place of abilitie; I determined to clawe Avarice by the elbowe, till his full belly gave mee a full hande, and lette him bloud with my penne (if it might be) in the veyne of liberalitie: and so (in short time) was this Paper-monster Pierce Penilesse begotten.
But written and all, here lies the question; where shal I finde this olde Asse, that I may deliver it. Masse thats true, they say the Lawyers have the Divell and all; and it is like enough he is playing Ambodexter amongst them. Fie, fie, the Divell a driver in Westminster hall, it can never be.
Now I pray what doe you imagine him to bee? Perhaps you thinke it is not possible he should bee so grave. Oh then you are in an errour, for hee is as formall as the best Scrivener of them all. Marry he doth not use to weare a night-cap, for his hornes will not let him: and yet I know a hundred as well headed as he, that will make a jolly shift with a Court-cup on their crownes if the weather be colde.
To proceede with my tale, to Westminster hall I went, and made a search of Enquiry, from the blacke gown to the buckram bagge, if there were any such Sergeant, Bencher, Counsellor, Attorney, or Pettifogger, as Signior Cornuto Diabolo, with the good face. But they al (unavoce) affirmed, that he was not there: marry whether he were at the Exchaunge or no, amongst the rich Merchantes, that they could not tell: but it was likelier of the two, that I should meet with him, or heare of him at the least in those quarters I faith, and say you so quoth I, and Ile bestowe a little labour more but Ile hunt him out.
Without more circumstance, thither came I; and thrusting my [Page] selfe, as the manner is, amongst the confusion of languages, I asked (as before) whether he were there extant or no? But from one to another, Non novi Daemonem was all the answer I could get. At length (as Fortune served) I lighted upon on old tiradling Usurer, clad in a damaske cassocke edged with Fox fur, a paire of trimke slops, sagging down like a Shoomakers wallet, and a shorte thrid-bare gown on his backe fac't wich moatheaten budge, upon his head he wore a filthy course biggin, and next it a garnish of night-caps, which a sage butten-cap, of the forme of a cow-sheard over spread very orderly: a fat chuffe it was I remember, with a gray beard cut short to the stumps, as though it were grimde, and a huge woorme-eaten nose, like a cluster of grapes hanging downe-wardes. Of him I demaunded if hee could tell e any tidings of the partie I sought for.
1.2. To the high and mightie Prince of Darknesse, Donsell dell Lucifer, King of Acheron, Stix and Phlegeton, Duke of Tartary, marquesse of Conytus, and Lord high Regent of Lymbo: his distressed Orator Pierce Penilesse, wisheth encrease of damnation, and malediction eternall, Per Iesum Christum Dominum nostrum.
MOst humbly sueth unto your sinfulnes, your singlesoald Orator Pierce Penilesse: that whereas your impious excellence, hath had the poore tennement of his purse any time this halfe yeer for your dauncing schoole, and he (notwithstanding) hath received no peny nor crosse for farme, No ile be sworne uppon a book have I not according to the usuall manner it may please your gracelesse Majestie to consider of him, and give order to your servant Avarice, he may be dispatched, insomuch as no man heere in London can have a dauncing schoole without rent, and his wit and knaverie cannot be maintained with nothing. Or if this be not so plausible to your honourable infernalship, it might seeme good to your helhood, to make extent upon the soules of a number of uncharitable cormorants, who having incurd the daunger of a Praemunire, with medling with matters that properly concerne your owne person, deserve no longer to live (as men) amongst men, but to bee incorporated in the society of divels. By which meanes, the mightie controller of fortune, and imperious subverter of desteny, delicious gold, the poore mans God and Idoll of Princes (that lookes pale and wanne through long imprisonment, might at length be restored to his powrfull Monarchie, and etcsoon bee sette at liberty, to helpe his friends that have neede of him.
I knowe a great sort of good fellowes that would venture farre for his freedom,* Idest, for the freedome of gold. and a number of needy Lawyers, (who now mourne in threed-bare gowns for his thraldome) that would goe neere to poison his keepers with [...] that might procure his enlargement: but inexorable y [...]on detaines him in the dungeon of the night so that now (oure creature) hee can neither traffique wit) the Mercers and Tailers as he was wont, nor dominere [Page] in Tavernes as he ought.
Famine, Lent, and dessolation, sit in Onyon skind jackets before the doore of his indurance, as a Chorus in the Tragedy of Hospitality, to tell hunger and povertie thers no reliefe for them there? and in the inner part of this ugly habitation, stands Greedinesse, The description of Greedines. prepared to devoure all that enter, attyred in a Capouch of written parchment, buttond downe before with Labels of wax, and lined with sheepes fels for warmenes: his Cappe furd with cats skins, after the Muscovie fashion, and all to be tasseid with Angle-hookes in stead of Aglets, ready to catch hold of all those to whom he shewes any humblenes: for his breeches they were made of the lists of broad cloaths, which he had by letters pattents assured him and his heyres, to the utter overthrowe of Bowcases and Cushin makers, and bumbasted they were like Beerebarrels, with statute Marchants and forfeitures. But of al, his shooes were the strangest, which being nothing els but a couple of crab shels, were toothd at the tooes with two sharp six pennie nailes, that digd up every dunghil they came by for gould, and snarld at the stones as he went in the street, because they were so common for men, women and children to tread upon, and he could not devise how to wrest an odde fine out of any of them.
Thus walkes hee up and downe all his life time, with an yron crow in his hand in steed of a staffe, and a Sariants Mace in his mouth (which night and day he still gnawd upon) & either busies himselfe in setting silver lime twigs to entangle yoong Gentlemen, and casting foorth silken shraps to catch Woodcocks, or in syving of Muckhils and shopdust, whereof he will boult a whole cartload to gaine a bowd Pinne.
On the other side, Dame Niggardize his wife, in a sedge rug kirtle, that had beene a mat time out of minde, The description of dame Nigardize. a course hempen raile about her shoulders, borrowed of the one end of a hop-bag, an apron made of Almanackes out of date (such as stand upon Screens, or on the backside of a dore in a Chandlers shop), and an old wives pudding pan on her head, thrumd with the parings of her nailes, sate barrelling up the droppings of hir nose, in steed of oyle to saime wooll withall, and would not adventure to spit without halfe a dozen porrengers at her elbow.
The house (or rather the hell) where these two Earthwormes [Page] encaptived this beautifull Substaunce, was vaste, large, strong buildt, and well furnished, all save the Kitchin: for that was no bigger then the Cookes roome in a ship, with a little court chimney, about the compasse of a Parenthesis in proclamation print: then judge you what diminutive dishes came out of this doves-neast. So likewise of the Buttry, for whereas in houses of such stately foundation that are builte to outward shewe so magnificent, every Office is answerable to the Hall, which is principall, there the Buttry was no more but a blind Cole-house under a paire of staires, wherein (uprising and downelying) was but one single single kilderkin of small beere, that would make a man with a carrouse of a spoonefull, runne through an Alphabet of faces. Nor usd they any glasses or cups (as other men) but onely little farthing ounce boxes, whereof one of them fild up with froath (in manner and forme of an Ale-house) was a meales allowance for the whole houshold. It were lamentable to tel what misery the Rattes and Mise endured in this hard world, how when all supply of vittualls failed them, they went a Boothaling one night to Sinior Greedinesse bed-chamber, where finding nothing but emptines and vastitie, they encountred (after long inquisition) with a cod-peece, wel dunged and manured with greace (which my pinch fartpenie-father had retaind from his Bachelorship, untill the eating of these presents. Uppon that they set and with a couragious assault rent it cleene away from the breeches, and then carried it in triumph like a coffin on their shoulders betwixt them. The verie spiders and dust-weavers, that wont to set up their loomes in every window, decayed and undone through the extreame dearth of the place, that afforded them no matter to worke on) were constrained to breake against their wills, and goe dwell in the countrey, out of the reach of the broome and the wing: and generally, not aflea nor a cricket that caried any brave minde, that would stay there after he had once tasted the order of their fare. Onely unfortunate gold (a predestinat slave to drudges and fooles) lives in endlesse bondage ther amongst them, and may no way be releast, except you send the rot halfe a yeare amongst his keepers, and so make them away with a murrion one after another.
O, but a far greater enormity raigneth in the hart of the Court: [Page] Pride the perverter of all Vertue, sitteth appareled in the Marchants spoiles, The complaint of pride. and ruine of yoong Citizens: and scorneth learning, that gave their up-start Fathers, titles of gentry.
All malcontent sits the greasie son of a Cloathier, & complaines (like a decaied Earle) of the ruine of ancient houses: whereas the Weavers loomes first framed the web of his honor, The nature of an upstart. & the lockes of wool that bushs and brambles have tooke for toule of insolent sheep, that would needs strive for the wall of a firbush, have made him of the tenths of their tar, a Squier of low degree? and of the collectio[n]s of their scatterings, a Justice Tam Martiquam Mercurio, of Peace & of Coram. Hee will bee humorous forsoth, and have a broode of fashions by himselfe. Sometimes (because Love commonly weares the liverey of Wit) hee will be an Inamorat Poeta, & sonnet a whole quire of paper in praise of Lady Swinsnout, his yeolow fac'd Mistres, & weare a feather of her rainbeaten fan for a favor, like a fore-horse. Al Italionato is his talke, & his spade peake is as sharpe as if he had been a Pioner before the walls of Roan. Hee will despise the barbarisme of his own Cou[n]trey, & tel a whole Legend of lyes of his travailes unto Constantinople. If he be challenged to fight, for his delatorye excuse hee objects, that it is not the custome of the Spaniard or the Germaine, to looke back to every dog that barks. You shall see a dapper Jacke, that hath been but over at Deepe, wring his face round about, as a man would stir up a mustard pot, & talke English through ye teeth like Jaques Scabd-hams, or Monsieur Mingo de Moustrap: when (poore slave) he hath but dipt his bread in wilde Boares greace, and come home againe: or been bitten by the shins by a wolfe: and saith, he hath adventured upon the Barricadoes of Gurney or Guingan, and fought with the yong Guise hand to hand.
Some thinke to be counted rare Politicians and Statesmen, by being solitary: as who would say, I am a wise man, a brave man, Secreta mea mihi: Frustra sapit, qui sibi non sapit: The counterfeit politician and there no man worthy of my companie or friendship: when, although he goes ungartred like a male content Cutpursse, & weares his hat over his eies like one of the cursed crue, yet ca[n]not his stabing dagger, or his nittie love lock keep him out of the legend of fantastical cockscombs. I pray ye good Mesiver divel take some order, yt the [Page] streetes be not pestered with them so as they are. Is it not a pitiful thing that a fellow that eates not a good meales meat in a weeke, but beggereth his belly quite and cleane, to make his backe a certaine kind of brokerly Gentleman: and nowe and then (once or twice in a Tearme) comes to the eighteene pence Ordenary, because hee would bee seen amongst Cavaliers and brave courtiers, living otherwise all the yeere long with salt Butter and Holland cheese in his chamber, should take uppe a scornfull melancholy in his gate and countenance, and talke as though our common welth were but a mockery of government, and our Majestrates fooles, who wronged him in not looking into his deserts, not imploying him in State matters, and that if more regard were not had of him very shortly, the whole Realme should have a misse of him & he would go (I mary would he) where he should be more accounted of?
Is it not wonderfull ill provided, I say, that this disdainfull companion is not made one of the fraternity of Fooles, to talke before great States, with some olde moth eaten Politician, of mending high waies, and leading Armies into Fraunce?
The prodigall yoong Master A yoong Heyre or Corkney, that is his Mothers Darling, if hee have playde the waste-good at the Innes of the Court or about London, and that neither his Students pension, nor his unthrifts credite will serve to maintaine his Collidge of whores any longer, falles in a quarrelling humor with his fortune, because she made him not King of the Indies, and sweares and stares after ten in the hundreth, that nere a such Pesant as his Father or brother shall keepe him under, hee will to the sea and teare the gold out of the Spaniards throats but he will have it, byrlady when he comes there, poore soule hee lyes in brine in Balist, and is lamentable sicke of the scurvies, his dainty fare is turned to a hungry feast of Dogs & Cats, or Haberdine and poore John at the most, and which is lamentablest of all, that without Mustard.
As a mad Ruffion on a time, being in daunger of shipwrack by a tempest, and seeing all other at their vowes and praiers, that if it would please God of his in inite goodnesse, to delyver them out of that imminent daunger, one woulde abjure this sinne wher unto he was adicted: an other, make satisfaction for [Page] that vyolence he had committed: he in a desperate jest, began thus to reconcile his soule to heaven.
O Lord, if it may seeme good to thee to deliver me from this feare of untimely death, I vowe before thy Throne and all thy starry Host, never o eate Haberdine more whilest I live. Well, so it fell out that the Sky cleared, and the tempest ceased, and this carelesse wretch that made such a mockery of praier, readie to set foote a Land, cryed out: not without Mustard good Lord, not without Mustard: as though it had been the greatest torment in the world, to have eaten Haberdine without Mustard. But this by the way, what pennance can be greater for Pride, than to let it swinge in his owne halter? Dulce bellum in expertis, theres no man loves the smooke of his owne Countrey, that hath not beene syngde in the flame of an other soyle It is a pleasante thing over a full pot, to read the fable of thirsty Tantalus: but a harder master to disgest salt meates at Sea, with stinking water.
An other misery of Pride it is, when men that have good parts, and beare the name of deepe scholers: The pride of the learned. cannot be content to participate one faith with all Christendome, but because they will get a name to their vaineglory, they will set their selfe-love to studie to invent new sects of singularitie, thinking to live when they are dead, by having sects called after their names, as Donatists of Donatus Arrians of Arrius: and a number more new faith-founders that have made England the exchange of Innovations, and almost asmuch confusion of Religion in every Quarter, as there was of tongues at the building of the Tower of Babell. Whence, a number that fetch the Articles of their Beleefe out of Aristotle, and thinke of heaven and hell as the Heathen Philosophers, take occasion to deride our Ecclesiasticall State, and all Ceremonies of Devine worship, as bugbeares scar-crowes, because (like Herodes souldiers) we divide Christs garment amongst us in so many peeces, and of the vesture of salvation make some of us Babies and apes coates, others straight trusses and Divells breeches: some gally-gascoines or a shipmans hose like the Anabaptists and adulterous Familists, others with the Martinist a hood with two faces to hide their hypocrisie: & to conclude some like the Barrowists and Greenwodians, a garment full of the plague, which is not to be worne before it be new washt.