Lenten Stuff

Lenten Stuffe,
The Description and first procrea-
tion and Increase of the towne of
Great Yarmouth in
With a new play never played before, of the
praise of the RED
Fitte of all Clearkes of Noblemens Kitchins to be read: and not vnnecessary by all Seruing men that haue short boord-wages, to be remembred.
Famam peto per vndas.

Printed for N.L. and C.B. and are to be
sold at the west end of Paules.

[Page 1]

the red herring.


The straunge turning of the Ile of Dogs, fro a commedie to a tragedie two summers past, with the troublesome stir which hapned aboute it, is a generall rumour that hath filled all England, and such a heavie crosse laide upon me, as had well neere confounded mee : I mean, not so much in that it fequestred me from the woonted meanes of my maintenance , which is as great a maime to any mans happiness, as can bee feared from the hands of miserie, or the deepe pit of dispaire wherinto I was falne, beyond my greatest friendes reach to recover mee:but that in my exile and irksome discontented abandonment, the silliest millers thombe, or contemptible stickle-bancke of my enemies, is as busie nibbling about my fame, as if I were a deade man throwne amongest them to feede upon.So I am I confesse in the worldes outwarde apparance, though perhappes I may prooue a cunninger diuer then they are aware, which if it so happen as I am partely assured, and that I plunge aboue water once againe, let them looke to it, for I will put them in bryne, Note in marg: Quassa tamen nostra est, non mersa nec obrutunauis. obrutunauis. or a piteous pickle euery one. But let that passe, though they shal find I wil not let it passe when time serues, I hauing a pamphlet hot a brooding that shall be called the [Page 2] Barbers warming panne, and to the occasion, a fresh of my falling in alliance with this lenten argument. That infortunate imperfit Embrion of my idle houres the Ile of Dogs before mentioned, breeding unto me such bitter throwes in the teaming as it did, and the tempestes that arose at his birth, so astonishing outragious and violent as if my braine had bene conceived of another Hercules, I was so terrifyed with my owne encrease (like a woman long travailing to bee delive- red of a monster) that it was no sooner borne but i was glad to run from it.Too inconsiderate he adlong rashnesse this may be censured in me, in beeing thus prodigall in aduantaging my aduersaries, but my case is no smoothred secret, and with light cost of rough cast rethorieke it may be tollerablely playstered ouer, if vnder the pardon and priuiledge of incensed higher powers it were lawfully indulgenst me freely to aduocate my owne astrology. Sufficeth what they in their graue wisedoomes shall proscribe, I in no sorte will seeke to acquite, nor presumptuously attempte to dispute against the equity of their iudgementes, but humble and prostrate appeale to their mercies. Auoide or giue grounde I did, scriptum est I will not goe from it, and post varios casus, variable Knight arrant aduentures, and outroades, and inroades, at greate Yarmouth in Norfolke, I ariued in the latter ende of Autumne. Where hauing scarse lookt about me, my presaging minde saide to it selfe, Hic fanonius serenus est, hic auster imbricus, this is a predestinate fit place for Pierse Pennilesse to set vp his staffe in. Therein not much diameter to my deuining hopes did the euent sort it selfe, for sixe weekes first and last vnder that predodumant constellation of Aquarius or Ioues Nectar filler, tooke I vp my repose, and there mette with such kind entertainment and benigne hospitality when I was Una litera plusquam Note '*' in marg: An imperfit Embrio~ I ma well call it, for I hauing begun but the induction induction... Note '*' in marg: Medicus. medicus as Plautus saith, and not able to line to my selfe with my owne iuice, as some of the crummes of it like the crums in a bushy beard after a greate banquet, will remaine in my papers to bee seene when I am [Page 3] deade and vnder ground; from the bare perusing of which infinite posterities of hungry Poets shall receiue good refreshing, euen as Homer by Galataeon was pictured vomiting in a baso~ (in the temple that Ptolomy Philopater erected to him) and the rest of the succeeding Poets after him, greedily lapping vp what he disgorged. That good old blind bibber of Helicon I wot well, came a begging to one of the chiefe citties of Greece, & promised them vast corpulent volumes of immortallity, if they would bestowe vpon him but a slender outbrothers annuity of mutto~ & broth, and a pallet to sleep on, and with derision they reiected him, wherupon he went to their enemies with the like profier, who vsed him honourably, and whome hee vsed so honourably, that to this daye though it be three thousand ye are since, their name and glorie florish greene in mens memory through his industry. I truste you make no question but those dull pated pennifathers, that in such dudgen scorne reiected him, drunck deep of the soure cup of repentance for it, when the high flight of his lines in common brute was ooyessed. Yea in the worde of one no more wealthy then hee was, wealthy saide I, nay I'le befworne hee was a grande iurie man in respect of me, those graybeard Huddle-duddles and crusty cum-twangs, were strooke with such stinging remorse of their miserable Euclionisme and sundgery, that hee was not yet cold in his graue but they challenged him to be borne amongst them, and they and sixe citties more, entred a sharpe warre aboute it, euery one of them laying claime to him as their owne, and to this effect hath Bucchanan an Epigram.

Urbes certarunt septem de patria Homeri,
Nulla domus viuo patria nulla fuit.

Seauen citties stroaue whence Homer first shoulde come When liuing, he no country had nor home.

I alleadge this tale to shewe howe much better my lacke [Page 4] then Homers (though all the King of Spaines Indies will not create me such a nigling Hexameter-founder as he was) in the first proclayming of my banke-rout indigence and beggery, to bende my course to such a curteous compassionate clime as Yarmouth, and to warne others that aduaunce their heades aboue all others, and haue not respected, but rather flatly opposed themselues against the Frier medicants of our profession, what their amercements and vnrepriueable pennance will be, excepte they teare ope their oystermouthd pouches quickly, and make double amendes for their parsimony. I am no Tiresias or Calchas to prophecie, but yet I cannot tell, there may bee more resounding bel-mettall in my pen then I am aware, and if there bee, the first peale of it is Yarmouthes. For a patterne or tiny-sample what my elaborate performance would bee in this ease, had I a ful-sayld gale of prosperity to encourage mee, whereas at the dishumored composing hereof may iustly complaine with Ouid.

Anchora iam nostram non tenet vlla ratem.

My state is so soft and weather-beaten that it hath nowe no anchor-holde left to cleave unto. I care not, if in a dimme farre of launce-skippe, I take the paines to describe this superimente principall Metropolis of the redde Fish. A towne it is that in rich situation exceedeth many cities, and without the which, [...]the swelling Battlementes of Gurguntus, a head citty of Norffolke, and suffolke, would scarce retaine the name of a Citty, but become as ruinous and desolate as therefore or Ely: out of an hill or heape of sande, reared and enforced from the sea most miraculously, and by the singular pollicy and uncessant inestimable ex- pence of the Inhabitants, so firmely piled and rampierd a- [...] the funish waves battry, or fuyng the least action of recourie, that it is more conjecturall of the twaine, the land with a writ of a [...] will get the upperhande of the Ocean, then the Ocean one crowes skip preuaile against the Continent. Forth of the sands thus struglingly as it exalteth [Page 5] and liftes vp his glittering head. So of the neyboring sands no lesse semblably (whether in recordation of their worn out affinitie or no, I know not) it is so inamorately protected and patronized, that they stand as a trench or guarde about it in the night, to keep off their enemies. Now in that drowsie empire of the pale-fac't Queene of shades, malgre letting driue vpon their Barricadoes, or impetuously contending to breake through their chaine or barre, but they entombe and balist with sodaine destruction. In this transcursiue reportory without some obseruant glaunce, I may not dully ouerpasse the gallant beauty of their hauen, which hauing but as it were a welte of land, or as M. Camden cals it, lingulam terrae, a little tong of the earth betwixte it and the wide Maine, sticks not to mannage armes, and hold his owne vndefeasably against that vniuersall vnbounded empery of surges, and so hath done for this hundreth yeere. Two mile in length it stretched his winding current, and then meetes with a spatious riuer or backwater that feedes it. A narrow channell or Isthmus in rash view you woulde opinionate it: when this I can deuoutly auerre, I beholding it with both my eies this last fishing, sixe hundreth reasonable barkes and vesselles of good burden (with a vantage) it hath giuen shelter to at once in her harbour, and most of them riding abrest before the Key betwixt the Bridge and the Southgate. Many bows length beyond the marke, my penne roves not I am certain, if i doe, they stand at my elbow that can correct mee. The delectable lustie fight and movingest object, me thought it was that our Ile sets forth, and nothing behinde in number with the invincible Spanish Armada, though they were not such Gargantuan boysterous gulliguts as they, though ships and [...] they would have beene reckoned in the navy of K. Edgar, who is chronicled &registered with three thousand ships of warre to have scoured the narrow seas, and sailed round about England every Summer. That which espe- ciallest nourisht the most prime pleasure in me, was after a storme [Page 6] Storme when they were driven in swarmes, and lay close pestred together as thicke as they could packe; the next day following, if it were faire, they would cloud the whole skie with canuas, by spreading their drabled sailes in the full clue abroad a drying, and make a braver shew with them, then so many banners and streamers displayed against the Sunne on a mountaine top. But how Yarmouth of it selfe so innumerable populous and replenished, and in so barraine a plot seated, should not onely supply her inhabitants with plentifull purueyance of sustenance, but provant and victuall moreover this monstrous army of strangers, was a matter that gregiously bepuzled and entranced my apprehension. Hollanders, Zelanders, Scots, French, Westerne men, Northren men, besides all the hundreds and wapentakes nine miles compasse, fetch the best of their viands and mangery from her market. For ten weekes together this rabble rout of outlandishers are billetted with her, yet in all that while the rate of no kind of food is raised, nor the plenty of their markets one pinte of butter rebated, and at the ten weekes end, when the camp is broken up, no impression of any dearth left, but rather more store then before. Some of the towne dwellers have so large an opinion of their setled pro- vision, that if all her Majesties fleet at once should put into their bay, within twelve dayes warning with so much double beere, beese, fish and bisket they would bulke them as they could wallow away with.


[Page 22]

Very tractable to this lure I was trained, and put him not to the full anniling of me with any sound hammering persuasion, in that at the first sight of the top-gallant towers of Yarmouth, and a weeke before he had broken any of these words betwixt his teeth, my muse was ardently inflamed to do it some right, and how to bring it about fitter I knew not, then in the praise of the red herring, whose proper soile and nursery it is. But this I must giue you to wit, how euer I haue tooke it vpon me, that neuer since I spouted incke, was I of woorse aptitude to goe thorow with such a mighty March brewage as you expect, or temper you one right cup of that ancient wine of Falernum which would last fourty yeere, or [Page 23] consecrate to your fame a perpetuall temple of the Pinetrees of Ida which neuer rot. For besides the loud bellowing prodigious flaw of indignation, stird vp against me in my absence and extermination from the vpper region of our celestiall regiment, which hath dung mee in a maner downe to the infernall bottome of desolation, and so troubledly bemudded with griefe and care euery cell or organpipe of my purer intellectuall faculties, that no more they consort with any ingenuous playful merriments, of my notebooks and all books else here in the countrey I am bereaued, whereby I might enamell and hatch ouer this deuice more artificially and masterly, and attire it in his true orient varnish and tincture, wherefore heart and good wil, a workman is nothing without his tooles, had I my topickes by me in stead of my learned counsell to assist me, I might haps marshall my termes in better aray, and bestow such costly coquery on this Marine magnifico as you would preferre him before tart and galingale, which Chaucer preheminentest encomionizeth aboue all iunquetries or confectionaries whatsoeuer.

Now you must accept of it as the place serues, and in stead of comfittes and sugar to strewe him with, take well in worth a farthing worth of flower to white him ouer and wamble him in, and I hauing no great pieces to discharge for his ben-uenue, or welcomming in, with this volley of Rhapsodies or small shotte, he must rest pacified, and so Adrem, spurre cutte through thicke and thinne, and enter the triumphall charriot of the red herring.

Homer of rats and frogs hath Heriquit it, other oaten pi- pers after him in praise of the Gnat, the Flea, The Hafill nut, the Grashopper, the Butterfllie, the Parrot, the popiniay, Phillip sparrow, and the Cuckowe; the wantonner sort of them sing descant on their mistris glove, her ring, her sanne, her looking glasse, her pantosle, and on the same jurie, I might impannell Johannes Secundus, with his booke of the [Page 24] two hundred kind of leifes. Phylosophers come sneaking in with their paradoxes of povertie, imprisonment, death, sickenesse, banishment, and baldnesse, and as busie they are aboute the bee, the storke, the constant turtle, the horse, the dog, the ape, the asse, the foxe, and the ferret. Physiti- ons deafen our eares with the [...] of their heavenly Panachea their soveraigne [...], their glisters, their [...], their mithridates of fortie severall poysons compacted, their bitter rubarbe, and torturing Stibium.

The posterior Italian and Germane cornugraphers, sticke not to applaude and cannonize vnnaturall sodomitrie, the strumpet errant, the goute, the ague, the dropsie, the sciatiea, follie, drunckennesse, and slouenry. The Galli Gallinacei, or cocking French swarme euery pissing while in their primmer editions, Imprimedaiour duy, of the vnspeakeable healthfull condiciblenesse of the Gomorrian great Poco, a Poco, their true countriman euery inch of him, the prescript lawes of Tennis or Balonne (which is most of their gentlemens chiefe liuelyhoodes) the commoditie of hoarsenes, bleare-eyes, scabdhams, threed-bare cloakes, potcht eggs, and Panados. Amongst our English harmonious calinos, one is vp with the excellence of the browne bill and the long bowe, another playes his prizes in print, in driuing it home with all weapons in right of the noble science of defence: a third writes passing enamorately, of the nature of whitemeates, and iustifies it vnder his hand to be bought & sould euery where, that they exceede Nectar, & Ambrosia: a fourth comes foorth with something in prayse of nothing: a fift of an enflamed heale to coppersmithes hal, all to beerimes it of the diuersitie of red noses, and the hierarchy of the nose magnificat. A sixt, sweeps behinde the dore all earthly felicities, and makes Bakers maulkins of them, if they stand in competencie with a strong dozen of poyntes; marrie they must be poyntes of the matter, you must consider, whereof [Page 25] the formost codpisse poynt is the cranes prouerbe in painted clothes feare God, and obey the king, and the rest some haue tagges, and some haue none. A seuenth settes a Tobacco pipe in stead of a trumpet to his mouth, and of that diuine drugge proclaimeth miracles. An eygth cappers it vp to the spheares in commendation of daunsing. A ninth, offers sacrifice to the goddesse Cloaca, and disportes himselfe very schollerly and wittilie aboute the reformation of close stooles and houses of office, and spicing and embalming their rancke intrailes, that they stincke not. A tenth, settes forth remedies of Tosted turnes against famine.

To these I might wedge in Cornelius the brabantine, Note in marg: See the Epistle comemndatorie, comemndatorie, before M. Samuell Daniels Daniels... who was felloniously suspected in 87. for penning a discourse of Tuftmockados, and a countrey gentleman of my acquaintance who is launching forth a treatise as bigge garbd as the french Academy of the Cornucopia of a cowe and what an aduantageable creature shee is, beyonde all the foure footed rablement of Herbagers and grasse champers, day nor night that shee can rest for filing and tampring aboute it) as also a sworne brother of his that so bebangeth poore paper in laud of a bag-pudding as a swizer would not belieue it. Neither of their Decads are yet stampt but eare midsummer tearme they will be if their wordes bee sure payment, and then tell me if our English sconses be not right Sheffield or no.

The application of this whole catalogue of wast authours is no more but this, Quot capita tot sententiae, so many heades so many whirlegigs, and if all these haue Terlery-ginckt it so friuolously of they reckt not what I may Cum gratia & priueligio pronounce it, that a red herring is wholsesome in a frosty morning, and rake vp some fewe scattered sillables together in the exornation and pollishing of it. No more excursions and circumquaques but Totaliter a appositum.

That English marchandise is most precious which no country can be without, if you aske Suffolke, Essex, Kent, Sussex, or Lemster, or Cotswold, what marchandise that shoulde [Page 26] bee, they will answere you it is the very same which Polidore Uirgill cals Uerè aureum vellus, the true golden fleece of our woll and English cloth and nought else, other engrating vpland cormorants will grunt out it is Grana paradisi our grain or corne that is most sought after. The Westerners and Northerners that it is lead tinne and iron. Butter and cheese, butter and cheese saith the farmer, but fro~ euery one of these I dissent and wil stoutely bide by it, that to trowle in the cash throughout all nations christendome there is no fellowe to the red herring. The French Spanish and Italian haue wool inough of their owne wherof they make cloth to serue their turne, though it be somewhat courser then ours. For corne, none of the East parts but surpasseth vs, of leade and tinne is the most scarsity in forraine dominions, and plenty with vs, though they are not vtterly barraine of them. As for iron about Isenborough and other places of Germany, they haue quadruple the store that wee haue. As touching butter and cheese the Hollanders cry by your leaue wee must goe before you, and the Transalpiners with thier lordly Parmasin, (so named of the citty of Parma in Italy where it is first clout-crushed and made) shoulder in for the vpper hand as hotly, when as of our appropriate glory of the red herring, no region twixt the poles articke and antartick may can or will rebate from vs one scruple.

This is a selection from the original text


increase, poverty, provision, rhubarb, supplies

Source text

Title: Nashes Lenten Stuffe, Containing The Description and first procrea- tion and Increase of the towne of Great Yarmouth in Norffolke: With a new play never played before, of the praise of the RED HERRING.

Author: Thomas Nash

Publisher: Thomas Judson, Valentine Simmes

Publication date: 1599

Edition: 2nd Edition

Place of publication: London

Provenance/location: This text was transcribed from images available at Early English Books Online: http://eebo.chadwyck.com/home Bibliographic name / number: STC (2nd ed.) / 18370 Physical description: [8], 75, [1] p. Copy from: Henry E. Huntington Library and Art Gallery Reel position: STC / 325:03

Digital edition

Original author(s): Thomas Nash

Language: English

Selection used:

  • 1 ) tp, pp.1-6, 22-28


Texts collected by: Ayesha Mukherjee, Amlan Das Gupta, Azarmi Dukht Safavi

Texts transcribed by: Muhammad Irshad Alam, Bonisha Bhattacharya, Arshdeep Singh Brar, Muhammad Ehteshamuddin, Kahkashan Khalil, Sarbajit Mitra

Texts encoded by: Bonisha Bhattacharya, Shreya Bose, Lucy Corley, Kinshuk Das, Bedbyas Datta, Arshdeep Singh Brar, Sarbajit Mitra, Josh Monk, Reesoom Pal

Encoding checking by: Hannah Petrie, Gary Stringer, Charlotte Tupman

Genre: Britain > prose fiction

For more information about the project, contact Dr Ayesha Mukherjee at the University of Exeter.