A Ryght Pithy,
and merie Comedie:
Gammer gurtons Nedle:
Played on Stage, not longe ago
in Christes Colledge in Cambridge.
Made by Mr. S.*, Mr. of Art.
Imprinted at London
[* I.e. William Stevenson. The attribution of authorship is still, however, uncertain. Some scholars attribute this work to John Still, a Fellow of the College, and Doctor of Divinity, or possibly John Bridges of Pembroke Hall, Doctor of Divinity in the same year as Still. Stevenson was a Fellow of Christ's from 1551-4 and 1559-61, and is known to have written a play about that time, possibly this one, or a play called Dyccon of Bedlam, which may have been a provisional title for this play. Either way, consult Dr. Henry Bradley's introduction to the play in the first volume of Representative English Comedies. Dr. Bradley, who first suggested Stevenson, may be correct in his assumption.
NB: There are many inconsistencies in the spelling of certain words and names in the printed edition. These have been left as they are and are not the errors of this site. Also, a glossary has been appended after the text.JL.]
The names of the Speakers in this Comedie.
Diccon the Bedlem.
Hodge Gammer Gurtons seruante.
Tyb Gammer Gurtons mayde.
Cocke Gammer Gurtons boye.
Doctor Rat the Curate.
Doll Dame Chattes mayde.
Scapethryft mayst Beylies seruante.
God Saue the Queene.
GAMMER GVRTONS NEDLE
As Gammer Gurton, with manye a wyde styche
Sat pesynge & patching of Hodg her mas briche
By chance or misfortune as shee her geare tost
In Hodge lether bryches her needle shee lost,
When Diccon the bedlem had hard by report
That good Gammer Gurton was robde in thyss orte,
He quyetly perswaded with her in that stound
Dame Chather deare gossyp this needle had found,
Yet knew shee no more of this matter (alas)
Then knoeth Tom our clarke what the Priest saith at masse
Here of there ensued so fearfull a fraye,
Mas Doctor was sent for these gossyps to staye,
Because he was Curate and estemed full wyse
Who found that he sought not by Diccons deuice,
When all thinges were tombled and cleane out of fassion
Whether it were by fortune or some other constellacion
Sodenlye the neele Hodge found by the prickynge
And drew it out of his bottocke where he felt it stickynge
Theyr hartes then at rest with perfect securytie.
With a pot of good nale they stroake vp theyr plauditie.
The fyrst Acte. The fyrst Sceane
Many a myle haue I walked, diuers and sundry waies
And many a good mans house haue I bin at in my daies
Many a gossips cup in my tyme haue I tasted
And many a broche and spyt, haue I both turned and basted
Many a peece of bacon haue I had out of thir balkes
In ronnyng ouer the countrey, with long and were walkes,
Yet came my foote neuer, within those doore cheekes,
To seeke flesh or fysh Garlyke Onyons or Leekes,
That euer I saw a sorte, in such a plyght
As here within this house appereth to my syght,
There is howlynge and scowlyng, all cast in a dumpe,
With whewling and pewling, as though they had lost a trump
Syghing and sobbing they weepe and they wayle
I maruell in my mynd, what the deuill they wayle
The olde Trot syts groning, with alas and alas,
And Tib wringes her hands, and takes on in worse case
With poore Cocke theyr boye they be dryuen in such fyts
I feare mee the folkes be not well in theyr wyts
Aske them what they ayle, or who brought them in this staye?
They auuswer not at all, but alacke and welaway
Whan I saw it booted not out at doores I hyed mee
And caught a slyp of Bacon, when I saw that none spyed mee,
Which I intend not far hence vnles my purpose fayle
Shall serue for a shoing horne to draw on two pots of ale.
The fyrst Acte. The second Sceane.
See so cham arayed with dablynge in the durt
She that set me to ditchinge, ich wold she had the squrt
Was neuer poore soule that such a life had?
Gogs bones thys vylthy glaye hase drest mee to bad
Gods soule, see how this stuffe teares
Iche were better to bee a Bearward and set to keepe Beares
By the Masse here is a gasshe, a shamefull hole in deade
And one stytch teare furder, a man may thruste in his heade
By my fathers soule Hodge, if I shulde now be sworne
I can not chuse but say thy breech is foule be-torne
But the next remedye in such a case and hap
Is to plaunche on a piece, as brode as thy cap.
Gogs soule man, tis not yet two dayes fully ended
Synce my dame Gurton (chem sure) these breches amended,
But cham made such a drudge to trudge at euery neede
Chwold rend it though it were stitched wyth sturdy pacthreede,
Hoge, let thy breeches go, and speake and tell mee soone
What deuill ayleth gammer gurton, & Tib her mayd to frowne,
Tush man thart deceyued tys theyr dayly looke,
They coure so ouer y e coles, theyr eyes be bleard with smooke,
Nay by the masse, I perfectly perceiued as
I came hether
That eyther Tib & her dame hath ben by the eares together
Or els as great a matter as thou shalt shortly see.
Now iche beseeche our Lord they neuer better agree.
By gogs soule there they syt as still as stones in the streite
As though they had ben taken with fairies or els wt some il sprite
Gogs hart, I durst haue layd my cap to a crowne
Chwould lerne of some prancome as sone as ich came to town.
Why Hodge art thou inspyred? or dedst thou therof here?
Nay, but ich saw such a wonder as ich saw nat ths vii. yere
Tome Tannkards Cow (be gogs bones) she set me vp her saile
And flynging about his halfe aker fysking with her taile,
As though there had ben in her ars a swarme of Bees,
And chad not cryed tphrowh hoore shead lept out of his Lees.
Why Hodg lies the connyng in Tom tankards cowes taile?
Well ich chaue hard some say such tokens do not fayle,
But canst yu not tell in faith Diccon, why she frownes or wher at
Hath no man stolne her Ducks or Henes, or gelded gyb her Cat
What deuyll can I tell man, I cold not haue one word
They gaue no more hede to my talk then thou woldst to a lorde
Iche can not styll but muse what meruaylous thinge it is
Chyll in and know my selfe what matters are arnys.
Then farewell hodge a while, synce thou doest inward hast,
For I will into the good wyfe Chats, to feele how the ale dooth taste.
The fyrst Acte. The thyrd Sceane.
Cham agast by the masse, ich wot not what to do
Chad nede blesse me well before ich go them to
Perchaunce some felon sprit may haunt our house indeed,
And then chwere but a noddy to venter where cha no neede
Cham worse then mad by the masse to be at this staye
Cham chyd cham blamd, and beaton all thoures on the daye,
Lamed and hunger storued, prycked vp all in Jagges
Hauyng no patch to hyde my backe, saue a few rotten ragges.
I say Tyb, if thou be Tyb, as I trow sure thou bee,
What deuyll make a doe is this betweene our dame and thee.
Gogsbreade Hodg thou had a good turne thou warte not here this while.
It had ben better for some of vs to haue ben hence a myle
My Gammer is so out of course, and frantyke all at ones
That Cocke our boy, & I poore wench haue felt it on our bones.
What is the matter, say on Tib wherat she taketh so on.
She is vndone she sayth (alas,) her ioye and life is gone
If shee here not of some comfort, she is sayth but dead
Shall neuer come within her lyps, one inch of meate ne bread.
Bur Ladie cham not very glad, to see her in this dumpe
Cholde a noble her stole hath fallen, & shee hath broke her rumpe
Nay and that were the worst, we wold not greatly care
For bursting of her huckle bone, or breakyng of her Chaire
But greatter greater is her grief, as hodge we shall all feele.
Gogs woundes Tyb, my gammer has neuer lost her Neele?
Her neele by him that made me, it is true Hodge I tell thee.
Gogs sacrament, I would she had lost tharte out of her bellie
The Deuill or els his dame, they ought her sure a shame
How a murryon came this chaunce. (say Tyb) vnto our dame?
My gammer sat her downe on her pes, & bad me reach thy breeches
And by & by, a vengeance in it or she had take two stitches
To clap a clout vpon thine ars, by chaunce a syde she leares
And gyb our cat in the milke pan, she spied ouer head and eares
Ah hore out thefe she cryed aloud, & swapt the breches downe
Up went her staffe, and out leapt gyb, at doors into the towne
And synce that time was neuer wyght, cold set their eies vpon it
Gogs malison chaue Cocke and I, byd twenty times light on it.
And is not then my breches sewid vp, to morow yt I shuld were.
No in faith hodge thy breeches lie, for al this neuer the nere.
Now a vengeance light on al ye sort, yt better shold haue kept it,
The cat the house, and tib our maid, yt better shold haue swept it
Se where she commeth crawling come on in twenty deuils way
Ye haue made a fayre daies worke haue you not? pray you say.
The fyrste Acte. The .iiii. Sceane.
Gammer. Hodge. Tyb. Cocke.
Alas hoge, alas I may well cursse and ban
This daie that euer I saw it, with gyb and the mylke pan
For these and ill lucke to gather, as knoweth
Cocke my boye
Haue stacke away my deare neele, and robd me of my boye
My fayre longe strayght neele that was myne onely treasure
The fyrst day of my sorow is, and last end of my pleasure.
Might ha kept it when ye had it, but fooles will be fooles styll.
Lose that is vast in your handes, ye meede not but ye will.
Go hie thee tib, and run thou hoore, to thend here of the towne
Didst cary out dust in thy lap, seeke wher thou porest it downe
And as thou sawest me roking, in the asshes where I morned.
So see in all the heape of dust, thou leaue no straw vnturned.
That chal gammer swythe and tyte, and sone be here agayne.
Tib stoope & loke downe to ye ground to it, & take some paine.
Here is a prety matter, to see this gere how it goes
By gogs soule I thenk you wold loes your ars, and it were loose
Your neele lost, it is pitie you shold lack care and endlesse sorow
Gogs deth how shall my breches be sewid, shall I go thus to morow
Ah hodg, hodg, if that ich cold find my neele by the reed
Chould sow thy breches ich promise ye, wt full good double threed
And set a patch on either knee, shuld last this monethes twaine
Now god & good Saint Sithe I praye, to send it home againe.
Wherto serued your hands & eies, but this your neele to kepe
What deuill had you els to do, ye kept ich wot no sheepe
Cham faine a brode to dyg and delue, in water, myre and claye
Sossing and possing in the durte, styll from day to daye
A hundred thinges that be abrode, cham set to see them weele
And foure of you syt idle at home, and can not keepe a neele.
My neele alas ich lost it hodge, what time ich me vp hasted
To saue the milke set vp for the, which gib our cat hath wasted
The Deuill he burst both gib, and Tib, with all the rest
Cham alwayes sure of the worst end, who euer haue the best
Where ha you ben fidging abrode, since you your neele lost
Within the house and at the dore, sitting by this same post
Wher I was loking a long howre, before these folks came here,
But welaway, all was in vayne, my neele is neuer the nere.
Set me a candle, let me seeke and grope where euer it bee
Gogs hart ye be so folish (ich thinke) you knowe it not when you it see
Come hether Cocke what Cocke I say.
Goe hye thee soone and grope behynd the old brasse pan,
Whych thing when thou hast done
Ther shalt thou fynd an old shooe, wher in if thou looke well
Thou shalt fynd lyeng an inche of a whyte tallow candell,
Lyght it, and brynge it tite awaye.
That shal be done anone.
Nay tary hodg til thou hast light, and then weele seke ech one.
Cum away ye horson boy, are ye a slepe; ye must haue a crier.
Ich cannot get the candel light here is almost no fier.
Chil hold the a peny chil make ye come if yt ich may catch thine eares
Art deffe thou horson boy? cocke I say, why canst not heares.
Beate hym not Hodge but help the boy and come you two togethe.
The .i. Acte The .v. Sceane
Gammer. Tyb. Cocke. Hodge
How now Tyb quycke lets here, what newes thou hast brought hether
Chaue tost and tumbled yender heap our & ouer againe
And winowed it through my fingers as men wold winow grain
No so much as a hens turd but in pieces I tare it
Or what so euer clod or clay I found, I did not spare it
Lokyng within and eke without, to fynd your neele (alas)
But all in vaine and without help, your neele is where it was.
A1as my neele we shall neuer meete, adue, adue for aye.
Not so Gammer, we myght it fynd if we knew where it laye.
Gogs crosse Gammer if ye will laugh looke in but at the doore
And see how Hodg lieth tomblynge and tossing amids the floure
Rakyng there some fyre to find amonge the asshes dead
Where there is not one sparke, so byg as a pyns head,
At last in a darke corner two sparkes he thought he sees
Which were mdede nought els but Gyb our cats two eyes
Puffe quod hodg thinking therby to haue fyre without doubt
With that Gyb shut her two eyes, & so the fyre was out
And by and by them opened, euen as they were before,
With that the sparkes appered euen as they had done of yore,
And euen as hodge blew the fire as he did thincke
Gyb as she felt the blast strayght way began to wyncke,
Tyll Hodge fell of swering as came best to his turne,
The fier was sure bewicht and therfore wold not burne:
At last Gyb vp the stayers, among the old postes and pinnes,
And Hodge he hied him after till broke were both his shinnes:
Cursynge and swering othes, were neuer of his makyng,
That Gyb wold fyre the house, if that shee were not taken.
See here is all the thought that the foolysh Urchyn taketh,
And Tyb me thinke at his elbowe almost as mery maketh
This is all the wyt ye haue when others make their mone,
Come downe Hodge, where art thou and let the Cat alone.
Gogs harte, help and come vp, Gyb in her tayle hath fyre,
And is like to burne all if shee get a lytle hier:
Cum downe (quoth you,) nay then you might count me a patch,
The house commeth downe on your heads if it take ons y thatch.
It is the cats eyes foole that shineth in the darke.
Hath the Cat do you thinke in euery eye a sparke.
No, but they shyne as lyke fyre as euer man see.
By the masse and she burne all, yoush beare the blame for mee
Cum downe & help to seeke here our neele that it were found
Downe Tyb on the knees I say, downe Cocke to the ground.
To God I make a vowe, and so to good Saint Anne
A candell shall they haue a peece, get it where I can,
If I may my neele find in one place or in other.
Now a vengeaunce on gib light, on gyb and gybs mother
And all the generacyon of Cats both far and nere
Looke on the ground horson thinks thou the neele is here.
By my trouth gammer me thought your neele here I saw
But when my fyngers toucht it, I felt it was a straw.
See Hodge whats thys may it not be within it.
Breake it foole with thy hand and see and thou canst fynde it.
Nay breake it you Hodge accordyng to your word.
Gogs sydes fye it styncks; it is a Cats tourd,
It were well done to make thee eate it by the masse.
This matter amendeth not my neele is still where it wasse
Our candle is at an ende let vs all in quight
And come another tyme, when we haue more lyght.
The .ii. Acte. Fyrste a Songe.
Backe and syde go bare, go bare, booth foote and hande go colde:
But Bellye god sende thee good ale ynoughe, whether it be newe or olde.
I Can not eate but lytle meate, my stomacke is not good:
But sure I thinke that I can drynke with him that weares a hood.
Thoughe I go bare take ye no care, I am nothinge a colde:
I stuffe my skyn so full within, of ioly good Ale and olde.
Backe and syde go bare go bare, booth foote and hand go colde:
But belly god send the good ale inoughe whether it be new or olde.
I loue no rost but a nut browne toste and a Crab layde in the fyre,
A lytle bread shall do me stead much breade I not desyre:
No froste nor snow, no winde I trowe can hurte mee if I wolde,
I am so wrapt, and throwly lapt of ioly good ale and olde.
Backe and syde go bare. &c.
And Tyb my wyfe that as her lyfe loueth well good ale to seeke,
Full ofte drynkes shee tyll ye may see the teares run downe her cheekes:
Then dooth she trowle to mee the bowle euen as a mault worme shuld,
And sayth sweete hart I tooke my part of this ioly good ale and olde.
Backe and syde go bare. &c.
Now let them drynke tyll they nod and winke, euen as good felowes shoulde doe
They shall not mysse to haue the blisse, good ale doth bringe men to:
And all poore soules that haue scowred boules or haue them lustely trolde,
God saue the lyues of them and theyr wyues whether they be yonge or olde.
Backe and syde go bare &c.
The fyrst Sceane.
Well done be Gogs malt well songe and well sayde,
Come on mother Chat as thou art true mayde.
One fresh pot of ale lets see to make an ende
Agaynst this colde wether, my maked armes to defende,
This gere it warms the soule, now wind blow on the worst,
And let us drink and swill, till that our bellies burste
Now were he a wyse man, by cunnynge colde defyne
Which way my Iourney lyeth or where Dyccon will dyne
But one good turne I haue be it by nyght or daye
South East North or west I am neuer out of my waye
Chym goodly rewarded, cham I not, do you thyncke?
Chad a goodly dynner for all my seate and swyncke,
Neyther butter cheese, mylke onyons fleshe nor fyshe
Saue thys poor pece of barly bread, tis a pleas costly dishe.
Haile fellow Hodge & well to fare wt thy meat, if yu haue any?
But by thy words as I then smelled thy damtrels be not manye.
Daintrels diccon (gogs soule man) saue this pece of dry horsbred,
Cha byt no byt this lyue longe daie no crome come in my hed
My gutts they yawle crawle and all my be rumbleth
The puddynges can not lye still ech one ouer other tumbleth
By gogs harte cham so vente and in my belly pende
Chould one peece were at the spittlehouse another at ye castels ende.
Why Hodge was there none at home thy dinner for to set:
Godgs bread Diccon ich came to late, was nothing ther to get
Gib (a fowle feind might on her hght) lick ye milke pan so clene
See Diccon, twas not so well washt this .vii. yere as ich wene
A pestilence lyght on all ill lucke, chad thought yet for all thys
Of a morsell of bacon behynde the dore at worst shuld not misse,
But when ich sought a slyp to cut, as ich was wont to do
Gogs soule Diccon, gyb our Cat had eate the bacon to.
Which bacon Diccon stole, as is declared before.
Ill luck quod he mary swere it hodg, this day ye trueth to tel
Thou rose not on thy right syde, or els blest thee not wel,
Thy mylk slopt vp thy bacon filtched, that was to bad luck hodg.
Nay nay ther was a fowler fault, my gammer ga me ye dodge
Seest not how cham rent & torn, my heels, my knees & my breech
Chad thought as ich sat by the fire, help here & there a stitch,
But there ich was powpte indeede.
Bootes not man to tell,
Cham so drest amonst a sorte of fooles, chad better be in hell,
My gammer (cham ashamed to say) by god serued me not weele
How so Hodge?
Bootes not man to tell,
Cham so drest amonst a sorte of fooles, chad better be in hell,
My Gammer (chain ashamed to say) by god serued me not weele
How so Hodge?
Hase she not gone trowest now and lost her neele.
Her Eele Hodge who fysht of late? that was a dainty dysh.
Tush tush, her neele, her neele, her neele man. Tys neyther flesh nor fysh.
A lytle thing with an hole in the end, as bright as any syller,
Small, longe, sharpe at the poynt, & straight as any pyller.
I know not what a deuil yu menest, yu brigst me more in doubt
Knowest not wt what tom tailers man, sits broching throughe a clout
A neele, neele, a neele, my gammers neele is gone.
Her neele Hodge, now I smel thee, yt was a chaunce alone,
By ye masse yu hadst a shamefull losse & it wer but for thy breches
Gogs soule man chould giue a crown chad it but in stitches.
How sayest yu Hodg, what shuld he haue, again thy neele got
Bem vathers soule, and chad it chould giue him a new grot.
Canst thou keepe counsaile in this case.
Els chwold my tonge were out.
Do thou but then by my aduise, & I will fetch it wtout doubt.
Chyll runne chyll ryde, chyll dygge, chyl delue, chill toyle, chill trudge shalt
Chill hold chil drawe, chil pull, chill pynche chill kneele on my bare knee.
Chill scrape chill scratche, chill skte, chyll seeke, chill bowe, chill bende, chill sweate,
Chil stoop, chil stur, chil cap chil knele, chil crepe on hands & feete,
Chil be thy bondman Diccon, ich sweare by sunne and moone
And channot sum what to stop this gap, chaiu vtterly vndone
Pointing behind to his torne breeches.
Why, is ther any special cause, thou takest hereat such sorow
Kirstian Clack Tom simsons maid, bi the masse coms hether to morow
Chamnot able to say, betweene vs what may hap,
She smyled on me the last sonday when ich put of my cap,
Well Hodge this is a matter of weight, & must be kept close,
It might els turne to both our costes as the world now gose,
Shalt sware to be no blab Hodge.
Then go to,
Lay thine haud here say after me as thou shalt here me do
Haste no booke?
Cha no booke I.
Then needes must force vs both,
Upon my breech to lay thine hand, and there to take thine othe.
I Hodge breechele,
Sweare to Diccon rechelesse
By the crosse that I shall kysse,
To kepe his counsaile close
And alwayes me to dispose
To worke that his pleasure is.
Here he kysseth Diccons breeche.
Now Hodge see thou take heede
And do as I thee byd
For so I iudge it meete,
This nedle againe to win
There is no shift therin
But coniure vp a spreet.
What the great deuill Diccon I saye?
Yea in good faith, that is the waye,
Fet with some prety charme.
Softe Diccon be not to hasty yet,
By the masse for ich begyn to sweat
Cham afrayde of some harme.
Come hether then and sturre the nat
One inche out of this Cyrcle plat
But stande as I thee teache.
And shall ich be here safe from theyr clawes:
The mayster deuill with his longe pawes
Here to thee can not reache:
Now will I settle me to this geare.
I saye Diccon heare me heare:
Go softely to thys matter.
What deuyll man art afraide of nought
Canst not tarrye a lytle thought
Tyll ich make a curtesie of water.
Stand still to it why shuldest thou feare hym?
Gogs sydes Diccon me thinke ich heare him
And tarrye chal mare all.
The matter is no worse then I tolde it,
By the masse cham able no longer to holde it,
To bad iche must beraye the hall.
Stand to it Hodge sture not you horson,
What Deuyll be thine ars strynges brusten?
Thy selfe a while but staye,
The deuill I smell hym wyll be here anone.
Hold him fast Diccon, cham gone, cham gone
Chyll not be at that fraye.
The ii. Acte. The ii. Sceane.
Fy shytten knaue, and out vpon thee
Aboue all other loutes fye on thee,
Is not here a clenly prancke?
But thy matter was no better
Nor thy presence here no sweter,
To flye I can the thanke:
Here is a matter worthy glosynge
Of Gammer Gurtons nedle losynge
And a foule peece of warke,
A man I thyncke myght make a playe
And nede no worde to this they saye
Being but halfe a Clarke.
Softe let me alone I will take the charge
This matter further to enlarge
Withm a tyme shorte,
If ye will marke my toyes and note
I will geue ye leaue to cut my throte
If I make not good sporte,
Dame Chat I say where be ye within?
Who haue we there maketh such a din:
Here is a good fellow maketh no great daunger,
What diccon? come nere ye be no straunger,
We be fast set at trumpe man hard by the fyre,
Thou shalt set on the king if thou come a litle nyer.
Nay, nay, there is no tarying: I must be gone againe
But first for you in councel I haue a word or twaine.
Come hether Dol, Dol, sit downe and play this game,
And as thou sawest me do, see thou do euen the same
There is 5. trumps beside the Queene, ye hindmost yu shalt finde her
Take hede of Sim glouers wife, she hath an eie behind her,
Now Diccon say your will.
Nay softe a litle yet,
I wold not tel it my sister, the matter is so great,
There I wil haue you sweare by our dere Lady of Bullaine,
S Dunstoue, and S. Donnyke, with the three Kinges of Kullaine,
That ye shal keepe it secret.
Gogs bread that will I doo,
As secret as mine owne thought, by god and the deuil two.
Here is gammer gurton your neighbour, a sad heuy wight
Her goodly faire red Cock, at home, was stole this last night.
Gogs soule her Cock with the yelow legs, yt nightly crowed so iust?
That cocke is stollen.
What was he fet out of the heus ruste?
I can not tel where ye deuil he was kept, vnder key or locke,
But Tib hath tykled in Gammers eare, that you shoulde steale the cocke
Haue I strouge hoore? by bread aud salte.
What softe I say be styl.
Say hot one word for all this geare.
By the masse that I wyl,
I wil haue the yong hore by the head, & the old trot by ye throte
Not one word dame Chat I say, not one word for my cote.
Shall such a begars brawle as yt thinkest yu make me a theefe
The pocks light on her hores sydes, a pestlence & a mischeefe
Come out thou hungry nedy bytche, o that my nails be short.
Gogs bred woman hold your peace this gere wil els passe sport
I wold not for an hundred pound this matter shuld be knowen,
That I am auctour of this tale or haue abrode it blowen
Did ye not sweare ye wold be ruled before the tale I tolde
I said ye must all secret keepe and ye said sure ye wolde.
Wolde you suffer your selfe diccon such a sort, to reuile you
With slaunderous words to blot your name, & so to defile you?
No goodwife chat I wold be loth such drabs shulde blot my name
But yet ye must so order all, yt Diccon beare no blame.
Go to then, what is your rede? say on your minde, ye shall mee rule herein.
Godamercye to dame chat, in faith thou must the gere begin
It is twenty pound to a goose turd, my gammer will not tary
But hetherward she comes as fast as her legs can her cary,
To brawle with you about her cocke, for well I hard Tib say
The Cocke was rosted in your house, to breafast yesterday,
And when ye had the carcas eaten, the fethers ye out flunge
And Doll your maid the legs she hid a foote depe in the dunge.
Oh gracyous god my harte it burstes.
Well rule your selfe a space
And Gammer Gurton when she commeth anon into thys place
Then to the Queane lets see tell her your mynd & spare not
So shall Diccon blamelesse bee, and then go to I care not.
Then hoore beware her throte, I can abide no longer
In faith old witch it shalbe seene, which of vs two be stronger
And Diccon but at your request, I wold not stay one howre.
Well keepe it in till she be here, and then out let it powre,
In the meane while get you in, and make no wordes of this
More of this matter w tin this howre to here you shall not misse
Because I know you are my friend, hide it I cold not doubtles
Ye know your harm, see ye be wise about your owne busines
So fare ye well.
Nay soft Diccon and drynke, what Doll I say
Bringe here a cup of the best ale, lets see, come quicly awaye.
The ii. Actt. The iii. Sceane.
Ye see masters ye one end tapt of this my short deuise
Now must we broche thoter to, before the smoke arise
And by the time they haue a while run, I trust ye need not craue it,
But loke what heth in both their harts ye ar hke sure to haue it
Yea gogs soule, art aliue yet? what Diccon dare ich come?
A man is wel hied to trust to thee, I will say nothing but mum
But and ye come any nearer I pray you see all be sweete.
Tush man is gammers neele found, that chould gladly weete
She may thanke thee it is not found, for if yu had kept thy standing
The deuil he wold haue fet it out, euen hodg at thy commaunding
Gogs hart, & cold he tel nothing wher the neele might be found
Ye folysh dolt, ye were to seek ear we had got our ground,
Therfore his tale so doubtfull was, that I cold not perceiue it.
Then ich se wel something was said, chope one day yet to haue it,
But diccon, diccon, did not the deuill cry ho, ho, ho.
If yu hadst taryed where thou stoodst, thou woldest haue said so
Durst swere of a boke, chard him rore, streight after ich was gon
But tel me diccon what said ye knaue: let me here it anon.
The horson talked to mee. I know not well of what
One whyle his tonge it ran and paltered of a Cat,
Another whyle he stamered styll vppon a Rat,
Last of all there was nothing but euery word Chat, Chat,
But this I well perceyued before I wolde him rid,
Betweene Chat and the Rat and the Cat, the nedle is hyd,
Now wether Gyb our cat haue eate it in her mawe,
Or Doctor Rat our curat haue found it in the straw,
Or this dame chat your neighbour haue stollen it, god hee knoweth
But by ye morow at this time, we shal learn how the matter goeth
Canst not learn to night man, seest not what is here,
Pointyng behind to his torne breeches.
Tys not possyble to make it sooner appere,
Alas Diccon then chaue no shyft but least ich tary to longe
Hye me to Sym glouers shop, theare to seeke for a Thonge,
Ther with this breech to tatche and tye as ich may.
To morow Hodge if we chaunce to meete, shalt see what I will say.
The ii. Acte. The iiii. Sceane.
Now this gere must torward goe, for here my gammer commeth,
Be still a while & say nothing, make here a litle romth.
Good lord, shall neuer be my lucke my neele agayne to spye?
Alas the whyle tys past my helpe, where tis still it must lye.
Now Iesus gammer gurton, what driueth you to this sadnes:
I feare me by my conscience you will sure fall to madnes.
Who is that, what Diccon chaue lost man fye fye.
Mary fy on them y t be worthy, but what shuld be your troble.
A1as the more ich thinke on it, my sorow it waxeth doble
My goodly tossing sporyars neele, chaue lost ich wot not where.
Your neele whan?
My neele (alas ich myght full ill it spare,
As god him selfe he knoweth nere one besyde chaue.
If thys be all good gammer, I warrant you all is saue.
Why know you any tydings which way my neele is gone?
Yea that I do doubtlesse, as ye shall here anone,
A see a thing this matter toucheth within these .xx. howres,
Euen at this gate, before my face, by a neyghbour of yours,
She stooped me downe, and vp she toke a nedle or a pyn:
I durst be sworne it was euen yours, by all my mothers kyn.
It was my neele diccon ich wot, for here euen by this poste
Ich sat, what time as ich vp starte, and so my neele it loste:
Who was it leiue son? speke ich pray the, & quickly tell me that?
A suttle queane as any in thys Towne your neyghboure here dame Chat.
Dame chat diccon let me be gone, chil thyther in post haste.
Take my councell yet or ye go, for feare ye walke in wast,
It is a murrion crafty drab and froward to be pleased,
And ye take not the better way our nedle yet ye lose it:
For when she tooke it vp euen here before your doores
What soft dame chat (quoth I) that same is none of yours
Auant (quoth she) syr knaue, what pratest thou of that I fynd:
I wold yu hadst kist me I wot whear: (she ment I know behind)
And home she went as brag, as it had ben a bodelouce,
And I after as bold, as it had ben, the goodman of the house:
But there and ye had hard her, how she began to scolde
The tonge it went on patins, by hym that judas solde,
Ech other worde I was a knaue, and you a hore of hores,
Because I spake in your behalfe, and sayde the neele was yours.
Gogs bread, and thinks ye callet thus to kepe my neele me fro?
Let her alone, and she minds non other but euen to dresse you so.
By the masse chil rather spend the cote that is on my backe
Thinks the false quean by such a slyght, that chill my neele lacke
Slepe not your gere I counsell you, but of this take good hede
Let not be knowen I told you of it, how well soeuer ye spede.
Chil in Diccon a cleene aperne to take, and set before me,
And ich may my neele once see, chil sure remember thee.
The ii. Acte. The v. Sceane.
Here will the sporte begin, if these two once may meete.
Their chere durst lay money will proue scarsly sweete
My gammer sure entends, to be vppon her bones,
With staues, or with clubs, or els with coble stones.
Dame Chat on the other syde, it she be far behynde
I am right far deceiued she is geuen to it of
He that may tarry by it a whyle, and that but shorte
I warrant hym trust to it, he shall see all the sporte
Into the towne will I, my frendes to vysit there
And hether straight againe to see thend of this gere
In the meane time felowes, pype vpp your fiddles,
I saie take them
And let your freyndes here such mirth as ye can make them.
The iii. Acte. The i. Sceane.
Sym glouer yet gramercy, chain meetlye well sped now,
Thart euen as good a felow as euer kyste a cowe,
Here is a thonge in dede, by ye masse though ich speake it
Tom tankards great bald curtal, I thinke could not breake it
And when he spyed my neede to lie so straight and hard,
Hays lent me here his naull, to set the gyb for-ward,
As for my Gammers neele, the flyenge feynd go weete,
Chill not now go to the doore againe with it to meete:
Chould make shyfe good inough and chad a candels ende,
The cheefe hole in my breeche, with these two chil amende.
The iii. Acte. The ii. Sceane.
How Hodge, mayst nowe be glade, cha newes to tell thee
Ich knowe who hais my neele, ich trust soone shalt it see
The deuyll thou does, hast hard gammer in deede, or doest but iest
Tys as true as steele Hodge.
Why, knowest well where dydst leese it?
Ich know who found it, and tooke it vp shalt see or it be longe.
Gods mother dere, if that be true, farwel both naule an thong
But who hais it gammer say on: chould faine here it disclosed.
That false fixen, that same dame Chat, that counts her selfe so honest.
Who tolde you so:
That same did Diccon the bedlam, which saw it done.
Diccon: it is a vengeable knaue gammer, tis a bonable horson,
Can do mo things then that els cham deceyued euill:.
By the masse ich saw him of late cal vp a great blacke deuill,
O the knaue cryed ho, ho he roared and he thundred,
And yead bene here, cham sure yould murrenly ha wondred.
Was not thou afraide Hodge to see him in this place:
No, and chad come to me, chould haue laid him on the face,
Chould haue promised him
But Hodge, had he no hornes to pushe:
As long as your two armes, saw ye neuer Fryer
Painted on a cloth, with a side long cowes tayle
And crooked clouen feete, and many a hoked nayle?
For al the world (if I shuld iudg) chould recken him his brother
Loke euen what face Frier Rush had, the deuil had such another
Now Iesus mercy hodg, did diccon in him bring:
Nay gammer (heare me speke) chil tel you a greater thing,
The deuil (when diccon had him, ich hard him wondrous weel)
Sayd plainly (here before vs), that dame chat had your neele.
Then let vs go, and aske her wherfore she minds to kepe it,
Seing we know so much, tware a madnes now to slepe it.
Go to her gammer, see ye not where she stands in her doores
Byd her geue you the neele, tys none of hers but yours.
The iii. Acte. The iii. Sceane.
Gammer. Chat Hodge.
Dame Chat cholde praye the fair, let me haue yt is mine
Chil not this twenty yeres take one fart that is thyne
Therfore giue me mine owne & let me liue besyde the
Why art thou crept from home hether, to mine own doores to chide me.
Hence doting drab, auaunt, or I shall set the further.
Intends thou and that knaue, mee in my house to murther:
Tush gape not so on me woman, shalt not yet eate mee,
Nor all the frends thou hast, in this shall not intreate mee
Mine owne goods I will haue, and aske the no beleue,
What woman: pore folks must haue right, though the thing you agreue.
Giue thee thy right, and hang thee vp, wt al thy baggers broode
What wilt thou make me a theefe, and say I stole thy good:
Chil say nothing (ich warrant thee), but that ich can proue it well
Thou fet my good euen from my doore, cham able this to tel,
Dyd I (olde witche) steale oft was thine: how should that thing be knowen:
Ich can not tel, but vp thou tokest it as though it had ben thine owne.
Mary fy on thee, thou old gyb, with al my very hart.
Nay fy on thee yu rampe, thou ryg, with al that take thy parte.
A vengeaunce on those lips yt laieth such things to my charge.
A vengeance on those callats hips, whose con-science is so large
Come out Hogge
Come out hogge, and let me haue right.
Thou arrant Witche.
Thou bawdie bitche, chil make thee cursse this night.
A bag and a wallet.
A carte for a callet.
Why wenest thou thus to preuaile,
I hold thee a grote,
I shall patche thy coate.
Thou warte as good kysse my tayle:
Thou slut, yu kut, y u rakes, yu iakes, will not shame make ye hide thee
Thou skald, thou bald, thou rotten, yu glotton,
I will no longer chyd the
But I will teache the to kepe home.
Wylt thou drunken beaste.
Sticke to her gammer, take her by the head, chil warrant you thys feast.
Smyte I saye gammer,
Byte I say gammer,
I trow ye wyll be keene.
Where be your nayls? claw her by the iawes, pull me out bothe her eyen,
Gogs bones gammer, holde vp your head.
I trow drab I shall dresse thee.
Tary yu knaue I hold the a grote, I shall make these hands blesse thee
Take yu this old hore for amends, & lerne thy tonge well to tame
And say thou met at this bickering, not thy fellow but thy dame.
Where is the strong stued hore, chil geare a hores marke,
Stand out ones way, that ich kyll none in the darke
Up gammer and ye be alyue, chil feyght now for us bothe,
Come no nere me thou scalde callet, to kyll the ich wer loth.
Art here agayne thou hoddy peke, what doll bryng me out my spitte.
Chill broche thee wyth this, bim father soule, chyll coniure that foule sprete:
Let dore stand Cock, why coms in deede? kepe dore yu horson boy.
Stand to it yu dastard for thine eares, ise teche ye a sluttish toye.
Gogs woundes hore, chil make the auaunte, take heede Cocke, pull in the latche.
I faith sir loose breche had ye taried, ye shold haue found your match.
Now ware thy throte losell, thouse pay for al
Well said gammer by my soule,
Hoyse her, souse her, bounce her, trounce her, pull out her throte boule
Comst behynd me thou withered witch, & I get once on foote
Thouse pay for all, y u old tarlether, ile teach the what longs to it
Take y e this to make vp thy mouth, til time thou come by more
Up gammer stand on your feete, where is the olde hore?
Haith woulde chad her by the face choulde racke her callet crowne
A hodg, hodg, where was thy help, when fixen had me downe.
By the masse Gammer, but for my staffe Chat had gone nye to spyl you
Ich think the harlot had not cared, and chad not com to kill you but shall we loose our neele thus?
No Hodge chwarde lothe doo soo.
Thinkest thou chill take that at her hand, no hodg ich tell the no
Chold yet this fray wer wel take vp, & our own neele at home
Twill be my chaunce els some to kil, wher euer it be or whome
We haue a parson, (hodge thou knoes) a man estemed wise
Mast doctor Rat, chil for hym send, and let me here his aduise,
He will her shriue for all this gere, & geue her penaunce strait
Wese haue our neele, els dame chat comes nere w tin heauen gate
Ye mary gammer, yt ich thmk best: wyll you now for him send
The sooner Doctor Rat be here, the soner wese ha an ende,
And here gammer Dyccons deuill, (as iche re-member well)
Of Cat, and Chat, and Doctor Rat a felloneu tale dyd tell,
Chold you forty pound, that is the way your neele to get againe.
Chil ha him strait call out y e boy wese make him take the payn
What coke I saye, come out what deuill canst not here.
How now hodg? how does gammer, is yet the wether cleare?
What wold chaue me to doo?
Come hether Cocke anon
Hence swythe to Doctor Rat, hye the that thou were gone,
And pray hym come speke with me, cham not well at ease,
Shalt haue him at his chamber, or els at mother Bees,
Els seeke him at Hob fylchers shop, for as charde it reported
There is the best ale in al the towne, and now is most resorted.
And shal ich brynge hyin with me gammer?
Yea, by and by good Cocke.
Shalt see that shal be here anone, els let me haue one the docke
Now gammer shal we two go in, and tary for hys commynge
What deuill woman plucke vp your hart, & leue of al this glomming
Though she were stronger at ye first, as ich thinke ye did find her
Yet there ye drest the dronken sow, what time ye cam behind her
Nay, nay, cham sure she lost not all, for set thend to ye beginning
And ich doubt not, but she will make small bost of her winning.
The iii. Acte. The iiii. Sceane.
Tyb. Hodge Gammer. Cocke.
Se gammer, gammer, gib our cat, cham afraid what she ayleth
She standes me gasping behind the doore, as though her winde her faileth:
Now let ich doubt what gib shuld mean, yt now she doth so dote
Hold hether, ichould twenty pound, your neele is in her throte
Grope her ich say, me thmkes ich feele it, does not pricke your hand?
Ich can feele nothing
No, ich know thars not within this land
A muryner Cat then Gyb is, betwixt the tems and Tyne,
Shase as much wyt in her head almost as chaue in mine.
Faith shase eaten some thing, that wil not easely downe
Whether she gat it at home, or abrode in the towne
Iche can not tell
Alas ich feare it be some croked pyn,
And then farewell gyb, she is vndone, and lost al saue the skyn.
Tys your neele woman, I say gogs soule geue me a knyfe
And chil haue it out of her mawe, or els chal lose my lyfe.
What nay hodg, fy kil not our cat, tis al the cats we ha now.
By the masse dame Chat hays me so moued, iche care not what I kyll, ma god a vowe.
Go to then Tyb to this geare, holde vp her tayle and take her,
Chil see what deuil is in her guts chil take ye pain es to rake her
Rake a Cat Hodge, what woldst thou do?
What thinckst that cham not able?
Did not Tom Tankard rake his Curtal toore day standing in the stable.
Soft be content, lets here what newes Cocke bringeth from maist Rat
Gammer chaue ben ther as you bad, you wot wel about what
Twill not be long before he come, ich durst sweare of a booke
He byds you see ye be at home, and there for him to looke.
Where didst thou find him boy was he not wher I told thee?
Yes, yes euen at hob filchers house, by him yt bought and solde me
A cup of ale had in his hand, and a crab lay in the fyer,
Chad much a do to go and come, al was so ful of myer.
And Gammer one thing I can tel, Hob filchers naule was loste
And Doctor Rat found it againe, hard beside the doore poste,
I chould a penny can say something, your neele againe to fet
Cham glad to heare so much Cocke, then trust he wil not let,
To helpe vs herein best he can therfore tyl time he come
Let vs go in, if there be ought to get thou shalt haue some.
The iiii. Acte. The i. Sceane.
Doctor Rat. Gammer Gurton.
A Man were better twenty times be a bandog & barke,
Then here among such a sort, be parish priest
Where he shal neuer be at rest, one pissing while a day
But he must trudge about the towne, this way, and that way,
Here to a drab, there to a theefe, his shoes to teare and rent
And that which is worst of al, at euery knaues commaundement
I had not sit the space, to drinke two pots of ale
But Gammer gurtons sory boy, was straite way at my taile,
And she was sicke, and I must come, to do I wot not what,
If once her fingers end but ake, trudge, call for Doctor Rat
And when I come not at their call, I only therby loose,
For I am sure to lacke therfore, a tythe pyg or a goose
I warrant you when truth is knowen, & told they haue their tale
The matter where about I come, is not worth a half peny worth of ale,
Yet must I talke so sage and smothe, as though I were a glosier
Els or the yere come at an end, I shalbe sure the loser.
What worke ye gammer gurton? hoow here is your frend M. Rat.
A good M. Doctor cha trobled, cha trobled you, chwot wel that
How do ye woman: be ye lustie, or be ye not wel at ease:
By gys master cham not sick, but yet chaue a disease.
Chad a foule turne now of late, chill tell it you by gigs.
Hath your browne cow cast hir calfe, or your sandy sowe her pigs
No, but chad ben as good they had, as this ich wot weel.
What is the matter?
Alas alas, cha lost my good neele,
My neele I say, and wot ye what: a drab came by and spied it
And when I asked hir for the same, the filth flatly denied it.
What was she that:
A dame ich warrant you: she began to scold and brawle
Alas, alas, come hether Hodge: this wretche can tell you all.
The iiii. Acte. The ii. Sceane.
Hodge. Doctor Rat. Gammer. Diccon. Chat.
God morow gaffer Vicar
Come on fellow let vs heare.
Thy dame hath sayd to me, thou knowest of all this geare,
Lets see what thou canst saie.
Bym fay sir that ye shall,
What matter so euer here was done, ich can tell your maship all
My Gammer gurton heare see now, sat her downe at this doore, see now:
And as she began to stirre her, see now, her neele fell in the floore, see now.
And while her staffe she tooke, see now, at Gyb her Cat to flynge, see now,
Her neele was lost in the floore, see now is not this a wondrous thing, see now?
Then came the queane Dame Chat, see now to aske for hir blacke cup, see now:.
And euen here at this gate, see now: she tooke that neele vp, see now.
My Gammer then she yeede, see now hir neele againe to bring, see now
And was caught by the head see now is not this a wondrous thing, see now
She tare my Gammers cote see now and scratched hir by the face, see now
Chad thought shad stopt hir throte, see now is not this a wondrous case, see now?
When ich saw this, ich was wrothe see now and start betwene them twaine, see now
Els ich durst take a booke othe, see now my Gammer had bene slaine, see now.
This is euen the whole matter, as Hodge has plainly tolde
And chould faine be quiet for my part, that chould
But helpe vs good master, beseech ye that ye doo
Els shal we both be beaten and lose our neele too
What wold ye haue me to doo? tel me that I were gone
I will do the best that I can, to set you both at one
But be ye sure dame Chat hath this your neele founde
Here comes the man that see hir take it vp of the ground,
Aske him your selfe master Rat if ye beleue not me
And helpe me to my neele, for gods sake and samt charitie.
Come nere diccon and let vs heare, what thou can expresse.
Wilt y u be swome yu seest dame chat. this womans neele haue?
Nay by S. Benit wil I not, then might ye thinke me raue.
Why didst not yu tel me so euen here canst yu for shame deny it
I mary gammer, but I said I wold not abide by it.
Will you say a thing, and not sticke to it to trie it?
Stick to it quoth you master rat, mary sir I defy it,
Nay there is many an honest main, when he suche blastes hath blowne
In his freindes eares, he woulde be loth the same by him were knowne
If such a toy be vsed oft among the honestie
It may beseme a simple man, of your and my degree
Then we be neuer the nearer, for all that you can tell.
Yes mary sir, if ye will do by mine aduise and counsaile,
If mother chat se al vs here, she knoweth how the matter goes
Therefore I red you three go hence, and within keepe close,
And I will into dame chats house, and so the matter vse,
That or you cold go twise to church, I warant you here news,
She shal looke wel about hir, but I durst lay a pledge,
Ye shal of gammers neele, haue shortly better knowledge.
Now gentle Diccon do so, and good sir let vs trudge.
By the masse I may not tarry so long to be your iudge.
Tys but a litle while man, what take so much paine,
If I here no newes of it I will come sooner againe.
Tary so much, good master Doctor of your gentlenes.
Then let vs hie vs inward, and Diccon speede thy busines.
Now sirs do you no more, but kepe my counsaile iuste,
And Doctor Rat shall thus catch, some good I trust,
But mother Chat my gossop, talke first with all I must:
For she must be chiefe captaine to lay the Rat in the dust.
God deuen dame Chat in faith, and wel met in this place.
God deuen my friend Diccon, whether walke ye this pace?
By my truth euen to you, to learne how the world goeth,
Hard ye no more of the other matter, say me now by your troth
O yes diccon, here the olde hoore, & hodge that great knaue
But in faith I would thou hadst sene, o lord I drest them braue
She bare me two or three souses behind in the nape of the necke
Till I made hir olde wesen, to answere againe kecke
And Hodge that dirty dastard, that at hir elbow standes,
If one paire of legs had not bene worth two paire of hands
He had had his bearde shauen, if my nayles wold haue serued
And not without a cause, for the knaue it well deserued.
By the masse I can the thank wench, yu didst so wel acquite the
And thadst seene him Diccon, it wold haue made ye beshite the
For laughter. The horsen dolt at last caught vp a club,
As though he would haue slaine the master deuil Belsabub,
But I set him soone inwarde.
O Lorde there is the thing
That Hodge is so offended, that makes him starte and flyng
Why? makes the knaue any moyling, as ye haue sene or hard
Euen now I sawe him last, like a mad man he farde,
And sware by heauen and hell, he would a wreake his sorowe
And leue you neuer a hen on hue, by viii. of the clock to morow,
Therfore marke what I say, and my wordes see that ye trust
Your hens be as good as dead, if ye leaue them on the ruste.
The knaue dare as wel go hang himself, as go vpon my ground
Wel yet take hede I say, I must tel you my tale round,
Haue you not about your house, behind your furnace or leade.
A hole where a crafty knaue, may crepe in for neade?
Yes by the masse, a hole broke down, euen wtin these ii. dayes.
Hodge, he intendes this same night, to slip in there awayes.
O christ that I were sure of it, in faith he shuld haue his mede.
Watch wel, for the knaue wil be there as sure as is your crede
I wold spend my selfe a shilling: to haue him well.
I am as glad as a woman can be, of this thing to here tell
By gogs bones when he commeth, now that I know the matter
He shal sure at the first skip, to leape in scalding water:
With a worse turne besides, when he will, let him come.
I tell you as my sister, you know what meaneth mum,
Now lacke I but my doctor, to play his part againe.
And lo where he commeth towards, Peraduenture to his paine.
What good newes Diccon? fellow, is mother chat at home,
She is syr, and she is not, but it please her to whome:
Yet did I take her tardy, as subtle as she was.
The thing that thou wentst for, hast thou brought it to passe?
I haue done that I haue done, be it worse, be it better.
And dame Chat at her wyts ende, I haue almost set her.
Why hast thou spied the neele quickly I pray thee tell
I haue spyed it in faith sir, I handled my selfe so well,
And yet the crafty queane, had almost take my trumpe.
But or all came to an ende, I set her in a dumpe:
How so I pray thee Diccon?
Mary syr will ye heare?
She was clapt downe on the backside, by cocks mother dere
And there she sat sewing a halter, or a bande,
With no other thing saue gammers nedle in her hande,
As soone as any knocke, if the filth be in doubte,
She needes but once puffe, and her candle is out.
Now I sir knowing of euery doore the pin,
Came nycely, and said no worde, till time I was within,
And there I sawe the neele, euen with these two eyes,
Who euer say the contrary, I will sweare he lyes.
O Diccon that I was not there, then in thy steade.
Well, if ye will be ordred, and do by my reade,
I will bring you to a place, as the house standes.
Where ye shall take the drab, with the neele in her handes
For Gods sake do so Diccon, and I will gage my gowne
To geue thee a full pot, of the best ale in the towne.
Follow me but a litle, and marke what I will say.
Lay downe your gown beside you, go to, come on your way.
Se ye not what is here? a hole wherin ye may creepe
Into the house, and sodenly vnwares among them leape,
There shal ye finde the Bitchfox, and the neele together
Do as I bid you man, come on your wayes hether.
Art thou sure diccon, the swil tub standes not here aboute.
I was within my selfe man euen now, ther is no doubt,
Go softly, mike no noyse giue me your foote sir John,
Here will I waite wpon you tyl you come out anone.
Helpe Diccon, out alas, I shal be slaine among them
If they giue you not the nedle, tel them that ye will hang them
Ware that, hoow my wenches, haue ye caught the Fuxe,
That vsed to make reuel, among your hennes and Cocks.
Saue his life yet for his order. though he susteine some paine
Gogs bread, I am afraide, they wil beate out his braine
Wo worth the houre that I came heare.
And wo worth him that wrought this geare,
A sort of drabs and queanes haue me blest,
Was euer creature halfe so euill drest?
Who euer it wrought, and first did inuent it,
He shall I warrant him, erre long repent it,
I will spend all I haue without my skinne
But he shall be brought to the plight I am in,
Master Bayly I trow and he be worth his eares,
Will snaffle these murderers and all that them beares,
I will surely neither byte nor suppe
Till I fetch him hether this matter to take vp
The v. Acte. The i. Sceane,
Master Bayly. Doctor Rat.
I can perceiue none other, I speke it from my hart
But either ye ar in al the fault or els in ye greatest part
If it be counted his fault, besides all his greeues
When a poore man is spoyled: and beaten among theeues?
Then I confesse my fault herein, at this season,
But I hope you wil not iudge so much against reason.
And me thinkes by your owne tale, of all that ye name,
If any plaid the theefe you were the very same.
The women they did nothing, as your words make probation
But stoutly withstood your forcible inuasion,
If that a theefe at your window, to enter should begin,
Wold you hold forth your hand, and helpe to pull him in:.
Or you wold kepe him out: I pray you answere me.
Mary kepe him out, and a good cause why.
But I am no theefe sir but an honest learned Clarke.
Yea, but who knoweth that, when he meets you in the darke
I am sure your learning shines not out at your nose,
Was it any maruaile, though the poore woman arose
And start vp, being afraide of that was in hir purse
Me thinke you may be glad that your lucke was no worse.
Is not this euill ynough, I pray you as you thinke,
Showing his broken head.
Yea but a man in the darke, if chaunces do wincke,
As soone he smites his father, as any other man,
Because for lacke of light, discerne him he ne can,
Might it not haue ben your lucke, wt a spit to haue ben slaine.
I thinke I am litle better, my scalpe is clouen to the braine,
If there be all the remedy, I know who beares the knockes
By my troth and well worthy, besides to kisse the stockes
To come in on the backe side, when ye might go about,
I know non such, vnles they long to haue their braines knockt out
Well, wil you be so good sir, as talke with dame Chat?
And know what she intended. I aske no more but that.
Let her be called fellow because of master doctor,
I warrant in this case, she wil be hir owne Froctor,
She will tel hir owne tale in metter or in prose,
And byd you seeke your remedy, and so go wype your nose.
The v. Acte. The ii. Sceane,
M. Bayly. Chat. D Rat. Gammer. Hodge. Diccon.
Dame Chat, master doctor vpon you here complained
That you & your maides shuld him much mis-order.
And taketh many an oth, that no word he fained,
Laying to your charge, how you thought him to murder:
And on his part againe, that same man saith furder
He neuer offended you in word nor intent,
To heare you answer hereto, we haue now for you sent.
That I wold haue murdered him, fye on him wretch,
And euil mought he thee for it, our Lord I besech,
I will swere on al the bookes that opens and shuttes
He faineth this tale out of his owne guttes,
For this seuen weeks with me, I am sure he sat not downe,
Nay ye haue other minions, in the other end of the towne,
Where ye were liker to catch such a blow,
Then any where els, as farre as I know.
Belike then master Doctor, yon stripe there ye got not?
Thinke you I am so mad, that where I was bet,
I wot not?
Will ye beleue this queane, before she hath tryd it?
It is not the first dede she hath done and after-ward denide it.
What man, will you say I broke your head?
How canst thou proue the contrary?
Nay, how prouest thou that I did the deade
To plainly, by S. Hary.
This profe I trow may serue, though I no word spoke. Showing his broken head.
Bicause thy head is broken, was it I that it broke?
I saw thee Rat I tel thee, not once within this fortnight,
No mary, thou sawest me not, for why thou hadst no light,
But I felt thee for al the darke, beshrew thy smothe cheekes,
And thou groped me, this wil declare, any day this six weekes
Showing his heade.
Answere me to this M. Rat, when caught you this harme of yours?
A while a go sir, god he knoweth, wtin les then these ii. houres.
Dame Chat was there none with you: (confesse I faith) about that season.
What woman, let it be what it wil, tis neither felony nor treason
Yes by my faith master Bayly, there was a knaue not farre
Who caught one good Philup on the brow, with a dore barre
And well was he worthy, as it semed to mee,
But what is that to this man, since this was not hee
Who was it then? lets here.
Alas sir, aske you that?
Is it not made plain inough (by the owne mouth of dame chat)
The time agreeth, my head is broken, her tong can not lye,
Onely vpon a bare, nay she saith it was not I.
No mary was it not indeede ye shal here by this one thing,
This after noone a frend of mine, for good wil gaue me warning
And bad me wel loke to my ruste, and al my Capons pennes,
For if I toke not better heede, a knaue wold haue my hennes,
Then I to saue my goods, toke so much pains as him to watch
And as good fortune serued me, it was my chaunce him for to catch
What strokes he bare away, or other what was his gaines
I wot not, but sure I am, he had something for his paines
Yet telles thou not who it was.
Who it was a false theefe,
That came like a false Foke, my pullaine to kil and mischeefe.
But knowest thou not his name?
I know it but what than,
It was that crafty cullyon Hodge my gammer gurtons man.
Cal me the knaue hether, he shal sure kysse the stockes.
I shall teach him a lesson, for filching hens or cocks
I maruaile master bayly, so bleared be your eyes.
An egge is not so ful of meate, as she is ful of lyes.
When she hath playd this pranke, to excuse al this geare,
She layeth the fault in such a one, as I know was not there.
Was he not thear loke on his pate, that shalbe his witnes.
I wold my head were half so hole, I wold seeke no redresse.
God bless you gammer Gurton.
God dylde you master mine. wtin thy house, hodge, a ser-uant of thine.
They tel me that busy knaue, is such a filching one,
That Hen, Fig, goose or capon, thy neighbour can haue none.
By god cham much ameued, to heare any such reporte:
Hodge was not wont ich trow, to baue him in that sort.
A theeuisher knaue is not on liue, more filching, nor more false
Many a truer man then he, hase hanged vp by the halse
And thou his dame of al his theft, thou art the sole receauer
For hodge to catch, and thou to kepe, I neuer knew none better
Sir reuerence of your masterdome, and you were out adoore,
Chold be so bolde for al hir brags, to cal hir arrant whoore,
And ich knew Hodge so bad as tow, ich wish me endlesse sorow
And chould not take the pains, to hang him vp before to morow?
What haue I stolne from the or thine: thou ilfauored olde trot.
A great deale more (by Gods blest,) then cheuer by the got,
That thou knowest wel I neade not say it.
Stoppe there I say,
And tel me here I pray you, this matter by the way:.
How chaunce hodge is not here him wold I faine haue had.
Alas sir, heel be here anon, ha be handled to bad.
Master bayly, sir ye be not such a foole wel I know,
But ye perceiue by this lingring, there is a pad in the straw.
Thinking that Hodg, his head was broke,
and that gammer
Wold not let him come before them.
Chil shew you his face, ich warrant the, now where he is.
Come on fellow it is tolde me thou art a shrew iwysse.
Thy neighbours hens yu takest, and playes the two legged foxe
Their chikens & their capons to, & now and then their Cocks.
Ich defy them al that dare it say, cham as true as the best
Wart not y u taken within this houre, in dame chats hens nest?
Taken there? no master chold not dot, for a house ful of gold.
Thou or the deuil in thy cote, sweare this I dare be bold
Sweare me no swearing quean, the deuill he geue the sorow,
Is not worth a gnat, thou canst sweare till to morow,
Where is the harme he hath? shew it by gods bread,
Ye beat him with a witnes, but the stripes light on my head.
Bet me? gogs blessed body, chold first ich trow haue burst the
Ich thinke and chad my hands loose callet chould haue crust the.
Thou shitten knaue I trow yu knowest ye ful weight of my fist
I am fowly deceiued, onles thy head & my doore bar kyste.
Hold thy chat whore yu criest so loude, can no man els be hard
Well knaue, & I had the alone, I wold surely rap thy costard.
Sir answer me to this, is thy head whole or broken?
Yea master Bayly, blest be euery good token.
Is my head whole? ich warrant you, tis neither scuruy nor scald
What you foule beast, does think tis cither pild or bald.
Nay ich thanke god: chil not for al that thou maist spend
That chad one scab on my narse, as brode as thy fingers end
Come nearer heare.
Yes that ich dare
By our Lady here is no harme,
Hodges head is hole ynough, for al dame Chats charme.
By gogs blest, how euer the thing he clockes or smolders,
I know the blowes he bare away, either wt head or shoulders,
Camest yu not knaue within this houre, creping into my pens
And there was caught within my hous, gropig among my hens.
A plage both on thy hens & the, a carte whore, a carte,
Chould I were hanged as hie as a tree, & chware as false as yu art
Geue my gammer again her washical, yu stole away in thy lap.
Yea maister baily there is a thing, you know not on may hap
This drab she kepes away my good, ye deuil he might her snare
Ich pray you that ich might haue, a right action on her.
Haue I thy good old filth, or any such old sowes?
I am as true, I wold thou knew, as skin betwene thy browes
Many a truer hath ben hanged, though you escape the daunger
Thou shalt answer by gods pity, for this thy foule slaunder
Why, what can ye charge hir withal? to say so, ye do not well.
Mary a vengeance to hir hart, yt whore hase stoln my neele.
Thy nedle old witch, how so? it were almes thy scul to knock
So didst thou say, the other day, that I had stolne thy Cock
And rosted him to my breakfast, which shal not be forgotten,
The deuil pul out thy lying tong, and teeth that be so rotten
Geue me my neele, as for my cocke, chould be very loth
That chuld here tel he shuld hang, on thy fals faith and troth.
Your talke is such, I can scarse learne who shuld be most in fault bred & salt
Kepe ye content a while, se that your tonges ye holde,
Me thinkes you shuld remembre, this is no place to scolde,
To name you sir the party, chould not be very glad.
Yea but we must nedes heare it, & therfore say it boldly.
Such one as told the tale, full soberly and coldly,
What time this drunken gossip, my faire long neele vp tooke
Diccon (master) the Bedlam, cham very sure ye know him.
A false knaue by Gods pitie, ye were but a foole to trow him,
I durst auenture wel the price of my best cap,
That when the end is knowen, all wil turne to a iape,
Tolde he not you that besides she stole your Cocke that tyde?
No master no indede, for then he shuld haue lyed,
My cocke is I thanke Christ, safe and wel a fine
Yea but that ragged colt, that whore that tyb of thine
Said plainly thy cocke was stolne, & in my house was eaten,
That lying cut is lost, that she is not swinged and beaten,
And yet for al my good name, it were a small amendes
I picke not this geare (hearst thou) out of my fingers endes
But he that hard it told me, who thou of late didst name
Diccon whom al men knowes, it was the very same.
This is the case, you lost your nedle about the dores
And she answeres againe, she hase no cocke of yours,
Thus in your talke and Action, from that you do intend,
She is whole fiue mile wide, from that she doth defend.
Will you saie she hath your Cocke?
No mery sir that chil not.
Will you confesse hir neele?
Will I? no sir I will not
Then there lieth all the matter.
Soft master by the way,
Ye know she could do litle, and she cold not say nay.
Yea but he that made one he about your Cock stealing,
Wil not sticke to make another, what time lies be in dealing
Tweene, the ende wil proue, this brawle did first arise,
Upon no other ground, but only Diccons lyes.
Though some be lyes as you belike haue espyed them,
Yet other some be true, by proof I haue wel tryed them.
What other thing beside this dame Chat.
Mary syr euen this,
The tale I tolde before, the selfe same tale it was his,
He gaue me like a frende, warning against my losse,
Els had my hens be stolne, eche one, by Gods crosse:
He tolde me Hodge wold come, and in he came
But as the matter chaunsed, with greater hast then speede,
This truth was said, and true was found, as truly I report.
If Doctor Rat be not deceiued, it was of another sort.
By Gods mother thou and he, be a cople of suttle foxes,
Betweene you and Hodge, I beare away the boxes,
Did not diccon apoynt the place, wher yu shuldst stand to mete him
Yes by the masse, & if he came, bad me not sticke to speet hym.
Gods sacrament the villain knaue hath drest vs round about,
He is the cause of all this brawle, that dyrty shitten loute.
When gammer gurton here complained, & made a ruful mone
I heard him sweare yt you had gotten, hir nedle that was gone,
And this to try he furder said, he was ful loth how be it
He was content with small adoe, to bring me where to see it.
And where ye sat, he said ful certain, if I wold folow his read
Into your house a priuy way, he wold me guide and leade,
And where ye had it in your hands, sewing about a clowte,
And set me in the backe hole, therby to finde you out
And whiles I sought a quietnes, creping vpon my knees,
I found the weight of your dore bar, for my reward and fees,
Such is the lucke that some men gets, while they begin to mel
In setting at one such as were out, minding to make al wel.
Was not wel blest gammer, to scape y scoure. & chad ben there
Then chad ben drest be like, as ill by the masse, as gaffar vicar
Mary sir, here is a sport alone, I loked for such an end
If diccon had not playd the knaue, this had ben sone amend
My gammer here he made a foole, and drest hir as she was
And goodwife Chat he set to scole, till both partes cried alas,
And D. Rat was not behind, whiles Chat his crown did pare,
I wold the knaue had ben starke blind, if hodg had not his share.
Cham meetly wel sped alredy amongs, cham drest like a coult
And chad not had the better wit, chad bene made a doult
Sir knaue make hast diccon were here, fetch him where euer he bee
Fie on the villaine, fie, fie, yt makes vs thus agree,
Fie on him knaue, with al my hart, now fie, and fie againe.
Now fie on him may I best say, whom he hath almost slaine.
Lo where he commeth at hand, belike he was not fare
Diccon heare be two or three, thy company can not spare.
God blesse you, and you may be blest so many al at once
Come knaue, it were a good deed to geld the by cockes bones
Seest not thy handiwarke? sir Rat can ye for-bearn him?
A vengeance on those hands lite, for my hands cam not nere hym
The horsen priest hath lift the pot, in some of these ale wyves chayres
That his head wolde not serue him, belyke to come downe the stayres.
Nay soft, thou maist not play ye knaue, & haue this language to
If thou thy tong bridle a while, the better maist
Confesse the truth as I shall aske, and cease a while to fable.
And for thy fault I promise the, thy handlmg shalbe reasonable
Hast thou not made a lie or two, to set these two by the eares?
What if I haue? fiue hundred such haue I seene within these seuen yeares:
I am sory for nothing else but that I see not the sport
Which was betwene them when they met, as they then selues report
The greatest thing master rat, ye se how he is drest.
What deuil nede he be groping so depe, in good-wife Chats hes nest
Yea but it was thy drift to bring him into ye briars.
Gods bread, hath not such an old foole, wit to saue his eares?
He showeth himselfe herein ye see, so very a coke,
The Cat was not so madly alured by the Foxe,
To run into the snares, was set for him doubtlesse,
For he leapt in for myce, and this sir Iohn for madnes.
Well and ye shift no better, ye losel, lyther, and lasye,
I will go neare for this, to make ye leape at a Dasye
In the kings name master Bayly, I charge you set him fast.
What fast at cardes, or fast on slepe? it is the thing I did last.
Nay fast in fetters false varlet, according to thy deedes.
Master doctor ther is no remedy, I must intreat you needes
Some other kinde of punishment
Nay by all Halowes,
His punishment if I may iudg, shalbe naught els but the gallous
That were to sore, a spiritual man to be so extreame.
Is he worthy any better, sir how do ye iudge and deame?
I graunt him worthie punishment, but in no wise so great
It is a shame ich tel you plaine, for such false knaues intreat
He has almost vndone vs al, that is as true as steele:
And yet for al this great ado 'cham neuer the nere my neele.
Canst yu not say any thing to that diccon, with least or most?
Yea mary sir, thus much I can say wel, the nedle is lost.
Nay canst not thou tel which way, that nedle may be found
No by my fay sir, though I might haue an hundred pound.
Thou her lickdish didst not say the neele wold be gitten?
No hodge by the same token, you where that time be shitten?
For feare of Hobgobling, you wot wel what I meane,
As long as it is sence, I feare me yet ye be scarce cleane
Wel master rat, you must both learne, & teach vs to forgeue
Since Diccon hath confession made, & is so cleane shreue
If ye to me conscent, to amend this heauie chaunce,
I wil inioyne him here, some open kind of pen-aunce.
Of this condition, where ye know my fee is twenty pence
For the bloodshed, I am agreed with you here to dispence,
Ye shal go quite, so that ye graunt, the matter now to run,
To end with mirth emong vs al euen as it was begun.
Say yea master vicar, & he shal sure confes to be your detter
And al we that be heare present, wil loue you much the better
My partis the worst, but since you alhere on agree.
Go euen to master Bayly, let it be so for mee.
How saiest thou diccon, art content this shal on me depend
Go to M. Bayly say on your mind, I know ye are my frend?
Then marke ye wel, to recompence this thy former action
Because thou hast offended al, to make them satisfaction,
Before their faces, here kneele downe, & as I shal the teach
For thou shalt take on othe, of hodges leather breache
First for master Doctor, wpon paine of his cursse,
Where he wil pay for al, thou neuer draw thy pursse,
And when ye meete at one pot, he shal haue the first Pull,
And thou shalt neuer offer him the cup, but it be full
To goodwife chat thou shalt be sworne, euen on the same wyse
If she refuse thy money once, neuer to offer it twise.
Thou shalt be bound by the same here, as thou dost take it
When thou maist drinke of free cost, thou neuer forsake it.
For gammer gurtons sake, againe sworne shalt hou bee
To helpe hir to hir nedle againe if it do lie in thee
And likewise be bound: by the vertue of that
To be of good abering to Gib hir great Cat
Last of al for Hodge, the othe to scanne,
Thou shalt neuer take him, for fine gentleman.
Come on fellow Diccon chalbe euen with thee now.
Thou wilt not sticke to do this Diccon I trow.
No by my fathers skin, my hand downe I lay it?
Loke as I haue promised, I wil not denay it,
But Hodge take good heede now, thou do not beshite me.
And gaue him a good blow on the buttocke.
Gogs hart thou false villaine dost thou bite me?
What Hodge doth he hurt the or euer he begin.
He thrust me into the buttocke, with a bodkin or a pin,
I saie Gammer, Gammer?
How now Hodge, how now.
Gods malt Gammer gurton.
Thou art mad ich trow.
Will you see the deuil Gammer.
The deuil sonne, god blesse vs.
Chould iche were hanged Gammer.
Mary so ye might dresse vs.
Chaue it by the masse Gammer
What not my neele Hodge?
Your Neele Gammer, your neele.
No fie, dost but dodge.
Cha found your neele Gammer, here in my hand be it
For al the loues on earth Hodge, let me see it.
Soft ich say, tarie a while.
Nay sweete Hodge say truth, and do not me begile.
Cham sure on it ich warrant youit goes no more a stray
Hodge when I speake so faire: wilt stil say me nay
Go neare the light gammer, this wel in faith good lucke:
Chwas almost vndonetwas so far in my buttocke
Tis min owne deare neele Hodge, sykerly I wot
Cham I not a good sonne gammer, cham I not.
Christs blessing light on thee, hast made me for euer
Ich knew that ich must finde it, els choud a had it neuer.
By my troth Gossyp gurton, I am euen as glad
As though I mine owne selfe as good a turne had.
And I by my concience, to see it so come forth,
Reioyce so much at it, as three nedles be worth.
I am no whit sory to see you so reioyce.
Nor I much the gladder for al this noyce:
Yet say gramercy Diccon, for springing of the game
Grammercy Diccon twenty times, o how glad cham,
If that Chould do so much, your masterdome to come hether,
Master Rat, goodwife Chat, and Diccon together:
Cha but one halfpeny, as far as iche know it,
And chil not rest this night, till ich bestow it.
If euer ye loue me, let vs go in and drinke
I am content if the rest thinke as I thinke?
Master Rat it shalbe best for you if we so doo,
Then shall you warme you and dresse your self too.
Soft syrs, take vs with you, the company shalbe the more,
As proude coms behinde they say, as any goes before,
But now my good masters since we must be gone
And leaue you behinde vs, here all alone:
Since at our last ending thus mery we bee,
For Gammer Gurtons nedle sake, let vs haue a plaudytie.
Finis, Gurton. Perused and alowed, &c.
Imprinted at London
in Fleetestreate beneath the Conduite,
at the signe of S. John Evangelist, by
abering / bearing, conduct
almes / i.e. a good deed
ameved / moved
balkes / beams
baue / behave
beares / uphold
beleue / leave
bem / by my
bet / beaten
bodelouce / body-louse.
bonable / abominable
brag / lively
brawle / brat
by and by / immediately
callet / drab
chad / I had
cham / I am
channot / I have not
chard / I heard
chaue / I have
chil / I will
cholde / I hold, I bet
chope / I hope
chould / I would
chwar(d)e / I would be
chwold / I would
chwot / I wot
chym / I am
clockes / cloaks
cocks / God's
costard / pate
coxe / coxcomb, fool
cut / gelding (a term of abuse)
daintrels / delicacies
dame / mistress.
dyldt / yield, i.e. reward
fet / fetched
fidging / moving restlessly
fine / in fine, to sum up
floure / floor
gere / grasp
gyb forward / move things on
gys / Jesus
halse / neck
hied / sped
hoddy peke / simpleton
honestie / honourable people
hoow / i.e. how now
huckle bone / hip bone
ich / I
leade / a cauldron for heating
leiue / dear
losell / worthless person
lyther / sluggish
ma / I make
mas / master
mault worme / toper
mel / meddle
mery / Mary
nale / ale.
naull / awl
neuer the nere / none the nearer
nycely / stealthily
oft / aught
ought / owed
pad / toad
patch / fool
patins / clogs
pes / hassock
plauditie / appeal for applause
powpte / deceived.
puddynges / guts
pullaint / poultry
quite / quit, i.e. scot free
rampe / a shameless woman
rechelesse / unreservedly
romth / room
ryg / wanton
scoure (= stoure) / conflict, commotion
scowred / inebriated, i.e. 'drunk out'
sence / since
shoinghorne / appetiser
sir / saving
skald / scabby
slepe / slip
smolders / smothers
sorte / company
speet / spit.
spittlehouse / hospital
sporyars / spurrier's
squrt / squitters
stound / time.
stued / of the stews
swythe and tyte / hastily
tarlether / thong
tatche / fasten
tharte / the heart
thoter / the other
throte boule / Adam's apple
toore / t'other
tow / thou
tphrowh / an onomatopoeic word (prob. of Hodge's own)
trolde / passed round
trump / card
trumpe / an obsolete card-game
washical / what-shall-I-call
yeede / went