[A Merry Play]

A Mery Play Betwene Johan Johan, the Husbande, Tyb, his Wyfe, and Syr Jhan, the Preest



often attributed to
John Heywood
1533



[Enter Johan Johan, the Husbande]

God spede you, maysters, everychone!
Wote ye not whyther my wyfe is gone?
I pray God the dyvell take her!
For all that I do I can not make her
But she wyll go a gaddynge, very myche
Lyke an Anthony pyg, with an olde wyche
Whiche ledeth her about hyther and thyther:
But, by Our Lady, I wote not whyther.
But, by goggis blod, were she come home
Unto this, my house, by our lady of Crome,
I would bete her or that I drynke.
Bete her, quod a? yea, that she shall stynke!
And at every stroke lay her on the grounde,
And trayne her by the here about the house round.
I am evyn mad that I bete her not nowe.
There is never a wyfe betwene heven and hell
Whiche was ever beten halfe so well.

Beten, quod a? Yea, but what and she therof dye?
Then I may chaunce to be hanged shortly.
And whan I have beten her tyll she smoke,
And gyven her many a C stroke,
Thynke ye that she wyll amende yet?
Nay, by Our Lady, the devyll spede whyt!
Therefore I wyll not bet her at all.

And shall I not bete her? No shall?
Whan she offendeth and doth a-mys,
And kepeth not her house, as her duetie is?
Shall I not bete her, if she do so?
Yea, by cokkis blood, that shall I do!
I shall bete her, and thwak her, I trow,
That she shall beshyte the house for very wo.


But yet I thynk what my neybour wyll say than,
He wyll say thus: "Whom chydest thou, Johan Johan?"
"Mary!" wyll I say, "I chyde my curst wyfe,
The veryest drab that ever bare lyfe,
Whiche doth nothyng but go and come,
And I can not make her kepe her at home."
Than I thynke he wyll say by and by:
"Walke her cote, Johan Johan! and bete her hardely!"
But than unto hym myn answere shal be:
"The more I bete her, the worse is she:
And worse and worse make her I shall!"

He wyll say than: "Bete her not at all."
"And why?" shall I say: "This wolde be wyst,
Is she not myne own to chastice as I lyst?"

But this is another poynte worst of all, —
The folkis wyll mocke me whan they here me brall.
But, for all that, shall I let therefore
To chastyce my wyfe ever the more,
And to make her at home to tary?
Is not that well done? Yes, by Saynt Mary!
That is a poynt of an honest man
For to bete his wyfe well nowe and than.

Therefore I shall bete her, have ye no drede!
And I ought to bete her, tyll she be starke dede.
And why? By God, bicause it is my pleasure!
And if I shulde suffre her, I make you sure,
Nought shulde prevayle me, nother staffe nor waster;
Within a whyle she wolde be my mayster.

Therefore I shall bete her, buy cokkes mother,
Both on the tone syde and on the tother,
Before and behynde — nother shall be her bote —
From the top of the heed to the sole of the fote.

But, masters, for Goddis sake, do not entrete
For her whan that she shal be bete;
But, for Goddis passion, let me alone,
And I shall thwak her that she shall grone:
Wherefore I beseche you, and hartely you pray,
And I beseche you say me not nay,
But that I may beate her for this ones
And I shall beate her, by cokkes bones,
That she shall stynke lyke a pole-kat!
But yet, by goggis body, that nede nat,
For she wyll stynke without any betyng;
For every nyght, once she gyveth me an hetyng,
From her issueth suche a stynkyng smoke
That the savour therof almost doth me choke.
But I shall bete her nowe, without fayle,
I shall bete her toppe and tayle,
Head, shoulders, armes, legges, and all,
I shall bete here, I trowe; that I shall!
And, by goggis boddy, I tell you trewe,
I shall bete here tyll she be blacke and blewe.

But where the dyvell trowe ye she is gon?
I hold a noble she is with Syr Jhan,
I fere I am begyled alway;
But yet, in fayth, I hope well nay.
Yet I almost enrage that I ne can
So the behavour of our gentylwoman,
And yet, I thynke, thyther as she doth go,
For to make some pastyme and sporte.
But than my wyfe so ofte doth thyther resorte
That I fere she wyll make me weare a fether.
But yet I nede not for to fere nether,
For he is her gossyp, that is he.

But abyde a whyle! yet let me se!
Where the dyvell hath our gyssypry begon?
My wyfe had never chylde, doughter nor son.

Nowe if I forbede her that she go no more,
Yet wyll she go as she dyd before;
Or els wyll she chuse some other place,
And then the matter is in as yll case.

But, in fayth, all these wordes be in wast,
For I thynke the matter is done and past.
And whan she cometh home she wyll begyn to chyde;
But she shall have her payment-styk by her syde!
For I shall order her, for all her brawlyng,
That she shall repent to go a catterwawlyng.

[Tyb has entered during this speech]

T. Why whom wylt thou beate, I say, thou knave?

J. Who, I, Tyb? None, so God me save.

T. Yes, I harde the say thou woldst one bete.

J. Mary, wyf, it was stokfysshe in Temmes Strete,
Whiche wyll be good meate agaynst Lent.
Why, Tyb, what haddest thou thought that I ment?

T. Mary, methought I harde the bawlyng.
Wylt thou never leve this wawlyng?
Howe the dyvell dost thou thy selfe behave?
Shall we ever have this worke, thou knave?

J. What! wyfe, howe sayst thou? was it well gest of me,
That thous woldest be come home in safete
As sone as I had kendled a fyre?
Come warme the, swete Tyb, I the requyre.

T. O, Johan Johan, I am afrayd, by this lyght,
That I shalbe sore syk this nyght.

J. [aside] By cokkes soul, nowe, I dare lay a swan
That she come nowe streyght fro Syr Jhan!
For ever whan she hath fatched of him a lyk,
Than she comes home, and sayeth she is syk.

T. What sayst thou?

J. Mary, I say
It is mete for a woman to go play
Abrode in the towne for an houre or two.

T. Well, gentylman, go to, go to!

J. Well, let us have no more debate.

T. [aside] If he do not fyght, chyde, and rate,
Braule, and fare as one that were frantyke,
There is nothing that may hym lyke.

J. [aside] If that the parysshe preest, Syr Jhan,
Dyd not se her nowe and than,
And gyve her absolution upon a bed,
For wo and payne she would sone be deed.

T. For goddis sake, Johan Johan, do the not displease;
Many a tyme I am yll at ease.
What thynkest nowe, am not I somewhat syk?

J. [aside] Nowe wolde to God, and swete Saynt Dyryk,
That thou warte in the water up to the throte,
Or in a burnyng oven red hote,
To se and I wolde pull the out!

T. Nowe, Johan Johan, to put the out of dout,
Imagyn thou where that I was
Before I came home.

J. My percase,
Thou was prayenge in the Churche of Poules
Upon thy knees for all Chrysten soules.

T. Nay.

J. Than if thou wast not so holy,
Showe me where thou wast, and make no lye?

T. Truely, Johan Johan, we made a pye,
I and my gossyp Margery,
And our gossyp the preest, Syr Jhan,
And my neybours yongest doughter An.
The preest payde for the stuffe and the makyng,
And Margery she payde for the bakying.

J. [aside] By cokkis lylly woundis, that same is she
That is the most bawde hens to Coventre.

T. What say you?

J. Mary, ansere me to this:
Is not Syr Jhan a good man?

T. Yes, that he is.

J. Ha, Tyb, if I shulde not greve the,
I have somwhat wherof I wold move the.

T. Well, husbande, nowe I do conject
That thou hast me somewhat in suspect.
But, by my soule, I never go to Syr Jhan
But I fynde him lyke an holy man;
For eyther he is sayenge his devotion,
Or els he is goynge in processyon.

J. [aside] Yes, rounde about the bed doth he go,
You two together, and no mo;
And for to fynsshe the processyon,
He lepeth up, and thou lyest downe.

T. What sayest thou?

J. Mary, I say he doth well;
For so ought a shepherde to do, as I harde tell,
For the salvation of all his folde.

T. Johan Johan!

J. What is that thou wolde?

T. By my soule I love thee too too!
And I shall tell the, or I further go,
The pye that was made, I have it nowe here,
And therewith I trust we shall make good chere.

J. By kokkis body, that is very happy!

T. But wotest who gave it?

J. What the dyvel rek I?

T. By my fayth, and I shall say trewe than,
The Dyvell take me and it were not Syr Jhan.

J. O, holde the peas, wyfe, and swere no more!
[aside] But I beshrewe both your hartes therefore.

T. Yet peradventure, thou has suspection
Of that that was never thought nor done.

J. Tusshe, wyfe, let all suche matters be.
I love thee well, though thou love not me.
But this pye doth nowe catche harme;
Let us set it upon the hearth to warme.

T. Than let us eate it as fast as we can.
But bycause Syr Jhan is so honest a man
I wold that he shulde therof eate his part.

J. That were reason, I thee ensure.

T. Than, syns that it is thy pleasure,
I pray the than go to hym ryght,
And pray hym come sup with us to nyght.

J. [aside] Shall he cum hyther? By kokkis soule, I was a-curst
What that I graunted to that worde furst!
But syns I have sayd it I dare not say nay,
For than my wyfe and I shulde make a fray;
But whan he is come, I swere by goddis mother,
I wold gyve the dyvell the tone to cary away the tother!

T. What sayst?

J. Mary, he is my curate, I say,
My confessour, and my frende alway.
Therefore go thou and seke hym by and by,
And tyll thou come agayne, I wyll kepe this pye.

T. Shall I go for him! Nay, I shrewe me than!
Go thou, and seke, as fast as thou can,
And tell hym it.

J. Shall I do so?
In fayth, it is not mete for me to go.

T. But thou shall go tell hym, for all that.

J. Than shall I tell hym, wotest what?
That thou desyrest hym to come make some chere.

T. Nay, that thous desyrest hym to come sup here.

J. Nay, by the rode, wyfe, thou shalt have the worshyp
And the thankes of thy gest that is thy gossyp.

T. [aside] Full ofte, I se, my husbande wyll me rate
For this hether commyng of our gentyll curate.

J. What sayst, Tyb? Let me here that agayne.

T. Mary, I perceyve very playne
That thou has Syr Jhan somwhat in suspect;
But, by my soule, as far as I conject,
He is vertuouse and full of charyte.

J. [aside] In fayth, all the towne knoweth better — that he
Is a hore-monger, a haunter of stewes,
An ypocrite, a knave that all men refuse,
A lyer, a wretche, a maker of stryfe —
Better than they knowe that thou art my good wyfe.

T. What is that thou hast sayde?

J. Mary, I wolde have the table set and layde,
In this place or that, I care not whether.

T. Than go to, brynge the trestles hyther.

J. Abyde a whyle, let me put of my gown!
But yet I am afrayde to lay it down.
For I fere it shal be sone stolen.
And yet it may lye safe ynought unstolen.
It may lye wele here, and I lyst —
But, buy cokkis soule, here hath a dogge pyst!
And if I shulde lay it on the harth bare,
It myght hap to be burned or I were ware.

[to one of the audience]

Therefore I pray you take ye the payne
To kepe my gowne tyll I come agayne.

[snatches it back]

But yet he shall not have it, by my fay,
He is so nere the dore he myght ron away.

[To another of the audience]

But bycause that ye be trusty and sure,
Ye shall kepe it, and it be your pleasure;
And bycause it is arradye at the skyrt,
Whyle ye do nothyng, skrape of the dyrt.

[He turns to his wife]

Lo, nowe am I redy to go to Syr Jhan,
And byd him come as fast as he can.

T. Ye, do so without any taryeng.

[As he reaches the door she calls him back]

But, I say, harke! thou hast forgot one thyng;
Set up the table, and that by and by.

[Johan returns and sets the boards on the trestles]

Nowe go thy ways.

J. I go shortly;
But so your candelstykke be not out of the way.

T. [As he reaches the door] Come agayne, and lay the table I say.

[He returns and lays the table]

What! me thynkes, ye have sone don!

J. Now I pray God that his malediction
Lyght on my wyfe, and on the baulde preest!

T. Nowe go thy ways, and hye the! seest?

[Johan starts out]

J. I pray to Christ, if my wyshe be no synne,
That the preest may breke his neck whan he comes in.

T. [As he reaches the door] Now cum agayn!

J. What a myschefe wylt thou, fole!

T. Mary, I say, brynge hether yonder stole.

J. Nowe go to! A lyttell wolde make me
For to say thus: "A vengaunce take the!"

[he brings her the stool]

T. Now go to hym, and tell hym playn
That tyll thou brynge hym thou wylt not come agayn.

J. This pye doth borne here as it doth stande.

[He starts out]

T. [as he reaches the door] Go, washe me these to cuppes in my hande.

[he washes the cups, and brings them to her]

J. I go, with "a myschuyefe lyght on thy face!"

T. Go, and byd hym hye hym a-pace;
And the whyle I shall all thynges amende.

J. This pye burneth here at this ende.
Understandest thou?

T. Go thy ways, I say!

J. I wyll go nowe, as fast as I may.

[Johan starts out]

T. [as he reaches the door] How! come once agayne; I had forgot
Loke, and there be ony ale in the pot.

J. Nowe, a vengaunce and a very myschyefe
Lyght on the pylde preest, and on my wyfe.
On the pot, the ale, and on the table,
The candyll, the pye, and all the rable,
On the trystels, and on the stole!
It is moche ado to please a curst fole.

[He fills the pot with ale]

T. Go thy ways nowe; and tary no more,
For I am a-hungred very sore.

J. Mary, I go.

T. [as he reaches the door] But come ones again yet!
Brynge hyther that breade, lest I forget it.

[He brings the bread]

J. I-wys, it were tyme for to turne
The pye; for y-wys, it doth borne.

T. Lorde! how my husbande nowe doth patter,
And of the pye styl dot clatter.
Go nowe, and byd him come away;
I have byd the an hundred tymes today.

J. I wyll not gyve a strawe, I tell you playne,
If that the pye waxe cold agayne —

T. What! art thou not gone yet out of this place?
I had went thou haddest ben come agayne in the space!
But, by cokkis soule, and I shulde do the ryght,
I shulde breke thy knaves heed to nyght.

J. Nay, than, if my wyfe be set a chydyng,
It is tyme for me to go at her byddyng.
There is a proverbe, whiche trewe nowe preveth:
"He must nedes go that the dyvell dryveth."

[He arrives at the Priest's house.]

How, mayster curate, may I come in
At your chamber dore without ony syn?

[Syr Jhan, the preest]

SJ. Who is there nowe that would have me?
What! Johan Johan! What newes with the?

J. Mary, Syr, to tell you shortly,
My wyfe and I pray you harely,
And eke desyre you wyth all our myght,
That ye wolde come and sup with us to nyght.

SJ. Ye must pardon me; in fayth I ne can.

J. Yes, I desyre you, good Syr Jhan,
Take payne this ones. And, yet at the lest,
If ye wyll do nought at my request,
Yet do somwhat for the love of my wyfe.

SJ. I wyll not go, for makyng of stryfe,
But I shall tel the what thou shalte do,—
Thous shalt tary, and sup with me or thou go.

J. Wyll ye not go thou? Why so?
I pray you tell me, is there any dysdayne,
Or ony enmyte, betwene you twayne?

SJ. In fayth, to tell the, betwene the and me,
She is as wyse a woman as any may be.
I know it well; for I have had the charge
Of her soule, and serchyd her conscyens at large.
I never knew her but honest and wyse,
Without any yvyll or any vyce,
Save one faut — I know in her no more —
And because I rebuke her now and then therfore,
She is angre with me, and hath me in hate.
And yet that that I do, I do it for your welth.

J. Now God yeld it you, god master curate,
And as ye do, so send you your helth.
Ywys, I am bound to you a plesure.

SJ. Yet thou thynkyst amys, peradventure,
That of her body she shuld not be a good woman.
But I shall tell the what I have done, Johan,
For that matter; she and I be somtyme aloft,
And I do lye uppone her many a tyme and oft
To prove her; yet could I never espy
That ever any dyd worse with her than I.

J. Syr, that is the lest care I have of nyne,
Thankyd be God, and your good doctryne.
But, yf it please you, tell me the matter,
And the debate betwene you and her.

SJ. I shall tell the; but thou must kepe secret.

J. As for that, Syr, I shall not let.

SJ. I shall tell the now the matter playn:
She is angry with me, and hath me in dysdayn,
Because that I do her oft intyce
To do some penaunce, after myne advyse,
Because she wyll never leve her wrawlyng,
But alway with the she is chydyng and brawlyng.
And therfore, I knowe, she hatyth my presens.

J. Nay, in good feyth, savyng your reverens.

SJ. I know very well she hath me in hate.

J. Nay, I dare swere for her, master curate.
[aside] But, was I not a very knave!
I thought surely, so God me save,
That he had lovyd my wyfe for to deseyve me.
And now he quytyth hym-self; and here I se
He doth as much as he may, for his lyfe,
To stynte the debate betwene me and my wyfe.

SJ. If ever she dyd, or though me any yll,
Now I forgyve her with my fre wyll.
Therfore, Johan Johan, now get the home;
And thank thy wyfe, and say, I wyll not come.

J. Yet let me know now, good Syr Jhan,
Where ye wyll go to supper than.

SJ. I care nat greatly and I tell the.
On Saterday last I and ii or thre
Of my frendes made an appoyntement,
And agaynst this nyght we dyd assent
That in a place we wolde sup together.
And one of them sayd, he wolde brynge thether
Ale and bread; and for my parte, I
Sayd that I wold gyve them money for the makynge;
And an-other sayd, she wold pay for the bakyng;
And so we purpose to make good chere
For to dryve away care and thought.

J. Than I pray you, Syr, tell me here,
Whyther shulde all this geare be brought?

SJ. By my fayth, and I shulde not lye,
It shulde be delyvered to thy wyfe, the pye.

J. By God! it is at my house standyng by the fyre.

SJ. Who bespake that pye? I the requyre.

J. By my feyth, and I shall not lye:
It was my wyfe, and her gossyp Margerye,
And your good masshyp callyd Syr Jhan,
And my neybours yongest doughter An;
Your masshyp payde for the stuffe and the makyng,
And Margery she payde for the bakyng.

SJ. If thou wylte have me nowe, in faithe I wyll go.

J. Ye, mary, I beseche your masshyp do so.
My wyfe taryeth for none but us twayne;
She thynketh longe or I come agayne.

SJ. Well now, if she chyde me in thy presens
I wylbe content, and take in pacyens.

J. By cokkis soule, and she ones chyde,
Or frowne, or loure, or loke asyde,
I shall brynge you a staffe, as myche as I may heve.
Than bete her, and spare not! I gyve you good leve.
To chastyce her for her shreude varyeng.

[They return to Johan's house.]

T. The devyll take the for thy long taryeng!
Here is not a whyt of water, by my gowne,
To washe our handis that we myght syt downe.
Go, and hye the as fast as a snayle,
And with fayre water fyll me this payle.

J. I thanke our Lorde of his good grace
That I can not rest longe in a place!

T. Go, fetche water, I say, at a worde,
For it is tyme the pye were on the borde;
And go with a vengeance, and say thou art payde.

[Johan takes the pail and starts out.]

SJ. A, good gossyp! is that well sayde?

T. Welcome, my owne swete harte!
We shall make some chere or we departe.

J. Cokkis soule, loke howe he approcheth nere
Unto my wyfe! This abateth my chere.

[Exit Johan with the pail.]

SJ. By God, I wolde ye had harde the tryfyls,
The toys, the mokkes, the fables, and the nyfyls,
That I made thy husbande to beleve and thynke!
Thou myghtest as well into the erthe synke,
As thou coudest forbeare laughyng any whyle.

T. I pray the, let me here parte of that wyle.

SJ. Mary, I shall tell the as fast as I can —
But peas! no more; yonder cometh thy good man.

[Re-enter Johan.]

J. Cokkis soule, what have we here!
As far as I sawe, he drewe very nere
Unto my wyfe.

T. What, art come so sone?
Gyve us water to wasshe nowe; have done.

[Than he bryngeth the payle empty.]

J. By kockes soule, it was even nowe full to the brynk,
But it was out agayne or I coude thynke;
Wherof I marveled, by God Alymyght,
And than I loked betwene me and the lyght,
And I spyed a clyfte, bothe large and wyde.
Lo, wyfe! here it is on the tone syde.

T. Why dost not stop it?

J. Why, howe shall I do it?

T. Take a lytle wax.

J. Howe shal I come to it?

SJ. Mary, here be ii wax candyls, I say,
Whiche my gossyp Margery gave me yesterday.

T. Tusshe, let hym alone; for, by the rode,
It is pyte to helpe hym, or do hym good.

SJ. What! Johan Johan, canst thou make no shyfte?
Take this waxe, and stop therwith the clyfte.

J. This waxe is as harde as any wyre.

T. Thou must chafe it a lytle at the fyre.

J. She that boughte the those waxe candelles twayne,
She is a good companyon certayn!

[Johan goes to the fire to mend the pail.]

T. What, was it not my gossyp Margery?

SJ. Yes; she is a blessed woman, surely.

T. Nowe wolde God I were as good as she,
For she is vertuous, and full of charyte.

J. [aside] Nowe, so God helpe me, and by my holydome,
She is the erranst baud betwene this and Rome.

T. What sayst?

J. Mary, I chafe the wax,
And I chafe it so hard that my fyngers krakks.
But take up this py that I here torne;
And it stand long, y-wys it wyll borne.

T. [removing the pie] Ye, but thou must chafe the wax, I say.

[Johan approaches the table.]

J. Byd hym syt down, I the pray —
Syt down, good Syr Jhan, I you requyre.

T. Go, I say, and chafe the wax by the fyre,
Whyle that we sup, Syr Jhan and I.

J. And how now! what wyll ye do with the py?
Shall I not ete thereof a morsell?

T. Go, and chafe the wax whyle thou art well!
And let us have no more pratyng thus.

[Syr Jhan starts to say grace.]

SJ. Bendicite

J. [approaching] Dominus.

T. Now go and chafe the waxy, with a myschyfe!

J. What! I come to blysse the bord, sweete wyfe.
It is my custome now and than,
Mych good do it you, Master Syr Jhan.

T. Go chafe the wax, and here no lenger tary.

[Johan returns to the fire.]

J. [aside] And is not this a very purgatory —
To se folkes ete, and may not ete a byt?
By kokkis soule, I am a very wodcok.
This payle here, now a vengaunce take it!
Now my wife gyveth me a proud mok!

T. [eating] What dost?

J. Mary, I chafe the wax here,
And I ymagyn to make you cood chere —
[aside] That a vengaunce take you both as ye syt;
For I know well I shall not ete a byt.
But yet, in feyth, yf I myght ete one morsell,
I would thynk the matter went very well.

SJ. [eating] Gossyp Johan Johan, now "mych good do it you!"
What chere make you, there by the fyre?

J. Master parson, I thank yow now,
I fare well inow after myne own desyre.

SJ. What dost, Johan Johan, I the requyre?

J. I chafe the wax here by the fyre.

T. Here is good drynk! and here is a good py!

SJ. We fare very well, thankyd be Our Lady.

T. Loke how the kokold chafyth the wax that is hard,
And, for his lyfe, daryth not loke hetherward.

SJ. [to Johan] What doth my gossyp?

J. I chafe the wax —
[aside] And I chafe it so hard that my fyngers krakks;
And eke the smoke puttyth out my eyes two;
I burne my face, and ray my clothys also,
And yet I dare not say one word;
And they syt laughyng yender at the bord.

T. Now, by trouth, it is a pretty jape,
For a wyfe to make her husband her ape.
Loke of Johan Johan, which maketh hard shyft
To chafe the wax, to stop therwith the clyft!

J. [aside] Ye, that a vengeaunce take ye both two,
Both hym and the, and the and hym, also!
And that ye may choke with the same mete
At the furst mursell that ye do ete.

T. Of what thyng now dost thou clatter,
Johan Johan? or whereof dost thou patter?

J. I chafe the wax, and make hard shyft
To stopt her-with of the payll the ryft.

SJ. So must he do, Johan Johan, by my father kyn,
That is bound of wedlok in the yoke.

J. [aside] Loke how the pyld preest crammyth in;
That wold to God he myght therwith choke!

T. Now, Master Parson, pleasyth your goodnes
To tell us some tale of myrth or sadnes
For our pastyme, in way of communycacyon?

SJ. I am content to do it for our recreacyon;
And of iii myracles shall I you say.

J. What! must I chafe the wax all day,
And stond here, rostyng by the fyre?

SJ. Thou must do somwhat at thy wyves desyre.
I know a man whych weddyd had a wyfe,—
As fayre a woman as ever bare lyfe,—
And within a senyght after, ryght sone,
He went beyond se, and left her alone,
And tayred there about a vii yere.
And as he cam homeward he had a hevy chere,
For it was told hym that she was in heven.
But when that he comen home agayn was,
He found his wyfe and with her chyldren seven,
Whiche she had had in the mene space—
Yet had she not had so many by thre
Yf she had not had the help of me.
Is not this a myracle, yf ever were any,
That this good wyfe shuld have chyldren so many
Here in this town, whyle her husband shuld be
Beyond the se, in a farre countre?

J.Now, in good soth, this is a wonderous myracle!
[aside] But for your labour, I would that your tacle
Were in a skaldyng water well sod.

T. Peace, I say; thou lettest the worde of God.

SJ. An other myracle eke I shall you say,
Of a woman whiche that many a day
Had ben wedded, and in all that season
She had no chylde, nother doughter nor son.
Wherfore to Saynte Modwin she went on pilgrimage,
And offered there a lyve pyg, as is the usage
Of the wyves that in London dwell;
And through the vertue thereof, truly to tell,
Within a month after, ryght shortly,
She was delyvered of a chylde as moche as I.
How say you, is not this myracle wonderous?

J. Yes, in good soth, syr, it is marvelous.
But surely, after myn own opynyon,
That chylde was nother doughter nor son,
For certaynly, and I be not begylde,
She was delyvered of a knave chylde.

T. Peas, I say, for Goddes passyon!
Thou lettest Syr Jhans communication.

SJ. The thyrde myracle also is this:
I knewe another woman eke, y-wys,
Whiche was wedded and within v monthis after
She was delyvered of a fayre doughter,
As well formed in every membre and joynt,
And as perfyte in every poynt,
As though she had gone v monthis full to th' ende.
Lo! here is v monthis advantage.

J. A wonderous myracle, so God me mende!
I wolde eche wyfe that is bounde in maryage,
And that is wedded here within this place,
Myght have as quicke spede in every suche case.

T. Forsoth, Syr Jhan, yet for all that
I have sene the day that pus, my cat,
Hath had in a yere kytlyns eyghtene.

J. Ye, Tyb my wyfe, and that have I sene.
But how say you, Syr Jhan, was it good, your pye?
The dyvell the morsell that therof eate I.
But nowe I se well the olde proverbe is treu:
"The parysshe preest forgetteth that ever he was clarke!"
But, Syr Jhan, doth not remembre you
How I was your clerke, and holpe you masse to syng,
And hylde the basyn alway at the offryng?
Ye never had halfe so good a clarke as I!
But, notwithstandyng all this, nowe our pye
Is eaten up, there is not left a byt;
And you two together there do syt,
Eatynge and drynkynge at your owne desyre,
And I am Johan Johan, whiche must stande by the fyre
Chafyng the wax, and dare none other wyse do.

SJ. And shall we alway syt here styll, we two?
That were to mych.

T. Then ryse we out of this place.

SJ. And kys me than in the stede of grace.
And farewell, leman, and my love so dere.

J. Cokkis body, this waxe it waxte colde agayn here.
But what! shall I anone go to bed,
And eate nothyng, nother meate nor brede?
I have not be wont to have suche fare.

T. Why! were ye not served there as ye are,
Chafyng the waxe, standying by the fyre?

J. Why, what mete gave ye me, I you requyre?

SJ. Wast thou not served, I pray the hartely,
Both with the brede, the ale, and the pye?

J. No, syr, I had none of that fare.

T. Why! were ye not served there as ye are,
Standyng by the fyre chafyng the waxe?

J. [aside] Lo, here be many tryfyls and knakks —
By kokkis soule, they wene I am other dronke or mad!

T. And had ye no meate, Johan Johan? no had?

J. No, Tyb my wyfe, I had not a whyt.

T. What, not a morsel?

J. No, not one byt.
For honger, I trowe, I shall fall in a sowne.

SJ. O, that were pyte, I swere by my crowne.

T. But is it trewe?

J. Ye, for a surete.

T. Dost thou ly?

J. No, so mote I the!

T. Hast thou had nothing?

J. No, not a byt.

T. Hast thou not dronke?

J. No, not a whyt.

T. Where wast thou?

J. By the fyre I dyd stande.

T. What dydst?

J. I chafyd this waxe with my hande,
Where-as I knewe of wedded men the payne
That they have, and yet dare not complayne;
For the smoke put out my eyes two,
I burned my face, and rayde my clothes also,
Mendyng the payle, whyche is so rotten and olde
That it wyll not skant together holde.
And syth it is so, and syns that ye twayn
Wold gyve me no meate for my suffysaunce,
By kokkis soule, I wyll take no lenger payn!
Ye shall do all your-self, with a very vengaunce,
For me. And take thou there thy payle now,
And yf thou canst mend it, let me know how.

[Hurls pail to the floor]

T. A! horson knave! hast thou brok my payll?
Thou shalt repent, by kokis lylly nayll.
Rech me my dystaf, or my clyppyng-sherys!
I shall make the blood ronne about his erys.

[Johan takes up a shovel full of coals.]

J. Nay, stand styll, drab, I say, and come no nere;
For, by kokkis blood, yf thou come here,
Or yf thou onys styr toward this place,
I shall throw this shovyll full of colys in thy face.

T. Ye! horson dyvyll! get the out of my dore!

J. Nay! get thou out of my house, thou prestis hore!

SJ. Thou lyest, horson kokold, evyn to thy face!

J. And thou lyest, pyld preest, with an evyll grace!

T. And thou lyest!

J. And thou lyest!

SJ. And thou lyest agayn!

J. By kokkis soule, horson preest, thou shalt be slayn.
Thou has eate of our pye, and gyve me nought.
By kokkes blod, it shalbe full derely bought!

T. At hym, Syr Jhan, or els God gyve the sorow.

J. And have at you, hore and thefe,
Saynt George to borrow!

[Here they fyght by the erys a whyle, and then the preest and the wyfe go out of the place.]

J. A! syrs! I have payd some of them even as I lyst.
They have borne many a blow with my fyst.
I thank God, I have walkyd them well,
And dryven them hens. But yet, can ye tell
Whether they be go? For, by God, I fere me
That they be gon together, he and she,
Unto his chamber; and perhappys wyll,
Spyte of my hart, tary there styll;
And, peradventure, there he and she
Wyll make me cokold, evyn to anger me.
And then had I a pyg in the woyrs panyer!
Therfore, by God, I wyll hye me thyder
To se yf they do me any vylany.
And thus, fare well this noble company!

[Exit Johan Johan after his wife and the priest.]

FINIS



Impryntyd by Wyllyam Rastell the xii day of February of the yere of our Lord MCCCCC and XXXIII. Cum privilegio.


Return to the library
17356