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But a spirit very civil,
This captain Cox, by St. Mary,
2 His library is given at great length, by the author of the "Letter.” It is curious and amusing. “And fyrst Captain Cox, an od man I promiz yoo: by profession a mason, and that right skilfull ; very cunning in fens, (fencing) and hardy as Gavin ; for his tonsword hangs at hiz tablz eend; great oversight hath he in matters of storie: For az for King Arthurz book, Huan of Burdiaus, the foour sons of Aymon, Bevys of Hampton, The Squyre of lo degree, The Knight of Courtesy, and the Lady Faguell, Frederik of Gene, Syr Eglamoour, Syr Tryamoour, Syr Lamwell, Syr Isenbras, Syr Gawyn, Olyver of the Castle, Lucres and Curialus, Virgil's Life, the Castle of Ladiez, the Wido Edyth, the King and the Tanner, Frier Rous, Howleglas, Gargantua, Robin Hood, Adam Bel, Clim of the Clough, and William of Cloudsley, the Churl and the Burd, the Seven Wise Masters, the Wife lapt in a Morels skin, the Sak full of Nues, the Seargeaunt that became a Fryar, Skogan, Collyn Clout, the Fryar and the Boy, Elynor Rumming, and the Nutbrooun Maid, with many moe than I rehearz here: I beleeve hee have them all at hiz fingers endz.
“Then in Philosophy, both morale and naturale, I think he be az naturally overseen: beside Poetrie and Astronomie, and oother hid Sciencez, as I may gesse by the omberzt of his books: whereof part, az I remember, The Shepherdz Kalender, The Ship of Foalz, Danielz Dreamz, the Booke of Fortune, Stans puer ad Mensam, The hy wey to the Spitl-house, Julian of Brainford's Testament, The Castle of Love, the Booget of Demaunds, the Hundred merry Tales, the Booke of Riddels, the Seaven Sororz of Wemen, the Prooud Wives Pater-Noster, the Chapman of a Peniworth of Wit: Beside his Auncient Playz, Yooth and Charitee, Hikskorner, Nugizee, Impacient Poverty, and herewith Doctor Boords Breviary of Health. What shoold I rehearz heer, what a Bunch of Ballets and Songs, all auncient; az Broom broom on Hil, So wo is me begon, truly lo, Over a Whinny Meg, Hey ding a ding, Bony lass upon a green, My bony on gave me a bek, By a
By which he was discerned
bank as I lay: and a hundred more he hath fair wrapt up in parchment, and bound with a whip-cord. And as for Almanaks of Antiquitee (a point for Ephemeridees), I ween he can sheaw from Jasper Last of Antwerp unto Nostradam of Frauns, and thens untoo oour John Securiz of Salsbury. To stay ye no longer heer in, I dare say he hath az fair a Library for theez sciencez, and as many goodly monuments both in prose and poetry, and at afternoonz can talk az much without book az ony inholder betwixt Brainford and Bagshot, what degree soever he be.”
The letter-writer evidently meant to raise a smile at the Captain's expense; but there is no occasion for it. The list shews him to have been a diligent and successful collector of the domestic literature of his country, and so far he is entitled to praise. Some of the fugitive pieces here mentioned are now lost; one of them however, the Hundred Merry Tales, which has long set the Shakspeare commentators by the ears, has partly been recovered within these few days, pasted into the binding of an old book. It is now in Mr. Bindley's possession, and proves to be a collection of jests, of no great novelty or value.
Hereafter it should never be said
Now, sir, in your approach,
These then that we present
Now, these owls, some say, were men,
3 Neither with dogs nor bears.] This alludes to the following passage in the Letter. “On the syxth day of her Majestyes cumming, a great sort of bandogs whear thear tyed in the utter cooart, and thyrteen bears in the inner," &c. See Massinger, vol. i. p. 44.
HEY, OWL FIRST ! 4
HEY, OWL SECOND !
* Hey, Owl first /] Here the captain probably produced, from beneath the foot-cloth of the hobby-horse, a block ridiculously dressed or painted to correspond with the description.
Whom since they have shipt away :
HEY, OWL THIRD !
6 God to pay.] A cant term for a hopeless debt, nothing. See Epig. xii.
6 A pure native bird,] i. e. a puritan of Coventry, whose zeal in putting down may-poles and hobby-horses had injured the manufactory of blue thread, (the chief staple of the town,) of which a great consumption was made in ornamenting napkins, scarfs, &c. “I have heard,” an old writer, W. Stafford, says, “ that the chief trade of Coventry, was heretofore in making blew thred, and then the towne was riche ever upon that trade in maner onely, and now our thredde comes all from beyond sea: wherefore that trade of Coventry is decaied, and thereby the towne likewise.” This appeared long before Owl the third was hatched; so that the wise town must have suffered from more causes than the loss of its rural sports. ? Where their maids and their makes,] i. e. mates. So Chaucer :
“ God shelde soche a lordes wife to take