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TA. Then know I a lighter meat than that.

HU. I pray thee, tell me what?

TA. If ye will needs know at short and long, It is even a woman’s tongue, For that is ever stirring![16]

HU. Sir, I pray thee, let such fantasies be, And come hither near, and hark to me, And do after my bidding.

Go, purvey us a dinner even of the most Of all manner of dishes both sod and roast, That thou canst get: spare for no cost, If thou make three course.

TA. Then ye get neither goose nor swan, But a dish of dregs, a dish of bran, A dish of draff, and I trow then Ye cannot get three worse!

HU. What, wh.o.r.eson! wouldst thou purvey Bran, draff, and stinking dregs, I say; I hold thee mad, I trow.

TA. Gog’s pa.s.sion! said ye not thus, That I should purvey you three coa.r.s.e dishes, And these be coa.r.s.e enou’!

HU. Three coa.r.s.e dishes, quotha?

What, mad fool! thou mistakest me clean!

I see well thou wott’st not what I mean, And understandest amiss; I mean this wise, I would have thee To purvey meat so great plenty, That thou shouldst of necessity Serve them at three courses.

That is to understand, at one word, Thou shouldst bring them unto the board At three several times.

TA. What then, I see well ye will make a feast.

HU. Yea, by the rood! even with the greatest.

SEN. By my troth, then do your best Even after my mind; But ye must have more company.

HU. That is true, and so would I gladly, If I knew any to find.

SEN. Why, will ye follow my counsel?

HU. Yea.

SEN. Then we will have little Nell, A proper wench, she danceth well, And Jane with the black lace; We will have bouncing Bess also, And two or three proper wenches mo.

Right fair and smoother of face.

HU. Now be it so! thou art _sans_ peer.

TA. Then I perceive ye will make good cheer.

HU. Why, what should I else do?

TA. If ye think so best, then will I Go before, and make all things ready Again ye come thereto.

HU. Marry, I pray thee, do so.

TA. Then, farewell, sirs; for I am gone.

HU. And we shall follow thee anon Without any tarrying.

SEN. Then it is best, sir, ye make haste, For ye shall spend here but time in waste, And do no nother thing.

HU. If ye will, let us go by and by.

SEN. I pray you be it, for I am ready, No man better willing.

_Exeat Sen. et Hu. Intrat Experiens et Stu_.

Now, cousin Experience, as I may say, Ye are right welcome to this country Without any feigning.

EX. Sir, I thank you thereof heartily, And I am as glad of your company As any man living.

STU. Sir, I understand that ye have been In many a strange country, And have had great facility Strange causes to seek and find.

EX. Right far, sir, I have ridden and gone, And seen strange things many one, In Africa, Europe, and India; Both east and west I have been far, North also, and seen the south star Both by sea and land, And been in sundry nations, With people of divers conditions, Marvellous to understand.

STU. Sir, if a man have such courage, Or devotion in pilgrimage, Jerusalem unto For to account the next way, How many miles is it, I you pray, From hence thither to go?

EX. Sir, as for all such questions, Of towns to know the situation, How far they be asunder, And other points of cosmography, Ye shall never learn them more surely Than by that figure yonder; For who that figure did first devise, It seemeth well he was wise, And perfect in this science; For both the sea and land also Lie true and just as they should do, I know by experience.

STU. Who, think you, brought here this figure?

EX. I wot not.

STU. Certes, Lord Nature, Himself not long agone, Which was here personally Declaring high philosophy, And laft this figure purposely For Humanity’s instruction.

EX. Doubtless, right n.o.bly done.

STU. Sir, this realm you know is called England, Sometimes Britain, I understand; Therefore, I pray you, point with your hand In what place it should lie.

EX. Sir, this is England lying here, And that is Scotland that joineth him near, Compa.s.sed about everywhere With the ocean sea around; And next from them westwardly, Here by himself alone, doth lie Ireland, that wholesome ground.

Here then is the narrow sea, To Calais and Boulogne the next way, And Flanders in this part; Here lieth France next him joining, And Spain southward from them standing, And Portugal in this quarter.

This country is called Italy, Behold where Rome in the midst doth lie, And Naples here beyond; And this little sea that here is Is called the Gulf of Venice, And here Venice doth stand.

As for Almaine lieth this way; Here lieth Denmark and Norway; And northward on this side There lieth Iceland where men doth fish, But beyond that so cold it is, No man may there abide.

This sea is called the Great Ocean, So great it is that never man Could tell it, since the world began, Till now, within this twenty years, Westward be found new lands, That we never heard tell of before this By writing nor other means, Yet many now have been there; And that country is so large of room, Much lenger than all Christendom, Without fable or guile; For divers mariners had it tried, And sailed straight by the coast side Above five thousand mile!

But what commodities be within, No man can tell nor well imagine; But yet not long ago Some men of this country went, By the king’s n.o.ble consent, It for to search to that intent, And could not be brought thereto; But they that were th’ adventurers[17]

Have cause to curse their mariners, False of promise and dissemblers, That falsely them betrayed, Which would take no pains to sail farther Than their own list and pleasure; Wherefore that voyage and divers other Such caitiffs have destroyed.

Oh, what a thing had be then, If that they that be Englishmen Might have been the first of all That there should have take possession, And made first building and habitation, A memory perpetual!

And also what an honourable thing, Both to the realm and to the king, To have had his dominion extending There into so far a ground, Which the n.o.ble king of late memory, The most wise prince the seventh Herry, Caused first for to be found.

And what a great meritorious deed It were to have the people instructed To live more virtuously, And to learn to know of men the manner, And also to know G.o.d their Maker, Which as yet live all beastly; For they nother know G.o.d nor the devil, Nor never heard tell of heaven nor h.e.l.l, Writing nor other scripture; But yet, in the stead of G.o.d Almighty, They honour the sun for his great light, For that doth them great pleasure; Building nor house they have none at all, But woods, cots, and caves small, No marvel though it be so, For they use no manner of iron, Neither in tool nor other weapon, That should help them thereto: Copper they have, which is found In divers places above the ground, Yet they dig not therefore; For, as I said, they have none iron, Whereby they should in the earth mine, To search for any wore: Great abundance of woods there be, Most part fir and pine-apple tree, Great riches might come thereby, Both pitch and tar, and soap ashes, As they make in the east lands, By brenning thereof only.

Fish they have so great plenty, That in havens take and slain they be With staves, withouten fail.

Now Frenchmen and other have found the trade, That yearly of fish there they lade Above a hundred sail; But in the south part of that country The people there go naked alway, The land is of so great heat: And in the north part all the clothes That they wear is but beasts’ skins, They have no nother fete; But how the people first began In that country, or whence they came, For clerks it is a question.

Other things mo I have in store, That I could tell thereof, but now no more Till another season.

STU. Then at your pleasure show some other thing; It liketh me so well your communing, Ye cannot talk amiss.

EX. Then will I turn again to my matter Of cosmography, where I was ere: Behold, take heed to this; Lo, eastward, beyond the great ocean, Here entereth the sea called Mediterranean, Of two thousand miles of length: The Soldan’s country lieth hereby, The great Turk on the north side doth lie, A man of marvellous strength.

This said north part is called Europa, And this south part called Africa, This east part is called India; But this new lands found lately Been called America, because only Americus did first them find.

Lo, Jerusalem lieth in this country, And this beyond is the Red Sea, That Moses maketh of mention; This quarter is India Minor, And this quarter India Major, The land of Prester John: But northward this way, as ye see, Many other strange regions there be, And people that we not know.

But eastward on the sea side A prince there is that ruleth wide, Called the Can of Catowe.

And this is called the great east sea, Which goeth all along this way Towards the new lands again; But whether that sea go thither directly, Or if any wilderness between them do lie, No man knoweth for certain: But these new lands, by all cosmography, From the Can of Catowe’s land cannot lie Little past a thousand miles: But from those new lands men may sail plain Eastward, and come to England again, Where we began erewhile.

Lo, all this part of the earth, which I Have here descrived openly, The north part we do it call; But the south part on the other side Is as large as this full, and as wide, Which we know nothing at all, Nor whether the most part be land or sea, Nor whether the people that there be Be b.e.s.t.i.a.l or cunning; Nor whether they know G.o.d or no, Nor how they believe, nor what they do, Of this we know nothing.

Lo, is not this a thing wonderful?

How that– [_Et subito Studious Desire dicat_.

STU. Peace, sir, no more of this matter!

Behold where Humanity cometh here.

SEN. How say you, Master Humanity?

I pray you have ye not be merry, And had good recreation?

HU. Yes, I thank thee thereof every deal, For we have fared marvellously well, And had good communication.

TA. What, how, master! where be ye now?

SEN. What! I shrew thee! what haste hast thou, That thou speakest so high?

TA. So high, quotha? I trow ye be mad, by St Gile!

For did ye not erewhile Make pointment openly.

To come again all to supper, There as ye were to-day at dinner?

And yet ye pointed not plain, What meat that ye will have dressed, Nor what delicacies ye love best.

Methink you far oversayne.

HU. As for mine own part I care not; Dress what meat thou lovest, spare not Whatsoever thou dost best think.

TA. Now, if ye put it to my liberty, Of all meats in the world that be, By this light, I love best drink.[18]

SEN. It seemeth by thy face so to do, But my master will have meat also, Whatsoever it cost.

TA. By G.o.d, sir, then ye must tell what.

HU. At thy discretion: I force not, Whether it be sodden or roast.

TA. Well, sir, then care not! let me alone; Ye shall see that all things shall be done, And ordained well and fine.

HU. So I require thee heartily, And in any wise specially, Let us have a cup of new wine.

TA. Ye shall have wine as new as can be, For I may tell you in privity, It was brewed but yesternight.

HU. But that is nothing for my delight.

TA. But then I have for your appet.i.te A cup of wine of old claret; There is no better, by this light!

HU. Well, I trust thee well enou’.

TA. But one thing, if it please you now– Ye see well I take much pain for you, I trust ye will see to me.

HU. Yea, I promise thee, get thee hence, And in this matter do thy diligence, And I shall well reward thee.

SEN. Because thou lookest for a reward, One thing for thee I have prepared, That here I shall thee give.

Thou shalt have a knave’s skin, For to put thy body therein, For term of thy life!

TA. Now, gramercy, my gentle brother; And therefore thou shalt have another, For voiding of strife.

SEN. Now, farewell, gentle John!

TA. Then farewell, fool, for I am gone!

SEN. Abide, turn once again! hark what I say!

Yet there is another thing Would do well at our master’s washing.

HU. What thing is that, I thee pray?

SEN. Marry thus, canst thou tell us yet, Where is any rose water to get?


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