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The World’s Wit and Humor: An Encyclopedia in 15 Volumes. 1906.

Nicholas Udall (1505–1556)


From “Ralph Royster Doyster”


Marg.If this distaff were spun, Margerie Mumblecrust—

Tib.Where good stale ale is, will drink no water, I trust.

Marg.Dame Custance hath promised us good ale and white bread.

Tib.If she keep not her promise I will beshrew her head; But it will be stark night before I shall have done.

Roys.I will stand here awhile and talk with them anon. I hear them speak of Custance, which does my heart good; To hear her name spoken doth even comfort my blood.

Marg.Sit down to your work, Tibet, like a good girl.

Tib.Nurse, meddle you with your spindle and your whirl.

No haste but good for whip and whirr,

The old proverb doth say, never made good fur.

Marg.Well, ye will sit down to your work anon, I trust.

Tib.Soft fire maketh sweet malt, good Madge Mumblecrust;

Marg.And sweet malt maketh jolly good ale for the nonce,

Tib.Which will slide down the lane without any bones.(Sings.)

“Old brown bread crusts must have much good mumbling,

But good ale down your throat has good, easy tumbling.”

Roys.The jolliest wench that e’er I heard, little mouse,

May I not rejoice that she shall dwell in my house?

Tib.So, sirrah, now this gear beginneth for to frame.

Marg.Thanks to God, though your work stand still, your tongue is not lame.

Tib.And though your teeth be gone both so sharp and fine,

Yet your tongue can run on patins as well as mine.

Marg.Ye were not for naught named Tibet Talkapace.

Tib.Does my talk grieve you, alack, God save your grace!

Marg.I hold a groat you will drink anon for this gear;

Tib.And I will not pray you the stripes for me to bear.

Marg.I hold a penny you will drink without a cup.

Tib.Wherein soe’er ye drink, I wot ye drink all up.

Annot.By cock, and well sewed, my good Tibet Talkapace.

Tib.And e’en as well knit, my own Annot Aylface.

Roys.See what a sort she keepeth that must be my wife!

Shall not I, when I have her, lead a merry life?

Tib.Welcome, my good wench, and sit here by me just.

Annot.And how doth our old beldame here, Madge Mumblecrust?

Tib.Chides, and finds fault, and threatens to complain;

Annot.To make us poor girls shent to her is small gain.

Marg.I did neither chide, nor complain, nor threaten.

Roys.It would grieve my heart to see one of them beaten.

Marg.I did nothing but bid her work and hold her peace.

Tib.So would I, if you could your clattering cease,

But the devil cannot make old trot hold her tongue.

Annot.Let all these matters pass, and we three sing a song.

So shall we pleasantly both the time beguile now,

And eke despatch all our work ere we can tell how.