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

Sir John Harington (1561–1612)

Of a Certain Man

THERE was (not certain when) a certain preacher

That never learned, and yet became a teacher,

Who, having read in Latin thus a text

Of erat quidam homo, much perplext,

He seemed the same with studie great to scan,

In English thus: There was a certain man.

But now (quoth he), good people, note you this:

He saith there was—he doth not say there is;

For in these days of ours it is most plain

Of promise, oath, word, deed, no man’s certain;

Yet by my text you see it comes to pass

That surely once a certain man there was;

But yet, I think, in all your Bible no man

Can find this text, There was a certain woman.