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The reader will remark the fondness of our Satirift for alliteration : in this he was guilty of no affeétation or singularity; his versification is that of Pierce Plowman's Visions, in which a recurrence of similar letters is effential: to this he has only superadded rhyme, which in his time began to be the general practice. See farther remarks on this kind of metre in the preface to Book 111. BALLAD I.

IN

N december, when the dayes draw to be short,

After november, when the nights wax noyfome and As I paft by a place privily at a port,

[long; I saw one sit by himself making a song : His last * talk of trifles, who told with his tongue That few were fast i'th' faith. I'freyned t'that freake, Whether he wanted wit, or some had done him wrong. He said, he was little John Nobody, that durft not speake.

John Nobody, quoth I, what news ? thou soon note and
What maner men thou meane, that are so mad. [tell
He said, These gay gallants, that wil conftrue the gospel,
As Solomon the fage, with semblance full fad ;
To discusse divinity they nought adread ;
More meet it were for them to milk kye at a fleyke.
Thou lyeit, quoth I, thou losel, like a leud lad. [speake.

He said, he was little John Nobody, that durft not

Its meet for every man on this matter to talk,
And the glorious gospel ghostly to have in mind;
It is fothe said, that sect but much unseemiy skalk,
As boyes babble in books, that in scripture are blind :

Yet

Perhaps He left talk.

+ feyned. MSS. and P.C,

ANCIENT POEM S.

125

Yet to their fancy foon a caufe wil find;
As to live in luft, in lechery to leyke :
Such caitives count to be come of Cains kind;

But that I little John Nobody durft not speake.

For our reverend father hath set forth an order,
Our service to be said in our seignours tongue ;
As Solomon the sage set forth the scripture ;
Our fuffrages, and services, with many a sweet song,
With homilies, and godly books us among,
That no stiff, stubborn ftomacks we should freyke :
But wretches nere worse to do poor men wrong;

But that I little John Nobody dare not speake.

For bribery was never so great, since born was our Lord,
And whoredom was never les hated, fith Christ har-

rowed hel,
And poor'men are so fore punished commonly through

the world, That it would grieve any one, that good is; to hear tel 0 For al the homilies and good books, yet their hearts be

lo quel, That if a man do amiffe, with mischiefe they wil him

wreake ; The fashion of these new fellows it is so vile and fell :

But that I little John Nobody dare not speake.

Thus to live after their luft, that life would they have,
And in lechery to leyke al their long life ;

For Ver. 3. Cain's kind.] So in Pierce the Plowman's creed, tbe proud friars are said to be

« Of Capmes kind.” Vid. Sig. Cij. be

For al the preaching of Paul, yet many a proud knave
Wilmove mischiefe in their mind both to maid and wife
To bring them in advoutry, or else they wil strife,
And in brawling about baudery, Gods commandments

breake :
But of these frantic il fellowes, few of them do thrife;

Though I little John Nobody dare not speake.

If thou company with them, they wil currishly carp,

and not care According to their foolish fantacy; but fast wil they

naught: Prayer with them is but prating; therefore they it forbear: Both almes deeds, and holiness, they hate it in their

thought : Therefore pray we to that prince, that with his bloud

us bought, That he wil mend that is amiss: for many a manfulfreyke Is sorry for these fects, though they say little or nought;

And that I little John Nobody dare not once speake.

Thus in no place, this NOBODY, in no time I met,
Where no man, 'ne NOUGHT was, nor NOTHING did

appear;
Through the found of a fynagogue for forrow I swett,
That ‘Aeolus f' through the eccho did cause me to hear.
Then I drew me down into a dale, whereas the dumb deer
Did shiver for a shower; but I Munted from a freyke:
For I would no wight in this world wist who I were,

But little John Nobody, that dare not once fpeake.

IV. Q:

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