CERTAINE Characters and Essayes of Prison and Prisoners. COMPILED BY NOVVS HOMO A PRISONER in the Kings Bench.

Experientia est optimus magister.

LONDON Printed by William Iones, dwelling in Red-crosse streete. 1618.

TO HIS MOST KIND AND EVER RESPECTIVE Kind Vnckle, M. Mathew Mainwaring of Namptwitch in Chesshire.

SInce my coming into Prison, what with the strangnes of the place, and strictnesse of my Li­berty, I am so transpor­ted that I could not follow that stu­dy wherein I tooke great delight and cheife pleasure, and to spend my time Idly would but add more discontent­ments to my troubled breast, & bring in this chaos of discontentments, fan­tasies must arise, which wil bring forth the fruites of an Idle brayne, for è Malis minimum. It is far better to giue some account of time though to little purpose then none at all. To which end I gathered a handfull of Essayes, & few Characters of such things as by my owne experience, I could say Pro­batum est: not that thereby I should either please the reader, or shew ex­quisitnes of inuētion, or curious style. Seing what I write of, is but the child of sorrow, bred by discontentments [Page] and nourisht vp with misfortunes, to whose help melancholly Saturne gaue his Iudgement. The night Bird hir in­uention, and the ominous Rauen brought a quill taken from his owne wing, dipt in the Inke of misery as cheife ayders in this great Architect of so row.

This child is borne and brought to the Font all things ready, onely there wants a patron. Hoc difficillimum est. For who will defend sorrow, and mi­sery, who wil giue him entertainment, who will countenance this worke the Author being miserable, who will re­spect the matter, the man being an ab­iect, who wil cherish the circumstance when the substāce is almost perished? Surely non in his diebus, for friendship is banished, loue extinguished, natural affection gone to trauel, gould is dea­rer then a friend, treasure is nearer thē a kinsman, and mammon better belo­ued then a sonne. Yet in this famine of true friends I will venter vpon you (most louing Vnckle) as a god-father to this my first borne though in mise­ry. I can haue but a denyall which if you doe it must dye in obliuion. But [Page] why should I feare since you haue al­waies bin my anchor when I haue bin Ship-wrackt, and many times saued my poore Barque when it was ready to split. Why thē shold I doubt of your friendly patronage which haue neuer fayled me? Be bould then, and goe thy way, thou shalt be entertained though not for any worth which is in thee, yet in respect thou dost but shew a willing heart, and dost endeauour to expell ingratitude a thing most odious not onely to man but God, not to Christi­ans but Heathens, not to Heathens but Beasts.

What then should I giue to you for all your kindnesses which you haue continually bestowed vpon me which are so many that if I should endeauour to recite (Ante diem clauso componet vesper olympo) but to shew my willing­nes to my power though I am not able to requite (for, vltra posse non est esse) doe offer vp vnto the Oracle of your loue the sacrifice of a louing heart, ho­ping that what is amisse you will im­pute it to the slendernes of my iudge­ment, and the dulnes of my brayne which this place hath made worse (and [Page] not to the lest defect of goodwill.) & that you would let none but your selfe see my imperfections, which are sufici­ently divulged by my owne actions, & would be vnwilling to haue a second edition of them by my writing this was the chiefest cause I tooke. This in hand; another was because that happily some friend of mine (post mea funera) by accident may find this paper, & read them & by my example say. Foelix sum quem pericula huius authoris faciunt me cautum, for qui non ante cauet post dolebit, & that they may be afraide to enter into debt any further then neces­sity vrgeth, & if they be forced to bor­row to pay as soone as the can (for vsury & extortion bite deepe) and credit once crackt is not easily recouered nor all creditors of on mind, for some will in pitty forbeare and others will shew the greatest seuerity.

So hoping you will accept non donum sed animum▪ I rest
Your euer-louing nephew Yarffeg Lluhsnym.

TO THE COVRTE­ous Reader.

Courteous Reader only to banish melācholy and to wade through tedious time, tedious in respect of this place, I gathered a few essayes & characters, with an intent not to haue thē seen of any, but to him to whom they were sent, being on that I might trulie ground a certainty of, who would excuse my imperfections, and iudge charitably of my slendernes of iudgmēt, this coppy by ac­cident came to some of my friends hands, who hauing perused it wished mee to put it in print, which I altogether refused, because I would not presume of my owne iudgment, or dare to venter to put my selfe to the censure of so many vnderstanding readers into whose hands it is subiect to fall, these perswasions preuailed not, intreaties were laid aside, and I must ei­ther divulge them, or else loose their loue this was the first motiue that with an vn­willing willingnes caused me to put my booke to censure. Another was in respect some obdurate creditors may reade it, & by reading mollifie their strong harts. The [Page] last reason because it may be as a caueat to young gallants, to terrifie them how they run in debt, wherein they may know that imprisonment is of all miseries most lamentable.

So hoping that the iudicious will with laudable censure mittigate my many im­perfections, and the other iudge fauorably of my intention, which if it take well is better then I can expect, if otherwise they do not iniury mee, giuing desert his reward.

Essays of a Prison.

TO what end or purpose should I intreat halfe of the Muses for the ayd of inuention, or Cicero to adorne my phrase with e­loquence, or Floras deepe iudgment to write iudicially, or implore ayde of Martiall to speake mistically, or Vir­gills heroicke stile to please the hearers, since what I write is nothing but of sorrow, the subiect but discontentmēt, and the whole matter but an Index of many miseryes, & therefore my phrase shalbe altogether vnpollished, being the seruant of my more dull apprehen­sion.

Vade, sed incultus, qualem decet exu­lis esse,
Infoelix habitum temporis huius ha­be.

My purpose is with dim water coulors to lime me out a heart, yea such a heart so discontēted & oppressed, that I need not to be curious in fitting euery cou­lor to his place, or to chuse the pleasan­test chamber to draw it in, because in [Page] it I am to lay downe the bounds of those tempestuous seas in which ten thousands are euery day tossed, if not ouerwhelmed, which is so vsuall here amongst vs that euery one is arts mai­ster in this workmanship, & euery mi­nute some thing or other is still added to this distressed Picture, whose ponde­rous waight is so great that the frame is scarce able to beare the effigies.

My trauells hither to this infernall Iland was but a short voyage, and my abode here as yet but few months, but it was longer to me then an East Indi­an voyage, and I am sure farre more dangerous for if from the Indyes of sixty men twenty come home safe it is well, but in this if eighty of a hun­dred be not cast-ouer board it is a won­der

Being once arriued,Loci in­commodi­tas. no starre of com­fort heere can be seene to sayle by, no hauen of happynesse neere, no anchor of hope to cast out, Top-sayle, Fore­sayle, Spritsayle, Mizen, Mayne, Sheate, Bollings and Drablers are all torne by the windes, and the Barque it selfe so weather-beaten, that there is few can [Page] come neere to touch at the Cap of Bo­na Speranza.

Being once arriued at, all are not one­ly stayd, but the in chauntments are so strōg that it transformeth all that come thither. First the greatest courages are here wracked, the fairest reuenewes doe here cōe aground, it maketh a wise mā to loose his witts, a foole to know himselfe, it turnes a rich man into a begger, and leaues a poore man despe­rate, he whom neither Snowes nor Alpes can vanquish, but hath a heart as constant as Haniball, him can the miseryes of a Prison ouercome.

The Character of a Prison.

A Prison is a graue to bury men a­liue, and a place wherein a man for halfe a yeares imprisonment may learne more lawe, then he can at West­minster for a hundred pound.

It is a Microcosmos, a little world of woe, it is a mappe of misery, it is a place that will learne a young man more villany if he be apt to take it in one halfe yeare, thē he can learne at twen­ty dycing howses, Bowling allyes, [Page] Brothelhouses, or Ordinaryes, and an old man more pollicie, then if he had bin Pupil to Machiauill.

It is a place that hath more diseases perdomināt in it, then the pest-house in the plague tyme, and it stinckes more then the Lord Mayors dogge-house or paris-garden in August.

It is a little common wealth, al­though little wealth be commō there, it is a desart where desert lyes hood­winckt it is a famous Citty wherein are all trades, for here lyes the Alchy­mist that can rather make ex auro non aurum, then ex non auro aurum.

It is as intricate a place as Rosa­munds Labyrinth, and is as full of blind Meanders; and crooked tur­nings that it is vnpossible to find the way out except he be directed by a siluer clue, and can neuer ouercome Minotaure without a goulden ball to worke his owne safety.

It is as Innes of Court, for heerin Lawyers inhabit, that haue crochets to free other men yet all their quirks & quiddities cannot infranchise them.

[Page] It is the Doctors Commons where skilfull Physitians frequent, who like Aesculapius can cure other mens disea­ses, yet cannot Quintessence out of all their Vegetalls and Mineralls a Bal­samum, or Elixir to make a soueraigne plaister to heale the surfet the mace hath giuen them.

It is the Chyrurgions hall where many rare artists liue, that can search other mens wounds yet cannot heale the wound the Searieant hath giuen them.

It is your Bankrupts banqueting house, where he sits feasting with the sweete meates borrowed from other mens tables, hauing a voluntary dis­position neuer to repay them againe.

It is your Prodigalls (vltimum refugi­um) wherein he may see himselfe as in a glasse what his excesse hath brought him to, and least that he should surfet, comes hither to Phisicke himselfe with moderate dyet, and least that his bed of downe should breed too many dis­eases, comes hither to chang his bed where he is scarse able to lye downe.

It is a Purgatory which doth afflict a man with more miseries then euer [Page] he reaped pleasures.

It is a pilgrimage to extenuate sin [...] and absolue offences: for heere be Se­minaries and Masse—Priests which doe take downe the pride of their flesh more, then a voyage to the holy Land or a hayre shirt in Lent.

It is an exile which doth banish a man from all contentments, wherein his accounts doe so terrify him, that it makes a man grow desperate.

To conclude what is it not? in a word it is the very Idea of all misery and torments, it conuerts ioy into sor­row, riches into pouerty, ease into dis­contentments, and further,

Of all the ill that may be thought,
Imagind or be writ:
In prison here a man shall find,
Which will his owne heart split.

Of Prisoners.

I Could wish that every one that comes to prison should not be dis­mayed, but cary it out brauely & with resolution, & to consider that no mi­sery in this world is endlesse. After [Page] stormes calms wil arise, & though sor­row be over night yet ioy will come in the morning, & to say as Caesar did to the Pilott that carried him when he was afraid, (quoth he) thou cariest Cae­sar: So every generous minde ought to be arm'd with resolution to meete all stormes of adversitie,Omnis homo Mi­ser. and to consi­der that man was borne to misery, and therefore naturall to him.

But thou wilt peradventure say the name of a Prisoner is loathsome to thee, is it because thou art cooped vn­der locke and key? Is it because thou feelest wants? Is it because thou art barred of freedome? Is it because thy freinds looke strangely on thee or for­sake thee? Is it because thou art dis­graced and holden in scorne? Is it be­cause thou lodgest hardly and perad­venture with an ill bed-fellow: Yet let not all these dismay thee, for hadst thou the whole Countrey to walke in, yet thy soule is still imprisoned in thy corrupted body. Let not want discourage thee, for thy redeemer suffe­red hunger & cold to fulfil thy wants. Let not want of freedome trouble [Page] thee, thy Sauiour was fettered and ma­nackled to infranchise thee. Let not the coy lookes of thy freinds dismay thee, thy Lord was scorned of all men to bring thee into favour. Let not dis­graces molest thee, the King of Kings was most disgraced to honour thee, let not thy lodging or forced cham­ber fellowes afflict thee, the Pilot of thy safety was lodged in a manger and made a companion for theeues. But looke into thy owne bosome & learne but a short rule yet very difficult viz: (Nosce te ipsum) and thou shalt find it is not imprisonment that afflicts thee,nosee tuip­sum. but the evill which is in thy selfe, makes thee so distastfull, for hadst thou all things at will, yet still thou wouldst wish for more. The greatest Monarch liues not without some dis­contentment,Nemo vi­nit conten­tus. and comfort thy selfe that one day thou shalt be infranchi­sed and goe to that place and mansi­on house which is prepared for thee, where all scores shall be payd, all cares banished, and all teares wiped away.

Varlets and Catch-poles arrest thee, fret not at it, if law haue power [Page] to whet an axe, she must pick out a hang-man to strike the mace, this doeth but onely put thee in remem­brance of that arrest which shal Sum­mon thee to appeare at the Imperiall Court of heauen.

Thy accounts are many and great which are against thee,Redde ra­tionem. yea some of you come to a tormenting execution, greeue not at this, it doth but teach thee that thy accounts must be brought against thee, to draw thee to a reckoning to make thee to knowe that thou owest a reckoning to hea­uen as well as man, and Iustice will execute her power not to driue thee to despaire, but to a mendment.

Further I perswade my selfe their are many prisoners whose resolution are so noble, and resolute that before they would yeeld to the threats of an insulting creditour, they would chere­fully thrust their nekes into the yoake of aduerfity, if no more veines herein were cut but their owne, but here is none so poore which dyes in prison but the last gap doth cracke the heart­strings of a wife,Parentes et Liberi sunt chari. children, father, mo­ther, friends or allies, therefore art [Page] thou bound to take pitty of thy selfe, and to hang out the flag of truce to thy bloudy-minded Creditor, and seeke or ransome to pay all so that thou maist escape with life, though it be vpon some ignoble tearmes, and much losse to thee, if none of these re­spects, yet for thy Countries sake, to whom thou art a Traytor if thou giue thy selfe to thine enimies hand when vpon parley thy peace may be made. Come forth of Prison, and dye not there, that thou maiest honour thy King, and do seruice to thy countrey, and pay thy dets so farre as thou art a­ble, decause the greatest debt that euer thou didst owe was paid for thee.

Prisoners of another nature.

SOme there be which haue gotten other mens goods and soe lye here to defraud them, these of all men deserue no pitty, or compassion, which tie their owne hands, and make them­selues gally slaues onely to weare gol­den setters, how canst thou say thy prayers, and expect a blessing should be poured on thee, that so willingly errest from the type of a iust mā which [Page] is (Suum cuique attribuere) I will not speake much of thee,Fac alijs fi­eri quod velis ipse tibi. because it must be all gall. In a word the gallowes on which the poore theefe hangeth is most fit for thee, he robbeth one man, thou whole families, he is a felon to man onely, thou art a felon to God and man, if he kill, he doth it sodainly and but one, when thou with a ling­ring [...]eath destroyest father, mother, children, and peraduenture many Or­phants left to their charge.Diuiti [...] fa­ciunt ho­mines po­tentiores non. meli ores. But looke to it that although thou compound for two shillings or three shillings in the pound, the ouerplus which thou so ill hast got will bring thy soule into such debt that the remainder will not pay the interest to saue the forfaiture of thy soule to the Diuell, which will damne thee and thy angells, with him and his angells, and thy issue or allies which shall inioy them shall neuer prosper with them.

The Character of a Prisoner.

A Prisoner is an impatient patient lingrin [...] vnder the rough hands of a cruell physition,Bona male parta, male di [...]a­buntur. his creditour ha­uing cast his water knowes his disease, [Page] and hath power to cure him, but takes more pleasure to kill him. He is like Tantalus, who hath freedome running by his dore, yet cannot enioy the least benefit thereof, his greatest griefe is that his credit was so good, and now no better his land is drawne within the compasse of a sheepes skin and his owne hand the fortification that bars him of entrance, he is for­tunes tossing-ball, an obiect that would make mirth melancholly, to his friends an abiect, and a subiect of nine dayes wonder in euery Barbers shoppe, and a mouth-full of pitty (that he had no better fortune) to Midwiues, and talkeatiue gossips, and all the con­tent that this transitory life can giue him seemes but to flout him, in res­pect the restraint of liberty barres the true vse. To his familiars he is like a plague, whom they dare scarse come nigh for feare of infection, he is a mo­nument ruined by those which raised him, he speads the day with a hei mihi, vae miserum, & the night with a Nulla dolor estmedicabilis herbâ: & to conclud

A Prisoner is a woefull man,
Opprest with griefe of mind.
[Page] And tell his miseries, no man can:
Which he is sure to finde.

Of Creditors.

A Creditor hath two payre of hands on of flesh and blood, & that na­ture gaue him; another of Iron & that the law giues him: but the one is more predominant then the other, for mer­cy guids the one, & māmon the other. But if he once consider what he goeth about to doe, and that it is the image of God whō he goeth about to deface and oppresse with miseries,Deus fecit hominem secundum imaginem suam. & calami­ties then the softnes of the one doth so operate, that it meets with the hardnes of the other, which neuer cōes to passe but when grace & mercy kiles Law & Iustice, but such dayes are sel­dome set downe in our Calenders, neither will it serue this Iland, but per­swade my selfe that for a strange meri­dian is that Almanack calculated in which they are found.

I by mine owne experience (though little, yet too much to learne it heere) haue knowne of my owne knowledg a hundred creditors which haue laid their debtors in irons as relentles as [Page] themselues, and of those hundred, if I should add a hundred more, I thinke I should nominate but one onely, and only on of a mercifull breast, who did not onely greiue to see his debtor op­prest with misery, but also layd money out of his purse to free him, he shot a second arrow to finde the first and sup­pose he shot both away, doe you thinke his quiuer was the emptier? No, he scattered a handfull of corne & rea­ped a bushell, he receiued treble inte­rest, he gained by this new securitie, & such as would not faile him at the day; God became his debtor, and paid him more then his accompt came to.

Thou that art a Creditor wilt not beleeue this:Ironia. doe not. But in stead of this mans weeping make thy deb­tor melt into teares, and in stead of his lamentation reioyce hee is in thy hands to vse him cruelly, and flatter thy selfe in saying thou hast no reason to loose so much by him, and I will haue his body, or in perswading thy selfe that his friends will not let him lye for such a debt, and that thou wilt not forgiue him, but nolens volens will be satisfied, or else he shall starue and [Page] rot:Homo ho­mini lupus. o thou wicked man, thou neuer dost consider what teares thy Sauiour shed to free thee, and when thou wast giuen vp to the prison of hell by the hands of thy cruell creditour the Divel to be cruelly tormented, yet Christ paid all thy scoares with his pretious bloud, and how canst thou lye downe on thy pillow to pray to God to for­giue thee a million of debts, nay they run into infinitum, which will not for­giue thy brother one debt. And when all thy friends would not redeeme thee thy Sauiour freed thee, how canst thou doe these things with a safe cōscience? Post thou not sleepe on the pillow of thy owne damnatiō, thy prayers turne into cursings, and thou dost but mock him that thou prayest vnto.

Consider what a great scoare thou art to pay, what an accompt thou art to make, and how thou shalt not escape if thou vse such cruelty till thou hast paide the vtmost farthing, thou that art a cruell murtherer whom the reuenge and wronges of a wife, children, pa­rents, and orphants will like the bloud of Abell call to heauen for vengeance on thee and thy posterity: doe but [Page] consider of this, and then thou wilt be affaid to torment thy brother. But i­mitate the Romaines who builded a temple for the reliefe of those which were fallen into decay & pouerty, then find a prison to starue them in, and fol­low Titus Vespacian who hauing omit­ted but one day to doe Iustice caused that day to be put forth of the calen­der. So that day when thou shalt haue but a thought of tormēting thy poore brother▪ doe but looke into thy owne consience and it will make thee repent that euer thou hast liued such a day wherein thou hast plaid the tyrant in thy heart. The rockes haue yeelded reliefe to men opprest, but you more harder then they, are the cause of their misery. Be thou as great a tyrant o­uer thy poore debtor as Nero was, as cruell as Phalaris, as inhumane as Ly­caon, & in the end thou doest with thes get a staffe to breake thy owne head, and lay a snare which thou thy selfe shalt fall into, which though thy owne person escape, yet thy posterity shalbe sure to feele the punishment.

Thou that vauntest, and wilt make dice of thy debters bones, be these the [Page] words of a man? no, of a monster? no, but a diuell, nay worse then a diuill, a thing not worthy name, for these words thou art as infamous, as the Iewes hatefull for casting of dice for the Lords garments, that garment was but a senceles thing but thou casts dice for a peece of thy redee­mers body.

Thou takest with one clap of a Var­lets hand, from the Courtier his ho­nour, from the Lawyer his tongue, from the Merchant the seas, from the Cittizen his credit, from the Scholler his preferment, from the husband man the earth it selfe (and from all men as much as thou maist) the brightnes and warmth of the sunne of heauen, in a word if nothing will make thy stony heart relent, thou in being cru­ell to thy debtor, art worse then the hang man, hee before hee strikes begs pardon, thou takest a pride to con­demne where thou maist saue.

But it may bee thy estate is sicke, thy credit much ingaged, and to saue thy selfe thou art forced to doe this. In so doing thou dost well, if another weare thy coate and thou goest colde [Page] thou maist pluck it from his shoulders. If thou art hungry and another keep­eth thy meate, thou maist take it off his table; if he be able to cure thy wound, which for his sake thou hast made, thou hast reason to seeke thy remedy, but if he which hath borrowed thy coate, hath worne it out, and hath not a ragge to couer him with, wilt thou trample vpon his naked body? If with the Iew of Malta in stead of coyne thou requirest a pound of flesh next to thy debtors heart, wilt thou cut him in peeces? If thy debtor offer thee his bed he lyes in, his chamber hee sleepes in, his dish hee drinkes in, nay all that he hath, so that he leaues himselfe, wife and children as naked as they came in­to the world, wilt thou for all this suf­fer him to lye in prison? If thou be mercifull to thy debtor that cannot pay thee, alas what is it? No more then if thou shouldst lift vp the head of a sick man vpon his pillow to ease him, he may recouer and doe as much for thee; in prison pouerty is made beg­gery, and so thereby thou dost not one­ly vndoe thy debtor, but loose all, therefore bee mercifull and pittifull, [Page] and thou shalt not loose thy rewarde.

Lycurgus being askt why he made no law for parracides,Particides. he answered be­cause he thought there were none so vnnaturall: so if I should haue studi­ed all the dayes of my life, and that my yeares should be doubled, I should neuer haue Imagined either to haue inuented, or to haue bin an eye-wit­nesse of such vnnaturallnes as is heere exemplary, as the sonne who being bound for his father, to free himselfe hath layd his father vp in close prison, and heere hath detayned him seauen yeares neuer yeelding to any compo­sition, but his poore father liues at his mercilesse mercie, and againe the fa­ther suffers his sonne to be impriso­ned for his owne debt at his owne suit, surely a thing so abhorde, that I tremble to write it, and none can reade it without blushing. What will this world come to, when the Mam­mon of this world shall set father a­gainst sonne, sonne against father, and make them more mercilesse then Ty­gers, and more vnnaturall then beasts: for a beast forsakes not his owne, but man respecteth gold before his friend, [Page] & the father, coyne before the sonne of his body, flesh of his flesh. And the sonne the God of this world be­fore his father, which gaue him life, and beeing whom he ought to che­rish, and vndergoe all troubles to ease him. But looke to it, both fa­thers and children, least in a moment the iust iudgment of God fall vppon you, and damne them and your gold together, louing it better then those whom you ought to cherish, and the one to be but a thing of the basest esteeme in respect of the other.Ex paucis dictis plu­rima in [...]en­dere potes. I could exemplifie it with historyes as well forraine as domestique but that it is not my purpose, for Ex paucis pluri­ma concipit ingenium.

The Character of a Creditor.

A Creditor is a man whose estate is wrapped vp in sheepe-skins, his rising growes by his debtors fall, his credit relyes vpon his debtors per­formance, and the death of a young gallants father is more pleasing to him thē fasting dayes to a Vsurer, or death to a Broker, hee growes rich onely by putting forth commodities, which [Page] mediately conuerts▪ to discommodi­ties, hee will not put out money for tenne in the hundred, for vsury is hate­full to him, but hee loues extortion and makes that his summum bonum, for he will marchandize with you, whereby hee will gaine sixty in a hun­dred, hee is your Cities honest man, which is, to speake the truth, more thē a knaue, for a knaue that is crafty needs no broker, but hee cannot liue with­out one. He is a man composed of all loue, and protesting kindnesse to pleasure the occasions of his gallant debtor, with his much affirmation of his respect, how willing he is to doe his worship a pleasure, whereby the chiefe ayme of his pleasure is to haue a footing vppon some capitall messu­age, or else to be fingring some petty Lordshippe, or cōely mānor, who ha­uing no sooner glutted himselfe with the rich banquet of his debtors deere cost, but immediately to physick him­selfe he is at the charge of a faire hack­ney Coach with three most absolute lades to draw him (whither hee most willingly is drawne) with his curi­ous wife, and two or three of his owne [Page] conditioned neighbours,Similis si­mili gaudet. to see this goodly purchase, who prepare them­selues some fortnight before hand, and prune themselues vp in their Pea­cocks feathers like the puppets in a Lord Maior his pageant, and for this his great act he is admired at amongst his neighbours as the Owle in the day time amongst other birds, and esteemed of with as much respect as that captaine Pigmi was, which was commander in that bloudy warres against the terrible black Crowes.

A Creditor may further be said to bee either, homo, monstrum, or demon. A man when he casts his debtor into Prison with a determination to seeke his owne, not to ruin him, and if he bee not able to pay all, to take what he can spare, and giue him day for the rest, and so release him: this man is (homo homini Deus) that as he doth punish, so he doth preserue.

A Monster when he hath not onely extended his substance but casts him in Prison, and is as deafe as an adder to heare of releafe till he haue paid him the vtmost farthing.

[Page] A Diuell when hee hath ruined him doth reioyce to see him fall, and in stead of coyne will haue his carkasse, but to finde a creditor both Homo et Angelus, that will release his prisoner when he is not able to pay him, and that will consider that vltra posse non est esse. Such a one is Rara auis in terris, &c.

Some creditors are pittifull,
And mercy still will show:
And some as flint will harder be,
Which many debters know.

Of choyce of company in Prison.

VVOuldst thou learne to dispute well, be an excellent Sophi­ster, wouldst thou dispute of forraine affaires, and be an excellent linguist, I counsell thee to trauel? Wouldst thou be of a pleasing and affectionate beha­uiour? Frequent the Court. Wouldst thou diue into the secret villanies of man? Lye in prison.Via perieu losa.

Take heed when thou entrest in­to this wildernesse of wilde beasts, what path thou takest, some guide is [Page] necessary, or else vnawares, thou wilt with the Roman Emperours Steward fall into a pit, where cruell deuouring are intrapped, which will ruine thee.

Societie is the string at which the life of man hangeth without which is no musicke, two in this maske is but a vnion, Adam had his Eue, and e­uery sonne of Adam hath his brother whom he loues.

No Chariot runs with one wheele, two makes it steady, a third is superflu­ous, foure too cumbersome, thou must choose one and but one, who walkes alone is lame.

Men of all conditions are forced into prison, as all riuers runne into the sea, therefore it is good to be fa­miliar with all, acquainted with few, and if with any eandem cantilenam ca­no, but with one, make triall what the vessell will hold before thou powre thy selfe into him, and bee wary what thou sayest or doest, for thou shalt haue the eies of enuy, not of reproofe which will looke vpon thee, to malice thee if thou doest well, and if thou de­ny to follow them in their humors, or to daunce after their owne pipe, [Page] thou shalt be more emulated then the boy was of the two Ladies when hee preferred Venus before in giuing her the golden bal, and if by accident thou doest any thing amisse, as humanum est errare thou shalt bee more vilified, and with inueterate malice more pro­secuted to disgrace thee, then the Pha­risees did the Hugonites.

Be wary therefore of thy company, for to be a bowle for euery alley, and runne into euery company prooues thy minde to haue no bias.

Thy comming into prison is like a traueller comming into strange coun­tries, and takes vp seuerall lodgings, hath many welcomes, but they are not to him, but to his money.

If thou wilt dwell with thy selfe be not giddy, but composed, for hee that is euery where is no where, therefore be wary whom thou selectest, for here bee of all sorts, for thou shalt as well finde a flattering Gnatho, as a dissem­bling Sinon, and if thou haue store of crownes, then thou shalt be sure to be humored and bee beloued with out­ward respects, and then they wil coun­sell and aduise thee with protestations [Page] of their loue, but looke to such, whose counsell to heare, and not imbrace will do hurt but may much improue thee, but if once taken it will operate as the apple which Valentine dutchesse of Orleans cast to the young Princes which once tasted, will so poyson thee with corruption that thou art vncurable.

Further heere be vaine glorious & taska iue headed fooles, snch wil more trouble thee, then any action of debt which is laid one thee heere be com­mon drunkards, which wil lie heaui­er one thee then an execution.

But if thou suffer a man to ly long in thy bosome, albeit his conditions be full of flawes, yet labour to peece and seame vp his vices, rather then to cast him off least that it call thy owne iudgment in question.

All men haue imperfections,humanum eum erra­re. and being in prison wee must not looke to haue them starres, this place is noe Orbe for such constellations.

Let not thy companion be a mise­rable base minded fellow, for then ni­gardlinesse will hold her fingers one thy purse stringes, let him not be a Pro­digall [Page] for then he will draw thee to riot, of adultery to lust, of swearers to damned oaths,Diuitiae fa­ciunt ho­mines po­tentiores non melio­res. of pot companions to drunkennesse, acquaint thy selfe therefore not with the most, but best, not the best in cloths or money, but in vertue, if there be none such in pri­son then keepe company with thy selfe,Cum bo­nis bonus. and in thy chamber keepe com­pany with Plutarke and Seneca, or ra­ther Perkins and Greeneham, the one will teach thee to liue well, the other to dy well.

The good will teach thee good,
Cum bo­nis bonus, cum malis malus.
The bad will thee defame:
The one to vertue thee will bring
The other greife and shame.

The Character of Companions in Prison.
Quot homines, tot sententiae.

All companies are not alike, neither is there a vnion in their disposi­tions. I will therefore touch but three kinds of persons which thou shalt be sure to find in prison. viz.

  • 1 A Parasite.
  • 2 A Iohn indifferent.
  • 3 A true harted Titus.

[Page] The first loueth thee better for thy meanes then merit, thy substance then thy selfe, who will rippe open thy bosome to thy enemy, and when thy money begins to sinke, will fly from thee, and will be the first that will disgrace thee. Hee is like a whore who will no longer fawne, then thou wilt feede him. Hee is a trencher ras­call, which will more hate thee when thou leauest to releeue him, then euer hee did seeme to loue thee.

The second is one that will flatter thee, and will neither absolutely loue thee nor hate thee, but when present will be with thee, when absent against thee, hee is hic et vbique, heere and e­uery where, and in very truth he is no where.

The last of these thou maist call the masculine sweete heart, on which may be resembled to truth whose bo­some is allwaies bare, and hath a breast of Chistall, that thou maist looke through his body to his heart, he is one that will loue thee in aduersity, hee will respect thee in the kitchin as well as in the parlor, he will reue­rence thee in the hole as well as in the [Page] maisters side hee will looke on thee in raggs as well as in robes, and will acknowledge thee in fetters as in a feather-bed, come stormes, cōe calmes, come tempests, come sun-shine, come what can come, he wilbe thine and stick to thee therefore.

Be carefull that thou keepe alway,
Verus ami, cus opti­mus the­saurus.
A freind in time of neede:
That will thee helpe without delay,
If that thou stand in neede.

Of Visitants in Prison.
Nullus ad amissas ibit amicus opes.

From a ruinous house euery man flies, they that are abroad ask euery day how thou doest, when in prison they protest they are sorrow for thy misfortunes, but neuer come to thee, such are idle passengers pressing about a Barbers shoppe, when a man is car­ried in wounded, who will peepe in ānd climbe about the windowes, but dare not enter into the shoppe, for feare they should fall into a swoond to see him drest, a Prisoner is as much be­holding to such leape-frogge acquain­tance as a man shaken with an ague to euery gossoping woman he meetes [Page] who will teach him a hundered me­dicines and not one worth taking.

But if thy abiility be such that thou workest thy liberty then thou shalt haue as many hands imbracing thee as Centimanus had, much wine with little loue bestowed vpon thee, with oaths infinite that they were com­ming forty times to see thee, but this or that occasion hindred them, when indeede they were afraide thou shoul­dest haue had occasion to vse them, & they had purposed to hath come this day, but they are happy that thy so much desired liberty haue preuented them, to such giue no credit, one­ly salute them with a Salue, and a Vale.

Others will come to thee with wee­ping and sighthing to cheere thee vp, but such are like Robin-redbrests that brings strawes in their charitable bills to couer the deade.

Others will promisse to lend thee mo­ney, but try them before thou haue occasion to vse them, which if they deny thee, when thou art at liberty be then vnto them as a shaddow. But true friends in a prison are like straw­berries [Page] in a barren countrey, that one can hardly get a handfull in a whole yeare, nay they are like your roses heere in Christmas, a thousand to one if in an age, one bee found so in pri­son it is a great ods if of a thousand kinsmen, allies, and acquaintance I finde but one true freind.

Donec eris foelix multos numerabis amicos.
Tempora si fuerint nubila, solus eris.

But if in this great dearth of freinds wherein wee liue, vnder what fortu­nate plannet may I iudge my selfe to be borne, and that the constellations of the starres haue much fauored me, that amongst all my flesh and blood I haue found one true Damon or faith­full Pylades, and amongst all my ac­quaintance haue found some faithfull, and more constant in their loue and respect to me in this place, then when I was at liberty they did make shew of, that I may truly say.

Of Visitants some faithfull are,
When Prisoners them require:
And to them nothing will deny,
If that they them desire.

The Character of Visitants.

Visitants for the most part are men composed all of protesting pro­mises, and little or no perfor­mance they are like your Almanacks, which when they promise faire wea­ther, it is a million to a mite if it proue not contrary, they are like the Ger­man clocks which seldome goe right, their tongues runne faster then the clock one shroue-tuesday, the pissing Conduit in cheapeside, or an Irish mans paire of heeles when he runnes one a wager, he will tyre thy eares more in one hower with his loude protestations, then a Scholler, Citizen or Taylor will a hackney horse in halfe a dayes riding, but in performance will be as slow as a Snayle in her pace, and when thy messenger comes to them for money, thē they will be sure to haue the Strongullion, or Cholick that they cannot speake, and looke as rustily one thy messenger, as a Law­yer wil one his clyent which sueth vn­der forma pauperis, your letters as ac­ceptable as water into a shippe, the Kings priuie seale to a vsurer, a Sub­poena [Page] to a countrey Gentleman, or a catchpole amongst the freindly soci­ety of Gallants.

They are like the riches & chaynes bought at Saint Martynes who were faire for a little time, but shortly af­ter will proue alchamy or rather pure copper.

Lastly, they are like the apples which growe on the bankes of Go­morrah, they haue crimson and beau­tifull rindes, but when they come to gather them, they crumble all to dust; and truely can I say:

Of Visitants some deserue the name,
And freindly are to some:
And some there be that meāe no good,
But hurt to them they come

Of entertainement in Prison.

AS soone as thou commest before the gate of the Prison, doe but thinke thou art entring into hell, and it will extenuate somewhat of thy mi­sery, for thou shalt be sure not onely to finde hell, but fiends & vgly mon­sters, which with continuall torments will afflict thee, for at the gate their stands Cerberus a man in shew but a [Page] dogge in nature, who at thy entrance will fawne vppon thee, bidding thee welcome in respect of the golden Cruse which he must haue cast him, then he opens the dore with all gen­tlenes, shewing thee the way to mise­ry is very facile, and being once in, he shuts it with such fury, that it makes the foundation shake and the dore & windowes so baracadoed, that a man so looseth himselfe with admiration that he can hardly finde the way out, and be a sound man. Now for the most part your Porter is either some brokē Cittizen, who hath plaide lack of all trades, some Pander▪ Broker, or Hangman, that hath plaide the knaue with all men, and for the more certain­ty his emblime is a red beard to which sack hath made his nose cousen Ier­man.

No sooner shall a man passe this fu­ry, but hee is conducted to little ease his chamber, where he no sooner hath entred, but (hard vsage) his chamber­laine salutes him, and protests he hath lodged thee with as honest a man as himselfe, when in truth, as a paire of Sheeres cannot part the knaue be­twixt [Page] them, and protesteth thou shalt haue a cleane payre of sheetes, and of the best, who hauing no sooner fin­gred thy coyne but sends thee a payre of sheetes fitter for a horse then a man who hauing plaide the lade so with thee, then leaues thee. Hee no sooner departs but thridbare, and monilesse thy chamber-fellowes, come vp­on thee for a Garnish, which if thou deny them or hast no money, then Exit cloake from thy shoulders, and enters two dousen of pots, and one dousen of pipes, this is the pillowe which shall be giuen thee to sleepe on the first night: now thou must be sa­luted in the morning, or else perad­uenture thou wilt thinke thy selfe not welcome.

In the morning at thy vprising, (Pothearbe) the Gardiner appeares in his likenesse, and he wil haue vnguen­tum arum for the narrowe path thou hast to walke in.

Then to whet on thy stomach to dinner comes (Cut-throate) the Ste­ward for his crowne, who professeth much kindnesse hee will shewe thee, for thou hast bound him with thy [Page] [...] [Page] [...] [Page] courtesie, to couzen thee, not onely in thy meate but money.

Next after this comes (Mistresse Deceipt) the head Cooke, who prote­steth thou shalt commaund her, who hauing no sooner greased her fingers with thy siluer, but euer after she will haue a hand in thy dish what thou canst to preuent it, so on all sides the blood of thy purse must bee powred out to maintaine such merciles blood▪ hounds and continuall purse-leaches.

These furies, as they haue diuers shapes, so haue they seuerall kindes of temptations, for after thou hast beene some fortnight in prison, they will come to thee, to cheere thee least thou shouldest adde melancholy to discon­tentment, and will tell thee they wish thee well, and thou shalt commaund them, and in their opinion the sight of thee streete wil much content thee, and they will attend thee to the Ta­uerne within the rule, where thou must quench their thirst with sacke, and what is got of thee is well got, be­ing obtained by rule, for he that liues by rule cannot erre.

Suppose thou either perceiuest these [Page] things by others, or by thy owne ex­ample, and so refuse this profered courtesie of theirs purchased for their pleasures at thy owne cost. Then if at any time vpon iust occasion thou de­sirest it, then thou must giue them a cup of aurum potabile, or else expect not the least fauour, or smallest cour­tesie for no penny no paternoster, no gold no friendship.

If thou continually bee offered in­iuries beare them patiently, or else thou shalt bee laide in yrons for satis­faction.

If they perceiue thou art like to continue, and hast good meanes, thou shalt want no content that prison can yeelde, but euery dram of content wil cost thee a pound of siluer.

When they heare thou art vpon discharge, then they will bee very sor­ry and make all the best meanes that possibly they can to detaine thee, but if there be no remedy, but thou must needes depart, then what with their three half-pence apound for Action money, and three in the pound for Execution, they will make such a large bill, which will bee more vnconscio­nable [Page] then a Taylors, for he will abate of the Summa totalis, but in this, here is nothing to bee abated, all their speech is legem pone, or else with their ill custome they will detaine thee, for thy deniall is an Execution without triall by lawe, for notwithstanding that amongst iust men malus vsus a­bolendus est, heere conseruandus et pre­seruandus, and so thy entrance into prison▪ thy continuance in prison, and thy discharge out of prison will bee nothing but racking the heartstrings of poore prisoners, and exhausting the substance of the distressed, what­soeuer their wants be, holding it for a maxime, that Summa iniuria est sum­mum ius.

Of Keepers which goe abroad with Prisoners.

HAst thou a desire to goe abroad thy Argos which attends thee,4 shillings per diem cum Cere­re et Bac­cho. will be more chargeable then the Lord Maiors gally foyst on Simon & Iudes day, or a Cittizens wife to her husband when strawberries and cher­ries are first cryed in the streetes, and [Page] will consume thee if thou forbeare not, thou maist better cheaperide one thy foote-cloth, then goe adroade with thy keeper.

If thou walkest abroad with thy keeper vse him freindly, but respec­tiuely, so manage him, that he shall ra­ther thinke himselfe beholding to thee then thou to him, for howsoeuer hee fawnes vppon thee with comple­ments standing bare with officious at­tendance, yet know hee serues in his place but as the dogge the Butcher he is to thee as a curre to a droue of beasts if thou goest one quietly (be it to thy slaughter amongst griping Citzizens, & cruell creditors to worke thy owne freedome, he waits gently and brings thee to the dore, but if thou once off [...]r to stray he woo [...]e es thee.

Remember his eye shootes at two whites, thy person and thy purse, the one is to guard thee the other to feede him, thou art compelled to ptotect thy carcase vnder his shelter, as a sheepe in a terrible storme vnder a bryar, and be sure thy standing there is to hae some of thy woo [...] torne off.

The Character of Keepers.

YOur Keepers most commonly are insinuating knaues, and mercina­ry rascalls▪ wearing their maisters liue­ry, but their owne badge which is slaue, in full proportion they looke like the picture of enuy, with their hands continually diuing into poore Prisoners pockets, with their heads vncouered, still proffering courtesies when their hearts make answere, what kindenesse they doe is (non tibi sed pe­cuniae,) they most commonly feede well, to their maisters creddit, but the tablers charge. Now if any take ex­ception of the badge knaue which I haue giuen them, as the olde prouerbe is, touch a gald horse and he wil kick. I wil maintain (I say) what out of their owne authors, a bird of their owne nest vet not altogether so ill, who said to me that he was weary of his slauish life, in respect he must be knaue in his place, who said, if he were true to his Maister, he must be knaue to prisoners, if true to prisoners, knaue to his mai­ster. So be he honest in his vocation, or dishonest, hee must bee still knaue [Page] for mala mens, malus animus.

There are abundance of these snakes which lie lurking in this place, whose chiefest felicitie is to talke of so many new prisoners which are com­mitted, and are ready to faint if they but heare of release, and all the dogges at Paris-garden keepe not such a baw­ling as these curres euery morning in the Tearme, to goe abroad with poore prisoners, by rule onely to prey and seise vpon their coyne, and they will not abate one peny of their extortion, though the poore prisoner fast a week with bread and water▪ And they re­ioyce more for a Habeas Corpus in the vacation. then the husband man for a plentifull haruest, or the Mer­chant for the safe landing of his ship.

For mony they will doe any thing, be it neuer so ill, so thereby they may purchase coyne, holding it a maxime, that siluer is well gotten, if by any meanes obtained, and to vse cruelty to prisoners, is pollicy, and wisedome; because now is the time or neuer, for being once infranchised they will bee as wary to come in againe as the bird which hath escaped the fowlers net.

Of Iaylors, or the Maisters of prisons.

VTrum horum mavis accipe, there is not a haire to choose, the olde prouerbe must bee verified, neuer a barrell the better herring, Iacke must bee equall to Gill, they are all one in nature, in place onely they differ (no­mine tantùm: but learne them as you please, or by what name, they are as origine, but laylors.

All laylors are not alike, some are more worthy then other, I onely touch the worst sort of them, and that for the most part, for the basenes of the one cannot any waies impeach the worth of the other, but doeth giue greater splendor to the truly noble, being most contrary, for Duo contra­ria opposita magis elucescunt.

For the most part your keepers of prisons are very obdurate, and will shewe no fauour and doe looke to bee spoken to by men of worth to bee fa­uourable to their prisoners, who will promise faithfully, but the crossing of the water derounes their remēbrance, they put much confidence in the por­ter, [Page] and other officers, and will be­leeue the wordes of such insinuating knaues, before the oathes of Gentle­men of worth, or other conscionable men their prisoners, they are more griping then an Vsurer, for he will be content with securitie, but when a prisoner is vpon discharge they will not take baile or securitie, nay they will not abate one poore twenty shillings, though they haue gained neuer so much by them, but will bee King and Keysar hauing the lawes in their owne hands, will iustrfie the de­taining of trunkes or cloathes; if the prisoner haue none, then they by vi­olence will take cloake, or doublet, and turne you out naked.

Further, they are farre more vncon­scionable then a Broker, who takes fortie in the hundred, but they will thinke it charitie to take fiftie, I and for a chamber where poore prisoners lye like beasts, not men.

For cruelty they exceede Nero, for he would kill suddenly, but your lay­lors doe detaine men of good parts, who haue lyen there seauen yeere, not taking any commiseration, in be­ing [Page] content to take what they can spare, and giue day for the rest, but when the cruell creditor hath relen­ted, then the obduratenesse returnes, and penetrates the brest of his keeper not to redeeme him till he haue paide all demaunds. But what are they in­riched by it? It so consumes them, that they are so poore, so compassed about with troubles, that they liue beggerly, and dye poore, and that which they in­rich themselues by exhausting their substance out of the very blood of prisoners, their issue liues the worse by it; and, without godly repentance, they may keepe hell gates to giue his men place, which for their tallent hath beene worse then their maister.

The Character of Iaylors.

A Iaylor is as cruell to his prisoners, as a dogge-killer in the plague time to a diseased curre, and shewes no more pity to a young Gentleman, then the vnconscionable Citizen that laide him in: when they meete you in the streetes they shewe themselues more humble to you, then a whore [Page] when she is brought before a Consta­ble, or a cheater before a Iustice, but when you fall into their fingers, they wil be as currish as they seemed kind.

They are like Bawdes and Beadles, , that liue vpon the sins of the people, mens follies fill their purses.

But some conflict is, he hath some misery, for his pillowe is more stuft with feates then feathers, and though euery prisoner sinkes vnder the waight of his owne debts, yet his kee­per feeles the burthen of all, and if sometimes by escapes (though against his will) hee did not pay some poore mens debts, his extortion would be so waightie, that the earth could scarce beare him and to conclude, he de­serues the olde prouerbe, as cruell as a laylor. ⸪


This keyboarded and encoded edition of the work described above is co-owned by the institutions providing financial support to the Text Creation Partnership. This Phase I text is available for reuse, according to the terms of Creative Commons 0 1.0 Universal. The text can be copied, modified, distributed and performed, even for commercial purposes, all without asking permission.