WITTY VVilliam of VVilt-shire.

His birth, Life, and Education, and strange adventures: with his unmatchable Cheats, witty feats, and merry conceits; setting forth his travels, what Dangers he escapt by the help of his wits, and how he was himself Cheated of fifty pounds by a Lady of pleasure, and yet knew not whether she was a man or woman, but by her hands and face.

With merry songs and sonnets.

You that this book shall hear or read,
and understand the same,
You cannot chuse but laugh indeed,
for it deserves no blame.
Except it be for modesty,
the which he did defie;
And then you will confess with me,
that herein is no lye.
Read and laugh, then laugh and read,
both wit and mirth it fill,
Read it quite o're, and ne'r give o're,
till you have laught your fill.
And if that this your palate please,
with mirth and eke with art,
You will obliege the Authour then,
to write a second part.

Printed for C. Passinger, next door to the Spur-Inn in Southwark, 1674.

[...]

WITTY VVilliam of Wiltshire.
Shewing his Merry pranks, pretty Feats, witty Cheats; being full of VVit and Mirth, and very delightful to read.

THere was a Man which had a hopeful son by his wife, whom he named William, and because he had been long in Wilt-shire, the Mans bye name was called wilt-shire: this stripling was put to School, and took his Learning so well, that in short time he out-learned many of his fellows, and became well stild both in his Latin and Lying tongue, and frequenting the company of Gypsies, which did often frequent to their town, became ve­ry eloquent in canting, insomuch that all men admired his dexterity, in that [...] [...]aught and strange language, he was well [...] with deceits from his childhood, and [...] [...]ell di­cemble an injury till he had opportunity to avenge the same; for whilst he was yet little he used this his excellent courage, rever to beat any less nor younger then himself, but bent his revenge with great ardensie against those biger then himself, and would defend [Page]the weaker and lesser sort of his fellows, from those that were too strong for them, this his deportment gaind him the favour both of old and young, rich and poor.

One time in a bitter cold day he espyed a boy that had lately done him an injury, stand peeping into a shallow well, he came softly behind him, & thrust him in the féet forward, that he stood up to the Neck in cold water; not knowing who thrust him in, he cry'd out aloud for help, but William decémbling the matter, as not knewing thereof, came with some company and drag'd him out, as dry as a [...]d owned Mousé: William smiling, said, Thank me your God-father, for this good turn that I have done you: the boy mistak­ing his real meaning, said in good earnest, I thank you kindly God father, I had cer­tainly been drowned had it not been for you.

At another time he and his Companions went for to [...]ob [...]an Orchard, some of which hed discovered his misdemeaners to his ma­ster, which he bare in mind, they were eight in number, he sent five up into the trees to shake down apples, when he had sent the two others laden away, and himself had hid his own share, he went immediately to the own­er, and sends him into the Orchard, where [Page]he caught the five boys in the trees, who all of them were soundly whipt the next day; unto whom he said now I am sufficiently re­venged for telling tales of me to my master, (if this doth please you tell again but after this all the boys made friendship with Willi­am.

William having oft observed a company of vacrant fellows that were counterfeits, to lye basking in the sun in his fathers close, in the long grass under a great hedge, came by them and ask'd if they lay there all night, yea Master said they, if that we had but a lit­tle straw; well said he, come to me at night and I will give you straw, in their absence he laid a train of Gunpowder under the long grass that came quite through the hedge; Will according to his word had furnisht them with straw, for which they were very thank­ful; about midnight came William, when they and their doxies were fast asleep, puts fire to the train, this fired the hedge and all the low trees, made all the Criples run a­way, most pittifully burnt in their Limbs, their crys with the great blaze of fire raised the whole town, which apprehended these strangers, who were all whipt for the fact; never since that time durst any such persons approach that town.

But the foresaid William growing to 9 years of age, and so expert in all villanies, his father fearing that some great mischief would follow determined to send him to Lon­don to a friend, but whilst this was deter­mining there came to their town a crew of Gipsies, who viewing his countenance, which was fresh and rudy, asked him if he could speak Lattin, yea that I can said William, so he answered them partly in Lattin, and partly in Canting, which caused the chief Master for to admire his dexterity in that sort of Pedlors French, what tricks they u­sed was unknown, but at their departure they took William away with them, with whom he continued till that he was fifteen years of age, and then returned home to his Father, both in good liking of body, and well cloathed.

After this his father sent him to London, where he was bound Prentice to a salesman, but before the year was quite out, he having found the sweetness of fingering of Crowns, what with keeping evil Company and much drinking, he had run his Master out a­bove an hundred pounds, for which debe he was cast into prison, where he lay a long time, till by the assistance of some friends, and the late act of Parlement he was set at liberty.

Imediately he writes both to his Father and Brother, but he received but a churlish answer, because they were ashamed both of his life and actions, and because his father had lost his moneys he put him out withall, he durst not press two hard upon their kindness and being in great distress, wanting both mo­neys and cloaths, he Writ to a Young-man sometimes his School-fellow, a pittiful let­ter in these Words following.

Sir to your hands these lines I do present
beseeching you to yield your free consent
tome that with these lines doth you salute
And also grant to me one needful sute.
Imprisonment hath wrought my full decay
& all my cloaths are torn & worn away,
My hats so full of holes on every side,
That [...]ch the same my face I cannot hide.
My hatband which before I us'd to wear,
I chang'd it with the tapster for strong beer
My ribons gay of crimson blew and red,
truct for Cand les to light me to bed.
My powder'd perriwig unto my grief,
I sold away to buy me powder beef;
My shirts so rent, so torn and tattered,
I can't devise to pul't over my head.
My scarlet wastcoat with the tits thereon
& broad gold sace are all cashir'd & gone
My doublit that's grown very thin & bare
Like to a boan for which no worms do care
My coat & Shash I turn'd them into chink
And with the same I bought beef bread & drink,
My doublit makes me seem a monster strange,
As if mans habit did his nature change.
My wastbands wasted, & my sneezing tears it,
Quite off o'th hooks, just like to him that wears it,
My breeches peticots do more resememble
Then any Lawyers gown within the temple
My belly pieces still are fat I well observe,
If baked well for belly pieces serve,
My stockings they are sound as any bell,
But how to draw them on I cannot tell.
my shoos about my feet keep rouling round,
As if no stockings in them could be found,
My shoos and soals both separated are,
So that my feet upon the ground goes bare.
When I behold the gallants by me pass,
Methinks I see my self in natures glass,
Not like the fish that sports to swim & sink
whilst I want coyn to buy me meat & drink
Nor like those fields that are both fresh and green,
Whilst I ashamed am for to be seen,
Nor like those gardens that yields sweet content,
Whilst all my Cloaths are both torn and rent
Nor like the trees that yeild delicious fruit,
For I go daily in a tattered suit,
Nor am I trim'd like Butter-flies and Bees,
For here and there a tatter I do lease.
You are my approved friend and do confess,
The only one that can my wants redress,
Remember Sir you are of friends my chief,
Turn pray you quickly, send me some relief.
So fare you well, I pray say me not nay,
Necessity admits of no delay.

No sooner had the young-man received his Letter, but he forthwith shewed it to Willi­ams brother, that was his bosome friend, he out of compassion to his brother, shewed it to his father, the father out of love to William to kéep him from furder danger, and willing to be a father in distress, but not to be seen in it, least he should depend upon it, furnisht him with these following things, caus'd the young-man to answer his letter as followeth.

His friendly answer.

THy kind salute came safely to my hand
Thy nakedness I plainly understand,
When I consider thy industrous care,
thy long confinement & extream hard fair.
thy words and actions seem both most witty
My heart and soul upon thee taketh pitty,
My friend, thou shalt not want whilst that I have
A life or livlihood without the grave.
As for the promise I to thee did make,
To ease thy wants that I would undertake,
Some few things unto thee I have sent,
For to cashear thy suit that's torn and rent.
A perriwig that once my self did wear,
Crisped and curl'd, all made of flaxen hair,
A Beavor fair for to adorn thy head,
A golden band with fancies green and red.
Two Hollon shirts, & two half shirts beside,
With fair half sleeves that are both large and wide,
Two pair of drawers that are both clean and white,
Two Cravats and bands for thy delight.
A handsome suit thats of the newest fashion
To wear when that thou takest recreation,
Likewise a Casock of a comely hugh,
My loving friend now I have sent to you.
A riding coat to keep out rain and wind,
For you to wear when you a caution find,
Two pair of stockings that of silk are made,
So dyed in grain, the colour will never fade.
Two pair of shoos with Colotious beside,
one pair of boots when you have need to ride
I have sent thee a gelding that's all white,
With all accowterments for thy delight.
A sword and belt a trusty Ornament,
To guard thy self, and dangers to prevent,
Likewise a Cain I have sent thee withal,
To stay thy self when thou art like to fall.
What else thou wantest I to thee have sent,
the which may yeild thee pleasure & content
Methinks thy hands into thy pocket go,
But thou hast not one penny for to show.
Yet for all this thou seemest full of sorrow,
Having no coyn, nor knowest not where to borrow,
Clear up brave spirit, cast off discontent,
By such a one ten pounds I have thee sent.
But use it wisely, spend it not in vain,
When that is gone then send for more again
Thou shalt not want thy need for to suffice,
till death me cease, & close up both my eyes.

William being thus bravely accomodated, and his man at his heels, upon a gallant ge [...]d­ing. and well apparalel'd with each of them a trusty sword, and a case of Pistols, takes up­on [Page]himself the name of a countrey Squire, by which means he might the better deceive all that he delt withal, and with what tradesman soever he met he pretended that he had some commodities fitting for their use, and that he delt in exchange, for many sorts of Merchan­dize: both himself and his Man, coyned to them­selves several names, and had their several changes of habits, and Perri-wiggs according to the several places that they came unto, they had also their several colour'd plaisters, or if that you please patches of Mastick ever about them in a rediness, and their riding coats were made both inside and outside perfect work for two several coats, they were easily chan'd by turning the iner-side outward.

How he served a rich Salesman.

William and his man walking through the City, where was great store of Salesmen, which did so ply pull, and hawl him to buy ap­parel, that by the Shop-keepers perswastons and his mans, he went into the shop, perused of many cloaths ready made, as came to near or about an hundred pounds, pretending for his family at his country house, well, to the Ta­vern they go with all speed, where he treats the Salesman thus; Sir, I perceive that you are willing to sell, but I question whether you [Page]be as ready to buy if a man would sell you ne­ver so good and great penniworths. Sir said the Salesman if you have any commodity in my way I had as leade take Commodity as moneys, what is it? Sir said VVilliam, it is broad cloath, six quarters wide, and therewith showed him a sample of all the several sorts, they bargin, that if the buyer like in when he seés it, then to take cloath, if not to have ready money. But stay Sir, said VVilliam, you know not me, neither do I know your deal­ings, and I would not deal deceitfully with any, nor yet receive any wrong my self, will you except of my propositions. Yea said the o­ther if I like them. Then said William I will leave two hundred pounds in my Land-Lords hands till my cloath comes to town if you will deliver me the Commodities upon that condi­on, how like you this? Well said the other, if the Inn-keeper will secure me the moneys, I will with all my heart, then from the Tavern to the Inn forthwith they go together & having treated with the In-keeper, he consents, then said William bring you the Cloathing that I have bought hither to Morrow Morning, and you shall see the Moneys told, for I love plain dèaling, then went William to another Sales­man of his old acquaintance, appoints him to meet him at such a Tavern next day, at tén a [Page]clock, and to bring Moneys with him, and he would sell him a good penniworth.

In the Morning came the Salesman with Porters laden with the Cloathing to the Inn where William waited for their comming, ha­ving prepared a large colation of an Angel price, where William in the presence of the Salesman, the Inn-keeper and others, poured out two hundred pounds upon the table of good and lawful Money, draws it over, puts it into the baggs again, seals it up with his own seal to prevent mistakes, lays it upon the table; asks if that be not sufficient security, accord­ing to Law, they all allow it for good: it so fell out that the Salesman went out of the room to ease himself, and the Inn-keeper to be cal'd to the door, then Williams Man claps down two other bags just like these first in all points both magnitude weight and seal, and away he goes to his masters chamber, then in came the other two, then said William to his man, send these goods away to be pact with the first, his Man well knowing his meaning, sent them a­way imediately to the place appointed, where the other was ready, and upon sight paid him his ready Money, for he had a great Penny­worth, then his Man commanded the Horses to be made ready with all speed, saying, that his Master and he must hast home to send up [Page]the cloath, or else his Master would be damni­fied above an hundred pounds: In the mean while William plies the Inn-keeper and Salesman with Wine, Tobacco, and merry tales, till both their hearts were merry, then delivered he the two baggs to the Inn-kéeper in the presence of the Salesman, and divers others (who did comend him for his loyalness) so they drank one quart of wine more, and so parted.

How far he rid that night.

So William and his Man mounted with all speed, and was very bountiful to the Ser­vants of the house, and so they set forward as to go into the countrey, but being gotten out of sight they wheeled to the left, and took up their quarters near Westminster, as if they had come but then out of the Countrey, this booty made our Monnsier very jocond and lively for that night; as he walked the street he met with a gallant damosel, and guessing by her habit, carriage, and answers, what she was, he courts her to lye with him that night, she consented for thrée go den angels to be his pro­tector for that night, then they supt together, and drank Wine in abundance, so William went into his bed, she was tedioous, and made delay in undressing her self, in the mean time he fell fast asteep, she seeing that, took out of [Page]his Pockets thirty pound in gold, a Watch worth five pounds, and a Diamond King worth fifteen pound, in all to the value of fifty pound, and so departed, but Mounst [...]er slept till break of day, and then mist his fair Lady, his Gold, his Watch, and his ring, but could not tell whe­ther she was a Man or a Woman that cheated him but by her hands and face.

where dwels the man that now can me advise
To find her that hath won this golden prize,
He swore the next & first he could trappan,
Not to be baukt, but prove himself a man,
Full vext he was for truth, as I am told,
'Cause she him baukt, & stole away his gold,

How he was serv'd the next day.

As ill-gain'd Goods never thrives, so it proved with William, for all the next day he walks the streets to see if he could set his eye upon this gay Lady, but could not, but walk­ing through the Strand he met with a beauti­ful Woman, which he courted, she yielded to go to the Tavern with him, where they call for a Chamber, and Fagets to make a fire: Now sir, said she, that I have condescended to come to the Tavern, I pray give me leave to Drink what Wine I will, and as little as I please, for I drink nothing but mul'd sack, whilst the sack was a mulling, he that know well how to take [Page]measure, first took notice of her handsome foot & leg, her stiken stockings, & silk garter, with gold & silver lace hanging down to the midleg, then next of her smock, that was laced with a Flanders Lace, six inches broad round about the bottom, what with these, the vertue of sack & the heat of the fire, set him into such a heat that it made all people admire.

More of this I could say but I dare not,
But thought is free, think what you will and spare not;
Being full of pain, in rage he deeply swore,
That whilst he liv'd he'd touch lace smock no more.

He describes his last Mistris and first thus.

To be mans misery, her voice like the serich­ing of an Owl her eyes the poyson of a Cock­atrice, her hands the claw of a Crockadile, her heart the Cabinet of horror, she is the grief of nature, reasons trouble, wits wound, abuse of time, her pride unsupportable, her anger is un­quenchable, she fears no coulers, nor cares for no counsel, she is a servant, but not of good, the tast of bitterness, the digestion of death.

Now return we to the Salesman and the Inn-keeper.

William never sends up the cloath, the day [Page]is past, the Salesman comes to the Inn-kéep­er [...]nd demands his money the b [...]g is produced fast sealed as it was delivered, the seal is bro­ken up before persons of note, and being pou­red out, caused great admiration, for the sub­stance contain'd therein, was only lead & glass cut round, all not worth five shillings at the most. William is not to be found, the Inn-kéep­er is arrested, and pays the money, for both the bags prove alike.

After all this, William betakes him to his shifts, and furnisheth himself with a fair gold ring, having set therein a fair square Topas, & a most excellent hatcht silver hilted Kapier, whose puni [...] was most glorsously pullished, like any looking-glass, both this stone and Pumel represents whatsoever is set before them like to a Looking-glass, then he fell to Card-play­ing amongst great persons putting on his ring on his little finger on his left hand, which he turn'd towards the pack which discovered e­very Card that he drew what it was, at other times he laid his rapier just cross his waste un­der his left hand, in the pumil thereof he might deserne every Card he drew most plainly, by this way be won or rather cheated several per­sons of much coyn, but he was discovered and laid open by one 'tis thought that is as cunning in that art as himself, & so was cashear'd that [Page]Company, and that part wherein this act was performed.

What tricks he play'd in the Country.

William being cashear'd the C [...], he with his Man fled into the Country, having first ob­tained a firm Cathologue of all the names of the Lords, Kts. & Gentlemen in those parts, & how many miles it was betwixt every parti­cular place, so he traveled into the countrey a­bout an hundred miles from [...]ond. to a great shire town, to the greatest Inn there hires a boy to go with them some s [...]miles to the said Inn & his groom by him, he senes ba [...] his hor­ses to a place appointed, there he continued 3 days, spending moderately, but paying freely, and would never sit down till his heast was placed at the upper end of the table, in this time his m [...]n was diligent in making inquiery what Country man the master of the House was, & from whence the tapster, chamberlain, & maids came, & what country Gent. frequent­ed that house, and from what parts they came, then his man gives out amongst the Servants that his master was from such a place, that was far enough distant from that place, that he had so many hundred pound coming in by the year, that he came thither to sojourn a while till he could sell a parcel of Land with a stock of cat­tle upon it, which would amount to twenty five [Page]hundred pound at least, this report caus'd him to be honored like to a deme god.

Late in the Evening comes in a counterfeit Foot-man, delivers William his message in the great hall, so told, that all men might hear that such a Kt. living ten miles from thence, must néeds speak with him next day by ten of the clock because he heard he would sell his land, & forasmuch as it lay convenient for him, he would give him as much for it as any man. At this William stamps & scratches, saying; O what a rogue was I to send back my horses, his Host believing that it was a curant truth, furnisht him with two horses: he promist to re­turn again within two days at most, & would pay him what he would desire, but did not, when six days were expired they sent to the Kts. house, but he profest he knew no such man.

By this his will his hoast-he was defeated,
Of two-brave horses the Inn-keeper was cheated,
There was no truth i'th words that he did say,
For he rid quite the clean contrary way.

How he released a man from prison.

So he traveled from thence to another great to in, where it was his chance to pass by the Countrey Prison windows, wherein a­mongst many other prisoners, he found one [Page]poor man that had six small Children, that did all depend upon his honest labour, whom he questioned, & found that he had lain their now a long time at the sute of a hard-hearted Rich­man for twenty pounds, being bound for a­nother man, which [...] eved h [...] to pitty & com­passion, & to try his wits how to clear the poor man, then sent forthwith for the creditor to the tavern, and there treated him to set the poor man frer, but could by no means prevail with­out either the ready money or sufficient secu­rity, unto which VVilliam replyed, saying: Sir I do ingeniously profess that if I had not parted with all my money to ten pound but yesterday for a parcel of Land that I have bought of such a man, naming a right seller, and the other took it for curant, I would have paid you your money down, & the poor man should have oven my servant. So William plyed the creditor with sack, which he lickt in as freely as a thirsty horse doth fair water, after eating of parched beans, till be grew as mellow as a pair, when he saw all the Family honour VVilliam with the title of worshipful, he believed him to be the same Man that he presented, and in a merry v in tells Willi­am that if his Worship would give him a bond of forty pounds, to pay him twenty at the next quarter day, he would set the Prisoner free, [Page]unto which William consents; saying: I que­stion not but that the poor man will work it out by little and a little. Then send they for the prisoner to come with a Kerper, he con­sents to serve his new Master, a Scrivener is sent for, who by VVilliams instructions fast­ned the debt wholly upon him, & clear'd the pri­soner quite for ever from the debt, which pleas'd the mizard well, William pays the Scrive­ner, clears the Prison fees, permits his new servant to go home to his Wife and Children, biding him to be sure to come to him to his Inn by six a clock next morning, & after William had paid for the wine, he threw a shilling to the drawer, and another to the maid, and so they parted for that night.

Next morning William sends for this mi­ser again to the same tavern, he gives him a colation, in the intrem of time comes in a coun­try fellow tells him that the cattle which his Bayl [...]y had bought to stock his new purchased Land was come, and put into the pastures, and that the Farmer that sold them and the Bay­ly was at the Inn and furdermore that the price of the cattle came to twenty pound more then he had delivered his bayley, & that the far­mer staid there for to receive it: then said the Churl, Let them come hither: No such mat­ters (says VVilliam) my servant shall be [Page]no fellow of mine, pox apont (says William) I must away to such a gentleman my Cousen to borrow twenty pounds for I love to keep my word. That shall not néed, sir said the other if your worsh [...]p please I will supply you with 20 pound upon your own bond, what is that be­twixt you & me, the 20 pound was produced, & bond given to be paid the next quarterday, then says William to his man, carry this mony to my bayly to pay the farmer for his cattle, & bid him make hast home, and make ready for my coming, bid the hostler make ready the horses, for I long to be gone to sée what bargin of cat­tle my man hath bought, why sir said the miser how many hath he bought? truly sir said Wil­liam I know no more then you do how many head of meat he hath bought, but I am sure that I delivered him 400 pound in good mony why then said the other, they stand you in 420 pound yea said William, & 5 pound more, then c [...]me in his servingman, and said, sir if it please your worship the horses are ready, so they drank one merry cup more, & so parted the Miser to car­ry home his 20 pounds worth of paper, & Wil­liam to his horse with 2 [...] pound in silver, then he c [...]l'd the released prisoner, & there before the Inn-keeper & other persons, he discharg'd him from his service & gave him 10 pound to carry home to his wife, & to begin the world anew, and so departed.

The Conclusion,

To the Tune of, The clean contrary way.
William of Wiltshire was a valiant Knight,
if you will believe it you may,
For unto all men he lov'd to do right,
the clean contrary way.
Ah, the clean contrary way.
To live by cheating his heart it did thirst,
and for to go gallant and gay,
And he that's not like him he thinks is accurst,
the clean contrary way, &c
Those that with moneys his wants have supply'd,
he at his return will them [...]ay,
When that his worship they once more have spy'd,
the clean contrary way, &c.
No Ranter, nor Canter, could yet overthrow him,
but he shewed them very fair play,
But he that knew nothing could wisly forestow him,
the clean contrary way, &c.
When he comes to London to s [...]e the S [...]man,
his hundred pounds then he'l pay,
The Inn-keeper shall receive it if he ca [...],
the clean contrary way, &c.
The Lady of pleasure will bring back his gold,
if you will believe it you may,
She'l kiss and imbrace him to make him more bold,
the clean contrary way, &c.
And he will return to the gallants their guilt,
the which he hath won by foul play,
By help of the Topas Stoan, and the brave hilt,
the clean contrary way,
ah, the clean contrary way.
FINIS.

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