A web-based edition of early seventeenth-century political poetry from manuscript sources. It brings into the public domain over 350 poems, many of which have never before been published.

C1ii Downe came grave auntient Sir John Crooke (cont...)

Yes quoth Lawrence Hyde1 that wee may come by it

Weele make a Proviso tyme it, and tye it.

Quoth Harry the hardie2 looke well to each clause

As well Englands liberties as lawes


Nowe then, so? the knightly Doctor3 protestes

This fart shalbe brought into the court of requests4

Nay rather saith Sir Edwyn5 I’le make a digression

And fart him a Project6 shall last him a Session

Quoth Sir William Wade7 you may doe as you please


For it hath broken allreadie out of little ease,8

Then swore Sir John Hollis9 by the Masse

Such a fart would not I lett passe

Nor willingly make such a vacuitie10

Without some reward or hope of gratuitie11


For from the belly to the britch to make such a transition

Is a thriftles example of a frugall position.

Then start upp a fatt one call’d Sir Thomas Shurley12

Saying how durst hee crack soe being noe Burley13

Quoth Sir John Fortescue14 this fart was lett fall


Not without great presumption doeing it withall15

Quoth Sir John Sheffield16 in my opinion

’Tweere better leave this fart and fall to the union17

Nay quoth Sir Hugh Beeston18 and swore by the Masse

Its rather the braying of some Puritain Asse


Tushe quoth Ned Hobbie19 whatso’ere it bee

From Rome or Geneva ’tis all one to mee.

Swooks quoth Sir John Lee20 is your arse in dottage21

Could you not have kept this breath to have cool’d your pottage

Why (quoth Sir Roger Owen)22 if books be noe lyers


I knewe one fart devided amongst a dozen Fryeres23

Phillip Gawdie24 strooke th’old stubble of his face

And said the fart was well penn’d, so squat downe in his place.

The modest Sir John Hollis25 said, on his word

It was a shoe creek’d on a board.


Not soe quoth Sir John Acklam26 that cannot be

The place underneath is matted you see.

Before God quoth Mr Brooke27 to tell you noe lye

This fart by our Law is of the Post-nati28

Grave Senate (quoth Duncombe)29 upon my salvation


This fart wanteth greatly some due reformation.

Quoth the cuntrie courtier30 upon my conscience

’Twould be well mended with a little frankinsence

Quoth Sir Thomas Challenor31 I’le demonstrate this fart

To be the voyce of his belly, noe thought of his hart.


Quoth Sir Hugh Beeston32 it was a dissembling speach

Our mouth hath priviledge33 but not our bretch.

Upstart Ned Wymark the Pasquill of Powles34

And said it were fitter for the chappell of the Roolles35

Then wisely spake Sir Anthony Cope36


Pray God it be not a Bull from the Pope.37


1   Lawrence Hyde: Hyde, a member of the Middle Temple, sat in the 1597 and 1604 Parliaments. He was a kinsman of Sir Edwin Sandys, was identified by Bacon as one of the “popular” party affiliated with the Earl of Southampton (Works 4.365), and vigorously defended parliamentary privileges, including freedom of speech. Couplets on Hyde in other versions include: “O wofull tymes, quoth Lawrence Hyde / yf once our freedome of speach be denyed” (BL Add. MS 23229, fol. 16v); “nay quoth Laurence Hyde I like not that fashion / for Monopolies wear forbidden by proclamation” (Rosenbach MS 1083/15, p. 56). (In March 1621 James I cancelled by proclamation the patents on concealed lands, inns, and gold and silver thread (Stuart Royal Proclamations 1.503-5).) <back>

2   Harry the hardie: possibly Sir Henry Neville, who sat in the 1604 and 1614 Parliaments, and whose red hair and beard resembled those of Henry VIII. Neville was considered to be one of the leaders of the Commons, and at the end of the 1610 sessions was seen by one contemporary to have “ranged himself with those Patriots that were accounted of a contrary faction to the courtiers”. He died in 1615. <back>

3   the knightly Doctor: Sir Daniel Dun, Master of Requests, sat in the 1598, 1601,1604 and 1614 Parliaments, representing Oxford University in the last two of these. He died in 1617. <back>

4   court of requests: court for the recovery of small debts. <back>

5   Sir Edwyn: Sir Edwin Sandys, member of the Middle Temple, sat in the 1589, 1593, 1604, 1614, 1621, 1624, 1625 and 1626 Parliaments. He was active in disputing the prerogative powers of the Crown in relation to the post nati and impositions, and in defending parliamentary privileges. Following the dissolution of the 1614 Parliament, he had his papers on impositions called in and burnt in Whitehall, was examined by the Privy Council, and was held in custody for a month. <back>

6   Project: “a practical scheme for exploiting material things” (Thirsk 1). Projects were controversial at this period because they often involved the granting of monopolies or patents. <back>

7   Sir William Wade: Wade, a member of Gray’s Inn, sat in the 1584, 1589, 1601 and 1604 Parliaments. Lieutenant of the Tower between 1605 and 1613, he fell into disfavour and lost his post in part because of his failure to guard properly Arabella Stuart, who escaped from the Tower in 1611, and in part (according to a popular conspiracy theory) because he was unwilling to abet the murderers of Sir Thomas Overbury, who was murdered in 1613 (see Sections F and H). <back>

8   little ease: punning on the name given to the dungeon at the Tower of London. <back>

9   Sir John Hollis: Holles, a member of Gray’s Inn, sat in the 1604 and 1614 Parliaments. Though he increasingly sought patronage at court, and was made Lord Houghton in 1616 and first Earl of Clare in 1624, in the early Jacobean Parliaments Holles was a vocal critic of the Scottish bedchamber, an opponent of the Union, and a supporter of punitive restrictions on office-holding by Scots. <back>

10   vacuitie: absolute emptiness of space; vacuum. <back>

11   Nor willingly...gratuitie: Holles was well-known for his frugality, and was petitioning potential patrons in this period. <back>

12   Sir Thomas Shurley: two Sir Thomas Shirleys sat in James’s Parliaments. Sir Thomas Shirley the elder (1542-1612) sat in the 1572, 1584, 1593, 1601 and 1604 Parliaments. He raised his own army to follow Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, to the Low Countries, and was made Treasurer-at-War to the English army in 1587, which resulted in massive personal debt, as a result either of his abuse of the office or use of his own funds. He died in great debt in 1612. His son, Sir Thomas Shirley (c.1564-1632), sat in the 1584, 1593, 1601, 1614 and 1621 Parliaments. He was one of the famous Shirley brothers, who engaged in privateering in the Levant until his capture by the Turks in 1603. The placing of the couplet after the “frugall” Sir John Holles suggests the “thriftles” Shirley senior. <back>

13   Burley: probably intended as a punning reference to the Elizabethan statesman, William Cecil, Lord Burghley. <back>

14   Sir John Fortescue: Fortescue sat in the 1559, 1572, 1586, 1589, 1593, 1597,1601 and 1604 Parliaments. He was a cousin of Queen Elizabeth, and a close friend of Lord Burghley, Sir Francis Bacon, Sir Walter Ralegh and Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex. He died in December 1607, after the third session of the 1604 Parliament. <back>

15   Not without...withall: this line may ironically refer to Fortescue’s presumption during elections to the 1604 Parliament. Fortescue lost the initial election to Sir Francis Goodwin; however, he convinced the Privy Council to void Goodwin’s election, and was elected himself at the second election. In turn, the Commons responded by declaring Goodwin elected, and rejecting Fortescue. Both men eventually sat in this Parliament. <back>

16   Sir John Sheffield: Sheffield sat in the 1601 and 1604 Parliaments. An inactive member of James’s first Parliament, Sheffield accompanied Charles Howard, Lord Admiral Nottingham on his embassy to Spain in 1605, and travelled in France 1607-1610. He is not recorded making any speeches or serving on any committees relating to the Union. He died in 1614. A variant replaces Sheffield with a more likely candidate, Sir John Herbert (BL MS Stowe 354, fol. 43v). Herbert, a member of Gray’s Inn, sat in the 1586, 1589, 1593, 1597, 1601 and 1604 Parliaments. He was one of two Privy Councillors in the Commons in James’s first Parliament and, somewhat ineffectively, put the Crown’s case for the Union in this Parliament. <back>

17   fall to the union: i.e. turn (our) attention to the matter of the Union. <back>

18   Sir Hugh Beeston: there were two Hugh Beestons in this Parliament, though Sir Hugh (c.1547-1627) is the most likely referent. He was a member of Lincoln’s Inn, and sat in the 1589, 1593, 1597, 1601, 1604 and 1614 Parliaments. In 1604 he was ordered to prepare for the Hampton Court conference on religion, in 1606 he attended a conference on ecclesiastical grievances, and in 1610 he was among those appointed to consider a bill imposing the new oath of allegiance. His wife was prosecuted for recusancy later in 1610, and in the 1624 Parliament he was said to be “suspect in religion since ‘his daughter and heir apparent is a recusant’”. <back>

19   Ned Hobbie: Sir Edward Hoby sat in the 1580, 1585, 1586, 1589, 1593, 1597, 1601, 1604 and 1614 Parliaments. He was the author of A Letter to Mr. T. H. (1609), which attacked Catholic women on the basis that women should not have religious opinions. Questier argues that this work marks a shift from the “godly” views he expressed in the 1604 Parliament to an anti-Calvinist perspective (“Crypto-Catholicism” 60). He died in 1617. <back>

20   Sir John Lee: Sir John Leigh sat in the 1597, 1601 and 1604 Parliaments. He died in 1612. <back>

21   dottage: i.e. dotage. <back>

22   Sir Roger Owen: Owen, a member of Lincoln’s Inn, sat in the 1597, 1601, 1604 and 1614 Parliaments. He died in 1617. In variants, another couplet refers to Owen: “Within the Compasse of the earthe 21000 myle aboute / quothe Sir Roger Owen such a Farte was never lett owte” (BL Add. MS 34218, fol. 20r; see also BL Add. MS 58215, fol. 188v). <back>

23   if books...Fryeres: the reference is to Chaucer’s “Summoner’s Tale”; the division of the fart, the scatological centrepiece of the tale, is part of an extended satire on the sophistry and hypocrisy of friars. <back>

24   Phillip Gawdie: Gawdie sat in the 1589, 1597, 1601, 1604 and 1614 Parliaments. He died in 1617. <back>

25   Sir John Hollis: Holles (the poem’s second reference to him). <back>

26   Sir John Acklam: Acland sat in the 1586 Parliament, and in 1607 he replaced Sir Thomas Ridgeway when the latter was appointed Treasurer in Ireland. He died in 1620. <back>

27   Mr Brooke: there were a number of Brookes sitting in this Parliament, and this one appears to be distinguished from “Kit Brooke”, even though the jest about the post nati is in keeping with Christopher Brooke’s stance on this issue. The other possibilities are Giles Brooke, Thomas Brooke and William Brocke. The scribe, uncertainly, writes “Cooke” above the line, as an alternate reading. Although Sir Edward Coke did not sit in James’s first Parliament, this identification might allude to his status as one of the leading Jacobean judges. Coke sat in the 1589, 1593, 1621, 1624, 1625, 1626 and 1628 Parliaments. <back>

28   Post-nati: reference to debates on the mutual naturalization of Scots and English born since James’s accession to the English throne (the post nati). <back>

29   Duncombe: Edward Duncombe sat in the 1604 and 1614 Parliaments. A different couplet on Duncombe in a variant alludes to “talebearers” reporting speeches to the King: “You did so, quoth Duncombe, but with an ill intent / you left but the sense precendent & the sense subsequent” (BL Add. MS 23229, fol. 16v). <back>

30   cuntrie courtier: one copy identifies the “country courtier” as Sir Robert Wingfield, while another has “Sir R.W.” in the margin (BL Add. MS 23299; Rosenbach MS 1083/15). Wingfield, a member of Gray’s Inn, sat in the 1584, 1586, 1589, 1593, 1601 and 1604 Parliaments (the latter until his death in August 1609). Reputed a “grave person, and an ancient Parliament man”, he was very active in James’s first Parliament, and put forward a bill “for the establishment of true religion”. <back>

31   Sir Thomas Challenor: Challenor sat in the 1586 and 1604 Parliaments. He died in 1615. <back>

32   Sir Hugh Beeston: the poem’s second reference to Beeston. <back>

33   mouth hath priviledge: allusion to debates over the parliamentary privilege of freedom of speech. <back>

34   Ned Wymark...Powles: Edward Wymark sat in the 1597, 1601, 1604 and 1614 Parliaments. A well-known Paul’s walker, money-lender and great wit, he compiled a register of concealed tenures, and St. Paul’s became (in the words of a contemporary writer) “his exchange to put out his money for 40 years together”. “Pasquill” refers to his apparent activity writing pasquils: witty, generally libellous verses. <back>

35   chappell of the Roolles: Rolls House, Chancery Lane, was the official residence of the Master of the Rolls, Sir Edward Phelips. <back>

36   Sir Anthony Cope: Cope, a member of Gray’s Inn, sat in the 1571, 1572, 1586, 1589, 1593, 1597, 1601, 1604 and 1614 Parliaments. He acquired a reputation as one of the “puritan Parliament men”, and during James’s first Parliament he sat on committees to consider bills for ecclesiastical government and for the restoration of deprived ministers, and prepared a petition on ecclesiastical grievances. He died in 1614. <back>

37   Bull from the Pope: i.e. a papal bull (decree). <back>