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A Kicksey Winsey: Or, a Lerry Come-Twang.

John Taylor

This Renascence Edition was transcribed by Risa Stephanie Bear, January, 2008, from the text as found in Works of John Taylor, The Water Poet, Ed. Charles Hindley, London: Reeves & Turner, 1876. Content unique to this presentation is copyright © 2008 The University of Oregon. For nonprofit and educational uses only. Send comments and corrections to the publisher, risasb[at]gmail.com

A Kicksey Winsey:
A Lerry Come-Twang:

Wherein Iohn Taylor hath Satyrically
suited 800. of his bad debtors that
will not pay him for his returne
of his iourney from Scotland.

My debtors like 7 eeles with slip'rie tailes
One sort I cach, 6 slips away and sailes.

Printed by Nicholas Okes, for Mathew
Walbanck, dwelling at Grayes Inne Gate,

Figure 34


Master Raphe Wormlaighton; the
hopeful son of his Noble Father,
Raphe Wormlaighton Esquire.

GRAY'S Inn Wormlaighton, a true Scholar, right
With love and thanks, you paid me at first sight;
Your worthy father gave me what was due,
And for his love, I give my thanks to you.

J. T.                                                  

tern of true Friendship,
and the only nonparallel of jovial En-
tertainment; Master George Hilton,
at the sign of the Horse-shoe, at Daventry; J. Taylor
wisheth daily increase of good guests, true pay-
­ment, hearts content in this life, and afte-
r­ward as much happiness as his
soul can desire.
KIND Sir, I have seen oftentimes men offering to snuff a candle, have against their wills put it clean out; and an un­skilful Chirurgeon taking a small green wound in hand, hath brought it to an old ulcer. I would be loth, for my part, to imitate either of these examples; for my intent is, confession of the wrong I did you, and an endeavour to make amends. I do confess that I did you wrong in print, in my book of my Travels, and now in print, I do make you a public satisfaction; for, I protest to God, that I have heard so much good report of you, that I am double sorry that I was so mistaken, and that I have been so long time before I have printed my recantation. It was your tapster's want of wit, and my want of discretion, that was the grounds of my too much credulity and temerity. For his part I wish him no more harm, but that chalk may be his best payments, thunder may sour his hogsheads, rats may gnaw out his spi­gots at midnight, and himself to commit his wit to the keeping of a fool while he lives; and your ostlers, for gaping so greedily like gudgeons upon me, I pray that they may every day mourn in litter and horse dung. But these are but jests by the way: for as many as know you, have told me, that if you had been at home, my entertainment had been better. If it had been so, it had been more than you owed me, and more than I at that time could have requited: but I would have stretched my wit upon the tenters of invention, in the praise of inns and inn-keepers, I would have put the forgetful world in mind of the good service that Rahab the innkeeper did at Jericho, in hiding and preserving the spies that were sent by Caleb and Joshua; I would have made the oblivious loggerheaded Age remember, that the Redeemer of the world did grace an inn with his blessed birth: what place then but an inn was the High Court of Heaven and earth the residence and lodging of the immortal King, of never-ending eternity? This and more I would have done, but what is passed cannot be recalled and it is too late to put old omittings to new committings. And so, my noble and thrice worthy host of hosts, I omit not to commit you and yours to the protection of the Lord of Hosts, desiring you to take this merry Pamphlet in good part, or in earnest of my better amends, and as a qualifier of your just anger.

Yours in the best of his                             
endeavours to be commanded,           


I HAVE published this Pamphlet, to let my rich debtors understand, that as often as I meet them, I do look that they should pay me: and although I am shamefaced in not asking my due, yet I would not have them shameless in detaining it from me, because the sums are but small, and very easy for them (in general) to pay, and would do me a particular good to receive.

      Secondly, I have sent this into the world, to inform some, that through their want do shun and avoid my sight and company, that they are much deceived in my disposition; for I ever did esteem an honest heart and a willing mind, as well as their performances.

      Thirdly, there are some great men, who by reason of their extraordinary employments, my small acquaintance, and less means of access unto them, with my want of impudency, and their mens want of courtesy to inform them; all these are lets and demurs, against my satisfaction.

      Lastly, the daily abuses that I have concerning the book of my Travels, wherein I am accused for lies, and falsifications; but I do and ever will steadfastly stand to the truth of every tittle of it, except the abuse that I did to Master Hilton at Daventry, and that was not done on known malice neither, but on blind ignorant information: and there is a second edition of my books of travels coming forth, wherein I will satirize, cauterize, and stigmatize all the whole kennel of curs that dare malicously snarl against manifest, apparent, and well known truths. In the mean space, you that are my debtors, if you please to pay me, you shall therein but yourselves out of a bad number amongst which you yet are placed: if you will not pay me, take this bone to gnaw upon, that I do hope to be ever better furnished with money, than you shall be with honesty.

A table of the general heads,
containing seven parts.

1 THOSE that have paid.
2 Those that would pay if they could.
3 Those that walk invisible, and are not to be found.
4 Those that say they will pay, who knows when?
5 Those that are dead.
6 Those that are fled.
7 Those roarers that can pay, and will not.

Those that do ever mean to pay,
Nothing at all this book doth say;
To such my satire talketh still
As have not paid, nor ever will.


Wherein John Taylor hath satirically suited 800. of
his bad debtors, that will not pay him for his
return of his Journey from Scotland.

1. My thanks to those that have paid.

YOU worthy worthies, of that liberal tribe,
Who freely gave your words, or did subscribe:
And were not itch'd with the vain-glorious worm,
To write and lie, but promise and perform,
Black swans of Britain, I protest you are,
And seem (to me) each one a blazing star;
 For this inconstant age so few affords
 Of men, whose deeds do counterpoise their words,
That finding one, methinks I see a wonder,
More than December's fruit, or winter's thunder;
Ingratitude, I hold a vice so vile,
That I could ne'er endure it a breathing while:
And therefore ere I'll prove a thankless jade,
Time in his course shall run quite retrograde;
Yea, everything shall hate his proper kind,
Before I'll harbour an ungrateful mind:
And still I vow to quit you in some part,
With my best wishes, and a thankful heart:
So much to you, my Muse hath sung or said,
Whose loving bounties hath the sculler paid.

2. Those that would pay if they could.

AND as for you that would pay if you could,
I thank you, though you do not as you should,
You promis'd fair, and wrote as free as any,
But time hath alter'd since, the case with many;
Your monies, like low tides, are ebb'd too low,
And when, 'tis lowest, 'twill begin to flow.
To seek a breech from breechless men, 'twere vain,
And fruitless labour would requit my pain:
It were no charity (as I suppose)
To bid one wipe his nose, that wants a nose;
And sure my conscience would be less than little,
To enrich myself, by robbing of the spittle:
No, honest friends (to end this vain dispute)
Your barren states may spring, and bring forth fruit;
Your wills are good, and whilst I keep your bills,
Instead of payment I accept good wills;
On hope and expectation I will feed,
And take your good endeavours for the deed;
Praying that crosses in your minds may cease,
And crosses in your purses may increase.

3. Those that are hard for me to find, and being found, were better lost.

ANOTHER sort of debtors are behind,
Some I know not, and some I cannot find:
And some of them lie here and there, by spirts,
Shifting their lodgings oftener than their shirts.
Perchance I hear where one of these men lies,
And in the morning up betimes I rise,
And find in Shoreditch where he lodg'd a night;
But he to Westminster hath ta'en his flight.
Some two days after thither do I trot,
And find his lodging, but yet find him not,
For he the night before (as people tell)
Hath ta'en a chamber about Clerkenwell.
Thither go I, and make a privy search,
Whilst he's in Southwark, near St. Georges Church.
A pox upon him, all this while think I,
I ne'er finci out where my youth doth lie?
And having sought him many a weary bout,
At last, perhaps I find his chamber out:
But then the gentleman is fast in bed,
And rest hath seiz'd upon his running head:
He hath took cold with going late by water,
Or sat up late at ace, deuse, tray, and cater
That with a sink of fifty pieces price,
He sleeps till noon before his worship rise;
At last he wakes; his man informs him straight,
That I at door do on his pleasure wait;
Perhaps I am requested to come near,
And drink a cup of either ale or beer,
Whilst sucking English fire, and Indian vapour,
At last I greet him with my bill of paper:
Well John (quoth he) this hand I know is mine,
But I this day do purpose to go dine
At the Half Moon in Milk-street, prithee come,
And there we'll drink, and pay this petty sum.
Thus many a street by me recross'd and cross'd,
I in and out, and too and fro, am toss'd,
And spend my time and coin to find one out,
Which having found, rewards me with a flout.
In this base fashion, or such like as this,
To me their scurvey daily dealing is;
as one's in study, the other's deep in talk,
Another's in his garden gone to walk:
One's in the barber's suds, and cannot see,
Till chin and chaps are made a Roman T:
And for his making thus a gull of me,
I wish his cut may be the Grecian P.   
These men can kiss their claws, with Jack, how is't?
And take and shake me kindly by the fist,
And put me off with dilatory cogs,
And swear and lie, worse than so many dogs,
Protesting they are glad I am return'd,
When they'd be gladder I were hang'd or burn'd.
Some of their pockets are oft stor'd with chink,
Which they had rather waste on drabs, dice, drink,
Than a small petty sum to me to pay,
Although I meet them every other day;
For which to ease my mind to their disgrace,
I must (perforce) in print proclaim them base;
And if they pay me not (unto their shames)
I'll print their trades, their dwellings, and their names,
That boys shall hiss them as they walk along,
Whilst they shall stink, and do their breeches wrong:
Pay then, delay not, but with speed disburse,
Or if you will, try but who'll have the worse.

4. Those that will and do daily pay me in drink and smoke.

A FOURTH crew I must drop from out my quill,
Are some that have not paid, yet say they will:
And their remembrance gives my muddy mood,
More joy than of those that will ne'er be good.
These fellows my sharp Muse shall lash but soft,
Because I meet them to their charges oft,
Where at the tavern (with free frolic hearts)
They welcome me with pottles, pints, and quarts;
And they (at times) will spend like honest men,
Twelve shillings, rather than pay five or ten.
These I do never seek from place to place,
These make me not to run the wild goose chase;
These do from day to day not put me off,
And in the end reward me with a scoff.
And for their kindness, let them take their leisure,
To pay or not pay, let them take their pleasure.
 Let them no worser than they are, still prove:
Their powers may chance outdo me, not their love;
I meet them to my peril, and their cost,
And so in time there's little will be lost,
Yet the old proverb I would have them know,
The horse may starve the whilst the grass doth grow.

5. Those that are dead.

A FIFTH sort (God be with them) they are dead,
And everyone my quittance under's head:
To ask them coin, I know they have it not,
And where nought is, there's nothing to be got,
I'll never wrong them with invective lines,
Nor trouble their good heirs, or their assigns.
And some of them, their lives lost to me were,
In a large measure of true sorrow dear;
As one brave lawyer, whose true honest spirit
Doth with the blest celestial souls inherit,
He whose grave wisdom gain'd pre-eminence,
To grace and favour with his gracious prince:
Adorn'd with learning, lov'd, approv'd, admir'd,
He, my true friend, too soon to dust retired.
Besides, a number of my worthy friends
(To my great loss) death brought unto their ends.
Rest, gentle spirits, rest, with eternizing,
And may your corpse have all a joyful rising:
There's many living, every day I see,
Who are more dead than you in pay to me.

6. Those that are fled.

SIXTH, with tongues glib, like the tails of eels,
Hath shew'd this land and me foul pairs of heels.
To Ireland, Belgia, Germany, and France,
They are retir'd to seek some better chance.
'Twas their unhappy inauspicious fate,
The Counters, or King Luds unlucky gate,
Bonds being broke, the stones in every street,
They durst not tread on, lest they burnt their feet;
Smoke by the pipe, and ginger by the race,
They lov'd with ale, but never lov'd the mace.
And these men's honesties are like their states,
At piteous, woeful, and at low priz'd rates;
For partly they did know when they did take
My books, they could no satisfaction make,
And honesty this document doth teach,
That man shall never strive above his reach,
Yet have they reach'd, and over-reach'd me still,
To do themselves no good, and me much ill.
But, farewell, friends, if you again do come.
And pay me either all, or none, or some:
T look for none, and therefore still delay me,
You only do deceive me, if you pay me.
Yet that deceit from you were but my due,
But I look ne'er to be deceiv'd by you.
Your stocks are poor, your creditors are store,
Which God increase, and decrease, I implore.

7. Those that are as far from honesty, as a Turk is from true Religion.

SEVENTHLY, and last's aworthy worthless crew,
Such as heaven hates, and hell on earth doth spew,
And God renounce, and damn them, are their prayers,
Yet some of these sweet youths are good men's heirs
But up most tenderly they have been brought,
And all their breeding better fed than taught:
And now their lives float in damnation's stream,
To stab, drab, kill, swill, tear, swear, stare, blaspheme:
In imitation worse than devil's apes,
Or incubuses thrust in human shapes:
As bladders full of other's wind is blown,
So self-conceit doth puff them of their own:
They deem their wit all other men surpasses,
And other men esteem them witless asses.
These puckfist cockbrain'd coxcombs, shallow pated,
Are things that by their tailors are created;
For they before were simple shapeless worms,
Until their makers lick'd them into forms.
'Tis ignorant idolatry most base,
To worship satin Satan, or gold lace,
T'adore a velvet varlet, whose repute
Stinks odious, but for his perfumed suit.
If one of these to serve some Lord doth get,
His first task is to swear himself in debt:
And having pawn'd his soul to hell for oaths,
He pawns those oaths for newfound fashion clothes.
His carcase cased in this borrow'd case,
Imagines he doth me exceeding grace:
If when I meet him, he bestows a nod,
Then must I think me highly blest of God,
And though no wiser than flat fools they be,
A good luck on them, they are too wise for me;
They with a courtly trick or a flim-flam,
Do nod at me, whilst I the noddy am:
One part of gentry they will ne'er forget,
And that is, that they ne'er will pay their debt.
To take, and to receive, they hold it fit,
But to requite, or to restore's no wit.
And let them take and keep, but knocks, and pox,
And all diseases from Pandoras box.
And which of them says that I rave or rail,
Let him but pay, and bid me kiss his T.
But sure the devil hath taught them many a trick,
Beyond the numbering of arithmetic.
I meet one, thinking for my due to speak,
He with evasions doth my purpose break,
And asks what news I hear from France or Spain,
Or where I was in the last shower of rain;
Or when the court removes, or what's a clock,
Or where's the wind (or some such windy mock)
With such fine scimble, scemble, spitter-spatter,
As puts me clean besides the money-matter?
Thus with poor mongrel shifts, with what, where when?
I am abused by these things, like men,
And some of them do glory in my want,
They being Romists, I a Protestant:
Their apostatical injunction saith,
To keep their faith with me, is breach of faith:
For 'tis a maxim of such Catholics,
Tis meritorious to plague heretics;
Sice it is so, pray pay me but my due,
And I will love the cross as well as you.
Ithis much further I would have you know,
My shame is more to ask, than yours to owe:
I beg of no man, 'tis my own I crave,
Nor do I seek it but of them that have,
There's no man was enforc'd against his will,
To give his word, or sign unto my bill.
And is't not shame, nay, more than shame to hear,
That I should be return'd above a year,
And many rich men's words, and bills have pass'd,
And took of me both books, both first and last,
Whilst twice or thrice a week, in every street,
I meet those men, and not my money meet.
Were they not able me amends to make,
My conscience then would sooner give than take:
But most of those I mean, are full purs'd hinds,
Being beggarly in nothing but their minds:
Yet sure methinks, if they would do me right,
Their minds should be as free to pay, as write.
Near threescore pounds, the books I'm sure did cost,
Which they have had from me, and I think lost:
And had not these men's tongues so forward been,
Ere I my painful journey did begin,
I could have had good men in meaner raiment,
That long ere this, had made me better payment:
I made my journey for no other ends,
But to get money, and to try my friends:
And not a friend I had, for worth or wit
Did take my book, or pass his word, or writ:
But I (with thankfulness) still understood
They took, in hope to give, and do me good.
They took a book worth 12 pence, and were bound
To give a crown, an angel, or a pound,
A noble, piece, or half piece, what they list,
They pass'd their words, or freely set their fist.
Thus got I sixteen hundred hands and fifty,
Which sum I did suppose was somewhat thrifty;
And now my youths, with shifts, and tricks, and cavils,
Above eight hundred, play the sharking javels.
I have performed what I undertook,
And that they should keep touch with me I look.
Four thousand, and five hundred books I gave
To many an honest man, and many a knave:
Which books, and my expense to give them out,
(A long year seeking this confused rout)
I'm sure it cost me sevenscore pounds and more,
With some suspicion that I went on score.
Besides, above a thousand miles I went,
And (though no money) yet much time I spent;
Taking excessive labour, and great pains,
In heat, cold, wet, and dry, with feet and brains:
With tedious toil, making my heart-strings ache,
In hope I should content both give and take,
And in requital now, for all my pain,
I give content still, and get none again.
None, did I say? I'll call that word agen,
I meet with some that pay me now and then,
But such a toil I have those men to seek,
And find (perhaps) 2, 3, or 4 a week,
That too too oft, my losings gettings be,
To spend 5 crowns in gathering in of three.
And thus much to the world I dare avow,
That my oft walks to get my money now,
With my expenses, seeking of the same,
Returning many a night home, tir'd and lame,
Meeting some thirty, forty in a day,
That sees me, knows me, owes me, yet none pay.
Us'd and abus'd thus, both in town and court,
It makes me think my Scottish walk a sport;
I muse of what stuff these men framed be,
Most of them seem mockado unto me,
Some are stand-further off, for they endeavour,
Never to see me, or to pay me never.
When first I saw them, they appeared rash,
And now their promises are worse than trash;
No taffety more changeable than they,
In nothing constant, but no debts to pay.
And therefore let them take it as they will,
I'll canvas them a little with my quill.
To all the world I humbly do appeal,
And let it judge, if well these men do deal,
Or whether for their baseness, 'twere not fitter,
That I should use more gall, and write more bitter?
I wrote this book before, but for this end,
To warn them, and their faults to reprehend;
But if this warning will not serve the turn,
I swear by sweet Satiric Nash his urn,
On every pissing post, their names I'll place
Whilst they past shame, shall shame to show their face,
I'll hail fell Nemesis, from Dis his den,
To aid and guide my sharp revenging pen;
That fifty Pope's bulls never shall roar louder,
Nor fourscore cannons when men fire their powder.
There's no wound deeper than a pen can give,
It makes men living dead, and dead men live;
It can raise honour drowned in the sea,
And blaze it forth in glory, cap-a-pie.
Why, it can scale the battlements of heaven,
And stellify men 'mongst the planets seven:
It can make misers, peasants, knaves and fools,
The scorn of goodness, and the devils close stools.
Forgot had been the thrice three worthies' names,
If thrice three Muses had not writ theinfames:
And if it not with flattery be infected,
Good is by it extoll'd, and bad corrected,
Let judgment judge them what mad men are those
That dare against a pen themselves oppose,
Ch (when it likes) can turn them all to loathing,
To anything, to nothing, worse than nothing,
Yet e'er I went, these men to write did like,
And us'd a pen more nimbly than a pike;
And writ their names (as I supposed) more willing,
Than valiant soldiers with their pikes are drilling,
No paper bill of mine had edge upon it,
Till they their hands and names had written on it;
And if their judgments be not overseen,
They would not fear, the edge is not so keen.
Some thousands, and some hundreds by the year
Are worth, yet they their piece or half-piece fear;
They on their own bills are afraid to enter,
And I upon their pieces dare to venture:
But whoso at the bill hath better skill,
Give me the piece, and let him take the bill,
I have met some that odiously have lied,
Who to deceive me, have their names denied.
And yet they have good honest Christian names,
As Joshua, Richard, Robert, John, and James:
To cheat me with base inhumanity,
They have deny'd their Christianity,
A half-piece or a crown, or such a sum,
Hath forc'd them falsify their Christendom,
Denying good ill names with them agree,
And they that have ill names, half hanged be,
And sure I think, my loss would be but small,
If for a quittance they were hang'd up all.
Of such I am past hope, and they past grace.
And hope and grace both past's, a wretched case,
It may be that for my offences passed,
God hath upon me this disturbance cast:
If it be so, I thank His name therefore,
Confessing I deserve ten times much more;
But as the devil is author of all ill,
So ill for ill, on th' ill he worketh still;
Himself, his servants, daily lie and lurk,
Man's care on earth, or pains in hell tp work.
See how the case then with my debtors stands:
They take the devil's office out of his hands;
Tormenting me on earth, for passed evils,
And for the devil, doth vex me worse than devils.
In troth 'tis pity, proper men they seem,
And those that know them not, would never deem
That one of them would basely seem to meddle,
To be the devil's hangman, or his beadle.
For shame, for honesty, for both, for either,
For my deserts desertless, or for neither
Discharge yourselves from me, you know wherefpre,
And never serve or help the devil more.
I have heard sorise that lawyers do condemn,
But I still must, and will speak well of them;
Though never in my life they had of me
Clerks, Counsellors, or yet Attorneys fee,
Yet at my back return, they all concurr'd,
And Paid me what was due, and ne'er demurred.
Some Counter Serjeants. when I came again,
(Against their natures) dealt like honest men.
By wondrous accident perchance one may
Grope out a needle in a load of hay:
And though a white crow be exceeding rare,
A blind man may (by fortune) catch a hare,
So may a Serjeant have some honest tricks,
If too much knavery doth not overmix.
Newgate (the university of stealing)
Did deal with me with upright honest dealing,
My debtors all (for ought that I can see)
Will still remain true debtors unto me;
For if to paying once they should incline,
They would not then be debtors long of mine.
But this report I fear, they still will have,
To be true debtors even to their grave.
I know there's many worthy projects done,
The which more credit, and more coin have won,
And 'tis a shame for those (I dare maintain)
That break their words, and not requite their pain:
I speak to such, if any such there be,
If there be none, would there were none for me.
Thus all my debtors have increas'd my talent,
Except the poor, the proud, the base, the gallant.
Those that are dead, or fled, or out of town:
Such as I know not, nor to them am known,
Those that will pay (of which there's some small number)
And those that smile to put me to this cumber,
In all they are eight hundred and some odd,
But when they'll pay me's only known to God.
Some crowns, some pounds, some nobles, some a royal,
Some good, some naught, some worse, most bad in trial.
I like a boy that shooting with a bow
Hath lost his shaft where weeds and bushes grow;
Who having searched, and raked, and scraped, and tost
To find his arrow that he late hath lost:
At last a crotchet comes into his brain,
To stand at his first shooting place again:
Then shoots, and lets another arrow fly,
Near as he thinks his other shaft may lie:
Thus vent'ring, he perhaps finds both or one,
The worst is, if he lose both, he finds none.
So I that have of books so many given,
To this compar'd exigent am driven:
To shoot this pamphlet, and to ease my mind,
To lose more yet, or something lost to find.
As many brooks, fords, showers of rain and springs,
Unto the Thames their often tribute brings,
These subjects paying, not their stocks decrease,
Yet by those payments, Thames doth still increase:
So I that have of debtors such a swarm,
Good they might do me, and themselves no harm,
Invective lines, or words, I write nor say
To none but those that can, and will not pay:
And whoso pays with good, or with ill will,
Is freed from out the compass of my quill.
They must not take me for a stupid ass,
That I (unfeeling) will let these things pass.
If they bear minds to wrong me, let them know,
I have a tongue and pen, my wrongs to show;
And be he ne'er so brisk, or neat, or trim,
That bids a pish for me, a tush for him;
To me they're rotten trees, with beauteous rinds
Fair formed caskets of deformed minds.
Or like dispersed flocks of scatter'd sheep,
That will no pasture, or decorum keep:
Some wildly skipping into unknown grounds,
Stray into foreign and forbidden bounds;
Where some through want, some through excels have got
The scab, the worm, the murrain, or the rot.
But whilst they wander guideless, uncontrolled,
I'll do my best to bring them to my fold;
And seeing sheepfold hurdles here are scant,
I am enforced to supply that want
With railing: and therefore mine own to win,
Like rotten forlorn sheep, I'll rail them in.
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