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figure, to prove them both “ false knaves.” It is he, he says, who sends most souls to heaven, and who ought, therefore, to have the credit of it.

No soul, ye know, entereth heaven-gate,

'Till from the body he be separate:
And whom have ye known die honestly,
Without help of the Poticary?
Nay, all that cometh to our handling,
Except ye hap to come to banging.
Since of our souls the multitude
I send to heaven, when all is view'd
Who should but I then altogether
Have thank of all their coming thither ?"

The Pardoner here interrupts him captiously

If ye kill'd a thousand in an hour's space,

When come they to heaven, dying out of grace ?"

But the Poticary not so baffled, retorts

“ If a thousand pardons about your necks were tied ;

When come they to heaven, if they never died?


But when ye feel your conscience ready, ,
I can send you to heaven very quickly."

The Pedlar finds out the weak side of his new companions, and tells them very bluntly, on their referring their dispute to him, a piece of his


« Now have I found one mastery,

That ye can do indifferently;
And it is neither selling nor buying,
But even only very lying."

At this game of imposture, the cunning dealer in pins and laces undertakes to judge their merits; and they accordingly set to work like regular graduates. The Pardoner takes the lead, with an account of the virtues of his relics; and here we may find a plentiful mixture of Popish superstition and indecency. The bigotry of any age is by no means a test of its piety, or even sincerity. Men seemed to make themselves amends for the enormity of their faith by levity of feeling, as well as by laxity of principle; and in the indifference or ridicule with which they treated the wilful absurdities and extravagances to which they hood-winked their understandings, almost resembled children playing at blindman's buff, who


in the dark, and make blunders on purpose to laugh at their own idleness and folly. The sort of mummery at which Popish bigotry used to play at the time when this old comedy was written, was not quite so harmless as blind-man's buff: what was sport to her, was death to others. She laughed at her own mockeries of common sense and true religion, and murdered while she laughed. The tragic farce was no longer to be borne, and it was partly put

grope their

an end to. At present, though her eyes are blindfolded, her hands are tied fast behind her, like the false Duessa’s. The sturdy genius of modern philosophy has got her in much the same situation that Count Fathom has the old woman that he lashes before him from the robbers' cave in the forest. In the following dialogue of this lively satire, the most sacred mysteries of the Catholic faith are mixed up with its idlest legends by old Heywood, who was a martyr to his religious zeal, without the slightest sense of impropriety. The Pardoner cries out in one place (like a lusty Friar John, or a trusty Friar Onion)

“ Lo, here be pardons, half a dozen,

For ghostly riches they have no cousin ;
And moreover, to me they bring
Sufficient succour for my living.
And here be relics of such a kind,
As in this world no man can find.
Kneel down all three, and when ye leave kissing,
Who list to offer shall have my blessing.
Friends, here shall ye see even anon,
Of All-Hallows the blessed jaw-bone.
Mark well this, this relic here is a whipper;
My friends unfeigned, here is a slipper
Of one of the seven sleepers, be sure..
Here is an eye-tooth of the great Turk :

eyes be once set on this piece of work, May happily lose part of his eye-sight,

But not all till he be blind outright.
Kiss it hardly with good devotion.

Pot. This kiss shall bring us much promotion :
Fogh, by St. Saviour I never kiss'd a worse.



For by All-Hallows, yet methinketh,
That All-Hallows' breath stinketh.

Palm. Ye judge All-Hallows' breath unknown: If any breath stink, it is

your Pot. I know mine own breath from All-Hallows, Or else it were time to kiss the gallows.

Pard. Nay, Sirs, here may ye see
The great toe of the Trinity;
Who to this toe any money voweth,
And once may roll it in his mouth,
All his life after I undertake,
He shall never be vex'd with the tooth-ache,

Pot. I pray you turn that relic about;
Either the Trinity had the gout ;
Or else, because it is three toes in one,
God made it as much as three toes alone,
Pard. Well, let that


this : Here is a relic that doth not miss To help the least as well as the most: This is a buttock-bonę of Penticost.

pass, and look

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Here is a box full of humble bees,
That stung Eve as she sat on her knees
Tasting the fruit to her forbidden:
Who kisseth the bees within this hidden,
Shall have as much pardon of right,
As for any relic he kiss'd this night.
Good friends, I have yet here in this glass,
Which on the drink at the wedding was

Of Adam and Eve undoubtedly:
If ye honour this relic devoutly,
Although ye thirst no whit the less,
Yet shall


drink the more, doubtless. After which drinking, ye shall be as meet To stand on your head as on your feet.”

The same sort of significant irony runs through the Apothecary's knavish enumeration of miraculous cures in his possession.

“ For this medicine helpeth one and other,

And bringeth them in case that they need no other.
Here is a syrapus de Byzansis,
A little thing is enough of this;
For even the weight of one scrippal
Shall make you as strong as a cripple.
These be the things that break all strife,
Between man's sickness and his life.
From all pain these shall you deliver,
And set you even at rest forever.
Here is a medicine no more like the same,
Which commonly is called thus by name.
Not one thing here particularly,
But worketh universally;
For it doth me as much good when I sell it,
As all the buyers that take it or smell it.
If any reward may entreat ye,
I beseech your mastership be good to me,
And ye shall have a box of marmalade,
So fine that you may dig it with a spade."

After these quaint but pointed examples of it,

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