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^ Phillis hath sworn she loves the man
That knows what's love, and love her can;
" In pride of May
The birds do sweetly sing,
With joy begin the spring.
In beauty like the spring;
More cheerfully will sing."
From “ Weelkes's Madrigals.” 1600.
The fairies do attend her,
And sweetly do commend her;
ART. VII. The Compters Common-wealth; or a
voiage made to un Infernall Iland long since discouered by many Captaines, Seafaringmen, Gentlemen, Marchants, and other Tradesmen : but the conditions, natures, and qualities of the people there inhabiting, and of those that trafficke with them, were neuer so truly expressed or liuely set foorth as by William Fennor his Majesties servant. London by Edward Griffin for George Gibbes, and are to be sold at his shoppe in Pauls Churchyard at the signe of ike Floure-de-luce. 1617. 410. pp. 85.
Deckar attacked the glaring vices roaming at large; Fennor's work is on a more confined scale.
As an unfortunate debtor he becomes acquainted with, and describes the city serjeants and jailors; the manner of an arrest, and the disorderly custom of extorting garnish and other fees in a prison. The address to the readers is inscribed « to all casheerd captaines, or other their inferiour officers, heedlesse and headlesse young gentlemen, especially elder brothers, forsaken seruing-men, roaring-boyes, bruken-citizens, country-clients or any other of what art or fashion soeuer, that shall by chance, rather mischance, be vnresistably encountred, and so become tenants against their wils, within the territories of this ensuing Common-wealth, greeting and meeting, rather at an ordinary then here. From the Compter in Wood street, 1616, Octob. 23. Yours in what he may, thus bestraited and distracted, William Fennor."" The serjeants that tooke him into eustoly are tbas described. “The one had a face ten times worse then those Jewes that are pictured in Arras
hangings hangings whipping Christ, his blacke hair hung dangling about his eares like elfelockes, that I cannot be perswaded, but some Succubus begot him on a witch; his nose was precious, richly rubified, and shined brighter than any summer's snout in Lancashire. The other of these Pagarts had a phisnomy much resembling the Sarazen’s head without Newgate, and a mouth as wide vaulted as that without Bishopsgate: I was in a great doubt whether he were an Englishman or no, for I was certified a Dane begot him on a Switzer's wife: and to make him shew the more like himselfe, his ill fauoured visage was almost eaten through with pock-holes, so that halse a parish of :children might casily haue playd at cherry-pit in his face."
The tract is divided into ten chapters. In the third Fennor is introduced to another ward, where he obtains an acquaintance that afterwards advises a publication of the secrets of the prison-house. The demand on his entrance and introduction to his new associates is thus given:
“ Sir, are you a prisoner? Yea, sir, said I, fortune and the world haue beene my heavy aduersaries, who conspiring together haue concluded that I must lie heere while the Diuine prouidence doth break the adamantine bond of my dull and Saturnine mishaps. But sir, sayd he, haue you any money? If I haue none (sayd I) make no doubt but my supplies will come in to morrow, and then what is fit to be done, I wil se satisfied: nay (said he) I must not be procrastinated, prorugued or demurred withall, I must have a garnish of you, a parcell of eighteene pence, I will not spare you if you were my father; I belevued him, therefore gaue
him faire words, desiring him to bee calmer, and the next money that I was blest withall, he should participate of: at this answer hee beganne to looke as scuruily on me, as a whore on a constable, a begger on a beadle or whipping post, as a cheater on a justice; and began to rent out three or foure three-pild, huge Basilisco oaths, that would haue torne a Roring-boyes eares in a thousand shatters, telling mee, that the quality of my vsage should hee according to the quantity of my money: which I found true, for when it drew neere bed time, he brought mee to a priuy lodging (or indeede a lodging neighbouring nigh the priuy) for the chamber stinkes worse all the yeere long, then a jakesfarmers clothes doth at twelue a clocke at night. But dayes rosiate finger had no sooner boared out the eyes of night, but I got vp, and beganne in a solitary and sadde manner to mourne and pitty myselfe, being more amazed then those that dreamed they saw hell, and had felt the tortures thereof, or those that drunke of Circe's cups, and felt themselues turning monsters. Being thus drencht in a boundlesse sea of melancholly, for the space of a fortnight or three weekes together, I resolued to walke into the yard, to see if I could espie any of my friends that were in the master-side, purposing to spend the day away in discourse, but I walkt there an houre or more, and saw none but such as were as melancholly as my selfe; so I determined to walke vp againe; but by chance I turned my head aside, and saw the cellar doore standing open, gaping to swallow any prisoner that drew neere, so hoping to finde some of my old acquaintance there, I stept downe, and being no sooner descended, but I beheld a company of gentlemen, all prisoners, setting at a square table,
making themselues exceeding merry with the musike the cans nade, being as brimfull of beere, as mine heart was of melancholly, or theirs of mirth, some hauing their pipes neuer out of their mouthes, who puft more smoake out of their noses, then euer came out of Cole-harbar chimneyes, or any brew-house in Saint Katherines : some againe singing as merrily, as if they had beene as free as the mountaine aire: I seeing them in these Bacchanaliall rages, faine would haue slipt by them, but one that sat at the vpper end of the table (hauing a can in one hand and a pipe in the other) desired me to approach and bee one of their society (protesting more kindnesse to me, then a Dutch-man will when he is drunke) so proffered me halfe a can; I tolde him I could not pledge him so much, but I would drinke a whole one in conceit; wliv quoth he, not drinke, Foot, man it is the soule of good Fellowship, the marrow of a poet's Minerua, it makes a man as valiant as Hercules, though he were as cowardly as a Frenchman when he is sober; besides I will prooue it necessary for a man to be drunke sometimes, for suppose you should kill a man when you are drunke, you should neuer be hanged for it while you are sober, therfore I thinke it is good for you to be alwaies druuk. Againe, it is the kindest companion and friendliest sin of all the seauen, for whereas most sinnes leave a man (by some accident) before his death, this trusty Trojan Drunkennesse will neuer forsake him while the breath is out of his body; and Jastly, a full bowle of sar:ke or clarret, or a can of strong beere, will drownd all sorrowes: indeed sir, said I, whether it will drownd all sorrowes or no, I am not greatly experienct in, but I am sure it will drownd our soules; yet sir, for your kindnesse I will bestow the curtesie of