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Councell to master Bartholmew Withipoll

Mine owne good Bat, before thou hoyse up saile,
To make a furrowe in the foming seas,
Content thy selfe to heare for thine availe,
Such harmelesse words, as ought thee not displease.
First in thy journey, jape not over much,
What? laughest thou Batte, bicause I write so plaine?
Beleeve me now it is a friendly touch,
To use fewe words where friendship doth remaine.
And for I finde, that fault hath runne to fast,
Both in thy flesh, and fancie too sometime,
Me thinks plaine dealing biddeth me to cast
This bone at first amid my dogrell rime.
But shall I say, to give thee grave advise?
(Which in my head is (God he knowes) full geazon)?
Then marke me well, and though I be not wise,
Yet in my rime, thou maist perhaps find reason.
First every day, beseech thy God on knee,
So to direct thy staggring steppes alway,
That he which every secrete thought doth see
May horde thee in, when thou wouldst goe astray:
And that he deigne to sende thee safe retoure,
And quicke dispatche of that whiche is thy due:
Lette this (my Batte) be bothe thy prime and houre,
Wherin also commend to Nostre Dieu,
Thy good Companion and my verie freed,
To whom I shoulde (but time woulde not permitte)
Have taken paine some ragged ryme to sende
In trustie token, that I not forget
His curtesie: but this is debte to thee,
I promysde it, and now I meane to pay:
What was I saying? sirra, will you see
How soone my wittes were wandering astraye?
I saye, praye thou for thee and for thy mate,
So shipmen sing, and though the note be playne,
Yet sure the musike is in heavenly state,
When frends sing so, and know not how to fayne.

The nexte to GOD, thy Prince have still in mynde
Thy countreys honor, and the common wealth:
And flee from them, which fled with every wynde
From native soyle, to forraine coastes by stealth:
Theyr traynes are trustlesse, tending still to treason,
Theyr smoothed tongues are lyned all with guyle,
Their power slender, scarsly woorthe two peason,
Their malice much, their wittes are full of wyle:
Eschue them then, and when thou seest them, say,
Da, da, sir K, I may not come at you,
You cast a snare your countrey to betraye,
And woulde you have me trust you now for true?
Remembre Batte the foolish blink eyed boye
Which was at Rome, thou knowest whome I meane,
Remember eke the preatie beardlesse toye,
Whereby thou foundst a safe returne to Geane,
Doe so againe: (God shielde thou shouldst have neede,)
But rather so, than to forsweare thy selfe:
A loyall hearte, (beleeve this as thy Creede)
Is evermore more woorth than worldly pelfe.
And for one lesson, take this more of mee,
There are three Ps almost in every place,
From whiche I counsell thee alwayes to flee,
And take good hede of them in any case,
The first is poyson, perillous in deede
To such as travayle with a heavie pursse:
And thou my Batte beware, for thou hast neede,
Thy pursse is lynde with paper, which is wursse:
Thy billes of credite wil not they thinkst thou,
Be bayte to sette Italyan hands on woorke?
Yes by my faye, and never worse than nowe,
When every knave hath leysure for to lurke,
And knoweth thou commest for the shelles of Christe:
Beware therefore where ever that thou go,
It may fall out that thou shalte be entiste
To suppe sometimes with a Magnifico,
And have a Fico foysted in thy dishe,
Bycause thou shouldest disgeste thy meate the better:
Beware therefore, and rather feede on fishe,
Than learne to spell fyne fleshe with such a Letter.

Some may present thee with a pounde or twaine
Of Spanishe soape to washe thy lynnen white:
Beware therefore, and thynke it were small gayne,
To save thy shirte, and cast thy skinne off quite:
Some cunning man maye teache thee for to ryde,
And stuffe thy saddle all with Spanishe wooll,
Or in thy stirrops have a toye so tyde,
As both thy legges may swell thy buskins full:
Beware therfore, and beare a noble porte,
Drynke not for thyrste before an other taste:
Lette none outlandishe Taylour take disporte
To stuffe thy doublet full of such Bumbaste,
As it may cast thee in unkindely sweate,
And cause thy haire per companie to glyde,
Straungers are fyne in many a propre feate:
Beware therefore: the seconde P. is Pryde,
More perillous than was the first by farre,
For that infects but bloud and leaves the bones,
This poysons all, and mindes of men doth marre,
It findeth nookes to creepe in for the nones:
First from the minde it makes the heart to swell,
From thence the flesh is pampred every parte,
The skinne is taught in Dyers shoppes to dwell,
The haire is curlde or frisled up by arte:
Beleeve mee Batte, our Countreymen of late
Have caughte such knackes abroade in forayne lande,
That most men call them Devils incarnate,
So singular in theyr conceites they stande:
Nowe sir, if I shall see your maistershippe
Come home disguysde and cladde in queynt araye,
As with a piketoothe byting on your lippe,
Your brave Mustachyos turnde the Turky waye,
A Coptanckt haste made on a Flemmish blocke,
A nightgowne cloake downe trayling to your toes,
A slender sloppe close couched to your docke,
A curtold slipper, and a shorte silke hose:
Bearing your Rapier pointe above the hilte,
And looking bigge like Marquise of all Beefe,
Then shall I coumpte your toyle and travayle spilte,
Bycause my seconde P, with you is cheefe.

But forwardes nowe, although I stayde a while,
My hindmost P, is worsse than bothe these two,
For it both bones and bodie doth defile,
With fouler blots than bothe those other doo.
Shorte tale to make, this P, can beare no blockes,
(God shielde me Batte, should beare it in his breast)
And with a dashe it spelleth piles and pockes
A perlous P, and woorsse than bothe the reste:
Now though I finde no cause for to suspect
My Batte in this, bycause he hath bene tryde,
Yet since such Spanish buttons can infect
Kings, Emperours, Princes and the world so wide,
And since those sunnes do mellowe men so fast
As most that travayle come home very ripe
Although (by sweate) they learne to live and last
When they have daunced after Guydoes pype:
Therfore I thought it meete to warne my frende
Of this foule P, and so an ende of Ps.
Now for thy diet marke my tale to ende,
And thanke me then, for that is all my fees.
See thou exceede not in three double Us,
The first is Wine, which may enflame thy bloud,
The second Women, such as haunte the stewes,
The thirde is Wilfulnesse, which dooth no good.
These three eschue, or temper them alwayes:
So shall my Batte prolong his youthfull yeeres,
And see long George againe, with happie dayes,
Who if he bee as faithfull to his feeres,
As hee was wonte, will dayly pray for Batte,
And for Pencoyde: and if it fall out so,
That James a Parrye doo but make good that,
Which he hath sayde: and if he bee (no, no)
The best companion that long George can finde,
Then at the Spawe I promise for to bee
In Auguste nexte, if God turne not my minde,
Where as I would bee glad thy selfe to see:
Till then farewell, and thus I ende my song,
Take it in gree, for else thou doest mee wrong.

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Councell to master Bartholmew Withipoll - GEORGE GASCOIGNE