0.65Kemp's Nine Days' Wonder
Performed in a morris from London to Norwich. Wherein every day's journey is pleasantly set down, to satisfy his friends the truth against all lying Ballad-makers, what he did, how he was 0.70welcome, and by whom entertained.
1The first day's journey, being the first Monday in clean Lent, from the right honorable the Lord Mayor's of London.
The first Monday in Lent, the 5close morning promising a clear day -- attended on by Thomas Sly my taborer, William Bee my servant, and George Sprat, appointed for my overseer (that 10I should take no other ease but my prescribed order) -- myself, that's I, otherwise called Cavaliero Kemp, headmaster of morris dancers, high headborough
Sion near Brainford, and mount Surrey by Norwich.
of hays, and only tricker of your tril-lills, and 15best bell-shangles between Sion and mount Surrey, began frolickly to foot it from the right honorable the Lord Mayor's of London towards the right worshipful (and truly bountiful) Master Mayor's of Norwich.
20My setting forward was somewhat before seven in the morning. My taborer struck up merrily, and as fast as kind people's thronging together would give me leave, through London I leapt. By the way, many good old people and diverse others 25of younger years, of mere kindness, gave me bowed sixpences and groats, blessing me with their hearty prayers and God-speeds.
Being past Whitechapel, and having left fair London, with all that northeast Suburb before 30named, multitudes of Londoners left not me, but -- either to keep a custom which many hold, that Mile End is no walk without a recreation at Stratford Bow with cream and cakes, or else for love they bare toward me, or perhaps to make themselves 35merry if I should chance (as many thought) to give over my morris within a mile of Mile End -- however, many a thousand brought me to Bow, where I rested a while from dancing, but had small rest with those that would have urged me to drinking. 40But I warrant you, Will Kemp was wise enough. To their full cups, kind thanks was my return, with gentlemanlike protestations, as "Truly sir, I dare not. It stands not with the congruity of my health." "Congruity," said I? How came that 45strange language in my mouth? I think scarcely that it is any Christian word, and yet it may be a good word for aught I know, though I never made it nor do very well understand it. Yet I am sure I have bought it at the wordmongers, at as 50dear a rate as I could have had a whole hundred of bavines at the woodmongers. Farewell, "congruity," for I mean now to be more concise and stand upon evener bases. But I must neither stand nor sit; the taborer strikes alarum. Tickle it, good Tom; I'll 55follow thee. Farewell Bow! Have over the bridge, where I heard say holiest Conscience was once drowned. It's pity if it were so, but that's no matter belonging to our morris. Let's now along to Stratford Langthorne.
60Many good fellows, being there met and know ing how well I loved the sport, had prepared a bear-baiting, but so unreasonable were the multitudes of people that I could only hear the bear roar and the dogs howl; therefore forward I 65went with my hay-de-gays Ilford, where I a gain rested, and was by the people of the town and country thereabout very very well welcomed, being offered carouses in the great spoon, one whole
A great spoon in Ilford holding above a quart.
draught being able at that time to have drawn my 70little wit dry. But being afraid of the old proverb "he had need of a long spoon that eats with the devil," I soberly gave my boon companions the slip.
From Ilford by moonshine I set forward, 75dancing within a quarter of a mile of Romford, where in the highway two strong jades -- having belike some great quarrel to me unknown -- were beating and biting either of other. And such, through God's help, was the good hap that I escaped their 80hoofs, both being raised with their forefeet over my head like two smiths over an anvil.
There being the end of my first day's morris, a kind gentleman of London, lighting from his horse, would have no nay but I should leap into his 85saddle. To be plain with ye, I was not proud, but kindly took his kindlier offer, chiefly thereto urged by my weariness. So I rid to my inn at Romford.
In that town, to give rest to my well-labored limbs, I continued two days, being much beholding 90to the townsmen for their love, but more to the Londoners that came hourly thither in great numbers to visit me, offering much more kindness than I was willing to accept.