The Water Poet Gushes, 1620

“Here is Labor, Profit, Clothing, Pleasure, Food, Navigation: Divinity, Poetry, the liberal Arts, Arm’s, Virtues defense, Vices offense, a true mans protection, a Thief’s execution. Here is mirth and matter all beaten out of this small Seed.”

-John Taylor, 1620


John Taylor

 

 

The Water Poet Gushes


In the early 1600’s a waterman working the Thames river in England wrote a epic ode. A whole book of rhymes devoted to one perfect speck. The Hemp Seed…

John Taylor worked as a water taxi man by trade ushering passengers across the Thames.  I’m sure these trips were pure entertainment for all aboard spewing classics such as “Lewd did I live, & evil I did dwel.”

He would become known as ‘The Water Poet’, as much for his love for the water as his fluid rhymes.

In 1620 he would release what he called his ‘Masterpiece’. With such passion he would write about just one thing, ‘The Hemp Seed’…

Describing all the uses from feed, fuel, cloth, shelter, weapon, judge, and the list goes on… he includes one important use, Medicine…

“Some call it Neck-weed, for it hath a trick
To cure the neck that’s troubled with the crick.
For my part all’s one, call it what you please,
It is sovereign against each Common-wealth disease,”

-John Taylor, 1620

 

Even listing some of the medical aliments Hemp was used on in 1620!

 

“With growths, Consumption’s, Palsies, Lethargies,
With apoplexies, quinzies, plurisies,
Cramps, cataracts, the tear-throat cough and tisick
From which, to health men are restored by physic,
Agves, quotidian, quarantine, tertian (fever), or
The leprosy, which all men do abhor.
The stone, strangury, botches, biles, or blaines,
Head-aches, cankers, swimming of the brains,
Ruptures, Herniation or Carnosa,
Or the Eolian hernia ventosa.

All Dropsies, Colics, Jaundices, or Scabs,
Gangreens, Ulcers, wounds, and mortal stabs.
Illiaca passioes, Migraines, Mumps, or Mange,
Contagious bloods, which through the veins do range
Scurfs, measles, murrains, fluxes, all these griefs,
Transported medicines daily bring reliefs,
Most serviceable Hempseed but for thee,
These helps for man could not thus scattered be.”

– John Taylor, 1620

 

Not only does he speak of the medical benefits of hemp, he also talks of the ‘pleasure’ the plant brings to its user, hinting at the recreational use of hemp!

 

Also contained in this ode for hemp seed is a story of a journey. Not just any journey but a epic quest with a Cheech and Chong like hempen boat!

Building a boat completely of Hemp Paper, he sailed his hempen paper boat from London to Queenborough using only ‘two stockfish tied to canes for oars’…

I can’t even make stuff like this up…

Bottom line, you want to read this, you should read this, you all need to read this…

I did my best at translating the old english for you…

‘The Praise of Hemp-seed’

By John Taylor aka ‘The Water Poet’

Published 1620


Binding


inside lining


Title sheet

‘THE PRAISE OF HEMP-SEED’

With

The Voyage of Mr. Roger Bird and the Writer hereof, in a
Boat of brown-Paper, from London to Queenborough in Kent.

As also, a Farewell to the matchless deceased Mr. Thomas Coriat.

Concluding with the commendations of the famous River of Thames.

By John Taylor.

The Contents of the Book are in the next leaf before the Preamble.

The Profits arising by Hemp-seed are}

} Clothing, Food, Fishing, Shipping, Pleasure, Profit, Justice, Whipping.

Printed at London for H. Gasson, and are to be sold at Christ Church Gate 1620

TO THE RIGHT WORSHIPFUL, Paternes and Patrons of honest endeavors, Sir Thomas Hovvet,and Sir Robert Wiseman Knights: And to the worthy
Gentleman, Mr. John Wiseman, Health, Mirth, and Happiness, be ever attendants.

NOBLE SIRS:

I Could have soiled a greater volume then this with a deal of empty and trivial stuff: as puling Sonnets, whining Elegies, the dog-tricks of Love, toy’s to mock Apes, and transform men into Asses. Which kind of writing is like a man in Authority, ancient in years, reverend in Beard, with a promising out-side of Wisdom and Gravity, yet in the expected performances of his profound understanding, his capacity speaks nothing but Mittimus. But here your Worships shall find no such stuff: for thou I have not done as I should, yet I have

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have performed as much as I could. I have not had rivers of Oil, or fountains of wine to fill this my poor cask or book: but I have (as it were) extracted oil out of steel, and wine out of dry chaff. I have here of a grain of Hemp seed made a mountain greater then the Apennines or Caucasus, and not much lesser then the whole world. Here is Labor, Profit, Clothing, Pleasure, Food, Navigation: Divinity, Poetry, the liberal Arts, Arm’s, Virtues defense, Vices offense, a true mans protection, a Thief’s execution. Here is mirth and matter all beaten out of this small Seed.

With all, my self for my self, and in the behalf of Mr. Roger Bird, do most humbly thank your Worships for many former undeserved courtesies and favors extended towards us, especially at our going our dangerous Voyage in the Paper boat: for which we must ever acknowledge our selves bound to your Goodness’s. Which voyage I have merrily related at the end of this Pamphlet, which with the rest I have made bold to dedicate to your Worshipful and worthy Patronages, humbly desiring your pardons and acceptances, ever remaining to be commanded by you and yours in all obsequiousness.

JOHN TAYLOR.

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THE CONTENTS OF THIS BOOK.

1 The most part of such Authors are nominated, as have written of trivial matters.
2 The names of most of the Pagan and Heathenish Idols, that have been and are honored at this present.
3 The profit and pleasure all Countries have by Hemp-seed.
4 How it propagates the Gospel.
5 Navigation, with the Commodities it brings and carries.
6 How many Trades and Functions live by it.
7 How when it is worn to rag’s, it is made into Paper.
8 How many live by it being Paper.
9 The sacred memory of Patriarchs, Prophets, Evangelists, Apostles, and Fathers.
10 The four Monarchies.

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11 The seven Wonders.
12 Philosophers, Historians, Chronographers, Poets ancient and modern, the best sort mentioned.
13 The Anatomy of a Brownist, or precise Amsterdam’d Puritan.
14 A Voyage in a Paper-boat to Queenborough.
15 The description of a Sea-storm.
16 The Names of the most famous Rivers in the World.
17 The praise of the noble River of Thames.

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A Preamble, Preatrot, Preagallop, Prearack, Preapace,
or Preface ; and profess my Masters, if your
Stomach’s Serve.

Book, go thy ways, and honest mirth provoke :
And Spiteful spirits with Melancholy choke.
Book, I command thee, where dost resort,
To be the bad mens terror, good mens sport.
Near as thou canst, I pray thee do not miss,
But make them understand what Hempseed is.

Me thinks I hear some knavish foolish head,
Accuse, condemn, and judge before he read:
Saying, the fellow that the fame hath made,
Is a mechanic Waterman by trade :
And therefore it cannot worth reading be,
Being compiled by such an one as he.
Another spends his censure like Tom-ladle.
(Brings in his five eggs, four of which are idle)
Mews and makes faces, yet scarce knows whats what:
Hemp-seed (quoth he) what can be writ of that?

Thus these depraving minds their judgements scatter
Either against the Writer or the Matter.
But let them (if they please) read this Preamble,
And they will find that I have made a scramble.

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To shew my poor plenteous want of skill,
How Hemp-seed doth deserve, preserve, and kill.
I muse that never any excellent wit
Of this forgotten subject yet hath writ.
The Theme is rich, although esteemed mean,
Not scurrilous, profane, nor yet obscene.
And such as task may well become a quill
To blaze it, that hath all the grounds of skill.
This work were no dishonor or abuse,
To Homer, Ouid, or to Maroes Muse.
A thousand Writers for their art renowned
Have made far better things their studies ground.
That men have cause to rail against fruitless Rimes,
(Vainly compiled in past and present times,)
And say, O Hemp-seed, how art thou forgotten
By many Poets that are dead and rotten?
And yet how many will forget them still
Till they put on a Tyburne Pickadill.
Erasmus, that great Clerk of Rotterdam,
In praise of Folly many lines did frame:
The sum and pith of all his whole intents
Shows Fools are guilty, and yet Innocents.
Another, briefly, barely did relate
The naked honor of a bare bald Pate:
And for there’s not a hair twixt(between) them and heaven,
The title of tall men to them is given:
And sure they put their foes in such great dread,
That none dares touch a hair upon their head.
Montgomery, a fine scholar did compile
The Cherry and the Sloe in learned style.
Homer wrote bravely of the Frog and Rat,
And Virgil versified upon a Gnat.
Ovid set forth the Art of lustful Love.
Another wrote the Treatise of the Dove.
One with the Grasshopper doth keep a rut.
Another rhymes upon a Hazel Nut.
One with a neat Sophistic Paradox
Sets forth the commendations of the Pox.

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Senior Inamorato’s Muse doth sing
In honor of his Mistress Glove or Ring,
Her Mask, her Fane, her Pantofle, her Glass,
Her Any thing, can turn him to an Ass.
Pliny and Aristotle write of Bees.
Some write of Beggeries twenty four degrees.
One of the Owl did learnedly indite,
And brought the Night bird welcome to day-light.
A second did defend with tooth and nail,
The strange contentment men may find in Jail.
A third doth the third Richard much commend,
And all his bloody actions doth defend.
A fourth doth shew his wits exceeding quickness,
In praise of Tavern-healths and Drunken sickness.
A fifth doth toil his Muse quite out of breath,
Of adverse Fortune, banishment or death.
A sixth the very Firmament doth harrow,
Writes of the Parrot, Popinjay and Sparrow,
The Stork, the Cuckoo : Nothing can escape,
The Horse, the Dog, ass, fox, ferret, and the ape.
Monsieur de Gallia, writes all night till noon,
Commending highly Tennis or Balloon.
Anothers Muse as high as Luna flies,
In praise of hoarseness, dropsies, and bleary-eyes.
The Gout, Sciatica, scabbed hams, small legs:
Of thread-bare cloaks, a jews-trump, or poached eggs.
One, all his wit at once, in Rhyme discloses
The admirable honor of red-noses:
And how the nose magnificent doth bare
A tincture, that did never color fear.
One doth hear of it throughout our coast,
The virtue of muld-sack, and ale and toast.
Another takes great pains with ink and pen,
Approving fat men are true honest men.
One makes the haughty vauty welkin ring
In praise of Custards, and a bag-pudding.
Another, able scribbles ink and paper,
Exalting Dancing, makes his Muse to caper.

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Anothers humor will nothing allow
To bee more profitable then a Cow,
Licking his lips, in thinking that his time
is milk, cheese, butter, whey, whig, curds, and creame,
Leather and Veal, and that which is most chief
Tripes, chitterlings, or fresh powdered beef.
A number have contagiously rehearsed
And on Tobacco vaporized and versed,
Maintaining that it was a drug divine
Fit to be served by all the Sisters nine.
Yet this much of it, I shall ever think,
The more men stir in it, the more ’twill stink.
A learned Knight, of much esteem and worth,
A pamphlet of a Privy did set forth,
Which strong breathed Ajax was well liked, because
Twas writ with wit and did deserve applause.
One wrote the Nightingale and laboring Ant,
Another of the Flea and the Elephant.
Tom Nash a witty pamphlet did indite
In praise of Herrings, both the red and write.
And some have writ of Maggots and of Flies
A world of fables, fooleries, and lies.
And this rare Hempseed that such profit brings,
To all estates of subjects, and of Kings,
Which rich commodity if man should lack,
He were not worth a shirt unto his back.
And shall it no triumphant honor have,
But lie dead, buried in oblivion’s grave?
Some critics will perhaps my writing tax
With falsehood, and maintain their shirts are flax,
To such as those, my answer shall be this,
That Flax the male and Hemp the female is,
And their engineering procreative seed
A thousand thousand helps for man doth breed.
And as a man by glancing up his eye
Sees in the air a flock of wild Geese fly:
And duck, and woodcocks, of both sexes be
Though men do name but one, for beauty.

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There’s ganders amongst the geese, hens with the cocks,
Drakes with the ducks, all male and female stocks,
The Ewe, the Ram, the Lamb, and the fat weather,
In general are called sheep together.
Harts, Stags, Bucks, Doe’s, Hinds, Roes, Fawns, everywhere
Are in the generality called Deer.
So Hemp and Flax, or which you list to name
Are male and female, both one, and the same.
Those that against these comparisons divide,
And will not with my lines be satisfied,
Let them imagine ever they do condemn
I love to play the fool with such as them.
The cause why Hempseed hath endured this wrong
And hath its worthy praise obscured so long,
I do suppose it to be only this
That Poets know their insufficience is,
That were earth Paper, and Sea ink, they know
It were not enough great Hempseeds worth to show.
I muse the Pagans, with variety,
Of godless Gods, made it no Deity.
The Egyptians to a Bull, they Apes named
A temple most magnificent they framed,
The Ibis, Crocodile, a cat, a dog,
The Hippopotamus, beetles, or a frog.
Ichneumons, dragons, the wolf, asp, eel, and Ram,
(Base beastly gods, for such cursed sons of Cham,)
Who were so with Idolatry misled,
They worshiped Onions, and a garlic head.
King Jeroboam for his gods did take,
Two golden calves, and the true God forsake.
The Philistines, and the Assyrians,
The Persians, and Babylonians,
Samaritans, and the Arabians,
The Thebans, Spartans, and Athenians,
The Indians, Parthians, and the Libyans
The Britain’s, Galileans, and Hibernians :
Since the first Chaos, or creation
Idolatry hath crept in every Nation,
And as the devil did mens minds inspire,
Some worshiped, earth, some air, or water, fire,

 

 

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Winds, Rivers, Rainbow, Stars, and Moon and Sun:
Ceres, and Bacchus riding on his tun,
Mars, Saturn, Love, Apollo, Mercury ;
Priapus and the Queen of lechery,
Vulcan, Diana, Pluto, Proserpine,
Pomona, Neptune, and Pans piping shrine:
Old Beldam Berecynthia : Stones and Trees
Bewitched creatures worshiped on their knees.
Baal, Beelzebub, Nisroth, the Devil, and Dagon,
Ashtaroth, Rimmon, Belus, Bell, the Dragon:
Flies, fools, hawks, madmen; any thing they saw:
Their very Privies they did serve with awe:
And they did sacrifice at sundry feasts
Their children unto devils, stocks, stones and beasts.
Oh had these men the worth of Hempseed known,
Their blinded zeal (no doubt) they would have shown
In building Temples, and would alters frame,
Like Ephesus to great Dianaes name.
And therefore Merchants, Mariners, people all
Of all trades, on your marrow bones down fall:
For you could neither rise, or bite or sup,
If noble Hempseed did not hold you up.
And Reader now I think it is fit time
To come unto the matter with my rhyme.
But judge not till you have well read and scanned.
And asked your selves if you do understand:
And if you can, do but this favor shew
Make no ill faces, cry not tush and mew:
For though I dare not brag, I dare maintain
True censurers will judge I have tane pain.
Unto the wife I humbly do submit:
For those that play the fools for want of wit,
My poor revenge against them still shall be,
I’ll laugh at them whilst they do scoff at me.

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THE PRAISE OF HEMP-SEED:

Sweet sacred Muses, my invention raise
unto the life, to write great Hempseeds praise.
This grain grows to a stalk, whose coat or skin
Good industry doth hatchel, twist, and spin,
And for mans best advantage and avails
It makes clothes, cordage, halters, ropes and sails.
From this small Atom, mighty matters springs,
It is the Art of navigation’s wings;
It spreads aloft, the lofty sky it scales,
Flies over the great Leviathan and Whales,
Dives to the boundless bottom of the deep,
Where Neptune doth amongst dreadful monsters keep.
From Pole to pole, it cuts both Seas and Skies,
From the orient to the occident it flies.
Kings that are sundried fair, by Seas and Lands,
It makes them in a manner to shake hands.
It fills our Land with plenty wonderful,
From the Eastern Indies from the great Mogul,
From France, from Portugal, from Venice, Spain,
From Denmark, Norway, it scuds over the main,
Unto this Kingdom it doth wealth accrue
From beyond China, far beyond Peru.
From Belgian, Alemania, the West Indies, and
From Guinea, Binea, Island, Newfound-land,

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This little seed is the great instrument
To shew the power of God Omnipotent,
Whereby the glorious Gospel of his Son,
Millions misled souls hath from Satan won.
Those that knew no God in the times of yore,
Now they their great Creator do adore.
And many that did think they did do well
To give themselves a sacrifice to Hell,
And served the Devil with the inhumane slaughters,
Of their unhappy hapless sons and daughters,
Now they the remnant of their lives do frame
To praise their Makers and Redeemers name.
Witness Virginia; witness many mo,
Witness our selves few hundred years ago,
When in Religion, and in barbarous natures,
We were poor wretched misbelieving creatures.
How had Gods Preachers sailed to sundry coasts,
To instruct men how to know the Lord of Hosts?
But for the Sails which he with wind doth fill.
As Servants to accomplish his great will.
But leaving this high supernatural strain,
I’ll talk of Hempseed in a lower vain.
How should we have gold, silver, gems, or jewels,
Wine, oil, spice, rice, and divers sorts of fouls:
Food for the belly, clothing for the back,
Sile, Satin, Velvet, any thing we lack,
To serve necessities? How should we get
Such sorts of plenteous fish, but with the net?
The Smelt, Roach, Salmon, Flounder and the Dace,
Would in fresh rivers keep their dwelling place.
The Ling, Cod, Herring, Sturgeon, such as these
Would live and die in their own native Seas.
Without this seed the Whale could not be caught,
Whereby our oils are out of Greenland brought.

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Nay weren’t not for the net made of this seed,
Men could not catch a Sprat whereon to feed.
Besides, it liberally each where bestows
A living upon thousands where it grows;
As beaters, Spinners, Weavers, and a crew
Of haltermakers which could scarce live true,
But for the employment which this little grain
Doth use them in, and pays them for their pain.
The Rope makers, the Net makers, and all
Would be trade slain, for their trade would fall.
Besides, what multitudes of Fishers are
In every Sea-town, numbers past compare,
Whilest they their servants, children, and their wives
From Hempseeed get their living all their lives.
The Fish-mongers would quickly go to wrack,
The lack of this seed would be their great lack,
And being now rich, and in good reputation,
They would have neither Hall nor Corporation.
And all that they could buy, or sell, or barter,
Would scarce be worth a Gubbin once a quarter.
The mounting Lark, that seems so high to fly,
until she seems no greater then a Fly;
And to the flaming Sun doth chirp and prate,
Doth in the net come to her ending date.
My neighbor Woodcock, buzzard and the Gull,
And Philip Sparrow all most plentiful.
All sorts of fair fowl, or the foulest fowl,
From the degree of the Eagle to the Owl,
Are with ingenuous gins, grins, nets and snares
For mans relief oft taken unawares:
Deers, Hares, and Conies would too much abound,
And over-run the bearing breeding bound,
And Weasels, Polcats, Wildcats, Stoats and such
Like spoiling Vermin, would annoy men much,

 

 

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But for toils, hays, for traps, for snares and grins,
Which brings vs food, and profit by their skins.
No Plowman lives beneath the azure Cope,
But for his plough or cart must use the rope:
No Hostler lives in ours, or other Lands,
But makes the halters Horses falling bands.
Bells would hang dead within the lofty steeple
And never call to Church forgetful people,
Mute like a bagpipe, that hath lost his bag,
Except the Bell ropes made the clappers wag.
It were an endless task to go about it,
To reckon those that cannot live without it.
Alas what would our silken Mercers be?
What could they do (sweet Hempseed) but for thee?
Rash, Taffeta, Paropa, and Novato,
Shagg, Fillizetta, Damask and Mockado,
No Velvets, Piles, two Piles, pile and half Pile,
No Plush, or Grograines could adorn this isle,
No cloth of silver, Gold, or Tissue, here:
Philip and Cheiny never would appear
Within our bounds, nor any Flanders-serge
Could ever come within our Kingdoms verge:
Should Mercers want these things with divers more
Their trade were nothing or else very poor.
This seed doth help the Grocer every season,
Or else his wisdom could not yield a reason ;
He could not long be Currant in his state,
And (scarcely worth a fig) would end his Date.
For Cloves his credit would be cloven quick,
Nor from the loaf or lump, his lips could lick:
No Nutmegs, Liquors, or biting grains,
Or Almonds for a Parrot, were his gains,
Sans Ginger weakly he would run his Race,
And Poultry Mace, would put down Indian Mace:

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And he unable (through his want of self)
To pepper us, or yet to prune himself.
The Draper of his wealth would much be shorted.
But that our clothes and curtsy’s are transported,
Our cottons, penistones, frizadoes, baze,
Our sundry sorts of frizes, blacks and grays.
And linen Drapers but for transportation,
Could hardly Canvase out their occupation.
Hempseed doth yield or else it doth allow
Lawn, Cambrick, Holland Canvas, Callico,
Normandy, Hambrough, strong poledauis, Lockram.
And to make up the Rhyme (with reason) Buckram.
The Goldsmiths trade would totter and unsettle,
And he could be a man of no good mettle,
Were’t not for Sails and Ropes that Ships do rig,
That bring gold, silver, many a Sow and Pig;
Which makes them by an admirable skill
To live by that which many a Horse doth kill,
Which is the Fashions; for continually
They sell the fashion, but they seldom buy.
And brave wine Merchants, little were your gain,
By Mallegoes, Canaries Sack from Spain,
Sweet Elegant, and the concocted Cute,
Hollock and Tent would be of small repute;
Your Bastards their own Fathers would forget,
Nor they our Gossips lips no more would wet.
The wind no Muskadine could hither bandy,
Or sprightfull Malmesey out of fruitful Candy.
Liatica or Corsica could not
From their own bearing breeding bounds be got.
Peter-se-mea, or head strong Charnico,
Sherry, nor Rob-o-Dauy here could flow.
The French Frontiniack, Claret, Red nor White,
Graves nor High-Country could our hearts delight.

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No Gascoygne, Orleance, or the Chrystal Sherrant
Nor Rhenish from the Rheine would be apparent.
Thus Hempseed, with these wines, our land doth spread
Which if we want, wine Merchants trades were dead.
The Vintners trade were hardly worth a rush
Unable to hang up a sign, or bush;
And weren’t not for this small forgotten grain
Their conjuring at midnight would be vain.
Anon, anon, would be forgotten soon,
And he might score a pudding in the Moon,
But not a pint of Claret in the Sun,
Because the empty hogshead could not run.
His blushing lattice would look pale and wan,
Nor could he long be a well liquored man:
No more could all his regiments of pots
Affright men daily, with scores, bills, and shots.
The Tailors trade would hardly get them bread
If Hempseed did not furnish them with thread;
And though it be a terror to most thieves
Yet it this occupation never grieves,
They love it, black, brown, yellow, green, red, blue,
Which is a sign, that Tailors must be true:
The worthy Company, of warm lined Skinners
Would in short space be miserable sinners
If Hempseed did not oft supply their boxes
With Russian Sables, Minivers and Foxes :
With Bears, & Badgers; and rare powdered Ermines,
And with the skins of divers beasts and Vermin’s.
The Haberdasher of small ware, would be
In a small time, a man of small degree:
If Hempseed did not help him by the great,
Small would his gains be, to buy clothes or meat.
Then might his wares be rightly termed small
Which would by either few or none at all.

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And Dyers though you do no colors fear,
‘Tis Hempseed that doth you to riches rear,
Woad, Madder, Indico, and Cutcheneale,
Brazil, and Logwood, and abundant deal
Of drugs, which did they not your wants supply,
You could not live, because you could not die.
Apothecaries were not worth a pin,
If Hempseed did not bring their comings in;
Oils, unguents, Syrups, Minerals, and Balms,
(All Natures treasures, and the Almighties almes,)
Emplasters, Simples, Compounds, sundry drugs
With Necromantic names like fearful Bugs,
Fumes, Vomits, purges, that both cures, and kills,
Extractions, conserves, preserves, potions, pills,
Elixirs, simples, compounds, distillations,
Gums in abundance, brought from foreign nations.
And all or most of these forenamed things
Help, health, preservatives; and riches brings.
There’s many a Gallant dallying with a Drab,
Hath got the Spanish pip, or Naples scab,
The Galliæ Morbus or the Scottish fleas,
Or English Pox, for all’s but one disease.
And though they were perfumed with Civet hot
Yet wanting these things they would stink and rot,
With growths, Consumption’s, Palsies, Lethargies,
With apoplexies, quinzies, plurisies,
Cramps, cataracts, the tear-throat cough and tisick
From which, to health men are restored by physic,
Agves, quotidian, quarantine, tertian (fever), or
The leprosy, which all men do abhor.
The stone, strangury, botches, biles, or blaines,
Head-aches, cankers, swimming of the brains,
Ruptures, Herniation or Carnosa,
Or the Eolian hernia ventosa.

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All Dropsies, Colics, Jaundices, or Scabs,
Gangreens, Ulcers, wounds, and mortal stabs.
Illiaca passioes, Migraines, Mumps, or Mange,
Contagious bloods, which through the veins do range
Scurfs, measles, murrains, fluxes, all these griefs,
Transported medicines daily bring reliefs,
Most serviceable Hempseed but for thee,
These helps for man could not thus scattered be.
Tobaccos fire would soon be quenched out,
Nor would it lead men by the nose about:
Nor could the Merchants of such Heathen Docks
From small beginnings purchase mighty stocks:
By follies daily dancing to their pipe
Their states from rotten stinking weeds grow ripe;
By which means they have into Lordships run
The Clients being beggared and, undone :
Who having smoked their Land, to fire and air
They whiff and puff themselves into despair
Ouid amongst all his Metamorphosis
Never knew a transformation like to this,
Nor yet could Oedipus evre understand,
How to turn Land to smoke, and smoke to Land.
For by the means of this bewitching smother,
One Element is turned into another,
As Land to fire, fire into Air matter,
From air (too late repenting) turns to water.
By Hempseed thus, fire water, air, earth, all
Are changed by pudding, leaf, roll, pipe and ball.
Lip licking Comfit-makers, by whose trade,
Dainties come thou to me are quickly made ;
Baboons, and hobby-horses, and owls, and apes,
Swans, geese, dogs, woodcocks, & a world of shapes,
Castles for Ladies, and for Carpet Knights,
unmercifully spoiled at feasting fights,

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Where battering bullets are fine sugared plums,
No fear of roaring guns, or thundering drums:
There’s no tantra, sa sa sa, or force,
Of man to man, or warlike horse to horse;
No mines, no countermines, no pallizados,
No parrapets, or secret ambuscadoes,
Of blood and wounds, and dismal piercing lances
Men at this fight are free from such mischances.
For many gallants gilded swords do wear,
Who fight these battles without wit or fear:
All striving as they did for honor thirst,
All greedy which can give the onset first;
Each one contending in this Candied coil,
To take most prisoners, and put up most spoil.
Retiring never when they do assail,
But most adventurously with tooth and nail,
Raze, ruinate, demolish, and confound,
The surgred fabric level with the ground.
And having laid the buildings thus along,
They swallow down, and pocket up the wrong.
That who so that way afterwards do pass,
Can see no sign where such a Castle was:
For at these wars most commonly ’tis seen,
Away the victors carry all things clean.
It fortunes in these battles now and then
Women are better Soldiers far then men:
Such sweet mouth’d fights as these do often fall
After a Christening, or a Funeral.
Thus Hemp the Comfit-makers doth supply,
From them that newly live, and newly die.
If the black Indians or Newcastle coals
Came not in Fleets, like fishes in the sholes,
The rich in gowns and rugs themselves might fold,
But thousands of the poor might starve with cold.

 

 

Left page- This page may have invented the typing smiley face, at least 1620, prove me otherwise

 

Smiths, Brewers, Divers, all estates that lives,
This little seed service or comfort gives.
For why, our Kingdom could not serve our turn,
For London’s use, with wood seven years to burn:
And which way then could coals supply our need,
But by the Almighties bounty and this seed?
You brave Neptunians, you salt water crew,
Sea-plowing Mariners; I speak to you:
From Hemp you for your selves and others gain
Your Sprit-sail, fore-sail, top-sail, & your main,
Top, and top-gallant, and your mizzen abaft,
Your coursers, bonnets, drablers, fore and aft,
The sheats, tacks, boliens, braces, halliars, ties,
Shrowds, rattlings, lanyards, tackles, lifts, and guise,
Your martlines, ropeyarns, gaskets, and your stays,
These for your use, small Hemp-seed up doth raise:
The boirope, boatrope, guestrope, catrope, portrope
The bucket-rope, the boat-rope, long or short rope,
The entering-rope, the top-rope (and the rest
Which you that are acquainted with know best
The lines to sound in what depth you slide,
Cables and hawsers, by which ships do ride:
All these, and many more then I can name,
From this small seed, good industry doth frame.
Ships, Barkes, Hoyes, Drumlers, Craires, Boats, all would sink,
But for the Oakum caulked in every chink.
The unmatched Loadstone, and best figured Maps
Might show where foreign Countries are (perhaps)
The Compass (being rightly touched) will show
The thirty two points where the winds do blow;
Men with the Jacobs staff, and Astrolabe
May take the height and circuit of the Globe:
And sundry Art-like instruments look clear
In what Horizon, or what Hemisphere.

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Men sail in through the raging ruthless deep,
And to what coast, such and such course to keep;
Guessing by the Arctic, or Antarctic stare,
Climates and countries being never so fare.
But what can these things be of price or worth
To know degrees, heights, depths, East W. S. North
What are all these but shadows, and vain hopes,
If ships do either want their Sails or Ropes?
And now here I offend, I must confess
A little from my theme I will digress;
Striving in verse to shew a lively form
Of an impetuous gust, or deadly storm.
Where uncontrolled Hyperborean blasts
Tears all to tatters, Tacklings, Sails, and Masts;
Where boisterous puffs of Every breath did his
And amongst our shrouds and cordage widely whiz;
Where thundering Jove amidst his lightning flashing
Seem’d overwhelm’d with Neptune’s mountain dashing
Where glorious Titan hath his burning light,
Turning his bright Meridian to black night:
Where blustering Eel blew confounding breath,
And thunders fearful larva threatened death,
Where Skies, and Seas, Hail, Wind, and slavering Sleet
As if they all at once had meant to meet
In fatal opposition, to expire
The world, and unto Chaos back retire.
Thus whist the Winds and Seas contending gods,
In rough robustious fury are at odds,
The beaten ship tossed like a forceless feather,
Now up, now down, & no man knowing whither:
The Topmast some time tilting at the Moon,
And being up doth fall again as soon.
With such precipitating low descent,
As if to hells black Kingdom down she went.

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Poor ship that rudder, or no steerage feels,
Sober, yet worse then any Drunkard reels,
Unmanaged, guidless, too and fro she wallows,
Which (seemingly) the angry billows swallows.
Midst darkness, lightning, thunder, sleet, and rain,
Remorseless winds and, mercy-wanting Maine,
Amazement, horror, dread from each mans face
Had chased away lives blood, and in the place
Was sad despair, with hair heaved up upright
With ashy visage, and with sad affright,
As if grim Death with his all-murdering dart,
Had aiming been at each mans bloodless heart,
Out cries the Master, lower the top-sail, lower,
Then up aloft runs scambling three or four,
But yet for all their hurly burly hast,
Ever they got up, down tumbles Sail and Mast.
Veer the main sheat there, then the Master cried,
Let rise the fore tack, on the Larboard side:
Take in the fore-sail, yar, good fellows, yar,
Aluff at helm there, where no more, beware.
Steer South, South East there, I say where, no more,
We are in danger of the Leeward shore,
Clear your main brace, let go the bole in there,
Port, port, the helm hard, Romer come no near.
Sound, sound, heave, heave the lead, what depth, what depth?
Fathom and a half, three all,
Then with a whiff, the winds again do puff,
And then the Master cries aluff, aluff,
Make ready the anchor, ready the anchor hoe,
Clear, clear the buoy rope, steady, well steered, so;
Hale up the boat, in Sprit-sail there afor,
Blow wind and burst, and then thou wilt give over,
Aluff, clap helm a lee, yea, yea, done, done,
Down, down alow, into the hold, quick run.

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There’s a plank sprung, something in hold did break,
Pump bullies, Carpenters, quick stop the leak.
Once heave the lead again, and sound abaff,
A shafnet less, seven all.
Let fall, the Anchor there, let fall,
Man man the boat, a woat hale, up hale,
Top yer main yard, a port, veer cable alow,
Ge way a head the boat there hoe, dee row,
Well pumped my hearts of gold, who says amends
East and by South, West and by North she wends.
This was a weather with a witness here,
But now we see the skies begin to clear,
To dinner hey, and lets at anchor ride,
Till winds grow gentler, and a smother tide.

“I think I have spoken Heathen, Greek Utopian, or Bermudian,
to a great many of my readers, in the description of this storm,
but indeed I wrote it only for the understanding Mariners
reading. I did it three years since, and could not find a fitter
place then this to insert it, or else it must have lain in silence.
But to proceed to my former theme of Hemp-seed.”

The Shoe-maker and Cobbler with their Ends
One always makes, and the other ever mends:
Take away Hemp, the sole and upper leather
I know could never well be sowed together.
And for the Cobbler it appeareth plain
That he’s the better workman of the twain,
For though a Shoemaker in art excel,
And makes his shoes and boots never so well:
Yet evermore it is the Cobblers trade
To mend the work the Shoemaker hath made.
The Cobbler (like a Justice takes) delight
To set men that do walk aside, upright.

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And though he look black as he carried coals,
He daily mendeth desperate wicked soles:
Though Crowns and Angels may perhaps be scant,
Yet stores of pieces he doth never want:
And let his work be ended well or ill,
Here’s his true honor, he is mending still.
And this his life and occupation is,
And thus he may thank Hempseed for all this.
For Hempseed if men rightly understand,
Is known the greatest Justice in a Land:
How could men travel safely, here and there,
If Hempseed did not keep a Thief in fear;
No man within his house could live or rest
For villains, that would pilfer and molest,
And break down walls, and rifle chests and trunks
To maintain drinking, dicing, knives and Punks:
That many a one that’s wealthy over night,
Would ever the break of day be beggared quite:
Worth thousands lately, now not worth a groat,
And hardly scrapes the cutting of his throat.
No doubt but many a man doth live and thrive,
Which (but for Hemp seed) would not be alive;
And many a wife and Virgin doth escape
A rude deflowering, and a barbarous rape:
Because the halter in their minds do run,
By whom these damned deeds would else be done.
It is a bulwark to defend a Prince.
It is a Subjects Armour and defense:
No Poniard, Pistol, Halberd, Pike, or Sword
Can such defensive or sure guard afford.
There’s many a Rascal that would rob, purloin,
Pick pockets, and cut purses, clip and coin,
Do any thing, or all things that are ill,
If Hempseed did not curb his wicked will.

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‘Tis not the breath or letter of the Law
That could keep Thieves rebellious wills in awe;
For they (to save their lives can use persuasions.
Tricks, sleights, reprieves, and many strange evasions.
But trick, reprive, or sleight nor any thing
Could ever go beyond a Hempen string.
This is Laws period, this at first was made
To be sharp Justice executing blade.
This string the Hangman monthly keeps in tune,
More then the Cuckoos song in May or June,
It doth his wardrobe, coin and stock uprear,
In every month and quarter of the year.
Besides it is an easy thing to prove,
It is a sovereign remedy for love:
As thus, suppose your thoughts at hourly strife
Half mad, and almost weary of your life,
All for the love of some fair female creature,
And that you are entangled with her feature,
That you are sad, and glad, and mad and tame,
Seeming to burn in frost, and freeze in flame,
In one breath, sighing, singing, laughing, weeping,
Dream as you walk, and waking in your sleeping,
Accounting hours for years, and months for ages,
Till you enjoy her, that your heart encages,
And she hath sent you answers long before
That her intent is not to be your whore:
And you (for your part) mean upon your life
Never while you live to take her for your wife.
To end this matter, thus much I assure you,
A Tyburn hempen caudell well will cure you.
It can cure Traitors, but I hold it fit
To applied are they the treason do commit:
Wheres for in Sparta it yclept was,
Snickup, which is in English Gallow-grass.

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The Libyans called it Reeva, which implies
It makes them die like birds twixt earth and skies,
The name of Choak-wort is to it assigned,
Because it stops the venom of the mind.
Some call it Neck-weed, for it hath a trick
To cure the neck that’s troubled with the crick.
For my part all’s one, call it what you please,
It is sovereign against each Common-wealth disease,
And I do wish that it may cure all those
That are my Sovereigns and my Countries foes.
And further, I would have them searched and seen
With care and skill when as their wounds be green,
For if they do to a Gangrene run,
There’s little good by Hempseed can be done;
For could I know mens hearts, I hold it reason
To hang a Traitor in his thought of treason:
For if his thought do grow unto an act
It helps not much to hang him for the fact.
But that example may a terror strike
To others, that would else attempt the like.
To end this point of Hempseed, thus in brief
It helps a trueman, and it hangs a Thief.
Rates, Imposts, Customs of the Custom-house
Would at the best rate scarce be worth a Louse:
Goods in and out, which daily ships do freight,
By guess by tale, by measure and by weight,
Which yearly to such mighty sums amount,
In number numberless: or past account:
Weren’t not for Hempseed, it doth plain appear
These profits would not be a groat a year.
Columbus, Cortois, Magellan, and Drake,
Did with this seed their great discoveries make.
Brave Hawkins, Baskerville, Cavendish, Fennor, Best.
Smith, Sherley, Rawleigh, Newport, and the rest,

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Web, Towerson, Willoughby, Sir Thomas Roe,
The Lord ‘la Ware, Frobusher, many moe.
Nichols, and Malum, Rolphe, and Midleton,
And Sir James Lancaster, and Withringhton.
And all the worthy things that these men did
Without this seed had bin undone, and hid,
Fame never had trumpeted their noble fames
And quite forgotten were their acts and names.
The worlds seven wonders, weren’t not for this grain
In poor remembrance, or forgot had lain,
The walls of Babel, sixty miles about,
Two hundred foot in height, thick fifty foot:
Which Queen Semiramis in state did rear,
Employed three hundred thousand men ten year.
Nor the great Image that at Rhodes was made
Whose metal did nine hundred Camels laid.
The Pyramids of Egypt, so renowned
At the foot in compass forty acres ground:
The which in making twenty years did then
Employ at work thirty six thousand men.
The Tomb of Mausol, King of Carea
Built by his Queen, (kind Artemisia)
So wondrous made by art and workmanship
That skill of man could never it outstrip;
‘Twas long in building, and it doth appear
The charges of it full two millions were.
Dianas Temple built at Ephesus
Had been unheard of, and unknown to us,
Which was two hundred twenty years in building
With marble pillars and most sumptuous gilding.
The Image of Olympic Jupiter,
Had from Achaya not been famed so far.
Nor pharaohs Watch tower which the world renowns
Which cost 400. Fourscore thousand crowns.

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Thus without Hemp-seed we had never known
These things, nor could they to the world be shown.
O famous Coriat, hadst thou come again
Thou wouldst have told us news, direct and plain,
Of Tigers, Elephants, and Antelopes
And thousand other things as thick as hops,
Of men with long tails, faced like to hounds,
Of oysters, one whose fish weighed forty pounds,
Of spiders greater then a walnut shell
Of the Rhinoceros thou wouldst us tell,
Of horses tame with hawks, of bears of bulls,
Of men with ears a span long, and of gulls,
As great as Swans, and of a bird called Ziz (ostrich)
Whose egg will drowned some threescore villages.
Of cranes, and pygmies, lizards, buzzards, owls,
Of swine with horns, of thousand beasts and fowls.
All these and more then I to mind can call
Thou wouldst have told us, and much more then all,
But that our expectations were prevented,
By death, which makes thy friends much discontented.
But farewell Thomas, never to return
Rest thou in peace within thy foreign yearn,
Hempseed did bear thee over the raging from
And O I wish that it had brought thee home,
For if thou hadst come back, as I did hope,
Thy fellow had not been beneath the Cope.
But we must loose that which we cannot save.
And freely leave thee whom we cannot have.
Moreover, Hempseed hath this virtue rare
In making bad ground good, good corn to bare,
It fats the earth, and makes it to excel
No dung, or marl, or muck can do it so well:
For in that Land which bares this happy seed
In three years after it no dung will need.

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But sow that ground with barley, wheat, or rye
And still it will increase abundantly;
Besides, this much I of my knowledge know
That where Hemp grows, no stinking weed can grow,
No cockle, darnel, henbane, tare, or nettle
Near where it is can prosper, spring, or settle,
For such antipathy is in this seed,
Against each fruitless undeserving weed,
That it with fear and terror strikes them dead,
Or makes them that they dare not shew their head.
And as in growing it all weeds doth kill
So being grown, it keeps it nature still,
For good mens uses serves & still releives
And yields good whips and ropes for rogues and thieves.
I could rehearse of trades a number more
Which but for Hempseed quickly would grow poor;
As Saddlers for their elks-hair to stuff their saddles,
And girdles, and a thousand fiddle faddles;
But that Ill put my Reader out of doubts,
What a rich thing it is being worn to clouts:
For now how it to Paper doth convert
My poor unable Muse shall next insert.
And therefore noble and ignoble men
Judge gently of the progress of my pen,
In forma pauperis, poor men may sue,
And I in form of paper speak to you.
But paper now’s the subject of my book,
And from whence paper its beginning took;
How that from little Hemp and flaxen seeds,
Ropes, halters, drapery, and our nappery breeds,
And from these things by art and true endeavor,
All paper is derived, whats so ever.
For when I think but how is paper made
Into Philosophy I straight ways wade:

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How here, and there, and every where lies scattered,
Old ruined rotten rags, and ropes all tattered.
And some of these poor things perhaps hath been
The linen of some Countess or some Queen,
Yet lies now on the dunghill, bare and poor
Mixed with the rags of some baud, thief, or whore.
And as these things have been in better states
Adorning bodies of great Potentates,
And lies cast off, despised, scorned, dejected,
Trod under foot, contemned and unrespected,
By this our understandings may have seeing
That earthly honor hath no certain being.
For who can tell from whence these tatters springs?
May not the torn shirt of a Lords or Kings
Be mashed and beaten in the Paper mill
And made Pot-paper by the workmans skill?
May not the linen of a Tyburn slave,
More honor then a mighty Monarch have:
That though he died a Traitor most disloyal
His shirt may be transformed to Paper-royal?
And may not dirty socks from off the feet
From thence be turned to a Crown-paper sheet?
And dunghill rags, by favor, and by hap,
May be advanced aloft to sheets of cap?
As by desert, by favor and by chance
Honor may fall, and beggery may advance,
Thus are these tatters allegorical
Tropes, types, and figures, of mans rise or fall.
Thus may the reliques of sincere Divines
Be made the ground-work of lascivious lines,
And the cast smock that chaste Lucretia wore
Bear body lines betwixt a knave and whore.
Thus may a Brownists zealous ruff in print
Be turned to Paper, and a play writ in it.

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Or verses of a May-pole, or at last
Injunctions for some stomach hating Fast.
And truly it were profane and great abuse,
To turn the brethren linen to such use,
As to make Paper on it to bare a song,
Or Print the Superstitious Latin tongue,
Apocrypha, or Ember-weeks, or Lent,
No holy brother surely will consent
To such Idolatry, his spirit and zeal
Will rather trouble Church, and common-weal.
He hates the Fathers works, and had much rather
To be a bastard, then to have a Father.
His own interpretation he’ll afford
According to the letter of the word,
Tropes, Allegories, Types, similitude’s,
Or Figures, that some mystic sense includes.
His humor can the meaning so unfold,
In other fashions then the Fathers could:
For he (dogmatically) doth know more
Then all the learned Doctors knew before.
All reverend Ceremonies he’ll oppose,
He can make an Organ of his nose,
And spin his speech with such sincerity,
As if his bridge were fain in verity.
The Cope and Surplus he cannot abide,
Against the corner-Cap he out hath cried,
And calls them weeds of Superstition,
And liveries of the whore of Babylon.
The Crosses blessing he esteems a curse,
The Ring in marriage, out upon it ’tis worse.
And for his kneeling at the Sacrament,
In sooth he’ll rather suffer banishment,
And go to Amsterdam, and live and die
Ever he’ll commit so much Idolatry.

 

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He takes it for an outward Seal or Sign,
A little consecrated bread and wine,
And though it from his blessed Savior come
His manners takes it sitting on his bum.
The Spirit still directs him how to pray,
Nor will he dress his meat the Sabbath day,
Which doth a mighty mystery unfold,
His zeal is hot, although his meat be cold,
Suppose his Cat on Sunday kill a Rat,
She on the Monday must be hanged for that.
His faith keeps a continual Holy day,
Himself doth labor to keep it at play:
For he is read and deeply understood
That if his faith should work it would do no good,
A fine clean fingered faith must save alone,
Good works are needless, therefore he’ll do none.
Yet patience doth his spirit so much inspire,
He’ll not correct a Servant in his ire,
But when the spirit his hot fury lays.
He congregates his folks, and thus he says:
Attend good Nicodemus, and Tobias,
Lift to your reverend Master Ananias,
And good Aminadab, I pray attend,
Here’s my man Ismael highly did offend;
He told a lie, I heard his tongue to trip,
For which most surely he shall test the whip.
Then after some sententious learned speech,
This servant humbly doth let fall his breech,
Mounts on his fellows back as on a Mule,
Whilst his pure Master mounts his rod of rule.
The boy in lying with his tongue did fail,
And thus he answers for it with his tail.
O upright, Sincere, Holy execution,
Most patient, unpolluted absolution.

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Shall Paper made of linen of these men,
Be stained with an unsanctified pen?
In sooth who ever doth so, be it he or she,
They little better then the wicked be,
Children of Satan and abomination,
The brood of Belials cursed congregation,
The bastard off spring of the purple whore,
Who do the Babylonish Beast adore.
From the Creation to the general Flood,
The name of Paper no man understood:
But by tradition still from Sire to Son,
Men living knew the deeds by dead men done.
Yet many things were in the Deluge saved
In stony Pillars charactered and graved.
For the most part antiquity agrees,
Long since the flood men writ in barks of trees:
Which was observed late in America,
When Spanish Cortez conquered Mexica (Mexico).
Then after in Fig-leaves and sycamore,
Men did in Characters their minds explore.
Long after, as ingenuous spirits taught,
Rags and old Ropes were to perfection wrought
Into square forms yet how to give a name
unto their workmanship they could not frame.
Some Authors do the name of Paper gather,
To be derived from Papa, or a Father,
Because a learned man of Arius sect
Did Christendom with heresy infect:
And being in great errors much mistook,
Writ and divulged in a Paper book.
And therefore Nimphshag thus much doth infer,
The name of Paper sprung from Papa err.
Some hold the name doth from a Rush proceed,
Which on Egyptian Niles banks doth breed:

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Which Rush is called Papyrus for on it
The Egyptian people oftentimes had writ.
And some again of less authority
Because it’s made of rags and poverty,
In stead of Paper name it Papyrus,
But sure me thinks they take their marks amiss,
For four and twenty sheets do make a Quire,
And twenty Quire doth to a Ream aspire,
And every Ream were Kingdoms for their strength
But that they want a single 1 in length.
A Ream of Paper therefore keeps great port,
And were a Realm, weren’t not a 1 too short.
Besides, we have an old Prognosticator,
An erring Father, quasi era Pater.
His everlasting Almanac tells plain,
How many miles from hence to Charles his wain.
From Luna unto Mercury how far
To Venus, Sol, and Mars that warlike star:
From Mars to merry thunder-thumping love:
And thence to sullen Saturn highest above:
This if I lie not, with advice and leisure,
Old Era Pater to an inch did measure.
But hollow Muse what mounted to the sky,
I’ll clip your soaring plumes for you and I
Must talk of Paper, Hemp, and such as this,
And what a rich commodity it is.
The best is I have elbow room to trace,
I am not tide to times, to bounds, or place,
But Europe, Asia, Sun-burnt Africa,
America, Terra incognita,
The Christians, Heathens, Pagans, Turks & Jews,
And all the world yields matter to my Muse:
No Empire, Kingdom, Region, Province, Nation,
No Principality, Shire, nor Corporation:

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No Country, County, City, Hamlet, Town,
But must use Paper, either white or brown.
No Metropolitan, or gracious Primate
No Village, Palace, Cottage, function, Climate.
No age, sex, or degree the earth doth bare,
But they must use this seed to write or wear.
This Paper (being printed) doth reveal
The Eternal Testament of all our Weal:
In Paper is recorded the Records
Of the Great all Creating Lord of Lords.
upon this weak ground strongly is engraved
The means how man was made, and lost and saved.
Books Patriarchal, and Prophetical,
Historical, or Heavenly Mystical,
Evangelical, and Apostolical,
Writ in the sacred Text, in general.
Much hath the Church (our Mother propagated)
By venerable Fathers works translated
Saint Jerome, Gregory, Ambrose, Augustine,
Saint Basil, Bernard, Cyprian, Constantine:
Eusebius, Epiphanius, Origen,
Ignatius, and Lactantius (reverend men)
Good Luther, Calvin, learned Zwinglius,
Melancton, Beza, Oecolampadius,
These, and a world more then I can recite
Their labors would have slept in endless night,
But that in Paper they preserved have been
To instruct us how to shun death, hell, and sin.
How should we know the change of Monarchies,
The Assyrian, and the Persian Emperies,
Great Alexanders large, small lasting glory
Or Romes high Caesars often changing story?
How should Chronologies of Kings be known
Of either other Countries, or our own?

 

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But that Josephus and Suetonius
Pollidore, Virgil, and Ortelius,
Seneca, and Cornelius Tacitus
With Scaliger, and Quintus Curtius;
Plutarch, Guicciardini, Gallobelgicus
Thomasio, and Hector Boethius;
Fox, Cooper, Froysard, Grafton Fabian,
Hall, Hoveden Lanquet, Sleiden, Buchanan,
The Reverend learned Cambden, Selden, Stowe,
With Polychronicon, and Speed, and Howe,
With Paris, Malmesbury, and many more
Whose Works in Paper are yet extant store.
Philemon Holland (famous for translation)
Hath (with our own tongue) well enriched our Nation.
Aesop, and Aristotle, Pliny, Plato.
Pythagoras, and Cicero, and Cato,
Du Bartas, Ariosto, Martial, Tasso,
Plautus, and Homer, Terence, Virgil, Naso,
Franciscus petrarch, Horace, Juvenal,
Philosophers and excellent Poets all.
Or Orators Historians, every one
In Paper made their worthy studies known.
Who ever went beyond our famous King
Whose Art throughout the spacious world doth ring;
Such a Divine, and Poet, that each State
Admires him whom they cannot imitate.
In Paper, many a Poet now survives
Or else their lines had perished with their lives.
Old Chaucer, Gower, and Sir Thomas More,
Sir Philip Sidney who the Lawrel wore,
Spencer, and Shakespeare did in Art excel,
Sir Edward Dyer, Greene, Nash, Daniel,
Silvester Beaumont, Sir John Harrington,
Forgetfulness their works would over run.

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But that in Paper they immortally
Do live in spite of Death, and cannot die.
And many there are living at this day
Which do in paper their true worth display:
As Davis, Drayton, and the learned Dun,
Johnson, and Chapman, Marston, Middleton,
With Rowley, Fletcher, Withers, Massinger,
Heywood, and all the rest where ever they are,
Must say their lines but for the paper sheet
Had scarcely ground, whereon to set their feet.
Acts, Statutes, Laws would be consumed and lost
All right and order topsy-turvy tossed:
Oppression, wrong, destruction and confusion
Weren’t not for Paper, were the worlds conclusion.
Negotiations, and Embassages
Maps, Charts, discoveries of strange passages:
Leagues, truces, combinations, and contracts,
Ecclesiastic monuments and acts,
Laws, Natural, Moral, Civil, and Divine,
T’ instruct, reprove, correct, enlarge, confine.
All Memorandums of forpassed ages,
Sayings and sentences of ancient Sages,
Astronomy, and Physic much renowned,
The liberal Arts, rules, mathematics, or ground,
The glory of Apollos Radiant shine,
Supporter of the Sacred Sisters Nine,
The Atlas, that all Histories doth bare
Throughout the world, here, there, and every where.
All this and more is paper, and all this,
From fruitful Hempseed still produced is.
Weren’t not for rags of this admired Lint,
Dead were the admirable Art of Print.
Nor could the Printers with their forms & proofs.
Work for their own and other mens behoofes (behalf).

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Octavo, Quarto, Folio, or sixteen:
Twelves, nor yet sixty four had ever been seen,
Nor could their Pages be the means to feed
And cloth them and their families at need.
The Stationer that lives, and gaineth well,
And doth the word of God, both buy and sell,
I know not which way he could live and eat,
If printed paper did not yield him meat.
Some foolish have (I think) at first began
The slander that three Tailors are one man:
When many a Tailors boy, I know hath been,
Hath made tall men much fearful to be seen,
The boy hath had no weapon, nor no skill,
But armed with a Tailors Paper-bill,
Which being edged with Items, stiffening’s facings,
With Bombast, cottons, linenings, and with lacings,
The boy hath made a man his head to hide
And not the bare sight of the Bill abide.
When boys with paper Bills frights men so sore,
‘Tis doubtless but their Masters can do more.
And many millions both of boys and men,
Do only live, and flourish with the pen:
Yet though the pen be through the world renowned
It were nothing except paper were the ground.
All Lawyers from the highest degree or mark,
unto the lowest barrister or Clerk,
How could they do if paper did not bare
The memory of what they speak or hear?
And Justice Clerks could hardly make strong warrants,
For Thieves, or Bodies, or whores, or such like arrants,
But that in Paper ’tis their only use
To write, and right the Common-wealths abuse.
Thus much of Paper here my Muse hath said,
But yet if all its profits were displayed,

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Ten Paper Mils could not afford enough
To write upon in praise of writing stuff.
I therefore to conclude this much will note
How I of Paper lately made a Boat,
And how in form of Paper I did row
From London unto Queensborough I’ll show.
I and a Vintner (Roger Bird by name)
(A man whom Fortune never yet could tame)
Took ship upon the vigil of Saint James
And boldly ventured down the River Thames,
Laving and cutting through each raging billow,
(In such a Boat which never had a fellow)
Having no kind of metal or no wood
To help us either in our Eb or Flood :
For as our boat was paper, so our Oars
Where Stock-fish, caught near to the Island shores.
Thus being Oared and shipped away we went.
Driving between Essex Calves, and sheep of Kent:
Our Boat a female vessel gain to leak
Being as female vessels are, most weak,
Yet was she able which did grieve me sore,
To drown Hodge Bird and I and forty more.
The water to the Paper being got,
In one half hour our boat began to rot:
The Thames (most liberal) filled her to the halves,
Whilst Hodge and I sat liquored to the calves.
In which extremity I thought it fit
To put in use a stratagem of wit,
Which was, eight Bullocks bladders we had bought
Pushed stiffly full with wind, bound fast and taut,
Which on our Boat within the Tide we tied,
Of each side for, upon the outward side.
The water still rose higher by degrees.
In three miles going, almost to our knees.

 

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Our rotten bottom all to tatters fell,
And left our boat as bottomless as Hell.
And had not bladders borne us stiffly up,
We there had tasted of deaths fatal cup.
And now (to make some sport) I’ll make it known
By whose strong breath my bladders all were blown.
One by a cheeverel conscienced User,
Another by a drunken Bag piper,
The third a Whore, the fourth a Pander blew,
The fifth a Cutpurse, of the Cursed crew,
The sixth, a post-knight that for five groats gain
Would swear & for four groats for swear it again.
The seventh was an Informer, one that can
By informations begger any man.
The eight was blown up by a swearing Royster,
That would cut throats as soon as eat an Oyster.
We being in our watery business bound,
And with these wicket winds encompassed round,
For why such breaths as those it fortunes ever,
They end with hanging, but with drowning never;
And sure the bladders bore us up so tight,
As if they had said, Gallows claim thy right.
This was the cause that made us seek about,
To find these light Tiburnian vapors out.
We could have had of honest men good store,
As Watermen, and Smiths, and many more,
But that we knew it must be hanging breath,
That must preserve us from a drowning death.
Yet such we feared the graves our end would be
Before we could the Town of Gravesend see:
Our boat drunk deeply with her dropsy thirst,
And quaft as if she would her bladders burst,
Whilst we within six inches of the brim
(Full of salt water) down (half sunk) did swim.

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Thousands of people all the shores did hide,
And thousands more did meet us in the tide
With Scullers, Oars, with ship-boats, & with Barges
To gaze on us, they put themselves to charges.
Thus did we drive, and drive the time away,
Till pitchy night had driven away the day:
The sun unto the under world was fled:
The Moon was loath to rise, and kept her bed,
The Stars did twinkle, but the Ebon clouds
Their light, our sight, obscures and overshadows.
The tossing billows made our boat to caper,
Our paper form scarce being form of paper,
The water four mile broad, no Oars, to row,
Night dark, and where we were we did not know.
And thus between doubt and fear, hope and despair
I fell to work, and Roger Bird to prayer.
And as the surges up and down did heave us,
He cried most fervently, good Lord receive us.
I prayed as much, but I did work and pray,
And he did all he could to pray and play.
Thus three hours darkling I did puzzle and toil
Sowsed and well pickled, chafe and muzzle & moil,
Drenched with the swassing waves and stewed in sweat
Scarce able with a cane our boat to set,
At last (by Gods great mercy and his might)
The morning gain to chase away the night.
Aurora made us soon perceive and see
We were three miles below the Town of Lee.
And as the morning more end more did clear,
The sight of Queenborough castle did appear.
That was the famous monumental mark,
To which we strived to bring our rotten bark:
The only aim of our intents and scope,
The anchor that brought Roger to the Hope.

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Thus we from Saturday at evening Tide,
Till Monday morn, did on the water bide,
In rotten paper and in boisterous weather,
Dark nights, through wet, and toiled altogether.
But being come to Queenborough and aland,
I took my fellow Roger by the hand,
And both of us before we two steps did go
Gave thanks to God that had preserved us so:
Confessing that his mercy us protected
When as we least deserved, and less expected.
The Major of Queenborough in love affords
To entertain us, as we had been Lords;
It is a yearly feast kept by the Major,
And thousand people thither doth repair,
From Townes and Villages that’s near about,
And ’twas our luck to come in all this rout.
In the street, Bread, Beer, and Oysters is their meat,
Which freely, friendly, shot-free all do eat.
But Hodge and I were men of rank and note,
We to the Major gave our adventurous boat;
The which (to glorify that Town of Kent)
He meant to hang up for a monument.
He to his house invited us to dine,
Where we had cheer on cheer, and wine on wine
And drink, and fill, and drink, and drink and fill,
With welcome upon welcome, welcome still.
But whilst we at our dinners thus were merry,
The Country people tore our tattered wherry
In mammocks piecemeal in a thousand scraps,
Wearing the relics in their hats and caps.
That never traitors corps could more be scattered
By greedy Ravens, then our poor boat was tattered;
Which when the Major did know, he presently
Took patient what he could not remedy

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The next day we with thanks left Queenborough coast
And heaved us home on horse-back all in post.
Thus Master Birds strange voyage was begun,
With greater danger was his money won.
And those that do his coin from him detain
(Which he did win with peril and much pain)
Let them not think that before it will do them good,
But eat their marrow and consume their blood.
The worm of conscience gnaw them every day
That have the means, and not the will to pay.
Those that are poor, and cannot, let them be
Both from the debt and malediction free.
Thus (I in part) what Hemp-seed is have shown,
Cloth, ropes, rags, paper, poorly is made known:
How it maintains each kingdom, state and trade,
And how in paper we a voyage made.
I therefore to conclude, think not amiss
To write something of Thames, or Thamasis,
Maze, Rubicon, Elve, Volga, Ems, Scamander,
Loyre, Moldoue, Tyber, Albia, Seyne, Meander,
Hidaspes, Indus, Inachus, Tanaies,
(Our Thames true praise is far beyond their praise)
Great Euphrates, Jordan, Niles, Ganges, Poe,
Tagus and Tigris, Thames doth far out-go.
Danubia, Ister, Xanthus, Lisus, Rhrine,
Wey, Seuerne, Avon, Midway, Isis, Tine,
Dee, Ouze, Trent, Humber, Eske, Tweed, Annan, Tay,
Firth (that brave Demi-ocean) Clyde, Dun, Spay,
All these are great in fames, and great in names,
But greatest in goodness is the river Thames,
From whose Diurnal and Nocturnal flood
Millions of souls have fuel cloths and food;
Which from twelve hours to twelve doth still succeed,
Hundreds, & thousands both to cloth & feed.

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Of watermen, their servants, children, wives,
It doth maintain near twenty thousand lives.
I can as quickly number all the stars,
As reckon all things in particulars:
Which by the bounty of the All-giving giver
Proceeds from this most matchless, famous River.
And therefore it is great pity, shelf or sand
From the forgetful and engrateful land,
Should it’s clear Chrystal entrails vilify,
Or soil such pureness with impurity.
What doth it do, but serves our full contents,
Brings food, and for it takes our excrements,
Yields us all plenty, worthy of regard
And dirt and muck we give it for reward?
Oh what a world of Poets that excel
In art, have fabled rivers out of hell,
As Erebus, Cocitus, Acheron,
Stix, Orchus, Tartarus, and Phlegeton,
And all infernal Barathrums Damned Creeks,
With Charons Passengers, and fearful shrieks,
Who writing drinking Lethe to their shames
unthankefully they have forgot the Thames.
But noble Thames, whilest I can hold a pen
I will divulge thy glory unto men:
Thou in the morning when my coin is scant
Before the evening dost supply my want.
If like a Bee I seek to live and thrive,
Thou wilt yield honey freely to my hive,
If like a drone I will not work for meat,
Thou in discretion gives me nought to eat
Thou the true rules of Justice dost observe,
To feed the laborer, let the idle starve,
And I so many faithless men have found
As any man that lives upon the ground,

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Who have done me wrong and themselves no good,
And swore, and forswore in their damned mood:
Whilst I (fond I) have lent and given away
To such as not so much as thanks will pay,
For shame and modesty I name them not;
But let their black souls bare the impure blot
Of falsehood perjury, and odious lies
That devils in shape of Mankind can devise.
If these lines happen to their hands to come,
They’ll pick their teeth, look downward and cry hum,
But goodness how should ever I expect,
From such who do so true a friend neglect.
And therefore Thames, with thee I have decreed
Because thou never failed me in my need,
To thee, to thee again I do retire
And with thee I’ll remain till life expire,
Thou art my Mistress, and oft times from thee
Thy liberality hath flowed to me,
And for thou always givest me means to live
My self (most thankfully) my self do give.
Momus thou Son of Somnus, and of Nox,
Take not my lines all for a Paradox:
For most of them seem true, and I do rue
That many of them I do know too true.
Sleep Momus sleep, in Murceas slothful bed,
Let Morpheus lock thy tongue within thy head:
Or if thou needst wild prate, prate to this end
To give commends to that thou canst not mend.
‘Tis not a gilded Gull made up with oaths,
That swears and damns himself into good cloths,
That wears his cloak beneath his skirts and waist
Cause men may see how he is trust and braced:
Such a fantastic ass, I care not for,
He flewts my lines, and I do him abhor.

 

My poor invention no way is supplied
With cutting large thongs from anothers hide:
I have not stolen a syllable or letter
From any man, to make my book seem better.
But similes, comparisons, each line,
Indifferent, good or bad, they all are mine,
Yet I confess I have read many a book
From whence I have some observations took.
Which I make use of, as occasions touch,
And any Poet (I think) will do as much.
I will not brag, to all men be it known
(By learning) I have nothing of mine own,
But had I tongues and languages, like many
Sure I should filch and steal as much as any.
But like an Artless Poet, I say still,
I am a Taylor, true against my will.
Thus ending (like to Jasons Golden-fleece)
This work of Hempseed is my Master-piece.

Finish

 


back cover liner

“My poor revenge against them still shall be,
I’ll laugh at them whilst they do scoff at me.”
 

-John Taylor, 1620

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