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THE Dramatic Works of this Author have þeen mentioned in their place. This Tract, the description of which follows, is curious in itself, and of such rarity as to merit a place here.
The reader will find some account of it in the Prolegomena to Steevens's edition of Shakspeare. That Critic has given as a specimen, the chapter which instructs a Gallant how to behave himself in a Playhouse. The following is the Title: : THE GULS HORNE-BOOKE.
Stultorum plena sunt omnia,
By T. Decker.
The reader will, I hope, be entertained with the following chapter, which instructs a Gallant
how to behave himselfe in an Ordinary.”
How a Yong Gallant should behave himselfe in
an Ordinary First having diligently enquired out an ordinary of the largest reckoning, whither most of your courtly Gallants do resort, let it be your use to repaire thither, some halfe houre after eleven, for then you shall find most of your fashion mongers planted in the roome, waiting for meate : ride thither upon your galloway nag, or your Spanish Jennet, a swift ainbling pace, in your hose and doublet (gilt rapier and poinard bestow'd in their places) and your French Lackey carrying your cloake, and running before you, or rather in a coach, for that will both hide you from the basiliske eyes of your creditors, and out-runne a whole kennell of bitter mouth'd serjeants.
Being arrived in the roome, salute not any but those of your acquaintance: walke up and downe by the rest as scornfully and carelessly as a Gentleman Usher: select some friend (having first throwne off your cloake) to walke up and downe the roome with you, let him be suited, if you can, worse by farre then yourselfe, he will be a foyle to you: ạnd this will be a meanes to publish your clothes b tter than Powles, a Tennis Court or a Play house: discourse as lowd as you can, no matter to what
but make a noise and laugh in fashion and have a good sower face to promise quarrelling, you shall be much observed. If you be a souldier, talke how often you have beene in action: as the Portingall voyage, Cales voyage, the Iland voiage, besides some eight or nine imploiments in Ireland and the low Countries : then you may disyou have
course how honorably your Grave used you; observe that you cal your Grave Maurice your Grave. How often you have drunk with Count such a one, and such a Count on your knees to your Graves health : and let it be your vertue to give place neither to S. Rynock, nor to any Dutchman whatsoever, in the seventeene Provinces, for that souldiers complement of drinking. And if you perceive that the untraveld company about you take this downe well, ply them with more such stuffe, as how interpreted betweene the French King and a great Lord of Barbary, when they have beene drinking healthes together, and that will be an excellent occasion to publish your languages, if you have them: if not, get some fragments of French, or small parcels of Italian to fling about the table, but beware how you speak any Latine there, your Ordinary most commonly hath no more to do with Latine then a desperate towne of Garison hath. If
you be a Courtier, discourse of the obtain: ing of suits; of your mistresses favours, and make enquiry, if any gentleman at boord have any suit to get, which he would use y' good means of a great mans interest with the King: and withal! (if you have not so much grace left in you as to blush) that you are (thankes to your starres) in mightie credit, though in your own consience you know, and are guilty to yourselfe that you
dare not (but onely upon the priviledges of hansome 8
clothes) clothes) presume to peepe into the presence, Demand if there bee any gentleman (whom any there is acquainted with) that is troubled with two offices, or any Vicar with two Church livings : which will politickly insinuate that your inquiry after them is because you have good meanes to obtaine them: yea and rather than your tongue should not be heard in the roome, but that you should sit (like an asse) with your finger in your mouth and speake no thing: 'discourse how often this lady hath sent her coach for you: and how often you have sweat in the Tennis Court with that great Lord; for indeede the sweatinge together in Fraunce (I meane the Society of Tennis) is a great argument of most decre affection, even betweené noble inen and pesants.
If you be a Poet, and come into the Ordinary (though it be no great glory to be an ordinary Poet) order yourselves thus: observe no man, doff not cap to that gentleman to day at dinner, to whom not two nights since you were beholden for a supper: but after a turne or twa in the roome take occasion (putting out your gloves) to have some Epigram or Satyre or Sonnett fastened in one of them that may (as it were vomittingly to you) offer it selfe to the gentlemen : they will presently desire it; but without much conversation from them, and a pretty kind of countefet loathnes in your selfe, do not read it: and though it be none of your
owne, sweare you made it. Mary if you cháunce into
any witty thing of another mans that is somewhat better, I would councell you then, if demand be made who composed it, you may say faith a learned gentleman and very worthy friend : and this seeming to lay it on another man will be counted either modestie of you, or a signe that you are not ambitious of praise, or else that you dare not take it upon you for feare of the sharpnesse it carries with it. Besides it will adde much to your fame to let your tongue walke faster than your teeth, though you be never so hungry, and rather than you should sit like a dumb coxcomb, to repeat by heart, either some verses of your owne, or of any other mans, stretching even very good lines upon the rack of censure, though it be against all law honesty or conscience, it may chaunce to save you the price of your Ordinary, and beyet you other supplements. Mary I would further intreat our Poet to be in league with the Mistresse of the Ordinary, because from her (upon condition that he will but ryme knyghts and yong gentlemen to her house and maintaine the table in good fooling) he may easily make up his mouth at her cost gratis.
Thus much for particular men, but in generall let all that are in Ordinary-pay march after the sound of these directions. Before the meate come smoaking to the board, our Gallant must draw out his tobacco box, the ladell for the cold