Close ×

Search EBBA

EBBA 33246

National Library of Scotland - Crawford
Ballad XSLT Template
A Choice Pennyworth of WI
OR,
A clear Distinction between a Virtuous Wife and a Wanton
Harlot.

HERE is a pennyworth of Wit,
For those that e[v]er went astray,
If warning they will take by it,
'Twill do them good another day.

It is the touchstone of true love,
Between a Harlot and a wife;
The former does destructive prove,
The latter yields the joys of life.

As in this book you may behold,
Set forth by William Lane,
A wealthy merchant breve and bold
Who did a harlot long maintain.

Although a virtuous wife he had,
Likewise a youthful daughter dear,
Which might have made his heart full glad
Yet them he never would come near

The traffic which he traded for,
On the tempestuous ocean wide,
His harlot had it brought to her,
But nothing to his virtuou[s] wife.

The finest silk that could be bought
Nay jewels, rubies diamond rings,
He to his wanton harlot brought
With many other costly things

She'd still receive him with a smile,
When he came from the roaring sea
And said, with words as smoo[t]h as oil,
My dearest come and take your ease,

To my soft bed and linnen fine,
Thou art right welcome love said she,
Both I and all that e'er is mine.
Shall still at thy devotion be

He brought two hundred pounds in gold
And after that three hundred more,
With chains and jewels manifold,
And bid her lay them up in store.

Love. that I will thou need'st not fear,
And so embraced with kiss;
She took the wealth, and said my dear,
I'll take a speeial care of this.

So they did banquet many days,
Living upon delicious cheer;
Till by her false deluding ways
She drew him in a fatal snare.

When he had liv'd some time on shore,
Then he must to the seas again,
With traffic to increase his store,
The wanton harlot to maintain.

To whom he said my joy, my dear,
With me what venture will you send;
A good return you need not fear,
I'll be your factor and your friend.

In goods my dear I'll sebd above
[T]en pounds which you shall take on boar[d]
I know that unto me my love,
A treble gain thou wilt afford,

This said, next to his wife he goes,
And ask'd her in a scornful wise,
What venture then she did propose,
To send by him for merchandize.

I'll send a penny love by thee,
(Be sure you take grea[t] care of it)
When you are in forreign parts said she,
To buy a penny worth of wit.

She laid the penny in his hand,
And said' pray now dont forget,
When you are in a forreign land,
To but a penny worth of wit-

He put the penny up secure
And said I'll take a special care,
To lay it out you may be sure
[S]o to his miss he did repair,

And told what he had to buy,
At which he laugh'd his wife to scorn,
On board he went immediately,
And so to sea that very morn.

Now they are gone with merry hearts,
The merchant and his jovial crew,
From port to port in forreign parts,
To trade, as they we[r]e wont to do.

At last when they had well bestow'd,
The cargo which was outward bound,
They did their trading vessel load,
With richer treasure which they found.

As he his merchandize did vent
He turn'd all to Gems and golden ore,
Which crown[']d his labours with content,
He never was so rich before.

The wanton harlot's venture then
Did turn to great account likewise,
For every pound she would have ten,
Such was their lucky merchandize:

For joy of which the merchant cry'd,
One merry bout my lads shall have,
A splendid supper I'll provide,
Of all the dainties you can crave.

Before we put to sea again,
[T]his said, they to a tavern went,
[W]here they did eat and drink amain,
[T]ill many crowns & pounds were spent.

The merchant then with laughter movd
[Sa]id he for wit had never fought;
My harlot's venture is improv'd,
[Bu]t of my wife's I never thought.

One single pcney and no more,
[S]he has a venture sent by me,
[I] was to lay it out therefore,
[In] what you call a rarity.

She bid me use my utmost skill,
[T]o buy a penny worth of wit?
[B]ut I have kept the penny still,
[A]nd ne[']er so much as thought of it.

Where shall I go to lay it out,
[S]ince wit is hard and scarce to find:
[B]ut come my lads, and drink about,
My wife's small venture I'll not mind.

There is a proverb often us'd,
That wit[']s not good till bought full dear,
Wheeefore I may be well excus'd,
There's little for a penny here.

An aged father sitting by.
Whose venerable locks were grey,
Strait made the merchant this reply:
Hear me a word or two I pray.

The harlot in prosperity,
Will then embrace you for your gold,
But when in want and poverty,
You'll naught from her but frowns behold

And ready to betray thy life
When naked, wretched, poor and low,
But thy true hearted faithful wife,
Will stand by thee in wealth or woe.

If thou wilt prove the truth of this
Strip off thy gaudy rich array,
And to return to your lewd miss,
Declare that you was cast away.

Your riches bury'd in the main,
Reside as you passed through a wood,
One of your servants you had slain;
For which your life in danger stood.

Beseech her for to shelter thee;
Tell her on her you do depend,
And then alas! you soon will see,
How far she'll prove a faithful friend.

Then if she frowns, go to thy wife,
Tell her this melancholy theme:
Who labours most to sove thy life,
Let her be most in thy esteem.

Father, the Merchant then reply'd,
You must this single penny take;
And when I've past the ocean wide,
A proof of this I mean to make.

And loving friends, for ought I know
I may thls single penny prize,
The best I ever did bestow
In all my wealthy merchandize.

Taking his leave away he went,
Both he and his brave hearts of gold,
To whom he said I'll prove the same,
When I my native land behold

With full spread sails to sea they went,
Neptune the golden cargo bore
O'er foaming waves, to their content:
At length they reach[']d the British shore.

The merchant put on poor array,
The very worst of ragged cloaths;
And then without the least delay,
He to the wanton harlot goes

When she beheld him in distress,
She ery'd, what is the matter now?
Said he, I'm poor and pennyless
With that he made a courteous bow

Crying snre man was ne[']er so crost
As I have been my heart's deligtt;
My ship and all my cargo's lost,
Without your aid I'm ruin'd quite.

My loss is great yet that's not all,
One of my servants I have slain,
As we did both at varance fall;
Some shelter let me here obtain.

I dare not go unto my wife,
Whom I have wronged many years;
Into thy hands I put my life,
Take pity of my melting tears.

You bloody villain she reply'd.
Don't in the least on me depend;
Be gone or as I live she cry'd,
I for an officer will send

I'll neither give you bread nor drink
Nor any shelter shall you have:
Of nasty lousy rags you stink,
Be gone you base perfidious slave.

Dont think that I'll your counsel keep
Or harbour any such as you,
With that be turn'd & seem'd to weep
And bid the wanton jilt adieu,

Then to his loving wife he goes
Both poor and naked, in distress,
He told her all the very same,
Yet she receiv'd him nevertheless.

My dear said she since it is so,
Take comfort in thy loving wife;
All that I have shall freely go,
To gain a pardon for thy life:

I'll lodge thee in a place secure,
Where I will daily nourish thee,
Believe me love thou may[']st be sure
To find a faithful friend in me.

When he this perfect proof had made
Which of the two did love him best,
Unto his virtuous wife he said,
My jewel set your heart at rest.

Behold no servant have I slain,
Nor have I suffered any loss,
Enough I have us to maintain;
The ocean seas no more I'll cross,

My loaded ship lies near the shore,
With gold and jewels richly fraught,
So much I never had before?
Thy penny worth of wit I've bought.

Once more he to his harlot goes,
With fourteen sailors brave and boid,
All cloath[']d in new and costly cloaths,
Of silks and rich embroidered gold.

The miss, when she his pomp beheld
Did offer him a kind embrace?
But he with wrath and anger fill'd,
Did strait upbraid her to her face.

But she with smiles these words exprest,
I have a faithful love for thee,
Whate[']er I said was but in jest;
Why didst thou go so soon from me.

Twas time to go for as I'm told,
You have another love in store,
Whom you have furnish'd with my gold,
And jewels which I brought on shore.

Tis false she cry'd I have them all.
Wirh that the merchant then reply'd,
Lay them before me and I shall
Be soon convinc'd and satisfy'd

Then up she run & fetch'd them down,
His jewels gold and diamonds bright;
He seiz'd them all, then with frown
He bid the wanton jilt good night

When he had took the golden purse,
And swept up every precious stone
She cry'd what will you rob me then?
Yes, that I will of what's my own.

You wanted to betray my life,
But thanks to God there's no such fear?
These jewels shall adorn my wife,
Henceforth your house I'll not come near

Home he returned to his wife,
And told her all that he had done,
E[']er since they lead a quiet Life,
And he no more to harlots run.

Thus he the wanton harlot bit,
Who long had his destruction sought.
This was the penny worth of wit
The best that ever merchant bought.


Worcester: Printed by J B[u]tler, and
sold by James Grundy, Goose Lane, and
by G. Lewis, Broad Street.

View Raw XML