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The honesty plain-dealing porter
Pepys, i, 194, B.L., three woodcuts, four columns.
A didactic ballad of a type characteristic of Martin Parker. There is a sturdy independence, a pride in honest labour, in almost everything he wrote. That pride may also explain his deep veneration for the nobility and the throne. The present ballad in praise of porters should be compared with Thomas Brewer's much earlier production (No. 2). "The Proverb says, Need makes the old wife trot" remarks John Taylor, in his Certaine Travailes of an Uncertain Journey (1653). Many instances of this proverb far older than 1653 are given in Hazlitt's Proverbs, 1st ed., p. 288, and still older are the extraordinarily numerous uses of the proverb to which Professor Kittredge has referred me; as, "Besoing fet veille troter," of the thirteenth century (Haupt's Zeitschrift, xi, 115). The date of the ballad is about 1630. The tune is not known to me.
To the tune of the Maids A.B.C.
I YOu who haue beene rich heretofore, and by ill fates are now grown poore, In that estate doe not despaire,
but patiently your crosses beare: Though you haue quite consum'd your wealth,
if God haue lent you limbs and health, To labour daily murmur not,
For need will make the old wife trot.
1 I haue had wealth as others haue, so much, I needed not to craue, Among good fellowes some I spent, the rest to cosening knaues I lent: