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honourable personages, the easier to beguile simple and innocent wits. It is pity that those which have authority and charge to allow and disallow books to be printed, be no more circumspect herein than they are. Ten sermons at Paul's Cross do not so much good for moving men to true doctrine, as one of those books do harm with enticing men to ill living. Yea, I say farther, those books tend not so much to corrupt honest living, as they do to subvert true religion. More papists be made, by your merry books of Italy, than by your earnest books of Louvain. And because our great physicians do wink at the matter, and make no count of this sore, I, though not admitted one of their fellowship, yet having been many years a prentice to God's true religion, and trust to continue a poor journey-man therein all days of my life, for the duty I owe and love I bear both to true doctrine and honest living, though I have no authority to amend the sore myself, yet I will declare my good will to discover the sore to
ROGER ASCHAM, The Scholemaster 1570
Shallow. I'll drink to Master Bardolph and to all the cavaleiroes about London.
Davy. I hope to see London once ere I die.
2 Henry IV., v. iii. 60-61
Shallow. O, Sir John, do you remember since we lay all night in the windmill in Saint George's fields?...
Silence That's fifty-five year ago.
Shallow. Ha! cousin Silence, that thou hadst seen that that this knight and I have seen. Ha! Sir John, said I well?
Falstaff. We have heard the chimes at midnight, Master Shallow. Shallow. That we have, that we have, that we have; in faith, Sir John, we have. Our watchword was, Hem, boys!" Come, let's to dinner; come, let's to dinner. Jesus, the days that we have seen! come, ibid. III. ii. 208-237
§1. The road to London
Jog on, jog on the foot-path way,
And merrily hent the stile-a:
A merry heart goes all the day,
Your sad tires in a mile-a.
The Winter's Tale, Iv. ii. 133-136
The State of the Roads
Now to speak generally of our common highways through the English part of the isle (for of the rest I can say nothing), you shall understand that in the clay or cledgy soil they are often very deep and troublesome in the winter half. Wherefore by authority of parliament an order is taken for their yearly amendment, whereby all sorts of the common people do employ
their travail for six days in summer upon the same. And albeit that the intent of the statute is very profitable for the reparations of the decayed places, yet the rich do so cancel their portions, and the poor so loiter in their labours, that of all the six, scarcely two good days' work are well performed and accomplished in a parish on these so necessary affairs. Besides this, such as have land lying upon the sides of the ways do utterly neglect to ditch and scour their drains and water-courses for better avoidance of the winter waters (except it may be set off or cut from the meaning of the statute), whereby the streets do grow to be much more gulled than before, and thereby very noisome for such as travel by the same. Sometimes also, and that very often, these days' works are not employed upon those ways that lead from market to market, but each surveyor amendeth such by-plots and lanes as seem best for his own commodity and more easy passage unto his fields and pastures. And whereas in some places there is such want of stones, as thereby the inhabitants are driven to seek them far off in other soils, the owners of the lands wherein those stones are to be had, and which hitherto have given money to have them borne away, do now reap no small commodity by raising the same to excessive prices, whereby their neighbours are driven to grievous charges, which is another cause wherefore the meaning of that good law is very much defrauded. Finally, this is another thing likewise to be considered of, that the trees and bushes growing by the streets' sides do not a little keep off the force of the sun in summer for drying up of the lanes. Wherefore if order were taken that their boughs should continually be kept short, and the bushes not suffered to spread so far into the narrow paths, that inconvenience would also be remedied, and many a slough prove hard ground that yet is deep and hollow. Of the daily encroaching of the covetous upon the highways I speak not. But this I know by experience, that whereas some streets within these five and twenty years have been in most places fifty foot broad according to the law, whereby the traveller might either escape the thief, or shift the mire, or pass by the loaden cart without danger of himself and his horse; now they are brought unto twelve, or twenty, or six and twenty at the most, which is another cause also whereby the ways be the