Pimlyco; or Runne Red-Cap, 'Tis a mad world at Hogsdon

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[Otranto 001]

Pimlyco is a 25-page pamphlet that was entered in the Stationers’ Register for John Busby on 15 April 1609, and re-assigned to William Barley, with a now-lost ballad called Ha with you to Pimlico on 3 May.[1]  Only two copies of it are known, of which one is in the Bodleian and one in the Huntington Library. A fascimile was published by Oxford University Press in 1891 as part of a series of ‘Antient Drolleries’, and with an introduction by A.H. Bullen.[2] As there is only one source text, there are no textual difficulties except for a very few obvious misprints that have been corrected silently. Presented here is the complete version with original spelling, and a version in which the spelling has been modernised where appropriate, and the long extracts from Skelton’s The Tunning of Elinor Rumming have been redacted.

         An essay on the pamphlet – ‘“’Tis a mad world at Hogsdon”: Leisure, Licence and the Exoticism of Suburban Space in Early Jacobean London’ – can be found in the ‘Scholarly Articles’ section of Otranto, and in the on-line journal Literary London Vol.10, Issue 2 (Autumn 2013). A redacted performance of the poem, starring Jack Klaff, and directed by Matthew Hahn, is available here.

To cite or link to this edition, please use the permanent link, or the reduced link:


Pimlyco; or Runne Red-Cap, 'Tis a mad world at Hogsdon

edited by Peter Howell




Runne Red-Cap.[4]

Tis a mad world at Hogsdon.[5]


AT LONDON, Printed for Io Busbie, and Geo LOFTIS, and are to bee sould vnder St. Peters Church in Cornehill. 1609.



[Page 2]

Patrono Pimlyconico.
Facie Claro,
Facetis Raro,
Thomae Normano.[6]

ALL hayle, (ô Tom Norman,)
I make thee, the Foreman
              Of Pimlyco Jury:
You are chargde to enquire Sir,
What kindles that fire sir,
              That burnes with such fury.
What fire doe you suppose sir?
Tis the fire of your Nose sir,[7]
              Which your Face beares about.
For (like to the fornace,                                   x
That glowes in the Glasse-house,)[8]
              It neuer goes out.
To keepe that hye Colour,
And make it looke fuller,
              You shall die it in graine[9] sir:
Of the Pimlyco Iuice,
If you get the right vse,
              O how well will it staine sir.
I create you Sole Patron
Of the Pimlyco Squadron[10],                             xx
              choose therefore Ale-cunners.[11]
That now against Easter,[12]
(If you purpose to feast there)
              may be your fore-runners.[13]
Hoyst then vp your Sayle sir,[14]
For rich Pimlyco Ale sir,
              That cullors like Roses,
With your Copper Seale,[15] marke sir,
All those that Embarke sir,
              For Pimlyco-Noses.[16]                                         xxx
Vade, Vale, Caue ne titubes.[17]

[page 3]

To all Trauellers.[18]
YOu that weare out your lives and weary your bodies, in Discovery of strange Countries, (bee it for pleasure or profite) Rig out a Fleet, and make a Voiage to an Iland which could neuer be found out by the Portugals, Spaniards, or Hollanders, but only (and that now of late) by Englishmen. The name of it is Pimlyco, Here haue I drawne a large Map of it: by this Chart, may you in a few houres, and with little or no winde, ariue in the very mouth of the Hauen. Some that haue trauelled thither, affirme it to be a part of the Continent, but the better sort of Nauigators say, it is an Iland[19]: full of people it is, and they are very wilde, the women beeing able to endure more, and to doe better Seruice than the men. Diuers are of opinion, that it is an inchanted Iland, and haunted with strange Spirits; for the people there, once euery Moone, are either starke mad, or else loose their owne shapes, and are transformed into Beasts, yet within twelue houres, recouer their wittes and shapes againe.[20] The Pimlyconians are most of them Malt-men, and exceeding good fellowes, all their delight beeing in Eating and Drinking; they live not long, for a man can hardly stay amongest them two dayes: if he doe, he is in great danger, by reason of a certaine disease, (which the Iland naturally breedes) called the Staggers[21], through which, many of them come to their Downe-fall, or if they scape that, then are they in feare to be made away by Smallshot,[22] in discharging of which, the Pimlyconians are very actiue and cunning.

                            [page 4]

              The Iland begins now to be as rich as it is populous:[23] fish hath bin sildome taken there, but flesh is better cheape then Mackrell here. Wilde Duckes and wilde Geese[24] flie there vp and downe in aboundance: you may haue a Goose sowe'd in Pimlyco[25], for the value of twelue pence sterling. Woodcockes[26] (in many moneths of the yeere) are to be catched there by whole dozens. It is full of fatte pasture, and thats the reason such multitudes of young Colts runne there. A hot Climate it is, and by that meanes the people are subiect to infection, which takes them first in the Head, and so falls downe into their legges, and those fayling, they are (in a maner) gone. The Gouernour[27] of the Iland hath much adoe to keepe himselfe vpright, so that he is compelled to giue those that are vnder him, often times very Hard measure,[28] yet are they so vnruly, that euery houre one or other goes to the Pot.[29]

Thus haue I giuen you a taste, both of the People and of the Countrie; if you sayle thither, you may drinke of deeper knowledge. But take heed you take a skilfull Pilot with you; be fraighted with as much wit as you can carry aboord, for all will be little enough to bring you from thence, and take heede what Lading[30] you take in there, for the commodities of Pimlyco haue suncke many Merchants[31]. Pay thankes for my Councell, and thinke well of my Pimlyconian Discouerie.

[Page 5]


TRees that of late (like wasted Heyres,[32] 
Or like old men, dryed vp with cares,)
Stood poorely, now looke fresh & gréene,
As Banck-rupts new set vp agen.
Meadowes that whilome[33] barren lay,
(More naked than the trodden way,)
Weare garments now, wouen all of Flowers,
And waite on Flora in her Bowers,
Shepheards that durst not, (for the cold,)
The Snowie heads of Hills behold,                                        10
Now (deftly piping) from coole Fountaines,
Lead Lambes and Kiddes vp to the Mountaines.
The Day, when all Birdes hold their Weddings,[34]
(Dauncing Loue-measures[35] in soft Treddings,)
Is past: The Yeare did it resigne,
In honour of Saint Valentine.
And now his Fethered Couples sing,
Their Nuptiall Songs before the Spring.
The Vernall[36] Gates are set wide open,
And strew'd with Flowers and Herbes, in token             20
That May (Loues Queene) is comming in,
Who 12. full Moones hath absent bin.
In this Swéet Season, from my bed,[37]
I earely rose, being wakened
By'th beating of a Golden-flame,
Which (to me) in at window came.
For from his Pallace in the East, 
The King of Light in Purple drest,
(Set thicke with Gold and precious Stone,
Which like a Rocke of Diamond shonne,)
Was drawne along heav'ns Siluer way,                                            30        [page 6]
By the 4. Horses of the Day.
And as the Chariot[38] mounted higher,
The Sun-god seem'd to ride in fire,
Forth came he in this braue adorning,
To court his Loue (the Rosio[39] Morning.)
The The chaines of Pearle[40] about her necke,
He He tooke from her himselfe to decke,
They were her fauours and he wore them
Till night, and did agen restore them.
The wonders (of vn-valued worth,)                                     40
Which these two wrought, intic'd mee forth;
Weary with walking, downe I threw
My bodie, on a bancke where grew
The pretty Dazie, (Eye of Day[41],)
The Prime-Rose which does first display
Her youthfull coloors, and first dies;
Beautie and Death are Enemies[42].
Cowslips sprung likewise here and there,
Each blade of grasse (stiffe as a Speare)
Standing vpright to guard the Flowers,
As if they had been their Paramoures.                                 50
Anon a Yonker[43] and his Lasse,
Might I see wrastling on the Grasse,
Shee swore shee would not fall, and yet
Shee fell, and did a Greene-Gowne[44] get,
(A Greene-gowne, but no Gownè of Greene.)
At length (in Couples) more were séene:
Som ran, some walked, and some sat kissing,
Nothing was lost, but what was missing.[45]
So close they ioynd in their Delights,
That they all seemed Hermaphrodites,
Or rather Mermaides on the land,                                         60
Because the Shees had the vpper hand.
They grac'd the fields, the fields them grac'd,
For tho none were in order plac'de,
But sat (as Flowers in Gardens grow)
Thinly, which makes the brauer show.
Yet (like so many in one Roome,)                                           [page 7]
All seem'd to weaue within a loome,
Some curious piece whose beautie stands,
On the rare Skill of sundry hands.
   As thus they sate, and I them saw,
Frame[46] (as rare) mine eyes did draw                             70
(With wonder) to behold a farre,
The brightnes of the Kingdomes Starre;[47]
A thousand Stéeples, Turrets, Towers,
(Lodgings, all fit for Emperours.)
Lifted their proud heads bove the Skie,
As if they had sole-Soueraigntie,
Or'e all the Buildings in the Land,
And séem'd on Hilles of Gould to stand,
For the Suns Beames on them being shed,
They shewed like Mynes new burnished.                         80
Upon the Left hand and the Right,
Two Townes (like Citties)[48] to the Sight,
With pleasure and with admiration,
For (as they stand) they beare proportion,
As to an Armie doe the Wings,
(The maine Battalion led by Kings.)
   Mine eye his obiects could not vary,[49]
Yet tooke delight here still to tarry,
But not knowing how to weare out time,
By chance I found a Booke in Ryme,                                     90
Writ in an age when few wryt well,
(Pans Pipe (where none is) does excell.)[50]
O learned Gower! It was not thine,
Nor Chaucer, (thou art more Diuine.)
To Lydgates graue I should do wrong,
To call him vp by such a Song.[51]
No, It was One, that (boue his Fate,)
Would be Styl'd Poet Laureate;
Much like to Some in these our daies,
That (as bold Prologues do to Players,)                                             100
With Garlonds haue their Fore-heads bound,
Yet onely empty Sculles are crownde:[52]
[page 8]
Neuer stopping,[53]    
But euer dropping.
Her Skin loose and slacke,
Grayned like a Sacke,
With a crooked backe.
   Her eyen gowndy,[54]
Are full, vnlowndy,[55]
For they are bleared,   110
And shee gray heared,
Iawed like a Ietty[56],
A man would haue pitty,
To see how shees gummed,
Fingerd and thumbed;
Gentlye Ioynted,
Greased and annointed,
Up to the knuckles,
The bones her buckles,
Together made fast,   120
Her youth is far past:
Footed like a Plane,
Legges like a Crane,
And yet shee will Iet[57],
Like a Iolly Set,[58]
In her fur'd flocket[59]
And gray russet rocket,[60]
With Simper the cocket.[61]
   Her Huke[62] of Lincolne greene,[63]
It had beene hers I weene,[64]                                       130
More than fortie yeare,
And so it doth appeare:
And the greene bare threds
Looke like Sere weedes,[65]
Withered like hay.
The wooll worne away,[66]   [page 9]
And yet I dare say,
Shee thinks herselfe gay
Upon the holliday,
When shee doth her array,                                         140
And girdeth in her getes,
Stitched & prancked with pletes:[67]
Her Kirtle[68] Bristow red,[69]
With cloaths vppon her head,
That they wey a sowe of lead,[70]
Writhen[71] in a wonder wise,
After the Sarazens gise,[72]
With a whim wham,[73]
Knit with a trim tram,
Upon her braine pan[74]                                                   150
Like an Egiptian,
Capped about,
When shee goeth out,
Her selfe for to shew,
Shee draweth downe the dew,
With a paire of heeles,
As broad as two wheeles,
Shee hobbles as shee goes,
With her blancket hose,
Her sboone smeard with tallow,                               160
Greased vppon dirt,
That danbeth the Skirt.

Primus Passus.[75]

And this comely Dame,
I vnderstand her name
Is Elynor Rumming,
At home in her wonning:[76]
And as men say
Shee dwelt in Sothray[77],                                                 [Page 10]
 In a certen stede
Beside Lederhede,[78]                                                         170
Shee is a tonnish[79] gib,[80]
The Deuill and shee be Sib[81].

I Red and smilde, but at the last,
As toward the towne mine eye I cast,
In mingled troopes I might beholde
Women and men (some yong, some olde)
Like to a Spring-tide, strongly flowing
To Hogsdon, not one backward going.
Out of the Citty rush'd the streame,[82]
A while (me thought) I did but dreame,               180
That I saw people, till at last,
Hogsdon ore-flowde, it swel'd so fast.
I musde that from the Citty venturde
Such heapes: for tho the Spring was enterde,
They flock'd not thus to heare the Tune
Of that bird who sings best in Iune,
(Yclip'd[83] the Cuckoe) as yet her note
Shee had not perfect, but by rote:
Ne durst shee sing yet, being not able
In English, but in ---- to gabble.                                  190
Nor was it like they made these throngs,
To heare the Nightingals sad songs,
For Lust (in these dayes) beares such price,
They are but mock'd that checke that Vice.[84]
   Still more and more this Sea brake in,
Yet ebb'd in one halfe houre agen,
The Voyagers[85] that first did Vaile,[86]
(Hauing their Lading[87]) homeward saile.
But with a side-winde were they driuen,
Yet all cast anchor in one Hauen.                                           200
Up went my sailes. With much ado,
In the same Port I anchorde too.
Being landed there, all I could finde
Was this, They came to hunt the Hinde.[88]                              [Page 11]
   Into their Parke[89] I forthwith wente
Being entred, all the ayre was rent
With a most strange confused noyse,
That sounded nothing but meere voyce.[90]
Amazde I stood to sée a Crowd
Of Ciuill Throats stretched out so lowd:                              210
(As at a New-play) all the Roomes
Did swarme with Gentiles mix'd with Groomes.[91]
So that I truly thought, all These
Came to sée Shore,[92] or Pericles,[93]
And that (to haue themselues well plac'd)
Thus brought they victualls (they fed so fast)
But then (agen mee thought) This shoale
Swom thither for Bakers doale
Or Brewers, and that for their soules sakes,
They thus were seru'd with Ale and cakes:[94]                   220
For Iugs of Ale came réeling in,
As if the Pots had drunkards bin.[95]
   A sayler (that had narrow eyes
Through fumes that vp to his braines did rize)
Got I by th' arme, (children they say,
And Fooles and Dronkerds, truth bewray)[96]
Him therefore I desirde to show
Why all these met. --- Tis Pimlyco ---
My Friend, Tis Pimlyco (hee cryde)[97]
And no worde could I get beside.                                           230
This made me madder then before,
I ask'd another, and hee swore
Zoundes---I'me ten strong in Pimlyco[98]---
What's that saide I?---stowt Pimlyco---
And backe, at least three yardes hée réeles,---
Pimlyco trips vp good mens heeles
(Lisping) he cryes, and downe he falls,
Yet for more Pimlyco---still he calls.
   What Pimlyco should meane I wondred,
Because so lowd, that word still thundred                       240
From all their throats through all their eares,
At length, a reuerend man (whose yeares                        [page 12]
Had tourn'd his head and beard all gray,
And came but to beholde That Play,[99]
And not to act himselfe The Vice)
Tolde all the Dronken Misteries.[100]
And that the Ale got such high Fame,
Only by that fond, senceleffe Name.
   I laugh'd to see a World (so wise,
So subtile in all Villanies,                                                                         250
So scorning to be laugh'd to scorne)
Should be so drownde with Ale in Corne.[101]
Yet since in Hogsdon all ran mad,[102]
I playde the Mad-man too, and had
My Iug brought in; a draught or twaine
Made such hot boyling in my braine,
That (faster then their Pots were hide)[103]
From my Inuention were bigilde
Verses in Pimlyco's high prayse,
Pimlyco crownde my head with bayes.[104]                          260
For straight I felt my selfe a Poet,
And (like some fooles) in Rime must show it.
Yet first I tournde o're Skeltons Rimes
With those mad times to weigh our Times,
And try how Elynor Rummings Ale,
Was Brew'd; and Drawne, and set to Sale,
What Guests drunk there, and what Drinke heere,
In this wilde Lantskip[105] shall appeare.

BUt to make vp my tale,[106]
She brueth nappy[107] Ale,    270
And maketh thereof poort sale,[108]
To trauaylers, to tynkers,
To sweaters,[109] to swinkers,[110]
And all good Ale drinkers,
That will nothing spare,
But drinke till they stare,
And bring them selues bare,                         [Page 13]
With now away the Mare,[111]
And let vs flay care,
As wise as an hare.[112]                                        280
   Come who so will
To Elynor on the hill,
With fill the Cup fill,
And sit thereby still.
Early and late,
Thither commeth Kate,
Cisley and Sare,
With their legges bare,
And also their feet,
Hardly full vnsweet,                                         290
With their heeles dagged,
Their kirtles[113] all to iagged,
Their smockes all to ragged,
With titters and tatters,
Bring dishes and platters,
With all their might running,
To Elynor Rumming,
To haue of her Tunning,
Shee leaueth them of the hame[114],
And thus beginneth the game.                    300
   Some wenches come vnbraced,
With their naked pappes,
That flippes and flappes,
It wigges and it wagges,
Like tawney saffron bagges,[115]
A sort of fowle drabbes,
All scurvy with scabbes,
Some be fly bitten,
Some skewd as a kitten,
Some with a shooe clowte,                             310
[Page 14]
Binde their heads about,
Some haue no haire lace,
Their lockes about their face,
Their tresses vntrust,
All ful of vnlust.
Some looke strawry,
Some cawry mawry,[116]
Full vntidy tegges,[117]
Like rotten egges,
Such a lewd sort,                                                320
To Elinor resort,
From tyde to tyde;
Abide, abide,
And to you shal be told,
How her Ale is sold,
To mawt[118] and to molde.[119]

Secundus Passus.[120]
Some haue no monney,
That thither commy,
For their Ale to pay,
That is a shrewd aray.                                     330
Elinour sweared, nay
Yee shall not beare away
My Ale for nought
By him that me bought.
   With hey dog hay,
Haue these dogges away,
With get me a staffe,
The swine eate my draffe,[121]
Strike the hogs with a club,
They haue drunke vp my swilling tub,                 340
For be there neuer so much prease,[122]
These swine goe to the hye dese,[123]          [Page 15]
The sow with her pigges,
The Bore his taile wrigges[124]
Against the hye bench,
With so, there is a stench,
Gather vp thou wench,
Seest thou not what is fall,
Take vp drit[125] and all,
And beare out-of the hall,   350
God giue it ill preuing,
Clenly as euill cheuing.[126]
   But let vs turne playne,
There wee left agayne,
For as ill a patch as that,
The hennes run in the mash fat,
For they goe to roust,
Strayt ouer the Ale ioust,
And dong[127] when it comes
In the Ale tonnes,                                               360
Then Elinor taketh
The mash boll, and shaketh
The hennes dong away,
And skommeth it in a tray
Where as the Yest is,
With her maungy fistis:
And sometimes she blens,
The dong of her hennes
And the Ale together,
And saith Gossip[128] come hither,                 370
This Ale shall be thicker,
And floure the more quicker,
For I may tell you,
I learned it of a Iew,
When I began to brew,                       [Page 16]
Drinke now while it is new.
And yee may it brooke,
It shall make you looke
Yonger than you bee
Yeeres two or three.                                          380
For yee may proue it by me,
Behold she said, and see,
How bright I am of blee,[129]
Ich am not cast away,
That can my husband say,
When wee kisse and play,
In lust and in liking,
He calleth me his whyting,
His Mulling, and his Nittine
His Nobbes and his Cunny,[130]                       390
His sweeting and his honny,
With basse my pretty bonny,
Thou art worth good and monny,
This make I my falyre fanny,
Till that he dreame and dronny.
For after all our sport,
Than will hee ront and snort,
Then sweetly together we lye,
As two Pigges in a stye.
But we will turne playne,                                            400
Where we left agayne.
              Tertius passus.[131]
In stead of coyne and monny,
Some bring her a conny,
And some a pot with honny,
Some a salt, and some a spoone,
Some their hose, some their shoon.
Some ran a good trot,                                        [Page 17]
With a skillet or a pot, &c.
     Cum multis alijs, quae nunc perscribere longum est.[132]

Hoc est Skeltonicum,
Incipit Pimlyconicum.[133]

OF Pimlyco now let vs sing,
Rich Pimlyco, the new-found Spring,                     410
Where men and women both together,
To warme their vaines in frosty weather,
Where men and women hot blouds coole,
By drincking Pimlycoes boyled poole.
Strong Pimlyco, the nourishing foode
To make men fat, and bréed pure blood;
Deepe Pimlyco, the Well of Glee,[134]
That drawes vp merry company.
Bewitching Pimlyco, that tyes
The Rich and Poore, the Foole and Wise,             420
All in one knot. Of that we write;
Inspire your Poet to indite,[135]
You Barlie Muses Pimlyconian,
He scornes the Muses Helyconian;
(Poore Soules) they none but water drincke,
But Pimlyco dropt into his yncke,
His lines shall flye with merry gale,
No Muse is like to Pimlyco Ale.
   Not the neat Wine De Orleans;
Nor of Hebrian, (best in France;)                               430
Not Gascoigne, nor the Burdeux Vine,
Nor that which flowes from swift-foote Rhyne;
Not Sheerys Sacks, nor Charnico,
Peter Semine, nor Mallago,
Nor th' Amber-colored Candie grape,
Which druncke with Egges makes men to---Ape.
Nor can the Greekish Vintage show
A liquor matching Pimlyco.                                         [Page 18]
Not Hipocras[136] (the drinke of women,)
Nor Bastards[137] (that are déere, but common,)  440
Nor the fat lecherous Alligant[138],
Whose Iuice repaires what Backes[139] doe want.
Nor Waters drawne by Distillations,
With medcinable Operations,
As Rosa Solis[140], Aqua Vitae,
And Nugs of Balme[141], so quicke, and sprighty;[142]
No, nor the Irish Vsquebagh[143],
Of which, the Kerne[144] whole pyntes will quaffe,
Strong Vsquebagh! that hotlier burnes
Than Sackes, and white the Entrailes turnes.   450
Nor welsh Metheglyn[145], (browne as berry)
Lancashier Syder, Werstershier Perry,
Nor yet a draught of Darby Ale,
Nor mother Bunch,[146] (long since growne stale,)
Nor that old two-peny Ale of Pynder,
That many a Porter oft did hinder
From carrying Burdens, for (alacke!)
The Ale had strength to breake his backe.
   Nor all those Drinkes of Northren Climes,
Whose Brewings shall fill vp our Rimes,              460
Brant, Rensque, and the cleere Romayne,
The Belo, Crasno, and Patisane,
Peeua (to them as is our Béere,)
With spiced Meades (wholsome, but déere)
As Meade Obarne, and Meade Cherunck,
And the base Quasse by Pesants drunck.
With all the rest that whet the sprites
Of Ruffes and cold Muscouytes.
Not all these Drinkes, nor thowsand moe,
Can reach the fame of Pimlyco.                                 470
   To prooue (ô Pimlyco) these thine honors,
Armies each day spread Crimson benners,[147]
And with hie Colours, and quicke shot,[148]
Fight stiffly till the field be got.
All Sexes, all Degrées, all Nations,
All men of Arts or Occupations,                                 [Page 19]
(As if for gayne to some great Fayre,)
Onely for Ale to thee repayre.
The English, Scottish, Dutch and French,
Sit whistling here vpon one bench:                        480
If but of Pimlyco they drinke hard,
Betwixt them falls not one foule word,
They kisse like brothers, Dutch, French, Scot,
Are all One in a Pimlyco Pot.
   Hither come Sergeants with their Maces,
Hither come Bailiffes with red faces,
Hither come Lads and greaste Lownes,[149]
Hither come pockets full of Crownes,
Hither come those can scarce find Baile
For sixe pence, yet spend eight in Ale.                  490
Usurers battle (here) their pence,
The Diuell can scarce kéepe Brokers hence,
The Lawyer that in Terme-time takes
Fat fées, pleades here for Ale and Cakes.
Doctors, Proctors, Clarkes, Atturneis,
To Pimlyco make sweattie iourneis,
And (being well Arm'd with Buckram bags,)[150]
Fight vnder Hogsdons skarlet flags.[151]
The Winde our Merchants this way driues,
Whilst their men take vp for their wives              500
Roomes before hand: and oft it hits,
Not farre from them some Fish-wife sits.
For (here) of manners none take héed,
First come, first seru'd, first seru'd first féed.[152]
Citizens, Souldiers, Sea-men, Schollers,
Gentlemen, Clownes, Millers, Colliers,
Mercers, Taylors, Poets, Booke-bynders,
Grocers, Curriers, Goldsmiths, goldfiners,
Silkemen, Botche[r]s,[153] Drapers, Dray-men,
Courtiers[,] Carters, Church-men, Lay-men,      510
Midwiues, Apple-wiues, Cheape-side Ladies,
Old Beldames, and young Tiffany Babies,[154]
Scotch-bums,[155] red Wast-coats, fine Pawne-wenches,[156]
In the same roomes, on selfe same benches,       [Page 20]
Crown'd All together: All Drincke, All Pay,
Why then should any giue the way?
Roomes here are by Reuersion[157] got,
As Offices, so men win the Pot.
Both Pray and Pay, and wait, and woo,
That Foure may buy, what goes for two,               520
Yet tis refusde. The Sexton scornes
To budge to a Bright.[158] All stay their Tourns
As of the Conduit or the Mill,
And nothing is heard, but Fill, Fill, Fill,
Bespeaking one anothers Cups,
As men do Chayres in Barbors shops
On Christmasse Geues. A hundred laps
Held vp for cakes; As many caps
Put off for Ale, whose iuice embalmes
Their Browes 'tis beg'd, as t'were an almes,        530
Yet all hold Siluer vp, and cry
Take mine, (as at the Lottery.)
   Drawer[s], néed not baule Anon, Anon,
Each Guest for his owne Drinck does run,
Braue men turne Tapsters, Women Caters,[159]
For they that sit, there's Forty Waiters,
French-Hoods, and Veluet Caps being prowd
Sometimes, i'th Henroost close to crowd.
   O strange! what makes the Cripple heere?
When strongest legs can hardly beare                  540
Those that stand on them, if they stand
But stiffly too 't in Pimlyco Land:
Yet euen that Wretch, (that halts on wood)[160]
All hoe[161] fiue furlongs off it stood,
Sweares hèe to lympe too 't, and too 't hée goes,
And being there, his false legs does lose.
After him, gropes the Blind, and cries,
Pimlyco drincks not out mine Eyes.
Pimlyco does so please the Mouth,
They come from East, West, North, South.            550
   O Thou, (thou Pimlyconian Host,)
Had thy Head bin but like that Post,                        [Page 21]
Which Scores what Ale and Cakes come in,
Of greater Reckoning hadst thou bin.[162]
Hadst thou had Braines, but like to some,
To know what Wether was to come
By'th Almanacke; thou hadst changde thy lucke,
Thy Hynde ere this had prou'de a Bucke.[163]
Alacke! thy wits are lost in Brewings;
Th'art growne starke mad with too good Doings  560
Thou, onely cryest, Who payes the Shot?
(When the Maine Matters are forgot.)
Thou Barmy Foole, at last grow wise,
Build thy House round with Galleries,
Like to a Play-house; for thy Ale
(Bée't bad, bée't good, béet new, bée't Stale)
Brings thée good Audience: from each shore,
Ships of Fooles[164] lanch, to séeke thy Dore;
Ere prodigall Gulls saile backe agen,
They'le pay thée money to come in:                       570
Kéepe then thy wife and thou, the dores,
Let those within wipe out the Scores.
Yet (O vile counsell!) why do I labour
To haue a Christian wrong his neighboure
Each afternoone thy House being full,
Makes Fortune[165] blind, or Gelds The Bull.[166]
No, no, (thou Pimlyconian Brewer)
Thy Castle of Comfort[167] stands so sure,
(Moated with Ale, and wal'd with cakes)
Tho whirle-winds blow, it neuer shakes;            580
Therefore it needs no reparations,[168]
No Rampyres,[169] no Fortifications,
But onely Shot[170]: Charge them Pell Mell,[171]
Let Ordinance go off well;
And Hogsdon séemes a Towne of warre,
Where Constables the Captaines are,
Leading to Stocks[172] (with Bils[173] and Stanes[174])
Whole troopes of druncken Whores and Knaues,
Who (tho they cannot stand) yet go,[175]
Swearing, Zounds hey braue Pimlyco.                   590  [Page 22]
You therefore that do trade in Cans,[176]
(Virginians, or Cracouians,)[177]
You that in whole pots drinke your bane,[178]
Lying dead-druncke at The Labour in vaine:
You Apron-men,[179] that wéekely get
By your hard labour and your sweat,
Siluer (earn'd deare, but honestly)
Enough to find your Family,
Now leaue those places (nam'd before)[180]
Or if you'le Drinke, maintaine a Score,                  600
But let your Wages (in one Summe)
Be wisely sau'd till Sunday come,
But (with it) buy, nor bread, nor broth,
Nor house, nor hose, nor shooe, nor cloth,
For food let wife and children Die,
Sucke Pimlyco downe merrily,
There dance and spend the day in laughter,
T'is meat and drinke a whole wéeke after.
   You Ballad-Singers, that doe liue
On halfe penny almes that Ideots giue,                              610
In euery Street (to druncken Notes)
Set out your villanous yelping throates,
That through all eares your Tunes may flow,
With praises of Browne Pimlyco.
  You Poets that of Helicon boast,
[(]Whose mornings draught without a toast
You alwayes take, but ne're as so,
Comming to tipple Pimlyco,)
O be more wise, and scorne that licquor[181],
Drincke this, which makes your Muses quicker,  620
Of This, thrée full Pots (I assure yee)
Leaues you starke drunke with brauer furie.
   You that plough vp the salt Sea-flood,[182]
To fetch from farre, the Grapes deare blood.
And with Out-landish drinks confound
And mad the Brayne that is most sound:
Your very Ships going neuer so steddy,
(With that moist Freight) but euer giddy             [Page 23]
And réeling (as an ominous Signe),
That Those must réele, who Trade in Wine,      630
From Shore to Shore what néed you saile,
When Pimlyco breeds such Dragon-Ale?
   You that of men déere recknings make,[183]
Yet at the Barre (for what they Take)
Arraigne them, Charging them to Stand,
Till they haue all held vp The Hand:
Downe with your Bushes,[184] and your Grates,[185]
Draw your selues thorow the Citie Gates,
To Sacke[186] the Walls of Pimlyco,
Which day by day more strong do grow,              640
And will in time (to their owne Trench)
Driue backe both Spanish Wines and French:
Or if no Shot can batter downe
This Pimlyco Fort; then, in the Towne,
And in the fields and Common way,
Pitch Tents, and openly to play
Your Banners (drawne with Red and White)
Vnder those cullors Men will fight
Till they can stand, else All are lost,
And cut off by the Pimlyco host.                                650
Here therefore sownd, Anon, Anon,
For the mayne Army here coms on.
   O you that (euery Moone) hold Feasts,
(And in the True-loue-knot are Guests)
And doe with Wreathes your Temples crowne,
(At Lothbury, and at Horsey-downe[187],)
Let those Deare Fleshly-Meetings go,
And Bath your Braynes in Pimlyco.
   You that by Engine Whéeles can force
Tydes to run backe and turne their Course,[188]  660
Whose wits in water still do Diue,
(O, if you wish that Trades should thriue,)
With lowd voyce to the Citie speake,
That she her Conduit-Heads would breake,
And onely build One Conduit-Head,
At Pimlyco, that through pipes of Lead,                              [Page 24]
The pretious Streame may be conuayd,
And Crafts-men so at home be stayd.
   You Bawds, you Pandars,[189] Puncks[190] and whores.
That are chalk'd vpon Ale-house scores,              670
You that lay Petticoats, Gownes, and Smocks
To pawne for drincks to ure[191] the Poxe,
At Pimlyco some will take them from you,
To drinke there then, shall best become you.
   Of Aley-Ilands[192] there are more,
(Some new discouered, some before)
But neither th'Old nor New of name,
Can equall Pimlyco in fame.
   Of these strange Ilands, Malta is one,
Malta does Border close vpon                                    680
The Continent of Pimlyco,
And by her Streames more rich does grow,
On Pimlyco Seas when tis fowle weather,
That no Ship can get in; then hither,
(To Malta) flie they with swolne Saile,
To buy the Iew of Malta's Ale.
Thy Knights (O Malta) now do flourish,
Pimlyco their renowne does nourrish,
All fealty[193] therefore they doowe
And Seruice to guard Pimlyco.                                  690
Tripoly from the Turke was taken,
But Tripoly is againe forsaken;
What Newes from Tripoly? Would you know?
Christians flye thence to Pimlyco.
   Eye-bright, (so fam'd of late for Beere)
Although thy Name be numbred hiere,
Thine ancient Honors now runne low;
Thou art struck blind by Pimlyco.
The New-found Land, is now growen stale.
Few to Terceras Ilands[194] sayle;                                 700
The once well-mand,  brave Ship of Hull,
That spred a sayle, proud, stiff, and full,
Leakes oft, and does at Anchor lye:
Nay, euen St. Christopher[195] walkes dry.                [Page 25]
Not halfe so many Christians (now)
Their knées before his White-crosse bow.
Run, (Red-cap[196]) Run, amongst the Rest,
Thou art nam'd last, that once wert best,
But (Red-cap) now thy Wooll is worne,
By Pimlyco is Red-cap shorne.                                    710
Our weary Muse (here) leapes to Shore,[197]
On these rough Seas she Sayles no more,
This Voyage made shèe (for your sakes,)
Spending thus much in Ale and Cakes.


[1] E Archer (ed.), Transcript of the Registers of the Company of Stationers (London: 1876), iii, pp.406, 408

[2]  A.H.Bullen (ed.), Pimlyco; or Runne Red-Cap, ‘tis a mad world at Hogsdon (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1891)

[3] Pimlyco: Pimlico, ‘A type of strong ale brewed at the Pimlico Tavern in Hoxton in the first decade of the 17th cent.’ (OED); in this text, it is used both as the place and the name of the ale. While most agree that the better-known district to the west of Westminster derives from this usage, there has been a great deal of debate about where the name comes from. While nothing has been conclusively established, there is one persuasive surmisal that it is derived from ‘Pamlico Sound’ in N Carolina (in turn derived from a Native American language), which suits the figuring of this London suburb as an exotic island; see Richard Coates, ‘The First American Placename in England: Pimlico’ in Names: Journal of the American Name Society,  Sept. 1995, (43:3), pp. 213-227.

[4] Red-Cap: In folk tale, ‘Mother Redcap’, was the name of a disreputable woman, often an innkeeper. It was hence a common inn name, and, according to the end of the poem, presumably, a particular one whose business has been adversely affected by the success of Pimlyco. There was certainly an inn of this name by 1593, as mentioned in Philip Foulface (pseud.) Bacchus Bountie (1593), B1. There are a number of references to an inn of that name from slightly later in the Islington/Holloway area north of London (see ‘Mother Redcap’ in Lost Plays Database ( A play by Michael Drayton and Anthony Munday called Mother Red Cap, was written for Philip Henslowe on behalf of the Admiral’s Men in 1797-8. Although this text is now lost there is a poem, authored solely by Drayton, entitled The Moone-Calfe, in The Bataille of Agincourt (1631) pp.218-279, which features a story-telling contest between four women (who are drinking ale), of which one is Mother Redcap. Redcap’s story concerns a drunken island that was destroyed by a storm. The only honest man had hidden in a cave, and on coming out after the storm, sees a mad, frenzied land turned upside down: a woman gives birth to piglets, a man worships an ape etc. The other women tell similar tales of magical islands. Although it is impossible to know how analagous the 1797 play was to this poem, the stories fit in a number of ways with the description of the ‘isle’ of Pimlyco, as they do to an extent with The Tempest.

[5] Hogsdon: mod. sp. Hoxton, then a suburb of London to the northeast of the City. Described briefly by Stow in his 1598 Survey of London, ed. Henry Morley (1912; reprinted Alan Sutton: 1994) pp.158-9. The name appears as ‘Hocheston’ (= high town) in the Domesday Book, although the corruption to associate the name with pigs was appropriate with its reputation by the late sixteenth century.

[6] Patrono…Normano: (Latin), prob. ‘Patron of Pimlyco, Bright face, rare wit [or poss. rarely witty], for Tom Norman.’ The syntax is inaccurate in this phrase.

[7] tis the Fire of your Nose sir: Reddening of the nose caused by excessive alcohol consumption.

[8]  Glasse-house: Works where glass is made.

[9] in graine: to ‘dye in grain’ (rendering of French en graine) is to dye a fabric in Cochineal, a bright red, fast dye made from ground-up insect, but previously thought to be from a berry or grain. There is prob. a pun on the ‘grain’ used to make beer. One resource of Viginia pointed out by Thomas Hariott and others is the bark from a tree that could be used as a red dye; see Thomas Hariott, A brief and true report of the new found land of Virginia (1588) in ed. D.B.Qinn The Roanoke Voyages (London: Hakluyt Society, 1955), i. pp.334-5; or, p.11. The bark was possibly used by native Americans for face-dying; see Quinn, p.441 or

[10] Squadron: First suggestion of the military imagery used throughout the poem; see esp. ll.577-88

[11] Ale-cunners: Those knowledgeable of ale, with a possible pun on ‘gunners’ to continue the image of the preceding line.

[12] Easter: The Easter Sittings were the weeks between Easter and Whitsun when English courts were fully in session; this tallies with the time of year mentioned below, ll. 1-22, and continues the conceit of ‘Tom Norman’ choosing the jury

[13] fore-runners: the advance-guard of an army

[14] Hoyst then up your Sayle sir: First suggestion of the nautical imagery employed below in the section ‘To all travellers’, and elsewhere in the poem.

[15] Copper seale: symbol of the authority of a court, possibly with a quibble on ‘copper’ to mean ‘cup-bearer’ (see OEDn2).

[16] Pimlyco Noses: continuing the image of the alcohol-induced enlarged nose, but also to mean synechdocally ‘ships’, and those with refined taste.

[17] Vade…titubes: Horace Epistles, I, xiii, 19: ‘Go, farewell, take care, don’t stagger’.

[18]  The prose introduction is a parody of the largely propogandist pamphlets encouraging Britons to take part in colonial projects in Virginia. These came in two main waves: the first in the the late 1780s, surrounding Raleigh’s failed to attempt to establish a failed settlement on Roanoke Island (now in N Carolina), and from 1607 following the ultimately successful establishment of the Jamestown colony. There was a marked increase in the number of such pamphlets in the Spring of 1609, following news of the difficulties being encountered by the Jamestown settlers.

[19] Iland: when arriving on the east coast of the Americas, expeditions faced the problem of whether the land arrived on was an island or attached to the mainland; Raleigh’s expedition of 1585-6, the subject of Harriot’s account, established a colony on Roanoke Island, part of an archipelago separated from the mainland by Pamlico sound. Raleigh faces just this problem on his arrival in Virginia; see Richard Hakluyt, The Principall Navigations, Voiages and Discoveries of the English Nation (London: 1589), ii, p.728.

[20] Pimlyco is here described with the kind of ‘enchanted island’ imagery best known to modern readers from The Tempest, probably first performed in Nov. 1611. Although the trope of the island is a topos from a number of sources – Ovid, Virgil, More’s Utopia – this description of the ‘island’ of Pimlyco can be seen as a possible minor source for the drunkenness, apparent madness and changes of form and essence experienced by visitors to Shakespeare’s ‘island’, when taken to mean the imaginary island in the Mediterranean, the Barbadoes, and the space of the theatre.

[21] Malt-men…staggers: cf Thomas Dekker, The Wonderfull Yeare (1603), p.42: ‘This setter up of malt-men, being troubled with the staggers…’

[22] Smallshot: Payment for victuals, with a pun on the missiles fired by guns, a conceit exploited below, ll.578-81

[23] The Iland…populous: The following description is reminiscent of the inventories of the resources of the new world in order to encourage participation in colonial projects; in particular, see Thomas Hariott, A brief and true report of the new found land of Virginia (1588) in ed. D.B.Qinn The Roanoke Voyages (London: Hakluyt Society, 1955), i. pp.317-387; or

[24]  Wilde Duckes and wilde Geese: bawdy reference to loose women, prostitutes.

[25] Goose sowe’d Pimlyco: prostitute drunk on (soused, pickled in) Pimlyco ale.

[26] woodcockes: gullible person, usually male but possibly female.

[27] The Governour: Those in charge of Early English colony in America often reported problems of ill discipline amongst those under them, and had to resort to harsh punishment in order to mantain discipline; see Hariott’s Briefe and True Report in ed. Quinn The Roanoke Voyages, p.322.

[28] Hard measure: the landlord (governor) rules with hard discipline, and gives small measures (of drink).

[29] Pot: meant in a number of senses: they are ruined by drink; they get more drink; they need to urinate; poss., they come to blows, or shoot at each other. Ben Jonson famously had a duel and killed Ganriel Spence of the Pembroke’s Men players in ‘Hogsden Fields’, as Henslowe said in his journal, on 22 September 1598, following what was possibly a disagreement concerning rival theatre companies (see eds. Foakes and Rickert, Henslowe’s Diary  (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1961), p.286. Shortly available in MSS 7 at

[30] Lading: load, cargo.

[31] Merchants: literally merchants, but in line with the image, merchant ships.

[32] Heyres: heyr, a young tree that is left standing during coppicing; also a pun on ‘heir’, setting up a comparison exploited three lines down.

[33] whilome: previously

[34] When all Birds hold their Weddings: Reference to the legend that birds marry on Valentine’s Day (14 February); see Donne, ‘Epithalamion…on the Lady Elizabeth and Count Pataine being Married on St. Valentine’s Day’ (1613), ll.1-14.

[35] measures: rythms, dances

[36] Vernall: of the Spring.

[37] After the conventiional description of the Spring, the speaker starts his narrative of a trip across Moorfields to Hoxton, presumably from the City of London.

[38] Horses of the…Chariot: Phoebus Apollo was said to ride his golden chariot across the sky to drive the sun’s movement.

[39] Rosio: dewy (Latin)

[40] Chains of Pearle: dew taken up by the sun in the day, and returned at night. Apollo had a number of lovers, amainly unrequited, but there is no such story as this.

[41] Eye of Day: The literal meaning of ‘Daisy’.

[42] Beautie…Enemies: The primrose, which is first to display its flower is also the first to die.

[43] Yonker: Young man, originally but not necessarily of high rank.

[44] Greene-Gowne: in popular parlance, the fallen woman was said to wear a ‘green gown’. The quibble in the following line between ‘green gown’ and ‘gown of green’ is obscure, although there is a cycle of folk songs entitled with variations of ‘The Gown of Green’ (Roud 1085), which tend to emphasise the positive aspects of the ‘green gown’ as leading to partnership, children etc.

[45] Nothing…missing: prob. ‘Only virginity was lost, which had already been lost’.

[46] Frame: a view, as in that which is in a picture frame; also, that which gives structure to the organised chaos of the lovers in the fields. The juxtaposition of the urban and the pastoral is a continuation of that implied in ll.1-4 above.

[47]  Kingdome’s Starre: The gloss clarifies this as ‘London’.

[48] Two Townes (like Citties): The gloss points out that these are Islington and Hoxton. The speaker is presumably therefore imagined to be on Moorfields. Stow points out that, in 1415, Moregate was created, ‘for the ease of the citizens to walk that way towards Iseldon and Hoxton’, and that over time the land was drained, so that, ‘this fen or moor made main and hard ground.’ (p.159). Moorfields was preserved as a place of recreation, particularly for archery practice, after what is described in Hall’s Chronicle as popular action against enclosure in 1515, although Stow bemoans subsequent ‘inclosure for gardens, wherein are built many fair Summer-houses…not so much for use of profit but for show and pleasure.’

[49]  vary: ‘to express in different words’ (OEDvary, n.9); thus, ‘I cannot describe in words these objects’.

[50] Pans…excell): Even a rustic instrument like Pan’s pipes seems excellent where there is nothing else.

[51] O learned…Song: The following lines are not equal to those of Gower, Chaucer or Lydgate.

[52] No…crownde: Skelton, the author of the following poem, was made poet laureate, much as prologues sometimes overstate the value of the plays they introduce. In view of the description of Pimlyco that follows, this is clearly a highly defensive and partially ironical manoeuvre

[53] Here begins the first of two extracts from The Tunning Elynor Rumming, by John Skelton (publ. 1550). Here, the first 28 lines are missed out, including the introduction and the first part of the description of the grotesque body of the barmaid Elynor Rumming. For the full text, see ed. Alexander Dyce, Poetical Works of John Skelton (Boston: 1862), I, pp.109-131, or

[54] gowndy: full of gownd, that is, the foul secretions of the eye.

[55] unlowndy: (prob.) unlike a loon =strumpet, so not seductive

[56] Ietty: jetty, as at a harbour or overhang on a building.

[57] Jet: to move along jauntily

[58] set: ‘set-to’, fight

[59] flocket: ‘A loose garment with long sleeves’ (OED)

[60] rocket: ‘A loose cloak or smock’ (OED)

[61] with simper the cocket: with an affected, saucy air

[62] Huke: caped cloak

[63] Lincoln Greene: a green gown is indicative of the fallen or sexually promiscuous woman; see note 42 above.

[64]  weene: believe

[65] Sere weedes: worn-out clothes, but also withered weeds, as opposed to the freshness of the pastures described above.

[66]  wooll worne away: Her green coat, symbolic of having fallen sexually, has become worn out with freuquent promiscuity.

[67] pletes: plaits or braids

[68] kirtle: gown

[69] Bristow-red: Bristol-red, a dye.

[70] wey a sowe of lead: weigh the same as a pig of lead

[71] writhen: twisted, tied.

[72] after the Sarazens wise: in the manner of the Saracen

[73] with a whim wham: dressed fancifully and highly ornamentedly. ‘Trim tram’ in the following line has a similar meaning.

[74] braine pan: skull, head.

[75] Primus Passus: Part One (Latin). The quotation up until now has been from the prologue.

[76] wonning: place of habitation.

[77] Sothray: Surrey

[78] Lederhede: Leatherhead, in Surrey.

[79] tonnish: modish, fashionable.

[80] gib: derogatory term for a woman, esp. an old woman.

[81] Sib: sibling, related. The extract from ‘The Tunning Elynor Rumming’ ends here.

[82] I Red…rush’d the streame: This section is a joyous reworking of Dante, Inferno, III, 21- 90, in which Dante is taken by Virgil to the shores of the river Acheron. See also ll.223-38 below.

[83] Yclip’d: called

[84]  The speaker continues his partial censure of the vice to be found amongst the clientele at Hoxton, and suggests for the first time here that vice has taken place of other, more worthy activities; Stow comments in his Survey of London (1603) that attempts to enclose fields around London, and the building of gardens and buildings for pleasure, had inhibited the old, profitable pastimes such as archery, hitherto commonly practised on Moorfields, across which the current speaker has presumably travelled to get to Hoxton (II p.78).

[85] Voyagers: the conceit of Londoners travelling to Hoxton as an exotic location is taken up here from the introduction

[86] Vaile: prevail, arrive.

[87] having their lading: having been loaded up

[88]  Hinde: Young female deer, whose hunting commonly used as a metaphor for courtship; also poss. a servant, a rustic person

[89] Parke: Either Pimlyco gardens, behind the Pimlyco inn, or Hoxton Fields, to the west of it.

[90] cf. Dante, Inferno III.28-31. It has been reasonably suggested that the bird called the ‘Pemblicoe’, now known as the shearwater or puffinus l‘herminieri l’herminieri, native to the Bahamas, but found as far north as Carolina, was named by some ‘ale-banters’ because of the similarity of its cry to that found in the Pimlico alehouse; see Richard Coates, ‘The First American Placename in England: Pimlico’ Names: Journal of the American Name Society,  Sept. 1995, (43:3), pp. 213-227

[91] Gentiles mix’d with Groomes: gentlefolk and servants mixed together

[92] Shore: reference to Lady Jane Shore (c.1445-1527), mistress to Edward IV, and the tragic heroine in Thomas Heywood’s two-part Edward IV (1599). The allusion is appropriate because Shore was seen as a libertinous heroine of London, a symbol of metritocracy having grown from fairly humble beginnings, and to whom the etymology of ‘Shoreditch’ was (spuriously) ascribed. Heywood’s two plays were performed by Lord Strange’s Men at The Curtain, Shoreditch, in 1599, a short walk from Hoxton.

[93] Pericles: Shakespeare, Pericles, Prince of Tyre (prob. 1607-8).

[94] Ale and cakes: cf Twelfth Night, II.iii.107.

[95] As if…bin: Ale was poured so liberally into the ale pots that one would have thought the pots themselves to be drunkards.

[96] bewray: reveals, exposes

[97] A saylor…hee cryde): Cf. Dante’s constant questioning of Virgil throughout Inferno III, and his meeting with Charon.

[98]  ten strong in Pimlyco: having drunk ten Pimlycos; also, as a part of an army with ten men.

[99] That Play: the playfulness of the crowd at Hoxton, but also to see a play at one of the theatres in the area.

[100] Misteries: as in ‘Mystery’ or ‘Miracle’ plays; this develops the dramatic conceit of the preceding lines.

[101] corne: horn, a vessel from which to drink ale.

[102] in Hogsdon all ran mad: Cf. the title of the poem. Images of madness are a recurrent feature of the poem, perhaps suggested by the proximity of Bethlehem Hospital off Bishopsgate, on the current site of Liverpool Street Station.

[103] hide: measured, poured out.

[104] bayes: laurel, traditional crown for heroes and poets; hence Pimlyco ale makes the speaker a poet.

[105] Lantskip: landscape, poss. jurisdiction or administrative division.

[106] Skelton’s poem is here resumed at l.91.

[107]  nappy: foaming

[108] poort sale: Sale to the general public, or to the highest bidder (the first of these being emphasised here).

[109] sweaters: hard workers

[110] swinkers: labourers

[111] away the Mare: banish melancholy

[112] wise as a hare: i.e., mad, although with a certain wisdom as well.

[113] kirtles: gowns

[114] hame: skin, covering; clothes.

[115] safron bagges: cakes flavoured with saffron.

[116] cawry-mawry: ‘A kind of coarse, rough material’ (OED).

[117] tegges: teg – A sheep in its second year, derogatorily applied to women.

[118] mawt: malt

[119] molde: mould; yeast.

[120] Secundus Passus: Part Two (Latin)

[121] draffe: dregs (of the ale)

[122] prease: praise

[123] deys: dais; high table

[124] wrigges: wriggles, wiggles.

[125] drit: dirt

[126] evill cheving: evil-doing

[127] dong: faeces

[128] Gossip: close friend

[129] blee: facial complexion

[130] whyting, Mulling, Nittine, Nobbes, Cunny: terms of endearment, the last being explicitly sexual.

[131] Tertius Passus: Part Three (Latin)

[132] Cum…est: Much else is now desribed at length (Latin)

[133] Hoc…Pimlyconium: This is Skelton, here starts Pimlyconium (Latin)

[134] Well of glee: implied allusion to the spring of Helicon, haunt of the muses, suggesting the Pimlyconian Muses mentioned six lines later.

[135] indite: ‘put into words, compose (a poem, tale, speech etc.)’ (OED), with a quibble on the legal meaning (modern sp. ‘indict’) with reference to ll.i-xxx above.

[136] Hipocras: wine flavoured with spices.

[137] Bastards: a sweet Spanish wine

[138] Alligant: a wine from Alicante, Spain.

[139] Backes: Bacchus, Roman god of wine.

[140] Rosa Solis: liqueur made from spirits flavoured with spices or other flavours.

[141] Nugs of Balm: ‘a medicinable distallate, perh. of a kind of balsam’ (OED)

[142] sprighty: sprightly

[143] Usquebaugh: whisky

[144] Kerne: Irish foot-soldiers

[145] Metheglyn: Welsh mead flavoured with spices.

[146] Bunch: A mixture of drinks; ‘punch’

[147] crimson benners: red banners, flags, used by armies to indicate battle-readiness; also commonly used to indicate a public house.

[148] shot: the charge or reckoning at a tavern. The obvious pun on musket-shot etc. suggests a number of the military analogies in the poem.

[149] Lownes: loons, worthless rogues or idlers.

[150] Buckram bags: lawyers’ bags.

[151] skarlet flags: a red flag was often hung outside inns and taverns

[152] féed: fed, but also invested with an honour, and charged for it.

[153] botchers: either menders, or butchers.

[154] Tiffany Babies: Tiffany was a kind of fine, transparent silk; a ‘tiffany baby’ is presumably then a young person wearing the finest clothes

[155] Scotch-bums: ‘a kind of bustle [i.e., the underframe of a woman’s skirt or dress], cf Dekker and Webster, Westward Hoe (1607) II. ii. sig. C3’ (OED).

[156] Pawn-wenches: a ‘pawn’ is a colonnade or gallery where merchants display their wares, so women who either work there or shop there.

[157] Reversion: legal term referring to the transference of property or title at a specified point, usually on the death of the holder. The implication is that possession is temporary rather than owned outright by inheritance; in some ways this is the egalitarian or carnivalesque centre of the poem.

[158]  Bright: a fair woman (OED, bright n.& v. B.2)

[159] Caters: ‘Buyers of provisions, or “cates”; caterers’ (OED)

[160] halts on wood: walks haltingly with a crutch

[161] All hoe: although

[162] O Thou…hadst thou bin: Had the owner of the Pimlyco inn had a head as large as the door post on which the taly of cakes and ales sold was kept, he would have been considerably more clever and hence richer.

[163] Thy Hynde…a Buck: you would have been a young male deer rather than a female, with a possible quibble on ‘hynde’ (bottom) and ‘buck’ (penetrate, fuck), hence, ‘you would have been the active rather than passive copulater’.

[164] Ships of Fooles: a common trope in Renaissance art and story, the ship of fools is a boat whose passengers are deranged, and which floats directionless without a pilot. Here the images of madness and navigation are joined.

[165]  Fortune: the Fortune Playhouse in Finsbury, a ten-minute walk from Hoxton, founded in 1600 as a home for  Alleyn’s and Henslowe’s Admiral’s Men.

[166] The Bull: The Red Bull Theatre in Clerkenwell, constructed ?1604-7 primarily for the Queen Anne’s Men (formerly Worcester’s Men)

[167] Castle of Comfort: common pub name, here presumably used of the Pimlyco tavern and for the military metaphors it suggests, exploited in the succeeding lines.

[168] reparations: repairs; also poss. a sum of money to right an unfortunate situation.

[169] Rampyres: ramparts.

[170] Shot: payment of the reckoning, and in the sense of ammunition; see Prose Intro p.3, and ll.473, 561, 643.

[171] Pell Mell: hand-to-hand, confused combat; here, charged indiscriminately.

[172]  Stocks: the instrument of punishment, a house’s store, and also the handle of a gun; throughout the passage, there is a constant play on the military implications of the words used.

[173]  Bils: bills, both in the senses of ‘a military weapon used chiefly bu infantry’ (OED n.1), and the more familiar sense of reckoning and legal document.

[174]  Stanes: stains (on someone’s characters), and ‘stone’, in the sense of missiles fired by guns. This line is suggestive of the problem of disagreements and public order caused by drunkenness.

[175]  go: walk

[176] Cans: tankards or other vessels (of beer).

[177] Virginians, or Cracovians: Those from Virginia (in the West) or Cracow (Poland, in the West), hence all people. ‘Cracovians’ may also be opposed to virgins as being promiscuous here. A number of Polish artisans sailed out to the new colony of Jamestown in Virginia in 1608, and this is further evidence that ‘Pimlyco’ is in some way connected with attempts at colonisation there.

[178] bane: poison or murderer; also as in the modern ‘banns’, a proclamation such as a prologue to a play. The idea that drinking replaces activities such as playgoing is here taken up from ll. 575-6 above.

[179] apron-men: mechanics. Here begins the list of people in the various kinds of trades who are ruined by their predeliction for Pimlyco ale.

[180] those places (nam’d before): the playhouses named at ll. 575-6 above

[181] that Licquor: water from the Spring of Helicon.

[182] You that plough up the salt Sea-flood: sailors or merchants.

[183] You that of men deere recknings make: lawyers and judges.

[184]  Bushes: the ivy used as a sign for a tavern.

[185] Grates: the chequers on the doorpost of a tavern; also prisons.

[186] sacke: to destroy and pillage, with a quibble on ‘sack’, white wine imported from Spain and the Canary Islands.

[187]  Lothbury and Horsey-downe: Lothbury, a street in the City, off Moorgate, and St. John Horsleydown, a parish in Southwark, both the sites of fairs.

[188] You that…their Course: Engineers, particularly Peter Morice, who in the early 1580s had designed and had constructed a pump to convey water from beneath London Bridge to Leadenhall; the speaker suggests that the Pimlyco pump replaces all the water conduits of London.

[189] Pandars: ‘Pimps’.

[190] Puncks: prostitute, sometimes catamite.

[191] ure: inure, bring on

[192] Of Aley-islands there are more: there are other taverns that sell ale. The names that follow – The Jew of MaltaThe Tripoly, The Turk, The Eye-Bright, Terceras, The Ship of Hull, The Newfoundland etc. – are  presumably nearby taverns, with an appropriate conceit concerning naval warfare in the Mediterranean and around. The Eyebright (itself the popular name of a herb, euphrasy) is mentioned in The Alchemist alongside Pimlico (V.ii.31-2). The rival taverns are largely seen as being parasitic on Pimlyco’s sucesss, or defeated by it, as the theatres previously were (see ll. 575-6 above).

[193] fealty: fidelity, loyalty, as to a feudal master.

[194] Terveras Islands: The Azores.

[195] St. Christopher: prob. the parish of St. Christopher le Stocks on Threadneedle Street in the City of London, in which alcohol is no longer served, and poss. an allusion to this saint as the patron of travellers, and to Christopher Columbus, who returned to dry land, and died a ‘dry death’, i.e., without drinking, bloodshed, or drowning, cf The Tempest I.i.64; see OED, ‘dry’ adj. A.11.f.

[196] Red-Cap see note to title.

[197] Shore: mainland, with a pun on ‘Shoreditch’, whose High Street would be one of the ways of returning to the City, via Bishopsgate.