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Poem by Martin Parker
John and Joan, or, A Mad Couple Well Met
You nine Castalian sisters That keep Parnassus hill, Come down to me, And let me bee Inspired with your skill; That well I may demonstrate, A piece of household stuffe: You that are wed Mark what is sedd, Beware of taking snuffe. A mad phantastic couple, A young man and a lasse, With their, content, And friends consent, Resolv’d their tunes to passe As man and wife together, And, so they marry’d were; Of this mad match I made this catch, Which you may please to hear. They both had imperfections, Which might have caused strife The map would sweare And domineere, So, also, would his wife. If John went to one alehouse, Joan ran into the next: Betwixt them both They made an oath, That neither would be vext. Whatever did the goodman His wife would doe the like, If he was pleas’d, She was appeas’d, If he would kick, shee’d strike. If queane or slut he cal’d her, She call’d him rogue and knave; If he would fight, Shee’d scratch and bite. He could no victory have. If John his dog had beaten, Then Joan would beat her cat. If John, in scorne, His band would burn, Joan would have burnt her hat. If John would break a pipkin, Then Joan would break a pot; Thus he and she Did both agree To waste all that they got. If John would eate no victuals, Then Joan would be as crosse, They would not eat, But say’d their meat, In that there was no losse. If John were bent to feasting, Then Joan was of his mind; In right or wrong Both sung one song, As Fortune them assign’d. In taverne or in alehouse If John and Joane did meet, Who e’er was by In company Might tast their humors sweet: Whatever John had cal’d for, Joan would not be out-dar’d, Those that lack’d drink Through want of chink, For them the better far’d. Thus would they both sit drinking, As long as coine did last; Nay more than this, Ere they would misse, Good liquor for their taste, John would have damm’d his doublet, His cloak or any thing, And Joan would pawne Her coife of lawne, Her bodkin or her ring. If John were drank and reeled, Then Joan would fall i’ th’ fire, If John fell downe I’ th’ midst o’ th’ towne, Beewraid in dirt and mire, Joan, like a kind copartner, Scorn’d to stand on her feet, But down shee’d fall Before them all, And role about the street. If John had cal’d his host knave, Joan cal’d her hostess wh—; For such-like crimes They, oftentimes, Were both thrust out of dare. If John abus’d the constable, Joan would have beat the watch; Thus man and wife, In peace or strife, Each other sought to match. But, mark, now, how it chanced: After a year or more, This couple mad All wasted had, And were grown very poore: John could no more, get liquor, Nor Joan could purchase drink; Then both the man And wife began Upon their states to thinke. Thus beat with their own wepons, John, thus, to Joan did say, Sweet-heart, I see, We two agree, The cleane contrary way; Henceforth let’s doe in goodnesse, As we have done in ill, I’le do my best, Doe thou the rest: A match, quoth Joan, I will. So leaving those mad humors Which them before possest, Both man and wife Doe lead a life In plenty, peace and rest: Now, John and Joan both, jointly, Doe set hands to the plough: Let all do soe, In weale or woe, And tbey’l do well enough.
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