Click here to read Linda Gregerson's essay on this poem.
A communication which the Author had to London, before she made her Will.
1 The time is come I must departe
2 from thee, ah, famous Citie:
3 I never yet, to rue my smart,
4 did finde that thou hadst pitie,
5 Wherefore small cause ther is, that I
6 should greeve from thee to go:
7 But many Women foolyshly,
8 lyke me, and other moe.
9 Doe such a fyxed fancy set,
10 on those which least desarve,
11 That long it is ere wit we get,
12 away from them to swarve,
13 But tyme with pittie oft wyl tel
14 to those that wil her try:
15 Whether it best be more to mell,
16 or vtterly defye.
17 And now hath time me put in mind,
18 of thy great cruelnes:
19 That never once a help wold finde,
20 to ease me in distres.
21 Thou never yet woldst credit geve
22 to boord me for a yeare:
23 Nor with Apparell me releve
24 except thou payed weare.
25 No, no, thou never didst me good,
26 nor ever wilt, I know:
27 Yet am I in no angry moode,
28 but wyll, or ere I goe,
29 In perfect love and charytie
30 my Testament here write:
31 And leave to thee such Treasurye,
32 as I in it recyte.
33 Now stand a side and geve me leave
34 to write my latest Wyll:
35 And see that none you do deceave,
36 of that I leave them tyl.
The maner of her Wyll, and what she left to London: and to all those in it: at her departing.
37 I whole in body, and in minde,
38 but very weake in Purse:
39 Doo make, and write my Testament
40 for feare it wyll be wurse.
41 And fyrst I wholy doo commend,
42 my Soule and Body eke:
43 To God the Father and the Son,
44 so long as I can speake.
45 And after speach: my Soule to hym,
46 and Body to the Grave:
47 Tyll time that all shall rise agayne,
48 their Judgement for to have.
49 And then I hope they both shal meete.
50 to dwell for aye in ioye:
51 Whereas I trust to see my Friends
52 releast, from all annoy.
53 Thus have you heard touching my soule,
54 and body what I meane:
55 I trust you all wyll witnes beare,
56 I have a stedfast brayne.
57 And now let mee dispose such things,
58 as I shal leave behinde:
59 That those which shall receave the same,
60 may know my wylling minde.
61 I firste of all to London leave
62 because I there was bred:
63 Braue buildyngs rare, of Churches store,
64 and Pauls to the head.
65 Betweene the same: fayre streats there bee,
66 and people goodly store:
67 Because their keeping craveth cost,
68 I yet wil leave him more.
69 First for their foode, I Butchers leave,
70 that every day shall kyll:
71 By Thames you shal have Brewers store,
72 and Bakers at your wyll.
73 And such as orders doo obserue,
74 and eat fish thrice a weeke:
75 I leave two Streets, full fraught therwith,
76 they neede not farre to seeke.
77 Watlyng Streete, and Canwyck streete,
78 I full of Wollen leave:
79 And Linnen store in Friday streete,
80 if they mee not deceave.
81 And those which are of callyng such,
82 that costlier they require:
83 I Mercers leave, with silke so rich,
84 as any would desyre.
85 In Cheape of them, they store shal finde
86 and likewise in that streete:
87 I Goldsmithes leave, with Iuels such,
88 as are for Ladies meete.
89 And Plate to furnysh Cubbards with,
90 full braue there shall you finde:
91 With Purle of Siluer and of Golde,
92 to satisfye your minde.
93 With Hoods, Bungraces, Hats or Caps,
94 such store are in that streete:
95 As if on ton side you should misse
96 the tother serues you feete.
97 For Nets of every kynd of sort,
98 I leave within the pawne:
99 French Ruffes, high Purles, Gorgets and Sleeves
100 of any kind of Lawne.
101 For Purse or Kniues, for Combe or Glasse,
102 or any needeful knacke
103 I by the Stoks have left a Boy,
104 wil aske you what you lack.
105 I Hose doo leave in Birchin Lane,
106 of any kynd of syse:
107 For Women stitchte, for men both Trunks
108 and those of Gascoyne gise.
109 Bootes, Shoes or Pantables good store,
110 Saint Martins hath for you:
111 In Cornwall, there I leave you Beds,
112 and all that longs thereto.
113 For Women shall you Taylors have,
114 by Bow, the chiefest dwel:
115 In every Lane you some shall finde,
116 can doo indifferent well.
117 And for the men, few Streetes or Lanes,
118 but Bodymakers bee:
119 And such as make the sweeping Cloakes,
120 with Gardes beneth the Knee.
121 Artyllery at Temple Bar,
122 and Dagges at Tower hyll:
123 Swords and Bucklers of the best,
124 are nye the Fleete vntyll.
125 Now when thy Folke are fed and clad
126 with such as I have namde:
127 For daynty mouthes, and stomacks weake
128 some Iunckets must be framde.
129 Wherfore I Poticaries leave,
130 with Banquets in their Shop:
131 Phisicians also for the sicke,
132 Diseases for to stop.
133 Some Roysters styll, must bide in thee,
134 and such as cut it out:
135 That with the guiltlesse quarel wyl,
136 to let their blood about.
137 For them I cunning Surgions leave,
138 some Playsters to apply.
139 That Ruffians may not styll be hangde,
140 nor quiet persons dye.
141 For Salt, Otemeale, Candles, Sope,
142 or what you els doo want:
143 In many places, Shops are full,
144 I left you nothing scant.
145 Yf they that keepe what I you leave,
146 aske Mony: when they sell it:
147 At Mint, there is such store, it is
148 vnpossible to tell it.
149 At Stiliarde store of Wines there bee,
150 your dulled mindes to glad:
151 And handsome men, that must not wed
152 except they leave their trade.
153 They oft shal seeke for proper Gyrles,
154 and some perhaps shall fynde:
155 (That neede compels, or lucre lures
156 to satisfye their mind.)
157 And neare the same, I houses leave,
158 for people to repayre:
159 To bathe themselues, so to preuent
160 infection of the ayre.
161 On Saturdayes I wish that those,
162 which all the weeke doo drug:
163 Shall thyther trudge, to trim them vp
164 on Sondayes to looke smug.
165 Yf any other thing be lackt
166 in thee, I wysh them looke:
167 For there it is: I little brought
168 but nothyng from thee tooke.
169 Now for the people in thee left,
170 I have done as I may:
171 And that the poore, when I am gone,
172 have cause for me to pray.
173 I wyll to prisons portions leave,
174 what though but very small:
175 Yet that they may remember me,
176 occasion be it shall:
177 And fyrst the Counter they shal have,
178 least they should go to wrack:
179 Some Coggers, and some honest men,
180 that Sergantes draw a back.
181 And such as Friends wyl not them bayle,
182 whose coyne is very thin:
183 For them I leave a certayne hole,
184 and little ease within.
185 The Newgate once a Monthe shal have
186 a sessions for his share:
187 Least being heapt, Infection might
188 procure a further care.
189 And at those sessions some shal skape,
190 with burning nere the Thumb:
191 And afterward to beg their fees,
192 tyll they have got the some.
193 And such whose deedes deserueth death,
194 and twelue have found the same:
195 They shall be drawne vp Holborne hill,
196 to come to further shame:
197 Well, yet to such I leave a Nag
198 shal soone their sorowes cease:
199 For he shal either breake their necks
200 or gallop from the preace.
201 The Fleete, not in their circuit is,
202 yet if I geve him nought:
203 It might procure his curse, ere I
204 unto the ground be brought.
205 Wherfore I leave some Papist olde
206 to vnder prop his roofe:
207 And to the poore within the same,
208 a Boxe for their behoofe.
209 What makes you standers by to smile.
210 and laugh so in your sleeve:
211 I thinke it is, because that I
212 to Ludgate nothing geve.
213 I am not now in case to lye,
214 here is no place of iest:
215 I dyd reserve, that for my selfe,
216 yf I my health possest.
217 And ever came in credit so
218 a debtor for to bee.
219 When dayes of paiment did approch,
220 I thither ment to flee.
221 To shroude my selfe amongst the rest,
222 that chuse to dye in debt:
223 Rather then any Creditor,
224 should money from them get.
225 Yet cause I feele my selfe so weake
226 that none mee credit dare:
227 I heere reuoke: and doo it leave,
228 some Banckrupts to his share.
229 To all the Bookebinders by Paulles
230 because I lyke their Arte:
231 They e'ry weeke shal mony have,
232 when they from Bookes departe.
233 Amongst them all, my Printer must,
234 have somwhat to his share:
235 I wyll my Friends these Bookes to bye
236 of him, with other ware.
237 For Maydens poore, I Widdoers ritch,
238 do leave, that oft shall dote:
239 And by that meanes shal mary them,
240 to set the Girles aflote.
241 And wealthy Widdowes wil I leave,
242 to help yong Gentylmen:
243 Which when you have, in any case
244 be courteous to them then:
245 And see their Plate and Iewells eake
246 may not be mard with rust.
247 Nor let their Bags too long be full,
248 for feare that they doo burst.
249 To e'ry Gate vnder the walles,
250 that compas thee about:
251 I Fruit wives leave to entertayne
252 such as come in and out.
253 To Smithfeelde I must something leave
254 my Parents there did dwell:
255 So carelesse for to be of it,
256 none wolde accompt it well.
257 Wherfore it thrice a weeke shall have,
258 of Horse and neat good store,
259 And in his Spitle, blynd and lame,
260 to dwell for evermore.
261 And Bedlem must not be forgot,
262 for that was oft my walke:
263 I people there too many leave,
264 that out of tune doo talke.
265 At Bridewel there shal Bedelles be,
266 and Matrones that shal styll
267 See Chalke wel chopt, and spinning plyde,
268 and turning of the Mill.
269 For such as cannot quiet bee,
270 but striue for House or Land:
271 At Th' innes of Court, I Lawyers leave
272 to take their cause in hand.
273 And also leave I at ech Inne
274 of Court, or Chauncerye:
275 Of Gentylmen, a youthfull roote,
276 full of Actiuytie:
277 For whom I store of Bookes have left,
278 at each Bookebinders stall:
279 And parte of all that London hath
280 to furnish them withall.
281 And when they are with study cloyd:
282 to recreate theyr minde:
283 Of Tennis Courts, of dauncing Scooles,
284 and fence they store shal finde.
285 And every Sonday at the least,
286 I leave to make them sport.
287 In diuers places Players, that
288 of wonders shall reporte.
289 Now London have I (for thy sake)
290 within thee, and without:
291 As coms into my memory,
292 dispearsed round about
293 Such needfull thinges, as they should have
294 heere left now unto thee:
295 When I am gon, with consience,
296 let them dispearced bee.
297 And though I nothing named have,
298 to bury mee withall:
299 Consider that aboue the ground,
300 annoyance bee I shall.
301 And let me have a shrowding Sheete
302 to couer mee from shame:
303 And in obliuyon bury mee
304 and never more mee name.
305 Ringings nor other Ceremonies,
306 vse you not for cost:
307 Nor at my buriall, make no feast,
308 your mony were but lost.
309 Reioyce in God that I am gon,
310 out of this vale so vile.
311 And that of ech thing, left such store,
312 as may your wants exile.
313 I make thee sole executor, because
314 I lou'de thee best.
315 And thee I put in trust, to geve
316 the goodes unto the rest.
317 Because thou shalt a helper neede,
318 In this so great a chardge,
319 I wysh good Fortune, be thy guide, least
320 thou shouldst run at lardge.
321 The happy dayes and quiet times,
322 they both her Seruants bee.
323 Which well wyll serue to fetch and bring,
324 such things as neede to thee.
325 Wherfore (good London) not refuse,
326 for helper her to take:
327 Thus being weake and wery both
328 an end heere wyll I make.
329 To all that aske what end I made,
330 and how I went away:
331 Thou answer maist like those which heere,
332 no longer tary may.
333 And unto all that wysh mee well,
334 or rue that I am gon:
335 Doo me comend, and bid them cease
336 my absence for to mone.
337 And tell them further, if they wolde,
338 my presence styll have had:
339 They should have sought to mend my luck;
340 which ever was too bad.
341 So fare thou well a thousand times,
342 God sheelde thee from thy foe:
343 And styll make thee victorious,
344 of those that seeke thy woe.
345 And (though I am perswade) that I
346 shall never more thee see:
347 Yet to the last, I shal not cease
348 to wish much good to thee.
349 This, xx. of October I,
350 in ANNO DOMINI:
351 A Thousand: v. hundred seuenty three
352 as Alminacks descry.
353 Did write this Wyll with mine owne hand
354 and it to London gaue:
355 In witnes of the standers by,
356 whose names yf you wyll have.
357 Paper, Pen and Standish were:
358 at that same present by:
359 With Time, who promised to reveale,
360 so fast as she could hye
361 The same: least of my nearer kyn,
362 for any thing should vary:
363 So finally I make an end
364 no longer can I tary.
Lynne McMahon is the author of four collections of poetry, including Sentimental Standards (2004) and The House of Entertaining Science (1999). She is the editor of the Longman Anthology of Poetry (2006) and a professor of English at the University of Missouri-Columbia.
Jane Miller’s most recent collection of poems is the book-length sequence, A Palace of Pearls (2005), winner of the Audre Lorde Prize in Poetry. Her other works include Memory at These Speeds: New and Selected Poems (1996) and Working Time: Essays on Poetry, Culture, and Travel (1992). She teaches in the Creative Writing Program at the University of Arizona.