The seuen deadly sinnes of London drawne in seuen seuerall coaches, through the seuen seuerall gates of the citie bringing the plague with them. Opus septem dierum. Tho: Dekker.
Dekker, Thomas, ca. 1572-1632.
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By the Queene of Gold and Siluer.

TO all and Singular our Shires, Countries, Cities, Corporations, Townes, Villages Hamblets, &c. by what name or title soeuer, to whom these presents shall come, and to all you our obedient Subiects, Slaues and Vassailes, commonly stiled by the names of Money-mongers, viz. rich Farmers, yong Land-lords, Engrossers, Graziers, Forestallers, Hucksters Haglers, &c. with all the residue of our industrious, hearty & lo∣uing people, in all or any of these our shires or places formerly recited, either now resident, or at any time or times hereafter to be resident, greeting.

*These are to will and require you vpon especial and expresse commandement deliuered in our owne per∣son, and as you will answere the contrary at your vt∣most perrils. First that you (the said rich Farmers) by your best power, meanes, sleights, pollicies, by-waies, and thrifty endeuours, cast all the nets you can, to get all manner of graine that growes within your reach, and being so gotten to aduance, raise, and heighthen the prices of them, worke vpon the least inch of ad∣uantage, make vse of all seasons, hot, cold, wet, dry, Page  [unnumbered] foule or faire, in one rainy weeke your wheate may swell from foure shillings the bushell,*to six shillings, seuen shillings, nay eight shillings. Sweepe whole markets before you, as you passe through one towne, if you finde the corne (like mens consciences, and wo∣mens honesties) low-prized, & sell the same in other townes when the price is enhanced. Let the times be deere, though the grounds be fruitfull, and the Mar∣kets kept empty though your barnes (like Cormo∣rants bellies) breake their butten-holes, and rather then any of Pouerties soldiers, who now range vp and downe the kingdome, besieging our Cities, & threat∣ning the confusion, spoile and dishonour both of you and vs, should haue bread to relieue them. I charge you all vpon your allegiance, to hoord vp your corne till it be musty, and then bring it forth to infect these needy Barbarians, that the rot, scuruy, or some other infectious pestilent disease, may un through the most part of their enfeebled army: Ori I, who may com∣mand, may perswade you, let mice and rats rather bee feastd by you, and fare well in your garners, then the least and weakest amongst Pouerties starued infantery, should get but one moutfull, let them leape at crusts, it shall be sport enough for vs and our wealthy sub∣iects about vs, to laugh at them whilest they nibble at the baite, and yet be choaked with the hooke.

Next,*we will and command, that you the young Land-lords, who haue cause to go dancing to Church after your old rotten fathers funerals, with all might & main stretch your rents, til the heart strings of those that dwell in them be ready to cracke in sunder. Racke your poore neighbours, call in old leases, and turne Page  [unnumbered] out old tenants, those which your forefathers haue suffered quietly to enioy their liuings, and thereby to raise fat commodities to themselues, and begger fa∣milies: Change you their coppy, cancell their old e∣uidences, race out all workes of charity, vndoe them in a minute, that haue stood the stormes of many an Age, make the most of your riches, and the least of such poore snakes. When you let your land, carry ma∣ny ees in your head, looke into euery acre, into euery bush, euery ditch, euery turfe, wey euery blade of grasse to the full, that those who take it, may saue no∣thing by it, no not so much as shall keepe a black-bird, or a sparrow, turne forty pence an acre, into forty shillings, and laugh at the simplicity of your forefa∣thers, make bitter iests vpon your dead Gaffers, now you are made gentlemen of the first head, though it be by their digging in muck-hils, & in your Queanes company pittie the capacity of the kerzy stockingd VVhoresons, for not hauing so much wit to raise profit as you their sonnes haue, nor had euer the meanes to spend it so fast.

*Thirdly our high pleasure is, that all you Engro∣sers of what name soeuer, buy vp the prime and pride of all commodities, that done, keepe them in your hands, to cause a dearth, and in the time of deerenes, marke them with what price you list. First and prin∣cipally, I charge you, as you loue me, and for my on∣ly sake, who haue euer beene good Lady to you all, that in times of plenty you transport your corne, but∣ter, cheese and all needfull commoditiess into other countries, of purpose to famish and impouerish these hated whining wretches, that lye vpon the hands of Page  [unnumbered] your Owne. Hire ware-houses, Vaults vnder ground, and cellers in the City, and in them imprison all neces∣sary prouision for the belly, till the long nailes of fa∣mine breake open the dores, but suffer not you those treasured victuals, to haue their free liberties till you may make what prey you please of the buyers and cheapners. At which time I will prepare a certaine people that shall giue you your owne asking, and buy vp all you bring by the great, who shall afterwards sell it deerer then it was bought, by three parts, of pur∣pose to choake this starueling scallion-eaters, whose breath is stinking in my nosthrils, and able to infect a quarter of the world. The people whom thus I pro∣mise to haue in a readines▪ are well knowne what they are, some call them Huksters or Haglers,*but they are to me as honest Purueyers and Takers, and these politicke smooth faced Harpyes, shall out of a dearth raise a se∣cond deerenesse.

These and such like omitting my precepts, to Bakers,*whose vpright dealing is not now to be weied, no, nor stood vpon, are the effects of my pleasure, which on your allegiance to me your Empresse, I strictly com∣mand you to obserue and put in practise.

No sooner was this precept drawne, but it went post in∣to ye country,* no sooner was it read there▪ but the world was new moulded, yet some say it neuer looked with a more ill-fauoured face. The Farmers clapt their hands, 〈◊〉 went vp and downe shrugging their shoulders, Land-lords set all the Scriueners in the country to worke to draw lea∣ses, conueiances, defeisances, and I know not what, in thrée market daies, dearth was made Clearke of the maket, Page  [unnumbered] the rich Curmudgeons made as though they were sorry, but the poore Husbandman looked heauily, his wife wrang her hands his children pined, his hyndes grumbled, his leane ouer-wrought Iades bit on the bridle. They, who were in fauour with Money, and were on her sie spd wel enough but Pouerties people were driuen to ye wal, or rather downe into the kennell: for corne skipt from foure to ten shillings a bushell, from ten to twelue shillings, stones of boose began to be pretious, and for their price had beene w••re in rings but that the stone cutter spoiled them in the grinding. Mutten grew to be doere, two crownes a buttocke of pee••, and halfe a crowne a wholesome breast of mutton, euery thing (to say truth) riz, except desert and honesty, & they could and nothing to rise by.

Pouerty was somewhat grieued, (but little dismayed) at these tyranous, Godlesse and base procéedings of her ene∣my, because she herselfe and most of her army, haue béene old Sernitors to the warres, and béen familiarly acquain∣ted with Emptinesse and Necessity, casting therefore all her troopes into seuerall rings, she went from one to one, and in the middest of each, councelled them all not to be dishear∣tened, but with her to endure what miseries soeuer, si∣thente she would venture formost and fardest in any danger that could come vpon them. She told them by way of en∣couragement, that where as Money (their daring enemy) brags that she is the daughter to the Sun,* and Quéene of both the Indies. It is not so: for she is but of base birth bred, and begotten onely of the earth, whom she cannot de∣ny to be her mother: and albeit it cannot be gainsayed, but that by her gripping of riches into her hands, she is owner of many faire buildings, parkes, forrests, &c. Yet doth she oftentimes so farre forget her high birth, (whereof shee vainly boasteth and those beauties of which a company of old Misers, Churles, & penny-fathers are with dotage en∣amoured, that now and then (like a base common harlot) she will lye with a Cobler, a Car-man, a Collier, nay with Page  [unnumbered] the Diuels owne sonne and heire, a very damned broker, with these will she ly whole yeares together, they shall han∣dle her, embrace her, abuse her and vse her body after any villainous manner to satisfie their insatiable lust, whereas on the contrary part, quoth she, I that am your leader, fa∣mous ouer all the world, by my name and stile of Pouer∣ty, vnder whose enfignes, full of rents, as tokens of seruice and honour, you are all now come to fight, am well known to be a Princesse, neither so dangerous nor so base as Mo∣ney shewes herselfe to be. Money makes all seruice done to her a very bondage in them that do it: those whom she fa∣nours most, are her onely slaues; but Pouerty giues all her subiects liberty to range whither they list, to speake what they list,* and to do what they list, her easist impositions are burdens, but the burdens which I throw vpon any, grow light by being bore. Who hath béene the Foundresse of Hospitals but I? who hath brought vp Charity but I? am not I the mother of Almes-doedes, and the onely nurse of Deuotion? do not I inspire Poets with those sacred rap∣tures that bind men, how dull and brutish soeuer, to listen to their powerfull charmes,* and so to become regu∣lar? doe not I sharpen their inuention, and put life into their verse? And whereas Money vaunts and beares her head high, by reason of her glorious and gallant troops that attend her, you all know, and the whole world can witnes with you, that Kings, Lords, Knights, Gentlemen, Alder∣men, with infinite others that were her deerest and wan∣tonnest minions, haue vtterly forsaken her and her lasci∣uious pleasures, onely to liue with Pouerty (your Quéene) though now she be a little deiected in the eye of the world, though not in her owne worth.

Thus she spake, and her spéeches kindled such fies of re∣solution in the hearts of her soldiers, that the Allarum was strucke vp, Ordnance planted for Batterie, sealing Lad∣ders made ready, and all the instruments of terrour and death put in tune, which were set to be played vpon at the Page  [unnumbered] assault of a Cittie. They that kept their dennes like Foxes in their holes, slept not, hearing such thundring: but armed themselues with as braue resolution to defend, as the other had to inuade.

It was excellent musicke (considering how many dis∣cords there were) to heare how euery particular regiment in Pouerties Camp,* threatned to plague the Gold-finches of the Cittie, and to pluck their feathers, if euer they made a breach. Taylors swore to tickle the Mercers, & measure out their Sattins & velvets without a yard before their faces, when the prowdest of them all should not dare to say Bo to a Taylors Goose. Shoomakers, had a spite to none but the rich Curriers, and swore with their very awle, to flea off their skins (and the Tanners) ouer their eares, like old dad rabbets. Euery souldier prickt downe one Gold∣smiths name or another, or else the signe in stead of ye name, as the Goate, the Vnicorne, the Bull, the Hart. &c. swearing damnable oathes to pisse in nothing but siluer, in méers scorne, because he had oftentimes walked by a stall, when his teeth hath watred at the golden bits lying there: yet could not so much as licke his lips after them. There was one little dwarfish Cobler with a bald pate, and a nose in∣dented like a scotch saddle, who tooke bread and salt, and praid God it might be his last, if he ran not ouer all the fine dames that withstoode him, in blacke reuenge that hee ne∣uer had their custome in his shop, because it could neuer be found out or séene, that any of them did euer treade her shooe awry. And thus as they without shot their terrible threatnings into the aire,* so did those within, laugh to thinke how they should domineere ouer the shake-rags, if ye warres might but cease.

All this while were trenches cast vp of a great height by the Poldauies to saue them from shot of the walles, whilst Pouerties Pioners had digd at least a quarter of a mile vn∣der the earth, and the mine with gun powder to blow vp one quarter of the Cittie: But this béeing quickly descryed, Page  [unnumbered] was as spéedily preuented by a countermine, so that all that labour tooke not such fire as was expected: yet went the Artillerie off on both sides, wilde fire flew from one to ano∣ther, like squibs when Doctor Faustus goes to the diuell, arrowes flew faster then they did at a catte in a basket, whē Prince Arthur, or the Duke of Shordich strucke vp the drumme in the field, many bullets were spent, but no breach into Monies quarters could be made: they that fought vn∣der her cullers were very wary,* polliticke strong, and vali∣ant, yet would they not venture forth but on great aduan∣tages, because they had somthing to loose, but Pouerties wild Bandetti, were desperate, carelesse of danger, gréedy of spoile, and durst haue torne the diuell out of his skinne to haue had their willes of Money, but Night (like a surly constable) commanding them to depart in peace, and to put vp their tooles. This assault (which was the first) gaue ouer, euery Captaine retyring to his place,* the Desperueines (on Pouerties side) comming off at this time with the most losse.

Few attempts were after made to any purpose: onely certain yong prodigall Heires, who (as voluntaries) main∣tained themselues in seruice vnder Money, were appointed to be light-horsemen for discouery of the enemies forces (as she lay incamped) who now and then in a few light skirmi∣shes had the honour to issue forth, and to set vpon the Assai∣lants that beleagured the Cittie: but Pouertie still draue them either in to their owne shame, or else had them in exe∣cution (euen in despight of the Cittie forces) and put them euer to the worst.

The Gold-beaters (who knew themselues on a sure ground within the walles) lingred of purpose, and would neuer bring it to a battaile, onely to wearie the aduersarie, whom they meant to vndoe by delay, because she could not hold out long for want of victuals. They within cared not though ten thousand diuels amongst them, so Money (their mistresse) whom they worshipped as a God, would not Page  [unnumbered] leaue their company, and the rascoll Déere that (without the walles) were euery howre hunted out of breath, vow∣ed to eate vp one another, before they would raise ye Seige, and be hanged vp like Dogs (at the Cttie gates) for they were now accounted no better then dogs, but they would haue their peniworths out of Money for a number of wrōgs which by her meanes they had endured, when she hath seene them and their children ready to starue, yet scornd to re∣léeue their necessities. Thus both their stomacks beeing great, and aswell the defendants as the assailents reso∣lutely confirmed to stad vpon their guard, and to stay the vtmost of any miserie that could waite vppon a lingring warre▪ behold the rich-plumde estridges, who had most fe∣thers on their backes,* and least cause to murmure, began to mutinie amongst themselues, the imprisoning of Money (their sole soueraigne) so close within stony battlements, did not shew well: they were loyal subiects to her & would free both her & themselues, vnlesse she might vse her sports and princly pleasures as she had wont Mercers had their shops musty, and their silkes moldie for want of customers, Goldsmiths had teir plate hid in cellors, where it lay most richly, but looked more pittifully and with worse cullour, then prisoners lying in the hole. Haberdashers had more hats then they could finde heads to weare them, if they had béene such arrant blockes themselues to haue giuen their wares away, trades had no doings, all the men were out of heart by beeing kept in, and all the women ready to be spoyled for want of walking to thir Gardens: Euerie one spent & spent, but who tasted the sweetenes? In stead of selling their wares, they plyed nothing now but getting of children, and scowring of péeces. In stead of what doe you lacke? was heard Arme, Arme, Arme. This géere was to be looked into, and therefore they desied their gratious Empresse (Money) not to lye lasing thus in a chamber, but either that she would be more stirring, that they (her Sub∣iects might haue better stirrings too, and (opening the Cit∣tie Page  [unnumbered] gates) to fight it out brauely, or else they vowed there were at least ten thousand (whose names stood now in her Muster booke) that shortly if this world lasted, would shut vp their dores, shew her a faire paire of héeles, and from her fly into the hands of Pouertie their enemie.

Upon the necke of this, came likewise a supplication from certaine troopes of Uintners without the Barres, Inkéep∣ers, common Uictuallers and such like, who plaid y iackes on both sides, and were indéede Neuters, a linsey-wolsey people, that tooke no part, but stood indifferent betwéene Money, and Pouerty, the tenor of which petition presents it selfe thus to the world.

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