Wednesday, May 22, 2013


Libera Nos, Domine

"A Letany," from Merry Drollery Compleat: or, A Collection of Jovial Poems, Merry Songs, Witty Drolleries, Intermixed with Pleasant Catches. The First Part. Collected by W.N. CB. R.S. J.G. Lovers of Wit (London: William Miller, 1691), pp. 174-176 (line numbers added):
From Mahomet, and Paganisme,
From Hereticks, and Sects and Schisme,
From high-way Rascals, and Cutpurses;
From carted Bawds, Scolds, and dry Nurses,
From Glister-Pipes, and Doctors Whistles,    5
From begging Schollars stale Epistles,
From Turn-stile Boots, and Long lane Beavers,
From Agues, and from drunken Feavers,
        Libera nos Domine.

From all several kind of Itches,    10
From Pantaloons, and Cloak-bag Breeches,
From Carbinadoed Sutes on Serges,
From a Bastard that is the Clergies,
From thredden points, and Cap of Cruel,
From the danger of a Duel,    15
From a Tally full of Notches,
And from privy Seals of Botches,
        Libera nos Domine.

From a Whore that's never pleasant,
But in lusty Wine or Pheasant,    20
From the Watch at twelve a clock,
And from Bess Broughtons button'd Smock,
From Hackney Coaches, and from Panders,
That do boast themselves Commanders,
From a Taylors tedious Bill,    25
And Pilgrimage up Holborn Hill,
        Libera nos Domine.

From damages and restitutions,
From accursed Executions,
From all new-found waies of sinning,    30
From the scurf, and sables Linnen,
From the Pox, and the Physitian,
And from the Spanish Inquisition,
From a Wife that's wan and meager,
And from Lice and Winters Leaguer,    35
        Libera nos Domine.

From a griping slavish Cullion,
From the Gout, and the Strangullion,
From a Mountibanks Potion,
From his scarrings and his Lotion,    40
From the Buttocks of Prisilla,
That diers so with Sarsapherilla,
From a Lecture to the Zealous,
And from the Tub of old Cornelius,
        Libera nos Domine.    45

From bawdy Courts, and Civil Doctors,
From drunken Sumners and their Proctors,
From occasions for to revel
With a Lawyer at the Divel,
From Serjeants, Yeomen, and their Maces    50
And from false friends with double faces,
From an enemy More mighty
Than Usquebaugh or Aqua vitae,
        Libera nos Domine.
5 Glister-Pipes: clyster-pipes, i.e. pipes or syringes used to administer an enema
7 Turn-stile Boots: ? There seems to be an echo of this line in "An Excellent Medley," in Broadside Black-letter Ballads, Printed in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries; Chiefly in the Possession of J. Payne Collier ([London:] Thomas Richards, 1868), p. 123: "From Long-lane cloath and Turn-stile boots, / O, fie vpon these scabbed coots!" But J. Payne Collier was a forger.
Long lane: Henry B. Wheatley, London Past and Present: Its History, Associations, and Traditions (London: John Murray, 1891), II, 439: "Long Lane, a place of note for the sale of apparel, linen, and upholsterers' goods, both second hand and new, but chiefly for old, for which it is of note.—R.B., in Strype, B. iii. p. 122."
Beavers: beaver hats
9 etc. Libera nos Domine: Deliver us, Lord
12 Carbinadoed: cut, slashed, hacked
14 thredden points: thread lace
cruel: crewel, thin worsted yarn
22 Bess Broughton: a whore (see the account of her in John Aubrey's Brief Lives)
26 Pilgrimage up Holborn Hill: Wheatley, II, 220, s.v. Holborn: "This was the old road from Newgate and the Tower to the gallows at Tyburn."
35 Leaguer: cf. OED, s.v. leaguer, compounds: "leaguer-lady n. = leaguer-laundress n.," "leaguer-lass n. = leaguer-laundress n.," and "leaguer-laundress n. Obs. euphemistic name for a woman attached to a camp."
37 Cullion: testicle, hence term of abuse = rascal
38 Strangullion: strangury, i.e. slow and painful urination
42 diers: ?
Sarsapherilla: sarsaparilla, i.e. medicinal preparation of Smilax, used to treat syphilis
44 Tub of old Cornelius: Robert Fletcher, Medical Lore in the Older English Dramatists and Poets (Baltimore: The Friedenwald Co., 1895), p. 20: "There are many and even copious allusions in the dramatists and poets to the treatment of syphilis by two methods: the one by sweating in the tub, and the other by guaiacum administered in decoction, the two methods being combined, or the latter following the former." Id., p. 23: "Many of my quotations speak of a 'Cornelius tub,' or 'Cornelius’s tub.' How the name came to be applied, or who Cornelius was, I have been unable to discover."
49 Divel: Devil's Tavern, on which see Wheatley, I, 497-501
53 Usquebaugh: whiskey
Aqua vitae: "A term of the alchemists applied to ardent spirits or unrectified alcohol; sometimes applied, in commerce, to ardent spirits of the first distillation" (OED)

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