The Works of Thomas Nashe:
Strange Newes, 1592 – Epistle Dedicatorie
Original spelling – original format – Transcription by B. Flues.
Transcript and web-format copyright © 2002 Robert Brazil
Underlined words are explained in the Glossary at the end.
Footnotes in red.
Here we follow the original text – in which the main font is italic,
while emphasised words were in plaintext.
Of the intercept-
ing certaine Letters, and a Con-
uoy of Verfes, as they were going Privilie to
victuall the Low Countries.
Vnda impellitur vnda.
By Tho. Nafhe Gentleman.
To the most copious Carminist
or our time, and famous persecutor of Priscian, his
verie friend Maister Apis lapis: Tho. Nashe wish-
eth new strings to his old tawnie Purse, and
all honourable increase of acquain-
tance in the Cellar.
Gentle M. William, <1> that learned writer Rhenish wine & Sugar,
in the first booke of his Comment vpon Red-noses, hath this
saying: veterem ferendo injuriam invitas novam; which is
as much in English as one Cuppe of nipitaty puls on another.
In moyst consideration wherof, as also in zealous regard of that
high countenance you shew unto Schollers, I am bolde, in steade
of new Wine, to carowse to you a cuppe of newes: Which if your
Worship (according to your wonted Chaucerisme) shall accept in
good part, Ile bee your daily Orator to pray that that pure
sanguine complexion of yours may neuer be famisht with potte- … 
lucke, that you may tast till yur last gaspe, and live to see the
confusion of both your speciall enemies, Small Beere <2> and
It is not unknowne to report, what a famous pottle-pot patron
you have beene to olde poets in your daies, & how many pounds
you have spent (and, as it were, throwne into the fire) upon the
durt of wisedome, called Alcumie: Yea, you have beene such an
infinite Mecenas to learned men, that not any that belong to them
(as Sumners, and who not) but have tasted of the coole streames
of your liberalitie. … 
I would speake in commendation of your hospitalitie likewise,
but that it is chronicled in the Archdeacons Court, and the fruites
it brought foorth (as I gesse) are of age to speake for themselves.
Why should virtue be smothered by blind circumstance?
An honest man of Saffron Walden <3> kept three sonnes at the
Universitie together a long time; and you kept three maides <4>
together in your house a long time. A charitable deed, & worthie
to be registred in red letters.
Shall I presume to dilate of the gravitie of your round cap,
and your dudgen-dagger? It is thought they will make you be … 
cald upon shortlie to be Alderman of the Stilliard.<5> And thats well
remembred: I heard saie, when this last Terme was removed to
Hartford, you fell into a great studie and care by your selfe,
to what place the Stilliard should be remooved; I promise you
trulie it was a deepe meditation, and such as might well have
beseemed Eldertons parliament of noses <6> to have sit upon.
A Taverne in London, onelie upon the motion, mourned al
in blacke, and forbare to girt hir temples with ivie, because
the grandame of good-fellowship was like to depart from
amongst them. And I wonder verie much, that you … 
sampsownd not your self into a consumption with the
profound cogitation of it.
Diu vivas in amore jocisque, whatsoever you do, beware of
keeping diet. Sloth is a sinne, and one sinne (as one poison)
must be expelled with another. What can he doe better that
hath nothing to do, than fal a drinking to keep him from
Fah, me thinks my jeasts begin alreadie to smell of the caske,
with talking so much of this liquid provinder.
In earnest thus: there is a Doctor and his Fart that have kept … 
a foule stinking stirre in Paules Churchyard: I crie him mercie. I
slaundered him; he is scarse a Doctor till he hath done his Acts: <7>
This dodipoule, this didopper, this professed poetical braggart,
hath raild upon me, without wit or art, in certain foure penniworth
of Letters and three farthing-worth of Sonnets: now do I meane to
present him and Shakerley <8> to the Queens foole-taker for coatch-
horses: for two that draw more equallie in one Oratoriall yoke of
vaine-glorie, there is not under heaven.
What saie you, Maister Apis lapis, will you with your eloquence
and credit, shield me from carpers? Have you anie odde shreds … 
of Latine to make this letter-munger a cockcombe of?
It stands you in hande to arme your selfe against him: for he
speaks against Connicatchers, and you are a Connicatcher, as
Connicatching is divided into three parts; the Verser, the
Setter, and the Barnacle.
A Setter I am sure you are not; for you are no Musitian: nor a
Barnacle; for you never were of the order of the Barnardines:
but the Verser I cannot acquite you of, for M. Vaux of Lambeth <9>
brings in sore evidence of a breakfast you wonne of him one
morning at an unlawful game cald riming. What lies not in you … 
to amend, plaie the Doctor and defend.
A fellow that I am to talke with by and by, being told that his
Father was a Rope-maker, <10> excused the matter after this sort:
And hath never saint had reprobate to his Father? They are his
owne wordes; hee cannot goe from them. You see here hee
makes a Reprobate and a Ropemaker, voces convertibiles.
Go to, take example by him to wash out durt with inke, and run
up to the knees in the channell, if you bee once wetshod. You are
amongst grave Doctors, and men of judgement in both Lawes
everie daie: I pray aske them the question in my absence, whether … 
such a man as I have describ’d this Epistler to be, one that hath a
good handsome pickerdevant, and a prettie leg to studie the Civill
Law with, that hath made many proper rimes of the olde cut in his
daies, and deserved infinitely of the state by extolling himselfe and
his two brothers in everie booke he writes: whether (I saie) such a
famous piller of the Presse, now in the fourteenth or fifteenth yeare
of the raigne of his Rhetorike, giving mony to have this his illiterat
Pamphlet of Letters printed (wheras others have monie given them
to suffer them selves to come in Print), it is not to bee counted as
flat simonie, and be liable to one and the same penaltie? … 
I tell you, I mean to trounce him after twentie in the hundred, and
have a bout with him with two staves and a pike for this geare.
If he get any thing by the bargaine, lette what soever I write
hence-forward bee condemned to wrappe bumbast in.
Carouse to me good lucke, for I am resolutely bent; the best bloud
of the brothers shall pledge me in vinegar. O would thou hadst a
quaffing-boule, which, like Gawens scull, should containe a pecke,
that thou mightst swappe off a hartie draught to the successe of
By what soever thy visage holdeth most pretious I beseech thee, … 
by John Davies soule <11> and the blew Bore in the Spittle I conjure
thee, to draw out thy purse and give me nothing for the
dedication of my Pamphlet.
Thou art a good fellow I know, and hadst rather spend jeasts
than monie. Let it be the taske of thy best tearmes, to safeconduct
this booke through the enemies countrey.
Proceede to cherish thy surpassing carminicall arte of memorie
with full cuppes (as thou dost): let Chaucer bee new scourd against
the day of battaile, and Terence come but in nowe and then with
the snuffe of a sentence, and Dictum puta, Weele strike it as dead as … 
a doore naile: Haud teruntii estimo, We have cattes-meate and
dogges-meate inough for these mungrels. However I write
merrilie, I love and admire thy pleasant wittie humor, which no
care or crosse can make unconversable. Stil be constant to thy
content, love poetry, hate pedantisme. Vade, vale, cave ne
titubes, mandataq; frangas.
barnacle (n): cant term for a decoy swindler. NFS. Cf. 1591 Greene Disc. Cozenage (1859) 23 Thus doth the Verser and the Setter feign a kind friendship to the Cony..As thus they sit tipling, coms the Barnackle and thrusts open the doore..steps backe again: and very mannerly saith I cry you mercy Gentlemen, I thoght a frend of mine had bin heere. 1608 Dekker Belman Lond. Wks. 1885 III. 131 He that..before counterfetted the dronken Bernard is now sober and called the Barnacle. See also setter and verser, below.
barnard (n): member of a gang of swindlers who acts as a decoy; a lurking scoundrel, a sharper. NFS. Cf. Nashe Strange News. 1532 Dice Play (1850) 37 Another oily theft..is the barnards law: which, to be exactly practised asketh four persons at least, each of them to play a long several part by himself. 1591 Greene Disc. Cozenage (1859) 8 Foure persons were required..the Taker up, the Verser, the Barnard, and the Rutter.
bombast/bumbast (n): (1) verbal grandiosity, over-inflated language. (2) cotton stuffing. Nashe undoubtedly meant to apply both meanings.
Carminist (n): also Carminicall: Poet. Grosart explains this as “poesy-maker”, McKerrow is doubtful. [note: possible allusion to red wine, drinker of red wine?]
Latin carmen = “song”, “tune”, or “poem”. Sidney’s Apologie for Poetrie refers to “the Poeme or Carmen.”
carouse (v, trans.): drink/toast (health, other good/bad fortune) to someone/something. FS (Shrew, Oth); Lyly Euphues; Marlowe Edw2; Nashe Strange News.
cockscomb (n): fool’s cap. FS (MWW); Oxford Interrogatory (1583); (anon.) Locrine, Dodypoll; Nashe Penniless, Strange News, Astrophel, Summers; Jonson Cynthia.
didapper (n): small water-fowl, applied contemptuously to a person. NFS. Cf. Lyly Pappe (1st OED citation); Nashe Strange News.
doddypoll/doddy (n): fool. NFS. Cf. Gascoigne Supposes; Nashe Strange News; (anon.) Nobody/Somebody, Dodypoll; Harvey Pierce’s Super.
dudgeon dagger (n): dagger with a hilt made of dudgeon, probably boxwood. FS (1-Mac); Kyd Sol&Per; Nashe Strange News (dedication).
lapis (n) blue stone. The word ‘stone’ is often used by Shakespeare and others for its sexual double meaning. Cf. Nashe Strange News.
nipitaty (n): strong ale. NFS. Cf. Nashe Strange News, Summers.
picke-devant/pickerdevant (n): short beard trimmed to a point; a peaked or Vandyke beard. NFS. Cf. Harrison England; Lyly Pappe, Midas; Nashe Saffron Walden, Strange News; (anon.) Taming of a Shrew.
pottle-pot (n): tankard, esp. for wine. FS (5-2H4, MWW, Oth); Lyly Gallathea; Pasquil’s Apology, Menaphon, Astrophel; Nashe Strange News.
purse (n): money bag, pouch. FS; Nashe Strange News [in context, the bawdy meaning seems more than possible]. sexual meaning: scrotum; possibly cod-piece. FS (MWW); Nashe Strange News. 1st 2 OED citations: 1440 Pallad. on Husb; 1569 R. Androse tr. Alexis’ Secrets. See 1598 Shakes. MWW (I.3.59): The report goes, she has all the rule of her husbands Purse.
red letters (n): the chief saints’ days in the calendar. Cf. Nashe Strange News.
sampson/samson (v): appliedallusively to a quality of Samson — his strength, his having been blinded, etc. Cf. Nashe Strange News. Discussed in the OED, but no early examples of use as a verb.
scurrility/squirrility (n): the quality of being scurrilous; buffoon-like jocularity; coarseness/indecency of language, esp. in invective and jesting. FS (LLL); Edwards Dam&Pith; Nashe Almond. scurrilitiship (n): Cf. Nashe Strange News (only OED citation).
setter (n): cant term for confederate of sharpers or swindlers, employed as a decoy; also one employed by robbers or murderers to spy upon intended victims. FS (1H4); Nashe Strange News. Greene Disc. Coosenage: The nature of the Setter, is to drawe anie person familiarly to drinke with him [etc.]. See also barnacle, above; verser, below.
simony (n): trading in religious offices. FS (1-H8); Marprelate Tracts; Nashe Strange News; Marston Malcontent.
verser (n): cant term for one of a gang of coseners or swindlers. NFS. Cf. Greene Disc. Sosenage; Chapman M. D’Olive; Nashe Strange News. 1550 Dice-Play (Percy Soc.) 38 He lightly hath in his company a man of more worship than himself, that hath the countenance of a possessioner of land, and he is called the verser. 1591 Greene Discov. Cosenage 1 There bee requisite effectually to act the Art of Conny-catching, three seuerall parties: The Setter, the Verser, and the Barnackle. Ibid. 3 Imagine the Connie is in the Tauerne, then sits down the Verser, and saith to the Setter, what sirha, wilt thou giue mee a quart of wine, or shall I giue thee one? [etc.]. 1606 Chapman Mons. D’Ol. (IV.2.43-45)D’Ol: Can he verse? Pac: I, and sett too, my Lord; Hee’s both a Setter and a Verser. See also barnacle and setter, above.
- This could be an allusion on willy-goat, a bawdy play on words. People born under Aries have been known as Master Willy. ‘Willy’ is still in common use in Britain.
2. See Shakespeare 2H6, 2H4, Oth; Greene Cony-Catching; Nashe Penniless, Will Summers.
3. The father of Gabriel Harvey.
4. In the second edition the phrase is changed to ‘three decayed students you kept attending upon you a long time.’
5. Foreign merchants trading at the Stilyard were entitled to have their own Alderman, a freeman of London.
6. Presumaby one of Elderton’s ballads.
7. Harvey assumed the title of Doctor but had not yet taken the proper degree at Cambridge.
8. Apparently a strutting braggart who frequented Paul’s Churchyard.
9. A vintner.
10. Gabriel Harvey.