A M A R V E L O U S
Hystory intitulede , Beware the
Cat. Conteynyng diverse wounder-
full and incredible matters.
Very pleasant and mery to read.
¶ IMPRINTED AT LONDON , IN
Fletestrete at the signe of the
Faulcon by Wylliam Gryffith:
and are to be sold at his shop
in S. Dunstons Church=
yarde. Anno. 1 5 7 0 .
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¶ Love and Live.
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¶ To the Right worshipfull Esquier
maister Iohn Yong , Grace
Have penned for your masterships pleasure one of the stories which maister Streamer tolde the last Christmas, and which you so faine wold have heard reported by master Feres him selfe. And although I be unable to penne or speake it so pleasantly as he could, yet have I so nerely used both the order and wordes of him that spake them, which is not the least vertue of a reporter that I doubt not but that he and maister Willot shal in the reading thinke they heare master Streamer speake, and he him selfe in the like action shall doubt whether he speaketh or readeth. I have devided his oration into three partes, and put the argument before them, and an instruction after them with such notes as might be gathered therof : so making it bookelike, and intituled. Beware the Cat. But because I doubt whether master Streamer wilbe contented that other men plowe with his oxen, I meane penne such thinges as he speaketh , which perhaps hee
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would rather do him selfe to have (as he deserveth) the glory of both therfore I besech you to learne his mind herein. And if he agree it passe in such sorte, yet that he peruse it before the Printing, and amend it if in any poynt I have mistaken him. I pray you likewise to aske master Ferres his judgement herein, and shewe him that the cure of the great plague of master Sreamers translation out of the Arabicke, which hee sent me from Margets, shalbe Imprinted assone as I may conveniently. And it I shall perceave by your tryall, that master Streamer allowe my endevours in this kinde, I will hereafter as Plato did by Socrates penne such things out of the rest of our Christmas communications, as shalbe to his great glorie, and no lesse pleasure to all them that desire such kinds of knowledge. In the meane
while I besech you accept my good will,
and learne to beware the Cat. So shal
you not only performe that I seke
but also please the Almightie
who alwayes preserve
Yours to his power, G. B.
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T chaunced that at Christmas last I was at the Court with master Ferres then master of the Kyngs maiesties pastimes about the setting forth of certaine enterludes, which for the kynges recreation we had devised and were in learning. In which time among many other exercises among our selves we used nightly at our lodging to talke of sundry thinges for the furtheraunce of such offices wherin ech man as than served. For which purpose it pleased master Ferres to make me his bedfellowe, and upon a pallet cast upon the rushes in his owne chamber to lodge master Willot and. M. Streamer, the one his Astronimor the other his divine. And among many other thinges to long to reherse , it hapned' on a night which I thinke was the.xxviij. of December after that M. Ferres was come from the court and in bead, there fell a controversie betwene M. Streamer who with M. Willot had already slept his first slepe, and I that was newly come to bead the effect wherof was whether birdes and beastes had reason, the occasion wherof was this. I had heard that the kings players were learning a play of Esops Crow, wherin the most parte of the actors were birdes, the device wherof I discommended, saying it was not commicall to make eyther spechless things to speake, or brutish things to common reasonably. And although in a tale it were suffreable to Imagine and tel of somthing by them spoken or reasonably done, which kind Esop laudably used, yet it was uncomly sayd I and without example of any author to bring them in lively peirsonages to speake, do, reason, and alaege authoritiees out of authours. M. Streamer my Lords divine, being more divine in this poynt than I was ware of, held the contrary parte, affirming that beastes and foules had reason, and that as much as men, yea and in some poyntes more. master Ferres him selfe and his Astronimer
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wakened with our talke harkened to us, but would take parte on neither side. And whan M. Streamer had for profe of his assercion declared many thinges of Oliphants that walked uppon cordes, Hedgehogges that knewe alwayes what weather would come, Foxes and Dogges that aft er they had bene all night abrode killing Geese and Sheepe would come home in the morning & put their neckes into their collers, Parates that bewayled their kepers death, Swallowes that with Selandine open their young ones eyes, and an hundred things more which I denied to come of reason, and to be but naturall kindly actions, alleging for my profe authority of most grave and learned Philosophers, well quod master Streamer I know what I know, and I speake not onely what by hearsay of some Philosophers I knowe, but what I my selfe have proved. Why (quod I then) have you profe of beastes and fowles reason? yea (quod he) I have heard them & understand them both speake and reason aswel as I here & understand you: at this M. Ferres laughed. But I remembring what I had read in Albertes workes, thought there might be somwhat more than I knew, wherfore I asked him what beastes or fowles he had heard, and where and whan ? At this he pawsed a while, & at last sayd: If I thought you could be content to heare me, and without any interruption till I have done to marke what I say, I would tel you such a story of one piece of my owne experimenting, as should both make you wonder, & put you out of doubt concerning this matter. But this I promise you afore if I do tell it, that as sone as any man curiously interrupteth me, I will leave of and not speake one word more. Whan we had promised quietly to heare, he turning him selfe so in his bead as we might best heare him, sayd:
¶ The firft parte of master
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Eing lodged as I thanke him I have bene often, at a frends house of mine, which more rowmish within than garish without, standeth at Saiunt Martins lane end, and hangeth partly upon the towne Wal that is called Aldersgate, eyther of one Aldricke, or els of Elders, that is to say auncient men of the Citie which among them builded it, as Bishops did Bishopsgate: or els of Eldern trées, which perchaunce as they do in the gardens now ther about, so while the common there was vacaunt grue aboundantly in the same place where the gate was after builded, and called therof Elderngate: as Moregate toke the name of the féeld without it, which hath bene a very Moore. Or els because it is the most auncient gate of the Citie, was therof in respect of the other, as Newgate, called the eldergate. Or els as Ludgate taketh the name of Lud, who builded it , so moste parte of Haroldes (I know) will sonest assent that Aluredus builded this. But they are deceived. For he and his wife Algay
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builded Algate which therof taketh the name, as Criplegate doth of a Criple who begged so much money in his life as put to the silver Wethercocke which he stole from Poules steple, after his death builded it.
But wherof so ever this gate Aldergate tooke the name, which longeth chiefly to Historyes to know, at my frendes house which as I sayd standeth so nere it that it is over it, I lay often times, and that for sundry causes. Somtime for lacke of other lodging, & sometime as while my Gréeks Alphabets were in printing to se that they might be truly corrected. And sure it is a shame for all young men that they be no more studious in the tounges, but the world is now come to that passe, that if he can prate a litle Latine, & handle a Racket and a payre of sixe square bowles, he shall soner obteine any living than the best learned in a whole Citie : which is cause that learning is dispised, and bagagical things so much advaunced.
While I lay at the forsayd house for the causes aforesayd, I was lodged in a Chamber harde by the Printing house, which had a fayre Bay window opening [into]
[ At this point the book ceases, the subsequent folios / pages having been destroyed or lost in time. This is the earliest existing fragment of Beware the Cat.]