[ 'A short answer to the book called " Beware the Cat." ' (1561) is reproduced from Fugitive Tracts written in verse which illustrate the condition of religious and political feeling in England and the State of Society there during Two Centuries, First Series—1493-1600, selected by William C. Hazlitt and published privately by Henry Huth in London in 1875. Huth's edition has no page numbers, apart from Hazlitt's index entry. The title page for 'A short answer...', published with the text, is now missing.]

[ Index entry by William Hazlitt (1875), pp. xvi-xvii : ]

p.xvi /

XIX.—A short answer to the book calledBeware the Cat.

      This broadside, of which the only known copy is in the library of the Society of Antiquaries at Somerset House, has often been quoted, but never hitherto reproduced in extenso. As it will appear on perusal, the piece is a strong dose of invective, couched in the most unmitigated terms, offered to William Baldwin, editor and part-writer of that important historical miscellany, The Mirror for Magistrates. Baldwin had p.xvii / at some period—probably immediately prior to the publication of this gross pasquinade—issued anonymously, but professedly as by one Stremer, a very curious volume, entitled Beware the Cat, of which there were almost certainly four editions,—1561, 1570, 1584, 1652. The first rests so far on the authority of Ritson ; of the second, a fragment (including the title) was in Dr. Bliss's possession ; an unique copy of 1584, wanting the title, but having a colophon, is now in the library of Mr. Huth, after belonging to a series of collectors ; while for the impression of 1652 we must be content at present to trust the not too trustworthy Bagford. It is to be said, however, in favour of the existence of such a book, and of the chance of it still turning up, that Jane Bell, the alleged printer of it, was the successor of the person whose name is in the colophon of the 1584 copy.
      The whole of the preliminary matter attached to the edition of 1584 is given in Mr. Huth's volume of Prefaces, &c., 1874, pp. 69-75, and Mr. Halliwell printed a few copies lately of the entire work, but unluckily from an inaccurate transcript.

[ Text: ]

paragraph sign A short Answere to the boke called :
Beware the Cat.

o the ientil reder : harti salutacions
  Desiring thee to knoe : Baldwins straunge faschions
    And if in aunsering : I appere sum what quick,
    Thinke it not with out cause, his taunts be rive & thick
Where as ther is a boke, called : be ware the cat,
    The veri truith is so, that Stremer made not that,
Nor no such false fabels : fell ever from his pen,
    Nor from his hart or mouth : as knoe mani honest men
But wil ye gladli knoe, who made that boke in dede,
    One Wylliam Baldewine. God graunt him wel to spede
God graunt him mani new yeres, prosperite and helth
    As he hath in this thing : farderd the Comonwelth
With large lesure, browne studi : he musing all alone
    Devised by what meanes : he might win the whetstone
Every thing almost : in that boke is as tru,
    As that at Midsomer : in London it doth snu.
Every thing almost : in that boke is as tru
    As that his nose to my dock : is ioyned fast with glu,
Put vp your pipes Baldewine : if you can make no better,
    Many talk more wittili : that knoe not one letter,
Put on your cap Baldewine : & kepe your brayn pan warme
    Least ye go to Bedlem : if suche toyes in you swarme
Rede this litel short Rime : Baldewinken, til more cum :
    And with Stremers excrements : be bold to noint your gum
In stede of Diaglum, in stede of Coloquintida
    In stede of ru barbarum, or casia fistula
If the maker hereof : had bid at more lesure.
    Ye had had from his hande : a more precious tresure
But in the meane season : content your selfe with this
    For your Bagagical boke, a warme a. r. s. you may kys.
p.2 ]
Or els a payre of stockes : if officers do wel,
    You hurt a harmeles man : which no such tales did tel,
As ye were disposed : loude lyes on him to make
    Which many witti things : writes for his countreys sake.
Alas I wolde to God : your boke were halfe so good,
    I wysh you no more harme ; nor to your swete hart bloud
The pith of this paper (if any man in it loke)
    Is to deni utterli, that Stremer made that boke
The boke (of ten leaves) was printed every worde
    Er Stremer saw any pece, to wipe away a t. o . r. d.
Tergendis natibus, som thought his boke was good
    Or to cari spiceri, to cherische a sick mans bloud.
Therfore ientyl reder : beware what credence thou ghive
    The truth here conteyned : thou mayst boldly belive
Baldwins toyes do belong : to thee or any other
    As well as they do touche Stremer, his pore brother.
And now Iuge good hirers : whether he be a good man
    Of whom I write these things : as truli as I can.
If that be not a grete faute, so to hurt a mans name,
    Without sufficient cause : what crime shuld a man blame ?
Omni si perdas : famam servare memento : Qua semel amissa
[ postea nullus eris,
If thou lese all (sayth he) yet reserve honest fame
    If that be ones clene gon : go home and suck thy dame.
I am loth for to rayle, as Baldwin hath begun
    For so betwine vs both : a fayre threde shuld be spun
This miche I haue writen : that the truth shuld be knowen
   And that the falsitie : shuld quite be ouerthrowen.