Master Andrew, will it please you to eate an egg?

More from Florio’s charming English-Italian phrasebook, in which he gives characters everyday conversations in order that the reader might learn some useful phrases. The conversations reveal some lovely details about daily life in sixteenth and seventeenth century England. This time Aurelio and Pompilio meet on the street and go back to Pompio’s house to admire his lodgings, and following that, a dinner party conversation.

Pompilio: Good morrow master Aurelio.
Aurelio: And to you a good morrowe and a good year M Pomilio.
Pompilio: From whence come you in such haste?
Aurelio: I come from visiting a friend of mine.
Pomilio: Where dwells he, if a man may know?
Aurelio: Here by, in this streete.
Pompilio: Is it a hee or a shee friend, tell me in good sooth?
Aurelio: You goe about to make me blush.
Pomilio: Will it please you to goe so farre as my chamber?
Aurelio: Yes sir, but I would be loath to trouble you
Pomilio: Will you goe and see my lodging?
Aurelio: Honoured shall I be, if it please you to accept of my company?
Pomilio: What ho, Trippa, goe before and open the dore for us.

At the lodging:

Pomilio: Boy, bring hither some stooles, set a chaire there.
Aurelio: In good sooth, you are lodged verie commodiously.
Pomilio: To tell you the truth I am verie well here.
Aurelio: You have a daintie bed with verie fine household stuffe.
Pomilio: Here you may see verie farre.
Aurelio: Behold, it is a verie fine and pleasant prospect.
Pomilio: And delightsome, especiallie towards the Easte.
Aurelio: Is this a hyred chamber?
Pomilio: Yes sir, and I paie verie deare for it.
Aurelio: How much doo you paie a weeke for it?
Pomilio: I paie four crownes a moneth.
Aurelio: It is not very deare, being in London.
Pomilio: I must make as good shift as I maie.
Aurelio: In good truth you are verie well stored with bookes.
Pomilio: Those few that I have, be at your commandement.
Aurelio: Lend me this booke, for two or three daies.
Pomilio: Keep it so long as you please.

They then go on to discuss a sick friend, and which horses they will hunt with that afternoon, before arranging to meet at a church porch.

Next a dinner party, hosted by Simon, for his friends Nundinio, Camillo, Horatio, Melibeo, Taneredi and Andrew, waited on by Robert.

Robert: Master, dinner is readie, shall it be set upon the board?
Simon: I praie thee doo so, laie the board when thou wilt.
Robert: By and by, it shall be readie in less than a lightning.
Nundinio: My cravers [appetite], as the scots man saye, serves me well.
Simon: The meate is comming in, let us sit downe.
Camillo: I would wash first, if it were not to trouble Robert.
Simon: What ho, bring some water to wash our hands. Give me a faire, cleane and white towell.
Robert: Behold, here is one upon my shoulder.
Simon: My masters, drie your hands with this towell.
Taneredi: I praie you let us sit downe, for I have a good stomack.
Simon: My masters, the meate cooles.
Taneredi: My friend, I praie thee, give mee a messe of pottage, and a spoon also.
Robert: There be some upon the table, by the salt.
Simon: Bring hither that sallat [salad], those steakes, that legge of mutton, that peece of beefe, with all the boyled meate that we have.
Camillo: This may rather be called a banquet than an ordinarie dinner.
Simon: I praye you everie man serve himself, let everie one cut where he pleases and seeke the best morcels.
Taneredi: Truly these meates are verie well seasoned.
Camillo: In good sooth, you have excellent good bread here.
Nundinio: Good lord, how manie sorts of bread have you in your house?
Simon: Bring forth that loyn of veale roasted, and that quarter, whether it be of Kidde or Lambe.
Camillo: You are happie that have so good a baker.
Simon: Call for drinke when you please and what kinde of wine you like best.
Camillo: Give me a cup of beere, or else a bowle of ale.
Horatio: I love to drink wine after the Dutch fashion
Taneredi: How doo they drinke it I pray you?
Horatio: In the morning pure, at dinner without water, and at night as it comes from the vessell.
Melibeo: I like this rule well, they are wise, and Gods blessing upon them.
Horatio: A slice of bacon would make us taste this wine well.
Simon: What ho, set that gammon of bakon upon the boarde.
Taneredi: Of curtesie give me a little salt, I cannot reach it. I eate more salt than a Goate dooth.
Horatio: Give me a clean trenchar [plate].
Simon: Thou sillie wretch, give everie one cleane plates.
Nundinio: Let us make a lawe that no man put of his cap or hat at the table.
Camillo: An excellent and good lawe, for so shall wee not fowle our hatts.
Taneredi: Neither shall we be in danger to make the haires flie about the dishes.
Simon: Set that capon upon the table, and those rabbits, that hen, those chickens, that goose, those woodcocks, those larkes, those quailes, those partridges, and that pasty of venison.
Nundunio: Yonder is a most fine cubbord of plate
Simon: Andrew commeth. Have you dined or no?
Andrew: To tell you true, I am fasting yet.
Simon: Bring hither a stoole, and set a trenchar, a napkin, a knife, a forke, and a spoone there.
Andrew: Let no man stirre, I will sit here, by your leave.
Simon: Master Andrew, will it please you to eate an egg?

Andrew eagerly accepts the egg, and they go on to complete the meal with cheese, and fruit of every description, followed by marmalade and biscuits and caraway treats. They round off the evening with a merry game of cards and everyone has a splendid time.

More from Florio: Will you weare any weapons to daye? and Let us make a match at tennis

 

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4 Comments

  • June 5, 2011 - 1:26 pm | Permalink

    I suspect “Taneredi” is in fact Tancredi. :)

  • May 29, 2011 - 6:24 pm | Permalink

    What a feed, my kind of dinner party. Loved the part when they make a law, not to remove their hats. They will not fowl their hats nor shall their hair fly about the dishes, that was really funny. Think they might have been a wee bit pissed by then. Do you think Andrew had a splendid time?

  • May 28, 2011 - 5:07 am | Permalink

    This charming fragment is a delightful start to my day – thanks

  • May 27, 2011 - 6:59 pm | Permalink

    I’m getting strange looks from my OH as I drift into ‘doth’s and ‘hath’s. “‘Yes it is’ not ‘That it be’!”. Fascinating stuff. Thanks. @HDKey

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