Good lord what dainty knacks you have

Following on from the blog post on John Florio, more conversations from the wonderful Frutes. I’ve chosen some of the most interesting and charming snippets.

First up, the weather:

A: What weather is it abroade?
S: It raines, it thunders, it snowes, it freeseth, it hailes and there is a great winde.
A: Goe to the windowe and looke better.
S: It is sharp, ill, close, darke, cruell, and stormie weather.
A: We will doe as they doe at Prato then.
S: And how doe they doe at Prato when it raines?
A: They let it raine, and keepe home.

Writing a letter:


S: Give me my deske, and some pen and ynke and paper.
L: I have no paper: neither is there any in the house.
S: Go buie some, here is monie.
L: How much shall I buye?
S: A quire: but let it be good, and that it doo not sinke.
L: It is verie dear of late.
S: Let it cost what it will, I must needes have some.

Chatting on the street:

G: Why do you stand barehedded? You do your self wrong.
E: Pardon me good sir, I doe it for my ease.
G: I pray you be covered, you are too ceremonious.
E: I am so well that me thinks I am in heaven.
G: If you love me, put on your hat.
E: I will doe it to obay you, not for any pleasure that I take in it.
G: What? Will you rather stand than sit?
E: I am very well. Good lord what dainty knacks you have here.
G: I have nothing but a few trifles.
E: What device is this, if a man may knowe?
G: It is a kinde of sweete water, very far fecht.
E: What do you doo with it, if it be lawful to know?
G: I use it to wash mine eyes and my face.
E: In truth it is very good, and verie sweete.
G: I praie you take a little that I have, for my sake.
E: Not for anie thing in the world.
G: I have some more, take it if you love me.


E: Fie, what an ill favoured woman I see passe through the streete.
G: Which, she that is clad in mourning apparell?
E: Yea sir, I thinke shee mourneth because shee is more foule than corruption it selfe.
G: Naie, you may say that she is more ill favored, more uglie, more loathsome, more foule and filthie than sinne and usurie it selfe.
E: Onelie the sight of her is able to make the whole Cleargie to gueld themselves.
G: I never sawe a finer remedie for love.
E: She would keepe the whole order of priestes chaste.

Making plans:

B: Oh, what a fine cleere night it is.
S: I will wager it will freeze before day.
B: I thinke so too because the skie is full of starres.
A: Will you be within to morrow morning?
B: I will endevour my selfe to be within.
A: I will come to you at seven of the clocke or there abouts.
B: You shall be welcome, and after dinner (God willing) wee will goe to some plaie, or to the Beare-baiting.
A: To some plaie if you will. I do not greatlie fansie the Bear-baiting, by reason of the filthie stinke that is there.
B: In trueth, that stinke is able to infect a man.
A: I perceive you begin to be sleepie, and therefore I bid you good night.
B: By the grace of God, I will lie a bed to morrow morning untill eight or nine of the clocke.

Going to bed:

M: Lay downe the bed, for I will goe sleepe.
L:  It is laid downe alreadie.
M: Dresse the bed, lift up that bolster.
L: It is too high alreadie.
M: Put another pillowe upon it.
L: I mervaile how you can lie with your head so high.
M: Lay one coverlet more upon it.
L: Which? That light or heavie one?
M: Which thou wilt, the quilt or the Irish rugge. Drawe the curtains, that the Moone shine not in his face, and lift up that boord-windowe.
L: Shall I help you off with your hose?
M: No, I am not so lazie yet.
L: Shall I untie your pointes?
M: Snuffe that candle, where are the snuffers?
L: I knowe not where they are. Oh here they be. I sawe them not.
M: Put on thy spectacles, forgetfull as thou art. Cast not that candle snuffe upon the ground.
L: Will you have the warming pan?
M: What to doo? It is not yet so colde.
L: Methinkes it is verie colde and sharpe weather.
M: A good fire in the chamber would doo no hurt.
L: I will with all diligence.
M: Oh what a good and soft bed this is.
L: Doo you want anie thing? Shall I put out the candle?
M: No truely, let the candle alone, for I will reade a Chapter.
L: What booke will you reade now you are a bed?
M: The Bible. I can not fall asleepe without reading.
L: They saye it is most wholsome to lye on the right.
M: What noyse is it I heare in that corner?
L: Belike they are either mice, ratts, or weasells.
M: Now I see I shall not sleepe all night.
L: Doubt you not, you shall sleepe well enough. Heere is a cat.
M: I will make them afraid with my snorting.
L: If you snort loud they will all runne away.
M: I cannot sleepe without something on my head.
L: Here is a night cap warme, cleane and neate.
M: I thank thee now goe a-Gods name.
L: I praie God I may sleepe well.
M: Amen, and God graunt I fall into no temptation.

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  • June 16, 2011 - 5:50 pm | Permalink

    You’ll be gripped for hours. And thoroughly entertained.

  • June 16, 2011 - 5:00 pm | Permalink

    I found it on EEBO — fun will be had.

  • June 16, 2011 - 4:01 pm | Permalink

    I’d be happy to mail the Florio to you, although it is available via EEBO. Then you could also learn the Italian for ‘Oh god, there’s a weasell in the corner of my bedroom!’

  • June 16, 2011 - 3:34 pm | Permalink

    Thanks. I understand the Italian much better than the English.

  • June 16, 2011 - 8:06 am | Permalink

    Liam – according to Florio: Io sto benissimo: o quanto gentilezze c’havete qui!

    Tony, I quite agree. And I omitted some of the more salacious passages about women…

  • June 16, 2011 - 3:38 am | Permalink

    So, how do you say, “Good lord what dainty knacks you have here” in italiano?

  • June 15, 2011 - 9:58 pm | Permalink

    Those passages are rich with dooble ontonders.

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