Henry Craik, ed. English Prose. 1916. Vol. I. Fourteenth to Sixteenth Century
A Braggarts Fate
By William Clowes (15401604)
From A right fruitful and approved Treatise
NOTWITHSTANDING, it is a true saying: It is an ill wind that bloweth no man good; I mean, happy is he that cometh in the declination and ending of a cure: and so I let him alone with his humours, sith my reasons were not of force to persuade him: howbeit, in conclusion he used me very kindly, and willed me to go abroad with him, to see his rivers, wherein were many goodly trouts and other fine fishes, and after shewed me his mighty high woods, and a number of heronshew-nests.1 But truly, I took as much pleasure at the sight thereof, as Jack-an-apes doth when he hath a whip at his tail. After all these sights, he returned to his house, and by the way he said, Master Clowes, I will hold you no longer with me, but I will send you with my men to London, for I must confess I have stayed you longer time than I meant to have done: and in conclusion, he gave me 20 pound, and promised me to rest my assured good friend during his life. But to conclude, I note his unfortunate end, whereby it presaged he was born under some unlucky planet or Crosse day. For within few years after, he took occasion to ride abroad, as at many other times he used to do, but in returning home to his own house, it was said, he entering into a lane, and attempting to open a great gate, suddenly his horse started aside, and fled away, whereby the gentleman fell from his horse unto the ground, and there suddenly brake his own neck. So his horse ran home, and he being left behind, the servants went and sought for him, and found him stark dead, and his neck broke. Thus far of the end of the master, now to the end of his man, which he appointed to be Master Storys guide, the only phnix, whom he dearly loved, but not for his good conditions. Within a year after his master came to his untimely death, (whose end was only to God foreknown and prefixed) this swaggering fellow did suddenly grow into great misery, and so upon a time he came to London, and there I saw him. Presently he crave of me some relief, for he said, for want of service he was brought into great poverty. Indeed I must confess I had small devotion unto him, but yet I gave him somewhat to be rid of his company: thus he went his ways, saying he did hope it would be better or worse with him shortly. Indeed it was reported that not long after, he did consort with a crew of his old companions, and they together immediately robbed certain clothiers of the west country, and being all taken, were at the assizes hanged on the gallows at Ailesbury or thereabouts, for the said fact. Thus (friendly readers) you have heard (as it were) the tragical history of the foresaid gentleman and his man. The cause which hath moved me to publish the same is, to forewarn all young practisers of this faculty of chirurgery, being indeed truly called filius artis, to beware and take heed how they go, and where and with whom they go, especially into strange and unknown places, and unto men of such extraordinary and strange qualities, which make but a jest and pastime at the abusing of any man, be he of never so much worth, honesty, skill in his profession.