Verse > Anthologies > T. R. Smith, ed. > Poetica Erotica: A Collection of Rare and Curious Amatory Verse
T. R. Smith, comp.  Poetica Erotica: Rare and Curious Amatory Verse.  1921–22.
The Tinker
(Another version; from Merry Drollery, 1661)

THERE 1 was a Lady in this Land
  That loved a Gentleman,
And could not have him secretly,
  As she would now and then,
Till she devised to dress him like        5
  A Tinker in Vocation:
And thus, disguised, she bid him say,
  He came to clout her Cauldron.
His face full fair she smothers black
  That he might not be known,        10
A leather Jerkin on his back,
  His breeches rent and torn;
With speed he passed to the place,
  To knock he did not spare:
Who’s that, quoth the lady[’s Porter] then,        15
  That raps so rashly there.
I am a Tinker, then quoth he,
  That worketh for my Fee,
If you have Vessels for to mend,
  Then bring them unto me:        20
For I have brass within my bag,
  And target in my Apron,
And with my skill I can well clout,
  And mend a broken Cauldron.
Quoth she, our Cauldron hath most need,        25
  At it we will begin,
For it will hold you half an hour
  To trim it out and in:
But first give me a glass of drink,
  The best that we do use,        30
For why it is a Tinker’s guise
  No good drink to refuse.
Then to the Brew-house hyed they fast,
  This broken piece to mend,
He said he would no company,        35
  His Craft should not be kend,
But only to your self, he said,
  That must pay me my Fee:
I am no common Tinker,
  But work most curiously.        40
And I also have made a Vow,
  I’ll keep it if I may,
There shall no mankind see my work,
  That I may stop or stay:
Then barred he the Brew-house door,        45
  The place was very dark,
He cast his Budget from his back,
  And frankly fell to work.
And whilst he played and made her sport,
  Their craft the more to hide,        50
She with his hammer stroke full hard
  Against the Cauldron side:
Which made them all to think, and say,
  The Tinker wrought apace,
And so be sure he did indeed,        55
  But in another place.
The Porter went into the house,
  Where Servants used to dine,
Telling his Lady, at the Gate
  There stayed a Tinker fine:        60
Quoth he, much Brass he wears about,
  And Target in his Apron,
Saying, that he hath perfect skill
  To mend your broken Cauldron.
Quoth she, of him we have great need,        65
  Go Porter, let him in,
If he be cunning in his Craft
  He shall much money win:
But wisely wist she who he was,
  Though nothing she did say,        70
For in that sort she pointed him
  To come that very day.
When he before the Lady came,
  Disguised stood he there,
He blinked blithly, and did say,        75
  God save you Mistris fair;
Thou’rt welcome, Tinker, unto me,
  Thou seem’st a man of skill,
All broken Vessels for to mend,
  Though they be ne’er so ill;        80
I am the best man of my Trade,
  Quoth he, in all this Town,
For any Kettle, Pot, or Pan,
  Or clouting of a Cauldron.
Quoth he, fair Lady, unto her,        85
  My business I have ended,
Go quickly now, and tell your Lord
  The Cauldron I have mended:
As for the Price, that I refer
  Whatsoever he do say,        90
Then come again with diligence,
  I would I were away.
The Lady went unto her Lord,
  Where he walked up and down,
Sir, I have with the Tinker been,        95
  The best in all the Town:
His work he doth exceeding well,
  Though he be wondrous dear,
He asks no less than half a Mark
  For that he hath done here.        100
Quoth he, that Target is full dear,
  I swear by God’s good Mother:
Quoth she, my Lord, I dare protest,
  ’Tis worth five-hundred other;
He strook it in the special place,        105
  Where greatest need was found,
Spending his brass and target both,
  To make it safe and sound.
Before all Tinkers in the Land,
  That travels up and down,        110
Ere they should earn a Groat of mine,
  This man should earn a Crown:
Or were you of his Craft so good,
  And none but I it kend,
Then would it save me many a Mark,        115
  Which I am fain to spend.
The Lady to her Coffer went,
  And took a hundred Mark,
And gave the Tinker for his pains,
  That did so well his work;        120
Tinker, said she, take here thy fee,
  Sith here you’ll not remain,
But I must have my Cauldron now
  Once scoured o’er again.
Then to the former work they went,        125
  No man could them deny;
The Lady said, good Tinker call
  The next time thou com’st by:
For why, thou dost thy work so well,
  And with so good invention,        130
If still thou hold thy hand alike,
  Take here a yearly Pension.
And ev’ry quarter of the year
  Our Cauldron thou shalt view;
Nay, by my faith, her Lord gan say,        135
  I’d rather buy a new;
Then did the Tinker take his leave
  Both of the Lord and Lady;
And said, such work as I can do,
  To you I will be ready.        140
From all such Tinkers of the trade
  God keep my Wife, I pray,
That comes to clout her Cauldron so,
  I’ll swing him if I may.
Note 1. Some of these verses are evidently misplaced. They are printed unchanged. [back]

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