The Printer to the Reader.

It hath been an old saying that while two dogs do strive for a bone the third may come and carry it away. And this proverb may (as I fear) be well verified in me which take in hand the imprinting of this poetical Posy. For the case seemeth doubtful, and I will disclose my conjecture:

Master H. W. in the beginning of this work hath in his letter written to the Readers cunningly discharged himself of any such misliking as the graver sort of grayhaired judgers might perhaps conceive in the publication of these pleasant Pamphlets.

And next unto that learned preamble, the letter of G. T. (by whom as seemeth, the first copy hereof was unto the same H. W. delivered) doth with no less clerkly cunning seek to persuade the readers that he also would by no means have it published.

Now I fear very much -- all these words notwithstanding -- that these two gentlemen were of one assent compact to have it imprinted, and yet, finding by experience that nothing is so wellhandled nowadays but that some malicious minds may either take occasion to mislike it themselves or else find means to make it odious unto others, they have therefore each of them politicly prevented the danger of misreport, and suffered me the poor Printer to run away with the palm of so perilous a victory.

Notwithstanding, having well perused the work, I find nothing therein amiss to my judgment, unless it be two or three wanton places passed over in the discourse of an amorous enterprise. The which for as much as the words are cleanly, (although the thing meant be somewhat natural), I have thought good also to let them pass as they came to me, and the rather because (as Master H. W. hath well alleged in his letter to the Reader) the well-minded man may reap some commodity out of the most frivolous works that are written. And as the venomous spider wilt suck poison out of the most wholesome herb, and the industrious Bee can gather honey out of the most stinking weed, even so the discrete reader may take a happy example by the most lascivious histories, although the captious and harebrain'd heads can neither be encouraged by the good nor forewarned by the bad. And thus much I have thought good to say in excuse of some savours which may perchance smell unpleasantly to some noses in some part of this poetical posy.

Now it hath with this fault a greater commodity than common posies have ben accustomed to present, and that is this: you shall not be constrained to smell of the flowers therein contained all at once, neither yet to take them up in such order as they are sorted. But you may take any one flower by itself, and if that smell not so pleasantly as you would wish, I doubt not yet but you may find some other which may supply the defects thereof.

As thus: he which would have good moral lessons clerkly handled, let him smell to the Tragedy translated out of Euripides. He that would laugh at a pretty conceit closely conveyed, let him peruse the comedy translated out of Ariosto. He that would take example by the unlawful affections of a lover bestowed upon an unconstant dame, let them read the report in verse made by Dan Bartholmew of Bath, or the discourse in prose of the adventures passed by master F. J. (whom the reader may name Freeman Jones), for the better understanding of the same. He that would see any particular pang of love lively displayed, may here approve every Pamphlet by the title, and so remain contented. As also divers godly hymns and Psalms may in like manner be found in this record.

To conclude, the work is so universal as, either in one place or other, any man's mind may therewith be satisfied. The which I adventure (under pretext of this promise) to present unto all indifferent eyes as followeth.


The Adventures of Master F. J. by George Gascoigne, 1573