The Gossips Meeting
A sixteenth-century carol
Hoow, gossip myne, gossip myn,
Whan will we go to the wyne?
I shall you tell a full good sport,
How gossippis gader them on a sort,
Ther seke bodyes to comforte,
But I dare not, for their displesauns,
Tell of thes maters half the substance,
But ye sumwhat of ther gouernaunce
'Good gossip myn, wher have ye be?
Hit is so long sith I you see.
Wher is the best wyne? Tell you men.
'I know a drqwght of mery-go-down;
The beste it is in all this town;
But yet I wolde not for my gown
'Call forth owr gossippis by and by,
Elynore, Johan, and Margery,
Margret, Alis, and Cecely,
For thei will cum,Both all and som,
'And eche of them will sumwhat bryng,
Gose or pigge or capons wynge,
Pastes of pigynes or sum other thyng,
'Go beffore by tweyn and tweyn,
Wisely, that ye be not seen,
For I must home and cum agayn
'A strype or two God myght send me
Yf my husbond myght here see me.'
'She that is aferde, lett her flee,'
'Now be we in the tavern sett;
A drawght of the best lett hym fett,
To bryng owr husbondes owt of dett,
Eche of them browght forth ther disshe;
Sume browght flesshe and sum fisshe;
Quod Margret meke now with a wisshe,
'How say ye, gossippis, is this wyn good?'
'That is it,' quod Elynore, 'by the rode!
It chereth the hart and comforteth the blod;
Anne bade, 'Fill a pot of muscadell,
For of all wynes I love it well;
Swet wynes kepe my body in hele;
'How loke ye, gossip, at the bordes end?
Not mery, gossip? God it amend!
All shall be well; els God defend!
'Wold God I had don after your counsell,
For my husbond is so fell
He betith me lyke the devill of hell,
Alis with a lowde voys spak than;
'Evis,' she said, 'littill good he can
That betith or strikith any woman,
Margret meke saide, 'So mot I thryve,
I know no man that is alyve
That gevith me ii strokes but he have v!
On cast down her shot and went away.
'Gossip,' quod Elynore, 'what did she pay?
Not but a peny? Loo, therfor I say
'Suche gestes we may have ynow,
That will not for ther shot alowe;
With whom com she? Gossip, with you?'
'Now rekyn owr shot, and go we hens.
What? Cummeth to eche of us but iii [pence]?
Perde, this is but a small expens
'Torn down the stret whan ye cum owt,
And we wil cumpas rownd abowt.'
'Gossip,' quod Anne, 'what nedith that dowt?
'Whatsoever any man thynk,
We com for nowght but for good drynk;
Now let us go home and wynke,
This is the thowght that gossippis take:
Ons in the wek mery will they make,
And all small drynkes thei will forsake,
Sum be at the tavern [thrise] in the weke.
And so be sum every day eke,
Or elles thei will gron and mak them sek,
And therfore lat us drynk all a-row
Now fyll the cupe, and drynk to me,
And than shal we good felows be,
And off thys talkyng leve will we