16th Century Joke of the Day Archive

I thought it would be especially appropriate to use humour in more than just my individual posts. From my limited knowledge on Shakespeare’s plays, I know that the humour used in the period were both political and strategic. With a little wit, a wink of an eye, almost anything can be said, even right under the King or Queen’s nose. Humour and jokes are perfect examples of how representation of reality through language can achieve and communicate some pretty important things.

  • One saying that French paper was better cheape in England then English paper: An other answered: No maruell, for why, they haue more ragges to make paper of in France, then wee haue in England, by reason they haue more beggers.
  • One being asked why he loued so extreamly such a foule, crooked, and squint ey’d creature: he answered: She makes yee a most daintie Sallade of Lettuce.
  • A Seruing-man was jesting with his maisters foole, and made him beleeue he would cut off his head: The Foole ranne straight to his maister and told him of it: who answered: Hee shall not cut off thy head, if hee doe, I’le hang him the next day after: Nay I pray (reply’d the Foole) rather hang him a day before.
  • A vertuous Gentleman seeing a malicious person looke downe on the ground, and continue gazing thereon a good space, said: Questionlesse either some mischiefe is befallen yon­der man, or some good to some other body.
  • A Confessor comming to visite a sicke poore woman in bed, and after hauing heard her confession, and giuen her good ghostly aduise to God-ward: At his departure the poore wid­dow willed her maid to giue him the fattest Capon shee had. The maide did so, and the Priest accepted it, and went his way. Shortly after the woman recouered her health, and wal­king abroad she missed among other her poultrey this Capon, and forgetting how she had bestowed it, she called her maid to her, and asked her what was become of it: Wherunto the maid answering that she had giuen it in her sicknes time to the priest: she said: What a foule ill, did I so? So often had I giuen it heer­tofore to the Deuill when I missed it, and still it came againe, and giuing it but once to the Priest hath hee caried it quite a­way?
  • One aduis’d a great Drunkard still to mingle water with his wine, hee answered: If that were good, God would haue done it in the grape.
  • A Scot was a preaching how that all men are one an others neighbour and brother in Christ, euen the Turke, the Iew, the Moore, the Caniball, the farre Indian: and then concluded: Yea and the very Englishman is our neighbour too.
  • One woonted to say, that to a peaceable life in mariage it were meet the husband were deaf, and the wife blind.
  • One asked a Scholler how a man ought to demean himselfe in his first loues to his Maistresse: He answered: Tell her once that you loue her, and then let the Deuil worke the rest.
  • A Doctor of physick examining a student, who was to take degree in that faculty, among other questions asked him, what was the reason that the plague-sore commonly takes men in the groyne, or in the Arme-pit: He answered: Because it is the fashion.

**All jokes were borrowed from: http://shipbrook.com/jeff/jokes.html**

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