Joe Miller's Jests



A certain Person came to a Cardinal in Rome, and told him that he had brought his Eminence a dainty white Palfrey, but he fell lame by the Way; saith the Cardinal to him, I’ll tell thee what thou shalt do, go to such a Cardinal, and such a one, naming half a Dozen, and tell them the same, and so as thy Horse, if it had been sound, could have pleas’d but one, with this lame horse thou shalt please half a Dozen.


A prodigal Gallant (whose penurious Mother being lately dead, had left him a plentiful Estate) one Day being on his Frolicks, quarrell’d with his Coachman, and said, you damn’d Son of a Whore, I’ll kick you into Hell; to which the Coachman answer’d, if you kick me into Hell, I’ll tell your Mother how extravagantly you spend your Estate here upon Earth.


The Emperor Augustus, being shewn a young Grecian, who very much resembled him, asked the young Man if his Mother had not been at Rome: No, Sir, answer’d the Grecian but my Father has.


Cato the Censor being ask’d, how it came to pass, that he had no Statue erected for him, who had so well deserved of the Common-Wealth? I had rather, said he, have this Question asked, than why I had one.


A Lady coming into a Room hastily, with her Mantua, brush’d down a Cremona Fiddle, that lay on a Chair, and broke it, upon which a Gentleman that was present burst into this Exclamation from Virgil:

Mantua vae miserae nimium Vicina Cremona.

Ah miserable Mantua too near a Neighbour to Cremona.


A devout Gentleman, being very earnest in his Prayers, in the Church, it happened that a Pick-Pocket being near him, stole away his Watch, who having ended his Prayers, mist it, and complained to his Friend, that his Watch was lost, while he was at Prayers; to which his Friend reply’d, Had you watch’d as well as pray’d, your Watch had been secure, adding these following Lines.

He that a Watch will wear, this must he do,
Pocket his Watch, and watch his Pocket too.


George Ch----n, who was always accounted a very blunt Speaker, asking a young Lady one Day, what it was o’Clock, and she telling him her Watch stood, I don’t wonder at that, Madam, said he, when it is so near your ------.


A modest Gentlewoman being compelled by her Mother to accuse her Husband of Defect, and being in the Court, she humbly desired of the Judge, that she might write her Mind, and not be obliged to speak it, for Modesty’s sake; the Judge gave her that Liberty, and a Clerk was immediately commanded to give her Pen, Ink, and Paper, whereupon she took the Pen without dipping it into the Ink, and made as if she would write; says the Clerk to her, Madam, there is no Ink in your Pen. Truly, Sir, says she, that’s just my Case, and therefore I need not explain myself any further.


A Lieutenant Colonel to one of the Irish Regiments, in the French Service, being dispatched by the Duke of Berwick, from Fort Kehl, to the King of France, with a Complaint, relating to some Irregularities, that had happened in the Regiment; his Majesty, with some Emotion of Mind, told him, That the Irish Troops gave him more Uneasiness than all his Forces besides. Sir, (says the Officer) all your Majesty’s Enemies make the same Complaint.


Mr. G---n, the Surgeon being sent for to a Gentleman, who had just received a slight Wound in a Rencounter, gave Orders to his Servant to go Home with all haste imaginable, and fetch a certain Plaister; the Patient turning a little Pal, Lord, Sir, said he, I hope there is no Danger. Yes, indeed is there, answered the Surgeon, for if the Fellow don’t set up a good pair of Heels, the Wound will heal before he returns.

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