Joe Miller's Jests



The same Duke another Time was making his Complaint to Sir John Cutler, a rich Miser, of the Disorder of his Affairs, and asked him, what he should do to prevent the Ruin of his Estate? Live as I do, my Lord, said Sir John: That I can do, answered the Duke, when I am ruined.


At another Time, a person who had long been a Dependant on his Grace, begged his Interest for him at Court, and to press the Thing more home upon the Duke, said, he had no Body to depend on but God and his Grace; then, says the Duke, you are in a miserable Way, for you could not have pitch’d upon any two Persons who have less Interest at Court.


The old Lord Strangford taking a Bottle with the Parson of the Parish, was commending his own Wine: Here, Doctor, says he, I can send a Couple of Ho--Ho--Ho--Hounds to France (for his Lordship had an Impediment in his Speech) and have a Ho--Ho--Ho---Hogshead of this Wi---Wi---Wi---Wine for ’em; What do you say to that, Doctor? Why, I say, your Lordship has your Wine Dog-cheap.


The famous Jack Ogle of facetious Memory, having borrow’d on Note five Pounds, and failing the Payment, the Gentleman who had lent it, indiscreetly took Occasion to talk of it in the Publick Coffee-House, which oblig’d Jack to take Notice of it, so that it came to a Challenge. Being got into the Field, the Gentleman a little tender in Point of Courage, offer’d him the Note to make the Matter up; to which our Hero consented readily, and had the Note delivered: But now, said the Gentleman, If we should return without fighting, our Companions will laugh at us; therefore let’s give one another a slight Scar, and say we wounded one another; with all my Heart, says Jack; Come I’ll wound you first; so drawing his Sword, he whipt it thro’ the fleshy Part of his Antagonist’s Arm, ’till he brought the very Tears in his Eyes. This being done, and the Wound ty’d up with a Handkerchief; Come, says the Gentleman, now where shall I wound you? Jack putting himself in a fighting Posture, cried, Where you can, B---d Sir; Well, well, says the other, I can swear I received this Wound of you, and so march’d off contentedly.


A Traveller at an Inn once on a very cold Night, stood so near the Fire that he burnt his Boots: An arch Rogue that sat in the Chimney-Corner, call’d out to him, Sir, you’ll burn your Spurs presently: My Boots you mean, I suppose: No, Sir, says he, they are burnt already.


In Eighty-Eight, when Queen Elizabeth went from Temple-Bar along Fleet-street, on some Procession, the Lawyers were rang’d on one Side of the Way, and the Citizens on the other; says the Lord Bacon, then a Student, to a Lawyer, that stood next him, Do but observe the Courtiers; if they bow first to the Citizens, they are in Debt; if to us, they are in Law.


Some Gentlemen having a Hare for Supper at the Tavern, the Cook, instead of a Pudding, had cramm’d the Belly full of Thyme, but had not above half roasted the Hare, the Legs being almost raw; which one of the Company observing, said, There was too much Thyme, or Time, in the Belly, and too little in the Legs.


Two Countrymen, who had never seen a Play in their Lives, nor had any Notion of it, went to the Theatre in Drury-Lane, when they placed themselves snug in the Corner of the Middle-Gallery; the first Musick play’d, which they lik’d well enough; then the Second, and the Third to their great Satisfaction: At length the Curtain drew up, and three or four Actors enter’d to begin the Play; upon which one of them cry’d to the other, Come, Hodge, let’s be going, ma’haps the Gentlemen are talking abot Business.


A Countryman sowing his Ground, two smart Fellows riding that Way, call’d to him with an insolent Air: Well, honest Fellow, says one of them, ’tis your Business to sow, but we reap the Fruits of your Labour; to which the plain Countryman reply’d, Tis very likely you may, truly, for I am sowing Hemp.


Two inseparable Comrades, who rode in the Guards in Flanders, had every Thing in common between them. One of them being a very extravagant Fellow, and unfit to be trusted with Money, the other was always Purse-bearer, which yet he gain’d little by, for the former would at Night frequently pick his Pocket to the last Stiver; to prevent which, he bethought himself of a Strategem, and coming among his Companions the next Day, he told them, he had bit his comrade. Ay, how? says they. Why, says he, I hid my Money in his own Pocket last Night, and I was sure he would never look for it there.

<< 171-180    191-200 >>

The End As I Know It: A Novel of Millennial Anxiety, by proprietor Kevin Shay, is now available in paperback.

Please visit for more information.