Joe Miller's Jests



A Person enquiring what became of such a One? Oh! dear, says one of the Company, poor Fellow, he dy’d insolvent, and was buried by the Parish: Died insolvent, crys another, that’s a Lie, for he died in England, I’m sure I was at his Burying.


A humorous Countryman having bought a Barn, in Partnership with a Neighbour of his, neglected to make the least Use of it, whilst the other had plentifully stor’d his Part with Corn and Hay: In a little Time the latter came to him, and conscientiously expostulated with him upon laying out his Money so fruitlessly: Pray, Neighbour, says he, ne’er trouble your Head, you may do what you will with your Part of the Barn, but I’ll set mine o’Fire.


An Irishman whom King Charles II. had some Esteem for, being only an inferior Servant of the Houshold, one Day coming into the King’s Presence, his Majesty ask’d him how his Wife did, who had just before been cut for a Fistula in her Backside. I humbly thank your Majesty, replied Teague, she’s like to do well, but the Surgeon says, it will be an Eye-Sore as long as she lives.


A young Gentlewoman who had married a very wild Spark, that had run through a plentiful Fortune, and was reduced to some Streights, was innocently saying to him one Day, My Dear, I want some Shifts sadly. Shifts, Madam, replies he, D---me, how can that be, when we make so many every Day?


A Fellow once standing in the Pillory at Temple-Bar, it occasioned a Stop, so that a Carman with a Load of Cheeses had much ado to pass, and driving just up to the Pillory, he asked what that was that was writ over the Person’s Head: They told him, it was a Paper to signify his Crime, that he stood for Forgery: Ay, says he, what is Forgery? They answered him, that Forgery was counterfeiting another’s Hand, with Intent to cheat People: To which the Carman replied, looking up at the Offender, Ah, Pox! this comes of your Writing and Reading, you silly Dog.


Master Johnny sitting one Summer’s Evening on the Green with his Mother’s Chamber-maid, among other little Familiarities, as kissing, pressing her Bubbies and the like, took the Liberty unawares to satisfy himself whereabouts she ty’d her Garters, and by an unlucky Slip went farther than he should have done: At which the poor Creature blushing, cry’d, Be quiet Mr. John, I’ll throw this Stone at your Head else, Ay, Child, says he, and I’ll fling two at your Tail if you do.


When the Prince of Orange came over, Five of the Seven Bishops who were sent to the Tower declar’d for his Highness, and the other Two would not come into Measures; upon which, Mr. Dryden said, that the seven Golden Candlesticks were sent to be essay’d in the Tower, and five of them prov’d Prince’s Metal.


A Dog coming open-mouth’d at a Serjeant upon a March, he run the Spear of his Halbert into his Throat and kill’d him: The Owner coming out rav’d extreamly that his Dog was kill’d, and ask’d the Serjeant, Why he could not as well have struck at him with the blunt End of his Halbert? So I would, says he, if he had run at me with his Tail.


King Charles the IId. being in Company with the Lord Rochester, and others of the Nobility, who had been drinking the best Part of the Night, Killegrew came in; Now, says the King, we shall hear of our Faults: No, Faith, says Killegrew, I don’t care to trouble my Head with that which all the Town talks of.


A rich old Miser finding himself very ill, sent for a Parson to administer the last Consolation of the Church to him: Whilst the Ceremony was performing, old Gripewell falls into a Fit; on his Recovery the Doctor offered the Chalice to him; Indeed, crys he, I can’t afford to lend you above twenty Shillings upon’t, I can’t upon my Word.

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