Joe Miller's Jests



Sir Thomas More, for a long Time had only Daughters, his Wife earnestly praying that they might have a Boy, at last they had a Boy, who, when he came to Man’s Estate, proved but simple; thou prayedst so long for a Boy, said Sir Thomas to his Wife, that at last thou hast got one who will be a Boy as long as he lives.


The same Gentleman, when Lord Chancellor being pressed by the Counsel of the Party, for a longer Day to perform a Decree, said, Take St. Barnaby’s Day, the longest in the Year; which happened to be the next Week.


This famous Chancellor, who preserved his Humour and his Wit to the last Moment, when he came to be executed on Tower-Hill, the Heads-man demanded his upper Garment as his Fee; ay, Friend, said he, taking off his Cap, That I think is my Upper-Garment.


The Great Algernon Sidney seem’d to shew as little Concern at his Death, he had indeed got some Friends to intercede with the King for a Pardon; but when he was told, that his Majesty could not be prevailed upon to give him his Life, but that in Regard to his ancient and noble Family, he would remit Part of his Sentence, and only have his Head cut off; nay, said he, if his Majesty is resolved to have my Head he may make a Whistle of my A---- if he pleases.


Lady C----g and her two Daughters having taken Lodgings, at a Leather-Breeches maker’s in Piccadilly the Sign of the Cock and Leather-Breeches, was always put to the Blush when she was obliged to give any Body Direction to her Lodgings, the Sign being so odd a one; upon which my Lady, a very good Sort of Woman, sending for her Landlord, a jolly young Fellow, told him, she liked him and his Lodgings very well, but she must be obliged to quit them on Account of his Sign, for she was ashamed to tell any body what it was, O! dear Madam, said the young Fellow, I would do any Thing rather than lose so good Lodgers, I can easily alter my Sign; so I think, answered my Lady, and I’ll tell you how you may satisfy both me and my Daughters: Only take down your Breeches and let your Cock stand.


When Rablais the greatest Drole in France, lay on his Death-Bed, he could not help jesting at the very last Moment, for having received the extreme Unction, a Friend coming to see him, said, he hoped he was prepared for the next World; Yes, yes, reply’d Rablais, I am ready for my Journey now, they have just greased my Boots.


Henry the IVth, of France, reading an ostentatious Inscription on the Monument of a Spanish Officer, here lies the Body of Don, &c. &c. who never knew what Fear was. Then said the King, he never snuffed a Candle with his Fingers.


A certain Member of the French Academy, who was no great Friend to the Abbot Furetiere, one Day took the Seat that was commonly used by the Abbot, and soon after having Occasion to speak, and Furetiere being by that Time come in; Here is a Place, said he, Gentlemen, from whence I am likely to utter a thousand Impertinences: Go on, answered Furetiere, there’s one already.


A Country Clergyman meeting a neighbour who never came to Church, altho’ an old Fellow of above Sixty, he gave him some Reproof on that Account, and asked him if he never read at Home: No, replyed the Clown, I can’t read; I dare say, said the Parson you don’t know who made you; not I, in troth, said the Countryman. A little Boy coming by at the same Time, who made you, Child, cry’d the Parson, God, Sir, answered the Boy. Why look you there, quoth the honest Clergyman, are you not ashamed to hear a Child of five or six Years old tell me who made him, when you that are so old a Man can not; Ah, said the Countryman, it is no Wonder that he should remember, he was made but t’other Day, it is a great while, Master, sin I were made.

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