Joe Miller's Jests



The foresaid House, which is the very last in London one Way, being rebuilt, a Gentleman asked another, who lived in it? his Friend told him Sir Robert Grosvenor; I don’t know, said the first, what Estate Sir Robert has, but he ought to have a very good one, for no body lives beyond him in the whole Town.


Two Gentlemen disputing about Religion, in Button’s Coffee-House, said one of them, I wonder, Sir, you should talk of Religion, when I’ll hold you five Guineas you can’t say the Lord’s Prayer, done, said the other, and Sir Richard Steele shall hold Stakes. The Money being deposited, the Gentleman began with, I believe in God, and so went cleverly through the Creed; well, said the other, I own I have lost; I did not think he could have done it.


A certain Author was telling Dr. Sewel, that a Passage he found fault with in his Poem, might be justify’d, and that he thought it a Metaphor; it is such a one, said the Doctor, as truly I never Met-a-fore.


A certain Lady at Whitehall, of great Quality but very little Modesty, having sent for a Linnen Draper to bring her some Hollands, as soon as the young Fellow enter’d the Room, O! Sir, said he, I find you’re a Man fit for Business, for you no sooner look a Lady in the Face, but you’ve your Yard in one Hand, and are lifting up the Linnen with the other.


A Country Farmer going cross his Grounds in the Dusk of the Evening, spy’d a young Fellow and a Lass, very busy near a five Bar Gate, in one of his Fields, and calling to them to know what they were about, said the young Man no Harm, Farmer, we are only going to Prop-a-gate.


King Henry VIII. designing to send a Nobleman on an Embassy to Francis I. at a very dangerous Juncture, he begg’d to be excused, saying such a threatening Message, to so hot a Prince as Francis I. might go near to cost him his Life. Fear not, said old Harry, if the French King should offer to take away your Life, I would revenge you by taking off the Heads of many Frenchmen now in my Power: But of all those Heads, reply’d the Nobleman, there may not be one to fit my Shoulders.


A Parson preaching a tiresome Sermon on Happiness or Bliss; when he had done, a Gentleman told him, he had forgot one Sort of Happiness: Happy are they that did not hear your Sermon.


A Country-Fellow who was just come to London, gaping about in every Shop he came to, at last looked into a Scrivener’s, where seeing only one Man sitting at a Desk, he could not imagine what Commodity was sold there, but calling to the Clerk, pray, Sir, said he, what do you sell here? Loggerheads, cry’d the other, do you, answer’d the Countryman, Egad then you’ve a special Trade, for I see you have but one left.


Manners, who was himself but lately made Earl of Rutland, told Sir Thomas Moor, he was too much elated by his Preferment, that he verify’d the old Proverb,

    Honores mutant Mores.

No, my Lord, said Sir Thomas, the Pun will do much better in English:

    Honours change MANNERS.


A Nobleman having chose a very illiterate Person for his Library Keeper, one said it was like a Seraglio kept by an Eunuch.

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