A Poor Help

Shepherd, Luke

STC 13052
Ringler 13052 (cf. 13051.7) and TP 2282. STC 13051.7 supplies verses wanting on A2 and A5. Attributed to Shepherd by John Bale. STC 13051.7 rpt. W. C. Hazlitt, _Remains of the Early Popular Poetry of England_, 4 vols. (1864-66), 3:249-66; STC 13052 rpt. John Strype, _Ecclesiastical Memorials_, 2 (1734), 34-8. UMI microfilm reel 49

A pore helpe
London: [J. Day and W. Seres],1548?.

Composition Date: 1548?.

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A pore helpe.

¶The buklar and defence
Of mother holy kyrke
And weapen to driue hence
Al that against here wircke.
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WIl none in al this lande
Step forth and take in hand
These felowes to withstand
In number like the sande
5 That wyth the Gospel melles
And wil do nothynge elles
But tratlinge tales telles
Agaynste our holy prelacie
And holy churches dignitie
10 Sayinge it is but papistrie
Yea fayned and Hypocrisy
Erronious and heresye
And taketh theire authoritye
Out of the holy euangelie
15 All customes ceremoniall
And rites ecclesiastical
Not grounded on scripture
No longer to endure
And thus ye may be sure
20 The people they allure
And drawe them from youre lore
The whiche wil greue you sore
Take hede I saye therfore
Your nede was neuer more
25 But sens ye be so slacke
It greuith me a_lacke
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To here behind your backe
Howe they wyll carpe and cracke
And none of you that dare
30 With one of them compare
Yet some ther be that are
So bolde to shewe there ware
And is no priest nor deacon
And yet wyl fire his becone
35 Against such felowes fraile
Make out wyth tothe and nayle
And hoyste vp mayne-saile
And manfully to fyght
In holy prelates right
40 With penne and ynke and paper
And like no trifling Iaper
To touch these felowes in-dede
With all expedient spede This and the following line are added in W
And not before it nede
45 And I in-dede am he
That wayteth for to se
Who dare so hardy be
To encounter here with me
I stande here in defence
50 Of sume that be far hence
And can both blysse and sence
And also vnder-take
Right holy thinges to make
Yea god within a cake
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55 And who-so that forsake
His breade shalbe dowe-bake
I openly professe
The holy blissed masse
Of strength to be no lesse
60 Then it was at the firste
But I woulde se who dourst
Set that amonge the worst
For he should be acurst
With boke and bell and candel
65 And so I would him handel
That he shoulde right wel knowe
Howe to escape I trow
So hardy on his head
Depraue our holy breade
70 Or els to prate or patter
Against oure holy-watter
This is a playne matter
It nedeth not to flatter
They be suche holy thinges
75 As hath bene vsed with kinges
And yet these lewde loselles
That bragge vpon ther Gospelles
At ceremonies swelles
And at our christined belles
80 And at your longe gownes
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And at your shauen crownes
And at your tipettes fyne
And Iauelles will repyne
They saye ye lead euil liues
85 Wyth other mens wyues
And wil none of your owne
And so your sede is sowne
In other menns grounde
True wedlocke to confound
90 Thus do they raile and Raue
Calling euery priest knaue
That loueth messe to saye
And after Idel al day
They woulde not haue you playe
95 To driue the time awaye
But brabble on the byble
Whiche is but vn_possible
To be lerned in al your life
Yet therin be they rife
100 Which maketh al this strife
And also the paraphrasies
Much differing from your porteises
They woulde haue dayly vsed
And porteise cleane refused
105 But they shalbe accused
That haue so far abused
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Their tonges against such holines
And holy churches busines
Made hundred yeres ago
110 Great clearckes affirmeth so
And other many mo
That searched to and fro
In scripture for to fynde
What they myght leaue behinde
115 For to be kept in mynde
Amonge the people blind
As waueringe as the wynde
And wrote thereof suche bokes
That whoso on them lokes
120 Shal find them to be clarkes
As proueth by their warks
And yet therebe that barke
And say they be but darcke
But harke ye loulars harke
125 So wel we shal you marcke
That if the worlde shall turne
A sort of you shall burne
Ye durst as wel I saye
Wythin this tow yeres day
130 As sone to rune a_waye
As such partes to playe
When sume dyd rule and reygne
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And auncient thinges maintayne
Which nowe be counted vaine
135 And brought into disdayne
Suche men I saye they were
As loued not thys geare
And kept you styl in feare
To burne or faggottes bere
140 Then durste ye not be b[ol]de bolde] blode 1548
(Against our lerninges olde
Or images of golde
Which nowe be bought and solde
And were the lay-mannes boke
145 Whereon they ought to loke)
One worde to speake a_misse
Can ye say nay to this?
No no ye foles I_wysse
A thinge to playne it is.
150 Then did these clarkes deuyne
Dayly them-selues encline
To proue and to define
That Christes body aboue
Whiche suffered for oure loue
155 And died for oure behoue
Is in the sacrament
Fleshe bloude and bone present
And breade and wyne a_waye
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As sone as they shall saye
160 The wordes of consecracion
In time of celebracion
So muste it be in-dede
Though it be not in the crede
And yet thes felowes newe
165 Wyl saye it is not true
Christes body for to vewe
Wyth any bodely eye
That do they playne deny
And stifely stand therby
170 And enterprise to wright
And also to endight
Bokes both great and smal
Agaynste these fathers al
And heresy it cal
175 That any man should teach
Or to the people preache
Such thinges without their reach
And some ther be that say
That Christ cannot alday
180 Be kept within a box
Nor yet set in the stokes
Nor hidden like a fox
Nor presoner vnder lockes
Nor clothed with powdred armine
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185 Nor bredeth stinking vermine
Nor dweleth in an howse
Nor eatyn of a mouse
Nor moulde or he be spent
Nor yet with fire be brent
190 Nor rotten is nor rusty This and the following three lines are added in W
Nor moth-eaten nor musty
Nor light as is a fether
Nor blown about with wether
Nor can no more be slayne
195 Nor offered vp agayne
Blessed sacrament for thy passion
Here and se our exclamacion
Agaynste thes men of new facion
That striue agaynst the holy nacion
200 And Iest of them in plays
In tauerns and hye-wayes
And theyr good actes disprayse
And martirs woulde them make
That brent were at a stake
205 And sing pipe meri annot
And play of wil-not cannot
And as for cannot and wil-not
Though they speke not of it it skil not
For a noble clarke of late
210 And worthie in estate
Hath played with them chek-mate
Theyr courage to abate
And telles them such a tale
As makes theyr bonettes vale
215 And marreth cleane the sale.
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Of all their whole pastime
And al is done in ryme
Oh, what a man is thys
That if he coulde I_wysse
220 Woulde mend that is amys
His meaninge is in-dede
That if he myght wel spede
And beare some rule againe
It shoulde be to their paine
225 I thinke they were but worthye
Because they be so sturdy
To rayle agaynste the wircke
Of our mother holy kyrke
Yet some ther be in fume
230 And prowdly do presume
Unto thys learned man
To answere and they can
And wene they had the grace
His balad to deface
235 And trowe ye that wilbe?
Nay nay beleue ye me

I take my marke amys
If once he dyd not mys
A verie narowe hys
240 Wel if you come agayne
Maye happen twelue men
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Shal doe as they dyd then
Haue you forgote the bar
That euer ther you war
245 And stode to make and mar
By god and by the contrey
You had a narowe entrey
Take hede of coram nobis
We wyl reken wyth vobis
250 If you come agayne
We wyl know who pulled the hen
For all your bolde courage
You maye paye for the potage
And are you nowe so bragge
255 You maye come to lagge
Your happe may be to wagge
Upon a wodden nagge
Or els a fayer fyer
May hap to be your hier
260 Take hede lest you tyer
And lye downe in the myer
Holde fast by the mane
By the masse it is no game
If my Lord ware not lame
265 You wyll all be tame
When you here him next
Marcke well his texte
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He hath ben curstly vext
I fere me he be wext
270 A popistant stout
Surely all the rout
That heres him shall doubt
He wylbe in and out
Prowlynge rounde about
275 To get forth the snowt
If prayer maye do good
All the whole broode
Skuruy, skabbed, and skald
Shauen, shorne, and baul[d]e baulde] baule 1548
280 Pore priestes of Baule
We praye for him all
Unto the god of breade
For if he be deade
We may go to bed
285 Blyndefild and be led
Without rag or shred
But I am sore adred
I se him loke so red
Yet I durste ley my heade
290 As docter frier saide
He hath some-what in store
Wel you shal knowe more
Herken well therefore
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Some shal paye the skore
295 He hath ben a pardoner
And also a garddener
He hath ben a vitaylar
A Lordly hospitelar
A noble teacher
300 And so-so a preacher
Though Germin his man
Were hanged what than?
Say worsse and you can
Best let him alone
305 For Peter Iames and Iohn
And Apostelles euery one
I giue you playne warninge
Had neuer no suche learnyng
As hath thys famous clarke
310 He is lerned beyond the marke beyond] be beyond 1548
And also mayster huggarde
Doth shewe him-selfe no sluggard
Nor yet no drunkin drunkarde
But sharpeth vp hys wyt
315 And frameth it so fyt
These yonkers for to hit
And wil not them permit
In errour stil to sit
As it may wel apeare
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320 By his clarkely answere
The whiche initled is
Agaynste what meaneth this
A man of olde sorte
And writeth not in sporte
325 But answereth ernestly
Concludynge heresy
And yet as I trowe
Some bluster and blo[w]e blowe] bloude 1548
And crake (as the crowe)
330 But nettes wyl wee laye
To cache them if we maye
For if I begin begin] beging 1548
I wyll bringe them in
And feche in my cosyns
335 By the whole dosens
And call them coram nobis
And teache them dominus vobis
With his et cum spiritu tuo
That holy be both-duo.
340 When they be sayed and songe
In holy latyn tonge
And solemne belles do ringe
But these babes be to yonge
Perkyng vpon theyr patins
345 And fayne would haue the mattens
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And eueninge-songe also
In Englishe to be do
With mariage and baptising
Burialles and other thyng
350 In vulgare tonge to saye and sing
And so they do it newly
In diuerse places truly
Sayinge they do but duely
Maynteinyng it in any wyse
355 So shoulde they do their seruice
Alasse who woulde not mone
Or rather grount or grone
To se suche seruice gone
Whiche saued many one
360 From dedly synne and shame
And many a spote of blame
From purgatorye-payne
And many showre of rayne
Wel yet I saye agayne
365 Some honest men remayne
And kepe there customes stil
And euer-more wyl
Wherfore in-dede my read is
To take you to your beades
370 Al men and women I saye
That vseth so to praye
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That such good priestes maie
Continue so alwaye
Or eles none other like
375 But al lieth in the dyke
And loke ye do not faynt
But pray to some good saynt
That he maye make restraint
Of all these straung facions
380 And greate abo[min]acions abominacions] abonamacions 1548
Because I maye not tary
I praye to swete Sir Harry
A man that wyl not vary
And one that is no sculker
385 But [a] knyghte of the sepulchre a] kna. 1548
That he maye stand fast
And be not ouer-cast
Or eles to be the last
Of al them that do yelde
390 In city towne or fielde
For if he stike therin
No doute he shal not blin
Tyl he come to eternitie
With al his whole fraternite
395 Amen therfore saye ye
That his partakers be
Ye get no more of me