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Humour, Wit and Satire of the Seventeenth Century

by Various


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   Not today
Our forefathers delighted to call their country "Merrie England;" and so, in very truth, it was. All sorts of sports and pastimes, such as no other nation can show, were then in use; and even the elders, in their hours of relaxation, were wont to exchange a merry jest with one another. Perhaps some of their jokes lacked the refinement of the present age, but they denoted a keen sense of humour. Many, nay most, cannot be reproduced at the present day, and much has this book suffered therefrom; and it is for this reason that the jest-books and ballads of this century are so little known. Some few have been printed in small editions, either privately, or for dilettante societies; but they are not fit for general perusal, and the public at large know nothing of them. This is specially the case with the ballad literature of the century, which is unusually rich. The Pepys, Roxburghe, Bagford, Luttrell, and other collections, are priceless treasures; but I know no publisher who would be bold enough to reproduce them, in their entirety, for the use of the general public. By this I do not wish to cast any slur, either on the modesty, or morality, of our ancestors; but their ways were not quite as ours.

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Humour, Wit and Satire of the Seventeenth Century
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