Nashe homepageThis extract from Nashe's first hit pamphlet, 'Pierce Penilesse', comes in the middle of a passage satirising various kinds of pride. This is his description of the arrogant young gallant who, planning to get rich quick by a spot of privateering, finds life at sea more miserable than glamorous. Seasick and dirty, he exists on a disgusting diet which includes endless meals of salt cod - 'haberdine'. Evidently haberdine needed to be smothered in mustard before it was remotely palateable - a refinement sadly not available at sea.

This evidently reminds Nashe of an anecdote which sounds like it's based on a real incident: a story of a 'mad ruffian' and a prayer to god.

A yoong Heyre or Cockney, that is his Mothers Darling, if hee haue playde the waste-good at the Innes of the Court or about London, and that neither his Students pension, nor his vnthrifts credite, will serue to maintaine his Collidge of whores any longer, falles in a quarrelling humor with his fortune, because she made him not King of the Indies, and sweares and stares, after ten in the hundreth, that nere a such Pesant as his Father or brother shall keepe him vnder : he will to the sea, and teare the gold out of the Spaniards throats, but he will haue it, byrlady: And when he comes there, poore soule, hee lyes in brine, in Balist, and is lamentable sicke of the scuruies : his dainty fare is turned to a hungry feast of Dogs & Cats, or Haberdine and poore Iohn at the most, and which is lamentablest of all, that without Mustard.
      As a mad Ruffion, on a time, being in daunger of shipwrack by a tempest, and seeing all other at their vowes and praiers, that if it would please God, of his infinite goodnesse, to delyuer them out of that imminent daunger, one woulde abiure this sinne wher vnto he was adicted ; an other, make satisfaction for / that vyolence he had committed : he, in a desperate iest, began thus to reconcile his soule to heauen.
     O Lord, if it may seeme good to thee to deliuer me from this feare of vntimely death, I vowe before thy Throne and all thy starry Host, neuer to eate Haberdine more whilest I liue.
     Well, so it fell out, that the Sky cleared and the tempest ceased, and this careless wretch, that made such a mockery of praier, readie to set foot a Land, cryed out : not without Mustard, good Lord, not without Mustard : as though it had been the greatest torment in the world, to haue eaten Haberdine without Mustard.

From Pierce Penilesse his Supplication to the Diuell, (1592)

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