The Great Snow

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A deepe Snow: In which
Men and Cattell haue perished,
To the generall loſſe of Farmers, Graſiers, Huſ-
bandmen, and all ſorts of people in the Coun-
trie; and no leſſe hurtfull to Citizens.

Written Dialogue-wiſe, in a plaine familiar talke betweene a
London Shop-keeper, and a North-Country-man.

In which, the Reader ſhall finde many
thinges for his profit.
Woodcut illustration of citizens and animals in the snow.
Imprinted at London by W.W. for Thomas Langley
in Iuie lane where they are to be ſold. 1615.

Circular stamp (unclear)

Printers Ornament
The great Snow.

The ſpeakers :
A Cittizen, a North-Country-man.

GOD ſaue you Sir: here’s a
Letter directs me to ſuch a ſigne
as that hanging ouer your doore;
(and if I be not deceaued) this is
the Shoppe: Is not your name
Maiſter N. B?
N. B. is my name (Father:)
What is your buſineſſe?
I haue Letters to you out of the North.
From whom, I pray?
From one Maiſter G. M. of Y.
I know him very well;and if I may heare by you
that he is in health. I ſhall thinke you a bringer of good
and happie newes.
Good and happy newes doe I bring you then;
(for thankes be to God) health and hee haue not parted
this many a yeare.
Truſt me, your tidings warmes my heart, as
cold as the weather is.
Nor. A

or ſtrange Accidents

A Cup of muld Sacke (I thinke) would doe
you more good. But to put a better heate into you, I
haue from your friende and mine, brought you two
Bagges full of comfort, each of them weighing a hundred
pound of currant Engliſh money.
Money is
more com-
fortable to a
Cittizen, than
burnt Wine.
Birlady Sir, the Sacke you ſpake of, would
not goe downe halfe ſo merrily, as this newes: For Mo-
ney was neuer ſo welcome to Londoners (eſpecially
tradeſmen) as it is now.
Why? Is it as ſcanty heere, as with vs? I
thought if the Siluer age had been any where, your Cit-
tie had challenged it. Mee thinkes our Northerne Cli-
mate, ſhould onely be without Siluer Mynes, becauſe
the Sunne (the ſoueraigne breeder of rich Mettalſ) is
not ſo prodigall of his beames to vs. WhyGap in transcription. Reason: Smudging dating from the original print process.[…] haue been
told, that all the Angels of the Kingdome fly vp & downe
No ſuch mat-
Nay I haue heard, that one of our ruffling
Gallants in theſe dayes, weares more Riches on his
Backe, in Hatte, Garters, and Shooe-ſtringes, then
would maintaine a good pretty Farme in our Country,
Oh braue
and keepe a Plough-land for a whole yeare.
Wee care not how braue our Gallants goe, ſo
their names ſtand not in our Bookes: For when a Cit-
tizen croſſes a Gentleman,
I beleeue it.
hee holdes it one of the chie-
feſt Cheapeſide-bleſſings.
I vnderſtand you Sir: You care not what Cul-
lours they weare, ſo you keepe them not in Blacke and
You meaſure vs rightly : for the keeping of
ſome ſo, (that carry their heads full high) makes many
a good Shop-keeper oftentimes to hide his Head. So
that albeit you that dwell farre off, and know not what
 London meanes, thinke (as you ſay) that al the Angels of
the Kingdome, fly vp & downe heere. We, whole Wares
lie dead vpon our hands for want of quicke Cuſtomers,

in this great Snow.

ſee no ſuch matter: but if any Angels doe fly, they haue
either their Winges broken and fly not farre; or elſe are
caught like Partidges, a few in a Couie. Albeit Sir,
I haue all this while helde talke with you, yet mine eye
hath runne ouer theſe Letters, and acknowledge my ſelfe
your debtor, in reſpect an Age ſo reuerend (as your head
warrants you are) hath been the Meſſenger. But I hope
Sir, ſome greater eſpeciall buſineſſe of your owne be-
ſides, drew you to ſo troubleſome a Iorney.
Troth Sir, no extraordinarie buſineſſe: The
Countimans hands are now held aſwell in his Pocket,
as the Shopkeepers. That drew mee to London,
which drawes you Cittizens out of your Houſes; or to
ſpeake more truely, driues you rather into your Houſes.
How meane you Sir, the Weather?
The very ſame. I haue been an old Brier, and
ſtood many a Northerly Storme:
An old man
the Windes haue of-
ten blowne bitterly in my Face, Froſtes haue nipped my
Blood, Yſickles (you ſee) hang at my Beard, and a hill
of Snow couers my Head. I am the Sonne of Winter,
and ſo like the Father, that as hee does, I loue to be ſeene
in all places. I had as leife walke vp to the knees in
Snow, as to tread vpon Turkie Carpets: And there-
fore my Iorney to ſee London once more ere I die, is
as merry to mee, as if I were a Woman and went a Goſ-
ſipping; For the Earth ſhewes now,
Earth lyes in,
all in white.
as if ſhee lay inne,
(All in White.)
Belike then you haue heard ſhe hath been deliue-
red of ſome ſtrange prodigious Birthes, that you come
thus farre, to ſee her Child-bed?
I haue from my Childhood ſpent my beſt daies
in trauell, and haue ſeene the wonders of other Coun-
tries, but am moſt in loue with this of mine alone.
Where, if any be borne neuer ſo well proportiond,
within a day or two it growes to be a Monſter.

Nor. You

or ſtrange Accidents

You ſay true, and iumpe wich me in that : For
I haue but two Eares; yet theſe two Eares bring me
home a thouſand tales in leſſe then ſeuen dates: Some
I hearken to, ſome I ſhake my head at, ſome I ſmile at,
ſome I thinke true, ſome I know falſe. But becauſe
this world is like our Millers in the Countrey, knauiſh
and hard to be truſted; though mine eares be mine owne,
and good, yet I had rather giue credite to mine Eyes,
although they ſee but badly, yet I know they will not
couzeu me: theſe foure ſcore yeares they haue not; and
that is the reaſon I haue them my Guides now in this
Iourney, and ſhall be my witneſſes (when I get home
againe, and ſitte (as I hope I ſhall, turning a Crabbe
by the fire) of what wonders I haue ſeene.
In good ſadnes Father, I am proude that ſuch
a heape of yeers (lying on your back) you ſtoope no low-
er for them: I come ſhort of you by almoſt forty at the
leaſt, and mee thinks I am both more vnluſty, and (but
for head and beard) looke as aged.
Oh Sir! riotts, riotts, ſurfets ouernights, and
early potting it next morning, ſticke white haires vpon
Young-mens chinnes, when ſparing dyets holds colour:
Your cram’d Capons feed you fatte beere in London;
Surfets kill
more then
the Sword.
but our Beefe and Bacon feeds vs ſtrong in the Coun-
trey. Long ſleepes and paſt-midnightſ-watchings, dry
vp your blouds,
The Country
life and Citty
hee compared.
and wither your cheekes: Wee goe
to bedde with the Lambe, and riſe with the Larke, which
makes vs healthfull as the Spring. You are ſtill ſend-
ing to the Apothecaries, and ſtill crying out, Fetch Mai-
ſter Doctor to me:But our Apothecaries ſhoppe, is
our Garden full of Pot-hearbes; and our Docter is a
cloue of Garlicke: Beſides, you fall to Wenching, and
marry heere in London, when a Stranger may thinke
you are all Girles in Breeches, (your chinnes are ſo
ſmooth,) and like Cock-ſparrows, are treading ſo ſoone

in this great Snow.

as you creepe out of the ſhell,
Early Bridal,
make early
which makes your liues
ſhort as theirs is: But in our Countrey, wee hold it as
dangerous to venture vpon a Wife, as into a Set-bat-
taile: It was 36. eare I was preſt to that Seruice;
and am now as luſty and ſound at heart (I praiſe my
God) as my yoake of Bullockes, that are the ſeruants to
my Plough.
Yet I wonder, that hauing no more Sande in
the Glaſſe of your life, how you durſt ſet foorth, and how
you could come thus farre?
How I durſt ſet foorth? If it were 88. againe,
and all the Spaniſh Fire-workes at Sea, I would thruſt
this old battered Breaſt-plate into the thickeſt of them.
Wee haue Trees in our Towne that beare Fruite in
Winter; I am one of thoſe Winter-plummes: And
though I taſte a little ſower, yet I haue an Oake in my
Belly, and ſhall not rotte yet (I hope) for all this bluſte-
ring weather.
It were pietie you ſhould yet be felled downe,
you may ſtand (no doubt) and grow many a faire yeare.
Yes Sir, my growing muſt now be downe ward,
like an Eare of Corne when it is ripe. But I beſeech
you tell mee, Are all thoſe Newes currant, which wee
heare in the County?
What are they pray?
Marry ſir, that your goodly Riuer of Thames,
The Thames
a Nurſe to
(I call it yours, becauſe you are a Cittizen; and becauſe
it is the Nurſe that giues you Milke and Hony) Is that
(as tis reported) all frozen ouer againe, that Coaches
run vpon it?
No ſuch mattThis text has been supplied. Reason: Type not (sufficiently) inked. Evidence: The text has been supplied based on evidence internal to this text (context, etc.). (PC)er1·
When I This text has been supplied. Reason: Type not (sufficiently) inked. Evidence: The text has been supplied based on evidence internal to this text (context, etc.).Gap in transcription. Reason: Type not (sufficiently) inked.[…] it I prayed God to helpe the
Fiſhes; it would This text has been supplied. Reason: Type not (sufficiently) inked. Evidence: The text has been supplied based on evidence internal to this text (context, etc.).Gap in transcription. Reason: Type not (sufficiently) inked.[…] hard world with them, if their Houſes were taken This text has been supplied. Reason: Type not (sufficiently) inked. Evidence: The text has been supplied based on evidence internal to this text (context, etc.).Gap in transcription. Reason: Type not (sufficiently) inked.[…] their heads Nay Sir, I heard it conſtantly affirmed that all the Youth of the Cittie,

Of ſtrange Accidents

did muſter vpon it in battaile Array, one halfe againſt the
other: And by my troth, I would haue ambled on my
bare ten-Toes a brace of hundred Miles, to haue ſeene
ſuch a triumph.
In ſadneſſe (I thinke) ſo would thouſands be-
ſides your ſelfe: But neither hath the Riuer been this
yeare (for all the vehement cold) ſo hard-hearted, as to
haue ſuch a glaſſy cruſted floare; neither haue our Youth
been vp in Armes in ſo dangerous a Fielde: Yet true it
is, that the Thameſ began to play a few cold Chriſtmas
Gambols; and that very Children (in good Array) great
turd Souldiers
and with War-like furniture of Drummes,
Cullours, Pikes, and Gunnes, (fit to their handling)
haue ſundry times mette Armie againſt Armie, in-moſt
of the Fieldes about the Cittie; to the great reioycing of
their Parents, and numbers of beholders.
In good ſooth I am ſory, I was not one of thoſe
ſtanders by: I haue been brought vp as a Scholler my
ſelfe; and when I was young, our Warres were wrang-
ling diſputations: but now it ſeemes, that Learning ſur-
fets, hauing too many Schollers; And that wee ſhall
need Souldiers, when ſuch young Cockrels addreſſe to
a Battaile: It ſhewes like the Epitome of Warre; and
it is a wonder for men to read it. Our Painters in for-
mer Ages haue not drawne ſuch Pictures. But you cut
mee off from what I was about elſe to know.
What is that, Father?
A Bird came flying into the North, and chatte-
red, that Snowfell in ſuch abundance within and round
about the Cittie of London that none without could
enter; nor any within paſſe This text has been supplied. Reason: Type not (sufficiently) inked. Evidence: The text has been supplied based on evidence internal to this text (context, etc.).Gap in transcription. Reason: Type not (sufficiently) inked.[…]oThis text has been supplied. Reason: Type not (sufficiently) inked. Evidence: The text has been supplied based on evidence internal to this text (context, etc.).Gap in transcription. Reason: Type not (sufficiently) inked.[…]
Fables, Fables A This text has been supplied. Reason: Type not (sufficiently) inked. Evidence: The text has been supplied based on evidence internal to this text (context, etc.).Gap in transcription. Reason: Type not (sufficiently) inked.[…] may by the ſhadow,
haue ſome gueſſe how great the ſubſtance is: Your owne
eye (vpon This text has been supplied. Reason: Type not (sufficiently) inked. Evidence: The text has been supplied based on evidence internal to this text (context, etc.).Gap in transcription. Reason: Type not (sufficiently) inked.[…] now being in London) can witneſſe that
your Northern ſong went to a wrong tune.
Nor. And

in this great Snow

And yet by your fauour, I thinke you haue not
ſeene your Cittie ſo whited this fourtie yeares.
Indeede our Chronicles ſpeake of one deepe
Snow onely,
The great
Snow 36.
 yeare agoe.
memorable to our time; and that was a-
bout 34. or 36. yeares agoe.
Nay, not ſo much, but of your white Beares,
Bulles, Lions, etc. we had the deſcription as fully, as if
with Snow-bals in our hands, your Prentiſes and wee
ſilly Country clownes had been at their bayting. I re-
member when I traueld into Ruſsia, I haue there ſeene
white Beares, and white Foxes: But ſome credulous
fooles would needes ſweare vs downe, that your Cittie
was full of ſuch Monſters; and that they ran aliue in the
Strees, and deuowred people: But I ſee your Gyants,
and tirrable heardes of Beaſtes, haue done your Cittie
good ſeruice; for in ſtead of Graſſe, they haue had cold
Prouander, and helped to rid away the greater part of
your Snow.
They haue indeede: And yet albeit an Arme
from Heauen hath for ſeuerall yeares one after another,
ſhaken Whips ouer our Land, ſometimes ſcourging vs
with ſtrange Inundations of Flouds; then with merci-
leſſe Fires,
Diuers war-
nings, but no
deſtroying whole Townes: then with into-l
lerable and killing Froſtes, nipping the Fruites of the
earth: alſo for a long ſeaſon, with ſcarcitie of Uictuals,
or in therein great plentie, exceedingly ſold deare: And
now laſt of all, with deepe and moſt dangerous Snowes.
Yet (as all the former laſhes, the prints being worne out,
are forgotten; ſo of this, wee make but a May-game,
faſhioning ridiculous Monſters of that,
God ſtrikes, &
we laugh as if
he did but ieſt.
which God in
vengeance poures on our heades; when in doing ſo,
wee mocke our owne ſelues, that are more monſtrous
and vgly in all the ſhapes of ſinne.
You melt (Sir) out of a heape of Snow,
A good diſThis text has been supplied. Reason: The ink has faded, obscuring the text. Evidence: The text has been supplied based on evidence internal to this text (context, etc.). (PC)ti2l-
profitable and holſome inſtructions.
Cit. To

Of ſtrange Accidents

To increaſe which, I pray good Father, tell me
what of your ſelfe you know, or haue heard from others
touching the effects of this wenderfull Snow, in thoſe
Countries Northward, through which you haue tra-
My Countrie affaires (ſometimes vſing Gra-
ſing, ſometimes following other profitable courſes, as
the ſeaſons and aduantages of times lead me) haue made
me or my Seruants, continuall traders and trauellers
into all the North parts of England: And vpon mine
owne knowledge I can aſſure you, that at other times,
when Winter hath but ſhewen his ordinarie tyrannie,
the Countries of Cumberland, Northumberland, York-
ſhire, Lancaſhire, and all thoſe adioyning, haue been ſo
hid in Snow, that a man would haue thought, there was
no more poſſibly to be found in the world.
So then you muſt conclude, that the heapes of
Snow in thoſe former times, being this yeare doubled
and trebled, the miſerie that falles with it, muſt by conſe-
quence, be multiplyed.
Snowes in
other parts of
Multiplyed! I haue met with ſome that haue
come from the Peake in Darbyſhire, others (ſince my
comming to Towne) that haue been in Nottingham,
Cambridge-ſhire, and the Ile of Ely; who verily beleeue
(vpon the daily cryes of poore people, not onely there,
but in many other Countries beſideſ) that neuer any
Calamitie did happen to them ſo full of terrour, and ſo
ſodainely to vndoe them, their Wiues and Children, as this Snow.
It is lamentable.
Mine Eyes are witneſſes (bad though they be)
that ſome Countries which ſtand high, ſhew for all the
world, like the Alpyne Hilles parting France and Italie:
 (I thanke God, in younger dayes I haue trauelled that
way, and therefore know what I ſpeake) for the heads of

in this great Snow.

thoſe Hilles are couerd with theſe white Winter-lockes
in the hotteſt dayes of Sommer. And it is to be feared,
that in ſome of our farre Countries, Sommer will haue
made his progreſſe a good way into our Land, before the
Earth will diſgeſt theſe cold Pellets off from her ſto-
It is to be feared indeed: the more is the pitty.
Why I will tell you Sir, if you ſaw ſome pla-
ces by which I haue paſſed but within theſe three weeks,
you would verily thinke,
come from
beyond Sea.
that Freezland were come ouer
Sea, ſwimming on a cake of Ice, and that it was lodged
in England. Nay you would, if you dwelt as coldly and
miſerably, as ſome poore people of our owne Nation
doe, you would almoſt ſweare, that thoſe partes of Eng-
land lay vnder the Frozen Zone, and ſcarce remember
there were a Sunne in Heauen, ſo ſeldome doe his fyres
caſt any heate vpon them.
But I pray Sir. What are the greateſt hurtes
and miſeries, that people with you (ſo farre from vs) com-
plaine of? And what kind of world is it with you in the Countrie?
The world with vs of the Country runns vpon
the old retten wheeles;
The world
no change-
for all the Northern Cloth that
is wouen in our Country, will ſcarce make a Gowne to
keepe Charitie warme, ſhee goes ſo a-cold: Thoſe that
are Rich, had neuer more Money; and Couetouſneſſe had
neuer leſſe pittie. There was neuer in any Age, more
Money ſtirring,
MoneyThis text has been supplied. Reason: The ink has faded, obscuring the text. Evidence: The text has been supplied based on evidence internal to this text (context, etc.). (PC)keepes3
 This text has been supplied. Reason: The ink has faded, obscuring the text. Evidence: The text has been supplied based on evidence internal to this text (context, etc.). (PC)her4 bed and
is not ſtirring.
(if Curmundgions would let it come
foorth,) nor euer in any Age more ſtirre to get Money.
Farmers now are ſlaues to racking prodigall Land-
lords; and thoſe Landlords are more ſeruile ſlaues to
their owne Riots and Luxurie. But theſe are the com-
mon Diſeaſes of euery Kingdome,
Old diſeaſes
hardly cured
and therfore but com-
mon newes. But your deſire Sir, is to know how wee
ſpend the dayes of our froſty and ſnowy-lock’d Age in the

Of ſtrange Accidents

That I would heare indeed, Father.
Beleeue me Sir, as wickedly (you muſt thinke)
as you can heere in the Cittie: It goes as hard with vs,
as it does with you,
The poore
mans miſery.
if not harder. The ſame cold hand
of Winter is thruſt into our boſomes, the ſame ſharpe
and bitter Ayre ſtrikes woundes into our bodyes: the
ſame Snowy flakes and flockes of Heauen fall on our
Heades, and couer our Houſes: the ſame Sunne ſhines
vpon vs, but the ſame Sunne ſcarce heates vs ſo much
as it does you. The poore Plough-mans children ſit
crying and blowing their Nayles as lamentably,
His wife and
as the
Children & Seruants of your poore Artificers: Hunger
pincheth their Cheekes as deepe into the Fleſh, as it
doth into yours heere. You cry out, you are vndone by
the extreame prices of Foode and Fuell; and wee com-
plaine wee are ready to die for want both of Uictualles
and Wood. All your care is to prouide for your Wiues,
Children, and Seruants, in this time of ſadneſſe: but
Wee goe beyonde you in cares;
The country-
mans care, a-
boue the Cit-
not onely our Wiues,
our Children, and houſehold Seruants, are vnto vs a
cauſe of ſorrow, but wee grieue aſmuch to beholde the
miſerie of our poore Cattell (in this frozen-hearted ſea-
ſon) as it doth to looke vpon our owne Affliction.
Our Beaſtes are our faythfull Seruants, and doe their
labours truely when wee ſet them to it: they are our
Nurſes that giue vs Milke;
they are our Guides in
our Jornies; they are our Partners, and helpe to inrich
our State: yea, they are the very Upholders of a poore
Farmers Lands and Liuings.
Alas then! what Maiſter (that loues his Seruant
as hee ought) but would almoſt breake his owne heart-
ſtringes with ſighing, to ſee thoſe pine and mourne, as
they doe. Nay,
to ſee Flockes of Sheepe luſtie and
liuely to day, and to morrow, lying in heapes ſtrangled

in this great Snow.

in the Snow.
The Ground is bare, and not worth a poore handfull
of Graſſe. The Earth ſeemes barren, and beares no-
thing; or if ſhee doth, moſt vnnaturally ſhee killes it
preſently, or ſuffers it (through cold) to periſh. By
which meanes, the luſtie Horſe abates his fleſh,
LambeThis text has been supplied. Reason: The ink has faded, obscuring the text. Evidence: The text has been supplied based on evidence internal to this text (context, etc.). (PC)s5
hanges the head, feeling his ſtrength goe from him: the
Oxe ſtandes bellowing, the ragged Sheepe bleating,
the poore Lambe ſhiuering and ſtaruing to death.
The poore Cottager that hath but a Cow to liue vpon,
muſt feed vpon hungry meales (God knoweſ) when the
Beaſt her ſelfe hath but a bare Commons; nay, in
ſearching to fill her belly with thoſe hungry Meales, is
perhaps on a ſodaine, drowned in a ditch.
Hee that is not able to bid all his Cattell home, and to
feaſt them with Fodder out of his Barnes, ſhall ſcarce
haue Cattell at the end of Sommer to fetch in his Har-
ueſt: which charge of feeding ſo many Mouthes, is able
to eate a Country-mans eſtate, it by prouidence hee can-
not preuent ſuch ſtormes. Adde vnto theſe Miſchiefes,
theſe following Miſeries,
Hay ſold at
that Hay (to feed Cattell) is
not onely exceſſiue deare, but ſo ſcant, that none almoſt is
to be had: the like of Straw, which is rayſed to an ex-
ceeding price: Then the ſpoyling of whole Warrens,
the rotting of our Paſtures and Meddowes: And laſt of
all, the vndooing of poore Carriers, they being not able,
(by reaſon of deepe Waters,
deepe Snowes, and dange-
rous Wayeſ) either to tranſport commodities and bene-
fites from vs to your Cittie, or from your Cittie to vs.
And thus haue I to fatisfie your deſire, giuen you in a
few wordes a deſcription of an ample, and our lamenta-
ble countrie Miſerie, happening vnto vs, by reaſon of this
cold and vncomfortable Weather.
The Story you haue told (albeit, it yet makes

Of ſtrange Accidents

my heart bleed, to thinke vpon the calamity of my poore
Countreymen;) was vttered with ſo graue a iudgement,
and in a time ſo well befitting your age, that I kept
mine eares open, and my lippes lockt vppe, for I was
loath to interupt you till all was told. But I pray Sir,
beſides this generall hurtes (of which, the whole King-
dome hath a ſmarting ſhare,) what particuler accidents
can you report, worthy to be remembred for the ſtrange-
neſſe of them?
There is no miſcheefe borne alone (you know:)
Calamities commonly are (by birth) Twinnes; I will
therefore (like one of your London Traders,) giue ouer
ſelling theſe ſadde and bad Commodities in groſſe and
whole-ſaile, and fall to put them away by retaile.
As I haue been your Cuſtomer for the one, ſo I
will pay you ready thankes (as my beſt payment) for
the other.
I wiſh no better; neyther doe I promiſe to put
theſe Wares into your hands for the beſt that are, but in
ſuch ſort as they came to me; ſo I hope you will receiue
Becauſe then you are a Cittizen your ſelfe, I
will tell you what was truely reported to mee of a miſ-
chaunce happening to a couple of Londonerſ now ſince
I hearken to you Sir.
A Tale of two
ryding into
the North.
They two hauing great occaſion to ride into the
 North, it fortuned that in paſſing ouer a great Heath or
Commons, on either ſide of which, were Woods; and
beeing not aboue two Miles (to their thinking) from the
next towne; yet night approching, and the Snow (which
then coldly and thickly fell) being by the winde ſo ſharp-
ly driuen, and beating in their faces, that they could not
looke vp to obſerue the way; they were thereby forced to

in this great Snow.

muffle themſelues in their Cloakes ouer head and cares,
and to truſt to the poore Beaſtes vnder them, to guide
them to the Towne, which they knew was not farre off.
So ſir.
But their Horſes, hauing libertie of Reynes
giuen them, ſought to receiue as little of the bluſtering
Stormes as their Maiſters did, and turning their heads
as much as they could out of it, left the beaten Path (all
hidden in Snow,) and forſaking the direct way to the
Towne, had gotten on a ſuddaine into one of the Woods
as leaſt foure or fiue Miles: By which time, the two
 Londonerſ wondring they were not yet at the Towne;
and being halfe dead with cold, looked vp, & found them-
ſelues not onely out of their way, but that the Sky was
ſo darke, that they had no hope to come into the right
way againe: Trees they ſaw on euery ſide, and thicke
Groues, but not ſo much as the glimpſe of a Candle a
farre off in any houſe, (which is as a Loadſtarre to a diſ-
comforted Traueller in the night,) no neither (for all
their liſtning) could they heare the voyce either of Man
or Beaſt, to aſſure them that people were not farre off
from them.
Moſt lamentable.
To ſtay there ſtill was dangerous; to goe for-
ward (they knew not whither) more dangerous: of two
euils, they made choyce of the leaſt; and that was, to truſt
to the merry of Almighty God,
GoodGap in transcription. Reason: The ink has faded, obscuring the text.[…]
 and a bad
to preſerue them in that
place till morning. Their Horſes they tyed vp, to a cold
Maunger, and to worſe Prouander: their Maiſters had
as bad an Inne, as the Seruants: Meate had they none,
Fire had they none, no Bedde but the Earth, no Light
but the Starres of Heauen.
You make Water euen ſtand in mine Eyes at
the report.
In this dolefull eſtate chearing vp one another
Of ſtrange Accidents

the beſt that they could; and walking vp and downe to
keepe their numbed bodyes in heate, behold, one of the
two, what with cold, and what with conceite of ſo vnfor-
tunate an accident, fell ſodainely ſicke. What comfort
was neere him? none, but his friend, that ſtood at the
ſame doore of mercie with him.
Alacke, alacke.
That dangerous cold Feauer more and more
ſhaking him;
One of them
the laſt fitte that held him, ended both his
ſickneſſe, and his life.
Dyed hee there?
There, in the Armes of his Friend, and his
mother (the Earth) hee dyed.
What a terrour was this to his deſſolate Com-
How could it be otherwiſe? Yet God ſuffe-
ring one to liue, leaſt the Fowles of the Ayre, ſhould haue
deuowred both, and ſo their deaths not haue bin knowne.
Hee, ſo ſoone as euer any light from heauen ſhewen-
foorth, tooke his way and leaue of his dead Friend, to
finde out ſome Towne; and did ſo: where, to ſome of
the dwellers relating the ſadde ſtorie of himſelfe and
Friend, pittie (as it could not otherwiſe chooſe) ſo ſtirred
in their boſomes, that along they went with him to the
dolefull place and ſpectacle; which taking vp, and ha-
uing beſtowed due rites of Buriall vpon it; the other
Friend, ouer grieuing at the loſſe of his Companion,
and at ſo rare and vnheard-of a Calamitie, fell likewiſe
extreamely ſicke in the ſame Towne: And whether he
did recouer or not, I haue not heard.
I haue not heard of a Newes that ſo deepely hath ſtrucke ſorrow into mee.
I beleeue you: Let blacke Cloudes fly togea-
ther; heere be more of the ſame ſadde coloure, which I
report not for certaine truthes, but as flying Newes;

Of ſtrange Accidents7

and theſe they are. I heard, that a company of Horſe-men
riding togeather,
Other ſtranThis text has been supplied. Reason: The text is not clear for some reason not covered by other values of @reason. Evidence: The text has been supplied based on evidence internal to this text (context, etc.). (PC)ge8
ſpyed another Horſeman ryding ſingly
by himſelfe, ſome quarter of a Mile before them in plaine
view, and on a ſodaine was vaniſhed cleane out of ſight;
at which they all much wondring, conſidering the plane-
neſſe of the way; and miſdoubting the worſt, noted the
place (ſo neere as they could) where they loſt a ſight of
him: And putting Spurres to their Horſe, came, and
found both Man and Horſe into a Pitte of Snow,
ſtrugling and ſtriuing for life. Whereupon, leaping
from their Horſes, with much adoe they ſaued both Horſe
and Man, and drew them foorth. In labouring to doe
which, not farre from him, lay three or foure men more,
and their Horſes vnder them, buried in the ſame Pitte of
To ſecond this report of youres: A Cuſtomer
of mine, no longer agone then yeſterday, told mee heere
in my Shoppe, that vpon New-market Heath in Cam-
bridge ſhire, three men in ſeuerall places, were found
dead in the ſame manner.
Not vnlikly. And in many other Countries,
many more, both Men, Women, and Children, haue pe-
riſhed, that neuer will come within reach of our know-
It is to be feared.
Amongſt ſo much ſowre meate, I ſhould do you
wrong, if I did not ſet one pleaſing Diſh before you; I
will therefore tell you a merry Tale of a Collier, that
happened ſince this great Snow.
I ſhall be glad to heare it.
I call it merry, in reſpect of the ſodaine acci-
dent attending on it, albeit it fell out ſadly enough for the
poore Collier: And thus it was.
Come on Sir.
In my approching neere London, I ouertooke

Of ſtrange Accidents

a Collier,
A Tale of a
and his Teame loaden, walking as ſtately as
if they ſcornd to carry Coales; for their pace was iuſt
like that of Malt-mens Horſes when they march to
 London with full Sackes on their backes. I aſked ho-
neſt Grimme, Why hee made no more haſte, to put heate
into his Horſes and him ſelfe, ſeeing the Weather ſo
cold? Not ſo (cryed hee) no more haſte then good; Soft
Fire makes ſweete Malt: Let mee trotte to day, that I
may amble more eaſily to morrow. If I ſhould put my
Horſes into a chafe, they may hap put me into ſuch a cold
ſweate, as the laſt day a Brother of mine (a Coale-carrier
too) fell into, which ſtrucke him ſo to the heart, that fiue
loade of Coales cannot yet warme him.
Belike then, hee tooke an extraordinary cold.
You ſhall heare. I prayde my black-facde
Gentleman to tell the Newes out: And ſo (his whiſſle
lying ſtill) he reported, That a Collier going to Lon-
don with a load of Coales, hee himſelfe ryding by, on a
little ſorrie Nagge, it fortuned that a Gentleman diſchar-
ging his Birding-peece at Fowle, ſome of the ſmall
Shott flying through a Hedge, happened to tickle my
fellow Colliers Nagge:
The Colliers
Horſe will
ſtand on no
which hotte ſhowre put more
courage into him, then euer the Whip was able to giue
him, inſomuch that he ran away with the Collier as faſt,
as if hee had been ryding to Hell, to ſerue their Fornaces
there with Fyring: the whole Teame ſpying their Mai-
ſter in his vn-vſuall poſt-gallop, and frighted with the
noyſe of the Peece, left the High-way (their ordinarie
beaten path,) and as if the Diuell had daunc’d in one of
the Sackes,
The blacke
after the Collier they ran, who cryed, Hey,
and Hoe, and Ree, and Gee; but none of his carterly
Rethoricke was able to ſtay them, vntill Cart & Coales
were ouerthrowne, and with the fall, the Axletree broken.
By which time, albeit the Colliers Nagge were halfe
come to his wittes, yet the Collier himſelfe began to be

in this great Snow.

ſtarke mad.
By my fayth hee had reaſon.
And in that furie (quoth the other Collier) hee
fell a curſing of Gunnes,
The Collier
tickle-it for
bade a Pox of all Powder;
cryed out, It was a ſhame, that poore harmeleſſe Birds
could not be ſuffered in ſuch pittifull cold weather, to
ſaue them-ſelues vnder a Buſh, when euery lowſie
Beggar had the ſame libertie, but that euery paltrie
Peter-gunner, muſt fart Fire and Brimſtone at them.
Hinc illae
the wofull ſpectacle of his Great Coale, turude
and grinded into Small, by the iogging and ioulting:
And his Horſes beeing in ſuch a durtie pickle, made him
giue ouer curſing: So that taking his Teame out of
the Cart, and tying the Fore-horſe to a Hedge, backe
gallops my fellow Gooſe-ſtealer, to the next Towne
for a new Axeltree. In whoſe vnhappie blacke ab-
ſence, the former Bird-killer making another ſhoote,
the whole Teame (now madder then before, as beeing
not vſed to ſuch Muſicke, brake from the Hedge; and
beeing out of their Croydon Caronto,
Madd horſe
vp Hill, and
downe Dale, they flye, as if Wild-fire had been tyed
to their tayles; vntill at laſt, happening into a narrow
Lane, deepely filled vp with Snow, on they ruſhe:
the firſt (like ill Companie on a Shroue-tueſday) draw-
ing on the ſecond, and ſo hee the third; and then not bee-
ing able to turne backe, but ſtrugling and beating way
in that cold paſſing, where none was to be had: In the
ende beeing tyred with ſtriuing, downe the poore
Beaſtes fell, and there were ſtyffled in the Snow.
Thus was the Colliers Tale to mee; but what the la-
mentations of the other Collier were at his comming
backe, I thinke you may gueſſe.
Such, that I warrant you, he wept more warme
water, then euer he had at any countrie Barbers to waſh
his ſmutty Face on a Satterday night.
Nor. You

Of ſtrange Accidents

You haue heard of ſome miſfortunes, lately
happening vnto certaine Graſierſ?
No indeede, Sir.
A Tale of
Then take it for truth and on my credite, that a
good company of them comming vp togeather to Lon-
don, with great ſtore both of Sheepe and Bullocks,
they loſt, by reaſon of the Snowes and deepe Wayes, ſo
many of either (eſpecially of Sheepe) that periſhed in
great numbers, euen on the way, and before their faces,
that if they had been ſold to their value, it had been a ſuf-
ficient eſtate to haue maintainde a very good man, and
haue kept him rich all his life time.
I beleeue you Sir: But I pray Sir, What is
your opinion of this ſtrange Winter? Giue mee your
iudgement I beſeeth you, of theſe Froſtes and Snowes;
and what (in the ſchoole of your Experience) you haue
An old Man
is a new Al-
or can remember, may be the effects, which they
may produce, or which of conſequence are likely now to
I ſhall doe my beſt to ſatiſfie you. When theſe
great Hilles of Snow, and theſe great Mountaines of
Yee be digged downe,
What is likely
to happen vp-
on this great
and be made leuell with the Wa-
ters; when theſe hard Rockes ſhall melt into Riuers,
and theſe white Fethers of Heauen ſticke vpon the
backes of Floodes; and that ſodaine Thawes ſhall ſhew,
that the Anger of theſe Winter ſtormes are mollified:
then it is to be feared, that the ſwift, violent, and vnreſiſt-
able Land-currents (or rather Torrents) will beare
downe Bridges, beate downe Buildings, ouer-flow our
Corne-fields, ouer-run the Paſtures, drowne our Cat-
tell, and endanger the liues both of Man and Beaſt,
traualing on their way; And, vnleſſe Gods hand of Plen-
tie be held open, a Dearth, to ſtrike the Land in the fol-
lowing Sommer.
You ſay right. This Prognoſtication which

in this great Snow.

your Iudgement thus lookes into, did alwayes fall out
to be true.
Theſe extraordinarie Feauers (ſhaking a whole
Kingdome) haue alwayes other mortall Diſeaſes way-
ting vpon them.
Wee are beſt to feare it; and by fearing, prouide
againſt them.
I pray God (at whoſe commaund, the Sunne
ſendes foorth his heate, and the Windes bitter Stormes
to deface the fruites of it,) that in this laſt Affliction ſent
downe in Flakes from the angry Element, all other
Miſeries may be hidden, ſwallowed, and confounded.
I gladly, and from my heart, play the Clarke,
crying, Amen.
But I pray Sir, now you haue melted a great
part of our North-country Snow out of mee, How hath
your Cittie heere (with all their Caſtles, and S. George
 a horſebacke to helpe it,) borne off the ſtorme?
Mary, I will tell you how, ſir: Iuſt as our
 London Fencers often times doe in their Challenges:
Shee has taken it full vpon the Head.
Mee thinkes, and I ſee it with mine eyes, it can-
not hurt you much; for your Strees are fuller of people
then euer they were.
True ſir: but full Streetes, make Shoppes
emptie: It’s a ſigne that Tradeſmen and Handy-crafts,
haue either little to doe, or elſe can doe little, by reaſon of
the Weather,
The hurt the
Cittie takes
by this Snow.
when they throw by their Tooles, fall & to
flinging of Snow-bals. I aſſure you Father, the tyranny
of this Seaſon, killes all trading (vnleſſe in villanie,
which ſhrinks for no Weather,) ſo that all commerce lies
dead. Beſides, it leſſens our Markets for prouiſion, ſo
that all ſort of Food was neuer more deare: It eates vp
Firing, and almoſt ſtarues the Poore, who are not able
to buy Coale or Wood, the rates vpon euery Froſtie

Of ſtrange Accidents

Morning, being lifted vp and rayſed at the pleaſure of
euery paultry Chandler. Men of Occupations, for the
moſt part lie ſtill; as Carpenders, Bricklayers, Play-
ſterers, and ſuch like: not one of theſe, nor of many other,
turnes Alchimiſt, for (vnleſſe they bee Shooe-makers)
none can extract or melt a penny of Siluer out of all theſe
heapes of Snow.
You now haue giuen mee a large ſatiſfaction.
Nay, if you ſhould walke but alongſt one ſtreete
onely in London; and that iſ Thames ſtreete, and to ſee
their Cellers & Ware-houſes full of rich Merchandize
The dwellers
in Thames
and vtterly ſpoyld, you would both wonder at
the loſſe, which cannot be ſet downe; and lament it, albeit
you know it to be none of your owne.
I doe already (by your report, to which I giue
much credite) lament it in others, as if it were mine one
I loue not theſe Tragicall paſſions, I ſuffer for them
vpon the reporting. But putting them by, I pray Sir,
ſeeing I haue vnladen my ſelfe to you here in your ſhop,
ſend not you mee home like a Colliers Horſe, onely with
an empty Sacke on my backe: let mee haue ſome good
Newes to carry with mee.
The beſt, & moſt noble, that I haue at this time,
to beſtow vpon you, is to requeſt you to ſtep into Smith-
, where you ſhall ſee by the carefull prouidence,
The pauing of
and induſtrie, of our Honorable Senators (the Fathers
of our Cittie) much Money buried vnder that durtie
Fielde, by the hyring of hundreds of Labourers to reduce
it (as it is reported) to the faireſt and moſt famous Mar-
ket-place, that is in the whole Kingdome.
made a Market
A Market-place! now trust mee, it ſtandes fit
for ſo noble a purpoſe, and will be a memorable Monu-
ment to after Ages, of the royaltie, diligence, wiſedome,
and brauerie, of this. But where ſhall your Cheapſide
be then kept, this muſt either hinder that, or

in this great Snow.

that thiſ?
Cheapſide ſhall by this meanes, haue her
Streetes freed from that trouble, by ſending it hither, if
(as it is reported) it proue a Market place.
It will adde that beautie to that ſpacious place,
which in former times hath by Horſes and Pamers, and
Butter-wiues, been taken from it: Nay, the very Street
it ſelfe, by this meanes, will ſhew like a large new Ex-
change, or Rialta; ſuch a commerce of Gentlemen and
Cittizens will be ſeene there dayly by walking vpon it:
I thanke you for this Newes; this goes with mee into
the North: And when I heare that the worke is finiſhed,
Ile take off one ten yeares of mine, becauſe Ile come vp
luſtily to London once againe, to ſee ſuch an honour to
your Cittie.
And when you doe, you ſhall finde (as Report
already giues it out) beſides the Market, two goodly
Receiptes for Water, fairely vuilt, to adde vnto it the
greater glory and beautie.
Your Cittie is full of honourable deedes; and
euer may it be ſo. I haue troubled you long: your Mony
will I bring to you to Morrow morning; in the meane
time, becauſe (as durty your Streets are) I muſt trot
vp and downe, to diſpatch many buſineſſes. I will for
this time, take my leaue of you; and the rather, for that
(you ſee) it hath now left ſnowing.
Sir, you are moſt heartily wel-come.


  1. Gap in inking. Missing letters obvious from context. (PC)
  2. Faded ink. Missing letters obvious from context. (PC)
  3. Faded ink; missing letters obvious from context. (PC)
  4. Faded ink; missing letters obvious from context. (PC)
  5. Faded ink; missing letter obvious from context. (PC)
  6. EEBO has a duplicate scan of B3 and B4, likely to produce a cleaner legible image. Additional duplicate pages are not likely in the original. (PC)
  7. Printing error. Heading should read in this great Snow. (PC)
  8. Inking error. Missing letters obvious from context. (PC)

Cite this page

MLA citation

Dekker, Thomas. The Great Snow. The Map of Early Modern London, edited by Janelle Jenstad, U of Victoria, 26 Jun. 2020,

Chicago citation

Dekker, Thomas. The Great Snow. The Map of Early Modern London. Ed. Janelle Jenstad. Victoria: University of Victoria. Accessed June 26, 2020.

APA citation

Dekker, T. 2020. The Great Snow. In J. Jenstad (Ed), The Map of Early Modern London. Victoria: University of Victoria. Retrieved from

RIS file (for RefMan, EndNote etc.)

Provider: University of Victoria
Database: The Map of Early Modern London
Content: text/plain; charset="utf-8"

A1  - Dekker, Thomas
ED  - Jenstad, Janelle
T1  - The Great Snow
T2  - The Map of Early Modern London
PY  - 2020
DA  - 2020/06/26
CY  - Victoria
PB  - University of Victoria
LA  - English
UR  -
UR  -
ER  - 


RT Web Page
SR Electronic(1)
A1 Dekker, Thomas
A6 Jenstad, Janelle
T1 The Great Snow
T2 The Map of Early Modern London
WP 2020
FD 2020/06/26
RD 2020/06/26
PP Victoria
PB University of Victoria
LA English
OL English

TEI citation

<bibl type="mla"><author><name ref="#DEKK1"><surname>Dekker</surname>, <forename>Thomas</forename></name></author>. <title level="a">The Great Snow</title>. <title level="m">The Map of Early Modern London</title>, edited by <editor><name ref="#JENS1"><forename>Janelle</forename> <surname>Jenstad</surname></name></editor>, <publisher>U of Victoria</publisher>, <date when="2020-06-26">26 Jun. 2020</date>, <ref target=""></ref>.</bibl>





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