Joe Miller's Jests



Not many Years ago, a certain Temporal Peer, having in a most pathetick and elaborate Speech, exposed the Vices and Irregularities of the Clergy, and vindicated the Gentlemen of the Army from some Imputations unjustly laid upon them: A Prelate, irritated at the Nature, as well as the Length of the Speech, desired to know when the Noble Lord would leave off preaching. The other answer’d, The very Day he was made a Bishop.


It chanc’d that a Merchant Ship was so violently tossed in a Storm at Sea that all despairing of Safety, betook themselves to Prayer, saving one Mariner, who was ever wishing to see two Stars: Oh! said he, that I could but see two Stars, or but one of the Two, and of these Words he made so frequent Repetition, that, disturbing the Meditations of the rest, at length one asked him, what two Stars, or what one Star he meant? To whom he reply’d, O! that I could but see the Star in Cheapside, or the Star in Coleman-street, I care not which.


A Country Fellow subpoena’d for a Witness upon a Trial on an Action of Defamation, he being sworn, the Judge bad him repeat the very same Words he had heard spoken; the Fellow was loath to speak, but humm’d and haw’d for a good Space, but being urged by the Judge, he at last spoke, My Lord, said he, You are a Cuckold. The Judge seeing the People begin to laugh, called to him, and bad him speak to the Jury, there were twelve of them.


A Courtier, who was a Confident of the Amours of Henry IV. of France, obtained a Grant from the King, for the Dispatch whereof he applyed himself to the Lord High Chancellor: Who finding some Obstacle in it, the Courtier still insisted upon it, and would not allow of any Impediment. Que chacun se mêle de son Metier, said the Chancellor to him; that is, Let every one meddle with his own Business. The Courtier imagining he reflected upon him for his pimping; my Employment, said he, is such, that, if the King were twenty years younger I would not exchange it for two or three of your’s.


A Gentlewoman, who thought her Servants always cheated her, when they went to Billingsgate to buy Fish, was resolved to go thither one Day herself, and asking the Price of some Fish, which she thought too dear, she bid the Fish-Wife about half what she asked; Lord, Madam, said the Woman, I must have stole it to sell it at that Price, but you shall have it if you will tell m e what you do to make your Hands look so white; Nothing, good Woman, answered the Gentlewoman, but wear Dog-Skin Gloves: Damn you for a lying Bitch, reply’d the other, my Husband has wore Dog-Skin Breeches these ten Years, and his A---se is as brown as a Nutmeg.


Dr. Heylin, a noted Author, especially for his Cosmography, happened to lose his Way going to Oxford, in the Forest of Whichwood: Being then attended by one of his Brother’s Men, the Man earnestly entreated him to lead the Way; but the Doctor telling him he did not know it: How! said the Fellow, that’s very strange that you, who have made a Book of the whole World, cannot find the Way out of this little Wood.


Monsieur Vaugelas having obtained a Pension from the French King, by the Interest of Cardinal Richlieu, the Cardinal told him, he hoped he would not forget the Word Pension in his Dictionary. No, my Lord, said Vaugelas, nor the Word Gratitude.


A melting Sermon being preached in a Country Church, all fel a weeping but one Man, who being asked, why he did not weep with the rest? O! said he, I belong to another Parish.


A Gentlewoman growing big with Child, who had two Gallants, one of them with a wooden Leg, the Question was put, which of the two should father the Child. He who had the wooden Leg offer’d to decide it this. If the Child, said he, comes into the World with a wooden Leg, I will father it, if not, it must be your’s.


A Gentleman who had been out a shooting brought home a small Bird with him, and having an Irish Servant, he ask’d him, if he had shot that little Bird, yes, he told him; Arrah! by my Shoul, Honey, reply’d the Irish Man, it was not worth Powder and Shot, for this little Thing would have died in the Fall.

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