Joe Miller's Jests



One saying that Mr. Dennis was an excellent Critick, was answered, that indeed his Writings were much to be valued; for that by his Criticism he taught Men how to write well, and by his Poetry, shew’d ’em what it was to write ill; so that the World was sure to edify by him.


One going to see a Friend who had lain a considerable Time in the Marshalsea Prison, in a starving Condition, was persuading him, rather than lie there in that miserable Case, to go to Sea; which not agreeing with his high Spirit, I thank you for your Advice, replies the Prisoner, but if I go to Sea, I’m resolv’d it shall be upon good Ground.


A Drunken Fellow carrying his Wife’s Bible to pawn for a Quartern of Gin, to an Alehouse, the Man of the House refused to take it. What a Pox, said the Fellow, will neither my Word, nor the Word of G--d pass?


A certain Justice of Peace, not far from Clerkenwell, in the first Year of King George I. when his Clerk was reading a Mittimus to him, coming to Anno Domini 1714, cry’d out, with some warmth, and why not Georgeo Domini, sure, Sir, you forget yourself strangely.


A certain Noblem---, a Cour----r, in the Beginning of the late Reign, coming out of the H---se of L---ds, accosts the Duke of B----ham, with, How does your Pot boil, my Lord, these troublesome Times? To which his Grace replied, I never go into my Kitchen, but I dare say the Scum is uppermost.


A little dastardly half-witted ‘Squire, being once surpriz’d by his Rival in his Mistress’s Chamber, of whom he was terribly afraid, desir’d for God’s Sake to be conceal’d; but there being no Closet or Bed in the Room, nor indeed any Place proper to hold him, but an India Chest the Lady put her Cloathes in, they lock’d him in there. His Man being in the same Danger with himself, said, rather than fail, he cou’d creep under the Maid’s Petticoats: Oh, you silly Dog, says his Master, that’s the commonest Place in the House.


The Lord N---th and G---y, being once at an Assembly at the Theatre-Royal in the Hay-Market, was pleased to tell Mr. H---d---gg---r, he would make him a Present of 100l. if he could produce an uglier Face in the whole Kingdom than his, the said H---d--gg---r’s, within a Year and a Day: Mr.H-d-gg-r went instantly and fetch’d a Looking-Glass, and presented it to his Lordship, saying, He did not doubt but his Lordship had Honour enough to keep his Promise.


A young Fellow praising his Mistress before a very amorous Acquaintance of his, after having run thro’ most of her Charms, he came at Length to her Majestick Gate, fine Air, and delicate slender Waist: Hold, says his Friend, go no lower, if you love me; but by your Leave, says the other, I hope to go lower if she loves me.


A Person who had an unmeasurable Stomach, coming to a Cook’s Shop to dine, said, it was not his Way to have his Meat cut, but to pay 8d. for his Ordinary; which the Cook seem’d to think reasonable enough, and so set a Shoulder of Mutton before him, of half a Crown Price, to cut where he pleas’d; with which he so play’d the Coromorant, that he devour’d all but the bones, paid his Ordinary, and troop’d off. The next Time he came, the Cook casting a Sheep’s Eye at him, desired him to agree for his Victuals, for he’d have no more Ordinaries. Why, a Pox on you, says he, I’m sure I paid you an Ordinary Price.


The extravagant Duke of Buckingham, [Villars] once said in a melancholy Humour, he was afraid he should die a Beggar, which was the most terrible Thing in the World; upon which a Friend of his Grace’s replyed, No, my Lord, there is a more terrible Thing than that, and which you have Reason to fear, and that is, that you’ll live a Beggar.

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