Joe Miller's Jests



A certain reverend Drone in the Country was complaining to another, that it was a great Fatigue to preach twice a Day. Oh! said the other, I preach twice every Sunday, and make nothing of it.


One of the foresaid Gentlemen, as was his Custom, preaching most exceedingly dull to a Congregation not used to him, many of them slunk out of the Church one after another, before the Sermon was near ended. Truly, said a Gentleman present, this learned Doctor has made a very moving Discourse.


Sir William Davenant, the Poet, had no Nose, who going along the Meuse one Day, a Beggar-Woman followed him, crying, ah! God preserve your Eye-Sight; Sir, the Lord preserve your Eye-Sight. Why, good Woman, said he, do you pray so much for my Eye-Sight? Ah! dear Sir, answered the Woman, if it should please God that you grow dim-sighed, you have no Place to hang your Spectacles on.


A Welchman bragging of his Family, said, his Father’s Effigies was set up in Westminster-Abbey, being ask’d whereabouts, he said in the same Monument with Squire Thyne’s, for he was his Coachman.


A Person was saying, not at all to the Purpose, that really Sampson was a very strong Man; Ay, said another, but you are much stronger, for you make nothing of lugging him by the Head and Shoulders.


My Lord Strangford, who stammer’d very much, was telling a certain Bishop that sat at his Table, that Balaam’s Ass spoke because he was Pri----est---- Priest-rid, Sir, said a Valet-de-Chambre, who stood behind his Chair, my Lord would say. no, Friend, reply’d the Bishop, Balaam could not speak himself, and so his Ass spoke for him.


The same noble Lord ask’d a Clergyman once, at the Bottom of his Table, why the Goose, if there was one, was always plac’d next the Parson. Really, said he, I can give no Reason for it; but your Question is so odd, that I shall never see a goose for the future without thinking of your Lordship.


A Gentleman was asking another how that poor Devil S----ge could live, now my Lord T-----l had turn’d him off. Upon his Wits said the other; That is living upon a slender Stock indeed, reply’d the First.


A Country Parson having divided his Text under two and twenty Heads, one of the Congregation went out of the Church in a great Hurry, and being met by a Friend, he ask’d him, whither was he going? Home for my Night-Cap, answered the first, For I find we are to stay here all Night.


A very modest young Gentleman, of the County of Tiperary, having attempted many Ways, in vain, to acquire the Affections of a Lady of great Fortune, at last try’d what was to be done, by the Help of Musick, and therefore entertained her with a Serenade under her Window, at Midnight, but she order’d her Servants to drive him thence by throwing Stones at him; your Musick, my Friend, said one of his Companions, is as powerful as that of Orpheus, for it draws the very Stones about you.

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