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A Groatsworth of Wit Bought with a Million of Repentance

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GREENE'S GROAT'S-WORTH of Wit, 

bought with a million of Repentance. 

Describing the folly of youth, the falsehood of make-shift 

flatterers, the misery of the negligent, and mischiefs of 

deceiving Courtesans. 

Written before his death and published at his dying request. 

Fœlicem fuisse infaustum.

LONDON 

Imprinted for William Wright.  

1592.

The printer to the gentle readers. 

I Have published here Gentlemen for your mirth and benefit 

Greene's groat's worth of wit. With sundry of his pleasant 

discourses, ye have been before delighted: But now hath death 

given a period to his pen: only this happened into my hands which 

I have published for your pleasures: Accept it favourably because 

it was his last birth and not least worth: In my poor opinion. But 

I will cease to praise that which is above my conceit, and leave 

itself to speak for itself: and so abide your learned censuring. 

Yours W. W.

To the Gentlemen Readers. 

Gentlemen. The Swan sings melodiously before death, that in 

all his life useth but a jarring sound. Greene though able enough 

to write, yet deeplier searched with sickness than ever 

heretofore, sends you his Swan like song, for that he fears he 

shall never again carol to you wonted love lays, never again 

discover to you youths pleasures. How ever yet sickness, riot, 

incontinence, have at once shown their extremity, yet if I 

recover, you shall all see, more fresh sprigs, then ever sprang 

from me, directing you how to live, yet not dissuading ye from 

love. This is the last I have writ, and I fear me the last I shall 

write. And how ever I have been censured for some of my former 

books, yet Gentlemen I protest, they were as I had special 

information. But passing them, I commend this to your favourable 

censures, and like an Embryo without shape, I fear me will be 

thrust into the world. If I live to end it, it shall be otherwise: 

if not, yet will I commend it to your courtesies, that you may as 

well be acquainted with my repentant death, as you have lamented 

my careless course of life. But as Nemo ante obitum felix, so Acta 

Exitus probat: Beseeching therefore to be deemed hereof as I 

deserve, I leave the work to your likings, and leave you to your 

delights.

GREENE'S GROAT'S-WORTH OF WIT. 

IN an Island bounded with the Ocean there was sometime a City 

situated, made riche by Merchandise, and populous by long peace: 

the name is not mentioned in the Antiquary, or else worn out by 

time's Antiquity, what it was greatly skills not: but therein thus 

it happened. An old new-made Gentleman herein dwelt, of no small 

credit, exceeding wealth, and large conscience: he had gathered 

from many to bestow upon one, for though he had two sons he 

esteemed but one, that being as himself, brought up to be gold's 

bondman, was therefore held heir apparent of his ill gathered 

goods. 

The other was a Scholar, and married to a proper Gentlewoman 

and therefore least regarded, for 'tis an old said saw: To 

learning & law, there's no greater foe than they that nothing 

know: yet was not the father altogether unlettered, for he had 

good experience in a Noverint, and by the universal terms therein 

contained, had driven many a young Gentleman to seek unknown 

countries, wise he was, for he bore office in his parish and sat 

as formally in his fox-furred gown, as if he had been a very 

upright dealing Burgess: he was religious too, never without a 

book at his belt, and a bolt in his mouth, ready to shoot through 

his sinful neighbour. 

And Latin he had somewhere learned, which though it were but 

little, yet was it profitable, for he had this Philosophy written 

in a ring, Tu tibi cura, which precept he curiously observed, 

being in self-love so religious, as he held it no point of charity 

to part with anything, of which he living might make use. 

But as all mortal things are momentary, and no certainty can 

be found in this uncertain world: so Gorinius, (for that shall be 

this Usurer's name) after many a gouty pang that had pinched his 

exterior parts, many a curse of the people that mounted into 

heaven's presence, was at last with his last summons, by a deadly 

disease arrested, where-against when he had long contended, and 

was by Physicians given over, he called his two sons before him: 

and willing to perform the old proverb Qualis vita finis Ita, he 

thus prepared himself, and admonished them. My sons (for so your 

mother said ye were) and so I assure myself one of you is, and of

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