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
Written before his death and published at his dying request.
Fœlicem fuisse infaustum.
Imprinted for William Wright.
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
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
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