Or, the Frozen Age: Or, The Metamorphosis of the Riuer of Thames. 1621.
IT was the time when men wore liquor’d bootes,
When rugged Winter, murdred hearbes & rootes:
When as the Heauens, the Earth did all attire
With plashes, puddles, pooles, blacke dirt & mire.
Then at that time (to poore mens care and costs)
A Christmas came to Towne, betwixt two Frosts.
Then in the num Colde month of Ianuary,
When as the Sunne was lodg’d in moyst Aquary:
When Boreas (all with Isickles bedight)
Worse then a Barber, ’gan to shaue and bite,
Turning Thames streames, to hard congealed flakes,
And pearled water drops to Christall cakes.
Th’adulterate Earth, long hauing play’d the whore,
In bearing and in breeding bastards store,
As Drunkards, swearers, leachers, Cheating knaues,
Punkes, Panders, base extortionizing slaThis text is the corrected text. The original is n (JJ)ues,
Rent-raising rascals, Villaines, Theeues, Oppressors,
Vainglorious proude fooles, Gen’rall all transgressors,
For which foule whordome, Heauen did think it meet,
* The Snow.
To make the Earth doe pennance in a *sheet.
That punishment no sooner past and gon,
But straight a Colde freeze coate she did put on.
Which (though herselfe were senceles, what she ayles)
It made her poorest bastards blowe their nayles.
Whilst many of her Rich broode did agree,
To make their stony hearts as hard as shee.
The liquid Thames each where from shore to shore,
With colde bak’d Paste, all pastycrusted o’re.
When in a Month no Waterman could share,
The single benefit of halfe his Fare;
* Though I name Charity, I meane Pouerty, but the Prouerb sayes, Charity is cold.
When a whole Tearme would not affoord a Boate,
For miserable Fares to spend a Groate.
Then *Charity (in poore distresled state)
Vpon a Cake of Ice, lamenting late.
Halfe hunger-steru’d, and thinly clad she quiuer’d,
As if in peeces shee would straight haue shiuer’d,
* A pittiles Parson.
When as a Parson* (that could neuer Preach,
Yet to three Benefices well could reach)
Saw Charity to want both Foode and Cloathing,
Past by, ne’re spake to her, nor gaue her nothing.
Next an Atturney* her poore Case did see,
* A merciles Lawyer.
But all his Conscience wayted on his Fee:
He walk’d along, and look’d a scaunt on her,
And put his bounty off with a demurre.
* An vnconscionable Broker.
The third a Broker*, a base Houndsditch hound,
That euery Month takes Eight-pence in the pound:
He look’d on Charity, but nothing threw her,
And vow’d that all his Life, he neuer knew her.
A world of people more did thrust and throng,
Yet none Relieu’d her as they past along:
Vntill at last (as she was like to Dye)
* Too good to bee true.
The Maisters of an Hospitall past by*;
They stay’d, and did compassionate her Case,
And straight prouided her a Lodging place.
* Too true to bee good.
There was a Vs’rer*, with his Purse fast shut,
Did rayle at her and call’d her Idle slut:
And said she to Virginia should be Shipt,
Or to Bridewell be sent, and soundly whipt.
But at the last (to many a mizers Griefe)
Shee in an Hospitall did finde Reliefe:
And whether shee be dead, or like to dye,
Those that Relieue her better know then I.
But once againe, Ile turne me to my Theame,
Of the conglutinated Frozen streame:
Vpon whose Glassie face both too and fro,
Fiue hundred people all at onThis text is the corrected text. The original is e (KL)ce did goe.
At Westminster there went three Horses ouer
Which safely did from shore to shore recouer,
There might be seene spic’d Cakes, and roasted Pigs,
Beere, Ale, Tobacco, Apples, Nuts, and Figs,
Fires made of Char-coles, Faggots, and Sea-coles,
Playing and couz’ning at the Pidg’on-holes:
Some, for two Pots at Tables, Cards, or Dice:
* Witnesse myself.
Some slipping in betwixt two Cakes of *Ice:
Some going on their businesse and affaires,
From the Bank-side to Pauls, or to Trig-staires.
And some there were (which I almost forgot)
That thought the frozen streames were too too hot,
’Twas safer for them (they did vnderstand)
To walke vpon the water then the land.
Some trod the Thames as boldly as the ground,
Knowing their fortunes was not to be drownd.
And sure the honest Riuer is so true,
It will not rob the Gallowes of his due.
The Begger’s follow’d men in troopes and flockes,
And neuer fear’d the Constable or Stockes,
The Cage, and whipping-post were idle bables,
And lawes they count no more then Esops fables.
This was a time when th’weakest went to’th’wall,
When hackney Coaches got the deuill and all.
Though thousands others want and sorrow seeles,
Yet still with them the world did runne on wheeles.
A running whirling time.
And sure more Coaches and Carroches, went
In one day to the Tearme and Parlament:
Then there past Wherries in a month and more,
’Twixt Essex, Middl’sex, Kent and Surry shore.
And though for two mon’ths time, that fell together,
Of Windes, Raine, Snow, and bitter Frosty wether.
Though Water-men for number multiplies,
Neere twenty thousand with their families;
Yet this vnto their praise I’le truly speake,
(Though many of their states are meane and weake)
All this hard time, not one amongst them all,
Truth amongst poore men is more rare, then honesty amongst the rich.
Did to dishonesty, or theeuing fall;
Therefore this commendations is their due,
Though they are poore men, yet they still are true.
I doubt not but a many Trades there bee,
That hold their heads more higher farre then we.
Yet if but eight weekes they had such poore dealing,
They would fall neere to begg’ry, or to stealing.
I dare affirme, that Water-men this Frost
(Amongst them) twenty thousand pounds haue lost:
And all that losse of theirs, was no mans gaine,
But toyle and dirt by land, with cost and paine.
And Gentlemen, as glad of Boates there are,
As Water men will be to haue a fare.
Thus was this Tearme, worse then the worst vacation,
To those that vse a watry Occupation;
Whilst Trades by land did dayly purse vp Chinke,
Bakers for bread, and Brewers for their drinke:
Tapsters for Pots and Cans, with nick and froath,
Mercers for Stuffes, and Drapers for their Cloath:
Vintners for drunken heads, Cutlers for swords;
Sergeants for Fees, and Lawyers for good words:
And in this gnashing age of Snow and Ice,
The Wood-mongers did mount so high their price:
That many did to lye a bed desire,
To saue the charge of Wood, and Cole, and Fire.
Amongst the Whores there were hot commings in,
Who euer lost, they still were sure to win.
They in one houre so strangely did heat men,
Most bawds got, onely Water-men lost.
That all the Frost they scarce were coole agen.
The Vs’rers Bonds, and Landlords Rent came on,
Most Trades had something to depend vpon;
Onely the Water-men iust nothing got,
And yet (by Gods good helpe) they wanted not:
But all had coyne, or credit, foode and fire,
And what the neede of nature did require.
So farewell Frost, if Charity be liuing,
Poore men shall finde it, by the rich mens giuing.

Cite this page

MLA citation

Taylor, John. The Cold Tearm. The Map of Early Modern London, Edition 7.0, edited by Janelle Jenstad, U of Victoria, 05 May 2022,

Chicago citation

Taylor, John. The Cold Tearm. The Map of Early Modern London, Edition 7.0. Ed. Janelle Jenstad. Victoria: University of Victoria. Accessed May 05, 2022.

APA citation

Taylor, J. 2022. The Cold Tearm. In J. Jenstad (Ed), The Map of Early Modern London (Edition 7.0). Victoria: University of Victoria. Retrieved from

RIS file (for RefMan, RefWorks, EndNote etc.)

Provider: University of Victoria
Database: The Map of Early Modern London
Content: text/plain; charset="utf-8"

A1  - Taylor, John
ED  - Jenstad, Janelle
T1  - The Cold Tearm
T2  - The Map of Early Modern London
ET  - 7.0
PY  - 2022
DA  - 2022/05/05
CY  - Victoria
PB  - University of Victoria
LA  - English
UR  -
UR  -
ER  - 

TEI citation

<bibl type="mla"><author><name ref="#TAYL2"><surname>Taylor</surname>, <forename>John</forename></name></author>. <title level="a">The Cold Tearm</title>. <title level="m">The Map of Early Modern London</title>, Edition <edition>7.0</edition>, edited by <editor><name ref="#JENS1"><forename>Janelle</forename> <surname>Jenstad</surname></name></editor>, <publisher>U of Victoria</publisher>, <date when="2022-05-05">05 May 2022</date>, <ref target=""></ref>.</bibl>