The Great Boobee.
To a pleasant new Tune: Or, Salengers round.
Woodcut of a traveller with black hat, satchel, and walking stick being approached by man in black clothes and cape, with ruffled white cuffs and prominent white collar. Both men are bearded with moustaches. The pair appear on a white background, with shaded ground beneath their feet.
MY Friends if you will understand
my fortunes what they are,
I once had Cattel, house and Land,
but now I am never the near,
My Father left a good estate,
as I may tell to thee,
I cozened was of all I had,
like a great Boobee.
I went to School with a good intent,
and for to learn my book,
And all the day I went to play,
in it I never did look:
Full seven years, or very nigh,
as I may tell to thee,
I could hardly say my Christ Cross row1
like a great Boobee.
My Father then in all the haste,
did set me to the Plow,
And for to lash the horse about,
indeed I knew not how:
My Father took his Whip in his hand,
and soundly lashed me,
He call’d me Fool and Country Clown,
and great Boobee.
But I did from my Father run,
for I will plow no more,
Because he hath so slashed me,
and made my side so sore:
But I will go to London Town,
some vashions for to see
When I came there they call’d me (Clown,
and great Boobee.
But as I went along the street,
I carried my Hat in my hand,
And to every one that I did meet,
I bravely bust my hand:
Some did laugh, and some did scoff,
and some did mock at me,
And some did say I was a Woodcock,
and a great Boobee.
Then did I walk in haste to Pauls,
the Steeple for to view
Because I heard some people say,
it should be builded new:
Then I got up unto the top,
the City for to see,
It was so high it made me cry,
like a great Boobee.

FRom thence I went to Wesminster,
and for to see the Tombs,
Oh, said I, what a house is here,
with an infinite sight of Rooms?
Sweetly the Abby Bells did ring
it was a fine sight to see,
Me thoughts I was going to heaven in (a string,
like a great Boobee.
But as I went along the street,
the most part of the day,
Many gallants did I meet,
me thoughts they were very gay:
I blew my Nose, and pist my Hose,
some people did me see,
They said I was a beastly fool,
and a great Boobee.
Next day I through Pie-corner past,
the Roast-meat on the stall,
Invited me to take a taste
my money was but small:
The meat I pickt, the Cook me kickt
as I may tell to thee,
He beat me sore, and made me rore
like a great Boobee.
As I through Smithfield lately walkt,
a gallant Lass I met,
Familiarly with me she talk,
which I cannot forget;
She proffered me a pint of Wine,
me thought she was wondrous free,
To the Tavern then I went with her,
like a great Boobee.
She told me we were near of kin,
and call’d for Wine good store,
Before the reckoning was brought in,
my Cousin prov’d a Whore
My Purse she pickt, and went away,
my Cousin cozened me.
The Vintner kickt me out of door,
like a great Boobee.
At the Exchange when I came there,
I saw most gallant things,
I thought the Pictures living were
of all our English Kings;
I doft my hat, and made a leg,
and kneeled on my knee;
The people laught, and call’d me fool,
and great Boobee.
To Paris Garden then I went,
where there is great resort,
My pleasure was my punishment,
I did not like the sport.
The Garden bull with his stout horns,
on high then tossed me,
I did bewray my self with fear,
like a great Boobee.
The This text has been supplied. Reason: Smudging dating from the original print process. Evidence: The text has been supplied based on evidence internal to this text (context, etc.). (MR)B2ear-heard went to save me then
the people flockt about,
I told the Bear-garden men,
my guts were almost out;
They said I stunk most grievously
no man would pitty me,
They cal’d me witlesse fool and asse,
and great Boobee.
Then ore the Water did I passe,
as you shall understand,
I dropt into the Thames alass,
before I came to Land;
The Water-man did help me out,
and thus thus did say to me,
’Tis not thy fortune to be drown’d,
thou great Boobee.
But I have learned so much Wit,
shall shorten all my cares,
If I can but a license get
to play before the Bears,
’Twill be a gallant place indeed
as I may tell to thee
Then who dare call me fool or Ass,
or great Boobee?
London, Printed for F. Coles, in Vine-street, neer Hatten-Garden.


  1. Refers to first line of a hornbook. (MS)
  2. Ink smudged: missing letter obvious from context. (MR)

Cite this page

MLA citation

Anonymous. The Great Boobee. The Map of Early Modern London, Edition 7.0, edited by Janelle Jenstad, U of Victoria, 05 May 2022,

Chicago citation

Anonymous. The Great Boobee. The Map of Early Modern London, Edition 7.0. Ed. Janelle Jenstad. Victoria: University of Victoria. Accessed May 05, 2022.

APA citation

Anonymous. 2022. The Great Boobee. 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  - , 
ED  - Jenstad, Janelle
T1  - The Great Boobee
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="#ANON2"><name ref="#ANON2">Anonymous</name></name></author>. <title level="a">The Great Boobee</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>

Documents discussing Bearbaiting

MoEML has a number of pages on bearbaiting. See the Bear Garden; the poem The Great Boobee, in which a tourist visits the Bear Garden; the topics page on Bearbaiting at Paris Manor; the bibliography entry for the digital resource How to Track a Bear in Southwark; and dramatic extracts from Bartholomew Fair, a play performed at the Hope, which doubled as a bear garden.