William Shakespeare to Mrs Anne, Regular Servant to the Revd Mr Precentor of York

1 A moment's patience, gentle Mistress Anne!
2 (But stint your clack for sweet St Charitie)
3 'Tis Willy begs, once a right proper man,
4 Though now a book and interleaved, you see.
5 Much have I borne from cankered critic's spite,
6 From fumbling baronets and poets small,
7 Pert barristers and parsons nothing bright:
8 But what awaits me now is worst of all.
9 'Tis true, our master's temper natural
10 Was fashioned fair in meek and dovelike guise;
11 But may not honey's self be turned to gall
12 By residence, by marriage, and sore eyes?
13 If then he wreak on me his wicked will,
14 Steal to his closet at the hour of prayer,
15 And (when thou hear'st the organ piping shrill)
16 Grease his best pen, and all he scribbles, tear.
17 Better to bottom tarts and cheesecakes nice,
18 Better the roast meat from the fire to save,
19 Better be twisted into caps for spice,
20 Than thus be patched and cobbled in one's grave.
21 So York shall taste what Clouët never knew,
22 So from our works sublimer fumes shall rise:
23 While Nancy earns the praise to Shakespeare due
24 For glorious puddings and immortal pies.


  • TEI/XML [chunk] (XML - 57K / ZIP - 6.8K) / ECPA schema (RNC - 357K / ZIP - 73K)
  • Plain text [excluding paratexts] (TXT - 1.1K / ZIP - 850 )

About this text

Title (in Source Edition): William Shakespeare to Mrs Anne, Regular Servant to the Revd Mr Precentor of York
Author: Thomas Gray
Themes: humour

Text view / Document view

Source edition

Gray, Thomas, 1716-1771. Thomas Gray: English poems. Web. Oxford: Thomas Gray Archive, 2002. http://www.thomasgray.org/texts/poems.shtml

Editorial principles

Typography, spelling, capitalization, and punctuation have been cautiously modernized. The source of the text is given and all significant editorial interventions have been recorded in textual notes. This ECPA text has been edited to conform to the recommendations found in Level 5 of the Best Practices for TEI in Libraries version 4.0.0.

Other works by Thomas Gray