Canterbury Tales by Chaucer Junior

Samuel Pepys was a great collector as well as being famous for his diary. One of the things he collected were broadsheets, printed as cheaply as possible and sold on the streets. When bound these became known as chapbooks. This is an extract from one such.

The dedication to the Bakers, Smiths, Millers, and other Readers.

You are presented here with a Choice Banquet of delightful Tales, pleasant Stories, witty Jests, and merry Songs to divert the young Men and Maids when they come to the Bake-house, Forge or Mill; and by these you may encrease your Trade and call Customers to you: for be sure the Merry Lasses will go where they can be furnished with Tales, Stories and Jests; therefore these are as necessary for you as a fair Wife for a fine Tavern, a young Hostess for an old Inn, or a Gazet for a Coffee-House. It is fitted for all manner of Persons, therefore I hope you will all furnish your selves with it; for it will be a rare Companion for Old and Young upon many Occasions; especially at Christmas, Easter, VVhitsontide, or long winter Evenings over a Cup of Nut-brown-Ale and Lambs-wool. In a word, you will find it as comfortable as Matrimony, or as sweet as a Maiden-head at midnight, or Sack-Posset at the end of a Fire, what would you have more, the young Men and Maids may laugh till their Lungs ake, and the old and melancholy, will find Dr. Merryman the best Physitian. Farewel.


Hot ale, with apple pulp, sugar and spice

Eggs, sugar and dry white wine, supposedly an aphrodisiac

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