Daily (Captain) Cox–“The Wido(w) Edyth”

Pedigree:    Believed to have been authored near the time of its first printing (1525, by John Rastell), it is attributed to one Thomas Smith, a servant of Sir Thomas More’s, who also appears in one of the twelve “Mery Jestes” as one of Edyth’s marks.      The second printing (by Richard Johnes, in 1573) is the one which appears in W.C. Hazlitt’s collection “Shakespeare’s Jest-Books (Volume III).

Synopsis–Twelve tales of various lengths, of “Edyth, that lying widow which still lyeth”.      Somehow, Edyth repeatedly convinces men to do business / invest / lend money / otherwise support her schemes.      She represents herself as a wealthy widow, and presents her daughter as a landed heiress.     Thomas Smith appears in tale number ten.

(ETA)  The description of tale number four ends with a phrase which “sounds” more modern than it is:   “…how this wydow Edith deceiued a Doctor of diuinitie, at S. Thomas of Akers in London, of (v.) Nobles he layd out for her, and how she gave him the slyp.”

Availability–Online copy of Hazlitt’s “Shakespeare’s Jest Books”  Volume III at Internet Archive (Canadian Collection, courtesy of  University of Toronto):



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