Pedigree: This poem is attributed to Sir Thomas More. In addition to being printed in a 1557 collection of his works, it was printed by Julyan Notary (no date), and by Rycharde Jhones (no date).
Synopsis: This poem is more of an elaboration on the idea that a man brought up to one trade ought not to try and change it for another, than a straight tale. More’s illustration is a scenario in which a spendthrift young man is pursued by the Sergeant of the title, in the name of the young man’s creditors. The Sergeant is convinced he makes a perfectly good Friar, and gains admittance to the young man’s lodging and presence. However, when he tries to apprehend the spendthrift, a lengthy fight ensues, and the hostess and her daughter join in to subdue the Sergeant-Friar.
Availability: In addition to a transcription on Anniina Jokinen’s Luminarium website ( http://www.luminarium.org/editions/morejest.htm ), there is a copy in Volume II of W.C. Hazlitt’s “Remains of the Early Popular Poetry of England”, online here: