‘neither nose nor eyne’

It’s fair to say that you encounter a lot of truly awful doggerel verse in early modern texts. But even bad poetry can be amusing: so, for some lighthearted weekend reading, please enjoy this 1577 poem from Timothy Kendall that is a fair warning to anyone who would be rude about the size of a prospective lover’s nose. A quick gloss is provided beneath.

A Wight whose name was Tyndar, would have kist a pretie lasse:
Her nose was long: (and Tyndar he a floutyng fellowe was.)
Wherefore unto her thus he saied, I can not kisse you, sweete:
Your nose stands out so farre, that sure our lippes can never meete.
The maiden nipt thus by the nose, straight blusht as red as fire:
And with his girde displeased, thus she spake to hym in ire.
Quoth she, if that my nose doe let your lippes from kissyng myne:
You there maie kisse me where that I, have neither nose nor eyne.

A man whose name was Tyndar, would have kissed a pretty lass:
Her nose was long, and Tyndar he a mocking fellow was.
Wherefore unto her thus he said, I cannot kiss you, sweet:
Your nose stands out so far that sure our lips can never meet.
The maiden thus chided about her nose, straight blushed as red as fire,
And with his sharp remark displeased, thus she spake to him in anger.
Quoth she, if that my nose do stop your lips from kissing mine:
You there may kiss me where that I have neither nose nor eye.

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