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To his especiall friend Master Edward Dancie.

MY Dancie deare, when I recount within my brest,
My London friends, and wonted mates, and thee above the rest:
I feele a thousand fits of deepe and deadly woe,
To thinke that I from land to sea, from blisse to bale did go.
I left my native soile, full like a retchlesse man,
And unacquainted of the coast, among the Russes ran:
A people passing rude, to vices vile inclinde,
Folke fit to be of Bacchus traine, so quaffing is their kinde.
Drinke is their whole desire, the pot is all their pride,
The sobrest head doth once a day stand needfull of a guide.
If he to banket bid his friends, he will not shrinke
On them at dinner to bestow a douzen kindes of drinke:
Such licour as they have, and as the countrey gives,
But chiefly two, one called Kvas, whereby the Mousike lives.
Small ware and waterlike, but somewhat tart in taste,
The rest is Mead of honie made, wherewith their lips they baste.
And if he goe unto his neighbour as a guest,
He cares for litle meate, if so his drinke be of the best.
No wonder though they use such vile and beastly trade,
Sith with the hatchet and the hand, their chiefest gods be made.
Their Idoles have their hearts, on God they never call,
Unlesse it be (Nichola Bough) that hangs against the wall.
The house that hath no god, or painted Saint within,
Is not to be resorted to, that roofe is full of sinne.
Besides their private gods, in open places stand
Their crosses unto which they crooche, and blesse themselves with hand.
Devoutly downe they ducke, with forehead to the ground,
Was never more deceit in ragges, and greasie garments found.
Almost the meanest man in all the countrey rides,
The woman eke, against our use, her trotting horse bestrides.
In sundry colours they both men and women goe,
In buskins all, that money have on buskins to bestoe.
Ech woman hanging hath a ring within her eare,
Which all of ancient use, and some of very pride doe weare.
Their gate is very brave, their countenance wise and sadde,
And yet they follow fleshly lustes, their trade of living badde.
It is no shame at all accompted to defile
Anothers bedde, they make no care their follies to concile,
Is not the meanest man in all the land but hee,
To buy her painted colours doeth allow his wife a fee,
Wherewith she deckes her selfe, and dies her tawnie skinne,
She pranks and paints her smoakie face, both brow, lip, cheeke, & chinne.
Yea those that honest are, if any such there bee
Within the land, doe use the like: a man may plainely see
Upon some womens cheekes the painting how it lies,
In plaister sort, for that too thicke her face the harlot dies.
But such as skilfull are, and cunning Dames indeede,
By dayly practise doe it well, yea sure they doe exceede.
They lay their colours so, as he that is full wise,
May easily be deceiv'd therein, if he doe trust his eyes.
I not a little muse, what madnesse makes them paint
Their faces, waying how they keepe the stoove by meere constraint.
For seldome when, unlesse on Church or marriage day
A man shall see the Dames abroade, that are of best aray.
The Russie meanes to reape the profit of her pride,
And so he mewes her to be sure, she lye by no mans side.
Thus much, friend Dancie, I did meane to write to thee,
To let thee weete in Russia land, what men and women bee.
Hereafter I perhaps of other things will write
To thee, and other of my friends, which I shall see with sight :
And other stuffe besides, which true report shall tell,
Meane while I ende my loving lines, and bid thee now farewell.

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