A Light Heart's a Jewell

This ballad is unique to the Roxburghe Collection (I. 210, 211.) where it appears only once.  It is a good source of period slang names for various underworld characters, such as the 'bowling-alley rooke', 'petyfog', 'common-bayle' and 'Graves-end travailor'.


A light heart's a jewel; Or,

The honest good blade who a free heart doth carry, 
And cares for nothing but to have 's owne vagary.

TO THE TUNE OF Jacke Pudding's vagary
All you that merry lives doe lead although your meanes bee little, 
That seldome are o'erseene in bread, nor take much thought for vittle: 
Attend while Ile exemplyfie the mind that I doe carry, 
I take delight both morne and night to have mine owne vagary. 
Though fortune have not lent me wealth, as shee hath done to many, 
Yet while I've liberty and health, I'le be as blith as any: 
I'le beare an honest upright heart, there's none shall prove contrary, 
Yet now and then abroud I'le start, and have my owne vagary. 
No base profession I will chuse, therby to get my living, 
No Kent-street maunding will I use, my mind's more bent to giving: 
I will not say I'm this and that, with bug-beare boasts to scare ye, 
Let coxcombes prate they know not what, I'le have my own vagary. 
I am no Graves-end travailour -- no teller of strange storyes; 
No forger of Corantos, nor a man that evermore is 
Extolling of his owne deserts, and with proud words will dare ye; 
Let such as these are act their parts, I'le have my owne vagary. 
I am no haunter of the playes to picke poore people's purses, 
Nor one that, every word he saies, doth coyne new oathes and curses: 
If I doe runne on tapsters' scores to pay them I am wary, 
Let others spend their means on whoors, I love mine owne vagary. 
I am no blade nor roaring boy aboading in the city, 
No whiske, no lift, nor no decoy, nor one that asks for pitty: 
My education's not the best, yet such a heart I carry 
That what my humour ca'nt digest, it fits not my vagary. 
No city shuffler, scarce of age to have what fate hath left me, 
No haire-braind asse that's full of rage; reason hath not bereft me: 
No great bum-bayly that may fright my fearefull adversary, 
But one that loves and takes delight to have his owne vagary. 
No usurer that hords up trash, nor yet a noted spender, 
No borrowing sharke that never payes, but to a friend a lender: 
No petyfog, nor common-bayle, for no such fellowes care I, 
In honest sort I'le never faile to have mine owne vagary. 

The Second Part, to the same tune.

No bowling-alley rooke am I that sweareth all by "dam mee," 
By such I'le not o'er-reached bee -- in this there's none can blame mee; 
No swaggering pimp, that champion is to Doll, to Kate, and Sary, 
I hate such slavish offices, those fit not my vagary. 
I care not to weare Gallant raggs, and owe the taylour for them, 
I care not for those vaunting brags, I ever did abhore them: 
What to the world I seeme to bee no man shall prove contrary, 
My suites shall suite to my degree, O that fits my vagary. 
I care not for those scarre-crowe blades whose valour lyes in speeches, 
That in discourse of manhood wades oft-times above their reaches: 
If I have not a minde to fight I'le urge no adversary, 
When word and deed both jump aright, O that fits my vagary. 
I care not for the broaker's booke, my name's not there inrouled; 
I nothing owe, therefore I looke by none to be controuled: 
I doe not feare the sergeant's mace, walke by the counter dare I 
And looke at bayliffe in the face, O this is my vagary. 
I care not much in company to spend what is allotted; 
I'le drinke but for sufficency, I'le never be besotted: 
When I doe feele my spirits dull, a cup of old Canary 
Will fill my heart with courage full, and this is my vagary. 
I care not for sad malcontent that is the bane of nature; 
I love good honest merryment, and I'le despise no creature 
That's for my use and sustinence; and still I will bee wary 
Least I exceed in my expence; that fits not my vagary. 
Still will I have an honest care that none lyes wronged by mee, 
I'le not build castles in the ayre, whoever lists to try me 
Shall find in all that's promis'd heere not any word contrary, 
I envious cesure doe not feare, I'le have my owne vagary. 
Printed at London for J. Wright, dwelling in Gilt-spur street. 
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