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A banquet of ieasts.
ca.
1632

STC 1368.2, pages 156 & 157

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STC 1368.2, pages 156 & 157
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Title: [A banquet of ieasts. Or Change of cheare. Being a collection of moderne jests. Witty ieeres. Pleasant taunts. Merry tales.]
Date: [London : printed for Richard Royston?, 1632?]
Repository: Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, DC, USA
Call number and opening: STC 1368.2, pgs. 156 & 157
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Item Title
[A banquet of ieasts. Or Change of cheare. Being a collection of moderne jests. Witty ieeres. Pleasant taunts. Merry tales.]
Item Date
[London : printed for Richard Royston?, 1632?]
Repository
Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, DC, USA
Call Number
STC 1368.2, pgs. 156 & 157

Institution Rights and Document Citation

Terms of use
Images that are under Folger copyright are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. This allows you to use our images without additional permission provided that you cite the Folger Shakespeare Library as the source and you license anything you create using the images under the same or equivalent license. For more information, including permissions beyond the scope of this license, see Permissions. The Folger waives permission fees for non-commercial publication by registered non-profits, including university presses, regardless of the license they use. For images copyrighted by an entity other than the Folger, please contact the copyright holder for permission information.

Copy-specific information
Title: [A banquet of ieasts. Or Change of cheare. Being a collection of moderne jests. Witty ieeres. Pleasant taunts. Merry tales.]
Date: [London : printed for Richard Royston?, 1632?]
Repository: Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, DC, USA
Call number and opening: STC 1368.2, pgs. 156 & 157
View online bibliographic record

Stratford-upon-Avon is identified as the birthplace of William Shakespeare in a jest-book first printed in 1630, descriptively titled A Banquet of Ieasts. Or Change of Cheare. Being a Collection of Moderne Iests. Witty Ieeres. Pleasant Taunts. Merry Tales. Neuer before Imprinted. The second edition of A Banquet of Jeasts, shown here, was printed around 1632. It corrects a numbering error from the original edition, which printed the jest’s number as 259, rather than 159:

One trauelling through Stratford vpon Auon, a Towne most remarkeable for the birth of famous William Shakespeare, and walking in the Church to doe his deuotion, espyed a thing there worthy obseruation, which was a tombestone laid more then three hundred years agoe, on which was ingrauen an Epitaph to this purpose, I Thomas such a one, and Elizabeth my wife here vnder lye buried, and know Reader I. R.C. and I. Chrystoph. Q. are aliue at this houre to witnesse it.

The jest confirms that by 1630 Stratford-upon-Avon was considered “most remarkable” as the birthplace “of famous William Shakespeare,” fourteen years after his death. A similar but more detailed notice occurs in the 1634 notes of a military reporter surnamed Hammond.

The book of jests was registered on May 20, 1630, and first printed later that year. It was published five more times, incorporating additional jests, over the following decade (1632?, 1634, 1636, 1639, 1640). The jest is absent, however, in a later 1657 variant.

A similar book of jests, Conceits, clinches, flashes, and whimzies, published for the first time in 1639, contains yet another Shakespeare joke. This alternate joke was then included in a later version of A Banquet of Jeasts, titled A Choice Banquet of Witty Jests, printed in 1660 and 1665. These two imprints did not include the Stratford jest.

The reputed author of the entire sequence of Banquet jest books was Archibald (“Archy”) Armstrong, court jester to King James I and King Charles I. Whether Armstrong was the true source of the jests is uncertain.

The copy shown here is the only known survivor from the second edition. The exact year of printing is unknown, as the title page of this copy is not extant.

 

Written by Alan H. Nelson

Sources

The Shakspere Allusion-Book: a Collection of Allusions to Shakespere from 1591 to 1700. (London: Oxford University Press, 1932): vol. I, 327.

R. Malcolm Smuts, “Armstrong, Archibald (d. 1672),” Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford University Press, 2004): online edn, Jan 2008 <http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/653> accessed May 16, 2016

A. W. Pollard and G. R. Redgrave, editors: A Short-title Catalogue of Books Printed in England, Scotland and Ireland, and of English Books Printed Abroad 1475-1640. Second edition, revised and enlarged, begun by W. A. Jackson and F. S. Ferguson, completed by K. F. Pantzer. (London: The Bibliographical Society, 1976-1991) vol. 1, entries 1368-73

Donald Goddard Wing, Short-title Catalogue of Books Printed in England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, and British America, and of English Books Printed in Other Countries, 1641-1700. (New York : Index Society, 1945-1951), entries A3705-8.

Last updated February 13, 2017