By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon

We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: The Book of Vagabonds and Beggars - with a Vocabulary of Their Language
Author: Anonymous
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Book of Vagabonds and Beggars - with a Vocabulary of Their Language" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.

  Transcriber's note:

  Text with Old English font is surrounded with + signs.

  Small capital text has been replaced with all capitals.

  The carat character (^) indicates that the following letter is
  superscripted (example: 12^o). If two or more letters are superscripted
  they are enclosed in curly brackets (example: 10^{te}).





  +Book of Vagabonds and Beggars+:




  IN THE YEAR 1528.







As a picture of the manners and customs of the Vagabond population of
Central Europe before the Reformation, I think this little book, the
earliest of its kind, will be found interesting. The fact of Luther
writing a Preface and editing it gives it at once some degree of
importance, and excites the curiosity of the student.

In this country the _Liber Vagatorum_ is almost unknown, and in Germany
only a few scholars and antiquaries are acquainted with the book.

In translating it I have endeavoured as much as possible to preserve
the spirit and peculiarities of the original. Some may object to the
style as being too antique; but this garb I thought preserved a small
portion of the original quaintness, and was best suited to the period
when it was written.

For several explanations of old German words, and other hints, I am
indebted to a long notice of the _Liber Vagatorum_, which occurs in the
“Wiemarisches Jahrbuch,” 10^{te}, Band, 1856,—the only article of any
moment that I know to have been written on the little book.

With respect to the facsimile woodcut, as it was too large to occupy a
place on the title, as in the original (of 4to. size), it is here given
as a frontispiece.

Perhaps some apology is required for the occasional use of
plain-spoken, not to say coarse words. I can only urge, in
justification of their adoption, that the nature of the subject would
not admit of their being softened,—unless indeed at the expense of the
narrative. As it is, I have sent forth this edition in very much more
refined language than the great Reformer thought necessary when issuing
the old German version.

  J. C. H.

  June 1, 1860.




  PREFACE                                                               v

  INTRODUCTION                                                         ix

  Mendicant Friars.—Schreiber’s description of the Golden
  Age for Mendicants.—Knebel’s Chronicles of the Trials at
  Basle, in 1475.—Sebastian Brant.

  LIBER VAGATORUM.—Various editions.—Gengenbach’s
  metrical version; Gödecke’s claim for the priority of
  this refuted                                                         xv

  MARTIN LUTHER.—Occupied in the work of the Reformation.—Writes
  several popular pieces.—Edits the
  _Liber Vagatorum_                                                   xix

  commen Cvrsetors.—The Fraternitye of Vacabondes.—Greene,
  Decker, and Shakespeare                                            xxiv

  Seals.—Seals now disused.—Wandering Students or
  Vagabond Scholars                                                 xxviii

  of the Black-Art.—Fawney Riggers.—Card-Sharpers.
  out of employ.—Shivering Jemmies.—Maimers of Children.—Borrowers
  of Children.—Simulated Fits.—Quack Doctors.—Treasure-Seekers.
  —Travelling Tinkers                                                xxxi

  OLD GERMAN CANT WORDS                                             xxxvi

  LIBER VAGATORUM                                                       1

  LUTHER’S PREFACE                                                      3

  PART I.—THE SEVERAL ORDERS OF VAGABONDS                               7

  PART II.—NOTABILIA RELATING TO BEGGARS                               43

  PART III.—VOCABULARY OF CANT WORDS                                   49



Vagabonds and Beggars are ancient blots in the history of the world.
Idleness, I suppose, existed before civilization began, but feigned
distress must certainly have been practised soon after.

In the records of the Middle Ages enactments for the suppression and
ordering of vagrancy continually occur. In this country, as we shall
see directly, laws for its abolishment were passed at a very early date.

The begging system of the Friars, perhaps more than any other
cause, contributed to swell the ranks of vagabonds. These religious
mendicants, who had long been increasing in number and dissoluteness,
gave to beggars sundry lessons in hypocrisy, and taught them, in
their tales of fictitious distress, how to blend the troubles of the
soul with the infirmities of the body. Numerous systems of religious
imposture were soon contrived, and mendicants of a hundred orders
swarmed through the land. Things were at their worst, or rather both
friars and vagabonds were in their palmiest days, towards the latter
part of the fifteenth century, just before the suppression of the
Religious Houses commenced, and immediately before the first symptoms
of the Reformation showed themselves,—that great movement which was so
soon to sweep one of the two pests away for ever.

In Schreiber’s account of the _Bettler-industrie_ (begging practices)
of Germany in the year 1475, he thus speaks of this golden age for
mendicants.[1] His theory, as to the origin of the complicated system
of mendicity, is, perhaps, more fanciful than true, but his account is
nevertheless very interesting, and well worth extracting from.

“The beggars of Germany rejoiced in their Golden Age; it extended
throughout nearly two centuries, from the invasions of the Turks until
after the conclusion of the Swedish war (1450 to 1650). During this
long period it was frequently the case that begging was practised less
from necessity than for pleasure;—indeed, it was pursued like a regular
calling. For poetry had estranged herself from the Nobility; knights
no longer went out on adventures to seek giants and dragons, or to
liberate the Holy Tomb; she had likewise become more and more alien to
the Citizen, since he considered it unwise to brood over verses and
rhymes, when he was called upon to calculate his profits in hard coin.
Even the ‘Sons of the Muses,’ the Scholars, had become more prosaic,
since there was so much to learn and so many universities to visit, and
the masters could no longer wander from one country to another with
thousands of pupils.

“Then poetry (as everything in human life gradually descends) began
to ally herself with beggars and vagrants. That which formerly had
been misfortune and misery became soon a sort of free art, which only
retained the mask of misery in order to pursue its course more safely
and undisturbed. Mendicity became a distinct institution, was divided
into various branches, and was provided with a language of its own.
Doubtless, besides the frequent wars, it was the Gipsies—appearing in
Germany, at the beginning of the fifteenth century, in larger swarms
than ever—who contributed greatly to this state of things. They formed
entire tribes of wanderers, as free as the birds in the air, now
dispersing themselves, now reuniting, resting whereever forests or
moors pleased, or stupidity and superstition allured them, possessing
nothing, but appropriating to themselves the property of everybody, by
stratagem or rude force.

“In what manner and to what extent such beggary had grown up and
branched off towards the close of the fifteenth century, what
artifices and even what language these beggars used to employ, is shown
us in Johann Knebel’s Chronicles, the MSS. of which are preserved in
the Library of the City and University of Bâle.”

These MSS. are very curious. They contain the proceedings of the Trials
at Basle,[2] in Switzerland, in 1475, when a great number of vagabonds,
strollers, blind men, and mendicants of all orders, were arrested and
examined. Johann Knebel was the chaplain of the cathedral there, and
wrote them down at the time. From the reports of these trials it is
believed the _Liber Vagatorum_ was compiled; and it is also conjectured
that, from the same rich source, Sebastian Brant, who just at that
period had established himself at the University of Basle, where he
remained until 1500, drew the vivid description of beggars and begging,
to be found in his _Ship of Fools_.[3]

Knebel gives a long list of the different orders of beggars, and the
names they were known by amongst themselves. This account is similar
to, only not so spirited as that given in the _Liber Vagatorum_. The
tricks and impostures are very nearly the same, together with the
cant terms for the various tribes of mendicants. Knebel, speaking of
the manner in which the tricks of these rogues were first found out,
says:—“At those times a great number of knaves went about the country
begging and annoying people. Of these several were caught, and they
told how they and their fellow-knaves were known, and when and how they
used to meet, what they were called, and they told also several of
their cant words.”

The _Liber Vagatorum_, or _The Book of Vagabonds_, was probably written
shortly after 1509, that year being mentioned in the work; it is the
earliest book on beggars and their secret language of which we have any
record,—preceding by half a century any similar work issued in this

Nothing is known of the author other than that it was written by
one who styled himself a “Reverend Magister, nomine expertus in
truffis,”—which proficiency in roguery, as Luther remarks, “the little
book very well proves, even though he had not given himself such a

None of the early impressions bears a date, but the first edition is
known to have been printed at Augsburg, about the year 1512-14, by
Erhart Öglin, or Ocellus.[4] It is a small quarto, consisting of 12

The title:—

  +Liber Vagatorum;
  Der Betler Orden:+

is printed in red. The title-page of this, as of most of the early
editions, is embellished with a woodcut,—a facsimile of which is
given in this translation. The picture, representing a beggar and
his family, explains itself. At the foot of the title is printed, in
black:—_Getrucht zu Augspurg durch Erhart Öglin_. The little book
was frequently reprinted without any other variations than printers’
blunders (one edition having an error in the first word, _Lieber
Vagatorum_) until 1528, when Luther edited an edition,[5] supplying a
preface, and correcting some of the passages. In 1529 another edition,
with Luther’s preface, appeared at Wittemberg,[6] and from this,
comparing it occasionally with the first edition by Ocellus, the
present English version has been made. Nearly all the editions contain
the same matter; nor do those issued under Luther’s authority furnish
us with additional information. With regard to the Vocabulary, however,
I have made, in a few instances, slight variations, as given in two
editions of the _Liber Vagatorum_, preserved in the Library at Munich.
Wherever there was a marked divergence in style I have adopted that as
my text which seemed to be the most characteristic for the fifteenth
and the commencement of the sixteenth centuries, and which is mostly to
be found in the better class MSS. and works of that period.

I should state, however, before proceeding further, that a metrical
version of the _Liber Vagatorum_, in 838 verses, appeared about
1517-18, written by Pamphilus Gengenbach, including a vocabulary of the
beggars’ cant. Although Karl Gödecke, in his work, _Ein Beitrag zur
Deutschen Literatur Geschichte der Reformations zeit_ (Hannover, Carl
Rümpler, 1855), has stated that Gengenbach’s poetical version preceded
the smaller prose account, it is impossible, upon examining the two
publications, to agree with him on this point. Gengenbach’s book
certainly did not appear till after 1517, and the direct copies from
the _Liber Vagatorum_, in matter and manner, are too frequent to admit
for one moment of the supposition of their being accidental. The cant
terms, too, are incorrectly given, and altogether the work bears the
appearance of hasty and piratical compilation. It never met with that
popularity which the author anticipated, and probably never crossed the
frontiers of Switzerland.

The latest prose edition of the _Liber Vagatorum_ was issued towards
the close of the seventeenth century. The title ran:—_Expertus in
truffis. Of False Beggars and their knaveries. A pretty little book,
made more than a century and a half since, together with a Vocabulary
of some old cant words that occur therein, newly edited._ Anno 1668
(12^o. pp. 160).

That Luther should have written a Preface to so undignified a
little work as _The Book of Vagabonds_ seems remarkable. At this
period (1528-9) he was in the midst of his labours, surrounded with
difficulties and cares, and with every moment of his time fully
occupied. The Protest of Spires had just been signed by the first
Protestants. Melancthon, in great affliction at the turbulent state of
affairs, was running from city to city; and all Germany was alarmed
to hear that the dreaded Turks were preparing to make battle before
Vienna. Yet, the centre of all this agitation, engaged in directing and
assisting his followers, Luther found time to write several popular
pieces, and kept, we are told, the book-hawkers of Augsburg and Spires
busy in supplying them to the people. These Christian pamphlets,
D’Aubigné informs us, were eagerly sought for and passed through
numberless editions. It was not the peasants and townspeople only who
read them, but nobles and princes. Luther intended that they should
be popular. He knew better than any man of his time how to captivate
the reader and fix his attention. His little books were short, easy to
read, full of homely sayings and current phrases, and ornamented with
curious engravings. They were generally written, too, in Latin and
German, to suit both the educated and the unlettered. One was entitled,
_The Papacy with its Members painted and described by Dr. Luther_. In
it figured the Pope, the cardinal, and all the religious orders. Under
the picture of one of the orders were these lines:—

  “We can fast and pray the harder,
   With an overflowing larder.”

“Not one of these orders,” said Luther to the reader, “thinks either
of faith or charity. This one wears the tonsure, the other a hood,
this a cloak, that a robe. One is white, another black, a third gray,
and a fourth blue. Here is one holding a looking-glass, there one with
a pair of scissors. Each has his playthings.... Ah! these are the
palmer-worms, the locusts, the canker-worms, and the caterpillars
which, as Joel saith, have eaten up all the earth.”[7]

In this style Luther addressed his readers—scourging the Pope, his
cardinals, and all their emissaries. But another class of “locusts”
besides these appeared to him to require sweeping away,—these were the
beggars and vagabonds who imitated the Mendicant Friars in wandering
up and down the country, with lying tales of distress, either of
mind or body. As he says in his Preface, explaining the reason of
his connection with the book, “I thought it a good thing that such a
work should not only be published, but that it should become known
everywhere, in order that men can see and understand how mightily the
devil rules in this world; and I have also thought how such a book may
help mankind to be wise, and on the look out for him, viz. the devil.”

Luther further adds—not forgetting, in passing, to give a blow to
Papacy—“Princes, lords, counsellors of state, and everybody should
be prudent, and cautious in dealing with beggars, and learn that,
whereas people will not give and help honest paupers and needy
neighbours, as ordained by God, they give, by the persuasion of the
devil, and contrary to God’s judgment, ten times as much to vagabonds
and desperate rogues,—in like manner as we have hitherto done to
monasteries, cloisters, churches, chapels, and Mendicant Friars,
forsaking all the time the truly poor.”

This was Luther’s object in affixing his name to the little book. He
saw that the Friars, Beggars, and Jews were eating up his country, and
he thought that a graphic account of the various orders of vagrants,
together with a list of their secret or cant words, issued under the
authority of his name, would put people on their guard, and help to
suppress the wretched system.

Luther’s statement as to his own experience with these rogues is very
_naïve_—“I have myself of late years,” he remarks, “been cheated and
slandered by such tramps and liars more than I care to confess.”

Both priests and beggars regarded him with a peculiar aversion, and
many were the nicknames and vulgar terms applied to him. The slang
language of the day, therefore, was not unknown to Luther.

At page 204 of _Williams’ Lectures on Ecclesiastical History_, 4to.
(apparently privately printed for the use of the students of St. Begh’s
College,) is the following foot-note:—

  Of the violence with which Luther’s enemies attacked his character,
  and strove to render his name and memory odious to the people, we
  have an example in the following production of a French Jesuit,
  Andreas Frusius, printed at Cologne, 1582:—

    Elogium Martini Lutheri, ex ipsius Nomine et Cognomine.
          Depinget et dignis te nemo coloribus unquam;
            Nomen ego ut potero sic celebrabo tuum.

  Magnicrepus  | Mendax     | Morofus    | Morio     | Monstrum
  Ambitiosus   | Atrox      | Astutus    | Apostata  | Agaso
  Ridiculus    | Rhetor     | Rabiosus   | Rabula    | Raptor
  Tabificus    | Tumidus    | Tenebrosus | Transfuga | Turpis
  Impius       | Inconstans | Impostor   | Iniquus   | Ineptus
  Nyctocorax   | Nebulo     | Nugator    | Noxa      | Nefandus
  Ventosus     | Vanus      | Vilis      | Vulpecula | Vecors
  Schismaticus | Stolidus   | Seductor   | Simia     | Scurra
  Lascivus     | Leno       | Larvatus   | Latro     | Lanista
  Ventripotens | Vultur     | Vinosus    | Vappa     | Voluptas
  Tartareus    | Torris     | Tempestas  | Tarbo     | Tyrannus
  Heresiarcha  | Horrendus  | Hypocrita  | Hydra     | Hermaphroditus
  Erro         | Execrandus | Effrons    | Effronis  | Eriunis
  Retrogradus  | Reprobus   | Resupinus  | Rana      | Rebellis
  Vesanus      | Varius     | Veterator  | Vipera    | Virus
  Sacrilegus   | Satanas    | Sentina    | Sophista  | Scelestu

Each column is an acrostic of the name MARTINVS LUTHERVS,
making 80 scurrilous epithets.

I must now say something about the little books on vagabonds which
appeared in this country fifty years after the _Liber Vagatorum_ had
become popular in Germany. The first and principal of these was edited
by Thomas Harman, a gentleman who lived in the days of Queen Elizabeth,
and who appears to have spent a considerable portion of his time in
ascertaining the artifices and manœuvres of rogues and beggars. From a
close comparison of his work with the _Liber Vagatorum_, I have little
hesitation in saying that he obtained the idea and general arrangement,
together with a good deal of the matter, from the German work edited
by Luther. The title of Harman’s book is:—_A Caueat for Cvrsetors
vulgarely Called Vagabones, set forth for the vtilitie and profit of
his naturell countrey_.

This first appeared in 1566. It was very popular, and soon ran through
four editions, the last being “augmented and enlarged by the first
author thereof, with the tale of the second taking of the counterfeit
Crank, and the true report of his behaviour and punishment, most
marvellous to the hearer or reader thereof.”

The dates of the four editions are—

  _William Gryffith_    1566
     _ib._  _ib._       1567
  . . . . . . . .       1567
  _Henry Middleton_     1573

The printer of the third edition is not known. The book is dedicated,
somewhat inconsistently, considering the nature of the subject,
to Elizabeth, Countess of Shrewsbury. It gives, like the _Liber
Vagatorum_, short but graphic descriptions of the different kinds of
beggars, and concludes with a cant dictionary.

The next work on this subject which appeared in England was published
nine years later:—

_The Fraternitye of Vacabondes, with a Description of the crafty
Company of Cousoners and Shifters; whereunto also is adioyned the XXV
Orders of Knaues, other wise called a Quartern of Knaues. Confirmed for
ever by Cocke Lorell._ (_London by John Awdeley_, 4to. 1575.)[8]

Some have conjectured that it was an original compilation by Audley,
the printer; but this little book, perhaps more than Harman’s, shows
traces of the German work. The “XXV Orders of Knaues” is nearly
the number described in the _Liber Vagatorum_, and the tricks, and
description of beggars’ dresses in both are very similar. There are the
rogues with patched cloaks, who begged with their wives and “doxies;”
those with forged licenses and letters, who pretended to collect for
hospitals; those afflicted with the falling sickness, a numerous
number; some without tongues, carrying letters, pretending they have
been signed and sealed by the authorities of the towns from whence
they came; others, “freshe-water mariners,” with tales of a dreadful
shipwreck, and many more, all described in similar words, whether in
the pages of the _Liber Vagatorum_, Harman, or Audley. It is reasonable
to suppose, therefore, that the German account, being in the hands of
the people abroad half a century before anything of the kind was issued
here, copies must have found their way to England, and that from these
the other two were in a great measure derived.

I might remark that other accounts of English vagabonds were published
soon after this. The subject had become popular, and a demand for books
of the kind was the result. Harrison, who wrote the _Description of
England_, prefixed to _Holinshed’s Chronicle_ (1577), describes the
different orders of beggars. Greene, about 1592, wrote several works,
based mainly on old Harman’s book; and Decker, twenty years later,
provided a similar batch, giving an account of the vagabonds and loose
characters of his day.

Shakespeare, too, and other dramatists of the period, introduced
beggars and mendicants into their plays in company with the Gipsies,
with whom, in a great measure, in this country they were allied.

Amongst those passages which refer to the customs and tricks of
beggars, in the _Liber Vagatorum_, there are few which receive
illustration by a reference to the early laws and statutes of this

The licenses, or “letters with seals,” so frequently alluded to, and
which were granted to deserving poor people by the civil authorities,
are mentioned as customary in this country in the Act for the ordering
of Vagrants, passed in the reign of Henry VIII. (1531). It appears that
the parish officers were compelled by this statute to make inquiry into
the condition of the poor, and to ascertain who were really impotent
and who were impostors. To a person actually in want liberty was
given to beg within a certain district, “and further,” says the Act,
“there shall be delivered to every such person a letter containing
the name of that person, witnessing that he is authorized to beg, and
the limits within which he is appointed to beg, the same letter to be
sealed with the seal of the hundred, rape, wapentake, city, or borough,
and subscribed with the name of one of the said justices or officers

I need scarcely remark that a seal in those days, when but few public
functionaries could write, was looked upon as the badge of authority
and genuineness, and that as the art of writing became more general
autograph signatures supplanted seals. An English vagabond in the time
of Elizabeth, when speaking of his passport, called it his JARKE, or
JARKEMAN, viz. his sealed paper. His descendant of the present century
would term it his LINES, viz. his written paper. The cant term JARKE
is almost obsolete, but the powerful magic of a big seal is still
remembered and made use of by the tribe of cadgers. When a number of
them at the present day wait upon a farmer with a fictitious paper,
authorizing them to collect subscriptions for the sufferers in some
dreadful colliery accident, the document, covered with apparently
genuine signatures, is generally garnished with a huge seal.

In Germany it was the custom (alluded to at page 34) for the priests
or clerks to read these licenses to beg from the pulpit, that the
congregation might know which of the poor people who waited at
their doors were worthy of alms. Sometimes, as in the case of the
DÜTZBETTERIN, or false “lying-in-woman,” an anecdote of whom
is told here, the priests were deceived by counterfeit documents.

At page 17 reference is made to the wandering students who used
to trudge over the country and sojourn for a time at any school
charitable enough to take them in. These, in their journeys, often
fell in with rogues and tramps, and sometimes joined them in their
vagabond calling, in which case they obtained for themselves the
title of KAMMESIERERS, or “Learned Beggars.” Now these same
vagabond scholars were to be met with in this country in the time of
Henry VIII,—and in Ireland, I believe, so late as the last century.
Examining again the Act for Vagrants, 1531, we find that it was usual
and customary for poor scholars from Oxford and Cambridge to tramp from
county to county. The statute provided them with a document, signed
by the commissary, chancellor, or vice-chancellor, which acted as
their passport. When found without this license they were treated as
vagrants, and whipped accordingly.

It is remarkable that many of the tricks and manœuvres to obtain money
from the unthinking but benevolent people of Luther’s time should have
been practised in this country at an early date, and that they should
still be found amongst the arts to deceive thoughtless persons adopted
by rogues and tramps at the present day. The stroller, or “Master of
the Black Art,” described at page 19, is yet occasionally heard of
in our rural districts. The simple farmer believes him to be weather
and cattle wise, and should his crops be backward, or his cow “Spot,”
not “let down her milk,” with her accustomed readiness, he crosses
the fellow’s hand with a piece of silver, in order that things may be

The WILTNERS, or finders of pretended silver fingers, noticed at page
45, are now-a-days represented by the “Fawney Riggers,” or droppers
of counterfeit gold rings,—described in _Mayhew’s London Labour_, and
other works treating of the ways of vagabonds.

“Card-Sharpers,” or JONERS, mentioned at page 47, are, unfortunately
for the pockets of the simple, still to be met with on public
race-courses and at fairs.

The OVER-SÖNZEN-GOERS, or pretended distressed gentry, who went about
“neatly dressed,” with false letters, would seem to have been the
original of our modern “Begging-Letter-Writers.”

Those half-famished looking impostors, with clean aprons, or carefully
brushed threadbare coats, who stand on the curbs of our public
thoroughfares, and beg with a few sticks of sealing-wax in their
hands, were known in Luther’s time as GOOSE-SHEARERS. As the reader
will have experienced only too frequently, they have, when pretending
to be mechanics out of employ, a particularly unpleasant practice of
following people, and detailing, in half-despairing, half-threatening
sentences, the state of their pockets and their appetites. It appears
they did the same thing more than three centuries ago.

Another class, known amongst London street-folk as
“Shivering-Jemmies,”—fellows who expose themselves, half-naked, on a
cold day, to excite pity and procure alms—were known in Luther’s time
as SCHWANFELDERS,—only in those days, people being not quite
so modest as now, they stripped themselves entirely naked before
commencing to shiver at the church-doors.

Those wretches, who are occasionally brought before the police
magistrates, accused of maiming children, on purpose that they may the
better excite pity and obtain money, are, unfortunately, not peculiar
to our civilized age. These fellows committed like cruelties centuries

Borrowers of children, too,—those pretended fathers of numerous and
starving families of urchins, now often heard howling in the streets
on a wet day, the children being arranged right and left according to
height,—existed in the olden time,—only then the loan was but for All
Souls’, or other Feast Day, when the people were in a good humour.

The trick of placing soap in the mouth to produce froth, and falling
down before passers-by as though in a fit, common enough in London
streets a few years ago, is also described as one of the old manœuvres
of beggars.[9]

Travelling quack-doctors, against whom Luther cautions his readers,
were common in this country up to the beginning of the present
century.[10] And it is not long ago since the credulous countrymen in
our rural districts, were cheated by fellows—“wise-men” they preferred
being termed—who pretended to divine dreams, and say under which tree
or wall the hidden treasure, so plainly seen by Hodge in his sleep
carefully deposited in a crock, was to be found. This pleasant idea
of a pot full of gold, being buried near everybody, seems to have
possessed people in all ages. In Luther’s time the nobility and clergy
appear to have been sadly troubled with it, and it is very amusing to
learn that so simple in this respect were the latter, that after they
had given “gold and silver” to the cunning treasure-seeker, this worthy
would insist upon their offering up masses in order that the digging
might be attended with success!

And lastly, the travelling tinkers,—who appear to have had no better
name for honesty in the fifteenth century than they have now,—“going
about breaking holes in people’s kettles to give work to a multitude of
others,” says the little book.

With regard to the Rothwelsch Sprache, or cant language used by these
vagrants, it appears, like nearly all similar systems of speech, to be
founded on allegory. Many of the terms, as in the case of the ancient
cant of this country, appear to be compound corruptions,—two or more
words, in ordinary use, twisted and pronounced in such a way as to
hide their original meaning. As Luther states, in his preface, the
Hebrew appears to be a principal element. Occasionally a term from a
neighbouring country, or from a dead language may be observed, but
not frequently. As they occur in the original I have retained those
cant words which are to be found here and there in the text. Perhaps
it would have rendered a perusal less tedious had they been placed
as foot-notes; but I preferred to adhere to the form in which Luther
was content the little book should go forth to the world. The simple
form of these secret terms has generally been given, there being no
established rule for their inflection. In a few instances I found
myself unable to give English equivalents to the cant words in the
Vocabulary, so was compelled to leave them unexplained, but with the
old German meanings (not easy to be unravelled) attached.


  _Piccadilly, June, 1860._


  +Liber Vagatorum+



  _Printed at_ WITTEMBERG _in the year_


_This little book about the knaveries of beggars was first printed by
one who called himself_ Expertus in Truffis, _that is, a fellow right
expert in roguery,—which the little work very well proves, even though
he had not given himself such a name._

_But I have thought it a good thing that such a book should not only be
printed, but that it should become known everywhere, in order that men
may see and understand how mightily the devil rules in this world; and
I have also thought how such a book may help mankind to be wise, and
on the look out for him, viz. the devil. Truly, such Beggars’ Cant has
come from the Jews, for many Hebrew words occur in the Vocabulary, as
any one who understands that language may perceive._

_But the right understanding and true meaning of the book is, after
all, this, viz. that princes, lords, counsellors of state, and
everybody should be prudent, and cautious in dealing with beggars, and
learn that, whereas people will not give and help honest paupers and
needy neighbours, as ordained by God, they give, by the persuasion
of the devil, and contrary to God’s judgment, ten times as much to
Vagabonds and desperate rogues,—in like manner as we have hitherto done
to monasteries, cloisters, churches, chapels, and mendicant friars,
forsaking all the time the truly poor._

_For this reason every town and village should know their own paupers,
as written down in the Register, and assist them. But as to outlandish
and strange beggars they ought not to be borne with, unless they have
proper letters and certificates; for all the great rogueries mentioned
in this book are done by these. If each town would only keep an eye
upon their paupers, such knaveries would soon be at an end. I have
myself of late years been cheated and befooled by such tramps and
liars more than I wish to confess. Therefore, whosoever hears these
words let him be warned, and do good to his neighbour in all Christian
charity, according to the teaching of the commandment._

  _SO HELP US GOD!_ +Amen.+


+Liber Vagatorum;+


+The Mendicant Brotherhood.+

Here follows a pretty little book, called _Liber Vagatorum_, written by
a high and worthy master, _nomine Expertus in Truffis_, to the praise
and glory of God, _sibi in refrigerium et solacium_, for all persons’
instruction and benefit, and for the correction and conversion of those
that practise such knaveries as are shown hereafter; which little book
is divided into three parts. Part the first shows the several methods
by which mendicants and tramps get their livelihood; and is subdivided
into XX chapters, _et paulo plus_,—for there are XX ways, _et ultra_,
whereby men are cheated and fooled. Part the second gives some
_notabilia_ which refer to the means of livelihood afore mentioned.
The third part presents a Vocabulary of their language or gibberish,
commonly called Red Welsh, or Beggar-lingo.


+Of the Bregers, or Beggars.+

The first chapter is about BREGERS. These are beggars who have
neither the signs of the saints about them, nor other good qualities,
but they come plainly and simply to people and ask an alms for God’s,
or the Holy Virgin’s sake:—perchance honest paupers with young
children, who are known in the town or village wherein they beg, and
who would, I doubt not, leave off begging if they could only thrive
by their handicraft or other honest means, for there is many a godly
man who begs unwillingly, and feels ashamed before those who knew him
formerly when he was better off, and before he was compelled to beg.
Could he but proceed without he would soon leave begging behind him.

_Conclusio_: To these beggars it is proper to give, for such alms are
well laid out.

+Of the Stabülers, or Bread Gatherers.+

The next chapter is about the STABÜLERS. These are vagrants who tramp
through the country from one Saint to another, their wives (KRÖNERIN)
and children (GATZAM) going (ALCHEN) with them. Their hats (WETTERHAN)
and cloaks (WINTFANG) hang full of signs of all the saints,—the cloak
(wintfang) being made (VETZEN) out of a hundred pieces. They go to
the peasants who give them bread (LEHEM DIPPEN); and each of these
STABÜLERS has six or seven sacks, and carries a pot, plate, spoon,
flask, and whatever else is needed for the journey with him. These
same STABÜLERS never leave off begging, nor do their children, from
their infancy to the day of their death—for the beggar’s staff keeps
the fingers (GRIFFLING) warm—and they neither will nor can work, and
their children (GATZAM) grow up to be harlots and harlotmongers (GLIDEN
und GLIDESVETZER), hangmen and flayers (ZWICKMEN und KAVELLER). Also,
whithersoever these STABÜLERS come, in town or country, they beg; at
one house for God’s sake, at another for St. Valentine’s sake, at a
third for St. Kürine’s, _sic de aliis_, according to the disposition
of the people from whom they seek alms. For they do not adhere to one
patron or trust to one method alone.

_Conclusio_: Thou mayest give to them if thou wilt, for they are half
bad and half good,—not all bad, but most part.

+Of the Lossners,[11] or liberated Prisoners.+

The iij^{rd} chapter is about the LOSSNERS. These are knaves who say
they have lain in prison vi or vij years, and carry the chains with
them wherein they lay as captives among the infidel (_id est_, in the
SONNENBOSS, _i.e._ brothel) for their christian faith; _item_, on the
sea in galleys or ships enchained in iron fetters; _item_, in a strong
tower for innocence’ sake; and they have forged letters (LOE BSAFFOT),
as from the princes and lords of foreign lands, and from the towns
(KIELAM) there, to bear witness to their truth, tho’ all the time
they are deceit and lies (GEVOPT und GEVERBT),—— for vagabonds may
be found everywhere on the road who can make (VETZEN) any seal they
like—— and they say they have vowed to Our Lady at Einsiedlin (in the
DALLINGER’S BOSS, _i.e._ harlot’s house), or to some other Saint (in
the SCHÖCHERBOSS, _i.e._ beer-house), according to what country they
are in, a pound of wax, a silver crucifix, or a chasuble; and they say
they have been made free through that vow, and, when they had vowed,
the chains opened and broke, and they departed safe and without harm.
_Item_, some carry iron fastenings, or coats of mail (PANZER) with
them, _et sic de aliis_. _Nota:_ They have perchance bought (KÜMMERT)
the chains; perchance they had them made (VETZEN); perchance stolen
(GEJENFT) them from the church (DIFTEL) of St. Lenhart.

_Conclusio_: To such vagrants thou shalt give nothing, for they do
nought but deceive (VOPPEN) and cheat (VERBEN) thee; not one in a
thousand speaks the truth.

+Of the Klenkners, or Cripples.+

The iiij^{th} is about the KLENKNERS. These are the beggars who sit
at the church-doors, and attend fairs and church gatherings with sore
and broken legs; one has no foot, another no shank, a third no hand or
arm. _Item_, some have chains lying by them, saying they have lain in
captivity for innocence’ sake, and commonly they have a St. Sebastianum
or St. Lenhartum with them, and they pray and cry with a loud voice and
noisy lamentations for the sake of the Saints, and every third word one
of them speaks (BARL) is a lie (GEVOP), and the people who give alms
to him are cheated (BESEFELT),—inasmuch as his thigh or his foot has
rotted away in prison or in the stocks for wicked deeds. _Item_, one’s
hand has been chopped off in the quarrels over dice or for the sake
of a harlot. _Item_, many a one ties a leg up or besmears an arm with
salves, or walks on crutches, and all the while as little ails him as
other men. _Item_, at Utenheim there was a priest by name Master Hans
Ziegler (he holds now the benefice of Rosheim), and he had his niece
with him. One upon crutches came before his house. His niece carried
him a piece of bread. He said, “Wilt thou give me nought else?” She
said, “I have nought else.” He replied, “Thou old priest’s harlot! wilt
thou make thy parson rich?” and swore many oaths as big as he could
utter them. She cried and came into the room and told the priest. The
priest went out and ran after him. The beggar dropped his crutches
and fled so fast that the parson could not catch him. A short time
afterwards the parson’s house was burnt down; he said the KLENKNER did
it. _Item_, another true example: at Schletstat, one was sitting at
the church-door. This man had cut the leg of a thief from the gallows.
He put on the dead leg and tied his own leg up. He had a quarrel with
another beggar. This latter one ran off and told the townserjeant.
When he saw the serjeant coming he fled and left the sore leg behind
him and ran out of the town—a horse could hardly have overtaken him.
Soon afterwards he hung on the gallows at Achern, and the dry leg
beside him, and they called him Peter of Kreuzenach. _Item_, they are
the biggest blasphemers thou canst find who do such things; and they
have also the finest harlots (GLIDEN), they are the first-comers at
fairs and church-celebrations, and the last-goers therefrom.

_Conclusio_: Give them a kick on their hind parts if thou canst, for
they are nought but cheats (BESEFLER) of the peasants (HANZEN) and all
other men.

Example: One was called Uz of Lindau. He was at Ulm, in the hospital
there, for xiiij days, and on St. Sebastian’s day he lay before a
church, his hands and thighs tied up, nevertheless he could use both
legs and hands. This was betrayed to the constables. When he saw them
coming he fled from the town,—a horse could hardly have ran faster.

+Of Dobissers,[12] or Dopfers,+ _i.e._ +Church-mendicants.+

The v^{th} chapter is about DOBISSERS. These beggars (STIRNENSTÖSSER,
_i.e._ spurious anointers) go _HOSTIATIM_ from house to house, and
touch the peasant and his wife (HANZ und HANZIN) with the Holy Virgin,
or some other Saint, saying that it is the Holy Virgin from the
chapel,—and they pass themselves off for friars from the same place.
_Item_, that the chapel was poor and they beg linen-thread for an
altar-cloth (_id est_, a gown [CLAFFOT] for a harlot [SCHREFEN]).
_Item_, fragments of silver for a chalice (_id est_, to spend it in
drinking [VERSCHÖCHERN] or gambling [VERJONEN]). _Item_, towels for the
priests to dry their hands upon, (_id est_, to sell [VERKÜMMERN] them).
_Item_, there are also DOBISSERS, church-beggars, who have letters
with seals, and beg alms to repair a ruined chapel (DIFTEL), or to
build a new church. Verily, such friars _do_ make collections for an
_edificium_—viz. one which lies not far below the nose, and is called
St. Drunkard’s chapel.

_Conclusio_: As to these DOBISSERS, give them nought, for they cheat
and defraud thee. If from a church that lies ij or iij miles from thee
people come and beg, give them as much as thou wilt or canst.

+Of Kammesierers, or Learned Beggars+.

The vjth chapter is about the KAMMESIERERS. These beggars are
young scholars or young students, who do not obey their fathers and
mothers, and do not listen to their masters’ teaching, and so depart,
and fall into the bad company of such as are learned in the arts
of strolling and tramping, and who quickly help them to lose all
they have by gambling (VERJONEN), pawning (VERSENKEN), or selling
(VERKÜMMERN) it, with drinking (VERSCHÖCHERN) and revelry. And when
they have nought more left, they learn begging, and KAMMESIERING, and
to cheat the farmers (HANZEN-BESEFLEN); and they KAMESIER as
follows: _Item_, that they come from Rome (_id est_, from the brothel
[SONNENBOSS]), studying to become priests (on the gallows, _i.e._
DOLMAN); _item_, one is _acolitus_, another is _epistolarius_,
the third _evangelicus_, and a fourth _clericus_ (GALCH); _item_, they
have nought on earth but the alms wherewith people help them, and all
their friends and family have long been called away by death’s song.
_Item_, they ask linen cloth for an alb (_id est_, for a harlot’s
shift, _i.e._ GLIDEN HANFSTAUDEN). _Item_, money, that they may be
consecrated at next Corpus Christi day (_id est_, in a SONNENBOSS,
_i.e._ brothel), and whatever they get by cheating and begging they
lose in gambling (VERJONEN), or with strumpets, or spend it in drink
(VERSCHOCHERNS und VERBOLENS). _Item_, they shave tonsures
on their heads, although they are not ordained and have no church
document (FORMAT), though they say they have, and they are altogether a
bad lot (LOE VOT).

_Conclusio_: As to these KAMMESIERERS give them nought, for the less
thou givest them the better it is for them, and the sooner they must
leave off. They have also forged FORMATÆ (_literæ_).

+Of Vagrants (Vagierern), or Strollers.+

The vij^{th} chapter is about VAGRANTS. These are beggars or
adventurers who wear yellow garments, come from Venusberg, know the
black art, and are called rambling scholars. These same when they come
into a house speak thus:—“Here comes a rambling scholar, a magister of
the seven free arts (_id est_, the various ways of cheating [BESEFLEN]
the farmers [HANZEN]), an exorciser of the devil for hail, for storm,
and for witchcraft.” Then he utters some magical words and crosses his
breast ii or iij times, and speaks thus:—

  “Wherever these words are said,
   No man shall suddenly fall dead,
   No murrain, mildew or other miserie
   Shall touch this ground to all eternitie;”

and many more precious words. Then the farmers (HANZEN) think it all
true, and are glad that he is come, and are sorry they have never seen
a wandering scholar before, and speak to the vagrant:—“This or that has
happened to me, can you help me? I would willingly give you a florin
or ij”—and he says “Yes,” and cheats the farmers (BESEFELTDEN den
HANZEN ums MESS) out of their money. And after these experiments they
depart. The farmers suppose that by their talking they can drive the
devil away, and can help them from any trouble that has befallen them.
Thou canst ask them nothing but they will perform thee an experiment
therewith; that is, they can cheat and defraud thee of thy money.

_Conclusio_: Beware of these _Vagrants_, for wherewith they practise is
all lies.

+Of the Grantners, or Knaves with the falling Sickness.+

The viij^{th} chapter is about the GRANTNERS. These are the beggars
who say in the farm-houses (HANSEN-BOSS):—“Oh, dear friend, look at
me, I am afflicted with the falling sickness of St. Valentine, or St.
Kurinus, or St. Vitus, or St. Antonius, and have offered myself to the
Holy Saint (_ut supra_) with vj pounds of wax, with an altar cloth,
with a silver salver (_et cetera_), and must bring these together from
pious people’s offerings and help; therefore I beg you to contribute
a heller, a spindleful of flax, a ribbon, or some linen yarn for the
altar, that God and the Holy Saint may protect you from misery and
disease and the falling sickness.” _Nota_: A false (LOE) trick.

_Item_, some fall down before the churches, or in other places with a
piece of soap in their mouths, whereby the foam rises as big as a fist,
and they prick their nostrils with a straw, causing them to bleed, as
though they had the falling-sickness. _Nota_: this is utter knavery.
These are villanous vagrants that infest all countries. _Item_, there
are many who speak (BARLEN) thus:—“Listen to me, dear friends, I am
a butcher’s son, a tradesman. And it happened some time since that a
vagrant came to my father’s house and begged for St. Valentine’s sake;
and my father gave me a penny to give to him. I said, ‘father, it is
knavery.’ My father told me to give it to him, but I gave it him not.
And since that hour I have been afflicted with the falling-sickness,
and I have made a vow to St. Valentine of iij pounds of wax and a
High Mass, and I beg and pray pious folks to help me, because I have
made this vow; otherwise I should have substance enough for myself.
Therefore I ask of you an offering and help that the dear holy St.
Valentine may guard and protect you evermore.” _Nota_: what he says is
all lies. _Item_, he has been more than xx years collecting for his iij
pounds of wax and the mass, and has been gambling (VERJONEN), bibbling
(VERSCHÖCHERN), and rioting (VERBOLEN) with it. And there are many that
use other and more subtle words than those given in this book. _Item_,
some have a written testimony (BSAFFOT) that it is all true.

_Conclusio_: If any of the GRANTNERS cometh before thine house, and
simply beggeth for God’s sake, and speaketh not many, nor flowery
words, to them thou shalt give, for there are many men who have been
afflicted with the sickness by the Saints; but as to those GRANTNERS
who use many words, speak of great wonders, tell you that they have
made vows, and can altogether skilfully use their tongues—these are
signs that they have followed this business for a long time, and, I
doubt not, they are false and not to be trusted. As to him who believes
them, they take a nut off his tree. Take care of such, and give them

+Of the Dutzers.+

The ix^{th} chapter is about the DUTZERS. These are beggars who have
been ill for a long time, as they say, and have promised a difficult
pilgrimage to this or that Saint (_ut supra in precedenti capitulo_)
for three whole and entire alms every day, that they, thereby, must go
each day from door to door until they find three pious men who will
give them three entire alms. Thus speaketh a pious man unto them:
“What is an entire alms?” Whereat the DUTZER replieth: “A ‘plaphart’
(_blaffard_), whereof I must have three every day, and take no less,
for without that the pilgrimage is no good.” Some go for iij pennies,
some for one penny, _et in toto nihil_. And the alms they “must have
from a good and correct man.” Such is the vanity of women, rather than
be called impious they give a double “blaffard,” and send the DUTZER
one to another, who uses many other words which I cannot make bold to
repeat. _Item_, they would take a hundred “blaffards” and more a day if
they were given them, and what they say is all lies (GEVOPT). _Item_,
this also is DUTZING, viz. when a beggar comes to thine house and
speaks: “Good woman, might I ask you for a spoonful of butter; I have
many young children, and I want the wherewith to cook soup for them?”
_Item_, for an egg (BETZAM): “I have a child bedridden now these seven
days.” _Item_, for a mouthful of wine, “for I have a sick wife,” _et
sic de aliis_. This is called DUTZING.

_Conclusio_: Give nought whatsoever to those DUTZERS who say that they
have taken a vow not to gather more _per diem_ than iij or iiij entire
alms, _ut supra_. They are half good (HUNT), and half bad (LÖTSCH); but
the greater part bad.

+Of Schleppers, or False Begging Priests.+

The x^{th} chapter is about the SCHLEPPERS. These are KAMMESIERERS
who pretend to be priests. They come to the houses with a _famulus_
or _discipulus_ who carries a sack after them, and speak thus:—“Here
comes a consecrated man, named Master George Kessler, of Kitzebühel
(or what else he likes to call himself) and I am of such-and-such a
village, or of such-and-such a family (naming a family which they
know), and I will officiate at my first mass on such-and-such a day
in that village, and I was consecrated for the altar in such-and-such
a town at such-and-such a church, and there is no altar cloth, nor is
there a missal, _et cetera_, and I cannot afford them without much help
from all men; for mark, whosoever is commended for an offering in the
angel’s requiem, or for as many pennies as he gives, so many souls will
be released amongst his deceased kindred.” _Item_, they receive also
the farmer (HANZ) and his wife (HANZIN) into a brotherhood, which they
say had bestowed on it grace and a great indulgence from the bishop
who is to erect the altar. Thus men are moved to pity; one gives linen
yarn, another flax or hemp; one table cloths, or towels, or old silver
plate; and the SCHLEPPERS say that they are not a brotherhood like
the others who have _questionerer_, and who come every year, but that
they will come no more (for if they came again they would certainly
be drowned [GEFLÖSSELT]). _Item_, this manner is greatly practised in
the Black Forest, and in the country of Bregenz, in Kurwalen, and in
the Bar, and in the Algen, and on the Adige, and in Switzerland, where
there are not many priests, and where the churches are far distant from
each other,—as are also the farms.

_Conclusio_: To these SCHLEPPERS, or Knaves, give nothing, for it would
be badly laid out.

_Exemplum_, One was called Mansuetus; he also invited the farmers to
his first mass at St. Gallen; and when they came to St. Gallen they
sought for him in the cathedral, but found him not. After their meal
they discovered him in a brothel (_SONNENBOSS_), but he escaped.

+Of the Gickisses, or Blind Beggars.+

The xi^{th} chapter is of the GICKISSES, or Blind Beggars. Mark:
there are three kinds of blind men who wander about. Some are called
BLOCHARTS, _id est_, blind men—made blind by the power of God,—they go
on a pilgrimage, and when they come into a town they hide their round
hats, and say to the people they have been stolen from them, or lost
at the places where they had sheltered themselves, and one of them
often collects ten or xx caps, and then sells them. Some are called
blind who have lost their sight by evil-doings and wickednesses. They
wander about in the country and carry with them pictures of devils, and
repair to the churches, and pretend they had been at Rome, to Saint
James, and other distant places, and speak of great signs and wonders
that had taken place, but it is all lies and deception. Some of the
blind men are called BROKEN WANDERERS (Bruch Umbgeen). These are such
as have been blinded ten years or more; they take cotton, and make the
cotton bloody, and then with a kerchief tie this over their eyes, and
say that they have been mercers or pedlers, and were blinded by wicked
men in a forest, that they were tied fast to a tree and so remained
three or four days, and, but for a merciful passer-by, they would have
miserably perished;—and this is called BROKEN WANDERING.

_Conclusio_: Know them well before thou givest to them; my advice is
only give to those thou knowest.

+Of the Schwanfelders, Blickschlahers, or Naked Beggars.+

The xij^{th} chapter is about the SCHWANFELDERS, or BLICKSCHLAHERS.
These are beggars who, when they come to a town, leave their clothes
at the hostelry, and sit down against the churches naked, and shiver
terribly before the people that they may think they are suffering from
great cold. They prick themselves with nettle-feed and other things,
whereby they are made to shake. Some say they have been robbed by
wicked men; some that they have lain ill and for this reason were
compelled to sell their clothes. Some say they have been stolen from
them; but all this is only that people should give them more clothes,
when they sell (VERKÜMMERN) them, and spend the money with lewd women
(VERBOLENS) and gambling (VERJONENS).

_Conclusio_: Beware of these SCHWANFELDERS for it is all knavery, and
give them nothing, whether they be men or women, (unless) thou knowest
them well.

+Of the Voppers, or Demoniacs.+

The xiij^{th} chapter is about the VOPPERS. These beggars are for
the most part women, who allow themselves to be led in chains as if
they were raving mad; they tear their shifts from their bodies, in
order that they may deceive people. There are also some that do both,
VOPPERY and DUTZING, together. This is VOPPING, viz. when one begs for
his wife’s or any other person’s sake and says she has been possessed
of a devil (tho’ there is no truth in it), and he has vowed to some
Saint (whom he names), and must have xij pounds of wax or other things
whereby the person will be delivered from the power of the devil. These

_Conclusio_: This is a wicked and false way of begging. They sing,—

  A beggar’s (BREGAR) wench (ERLATIN) will cheat,
  And lie (VOPPEN) and be full of deceit (FERBEN):
  And he kicks and beats her with his shoe.

There are also some VOPPERINAE, _id est_, women, who pretend that
they have diseases of the breast. They take a cow’s spleen, and peel
it on one side, and then lay it upon their bosom—the peeled part
outside—besmearing it with blood, in order that people may think it is
the breast. These are the VOPPERINAE.

+Of the Dallingers, or Hangmen.+

The xiiij^{th} chapter is about the D a l l i n g e r s. These are
they who stand before the churches, having been hangmen (although
they have left it off i year or ii since), and chastise and whip
themselves with rods, and will do penance and pilgrimage for their sin
and wickednesses. These often beg with much success. When they have
practised for a while and cheated many people thereby, they become
hangmen again, as before. Give to them if thou wilt; but they are all
knaves who beg thus.

+Of the Dützbetterins, or Lying-in Women.+

The xv^{th} chapter is about the DÜTZBETTERINS. These are the
beggarwomen who lay themselves before the churches all over the
country. They spread a sheet over themselves, and set wax and eggs
by them, as tho’ they were in childbed, and say, their babe died
xiiij days ago, altho’ some of them have not had one these x or xx
years; and they are called DÜTZBETTERINS. To these nothing is to be
given,—_causa_: There lay once, at Strasburg, a man underneath a sheet
before the cathedral, and it was pretended he was a woman in childbed.
But he was taken by the town serjeants, and put into a halsong, and in
the pillory, and then he was forbidden the country. There are likewise
some women who pretend they have been pregnant with a monster and have
brought forth such, as did a woman who came to Pforzheim in the year
one thousand five hundred and nine. This same woman said that a short
time before she had given birth to a child and a live toad; and that
this very toad she had carried to Our Lady at Einsiedeln, where it was
still alive, and that it must have a pound of meat every day,—being
kept at Einsiedeln as a miracle. Thus she begs alms as if she were
on her way to Ach, to Our Lady. She had also a letter with a seal,
which was proclaimed from the pulpit. The same woman, however, had a
lusty young man whom she kept in food by such villany, sitting in an
ale-house in the suburb waiting for her. All this was found out by the
gate-keeper; and they would have been seized, but they had been warned
and so took themselves off. _Nota_: All this was utter knavery.

+Of the Süntvegers, or (pretended) Murderers.+

The xvi^{th} chapter is about the SÜNTVEGERS. These are strong fellows
who go about the country with long knives and say they have taken a
man’s life away, but that it was in self-defence, and then they name a
sum of money which they must have, and unless they bring the money at
the right time, they will have their heads cut off. _Item_, some are
accompanied by a fellow on their begging-rounds who goes in iron chains
and fetters fastened with rings, and who says he was bail for the other
for a sum of money to the people, and if he gets not the money in time,
both of them must perish.

+Of the female Süntvegers.+

The xvij^{th} chapter is about the FEMALE-SÜNTVEGERS. These are the
wives (KRÖNERIN), or, in reality, the wenches (GLIDEN) of the above
fellows (_supra in precedenti capitulo_). They wander over the country,
and say that formerly they led a loose life, but that now they repent
and would turn from their wickedness, and beg alms for the sake of
Sancta Maria Magdalena, and cheat the people therewith.

+Of the Bil-wearers,[13] or (pretended) pregnant Women.+

The xviij^{th} chapter is about the BIL-WEARERS. These are the women
who tie old jerkins, or clothes, or a pillow over their person,
underneath the gown, in order that people may think they are with
child; and they have not had one for xx years or more. This is called

+Of the Virgins (Jungfrauen), or pretended Lepers.+

The xix^{th} chapter is about the VIRGINS. These are beggars who carry
rattles as though they were real lepers, and yet they are not. This is

+Of the Mümsen, or Spurious Beggars.+

The xx^{th} chapter treats of the MÜMSEN. These are beggars who go
about under the pretence of begging; though it is not real, like that
of the Capuchin Friars who are voluntarily poor. These same men have
their women sitting in out-of-the-way corners also following the
business. This is called GOING WITH THE MÜMSEN.

+Of the Over-Sönzen-Goers,[15] or pretended Noblemen and Knights.+

The xxi^{st} chapter is about OVER-SÖNZEN-GOERS. These are vagrants or
beggars who say they are of noble birth, and that they have suffered
by war, fire, or captivity, or have been driven away and lost all they
had. These clothe themselves prettily and with neatness, as though they
were noble, though it is not so; they have false letters (LOE BSAFFOT);
and this they call GOING OVER SÖNZEN.

+Of the Kandierers, or pretended Mercers.+

The xxij^{nd} chapter is about the KANDIERERS. These are beggars
tidily dressed; they make people believe they had once been merchants
over the sea, and have with them a LOE BSAFFOT, from the bishop
(as common people think), but the trick has been well related in
_capitulo tertio_, together with an account of the LOSSNERS (liberated
prisoners),—how they obtain their false letters and seals, saying they
have been robbed; but it is all lies. This is called GOING OVER CLANT.

+Of the Veranerins, or baptized Jewesses.+

The xxiij^{rd} chapter is about the VERANERINS. These are women who say
they are baptized Jewesses and have turned Christians, and can tell
people whether their fathers or mothers are in hell or not, and beg
gowns and dresses and other things, and have also false letters and
seals. They are called VERANERINS.

+Of Christianers, Calmierers, or (pretended) Pilgrims.+

The xxiiij^{th} chapter is about CHRISTIANERS or CALMIERERS. These
are beggars who wear signs in their hats, especially Roman veronicas,
shells, and other tokens, which they sell to each other, in order that
it shall be thought they have been in distant cities and foreign parts.
For this reason they wear these signs, although they have never come
thence, and they deceive people thereby. They are called CALMIERERS.

+Of the Seffers, or Salvers.+

The xxv^{th} chapter is about the SEFFERS. These are beggars who
besmear themselves all over with salve, and lie down before the
churches; thus looking as though they had been ill a long time, and as
if their mouth and face had broken out in sores; but if they go to a
bath three days after these go away again.

+Of the Schweigers, or the Jaundiced.+

The xxvj^{th} chapter is about the SCHWEIGERS. These are beggars who
take horses’ dung and mix it with water, and besmear their legs, hands,
and arms with it; thereby appearing as if they had the yellow sickness,
or other dreadful disease. Yet it is not true; they cheat people
therewith, and they are called SCHWEIGERS.

+Of the Burkhart.+

The xxvij^{th} chapter is about the BURKHART. These are they who thrust
their hands into gauntlets, and tie them with kerchiefs to their
throats, and say they have Saint Anthony’s penance, or that of any
other Saint. Yet it is not true, and they cheat people therewith. This

+Of the Platschierers, or Blind Harpers.+

The xxviij^{th} chapter is about the PLATSCHIERERS. These are the
blind men who sit before the churches on chairs, and play on the lute,
and sing various songs of foreign lands whither they have never been,
and when they have done singing they begin to VOP (to lie) and FERB
in what manner they had lost their eye-sight. _Item_, the hangmen
(PLATSCHIERERS) also before the DIFTEL door (church-door) will take
their clothes off till they are stark-naked, and lash themselves with
whips and sticks for the sake of their sins, and they do this VOPPERY
to cheat mankind, as thou hast just heard in the previous chapter; and
this is called PLATSCHIERING. Also those who stand on stools, and lash
themselves with stones and other things, and talk about the saints,
usually become hangmen and slayers.


  _This is the Second Part of this Book, which speaketh of several_
  Notabilia _that relate to the afore-mentioned customs and methods of
  getting a living, given in a few words._

_Item_, there are some of the afore-mentioned who neither ask before
a house nor at the door, but step right into the house, or into the
chamber, whether any body be within or no. It is from no good reason.
These thou knowest thyself.

_Item_, there are also some that go up and down the aisles of churches,
and carry a cup in their hands. They wear clothes suitable for this
purpose, and pass about very infirm as tho’ they were strangely ill,
and go from one to the other, and bow towards those people who are
likely to give them something. They are called PFLÜGERS.

_Item_, there are also some who borrow children upon All Souls’ or
other Feast Day, and sit down before the churches as tho’ they
had many children, and they say “these children are motherless” or
“fatherless,” but it is not true. This is done in order that people may
give to them the more willingly for the sake of ADONE (God).

_Exemplum_: In a village in Switzerland, there is a statute whereby
they give to every beggar vs. hellers on condition that he shall for
a quarter of a year at least not beg in the same neighbourhood. Once
a woman took these same vs. hellers on condition that she would not
beg any more in the neighbourhood. After that she cut her hair off,
and begged up and down the country, and came again to Swytz, into the
village, and sat down at the church gate with a young child. When the
child was uncovered it was found to be a dog. Then she had to run away
from the country. This person was called _Weissenburgerin_; she had
been in prison at Zurich combing wool.

_Item_, there are some who put on good clothes and beg in the streets.
They accost any person, be it woman or man, and say, they have lain
ill a long time, and are mechanics who have expended all their goods
and are ashamed to beg, and ask that thou mayest help them to proceed
on their journey. These are called GOOSE-SHEARERS.[16]

_Item_, there are likewise some among those beforementioned who pretend
they can dig or search for hidden treasures, and when they find some
one who allows himself to be persuaded, they say they must have gold
and silver, and must have many masses celebrated to this same end, _et
cetera_, with many more words added. Thereby they deceive the nobility,
the clergy, and also the laity, for it has not yet been heard that
such villains have found these valuables. But they have cheated people
enough. They are called SEFEL-(dirt-)DIGGERS.

_Item_, there are also some among the above who treat their children
badly in order that they may become lame (and who would be sorry if
they should grow straight-legged) for thereby they are more able to
cheat people with their LOE VOTS (lying words).

_Item_, there are also others among the above who, when they come
into the villages, have a little counterfeit finger and dirt[17] upon
it, smearing it all over, and say they have found it, and ask if
somebody will buy it. Thus a silly peasant’s wife (HANZIN) thinks it
is silver, and knows it not, and gives them vi pennies or more for it,
and therewith she is cheated. In like manner with _pater nosters_, or
other signs which they carry underneath their cloaks. They are called

_Item_, there are also some QUESTIONERERS (persons who ask alms)
who make evil use of the holy goods which they receive, be it flax,
linen-cloth, broken silver plate, or other things; they are easily
detected by those who are knowing, but the common man will soon
be cheated. I give to no QUESTIONER anything, excepting the four
messengers, _id est_, those that are here written down, viz. _Sancti
Antonii_, _Sancti Valentini_, _Sancti Bernardi_, _et Spiritus Sancti_.
The same have been confirmed by the See of Rome.[18]

_Item_, beware of the pedlers who seek thee at home, for thou wilt buy
nothing good of them, be it silver, haberdashery, spicery, or any other

Beware, likewise, of the doctors who travel up and down the country,
and offer theriack and roots, and make much ado about themselves, and
especially some blind doctors. One called Hans of Strasburg, has been a
Jew, and was christened at Strasburg at Whitsuntide; years ago his eyes
were bored out at Worms, but he is now a physician, and tells fortunes,
and travels from place to place, and cheats and defrauds every body.
How? I need not say, I could tell well enough.

_Item_, beware of the JONERS (gamblers) who practice BESEFLERY with the
BRIEF (cheating at cards), who _deal_ falsely and _cut_ one for the
other, cheat with BÖGLEIN and SPIES, pick one BRIEF (card) from the
ground, and another from a cupboard; they cheat also with the REGERS
(dice); with _hearts_, the _chest_, in _taking off_ and in _laying on_,
with METZES, STABS, GUMNES, PRISSING, with the _four knaves_; they use
LOE MESS (bad coins), or LOE STETTINGERS (bad florins), and make use of
many other rogueries, such as _drawing out_, the _rot_, _the stake_,
&c., which I had better not explain, for your own good.

And these same knaves eat and drink always at such houses as are called
the Stick, which means they never pay the landlord what they owe him,
but when they leave there “sticks” mostly something to them which
commonly departs with them.

_Item_, there is yet another sort among the land-strollers. These are
the _tinkers_ who travel about the country. They have women (WEIBER)
who go before them and sing and play; some go about full of mischief,
and if thou givest them nothing, one of them mayhap will break a hole
in thy kettle with a stick or a knife to give work to a multitude of

_Et sic de aliis._





  _ADONE_, God. _Hebrew_, ADHONAIY, the Lord, _i.e._ God.

  _ACHELN_, to eat. _Hebrew_, AKÁL.

  _ALCHEN!_ to go.

  _ALCH DICH!_ go! or, go quickly!

  _ALCH DICH ÜBERN BREITHART!_ go far away! remove to a distance!

  _ALCH DICH ÜBERN GLENZ!_ go far away! remove to a distance!

  _BARLEN_, to speak. _French_, PARLER.

  _BESCHÖCHER_, tipsy. _German_, BESOFFEN, drunken, inebriated.

  _BETZAM_, an egg. _Hebrew_, BEYTZAH.

  _BLECH_, a BLAFFART,—an obsolete coin containing 48 hellers.
    _German_, BLECH, a thin piece of metal.

  _BLECHLEIN_, a kreuzer,—a smaller coin than the preceding,
     containing 8 hellers. _German_, BLECHLEIN, the diminutive of BLECH.

  _BÖLEN_, HELSEN,—probably the _German_, HALSEN, to embrace any one,
     to jump at one’s neck (HALS); also to veer.

  _BOPPEN_, to lie; be placed or situated.

  _BOSS_, or BETT, a house. This term would seem to be from the
    _Hebrew_, BETH, a house. Bo, or BOS, is a common prefix in the old
    _Cornish_, and signifies a house, as BOSCAWEN, BOSPIDNICK.

  _BOSS DICH!_ hold thy tongue!

  _BOSSHART_, meat. The _Hebrew_, BÁSAR, signifies flesh.

  _BOSSHART-VETZER_, a butcher. _Hebrew._

  _BREGEN_, to beg. Both this and the following are probably
     corruptions of the _German_, PREDIGEN, to pray, to preach; or they
     may have come from the _Old German_, BRACHER, a pauper. Possibly,
     however, they are nothing more than corruptions of BEGHARD, the
     name given to a low order of friars before the Reformation. These
     professed poverty, and lived on alms. Their orthodoxy and morality
     were doubtful. In general they were denounced by the ecclesiastical
     authorities. _See_ Mosheim, _de_ BEGHARDIS _et Beguinis_. The term
     evidently comes from the _Saxon_, BEGGEN, mendicare; and HARD, or
     HART, a servant.

  _BREGER_, a beggar.

  _BREITHART_, far, wide,—BREIT here being equivalent to broad, or
     wide; and HART, to very, or exceedingly.

  _BREITFUSS_, a goose, or duck,—literally, a “broad-foot.”

  _BRESEM_, BRÜCH, to break. The _Old German_, BRUCH, signifies
    _fractura_, _ruptura_; _femoralia_; _locus palustris_; _infractio
     legis_. The _Modern German_, BRUCH, refers to a breach or rupture
     in a person, especially a breakage caused by violence.

  _BRIEF_, a playing card. _German_, BRIEF, a letter.

  _BRIEFELVETZER_, a clerk. _Vide_ FETZEN.

  _BRIEFEN_, to play at cards.

  _BRISSEN_, to denounce.

  _BRÜSS_, a leper.

  _BSAFFOT_, a letter, a cipher. The _German_, ZIFFER, signifies a
     cipher, and probably comes from the _Arabic_ or _Hebrew_,—SÉPHER in
     the latter being equivalent to writing, a writing, or whatever is
     written in a book.

  _BSCHIDERICH_, a magistrate. Probably this term, together with
     the following, were merely vulgar adaptations of the _German_,
     BESCHEIDEN, to appoint, to be discreet. The _Old German_,
     BESCHEID-RIK, might be translated as “powerful in decision,” and
     BESCHEIDRUOM, “renowned for discretion or modesty.”

  _BSCHUDERULM_, nobility.

  _BÜTZELMAN_, ZAGEL. The _German_, ZAGEL, is a provincial word, and
     signifies a tail. _See_ SCHEISS.

  _DALLINGER_, a hangman. Probably a corruption of GALGENER,—from the
    _German_, GALGEN, a gallows, or gibbet.

  _DERLING_, a die (plural _dice_).

  _DIERLING_, the eye. Possibly a diminutive of the _German_, THÜR, a
     door, or entrance,—not inappropriately applied to the eye, as the
     little door out of which all things are seen.

  _DIERN_, to see.

  _DIFTEL_, a church. Probably a corruption of the _German_,
     STIFTEL,—a diminutive of STIFT, a cathedral. STIFTUNG is a
     foundation, establishment; STIFTER, a founder.

  _DIPPEN_, to give. _German_, GEBEN.

  _DOLMAN_, the gallows. The _German_, DOLMAN, properly signifies a
     pelisse,—the tight-fitting nature of which may have given rise to
     the cant application to a gallows.

  _DOTSCH_, _vulva_. Supposed by some to be from the _German_,
     TASCHE, a pocket. The _Bavarian_ words DOTSCH, DOST, DOSTEN,
     however, still signify _vulva_.

  _DOUL_ (_i. e._ DÖEL,—DAUL), a penny. The fourth part of a
     BLECHLEIN, or kreuzer.

  _DRITLING_, a shoe. From the _Old German_, TRITLING, a footstool, a
     bench,—a diminutive of TRITT, _gradus_, _passus incessus_, _cursus
     pedestris_. TRETTEN is _omnes pedum motus_, from the _Celtic_,
     TRUD; _Ancient British_, TROED,—so that it seems very probable that
     TRITLING, or DRITLING, may have meant a little treader, or shoe.


  _EMS_, good. The _German_, EMSIG, is assiduous; DIE EMSIGE BIENE,
     the busy bee. It seems to come from the _Old German_, EMMAZZIG, for
     UNMUAZIG, _occupatus et minime otiosus_. After the same fashion is
     derived the _French_, A-MUSER.


  _ERLAT_, the master. The _Welch_, HERLOD, is a stripling, lad;
     HERLODES, a damsel, girl. It is supposed that the word “harlot,”
     which originally signified a bold stripling, is from this. Chaucer

       A sturdie _harlot_—that was her hostes man,
       He was a gentil _harlot_, and a kind.

     If ERLAT is from the _German_, it would be from HERRLAUT, a
     distinguished lord, a master.

  _ERLATIN_, the mistress.

  _FELING_, a grocery, or general store; a grocer’s wife.

  _FETZEN_, or VETZEN, to work, to make. _Latin_, FACERE. The
    _German_, FETZEN, signifies a piece, or slice.

  _FLADER_, a bath-room, a barber’s shop.

  _FLADER-FETZER_, a barber.

  _FLADER-FETZERIN_, a barber’s wife.

  _FLICK_, KNAB. _Hilpert_ refers to FLÜGGE, unfledged.

  _FLOSS_, soup. From the _German_, _FLOSS_, a stream; FLOSSEN, to

  _FLOSSART_, water.

  _FLÖSSELT_, drowned. Previous to the time of Luther, beggars were
     drowned when caught stealing. _Vide_ Gengenbach.

  _FLÖSSLEN_, to make water.

  _FLÖSSLING_, a fish. _German_, FLOSSE, a fin.

  _FLUCKART_, poultry, birds. From the _German_, FLIEGEN, to fly;
     literally, “fly-hard,” or “fast-flyer.”

  _FUNKART_, fire. _German_, FUNKE, a spark.

  _FUNKARTHOLE_, an earthenware stove.

  _FÜNKELN_, to boil, cook, roast.

  _GACKENSCHERR_, a chicken. _German_, GACKERN, to cackle; SCHARREN,
     to scratch.

  _GALCH_, a parson, priest. The _Old German_, GALL, is _castratus_;
     the same with GELDE,—whence GOL, GEL, sterile. The _German_,
     KELCH, is a chalice, the communion cup. GALCH may be, however,
     simply an extension of GALLE.

  _GALCHENBOSS_, a parsonage.

  _GALLE_, a parson. _Hebrew_, KÁHAL, a priest.

  _GALLEN_, a town.

  _GANHART_, the devil.

  _GATZAM_, a child. _Hebrew_, GATAM, said to be derived from an
    _Arabic_ word, signifying any one puny or thin. Or from the
    _German_, KÄTZCHEN, a little cat, a kitten.

  _GEBICKEN_, to catch.

  _GENFEN_, or JENFEN, to steal.

  _GFAR_, a village. _Hebrew_, CHÁFÁR, a village, hamlet.

  _GIEL_, the mouth.

  _GITZLIN_, a morsel of bread.

  _GLATHART_, a table. _German_, GLATT, smooth.

  _GLENZ_, a field.

  _GLESTERICH_, glass. _German_, GLITZERN, to glitter.

  _GLID_ (_i.e._ GLEID), a harlot.

  _GLIDENBOSS_, a brothel.

  _GLIDENFETZERIN_, a frequenter of brothels.

  _GLISS_, milk.


  _GRIFFLING_, a finger. _German_, GREIFEN, to grasp.

  _GRIN_ (_i.e._ GRYM[19]), food.

  _GRUNHART_, a field, _i.e._ very green, or green-like.

  _GUGELFRANZ_, a monk.

  _GUGELFRENZIN_, a nun.

     seem to refer to a begging foot-soldier.

  _HANFSTAUD_, a shirt,—literally “hemp-shrub.”

  _HANS WALTER_, a louse. HANZ literally means Jack or John. The old
     word HANSA refers to a multitude; _Old German_, HANSE, a society;
     HANS, a companion.

  _HANS VON GELLER_, coarse bread.


  _HANZ_, a peasant. _See_ HANS WALTER.

  _HANZIN_, a peasant’s wife.

  _HEGIS_, a hospital. The _Old German_, HAG, is a house (from HAGEN
     to hedge in, inclose), _quasi locus septus habitandi causa_. The
    _Old German_, HEGEN, is to nourish, feed, to receive into one’s
     house and company. The _Su. Goth._ HÆGA, is to serve.

  _HELLERICHTIGER_, a florin.

  _HERTERICH_, a knife or dagger.

  _HIMMELSTEIG_, the Lord’s Prayer,—literally, “Heaven’s steps.”

  _HOCKEN_, to sit, to lie.

  _HOLDERKAUZ_, a hen.

  _HORK_, a peasant.

  _HORNBOCK_, a cow.

  _ILTIS_, a constable, town sergeant. The _Modern German_, ILTISS,
     or ILTIS, signifies a pole-cat, fitchet; and ILTISFALLE is a trap
     for catching pole-cats,—or, as Dr. Johnson calls them, “stinking
     beasts.” The _Icelandic_, ILLTUR, is _malus_; and the _Cymrie_,
     YLLTYR, is _talpa_, a mole.

  _JOHAM_, wine. From the _Hebrew_, YAH’-YIN, wine. Gengenbach
     renders this JOHIN.

  _JONEN_, to play,—at cards, or other game of chance. _French_,

  _JONER_, a player, a gambler.


  _JUVERBASSEN_, to swear.

  _KABAS_, a head. _Latin_, caput.

  _KAFFRIM_ (JACOBSBRÜDER), a pilgrim to the grave of St. James.

  _KAMMESIERER_, a learned beggar.

  _CAVAL_, a horse. _Latin_, CABALLUS.

  _CAVELLER_, a slayer, a butcher. _Modern German_, KAFILLER.

  _KERIS_, wine. _Modern German_, XERESWEIN, sherry;

  or, from KIRSCHE, a cherry,—KIRSCHEN-WASSER, cherry-water.

  _CHRISTIAN_ (JACOBSBRÜDER), a pilgrim to the grave of St.

  _KIELAM_, a town.

  _KIMMERN_, to buy. _German_, KRAMEN, to trade.

  _CLAFFOT_, a dress, a cloak. In Gengenbach’s metrical version of
     the _Liber Vagatorum_, this is rendered KLABOT, Clothes.

  _CLAFFOT-FETZER_, a tailor.

  _KLEBIS_, a horse,—literally, “a clover-biter.”

  _KLEMS_, punishment, imprisonment. The _German_, KLEMMEN, signifies
     to pinch.

  _KLEMSEN_, to arrest, imprison.

  _KLENKSTEIN_, a traitor.

  _KLINGEN_, LEIER;—perhaps one who plays upon a lyre, from the
    _German_, KLINGEN, to sound, KLINGELN, to tinkle.

  _KLINGENFETZERIN_, LEIERIN,—probably a female player upon
     the lyre.

  _KRACKLING_, a nut. From the _German_, KRACHEN, to crack.

  _KRAX_, a cloister.

  _KRÖNER_, a husband. From the _German_, KRONEN, to crown, to
    appoint as head or principal.

  _KRÖNERIN_, a wife.

  _LEFRANZ_, a priest.

  _LEFRENZIN_, a priest’s harlot.

  _LEHEM_, bread. _Hebrew_. A contemporary of Luther, Gengenbach,
    spells the word LEM.

  _LINDRUNSCHEL_, corn-gatherers.

  _LISS-MARKT_, the head,—literally, “the louse market.”

  _LÖE_, bad, false. From _Belgian_, LOH, _Danish_, LAAG, low;
    _Saxon_, LOH, a pit, or gulf.

  _LÖE ÖTLIN_, the devil,—literally, “the wicked gentleman.”

  _LÜSSLING_, the ear. _Old German_, LOSEN, or LUSEN, to listen.
     Beggars formerly had their ears cut off when detected stealing.

  _MACKUM_, the town.

  _MEGEN_ (or MENGEN), to drown.


  _MENKLEN_, to eat.

  _MESS_, money, coin. The _German_, MESSING, signifies brass.

  _MOLSAMER_, a traitor.

  _NARUNG-TÜN_, to seek, or look out for food. _German_, NAHRUNG,
     livelihood; THUN, to do, make.

  _PFLÜGER_, an alms-gatherer in churches.

  _PLATSCHEN_, to go about preaching.

  _PLATSCHIERER_, a preacher,—from tubs, &c.

  _PLICKSCHLAHER_, a naked person.

  _POLENDER_, a castle, a fort. Perhaps connected with the _German_,
     BOLL, BOLLIG, hard, stiff; BOLLWARK, a bastion, bulwark.

  _QUIEN_, a dog. _Latin_, CANIS.

  _QUIENGOFFER_, a dog-killer?

  _RANZ_, a sack, pouch. _German_, RANZEN.

  _RAULING_, a baby.

  _RAUSCHART_, a straw matress. _German_, RAUSCHEN, to rustle.

  _REEL_, St. Vitus’ Dance.

  _REGEL_ (or REGER), a die (plural _dice_). From the _German_,
     REGEN, to move?

  _REGENWURM_, a sausage,—literally, “a rainworm.”

  _RIBLING_, dice.

  _RICHTIG_, just.

  _RIELING_, a pig.


  _ROL_, a mill. _German_, ROLLEN, to roll.

  _ROLVETZER_, a miller.

  _ROTBOSS_, a beggar’s house of call, beggar’s home.

  _RÜBOLT_, freedom.

  _RÜREN_, to play. _German_, RUHREN, to touch, rattle.

  _RUMPFLING_ (or RUMPFFING), mustard. From the _German_, RÜMPFEN, to

  _RUNZEN_, to cheat in dealing cards, gambling, &c.

  _SCHEISS_ (SCHIESS), ZAGEL,—a tail. _German_, SCHEISSE, excrement,
     dung; SCHEISSEN, to dung (imperative, SCHEISS); SCHIESSEN, to
     shoot, dart (imperative, SCHIESS). _Old German_, SCHIESSEN, _labi_,
    _præscipitari_, _celeriter moveri_. _See_ BÜTZELMAN.

  _SCHLING_, flax, linen. _German_, SCHLINGEN, to entwine.

  _SCHLUN_, SCHAFFEN,—to cause, get, make, procure, or produce

  _SCHMALKACHEL_, a slanderer. _German_, KACHEL, a pot,—literally, “a

  _SCHMALN_, to slander. _Modern German_, SCHMÄLEN.

  _SCHMUNK_, melted butter.

  _SCHNIEREN_, to hang. _German_, SCHNUR, a string.

  _SCHÖCHERN_, to drink. _Modern German_, SCHENKEN, to fill, retail
     liquor; SCHENKE, a drinking-house, ale-house; SCHENKWIRTH, a

  _SCHÖCHERVETZER_, an innkeeper.

  _SCHOSA_, _vulva_. This is supposed to be from the _Silesian_,
     DIE SCHOOS, the lap; _Bavarian_, GSCHOSL.

  _SCHREF_, a harlot.

  _SCHREFENBOSS_, a house of ill fame.

  _SCHREILING_, a child,—diminutive formed from SCHREIEN, to

  _SCHRENZ_, a room.

  _SCHÜRNBRANT_, beer.

  _SCHWENZEN_, to go.

  _SCHWERZ_, night. _German_, SCHWARZ, black.

  _SEFEL_, dirt. _Hebrew_, SHÁFÁR, humble, mean?

  _SEFELBOSS_, a house of office, dirt-house.

  _SEFELN_, to evacuate.

  _SENFTRICH_, a bed. _German_, SANFT, soft.

  _SONNENBOSS_, a brothel.

  _SONZ_, a nobleman, gentleman.

  _SONZIN_, a lady.

  _SPELTING_, a heller,—the smallest coin.

  _SPITZLING_, oats. _Modern German_, SPITZLING, oat-grass; SPITZE,
     the point of anything; SPITZ, pointed, peaked. The term appears to
     be a diminutive.

  _SPRANKART_, salt. _German_, SPRENKELN, to scatter.

  _STABULER_, a bread-gatherer.

  _STEFUNG_, ZIL. _Old German_, ZIL, is _finis_, _limes_, _terminus
     temporis et loci_; also _meta jaculantis_, _scopus agentis_,
    _terminus oculi et mentis_.

  _STETTINGER_, a florin,—perhaps one minted at Stettin.

  _STOLFEN_, to stand.

  _STREIFLING_, trousers. _German_, STREIFEN, to strip.

  _STROBORER_, a goose,—literally, “a straw-borer.”

  _STROM_, a brothel. Possibly an allusion to STRUMMEL, the _Old
     English Cant_ for straw, with which houses of this description may
     have been littered. The cant expression, STRUMMEL, was probably
     introduced into this country by the gipsies and other vagabonds
     from the Continent, in the reign of Henry VIII.

  _STROMBART_, a forest.

  _STUPART_, flour. _Old German_, STOPPEL, _cauda frumenti_,
    from the _Latin_, STIPULA.

  _TERICH_, the land, or country. _Latin_, TERRA.

  _VERKIMMERN_, to sell. _See_ KIMMERN.


  _VERMONEN_, to cheat.

  _VERSENKEN_, to pawn,—literally, “to sink.”

  _VOPPART_, a fool. _Modern German_, FOPPEN, to mock.

  _VOPPEN_, to lie, tell falsehoods.

  _WENDERICH_, cheese.

  _WETTERHAN_, a hat,—literally, “a weathercock.”

  _WINTFANG_, a cloak,—literally, “a wind-catcher.”

  _WISSULM_, silly people.

  _WUNNENBERG_, a pretty young woman. _German_, WONNE,

  _ZICKUS_, a blind man. _Latin_, CÆCUS.

  _ZWENGERING_, a jacket. _German_, ZWÄNGEN, to force.

  _ZWICKER_, a hangman. _German_, ZWICKEN, to pinch.

  _ZWIRLING_, an eye.



[1] _Taschenbuch für Geschichte und Alterthum in Sud-Deutschland, von
Heinrich Schreiber_, Fribourg, 1839, p. 333. The Basle MSS. are here
reprinted without any alteration.

[2] These Trials are also recorded in an old MS. of _Hieron. Wilh.
Ebner_, printed in _Joh. Heumanni Exercitationes iuris universi_, vol.
I. (Altdorfi, 1749, 4^o.) No. XIII. Observatio de lingua occulta, pp.
174-180. Both Knebel and Ebner’s accounts differ merely in style and
dialect; in all essential points they closely harmonize.

[3] Brant wrote this work, and superintended its progress through the
press whilst residing in this city.

[4] This printer carried on business at Augsburg, partly alone, partly
in connection with others, from 1505 to 1516. His editions of the
_Liber Vagatorum_ would seem therefore to have been printed between the
years 1512-16.

[5] Published at Wittemberg.

[6] The title-page of this edition is adorned with a facsimile of the
woodcut which occurs in Öglin’s edition,—the same, indeed, which is
given in this translation.

[7] _D’Aubigné, Hist. Ref._ vol. iv. p. 10 (1853).

[8] Consisting of nine leaves only. An edition appeared in 1603, and
a reprint of the first edition was published in Westminster in 1813

[9] See page 21.

[10] Page 47.

[11] Literally “prisoners _let-loose_.”

[12] Debissern.

[13] In the original BILTREGERIN (_Bildtragerin_), _i.e._

[14] BEULEN, bumps, or protuberances?


[16] GENSSCHERER, _i. e._ gansscherer.

[17] In the original KOT, i. e. _kat_.

[18] On this passage _Luther_ remarks:—“But now it is all over with
these too!”

[19] “Güt _und_ greym,” güt.


*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Book of Vagabonds and Beggars - with a Vocabulary of Their Language" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.