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John Bon and mast
IIS is another of the tracts which were written in favour
and furtherance of the Reformation. Not more than two or three copies of the original edition have been seen.
It was reprinted in facsimile many years ago, and in 1852, Mr. W. H. Black edited it for the Percy Society. The present editor has been unwillingly obliged to take for granted the accuracy of the latter text, as he has not been able to obtain access to a copy of Daye and Seres's edition; according to Mr. Black, the so-called facsimile is incorrect in several places.
A production of this character would necessarily enjoy great popularity and be eagerly bought up; and the scarcity of copies of the black-letter impression may be as plausibly attributed to the demand for them at the time of publication and the subsequent neglect with which they met, as to the suppression of the piece by authority, which has been conjecturally advanced as the reason.
It is to be observed that many pamphlets, both prose and poetical, of the middle of the 16th century, remain to us only in a single exemplar, and in most cases a plea of authoritative interference with their circulation would fall to the ground. If John Bon and Mast person was suppressed, it is as likely as not to have been in a different sense-manu et pedibus vulgi.
See Herbert's Ames, fol. 619, where the tract, consisting of four leaves, is described from a copy in Herbert's own possession. A second was sold among Mr. Richard Forster's books in 1807, and was the exemplar from which the facsimile edition was derived.
See Additional Notes.
fooles ! so sore be lade, No marvel it is, thoughe your shoulders ake: For ye beare a great God, which ye yourselfes made. Make of it what ye wyl, it is a wafar cake, And betwen two irons printed it is and bake. And loke, where idolatrye is, Christe wyl not be there ; Wherfore, ley downe your burden, an idole ye do beare.
IT Alasse, poore fooles !