The Tudor Society

Thomas Tusser

On this day in history, 3rd May 1580, Thomas Tusser, poet, farmer and writer on agriculture, died at the age of sixty-five. He was buried at Manningtree in Essex.

Tusser is known for his A Hundreth Good Pointes of Husbandrie, a poem recording the country year, and Five Hundreth Points of Good Husbandry United to as many of Good Huswiferie, an instructional poem on farming.

These two works are available to read online and here are links to them:

As it is May, here is the May part of his poem A Hundreth Good Pointes of Husbandrie:

73 Both Philip and Jacob, bid put of thy lammes:
That thinkest to haife any milke of their dammes.
But Lammas aduiseth thee, milke not to long:
for hardnes make pouerty, skabbed among.

74 To milke and to folde them, is much to require:
except thou haue pasture, to fill their desire.
But nightes being short, and such hede thou mayst take:
not hurting their bodies, much profit to make.

75 Milke six ewes, for one kowe, well chosen therefore:
and double thy dayrie, els trust me no more.
And yet may good huswiues, that knoweth the skill:
haue mixt or vnmixt, at their pleasure and will.

76 For greedy of gaine, ouerlay not thy grownde:
and they shall thy cattell, be lusty and sownde.
But pinche them of pasture, while sommer time last:
and plucke at their tailes, ere & winter be past.

77 Pinche weannels at no time, of water nor meate:
if euer thou hope, for to haue them good neate.
In sommer at al times, in winter in frost:
if cattel lacke drinke, they be vtterly lost.

78 In May at the furdest, twy fallow thy lande:
much drougth may cause after, thy plough els to strande.
That tilth being done, thou hast passed the wurste:
then after, who plougheth, plowgh thou with the furste.

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Thomas Tusser