On Primero: Excerpt from Pleasant and Delightfull Dialogues in Spanish and English


Pleasant and Delightfull Dialogues in Spanish and English (by John Minsheu, printed at London by John Haviland for William Apley, 1623) is a book of parallel passages in the two languages, showing how colloquial speech works in both. The dialogues are on various subjects, but one concerns us particularly, since it is on card games. The relevant section is given below. For the time being, I have only given the English side.

[pg. 25]

R. Hola Page, bring Cards, let us passe away the time.

M. That pleaseth me well, let them come, for I desire to quit my selfe of a crowne, that I lost this other day.

L. It greeves me not that my sonne is a gamester, but that hee will goe to quit himselfe.

M. The gamester requireth but small occasion to returne to play.

L. It seemes to me but one onely.

M. What is it?

L. That he have money to doe it.

M. Neither hath the gamester ever wanted money to play, nor the gluttonous to eat, nor the patient to suffer, nor the lover of drinke to drinke.

R. Here are the cards, what shall we play at?

L. Let us play at Loadam.

M. It is a play of much patience.

L. Then let it be at Trump.

M. Let that be for old men.

L. At mount sant.

M. It makes my head to be in a swoone, to be alwaies counting.

L. Lesse will the play of Chilindron like you.

M. That is for women by the fireside.

L. It is not, but that you will not have any game of vertue but sweepe stake play.

M. Wherefore should we waste time, but that which we must pawne, let us sell our right as they say.

R. Yea, but ones substance made up, let there be no haste to lose ones money.

L. And moreover, when they win a mans money from him, they straightway take him out of care.

M. Behold here are the cards, let us play at thirtie perforce or Albures, for these are good plaies.

R. I love not these, but games of chiefest price, as the Reynado, the three, two and ace, still trump, and other the like.

[pg. 26]

O. Now to take away all occasion of strife, I will give a meane, and let it be Primera.

M. You have said very well, for it is a meane betweene extremes.

L. I take it that it is called Primera, because it hath the first place at the play at cards.

R. Let us go, what is the summe that we play for?

M. Two shillings stake, and eight shillings rest.

L. Then shuffle the cards well.

O. I lift to see who shall deale, it must be a coat card, I would not bee a coat with never a blanke in my purse.

R. I did lift an Ace.

L. I a foure.

M. I a six, whereby I am the eldest hand.

O. Let the cards come to me, for I dealt them; one, two, three, foure; one, two, three, foure.

M. Passe.

R. Passe.

L. Passe.

O. I set so much.

M. I will none.

R. Ile none.

L. I must of force see it, deale the cards.

M. Give me foure card, Ile see as much as he sets.

R. See here my rest, let every one be in.

M. I am come to passe againe.

R. And I too.

L. I doe the selfe-same.

O. I set my rest.

M. Ile see it.

R. I also.

L. I cannot give it over.

M. I was a small prime.

L. I am flush.

M. I would you were not.

L. Is this good neighborhood?

M. Charitie well placed, doth first beginne with ones selfe.

O. I made five and fiftie, with which I win his prime.

L. I flush whereby I draw.

R. I play no more at this play.

M. Neither I at any other, for I must goe

[pg. 27]

about a business that concernes me.

L. Pages take every one two shillings a peece of the winnings.

P. I pray God you may receive it a hundred fold.

P. In heaven I pray God you may finde it hanged on a hooke.