Thomas Tusser,

"Lesson for Dairy-Maid Cisley"

from Five Hundreth Points of Husbandrie... 1573

Gehazi, Lot's huswife, and Argusses' eyes,

Tom Piper, poor Cobler, and Lazarus' thighs:

Rough Esau, with Maudlin, and gentils that scrawl

With bishop that turneth and burneth up all.

Gehazi, his sickness was whitish and dry.

Such cheese good Cisley ye floted too nigh.

Leave Lot with her pillar (good Cisley) alone,

Much saltness in white meat is ill for the stone.

If cheeses in dairy have Argusses' eyes,

Tell Cisley the fault in her huswifery lies.

Tom Piper hath hoven and puffed up cheeks:

If cheese be so hoven, make Cis to seek creeks.

Poor Cobler the uggeth his leatherly trash.

If cheese abide tugging tug Cisley a crash.

If lazar so loathsome, in cheese be espied,

Let baies amend Cisley or shift her aside.

Rough Esau was hairy from top to the foot.

If cheese so appeareth, call Cisley a slut.

As Maudlin wept so would Cisley be drest

For whey in her cheeses not half enough prest.

If gentils be crawling, call maggot the pye

If cheese have gentils; at Ciss by and by.

Bless Cisley (good mistress) that bishop doth ban

For burning the milk of her cheese to the pan.

If thou so oft beaten

Amendest by this,

I will no more threaten,

I promise thee Ciss.

Thus dairy maid Cisley rehearsed ye see

What faults with ill huswife in dairy house be,

Of market abhorred, to a household a grief,

To master and mistress as ill as a thief.


1. Gentil: " A maggot, the larva of the flesh-fly or bluebottle" (OED)

2. Flote: "to skim" (OED)

3. white meat: dairy produce

4. hoven: "Swollen, bloated, puffed out" (OED)

6. Lazar: Hilman, Daniel Tusser redivivus. The calendar of the twelve months with notes, published by D. Hilman 1710: "What he [Tusser] calls Lazer, which is an inner Corruption, or Rottenness of divers Colours, is chiefly occasion'd from their using Beastings, or Milk soon after Calving. "

7. Baies: possibly baize, or cheesecloth?


From "April's Husbandry":

From Aprill begin, till Saint Andrew be past,

So long with good huswives, their dairies doe last;

Good milche bease and pasture, good husbands provide,

good huswives know best, all the rest how to guide.

But huswives, that learne not to make their owne cheese

with trusting of others, have this for their feese.

Their milk slapt in corners, their creame al to soil:

their milkpannes so sloste, that there cheeses be lost.

Where some of a kowe, matheth yerely a pounde:.

these huswives crye creake, for their voice will not sounde.

The servauntes suspecting, their dame lye in waighte:

with one thing or other, they trudge away straight.

Then neighbor (for God's sake) if any such bee:

If you know a good servant, waine her to mee.

Such master such man, and such mistress such maid,

such husband and huswife, such houses arraied.

from A Hundreth good Points of Husbandrie. 1557