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Thomas Morley wants to know, Will you buy a fine dog? (1600) …

Deadpan presentation of a cheeky song, with Morley recreating the patter of a pedlar of saucy wares.

There’s something similar in The Winter’s Tale (IV iv 2086), and so close to Morley’s lyrics that the influence on Shakespeare is an easy inference. (Also – ‘Whoop, do me no harm, good man’ – the earliest motto of British humour?)

The dog “with a hole in his head” is probably a Tudor version of the one-eyed snake.

And then we come to that word

The first printed record in English is in The Choise of Valentines (or Nash his dildo) an erotic poem composed by Thomas Nash (c.1593) and dedicated to the Earl of Southampton. The word you’re desperately seeking is in line 239.

Enjoy!

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