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THE BOOKE OF THENSEYGNEMENTES AND
TECHYNGE THAT THE KNYGHT OF THE
TOWRE MADE TO HIS DOUGHTERS BY THE
CHEVALIER GEOFFROY DE LA TOUR LANDRY
EDITED WITH NOTES AND A GLOSSARY
BY GERTRUDE BURFORD RAWLINGS
I WAS IN A GARDYN UNDER A SHADOWE AS IT WERE IN
THYSSUE OF APRYLLE
NEW YORK: JAMES POTT & CO.
(LLE vertuouse doctryne & techynge had & lerned
of suche as haue endeuoured them to leue for a
remembraunce after theyr dethe to vs, by whiche
we ben enfourmed in scyence, wysedom, and vndet"
standyng of knowleche, hou we ought to rewle our
self in this present lyf, haue caused vs to know many good
reules & vertuouse maners to be gouerned by* Emonge al
other this book is a special doctryne & techyng, by which al
yong gentyl wymen specially may lerne to bihaue them self
vertuously, as wel in their vyrgynyte as in their wedlok &
wedowhede, as al along shal be more playnly said in the same ;
which boke is comen to my handes by the request and desyre of
a noble lady which hath broujt forth many noble & fayr doubters
which ben vertuously nourisshed & lerned; and for very ziele &
loue that she hath alway had to her fayr children, & yet hath
for to haue more knouleche in vertue, to thede y they may alwey
perseuere in y same, hath desired & required me to traslate &
reduce this said book out of frenssh in to our vulgar englissh, to
thede that it may the better be vnderstode of al suche as shal rede
or here it* Wherfor, atte cotemplacion of her good grace, after
the lytel connyng that god hath sent me, j have endeuoyred me
to obeye her noble desyre & request, in whiche werk ) fynd many
vertuous good enseygnementis & lernynges, by euydent histories
of auctorite & good ensaples for al maner peple in generally, but
in especial for ladyes & gentilwymen, dougters to lordes & gen-
tilmen: for whiche book al the gentilwymen now lyuyng &
herafter to come or shal be, arn bounde to gyue laude, praysyng,
& thankynges to the auctor of this book, & also to the lady that
caused me to traslate it, & to pray for her long lyf & welfare, &,
when god wil calle her fro this transitory lyf, that she may regne
in heuen sempiternally, where as is Ioye & blysse without ende.
Thene, fo as moche as this book is necessary to euery gentil'
woman, of what estate she be, j aduyse euery gentilman or
woman, hauyng such children, desyryng them to be vertuously
broujt forth, to gete & haue this book, to thende that they may
lerne hou they oust to gouerne them vertuously in this present
lyf, by whiche they may the better & hastlyer come to worship
and good renommee. And I desyre all them that shall lerne or
see ony thynge in this sayd book, by whiche they shal ben the
wyser & better, that they gyue laude & thakyng to the sayd
ladyes good grace, and also to praye for her ; and where as ony
defaulte shalle be founde in the reducynge and translatynge in to
our Englysshe tongue, that it be arrettid to me, whiche am
Ignoraunt and not expert in the werke, thouj so be that I haue
emprysed here to fore to smatre me in suche translacions, whiche
I confesse and knowleche me ignoraunt and therin to be Im'
perfect* Wherfore I humbly requyre and byseche my sayd good
lady to pardonne me of my symple and rude reducynge, and yf
ony thynge be sayd or made vnto her playsyre, than I thynke my
labour wel employed, whome j humbly byseche to receyue this
lytel book in gree & thanke, & I shalle pray to almyghty god
for her longe and good lyf, and to send to her after this shorte
and transytory lyf euerlastyng lyf in heuen. Amen. And alle
other that be vnderstandyng & fyndyng ony defaute, j requyre
and pray them of theyre charyte to correcte and amende hit, and
so doyng they shal deserue thanke and meryte of god, to whome
I shalle pray for them.
HERE FOLOWETH THE TABLE OF THE RU-
BRYSHES AND THE CHAPYTRES OF THE BOOKE
OF THENSEYGNEMENTES AND TECHYNGE
THAT THE KNYGHT OF THE TOWRE MADE TO
How god ought to be honoured to fore al other thynges.
What sholde be done whanne one is fyrst waked.
Of themperour's doughters, one synfull and that other
How the dede folke shalle be prayd fore*
How the matyns and prayers shold be sayd.
How yonge ladyes ought to doo abstynence and faste.
How yong ladyes ought to faste tyll they be maryed.
Of a woman of folye that fylle in a pytte.
Of her that deyde and durst not confesse her synne.
How wymmen ought to mayntene them curtoysly.
How wymmen ought not to cast her hedes here and there.
How two tholdest doughters of the kyng of denmarke lost theyre
maryage for theyr fowle maners.
How y douster of y kyng of aragon lost her maryage.
Of them that ben chydars and brawlers.
Of her that ete the ele and plucked of the fethers of the pye.
How a woman ought not to stryue with her husbond.
How a woman sprange vpon the table.
Of the woman that gaf the flesshe to her houdes.
Of them that take fyrst newe guyses.
How men ought not to stryue ageynste them that ben langageurs
and full of wordes.
Of thre ladyes that araysoned boussycault.
Of them that wyl not were theyr good clothes on hyhe festes and
Of the suster of saynt Bernard, whiche came to see hym in grete
Of them that playe and Iape at the masse.
An Ensample that happed at the masse of saynt Martyn.
Of a knyght that caused al the towne to lose theyr masse where
as he dwellyd.
Of a lady that dispended the fourth parte of the day for to araye her.
How the sacrament sprange in to the mouthe of an hooly lady.
Of a Countesse that herd every day thre masses.
Of a yonge amerous lady & of an esquyer.
Yet of the same.
Of the vyces that renne and ben in many.
Of the good condycions that ben in dyuers and many maners
An Ensample of Eue our fyrst moder.
How an holy Bisshop reprysed and taught many ladyes.
How yong ladyes were scorned & mocked of the old & auncyent
Yet of the same.
Of the good knyght that had thre wyues, & of their lyues.
Of the second wyf.
Of the thyrd wyf of the knyght.
Of a lady that blanked and popped her.
Of Apomena, quene of Surrye.
Of the quene Vastis.
Of Amon and of his wyf.
Of the quene Gesabel, whiche had many euyll condycions.
Of Athalia, quene of Jerusalem.
Of Dalida, Sampson's wyf.
How a woman ought to obeye to her lord or her husbond in alle
How men ought to kepe them self fro flaterers.
How a woman ought in no wyse discouere ne telle the secretes of
her husbond for ouer many peryls.
How the faders and moders ought to praye for theyr children.
How men ought to sette and put theyr children in the wylle of god.
How a bienfaytte done for the loue of god is rendryd of god an
honderd fold gretter.
How he that wyll praye god must do abstynence.
How men ought to sette and put theyr children to scole.
How euery good woman ought to ansuere for her lord in al thynge.
An ensample of the Quene of Saba and of the kyng Salamon.
How no woman ought not to chyde ne brawle with folke that
How no good woman ought to ansuere to her husbond whanne
he is wrothe.
How a good lady oughte to loue and drede and also bere feythe
vnto her husbond.
How men ought bewaylle and wepe for there synnes and mysdedes.
This chapyter sheweth how be it that a woman haue an euyl and
felon husbond. neuertheles she ought not therfore leue the seruyse
How it is good to herberowe and receyue in his hows the seruauntes
and mynystres of god.
Of a burgeyses wyf, whiche wold neuer pardonne her euylle wylle
to her neyghbour. wherfore she was dampned.
Of them whiche ought to come to theyr carnal frendes in what-
someuer estate they be.
Of a good knyght whiche fought ageynst a fals knyghte for the
pyte of a mayde.
Of the thre Maryes whiche came to the sepulcr e so erly.
Thexample of the folysshe vyrgyns, and also of the wyse and
How wymmen ought to be charytable by thexample of our lady.
Of the quene Jane of Fraunce.
How a woman ought not to marye her self without the counceylle
of her parentes and Frendes.
How euery good woman ought wel to kepe her renommee.
How thauncyent were wonte to lerne the yonge.
How hit was wonte to departe the dyffamed wymmen fro the
felauship & companye of the good and trewe.
How before this tyme men punysshed them that were dyffamed*
How god compareth the good wymmen to the precious perle or
How a doughter of a knyght lost her maryage.
How loue wylle be kepte warme.
How the deuylle tempteth one in the synne that he fyndeth hym
most enclyned to.
An Ensample of a good wydowe.
The thre enseygnementes or lernynges whiche Cathon gaf to his
The fyrst and the second enseygnement.
The thyrd enseygnement.
How Cathonet, after that he had done ageynst the two com'
maundements of his fader, essayed the thyrd on his wyf.
How Cathonet shold haue ben hanged*
How themperour's sone came to saue his mayster Cathonet.
How Cathonet escaped.
How Cathonet exposed his aduenture.
HERE BEGYNNETH THE BOOK WHICHE THE
KNYGHT OF THE TOURE MADE, AND SPEKETH
OF MANY FAYRE ENSAMPLES AND THENS YGNE-
MENTYS AND TECHYNG OF HIS DOUGHTERS.
| N the yere of oure lord, a.M. three honderd 3L3PEE, as
I was in a gardyn under a shadowe, as it were in
thyssue of Aprylle, all moornyng and pensyf, but a
lytel I reioysed me in the sowne and songe of the
fowles sauuage, whiche songe in theyr langage, as
the Merle, the Mauys, the thrustell, and the nyghtyngale, whiche
were gay and lusty* This swete songe enlustyed me, and made
myn herte all tenioye, so that thenne I wente remembryng of the
tyme passed in my youthe, how loue hadde holde me in that tyme
in hys seruyce by grete distresse, in whiche I was many an houre
gladde and ioyeful, and many another tyme sorowful, lyke as it
doth to many a louer* But alle myn euylles haue rewarded me,
sythe that the fayre and good hath gyuen to me, whiche hath
knowleche of alle honoure, alle good and fayre mayntenyng*
And of alle good she semed me the best and the floure, in whome
I so moche me delyted. For in that tyme I made songes, layes,
Roundels, balades, Vyrelayes, and newe songes in the mooste
best wyse I coude* But the deth, whiche spareth none, hath taken
her, for whom I have receyued many sorowes and heuynesses in
such wyse that I haue passed my lyf more than twenty yere heuy
and sorowfull* For the very herte of a trewe louer shall neuer
in ony tyme ne day f orgete good loue, but euermore shal remembre
it* And thus in that tyme as I was in a grete pensyfnes and
thought, I behelde in the way and sawe my doughters comyng,
of whom I hadde grete desyre that they shold torne to honour
aboue alle other thyng, for they ben yong and litil, and dysgar^
nysshed of al wytte and reson, wherfor they ought at begynnyng
to be taught and chastysed curtoisly by good ensamples and doc-
trynes, as dide a quene — I suppose she was quene of hongry —
whiche fayre and swetely chastysed her daughters and them
endoctryned as is conteyned in her book. And therfor, when I
saw them come toward me, I remembryd me of the tyme when j
was yog and roode, with my felauship and companyes in poytou,
and in other places. And I remembre me moche wel of the fayttes
and fayenges that they told of suche thynges as they fond with the
ladyes and damoyselles that they requyred and prayd of loue.
And yf one wold not entende to theyr prayer, yet another wold
requyre withoute abydyng. And though so were that they had
good or euyll answers, of al that they rought not, for they had
neyther drede ne shame, so moche were they endurate and acus'
tomed, and were moche wel bespoken and had fayre langage.
For many tymes they wold haue oueral deduyte, and thus they
doo no thyng but deceyue good ladyes and damoysellys, and bere
ouerall the tydynges, some trewe and somme lesynges, wherof
there happed many tymes iniuryes and many vylaynous diffames
withoute cause and withoute reason* And in alle the worlde is no
gretter treson than for to deceyue gentyll wymmen, ne to encrece
ony vylaynous blame, for many ben deceyued by the grete othes
that they vse, wherof I debate me oftyme with them, and saye
to them, ** Ye ouer false men, how may the goddes suffer yow to
lyue that soo oftymes ye periure and forswere youre self ! For ye
hold no feythe." But none putt hit in araye, by cause they be so
moche and so f ul of disaraye. And by cause I sawe that tyme soo
ledde and disposed, yet I doute me that somme ben suche in this
tyme present. Therefore I concluded that j wold doo make a lytel
booke wherin I wold doo be wreton the good maners and good
dedes of good ladyes and wymmen, and of theyr lyues, soo that for
theyr vertues and bountees they ben honoured, and that after theyr
dethe ben renommed and preysed, and shal be vnto the ende of the
worlde, for to take of them good ensample and contenaunce. And
also by the contrarye I shall doo wryte and set in a book the
myshappe and vyces of euylle wymmen whiche have vsyed theyr
lyf and now have blame, to the ende that the euylle maye bee
eschewed, by whiche they myght erre whiche yet ben blamed,
shamed, and dyffamed. And for this cause that I haue here
sayd, I haue thought on my wel bylouyd doughters, whome I see
so lytel, to make to them a litil book for to lerne to rede, to
thende that they maye lerne and studye and vnderstonde the good
and euylle that is passyd, for to kepe them fro hym whiche is yet
to come. For suche ther be that lawgheth to fore yow, whiche
after youre back goo mockyng and lyeng, wherfor it is an hard
thyng to knowe the world that is now present. And for these
resons as I haue fayd, I went oute of the gardyn and fond in my
weye two preestes and two clerkes that I hadde, and tolde to them
that I wolde make a book and an examplayre for my doughters
to lerne to rede and vnderstonde how they ought to gouerne them
self, and to kepe them from euylle. And thenne I made them to
come and rede before me the book of the byble, the gestes of the
kynges, the cronycles of fraunce and of Englond, and many other
straunge historyes, and made them to rede every book, and dyde
doo make of them this book, whiche I wold not fet in ryme, but
al along in prose for to abredge and also for the better to be
vnderstonden, and also for the grete loue that I haue to my
doughters, whom I loue as a fader ought to loue them. And
thenne myn herte shal have parfyte ioye, yf they tome to good and
to honoure, that is, to serue and loue god, and to haue the loue
and the grace of their neyghbours and of the world. And by
cause every fader and moder after god and nature ought to teche
and enforme their children and to distourne them fro the euyll
waye, and to shewe to them the right weye and true pathe, as
wel for the sauacion of they* sowles as for thonoure of the body-
erthely, j have made two bookes, that one for my sonnes and that
other for my doughters for to lerne to rede. And thus in lernynge
hit shalle not be but they shalle reteyne somme good ensample or
for to flee the euylle and reteyne the good. For it may not be
but in somtyme they shal remembre somme good ensample, or
som good lore, after that hit shalle falle and come to theyr mynde
in spekyng vpon this matere.
THUS ENDETH THE PROLOGUE.
HERE FOLOWETH THE BOOK OF THENSYGNE^
MENS AND TECHYNGES OF THE KNYGHT OF
THE TOURE. AND FIRST, HOW GOD OUGHT TO
BE HONOURED ABOUE ALL THYNGES.
T is moche fayre and ryght a noble thyng for to see
and beholde thauncyent hystoryes whiche haue ben
wreton of oure predecessours for to shewe to vs good
ensamples and to aduertyse vs how we may see the
good dedes that they folowed and teschewe the euyll,
as may be sene that they eschewed. Thenne I shalle speke and
saye to them thus : My ryght dere doughters, for as moche as I
am old, and that I haue sene the world more lenger than ye haue,
I shall shewe to yow a partye of the world after my scyence,
which is not ouer grete. But the grete loue that j have to yow,
and the desyre that I haue that ye torne youre hertes and youre
thoughtes to drede god and to serue hym, by whiche ye may gete
wele and honoure in this world and in that other. For certeynly
al the very wele, honoure, and al thoneste of man and of woman
cometh of hym, and of the grace of his hooly spyryte, and also
gyueth long lyf and shorte in worldly and erthely thynges, suche
as hit plesyth hym, for alle thyng falleth at his playsyre and
ordynaunce, and also gyueth for all suche wele and seruyce as
is done to hym an honderd fold double. And therfore, my right
dere doughters, it is good to serue suche a lord, whiche rewarded
an honderd fold double.
HOW THE MATYNS AND HOURES OUGHT TO
ND by cause that the fyrst werke and labour that man
or woman ought to doo is for to adoure and worshipe
oure lord and saye his seruyse; that is to understade,
that as soone as he awaketh he ought to knowleche
hym for his lord and maker, and hym self to be his
creature ; that is to wete, to say his matyns, houres, and his ory
sons, yf he be a clerk, and to rendre and yelde to hym thankynges
and preisynges, as to say, la.uda.te dominu omnes gentes, Benedicamus
patrem et filium cum sancio spiritu, or suche other thynges as
yelde and gyue thankynges & preysynges vnto god. For it is a
gretter thyng to thanke and blysse oure lord god than to requyre
& demaunde him. For requeste demaunde yefte of guerdon ; &
thankynges and to yelde preysynges is thoffyce of angels, whiche
alwey gyue thankynges, honoure, and preysyng vnto god. For
it is better to thanke god than to requyre hym, by cause he
knoweth better what is good for a man or a woman than they
wote them self. After, we ought to praye for them that ben dede
to fore we goo to slepe, and also the dede men praye for them that
praye for hem. And also forgete not the blessid and swete
Vyrgyne Marye, whiche nyght and day prayeth for vs, and also
to recommaunde yow to the hooly sayntes of heuen. And when
this is done, thenne maye ye well goo slepe, for this ought to be
done as ofte as ye awake.
OF TWOO DOUGHTERS OF THE EMPEROURE,
THAT ONE SYNFULL AND THAT OTHER DE-
is conteyned in thystorye of Constantynople that an
Em perour hadde two doughters,of whomethe yongest
was of good maners and loued god, and honoured &
prayd to hym alwey when she awoke, and moche de'
uoutely praid for the sowles of them that were dede*
And these two yong ladyes lay bothe in one bedde, and whan the
oldest awoke and herd her suster saye her prayers, she mocked and
scorned her, and said to her that she letted her to slepe. Thenne
it happed that youthe and the grete ease that they hadde ben
norysshed in caused them to loue two knyghtes, bretheren,
whiche were twoo goodly men and moche gentyll. And so long
endured theyr playsyre and loue that they discouered eche to her
loue the secrete of their amerous desyre, in soo moche that they
sett a certeyne houre to these knyghtes for to come to them
pryuely by nyght. And when he that shold come to the yonger
supposyd to have entryd within the Courteyns, hym semed that
he sawe moo than a thousand men in sudaryes, lyke dede men,
whiche were aboute the damoysell. He hadde so grete fere and
hydoure that he was al affrayed, wherof he tooke the feures, and
was seke in his bedde. But to that other knyght it happed no
thyng so, for he gate the oldest doughter of the emperoure with
child. And whan the Emperoure knewe that she was grete with
child, he made her to be drowned in a nySt, & dyd do the knygt
to be flayn al quyck. Thus for this false delyte they deyde both
tweyn. But that other doughter was saued lyke as I haue said
& shall saye* When it cam on the morn it was said oueral
that the knyght was seke in his bedde. Thene she for whome
he tooke his maladye wente for to see hym, and he told to her all
the trouthe; how when he supposid to have entrid within the
courteyns he sawe a merueylous grete nombre of dede men in
sudaryes aboute her, " Of whome," he said, ** I had so grete drede
hydoure that I was taken with thaccesse or feures, and also was
al moost oute of my wytte for fere, and yet am all af frayed.** And
when the damoysel herd the trouthe, she was merueylously
ioyeful, and thanked god moche humbly, whiche had saued her
fro perisshyng and dishonour* And from than forth on she
worshyped and prayed god alwey when she awaked, and praid
moche deuoutely for all Crysten sowles more than to fore, and
kepte her chastly and clene. And it was not long after that a
grete kyng of grece desyred and demaunded her of her fader to
haue her in maryage, and her fader gafe her to hym. And she
was after a good lady and deuoute, and of moche grete renomme.
Thus was she saued for prayeng to god and thankyng hym, and
also for prayeng for them that ben dede. And her elder suster, that
scorned and mocked her, was drowned and dishonoured. And
therefore, my dere doughters, remembre yow ofte of this example
alwey whan ye awake, and slepe not ageyne till that ye haue praid for
them that ben departed oute of this world, lyke as dyde the doughter
of the emperour. And yet I wolde wel that ye shold knowe
thensample of a Damoyselle, whiche a greete lord wold haue for
fayre or fowle for to accomplysshe his fowle playsyr and delyte.
HOW WE OUGHT TO PRAYE FOR THEM THAT
JT happed in suche wyse that this lord dyd do espye
where as this Damoyselle was entred in to an hoole
where as she entrid & rested there for drede of hym,
& that was in a busshe. And she sayd vygylles for
the dede men. And this grete lord entryd in to
the hoole, and sawe her there, and wende anone to haue acconv
plysshyd his fowle delyte. But when he supposed to haue taken
her, hym semed that he sawe more than ten thousand prysonners
buryed that kepte her ; and had of them so grete fere and drede
that anon he torned and fled, & sente to her word that for certayne
he wolde neuer pursewe her more for suche fayte, and that she
had ouer grete a companye that kepte her. And after he cam and
spak to her and demaunded of her what was the grete companye
that was with her. And she said that she knewe of no thyng at
that tyme whan he cam, sauf that thene she said the vygylle for
them that were dede. And thenne thought the lord wel that they
were they that kepte her. And therfor this is a fayre example to
praye for them that ben departed oute of this world at al tymes.
HOW WE OUGHT TO SAYE OURE HOURES AND
[ AYRE doughters, whan ye ryse oute of youre bedde,
thenne entre in to the seruyse of the hyhe lord, and
begyn ye your matyns. This ought be youre first
werk and your firste labour. And when ye shal
say them, saye ye them with good herte, and
thynke ye on none other thyng yf ye may ; for ye may not goo
two weyes at ones, for ye must goo that one or that other. Thus
is it of the seruyce of god, for as the wyseman saith in sapyence,
" As moche auayleth it hym that redeth & vnderstSdeth not, as
it doth to hym that hunteth and taketh not." And therfore he
that thynketh on erthely thynges, and seyth his Pater noster or
prayers that toucheth heuely thynges, doth a thyng that is con'
trary. And it proufyteth not; it is not but for to mocke god.
And therfore saith the hooly scripture, that the short prayer
perceth heuen; but that is to saye that more auayleth a short prayer
and said with good herte and deuoutely, than a grete and longe
prayer and to thynke on other thynges. And when more is said
deuoutely, than is it more worthe, and more deseruyth he meryte.
And yet seith the hooly scripture, that lyke as the swete dewe of
Maye and of Aprylle pleseth moche vnto the erthe and attempreth
it swetely in makyng to germyne and fructyfye, ryght so ben the
heures and prayers deuoutely said playsaunt to fore god. Thenne
ye shall fynde in many places and specially in the legede of hooly
confessours, of vyrgyns and of other hooly wymmen whiche made
her beddes of hard and roughe thynges, and laye theron for to slepe
the lasse & to haue the lasse reste, for to wepe ofte and many
tymes to wake for to entre in to prayers and in the seruyce of
god, wherin they held hem day and nyght. And for that seruyce
and laboure haue they goten, as it is shewed openly to the world,
that they ben in the hooly ioye with hym by that that he doth
for them euydent myracles. For thus god rewardeth the seruyce
that is done to hym an honderd fold double, as I haue seid to
fore. And therfore, f ayre doughters, saye your heures and prayers
deuoutely, and with good herte, without thynkyng on ony other
thynge, and beware that ye breke not your faste till that ye haue
said youre matyns and heures, for a f ul bely shal neuer be humble
ne deuoute* Also see wel to that ye here alle the masses that ye
maye here, for grete good shall come therof, whereof I shall saye
an ensample of this matere*
HOW GOOD DOUGHTERS OUGHT TO FASTE.
HERE was a knyght that hadde two doughters, one
that was by his first wyf, and that other by his
second. And she that he had by his first wyf was
meruaylously deuoute, ne neuer wold ete till that
she had said all her houres and herd all the masses
that she myght here. And that other doujter was holden so
tendyrly and so moche louyd, that she was suffred to haue alle
her wylle. For as soone as she had herd a lytill masse and hadde
saide twoo or thre pater nostres, she wente in to the garderobe and
there ete a soupe or some lycorous thyng, & sayd that her hede
oke for fastyng, but all this was but an euylle customme. And
also when her fader and moder were a bedde, thenne muste she
goo ete somme good morsell or somme good mete. And this lyf
ledde she tyl she was maryed vnto a knyjt whiche was wyse and
subtyle. Thenne it happed that her lord knewe her manere,
which was euyll bothe for the body & the soule, and told and
shewed this to her moche honestly and swetely many tymes, and
said she dyd euyll to vse suche a lyf, but neuer she wold leue it,
for faire spekyng ne for thyng that he couthe say or doo. Thenne
it happed that on a nyght he had slepte his f irste slepe, and tasted
beside hym and found her not, wherof he was moch angry, and
aroos from his bed and cast aboute hym a furryd mantell, and
entred in to his garderobe, where as his wyf was with his clerk
and two of his seruantes, and ete and played so that there was a
grete noyse and the men and wymmen iaped to geder eche with
other. And the lord that sawe all this arraye was moche wrothe
and felle, and helde a staf in his honde for to smyte one of his
seruautes whiche had embracid one of the wymmen of the
chambre, and smote so sore that seruaut that a splynt sprange
out of the staf in to the one eye of his wyf, whiche was by hym,
in suche manere that by mysauenture her eye was smeton oute
and lost her eye* And thus her husbond had her in suche hate
that he tooke his herte fro her and set it in another, in suche wyse
that her houshold and menage wente all to nought and to per'
dicion* This happed by the euyl gouernaunce of his wyf, whiche
was acustommed to lyue dyssolutely and disordynately bothe on
mornynges and on euenynges, whereof the grete part of the harme
was heres by cause she lost her eye* and the loue of her husbond*
Thenne was she in an euyll astate & moche lassed and lesse
sette by of al men that knewe her* And therfor it is goode to
saye their houres and here al the masses fastyng, and accustomme
them to lyue sobyrly and honnestly, for al cometh by accustom-
maunce and vsage, as it happed to her suster. She vsyd fro her
youthe to serue god and to goo to the chirche as for to saye her
matyns and houres deuoutely and here alle the masses fastyng* and
therfore it happed that god rewarded and gafe to her a knyght
ryche and puyssaunt, and she lyued with hym well and honestly,
and in good and grete pees* And thenne it happed that theyr
fader, whiche was a wyse man, wente for to see his two doughters,
and fonde with tholder grete honours and grete rychesse, and was
receyued there moche honourably* And of that other whiche had
her eye oute, he fond her all oute of arraye, & howe she had
gouerned her nycely and wantonly* Thenne it happed that when
he was comen home ageyne he recounted to his wyf, and moche
cruelly repreued her, by cause she had lost her doughter by cause
she had kokered and norysshed tendyrly, and that she had gyuen
her the reyne ouerlong in suffryng her to do all her wylle,
wherfore she was in an hard caas* And by this ensample it is
good to serue god & here all the masses that maye be herd
fastyng, and to take on her honeste, and sobrenes of mete and
drynke in due tyme, as aboute the houre of tyerce, at myd day,
at souper, at houre couenable after the tyme. For suche lyfe as
ye haue vsed & mayntened in your youthe, ye wold mayntene
and vse in your old age.
HOW GOOD DOUGHTERS OUGHT TO FAST TILL
THEY BE MARYED.
[LSO, my dere doughters, ye ought to faste tyll that
ye be maryed thre or foure dayes in the weke, for
the better to adaunte your flesshe, that it meue not
ouermoche, for to kepe yow more clene and holyly
in the seruyce of god, whiche shal kepe and guerdome
yow double. And yf ye may not faste the thre dayes, yet at the
lest fast frydaye in thonoure of the precious blood and of the
passion of jhesu crist that suffred deth for vs. And yf ye faste it
not to brede & water, atte lest take no thyng that suffreth deth,
for it is a moche good thyng : as I haue herd telle of a knyght, a
moche noble man that was in a batayle of Crysten men ageynst
the sarasyns. It happed that a Crysten man had his heede smyten
of with a swerde, and spack after tyll that the preest cam and
confessid hym. And he demaunded of hym for what meryte it
was that he myjt speke withoute the body. And the hede answerd
hym, that no goode dede was done to god, but that it gate grace,
and that he had kepte the wednesdaye fro etyng of flesshe, in
thonoure of the sone of god that was thenne sold, and the frydaye
he ete no thyng that suffred deth ; and for this seruyce god wold
not that he shold be dampned, ne that he shold deye in dedely
synne whereof he was not confessid. This is a moche fayre
example, and ought to be remembryd, that such thynge as
suffreth deth ought not be eten on the fryday. And also, my
faire doughters, it is moche good to faste the saterday in thonoure
of oure lady and of her hooly vyrgynyte, to thende that she gete
grace for yow for to kepe clene youre vyrgynyte and youre chastyte
in the grace of god, and in the ioue of youre frendes, that none
euyll temptacions ouer maystrye yow not, and hit is a grete
vyctory ageynst the flesshe and a moche hooly thyng. And I
say to yow for trouthe, that it shalle be to yow a lyght thyng yf
ye acustomme yow therein, for it is but acustomaunce for to here
the masse and the seruyce of god, for to say your houres, and to
doo al other hooly werkes, as haue done these holy wymraen, lyke
as it is conteyned in the legedis, and in the lyues of the sayntes
OF A COMYN WOMAN THAT WENTE TO SEE
HER LOUE, AND FYLLE IN A PYTTE.
[ENNE I wolde that ye knewe thexample of a
folysshe woman that fasted the fryday, of whome I
shall telle to yow the hystorye. Ther was a folysshe
woman in the Cyte of Rome that alwey fasted the
fryday in. thonoure of the passyon of swete Ihesu
Criste, and the saterday in thonoure of the Vyrgynyte of oure
lady, and alwey these two dayes she kepte surely* Hit happed on
a nyght that she went toward her loue, when it was derk, and
sodenly, or she was ware, she felle in to a pytte whiche was
twenty fadom depe. And as she was fallyng, she escryed with
an hyhe voys, " Lady, helpe ! ** and she fylle vpon the water, and
fond it hard as a plank. And there cam a voys to her that saide,
** In thonoure of the vyrgyn Marye, and of her sone, for whome
thou hast fasted, thou art saued. And fro hensforthe kepe thy
body clene fro the synne of thy flesshe." And on the morn
peple cam for to drawe water, and fond the woman in the pytte,
oute wherof anone she was drawen vp and lete goo. And the
peple merueyled moche how she was saued. And she said to
them, how that a voys had said to her that it was for the fastynges
that she had kept the fryday and saterday, as ye haue herd. And
for this grace that god and the blessid Vyrgyn oure lady saynt
Marye had done to her, she made a vowe to them, that she shold
kepe her chaste and clene, and shold vse her lyf in the seruyce
of god and of his chirche. And euer after, nyght and day, she
serued in the chirche for to lyghte the torches, tapres, and lampes,
and to kepe clene the chirche. Now on a nyght there cam to her
a Vysyon, that she drewe and tooke oute of a donghylle a vessell,
lyke to a plater of syluer. And when she beheld hit, she sawe
therin many black spottes ; and a voys cam sayeng, " Scoure and
make clene this plater, and take awey the blak spottes so long
tyll it be as clene and whyte as it was when it cam from the
handes of the maystre goldsmythe. And this aduysyon cam to
her thre tymes. and when she awoke, she remembryd her
aduysyon to god* And when hit was hyhe day* she wente for
to confesse her to an hooly man, and told to hym her aduysyon*
And when the good man had herd all the maner* he said to her,
'* Fayre doughter* ye ar moche beholden to serue god. whan he
wylle youre saluacion* and warneth and sheweth to yow how
ye ought to wasshe yow and make you clene by confession of
your synnes* And I shall shewe yow hou he hath shewed by
youre aduysyon the Vessel of siluer whiche was foully bespottyd
of the donghylle, whiche sygnyfyeth the sowle that is in the
body. And yf the body consentid not to doo synne* she shold
be alwey whyte as the vessel of syluer that cometh fro the
goldsmythe* Ryght so is the sowle when hit cometh fro the
fonte of bapteme* And lyke as the Vessel that ye sawe was in
the donge* in lyke wyse is the sowle in the body* whiche is no
thyng but donge and fylthe* For when the Chaytyf body hath
synned by his fals delytes* for euery synne that he hath done
ther cometh a black spot in the sowle. and that abydeth vnto the
tyme that the body* whiche dyde the trespas* haue cofessid and
bewaylyd it in suche manere as he dyde the dede* and therof
hath made satisfaction* And therfor* fayre doughter* the voys
of the vysyon hath said that ye shold make yow clene & whyte
lyke the syluer that cometh fro the goldsmyth. For when ye
come fro the fonte of baptesme* after ye ought put it in place*
where it shold be kepte clene and withoute ordure ; that is to saye*
to kepe you fro goyng in to place* where as ye ought absteyne
you for to doo synne. And kepe yow wel that ye synne nomore*
for it is a good thyng to be shryuen* but it is better after the
confession to kepe hym that he falle not ageyne therto. for the
tornyng ageyne is wors than the first. And when ye shold be
shryuen* ye ought to saye alle* and reteyne no thyng behynde*
and it ought to be said in the manere as the dede was donee
Thenne, my fair doubters, said the good man, I shalle
telle to yow an ensample of a bourgeyse, a moche myght^
OF HER THAT DEYDE, AND DURST NOT CON-
PESSE HIR SYNNE.
HERE was a woman of grete renomme and fame,
lyke to be a blessid woman and charitable, for she
fasted thre dayes in the weke, of whiche she fasted
tweyne to brede and to water, and gafe moche
almesse, vysyted the seke, norysshed the orphanes,
and was at masse vnto mydday, and said many orysons and
.prayers, and lyued an hooly lyf, as a good woman ought to doo.
And it happed that she departed oute of this world, by whome
•oure lord wold shewe ensample, how she was lost for one only
dedely synne. For the sepulture in whiche she was |leyd bigan
to fume and smoken, and the erth to brenne, and there had ben
seen on the graue overmoche torment. And the peple of the
Countrey merueyled moche what it mente, for they wende veryly,
that she hadde be saued above alle other wymmeh. Thenne was
there an hooly man in the Cyte, which toke the crosse, the stole,
and hooly water, and coniured the sowle in the name of god, and
requyryd of almyghty god, that it plesyd hym to shewe to hym
wherfore this stenche and this tormente was there* Thenne a
voys was herd that sayd, "I am the poure synnar that am
dampned to perpetuel fyre. For god sheweth that my wretchyd
body gyueth oute smoke and torment by ensample. And I shalle
telle to yow how it hath bifalle me by the synne of my flesshe.
I laye ones with a Monk, and I durst neuer confesse me therof,
for doubte to be accused for shame of the world. And I doubted
more the bobaunce of the world than the spyrytuel vengeaunce
of my synne. I fasted, I gaf for goddes sake my good, I herd
masses and said many orysons & heures, and me semed the grete
good dedes and abstynence that I dyde quenchyd and estyncted
al my synnes whiche "I durst not telle ne saye to the preest.
Wherfore I am deceyued and loste; for I telle wel vnto alle,
that who that dyeth in dedely synne and wylle not forthynke
it, he is dampned perpetuelly, for the synne ought to be confessid
also foully as the dede was done, and by the same manere/*
And when she had al said, alle they that were there present were
moche abasshed, for there was none but that he thoujt she had
be saued. And thus said this good man this ensample to this
woman that confessyd her, that she shold confesse and telle her
synnes lyke as she had done them, and she shold put aweye the
spottes of the syluer vessel, these ben the spottes of the sowle.
And thenne this woman confessid her, and lyued after an holy
lyL And thus the begynnyng of her sauacion cam of the
fastynges that she fasted on the fryday in thonoure of the passion
of oure lord, and the saterday for thonoure of the vyrgynyte of
our blessid lady, by whiche she was saued from perylle; for
ther is no good dede done but it is rewarded* And it is a moche
hooly thyng to faste, and the more payne it doth or hurte to the
heede or body, so moche is the fastyng more of meryte, & greter
of valewe. For yf the fastyng greuyd not, there shold thereof be
no mede ne merite. & yet^for to shewe an ensample how fastyng
is of grete meryte, it is trouthe that the kynge of Nynyue and
alle his Cyte were saued therby, as it is conteyned in the grete
book of the byble. For god had doo synken certayne Cytees and
townes for the grete synnes that they delyted in* And god
commaunded his prophete to telle to this kyng and to the Cyte
that yf they amended them not, that they shold perysshe in lyke
wyse* Thenne the kyng and the peple of the cyte had grete
drede and fere; and for tappease the yre of god, alle they
that were of age fasted fourty dayes and fourty nyghtes, and
kneled doune on her knees and putte sackes on theyr hedes in
grete humylyte, wherfore god took mercy on them, and repeled
his sentence* And so by theyr mekenes and fastynge they were
saued. And therfore, my fayre doughters, fastyng is an abstynence
and a vertu moche couenable, whiche withdraweth and restreyneth
the flesshe from euylle desyr es, and humbleth the herte and geteth
pardon and grace of god* And thenne all yong wymmen, and
specyally the maydens and wydowes ought to fast* as I haue said
here to fore by these ensamples* whiche, by the playsyre of god,
ye shall well reteyne and kepe.
HOW GOOD WYMMEN OUGHT TO MAYNTENE
THEM SELF CURTOYSLY.
FTER this, my doughters, see ye wel to that ye
be curtois and humble* For there is no gretter
vertue for to cause yow to have the grace of god
and the loue of alle peple than for to be humble
and curtoyse. For curtosye ouercometh all them
that ben felouns prowde, by thensample of the sperhauk. Take
a sperhauke ramage, and calle hym curtoysly, and ye shal make
hym come frely to yow ; ye, fro the tree he shalle come vppon
youre fyste. And yf ye be not curtoyse, but rude and cruel, he
shal neuer come* Then, syth that curtosye vaynquysshyth a
wylde byrde whiche hath in hym no reson, thenne ought she
wel refrayne a man and woman moche more, that they be not ne
haue the herte orguyllous and fyers. Curtosye is the fyrst waye
and the entre of alle frendship and of alle worldly loue, and she
that vaynquyssheth hye courages and that amolysshyth thyre
and wrathe of euery creature. Therfore, thenne, hit is a fayre
thyng to be curtoys. I know a lord in this Countrey, whiche
hath goten and conquerd moo knyghtes, squyers, and other peple
to serue hym and to doo his playsyrs by his grete curtosye in the
tyme that he bare armes, than other dyd for money, eyther for
other thynges. And this is my lord of Craon, whiche ought
wel to be honoured and to be preysyd for his curtosye aboue all
other knyghtes that I know; & j knowe that he hath goten by his
curtosye moche loue and renomme of ryght grete ladyes and also
of other, grete and smale. Therfor, my fayre doughters, shewe
youre curtosye vnto the mene and smal peple, for to do them
honoure, and to speke to them fayre and swetely, and for to
answere them curtoysly: they shall bere and doo the gretter
reverence, gretter preysyng and renommee than the grete. For
thonour of the curtosye that is done and gyuen to the grete
astates is but their ryght* but that whiche is done vnto smal
gentylmen and gentyl wymmen and to other of lasse degre* that
honoure and curtosye comen of a fre and a curtoys hert. And
the lytell or poure ma or woman to whome it is done thynketh
that he is happy to receyue it and hath therin a grete playsyre*
and gyueth ageyne grete honoure to hym or her that hath done to
hym suche curtosye and honoure* And by this maner of the
smal peple to whome is done suche curtosye or honoure cometh
the grete loos and renomme whiche groweth fro day to day* It
hapned that I was in a companye of knyghtes and ladyes* and a
grete lady tooke of her hood and humbled her self curtoysly vnto
a tayloure. And ther was a knyght that said to her* " Madame*
why haue ye taken of youre hoode vnto a taylloure ? ** And she
answerd that she had leuer to take it of to hym* than to haue
lefte it vnto a gentyll man* And that was reputed for ryght wel
done* and as for the best taujt of all the other.
HOW YONGE MAYDENS OUGHT NOT TO TORNE
THEIR HEEDES LYGHTELY HERE NE THERE,
(FTER this, in sayeng to them, Be ye not like ne
semblable the tortuse ne to the Crane, whiche torne
their visage and the heede aboue their sholders, and
wynde their hede here and there as a vane. But
haue youre regarde and manere stedfast, lyke as the
hare hath, which is a beest that seeth alwey to fore hym, even
right forth, withoute tornyng of his hede here ne there* Alwey
see [that ye be stedfast in lokyng playnly to fore you ; and yf ye
wylle loke a syde, torne youre vysage and youre body to geder,
and so shalle ye hold you in youre estate more ferme & sure.
For they be mocqued that so lyghtely cast their sight and hede
and torne their vysage here and there.
HOW YONGE MAYDENS OUGHT NOT TO TORNE THEIR
HEEDES LYGHTELY HERE NE THERE
HOW THE DOUGHTERS OF THE KYNG OF DEN-
MARKE LOST THEIR HUSBONDE BY CAUSE OF
HENNE I wold wel that ye had vnderstonden
thensample of the doughters of the kyng of den-
marke, whiche j shall acompte to yow. Ther ben
foure kynges on this side the see that auncyently
maryed for honoure, withoute couetyse of lond,
with doughters of kynges and hyghe prynces that were wel born
and had good renomme, of good maners, of good mayntene, and
stedfast : and they shold be sene yf they were wel shapen, and
lyke to bere children, and that they had suche thynges as wymmen
ought to haue. And these ben the foure kynges: the kyng of
Frauce, whiche is the moost grettest and noble ; the next is the
kyng of Englond; the thyrd is the kyng of spayne ; and the fourth
is the kyng of hongarye, whiche is by right Marchal of Cristen
men in werres ageynst the hethen men and sarasyns. So it
happed that the kyng of Englond was for to marye, and he herd
saye that the kynge of denmarke had thre fayre doughters and
moche wel born* And by cause this kyng was a moche wyse
man, and the quene a blessid woman and of good lyf, he sente
certayne knyghtes and ladyes of the mooste suffisaunt of his
royamme for to see these doughters, and so passed the see and
camen in to denmark* When the kyng & the quene saw the
messagers they had grete ioye, & honoured & fested them foure
dayes, & none knewe the trouthe, whiche of them shold be chosen.
And they affayted & arayed the doughters the best wyse they
myjt* And ther was in this companye a knyght and a lady
right connyng and moche subtyl, whiche took good heede and
set their ententes for to see the manere of these thre yong ladyes
& their contenaunces, & otherwhyle spaken and had comynyca-
cyon with hem. And them semed that the oldest was the fayrest,
but she had not the mooste sure manere in her beholdyng, but
ofte loked here and there, and torned ofte her heede on her
sholders, & had her sight ventillous, lyke a vane* The second
doughter had moche talkyng, and spacke ofte tofore she vnderstood
that whiche was said to her. The third was not the fayrest of
them, but she was moost agreable, & mayntened her manere
more sure and sadly, & spak but litil, & that was wel demeurly,
& her regard & sight was more ferme & huble than of that
other two. And thembassatours took their aduys & couceil that
they wold retorne vnto the kyng their lord, & saye to hym
suche thyng as they had fouden, & thene he mySt take her that
plesid hym. Thenne they cam to the kyng & quene for to
take their leue, & thanked them moche of their good copanye
& of thonour that they had done to them, & that they wold wel
reporte to their lorde suche thynges as they had sene of their
doujters, vpon whiche he myght do his plaisir. The kyng thene
lycencyd them & gaf to them fair gyftes, & so they departed &
cam in to englond, and recouted to their lord thonoure that the
kyng & quene had done to them. & after they reported the
beaultes of the doughters, their maners & mayntenes, & thus
ther was ynough spoken of eche of them, & there were ynough
that susteyned to take tholdest or the seconde for thonour, & that
hit were best to take tholdest. & when all this mater had ben
wel beten & discussed, the kyng, whiche was wyse of naturell
wytte, spak of the yongest & said thus: "Myn auncetours maryed
them but for worship, without couetyse, & for bounte of the
woman, & not for plaisaunce. But I haue herd ofter myshappe
for to take a wyf for beaulte or for plaisauce, than to take her
whiche is of stedfast manere, & that fair mayntene. And there
is not in the world so grete ease as to haue a wyfe sure &
stedfast, ne none so grete & fair noblesse. And therfor I chose
the thyrd doughter, for I wylle haue none of the other." And
thine he sent for to fetche her, wherof the two older doughters
had grete despytc & grete desdayne. And thus she that hadde
the better and the more sure manere was made quene of Englond;
and tholdest was refused for her wylde lokynge, whiche was ouer
ventyllous, and that other suster, by cause she spak ouermoche.
Now, fayre doughters, take ye ensample by the doughters of the
kyng of denmarke, and late not your eyen ben ouer ventyllous, ne
tourne not youre hede hyder ne thyder; but when ye wille see
ony thyng on ony syde, torne your vysage and youre body to
geder. And be not ouer full of wordes; for who that speketh
ouermoche is not reputed for wyse. And ye ought wel at leyser
vnderstande to fore that ye answere, and yf ye make a lytell pause
bytwene, ye shall answere the better and the more wysely, for
the prouerbe sayth that as moche auayleth to hym that hereth
and no thyng vnderstondeth, as to hym that hunteth and no
thyng taketh, as is sayd to fore* And yet, my fayre doughters,
I shall saye to yow of a fayt that happed me of this mater. It
happed me ones that I was spoken to of maryage for to marye
with a noble woman whiche had fader and moder. And my
lord my fader ladde me thyder for to see her. Whan we were
there, there was made to vs grete chere & ioyous. And I beheld
her of whome I was spoken to, and I set my self in comynycacyon
with her of many thynges, for to know the better her mayntenyng
& gouernauce, & so we fill in spekyng of prysoners. And thenne
I said to her, ** Damoysell, j wold wel and had leuer be youre
prysoner than ony others, & j thenke that youre pryson shold
not be so hard ne cruell as is the pryson of englissh men."
And she ansuerd me that she had late sene such one that she
wold wel that he were her prysoner. And j demaded her, yf she
wold yeue hym euyl pryson, & she answerd me Nay, but that
she wold kepe hym as derworthely as her owne body. And j
said to her that he, who someuer he was, he was wel happy &
eurous for to haue so swete & noble a pryson. Shall I saye to
yow she louyd hym ynough, and had her eye quyck & lyght, &
she was f ul of wordes. & when we shold departe, she was aper te,
for she praid me two or thre tymes that I shold not leue, but
come see her how soeuer it went* But j helde me al styll, for j
had neuer sene her to fore, & she wist wel that there was spoken
of maryage of her and of me* And when we were departed, my
lord my fader demauded me what me semed of her that j had
sene, & bad me to telle hym myn aduys. & I answerd to hym
& said that she was good & faire, ** but j shall neuer be more
nerre her than j am, yf it please you/* and told to hym how me
semed of her and of her estate. And thenne he said that he wold
not also that j shold haue her. & therfor the ouer grete male'
pertnes & the lyght manere that me semed to see in her, discouraged
me so that j maryed not with her, wherof j haue thaked god sith
many tymes, for it was not after a yere & an half that, she was
blamed, but j wote neither it were with wrong or right, and soone
after she deyde. & therfor, my fair doubters, al gentyl wymmen
and noble maydens of good lygnage ought to be softe, humble,
Rype, stedfast of estate and of manere, of lytel speche to answere
curtoisly, and not to be ouer wyld to sprynge ne lepe, ne cast her
syght ouer lyghtely, for in lytel doyng ne cometh but good. For
many haue lost their maryage for to shewe them ouer moche
and to make ouer grete semblaunce, wherof oftymes were supposed
other thynges in them than euer were done or thought.
HOW THE DOUGHTER OF ARAGON LOST HER
WOLD that ye shold knowe how the doughter
of the kynge of Aragon lost the kyng of spayne by
her folye. It is conteyned in the gestys of spayne
that a kyng of Aragon hadde two doughters, of
whome the kyng of spayne wolde haue one. And
for to chese her that best plesyd hym he disguysed hym self in
the fourme of a seruaunt, and wente with his embassatours, that
is to saye, his Messagyers, and with a bisshop and with two
barons* And it is not to be demaunded but that the kyng made
to them grete honoure and ioye. The doughters of the kyng
arrayed and attoured them the best wyse that they myght, and in
especial the oldest, whiche thought that theyr comynge was for
her. And so they were there in the Courte thre dayes for to see
and behold the countenaunces, wherof it happed that in the
mornyng, whan they salewed them, the oldest answerd no thyng
but bitwene her teeth, as she that was fyers and of grete porte*
But her suster was humble and ful of grete curtosye, and salewed
humbly the grete and smale. After, he beheld on a tyme that
these two susters playd at tables with two knyghtes, but tholdest
chyd with one of the knyghtes, and demened strongly foule chere.
But the yonger suster, which had also lost, made no semblat of
her losse, but made as good chere as she had wonne. The kyng
of spayne sawe and beheld al this, and drewe hym a part, and
called his counceylle, and said to them, " Ye knowe wel that the
kynges of fraunce ne of spayne ought not to marye them for
couetyse, but nobly, and a woman of good maners, wel born,
& disposed to come to honoure & to bere fruyte. And for as
moche as I haue sene these two damoyselles, and haue byholden
their maners and theyr guyses, me semeth that the yongest is
moost humble and moost curtois, and is not of so haultayn
courage as is the oldest/* And they answerd to hym, "Syre,
tholdest is more fayre.** And he answerd to them, "None
honoure, ne beaulte, ne none erthely good, may compare to
bounte ne to good maners, and in especial to humylyte. And
by cause I haue sene her the more humble and the more curtoys,
I wylle haue her, and thus chaas her/* And thenne the bisshop
and the baros cam to the kyng of Aragon, and demaunded of
hym the yonger doughter. Thenne the kyng and alle his peple
were moche esmerueyled that they took not the oldest, which was
moost fayre* But thus it happed that the yonger was quene of
spayne, by cause she was humble and softe of speche to greete
and smale by her grete curtosye, wherof the oldest doughter had
so greete desdayn and so grete despit y she byca al fratyke & fro
her self* & therfore this is a fayre ensample, how by curtosye
and humylyte is goten the loue of god and of the world. For
there is no thyng so playsaunt as Humblesse, curtosye, and to
salewe fayre the peple, grete and smale, and to make no chere of
losse ne of wynnyng. For no gentyl wymmen ought to make
none effrayes in. them, but ought to haue gentyl hertes and softe
answers, and to be humble. For as god sayth in the gospel, he
that is moost worthe and mooste knoweth, moost humbleth hym,
lyke as dyde the yonger doughter of Aaragon, whiche for hir
humylyte and curtosye conquerd to be quene of spayne and took
it fro hir older suster.
OF THEM THAT BEN CHYDARS OR SCOLDES.
AYRE doughters, see that ye begynne no strif to
no foole, ne to them that ben hasty and hoote, for
it is grete perill, whereof I shal shewe to you an
Ensample, whiche I sawe happen in a Castel wherin
many ladyes & damoysels duelleden. And ther
was a damoysell, doubter of a right gentyl knyjt, and she waxe
angry in playeng atte tables with a gentylman whiche was hoote
and hasty and moost Ryotous, and was not right wyse. And
the debate was of a dyes, whiche she saide was not truly made.
And soo moche it encreaced that wordes were enhaunced, and
that she saide he was a coward and a foole. And so they lefte
theyr playe by chydynge and strif. Thenne said j to the
damoyselle, ** My fayre Cosyn, Angre you with no thyng that
he saith, for ye knowe wel he is of hautayn wordes and of folissh
answers, wherfor I praye yow for your honour that ye take no
debate ageynst hym," & j told her & couceiled feithfully, as j
wold haue said to my suster. But she wold not bileue me, but
yet did chide more after this than to fore. And she sayd to hym
that he was nought worth, and many other wordes. And he
answerd to her, that he was better for a man than she was for
a woman, & she said that he said not trouth ; and soo the wordes
aroos, that he said yf she had ben wyse and good, she shold not
come by nyght in to the mennes chambres and kysse them and
embrace them without Candell. And she supposed well to haue
auenged her, and sayd to hym that he lyed. And he said he
dyde not, and that suche one & suche one had sene it. And
there was moche peple that herd hit, whiche knewe no thyng
therof to fore, and many of them sayd that a good stylle, and
not so to haue chyden, had ben better for her, & that she was
beten with her owne staf, that is to saye, by her tonge and by hir
hasty spekyng. And after these wordes she wepte, and said that
he had diffamed her, and that it shold not be left so. And she
reassayled hym to fore them alle, in suche wyse that he said yet
more fowle and shameful wordes to the dishonoure of hyr that
she shall neuer recouer for socoure that she can make* And
thus was she shamed by the haultesse of her herte* And ther-
fore this a good ensample, how no woman ought to chyde ne
stryue ageynst a foole, ne with peple that haue haultayn courage*
but they ought teschewe them* for whan they see that they wil
speke grossely and hyghe* they sholde lete them alone, and holde
them al styll* and saye to them, ** Fayr f rende, I see wel that ye
speke hyhe and wylle ryotte* Now wylle I leue yow," and so
departe and goo fro hym, lyke as a knyght dyd to a lady that j
knowe, whiche had an euylle heede and saide many oultrages to
the knyght to fore all the peple. To whome the knyght said,
** Madame, yf it plesyth yow, saye ye as many merueyles as ye
wylle, and yf I here yow, I doo yow no wrong* I see well ye
be maryed, whereof I am sory." But now for al that she wolde
not be stylle, but chode more than to fore. And when the knyght
sawe that she wolde not leue ne be stylle for no thyng, he took a
lytell wyspe of strawe that he fond, and set it to fore her, and
saide to her, "Madame, yf ye chyde more, so chyde to this wyspe
of strawe, for I leue it here for me," and wente his way, and
lefte hyr there, and it was reputed for wel done of the knyght
that soo lefte her* And she was holden for more foole than to
fore, for when she fonde not to whome she myght chyde, she
restreyned her yf she wolde. And thus ought hit to be done, for
hit is not honest ne good folke to stryue with fooles, ne to
chydars, ne to suche as haue euylle heedes and ben hasty and
hoote, but teschewe them lyke as the knyght dyd this lady, of
whome ye haue herd.
OF HER THAT ETE THE EELE AND PLUMED
SHALLE telle to yow an Ensample herof vpon
the fayt of wymmen that ete the good morsels
behynde theyr husbondes. There was a damoyselle
that had a pye in a cage, whiche spak and said all
that she sawe. And it happed that the lord of the
hows made to kepe a grete Ele in a tronke in a ponde. And he
kepte it moche derworthely, for to gyue it to som good lord of
his, or to somme frende, yf they come to see hym. And it happed
that the lady saide to the Chamberere that it were good to ete the
grete ele* And they thought that they wold saye to theyr lord
that theues had eten hym. And when the lord cam home, the
pye began to telle and saye to hym, "My lady hath eten the
Ele/* And when the lord herd this, he wente to his ponde, and
fonde not his ele, and cam home to his wyf and demaunded her
what was befallen of his ele. And she supposed to haue excused
her. And he said that he was acerteyned thereof, and that the
pye had tolde hym. And in the hous therfore was grete sorowe
and noyse. But when the lord was gone oute, the lady and the
chamberere cam to the pye and plucked of alle the fethers of his
hede, sayeng, "Thou hast discouered vs of the ele,'* and thus
was the poure pye plumed, and lost the fethers of his hede. But
fro than forthon, yf ony man cam in to that hows that was
balled or pylled or had an hyhe forhede, the pye wolde saye to
them, ** Ye haue told my lord of the ele.** And therfore this is
a good ensample, that no good woman sholde not ete for hir
lycorousnes the swete or deynte morsels withoute the wytynge of
her husbod, but yf she emploed it well with honoure. This
damoysell was after moche scorned & mocked for that ele by
cause of the pye that so ofte remembryd it to suche as cam
thyder so ballyd or pylled.
HOW A GOOD WOMAN OUGHT NOT TO STRYUE
WITH HER HUSBOND.
}FTER this, a woman in no maner wyse ought
stryue ageynst her husbond, ne answere hym so
that he take therby displaysyre, lyke as dyde the
wyf of a burgeys, whiche answered to her husbond
so noiously and shamefully to fore the peple that
he bicam angry and felle to see hym self so rewlyd to fore the
peple that he had therof shame. And he said to her and bad
her ones or twyes that she shold be stylle and leue, but she wold
not* & her husbond* whiche was wrothe, smote her with his
fyste to the erthe, and smote her with his foote on the vysage so
that he brake her nose* by whiche she was euer after al disfygured*
And soo by her ryotte and ennoye she gate her a croked nose
moche euyll* It had ben moche better for her that she had
holden her stylle and hadde suffred. Yet it is reson and ryght
that the husbonde haue the hyhe wordes, and it is but honoure
to a good woman to suffer and holde her in pees, and leue
the haultayn langage to her husbond and lord* And also
,it is in the contrarye to a woman grete shame and vylonye
to stryue ageynst her husbond, be it wrong or right, and
in especial to fore the peple. I say not but when she shall
fynd hym alone and tyme but that she may wel reprehende
hym and aduyse hym, in shewyng curtoysly that he had
wrong and unright with hym, and yf he be a man resonable
he shal conne her thanke* And yf he be other, yet hath not
she done but her parte* For right so sholde a wyse woma
do, by thensample of the wyse quene hester, wyf of the
kyng Assuere, whiche was moche melancolyque and hasty.
But the good lady answered not to his yre, but after when
she sawe hym well attempryd place and tyme, thenne dyde she
what she wold. And it was grete wysedom of a woman. And
thus ought wyse wymmen to do. By this ensample the wymmen
that ben chydars and rampynge ben not of suche obeysaunce
as was a wyf of a marchaunt of whome I shall saye and telle
HOW A WOMAN SPRANGE VPON THE TABLE.
N a tyme it happed that Marchauntes of Fraunce
cam from certayn Fayres where as they sought
Draperye, and as they cam with Marchaundyse
fro Roan, that one of them said, "It is a moche
fayre thynge a man to haue a wif obeysaunt in
alle thynges to her husbond. Verayly,** sayde that one, "my
wyf obeyeth me well/* And the second said, " I trowe that my
wyf obeye me better/* "Ye,** sayd the thyrd, "lete laye a
wager, that whiche wyf of vs thre that obeyeth best her husbond
and doeth sonnest his commaundement, that he wynne the
wager/* Wherupon they waged a jewele, and accorded al thre
to the same, & sworen that none shold aduertyse his wyf of
this bargayn, sauf only to saye to her, ** Doo that whiche I shall
commaunde, what soever it be/* After, when they cam to the
first man's hows, he sayd to his wyf, "Sprynge in to this
bacyne/* And she answerd, "Wherfore? or what nede is it?**
And he said, " By cause it playsyth me so, and I wyll that thou
do so/* "Truly,** said she, " I shall knowe fyrst wherfor I
shal sprynge,** and soo she wold not doo it. And her husbond
waxe moche angry and felle, and gafe her a buffet. After thys
they cam to the second marchauntes hows, and he saide to his
wyf lyke as that other saide, that she wold doo his commaunde'
ment. And it was not long after that he said to her, " Sprynge
in to the basyn.** And she demaunded hym wherfore. And at
the last ende for ought that he dyde she dyd it not, wherfore
she was beten as that other was. Thenne cam they to the thyrd
man's hous, and there was the table couered and mete set theron.
And the marchaunt said to thother marchauntes in theyr eres,
that after dyner he wold commaunde her to sprynge in to the
bacyn. And the husbond said to his wyf, that what someuer
he commaunded her she shold do it. His wyf, whiche that
moche louyd hym and dred hym, herd wel the word. And it
was so that they bygan to ete, and there was no salt vpon the
table* And the goode man sayd to his wyf, "Sail sur table.***
And the good wyf, whiche hadde fere to disobeye hym, sprang
vpon the table and ouerthrewe table, mete, wyn, and platers to
the ground. ** How ! ** said the good man, " Is this the manere ?
Cone ye none other playe but this? Are ye mad, or oute of
youre wyt?** "Syre,** said she, "I haue done youre com'
maudement ; haue ye not said that youre commaundement shold
be done, what somever it was ? Certaynly j haue it done to my
power, how be it that it is youre harme and hurte as moche as
myn. For ye said to me that I shold sprynge on the table.**
"I?** said he, "I sayd ther lacked salt vpon the table.** "In
good feyth, I vnderstode,** said she, "for to spryng.** Thene
was ther laughter ynous. and al was taken for a bourd and a
mocquerye. Thenne the other two Marchauntes said it was no
nede to late her sprynge in the basyn, for she had done ynough,
and that her husbond had wonne the wager. And she was more
preised than the other two that wold not do the commaundement
of theyr husbondes. For moyen peple chastysen theyr wyues
by buf fettys and strokes, but gentyl wymmen ought to be chastysed
by fayre semblaunt and by curtosye, for other wyse ought not to
be done to them. And therfore euery gentyl woman sheweth
whether she haue gentyll courage or none ; that is to wyte, that
she sheweth by faire semblaunt and by curtosye that she obeyeth
and hath euer doubte to disobeye, leste ony harme come or myght
happen or falle to her. For the other two wyues obeyed not
their husbondes lyke as the good wyf dyde to the thyrdde
marchaunt, whiche for fere of disobeysaunce to her husbond
sprange vpon the table and threwe doune alle. And thus ought
euery good woman to fere and obeye her lord & husbonde, and
* Sail sur table, Old French For " Salt on the table." But the wife mistook
this sentence for Seyle sur table, i.e^ "Leap on the table."
to doo his commaundement is hit right or wrong, yf the com'
maundement be not ouer outrageous* And yf ther be vyce therein
she is not to blame, but the blame abydeth vppon her lord and
husbonde. And also that she ought not tansuere to euery word
of euery husbond ne of other, and that therein is perylle, lyke as
was of the knyghtes doughter, that sette her honoure in grete
balaunce for to stryue and answere to the hasty squyer that sayd
to her vylonye as a foole* For many ben so haultayn and of
soo euyll courage, that they saye in hastynesse and hete alle that
they knowe & cometh to mouthe, Therfore it is grete peryll to
begynne strif to suche peple, for who soo doth, he set his honoure
in grete aduenture, for many saye in theyr angre more than they
knowe, for to auenge them.
OF THE WOMAN THAT GAF THE FLESSHE TO
SHAL saye to yow an Ensample.of a lady that yaf
the flesshe and good morsels to her lytell houdes*
Ther was a lady whiche hadde two small houndes,
whome she moche loqed and had soo derworthe
that she took in them greete playsaunce. She
made for them dayly dysshes of sowpes, and after gaf to them
flesshe and other fryandyses delycyous. And on a tyme there
was a frere mendycaunt that said to her that it was euyll done
to gyue suche metes to the houndes, that were grete & fatte,
where as there were moche poure peple lene and drye for h5gre*
Thus he prechyd vnto the lady, but for al that she wold not leue
it* Soo thenne a lytel afterward this lady bycam seke vnto the
deth, and ther happed a wonder thyng whiche was sene al apertely*
For ther cam vpon her bed two lytel black dogges, and whan she
drewe on and was in a traunce they were about her mouthe and
lycked her lyppes* And where as they lycked her on the mouthe
it bycam as black as a Cole* This I haue herd of a damoyselle
that said that she had sene al this, and named to me the lady*
This is a good ensample to euery good lady and woman, how
they ought not to haue ouer grete plaisyre in suche thynges, ne
to geue flesshe ne lychorous metes to the houdes, for lack of
whiche the poure peple of god dye for honger, the whiche ben
the creatures of god made to his semblaunce and lykenes, and
ben his seruauntes* Suche wymmen vnderstande not the word
of god in the gospel, where as god sayth, ** He that doth wel to
the poure doth to me seruyce*" These wymmen resemble not
vnto the good quene blache, that was moder of saynt lowys,
whiche dyd do gyue in hir syght the mete to the moost nedy and
meseased. And after saynt lowys dyd in lyke wyse, for he
vysyted the poure peple and fedde them with his own honde.
The plaisire of euery good woman is to see the faderles and
moderles children and lytel poure children and them norysshe
and clothe, as dide the holy lady that was Countesse of Mauns,
whiche norysshed wel thyrtty orphanes and the lytel poure
children for pyte, and therin was al hir disporte. And therfor
she was louyd of god and had an holy lyf and a goode ende*
And ther was sene at her deth a grete clerenes and lyght alle
full of lytel children. These were not the smale houndes that
were black whiche were sene with the other, as ye haue herd
OF THEM THAT TAKE FIRST NEWE GYSES.
AYRE doughters, I praye yow that ye ben not
the fyrste for to take on yow newe arraye ne
gyses, and that ye in this caas be the last and
tarye lengest, and in especialle the newe gyses of
wymmen of straunge Countre. For I shalle saye yow of a
debate whiche was [o]f a baronnesse, that duellyd in guyenne,
and of the lord of beaumont, fader of hym that is now lord,
whiche was a subtyle and a wyse knyght. This lady aresonned
hym of his wyf and said, "Fayre Cosyn, I am come fro brytayne
and haue sene my fayre Cosyn your wyf, whiche is not arayed
ne aourned as ben the ladyes of guyenne ne of many other
places. For her pourfyls of her garnementes ne of her hodes
ben not grete ynough, after the gyse that now is vsed." Thenne
the knyght answerd to her, "Madame, syth she is not arayed
after your gyse, and that her pourfyls seme lyteli, wherfore ye
blame me, be ye certeyn that ye shal blame me nomore therfore.
For I shall doo araye her as queyntely and as nobly as ye or ony
other ben, and yet more. For ye haue not but the half of your
garnementes and of your hoode torned outward with grys and
ermynes, but I shalle doo to her better, for I shalle make her
kirtels and hoodes alle the furre outward, & so she shalle be
better pourfylled than ye ne the other.'* And after this he said,
"Madame, thynke ye that I ne wylle wel that she be arayed
after the good ladyes of the Countre ? Yes, veryly, but I wylle
not that she chaunge the guyse of good wymmen, ne of the
ladyes of worship of Fraunce & of this Countre, whiche vse
not the gyse of the loues ne of the lemmans of thenglysshe men,
ne of the peple of companyes, for these ben they that first knewe
this gyse in brytayne and in Guyenne of these grete pourfyls
and of the Coursettys torned by the sydes, for I was of that tyme
and sawe it. And for to take the guyse of suche wymmen that
brought it firste hyther, I holde them euyl counceyled, and also
them euyll aduysed that arraye them so, and also them that take
and vse hit, how wel that the pryncesse and other ladyes of
Englond, whiche after theyr longe comyng maye wel do it. But
j haue herd of the sages that euery good lady & woman ought
to kepe the gyse & state of the good ladyes and wymmen of
theyr Countre & comyn gyse of the Royamme of whiche they
ben of, and that they ben moost wyse that ben the laste that
take suche noueltees and newe gyses. And thus by renomme
the ladyes of Fraunce and of these lowe marches ben holden the
best ladyes that ben, and lest blamed/* These wordes were said
to fore moche peple, wherof the lady held her self nyce and
wyst not what to answere. And thenne many of them bigan to
murmure and said among them that she had done better for to
haue holden her stylle and said nought* And therfore, my fair
doughters, this is a faire Ensample for to take and holde astate
moyen and the gyse of the good ladyes of the Countre and of the
comune of the royamme that they ben of, that is to saye, of that
whiche the good ladyes vse comunely, & that is a noble thyng.
For to take a newe gyse comen by strauge wymmen and fro
other Countrees, they ben more mocqued and scorned than for
to kepe the gyse of their Countre, as ye haue herd of the good
knyght that was wyse and of grete gouernement in repreuyng
of the lady. And knowe ye for certayne, that they that first
done and take the newe gyses, ben scorned & mocked. But god
haue mercy on vs at this day, after that som haue herd that ony
newe facion or nouelte of goune or arraye shall neuer reste till
they haue therof a Copye, and shullen saye to their lord or
husbond dayly, " Suche thyng and suche shold become me wel,
and it is right faire. I praye yow that I may haue it." Yf
their lord or husbond saye to her, " My loue, yf suche one haue
it, other that ben holden as wyse as she haue it not." And she
thenne wylle saye, ""What though they can not araye them,
what haue I doo with all ? Sith that suche one hath it, I may
wel haue it, and were it as wel as she*** And I say you that
they shal fynd so many resons, that they must nedes haue theyr
parte* but these maner of wymmen ben not founde the moost
wyse ne moost connyng, but they haue their herte moost sette to
the plesaunce of the world* I speke not vpon the ladyes ne the
damoysels that maye wel do at their lust and gyse, for ageynst
their estate I thynk not to speke ony thyng that may displese
them yf I may knowe it, for it apperteyneth not, ne is fyttyng to
me, but to honoure and obeye them to my powere. Ne I entende
not to speke ageynst them by this book, but to my owne doughters,
wymmen, and seruauntes, to whome I may say that as it shal
plese me, and after my wylle.
HOW ME OUGHT NOT TO STRYUE AYENST
THEM THAT BEN LANGAGEURS AND FULL OF
lYRE doughters, I shall saye to yow an Ensample,
how it is peryllous to speke and holde stryf to peple
that haue the world in their hande and that haue
manere and wytte to speke. For gladly men ne
wynne but lytel to holde stryf of bourdes and japes
to suche men. For it happed at a grete feste where as were
many grete ladyes and lordes, and that ther was the marchal of
Clermot, whiche merueiloussly had the world in honde as of
fayre spekyng and lyeng subtylly, and to knowe hym self and
his beyng among alle knyghtes and ladyes. So thenne ther was
one lady that said to hym to fore alle the peple, " Clermont, in
good faythe ye ought to gyue grete guerdon vnto god. For ye
be a good knyght and semely ynough, and ye knowe many and
conne many merueyles, and were parfite ynough yf your mockyng
ne were and youre euyll tonge, whiche somtyme can not be
stylle." " Now, Madame, is this the worst tatche that I haue ?"
She sayd "Ye." "Now see we thenne in this poynt, as me
semeth, for to juge rightfully that I haue not so euylle a tonge
as ye. And I shalle saye yow wherfore. Ye haue me repreuyd
and tolde me the worst tatche that I haue, after youre aduys, and
I haue not said the worst tatche that I knowe in yow. What
wrong haue I doo thenne? Madame, I am not so swyfte of
my speche as ye are.*' The lady helde her pees thenne, and
wold that she had not stryuen ne spoken to hym, for dyuerse
causes whiche I reherce not, as I haue herd recounted that it
was ynough spoken. And somme said that it had better for her
to haue ben stylle. And therfore this is a good Ensample, for
it is better somtyme to be stylle and saye no thynge than to be
ouer apperte and begynne wordes to such men as haue their
wordes redy at hand, and that haue no shame to saye double
wordes hauyng dyuerse ententes. And therfore take ye heede
to whome ye enterpryse to speke, and beware that ye saye no
thyng to theyr displaisire, for for to stryue is moche peryllous*
OF THRE LAD YES THAT ARESONNED BOUSSY-
ET shalle I saye to yow of this matere how it
happed that thre ladyes supposed to haue shamed
Boussycault, and what fylle therof. Boussycault
was a wyse man, and wel bespoken amonge alle
other knyghtes, and hadde the world and rule at
the wylle among grete lordes and ladyes* So it happed at
a feste that thre grete ladyes satte in a Closette and spaken
of theyr good auentures so long that that one said to the other,
" Foull falle to her of vs that wil not say for good copanye yf
she were this yere praid & requyred of loue." " Veryly," seid
one of them, " j haue ben desired within this yere/' '* By my
feyth," seid y other, " so haue j." " & j also," said the thyrd.
" Now," saide one that was most peert, ** Foule be she that wylle
not discouere his name that laste desyred vs." " By my feyth,"
said one, " yf ye wylle ensure vs to saye the same also, we shall
saye truly the treuthe." And she agreed & said that it was boussy
cault. " Ye," said that other, " certeynly it was he that desyred
me." " Certaynly, so dyd he me," said the thirdde. "Ha, ha!"
said they, "is hit soo?" "Certeynly he is not so loyal ne
trewe as we had supposed. He is not but a bourdour and a
deceyuer of ladyes. Late vs sende for hym." And anone he
was fette and cam and said to them, " My ladyes, what pleseth
yow ? " They saide, " We haue for to speke with yow. Sytte
here doune by vs," and wolde haue made hym sytte at theyr
feete. But he answerd them and said, "Sith I am comen at
youre sendyng fore, late me haue a chayer or a stoole to sytte
on. For yf j shold sytte lowe I myght breke my poyntes or
layners, and ye myght bere me on hond that it were another
thyng." And so he must haue a syege to sytt on. And when
he was set, the ladyes, that were wel born, began to saye to hym,
" How is hit, Boussycault, that we haue ben deceyued by yow
in tyme passed ? For we had supposed that ye had ben feithfull
and trewe, and ye are not but a trompeur and a mockar of ladyes.
It is al youre condicion.** " How/* said boussicault, " my ladyes,
knowe ye that I haue done ony deceyte or tromperye ? " " Yes/'
said that one, "for ye haue desired my faire Cosyns that ben
here, & also so haue ye me* And ye haue sworen to eche of
vs that ye louyd eche best aboue al creatures. This is a grete
lesyng, and it is not trouthe, for ye be not worthy ne of valewe
to haue thre. And therfore ye ben fals and deceyuable, and
ye ought not to be putt in the nombre ne in thacounte of good
and trewe knyghtes.** "Now, my ladyes, haue ye al said ye
haue grete vnright, and I shall tell yow wherfore. For at the
tyme that I said so to eche of yow, I had thenne my plesaunce,
and thought so at that tyme. And therfore ye doo wronge to
holde me for a deceyuer, but me behoueth to suffre of yow, for
ye haue youre parlementes vpon me.** And when they sawe
that he was not abasshed, they bygan to saye, '* What shall we
doo ? Late vs drawe lotte for hym, & she that hath the shortest
shall haue hym. For yf j lose, I shall quyte my part truly.**
" And I myn,** said the other. Thenne answerd he and said to
them, "Nay, my ladyes, by the sacrament of god, I am not
soo to be departed ne to be left, for there is here no woman
that I wyll abyde with.** And therwith he aroos and wente his
way, and they aboden in the shame more abasshed than he was.
And therfore it is grete perylle to begynne strif or debate wyth
men that knowe the world and that can mayntene their manere.
And therfore this is a good Ensample not for to stryue ne to
haue wordes with suche maner men, for in all thyng is manere.
For other whyle they that wene to knowe moost ben somtyme
deceyued, and therfore I wold that ye shold remembre an Ensample
semblable to this matere.
OF THEM THAT WYLLE NOT WERE THEYR
GOOD CLOTHES ON HYGHE FESTES AND
HOLY DA YES.
N other ensample I shalle telle you, of them that
wylle not were theyr gounes ne clothes on hyhe
festes and on sondayes for the honoure of oure
lord. Thenne I wold that ye sholde take ensample
how a damoyselle repreuyd her lady. There was
a lady whiche had good gounes & ryche, but she wolde not were
them on sondayes ne on festful dayes, but yf she supposed to
fynde there noble men of estate. So it happed at a feste of oure
lady, whiche was on a sonday, that her damoysell said to her,
** Madame, why clothe ye not with youre good gowne this day
for the loue of oure lady and of the sonday?" "I," said she, "for
I se no men of estate here." "A ha!" said the damoysell, "god
and his moder ben more grete than ony other, and they ought to
be honoured more than ony worldly thyng, for he may gyue and
take awey alle thynges at his plaisire. For all good and all
honoure cometh of hym and of his blessid dere moder, and on
theyr hooly dayes we ought to arraye vs the better." "Holde
youre pees," said the lady, M god and the preest and the peple see
me al day, but folke of estate see me not alwey, and therfor it is
gretter honour to me to aray & make me fresshe for them."
" Madame," said the damoisel, * that is euil sayd." ** It is not,"
sayd the lady, "late come al that may come therof." Anone
with that worde there cam a wynde all hoote, and smote her in
suche wyse that she myght not styre ne remeue, more than a
stone. And thenne she confessid her and repentyd, and auowed
to many pylgremages, and was caryed in a lytyer. And she
told to al men of worship that she fonde the cause of this maladye
that had so taken her, and that it was the vengeaunce of god.
And she said that she had more grete ioye and gretter playsyre
for to make her queynt and gaye for peple of estate that cam
from without forth in to suche a place where as she was, for to
playse them, and to haue parte of their beholdynges, than she
dyde for ony deuocion at the hyhe festes of oure lord, ne of his
sayntes. And sithe she sayd to gentyll wymmen where as she
arayed her, "My loues, loo, see here the vengeaunce of god,"
and tolde to them alle the fayt and saide to them, ** I was woned
to haue a faire body and gente, and so sayd euery man of me.
And for the preysyng, the bobaunce, and the glorye that I took,
I clad me with ryche clothes and fyn, wel pourfyld and furryd,
and shewed them att festes and justes. For somtyme the fruyte
that was in me was noujt & folye, & alle that I dyde was for the
glorye and loos of the world. And whan I herde saye of the
companye that sayde for to please me, "Loo, there is a wel
bodyed woman which is wel worthy to be bilouyd of somme
knyght," thenne al my herte reioysed in me. Now maye ye see
what I am, for I am now gretter than a pype, and am not like
as I was, ne the gownes ne robes that I loued, & had so dere that
I wold not were them on sodayes ne on the feestes for thonoure
of god, shall now neuer serue me. And therfor, my fair loues &
frendes, god hath shewed to me my folye, that spared myn araye
on holy dayes for to shewe me fresshe & joly to fore men of
astate, for to haue preysyng & beholdyng of them. Wherfore
I pray yow, my frendes, that ye take ensample here at me."
Thus coplayned this good lady, al seke and swollen vii yere.
And after, when god had sene her contricion & her repentaunce,
he sente to her helthe, & was hoole after her lyf, & was euer
after moche humble towarde god, and gafe the moste parte of
her goodes for goddes sake, & helde her afterward symply, and
had not her herte set toward the world as she was woned. &
therfor, my fair doughters, this is a goode ensample hou ye
ought to apparayle yow, & were youre good clothes on the
sondayes & the good feestes for thonoure and the loue of god
which gyueth all, and for thonoure of his swete moder & of
the hooly sayntes, more than for worldly people whiche ben
no thynge but fylthe & erthe, and for theyr regard and preysyng.
For they that soo done for their plaisaunce displese god, and he
shal take vengeaunce on them in this world, or in that other,
like as he dyd of the lady of whiche ye haue herd. And therfore
this is a good Ensample to all good ladyes and to alle good
OF THE SUSTER OF SEYNT BERNARD WHICHE
CAM TO SEE HYM IN GRETE ARAYE.
|NE Ensample wylle I telle yow after this matere.
It happed that seynt bernard, whiche was an hooly
man and of hyhe lygnage, lefte all his grete posses*
sions and noblesse for to serue god in an Abbaye
and to lede the better his lyf. He was chosen
Abbot, and ware hayer and dyd grete abstynence & was a grete
almes man to the poure. And he had a suster whiche was a
grete lady, and she cam for to see hym with grete foyson of
peple nobly arrayed with ryche robes set with perles & precious
stones, & in this grete estate she cam to fore her broder, whiche
was a good and holy man. And whan saynt Bernard sawe her
in this araye he blessid hym, and torned to her his back. And
the lady was gretely abasshed by cause he deyned not to speke
to hen & he sente her worde that he was aferd to see her in
so grete pryde, & so desguysed & deffaited. Thenne she dide
of her ryche atours & ryche robes, & arayed her moche symply,
& thene he came to her & said, "Fair suster, yf j loue your
body j owe by reson moch more to loue youre sowle. Wene
ye not that it displesyth god & hys sayntes & to all the Courte
of heuen to see suche pryde and bobauce set vp, and to araye
karoyn that within a day after the sowle shal departe shalle so
rote and stynke that no creature may feele ne see it withoute
errour and abhomynacion. Faire suster, why thynke not ye
ones a day how the poure dye for cold and for hongre ther
withoute, where as the tenthe parte of youre queynteryes and
noblesses myght refresshe and clothe moo than xl persones
ageynst the cold ? " Thenne this hooly man declared to her
hou she shold leue the folye of the world and the bobaunce
therof, and shewed to her how she shold saue her sowle soo
moche that the good lady wepte. And after she dyde doo selle
the moost parte of her ryche Roobes and ryche araye, and ledde
so hooly a lyf, that she had the grace of god and of the world,
that is to say, of good and wyse men, whiche ben better than
fooles* And therfor, my fayr doughters, this is a fair Ensample
that ye ought not haue youre herte set toward the world, ne to
fynde and set these newe gyses and queyntyses to please with the
world, but that ye departe so with god, whiche all sendeth, and
soo may ye gete youre sauacion* For it is better to haue lasse
gownes and robes, that the poure may haue theyr parte, for who
someuer sette all his entent for to haue the playsyr of the world,
j am certayne that it is folye and temptacion of the fende oure
enemye. And ye ought more better to araye yow for the loue
and honoure of god, than for the folysshe thought of the world,
whiche is but a shadowe vnto the regard of hym that all maye,
and al gyueth, and alwey endureth his glorye.
OF THE SUSTER OF SEYNT BERNARD WHICHE CAM TO
SEE HYM IN GRETE ARAYE
OF THEM THAT PLAYE AND IAPE AT THE
SHALLE telle yow another Ensample of them that
jangle at the masse, when they ought to here the
seruyse of god* It is conteyned in the gestys of
Athenes that ther was an heremyte, a moche hooly
man and of blessid lyf. And he had a Chappel in
his hermytage of saynt Johan. And thyder cam many knyghtes,
squyers, ladyes, and damoysels of the Countre, as wel for the
feste as for the holynes of hym. And this hooly heremyte songe
the masse, and when he torned hym after the gospel he behelde
the ladyes and damoisels, knyjtes and squyers, that bourded &
iangled in the tyme of the masse and ronned one with another.
And he beheld moche theyr contenaunce, and he sawe that at
eche ere of man and woman was a fende, moche black and
horryble, whiche also laughed and jangled amonge them, and
wrote the wordes that were said. These fendes wenten spryngyng
vppon theyr queynt arayement and nyce araye, lyke as the smale
byrdes that lepe fro brauche to brauche. And this hooly man
blessid hym and merueyled. And when he was in his canon
aboute thende he herde them speke and laughe, and thenne he
smote the booke for to make them be stylle, but somme there
were that wold not. Thenne said he, '* Fayre lord god, make
thou them to hold their pees and be styll, and that they may
knowe their folye." Thenne they that soo laughed bigan to
crye and braye, bothe men and wymmen, as demonyakes and
suffryng so grete peyne that it was a pytous thyng to see and
here. And when the masse was songen the hooly heremyte said
hou he hadde sene the fendes of helle laugh vpon them with euyl
contenaunces when he was at the masse. And after he told them
that they fylle in grete perylle when they spak and bourded, and
of the grete synne that they dide in the tyme of the masse, when
they shold haue ben in the seruyse of god, to whiche none ought
to come but for to gyue laude, praye humbly, and deuoutely to
worshippe god. And after this he said how he sawe the fendes
lepe and spryng vpon the homes and other nyce apparaylle of
many wymmen, and they were tho that talked and jangled with
company, and they that thought more to complaire and plese
their amorettes & delytes of the world, than to plese god, & to
haue the regardes and beholdynges of the musardes on them ; he
saw on these the fendes pynne their keuerchyefs. But vpon them
y sayd their prayers & were in deuocio, they were not on them
ne touched the, how well there were ynough of them that were
wel arayed & curyously. But it holdeth more in that hert than
in thabyte. And after he said that soo arayed them for to ben the
beter sene and take heede of done grete synne, and they that take
playsir in the seruyse of god angre sore and gyuen grete debate to
the fende oure enemy. After that he had said thus many thynges,
the wymmen and they that cryed and were so tormented threwe
awey their gaye arraye as peple oute of theyr wyt, and alweye
abode they there in suche manere nyne dayes. And on the
tenthe day they were brought ageyne to their right mynde by
the prayer of the hooly heremyte. And thus were they chastised,
that fro than forthon they keptethem from spekying and janglyng
in the tyme of the seruyce of god. Wherfore we may wel
vnderstonde by this ensample that no persone ought not talk in the
chirche ne distourble the seruyse of god.
AN ENSAMPLE THAT HAPPED AT THE MASSE
OF SEYNT MARTYN.
[ND yet I shalle saye to yow what befelle att the
masse of seynt Martyn of Tours, The hooly man
songe the masse, and his godsone seynt Bryce helpe
hym to synge, which was after hym Archebisshop
of Tours. This saynt Bryce began to laughe, and
saynt Martyn apperceyued it. And when the masse was done,
seynt Martyn callyd hym, and demaunded of him why he
laughed. And he answerd hym that he had sene the deuyll,
whiche put in wrytynge alle that the men and wymmen talked
togeder as longe as he sayd the masse. Thenne it happed that
the parchemyn in whiche the fende wrote was ouer shorte, and he
began to drawe it oute along with his teeth, for to make it larger.
And when he so drewhe with his teeth the perchemyn escaped fro
hym in such wyse that he smote his heede ayenst the stone walle.
And for that cause I lough. And whan saynt Martyn hadde
herd that seynt Bryce had sene this, he preched vpon this mater
to the peple, how it was grete perylle to speke & talke in the
masse tyme and in the tyme of the seruyce of god. And yet
susteyne the grete clerkes that me ought not saye no prayers
in the masse tyme, and in especial whyle the gospell is red, and
per omnia with the preface. And for these causes aforsaid, my
fair doughters, ye have herby a fayre ensample how that ye oujt
to mayntene you humbly and deuoutely in the Chirche, and not
to talke ne iangle for no thyng that may happen.
OF A KNYGHT THAT CAUSID ALL A TOWNE TO
LESE THEYR MASSE WHEREAS HE DWELL YD.
[ NOTHER Ensample I shalle telle yow of them that
lose their masse and also to make other to lese it. I
haue herd told of a knyght and of a lady that fro
theyr youth took grete plaisire to slepe to fore none.
And this they vsed in such manere that oftymes they
lost theyr masse, and causid alle the parysshe to lose it also in
whiche they dwellyd, for he was lord and patron of the parysshe,
and the parson durst not withsaye hym. So it happed on a
sonday that they sente to the parson that he shold tarye for them.
And whan they cam, it was passed mydday. And they of the
parysshe told the preest that it was past none, and therfor he durst
not synge mass. And so they hadde no masse that daye, wherfore
the peple of the parysshe were moche angry, but they must nedes
suffre. And it happed in the same nyght that the preest had a
vysyon, that hym semed that he kept a grete flock of sheep in a
felde where as was no grasse. Arid he wold haue brought them
in a pasture for to haue fedde them, where to was but one path,
and in that path was a black swyn and a sowe, whiche lay
ouerthwert the way ; and these hogges were horned. And he had
soo grete drede and fere, bothe he and his shepe, that he durst not
entre in to his pasture, and anon they torned back to their feld
withoute pasture. And soo they had no mete. And thenne hym
thought one saide to hym, " Leuest thou to gyue pasture to thy
sheep for fere of these horned beestes ? ** And there with al he
awoke. And in lyke wyse this vysion happed the same nyght to
the knyght and to the lady his wyfe, for them semed that they
become a bore and a sowe, and were also horned, and that they
wold not suffre the sheep to passe and goo to their pasture. And
sith them semed ther cam a grete chace of black hunters, syttyng
vpon grete black horses, which had with them grete quatyte of
grehoundes and black dogges, whome them semed they vncoupled
and dide set them on hem, and made them all to drawe hem and
byte them by the eres, armes, and thyes, and blewe their homes,
halowed and cryed. And this chace or hutyng endured on them
so longe, that them semed that they were taken & slayn, & ther
with all they awoke, beyng sore agast & effrayed, & this aduysion
happed and cam to them two tymes. Now it happed that the
preest cam vnto the place where this knyght & lady were, and
they tolde to hym their vysyon. And in lyke wyse the preest told
to them his, whereof they were sore admerueyled and abasshed
by cause they were lyke. Thenne the preest aduysed hym, and
sayde to the knyght, " Syre, there is an hooly hermyte here by in
suche a foreste, whiche shalle make vs wyse and vnderstonde of
this thynge. Thenne they wente to this hooly man, and
recounted to hym theyr aduysyon fro poynt to poynt. And thys
hooly man, which was wyse and of a blessid lyf, declared to them
all their fait, and said to the knyght & his wyf, * f Ye be the black
swyne, whiche kepe the pathe and the entre of the pasture, that
the sheepe may not fede them, ne may not ete of the good pasture,
that is to saye, that ye be lord of the parysshe in whiche ye dwelle,
and ye haue distourbled and lette the good peple and parisshens
for to here the seruyse of god, which is good pasture & refresshyng
of the spyrituel lyf of the sowle, by cause of youre latchesse and
youre long reste. And the homes that ye haue ben the braunches
of youre synnes, whiche ben moche grete, and in especiall of the
grete synnes that ye haue done in lettyng other fro the benefete
and the seruyce of god, whiche ye may not amende but by greete
penauce and tormente. And therfore the vengeauce of the wrong
that ye haue done is shewed to yow that ye shall be tormentyd
and hunted of the fendes of helle, and at the last ye shall be taken
and slayn by the very huntyng of deuyls, lyke as it was shewed
to yow by youre aduysyon. And I say you certaynly, that it
hadde ben lasse synne an honderd ageynst one, that ye had herde
no masse, than for to take fro the good peple ne fro the preest
their deuocion, for when he abode ouer long, he was angry, &
synned in the synne of wrathe, and the good peple also, of whome
somme wente to tauerne, and other lost their deuocion and alle
good charyte. And all the synnes and euyls comen of yow, & by
youre slouthe, wherof ye shall gyue a rekenyng perauenter hast-
lyer than ye wene, for ye shalle be hunted and put to deth lyke as ye
haue sene in youre aduyson ; that is to say, that ye ben in the wey
to be dampned, yf ye put not therto remedye.*' Thenne the knyght
was moche abasshed, and demaunded of hym couceil how he myght
doo. Thenne the hooly man said that he shold thre sondayes knele
to fore his parisshens and crye them mercy, and praye them to
pardone hym, and that they wold praye to god for hym and his
wyf also, and from thenne forthon they wold be the first to fore
other at the Chirche. And there he confessid hym to the heremyte,
and he gafe to hym that penaunce and other. And fro than
forthon he chastysed hym self, and he and his wyf thanked oure
lord that he vouchesauf to shewe to them this demonstrauce.
And I saye yow, that fro than forthon they were the first that cam
to the chirche. And also the hooly heremyte said to the preest
and declared to hym his vision, and tolde hym that god ought to
be more drad and serued than the world. And therefore, my f aire
doughters, take herby a good ensample, that for your plaisire ye
cause none to lese their masse ne theyr deuocion for your slouthe
and neclygence. For it were better that ye herd none. And I
wolde wel that ye shold knowe and lerne thensample of a lady that
spended the fourthe parte of the daye for to araye her.
OF A LADY THAT DISPENDED THE FOURTHE
PARTE OF THE DAY FOR TO ARAYE HER,
ERE was a lady whiche had her lodgyng by the
chirche. And she was alweye acustomed for to be
long to araye her, and to make her fresshe and gay,
in so moche that it annoyed and greued moche the
parson of the Chirche and the parysshens. And it
happed on a sonday that she was so long that she sente to the preest
that he shold tarye for her, lyke as she had ben acustomed, and
it was thenne ferforthe on the day* And it annoyed the peple,
and there were somme that said, " How is hit ? Shall not this
lady this day be pynned ne wel besene in a Myrroure ? ** And
somme said softely, " God sende to her an euyll syght in her
myrroure that causeth vs this day and so oftymes to muse & to
abyde for her/' & thene as it plesyd god for an ensample, as she
loked in the Myrroure she sawe therin the fende, whiche shewed
to her his hynder parte so fowle and horryble, that the lady wente
oute of her wytte, and was al demonyak a long tyme. And after
god sente to her helthe, and after she was not so long in arayeng,
but thanked god that had so suffred her to be chastysed. And
therfore this is a good ensample, how me ought not to be so long
for to apparayle ne to make her gaye, as for to lese the seruyse of
the masse, ne to make other to lese the seruyce of god.
HOW GOD SPRANGE IN TO THE MOUTHE OF A
|OW I shalle telle yow vpon this matere of a good
lady whiche was hooly of lyf and moche loued god
& his seruyse. And that day that she herd no masse,
she ete neither flesshe ne fysshe, so euyll at ease
was she at her herte. So it happed on a tyme that
her chappellayn was in suche wyse seke that he myght not synge
masse. The good lady was not wel at ease att her herte, by
cause she had lost her seruyse, and walked out of her Castel
sayenge, ** O good lorde, forgete vs net, but plese hit the to pour-
ueye to vs that we may here the holy seruyce ! " And in sayeng
these words, she sawe two freres of relygyon comying, of whom
she had grete ioye. And anon she demauded yf they had said
masse, and they said " Nay/' And she desyred them to synge,
and they saide, ** Gladly, yf it please god." And when the good
lady herd that, she thanked god. And the yonger songe first. And
thenne whan he had made thre pyeces of the sacrament, the olde
frere beheld it, and sawe one of the partes spryng in to the mouthe
of the good lady in maner of a lytel bryght clerenes. The yonge
frere loked all aboute where hit was become, and that other
trembled for fere and sorowe of his felawe, and cam to hym and
sayd that he sholde not be dismayed, for that he sought was in
the mouthe of the good lady. Thenne was he wel assured, and
thanked god of the myracle that thus happed to this good lady
that so moche louyd the seruyce of god. Loo, my faire doughters,
this is a good ensample for you certayn. They that love god in
his seruyse, god loueth them, as it is shewed appertely by this
good lady, whiche had so grete desyre to see hym and here his
seruyse as afore is said.
OF A COUNTESSE THAT EUERY DAY HERD
WOLDE that ye sholde wel reteyne an ensample
of a good lady, a Countesse, whiche euery day wolde
here thre masses. And on a tyme she wente a
pylgremage, and hit happed of her Chappellayns to
falle of an hors to therthe, so that he was so hurte
that he myght not saye masse. The lady was at ouer a grete
meschyef for to -lose one of her masses, and she complayned
deuoutely to god. And anone god sente to her an Angel in stede of
a preest, which songe the third masse, but when he had songen
and was vnreuested, it was not knowen where he bicam, for ony
serche that they couthe make. Thenne thought the good lady
that god hadde sente hym to her, and thanked hym moche humbly.
And this is a faire Ensample how god purueyeth to them that
haue deuocion in hym and in his seruyce. But I trowe that ther
ben many ladyes at this day that passe wel with lasse than thre
masses, for it suffyseth them ynowe of one masse only, so lytell
loue and deuocion have they in god & in his seruyce. For in
herynge of his seruyce his propre persone fonde hym. For who
someuer loueth and dredeth hym, he wyl oft see hym and here
his hooly word. And in lyke wyse the contrary, for he that hath
not wel set his hert to hym ward, he passeth lyghtely as many
doo in thise dayes, whiche haue their herte more set on the world
and on the delyte of the flesshe than on god.
OF A YONG AMOROUSE LADY, AND OF AN
SHALLE telle to yow an Ensample of a yong lady
whiche had sette her hert on the world. And vnto
her repayred a squyer, whiche was joly and amourous
on her. And she ne hated hym not. And more fore
to haue ease and delyte for to speke and bourde to
geder, she made her lord and husbond to bileue that she had
auowed to go a pylgremage. And her husbond, whiche was a
good man, suffred her by cause he wold not displease her. And
so it happed on a tyme that she and this squyer went a pylegremage
vnto a monastery of oure lady, and they were in grete plaisire on
the way for to speke to geder. For they entended wel other thynges
than to saye theyr matyns. And they had grete playsyre and
delyte on the wey ; whereof it happed that when they were comen
in to the chirche°and were in the myddel of the masse, the fowle
fende, whiche is alwey in a wayte tenflamme & tempte man and
woman, helde them so subget in this temptacion and fowle plaisire,
that they had theyr eyen and plesaunces more to beholde eche
other, and to make smale signes and tokenes of loue, than they
had in the dyuyne seruyse, or for to saye deuoutely theyr prayers.
And soo it happed by open myracle, that soo grete a maladye tooke
the said lady, that sodenly she swouned, and they knewe not
whether she was dede or a lyue. And so she was born thennes
in mennes armes in to the towne as a dede body. And her hus-
bonde and frendes were sente fore, whiche were moche sorowfull
of this aduenture. And they beheld hyr, and wist not whether she
wold dye or lyue. Thenne it happed that the lady, whiche was
in^grete payne, sawe a merueylous aduysyon. For her semed that
she sawe her fader and moder, whiche had ben dede long to fore.
Her moder shewed to her her brest, sayeng, " Fayre doughter,
loo, here thy noreture. Loue and honoure thy husbond and lord,
as thou dydest this brest that gaf the to sowke, sythe that the
Chirche hath gyuen hym to the." And after her fader sayd to
her, '* Fair doughter, why hast thou more plesaunce and gretter
loue to other than to thyn owne lord and husbond ? Beholde this
pytte that is beside the, and know thou for certayn, yf thou falle
in this fire of euyll hete, that thou shalt abyde therin." And
thenne she loked and sawe a pytte f ul of fyre so nyghe to her, that
almoost she had fallen therin. And she was thenne all effrayed.
And after this her fader and moder shewed to her wel an honderd
preestes reuested al in whyte, and the fader and moder said to her,
" Fair doughter, we thanke the, by cause that thou hast reuested
this f olke here." And after that her semed that she sawe thymage
of oure lady holdyng a Cote and a sherte, and sayd to her, ** This
Cote and this sherte kepe the fro fallyng in this pytte. Thou hast
defowled my hows and mocked it." And in this effraye, she
awoke, and gaf a grete syghe. And thenne had her lorde and her
f rendes grete ioye, and sawe well that she was not deed. And this
lady felt her self al wery and feble of the aduysyon, & drede of the
fyre, and of the flamme of the pytte in whiche she was almoost
falle. And she demaunded to haue a preest. And anon was sette
to her an hooly man, a relygyous whiche was a grete Clerke, and
wayre the hayre and lyued an hooly lyf, and to hym she confessid
her, and tolde to hym all her aduysyons and the grete drede that
she had to falle in to the pyt. And there she tolde to hym all her
synnes, & her yong wantoun lyf, and the holy man declared to
her hir aduysyon, & said to her in this wyse, —
YET OF THE SAME.
|AME, ye ben moche beholdynge to god, and to his
swete moder, whiche wylle not haue yow dampned,
ne the perdicion of youre sowle. But they shewe
to yow youre perylle and youre saluacion. First,
they haue shewed to yow youre fader and moder*
And youre moder said to yow, ' Fayre doughter, see the breestes
of whiche thou hast taken thyn noreture. Loue & honoure thy
husbond, lyke as thou hast done these brestes.' That is to
vnderstonde, ye ought to loue & fere hym, like as ye loued the
pappes of youre moder, & ther ye took youre norysshynge. And
like as the childe leueth alle thynges for loue of the tete, & for the
swetenes of the mylke wherof he taketh his foode, ryght so ought
euery good woman, next god and his hooly lawe, loue her husbond
aboue al other, and leue all other loues for hym : in lyke wyse
as oure lord saith with his hooly mouthe, that a man shold leue
fader & moder, suster & broder, & abyde with his wyf, & with
wyf her husbonde, and that they be not tweyne but one flessh, &
y god hath ioyned man may not departe. & also where ye said
that youre moder saide ye tooke youre noreture in her pappes &
your welthe, that is to say, yf ye loue youre husbond aboue al
other, thenne shall your noreture growe & encrece from day to
day, like as the child groweth by his noreture of the pappe, & by
the swetenes of the mylke, which signyfyeth the grete swetenes,
the ioye, the loue, that ou<Tt to be in trewe mariage, & the grace of
god duelleth in them. After your fader said, ' Faire doujter, why
hast thou more gretter loue & plaisauce to other than to thyn
husbond ? Beholde the pitte that is beside the, & knowe thou
verily, yf thou fall in the pitte with grete hete, that thou shalt
be lost therein; that is to saye, that if thou loue more another
than thy lord, thou shalt fall into the pyt, where ye shall be
brent & broiled for the delyte of euil plaisauce & euyll hete/*
And therfore he shewed to yow the pytte of fire & of hete, and
the vengeauce & the pugnycion that behoueth to ensue for this
delite & the hete of the folissh plaisauce. After, he shewed to you
the prestes in white, & said that ye had reuested them, whereof
he thaked you. That signefiace is, that ye haue do reuestid
prestes, & done said masses for them, & in like maner pray they
for you* & they ben sory when they see them that done good
for them ben sent to perdiciS, as ye may wel apperceyue that they
were sory of the teptacion that ye had in the foule plaisauce in
which ye were in the wey for to be lost, & therfor they cam for
to socour you, for loue of the good dedes of the masses & almesses
that ye haue done for them. After, ye saw thymage of our lady,
that held a cote & a shirte, & said, " This cote & this shirt haue
kept the fro fallyng in to the pytte ; for thou hast defouled my
hous & mocked it;" that is saye, that yehaue ben in the chirch in
gretter loue of another than of hym. They were the f olisshe regardes
& the f olisshe plaisires y ye toke hym for whom ye emprised & toke
the journeye. & also the vois said to you, y [you] haue fouled &
mocked his hous, y is, his chirch ; for all they that come thyder
for ony other playsaunce but for the deuocion of hooly place, &
doo not the seruyse of god, but come for their plaisire and worldly
delyte, they mocke the chirche and the hows of god, after ye
defowled it when ye synned there, lyke as the voys said to yow :
that was when ye fhadde youre herte sette more in the plaisire
of folye than on the dyuyne seruyse. And of that trespas god
hath wylled to shewe to you youre defaulte, and hath sente to
yow this grete euylle and sekeness that ye haue now felt. And
this grace and chastysement is comen to yow for the seruyse &
good dede that ye dyde to two poure wymmen, of whiche ye gaf to
one a Cote, & to that other a smok. And the voys said to yow,
that the Cote and smock haue kepte you fro fallyng in to the
pytte ; that is to say, that the good deede and thalmesse that ye
haue done for goddes sake haue kept you fro perysshynge. For
yf ye hadde fallen in to the folye and fowle playsyre where ye had
set youre herte in, ye had ben vtterly loste and perysshed, wher'
fore ye ought to gyue grete thankyng & seruyse to god, that he
hath vouchedsauf to shewe yow youre errour. Now ought ye
from hens forth to kepe yow from fallynge in suche perylle as for
to lose all honoure and youre sowle, and not to haue plaisire to
loue none so moche as youre lord youre husbond, to whome ye
haue promysed feith and trouthe, and ye ought not to chaunge
for better ne werse. And yf she chaunge and loue another, than
she lyeth and periured her feithe and trouthe* Now haue ye here,
god be thanked, a faire myroure all lyke as the wyse man shewed
yow the aduysyon/* And thus he confessid and taujt her the
best wyse he couthe* & the lady wexed al hole, and thanked
god and lefte all her folysshe plaisaunce* Thenne it happed
aboute half yere after, that the squyer that loued her peramours,
cam from a vyage and from an armee where he had ben, and cam
to her queynt and Jolye, and began to bourde and iape and speke
suche langage as he had to fore other tymes vsed. And he fonde
her all straunge* Thenne was he all abasshed and admerueyled,
and demaunded her and said, " Madame, at what playe haue I
lost the good tyme, the lyf, and the hope that I haue had to lyue
with you joiously } ** And she answered to hym that all that
tyme was passid. "For neuer as long as I lyue/* sayd she,
** j purpose to loue ne haue plaisaunce with none, sauf with my
lord my husbonde/' And thenne she told to hym the aduenture
that happed her in the chirch. And he thought and supposed
wel to haue torned her, but he myght not/ And when he sawe that
she was ferme and constaunt, he lefte her, and after sayd and
tolde to many other the constaunce and stedfastnes of her, whereof
he moche preysed and honoured her the more. And therfore
here is a good Ensample how me ought not to goo to hooly
pylgremages for no foolysshe playsaunces, but only for the
dyuyne seruyse and for the loue of god, and how good it is for to
praye and to doo saye masses for the soules of fader, moder, and
other frendes, for in lyke wyse they praye and empetre grace for
them that ben alyue that remembre them and doo good for them
as ye haue herde. And also it is good to gyue almesse for god's
sake, for the almesses geten grace of god to them that gyue them,
lyke as ye haue herd. And nowe I shalle telle yow another
ensample that happed in a Chirche, whiche was called oure
lady of Bealem.
OF THE VYCES THAT RENNE & BEN IN
faire doughters, he that the beste or good seeth,
and taketh the bad or euylle, it is good right that
after therof he hym repente. I say so by cause
that we haue thorugh this world many euylle and
badde Ensamples and mo ther be that rather and
soner taken the bad than the best or good. They that soo doo
ben fooles, for they put them self oute of the ryght way, that
is, oute of the commaundements of god, whiche all good and
also oure saluacion techeth vs; and he gyueth vs it both by
writynges and by lawe, the whiche we hold and sette but litil by.
For we see that the moost parte of the world rewleth and guydeth
them self after the carnal or flesshely delyte and wylle, and ben
ful of veyne glorye and dampnable worship. The one is prowde
for his scyence, the other for his Rychesse, somme for their
gentylnesse. Other be that ben enuyous of the goodes and
worship that they see in other folk more than in them self.
Other be that ben yrous and kepe euylle wylle in their hertes to
the folk. Other be that ben so esprysed and brennynge in the hete
and stynkyng fyre of lecherye that they be wors than wylde beestes.
Other ben glotouns & lecherous, whiche taken ouer moche good
wynes and of delycate metes. Other also that ben couetous to
haue other mennes goode. Other be that ben theues, vsurers,
Rauynours, traytours, and backbyters. This maner of folk,
thenne, sheweth wel that they be sones and disciples of the
deuylle, for wel they ensyewe and folowe the doctryne and
faites of hym their mayster, by whoos counceylle and temptacion
they be ioyned with synne and lyeng in the way of dampnacion,
and therin the deuyll holdeth them faste bounden vnto the tyme
of shewynges of very and pure confession. And of this manere
the moost parte of the world is entatched and ouercome.
OF THE GOOD CONDYCIONS THAT BEN IN
DYUERSE AND MANY MANERS AMONGE
LSO ther be other that ben sage and wyse, whiche
haue al their herte and truste in god* And for the
loue and drede that they haue toward hym they
hold them clenly and fro synne, alwey fyghtynge
ageynste the fire of lecherye. Also they hold them
sobirly fro etynge of delycious metes and wynes, kepyng good
dyete, for suche delycates ben but the bronde that lyghteth and
sparkleth the fire of lecherye. Other ther ben that haue grace,
wytte, and suffisaunce ageynste couetyse, and other that haue a
fre hert and pyteous vpon other men's peynes, and ben trewe and
rightful toward their neyghbours, and also ben peasyble. And
therfor oure lord god maketh them to lyue in pees and peasybly,
for who that the euyll and the Ryote seketh, anguysshe and
doloure shal soone folowe hym. Many men by their grete
jre and angre beten them self with their owne staf, and euery
day ben aboute to purchace to them self grete peyne and sorowe.
And therfore oure lord God in the Euangely blesseth alle them
that ben debonaire and peasyble of herte. Alle suche folke that
so clerly and feruently byhauen and mayntene them self in the
loue and drede of god and of theyr neighbours shewe wel that
they be wel lyke theyr mayster, that is, god the fader, of whome
they holden and kepe the hooly commaundementes as hooly
chirche techeth them, & they haue a fre herte to witholde them
after thexamplayre of his sone, whiche is thexemplaire of life
and of ioye perdurable, and is the swete welle or fountayn
wherynne men maye fynde alle goodnesse and sauement. And
therfore, fayre doughters, haue ye euer youre herte in hym, and
loue and drede hym, and he shalle saue yow fro alle peryles and
fro all euylle temptacions. Wherfore, my faire doughters, I
wylle shewe and declare vnto yow by this book the trewe women
and good ladyes that oure lord god preyse so moche in his byble,
by whoos hooly dedes and operacions were and shalle be euermore
preysed, wherby ye may take good Ensample of honest and
clenly lyuynge. And also I shalle shewe yow somme euyl
wymmen that were furyous and replenysshed of alle malyce,
the whiche fynysshed theyr lyf in grete sorowe and heuynesse,
to thende ye take of them goode Ensample to kepe yow fro all
euylle and fro the perdycyon wher as they fallen in.
THENSAMPLE OF EUE OURE FIRST MODER.
[E first ensample of euyll and of synne, wherby
the deth is come and entred in to this world, cam by
Eue our first moder, that lytell kepte the commaunde'
ment of god, and the worship wherin he had
enhaunced and put hen For he hadde made her
lady of alle thynges lyuyng that were vnder the heuen, whiche
al were obeyeng to her. And yf she had not falle in to the synne
of inobedyence, there had be no fysshe in the see, ne beest on
therthe, ne byrde in thayer, but that they had al be vnder her
obeisaunce & at her will myght haue take them, and dyuyse &
haue them where someuer she wold. Also she shold haue had
children without ony dolour or peyne, & neuer she shold haue had
honger ne thurst, nother cold ne hete, trauaylle ne sekenesse,
tristesse or heuynesse of herte, ne erthely deth. No water myght
haue drouned her, ne fyre myght haue conbusced or brente her,
ne glauye or wepen myght haue hurte her, no thyng myght ennoye
her. Thenne loke we and thynke how a synne alone withoute ony
more was cause to putt her fro thys grete honoure and worshyp and
make her falle so lowe and in suche seruage. For she lost all
that is before rehercyd only for the synne of jnobedyence. Loke
ye wel thenne that ye kepe yow fro it, as I trust in god ye shall,
remembrynge this Ensample. And knowe ye that the synne of
oure first moder Eue, cam by euylle and shrewed aqueyntaunce
by cause she helde parlement with the serpente, whiche as the
Hystorye sayth, hadde a face ryght fayre lyke the face of a woman,
and spack ryght mekely. She herd hym with alle her wylle and
pryuely, where jnne she dyde lyke a foole. For yf at the
begynnynge she hadde not herde hym, but hadde come to her lord,
she hadde dyscomfyted and ouercome hym to grete shame. And
soo the foole, herynge of hym, tourned her in to grete losse &
damage. And therfore, my f aire doughters, it is not good to here
folke that ben in theyr speche blandysshynge and castynge many
flaterynge wordes, for they bene fulle of decepcion. The Serpente
found Eue ferre froo her lord and allone, wherfore atte his beste
leyser he shewed her his deceyuable purpos and false langage, for
the whiche cause it is not good to be alone with ony other withoute
he be of his next parente or kynrede. Not withstandynge, I saye not
but men may wel bere honoure to euery one after he is worthy, but
men put more his honoure and worship in jeopardy and daunger
by answere to moche, than by f ewe and short answere, for one word
bryngeth in another.
HOW A HOOLY BISSHOP REPRYSED AND
TAUGHT MANY LADYES.
SHALLE telle yow how a hooly man late dide
preche, and was a bisshop, a right good clerke. At
his prechynge & sermon were many ladyes and
damoisellys, of which som were dressid and clothed
after the newe manere. The remenaunt of their
heedes was lyke two homes and their gownes made after the
newe gyse, wherof the good hooly man had merueyle and began
to repreue them, gyuynge and rehercynge to fore them many a
fair ensample, and told them how the deluge or gaderyng of waters
in the dayes of Noe was bycause of the pryde and desguysynge
of men, and specially of wymmen that counterfeted them self of
newe and dishonest rayments. And thenne when thenemye sawe
their grete pryde and their desguysynge, he made them to falle in
the fylthe of the stynkyng synne of lecherye, whiche thynge was
so moche displesynge to god that he dyde made to rayne fourty
dayes and fourty nyghtes withoute cessynge, in so moche that the
waters were aboue the erthe and surmounted by heyght of ten
Cubites vpon the hyhest montayn. Thenne was all the world
drowned and perysshed, and none abode on lyue sauf only Noe,
his wyf, his thre sones, and his thre doughters. And alle this
grete meschyef cam bycause of that synne. And thenne as the
bisshop had shewed to them this fayte & many other, he said that
the wymmen that were so horned were like the snayle that ben
horned. He said more ; " I doute," said he, " that betwyxt their
homes thenemye hath made his mancion & dwellynge. For as
they take hooly water, they cast dounward theyr faces, and that
maketh the deuylle syttynge vpon their heede by nature and
strengthe of the hooly water." He tolde and reherced to them
many merueyles, in so moche that at the ende of his predicacion
he made hem to be mowrnynge and full of thought. For he
hadde repreued them so sore that they had so grete shame that they
ne durst lyfte vp their hedes, and helde them mocked and diffamed
of their vyce. And after, many of them caste awey their
braunches and homes, and held them lowe and went symply.
For he saide that suche coyntyses, & such countrefaytyng, and
suche wantonnesse, were to compare to the Copspyn, that maketh
his nette to take the flyes. Ryght soo doth the deuylle by his
temptacion the desguysyng in men and wymmen, to the ende they
may be enamoured one of other, and for to take and brynge them
to the delyte of lechery. He taketh them and byndeth them as
the copspyn doth the flees in her nette, as a holy heremyte telleth
in the booke of the faders of lyf, to whome was shewed by tonge,
as ye may fynde playnly in the said book. And yet he saith that
that the coulpe of the synne was in them that first tooke &
brought vp suche desguysynge, and that euery good womman and
wy se ought wel to drede the takynge and wery nge of suche ray mentes
vnto the tyme she seeth that euery one comynly took and went in
hem. For after the word of god, the first shall be the most
blamed, and the last shal syt on the hyhe syege* The bisshop,
that a good man was, sayd an Ensample vpon the fait of them
that hasted them to be the fyrst in takynge and bryngynge vp
suche noueltees, and said thus :
HOW THE YONG LADYES WERE SCORNED
AND MOCKED OF THE OLDE & AUNCYENT.
[T befelle that many ladyes and damoysels were
come at the weddyng of a maide. As they were
goyng toward the place where as the dyner sholde
be, they found a passynge fowle wey within a
medowe. Thenne said the yong lady, " We shalle
wel go thorugh this medowe and leue the hyhe waye." The
Auncyent and wyse said they shold go the hyhe way, for it
was the best and more sure goynge, and moost drye. The
yong ladyes, that ful were of their wylle, wold not folowe them,
and thought they shold be bifore them at the said place. And
soo they tooke their wey thorugh the medowe, where were old
cloddes all roten. And as they were vpon them they brake
vnder theyr feet, and soo they felle in the myere and dyrte vnto
the knees, and with grete peyne cam they oute ageyne, and took
the hyghe weye. They made clene their hosen and gownes
with theyr knyues the best they couthe. So long they were
in wasshyng of their hoses and gownes that they myght not
come to the begynnyng of the dyner. Euery one demaunded
& asked after them, but no body couth tell of them. At the
last they cam, as the fyrst mes or cours was eten, & after they
had taken their refectiS & wel drSken, they beganne to telle and
recounte how they were falle in the myre vnto the knees to.
" Ye," said thenne a good auncyent and wyse lady that was
come by the hyhe weye, " Ye wend to take the shortest way to
thende ye myght be the sonner & fyrst at the place, & wold not
folowe vs. Hit is wel bestowed, for I telle yow for certayne
that some wene to auauce them self, that hyndreth them, and
suche one is that weneth to be the first and formest that ofte
fyndeth her the last of all." She gaf them these two notables,
to thende they shold know their faute, for as saith the said holy
man, thus is hit of this worlde, — they that first may haue
noueltees of the world, wene to doo wel and be therfore enhaunced
and tofore other ben holden and wysshed, but as for one that
holdeth hit wel done, there ben ten that maken of hit. For
suche one preyseth their doynge before them, that behynde their
back putteth out his tonge, scornynge and mockyng them.
YET OF THE SAME.
HE holdeth her self the best welcome that firste
bryngeth vpon her ony noueltees. But as the good
and hooly man saith, they that firste take suche
newe raymentis be lyke to the yong ladyes that
fylle in the myere, wherof they were mocked by
the wyse ladyes that took the best and ryght wey, for men may
not mocke them that kepe suche wey, and that vse their lyf after
reason and not after theyr owne wylle. I say not but that whan
that manere of newe raymentis is taken & comynly wered of
euery one, & in euery towne, it may be thenne worne & taken,
but yet the wyse woman shal leue and forbere it yf she can.
And suche wymmen shalle not be lyke ne compared to them
that fylle in the myere by cause they wold be first in the place,
& they were the last. Therfore, my faire doughters, hit is good
that none hast her not, but good is to holde the myddel estate.
The lesse is the moost certayne and seurest, but as now is a
cursed and shrewed world, for yf somme folysshe woman full
of her wylle taketh & bryngeth vpon her ony noueltee & newe
estate, euery other one shalle soone saye to her lorde, "Syre,
it is told to me that suche one hath suche a thynge that ouer
faire is, and that so wel becometh her. I pray yow, good syre,
that I may haue suche one, for j am as good and as gentyll of
blood, and ye as Gentyl a man, as she and her lord ben, & haue
as wel for to paye as she hath." And thus she shalle fynde soo
many reasons that she shalle haue her wylle, or els ryote and
noyse shalle all day be at home, and neuer shalle be ther pees
tylle she haue her, parte, be it right or wronge. She shalle not
loke yf ony of hir neyghbours haue that thynge that she wylle
haue, also she shalle not abyde till euery one haue it, but the
hastlyest that she may she shalle doo shape & make it, and
forthwith shalle*were it. It is merueyle of suche coyntyse and
noueltees, wherof the grete clerkes say, that seynge the men
and wymmen so desguysed and takyng euery day newe
raiments, they doute that the world shalle perysshe, as it dyd
in tyme of Noe, that the wymmen desguysed them and
also the men, whiche displesid god* And herupon I shalle
reherce yow merueil whiche a good lady dyde recounte to
me in this same yere. She tolde and saide to me that she
with many other ladyes were come to a feeste of seynt
Margrete, where as euery yere was grete assemble made*
There cam a lady moche coynt and Joly, and dyuersly dis'
guysed and arraid more than ony other there* And by
cause of her strauge and newe array euerychone of them
cam to ' beholde and loke on her, as it had be a wylde
beest. For her clothyng and araye was different and no thyng
lyke to theyr, and therfore she had wel her part beholdyng
& lokyng. Thenne said the good ladyes to her, "My
frende, telle ye vs, yf it please yow, how ye name that aray
that ye haue on youre heed/' She answerde and saide, "The
galhows aray." " God blesse vs ! " said the good lady, " the
name of hit is not faire, and I ne wote how suche aray
may plese yow/' The tydyng of this aray and of his name
were borne al aboute, hyghe and lowe, wherof euery one scorned
and mocked her, and as mockyng and scornynge cam there
she was to beholde and loke vpon her. I dyde aske of the good
lady the manere of it, but euylle I witheld it. But as ferre as
I me remembre of it, Hit was hyghe culewed, with longe pynnes
of syluer vppon her hede after the makynge and maner of a
gybet or galhows, right straunge and merueylous to se. And
in good feyth, after that tyme, the yonge and folysshe lady that
had that araye on her heede was euer mocked & scorned &
nought set by. Here shal j leue to speke of the newe and
desguysed raymentis, and of the good bisshop that so repreued
them that hadde and wered suche araye, and that dede shewe
to them by Ensamples and hooly scripture how that suche
noueltees, that specially wymmen took on them, was token and
signe of somme grete meschyef to come, as is werre, famyne, and
OF THE GOOD KNYGHT THAT HAD THRE
WYUES, AND OF THEIR LYUES.
lYRE doughters, I wold ye couthe and wel with-
held the example of a knyght that had thre wyues.
A knyght was somtyme, a right good man and of
good and honest lyuynge, whiche had an Heremyte
to his vncle, a good and hooly man, and of
relygyous lyf. This knyght and his first wyf, whiche he moche
ioued, were but a lytel space of tyme to geder. For the deth that
all consumeth and destroyeth tooke her, wherof the knyght was
so f ul of sorowe that nyghe he deyde therof. He ne wyste where
to seke ony comforte, sauf only to the Heremyte his vncle, that
he knew for a holy man. He cam to hym mournyng and
wepynge, waylynge and regretyng his wyf. The hooly man
comforted hym in the best maner and wyse that he couthe, and
at the last the knight preid hym that he wolde pray god for hym,
that he myght knowe whether she was dampned or saued. The
hooly man hadde pyte of his neuewe, and went to his Chappel,
and there he made his prayer to god and requyred that it my?t
please hym to shewe where she was* And after he had be long
tyme in oryson, he fylle a slepe, and soone after hym thought he
sawe the poure sowle before seynt Mychael tharchaungel, and
the fende at the other syde, and was in a balaunce, and her good
dedes with her. And at the other side was the deuyll with all
hyr euyll dedes, whiche greued & troubled her sore. It were her
gounes that were of moche fyn cloth, & furred of calabre, letuce,
& ermyn. And the enuy or deuylle cryed with a hyghe voys &
said, " Sire, this woman had ten paire of gownes long and short,
and ye know wel she had with half of them ynough, that is, a
long gowne, two kyrtells, & two cottes hardyes or two short
gownes, & therwith she myght haue be pleasid and suffised, as
a good & symple lady, and after god & right she hath had of
OF THE GOOD KNYGHT THAT HAD THRE WYUES, & OF
them to moche, by the half ; & of the valewe of one of her
gownes, »L poure peple had had .1. ellys of burell or fryse, whiche
haue suffred suche cold & such mesease about hem, and yet she
neuer took pyte on them/' Thenne took the deuyl her gownes,
rynges, & jewelles y she had had of the men by loue, also alle
the vayne and euylle wordes that she hadde sayd of other by enuye
and taken awey their good renommee, for ouermoche she was
enuyous and of euyll talkyng, and no synne that she had done
he lefte behynde, but al this togeder he dyde put in the balaunce.
And weyed they were to her good dedes, but moche more they
weyed than dyde all the good that she euer hadde done. And
thus took her the deuylle, whiche dyde her to endowe her gownes
that were thenne brennyng as fire and had her within in to helle.
And the power sowle cryed & sorowed pyteously. Thenne
awaked the hooly heremyte, and tolde part of this aduysion to the
knyght his neuewe, and comaunded hym and charged that all her
gownes shold be gyuen for goddes sake to poure folke.
OF THE SECOND WYF.
|FTER this the said knyght maryed hym ageyne
to another woman. They were fyue yere to geder,
and thenne she passed oute of this worlde. And
yf the knyght hadde be sore meuyd and sorowful of
the deth of his first wyf, yet more he was oi his
second wyf, and wepynge came to theremyte his vncle, demenynge
grete sorowe, and praide hym for this as he had done for the
other, that he myght knowe where she was. And for the grete
pyte that he took of hym, seynge hym in suche sorowe, wente
allone in his Chappel, and there made to god his prayer &
oryson. There it was shewed & reueled to hym that she shold
be saued, but y she shold be .c. yere within the fire of purgatory,
for certayne fawtes whiche she had done, she beynge in her
maryage, that was, that a squyer had leyn with her, and other grete
synnes. Neuertheles she had therof many tyme be confessid, for
yf she had not so doo she withoute doute hadde be dampned.
Thenne cam theremyte to the knyght, and told hym how hys
wyf was saued, wherof he was ioyeful and glad. Here may ye
see how that for one dedely synne she was so longe in the fyre of
purgatorye, but it may well be, as the hooly man sayth, that
they had done the dede ten or twelve tymes, for a certeyne and
very trouthe is, for euery dedely synne confessid shalle the sowle
be punysshed in purgatory the tyme and space of seuen yere.
Faire doughters, take ye here good ensample how this fowll and
fals delyte is dere bought, and how therof men must gyue
acompte : and also of them that haue so many gownes and that
so moche waste their good to be jolyf and repayre their carayn,
in so moche they may haue the loke and beholdynge of the world
and the plaisaunce of the folke. Now see how it happed to the
knyghtis first wyf, that for her pryde and for the grete quantite
of gownes and Jewelles that she hadde was loste and dampned for
euer* And yet many one is in this world that wel haue the
courage soo prowde that wel they dare bye gownes of thre or
foure score Crownes, & yet thynkyng hit of lytel prys, that yf so
were they must gyue to poure folke two or thre shyllynges they
shold holde that ouermoche, and as halfe loste. Loke and behold
ye thenne, how they that haue soo many gownes wherof they
coyntyse and araye their bodyes, how ones they shalle straitly
answer of them. And therfore euery good woman, after she is
of estate and degree, she ought to hold and behaue her symply
and honestly in her clothyng and in thequantiteof hit, and gyue
a parte to god, to thende she may in the other world be clothed of
all ioye and glorye, as dyde the hooly ladyes and hooly vyrgyns
as in their legende is rehercyd, as of seynt Elyzabeth, of saynt
Katheryn, and of seynt Agathe and other mo, that gaue their
gownes to the poure folke for the loue of god. And soo ought
to doo euery good woman. Now I haue tolde & recounted to
yow of the two first wyues of the knyght, and herafter ye shalle
here of the thyrd.
OF THE THIRD WYF OF THE KNYGHT.
[ONE after toke the said knyght his thyrdde wyf, and
were long-tyme to geder, but at the last she deyde,
wherfore the knyght was nyghe deed for sorowe.
And when she was dede, the knyght cam to his Eme
and praid hym for the same as he hadde done for
his two firste wyues. And as the hooly man was in his prayers
and oryson, it cam to hym in aduysyon that an angel was before
hym, whiche shewed hym the torment & peyne that the poure
sowle suffred, for he sawe appertely and clerely how one deuylle
helde her faste with his hondes or clowes by her heres and tressis,
as a lyon holdeth his proye, in suche manere that she couthe
nought meue her hede here ne there, & dyde put brennyng nedels
thorugh her browes, whiche entred in to her heede as ferre as he
myghte thruste them in. And the poure sowle at euery tyme
cryed horrybly. And after he had made her to suffre suche grete
martyre that ouerlonge lasted, another deuylle horryble and ouer
hydous cam there with grete brondes of fyre and thrested them
vnto her face. And in suche maner he tormented her and brente
and entf lammed her ouer alle sydes, that the Heremyte was therof
sore effrayed and trembled for fere. But the Aungel assured hym
and saide that she had wel deserued it, and theremyte demaunded
of hym why, and the Angel saide that she had popped and
polysshed her face for to seme more faire and plaisaunt to the
world, and that it was one of the synnes that was moost
displesynge to god. For she dyde hit by pryde, by whiche men
falle to the synne of lecherye, and fynally in to all other. For
aboue alle thynge it displesith to the Creatour, as one wylle haue
by crafte more beaute than nature hath gyuen to hym, and that
hit suffyseth hym not to be made and compassid after the hooly
ymage, of whome alle the Aungels in heuen take alle theyr ioye
and delyte. For yf god had wolde of his hooly purueauce, they
had not be wymmen, but they had be domme beestes or serpentes.
And why thenne take they no heede to the grete beaute whiche
their creatoure hath gyuen hym, and why doo they put to their
faces other thynge than god hath gyuen hem ? It is therfore no
merueyle yf they endure and suffre suche penaunce. And thenne
said the Aungel, ** She hath wel deserued it. Go ye there as the
body of her lyeth and ye shall see the vysage ryght hydous and
effrayed. And by cause he was eueer besy aboute her browes and
aboute her temples and forheede to dresse and paynte them that
she myghte be faire and playsaunt to the worlde, it is conuenient
and ryght that in euery place wheroute she plukked ony here of
her face, that there be put euery day a brennynge bronde."
" Syre," said the Heremyte, " shalle she be longe in this torment ?"
" Ye," said the angell, " a thousande yere," and more he wold not
discouere ne telle to hym of hit. But as the deuylle dide putte
the brounde in her face the powre sowle cryed sore and cursed
the houre that she euer was borne or engendryd. And of the
fere that thenne the hooly heremyte hadde he awoke alle affraid,
and cam to the Knyght and told hym his vysyon. The knyght
was sore abasshed and right sore meued of this auysyon, and
went to see the body that men wold haue supposed had be fair,
but they founde the vysage soo black and soo hydous and so
horrible to see that it was grete confusion. Then bileued wel
the knyght for certeyne al that theremyte his vncle had told hym,
wherof he had grete horroure and grete abhomynacion and pyte,
in so moche that he lefte the world [and dyde were the hayre
euery fryday and euery Wednesday, and gaf for goddes sake the
third parte of all his reame and good. And fro thennes forth he
vsed an hooly lyf and had no cure more of the worldly bobaunces
ne plaisire, so moche he was ferful and agaste of that he had sen*
his last wyf, and of that vncle had told hym.
OF THE LADY THAT BLANKED AND POPPED
|ND for to afferme this Ensample, that it may for
very certeyne haue be, I shalle telle yow of suche
one that byfelle but of late. I sawe a baronnesse,
ryght a hyghe and noble lady of lygnage, the
whiche, as men saide, blanked and popped or peynted
her self. I sawe also hym that gaf to her euery yere suche
thynges wherwith she popped her, wherf ore he tooke yerely grete
pension of her, as he hym self said as he was aparte at his seurte.
This lady was somtyme right moche honoured and worshiped,
and also right myghty. Her lord deyde, wherfore euer syn her
stat day by day dymynuysshed. One tyme was that she had
more than .lx. payre of gownes, as men said, but at the last she
had lesse and scant ynough. And of her I herd saye, that after
she was dede her visage and all the body of her took suche forme
and coutrefaiture that men ne couthe saye what it was. But well
I wene that the peyntynge of her face wherof ofte she vsed as she
lyued, also the grete pryde of her and the grete wast and super-
fluyte of her gownes, was cause and occasion of suche horryble
countrefeture. Wherfore, my faire doughters, I pray you that
here ye wylle take good Ensample and wel withold it and kepe
hit in remembraunce withynne youre hertes, and that ye put no
thynge to youre faces but leue them as god & nature hath made
and ordeyned them. For ye may fynde and see atte cure lady of
Rukemadoure many tresses of ladyes and damoyselles that had
wasshed them in wyn and other thynges, and therfor they myght
not entre in to the Chirche tyll they had doo kyt of their tresses
and brought them in to the Chappell of oure lady, where as yet
they be hangynnge. This fayt or dede is approued. And I telle
you that oure lady dyde shewe to them grete loue in doynge
this myracle, for the gloryous vyrgyn wold not that they shold
lese their peyne and tyme comyng thyder, also that they sholde
not be lost for euer, therfore she shewed the said myracle on them,
wherfor they that were in the weye of perdicion were brought to
the weye of saluacion. Here is a fair spectacle to euery woman
to see in and conceyue the tyme comynge and the tyme also gone
and passed, as in the tyme of Noe, when thorugh the synne of
pryde god sent the deluge of waters, wherof all the world was
drowned, for by that synne of pryde came amonge men and
wymmen'the fowle and vyle synne of lecherye, and therof cam the
grete perylle, and of all the world scaped no more but eyght
OF APOMENA QUENE OF SURYE.
|OW shalle I telle yow of somme wymmen, the
whiche ben ouermoche proude of theyr grete
worship and goodes whiche god hath gyuen them,
as reherced is in the byble. Ther was a woman
whiche was named Apomena, doughter of a symple
knyght named Bernard. This Apomena was fayre and yonge,
in so moche that the kynge of Surye, whiche was a myghty
kynge, was enamoured of her, and so moche that he loued her
that by his grete folye he toke her in maryage and made her
quene. And whanne she sawe her self soo hyghe and so myghty,
and in so grete honour and worship brought, she sette nought
syn of her frendes and parentes, and had shame and desdayne to
see or mete with hem, and became ouer proude and so moche
grete of courage that also to the kynge her lord she bare not so
grete reuerence as she ought to haue doo, by cause she sawe
hym symple and debonayr. And also she by her grete pryde
dayned [not bere reuerence ne worship to none of the kynges
parents* And soo moche she dyd that of euery one she was
hated, and that the kynge was wrothe with her and chaced and
sente her in exyle. And so by grete pryde she lost the grete
honour and worship where in of lowe degree she had fortunatly
be broujt, for many wymmen be y may not suffre ease & worship
to gyder, & can not reste tyl by their pryde & enuy they falle in
grete pouerte & fro hyhe to lowe, as dyd the folysshe quene
whiche was come fro lowe degree vnto so hyghe and myghty
estate and myght not suffre it. And euery woman whan she
seeth and knoweth her lord symple and debonayr to her, she
ought the more to bere hym honoure and worship, for soo
doynge she worshippeth and bereth honour to her self, and hath
the loue of them that seeth her soo doo. And also therfore she
ought to hold her the more cloos and symply, and to force her
self to kepe his loue and his pees, for al hertes be not euer in one
estate. A stone flyteth, and a hors falleth ; men wene somtyme
that suche one be symple whiche hath a malycious herte. And
therfor a woman may not bere to moche worship and honour to
her lord, ne to moche be obeyssaunt to hym, of what someuer
condicion he be, wherof I wylle telle yow an ensample of the
wyf of the grete Herodes. He hadde a wyf whiche he ouermoche
loued. He wente to Rome, and in the mene whyle hit befelle
that his men that were with hym, the whiche in no wyse loued
theyr lady his wyf, by cause she was toward them to proude &
felon, told hym how she had a prynce to her loue, wherof Herodes
was wrothe, and at his retourne fro Rome he reprouued her of
this grete faulte and vylonye whiche she had done to hym. She
answerd thenne to proudely and to lyghtely, and had not her lord
in honour by fayre wordes ne by curtosye, neyther humbly she
spake to hym, as she oughte to haue do. And therfor her lord,
that was felon and despytous, and wrothe of her proud and
hyghe spekynge, toke a knyf and slewe her, wherof he was after
sory, for he fonde not that tale whiche his men had told hym of
her trewe. And so her pryde and ouermoche langage was cause
of her dethe. And therfor this ensample is very good to euery
woman to see, how she ought to be meke and humble and curtois
in gyuying ony answere ageynst the yre and wrathe of her lord.
For the wyse Salamon sayth that by curtosye and by swete
langage ought the good wymmen to refreyne the yre & wrathe
of their lord. For the lord of right ought to haue aboue his wyf
the hyghe talkyng, be it ryjt or wrong, & specially in his yre &
wrath, & bifore ony folk ; but as his wrath is gone she may wel
shewe to hym y he had no cause so to doo, & so she shal euer
hold the loue and pees of her lord and of all her hows, neyther
she shalle not make her self to be blamed, ne to be bete ne slayne
by her lord, as dyd the wyf of kynge Herodes.
OF THE QUENE VASTIS.
SHAL telle you another ensample of a quene that
was named vastys. She was wyf to the kynge
Assuerus. It befelle that the Kynge held a feste
with his barons, and there were alle the grete lordes
of his londe. They satte att dyner in a hall, and
the quene in another. And whanne the barons had dyned they
prayd the kynge that he wold vouchesauf to shewe them the
quene, whiche was merueyllously fayr. The kynge sente for
her ones, twyes, and thryes, but neuer she daygned to come,
wherof the kynge had grete shame, and demaunded of his barons
counceylle what therof he myght best do. And suche was the
counceylle gyuen ; that is to wete, that he shold put her fro hym,
and made her to be lockked & shette bitwene two wallys, that
euery other shold take therby ensample, to be better obedyent to
theyr lord than she was* And so after theyr counceyll dyde the
kyng his wyf to be mured, and herof he made a lawe that fro
thens forthon al wymmen y shold of ony thyng wythsaye & be
disobedyent to her lord, seynge that it be resonable, that she
shold be a yere within two wallys, and with litil mete and
drynke for her defaute. And as yet they kepe and hold that
custome in that londe. The quene that sawe her put in mewe
was sore ashamed, & wepte and sorowed moche, but was to
late, for notwithstondynge her mournynge and lamentacion she
was putte in pryson, as aboue is sayd, where she was a yere.
Therfore wel ye ought to take here good ensample, for specially
before folke ye ought to doo the commaundement of your lord,
and obeysshe and bere hym honour, and euer shewe hym semblaut
of loue, yf ye wylle haue the loue of hym and of the world. But
I saye not as ye shalle be pryuely and allone one by other but
that ye may eslargysshe your self to say or do your wylle after
the best wyse that ye maye, and after ye knowe his maners. I
shall telle yow thensample of the lyon & of his propryete. As
the lyonnesse, that is to vnderstond, the female of the lyon, hath
done the lyon ony faute or despyte, he shalle not go with her,
but fro her shalle kepe hym self one daye and a nyght, and soo
sheweth he his lordship and seygnorye that he hath ouer the
lyonesse. This ensample is fair & prouffitable to all wymmen,
consyderynge how a sauage and wyld beest, and withoute reason,
and that dothe but as nature enclyneth her, maketh her self to be
drawe and doubted of felawe.
OF A MAN AND OF HIS WYF.
TD yet I shalle telle yow another ensample vpon
this matere. There was one Amon, whiche was
the kynges Seneschal and came of nought and lowe
degree. He bicame thorugh his seruyse moche
ryche, and bought londes and possessions and
gouerned, and had as vnder hym almost the half of the reame.
And whanne he sawe hym so ryche, and that he was bicome so
grete a lord, he wexyd & bicame ouer proude and felon and
presumptuous, and wold that men sholde knele bifore hym, and
that euery one shold bere vnto hym honour and reuerence. It
befelle that one Mardocheus, that was a noble man which had
nourysshed the noble quene Hester, whiche was a good lady and
trewe, was aboue al other displeasyd of the pryde and presumpcion
of the sayd Amon, whiche come of nought, therfor he daygned
not to bere hym ony reuerence, ne knele bifore hym as other dyd,
wherfor he bicame as a fole, and almost out of his wytte for
angre, and therof dyd complayne hym self to his wyf. And his
wyf that of so hyhe courage was, and as proude was as he,
counceylled hym that he shold make a gallowes to be sette &
dressyd bifore his place, and that he shold make hym and his
wyf to be taken and honged theron to grete meschyef, and that
he shold accuse them of some grete treason and falshede. And
whanne he was take, and the gallowes dressyd, the frendes of
mardocheus wente anone rennynge to the quene Hester, and tolde
her how Aaman wold make hym to be hanged that had
nourysshed her. And anone the quene made to be sent for
Aaman, He came, and she had hym tofore the kynge, where as
trouthe of the fayte or dede was dylygently jnquyred and knowen,
in so moche that it was foude that Mardocheus was accused by
the accusacion of Aaman, & was nothynge gylty, and that suche
treason he had putte on hym was by enuy. & thene the good
and noble quene Hester kneled bifore her lord the kynge, and
requyred and prayd hym that suche Justyce shold be made of
Aaman the Seneschalle as he wolde it had be done of Mardocheus
and of his wyf, and that he shold be hanged at the yate of his
place, to shewe that falsly & by enuy he had accused Mardocheus
of treson. And as the goode quene dyde requyre her lord, so was
hit done. Thus was hanged Aaman by his grete pryde and
surquedrye, and by the counceylle of his wyf. Wherfore grete
folye is to a man come fro lowe degree to worship and grete
estate to become and wexe prowde and surquydous for erthely
good that he hath gadred & amassed, and to myspryse ony
other ; but yf he be wyse he ought hym self shewe to euery one
meke and humble, to thende he may falle in the grace and
welwyllynge of alle folke, and that none may haue enuye ouer
hym. For comynly men haue more enuye ouer them that ben
come of nought to grete worship, than of them that ben come of
ryche and noble folke and of Auncestrye. The wyf of Aaman
was not wyse, whanne she sawe the yre & wrathe of her lorde, to
susteyne hym in his folye, for euery good woman & wyse ought
by fayr and curtoys spekynge put aweye, yf she may, the yre and
wrathe of her lorde, & specially whan she seeth hym meued and
be wyllynge to do somme euylle or somme shameful dede,
wherof dommage & dishonour may to them come, as dyd Aaman's
wyf, whiche repreuyd not her lord of his folye, but gaf hym
folysshe and euylle counceyll wherby he dyd vylaynously. Men
ought not to susteyne his lord in his wrathe and yre, but curtoysly
and by fayr wordes men ought to repreue hym of his euylle
thought, and shewe vnto hym lytyl and lytyl the reasons and
cause why he shold not do as he had purposed to do. For which
thyng, my fayr doughters, I requyre and praye yow that ye here
take good ensample, and take hede what meschyef befelle to
Aaman by the folysshe counceylle of his wyf.
OF THE QUENE GESABEL WHICHE HAD MANY
|OW wylle I telle yow thexample of an euylle, cruel,
and dyuerse quene, how it befelle to her. It was
the quene Gesabel, whiche had many euyl tatches.
Fyrst, she hated the jndygent and power; she hated
the holy and good heremytes and al prestes and
men of holy chirche, and alle them that to the laye peple taught the
f eythe. She made them to be beten and robbed, in soo moche that
of nede they must wyde and goo oute of the reame. She had of
none mercy ne pyte, wherfor she was cursed and hated of god and
of al the peple. A good man was at that tyme, whiche was
named Nabor, whiche had an Aker of a vyne yerd ryght fertyle
and good, whiche the kynge coueyted and desyred moche to haue
it by byenge or otherwyse. But the good man Nabor consented
not to hit with good wylle. The kyng told to this quene his wyf
that he was ryght sory that he myght not haue that vyneyerd,
and she sayd that well she shold make that he shold haue it, as
she dyde. For by treson she made the good man Nabor to be
murdred and slayne, and thenne she brought forth and made to
come fals men whiche wytnessid that he had gyuen the kyng
Achas her lord his vyneyerd : whiche thynge was moche
displeasynge to god, wherfor he sente Josue to make werre
ageynst hym, in so moche he toke prysoner the kynge Achas,
and with hym .lx. children, grete and smal. And anone after
Josue made theyr hedes to be smyton of. This was the punycion
of the vengeaunce dyuyne. And as for the euylle and cruell
quene gesabell, I shalle telle yow the ende of her. She wente vp
vnto a hyhe portayll or yate where as Josue shold passe, and there
she coynted and arayed her with clothes of gold and flourynge of
ryche ermyns, with grete plete of precious stones, al desguysed
and in other maner of clothynge than ony other woman of that
lond was. And as she sawe the kynge go by the waye, she
biganne of a hyghe voys to curse hym and all his lygnage also,
and proudely she spake to hym, sayenge of hym al the vylonye
that her cruel and proude herte couthe thynke. The kynge
thenne beganne to loke vp, and sawe the couetyse and desguysynge
of her and herd her proud and shamefull wordes, wherof he was
merueylled and wrothe. And seyng she held not her fals and
venymed tongue, but cursed and euer spake euylle, commaunded
to his men that they shold go where as she was, and that they
shold caste her before alle the peple the heed dounward fro the
place where she was vnto the strete. And so they dyde. And
thus by her cruell courage and pryde she shamefully and vylaynsly
ended her lyf. And for the grete crueltees and euyles that she in
her lyf had done & made to be done, commaunded kynge Josue
that she shold haue [no] sepulcre, but that she shold be eten and
deuoured of dogges, as she was. By suche wayes god taketh
vengeaunce oftyme of them that haue no pyte of the power &
jndygent, and that loue not his chirche and his seruauntes, and
that by couetyse make grete crueltees and many euylle dedes,
and also them that brynge fals wytnes to disheryte other of
his ryght, as dyd the fals quene gesabel, whiche susteyned her
lord in his folye, wherfor euylle happed to her* Here ye maye
take ensample to be pyteous, charytable toward the poure folke,
and to loue holy chirche and the mynystres of hit, and also to
kepe hym self fro gyuynge ony euylle counceyl to her lord, also
to take no desguysed rayment, but only thestate of the good and
worshipful wymmen of the lond.
OF ATHALIA, QUENE OF JHERUSALEM.
WYLL telle yow another ensample of a quene
of Jerusalem whiche was of euyll condycions,
diuerse and withoute pyte. For whanne Ozias
her sone was deed, she made al the children
of her sone to be slayne, and alle his heyres
also, sauf only one, that a good man named Zoadis made
to be nourysshed secretely. This quene toke the possession
of alle the reame and goodes, and made vnto the peple grete
dyuersytees and sore trauaylled them, and she taxed them
so hyghe that they became poure. And as she had so trauaylled
the reame, as she that was withoute reason and pyte, the child
whiche hadde be secretely nourisshed and brought vp, cam
to his enherytaunce, and toke the quene Athalia and made
her to deye of an euyl and shameful dethe. And soo she
hadde at the laste the reward and guerdon of her meryte.
For god gyueth to every one the deserte of his meryte in
his lyf or after his dethe. For none euylle is done, but
hit shalle be punysshed soone or in tyme to come. I wold,
fayre doughters, that ye knewe thensample and the tale of
a quene of Fraunce, whiche had to name Brunehault. She
was the quene of whome Sybile prophesyed, sayenge thus:
** Brunehault shal come fro black Spayne in to the Reame
of Gaule Fraunce, whiche shal do many euylle dedes, and
afterwarde she shal be destroyed." And so it befelle, for
she made somme of her children to be slayne, and also the
sones of her children, & other grete crueltees she procured
and dyde, whiche were to long to be reherced. But at the laste
as hit pleasyd god, she was payd, for a child that scaped her
cruelte, whiche was sone to her sone, and the whiche knewe the
grete crueltees and abhomynaltees that she had done and procured
and maade to be done, accused her. And thenne al her fayttes
and dedcs were put to Iugement before al the barons of the londe,
and sentence of dethe was cast on her, that she shold be bounden
with the heres of her hede atte hors taylle. And thus it was
done, and so she deyed of an euyl and shameful dethe.
WYLLE telle yow an ensample of Enuye, whiche
is an euyl vyce, of Marye the suster of Moyses, the
whiche sayd that she was as wel belouyd of god as
her broder Moyses, and that god herd her prayers
and requestes as he dyd his, wherof god was wrothe
with her, and made her to become lepre, in soo moche she was
put oute of the towne, soo that she myght no more come amonge
the folke* And notwithstandynge her grete enuye, yet had Moyses
and Aaron pyte of her, and made requeste that it wold please
hym to hele and gwerysshe her* And at theyr requeste god
maade her hole ageyne. Take ye here ensample how grete
parylle is to haue enuye of other men's preferement and worship,
and how god dyd punysshe this lady, whiche was the moost
noble damoysel that was in alle the land*
OF DALIDA THE EUYLLE WYF.
SHALLE telle yow another Ensample vpon the
faytte or dede of an euylle wyf and a fals woman,
whiche was named Dalida, whiche was wyf of
Sampson, that moche loued her, in so moche that
he dyde nothyng but that he made her to knowe
hit. And for the grete loue that he had to her, he lyke a foole
discouered and told her that al his my?t was in the heerys of the
heed. And whanne the fals woma wist it, she made to telle the
paynyms, whiche were enemyes to her lord, that yf they wold
gyue her a good reward she sholde so do that they shold take
hym. And anone the paynyms promysed her that yf she couthe
so doo as she sayd, they shold gyue her a grete quantite of gold
and of gownes, and as many precious stones as she wold take of
them. And she that thorugh couetyse was deceyued, made her
lord to slepe in her lappe. And whyle he fast slepte, she cutte
awey the heerys of his heede, and anone sent for the paynyms,
whiche nyghe were embusshed, and made hym to be taken of
them. Thenne he awoke and fonde alle his myght and strengthe
loste and gone, that before that tyme was wont to resiste and
fyghte, he al one, ageynst thre thowsand men. And whanne
they hadde hym fast bounden they thrested and putte oute bothe
his eyen, and made hym to tourne aboute a mylle as a blynde
hors. Behold ye, thenne, and loke how couetyse deceyued this
folissh woman, that for a lytell gold bitrayed her lord that soo
moche loued her, whiche was moost doubted of all men that euer
were and euer shall be. A coueytous herte dar well saye &
vndertake to do moch euylle, for he maketh the noble men to be
rapynous & tyrauts ouer their men & subgettes. Couetyse also
maketh many theues, many vsurers, many murderers, many
maydens & wydowes to become harlottes, and many secrete
homycyde is done by this fals vyce of couetyse; the children
also to desyre and wysshe the dethe of theyr faders and moders,
onely for to haue and rauysshe their goodes after theyr dethe*
Also Iudas : for couetyse of syluer he bitrayed oure lord Ihesu
Cryst. In suche maner done these dayes the aduocates and men
of lawe, whiche sellen theyr talkyng & wordes, tornynge fro
the trouthe and pletynge ageynst hit. For they doo the ryght of
the good man to be dylayed for to haue and take of hym more
syluer, and many one of them is that taketh of bothe partyes,
and so they selle theyr speche, whiche god gaaf them to prouffyte
with for the comyn wele. Therfor is couetyse moche deceyuable,»
which brought the wyf of Sapson to doo grete folye. Here ye
haue good ensample to kepe your self fro the vyce of couetyse
for soone after god sente to the sayd dalida the deserte of her
meryte and dede. She toke to spouse one of the paynyms, and
made a grete feste. Sampson that knewe of it, and to whom his
heres were growen and his strengthe come ageyne, made hym to
be ledde there as they were sette at the dyner. And thenne he
toke the pyler in his armes whiche stode in the myddell of the
halle, and that susteyned and bare al the place, and shoke it
with so grete strengthe and myght that he brake it in to pyeces,
and the place fylle vpon them. There was slayne dalida, her
newe lord, and the moost parte of them that were at that dyner.
And thus Sampson venged hym of dalida his fals wyf, whiche
was there punysshed of her euylle dede and folye. And well
was reason and ryght that of euyl doynge euyl shold come
HOW A WOMAN OUGHT TO OBEYE HER HUS-
BOND IN ALLE THYNGE HONEST.
WOLD ye knewe wel the tale and example of the
lady whiche daygned not to come to her dyner for
ony commaundement that her lord coude make to
her, and so many tyme he sent for her that at the
last, whanne he sawe she wold not come at his
commaundement, he made to come before hym his swyneherd, —
he that kepte his swynes, — whiche was foule and ouermoche
hydous, and bad hym fetche the clowte of the kechyn wherwith
men wype dysshes and platers. And thenne he made a table or
bord to be dressyd before hys wyf, and made it to be couerd with
the sayd cloute, and commaunded to his swyneherd to sytte
besyde her. And thenne he sayd thus to her : " Lady, yf ye ne
wylle ete with me, ne come at me, ne come at my commaunde'
ment, ye shalle haue the kepar of my swyne to hold yow company
and good felauship, and this cloute to wype your handes with
al." And whanne she that thenne was sore ashamed and more
wrothe than she was tofore sawe and knewe that her lord mocked
her, refreyned her proude herte and knewe her foly. Therfore a
woman ought not in no wyse to refuse to come at the commaunde'
ment of her lord yf she wylle haue and kepe his loue and pees.
And also by good reason humylyte ought to come fyrste to the
woman, for euer she ought to shewe her self meke and humble
toward her lord.
HOW MEN OUGHT TO KEPE HEM SELF FRO
i ERE shall I telle yow an ensaple of a grete lady
named Susanna, that had a sone, a grete lord,
whiche was gone in to a feld or bataylle where he
was slayne. The moder was in grete thought and
sorowe, what tydynges she shold here of hym. In
her companye she had a woman, a flateresse & a grete Iyer,
whiche ofte sayd to her, ** Madame, be not in no wyse desmayed
ne sorowf ul, for my lord your sone hath victory vpon his enemyes,
therfor he must tary & abyde there a whyle for to ordeyne of his
affaryres," and so this fals flateresse appeased her lady of fayre
wordes nought. For she ne sayd neuer to her lady ony word
that myght displease her, as done many flaterers and many
flateresses, whiche shal neuer saye thynge that may displease
theyr ladyes or lordes, and shalle hyde the trouthe and theyr
wele and make them to haue ioye of nought, as dyd this fals
woman to that good lady, whiche made her to vnderstonde that
her sone had obteyned vyctory and brought with hym his prysoners.
And wel hit was the contrary, for he deyde there, wherfor it
befell that whan the lady his moder knewe it she deyde nyghe
for sorowe, Therfor is an euylle thyng to a man to haue aboute
hym ony flaterers, for they dare not gyue trewe counceylle, but
ofte they make theyr lordes to do grete folye. They be lyke to
the Iouglours, whiche wylle make of a cole seme and shewe a
fayr thynge. For they preyse a thyng before the folk, and
behynde them they blame hit, wherfor one ought not to byleue
that what they sayen, for they retche not what they say, but that
they may please yow & to haue youre loue. And yf ye be wyse
ye ought to knowe them better than they shalle you, & put them
fro yow & take suche one that shall telle yow the trouthe &
your wele. Suche flaterers deceyue the ryche men, as dyd a
flaterer to a woman that sold cheses, whiche was fowle of vysage,
& he made her to vnderstonde that she was fayr & praty* And
the woman was so folyssh that she wende he had sayd trouthe*
Somtyme she gaf hym a chese, and as he hadde it and was
behynd her bak he mocked her of it* I wold ye wyst thexample
whiche j sawe in the toun of Angolosme, as the duk of normady
cam before Aguyllon. Ther were knyjtes which for to take
their disporte shotte at a marke. And whanne the duke cam in
to the parke where as they were for to playe and disporte hym,
he demaunded of one of the knyghtes a bowe & an arowe for to
shete. And soone after he had drawen his arowe there were
there by hym two or thre that sayd, ** Certaynly my lord shoteth
wel/' "Holy Mary!" sayd another, "how he draweth ryght
of mesure ! ** " Ha a ! ** sayd the other, '* I wold not be armed
and that he had hit me/' And thus they began to preyse hym,
but for to se ye trouthe, it was nothynge els but flateryng, for
he shotte the worst of al other. And therfor grete merueylle is
how euery flaterer is agreable and so moche pleaseth the lordes
and the ladyes now in these dayes, and how they make them to
byleue that they be stronger and more wyse than they be and by
theyre flateryng make them to falle in grete surquedrye of them
HOW A WOMAN OUGHT IN NO WYSE DIS-
COUERE NE TELLE THE SECRETE OF HER
HUSBOND, FOR OUER MANY EUYLS COME
WYLL that ye here and vnderstande thexample of
Sapson, the whiche had made couenaunt with
certayne folke of thyrtty payre of gownes of sylk,
sayeng that they my^t not arede a certayne deuynal.
It befell that his wyf cessed not to be spekynge of
it, tyll that she knewe what hit was, & that he had discouered to
her al the fayt of the deuynayl. & when she knewe it, she dyd
discouere the secrete of her lord & made her lord to lese the
wager or couenaunt of xxx gownes. And whan her husbond
wyst that she had discouered hym, he hated her moche, and put
her fro hym, & went to the parentes of them that had wonne
the couenaunt, & toke xxx of them, of whome he toke theyr
gownes in despyte of his wyf. And so ye haue here a good
ensample how that no wyf oust not to discouere the counceyll of
her husbond, to thende she fall not in to the yre and wrathe of
hym, as dyd the wyf of Sapson, whiche therfore lost the loue of
her lord. For grete treson it is whan a man trusteth his wyf &
telleth to her his pryue counceyll, & [she] discouereth it to other
folk. I wold also ye knew the tale of the Squyer, whiche essayed
his wyf, whiche he sawe yonge. He wente and told her, ** My
frend and loue, I shalle telle yow a grete counceylle, yf ye wyl
kepe it secrete. Trouthe it is that I haue leyd two egges, but for
goddes loue discouere me not/* And she answerd that by her
feythe nomore shold she doo, but in trouthe the nyght thought
her long that she myght aryse for to goo to her godsep to telle
to her of it. And the morowe whanne she fonde her godsep she
sayd to her, " Ha, my swete frende and godsep, I shold telle
yow a grete merueylle, yf ye wold telle it to no body.** And
she promysed her that nomore shold she doo. "Soo god help
me, my swete frende, a grete meruaylle is befallen to my lord
my husbond, for in certayne he hath leyd thre egges." M Swete
Mary!" sayd her godsep, "how may this be? It is a grete
meruaylle." Her godsep kepte not longe this thynge secrete,
but also went to one, her godsep, and told her how suche a
squyer hadde leyd four egges. Sone after this other godsep
wente to another, her godsep, and sayd he had leyd fyue egges.
And at the last this thynge was so ferre knowen that men spak
of nothynge but of the squyer that had leyd fyue egges. The
Squyer thenne called to hym his wyf, and many of her parentes,
and sayd thus to her : ** Lady, ye haue wel encreaced that thynge
whiche I told yow in counceylle, that is to wete, how j had leyd
two egges, but now, blessyd be god, the nombre is well growen,
for men sayen thurgh the toune that I haue leyd V egges."
Thenne she was ashamed, and helde her self for a foole, and
wyst not what she shold answere. And therfor by thys ensample
al good wymmen ought to kepe secrete the secrete & counceylle
of theyr lord, and not discouere it for nothyng to ony body.
HOW THE FADERS AND MODERS OUGHT TO
PRAYE FOR THEYR CHILDREN.
SHALLE telle yow thexample of lya, the wyf of
Iacob. The byble preyseth her moche, and sayth
how she loued parfyghtely her lord & the worship
that she bare vnto hym, and how as god sente to
her ony child she thanked hym therof deuoutely,
& therfore god gaf her VIII of the XII prynces of whome the
twelue lygnees yssued, that soo moche were good men and dradde
and loued god aboue al thyng. And their fader and moder praid
euer god for them syn they were but yonge, that he wold purueye
them of his loue and of his grace* And he wel herd theyr prayer,
for they were holy men & worshipped aboue al folk* Here is
thenne good ensample hou the faders and moders ought euery
day to pray god for theyr children, as Iacob and Lia dyd. And
yet I saye that for no faute ne ryotte they neuer cursyd them,
but blamed and repreued them by other maner and dede, and
bete them as they deserued hit. For better hit were to bete an
honderd tyme his children than to curse them ones, wherof I
shall telle yow an Ensample of a woman whiche was yrous and
euylle, and lyghtly she was angry, and also was her husbond.
And by theyr grete yre they were euer chydyng & brawlyng to
gyder. They had a sone, the whiche had done to them somme
faulte, wherfor the fader and moder, beganne sore to curse hym.
And the child, whiche was wrothe, answerd to them folysshly.
And thenne the fader and the moder that for his answere were
ful of yre and wrathe, wente and gaf hym to the deuyl. And
the fende cam that seased and toke hym by the one hand and
lyfte hym vp fro the ground, and where as he touched hym the
fyre sprang oute and loste his hand, for whiche cause he was al
his lyf in daunger and parylle. And therfor there is grete daunger
in cursynge of his owne children, and wysshyng to them ony
euylle, and yet gretter perylle is to gyue them by ony yre or
wrathe to the deuylh And therfor haue ye this ensample in
your memorye, and see how ye ought to wysshe euer alle good
for your children, & pray god for them, as dyd Iacob and his
wyf for theyr children, whiche god enhaunced ouer all the lygnees
and generacions. And doo not lyke as dyd the man and his wyf,
the whiche thurgh theyr yre cursed theyr child, and after gaf
hym to the deuyll, wherfor the child was in perylle alle his lyf
HOW MEN OUGHT TO SETTE AND PUT THEYR
CHILDREN IN THE WYLLE OF GOD.
NOTHER ensample I shalle telle yow of Rachel
the second wyf of Iacob, whiche was moder to
Ioseph, whiche his bretheren sold in egypte. Of
her speketh moche the holy scrypture, how merueyl'
lously she loued her lord, and of the grete obeys-
saunce and honour that she bare to hym. This good lady Rachel,
as she had made a child, she forthwith rendryd and gaf thankynges
of it to god, & made to come to her prestes and clerkes, to thende
that she and they to gyder shold thanke god. She made grete
dyners to the poure peple whiche prayd for her children ; and as
soone as she was a lyght out of her child bedde he tooke her
child in her armes and wente and offred hym before the aulter,
gyuynge thankynges and louynges to god, and humbly prayenge
for hym that he wold preferre hym in his loue and grace of the
world. And therfor god enhaunced her children, the which
came to grete worship and honour. And for certayne al worship
and honour cometh of god, for they that louen hym, he enhaunceth
toward hym self and toward the world. And al this good cometh
by humylyte. For no thyng is so pleasyng to god as is a persone
whiche is meke, humble, and charitable. And for certayne he
had not come doune fro heuen in to the swete wombe of the
blessyd vyrgyne Mary, ne had be that she shewed her humble
whan she ansuerd to the Angel gabryel that she was the ancylle
or chamberere of god, and that it shold be done as hym pleased.
She myght nomore humble ne meke her self than to calle her
self chamberere. Wherfore I wold ye wyste thexample of a
quene of Cypre, whiche was ouer eaged, so that she myght haue
no children. But notwithstondynge al this, for the goodness of
her lord, and at his request and prayer, god gaf to them a fayre
sone, wherof grete joye was made thrugh oute al the reame.
And for the grete Ioye that they toke therof they made festes and
Ioustynge to be cryed, and sente for alle the grete lordes and
ladyes of the lond. The feste was nobly and rychely hold, for
there lacked no thynge plente of sylke, and clothe of gold was
there abrode. Al the palays resowned of the sowne of the
jnstrumentes that were there, and the Ioustynge and tornoyeng
was fayre to see, for the knyghtes ranne eche one vpon other,
lyke in a batayl ; grete solas and ioye was there* But al this
displeased to god, and by his prouydence and wylle, as they were
in suche balaunces, theyr child deyde* And whanne the dethe
of hym was knowen thurgh al the Courte, the joye and myrthe
was soone falle doune, and tourned or become in to grete trystesse
and sorowe, and departed and wente ageyne euerychone to theyr
places heuy and sorowfull. And therfor this is a moche good
ensample how men oughte not to reioyse them to moche whan
god sendeth to them children, for oftyme hit displeaseth god,
whiche soone taketh therfore his yeft ageyne fro them.
SHALLE telle and reherce vnto yow an ensample
vpon the fayt of charyte. It is of the doughter of
kynge Pharaon, the whiche dyd nourysshe
Moyses, as I shalle telle yow herafter. The sones
of Israel, whiche in egipt were in seruage, wexed
and encreaced daye by daye in grete nombre. But Pharao,
whiche was kynge of the land, and that sawe the people of the
Iewys soo encreaced, he was displeased of it, and commaunded and
charged that alle theyr men children were putte to dethe and
reserue the femallys. And whanne the moder of Moyses sawe
that her sone shold be putte to deth, she tooke hym and his
cradell with her, and went vnto the Ryuer, whiche was nyghe,
and on the Ryuer in his cradel she lete hym goo where hit pleased
god, as she that myght not haue suffred ne see hym putte to
dethe. And as the playsyre and wylle of god was, it befelle so
that the cradell and the child within came to lond before the
chambre of the doughter of kynge Pharao, where as the seuen
whiche had ben excepted were in. The lady was bynethe vpon
the grene grasse, desportynge and playenge with her damoysellys.
And as she tourned and casted her syghte toward the Ryuer, she
sawe the cradell almost at the land. She wente incontynent and
her damoysels with her, to see what was in hit. They found
the child theryn, whiche merueyllously was fayre. The lady
beheld hym wel, & took of hym grete pyte, & made him to be
nourysshed in her wardrobbe more derely. And as in Iape she
called hym her sone, of the whiche cam afterward so moche good,
for god chose and stablysshed hym mayster and gouernour ouer
alle his people, and also dyd shewe to hym many of his secretes,
and toke hym the rodde wherwith he departed the see and made
drye waye to passe it, and made also with that same rodde to
yssue and come oute of the stone lyuynge and swete water. And
also he toke hym the tables of the lawe, and many other signes
and tokens of loue he dyd shewe vnto hym, as of his nourysshynge,
wherof the good lady was well rewarded. For god forgeteth neuer
the seruyce done to hym by charyte, as to nourysshe the orphanes
or faderles, whiche is an operacion of Mysericorde that God
moche loued, as hit is conteyned in the lyf of saynte Elysabeth*
whiche nourisshed the poure Orphanes, and maad them to lerne
somme crafte to gete theyr lyuynge with. Wherfor it befelle
that a good woman whiche had but one child, the whiche was
wont to bathe hym self in the ryuer, fyll within a pytte, where
he was eyght dayes. And his moder, whiche was charitable
to god and to saynt Elysabeth, hadde therfore grete dolour and
sorowe. It befelle that at the laste daye of eyght, she dremed
that her sone was in a pytte ful of water, and that saynte
Elysabeth kepte hym there on lyue, and tolde her, ** By cause that
ye haue euer nourysshed and susteyned the orphans and faderles,
oure lord wylle not that your sone deye ne perysshe in this
pytte. And therfore make ye redy to haue hym oute." And thenne
the moder awoke and made her sone to be had oute of the pytte,
and fonde hym of fayr colour alyue. And the child recounted to
his moder how a fayre lady had euer kepte hym, and had sayd to
hym, ** It is goddes wylle that thow be saued for the charyte and
myserycorde of thy moder, whiche with good wylle had susteyned
the orphanes and them nourysshed. Therfor here isagood ensample
how men ought to nourysshe the orphanes and the smal children
that haue mystier or nede, for it is grete almesse & grete charyte,
& that moche pleseth god, & to this is shewed to vs exaple of
many other bestes also, that whan men haue slayn the moder, and
that the faons ben loste withoute noreture, another beest cometh and
nouryssheth them vnto the tyme that they may purueye them self.
HOW THE BENEFAYTTE WHICHE IS DONE FOR
THE LOUE OF GOD IS RENDRED OF GOD AN
C TYME GRETTER THAN IT IS.
[NOTHER ensample I shall reherce vnto yow vpon
this faytte. It befelle that in the Towne of Iherico
was a woman whiche was named Raab, and the which
was blamed, but chary table shewas,wherfor it befelle
that certayne good men whiche were come there for
to preche to the peple of that toune euylle & cruell there duellyng,
wherfore they lefte and wente and hyded them in the sayd
woman's hows. She casted ouer them beddes and fardels of lynen'
cloth, in so moche that the peple coude not fynde them, for they
wold haue put them to dethe. And at nyght the sayd woman had
them oute of her hows with a cord oute of a wyndowe, and saued
them, wherfor it befell that she therfore was wel guerdoned after
the deserte. For the towne was soone after take and alle the men
and women put to dethe, sauf this Raab and her meyny, whiche
god wold haue saued by cause she had saued his mynystres and
sergeans. And therfore sayth the holy Euangely, where god
sayth that the good and seruyce that one shal doo to hym or to his
seruaunts for the loue of hym, he shalle rendre it a C double.
Wherfor I wold ye wyst thexample of saynte Anastasye, whiche
was putte in pryson. But god made her to be delyuerd oute, and
made her to wete that hit was by cause that she susteyned of her
owne good the prysoners whiche were in the prysons and chartres
where as she wyst that ony were putte in wrongly and by enuye
or for somme debte. And she gaf so moche of her good that she
had them oute. And therfor god guerdoned her to double. And
also the swete Ihesu Cryste sayd in the theuangely that at
the daye of his grete Iugement he shalle haue mercy on them
whiche shalle haue vysyted and comforted them that were em-
prysoned, and the seke, and also the poure wymmen that lay
pourely in theyr childbedde. For at that f erdf ul and dredef ull day-
god shalle therof aske a rekenynge, and nedes men must rendre
hym reason therof. And wel I wene that many one ihaue be
repreued therof, whiche shalle be in grete charge and payne to
gyue a good ansuere. And therfore, my fayr doughters, thynke
now on hit whyles ye lyue, as dyd saynt Arragone, whiche was
quene of Frauce, and whiche comforted and vysyted the poure
enchartered and emprysoned, and nourysshed the orphanes, and
vysyted them that were seke. And by cause she myghte not
entende to hit as ofte as she wold, for doubte to disobeye her lord,
she lefte her lord & alle the worship and vayne glory of the world
and the worldly Ioye, and ranne to hyde her secretely fro parys vnto
Poytyers, and there she rendryd her self in to thabbeye and
bycame a Nonne, and lefte the world to thende she myght the better
serue god withoute drede of ony man, wherfore afterward god
shewed for her sake a myracle.- For a tree whiche stode in the
myddes of theyr cloystre, the whiche was al drye, god made hym
to bycome and wexe fayr and grene, and sprange oute of hit newe
braunches and leues ageynste the cours of nature. But no thynge
is Impossible to god, and many other grete myracles he dyd for
the loue of her. And therfore is here a good ensample to be
charytable, as aboue ye haue herd of these two holy ladyes and
of this good lady Raab, as they dyd, and how at the last god
gwerdoned and rewarded them for theyr good seruyse.
HOW HE THAT WYLL PRAYE GOD MUST DO
1 NOTHER ensample shalle be reherced to yow of
the Fader and moder of Sampson, whiche were hooly
folk in theyr maryage, but they myght haue no
Children, and yet many clamours and orysons they
hadde therfore made vnto god. This good lady was
thenne vpon a day at a chirche, whiche at that tyme was called
temple. And as she was there wepynge and prayenge god, god
toke pyte on her and sente vunto er an Angel, whiche told her that
she shold haue a sone that shold be the strongest man that euer
was, & that by his strengthe the lawe shold be enhaunced. The
good lady came soone to her lord and told hym this tydynge. Her
lord thenne kneled and prayd god that he wold shewe to hym this
thynge by his angel. And thenne god sente to them his aungel,
whiche sayd vnto them that they shold faste and doo abstynence,
and also that they shold kepe this child fro moch mete and drynke.
And yet sayd the aungel, " For ouermoche etynge and drynkyng
f yghten ageynst the body and ageynst the sowle," and whanne thus
he had sayd to them he departed fro them. They obeyed the
commaundement of the Aungel &fasted and made abstynence. And
soone after they had a childe, whiche whanne he was f ul growen
he fought ageynst the paynyms and kepte and mayntened the lawe
of god ayenst them, of whome he made grete occisyons and many
grete merueylles as god susteyned and helped hym. For he allone
discomfyted and ouercame thre thousand persones. Therfor ye
haue here good ensample, how ye shalle fast and do abstynence yf
ye wylle requyre of god ony thynge. For confession and fastynge
done the request to be graunted of god, as the Aungel told vnto
them- And yet after he sayd to them that they shold kepe theyr
sone fro ouermoche mete, & specially of drynk. Thenne syth
the holy Aungel of god whiche al thyng knoweth. defended to them
this two vyces, hit is thenne god to euery man and woman to kepe
them ther fro, for by this synne of iglotonye men falle in alle the
other sixe dedely synnes, as ye shalle more playnly knowe in the
booke of your bretheren, where as it is reherced how an heremyte
chose his synne of glotonye and made it, in so moche he bycame
dronke, and soone after by this synne he fylle and made alle the
seuen. And neuertheles he had supposed to haue chosen the most
best of them alle, wherof I shall telle yow what Salamon therof
seyth in the book of thenseygnements* First he saith y wyn
taken ouer mesure troubleth the syght and maketh the eyen to wexe
reed, and affeblysshed the brayne, and maketh the heed to shake,
and empecheth to here, and stoppeth the conduytes of the nose, and
maketh the vysage to wexe reed, and maketh the handes to shake,
and marreth and corrupteth the good blood, and feblyssheth the
syght, and chaungeth the body within, and hasteth the dethe, and
troubleth the wytte and the memorye, wherfor Salamon sayth
that of thyrtty wymmen whiche haue this vyce in them self and
that custumably ben dronken, men shold not fynde one of alle
them good, and honest of her body, ne also loued of god, ne of
her frendes, and that better were to her to be a theef or of other
euylle tatches than of the same. For by the same she shalle falle
in to alle the other. For the whiche thynge, my dere doughters,
kepe and beware youre self fro this euylle vyce. For ones takynge
his refection in the day is angel's lyf ; twyes takynge his mete is
man's lyf; and many tyme takynge mete is beeste's lyf* But
certaynly thys gothe al by customme and by vsage, for of suche
dyete as ye to it be acustommed of youre yongthe, your wylle
shalle euer be to it in your old age, and thus hit gothe but after youre
wyl to put remedye therto* Therfor ye may take good ensample
how the Aungel taught the fader and the moder of Sapson. The
Aungel sayd not to them as he dyd to Zacharye, to whome he sayd
that his wyf shold haue a sone whiche shold be named Iohan, and
that he shold drynke no wyn ne no maner of syther. For this
child was sente and stablysshed of god for to preche and be the
myrrour of chastyte and of fastynge and abstynences. And
Sampson was sente and stablysshed of god for to kepe the feithe
atte poynt of the suerd ageynste the paynyms. Here I leue this
matere and shall speke of another.
HOW MEN OUGHTE TO SETTE AND PUT THEYR
CHILDREN TO SCOLE.
SHAL telle you another ensample of a good woma
whiche had a doubter that was named Delbora, the
whiche she dyd put to the scole of wysedome and
of sapyence* This delbora lerned so wel that she
wyst and knewe al the hooly scrypture and wry
tynge, & vsed of so good & holy lyf that she knewe of the
secretis of god, and spak of many thynges that were to come.
And by cause of her grete wysedome and wytte euery body cam
to aske her counceylle of his affayres* Her lord was euylle and
cruell, but by her wytte & by her fayr speche she couthe reule
hym wel, for she toke away his frenesye and yre and made hym
to be peasyble & juste to his peple. Therfore is here a good en-
sample how men oust to put her children to scole for to lerne
clergye & holy scrypture, for by the knowyng of it they shalle
better see theyr sauement and shall knowe & discerne the good
fro the euyll, as dyd the good lady Delbora, & as dyde saynt
katheryn, whiche thurgh her wysedome and by her clergye,
with the grace of the holy ghoost, surmounted and vaynquysshed
the wysest men of al grece, and by her hooly clergye and sure
feythe god gaf her the vyctorye of her martirdome, & made her
body to be borne by his angels viiii dayes Iourney fro the place
where as she suffred her martirdome vnto the Mount of Synay,
& her holy body rendrid holy oyle* And the begynnyng and
fundament of the knowlege of god she had thurgh the clergye,
where as she knewe the trouthe & the sauement of her self* Yet
shalle I telle yow an ensample of a child of the age of nyne yere,
whiche had be four yere at the scole, & thorugh the grace of god
he disputed & argued of the faythe ageynst the paynyms, and
vaynquysshed them alle, jn so moche that they were so wrothe
with hym that ones they spyed hym secretely and hurled at hym
with stones, & whanne they supposed to haue hold hym in subiec
tion they saide to hym that yf he wolde not forsake his god, they
shold slee hym, but for ony torment that they made hym to suf fre
he had euer his trust & fey the in God. They asked hym where
God was, and he ansuerd, " In heuen & within myn herte." And
thenne for despyte they slewe hym, and opened the syde of hym
to see yf he sayd trouthe that god sholde be in his herte, whiche
they toke and made two pyeces of it. And as they dyd cutte it
they sawe a whyte douue that yssued oute of hit, wherf or some of
them by this ensample were conuertyd to the feythe of god. And
therfor after this ensample it is good to put his children to scole
whanne they be yonge, and make them to lerne the bookes of
sapyence, that is to saye. the bookes of good techynge and en'
seygnementes, where as men see the sauement of bothe the body
and sowle, and not putte them to lerne in the bookes of the
f allaces and vanytees of the world. For better thyng is and more
noble to here speke of the good enseygnementes and techynges
that may prouffyte bothe to the body! and sowle, than rede and
studye the fables and lesynges wherof no good ne prouffyte may
come. And by cause somme folke sayen that they wold not that
theyr wyues ne also theyr doughters wyst ony thynge of clergye
ne of wrytynge, therfor I say, answerynge to them, that as for
wrytyng, it is no force yf a woman can nought of it ; but as for
redynge, I saye that good and prouffytable is to al wymen, for a
woman that can rede may better knowe the peryls of the sowle
and her sauement than she that can nou?t of it, for it hath be
£-<V -JO- f •■ ■ .'
HOW EUERY GOOD WOMAN OUGHT TO ANSWERE
FOR HER LORD.
WYLLE telle yow another Ensample of a good
lady, the whiche ought wel to be preysed. It was
the good lady Abygal, whiche had a lord that was
ful of yre, dyuerse and ryotous to al his neyghbours.
He forfayted somme thynge toward the kynge dauyd,
wherfore he wold haue had hym to be destroyed and putte to
dethe, but the good lady, whiche was sage and wyse, wente
toward the kyng and so moche humbled her self that by he
swete and fayr wordes she made the pees of her lord* Of many
other peryls wherin he fylle and putte hym self thurgh his fals
tongue, she saued hym also* And thus this good lady amended
euer his folye, wherof she may be wel pre7sed. Therfore ye haue
here good ensample how euery good woman must suffre of her
lord and ought to answere for hym ouer al, al be he neuer so
yrous ne cruel to her, and saue and kepe hym fro al peryls. I
wolde ye wyst thexample of a good lady, wyf vnto a Senatour of
Rome, as it is conteyned in the cronykles of the Romayns.
This Senatour was Ialous of his wyf withoute ony cause, and
was euylle and cruell to her. Hit befelle that he accused one of
treason, the whiche anone casted his gage of bataylle vnto hym,
sayenge that wrongly he accused hym. The day cam that they
shold Iouste that one ageynst the other. The Senatour was aferd
and durst not come, and sent word to the Senate how he was
seke, and that he shold sende one to Iouste for hym, but he
coude none fynde. Wherfore the valyaunt lady his wyf, that
sawe the cowardnesse of her lord, and the shame comynge to
hym, wente and armed her self & cam to the felde. And by
cause god sawe her bounte and that she dyd her deuoyr, he gaf
her force and strengthe in soo moche that she obteyned the
vyctory. And whanne the Ioustynge was fynysshed, themperour
wold knowe who was the champyon of the Senatour, wherfor
the good ladyes helme was vnlocked and soo she was knowen,
wherfor themperour and alle they of the toune bare vnto her fro
thens forthon gretter honour than they were wont to doo. And
therfor is here good ensample how euery good woman must
humbly suffre of her lord that whiche she maye not amende.
For she that more suffreth of her lord withoute makynge therof
no resemblaunt receyueth therof more worship x tymes than
she that hath no cause to suffre of hym, or that wyll not suffre
nothyng of hym, as Salamon sayth, whiche moche wel spake of
wymmen, preysynge the one and blamynge the other.
THEXAMPLE OF THE QUENE SABA AND OF THE
SHALLE telle yow another ensample of the quene
Saba, whiche was a moche good lady and wyse, the
whiche cam fro oryent in to Ierusalem for to de'
maunde & aske counceylle of the kynge Salamon,
and she loste not her waye, for she had of hym good
counceylle, of the whiche wel it happed to her. Therfore ye
ought to take here good ensample, for euery good lady oughte to
chese a good and Hrewe man, and also wyse, of her lygnage
or else of other, and hold and kepe hym in loue and frendship, of
whome she may take counceylle of that she hath to doo* And yf
she falle in plee or in ony contempte the good and wyse man
shalle amodere hit, and shalle make her to haue her ryghte with'
oute grete costes and expenses, and euer therof cometh somme
good, as did to the good quene Saba, that fro ferre came to haue
counceylle of the kynge Salamon. Yet wold I ye wyst thexample
of an Emperour of Rome. This emperour was seke and lay in
the bedde of dethe. Euery one of the lordes and Senatours, for to
please hym, sayd to hym that he shold soone be hole yf he coude
swette. But ony frend that he had spake to hym noothyng of
the prouffyte and saluacion of his sowle. There was there with
hym one of his chamberlaync which he had nourysshed and
brought vp of his yougthe. This chamberlayne sawe wel that his
lord couthe not scape fro dethe, and how all they that were there
sayd nought but for to please hym, wherfor he cam to hym and
sayd, " Syre, how fele yow your herte ? " And themperour
ansuerd to hym, " Sore and feble is my hert." Then beganne
the chamberlayn to saye moche humbly, " Syre, god hath gyuen
to yow in this world alle worship & honour, and also grete
quantite of worldly goodes, wherfor ye must thanke hym, and ye
shall doo wel. And of suche goodes as god hath sente to yow ye
must ordeyne, and departe to the poure folke a parte of them, in
suche wyse that he haue no cause to repreue yow therof."
Whanne themperour had herd hym, he was wel pleased with
hym that he had so sayd, and sayd two wordes, ** More worthe is
the frend whiche prycketh than the flaterynge frend whiche
enoynteth." Thus he spak by cause that his other frendes had
spoken to hym of bodyly helthe only for to please hym, but the
same spake to hym of the saluacion of his sowle ; for who that
loueth the body of very loue ought in especiall to loue the sowle.
And none oughte to cele or hyde nothynge fro his frend yf it be
his prouffyte and honour. And for loue ne for hate of ony body
he ought not to counceylle hym but trewely after his power as a
good and trewe frend shold doo, and not flatere hym ne make the
placebo, as dyd the frendes of themperour, whiche knewe wel that
he coude not scape fro dethe, and durste not say ne shewe vnto
hym the prouffyte of his soule, the which his trewe frend and
pouer chamberlayne putte in the waye of saluacion. For them'
perour byleuyd hym and gaf and departed largely of his goodes
to the poure for the loue of god.
HOW NO WOMAN OUGHT TO CHYDEN OR
BRAWLE WITH FOLK WHICHE BEN BRAYNLES.
SHALLE reherce and telle vnto yow another
ensample of a lady whiche was named Sarra, of
the whiche ye haue wel herd to fore, how she had
seuen husbondes, the whiche al seuen the deuylle
slewe by cause they wold haue vsed her in vntrewe
maryage. And also how her godsep repreued her of that none
of her husbondes myght abyde with her. But the good lady that
sawe that this foole wold chyde with her, sayd moche humbly and
as sage and wyse, " Fayre frend, to the, neyther to me, apperteyneth
not to speke of the jugementes of god/* and nothynge more she sayd
to her. She resembled not to the doughter of a Senatour of Rome,
whiche was so felon & so hyghe of herte that she dyd chyde in
playn strete with one of her neyghbours. And so moche grewe &
went vp her wordes that the other sayd to her that she was not
hole ne clene of body, wherof befelle that this word wente so fer,
were it trouthe or lesynge, that she therby lost her maryage.
Therfor it is grete folye to euery woman to chyde ne ansuere
folkes that ben fooles and cruels of theyr tongue, wherof I shalle
telle yow an ensample that I sawe of a gentyll woma that brawled
with a man that had an euylle heed. I sayd vnto her, " My lady,
I praye yow that ye answere not this foole, for he is well shapen
to saye more euylle than good.** She wold not byleue me, but
chyd more than she dyd to fore, sayenge to hym that he was
nought. And he ansuerd to her that he was as good for a man as
she was for a woman. And so ferforth wente theyr wordes that he
sayd for certayne he wyste and knewe wel a man that dyd kysse
her bothe daye and nyght whanne that he wold. And thenne I
called her a syde and told her that it was but folye to take hede to
the wordes of a foole and to answere and speke with hym. The
wordes were foule and dishonest, and herd of many one, wherfore
she was diffamed, and by her brawlyng she dyd to knowe to many
one that whiche they wyst ne knewe not. She resembled not to
the wyse Sarra, whiche made no grete ansuere to the wordes of
her godsep. For otherwhyle one put hym self fro his good ryght
by his owne wordes in to grete wronge. And also dishonest
thynge is to ony gentylle woma to braule with ony man, wherfor
I shalle telle yow thexample of the propriete of certayne beestes.
Loke and behold these grete dogges that men calle mastyns : they
shalle barke and shewe theyr tethe, but a gentylle dogge shalle not
do so. And also in lyke wyse shold be of the gentylle men and
wymmen, wherfore I shalle reherce to yow thexample of them-
perour of Constantynople, whiche was a man moche felon and
cruel, but neuer he chydde to no body. It byfell ones that he
founde his two doughters chydynge and brawlynge to gyder, wher-
fore he wold bete them, but the quene wente bytwene hym &
them. And thenne sayd themperour that none gentyll herte shold
neuer chyde ne say ony vylony, for by the courage and herte ben
the gentylmen knowen fro the other. For he is a chorle and a
vylayne that of his mouthe sayth ony vylonye. And therfore they
that haue pacyence and saye no vylonye, shewen theyr gentyll
courage and noblesse. And for certayne oftyme hit befelle that
one fowle word spoken engendreth other suche wordes, whiche
afterward bereth shame and dishonour. And therfore, my fayre
doughters, take ye here good ensample, for the foole whiche is of
hyghe courage shalle saye moche euylle, and thynges that neuer
were thoujt, for to auenge his grete yre. And also ought wel euery
good woman to kepe her self that she nothynge ansuere to her
lord before the f olke for many causes, for in holdynge her pees she
may haue and receyue but grete worship, and yf she answere hym
she shalle haue the euylle wylle of her husbond, wherof no good
may come to her, but grete shame and dishonour.
HOW NO GOOD WOMAN OUGHT TO ANSUERE
TO HER HUSBOND WHANNE HE IS WROTHE.
.SHALLE telle yow another ensample, of the quene
Hester, whiche was wyf to the grete kynge of Surye.
She was a good lady and a wyse, and loued and
drad her lord.] And before alle other, lady es the hooly
wrytynge preyseth her moche by cause of her holy
lyf and of her good condycions. The kyng her lord was a felon
man & dyuers, and said to her many outragyous wordes, but
for ony thynge that he sayd she ansuerd hym nothinge before the
folke wherby he myght be wrothe. But after, whanne she had
hym alone, and sawe the tyme and the place be conuenyente, she
blamed hym, and curtoysly shewed hym his fawte. And ther-
fore the kynge loued her moche, and sayd att his secrete that he
myght not be wrothe with his wyf by cause she repreued hym
by soo fayre and swete wordes. Certaynly it is one of the best
tatches or condycions that a woman may haue, to kepe her self
fro ansuerynge in the yre of her lord* For a dredefull herte is
euer in drede to doo or saye ony thynge that may displease to hym
whom she ought to loue and bere hym honour : wherof is re'
herced in the booke of the kynges of the wyf of one grete lord
whiche was euylle and felon, and his wyf was ryght swete and
peasyble, to whome her damoysels sayd, " Madame, why take yow
not your disportes as a yong lady, as ye shold do ? " And she
ansuerd that she must be in doubte, knowynge her lord of suche
condycions as he was of, and that she wold kepe the loue of hym
and pees in her hows. And also she sayd that the fere that she
had of the prysons kepte her from yrthe and gladnesse. The one
pryson was loue, the other was drede, and the thyrd shame.
These thre vertues mastryed her, for the loue that she had to
her lord kepte her fro doynge of ony thynge that myght come to
the dysplaysyre of her lord ; drede made her ferynge the losse of
her good renomme and honour, and to falle in synne ; and shame
kepte her fro euylle and dishonest repreef. Wherfore, my fayre
and dere doughters, I praye yow that ye maye take her good En-
sample that ye ne ansuere to your lord, but in tyme and place
conuenyent, and by fayr wordes, as dyd the good quene hester, as
ye tofore haue herd, and also as the same, the whiche sayd to her
damoysels that her herte was in the loue and in the pryson of
her lord, and that therfore she myght doo but after his playsyr,
lyuynge in pees*
HOW THE GOOD LADY OUGHT TO LOUE AND
DREDE AND ALSO TO BERE FEYTHE VNTO HER
SHALLE telle yow another Ensample of the newe
testament. It is of saynt Elysabeth,"moder vnto
Saynte Iohan. This Elysabeth thine serued fyrste
god, and afterward her lord, and aboue al wymmen
he drad and doubted hym. And as he came oute
of the Town, and that by aduenture somme thynge was befalle
amys in her hows, she kepte it, and made it to be kepte secrete
vnto the tyme that she sawe her poynt. Thenne wente she and
told it to hym by soo fayre and attemperate langage that in no
wyse he myght neuer be wroth. She euer coueyted the pees
and loue of her lord, and also ought to doo euery good woman.
This holy lady loued and dradde god, and bare feythe to her
lord, and therfor god gaf her saynt Iohan Baptist to her sone,
whiche was a good guerdon. For a woman that loueth god and
holdeth her clenely, god rewardeth her on lyue, and after her
dethe he guerdonneth and rewardeth her with c double mo, as
he dyd to this holy lady, to whome he gaf celestyals and erthely
goodes to suffysaunce, as he dothe to his frendes whiche kepeth
and holdeth them clenely in theyr maryage, and that haue good
hope in hym, as had this good Susanne.*
[* This is a reference to an omitted chapter.]
HOW MEN OUGHT BEWAYLLE AND WEPE FOR
HIS SYNNES AND MYSDEDES.
NOTHER Ensample I shalle telle yow of Mary
Magdalene, whiche dyd wasshe and spurge awey
her synnes and mysdedes by the water of her eyen,
as she wasshed the feet of oure lord Ihesu Cryste,
and wyped them with her here* j She wepte for her
synnes for the loue of god and drede of her mysdede. And thus
at thexample of her we ought to do as she dyd, for we ought
to wepe for our synnes and mysdedes, and haue pyte and be
shamefull of that that we haue done, and humbly goo to Con-
fession, and there to the preeste we ought to telle our synnes as
we haue done them, without hydyng or coueryng nothyng therof,
for the boldnes that men vndertake to say theyr misdede & synne,
also the shame that me haue to telle them, is to them a grete
parte of their indulgeces, & god whiche seeth the huylyte &
the repentaunce moueth hym self to pyte & eslargyssheth his
misericorde, as he did to Mary Magdalene, to whome he par'
donned her synnes and mysdedes for the grete contricion and
repentaunce that she had. Another reason is wherof the holy
magdalene ought to be preysed. It is by cause that she loued
and wonderly drad god, and for certayne the grete myracle that
she sawe, whiche god made, and that he had reysed her owne
broder, the whiche hadde told her tydynges of the other world,
and the paynes of hell, and that she sawe wel that she must dye
& be punysshed there for her synnes and mysdedes, made her al
ferdfull & sore abasshed* And therfore she was thyrtty yere
and more in a deserte, makyng there her penaunce, sorowynge
and sore wepyng for her synnes and mysdedes. And whanne
she had ben ihere long tyme fastynge and withoute mete, our
lord beheld her and had on her pyte, and sente her euery day the
brede of heuen, wherof she was rassasyed and fylde vnto her
ende that god toke her. And therfore is here good ensample
how good is to wepe for his synnes and ofte to confesse hym
self, and to fast and make abstynences, and also to loue & drede
god, as dyd this holy and good Magdaleyne that soo moche
loued god that she wepte for her synnes vpon his feet, and after
fasted and suffred soo moche euylle and meschyef in the buscage
& desertes, where as god comforted her by his aungels, whiche
euery day dyd brynge to her the brede of heuen. And in. suche
wyse shal god doo to alle good wymmen, and to alle them whiche
with a contryte and good herte shalle wepe for theire synnes and
that shalle loue god and doo abstynences, as he dyd to this good
THE NEXT CHAPPYTRE SHEWETH HOW BE IT
THAT A WOMAN HAUE AN EUYLLE AND FELON
HUSBOND, NEUERTHELES SHE OUGHT NOT
THERBY TO LEUE THE SERUYSE OF GOD.
,FTER this ensample I shalle telle yow another of
ii good wymen, wyues of two paynyms. The one
was wyf to the seneschall of Herode. This good
woman serued our lord at y time that he preched,
& administred & made his mete and drynke the
best wyse they couthe. Here is good ensample how euery good
woman, al be it so that she haue neuer so peruers and euylle
husbond, yet this notwithstondyng she ne oughte to leue the
seruyse of god and be obeysshynge to hym, or els atte leste she
ought to be more humble and deuoute for to Impetre and gete the
grace of god for her and for her husbond. For the good that
she dothe appeaseth the yre of god and is cause of the sauement
of theyre temporall rychesse and goodes. For the good that she
dothe supporteth the euylle and mysdedes of her husbond, as it is
reherced in the lyf of the Auncyent faders, where as he speketh
of an euylle man and a tyraunt, the whiche was thre tymes
saued fro euylle dethe for goodnes and bounte of his wyf, wher-
fore hit befelle whanne she was dede, and that he had no body
more that prayd for hym, he was for his grete synnes & mysdedes
brought in to a shamefull dethe by the kyng of that lond. And
therfor it is good and necessary to an euyl man to haue a good
wyf and of holy lyf, and the more that the good wyf knoweth
her husbond more felon and cruel, and grete synnar, the more
she ought to make gretter abstynences and good dedes for the
loue of god* And yf the one suffre not the other, that is to
vnderstonde, yf the good dyd suffre & supported not the euylle,
all shold go to perdicion. And yet I saye that the obeyssaunce
and drede of god was stablysshed before maryage, for men ought
fyrst obeye to the creatour whiche hath made them to his blessyd
forme and semblaunce, and that maye gyue them grace to be
saued. And also the lawe commaundeth that men ought not
to obeye to the body, tylle that they haue purueyed fyrst for the
prouffyte of the sowle, whiche is perdurable, wherupon sayth
the glose, that alle good and dewe seruyse of the body is to the
sauement of the sowle, for the good of the sowle hath none lyke
hit* And therfor it is good to dresse & meue his lord to doo
somme good, and after his poure to kepe hym fro euylle dede»
And thus oughte to doo euery good woman.
HOW IT IS GOOD TO HERBEROWE AND RECEYUE
IN HIS HOWS THE SERUAUNTS AND MYNYS-
TRES OF GOD.
HE other Ensample is of mary Marthe the suster of
Mary Magdalene. This good lady was euer customed
to lodge and herberowe the prophetes and the seruaunts
of god, whiche preched and taught the lawe, and f ul
charytable she was toward the folke. And by cause
of the hooly lyf of her came the swete Ihesu Cryst to be herberowed
in her hows. This was she whiche complayned her to Ihesu
Cryste that her suster Mary wold not helpe her to dresse the
mete, but oure lord ansuerd to her moche humbly how that
Magdaleyne had chosen the best seruyse. It was that she wepte
for her synnes, and within her herte moche humbly cryed to
god mercy. The good Ihesu told her trouthe, for there is no
seruyce that god loueth soo moche as to repente hym self of his
synne and to crye god mercy. This good and holy lady dyd
seruyse to Ihesu Cryste whanne she herberowed hym self and
his apostles with moche grete deuocion & wyth a good herte,
wherfor god dyd for her sake many myracles, and came to gyue
her comforte as she shold passe oute of this world, and bare hir
sowle vnto heuen, whiche dede was to her a fayr guerdone.
Euery good woman ought to take here good ensample how it
is good to lodge and herberowe the seruauntes of god, that is
to say, the predicatours and them that prechen the feythe, and to
discerne the good from euylle, also the pylgryms and the poure
peple of god, as god withnessyth in the holy euangely, that sayth
how that god shalle demaunde and aske at the grete and dredefull
daye, that is to say, the daye of his grete Iugement, yf men shal
haue vysyted and receyued and herberowed his poure peple in
his name. And euery one shalle must gyue acompte and
rekenyng of the superfluytees and habundaunces, and of the
erthely good whiche he gaf to euery man and woman, and how
■they haue be employed and dispended. And therfore hit is a
fayre vertue to herberowe & lodge the poure, & the seruautes of
god, for al good may therof come. God payeth y grete scot, for
he rendred to c double, wherof he sayth in theuagely, M Who
that receyueth the prophetes, the predycatours, and the poures,
he receyueth myn oune self/* for they be his messagers, the
whiche bere and announce the trouthe. The other ensample
is of the good ladyes whiche wepte after our lord as he bare the
crosse vpon his sholders. These good ladyes were of good and
holy lyf, and were of herte swete and pyteous. God thenne
torned hym toward them, and comforted them, sayenge, "My
fayr doughters, wepe no more on me, but wepe ye vpon the
dolours and sorowes whiche ben comynge to yow." And thenne
he shewed to them the euylle that aftirward came to them, as ye
shall fynde in the book whiche I haue made for your bretheren.
These good ladyes, thenne, whiche had pyte and grete compassion
of the dolour and sorowe that Ihesu Cryst suffred, lost not their
teres ne theyr wepynges, wherof aftirward they were hyghely
guerdonned of god* Therfor here is good ensample how euery
good woman ought to haue pyte as she seeth that somme body
dothe ony euylle to the poure people of god, whiche ben his
seruaunts, as he sayth in the euangely, ** That whiche is done
to my seruaunts in myn name, is done to me/* And yet he
sayth more, that they whiche ben pyteous shalle haue mercy,
that is to wete, he shalle haue mercy of them, Wherof the sage
sayth that a woman of her nature oughte to be more swete and
pyteous than the man, for the man oughte to be more hard
and of more hyghe courage. And therfore they that haue the
herte nother meke nor pyteous maye be called mannysshe, that
is to saye, that in them is to moche of the nature of men. And
yet sayth the sage in the book of sapyence, that a woman by her
nature ought not to be scars of hit wherof she hath good chepe,
that is to wete, of teres and of huble herte that hath pyte of her
poure parentes whome she seeth suffre grete nede, and of her
poure neyghbours, as had a good lady whiche was Coutesse of
Auinyon, and founded the Abbeye of Bourgueyl, where as she
lyeth buryed. And as men saye, she is yet there with her blood
and flesshe. This good lady, where as she sawe her poure
parentes, that myght not honnestly kepe theyr estate, she gaf
to them largely of her goodes. The poure Maydens, gentylle
wymmen that were of good renommee, she enhaunced and maryed
them. She maade to seche and enquere the poure housholders,
and somme of her good she gaf to them. She had grete pyte
of wymmen whiche were at theyre childbedde, and vysyted and
foustred them. She had of her owne phisiciens and Cyrurgyens
to helpe and hele for goddes loue al maner of folke, and in
especialle the poure whiche had nought to paye. And as men
saye, god shewed and made oftyme myracle for her sake, for
whanne men took her her booke and her paternoster, they stode
before her allone by them self in the ayer. And also many
other tokens and signes were sene, whiche for her loue god dyd.
shewe. And therfore here ought euery good woman to take
good ensample, and haue pyte one of other, and thynke how god
gyueth the goodes to be therof thaked and knowen, and to helpe
and haue pyte on the poure. Here I leue the tale of these good
ladyes and of thys matere. But soone I shalle come to hit ageyne,
and shalle speke of another ensample.
OF THE BURGEYS WHICHE WOLD NEUER PAR-
DONNE HER EUYLLE WYLLE TO ONE HER
NEYGHBOUR, WHERFORE SHE WAS DAMPNED.
[Y fayre doughters, beware ye well that the synne
of yre ouercome yow not* For god sayth in his
holy euagely, that men oust to pardonne to them
that haue mysprysed and mysdone. And yf one
be smeton of his neyghbour, or of his broder
crysten, vpon one cheke, he oughte to leye forth the other for
to receyue on it as moche. For takynge vengeaunce is none
meryte, but is contrary to the sowle. And yet sayth oure lord,
that yf one haue ony hate or wrathe with ony other, he ought
to goo and aske hym mercy to fore he make or doo his oryson,
offrynge, or prayer, that it may be of ony valewe and playsaunt
to god. For of no maner of man ne woman whiche ben in the
synne of yre, god receyueth not theyre offrynge, how grete that
it be, for as god that maad the pater noster, whiche sayth that
god shold pardonne to them as they pardonned to other, therfore
we ought to pardonne eche one to other. And thus they that
ben euer in wrathe and hate, yf they saye the pater noster, theyr
prayer is more ageynst them than with them. And vpon thys
I shalle telle yow an ensample of a grete Burgeyse, as I herd
saye at a predycacion or prechynge. This Burgeyse was moche
ryche, charytable, and moche preysed, and had on her many
signes and tokens to be a good crysten. It befelle that she was
brought thorugh a grete sekenes to the bedde of dethe. Ther
cam to her her curate or parson, whiche was a hooly man and
trewe. He herd her in confessyon, and as he came to speke to
her of the synne of yre, sayenge to her that she must pardonne
to alle them that had mysprysed or mysdone vnto her. And
whanne she herde of that artycle, she ansuerd that a woman
whiche was her neyghboure had soo moche mesprysed and
mysdone vnto her, that she myght neuer pardonne ne forgyue
her with her good wyll. Thenne the holy man began to put
forthe & shewe vnto her by fayr wordes & ensaples, how Ihesu
Cryst forgaaf & pardonned his dethe. Also he reherced to her
thexample of a knyghtes sone, whos fader had be slayne. This
knyghtes sone came to an heremyte and confessyd hym, and as
he came to the synne of yre he sayd that he myght neuer pardonne
ne forgyue to hym that had slayne his fader. And the holy
heremyte shewed hym how god forgaf his dethe, and many other
ensamples he dyd shewe vnto hym. And so moche he sayd that
by his swete and fayr wordes the child pardonned and forgaf his
fader's dethe with good wylle, in suche wyse that whanne the
child cam to knele before the crucyfyxe, he* enclyned his heed
toward hym, and a voys was herd whiche sayd, ** By cause that
thow hast pardonned humbly for the loue of me, I pardonne and
forgyue to the al thy synnes and mysdedes, and thow shalt haue
grace to come to me in to the celestyal ioye." This parson or
curate thenne shewed and told this ensample with many other
to the sayd Burgeis, but for none ensample ne for no thynge that
he couthe saye or doo she wold neuer forgyue her euylle wylle,
but in that estate she deyde, wherof hit befelle that atte nyght
a vysyon came to the sayd curate or parson by the whiche vysion
he sawe how the deuyls bare away with them the sowle of the
sayd burgeys, & how she had vpon her herte a grete tode ; & as
the mornyng cam somme came and told hym how she was
passyd oute of this world. And also came to hym her children
and her parentes to speke with hym for her buryenge and entere-
ment, and that she myghte be buryed within the chirche. But
the preest ansuered to them that she shold not be buryed in none
holy erth, by cause she wold neuer pardonne ne forgyue to her
neyghbour. and that she was dede in dedely synne, wherfore the
Frendes and parentes of her dyd stryue with hym. And thenne
[* I.e., the Crucified. ]
he answered to them that they shold make her bely to be opened,
and that vpon her herte they shold fynde a grete tode; and yet
more sayd to them, ** yf hit be not so as I say, I wylle and am
contente that she be buryed there as ye wylle haue her to be."
They wente thenne and spake to gyder, but they dyd jape and
mocke of that the curate had said, and seyd that it myjt not be,
and that hardyly she myght be opened, to thende they myght the
more jape and mocke with hym. Thenne they made her to be
opened, and found a grete tood vppon her herte, ryght fowle,
lothely, and hydous. The preest thenne coniured the sayd tood,
and demaunded of hym why he was there and what he was.
And the tood ansuered that he was the deuyll that had euer
tempted her by the tyme and space of xxv yere, and specially
in the synne in whiche he found most auauntage, that was, in
the synne of yre and wrathe. For euer syn that tyme she bare
soo grete yre and so grete wrathe vppon a woman her neyghbour,
that neuer she thought to pardonne her the trespas that she hadde
done vnto her. "And that other daye whanne thou confessyd
her, I was on my foure feet vpon her herte, where as I her so
streyght enclawed, and so chaffed of wrathe and yre, that she
myght haue no wylle to forgyue. Notwithstondynge, an houre
was that I had grete fere that thou sholdest haue had her fro me,
and that she shold haue be conuertysed thorugh thy prechynge,
but neuertheles I hadde the vyctorye, in suche wyse that she is
oure for euermore." And whanne al they that were there herde
these wordes they were moche merueylled, and neuer syn they
durst speke of her buryenge in hooly erthe. Here is a ryght
good ensample how one ought to pardonne and forgyue to other,
for who that forgyueth not with his good wylle, wyth grete
payne he shal obteyne and haue forgyuenesse of god, and per-
aduenture it myght well befalle to hym as dyde to the sayd
Burgeyse, of whome ye haue herd.
OF THEM WHICHE OUGHT TO COME TOWARD
THEYRE CARNALL FRENDES, IN WHAT SOMEUER
ESTATE THEY BE.
F them that ought to come in thestate wherin they
be as theyre carnal Frendes come to see them,
wherof I shalle telle yow an Ensample. There
was somtyme a knyght, a good and trewe man,
the whiche wente in vyage beyond the see* He
had two nyeces, the whiche he had nourysshed and broughte
vp of theyr yongthe, and had maryed them, and ouermoche he
loued them. In tournynge home ageyne fro his vyage, he
bought for eche of them a good gowne, wel fourred, to be
coynted and arayed therwith. He came and arryued late at
the nyght in to the hows of one of them. He called and
demaunded after his nyece and made her to wete how he was
come thyther for to see her. She that herd of his comynge
wente anone in to her chambre, and did shette her self within
for to brusshe and make clene her gowne to make her gay and
fresshe, and sente worde vnto her vncle that soone she shold
come to hym. The knyght abode there stylle a grete whyle,
and sayd, "My nyece shalle not come." And her seruauntes
ansuerd to hym that she shold soone come. The knyght had
desdayne and was angry of her long taryenge, seyng that long
before she had not sene hym, wherfor he lepe vpon his hors and
tooke his way toward the hows of his other nyece, where he
entred in, but as soone as he dyd calle, she that anone knewe
that it was her vncle which long tyme had be oute of the land,
lefte forthwith the tournyng & makynge of her breed, and with
her handes yet full of paste came and embraced hym and sayd,
" My dere lord and vncle, in suche poynt and estate as I was
whanne I herd yow, I am come to see yow, therfore please it
yow to pardonne me, for the grete Ioye whiche I haue of youre
comynge maade me to do hit." The knyght thene beheld and
sawe the manere of his nyece, wherof he was full glad, and
loued and preysed her moche more than his other nyece. He
gaf her the two gownes whiche he had bought for her and for
her suster, and thus she that; cam gladly in thestate wherynne
she was to welcome her vncle, she wanne both gownes, and she
whiche taryed for to make her ioly and gay, lost her parte of
them. She thenne that forthwith came to welcome her vncle,
as she had brought hym in her chambre she wente and propyrly
arayed her self, and thenne sayd to hym, " My lord and myn
uncle, I haue arayed and coynted me for to serue yow more
honestly/* And thus she gate the loue of her vncle, and the
other lost it. Here is good ensample how men ought to come
ioyously in thestate where one is in, to welcome his frendes
whiche be come to see hym. And yf ye wyst thexample of a
baronnesse, or wyf of a baron, whiche was a good lady, and
whiche wold in no manere were ne doo on euery day hir best
gownes, wherfore her seruauntes sayd to her, " Madame, why
go ye not better arayed and more coynted than ye doo ? ** And
she answerd to them, " Yf euery day I went in my best rayments
and helde me coynte and Ioly, how shold I doo on the hyghe
feestes and holydayes, and also as the lordes my parentes shalle
come to see me ? For thenne as I shold araye me the best wyse
I couthe, yet men shold saye that al the day byfore I was fayrer
and better besene, wherof no thanke I shold haue of them whiche
were come to see me." And therfor I preyse her nothyng that
can not amende her self in tyme and place as nede is, for a
thynge whiche is comyn and dayly sene is nothynge preysed ne
OF THE GOOD KNYGHT WHICHE FOUGHT
AGEYNST THE FALS KNYGHTE FOR THE PYTE
OF A MAYDE.
WOLD yewyst thexample of a knyght whiche fought
for a mayde. There was at the Courte of a grete
lord a fals knyght, whiche requyred and prayd a
mayde of folyssh loue, but she wold nought doo
for hym for yefte ne for promesse, but wold kepe
her body clenely. And whan the knyght sawe this, he sayd
that she shold repente her. He tooke an Appel, and poysonned
it, and fewe dayes after that he toke the appel to her for to gyue
it to the yonge sone of her lord. She toke the appel, and gaf
it to the child. And soone after that he had eten it, he deyde,
wherfor this mayde was take and, shortly to say, redy for to
be brente. She wepte and complayned her self to god, sayenge
that she had no culpe of this dede, but that the fals knyght
whiche took her thapple was therof gylty, and none other. And
he deffended it ageynst her, & sayd he was redy to preue the
contrary ageynst ony knyght in champ of batayll. But she
couthe fynde none that for her wolde fyght ageynst hym, by
cause he was so strong and so moche doubted in armes, wherfor
it befelle that oure lord god, whiche forgeteth not the clamour
and prayer of the trewe and juste, had pyte of her, and as it
pleased hym a good knyght, whiche had to name patrydes, that
was free and pyteous, as men were aboute for to haue cast the mayd
in to the fyre [came], and beheld the mayde, whiche wepte sore
and made grete sorowe. He had pyte of her, and demaunded of
her the trouthe of the fayt. And fro the begynyynge vnto the
ende she told hym how hit was, and also the most parte of them
that were there presente wytnessyd as she sayd. Thenne the
good knyght, meued of pyte, casted his gage ageynst this fals
knyght. The bataylle was bytwene them hard and cruel to see,
OF A GOOD KNYGHT WHICHE FOUGHT AGEYNST A FALS
KNYGHTE FOR THE PYTE OF A MAYDE
in so moche that at the laste this fals knyght was disconfyted
and openly dyd shewe his treason. And thus was the mayde
saued. But the good knyght patrvde receyued at that sorowe v
mortall woudes, wherfor as his armes were of, he sente his
sherte, whiche was broken in fyue places, to the sayd mayde,.
whiche kepte hit all her lyf, and euery day she prayd for the
knyght that suche dolour had suffred for her. And thus for
pyte and Fraunchyse fought the gentyll knyght, and receyued
v mortalle woundes, as the swete Ihesu Cryst dyd, whiche
faught for the pyte of vs, and of al the humayn lygnage. For
grete pyte he hadde to see them goo and falle in the tenebres of
helle, wherfore he suffred and susteyned alone the bataylle
moche hard and cruell on the tree of the holy Crosse ; and was
his sherte broken and perced in fyue places, that is to wete, the
fyue dolorous woundes whiche he receyued of his debonayr
and free wylle, in his dere body, for the pyte that he had of vs.
In suche maner thenne ought euery man and woman to haue
pyte of the dolours and myseryes of theyr parentes and neygh-
bours, and of the poure, as the good knyght had of the mayde,
and wepe therfore tendyrly, as dyd the good lady whiche wepte
after the good Ihesu, as he bare the Crosse for to be theron
crucifixed and put to dethe for our synnes.
OF THE THRE MAR YES_ WHICHE CAME TO THE
SEPULCRE OR MONUMET SO ERLY.
HE other example is of the thre Maryes whiche
came erly in the mornynge of Ester sonday to
the sepulcre, wenynge them to haue enoynted the
swete Ihesu crist. They had do make precious
oynementes, and of grete prys, and had grete
deuocion to serue god bothe alyue and dede, and were bren'
nynge in the loue of god» And there they fond the angel,
whiche sayd and announced to them that he was rysen, wherof
they had grete Ioye. And of the grete Ioye that they had therof
they ranne to the Appostles to telle them of hit. These good
ladyes waked al the nyght for to make redy theyr precious
oynementes, and at the sprynge of the daye they were at the
monument for to make theyr seruyse* And therfore is here
good ensample how euery good woman, wedded or of Relygyon,
ought to be swyft, dylygent, and curyous to the seruyse of god,
for therof they shalle be rewarded to c dowble, as were these thre
good Maryes, whiche god hath moche hyghe enhaunced in his
blessyd glorye. Men may rede and fynde in the Cronycles of
Rome, that whan themperour Nero and other tyraunts and
enemyes of the holy feythe made the sayntes to be martyred,
as it is conteyned in theyre legendes, the good ladyes of the
townes where they suffred martirdome, wente and toke the holy
bodyes of them, and wonde and buryed them, and bare to them
the grettest worship that they myght. These good wymmen
wente to here matyns and the masses and the seruyse of god,
wherof men fynde that at that tyme were in Rome and in euery
Towne there about many charytable and good ladyes, but now,
as j may perceyue and see, the charyte and the holy seruyse
of god is amonge wymmen sowen ferre asonder. For many one
there be that haue theyr herte more toward the world than to
the seruyse of god, for they can wel awake for to araye and
make theire bodyes gay and fayre for to be the more piaysaunt
to the men, but yf they were as redy to goo and here theyr
matyns and masse, and be aboute to doo the seruyse of god, hit
were better for them. For they do seruyse displeasynge to god,,
that is to wete, the delyte and wylle of the body, the whiche
shalle be punysshed to c double.
THEXAMPLE OF THE FOLYSSHE AND VIWYSE
VYRGYNS, AND ALSO OF THE VYRGYNS
PRUDENT AND WYSE.
HE wyse man sayth in a prouerbe that whanne
the ladyes were ryse out of theyr beddes, and
ar they were wel kymbed and arayed, the Crosses
and processions were gone and al the masses and
seruyse of god done. It is as god sayth in his
euangely; yf the fyue hooly vyrgyns whiche were curyous,
awaked, and well garnysshed of oylle and of lumynary to lyghte
with theyre lampes, and whanne the spouse was come they
wente and entred wyth hym with grete Ioye in to the castel,
and founde the yates open. But the other fyue vyrgyns, whiche
were ful of slepe, and had not purueyed them of oyll in to theyr
lampes, whan they cam to the castel they found the yate shette
before them. And whanne they asked for oylle, it was ansuerd
to them that they shold haue none, by cause they were come to
late. Wherfor I doubte after the purpos of this ensample, that
many one is a slepe and sorowfulle to the seruyse of god. And
as of them that ben not garnysshed of that whiche is appertey
nynge to theyr sauement, that is to wete, to doo good and holy
operacions, and haue the grace of god, doubte ye not but yf they
tary longe to amende them before theyr ende, hit shalle be sayd
to them as it was seyd to the v vnwyse virgyns, and shalle fynde
the yate of the castell shette before them. Thenne shalle not be
tyme to repente them, but sore abasshed they shall be, as they
shalle see them departed fro God and fro the good sowles, and
be cast and had in to the cruell pytte of helle, where as they
shalle be in contynuell payne and dolour whiche neuer shal take
none ende. Alias, how dere shalle be sold the coyntyses and
folysshe playsaunces and delytes wherof men shall haue vsed for
to obeye to his careyn and to the world! This way shal goo
alle euylle wymmen, and the good women to the contrary. For
they shalle goo with the espouse, that is, with god theyr creatour,
& shalle fynde the grete yate open, where thorugh they shalle
goo in to the blysse and Ioye of paradys, by cause they haue ben
curyous and awaked wyth theyr lampes and lumynary, abydynge
the comynge of the spouse, that is to saye, that they haue made
good and hooly operacions, and haue watched for to abyde the
houre of theyre dethe, and haue not be slepynge in synne, but
haue hold them self clene, and haue confessyd them ofte, and
kepte them selfe clene fro synne to theyr poure, and whiche
loued and drad god* These shalle be the good wymmen of
whom god spake in his euangely, as ye haue herd to fore.
HOW THE WYMMEN OUGHT TO BE CHAR YT ABLE
AFTER THEXEMPLARY OF OUR LADY.
LSO good ladyes and euery good woman ought to
be charytable as the holy lady was that gaf for the
loue of god and ful charyte the moste parte that
she had. And at thexample of her dyd saynt
Elyzabeth, saynte Lucye, saynt Cecylle, and many
other holy ladyes, whiche were so charitable that they gaf to the
poure and jndygent the most parte of theyr reuenues, as reherced
is playnly in theyr legendes, wherfor I wold ye wyst thexample
of a good lady of Rome, whiche was atte masse, and sawe besyde
her a poure woma, the whiche was f shakyng for cold, for the
froste was grete. The good lady had pyte of her and pryuely
called her to her, and wente and had her in to her hows, whiche
was not ferre thens, and gaf to her a good furred gowne. And
whyles she was aboute this charytable dede, the preest that sayd
the masse couthe speke neuer a word, vnto the tyme that she
was come to the Chirche ageyne, and as soone as she was come
ageyne he spake as he dyd to fore, and sawe afterward in a
vysion the cause why he had lost his speche, & hou god preyseth
before his agels y gyft gyue of the good lady to hym. Here
is good ensample for euery good woman to be charytable, and
not to suffre her poure neyghbours to be shakynge for cold and
hongre, ne to haue ony mysease, but to helpe them as ferre as
theyr power may retche. Now haue I told yow of the blessyd
and holy vyrgyne Marye, to the whiche none may be lykened
ne compared. And lytell ynough I haue spoken of her, but to
longe were the matere yf I shold speke of all her dedes & fayttes.
Therfor as now I shalle leue of her and shall speke of the good
wydowes, ladyes of Rome, the whiche whan as they held them
clenly in theyr wydowhede, they were worshipfully crowned in
signe and token of chastyte, but .long thynge were to reherce the
bounte and charyte of them whiche were before the comynge of
Ihesu Cryste, as it is founde and reherced in the byble. Also
I haue recounted to yow of some good ladyes whiche haue ben
syn the newe testament, that is to wete, syn god toke his
humanyte within the wombe of the blessyd vyrgyne Marye.
And in lyke wyse as the holy scripture preyseth the good ladyes
of that tyme, it is reason and ryght that we preyse some of this
present tyme wherin we be, wherfor I shalle telle yow of euery
estate of them one example or tweyne for to shewe example vnto
al other* For men ought not to hyde the goodhede ne also the
worship of them, and none good lady ought not to take' desdayne
of hit, but be gladde to here telle, and recounte the goodnes and
worship of them.
OF THE QUENE IOHANE OF FRAUNCE.
(HE good quene lane of Fraunce, whiche of late
passed out of this world & the whiche was wyse,
of holy lyf, & moche charytable, & also ful of
deuocion, held her estate so clenly & so noble by
so good ordenauce, that grete thynge were to reherce
it. After by her shal we set the duchesse of orliauce, which in
her lyf suffred moch, but she kept her euer clenly and holily,
but to long it were to recoute of her good lyf & good condycions.
Also we may not forgete the good Countesse of Roussyllon, the
whiche, she beynge a wydowe, kepte & gouerned her self so
clenely and soo peasyble dyd nourysshe her children, the whiche
also kepte good Iustyce and held her land and peple in pees* Also
I wylle telle yow of a baronnesse whiche duellyd in our Countrey,
the whiche was in wydowhede by the space of xxxv yere, and was
yonge and fayr whanne her lord deyde, and of many one she was
requyred. But she sayd in her secrete that for the loue of her
lord and of her children she shold neuer be wedded, and held her
in her wydowhede clenly, withoute ony reproche, wherof she
ought to be preysed. And her name I shalle declare vnto yow :
jt was my lady of Vertus.
HOW A WOMAN OUGHT NOT TO WEDDE HER
SELF WITHOUTE THE COUNCEYLLE OF HER
PARENTES AND FRENDES OR FRENDE.
lRE I leue the mater of the good wymmen and
ladyes, but, my dere doughters, I pray yow that ye
take ensample to them. And yf god gyue yow
youre husbondes, soo that soone after ye be wydowes,
wedded yow not ageyne for playsaunce ne for loue,
but only by the counceylle and good wylle of alle youre parentes
and Frendes. And thus ye shalle kepe your worship and honour
sure and clene withoute repreef, and alle good shal therof come,
bothe to yow and to your husbondes, for men shalle not scorne
you behynde your back, as it is done to many whiche withoute
takynge ony counceylle of theyr frendes and onely for theyr
plesaunce wylle wedde themself*
HOW EUERY GOOD WOMAN OUGHT WEL TO
KEPE HER RENOMMEE.
jY dere doughters, yf ye wyst and knewe the grete
worship whiche comethof good name and Renomme,
ye shold peyne your self to gete and kepe it, as the
good knyght whiche tendeth to come to worship &
flee vylonye, payneth hym self and suffreth many
grete trauaylles, as cold, hete, and hongre, and putte his body in
to grete Ieopardy and aduenture to deye or lyue, for to gete worship
and good Renommee, and maketh his body feble and wery by
many vyages, also in many bataylles and assautes, and by many
other grete peryls. And as he hath suffred payne and trauail
ynough, he is put and enhaunced in to grete honour* And grete
yeftes ben thenne gyuen to hym, and grete wonder and merueylle
it is yf the grete worship and grete renommee that men beren vnto
hym, Lyke wyse it is of the good lady and good woman, whiche
in euery place is renommed in honoure and worship. This is
the good woman that payneth her self e to kepe her body clene and
her worship also, the whiche also sette nought by her yongthe ne
of the delytes and folysshe plesaunces of this world, wherof she
myght receyue ony blame, as I haue sayd before of the knyghtes,
the whiche take and suffre such poynte and trauaylle for to be
put in to the nombre of the other that ben renommed of grete
worthynes and valyaunce. This oughte to doo euery good woman
and euery good lady, and thynke how thus doynge she geteth the
loue of god and of her lord, of theyr frendes and of the world,
and the sauement of her sowle, wherof the world preyseth her
and god also, for he calleth her the precious Margarite. It is a
perle, whiche is whyte and round, bryght and wythoute macule
or spotte. Here is a good ensample how god preyseth the good
lady in the euangely, and thus ought to doo alle folke. For men
ought to doo and bere as moche worship and honour to a good
lady or damoysell as to a good knyght or squyer. But as now
this day the world is al tourned vpso doune, for worship is not
kepte in her ryght regie, ne in her ryght estate, as hit was wonte
to be* Now I wylle telle yow how on a tyme I herd say to my
lord my fader and to many other good knyghtes, how in theyr
tyme men worshipped and bare grete reuerence to the good
women, and how they which were worthy to be blamed were
refused and separed oute of the felauship of the other. And yet
it is not past fourty yere that this customme was as they sayd.
And at that tyme a woman repreued of blame had not be soo
hardy to putte her self in the Rowe or companye of them that
were renommed, wherfore I shalle telle yow of two good knyghtes
of that tyme : the one was named My lord Raoul de lyege, and
the other had to name Geffroy, and were both bretheren, and
good knystes in armes, for euer they vyaged & neuer rested tylle
they came in place where they myght essaye and preue the
strengthe of theyr bodyes for to gete worship and good renomme.
And so moche they dyd by theyr valyaunce that at the last they
were renommed ouer al, as charny and bouchykault were in
theyr tyme. And therfor they were byleuyd and herd before all
other as knyghtes auctorysed and renommed.
HOW THAUNCYENT WERE WONTE TO LERNE
HERFORE hit became that yf they sawe a yonge
man of age make ony thyng that dyd ageynst his
honour, they shewed hym his fawte before the folke.
And therfor the yong men dradde them moche.
For thenne as I herd saye to my lord my fader, how
a yonge man cam to a feste where were many lordes, ladyes, and
damoysels, and arrayed as they wold haue sette them to dyner,
and had on hem a coot hardye, after the maner of almayne. He
cam and salewed the lordes and ladyes, and whanne he had done
to them reuerence, the forsayd Syre Geffroy called hym before
hym and demaunded hym where his vyeil or clauycordes were,
and that he shold make his craft. And the yonge man ansuerd,
** Syre, I can not medle therwith." " Ha a ! " sayd the knyght,
" I can not byleue it, for ye be contrefaytted and clothed lyke a
mynystrell. Neuertheles I knowe well your auncestrye and the
good and trewe men of the towre, of the whiche ye be come of.
But in good faythe I sawe neuer none of your lygnage that wolde
haue contrefayted hym ne also be clothed of suche gowne as ye
be.*' And thenne he ansuerd to the knyght ageyn, " Syth that
my clothynge semeth to yow lothely and dishoneste, hit shalle
be amended." Thenne he called to hym a mynystrell & gaf
hym his gowne, and toke another, and came ageyne to the halie.
And whan the good & auncyent knyght sawe hym he sayd,
"Trewely this yonge man forueyeth not, for he byleueth the
counceylle of his older. And euery yonge man and yonge
wymmen whiche byleue the counceylle of thauncyent & good
folke may not faylle to come to honour and worshyp." And
therfore is here a good ensample how none ought to byleue, and
not to haue shame ne vergoyne of the techynge of the wyse men
and more auncyent than he is. For that whiche they saye and
techen, they done it not but for good. But the yonge men and
wymmen that ben at this day take to thys no hede, but haue gr ete
despyte whanne they be repreued of theyr wyckednes and folye,
and wene to be more wyse than the olde and auncyent folke. It
is grete pyte thenne, of suche vnknowlege, for euery gentylle herte
and of honeste lyuynge, oughte to haue grete Ioye whan he is
repreued of his fawte and mysdede, and yf he be wyse and sage,
he shalle thanke hym by whome he knoweth his fawte. And in
this is shewen and perceyued the free kynd of the good yonge
man & yong woman, for no chorlysshe nor vylayne herte shall
neuer yeue thanke ne graces of it. Now haue I told to yow how
thauncyent spake and chastysed the yong men, and now I shalle
telle yow how they gaf good ensamples to the good ladyes &
damoysels that were at that tyme.
HOW HIT WAS WONTE TO DEPARTE THE
BLAMED AND DYFFAMED WOMEN FRO THE
FELAUSHIP & COMPANYE OF THE GOOD AND
N tho dayes was the tyme of pees, and were holden
grete festes and reueyls, and al maner of knyghtes
and ladyes and damoysels gadred and assembled to
gyder where as they wyst that ony feste was kepte
and holden. And there they cam with grete
worship, and wyth them came the good knyghtes of that tyme,
but yf hit happed by somme adueture that ony lady or damoysell y
had euyl name or were blamed of her honour put her self and
wente byfore another of good renome, how be it that she were
more gentyl and more noble and more Ryche, yet, notwith'
stondynge, the good and auncyent knyghtes had no shame to
come to them before euery one, ne to telle thus to them : ** Lady
or damoysel, be not yow displesyd yf this lady go before yow,
for how it be so that she be not so noble ne so ryche as ye be,
neuertheles she is not blamed, and hath good Renommee, and is
put among the nombre of the good wymmen, and thus it is not
sayd of yow. Wherfore me displeaseth moche, but worship and
honour shalle be borne to them that be worthy, and haue deserued
it. And therfore be not yow meruaylled." Thus and in lyke
wyse spake that tyme the good and auncyent knyghtes, and put
them of good Renommee the fyrst and formest, wherof they
thanked god that had gyue them grace to kepe & hold them
clenely, wherby they were sette bifore the other and worshipped
ouer al. And the other tooke them self by the nose, castynge
theyr faces dounward, and receyued moch shame & vergoyne.
And therfore was this a good ensample to al wymmen, for by
the grete repreef and shame that they herd saye & talke of the
other, they doubted & drad ony thynge to do that was amys, of
whiche they myght be blamed as the other were. But certaynly
now uppon this daye men bere as grete worship to them that ben
blamed as to the good and trewe, wherof many one taketh euylle
ensample, and saye, '* I see that men bere as grete honoure to
them whiche shold be blamed and dyffamed, as they do to the
honest and trewe. It is no force to do euylle ; al thynge passeth
forth awey." But neuertheles it is euylle sayd, for in good
feythe, how be it that they wene to receyue honour and worship
of them that be wyth them, whanne they be departed they
mocke and scorne with them, sayenge one to other, " Suche one
is full curtoys of her body ; suche a man taketh his disporte with
her.** And thus somme maken good chere and beren honour
before them, and behynd theyr backes they pulle oute theyr
tongues in scornynge of them. But the folysshe wymmen
perceyue them not, but joyen them self in theyr folye, and wene
that none knowe theyr fawte & shame. Thus is the tyme
chaunged otherwyse than hit was wonte to be, wherfore hit is
damage and grete pyte. For hit were best that of theyr fawte
and blame they were reproued before al, as they were at that
tyme. Yet more I shalle telle yow, as I haue herd reherced of
many knyghtes whiche saw and knewe the sayd Syre Geffroy
de lyege, how that as he rode thorugh the Countrey, and as he
aspyed and sawe some place or manoyr, he demaunded and
asked the place, and yf he understode by ony maner that the lady
of the manoyr or place were blamed of her honour and worship,
he shold haue gone oute of his ryght way, rather than he had not
gone to the yate of the same place and make there a faytte and
put and sette his signes ageynste the yate, and thenne rode
ageyne in to his ryght way. And contrary to this dede, yf hit
happed to hym to passe before the place of a good and Renommed
lady or damoyselle, al had he neuer so grete haste, he wente to
see her, and sayd to her, ** My good Frende, other my lady, or
els damoysell, I praye to god that in this welthe and honoure he
wylle euer hold and mayntene yow in to the nombre of the good
wymmen. For wel ye oughte to be preysed and worshipped."
And thus by this maner and way the good wymmen drad and
held them more sure fro doynge ony thynge wherby they myght
lese theyr worship and honoure, wherfore I wold that tyme were
come ageyne, for as I wene, many one shold not be blamed and
diffamed as they be now.
HOW BEFORE THIS TYME MEN PUNYSSHED
THEM THAT WERE DIFFAMED.
JHERFORE yf the wymmen recorded and thought
the tyme past before the comynge of Cryst, whiche
lasted more than fyue thousand yere, and how the
badde and euylle wymmen, specially they that
were wedded, were punysshed, as they mysgyded
them. For yf it myght be proued only by two men that they
had companye or carnal felauship with ony other than to theyi*
lord, she was brente, eyther stoned with stones. And for no
gold ne syluer she myghte be saued, al were she neuer so noble,
after the lawe of god and of Moyses. And yet I ne knowe but
fewe Reames this day, sauf the Reame of Fraunce and of
Englond, and in the lowe or basse Almayne, but that men
doo Iustyse of them when the trouthe and certaynte of
the dede may be openly knowen, that is to wete, in Romayne,
In Spayne, In Aragon, and in many other Reames. In
somme places men kytte of theire throtes, and in somme they
be heded before the peple. And in other places they be mewred
or put bytwene two walles. And therfore this Example is
good and prouffytable to euery good woman. For how be hit
that in this Royamme Iustyce is not done of them as in other
Reames, neuertheles they lese therfore theyr worship and theyre
estate, the loue of god and of theyre lordes, and of theyre frendes
and world also, for they ben separed and putte oute of the book
of them that ben good and trewe, as more playnly is reherced in
the booke of the holy faders' lyf, wherof the tale shold be longe
to reherce, wherof I shalle telle yow a moche fayr example, the
hyghest of alle other examples as hit is, whiche god told of his
mouthe, as telleth the holy scrypture.
HOW GOD COMPARED THE GOOD WOMAN TO
THE PRECIOUS MARGARYTE.
|OD preyseth the good woman whiche is clene and
pure, and sayth how it is a noble thynge of a hooly
and good woman. And syth god of his owne
mouthe preyseth her so, by good reason the world
and al the folk ought to loue and preyse her well.
It is conteyned in the Euangely of the vyrgyns, how the swete
Ihesu Cryst preched and taught the peple and spake vpon the
matere of the good and clene wymmen where as he sayth, " Vna
Margarita preciosa comparauit earn/* ** I telle yow," sayd our
lord, '* that a woman whiche is pure and clene oust to be com'
pared to the preciouse Margaryte." This was merueyllously
spoken, for a Margaryte is a grete perle and round, bryght and
whyte and clene, without ony spotte or tatche. This perle is
named Margaryte preciouse* And dyd god shewe the valour
and worthe of the woman, for she that is clene and withoute
tatche, that is to saye, she that is not wedded, that kepeth her
vyrgynyte & chastyte; and also she that is wedded whiche
kepeth and holdeth her self clenely in the holy sacramente of
maryage, and not suffreth her self to be shamed of her spouse,
the whiche god hath destyned and gyuen to her ; also she that
kepeth wel and clenely her wydowhede; these be tho, as the glose
seyth, of whome god spake in his holy euuangely. These be
lykened and compared, as sayd our lord, to the precious margaryte,
whiche is euer bryght and clene, withoute ony macule or tatche*
For as sayth the holy scrypture, nothynge is so agreable to god
and to his Angels as a good woman, and in a parte god preyseth
more her than the man. And by reason she ought to haue
more meryte, by cause she is of lyghter courage than the man
is, that is to saye, that the woman was fourmed and made out of
the man's body, and in so moche that she is more feble than the
man is, and yf she resisteth ageynste the temptacions of the
deuylle, of the world, and of the] flessh, the more she is worthy
to haue gretter meryte than the man. And therfor god com-
pareth her to the precious margaryte, whiche is bryght and
clene. Also saith the glose, in another place, that as it is a
foul thynge to spylle droppes of ynke in to a dysshe ful of
mylke, ryght so is of her that ought to be a good mayd, whanne
she spylleth and gyueth her maydenhede to another than to her
spouse ; and also is of her whiche is wedded that of her falshede
& fowle lecherye breketh and spylleth her holy sacrament of
maryage, and forswereth her feythe and her lawe toward God
& the chirche, and toward her lord also; also she whiche
oughte to bere her self clenely in her wydowhede & that doth
the contrarye. This maner of wymmen be lyke the black
tatches that ben vpon the whyte mylke and vpon the whyte
couerchyef ; they be lyke in no thyng to the precious Margaryte,
for in the precious margaryte is no maner of tatche. Alias ! a
woman ought wel to hate her self and to curse her euyll lyf
whanne she is put oute of the nombre of the good and trewe
women. Thenne yf they remembred wel them self of thre
thynges: the fyrste is, how they that be not yet wedded lese
theyre maryage and theyr honour, and acquere the shame and
hate of theyr parentes and frendes, and of the world, and how
euery one shewe them with the fynger. Secondly, how they
that ben wedded lese al worship, and the loue of god and of
theyr lordes, of theyr frendes, and of al other, for god letteth
them to haue ony welthe or cheuaunce, and to long were the
fowle and euylle talkynge, whiche is sayd of them, to be re-
herced. For somme shalle do to them good chere before them,
but behynd them they shalle hold theyr talkynge, scornyng &
mockyng them. And neuer after they shalle loue theyr lord.
For the deuyll shalle make them as brennynge, and to haue
more delyte in that dampnable synne of fornycacion than in
the dede of maryage, for in the dede of maryage is no mortall
synne, for it is an operacion commaunded of god, and therfore
the deuylle hath nothynge to doo of hit, but in puterye and in
synne mortalle or dedely he hath grete power, and is there in
his persone to chauffe and meue the synnar to the fals delyte,
as the smyth whiche putteth the cole in the fornays and thenne
he bloweth and kyndeleth hit. And soo moche wayteth the
deuylle to serue them wel in that fowle delyte, and to kepe
them stylle therin, that at the last he caryeth and bereth wyth
hym theyr soules in to the depe pytte of helle, wherof he taketh
as grete Ioye, and holdeth hym therof as wel apayed, as doth he
that al the day hath chaced, and atte euen he taketh the best and
hath it with hym. And in lyke wyse dothe the deuyll of al
suche men and wymmen, as rayson is. For the holy wrytynge
sayth they that ben chauffed and brennynge in the fyre of
kcherye, shalle be brente in the fyre of helle, and it is well
reson, as a good heremyte sayth in vitas patrum, that one hete
be put with the other. For as god sayth, there is no good dede
done, but that it shalle be guerdonned, ne none euylle done, but
that it shal be punysshed.
HOW THE DOUGHTER OF A KNYGHT LOST HER
SHALLE telle yow another Ensample, of the
doughter of a noble knyght that loste her maryage
by her coynted Raymentes & clothynges. A knyjt
was, which had many doughters, of the whiche
theldest was wedded. It happed that a knyght
demaunded the second doughter to be his wyf, & the fader
graunted her to hym. He that neuer before had sene her came
to be fyaunced with her, and she whiche knewe wel of his
comynge arayed & coynted her self in the best manere that
she coude, to thende that she myght seme the fayrer, smaller,
& of body wel shapen. She had vpon her but a streyght cote
furred* It was at that season moche cold, and grete wynde rose
vp and blewe. And she whiche was symply clothed had grete
cold, in so moche that for cold she wexed black. Thenne arryued
the knyght whiche cam for to see her, and sawe her colour deed
and pale, also he beheld hir other suster, whiche had the colour
rede and fresshe, for she was clothed wyth gownes good and
warme as she that thought not soone to be maryed. The knyght
beheld wel the one and the other, and after dyner he callyd to
hym two of his parentes whiche were come with hym, and sayd
to them, ** Fayr lordes, we be come hyder to see the doughters of
the lord of this place. And by cause I knowe well that to my
wyf I may haue the whiche I wylle chese of them, therfor I
shalle haue the thyrd doughter/* Thenne sayd his parentes
vnto hym, ** Ye saye not wel ; for gretter worship shal be to yow
to take the oldest." " Fayre frendes," ansuerd the knyght, '* I see
in the choys but lytill auauntage. Ye wote and knowe well
how they haue a suster wedded, whiche is older than they be
and fyrst born. I see the thyrd more fair and fresshe, and of
to better colour than the second, of the whiche men haue spoken
me. In the thyrd is my plesaunce & my loue sette, therfore
before ony other I wylle haue her/* His parentes thenne ansuerd
to hym that he shold doo after his playsyre. And thenne he
made to demaunde and aske the third doughter for to be his wyf,
and the fader dyd graunte her to hym, wherof many one were
merueylled, and she specially whiche wend to be maryed was
sore abasshed & sorowful. It befelle a lytell whyle after that
this second douster, which had loste the knyght by cause of the
grete cold, whiche caused her vysage to be of euylle colour,
whanne she was wel clothed and that she had on her suche a
gowne as she was wonte to couere hir as it was cold wether, her
colour cam to her ageyn, & fressher by a grete dele than her
suster dyd, whiche the knyghte had wedded, in soo moche that
the knyght merueylled hym moche therof and sayd vnto her,
** Fayre suster, whanne I cam for to see yow, and that I tooke
your suster, ye were not soo fayrej by moche as ye now be. For
ye be now of colour fresshe whyte and rede, and that tyme ye
were black and pale, and your suster was fayrer, but nowe ye
passe her of beaute, wherfore I haue grete merueylle." Thenne
sayd his wyf, whiche was there present, " Syre, I shalle telle all
the maner how hit was. My suster, that ye see here, thought
and wende, and also dede we al, that ye shold come for to haue
fyaunced her, wherfor she coynted and arayed her self in the
most praty maner that she couthe, for to shewe her body praty
and small and well shapen, but the cold was at that tyme grete,
the whiche made her black & palysshed her colour ; and I,
whiche thought ne wend not to receyue soo grete worship as to
be your wyf, coynted not my self, but I was wel clothed with
furred gounes that kepte my body warme, wherfore I had better
colour than she had, wherof j thanke god. For therfore I gate
your loue, and blessyd be the houre that my suster clothed her
self so lyght, for yf it had not be so, ye had not take me for
to haue leite her/' Thus loste, as ye haue herd, theldest doughter
her maryage by cause she coynted her self. Now haue ye herd
good Ensample how one ought not to coynte her body for to
shewe it small and better shapen, & specially in the wynter, in
so moche that she lost her manere and colour, as ones it befell to
Syre Foucques delaual, as he told me vpon the fayt of this
Ensample, of whome I shai speke and telle vnto yow what that
happed to hym.
HOW LOUE WYLLE BE KEPTE WARME.
| IRE Foucques de laual was a fayr knyght, clene &
wel besene emong other, & was of good maner and
of fayr maynten. It happed to hym, as he told me,
that ones he was gone for to see his peramours in
the wynter season, that the froste was grete and the
wether passyng cold* He thenne hadde in the mornynge coynted
hym self of a scarlatte gowne wel broudred, & of a hood of
scarlatte sengle & wythoute furrynge, and nought els he had on
hym sauf only his fyn sherte, for he had no mantell, neyther
gloues in his handes. The wynd and the cold were grete, wher'
fore he had soo grete cold that he became of colour black and
pale, for the perles ne the precious stones wiche were on the
broudryng of his sengle gowne couthe gyue hym no hete ne kepe
hym fro the cold* There came another knyght, whiche also was
amerous of that lady, but he was not so gay aourned, ne so
sengle of clothes, but he had on hym good and warme gownes*
& had a mantell and a double hood, and was reed as a cok, and
had a good lyuynge colour. The lady thenne welcomed this
knyght, and maade to hym better chere than she dyd to Syre
Foucques, and held with hym better companye, and sayd to
Syre Foucques, " Syre, hold yow nere the fyre, for I doubte that
ye be not al hool, for your colour is dede and pale." And he
ansuerd that his herte was ioyous and well at his ease. This
other knyght was fayrer to the lady syght than Foucques. But
within a whyle after, Syre Foucques aspyed the knyght, whiche
was goynge toward the place of his peramours. He arayed hym
otherwyse than he was wonte to doo, and so moche hyed hym
that he came thyder as soone as the other knyght dyd, for to
preue how the mater and his faytte shold ende. But certaynly
he was thenne take of his lady for the fayrest and best coloured,
wherfore he told me how loue wylle be kepte hote and warme,
and how that he had approuued hit. Therfore hit is grete folye
to kepe hys body sengle of clothes for to seme to the folkes syght
better maad & fayrer of body. Yet vpon this matere I wylle
reherce vnto you a grete merueylle, how many one deyd for cold.
HOW THE DEUYLLE TEMPTETH MANY ONE OF
THE SYNNE WHERE AS HE FYNDETH THEM
MOST WYLLYNGE AND REDY TO.
|N Ensample I shalle reherce vnto yow, of a grete
lady whiche was lady to a Baron. This lady was
longe tyme in thestate of wedowhede, and had but
a doughter, whiche was wedded to a grete lord. She
thenne became seke, and laye in her dedely bedde,
and made the cheste where as her tresoure was in to be sealed,
and the keye to be brought vnto her, whiche she put in a lynen
clothe vnder her bak. The dethe ranne fast vpon her, and she
whiche had euer thoujt to her tresour, lyfte vp her hand, makynge
signe or token that none shold approche ne come to her back.
And thus she dyd styll, tylle that she deyde and rendryd her
sowle oute of her body. Thenne came the doughter, whiche was
a grete lady, and demaunded of them that were at her deth yf she
had ony tresour. They ansuerd that they knewe of none, but
thought that she had some, and that yf she had ony it was hyd
somwher aboute her bedde. They told to her the maner of her
moder, and how she wold not suff re that ony body shold come by
her, and also how she maade a cheste to be sealed, and the keye of
hit brought to her, whiche keye she kepte euer vnder her back.
The corps was meued and tourned, and the keye found. And
thenne her doughter wente in to a Towre, where as the Chyste
was, and opened hit, wherin she fond as wel in coyne as in plate
more than thyrtty (thousand pound, but the gold was found in
cloutis and ballys of threde and of wulle, and in other thynges,
wherof alle they that knewe and sawe the maner of it were
merueylled and abasshed. The doughter thenne made a Crosse,
and sayd that in good feythe she held her not so ryche by the
xxv parte as she was, wherfore she merueylled moche and was
sore abasshed. And yet she sayd how of late she and her lord
also cam to her, and prayd her to helpe and lene to them some of
her good tyll a certayne tyme that they shold rendre it and paye
it her ageyne, and that she sware & made grete othes to them
mat she had no money, ne no syluer but suche plate as they
sawe abrode, that was, a coup and a pyece only. And therfore
was she moche merueylled to fynd there so grete a tresour.
Thenne sayd the folke whiche were with her, "Madame, be
not ye merueylled, for we ben therof more merueylled than yow,
for yf she wold send on a message, or els as she had som other
thyng to do, she borowed some money of oure seruauntes, & sayd
that she had no money, by her feythe." The doughter tooke alle
this good with her, and went her waye toward her lord, to whome
she was welcome. And of all this tresour was neuer gyuen a
halfpeny for the sowle of theyr moder, but soone they forgate
her. For it is not yet longe tyme gone that I was where as she
was buryed, and demaunded and asked of the Monkes of the
Abbeye where she lay, and why she had no tombe on her, or
some token of her. And they ansuerd to me that syn she was
entered there, no masse, ne no seruyse at all, ne none other good,
ther had be done for her. By this ensample may ye knowe how
the deuylle is subtyll to tempte the folke of the synne where he
seeth them most entatched, & soo fast he holdeth them in it that
they maye not leue it withoute to be therof Cofessyd, and maketh
them his seruauntes, as he dyd the forsayd lady. For he dyd soo
moche that she was subgette and seruaunt to her gold, in suche
wyse that she durst not take of hit to doo her ony good. And
therfore, my fayre doughters, here is a good ensample, that yf it
befelle that god of his grace sende yow ony grete good, that ye
departe largely of hit to the poure folke, in the worship of god
and for the loue of hym, and specially to youre poure parentes
and neyghbours, and leue it not to be departed by the handes of
your heyres, as dyde this lady, for whome after her dethe was
neuer masse ne none other good done for her, as ye haue herd to fore.
THEXAMPLE OF A GOOD WYDOWE.
[NOTHER Ensample I wylle telle yow, contrary to
this. It is of a good lady, whiche longe tyme was
in wydowhede. She was of a holy lyf, and moche
humble & honourable, as she whiche euery yere
kepte and held a Feste vpon Crystemasse day of
her neyghbours bothe ferre and nere, tyll her halle was ful of
them. She serued and honoured eche one after his degree, and
specially she bare grete reuerence to the good and trewe wymmen,
and to them whiche had deseruyd to be worshipped. Also she
was of suche customme, that yf she knewe ony poure gentyll
woman that shold be wedded, she arayed her with her Iewels.
Also she wente to the obsequye of the poure gentyll wymmen,
and gaf there torches and all suche other lumynary as it neded
therto. Her dayly ordenaunce was that she rose erly ynough,
and had euer Freres and two or thre chappellaynes whiche sayd
matyns before her within her oratorye. And after she herd a
hyhe masse and two lowe, and sayd her seruyse full deuoutely.
And after this she wente and arayed her self and walked in her
gardyn or els aboute her place, sayenge her other deuocions &
prayers. And as tyme was she wente to dyner, and after dyner,
yf she wyste and knewe ony seke folke, or wymmen in theyr
childbedde, she wente to see and vysyted them, and made to be
broujt to them of her best mete. And there as she myjt not go
her self, she had a seruaunt propyce therfore, whiche rode vpon
a lytell hors, and bare with hym grete plente of good mete and
drynke for to gyue to the poure and seke folke there as they were.
And after she had herd euensonge, she wente to her souper, yf
she fasted not, and tymely she wente to bedde, and made her
styward to come to her to wete what mete sholde be had the next
daye, and lyued by good ordenaunce, and wold be purueyed
byfore of alle suche thynge that was nede full for her houshold.
She made grete abstynence, and wered the hayre vpon the wednes'
day and vpon thef ryday* And hou I knowe this I shalle telle it to yow.
This good lady dyed in a Manoyr whiche she held in dowaye, the
whiche was apperteynynge to my lord my fader, and I and my
susters, whiche were but yonge of age, cam to duelle there* And
the bedde wheron this good lady deyd was broken in pyeces, &
vnder the strawe was founde a hayr, whiche a damoysell toke,
and sayd to vs that it was the hayr of her lady, and that she
wered it two or thre dayes in the weke, and also told and re'
herced to vs her good condycions and her good lyf, and how she
Rose euery nyght thre tymes, and kneled doune to the ground by
her bedde, and rendryd thankynges to god, and prayd for al
Crysten sowles, and how she dyd grete almes to the poures.
This good lady, that wel is worthy to be named and preysed, had
to name, My lady Cecyle of balleuylle. And yet I haue herd
saye that her broder myghte spende yerely xviii m pound, but
notwithstondynge that, she was the most humble and the most
good and curtoys lady that euer I knewe or wyste in ony countrey,
and that lasse was enuyous, and neuer she wold here say ony
euyll of no body, but excused them & prayd to god that they
myjt amende them, and that none was that knewe what to hym
shold happe. And thus she blamed them that spake euylle of
other folk, and maade them abasshed of that she repreued them
so as she dyd* And thus oughte to doo euery good woman and
euery good man at thexample of this good lady* And knowe ye
that hit is a noble vertu not to be enuyous, and not to be Ioyeful
of the dommage or scathe of other. And for certayn this good
lady sayd, that they whiche auaunced them of the euylle and
dommage of other, and that mocked theyr neyghbours and
other, and that god shold punysshe them or some of theyr nyghe
frendes and parentes, wherof came to them grete shame. And
that haue I sene ofte befalle, as the good lady sayd, for none
oughte not to luge ne reproche the dammage or euylle of other.
Many suche fayre and prouffytable talkyng of this good lady
in my memorye, notwithstondyng thelj yong Jage whiche I was
of whanne she deyde, for I was not aboue ten yere old* She had
a ryghte noble ende, and as I wene, ryghte agreable to god. And
as men say communely, of honest and good lyf cometh euer a
THE THRE ENSEYGNEMENTES OR LERNYNGES
WHICHE CATHON GAF TO HIS SONE.
NOTHER ensample j will telle yow of the wyse
Cathon, by whos wysedome was all the Cyte of
Rome gouerned* He made & wrote many fayr
auctorytees, the whiche yet as now make grete
memore of hym. This Cathon had a sone, and
as he was in the bedde of his deth, he callyd his sone to hym,
the whiche had to name Cathonet, and sayd to hym, "Fayre
sone, I haue longe lyued in this world, whiche is moche hard to
knowe, and moche merueyllous, and alwey shall wexe wors, as I
trowe. Wherfore I wold and desyre moche that your gouernement
and maner of lyuynge shold be good to the worship of yow and
of all your frendes* I haue take therfore to yow by wrytynge
many enseygnementes, the whiche shalle prouffyte to you her'
after, yf ye therto wylle sette your herte and haue them in youre
memorye* Neuertheles I haue bethought in my self to telle and
gyue yow other thre er j deye, wherfore I praye yow that euer ye
wyll haue them in your memorye.
THE FYRSTE ENSEYGNEMENT.
HE fyrst enseygnement of the thre is this : that ye
take none offyce of your souerayne lord, yf so be
that ye haue good ynough & good suffysaunte after
as your estate oughte to haue, and nomore ye ought
to aske of God. And therfore ye ought not put
your self in subiection to lose your good by somme euyll word
or by somme euyll reporte. For certaynly, my fayr sone, there
be lordes of dyuerse condycions and maners. Somme ben hasty,
and that lyghtely bileue, and somme haue other maners of
condycion. And therfore men oughte to haue suffysaunce, and
be doubtynge to put hym self, his estate* and worship, in parylle,
and in the daunger of folke whiche ben lyght of wylle. The
second enseygnement is, that ye respyte no man that hath deseruyd
to deye, & specially yf he be custommed to doo euylle. For yf
ye soo dyde, ye shold be participant in al the euylle that he after'
ward shold doo, as ryght were.
THE THKE ENSEYGNEMENTES OR LARNYNGES WHICH
CATHON GAF TO HIS SONE
THE THYRD ENSEYGNEMENT.
HE thyrd Enseygnement is, that ye preue and
essaye your wyf to wete and knowe yf she shalle
kepe secretely your counceylle, whiche parauenture
myght be cause of your dethe. For there ben
somme whiche ben moche wyse, and that can wel
kepe secretely what that someuer men sayen to them, and the
whiche also gyue good counceylle and aduysement. And somme
ben that can neuer kepe theyr tongue, but telle alle that is sayd
to them, as well ageynste them as for them/* And thus the wyse
Cathon gaf this thre enseygnementes to his sone, as he laye
seke at the poynt of his dethe. This trewe and wyse man
Cathon deyde, and his sone abode on lyue, whiche was hold sage
and wyse, in so moche that themperour of Rome toke hym his
sone for to endoctryne and teche hym. And afterward he maade
some lorc!es to speke to hym for to withold hym to gouerne and
sette in good rewle the grete fayttes and materes of Rome, and
promysed hym to baue therby grete auaylles and prouffytees,
wherfor and by the couetyse of these prouffytees he consented to
take thoffyce, and toke on hym the charge of it, and forgate
thenseygnement and techynge of his fader. And after, whan
he was stablysshed and receyued in his offyce, he rode on a daye
thorugh the hyghe strete with grete companye of folke whiche
folowed hym. He sawe a theef whiche men conueyed to the
galhows for to be hanged, whiche was moche yonge. Thenne
sayd one to Cathon, whiche stood by hym, " Syre, by cause
of the nouellyte of your offyce, ye may wel respyte and kepe
this man fro dethe." And he withoute enquest by hym made
of the caas why he was juged to receyue dethe, made hym to be
vnbound, and by cause of the nouellyte of his offyce he kepte
the theef fro dethe. He was to hasty, for at that tyme he thoujt
not on the commaundement that his fader had made vnto hym.
HOW CATHON, AFTER HE HAD DONE AGEYNST
THE TWO COMMAUNDEMENTS, ESSAYED THE
THYRD ON HIS WYF.
S the nyght was come, and that Cathon had slept
his fyrst slepe, he had many vysyons vpon this
matere, in so moche that he remembryd how he had
broken and done ageynst two of the commaunde'
mentes of his fader. And seynge this, he thought
that he wold not breke ne do ageynst the thyrd, wherfore he
wente to his wyf and sayd thus to her : " My good frende and
my wyf, I wold telle yow a grete counceylle whiche touched my
persone, and myghte be the cause of my dethe, yf I wyst that ye
shold kepe it secretely." ** Ha a, my lord!" sayd she, "on my
feythe I hadde leuer be dede than to discouere to ony body youre
counceylle/' " Ha a, my frend ! thenne shalle ye knowe hit,"
sayd he* " Trouth it is that themperour toke to me his sone, as
ye wel knowe, for to lerne and teche hym, but certaynly hit is
not longe tyme gone, for somme wordes whiche he sayd to me,
that I as a dronken man, and as he that was wrothe of other
thynge, hastely toke the Child and slewe hym ; and more I dyd,
for I tooke and arrached oute of his bely his herte, the whiche I
made to be confyte in sugre and other spyces, and sente it to
themperour his fader, and to his moder, and they ete hit. And
thus I auenged me of hym, but I knowe wel now that it is an
euyll and abhomynable dede done, wherof I me repente, but it is
to late. Therfore, my good Frend and my wyf, I praye yow as
affectuelly as I can, that ye kepe this counceyll secrete withyn
your herte as I trust me to yow." But the morowe after she
beganne to wepe and maake grete sorowe, and a woman whiche
was with her demaunded of her, " Madame, what haue ye that
ye make suchc sorowe ? Haue ye ony heuynesse wythin your
herte?" "Veryly," sayd she thenne, "ye, my Frend, and that
a grete, but rather I shold deye er it shold be knowen.'* " Ha a
madame ! She were wel oute of her wytte that shold telle and
dyscouere suche a counceylle yf ye had sayd hit, and as for me
rather I shold lete me drawe than I shold telle it ageyn." *' Ye/*
sayd the wyf of Cathonet, '* maye I truste in yow ? ** " Ye, by
feyth," saith the other woman. She tooke her feythe and her
othe, and thenne to her she told and discouered her secrete, how
her lord had slayne themperour's sone, and his herte confyted in
spyces had sente to themperour his fader and to his moder & how
they had ete of hit. This woman maade a Crosse as she were
sore merueylled, and sayd that she shold kepe hit secretely. But
certaynly her taryenge there, after that she knewe hit, thought
her longe for to haue go and telle it to other. For as soone as
she was departed fro Cathon's hows, she wente forthwith where
themperour's wyf was, and came and kneled before her and sayd,
** Madame, to your good grace j wyll speke secretely of a grete
counceylle.'* And thenne themperesse commaunded her ladyes
to go a parte, and the sayd woman beganne thus to speke:
** Madame, the grete loue whiche I bere vnto yow, and for the
grete good that ye haue done to me, and as I truste that ye yet
wylle doo, maketh me to come hyder for to telle yow a grete
counceylle, the whiche I wold not telle but to youre persone, for I
myght not suffre ne see your dishonour for none erthely good.
Madame, it is so that ye loue and haue dere Cathonet more than
ony other, as it appyereth wel. For ye haue made hym gouernour
of the Cyte of Rome, and ye shewed hym gretter loue whanne
ye gaf to hym the kepynge of your sone, to whome he hath hold
such felauship that he hath slayne hym, and hath take his
hert out of his bely, and wel dressyd and confyted in sugre and
spyces, and hath made yow to ete it.*' " What saye ye ? ** sayd
themperour*s wyf. ** Madame," sayd she, " j telle yow trewe for
certayn, for I knowe this by the mouthe of Cathonet's wyf,
whiche sorowful and wepynge told it to me in grete counceylle."
And whanne themperesse herd her so speke, she with a hyghe
voys beganne to crye, and made suche a sorowe that it was pyte
to see, in soo moche that the tydynges came to themperour, how
the Emperesse made so grete sorowe. Themperour was sore
abasshed, and came there as themperesse was, and demaunded of
her why she maade suche sorowe. And she with hyghe pleynt
ansuerd and reherced to hym al that the damoysell had told her
of theyr sone. And whan themperour wyst that they had eten
the herte of theyr child, he bicame ryght angre and sorowfull,
and commaunded that Cathonet shold forthwith be take and
hanged in the myddes of Rome, there as the f olke myght loke on
hym as vpon a fals murderer and traytour. His Sergeaunts wente
and toke hym anone, and told hym the commaundement of them'
perour, and that it was for his sone whiche he had slayne.
Cathonet thenne sayd to them, ** It is no nede that al that mensayn
be trouthe. Ye shalle put me in pryson, and shalle saye that it is
to late to make ony execucion of Iustyse, and that to morowe I
shalle be hanged before the peple." The Sergeaunts loued hym
moche, and soo dyd alle manere of folke. They dyd as he badde
them to doo, and thenne wente and sayd to the Emperoure and
themperesse that hit were for the beste to make Iustyse of hym
on the morowe nexte comynge, and that hit was to late, and how
more people shold thenne be gadered and assembled for to see
hym. And the Emperour, whiche made grete sorowe for his
sone, graunted hit. And not withstondynge this, in the meane
whyle that Cathonet was conueyed to pryson, he callyd to hym
a Squyer of his, and seyd to hym, " Goo to suche a knyght, that
kepeth themperour' s sone, and telle hym how the Emperour weneth
that I haue put hym to dethe, and that he faylle not to be here to
morowe with hym before the houre of pryme, or els I shalle be in
grete perylle to receyue a shameful dethe.'* This Squyer departed,
and soo faste rode and waloped that that nyght he came, aboute one
of the cloke after mydnyght, there as Cathonet hadde take to kepe
the sone of the Emperoure as to his trewe and good Frende
whiche was a trewe man, and moch wyse, and merueyllously
they loued eche other. The Squyr beganne to calle wyth an
hyghe voys, and dyd soo moche that he came to fore the bedde
there as the trewe and noble Baron laye, and told hym how
somme had done byleue to the Emperour that Cathonet hadde
slayne his sone, and how hit was ordeyned that he shold be on
that next morowe hanged. And as the Baron herd this, he was
sore abasshed, & moche merueylled of this auenture, & forth'
with he rose oute of his bedde, and made his men to be redy, and
came to the bedde where the sone of themperour laye, and told
to hym the merueyll. And whanne the child vnderstood it he
had grete sorowe in his herte, for ouermoche he loued Cathonet
his maystre. Here I leue to speke of the Baron and of themperour's
sone, and tourne ageyne to speke of Cathonet whiche was in
2 a 189
HOW THEY WOLD HANGE CATHONET.
[ATHONET was merueyllously loued in Rome of
al maner of folke, as he that was wyse, humble,
trewe, and curtoys. And whan the morow was
come he sayd to one his grete frend, that at all
auenture he shold make the hangmen of the towne
to hyde them self secretely somwher tyll it were about the houre
of tierce. And he dyd as he had prayd hym to doo. Cathonet
thenne, aboute the houre of pryme, was conueyed to the galhows
of alle the peple of Rome, whiche made grete sorowe for hym.
And yet gretter sorowe had they made, but they wened veryly
that he had done the dede of whiche he was accused, wherof they
had grete merueylle, and sayd emonge them, '* How may suche
a wyse man haue be so sore tempted of the deuylle that he hath
slayne themperour's sone ? How may this be ? ** Of this faytte
was grete talkynge amonge them. Somme byleued hit, and
somme sayd it was not so. Neuertheles he was had to the
galhows, and was asked after the hang man, but he coude not
be found there, wherof hit befelle a grete merueylle, for he
whiche Cathonet had respyted & saued fro dethe, as men led
hym to be hanged, came forthe & sayd, ** Lordes, the dede is
fowle, dishonest, and vylaynous, and for the loue of themperour
I offre my self to doo thoffyce, yf there be none other that
wylle doo hit." Euery man loked thenne on hym & sayd,
" Is not that he to whome Cathonet graunted his lyf, whanne
he was newe putte in thoffyce of gouernour?" " Certaynly,"
sayd the other, "hit is he & none other, withoute fawte."
Wherfore in token and signe of a grete merueyll they blessyd
them with theyr handes, sayeng, ** He is wel a foole that saueth
and respyteth ony theef fro the galhows." Cathon thenne
loked on hym and sayd, "Thou arte wel passyng redy. Remem-
bryst not thow the tyme passed ? But thus gone the merueylles
of the world." And as soone as he had sayd these wordes,
there was a grete nombre of men al on horsback, whiche
made grete clamour and cryed, M Put not to dethe the trewe man
HOW THEMPEROUR'S SONE CAME TO SAUE
HIS MAYSTER GATHONET AND OF HIS ESCAPE.
; ND whan the people perceyued and sawe the horses
rennynge toward them, and sawe anone the sone of
themperour, whiche cryed, " Touche not, neyther
ley hand on my mayster's body, for j am alyue,"
they were gretely merueylled. The child anone
lyght of his hors and wente and vnbonde his mayster, & sore
wepyng kyssed hym ful tendirly & said, ** Ha a, my swete frend
& maister ! Who hath this purchaced & so grete a lesyng foiide
& contryued vpon you, the which my lord my fader hath so
lyghtely byleued ? ** And thenne he embraced & kyssed hym
ageyne, & al the people, whiche was gretely merueylled, as they
sawe the pyte & good nature of the child, thaked & mercyed
god with al theyr hertes of the delyuerauce of Cathonet. The
child made his mayster to be sette on horsbak, & ledde hym
thurgh the stretes of Rome by the raynes of his brydell tyll they
came in to the palais where themperour his fader was. And
whanne themperour and his wyf knewe for certayne the
comynge of theyr sone, they wente and met hym with grete
Ioye, and as they sawe hym ledynge his mayster Cathonet
by the raynes they were gretely merueylled, & held them
ashamed and vergoynous toward Cathonet, and cam to
hym, and eche of them kyssed hym, and made to hym
the grettest ioye and chere and the grettest honoure that
they couthe, and excused them toward hym of this dede.
Thenne sayd the child to his fader themperour, " Ha,
my lord! Wylle ye vse of so hasty Iustyce withoute
makynge of none enqueste vpon the dede or faytte ? For a man
of so hyghe estate as ye be shold & ou?t to be more blamed
therforethan another of lower degre or estate, for hadde ye maade
hym to be dampned and destroyed withoute cause, it had be grete
pyte and grete dommage. And certaynly neuer after I shold haue
had Ioye in my herte, for yf I can ony good, it cometh of hym."
Themperour ansuerd, " Fayr sone, hit was euylle done of vs, and
in this we haue gretely offended and gete shame, but the loue
that we haue in the, and the trust that we haue in thyn preferre'
ment, toke reason fro vs, and bestourned our wytte." Thenne
spake Cathonet and sayd to themperour, " Syre, merueylle yow
not of this thynge. I shalle now telle vnto yow why al this was
sayd. My fader, whiche in his tyme was a ryght wyse man and
a trewe, and borne in this land, shewed to me many good
enseygnementes, yf I had be so wyse to haue had them euer stylle
in memorye. And yet as he was seke in his bedde, and nyghe
at his last ende, he callyd me to hym, as he whiche moche desyred
that I myght lerne and knowe som good, and prayd me that I
wold wel kepe in my memorye thre enseygnements emonge al
other that he before that hadde taught to me, the whiche I wylle
now recorde and declare them, to thende that they may be
ensample in tyme to come to euery man, as to hym to whome
they haue happed and that done the contrarye.
HOW CATHONET TOLD THEMPEROUR OF THE
LORE OF HIS FADER, AND OF HIS ESCAPE.
HE fyrst enseygnement that he taught me was
thys: that if euer god gaf me chaunce and good
ynough, that I shold thanke hym moche of hit,
and haue in me suffysaunce, and not coueyte ne
aske more of god. And by cause I shold haue
suffysaunce, he commaunded and charged me that neuer I shold
put my self in subiection of none offyce vnde my souerayne
lord, for yf I dyd so by couetyse of more good, somme enuyous,
by somme fals repporte, shold make me to lese my good and my
self also; and that hit was a peryllous thynge to serue ony
prynce or grete lord of lyght and hasty wylle, for many one ther
ben whiche enquereth them not yf the repporte to them made is
trewe or not, wherfor the commaundements of suche hasty lordes
ben straunge and peryllous, as ye now haue sene how this
ensample is to me, whiche al most hath be shamefulle & greuable.
And yf I had byleued the counceyll of my fader, I had neuer
falle in suche perylle. For thanked be god, I had of erthely
goodes ynough, and more than I haue deseruyd to god, and
myght wel haue deported my self of takynge of thoffyce. The
second enseygnement was, that I neuer shold respyte ne saue to
no man his lyf, whiche had deserued to deye, and in especiall a
theef or an homycyde, whiche were custommed to theftes and
murdre of folke ; and that yf j dyd, I shold euer be partener of
alle suche euylle dedes that they myght doo afterward. And
this commaundement I haue enfrayned and broken, for this daye
haue I sene hym whiche I haue respyted hym fro the shamefulle
dethe, that offred and presented hym self for to be the hangman
of my body. Lytell reward he offred to me. The thyrd enseygne-
ment was, that I shold essaye my wyf or euer I shold discouere
to her ony grete counceylle, for therin is to grete paryll. Neuer'
theles ther ben some that can wel kepe seer etely what men saye
to them, and in the whiche men fynd good counceylle and
comforte, and other also whiche that can no thynge kepe in
secrete* And thenne as I me bethought how I had broken and
done ageynst the ii enseygnementes of my fader, I thought and
sayd in my self that I shold preue and essaye the thyrd. Wher-
fore that other daye as I was a bedde wyth my wyf, I awaked
her, and for to essaye her wylle, I sayd to her that I had slayne
the sone of themperour, and that his herte confyted in spyeces I
had made themperour and his wyf to ete hit, and that for the loue
of whiche she loued me she shold kepe this in secrete soo that
none myght neuer knowe no thynge of hit. Now haue I proued
and essayed how she hath kepte secretely my counceylle, as euery
one maye now see and knowe* But I gyue me not to grete
merueylle therof, for hit is not of newe how that a woman can
not kepe secretely that whiche men sayen to her in counceylle.
HOW CATHQ'NET EXPOSED HIS AUENTURE
OW haue ye herd how it is happed to me by cause
j dyd not byleue the counceylle of my Fader, whiche
was so trewe and wyse a man. To me therfore is
come almost a grete euylle." And notwithstond'
ynge thus sayd Cathonet to themperour, ** Syre, I
rendre and discharge me of your offyce, and from hensforth I
shalle not be enpeched of hit." And he therof was discharged
with grete payne. Neuertheles he wasjreteyned for to be mayster
of the grete counceill of Rome, and in especiall of the grete
fayttes and dedes. And themperour made hym to haue grete
prouffitees, and gaf hym grete yeftes, and loued hym aboue al
other, and regned moche holyly in the loue of god and of the
peple. And therfore, my fayre doughters, this is here a good
ensample how ye ought to kepe the counceyll of your lord, and
not telle it to no body what someuer it be, for ofte comen therof
many euyls ; and for to be secrete, and specially in suche thyng
that is deffended, may not come sauf only good. And in lyke
wyse as the shafte is departed fro the bowe must take her flyght
and cours, and neuer cometh ageyne to the bowe tyll it haue smyte
somme thynge, soo is the word whiche yssued oute of the mouthe
lyke it, for after that he is put out of the mouth it may neuer be
put in to the mouthe ageyne, but that it shal be herd, be it good
or euylle. Wherfor we ought wel to haue in our memorye the
sayenges and auctorytees of the wyse Salamon, whiche sayth that
men must thynke on the wordes twyes or thryes or they be putt
oute of the mouthe. And thus ought to doo al wyse folke, for
ouer many grete euyls haue ben done and engendered for to haue
discouered the counceyll and suche thynges as haue ben sayd
there in counceylle. Therfore I pray yow, fayre doughters, that
ye wylle haue this ensample in your memory and neuer forgete
it. For all good and worship may therof come to yow, and hit is
a vertue the whiche escheweth grete hate and grete enuye, and
many euyls also. For many one I knowe whiche haue loste
moche of theyr goodes & suffred many grete euyls for to haue
spoke to lyghtely of other, and for to haue reported suche wordes
as they herd saye, of the whiche they had nought to doo at al.
For none soo wyse is that may knowe what to hym is to come,
and full of naturel wytte be they whiche kepe them self fro
recordynge of ony wordes. For he whiche wythsayeth them
that blameth other, as wel in ryght as in wronge, he doth but
wel ; and for to hold and kepe secretely the dommage and euylle
of other may come but good, as hit is reherced in the booke of my
two sonnes, and also in an Euangely.
Here fynysshed the booke whiche the knyght of the Toure
made to the enseygnement and techyng of his doughters, trans-
lated oute of Frenssh in to our maternall Englysshe tongue by
me, William Caxton, whiche book was ended & fynysshed the
fyrst day of Iuyn, the yere of oure lord mcccclxxxiii, And
enprynted at westmynstre the last day of Ianyuer the fyrst yere
of the regne of kynge Rychard the thyrd.
2 b 197
tHE BOOKE WHICHE THE KNYGHT OF
THE TOURE MADE TO THE ENSEYGNE-
MENT & TECHING OF HIS DOUGHTERS.
This was the title given by the English printer
Caxton to his translation of a French book
which was written in 1371-2 by the Chevalier Geoffroy de
La Tour Landry, for the double purpose of teaching his
little daughters to read, and of instructing them in the
manners and virtues proper to gentlewomen. This book
contained 149 chapters, made up of stories and moral
examples drawn from various sources, such as chronicles,
legendary history, and the Bible, as well as from contem-
porary gossip and the author's own experiences.
To judge by the number of French MS. copies extant,
this work became a great favourite in its own country, but
only two English versions are known ; one, in MS., by an
anonymous translator, temp. Henry VI, and one by "William
Caxton, published at his press at "Westminster in 1484. The
latter was the first printed edition of the Knight's book, as
in France it did not attain to type till 1514, although a
German edition was produced in 1493.
The earlier English version, which is preferred to
Carton's for its superior literary merit, was edited in 1868
by Mr. T. "Wright, F.S.A., for the Early English Text Society.
The MS. being imperfect, the editor supplied the missing
passages with extracts from Caxton's rendering. "With this
trifling exception, if exception it can be considered, Caxton's
KNIGHT OF THE TOWER, as it is usually called, has
never been reproduced, and therefore the following selec-
tions, comprising a little more than half of the whole book,
will be new to the great majority of readers, since the
extreme rarity of the Caxton original renders it practically
inaccessible to all but a very few. The present reprint is
from one of the two copies in the British Museum.
The Knight's prologue sets forth how he came to
compose the book for the instruction of his little girls, and
now he employed " two preestes and two clerkes that he
hadde " to collect the materials. He began to write in
rhyme, but abandoned rhyme for prose almost immediately.
Caxton's translation came into being at the desire of an
English matron, whose name is not recorded, who so highly
approved of the book that she wished her daughters to
have the benefit of a version in their own language, and
requested Caxton to furnish it. Caxton himself endorses
this lady's good opinion of the work in the warmest terms,
and " f o as moche as this book is necessary to euery gentil-
woman, of what estate she be," he advises " euery gentil-
man or woman, hauyng such children, desyryng them to be
vertuously broujt forth, to gete and haue this book, to
thende that they may lerne hou they oujt to gouerne them
vertuously in this present lyf , by whiche they may the better
and hastlyer come to worship and good renommee."
It may be assumed that the English MS. copy already
extant was unknown to Caxton, as to the lady, or he would
probably not have set himself the unnecessary task of
making a new one, especially as he is obliged to apologise
for his unskilfulness in the French language. Moreover,
despite the number of translations he made, he was not
over-skilled in English either, as he acknowledges in his
prologue to another book, where he speaks of the " symple-
nes & vnperfightness that I had ... in frenshe and in
englissh, for in france was I neuer, and was born & lerned
myn englissh in kente in the weeld, where I doubte not is
spoken as brode and rude englissh as is in ony place of
englond." It will be noticed, in these pages, that Caxton's
sentences sometimes halt, or are dislocated by a mis-
reading, or perhaps by a too faithful following of a faulty
original, while easily-recognised French words frequently
occur and testify to the provenance of the book, just as the
source of his REYNARD THE FOX stands revealed by
the Dutch and Low German forms which he often transfers
without translating. No attempt to correct Caxton's text
has been made here, except in the case of the most obvious
The chapters are not all of the same quality, but many
will be found highly quaint and amusing, while the
language in which they are clothed, though not archaic
enough to embarrass the modern reader, is sufficiently old-
fashioned to lend them additional colour. They give many
little peeps into the domestic life of the later middle ages,
and glimpses of its simplicity, its piety, its superstition, its
virtues, and its vices. The feminine iconoclast of to-day
will note that the Knight of the Tower takes for granted,
without stooping to argument, the superiority of spear over
spindle, and gather that then, as now, the sexes consisted of
the fair and the unfair, though she will also observe that in
a few follies and weaknesses not yet quite obsolete, such as
an extravagant love of finery, or the inability to keep a secret,
some old-fashioned women still resemble their mediaeval
ancestresses. Of the Knight's actual ideas as to the position
of women, however, we could judge more justly after a
perusal of the book which he made for his sons, but unfor-
tunately this has not survived. It is possible that he over-
coloured such parts of his pictures as he wished to impress
most forcibly on the minds of his sons and daughters
respectively, and the sons' book may have leaned in the
opposite direction. But more probably it did not.
The ethical standard of the book frequently falls some-
what low, inasmuch as it makes expediency and the hope of
material reward to loom very large on the moral horizon.
On the whole, it is uncertain that readers of to-day will
share the high opinion of this work which was held by
Caxton and the English matron ; but whether or no, they will
find, after sifting its precepts, stated and implied, a large
residue which will remain good and wholesome to all
time, notwithstanding that they come to us from another
country and another age. Perhaps the only salient point
in which the literature that the Knight of the Tower thought
fit for his daughters differs from that which would be set
before young gentlewomen of to-day, lies in its outspoken-
ness, which sometimes amounts, according to modern
notions, to obscenity. But this will be seen to be a
difference in manner rather than in essence ; it was
characteristic of the period ; and though to us it appears
a strange feature in a book intended for young women,
it is one of which mediaeval readers would be perfectly
As has been stated above, the present volume reproduces
slightly more than half of Caxton's version of the Knight's
book, and while omitting the coarser and the more tedious
chapters, comprises all which is best adapted to reproduc-
tion in a popular form. Each chapter included is given
verbatim, without any omissions, the spelling is faithfully
reproduced, and only the punctuation, which in the original
is very haphazard, has been revised. The glossary has
been made as full as possible, though in consulting it allow-
ance should be made for the variability of Caxton's spelling.
The use of u for v, the occasional substitution of % for gh
(as myjf for myght), and here and there the elision of a
consonant as indicated by a line over the preceding vowel
(as traslate for translate), are peculiarities which need only
Caxton's KNIGHT OF THE TOWER had no pictures,
and the present is the first illustrated English edition of this
quaint and little-known book.
GERTRUDE BURFORD RAWLINGS.
A : one.
Abasshed : astonished, cast down, crestfallen.
Accesse : fever.
Accorded : agreed.
Acustommaunce : habit, custom.
Acompte : account ; relate.
Acquere : acquire.
Adaunte : subdue.
Admerueyled : astonished.
Aduenture : chance, peril, jeopardy.
Aduertyse : admonish, advise.
Aduys : opinion, judgment ; consider.
Aduysement : advice.
Aduysion : dream, vision.
Aferd : afraid.
Affayted : bedecked.
Affeblysshed : enfeebled.
Affectuelly : affectionately.
Afferme : to confirm.
After : according as, according to.
Agast : terrified.
Aker : acre, field.
Al : although.
Al be : though.
Almesse : alms.
Amodere : moderate, restrain.
Amolysshyth : softens.
Amorettes : lady-loves.
Ancylle : handmaid.
And : if.
Anon : immediately.
Aourned : adorned.
Aperte : bold, pert.
Apertely : openly, manifestly.
Apperceive : perceive.
Approued : proved.
Araye : order, dress, situation.
Arayed : dressed, prepared, arrayed.
Araysoned : reasoned with, took to task.
Ar : before.
Arede : guess.
Aresonned : see araysoned.
Armed : harmed.
Arn : are.
Arrettid : charged.
Arrached : tore out.
As : when.
Aspyed : spied.
Assautes : assaults.
Astate : estate, condition.
At : to.
Atours : attire, ornaments.
Attemperate : temperate.
Attempreth : tempers.
Attempryd : calmed down.
Attorued : attired, decked.
Auaunced : advanced.
Auauntage : advantage.
Auaylles : emoluments.
Auctor : : author.
Auctorite : authority,
Auctorytee : authoritative writing.
Auncetours : ancestors.
Auncyent : ancient.
Awaked : watched.
Ayenst : against.
Balaunces : jeopardy.
Ballys : balls.
Beholding : regard.
Beholdynge : beholden.
Ben : be, been.
Bere me on hond, ye myght : ye might assert, maintain.
Besene : clad, adorned.
Bestourned : overthrew.
Besy : busy.
Beyng : condition.
Bienfaytte : benefit, benefaction.
Blandysshynge : flattering.
Blanked : whitened.
Bobaunce : luxury, pomp.
Bounte : goodness, virtue.
Bourde : jest, mock ; a jest, mockery.
Bourdour : mocker.
Breed : bread.
Breke : to break.
Brenne : burn.
Brent : burnt.
Broder : brother.
Bronde, brounde : brand.
Broudred : embroidered.
Burell : a coarse woollen cloth.
Buscage : woods.
Byhauen : behave.
Caas : case.
Calabre : fur, perhaps of a kind of squirrel.
Carayn, careyn : carrion, flesh, body.
Cele : conceal.
Chaas : choose.
Chamberere : handmaid.
Champ : field.
Chartres : prisons.
Chauffe : excite, inflame.
Chaytyf : miserable, wretched.
Chere : hospitality, entertainment, appearance, behaviour.
Chese : choose.
Cheuaunce : goods, possessions.
Chide : wrangle, brawl.
Chidars : wranglers, brawlers.
Chorle : churl.
Chorlysshe : churlish.
Christen : Christian.
Clamour : outcry.
Clerenes : glory.
Clergy e : knowledge, learning
Clerk : scholar.
Clout : a cloth.
Clowes : claws.
Cok : cock.
Cole : coal
Compassid : formed.
Complaire : humour, please.
Comune : common people, commonalty.
Conbusced : burnt.
Condicion : disposition, characteristic.
Confyte, confyted : made into a sweetmeat.
Cone : know, can.
Conne : are able to do.
Conne her thanke : acknowledge thanks due to her.
Connyng : knowledge, power ; knowing, having knowledge.
Contenaunce : see Countenance.
Contrary : harmful.
Contrefaytted : disguised.
Conuertysed : converted, turned.
Coot hardye : a close fitting dress with sleeves, for man or woman.
Copspyn : spider.
Couenable : convenient, proper, desirable.
Couetyse : covetousness.
Coulpe, culpe : fault, blame.
Counceylle : secret.
Counterfeted : disguised.
Countenance : behaviour, mien, deportment.
Countrefayts : disguises.
Countrefeture, coutrefaiture : transformation.
Coupe : cup.
Courage : temper, spirits, passion.
Coursettys : a laced bodice worn as an outer garment.
Couth : knew, could.
Coynt : fine, gay.
Coynted : made fine.
Coyntyses : finery.
Crucifixed : crucified.
Crucyfyxe : the image of Christ on the Cross.
Cruel : sharp.
Culewed : coloured.
Cure : care.
Curtois : courteous.
Curtoisly : courteously.
Curtosye : courtesy.
Curyous : careful, attentive.
Custumably : customarily.
Dammage : hurt, damage.
Damoyselle : damsel.
Dampnen : condemn.
Debate : strife.
Debonaire : gentle, gracious.
Deceyuable : deceitful.
Deceyued : led or beguiled into sin.
Dede : did.
Deduyte : pleasure.
Deed : dead.
Defaute, defaulte : defect, shortcoming.
Defended : deffended, forbade, forbidden.
Deffaited : disfigured.
Defouled : defiled.
Delicates : delicacies.
Demaunded : questioned.
Demened : behaved.
Demenynge : showing by his mien.
Demonstraunce : demonstration.
Departe : separate, divide, distribute.
Deported : withdrawn.
Derworthe : precious.
Derworthely : carefully, honourably.
Desguysed : bedecked, dressed up.
Desguysyng : disguise, dressing up, decking out.
Despite : anger, spite.
Despytous : very angry.
Deuoyr : duty.
Deuynal : riddle.
Deyed : died.
Dide off : doffed.
Diffame : bad reputation.
Dif famed : disgraced.
Disaraye : disorder.
Discouere : reveal.
Dishonest : dishonourable, dishonouring.
Disordynately : disorderly.
Dispended : spent.
Disporte : amuse, amusement.
Distourble : disturb.
Distourne : turn aside.
Diuerse, dyuerse : cruel, wicked.
Do, done : cause, caused to be. Ye haice do reuestid presfes, &
done said masses for them. Ye have caused priests to be clothed
and masses to be said for them.
Doo on : to don.
Dolour : grief, pain.
Dommage : hurt, damage.
Domme : dumb.
Doubte : doubt, fear.
Doubted : feared.
Do way e : dowry.
Dradde : fear.
Drawe : probably a misprint for dradde, dreaded.
Drawe, lete me : let my teeth be drawn.
Dredefull : fearful, timid.
Dresse : address ; prepare.
Dressyd : prepared.
Dysgarnysshed : devoid.
Dyuersytees : evils.
Dyuyse : direct, order.
Effraye : fear ; affray.
Effrayed : afraid, startled.
Ellys : ells.
Embusshed : ambushed.
Eme : uncle.
Empecheth : hindereth.
Empetre : obtain by intreaty.
Emprysed : undertook, undertaken.
Enchartred : imprisoned.
Enclawed : locked fast.
Endoctryne : taught.
Endowe, dyde her to : perhaps a misprint for dyde her to endue,
caused her to put on.
Endurate : hardened.
Endeuoured, endeuoyryd : endeavoured.
Enfrayned : violated, infringed.
Enhaunced : enhanced, raised.
Enlusted : delighted.
Ennoye : annoyance.
Enoynte : anoint, flatter, deceive
Enpeched : accused.
Enquest : inquiry.
Ensample : example.
Enseygnement : instruction, precept.
Ensure : assure.
Entatched : sullied, spotted.
Entende : intend, attend.
Entente : meaning, intention, attention.
Enterprise : venture, undertake.
Enuy (p. 92) : perhaps a misprint for enemy.
Enuye : hatred, spite.
Enuyous : spiteful, malignant.
Er : ere, before.
Errour : turning aside or out of the way.
Escryed : cried out.
Eslargysshe : to extend, widen, enlarge on a subject.
Esmerueyled : astonished.
Espouse : bridegroom, spouse.
Esprysed : taken.
Essayed : tried, put to the test.
Estate : state, condition.
Estyncted : extinguished.
Ete : ate.
Euangely : gospel.
Euerychone : everyone
Eurous : lucky.
Examplayre, exemplaire : example, pattern.
Exemplary : example, pattern.
Eyen : eyes.
Fader : father.
Fait, faite, fayt, fayte, faytte : deed, fact, matter, instance,
Fallaces : deceits, frauds.
Falshede : falsehood.
Faons : fawns.
Fardels : bundles.
Faute, fawte : fault, mistake.
Feblyssheth : enfeebles.
Felauship : company.
Felle : fierce.
Felon : wicked, cruel, fierce.
Feloun : a wicked or cruel person.
Fende : fiend.
Fer : far.
Ferdful : fearful.
Ferforthe : far on.
Ferre : far.
Fette : fetched.
Feures : fevers.
Flateresse : female flatterer.
Flees : flies.
Flourynge : decoration, trimming.
Flytcth : flieth.
Fonde : found.
Forbere : forbear, abstain.
Formest : foremost.
Fornays : furnace.
Forthynke : repent.
Foustred : fostered, nourished.
Forueyeth : erreth.
Foyson : plenty, abundance ; number (of people).
Fraunchyse : generosity.
Fre : free, liberal, noble.
Frenesye : frenzy.
Frere : friar.
Fresshe : fine, beautiful.
Fro, froo : from.
Fryandyses : delicacies.
Fryse : frieze.
Fundament : foundation.
Fyaunced : affianced.
Fyers : fierce, haughty.
Fyghten : fight.
Fylle : fell.
Gader : gather.
Gaf, gafe : gave.
Gage : pledge, challenge to battle.
Galhows : gallows.
Garderobe : wardrobe.
Garnementes : garments.
Garnysshed : provided.
Gente : pretty.
Germyne : germinate.
Gestes, gestys : tales, exploits, stories of great deeds.
Glaue : glaive, sword.
Glose : gloss, commentary.
Glotouns : gluttons.
Godsep : gossip, crony.
Good : goods.
Goodhede : goodness.
Gouernance, gouernaunce : conduct, behaviour.
Gounes : gowns.
Graces : thanks.
Gree, to receyue in : to take in good part, approve of.
Greuable : grievous.
Grys : a costly grey fur.
Guerdome : guerdon, to recompense, reward.
Guerdon, guerdone : reward.
Gwerdoned : recompensed.
Gwerysshe : to heal, cure.
Guyses : manners, guises, fashions.
Gyse : guise.
Hardyly : boldly, confidently.
Hastlyest : quickest.
Haultayn : haughty.
Haultesse : loftiness.
Hayer : hayr, hayre : hair shirt, garment of goat's hair, worn as
He : he, she, it.
Heded : beheaded.
Heed : head.
Heerys : hairs.
Hem : him, them.
Her : her, their.
Herberowe : to harbour, shelter.
Here : hair.
Heremyte : hermit.
Heres : hair, hairs, eyelashes.
Herte : heart.
Heures, houres : certain sets of prayers, e.g., Hours of the
Blessed Trinity, Hours of the Blessed Virgin, etc.
Heyres : heirs.
Hit : it.
Hodes : hoods.
Hole, hool : well, whole.
Honnestly : honourably.
Hoote : hot.
Hoses, hosen : hose.
Hou : how.
Houdes : hounds.
Houres : see Heures.
How wel : notwithstanding.
Humblesse : humility.
Hyded : hid,
Hydoure : dread, fear.
Hydous : hideous, dreadful.
Hyed : hastened.
Hyghe, hyhe : high, loud.
Hym : him, it, them.
I : yes.
Impetre : see Empetre.
Incontynent : at once.
Jangle : chatter.
Jape : jest.
Joly, jolye : gay, fine.
Jolyf : gay, fine.
Jougleurs : jugglers.
Joyen : enjoy.
Justes : jousts.
Karoyn : see Carayn.
Keuerchyefs : kerchiefs.
Kirtell, kyrtell : a kind of gown or petticoat.
Knowe hymself , and his beyng : to have self-assurance.
Knowen : acknowledged.
Knowleche : acknowledge.
Kokered : indulged, spoilt.
Kymbed : combed.
Kyt, kytte : cut.
Langage : language.
Langageurs : tattlers, chatterboxes.
Lasse : less.
Lassed : brought down.
Latchesse : slothfulness.
Layners : straps.
Lecherous : gluttonous.
Lefte : lifted.
Lene : lend.
Lenger : longer.
Lengest : longest.
Lepre : leper.
Lerne : teach.
Lernynges : precepts.
Lese : lose.
Lesyng, lesynge : lie.
Lette, letted : hindered.
Letteth : hinders.
Letuce : a grey fur.
Leuer : rather.
Leyser : leisure.
Light : weak.
Loke : look.
Loo : look.
Loos : praise, honour.
Loste : destroyed, lost.
Louynges : praises.
Lumynary : light.
Lust : desire, liking.
Lycorous, lychorous : nice, dainty.
Lycorousnes : love of dainty food.
Lyghter : weaker.
Lyghtly, lyghtely : easily.
Lygnees : lineages.
Macule : spot, stain.
Made to telle the paynyms : caused the paynyms to be
Malepertnes : boldness, sauciness.
Manoyr : manor.
Marches : borders.
Marty re : torment.
Mastyns : mastiffs.
Matyns : prayers to be said at daybreak.
Mavis : the song- thrush.
May, mighte, myght, mygt : from viotven, to be able.
Maydenhede : maidenhood.
Mayntene : behaviour ; to behave.
Mayntenying, mayntenyng : behaviour, demeanour, conduct.
Me : men, man, one.
Mede : reward.
Meke : to make meek.
Menage : household, establishment.
Merle : blackbird.
Meruaylled : astonished.
Merueyle, merueylle : marvel, wonder.
Mes : a dish, course at table.
Meschyef : mischief, misfortune.
Mesease : distress.
Meseased : distressed.
Messager : messenger.
Meue : move.
Meuyd : moved.
Mewe : prison.
Mewred : immured.
Meyny : retinue, household, family.
Mighte : see May.
Misericorde, mysericorde, myserycorde : mercy, compassion.
Mo, moo : more.
Moder : mother.
Moyen : mean, middle.
Mured : immured.
Musardes : triflers, loungers.
Muse : to wait, linger.
Myddes : midst.
Myght, myjt : see May.
Mysauenture : misadventure.
Myspryse : to despise, slight.
Mystier : necessity, want.
Ne : not, nor.
Nerre : nigher.
Noblesse : nobility, dignity, splendour.
No force : no matter.
Noiously : so as to annoy.
Nonne : nun.
Noreture : nourishment.
Nose, tooke them self by the : acknowledged their fault.
Notables : noteworthy examples.
Nouellyte : newness.
Nougt : nought.
Noultee : novelty.
Nyce : foolish.
Nycely : foolishly.
Obeisaunce, obeyssaunce : obedience, under Jier obcisauncc,
obedient to her.
Obeysaunt : obedient.
Obeysshe : obey.
Obeysshynge : obedient.
Obsequye : obsequies.
Occisyons : slaughter.
Of : of, off.
Oke : ached.
On : on, if.
On lyue : alive.
Or : or, either, before.
Ordeyne : set in order, appoint.
Orguyllous : proud.
Oryent : the east,
Otherwhyle : sometimes.
Oueral, ouerall : everywhere.
Ouerthwert : across.
Oujt : ought.
Oultrages : outrages.
Owe : am obliged to.
Palysshed : made pale.
Parauenture, perauenture : perchance.
Parente, parentes : kinsfolk, parents.
Parfite : perfect.
Parfyghtely : perfectly.
Parisshens : parishioners.
Park : enclosure.
Parlement : discussion, parley, a meeting for talk.
Parte : share ; in a parte, in a measure.
Participant : sharing.
Parylle : peril.
Payne : labour, difficulty.
Paynyms : pagans.
Peert : lively, brisk.
Peramours : with love.
Peramours : paramour (not in modern sense) ; ladylove.
Perceth : pierceth.
Perdurable : eternal.
Peyne your self : take pains.
Piteous : compassionate.
Place : house.
Placebo, make the : please or pacify.
Plaisaunce, playsaunce, pleasaunce, plesaunce : pleasure.
Plaisaunt : pleasing.
Plaisire : pleasure.
Playe : game.
Plee : pleading, dispute.
Pleynt : lament.
Plumed : plucked the feathers from.
Popped : painted.
Porte : state ; of great porte t stately.
Poure : power, poor.
Pourfyls : trimmings.
Pourfylled : trimmed, embroidered.
Pourueye : to look to, to provide.
Poynt : condition, difficulty.
Poyntes : laces, strings.
Praty : pretty.
Predicacion : sermon, preaching.
Predicatours : preachers.
Propre : own.
Propyce : convenient, suited.
Proye : prey.
Pryme : 6 a.m., or prayers for that hour.
Pugnicion : punishment.
Puissant, puyssant : powerful.
Punycion : punishment.
Purueaunce : provision.
Purueye : to provide.
Puterye : wantonness.
Pye : magpie.
Pylled : bald, bare.
Pynned : bedecked, or combed.
Pype : cask.
Quenteries : finery.
Quentises : finery.
Queynt : fine, gay.
Queyntely : finely, gaily.
Quyck : alive.
Quyte : acquit.
Ramage : wild.
Rampynge : rampant, raging.
Rapynous : given to rapine.
Rassasyed : satisfied.
Rauynours : robbers.
Rayson : right, reason.
Reame : realm.
Refection : repast. *
Refrayne, refreyne : restrain.
Regard : sight, look, notice.
Regie : order.
Remenaunt : remnant.
Rendre : return, render.
Renne : run.
Renomme, renommee : renown, good repute.
Renommed : renowned.
Repayre : repair, restore.
Repreef : reproof.
Repreue : reprove.
Reprysed : rebuked.
Resemblaunt : appearance.
Reson : right, reason.
Resowned : resounded.
Retche : reach, reck.
Reteyne : remember.
Reuested : vested.
Roan : Rouen.
Ronned : whispered.
Roode : rough, raw.
Rought : recked, cared.
Roundel : rondeau, roundelay.
Rowe : row, rank.
Royamme : kingdom.
Rubryshes : titles, headings, rubrics.
Rukemadoure : Rochemadour.
Sadly : discreetly, seriously.
Sale we : salute.
Sauacion : salvation.
Sauement : safety, protection.
Sauf : save, except.
Sauuage : wild.
Scant : hardly, scarcely.
Se : say.
Secrete, at his : privately, among his intimate friends.
Seurte (p. 98). Caxton appears to have intended to print
either secrete (q. v.) or seute, company, friends. The former
seems the more probable, taken with the context.
Scathe : harm, hurt.
Scot : payment.
Seche : seek.
Semblable : resembling, like.
Semblant, semblaunt : appearance, behaviour.
Semblaunce : likeness.
Sempiternally : eternally.
Sengle : single.
Separed : separated.
Sergeans, sergeaunts : officers, servants.
Seruage : bondage.
Sherte : shirt, shirt of mail.
Shete : shoot.
Shrewed : accursed.
Sith, sithe : since, then.
Sight : glance, glances.
Slee : slay.
Smale : small.
Smeton : smitten.
Solas : recreation.
Sorowfulle to the seruyce ^of God : slothful or lukewarm in
Souper : supper.
So wen : sowed.
Sowke : suck.
Sowne : sound.
Sowpes : soups.
Sparkleth : scattereth, spreadeth.
Spektakel : spy- glass ?
Sperhauk : sparrow-hawk.
Sprynge : dawn.
Spurge : purge away.
Stole : an ecclesiastical vestment.
Straitly : strictly.
Styll : quietly.
Sty lie : quietness.
Stylle : always, continually.
Sty ward : steward, one who attended to the provisions.
Subget, subgette : subject.
Sudaryes : napkins in which the faces of the dead were wrapped.
Suerd : sword.
Suffisaunt : sufficient.
Suffisaunce, suffysaunce : sufficiency.
Surmount : surpass.
Surquedrye : arrogance, presumption.
Surquydous : arrogant, presumptuous.
Suster : sister.
Susteyne : assert, maintain.
Syege : seat.
Syn : since.
Syth, sythe : since.
Syther : strong drink.
Tables : backgammon.
Tatche : spot, stain, characteristic.
Tatched : dispositioned.
Tasted : touched, felt.
Techen : teach.
Tendeth : takes heed or care.
Tenebres : darkness.
Tenioye : to rejoice.
Than : then.
Ther : there, where.
Theues : thieves.
Tho : those.
Thought : sorrow, sadness.
Thou ( T : though.
Thoujt : thought.
Threde : thread.
Thrested : thrust.
Thrustell : thrush.
Thurgh : through.
Thyder : thither.
Thyssue : the yssue, the end.
Tierce, tyerce : 9 a.m., or prayers for that hour.
To : too.
To fore : before.
To gyder : together.
Torned : turned.
Tornoyeng : tourneying, jousting at a tournament.
Tortuse : tortoise.
Towre, men of the. The men of the La Tour family, to which
the writer belonged.
Trauaylle : labour.
Trauaylled : harried, vexed, troubled.
Tresoure : treasure.
Tristesse, trystesse : sorrow, sadness.
Tromperye : deceit, fraud.
Trompeur : deceiver, betrayer.
Tronke : a place for keeping fish.
Trowe : believe.
Tyerce : see Tierce.
Valour : value, worth,
Ventillous : turning this way and that.
Venymed : envenomed.
Vergoyne : shame, ignominy, reproach.
Vergoynous : ashamed, abashed.
Very : true.
Vnreuested : divested of canonicals.
Vouchedsauf : vouchsafed.
Vpso doune : upside down.
Vyage : voyage, journey.
Vylayne : base.
Vylonye : villainy, baseness.
Vy relay e : a sort of rondeau.
Waloped : galloped.
Waked ; watched.
Wanne : won.
Wardrobbe : private room.
Wast : waste.
Wedowhede : widowhood.
Welwyllynge : goodwill.
Wende : thought, supposed.
Wene : think, suppose.
Werre : war.
Wete : know.
Wexed : waxed, grew.
Whan, whanne : when.
Wher : as, where.
"Withold : to remember, retain.
Witholde : to restrain.
Withsaye : to deny.
Wolde : willed.
Wonde : wrapped in winding sheets.
Woned : accustomed, wont.
World : social circle, society.
World in hand, to have the ; to have the world : to know the
world, to be a man of the world.
Worship : honour.
Wote : know.
Wulle : wool.
Wyde : evacuate, leave.
Wydowhede : widowhood.
Wynne : to go. Gladly men ne wynne but lytel to hold strife,
men seldom gladly hold strife.
Wyspe of straw : a token of great reproach or disgrace to a
woman for scolding or other reprehensible conduct.
Wysshed : desired.
Wyste : knew.
Wythsaye : deny.
Wytynge : knowledge.
Yaf : gave.
Yate : gate.
Ye : yea.
y : contraction of the.
Yeft, yefte : gift.
Yelde : yield.
Yet : moreover.
Yeue : to give.
Ynke : ink.
Ynowe : enough.
Yrous : passionate, angry.
Yongthe : youth.
Yow : dat. and ace. of you.
Yssue : end.
Y : contraction of that.
Ziele : zeal.
INSTRUCTIONS TO THE BINDER,
The Plates are to be inserted in the following manner :
I was in a gardyn under a shadowe as it were in thyssue of
To face page 36.
How yonge maydens ought not to torne their heedes lyghtely
here ne there.
To face page 64.
Of the suster of Seynt Bernard whiche cam to see hym in grete
To face page 92.
Of the good knyght that had thre wyues, & of their lyues.
To face page 152.
Of the good knyght whiche fought ageynst the fals knyghte for
the pyte of a mayde.
To face page 184.
The thre enseygnementes or lerninges whiche Cathon gaf to his
London & Edinburgh
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