(navigation image)
Home American Libraries | Canadian Libraries | Universal Library | Community Texts | Project Gutenberg | Biodiversity Heritage Library | Children's Library | Additional Collections
Search: Advanced Search
Anonymous User (login or join us)
Upload
See other formats

Full text of "The booke of thenseygnementes and techynge that the Knyght of the Towre made to his doughters"

Wi 



Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2007 with funding from 

Microsoft Corporation 



http://www.archive.org/details/bookeofthenseygnOOIatoiala 



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. 




CAXTON'S PREFACE* 

(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 
a 5 



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. 
6 



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 
HIS DOUGHTERS. 

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 

deuoute. 

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 

holy dayes. 

Of the suster of saynt Bernard, whiche came to see hym in grete 

araye. 

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 

amonge folke. 

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 

ladyes. 

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. 

8 



Of Athalia, quene of Jerusalem. 

Of Enuye. 

Of Dalida, Sampson's wyf. 

How a woman ought to obeye to her lord or her husbond in alle 

thynges honest* 

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. 

Of Charyte. 

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 

ben brawlers. 

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 

of god. 

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. 

9 



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 

prudente vyrgyns. 

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 

Margaryte. 

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 

sone. 

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. 

EXPLICIT. 

10 



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. 



u 




PROLOGUE. 

| 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, 
b 13 



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 
14 



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 

15 



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. 



16 




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. 

17 




HOW THE MATYNS AND HOURES OUGHT TO 
BE SAID. 

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- 
UOUTE. 

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 

19 



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. 



20 




HOW WE OUGHT TO PRAYE FOR THEM THAT 
BEN DEDE. 

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. 



21 




HOW WE OUGHT TO SAYE OURE HOURES AND 
PRAYERS. 

[ 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 

22 



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* 



23 




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 
24 



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. 

25 




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 
26 



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 heuen* 



27 




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 
28 



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* 
d 29 



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^ 
woman. 



30 




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, 

3i 



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 
32 



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. 



33 




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 
34 



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. 



35 



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. 




36 




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 
THEYR MANERS. 

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, 
e 37 



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 
38 



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, & 

39 



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. 



40 




HOW THE DOUGHTER OF ARAGON LOST HER 
MARYAGE. 

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 

41 



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. 



42 




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 

43 



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. 



44 




OF HER THAT ETE THE EELE AND PLUMED 
HER PYE. 

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. 
f 45 




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 
46 



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 
to yow» 



47 




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 
48 



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." 

49 



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. 



50 




OF THE WOMAN THAT GAF THE FLESSHE TO 
HER HONNDES. 

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. 

51 



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 
to fore. 



52 




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 
g 53 



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, 
54 



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. 



55 




HOW ME OUGHT NOT TO STRYUE AYENST 
THEM THAT BEN LANGAGEURS AND FULL OF 
WORDES. 

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 
56 



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* 



57 




OF THRE LAD YES THAT ARESONNED BOUSSY- 
CAULT. 

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, 
58 



" 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. 

59 




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 
60 



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 
h 61 



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 
wymmen. 



62 




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 

63 



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. 



64 




OF THE SUSTER OF SEYNT BERNARD WHICHE CAM TO 
SEE HYM IN GRETE ARAYE 




OF THEM THAT PLAYE AND IAPE AT THE 
MASSE. 

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 

65 



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. 



66 




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. 



67 




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 
68 



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 
i 69 



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. 



70 




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. 



71 




HOW GOD SPRANGE IN TO THE MOUTHE OF A 
HOOLY LADY. 

|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. 



72 




OF A COUNTESSE THAT EUERY DAY HERD 
THRE MASSES. 

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. 



73 




OF A YONG AMOROUSE LADY, AND OF AN 
ESQUYER. 

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, 
74 



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, — 



75 




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/* 
76 



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 
k 77 



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 
78 



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. 



79 




OF THE VYCES THAT RENNE & BEN IN 
MANY ONE. 

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. 
80 




OF THE GOOD CONDYCIONS THAT BEN IN 
DYUERSE AND MANY MANERS AMONGE 
FOLKE. 

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 

81 



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. 



82 




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 

83 



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. 



84 




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 
1 85 



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 : 



86 




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 

87 



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. 



88 




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 

89 



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 
oo 



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 
pestylence. 



91 




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 
92 




OF THE GOOD KNYGHT THAT HAD THRE WYUES, & OF 
THEIR LYUES 



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. 



93 




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 
94 



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. 



95 




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 
96 



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. 



97 




OF THE LADY THAT BLANKED AND POPPED 
HER. 

|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 
98 



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 
persones. 



99 




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 
100 



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. 

n 101 




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 
102 



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. 



103 




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 
104 



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. 



105 




OF THE QUENE GESABEL WHICHE HAD MANY 
EUYLLE CONDYCIONS. 

|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 
106 



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. 



107 




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 
108 



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. 



109 




OF ENUYE. 

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* 



no 




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 

ill 



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 
to her. 



112 




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. 



113 




HOW MEN OUGHT TO KEPE HEM SELF FRO 
FLATERERS. 

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 
114 



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 
self. 



"5 




HOW A WOMAN OUGHT IN NO WYSE DIS- 
COUERE NE TELLE THE SECRETE OF HER 
HUSBOND, FOR OUER MANY EUYLS COME 
THEROF. 

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 
1 16 



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. 



H7 




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 
118 



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 
durynge. 



119 




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. 

120 



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. 



121 




OF CHARYTE. 

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 
122 



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. 



123 




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 
124 



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. 



125 




HOW HE THAT WYLL PRAYE GOD MUST DO 
ABSTYNENCE. 

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 
126 



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 

127 



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. 



128 




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 

129 



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 
preued. 



130 



£-<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 

131 



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. 



132 




THEXAMPLE OF THE QUENE SABA AND OF THE 
KYNGE SALAMON. 

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 
r 133 



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. 



134 




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 

135 



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. 



136 




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 

137 



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* 



138 




HOW THE GOOD LADY OUGHT TO LOUE AND 
DREDE AND ALSO TO BERE FEYTHE VNTO HER 
LORD. 

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.] 



139 




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 
140 



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 
woman. 



Ml 




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 
142 



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. 



143 




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 
144 



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, 

145 



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. 



146 




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 

147 



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. ] 
148 



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. 

t 149 




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 
150 



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 
sette by. 



151 




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, 
152 




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. 



153 




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 
J54 



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. 



155 




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 
156 



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. 



157 




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 
158 



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. 



159 




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. 



160 



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* 




161 




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 
162 



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. 



163 




HOW THAUNCYENT WERE WONTE TO LERNE 
THE YONGE. 

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 
164 



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. 



165 




HOW HIT WAS WONTE TO DEPARTE THE 
BLAMED AND DYFFAMED WOMEN FRO THE 
FELAUSHIP & COMPANYE OF THE GOOD AND 
TREWE. 

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 
166 



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 

167 



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. 



168 




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. 



169 




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 
170 



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 

171 



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. 



172 




HOW THE DOUGHTER OF A KNYGHT LOST HER 
MARYAGE. 

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 

y 173 



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 
174 



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. 



175 




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, 
176 



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. 



177 




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 
178 



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. 

179 




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. 
180 



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. 
z 181 



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 
good ende* 



182 




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. 



183 




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. 



184 




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. 

185 




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 
186 



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." 

187 



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 
188 



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 
pryson. 



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 
190 



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 
Cathonet!" 



191 




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 
192 



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. 



193 




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' 
194 



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. 



195 




HOW CATHQ'NET EXPOSED HIS AUENTURE 
OR HAP, 

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 
196 



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 



EDITORIAL NOTE. 




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 

199 



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 
200 



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 
misprints. 

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 

201 



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, 
202 



it is one of which mediaeval readers would be perfectly 
unconscious. 

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 
passing mention. 

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. 



203 



GLOSSARY. 

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. 

2C 2Q5 



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. 

206 



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. 

207 



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. 

208 



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. 

209 



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. 

210 



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. 

211 



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. 

ill 



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, 

business. 

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. 

2d 2i: 



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. 



214 



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. 

215 



Hayer : hayr, hayre : hair shirt, garment of goat's hair, worn as 

penance. 

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. 

216 



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. 

217 



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 

told. 

Malepertnes : boldness, sauciness. 

Manoyr : manor. 

Marches : borders. 

Marty re : torment. 

Mastyns : mastiffs. 

Matyns : prayers to be said at daybreak. 

218 



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. 

219 



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, 

220 



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. 

2e 221 



Plee : pleading, dispute. 

Pletynge: pleading. 

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. 

222 



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. 

223 



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. 

Scars: sparing. 

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. 

224 



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 

God's service. 

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. 

225 



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. 

226 



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. 

227 



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. 
228 



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. 



2f 229 



INSTRUCTIONS TO THE BINDER, 

The Plates are to be inserted in the following manner : 

Frontispiece. 

I was in a gardyn under a shadowe as it were in thyssue of 

Aprylle. 

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 

araye. 

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 

sone. 



Ballantyne Press 
London & Edinburgh 



THE LIBRARY 
UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA 

Santa Barbara 



THIS BOOK IS DUE ON THE LAST DATE 
STAMPED BELOW. 



/.2673 m 



Series 9482 






ff^wuil 





I 



- .- f — ~-— ■"->■ ■ ■ 



■:■:■! ,: .i •■;¥,■■.::•: '•■»■■■■■ s .; 



■ ■'.;:/&:■:.:.■■■