Little Treatise of the Beauty of Women, A


STC 1696
Ringler 1696 and TP 1837. An anonymous translation from an anonymous work in French. UMI microfilm reel 874

Here foloweth a lytell treatyse of the Beaute of women newly translated out of Frenshe
London: Richard Fawkes,c. 1525.

Composition Date: c. 1525 [STC].

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¶Here foloweth a lytell treatyse of the Beaute of women newly translated out of Frenshe in-to Englyshe.
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THe sonne of the mayde whome neuer none resembled
In beaulte nor bounte syth the worlde began
For both in hyr were perfaytely assembled
Named is she Marye doughter to saynt Anne
5 Guyde myne hande so that the gentylman
That me desyred to reduce thys boke
From frenshe to englyshe / be content / and than
I take lytell cure what other there-on loke.
¶In frenshe (la beaute de femmes) is yt named
10 The beaulte of women / in our Englyshe languag[e]letter broken
Wherof to treate / I ought well to be blamed
Consydered that I had neuer the vsage
Womens beaulte in body nor vysage
For to regarde / and there vpon good reason
15 Syth I am made (as an vnpleasant page)
A cast-a_way from presence at eche season
¶But what therof shall I leue of to wryte
Syth no man hauyng more practyse then I
Wyll take the payne to set blacke on the whyte
20 And yt a thynge so dygne of memory
Nay trust me playne I shall my-selffe applye
Of the frenshe boke to folow the sentence
Beaulte (as ryght requireth) to gloryfye
what-euer foloweth of the consequence
25 ¶what caused the wourthy Troylus of Troye
To cast hys loue on Cresyde the shene
Why set Parys on fayre Helayne hys ioye
What caused Achylles to loue Polexene
Why loued Trystram la belle Isoude the quene
30 Or Arthur of bretayne the fayre Florence
All cam of theyr beaulte and theyr plesant eyen
What haue I to do as of the consequence.
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¶Beaulte as for the fyrste require wolde
That the woma[n] (how-euer stande the case) woman] womam 1525
35 Symple manyer and countenaunce sholde holde
For otherwyse she wyll avoyde the place
¶Womans beaulte eche person reproueth
Yf so be that she bayre the countenaunce
More eleuate or hygh than yt behoueth
40 Hyr beaulte tourneth but all to dysplesance
¶Beaulte requireth as for the seconde parte
That woman bayre euer naturally
Symple rega[r]de and not ouerthwarte regarde] regade 1525
Wyth playsante and symple castyng of the eye
45 ¶Beaulte is lost in woman oultrely
Yf she haue thys of very condycyon
As to regarde or loke dyspyteously
For that is the manner of the lyon
¶Womans beaulte requireth thyrdely
50 That stedfastly with-out oultrage
She kepe as dyscrete contynually
Symple answer euer in her language
¶Womans beaulte that sholde be magnyfyed
Lyetly compassed in these thre poyntes onely
55 What beaulte so-euer is to her applyed
The woman ought to lede hyr lyffe symply
¶Beaulte of suerty doeth that woman folowe
That hath the browes and raynes of the backeraynes: see OED s.v. reins
And there-withall the fete lyght and holowe
60 Yf these thre be holowe there is no lacke.
¶Beaulte in woman is nothyng pleasant
That glometh with her eyen with frowarde chere
And is of hyr raynes so heuy and pesant
And of hyr fete as yf a beest yt were
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65 ¶Womans beaulte shall ye fynde doubtlesse
In thre hygh poyntes that on hyr body gent
Ought for to be / and them I shall expresse
Here-after / yf my remembraunce assent
¶Beaulte sayeth / the fyrst poynt to knowe
70 The woman sholde haue the forhed hygh and fayre
For whan she hath the forhed ouer-lowe
Euyll hyr besemeth a frontelet to bayre
¶Womans beaulte requyreth secondly
Of beaulte a ryght who that enquire wolde
75 That woman ought to haue the hed hygh
The better therwyth hyr hat she doeth vpholde
¶Beaulte in woman playnly doeth habounde
Yf she ne fayle as for the thyrde parte
To haue the brestes hygh fayre and rounde
80 Wyth fyne gorgias well and fayre couert
¶Womans beaulte as in preemynence
Requireth these thre poyntes pryncypall
For to be founde vpon hyr corpulence
And well on hyght they ought for to be all
85 ¶Womans beaulte expresly for to showe
As to the regarde of hyr countenaunce
Requireth ouer thys to haue thre poyntes lowe
Whych all women ought to haue in remembraunce
¶Womans beaulte that pourchase wyll praysyng
90 Woll that the woman set her besy cure
To maynteyne in hyr-selfe a low laughyng
To laugh ouer-hygh besemeth no creature
¶Beaulte yet commaundeth afterwarde
Unto all women thys poynt secondely
95 To haue alwayes a lowely regarde
Not ouer-moche but moderately
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¶That woman hath the bent of beaultyes bowe
That can regarde in helth and in dysease
Whan she shall neese to make the sounde but lowe
100 To do otherwyse yt may no person please
¶Womans beaulte wyll in conclusyon
Of these lowe poyntes without desloyaulte
That women bere euer a lowly condycyon
For otherwyse she leseth her beautie.
105 ¶Beaulte demaundeth these poyntes to haue sene
In women that be fayre and fayte at all
To haue trayteys the browes / and traytys eyen
And lytell the handes / traytys slendre and small
¶Beaulte hath she that hath the chyn dympled
110 The ioyntes of the handes sholde be in lyke manere
The chekes also be they bare or wympled
Especyally whan she smyleth with hyr chere.
¶Beaulte requireth large to haue these thre
The fyrste is the space goyng from eye to eye
115 Betwyxt the sholdres sholde the seconde be
The thyrde betwyxt the raynes ye shall espye.
¶Perfayt beaulte ye may well determyne
In woman / so that these thre in hyr repayre
The nayles and the lyppes complexyon sanguyne
120 And ruddy the chekes well vermayled and fayre
¶Womans beaulte thou doest well expose
Or mayst expose wythout taryeng
Yf thou retayne in thy mynde close
All that is set before in this wrytyng.
125 ¶Of beaulte yf there be any woman
More purely sped than is comprysed in this
Was neuer woman syth the worlde began
So perfaytly sped of beaulte as she is
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¶I haue expressed theyr preemynence
130 As well of theyr bodyes as of theyr mayntyen
But speke what ye wyll apert or in scylence
Beaulte sans bonte ne vault rien.
¶Beaultyes there be in women infynyte
But of bontyes there is but lytell speche
135 Beaulte is them geuen as thyng requisyte
Who wyll haue bonte let hym go seche
Thys not-wythstandyng I coulde a man teche
To fynde ryght good of the gendre feminyn
And fayre also / but what-euer we preche
140 Beaulte sans bonte ne vault rien.
¶Beaulte ennobleth the person doubtlesse
And playnly she is of the more valeure
But wyth beaulte is requisyte goodnesse
To speke a_ryght who so wyll sett hys cure
145 Bonte wyll not be vnder couerture
Where-euer she be / hyr purete is so fyne
Wherfore I set agayne in thys scrypture
Beaulte sans bonte ne vaulte rien.
¶Mayde / wyfe / or wydowe / dame / or damoysell
150 That haue the raye of beaulte comprysed in your face
Adiouste therto bonte / than shall ye do ryght well
For beaulte with bonte assembled in a place
Gyue demonstrance of an especyall grace
Geuen to the person / and as I take the cause
155 At syse smyleth bonte / where beaulte laugheth at ace
As dayly yt is sene / and there a fynall clause.

¶Thus endeth the Beaulte of women neuly Imprynted By Richarde_Fawkes dwellyng in duram_rent