The Conversion of Swearers

Hawes, Stephen

STC 12943
Ringler 12943 and TP1730. UMI microfilm reel 44

The conuercyon of swerers
London: Wynkyn de Worde,1509.

Variant source 1: [Anr. ed.], 1509? (STC 12943.5)(=Hn). Variant source 2: [Anr. ed.], 1531? (STC 12944). Variant source 3: [Anr. ed.], 1551 (STC 12944.5).

Composition Date: 1509.

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ref.ed: 73
The conuercyon of swerers.
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THe fruytfull sentence and the noble werkes
To our doctryne wryten in olde antyquyte
By many grete and ryght notable clerkes
Grounded on reason and hyghe auctoryte
5 Dyde gyue vs example by good moralyte
To folowe the trace of trouthe and ryghtwysnes
Leuynge our synne and mortall wretchednes

By theyr wrytynge dothe vnto vs appere
The famous actes of many a champyon
10 In the courte of fame renowned fayre and clere
And some endyted theyr entencyon
Cloked in coloure harde in construccyon
Specyally poetes vnder cloudy fygures
Coueryd the trouthe of all theyr scryptures

15 So hystoryagraphes all the worthy dedes
Of kynges and kynghtes dyde put in wrytynge
To be in mynde for theyr memoryall medes
How sholde we nowe haue ony knowledgynge
Of thynges past but by theyr endytynge
20 Wherfore we ought to preyse them doubteles
That spente theyr tyme in suche good besynes

Amonge all other my good mayster Lydgate
The eloquent poete and monke of bery
Dyde both contryue /and also translate
25 Many vertuous bookes to be in memorye
Touchynge the trouthe well and sentencyously
But syth that his dethe was intollerable
I praye god rewarde hym in lyfe perdurable

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Amonge all thynges nothynge so prouffytable
30 As is scyence with the sentencyous scrypture
For worldly rychesse is often transmutable
ref.ed: 74
As dayly dothe appere well in vre
Yet scyens abydeth and is moost sure
After pouerte to attayne grete rychesse
35 Scyens is cause of promocyon doubtles

I lytell or nought expert in poetrye
Remembrynge my youth so lyght and frayle
Purpose to compyle here fyll breuyatly
A lytell treatyse wofull to bewayle
40 The cruell swerers whiche do god assayle
On euery syde his swete body to tere
With terryble othes as often as they swere

But also for drede plonged in neclygence
My penne doth quake to presume to endyte
45 But hope at laste to recure this scyence
Exorteth me ryght hardely to wryte
To deuoyde ydlenesse by good appetyte
For ydlenesse the grete moder of synne
Euery vyce is redy to lette ynne

50 I with the same ryght gretely infecte
Lykely to deye tyll grace by medecyne
Recured my sekenes my payne to abiecte
Commaundynge me by her hye power deuyne
To drawe this treatyse for to enlumyne
55 The reders therof by penytencyall pyte
And to pardon me of theyr benygnyte

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RYght myghty prynces of euery crysten rygyon
I sende you gretynge moche hertly and grace
Right wel to gouerne vpryght your dominyon
60 And all your lordes I greete in lyke cace
By this my lettre your hertes to enbrace
Besechynge you to prynte it in your mynde
How for your sake I toke on me mankynde

ref.ed: 75
And as a lambe moost mekely dyde enclyne
65 To suffre the dethe for your redempcyon
And ye my kynges whiche do nowe domyne
Ouer my comons in terrestryall mancyon
By pryncely preemynence and Iuredyccyon
In your regall courtes do suffre me be rente
70 And my tender body with blode all be sprente

Without my grace ye maye nothynge preuayle
Though ye be kynges for to mayntene your see
To be a kynge it may nothynge auayle
But yf my grace preserue his dygnyte
75 Beholde your seruauntes how they do tere me
By cruell othes now [vp]on euery syde
Aboute the worlde launcynge my woundes wyde

All the graces whiche I haue you shewed
Reuolue in mynde ryght ofte ententyfly
80 Beholde my body with blody [d]roppes endewed droppes] proppes 1509, droppes Hn, 1531
Within your realmes nowe torne so pyteously
Towsed and tugged with othes cruelly
Some my heed some myn armes and face
Some my herte do all to rente and race

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85 They newe agayne do hange me on the rode
They tere my sydes and are nothynge dysmayde
My woundes they open and deuoure my blode
I god and man moost wofully arayde
To you complayne it maye not be denayde
90 Ye nowe to tug me / ye tere me at the roote
Yet I to you am chefe refuyte and boote

Wherfore ye kynges reygnynge in renowne
Refourme your seruauntes in your courte abused
To good example of euery maner towne
ref.ed: 76
95 So that theyr othes whiche they longe haue vsed
On payne and punysshement be holly refused
Meke as a Lambe I suffre theyr grete wronge
I maye take vengeaunce thoughe I tary longe

I do forbere I wolde haue you amende
100 And graunte you mercy and ye wyll it take
O my swete brederne why do ye offende
Agayne to tere me whiche deyed for your sake
Lo se my kyndenes and frome synne awake
I dyde redeme you frome the deuylles chayne
105 And spyte of me ye wyll to hym agayne

Made I not heuen the moost gloryous mansyon
In whiche I wolde be gladde to haue you in
Now come swete brederne to myn habytacyon
Alas good brederne with your mortall synne
110 Why flee ye frome me / to torne agayne begynne
I wrought you I bought you ye can it not denye
Yet to the deuyll ye go nowe wyllyngly

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115 Be

My payne
120 (in mynde

¶My swete bloode
On the roode
Dyde the good
(my broder

125 ¶My face ryght red
Myn armes spred
My woundes bled
(thynke none oder

¶Beholde thou my syde
130 Wounded so ryght wyde
ref.ed: 77
Bledynge sore that tyde
(all for thyn owne sake

¶Thus for the I smerted
Why arte thou harde-herted
135 Be by me conuerted
(and thy swerynge aslake

¶Tere me nowe no more
My woundes are sore
Leue swerynge therfore
140 / and come to my grace

¶I am redy
To graunte mercy
To the truely
/ for thy trespace

145 ¶Come nowe nere
My frende dere
And appere
/ before me

¶I so
150 In wo
Dyde go
Se se

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155 Hy

Vnto me dere broder my loue and my herte
Turmente me no more with thyn othes grete
Come vnto my Ioye and agayne reuerte
160 From the deuylles snare and his subtyll net
Beware of the worlde all aboute the set
Thy flesshe is redy by concupyscence
To burne thy herte with cursed vyolence

Thoughe these thre enmyes do sore the assayle
165 Vpon euery syde with daungerous iniquite
But yf thou lyst / they may nothynge preuayle
ref.ed: 78
Nor yet subdue the with all theyr extremyte
To do good or yll / all is at thy lyberte
I do graunte the grace thyn enemyes to subdue
170 Swete broder accepte it theyr power to extue

And ye kynges and prynces of hye noblenes
With dukes and lordes of euery dygnyte
Indued with manhode wysdome and ryches
Ouer the comons hauynge the soueraynte
175 Correcte them whiche so do tere me
By cruell othes without repentaunce
Amende by tyme lest I take vengeaunce

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Exodi vicesimo / non accipies nomen dei tui in vanum.

Vnto the man I gaue commaundement
Not to take the name of thy god vaynfully
180 As not to swere but at tyme conuenyent
Before a Iuge to bere recorde truely
Namynge my name with reuerence mekely
Vnto the Iuge than there in presence
By my name to gyue to the good credence

185 A my brederne yf that I be wrothe
It is for cause ye falsly by me swere
Ye knowe your-selfe that I am very trothe
Yet wrongfully ye do me rente and tere
Ye neyther loue me nor my Iustyce fere
190 And yf ye dyde ye wolde full gentylly
Obeye my byddynge well and perfytely

The worldly kynges hauynge the soueraynte
Ye do well obey without resystence
Ye dare not take theyr names in vanyte
195 But with grete honoure and eke reuerence
Than my name more hye of magnyfycence
Ye ought more to drede whiche am kynge of all
Bothe god and man and reygne celestyall

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No erthely man loueth you so well
200 As I do / whiche mekely dyde enclyne
For to redeme you from the fendes of hell
Takynge your kynde by my godhede dyuyne
You were the fendes I dyde make you myne
For you swete bretherne I was on the rode
205 Gyuynge my body my herte and my blode

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Than why do ye in euery maner of place
With cruell othes tere my body and herte
My sydes and woundes it is a pyteous cace
Alas swete brederne I wolde you conuerte
210 For to take vengeaunce ye do me coherte
From the hous of swerers shall not be absent
The plage of Iustyce to take punysshement

Vnde. Ecclesiastici .xxxiii. Vir multum iurans implebitur iniquitate et non discendet a domo eius plaga.

A man moche swerynge with grete iniquite
Shall be replete / and from his mancyon
215 The plage of vengeaunce shall not cessed be
Wherfore ye brederne full of abusyon
Take good hede to this dyscrypcyon
Come nowe to me and axe forgyuenes
And be penytente and haue it douteles

Augustin[u]s. Non potest male mori qui bene vixit et vix bene moritur qui male vixit.

220 Who in this worlde lyueth well and ryghtwysly
Shall deye well by ryght good knowlegynge
Who in this worlde lyueth yll and wrongfully
Shall hardly scape to haue good endynge
I do graunte mercy but no tyme enlongynge
225 Wherfore good brederne whyles that ye haue space
Amende your lyfe and come vnto my grace

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My wordes my prelates vnto you do preche
For to conuerte you from your wretchednes
But lytell auaylleth you nowe for to teche
230 The worlde hathe cast you in suche blyndnes
Lyke vnto stones your hartes hathe hardnes
That my swete wordes may not reconsyle
Your hertes harde with mortall synne so vyle

Wo worthe your hartes so planted in pryde
235 Wo worthe your wrath and mortall enuye
Wo worthe slouth that dothe with you abyde
Wo worthe also inmesurable glotony
Wo worthe your tedyus synne of lechery
Wo worthe you whome I gaue free wyll
240 Wo worthe couetyse that dothe your soules spyll

Wo worthe shorte Ioye cause of payne eternall
Wo worthe you that be so peruerted
Wo worthe your pleasures in the synnes mortall
Wo worthe you for whome I sore smerted
245 Wo worthe you euer but ye be conuerted
Wo worthe you whose makynge I repente
Wo worthe your horryble synne so vyolente

Wo worthe you whiche do me forsake
Wo worthe you whiche wyllyngely offende
250 Wo worthe your swerynge whiche dothe not aslake
Wo worthe you whiche wyll nothynge amende
Wo worthe vyce that dothe on you attende
Wo worthe your grete vnkyndenes to me
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Wo worthe your hertes withouten pyte

255 Wo worthe your falshode and your doublenesse
Wo worthe also your corrupte Iugement
Wo worthe delyte in worldely rychesse
ref.ed: 81
Wo worthe debate without extynguyshement
Wo worthe your wordes so moche impacyent
260 Wo worthe you vnto whome I dyd bote
And [wo] worthe you that tere me at the rote wo] 1509 omits, wo 1531

Blessyd be ye that loue humylyte
Blessyd be ye that loue trouthe and pacyence
Blessyd be ye folowynge werkes of equyte
265 Blessyd be ye that loue well abstynence
Blessyd be ye vyrgyns of excellence
Blessyd be ye whiche loue well vertue
Blessyd be ye whiche do the worlde eschue

Blessyd be ye that heuenly Ioye do loue
270 Blessyd be ye in vertuous gouernaunce
Blessyd be ye whiche do pleasures reproue
Blessyd be ye that consyder my greuaunce
Blessyd be ye whiche do take repentaunce
Blessyd be ye remembrynge my passyon
275 Blessyd be ye makynge petycyon

Blessyd be ye folowynge my trace
Blessyd be ye louynge trybulacyon
Blessyd be ye not wyllynge to trespace
Blessyd be ye of my casty[g]acyon castygacyon] castycacyon 1509, castygacyon 1531
280 Blessyd be ye of good operacyon
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Blessyd be ye vnto me ryght kynde
Blessyd be you whiche haue me in your mynde

Blessyd be ye leuynge yll company
Blessyd be ye hauntynge the vertuous
285 Blessyd be ye that my name magnefy
Blessyd be ye techynge the vycyous
Blessyd be ye good and relygyous
Blessyd be ye in the lyfe temperall
Whiche applye yourselfe to Ioye celestyall

ref.ed: 82
290 The brytyll worlde ryght often transmutable
Who wyll in it his lyfe and tyme well spende
Shall Ioye attayne after inestymable
For in the worlde he must fyrst condyscende
To take grete payne as his power wyll extende
295 Agaynst the worlde the flesshe and the deuyll
By my grete grace for to withstande theyr euyll

For who can be a gretter fole than he
That spendeth his tyme to hym vncertayne
For a breuyat pleasure of worldly vanyte
300 Than after that to haue eternall payne
Who of the worlde delyteth and is fayne
Shall after sorowe and cry ve ve
In an other worlde quante sunt tenebre

Who is wyser than he that wyll applye
305 In the worlde take payne by due dylygence
After shorte payne to come grete glorye come] come to Hn, 1551
Whiche is eterne moost hye of excellence
Where he shall se my grete magnyfycence
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With many aungelles whiche for theyr solace
310 Insacyately do beholde my face

Regarde no Ioye of the erthly consystory
For lyke as Phebus dothe the snowe relente
So passeth the Ioyes of the worlde transytory
Tyme renneth fast tyll worldely lyfe be spente
315 Consyder this in your entendemente
Blessed be they that my wordes do here
And kepe it well / for they are to me dere

Therefore good brederne your hertes enclyne
To loue and drede me that am omnipotent
320 Bothe god and man in Ioye celestyne
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Beholde my body all to_torne and rente
With your spytefull othes cruell and vyolente
I loue you ye hate me ye are to harde herted
I helpe you ye tere me lo how for you I smerted

325 Mercy and peace dyde make an vnyte
Bytwene you and me but trouth and ryghtwysnesse
Do nowe complayne byddynge my godheed se
How that ye breke the lege of sothfastnesse
They tell me that by Iustyce doubtelesse
330 I must take vengeaunce vpon you sykerly
That by your swerynge / agayne me crucefye

For at the request of good mercy and peace
I haue forborne you longe and many a daye
Yet more and more your synnes do encrease
335 Wherfore my Iustyce wyll no more delaye
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But take vengeaunce for all your proude araye
I warne you ofte ye are nothynge the better
But ye amende my vengeaunce shall be gretter

Contra iuratores christum in celo crucifigentes. per bernardum dixit dominus. Nonne satis pro te vulneratus sum? nonne satis pro te afflictus sum? desine amplius peccare. quia magis aggrauat vulnus peccati quam vulnus lateris mei

Am not I wounded for the suffycyent
340 Haue I not for the ynoughe afflyccyon
Leue more to synne by good amendement
The wounde of synne to me is more passyon
Than the wounde of my syde for thy redempcyon
Thoughe I do spare I shall not desteny
345 But ye amende to brenne eternally

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With my blody woundes I dyde your chartre seale
Why do you tere it / why do ye breke it so
Syth it to you is the eternall heale
And the releace of euerlastynge wo releace] relefe 1530, 1551
350 Beholde this lettre with the prynte also
Of myn owne seale by perfyte portrayture
Prynte it in mynde and ye shall helthe recure

And ye kynges and lordes of renowne
Exhorte your seruauntes theyr swerynge to cease
355 Come vnto me and cast your synne adowne
And I my vengeaunce shall truely releace
With grace and plente / I shall you encreace
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And brynge you whiche reuolue inwardly
This my complaynt / to eternall glory
360 Amen.

¶The Auctor.

Go lytell treatyse deuoyde of eloquence
Tremblynge for drede to approche the maieste
Of our souerayne lorde surmountynge in excellence
But vnder the wynge of his benygnyte
5 Submyttynge the to his mercyfull pyte
And be[se]che his grace to pardon thy rudenes beseche] beche 1509, beseche 1531
Whiche of late was made to eschewe ydylnes

¶Thus endeth the conuersyon of swerers made and compyled by Stephen_Hawys grome of the chambre of our souerayne lorde kynge Henry the seuenth. Enprynted at London in Flete_strete at the sygne of the sonne by Wynkyn_de_Worde. prynter vnto the moost excellent pryncesse my lady the kynges graundame. The yere of our lorde a. M.CCCCC. and .ix. The fyrst yere of the reygne of our souerayne lorde kynge Henry the .viii.
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