A Dialogue of Proverbs

Heywood, John

STC 13291
Ringler 13291 and TP 139 ('Among other thyngs ...'). Rpt. (1562 ed. of Heywood's _Works_) _The Proverbs and Epigrams of John Heywood_, Manchester, 1867 (Spenser Soc.). UMI microfilm reel 134

A dialogue conteinyng the nomber in effect of all the prouerbes in the englishe tongue, compacte in a matter concernyng two maner of mariages
London: Thomas Berthelet,1546.

Variant source 1: [Anr. ed.], c. 1549 (not listed in STC) Variant source 2: [Anr. ed.], 1550 (STC 13292) [BL copy, wanting A-B]

Composition Date: 1546 [STC].

When all candels be out, all cats be grey. All thyngs are then of one colour, as who sey.sleeuelesse: =fruitless; see OED s.v. sleeveless a., 2 (answer, message, etc.).nere: =nearerWel (quoth I)] Howe-be-it 1549
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ref.ed: [95]
A dialogue conteinyng the nomber in effect of all the prouerbes in the englishe tongue, compacte in a matter concernyng two maner of mariages, made and set foorth by Iohnn_Heywood.
Londini. AN. M.D.XLVI.
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ref.ed: 97

The preface.

AMong other thyngs profityng in our tong
Those whiche much may profit both old and yong
Suche as on their fruite will feede or take holde
Are our common playne pithy prouerbes olde.
5 Some sence of some of whiche beyng bare and rude
Yet to fyne and fruitefull effect they allude.
And theyr sentences include so large a reache
That almost in all thinges good lessons they teache.
This write I not to teache, but to touche. for-why,
10 Men knowe this as well or better than I.
But this and this rest, I write for this.
Remembryng and consyderyng what the pith is
That by remembrance of these prouerbes may grow
In this tale, erst talked with a frende, I showe
15 As many of theim as we coulde fytly fynde,
Fallyng to purpose, that might fall in mynde.
To th'entent the reader redyly may
Fynde theim and mynde theim, when he will alway.
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ref.ed: 98

The fyrste parte.

¶The fyrst chapiter.

OF myne acquayntaunce a certayne yong man
(Beyng a resorter to me nowe and than)
Resorted lately, showyng hym-selfe to be
Desyrous, to talke at length alone with me.
5 And as we for this a mete place had woon,
With this olde prouerbe, this yong man begoon.

Who-so that knewe, what wolde be dere,
Shulde nede be marchaunt but one yere.
Though it (quoth he) thyng impossible be
10 The full sequele of present thynges to fore-se:
Yet doth this prouerbe prouoke euery man
Politikely (as man possibly can)
In thyngs to come after, to cast iye before
To cast out or kepe in, thyngs for fore-store.
15 As the prouision maie seme most profitable,
And the commoditee moste commendable.
Into this consideracion I am wrought
By two thyngs, which fortune to hands hath brought.

Two women I know, of which twayne the tone
20 Is a mayde of flowryng age, a goodly one.
Th'other a wydowe, who so many yeres beares,
That all her whitenesse lythe in her white heares.
This mayde hath frends riche, but riches hath she non
Nor none can hir hands get to lyue vpon.
25 This wydow is very riche, and hir frends bare.
And both these, for loue to wed with me fonde are.
And both wolde I wed, the better and the wurs.
The tone for her person, the tother for her purs.
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They woo not my substance, but my-selfe they wooe.
30 Goodes haue I none, and small good can I dooe.
On this poore mayd hir riche frends I clerely know
(So she wed where thei will) great gifts will bestow.
But with theim all I am so farre from fauer,
ref.ed: 99
That she shall sure haue no grote, if I haue her.
35 And I shall haue as littell, all my frends swere,
Except I folowe theim, to wedde els-where.
The poore frends of this riche widow bere no sway,
But wed hir and wyn welth, whan I will I may.
Now whiche of these twayne is like to be derest
40 In peyne or pleasure to stycke to me nerest,
The depth of all doubts with you to consyder,
The sence of the saied prouerbe sendth me hither.
The best bargain of both quickely to haue skande:
For one of them thynke I to make out of hande.

¶The seconde chapiter.

45 FRende (quoth I) welcome, and with right good will,
I will as I can your will herein fulfyll.
And two thyngs I see in you, that shewe you wise.
Fyrst in weddyng or ye wed, to aske aduise.
The seconde, your yeres beyng yong it apperes,
50 Ye regarde yet good prouerbs of olde ferne yeres.
And as ye grounde your tale vpon one of theim
Furnishe we this tale with euerychone of theim.
Suche as may fitly fall in mynde to dispose,
Agreed (quoth he.) Then (quoth I) first this disclose.
55 Haue you to this olde wydowe, or this yong mayde,
Any wordes of assurance or this tyme sayde?
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Nay in good faithe sayd he. Well than (sayd I)
I will be playne with you, and may honestly.
And plainly to speake, I lyke you (as I sayde)
60 In two fore-tolde things, but a thyrd haue I wayde,
Not so muche to be lyked, as I can deme,
Whiche is in your weddyng your haste so extreme.

The best or wurst thyng to man for this lyfe
Is good or yll choosyng his good or yll wyfe.
65 I meane not onely of body good or bad,
But of all thyngs meete or vnmeete to be had
ref.ed: 100
Suche as at any-tyme by any meane maie
Betwene man and wyfe, loue encrease or decaie.
Where this grounde in any hed, grauely grateth
70 All fyry haste to wed, it soone rebateth.
Som thyngs that prouoke yong men to wed in haste
Show after weddyng that haste maketh waste.
Whan tyme hath tourned white suger to white salte,
Than suche folke se, softe fyre maketh swete malte.
75 And that deliberacion dothe men assyst
Before they wed, to beware of had I wyst.
And than theyr tymely weddyng doth clere appere,
That they were early vp, and neuer the nere.
And ones theyr hasty heate a lyttell controlde,
80 Than perceyue they well, hotte loue sone colde.
And whan hasty witlesse myrth is mated weele,
Good to be mery and wyse, they thynke and feele.
Haste in weddyng som man thynkth his owne auaile
Whan haste proueth a rod made for his owne taile.
85 And whan he is well beaten with his owne rodde,
Than seeth he haste and wisedom, thyngs far odde.
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And that in all, or moste thyngs, wisht at nede,
Moste tymes he seeth, the more haste the lesse spede.
In less things then wedding, haste showth mans fo, haste showth] haste showth haste 1546
90 So that the hasty man neuer wanteth wo.
These sage-sayd sawes yf ye take so profounde,
As ye take that, by whiche ye toke your grounde,
Than fynd ye grounded cause by these now here tolde,
In haste to weddyng your haste to withholde.
95 And though they seme wyues for you neuer so fyt,
Yet let not harmfull haste so far out-ren your wyt,
But that ye harke to here all the holle some,
That maie please or displease you in tyme to come.
Thus by these lessons ye may learne good cheape
100 In weddyng and all-thyng, to loke or ye leape.
ref.ed: 101
Ye haue euen nowe well ouerlookt me (quoth he)
And lepte very nye me to. For I agree.
That these sage sayinges dooe weightily waie
Agaynst haste in all-thyng: but I am at baye.
105 By other parables of lyke weighty weyght,
Which haste me to weddyng as ye shal here streyght.

¶The thyrde chapiter.

HE that will not whan he maie,
Whan he woulde, he shall haue naie.
Beautie or ryches the tone of the tweyne
110 Nowe maie I chose, and whiche me lyst obteyne.
And if we determyne me, this mayde to take,
And than tract of tyme trayne her me to forsa[ke]: forsake] forsaek 1546
Than my beautyfull mariage lythe in the dyke,
And neuer for beautie, shall I wedde the lyke.
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115 Nowe if we awarde me this wydowe to wedde,
And that I dryue of tyme, tyll tyme she be dedde:
Than farewell ryches, the fat is in the fyre.
And neuer shall I to lyke riches aspire.
And a thousande-folde wolde it greue me more,
120 That she in my faute shulde dye one houre before,
Than one minute after. Than haste must prouoke,
Whan the pygge is proferd to holde vp the poke.
Whan the sonne shynth make hey. whiche is to saie,
Take tyme whan tyme commth, lest tyme stele awaie.
125 And one good lesson to this purpose I pyke
From the smiths forge, whan th'yron is hote stryke.
The sure sea-man seeth, the tyde tarieth no man.
And longe delaies or absence somewhat to skan.
Sens that that one wyll not an-other wyll,
130 Delays in wooers must nedes theyr spede spyll.
And touchyng absence, the full accompt who somthe
Shall se, as faste as one gothe an nother comthe.
Tyme is tyckell. and out of syght out of mynde. tyckell: uncertain; perhaps emend to fyckell ='fickle'
ref.ed: 102
Than catch and hold while I may. fast bind fast fynde.
135 Blame me not to haste, for feare myne eie be blerde.
And therby the fat cleane flyt fro my berde.
Where wooers hoppe in and out, long-tyme may bryng
Hym that hoppeth best, at last to haue the ryng.
I hoppyng without, for a ryng of a rushe.
140 And whyle I at length debate and beate the bushe,
There shall steppe in other men, and catche the burdes.
And by longe-tyme lost in many vayne wurdes
Betwene these two wiuis, make slouth spede confound
While betwene two stoles, my taile go to grounde.
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145 By this, sens we se slouth muste brede a skab,
Best sticke to the tone out of hande, hab or nab.
Thus all your prouerbs inuehyng agaynst haste,
Be answerd with prouerbs plaine and promptly plaste.
Wherby, to purpose all this no further fits,
150 But to shew, so many hedds so many wits.
Whiche shewe as surely in all that they all tell,
That in my weddyng I may euen as well
Tary to longe, and therby come to late,
As come to soone by haste in any rate.
155 And proue this prouerbe, as the words thereof go,
Haste or slouth herein worke nother welth nor wo.
Be it far or ny, weddyng is desteny,
And hangyng lykewise, sayth that prouerbe, sayd I.
Than wed or hang (quoth he) what helpth in the whole
160 To haste or hang a_loofe, happy man, happy dole.
Ye deale this dole (quoth I) out at a wrong dur:
For desteny in this case doth not so stur
Agaynst mans indeuour, but man may direct
His will, fore-prouision to worke or neglect.
165 But to shew that quick wedding may bryng good spede
Somwhat to purpose, your prouerbs proue in-dede.
Howbeit, whether they counterpayse or out-way
The prouerbes, whiche I before them dyd lay,
ref.ed: 103
The triall therof we wyll lay a_water, lay a-water: 'make of no effect or value; dissipate'. See OED s.v. water n. 11.c
170 Tyll we trie more. For trying of whiche mater
Declare all commoditees ye can deuyse,
That by those two weddyngs to you can ryse.

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¶The fourth chapiter.

I will (quoth he) in bothe these cases streight show,
What things as (I think) to me by them wil grow.
175 And where my loue began there begyn will I.
With this mayde, the peece peerelesse in myn eie.
Whom I so fauour, and she so fauourth me,
That halfe a death to vs a_sonder to be.
Affection eche to other dothe vs so moue,
180 That well-ny without foode we coulde liue by loue.
For be I right sad, or right sicke, from her syght,
Her presence absenteth all maladies quyght.
Whiche seen, and that the great ground in mariage
Standth vpon lykyng the parties personage,
185 And than of olde prouerbs in openyng the packe,
One shewth me openly in loue is no lacke.
No lacke of lykyng, but lacke of lyuyng,
Maie lacke in loue (quoth I) and brede yll cheuyng.
Well as to that (saied he) harke this o thyng,
190 What tyme I lacke not her, I lacke nothyng.
But though we haue nought, not nought we can geat
God neuer sendeth mouthe, but he sendeth meat.
And a harde begynnyng maketh a good endyng.
In space comth grace, and this further amendyng.
195 Seldom comth the better, and lyke will to like.
God sendth colde after clothes. And this I pike.
She, by lacke of substance semyng but a sparke,
Steynth yet the stoutest. For a leg of a larke
Is better than is the body of a kyght.
200 And home is homely, though it be poore in syght.
These prouerbs for this parte shew such a flourishe,
ref.ed: 104
And then this partie dothe delite so nourishe,
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That much is my bow bent to shoote at these marks,
And kyl feare. when the sky falth we shal haue larks.
205 All perils that fall may, who feareth they fall shall,
Shall so feare all-thyng, that he shall let fall all,
And be more frayd than hurt, if the thyngs wer doone.
Feare may force a man to cast beyonde the moone.
Who hopeth in gods helpe, his helpe can not sterte.
210 Nothyng is impossible to a willyng herte.
And will may wyn my herte, herein to consent,
To take all-thyng as it comthe, and be content.
And here is (quoth he) in mariyng of this mayde,
For courage and commoditee all myne ayde.
215 Well saied (saied I) but a while kepe we in quenche
All this case, as touchyng this poore yong wenche.
And nowe declare your whole consideracion,
What maner thyngs draw your imaginacion,
Toward your weddyng of this widow ryche and olde.
220 That shall ye (quoth he) out of hande haue tolde.

¶The fyfte chapiter.

THis wydowe beyng foule, and of fauour yll,
In good behauour can veraie good skyll.
Pleasauntly spoken, and a veraie good wyt,
And at her table, whan we togither syt,
225 I am well serued, we fare of the best.
The meate good and holsome, and holsomly drest.
Swete and softe lodgyng, and thereof great shyft.
This felte and sene, with all implementes of thrift,
Of plate and money suche cupbordes and cofers,
230 And that without peyne I may wyn these profers,
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Than couetyse bearyng Venus bargayn backe,
Praisyng this bargain, saith, better leaue than lacke.
And gredynesse, to drawe desire to this lore,
Saieth, that the wise man saieth, store is no sore.
ref.ed: 105
235 Who hath many pease maie put the mo in the pot.
Of two yls, chose the least while choyse lyth in lot.
Sens lacke is an yll, as yll as man may haue,
To prouide for the worst, while the best it-selfe saue.
Resty welth wylth me this wydow to wyn,
240 To let the worlde wag, and take myne ease in myne yn.
He must nedes swym, that is holde vp by the chyn.
He laug[h]th that wynth. And this threde finer to spyn, laughth] laugth 1546
Maister promocion saieth, make this substance sure,
If ryches bryng ones portly countenaunce in vre,
245 Than shalt thou rule the rost all rounde about.
And better to rule, than be ruled by the rout.
It is saied: be it better be it wurs,
Doo ye after hym that beareth the purs.
Thus be I by this, ones le senior de graunde,
250 Many that commaunded me, I shall commaunde.
And also I shall to reuenge former hurts,
Hold their noses to grinstone, and sit on their skurts,
That erst sat on myne. And ryches may make
Frends many ways. Thus better to gyue than take.
255 And to make carnall appetite content
Reason laboreth wyll to wyn wyls consent,
To take lacke of beautie but as an eye-sore.
The faire and the foule, by darke are lyke store.
next two lines added in 1549
As this prouerbe saieth, for quenchyng hot desyre, As] And 1549
260 Foule water as soone as fayre, wyl quenche hot fire.
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Where gyfts be gyuen freely, est west north or south,
No man ought to loke a geuen hors in the mouth.
And though hir mouth be foule, she hath a faire taile,
I constre this text, as is moste myne auaile.
265 In want of white teeth and yelow heares to behold,
She flourisheth in white syluer and yelow gold.
ref.ed: 106
What though she be toothlesse and balde as a coote?
Hir substance is shootanker, wherat I shoote.
Take a peyne for a pleasure all wise men can.
270 What, hungry doggs will eat durty puddyngs man.
And here I conclude (quoth he) all that I knowe
By this olde wydow, what good to me may grow.

¶The sixt chapiter.

YE haue (quoth I) in these conclusions founde
Sundry thyngs, that veraie sauerly sounde.
275 And bothe these long cases, being well vewde
In one short question, we maie well inclewde
Whiche is, whether best or wurst be to be ledde
With ryches, without loue or beautie, to wedde:
Or with beautee without rychesse for loue.
280 This question (quoth he) inquerth all that I moue.
It doth so (sayd I) and is nerely couched.
But th'answere wil not so breuely be touched.
And your-selfe, to length it, taketh direct trade.
For to all reasons, that I haue yet made,
285 Ye seme more to seke reasons howe to contende,
Than to the counsell of myne to condiscende.
And to be playne, as I must with my freende,
I perfitly feele euen at my fyngers eende.
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So hard is your hand set on your halpeny:
290 That my reasonyng your reason setteth nought by.
But reason for reason, ye so styffely ley
By prouerbe for prouerbe, that with you do wey,
That reason onely shall herein nought moue you
To here more than speake. wherfore I wil proue you
295 With reason, assisted by experience.
Whiche my-selfe sawe, not long sens nor far hence.
In a matter so like this fashond in frame,
That none can be liker, it semthe euen the same.
And in the same, as your-selfe shall espy
ref.ed: 107
300 Eche sentence soothed with a prouerbe. welny,
And at ende of the same, ye shall cleerely see
Howe this short question shortly answerd maie bee.
Ye mary (quoth he) now ye shoote ny the pricke.
Practise in all, aboue all toucheth the quicke.
305 Profe vpon practise, must take holde more sure,
Than any reasonyng by gesse can procure.
If ye bryng practise in place, without fablyng,
I will banishe bothe haste and busy bablyng.
And yet that promise to performe is mickell.
310 For in this case my tong must oft tickell.
Ye knowe well it is, as telth vs this olde tale,
Meete, that a man be at his owne bridale.
If he wyue well (quoth I) meete and good it were.
Or els as good for hym an-other were there.
315 But for this your bridale I meane not in it,
That silence shall suspend your speche euery whit,
But in these mariages, whiche ye here meue,
Sens this tale conteinth the counsell I can geue,
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I wold se your eares attende with your tong,
320 For aduise in bothe these weddyngs olde and yong.
In whiche heryng, tyme seene when and what to talke,
When your tong tyckleth, at will let it walke.
And in these brydales, to the reasons of ours,
Marke myne experyence in this case of yours.

¶The .vii. chapiter.

325 [W]ithin few yeres past, from London no far waie, 'W' of 'Within'=VV
Where I and my wife, with our poore houshold laie,
Two yong men were abydyng, whom to discriue
Were I, in portraying persons dead or aliue,
As counnyng and as quicke, to touche theim at full,
330 As in that feate I am ignorant and dull,
Neuer coulde I paynte, their pictures to allow,
More lyuely, than to paynt the picture of yow.
ref.ed: 108
And as your thre persons shew one similitewd,
So shew you thre one, in all thyngs to be vewd.
335 Lyke-wise a widowe and a mayd there did dwell,
A_lyke lyke the wydow and mayde ye of tell.
The frends of theim foure in euery degree,
Standyng in state as the frendes of you three.
Those two men, eche other so hasted or taried,
340 That those two women on one daie they maried.
Into two houses, whiche next my house dyd stande,
The one on the right, th'other on the left hande.
Both brydegromes bad me, I coulde do none other,
But dyne with the tone, and sup with the tother.
345 He that wedded this widow riche and olde,
And also she, fauourd me so, that they wolde
sig: [B4]
Make me dine or sup ones or twise in a weke.
This poore yong man and his make beyng to seke
As oft, where they might eate or drinke, I them bad,
350 Were I at home, to suche pittaunce as I had.
Whiche commen conference suche confidence wrought
In theim to me, that dede, worde, ne welny thought
Chaunced among theim, what-euer it weare,
But one of the foure brought it streight to myn eare.
355 Wherby betwene these twayne, and their two wiues,
Bothe for welthe and wo, I knew al theyr four liues.
And sens the matter is muche intricate,
Betwene syde and syde, I shall here separate
All matters on bothe sydes, and than sequestrate,
360 Th'one syde, while th'other be full reherste, in rate,
As for your vnderstandyng maie best stande.
And this yong poore couple shal come fyrst in hande.
Who, the daie of weddyng and after, a while,
Could not loke eche on other, but they must smile.
365 As a whelpe for wantonnes in and out whipps,
So plaied these tweyne, as mery as thre chipps.
Ye there was god (quoth he) whan all is doone.
ref.ed: 109
Abyde (quoth I) it was yet but hony-moone.
The blacke oxe had not trode on his nor her foote.
370 But er this branche of blys coulde reache any roote,
The floures so faded, that in fiftene weekes,
A man myght espie the chaunge in the cheekes,
Both of this pore wretch, and his wife this pore wenche.
Their faces told toies, that Totnam was turnd frenche
375 And all their light laughyng turnd and translated
Into sad syghyng, all myrth was amated. amated: ='cast down'; see OED s.v. amate, amated
sig: [B4v]
And one mornyng tymely he tooke in hande,
To make to my house, a [s]leeuelesse errande. sleeuelesse] fleeuelesse 1546sleeuelesse: =fruitless; see OED s.v. sleeveless a., 2 (answer, message, etc.).

Haukyng vpon me, his mynde herein to breake.
380 Whiche I would not see, tyll he began to speake.
Praying me to here hym. And I saied, I wolde.
Wherwith this that foloweth forthwith he tolde.

The .viii. chapter.

I Am now driuen (quoth he) for ease of my herte,
To you, to vtter part of myne inward smerte.
385 And the matter concerneth my wife and me.
Whose fathers and mothers long sens dead be.
But vncles, with auntes and cosyns, haue wee
Diuers riche on bothe sides, so that we dyd see,
If we had wedded, eche, where eche kynred wolde,
390 Neither of vs had lackt, either siluer or golde.
But neuer coulde suite, on either syde obtayne
One peny, to the one weddyng of vs twayne.
And sens our one mariyng or marryng-daie,
Where any of theim se vs, they shrinke awaie,
395 Solemnly swearyng, suche as maie geue ought,
While they and we lyue, of theim we get right nought.
Nor nought haue we, nor no-waie ought can we get,
Sauyng by borowyng, tyll we be in det
So far, that no man any more will vs lende.
400 Wherby, for lacke we bothe be at our witts ende.
ref.ed: 110
Wherof no wonder, sens the ende of our good,
And begynnyng of our charge, to_gither stood.
But wyt is neuer good tyll it be bought.
Howbeit whan bought wits to best price be brought:
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405 Yet is one good forewyt worth two after-wits.
This payth me home lo, and full my foly hyts.
For had I lookt afore, with indifferent eye,
Though haste had made my thurst neuer so drye:
Yet to drown this drought, this must I nedes thynk,
410 As I wolde nedes brewe, so must I nedes drynk.
The drynke of my bride-cup I shulde haue forborne,
Tyll temperance had tempred the taste beforne.
I se nowe, and shall see whyle I am alyue,
Who wedth or he be wise, shall dye er he thryue.
next two lines added in 1549
I syng in this facte, factus est repente,
Now my eies be open I do repente me.
415 He that will selle lawne, er he can folde it,
He shall repent hym er he haue solde it.
next six lines added in 1549
Som bargains dere bought, good chepe wold be sold
No man loueth his fetters, be they made of gold.
Were I loose from the louely lynkes of my chayne,
I wolde not daunce in suche faire fetters agayne,
In house to kepe household, whan folks wyll wed,
Mo thyngs belong, than foure bare legs in a bed.
I reckned my weddyng a suger-sweete spice,
But reckners without their host must recken twice.
And all-though it were sweete for a weeke or twayne,
420 Swete meate wil haue sowre sauce, I se now playne.
Continuall penurie, whyche I must take,
Telth me, better eye out than alwaie ake.
Boldly and blyndly I ventred on this,
How-be-it, who so bolde as blynde bayard is?
425 And herein to blame any man, than shulde I raue.
For I dyd it my-selfe: and selfe do, selfe haue.
But a daie after the fayre, comth this remors,
ref.ed: 111
For relefe: for though it be a good hors
That neuer stumbleth, what praise can that auouche
430 To iades, that breke their necks at first tryp or touche.
And before this my first foile or breakneck fall,
Subtilly lyke a shepe thought I, I shall
Cut my cote after my cloth. Whan I haue her.
But now I can smell, nothyng hath no sauer.
sig: [C1v]
435 I am taught to know, in more haste than good speede,
How iudicare came into the Creede.
My carefull wife in one corner wepeth in care,
And I in an-other, the purse is threde-bare.
This corner of our care (quoth he) I you tell,
440 To craue therin your comfortable counsell.

¶The nynthe chapiter.

I Am sory (quoth I) of your pouertee,
And more sory that I can nat succour ye.
If ye stur your nede myne almesse to stur,
Than of trouth ye beg at a wrong mans dur.
445 There is nothyng more vayne, as your-selfe tell can,
Than to beg a breeche of a bare-arst man.
I come to beg nothyng of you, quoth he,
Saue your aduise, whiche maie my best waie be.
How to wyn present salue, for this present sore.
450 I am like th'yll surgeon (saied I) without store
Of good plasters. Howbeit suche as they are,
Ye shall haue the best I haue. But fyrst declare,
Where your and your wiues riche kynsfolke do dwell.
Enuyrouned about vs (quoth he) which shewth well,
455 The nere to the churche, the ferther from god.
Most parte of theim dwell within a thousand rod.
And yet shall we catche a hare with a taber,
As soone as catche ought of them, and rather.
Ye plaie coleprophet (quoth I) who takth in hande,
460 To knowe his answere before he doo his errande.
ref.ed: 112
What shulde I to them (quoth he) flyng or flyt,
An vnbidden geast knoweth not where to syt.
next two lines added in 1549
I am cast at carts ars, some folke in lacke
Can not prease, A broken sleue holdth th'arme backe.
sig: C2
Shame drawth me backe, beyng thus forsaken. Shame] And shame 1549
Tushe man (quoth I) shame is as it is taken.
465 And shame take him that shame thinkth, ye thinke none.
Vnmynded, vnmoned, go make your mone.
next four lines added in 1549
Tyll meate fall in your mouth, will ye lye in bed,
Or sitte styll? nay. he that gapeth tyll he be fed,
Maie fortune to fast, and famishe for hunger.
Set forward, ye shall neuer labour yonger.
Well (quoth he) if I shall nede this viage make,
With as good will as a beare goth to the stake,
I will streight waie anker and hoise vp saile. hoise: =hoist
470 And thitherward hie me in haste like a snaile.
And home agayne hitherward quicke as a bee.
Nowe for good lucke, cast an olde shoe after mee.
And fyrst to myne vncle, brother to my father.
By suite, I will assaie to wyn some fauer.
475 Who brought me vp, and tyll my weddyng was don
Loued me, not as his nephew, but as his son.
And his heyre had I been, had not this chaunced,
Of landes and gooddes, which shuld [haue] me much auanced. haue] 1546 omits
Trudge (quoth I) to hym, and on your marybones,
480 Crouche to the grounde, a[n]d not so ofte as ones,
Speake any one worde hym to contrary.
I can not tell that (quoth he) by seynt Mary.
I knowe not howe I shall be pryckt to speake. I knowe not howe I shall be pryckt to speake] One yll worde axeth an-other, as folks speake 1549
Well (quoth I) better is to bowe than breake.
next two lines added in 1549
It hurteth not the tongue to geue fayre wurds.
The rough net is not the best catcher of burds.
485 Sens ye can nought wyn, yf ye can not please,
Best is to suffer. For of suffrance comth ease.
ref.ed: 113
Cause causeth (quoth he) and as cause causeth me,
So will I doo. And with this awaie went he.
Yet whether his wyfe should go with hym or no,
490 He sent hir to me to knowe er he wolde go.
Wherto I saied, I thought best he went alone.
And you (quoth I) to go streight as he is gone,
sig: [C2v]
Among your kynsfolke likewise, if they dwell ny.
Yes (quoth she) all round about euen here-by.
495 Namely an aunte, my mothers syster, who well
(Sens my mother died) brought me vp from the shell.
And much wold haue giuen me, had mi wedding grown
Vpon hir fansy, as it grewe vpon myne own.
And in likewise myne vncle her husband, was
500 A father to me. Well (quoth I) let pas.
And if your husband will his assent graunte,
Go, he to his vncle, and you to your aunte.
Yes this assent he graunteth before (quoth she)
For he or this thought this the best waie to be.
505 But of these two thynges he wolde determyne none
Without aide. For two hedds are better than one.
With this we departed, she to her husband,
And I to dyner to theim on th'other hande.

¶The tenth chapiter.

[W]han dyner was doon, I cam home agayne, 'W' of 'Whan'=VV
510 To attende on the returne of these twayne.
And er three houres to ende were fully tryde,
Home came she fyrst, welcom (quoth I) and wel hyde.
Ye a shorte horse is soone corryd (quoth shee) corryd: =curried
But the weaker hath the worse we all daie see.
515 After our last partyng, my husband and I
Departed, eche to place agreed formerly.
Myne vncle and aunte on me dyd loure and glome.
Bothe bad me god-spede, but none bad me welcome.
Their folkes glomd on me to, by whiche it appereth,
ref.ed: 114
520 The yong cocke croweth, as he the olde hereth.
sig: C3
At dyner they were, and made (for maners sake)
A kynswoman of ours, me to table take.
A false flattryng fylth, and if that be good,
None better to beare two faces in a hood.
525 She speaketh as she wolde crepe into your bosome.
And whan the meale-mouth hath won the bottome
Of your stomake, than will the pikthanke it tell
To your moste enmies, you to bie and sell.
next two lines added in 1549
To tell tales out of schoole, that is her great lust.
Loke what she knowth, blab it wist, and out it must.
There is no mo suche tytifils in Englands grounde,
530 To holde with the hare, and run with the hounde.
Fyre in the tone hande, and water in the tother,
The makebate bereth betwene brother and brother.
She can wynk on the yew, and wery the lam,
She maketh ernest matters of euery flymflam.
535 She must haue an ore in euery mans barge.
And no man [may] chat ought in ought of her charge. may] 1546 omits, may 1546 (Westminster copy), may 1549
Colle vnder canstyk she can plaie on both hands, canstyk: =contracted form of candlestick
Dissimulacion well she vnderstands.
She is lost with an appull, and woon with a nut.
540 Her tong is no edge-toole, but yet it will cut.
Hir chekes are purple-ruddy like a horse-plumme.
And the bygge part of hir body is hir bumme.
But littell tit all tayle, I haue herde er this,
As high as two horseloues hir persone is.
545 For priuy nyps or casts ouerthwart the shyns,
He shall lese the maystry that with her begyns,
She is, to turne loue to hate, or ioye to grefe
A paterne, as mete as a rope for a thefe.
Hir promise of frendshyp, for any auayle,
550 Is as sure to holde, as an eele by the tayle.
sig: [C3v]
She is nother fishe nor fleshe nor good red hearyng.
She maie doo muche there, and I therby fearyng She maie doo muche there, and I therby fearyng] She is a ryngleader there, and I fearyng 1549
ref.ed: 115
She wolde spit her venym, thought it not euyll
To set vp a candell before the deuyll.
555 I clawd her by the backe in waie of a charme,
To do me, not the more good, but the lesse harme.
All that dyner-tyme we syttyng to_gether,
Aboue all, with her I made fayre wether.This and the previous line found in 1546 only
Praying her in her eare, on my syde to holde,
560 She therto swearyng by her false faith, she wolde.
Streight after dyner myne aunte had no choyce,
But other burst, or burst out in pylats voyce.
Ye huswife, what wind blowth ye hyther thus right?
Ye might haue knokt or ye came in, leaue is lyght.
565 Better vnborne than vntaught, I haue herde saie,
But ye be better fed then taught far awaie.
Not veraie fat fed, saied this flebergebet,
But nede hath no lawe, nede maketh her hither iet.
She comth nece Ales (quoth she) for that is her name
570 More for nede, then for kyndnes, payne of shame.
Howbeit she can not lacke, for he fyndth that seekes,
Louers lyue by loue, ye as larks lyue by leekes.
Saied this Ales, muche more than half in mockage.
Tushe (quoth myne aunte) these louers in dotage
575 Think the ground beares them not, but wed of corage
They must in all haste, though a leafe of borage
Myght bye all the substaunce that they can sell.
Well aunt (quoth Ales) all is well that ends well.
Ye Ales, of a good begynnyng comth a good ende.
580 Not so good to borow, as be able to lende.
sig: [C4]
Nay in-dede aunt (quoth she) it is sure so,
She must nedes grant, she hath wrought hir own wo.
She thought Ales, she had sene far in a mylstone,
Whan she gat a husband, and namely such one,
585 As they by weddyng coulde not onely nought wyn,
ref.ed: 116
But lose both lyuyng and loue of all theyr kyn.
Good aunt (quoth I) humbly I beseche ye,
My trespase done to you forgyue it me.
I know and knowlage, I haue wrought myn own pein
590 But things past my hands, I can not call agein.
True (quoth Ales) things done, can not be vndoone,
Be they done in due tyme, to late, or to soone.
But better late then neuer to repent this.
To late (quoth myne aunt) this repentance shewd is.
595 Whan the stede is stolne, shut the stable-durre.
I tooke her for a rose, but she bredeth a burre.
She comth to stycke to me now in her lacke,
Rather to rent of my clothes fro my backe,
Then to doo me one ferthyng-wurth of good.
600 I see daie at this little hole. For this bood
Shewth what fruit wil folow. In good faith I saide
In waie of peticion I sue for your aide.
A well (quoth she) nowe I well vnderstande
The walking-staffe hath caught warmth in your hand
605 A cleane-fyngerd huswyfe and an ydel, folke saie,
And will be lyme-fyngerd I feare by my faie.
It is as tender as a persons lemman.
Nought can she doo, and what can she haue than?
next four lines added in 1549
As sober as she seemth, fewe dayes come about
But she will ones washe her face in an ale-clout.
And than betwene her, and the rest of the rout,
I proud, and thou proud, who shall beare th'asshes out.
She maie not beare a fether, but she must brethe,
610 She maketh so muche of her paynted shethe.
sig: [C4v]
She thynkth her ferthyng good siluer I tell you.
But for a ferthyng who-euer dyd sell you
Myght bost you to be better solde than bought.
And yet thogh she be worth nought, nor haue nought
615 Her gowne is gaier and better than myne.
At her gaie gowne (quoth Ales) ye maie repyne.
ref.ed: 117
Howe-be-it as we maie we loue to go gaie all.
Well well (quoth myne aunte) pride will haue a fall.
For pride goeth before, and shame cometh after.
620 Sure (saied Ales) in maner of mockyng laughter,
There is nothyng in this worlde that agreeth wurs,
Than dothe a ladies hert, and a beggers purs.
But pride she shewth none, her looke reason alowth,
She lookth as butter wolde not melt in her mouth.
625 Well the styll sow eats vp all the draffe Ales.
All is not golde that glistreth by olde-tolde tales.
In youth she was towarde and without euyll,
But soone ripe sone rotten, yong seynt olde deuill.
How-be-it lo god sendth the shrewd cow short hornes.
630 While she was in this house she sat vpon thornes.
Eche one daie was three, tyll libertee was borow
For one months ioy to bryng her holle lyues sorow.
It were pitee (quoth Ales) she shulde myscary. she shulde myscary] but she should do well 1549
For she is growne a goodly damsell mary. For she is growne a goodly damsell mary] For beautie and stature she beareth the bell 1549
635 Ill weed growth fast Ales. wherby the corne is lorne.
For surely the weed ouergroweth the corne.
next four lines added in 1549
Ye praise the vine, before ye taste of the grape.
But she can no more harme than can a shee-ape.
It is a good body, her propertee preues.
She lacketh but euen a newe payre of sleues.
If I maie (as they saie) tell trouth without syn,
Of trouthe she is a wolfe in a lambes-skyn.
Her herte is full hye, whan her eie is full lowe.
640 A geast as good lost as founde, for all this showe.
sig: D[1]
But many a good cowe hath an euyll calfe.
I speake this doughter in thy mothers behalfe.
My syster (god rest her soule) whom though I bost,
Was cald the floure of honestee in this coste.
645 Aunt (quoth I) I take for father and mother
Myne vncle and you aboue all other.
ref.ed: 118
When we wold, ye wold not be our chyld (quoth she.)
Wherfore now whan ye wold, now will not we.
Sens thou woldst nedes cast awaie thy-selfe thus,
650 Thou shalte sure synke in thyne owne syn for vs.
next six lines added in 1549
Aunt (quoth I) after a dotyng or dronken deede,
Let submission obteine some mercie or meede.
He that kylth a man, whan he is dronke (quoth she)
Shalbe hangd whan he is sobre. And he,
Whom in ytchyng no scratchyng will forbeare,
He must beare the smartyng that shall folowe there.
Thou arte in-dede borne veraie ny of my stocke, Thou arte in-dede] And thou beyng 1549
And ny is my kyrtell, but nere is my smocke. And ny is] Though ny be 1549; but] yet 1549nere: =nearer

I haue one of myne owne, whom I must loke to.
Ye aunte (quoth Ales) that thyng must ye nedes do.
655 Nature compellth you to set your owne fyrst vp.
For I haue heard saie, it is a deere colup,
That is cut out of th'owne fleshe. But yet aunte,
So smal maie hir request be, that ye maie graunt
To satisfie the same, whiche maie doo her good,
660 And you no harme in th'auancyng your owne blood.
And cosyn (quoth she to me) what ye wold craue,
Declare, that our aunt may know what ye wold haue.
Nay (quoth I) be they wynners or loosers,
Folke say alwaie, beggers shulde be no choosers.
665 With thanks I shal take what-euer myn aunt please,
Where nothyng is, a little thyng doth ease.
next two lines added in 1549
Hunger makth hard beanes swete. where saddels lack
Better ride on a pad, than on the hors bare-backe.
And by this prouerbe appereth this o thyng,
That alwaie somewhat is better than nothyng.
Hold fast whan ye haue it (quoth she) by my lyfe.
670 The boy thy husbande, and thou the gyrle his wyfe,
sig: [D1v]
Shall not consume that I haue laboured fore.
Thou art yong inough, and I can worke no more.
ref.ed: 119
Kyt_calot my cosyn sawe this thus far on
And in myne aunts eare she whispreth anon
675 Roundly these words, to make this matter whole.
Aunt, leat theim that be a_colde blowe at the cole.
They shall for me Ales (quoth she) by gods blyst.
She and I haue shaken handes. farewell vnkyst.
And thus with a becke as good as a dieu-gard,
680 She flang fro me, and I from her hitherward.
Beggyng of her booteth not the worth of a beane,
Litle knoweth the fat sow, what the lean doth meane.
Forsoth (quoth I) ye haue bestyrd ye well.
But where was your vncle while all this fray fell?
685 A_sleepe by (quoth she) routyng like a hog.
And it is euill wakyng of a slepyng dog.
The bitche and her whelp might haue been a_sleep to.
For ought they in wakyng to me would do.
Fare ye well (quoth she) I will now home streyte.
690 And at my husbands hands for better news weyte.

¶The leuenth chapiter.

HE came home to me the next daie before noone.
What tidings now (quoth I) how haue ye doone?
Vpon our departyng (quoth he) yesterdaie
Toward myn vncles, somwhat more than mydway,
695 I ouertoke a man, a seruaunt of his,
And a frende of myne. who gessed streight with this,
What myne errand was, offeryng in the same,
To do his best for me, and so in gods name.
sig: D2
Thyther we went, no-body beyng within,
700 But myne vncle, myne aunte, and one of our kyn.
A madde knaue, as it were a raylyng gester,
Not a more gagglyng gander hense to Chester.
At syght of me he asked, who haue we there?
I haue seen this gentylma[n], yf I wyst where.
705 Howe-be-it lo, seldome sene, soone forgotten.
ref.ed: 120
He was (as he will be) somwhat cupshotten.
Sixe daies in a weeke, beside the market-daie,
Malt is aboue wheate with hym, market-men saie.
But for-as-muche as I sawe, the same taunt
710 Contented well myne vncle and myne aunt,
And that I came to fall in, and not fall out,
I forbare. or els his dronken red snout
I wold haue made as oft chaunge from hew to hew,
As doth the cocks of Inde. For this is trew.
715 It is a small hop on my thomb. And Christ wot,
It is wood at a woorde. little pot soone whot.
Now mery as a cricket, and by and by,
Angry as a waspe, though in bothe no cause why.
But he was at home there, he myght speake his will.
720 Euery cocke is proude on his owne dunghill.
I shall be euen with hym herein whan I can.
But he hauyng done, thus myne vncle began.
Ye marchant, what attempth you, to attempt vs,
To come on vs before the messanger thus.
725 Romyng in and out, I here tell how ye tosse.
But sonne, the rollyng stone neuer gatherth mosse.
Lyke a pickpurs pilgrym, ye prie and ye proule
At rouers, to robbe Peter and paie Poule.
sig: [D2v]
Iwys I knowe, er any more be tolde,
730 That draff is your errand, but drynke ye wolde.
Vncle (quoth I) of the cause, for whiche I com,
I pray you paciently here the hole som.
In feyth (quoth he) without any more summyng
I know to beg of me is thy cummyng.
735 For-sooth (quoth his man) it is so in-deede.
And I dare boldly bost, yf ye knew his neede,
Ye wold of pytee yet set hym in some stey.
Sonne, better be enuied then pitied, folke sey.
And for his cause of pitee (had he had grace)
740 He myght this daie haue been clere out of the case.
ref.ed: 121
But now he hath well fisht and caught a frog.
Where nought is to wed with, wise men flee the clog.
Where I (quoth I) dyd not as ye wyld or bad,
That repent I oft, and as oft wyshe I had.
745 Sonne (quoth he) as I haue herde of myn olders,
Wishers and wolders be no good householders.
This prouerbe for a lesson, with suche other,
Not lyke (as who seyth) the sonne of my brother,
But lyke myne owne sonne, I ofte before shewd the,
750 To cast her quyte of, but it wolde not be.
Whan I wyld the any other-where to go,
Tushe, there were no mo maydens but malkyn tho.
Ye had been lost to lacke your lust, whan ye lyst,
By two miles trudgyng twise a weke to be kyst.
755 I would ye had kyst, well I will no more sturre,
It is good to haue a hatche before the durre.
next four lines added in 1549
But who will in tyme present pleasure refrayne,
Shall in tyme to come, the more pleasure obtayne.
Folowe pleasure, and than will pleasure flee.
Flee pleasure, and pleasure will folow thee.
But how is my saying come to passe now? But] And 1549
How oft dyd I prophecie this betwene you,
sig: D3
And your gynyfinee nycebycetur,
760 Whan swete sugar shulde turne to soure salt-petur?
Wherby ye shulde in seyng, that ye neuer sawe.
Thynke that you neuer thought. your-selfe a dawe.
But that tyme ye thought me a dawe. so that I
Dyd no good in all my wordes than, saue onely
765 Approued this prouerbe playn and true mater,
A man may well bryng a horse to the water.
But he can not make hym drynke without he will.
Colts (quoth his man) may proue wel, with tatchis yl
For of a ragged colt there comthe a good horse.
770 If he be good now, of his yll past no forse.
ref.ed: 122
Well he that hangth hym-selfe a sondaie (saied he)
Shall hang styll vncut downe a mondaie for me.
I haue hangd vp my hatchet, god spede hym well.
A wonder thyng what thyngs these old thyngs tell.
775 Cat after kynd good mouse hunt. And also
Men sey, kynde wyll crepe where it can not go.
next three lines added in 1549
Commonly all-thyng shewth from whens it camme.
The litter is lyke to the syre and the damme.
Howe can the fole amble, yf the hors and mare trot?
These sentences to the I maie assyne to the I maie assyne] are assigned vnto thy lot 1549
By thy father, the said brother of myne. By thy father, the said brother of myne] By condicions of thy father and mother 1549
next line added in 1549
My syster in lawe, and mine owne said brother.
Thou folowist his stepps as ryght as a lyne. his] their 1549; ryght] tight 1549
780 For when prouander pryckt him a lytle tyne, him] them 1549
He dyd as thou didst. One, on whom he dyd dote, He dyd as thou didst. One, on whom he dyd dote,] They did as thy wife and thou dyd. bothe dote 1549
He wedded in haste, with whome he had no grote. He wedded in haste, with whome he had no grote] Eche on other, and beyng not worth one grote 1549
And she as lytle with hym. wherby at last And she as lytle with hym] They went (witlesse) to weddyng 1549
They bothe went a_beggyng. And euen the like caste
785 Haste thou. thou wilte beg or steale, or thou die,
Take hede frende, I haue sene as far come as nie.
If ye seke to fynde thynges er they be lost,
Ye shall fynde one daie you come to your cost.
sig: [D3v]
This doo I but repete, for this I tolde the,
790 And more I say. but I coulde not than holde the.
Nor wyll not holde the now: nor suche foly feele,
To set at my herte, that thou settest at thy heele.
And as of my good, er I one grote gyue,
I wyll se how my wyfe, and my-selfe shall lyue.
next two lines added in 1549
Thou goest a_gleinyng er the cart haue caried.
ref.ed: 123
But er thou gleind ought, sens thou woldst be maried
795 Shall I make the laugh now, and my-selfe wepe then?
Nay good childe, better childern wepe than old men.
next twelve lines added in 1549
Men shuld not prese muche, to spend muche vpon fooles
Fisshe is caste awaie that is caste in drye pooles.
To flee charge, and fynde ease, ye wold now here oste,
It is easy to crye vle at other mens coste.
But a bowe long bent, at length must waxe weake.
Long bent I toward you, but that bent I wil breake.
Fare well and fede full, that loue you well to do.
But you lust not to do, that longeth therto.
The cat would eate fysshe, and wold not wet her feete
They must hongre in frost, that wil not work in heete.
And he that will thryue, must aske leaue of his wyfe.
But your wyfe wyll geue none, by your and her lyfe.
It is harde to wiue and thriue both in a yere.
But by thy wyuyng, thryuyng doth so appere, But] Thus 1549
That thou art past thryft, before thrifte begyn.
800 But lo, will will haue will, though will wo wyn.
Will is a good sonne, and will is a shrewde boy.
And wilfull shrewde will hath wrought the this toy.
A gentill white spurre, and at nede a sure speare.
He standth now as he had a flea in his eare.
805 How-be-it for any great courtesy he doth make,
It semth the gentyll-man hath eaten a stake.
He beareth a dagger in his sleue, truste me,
To kyll all that he meteth, prouder than he.
next four lines added in 1549
He wyll perke, I here saie, he must haue the benche.
Iacke wold be a gentilman, yf he could speke frenche.
He thinkth his fete be, where his hed shal neuer come
He would fayne flee, but he wanteth fethers, some.
Sir (quoth his man) he will no faute defende,
810 But harde is for any man all fautes to mende.
He is lyueles, that is fautles, olde folkes thought,
ref.ed: 124
He hath (quoth he) but one faute, he is nought.
next four lines added in 1549
Well (quoth his man) the best cart maie ouerthrowe.
Carts well driuen (quoth he) go longe vpright thowe.
But for my rewarde, let hym be no longer taryer.
I will send it hym, by Iohn_Long the caryer.
Helpe hym syr (quoth his man) sens ye easily maie. Helpe] O helpe 1549; (quoth his man)] saied he 1549
next two lines added in 1549
Shamfull crauyng (quoth he) must haue shamfull naie.
Ye maie syr (quoth he) mende thre naies with one ye.
Two fals knaues nede no broker (quoth he) men saie, (quoth he) men saie] men saie (saied he) 1549
next two lines added in 1549
Some saie also: It is mery whan knaues mete.
But the mo knaues the worse company to grete.
815 The one knaue now crouchith, while th'other crauith
But to shewe what shall be his releuauith, releuauith: see OED s.v. releavavith (=relief)
Either after my deathe, yf my will be kept,
Or duryng my lyfe, had I this halle hept
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With golde, he maie his parte on good-fryday eate,
820 And fast neuer the wurs, for ought he shall geate.
next two lines added in 1549
These former lessons conde, take forth this, sonne.
Tell thy cardes, and than tel me what thou hast wonne.
Nowe here is the doore, and there is the wey.
And so (quoth he) farewell gentill Geffrey.
Thus parted I from hym, beyng muche dismaied,
Whiche his man saw, and (to comfort me) saied.
825 What man, plucke vp your herte, be of good chere.
After clouds blacke, we shall haue wether clere.
What shuld your face thus agayn the woll be shorne
For one fall? What man al this wynd shakes no corne.
Let this wynde ouerblow. a tyme I will spy,
830 To take wynde and tyde with me, and spede therby.
I thanke you (quoth I) but great boste and small roste,
Maketh vnsauery mouthes, where-euer men oste.
And this boste veraie vnsauourly serueth.
For while the grasse groweth, the horse sterueth.
835 Better one byrd in hande than ten in the wood.
ref.ed: 125
Rome was not bylt on a daie (quoth he) and yet stood
Tyll it was fynysht, as some saie, full fayre.
Your hert is in your hose all in dispayre.
But as euery man saieth, a dog hath a daie.
840 Shuld you a man, dispayre than any daie? nay.
Ye haue many stryngs to the bowe. for ye know,
Though I, hauyng the bent of your vncles bow,
Can no-waie bryng your bolt in the butte to stande,
Yet haue ye other marks to roue at, at hande.
845 The kays hang not all by one mans girdill man.
Though nought wilbe woon here, I sey, yet ye can
Taste other kynsmen, of whom ye maie geat,
Here some and there some, many small make a great.
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For come lyght wynnyngs with blessyngs or curses,
850 Euermore light gaynes make heuy purses.
Children lerne to crepe er they can lerne to go.
And little and little, ye must lerne euen so.
Throwe no gyft agayne at the giuers head,
For better is halfe a lofe then no bread.
855 I maie beg my bread (quoth I) for my kyn all,
That dwelth ny. Well, yet (quoth he) and the worst fall,
Ye maie to your kynsman, hens nine or ten mile,
Rich without charge, whom ye saw not of long while
That benchwhistler (quoth I) is a pinchepeny.
860 As fre of gyft, as a poore man of his eye.
I shall get a fart of a dead man as soone,
As a farthyng of hym, his dole is soone doone.
He is so hye in th'ynstep, and so streight-laste,
That pryde and couetise withdrawth al repaste.
865 Ye knowe what he hath been (quoth he) but ywis,
Absence saieth playnely, ye knowe not what he is.
Men know (quoth I) I haue herde nowe and then,
Howe the market gothe by the market-men.
Further it is saied, who that saying weyth,
870 It must nedes be true, that euery man seyth.
Men saie also, childerne and fooles can not ly.
And both man and chylde saieth, he is a heynsby. heynsby: =niggard; see OED s.v. heinsby, for which this is sole ex.
And my-selfe knowth hym, I dare boldly brag,
Euen as well as the begger knowth his bag.
875 And I knew hym, not worth a good grey grote.
He was at an ebbe. though he be nowe a_flote,
Poore as the poorest. And now nought he setteth
By poore folke. For the paryshe prieste forgetteth,
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That euer he hath been holy-water-clerke.
880 By ought I can now here, or euer coulde marke,
Of no man hath he pitee, or compassion.
Well (quoth he) euery man after his fassion.
He maie yet pitee you, for ought doth appere.
It hapth in one houre, that hapth not in .vii. yere.
885 Forspeake not your fortune, nor hyde not your nede.
Noght venter noght haue spare to speke spare to spede
Vnknowne vnkyst. it is lost that is vnsought.
As good seke nought (quoth I) as seke and find nought
It is (quoth he) yll fyshyng before the net.
890 But though we get litle, dere bought and far fet
Are deinties for ladies. Go we both too
I haue for my maister therby to doo.
I maie breake a dishe there, and sure I shall
Set all at sixe and seuen, to wyn some wyndfall.
895 And I will hang the bell about the cats necke.
For I will fyrst breake, and ieobard the fyrst checke.
And for to wyn this praie, though the cost be myne,
Leat vs present hym with a bottell of wyne.
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What should we (quoth I) grease the fat sow in th'ars,
We maie do muche yll, er we do muche wars.
That were (quoth I) as muche almes or nede, That were (quoth I)] It is, to geue hym, 1549
900 As caste water in Thems. or as good a dede,
As it is to helpe a dogge ouer a style.
Than go we (quoth he) we lese tyme all this while.
ref.ed: 127
To folowe his fansy, we went togither.
And toward nyght yesternight when we cam thither,
905 She was within, but he was yet abrode.
And streight as she sawe me, she swelde like a tode.
Pattryng the diuels pater-noster to her-selfe.
God neuer made a more croked crabbed elfe.
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She bad hym welcome, but the wors for me.
910 This knaue comth a_beggyng, by me thought she.
I smelde hir out, and had her streight in the wynde.
She maie abyde no beggers of any kynde.
They be bothe gredy-gutts. all gyuen to get,
They care not how. all is fyshe that comth to net.
915 They know no ende of theyr good, nor begynnyng
Of any goodnesse. suche is wretched wynnyng.
Hunger droppeth euen out of bothe theyr noses.
She gothe with broken shone and torne hoses.
But who is wurs shod, than the shoemakers wyfe,
920 With shops full of newe-shapen shoes all her lyfe.
Or who will doo lesse, than they that may doo moste.
And namely of hir I can no-waie make boste.
She is one of theim, to whom god bad who.
She will all haue, and will right nought forgo.
925 She will not part with the paryng of hir nayles.
She toyleth continually for auayles.
Whiche lyfe she hath so long now kept in vre,
That for no lyfe she wolde make chaunge, be sure.
But this lesson lernde I, er I was yeres seuen,
930 They that be in hell, wene there is none other heuen.
She is nothyng fayre, but she is yll-fauourd.
And no more vnklenly, than vnswete sauourd.
But hakney-men saie, at mangy hakneys hyer
A scalde hors is good ynough for a scabde squier.
935 He is a knuckylbonyard veraie meete
To matche a mynion nother fayre nor sweete.
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He winkth with the tone eie, and lokth with the tother
ref.ed: 128
I will not trust hym though he were my brother.
But a vengeable wyt, and all his delyte. But a vengeable] He hath a poyson 1549
To geue tauntes and checkes of most spitefull spite.
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In that house commonly suche is the cast,
940 A man shall as soone breake his neck as his fast.
And yet nowe suche a gyd dyd her head take,
That more for my mates than for maner sake,
We had bread and drynke, and a chese very greate.
But the greattest crabs be not all the best meate,
945 For her crabbed chese, with all the gretnesse,
Myght well abyde the fynenesse or swetnesse.
Anon he cam in. and whan he vs saw,
To my companyon kyndly he dyd draw.
And a welfauourd welcom to hym he yeelds,
950 Byddyng me welcom straungely ouer the feelds.
With these wordes. ah yong man I know your mater,
By my faith you come to loke in my water.
And for my comfort to your consolacion,
Ye would, by my purs, gyue me a purgacion.
955 But I am laxatiue ynough there otherwyse.
This case (quoth this yonge man) contrary doth rise.
For he is purs-sycke. and lackth a phisicion.
And hopeth vpon you in some condicion.
Not by purgacion, but by restoratiue.
960 To strength his weakenesse to kepe hym alyue.
I can not (quoth he) for though it be my lot
To haue speculacion, yet I practise not.
I see muche, but I saie littell, and doo lesse.
In this kynd of phisike. and what wolde ye gesse.
965 Shall I consume my-selfe, to restore hym now?
Nay, backare (quoth Mortymer to his sow)
He can before this tyme, no tyme assyne,
In whiche he hath laied downe one peny by myne.
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That euer might either make me bite or sup.
ref.ed: 129
970 And byr lady frend. nought ley down nought take vp. byr =by our
next two lines added in 1549
Ka me, ka the, one good tourne askth an-other.
Nought won by the tone, nought won by the tother.
To put me to coste, thou canst halfe a score myles.
Out of thyne owne nest, seke me in these out-yles.
Where thou wilt not step ouer a strawe, I thynke,
To wyn me the worth of one draught of drynke.
975 No more than I haue wonne of all thy holle stocke.
I haue been common Iacke to all that hole flocke.
Whan ought was to do, I was common hackney.
Folke call on the hors that will cary alwey.
But euermore the common hors is worste shod.
980 Desert and reward be oft-tymes thyngs far od.
At ende I myght put my wynnyng in myne iye,
And see neuer the wors. for ought I wan theim by.
And now without theim, I lyue here at staues ende.
Where I nede not borow, nor I will not lende.
next four lines added in 1549
It is good to beware by other mens harmes.
But thy takyng of thine aulter in thyne armes.
Teachth other to beware of their harmes by thine.
Thou hast striken the ball, vnder the line.
985 I praie you (quoth he) pitee me a poore man he] I 1549
With somwhat, tyll I maie worke as I can.
Toward your work (quoth he) ye make such tastings
As approue you to be none of the hastyngs,
Ye ren to worke in haste as nyne men helde ye.
990 But whan-so-euer ye to worke must yelde ye.
If your meete mate and you meete together.
Than shall we see two men beare a fether.
Recompensyng former loytryng lyfe loose,
As did the pure penitent that stale a goose,
995 And stak downe a fether. And where olde folke tell.
That euill-gotten good neuer proueth well,
Ye will truely get. and true gettyng well kepe,
Tyll tyme ye be as riche as a newe-shorne shepe.
ref.ed: 130
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Howe-be-it whan thrift and you fell fyrst at a_fray,
1000 You plaied the man, for ye made thrift ren away.
So helpe me god, in my poore opynion,
A man might make a plaie of this minyon.
And fayn no ground, but take tales of his own frends,
I suck not this out of myne owne fyngers ends.
1005 And sens ye wer wed, although I nought gaue you,
Yet praie I for you, god and saint Luke saue you.
And here is all. For what shulde I further wade?
I was nother of court nor of counsaile made.
And it is as I haue lerned in lystnyng,
1010 A poore dogge. that is not worth the whistlyng.
A daie er I was wedde, I badde you (quoth I)
Scarbrough warnyng I had (quoth he) wherby,
I kept me thens, to serue the accordyng.
And nowe, if this nyghtes lodgyng and bordyng
1015 Maie ease the, and ryd me from any more charge,
Than welcome. or els get the streyght at large.
For of further rewarde, marke how I bost me.
In case as ye shall yelde me as ye cost me,
So shall ye cost me as ye yelde me lykewyse.
1020 Whiche is, a thyng of nought rightly to surmyse.
Here-withall his wyfe to make vp my mouthe,
Not onely her husbands tauntyng tale auouthe,
But therto deuiseth to cast in my teeth,
Checks and chokyng oysters. And whan she seeth
1025 Hir tyme to take vp, to shew my fare at best,
Ye se your fare (saied she) set your hert at rest.
Fare ye well (quoth I) how-euer I fare now.
And wel mote ye fare bothe whan I dyne with yow.
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Come, go we hens frend (quoth I to my mate)
1030 And now will I make a crosse on this gate.
For comyng here agayn. Haue we not well wrought?
ref.ed: 131
Men say, as good plai for nought as work for nought This and the previous line found in 1546 only
next eight lines added in 1549
And I (quoth he) crosse the quite out of my booke.
Sens thou art crosse-saylde, auale vnhappy hooke.
By hoke or croke nought could I wyn there, men saie,
He that comth euery daie, shall haue a cocknaie.
He that comth now and then, shall haue a fat hen.
But I gat not so muche in comyng seelde when,
As a good hens fether, or a poore egshell.
As good play for nought as work for nought, folk tel.
Well well (quoth he) we be but where we were.
Come what come wold, I thought er we came there.
1035 That yf the worst fell. we coulde haue but a naie,
There is no harme doone man in all this fray.
Neither pot broken, nor yet water spylt.
Farewell he (quoth I) I wyll as sone be hylt,
As wayte agayne for the moneshyne in the water.
1040 But is not this a praty pyked mater?
To disdeigne me, who muck of the world hordth not.
As he doth, it may ryme but it accordth not.
She fometh lyke a bore, the beast shuld seme bolde.
For she is as fiers, as a lyon of cotsolde.
1045 She fryeth in her owne grease, but as for my parte,
If she be angry, beshrew her angry harte.
next eight lines added in 1549
Frend (quoth he) he maie shew wisdome at wyll,
That with an angry hert can holde his tongue styll.
Let pacience growe in your gardein alwaie.
Some loose or od ende will come man, some one daie,
From some frende, eyther in lyfe, or at his death.
Death (quoth I) take we that tyme, to take a breath?
Than graffe we a grene graffe on a rotten roote,
Who waitth for dead men shoen, shal go long barfote
Let passe (quoth he) and let vs be trudgyng.
Where some noppy ale is, and softe swete ludgyng.
Be it (quoth I) but I wolde very fayne eate.
1050 At breakefast and dyner I eete lyttle meate.
ref.ed: 132
And two hungry meales make the thyrde a glutton.
We went where we had boylde beefe and bake mutton.
Wherof I fed me as full as a tunne.
And a_bed were we er the clocke had nyne runne.
1055 Early we rose, in haste to get awaie.
And to the hostler this mornyng by daie
This felow calde, what how felow, thou knaue,
I praie the leat me and my felowe haue
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A heare of the dog that bote vs last nyght.
1060 And bytten were we both to the brayne aryght,
We sawe eche other drunke in the good ale-glas,
And so dyd eche one eche other, that there was.
Saue one, but olde men saie that are skyld,
A hard-foughten feeld, where no man scapeth vnkyld.
1065 The recknyng reckned, he needs wold pay the shot,
And needs he must for me, for I had it not.
This doone we shoke hands. and parted in fyne,
He into his waie, and I into myne.
But this iorney was quite out of my waie.
1070 Many kynsfolke and fewe frends, some folke saie.
But I fynde many kynsfolke, and frende not one.
Folke saie, it hath been saied many yeres sens gone.
Proue thy frend er thou haue nede. but in-dede,
A freende is neuer knowne tyll a man haue nede.
1075 Before I had nede, my most present foes
Semed my most frends. but thus the worlde goes,
Euery man basteth the fat hog we see,
But the leane shall burne er he basted be.
As seyth this sentence, ofte and long saied before.
1080 He that hath plenty of goodes shall haue more.
He that hath but a lytle, he shall haue lesse.
He that hath ryght nought, ryght nought shall possesse.
Thus hauing right nought. and wold somwhat obtayn,
With ryght nought (quoth he) I am retornd agayne.

ref.ed: 133

¶The .xii. Chapiter.

next two lines added in 1549
Surely (quoth I) ye haue in this tyme thus worne
Made a long haruest for a little corne.
1085 [W]el (quoth I) comfort yout-selfe with this old text. 'W' of 'Wel'=VVWel (quoth I)] Howe-be-it 1549

That telth vs, when bale is hekst, boote is next.
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Though euery man maie not syt in the chayre.
Yet alway the grace of god is woorth a fayre.
Take no thought in no case, god is where he was.
1090 But put case in pouertee all your lyfe pas.
Yet pouertee and poore degree, taken well,
Feedth on this. he that neuer clymbde, neuer fell.
And som case at some tyme shewth preefe somwheare,
That riches bryngth ofte harme. and euer feare,
1095 Where pouertee passeth without grudge of greefe,
What, man the begger may syng before the theefe.
And who can syng so mery a note,
As maie he, that can not chaunge a grote.
Ye (quoth he) beggers may syng before theeues,
1100 And wepe before true men, lamentyng their greeues.
Some saie, and I feele hungre perseth stone wall.
Meate nor yet money, to bye meate withall,
Haue I not so muche as maie hungar defende
Fro my wyfe and me. Well (quoth I) god will sende
1105 Tyme to prouide for tyme, right well ye shall se
God sende that prouision in tyme, saied he.
And thus semyng welny wery of his lyfe,
The pore wretche went to his like pore wretchid wife.
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From wantonnes to wretchednes, broght on their knees,
Their hertes full heauy, their heddes be full of bees.
And after this a monthe, or somwhat lesse,
1110 Theyr landlorde came to theyr howse to take a stresse
For rent. to haue kept bayard in the stable.
But that to wyn any power was vnable.
ref.ed: 134
For though it be yll playing with short daggers,
Which meaneth, that euery wise man staggers,
1115 In earnest or boorde to be busy or bolde
With his biggers or betters. yet this is tolde.
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Where-as nothyng is, the kyng must lose his ryght.
And thys, kyng or keyser must haue set them quyght.
But warnyng to departe thens they nedyd none.
1120 For er the next day the byrds were flowne eche one,
To seke seruyce. of which where the man was sped,
The wyfe could not spede, but maugre her hed,
She must seke els-where. for either there, or ny
Seruice for any suite she none could espy.
1125 All folk thought them not onely to lyther,
To lynger both in one house to_gyther,
But also dwellyng ny vnder theyr wyngs,
Vnder theyr noses, they myght conuey thyngs.
Suche as were nother to heuy nor to whot,
1130 More in a month then they theyr master got
In a whole yere. Wherto folke further weying,
Receite eche of other in their conueying,
Myght be worst of all. For this prouerbe preeues,
Where be no receyuers, ther be no theeues.
1135 Such hap here hapt, that common drede of such gyles,
Droue them and kepeth them asonder many myles.
Thus though loue decree, departure death to be,
Yet pouertee parteth felowshyp we see.
And dothe those two trewe louers so disseuer,
1140 That meete shall they seldwhan, or haply neuer.
And thus by loue, without regarde of lyuyng,
These twayn haue wrought eche others yll cheuyng.
And loue hath so lost them the loue of theyr freends,
That I thinke theim lost, and thus this tale eends.

ref.ed: 135
sig: [F1v]

The .xiii. chapiter.

1145 AH sir (said my frend) whan men will needs mary,
I see nowe, howe wisedom and haste may vary.
Namely where they wed for loue all-togyther,
I wold for no good, but I had come hyther.
Swete beautee with soure beggery, naye I am gon,
1150 To the welthy wythred wydow, by seynt Iohn.
What yet in all haste (quoth I) ye (quoth he)
For she hath substaunce ynough. an ye se,
That lack is the losse of these two yong fooles.
Knowe ye not (quoth I) that after wyse mens schooles,
1155 A man shold here all parts, er he iudge any,
Why axe ye that (quoth he) for this (quoth I.)
I tolde you, when I this began, that I wolde,
Tell you of two couples. and I hauyng tolde
But of the tone, ye be streyght startyng awey,
1160 As I of the tother had ryght nought to sey.
Or as your-selfe of them ryght nought wold here,
Nay not all so (quoth he) but syns I thynk clere,
There can no-way appere so paynfull a lyfe,
Betwene your yong neybour and his olde ryche wyfe,
1165 As this tale in this yong poore couple doth showe,
And that the moste good or leste yll ye knowe.
To take at end, I was at begynnyng bent,
With thanks for this, and your more payne to preuent,
Without any more matter now reuolued,
1170 I take this matter here clerely resolued.
And that ye herein awarde me to forsake,
Beggerly beautee, and riuyld ryches take.
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Thats iust. if the half shall iudge the whole (quoth I)
But yet here the whole, the whole wholly to try.
1175 To it (quoth he) than I praie you by and by.
We will dine fyrst (quoth I) for it is noone hy.
We maie as wel (quoth he) dine whan this is doone.
ref.ed: 136
The longer forenoone the shorter after-noone.
All comth to one, and therby men haue gest,
1180 Alwaie the longer east the shorter west.
We haue had (quoth I) before ye cam, and syn,
Weather, meete to sette paddocks abroode in.
Rayn, more than enough. and whan al shrews haue dynd,
Chaunge from foule wether to faire is oft inclind.
1185 And all the shrews in this parte, sauyng one wife,
That must dine with vs, haue dind peyn of my life.
Now if good chaunge of yll wether be dependyng,
Vpon her diet, what wer myne offendyng.
To kepe the woman any longer fastyng.
1190 If ye (quoth he) fet all this farre-castyng.
For common-wealth, as it appereth a clere case,
Reason wold your will shuld, and shall take place.

¶Thus endeth the fyrst parte.

The seconde parte.

The fyrst chapiter.

DIners can not be long, where deyntees want,
Where coin is not common, commons must be scant.
1195 In poste-pace we past from potage to cheese, postepace: =postpast
And yet this man cryde, alas what tyme we leese.
sig: [F2v]
He wolde not leat vs pause after our repaste,
But aparte he pluckt me streight, and in all haste,
As I of this poore yong man, and poore yong mayd,
1200 Or more poore yong wife, the forsaid words had said,
So praieth he me now the processe maie be tolde,
Betwene the other yong man, and riche widow olde.
If ye lacke that (quoth I) awaie ye must wynde,
With your holle errand, and half th'answer behynde.
1205 Which thing to do, sens haste therto shewth you loth,
And to haste your goyng, the daie awaie goth,
And that tyme loste, agayne we can not wyn,
Without more losse of tyme this tale I begyn.

In this late old wydow, and than old new wyfe,
1210 Age and appetite fell at a strong stryfe.
Hir lust was as yong, as hir lyms were olde.
The daie of hir weddyng, lyke one to be solde.
She set out her-selfe in fine aparell.
She was made like a beere-pot, or a barell.
1215 A croked hoked nose, beetyll-browde, bleare-eyde.
Many men wishte, for beautifying that bryde,
Hir waste to be gyrd in, and for a boone grace,
Some well-fauourd visor, on hir yll-fauourd face.
But with visorlike visage, suche as it was,
1220 She smyrkd, and she smylde, but so lisped this las,
That folke might haue thought it done onely alone,
Of wantonnesse, had not her teeth been gone.
Vpryght as a candell standeth in a soket,
Stoode she that daie, so sympre-de-coket,
ref.ed: 138
1225 Of auncient fathers she toke no cure nor care.
She was to theim, as koy as a crokers mare.
sig: F3
She toke th'entertaynment of the yong men
All in dalyance, as nyce as a nuns hen.
I suppose that daie hir eares might well glow.
1230 For all the towne talkt of hir, hye and low.
One sayde, a well-fauourd olde woman she is.
The deuyll she is, said an-other, and to this,
In came the thyrde, with his .v. egges, and sayde,
Fyfty yere ago I knewe hir a trym mayde.
1235 What-euer she were than (sayd one) she is now,
To become a bryde, as meete as a sow
To beare a saddle. She is in this mariage
As comely as is a cowe in a cage.
Gup with a galde backe gill, come vp to souper.
1240 What myne olde mare wolde haue a newe crouper.
And nowe myne olde hat must haue a new band.
Well (quoth one) glad is he that hath hir in hand.
A goodly mariage she is, I here saie.
She is so (quoth one) were the woman away.
1245 Well (quoth an-other) fortune this moueth.
And in this case euery man as he loueth,
Quoth the good-man, whan that he kyst his cowe.
That kys (quoth one) doth wel here, by god a_vowe.
But how can she gyue a kysse sowre or sweete?
1250 Hir chyn and hir nose, within halfe an ynche meete.
God is no botcher syr, saied an-other.
He shapeth all partes, as eche parte maie fitte other.
Well (quoth one) wysely, let vs leaue this skannyng.
God spede theim. be as be maie is no bannyng.
1255 That shalbe, shalbe. and with gods grace they shall
Doo well. And that they so maie, wyshe we all.
sig: [F3v]
This wonder (as wonders last) lasted nine daies.
Which done, and all gests of this feast gone theyr waies,
Ordinary householde this man began began] streight began 1549
ref.ed: 139
1260 Very sumptuousely, whiche he might well doo than,
What he wold haue, he might haue. his wife was set,
In suche dotage of hym, that fayre wordes dyd fet,
Gromelsede plentee. and pleasure to prefer,
She made muche of hym, and he mockt muche of her.
1265 I was as (I saied) muche there, and moste of all
The fyrst month. in which time such kindnes did fall,
Betwene these .ii. counterfaite turtle-burds.
To see his sweete looks, and here her swete wurds,
And to thynke wherfore they bothe, put bothe in vre,
1270 It wolde haue made a hors breake his halter sure.
Al the fyrst fortnight theyr ticking might haue tought,
Any yong couple, their loue-ticks to haue wrought.
Some laught. and seyd, al-thyng is gay that is greene.
Som therto said, the grene new brome swepith cleene
1275 But sens al-thyng is the wors for the wearyng,
Decay of clene sweepyng folke had in fearyng.
And in-dede, er .ii. monthes awaie were crept,
And her byggest baggs into his bosome swept,
Where loue had appeerd in hym to her alwaie
1280 Hotte as a toste, it grew cold as a kaie.
He, at meate caruyng hir, and none els before,
Now carued he to all but hir, and hir no more.
Where hir words seemd hony, by his smylyng chere,
Now are they mustard. he frowneth them to here.
1285 And whan she sawe swete sauce begyn to waxe sowre,
She waxt as sowre as he, and as well coulde lowre.
sig: [F4]
So turned they theyr tippets by waie of exchaunge,
From laughyng to louryng, and taunts did so raunge,
That in playne terms, playne truth to you to vtter,
1290 They two agreed, lyke two catts in a gutter.
Mary sir (quoth he) by scratchyng and bytyng
Catts and dogs come togither. by folks recityng,
Togyther by the eares they come (quoth I) cherely.
How-be-it those words are not voyde here clerely,
ref.ed: 140
1295 For in one state they twayne could not yet settyll.
But waueryng as the wynde. in docke out nettyll.
Now in now out, now here now there, now sad,
Now mery, now hye now lowe, nowe good now bad.
In which vnstedy sturdy stormes streynable.
1300 To know how they bothe were irrefreynable,
Marke how they fell out, and how they fell in.
At th'ende of a supper she dyd thus begyn.

The seconde chapiter.

HUsband (quoth she) I wold we were in our nest.
Whan the bely is full, the bones wold be at rest.
1305 So soone vpon supper (sayd he) no question,
Slepe maketh yll and vnholsome digestion.
By that diete a great disease ons I gat.
And burnt chylde fyre dredth. I will beware of that.
What a post of physyk (seyd she) ye a post.
1310 And from post to piller wyfe, I haue been tost
By that surfet. And I feele a litle fit,
Euen nowe. by former attemptyng of it.
Wherby, except I shall seeme to leaue my wyt,
Before it leaue me, I must nowe leaue it.
sig: [F4v]
1315 I thanke god (quoth she) I neuer yet felte payne,
To go to bed tymely. but rysyng agayne
To soone in the mornyng, hath me displeased.
And I (quoth he) haue been more diseased,
By early lying downe, than by early rysyng.
1320 But thus differ folke lo, in exercysyng.
That that one maie not, an-other maie.
Vse maketh mastry. and men many tymes saie,
That one loueth not, an-other doth, which hath sped,
All meates to be eaten, and all maydes to be wed.
1325 Haste ye to bed now, and ryse ye as ye rate.
Whyle I ryse early, and come to bedde late.
Long lying warme in bed is holsome (quoth she)
ref.ed: 141
While the leg warmeth, the boote harmeth (quoth he)
Well (quoth she) he that dooth as moste men doo,
1330 Shalbe lefte wondred on. and take any twoo,
That be man and wyfe in all this holle towne,
And moste parte togyther, they ryse and lye downe.
Whan byrds shall roust (quoth he) at .viii. .ix. or ten,
Who shall appoynt their houre. the cock, or the hen.
1335 The hen (quoth she) the cock [(]quoth he) iust (quoth she) (quoth] quoth 1546
As Iermans lips. It shal proue, more iust (quoth he)
Than proue I (quoth she) tha more foole far awaie.
But there is no foole to the olde foole, folke saie.
Ye are wise enough (quoth he) yf ye kepe ye warme,
1340 To be kepte warme, and for none other harme.
Nor for muche more good, I tooke you to wedde.
I toke not you (quoth he) nyght and daie to bedde.
Hir carreyne carkas (saied he) is so colde,
Bycause she is aged, and somwhat to olde,
sig: G[1]
1345 That she kylth me. I do but rost a stone.
In warmyng hir. And shall not I saue one,
As she wold saue an-other? yes by seynt Iohne.
A syr (quoth she) mary this geare is alone.
Who that worst may shal holde the candyll, I se.
1350 I must warme bed for hym shuld warme it for me.
This medicine, thus ministred is sharpe and colde.
But al-thyng that is sharpe is short. folk haue tolde,
This trade is nowe begun, but yf it holde on,
Then farewell my good days. they will be sone gone.
1355 Gospell in thy mouth (quoth he) this strife to breake.
How-be-it, all is not gospell that thou dooest speake,
But what nede we lumpe out loue at ones lashyng,ones: perhaps emend to one
As we shuld now shake hands. what soft for dashyng.
The fayre lasteth all the yere. we be new kneet.
1360 And so late met, that I feare, we parte not yeet,
Quoth the baker to the pillory. Whiche thyng
From distemperate fonding temperance maie bryng.
ref.ed: 142
And this reason to ayde, and make it more strong,
Olde wise folke saie, loue me lyttle loue me long.
1365 I saie little (saied she) but I thynke more.
Thought is fre. Ye lean (quoth he) to the wrong shore.
Braulyng booted not, he was not that night bent.
To plaie the bridegrome, Alone to bed she went.
This was their begynnyng of iar. How-be-it, iar: =jar; see OED s.v. jar n., 6.
1370 For a begynnyng, this was a feate fyt,
And but a fleabytyng to that dyd ensew.
The worst is behynde. we com not where it grew.
Howe saie you (saied he to me) by my wyfe.
The diuell hath caste a bone (sayd I) to set strife
sig: [G1v]
1375 Betwene you. but it were a foly for me,
To put my hande betweene the barke and the tre.
Or to put my fynger to far in the fyre.
Betwene you, and lay my credence in the myre.
To medyll lytle for me it is best.
1380 For of lytle medlyng there comth great rest. there] 1549 omits
Yes ye may medyll (quoth he) to make hir wise,
Wythout takyng harme, in gyuyng your aduise.
She knowth me not yet, but yf she wax to wylde,
I shall make her know, an olde knaue is no chylde.
1385 Sluggyng in bed with hir is wors then watchyng,
I promyse you, an old sack asketh muche patchyng.
Well (quoth I) to_morow I will to my beades,
To pray, that as ye both wyll, so ake your heades.
And in meane-tyme my akyng hed to ease,
1390 I wyll couch a hogs-hed. Quoth he when ye please.
We parted, and this within a daie or twayne,
Was raakt vp in th'ashes, and couerd agayne.

¶The thyrde chapiter.

THese .ii. daies past, he sayd to me, whan ye will
Com chat at home. al is wel. Iak shal haue gill.
1395 Who had the wors ende of the staffe (quoth I now?)
ref.ed: 143
Shall the maister weare a breeche, or none. sey you.
I truste the sow will no more so deepe wroote.
But if she do (quoth he) you must set in foote.
And whome ye see out of the waie, or shoote wyde,
1400 Ouershoote not your-selfe any syde to hyde.
But shoote out some wordes, yf she be to whot.
She maie saie (quoth I) a fooles bolte is soone shot.
sig: G2
Ye will me to a thanklesse office here.
And a busy officer I maie appere.
1405 And Iak out of office she maie byd me walke.
And thynke me as wise as Waltams calfe, to talke,
Or chat of hir charge, hauyng therin nought to doo.
How-be-it, if I se nede, as my parte comth to,
Gladly betwene you I will doo my beste.
1410 I byd you to dyner (quoth he) as no geste,
And bryng your pore neighbors on your other syde.
I dyd so. And streight as th'olde wife vs espide,
She bad vs welcome. and merily toward me,
Grene rushes for this stranger, strewe her (quoth she)
1415 With this a_parte she pulde me by the sleue.
Saying in few words, my mynde to you to meue,
So it is, that all our great fraie the last nyght,
Is forgeuen and forgotten betwene vs quight.
And all fraies by this I trust haue taken ende.
1420 For I fully hope my husbande will amende.
Well amended (thought I) whan ye bothe relent,
Not to your owne, but eche to others mendment.
Nowe if hope faile (quoth she) and chance bryng about
Any suche breache, wherby we fall agayne out,
1425 I praie you tell hym his pars vers now and than.
And wynke on me also hardly, if ye can
Take me in any tryp. Quoth I, I am lothe,
To meddle commonly. For as this tale gothe,
Who medleth in all-thyng, maie shoe the goslyng.
1430 Well (quoth she) your medlyng herein maie bryng
ref.ed: 144
The wynd calme betwene vs, whan it els might rage.
I will with good-will (quoth I) yll wynds to swage,
sig: [G2v]
Spend som wind at nede, though I wast wind in vayn.
To table we sat, where fyne fare dyd remayn.
1435 Mery we were as cup and can coulde holde,
Eche one with eche other homely and bolde.
And she for hir parte, made vs chere heauen-hye.
The fyrst parte of diner mery as a pie.
But a scalde head is soone broken. and so they,
1440 As ye shall streight here, fell at a newe fraie.

¶The fourthe chapiter.

HUsband (quoth she) ye study. be mery now.
And euen as ye thynke now, so come to you.
Nay not so (quoth he) for my thought to tell ryght,
I thynke how ye lay gronyng wyfe, all last nyght.
1445 Husbande, a gronyng hors, and a gronyng wyfe,
Neuer fayle theyr maister (quoth she) for my lyfe.
No wyfe. a woman hath nyne lyues lyke a cat.
Well my lambe (quoth she) ye may picke out of that,
As soone gothe the yong lambskyn to the market,
1450 As th'olde yews. God forbyd wyfe, ye shall fyrst iet.
I will not iet yet (quoth she) put no doubtyng.
It is a bad sacke that will abide no cloutyng.
And as we ofte see, the lothe stake standeth longe,
So is it an yll stake (I haue herde amonge)
1455 That can not stande one yere in a hedge.
I drynke (quoth she) Quoth he, I will not pledge.
What nede all this. a man may loue his house well,
Though he ryde not on the ridge, I haue herde tell.
What, I wene (quoth she) proferd seruice stynkth.
1460 But somwhat it is, I se, whan the cat wynkth,
sig: G3
And bothe her eyen out, but further stryfe to shonne,
Let the cat wynke, and leat the mous ronne.
This past, and he chered vs all. but moste chere,
ref.ed: 145
On his part, to this fayre yong wyfe dyd appere.
1465 And as he to her caste ofte a louyng iye,
So caste hir husbande lyke iye, to his plate by.
Wherwith in a great musyng he was brought.
Frend (quoth the good-man) a peny for your thought.
For my thought (quoth he) that is a goodly dishe.
1470 But of trouth I thought, better to haue than wishe.
What. a goodly yong wyfe, as you haue (quoth he)
Nay (quoth he) goodly gylt gobblets, as here be.
Byr lady freends (quoth I) this maketh a show,
To shewe you more vnnaturall than the crow.
1475 The crow thynkth her own byrds fairest in the wood.
But by your woords (except I wrong vnderstood)
Eche others byrds or iewels, ye doo weie
Aboue your owne. True (quoth the old wyfe) ye sey.
But my neighbours desyre rightly to measure,
1480 Comth of neede. and not of corrupte pleasure,
And my husbands more of pleasure, than of nede.
Olde fishe and yong flesh (quoth he) doth men best fede.
And some sey, chaunge of pasture makth fat calues.
As for that reason (quoth she) ronth to halues.
1485 As well for the cowe-calfe as for the bull.
And though your pasture looke bareynly and dull,
Yet loke not on the meate, but loke on the man.
And who-so looketh on you, shall shortly skan,
Ye may write to your frends, that ye are in helth.
1490 But all-thyng maie be suffred sauyng welthe.
sig: [G3v]
An olde-saied sawe, itche and ease, can no man please.
Plentie is no deyntie. ye see not your owne ease.
I see, ye can not see the wood for trees.
Your lyps hang in your light. but this poore man sees
1495 Bothe howe blyndly ye stande in your owne lyght,
And that you rose on your right syde here ryght.
And might haue gon further, and haue faren wurs.
I wote well I might (quoth he) for the purs,
ref.ed: 146
But ye be a baby of Belsabubs bowre.
1500 Content ye (quoth she) take the swete with the sowre.
Fancy may boult bran, and make ye take it flowre.
It will not be (quoth he) shulde I dy this houre,
While this fayre flowre flourisheth thus in myne iye.
Yes, it might (quoth she[)], and here this reason why. she)] she 1546

The next eight lines are arranged so that the rhyming portions of each pair are bracketed together and the final portion is printed to the right of each bracket
1505 Snowe is white
And lieth in the dike and euery man lets it lye.

Pepper is blacke
And hath a good smacke And euery man doth it bye.

Mylke (quoth he) is white
1510 And lyeth not in the dyke but all men know it good meate.

Inke is all blacke
And hath an yll smacke No man will it drynke nor eate.

Thy ryme (quoth he) is muche elder than myne,
But myne beyng newer, is trewer than thyne.
1515 Thou likenest now, for a vayne auauntage,
White snow to fayre youth, black pepper to foule age
Whiche are placed out of place here by rood.
Black ynke is as yl meate, as black pepper is good.
And white mylke as good meat, as white snow is yll.
1520 But a milk snow-whit smoth yong skin, who change wil
sig: [G4]
For a pepper ynke-blacke rough olde riueld face?
Though chaunge be no robbry for the changed case,
Yet shall that chaunge rob the changer of his wyt,
For who this case sercheth, shall soone see in yt,
1525 That as well agreeth thy comparison in these,
As a_lyke to compare in taste, chalke and chese.
Or a_like in colour to deme ynke and chalke.
Walk drab walke. Nay (quoth she) walk knaue walk
Saieth that terme, How-be-it syr, I, saie not so.
1530 And best we laie a strawe here, and euen there who.
Or els this geare wyll brede a pad in the strawe.
If ye hale this waie, I will an-other waie drawe.
Here is god in th'ambry (quoth I) Quoth he, naie,
ref.ed: 147
Here is the deuill in th'orologe, ye maie saie.
1535 Sens this (quoth I) rather bringeth bale than boote,
Wrap it in the clothe, and treade it vnder foote.
Ye harpe on the stryng, that giueth no melody.
Your tongs ron before your wits, by seynt Antony.
Mark ye, how she hitteth me on the thumbs (quoth he)
1540 And ye taunt me tyt ouer thumb (quoth she)
Sens tyt for tat (quoth I) on euen hand is set,
Set the hares head agaynst the goose ieblet.
She is (quoth he) bent to fors you perfors
To know, that the grey mare is the better hors.
1545 She chopth logyk. to put me to my clargy.
She hath one poynte of a good hauke, she is hardy.
But wyfe, the first poynte of hawkyng is holde fast.
And holde ye fast, I red you, lest ye be cast,
In your own tourne. Nay she will tourne the leafe.
1550 And rather (quoth I) take as falth in the sheafe,
sig: [G4v]
At your hands. and let fall her hold. than be to bold,
Nay, I will spit in my hands, and take better hold.
He (quoth she) that will be angry without cause,
Muste be at one, without amends. by sage sawes.
1555 Treade a worme on the tayle, and it must turne agayne.
He taketh pepper in the nose, that I complayne
Vpon his fautes, my-selfe beyng fautlesse.
But that shall not stop my mouth, ye maie well gesse.
Well (quoth I) to muche of one thyng is not good.
1560 Leaue of this. Be it (quoth he) falle we to our food.
But suffrance is no quittance in this dayment.
No (quoth she) nor mysrecknyng is no paiement.
But euen recknyng maketh long freends. my freend.
For alwaie owne is owne, at the recknyngs eend.
1565 This recknyng thus reckned. and dyner ons doone,
We three from theim twayn, departed very soone.

ref.ed: 148

¶The fyfte chapiter.

THis olde woman, the next daie after this nyght,
Stale home to me secretely as she myght.
To talke with me, in secret counsell (she sayed)
1570 Of thyngs, whiche in no wyse myght be bewrayed.
We twayne are one to many (quoth I) for men saie,
Three maie keepe a counsell, if two be awaie.
But all that ye speake, vnmete agayne to tell,
I will saie nought but mum, and mum is counsell.
1575 Well than (quoth she) herein auoydyng all feares,
Auoyd your children. smal pitchers haue wide eares.
Whiche done (she saied) I haue a husband, ye know,
Whom I made of nought, as the thing self doth show
sig: H[1]
And for these two causes onely hym I tooke.
1580 Fyrst, that he for my loue, shulde louyngly looke, he] 1549 omits
In all kyndes of cause, that loue ingender myght,
To loue and cheryshe me by daie and by nyght.
Secondly, the substance, whiche I to hym brought,
He rather should augment than bryng to nought.
1585 But now my good shall bothe be spent, ye shall see,
And it in spendyng soole instrument shall bee
Of my distruction. by spendyng it on suche
As shall make hym distroie me. I feare this muche.
He maketh hauok. and setteth cocke on the hoope.
1590 He is so laueis, the stocke begynneth to droope. laueis: =lavish
And as for gayne is deade, and laied in tumbe.
Whan he should get ought, eche fynger is a thumbe.
Eche of his ioyntes agaynst other iustles,
As handsomly as a beare picketh muscles.
1595 He maketh his martes with marchantes lykely,
To bryng a shillyng to nyne-pence quickely. This and the previous line found in 1546 only
Flattryng knaues and queans a sort, beyond the mark. queans a sort] fleryng queans 1549
ref.ed: 149
Hang on his sleue, and many hands make light wark. and] 1549 omits
next eight lines added in 1549
He hath his haukes in the mew. but make ye sure,
With empty hands men maie no haukes allure.
There is a nest of chickens, whiche he doth brood,
That will sure make his hear grow through his hood
They can curri fauell, and make fayre wether,
Whyle they cut large thongs of other mens lether.
He maketh his marts with marchaunts likely,
To bryng a shillyng to .ix.-pens quickely.
If he holde on a whyle, as he begyns,
1600 We shall se hym proue a marchant of eele-skyns.
A marchaunt, without either money or ware.
But all be bugs words, that I speake to spare.
Better spare at brym than at bottom, saie I,
Euer spare and euer bare, saieth he, by and by.
1605 Spend, and god shall sende (saith he) saith th'old balet.
What sendth he (saith I) a staffe and a wallet.
Than vp goth his staffe, to sende me a loufe.
He is at thre words vp in the house-roufe.
sig: [H1v]
He hath a nest of chekyns, whiche he dothe brood,
1610 That wil sure make his heare grow thorow his hood. This and the previous line found in 1546 only
And herein to grow (quoth she) to conclusyon,
I pray your ayde, to auoyd this confusion.
And for counsell herein, I thought to haue gon,
To that cunnyng man, our curate sir Iohnn .
1615 But this kept me back. I haue herd now and then,
The greattest clerks be not all the wisest men.
I thynk (quoth I) who-euer that terme began,
Was neither great clerke, nor the greatest wise man.
In your rennyng from hym to me, ye roon
1620 Out of gods blissyng, in-to the warme soon.
Where the blind ledth the blinde, both fall in the dike.
And blinde be we both, if we thynke vs his lyke. be we] we be 1549
ref.ed: 150
Folke show muche foly, whan thyngs shuld be sped.
To ren to the foote, that may go to the hed,
1625 Syns he best can, and most ought to do it,
I feare not, but he will, if ye will woo it.
There is one let (quoth she) mo then I spake on,
My husband and he be so great, that the ton
Can not pisse, but the tother must let a fart.
1630 Choose we hym a party, then farwell my part.
We shall so parte stake, that I shall lese the hole.
Folk say of olde, the shooe wyll holde with the sole.
Shall I trust hym then? nay in trust is treason.
But I trust you, and come to you this season,
1635 To here me, and tell me, what way ye thynk best,
To hem in my husband, and set me in rest.
If ye mynde (quoth I) a conquest to make
Ouer your husband, no man maie vndertake
sig: H2
To bryng you to ease, nor the matter amende.
1640 Except ye bryng him to weare a cocks-combe at ende.
For take that your husband were, as ye take hym.
As I take hym not, as your tale wolde make hym,
Yet were contencion lyke to doo nought in this,
But kepe hym nought, and make hym wors than he is.
1645 But in this complaynt, for counsel quicke and clere, this] his 1549
A few prouerbs for principuls, leat vs here.
Who that maie not as they wolde, will as they maie.
And this to this, they that are bounde must obaie.
Foly it is to spurne against a pricke,
1650 To striue agaynst the streme, to winche or kicke
Agaynst the hard wall. By this ye maie see,
Being bounde to obedience, as ye bee,
And also ouermatcht, suffraunce is your daunce.
He maie ouermatche me (quoth she) perchaunce
1655 In strength of bodie, but my tung is a lym,
To matche and to vexe euery veine of hym.
ref.ed: 151
Tong breaketh bone, it-selfe hauyng none (quoth I)
If the wynde stande in that doore, it standth a_wry,
The perill of pratyng out of tune by note,
1660 Telth vs, that a good be still is woorth a grote. be: =bee? pace Habenicht's note, p. 218
In beyng your owne foe, you spyn a fayre threede.
Aduise ye well, for here doeth all lye and bleede.
Flee th'attemptyng of extremitees all.
Folke saie, better syt still, than rise and fall.
next two lines added in 1549
For littell more or lesse no debate make,
At euery dogs barke, seeme not to awake.
1665 And where the smalle with the great, can not agree,
The weaker goth to the potte, we all daie see.
So that alwaie the bygger eateth the beane.
Ye can nought wyn, by any wayward meane.
sig: [H2v]
Where the hedge is lowest, men maie soonest ouer.
1670 Be silent. Leat not your tong ron at rouer.
Sens by stryfe, ye maie lose, and can not wyn,
Suffer. It is good slepyng in a whole skyn.
If he chide, kepe you bill vnder wyng muet.
Chattyng to chydyng is not worth a chuet.
1675 We se many tymes myght ouercomth ryght.
Were not you as good than to say, the crow is whight.
And so rather let fayre woords make fooles fayn.
Than be plain without plites, and plant your own payn,
For were ye as playne as Dunstable hye-waie.
1680 Yet shulde ye that waie rather breake a loue-daie,
Than make one. thus though ye perfitly knew,
All that ye coniecture to be proued trew.
Yet better dissemble it, and shake it of.
Than to broyd hym with it in earnest or scof.
1685 If he plaie falsehed in felowshyp, plaie ye,
Se me, and se me not. the worst part to fle.
Why thynke ye me so white-lyuerd (quoth she?)
That I will be tong-tied? Nay I warrant ye.
They that will be afrayde of euery farte,
ref.ed: 152
1690 Must go farre to pisse. Well quoth I, your parte
Is to suffre (I saie.) For ye shall preeue,
Taunts appease not thyngs, they rather agreeue.
But for yll company, or expence extreeme,
I here no man doubte, so far as ye deeme.
1695 And there is no fyre without some smoke, we see.
Well well, make no fyre, reyse no smoke (said shee)
What cloke for the rayne so-euer ye bryng me,
My-selfe can tell best, where my shoe doth wryng me,
sig: H3
But as ye saie, where fyre is, smoke will appere.
1700 And so hath it doone. For I dyd lately here,
How flek and his make, vse theyr secrete hauntyng,
By one byrd, that in myne eare was late chauntyng.
One swalow maketh not sommer (saied I) men saie,
I haue (quoth she) mo blocks in his waie to laie.
1705 For further encrease of suspicion of yls,
Besyde his iettyng in-to the towne, to his gils.
With caletts he consumeth hym-selfe and my goods,
Somtyme in the feelds, sometyme in the woods.
Some here and se him, whom he hereth nor seeth not.
1710 But feelds haue eies, and woods haue eares. ye wot.
And also on my maydes he is euer tootyng.
Can ye iudge a man (quoth I) by his lookyng?
What, a cat maie looke on a kyng. ye know,
My cats leeryng loke (quoth she) at fyrst show,
1715 Shewth me, that my cat gothe a_catterwawyng.
And specially by his maner of drawyng,
To Madge my fayre mayde. for maie he come ny hir,
He must nedes basse hir, as he comth by hir.
He loueth wel sheeps flesh, that wets his bred in wul. in wul] in the wul 1549
1720 If he leaue it not, we haue a crow to pull.
He loueth hir better at the sole of the foote,
Than euer he loued me at the herte-roote.
It is a foule byrd, that fyleth his owne nest.
I wolde haue hym lyue as gods lawe hath exprest.
ref.ed: 153
1725 And leaue leude tyckyng. he that will none yll do,
Must do nothyng, that belongeth therto.
To ticke and laugh with me, he hath laufull leeue.
To that I saied nought, but laught in my sleeue.
sig: [H3v]
But whan she semed to me fixed in mynde, me] be 1549
1730 Rather to seke for that she was lothe to fynde,
Then leue that sekyng, by which she might fynd ease.
I fainde this fancy to feele how it wolde please.
Wyll ye do well (quoth I) take peyne to watche hym.
And if ye chance in aduoutry to catche hym,
1735 Then haue ye hym on the hyp, or on the hyrdell.
Then haue ye his head fast vnder your gyrdell.
Where your words now do but rub hym on the gall.
That dede without words shal dryue him to the wal.
And further than the wall, he can not go.
1740 But must submyt hym-selfe. and if it hap so,
That at ende of your watche, he gyltles appere,
Than al grudge, growne by ielousy, taketh end clere.
Of all folks I maie worst watche hym (saieth she)
For of all folks him-selfe most watcheth me.
1745 I shall as soone trie hym or take hym this waie,
As dryue a top ouer a tyeld house, no naie.
I maie kepe corners or holow trees with th'owle,
This seuen yeres, daie and night to watche a bowle,
Before I shall catche hym with vndoubted euyll.
1750 He must haue a long spoone, shal eate with the deuyl.
And the deuyll is no falser then is he.
I haue ofte herde tell, it had nede to be
A wyly mouse, that shuld breede in the cats eare.
Shall I get within hym than? naie ware that geare.
1755 It is harde haltyng before a cripple, ye wot.
A falser water-drynker there lyueth not.
Whan he hunteth a doe, that he can not auow,
All dogs barke not at hym, I warrant you.
ref.ed: 154
sig: [H4]
Namely not I, I saie, though, as I sayed,
1760 He somtyme, though seldome, by some be bewrayed.
Close huntyng (quoth I) the good hunter alowth.
But be your husband neuer so still of mowth,
If ye can hunte, and will stande at receyte,
Your mayde examinde, maketh hym open streyte.
1765 That wer (quoth she) as of my truth to make preefe,
To axe my fellow, whether I be a theefe.
They cleaue togither like burs. that waie I shall
Pike out no more, than out of the stone wall.
Then lyke ye not to watche hym for wyfe nor mayde.
1770 No (quoth she.) Nor I (quoth I) what-euer I sayde.
And I myslyke not onely your watche in vayne,
But also yf ye tooke hym. what coulde ye gayne?
From suspicion to knowlege of yll. for-sothe
Coulde make ye do, but as the flounder dothe,
1775 Leape out of the frying-pan into the fyre.
And change from yl pein to wurs is worth smal hyre.
Let tyme trie. tyme trieth trouth in euery dout.
And deme the best, til tyme hath tried the trouth out.
And reason saieth, make not two sorows of one.
1780 But ye make ten sorows, where reason maketh none.
For where reason (as I saied) wylth you to wynke,
(Although all were proued, as yll as ye thynke)
Contrary to reason ye stampe and ye stare.
Ye frete and ye fume, as mad as a marche-hare.
1785 Without profe to his reprofe present or paste.
But by suche reporte, as moste proue lies at laste.
And here goth the hare awaie, for ye iudge all,
And iudge the worst in all, or profe in ought fall.
sig: [H4v]
But blind men shold iudge no colours. by old sawes,
1790 And folk ofttimes are most blind in their own cause.
The blynde eate many flyes. how-be-it the fansy,
Of your blyndnesse comth not of ignorancy,
Ye could tell a nother herein, the best way.
ref.ed: 155
But it is as folke dooe. and not as folke say,
next two lines added in 1549
For they saie, saiyng and dooyng are two thyngs,
To defende daunger, that double-dealyng bryngs.
1795 As ye can seeme wise in words, be wise in dede.
That is (quoth she) sooner sayd than done, I drede.
But me-thynkth your councell weyth in the whole,
To make me put my fynger in a hole.
And so by sufferaunce to be so lyther,
1800 In my howse, to ley fyre and tow togyther.
But if they fyre me, some of them shall wyn
More tow on their distaues, then they can well spyn.
And the best of them shall haue both their hands full,
Bolster or pyllow for me, be whose wull.
1805 I wyll not beare the deuyls sack, by saint Audry.
For concelyng suspycyon of their bawdry.
I feare false measures, or els I were a childe.
For they that thynk none yll, ar sonest begylde.
And thus though much water go by the myll,
1810 That the myller knoweth not of, yet I wyll
Cast what maie scape. and as though I dyd fynde it,
With the clak of my myll, to fyne meale grynd it.
And sure or I take any rest in effect,
I must banysh my maydes, such as I suspect.
1815 Better it be done than wysh it had bene doone.
As good vndone (quoth I) as dooe it to soone.
Well (quoth she) tyll sone, fare ye well, and this
Kepe now as secret, as ye thynk meete is.
sig: I[1]
Out at doors went she herewith. and herevpon
1820 In at dors cam he forthwith as she was gon.
And, without any temprate protestacyon,
Thus he began, in way of exclamacion.

The .vi. chapiter.

OH what choyse may compare, to the deuyls lyfe,
Lyke his, that hath chosen a deuyll to his wife.
ref.ed: 156
1825 Namely suche an olde wytche, suche a mackabroyne,
As euermore lyke a hog hangeth the groyne,
On her husband. except he be hir slaue,
And folow all fancyes, that she wold haue.
This prouerbe proueth, there is no good accorde,
1830 Where euery man woulde be a lorde.
Wherfore my wyfe wilbe no lord, but lady.
To make me, that shulde be hir lorde, a baby.
Before I was wedded, and sens. I made recknyng,
To make my wyfe boow at euery becknyng.
1835 Bachelers bost, how they wil teche their wiues good,
But many a man speaketh of Robyn_hood,
That neuer shotte in his bowe. Whan all is sought,
Bachelers wiues, and maides children be well tought.
And this with this, I also begyn to gather,
1840 Euery man can rule a shrewe saue he that hath her.
At my wil I wend she wolde haue wrought, like wax.
But I fynde and feele, she hath founde suche knakx.
In hir bouget, and suche toies in hir hed,
That to daunce after her pipe I am ny led.
1845 It is saied of olde, an olde dog byteth sore.
But by god, th'olde bitche byteth sorer and more.
sig: [I1v]
And not with teeth (she hath none) but with hir tong.
If all tales be true (quoth I) though she be stong,
And therby styng you, she is not muche to blame.
1850 For what-euer you saie, thus goeth the fame,
Whan folke fyrst saw your substance layd in your lap,
Without your pein, with your wife broght by good hap
Oft in remembrance of haps happy deuise,
They wold saie, better to be happy than wyse.
1855 Not myndyng therby than, to depraue your wyt,
For they had good hope, to see good profe of yt.
But sens their good opinion therin so cooles,
That they saie as ofte, god sendeth fortune to fooles.
In that as fortune without your wyt gaue it,
ref.ed: 157
1860 So can your wyt not kepe it whan ye haue it.
Saieth one, this geare was gotten on a holy-daie.
Saieth an-other, who maie holde that will awaie.
This game from beginning, shewth what end is ment.
Soone gotten soone spent, yll gotten yll spent.
1865 Ye are calde not onely to great a spender,
To franke a gyuer, and as free a lender,
But also ye spende gyue and lende, among suche,
Whose lightnesse minisheth your honestee as muche,
As your money, and muche they disalow,
1870 That ye bribe all from hir, that brought all to yow.
And spende it out at doors, in spite of hir,
Bycause ye wolde kill hir, to be quite of hir.
For all kyndnesse of hir parte, that maie ryse,
Ye shewe all th'unkyndnesse ye can deuyse.
1875 And where reason and custome (they saie) afoords
Alwaie to let the loosers haue theyr woords,
sig: I2
You make hir a cookqueyn, and consume hir good.
And she must syt lyke a beane in a monks hood.
Bearyng no more rule, than a goose-turd in tems.
1880 But at hir owne maydens becks, wynks, or hems.
She must obeie those lambs, or els a lambs-skyn,
Ye will prouide for hir, to lap her in.
This byteth the mare by the thumbe, as they sey.
For were ye, touchyng condicion (saie they)
1885 The castell of honestee in all thyngs els.
Yet shoulde this one thyng, as their holle tale tels,
Defoyle and deface that castell to a cotage.
One crop of a tourde marrth a pot of potage. crop: emend to crap (i.e. scrap)? See OED s.v. crap n.1, 6.
And some to this, crye, let hym pas, for we thynke,
1890 The more we stur a tourde, the wours it will stynke.
With many condicions good, one that is yll,
Defaceth the floure of all, and dothe all spyll.
Nowe (quoth I) if you thynke they truely clatter,
Let your amendement amende the matter.
ref.ed: 158
1895 Half-warnd half-armd. this warning for this I show,
He that hath an yll name, is halfe-hangd. ye know.

¶The .vii. chapiter.

[W]ell saied (saied he) mary syr here is a tale, 'W' of 'Well'=VV
For honestee, meete to set the dyuell on sale.
But nowe am I forst, a bead-roll to vnfolde,
1900 To tell somwhat more to the tale I erst tolde.
Grow this, as most part doth, I durst holde my lyfe,
Of the ielousy of dame Iulok my wyfe,
Than shall ye wonder, whan truth dothe define,
Howe she can, and dothe here, bothe bite and whine.
sig: [I2v]
1905 Fransy, heresy, and ielousy are three,
That men saie hardly or neuer cured be.
And all-though ielousy nede not or boote not,
What helpeth that counsell, if reason roote not.
And in madde ielousy she is so farre gon,
1910 She thynkth I roon ouer-all, that I looke on.
Take good hede of that (quoth I) for at a worde,
The prouerbe saieth, he that striketh with the sworde,
Shalbe striken with the scaberde. Tushe (quoth he)
The diuell with my scaberde will not strike me,
1915 But my dame takyng suspicion for full preefe,
Reporteth it for trouth, to the moste mischeefe.
In words gold and hole, as men by wyt could wishe.
She will lye as fast as a dogge will lycke a dishe.
She is of trouth as fals, as god is trew.
1920 And if she chaunce to see me at a vew
Kysse any of my maides alone, but in sporte,
That taketh she in ernest, after Bedleem sorte.
The cow is wood. Hir tong ronth on patens.
If it be morne, we haue a payre of matens.
1925 If it be euen, euensong. not latyn nor greeke,
But englyshe, and lyke th'utas in easter-weeke. utas: =utaves, 'octaves'
She beginneth, fyrst with a cry_a_leysone. cry_a_leysone: =kyrie eleison
ref.ed: 159
To whiche she ringth a peale, a larom. suche one,
As folk ring bees with basons, the world ronth on wheles.
1930 But except her mayde shewe a fayre payre of heles,
She haleth hir by the booy-rope, tyll her brayns ake.
And bring I home a good dishe, good chere to make,
What is this (saith she) Good meat (saie I) for yow.
God- a-mercy hors, a pyg of myne owne sowe. God a mercy hors: proverbial expression; see OED s.v. God-a-'mercy, int.
sig: I3
1935 Thus whan I se, by kyndnesse ease renewth not,
And than, that the eie seeth not, the herte rewth not,
And that he must nedes go, whom the diuel doth driue,
Hir fors forsyng me, for myne ease to contriue,
To leat her faste and freate alone for me,
1940 I go where mery chat, and good chere maie be.
Much spend I abrode, which at home shuld be spent,
If she wolde leaue controllyng, and be content.
There lepte a whityng (quoth she) and lept in streite.
Ye shall streight here (quoth she) a prety conceite. Ye shall streight here (quoth she) a prety conceite.] Take a heare from his berde, and marke this con[ce]iteconceite] conecite 1549 1549conceite] conecite 1549
1945 He maketh you beleue, by lyes leyde on by lode,
My braulyng at home, maketh hym banket abrode.
Where his bankets abrode, make me braule at home,
For as in a frost, a mud-wall made of lome
Cracketh and crummeth in peeces a_sonder,
1950 So melteth his money, to the worldes wonder.
Thus maie ye se, to tourne the cat in the pan,
Or set the cart before the hors, well he can.
He is but little at home, the trewth is so.
And forth with hym he will not let me go.
1955 And if I come to be mery where he is,
Than is he mad. as ye shall here by this.
Where he with gosseps at a banket late was,
At whiche as vse is, he payde all. but let pas.
I came to be mery. wherwith meryly,
1960 Proface. Haue among you blynde harpers (sayd I.)
The mo the merier, we all daie here and se.
ref.ed: 160
Ye but the fewer the better fare (saied he)
Then here were, er I cam (quoth I) to many.
Here is littell meate lefte, if there be any.
sig: [I3v]
1965 And it is yll commyng, I haue harde say,
To th'end of a shot, and begynnyng of a fray.
Put vp thy purs (quoth he) thou shalt none pay.
And fray here shuld be none, were thou gon thy way.
Here is, syns thou camst, to many feet a_bed.
1970 Welcom when thou goest. thus is thyne errand sped.
I come (quoth I) to be one here, if I shall,
It is mery in halle, when berds wag all.
What byd me welcom pyg. I pray the kys me.
Nay farewell sow (quoth he) our lorde blys me
1975 From bassyng of beasts of beare-bynder-lane,
I haue (quoth I) for fyne suger, fayre rats-bane.
Many yeres sens, my mother seyd to me,
Hyr elders wold saie, it ys better to be
An olde mans derlyng, then a yong mans werlyng. werlyng: =warling, 'one who is despised or disliked'
1980 And god knowth, I knew none of this snerlyng.
In my olde husbands days. for as tenderly,
He loued me, as ye loue me slenderly.
We drew both by one line. Quoth he, wold to our lord
Ye had in that drawyng, hangd both in one corde.
1985 For I neuer meete the at fleshe nor at fyshe,
But I haue sure a dead mans head in my dyshe.
Whose best and my worst day, that wisht myght be,
Was when thou dydst bury him, and mary me.
If you (quoth I) long for chaunge in those cases,
1990 Wold to god he and you had chaunged places.
But best I chaunge place. for here I may be sparde.
And for my kynde comyng, this is my rewarde.
Claw a chorle by th'ars, and he shiteth in my hande.
Knak me that nut. much good doyt you al this band.
sig: [I4]
1995 Muste she not (quoth he) be welcome to vs all,
Amonge vs all, lettyng suche a farewell fall?
ref.ed: 161
But such carpenters, such chips. Quoth she folke tell.
Suche lips, such letise. suche welcom, suche farwell.
Thine own words (quoth he) thyn own welcom mard
2000 Well (saied she) whan-so-euer we twayn haue iard,
My woords be pryed at narowly, I espye.
Ye can see a mote in an-other mans iye,
But ye can not see a balke in your owne.
Ye marke my woords, but not that they be growne.
2005 By reuellous rydyng on euery royle.
Well-ny euery daie a newe mare or a moyle.
As muche vnhonest. as vnprofitable,
Whiche shall bryng vs shortly to be vnable,
To gyue a dog a lofe. as I haue oft sayde.
2010 Howe-be-it your pleasure maie no tyme bee denayde.
But styll you must haue, both the fynest meate,
Apparell, and all-thyng that money maie geate,
Lyke one of fonde fancy so fyne and so neate,
That wold haue better bread than is made of wheate.
2015 The best is best cheape (quoth he) men saie clere.
Well (quoth she) a man maie bie golde to dere,
Ye nother care, not welny caste what ye paie,
To bye the derest for the best alwaie.
But wyse men can saie, agaynst hewyng to hye,
2020 Hewe not to hye, lest the chyps fall in thyne iye. This and the previous line found in 1546 only
next twelve lines added in 1549
Than for your diet who vseth feedying suche,
Eate more than enough, and drink muche more to muche.
But temprance teacheth this, where he kepeth scoole,
He that knoweth whan he hath enough, is no foole.
Fede by measure, and defye the phisicion.
And in the contrary, marke the condicion,
A swyne ouer-fat, is cause of her owne bane.
Who seeth nought herein, his wit is in the wane.
But pompous prouision, comth not all, alway
Of gluttony, but of pride somtyme, some say.
ref.ed: 162
But this prouerbe preacheth to men haute or hye,
Hewe not to hye, lest the chips fall in thine iye.
Measure is a mery meane, as this dothe show.
Not to hy for the pye, nor to lowe for the crow.
The difference betweene staryng, and starke blynde,
The wyse man at all tymes to folowe can fynde.
sig: [I4v]
2025 And ywis an auditour of a meane wyt,
Maie soone accompt, though hereafter come not yet.
Yet is he sure be the daie neuer so longe,
Euermore at laste they ryng to euensonge.
And where ye spend much, though ye spent but lickell,
2030 Yet littell and littell the cat eateth the flickell.
Littell losse by length maie growe importable.
A mouse in tyme, maie bite a_two, a gable.
Thus to ende of all thyngs, be we leefe or lothe,
Yet lo the pot so longe to the water gothe,
2035 Tyll at the laste it comth home broken.
Fewe woords to the wise suffise to be spoken.
If ye were wise, here were ynough (quoth she)
Here is ynough, and to muche, dame (quoth he)
For though this appere a propre pulpet-peese,
2040 Yet whan the foxe preacheth, than beware our geese.
next fourteen lines added in 1549
A good tale yll tolde, in the tellyng is marde.
So are (quoth she) good tales well tolde, and yll hearde.
Thy tales (quoth he) shew long heare, and short wit, wife.
But long be thy legs, and short be thy life.
Praie for your-selfe, I am not sicke (quoth she)
Well lets see, what thy last tale comth to (quoth he)
Thou saiest I spend all, to this, thy woords wander.
But as deepe drynketh the goose, as the gander.
Thou canst cough in the ambry, yf nede be,
Whan I shall cough without breade or broth for the.
Wherby while thou sendst me abrode to spende,
Thou gossepst at home, to mete me at lands_ende.
Ah, than I begyle you (quoth she) this ye meane.
But syr, my pot is whole, and my water cleane.
ref.ed: 163
Thou woldest haue me hynch and pynch, like a snudge, Thou] Well, thou 1549; hynch and] quoth he 1549
Euery daie to be thy driuell, or thy drudge.
Not so (quoth she) but I wold haue ye stur
Honestly, to kepe the wulfe from the dur.
next eighteen lines added in 1549
I wold driue the wulfe out at doore fyrst (quoth he)
And that can I not doo, tyll I driue out the.
A man were better be drownde in Venyce_gulfe,
Than haue suche a bearded beare, or suche a wulfe.
But had I not been witcht, my weddyng to flee,
The termes that long to weddyng had warnde me.
First wooyng for woyng, banna for bannyng.
The banes for my bane, and than this thus scannyng,
Mariyng, marryng. And what maried I than?
A woman. As who saieth, wo to the man.
Thus wed I with wo, wed I Gill, wed I Iane.
I praie God the diuell go with the, downe the lane.
I graunt (quoth she) this doth sound (as ye agreed)
On your side in woords, but on my syde in deed.
Thou grantst this grant (quoth he) without any grace,
Vngraciousely, to thy side, to tourne this case.
Leaue this (quoth she) and learne liberalitie,
To stynt strife, growne by your prodigalitie
2045 Ofte saied the wise man, whom I erst dyd bery,
Better are meales many, than one to mery.
Well (quoth he) that is answered with this. wyfe.
Better is one monthes chere, than a churles hole life.
I thynke it learnyng of a wyser lectour,
2050 To lerne to make my-selfe myne owne exectour.
Than spare for an-other, that might wed the,
As the foole, thy fyrst husbande. spared for me,
And as for yll places, thou sekest me in mo,
And in wors to. than I into any go.
sig: K[1]
2055 Wherby this prouerbe shewth the in by the weeke.
No man wyll an-other in the ouen seeke,
ref.ed: 164
Except that hym-selfe haue been there before,
God gyue grace thou hast been good. I saie no more.
And wold haue the sai lesse. except thou couldst proue
2060 Suche processe, as thou slaunderously doest moue.
For sclaunder perchaunce (quoth she) I not denye.
It maie be a sclaunder, but it is no lye.
It is a lye (quoth he) and thou a lyer.
Wyll ye (quoth she) dryue me to touche ye nyer?
2065 I rub the gald hors back till he winche, and yit.
He wold make it seme, that I touche hym no whit.
But I wot what I wot, though I few words make,
Many kysse the childe for the nurces sake.
Ye haue many godchyldren to looke vpone,
2070 And ye blesse theim all, but ye basse but one.
This half shewth, what the holle meanth, that I meeue.
Ye fet circumquaques to make me beleeue circumquaques: i.e. circumlocutions; see OED s.v. circumquaque
Or thynke, that the moone is made of a grene chese.
And whan ye haue made me a loute in all these,
2075 It semeth ye wolde make me go to bed at noone.
Naie (quoth he) the daie of dome shall be doone
Er thou go to bed at noone, or nyght, for me,
Thou art, to be playn and not to flatter the,
As holsome a morsell for my comly cors,
2080 As a shoulder of mutton for a sycke hors.
next twelve lines added in 1549
The diuell with his dam, hath more rest in hell,
Than I haue here with the. but well wyfe well.
Well well (quoth she) many wels, many buckets.
Ye (quoth he) and many woords, many buffets.
Had you some husband, and snapt at hym thus,
I wys he would geue you a recumbentibus.
A dog will barke er he bite, and so thow,
After thy barkyng wilt bite me, I trowe now.
But it is harde to make an olde dog stoupe, lo.
Sir (quoth she) a man maie handle his dog so,
That he may make him bite him, though he would not,
Husbands ar in heauen (quoth he) whose wiues scold not.
ref.ed: 165
Thou makest me claw where it itcheth not. I wold
Thy toung were coolde to make thy tales more cold.
That aspine-leafe, such spitefull clappyng hath bred,
That my cap is better at ease than my hed.
sig: [K1v]
2085 God sende that hed (saied she) a better nurs.
For whan the hed aketh, all the body is the wurs.
God graunt (quoth I) the hed and body bothe too,
To nurs eche other, better than they doo,
Or euer haue doone for the moste tymes paste,
2090 I brought to nurs both (quoth she) had not ben waste,
Margery_good_cowe (quoth he) gaue a good meele,
But than she cast it downe agayne with hir heele.
Howe can her purs for profyte bee delitefull?
Whose persone and propretees be so spitefull so] thus 1549
next two lines added in 1549
A peece of a kyd is woorth two of a cat.
Who the diuell will chaunge a rabet for a rat?
2095 As are thyne. Sure a man were better begge, As are thyne. Sure a man were better begge] If I myght chaunge, I wolde rather chuse to begge 1549
Or syt with a rosted appull, or an egge,
Where his appetite serueth hym to bee, his] mine 1549; hym] me 1549
Than euery daie to fare lyke a duke with the.
Lyke a duke, lyke a duck (quoth she) thou shalt fare,
2100 Except thou wilt spare, more than thou dost yet spare.
Thou farest to well (quoth he) but thou art so wood,
Thou knowst not who doth the harm, who doth the good
Yes yes (quoth she) for all those wyse words vttred,
I knowe on whiche syde my breade is buttred,
2105 But there will no butter cleaue on my breade.
And on my breade any butter to be spreade,
Euery promyse that thou therin doest vtter,
Is as sure, as it were sealed with butter.
Or a mouse tyed with a threede. Euery good thyng,
2110 Thou lettest euen slyp, like a wag-halter slypstryng.
ref.ed: 166
But take vp in tyme, or els I protest,
All be not abedde, that shall haue yll rest.
Nowe go to thy derlyngs, and declare thy greefe,
Where all thy plesure is. hop hoore, pype theefe.

sig: K2

¶The eyght chapiter.

2115 [W]ith this thens hopt she, wherwith o lord he cride 'W' of 'With'=VV
What wretch but I, this wretchednes coud bide
Howe-be-it in all this wo, I haue no wronge,
For it onely is all on my-selfe alonge.
Where I shuld haue bridled hir fyrst with rough byt,
2120 To haue made hir chowe on the brydell one fyt,
For likorous lucre of a little winnyng,
I gaue hir the bridell at begynnyng.
And nowe she taketh the brydle in the teeth,
And runth awaie with it, wherby eche man seeth,
2125 It is (as olde men right well vnderstande)
Ill puttyng a naakt sworde in a mad-mans hande.
She taketh such hert of gras, that though I maym hir,
Or kill hir, yet shall I neuer reclaym hir,
She hath (they say) been styffe-necked euermore.
2130 And it is yll healyng of an olde sore.
This prouerbe prophecied many yeres agone,
It will not out of the fleshe, thats bred in the bone.
What chaunce haue I, to haue a wyfe of suche sorte,
That will no faute amende, in earnest nor sporte,
2135 A small thyng amysse late I dyd espy.
Whiche to make her mende, by a ieste meryly,
I sayde but this, taunt-tyuet wyfe, your nose drops. taunt-tyuet: see Habenicht, p. 232
So it maie fall, I wil eate no browesse-sops browesse: 'broth'; see OED s.v. brewis, browis.
This daie. But two daies after this came in vre,
2140 I had sorowe to my sops ynough be sure.
Well (quoth I) it is yll iestyng on the soothe.
Soth bourd is no bourd, in ought that myrth dooth.
sig: [K2v]
Suche iests could not iuggle hir, were ought amys.
ref.ed: 167
Nor turne melancoly to myrth. for it is
2145 No playing with a strawe before an olde cat,
Euery tryflyng toie age can not laugh at.
Ye maie walke this waie, but sure ye shall fynde,
The further ye go, the further behynde.
Ye shoulde consyder, the woman is olde.
2150 And what for a whot worde. Sone whot, sone colde.
Beare with them, that beare with you. and she is scand,
Not onely the fayrest floure of your garlande,
But also she is all the fayre floures therof.
Will ye requite hir than with a tauntyng scof?
2155 Or with any other kynde of vnkyndnesse?
Take hede is a fayre thyng. Beware this blyndnesse.
Why will ye (quoth he) I shall folowe hir will?
To make me Iohnn_drawlache, or suche a snekebill.
To bryng her solas, that bryngth me sorowe,
2160 Byr lady, than we shall catche bryds to_morow.
A good wife makth a good husbande (they saie)
That (quoth I) ye maie tourne an-other waie.
To make a good husbande, make a good wyfe.
I can no more herein, but god stynt all stryfe.
2165 Amen (quoth he) and god a_mercy brother,
I will nowe mende this house, and payre an-other.
And that he ment of lykelyhod by his owne.
For so apairde he that, er three yeres were growne,
That little and little he decayde so long,
2170 Tyll he at length came to buckle and bare thong.
To discharge charge, that necessarily grewe,
There was no more water than the shyp drew.
sig: K3
Suche dryfts draue he, from yll to wars and wars,
Tyll he was as bare as a byrds ars.
2175 Money, and money worth, dyd so mysse hym,
That he had not nowe, one peny to blysse hym.
Whiche foreseene in this woman wisely waying,
That meete was to staie somewhat for hir staying,
ref.ed: 168
To kepe yet one messe for Alyson in store.
2180 She kepte one bag, that he had not sene before.
A poore cooke that maie not licke his owne fyngers.
But about hir at home now still he lyngers.
Not checker a_boord, all was not clere in the coste,
He lookt lyke one, that had beshyt the roste.
2185 But whether any secrete tales were sprynklyng,
Or that he by gesse had got an ynklyng
Of hir hoord, or that he thought to amende,
And tourne his yll begynnyng to a good ende.
In shewyng hym-selfe a newe man, as was feet,
2190 That appered shortly after, but not yeet.

¶The nynthe chapiter.

ONe daie in their arbour, which stode so to myne,
That I might, and did closely myn eare inclyne,
And likewise cast myne eie to here and see,
What they saied and dyd, where they could not se me.
2195 He vnto hir a goodly tale began,
More lyke a wooer, than a weddyd man,
As farre as matter therof therin serued,
But the fyrst part from wordes of wooyng swerued.
And stode vpon repentance, with submission,
2200 Of his former croked vnkynde condicion.
sig: [K3v]
Praying hir, to forgeue and forget all free,
And he forgaue hir, as he forgeuen wold bee.
Louyng hir now, as he full depely swore,
As whotly, as euer he loued hir before.
2205 Well well (quoth she) what-euer ye now saie,
It is to late to call agayne yesterdaie.
Wyfe (quoth he) suche maie my diligence seeme,
That th'offence of yesterdaie I mai redeeme.
God taketh me as I am, and not as I was.
2210 Take you me so to, and let all thyngs past pas.
I praie the good wife, thynk I speke and thynk playne.
ref.ed: 169
What, he ronth far, that neuer turnth agayne.
Ye be yong ynough to mende, I agree it,
But I am (quoth she) to olde to see it.
2215 And mende ye or not, I am to olde a yeere.
What is lyfe? where lyuyng is extincte cleere.
Namely at olde yeres of least helpe and moste nede.
But no tale coulde tune you, in tyme to take hede.
If I tune my-selfe now (quoth he) it is fayre.
2220 And hope of true tune, shall tune me from dispaire.
Beleue well and haue well. men saie. Ye, saied shee,
Doo well and haue well. men saie also, we see.
But what man can beleue, that man can doo well.
Who of no man will counsell take or here tell.
2225 Whiche to you, whan any man any-waie tryde,
Than were ye deafe. ye coulde not here on that syde.
Who-euer with you any-tyme therin weares,
He must bothe tell you a tale and fynde you eares.
You had on your haruest-eares, thycke of heryng.
2230 But this is a question of olde enqueryng,
sig: [K4]
Who is so deafe, or so blynde, as is hee,
That wilfully will nother here nor see.
Whan ye sawe your maner, my harte for wo, molte, ye] I 1549
Than wold ye mende, as the fletcher mends his bolt,
2235 Or as sowre ale mendthe in sommer, I know,
And knew, whiche waie the wynde blew, and will blow.
Though not to my profite, a prophete was I.
I prophecied this, to true a prophecy.
Whan I was right yll beleued, and worse harde.
2240 By flynging from your folkes at home, which al mard.
Whan I saied in semblaunce either colde or warme,
A man far from his good, is nye his harme.
Or wylde ye to looke, that ye loste no more,
On suche as shew, that hungry flyes byte sore,
2245 Than wold ye loke ouer me, with stomake swolne,
ref.ed: 170
Lyke as the deuill lookt ouer Lyncolne.
The deuill is deade wife (quoth he) for ye see.
I loke lyke a lambe, in all your words to mee.
Looke as ye lyst now (quoth she) thus lookt ye than,
2250 And for those lookes I shewe this, to shewe ech man,
Suche profe of this prouerbe, as none is gretter,
Which saith, that some man maie steale a hors better,
Than some other maie stande and loke vpone.
Leude huswiues might haue words. but I not one
2255 That might be alowde. But nowe if ye looke,
In mystakyng me, ye maie see, ye tooke
The wrong waie to wood, and the wrong sow by th'eare
And therby in the wronge boxe to thriue ye weare.
I haue herde some, to some tell this tale not seelde,
2260 Whan thrift is in the towne, ye be in the feelde.
But contrary, you made that sence to sowne,
Whan thryfte was in the feelde, ye were in the towne.
sig: [K4v]
Feelde-ware might synke or swym, while ye had eny,
Towne-ware was your ware, to tourne the peny.
2265 But towne or feelde, where most thryfte dyd appere.
What ye wan in th'undred, ye lost in the shere.
In all your good husbandry, thus ryd the rocke,
Ye stumbled at a strawe, and lept ouer a blocke.
So many kynds of encrease you had in choyce,
2270 And nought increase nor kepe, howe can I reioyce?
next four lines added in 1549
Good ridyng at two ancres men haue tolde.
For if the tone faile, the tother maie holde.
But you leaue all anker-holde, on seas or lands.
And so set vp shop, vpon Goodwyns_sands.
For as folke haue a saying, both olde and trew, For] But 1549
In that they saie, blacke will take none other hew,
So maie I saie here, to my deepe dolour,
It is a bad cloth, that will take no colour.
2275 This case is yours. For ye were neuer so wise,
ref.ed: 171
To take specke of colour, of good aduise.
Th'aduise of all frends I saie, one and other
Went in at the tone eare, and out at the tother.
And as those words went out, this prouerbe in came.
2280 He that will not be ruled by his owne dame,
Shall be ruled by his stepdame, and so yow,
Hauyng lost our owne good, and owne frends now, our] your 1549
Maie seke your foreyn frends. if you haue any,
And sure one of my great greefes, amonge many,
2285 Is, that ye haue been so veraie a hog,
To my frends. What man, loue me, loue my dog.
But you, to cast precious stones before hogs,
Cast my good before a sorte of curre-dogs.
And sawte bitches. Whiche by whom now deuoured,
2290 And your honestee amonge theim defloured,
And that ye maie no more expence afoorde,
Nowe can they not afoorde you one good worde.
sig: L[1]
And you theim as fewe. And olde folke vnderstood,
Whan theues fall out, true men come to their good.
2295 Whiche is not alwaie true. For in all that bretche,
I can no ferthyng of my good the more fetche.
Nor I trow theim-selfes neither. if they were sworne.
Lyght come lyght go. And sure sens we were borne,
Ruine of one rauyn, was there none gretter.
2300 For by your gyfts, they be as little the better,
As you be muche the worse. and I cast a_waie.
An yll wynde, that blowth no man to good, men saie.
Wel (quoth he) euery wind blowth not down the corn
I hope (I saie) good hap be not all out-worn.
2305 I will nowe begyn thryft, whan thrifte semeth gone.
What wyfe, there be mo waies to the wood than one.
And I will assaie all the waies to the wood,
Tyll I fynde one waie, to get agayne this good.
Ye will get it agayne (quoth she) I feare,
ref.ed: 172
2310 As shortely as a hors will lycke his eare.
The douche-man saieth, that seggyng is good cope.
Good words bring not euer of good dedes good hope
And these words shew your words spoken in scorne.
It pricketh betymes that will be a good thorne.
2315 Tymely crookth the tree, that wil a good camok bee. camok: =cammock, 'crooked stick'
And suche begynnyng suche ende. we all daie see.
Now you by me at begynnyng beyng thriuen,
And than to kepe thrift could not be prickt nor driuen
Howe can ye now get thrifte, the stocke beyng gon?
2320 Whiche is th'onely thyng to reyse thryft vpon.
Men saie, he maie yll renne, that can not go,
And your gayn, without your stocke, renneth euen so.
sig: [L1v]
For what is a workeman, without his tooles.
Tales of Robyn_hoode are good among fooles.
2325 He can yll pype, that lackth his ouer-lyp.
Who lackth a stocke, his gayne is not woorth a chyp.
A tale of a tub, your tale no truthe auowth,
Ye speake nowe, as ye wolde creepe into my mowth.
In pure peynted processe, as false as fayre,
2330 Howe ye will amende, whan ye can not appayre.
But agaynst gaie glosers this rude text recites,
It is not all butter, that the cowe shites.
next twelve lines added in 1549
I herd ones a wise man saie to his daughter,
Better is the laste smile, than the first laughter,
We shall I trust (quoth he) laugh again at last.
Although I be ones out of the sadle cast.
Yet sens I am bent to syt, this will I doo.
Recouer the hors or lese the saddle too.
Ye neuer could yet (quoth she) recouer any hap,
To wyn or saue ought, to stop any one gap.
For stoppyng of gaps (quoth he) care not a rushe.
I will learne to stop two gaps with one bushe.
Ye will (quoth she) as soone stop gaps with russhes,
As with any husbandly handsome busshes,
ref.ed: 173
Your tale hath lyke taste, where temprance is taster, tale hath] tales haue 1549
To breake my head, and than gyue me a plaster.
2335 Now thrifte is gone, now wold ye thryue in all haste.
And whan ye had thryfte, ye had lyke haste to waste.
Ye lyked than better an ynche of your wyll,
Than an ell of your thrifte. Wyfe (quoth he) be styll.
Maie I be holpe foorth one ynche at this pynche,
2340 I will yet thriue (I saie) As good in an ynche
As an ell. Ye can (quoth she) make it so, well.
For whan I gaue you an ynche, ye tooke an ell.
Tyll both ell and ynche be gone, and we in det.
Nay (quoth he) with a wet fynger ye can fet,
2345 As muche as maie easily all this matter ease,
And this debate also pleasauntly appease.
I coulde doo as muche with an hundred pounde now,
As with a thousande afore, I assure yow.
Ye (quoth she) who had that he hath not, wolde
2350 Doo that he dooth not, as olde men haue tolde.
Had I, as ye haue, I wolde doo more (quoth hee)
Than the preest spake of on sondaie, ye shulde see.
sig: L2
Ye doo, as I haue (quoth she) for nought I haue,
And nought ye do. What man, I trowe ye raue.
2355 Wolde ye bothe eate your cake, and haue your cake?
Ye haue had of me all that I might make.
And bee a man neuer so greedy to wyn,
He can haue no more of the foxe but the skyn.
Well (quoth he) if ye lyst to bryng it out,
2360 Ye can geue me your blessyng in a clout.
That were for my childe, (quoth she) had I ony,
But husbande, I haue neither childe, nor mony.
Ye cast and coniecture this muche lyke in show.
As the blind man casts his staffe, or shootes the crow.
2365 Howbeit had I money right muche, and ye none,
Yet to be playne, ye shulde haue none, for Ione.
ref.ed: 174
Naie, he that firste flattereth me, as ye haue doone.
And dooeth as ye dyd to me after, so soone,
He maie be in my Pater-noster in-dede.
2370 But be sure, he shall neuer come in my Crede.
Aue Maria (quoth he) how muche mocion
Here is to praiers, with howe little deuocion.
But some men saie, no peny no Pater-noster.
I saie to suche (saied she) no longer foster
2375 No longer lemman. But fayre and well than,
Praie and shifte eche one for hym-selfe, as he can.
Euery man for hym-selfe, and god for vs all.
To those words he said nought, but forth-with dyd fall,
From harping on that stryng, to fayre flattring spech.
2380 And as I erst saied, he dyd her so besech,
That thyngs erst so far of, were nowe so far on,
That as she maie walow, awaie she is gon,
sig: [L2v]
Where all that was lefte laie with a trusty frende,
Dwellyng a good walke from hir at the towns ende.
2385 And backe agayn streight a haltyng pace she hobles.
Bryngyng a bag of royals and nobles.
All that she had, without restraynt of one iote.
She brought bullocks noble. for noble or grote,
Had she not one mo. Whiche I after well knew.
2390 And anon smylyng, towarde hym as she drew,
A syr, lyght burdeyn far heuy (quoth she)
This lyght burdeyn in long walke welny ti[re]th me. tireth] tierth 1546, tireth 1550
God gyue grace, I playe not the foole this daie.
For here I sende th'axe after the helue awaie.
2395 But yf ye will stynt, and auoyde all stryfe,
Loue and cheryshe this as ye wolde my lyfe.
I wyll (quoth he) wyfe, by god almyghty.
This geare comth euen in puddyng-tyme ryghtly.
He snatcht at the bag. No hast but good (quoth shee)
2400 Short shootyng leeseth your game, ye maie see.
Ye myst the cushyn, for all your haste to it.
ref.ed: 175
And I maie set you besyde the cushyn yit,
And make ye wype your nose vpon your sleeue,
For ought ye shall wyn without ye axe me leeue.
2405 Haue ye not herde tell, all couet all leese?
Ah syr, I se, ye maie see no greene chese,
But your teeth muste water. A good coknay coke.
Though ye loue not to bye the pyg in the poke,
Yet snatche ye at the poke, that the pyg is in,
2410 Not for the poke, but the pyg good chepe to wyn.
Lyke one halfe lost, tyll gredy graspyng gat it,
Ye wolde be ouer the style, or ye come at it.
sig: L3
But abyde frend, your mother byd tyll ye wer borne.
Snatchyng wynth it not. if ye snatche tyll to_morne.
2415 Men saie (saied he) long standyng and small offryng
Maketh poore parsons. and in such signes and proffryng
Many praty tales, and mery toys had they,
Before this bag came fully from hir awey.
next two lines added in 1549
Kyndly he kyst her, with words not tart nor tough.
But the cat knowth whose lips she lickth wel enough.
Howbeit, at laste she tooke it hym, and sayde, Howbeit, at laste she tooke it hym] Anone, the bag she delyuered hym 1549
2420 He shulde beare it, for that it nowe heuy wayde.
With good will wyfe. for it is (sayde he to her)
A proude hors that wil not beare his own prouander.
And ofte before seemed she neuer so wyse,
Yet was she nowe, sodeynly waxen as nyse
2425 As it had been a halporth of syluer spoones.
Thus cloudy mornyngs turne to clere after-noones.
But so nye noone it was, that by and by,
They rose, and went to dyner louyngly.

¶The tenthe chapiter.

THis diner thought he long. and streight after that,
2430 To his accustomed customers he gat.
With whome in what tyme he spent one grote before,
ref.ed: 176
In lesse tyme he spendth now, ten grotes or more.
And in small tyme he brought the worlde so about,
That he brought the bottom of the bag cleane out.
2435 His gaddyng thus agayne made hir yll content,
But she not so muche as dreamd that all was spent.
Howe-be-it sodeynly she mynded on a daie,
To picke the chest-locke, wherin this bag laie.
Determynyng this. if it laie whole styll,
2440 So shall it lye, no myte she minyshe will.
sig: [L3v]
And if the bag began to shrynke, she thought best,
To take for hir part, some parte of the rest.
But streight as she had forthwith opened the locke,
And lookt in the bag, what it was a clocke,
2445 Than was it proued true, as this prouerbe gothe,
He that cometh last to the pot, is soonest wrothe.
By hir comyng laste, and to late to the pot.
Wherby she was potted, thus lyke a sot,
To see the pot bothe skymd for rennyng ouer,
2450 And also all the lykour renne at rouer.
At hir good husbands and hir next meetyng,
The diuels good grace might haue geuen a greetyng.
Eyther for honour or honestee as good
As she gaue him: She was (as they sai) horne-wood.
2455 In no place coulde she sitte, hir-selfe to settyll.
It seemd to hym, she had pyst on a nettyll.
She nettlyd hym, and he rattled hir so,
That at ende of that fraie, a_sunder they go.
And neuer after came togyther agayne.
2460 He turnde hir out at durs, to grase on the playne.
And hym-self went after. For within fortnyght,
All that was lefte, was launched out quight.
And thus had he brought haddock to paddock,
Tyll they bothe were not now worth a haddock.
2465 It hath been sayde, nede maketh the olde wyfe trot.
Other folke sayde it, but she dyd it. god wot.
ref.ed: 177
Fyrst from frende to frende, and than from dur to dur,
A_beggyng to some that had begged of hur.
But as men saie, misery maie be mother,
2470 Where one begger is dryuen to beg of an-other.
sig: [L4]
And thus ware, and wasted this most woful wretche.
Tyll death from this lyfe, dyd her wretchedly fetche.
Her late husband, and now wydower, here and there
Wandryng about few knowe, and fewer care where.
2475 Cast out as an abiect, he leadeth his lyfe,
Tyll famyne by_lyke, fet hym after his wyfe.

Nowe let vs note here. Fyrst of the first twayne,
Where they bothe wedded togyther, to remayne,
Hopyng ioyfull presence shulde weare out all wo.
2480 Yet pouertee brought that ioye to ieofayle, lo. ieofayle: =jeofail, 'error, mistake'
But notably note these last twayne where as hee
Tooke hir onely, for that he ryche would bee.
And she hym onely in hope of good happe,
In hir dotyng-daies to be daunst on the lappe,
2485 In condicion they differd so many waies,
That lyghtly he layde hir vp for holy-daies.
Hir good he layde vp so, lest theues myght spie it,
That nother she coulde, nor he can come by it.
Thus failed all foure of all thyngs lesse and more,
2490 Whyche they all, or any of all, maryed fore.

The leuenthe chapiter.

FOrsothe (sayd my frend) this matter maketh bost,
Of diminucion. For here is a myll-poste
Thwitten to a puddyng-pricke so neerely,
That I confesse me discouraged cleerely,
2495 In bothe my weddyngs, in all thyngs excepte one.
This sparke of hope haue I, to procede vpone.
Though these, and some other sped yll as ye tell,
Yet other haue lyued and loued full well.
sig: [L4v]
If I shuld deny that (quoth I) I shulde raue.
ref.ed: 178
2500 For of bothe these sorts, I grant, that my-selfe haue
Sene of the tone sorte, and herde of the tother.
That lyked and lyued right well, eche with other.
But whether fortune will you, that man declare,
That shall choose in this choice, your comfort or care
2505 Sens, before ye haue chosen, we can not know,
I thought to laie the worst, as ye the best show.
That ye myght, beyng yet at libertee,
With all your ioye, ioyne all your ieoperdee.
And nowe this herde, in these cases on eche parte,
2510 I saie no more, but laie your hande on your harte.
I hertily thanke you (quoth he) I am sped
Of myne errande. This hitteth the nayle on the hed.
Who that leaueth suretee, and leaneth to chaunce,
Whan fooles pipe, by auctoritee he maie daunce.
2515 And sure am I, of those twayne, if I none choose,
Although I nought wyn, yet shall I nought loose.
And to wyn a woman here, and lose a man,
In all this great wynnyng, what gayn wyn I than?
But marke how folly hath me awaie caried.
2520 Howe lyke a wethercock haue I here varied.
Fyrst these two women to loose I was so lothe,
That yf I myght, I wolde haue wedded them bothe.
Than thought I sens, to haue wedded one of theim.
Now nowe knowe I clere, I wyll wed none of theim.
2525 They bothe shall haue this one answere by letter,
As good neuer a whit as neuer the better.

Now let me axe (quoth I) and your-self answere
The shorte question, that I asked whyle ere.
sig: [M1]
A foule olde riche widowe, whether wed wold ye,
2530 Or a yonge fayre mayde, beyng poore as ye be.
In neither barrell better hearryng (quoth hee)
I_lyke thus, ryches as yll as pouertee.
Who that hath either of these pygs in vre,
He hath a pygge of the worse panier sure.
ref.ed: 179
2535 I was wedded vnto my will. howe-be-it,
I will be deuorst, and be wedde to my wit.
Wherby with these examples paste, I maie see,
Fonde weddyng, for loue, or good onely, to flee.
Onely for loue, or onely for good,
2540 Or onely for bothe. I wedde not, by my hood.
Thus no one thyng onely, though one thyng chiefly
Shall woo me to wed now, for now I espy,
Although the chiefe one thyng in weddyng bee loue,
Yet must mo thyngs ioyne, as all in one maie moue
2545 Suche kynde of lyuyng, for suche kynde of lyfe,
As, lackyng the same, no lacke to lacke a wyfe.
Here is enough, I am satisfied (sayde he.)
Sens enough is enough (sayd I) here maie we,
With that one word take end good, as maie be geast.
2550 For folke say, enough is as good as a feast.

IMPRINTED at London in Fletestrete by Thomas_Berthelet prynter to the kynges hyghnesse.
Cum priuilegio ad imprimendum solum. ANNO .M.D.XLVI.