Johan Splynter's Testament


STC 23102
Ringler 23102 and TP 1802; UMI microfilm reel 147

Here begynneth a mery gest and a true howe Johan splynter made his testament.
London: Julyan Notary,1520?.

Composition Date: 1520?.

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¶Here begynneth a mery gest and / a true howe Iohan_splynter Made his testament.

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THe more subtyler disceyuer.
Or better understander
The moste craftyest clerke.
Of defraude most exper[t]e. experte] experre 1520
5 Or moste practycyan of subtell engyne.
All at the last they cowde come to declyne.
And dayly deceyued bothe somer and wynter
Example of waters son Iohan_splynter
Whiche at Delft in holonde verament.
10 Ryght worschypfully dyd make his testament.
Yet was he a man of smale reputacyon
As ye haue herde of in any regyon.
This Iohan_splynter as euery man tell can.
Was the Rentgatherer of delft and Sceydam.
15 Of .ii. Nonryes the soth to say.
Whyche he truly serued many a day.
To them he was true and diligent.
But to his owne auantage he neuer toke rent.
Tyl his age was come his youthe past and gone.
20 For pouertye wofull was his mone.
Full fayne in ease than wolde he haue lyued
But euery man tha[t] hym refused. that] than 1520
As he that is [in] age or pouertye. in] 1520 omits
On hym full fewe men haue petye.
25 The holyer nonry the more it ought be commended.
He that doth to them brynge is euer welcomed
And yf he nought brynge: nought shal he fynde
But had in dysdeyne and clene out of mynde
Thus haue these .ii. nonryes splynter disceyued
30 Whiche [m]a[n]y a day he sore be_wayled. many] nauy 1520
That all the true seruyce that he hath done.
Was vtterly lost rewarde had he none
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But as he sat musynge alone.
A maruelous influence into his hede come.
35 He mused a crafty wyle in his mynde.
To rewarde the nunnes of that were so vnkynde
He seynge hym-self in age and pouertye.
Thought suerly to fynde a remedye.
Than shortly to Antwerpe dyd he hym [h]ye. hye] sye 1520
40 There to auenture some marchaundyse to bye
He made hym redy and thyder wente.
Fyue or .vi. crownes he had of payment
There-wythall a stronge chest he bought.
With .iii. sure lockes theron well wrought.
45 Than dyde he bye the same day.
Seuen houndred counters therin to lay.
and came agayne to Scedam with gode entent
As welcome to them as the fyrst day of lent
Whiche before had ben worshypfully receyued
50 They gaue hym to drynke sowre bere vnfeyned
At hym the nunnes had great e[n]uye. enuye] euye 1520
Fast to his bed they bad hym hye.
He sayde madaymes lucy and margarete.
Brynge me a candell longe and great.
55 I haue brought from antwerpe a certayne thynge
Wherof this nyght I must make rekenynge
They brought hym a candell that was nat small
And shyt hym in the chamber ther-withal.
Than opened he his cofer in hast.
60 And on table the counters cast.
Ther to tell and reken fast he began.
And shoke and rombled then lyke a besy man
He sayde syx hundred gyldynges rounde.
Maketh euen an hundred pounde.
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65 And other thyrty renysshe gyldynges lay I here
That maketh iust .v. li. of rekenyng clare. li.: =pounds
Herde neuer man of suche a wyle in no boke.
In at an hole a Nun dyd loke
She sawe this money and herde the sounde.
70 Than ran she to the abbesse rounde.
Madame come to splenters chamber with me
What monay he hath there may ye se.
The abbes in at the hole dyd loke.
And sawe howe he his bagges shoke.
75 And lyghtly into his cofre them cast.
As yf no man therof had wyst.
And put out his ca[n]dell and to bed went.
The abbesse knewe full lytell what he ment.
Erly on the mornynge he rose and wolde be gone.
80 The nunes en[t]reted mayster rentgatherer echone entreted] encreted 1520; rentgatherer] renthgatherer 1520
and prayed hym to byde and he shuld haue gode chere
He shulde nat lake ale wyne nor bere.
They prayed hym to abyde yonge and olde.
But at delf he was brought up and thyder he wolde
85 For there he was norysshed of yonge.
And theder he wolde his lyfe to prolonge.
To delft he wolde: and prayed the abbesse.
Surely to kepe his chest with rychesse.
And charged hyr wyth [it] full straytly. it] 1520 omits
90 But the key with hym kept he.
Whan the abbesse of Delft this herde.
By the nunes of scedam that went thyder-warde
That Iohan_splynter was so ryche in-dede.
They made hym gode chere in hope of theyr mede
95 Grete was the stryfe bytwene them twayne
In whiche of these .ii. abbayes he shold remayne
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They of delft sayde they had most ryght.
To haue Iohan_splynter if they myght
For there was he norysshed in-dede.
100 They sent for the cofer in greate spede
At Delft Iohan_splynter dwelled dowtles.
The abbesse had and kept his chest with ryches
So there he dwelled many a yere.
Bothe erly and late they made hym gode chere.
105 They gaue hym rayment of the best.
And all in trust to haue his chest.
Nowe late vs speke of his testament.
Hys executours were ryght suffycyent.
And of habylyte and substance.
110 And it had ben for a kynges fynaunce.
But in heuen be he crowned on hye.
That a dysceyuer dysceyueth ryght wysely.
Mayster mathewe notary and in lawe lycencyat
To be one of his executours hath vndertake.
115 With other two abbottes with gode entent.
These were executours of splynters testament
Bytwene these .ii. abbayes this rychesse to deuyde
Eche of them bothe a key dyd prouyde.
So that whan his beryals were done.
120 This money shulde be brought forthe ryght sone
And bytwene these .ii abba[y]es egally deuyded abbayes] abbanes 1520
As reyson wolde thus they hym aduysed.
Than came deth that taketh all.
Olde and yonge great and small.
125 And toke from Iohan_splynter his lyfe truly.
Whiche was beryed full rychely.
Wyth Dirige and seruyce accordynge
Wyth torches and blacke gownes therto belongynge
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Whan the obsequyes and dirige was done.
130 His executours assembled ryght sone.
A worschypful dyner they caused to be made
Than eche of them to other sayde.
It is best or we this money deuyde.
To sende for the prouoste of Haghe here-besyde
135 Or we vnlocke or meddyll with this chest
For fere of charge that they myght to vs cast.
They sent for hym: and nowe is he come.
A blacke gowne he hoped to haue wonne
The cofer was sent for by and by.
140 The keyes were brought thyder all thre.
Whan they began to open this chest.
The on durst nat the other trust.
For they snatched for the monye there.
Lyke a fysshe that out of the water were.
145 But they[r] great ioy and couetous desyre. theyr] they 1520
Was lyghtly tourned as ye shall here.
They sat to_gyder vpon on syde.
A crosse ouer the chest they made that tyde.
In nomine patris et filii et spiritus sancti
150 That sayde mayster mathewe notary.
Than answered the prouost.
Amen: with a mery Iest:
Than into the chest his hande he hent.
Than spake the notary with euyll entent.
155 Holde out thy hande I tell the this.
Sub pena maloris excommunicationis
A purs they had bothe great and wyde
And cast this money on the table that tyde.
The Notary had his spectacles on.
160 Here is a gode syght of golde by saynt Iohnn .
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The prouost was a man dyd vnderstande.
And of this golde he toke in his hande.
He sayde this golde is of suche excellence.
A man may bye an hundred pyeces for thre pens
165 They blessyd them all that there dyd stande.
They sawe neuer suche a maruayle in holande
And specyally of men that were so wyse and subtyll
They loked eche on other and kept them styll
A rebuke to them it was I_was. I_was: =iwys
170 As yf they had kepte shepe all theyr dayes
It was to them a great rebuke no dout.
To thynke that suche a man shulde brynge about
As Iohan_splynter to haue so great ryches.
Of this whyle they were full wo doutles. whyle: =wile
175 Than by other eche other wolde compell.
This to [kepe] in counsel and no forther to tell. kepe] kepte 1520
The prouost sayd so mot I the.
That shall ye neuer make me.
For it is worthy in cronycles to be done.
180 Nowe herken to my conclusyon.
All they that serue lordes and ladyes.
Remember age wyll come it wyll nat mys.
Therfore spare and kepe money in thy purs
And than of gode chere thou shalt nat mys.
185 and though Iohan_splynter this fortune had that tyde
A thousande other may go besyde.
Or they suche a wyle myght fynde.
Nowe god euer is mannys frende.
Graunt hym the blysse of heuen to haue.
190 That a couetous man can dysceyue.

FINIS ¶Explicit testamentum Johannis_splynter.
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¶Emprynted at London In Poules chyrch-yarde By m[e]me] my 1520 Iulyan_Notary dwellynge at the sygne of the .iii kynges.