The Pathway to a Virtuous Life

"L.V." [Lynyng, Urban; Leigh, Valentine?]

STC 15113.5
Ringler 15113.5 and TP 2330 ('Ye that in youthe ...'); also TP 1357 ('O my loue Grace', E1). Formerly STC 15421. The first two leaves lack signature nos. and leaves B2 and B3 have been transposed. UMI microfilm reel 134; order no. 2491

The pleasaunt playne and pythye pathewaye leadynge to a vertues and honest lyfe
London: N. Hyll for J. Case,1552?.

Composition Date: 1552? [STC].

sig: [wanting]
The pleasaunt playne and pythye Pathewaye leadynge to a vertues and honest lyfe, no lesse profytable, then delectable.
¶Imprynted at London by Nicolas_Hyll, for Iohn_Case, dwellynge at the sygne of the Baule, in Paules churche-yarde.

sig: [wanting]
YE that in youthe desyre to knowe
A good waye for to take,
Wherby to ryches ye myght growe,
And ydlenes to forsake,
5 This lytle boke wyth dylygence
Se that ye reade and marke,
Throughly notynge the good sence
Contayned in this warke,
Pythy precepts you shall here fynde,
10 Ryghte pleasaunte for to reade,
Whereof perchaunce some youth are blynde,
And thereof shall haue nede,
Do not therefore despyse this boke
Because it goeth in ryme,
15 For they that on this boke doth loke,
Shall fynde the matter fyne.

sig: [wanting]
SEynge gyftes are not so muche to be valued for the price of them as they are to be estemed for the good entente of the geuer (mooste gentyll reader) my small labours and trauayle herein bestowed (whyche I frelye geue thee) I shal humblye desyre thee to take in good parte, wherein althoughe the mattier be not in euerye poynte so exquisytely handeled as my good-wyll and seale coulde haue wyshed it, yet I do nothynge at all mystruste but that ye wyll wyth fauoure beare wyth me, and rather frendlye wyncke at the faultes yf there be anye, then spytefullye as carpers at other mennes doynges seke occasyon to dysprayse the same, forasmuche as the hole effecte thereof treateth of nothynge but of good and holsome counsayles enterlaced wyth pleasaunt mirthe and honesty, to youth no lesse right profytable then necessarye. Licurgus, who for hys grauytie and excellente wysedome gaue lawes vnto the Lacedimonians, amongest hys other laudable and seruyouse statutes, dyd institute and ordayne a certayne kynde of exercyse, at the whyche the elders whyche had borne rule in the common-wealth, dyd commonly mete there, to passe the tyme wyth pleasaunte talke and wyttye tales, but suche as were alwayes eyther profytable to the commendacion and prayse of honestye, or els to the detestynge and rebukynge of vyces, because he perfectlye well consydered that it was a thynge mooste nedefull and requyset sometyme wyth suche goodlye recreacion to refreshe the weakenyd powers of the mynde, that it myghte be thereby the more freshe and apte to compasse and accomplyshe other more wayghtye affayres. I omytte other probable auctorities whyche I myghte nowe worthelye brynge herein, to declare that thys lytle woorke is not to be reiected althoughe after a nomber of pythye preceptes there followeth a merye inuented mattier placed therein onely to quycken the spyrytes and to auoyde tedyousnesse. And who is so ignoraunte, but that he well vnderstandeth that youthe commonlye taketh more delectacion in redynge those thynges which in hys age requyreth then in graue sentences cereouslye pronounced. Yet here shall he learne yf he rede it wyth dylygence bothe howe to leade a quyet and godly lyfe in the feare of God, and also to exchue the assaultes of synne and daungers of the
sig: [wanting]
worlde, vnto this bryttell age, (I saye) therefore I haue wrytten this, and not the prudente well-stryken in yeres, whose experience perchaunce hath sufficiently taught, and who haue alredye passed the daungerouse rockes, and swallowynge quicke-sandes of this troublesome worlde. My honest meanynge therefore gentyll reader, herin, yf thou thanckfullye receyue, I shall hereafter be the more wyllynge to take some paynes in other mattiers. And so I wishe thee wel to fare.
sig: A1
IT chaunced that on the eleuenth daye.
Of the floryshynge Moneth, of lustye Maye,
When Titan, into Taurus, hys enterye began,
And the younge bloude, of euery creature than,
5 Renued hys strength, and powers dyd reuiue.
So that eche thynge nowe, appeared on lyue,
Whiche in the stormye wynter, before,
Had sustayned, Eolus Isy blastes sore,
And that the waterye Snowes, had them so torne,
10 Because, of the vehement rage, of Capricorne.
Whiche colde cloudye mystes, once paste theyr waye,
Eche thynge, receaued agayne corage, in hys araye,
And because the sharpe colde, hys malyce had done,
The Mauis endeuoured her-selfe, fyrst, her notes to tune.
15 Next after, the pleasaunt Nightingale, tempered her voyce,
Whiche with her mery melody, euery heart, doth greatly reioyce,
The Thrushe, the Blackebyrde, and the Grenefinche also.
In thys merye sprynge-tyme, dyd shewe what they coulde do.
And then also, the Sunne shynynge verye hote,
20 Caused the crabbed Cockowe, to declare her olde note,
In thys freshe tyme, (I saye) for my recreacion,
Into the woodes I walked, to take delectacion,
As well for to heare, the ioyfull byrdes synge,
As also to beholde, howe euerye-thynge dyd sprynge,
25 And shewe them-selues, agayne, alyue in theyr kynde,
That in the wynter, were bare, and naked, to the rinde
Eche tre budded, and hys leaues gan to sprede,
Eche herbe had hys floures, in euerye grene mede,
The Primerose, the Violet, were then in their prime,
30 And the swete-smellynge coursloppe, florished at thys tyme,
The Hauthorne, the Cheritre, and the Damascigne,
And eche Aple-tre blomed, declarynge good signe,
That yf God their swete blossomin[g]es, wolde vouchesafe to saue, blossominges] blossomines 1552
Great store of fruite, of them we shoulde haue,
35 And thus goynge alone, vnder the woode-syde.
A fayre aged man, I shortelye espyde,
sig: [A1v]
And euen strayght after me, he came a softe pace,
I stayed a lytle therwith, thynckinge in this cace,
Thys olde man semeth, a man of grauitie,
40 And therfore I wolde be very glad, of hys companye.
In thys stayinge a_whyle, at last he ouertoke me,
And with verye graue countenaunce, saluted me gentlye,
And with salutacion, agayne I dyd hym grete,
As to my duetye, I thoughte it moste mete.
45 Good father (and yf it please you) sayde I,
Tell me, howe farre your iourney, this way doeth lye,
And yf the same lye, anye-thinge neare,
I wylbe very glad, you companye to beare,
For I haue, at thys tyme, lytle to do,
50 And woulde therfore, learne, some good counsayle of you.
And because it is so, I am younge, and frayle,
And not as yet instructed, with wholsome counsayle,
My lyfe to directe, in tyme for to come,
Good lessons, of you, I woulde learne some.
55 Whiche might cause me, for you, hereafter to praye,
When I shall folowe the same, an-other daye,
Gentle sonne, (quod he) the trueth to declare,
About foure myles hence, my iourney is to fare,
And because I am aged, and maye not well go,
60 I take the mornynge with me, for it behoueth me so,
And backe agayne to_nyght, homewarde, wyll I, yf I can,
Nyne myle a_daye, is a great iourney, for an aged man,
Wherwith, I remembred my-selfe, by and by,
And behelde the Sunne shyne, so gladsomely,
65 Cleare was the skye, and lightsome was the ayre,
And also the waye, semed very fayre,
My busynes, in-dede (quod I) father, lyeth thre myle and more,
Along that waye, which ye must go, and therfore,
I wyl goe with you softly, and make no great haste,
70 For it requireth none, and this furth on we paste,
God thancke you younge man, sayde he: that ye are so kynde,
Since ye wyll go with me, and not leaue me behynde,
And because your good-wyll is, some wisedome to lere,
The best counsayle I can geue, ye shall here,
75 And I wyll gladly, geue you the heringe (quod I)
Therfore when it shall please you, saye on by and by.
First good sonne, ye must to me make playne,
sig: A2
Where is your dwellynge, and where ye remayne,
What state ye are of, and of what disposition,
80 And wherunto your mynde is geuen, in euery condicion,
Also what is your name, ye muste to me shewe,
And whether ye are syngle, or maried I woulde knowe,
Before, I can shewe you, my good aduise,
Or in any-thynge prudently, enstructe you otherwyse.
85 Truely (quod I) my dwellynge, is not farre hence,
And to a worthye gentle-man, of great reuerence,
Late seruaunt I was, but he is nowe deceassed,
Wherfore of seruyce, I am clearelye released,
And touchynge myne age, I am younge it appeares,
90 As yet not passynge, one and twentye yeares,
Nitnelaue truelye, most men call myne name,
Also single, and vnmaried, as yet I remaine,
Well then, I perceyue (quod he) ye are yet yonge ynough,
In vertue to begynne, and so leade your lyfe through,
95 And also at libertie, and without a wyfe,
Nor as yet addicte, to any one kynde of lyfe,
Further as farre, as I maye or gesse can,
Ye were lately as it were, a seruynge-man,
Nowe whether it be, your mynde, and your wyll,
100 In the trade of seruyce, to continue styll,
Or leaue of the same, and by some other meane,
To seke other wayes, your liuinge to sustayne,
Thys also to knowe, I earnestlye require,
Or els, I can no waye, satisfie your desire,
105 In good fayth (sayde I) so mote I thriue,
A seruaunt I haue bene, aboute yeares fiue,
And truely haue serued to my power,
Since into seruice, I entered the fyrst hower,
Wherin, there is so great, trauayle, and payne,
110 At moste tymes, and so very lytle gayne,
And at other tymes also, ydlenes so greate,
Doinge nothynge, but iettinge, in the feldes, and streate,
Wherin, also there is muche great exercise,
Almoste, of euery maner, and kinde of vice,
115 Bothe pride, dronckennesse, and also swearynge,
By abhominable othes, God him-selfe tearynge,
Suche quarrelynge, fighting, and other abhomination,
Wherof, I coulde make, vnto you true relation,
sig: [A2v]
Yf it were not odible, for you to heare,
120 As th'experience therof, playnlye doeth appeare,
That I intende, vtterlye, the same to refuse,
And some other, more godly state, of lyuynge to chuse,
Wherin I may, spende my tyme, more honestlie,
And in the feare of God, lyue more quietlie,
125 Without doubt (quod he) thou hast sayde trulye,
For besydes, the foresayde noughtenesse, plentye
When a man hath, serued, a great tyme,
Yf he haue done, neuer so lytle a cryme,
Awaye he muste, there is none other remedy,
130 Thus, is he put, to hys shiftes, by and by,
And put case, that he in seruyce continue,
Vntyll age come, that he can no more doe,
Then is he caste of, either to begge hys breade,
Or in miserye, to lyue, tyll tyme he be deade,
135 And euermore commonlye, it is sene and harde.
Thys to be, of miserable seruyce, the rewarde.
And to serue anye man, in the court of renowne,
You see, howe soone, they be vp, and downe,
But yf it shoulde chaunce you, as it doeth, to verye fewe,
140 Ye shoulde, so in your maisters fauoure, hap to growe,
That he myght by some office, or other waye,
Get you any good lyuynge, some one daye,
Whiche is but a chaunce, and fortune ye maye it call,
For they gape them-selues, for euerye windefall,
145 Then shall he thynke you, styl to hym bounde,
So longe as ye are lyuynge, on the grounde,
And yf it chaunce hym hereafter, the lawe to haue offended,
You also beynge hys man, are lyke to be apprehended,
Then haue ye well, and fayre fished in-dede,
150 Your rysynge, was then, in more haste, then good spede,
And some, wise-men flee commonlye, suche lyuynge to seke,
Whiche is first so harde to come by, and after so il to kepe.
Wherfore, to applye thy youth, no more in it,
I can not chuse, but greatlye allowe, thy wit,
155 Nowe then (quod he) further, what other vocacion,
Serueth thy mynde thee, or to what occupacion,
To get thy lyuynge, either by trade of marchaundise,
Or by some handye-crafte, or arte otherwise.
No (sayde I) in marchaundise, I haue no skyll,
sig: A3
160 Nor to spende my tyme, therin I wyll,
Forasmuche, as the same, is ruled by chaunce,
Also, sence I am ignoraunte therof, howe can it me auaunce,
And he that by marchandise, wyll get hys lyuynge,
Nedeth bothe good credit, and a stocke at the begynnynge,
165 But in me lacketh bothe, for stocke haue I none,
And because I was once a seruynge-man, my credit is gone,
Fewe merchauntes wyll truste, any of that race,
Althoughe it were neuer in so honest a cace,
Besydes that, I must swere, perioure, and lye,
170 If I wyll, byinge and sellynge occupie,
My wares, must be nowe and then, also counterfet,
If I intende, by them, anye gayne to get,
Throughe which I shall, displease God, and synne,
Thus doinge, I shal, a fayre threde spynne,
175 I wyll rather dispise, suche vnhappye wynnynge,
As wyll brynge me to hell, at the first begynnynge,
You saye well, (quod he) and besydes all thys,
To be a marchaunt, sonne, another thynge there is,
For many marchauntes, of late in thys lande,
180 Haue bene vndone, and brought behynde-hande,
Whiche neuer coulde, after agayne aryse,
Suche is the bryttell state, of marchaundise,
Also, sayde I, in any other handye-crafte, or science,
Trulye to confesse, I haue none entelligence,
185 And thoughe I had, yet is the worlde, nowe in suche penury,
That almoste no kynde of craftes-man, can lyue therby
All kynde of thynges, are nowe waxen so dere,
That the lyke hath not bene sene, thys manye a yere,
I wyll tell you, (quod he) sence tyme, I was borne,
190 And I shal be iuste .lxxx. yeare olde, come to_morne,
Was neuer, suche misery, necessitie, and nede.
Amongest eche estate, in euerye stede,
As is euen nowe, at thys presente daye,
For though, diuerse tymes past, as I saye
195 Corne hath bene, as dere, here-before,
Yet of all other thynges, we had plentye and store,
But nowe, the price of all thynges, hath lepte, suche a leape,
That nother, fode, clothing, nor any other thing, is good cheape.
In whome the faulte is, truly I can not tell,
200 But I woulde to God, that all-thynge were well,
sig: [A3v]
And I tell you younge man, in good earnest,
I heartely thancke, my redemer Christ,
That my hoore head, is so neare vnto the graue,
My miserye, shalbe the shorter, that I fele, and haue,
205 But concernynge, oure firste communication,
It semeth, your mynde is, to none occupacion,
What then, haue ye good learnynge, any whitte,
Perchaunce, to be a priest, ye thyncke your-selfe fitte,
And surely (quod he) yf your callynge be so wel,
210 Then ye do amisse, neuer-a_del,
For to preache, truely Gods worde, and be a minister,
Yf your callynge be therunto, ye can not do better,
Certaynlye (quod I) my learnynge is but small,
And to great a matter, it is, for me to medle withall,
215 Well learned he shoulde be, and of Gods callynge,
That shoulde occupie, the place of preachynge,
But I am bothe verye vnlearned truelye,
And also farre vnmete, that place to occupye,
You saye well (quod he) for ye myght, worke your-selfe wo,
220 Yf ye woulde attempte, in at the windowe to go,
Or leape ouer the shepecote, not called by God,
So might you make, for your owne tayle a rod,
With almightie God (sonne) is not good, to playe,
For he may not, be dallied with, by no waye,
225 Ye might therby, heape Gods vengeaunce, to you, for your hast,
And eternall dampnation, perchaunce, at the last,
To be a lawier, then (quod he) perchaunce, is thy desire,
Therby, thou thynckest, to great ryches, to aspire,
Not so (quod I) for some learnynge, I doe lacke,
230 Nor neuer, of Sophistrie, or Lodgike, had the smacke,
By whiche standeth the chiefest, and principall poynte,
As of that, pleadinge science, the best ioynte,
All thinges considered, I mynde not that art.
Nor euer, hither, coulde it stande with my harte,
235 Certaynelye, sayde he, the lawe is good, if it be well vsed,
But nowe, the iustice, of the ryght lawe, is somwhat abused,
And manye of their risynge, is by extorcion,
Wherby, they clime, to haue, of riches, such porcion,
And through the same, they almoste are growne, to like obliquie,
240 As the Clergie, at the first fal, were wont to be,
And not without a very vrgent cause,
sig: [A4]
They doe, some without right, so writhe, and wrest the lawes,
And (sonne) in my iudgement, to be playne,
Much of their lawe, tendeth to their owne gayne.
245 Wel, then I thincke, ye wyl beyonde the sea go,
Your youth i[n] learning, to occupye so,
Forsouth (quod I) of al the rest I fynde
That this most pleasinge, [is] to my mynde, is] 1552 omits
Yf so it were, my liuinge woulde extende,
250 There to kepe me, two or thre yeares to an ende,
Wherby I myght, though it were to my payne,
Se countreyes, and some knowledge obtayne,
But he that goeth thyther, without a good purse,
Goeth out of Goddes blessinge, into hys curse,
255 It is good for such men, to go ouer truelye,
As entende, the kinges embassatours to be,
His graces waightie affaires, there for to do,
But I am not lyke, to come therto
The trueth for to say, and to be playne.
260 Since there is so much hasarde, and so small gayne,
I am not as yet, mynded in thys cace,
To seke my lyuynge, in so farre a place,
Therfore (quod the aged man) I agre,
For yf ye lacke there, ye shal fall in great miserie,
265 And litle boteth, you ther, to serue anye man then,
For they are all, other slawes, or gentle-men,
Further (sayde he) what wilt thou then applie,
To lyue in the countreye, by thy lande or annuitie,
As perchaunce thou hast, which I doe not knowe,
270 Tel me, that I may, thee, my best counsayle shewe,
I haue not (quod I) muche liuinge truelye,
But that which I haue, lyeth in the countreye.
Whervpon, I wyl, yf God hys helpe sende,
Quietly liue, and there my life ende,
275 Nowe I perceaue (quod he) thine hole entente,
In axinge thee, questions, this time haue I spente,
Therfore nowe I wyll shewe thee, in al that I can,
My counsayle, how thou mayest best proue, an honest man,
Say on (quod I) let vs no lenger tyme waste,
280 For since we began, a good way haue we paste,
My sonne (sayde he) thou semest verye wise,
That in thys last case, thy-selfe doest aduise,
sig: [A4v]
Fyrst God, and godly thynges, I wyl to thee preache,
And after in worldly thinges, to my power I wyl thee teache.

285 THE principallest thynge, wherin thou muste entende,
Is to haue good respecte, alwayes to the ende,
Wherfore, and why, God thee dyd create,
And howe, he hath appoynted thee, and in what estate,
For to th'ende, of thy fyrste creacion,
290 Directe thy lyfe, in euery condicion,
Sonne, God brought thee, into the worlde here,
For two good causes, as it shall appere,
Fyrste, to geue hym thanckes, laude, honour, and glorie.
And euermore, to prayse hys eternall maiestie,
295 As wel, for that it pleased hym, thee to forme and make,
And al thinges earthly, to create for thy sake,
As also, for that, when thou were lost, by Adams gilte,
He woulde not, of hys meare mercy, see thee spilte,
But sent hys deare sonne, from hys hygh trone,
300 Into thys wretched worlde, to redeme vs euery-one,
Where, to toke vpon hym, our nature frayle,
In the blessed virgens wombe, for our auayle,
And then, here in earth, vs thirty yeares taughte,
By his worde, and miracles, which he wonderfully wroughte,
305 And at last, on the crosse, suffred hys bitter passion,
Onely to redeme vs, and to obtayne cleane remission,
Whiche, his mercy, yf it had not bene the greater,
We had remayned, dampned soules, and no better.
For thys cause, we are bounde him alwayes to prayse,
310 For from death, synne, and hel, he agayne, dyd vs rayse,
Therfore, him to prayse, praye vnto, and wurshyp with feare,
Thys, stedfastly, in thy mynde, see that thou beare,
For it is the chiefest poynt, of vertue, to laude, and knowe,
The creation, of men, and al thynges, that growe,
315 Without thys, other vertues, are nothynge regarded,
In lackynge, thys pitie, thou shalte be lytle rewarded,
For thys, to all vertues, is th'entrye ful playne,
Sence, by prayer onely, eche good thyng, of God we obtayne.

THE other cause, why God thee hyther broughte,
320 Was, that thou shouldest, in worde, worke, and thoughte,
Alwayes endeuour, thy-selfe to thy power,
sig: B1
Hys holye commaundementes, to obaye, euery houre,
Whiche because, I thincke, thou doest sufficientlye knowe,
It nedeth not me, to repete them, on a rowe,
325 For these two causes, specially, my dere sonne,
God, into the worlde, caused thee, to come,
These firme foundacions, fixed, once in thyne harte,
Then iustice rightlye to embrace, see thou doe thy parte,
Suffering no man, to sustayne, any iniury by thee,
330 Or to hurt any creature, by dede, or worde, see thou flee,
And so do, to other men, of eche estate, and degree,
As thou wouldest, haue all men, shoulde do vnto thee,
For this lawe, of dame Nature, euery other lawe, doth excell,
Which, yf thou obserue not, in euery poynt, well,
335 Trust me truly (good sonne) bothe the Lorde, thou shalt offende,
And in heauen, haue no habitacion, at thy lyues ende,
Further, any man, for hys honour, his goodes, or good name,
Beware, thou hate, not by malice, or disdayne,
Also be circumspecte, that neither bribes, hate or loue,
340 Thy heart, from equitie, and iustice, do remoue,
For these thre thinges, we see, so blindeth many mens sighte,
That their iudgementes, and doinges, are contrary, to right,
But thou (my sonne) remembre, that once thou shalt die,
And for these dedes, yf thou do them, be punished, eternallie,
345 Also, the wicked thirstinge, riches to obtayne,
And the vngodly coueting, of siluer, golde, and other gayne,
Se thou also extue, for where couetousnes, doth raygne,
There al kynde of wickednes, of force must remayne,
Impietie, periurie, rapine, and theuynge,
350 Fraude, crafte, and disceate, with lecherous lyuynge,
Quarellynge, and treasons, with murders, and kyllynge,
For landes, treasures, and goodes, many men, spillynge,
Finallye, no filthier thinge is there, or more detestable I say,
Then a man to be couetouse, by any maner of way,
355 For whoso to that vile vice, is once geuen,
To the blynde Mole, I maye him wel lyken,
Which neither loueth, desireth, or any way knoweth,
Any other thynge, then in thys vayne worlde, groweth,
The wretche doth not see, howe shorte and how frayle,
360 The life of man is, and how death doth vs assayle,
Daylye ready, to strike vs, his bowe being bente,
With his deadly, doubtfull darte, then is to late, to repente,
sig: [B1v]
He nother spareth, the younge, the olde, or any degre,
The riche, the learned, or the man in auctorytie,
365 The Lawer, the Landlorde, or the lacking poore-man, that wepith,
But withoute any difference, he euery man stryketh,
And he is oftetymes nerest vs, we dailie doo see,
When we mooste, thincke him, furthest of too bee,
But then (my sonne) these wordlie ryches here,
370 And these vaine goodes, subiecte, to blinde fortunes power,
Doo lytill esteme, nor moche for them care,
For these thinges, are none of thyne, whatsoeuer they are,
Which either, vnstable fortune, hir pleasure too fulfill,
Doth geue, graunte, and plucke awaye, at hir variable will,
375 Or which, when thou dyest, will no lenger abyde,
But to seke them newe maisters, awaye soudainly thei doo slyde
There bee other goodes, which thou oughtest too acquyre,
And moche better ryches, thou shouldest desyre,
Which with thee alwayes will remaine, and endure,
380 Of whom neither fortune, nor death, hath power be thou sure
These, ought thou too heape vp, for the, night and daye,
Then, in-dede arte thou happie, and riche, euerye waie,
As for the reste, which the common people, followe, and magnifie,
Yf thou haue them, as landes, goodes, catailles, or moneye,
385 Lawfullie vse the same, no man can forbide thee,
But thou oughtest to vse them, with Iustice, and modestie,
And also when thou maiest, pytie the pouertie,
And neuer shutte thine eares, at the crye of the nedie,
For who-so with compassion, wil not hear, the crieng of the poore
390 Shal crye him-self, and not be heard, I am sure,
By releuinge the poore, thou laiest vp in stoore,
A treasure, in heauen, to continue euermore,
Which neither cancre can corrupte, neither theues, them conuaie,
Thus heauenly treasure, for worldly trifles, thou shalt haue another daye
395 No man he is, but a Wulfe, that clemencye lacketh,
And which, at other mens myserie, no pitie taketh,
Or that, refuseth too helpe, his fellowe seruaunte here,
Seinge wee are all seruauntes, to one Lorde, and maister,
But yf if shall happen the (I saye) a poore man too bee,
400 With pacient hearte, beare, and sustaine, the pouertie
For the man, that hath moche, wee alwaye well see,
Is troubled, and tossed, with cares, aboundauntlie,
Also he, to whom fortune, hath of goodes geuen stoore,
sig: B2
1552 has B3 [B.iii] here
In daunger, and perell, he remayneth euermore,
405 Experience doth teach vs, and we see euery daye,
Some mans landes, and ryches, too be their castynge-away,
It is no newe thynge, to see this abusion,
That dyuerse mennes wealthes, haue bene theyr confusion,
Also riche men, are with the burden of their goodes so borne downe,
410 That they haue no minde, to seke, after the celestial mansion,
For the more, a man desyreth, riches, and earthly gayne,
So much the harder, it is, for him, too heauen to attayne,
For looke, where a mans treasure is layde,
There is also hys harte, it can not bee denayed,
415 Therefore, pouertye, to some persons, is profytable,
Disburdenynge them, of mischeffes innumerable.

FURTHER, pride, of thee, is to be abhorred no lesse,
Beynge of stryfe, and debate, the mother, and mistresse,
By this, the lawes, ar neglected, and the common-welth spylled,
420 And innumerable people, this vayne pryde, hath kylled,
With this pestilence, the famouse Rome being once poysoned,
By eyuill warre, and oppression, was vtterly destroyed,
This monstruous helhound, by alway see thou flee,
Yf thou wylt with almyghty God, lyue eternallye,
425 For God, in the lowly, and meke, taketh delectacion,
And in the humble spirites, glad[l]y hath his habitacion, gladly] glady 1552
Them also, he fauoureth, that are voyde of ambicion,
And the proud, swellynge people, he bringeth to confucion,
Therefore ye people, puft vp with pryde, what profyteth you,
430 Your pride, high names, and vayne styles, forged newe,
Which death, doth confounde, and bringeth in subieccion,
Your ambisious tytels, of so great a renowne,
Some wyll perchaunce say, the common people, we wil please,
In couetynge of them, therfore to haue our prayse,
435 Tel me (I praye you) what is the iudgement, of the multytude,
Ye shall perceaue many tymes, they doo mocke and delude,
Or elles speake of affeccion, as some-tyme, namynge them wyse,
Which are perchaunce, very fooles, rightly to surmyse,
And though, the ignoraunt we mocke, God can we not deceaue,
440 Naye, he rather derydeth vs by our leaue,
For he knoweth our maners, and our dedes, most secrete,
And for them worthelye to punyshe vs he wil not forget,
But many, are so blynde, that in their owne thoughte,
sig: [B2v]
They beleue, there is no God, and that there remayneth nought
445 Of any man, the breathe, beynge once expired,
Therfore, the present ioyes, of this lyfe, they haue euer desyred,
And do dayly wyshe for, deridynge the blisse to come,
Haue not they, bestial heartes, vnder mans shape and forme,
We seke after ryches our pride too mayntayne,
450 Oure lyfe vanely spendynge to seke a synfull gayne,
We ponder not the frayltye of our wretched state,
We se not death dayly redy, our pryde to abate,
We are so contentlesse from moste vnto leaste,
That in oure vocacion we neuer can reste,
455 Wel yf in worldly thynges blynde fortunes gouernaunce,
Ruled not without reason at hir owne wil and pleasaunce,
As we se she dothe, then all thinges should be wel,
The lawes, and iustice, should floryshe, and tiranny expel,
But since almighty God, suffereth such thinges to be done,
460 Who if it pleased hym, coulde amende al right soone,
Why should we grutche, to suffer the same,
To repyne, at Gods wyl, we are greatly to blame,
Wherfore, wysedom willeth wyse-men, euer to be patient,
And taking al thinges, as it commeth, to be content,
465 But thou (my sonne) endeuour thy-selfe, in al that thou can,
Blynde fortune to dispyce, and the vayne prayse of man,
Onely studye thou dayly, by al maner of wayes,
With vertuouse lyuynge, the Lord for to please,
For true honour, and prayse, thou canst not obtayne,
470 Vntyl after this lyfe, in heauen thou remayne,
Whiche the good, and iuste, shal enioy there,
That with humblenes, and mekenesse, haue led their lyfe here,

ALSO, I charge thee, thyne angre to suppresse,
And the hote rage, of ire, which causeth great busynesse,
475 Wrathe, worketh wo, and much mischiefe we see,
Furye, maketh frayes, and then of necessitie,
Foloweth wyde woundes, hurtes and other mayme,
In which bluddy bickeringes, oft-tymes some men are slayne,
For the mynde of man, beynge once, incensed with ire,
480 Is so blyndely oppressed, with that rashe, ragynge fyre,
That it neyther can beholde, or iudge any-thing a_ryght,
Reason then ruleth not, and wit hath lost his myght,
When after once beynge past, such furiouse rage,
sig: B3
1552 has [B4] here
The hote hastye heate, beginneth to aswage,
485 Then after folly, foloweth, frownynge, frowarde, repentaunce,
With sorow, and shamefastnes, bringing great greuaunce,
Therfore busily beware of it, and thy mynde so moderate,
That this foule vyce, in thy corage, thou dilygently abate,
Pacience, is a vertue, of a wonderful strength,
490 And obtayneth, the victory, of eche thing at length,
The which godly gyft, who-so-euer doth wante,
In hym all goodnes, and grace, of force, must be scante,
And cruel he must nedes be, and also to strife, ful prone,
Which is not the nature, of man, but of beastes alone,
495 The prudent, and good, seketh chiefely for peasse,
And fearing greater mischieffes, wyll beare with the lesse,
Lest, that a lytle sparke, might encrease such a flame,
That great peryl it were, agayne, to quenche the same,
He that nothing wyll suffre, nor his waywarde wrath refrayne,
500 Must flee, the company, of al men we see playne,
And dwel alone, in the wodes, or mountaynes on hye,
Where no man, may trouble hym, nor he no-body,
But he, that wyll frequent, and dwel amongest men,
Must learne, to suffer, dyspleasures, now and then,
505 And brydle hys furye, dissemblynge his yre,
And in his secrete brest, quench the hote fyre,
Nor in any-wyse may, for euery lyght offence,
Violate the bondes, of peace, and pacience,
But as much as he can, forgeue other men,
510 That he offendynge in lyke case, may be also forgeuen,

¶Further, Glotonye to extue, be euer circumspecte,
Which with diuerse diseases, the minde, and body doth infecte,
Besydes shortenynge mans lyfe, it consumeth his wealth,
Vnwarely, as it were, him robbynge by stealth,
515 For dainties, are dere, and dilicates, be costely,
Swallowing vp cleane, great riches, quickely,
Some men, very rich, by prodigal superfluitie,
Haue in short time, deuoured their patrimonie,
Dayly pourynge in their bellyes, both house, goods, and lande,
520 Tyll pouertye them pincheth, and they ar broughte behande,
I haue knowen, very many, I tel the good sonne,
That by laciuiouse ryotte, haue bene vtterly vndone,
Thou must eate (I saye) thy lyfe onely to sustayne,
sig: [B3v]
And not lyue, to eate, this is most playne,
525 Ebreite and drunckennes, is also excesses brother,
For in whome, rayneth the one, there is also the other,
This likewyse must thou fle, yf thou loue thy welfare,
Of al other the same, is the most detestable snare,
He that this wicked vyce, hath once embraced,
530 All goodnes in him, is clearly defaced,
Reason then refuseth hym, and he is left too his wyll,
Al synnes haue free entraunce, him then for too spyll,
Good sonne, I haue sayd many yeres past,
That great Alexander in his drunckennes commaunded in hast,
535 His most deare and familiare frendes to be slayne,
By whose helpe and good counsayle as it is moost playne,
He had the hole world conquered, who beynge thus dedde,
And slepe had expulsed ebriety out of Alexanders hedde,
He then so lamented their deathes in wepynge bytterlye,
540 That he was redy for very anguyshe to dye presentlye,
Oh fylthy ebrietie, the destroyer of the soule,
Oh norysher of vyces, and iniquities all,
What thing is it, but thou forcest mannes harte, to fulfyll,
Wherby he waxeth bolde, too attempt all that is yll,
545 Quarellynge, stryfe, cruel fraies, thou doest moue,
Neyther, regardynge discrecion, honest frendship, or loue,
Through the counsaile is opened, and secrettis reueled,
The tongue is not then hable, too kepe the same closed,
Flee this vyce, my sonne, in all that thou maye,
550 Least it growe, from custome, too nature another daye,
The tongue also, thou must learne too moderate,
And be well ware, what thou speakest early and late,
Be euermore wyllynge, attentifly too heare,
But speake seldome, as nede shall require,
555 Aboundaunce of talke, is a great sygne of follye,
And the busye babler, offendeth continuallye,
He that seldome talketh, and then speaketh wyselye,
Is worthye much prayse, and approueth too be wittie,
One principal point, obserue in thy communicacion,
560 Whether they be present, or absent, with thy words hurt no man,
Nor except it tende too some purpose, speake thou any-thing,
Leaste men laughe the too scorne, for thy bablynge,
Rather holde thy peace, and be euer silent,
It hurteth not, neyther shall it thee repent,
sig: [B4]
565 Too haue bene quiet, and still, but experience teacheth,
That the talkatiue person, oft to his paine repenteth,

FINALLY my sonne, a nother thing ther is,
Which I haue not to the yet, rehersed ywys,
That aboue all the rest, thy lyfe will deface,
570 If in youth too represse it, thou haue not the grace,
That is the wanton desyres, of the bodie frayle,
With this thy best age, will violentlie assaile,
The lewd lustes wherof, see that thou flee,
And brydle thou them, before they blind thee,
575 Ther is no-thinge too vertue, soo cleane contrarye,
As is the wicked concupiscence, of the bodie,
Wher vertue too the heauens, striueth too assende,
Vyle luste, vaine pleasures, onlie doth attende,
Lokinge alwaies, as a beast too the earth grouelinge.
580 The liuelie sprites, both of the minde, and bodie distroyenge,
The deuill taketh manie, with his hooke and snare,
Like a craftie foxe, no trauell doth he spare.
So he may withhold them, the blisse of heauen too attaine,
And after this life, within in hell, too liue euer with paine,
585 These deceates therfore, of Sathan thin enemie,
And this detestable poyson, couered ouer with honye,
Warely beware of, as moche as thou maye,
Least the same repent the, in vaine a nother daye,
When thy rype yeres, of discretion, and mans perfect state,
590 Shall clearlie perceaue, all-thoughe then to late,
Thy wytte, thy substaunce, members, and good name,
By a lytill wanton pleasure, consumed to remane,
Then shalt thou, as many other, ar wont too saie,
Oh youth, and lustye yeares, howe ar yee vanyshed awaye?
595 Howe euill haue I spente you, wretche that I am,
Whether are ye gone, oh vnfortunate man,
Yf god of his goodnes, wold eftsones restore,
The ioyfull iuuentute, I once had before,
If I might once I saye, the same againe obtaine,
600 I wold then tread, the right pathe, of vertue soo plaine,
Although the same were, neuer so narowe a waye,
I wolde therein walke, and continue night and daye,
That there is no-thing like vertue, I finde nowe full true,
Nor to it, too bee compared, this alas ofte doo I rue,
sig: [B4v]
605 Whiche euer continueth, and alwaye doth endure,
Geuing to man, suche worthy prayse, and honor as is sure,
She increaseth thy ryches, and thy lyfe doth preserue,
Yea after death, she abiding, away wyl not swarue,
But I of all other, thincke my-selfe most vnhappye,
610 Who by flatteringe voluptuousnes, was deceaued wylfullye,
Which slidyng away, longe since hath lefte me,
Wrapped in al my mischiefes, and wofull miserye,
For I beinge a younge-man, the stewes dyd frequente,
And in bancketinge, slepe, and play, my tyme ydlye spente,
615 Nothing then woulde I learne, all study I despised,
Abhorring in good science, to be exercised,
But nowe therfore (wo worth the tyme) I well see,
My-selfe bothe vnlearned, and no lesse diffamed to be,
In pouertie also, and my whole body brused,
620 My wittes altogether dulled, and my sences confused,
I haue hither_to liued, as one who hath dreamed,
Him-selfe to be awake, and yet was deceaued,
Suche thinges (sonne) of some men, we are wonte for to here,
That are farre stricken in age, and to their graue draw nere.
625 Which callynge to remembraunce, their lustye yeares past,
Do now (but to late) bewayle their miserye at the last,
Then shuttinge the stable dore, when horses there be none,
And now waxing wise, when blinde Fortune is gone,
Then sekyng a Surgion to heale their rancled sore,
630 When there is no hope of cure, in the same any more,
My sonne, therfore take tyme, whyle thou maye,
For it neuer retourneth, yf it once vanishe awaye,
Neither waylinge, wyl helpe, nor wepynge then remedye,
Yf the body be once stricken, with deathes darte deadlye.
635 The medicine is profitable, Phi[sic]ione doe saye, Phisicione] Phicisione 1552
That in time is ministred, not slackyng any daye,
Wherfore when thyne youth, first to floryshe doth begynne,
Then thee behoueth vertue to embrace, and fle from synne,
Then oughtest thou to take, the ryght pathe of lyuynge,
640 To good and honest studyes, thy-selfe holly applyinge,
Then vse thou reason, and gouer[n]e by counsayle thy mynde,
While the same is pliaunte, euery waye to wynde,
Whoso wylbe wyse, let him be wyse whyle he maye,
For to be wise a daye after the fayre, is folyshnes I saye,
645 And therfore he is worthye, hys miserye to sustayne,
sig: C1
Bewaylinge the losse, that is neuer to be recouered agayne,

NOWE touchinge this worlde, vnderstande plainelye,
That the same is veary short, and transitorie,
And the hole lyfe of man, wherein we do runne,
650 In comparison to th'eternite, of the worlde to come,
The trueth wherof, to be truely declared,
To one momente of tyme, is not to be compared,
And touching the myserye, of the worlde I saye,
He is happyer that is gone, then here farre awaye,
655 For marke I pray the, howe infancye cometh oute,
Of his mothers wombe naked, without any cloute,
And the first thinge he then doth, is wepinge with teares,
Because the miserie of this worlde, as I thincke he feares,
As I mighte it lyken, to some marchaunt-man,
660 Which on some perrellous vyage, his waye must take than,
And fearing both drowninge, Pirats, and shipwrake,
Tremblynge, so daungerous a iourney to take,
Euen so, nature teacheth, the infaunte plainlye,
That he then entreth, into the vale of myserie,
665 All other beastes, that nature bringeth forthe,
To their dammes tytt, ronne straight with open mouthe,
But man, as soone as euer he is borne,
Yf the mother, clothe, and fede him not, he is forlorne,
After Infauncie, how longe it is,
670 Or perceueraunce crepyth, in that lityll brest of his,
Childhode cometh after, wherof neyther of them both,
Can by reason rule them-selues, be they lefe or loth,
Then what grefe, trauayle, feare, and payne,
Suffreth the chylde, or he to iuuentute doth attayne,
675 Then ignoraunte fraill youth, begynneth to aryse,
Which leaueth reason, and commonly is ruled by vyce,
His strength encreasinge, he putteth away feare,
Good warninges, and preceptes, he will then no more heare,
Then waxeth he wilde, his younge bloud beinge warme,
680 Geuen to Ire, and Luste, which doth hym moch harme,
Good counsell he refuseth, and is then rashe in all-thinge,
To the euill enclyned, the good euer extuinge,
No perel he doubteth, no daunger he doth refraine,
So that his fraill luste, he may by anie meane obtaine,
685 No lawe he then feareth, yf there be a toye in his braine,
sig: [C1v]
Fewe younge-men in that age, from vice can abstaine,
Whom either shamefastnes, feare, or wisdome, doth constraine,
By no spotte of vice, their youth for to staine,
Then cometh mans state, graue and sage,
690 By experience, and wisdome, he is taught in this age.
Then vnsounde are his slepes, he laboureth with paine, laboureth] lauboureth 1552
The liuinge of him-selfe, and his house to sustaine,
He gathered together, in that state of life,
In age to kepe him, his famelie and wife,
695 Onelie caringe for them all, both to cloth and fede,
Spendinge this his best age, with miserye in-dede,
And then wearye rude age, on man fast crepeth,
Stealinge vpon him, whether he waketh or sleapeth,
Bringinge many discommodites, both of minde, and bodie,
700 His strength taketh his leaue, his freshe colour will not tarye
His sences shrincke awaye, his sight waxeth dime,
His hearinge dulleth, and his smellinge leaueth hime,
Further he is alwaies vexed, with one or other disease,
No meate him then sauourith, al-thinge him displease,
705 Withoute aide of a stafe, his legges him then fale,
His witte is then gone, his body shrincketh, waxing pale,
This euery age, hath his infirmitie, we see,
Which of force, we are forced, to suffer pacientlie,
Which last age, will not leaue him, til he hath broughte,
710 Man to his graue, where he consumeth to noughte,

I LET passe, of all other comon perrilles to tell,
With which man is beseged, while he here doth dwell,
Wherwith a mans life, is so greately enuironed,
That it is seldome, or neuer, but by some of them deuoured,
715 Nowe vehemente colde, with Isye snowe greue vs,
Then hotte burninge heate, to vs are molestiouse,
Th'extremitie, whereof, as is ofte seene,
Causeth the ground, wyde open, some licoure to obtaine,
Sometymes we are noyed, by so greate wete, and raine,
720 That it ouerfloweth, hole contries we se plaine,
Hunger, thirst, and also moch penurie,
Wyth the wantyng, of necessarie thinges to occupie,
Who can declare, in miter, or in prose,
The greate and manyfolde, nomber of those,
725 Diseases, and sickenesses, of euery kinde,
sig: C2
Which killeth daylie our bodies, and vexith our minde,
By battel, and warfaire, some men are confounded,
In the seas, and other, waters, many men, are drowned,
Other some, by fallinge, catch theyr bane,
730 Or els by crushing, their members, are made lame,
Some men, cruell fyre, to ashes doth consume,
Many ar chocked, and cruell beastes killeth some,
What shall I recite, howe in earth, the liuing manne,
Hath no greater enemie, then the sede wherof he came,
735 Of that sede, springeth, al theues, and robers,
All murderers, periured, and false-witnesse-bearers,
Fornicatours also, and vile, adulterers,
And of mankinde discende, al wicked doers,
This man with his weapon, another with his tongue men do kile,
740 The most parte, by fraude, and deceate, worketh ile,
O lorde, all men, almoost nowe take delite,
At other mens harmes, suche is their spite,
The brother, the naturall brother, doth mistrust,
The amitie, of frendes, nowe lieth in the dust,
745 The father, his sonne, and the husband his wife,
Eche suspecte other, here is a goodly lyfe,
Nowe sonne, I haue told the, as well as I can,
The perels, that doo compasse, the life of man,
Wherfore thou maiest not, this worldelie pleasure vse
750 Except thou intende, eternell life to refuse,
And the tyme veary short, that thou here shalt remaine,
The trueth wherof, I can well declare plaine,
For all-though that I am, nowe fowre score yeare olde,
Yet the bedroll of my lyfe, when I do vnfolde,
755 I do nowe wel ponder, and perceaue in this case,
The same to haue ben, but a veary litil space,
And yet to liue myne age, of a hunderith I knowe,
One shalt thou not finde, though thou sought them on a rowe
Good father sayde I, I thincke you saye true,
760 For I haue seene veary fewe, of th'age of youe,
Nowe (quod he) I haue taughte you, sufficientlie to knowe,
First God, your-selfe, and the worlde, I trowe,
And because quietlie, your lyfe you wolde leade,
In the feare, and loue, of God, as ye saide,
765 I coulde wishe, you should prudentlie prouyde,
Of some good stocke, a wife with you to abyde,
sig: [C2v]
By whome, ye shal, many comodites possesse,
More then I can, at this tyme, expresse,
For your wife, shall leaue, both father and mother,
770 To sticke to you onely, and to none other,
Hyr owne kinred, and frendes doth she leaue,
Dayelie, duringe hir lyfe, to you for to cleaue,
By hir, shall ye haue, fruite of your owne sede
Which shal kepe you in remembraunce, when tyme ye are dede,
775 Obedient, she wilbe, and a succour alwayes,
And a ioyfull ioye also, to prolonge your dayes,
Eche good thinge, shal be comon, euer you betwene,
Your gaines, shal be one, your lyuinges to sustaine,
Further, yf age, or sicknes, shal greue you hereafter,
780 She wil be a contynuall, and faithfull helper,
By assistinge, ministrynge, and watchinge, you also,
Comfortinge, and releuinge you, with the best she can do,
And then youre children, which hereafter may florishe,
Will do theyr indeuour, you gladely to cherishe,
785 In whom ye shal yet lyue, when life is gone cleane,
And your name still on lyue, by them shall remane,
Further, to them shall ye leue, youre goodes being gotte,
And not vnto straunge heires, which ye knowe not,
Besides this, your wife, with hir somewhat wil bringe
790 Towarde the maintenaunce, of your and her liuinge,
Both frendes, and kinsefolke, by hir wil arise,
Which maye be to thee profytable, in sondrye wise,
Wherfore, a wife you must haue, ther is none other naye,
Yf ye meane quietlie, and godlye to liue another daye,
795 Good father (quod I) me-thinke ye saye well,
But of one thinge, I wolde gladlie heare tell,
Which waye were best, by your consyderacyon,
Howe I myght, haue one, of an honest conuersacion,
Marye younge man (quod he) there lyeth al the matter,
800 In the wittie wisdome, of him that choseth hyr,
For I wold nat haue the, therin to be begylde,
As I was once nere, when I was younge and wylde,
Which if it were not, for lacke of time, and space,
Thou shouldest plainelie heare, my folly in this case,
805 I pray you (quod I) take the paines to declare it,
And for lacke of time, and space, do not spare it,
Nay not so (quod he) for we are now, nere come to the fermers place
sig: C3
With whome I entende, to comon a litell space, With] Whith 1552
Touchinge, my busynesse, wherfore I hether came,
810 Which beinge once finished, yf thou wilt thane,
Beare me companie, homward, in the waye,
I wil declare, al the rest, I haue yet to saye,
To the which, I aunswered, that I wold veary g[la]dlye gladlye] galdlye 1552
So that he wolde, dispa[tc]h his matters quyckelie. dispatch] dispacth 1552

Here endeth the first parte.

815 ANone, we spyed, the fermour, at his gate standinge,
Who as soone, as he, perceaued vs comminge,
Gentillie, saluted vs, callinge hym by hys name,
And we did likewise grete him, with thanckes for the same,
With whome this aged man, hauinge a while walked,
820 And concerning his errande, had with him fully talked,
The fermour had vs in, where we had good cheare
And taryed the mountenaunce, of halfe an houre,
Then toke we our leaue, of the fermere,
And so streight-wayes departed, from him there,
825 And when we were homewarde, a prettie waye,
To the saide olde man, I began thus to saye,
Nowe Sire, and it please you, in your tale to procede,
I am moch desirous, to here th'ende in-dede,
Well said, sonne (quod he) then giue diligente eare,
830 When I was of th'age, of two and twentie yeare,
Veary lustie I was, and pleasaunte withall,
To singe, daunce, and playe at the ball,
To runne, to wrastle, to caste the axeltre or barre,
Either with hande, or foote, I coulde caste it as farre,
835 And all other feates, as nimblie doo,
As any in the towne, I dwelled in thoo
Fyne, feate, neate, proper and small,
I was then, though I saye it, and faire withall,
Yt appeareth no lesse (quod I) for you beare your age feare,
840 Well, let passe (quod he) suche then was my cheare,
And besides all this, I coulde then fynelie playe,
On the harpe, moche better, then nowe farre a_waye,
By which my minstrelsie, and my faire speache, and sporte,
All the maydes in the paryshe, to me did reasorte,
845 Eche loued, lustie Lewes, for so they me named,
sig: [C3v]
Not one of them all, my companie refrayned,
Paryshe-clercke I was then, of the towne there,
To helpe the priest to masse, and sing in the quere,
With suche liuinge as I had, I lyued withoute care,
850 Wyfe nor child had I none, for whome I should spare,
A neighbour ther was, a veary honest man,
Dwellinge within the same, our parish than,
Which a daughter had that in bewtie did excell,
And as then me-thoughte, aboue all other bare the bell,
855 Of meane stature she was, and therto well made,
Chearefull in contenaunce, and a good fauour hade,
A smilinge smoth loke, with a wanton Eye,
She was the amiablest damesell, that euer I did see,
A fine tongue she also had, and hir woordes could well place,
860 And in hir communicacion, a veary singuler grace,
Modeste, demure, and sadde she appeared,
And neuerthelesse famylier, ynoughe, as the tyme required,
In hir apparrell trymme, which was euer-more white,
To haue seen hir on the holye-daye, was a goodlie sighte,
865 So womanlie was hir pace, in hir gesture to and froo,
Vpright as a bolte, and lyke one fleinge did she goo,
This maide was come home, but late from the citie,
Where she had serued, yeares two or thre,
The first tyme I sawe hir, was on a holy-daye at noone,
870 Goinge homeward from the church, when seruice was doone,
Whose wanton, well-fauoured fairnes, so caught me,
That earnestlye to loue hir, lightlye she brought me,
By whom, I was then strycken, with such a ve[h]ament pange, vehament] veament 1552
That the holie-water-bucket, from me straight I flange,
875 And great haste I made, ronning swiftlye after,
Because I wolde, so gladlie ouertake hir,
At last I ouertooke hir, but with moch a_doo,
Then she me saluted, and I hir also,
Hir sister went with hir, who bad me welcome,
880 Sayinge, whether in suche haste, good Lewes, do you rone.
In fayth (quod I) since you desyre, to knowe,
To a neighbours house, who dwelleth here by_lowe,
The haste that I made, was for your companie,
And to knowe what faire mayde, this is truelie,
885 Mary (quod she) she is none other,
But myne owne sister, borne of father and mother,
sig: [C4]
And sister Grace (quod she) I pray you, of him acquaintance take,
For with his melodie, he doth vs often, mery make,
I tell you Grace (quod she) he is an honest man,
890 And on his minion harpe, full well playe he can,
To the which, this Grace, aunswered, veary sadlye,
And I wold be acquainted, with him veary gladlye,
And this passed furth, they were nere at home,
So then takinge my leaue, I parted them frome,
895 And this, was the first time, of our gretinge,
Which was to me, an vnhappie meetinge,
As ye shall plainlie, here-after well perceaue.
Before the crueltie, of cruell Cupido, did me leaue,
Backwarde I went, where my dinner was dighte,
900 And still by the waye, my harte full sore sighete,
When home I was come, to dinner I was sette,
My hert was full heauie, no meate coulde I eate,
After dynner downe, on my bed I dyd lie,
Moch musing with my-selfe, what thinge it might bee,
905 That so soudanlie had stricken, my harte with soch woo,
And so soone had driuen, my mirth, and pleasure, me froo,
No waye, could my witte, my wisdome deuyse,
Howe this sadnesse, and thought, on me should aryse,
Except it weare, by beholding the maide,
910 Whose bewtie, and fauour, was euer in my heade,
To haue slept faine I wold, but it wold not bee,
Yet at the last, a shorte slomber tooke mee,
In which slomber, also my-thought I dyd see,
The damesell, whose fayrenesse, before so perced mee
915 Euensong-tyme came, vp then did I ryse,
And went to the church, to heare the seruice,
My loue, to euensong came not, as I thought that she wolde,
Therfore was I sorie, my harte was full colde,
At supper, no-thinge could I eate, then thought I beste,
920 In time conuenient, to hye me to my neste,
No rest could I take, my slepe was cleane gone,
My harte was full heauie, and colde as a stone.
The morning then came, when gone was the night,
The ayre was cleare, the sunne shyned bryghte,
925 Abrode I then walcked, the birdes for to heare,
Where a frende of myne, met me and axed, what cheare,
Trulye (quod I) I am nowe excedinge fainte
sig: [C4v]
Yet knowe I not the cause, which my harte doth so taynte,
God amend you (quod he) and so went his waye,
930 This in miserable case, I passed that daye,
And many a daye more, till sheringe-tyme came,
Hir father shearinge shepe, to his feaste bad me thane,
Glade was Lewes, tho, thinckinge then shall I speake,
At leasure, with my loue, and my minde, to hyr breake,
935 Than shall she knowe, the wo, and the smarte,
The heauenesse, and sorowe, of my woful harte,
The restles nightes, and vnquiet dayes,
The heauie thoughtes, which troublith me alwaies,
I will also then, yf that I dare,
940 The botome, of my minde, to hir declare,
Then said I softely to my-selfe, God lende me,
A conueniente tyme, and that he wil sende me,
To obtaine at hir handes, suche fauour and grace,
That my humble requeste, maye be heard, and take place,
945 What nede lenger processe, the shepe-shearinge daye,
That I so longe loked for, at last came I saie,
To hir fathers house I came, as they were at dyner,
Hee bad me hartelie welcome, and in the best maner,
To the table was I sette, downe on the benche,
950 Where I might fede, ful mine eyes, on that welfauored wenche,
Who there serued the table, as then was the gyse,
And surelie she wayted in moost womanlie wise,
Whiche she wel could do, for as I said before,
In the cytie had she bene, of good maner to learne store.
955 Littell meate could I eate, which was noted well than,
By the maydes mother, and also by hir good-man,
What cheare good Lewes, tell me she saide,
Ye looke veary sadlie, as one halfe dismaide,
What man quod she, where is your mirth become,
960 Me-thinckes ye muse, on the man in the mone,
Be mery I praye you, and therwith she me kerued,
But my harte was hollie, on the maide that serued,
And afterward, when dyner was done
And the geastes departing, awaye euerich one,
965 I also hauinge rendered theim, thanckes for my cheare,
Went homeward, with the companie, that were going there,
Beinge both of my purpose, that I came for vnspedde,
And also wourse at ease, both in my hert and heauie heade,
sig: D1
Then, inflamed was my loue, and grewe more and more,
970 Whiche was but a litel, kendeled before,
The maladye, which before, might in tyme, haue ben healed,
Waxed nowe incurable, and that well I fealed,
My harpe, which was wonte, so swetelie to sounde,
Lay nowe vntouched, for me on the grounde,
975 My breast, which before, many folkes, did reioice,
Began cleane to tourne, and horse waxed my voice,
My collour, which in tymes past, so lyuelie did apeare,
Was vaded awaye, and chaunged his cheare,
My legges, whiche were sometyme, nymble to daunce,
980 Was shronken cleane, by this vnhappye chaunce,
I was neare a consumpcion, all strength was gon,
So hollye was I altered, that I was scace knowen,
At last I consydered, the best waye to procede,
If I thoughte, by her helpe, to be cured in-dede,
985 Was, that she fyrste, vnderstande shoulde,
My woe, and dystresse, and then yf she woulde,
Of pytye, and clemencye, relieue my great payne,
This waye, to be the best, I thought sure, and playne,
For Phisicions, do not vse, to minister remedy,
990 Before, they are instructed, in their pacientes maladye,
So it fell, in a mornynge not longe after,
That I chaunsed, to walke, throughe the common pasture,
Where the milche-kyne, of the towne, the daye-tyme dyd fede,
And all the maydens, in the paryshe, did mylke in that stede,
995 Emongest whome, Graces sister, was one there,
And therefore, I mynded, to banyshe all feare,
And so to make open, and breake hollie to her,
The full cace, and effecte, of all this hole mattier,
But fyrste, certayne wordes, a_farre of to proue hir,
1000 I would caste out, to see, how this cace, would moue hir,
And howe she would take it, ere I meant to declare,
And vpon the lykynge, of hir aunswere, not for to spare,
Thus drawynge nere, I bad hir good morowe,
What gentyl Lewes (quod she) God kepe you from sorowe,
1005 Howe do you, what wynde dryue you hether,
This mornynge so earlye, and I praye you whether,
Are ye thus walkynge, youre-selfe all alone,
I thincke suerlye, ye haue some pretye one,
That causeth you, daylye, to this place to come,
sig: [D1v]
1010 Well wanton, well, thoughe not all, yet I knowe some,
Cosen Iohan (quod I) for so was hir name,
In iudgynge amysse, ye are greatly to blame,
For yf I for loue, reasorte, to any in this place,
It is trulye, to you, or to your syster Grace,
1015 For surely, you two, of bewtie beare the floure,
This iudgement, must I geue, though I dye, within an houre,
No Lewes (quod she) then ye iudge not well,
For there be maydes, a great many that vs do excell,
Yet for the gentylnes, I haue alwayes sene,
1020 And the honest behauioure, that continually hath bene,
In you heretofore, I thincke you worthy to obtayne,
As good, and as fayre, as any in this paryshe dothe remayne,
Yea, and thoughe she were, myne owne dere syster,
I woulde thincke hir, well bestowed, yf ye had her,
1025 I thancke you fayre Iohn (quod I) that it dothe you please,
Vnworthely, me so louynglye to prayse,
And yf God my lyfe, any-whyle wyll preserue,
Youre gentle kyndenes, I trust to deserue,
And therwith, as it were musynge, a prety whyle I stayed,
1030 What Lewes (quod she) me-thinkes ye are as one dysmaied,
Wheron so study you, a peny for your thoughte,
In faythe quod I, if ye knew it, yet were it worth naught,
My-thinckes quod she, ye are chaunged in euery cace,
What, hath any mayde, rauyshed your hart, from his place,
1035 Tel me (she sayd) and my best counsayle ye shall haue,
With all that I can do as God my soule saue,
Oh (quod I) my harte is wrapte full of woe,
Yet haue I no faythfull frende, it to showe,
I shal tel you Lewes (quod she) what-so-euer ye saye,
1040 To me, thincke it sure, vnder locke, and kaye,
For euer herynge it, by me spoken agayne,
Excepte the same be, for your profyte playne,
Well, since ye wyl nedes know quod I my careful myserye,
Ye shall heare the same, in fewe wordes playnlye,
1045 So it is, that, that fayre swete blossome, your syster Grace,
Hath holly, my loue, and harte, in suche cace,
That neyther wandrynge, nor walkinge, whether-so-euer I go,
Neyther playinge, nor workynge, what-so-euer I do,
Neyther wakynge, nor watchynge, any tyme, or space,
1050 Neyther restynge, nor slepynge, in any maner place,
sig: D2
But at all tymes, and euermore continuallye,
Hir amiable countenaunce, resteth in my mynde daylye,
No pleasure, me pleaseth, my mirth is amated,
No ioyes, my delyte, my lyfelynesse is abated,
1055 No musycke, me reioyseth, theyr soundes, are vnswete,
No pastymes, I passe on, as at this tyme vnmete,
No worke, is well wrought, now vnder my handes,
Nor I am nothing, as I was, before I entered loues bandes,
So that I well knowe, I am lyke to sustayne,
1060 Deathes darte, very shortely, if I do not obtayne,
The rather, hir loue who now hath the measure,
Me to slaye or reuyue euen at hir owne pleasure,
Whiche I would she dyd shortly for the ease of my payne
By the darte of cruel deathe deuorynge me cleane,
1065 Nowe haue ye hearde all quod I, and more as I saye,
Then euer to any other I tolde before this daye,
Wherin I shal desyre you to playe an honest parte,
For the spedy quietynge of my poore wretched harte,
Marie (quod Iohan) now I perceaue very well,
1070 Of your sadnes, and sorowe, there is no meruel,
That hath such an Impostome bredynge in your brest,
Which worketh you wourthely full waywarde reste,
No wonder it is though ye loke wan and pale,
For loue hath made you drincke a draught of sower ale,
1075 I toke you neuer so tender, so soone to be caughte,
With the louely linckes of loue which are so quickly wrought,
Ye were wont before this tyme alwayes to saye,
That they were very fooles that to loue did obaye,
And that it was impossible any wyse-man to be,
1080 So earnestly set in loue in any degree,
But that when he would alwaies, well he myghte,
Full easelye put the same out of his heade quite,
But now ye are caught in the same nette,
Which in tymes past ye greatly did neglecte,
1085 When ye sawe any louer, ye laughed him to scorne,
But loue hath now brought you to scole to learne,
And suerly quod she, to deme in myne entent,
Ye haue worthely of loue deserued this punyshment,
Wel quod I, to a man that is falen in mysery and woo,
1090 Good comforte behoueth, and not chidynge soo,
My faulte I confesse, what nedeth more,
sig: [D2v]
I desyre youre good counsayle for curynge of my sore,
Whiche waye I maye best by youre good aduyse,
Atcheue this so doubtefull and daungerouse an enterpryse,
1095 Well Lewes (quod Iohan) nowe that I knoo,
What woman she is that worketh you this woo,
Let me alone, I wyll fyrste moue this mattier,
Sone at nyght in bed, I wyll earnestly at hir,
As ye shall perceaue here by this tyme to_morowe,
1100 Other ease or increase of all youre hole sorowe,
Therefore in the meane-tyme, be of good cheare,
And I wyll dilygently worke in youre cause I sweare,
Whereof I thanked her, sayinge gladlye I woulde,
Hir gentylnes consyder, yf euer I coulde,
1105 And hauynge once kist hir, I toke my leaue thane,
This departinge from hir, whomewarde I came,
The morowe nexte after, I came eftesones to the same place,
To heare yf I were lyke to obtaine any grace,
Iohan was not then come, I stayed a lytle whyle,
1110 At last not farre thence I sawe hir commynge ouer a style,
With hir pail in hir hande, then I went hir to mete,
And gentyllie saluted hir, she did lykewyse me grete,
Eyther death and double sorow (quod I Iohan) do you brynge,
Or lyfe to reuyue me whiche am nowe dyinge,
1115 Neyther of them bothe (quod she) but hope haue I broughte,
Thereby partely to fede and relieue youre heauye thoughte.
Then saye on (quod I) and no more tyme waste,
That happy hope to heare I gladly make haste,
Yester-nyghte beynge bothe (quod she) in oure bed layed,
1120 I tourned me towardes my syster, and euen thus I sayde,
Oh Iohan (quod I) I then wyshed me in youre place,
To haue declared my-selfe to hir my hole cace,
Youre wyshe was but voyde (quod she) but harke what I tell,
I axed Grace how she dyd, and she sayde very well,
1125 Howe-so-euer you do (quod I) lye nowe at youre ease,
I knowe other some are as yll at ease,
Whiche for you and for youre sake to be playne,
Muche mysery, myschiefe and care do sustayne,
Whiche greueth me muche, for synce the worlde began,
1130 God neuer created a more honester man,
And he is lyke for youre loue as far as I can gesse,
Shortely to dye, suche is hys deadlye distresse,
sig: D3
For my loue (syster Iohan) quod Grace to me then,
In this paryshe I am as yet knowen of very fewe men,
1135 And fewer do I knowe, then howe maye it be,
That any man is vexed so for loue of me,
Who is it I praye you, once name hym to me,
And then yf I knowe hym, I wyll tell you quod she,
Nay syster Grace (quod I) that shal not be,
1140 Before fyrste some promyse ye make vnto me,
That ye shall not at the fyrste kyll his harte cleane,
By geuynge hym a naye, or by any other meane,
Of vnkyndenes on youre behalfe, but ye shall yf ye can,
Graunte hym youre loue, before an-other man,
1145 For I wyll assure you yf ye perfectly knewe,
His good gentle behauioure bothe honest and true,
Whiche is so pleasaunte a parson to synge and to daunce,
And is skylled in instrumentes for youre pastaunce,
So well can shote, wrestel, and leape so lyghte,
1150 So handesome a man in euery mans syghte,
And besydes this more sorowe hath sustayned,
For youre sake, and is also so cruelly payned,
That deathe to hym were a greate deale sweater,
Then to lyue as he doth he thynketh it muche better,
1155 And yf in youre defaulte ye shoulde suffer hym to dye,
For lacke of youre loue what profyte therby,
Shoulde ye receaue, nay rather yt myght name you,
A murderer I saye whiche would greately shame you,
And whome should ye kyll no enemy pardye,
1160 But a moost true louer who loueth you hartelye,
Well (quod my syster) to loue hym ye shall pardon me,
For I wyll do nothynge in that matter trulye,
But this promyse to graunte to you I am contente,
At the fyrste tyme no naye he shall haue I concente,
1165 Therefore tell me hys name wythout any delaye,
And then ye shall heare what I wyll further saye,
It is (quod I) Lewes the clearcke of the towne,
Who for youre sake in mysery is tossed vp and downe,
Why syster Iohan than sayde she vnto me,
1170 I thoughte ye would not of all other suerlye,
Haue moued me to this lyghtnes I saye,
But rather haue perswaded me if I had bene bent that waye,
Why Grace (quod I) I meane no dishonestye,
sig: [D3v]
For he would haue you to be hys wyfe very gladlye,
1175 So muche the more quod she, it is to be borne,
But I tell you nowe as I tolde you beforne,
I wyl as yet, neyther loue hym, nor any other,
By other perswation of syster or brother,
Also ye might wel thincke, me very hasty syster Iohan,
1180 If I should be a louer so soone as I come home,
And yf he loued me so earnestly as ye haue tolde,
To haue moued me him-selfe before this tyme he would,
But he thought of his desyre hym-selfe to be sure,
When you to be his broker he fyrste dyd procure,
1185 And very late it is quod she, therfore fall to your rest,
And herewith medle no more in earnest or iest,
Not one worde more quod Iohan, of hir get coulde I,
For to slepe she gaue hir where she slept by and by,
And thus haue I (Lewes) for you broken the mattier,
1190 It behoueth your-selfe next to attempte her,
And spare not to speake, yf ye mynde for to spede,
Who trusteth to obtayne, must put away drede,
But suerly (Lewes) synce she now knoweth that she loued is,
She is not therof a lytle proude I_wysse,
1195 Alasse sayde I then, I would I were ded,
Then should be at ease, bothe my hart, and myne hed,
Vnlucky fortune I may it call,
Which forceth me to loue one amongest all,
Who neyther regardeth my woofull dystresse,
1200 Neyther wyll coumforte me by any word of kyndnesse,
Well quod Iohan, it may be that she wyll heare,
Your-selfe muche better then me a messengere,
And hether to_morowe shal she come to mylke in my stede,
For I must tary at home to brue and bake brede,
1205 And to speake to hir then ye nede not my counsayle,
For ye are wyse ynoughe to tel your owne tale,
And in the meane-whyle ye shalbe sure,
I wyll do my best your way to procure,
Thus parted we then without wordes any moo,
1210 I to the churche, and she homewarde dyd goo,
The next mornynge came which I thought very longe,
And no meruayle, for my payne was so stronge,
Then to the common pasture I tymely me hyed
Where my onely hartes luste on mylkynge I spyed,
sig: [D4]
1215 I mended my pace, and at the laste to hir came,
I bad her good morowe, she said welcome yonge-man,
Howe do you said I, myne owne swete-harte,
Your loue hath caused me with much sorow to smarte,
So depely is engraued in me the bewty of your face,
1220 Your pleasaunt tonge, and behauiour myne owne loue Grace,
The feature, the propernesse of youre body fyne,
And your louely countenaunce hath so perced myne yen,
That I am hollye yours, hollye in euery condicion,
To loue you, and serue you, with humble submission,
1225 Abydynge your pleasure, and wyll to sustayne,
So longe as lyfe within me shall remayne,
In consyderacion wherof I desyre to obtayne,
Nothynge but good loue, for true loue agayne,
Younge-man quod she, I am sory of your woo,
1230 And muche more sorye that ye set youre mynde so,
As to me to beare such loue, and good-wyll,
Wherin I feare your tyme ye shall spyll,
In hopynge for a thynge ye cannot obtayne,
Which at length wil brynge to you double payne,
1235 And as for me I meane not yet to marye,
I am younge ynoughe, I thancke God I can tarye,
And also I wyl, for ought I yet knowe,
Yeres two or three truly to shewe,
Neyther would I, ye should thincke I do not esteme you,
1240 For truly to iudge I can none otherwyse deme you,
But for youre behauioure, qualities, and honestye,
Ye are worthy to haue one muche better then I,
Oh bewtyfull Grace (quod I) yf Grace wyll shewe any grace,
I pray you that it may appeare in this my heauy cace,
1245 And not to confounde me wyth suche a cruel naye,
Neyther so mercyles with your wordes me vtterly to slaye,
And suffer not thus pitie, and mercy to be banyshed,
From a creature so fayre by God, formed, and fashioned,
Neyther denye not your name, in any tyme or place,
1250 But accordynge to your name, shewe me some grace,
Sir (sayde she) what nede longer processe to make,
There semeth in you follye, suche heuynesse to take,
For me that am not nowe to mary dysposed,
Neyther to whome before this tyme your loue ye dysclosed,
1255 In-dede to you I tolde it not (said I) but your syster I meued,
sig: [D4v]
Wysedome wylleth men to go where they may best be relieued,
I durst not before (quod I) not knowynge how ye would take it,
Truly (quod she) euen as I do now I would haue cleane forsake it,
And Lewes this follye to leaue I could wyshe you styll,
1260 By wysedome to be ruled and flee from your wyll,
Fynallye I desyre you to take it for the best,
That I here not your sute, nor graunte your request,
Oh Grace (quod I) since it is your pleasure to spyl me,
I shal abyde youre mercy to saue me or kyll me,
1265 Youre harde-harted harte I praye God once to mollefye,
Some compassion to graunte me before that I die,
And thus God be with you my loue moost vnkynde,
Farewell gentle Lewes (quod she) God alter your mynde,
And sende you to put away this fancy quietlye,
1270 Whiche hath brought you in this wofull myserye,
Thus away went I then halfe in dispayre,
My hearte greatly vexed betwene hope and feare,
Within two dayes after I met with hir syster Iohan,
To whome I shewed and made my heauy mone,
1275 Declarynge to hir al the wordes that were,
Betwene me and my loue Grace hir syster,
Well quod Iohan I wyshe that this next nyghte,
With your harpe ye holde your waye to oure house right,
And there vnderneth our chamber-wyndowe,
1280 In syngynge and playinge let hir heare what ye can do,
Your melodie may cause her stobbourne harde harte,
To loue you parchaunce, it maye hir so conuerte,
And this maye ye easelye doo withoute any ylle,
For of bothe oure parentes ye haue the good-wyll,
1285 And thus geuynge Iohan thankes for hir counsayle so good,
Homewarde I hyed me, in haste by the roode,
My harpe for to tune, and some ditie to make,
The whiche I myghte synge and playe for hir sake,
The night at laste came, and when the clocke had runne nyne,
1290 Thether I went with my harpe as I thought it was tyme,
For as the somer season required twilight it was thane,
When to hir fathers house that I came,
A_bedde were they all, no sturrynge herde I,
My harpe oute of his cace I pluckt by and by,
1295 And strake vp suddenly a very pretye rounde,
Whiche my harpe then newe-stringed meryllye dyd sounde,
sig: E1
Another daunce or two, I then also played,
Whiche beynge once fynyshed, I sodenly stayed,
And this ballet hereafter I began for to synge,
1300 My harpe bare the note, which merely did rynge,

Oh my loue Grace,
Youre bewtyfull face,
Hathe perced so my brest,
Youre countenaunce mylde,
1305 With youre tonge so wel fylde,
Is causer of all myne vnrest,

Not Troylus of Troye,
By Cresside hys ioye,
In loue was euer so set on fyre,
1310 Neyther Piramus the younge,
By the loue of Thisby so stronge
Or burnte in suche hote desyre,

Neyther Hercules the myghtye,
By Dianiras bewtye,
1315 Was at any tyme so ouercome,
Neyther Sampson the stronge,
With loue was so wronge,
Of Dallida the wicked woman

Neyther that wofull Dido,
1320 Eneas loued so,
As I do nowe loue you hartely,
For in good faythe,
Yt wyll be my deathe,
Excepte ye extende your mercy,

1325 And when this ballet was fully ended,
My comforte was neuer the more amended
For no aunswere at all would she to me saye,
Yet without any whit playinge a while did I staye,
At last hir father bad me good-nyghte,
1330 So did hir mother and hir syster full ryghte,
And gaue m[e] harty thankes for that my payne, me] my 1552
But no farewel of Grace coulde I obtayne,
sig: [E1v]
Then home strayghte I wente full sadlye agayne,
Where I languished all that nyghte, in terryble payne,
1335 And thus continued by the space of a moneth,
And then one of oure neyghbours to me straighte commeth,
And of hys owne good-wyll vnmoued there,
Offered to me his onely daughter and heire,
Whiche in good lande after hym shoulde spende,
1340 Fyue markes by the yere vntyl hir lyues ende,
And the damesell was also indifferente fayre,
And sure a good huswyfe as after dyd appeare,
After thankes for hys good-wyll, I then to hym sayde,
My mynde he shoulde knowe vpon the syghte of the mayde,
1345 What wyll ye more, she lyked me well,
And was contented to take me wherby it fell,
That shortely after maryed we were,
And haue louyngely lyued hitherto together,
And haue nere runne oute oure course as ye shall lykewyse do,
1350 Yf God graunte you space to lyue thereunto,
Suerly it appeareth quod I, ye haue a good memorye,
Whiche can the tyme of youre youthe declare so perfectlye,
And for this youre longe tale nowe I thancke you good father,
But for your loue Grace whose chaunce was to haue hir,
1355 Marie quod he afterwarde within lesse then a yere,
She toke a seruynge-man agaynste hir frendes wyll there,
Betwene whome was nothynge but chydynge and stryfe,
Brawlynge and fyghtynge all her longe lyfe,
And beggers bothe they became at the laste,
1360 She was an yll huswyfe, and he spente as faste,
So that they were compelled within yeres one or two,
Wanderynge a_beggynge bothe for to goo,
Whiche greued me muche when theyr myserie I knewe,
And then somewhat I relieued them for myne olde loue true,

1365 THIS haue I tolde thee (my sonne) for this entente,
Because thy follye hereafter thou myghtest preuente,
And not to loue one before hir maners thou do knowe,
But fyrste knowe hir, then loue hir, and so it wyll growe,
To verye good purpose, ende, and effecte,
1370 And all other vayne hastye loue se thou neglecte,
And when thou meanest a wyfe for to chuse,
My counsayle in this cace se that thou vse,
sig: E2
Fyrste hir mothers maners learne yf thou can,
And hir fathers also whether he be an honest man,
1375 For commonly the chyldren them-selues do enclyne,
To theyr parentes condicions as strayght as a lyne,
Further enquyre of the neyghbours dwellynge there-aboute,
Of what honestie she is by the voyce of the route,
Or yf there be any honest woman dwellynge nere,
1380 Sende hir closely thither, hir bothe to se and heare,
Whether she be fayre, and of bodye cleane,
Or diseasyde or sicklie by any maner of meane,
For (sonne) no man wyl bye horse, oxe, cowe, or calfe,
But he wyll fyrste be full sure they shalbe sounde and safe,
1385 Muche more circumspecte a man ought to be in choice of his wyfe,
With whom he must liue all the dayes of hys lyfe,
Who yf she be vncleane or infected with any kynde of dysease,
All thy children of nature shal haue the same sicknesse,
Also cause the same woman dilygentlye to knowe,
1390 Yf she be folyshe neyther can spynne nor sowe,
For in these thynges I saye eche woman that is chaste,
Wyll exercyse hir-selfe, and no tyme ydellye waste,
For ydelnesse is the norysher of vyces all,
And the same causeth the mynde in muche myschiefe to fall,
1395 This ydlenesse many welthy fayre cities decayeth,
Fylthye luste, also ydelnes euer followeth,
Yf eyther chaste Pennellope or fayre Lucresse,
Had spente their tyme syttinge at home in ydelnesse,
And not geuen them-selues to weuynge, and spynnynge,
1400 In their husbandes absence from the begynnynge,
Of a thousande woars whiche daylye to them came,
They should suerly haue concented to some one man,
But touchynge the serche of hir lyfe and modestie,
These thinges thy-selfe maiest muche better espye,
1405 For all people nowe are waxen so vniuste,
That fewe shalt thou fynde whome thou maiest truste,
Yt is nowe the maner of many to deceaue and lye,
Fewe are there to be founde of credit worthye,
Therfore yf thou wylt haue thy purpose take effecte,
1410 It behoueth the therein to be carefull and circumspecte,
And sonne, herein lyeth all youre marrynge and makynge,
Yf ye be not warelye wyse in youre wyfe-takynge,
Consyderynge no small tyme ye together shall remayne,
sig: [E2v]
But euen tyl death shal seperate the lyues of you twayne,
1415 In all other cases rashenes, and hast is but follye,
But in this matter may it bring intollerable myserye,
Therfore this choice of thy wyfe fyrste ponder wittelye,
That thou repent not hereafter when it is past al remedye,
But if it happen the as it dothe to many other moo,
1420 That thy wyfe thou shalt mary perchaunce be a Shrewe,
Fyrste gentlye warne hir, and with louynge speche,
Do thy best hir to chasten, and mildely hir teache,
And often hir fauour by fayre meanes to obtayne,
Enbrace hir wyth kysses to reconcyle hir agayne,
1425 Thus by gentylnesse yf thou can do thy best hir to tame,
Whiche yf it wyll not hir in nowyse reclayme,
Then sharper medecines thou must put in vre,
By threates, feare, and chidynge to bring hir to thy lure,
Whiche yf she regarde not nor stande yet in awe,
1430 The laste helpe of all is that strokes must then followe,
Nowe concernynge the conseruacion of thy wyfes chastitye,
I wyll not muche speake in that matter trulye,
But this may I saye, and I dare vndertake,
That oft a wyse-man an honest woman dothe make,
1435 I coulde herein tell thee more, but I wyl not nowe,
For I leaue the same hollye to the discrecion of you,
Yet to learne this one lesson, I would haue the (good sonne,)
Neuer let thy fancie or desyre after any other to ronne,
But in wedlocke be to hir as faithfull and true,
1440 As the Turtel which neuer wil chaunge hir make for a newe,
For there is no one thinge thy wyfe wyl take more greuouslye,
Nor any other thynge vexeth hir spirites so vehemently,
Nor of nothynge desyreth she so soone to be reuenged,
As in that one poynte if hir husbande haue offended,
1445 Then waxeth she hote incensyd with yre,
With dispyte and malyce then hir harte is on fyre,
In which their furiouse rage some seke the waye than,
In lyke sorte (if they may) to deceaue their good-man,
Beleue me (sonne) fewe of them will kepe their honestie,
1450 Yf their husbandes in suche wyse do lyue abrode visiouslye,
Further thy children hereafter see thou vp_brynge,
In vertuouse excercyse and also good learnynge,
Teache theim to feare God, and the to obaye,
And euer kepe them in obedience as muche as thou maye,
sig: E3
1455 For they wyll euer waxe bolde as nede shall requyre,
But not alwayes so humble as thou wouldest desyre,
Therfore whyle they are younge and tender of yeres,
Is bothe their helpe, and vndoynge, as it oft apperes,
Muche paynes muste thou take in godly instructynge theim,
1460 Yf thou purpose they shal euer proue honest men,
Cause them al euel company to exchue continually,
For iuste he cannot be that is conuersaunte with the vngodly,
One shepe hauynge a peryllouse pocke,
Of force muste enfecte all the hole flocke,
1465 Thy daughters alwayes with shamefastnes vprere,
For it is the fairest flower all women can were,
Let them neuer be ydle but alwayes doynge,
With the whele, the distafe, or with the nedle sowynge,
For the welfare of this sexe standeth in their honestye,
1470 Which when they are ydle, is then in most ieoperdye,
And at their ripe yeres do it not ouer_slyde,
Some honest husbandes for theim to prouyde,
Be not bitter (good sonne) to thy seruauntes at any tyme,
Neither punyshe theim with rigoure for euery cryme,
1475 There is a meane to be obserued in correccion I saye,
By whiche thou maiest cause them thee both to loue and obaye,
And althoughe fortune hathe poynted the their mayster to be,
He myght lykewyse haue made a seruaunte of the,
And what hereafter may fall no man knoweth his chaunce,
1480 For the hole state of mans lyfe dependeth in ballaunce,
I haue knowen dyuerse men, bothe riche and welthye,
That afterwarde haue fallen in suche myserye,
That full fayne they haue bene to auoyde vyle beggerye,
By seruyce to lyue in great callamitie,
1485 What we are and haue bene we knowe, but what after we shalbe,
We are ignoraunte therof suche is oure vncertayntye,
In thy fyrste kepynge of house be not to sumptuouse,
Neyther in foode nor apparell to laciuiouse,
For at thy pleasure thou mayest the same alway amende,
1490 When God aboundaunce of substaunce hereafter shall sende,
But it woulde be to thy shame, yf thou shouldest aslake,
The fyrste honnest porte thou diddest vpon the take,
Often call home thy neyghbours, but most suche as are poore,
To dyne and suppe with the, let some of them be sure,
1495 The Lorde thy table shall blesse the more,
sig: [E3v]
And for suche liberallitie he wil encrease thy store,
Go not to lawe with them, nor be no extorcioner,
Finyshe their causes yf thou maiest, and be no bearer,
In no mans mattier but in all that thou canne,
1500 Set quietnesse and concorde betwene man and man,
But in wranglinge matters be in no-wyse no medler,
Whiche myghte get the an yll name, and no man the better,
Further, yf thou fynde a man of an approued honestye,
That feareth God, and is geuen to good vertues hollye,
1505 Of whome moste men saye well, for his good lyuynge,
That is no drunckarde, quarrelloure, nor delyteth in striuing,
But quyet sober, and learned in sapience,
Beynge of good iudgemente, and also of good experience,
This mans frendshyp seke buselye to obtayne,
1510 For then a faythefull frende there is no greater gayne,
But er thou hys amitie earnistlie embrace,
Learne howe he hath vsed hys other frendes in lyke cace,
For suche as his behauioure hathe bene to other moe,
Truste me (sonne) he wyl order the euen so,
1515 And when thou once haste him thy frende vnfeynedly,
Then seke to continue in frendshyp dillygentlye,
Let no lyght, dyspleasure, the same breake or decaye,
But beare with hym rather in all that thou maye,
Of all treasure the chefest that God dothe in earthe sende,
1520 Is a man to haue alwayes a sure and stedfast frende,
Furthermore yf sycknesse shall vexe the or thyne,
Se thou minister remedye to the same betyme,
Or euer the same do augment and encrease,
Then soner shal it mende, and the grefe be the lesse,
1525 For lyke as fyre when it is fyrste begonne,
With a lyttel water wylbe quenched full soone,
But yf it be suffered to contynue stylle,
And a whyle to burne euen at his owne wyll,
The the flame wylbe raysed in suche a great rage,
1530 That hole welles and conduictes can scace it aswage,
Euen so euery malladye at the fyrste entraunce,
Maye be easely cured witho[u]t great greuaunce,
This fyrste poynt of phisycke learne thou of me,
Yf the sycknes be hote, colde, or moyste, the remedy must be contrarye,
1535 If ouer_much laboure, and trauayle be the cause,
Then by ease, and rest from the same, thou must pause,
sig: [E4]
And yf the same come by ouer_muche ease and rest,
Then exercyse and moderate laboure is best,
Yf it be by superfluitye of drincke or meate,
1540 Then abstinence is the best remedie thou can get,
And yf nede requyre a phisicion then call,
Or a surgion, but good diet is the best lieche of all,
The surgion is nexte, for phisicions do kyll,
The moste part that put their truste theim vntyll,
1545 For where by happe some-one they do saue,
A hundred for hym they sende to theyr graue,

ALSO my sonne this laste precepte thou muste learne,
Which dilygently to obserue I the earnistlye warne,
Be prepared alwayes, and euermore full redye,
1550 Deathe to enbrace where he striketh soudenlye,
Yea euen in his moost Lust and welthiest tyme,
Let the remembraunce of hym be styll before thyne yene,
He assaulteth men comonly when they thinke of hym lest,
Fearcelye inuadynge them in their moste quietnes and rest,
1555 He draweth euer nerer with his ineuitable darte,
Daylye percynge euery age of man to the harte,
Howe often dothe death strike the younge lustye man,
And beryeueth hym of hys best yeres we se nowe and than,
Oh howe great are the trauayles and payne,
1560 That a man in this lyfe with payne dothe sustayne,
Howe shorte is our tyme and the same also so varyable,
That nothynge in this lyfe can be founde stable,
With what innumerable p[er]ylles are we beseged, perylles] pylles 1552
Whiche by this oure frayle nature can neuer be resy[s]ted, resysted] resyted 1552
1565 What are oure vayne pleasures wherin we so truste,
Euen poysoned with galle and cankered with ruste,
What are we o wretches but duste of the ayre,
As bryttell as glasse seme it neuer so fayre,
Moste lyke to a shadowe in a sonnye daye,
1570 Which when the cloudes are aloft sodenly vanyshe awaye,
Lyke as a flower whiche florisheth in the mornynge dew,
And at nyghte is withered and hathe vaded his hewe,
For thoughe we are now alyue, and lustye in euery mans sight,
Fayre, amiable, pleasaunte, full of corage and myght,
1575 Yet perchaunce er [Ph]eabus hath once his course ronne, Pheabus] Ppheabus 1552
Deade carcasses we may be and vyle meate for the worme,
sig: [E4v]
What profyteth vs then our great sommes of monye,
Heaped together by extorcion and bryberye,
Golde, stones, Iewels, or implement most preciouse,
1580 Landes, houses, or vyllages, be they neuer so sumptuous,
Eyther worship, honour, or lordely auctoritie,
Rule or dominion or worldely dignitie,
Whiche maketh many men so proudely to looke ouer-all,
As thoughe they were to the goddes coequall,
1585 Seinge death endeth althynge, and we wretches wyth mysery,
Lyke duste and shadowe consume so sodenly,
Seinge all oure pryde and glory is so sone extinguyshed,
And oure tyme so quickly gone neuer to be recouered.
O lyfe so vayne so fugitiue and frayle,
1590 Whome suche a nomber of daungers and perilles do assaille.
O lyfe that arte so shorte, and vncertayne,
Most lyke vnto smoke, a man can the licken,
Nowe this man dyeth an-other after hym,
I to_daye perchaunce, and thou to_morowe betyme,
1595 So a lyttel, and a lytle, eche man dothe dye,
Euen lyke a butcher hauynge shepe and bestes many,
Of whiche some to_daye he kylleth downe-ryght,
And other some to_morow in the morning, or at nyght,
The nexte daye other moo go to the blocke,
1600 And so forthe tyll consumed be all the hole flocke,
Thus death dayly remember but feare not the same,
For of it-selfe it is good and worthye no blame,
Deathe fynysheth all paynes, death endeth all care,
Death daungers dissolueth, and putteth away feare,
1605 To the poore, to the prisonner, and to the comfortlesse,
To the condemned, and to the miserable captyue in distresse,
To the bondeman, slaue, spoyled, and Lazar impotente,
To them that are on the racke, and in greuouse tormente,
Deathe is imbraced and hartely welcome,
1610 To suche and many other of lyke state and condicion,
To good men, death neuer can come vnware,
Whiche euer against his commynge them-selues do prepare,
Whose lyfe hathe contynued in ryghteousnesse,
And whyche haue remayned in faythe, mercy, and godlynesse,
1615 To them no dysproffit is deathe but aduauntage,
Althoughe it take them in theyr mooste flouryshynge age,
Thus yf thou be good receaue deathe gladlye,
sig: F1
For it is a passynge-oute of this value of myserye,
Then shalte thou render to the earthe and againe to hir sende,
1620 Thy body whiche but for a tyme she did vnto the lende,
And if thou ponder with thy-selfe in thy minde discretlye,
What dammage or hurte can death do vnto the,
She spoilleth the of thy riches perchaunce thou wylt saye,
But then riches wantest thou none by no kynde of waie,
1625 Nor anie other thing els thy soule shall desyre,
But from pouertie to riches thou then semest to aspire,
For he of all other is the richeste in-dede,
Not that hathe mooste but that fewest thinges doth nede,
To leaue thy wyfe, childerne and frendes, is a miserable thinge,
1630 Yea, but it wer much more miserable to se them die then liuinge,
And it wyll not be longe but they shall folowe the,
When the lorde shall also call for them accordinglye,
And these worldly riches and pleasures are none of thine,
But lent to the as it weare for a litle tyme,
1635 Naked camest thou hether and naked must thou hence go,
Therfore for terrestriall trifles sorowe not so,
This world is as it were a certaine great feaste,
Where-vnto euery man is bidden as a geaste,
Where for a while duringe the Lordes pleasure,
1640 We haue the fruition of this vayne worldlye treasure,
Vpon this condicion that we be alwayes ready,
At his commaundement to giue place and departe gladlye,
And to suffer other men that after vs shall come,
Of the same feast to receaue like fruition,
1645 What wight wyl not willinglye leaue this lothesome lyfe,
Whiche is so wicked disceatfull and so full of strife,
Where no fayth, no pietie, nor any iustice,
Remaineth neither any quietnes or peace,
Wher all kinde of Sinnes euermore do raigne,
1650 Where the brother is comonly the brothers bayne,
Where the sonne ofte wisheth for his fathers shorte lyfe,
The woman hir husbande, and the husbande his wife,
Wher eche body catcheth and snatcheth what he can,
Beinge dissemblers and wourkers of fraude euery man,
1655 That this worlde maie wourthelye well be named,
A denne of theues being with pillinge and polling enflamed,
Of luste and horedome what should I make mencion,
Wherwith the hole earth is fylled and with like abhominacion.
sig: [F1v]
That chastitie is banyshed and virgynitie defaced,
1660 And the honorable sacrement of Matrimonie nothing regarded
In which wicked worlde also are of parels so many,
Of labors and sicknes suche a nombre and sondery,
Where fortune onelye ruleth without all reason,
Wher no man of him-self can be assured any season,
1665 What good man will not nowe leaue this world gladly,
Whiche is hollye compassed with such vntollerable mysery,
Wherefore great follye it is death for to feare,
Seinge it endeth the myseries we sustayne here,
And consyder also that departynge from mortallitie,
1670 By death thou enterest into the region of eternitie,
Therfore my sonne let thy lyfe be godlye,
So shalte thou not stande in any feare to dye,
Fyrste in thy health, hollye set in good staye,
By wyll, al thy worldly affaires as nere as thou maye,
1675 That in thy sicknes thou be not with them troubled,
Nor thy mynde then from godlynesse by them encombred,
And euery nyghte before thou goest to thy rest,
To confesse to God thy synnes with harty repentaunce is best,
And humblye aske mercy with hope vnfaynedly,
1680 Preparynge thy-selfe then holly to dye,
And so thy soule to the Lorde moost humblye betake,
Which on the crosse suffred his passion for thy sake,
Thus shal not soden death vnprouyded the fynde,
Yf thou beare well this last lesson in thy mynde,
1685 This my rude counsayle yf thou followe in euery condicion,
As I trust thou wylt accordynge to myne expectacion,
Thou shalt well walke in the right pathe-waye than,
Whiche as I erste sayde leadeth to the lyfe of an honest man,
And now sonne my former promyse beynge performed and done,
1690 To the place where we met we are nere eftesones come,
I thancke you gentle father sayd I for your holsome counsayle,
I neuer herde tolde a more verteouse tale,
I beseche almyghty God to graunte me the grace,
The same to obserue in euery poynte and cace,
1695 And the same Lorde of hys goodnes rewarde you graciouslye,
That hathe taken suche paynes to enstructe me verteouslye,
Fare-well my good sonne quod he Christ be thy guyde,
And so departynge from hym homewarde I hyed,