The Complaint of Them That be Too Late Married

Copland, Robert

STC 5728.5
Ringler 5728.5 and TP 73; also TP 609 ("Here endeth the complaynt of to late maryed") and TP 1524 ("Rychenes in youth with good gouernaunce"). 'Tr. of Pierre Gringoire, "La Complainte de trop tard mariŽ", c. 1505, with four original stanzas at beginning and three at end, including acrostic and rhymed colophon of Wynkyn de Worde' [Ringler]. Ed. Payne Collier, _Illustrations of Early English Popular Literature_ 2 (1863), no. 8. TP 609 and TP 1524 rpt. F. C. Francis, _Robert Copland_ (Glasgow, 1961), pp. 38-9; and M. C. Erler, _Robert Copland: Poems_ (Toronto, 1993), pp. 46-8. UMI microfilm reel 32

Here begynneth the complaynte of them that ben to late maryed
London: Wynkyn de Worde,1518?.

Composition Date: 1505?.

ouer-twarte ='crosswise'; see OED s.v. overthwart; contrauers ='in the opposite direction'? See OED s.v. contraverse adv., where this example is quoted.chaste ='restrain, subdue'ebate ='sport'The phrase 'withouten dout' recurs above, A4.creasyon: =creation
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¶Here begynneth the complaynte of them that ben to late maryed.

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AF[t]er playes sportes and daunces of solace After] Affer 1518
We must thynke to come to prosperyte
After that god of his haboundaunte grace
Wyll prouyde how that I may gouerne me
5 In mynde I purpose wedded to be
In a better lyfe may no man lyue in
Than to be maryed and ly[u]e out of synne lyue] lyfe 1518

All yonge louers sholde them so affyle
That they loue trewely and so for to lyue
10 With ardaunte wytte and perfyte style
All vnto goodnesse themselfe for to gyue
Than may they be sure that they shall thryue
So wyll I lyue in maryage clene and pure
To goddes be_houe and in_creasynge of nature

15 To longe haue I lyued without ony make
All to longe haue I vsed my yonge age
I wyll all for_go and a wyfe to me take
For to encreace both our twoos lynage
For saynt Iohnn sayth that he is sage
20 That ayenst his wyll doth hym gouerne
And our lordes preceptes hym-selfe for to lerne

There is no greter pleasure than for to haue
A wyfe that is full of prudence and wysdome
Alas for loue [r]yght I am in poynte to raue ryght] nyght 1518
25 These cursed olde men haue an yll custome
Women for to blame / both all and some
For that th[e]y can not theyr myndes full_fyll they] thy 1518
Therfore they speke of them but all yll

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Now syth that I haue my tyme vsed
30 For to folowe / my folysshe pleasaunces
And haue my-selfe oftentymes sore abused
At plaes and sportes / pompes and daunces
Spendynge golde and syluer and grete fynaunces
For faut of a wyfe the cause is all
35 To late maryed / men may me call

The holy sacramente of maryage
Before holy chyrche was ordeyned
For to encrease humayne lynage
He that doth other-wyse is [n]ot receyued
40 Before god / thus was man guerdoned
With woman for to lyue at his owene wyll
He is a fole that elles-where doth nature spyll

I haue done as the labourer doth
That somtyme is payned with trobyll grete
45 For he leseth his payne for certayne soth
That in the hye-waye soweth his whete soweth] sotweth 1518
Well I perceyue that I dyde me forgete
Or that I put me in-to housholde
I haue lost my seed my worke is but colde

50 Women and maydens / both good and yll
With me I helde my-selfe for to please
The one dyde rebell / the other abode styll
Other made me well at myn ease
Cupydo than came me for to cease cease: =seize
55 Uenus lyghted her bronde of fyre
For suche seruyce suche guerdo[n] and hyre guerdon] guerdob 1518

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Thus rauysshed in this sayd abusyon
I was taken with a cautelous wyle
That me-thought to make conclusyon
60 Of my weddynge within a whyle
But yet dyde they me begyle
They caused me for to make grete dyspence
For I was no soner wed through my neglygence

I wolde do make comune I_wys
65 My propre goodes so was I lyght
Of wytte and was all-wayes redy as is
A man of armes in poynt to fyght
Other-whyles I went me ryght
In-to places my-selfe solysytynge solysytynge: =soliciting
70 But nother frequented that beynge

Yf I with_helde ony praty one
Swetely ynough she made me chere
Sayenge that she loued no persone
But me / and therto she dyde swere
75 But whan I wente fro that place there
Unto an-other she dyde as moche
For they loue none but for theyr poche

I had fyue or syxe companyons
That haunted with me euery houre
80 But I haue knowen to suche garsons
In secrete they haue done socoure
Yf that they enioyed my paramoure
With grete payne durste I it to them saye
Force me was to kepe counseyll alwaye

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85 I wote well that I haue ryght sore varyed
For to haue wylled for to lyue alone
For to haue ben to late maryed
For that I haue herde so longe a_gone
For she that abandoneth to more than one
90 I dare wyll swere and ther-with it sust[a]yne sustayne] sustyne 1518
That she abandoneth vnto a dosayne

Folysshe regardes full of vanyte
I kest ouer-[t]warte and eke contrauers ouer-[t]warte] ouer swarte 1518ouer-twarte ='crosswise'; see OED s.v. overthwart; contrauers ='in the opposite direction'? See OED s.v. contraverse adv., where this example is quoted.

To_daye I had peas rest and vnyte
95 To_morowe I had plete and processe dyuers plete: =plea
Breke I dyde dores and fenesters
Sargeauntes met me by the waye
And enprysoned both me and my praye

Subiecte I was to a meyny of bawdes
100 And vnto a grete company of brothelles
Whiche to me brought an hepe of rybaudes
Dronkardes that loued well good morselles
Knaues and theues that wolde pyke quarelles
I gaue them clothes I knewe not theyr vse
105 There is none so subtyll but loue doth hym abuse

Alas I haue all my tyme spent and lost
Whiche for to recouer is impossyble
Spent haue I nature at grete expens and cost
Ayenst the ryght canon and of the holy byble
110 Offens done to god neuer ceasyble
In daunger for to forfayte bothe soule and lyfe
By defaute for to haue taken vnto me a wyfe

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Lyke vnto a best an hors or an asse an hors] and hors 1518
That careth not for to tomble in the fen
115 Yf that ony with me playenge there was
An-other to helpe I wolde go then
Mo gallantes a man sholde se than ren
After a wentche and lepe and hytche
Than dogges do about a farowinge bytche

120 She wolde to no maner a man escondyte escondyte ='give a refusal to'; See OED s.v. escondyte v, for which this example is the sole attestation.
Eche one she appetyted for to receyue
Takynge therein pleasure and delyte
To the ende theyr syluer for to haue
But in the stede chyldren to conceyue
125 Botches pockes / and goutes they engendre
In hedes and in legges and in euery me[m]bre membre] menbre 1518

In this maner of sykenesse many ther be
That ben Impotentes hanged and dede
But lytell semblaunce they make on to se
130 Taken as they ben / not beggynge theyr brede
Hast you to be wedded thus I you rede
Unto the ende that ye be not cappable
Of this grete daunger / deedly and vncurable

Now am I out of this daunger so alenge alenge: =alange, 'protracted, tedious'.
135 Wherfore I a[m] gladde it for to perseuer am] an 1518
Longe about haue I ben me for to renge
But it is better to late than to be neuer
Certes I was not in my lyfe tyll hyther
So full of Ioye that doth my herte in_spyre
140 Wedded folke haue tyme at theyr desyre

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Out am I now of thought dole and mone
Lyuynge euer-more ryght amorously
For I haue a wyfe by my-selfe alone
At my commaundement both late and erely
145 And yf it happen that I loke heuely
My wyfe me kysseth and than she me colleth
And ryght woman there she me consolleth

To that I wyll haue done she is redy
Neuer wyll she ayenst my wyll saye
150 She doth to me the best that she can truely
Nothynge of my volenty she doth me naye
Yf I be angred or trobled ony-waye
Redy she is to chaunge [her] purpose her] my 1518
Unto the ende that I may haue all my repose

155 I haue me all to longe refrayned
Furnysshe I can not to all her pleasyre
And for to promyse her I am constrayned
More than I can do to her desyre
She appetyteth it moche and doth me enspyre
160 Gorgyously shewynge her fayre corsage
But I am all caduc and wery for age

I ought for to haue by this many chyldren
Some sporte and playe and some at fyre syttynge
Other in the felde to shote lepe and ren
165 And some hardy / some mery / and tryumphynge
In whome I sholde haue all my delytynge
But to late maryd withouten dout
May neuer se his chyldren ren out

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My wyfe shewed to me her proper dugge
170 On the mornynge her delyte for to make
And to haue me for to playe nugge_a_nugge nugge_a_nugge: =nooky?
Alas I wolde it full fayne forsake
But force it is suche lessons to take
And to ryse vp erly as I thynke best
175 In the mornynge and go vnto my rest

Whan I se her lye in shetes fayre and whyte
As rede as the button of the rose
With good wyll wolde I take than delyte
Neuertheles I lete her haue her repose
180 For it is force that I cast agayne on the close
And to make a pawse than I am conioynt
For th'ynstrument is not yet well in poynt

But yet somtyme I me constrayne
To take nature[s] solace thus thynke I natures] nature 1518
185 But all sodeynly I me refrayne
For I do fere to be to soone wery
And than I slepe with courage all drery
And yet am I / I can not passe
Upon women more than euer I was

190 Constrayned I am to be full of Ialousy
Seynge that I can not content her mynde
Touchynge the playe of loue all softely
Often ynough the experyence to fynde
She me assayeth and tourneth by kynde
195 Castynge vnto me her beggynge legge
But I do slepe I care not for suche a begge

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1505 fragment begins.
With her eyen pleasaunte castynge a regarde
In chastynge a laughter amerous chastynge] castynge 1501chaste ='restrain, subdue'

Than with a praty smyle she doth me larde
200 And that maketh me somwhat Ioyous
But comynge to a bed delycyous
For to holde the spere in a full hande
It plyeth and fayleth for [it] wyll not stonde it] 1518 omits; it 1501

Whan I herde her bable and langage
205 Her gentyll termes spoken so properly
I do me wysshe for to be in-to the age
Of eyghten / neyntene / or foure and twenty
Suche assautes than gyue wolde I
That for it [she] sholde haue no nede to craue she] 1518 omits; she 1501
210 Of the grete pleasure that she sholde haue

If that she go to banckettes and daunces
She doth none offence therin certayne
Nedes she must haue her plesaunces
In some place to make her glad and fayne
215 Wherfore I dare well say and susteyne
That after with me I wolde haue her ledde
Yf ony soner I had ben to her wedde

We twayne sholde haue all our yongenesse
After maryage custome and ryght
220 Passed in Ioye / solace / and gladnesse
And is wherfore I haue me pyght
Force it is to me that the fyre be nyght
That at a nede I can not haue quenched
To late maryed is for to be complayned

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225 It is sayd that man in seruytude
Hym putteth / whan he doth to woman bende
He ne hath but only habytude
Unto her the whiche well doth hym tende
Who wyll to housholde comprehende
230 And there-a_bout studyeth in youth alwayes
He shall haue honoure in his olde dayes

Some chyldren vnto the courtes hauntes
And ben puruayed of benefyces
Some haunteth markettes and be marchauntes
235 Byenge and sellynge theyr marchaundyses
Or elles constytued in offyces constytued =constituted
Theyr faders and moders haue grete solace
That to late maryed by no waye hase

I be_wayll the tyme that is so spent
240 That I ne me hasted for to wedde
For I shall haue herytage and rente
Both golde and syluer and [grete] kynred grete] 1518 omits; grete 1501
But syth that our lorde hath ordeyned
That I this sacrament take me vpon
245 I wyll kepe it trewely at all season

Theophrastus vs sheweth in his prose
That in maryage all is out of tune
So doth also the roma[un]te of the rose romaunte] romanute 1518, 1505
Composed by mayster Iohan_de_mehune
250 Yet neuertheles it is all comune
That they neuer were in bonde of maryage
Wherfore at all aventures is theyr langage 1505 fragment breaks off.

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Matheolus that was holden so wyse
For to blame wome[n] was all his ebate women] womem 1518ebate ='sport'

255 Suppose that he was maryed twyse
For he was so olde that balde was his pate
For he came the last tyme so very late
That in hym there was no puyssaunce
Amyte / solace / Ioye ne pleasure

260 But whan that a man may do no more
He blame that / that he can not do
To late wedded the surplus therfore
May not furnysshe as other may do
For whan he wened to satysfye lo
265 Nature at nede wyll not hym preuayle
Suche wenes do to well that other-whyle fayle

Yf that there be ony tryfelers
That haue wylled for to blame maryage
I dare well saye that they ben but lyers
270 Or elles god fayled in the fyrste age
Adam bereth wytnesse and tesmonage tesmonage: =testimonage
Maryed he was and comen we ben
God dyde choyse maryage vnto all men

Now syth it is thus befall
275 Why than ought we it to blame
Us for to put we ben holden all
So sholde we alwayes holde with the same
Or elles holy scrypture sayeth it is shame
And that alleggeth all predycacours
280 Our lorde god hateth all fornycatours

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I am now sory that I haue no rathe
Put my-selfe in-to maryages rout
For many a folysshe loke it hathe
It hath me cost / here and there about
285 But yet my soule is in grete doute
For god fornycatures punyssheth
And out of this realme he them banyssheth

There is no man lyuynge that can commyt
Without[en] [d]out the worke of nature Withouten dout] Without outen 1518The phrase 'withouten dout' recurs above, A4.

290 But he in maryage doth commyse it
As vs telleth the holy scrypture
It is than foly to ony creature
Thus for to blame his creas[y]on creasyon] creason 1518creasyon: =creation

For ony maner of folysshe opynyon

295 All they that by theyr subtyll artes
Hath wylled for to blame maryage
I wyll susteyne that they be bastardes
Or at leest waye an euyll courage
For to saye that therin is seruage
300 In maryage / but I it reny reny ='deny'; see OED s.v. renay v, 2b
For therin is but humayne company

Yf ther be yll women and rebell
Shrewed dispytous and eke felonyous
There be other fayre and do full well
305 Propre / gentyll / lusty / and Ioyous
That ben full of grace and vertuous
They ben not all born vnder a sygnet
Happy is he that a good one can get

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To late maryed now helpe than me
310 To make my sorowes and complayntes
For by my fayth I swere to the
I haue suffred many dolours and crayntes
And haue sustayned mo attayntes
Than euer dede wat after the hounde
315 At dyspence I lyued and that haue I founde

Galantes playne ye the tyme that ye haue lost
Mary you be_tyme as the wyse-man sayth
Tossed I haue ben fro pyler to post
In commysynge natures werke alwayes
320 I haue passed full many quasy dayes quasy ='unhealthy'; see OED s.v. queasy adj, 2b
That now vnto good I can not mate
For mary I dyde my-selfe to late

Rychely in a_raye ought for to go
These women that be obedyent
325 Better than these cursed wyues do
That ben not to theyr husbandes pacyent
To take a wyfe was myn intent
Goddes lawes to kepe and them to obserue
Sauynge of nature and heuen to preserue

330 Afore that euer I was maryed
Bordeles I haunted and places of infame
But I am now vnto a wyfe [alyed] alyed] alayed 1518
The worlde to holde and honoure goddes n[a]me name] neme 1518
That wycked man I holde to blame
335 That foloweth euyll ruell and wyll not amende ruell: =rule
Unto his soulles he[l]th and honoure to pretende helth] heth 1518

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Whan a man to olde age is faden and fall faden='declined'; see OED s.v. fade v1, 2.
Lerne this lesson herken my sentence
Fewe frendes meteth he with-all
340 That wyll to his pouerte take ony intellygence
Wo worthe than crye they of the expence
That they haue spent vnto youthes lust
And now they must dye for hunger and thurst

Better it is in youth a wyfe for to take
345 And lyue with her to goddes pleasaunce
Than to go in age for goddes sake
In wordely sorowe and perturbaunce wordely: =worldly
For youthes loue and vtteraunce
And than to dye at the last [e]nde ende] ande 1518
350 And be dampned in hell with the foule fende

¶The auctour.

Rychenes in youth with good gouernaunce
Often helpeth age whan youth is gone his gate
Both yonge and olde must haue theyr sustenaunce
Euer in this worlde soo fekyll and rethrograte
355 Ryght as an ampte the whiche all-gate
Trusseth and caryeth for his lyues fode
Eny-thynge that whiche hym semeth to be good

Crysten folke ought for to haue
Open hertes vnto god almyght
360 Put[t]ynge in theyr mynde th[e]yr soule to saue Puttynge] Putrynge 1518; theyr] thyr 1518
Lernynge to come vnto the eternall lyght
And kepe well theyr maryage and trouth plyght
Nothynge alwaye of theyr last ende Nothynge: =noting
Durynge theyr lyues how they the tyme spende

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365 Here endeth the complaynt of to late maryed
For spendynge of tyme or they a_borde
The sayd holy sacramente haue to longe taryed 1505 fragment begins again.
Humayne nature t'assemble and it to accorde
Enprynted in Fletestrete by Wynkyn_de_Worde
370 Dwellynge in the famous cyte of London
His hous in the same at the sygne of the Sonne.

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