A Complaint of Them that be Too Soon Married

Copland, Robert

STC 5729
Ringler 5729 and TP 432 (also TP 608 "Here endeth a full dolefull complaynte ..." [rhymed colophon of Copland or de Worde] and TP 1528, "Ryght dere frendes louely I do you submite ..." [Copland's envoy with acrostic]). The text is a translation of "La complainte de trop tost marie", c. 1500, probably by Pierre Gringore. An acrostic at B4r-v reads: "Robertus Coplande". TP 1528 and TP 608 ed. M. C. Erler, _Robert Copland: Poems_ (Toronto, 1993), pp. 43-5. UMI microfilm reel 133

A complaynt of them that be to soone maryed
London: Wynkyn de Worde,1535.

Composition Date: c. 1505? [Erler, p. 44].

'praye' is corrected in ink in the Huntington copy to 'desire'.thynge ='anything'; prouayle: = prevail, 'benefit, profit'?; see OED s.v. prevail v, 4
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¶A complaynt of them that be to soone maryed.

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¶For-as-moche as many folke there be
That desyre the sacramente of weddynge
Other wyll kepe them in vyrgyny[t]e vyrgynyte] vyrgynye 1535
And wyll in chastyte be lyuynge
5 Therfore I wyll put now in wrytynge
In what sorowe these men lede theyr lyues
That to soone be coupled to cursed wyues

NOw am I in grete myschefe and sorowe
To soone I put my body in gage
10 I lyue in care / nyght / euen / and morowe
Lytell lacketh that I ne enrage
To be to soone maryed I layde my gage
Cursed be the tyme that I it euer knewe
The deuyll haue his parte of maryage
15 And of hym that me fyrste therto drewe

My herte ryght yll dyd me counsell
To a yonge woman me for to same same ='join'; see OED s.v. sam, v1.
To soone wedde there they dyd me compell
Wherfore I holde my-selfe in_fame
20 By god I swere and by his name
I wyll all louers clene dyscourage
That wolde not with there wyll take them a dame
And put them-selfe in suche domage

Better it were to be a man sauage
25 Than to be take in that ylke lase
Gentell galauntes flee that passage
Besyde that waye loke that ye passe
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Go out of that waye that wyll the chase
Go out of that waye or ye be loste
30 Go ye therfro / tourne ye your face
Go frome that waye to another coste

Go ye thense my frendes I you [desire] desire] praye 1535'praye' is corrected in ink in the Huntington copy to 'desire'.

Go ye therfro I you do praye
Go ye frome that hote flambe of fyre
35 Go ye therfro as I you saye
Or ye wyll repente an-other daye
Go ye therfro full loude I crye
Go ye fro the bonde of welawaye
Whiche is the arke of all folye

40 Fle I praye you for goddes sake
Fle this passage that is ryght daungerous
Fle ye frome that peryllous lake
Of muddy myre so clam and comberous clam ='sticky'
Fle that darke place so myrke and tenebrous
45 Fle fro that ylke cursed temptacy[o]n temptacyon] temptacyn 1535
I fynde it nothynge auauntagyous
But it all tourneth into perdycyon

Alas my bretherne ye crysten men
For god take ye in pacyence
50 To heare the sorowe that I in ren
For to acquyte my consyence
I requyre you in the reuerence
Of the swete vyrgyn mary
For to eschewe all vnpacyence
55 Loke to soone that ye not mary

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The wyse-man vs ensygneth and saythe
That none shulde other repreue
Of any vyce / hurte / yll / or scathe
That they se of hym morne or eue
60 I saye it for I dyd my-selfe meue
To lerne to make playes Ioyous
Kepe hym that wyll and me byleue
For there maye be many enuyous

Outragyous alas I dyde not thynke
65 Thre tymes of that that I wolde do
But hastely I dyde me clynke clynke ='assent'? Not recorded in this sense in OED.
Unto my wyl and wente therto
Symple I was and humble also
Euyll thought was not myne entent
70 Now haue I for my laboure lo
Anoye / thought / payne / and torment

Thynke thou now what it is of seruyce
Thynke also what it is of franchyse
The seruytude of maryage
75 Afore all other seruage lyse
All wyse-men dothe it despyse
Let none take it nor other make
For it is the moost fole enterpryse
That ony man maye vndertake

80 Take ye hede where that ye go
Poore whystelers folysshe and sturdy
Be not assoted nor peuysshe also
So outragyus nor so hardy
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That for one dede ne for a crye
85 Ye caste your-selfe in suche a snare
For ye shall not bewrynge nor wrye bewrynge ='twist away, struggle free': not recorded in OED or MED; but see OED s.v. wring v, 19.
Come out therof therfore beware

Better ye were withouten harme
For to become a celestyne
90 A grey-frere Iacopyn or a carme
An hermyte or a frere Austyne
Fle ye therfro / ye seke your fyne
And the abregmente of your dayes
Wherfore do not your-selfe enclyne
95 To entre with ryght and other wayes

Man the wiche hathe no tytell
Nor seruytude by ony sent
He is in his owne frewyll
And at his good commaundemente
100 Man maketh his auowe and talente
For all that god hathe hym gyue
By no maner for to consente
For to bynde hym in seruytude to lyue

Yf thou knowe what charge it is
105 To take a wyfe and her to kepe
So preest thou wolde not be ywys
At suche a snare in for to crepe
Nor let thy-selfe so to be yclepe
To be engloted in suche a clyfte engloted ='swallowed up'; see OED s.v. englut v.
110 Out of whiche thou mayste not pepe
Tyll that she be broke and ryfte

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These relygyous maundiens maundiens ='mendicants, beggars': not recorded in OED, but see OED s.v. maunder n1
May well an-other order take
So many chanons and dekenes
115 Offycers theyr offyces may forsake
None maye ayenste them noyse make
But we the whiche ben maryed
May nether mount nor yet downe slake
So ben we in this poynt alyed

120 It is well knyte that is so bounde
That no man can it vndo
In weddynge-knote I haue me founde
That I cou[l]de not from it go coulde] counde 1535
Yf I were lous no more ther-to
125 Wolde I retourne forsothe certayne
I rede them that hathe ben so
Beware and go not to it agayne

Certaynly I wyll not blame
Maryage that god Instytued
130 But honour it withouten grame
For the order sholde be worshypped
And I haue me auaunced
Than I ought for to speke more
The charge to yll wyues be deled
135 For I se euer eche daye wherfore

And for to gyue you for to wyt
The pouerte that therin is founde
I ought well to dysprayse it
For there I haue be bounde
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140 Alas my werke dyde lytell rebounde
And lytell befell to me than
Than to lerne I dyd recounde recounde: =recount, 'consider, reflect on'? See OED s.v. recount v1, 2.
By my-selfe or by some good man

I_nought I wende that I had lerned
145 I thought that I was full sage
But for all that I was clyked clyked ='seized'; see OED s.v. click v2.
As a byrde is in a cage
That hath nothynge auauntage
But as longe as the cage maye dure
150 In lyke wyse I am in maryage
Enclosed nedes I must endure

Endure I must who that nay saythe
For to endure I a[m] constraynt am] and 1535
For I swere to you on my faythe
155 The Ioye that I make it is but faynte
I am so holden in fere and in craynt
That I am worse than dyseased
I am not come to that attaynt
That I thought in tyme passed

160 Whan that I was newely maryed
I had good tyme aboute thre dayes
I was not chydde ne haryed
I was fulfylled with loue-rayes loue-rayes: unrecorded in OED, if a compound.
I made gambandes / lepes / and playes
165 I helde me neyther nere ne ferre
But soone ynoughe I had assayes
Of sorowe and care that made me bare

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Rynnynge they came me to assayle
On the other syde ryght asprely asprely: =asperly, 'harshly'
170 Full sore they made me to auayle
Were it slepynge or wakyngly
Thought alwaye was present me by
And yet before me made frontere frontere ='attack'; see OED s.v. frontier n, 3
With them in theyr companye
175 Greate charge whiche bare the baner

About eyght dayes or soone after
Our maryage the tyme for to passe
My wyfe I toke and dyd set her
Upon my knee for to solace
180 And began her for to enbrace
Sayenge syster go get the tyme loste
We must thynke to laboure a_pace
To recompence that it hathe vs coste

Than for despyte she vp arose
185 And drewe her faste behynde me
To me sayenge is this the glose
Alas pore caytyfe well I se
That I neuer shall haue quod she
With you more than payne and turmente
190 I am in an euyll degre
I haue now loste my sacramente

For me be to longe with you here
Alas I ought well for to thynke
What we sholde do within ten yere
195 Whan we shall haue at our hert[h]e-brynke herthe] herte 1535
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Many chyldren on for to thynke
And crye after vs without fayle
For theyr meate and theyr drynke
Than shall it be no meruayle

200 Cursed be the houre that I ne was
Made a none in some cloyster
Neuer there for to passe
Or had be made some syster
In seruage with a clousterer
205 It is not eyght dayes sythe oure weddynge
That we two togyther were
By god ye speke to soone of werkynge

But syr sythe it dothe you please
It pleaseth me as is reason
210 Your wyll dothe not me dysplease
It pleaseth me at eche ceason
Ye be syr of this mansyon
And I am your chamb[r]ere chambrere] chambere 1535
I wolde fayne fynde some encheso[n] encheson] enchesom 1535
215 That lyenge deed I were on bere

Wolde to god that I were deed
Than sholde ye be quyte of me
In lytell whyle knowe you I dyde
And neyther I perceyue nor se
220 Ne knowe how that reason sholde be
That to me ye speke of that wyrke
By my soule I se at the eye
That of you I shall haue but yrke

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For god syr aduyse you well
225 That I dyde neuer besynesse
In the house there-as I dyde dwell
Many there were that put them in prese
Me for to loue aboue excesse
And yet I put them all awaye
230 Thoughe they had moche greate rychesse
No man but you was to my paye

Am I of suche lygnage comen
For to haue payne and greate trauayle
I that was so derely holden
235 And neuer loked for none auayle
N[e] that thynge sholde me prouayle Ne] No 1535thynge ='anything'; prouayle: = prevail, 'benefit, profit'?; see OED s.v. prevail v, 4

I was wonte but to go and playe
Daunce and synge at eche spousayle
And ye frome me put all that awaye

240 Thanked be god ye haue had of me
Of ryche cheuaunce good and fayre
Golde and syluer greate plente
Rentes and herytage you to prepayre
In all this countre there is none ayre
245 Be ye neuer so ryche of lynage
But he myght of that affayre
Make ryche all his parentage

I do not saye that ye were dygne
To haue one ten tymes better than I
250 Alas ye shewed vnto me sygne
Of greate grace welth and curteysy
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That whan I herde ony company
That spake of you in ony place
I had my herte rauysshed truely
255 For greate pleasure and solace

Whan she had made her complaynt
Lyke an woman all an_angred
She than seased vnder a faynt
Full of sorowe and all be_weped
260 The daye and houre there she cursed
With a tryste herte wryngynge her hande
That euer she was nourysshed
For to espouse suche an husbande

Whan that I herde and vnderstode
265 That the whiche she me reproched
I was abasshed and styll stode
And durst not to her be approched
Her tonge towarde me was declyned
I wote not where that she had fysshte
270 The wordes that she there dysgorged
That I was fayne to be whysshte

In this sayd dolorous songe
I dyde me put for to haue pease
Force it was in to be thronge
275 Yet wente I not in with myne ease
But my wyfe me to dysplease
Abode not longe for to perceyue
The sorowe that dyde my herte pryse pryse: a possible reading of the copytext here is: peyse.
Where-throughe she dyde deceyue

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280 Than came her mother to hous
That founde her how she was wepynge
And soone she sayd my nowne sone dous
Why maketh she that waymentynge
And sayd it was not her lernynge
285 To haue her doughter so to be chydde
And that she had a perceyuynge
That I had her so an_angred

By my faythe sayd I good mother
Nought haue I done nor her myssayde
290 Serue her I wyll as my syster
With good herte and wyll puruayed
For ayenst her I nothynge sayd
But that wayes we muste fynde
Us for to store and she me nayed
295 Iwys she hath to fyrse a mynde

By god my fayre sone you ne ought
So alwaye for to threten her
For ywys she was neuer taught
For to werke therfore dele softer
300 But she wyll do well here-after
Wherfore speke no more I you praye
Neuer was I in suche daungere
Wherfore I thanke god nyght and daye

Than cometh her cosyns also
305 For to complysshe my passyon
Her gosseps and her neyghboures to
Semblynge lyke a prosessyon
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God knewe what destruccyon destruccyon] desstruccyon 1535
Drynkynge my wyne all at theyr ease
310 All-thynge goeth to perdycyon
Neuertheles I muste holde my pease

To a feest they brought me on a daye
Aboute two or thre myle hense
God knoweth what great Ioye led they
315 Takynge lytell intellygence
Her frendes lede her at myne expence
How that the game goeth they ne care
I saye that by experyence
It wyll make a man all threde-bare

320 Now muste they make a pylgrymage
To saynt Lenarde or saynt Laurence
For good they be for the grete rage
That they haue / as I maye purpence
Who maye than haue ony pacyence
325 For to se suche derysyon
Trottynge alwaye without resystence
And not k[e]pynge theyr mansyon kepynge] kypynge 1535

Than must they haue newe habytes
Gownes and other abyllementes
330 Rynges of golde perles and cresolytes of] of of 1535
Bedes and gyrdelles with longe pendentes
I haue nether hous ne rentes
Wheron that I maye lyue
A man with many suche paymentes
335 Maye lyue longe or euer he may thryue

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Wene ye that they take ony kepe
How that syluer is spente anone
The deuyll brenne them on an hepe
Them and all theyr opynyon
340 We gyue to them suche a bandon bandon ='authority, power of disposal'.
Be they fayre or be they foule
That we haue therfore suche guerdon
That we be caytyfes be my soule

Almyghty god gyue me suffraunce
345 For I am sore passyoned
With payne / sorowe / and dystourbaunce
As moche as ony man hath suffred
But sythe I am therto condempned
I thanke our lorde of paradyse
350 For therto I am ordeyned
I se it is none otherwyse

Consyderynge that I ne maye
Hyte / nor ho auaunte / ne arere Hyte / nor ho ='hope nor think?'
I wysshe my dethe euery daye
355 Hyde me I muste neuer to appere
In donge stynkynge neuer to come here
Desyrynge dethe is my resorte
Chowynge my bytte in this maner
Without bydynge ony comforte

360 You the whiche are clene acquyted
Praye ye for that pore caytyfe
The whiche is all dysheryted
And hathe yspended by his wyfe
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His good that neuer in his lyfe
365 Shall be rendered to hym agayne
Wherfore I maye with herte pensyfe
Crye out alas and thus complayne

I make an ende I lyue in greate martyre
So do they that be to soone maryed
370 The thynge that moost of all I desyre
Is that they be ryght well haryed
For by women men be so [w]aryed waryed] varyed 1535
Eche leseth his vnderstondynge
Wherfore I wyll that they be for-prayde for-prayde: unrecorded in OED, if a compound.
375 That god gyue them sorowe euerlastynge

For suche is my dyffynement
And wyll proue it before our lorde
That women ben abusement
All aboute in playe / stryfe / and borde
380 To soone maryed maye mete accorde
Unto them wolde I or naye
I leue them here at this sayd worde
And no more of them wyll I saye

¶Ryght dere frendes louely I do you submite
385 Of my fyrst werke into correccyon
But myne owne wyll can not as yet
Endewe ony-thynge of myne intencyon
Rather I wyll abyde a lytell season
Than to put my wytte afore intellygence
390 Uentosyte must abyde dygestyon
So I muste do or I come to eloquence

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Cunny[n]ge must I haue fyrste of all
Or that I come to perseueracyon
Put forthe I wyll and than somwhat call
395 Lernynge with good delyberacyon
And than I wyll with good intencyon
Note some werkes of god almyghty
Desyrynge to come vnto his regyon
Euer there for to dwell perdurably
¶Here endeth a full dolefull complaynte
Of many a man of there one concorde
Lokynge with face pale wanne and faynte
Cursynge the tyme of theyr accorde
5 Fynyss[h]ed and done the yere of our lorde Fynysshed] Fynysssed 1535
A thousande .CCCCC. and .xxxv. at London
Enprynted also by Wynkyn_de_Worde
In fletest[r]ete at the sygne of the son fletestrete] fletestete 1535