Of the maneres of the peple of hit. Capitulum sexagesimum.
A DECLARACION hade in processe precedenge as of þe maneres of men of Wales and of Scottes, we schalle deter|minate of the rites of the permixte peple of Englonde. Giraldus in Itinerario. And that peple of Flaundres [folio 77a] whiche inhabite the weste partes of Wales is made now in disposicion like to the peple of Englonde, beenge myȝhty and stronge in conflictes and in batelle, contrarious to Walsche men, vsenge moche wolle and marchaundise, prompte to take on theim perelle of the see either of the londe for lucre, nowe applienge theyme to labour, as for the place and tyme, and soone to batelle. ℞. That other peple of Englische men inhabitenge Loegria, as of yles permixte, Page 167, vol.2 be liȝhtely declynede thro theire awne mocion vn to thynges contrarious, whiche be soe impaciente, as Willelmus de Ponti|ficibus, libro tertio, rehersethe, that when that peple hathe depressede theire enmyes then thei fiȝhte amonge theyme selfe, and laboure ageyne nature in the maner of a voide stomake. ℞. Neuerthelesse, the peple of the sowthe is meke and quiete, the peple of þe northe is more moveable and cruelle, the peple of the myddelle partes be in maner as a participulle. Also the peple of Englonde is ȝiffen more to glotony and to surfettes a fore other peple, takenge grete coste in meite and clothes, whiche is seide to haue bene taken in the tyme of Hardeknutus kynge, a Dane,*. [So Harl. MS., but the sentence seems a little corrupt.] whiche vse mony diversities of meites at a meite. That peple is apte to alle kyndes of armes, bothe on foote and on horse, wonte to haue a crowne off a lauref*. [So Harl. MS.] tre for the Page 169, vol.2 victory in batelles, if treason reigne not amonge theyme. That peple is curious ynowe that hit may knowe, and telle meruellous thynges goenge to oþer regiones, vnnethe ryche and fortunate in theire awne londe, but fortunate specially in ferre costes. For hit can purchase better then kepe the propur inheritaunce of theyme, wherefore the peple of that londe is dispersede a brode thro alle the worlde, trawenge alle the worlde to be a cuntre to theyme; a peple apte moche to wylenes and decepcion, but importune a fore the dede, levenge liȝhtly a thynge y-begunne. Policronicon,*. [So Harl. MS. at length.]libro vj to. Wherefore hit is that Eugenius the pope seide the peple of Englonde apte to euery thynge, and to be preferrede a fore peple of other naciones but for inconstance of theyme; and like as Hannibal denyede the Romanes to be ouercome but in theire propre cuntre, soe in lyke wise the [folio 77b] peple of Englonde is invincible in other cuntres, and soone deuicte in theire awne cuntre. ℞. The peple of Englonde is fulle curious to knowe straunge thynges by experience, depra|uenge theire awne thynges [thei] commende other straunge, Page 171, vol.2 vnnethe other neuer contente of the state of theire degre, transfigurenge to theyme that is congruente to an other man. Wherefore hit is seen oftetymes þat a yoman dothe represente as the state of a es[q]wier, an esqwier of a knyȝhte, a knyȝhte of a lorde, a lorde of a duke, a duke off a kynge. There fore mony men goenge abowte euery degre be founde in noo degre, attemptenge euery ordre be not of eny ordre; for thei be as ioculers in behauor, glotones in meite, tauerners in expense, myȝhty men or frauncleones in apparelle, Argi in lucre, like to Tantalus in Page 173, vol.2 laboure, and as Dedalus in cure, lyke to Sardanapallus in beddes, similacres in temples, thundres in courtes, know|leggenge theym to be clerkes thro oonly priuileges and benefices other prebendes. But now in these daies suche diuersites of vesture and apparelle be vsede alle moste amonge alle men of Englonde, that thei seme to be as of noo gendre or kynde; of whom an holy heremite did pro|phecy in the tyme of knyge Egelredus in thys maner. Henricus, libro sexto. For cause that Englische men be ȝiffen to treason, drunkenesse, and to the negligence of þe howse of God, thei schalle be punyschede sore, firste by Danes, in the secunde tyme by Normannes, in the thrydde tyme by the Scottes, whom thei acompte as a peple moste Page 175, vol.2 vile, in so moche that the worlde schalle be then so vari|able, that the diuersite of myndes schalle be designate in the mony folde diuersite of vesture and of apparelle. Ex|plicit Liber Primus.