The babees book, Aristotle's A B C, Urbanitatis, Stans puer ad mensam, The lvtille childrenes lvtil boke, The bokes of nurture of Hugh Rhodes and John Russell, Wynkyn de Worde's Boke of keruynge, The booke of demeanor, The boke of curtasye, Seager's Schoole of vertue, &c. &c. with some French and latin poems on like subjects, and some forewords on education in early England. Ed. by Frederick J. Furnivall ...
Furnivall, Frederick James, ed. 1825-1910,
Page  [unnumbered]Page  [299]

The boke of Curtasye.

HEre begynnethe þe fyrst boke of curtasye. [folio 12]

Qwo so wylle of curtasy lere,
In this boke he may hit here!
Yf thow be gentylmon, ȝomon, or knaue,
The nedis nurture for to haue.
When thou comes to a lordis ȝate,
The porter þou shalle fynde ther-ate;
Take hym thow shalt þy wepyn tho,
And aske hym leue in to go
¶ To speke with lorde, lady, squyer, or grome.
Ther-to the nedys to take the tome*. [Toom or rymthe. Spacium, tempus, oportunitas. P. Parv.];
For yf he be of loghe degre,
Than hym falles to come to the;
¶ Yf he be gentylmon of kyn,
The porter wille lede the to hym.
When thow come tho halle dor to,
Do of thy hode, thy gloues also;
¶ Yf þo halle be at the furst mete,
This lessoun loke thow noȝt for-ȝete:
Þe stuard, countroller, and tresurere,
Sittand at de deshe, þou haylse in fere.
¶ Within þe halle sett on ayther side,
Sitten other gentylmen as falles þat tyde;
Enclyne þe fayre to hom also,
First to the ryȝht honde þou shalle go, Page  300
¶ Sitthen to þo left honde þy neghe þou cast;
To hom þou boghe withouten wrast*. [AS. wræsten, to writhe, twist.];
Take hede to ȝomon on þy ryght honde,
And sithen byfore the screne þou stonde
¶ In myddys þe halle opon þe flore,
Whille marshalle or vssher come fro þe dore,
And bydde the sitte, or to borde the lede.
Be stabulle of chere for menske*. [grace, civility; from AS. mennisc, human; cp. our double sense of humanity. H. Coleridge.], y rede;
¶ Yf he þe sette at gentilmonnes borde,
Loke þou be hynde*. [courteous.] and lytulle of worde.
Pare þy brede and kerue in two,
Tho ouer crust þo nether fro;
¶ In fowre þou kutt þo ouer dole,
Sett hom to-gedur as hit where hole;
Sithen kutt þo nether crust in thre,
And turnc hit down, lerne þis at me.
¶ And lay thy trenchour þe be-fore,
And sitt vp-ryȝht for any sore.
Spare brede or wyne, drynke or ale,
To thy messe of kochyn be sett in sale;
¶ Lest men sayne þou art hongur betcn,
Or ellis a gloten þat alle men wyten,
Loke þy naylys ben clene in blythe,
Lest þy felaghe lothe ther-wyth.
¶ Byt not on thy brede and lay hit doun,—
That is no curteyse to vse in town;—
But breke as myche as þou wylle ete,
The remelant to pore þou shalle lete.
¶ In peese þou ete, and euer eschewe
To flyte*. [AS. flytan, dispute, quarrel.] at borde; þat may þe rewe.
Yf þou make mawes*. [Mowe, or skorne. Vangia, vel valgia, cachinna. Promptorium.] on any wyse,
A velany þou kacches or euer þou rise. Page  301
¶ Let neuer þy cheke be Made to grete [folio 13]
With morselle of brede þat þou shalle ete;
An apys mow men sayne he makes,
Þat brede and flesshe in hys cheke bakes.
¶ Yf any man speke þat tyme to the,
And þou schalle onsware, hit wille not be
But waloande, and a-byde þou most;
Þat is a schame for alle the host.
¶ On bothe halfe þy mouthe, yf þat þou ete,
Mony a skorne shalle þou gete.
Þou shalle not lauȝhe ne speke no þynge
Whille þi mouthe be fulle of mete or drynke;
¶ Ne suppe not with grete sowndynge
Noþer potage ne oþer þynge.
Let not þi spone stond in þy dysche,
Wheþer þou be serued with fleshe or fische;
¶ Ne lay hit not on thy dishe syde,
But clense hit honestly with-outen pride.
Loke no browynge on þy fyngur þore
Defoule þe clothe þe be-fore.
¶ In þi dysche yf þou wete þy brede,
Loke þer-of þat noȝt be lede
To cast agayne þy dysche in-to;
Þou art vn-hynde yf þou do so.
¶ Drye þy mouthe ay wele and fynde
When þou schalle drynke oþer ale or wyne.
Ne calle þou noȝt a dysche a-ȝayne,
Þat ys take fro þe borde in playne;
¶ ȝif þou sp[i]tt ouer the borde, or elles opon,
Þou schalle be holden an vncurtayse mon;
Yf þy nown dogge þou scrape or clawe,
Þat is holden a vyse emong men knawe.
¶ Yf þy nose þou clense, as may be-falle,
Loke þy honde þou clense, as wythe-alle,
Priuely with skyrt do hit away,
Oþer ellis thurghe thi tepet þat is so gay. Page  302
¶ Clense not thi tethe at mete sittande,
With knyfe ne stre, styk ne wande.
While þou holdes mete in mouthe, be war
To drynke, þat is an-honest*. [an privative, unhonest.] char,
¶ And also fysike for-bedes hit,
And sais þou may be choket at þat byt;
Yf hit go þy wrang throte into,
And stoppe þy wynde, þou art fordo.
¶ Ne telle þou neuer at borde no tale
To harme or shame þy felawe in sale;
For if he then withholde his methe*. [AS. mod, mood, passion, violence.],
Eftsons he wylle forcast þi dethe.
¶ Where-sere þou sitt at mete in borde,
Avoide þe cat at on bare worde,
For yf þou stroke cat oþer dogge,
Þou art lyke an ape teyȝed with a clogge.
¶ Also eschewe, with-outen stryfe,
To foule þe borde clothe with þi knyfe;
Ne blow not on þy drynke ne mete,
Neþer for colde, neþer for hete;
¶ With mete ne bere þy knyfe to mowthe,
Wheþer þou be sett be strong or couthe;
Ne with þo borde clothe þi tethe þou wype, [folio 14]
Ne þy nyen þat rennen rede, as may betyde.
¶ Yf þou sitt by a ryȝht good man,
Þis lesson loke þou þenke apon:
Vndur his theȝghe þy kne not pit,
Þou ar fulle lewed yf þou dose hit.
¶ Ne bacwarde sittande gyf noȝt þy cupe,
Noþer to drynke, noþer to suppe;
Bidde þi frende take cuppe and drynke,
Þat is holden an honest thyng.
¶ Lene not on elbowe at þy mete,
Noþer for colde ne for hete; Page  303
Dip not þi thombe þy drynke into,
Þou art vncurtayse yf þou hit do;
¶ In salt saler yf þat þou pit
Oþer fisshe or flesshe þat men may wyt,
Þat is a vyce, as men me telles,
And gret wonder hit most be elles.
¶ After mete when þou shalt wasshe,
Spitt not in basyn, ne water þou dasshe;
Ne spit not lorely, for no kyn mede,
Be-fore no mon of god for drede.
¶ Who so euer despise þis lessoun ryȝt,
At borde to sitt he hase no myȝt.
Here endys now oure fyrst talkyng,
Crist graunt vs alle his dere blessyng!
¶ Here endithe þe [first] boke of curtasye.


YF that þou be a ȝong enfaunt,
And thenke þo scoles for to haunt,
This lessoun schalle þy maistur þe merke,
Croscrist þe spede in alle þi werke;
Sytthen þy pater noster he wille þe teche,
As cristes owne postles con preche;
Aftur þy Aue maria and þi crede,
Þat shalle þe saue at dome of drede;
¶ Then aftur to blesse þe with þe trinité,
In nomine patris teche he wille þe;
Þen with marke, mathew, luke, and Ion,
With þe per crucis and the hegh name;
¶ To schryue þe in general þou schalle lere
Þy Confiteor and misereatur in fere. Page  304
To seche þe kyngdam of god, my chylde,
Þerto y rede þou be not wylde.
¶ Ther-fore worschip god, bothe olde and ȝong,
To be in body and soule yliche stronge.
When þou comes to þo chirche dore,
Take þe haly water stondand on flore;
¶ Rede or synge or byd prayeris
To crist, for alle þy crysten ferys;
Be curtayse to god, and knele doun
On bothe knees with grete deuocioun.
¶ To mon þou shalle knele opon þe ton,
Þe toþer to þy self þou halde alon.
When þou ministers at þe heghe autere,
With bothe hondes þou serue þo prest in fere,
Þe ton to stabulle þe toþer
Lest þou fayle, my dere broþer.
¶ Anoþer curtayse y wylle þe teche,
Thy fadur And modur, with mylde speche, [folio 15]
In worschip and serue with alle þy myȝt,
Þat þou dwelle þe lengur in erthely lyȝt.
¶ To anoþer man do no more amys
Then þou woldys be don of hym and hys;
So crist þou pleses, and getes þe loue
Of men and god þat syttis aboue.
¶ Be not to meke, but in mene þe holde,
For ellis a fole þou wylle be tolde.
He þat to ryȝtwysnes wylle enclyne,
As holy wryȝt says vs wele and fyne,
His sede schalle neuer go seche hor brede,
Ne suffur of mon no shames dede.
¶ To for-gyf þou shalle þe hast;
To veniaunce loke þou come on last;
Draw þe to pese with alle þy strengþe;
Fro stryf and bate draw þe on lengþe.
¶ Yf mon aske þe good for goddys sake,
And þe wont thynge wher-of to take, Page  305
Gyf hym boner wordys on fayre manere,
With glad semblaunt*. [[MS. semblamt]] and pure good cher.
¶ Also of seruice þou shalle be fre
To euery mon in hys degré.
Þou schalle neuer lose for to be kynde;
That on forȝetis anoþer hase in mynde.
¶ Yf Any man haue part with þe in gyft,
With hym þou make an euen skyft;
Let hit not henge in honde for glose,
Þou art vncurtayse yf þou hyt dose.
¶ To sayntis yf þou þy gate hase hyȝt,
Thou schalle fulfylle hit with alle þy myȝt,
Lest god þe stryk with grete veniaunce,
And pyt þe in-to sore penaunce.
¶ Leue not alle men that speke þe fayre,
Wheþer þat hit ben comyns, burges, or mayre;
In swete wordis þe nedder was closet,
Disseyuaunt euer and mysloset;
Þer-fore þou art of adams blode,
With wordis be ware, but þou be wode:
A schort worde is comynly sothe
Þat fyrst slydes fro monnes tothe.
¶ Loke lyȝer neuer þat þou be-come,
Kepe þys worde for alle and somme.
Lawȝe not to of[t] for no solace,
For no kyn myrthe þat any man mase;
Who lawes alle þat men may se,
A schrew or a fole hym semes to be.
¶ Thre enmys in þys worlde þer are,
Þat coueyten alle men to for-fare,—
The deuel, þe flesshe, þe worlde also,
That wyrkyn mankynde ful mykyl wo:
Yf þou may strye þes þre enmys,
Þou may be secur of heuen blys.
¶ Also, my chylde, a-gaynes þy lorde
Loke þou stryfe with no kyn worde, Page  306
Ne waiour non with hym þou lay,
Ne at þe dyces with hym to play.
¶ Hym that þou knawes of gretter state,
Be not hys felaw in rest ne bate. [folio 16]
Ȝif þou be stad in strange contré,
Enserche no fyr þen falles to the,
Ne take no more to do on honde,
Þen þou may hafe menske of alle in londe.
¶ Ȝif þou se any mon fal by strete,
Laweghe not þer-at in drye ne wete,
But helpe hym vp with alle þy myȝt,
As seynt Ambrose þe teches ryȝt;
Þou that stondys so sure on sete,
Ware lest þy hede falle to þy fete.
¶ My chylde, yf þou stonde at þo masse,
At vndur stondis bothe more and lasse,
Yf þo prest rede not at þy wylle,
Repreue hym noȝt, but holde þe stylle.
¶ To any wyȝt þy counselle yf þou schewe,
Be war þat he be not a schrewe,
Lest he disclaundyr þe with tong
Amonge alle men, bothe olde and ȝong.
¶ Bekenyng, fynguryng, non þou vse,
And pryué rownyng loke þou refuse.
Yf þou mete knyȝt, ȝomon, or knaue,
Haylys hym a-non, "syre, god ȝou saue."
Yf he speke fyrst opon þe þore,
Onsware hym gladly with-outen more.
¶ Go not forthe as a dombe freke,
Syn god hase laft the tonge to speke;
Lest men sey be sibbe or couthe,*. [to relation or friend.]
"Ȝond is a mon with-outen mouthe."
¶ Speke neuer vnhonestly of woman kynde,
Ne let hit neuer renne in þy mynde; Page  307
Þe boke hym calles a chorle of chere,
That vylany spekes be wemen sere:
For alle we ben of wymmen born,
And oure fadurs vs be-forne;
Þerfore hit is a vnhonest thyng
To speke of hem in any hethyng.*. [contempt, scorn. O.N. heðung, H. Coleridge.]
¶ Also a wyfe be, falle of ryȝt
To worschyp hyr husbonde bothe day and nyȝt,
To his byddyng be obediente,
And hym to serue with-outen offence.
¶ Yf two brether be at debate,
Loke noþer þou forþer in hor hate,
But helpe to staunche hom of malice;
Þen þou art frende to bothe I-wys.
¶ Ȝif þou go with a-noþer at þo gate,
And ȝe be bothe of on astate,
Be curtasye and let hym haue þe way,
That is no vylanye, as men me say;
And he be comen of gret kynraden,
Go no be-fore þawgh þou be beden;
And yf þat he þy maystur be,
Go not be-fore, for curtasé,
Noþer in fylde, wode, noþer launde,
Ne euen hym with, but he commaunde.
¶ Yf þou schalle on pilgrimage go,
Be not þe thryd felaw for wele ne wo;
Thre oxen in plowgh may neuer wel drawe,
Noþer be craft, ryȝt, ne lawe, [folio 17]
¶ Ȝif þou be profert to drynk of cup,
Drynke not al of, ne no way sup;
Drynk menskely and gyf agayne,
Þat is a curtasye, to speke in playne,
¶ In bedde yf þou falle herberet to be,
With felawe, maystur, or her degré, Page  308
Þou schalt enquere be curtasye
In what par[t] of þe bedde he wylle lye;
Be honest and lye þou fer hym fro,
Þou art not wyse but þou do so.
¶ With woso men, boþe fer and negh,
The falle to go, loke þou be slegh
To aske his nome, and qweche he be,
Whidur he wille: kepe welle þes thre.
¶ With freres on pilgrimage yf þat þou go,
Þat þei wille ȝyme,*. [AS. gȳman, attend, regard, observe, keep.] wilne þou also;
Als on nyȝt þou take þy rest,
And byde þe day as tru mannes gest.
¶ In no kyn house þat rede mon is,
Ne womon of þo same colour y-wys,
Take neuer þy Innes for no kyn nede,
For þose be folke þat ar to drede.
¶ Yf any thurgh sturnes þe oppose,
Onswere hym mekely and make hym glose:
But glosand wordys þat falsed is,
Forsake, and alle that is omys.
¶ Also yf þou haue a lorde,
And stondes by-fore hym at þe borde,
While þat þou speke, kepe welle þy honde,
Thy fete also in pece let stonde,
¶ His curtasé nede he most breke,—
Stirraunt fyngurs toos when he shalle speke.
Be stabulle of chere and sumwhat lyȝt,
Ne ouer alle wayue þou not thy syȝt;
¶ Gase not on walles with þy neghe*. [thine eye],
Fyr ne negh, logh ne heghe;
Let not þe post be-cum þy staf,
Lest þou be callet a dotet daf;
Ne delf þou neuer nose thyrle
With thombe ne fyngur, as ȝong gyrle; Page  309
¶ Rob not þy arme ne noȝt hit claw,
Ne bogh not doun þy hede to law;
Whil any man spekes with grete besenes,
Herken his wordis with-outen distresse.
¶ By strete or way yf þou schalle go,
Fro þes two þynges þou kepe þe fro,
Noþer to harme chylde ne best,
With castyng, turnyng west ne est;
Ne chaunge þou not in face coloure,
For lyghtnes of worde in halle ne boure;
Yf þy vysage chaunge for noȝt,
Men say þe 'trespas þou hase wroȝght.'
¶ By-fore þy lorde, ne mawes þou make
Ȝif þou wylle curtasie with þe take.
With hondes vnwasshen take neuer þy mete;
Fro alle þes vices loke þou þe kepe.
¶ Loke þou sytt—and make no stryf— [folio 18]
Where þo est*. [Read ost] commaundys, or ellis þo wyf.
Eschewe þe heȝest place with wyn,*. [AS. win, contention, labour, war; win, wyn, joy, pleasure.]
But þou be beden to sitt þer-in.
Of curtasie here endis þe secunde fyt,
To heuen crist mot oure saules flyt!


¶ De officiarijs in curijs dominorum.

Now speke we wylle of officiers
Of court, and als of hor mestiers.
Foure men þer ben þat ȝerdis schalle bere,
Porter, marshalle, stuarde, vsshere;
The porter schalle haue þe lengest wande,
The marshalle a schorter schalle haue in hande; Page  310
The vssher of chambur smallest schalle haue,
The stuarde in honde schalle haue a stafe,
A fyngur gret, two wharters long,
To reule þe men of court ymong.

¶ De Ianitore.*. [See the duties of Prince Edward's Porters, A.D. 1474, in Household Ordinances, p. *30, and of Henry VIII.'s Porters, ibid. p. 239.]

¶ The porter falle to kepe þo ȝate,
Þe stokkes with hym erly and late;
Ȝif any man hase in court mys-gayne,
To porter warde he schalle be tane,
Þer to a-byde þe lordes wylle,
What he wille deme by ryȝtwys skylle.
For wesselle clothes, þat noȝt be solde,
Þe po[r]ter hase þat warde in holde.
Of strangers also þat comen to court,
Þo porter schalle warne ser at a worde.
Lyueray he hase of mete and drynke,
And settis with hym who so hym thynke.
When so euer þo lorde remewe schalle
To castelle til oþer as hit may falle,
For cariage þe porter hors schalle hyre,
Foure pens a pece with-in þo schyre;
Be statut he schalle take þat on þe day,
Þat is þe kyngis crye in faye.

¶ De Marescallo aule.*. [Though Edward IV. had Marshals (Household Ordinances, p. 84, &c.), one of whom made the Surnape when the King was in the Hall , or Estate in the Surnape , yet there is no separate heading or allowance for them in the Liber Niger. Two yeomen Ushers are mentioned in p. 38, but the two yeomen Ewars, their two Grooms and Page, p. 84, perform (nearly) the duties given above to the Usher and his Grooms.]

¶ Now of marschalle of halle wylle I spelle,*. [MS. spekle.]
And what falle to hys offyce now wylle y telle; Page  311
In absence of stuarde he shalle arest
Who so euer is rebelle in court or fest;
Ȝomon-vsshere, and grome also,
Vndur hym ar þes two:
Þo grome for fuelle þat schalle brenne
In halle, chambur, to kechyn, as I þe kenne,
He shalle delyuer hit ilke a dele,
In halle make fyre at yche a mele;
Borde, trestuls, and formes also,
Þe cupborde in his warde schalle go,
Þe dosurs cortines to henge in halle,
Þes offices nede do he schalle;
Bryng in fyre on alhalawgh day,
To condulmas euen, I dar welle say.

¶ Per quantum tempus armigeri habebunt liberatam et ignis ardebit in aula.

So longe squiers lyuerés shalle hafe,*. [Edward IV.'s Esquiers for the Body, IIII, had 'for wynter lyverey from All Hallowentide (Nov. 1) tyll Estyr, one percher wax, one candell wax, ij candells Paris, one tallwood and dimid|ium, and wages in the countyng-house.' H. Ord. p. 36. So the Bannerettes, IIII, or Bacheler Knights , who are kervers and cupberers, take 'for wynter season, from Allhallowentyde till Estyr, one tortays, one percher, ii candelles wax, ii candelles Paris, ii talwood, ii faggotts,' and rushes, litter, all the year; which the Esquiers have too. The Percy household allowance of Wax was cciiij score vij lb. dimid. of Wax for th' expensys of my House for oone hole Yere. Viz. Sysez, Pryketts, Quarions, and Torches after ix d. the lb. by estimacion; p. 12.]
Of grome of halle, or ellis his knafe;
But fyre shalle brenne in halle at mete,
To Cena domini þat men hase ete;
Þer browȝt schalle be a holyn kene, [folio 19]
Þat sett schalle be in erber grene,
And þat schalle be to alhalawgh day,
And of be skyfted, as y þe say.
In halle marshalle alle men schalle sett
After here degré, with-outen lett.*. [The Liber Niger of Edw. IV. assigns this duty to one of the Gentylmen Usshers. H. Ord. p. 37.]
Page  312

¶ De pincernario, panetario, et cocis sibi seruientibus.

¶ The botelar, pantrer, and cokes also,
To hym ar seruauntis with-outen mo;
Þer-fore on his ȝerde skore shalle he*. [See the Office of Butler of Englond, H. Ord. p. 73.]
Alle messys in halle þat seruet be,
Commaunde to sett bothe brede and ale
To alle men þat seruet ben in sale;
¶ To gentilmen with wyne I-bake,
Ellis fayles þo seruice, y vnder-take;
Iche messe at vjd breue shalle he
At the countyng house with oþer mené;
Yf þo koke wolde say þat were more,
Þat is þo cause þat he hase hit in skore.
Þe panter*. [See the Office of Panetry, H. Ord. p. 70.] also yf he wolde stryfe,
For rewarde þat sett schalle be be-lyue.
When brede faylys at borde aboute,
The marshalle gares sett with-outen doute
More brede, þat calde is a rewarde,
So shalle hit be preuet be-fore stuarde.

¶ De officio pincernarij.*. [See the Office of Butler of Englond, H. Ord. p. 73.]

¶ Botler shalle sett for yche a messe
A pot, a lofe, with-outen distresse;
Botler, pantrer, felawes ar ay,
Reken hom to-gedur fulle wel y may.
The marshalle shalle herber alle men in fere,
That ben of court of any mestere;
Saue þe lordys chambur, þo wadrop to,
Þo vssher of chambur schalle tent þo two.

¶ De hostiario et suis seruientibus.*. [See Gentylmen Usshers of Chaumbre, IIII, H. Ord. p. 37. 'This name ussher is a worde of Frenshe,' p. 38.]

¶ Speke I wylle A lytulle qwyle
Of vssher of chambur, with-outen gyle. Page  313
Þer is gentylmen, ȝomon-vssher also,
Two gromes at þo lest, A page þer-to,

¶ De Officio garcionum.*. [Compare H. Ord. p. 39. 'Yeomen of Chambre, IIII, to make beddes, to bere or hold torches, to sette bourdes, to apparayle all chaumbres, and suche other servyce as the chaumberlayn, or usshers of chambre command or assigne.' Liber Niger Edw. IV. See also H. Ord. p. 40, Office of Warderobe of Beddes, p. 41, Gromes of Chambyr, X; and the elaborate directions for making Henry VII.'s bed, H. Ord. p. 121-2.]

¶ Gromes palettis shyn fyle and make litere,*. [Hoc stramentum, lyttere, p. 260, col. 2 (the straw with which the bed was formerly made), Wright's Vocabularies.]
ix fote on lengthe with-out diswere;
vij fote y-wys hit shalle be brode,
Wele watered, I-wrythen, be craft y-trode,
Wyspes drawen out at fete and syde,
Wele wrethyn and turnyd a-ȝayne þat tyde;
On legh vnsonken hit shalle be made,
To þo gurdylstode hegh on lengthe and brade.
For lordys two beddys schalle be made,
Bothe vtter and inner, so god me glade,
Þat henget shalle be with hole sylour,*. [Sylure, of valle, or a nother thynge (sylure of a walle), Cela|tura, Celamen, Catholicon, in P. Parv. Fr. Ciel, Heauen, pl. Ciels, a canopie for, and, the Testerne and Valances of a Bed. Cotgrave. A tester over the beadde, canopus. Withals.]
With crochettis*. [Crochet, a small hooke.] and loupys sett on lyour;*. [Lyowre, to bynde wythe precyows clothys. Ligatorium. P. Parv.]
¶ Þo valance on fylour*. [Fylowre, of barbours crafte, Acutecula, filarium. P. Parv. See note 3, p. 160.] shalle henge with wyn,
iij curteyns streȝt drawen with-inne,
Þat reche schalle euen to grounde a-boute,
Noþer more, noþer lesse, with-outen doute;
He strykes hom vp with forket wande,
And lappes vp fast a-boute þe lyft hande; Page  314
Þo knop vp turnes, and closes on ryȝt,
¶ As bolde by nek þat henges fulle lyȝt. [folio 20]
Þo counturpynt he lays on beddys fete,
Qwysshenes on sydes shyn lye fulle mete.
Tapetis*. [Tapet, a clothe, tappis. Palsgrave, 1530. Tapis, Tapistrie, hangings, &c., of Arras. Cotgrave, 1611. Tapis, carpet, a green square-plot. Miegc, 1684. The hangynges of a house or chambre, in plurali, aulæa . . Circundo cubiculum aulæis, to hange the chambre. The carpettes, tapetes. Withals.] of spayne on flore by syde,
Þat sprad shyn be for pompe and pryde;
Þo chambur sydes ryȝt to þo dore,
He henges with tapetis þat ben fulle store;
And fuel to chymné hym falle to gete,
And screnes in clof to y-saue þo hete.
Fro þo lorde at mete when he is sett,
Borde, trestuls, and fourmes, with-outen let;
¶ Alle thes þynges kepe schalle he,
And water in chafer for laydyes fre;
iij perchers of wax þen shalle he fet,
A-boue þo chymné þat be sett,
In syce*. [And he (a Grome of Chambyr) setteth nyghtly, after the seasons of the yere, torchys, tortays, candylles of wax, mortars; and he setteth up the sises in the King's chambre, H. Ord. p. 41, 'these torches, five, seven, or nine; and as many sises sett upp as there bee torches,' ib. p. 114; and dayly iiii other of these gromes, called wayters, to make fyres, to sett up tressyls and bourdes, with yomen of chambre, and to help dresse the beddes of sylke and arras. H. Ord. p. 41.] ichon from oþer shalle be
Þe lenghthe of oþer þat men may se,
To brenne, to voide, þat dronkyn is,
Oþer ellis I wote he dose Amys.
Þo vssher alle-way shalle sitt at dore
At mete, and walke schalle on þe flore,
To se þat alle be seruet on ryȝt,
Þat is his office be day and nyȝt;
And byd set borde when tyme schalle be,
And take hom vp when tyme ses he. Page  315
¶ The wardrop*. [Wardroppe, or closet—garderobe. Palsgrave.] he herbers and eke of chambur
Ladyes with bedys of coralle and lambur,
Þo vsshere schalle bydde þo wardropere
Make redy for alle nyȝt be-fore þe fere;
Þen bryngis he forthe nyȝt goun also,
And spredys a tapet and qwysshens two,
He layes hom þen opon a fourme,
And foteshete þer-on and hit returne.
¶ Þo lorde schalle skyft hys gown at nyȝt,
Syttand on foteshete tyl he be dyȝt.
Þen vssher gose to þo botré,
"Haue in for alle nyȝt, syr," says he;
Fyrst to þe chaundeler he schalle go,
To take a tortes lyȝt hym fro;
¶ Bothe wyne and ale he tase indede,
Þo botler says, with-outen drede,
No mete for mon schalle sayed*. [See the duties of Edward IV.'s Sewar, H. Ord. p. 36.] be,
Bot for kynge or prynce or duke so fre;
For heiers of paraunce also y-wys,
Mete shalle be sayed, now thenkys on this.
Þen to pantré he hyȝes be-lyue,
¶ "Syrs, haue in with-outen stryffe;"
Manchet and chet*. [Manchet was the fine bread; chet, the course. Fr. pain rouffet, Cheat, or boulted bread; houshold bread made of Wheat and Rie mingled. Cotgrave.] bred he shalle take,
Þo pantere assayes þat hit be bake;
A morter of wax ȝet wille he bryng,
Fro chambur, syr, with-out lesyng;
Þat alle nyȝt brennes in bassyn clere,
To saue þo chambur on nyȝt for fyre.
¶ Þen ȝomon of chambur shynne voyde with ryme,
The torches han holden wele þat tyme;
Tho chambur dore stekes þo vssher thenne,
With preket and tortes þat conne brenne; Page  316
Fro cupborde he brynges bothe brede and wyne,
And fyrst assayes hit wele a[nd] fyne.
But fyrst þe lorde shalle vasshe I-wys, [folio 21]
Fro þo fyr hous when he comen is;
Þen kneles þe vssher and gyfes hym drynke,
Brynges hym in bed where he shalle wynke;
In strong styd on palet he lay,
At home tase lefe and gose his way;
Ȝomon vssher be-fore þe dore,
In vttur chambur lies on þe flore.

¶ De seneschallo.*. [See the 'Styward of Housholde,' H. Ord. p. 55-6: 'He is head officer.']

¶ Now speke I wylle of þo stuarde als,
Few ar trew, but fele ar*. [MS. and] fals.
Þo clerke of kechyn, countrollour,
Stuarde, coke, and surueyour,
Assenten in counselle, with-outen skorne,
How þo lorde schalle fare at mete þo morne.
Yf any deyntethe in countré be,
Þo stuarde schewes hit to þo lorde so fre,
And gares by hyt for any cost,
Hit were grete syn and hit were lost.
Byfore þe cours þo stuarde comes þen,
Þe seruer hit next of alle kyn men
Mays way and stondes by syde,
Tyl alle be serued at þat tyde.
At countyng stuarde schalle ben,
Tylle alle be breuet of wax so grene,
Wrytten in-to bokes, with-out let,
Þat be-fore in tabuls hase ben sett,
Tyl countes also þer-on ben cast,
And somet vp holy at þo last.
Page  317

¶ De contrarotulatore.*. [See the "Countroller of this houshold royall,' H. Ord. p. 58-9.]

¶ The Countrollour shalle wryte to hym,
Taunt resceu, no more I myn;
And taunt dispendu þat same day,
Vncountabulle he is, as y ȝou say.

¶ De superuisore.*. [See the duties and allowances of A Surveyour for the Kyng, in Household Ordinances, p. 37.]

¶ Surueour and stuarde also,
Thes thre folke and no mo,
For noȝt resayuen bot euer sene
Þat noþyng fayle and alle be whene;
Þat þo clerke of kechyn schulde not mys,
Þer-fore þo countrollour, as hafe I blys,
Wrytes vp þo somme as euery day,
And helpes to count, as I ȝou say.

¶ De Clerico coquine.*. [See the 'chyef clerke of kychyn,' t. Edw. IV., H. Ord. p. 70; and Henry VIII.'s Clerke of the Kitchen, A.D. 1539, ib. p. 235.]

¶ The clerke of þe cochyn shalle alle þyng breue,
Of men of court, bothe lothe and leue,
Of achatis and dispenses þen wrytes he,
And wages for gromes and ȝemen fre;
At dressour also he shalle stonde,
And fett forthe mete dresset with honde;
Þe spicery and store with hym shalle dwelle,
And mony thynges als, as I noȝt telle,
For clethyng of officers alle in fere,
Saue þe lorde hym self and ladys dere.

¶ De cancellario.*. [The duties of the Chauncellor of Englond are not stated in Edw. IV.'s Liber Niger, H. Ord. p. 29; but one of the two Clerkys of Grene-Clothe was accustomed to 'delyver the clothinge of hous|holde,' p. 61.]

¶ The chaunceler answeres for hor clothyng,
For ȝomen, faukeners, and hor horsyng, Page  318
For his wardrop and wages also;
And asseles patentis mony and mo; [folio 22]
Yf þo lorde gyf oȝt to terme of lyf,
The chaunceler hit seles with-outen stryf;
Tan come nos plerra men seyne, þer is quando nobis placet,
Þat is, whille vs lykes hym noȝt omys;
Ouer-se hys londes þat alle be ryȝt:
On of þo grete he is of myȝt.

¶ De thesaurizario.*. [See the 'Thesaurere of Housholde' in Edw. IV.'s Liber Niger, H. Ord. p. 56-8: 'the grete charge of polycy and husbandry of all this houshold growyth and stondyth moste part by hys sad and dylygent pourveyaunce and conduytes.']

¶ Now speke y wylle of tresurere,
Husbonde and houswyf he is in fere;
Of þe resayuer he shalle resayue,
Alle þat is gedurt of baylé and grayue,*. [AS. gerefa, reeve, steward, bailiff.]
Of þe lordes courtes and forfetis als,
Wheþer þay ben ryȝt or þay ben fals.
To þo clerke of cochen he payes moné
For vetayle to bye opon þo countré:
The clerke to kater and pulter is,
To baker and butler bothe y-wys
Gyffys seluer to bye in alle thyng
Þat longes to here office, with-outen lesyng.
Þe tresurer schalle gyfe alkyn wage,
To squyer, ȝomon, grome, or page.
Þo resayuer and þo tresurer,
Þo clerke of cochyn and chaunceler,
Grayuis, and baylys, and parker,
Schone come to acountes euery ȝere
By-fore þo auditour of þo lorde onone,
Þat schulde be trew as any stone;
Yf he dose hom no ryȝt lele,
To A baron of chekker þay mun hit pele.
Page  319

¶ De receptore firmarum.

¶ Of þe resayuer speke wylle I,
Þat fermys*. [Rents, in kind or money; AS. feorme, food, goods.] resayuys wytturly
Of grayuys, and hom aquetons makes,
Sex pons þer-fore to feys he takes,
And pays feys to parkers als I-wys,
Þer-of at acountes he loued*. [Or loned.] is,
And ouer-seys castels, maners a-boute,
Þat noȝt falle with-in ne with-oute.
Now let we þes officers be,
And telle we wylle of smaller mené.

¶ De Auenario.*. [The Avener of Edw. IV. is mentioned in H. Ord. p. 69. See the Charge of Henry VIII.'s Stable, A.D. 1526, ib. p. 206-7.]

¶ Þe Aueyner schalle ordeyn prouande*. [Prouender or menglid corne—fovrraige..provende. Palsgrave.] good won,
For þo lordys horsis euerychon;
Þay schyn haue two cast*. [See 'two cast of brede,' l. 631. 'One caste of brede' for the Steward's yeoman, H. Ord. p. 56, &c.] of hay,
A pek of prouande on a day;
Euery horse schalle so muche haue,
At racke and manger þat standes with staue.
A maystur of horsys a squyer*. [Mayster of the horses—escvier de escvirie. Palsg.] þer is,
Aueyner and ferour vndur hym I-wys;
Þose ȝomen þat olde sadels schyn haue,
Þat schyn be last for knyȝt and knaue,
For yche a hors þat ferroure*. [See Rogers's Agriculture and Prices in England, v. 1, p. 280-1. The latest prices he gives for shoeing are in 1400; "Alton Barnes, Shoeing 5 horses, a year, 6s. 8d. Takley, Shoeing 2 cart horses [a year] 1s. 8d." A.D. 1466, 'fore shoyinge ij.d.' Manners and Household Expenses (ed. Dawson Turner), 1841, p. 380. (Sir Jn. Howard, Knt., 1462-9.) The Percy allowance in 1512 was "ij s. viiij d. every Hors Shoynge for the hole Yere by estimacion, Viz. a Hors to be shodd oons in iij moneths withowt they jornay." p. 24. A horse's daily allowance was 'a Peck of Oats, or 4d. in Breade after iiij Loiffes, 4d. for Provaunder, from 29th Septr. 8 Hen. VIII. to 3rd May following,' p. 266.] schalle scho,
An halpeny on day he takes hym to; Page  320
Vndur ben gromes and pages mony one,
Þat ben at wage euerychone;
Som at two pons on a day,
And som at iij ob., I ȝou say; [folio 23]
Mony of hem fote-men þer ben,
Þat rennen by þe brydels of ladys shene.

¶ De pistore.*. [See Edw. IV.'s Office of Bakehouse, H. Ord. p. 68-70. 'The sergeaunt of thys office to make continually of every busshell, halfe chiete halfe rounde, besydes the flowre for the Kinges mouthe, xxvii loves, every one weying, after one daye olde, xxiii ounces of troye weyghtes.' p. 69.]

¶ Of þo baker now speke y wylle,
And wat longes his office vntylle;
Of a lunden buschelle he shalle bake
xx louys, I vndur-take;
Manchet and chet to make brom*. [Read broun, brown.] bred hard,
For chaundeler and grehoundes and huntes reward.

¶ De venatore et suis canibus.

¶ A halpeny þo hunte takes on þe day
For euery hounde, þo sothe to say:
Þo vewter, two cast of brede he tase,
Two lesshe of grehoundes yf þat he hase;
To yche a bone, þat is to telle,
If I to ȝou þe sothe shalle spelle;
By-syde hys vantage þat may be-falle,
Of skynnes and oþer thynges with-alle,
Þat hunteres con telle better þan I,
Þer-fore I leue hit wytt[ur]ly.
Page  321

¶ De aquario.*. [In Edward the Fourth's Court, 'Knyghts of Household, XII, bachelers sufficiant, and most valient men of that ordre of every countrey' had 'to serve the King of his bason.' H. Ord. p. 33.]

¶ And speke I wylle of oþer mystere
Þat falles to court, as ȝe mun here;
An euwere in halle þere nedys to be,
And chandelew schalle haue and alle napere;
He schalle gef water to gentilmen,
And als in alle ȝomen.

¶ Qui debent manus lauare et in quorum domibus.

¶ In kynges court and dukes also,
Þer ȝomen schynne wasshe and no mo;—
In duke Ionys house a ȝoman þer was,
For his rewarde prayde suche a grace;
Þe duke gete graunt þer-of in londe,
Of þe kyng his fader, I vndudurstonde.—(so)
Wosoeuer gefes water in lordys chaunber,
In presens of lorde or leuedé dere,
He schalle knele downe opon his kne,
Ellys he forȝetes his curtasé;
Þis euwer schalle hele his lordes borde,
With dowbulle napere at on bare worde:
The seluage to þo lordes syde with-inne,
And doun schalle heng þat oþer may wynne;
Þo ouer nape schalle dowbulle be layde,
To þo vttur syde þe seluage brade;
Þo ouer seluage he schalle replye,*. [Replier, To redouble, to bow, fould, or plait into many doublings. Cotgrave.]
As towelle hit were fayrest in hye;
Browers*. [Napkins? O. Fr. brueroi is bruyère, heath.] he schalle cast þer-opon,
Þat þe lorde schulle clense his fyngers [on],
Þe leuedy and whoseuer syttes with-inne,
Alle browers schynne haue bothe more and myn.
Page  322

¶ De panetario.

¶ Þenne comes þe pantere with loues thre,
Þat square are coruyn of trenchour fre,
To sett with-inne and oon with-oute,
And saller y-coueryd and sett in route;
With þo ouemast lofe hit shalle be sett, [folio 24]
With-oute forthe square, with-outen lett;
Two keruyng knyfes with-oute one,
Þe thrydde to þo lorde, and als a spone.

¶ De Cultellis domini.

¶ Of þo two þo haftes schynne outwarde be,
Of þe thrydd þe hafte inwarde lays he,
Þe spony stele þer by schalle be layde;
Moo loues of trenchirres at a brayde
He settes, and seruys euyr in fere
To duches his wyne þat is so dere.
Two loues of trenchors and salt þo,
He settes be-fore his son also;
A lofe of trenchours and salt on last,
At bordes ende he settes in hast.
Þen brede he brynges, in towelle wrythyn,
Thre lofys of þo wyte schalle be geuyn;
A chet lofe to þo elmys dyshe,
Weþer he seruyd be with flesshe or fysche;
At aþer ende he castes a cope,
Layde down on borde, þe endys plyed vp.
That he assayes knelande on kne,
Þo keruer hym parys a schyuer so fre;
And touches þo louys yn quere a-boute,
Þo pantere hit etys with-oute dowte;
Þo euwere thurgh towelle syles*. [? Du. zijgen (door een zifte ofte Stramijn), to runne (through a Sift or a Strainer.). een Suyle a Pale or a Water-pale. Hexham.] clene,
His water into þo bassynges shene;
Þo ouer bassyn þer-on schalle close,
A towelle þer-on, as I suppose, Page  323
Þat folden schalle be with fulle grete lore,
Two quarters on lenkethe and sumdele more;
A qwyte cuppe of tre þer-by shalle be,
Þer-with þo water assay schalle he;
Quelmes*. [covers. 'Ovyr quelmyd or ouer hyllyde. Obvolutus.' P. Parv.] hit agayn by-fore alle men;
Þo keruer þe bassynges tase vp þenne;
Annaunciande squier, or ellis a knyȝt,
Þo towelle down tase by fulle good ryȝt;
Þo cuppe he tase in honde also,
Þo keruer powres wat[er] þe cuppe into;
The knyȝt to þo keruer haldes anon,
He says hit ar he more schalle don;
Þo cuppe þen voyde is in þo flette,*. [A. S. flett, room, hall.]
Þe euwer hit takes with-outen lette.
The towelle two knyȝhtis schyn halde in fere,
Be-fore þe lordes sleues, þat ben so dere;
The ouer bassyn þay halde neuer þe queder,
Quylle þo keruer powre water in-to þe nedur.
For a pype þer is insyde so clene,
Þat water deuoydes, of seluer schene;
Þen settes he þe nethyr, I vnd[u]rstonde,
In þe ouer, and voydes with bothe is honde;
And brynges to þe euwer þer he come fro;
To þo lordys bordes aȝayn con go;
And layes iiij trenchours þo lorde be-fore,
Þe fyft aboue by good lore;
By hym self thre schalle he dresse,
To cut opon þe lordes messe; [folio 25]
Smale towelle a-boute his necke shalle bene,
To clens his knyfys þat ben so kene.

¶ De Elemosinario.*. [See The Almonry of Henry VIII. A.D. 1526, H. Ord. p. 154, and p. 144; A.D. 1539, H. Ord. p. 239.]

¶ The aumenere by þis hathe sayde grace,
And þo almes dysshe hase sett in place; Page  324
Þer-in þe keruer a lofe schalle sette,
To serue god fyrst with-outen lette;
Þese oþer lofes he parys a-boute,
Lays hit myd dysshe with-outen doute.
Þe smalle lofe he cuttis euen in twynne,
Þo ouer dole in two lays to hym.
The aumenere a rod schalle haue in honde,
As office for almes, y vndurstonde.
Alle þe broken met he kepys y wate,
To dele to pore men at þe ȝate,
And drynke þat leues serued in halle;
Of ryche and pore bothe grete and smalle.
He is sworne to ouer-se þe seruis wele,
And dele hit to þe pore euery dele;
Seluer he deles rydand by way;
And his almys dysshe, as I ȝou say,
To þe porest man þat he can fynde,
Oþer ellys I wot he is vnkynde.

¶ De ferculario.

¶ This wyle þo squyer to kechyn shalle go,
And brynges a bof for assay þo;
Þo Coke assayes þe mete vngryȝt,
Þo sewer he takes and kouers on ryȝt;
Wo so euer he takes þat mete to bere,
Schalle not so hardy þo couertoure rere,
For colde ne hote, I warne ȝou alle,
For suspecyon of tresoun as may befalle.
Yf þo syluer dysshe wylle algate brenne,
A sotelté I wylle þe kenne,
Take þe bredde coruyn and lay by-twene,
And kepe þe welle hit be not sene;
¶ I teche hit for no curtayse,
But for þyn ese.
When þe sewer comys vnto þe borde,
Alle þe mete he sayes at on bare worde, Page  325
Þe potage fyrst with brede y-coruyn,
Couerys hom agayn lest þey ben storuyn;
With fysshe or flessh yf [they] be serued,
A morselle þer-of shalle he be keruyd;
And touche þe messe ouer alle aboute,
Þo sewer hit etis with-outen doute.
With baken mete yf he seruyd be þo,
Þo lydes vp-rered or he fyr go,
Þe past or pye he sayes with-inne,
Dippes bredde in graué no more ne mynne;
Ȝif þe baken mete be colde, as may byfalle,
A gobet of þo self he sayes with-alle.
But þou þat berys mete in hande,
Yf þo sewer stonde, loke þou stande;
Yf he knele, knele þou so longe for oȝt,
¶ Tylle mete be sayde þat þou hase broght. [folio 26]
As oft at hegh borde yf brede be nede,
The butler two louys takys indede;
Þat on settes down, þat oþer agayn
He barys to cupborde in towelle playn.
As oft as þe keruer fettys drynke,
Þe butler assayes hit how good hym thynke;
In þe lordys cupp þat leuys vndrynken,
Into þe almesdisshe hit schalle be sonken.
The keruer anon with-outen thouȝt,
Vnkouers þe cup þat he hase brouȝt;
Into þe couertoure wyn he powres owt,
Or in-to a spare pece, with-outen doute;
Assayes, an gefes þo lorde to drynke,
Or settes hit doun as hym goode thynke.
Þo keruer*. [Edward IV. had 'Bannerettes, IIII, or Bacheler Knights, to be kervers and cupberers in his Courte.' 'The kerver at the boarde, after the King is passed it, may chese for hymself one dyshe or two, that plentie is among. . . Theis kervers and cupberers. . them nedeth to be well spede in teking of degree in the schole of urbanytie.' H. Ord. p. 32-3.] schalle kerue þo lordes mete, Page  326
Of what kyn pece þat he wylle ete;
And on hys trenchour he hit layes,
On þys maner with-out displayes;
In almesdysshe he layes yche dele,
Þat he is with serued at þo mele;
But he sende hit to ony strongere,
A pese þat is hym leue and dere,
And send hys potage also,
Þat schalle not to þe almes go.
Of keruer more, yf I shulde telle,
Anoþer fytt þenne most I spelle,
Ther-fore I let hit here ouer passe,
To make oure talkyng summedelasse.
When þe lorde hase eten, þo sewer schalle bryng
Þo surnape on his schulder bryng,
A narew towelle, a brode be-syde,
And of hys hondes he lettes hit slyde;
Þe vssher ledes þat on hed ryȝt,
Þo aumener þo oþer away shalle dyȝt.
When þe vssher comys to þe borde ende,
Þo narow towelle he strecches vnkende;
Be-fore þo lorde and þe lady so dere,
Dowbelle he playes þo towelle þere;
Whenne þay haue wasshen and grace is sayde,
Away he takes at a brayde;
Awoydes þo borde in-to þo flore,
Tase away þo trestis þat ben so store.

¶ De candelario.*. [See the 'Office of Chaundlerye,' H. Ord. p. 82-3. Paris candles, torches, morters, tortayes, sizes, and smalle lightes, are mentioned there.]

¶ Now speke I wylle a lytulle whyle
Of þo chandeler, with-outen gyle, Page  327
Þat torches*. [Torche. Cereus. P. Parv.] and tortes*. [? same as tortayes, p. 314, note2; p. 326, n.] and preketes*. [Pryket, of a candylstykke, or other lyke. Stiga, P. Parv. Candlesticks (says Mr Way) in ancient times were not fashioned with nozzles, but with long spikes or prykets... (See wood cut at the end of this book.) In the Memoriale of Henry, prior of Canterbury, A.D. 1285, the term prikett denotes, not the candlestick, but the candle, formed with a corresponding cavity at one end, whereby it was securely fixed upon the spike. p. 413, n. 1. Henry VIII.'s allowance 'unto our right dere and welbilovede the Lady Lucy,' July 16, 1533, included 'at our Chaundrye barr, in Wynter, every night oon preket and foure syses of Waxe, with eight Candells white lights, and oon Torche.' Orig. Letters, ed. Ellis, Series I., vol. ii. p. 31.] con make,
Perchours,*. [See note, p. 311.] smale condel, I vnder-take;
Of wax þese candels alle þat brennen,
And morter of wax þat I wele kenne;
Þo snof of hom dose a-way
With close sesours, as I ȝow say;
Þe sesours ben schort and rownde y-close,
With plate of irne vp-on bose.
In chambur no lyȝt þer shalle be brent,
Bot of wax þer-to, yf ȝe take tent;
In halle at soper schalle caldels (so) brenne [folio 27]
Of parys, þer-in þat alle men kenne;
Iche messe a candelle fro alhalawghe day
To candelmesse, as I ȝou say;
Of candel liueray squiyers schalle haue,
So long, if hit is mon wille kraue.
Of brede and ale also þo boteler
Schalle make lyueré thurgh-out þe ȝere
To squyers, and also wyn to knyȝt,
Or ellys he dose not his office ryȝt.
Here endys the thryd speche.
Of alle oure synnes cryst be oure leche,
And bryng vs to his vonyng place!
Amen, sayes ȝe, for hys grete grace!
¶ Amen, par charite.