A Common-place book of the fifteenth century, containing a religious play and poetry, legal forms and local accounts. Printed from the original ms. at Brome Hall, Suffolk, by Lady Caroline Kerrison. Edited with notes by Lucy Toulmin Smith.
Kerrison, Caroline, Lady., Smith, Lucy Toulmin, ed. 1838-1911.

SOME OLD PUZZLES AND SAYINGS.*. [Fos. 1, 1 vo. (see fac-simile.)]

The puzzle of the riddles consists in the words being spelt in a sort of cypher; every vowel is indicated by the letter which follows it in the alphabet; thus, what should be a is written b

o is written p

e is written f

i is written k

w is written x

The rubricator appears to have made a mistake in writing F instead of B (for A) as the initial of the two first lines.

Professor Skeat, who kindly helped me to decipher these queer|looking puzzles, has met with several of the same kind among Anglo|Saxon MSS. In the Sloane MS. 351, fo. 15 vo. (fifteenth cent.) are some curious directions for writing in this style, but more complicated; they are printed in Wright and Halliwell's Reliquæ Antiquæ, vol. ii. p. 15. Other instances, are, doubtless, to be found scattered here and there in old family books like the present. They are also well known in French MSS. It will be observed that the final result of all the five puzzles is highly uncomplimentary to women. I give a solution in the right-hand column.

[Sayings.] [folio 1a]

The hart lovyt þe wood, the hare lovyt þe hyll,
The knyth lovyt hys sword, the carll lovyt hys byll;
The fowlle lovyt hys folly, the wysseman lovyt hys skyll,
The properte of a schrod qwen ys to have hyr wyll.
Page  12

[Different positions.*. [These sentences, as well as the Daily Rules (but not the previous four lines) are found also in the Boke of St. Alban's, among the household sayings and aphorisms with which Caxton filled up the blank pages at the end of Dame Juliana Berners' Boke of Hunting. (See Mr. Blades' preface, p. 21, to reprint of 1881, and signatures f 5, f 7 b.) But Caxton has, instead of the second and third lines above, "a bucke lodgith, an esquyer lodgith;" lines 6 and 7 run, "an haare in her forme shulderyng or leenyng," which gives better sense; "a wodecoke beekyng" is a ninth line wanting here.]] [folio 1b]

F hert hfrbprpwkth. [A] hart harborowith.
F knyth hfrbprpwkth. [A] knyth harborowith.
B dowke lpggkth. A dowke loggith.
B Roo Bftdkth. A Roo betdith.
B ȝ[e]man Bftdkth. A ȝeman betdith.
B hbrf in b forme syttyng. A hare in a forme syttyng.
schuldryng of lenyng. [shouldering or leaning.]
B cony syttyng. A cony syttyng.

[Five puzzles.]

Take iij claterars.
B pkf. A pie.
B kbk. A iai (jay).
B xpmbn. A woman.
Take iij lowrars.*. [Lowrar, one of frowning or lowering countenance.]
B bpf. A ape.
B pwlf. A owle.
B xpmbn. A woman.
Take iij schrewys.*. [A shrew, one of sharp or biting disposition.]
B xbspf. A waspe.
B xfskll. A wesill.
B xpmbn. A woman.
Page  13Take iij angry.
B ffrkfr. A frier.
B ffpx. A fox.
B xpmbn. A woman.
Ther be iiij thyngs take gret betyng.
B stpkfksch. A stockfisch.*. [Stockfish, a kind of fish dried for keeping, especially in the north. It was so hard that it required much beating, and soaking in water, to render it eatable. (See The Babees Book, &c., ed. Furnivall, Early English Text Society, pp. 155, 214, and Index.) The stock-fishmonger was a regular trade in London. (See Riley's Liber Albus, translation, pp. 325, 328.)]
B mklstpn. A milston.
B fffdkrbfd. A fedirbed.
B xopmbn. A wooman.

[Daily Rules.]*. [These rules differ a little from Caxton's version. They are given here to complete the explanation of the fac-simile.]

Fyrst a-rysse erly,
Serve thy god devly,
And the war[l]d besylly;
Do thy warke wyssely,
ȝyfe thy almesse sekyrly,*. [Sekyrly, surely.]
Goe be the way sadly,
And awnswer the pepll cvrtesly
Goo to thy met happely,
Syt ther at dyscre[t]ly.
Of thy tong be not to lybraly,
A-rysse fro thy met tempraly.
Goo to thy sopper sadly,
A-rysse fro sopper soburly.
Goo to thy bed myrely,
And lye ther in jocunly, Page  14
And plesse and loffe thy wyffe dewly,
And basse*. [Basse, kiss.] hy onys or tewyis myrely.
A! lord god, mercy, qui verba cuncta creasti.
Helpe! kyng of cowmefort, qui vitam semper amasti.