A dialogue conteinyng the nomber in effect of all the prouerbes in the englishe tongue compacte in a matter concernyng two maner of mariages, made and set foorth by Iohn̄ Heywood.
Heywood, John, 1497?-1580?
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❧A dialogue conteinyng the nomber in effect of all the prouerbes in the englishe tongue, compacte in a matter concer∣nyng two ma∣ner of ma∣riages, made and set foorth by Iohn̄ Hey∣wood.

Londini. AN. M.D.XLVI.

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The preface.

AMong other thyngs profityng in our tong
Those whiche much may profit both old & yong
Suche as on their fruite will feede or take holde
Are our cōmon playne pithy prouerbes olde.
Some sence of some of whiche beyng bare and rude
Yet to fyne and fruitefull effect they allude.
And theyr sentences include so large a reache
That almost in all thinges good lessons they teache.
This write I not to teache, but to touche. for why,
Men knowe this as well or better than I.
But this and this rest, I write for this.
Remembryng and consyderyng what the pith is
That by remembrance of these prouerbes may grow
In this tale, erst talked with a frende, I showe
As many of theim as we coulde fytly fynde,
Fallyng to purpose, that might fall in mynde.
To thentent the reader redyly may
Fynde theim and mynde theim, when he will alway.
Page  [unnumbered]

The fyrste parte.

¶The fyrst chapiter.

OF myne acquayntaunce a certayne yong man
(Beyng a resorter to me nowe and than)
Resorted lately, showyng hym selfe to be
Desyrous, to talke at length alone with me.
And as we for this a mete place had woon,
With this olde prouerbe, this yong man begoon.
who so that knewe, what wolde be dere,
Shulde nede be marchaunt but one yere.
Though it (quoth he) thyng impossible be
The full sequele of present thynges to fore se:
Yet doth this prouerbe prouoke euery man
Politikely (as man possibly can)
In thyngs to come after, to cast iye before
To cast out or kepe in, thyngs for fore store.
As the prouision maie seme most profitable,
And the commoditee moste commendable.
Into this consideracion I am wrought
By two thyngs, which fortune to hāds hath brought.
Two women I know, of which twayne the tone
Is a mayde of flowryng age, a goodly one.
Thother a wydowe, who so many yeres beares,
That all her whitenesse lythe in her white heares.
This mayde hath frēds riche, but riches hath she non
Nor none can hir hands get to lyue vpon.
This wydow is very riche, and hir frends bare.
And both these, for loue to wed with me fonde are.
And both wolde I wed, the better and the wurs.
The tone for her person, the tother for her purs.
Page  [unnumbered]They woo not my substance, but my selfe they wooe.
Goodes haue I none, and small good can I dooe.
On this poore mayd hir riche frends I clerely know
(So she wed where thei will) great gifts will bestow.
But with theim all I am so farre from fauer,
That she shall sure haue no grote, if I haue her.
And I shall haue as littell, all my frends swere,
Except I folowe theim, to wedde els where.
The poore frends of this riche widow bere no sway,
But wed hir and wyn welth, whan I will I may.
Now whiche of these twayne is like to be derest
In peyne or pleasure to stycke to me nerest,
The depth of all doubts with you to consyder,
The sence of the saied prouerbe sendth me hither.
The best bargain of both quickely to haue skande:
For one of them thynke I to make out of hande.

¶The seconde chapiter.

FRende (quoth I) welcome, & with right good will,
I will as I can your will herein fulfyll.
And two thyngs I see in you, that shewe you wise.
Fyrst in weddyng or ye wed, to aske aduise.
The seconde, your yeres beyng yong it apperes,
Ye regarde yet good prouerbs of olde ferne yeres.
And as ye grounde your tale vpon one of theim
Furnishe we this tale with euerychone of theim.
Suche as may fitly fall in mynde to dispose,
Agreed (quoth he.) Then (quoth I) first this disclose.
Haue you to this olde wydowe, or this yong mayde,
Any wordes of assurance or this tyme sayde?
Page  [unnumbered]Nay in good faithe sayd he. Well than (sayd I)
I will be playne with you, and may honestly.
And plainly to speake, I lyke you (as I sayde)
In two fore tolde things, but a thyrd haue I wayde,
Not so muche to be lyked, as I can deme,
Whiche is in your weddyng your haste so extreme.
The best or wurst thyng to man for this lyfe
Is good or yll choosyng his good or yll wyfe.
I meane not onely of body good or bad,
But of all thyngs meete or vnmeete to be had
Suche as at any tyme by any meane maie
Betwene man and wyfe, loue encrease or decaie.
Where this grounde in any hed, grauely grateth
All fyry haste to wed, it soone rebateth.
Som thyngs that prouoke yong men to wed in haste
Show after weddyng that haste maketh waste.
Whan tyme hath tourned white suger to white salte,
Than suche folke se, softe fyre maketh swete malte.
And that deliberacion dothe men assyst
Before they wed, to beware of had I wyst.
And than theyr tymely weddyng doth clere appere,
That they were early vp, and neuer the nere.
And ones theyr hasty heate a lyttell controlde,
Than perceyue they well, hotte loue sone colde.
And whan hasty witlesse myrth is mated weele,
Good to be mery and wyse, they thynke and feele.
Haste in weddyng som man thynkth his owne auaile
Whan haste proueth a rod made for his owne taile.
And whan he is well beaten with his owne rodde,
Than seeth he haste and wisedom, thyngs far odde.
Page  [unnumbered]And that in all, or moste thyngs, wisht at nede,
Moste tymes he seeth, the more haste the lesse spede.
In les thīgs thē wedding, haste showth haste mās fo
So that the hasty man neuer wanteth wo.
These sage sayd sawes yf ye take so profounde,
As ye take that, by whiche ye toke your grounde,
Than fynd ye groūded cause by these now here tolde▪
In haste to weddyng your haste to withholde.
And though they seme wyues for you neuer so fyt,
Yet let not harmfull haste so far out ren your wyt,
But that ye harke to here all the holle some,
That maie please or displease you in tyme to come.
Thus by these lessons ye may learne good cheape
In weddyng and all thyng, to loke or ye leape.
Ye haue euen nowe well ouerlookt me (quoth he)
And lepte very nye me to. For I agree.
That these sage sayinges dooe weightily waie
Agaynst haste in all thyng: but I am at baye.
By other parables of lyke weighty weyght,
Which haste me to weddyng as ye shal here streyght.

¶The thyrde chapiter.

HE that will not whan he maie,
Whan he woulde, he shall haue naie.
Beautie or ryches the tone of the tweyne
Nowe maie I chose, and whiche me lyst obteyne.
And if we determyne me, this mayde to take,
And than tract of tyme trayne her me to forsaek:
Than my beautyfull mariage lythe in the dyke,
And neuer for beautie, shall I wedde the lyke.
Page  [unnumbered]Nowe if we awarde me this wydowe to wedde,
And that I dryue of tyme, tyll tyme she be dedde:
Than farewell ryches, the fat is in the fyre.
And neuer shall I to lyke riches aspire.
And a thousande folde wolde it greue me more,
That she in my faute shulde dye one houre before,
Than one minute after. Than haste must prouoke,
Whan the pygge is proferd to holde vp the poke.
Whan the sonne shynth make hey. whiche is to saie,
Take tyme whan tyme cōmth, lest tyme stele awaie.
And one good lesson to this purpose I pyke
From the smiths forge, whan thyron is hote stryke.
The sure sea man seeth, the tyde tarieth no man.
And longe delaies or absence somewhat to skan.
Sens that that one wyll not an other wyll,
Delays in wooers must nedes theyr spede spyll.
And touchyng absence, the full accompt who somthe
Shall se, as faste as one gothe an nother comthe.
Tyme is tyckell. and out of syght out of mynde.
Than catche & hold while I may fast bind fast fynde.
Blame me not to haste, for feare myne eie be blerde.
And therby the fat cleane flyt fro my berde.
Where wooers hoppe in & out, long tyme may bryng
Hym that hoppeth best, at last to haue the ryng.
I hoppyng without, for a ryng of a rushe.
And whyle I at length debate and beate the bushe,
There shall steppe in other men, & catche the burdes.
And by longe tyme lost in many vayne wurdes
Betwene these two wiuis, make slouth spede confoūd
While betwene two stoles, my taile go to grounde.
Page  [unnumbered]By this, sens we se slouth muste brede a skab,
Best sticke to the tone out of hande, hab or nab.
Thus all your prouerbs inuehyng agaynst haste,
Be answerd with prouerbs plaine & promptly plaste.
Wherby, to purpose all this no further fits,
But to shew, so many hedds so many wits.
Whiche shewe as surely in all that they all tell,
That in my weddyng I may euen as well
Tary to longe, and therby come to late,
As come to soone by haste in any rate.
And proue this prouerbe, as the words thereof go,
Haste or slouth herein worke noth•• welth nor wo.
Be it far or ny, weddyng is desteny,
And hangyng lykewise, sayth that prouerbe, sayd I.
Than wed or hang (quoth he) what helpth in ye whole
To haste or hang a loofe, happy man, happy dole.
Ye deale this dole (quoth I) out at a wrong dur:
For desteny in this case doth not so stur
Agaynst mans indeuour, but man may direct
His will, fore prouision to worke or neglect.
But to shew yt quick wedding may bryng good spede
Somwhat to purpose, your prouerbs proue in dede.
Howbeit, whether they counterpayse or out way
The prouerbes, whiche I before them dyd lay,
The triall therof we wyll lay a water,
Tyll we trie more. For trying of whiche mater
Declare all commoditees ye can deuyse,
That by those two weddyngs to you can ryse.
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¶The fourth chapiter.

I Will (quoth he) in bothe these cases streight show,
What things as (I think) to me by them wil grow.
And where my loue began there begyn will I.
With this mayde, the peece peerelesse in myn eie.
Whom I so fauour, and she so fauourth me,
That halfe a death to vs a sonder to be.
Affection eche to other dothe vs so moue,
That well ny without foode we coulde liue by loue.
For be I right sad, or right sicke, from her syght,
Her presence absenteth all maladies quyght.
Whiche seen, and that the great ground in mariage
Standth vpon lykyng the parties personage,
And than of olde prouerbs in openyng the packe,
One shewth me openly in loue is no lacke.
No lacke of lykyng, but lacke of lyuyng,
Maie lacke in loue (quoth I) and brede yll cheuyng.
Well as to that (saied he) harke this o thyng,
What tyme I lacke not her, I lacke nothyng.
But though we haue nought) nor nought we cā geat
God neuer sendeth mouthe, but he sendeth meat.
And a harde begynnyng maketh a good endyng.
In space comth grace, and this further amendyng.
Seldom comth the better, and lyke will to like.
God sendth colde after clothes. And this I pike.
She, by lacke of substance semyng but a sparke,
Steynth yet the stoutest. For a leg of a larke
Is better than is the body of a kyght.
And home is homely, though it be poore in syght.
These prouerbs for this parte shew such a flourishe,
And then this partie dothe delite so nourishe,
Page  [unnumbered]That much is my bow bent to shoote at these marks,
And kyl feare. when the sky falth we shal haue larks.
All perils that fall may, who feareth they fall shall,
Shall so feare all thyng, that he shall let fall all,
And be more frayd thā hurt, if the thyngs wer doone.
Feare may force a man to cast beyonde the moone.
Who hopeth in gods helpe, his helpe can not sterte.
Nothyng is impossible to a willyng herte.
And will may wyn my herte, herein to consent,
To take all thyng as it comthe, and be content.
And here is (quoth he) in mariyng of this mayde,
For courage and commoditee all myne ayde.
Well saied (saied I) but a while kepe we in quenche
All this case, as touchyng this poore yong wenche.
And nowe declare your whole consideracion,
What maner thyngs draw your imaginacion,
Toward your weddyng of this widow ryche & olde.
That shall ye (quoth he) out of hande haue tolde.

¶The fyfte chapiter.

THis wydowe beyng foule, and of fauour yll,
In good behauour can veraie good skyll.
Pleasauntly spoken, and a veraie good wyt,
And at her table, whan we togither syt,
I am well serued, we fare of the best.
The meate good and holsome, and holsomly drest.
Swete and softe lodgyng, and thereof great shyft.
This felte and sene, with all implementes of thrift,
Of plate and money suche cupbordes and cofers,
And that without peyne I may wyn these profers,
Page  [unnumbered]Than couetyse bearyng Venus bargayn backe,
Praisyng this bargain, saith, better leaue than lacke.
And gredynesse, to drawe desire to this lore,
Saieth, that the wise man saieth, store is no sore.
Who hath many pease maie put the mo in the pot.
Of two yls, chose the least while choyse lyth in lot.
Sens lacke is an yll, as yll as man may haue,
To prouide for the worst, while the best it selfe saue.
Resty welth wylth me this wydow to wyn,
To let the worlde wag, & take myne ease in myne yn.
He must nedes swym, that is holde vp by the chyn.
He laugth that wynth. And this threde finer to spyn,
Maister promocion saieth, make this substance sure,
If ryches bryng ones portly countenaunce in vre,
Than shalt thou rule the rost all rounde about.
And better to rule, than be ruled by the rout.
It is saied: be it better be it wurs,
Doo ye after hym that beareth the purs.
Thus be I by this, ones le senior de graunde,
Many that commaunded me, I shall commaunde.
And also I shall to reuenge former hurts,
Hold their noses to grinstone, and sit on their skurts,
That erst sat on myne. And ryches may make
Frends many ways. Thus better to gyue than take.
And to make carnall appetite content
Reason laboreth wyll to wyn wyls consent,
To take lacke of beautie but as an eye sore.
The faire and the foule, by darke are lyke store.
As this prouerbe saieth, for quenchyng hot desyre,
Foule water as soone as fayre, wyl quenche hot fire.
Page  [unnumbered]Where gyfts be gyuen freely, est west north or south,
No man ought to loke a geuen hors in the mouth.
And though hir mouth be foule, she hath a faire taile,
I constre this text, as is moste myne auaile.
In want of white teeth and yelow heares to behold,
She flourisheth in white syluer and yelow gold.
What though she be toothlesse and balde as a coote?
Hir substance is shootanker, wherat I shoote.
Take a peyne for a pleasure all wise men can.
What, hungry doggs will eat drty puddyngs man.
And here I conclude (quoth he) all that I knowe
By this olde wydow, what good to me may grow.

¶The sixt chapiter.

YE haue (quoth I) in these conclusions founde
Sundry thyngs, that veraie sauerly sounde.
And bothe these long cases, being well vewde
In one short question, we maie well inclewde
Whiche is, whether best or wurst be to be ledde
With ryches, without loue or beautie, to wedde:
Or with beautee without rychesse for loue.
This question (quoth he) inquerth all that I moue.
It doth so (sayd I) and is nerely couched.
But thanswere wil not so breuely be touched.
And your selfe, to length it, taketh direct trade.
For to all reasons, that I haue yet made,
Ye seme more to seke reasons howe to contende,
Than to the counsell of myne to condiscende.
And to be playne, as I must with my freende,
I perfitly feele euen at my fyngers eende.
Page  [unnumbered]So hard is your hand set on your halpeny:
That my reasonyng your reason setteth nought by.
But reason for reason, ye so styffely ley
By prouerbe for prouerbe, that with you do wey,
That reason onely shall herein nought moue you
To here more than speake. wherfore I wil proue you
With reason, assisted by experience.
Whiche my selfe sawe, not long sens nor far hence.
In a matter so like this fashond in frame,
That none can be liker, it semthe euen the same.
And in the same, as your selfe shall espy
Eche sentence soothed with a prouerbe. welny,
And at ende of the same, ye shall cleerely see
Howe this short question shortly answerd maie bee.
Ye mary (quoth he) now ye shoote ny the pricke.
Practise in all, aboue all toucheth the quicke.
Profe vpon practise, must take holde more sure,
Than any reasonyng by gesse can procure.
If ye bryng practise in place, without fablyng,
I will banishe bothe haste and busy bablyng.
And yet that promise to performe is mickell.
For in this case my tong must oft tickell.
Ye knowe well it is, as telth vs this olde tale,
Meete, that a man be at his owne bridale.
If he wyue well (quoth I) meete and good it were.
Or els as good for hym an other were there.
But for this your bridale I meane not in it,
That silence shall suspend your speche euery whit,
But in these mariages, whiche ye here meue,
Sens this tale conteinth the counsell I can geue,
Page  [unnumbered]I wold se your eares attende with your tong,
For aduise in bothe these weddyngs olde and yong.
In whiche heryng, tyme seene when & what to talke,
When your tong tyckleth, at will let it walke.
And in these brydales, to the reasons of ours,
Marke myne experyence in this case of yours.

¶The .vii. chapiter.

VVithin few yeres past, from Lōdon no far waie,
Where I & my wife, wt our poore houshold laie,
Two yong men were abydyng, whom to discriue
were I, in portraying persons dead or aliue,
As counnyng and as quicke, to touche theim at full,
As in that feate I am ignorant and dull,
Neuer coulde I paynte, their pictures to allow,
More lyuely, than to paynt the picture of yow.
And as your thre persons shew one similitewd,
So shew you thre one, in all thyngs to be vewd.
Lyke wise a widowe and a mayd there did dwell,
Alyke lyke the wydow and mayde ye of tell.
The frends of theim foure in euery degree,
Standyng in state as the frendes of you three.
Those two men, eche other so hasted or taried,
That those two women on one daie they maried.
Into two houses, whiche next my house dyd stande,
The one on the right, thother on the left hande.
Both brydegromes bad me, I coulde do none other,
But dyne with the tone, and sup with the tother.
He that wedded this widow riche and olde,
And also she, fauourd me so, that they wolde
Page  [unnumbered]Make me dine or sup ones or twise in a weke.
This poore yong man and his make beyng to seke
As oft, where they might eate or drinke, I them bad,
Were I at home, to suche pittaunce as I had.
Whiche cōmen conference suche confidence wrought
In theim to me, that dede, worde, ne welny thought
Chaunced among theim, what euer it weare,
But one of the foure brought it streight to myn care.
Wherby betwene these twayne, and their two wiues,
Bothe for welthe and wo, I knew al theyr four liues.
And sens the matter is muche intricate,
Betwene syde and syde, I shall here separate
All matters on bothe sydes, and than sequestrate,
Thone syde, while thother be full reherste, in rate,
As for your vnderstandyng maie best stande.
And this yong poore couple shal come fyrst in hande.
Who, the daie of weddyng and after, a while,
Could not loke eche on other, but they must smile.
As a whelpe for wantonnes in and out whipps,
So plaied these tweyne, as mery as thre chipps.
Ye there was god (quoth he) whan all is doone.
Abyde (quoth I) it was yet but hony moone.
The blacke oxe had not trode on his nor her foote.
But er this branche of blys coulde reache any roote,
The floures so faded, that in fiftene weekes,
A man myght espie the chaunge in the cheekes,
Both of this pore wretch, & his wife this pore wenche.
Their faces told toies, ye Totnam was turnd frenche
And all their light laughyng turnd and translated
Into sad syghyng, all myrth was amated.
Page  [unnumbered]And one mornyng tymely he tooke in hande,
To make to my house, a fleeuelesse errande.
Haukyng vpon me, his mynde herein to breake.
Whiche I would not see, tyll he began to speake.
Praying me to here hym. And I saied, I wolde.
Wherwith this that foloweth forthwith he tolde.

¶The .viii. chapter.

I Am now driuen (quoth he) for ease of my herte,
To you, to vtter part of myne inward smerte.
And the matter concerneth my wife and me.
Whose fathers and mothers long sens dead be.
But vncles, with auntes and cosyns, haue wee
Diuers riche on bothe sides, so that we dyd see,
If we had wedded, eche, where eche kynred wolde,
Neither of vs had lackt, either siluer or golde.
But neuer coulde suite, on either syde obtayne
One peny, to the one weddyng of vs twayne.
And sens our one mariyng or marryng daie,
Where any of theim se vs, they shrinke awaie,
Solemnly swearyng, suche as maie geue ought,
While they & we lyue, of theim we get right nought.
Nor nought haue we, nor no waie ought can we get,
Sauyng by borowyng, tyll we be in det
So far, that no man any more will vs lende.
Wherby, for lacke we bothe be at our witts ende.
Wherof no wonder, sens the ende of our good,
And begynnyng of our charge, to gither stood.
But wyt is neuer good tyll it be bought.
Howbeit whan bought wits to best price be brought:
Page  [unnumbered]Yet is one good forewyt worth two after wits.
This payth me home lo, and full my foly hyts.
For had I lookt afore, with indifferent eye,
Though haste had made my thurst neuer so drye:
Yet to drown this drought, this must I nedes thynk,
As I wolde nedes brewe, so must I nedes drynk.
The drynke of my bride cup I shulde haue forborne,
Tyll temperance had tempred the taste beforne.
I se nowe, and shall see whyle I am alyue,
Who wedth or he be wise, shall dye er he thryue.
He that will selle lawne, er he can folde it,
He shall repent hym er he haue solde it.
I reckned my weddyng a suger sweete spice,
But reckners without their host must recken twice.
And all though it were sweete for a weeke or twayne,
Swete meate wil haue sowre sauce, I se now playne.
Continuall penurie, whyche I must take,
Telth me, better eye out than alwaie ake.
Boldly and blyndly I ventred on this,
How be it, who so bolde as blynde bayard is?
And herein to blame any man, than shulde I raue.
For I dyd it my selfe: and selfe do, selfe haue.
But a daie after the fayre, comth this remors,
For relefe: for though it be a good hors
That neuer stumbleth, what praise can that auouche
To iades, ye breke their necks at first tryp or touche.
And before this my first foile or breakneck fall,
Subtilly lyke a shepe thought I, I shall
Cut my cote after my cloth. Whan I haue her.
But now I can smell, nothyng hath no sauer.
Page  [unnumbered]I am taught to know, in more haste thā good speede,
How iudicare came into the Creede.
My carefull wife in one corner wepeth in care,
And I in an other, the purse is threde bare.
This corner of our care (quoth he) I you tell,
To craue therin your comfortable counsell.

¶The nynthe chapiter.

I Am sory (quoth I) of your pouertee,
And more sory that I can nat succourye.
If ye stur your nede myne almesse to stur,
Than of trouth ye beg at a wrong mans dur.
There is nothyng more vayne, as your selfe tell can,
Than to beg a breeche of a bare arst man.
I come to beg nothyng of you, quoth he,
Saue your aduise, whiche maie my best waie be.
How to wyn present salue, for this present sore.
I am like thyll surgeon (saied I) without ••ore
Of good plasters. Howbeit suche as they are,
Ye shall haue the best I haue. But fyrst declare,
Where your & your wiues riche kynsfolke do dwell.
Enuyronned about vs (quoth he) which shewth well,
The nere to the churche, the ferther from god.
Most parte of theim dwell within a thousand rod.
And yet shall we catche a hare with a taber,
As soone as catche ought of them, and rather.
Ye plaie coleprophet (quoth I) who takth in hande,
To knowe his answere before he doo his errande.
What shulde I to them (quoth he) flyng or flyt,
An vnbidden geast knoweth not where to syt.
Page  [unnumbered]Shame drawth me backe, beyng thus forsaken.
Tushe man (quoth I) shame is as it is taken.
And shame take him ye shame thinkth, ye thinke none.
Vnmynded, vnmoned, go make your mone.
Well (quoth he) if I shall nede this viage make,
With as good will as a beare goth to the stake,
I will streight waie anker and hoise vp saile.
And thitherward hie me in haste like a snaile.
And home agayne hitherward quicke as a bee.
Nowe for good lucke, cast an olde shoe after mee.
And fyrst to myne vncle, brother to my father.
By suite, I will assaie to wyn some fauer.
Who brought me vp, and tyll my weddyng was don
Loued me, not as his nephew, but as his son.
And his heyre had I been, had not this chaunced,
Of lādes & gooddes, which shuld me much auanced.
Trudge (quoth I) to hym, and on your marybones,
Crouche to the grounde, and not so ofte as ones,
Speake any one worde hym to contrary.
I can not tell that (quoth he) by seynt Mary.
I knowe not howe I shall be pryckt to speake.
Well (quoth I) better is to bowe than breake.
Sens ye can nought wyn, yf ye can not please,
Best is to suffer. For of suffrance comth ease.
Cause causeth (quoth he) and as cause causeth me,
So will I doo. And with this awaie went he.
Yet whether his wyfe should go with hym or no,
He sent hir to me to knowe er he wolde go.
Wherto I saied, I thought best he went alone.
And you (quoth I) to go streight as he is gone,
Page  [unnumbered]Among your kynsfolke likewise, if they dwell ny.
Yes (quoth she) all round about euen here by.
Namely an aunte, my mothers syster, who well
(Sens my mother died) brought me vp frō the shell.
And much wold haue giuē me, had mi weddīg grown
Vpon hir fansy, as it grewe vpon myne own.
And in likewise myne vncle her husband, was
A father to me. Well (quoth I) let pas.
And if your husband will his assent graunte,
Go, he to his vncle, and you to your aunte.
Yes this assent he graunteth before (quoth she)
For he or this thought this the best waie to be.
But of these two thynges he wolde determyne none
Without aide. For two hedds are better than one.
With this we departed, she to her husband,
And I to dyner to theim on thother hande.

¶The tenth chapiter.

VVhan dyner was doon, I cam home agayne,
To attende on the returne of these twayne.
And er three houres to ende were fully tryde,
Home came she fyrst, welcom (quoth I) and wel hyde.
Ye a shorte horse is soone corryd (quoth shee)
But the weaker hath the worse we all daie see.
After our last partyng, my husband and I
Departed, eche to place agreed formerly.
Myne vncle and aunte on me dyd loure and glome.
Bothe bad me god spede, but none bad me welcome.
Their folkes glomd on me to, by whiche it appereth,
The yong cocke croweth, as he the olde hereth.
Page  [unnumbered]At dyner they were, and made (for maners sake)
A kynswoman of ours, me to table take.
A false flattryng fylth, and if that be good,
None better to beare two faces in a hood.
She speaketh as she wolde crepe into your bosome.
And whan the meale mouth hath won the bottome
Of your stomake, than will the pikthanke it tell
To your moste enmies, you to bie and sell.
There is no mo suche tytifils in Englands grounde,
To holde with the hare, and run with the hounde.
Fyre in the tone hande, and water in the tother,
The makebate bereth betwene brother and brother.
She can wynk on the yew, and wery the lam,
She maketh ernest matters of euery flymflam.
She must haue an ore in euery mans barge.
And no man chat ought in ought of her charge.
Colle vnder canstyk she can plaie on both hands,
Dissimulacion well she vnderstands.
She is lost with an appull, and woon with a nut.
Her tong is no edge toole, but yet it will cut.
Hir chekes are purple ruddy like a horse plumme.
And the bygge part of hir body is hir bumme.
But littell tit all tayle, I haue herde er this,
As high as two horseloues hir persone is.
For priuy nyps or casts ouerthwart the shyns,
He shall lese the maystry that with her begyns,
She is, to turne loue to hate, or ioye to grefe
A paterne, as mete as a rope for a thefe.
Hir promise of frendshyp, for any auayle,
Is as sure to holde, as an eele by the tayle.
Page  [unnumbered]〈1 page duplicate〉Page  [unnumbered]〈1 page duplicate〉
Page  [unnumbered]She is nother fishe nor fleshe nor good red hearyng.
She maie doo muche there, and I therby fearyng
She wolde spit her venym, thought it not euyll
To set vp a candell before the deuyll.
I clawd her by the backe in waie of a charme,
To do me, not the more good, but the lesse harme.
All that dyner tyme we syttyng to gether,
Aboue all, with her I made fayre wether.
Praying her in her eare, on my syde to holde,
She therto swearyng by her false faith, she wolde.
Streight after dyner myne aunte had no choyce,
But other burst, or burst out in pylats voyce.
Ye huswife, what wind blowth ye hyther thus right?
Ye might haue knokt or ye came in, leaue is lyght.
Better vnborne then vntaught, I haue herde saie,
But ye be better fed than taught far awaie.
Not veraie fat fed, saied this flebergebet,
But nede hath no lawe, nede maketh her hither iet.
She comth nece Ales (quoth she) for that is her name
More for nede, then for kyndnes, payne of shame.
Howbeit she can not lacke, for he fyndth that seekes,
Louers lyue by loue, ye as larks lyue by leekes.
Saied this Ales, muche more than half in mockage.
Tushe (quoth myne aunte) these louers in dotage
Think the groūd beares them not, but wed of corage
They must in all haste, though a leafe of borage
Myght bye all the substaunce that they can sell.
Well aunt (quoth Ales) all is well that ends well.
Ye Ales, of a good begynnyng comth a good ende.
Not so good to borow, as be able to lende.
Page  [unnumbered]Nay in dede aunt (quoth she) it is sure so,
She must nedes grāt, she hath wrought hir own wo.
She thought Ales, she had sene far in a mylstone,
Whan she gat a husband, and namely such one,
As they by weddyng coulde not onely nought wyn,
But lose both lyuyng and loue of all theyr kyn.
Good aunt (quoth I) humbly I beseche ye,
My trespase done to you forgyue it me.
I know & knowlage, I haue wrought myn own pein
But things past my hāds, I can not call agein.
True (quoth Ales) things done, can not be vndoone,
Be they done in due tyme, to late, or to soone.
But better late then neuer to repent this.
To late (quoth myne aunt) this repentance shewd is.
Whan the stede is stolne, shut the stable durre.
I tooke her for a rose, but she bredeth a burre.
She comth to stycke to me now in her lacke,
Rather to rent of my clothes fro my backe,
Then to doo me one ferthyng wurth of good.
I see daie at this little hole. For this bood
Shewth what fruit wil folow. In good faith I saide
In waie of peticion I sue for your aide.
A well (quoth she) nowe I well vnderstande
The walking staffe hath caught warmth in your hād
A cleane fyngerd huswyfe and an ydel, folke saie,
And will be lyme fyngerd I feare by my faie.
It is as tender as a persons lemman.
Nought can she doo, and what can she haue than?
She maie not beare a fether, but she must brethe,
She maketh so muche of her paynted shethe.
Page  [unnumbered]She thynkth her ferthyng good siluer I tell you.
But for a ferthyng who euer dyd sell you
Myght bost you to be better solde than bought.
And yet thogh she be worth nought, nor haue nought
Her gowne is gaier and better than myne.
At her gaie gowne (quoth Ales) ye maie repyne.
Howe be it as we maie we loue to go gaie all.
Well well (quoth myne aunte) pride will haue a fall.
For pride goeth before, and shame cometh after.
Sure (saied Ales) in maner of mockyng laughter,
There is nothyng in this worlde that agreeth wurs,
Than dothe a ladies hert, and a beggers purs.
But pride she shewth none, her looke reason alowth
She lookth as butter wolde not melt in her mouth.
Well the styll sow eats vp all the draffe Ales.
All is not golde that glistreth by olde tolde tales.
In youth she was towarde and without euyll,
But soone ripe sone rotten, yong seynt olde deuill.
How be it lo god sendth the shrewd cow short hornes.
While she was in this house she sat vpon thornes.
Eche one daie was three, tyll libertee was borow
For one months ioy to bryng her holle lyues sorow.
It were pitee (quoth Ales) she shulde myscary.
For she is growne a goodly damsell mary.
Ill weed growth fast Ales. wherby the corne is lorne.
For surely the weed ouergroweth the corne.
If I maie (as they saie) tell trouth without syn,
Of trouthe she is a wolfe in a lambes skyn.
Her herte is full hye, whan her eie is full lowe.
A geast as good lost as founde, for all this showe.
Page  [unnumbered]But many a good cowe hath an euyll calfe.
I speake this doughter in thy mothers behalfe.
My syster (god rest her soule) whom though I bost,
Was cald the floure of honestee in this coste.
Aunt (quoth I) I take for father and mother
Myne vncle and you aboue all other.
When we wold, ye wold not be our chyld (quoth she.)
Wherfore now whan ye wold, now will not we.
Sens thou woldst nedes cast a waie thy selfe thus,
Thou shalte sure synke in thyne owne syn for vs.
Thou arte in dede borne veraie ny of my stocke,
And ny is my kyrtell, but nere is my smocke.
I haue one of myne owne, whom I must loke to.
Ye aunte (quoth Ales) that thyng must ye nedes do.
Nature compellth you to set your owne fyrst vp.
For I haue heard saie, it is a deere colup,
That is cut out of thowne fleshe. But yet aunte,
So smal maie hir request be, that ye maie graunt
To satisfie the same, whiche maie doo her good,
And you no harme in thauancyng your owne blood.
And cosyn (quoth she to me) what ye wold craue,
Declare, that our aūt may know what ye wold haue.
Nay (quoth I) be they wynners or loosers,
Folke say alwaie, beggers shulde be no choosers.
With thanks I shal take what euer myn aunt please,
Where nothyng is, a little thyng doth ease.
And by this prouerbe appereth this o thyng,
That alwaie somewhat is better than nothyng.
Hold fast whan ye haue it (quoth she) by my lyfe.
The boy thy husbande, and thou the gyrle his wyfe,
Page  [unnumbered]Shall not consume that I haue laboured fore.
Thou art yong inough, and I can worke no more.
Kyt calot my cosyn sawe this thus far on
And in myne aunts eare she whispreth anon
Roundly these words, to make this matter whole.
Aunt, leat theim that be a colde blowe at the cole.
They shall for me Ales (quoth she) by gods blyst.
She and I haue shaken handes. farewell vnkyst.
And thus with a becke as good as a dieu gard,
She flang fro me, and I from her hitherward.
Beggyng of her booteth not the worth of a beane,
Litle knoweth the fat sow, what the lean doth meane.
Forsoth (quoth I) ye haue bestyrd ye well.
But where was your vncle while all this fray fell?
A sleepe by (quoth she) routyng like a hog.
And it is euill wakyng of a slepyng dog.
The bitche and her whelp might haue been a sleep to.
For ought they in wakyng to me would do.
Fare ye well (quoth she) I will now home streyte.
And at my husbands hands for better news weyte.

¶The leuenth chapiter.

HE came home to me the next daie before noone.
What tidīgs now (quoth I) how haue ye doone?
Vpon our departyng (quoth he) yesterdaie
Toward myn vncles, somwhat more than mydway,
I ouertoke a man, a seruaunt of his,
And a frende of myne. who gessed streight with this,
What myne errand was, offeryng in the same,
To do his best for me, and so in gods name.
Page  [unnumbered]Thyther we went, no body beyng within,
But myne vncle, myne aunte, and one of our kyn.
A madde knaue, as it were a raylyng gester,
Not a more gagglyng gander hense to Chester.
At syght of me he asked, who haue we there?
I haue seen this gentylman, yf I wyst where.
Howe be it lo, seldome sene, soone forgotten.
He was (as he will be) somwhat cupshotten.
Sixe daies in a weeke, beside the market daie,
Malt is aboue wheate with hym, market men saie.
But for as muche as I sawe, the same taunt
Contented well myne vncle and myne aunt,
And that I came to fall in, and not fall out,
I forbare. or els his dronken red snout
I wold haue made as oft chaunge from hew to hew,
As doth the cocks of Inde. For this is trew.
It is a small hop on my thomb. And Christ wot,
It is wood at a woorde. little pot soone whot.
Now mery as a cricket, and by and by,
Angry as a waspe, though in bothe no cause why.
But he was at home there, he myght speake his will.
Euery cocke is proude on his owne dunghill.
I shall be euen with hym herein whan I can.
But he hauyng done, thus myne vncle began.
Ye marchant, what attempth you, to attempt vs,
To come on vs before the messanger thus.
Romyng in and out, I here tell how ye tosse.
But sonne, the rollyng stone neuer gatherth mosse.
Lyke a pickpurs pilgrym, ye prie and ye proule
At rouers, to robbe Peter and paie Poule.
Page  [unnumbered]I wys I knowe, er any more be tolde,
That draff is your errand, but drynke ye wolde.
Vncle (quoth I) of the cause, for whiche I com,
I pray you paciently here the hole som.
In feyth (quoth he) without any more sūmyng
I know to beg of me is thy cūmyng.
For sooth (quoth his man) it is so in deede.
And I dare boldly bost, yf ye knew his neede,
ye wold of pytee yet set hym in some stey.
Sonne, better be enuied then pitied, folke sey.
And for his cause of pitee (had he had grace)
He myght this daie haue been clere out of the case.
But now he hath well fisht and caught a frog.
Where nought is to wed with, wise men flee the clog.
Where I (quoth I) dyd not as ye wyld or bad,
That repent I oft, and as oft wyshe I had.
Sonne (quoth he) as I haue herde of myn olders,
Wishers and wolders be no good householders.
This prouerbe for a lesson, with suche other,
Not lyke (as who seyth) the sonne of my brother,
But lyke myne owne sonne, I ofte before shewd the,
To cast her quyte of, but it wolde not be.
Whan I wyld the any other where to go,
Tushe, there were no mo maydens but malkyn tho.
Ye had been lost to lacke your lust, whan ye lyst,
By two miles trudgyng twise a weke to be kyst.
I would ye had kyst, well I will no more sturre,
It is good to haue a hatche before the durre.
But how is my saying come to passe now?
How oft dyd I prophecie this betwene you,
Page  [unnumbered]And your gynyfinee nycebycetur,
Whan swete sugar shulde turne to soure salt petur?
Wherby ye shulde in seyng, that ye neuer sawe.
Thynke that you neuer thought. your selfe a dawe.
But that tyme ye thought me a dawe. so that I
Dyd no good in all my wordes than, saue onely
Approued this prouerbe playn and true mater,
A man may well bryng a horse to the water.
But he can not make hym drynke without he will.
Colts (quoth his man) may proue wel, with tatchis yl
For of a ragged colt there comthe a good horse.
If he be good now, of his yll past no forse.
Well he that hangth hym selfe a sondaie (saied he)
Shall hang styll vncut downe a mondaie for me.
I haue hangd vp my hatchet, god spede hym well.
A wonder thyng what thyngs these old thyngs tell.
Cat after kynd good mouse hunt. And also
Men sey, kynde wyll crepe where it can not go.
These sentences to the I maie assyne
By thy father, the said brother of myne.
Thou folowist his stepps as ryght as a lyne.
For when prouander pryckt him a lytle tyne,
He dyd as thou didst. One, on whom he dyd dote,
He wedded in haste, with whome he had no grote.
And she as lytle with hym. wherby at last
They bothe went a beggyng. And euen the like caste
Haste thou. thou wilte beg or steale, or thou die,
Take hede frende, I haue sene as far come as me.
If ye seke to fynde thynges er they be lost,
Ye shall fynde one daie you come to your cost.
Page  [unnumbered]This doo I but repete, for this I tolde the,
And more I say. but I coulde not than holde the.
Nor wyll not holde the now: nor suche foly feele,
To set at my herte, that thou settest at thy heele.
And as of my good, er I one grote gyue,
I wyll se how my wyfe, and my selfe shall lyue.
Shall I make the laugh now, & my selfe wepe then?
Nay good childe, better childern wepe than old men.
It is harde to wiue and thriue both in a yere.
But by thy wyuyng, thryuyng doth so appere,
That thou art past thryft, before thrifte begyn.
But lo, will will haue will, though will wo wyn.
Will is a good sonne, and will is a shrewde boy.
And wilfull shrewde will hath wrought the this toy.
A gentill white spurre, and at nede a sure speare.
He standth now as he had a flea in his eare.
How be it for any great courtesy he doth make,
It semth the gentyll man hath eaten a stake.
He beareth a dagger in his sleue, truste me,
To kyll all that he meteth, prouder than he.
Sir (quoth his man) he will no faute defende,
But harde is for any man all fautes to mende.
He is lyueles, that is fautles, olde folkes thought,
He hath (quoth he) but one faute, he is nought.
Helpe hym syr (quoth his man) sens ye easily maie.
Two fals knaues nede no broker (quoth he) mē saie,
The one knaue now crouchith, while thother crauith
But to shewe what shall be his releuauith,
Either after my deathe, yf my will be kept,
Or duryng my lyfe, had I this halle hept
Page  [unnumbered]With golde, he maie his parte on good fryday eate,
And fast neuer the wurs, for ought he shall geate.
Nowe here is the doore, and there is the wey.
And so (quoth he) farewell gentill Geffrey.
Thus parted I from hym, beyng muche dismaied,
Whiche his man saw, and (to comfort me) saied.
What man, plucke vp your herte, be of good chere.
After clouds blacke, we shall haue wether clere.
What shuld your face thus agayn the woll be shorne
For one fall? What mā al this wynd shakes no corne.
Let this wynde ouerblow. a tyme I will spy,
To take wynde and tyde with me, and spede therby.
I thanke you (quoth I) but great boste & smal roste,
Maketh vnsauery mouthes, where euer men oste.
And this boste veraie vnsauourly serueth.
For while the grasse groweth, the horse sterueth.
Better one byrde in hande than ten in the wood.
Rome was not bylt on a daie (quoth he) & yet stood
Tyll it was fynysht, as some saie, full fayre.
Your hert is in your hose all in dispayre.
But as euery man saieth, a dog hath a daie.
Shuld you a man, dispayre than any daie? nay.
Ye haue many stryngs to the bowe. for ye know,
Though I, hauyng the bent of your vncles bow,
Can no waie bryng your bolt in the butte to stande,
Yet haue ye other marks to roue at, at hande.
The kays hang not all by one mans girdill man.
Though nought wilbe woon here, I sey, yet ye can
Taste other kynsmen, of whom ye maie geat,
Here some and there some, many small make a great.
Page  [unnumbered]For come lyght wynnyngs with blessyngs or curses,
Euermore light gaynes make heuy purses.
Children lerne to crepe er they can lerne to go.
And little and little, ye must lerne euen so.
Throwe no gyft agayne at the giuers head,
For better is halfe a lofe then no bread.
I maie beg my bread (quoth I) for my kyn all,
That dwelth ny, Well, yet (quoth he) & the worst fall,
Ye maie to your kynsman, hens nine or ten mile,
Rich without charge, whom ye saw not of long while
That bench whistler (quoth I) is a pinchepeny.
As fre of gyft, as a poore man of his eye.
I shall get a fart of a dead man as soone,
As a farthyng of hym, his dole is soone doone.
He is so hye in thynstep, and so streight laste,
That pryde and couetise withdrawth al repaste.
Ye knowe what he hath been (quoth he) but ywis,
Absence saieth playnely, ye knowe not what he is.
Men know (quoth I) I haue herde nowe and then,
Howe the market gothe by the market men.
Further it is saied, who that saying weyth,
It must nedes be true, that euery man seyth.
Men saie also, childerne and fooles can not ly.
And both man and chylde saieth, he is a heynsby.
And my selfe knowth hym, I dare boldly brag,
Euen as well as the begger knowth his bag.
And I knew hym, not worth a good grey grote.
He was at an ebbe. though he be nowe a flote,
Poore as the poorest. And now nought he setteth
By poore folke. For the paryshe prieste forgetteth,
Page  [unnumbered]That euer he hath been holy water clerke.
By ought I can now here, or euer coulde marke,
Of no man hath he pitee, or compassion.
Well (quoth he) euery man after his fassion.
He maie yet pitee you, for ought doth appere.
It hapth in one houre, that hapth not in. vii. yere.
Forspeake not your fortune, nor hyde not your nede.
Noght vēter noght haue spare to speke spare to spede
Vnknowne vnkyst. it is lost that is vnsought.
As good seke nought (quoth I) as seke & find nought
It is (quoth he) yll fyshyng before the net.
But though we get litle, dere bought and far fet
Are deinties for ladies. Go we both too.
I haue for my maister thereby to doo.
I maie breake a dishe there, and sure I shall
Set all at sixe and seuen, to wyn some wyndfall.
And I will hang the bell about the cats necke.
For I will fyrst breake, and ieobard the fyrst checke.
And for to wyn this praie, though the cost be myne,
Leat vs present hym with a bottell of wyne.
That were (quoth I) as muche almes or nede,
As caste water in Thems. or as good a dede,
As it is to helpe a dogge ouer a style.
Than go we (quoth he) we lese tyme all this while.
To folowe his fansy, we went togither.
And toward nyght yesternight when we cam thither,
She was within, but he was yet abrode.
And streight as she sawe me, she swelde like a tode.
Pattryng the diuels pater noster to her selfe.
God neuer made a more croked crabbed elfe.
Page  [unnumbered]She bad hym welcome, but the wors for me.
This knaue comth a beggyng, by me thought she.
I smelde hir out, and had her streight in the wynde.
She maie abyde no beggers of any kynde.
They be bothe gredy gutts. all gyuen to get,
They care not how. all is fyshe that comth to net.
They know no ende of theyr good, nor begynnyng
Of any goodnesse. suche is wretched wynnyng.
Hunger droppeth euen out of bothe theyr noses.
She gothe with broken shone and torne hoses.
But who is wurs shod, than the shoemakers wyfe,
With shops full of newe shapen shoes all her lyfe.
Or who will doo lesse, than they that may doo moste.
And namely of hir I can no waie make boste.
She is one of theim, to whom god bad who.
She will all haue, and will right nought forgo.
She will not part with the paryng of hir nayles.
She toyleth continually for auayles.
Whiche lyfe she hath so long now kept in vre,
That for no lyfe she wolde make chaunge, be sure.
But this lesson lernde I, er I was yeres seuen,
They that be in hell, wene there is none other heuen.
She is nothyng fayre, but she is yll fauourd.
And no more vnklenly, than vnswete sauourd.
But hakney men saie, at mangy hakneys hyer
A scalde hors is good ynough for a scabde squier.
He is a knuckylbonyard veraie meete
To matche a mynion nother fayre nor sweete.
But a vengeable wyt, and all his delyte,
To geue tauntes and checkes of most spitefull spite.
Page  [unnumbered]In that house commonly suche is the cast,
A man shall as soone breake his neck as his fast.
And yet nowe suche a gyd dyd her head take,
That more for my mates than for maner sake,
We had bread and drynke, and a chese very greate.
But the greattest crabs be not all the best meate,
For her crabbed chese, with all the gretnesse,
Myght well abyde the fynenesse or swetnesse.
Anon he cam in. and whan he vs saw,
To my companyon kyndly he dyd draw.
And a welfauourd welcom to hym he yeelds,
Byddyng me welcom straungely ouer the feelds.
With these wordes. ah yong mā I know your mater,
By my faith you come to loke in my water.
And for my comfort to your consolacion,
Ye would, by my purs, gyue me a purgacion.
But I am laxatiue ynough there otherwyse.
This case (quoth this yonge man) contrary doth rise.
For he is purs sycke. and lackth a phisicion.
And hopeth vpon you in some condicion.
Not by purgacion, but by restoratiue.
To strength his weakenesse to kepe hym alyue.
I can not (quoth he) for though it be my lot
To haue speculacion, yet I practise not.
I see muche, but I saie littell, and doo lesse.
In this kynd of phisike. and what wolde ye gesse.
Shall I consume my selfe, to restore hym now?
Nay, backare (quoth Mortymer to his sow)
He can before this tyme, no tyme assyne,
In whiche he hath laied downe one peny by myne.
Page  [unnumbered]That euer might either make me bite or sup.
And byr lady frēd. nought ley down nought take vp.
To put me to coste, thou canst halfe a score myles.
Out of thyne owne nest, seke me in these out yles.
Where thou wilt not step ouer a strawe, I thynke,
To wyn me the worth of one draught of drynke.
No more than I haue wonne of all thy holle stocke.
I haue been common Iacke to all that hole flocke.
Whan ought was to do, I was common hackney.
Folke call on the hors that will cary alwey.
But euermore the common hors is worste shod.
Desert and reward be oft tymes thyngs far od.
At ende I myght put wy wynnyng in myne iye,
And see neuer the wors. for ought I wan theim by.
And now without theim, I lyue here at staues ende.
Where I nede not borow, nor I will not lende.
I praie you (quoth he) pitee me a poore man
With somwhat, tyll I maie worke as I can.
Toward your work (quoth he) ye make such tastings
As approue you to be none of the hastyngs,
Ye ren to worke in haste as nyne men helde ye.
But whan so euer ye to worke must yelde ye.
If your meete mate and you meete together.
Than shall we see two men beare a fether.
Recompensyng former loytryng lyfe loose,
As did the pure penitent that stale a goose,
And stak downe a fether. And where olde folke tell.
That euill gotten good neuer proueth well,
Ye will truely get. and true gettyng well kepe,
Tyll tyme ye be as riche as a newe shorne shepe.
Page  [unnumbered]Howe be it whan thrift and you fell fyrst at a fray,
You plaied the man, for ye made thrift ren away.
So helpe me god, in my poore opynion,
A man might make a plaie of this minyon.
And fayn no groūd, but take tales of his own frēds,
I suck not this out of myne owne fyngers ends.
And sens ye wer wed, although I nought gaue you,
Yet praie I for you, god and saint Luke saue you.
And here is all. For what shulde I further wade?
I was nother of court nor of counsaile made.
And it is as I haue lerned in lystnyng,
A poore dogge. that is not worth the whistlyng.
A daie er I was wedde, I badde you (quoth I)
Scarbrough warnyng I had (quoth he) wherby,
I kept me thens, to serue the accordyng.
And nowe, if this nyghtes lodgyng and bordyng
Maie ease the, and ryd me from any more charge,
Than welcome. or els get the streyght at large.
For of further rewarde, marke how I bost me.
In case as ye shall yelde me as ye cost me,
So shall ye cost me as ye yelde me lykewyse.
Whiche is, a thyng of nought rightly to surmyse.
Here withall his wyfe to make vp my mouthe,
Not onely her husbands tauntyng tale auouthe,
But therto deuiseth to cast in my teeth,
Checks and chokyng oysters. And whan she seeth
Hir tyme to take vp, to shew my fare at best,
Ye se your fare (saied she) set your hert at rest.
Fare ye well (quoth I) how euer I fare now.
And wel mote ye fare bothe whan I dyne with yow.
Page  [unnumbered]Come, go we hens frend (quoth I to my mate)
And now will I make a crosse on this gate.
For comyng here agayn. Haue we not well wrought?
Mē say, as good plai for nought as work for nought
Well well (quoth he) we be but where we were.
Come what come wold, I thought er we came there.
That yf the worst fell. we coulde haue but a naie,
There is no harme doone man in all this fray.
Neither pot broken, nor yet water spylt.
Farewell he (quoth I) I wyll as sone be hylt,
As wayte agayne for the moneshyne in the water.
But is not this a praty pyked mater?
To disdeigne me, who muck of the world hordth not.
As he doth, it may ryme but it accordth not.
She fometh lyke a bore, the beast shuld seme bolde.
For she is as fiers, as a lyon of cotsolde.
She fryeth in her owne grease, but as for my parte,
If she be angry, beshrew her angry harte.
Let passe (quoth he) and let vs be trudgyng.
Where some noppy ale is, and softe swete ludgyng.
Be it (quoth I) but I wolde very fayne eate.
At breakefast and dyner I eete lyttle meate.
And two hungry meales make the thyrde a glutton.
We went where we had boylde beefe & bake mutton.
Wherof I fed me as full as a tunne.
And a bed were we er the clocke had nyne runne.
Early we rose, in haste to get awaie.
And to the hostler this mornyng by daie
This felow calde, what how felow, thou knaue,
I praie the leat me and my felowe haue
Page  [unnumbered]A heare of the dog that bote vs last nyght.
And bytten were we both to the brayne aryght,
We sawe eche other drunke in the good ale glas,
And so dyd eche one eche other, that there was.
Saue one, but olde men saie that are skyld,
A hard foughten feeld, where no mā scapeth vnkyld.
The recknyng reckned, he needs wold pay the shot,
And needs he must for me, for I had it not.
This doone we shoke hands. and parted in fyne,
He into his waie, and I into myne.
But this iorney was quite out of my waie.
Many kynsfolke and fewe frends, some folke saie.
But I fynde many kynsfolke, and frende not one.
Folke saie, it hath been saied many yeres sens gone.
Proue thy frend er thou haue nede. but in dede,
A freende is neuer knowne tyll a man haue nede.
Before I had nede, my most present foes
Semed my most frends. but thus the worlde goes,
Euery man basteth the fat hog we see,
But the leane shall burne er he basted be.
As seyth this sentence, ofte and long saied before.
He that hath plenty of goodes shall haue more.
He that hath but a lytle, he shall haue lesse.
He yt hath ryght nought, ryght nought shall possesse.
Thus hauīg right nought. & wold somwhat obtayn,
With ryght nought (quoth he) I am retornd agayne.

¶The .xii. Chapiter.

VVel (quoth I) comfort your selfe wt this old text.
That telth vs, when bale is hekst, boote is next.
Page  [unnumbered]Though euery man maie not syt in the chayre.
Yet alway the grace of god is woorth a fayre.
Take no thought in no case, god is where he was.
But put case in pouertee all your lyfe pas.
Yet pouertee and poore degree, taken well,
Feedth on this. he that neuer clymbde, neuer fell.
And som case at some tyme shewth preefe somwheare,
That riches bryngth ofte harme. and euer feare,
Where pouertee passeth without grudge of greefe,
What, man the begger may syng before the theefe.
And who can syng so mery a note,
As maie he, that can not chaunge a grote.
Ye (quoth he) beggers may syng before theeues,
And wepe before true men, lamentyng their greeues.
Some saie, and I feele hungre perseth stone wall.
Meate nor yet money, to bye meate withall,
Haue I not so muche as maie hungar defende
Fro my wyfe and me. Well (quoth I) god will sende
Tyme to prouide for tyme, right well ye shall se
God sende that prouision in tyme, saied he.
And thus semyng welny wery of his lyfe,
The pore wretche went to his like pore wretchid wife.
And after this a monthe, or somwhat lesse,
Theyr landlorde came to theyr howse to take a stresse
For rent. to haue kept bayard in the stable.
But that to wyn any power was vnable.
For though it be yll playing with short daggers,
Which meaneth, that euery wise man staggers,
In earnest or boorde to be busy or bolde
With his biggers or betters, yet this is tolde.
Page  [unnumbered]Where as nothyng is, the kyng must lose his ryght.
And thus, kyng or keyser must haue set them quyght.
But warnyng to departe thens they nedyd none.
For er the next day the byrds were flowne eche one,
To seke seruyce. of which where the man was sped,
The wyfe could not spede, but maugre her hed,
She must seke els where. for either there, or ny
Seruice for any suite she none could espy.
All folk thought them not onely to lyther,
To lynger both in one house to gyther,
But also dwellyng ny vnder theyr wyngs,
Vnder theyr noses, they myght conuey thyngs.
Suche as were nother to heuy nor to whot,
More in a month then they theyr master got
In a whole yere. Wherto folke further weying,
Receite eche of other in their conueying,
Myght be worst of all. For this prouerbe preeues,
Where be no receyuers, there be no theeues.
Such hap here hapt, that cōmon drede of such gyles,
Droue them and kepeth them asonder many myles.
Thus though loue decree, departure death to be,
Yet pouertee parteth felowshyp we see.
And dothe those two trewe louers so disseuer,
That meete shall they seldwhan, or haply neuer.
And thus by loue, without regarde of lyuyng,
These twayn haue wrought eche others yll cheuyng.
And loue hath so lost them the loue of theyr freends,
That I thinke theim lost, and thus this tale eends.
Page  [unnumbered]

The .xiii. chapiter.

AH sir (said my frēd) whan men will needs mary,
I see nowe, howe wisedom and haste may vary.
Namely where they wed for loue all togyther,
I wold for no good, but I had come hyther.
Swete beautee with soure beggery, naye I am gon,
To the welthy wythred wydow, by seynt Iohn.
What yet in all haste (quoth I) ye (quoth he)
For she hath substaunce ynough. and ye se,
That lack is the losse of these two yong fooles.
Know ye not (quoth I) that after wyse mēs schooles,
A man shold here all parts, er he iudge any,
Why axe ye that (quoth he) for this (quoth I.)
I tolde you, when I this began, that I wolde,
Tell you of two couples. and I hauyng tolde
But of the tone, ye be streyght startyng awey,
As I of the tother had ryght nought to sey.
Or as your selfe of them ryght nought wold here,
Nay not all so (quoth he) but syns I thynk clere,
There can no way appere so paynfull a lyfe,
Betwene your yong neybour & his olde ryche wyfe,
As this tale in this yong poore couple doth showe,
And that the moste good or leste yll ye knowe.
To take at end, I was at begynnyng bent,
With thanks for this, & your more payne to preuent,
Without any more matter now reuolued,
I take this matter here clerely resolued.
And that ye herein awarde me to forsake,
Beggerly beautee, & riuyld ryches take.
Page  [unnumbered]Thats iust. if the half shall iudge the whole (quoth I)
But yet here the whole, the whole wholly to try.
To it (quoth he) than I praie you by and by.
We will dine fyrst (quoth I) for it is noone hy.
We maie as wel (quoth he) dine whan this is doone.
The longer forenoone the shorter after noone.
All comth to one, and therby men haue gest,
Alwaie the longer east the shorter west.
We haue had (quoth I) before ye cam, and syn,
Weather, meete to sette paddocks abroode in.
Rayn, more thā enough. & whā al shrews haue dynd,
Chaunge from foule wether to faire is oft inclind.
And all the shrews in this parte, sauyng one wife,
That must dine with vs, haue dind peyn of my life.
Now if good chaunge of yll wether be dependyng,
Vpon her diet, what wer myne offendyng,
To kepe the woman any longer fastyng.
If ye (quoth he) set all this farre castyng.
For common wealth▪ as it appereth a clere case,
Reason wold your will shuld, and shall take place.
¶Thus endeth the fyrst parte.

The seconde parte.

The fyrst chapiter.

DIners can not be long, where deyntees want,
Where coin is not cōmon, cōmons must be scant.
In poste pace we past from potage to cheese,
And yet this man cryde, alas what tyme we leese.
Page  [unnumbered]He wolde not leat vs pause after our repaste,
But aparte he pluckt me streight, and in all haste,
As I of this poore yong man, and poore yong mayd,
Or more poore yong wife, the forsaid words had said,
So praieth he me now the processe maie be tolde,
Betwene the other yong man, and riche widow olde.
If ye lacke that (quoth I) awaie ye must wynde,
With your holle errand, and half thanswer behynde.
Which thing to do, sens haste therto shewth you loth,
And to haste your goyng, the daie awaie goth,
And that tyme loste, agayne we can not wyn,
Without more losse of tyme this tale I begyn.
In this late old wydow, and than old new wyfe,
Age and appetite fell at a strong stryfe.
Hir lust was as yong, as hir lyms were olde.
The daie of hir weddyng, lyke one to be solde.
She set out her selfe in fine aparell.
She was made like a beere pot, or a barell.
A croked hoked nose, beetyll browde, bleare eyde.
Many men wishte, for beautifying that bryde,
Hir waste to be gyrd in, and for a boone grace,
Some well fauourd visor, on hir yll fauourd face.
But with visorlike visage, suche as it was,
She smyrkd, and she smylde, but so lisped this las,
That folke might haue thought it done onely alone,
Of wantonnesse. had not her teeth been gone.
Vpryght as a candell standeth in a soket,
Stoode she that daie, so sympre de coket,
Of auncient fathers she toke no cure nor care.
She was to theim, as koy as a crokers mare.
Page  [unnumbered]She toke thentertaynment of the yong men
All in dalyance, as nyce as a nuns hen.
I suppose that daie hir eares might well glow.
For all the towne talkt of hir, hye and low.
One sayde, a well fauourd olde woman she is.
The deuyll she is, said an other, and to this,
In came the thyrde, with his. v. egges, and sayde,
Fyfty yere ago I knewe hir a trym mayde.
What euer she were than (sayd one) she is now,
To become a bryde, as meete as a sow
To beare a saddle. She is in this mariage
As comely as is a cowe in a cage.
Gup with a galde backe gill, come vp to souper.
What myne olde mare wolde haue a newe crouper.
And nowe myne olde hat must haue a new band.
Well (quoth one) glad is he that hath hir in hand.
A goodly mariage she is, I here saie.
She is so (quoth one) were the woman away.
Well (quoth an other) fortune this moueth.
And in this case euery man as he loueth.
Quoth the good man, whan that he kyst his cowe.
That kys (quoth one) doth wel here, by god a vowe.
But how can she gyue a kysse sowre or sweete?
Hir chyn and hir nose, within halfe an ynche meete.
God is no botcher syr, saied an other.
He shapeth all partes, as eche parte maie fitte other.
Well (quoth one) wysely, let vs leaue this skannyng.
God spede theim. be as be maie is no bannyng.
That shalbe, shalbe. and with gods grace they shall
Doo well. And that they so maie, wyshe we all.
Page  [unnumbered]This wonder (as wōders last) lasted nine daies.
Which done, & all gests of this feast gon theyr waies,
Ordinary householde this man began
Very sumptuousely, whiche he might well doo than,
What he wold haue, he might haue. his wife was set,
In suche dotage of hym, that fayre wordes dyd fet,
Gromelsede plentee. and pleasure to prefer,
She made muche of hym, & he mockt muche of her.
I was as (I saied) muche there, and moste of all
The fyrst month. in which time such kindnes did fall,
Betwene these .ii. counterfaite turtle burds.
To see his sweete looks, and here her swete wurds,
And to thynke wherfore they bothe, put bothe in vre,
It wolde haue made a hors breake his halter sure.
Al the fyrst fortnight theyr tickīg might haue tought,
Any yong couple, their loue ticks to haue wrought.
Some laught. & seyd, al thyng is gay that is greene.
Som therto said, the grene new brome swepith cleene
But sens al thyng is the wors for the wearyng,
Decay of clene sweepyng folke had in fearyng.
And in dede, er .ii. monthes awaie were crept,
And her byggest baggs into his bosome swept,
Where loue had appeerd in hym to her alwaie
Hotte as a toste, it grew cold as a kaie.
He, at meate caruyng hir, and none els before,
Now carued he to all but hir, & hir no more.
Where hir words seemd hony, by his smylyng chere,
Now are they mustard. he frowneth them to here.
And whan she sawe swete sauce begyn to waxe sowre,
She waxt as sowre as he, and as well coulde lowre.
Page  [unnumbered]So turned they theyr tippets by waie of exchaunge,
From laughyng to louryng, & taunts did so raunge,
That in playne terms, playne truth to you to vtter,
They two agreed, lyke two catts in a gutter.
Mary sir (quoth he) by scratchyng and bytyng
Catts and dogs come togither. by folks recityng,
Togyther by the eares they come (quoth I) cherely.
How be it those words are not voyde here clerely,
For in one state they twayne could not yet settyll.
But waueryng as the wynde. in docke out nettyll.
Now in now out, now here now there, now sad,
Now mery, now hye now lowe, nowe good now bad.
In whiche vnstedy sturdy stormes streynable.
To know how they bothe were irrefreynable,
Marke how they fell out, and how they fell in.
At thende of a supper she dyd thus begyn.

The seconde chapiter.

HVsband (quoth she) I wold we were in our nest.
Whan the bely is full, the bones wold be at rest.
So soone vpon supper (sayd he) no question,
Slepe maketh yll and vnholsome digestion.
By that diete a great disease ons I gat.
And burnt chylde fyre dredth. I will beware of that.
What a post of physyk (seyd she) ye a post.
And from post to piller wyfe, I haue been tost
By that surfet. And I feele a litle fit,
Euen nowe. by former attemptyng of it.
Wherby, except I shall seeme to leaue my wyt,
Before it leaue me, I must nowe leaue it.
Page  [unnumbered]I thanke god (quoth she) I neuer yet felte payne,
To go to bed tymely. but rysyng agayne
To soone in the mornyng, hath me displeased.
And I (quoth he) haue been more diseased,
By early lying downe, than by early rysyng.
But thus differ folke lo, in exercysyng.
That that one maie not, an other maie.
Vse maketh mastry. and men many tymes saie,
That one loueth not, an other doth, which hath sped,
All meates to be eaten, and all maydes to be wed.
Haste ye to bed now, and ryse ye as ye rate.
Whyle I ryse early, and come to bedde late.
Long lying warme in bed is holsome (quoth she)
While the leg warmeth, the boote harmeth (quoth he)
Well (quoth she) he that dooth as moste men doo,
Shalbe leste wondred on. and take any twoo,
That be man and wyfe in all this holle towne,
And moste parte togyther, they ryse and lye downe.
Whan byrds shall roust (quoth he) at .viii.ix. or ten,
Who shall appoynt their houre. the cocke, or the hen.
The hen (quoth she) the cock quoth he) iust (quoth she)
As Iermans lips. It shal proue, more iust (quoth he)
Than proue I (quoth she) the more foole far awaie.
But there is no foole to the olde foole, folke saie.
Ye are wise enough (quoth he) yf ye kepe ye warme,
To be kepte warme, and for none other harme.
Nor for muche more good, I tooke you to wedde.
I toke not you (quoth he) nyght and daie to bedde.
Hir carreyne carkas (saied he) is so colde,
Bycause she is aged, and somwhat to olde,
Page  [unnumbered]That she kylth me. I do but rost a stone.
In warmyng hir. And shall not I saue one,
As she wold saue an other? yes by seynt Iohne.
A syr (quoth she) mary this geare is alone.
Who that worst may shal holde the candyll, I se.
I must warme bed for hym shuld warme it for me.
This medicine, thus ministred is sharpe and colde.
But al thyng that is sharpe is short. folk haue tolde,
This trade is nowe begun, but yf it holde on,
Then farewell my good days. they will be sone gone.
Gospell in thy mouth (quoth he) this strife to breake.
How be it, all is not gospell that thou dooest speake,
But what nede we lumpe out loue at ones lashyng,
As we shuld now shake hāds. what soft for dashyng.
The fayre lasteth all the yere. we be new kneet.
And so late met, that I feare, we parte not yeet,
Quoth the baker to the pillory. Whiche thyng
From distemperate fonding temperance maie bryng.
And this reason to ayde, and make it more strong,
Olde wise folke saie, loue me lyttle loue me long.
I saie little (saied she) but I thynke more.
Thought is fre. Ye lean (quoth he) to the wrōg shore.
Braulyng booted not, he was not that night bent.
To plaie the bridegrome, Alone to bed she went.
This was their begynnyng of iar. How be it,
For a begynnyng, this was a feate fyt,
And but a fleabytyng to that dyd ensew.
The worst is behynde. we com not where it grew.
Howe saie you (saied he to me) by my wyfe.
The diuell hath caste a bone (sayd I) to set strife
Page  [unnumbered]Betwene you, but it were a foly for me,
To put my hande betweene the barke and the tre.
Or to put my fynger to far in the fyre.
Betwene you, and lay my credence in the myre.
To medyll lytle for me it is best.
For of lytle medlyng there comth great rest.
Yes ye may medyll (quoth he) to make hir wise,
Wythout takyng harme, in gyuyng your aduise.
She knowth me not yet, but yf she wax to wylde,
I shall make her know, an olde knaue is no chylde.
Sluggyng in bed with hir is wors then watchyng,
I promyse you, an old sack asketh muche paschyng.
Well (quoth I) to morow I will to my beades,
To pray, that as ye both wyll, so ake your heades.
And in meane tyme my akyng hed to ease,
I wyll couch a hogs hed. Quoth he when ye please.
We parted, and this within a daie or twayne,
Was raakt vp in thashes, and couerd agayne.

¶The thyrde chapiter.

THese .ii. daies past, he sayd to me, whan ye will
Com chat at home. al is wel. Iak shal haue gill.
Who had the wors ende of the staffe (quoth I now?)
Shall the maister weare a breeche, or none. sey you.
I truste the sow will no more so deepe wroote.
But if she do (quoth he) you must set in foote.
And whome ye see out of the waie, or shoote wyde,
Ouershoote not your selfe any syde to hyde.
But shoote out some wordes, yf she be to whot.
She maie saie (quoth I) a fooles bolte is soone shot.
Page  [unnumbered]Ye will me to a thanklesse office here.
And a busy officer I maie appere.
And Iak out of office she maie byd me walke.
And thynke me as wise as Waltams calfe, to talke,
Or chat of hir charge, hauyng therin nought to doo.
How be it, if I se nede, as my parte comth to,
Gladly betwene you I will doo my beste.
I byd you to dyner (quoth he) as no geste,
And bryng your pore neighbors on your other syde.
I dyd so. And streight as tholde wife vs espide,
She bad vs welcome. and merily toward me,
Grene rushes for this strāger, strewe here (quoth she)
With this a parte she pulde me by the sleue.
Saying in few words, my mynde to you to meue,
So it is, that all our great fraie the last nyght,
Is forgeuen and forgotten betwene vs quight.
And all fraies by this I trust haue taken ende.
For I fully hope my husbande will amende.
Well amended (thought I) whan ye bothe relent,
Not to your owne, but eche to others mendment.
Nowe if hope faile (quoth she) & chance bryng about
Any suche breache, wherby we fall agayne out,
I praie you tell hym his pars vers now and than.
And wynke on me also hardly, if ye can
Take me in any tryp. Quoth I, I am lothe,
To meddle commonly. For as this tale gothe,
Who medleth in all thyng, maie shoe the goslyng.
Well (quoth she) your medlyng herein maie bryng
The wynd calme betwene vs, whā it els might rage.
I will with good will (quoth I) yll wynds to swage,
Page  [unnumbered]Spēd som wīd at nede, though I wast wind in vayn.
To table we sat, where fyne fare dyd remayn.
Mery we were as cup and can coulde holde,
Eche one with eche other homely and bolde.
And she for hir parte, made vs chere heauen hye.
The fyrst parte of diner mery as a pie.
But a scalde head is soone broken. and so they,
As ye shall streight here, fell at a newe fraie.

¶The fourthe chapiter.

HVsband (quoth she) ye study. be mery now.
And euen as ye thynke now, so come to you.
Nay not so (quoth he) for my thought to tell ryght,
I thynke how ye lay gronyng wyfe, all last nyght.
Husbande, a gronyng hors, and a gronyng wyfe,
Neuer fayle theyr maister (quoth she) for my lyfe.
No wyfe. a woman hath nyne lyues lyke a cat.
Well my lambe (quoth she) ye may picke out of that,
As soone gothe the yong lambskyn to the market,
As tholde yews. God forbyd wyfe, ye shall fyrst iet.
I will not iet yet (quoth she) put no doubtyng.
It is a bad sacke that will abide no cloutyng.
And as we ofte see, the lothe stake standeth longe,
So is it an yll stake (I haue herde amonge)
That can not stande one yere in a hedge.
I drynke (quoth she) Quoth he, I will not pledge.
What nede all this. a man may loue his house well,
Though he ryde not on the ridge, I haue herde tell.
What, I wene (quoth she) proferd seruice stynkth.
But somwhat it is, I se, whan the cat wynkth,
Page  [unnumbered]And bothe her eyen out, but further stryfe to shonne,
Let the cat wynke, and leat the mous ronne.
This past, and he chered vs all. but moste chere,
On his part, to this fayre yong wyfe dyd appere.
And as he to her caste ofte a louyng iye,
So caste hir husbande lyke iye, to his plate by.
Wherwith in a great musyng he was brought.
Frend (quoth the good man) a peny for your thought.
For my thought (quoth he) that is a goodly dishe.
But of trouth I thought, better to haue than wishe.
What. a goodly yong wyfe, as you haue (quoth he)
Nay (quoth he) goodly gylt gobblets, as here be.
Byr lady freends (quoth I) this maketh a show,
To shewe you more vnnaturall than the crow.
The crow thynkth her own byrds fairest in the wood.
But by your woords (except I wrong vnderstood)
Eche others byrds or iewels, ye doo weie
Aboue your owne. True (quoth the old wyfe) ye sey.
But my neighbours desyre rightly to measure,
Comth of neede. and not of corrupte pleasure,
And my husbands more of pleasure, than of nede.
Olde fishe & yong flesh (quoth he) doth men best fede.
And some sey, chaunge of pasture makth fat calues.
As for that reason (quoth she) ronth to halues.
As well for the cowe calfe as for the bull.
And though your pasture looke bareynly and dull,
Yet loke not on the meate, but loke on the man.
And who so looketh on you, shall shortly skan,
Ye may write to your frends, that ye are in helth.
But all thyng maie be suffred sauyng welthe.
Page  [unnumbered]An olde saied sawe, itche and ease, can no man please.
Plentie is no deyntie. ye see not your owne ease.
I see, ye can not see the wood for trees.
Your lyps hang in your light. but this poore mā sees
Bothe howe blyndly ye stande in your owne lyght,
And that you rose on your right syde here ryght.
And might haue gon further, and haue faren wurs.
I wote well I might (quoth he) for the purs,
But ye be a baby of Belsabubs bowre.
Content ye (quoth she) take the swete with the sowre.
Fancy may boult bran, and make ye take it flowre.
It will not be (quoth he) shulde I dy this houre,
While this fayre flowre flourisheth thus in myne iye.
Yes, it might (quoth she, and here this reason why.
Snowe is white and euery man lets it lye.
And lieth in the dike and euery man lets it lye.
Pepper is blacke And euery man doth it bye.
And hath a good smacke And euery man doth it bye.
Mylke (quoth he) is white but all men know it good meate.
And lyeth not in the dyke but all men know it good meate.
Inke is all blacke No man will it drynke nor eate.
And hath an yll smacke No man will it drynke nor eate.
Thy ryme (quoth he) is muche elder than myne,
But myne beyng newer, is trewer than thyne.
Thou likenest now, for a vayne auauntage,
White snow to fayre youth, black pepper to foule age
Whiche are placed out of place here by rood.
Black ynke is as yl meate, as black pepper is good.
And white mylke as good meat, as white snow is yll.
But a milk snow whit smoth yōg skin, who chāge wil
Page  [unnumbered]For a pepper ynke blacke rough olde riueld face?
Though chaunge be no robbry for the changed case,
Yet shall that chaunge rob the changer of his wyt,
For who this case sercheth, shall soone see in yt,
That as well agreeth thy comparison in these,
As a lyke to compare in taste, chalke and chese.
Or a like in colour to deme ynke and chalke.
Walk drab walke. Nay (quoth she) walk knaue walk
Saieth that terme, How be it syr, I, saie not so.
And best we laie a strawe here, and euen there who.
Orels this geare wyll brede a pad in the strawe.
If ye hale this waie, I will an other waie drawe.
Here is god in thambry (quoth I) Quoth he, naie,
Here is the deuill in thorologe, ye maie saie.
Sens this (quoth I) rather brīgeth bale than boote,
Wrap it in the clothe, and treade it vnder foote.
Ye harpe on the stryng, that giueth no melody.
Your tongs ron before your wits, by seynt Antony.
Mark ye, how she hitteth me on the thūbs (quoth he)
And ye taunt me tyt ouer thumb (quoth she)
Sens tyt for tat (quoth I) on euen hand is set,
Set the hares head agaynst the goose ieblet.
She is (quoth he) bent to fors you perfors
To know, that the grey mare is the better hors.
She chopth logyk. to put me to my clargy.
She hath one poynte of a good hauke, she is hardy.
But wyfe, the first poynte of hawkyng is holde fast.
And holde ye fast, I red you, lest ye be cast,
In your own tourne. Nay she will tourne the leafe.
And rather (quoth I) take as falth in the sheafe,
Page  [unnumbered]At your hands. and let fall her hold. than be to bold,
Nay, I will spit in my hands, and take better hold.
He (quoth she) that will be angry without cause,
Muste be at one, without amends. by sage sawes.
Treade a worme on the tayle, & it must turne agayne.
He taketh pepper in the nose, that I complayne
Vpon his fautes, my selfe beyng fautlesse.
But that shall not stop my mouth, ye maie well gesse.
Well (quoth I) to muche of one thyng is not good.
Leaue of this. Be it (quoth he) falle we to our food.
But suffrance is no quittance in this dayment.
No (quoth she) nor mysrecknyng is no paiement.
But euen recknyng maketh long freends. my freend.
For alwaie owne is owne, at the recknyngs eend.
This recknyng thus reckned. and dyner ons doone,
We three from theim twayn, departed very soone.

¶ The fyfte chapiter.

THis olde woman, the next daie after this nyght,
Stale home to me secretely as she myght.
To talke with me, in secret counsell (she sayed)
Of thyngs, whiche in no wyse myght be bewrayed.
We twayne are one to many (quoth I) for men saie,
Three maie keepe a counsell, if two be awaie.
But all that ye speake, vnmete agayne to tell,
I will saie nought but mum, and mum is counsell.
Well than (quoth she) herein auoydyng all feares,
Auoyd your children. smal pitchers haue wide eares.
Whiche done (she saied) I haue a husband, ye know,
Whom I made of nought, as the thīg self doth show
Page  [unnumbered]And for these two causes onely hym I tooke.
Fyrst, that he for my loue, shulde louyngly looke,
In all kyndes of cause, that loue ingender myght,
To loue and cheryshe me by daie and by nyght.
Secondly, the substance, whiche I to hym brought,
He rather should augment than bryng to nought.
But now my good shall bothe be spent, ye shall see,
And it in spendyng soole instrument shall bee
Of my distruction. by spendyng it on suche
As shall make hym distroie me. I feare this muche.
He maketh hauok. and setteth cocke on the hoope.
He is so laueis, the stocke begynneth to droope.
And as for gayne is deade, and laied in tumbe.
Whan he should get ought, eche fynger is a thumbe.
Eche of his ioyntes agaynst other iustles,
As handsomly as a beare picketh muscles.
He maketh his martes with marchantes lykely,
To bryng a shillyng to nyne pence quickely.
Flattryng knaues & queans a sort, beyond the mark.
Hang on his sleue, & many hands make light wark.
If he holde on a whyle, as he begyns,
We shall se hym proue a marchant of eele skyns.
A marchaunt, without either money or ware.
But all be bugs words, that I speake to spare.
Better spare at brym than at bottom, saie I,
Euer spare and euer bare, saieth he, by and by.
Spend, & god shall sende (saith he) saith thold balet.
What sendth he (saie I) a staffe and a wallet.
Than vp goth his staffe, to sende me a loufe.
He is at thre words vp in the house roufe.
Page  [unnumbered]He hath a nest of chekyns, whiche he dothe brood,
That wil sure make his heare grow thorow his hood.
And herein to grow (quoth she) to conclusyon,
I pray your ayde, to auoyd this confusion.
And for counsell herein, I thought to haue gon,
To that cunnyng man, our curate sir Iohn̄.
But this kept me back. I haue herd now and then,
The greattest clerks be not all the wisest men.
I thynk (quoth I) who euer that terme began,
Was neither great clerke, nor the greatest wise man.
In your rennyng from hym to me, ye roon
Out of gods blissyng, in to the warme soon.
Where the blind ledth the blinde, both fall in the dike.
And blinde be we both, if we thynke vs his lyke.
Folke show muche foly, whan thyngs shuld be sped.
To ren to the foote, that may go to the hed,
Syns he best can, and most ought to do it,
I feare not, but he will, if ye will woo it.
There is one let (quoth she) mo then I spake on,
My husband and he be so great, that the ton
Can not pisse, but the tother must let a fart.
Choose we hym a party, then farwell my part.
We shall so parte stake, that I shall lese the hole.
Folk say of olde, the shooe wyll holde with the sole.
Shall I trust hym then? nay in trust is treason.
But I trust you, and come to you this season,
To here me, and tell me, what way ye thynk best,
To hem in my husband, and set me in rest.
If ye mynde (quoth I) a conquest to make
Ouer your husband, no man maie vndertake
Page  [unnumbered]To bryng you to ease, nor the matter amende.
Except ye bryng him to weare a cocks combe at ende.
For take that your husband were, as ye take hym.
As I take hym not, as your tale wolde make hym,
Yet were contencion lyke to doo nought in this,
But kepe hym nought, & make hym wors than he is.
But in this complaynt, for counsel quicke and clere,
A few prouerbs for principuls, leat vs here.
Who that maie not as they wolde, will as they maie.
And this to this, they that are bounde must obaie.
Foly it is to spurne against a pricke,
To striue agaynst the streme, to winche or kicke
Agaynst the hard wall. By this ye maie see,
Being bounde to obedience, as ye bee,
And also ouermatcht, suffraunce is your daunce.
He maie ouermatche me (quoth she) perchaunce
In strength of bodie, but my tung is a lym,
To matche and to vexe euery veine of hym.
Tong breaketh bone, it selfe hauyng none (quoth I)
If the wynde stande in that doore, it standth a wry,
The perill of pratyng out of tune by note,
Telth vs, that a good be still is woorth a grote.
In beyng your owne foe, you spyn a fayre threede.
Aduise ye well, for here doeth all lye and bleede.
Flee thattemptyng of extremitees all.
Folke saie, better syt still, than rise and fall.
And where the smalle with the great, can not agree,
The weaker goth to the potte, we all daie see.
So that alwaie the bygger eateth the beane.
Ye can nought wyn, by any wayward meane.
Page  [unnumbered]Where the hedge is lowest, men maie soonest ouer.
Be silent. Leat not your tong ron at rouer.
Sens by stryfe, ye maie lose, and can not wyn,
Suffer. It is good slepyng in a whole skyn.
If he chide, kepe you bill vnder wyng muet.
Chattyng to chydyng is not worth a chuet.
We se many tymes myght ouercomth ryght.
Were not you as good thā to say, the crow is whight.
And so rather let fayre woords make fooles fayn.
Thā be plain without plites, & plant your own payn,
For were ye as playne as Dunstable hye waie.
Yet shulde ye that waie rather breake a loue daie,
Than make one. thus though ye perfitly knew,
All that ye coniecture to be proued trew.
Yet better dissemble it, and shake it of.
Than to broyd hym with it in earnest or scof.
If he plaie falsehed in felowshyp, plaie ye,
Se me, and se me not. the worst part to fle.
Why thynke ye me so white lyuerd (quoth she?)
That I will be tong tied? Nay I warrant ye.
They that will be afrayde of euery farte,
Must go farre to pisse. Well quoth I, your parte
Is to suffre (I saie.) For ye shall preeue,
Taunts appease not thyngs, they rather agreeue.
But for yll company, or expence extreeme,
I here no man doubte, so far as ye deeme.
And there is no fyre without some smoke, we see.
Well well, make no fyre, reyse no smoke (said shee)
What cloke for the rayne so euer ye bryng me,
My selfe can tell best, where my shoe doth wryng me,
Page  [unnumbered]But as ye saie, where fyre is, smoke will appere.
And so hath it doone. For I dyd lately here,
How flek and his make, vse theyr secrete hauntyng,
By one byrd, that in myne eare was late chauntyng.
One swalow maketh not sommer (saied I) men saie,
I haue (quoth she) mo blocks in his waie to laie.
For further encrease of suspicion of yls,
Besyde his iettyng in to the towne, to his gils.
With caletts he consumeth hym selfe and my goods,
Somtyme in the feelds, sometyme in the woods.
Some here and se him, whom he hereth nor seeth not.
But feelds haue eies, and woods haue eares. ye wot.
And also on my maydes he is euer tootyng.
Can ye iudge a man (quoth I) by his lookyng?
What, a cat maie looke on a kyng. ye know,
My cats leeryng loke (quoth she) at fyrst show,
Shewth me, that my cat gothe a catterwawyng.
And specially by his maner of drawyng,
To Madge my fayre mayde. for maie he come ny hir,
He must nedes basse hir, as he comth by hir.
He loueth wel sheeps flesh, that wets his bred in wul.
If he leaue it not, we haue a crow to pull.
He loueth hir better at the sole of the foote,
Than euer he loued me at the herte roote.
It is a foule byrd, that fyleth his owne nest.
I wolde haue hym lyue as gods lawe hath exprest.
And leaue leude tyckyng. he that will none yll do,
Must do nothyng, that belongeth therto.
To ticke and laugh with me, he hath laufull leeue.
To that I saied nought, but laught in my sleeue.
Page  [unnumbered]But whan she semed to me fixed in mynde,
Rather to seke for that she was lothe to fynde,
Then leue that sekyng, by which she might fynd ease.
I fainde this fancy to feele how it wolde please.
Wyll ye do well (quoth I) take peyne to watche hym.
And if ye chance in aduoutry to catche hym,
Then haue ye hym on the hyp, or on the hyrdell.
Then haue ye his head fast vnder your gyrdell.
Where your words now do but rub hym on the gall.
That dede without words shal dryue him to the wal.
And further than the wall, he can not go.
But must submyt hym selfe. and if it hap so,
That at ende of your watche, he gyltles appere,
Thā al grudge, growne by ielousy, taketh end clere.
Of all folks I maie worst watche hym (saieth she)
For of all folks him selfe most watcheth me.
I shall as soone trie hym or take hym this waie,
As dryue a top ouer a tyeld house, no naie.
I maie kepe corners or holow trees with thowle,
This seuen yeres, daie and night to watche a bowle,
Before I shall catche hym with vndoubted euyll.
He must haue a long spoone, shal eate with the deuyl.
And the deuyll is no falser then is he.
I haue ofte herde tell, it had nede to be
A wyly mouse, that shuld breede in the cats eare.
Shall I get within hym than? naie ware that geare.
It is harde haltyng before a cripple, ye wot.
A falser water drynker there lyueth not.
Whan he hunteth a doe, that he can not auow,
All dogs barke not at hym, I warrant you.
Page  [unnumbered]Namely not I, I saie, though, as I sayed,
He somtyme, though seldome, by some be bewrayed.
Close huntyng (quoth I) the good hunter alowth.
But be your husband neuer so still of mowth,
If ye can hunte, and will stande at receyte,
Your mayde examinde, maketh hym open streyte.
That wer (quoth she) as of my truth to make preefe,
To axe my fellow, whether I be a theefe.
They cleaue togither like burs. that waie I shall
Pike out no more, than out of the stone wall.
Then lyke ye not to watche hym for wyfe nor mayde.
No (quoth she.) Nor I (quoth I) what euer I sayde.
And I myslyke not onely your watche in vayne,
But also yf ye tooke hym. what coulde ye gayne?
From suspicion to knowlege of yll. for sothe
Coulde make ye do, but as the flounder dothe,
Leape out of the frying pan into the fyre.
And change from yl pein to wurs is worth smal hyre.
Let tyme trie. tyme trieth trouth in euery dout.
And deme the best, til tyme hath tried the trouth out.
And reason saieth, make not two sorows of one.
But ye make ten sorows, where reason maketh none.
For where reason (as I saied) wylth you to wynke,
(Although all were proued, as yll as ye thynke)
Contrary to reason ye stampe and ye stare.
Ye frete and ye fume, as mad as a marche hare.
Without profe to his reprofe present or paste.
But by suche reporte, as moste proue lies at laste.
And here goth the hare awaie, for ye iudge all,
And iudge the worst in all, or profe in ought fall.
Page  [unnumbered]But blind men shold iudge no colours. by old sawes,
And folk ofttimes are most blind in their own cause.
The blynde eate many flyes. how be it the fansy,
Of your blyndnesse comth not of ignorancy,
Ye could tell a nother herein, the best way.
But it is as folke dooe. and not as folke say,
As ye can seeme wise in words, be wise in dede.
That is (quoth she) sooner sayd than done, I drede▪
But me thynkth your councell weyth in the whole,
To make me put my fynger in a hole.
And so by sufferaunce to be so lyther,
In my howse, to ley fyre and tow togyther.
But if they fyre me, some of them shall wyn
More tow on their distaues, then they can well spyn.
And the best of them shall haue both their hands full,
Bolster or pyllow for me, be whose wull.
I wyll not beare the deuyls sack, by saint Audry.
For concelyng suspycyon of their bawdry.
I feare false measures, or els I were a childe.
For they that thynk none yll, ar sonest begylde.
And thus though much water go by the myll,
That the myller knoweth not of, yet I wyll
Cast what maie scape. and as though I dyd fynde it,
With the clak of my myll, to fyne meale grynd it.
And sure or I take any rest in effect,
I must banysh my maydes, such as I suspect.
Better it be done than wysh it had bene doone.
As good vndone (quoth I) as dooe it to soone.
Well (quoth she) tyll sone, fare ye well, and this
Kepe now as secret, as ye thynk meete is.
Page  [unnumbered]Out at doors went she herewith. and herevpon
In at dors cam he forthwith as she was gon.
And, without any temprate protestacyon,
Thus he began, in way of exclamacion.

The .vi. chapiter.

OH what choyse may compare, to the deuyls lyfe,
Lyke his, that hath chosen a deuyll to his wife.
Namely suche an olde wytche, suche a mackabroyne,
As euermore lyke a hog hangeth the groyne,
On her husband. except he be hir slaue,
And folow all fancyes, that she wold haue.
This prouerbe proueth, there is no good accorde,
Where euery man woulde be a lorde.
Wherfore my wyfe wilbe no lord, but lady.
To make me, that shulde be hir lorde, a baby.
Before I was wedded, and sens. I made recknyng▪
To make my wyfe boow at euery becknyng.
Bachelers bost, how they wil teche their wiues good,
But many a man speaketh of Robyn hood,
That neuer shotte in his bowe. Whan all is sought,
Bachelers wiues, & maides children be well tought.
And this with this, I also begyn to gather,
Euery man can rule a shrewe saue he that hath her.
At my wil I wend she wolde haue wrought, like wax.
But I fynde and feele, she hath founde suche knakx.
In hir bouget, and suche toies in hir hed,
That to daunce after her pipe I am ny led.
It is saied of olde, an olde dog byteth sore.
But by god, tholde bitche byteth sorer and more.
Page  [unnumbered]And not with teeth (she hath none) but with hir tong.
If all tales be true (quoth I) though she be stong,
And therby styng you, she is not muche to blame.
For what euer you saie, thus goeth the fame,
Whan folke fyrst saw your substāce layd in your lap,
Without your pein, wt your wife broght by good hap
Oft in remembrance of haps happy deuise,
They wold saie, better to be happy than wyse.
Not myndyng therby than, to depraue your wyt,
For they had good hope, to see good profe of yt.
But sens their good opinion therin so cooles,
That they saie as ofte, god sendeth fortune to fooles.
In that as fortune without your wyt gaue it,
So can your wyt not kepe it whan ye haue it.
Saieth one, this geare was gotten on a holy daie.
Saieth an other, who maie holde that will awaie.
This game frō beginning, shewth what end is ment.
Soone gotten soone spent, yll gotten yll spent.
Ye are calde not onely to great a spender,
To franke a gyuer, and as free a lender,
But also ye spende gyue and lende, among suche,
Whose lightnesse minisheth your honestee as muche,
As your money, and muche they disalow,
That ye bribe all from hir, that brought all to yow.
And spende it out at doors, in spite of hir,
Bycause ye wolde kill hir, to be quite of hir.
For all kyndnesse of hir parte, that maie ryse,
Ye shewe all thunkyndnesse ye can deuyse.
And where reason and custome (they saie) afoords
Alwaie to let the loosers haue theyr woords,
Page  [unnumbered]You make hir a cookqueyn, and consume hir good.
And she must syt lyke a beane in a monks hood.
Bearyng no more rule, than a goose turd in tems.
But at hir owne maydens becks, wynks, or hems.
She must obeie those lambs, or els a lambs skyn,
Ye will prouide for hir, to lap her in.
This byteth the mare by the thumbe, as they sey.
For were ye, touchyng condicion (saie they)
The castell of honestee in all thyngs els.
Yet shoulde this one thyng as their holle tale tels,
Defoyle and deface that castell to a cotage.
One crop of a tourde marrth a pot of potage.
And some to this, crye, let hym pas, for we thynke,
The more we stur a tourde, the wours it will stynke.
With many condicions good, one that is yll,
Defaceth the floure of all, and dothe all spyll.
Nowe (quoth I) if you thynke they truely clatter,
Let your amendement amende the matter.
Half warnd half armd. this warnīg for this I show,
He that hath an yll name, is halfe hangd. ye know.

¶The .vii chapiter.

VVell saied (saied he) mary syr here is a tale,
For honestee, meete to set the dyuell on sale.
But nowe am I forst, a bead roll to vnfolde,
To tell somwhat more to the tale I erst tolde.
Grow this, as most part doth, I durst holde my lyfe,
Of the ielousy of dame Iulok my wyfe,
Than shall ye wonder, whan truth dothe define,
Howe she can, and dothe here, bothe bite and whine.
Page  [unnumbered]Fransy, heresy, and ielousy are three,
That men saie hardly or neuer cured be.
And all though ielousy nede not or boote not,
What helpeth that counsell, if reason roote not.
And in madde ielousy she is so farre gon,
She thynkth I roon ouer all, that I looke on.
Take good hede of that (quoth I) for at a worde,
The prouerbe saieth, he that striketh with the sworde,
Shalbe striken with the scaberde. Tushe (quoth he)
The diuell with my scaberde will not strike me,
But my dame takyng suspicion for full preefe,
Reporteth it for trouth, to the moste mischeefe.
In words gold and hole, as men by wyt could wishe.
She will lye as fast as a dogge will lycke a dishe.
She is of trouth as fals, as god is trew.
And if she chaunce to see me at a vew
Kysse any of my maides alone, but in sporte,
That taketh she in ernest▪ after Bedleem sorte.
The cow is wood. Hir tong ronth on patens.
If it be morne, we haue a payre of matens.
If it be euen, euensong. not latyn nor greeke,
But englyshe, and lyke thutas in easter weeke.
She beginneth, fyrst with a cry a leysone.
To whiche she ringth a peale, a larom. suche one,
As folk ring bees wt basōs. ye world ronth on wheles.
But except her mayde shewe a fayre payre of heles,
She haleth hir by the booy rope, tyll her brayns ake.
And bring I home a good dishe, good chere to make,
What is this (saith she) Good meat (saie I) for yow.
God a mercy hors, a pyg of myne owne sowe.
Page  [unnumbered]Thus whan I se, by kyndnesse ease renewth not,
And than, that the eie seeth not, the herte rewth not,
And that he must nedes go, whō the diuel doth driue,
Hir fors forsyng me, for myne ease to contriue,
To leat her faste and freate alone for me,
I go where mery chat, and good chere maie be.
Much spend I abrode, which at home shuld be spent,
If she wolde leaue controllyng, and be content.
There lepte a whityng (quoth she) and lept in streite.
Ye shall streight here (quoth she) a prety conceite.
He maketh you beleue, by lyes leyde on by lode,
My braulyng at home, maketh hym banket abrode.
Where his bankets abrode, make me braule at home,
For as in a frost, a mud wall made of lome
Cracketh and crummeth in peeces a sonder,
So melteth his money, to the worldes wonder.
Thus maie ye se, to tourne the cat in the pan,
Or set the cart before the hors, well he can.
He is but little at home, the trewth is so.
And forth with hym he will not let me go.
And if I come to be mery where he is,
Than is he mad. as ye shall here by this.
Where he with gosseps at a banket late was,
At whiche as vse is, he payde all. but let pas.
I came to be mery. wherwith meryly,
Proface. Haue among you blynde harpers (sayd I.)
The mo the merier, we all daie here and se.
Ye but the fewer the better fare (saied he)
Then here were, er I came (quoth I) to many.
Here is littell meate lefte, if there be any.
Page  [unnumbered]And it is yll commyng, I haue harde say,
To thend of a shot, and begynnyng of a fray.
Put vp thy purs (quoth he) thou shalt none pay.
And fray here shuld be none, were thou gon thy way.
Here is, syns thou camst, to many feet a bed.
Welcom when thou goest. thus is thyne errand sped.
I come (quoth I) to be one here, if I shall,
It is mery in halle, when berds wag all.
What byd me welcom pyg. I pray the kys me.
Nay farewell sow (quoth he) our lorde blys me
From bassyng of beasts of beare bynder lane,
I haue (quoth I) for fyne suger, fayre rats bane.
Many yeres sens, my mother seyd to me,
Hyr elders wold saie, it ys better to be
An olde mans derlyng, then a yong mans werlyng.
And god knowth, I knew none of this snerlyng.
In my olde husbands days. for as tenderly,
He loued me, as ye loue me slenderly.
We drew both by one line. Quoth he, wold to our lord
Ye had in that drawyng, hangd both in one corde.
For I neuer meete the at fleshe nor at fyshe,
But I haue sure a dead mans head in my dyshe.
Whose best and my worst day, that wisht myght be,
Was when thou dydst bury him, and mary me.
If you (quoth I) long for chaunge in those cases,
Wold to god he and you had chaunged places.
But best I chaunge place. for here I may be sparde.
And for my kynde comyng, this is my rewarde.
Claw a chorle by thars, and he shiteth in my hande.
Knak me that nut. much good doyt you al this band.
Page  [unnumbered]Muste she not (quoth he) be welcome to vs all,
Amonge vs all, lettyng suche a farewell fall?
But such carpēters, such chips. Quoth she folke tell,
Suche lips, such letise. suche welcom, suche farwell.
Thine own words (quoth he) thyn own welcom mard
Well (saied she) whan so euer we twayn haue iard,
My woords be pryed at narowly, I espye.
Ye can see a mote in an other mans iye,
But ye can not see a balke in your owne.
Ye marke my woords, but not that they be growne.
By reuellous rydyng on euery royle.
Well ny euery daie a newe mare or a moyle.
As muche vnhonest. as vnprofitable,
Whiche shall bryng vs shortly to be vnable,
To gyue a dog a lofe. as I haue oft sayde.
Howe be it your pleasure maie no tyme bee denayde.
But styll you must haue, both the fynest meate,
Apparell, and all thyng that money maie geate,
Lyke one of fonde fancy so fyne and so neate,
That wold haue better bread thā is made of wheate.
The best is best cheape (quoth he) men saie clere.
Well (quoth she) a man maie bie golde to dere,
Ye nother care, nor welny caste what ye paie,
To bye the derest for the best alwaie.
But wyse men can saie, agaynst hewyng to hye,
Hewe not to hye, lest the chyps fall in thyne iye.
Measure is a mery meane, as this dothe show.
Not to hy for the pye, nor to lowe for the crow.
The difference betweene staryng, and starke blynde,
The wyse man at all tymes to folowe can fynde.
Page  [unnumbered]And ywis an auditour of a meane wyt,
Maie soone accompt, though hereafter come not yet.
Yet is he sure be the daie neuer so longe,
Euermore at laste they ryng to euensonge.
And where ye spēd much, though ye spent but lickell,
Yet littell and littell the cat eateth the flickell.
Littell losse by length maie growe importable.
A mouse in tyme, maie bite a two, a gable.
Thus to ende of all thyngs, be we leefe or lothe,
Yet lo the pot so longe to the water gothe,
Tyll at the laste it comth home broken.
Fewe woords to the wise suffise to be spoken.
If ye were wise, here were ynough (quoth she)
Here is ynough, and to muche, dame (quoth he)
For though this appere a propre pulpet peese,
Yet whan the foxe preacheth, than beware our geese.
Thou woldest haue me hynch & pynch, like a snudge,
Euery daie to be thy driuell, or thy drudge.
Not so (quoth she) but I wold haue ye stur
Honestly, to kepe the wulfe from the dur.
Ofte saied the wise man, whom I erst dyd very,
Better are meales many, than one to mery.
Well (quoth he) that is answered with this. wyfe.
Better is one monthes chere, than a churles hole life.
I thynke it learnyng of a wyser lectour,
To lerne to make my selfe myne owne exectour.
Than spare for an other, that might wed the,
As the foole, thy fyrst husbande. spared for me,
And as for yll places, thou sekest me in mo,
And in wors to. than I into any go.
Page  [unnumbered]Wherby this prouerbe shewth the in by the weeke.
No man wyll an other in the ouen seeke,
Except that hym selfe haue been there before,
God gyue grace thou hast been good. I saie no more.
And wold haue the sai lesse. except thou couldst proue
Suche processe, as thou slaunderously doest moue.
For sclaunder perchaunce (quoth she) I not denye.
It maie be a sclaunder, but it is no lye.
It is a lye (quoth he) and thou a lyer.
Wyll ye (quoth she) dryue me to touche ye nyer?
I rub the gald hors back till he winche, and yit.
He wold make it seme, that I touche hym no whit.
But I wot what I wot, though I few words make,
Many kysse the childe for the nurces sake.
Ye haue many godchyldren to looke vpone,
And ye blesse theim all, but ye basse but one.
This half shewth, what the holle meanth, yt I meeue.
Ye fet circumquaques to make me beleeue
Or thynke, that the moone is made of a grene chese.
And whan ye haue made me a loute in all these,
It semeth ye wolde make me go to bed at noone.
Naie (quoth he) the daie of dome shall be doone
Er thou go to bed at noone, or nyght, for me,
Thou art, to be playn and not to flatter the,
As holsome a morsell for my comly cors,
As a shoulder of mutton for a sycke hors.
Thou makest me claw where it itcheth not. I wold
Thy toung were coolde to make thy tales more cold.
That aspine leafe, such spitefull clappyng hath bred,
That my cap is better at ease than my hed.
Page  [unnumbered]God sende that hed (saied she) a better nurs.
For whan the hed aketh, all the body is the wurs.
God graunt (quoth I) the hed and body bothe too,
To nurs eche other, better than they doo,
Or euer haue doone for the moste tymes paste,
I brought to nurs both (quoth she) had not bē waste,
Margery good cowe (quoth he) gaue a good meele,
But than she cast it downe agayne with hir heele.
Howe can her purs for profyte bee delitefull?
Whose persone and propretees be so spitefull
As are thyne. Sure a man were better begge,
Or syt with a rosted appull, or an egge,
Where his appetite serueth hym to bee,
Than euery daie to fare lyke a duke with the.
Lyke a duke, lyke a duck (quoth she) thou shalt fare,
Except thou wilt spare, more thā thou dost yet spare.
Thou farest to well (quoth he) but thou art so wood,
Thou knowst not who doth ye harm, who doth ye good
Yes yes (quoth she) for all those wyse words vttred,
I knowe on whiche syde my breade is buttred,
But there will no butter cleaue on my breade.
And on my breade any butter to be spreade,
Euery promyse that thou therin doest vtter,
Is as sure, as it were sealed with butter.
Or a mouse tyed with a threede. Euery good thyng,
Thou lettest euen slyp, like a wag halter slypstryng.
But take vp in tyme, or els I protest,
All be not abedde, that shall haue yll rest.
Nowe go to thy derlyngs, and declare thy greefe.
Where all thy plesure is. hop hoore, pype theefe?
Page  [unnumbered]

¶The eyght chapiter.

VVith this thēs hopt she, wherwith o lord he cride
What wretch but I, this wretchednes coud bide
Howe be it in all this wo, I haue no wronge,
For it onely is all on my selfe alonge.
Where I shuld haue bridled hir fyrst with rough byt,
To haue made hir chowe on the brydell one fyt,
For likorous lucre of a little winnyng,
I gaue hir the bridell at begynnyng.
And nowe she taketh the brydle in the teeth,
And runth awaie with it, wherby eche man seeth,
It is (as olde men right well vnderstande)
Ill puttyng a naakt sworde in a mad mans hande.
She taketh such hert of gras, yt though I maym hir,
Or kill hir, yet shall I neuer reclaym hir,
She hath (they say) been styffe necked euermore.
And it is yll healyng of an olde sore.
This prouerbe prophecied many yeres agone,
It will not out of the fleshe, thats bred in the bone.
What chaunce haue I, to haue a wyfe of suche sorte,
That will no faute amende, in earnest nor sporte,
A small thyng amysse late I dyd espy.
Whiche to make her mende, by a ieste meryly,
I sayde but this, taunt tyuet wyfe, your nose drops.
So it maie fall, I wil eate no browesse sops
This daie. But two daies after this came in vre,
I had sorowe to my sops ynough be sure.
Well (quoth I) it is yll iestyng on the soothe.
Soth bourd is no bourd, in ought that myrth dooth.
Page  [unnumbered]Suche iests could not iuggle hir, were ought amys.
Nor turne melancoly to myrth. for it is
No playing with a strawe before an olde cat,
Euery tryflyng toie age can not laugh at.
Ye maie walke this waie, but sure ye shall fynde,
The further ye go, the further behynde.
Ye shoulde consyder, the woman is olde.
And what for a whot worde. Sone whot, sone colde.
Beare with them, that beare with you. & she is scand,
Not onely the fayrest floure of your garlande,
But also she is all the fayre floures therof.
Will ye requite hir than with a tauntyng scof?
Or with any other kynde of vnkyndnesse?
Take hede is a fayre thyng. Beware this blyndnesse.
Why will ye (quoth he) I shall folowe hir will?
To make me Iohn̄ drawlache, or suche a snekebill.
To bryng her solas, that bryngth me sorowe,
Byr lady, than we shall catche byrds to morow.
A good wife makth a good husbande (they saie)
That (quoth I) ye maie tourne an other waie.
To make a good husbande, make a good wyfe.
I can no more herein, but god stynt all stryfe.
Amen (quoth he) and god a mercy brother,
I will nowe mende this house, and payre an other.
And that he ment of lykelyhod by his owne.
For so apairde he that, er three yeres were growne,
That little and little he decayde so long,
Tyll he at length came to buckle and bare thong.
To discharge charge, that necessarily grewe,
There was no more water than the shyp drew.
Page  [unnumbered]Suche dryfts draue he, from yll to wars and wars,
Tyll he was as bare as a byrds ars.
Money, and money worth, dyd so mysse hym,
That he had not nowe, one peny to blysse hym.
Whiche foreseene in this woman wisely waying,
That meete was to staie somewhat for hir staying,
To kepe yet one messe for Alyson in store.
She kepte one bag, that he had not sene before.
A poore cooke that maie not licke his owne fyngers.
But about hir at home now still he lyngers.
Not checker a boord, all was not clere in the coste,
He lookt lyke one, that had beshyt the roste.
But whether any secrete tales were sprynklyng,
Or that he by gesse had got an ynklyng
Of hir hoord. or that he thought to amende,
And tourne his yll begynnyng to a good ende.
In shewyng hym selfe a newe man, as was feet,
That appered shortly after, but not yeet.

¶The nynthe chapiter.

ONe daie in their arbour, which stode so to myne,
That I might, and did closely myn eare inclyne,
And likewise cast myne eie to here and see,
What they saied and dyd, where they could not se me.
He vnto hir a goodly tale began,
More lyke a wooer, than a weddyd man,
As farre as matter therof therin serued,
But the fyrst part from wordes of wooyng swerued.
And stode vpon repentance, with submission,
Of his former croked vnkynde condicion.
Page  [unnumbered]Pray••g hir, to forgeue and forget all free,
And he forgaue hir, as he forgeuen wold bee.
Louyng hir now, as he full depely swore,
As whotly, as euer he loued hir before.
Well well (quoth she) what euer ye now saie,
It is to late to call agayne yesterdaie.
Wyfe (quoth he) suche maie my diligence seeme.
That thoffence of yesterdaie I mai redeeme.
God taketh me as I am, and not as I was.
Take you me so to, and let all thyngs past pas.
I praie the good wife, thynk I speke & thynk playne.
What, he ronth far, that neuer turnth agayne.
Ye be yong ynough to mende, I agree it.
But I am (quoth she) to olde to see it.
And mende ye or not, I am to olde a yeere.
What is lyfe? where lyuyng is extincte cleere.
Namely at olde yeres of least helpe and moste nede.
But no tale coulde tune you, in tyme to take hede.
If I tune my selfe now (quoth he) it is fayre.
And hope of true tune, shall tune me from dispaire.
Beleue well and haue well. men saie. Ye. saied shee,
Doo well and haue well. men saie also, we see.
But what man can beleue, that man can doo well.
Who of no man will counsell take or here tell.
Whiche to you, whan any man any waie tryde,
Than were ye deafe. ye coulde not here on that syde.
Who euer with you any tyme therin weares,
He must bothe tell you a tale and fynde you eares.
You had on your haruest eares, thycke of heryng.
But this is a question of olde enqueryng,
Page  [unnumbered]Who is so deafe, or so blynde, as is hee,
That wilfully will nother here nor see.
Whan ye sawe your maner, my harte for wo, molte,
Than wold ye mende, as the fletcher mends his bolt.
Or as sowre ale mendthe in sommer, I know,
And knew, whiche waie the wynde blew, & will blow.
Though not to my profite, a prophete was I.
I prophecied this, to true a prophecy.
Whan I was right yll beleued, and worse harde.
By flynging frō your folkes at home, which al mard▪
Whan I saied in semblaunce either colde or warme,
A man far from his good, is nye his harme.
Or wylde ye to looke, that ye loste no more,
On suche as shew, that hungry flyes byte sore,
Than wold ye loke ouer me, with stomake swolne,
Lyke as the deuill lookt ouer Lyncolne.
The deuill is deade wife (quoth he) for ye see.
I loke lyke a lambe, in all your words to mee.
Looke as ye lyst now (quoth she) thus lookt ye than,
And for those lookes I shewe this, to shewe ech man,
Suche profe of this prouerbe, as none is gretter,
Which saith, that some man maie steale a hors better,
Than some other maie stande and loke vpone.
Leude huswiues might haue words. but I not one
That might be alowde. But nowe if ye looke,
In mystakyng me, ye maie see, ye tooke
The wrong waie to wood, & the wrong sow by theare
And therby in the wronge boxe to thriue ye weare.
I haue herde some, to some tell this tale not feelde,
Whan thrft is in the towne, ye be in the feelde.
But contrary, you made that sence to sowne,
Whan thryfte was in the feelde, ye were in the towne.
Page  [unnumbered]Feelde ware might synke or swym, while ye had eny,
Towne ware was your ware, to tourne the peny.
But towne or feelde, where most thryfte dyd appere.
What ye wan in thundred, ye lost in the shere.
In all your good husbandry, thus ryd the rocke,
Ye stumbled at a strawe, and lept ouer a blocke.
So many kynds of encrease you had in choyce,
And nought increase nor kepe, howe can I reioyce?
For as folke haue a saying, both olde and trew,
In that they saie, blacke will take none other hew,
So maie I saie here, to my deepe dolour,
It is a bad cloth, that will take no colour.
This case is yours. For ye were neuer so wise,
To take specke of colour, of good aduise.
Thaduise of all frends I saie, one and other
Went in at the tone eare, and out at the tother.
And as those words went out, this prouerbe in came.
He that will not be ruled by his owne dame,
Shall be ruled by his stepdame, and so yow,
Hauyng lost our owne good, and owne frends now,
Maie seke your foreyn frends. if you haue any,
And sure one of my great greefes, amonge many,
Is, that ye haue been so veraie a hog,
To my frends. What man, loue me, loue my dog.
But you, to cast precious stones before hogs,
Cast my good before a sorte of curre dogs.
And sawte bitches. Whiche by whom now deuoured,
And your honestee amonge theim defloured,
And that ye maie no more expence afoorde,
Nowe can they not afoorde you one good worde.
Page  [unnumbered]And you theim as fewe. And olde folke vnderstood,
Whan theues fall out, true men come to their good.
Whiche is not alwaie true. For in all that bretche,
I can no ferthyng of my good the more fetche.
Nor I trow theim selfes neither. if they were sworne.
Lyght come lyght go. And sure sens we were borne,
Ruine of one rauyn, was there none gretter.
For by your gyfts, they be as little the better,
As you be muche the worse. and I cast awaie.
An yll wynde, that blowth no man to good, men saie.
Wel (quoth he) euery wind blowth not down the corn
I hope (I saie) good hap be not all out worn.
I will nowe begyn thryft, whan thrifte semeth gone.
What wyfe, there be mo waies to the wood than one.
And I will assaie all the waies to the wood,
Tyll I fynde one waie, to get agayne this good.
Ye will get it agayn (quoth she) I feare,
As shortely as a hors will lycke his eare.
The douche man saieth, that seggyng is good cope.
Good words brīg not euer of good dedes good hope
And these words shew your words spoken in scorne.
It pricketh betymes that will be a good thorne.
Tymely crookth the tree, that wil a good camok bee.
And suche begynnyng suche ende. we all daie see.
Now you by me at begynnyng beyng thriuen,
And than to kepe thrift could not be prickt nor driuen
Howe can ye now get thrifte, the stocke beyng gon?
Whiche is thonely thyng to reyse thryft vpon.
Men saie, he maie yll renne, that can not go,
And your gayn, without your stocke, renueth euen so.
Page  [unnumbered]For what is a workeman, without his tooles.
Tales of Robyn hoode are good among fooles.
He can yll pype, that lackth his ouer lyp.
Who lackth a stocke, his gayne is not woorth a chyp.
A tale of a tub, your tale no truthe auowth,
Ye speake nowe, as ye wolde creepe into my mowth.
In pure peynted processe, as false as fayre,
Howe ye will amende, whan ye can not appayre.
But agaynst gaie glosers this rude text recites,
It is not all butter, that the cowe shites.
Your tale hath lyke taste, where temprance is taster,
To breake my head, and than gyue me a plaster.
Now thrifte is gone, now wold ye thryue in all haste.
And whan ye had thryfte, ye had lyke haste to waste.
Ye lyked than better an ynche of your wyll,
Than an ell of your thrifte. Wyfe (quoth he) be styll.
Maie I be holpe foorth one ynche at this pynche,
I will yet thriue (I saie) As good is an ynche
As an ell. Ye can (quoth she) make it so, well.
For whan I gaue you an ynche, ye tooke an ell.
Tyll both ell and ynche be gone, and we in det.
Nay (quoth he) with a wet fynger ye can fet,
As muche as maie easily all this matter ease,
And this debate also pleasauntly appease.
I coulde doo as muche with an hundred poūde now,
As with a thousande afore, I assure yow.
Ye (quoth she) who had that he hath not, wolde
Doo that he dooth not, as olde men haue tolde.
Had I, as ye haue, I wolde doo more (quoth hee)
Than the preest spake of on sondaie, ye shulde see.
Page  [unnumbered]Ye doo, as I haue (quoth she) for nought I haue,
And nought ye do. What man, I trowe ye raue.
Wolde ye bothe eate your cake, and haue your cake?
Ye haue had of me all that I might make.
And bee a man neuer so greedy to wyn,
He can haue no more of the foxe but the skyn.
Well (quoth he) if ye lyst to bryng it out,
Ye can geue me your blessyng in a clout.
That were for my childe, (quoth she) had I ony,
But husbande, I haue neither childe, nor mony.
Ye cast and coniecture this muche lyke in show,
As the blind man casts his staffe, or shootes the crow.
Howbeit had I money right muche, and ye none,
Yet to be playne, ye shulde haue none, for Ione.
Naie, he that firste flattreth me, as ye haue doone.
And dooeth as ye dyd to me after, so soone,
He maie be in my Pater noster in dede.
But be sure, he shall neuer come in my Crede.
Aue Maria (quoth he) howe muche mocion
Here is to praiers, with howe little deuocion.
But some men saie, no peny no Pater noster.
I saie to suche (saied she) no longer foster
No longer lemman. But fayre and well than,
Praie and shifte eche one for hym selfe, as he can.
Euery man for hym selfe, and god for vs all.
To those words he said nought, but forthwt dyd fall,
From harpīg on that stryng, to fayre flattring spech.
And as I erst saied, he dyd her so besech,
That thyngs erst so far of, were nowe so far on,
That as she maie walow, awaie she is gon,
Page  [unnumbered]Where all that was lefte laie with a trusty frende,
Dwellyng a good walke from hir at the towns ende.
And backe agayn streight a haltyng pace she hobles.
Bryngyng a bag of royals and nobles.
All that she had, without restraynt of one iote.
She brought bullocks noble. for noble or grote,
Had she not one mo. Whiche I after well knew.
And anon smylyng, towarde hym as she drew,
A syr, lyght burdeyn far heuy (quoth she)
This lyght burdeyn in long walke welny tierth me.
God gyue grace, I playe not the foole this daie.
For here I sende thaxe after the helue awaie.
But yf ye will stynt, and auoyde all stryfe,
Loue and cheryshe this as ye wolde my lyfe.
I wyll (quoth he) wyfe, by god almyghty.
This geare comth euen in puddyng tyme ryghtly.
He snatcht at the bag. No hast but good (quoth shee)
Short shootyng leeseth your game, ye maie see.
Ye myst the cushyn, for all your haste to it.
And I maie set you besyde the cushyn yit,
And make ye wype your nose vpon your sleeue,
For ought ye shall wyn without ye axe me leeue.
Haue ye not herde tell, all couet all leese?
Ah syr, I se, ye maie see no greene chese,
But your teeth muste water. A good coknay coke.
Though ye loue not to bye the pyg in the poke,
Yet snatche ye at the poke, that the pyg is in,
Not for the poke, but the pyg good chepe to wyn.
Lyke one halfe lost, tyll gredy graspyng gat it,
Ye wolde be ouer the style, or ye come at it.
Page  [unnumbered]But abyde frend, your mother byd tyll ye wer borne.
Snatchyng wynth it not. if ye snatche tyll to morne.
Men saie (saied he) long standyng & small offryng
Maketh poore parsons. & in such signes & proffryng
Many praty tales, and mery toys had they,
Before this bag came fully from hir awey.
Howbeit, at laste she tooke it hym, and sayde,
He shulde beare it, for that it nowe heuy wayde.
With good will wyfe. for it is (sayde he to her)
A proude hors that wil not beare his own prouāder.
And ofte before seemed she neuer so wyse,
Yet was she nowe, sodeynly waxen as nyse
As it had been a halporth of syluer spoones.
Thus cloudy mornyngs turne to clere after noones.
But so nye noone it was, that by and by,
They rose, and went to dyner louyngly.

¶The tenthe chapiter.

THis diner thought he long. & streight after that,
To his accustomed customers he gat.
With whome in what tyme he spent one grote before,
In lesse tyme he spendth now, ten grotes or more.
And in small tyme he brought the worlde so about,
That he brought the bottom of the bag cleane out.
His gaddyng thus agayne made hir yll content,
But she not so muche as dreamd that all was spent.
Howe be it sodeynly she mynded on a daie,
To picke the chest locke, wherin this bag laie.
Determynyng this. if it laie whole styll,
So shall it lye, no myte she minyshe will.
Page  [unnumbered]And if the bag began to shrynke, she thought best,
To take for hir part, some parte of the rest.
But streight as she had forthwith opened the locke,
And lookt in the bag, what it was a clocke,
Than was it proued true, as this prouerbe gothe,
He that cometh last to the pot, is soonest wrothe.
By hir comyng laste, and to late to the pot.
Wherby she was potted, thus lyke a sot,
To see the pot bothe skymd for rennyng ouer,
And also all the lykour renne at rouer.
At hir good husbands and hir next meetyng,
The diuels good grace might haue geuē a greetyng.
Eyther for honour or honestee as good
As she gaue him: She was (as they sai) horne wood.
In no place coulde she sitte, hir selfe to settyll.
It seemd to hym, she had pyst on a nettyll.
She nettlyd hym, and he rattled hir so,
That at ende of that fraie, a sunder they go.
And neuer after came togyther agayne.
He turnde hir out at durs, to grase on the playne.
And hym self went after. For within fortnyght,
All that was lefte, was launched out quight.
And thus had he brought haddock to paddock,
Tyll they bothe were not now worth a haddock.
It hath been sayde, nede maketh the olde wyfe trot.
Other folke sayde it, but she dyd it. god wot.
Fyrst from frende to frende, & than from dur to dur,
A beggyng to some that had begged of hur.
But as men saie, misery maie be mother,
Where one begger is dryuen to beg of an other.
Page  [unnumbered]And thus ware, and wasted this most woful wretche.
Tyll death from this lyfe, dyd her wretchedly fetche.
Her late husband, and now wydower, here and there
Wandryng about few knowe, and fewer care where.
Cast out as an abiect, he leadeth his lyfe,
Tyll famyne by lyke, fet hym after his wyfe.
Nowe let vs note here. Fyrst of the first twayne,
Where they bothe wedded togyther, to remayne,
Hopyng ioyfull presence shulde weare out all wo.
Yet pouertee brought that ioye to ieofayle, lo.
But notably note these last twayne where as hee
Tooke hir onely, for that he ryche would bee.
And she hym onely in hope of good happe,
In hir dotyng daies to be daunst on the lappe,
In condicion they differd so many waies,
That lyghtly he layde hir vp for holy daies.
Hir good he layde vp so, lest theues myght spie it,
That nother she coulde, nor he can come by it.
Thus failed all foure of all thyngs lesse and more,
Whyche they all, or any of all, maryed fore.

The leuenthe chapiter.

FOrsothe (sayd my frend) this matter maketh bost,
Of dimmucion. For here is a myll poste
Thwitten to a puddyng pricke so neerely,
That I confesse me discouraged cleerely,
In bothe my weddyngs, in all thyngs excepte one.
This sparke of hope haue I, to procede vpone.
Though these, and some other sped yll as ye tell,
Yet other haue lyued and loued full well.
Page  [unnumbered]If I shuld deny that (quoth I) I shulde raue.
For of bothe these sorts, I grant, that my selfe haue
Sene of the tone sorte, and herde of the tother.
That lyked and lyued right well, eche with other.
But whether fortune will you, that man declare.
That shall choose in this choice, your comfort or care
Sens, before ye haue chosen, we can not know,
I thought to laie the worst, as ye the best show.
That ye myght, beyng yet at libertee,
With all your ioye, ioyne all your ieoperdee.
And nowe this herde, in these cases on eche parte,
I saie no more, but laie your hande on your harte.
I hertily thanke you (quoth he) I am sped
Of myne errande. This hitteth the nayle on the hed.
Who that leaueth suretee, and leaneth to chaunce,
Whan fooles pipe, by auctoritee he maie daunce.
And sure am I, of those twayne, if I none choose,
Although I nought wyn, yet shall I nought loose.
And to wyn a woman here, and lose a man,
In all this great wynnyng, what gayn wyn I than?
But marke how folly hath me awaie caried.
Howe lyke a wethercock haue I here varied.
Fyrst these two women to loose I was so lothe,
That yf I myght, I wolde haue wedded them bothe.
Than thought I sens, to haue wedded one of theim.
And nowe knowe I clere, I wyll wed none of theim.
They bothe shall haue this one answere by letter,
As good neuer a whit as neuer the better.
Now let me axe (quoth I) and your self answere
The shorte question, that I asked whyle ere.
Page  [unnumbered]Afoule olde riche widowe, whether wed wold ye,
Or a yonge fayre mayde, beyng poore as ye be.
In neither barrell better hearryng (quoth hee)
I lyke thus, ryches as yll as pouertee.
Who that hath either of these pygs in vre,
He hath a pygge of the worse panier sure.
I was wedded vnto my will. howe be it,
I will be deuorst, and be wedde to my wit.
Wherby with these examples paste, I maie see,
Fonde weddyng, for loue, or good onely, to flee.
Onely for loue, or onely for good,
Or onely for bothe. I wedde not, by my hood.
Thus no one thyng onely, though one thyng chiefly
Shall woo me to wed now, for now I espy,
Although the chiefe one thyng in weddyng bee loue,
Yet must mo thyngs ioyne, as all in one maie moue
Suche kynde of lyuyng, for suche kynde of lyfe,
As, lackyng the same, no lacke to lacke a wyfe.
Here is enough, I am satisfied (sayde he.)
Sens enough is enough (sayd I) here maie we,
With that one word take end good, as maie be geast.
For folke say, enough is as good as a feast.

IMPRINTED at London in Fletestrete by Thomas Berthelet prynter to the kynges hyghnesse.

Cum priuilegio ad imprimendum solum. ANNO. M.D.XLVI.

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