XII. mery iests, of the wyddow Edyth this lying widow, false and craftie, late i[n] Engla[n]d, hath deceiued many ... Now newly printed, this present yeare, for such as delite, mery iests for to here.
Smith, Walter, fl. 1525.
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The fourth mery Iest, how this Wyddow Edyth deceiued a Doctor of Diuynitie at S. Thomas of Akers in London of fiue Nobles that he lay out for her; and how shee gaue him the slip.
TO Barkyng than she tooke her gate,
And lodged she was, at the Abbay yate:
For a day, or two, till she could prouide
A Gowne: and then wolde no lenger byde
In that quarter she thought it not best,
She deemd her profyt, there did not rest.
Namely so neate the Nunnes nose,
In a mornyng she got her ouer the close:
West warde she yede the soth to saye,
And came to London that same daye
At Londonistone, she was hosted,
And there she prated and she bosted,
Of much fayre stuffe that she had,
The which stuffe she wolde be glad
For the loue of Christ to forsake.
And Mantle and Ring for to take:
She prayed her Hoste after a day or two.
To let his worke, and with her to go:
And bring her to some discrete man,
The which full well tell can:
What belongeth vnto that thing.
I meane the Mantle and the Ring:
Of him she sayd, she would confessed be,
Desyring the hole Trinitie:
Page [unnumbered] To be her ayde in that foresayde mater,
Her Host brought her to S. Thomas of Aker:
And there she was prouided anone,
I tell you for trothe of such a one:
As knew by learning what was to do,
In such busynes, and what longeth therto.
A Doctor he was of hie deuinytie,
Called deuoute and ful of charitie:
A good publysher of Gods word,
In Church and Towne, and sitting at the Bord.
This world dispising night and day,
All mundayne glory, he wold saye
I wholy defye, and vtterly forsake,
The Deuyll (quod he) shall them al take:
That loueth these riches, and pomp temporall,
More then God that sent them all.
They shall neuer see their maker in the face:
With Sathan prepared is their place:
In the dark dongeon, in the region alow,
Of ioy and blis neuer for to know,
More sinfull liuyng was neuer vsed,
Than is now a dayes: no vice refused:
And worst of all, with vs of the Church,
That should teach other, how they should wurch,
And to shew them the way to heauens blisse,
Where our Sauiours dwelling is:
O God, why doe we not so?
Why doe we not let these Beneficies go?
Why do we retayne more then suffises?
Why do we not geue vnto them that cries?
Why fyll we our Bellyes? and let other go wtoute
Why doe we not walke out all aboute?
Page [unnumbered] Why doe we not pray and watch all night?
Why doe we not our duty, as it is right?
Why doe we not let mens wiues alone?
And fylly poore: wenches, making their mone
Why obserue we not: the precepts of God?
What yf we be punished with our owne rod?
Whom shall we erecte the fault vnto?
And one thing ther is, yt maketh my hart to blede
As oft as I think theron so god me spede
This coueitousnesse vsed, wt men of my facultye,
Oh, what meane they? Christs holy benedicitie,
Can they not be content wt iiii. no〈…〉 fyue,
I trow they wold that no man should thriue:
But them selfes onely, an heauy case,
I know one man whersoeuer he was
That hath vt. benefices, and yet not content
And the least of them is. xx. ii. rent:
I meane by the yeare, and the cure serued,
And no good is don, but all reserued:
It is maruell to see the vnsaciable mind,
That can neuer be ful fylled, before nor behind:
I assute you, I could be wel pleased
With iiii. such promocions: & hold me wel eased
As for a certayne time, tyl an other fall,
Welcome good wyfe, what say you to all
This world? now (quod be) haue done let see,
Sir sayd this Widow, vnder benedicitie.
I haue for to speak if it lyke you to heare?
Come your wayes (quod be) & be of good cheare
Dispayre not what so euer the matter bee,
I shall go betwene the Feend and thee.
Page [unnumbered] And eke discharge thee agayne our heauen king
If that you wyll doe after my teaching?
Wherfore begin ye in Christs holy name,
Breake your mind hardly, auoyde all shame.
She kneeled thē a down on her knees deuoutly
And tolde her confessour many a great lye:
And of the treasure that she had in store,
And when that she could tell no more,
Master Doctor bad she should be mery
He sayd Ego absoluo te,
Forte sic, forte non.
And when that they had al done
Out of the C•••ch they went both,
She promised him a Gowne of cloth:
Of Scarlet coulour very fine in grayne,
And an hoode therto, to kepe him from the rayne
She promised him beside all that,
He should haue, ye mary algate:
Of Goblets no more but a nest,
And of other things she made him hest,
So that he wolde, while she were in towne,
Walke with her vp and downe:
And lay out mony alway as she neede,
And three times double so god her speede:
He should haue agayne within three dayes
Therin should be made no delayes.
Master Doctor was well content,
And in the Cittie before her he went:
So long: tyll that he had out layd,
Of his owne money, and for her payd:
Fiue Nobles, if the reknyng be right?
And then anone she stale away by night.
Master Doctor thought great vnkindnes,
That he was so serued for his gentylnes:
But she is gone what remedy now,
His money shalbe payd hym, I wot neuer how.
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