A dispraise of the life of the Courtier, and a commendaci∣on of the life of the husbandman, composed in the Castilian toungue, by the reuerend father in God, the Lord Antony of Gueuera, bishop of Mondouent, and Chronicler to the Emperour Charles. And out of Castilian drawen into Frēch by Anthony Alaygre, & now out of the Frēch tongue into our maternall language, by sir Fraunces Bryant knight, one o king Henry the .viii. most hono∣rable chamber.
The first Chapiter. Of certaine Courtiers which ought to complaine of none, but of them selues.
AFter that the noble prince Philip of Ma∣cedony had ouerrūne the Atheniens, one a time he being at sup∣per amonges certaine of his Philosophers, asked them which was the greatest thing in the worlde? Page [unnumbered] One of them answered, that to hys thinking it was the water, because there was more of that onely then of any other thinge vnder the skye.* A∣nother said it was the Sunne, séeyng his only brightnes doeth suffise to geue light to the yearth, to the starres, and to the water. Another said it was the great hill Olympe, whose heigth pas∣seth the cloudes. Another sayd it was the most renoumed gyant Athlas, on whose sepulcre was builded the fear full mountain Ethna. Another said it was Homer, that in his life was so muche praised and after his death so muche bewailed, that vii. great cities made warre amonges themselues for the recouery of his bones, to kepe them as a relike. The last and most wise Philosopher said, that nothing in this world ought to be called great,* but that hart which estemeth no great thinges. O high and noble sentence, since there by that it is geuen vs to vnderstande, that as touching the riches & honor of this world, more is ye glory of him that Page 4 settes lyghte by them, then hée that hath the cast for to get them. Ti∣tus Liuius prayseth and neuer ceaseth to praise, the good Consull Marcus Cu∣rius in the house of whome, came Am∣bassadours of the Sannites for to re∣couer certaine landes that he had of theirs, offering to him for the same plentie of Golde and siluer: Hée ha∣uing in hys hande certaine hearbes to put in his potte for his dinner, answe∣red them after this sorte, ye should haue offered this money to the Capi∣taynes that disdayne to dresse their owne dinners, and not to me that desi∣reth no greater riches then to bee Lord ouer their Lordes.
Deserued not this Marcus Curius more prayse in setting light those ta∣lentes of Golde of the Sannites, than the Consell Lucullus for robbing them of Spartes? Deserued not the wise Crates more glory for the riches that he cast in to the Sea than the king Nabugodo∣nezer for the treasure that hée robbed from the temple? To your Iudgement, Page [unnumbered] did not they of the Iles of Bariares de∣serue more honor, agreing not to haue among them neither gould nor siluer, than the couetouse Greekes that toke by force and pilled the mines of Spaine? was not the hart of the good Emperour Augustus more greate, in setting light the Empire, than of his vncle Iulius Ceasar, that did take possession?
It is nedefull to haue wisdome, experi∣ence to order it, cunning to set it foorth, and fortune to bring it to good ende: but to vphould and kepe it, it had nede of great strengthe, and for to disprayse it, a good harte, bycause that which is séene with the eyes is more easie to dispraise than that thynge which we haue already in our handes. It hath bene séene, that many noble mē haue had for∣tune so much at their desires, that they haue enterprised a thing almost impos∣sible to attaine, ye which after for lacke of good discreciō, were not able to kepe it. Wherby it is to be vnderstand that the greatnes of the heart doth not con∣sist so much in obtainyng the thing that Page 5 we desire to haue, as it is to set light,* & contemne that that one loues best. A∣polonius Thyaneus, dyd he not dispise his owne proper countrey & trauailed thorowout all Asia for to go to sée the Philosopher Hyarchis in Ynde?*Aris∣totle leauyng the familiaritie he had wt Alexander, returned to his owne house for to reade Philosophy. Nicodius no∣thing extemed the treasure that ye great king Cyrus gaue him for to folowe him in ye warres. The Philosopher Anatil∣lus refused thrée times ye principality of Athenes, saying: he had rather bée seruaūt to ye good, then a chastiser of the euil. Cecilius Metellus a valiaunt ca∣pitaine Roman, neither would accepte the estate of Dictator that to him was geuen, nor the office of Consull that to him was offered: saying,* that he would eate in rest that which with great tra∣uail he had gotten in the war. Them∣perour Dyoclesian (as it is manifest) forsoke with his frée will the Empyre, for no other cause but to flée the brute of the common spéech, and to liue in Page [unnumbered] rest at home. Worthy is hée to be prai∣sed that hath the harte to care little for an Empire or a realme:* but yet more is hée worthy that can sette light by him selfe and not to be gouerned by his owne will: for there is no man in this worlde, but that hée is more in loue with that hée desireth, then with that he hath:* but howe couetous or ambici∣ous so euer any man be, if he trauail x. daies for that which he hath, hee will bestowe an hundreth to obtain that whiche hée desireth,* because that wée do not bestow our labor as we shuld, but we bestowe it after our desires. If we do trauaill, if we be troubled, if we cannot slepe, it is not for necessi∣tie, but for to satisfie our wil and appe∣tite. And that is worst of all, we not contenting our selues with that we can do procure to can that that we desire. O how many haue we séen in the court of princes,* to whom it had béen better for them that they had béen no lordes of their will, and lesse of their desires because sythens they dyd that they Page 6 might and desired, begon to doe, that they ought not to doe? If the man that offendes vs ought to aske pardon, let euery man aske pardon to himselfe be∣fore any other,* for in my life I found neuer none that hurte mée so much as my self, I haue béen only the procurer of myne owne hurt.* Who made mée fall into pryde, but mine only presump∣sion and fondnes? Who durst haue pri∣soned my sorowfull heart with enuye, but lacke of natural gouernement? who durst haue inflamed myne inwardes with the fyer of yre, if it had not béen my great impacience? what is the cause I am so great a gurmander, but that my bringyng vp was to delicate? what is the cause I haue not departed with my goodes to the poore and néedy, but the excessyue loue I had to my ry∣ches? who gaue leaue to my fleshe to ryse against my folish desire, if my hart had not béen fixed in voluptuous plea∣sures? O my soule, of all this domage and open faultes, to whome doe you laye the blame, but to myne owne Page [unnumbered] sensualitie? Great folly it is, the thefe being within the house, to seke for him without: euen so it is with vs a mani∣fest faulte of experience, when seing in vs the blame, and yet charge another with the occasion:* by this we ought to perceyue that wée shall neuer cease to complaine vntill the tyme we begin to amende. Oh, howe often and many tymes hath vertue fought with the bot∣tome of our consciences,* which styrred vs to be good, and our sensualitie resi∣sted, which is vaine frowardnes, by the which battail folowed a darke corrupt iudgement: but to conclude, we of oure selues as of our selues are very mise∣rable. The Poete Ouid reherseth the louing Philis the Rodian complaining of her selfe & sayeth: Oh Demophon, if I had not bestowed time to loue thée, and siluer and shippes for thexpediciō of the voiage, thou durst not wel to haue gone, nor I to haue bewailed thy depar∣ting, in suche wise that with my owne wepons was my body wounded. If we beleue Iosephus in that he did wryte of Page 7Maryana, & Homer, in that he sayd of Helene, Plutarch in yt he spake of Cle∣opatra. Virgil of ye quene Dydo, Theo∣phrast of Pollysene, Zantippe of Cam∣milla, Assenarius of Clodia:* Al these la∣dies and excellent princes neuer found themselues so deceiued by their louers as they were by beleuing their owne proper counsels, and lightly consenting to the same.
If to Suetone, Zantippe and Plutarch we will geue credite and beleue those thynges that they declare of Pompe, Pyrrhus, Hannyball, and the Consull Marius, of the Dictator Caesar, of Mark Antony & many others we shal finde they blamed not fortune so much to be vanquished by others, as in their pro∣speritie they were ruled by their owne aduise and counselles. It is true, that often times the opinion of our kinne & frendes maketh vs to enter into busi∣nes out of the waye of reason,* not ca∣ring but for a folishe auauncement of goodes and riches. And at the end when by their setting forth one hath enterpri∣sed Page [unnumbered] a certaine busynes of importaunce whiche doeth require ayd and helpe, those same bée the laste that shewe them selues helping frendes:* whiche is the occasion many tymes that men cannot returne from enterprisyng such thinges as neither shall growe to their honor nor profite. Many men say that they haue enemies, recountyng them often without findyng number: Although it be true if it be well noted, that none haue oftener or a greater ene∣my than him self. And the most grea∣test daunger that I sée,* is that vnder the shadowe to preferre and make better my selfe, my selfe is the cause of my destruction. The Philospher Neotidas on a tyme being asked which was the best counsell that a man might take, answered, The counsell of others with the dispraisyng of his owne:* and he sheweth the cause, for that the corrupcion of man is suche, that often hee searcheth in him selfe with greate paine that whiche in the head of another, hée fyndeth wyth Page 8 great ease. Then it foloweth, that in the best tyme of our lyfe our owne lyfe deceiueth vs, the euil commeth fourth on euery syde, heauy thoughtes ouer∣take vs, our frendes leaue vs,* persecu∣tors torment vs, troubles make an end of vs, ambicion burieth vs. If wée beholde thys thyng: what wee bée: whereof we bée: and wherefore wée bée, we shall fynde that our beginnyng is obliuion, our middle age trauayle, the ende sorow, and altogether an open errour. Thē sée how heauy is the cour∣tiers lyfe,* as also howe daungerous the way is, where as be stones to stum∣ble at, myer to sticke fast in, yse for to fall on, pathwayes for to lose hym in, water for to passe thorow, théeues for to be afrayd of, great affaires and bu∣sines to doe, so that hard it is for any to goe there as they would, and more harde to aryue there as they desire. All these thinges haue we sayd, to the intent that the Courtiers may vnder∣stand that neither I nor they can chose the good way & leaue the euil, voyd that Page [unnumbered] that hurtes vs, and conserue that which profiteth vs, folow reason and plucke away the occasion: but if by chaunse some good fal to vs,* we thanke fortune, and if euill come to vs, then we do put the fault in her.
The second Chapiter ¶ How that none ought to counsell a• other to go to the Court, nor when he is there to come from it, but euery man to chose the life that best he liketh.
ARistarch the great Philoso∣pher of Theban, sayd, That, tyme and man was so di∣uers, that hard it was for the most wise to chuse that to them which was good, and to kepe them from that which to them is euil.
*There is nothing more true, for we sée dayly, with the same that one is hea∣led, another falleth sicke: with that that Page 9 one waxeth better, another waxeth worse: with that that one is amended, another is put downe: and to conclude, with that litle thing that one is content withall another is in dispaire. The ler∣ned Alchymus was by his Moecoenas king Demetrius, asked wherein speci∣ally did cōsist the greatest trauail of the worlde? He answered, ther is few thin∣ges but in them there is either trauail or suspicion,* but aboue all the mooste excessiue trauail that a man may haue, is neuer to be satisfied. And that this is true, we perceiue that whē a litle thing contenteth vs, how litle soeuer it be, we make it our paradice with the rest of our life: which seldome chaunseth to fewe men, because that liuyng as we liue, not being contented, we would as∣saie and knowe if it were good to be a king, a prince, a knight, a maried man,* a religious or a marchaunt, a laborer, a shepeherd, or of some other estate. And at the ende, when al is proued, it shal be harde to finde where we would rest, so vnconstaunt is the lightnes of men. Page [unnumbered] The wise determineth that to chose the best is the meane. A simple creature is lightly contented with a small thing,* but he that hath a great harte, thynkes that pouertie is a greuous life, like as they that be of high estate feare the fall of fortune. Plato was in hys young yeres very worldely, as he that had séene much, aswell in the warres as in offices, in whiche he was vsed, and also in handy craftes. On a time it was asked him wherin he had found most quietnes and rest? He answered, there is no estate of life wherein is not mutabilitie, there is no honor where is no peril,* no riches where is no trauail, no prosperitie but it endeth, nor also plesure but faileth: but whē all is said, I neuer foūd so much quietnes of minde, as since I left myne offices in Cities, withdrawing me to my bookes: signifi∣yng, yt as long as we liue seruauntes of the world, we desire al, we proue all, we procure all, then all thinges are well séene and tasted, & all thinges do anoye vs: the greatest part of our disquietnes Page 10 commeth hereof, that the aboundaunce we haue, séemeth to vs litle, and the litle of others, séemeth to vs much.* We saye that our wealth is trauayle, and that the euill happe of others is rest: we condemne others actes and wée allow our owne: we watche to gette some∣what, and sodeinly we sléepe to léese it agayne: we imagine that all men liues content, and we alone néedy: And yet the worst is, we beleue that we dream, and put not our trust in that we sée be∣fore our eyen. What way one ought to follow or what estate hee oughte to chose, none can well knowe nor coun∣saile, because the thyng is so trouble∣some and without good iudgement, by which many are deceiued.* If the sailing on the sea be daungerous, so is the wal∣king on the earth troubleous.
As touching our lyfe, we sée that he that is whole, dayly falleth sicke, the sicke dyeth, some other scapeth deadly daungers, & some others lyngers forth to death.* As touchyng the waifa∣ryng men, assone commeth he to his Page [unnumbered] lodging that goeth softly, as he that go∣eth hastely and loseth his way. He that is in fauor, liuing in slothfull rest, had as much neede of vpholding, as he that continually sweates in trauail. Ther∣fore I conclude,* that there is nothing in this worlde so certain, as yt all thinges are vncertaine.
Then let vs returne to that we spake of: It is said that it is fearefull, to coū∣sell any to marry, to study, to go to the war, or to take vpō him any other thing, then that he is called to: because in this case none is so apte to receiue,* that which to him is said as he is to receiue that which he is naturally inclyned to. Plutarch greatly praiseth in his booke of common welth, the good Philosopher Plato (and not without cause) for hee vsed a greate policy, which was, that there was no yoūg man entred into his schoole,* but first hée would proue him whether he was enclined to lernyng or no, so that those that he thought not apte to study, he sent them backe, causyng them to vse their liues in the common Page 11 welth. Alcibiades the Greeke may be a sufficient witnesse vnto you, which al∣though hée was young brought to the schoole, and taught of a discrete maister, yet notwithstanding his inclinacion was such, that he professed himself who∣ly to the warres.* To him that is borne to weare a swerde by his side, it semeth him ill to wear a tippet about his necke and hée that loueth to kepe sheepe, the court is nothing fitte for him. To her that desireth mariage, it is hard to kepe her chast: He that loueth to be a barber, why should he be made a Paynter. To counsell our frend to leaue a crafte for to liue by, is but well done: but especial∣ly to appoint him what crafte he ought to lerne, that me thynketh worthy to be reproued. The Lacedemonians cōmaū∣ded to all fathers vpon great paines, to putte none of their children to any craft till they were .xiiij. yeres of age to sée that in the age of discretion what their nature was enclined to. Let vs leaue this long communication, and speake of that we ought to aduertise the redar Page [unnumbered] of: to counsell any to leaue the court, suche counsel I thinke not best to geue, nor yet wisedome for other to take, seyng that there is doubte to counsell any in that they ought to do: Howbeit myne aduice is,* that the sage persons chose to liue in a quiet state, and to dwell in suche a place, that they may leade a life without reproche, and chri∣stianly to dye. Oftentimes men do remoue from one countrey to another, from one toune to another, from one strete, from one house, from one companye to another: but to conclud, if that he had peine in the one, hée doeth complaine himself vtterly of the wronges of the others: And this is the reason, because he layeth the faulte to the nature of the countrey, whiche nothing els is but his owne euil na∣ture. What more shal we say, but in Courtes,* in cyties, in villages, and in other places, is séene the vertuous and the discrete corrected, and the vi∣cious not blamed. The wicked with their wickednes serche by all Page 12 meanes to make thēselues worse. And likewise doo ye vertuous with their ver∣tues, make themselues better in what state soeuer they be called. As for ye pre∣lates, there is no charge in ye Church so daungerous but yt a good conscience can auoyd it, but a weake or corrupt consci∣ence may soone be cast away:* Like as ye wilde rose from whence ye Bee fetcheth her hony, & likewise ye Spider her poy∣son. The prince may do his deuor doing iustice & not vsing tyranny: The mā of armes going to ye war & not hurting the poore people: The religious may be cō∣templatiue in their cloister wtout grud∣ging. The maried mā may liue well in his house wtout aduoutry. The rich mā geueth his goodes for Gods sake with∣out vsury: The laborer in working, the shepeherd in keping his sheepe without hurting his neighbours, & in like case of others. And to proue that it is true by the Scripture in the state of Kynges, Dauid was good, and Saull euyll, to the estate of Priestes, Mathias good, and Obnias naught. Of Prophetes, Page [unnumbered]Daniel good,*Balam euill, Of Shepe∣herdes Abell good, Abimilech euill, Of wydowes Iudith good, Iezabell euill, Of rich, Iob good, Naball naught: Lyke∣wyse of the Apostles, Saint Peter good, Iudas was reproued. Then perceiue to what estate soeuer a man commeth vn∣to, be it good or euill, the estate sheweth not the man,* but the inclination of the parson. If we should counsell any man to liue in the village, he would say hée cannot agrée with them of the village, if yée will counsell him to leaue the Court, he will say that he hath a thou∣sand businesses to doe there: If hée bée counsailed to serue any great Lord: he will say that he hath nothyng where∣with to finde him: If we aduise him to be a religious, he will say that he can∣not ryse early: If to marry, he will say it wil gréeue him to heare his litle chil∣dren crye and wéepe: To goe to studye it would trouble his braine: If he were counsayled to withdrawe hym to his house, he would say hée could not lyue without company. Then presuppose Page 13 that which is sayd, that none ought to counsail any to chose the lyfe he will take concerning his honor & the wealth of his lyfe, bicause afterwarde he will more complayne him, of the counsell that he hath taken, then of the euil that he hath suffered.
The .iij. Chapiter. ¶How that a Courtier ought to leaue the Court for not beyng in fauor, but beyng out of the Court already that he ought not to seeke entertain∣ment there againe that he may be more vertuous.
PVblius Minus sayth in his Annota∣cions that we ought to thinke ma∣ny dayes on that which we entend to doe in one day. The kyng Demetrius, sonne of Antigonus was asked by one of his Capitaynes named Patroclus, wherefore he gaue not battail to hys enemy Ptolome, séeyng hys strength, his witte and his number of men? He Page [unnumbered] answered,* that a déed once don, is hard to call backe againe, and before a man begin a harde enterprise, he had néed• of long counsaile.
Agiselaus a wise Capitain of the Lyca∣oniens, beyng forced to answere the Ambassadors of the Thebeans said: Know not you O Thebeans that to determine a thing of importaunce, nothing is ma∣ter then long study.
Plutarch doth greatly prayse the life of Sertoreius in that he was not rashe in determinyng, but graue in enter∣prising. Suetone sayeth that Them∣perour August was neuer hasty to get frends, but very diligent to kéepe them when he had them. Of these ensam∣ples, note what daunger he falleth in, that is hasty in businesses and quicke in counsels.
None will wear a garment if it be not sowed: nor eate the fruit, if it be not rype: nor drinke the wyne, if it be not cleare: nor eat the flesh if it be not dres∣sed: nor warme him with wood, if it be not drye: Wherfore thē do we coun∣sail Page 14 vs with grene counsail, which sooner shall smudder vs then warme vs. The wise man ought to haue before his eyen a sober deliberacion in his af∣faires, for if he thinke one houre of that which he would say, he had néede think x. of that that he would doe:* wordes be but wordes, they may bée corrected, but neuer the vnconsidered déede. The faulte of this, is that euery man stu∣dyeth to speake, to dispute, to iudge, but none to liue well, nor yet to dye vertuouslye.* The graue persons that will conserue their auctoritie maye not be testie or stubburn in such things as they enterprise nor wilfull in that they take in hande, nor fickill in that they begin: for one of ye greatest faultes that a mā may haue, is not to bée founde true of his worde, & inconstant in yt he hath begun.* A noble hart ought to fore∣see yt which he is charged wt, and if it be iust & reasonable soner to die, thē not to do it: by ye which noble harts are knowē If it were a thing hard & almost impos∣sible Achilles to flee Hector: Agisalus to Page [unnumbered] ouercome Brantes: to Alexander, Dar∣rius: to Caesar Pompeius: to Augustus, Marcus Antonius: to Silla, Mithridates: to Scipion Hanniball: and to the good Troyan Dacebalus: these noble prin∣ces had neuer béen so much estéemed as they bée, but that they vttered their no∣ble courage: Then, good aduice ioyned with a noble harte, ought to gouerne great enterprises. Thē to our purpose, my maister the courtier sayth,* he will leaue the cursed lyfe of the court, and go dye at home, saying, that to liue in such trouble is a continuall death. O how many and often tymes haue I harde these faire wordes, that neuer were fo∣lowed, excusing them onely by the de∣stiny of the court, in ye which they were last glued. Whē that a courtier lackes money, that any man doth him displea∣sure, or that he hath lost his proces: God knoweth how many othes he maketh that he will forsake all, not to leaue his euil condicions, but because that his bu∣sines goeth backewarde: but long his purpose lasteth not, for if our courtier Page 15 hap to come to wealth, or that he be aduaunced by his prince, ye shal sée his former promises to waxe colde, his wil and his desire to remaine there in such wise that ye would iudge him to be na∣turally borne there.* Fauor and coue∣tousnes guide the Courtier, so that one groweth with the other, and at the ende conuerted from the maner of Christi∣ans to Courtiers.* For all men knowe that the court is a place where men may get wealth, & lykewise the place of mens vndoyng: We haue already rehersed the occasions why men doe withdrawe them from the court, some for lacke of money, some for pouertie, or not being in fauor, or for age, al these thinges be of necessitie and nothing of free will, nor yet praise to them that so withdrawe them for the causes afore∣sayd: but the true leuing of the Court,* and of the worlde is, when the courtier is young, strong, in fauor, riche, and in health, then with good harte to leaue the courte, to fynde in other places honest rest after his degrée is prayse worthy. Page [unnumbered] This is sayd, to the entent yt hée which leaueth the court, shuld leaue it merily and without repenting, for feare that after his sorowe is past, he would be ashamed to returne to the same, where he may chaunse to haue great busines.
*The proude and vnpacient man doth many thinges in a day whiche he had neede to mourne for all the daies of his life. A colloricke heade is no∣thing meete for the court for if he will be reuenged of the shames, iniuries, craftes,* and wronges, that in the court he shall fynde, let him trust that hée shall suffre more in one houre, then he shalbe able to reuenge in ten yere: Whosoeuer leaueth the court let him leaue it for euermore-because that if he will returne to it again, and leaue his dwelling in the countrey, he may be likened to him, that hath a conti∣nuall Ague: He that sinnes and mendes and after returnes againe to sinne, that sinne is more greuous then ye first. In likewise to leaue the courte and after returne to it, is so open a faulte that it Page 16 cannot be hid, excepte ye will say, hée goeth to sell vertue and to by riches.
To our purpose, if we shuld aske of an auncient man, what hath béen the whole course of his life, and that hée would answere vs, he hath enter∣prised muche, wandred, spoken, sear∣ched, founde and lost. &c. We would saye that his life hath béen a dissem∣bling folly.* What shall we say then of our inconstant Courtiers that daily do the same thinges? whiche forget∣ting themselues, for the obteinyng of a litle fauour, do against nature, flatter, and begge. Remember aboue all things gentle reader here andels where,* that I speke not but of ye vndiscrete Courtiers that cannot refraine their appetite with an honest contentacion: whiche thing most chiefly causeth many sage and dis∣crete persons to geue ouer the Courte, because to refraine the wil of the heart, is a greater paine then to cōtent ye body: for ye body is soone wery of sinning, but the heart is neuer satysfied in desiryng: One may knowe easily the complecciō Page [unnumbered] of the body, but the mynde of the heart neuer, and to contenting lesse, for the heart at euery instaunt requireth now one thing now another, and within a litle time after forgetteth all. O dissem∣bling heart that vnder a pretence to be clere and ioyfull, maketh men to iudge that hypocrisy is deuocion, ambicion nobilitie, auarice husbandry, crueltie zeale of iustice, much babling eloquēce, folishnes grauitie, and dissolucion dili∣gence: To conclude, that euery man ought to know how much he may doe: if a man know him selfe to be ambici∣ous,* impacient, and couetous, let him go hardely to the court: And contrary, if the courtier feele his nature content, pea∣ceable, and desiring rest and quietnes, let him be dwellyng in the village, and he shall well knowe that he neuer knew how to liue, till he had drawen hym self from the Court.
The .iiii. Chapiter. Of the life that the Courtier ought to leade, after that he hath lefte the Court.
MYronydes a wise & sage Philosopher, Capitain of ye Boheciens sayd, that the prudence of a man was as well knowen by retiring from the e∣uill, as in chosing of the good,* forasmuch as vnder the euill commonly the good can not be hid, but vnder the pretence of good much euill may be dissembled: euen much lyke as the Antheme that beginnes Per signum crucis and endes in Sathanas and Barrabas: In like ma∣ner the great euils haue their begin∣ning by some pretence of fayned good∣nes, in such sort that they be coūterfeict much lyke Maskers, wrapt in swetnes as purging pilles, and gilt as is the Ru∣barbe. There is no man I thinke so mad that kepeth not himself in asmuch as he can from catching euil, and speci∣ally Page [unnumbered] from open euil: but contrariwise, it were wisedome to kéepe him from that which is not altogether good.
Alexander the great, causing himself to be healed of certaine woundes that he had receiued in battail, was reproued of his great minion Parmeno for put∣ting himself into great hazard in the warre:* To whom Alexander sayd, as∣sure me my frende Parmeno of those that be dissembling frendes, for I wil be ware of them that be my opē enemies.
Alcibyades, Agiselaus, Purrhus, An∣tigonus, Lentulus, and Iulius Caesar, were so circumspecte in these thinges that they were alwayes vanquishers, and died in the handes of their frendes, and specially because they chose the good and lefte the euil.
Then he that leaueth the court ought not only for to sée what he leaueth, but also what he taketh, considering that as much or more hard it is to content him hauing left the court, as it was a fore in the desiryng to bée in the court: what profiteth it to leaue the Court Page 18 wery & troubled, If thy hart can finde no rest in the place whether thou resor∣test? Our body fulfilled with meates is led where one will haue it, but the heart is neuer satisfied with desiryng,* and wold (if he might) be in fauor with princes of the courte, and on the other side at his ease in the village. If the Courtier dayly haue mynde beyng at home, of the passions & afflictions that he had in the Court, it had béen better for him neuer to haue gone from it, be∣cause that in remembring them, yt thin∣king is more pricking, and the mynde weaker to resist them.
In the court of princes chaunses of∣ten tymes that lacke of money or other great busines makes a man abstayne from doyng euil,* the which being after in his house doeth such déedes vnseeme∣ly in a gentleman, that they deserue to be corrected, yea, and bitterly puni∣shed.
There bée also another sorte of men that forsakes the Court to bée more idle at home:* And such would be Page [unnumbered] reiected frō the nomber of honest men, seing they chose that time for their pur¦pose to sinne in the village, fearing to be infamed or dishonored in the court, and yet beyng in the countrey liues with shame forgetting all reason. To exchue these thinges he that leaueth the Court ought to leaue hys percialitie that he hath folowed, and to forget all passions: otherwise he shall lament the swéete bitternes that he leaues, and be∣wayle the life that he hath begunne. This is true, that in ye court are more occasions geuen to destroy a man,* then are at home in his owne house to saue him. It is a small profite to the courti∣er the chaunging of his dwelling, vnles by the same meanes he change his con∣dicions. When the courtier saith I wil withdrawe me to my countrey and go dye at home, yt is wel said: but this shal suffice that he honestly withdraw him self, without determining there to dye. This mortall life is to vs so apointed,* that we ought not to pursue it with so∣row, but that we are bounde to amend Page 19 it. Whē Iob said Tedet animam meam vite mee, it was not for yt hys life weri∣ed him, but because hée did not amēd it.
Whosoeuer leaueth the court may be boulde to say that he goeth not to die: but may wel thinke he hath escaped from a fayre prison, from a confused life, from a daungerous sickenes, from a suspicious conuersacion, from a greate sepulchre,* and from a mer∣uail without ende. The wysest being in the court may say euery day that they dye, and at their houses in the countrey that they liue. And the rea∣son is: that being in the court, those necessary thynges that are to be done in the worlde, cannot be done as they would, nor when they would, for lacke of libertie. Yet I will not say,* but ma∣ny in the courte doo theyr deuor to doe as they would, but I dare affirme that for x. pound weight they haue of honest will, they haue not halfe an ounce of ho∣nest libertie.
Likewise, let him that forsakes the Court set a wise order in such busines Page [unnumbered] that he hath to do, calling to minde that to go home to his countrey néedes no long iorney,* but to dispoyle him selfe of the euil clothes of the Court néedes a wonder long time. For like as vices in¦crease in a man litle and litle, so is it meete to roote them out by litle & litle. This ought the courtier to do ye mindes to rule himselfe, plucke vp by litle pie∣ces the most notable faultes that are in him, and so preately dispatch himself of one vice to day, & from another to mo∣row, in such sorte that when one vice takes his leaue and is gon, straightway a vertue doe enter in his steade, so that in proces he may goe from good to bet∣ter. The courtier is in nothing more de¦ceiued then in liuing a wilde and wan∣ton life, parauenture the space of .xx. or xxx. yeares, thinketh in a yeare or two to become sage and graue,* aswell as though he applied all his life in a sober and sad life, & truely that happeneth for lacke of good iudgement, for it behoueth without comparison a lenger tyme for to learn to cast away vice, thē to learne Page 20 vertue:* considering that vices enter our gates laughing, and goeth out from our house weping and lamenting. O how much gréeueth it ye ambicious courtier, when he can not commaund as he was wont to doo? thē it may be sayd, yt to for∣sake ye court is requisite to a good heart, and a good witte to obtaine rest.
Those that leaue the Court for fainte heart, be of that nature that it is more painefull to them to sée themselues ab∣sent from the Court, thē their ioye was when they were in the court: which sayd persons if they would folow mine aduice and counsail should not onely leaue the court, but forget it vtterly for euer. And farther, the courtier ought to retyre in suche maner that hée may come to the Court againe, if the feare and study in ordering of his householde constrayne him eftsones for to desire the voluptuousnes of the court. In the heart of the prudent courtier that forsa∣keth the court,* when there falleth bi∣shoprickes or other great offices, the affections and desires of the mynde Page [unnumbered] ryngeth alarme, when he shall thinke if I had not come awaye so soone, that office or that dignitie had been myne: but he again remembring that many suche thinges hath fallen which he had not: so likewise might he haue in the stede of ye, a plain nay, of that which fell when he was gone. Then, is it not muche better to ouersee and trauaile his owne house then to haue suche a shamefull denial in the court?
Therfore destinies of the courtiers are so prompte and ready that for the most parte one is constrained to dis∣pise them more by necessitie, then by will, and in that meane while their purpose is at an ende before they them selues beware therof, For when the Courtier commeth to be at quiet with himselfe, aboue all thinges it is neces∣sary that he take hede of pesteryng of himselfe,* for if he did liue in the court euil willed, let him take hede, that in the village he dispaire not, by reason of charge, the importunitie of his wife, of his children, and the fautes of his ser∣uauntes, Page 21 the grudging of his neigh∣bours may parcase make him astonied: but to thinke again, that being escaped from the daungerous golfe of the court, he may repute him selfe halfe a God. And besides this,* none ought to thinke that he dwelling in a village in the countrey shall putte awaye all trou∣bles and displeasures, for it can not be, but he that neuer fell in the croked and rough way may happen to stumble in the plaine way and breake his necke: and therfore it is necessary that he re∣tiryng from the court, take the time as it shall come, that he may the more oc∣cupie him selfe in vertuous exercise, to the entent that to muche rest, and to much busines of minde let him not frō the great good that commeth of this,* to be well contented with a litle. Ioyne vnto this also that ther is none so much enemye vnto vertue as is idlenes, of ye whiche idlenes bée taken in the begyn∣ning thoughtes superfluous,* and conse∣quently the distruccion of men.
To the purpose, hath not the cour¦tier Page [unnumbered] cause to complayne,* that occupieth himself in nothing but in eatyng, drin∣kyng, and sleaping, and in the meane season his better age, that is to say, his youth consumeth away, as the fume of smoke, which proceeds of idlenes in the court and doyng nothing?* where con∣trariwise hée might in the village ex∣ercise himself to his honor, & to ye health of his body & profite of his neighbour.
In like maner also, the courtier that withdraweth himself should vse ye com∣pany of such as be graue, sage & honest, to the entent that in the steade of lyers,* flatterers, and triflers, which he was associate withall in the court, he may be accompanyed in the village with wyse and sage frendes, or at the har∣dest with good bookes, whereby in the lokyng of them he may vertuously im∣ploye the residue of his tyme,* and with sobrietie entertaine euery man, that men may say he is come from the court to please the good, and not to rule. And if parcase one would make him baylief in the village, or some other publique Page 22 officer, I would counsail him to take heede thereof as he would of the pesti∣lence, for because there is nothing so troubleous nor so hard a burden to the mynde as to take charge of the rude and simple. I doe not say nay, but that he may & ought to helpe the poore com∣mons of the village with suche know∣lege as he hath learned in the court, or had before hee came there, when they shall haue neede, eyther for loue or for money. Also if they bée at variaunce, helpe to appeace thē: if they be euil in∣treated, defend them. And this doyng, he shalbe estéemed of the commons & prai∣sed of the wise and prudent.* Aboue all thinges beware of prodigall apparell, superfluous banquetes, and delicate meates, and strong or precious wynes. For the absenting from the court ought to be to none other purpose but to liue soberly in ye village,* or els shall he make of the village the court, which should make of the court, ye village. And ye cour¦tier retyred from ye court ought to haue in singuler cōmēdaciō mercy, as to visit Page [unnumbered] Hospitalles,* succor the poore, counsail the Orphans, visite the prisoners, read the holy scripture, and finally that hee study to dispose his goodes vertuouslye during his life, for whē he shalbe dead, euery man will clayme his goodes,* but none will nor can discharge his soule. And most chiefly, let the courtier that goeth from the court occupye himselfe vertuously to dye. All these thinges that I haue sayd, let no man say that they be more easy to reade then to do: for if we will enforce our selues, we are more then our selues, and doe not then well remember our selues.
The .v. Chapiter. ¶That the rusticall lyfe is more quiet and restfull and more beneficiall then that of the court.
THe village whereof we speake and the demaines thereof, Put we the case that it were all frée and not subiect to any Lord (as certain there be so pre∣uileged) Page 23 that euery man there lyeth in his owne house, whether it be by suc∣cession, or that he haue bought it fréely without doyng any homage or seruice to any man. This I dare say, the courtier hath not, nor is not in such frée libertie in respecte of such as be of the village, forasmuch as of very neces∣sitie, my maister the courtier must win the Marshall or Harbengar of the lod∣ging, and must receiue at his handes the billet to come to his lodging, and that late ynough and wery to his host, breake open dores, beat downe walles,* disorder houses, burne implemēts, and sometyme beat the good man, & defyle the wife. O how happy is he that hath wherwithal to liue in the village with out troubling both of himself and ma∣ny sondry places, without séeking of so many lodginges, without assayes of so many straunge occasions of straunge men, without wéeping of any person, but is content with a meane estate, and is deliuered of all such breakebraines. Another benefite of the coūtrey is this, Page [unnumbered] that the gentleman or burges that there doth inhabite may be one of the chief or chiefest, either in boūtie, honor, or auc∣toritie,* the which happeneth seldome in the court & in great cities and townes: for there he shall sée other goe before him, more trim and more braue and gorgious then he, as well in credite as in riches, as well in the house as with∣out the house. And Iulius Caesar sayd to this purpose that he had rather bée the first in a village, then the second in ho∣nor in Rome. For such men as haue high hartes and mindes, and base fortune, it should be to them much better to liue in the village with honor, then in the court ouerthrowen and abated, and out of fauor. The difference betwéene the tariyng or abidyng in a litle place and a great place, is that in the litle places are founde much people poore and née∣dy, of whom men may take compassi∣on: and in the great place many riche men whereby enuy is norished.
*Another commoditie in the village is, that euery man enioyeth in quiet Page 24 and peace such as God hath geuen him, without to haue such to come to their houses, that shall constrayne them to make extraordinary expēses, or to haue his wife seduced, or his daughters defi∣led. The occasions to doo euil be put a∣way by reason that he is occupied in the mainteining of his housholde, in tray∣ning of his sonnes & chastening of hys seruauntes. He liueth confirmed to rea∣son and not to his opinion: and liues hopyng to dye & not as he that loueth to liue euer. In the village,* thou shalt not care for good lodging, nor for looking to thy Horses and Mules, nor for the la∣ding of such thinges as they shall cary. Thou shalt not heare the crying of pa∣ges, the plaintes of the stuardes of the house, the babling of the Cookes, nor thou shalt feare Iudges nor Iustices, least they shuld be to sore against thée. And that which is much better, thou shalt haue no craftie knaues to bée∣guyle thée, nor women to betraye thée.
Another benefite of the village Page [unnumbered] is this, that he shall haue time enough to al thinges that he will do, so that the time be well spent, time enough to stu∣die, time to visite his frendes, time to go a hunting, and layser when he list to eate his meat: the which layser cour∣tiers commonly haue not,* for asmuche as they employe the moste part of their time in making of shiftes to playe the courtier, or to speake more plainely, to wepe and lament, in such sorte that one may say of them ye which ye Emperour Augustus said of a Roman a great busie broker the same day that hée dyed. I wonder said he, séeyng the tyme failed him to chop and to chaunge, how hée could now finde layser to dye? Another commoditie of the village is this, those that be dwellers there maye goe alone from place to place without to be noted to fall from grauitie, they néede no Mule nor Horse with a foote clothe,* nor page to wayte of my lorde, or damosell to waite vpon my lady. And that were scornefull to do in the court alone And without daunger one may walke Page 25 from neighbor to neighbor, and from land to land, and not thereby minish a∣ny part of his honor.
Another benefite is,* that men may go whether they will, clothed simply with a staffe in his hande, a swearde by his side, or hacbut in his necke, and if he be weary of pounsed hosen, let h m weare stoppes, if he be a colde let him take his furred gowne for all is one there. A good gentleman dwelling in the village and hauing a good coate of cloath, an ho∣nest Spanish cloke on his back, a paire of lether shooes, goeth as well trimmed to the church as doth my Lord the cour∣tier to the court with his gowne furde with Marters or Sables. A man of the village of what sorte soeuer he be, is in as good case, that rydeth to market or to the faier to make prouisiō for his house∣holde vpon a mare or a nagge,* as a lord of the courte is at Iustes vpon a great courser trapped with golde. And (when all is sayd) better is the poore plough∣man on a poore asse, liuing as he should, then the rich man well horsed, pilling Page [unnumbered] and doyng extorciō to pore honest men.
The .vj Chapiter. ¶That in the village the dayes seeme more long, and the ayer more clere and better. And the houses more easy and restful than in the court.
ENsuing still the commodities of the village, wée ought not to forget that he which dwelles there, among other thinges hath commoditie of good corne, and consequently good bread: contrary to this, in the court, & specially in great townes they haue breade for the most part euil baked or euil leauened, or not leauened at all, & the cause is, forasmuch as in the townes oftē there lacketh good corne, or good corne milles to grinde the corne, & holsome water, whereby often hath come among them great death.
Another commoditie in the village is this, the which I prayse much, hée Page 26 that dwelles there, may practise and la∣bour in mo thinges and better imploy the tyme then in the court or in ye great townes: in which places it behoueth a mā to dissēble, to say litle, to be ful of re¦uenging & enuyous, a treader of stones and pauemontes, & must vse grauitie, and seldome to come out of his house, and incessantly be graue. O half a God, that dwelles in the village where libe∣rally one may speake what he wil, and iest wt his neighbours before his gates and his window. And this may hée doe without euer to chaunge or to léese any of his meane auctoritie.
Another cōmoditie is in the village,* yt those yt dwel there, be wtout comparisō more healthfull & lesse sicke then in the cities and in the court, because in the great townes the houses be more high, and the streates narower, & more cro∣ked, which is the cause that the ayre is corrupt and makes men very euill at ease▪ In ye village the houses stād more at large, the men more better disposed, the ayre better, ye sunne more clere, the Page [unnumbered] earth more swéete, the priuate goodes or commons better ruled without con∣tenciō, and the exercise more pleasant, and the company much better: And a∣boue all thinges the thoughtes lesser, and the pastyme more great.
*Another commoditie in the village is, that there are no young Phisicians, nor olde sicknes: And contrary to this, the courtier is constrained there to part his goodes in fower partes, the one part to flatterers, the other to men of lawe, another to Pottecaries, & the fowerth to the Phisicians. O wel fortunate vil∣lage, forasmuch as in thée, seldome or neuer is the French pocks named,* nei∣ther the paucy nor yet the goute: fewe or none there knoweth what is a Iu∣lep, a Pyll, a Sirup, or a Thysan, nor no sodain sickenes. What will ye that I shall say more of the village? And if it were not, but that for necessitie, they are compelled to builde there litle pre∣tie houses, ye should scant finde one of them that knew what to do with mor∣ter and stones? And sometime they are Page 27 very well pleased with cabons made of small stickes well fastened together.
Another commoditie of the village is, yt the dayes there séeme to be more long, and they are better imployed, thē they are eyther in the court or in the great townes, forasmuch as the yeares passe away there or one be ware, and the dayes without any enoying of thē. And howbeit that the sportes and plea∣sures be more in the village then in the townes, yet so it is that one day shall séeme lenger there then shall a moneth in the court: and the reason is, for that the village is happy and fortunate, for∣asmuch as there the Sunne séemes to make a more longer day, the morning is ready to show, and the night slow to come.* Scarcely one can perceiue the dayes slyde away in the court: In the village if it be perceiued, it is bestowed with honest busines, which cannot bee done in the court.
In the village also is much more plentie of wood then in other places:* hay, strawe, Otes much better cheape Page [unnumbered] then in good townes. Also in the village a man is at libertie to eate his meate where he will, & when he will, & with whom he will: but in the court they eat late, ye meat euil dressed & colde, & with out sauor, & that which is worst of all, for the most part, he must eate with his enemies, where as the good felowes of the village liue at their pleasures and without suspicion, keeping their thrée good fashions that belongeth to good re∣past,* that is, first he earneth his meat, next that he eateth his meate merely, and thyrdly hée eateth with good com∣pany.
Another commoditie is, that the husbandman of the village hath how to occupy himselfe and how to be me∣ry, which the courtier, nor the citizen hath not, that hath enemies enough to feare, and fewe frendes to companye withall.* O recreacion pleasaunt of the village, to fishe with nettes, and with hookes, to catch birdes with lyme, to hunt with dogges, to catch Conies with Ferrets, & hayes, to shoote in ye crosbow Page 28 and ye hacbut at stockdoues, at Mallar∣des & at patriges: & sée folkes labor in ye vynes, raise diches, amend hedges, to iest with the auncient laborers, All these pleasures haue they of the villa∣ges, wheras the courtiers and citezens desire it, and cannot haue it.
The .vij. Chapiter. ¶That commonly the inhabitaunts of the villages be more happy then courtiers.
ANother commoditie of the village is, that they doe féele the trauayles lesse on the working day, and reioyce merely on the holy day:* where the cour∣tier continually vexed with weightie and troubleous affaires, neuer knoweth when it is holiday. O village, it is not so in thée, whereas on the feastfull day the clerke ceaseth not to tolle the bell, to make cleane ye church, to make ready for seruice, the people honestlye appa∣relled, the feastes commaunded to bée obserued, the curate preacheth the Page [unnumbered] gospel, and after dinner they make me∣ry with a thousande honest pastymes. In the great townes the holidayes are knowen when the wiues go gay, when they sléepe long in the morning,* when they play after dinner: and generally when they consume the day in volupte∣ousnes and vanities.
Another commoditie is this, that where the courtiers vse to eate fleshe and corrupt venison & wilde foule that is long kept, they of ye village haue their meate fresh and fresh, tender and hol∣some,* and as one may say, in good seasō: that is, housedoues, Partrige, pullettes, Stockdoues, Woodcockes, Fesauntes, fatte Capons, Conyes, Hares, and in∣numerable victayl of all sortes. And o∣uer and besides this, to their great ad∣uauntage they haue sheepe that beareth wol to cloath them, good mutton to eat, dong to make fatte their grounde, and Kyddes and Goates also, with Oxen to labor in the plough, and kyne to milke and make butter & chéese: and hogges to make bacon of, Coltes for to norish, Page 29 and Horses for to serue them and for to sell when néede requireth. And another priuelege of the village is this, that the good shall be honoured for a good man, and the vnthriftie person knowen as he is, which is not so in the court,* for there is no man praysed for that he deserueth to be praised, but because he hath aucto∣ritie and riches.
O how much is the wise man hono∣red in the village for his wisedome and good counsail? how many tymes is he thanked and how many presentes hath be:* If parcase one of his neighbors haue any good fruit in his garden, a good me∣lon, a good pear, or a good muscadell grape, gladlye they will present him therewith, as to him that hath deser∣ued it.
Another preuilege of the village is this, that euery man may marrye his daughters to his equalles and neigh∣bours, that thereby dayly hee may re∣ceiue both pleasure & seruice, the which the courtiers cannot doe that marry his daughters so farre from them, that Page [unnumbered] for the most parte they lament them or they sée them. O happy inhabitor in the village that findes at his gate hus∣bandes for his daughters, and wyues for his sonnes. He maryeth them nygh to him that he may easly sée his sonnes in lawe,* his litle nephues and his po∣steritie: he is beloued of thē, succoured in his affaires, serued & norished in his sicknes, & great cōfort to him in his age
Another commoditie is, that they are not to much carefull nor yet ireful or enuious: which commoditie they of the court and the citizens litle taste or enioye: for the courtier many times lac∣keth money, when his greate affayres shuld be brought to passe. I say therfore O happy man of the village, that néeds not to goe at ten of the clocke to the pa∣lice to beg counsail, to speake fayre to the vsher, to wait vpō the president, and make flectamus ienua to ye lawyer,* and flatter the king & his counsail, and the Magistrate: but hath in steade of these Idolatries for a happy solace, the bene∣fites of nature & the pastimes therof, to Page 30 heare the shéepe blete ye Bulles to bray,* the Horse to neyh, the Nitingales to sing, the Thrushes to warble, the Ly∣nets to mynse their songes, dogges to run, Lambes to leape, Kyddes to gam∣bolde, and see the Pekockes set vp their tailes like a whele, Hēs to kecle, kockes to crow, & a thousand kynde of beastes and birdes play and sporte.
Another commoditie is, that in the village one may be there more vertu∣ous and lesse vicious then in the courte or in the great cities, & the reason is, for that in great companyes we shall com∣menly finde a M. that kéepe men from good doyng, & .x.M. that will moue vs to doe euil. And in the village euery man sanctifieth the Sabboth day,* keepeth the feastes, heareth the sermons, & by thys meanes with great labor worketh his soule health assisted by grace. Wherefore the village is to be praised for yt the occasions of euil, & of our de∣struction are not so plentiful & practised there, as they are in the courte and in good townes, no cookes houses to make Page [unnumbered] them licorous: nor there are no greate estates wherby enuy should arise: there is no chopping nor chaunging by vsu∣ry:* whores to quarell and fight for, nor courtiers to torney in armure, nor wā∣ton and lewde places to corrupt youth withall: nor Iustices to feare them, ye (and that best of all is) no couetousnes which should swalow vp and deuour them.
Another priuilege there is, that their one may well gather some good,* & spend much lesse then in the court. For euery man knowes well what excessiue ex∣pences are accustomed to be wasted in the court, and specially in these dayes, that the great apparelling of bankettes is such that they be well worthy to bee reformed. O peaceable peysaūts which néedes not the tapettes of Flaunders, lin∣nen cloath of Holland, siluer plate, gar∣mentes imbrodered, Parcement lace purfilde, nor yet cariage, Mulettes, var∣lettes to conduct them, nor other super∣fluous attyre: but contrary in stéede of that, is contented with a litle houshold Page 31 well ruled, with a grosse table & a fewe plaine stooles to eate his meate vpon, with dishes of Peuter, and a mattres for to sléepe on, two gownes, one for sommer, another for winter, one gel∣ding in the stable, one varlet, one cham∣berer to doe him seruice: As much hap∣py is a gentleman and as much hono∣red with his litle company in his house in the village, as is a rich Lord in the court with his pride, & ruffling traine.
The .viij Chapiter. ¶That in princes courtes the custome and vse is to speake of God and liue after the worlde.
IN the Court, euen as there is no rigorous iustice, no father yt chastiseth his sonne, no frende that correcteth one the other, none that loueth his neighbor,* no bi∣shop nor curate that gouerneth wel his shéepe, nor teacheth them after the gos∣pell: So he that is by nature good, hath Page [unnumbered] great libertie to be naught. In the court if one will be an adulterer, he shal haue fellowes. If he wil be a quareller, hée shall haue helpe,* and that with such as will drawe their swordes. If he be dis∣posed to banqueting, euery where hée shall finde gluttons, If he wil manifest∣ly & shamefully lye, he shall finde com∣panions ready that will approue hys lyes: If he will steale, he shal finde them that wil instruct him many wayes ther to: If he will playe, there are so many cardes & so many dise,* that it is shame to see it: If one wil be falsly forsworne, he shall finde them that will geue mo∣ney for forswearing: Fynally, if he wil vtterly geue himself to doe euil, in the court he shall sée perfect examples. To the court resorteth men of diuers naci∣ons, some for busines, some to pleade or to serue,* or to shewe thēselues, which persons to bring themselues acquain∣ted are forced to folow the seruauntes of suche as be in auctoritie, to flatter them, and speake fayre to them: and to folowe the companyes and felowship Page 32 of the taberers, the Pypers, the Musici∣ans, the flatterers & mery iesters, and at the ende become God knowes poore and néedy gentlemen, in such wise yt by very necessitie they be compelled to de∣maūd rewardes, newyeres giftes, and new apparell. And yet to these euill fe∣lowes, they which geue any good thing, geue it rather to get thēselues a name to be called full of magnificence, then for any charitie at all.
In the Court, fortune is inconstant,* in that shée promiseth, and yet more in that which she geueth, for at one instāt, where one ryseth, another falleth, one is borne, another dyeth: he is auaunced that is vnknowen, and the faithfull ser∣uaunt forgotten, he that will abyde is not receiued, but he that will runne a∣way is taken in: fooles are beleued and wisemen belyed, opinions be folowed and reason let passe. With these things and other semblable thynges that we assaye and see in Courtes of pryn∣ces, euery manne maye bee assured that fortune wyll knocke at hys Page [unnumbered] doore, though for the most part the cour∣tiers finde soner their graue then any good fortune, and specially such that vn∣der colour to be discēded of a good house, go to the court to bragge,* and yet neuer∣thelesse are so foolishe and ignoraunt, that it may be said they are more méete for the cart then for the speare, so that they serue in conclusion to be a daliance to the mockers and iesters. And one great mischief is in the court, that there is euer hatred amonges the princes, en∣uy among familiars,* contenciō among officers and with their felowes. And among these there neuer lacketh med∣lers & busie bodyes, which profite more thereby, then some doctor of diuinitie doeth by preaching. In the court all is suffered,* all is dissembled withall, all is inconstant, and all sortes desyre there to liue: and forasmuch as all desire there to liue, it is impossible but there must be lyers, players, slaunderers, & a great nomber of naughtie persons.
*In the court the euill foloweth the euil: The brauler findes one to braule Page 33 withal: The adulterer one that he may sinne withall: The théefe a companion and receiuer: The sophister a babler: and all rekened together, one ready to deceiue another.
In the court euery man prayseth and commendeth himselfe of holy purposes and noble thoughtes. One sayth he will withdrawe himselfe from the courte. And another sayeth he will forget hys suites.* Another sayeth he will quenche enemitie. And when they haue all sayd, all is but wordes, for the heart thinketh of nothing els but of the world. None knoweth there the one the other: The men of armes go without harnys: The prelates without their rotchettes: The The priest without his porteaues:* The daughter without her mother: The wife without her husband: The clerke without his bookes: The theefe without a spye: The glutton from table to ta∣ble. The vacabond from place to place, and the baude from doore to doore, and from harlot to harlot. In the court there be bishoppes to cōfirme curates, to bap∣tise Page [unnumbered] and chaunge names: For he that is glorious gay, they name him honora∣ble,* he that spendes all, full of magnifi∣cence, the cowarde wyse, the valiaunt ouer hardy, the foole ioyous, ye wyse an hipocrite, the malicious subtle, ye scoffer eloquēt, the adulterer Amorous, the co∣uetous mesurable, and he that talketh litle, a foole & an ignoraunt person.
The .ix. Chapiter. ¶In the court fewe amend, but many waxe worse.
*IN the court it profites litle, men to be wise, vnlesse they be fortu∣nate, forasmuch as good seruice is soone forgotten: frendes soone faile, & enemies augmēt, ye nobilitie do∣eth forget it self, science is forgottē, hu∣militie dispised, trueth cloked & hid, and good counsaill refused. The best myne and the richest Alcumet that the cour∣tier may haue,* is to haue wynde at wil to saile with, that is, to be in fauor with Page 34 thē that be fauoured, till fortune laugh vpon him: for the condicions and fashi∣ons of entertainment chaungeth dayly and hourely. To proue this true, Plato needs not to speak, nor Cicero to swear, forasmuch as afore our eyes we see the foole become wyse, the meeke, become proude, the sober a glutton,* the pacient a brauler, and the deuout an euil chri∣stian man.
In the court it is a great busines and trauaile for to finde vertue,* and greater daunger and perill to kéepe it. Is not humilitie lost among them that be in honor, or pacience among wrong doo∣ers, or abstinence among gluttons, or chastitie amonges women, or reste a∣monges busines, or charitie amonges euil willers, or peace amonges sedici∣ous, or silēce amongest bablers, or good witte: where is so much folly? In the court no man is content, euery man cō∣plaineth,* eyther because the kyng ge∣ueth him nought, or because the prince helpeth him not, or that one or other is euer betwixt him and home: He com∣plaints Page [unnumbered] of the porter he wil not let him in: of the treasurer that he payeth hym not: of his crediture which taketh away his goodes: or of one or other that doeth him wrong in the court. If one reade a letter of pleasure, he shall reade an hun∣dreth of displeasure. The wyfe shall write to her husband and pra••im for to come home, that he may marry hys daughters being of age, or that his chil∣dren be disobedient, that his frendes hath forsaken him, and that by ingrati∣tude they render euil for good, werines doth assayle her on all sides, that her te∣nauntes call her to the lawe, that hys goodes be spent? surely hée shall heare such newes, so that for two grotes that he geueth to the bearer of the letters, he would gladly haue geuen more to haue hard no such newes.
*In the court a man doth many things by necessitie, that to dye for it he would not doe in his house: he dynes & suppes with his enemies, he speakes with him that he neuer knewe nor pleaseth hym not, defendes him that helpes him not, Page 35 foloweth him ye honoureth not him, lēds to him that payeth him not, dissembles with him that doeth him iniury, & tru∣stes to him that beguiles him.
O vnhappy and sorowfull courtier if by chaunce he growe to be a poore man,* no man will succour him, and if he fall sicke no man visites him, and if he dye he is incontinent forgotten: if he be ver∣tuous no man commendes him, and if he be out of creadite no man regardes him. In the court there is nothing more rare nor more deare to recouer thē ver∣tue, nor more easy to fynde then the a∣boundaunce of thrée maner of people. That is of tale bringers, of flatterers, and of liers.* The liers deceiue the prin∣ces. The flatterers the rich men. The tale bringers, those that be in fauour. The women, deceiue the men. The co∣uetousnes, the olde men. The pompe the prelates The auaricious, the priestes. The libertie the religious, ambicion, the presumptuous, the wise confidence in men, and all they ioyned together be deceiued by fortune.Page [unnumbered]
In the court men employe the tyme so euil that from the time the courtier do∣eth aryse,* till he goe to bed, he occupieth himself about nothing but in askyng of newes, ietting about the streetes, write letters, speake of the warres, entertein them that be in fauour, counsail with baudes, make as he were in loue and léese alwayes the tyme. In the court more then in any other place the things are slow. For one rises late, and worst of all amendes his life late. All thinges there is variable and chaungeable and inconstaunt.* The estates chaunge, The litle assend, the great fall. The widowes there be marde: The ma∣ried be defamed: The maydens bée shamed: The good spirites be dulled: The valiaunt becommes cowardes: The prelates waxe worse and worse: The sciences are forgotten: The young léese their time: The olde vndone: This is the courtiers life, He is not worthy to be a courtier vnlesse he bée in debte and owethe to the draper for cloath,* to the Merser for silk, to the taylor for the Page 36 making of his apparel, to the goldsmith for iewels for my Lord ye courtiers la∣dy, to the Iudges for the disputyng of processes, to the seruaūtes for wages, to their hostes for their spence. There is to much euil counsail, euen such as is more then the halfe way leadyng to damnacion.
The .x. Chapiter. ¶That a man cannot liue in the court, without to trouble himselfe or some other.
A Courtier doeth many things,* more for to say, I doo as other men do, thē for any néede he hath so to doe. He ban∣kettes with euery man because he will not be called an hypocrite, Playes be∣cause he would not be named a nigard, and companies with many, because hée wil not be named a solitarimā & geues to rascal & naughtie persons because he would not be euil said of thē.* A man in Page [unnumbered] the court is full of pensiuenes and pas∣sions: For it is trueth that it is appro∣pried to them of nature that followes the court, to bée incessantly tormented. He must praise his felowes, disprayse straungers, and looke vnto them that do euil, and blame them that doe wel, and spend at large with his felowes, and a∣gainst the enemies spare not his owne proper life: And all this must he doo be∣cause he will not be dispraysed. In the court commonly one professeth to wait of one maister,* but for all that, he must serue at the taile of diuers other lordes. O broken heart of the poore courtier that must néeds serue such as knoweth him not, and make reuerence to them that deserue not to haue it, and must say to my maister the officer an hun∣dreth tymes a day, Sir and if it please you. And he shall answere when I am at leyser:* tary a whyle at the doore. And yet we must call him maister yt deser∣ues it no more then the hangman that strangles a man with a halter. O what pitie is it to see a poore suiter in his née∣dy Page 37 busines folow the kyng from towne to towne euil norished,* and worse lod∣ged? The king hath busines, the coun∣sailer is defe, the Almoner hath no hād, and he that thou knowest hath no eyes:* And without money & extreame paine, the fiue wittes of nature be lame.
In the court, albeit that one hath no enemies which is seldome séene, yet is it truth yt many tymes his owne frends put him out of quiet, forasmuche as if the courtier will take rest in hys lod∣gyng, they grunt at him because he will not goe see his frendes, & prouoke hym to goe folow the princes in the courte, saying, that the rascal and the varlettes mocke at him that he goeth not thether and shewe himself frée and liberal: and when he is ariued at the court, which is a naturall enemy to rest,* and a desire of nouelles, then must he chaunge, as doeth the Egipcian, which euery day see∣keth a new countrey, a newe lodgyng, new apparell, and conuersacions, busi∣nes and fashions of men. Lo my frende and the reader of this: This is the life Page [unnumbered] of the courtier as it is here described: and also of hym that liueth in the vil∣lage the which sayd life of the peysaūts shall be much practised of many, and chosen of a fewe, because that euery man readeth bookes enough & the more he readeth the lesse he chaungeth of his euil customes. And to call to reason why it is so, it foloweth that the court of princes is good but for two maner of men,* for them that be in fauor, and for the yoūg which be yet of a weak iudge∣ment. And those that be in fauor, and doe wayte dayly, sée themselues so rich, so feared, and so well accompanied that they féele not the payne of ye court. And the pleasure they gette thereby makes them for conclusion forget themselues, yet notwithstanding for all thys,* it is impossible but that their braynes must be troubled, because they be to much oc∣cupied, for their houses are to ful of peo∣ple, their eares full of lyes, their toun∣gues to much troubled with answering of euery man, their heartes to muche pressed to ayde and help them that they Page 38 would helpe, and other. And finally the greater in auctoritie and credite they bée, ye shall see them the more pensiue and the more astonied, and for the most part sooner complaine then reioyce: but commaund who commaund will, haue credite who will, the truth is,* none can take pleasure of his goods, without ho∣nest rest. Beside this, those which bée sayd to be in fauor, are euer in feare to be put down from their auctoritie: And by that meanes are in continuall dread and torment, the which is an enemye mortall to quiet and rest. And the yong in like case (as I haue said) that be with out iudgement and blynded in vyces, do not know nor sée the incommodities of the court, nor care, neyther for fauor nor honor, but bounden and drownde in volupteousnes and vices, passe the better parte of their dayes in the schoole that is no∣thing worth, vnder the maister of pardicion.
The xi. Chapiter. ¶That in the court those that be graue are praised and wel esteemed, and the other that doe the contrary not regarded.
THe Courtier shuld not acquaint himself with vaine and ydle persōs, that he be not reputed to be such as hee com∣panieth withall. For it had not béen enough for him to say he must néedes doe there as other doe, and dissemble as other dissembles. Neither behoueth it him not to cloke his naugh∣tie doyng, in goyng secretely to such as be naught, for why? the wittes of the courtiers are so fine, that they knowe not onely what one sayeth but what he thinketh. There is neither little nor great, but men spye him whether he go∣eth, from whence he commeth, & where he abideth, with whom he talketh, in Page 39 whom he talketh, in whom he trusteth, and what he will doe, so well, that the curtens may hyde a person, but to hyde the vises of the courtiers is impossible. The courtier also ought not to brag and crake that thinges shalbe as he would, he may not presume to speake to the kyng and require audience as he him∣self lust: for he that foloweth the court must be as one that hath no mouth to speake, nor handes to be auenged with∣all,* beyng well assured that there is no more loue in the court, then are clothes vpon a bare horse. For he that is in the court, and is not armed with pacience, it had béen much better for him not to haue come out of his countrey, for be∣ing a quareller and sedicious felow,* in the court he shalbe hated, and paraduē∣ture banished from thence, and thē his returning shalbe to his vtter shame.
Malice and displeasures take often an end in the village, but in the court is alwayes an ouerplus of them. What is the cause? Fortune I say: which hath the rule ouer them who count her for a Page [unnumbered] goddesse,* which is more feared of a foo∣lish opinion, thē for any power she hath ouer men.
The courtier also ought not to cōdiscēd to that which his sensualitie requireth, but to that which reason doth persuade him vnto,* forasmuch as ye one demaū∣des more then néedes, and the other contentes him with lesse then he hath. Forasmuch then as in the court, there are so many tables to gluttō on, so ma∣ny new found playes to play at, so ma∣ny quarelles to fight for, so many mat∣ters to pleade, there is no cause to mer∣uaile if the sage be cherished, and the dissolute person blamed. The good man within the court, is as a nutte within the shale,* and mary within the bone, and a perle within the cokle, and a rose a∣mong the thornes. I doe not say reader, for the qualitie and quātitie of the ma∣lice of the court, that all be vicious that be there: God forbid that it so should bee, but when I call to remembraunce we be all mortall men, I thinke it in maner impossible to ariue safe into the Page 40 porte, among so many Sillas and Ca∣ribdes. Ye will say yt the wily and the subtle person there waxeth riche, and that the great summes of money bee there: I confesse it, & I would say your saying should bée good if they that were of the best knowledge and the most ver∣teous nomber were auaunced for their prudence, as the other be by hazard and chaunce or by theft,* for the rewarde of vertue, is not lyke the reward of fortune.
Itē the courtier ought not to geue pre∣sentes, nor lightly take, for why?* for to geue him yt deserues it not, there lackes wisedome. And to receiue of him that one ought not, is a thing but vile.
Who yt wil exercise liberalitie,* ought to consider what he geueth, & to whom he geueth: for it should be but folly to geue that which one may not, and that which he himself néedes. And one ought to cōsider the tyme and the end and the season, and wherfore he geueth. And if the courtier geue somethyng ouer libe∣ralitie & without iust cause of recōpēce Page [unnumbered] of him which is out of creadite, and in the tyme that he beginneth to declyne, is not then the gift euil imployed? is it not to be lamented that one geues soo∣ner to the flatterer to tell some feined or lying tales,* or a iester to make them laugh, or to a common lyer to make thē talke, or to a pleasaunt felow to inuent a lye, rather then to a trustie seruaunt that hath all the dayes of his life deser∣ued to haue thanke for his good seruice? Yet for all this, myne entencion is not to persuade great men that they should not geue to all men: but I say the true seruauntes ought to be preferred, be∣cause it is more méete that their ser∣uice should be rewarded, then the pre∣sentes of straungers considered.
When a man geueth to straungers, the seruauntes séeing the same drawe backe: yée may be assured that they not only murmure at that which is geuen, but also accuse him of his vngētle déed, and become a mortall enemy to hym that the thing is geuen vnto.* The giftes makes a man much subiect that recei∣ueth Page 41 them, for assoone as any man doth take of another an horse or a gowne, or oftē sit with him at his table, he bindes himselfe thereby to beare him fauour, to defend his quarel, to keepe him com∣pany, to take his parte, and to loue that that he loueth. And reason will, that si∣thens one féeleth profite of another that he be not vnkynde, howbeit let a man beware to binde himselfe so much vn∣der the will of other men, that he there∣by forgetteth his owne honestie. Many young children discended of an honest house goe to the court & take with them a good parte of their goodes & consume the same playing, eating, and drinking,* and vsing baudry and adultery vnder colour of learning their behauior: and resorte to the great mennes houses, to no other intent, but to be much made of thē where they take a great repast, and afterward so playe the young wanton fooles, that they spende rent, honor and all. And when the purse is flat,* their of¦fice is to go all the day in the stréetes to the churches and to the palaice to aske Page [unnumbered] newes and tidynges, only to pype out lyes and fables at the Lordes boordes, and all for to goe scot free. And there is a sorte of young men in the court, yea I may say to you, of those that haue bear∣des, that neither haue maister nor en∣tertainers, that as soone as a straunger commeth to the court, straightwayes they boorde him, saying that they will shewe him the fashions and maners of the court,* the pleasures of the palaices, the maner how to kéepe him from de∣ceiptfull felowes, and to entertain yong gentlewomen. And thus the new come courtier that is yet a foole, in the mean season shalbe handled in such wise that now goeth a gowne, now a coate, ano∣ther tyme a horse, and sometyme purse and all. And there is another sorte of men in the court that busieth thēselues with so great auctoritie and with so li∣tle wit, that after they haue vsed ye com∣pany of some great Lord, they wil send him a letter by their page, saying they be poore gentlemen,* kynsfolke to some great men, and that they be there su∣ing Page 42 for some office, and that they haue a payment in hand, wherefore they re∣quire him to lende him a certaine sum of money: And yet are they in no such necessitie, but onely to get somewhat, eyther to buye a gay coate, or a horse, or to kéepe a whore.
There is another sorte of false and beggerly courtiers, the which after they be once vsed to the court, they goe from church to church to aske for Gods sake,* saying they be poore suiters & that they loue better to begge then to robbe, com∣mending themselues to the priestes to beg for them on the poore parisheners when they preach, and so take agaynst reason the good yt poore men shuld haue.
There is another sorte of haunters in the court,* that goe from one house to another of the great estates and Lords, counterfaiting to bée diligent seruaūts, flatteryng the steward, the butler, and the cooke, and liue of that which is left of the dinners, and goe their wayes with theyr pockettes and their sléeues full of meate for to suppe withall. And Page [unnumbered] there is another maner of sorte that go two and two, and thrée and three toge∣ther in a morning to spy and see if there be any thing euil kepte,* and with that to looke and to prye if a sword or a Spa∣nish cloke, or a purse be fallen aside, if there bée, they sing in a mery note this is pro nobis. Other there be that for to conduict and defende a whore when the court remoues (as one may saye more thē ruffians) they liue of the gaine of the miserable woman.* Another hath false dise, false marked cardes for to de∣ceiue the innocentes, winne their mo∣ney,* and léese their owne soules. And there lackes not in the court old womē and wrinckled trottes that after their haruest is past,* cloake the sinnes of o∣ther, and beguile those that be chast and vndermine suche as be married, hurte their neighbours, sell maydēs to whore¦dome for luker, and doe norishe them therefore, whereof folowes that these olde whores sometime sel wenches bet∣ter cheape then fishers doe lamperyes. O beholde the company of the court, the Page 43 holines, the religiō, the brotherhed, and finally the foule disorder of the same. And I say for my parte, goe to the court who will and there abyde, and triumph who will: as for my selfe I do remem∣ber I am a christen man, & that I must accompt for the tyme I haue lost, and therfore I had much rather to labor and dygge and delue out of the court and be saued, then to be nigh the kyng, my cō∣science not cleane nor pure.
The xii. Chapiter. ¶ That in the court of princes all say wee will doe it, but none doe it.
BYas the great Philoso∣pher of great renoume amonges the Grecians, sayde vpon a tyme to the great Alexander Quilibet in suo nego∣tio, hebetior est quā in alieno, meaning, that commonly euerye man is more blinded in his owne affayres then in a∣nother Page [unnumbered] mannes. And he so sayd by ve∣ry good reason,* for that there bee men, which for to geue a wise deliberate and sage coūsail for to remedy a sodain mis∣chiefe, haue excellent wittes, so that it be in another mannes matter. But in their owne affayres they haue neyther witte to gouerne their own houses, nor stable minde to couer their owne mise∣ry. Cayus Iulius Caesar, Octauus Au∣gustus, Marcus Antonius, Septimius Se∣uerus, Marcus Aurelius, & other in great nomber, that were estéemed in theyr priuy busines,* that is to say, in the ru∣lyng of the common wealth were won∣ders wittie: but we read that they wer so negligent in gouerning theyr owne housholdes, their wiues & their family, ye it is much to their shame & reproche: therfore such be séene often to be good to rule ye cōmō welth, ye be nothing worth to gouerne their owne, & had need (if it might be honestly sayd) to haue a ruler to rule thē. Plutarch reporteth that the noble & valiāt capitain Niseas neuer lost battail,* but onely in trusting to much to Page 44 his own wit & iudgemēt. And if we be∣leue Hiarcus ye Philosopher, it is more hurtful to a man to stād in his own cō∣ceipt, thē to phāsy a womā: for in louing a woman, a man hurteth but himselfe: but in sticking to much to his own phā∣tasy, it may redoūd to ye hurt of a whole cōmon weale. Al this ye is said, shalbe to admonish them ye tary in ye court, to be cōuersant wc the graue & sage persons: and with such as be learned, & such as haue good experience: For the graue, learnes vertue:* Scilence is a certayne guide to a man: & experiēce, is ye consū∣macion of all. For although ye courtier being yong, be neuer so sage, graue, rich or in fauor,* he shall néed a father to coū∣sail hym, a brother to persuade hym a guide to teache him ye way, & a maister to instruct him, & a corrector to punysh him, because ye mischifes, craftes, & wic∣kednes doth so aboūd in ye court ye it is impossible yt a mā alone may defēd him frō al, & vtterly resist thē. For in ye court there is none so high away to destructi∣on as for a man to be gouerned onely Page [unnumbered] by himselfe, and haue his owne swing.
*The court is a perpetuall dreame, a botomelesse whorlepole, an inchaunted phantasy, and a mase: when he is in, he cannot get out till be bee mor founded. One of the best remedies that the cour∣tier may get against so many euils,* is to haue a faythfull frende that flatters him nothing, but that rather will cor∣rect and rebuke him if he go home late, if he walk by night, if he be a false play∣er or whorehunter. But where shall we fynde such a frende: For we see the frendship in the court is commonly v∣sed among young courtiers in this sort, that so soone as two or thrée are met to∣gether,* straite fall they to quarellyng, fighting, ryoting, so that there is rather occasion geuen to do euil, then good coū∣sail to refraine. Therfore he that haun∣teth the court, it were meete that he had some frende to whom without feare he might common of his busines, and that the multitude be also to hym common frendes, but aboue all one perfit frend.
I would also he should keepe himself Page 45 from the conuersacion of sedicious per∣sons,* from collericke persons and vaca∣bondes, for the rascall sorte will slaun∣der & say, ye kyng payeth naught, yt those which be in fauour haue all the swing, that the officers are proude, that mens seruice is euil recompenced, & the good vnknowen: With these wordes and such other lyke, the poore courtiers for∣gettes to serue and begin to murmure.
Also the good christian man ought not to ceasse to amend his life,* for that hée hopeth to liue long: although those that be olde there occupy themselues rather in new pastance, then to correct theyr old sinnes. Ye shal finde them that pro∣myse euery day for to amend thēselues in their age, and yet neuertheles dye there worse then deuils:* the cause is that they all say we wil doe and yet ne∣uer do. There be some old doting fooles, which shal bragge of the kinges & prin∣ces which they haue serued, of the chaū∣ging of offices that they haue séene, and of the warres passed, and of the great mutabilitie & chaunge of fortune. And Page [unnumbered] yet notwithstanding all that they haue séene and endured,* they be as gréedy of gayne, and delight in young and foolysh pastymes as though they were newe to begyn to lyue. Alas miserable men that in perpetuall trauail, and continu∣all sorow, & infinite trouble haue passed theyr lyues, euen from their first time of knowledge (which is, xv. yeares) to the tyme of manhood, and thē from that tyme to their doting age, and all to haue gayned riches and increase in renoune: not in all this tyme once remēber that in steade of a true and perfite rest, they prepare for themselues a hell both for bodye and soule. The courtier al∣so ought not lightly to complayne of aduersities which many tymes come to hym, thinking that oftentymes (though it bee our owne faulte) wee doe complayne of thynges whyche shoulde complayne of vs, if they had a toungue.
What time a man séeth him self base and is litle estéemed, or poore and for∣gotten of the rich, and deceiued of that Page 46 he looked surely to haue,* incontinent he curses his fortune and lamentes his e∣uil: In the meane whyle it is not for∣tune that hath thus serued him, but him selfe that hath serched it and founde it. Such a man thinkes to bee quickelye rich, honored and estéemed, that shortly after seeth himself poore, ouerthrowen, dispised, and blamed of all men, & can∣not reuenge himselfe, but onely say, he is vnfortunate & vnhappy to ye worlde, and that it is mishap: which is not so, but his owne folly that makes hym to leaue the suretie of his house, and pre∣pareth himself to the hazard of fortune, and therfore hath no cause to complain but of himselfe which choose the way to it. The best is, after that a man pur∣poseth himself to continue in the court,* that then paciently he awaite and fary the tyme of auauncement or auaūtage that he looketh for: or els if he cannot paciently dissemble with the tyme, let him not remayne there,* for contentaci∣on consisteth not in the place, but in the ambicious heart, and troubled mynde. Page [unnumbered] And take this for a trueth, ye yt be cour∣tiers that if .ij. or .iij. thinges succéed to your purpose prosperously, there shall come a hundreth ouerthwart the shins, either to you or to your frendes. For notwithstanding that the courtiers do∣inges and desires come to good passe, there shalbe thinges for his frend or fe∣low that goeth all awrye, wherby often tymes he laments the hurt of his frend, and that which is denied him more thē the pleasure he hath of his owne happe: wherefore there is alwayes lacke or faute of cōtentacion. Wil ye any more? the being in court or out of the court, ye shall beare no other matter,* then, what newes at the court? what doth the king? where is he? where is the counsail? and where lieth the officers of the houshold? and this is most true, that they which desire to heare such newes, are as desi∣rous to sée newes: And by this meanes the poore wene to make themselues riche, the rich the more to commaund, and the lords the more to rule. O what a pleasure is it for thē to be in ye court Page 47 hoping that the king may know them, that those yt be in fauor may dye, or that fortune may chaunge, & that they come forward? And it foloweth, that in tary∣ing the tyme, the tyme deceiueth them, and then death taketh them vnware.
The .xiij. Chapiter. ¶ That there is a smal nomber of them that be good in the court, and a great nomber of good in the com∣mon wealth.
PLutarch in the booke intitled De exilio tel∣leth of the great King Ptolome, that hauing on a daye at supper with hym seuen Am∣bassadours of diuers prouinces, moued a question to thē, which of al their com∣mon wealthes gouerned themselues with best lawes & customes? The sayde Ambassadours, were Romayns, Carthagi∣niens, Ciciliens, Rhodiens, Atheniens, Lacedemo∣niens,Page [unnumbered] & Cicioniens: among whom the que∣stion was effectually debated afore the kyng, forasmuch as euery one of them beyng affectionate to his coūtrey alea∣ged the wisest reason yt he could. The good king desirous to know ye truth and the resolucion of the question, commaū∣ded that euery one of ye Ambassadours shuld tell of the best lawes or customes that were in their common welth thrée poyntes, and that thereby it might ea∣silye bee séene which was better ruled and deserued more praise. Thē the Am¦bassadour of the Romaynes began & sayd, In Rome the temples be honored,* the go∣uernours obeied & ye euil chastised. The Ambassadour of Carthage said, in Carthage the noble men neuer cease to prepare to the warre, the poore people to trauail, and the Philosophers to teach.
*The Ambassadours of the Ciciliens sayd, In Cicill is true iustice executed, trouth is beloued, and equalitie praised. The Ambassadour of the Rhodiens said,* In Rhodes the olde men are honest, the young men shamefaste, and the Page 48 women méeke and gentle. The Am∣bassadour of the Atheniens sayd,* the A∣theniens doe not consent that the riche should bee parciall, nor the meane peo∣ple idle, nor the gouernours without learnyng. The Ambassadour of the Lacedemoniens sayde,* in Lacedemony enuye raynes not because all are equal, nor couetousnes because all is common, nor idlenes because all men trauayl. The Ambassadour of Cicioniens sayd,* in Cicion they receiue no straungers, inuē∣tors of newes, nor Phisicions that kyll the whole, nor aduocates that makes the processes immortall.
When kyng Ptolome and his com∣pany had heard these so good and holy obseruaunces, he praysed greatly the institucion of euery of them, saying, that he could not iudge which was the best. This history is well woorthy to be noted, and better to be folowed: And I beleue if in our dayes so many Am∣bassadours should meete, disputing as these did of their common wealthes, they should finde mo thinges to blame Page [unnumbered] and speake euill of (and that without comparison) then to praise & commend. In tymes passed the kings houses were so well reformed,* the kinges thēselues so wyse, and the gouernours so mode∣rate, that litle offences were chastized, and once to think of great offences for∣bidden: to the entent that the chastice∣ment should be terrour to the euil, and the prohibicion a plain aduice vnto the good: It is not so in our cōmon welthes, where is done so much euil, and com∣mitted so many bitter offences and vn∣happines,* that those which ye auncients did chastice for deadly sinnes by death, wee dissemble to bee but veniall: the truans and wantons be so entertai∣ned as though we lacked them: and not as méete to be chased and driuen away. My Lady the widow, or my maistres that is maried, if they fall to leude and wanton liuyng, ye shall not finde one that wil say madam or maisters ye doo naught:* but rather sixe hundreth that shall procure her dishonor.
This is in our time, such is our fashion Page 49 and maners which causeth euill: so that he is more to be praised which may be called good in our common wealth, thē any of the Consuls of Rome, because that in the olde tyme it was almost a mon∣strous thing to finde one euil among a hundreth, and now it is a great chaunce to finde one good amongst a hundreth.
The holy scripture prayseth Abra∣ham that was iust in Calde, Loth that was iust in Sodom, Daniel in Babilon, To∣by in Niniuie, and Neemyas in Damasco. And lykewyse may we among this Ca∣thalog of holy men nomber the good courtiers if there be any,* but it cannot be forasmuche as none goeth about to moue the courtiers to vertue, but that counsail them to perdicion.
There is in the court so many vaca∣bondes, so many players, blasphemers, and deceiuers, that we may be abashed to sée such a multitude: but it were a noueltie to heare of the contrarye, for why? the world hath nothing in his ro∣siers but thornes, and for frutes of trées,* but leaues, for vines but bryers, and in Page [unnumbered] their garnerdes but strawe, and in their treasures, but Alcumin. O golden worlde, O worlde desired, O worlde passed: the difference betwixt you and vs is, that afore you litle and litle the worlde passeth, but afore vs it is quite passed. In thée O world euery man vn∣dertaketh to inuent, to doe, to begyn and to make an end of that he will: and that which is worst of all, liueth as he will: but the ende is right doubtfull. There is litle to bée trusted in thée O worlde.* And contrariwyse litle to de∣fende, litle to enioy, and very little to kéepe. There are many thinges to bée desired, many thinges to be amended, and many thinges to be lamented. Our aunceters had the Iron world, but our world may well bee called the dirtie world,* because it kepeth vs conti∣nually in a filthy myer, and alwayes we be there in defiled and ray∣ed.
The .xiiij. Chapiter. ¶Of many affaires in the court, and that there be better husbandmen, then commonly is of courtiers.
THe Poet Homer hath written of the trauels of Vlixes one of ye prin∣ces of the Greekes: Quintus Curtius of Alexander & Darius: Moyses of Ioseph, And of them of Egipt: Samuel of Dauid and of Saul: Titus Liuius, of the Romains: Thucidides of Iason with ye Minotaure: and Salust of •ugurth and Cathelyne. I thē willing to folow these good auctors, haue vndertaken to wryte the vnkynd trauayles of the court that the cour∣tiers of our tyme haue which haue pa∣cience enough for to suffer them, and no wysedome to auoyde them: then it is not wythout a cause if I doe call the trauayles of the courte vn∣kynde,* for they bée accustomed vnto it as the olde horses are to the packesadle Page [unnumbered] and to the plough, sith that the courtiers themselues do suffer them so much and haue no profite thereof. Some men wil say that I am euill aduised because I write ye courtiers haue not their ease, seeing that he that may attaine to be in the court is accompted to be fortunate. But he abuseth him selfe, if he thynke that all such as are out of the court bée beastes and ignorant persons, and hée only wyse: they rude and he delicate: he honored and they vile, they stamme∣ring and he eloquent.
If it were so that God would that the most perfite men should be in the court, it should be to vs more then a fault, not incontinently to be a courtier: know∣ing that ther can be no better time em∣ployed, then that which is bestowed in hearing the wyse and sage men: but when all is sayd, the places doe not bet∣ter the men,* but the men the places. God knowes (for example) how many gentle and good honest myndes labor in the villages, and how many fooles and lubbers brag it in palaices. God know∣eth Page 51 how many wel ordered wittes and iudgementes is hid in the villages,* and how many rude wits & weake braines face and brace in the court. How many be ther in the court the which although they haue offices, dignities, estates, and préeminences, yet in the village (after a maner of speakyng) with great payne they are not able to rule .x. men. How many come out of the court correcters of other, that themselues in the villages shuld be corrected? O how many things is sayd amonges ye poore laborers wor∣thy to be noted? And contrary, spoken afore princes worthy to be mocked? O howe many is in the court that make themselues highly to be estéemed, not for to be honest & diligent, but to come in auctoritie? And how many is there in the village forgotten and not set by, more for lacke of fauor then for either lacke of witte or diligence: The prin∣ces geue the offices: Those that be in fauor haue the entry: nature, the good bloud: The parentes, the patrimony: and the deseruing, honor: but to wyse Page [unnumbered] and sage commeth onely of God,* & men haue not ye power to take it away. And if it were so ye princes might geue good witte to whō they would, they shoulde kéepe it for themselues,* seyng they ne∣uer léese, but for lacke of knowlege. I take it for an euil point of such as new∣ly come from the court to the village, & being there, rather vse mockyng then tast the benefite thereof. But in the meane tyme, thou séest their maner of life, that is, to go to bed at midnight and rise at .x. of ye clocke, & in making readye till noone,* trimmyng their bushe, or beard, and settyng the cap awry. And all the day after, to talke of his darling that he hath in the court, or of the battel of Granado wher he did meruails.* And some there be of them that will lye and bragge yt they were at the iorney of Pa∣uay wt the capitaine Antony Deleua: at Tunes with the Emperour: or at Tur∣ron with Andrew Doria. And for all his brabling he was no better then a ruffi∣an or a zacar of Tholydo, or a knaue of Cordoua. We haue rehersed these things Page 52 before writtē, to cause our minion fris∣kers to leaue mocking of ye poore inha∣bitantes of the village, estéeming thē to be but fooles and lurdens. For I beleue, if my maister the Emperor would ba∣nish all the cōpany of fooles,* I feare me he were lyke to dwell alone in ye court. Let vs say thē, that very late they of the court know thēselues & ye order of their life & professiō,* I mean ye professiō of the religiō which thei kepe straitly, ye which cōsistes in this: they promise to please ye deuil, & to cōtent ye court, & to folow the world: They promise to be euer pēsife, sad & ful of suspicion: They promise al∣wayes to be chopping & chaūging, ful of busines, to bye, to sell, to wéepe, to sin, & neuer to reforme thēselues: They pro∣mise also to be iagged & ragged, an hun∣gred, indebted & dispised: they promyse to suffer rebukes of lords, theft of their neighbors, iniuries of colerike mē, moc¦keries of ye people, reproch of their parē¦tes: & finally, missing & lacking of frēds.
Lo this is the profession and rule of the obseruauntes of the court: which Page [unnumbered] I will not name a rule,* but a confusion: not a order but a disorder, not a mona∣stery, but a hell, and a religion not of brethren, but of dissolute persons: no poore Hermites but couetous worldely men. O pittie, O lacke of good iudge∣ment. The Oracle of Apollo beyng asked by the Ambassadours of the Ro∣maines wher lay the poynt for one to go∣uerne himselfe wel,* The answer was, for a man to know wel his own estate and degrée, that thereby one may rule his desires, and bridle his affectiōs. The courtier desiring all, and perseueryng in nothing, shall thinke in his mynde, that if he get not in one yeare some fée or office, that it is not for lack of know∣lege: but as a person ignorant and foo∣lishe blameth his fortune, and curseth the houre yt euer he came thether, with∣out callyng to mynde that the court is as the Palme trée whose roote is a fea∣dome vnder the ground, before that he shewe two fingers brede of leaues a∣boue the ground.* In like maner, a man must be long in seruice before he be pro¦moted: Page 53 yet so much resteth that the per∣seuering and abidyng by it, causeth a man to hope: For to say the truth, it is séene, if there bée thrée which deserue more then they haue, there be thrée hū∣dreth that haue more thē they deserue. O how seldome tymes doeth fortune that she ought for to doe?* And how ma∣ny tymes fortunes hazard and chaunce doeth better then the assurance of ver∣tue? because she measures her merites by the euil length of opinion, and not by reason: she makes the water burne without fyre, the knife to cutte without stéele, the Candle to light wtout flame, the Mill to goe without water,* and the cause is only her inconstancy. If shee laugh in the court of any, it is but with her eares, If shée wéepe, it had béen bet∣ter neuer for a man to come out of hys house: If shée lifte any vp aloft, it is to throwe him downe agayne lower then he was: If sometyme shée dissemble, it is to take one in a trap. Let no man thē trust of fortune, for shée is so varyable, that shée neuer holdeth her promyse of Page [unnumbered] that shée geueth, neyther by worde nor yet by writing that shée maketh.
The xv. Chapiter. ¶That among courtiers is neither kept amitie nor faithfulnes: And how much the Court is full of trauail, of enuy and rancour.
ONe of ye most excessiue trauailes amōg ye cour∣tiers is, that none is re∣sident there wtout he be hated or at ye least ye he hate: that is not pursu∣ed or els doeth pursue, that doeth not mocke or els is mocked.
*And one vnhappy thing is in the court, many there be that will doe of theyr bonette to you, that gladly woulde sée your heades of by the shoulders: And such there be that makes reuerence vn∣to you that would haue his legge bro∣ken to sée you dead and caried to your graue: Is it not a great pitie to be con∣uersaunt all day together, to laugh and Page 54 make mery one with another,* and yet haue mortall hate? Is not this more then a dissimulacion, to honor hym whom they would be glad to sée led to the gallous? One thyng for all, it is ambicion & to much hope of sharpe and bitter fortune, and lacke of knowledge, of this, that amitie well obserued, is much worth to moderate a man.
What lyfe, what fortune, what taste may he take that séeth himselfe dayly present in the court, where is so muche theft, bribry, murders, poysoners, felōs, and traytours ready to betray and sell a man, & be himself betrayed and solde? And contrariwise what felicitie is it to be in the company of those, with whom a man may faythfully recreate himself fearyng no man? In the court, there be gentlemen so rooted in vengeaunce and hatred that by no meane, request, nor gentlenes a man may direct them from their euil ententes, in such maner that they be glad to make warre with their owne houses, to chace peace from them selues to the houses of their enemies? Page [unnumbered] Whereby one may well presuppose as is aforesayd, that vnneth one may hope to haue frendes in the court, and lesse trust: & the greater men are in auctori∣tie, the more afrayde they bee to fall. What then causes a man there to tary in such trauail? I haue wonder that a∣ny can suffer it or haue a heart to dissē∣ble it.* O how fortunate is he that lea∣deth his lyfe in the village, with the meane busines of his litle possession, in comparisō of the courtier whose estate is euer vnhappy and of all partes mise∣rable, that neuer ceases to hope of thin∣ges vayne, in procuring vniust thinges and such thinges that neuer can be de∣termined. And if thoughts were wynd, and his desires waters, it shuld be grea∣ter daunger to saile in his heart then in the maine sea. In the court is one thing I wotte not what,* & one thing I knowe not howe, and one thing I vnderstande not, which causeth there incessauntlye complaintes, and continuall choppyng and chaunging, and euermore dispyte and enuy: and that worst is, there is no Page 55 libertie to depart thence.
The yoke of the court is hard, ye bondes fast tyed,* and the plough so tedious that those yt wene to be the first to triumph, are the first that labor and drawe the weightie burdēs. And such as are poore and ignoraunt men suffer these intolle∣rable trauailes, because they would not be as subiectes in their own countreis, and to haue a greater libertie to doe e∣uil. But God knowes what such liber∣tie costeth them,* that for a shorte and vaine pleasure purchase to themselues, continuall trauail and perpetuall bon∣dage. The propertie of this vicious li∣bertie, or better to call it, this mischée∣uous subiectiō is, that at the beginning it séemeth somewhat pleasaunt: but in the ende all conuertes to a bitternes, sorow, and lamentacion, chiefly when a man hath experience by litle and litle of the vice that this life conteineth. For if he accompany with women, he must flatter them, serue them, and intreate them: And if money lacke,* then must there be some deuilish shift made.Page [unnumbered]
For why, when one commeth new to the court, my lady dame gorgious, lea∣des him a trayne, shée entertaines him, shée makes much on him, shée colles him: but when shée spieth him to lacke, shée sendes him to pasture in the bare fieldes.* And if the tyme of eating come, the courtier must often times féed with them, whom he would sée eaten with∣out sauce: Now, if his turne be to play, therin is litle profite: if he win, he must liberally depart with the gaine to those that stand by: and if he loose, they restore to him neuer a penny. And if the cour∣tiers turne be to iest, and to bee mery, therein he findeth no fruit, for the cour∣tiers playe beginneth in fayre wordes, and endes with braulyng, chidyng, and fighting. And forasmuche as it is the worst life of all other lyues: Let vs conclude that there is nothyng worse then a vayne cour∣tier,* and an idle hus∣bandman.
The .xvi. Chapiter. ¶By how much the common wealthes and the courtes of the tyme passed were more perfite then the courtes of the tyme present.
THe king Anchises did lamēt the de∣struction of the proude Troye, done by the princes of Greece: The Quéene Rosaine bewailed her husband Darius, when he was ouercome by the great Alexander.
Ieremy the Prophet complained the estate of Babilon, when it was held cap∣tiue. Kyng Dauid lamented his sonne Absolon when Ioab kylde hym. The Lady Cleopatra thought no nother but to dye for sorow when her deare & wel∣beloued Marcus Antonius was van∣quished by the Emperour Augustus. The Consul Marcus Marcellus lamen∣ted the Citie of Syracuse when he sawe it on fyre. Salust, Rome, euil gouerned.
The Patriarche Iacob hys sonne Page [unnumbered]Ioseph: The king Demetrius his good father Antigonus, when he found him dead at the battail of Marathone. It shalbe also conuenient that amonges these well renoumed princes we should lament the miseries of our tyme, in the which we sée thinges so merueylous, that the curious auctours of the tyme passed, neuer wrote thinges semblable vnto them: Nor the men in those dayes neuer sawe the lyke. Truth it is that the Chroniclers in those dayes wrote what they would, In our tyme scant a∣ny man dare speake.
The Philosopher Ariminius hath written of the aboundaunce of Egipt: Demophon of the fartilitie of Arabia: Thucidides of the treasures of Tyrus: Asclepius of the Mynes of Europe: Do∣drillus in the commendacion and pray∣singes of Grece: Leonides of the trium∣phes of Thebes: Eumenides of ye gouerne∣ment of Athens: Thesiphontes of the or∣der that is kepte in the court, and of the princely houses of the Siciomens: Pitheas of the profit that came by the litle spea∣king Page 57 of the disciples of Socrates: Apolli∣nus of the continencie & abstinence that was kepte in schooles of the diuine Pla∣to: Myronides of the great exercise, and of the litle rest that was in the house of Hyarcus: Aulus Gelyus of the tempe∣rance and litle eating, and of the mode∣rate sléeping of the disciples of maister Fauorimus: Plutarch of the wyse wo∣men of Greece, and of the chaste wyues of Rome: Dyodorus, how those ye were inhabitants in the Isles of Balyares cast their treasure into the sea for feare lest the straungers for couetousnes of their riches should make them warres, and to the entente also that no parcialitie should grow among themselues.
Hearyng then all this that I haue sayd, I demaund of the reader hys ad∣uyse what my penne should wryte of our tyme? If we should write of boun∣tie and veritie, we should falsely lye: If of riches, men be so gréedy that all be disposed to desyre and hunger couetous∣ly.* How shall we then prayse the men of our tyme? Shall wée say they bee Page [unnumbered] hardy and puissaunt and learned, and we sée that they employ their myndes to nothing els but to robbe and beguile eche one the other?* How shall we praise them of prsoperitie and health, seeyng that the pestilence & the French pockes more then common is among them?* How shall wee commende their con∣tinencie and abstinence, séeyng that scant in fiftie yeares ye shall not finde one that will bridle his lust and desire?* Shall we praise them of litle rest and of much exercise, whē we sée that there is a greater nomber that geue thēselues to idlenes and thefery,* then to honest trauails & paynes? How shal we praise thē of temperate eating,* whē we sée in our dayes the belly is mens God? How shall we commende them for hauyng chast women and obedient, seyng that there is nothing more common amōg them then adultery?*
Shall we say, they be not couetous, sée∣yng that not onely men serch golde and siluer in déepe mynes, but men trauail to séeke it as farre as the Indiens, of a Page 58 vyneyarde so frosen, of a trée so dry, of fruit so vnrype, of a water so troubled, of bread so euil baken, of so much false golde, of a worlde so suspicious, what shall we hope any other therof but euil and cōfusion? Let vs reade that is writ∣ten of the courtes of the princes of Siria, of Percia, of Macedonia, of Crecia, and final∣ly of the Romaines: And let vs conferre these to our courtes, and ye shal sée such euils and vicious customes in our com∣mon wealthes, that the auncientes did neuer attaine to the knowlege how to commit suche abhominacions, nor yet (I say) to inuēt such euils. In those most happy tymes and golden worldes an euil condicioned man scant durst to haue shewed himselfe in anye honest company: but now alas (a thing to be lamented) the worlde is so replenished with dissolute and corrupt liuing, that it is counted but a small faulte to bée euil, except he be such a one as is past al shame & grace. The cortiers wil not de∣ny me but yt whiles they geue attēdāce for ye vprising of their maisters, they Page [unnumbered] tell eche one the other what pastyme they haue had ye night before,* how they haue played, sworne and stared at their game, of their laughinges, & the compa∣nies they haue had wt the gētle dames: which of them was fayrest & best appa∣relled? & sometime in secret of those that they haue committed adultery withal.
And thus, as the worlde is new, the inuencions are new, the playes newe, the garments new, new speaking, new maners,* and euery yeare, euery moneth yea and euery day, and euery houre: we see vices so largely delated, & vertue so diminished, yt I am ashamed to write it: And ye true cause is, yt in ye court ver∣tue hath many controllers & enemyes,* and vice innumerable vpholders and maynteiners. For if there be brought into the court one laudable custome, it is no sooner come, but forthwith it is chased away: And on the other parte, vice cannot so soone appeare, but it is as soone embrased and entertained. The sage lawyer Lygurgus did defende ex∣pressely by a lawe that the straungers Page 59 should not know the secrets of his com∣mon welth nor that his citezens should meddle much abroad, for that purpose as is sayd, that in medling with them, they should not learne their vices nor their barberous condicions.
In the tyme when Marcus Portius was Consull,* there came an excellent Musiciā out of Grece into Rome, which for because that he put one string more on his harpe then was accustomed to bée played withall, he was by the consent of the people banished from Rome & hys harp burnt: Howbeit in this our time, we could wel agrée wt Musique, & wold not passe how many strings ye harp had: so yt mē might agrée & stay themselues.
Plutarch sayeth that he sawe once at Rome a priest of Greece stoned to death in the great place of Campus Marcus, be∣cause that he did sacrifice to ye Goddesse Berecinthe in other maner then they were accustomed to be sacrificed vnto. Suetonius that affirmeth that in .iiij.C.lxiiij. yeares which was the tyme that the temple Vierges Vastales endured, Page [unnumbered] there was neuer founde but iiij. euill liuing persons, which were Domicia, Rhea, Albina and Cornelia, the which for their offences were openly buryed quycke. If at this day one would re∣gister the names of such like, to be so pu¦nished, I leaue it to your iudgement whether there should lacke hāgmen to doe execusion. Threbelius Publius sayd that ye Emperour Aurilianus Quintus toke a great frend of his frō ye office of Dictator, which was named Rogerius, onely because he had daunsed at ye wed∣ding of Posteria Auia his nigh neighbor saying,* yt the good Iudge shuld not leaue his grauitie & vse such wylde and com∣mon playes. But so it is, whatsoeuer this Emperour sayde, In our tyme we will geue licence to iudges to remoue their féete as fast as they will,* so that they holde their handes still. It shall make no matter to ye poore pleader whe∣ther his iudge sing or daunce, so that he minister iustice with expedicion,* that the poore man come not oftentimes and geue to muche attendance. In thys Page 60 case it were very good to rayse the Em∣peror Domitian, which as Suetonius writeth made a lawe, that whosoeuer prolonged the proces of his clyant more thē one yeare, that he should for euer be banished Rome. If thys holy lawe had dured to this day, there shuld haue béen more banished in Rome and els where, then there are now citizens.
The .xvij. Chapiter. ¶Of diuers noble and valiaunt men, that left the court and the great cities and drew them to their proper houses, more by will, then by necessitie.
MArcus Crassus a captaine of ye Ro∣maines was greatly cōmended and praised for that he was valiaunt in the warre, and wise in the busines of hys houshold: This is that Crassus that fo∣lowed the parcialitie of the Consul Silla against Marius and Iulius Caesar after Dictator. It chaunsed on a tyme that Page [unnumbered] by the fortune of the sea, the sayd Caesar was prisoner to certaine Pyrates and robbers of the sea, and he sayd boldly to two or three of ye best of them that kept him fast bound, It doeth (sayd he) gréeue me much, not for that I am taken pri∣soner, forasmuch as that is but hazarde of the warre, but of the pleasure that myne enemye Crassus will take when he doth heare of the newes.* This Cras∣sus was Maister to a Philosopher na∣med Alexandrius, that gouerned hym as a father, counsailed him as a frende, and taught him as a maister: And this did he by the space of .xviij. yeres, which passed, thē he demaunded licence to re∣turne to his countrey: And going hys way, sayd these words vnto Alexander: I aske of thee none other rewarde for my pain, nor for my labors in teaching of thée, then to graunt that I shal neuer returne to the court agayne: and when I am gone that thou wilt neuer wryte vnto me of thine affaires, for that I am so wery of beyng a courtier, that I will not onely leaue the court, but also for∣get Page 61 all that euer I sawe or heard in it. Denis of Siracuse, albeit that hée was a cruel tyrant, yet notwithstanding hée was a great frend to the Philosophers, and a honorer of wyse men. And he said that he tooke much pleasure to heare of the wyse and sage men of Greece, but hée beleued thē not, because their teachings were wordes without déedes.
Seuen of the most sagest and best lear∣ned of Greece came to Siracuse a Citie where the sayde Denys was resident: that is to say, Plato, Chylo, Demophō, Diogenes, Myrtho, Pyllades and Sur∣ranus, the which medled more of the af∣faires of Denis then he did of their doc∣trine. Diogenes dwelled a xi. yere with him, and after returned to his countrey, where he beyng and washing of herbes for hys dinner, another Philosopher sayd to him: If thou haddest not lefte the seruice of Denys thou néedest not now to haue taken the payne to washe thine owne herbes and make them rea∣dy for thy dinner. To whom Dyogines answered: If thou couldest haue beene Page [unnumbered] content to haue washed & eaten herbs ye needes not at this time to haue béen in the court of Dionisius, Cato the cen∣sor of whom the names of Cato firste began, was estemed for one of the wy∣sest of the Romaynes: And he was ne∣uer séene in .lxviii. yeres (for so long he liued) not once to laugh nor to do anye thing repugnant to his sage grauitye. Plutarch sayeth that he was in speking prudent, gentle in conuersacion, in cor∣recting sharpe and seuere, in presentes liberall: in eating sober, and in that that he promised, sure and certayn, and in executing iustice irreprehensible.
*After the age of .lv. yeres hée lefte the court of Rome, and withdrewe himself to a litle village nigh to Picene, which is now at this presēt ccalled Puzol: & ther he passed ye residue of his years in quiet and rest, accompanied onely with his bookes, and taking for a singuler recre∣acion for to go twise or thrise a day to walke in the fayr feilds and the vines, and him selfe oft to labor in them. And it fortuned on a day whē he was absēt Page 62 from his house that one wrote with a cole vpō his dore O felix Cato, tu solus scis viuere, which is to say, O happy Ca∣to, thou only knowest how to liue.
Lucullus Consull and capitayn, a Romayn, right valiaunt brought to an end the warre agaynst the Parthes which had continued by the space of .16. yeres, whereby he gat great honour of the citezens of Rome, and immortall renoune for him selfe and great riches for his family. And it is sayd of him that he only of al ye Romaines did en∣ioye peaceablye in his age, the ryches that he had wonne in his youth in the warres. And after when he came from Asia and sawe that the common welth was in deuision betwixte Marius and Silla, he determined to leaue Rome & make a house in the countrey nighe to Naples vpon the Sea side (now at this present time called the Castle of Lobo) which he edified and liued there .xviii. yeres in great tranquilitie. His house was haunted with many people, speci∣ally with greate Capitaynes that Page [unnumbered] wēt into Asia, and with Ambassadours that came from Rome, which hée recey∣ued very gently & benignly. One night when his seruauntes had made readye his supper with a lesse dyet thē he was accustomed to haue, they excusing them selues that they ordayned the lesse be∣cause he had no straungers: He said vn∣to them, although sayd hée, that there be no straungers with me, know not you that Lucullus must suppe with Lucul∣lus.
Plutarch speaking of this valiaunt mans exercise that he did after he was retired to the place aforesayd, sayth that he delited much in hunting & hawking, but aboue all pleasures he most delited in his Library,* there readyng and dis∣puting incessantly. Helius Spertianus sayth that Dioclesian, after that hée had gouerned the Empyre xviij. yeares, for∣sooke it, and went to take his pleasure in the fieldes, there in quiet to ende the residue of his lyfe, saying: that it was tyme for him to leaue the daungerous estates of the court and get hym to a Page 63 peaceable life in ye village. Two yeres after he was thēce retyred, the Romaines sent vnto him a solemne Ambassade to inuite and desire him effectuously that he would take pitie of the cōmō welth, and return, promising him that so long as they liued there should none haue the name of Emperour but hée. Now whē the Ambassadours ariued at hys house, they found him in a litle garden where he was setting of Lettys and Onions: And hearing what they sayd vnto him, he answered in this wyse: Doe you not thinke my frendes, that it is much bet∣ter for him that can sowe his Lettys, and afterwarde pleasantly and merely to eate the same, so still to exercise him selfe, then to returne and enter into the goulfe of troubles in a common welth? I haue assayed both, I know what it is to commaund in the court, and what it is to liue & labor in the village, where∣fore I pray you suffer me here to abide in pacience, for I desire rather here to liue with the labor of my handes, then in the sorow and cares of an Empyre.Page [unnumbered]
*Note by this example that the life of the laborer is more to be desired then the life of a prince.
Cleo and Pericles succeded in the ru∣ling of the common welth after Solon, a man excelently lerned and wel estée∣med, and taken among the Grecians for halfe a God, by the reason of the wyse lawes he made among the Athe∣niens: These two noble gouernoures were much beloued, because that (as Plutarch telleth) Pericles which xxx. ye∣res had the administracion of the busi∣nes and affaires of the cittie, was ne∣uer sene to come into any mans house but his own, nor yet to sit in anye open place among the common people, suche a grauity was in him.
About the yeres of his age which was lx. he went from Athens to a litle vil∣lage where hee ended the reste of his dayes, studying and passing the time in husbandry, he had a litle smal gate or wicket in the entring of his house, o∣uer which was written Inueni portū, spes & fortuna valete, That is to saye, Page 64 forasmuch as now (and before I haue knowledge of vanity) I haue found the port of rest, fye of hope, and fortune fare well. By this example, no courtier can say that he leadeth a sure life, but onlye that courtier which doth as this wyse captayn did withdraw him selfe.
Lucius Seneca, was as who should saye a right leder to good maners, and a in∣structer to good letters to Nero the sixt Emperour of Rome, with whom he ta¦ried. xxiiii yeres, and had great doings of thinges pertayning to the common wealth as wel of priuate causes as o∣therwise, because hee was sage and of great experience. And at the last, com∣ming to greate age and weryed with the continuall conflictes and busines of the court left the court and went and dwelt in a litle mansion he had nigh to Nolè Cāpana, where hee liued after a longe time as witnesseth his bokes De offiicis, de Ira, de bono viro, de aduersa fortuna and other bokes which were to long to reherse. At last (fortune & mans malice did their office) NeroPage [unnumbered] commaunded him to be slayne, not for that he had committed any cryme wor∣thy to dye, or done any thing otherwise then an honest man ought to doe: but onely because the lecherous Domicia hated him: Note well reader thys ex∣ample, that sometime fortune pursueth him that forsaketh the court, aswell as the courtier.
Scipio the Affrican was so estéemed a∣mong the Romaines, that in .xxii. yeares, whiles that he was in the warres hée neuer lost battail: And yet made hée warre in Asia, Europ, and Affrica, and to this, neuer committed acte worthy of reproch: And yet he wan Affrica & put to sacke Carthage, brought in bondage Numance, ouercame Hanniball, and re∣stored Rome weakened and nere destroi∣ed by the losse they had at the battail of Cannes. And yet for all this, beyng of the yeres of .lii. he withdrew him from the courte of Rome to a litle village be∣twixt Puzoll and Capua, where he liued a solitary life, and so contēt withal, that whiles he taried there a xi. yeres space, Page 65 he neuer entred into Rome nor Capua.
The diuine Plato was borne in Li∣conia, and was norished in Egipt, & lear∣ned in Athens: It is read of him, that he answered the Ambassadours of Cirene that required of him lawes to gouerne themselues in sure peace, in this wise: Difficilimum est homines amplissima fortuna ditatos legibus cōtinere. Which is to vnderstand, that it is hard to bring to passe to make rich men to be subiect to the rigour of the lawe. To conclude, Plato not willing to abyde longer the clamor and cry of the court, went and dwelt in a litle village two miles from Athens called Academia, where the good old man after he had taryed there .xiiij. yeres, teaching and writing many no∣table doctrines, ended there his moste happy dayes. After the memory of him, the auncients called the village Acade∣mia, which is to say in English, a schole: The conclusion is, yt all these honoura∣ble sage princes & wise men, left Mo∣narchies, kingdomes, Cities, and great riches, and went into the vyllages, Page [unnumbered] there to serche a poore, an honest, and a peaceable lyfe.
Not that I will say that some of these lefte the court, to be there poore and ba∣nished and rebuked, but of their frée wil and frée libertie, minding to liue a qui∣et and honest life or they dyed.
The xviij. Chapiter. ¶The aucthor complayneth with great reason, of the yeares that he lost in the court.
I Will demaunde of mine owne self, mine owne life, and make accoumpt of the same, to the entent that I wil cō∣ferre my yeares to my trauailes, and my trauailes to my yeares, that it may appeare how long I left of to liue, and beganne to dye.
My life (gentle reader) hath not béen a life, but a long death: my dayes a play new for to begyn: my yeares a verye tedious dreame:* my pleasures Scorpi∣ons: my youth a transitorie fantasye. Page 66 My prosperitie hath béen no prospe∣ritye: but properly to speake, a pain∣ted Castell, and a treasure of Alcu∣myn.
I came to the court very yong, where I sawe diuers maners of offices and chaunges, euen among the princes that I serued. And I haue assayed to trauail by sea and by land, and my recompence was much more then I deserued: and that was this, that sometyme I was in fauor, and sometyme out of fauor. I haue had experience of ye somer santes of destines: I haue had in the courte frendes and enemyes: I haue had false reports:* I haue béen euen now glad and mery, and forthwith sadde and sory: to day rich, to morowe poore: now moun∣ted vpwarde, & straite throwen doune∣warde: This hath been to me a mas∣king, where I haue lost boeth money and tyme. And now I say to thee my soule, what hast thou gottē of this great iorney? The recompence is this,* that I haue gotten there a graye heade, féete full of goute: mouth without Page [unnumbered] téeth: raynes full of grauel: my goodes layde to pledge: my body charged with thought: and my soule litle clēsed from sinne. And yet is there more seyng that I must néedes speake, that is, that I haue returned my body so wery, my iudgement so dull, my tyme so lost, the best of my age so passed, & that is worst of all, I found no tast in any thing that is in the world: so that to conclude, I am of my selfe all werye of my selfe. What should I more tell or say of the alteracion of my lyfe, and of the chaun∣ges of fortune? I came to the court in∣nocent, and come from it malicious: I went thither true and meaning truth,* and returned a lyar: I went thither humble, and returned presumptuous: I went thither sober, & returned a gur∣mand and glutton: I went thither gen∣tle and humayne, and returned cleane contrary. Finally in goyng thither I marde my self in al points: And I haue no cause to laye the faulte in my mai∣sters, for the vices bée soone learned without a maister, & cannot be forgottē Page 67 without a corrector. O miserable that I am, I kept in the court an accompt of my goodes, to knowe howe they were wasted, & not for to distribute them to the poore: I tooke héede of my honor for to encrease it, not for to better my selfe by the tyme: I tooke care of them that should paye mee, to knowe what was owyng mée, and not that I might gette to profite the poore withall, but to pro∣fite in riches and not in vertue. I held an accoumpt with my seruauntes, to none other purpose, then to know how long they had béen with me and serued mée, and not to enquire what lyfe they led: Finally, I held a coumpt of my life, but it was more to conserue it, then to correct it.
Lo, beholde, this was my accoumpt, this was my calculacion, this was the Arsmetrique yt I learned in the court.
Let vs yet go a litle further and sée myne exercises. I neuer was yet in the court but I founde to whom I bare malice, or els that enuied mée. I was neuer yet in the palaice but I founde a Page [unnumbered] window open, and a courtier murmur. I neuer yet spake to princes,* but I wēt from them not contented in my mind with some parte of their answere. I neuer yet went to bed without com∣playnt, nor neuer did ryse without a sigh. If I went about to doe anye good thing, my great affaires hindered mee. If I wold study, my felowes letted me. If I went to take any honest and quiet pastyme, mine affayres would not per∣mit mée. If I kept my selfe solitary and from company, my thoughtes marty∣red mée:* Finally there was neuer any thing that so vexed my heart as the lack of money in my purse. And yet all this is nothing, remembring that I was e∣uer enuious to suche as were myne e∣qualles: a flatterer to my superiors, and without pitie to mine inferiors: & wher I phansied one, I bare hate almost to all other. I found euery man worthy of reproofe, but against my selfe I could not suffer a worde to be spoken. O how forgetfull haue I béen, which shoulde forget or a morsell of meate had béen Page 68 put in my mouth, & haue talked aloude to my self alone, as it had béen one that had béen mad? O how often hath chaū∣ced me that in comming from the coun¦sail wery, or from the palaice thought∣full, I would not heare mine owne ser∣uauntes speake, nor dispatch such as I had to doe withall? O how many times haue I béen so drowned in busines, that I could not moderate my pensiuenes, although my frendes did counsail mee to the cōtrary? O alas, how many times hath my mynde pressed me to leaue the court and the worlde, and to yelde my selfe to some solitary desert, as an He∣remite? because I saw the king auaūce him and him, and I put backe as a per∣son halfe desperate.
Moreouer to fulfill my trauailes, al∣waies I went asking & serching newes of the affayres of the court: alwayes harkening what one said of another: al∣wayes spying and watching: and all this considered, I founde by myne ac∣compt, that I liued in heauynes, capti∣uitie, and state of damnacion.Page [unnumbered]
Let vs yet go farther: If I were rich, one or other serched some meane to de∣uour mée: If I were poore, I found none to succour mée: my frendes cryed out vpon mée, and myne enemyes sought my death. Ouermuche bablyng of the courtiers brake my braynes: and much silence made me to slepe, and the solici∣tude caused me to be be sad: And ouer∣much company oppressed me: much ex∣ercise weryed me, and idlenes confoun∣ded me.
To conclude, I so burdened and vexed my self in the court with so much tra∣uail in naughtines, yt I durst not desire death, although I had no desire to liue.
The xix. Chapiter. ¶ The aucthor maketh accoumpt of the vertues that he lost in the court, and of the eull customes that he lear∣ned there.
BVt now to procéede, my fortune pas∣sed, my frends died, my force decaied, Page 69 and my first fashions failed: O if al my paynes had bene ended at the firste tyme when I came to the court, howe happy had that been for me? but now al consumed, I complaine singulerly of my traitorous hearte, which would ne∣uer cease to desire vaine thinges, and the cursed tong to speake sclaunderous things. O gentle reader, be not weary, if I tell thee in fewe wordes the diffe∣rence betwixt him that I was when I went first to the courte, and that I am nowe since I haue been in the courte. First and before that I did cast my self into this perillous labyrinth (which is to say a prison ful of snares) I was a good deuout person, gentle and feareful and since I haue learned to be a mischi∣uous felowe, slowe in doing good, and litle or nothing regarding the welth of my soule. I went thether being very yong and of good disposicion, and came from thence deffe, and more then spur∣blind, and no more able to goe then hee that is ful of the goute: And briefely an olde grisarde, full of ambition, in suche Page [unnumbered] wise that I am so variable, that skante I know on what ground to set my fete. My hart was of so depraued a sort, that it desired to be discharged of all acciōs, and yet for all that founde no nother but perill and torment.
Sondry tymes I purposed to leue the court, and sodenly I repented. Some∣time I purposed not to come out of my lodging, & strait wayes I was enforced to trot a trot to the court. Sometime I purposed not to come to the palayce, and or I were ware I was compelled to go thither sometime or it were day. I purposed to be no more vexed, and sodenly my passions augmented, And it followed that my good purposes ceased and went from me: and I did that was leude and naughty. Behold how I ly∣ued of wynd and of fooles imaginaci∣ons as many a foolish courtier doth, I haue phantasied with my selfe (in the court sometime) that I gouerned the King and the Princes, and that I came of a noble house and aunciente stock, excelent in science, great in fauor Page 70 and beloued of al men, sage in counsail, moderate in speaking, eloquent in wri∣ting, prudent in seruice, and comfor∣table to all. But when I waked out of my folly as from a dreame, and looked to my féete, I knew easly that I had borne false witnesse to my selfe of this golden and pleasaunt immaginacion, and saw of truth in other, the whiche I dreamingly imagyned of my selfe.
I serched the waye how to be estée∣med of euery man, holy, wyse, gentle, content, and of a good zeale, and a sea of sadnes. Lo this fault happyned to courtiers as it did vnto me, that is, to ioyne folish liberty with vertuous ho∣noure,* which be two thinges that can∣not agrée, because that disordinate wyl is enemy to vertu & honor. But for my part good reder, I geue thāks vnto god my affections be sōwhat wasted & mor¦tified, for I was wont being in seruice to desire dayly yt ye court might remoue And now I care not though seldome or neuer I come frō my house. I had a spe¦cial lust to harken for newes. And now Page [unnumbered] I care not for them at all. I sawe the time whē I loued not to be out of com∣pany, And now I desire nothing more then to be solitary, I was wonte to de∣lyte to heare, to sée iuglers, daunsers, lyars and dalyars: And now so to do, wer to me more then death. In like maner I was wont to solace my self in Fishing, Hunting, shooting in the hack∣but: And now I mind no nother but to bewayle and lament the tyme I haue loste: and cal to mind the first time that the Emperour tooke me into his ser∣uice, from thence where I was nori∣shed from my tender yeares in greate fere, and not knowing what the world was, but occupied only in my deuociōs and learnings: I often rose at midnight I comforted the sick, I red the Gospell and other good bookes of good doctrin. Breifly, euery man did helpe me to bée good, and chastised me from euell: If I did well, I was praysed: if I did euell I was corrected: if I were heuye, I was comforted: if I were angry, I-was appesed: if in any agony, my fren¦des Page 71 prayed to God for me: O what cause haue I to repent out of mesure, thus to haue forsaken rest and Godly lyuyng and to haue enioyed episcopall dignity, in which the Emperor set me: forasmuch as a vertuous life is the ha∣uen of all good, and the Episcopall dig∣nity the sea of all dangier. Loe howe I haue passed my good yeres without em¦ploying my tyme well, and withoute knowledge what my fortune should be I do therefore admonish the reader, to do better then I haue done in ye court, if thou be there, or else to forsake it in a better houre then I haue done: for so doing thou shalt declare thy selfe, that thou hast determined to liue sagelye & well aduised.
The .xx. Chapiter. The Auctour taketh his leaue of the world with great eloquence.
FArewell world, forasmuche as one can nor may trust of thee nor in thée Page [unnumbered] For in thy house O world the passage is past,* and that which is presente go∣eth soone away, and that which is to begin, commeth wonderous late, foras∣much as he that thinketh himself most firm, sonest doth fall, the most strongest soonest doeth breake, and perpetuities soonest decay, in suche sorte that those which be destinate to liue an hundred yeres, thou sufferest him not of all that time, to liue one yere in quiet.
*Farewel world, for as much as thou takest and renderest not agayne, thou weriest but comfortest not, thou rob∣best, but makest no restitucion, thou quarellest but doest not pacifie, and ac∣cusest before thou haue cause to com∣playn, & geuest sentence before thou he∣rest the parties, euen till thou kill vs, & then buriest vs before we dy. Farwell world forasmuch as in thée,* nor by thée ther is no ioy without trouble, no pece without discord, loue without suspitiō, rest without feare, abundaunce with∣out fault, honor without spot, ryches without hurte of conscience, nor highe Page 72 estate but he hath somewhat that hée complaineth of.
Farewel world forasmuch as in thy palayce promyses are made and neuer kepte, men serue and haue no reward,* they are inuited to be deceyued, they la¦bour to be troubled, & trauaile to take payn, they laugh and are beaten, thou fainest to staye vs, to make vs fal, thou lendest, to pull away straight agayne, thou honorest vs to defame vs, and cor¦rectest without mercy.
Farewell world thou sclaundereste them that are in credite,* and doest a∣uaunce the infamed, thou letteste the traytors passe frée, and puttest true mē to their raunsoms, thou persecutest the peceable and fauorest the sedicious, thou robbest the pore and geuest to the rich, deliuerest the malicious, and con∣demnest innocentes, geuest licence to depart to the wise, and retainest fooles:* and to be short, the most part do what they list, but not what they shold. Fare wel world forasmuch as in thy palaice no man is caled by his right name, for Page [unnumbered] why? they call the rashe valiaunt: the proude, cold harted, ye importune, dilli∣gent, the sad, peaceable: the prodigall, magnificall: the couetous a good hus∣band: the babler, eloquent: the ignorant a litle speaker: the wanton, amorous: the quiet man, a foole: the forbearer, a courtier: the tyraunt, noble. And thus thou world, callest the counterfeat, the true substaunce, and the truth the coun∣terfeat.
*Farewell worlde for thou deceiuest all that be in thée: promising to the am∣bicious, honors: to the greedy, to come forward: to the brokers, offices: to the couetous, riches: to the gluttons, ban∣kettes: to the enemies vengeaunce: to the theues, secretnes: to ye vicious, rest: to the yong, time: and to all thing that is false, assurance.
Farewell worlde, for in thy house fi∣delity is neuer kept, nor truth maintai∣ned: and also we may see in thy house, one glad and another afrayd: some o∣uercharged: some out of the right way: some voyde of comfort: desperate, sad, Page 73 heauy ouerburdened and charged, and more then lost and sometime both.
Farewell world forasmuch as in thy company, he that wenes himself moste assured, is most vncertaine, and hée that followes thée goeth out of the way and he that serues thée, is euell payed: and he that loues thée, is euel entreted, and he that contents thée, contenteth an euell maister: and he that haunteth thée is abused.
Farewell world forasmuch as thou hast such mishap, that seruices done & presents offered to thée, profit nothing, nor the lies that is told thée, nor ye ban∣kettes made to thée: nor the faithfulnes we geue to thée: nor the loue we beare to thée. Farewell world, forasmuch as thou deceiuest all, backbytest all, and slaunderest al, chastisest al, thretest vs al, achiuest al, & in the end forgettest al.
Farewell world, sithens in thy company all men complayn, al cry out, al wepe, and all men dye liuing.
Farewell world, sithens by thée wée hate eache one the other to the death: Page [unnumbered] To speke till we lye: to loue, till wee dispayre: to eate till we spue: to drinke till we be dronken: to vse brokage to robbery: and to sin, till we dye.
Farewell worlde for being in thée, we forget our infancy, and our greene age, without experience: our youth in vices, our middle age in turmoyling and busines: our olde age in lamentaci¦ons: and all our time counted together in vayn hopes.
Farewell world, for in thy scoole we are led till the heire be white: the eyes blered: the eares defe: the nostrels drop¦pyng: the forehed wrinckled: the feete goutie: the raynes ful of grauel: the sto∣mack full of euell humors: the head ful of migram: the body full of sorowe, & the minde full of passions.
Farewel world for none of thy louers come to good profit, witnes those yt dai¦ly we sée, are not false knaues marked in ye face, theues hanged? māquellers headed? robbers by the hye wayes sette vpon wheles? heretikes brent? false mo¦ney makers boyled, killers of their pa∣rentes, Page 74 torn in pieces, and other diuers punishmentes of such as are great in fa¦uour with thee? Farewell world foras∣much as thy seruauntes haue no more pastyme, but to trot by the streates, to mock one another? to seke out wēches? to sende presentes: to beguile yonge girles: write amorous letters, speke to bandes: play at the dice: plede agaynste their neighbour: tel newes: inuent lies, and study new vyces. Farewel world for in thy pallayce none wil doe good to other for the bore fightes agaynste the Lyon: the Vnycorne agaynst the Coco∣dryl: the Eagle agaynst the Vultur: the Elephant agaynst the Mynotaure: the Sacre, agaynst ehe Kyte: the mastyf, agaynst the Bull: One man agaynste another: and al together against death.
Farewell worlde,* because thou haste nothing, but to our ruin: For of∣ten the yearh openeth afore our feete: the water drounes vs: the fire burnes vs: the ayre mistempers vs: the Wyn∣ter doth kil vs: the Sommer doth chafe vs, the dogges doth byte vs, the Cattes Page [unnumbered] doth scrat vs: the Serpents doth poysō vs, the flyes doth prick vs: the Flees doeth eate vs: and aboue all, worldlye busines deuoures vs:
Farwel world seing no mā can pas thi domynyon in suertie, for in euery path we finde stones to stumble at? bridges that breakes vnder vs? Snow that let∣teth vs: Mountaynes that wery vs: Thunders that feares vs: Theues that robbe vs, encounters that hurts vs, and euil fortune that killes vs.
Farewell worlde, forasmuch as in thy country there is litle health: for some be lippers & some haue the french pockes: some the Canker, and some the goute: and some haue the foule euell, & some the Sciatica, and some the stone, and some Quotidian feuers: some wā¦dring feuers: some tercian and quarten feuers: spasmes, palsies, and the moste parte sicke of fayre folly.
Farewell world, forasmuch as there is not a mā in thy house but hee is noted with some defaute in his person: For if there be any talle manne, the reste Page 75 is lubberlyke. If he haue a faire face, his eye shall be too blacke: If he haue a good forehead, it shalbe wrinckeled: If he haue a welfauored mouth, he shal lacke téeth: If he haue fayre handes, he shall lacke faire heire, And if hee haue fayre heire, hee shall haue a foule skinne.
Farewell worlde, forasmuch as the inhabitauntes in thee are so variable of maners and condicions, that some will folow the court, some wil sayle on the sea: & if one would be a marchaunt, the other will be a husbandman: If the one will be a hunter, the other will be a fisher: If one wil gouerne a Monar∣chy, the other vnder pretence of that, will pyll and poll the poore people.
Farewell worlde, forasmuch as in thy house there are none that prepare themselues to liue, & much lesse to dye: And yet we see some dye young, & some in middle age, some in olde age, some dye by hanging, & some by drowning: some dye for hunger, & some in eating, sleping, and resting, and some or they Page [unnumbered] beware, and for the most parte or they looke for death.
Farewell worlde, forasmuch as we can neither knowe thy disposicion nor condiciō: For if one be wise, another is a foole: If one be fyne, another is of a grosse witte: If one be valiant, another is a coward: If one be geuen to peace, another is sedicious: And if one be of a gētle spirit, another is very froward.
Farewell world, seyng no man can liue with thée: for if a man eate to li∣tle, he becommes weake: if to muche, he waxeth sicke: if a man labour, strait he is wery: if he be idle, he liueth beast∣ly: if he geue litle, he is called a nigard: if he geue much, he is called prodigall: if a man visite his frendes often, he is called importune: if to seldome, full of disdayne: If a man suffer wrong, he is called false hearted: And if he doo re∣uenge, then is he wilfull: If hee haue frendes, he is praysed: If enemyes, he is pursued: If one tary to lōg in a place, he waxeth wery: and if he chaunge to ofte, he is grudged at. Finally, I Page 76 say, that such thinges as displease me, I am forced to folowe, and that which I would, I cannot come by.
O world vncleane, I coniure thée thou filthy world, I pray O thou world, and protest against thee thou worlde, that thou neuer haue parte in mee, for I de∣maund nor desire nothing yt is in thée, neyther hope of any thing in thee, for I haue determined with my self that po∣sui finem curis, spes, et fortuna va∣lete. I haue finished world∣ly cares, therfore hope and fortune fare∣well.