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is placed first, because earliest written, will show what an attentive reader will, in perusing our old writers, often remark, that the familiar and colloquial part of our language, being diffused among those classes who had no ambition of refinement, or affectation of novelty, has suffered very little change.
A merry iest how a sergeant would learne o, playe the frere. Written by maister Thomas More in hys youth.
Wyse men alway, Assyrne and say, That best is for a man: Diigently, For to apply, The business that he can, And in no wyse, To enterpryse, An other faculte, For he that wyll, And can no skyll, Is neuer like to the. He that hath laste, The hosiers crafte, And fal'eth to making shone, The smythe that shall, To payntyng fall, His thrift is well nigh done. . A blacke draper, With whyte paper, To goe to writyng scole, An oldebutier, Becum a cutler, I wene shall proue a fole. And an olde trot, That can I wot, Nothy ng but kysse the cup, With her phisick, Wil kepe one sicke, Tyll she haue soused hym vP. A man of lawe, That neuer sawe, The wayes to bye and sell, Wenyng to ryse, By marchaundise, I wish to spede hym well. A marchaunt eke, That wyll goo seke, By all the meanes he may, To fall in sute, Tyll he dispute, His money cleane away, Pletyng the lawe, For every strawe, Shals proue a thrifty man, With bare and strife, But by my life, I cannot tell you whan. When an hatter Wyll go smatter
^. There is another reason why the extracts from this author are more copious: his works are carefully and correctly printed, and may therefore be better trusted than any other, edition of the English books of that or the preceding ages.
In philosophy, Or a pedlar, Ware a medlar, In theology, All that ensue, Suche craftes new, They driue so farre a cast, That euermore, They do therfore, Beshrewe themselfe at last. This thing was try ed And vertfyed, Here by a sergeaunt late, That thriftly was, Or he coulde pas, Rapped about the pate, Why le that he would See how he could, A little play the frere: Now yf you wyll, . Knowe how it fyl, Take hede and ye shall here. It happed so, Not long ago, A thrifty man there dyed, An hon ircd pounde, Of nobles rounde, That had he layd a side : His soone he wolde, Should haue this golde, For to beginne with all : But to suffise His chylde, well thrise, That money was to smal. Yet or this day, I have hard say, That many a man certesse, Hath with good cast, Beryche at last, That hath begonne with lesse. But this yonge manne, So well beganne, His money to imploy, That certainly, His policy, To see it was a joy, For lest sum blast, Myght ouer cast, His ship, or by mischaunce, Men with sum wiłe, Myght hym begyle, And minish his substaunce, For to put out, Al maner dout, He made a good puruay,
For euery whyt, By his owne wyt, And toke an other way: First fayre and wele, Therof much dele, He dygged it in a pot, But then him thought, That way was nought, And there he left it not. So was he faine, From thence agayne, To put it in a cup, And by and by, Couetously, He supped it fayre vp, In his owne brest, He thought it best, His money to enclose, Then wist he well, What euer fell, He could it neuer lose. He borrowed then, Of other men, Money and marchaundise: Neuer payd it, Up he [. it, In like maner wyse. Yet on the gere, That he would were, He reight not what he spent, So it were myce, As for the price, Could him not miscontent. With lusty sporte, And with resort, Of ioly company, In mirth and play, Full many a day, He liued merely. And men had sworne, Some man is borne, To have a lucky howre, And so was he, For such degre, He gat and suche honour, That without dout, Whan he went out, A sergeaunt well and fayre, Was redy strayte, On him to wayte, As sone as on the may re. But he doubtlesse, Of his mekenesse, hated such pompe and pride, And would not go, Companied so, But drewe himself a side, To saint Katharine, Streight as a line, He gate him at a tyde, For deuocion, Or promocion, There would he nedes abydeThere spent he fast, Till all were pust,
And to him came there meny, .
To aske theyr det, But none could get,
The valour of a peny. With visage stout, He bare it out, Euen vnto the harde hedge, A month or twaine, Tyll he was fayne, To laye his gowne to pledge. Than was he there, In greater feare, Than ere that he came thither, And would as fayne, Depart againe, But that he wist not whither. Than after this, To a frende of his, He went and there abode, Where as he lay, So sick alway, He myght not come abrode. It happed than, A marchant man, That he ought money to, Of an officere, That gan enquere, What him was best to do. And he answerde, Be not aferde, Take an accion therfore, I you beheste, I shall hym reste, And than care for no more. I feare quod he, It wyll not be, For he wyll not come out, The sergeaunt said, Be not afrayd, . It shall be brought about. many a game, Lyke to the same, Haue I bene well in vre, And for your sake, Let me be bake, But yf I do this cure. Thus part they both, And foorth then goth, A pace this .#. And for a day, All his array, He chaunged with a frese. So was he dight, That no man might, Hym for a frere deny, He dopped and dooked, He spake and looked, So religiously. Yet in a glasse, Or he would passe, He toted and he peered, His harte for pryde, Lepte in his syde, To see how well he freered. Than forth a pace, Unto the place, He goeth withouten shame To do this dede, But now take hede, For here begynneth the game
He drew hymny, And softely, Streyght at the dore he knocked: And a damsell, That hard hym well, There came and it vnlocked. The frere sayd, Good spede fayre mayd, Here lodgeth such a man, It is told me: Well syr quod she, * . And yf he do what than. Quod he may stresse, No harm doutlesse : It longeth for our order, To hurt no man, But as we can, Euery wight to forder. With hym truly, Fayne speake would I. Sir quod she by my fay, He is 3. sike y my Ye be not lyke, To speake with hym to day. Quod he fayre may, Yet I you pray, This much at my desire, Vouchesafe to do, As go hym to, And say an austen frere Would with hym speke, And matters breake, For his auayle certayn. Quod she I wyll, Stande ye here styll, Tyll I come downe agayn. Vp is she go, And told hym sc, As she was bode to say, He mistrustyng, No maner thyng, Sayd mayden go thy way, And feth him hyder, That we togyder, May talk. A downe she gothe, Vp she hym brought, No harme she thought, But it made some folke wrothe. This officere, This fayned frere, Whan he was come aloft, He dopped than, And grete this man, Religiously and oft. And he agayn, Ryght ghad and fayn, Toke hym there by the hande, The frere than say d, Ye be dismayd, With trouble I understande, In dede quod he, It hath with me, Bene better than it is. Syr quod the frere, Bo of good chtre, Yet shall it after this, W. C. L. i.
Shall set your heart at ease. Downe went the mayd, The marchaunt sayd, No say on gentle frere, Of thys tydyng, That ye me bryng, I long full sore to here. Whan there was none, But they alone, The frere with euyll grace, Sayd, I rest the, Come on with me, And out he toke his mace: Thou shalt obay, Come on thy way, I have the in my clouche, Thou goest not hence, For all the pense, The mayre hath in his pouche. This marchaunt there, For wrath and fere, He waxyng welnygh wood, Sayd horson thefe, With a mischefe,
Who hath taught the thy good.
And with his fist Vpon the lyst, He gaue hym such a blow, That backward downe, Almost in sowne, The frere is ouerthrow, Yet was this man, Well fearder than, Lest he the frere had slayne, Till with good rappes, And heuy clappes, He dawde hym vp agayne. The frere took harte, And vp he starte, And well he layde about, And so there goth, Betwene them both, Many a lusty clout. They rent and tere, Eche others here, And claue togyder fast, Tyll with luggyng, And with tuggyng, They fell downe bothe at last. Than on the grounde, Togyder rounde, With many a saddestroke, They roll and rumble, They turne and tumble, As pygges do in a poke, So long aboue, They heue and shoue, Togider that at last, The mayd and wyfe, To breake the strife, Hyed them vpward fast.
Fast by her syde doth wery labour stand, Pale fere also, and sorow all bewept, Disdayn and hatred on that other hand, Eke restles watche fro slepe with trauayle kept, His eyes drowsy and Ickyng as he slept. Before her standeth daunger and enuy, Flattery, dysceyt, mischiefe and tiranny. About her commeth all the world to begge. He asketh lande, and he to pas would bryng, This toye and that, and all not worth an egge: He would in loue prosper aboue all thyng: He kneleth downe and would be made a kyng: He forceth not so he may money haue, Though all the worlde accompte hym for a knaue. Lo thus ye see diuers heddes, diuers wittes. Fortune alone as diuers as they all, Vnstable here and there among them flittes : And at auenture downe her giftes fall, Catch who so may she throweth great and small Not to all men, as commeth sonne or dewe, But for the most part, all among a fewe. And yet her broteii gifts long may not last. He that she gaue them, loketh prowde and hve. She whirlth about and pluckth away as fast, And geueth them to an other by and by. And thus from man to man continually, She vseth to geue and take, and slily tosse, One man to wynnyng of an others losse. And when she robbeth one, down goth his
pryde. He wepeth and wayleth and curscth her full sort.
But he that receueth it, on that other syde,
In chaungyng of her course, the châurg:
Vp startth a knaue, and downe there falth a knight,
The beggar ryche, and the ryche man pore is.
Hatred is turned to loue, loue to despyght.
This is her sport, thus proueth she her myght.
Great beste she maketh yf one be by her power,
Pouertee that of her giftes wy! nothing take, Wyth mery chere, looketh vppon the prece, And seeth how fortunes houshold goeh to wrake. Fast by her standeth the wyse Socrates, Arristippus, Pythagoras, and many a lese Of olde philosophers. And eke agaynst the Sonne Bekyth hym poore Diogenes in his tonne. With her is Byas, whose countrey lackt defence, And whylom of their foes stode so in dout, That eche man hastely gan to cary thence, And asked hym why he nought caryed out. I bere quod he all myne with me about: Wisedom he ment, not fortunes brothe fles. For nought he counted his that he might leese, Heraclitus eke, lyst felowship to kept With glade poutriee, Democritus also: of which the fyrst can neuer ceae Lut wepe, To see how thicke the blynded people go, With labour great to purchase care and wo. That other laugheth to see the foolysh apes, How earnestly they wałk about theyr capes. Of this poore sect, it is connen vsage, Oncly to take that nature may sustayne, Banishing cleane all other surplusage, They be content, and of nothy ng complay as No nygarde eke is of his good so fayne. But they more pleasure haue a thousand folde, The secrete draughtes of nature to beholde. Set fortunes servauntes by them and well, That one is free, that other euer thrall, That one content, that other neuer fui, That one in suretye, that other lyke—to fel Who o o aduise them bothe, parcey we shall, As great difference between them as we sc Betwixte wretchednes and felicite. Now haue I shewed you both c : to whiche ye lyst, Stately fortune, or humble poucrtee: That is to say, nowe lyeth it in your fy st To take here bondage, or free liber teeBut in thys poynte and ye do after me, Draw you to fortune, and labour he please, If that yethynke your selfe to well at ea And fyrst vppon the louely shall she st And frendly on the cast her wandering Embrace the in her armes, and for a w ł. Put the and kepe the in a foole's paradis. And focrih with all what so thou lyst ci. But for all that beware of after clappes. Recken you neuer of her fauoure sure : Ye may in clowds as easily trace an hare, Or in drye lande cause fishes to endure, And make the burnyng fyre his heate to spare, And all thys worlde in compace to forfare, As her to make by craft or engine stable, That of her nature is euer variable. Scrue her day and nyght as reuerently, Wppon thy knees as any seruaunt may, And in conclusion, that thou shalt winne thereby Shall not be worth thy servyce I dare say. And looke yet what she geueth the to day, With labour wonne she shall happly to inorow * Pucke it agayne out of thyne hand with Sorow. Wherefore yf thou in suretye lyst to stande, Take Pouerties parte and let prowde fortune £O, Receyue nothyng that commeth from her hande. Loue maner and vertue: they be onely tho Whiche double fortune may not take the fro. Then mayst thou boldly defye her turnyng chaunce: She can the neyther hynder nor auaunce. But and thou wylt nedes medle with her treasurc, Trust not therein, and spende it liberally, Bare the not proude, nor take not out of incasure. Bylde northyne house on heyth vp in the skye, None falleth farre, but he that climbeth hye. Remember nature sent the hyther bare, The gyftes of fortune count them borowed wart.
She wyll the graunt it liberally perhappes: Ne none agayne so farre foorth in her fauour,
Thomas Mor E to them that seke Fortune.
Who so dely teth to prouen and assay,
That is full satisfyed with her behauiour.
The Descripcion of Rich A RD the thirde.
RICHARDE the third sonne, of whoma we nowe entreate, was in witte and courage egall with either of them, in bodye and prowesse farre vnder them bothe, little of stature, ill fetured of limnaes, croke backed, his left shoulder much higher than his right, hard fauoured of visage, and such as is in states called warlye, in other menue otherwise, he was malicious, wrathfull, enuious, and from afore his birth, euer frowarde. It is for trouth reported, that the duches his mother had so Inuch a dee in her trauaile, that shee coulde not bee deliuered of hvm vncutte : and that he came into the world with the feete forwarde, as menne bee borne outwarde, and (as the fame runneth) also not vintothed, whither menne of hatred reporte aboue the tivatne, or c. that “ature clausted