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Title: The Wright's Chaste Wife - A Merry Tale (about 1462)
Author: Adam, of Cobsam
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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[Transcriber's note:

This e-text uses a number of characters that depend on utf-8 encoding,
particularly small and capital yogh (ȝ, Ȝ), small and capital thorn (þ,
Þ), double l with a tilde through (l̴l̴), u with a macron (ū), h with a
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There is also one instance of (on line 391 of the poem) a m with a )
attached to the right side (rendered as {m)}), but this is probably a
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Text and letters in brackets [ ] is original.

Obvious typos are corrected in this e-text.]

The Wright's Chaste Wife.

Early English Text Society

Original Series, No. 12


Reprinted 1891, 1905, 1965

Price 7_s._ 6_d._


Wright's Chaste Wife,


"A Fable of a wrygħt that was maryde to a pore
 wydows dowt_re_ / the whiche wydow havyng
  noo good to geve w_i_t_h_ her / gave as for
   a p_re_cyous Johel̴l̴ to hy_m_ a Rose
    garlond / the whyche sche affermyd
     wold nev_er_ fade while sche
      kept truly her wedlok."

A Merry Tale, by Adam of Cobsam.

_From a MS. in the Library of the Archbishop of Canterbury, at Lambeth,
about 1462 A.D._


  _Published for_
  _by the_


REPRINTED 1891, 1905, 1965.

Original Series No. 12



Good wine needs no bush, and this tale needs no Preface. I shall not
tell the story of it--let readers go to the verse itself for that; nor
shall I repeat to those who begin it the exhortation of the englisher of
_Sir Generides_,

      "for goddes sake, or ye hens wende,
    Here this tale unto the ende."--(ll. 3769-70.)

If any one having taken it up is absurd enough to lay it down without
finishing it, let him lose the fun, and let all true men pity him.
Though the state of morals disclosed by the story is not altogether
satisfactory, yet it is a decided improvement on that existing in Roberd
of Brunne's time in 1303, for he had to complain of the lords of his

    Also do þese lordynges,
    Þe[y] trespas moche yn twey þynges;
    Þey rauys a mayden aȝens here wyl,
    And mennys wyuys þey lede awey þertyl.
    A grete vylanye þarte he dous
    Ȝyf he make therof hys rouse [boste]:
    Þe dede ys confusyun,
    And more ys þe dyffamacyun.

The volume containing the poem was shown to me by Mr Stubbs, the
Librarian at Lambeth, in order that I might see the version of Sir
Gyngelayne, son of Sir Gawain, which Mr Morris is some day, I trust, to
edit for the Society in one of his Gawain volumes.[1] Finding the
present poem also on the paper leaves, I copied it out the same
afternoon, and here it is for a half-hour's amusement to any reader who
chooses to take it up.

The handwriting of the MS. must be of a date soon after 1460, and this
agrees well with the allusion to Edward the Fourth's accession, and the
triumph of the White Rose o'er the Red alluded to in the last lines of
the poem. The Garlond,

    It was made ...
    Of flourys most of honoure,
    Of roses whyte þat wyl̴l̴ nott fade,
    Whych floure al̴l̴ ynglond doth glade....
    Vn-to the whych floure I-wys
    The loue of God and of the comonys
    Subdued bene of ryght.

For, that the Commons of England were glad of their Yorkist king, and
loved Duke Richard's son, let Holinshed's record prove. He testifies:

     "Wherevpon it was againe demanded of the commons, if they would
     admit and take the said erle as their prince and souereigne lord;
     which all with one voice cried: Yea, yea....

     "Out of the ded stocke sprang a branch more mightie than the stem;
     this Edward the Fourth, a prince so highlie fauoured of the peple,
     for his great liberalite, clemencie, vpright dealing, and courage,
     that aboue all other, he with them stood in grace alone: by reason
     whereof, men of all ages and degrees to him dailie repaired, some
     offering themselues and their men to ioepard their liues with him,
     and other plentiouslie gaue monie to support his charges, and to
     mainteine his right."

Would that we knew as much of Adam of Cobsam as of our White-Rose king.
He must have been one of the Chaucer breed,[2] but more than this poem
tells of him I cannot learn.

_3, St George's Square, N.W.,
23 November, 1865._

P.S.--There are other Poems about Edward IV. in the volume, which will
be printed separately.[3] One on Women is given at the end of the
present text.

       *       *       *       *       *

PP.S. 1869.--Mr C.H. Pearson, the historian of the Early and Middle Ages
of England, has supplied me with the immediate original of this story.
He says:

     "The Wright's Chaste Wife is a reproduction of one of the _Gesta
     Romanorum_, cap. 69, de Castitate, ed. Keller. The Latin story
     begins 'Gallus regnavit prudens valde.' The Carpenter gets a shirt
     with his wife, which is never to want washing unless one of them is
     unfaithful. The lovers are three Knights (_milites_), and they are
     merely kept on bread and water, not made to work; nor is any wife
     introduced to see her lord's discomfiture. The English version,
     therefore, is much quainter and fuller of incident than its
     original. But the 'morality' of the Latin story is rich beyond
     description. 'The wife is holy Mother Church,' 'the Carpenter is
     the good Christian,' 'the shirt is our Faith, because, as the
     apostle says, it is impossible to please God without faith.' The
     Wright's work typifies 'the building up the pure heart by the works
     of mercy.' The three Knights are 'the pride of life, the lust of
     the eyes, and the lust of the flesh.' 'These you must shut up in
     the chamber of penance till you get an eternal reward from the
     eternal King.' 'Let us therefore pray God,' &c."

With the Wright's Chaste Wife may also be compared the stories mentioned
in the Notes, p. 20, and the Ballad "The Fryer well fitted; or

    A Pretty jest that once befel,
    How a maid put a Fryer to cool in the well"

printed "in the Bagford Collection; in the Roxburghe (ii. 172); the
Pepys (iii. 145); the Douce (p. 85); and in _Wit and Mirth, an Antidote
to Melancholy_, 8vo. 1682; also, in an altered form, in Pills to purge
Melancholy, 1707, i. 340; or 1719, iii. 325"; and the tune of which,
with an abstract of the story, is given in Chappell's _Popular Music_,
i. 273-5. The Friar makes love to the Maid; she refuses him for fear of

    Tush, quoth the Friar, thou needst not doubt;
    If thou wert in Hell, I could sing thee out.

So she consents if he'll bring her an angel of money. He goes home to
fetch it, and she covers the well over with a cloth. When he comes back,
and has given her the money, she pretends that her father is coming,
tells the Friar to run behind the cloth, and down he flops into the
well. She won't help him at first, because if he could sing her out of
hell, he can clearly sing himself out of the well: but at last she does
help him out, keeps his money because he's dirtied the water, and sends
him home dripping along the street like a new-washed sheep.

[Footnote 1: The since printing of the Romance in the Percy Folio MS.
Ballads and Romances, (_Lybius Disconius_, ii. 404,) will probably
render this unnecessary. (1869.)]

[Footnote 2: Chaucer brings off his Carpenter, though, triumphant, and
not with the swived wife and broken arm that he gives his befooled
Oxford craftsman in _The Milleres Tale_. (1869.)]

[Footnote 3: In _Political, Religious, and Love Poems_, E.E. Text Soc.,

                    THE WRIGHT'S CHASTE WIFE.

                    [_MS. Lambeth 306, leaves 178-187._]

                    Al̴l̴myghty god, maker of all_e_,
My sovereigns,      Saue you my sou_er_eyns in towre & hall_e_,
                      And send yoū good grace!                         3
                    If ye wyl̴l̴ a stounde blynne,
I will tell you     Of a story I wyl̴l̴ begynne,
a tale                And telle you al̴l̴ the cas,                       6
                    Meny farleyes þat I haue herd_e_,
                    Ye would haue wondyr how yt ferde;
                      Lystyn, and ye schal̴l̴ here;                      9
of a wright         Of a wryght I wyl̴l̴ you telle,
of this land,       That some tyme in thys land gan dwelle,
                      And lyued by hys myster.                        12
who, at work, was   Whether that he were yn or owte,
afraid of no        Of erthely man hadde he no dowte,
earthly man.          To werke hows, harowe, nor plowgh,              15
                    Or other werkes, what so they were,
                    Thous wrought he hem farre and nere,
                      And dyd tham wele I-nough.                      18
At first he would   Thys wryght would wedde no wyfe,
wed no wife,        Butt yn yougeth to lede hys lyfe
[leaf 178, back]      In myrthe and oþer melody;                      21
for wherever he     Ou_er_ al̴l̴ where he gan wende,
went he was         Al̴l̴ they seyd "welcome, frende,
welcome;              Sytt downe, and do gla[d]ly."                   24
but at last he      Tyl̴l̴ on a tyme he was wyllyng,      THE WRIGHT FALLS
wished              As tyme comyth of all_e_ thyng,     IN LOVE, AND
                      (So seyth the p_ro_fesye,)        PROPOSES.     27
to have a spouse    A wyfe for to wedde & haue
to look after his   That myght hys goodes kepe and saue,
goods.                And for to leue al̴l̴ foly.                       30
A widow near had a  Ther dwellyd a wydowe in þat contre
fair daughter       That hadde a doughter feyre & fre;
                      Of her, word sprang wyde,                       33
true and meek.      For sche was bothe stabyl̴l̴ & trewe,
                    Meke of maners, and feyr̛ of hewe;
                      So seyd men in that tyde.                       36
                    The wryght seyde, "so god me saue,
Her the wright        Such a wyfe would I haue
would like to lie     To lye nyghtly by my syde."                     39
by him,             He þought to speke wyth þat may,
and therefore went  And rose erly on a daye
to her mother         And þyder gan he to ryde.                       42
                    The wryght was welcome to þe wyfe,
                    And her saluyd al̴l̴ so blyve,
                      And so he dyd her doughter fre:                 45
and proposed for    For the erand that he for ca{m~}
the maiden.         Tho he spake, þat good yema{n)};
                      Than to hym seyd sche:                          48
The mother says     The wydowe seyd, "by heuen kyng,
she can only give   I may geue wyth her no þing,
him as a portion      (And þat forthynketh me;)                       51
a garland           Saue a garlond I wyl̴l̴ the geue,
                    Ye schal̴l̴ neu_er_ see, whyle ye lyve,
                      None such in thys contre:                       54
of roses            Haue here thys garlond of roses ryche,
                    In al̴l̴ thys lond ys none yt lyche,
that will keep its    For ytt wyl̴l̴ eu_er_ be newe,                    57
colour  [leaf 179]  Wete þou wele w_i_t_h_owtyn fable,
while his wife is   Al̴l̴ the whyle thy wyfe ys stable
true,                 The chaplett wolle hold hewe;                   60
but change when     And yf thy wyfe vse putry,        HE RECEIVES A
she is faithless.   Or tolle eny man to lye her by,   ROSE GARLAND
                      Than wolle yt change hewe,      WITH HIS WIFE.  63
                    And by the garlond þou may see,
                    Fekyl̴l̴ or fals yf þat sche be,
                      Or ellys yf sche be trewe."                     66
The wright is       Of thys chaplett hym was ful̴l̴ fayne,
delighted with his  And of hys wyfe, was nott to layne;
garland and wife,     He weddyd her ful̴l̴ sone,                        69
marries her and     And ladde her home wyth solempnite,
takes her home;     And hyld her brydal̴l̴ dayes thre.
                      Whan they home come,                            72
and then begins to  Thys wryght in hys hart cast,
think that when he  If that he walkyd est or west
is out at work        As he was wonte to done,                        75
men will try to     "My wyfe þat ys so bryght of ble,
corrupt his wife.   Men wolle desyre her̛ fro me,
                      And þat hastly and sone;"                       78
So he plans a       Butt sone he hym byþought
crafty room and     That a chambyr schuld be wrought
tower,                Bothe of lyme and stone,                        81
                    Wyth wallys strong as eny stele,
                    And dorres sotylly made and wele,
                      He owte framyd yt sone;                         84
and builds it soon  The chambyr he lett make fast,
with plaster of     Wyth plast_er_ of parys þ_a_t wyl̴l̴ last,
Paris,                Such ous know I neu_er_ none;                   87
which no one could  Ther ys [ne] kyng ne emp_er_oure,
ever get out of if  And he were lockyn in þat towre,
he once got into      That cowde gete owte of þat wonne.              90
it,                 Nowe hath he done as he þought,
                    And in the myddes of the flore wrought
for there was a       A wondyr strange gyle,                          93
trapdoor in the     A trapdoure rounde abowte
[leaf 179, back]    That no man myght come yn nor owte;
middle,               It was made wyth a wyle,                        96
and if any one      That who-so touchyd yt eny thyng,       THE WRIGHT
only touched it,    In to þe pytt he schuld flyng           GOES TO
down he'd go into     Wythyn a lytyl̴l̴ whyle.                WORK, AND 99
a pit.              For hys wyfe he made that place,        LEAVES HIS
This was to stop    That no man schuld beseke her of grace, WIFE AT
any tricks with       Nor her to begyle.                    HOME.    102
his wife.
Just then the town  By þat tyme þe lord of the towne
Lord                Hadde ordeynyd tymbyr redy bowne,
                      An halle to make of tre.                       105
sends for him to    Aft_er_ the wryght the lord lett sende,
build a Hall,       For þat he schuld wyth hym lende
(a job for two or     Monythys two or thre.                          108
three months,)      The lord seyd, "woult þou haue þi wyfe?
and offers to       I wyl̴l̴ send aft_er_ her blyve
fetch his wife        That sche may com to the."                     111
too.                The wryght hys garlond hadde take w_y_t_h_ hy{m~},
                    That was bryght and no þing dymme,
                      Yt wes feyre on to see.                        114
He sees the         The lord axyd hym as he satt,
wright's garland,   "Felowe, where hadyst þou þis hatte
and asks what it      That ys so feyre and newe?"                    117
means.              The wryght answerd al̴l̴ so blyue,
"Sir, it will       And seyd, "syr, I hadde yt wyth my wyfe,
                      And þat dare me neuer̛ rewe;                    120
tell me whether my  Syr, by my garlond I may see
wife is false or    Fekyl̴l̴ or fals yf þat sche be,
true;                 Or[1] yf þat sche be trewe;                    123
and will change     And yf my wyfe loue a p_ar_amoure,
its colour if she   Than wyl̴l̴ my garlond vade coloure,
go wrong."            And change wyl̴l̴ yt the hewe."                  126
                    The lord þought "by godys myght,
"I'll try that,"    That wyl̴l̴ I wete thys same nyght
thinks the Lord,      Whether thys tale be trewe."                   129
and goes to the     To the wryghtys howse anon he went,
wright's wife.      He fonde the wyfe ther-in p_re_sente
[leaf 180]            That was so bryght and schene;     THE LORD    132
                    Sone he hayled her trewly,           BRIBES THE
                    And so dyd sche the lord curtesly:   WRIGHT'S WIFE
                      Sche seyd, "welcome ye be;"        TO LIE WITH 135
                    Thus seyd the wyfe of the hows,      HIM.
She asks after her  "Syr, howe faryth my swete spouse
husband               That hewyth vppon your̛ tre?"                   138
but the Lord        "Sertes, dame," he seyd, "wele,
                    And I am come, so haue I hele,
                      To wete the wylle of the;                      141
declares his own    My loue ys so vppon the cast
love for her,       That me thynketh my hert wolle brest,
                      It wolle none otherwyse be;                    144
and prays her to    Good dame, graunt me thy grace
grant him his       To pley with the in some preuy place
will.                 For gold and eke for fee."                     147
She entreats him    "Good syr, lett be youre fare,
to let that be,     And of such wordes speke no mare
                      For hys loue þat dyed on tre;                  150
                    Hadde we onys begonne þat gle,
                    My husbond by his garlond myght see;
                      For sorowe he would wexe woode."               153
but he presses      "Certes, dame," he seyd, "naye;
her,                Loue me, I pray you, in þat ye maye:
                      For godys loue change thy mode,                156
and offers her 40   Forty marke schal̴l̴ be youre mede
marks.              Of sylu_er_ and of gold[_e_] rede,
                      And that schal̴l̴ do the good."                  159
On this she         "Syr, that deede schal̴l̴ be done;
consents if he'll   Take me that mony here anon_e_."
put down the          "I swere by the holy rode                      162
money.              I thought when I cam hydder̛
                    For to bryng[2] yt al̴l̴ to-gydder̛,
                      As I mott broke my heele."                     165
The 40 marks she    Ther sche toke xl marke
takes               Of syluer and gold styff and sterke:
                      Sche toke yt feyre and welle;           THE    168
and tells him to    Sche seyd, "in to the chambyr wyl̴l̴ we,    LORD IS
go [leaf 180, back] Ther no man schal̴l̴ vs see;                DROPPED
into the secret       No lenger wyl̴l̴ we spare."                      171
chamber.            Vp the steyer they gan[3] hye:            THROUGH
Upstairs he goes,   The stepes were made so queyntly          A TRAPDOOR,
                      That farther myght he nott fare.               174
stumbles,           The lord stumbyllyd as he went in hast,
and pops down 40    He fel̴l̴ doune in to þat chaste
feet through the      Forty fote and somedele more.                  177
wright's trapdoor.  The lord began to crye;
                    The wyfe seyd to hym in hye,
                      "Syr, what do ye there?"                       180
He prays the        "Dame, I can nott seye howe
                    That I am come hydder nowe
                      To thys hows þat ys so newe;                   183
                    I am so depe in thys sure flore
                    That I ne can come owte att no dore;
good dame to have     Good dame, on me þou rewe!"                    186
pity on him.        "Nay," sche seyd, "so mut y the,
"Nay," says she,    Tyl̴l̴ myne husbond come and se,
"not till my          I schrewe hym þat yt þought."                  189
husband sees you."  The lord arose and lokyd abowte
The Lord tries to   If he myght eny where gete owte,
get out, but          Butt yt holpe hy{m~} ryght nogħt,              192
can't,              The wallys were so thycke w_y_t_h_y{n)},
                    That he no where myght owte wynne
                      But helpe to hy{m~} were brought;              195
and then threatens  And eu_er_ the lord made euyl̴l̴ chere,
the wife,           And seyd, "dame, þou schalt by thys dere."
                      Sche seyd that sche ne rougħt;                 198
but she doesn't     Sche seyd "I recke nere
care for that,      Whyle I am here and þou art there,
                      I schrewe herre þat þe doth drede."            201
                    The lord was sone owte of her þought,
and goes away to    The wyfe went in to her lofte,
her work.             Sche satte and dyd her dede.        AND HAS    204
Next day the Lord   Than yt fel̴l̴ on þat oþer daye,        TO BEAT FLAX
begs for food.      Of mete and drynke he gan her p_ra_y, TO EARN HIS
                      There of he hadde gret nede.        DINNER.    207
[leaf 181]          He seyd, "dame, for seynt charyte,
                    Wyth some mete þou comfort me."
"You'll get none      Sche seyd, "nay, so god me spede,              210
from me             For I swere by swete seynt Iohn_e_,
                    Mete ne drynke ne getyst þou none
unless you sweat      Butt þou wylt swete or swynke;                 213
for it," says she;  For I haue both hempe and lyne,
"spin me some       And a betyngstocke ful̴l̴ fyne,
flax."                And a swyngyl̴l̴ good and grete;                 216
                    If þou wylt worke, tell me sone."
He says he will:    "Dame, bryng yt forthe, yt schal̴l̴ be done,
                      Ful̴l̴ gladly would I ete."                      219
she throws him the  Sche toke the stocke in her honde,
tools,              And in to the pytt sche yt sclang
                      With a grete hete:                             222
the flax and hemp,  Sche brought the lyne and hempe on her backe,
and says, "Work     "Syr lord," sche seyd, "haue þou þat,
away."                And lerne for to swete."                       225
                    Ther sche toke hym a bonde
                    For to occupy hys honde,
                      And bade hym fast on to bete.                  228
He does,            He leyd yt downe on the[4] stone,
lays on well,       And leyd on strockes wel̴l̴ good wone,
                      And sparyd nott on to leyne.                   231
                    Whan þat he hadde wrought a thraue,
and then asks for   Mete and drynke he gan to craue,
his food,             And would haue hadde yt fayne;                 234
                    "That I hadde somewhat for to ete
                    Now aft_er_ my gret swete;
                      Me thynketh yt were rygħt,                     237
for he's toiled     For I haue labouryd nyght and daye
night and day.      The for to plese, dame, I saye,
                      And therto putt my myght."                     240
The wife            The wyfe seyd "so mutt I haue hele,  THE STEWARD
                    And yf þi worke be wrought wele      RESOLVES TO
                      Thou schalt haue to dyne."         TEMPT THE   243
gives him meat      Mete and drynke sche hym bare,       WRIGHT'S
[leaf 181, back]      Wyth a thrafe of flex mare         WIFE.
and drink             Of ful̴l̴ long boundyn lyne.                     246
and more flax,      So feyre the wyfe the lord gan praye
and keeps him up    That he schuld be werkyng aye,
to his work.          And nought þat he schuld blynne;               249
                    The lord was fayne to werke tho,
                    Butt hys men knewe nott of hys woo
                      Nor of þer lordes pyne.                        252

The Steward asks    The stuard to þe wryght gan saye,
the wright after    "Sawe þou owte of my lord to-daye,
his Lord,             Whether that he ys wende?"                     255
                    The wryght answerde and seyd "naye;
                    I sawe hym nott syth yesterdaye;
                      I trowe þat he be schent."                     258
then notices the    The stuard stode þe wryght by,
garland,            And of hys garlond hadde ferly
                      What þat yt be-mente.                          261
and asks who gave   The stuard seyd, "so god me saue,
it him.             Of thy garlond wondyr I haue,
                      And who yt hath the sent."                     264
"Sir, it will tell  "Syr," he seyd, "be the same hatte
me whether my wife  I can knowe yf my wyfe be badde
goes bad."            To me by eny other ma{n)};                     267
                    If my floures ouþer fade or falle,
                    Then doth my wyfe me wrong wyth-all_e_,
                      As many a woman ca{n)}."                       270
"I'll prove that    The stuard þought "by godes mygħt,
this very night,"   That schal̴l̴ I preue thys same nygħt
says the steward,     Whether þou blys or banne,"                    273
gets plenty of      And in to hys chambyr he gan gone,
money, and goes     And toke tresure ful̴l̴ good wone,
off                   And forth he spedde hem tha{n)}.     AND       276
                    Butt he ne stynt att no stone          THINKS
to the wright's     Tyl̴l̴ he vn-to þe wryghtes hows come    HE HAS
house,                That ylke same nygħt.                SUCCEEDED 279
                    He mett the wyfe amydde the gate,      SO WELL.
takes her round     Abowte þe necke he gan her take,
the neck,             And seyd "my dere wyght,                       282
[leaf 182]          Al̴l̴ the good þat ys myne
and offers her all  I wyl̴l̴ the geue to be thyne
he has, to lie by     To lye by the al̴l̴ nyght."                      285
her that night.     Sche seyd, "syr, lett be thy fare,
She refuses,        My husbond wolle wete wyth-owty{n)} mare
                      And I hym dyd that vnrygħt;                    288
                    I would nott he myght yt wete
                    For al̴l̴ the good that I myght gete,
                      So Ih_esus_[5] mutt me spede                   291
as her husband      For, and eny man lay me by,
would be sure to    My husbond would yt wete truly,
know of it.           It ys wythowtyn eny drede."                    294
The steward urges   The stuard seyd "for hym þat ys wrought,
her again,          There-of, dame, drede the nogħt
                      Wyth me to do that dede;                       297
and offers her 20   Haue here of me xx marke
marks.              Of gold and syluer styf and starke,
                      Thys tresoure schal̴l̴ be thy mede."             300
She says, "Then     "Syr, and I graunt þat to yoū,
don't tell any      Lett no man wete butt we two nowe."
one,"                 He seyd, "nay, wythowtyn drede."               303
                    The stuard þought, 'sykerly
                    Women beth both queynte & slye.'
takes his money,      The mony he gan her bede;                      306
                    He þought wele to haue be spedde,
                    And of his erand he was onredde
                      Or he were fro he{m~} I-gone.                  309
sends him up the    Vp the sterys sche hym leyde
quaint stairs,      Tyl̴l̴ he saw the wryghtes bedde:   THE STEWARD IS
                      Of tresoure þought he none;       SHOT THROUGH 312
and lets him        He went and stumblyd att a stone;   THE TRAPDOOR,
tumble through      In to þe seller̛ he fylle sone,
the trapdoor.         Downe to the bare flore.                       315
"What the devil     The lord seyd "what deuyl̴l̴ art þoū?
are you?" says      And þou hadest falle on me nowe,
the Lord.             Thowe hadest hurt me ful̴l̴ sore."               318
[leaf 182, back]    The stuard stert and staryd abowte
The steward finds   If he mygħt ower gete owte
he can't get out;     Att hole lesse or mare.                        321
                    The lord seyd, "welcome, and sytt be tyme,
                    For þou schalt helpe to dyght thys lyne
                      For al̴l̴ thy fers[e] fare."                     324
                    The stuard lokyd on the knygħt,
and wonders why     He seyd, "syr, for godes myght,
his Lord is           My lord, what do you here?"                    327
there.              He seyd "felowe, wyth-owtyn oth,
"We both came on    For o erand we come bothe,
one errand, man."     The sothe wolle I nott lete."                  330
The wife asks what  Tho cam the wyfe them vn-to,
they're doing;      And seyd, "syres, what do you to,
                      Wyl̴l̴ ye nott lerne to swete?"                  333
the Lord says,      Than seyd þe lord her vn-to,
"Your flax is       'Dame, your̛ lyne ys I-doo,
done, and I want      Nowe would I fayne ete:                        336
my dinner."         And I haue made yt al̴l̴ I-lyke,
                    Ful̴l̴ clere, and no þing thycke,
                      Me thynketh yt gret payne."                    339
The steward says    The stuard seyd "wyth-owtyn dowte,
if he ever gets     And eu_er_ I may wynne owte,
out he'll crack       I wyl̴l̴ breke her brayne."                      342
her skull.          "Felowe, lett be, and sey nott so,
But the wife        For þou schalt worke or eu_er_ þou goo,
chaffs him,           Thy wordes þou torne agayne,                   345
says he'll soon be  Fayne þou schalt be so to doo,
glad to eat his     And thy good wylle put þerto;
words,                As a man buxome and bayne            BUT IS    348
and unless he rubs  Thowe schalt rubbe, rele, and spynne,  PROUD, AND
and reels, he'll    And þou wolt eny mete wynne,           WILL NOT
get no meat.          That I geue to god a gyfte."         WORK FOR  351
"I'll die for       The stuard seyd, "then haue I wondyr;  HIS DINNER.
hunger first,       Rather would I dy for hungyr
unhouseled,"          Wyth-owte hosyl̴l̴ or shryfte."                  354
answers he.         The lord seyd, "so haue I hele,
[leaf 183]          Thowe wylt worke, yf þou hungyr welle,
                      What worke þat the be brought."                357
The Lord works      The lord satt and dyd hys werke,
away,               The stuard drewe in to the derke,
                      Gret sorowe was in hys þought.                 360
                    The lord seyd, "dame, here ys youre lyne,
                    Haue yt in godes blessyng and myne,
                      I hold yt welle I-wrought."                    363
and gets his food   Mete and drynke sche gaue hym y{n)},
and drink.          "The stuard," sche seyd, "wolle he nott spynne,
                      Wyl̴l̴ he do ryght nogħt?"                       366
                    The lord seyd, "by swete sen Ione,
None of it will he  Of thys mete schal̴l̴ he haue none
give to the           That ye haue me hydder brought."               369
steward,            The lord ete and dranke fast,
but eats it all     The stuard hungeryd att þe last,
up,                   For he gaue hym nought.                        372
                    The stuard satt al̴l̴ in a stody,
                    Hys lord hadde forgote curtesy:
                      Tho[6] seyd þe stuard, "geue me some."         375
and won't give him  The lord seyd, "sorowe haue þe morsel̴l̴ or sope
one crumb:          That schal̴l̴ come in thy throte!
                      Nott so much as o crome!                       378
let him work and    Butt þou wylt helpe to dyght þis lyne,
earn some for       Much hungyr yt schal̴l̴ be thyne
himself.              Though þou make much mone."                    381
The steward gives   Vp he rose, and went therto,
in,                 "Bett_er_ ys me þus to doo
                      Whyle yt must nedys be do."                    384
asks for work; the  The stuard began fast to knocke,        THE STEWARD
wife throws it      The wyfe þrew hym a swyngelyng stocke,  IS OBLIGED
him,                  Hys mete þerwyth to wy{n)};           TO WORK  387
                    Sche brought a swyngyl̴l̴ att þe last,    AFTER ALL.
                    "Good syres," sche seyd, "swyngyll_e_ on fast;
                      For no þing that ye blynne."                   390
                    Sche gaue hy{m)} a stocke to sytt vppo{n)},
                    And seyd "syres, þis werke must nedys be done,
                      Al̴l̴ that that ys here y{n)}."                  393
[leaf 183, back]    The stuard toke vp a stycke to saye,
and steward and     "Sey, seye, swyngyl̴l̴ bett_er_ yf ye may,
Lord are both         Hytt wyl̴l̴ be the bett_er_ to spynne."          396
spinning away       Were þe lord neu_er_ so gret,
to earn their       Yet was he fayne to werke for hys mete
dinner,               Though he were neu_er_ so sadde;               399
                    Butt þe stuard þat was so stowde,
                    Was fayne to swyngell_e_ þe scales owte,
                      Ther-of he was nott glad.                      402
while the Lord's    The lordys meyne þat were att home
people cannot make  Wyst nott where he was bycome,
out what has          They were ful̴l̴ sore adrad.                     405
become of him.
Then the Proctor    The proctoure of þe parysche chyrche rygħt
sees the wright     Came and lokyd on þe wryght,
                      He lokyd as he ware madde;                     408
                    Fast þe proctoure gan hym frayne,
and asks where he   "Where hadest þou þis garlond gayne?
got his garland       It ys eu_er_ lyke newe."                       411
from.               The wryght gan say "felowe,
"With my wife;      Wyth my wyfe, yf þou wylt knowe;
                      That dare me nott rewe;                        414
and while she is    For al̴l̴ the whyle my wyfe trew ys,
true it will never  My garlond wolle hold hewe I-wys,
fade,                 And neu_er_ falle nor fade;                    417
but if she's false  And yf my wyfe take a p_ar_amoure,
it will."           Than wolle my garlond vade þe floure,
                      That dare I ley myne hede."                    420
The proctor thinks  The proctoure þought, "in good faye   THE PROCTOR
he'll test this,    That schal̴l̴ I wete thys same daye     TEMPTS THE
                      Whether yt may so be."              WIFE, AND  423
goes to the         To the wryghtes hows he went,         IS TRAPDOORED.
wright's wife       He grete þe wyfe wyth feyre entente,
                      Sche seyd "syr, welcome be ye."                426
and declares his    "A! dame, my loue ys on you fast
love for her;       Syth the tyme I sawe you last;
                      I pray you yt may so be                        429
                    That ye would graunt me of your̛ grace
he must have her    To play w_y_t_h_ you in some p_ri_uy place,
[leaf 184]            Or ellys to deth mutt me."                     432
or die.             Fast þe proctoure gan to pray,
She says nay,       And eu_er_ to hy{m~} sche seyd "naye,
                      That wolle I nott doo.                         435
as her husband      Hadest þou done þat dede w_y_t_h_ me,
will know of it by  My spouse by hys garlond myght see,
his garland.          That schuld torne me to woo."                  438
The proctor         The proctoure seyd, "by heuen kyng,
                    If he sey to the any þing
                      He schal̴l̴ haue sorowe vn-sowte;                441
offers her 20       Twenty marke I wolle þe geue,
marks.              It wolle þe helpe welle to lyue,
                      The mony here haue I brought."                 444
These she takes;    Nowe hath sche the tresure tane,
they go upstairs,   And vp þe steyre be they gane,
                      (What helpyth yt to lye?)                      447
                    The wyfe went the steyre be-syde,
and the proctor     The proctoure went a lytyl̴l̴ to wyde
tumbles into the      He fel̴l̴ downe by and by.                       450
cellar,             Whan he in to þe seller felle,
and thinks he is    He wente to haue sonke in to helle,
going to hell.        He was in hart ful̴l̴ sory.                      453
                    The stuard lokyd on the knyght,
The steward asks    And seyd "proctoure, for godes myght,
him to sit down;      Come and sytt vs by."                          456
                    The proctoure began to stare,
he doesn't know     For he was he wyst neu_er_ whare,      THE PROCTOR
where he is,          Butt wele he knewe þe knyght         CAN'T     459
                    And the stuard þat swyngelyd þe lyne.  MAKE OUT
but asks what the   He seyd "syres, for godes pyne,        WHERE HE
Lord and steward      What do ye here thys nygħt?"         HAS GOT   462
are after there,    The stuard seyd, "god geue the care,   TO.
                    Thowe camyst to loke howe we fare,
                      Nowe helpe þis lyne were dyght."               465
                    He stode styl̴l̴ in a gret þought,
                    What to answer he wyst noght:
                      "By mary ful̴l̴ of myght,"                       468
working the wife's  The proctoure seyd, "what do ye in þis yn_e_
flax;               For to bete thys wyfees lyne?
[leaf 184, back]      For Ih_esus_ loue, fful̴l̴ of myght,"            471
                    The proctoure seyd ryght as he þougħt,
he, the proctor,    "For me yt schal̴l̴ be euyl̴l̴ wrougħt
will never do the     And I may see arygħt,                          474
like,               For I lernyd neu_er_ in lon{d+}
it's not his        For to haue a swyngel̴l̴ in hond
trade.                By day nor be nyght."                          477
The steward says,   The stuard seyd, "as good as þoū.
"We're as good as   We hold vs that be here nowe,
you, and yet          And lett preue yt be sygħt;                    480
have to work for    Yet must vs worke for owre mete,
our food."          Or ellys schal̴l̴ we none gete,
                      Mete nor drynke to owre honde."                483
The Lord says,      The lord seyd, "why flyte ye two?
"And you'll have    I trowe ye wyl̴l̴ werke or ye goo,
to work ere you       Yf yt be as I vndyrstond."                     486
go."                Abowte he goys twyes or thryes;
They eat and        They ete & drunke in such wyse
drink, and give       That þey geue hym ryght noght.                 489
the proctor         The proctoure seyd, "thynke ye no schame,
nothing,            Yheue me some mete, (ye be to blame,)
to his great          Of that the wyfe ye brougħt."                  492
disgust,            The stuard seyd "euyl̴l̴ spede the soppe
                    If eny morcel̴l̴ come in thy throte
                      Butt þou w_y_t_h_ vs hadest wrought."  HE HAS  495
till at last        The proctoure stode in a stody           TO WIND
                    Whether he mygħt worke hem by;           AND SPIN
                      And so to torne hys þougħt,            FOR HIS 498
                    To the lord he drewe nere,               DINNER.
                    And to hym seyd w_y_t_h_ myld[_e_] chere,
                      "That mary mott the spede!"                    501
he too knocks for   The proctoure began to knocke,
work,               The good wyfe rawte hym a rocke,
                      For therto hadde sche nede;                    504
                    Sche seyd "whan I was mayde att home,
                    Other werke cowde I do none
                      My lyfe ther-wyth to lede."                    507
gets a distaff and  Sche gaue hym in hande a rocke hynde,
some winding to     And bade hem fast for to wynde
[leaf 185]            Or ellys to lett be hys dede.                  510
do,                 "Yes, dame," he seyd, "so haue I hele,
                    I schal̴l̴ yt worke both feyre & welle
                      As ye haue taute me."                          513
                    He wauyd vp a strycke of lyne,
and spins away      And he span wele and fyne
well.                 By-fore the swyngel̴l̴ tre.                      516
                    The lord seyd "þou spynnest to grete,
                    Therfor þou schalt haue no mete,
                      That þou schalt wel̴l̴ see."                     519
Thus they all sit   Thus þey satt and wrought fast
and work till the   Tyl̴l̴ þe wekedayes were past;
wright comes home.    Then the wryght, home came he,                 522
As he approaches    And as he cam by hys hows syde
he hears a noise,   He herd[7] noyse that was nott ryde
                      Of p_er_sons two or thre;                      525
                    One of hem knockyd lyne,
                    A-nothyr swyngelyd good and fyne
                      By-fore the swyngyl̴l̴ tre,                      528
                    The thyrde did rele and spynne,
                    Mete and drynke ther-wyth to wynne,
                      Gret nede ther-of hadde he.                    531
                    Thus þe wryght stode herkenyng;       THE WRIGHT
his wife comes to   Hys wyfe was ware of hys comyng,      COMES HOME
meet him,             And ageynst hym went sche.          AND FINDS  534
                    "Dame," he seyd, "what ys þis dynne?  THE THREE
and he asks what    I here gret noyse here wythynne;      CULPRITS.
all that noise is     Tel̴l̴ me, so god the spede."                    537
about.              "Syr," sche seyd, "workemen thre
"Why, three         Be come to helpe you and me,
workmen have come     Ther-of we haue gret nede;                     540
to help us, dear.   Fayne would I wete what they were."
Who are they?"      Butt when he sawe hys lord there,
The wright sees       Hys hert bygan to drede:                       543
his Lord in the     To see hys lord in þat place,
pit,                He þought yt was a strange cas,
and asks how          And seyd, "so god hym spede,                   546
[leaf 185, back]    What do ye here, my lord and knygħt?
                    Tel̴l̴ me nowe for godes mygħt
he came there.        Howe cam thys vn-to?"                          549
                    The knyght seyd "What ys best rede?
The Lord asks       M_er_cy I aske for my mysdede,
mercy: he is very     My hert ys wondyr wo."                         552
sorry.              "So ys myne, verame_n_t,
"So am I," says     To se you among thys flex and hempe,
the wright, "to       Ful̴l̴ sore yt ruytħ me;                         555
see you among the   To se you in such hevynes,
flax and hemp,"     Ful̴l̴ sore myne hert yt doth oppresse,
                      By god in trinite."                            558
and orders his      The wryght bade hys wyfe lett hy{m~} owte,
wife to let the     "Nay, þen sorowe come on my snowte
Lord out.             If they passe hens to-daye                     561
"No, bother my      Tyl̴l̴ that my lady come and see
snout if I do,"     Howe þey would haue done w_y_t_h_ me,
says the wife,        Butt nowe late me saye."                       564
"before his lady    Anon sche sent aft_er_ the lady brygħt
sees what he        For to fett home her lord and knyght,
wanted to do with     Therto sche seyd nogħt;                        567
me."                Sche told her what they hadde ment,
So she sends for    And of ther purpos & ther intente   THE LORD'S WIFE
the dame to fetch     That they would haue wrought.     SEES HIM IN  570
her lord home,      Glad was þat lady of that tydyng;   THE CELLAR.
and tells her what  When sche wyst her lord was lyuyng,
he and his            Ther-of sche was ful̴l̴ fayne:                   573
companions came     Whan sche came vn-to þe steyre aboue{n)},
there for.          Sche lokyd vn-to þe seller downe,
The lady              And seyd,--þis ys nott to leyne,--             576
looks down into     "Good syres, what doo you here?"
the cellar,         "Dame, we by owre mete ful̴l̴ dere,
and says, "Good       Wyth gret trauayle and peyne;                  579
sirs, what are you  I pray you helpe þat we were owte,
doing?"             And I wyl̴l̴ swere w_y_t_h_-owtyn dowte
"Earning our meat     Neu_er_ to come here agayne."                  582
full dear:          The lady spake the wyfe vn-tyll_e_,
[leaf 186]          And seyd "dame, yf yt be youre wylle,
help us out, and      What doo thes meyny here?"                     585
I'll never come     The carpentarys wyfe her answerd sykerly,
here again."        "Al̴l̴ they would haue leyne me by;
The lady asks the     Eu_er_ych, in ther maner_e_,                   588
wife why            Gold and syluer they me brought,
the men are there   And forsoke yt, and would yt noght,
The wife says they    The ryche gyftes so clere.                     591
wanted to lie with  Wyllyng þey were to do me schame,
her, and offered    I toke ther gyftes wyth-owtyn blame,
her gold and          _And_ ther they be al̴l̴ thre."                  594
silver;             The lady answerd her ano{n)},
she took their      "I haue thynges to do att home
gifts, and there      Mo than two or thre;                           597
they are.           I wyst my lord neu_er_ do ryght noght
The lady says she   Of no þing þat schuld be wrought,
really wants her      Such as fallyth to me."                        600
lord for herself,   The lady lawghed and made good game
and laughs          Whan they came owte al̴l̴ in-same
heartily when the     From the swyngyl̴l̴ tre.                         603
three culprits      The knyght seyd "felowys in fere,
come out.           I am glad þat we be here,
The Lord says,        By godes dere pyte;                     THE    606
"Ah, you'd have     Dame, and ye hadde bene wyth vs,          WRIGHT'S
worked too if       Ye would haue wrought, by swete Ih_es_us, WIFE SETS
you'd been with       As welle as dyd we."                    THE    609
us,                 And when they cam vp aboue{n)}            CULPRITS
                    They turnyd abowte and lokyd downe,       FREE.
                      The lord seyd, "so god saue me,                612
I never had such a  Yet hadde I neu_er_ such a fytte
turn in my life     As I haue hadde in þat lowe pytte;
before, I can tell    So mary so mutt me spede."                     615
you."               The knyght and thys lady bryght,
Then the Lord and   Howe they would home that nygħt,
lady go home,         For no thyng they would abyde;                 618
                    And so they went home;
as ADAM of COBSAM   Thys seyd Adam of Cobsa{m~}.[8]
[leaf 186, back]      By the weye as they rode                       621
says.               Throwe a wode in ther playeng,
On their way home   For to here the fowlys syng
they halt,            They hovyd stylle and bode.                    624
and the steward     The stuard sware by godes ore,
and proctor swear   And so dyd the proctoure much more,
they'll never go      That neu_er_ in ther lyfe                      627
back for five and   Would they no more come in þ_a_t wonne
forty years.        Whan they were onys thens come,
                      Thys forty yere and fyve.                      630
The lady gives all  Of the tresure that they brought,
their money to the  The lady would geue hem ryght noght,
wright's wife.        Butt gaue yt to the wryghtes wyfe.             633
The garland is      Thus the wryghtes garlond was feyre of hewe,
fresh as ever.      And hys wyfe bothe good and trewe:
                      There-of was he ful̴l̴ blythe;                   636
                    I take wytnes att gret and smal̴l̴,
Thus true are all   Thus trewe bene good women al̴l̴
good women now        That nowe bene on lyve,                        639
alive!              So come thryste on ther hedys
                    Whan they mombyl̴l̴ on ther bedys       MAY ALL GOOD
                      Ther pat_er_ n_oste_r ryue.         WIVES GO   642
                                                          TO HEAVEN!
Here then is        Here ys wretyn a geste of the wryght
written a tale of   That hadde a garlond wel̴l̴ I-dyght,
the Wright and his    The coloure wyl̴l̴ neuer fade.                   645
Garland.            Now god, þat ys heuyn kyng,
God grant us all    Graunt vs al̴l̴ hys dere blessyng
his blessing,         Owre hertes for to glade;                      648
and may all true    And al̴l̴ tho that doo her husbondys rygħt,
faithful wives      Pray we to Ih_es_u ful̴l̴ of myght,
                      That feyre mott hem byfalle,                   651
come to heaven's    And that they may come to heuen blys,
bliss,              For thy dere moderys loue ther-of nott to mys,
                      All_e_ good wyues all_e_.                      654
and be such         Now all_e_ tho that thys tretys hath hard,
                    Ih_es_u graunt hem, for her reward,
true lovers as the    As trew louers to be                           657
[leaf 187]          As was the wryght vn-to hys wyfe
wright and his      And sche to hym duryng her lyfe.
wife were.            Amen, for charyte.                             660
Here ends our tale  Here endyth the wryghtes p_ro_cesse trewe
of the Garland      Wyth hys garlond feyre of hewe
                      That neu_er_ dyd fade the coloure.             663
                    It was made, by the avyse
                    Of hys wywes moder wytty and wyse,
                      Of flourys most of honoure,                    666
which was made of   Of roses whyte þat wyl̴l̴ nott fade,
White Roses,        Whych floure al̴l̴ ynglond doth glade,
the flowers that      Wyth trewloues medelyd in sygħt;               669
gladden all         Vn-to the whych floure I-wys
England,            The loue of god and of the comenys
and receive the       Subdued[9] bene of rygħt.
love of God, and
of the Commons                  Explicit.

[Footnote 1: MS. _of_]

[Footnote 2: _or_ hyng. ? _MS._]

[Footnote 3: MS. _gar_]

[Footnote 4: ? MS. this.]

[Footnote 5: MS. _Iħc_]

[Footnote 6: MS. _The_]

[Footnote 7: ? MS. _hard_]

[Footnote 8: The letter between the _b_ and _a_ has had the lower part
marked over. But it must mean a long _s_.]

[Footnote 9: May be _subdied_; the word has been corrected.]


The two first of the three operations of flax-dressing described in
lines 526-529, p. 15,

    One of hem knocked lyne,
    A-nothyr swyngelyd good and fyne
      By-fore the swyngyl̴l̴-tre,
    The thyrde did rele and spynne,

must correspond to the preliminary breaking of the plant, and then the
scutching or beating to separate the coarse tow or hards from the tare
or fine hemp. Except so far as the _swingle_ served as a heckle, the
further _heckling_ of the flax, to render the fibre finer and cleaner,
was dispensed with, though heckles (iron combs) must have been in use
when the poem was written--inasmuch as _hekele_, _hekelare_, _hekelyn_,
and _hekelynge_, are in the Promptorium, ab. 1440 A.D. Under _Hatchell_,
Randle Holme gives a drawing of a heckle.

The lines through the _h_'s in the MS. are not, I believe, marks of
contraction. There are no insettings of the third lines, or spaces on
changes of subject, in the MS.

For reference to two analogous stories to that of the Poem, I am
indebted to Mr Thomas Wright. The first is that of _Constant Duhamel_ in
the third volume of Barbazan, and the second that of the Prioress and
her three Suitors in the Minor Poems of Dan John Lydgate, published by
the Percy Society, ed. Halliwell.

In the Barbazan tale "the wife is violently solicited by three suitors,
the priest, the provost, and the forester, who on her refusal persecute
her husband. To stop their attacks she gives them appointments at her
house immediately after one another, so that when one is there and
stripped for the bath, another comes, and, pretending it is her husband,
she conceals them one after another in a large tub full of feathers, out
of which they can see all that is going on in the room. She then sends
successively for their three wives to come and bathe with her, the bath
being still in the same room, and as each is stripped naked in the bath,
she introduces her own husband, who dishonours them one after another,
one _à l'enverse_, with rather aggravating circumstances, and all in
view of their three husbands. Finally the latter are turned out of the
house naked, or rather well feathered, then hunted by the whole town and
their dogs, well bitten and beaten."

(If any one wants to see a justification of the former half of the
proverb quoted by Roberd of Brunne,

    Frenche men synne yn lecherye
    And Englys men yn enuye,

let him read the astounding revelation made of the state of the early
French mind by the tales in the 3rd and 4th vols. of Barbazan's
Fabliaux, ed. 1808.)

The second story, told by Lydgate, is as follows:--A prioress is wooed
by "a yonng knyght, a parson of a paryche, and a burges of a borrow."
She promises herself to the first if he will lie for a night in a chapel
sewn up in a sheet like a corpse; to the second, if he will perform the
funeral service over the knight, and bury him; to the third, if he will
dress up like a devil, and frighten both parson and knight. This the
burges Sir John does well, but is himself terrified at the corpse
getting up: all three run away from one another: the knight falls on a
stake, and into a snare set for bucks, and breaks his fore top in
falling from the tree; the merchant gets tossed by a bull; the parson
breaks his head and jumps into a bramble bush; and the prioress gets rid
of them all, but not before she has made the "burges" or "marchaunt" pay
her twenty marks not to tell his wife and the country generally of his
tricks.--_Minor Poems_, p. 107-117, ed. 1840.


And, 89, 292, if.

Bayne, 348, ready.

Blynne, 4, cease, stop; AS. _blinnan_.

Blyue, 44, 110, 118, speedily.

Bonde, 226, a bund-le; Du. _bondt_, a bavin, a bush of thornes.

Brayne, 342, scull.

Broke, 165, enjoy. AS. _brúcan_, Germ. _brauchen_. H. Coleridge.

Brydalle, 71, AS. _brýd-ál_, bride ale, marriage feast.

By, 197, buy.

Chaste, 176, chest, box, pit.

Dowte, 14, fear.

Dyght, 323, 379, prepare, dress.

Fare, 148, 324, going on, wish, project.

Fere, 604, company.

Flyte, 484, wrangle, quarrel; AS._ flít_, strife, wrangling.

Forthynketh, 51, repents, makes sorry; AS. _forþencan_, to despair.

Frayne, 409, ask; AS. _fregnan_, Goth. _fraihnan_.

Gan, 22, did.

Geue to God a gyfte, 351, I make a vow, I promise you, I'll take my

Hele, 140, salvation.

Hovyd, 624, halted, stopt.

Hynde, 508 ? natty; _hende_, gentle.

I-doo, 335, done, finished.

I-dyght, 644, prepared.

In-same, 602, together.

Layne, 68, hide, conceal.

Lende, 107, stay; ? AS. _landian_, to land, or _lengian_, to prolong.

Leyne, 231, lay, beat.

Lyne, 214, AS. _lín_, flax; ? rope, 246.

Meyne, 403, household.

Myster, 12, trade; Fr. _mestier_.

O, 329, one.

Onredde, 308; AS. _unrét_, _unrót_, uncheerful, sorrowful, or _unrǽd_,

Oþre, 205, second.

Putry, 61, adultery; O. Fr. _puterie_, whoring.

Rawte, 503, reached, gave.

Rewe, 186, have pity.

Rocke, 503, 508; Du. _een Rocke_, _Spinrock_, A Distaffe, or a
    Spin-rock; _Rocken_, To Winde Flaxe or Wool upon a Rock (Hexham).
    Dan. _rok_, O.N. _rokkr_, G. _rocken_: "a distaff held in the hand
    from which the thread was spun by twirling a ball below. 'What,
    shall a woman with a _rokke_ drive thee away?'" Digby Mysteries, p.
    11 (Halliwell). "An Instrument us'd in some Parts for the spinning
    of Flax and Hemp." Phillips; for reeling and spinning (l. 529).

Rought, 198, AS. _róhte_, p. of _récan_, to reck, care for.

Ryde, 524, light, small, AS. _geryd_, levis, æquus, Lye.

Ryue, 642, Du. _rijf_, rife, or abundant.

Scales, 401; ? husks, bark, or rind, see _shoves_*, in _Swyngylle_,

Schent, 258, destroyed; AS. _scendan_.

Stounde, 4, short time.

Strycke, 514, "_Strike of Flax_, is as much as is heckled at one
    Handful." Phillips.

Swyngylle, 216, "Swingle-Staff, a Stick to beat Flax with," Phil.; AS.
    _swingele_, a whip, lash. "To _swingle_, to beat; a Term among
    Flax-dressers." Phillips. Though Randle Holme, Bk. III., ch. viii.
    No. xxxiii., gives the _Swingle-Tree_ of a Coach-Pole (these are
    made of wood, and are fastened by Iron hooks, stables (_sic_) chains
    and pinns to the Coach-pole, to the which Horses are fastened by
    their Harnish when there is more then two to draw the Coach), yet at
    Chap, vi., § iv., p. 285, col. 1, he says, "He beareth Sable, a
    _Swingle_ Hand erected, Surmounting of a _Swingle_ Foot, Or. This is
    a Wooden Instrument made like a Fauchion, with an hole cut in the
    top of it, to hold it by: It is used for the clearing of Hemp and
    Flax from the large broken Stalks or *Shoves, by the help of the
    said _Swingle_ Foot, which it is hung upon, which said Stalks being
    first broken, bruised, and cut into shivers by a Brake.
  S. 3, such erected in Fesse O. born by _Flaxlowe_.
  S. 3, such in Pale A., born by _Swingler_."
  (A drawing is given by Holme, No. 4, on the plate opposite p. 285.)
  "_Swingowing_ is the beating off the bruised inward stalk of the Hemp
    or Flax, from the outward pill, which as (_sic_) the Hemp or Flax,
    p. 106, col. 2.
  _Spinning_ is to twist the Flax hairs into Yarn or Thrid. _Reeling_
    is to wind the Yarn of the Wheel Spool on a Reel," p. 107, Col. 2.

Take, 161, deliver.

The, 187, thrive.

Tolle, 62, entice (H.H. Gibbs).

Tre, 105, wood, timber.

Trewloves, 669, either figures like true-lovers' knots, or the
    imitations of the berb or flower _Truelove_, which is given by Coles
    as _Herb Paris_ (a quatrefoil whose leaves bear a sort of likeness
    to a true-lovers' knot), and in Halliwell as _one-berry:_ but I
    cannot find that Edward IV. had any such plants on his arms or
    badge. Knots were often worn as badges, see Edmonston's Heraldry,
    Appendix, Knots. On the other hand, Willement (Regal Heraldry)
    notices that the angels attending Richard II. in the picture at
    Wilton, had collars worked with white roses and broom-buds; and
    trueloves, if a plant be meant by it, may have been Edward's
    substitute for the broom (_planta genisla_). The Trewloves bear,
    one, Ar. on a chev. sa., three cinquefoils, or; the other, Ar. on a
    chev. sa., a quatrefoil of the field.

Vade,[1] 125, 419, fade; Du. _vadden_ (Hexham).

Wone, 275, store, quantity.

Wonne, 90, 628, dwelling.

Woode, 153, wild, mad.

Yheue, 491, give.

Yougeth, 20, youth, bachelor's freedom.

[Footnote 1: The use of the flat _v_ade (l. 419, p. 12) within 2 lines
of the sharp _f_ade (l. 417), corresponds with the flat 'stow_d_e,' l.
400, p. 12, riming with 'owte,' l. 401, _badde_ with _hatte_, l. 265-6.
_Cost_, _brest_, l. 142-3, are careless rimes too.]


                    [_Lambeth MS_. 306, _leaf_ 135.]

                    Wome{n)}, wome{n)}, loue of wome{n)},
                    make bare purs w_i_t_h_ some me{n)},
                    Some be nyse as a nonne hene,[1]
                      Ȝit al thei be nat soo.                          4
                        some be lewde,
                        some all be schrewde;
                      Go schrewes wher thei goo.

                    Su{m~} be nyse, and some be fonde,                 8
                    And some be tame, y vndirstond_e_,
                    And some cane take brede of a manes hande,[2]
                      Yit all thei be nat soo.
                        [Some be lewde, &c.]                          12

[leaf 135, back]    Some cane part with-outen hire,
                    And some make bate in eueri chire,
                    And some cheke mate with oure Sir_e_,
                      Yit all they be nat so.                         16
                        Some be lewde,
                        and sume be schreued_e_,
                      go wher they goo.

                    Som be browne, and some be whit,                  20
                    And some be tender as a ttripe,
                    And some of theym be chiry ripe,
                      Yit all thei be not soo.
                        Sume be lewde,                                24
                        and some be schrewed_e_,
                      go wher they goo.

                    Some of the{m~} be treue of love
                    Benetħ þe gerdel̴l̴, but nat above,                 28
                    And in a hode aboue cane chove,
                      Yit all thei do nat soo.
                        Some be lewde,
                        and some be schreud_e_,                       32
                      go where they goo.

                    Some cane whister, & some cane crie,
                    Some cane flater, and some can lye,
                    And some cane sette þe moke awrie,                36
                      Yit all thei do nat soo.
                        Sume be lewde,
                        and sume be schreued_e_,
                      go where thei goo.                              40

                    He that made this songe full good,
                    Came of þe nortħ and of þe sother{n)} blode,
                    And some-what kyne to Roby{n)} Hode,
                      Yit all we be nat soo.                          44
                        Some be lewde,
                        and some be schrewed_e_,
                      go where they goo.

                    Some be lewde, some be [s]chrwde,                 48
                    Go where they goo.


P.S.--This Poem was printed by Mr Halliwell in _Reliquiæ Antiquæ_, vol.
i., p. 248, and reprinted by Mr Thomas Wright, at p. 103 of his edition
of _Songs and Carols_ for the Percy Society, 1847. As, besides minor
differences, the reprint has _manne_, and the original _nanne_, for what
I read as _nonne_, l. 3, while both have _withowte_ for _with oure_, l.
15, and _accripe_ for _a ttripe_, l. 21 (see Halliwell's Dictionary,
"_accripe_, a herb?"), I have not cancelled this impression. The other
version of the song, from Mr Wright's MS. in his text, pp. 89-91,
differs a good deal from that given above.

[Footnote 1: The Rev. J.R. Lumby first told me of the proverb 'As white
as a nun's hen,' the nuns being famous, no doubt, for delicate poultry.
John Heywood has in his _Proverbes_, 1562 (first printed, 1546), p. 43
of the Spencer Society's reprint, 1867,

    She tooke thenterteinment of the yong men
    All in daliaunce, _as nice as a Nun's hen_.

The proverb is quoted by Wilson in his _Arte of Rhetorique_, 1553
(Hazlitt's _Proverbs_, p. 69).]

[Footnote 2: For _honde_.]

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