History of Literature

Sebastian Brant

"Ship of Fools"

Illustrations by  Albrecht Dürer





Of folys that can nat kepe secrete theyr owne counsell.

Of other Foles a nomber yet I fynde
Which by theyr bablynge wordes and langage
Can nat kepe close the secrete of theyr mynde.
But all theyr counsel out they shewe at large.
So that oft therof procedeth great damage.
As Murder, myschefe, hatered and debate.
That after they repent. But than it is to late

He is a naturall fole and vndiscrete

And to hym selfe ingendryth oft great stryfe

Whiche can nat hyde his counsell and secrete

But by his foly it sheweth to his wyfe

And all that he hath done in his hole lyfe

Or that to do here after he doth purpose

To euery man suche a fole wyll disclose

The noble Sampson moste excellent of myght

And strongest man that euer was get or borne

Were nat this foly: sholde nat haue lost his syght

Nor had his here, by gyle from his hede ofshorne

And of his ennemyes ben laughyd vnto scorne

And at the last with herte wrethfull and wo

His ennemyes murdred and hym selfe also

Where as he myght haue lyued in honour

If he had kept his secretes in his mynde

With his owne wyll he dyed in great dolour.

By the fals treason of his lemman vnkynde

We may in dyuers mo examples fynde

Howe many thousandes haue suffred paynes smart

And all for shewynge the secretes of theyr hart

Amphiaraus a Prynce moste excellent

Shortened the dayes of his pore doutfull lyfe

For shewynge the preuetees of his intent

By his owne foly to his disceytfull wyfe

And thoughe he longe escaped had the stryfe

And war of Thebes whiche he dyd longe defende

Yet at the leest his tunge was his owne ende

Thus olde storyes doth oft recorde and tell

By theyr examples whiche they vnto vs gyue

That wymen ar no kepars of councell

It goeth through them as water trough a syue

Wherfore let them that quyetly wolde lyue

No more of theyr counsell to any woman showe

Than that they wolde that euery man dyd knowe

Let euery man that is discrete and sage

Of suche folys with all wysdome be ware

Whiche shewe theyr counsell by theyr hasty langage.

To euery man without all thought and care

For they of wysdome and reason ar but bare

And who that his owne secrete wyll forth tell

Howe sholde he hyde another mannes counsell

Yet other be whiche by theyr flaterynge trayne

Labour to knowe euery mannys pryuete

And by and by to shewe it forth agayne

Of them be ware for they disceyfull be.

Some other bost them of theyr felycyte

Bablynge that they haue theyr wyll in euery thynge

As prosperous welth loue, ryches and cunnynge

And of great dedes done both on see and londe

Some by theyr falshode, some by strength and vertue

But if one laboured the trouth to vnderstonde

Suche folysshe wordes sholde all be founde vntrewe

Let neuer man to suche his counsell shewe

For of one worde these folys makyth twayne

Whiche tourneth many to losse rebuke and payne

Wherfore if thou wylt that thy pryuete

Be kept secrete and nat come out at large

Be nat so folysshe to showe it unto me

Or any other if it be thynge of charge

And if thou do thou shalt be in this barge

For howe wylt thou thynke that another man

Can kepe thy counsell syns thou thy selfe ne can

If the kynge Achab had nat vttred and tolde

Vnto his wyfe his wyll and mynde so playne

By hir fals treason, and dysceyt manyfolde

Vnrightwysly Nabot had nat ben slayne

But for the same, Achab suffred great payne

By deth in batayle, and for a punysshment

His wyfe with houndes was all to torne and rent

Thus it apereth that he is wyse and ware

Whiche can his counsell kepe within his hart

For by that mean may he escape great care

And suerly lyue without yll wyllys dart

The Prophete seynge what dyuers paynes smart

Comyth oft to them whiche doth theyr secret tell

Eche man exortyth to kepe close his counsell.

The enuoy of Barklay to the Folys.

Thou man that hast thy secret in thy brest

Holde it styll there suffer it nat out to go

Who that so doth, therby shall fynde great rest

Ne to thy frende shewe nat thy mynde also

For if that he after become thy fo

As often hapneth, than myght he the bewry

So sholde thy foly tourne vnto thy great wo

Howe be it suche thynges are prouyd comonly.


Of yonge folys that take olde wymen to theyr wyues, for theyr ryches.

Within our shyp that fole shall haue a hode
Whiche an olde wyfe taketh in maryage
Rather for hir ryches and hir worldly gode
Than for pure loue, or hope to haue lynage
But suche youth as mary them selfe with age
The profyte and pleasour of wedlocke lese certayne
And worthely lyue in brawlynge stryfe and payne.

Under the Asse tayle thoughe it be no thynge pure

Yet many seke and grope for the vyle fatnes

Gatherynge togyther the fowle dunge and ordure

Suche ar they that for treasour and ryches

Whyle they ar yonge in theyr chefe lustynes

An agyd woman taketh to theyr wyfe

Lesynge theyr youth, and shortynge so theyr lyfe

They that so do hath neyther rest nor peas

But besy brawlynge and stryfe contynuall

They have no pleasour, but thought and great dyseas

Rebuke out braydynge, and strypes whan they fall

But theyr owne foly is grounde and cause of all

For they be maryd unto the vyle treasour

And precious bagges, but nat for godly pleasour

They haue no hope of children nor lynage

Loue is there none, and durynge theyr wretchyd lyfe

Is nat one day in suche mad maryage

Auoyde of brawlynge, of hatered and of stryfe

But that pore man that weddeth a ryche wyfe

Cast in his nose shall styll hir bagges fynde

For whose cause he made was made and blynde

They that ar weddyd nat for loue but rychesse

Of moryage despysynge the pleasour and profyte

Suche seldome sauour fortunes happynes

But oft mysfortune them greuously doth byte

Thus gone is theyr pleasour theyr ioy and delyte

And for vayne treasoure suche ar so glad and fayne

That for the same they them subdue to payne

They wyllyngly to payne them selfe subdue

The whiche ar weddyd for wretchyd couetyse

They take no hede to maners and vertue

To honeste nor wysdome but lyue ay in malyce

For if a woman be fowle and full of vice

And lewde of maners, nought both to man and lad

Yet good shall hir mary be she neuer so bad

If that a man of hye or lowe degre

Wolde spouse his doughter vnto a strange man

He nought inquyreth of his honestye

Of his behauour, nor if he norture can

But if he be ryche in londes and good: than

He shall be prayed his doughter for to haue

Thoughe be but a bonde man or a knaue

The firste enquyrynge and speciall questyon

Is of the money, that thynge namely they moue

And last of all aske they the condicion

So whan they mete they neuer haue perfyte loue

Wherfore it were better to suche for theyr behoue

To byde alone in deserte and wyldernes

Than in wedloke in payne for frayle ryches

Forsoth it is an vnmete maryage

And disagreynge and moche agaynst the lawe

Bytwene fresshe youth, and lame vnlusty age

The loue bytwene them is scantly worth a strawe

So doth the one styll on the other gnawe

And oft the man in mynde doth sore complayne.

His sede to sowe vpon a grounde barayne

Than muste he haue another prymme or twayne

With them to slake his wanton yonge cowrage

But in that space must he endure great payne

With hir that he hath tane in maryage

Hir bablynge tunge whiche no man can asswage

With wrathfull wordes shall sle hym at the laste

His other prymes his good shall spende and waste

Thus who that selleth his youthes lustynes

For frayle ryches and this mundayne vanyte

He byeth stryfe, gyle and falshode endlesse

Suche force nat for fayth true loue nor honestye

And thoughe that he discende of hye degre

For hope of money he shall an olde fole wed

By whose foly he to euery yll is led.

And so these folys subdue them to bondage

And worthely endure suche payne and punysshement

They hope therby to come to auantage

But that they lese and lyue in sore tourment

They wast theyr good, and so whan that is spent

And nought remayneth theyr bodyes to relefe

Theyr disputacion is nought but hore and thefe

But if I sholde wryte all the vnhappynes

The wrath discorde and the great deuysyon

Wherin they lyue, that mary for ryches

And nat for loue. I neuer sholde haue done

Wherfore this say I for a conclusyon

That he shall neuer thryue ne come to his behoue

That weddyth a wyfe for gode and nat for loue

The enuoy of Barklay.

Alas man myndles what is thyne intent

To wed for ryches, that weddynge I defy

Maryage was ordeyned by god omnypotent

In goddes lawes the worlde to multyply

Wherfore that man that wyll therto aply

And wolde haue the profyte of faythfull maryage

This worldly ryches ought no thynge to set by

But wed for loue and hope to haue lynage

Remember ryches is no thynge comparable

To mekenes vertue and discrete gouernaunce

And other maners whiche ar more commendable

Than worldly treasour or suche vnsure substaunce

Wherfore consyder and call to thy remembraunce

That better is to haue some woman pore and bare

And lyue in eas: Than one with habundaunce

Of great ryches: and euer to lyue in care


Of enuyous Folys.

Yet ar mo folys whiche greatly them delyte
In others losse, and that by fals enuy
Wherby they suche vnrightwysly bacbyte
The dartis of suche ouer all the wordly flye
And euer in fleynge theyr fethers multyply
No state in erth therfro can kepe hym sure
His sede encreasyth as it wolde euer endure

Wastynge enuy oft styreth to malyce

Folys nat a fewe whiche ar therto enclynyd

Pryckynge theyr frowarde hertes vnto vyce

Of others damage reioysynge in theyr mynde

Enuyes darte doth his begynnynge fynde

In wrathfull hertes, it wastyth his owne nest

Nat suffrynge other to lyue in eas and rest

If one haue plenty of treasour and ryches

Or by his merytis obteyne great dignyte

These folys enuyous that of the same haue les

Enuy by malyce, the others hye degre

And if another of honour haue plente

They it enuy and wysshe that they myght sterue

Howe be it suche folys can nat the same deserue

These folys desyre agaynst both lawe and right

Anoters good if they may get the same

If they may nat by flaterynge nor by myght

Than by fals malyce they hym enuy and blame

Outher if one by his vertue hath good name

By fals enuy these foles hym reproue

Their wrath them blyndeth so that they none can loue

The wounde of this malycious, fals enuy

So dedely is, and of so great cruelte

That it is incurable and voyde of remedy

A man enuyous hath suche a properte

That if he purpose of one vengyd to be

Or do some mysche, whiche he reputyth best

Tyll it be done, he neuer hath eas nor rest

No slepe, no rest nor pleasour can they fynde

To them so swete, pleasaunt and delectable

That may expell this malyce from theyr mynde

So is enuy a vyce abhomynable

And vnto helth so frowarde and damnable

That if it onys be rotyd in a man

It maketh hym lene. his colour pale and wan.

Enuy is pale of loke and countenaunce

His body lene of colour pale and blewe

His loke frowarde, his face without pleasaunce

Pyllynge lyke scalys, his wordes ay vntrue

His iyen sparklynge with fyre ay fresshe and newe

It neuer lokyth on man with iyen full

But euer his herte by furious wrath is dull

Thou mayst example fynde of this enuy

By Joseph whome his bretherne dyd neuer beholde

With louynge loke, but sharpe and cruelly

So that they hym haue murdred gladly wolde

I myght recount examples manyfolde

Howe many by enuy lost hath theyr degre

But that I leue bycause of breuyte

Enuyous folys ar stuffed with yll wyll

In them no myrth nor solace can be founde

They neuer laughe but if it be for yll

As for gode lost or whan some shyp is drounde

Or whan some hous is brent vnto the grounde

But whyle these folys on other byte and gnawe

Theyr enuy wastyth theyr owne herte and theyr mawe

The mount of Ethnay though it brent euer styll

Yet (saue itselfe) it brenneth none other thynge

So these enuyous Folys by theyr yll wyll

Wast theyr owne herte, thoughe they be ay musynge

Another man to shame and losse or hurt to brynge

Upon them sellfe Thus tournyth this yll agayne

To theyr destruccion both shame great losse and payne

This fals enuy by his malycious yre

Doth often, bretherne so cursedly inflame

That by the same the one of them conspyre

Agaynst the other without all fere and shame

As Romulus and Remus excellent of fame

Whiche byldyd Rome, but after: enuy so grewe

Bytwene them that the one the other slewe

What shall I wryte of Cayme and of Abell

Howe Cayme for murder suffred great payne and wo

Atreus story and Theseus cruell.

Ar vnto vs example hereof also

Ethyocles with his brother: and many mo

Lyke as the storyes declareth openly

The one the other murdred by enuy

The enuoy of Barklay to the Folys.

Wherfore let hym that is discrete and wyse

This wrathfull vyce exyle out of his mynde

And yll on none by malyce to surmyse

Let charyte in perfyte loue the bynde

Sue hir preceptis than shalt thou consort fynde

Loue in this lyfe, and ioy whan thou art past

Where as enuy thy conscyence shall blynde

And both they blode and body mar and wast


Of impacient Folys that wyll nat abyde correccion.

Unto our Folys shyp let hym come hastely
Whiche in his Bagpype hath more game and sport
Than in a Harpe or Lute more swete of melody
I fynde vnnumerable Folys of this sort
Whiche in theyr Bable haue all they hole confort
For it is oft sayd of men both yonge and olde
A fole wyll nat gyue his Babyll for any golde

The grettest synners that man may se or fynde

In myserable Folys theyr foly to expres

Is whan they wyll by no mean gyue theyr mynde

To frendly wordes, to grace or to goodnes

Suche folys so set theyr mynde on frowardnes

That though one gyue them counsell sad and wyse

They it disdayne and vtterly despyse

But he that is discrete sad and prudent

Aplyeth his mynde right gladly to doctryne

He hereth wyse men, his wysdome to augment

He them doth folowe and to theyr wordes enclyne

But that fole whiche ay goeth to ruyne.

And mortall myschefe had leuer be dede or slayne

Than byde correccyon or for his profyte payne

Suche haue suche pleasour in theyr mad folysshe pype

That they dispyse all other melody.

They leuer wolde dye folys than: byde a strype

For theyr correccyon and specyall remedy

And without dout none other Armony

To suche folys is halfe so delectable

As is their folysshe bagpype and theyr babyll

These frantyke folys wyll byde no punysshement

Nor smale correccion, for theyr synne and offence

No frendly warnynge can chaunge theyr yll intent

For to abyde it, they haue no pacyence.

They here no wysdome but fle from hir presence

And so it hapnyth that in the worlde be

Mo folys than men of wyt and grauyte

O mortall fole remember well what thou art

Thou art a man of erth made and of clay

Thy dayes ar short and nede thou must depart

Out of this lyfe, that canst thou nat denay

Yet hast thou reason and wyt wherby thou may

Thy selfe here gyde by wysdome ferme and stable

Wherby thou passest all bestis vnreasonable

Thou art made lorde of euery creature

All thynge erthly vnto thyne obedyence

God hath the creat vnto his owne fygure

Lo is nat here a great preemynence

God hath also gyuyn vnto the intellygence

And reason and wyt all foly to refuse.

Than art thou a fole that reason to abuse

He that is fre outher in subieccion.

If by his foly he fall into offence

And than submyt hym vnto correccyon.

All men shall laude his great obedyence

But if that one by pryde and insolence

Supporte his faute and so bere out his vyce

The hell tourmentis hym after shall chastyce

Correccyon shall the vnto wysdome brynge

Whiche is more precious than all erthly ryches

Than londes rentis or any other thynge

Why dost thou bost the of byrth or noblenes

Of ryches, strength beauty or fayrnes

These often ar cause of inconuenyence.

Where as all good comyth by wysdome and prudence

A wyse man onely as we often fynde

Is to be named moste ryche and of most myght

Here thou his wordes and plant them in thy mynde

And folowe the same for they ar sure and right.

Better is to endure, thoughe it be nat lyght

To suffer a wyse man the sharply to repreue

Than a flaterynge fole to clawe the by the sleue

Thoughe sharpe correccyon at the first the greue

Thou shalt the ende therof fynde profytable

It oft apereth, therfore I it byleue

That man also forsoth is fortunable

Whiche here in fere lyueth sure and stable

And in this lyfe is clene of his intent

Ferynge the sharpe payne of hellys punysshement

He may hym selfe right happy call also

Whiche is correct in his first tender age

And so lernyth in goodes law to go

And in his yocke, whiche doth all yll asswage

But these folys bydynge in theyr outrage

Whiche of correccyon in this lyfe hath dysdayne

May fere to be correct in hell with endles payne

The enuoy of Barklay to the Folys.

Ye obstynate folys that often fall in vyce

Howe longe shall ye kepe this frowarde ignoraunce

Submyt your myndes, and so from synne aryse

Let mekenes slake your mad mysgouernaunce

Remember that worldly payne it greuaunce

To be compared to hell whiche hath no pere

There is styll payne, this is a short penaunce

Wherfore correct thy selfe whyle thou art here.


Of folysshe Fesycyans and vnlerned that onely folowe paractyke knowynge nought of the speculacyon of theyr faculte.

Who that assayeth the craft of medycyne
Agaynst the seke and paynfull pacyent
And hath no insyght cunnynge nor doctryne
To gyue the seke, helth and amendement
Suche is a fole, and of a mad intent
To take on hym by Phesyke any cure
Nat knowynge of man, nor herbe the right nature

Yet be mo folys vpon the grounde and londe

Whiche in our Shyp may clayme a rowme and place

Suche be Phesycians that no thynge vnderstonde

Wandrynge about in euery towne and place

Uysytynge the seke whiche lyue in heuy case

But nought they relefe of those paynes harde

But gape alway after some great rewarde

Suche that haue practyse and nought of speculatyfe

Whan they go vysyte some paynfull pacyent

Whan they hym note sure to forgo his lyfe

Without all hope of any amendement

Yet say they other than is in theyr intent

That his diseas is no thynge incurable

So that the pacyent to hym be agreable

Sayth the Phesycyan whan he hath his rewarde

Abyde a whyle tyll I my bokes ouer se

Wherby I may relyue thy paynes harde

Than from the pacyent homewarde departyth he

To se his bokes but if the pacyent dye

In that meane space the medycyne is to late

So may he lay it to his owne folysshe pate

The speculacion sholde he before haue sene

For that in Phesyke is chefe and pryncypall,

Yet many ar that vse the craft I wene

Whiche of the cunnynge knowe lytell or nought at all

A herbe or wede that groweth vpon a wall

Beryth in it these folys medycyne.

None other bokes haue they nor doctryne

Nor none they rede to haue the true scyence

Or perfyte knowlege and grounde of medycyne

They rede no volumes of the experyence

Of Podalirius nor Mesues doctryne

Suche folys disdayne theyr myndes to enclyne

Unto the doctryne of bokes of Auycen

Of ypocras and parfyte galyen

But all the substance of theyr blynde faculte

They take in bokes that speke of herbes only

Without respect had to theyr properte

Or operacion so often they them aply

To fals doctrynes, but first and specyally

These olde wyues therwith wyll haue to do

Thoughe they nought knowe that doth belonge therto

They dare be bolde to take on them the cure

Of them diseasyd howe be it that they nat can

Suche thynge descerne as longyth to nature

What is for woman good, and what for man

So oft they ende moche wors than they began

That the pore pacyent is so brought to his graue

Yet dyuers suters suche folysshe wytches haue

Suche wytches boldly dare afferme and say

That with one herbe they hele can euery sore

Under euery syne plenete, houre and day

Yet besyde this they boldly dare say more

That it that helyth a man aged and hore

Shall helpe also a woman or a childe

Thus many thousandes oft ar by them begyled

They say also in this our charge or cure

What nedes it note the synes or fyrmament

The cause of thynges, or the strength of nature

Whether that the seke be stronge or impotent

They gyue one medesyn to euery pacyent

And if it fortune it be to colde or warme

The faythles wytche in hande goth with hir scharme

Say folysshe Surgyan by what experyence

Or whose Doctryne discyplyne or lore

Takest thou on the, nought knowynge of scyence

With one Salue or plaster, to heale euery sore

Yet so thou thynkest, I the compare therfore

Unto a lawyer that of his craft nought can

And yet presumeth to counsell euery man

A lawer and a Phesician ar both lyke

Of theyr condicion and both insue one trayne

The one begylyth the pacyent and seke

Takynge his god for to encreas his payne

The other labours and cauteles oft doth fayne

To clawe the coyne by craft from his clyent

Castynge hym of whan all his good is spent

Thus thryues the lawer by anothers good

Iniustly gotten, disceyuynge his clyent

Also some other ar callyd Phesicians good

Whiche vtterly disceyue the pacyent

If he haue money than hath he his intent

And if the seke haue store ynough to pay

Than shall the cure be dryuen from day to day

So if the lawer may any auauntage wyn

He shall the cause from terme to terme defarre

The playntyf for a player is holde in.

With the defendaunt kepynge open warre

So laweyers and Phesicians thousandes do marre

And whan they no more can of theyr suers haue

The playntyf beggyth, the seke is borne to graue

But of these lawyers bycause I spoke before

Of folysshe Phesicians here onely I intende.

Somwhat to say: And of lawers no more

On you Phesicians shall I conclude and ende

I say no man may hym so well defende

That he for murder may auoyde punysshement

Yet may Phesicians, sleynge the pacient

Thus thou that of Phesycian hast the name

If thou nought knowe of perfyte medycyne

It is forsoth to thy rebuke and shame

To boste the scyence: nat hauynge the doctryne

Therfore I counsell that thou thy mynde inclyne

To haue the cunnynge, els certaynly thou shall

Haue thy blynde craft and lyue a fole with all.

The enuoy of the traslatour.

Thou blynde Phesician that of thy craft nought can

Leue of thy lewdnes and bolde audacyte

To take on the: the cure of chylde or man

For by thy foly the wors myght they be

And ye that suerly perceyue your faculte

Be true therin, and auaryce from you cast

Shame is to brynge a man to pouertye

And than in paynes to leue hym at the last




Of the ende of worldly honour and power and of Folys that trust therein.

On erth was neuer degre so excellent
Nor man so myghty: in ryches nor scyence
But at the ende all hath ben gone and spent
Agaynst the same no man can make defence
Deth all thynge drawyth, ferefull is his presence,
It is last ende of euery thynge mundayne
Thus mannys fortune of cours is vncertayne

O creatures of myndes mad and blynde

I wonder of your hertis proude and eleuate

Whiche on vayne power set so sore your mynde

And trust so moche to your vnsure estate

As of your lyfe were neyther yere nor date

To worldly worshyp ye stedfastly intende

As if your lyfe sholde neuer more come to ende

Alway ye labour to come to dignyte

And oft by falshode your power to augment

Alas fewe ar content with theyr degre

But by extorcion spoyle the pore innocent

On worldly treasour so set is theyr intent

And styll to honour as besely to ascende

As if theyr lyfe sholde neuer more come to ende

Take thou example by Julius cesar

That of the worlde durynge a whyle was sure

And many kynges subduyd by myght of warre

And of the Empyre had lordshyp charge cure

But this his myght great space dyd nat endure

And whyle he trustyd yet hyer to ascende

By cruell deth he soon came to his ende

Right in lyke wyse the myghty Darius

Was kynge of Persy a realme moche excellent

Yet was his mynde so greatly couetus

That with the same helde he hym nat content

But warred on other Royalmes adiacent

So whan his myght coude nat therto extende

His owne Royalme he loste and so came to his ende

And also Xerxes in ryches abundant

Was longe in peas and great tranquyllyte

And in his Royalme was hye and tryumphant

As longe as he was content with his degre

Than had he pleasour and great felycyte.

To assay by warre his kyngdome to amende

But all he lost and so came to his ende

Whyle Nabugodonosor kynge of Babylone

In vnsure fortune set to great confydence

Commaundynge honour vnto hym to be done

As vnto god: with all humble reuerence,

God by his power and hye magnyfycence

Made hym a beste, for that he dyd offende

And so in proces of tyme came to his ende

Alexander the great and myghty conquerour

To whome all the worlde scantly myght suffyse

Of Grece was the origynall lorde and Emperour

And all the worlde subdued as I surmyse

Yet hath he done as is the comon gyse

Left all behynde, for nought coude hym defende

But as a symple man at the last came to his ende

The myghty Cresus with his kyngdomes and store

Of golde and ryches hym selfe coude nat content

But whyle he trustyd and laboured for more

Fortune hym fayled: So lost he his intent.

What shall I wryte of Cyrus excellent

Drynkynge his blode by deth whiche fortune sende

To here of states the comon deth and ende

All kyngdomes dekay and all estate mundayne

Example of Rome Cartago and Mycene

Of Solyme Tyre grace and Troy moste souerayne

None of these places ar nowe as they haue ben

Nor none other ouer the worlde as I wene

Thus shortly to speke and all to comprehende

All worldly thynges at last shall haue an ende.

The enouy of Barklay to the Folys.

O man that hast thy trust and confydence

Fyxed on these frayle fantasyes mundayne

Remember at the ende there is no difference

Bytwene that man that lyued hath in payne

And hym that hath in welth and ioy souerayne

They both must dye their payne is of one sort

Both ryche and pore, no man can deth refrayne

For dethes dart expellyth all confort

Say where is Adam the fyrst progenytour

Of all mankynde is he nat dede and gone

And where is Abell of innocence the flour

With adamys other sonnes euerychone

A: dredfull deth of them hath left nat one

Where is Mathusalem, and Tuball that was playne

The first that played on Harpe or on Orgone

Ilz sont tous mortz ce monde est choce vayne

Where is iust Noy and his ofsprynge become

Where is Abraham and all his progeny

As Isaac and Jacob, no strength nor wysdome

Coude them ensure to lyue contynually

Where is kynge Dauyd whome god dyd magnyfy

And Salomon his son of wysdome souerayne

Where ar his sonnes of wysdome and beauty

Ilz sont toutz mortz ce monde est choce vayne.

Where ar the prynces and kynges of Babylon

And also of Jude and kynges of Israell

Where is the myghty and valiant Sampson

He had no place in this lyfe ay to dwell

Where ar the Prynces myghty and cruell

That rayned before Christ delyuered vs from payne

And from the Dongeons of darke and ferefull hell

Ilz sont toutz mortz ce monde est choce vayne.

Of worldly worsyp no man can hym assure

In this our age whiche is the last of all

No creature can here alway endure

Yonge nor olde, pore man nor kynge royall

Unstable fortune tourneth as doth a ball

And they that ones pas can nat retourne agayne

Wherfore I boldly dare speke in generall

We all shall dye: ce monde est choce vayne.

Ryches nor wysdome can none therfro defende

Ne in his strength no man can hym assure

Say where is Tully is he nat come to ende

Seneke the sage with Cato and Arture

The hye Arystotyll of godly wyt and pure

The glorious Godfray, and myghty Charlemayne

Thoughe of theyr lyfe they thought that they were sure

Yet ar they all dede: ce monde est choce vayne.

Where ar the Phylosophers and Poetis lawreat

The great Grammaryens and pleasant oratours.

Ar they nat dede after the same fourme and rate

As ar all these other myghty conquerours

Where ar theyr Royalmes theyr ryches and treasours

Left to theyr heyres: and they be gone certayne

And here haue left theyr riches and honours

So haue they proued that this worlde is but vayne.

So I conclude bycause of breuyte

That if one sought the worlde large and wyde

Therin sholde be founde no maner of dere

That can alway in one case suerly byde

Strength, honour, riches cunnynge and beautye

All these decay, dayly: thoughe we complayne

Omnia fert etas, both helth and iolyte

We all shall dye: ce monde est choce vayne.


Of predestynacion.

That man that lokyth for to haue a rewarde
Whiche he hath nat deseruyd to obtayne
And lenyth his body vpon a rede forwarde
Whiche for waykenes may hym nat well sustayne
Forsoth this fole may longe so loke in vayne
And on the Crauys he styll shall bacwarde ryde
Cryenge with the doue, whose flyght shall hym ay gyde

It is vnlawfull, man to be dilygent

Or serchynge goddes workes to set his thought

Howe he hath made the heuen and fyrmament

The erth the see and euery thynge of nought

Yet of some Folys the cause hereof is sought,

Whiche labour also with curyosyte

To knowe the begynnynge of his dyuynyte

These folys forgettynge their owne fragilyte

Wolde loke to knowe the ende of euery thynge

Boldly disputynge in goddys pryuete

And what rewarde is ordeynyd for men lyuynge

Of many folys this is the moste musynge

Whiche labour dayly with besy cure and payne.

To knowe what god doth discerne and or ordayne

Therfore in this part I shall dispyse and blame

Unchrafty folys whiche scantly haue ouer sene

Ought of scripture, if they knowe the bokes name

Or els a whyle hath at the Scoles bene

Than bende they the browys and stedfastly they wene

In theyr conceyt that they ar passynge wyse

For all scripture newe commentis to deuyse

They frowardly the sentence do transpose

And that whiche is wryten, both playne and holely

By theyr corruptynge and vnlawfull glose

Oft tyme they brynge to damnable heresy

Falsly expoundynge after theyr fantasy

They labour to transpose and turne the right sence

Thoughe the wordes stryue and make great resystence

Here what these folys with theyr audacyte

Dare besely say by theyr fals errour blynde

Presumynge on goddes secrete and pryuete

Here what lewde wordes they cast out in the wynde

They say what man can chaunge or turne his mynde

To lyue after any other fourme and rate

But lyke as he is therto predestynate

They say: if god that rayneth ouerall

Hath any ordeyned that in this worlde is

To come to the place and rowme celestyall

For to be partyner of euerlastynge blys

Ordeyned for suche as here doth nat amys

No man can chaunge, not other thynge mundayne

That thynge whiche god by his myght doth ordayne

But if that god prefyxed hath before

Any creature vnto infernall payne

In derknes to be damnyd for euer more

No erthly thynge may that sentence call agayne

Nor hym delyuer: o fole thou mayst complayne

For this thy foly and also it repent

Thynkest thou nat god alway omnypotent

Is god nat rightwyse and grounde of all iustyce

Rewardynge man after his gouernaunce

He that hath here nat lyen in synne and vyce

Hauynge in goddys seruyce his pleasaunce

Shall of his lorde be had in remembraunce

And of rewarde worthely be sure

Where it is worthy that synners payne endure

Trust well who seruyth his maker stedfastly

With pure herte kepynge sure his commaundement

And lawes shall be rewardyd fynally

With heuenly ioy and scape all punysshement

Therfore thou fole leue of this lewde intent

Lyue vertuously and trust in goddes grace

Than yll desteny in the shall haue no place

Vnto great ioy god hath vs all create

And to vs all ordeyned his kyngdome

And none hath vnto Hell predestynate

But often whan we folowe nat wysdome

By ouer owne foly we fall, and so become

Vnto our maker vnkind: and hym deny

Whiche them rewardyth that here lyue vertuously

Therfore thou Fole desyst thy wordes vayne

And let thy tunge no more suche wordes say

For god hath vs made all of one stuf certayne

As one potter makyth of one clay

Vessels dyuers, but whan he must them lay

Vpon the kyll with fyre them there to dry

They come nat all to good, moste comonly

Doth this erthyn pot his maker dispyse

Whether it be made of fassyon good or yll

Saynge why dost thou make me in this wyse

Wherfore mad man I reade the to be styll

Blame nat thy maker, for thy vnhappy wyll

For god hath neuer man nor childe create

But all he hath to heuen predestynate

And whyle we lyue here on this wretchyd grounde

We haue our reason and wyttes vs to gyde

With our fre wyll and if no faute be founde

In our demenour, in heuen we shall abyde

But if we goddes lawes set asyde

Howe may we hope of hym rewarde to wyn

So our owne foly is moste cause of our syn.

The enuoy of Barclay.

O creature vnkynde vnto thy creatour

What carest thou to knowe or to inuestygate

The pryuetye, of god, leue this thy errour

To thynke the by hym to be predestynate

To endles wo and from his blysse pryuate

For syns thou hast thy reason and frewyll

Gyuyn the by god, thou art in suche estate

To take the eleccion outher of good or yll


Of folys that forget them selfe and do another mannys besynes leuynge theyr owne vndone.

Who that wyll suffer his owne hous to bren
Tyll nought of it saue the bare wallys stonde
And with his water hastely doth ren
To quenche the fyre of anothers hous or londe
He is a fole and haue shall in his hande
A folysshe Pype or horne therwith to blowe
For other folys that in my Shyp wyll rowe.

Within my Shyp of rowme he shall be sure

Whiche for anothers auantage and profyte

Takyth great thought and doth moche payne endure

Vnto his owne charge takynge no respyte

But settyth it asyde and hath all his delyte

With all his stody hym to enforce and dres:

To care for euery mannys besynes.

Suche hertles folys to them self neglygent

In theyr owne charge slepe contynually

But with open iyen they ar full dylygent

The worke of other with all theyr myght to aply

And for others profyte prouyde they besely.

But whyle these Folys ar glad to take in hande

Anothers charge, theyr owne styll let they stande

Wherfore I am so bolde within my boke

Somwhat to touch these folys mad vsage

That if it fortune them on the same to loke

They may therby perceyue in theyr corage

That labour they ought for their owne auauntage

Most specyally. for that is the degre

And the true order of perfyte charite

For perfyte loue and also charite

Begynneth with hym selfe for to be charitable

And than to other after his degre

Thy owne auauntage is ay moost profytable

The great Phylosophers of maners ferme and stable

And also of wysdome godly and dyuyne

Hath left to vs suche techynge and doctryne

We haue by Therence the same commaundement

The same is wryten also as I fynde

In the holy lawe of the olde testament

And therfore he that oft wyll set his mynde

For others maters with care his thought to blynde

Let hym first se vnto his owne profyte

Lyst some mysfortune hym after sharply byte

Let hym turne his labour to his owne auauntage

And than do for other where as he seeth moste nede

For who that playeth for mony outher gage

And on his felawes cast takyth onely hede

And nat to his owne, suche one shall seldom spede

And is a Fole. So is he that doth ren

To quenche another hous, suffrynge his owne to bren

Suche one of his owne damage hath no fere

And worthy is his losse and hurte to byde

So is he that wyll anothers burthen bere

Or takyth anothers charge at any tyde

Despysynge his owne werke and settynge it asyde

If suche haue losse and after it forthynke

No man shall moche force whether he flete or synke

He is well worthy to haue a folys pype

That goth vnbyddyn to rype anothers corne

And suffreth his owne to stande though it be rype.

And generally all Folys ar worthy scorne

Of what maner byrth so euer they be borne

If they them self put, to losse or damage

Therby to do some other auauntage

Say curyous Fole: say what pleasour thou hast

In others maters thy self to intermyt

Or theyr great charges thus in thy mynde to cast

Thy selfe to socour set thou thy mynde and wyt

Let others maters therfore in quyete syt

On thy owne profyte of all firste set thy mynde

And than (if thou mayst) do somwhat for thy frende

For vtterly that man is moche vnwyse

That thus takyth thought for anothers charge

And doth his owne by neglygence despyse

For suche Folys I forgyd haue this barge

But of the same suche men I clene discharge

That first of his pryuate profyte can take hede

And than helpe a frende and felowe at a nede

Thenuoy of Barklay.

Ye that take charge, thought and besy cure

For others mysfortune, losse or aduersyte

First of your self I aduyse you to be sure

For this is the order of parfyte charyte

Eche to hym selfe moste louynge ay to be

And next to his frende, but who that doth dispyse.

His owne besynes whiche is in ieopardye

Seynge to anothers forsoth he is vnwyse


Of the vyce of vnkyndnes.

That Fole can neyther gode nor honeste
Whiche whan one doth to hym a frendly dede
It gladly takyth, thoughe it be two or thre
Lokynge for kyndnes, yet takyth he no hede
To shewe the same agayne in tyme of nede
Let suche Folys be no thing wroth therfore
Thoughe in this Shyp I set them to an ore.

He is a Fole that crauynge is alway

Takynge the seruyce and rewardes of his frende

And nat remembryth the same agayne to pay

But as a churle it castyth out of his mynde

For who that wolde haue one to hym be kynde

And lyberall, he ought the same to be

For kyndnes meyntayneth bothe loue and charyte

He that wyll charge another with cures harde

And great labours greuous to sustayne

Ought for his labour hym worthely rewarde

That the rewarde may be confort to his payne

It is disworshyp and also shame certayne

To take the labour of any ryche or pore

And nat iustly hym to content therfore

Wherfore the workman ought also to intende

Vnto his labour to saue his honestye

And workemanly to brynge it the ende

If he therby wolde well rewardyd be

And if the owner therof beholde and se.

His worke so done, he is a chorle vnkynde

If he do nat content the workmannys mynde.

He that wolde gladly that men sholde hym commende

Must fully purpose and fyx within his mynde

Lyberall to be and nat euer to intende

To false Auaryce, whiche many one doth blynde

And if he purpose hye honours for to fynde

Or hym auaunce to any great degre

He must haue mekenes and lyberalyte

He must of maners also be commendable

And of his speche als pleasaunt as he can

For an olde prouerbe true and verytable

Sayth that good lyfe and maners makyth man

But euery lawe doth dam and also ban

The churlysshe vyce and lewde of vnkyndnes

Whiche dryeth vp the well of bounte and goodnes

For vnkynde folys if one labour dylygent

And so brynge theyr worke vnto good conclusyon

They fynde yet fautis and so ar nat content

Withdrawynge the rewarde by theyr collusyon

Wherfore let suche thynke it no abusyon

Nor haue disdayne ne yet in mynde complayne

If the pore laborer gyue vp his worke agayne

These frowarde Folys, doth wronge and iniury

To suche as to them do profyte and honour

For kyndnes, they render shame and vylany

Rebukes sclander extorcion and rygour

But whyle they hope to come to great valoure

And by such rygour to honours to aryse

Theyr hope vanyssheth as doth the snowe or yce

Wherfore who that puttyth one to besynes

To charge or labour of body or of mynde

Ought hym rewarde agayne for his kyndnes

If he do nat forsoth he is unkynde

But specyally as I oft wryten fynde

It is a thynge whiche doth for vengeaunce cry

A pore laborer to put to Iniury

What man can wryte the inconuenyence

Whiche groweth of this lewde and cursyd vyce

Vnkyndnes causeth great myschefe and offence

And is repugnynge to reason and iustyce

Wherfore let suche that wyll be namyd wyse

Leue it: and folowe lyberalyte

Whiche is noryssher of loue and amyte

In dyuers bokes examples we may fynde

Howe many Cytees hygh and excellent

Agaynst all lawe and reason were vnkynde

To suche as dyd theyr dignyte augment

O vnkynde rome thou was of this intent

Whiche hast Camyllus exyled in great payne

Thoughe he euer laboured thy honour to mentayne

O cruell Athenes by thy ingratytude

Hast thou nat banysshyd Solon also fro the

Though he enfourmyd hath thy maners rude

And gyuyn the lawes of right and equyte

For his great meryte, loue and benygnyte

Thou hast hym gyuen exyle and paynes harde

His labour was nat worthy that rewarde

Thou vnkynde Sparta: of thy audacyte

What shall I wryte or thy lewde vnkyndnes

Hast thou nat banysshed by thy cruelte

Thy kynge Lycurgus, bycause he dyd redres

Thy wanton errours by lawe and rightwysnes

And Scipio whiche his country dyd defende

Fonde it to hym, vnkynde at the last ende

A thousande mo whome I can nat expresse

To suche as haue for them abyde great payne

Haue done displeasour, and shewed vnkyndnes

And them disceyued by some cautele or trayne

Yet none of them great goodnes cowde obtayne

By theyr vnkyndnes for who that so doth cast

Vnkyndly shall be seruyd at the last.

Thenuoy of Barklay.

O fals vnkyndnes out on the I cry

From all goodnes dost thou nat man withdrawe

Byndynge his herte to gyle and vylany

Agaynst nature, agaynst both right and lawe

Thou makest man his maker nat to knawe

Therfore thou man expell out from thy mynde

This vyce, for we fynde in an olde sayde sawe

Wo is hym that to his maker is vnkynde.

Remember man the great preemynence

Gyuen unto the by good omnypotent

Bytwene the and Angels is lytell difference

And all thynge erthly to the obedyent

Fysshe byrde and beste vnder the fyrmament

Say what excuse mayst thou nowe lay or fynde

Syns thou art made by god so excellent

But that thou oughtest agayne to hym be kynde.

God hath the made vnto his owne lykenes

No erthly creature vnto the comparable

Thy iyen vpwarde to consyder his hyghnes

Where other creatures that ar vnresonable

Goeth on all foure and ar nat other able.

Theyr loke alway vnto the grounde inclynyd

Therfore thou ought in vertue to be stable

And to thy maker neuer to be vnkynde

Whan man offendyd by disobedyence

Subduynge hym self to labour care and payne

And lost the consort of goodes hye presence

Hath nat christ Jhesu redemyd hym agayne

Besyde all this thou hast no thynge certayne

In erth but by hym. wherfore I call the blynde

And of thy maners vncurtayse and vylayne

If to thy sauyour thou be nat true and kynde

Thoughe god hath made the (man) thus excellent

To lyue (if thou lyst) in ioy eternally

A lytell thynge shall hym agayne content

He nought requyreth but thy herte onely

And that thou defy thy gostly ennemy

And in goddes seruyce thy herte and body bynde.

Than shall he rewarde the in heuen right gloriously

So mayst thou be callyd vnto thy maker kynde


Of folys that stande so well in their owne conceyt that they thinke none so wyse, stronge, fayre, nor eloquent, as they ar themself.

We haue ouercome the malyce and enuy
Of suche as agaynst our Nauy did conspyre
Wherfore I shall my folys call quyckly
That they my Shyp may aparayle and atyre
Drawe nere ye Folys whiche syttynge by the fyre
Loke ay in a glasse to se your countenaunce
And in your owne dedis haue all your hole pleasaunce

Vnto my shyp I call hym to be Coke

The mete to dresse to other Folys echone

Whiche in his myrrour doth alway gase and loke

Whan he may get hym vnto a place alone

And though of colour and beaute he haue none

Yet thynketh he hym self fayre and right plesant

And wyse: thoughe that he be mad and ignorant

In his owne dedys is onely his delyte

In his owne conceyte thynkynge hymself right wyse

And fayre, thoughe he be yelowe as kyte

Is of hir fete: yet doth he styll deuyse

His vayne myrrour: that onely is his gyse

And thoughe he beholde hym self of lothly shape

He wyll it nat byleue, but in his glasse doth gape.

Though for his foly all men myght hym repreue

And that he se it before hym openly

Within his glasse: he wyll it nat byleue

But strongly it defende and eke deny

He seyth nat his erys longe and hye

Whiche stande vpon his folysshe hode behynde

His lewde conceyt thus makyth hym starke blynde

Whan people comon of men of hye prudence

Or of hye beauty, and strength if men doth tell

If one suche fole were there in the presence

He swere durst boldly and that on the gospell

That he onely all other dyd excell

And that to gyue councell good and profytable

Were none in the worldly vnto hym comparable

These folys bost them selfe of theyr wysdome

And thynke them selfe to haue preemynence

Aboue all other that ar in christendome.

In gyftis of grace as beautye and scyence

Of strength, gode maners, vertue, and eloquence

But thoughe they stande in theyr owne conceytis

Nought is saue foly within theyr folysshe patis

And thoughe theyr face and vysage stande awry

And all to reuylde, theyr mouth standynge asyde

Within theyr myrrour the same can they nat spye

But in theyr foly contynually abyde

And whether that they ar styll outher go or ryde

Labour or be ydyll, they gase styll in theyr glasse

Yet wyll they nat byleue to haue erys lyke an Asse.

Oft whan these folys lye in theyr bed vpright

With tawny loke or els theyr botyll nose

They haue theyr myrrour alway in theyr syght

The vayne glasse (of theyr beautye) to apose

And whan suche a fole into the kechyn gose

To stere the pot, there whether he syt or stande

The glasse alway is in the other hande

Whan he a whyle his glas hath loken than

If one examynyd hym of his beautye

He boldly durst swere both by god and man

That nought were in hym whiche myght repreuyd be

But all goodnes, fayre shape, and loke of grauyte

And that his gere gayly vpon his backe doth syt

He hardly is wyse: if he had any wyt.

I wryten fynde that great inconuenyence

As losse, contempt and occasyon of pryde

Hath fallyn vnto many by this lewde complacence

Whiche haue nat knowen the way themself to gyde

The emperour Otho had ay borne by his syde

In warre and peas (a glasse) for his pleasaunce

To se his colour therin; and countenaunce

And to the entent to make his colour gay

With Assys mylke he noyntyd oft his skyn

And shauyd his berde onys euery day

But for that he offendyd god herein

After was he sharply punysshyd for this syn

And put vnto extreme rebuke and shame

To gyue other example to auoyde the same

It is forsoth a maner femynyne

And nat for man to be so elegant

To suche toyes wanton wymen may inclyne

A yonge mayde may at her forhede haue pendant

The vayne myrrour to se hir shape pleasant

Man sholde nought set by to norysshe his beautye

But onely manhode strength and audacyte

The wanton mayde may for hir self ordayne

Hir call hir coyfe, and suche conceytis newe

As broches fyletes and oyntmentis souerayne

And clothynge of dyuers colour and of hewe

But nowe yonge men the same fourme do ensue

And to content theyr mad and folysshe mynde

To wymen they compare themselfe agaynst kynde

Disorder rayneth as I before haue sayde

The yonge men takyth womans countenaunce

And hir aparayll, and wymen ar arayde

As men: agaynst all lawe and ordynaunce

Thus man and woman ensue mysgouernaunce

In theyr behauour is small dyuersyte

Theyr owne conceyt causeth great enormyte

The poet Ouyde shewyth in a fable

Howe that one callyd Pygmalyon by name

A fygure made vnto hymselfe semblable

Whiche he in marbyll right craftely dyd frame

And in so moche he worshypped the same

Tyll at the last his mynde was past and gone

And he transformed so was in to that stone

And if the Poetis fables be all sure

As by theyr subtyle wordes oft we here

The childe Narcissus was chaungyd of fygure

Whyle he behelde into the water clere

For whyle his shadowe vnto hym dyd apere

Vpon the same so sore he set his mynde

That he transformyd was to another kynde.

But to retorne agayne to our purpose

And of this sort of Folys to conclude

If god sholde them to other shape transpose

That thynke them fayre though they be foule and rude

Into foule fassyon he many sholde include

For whyle Folys theyr owne beauty magnyfy

So growyth the nomber and so they multyply

Thenuoy of Barklay the translatour.

Blynde man inclere thy wylfull ignoraunce

Stande nat so great in thy owne conceyte

Ne in thy lewde fassyon set nat thy pleasaunce

Whether thou be pore or man of great estate

Another man moche more shall in the wayte

Of gode and yll than thou thy self canst do

Therfore be nat cause to thy self of disceyte

If one the teche: aply thy mynde therto




Of lepynges and dauncis and Folys that pas theyr tyme in suche vanyte.

That fole that settyth his felycyte
In wanton daunces and lepes immoderate
Hath in my Shyp a rowme for his degre
Bysyde the stere for troublynge of his pate
He god dyspleasyth, whiche doth suche foly hate
Suche lese theyr tyme in vayne and oft therin
Ar many hurtis: and cause of dedely syn.

Those folys a place may chalenge in my shyp

Whiche voyde of wysdome as men out of theyr mynde

Them selfe delyte to daunce to lepe and skyp

In compase rennynge lyke to the worlde wyde

In vnkynde labour, suche folys pleasour fynde

Rennynge about in this theyr furyous vyce

Lyke as it were in Bacchus sacryfyce

Or as the Druydans rennyth in vayne about

In theyr mad festes vpon the hylle of yde

Makynge theyr sacrafyce with furour noyse and shout

Whan theyr madnes settyth theyr wyt asyde

Or whan the prestis of mars all nyght abyde

Within theyr temple by vse abhomynable

To theyr ydollys doynge theyr seruyce detestable

Lyke as these paynyms hath to theyr ydols done

Theyr sacryfyce wandrynge in theyr madnes

Theyr bodyes weryenge, in vayne wastynge their shone

So do these fowlys them selfe to daunsynge dres

Sekynge occason of great vnhappynes

They take suche labour without all hope of gayne

Without rewarde sure, of werynes and payne

Say Folys that vse this fury and outrage

What causyth you to haue delyte therin

For your great labour say what is your wage

Forsoth ye can therby no profyte wyn

But seke occasyon (as I haue sayde) of syn

And for thy werynge thy fete thus in the dust

Thou gettest no gayne but cause of carnall lust

But whan I consyder of this folysshe game

The firste begynnynge and cause orygynall

I say the cause therof is worthy blame

For whan the deuyll to disceyue man mortall

And do contempt to the hye god eternall

Vpon a stage had set a Calfe of golde.

That euery man the same myght clere beholde

So than the Fende grounde of mysgouernaunce

Causyd the people this fygure to honour

As for theyr god and before the same to daunce.

Whan they were dronkon, thus fell they in errour

Of Idolatry, and forgate theyr creatour.

Before this ydoll daunsynge both wyfe and man

Dispysynge god: Thus daunsynge fyrst began

Suche blynde folyes and inconuenyence

Engendryth great hurte and incommodyte

And sawyth sede wherof groweth great offence

The grounde of vyce and of all enormyte

In it is pryde, fowle lust and lecherye

And whyle lewde lepys ar vysd in the daunce

Oft frowarde bargayns ar made by countenaunce

What els is daunsynge but euen a nurcery

Or els a bayte to purchase and meyntayne

In yonge hertis the vyle synne of rybawdry

Them fe*trynge therin, as in a dedely chayne

And to say trouth in wordes clere and playne

Venereous people haue all theyr hole pleasaunce

Theyr vyce to norysshe by this vnthryfty daunce

And wanton people disposyd vnto syn

To satysfye theyr mad concupyscence

With hasty cours vnto this daunsynge ryn

To seke occasyon of vyle synne and offence

And to expresse my mynde in short sentence

This vyciouse game oft tymes doth attyse

By his lewde synes, chast hartis vnto vyce

Than it in erth no game is more damnable

It semyth no peas, but Batayle openly

They that it vse of myndes seme vnstable

As mad folke rennynge with clamour showt and cry

What place is voyde of this furyous foly

None: so that I dout within a whyle

These folys the holy churche shall defyle

Of people what sort or order may we fynde

Ryche or pore hye or lowe of name

But by theyr folysshnes, and wanton mynde

Of eche sort some ar gyuen vnto the same

The prestis and clerkes to daunce haue no shame

The frere or monke in his frocke and cowle

Must daunce in his dortor lepynge to play the fole

To it comys children, maydes and wyues.

And flaterynge yonge men to se to haue theyr pray

The hande in hande great falshode oft contryues

The olde quean also this madnes wyll assay

And the olde dotarde thoughe he skantly may

For age and lamenes stere outher fote or hande

Yet playeth he the fole with other in the bande

Than lepe they about as folke past theyr mynde

With madnes amasyd rennynge in compace

He moste is commendyd that can moste lewdnes fynde

Or can most quyckly ren about the place

There ar all maners vsyd that lacke grace

Mouynge theyr bodyes in synes full of shame

Whiche doth theyr hertes to synne right sore inflame

So oft this vyce doth many one abuse

That whan they ar departyd from the daunce

On lust and synne contynually they muse

Hauynge therin theyr wyll and theyr pleasaunce

Than fall they oft to great mysgouernaunce

As folys gyuyn to worke vnprofytable

So in my shyp they well deserue a babyll.

Thenuoy of Barklay

Do way your daunces ye people moche vnwyse

Desyst your folysshe pleasour of trauayle

It is me thynke an vnwyse vse and gyse

To take suche labour and payne without auayle

And who that suspectyth his mayde or wyues tayle

Let hym nat suffer them in the daunce to be

For in that game thoughe sys or synke them fayle

The dyse oft renneth vpon the chaunce of thre


Of nyght watchers and beters of the stretes playnge by nyght on instrumentes and vsynge lyke Folyes whan tyme is to rest.

He is a Fole that wandreth by nyght
In felde or towne, in company or alone
Playnge at his lemmans dore withouten lyght
Tyll all his body be colde as lede or stone
These folys knockynge tyll the nyght be gone
At that season thoughe that they fele no colde
Shall it repent and fele whan they be olde.

Nowe wolde I of my boke haue made an ende

And with my shyp drawen to some hauen or porte

Stryken my sayle, and all my folys sende

Vnto the londe, a whyle them selfe to sporte

But this my purpose is lettyd by a sorte

Of frantyke folys, wandrynge about by nyght

For often all yll doers hatyth the day lyght

Whyle (man) beste and euery lyuely creature

Refresshe theyr myndes and bodyes with rest

And slepe: without the whiche none can endure

And whyle all byrdes drawe them to theyr nest

These dronken bandes of Folys than doth Jest

About the stretis, with rumour noyse and cry

Syngynge theyr folysshe songes of rybawdry

The furyes ferefull spronge of the flodes of hell

Vexith these vagabundes in theyr myndes so

That by no mean can they abyde ne dwell

Within theyr howsys, but out they nede must go

More wyldly wandrynge than outher bucke or doo

Some with theyr harpis another with his lute

Another with his bagpype or a folysshe flute

Than mesure they theyr songes of melody

Before the dores of theyr lemman dere

Yowlynge with theyr folysshe songe and cry

So that theyr lemman may theyr great foly here

And tyll the yordan make them stande arere

Cast on theyr hede, or tyll the stonys fle

They nat depart, but couet there styll to be

But yet more ouer these Folys ar so vnwyse

That in colde wynter they vse the same madnes

Whan all the howsys ar lade with snowe and yse

O mad men amasyd vnstabyll and wytles

What pleasour take ye in this your folysshenes

What ioy haue ye to wander thus by nyght

Saue that yll doers alway hate the lyght

But folysshe youth doth nat alone this vse

Come of lowe byrth and sympyll of degre

But also statis them selfe therein abuse

With some yonge folys of the spiritualte

The folysshe pype without all grauyte

Doth eche degre call to this frantyke game

The darkenes of nyght expellyth fere of shame

One barkyth another bletyth lyke a shepe

Some rore, some countre, some theyr balades fayne

Another from syngynge gyueth hym to wepe

Whan his souerayne lady hath of hym dysdayne

Or shyttyth hym out, and to be short and playne

Who that of this sort best can play the knaue

Lokyth of the other the maystery to haue

The folysshe husbonde oft of this sort is one

With wanton youth wandrynge by nyght also

Leuynge his wyfe at home in bed alone

And gyueth hyr occasyon often to mysdo

So that whyle he after the owle doth go

Fedynge the Couko, his wyfe hir tyme doth watche

Receyuynge another whose egges she doth hatche.

Therfore ye folys that knowe you of this sort

To gyue occasyon of synne vnto your wyues

And all other: I you pray and exort

Of this your foly to amende your lyues

For longe nyght watches seldome tymes thryues

But if it be in labour: good to wyn

Therfore kepe your dorys: els abyde within

Thoughe I have touchyd of this enormyte

In englysshe tunge: yet is it nat so vsed

In this Royalme as it is beyonde the se

Yet moche we vse whiche ought to be refusyd

Of great nyght watchynge we may nat be excusyd

But our watchynge is in drunken glotony

More than in syngynge or other meledy

Whan it is nyght and eche shulde drawe to rest

Many of our folys great payne and watchynge take

To proue maystryes and se who may drynke best

Outher at the Tauerne of wyne, or the ale stake

Other all nyght watchyth for theyr lemmans sake

Standynge in corners lyke as it were a spye

Whether that the weder be, hote, colde, wete, or dry

Some other Folys range about by nyght

Prowdely Jettynge as men myndeles or wode

To seke occasyon with pacyent men to fyght

Delytynge them in shedynge mennys blode

Outher els in spoylynge of other mennys gode

Let these folys with suche lyke and semblable

Drawe to this barge, here shall they here a bable

Thenuoy of Barclay.

Ye folys that put your bodyes vnto payne

By nyghtly watchynge, voyde of auauntage

Leue of your foly or els ye shall complayne

And mourne it sore if ye lyue vnto age

For though ye thynke that this your blynde outrage

Is vnto you no hurte nor preiudyce

It doth your body and goodes great dammage

And great cause both to you and yours of vyce.


Of folysshe beggers and of theyr vanytees.

Syns I haue taken the charge one me
Mo botis and Barges for Folys to aparayle
And so agayne of newe to take the se
I feryd lyst company shulde me fayle
Within my folysshe shyppis to trauayle
But nowe doth beggers them selfe to me present
For fewe of them I fynde of good intent

A great company of folys may we fynde

Amonge beggers, whiche haue theyr hole delyte

In theyr lewde craft: wherfore I set my mynde

In this Barge theyr maners, brefely for to write

For thoughe that nede them greuously do byte.

Yet is theyr mynde for all theyr pouerte

To kepe with them of children great plente

And though that they myght otherwyse well lyue

And get theyr lyuynge by labour and besynes

Yet fully they theyr myndes set and gyue

To lede this lyfe alway in wretchydnes

The clerke, frere, or monke, whiche hath store of ryches

For all his lyfe. if he it gyde wysely.

Wyll yet the beggers offyce occupy

Suche oft complayne the charge of pouerte

In garmentis goynge raggyd and to rent

But yet haue they of ryches great plente

Whiche in gode vse can neuer of them be spent

Almys is ordeyned by god omnypotent

And holy churche: for to be gyuyn in dede

Vnto good vse, and suche as haue moste nede

Almes is ordeyned by god our creatour

For men that lyue in nede and wretchydnes

Therwith their paynfull lyues to socour

And nat for ryche that lyues in viciousnes

But yet suche caytyfs boldly in dare pres

For their lewde lyfe without all maner drede

This almes takynge from them that haue most nede

The abbot, the Pryour, and also theyr couent

Ar so blyndyd with vnhappy couetyse

That with theyr owne can they nat be content

But to haue more, they alway mean deuyse

Ye: in so moche that some haue founde a gyse

To fayne theyr bretherne tan in captyuyte

That they may begge so by auctoryte

They fayne myracles where none were euer done

And all for lucre: some other range about

To gather and begge with some fayned pardon

And at the alehows at nyght all drynkyth out

So ren these beggers in company rowt

By stretis tauernes townes and vyllagys

No place can well be fre of theyr outragys

Some begge for byldynges, some for relyques newe

Of holy sayntis of countreys farre and strange

And with theyr wordes faynyd and vntrewe

For cause of Lucre, about they ren and range

But in a sympyll vyllage, ferme or grange

Where as these beggers moste sympyll men may fynde

With theyr fals bonys as relykes they them blynde

Other beynge stronge and full of lustynes

And yonge ynoughe to labour for theyr fode

Gyuyth theyr bodyes fully to slewthfulnes

The beggers craft thynkynge to them moost good

Some ray theyr legges and armys ouer with blood

With leuys and plasters though they be hole and sounde

Some halt as crypyls, theyr legge falsely vp bounde

Some other beggers falsly for the nonys

Disfygure theyr children god wot vnhappely

Manglynge theyr facys, and brekynge theyr bonys

To stere the people to pety that passe by

There stande they beggynge with tedyous shout and cry

There owne bodyes tournynge to a strange fassion

To moue suche as passe to pyte and compassyon

Suche yonge laddys as lusty ar of age

Myghty and stronge, and wymen in lyke wyse

Wanton and yonge and lusty of cowrage

Gyueth them selfe vtterly to this gyse

The cause is that they labour do despyse

For theyr mynde is in ydylnes to be styll

Or els in vyce to wander at theyr wyll

They paciently theyr prouertye abyde

Nat for deuocion of herte or of mynde

But to the intent that at euery tyde

Other mennys godes sholde them fede and fynde.

But if they a whyle haue ron in the wynde

And in theyr hande the staf some hete hath caught

They neuer after shall leue the beggers craft

Amonge these beggers also is comonly

Braulynge debate hatered and chydynge

Great othes, mockes falshode and enuy

And one with other euer more fyghtynge

As for theyr dronkennes and vnsure abydynge

Theyr rebaudry both in dede and communycacion

These ar chefe poyntis of theyr occupation

If the begger haue his staf and his hode

One bagge behynde and another before

Than thynkes he hym in the myddes of his goode

Thoughe that his clothes be raggyd and to tore

His body nere bare he hath no thought therfore

And if some man cloth them well to day

To morowe it shall agayne be solde away

And if these caytyfes fortune to begge or cry

For mete or money, on woman or on man

If one to them that, that they aske deny

And so depart: anone these beggers than

Whan he is gone, doth wary curse and ban

And if another gyue them ought of pyte

At the next alestake dronken shall it be

But if that I sholde gather in my barge

All folysshe beggers, and labour or intende

To note all theyr vyces, to sore sholde be the charge

And as I suppose I neuer sholde make an ende.

Wherfore I counsell them shortly to amende

Or els theyr lewdnes, synne, and enormyte

Shall cause men withdrawe theyr almes of charyte

Thenuoy of Barclay the translatour.

O people vnthrifty gyuen to ydlenes

Spendynge your youth this wyse in vanyte

What ioy haue ye to lyue in wretchydnes

Where ye myght come to better rowme and degre

By worke, and labour: and so auaunsyd be

Yet begge ye styll hauynge your ioy therin

Amende your foly, and lerne ye this of me

That goddes good sholde nat be spent in syn




Discuss Art

Please note: site admin does not answer any questions. This is our readers discussion only.

| privacy