[This was first published in Early English Poetry, Ballads, And Popular Literature of the Middle Ages. Edited from Original Manuscripts and Scarce Publications, Vol IV, the Percy Society, (1842).


p.iii ]


B O K E   O F   C U R T A S Y E,

An English Poem








p.v ]





SQ. F.S.A.
SQ. F.S.A. Treasurer.
SQ. F.S.A.
SQ. F.S.A. M.R.I.A.
SQ. F.R.S. M.R.I.A.
SQ. F.S.A. M.R.S.L.
SQ. F.R.S. F.S.A.
SQ. Secretary.
SQ. M.A. F.S.A.

p.vii ]

P R E F A C E.

THE following poem, which is now for the first time printed, from MS. Sloane 1986 (a small manuscript on vellum, of the fourteenth century), is perhaps one of the most singular relics of the kind that could have been placed before the notice of the antiquarian reader. In style of composition it is very similar to the curious poem which I printed some time since in my " Early History of Freemasonry in England,"—in fact, so much so, that I am almost inclined to think, on comparing the two together, that they may possibly be the work of one writer. The same language, and in some instances the same phrases, may be distinctly traced.
      Immediately following this poem, in the same manuscript, is another, in the same hand, entitled " Liber Cocorum," a poem on the science of cookery as practised by our ancestors in the fourteenth century. It is curious in its way, and I would suggest to some one who possesses sufficient leisure for the task, that a collection of p.viii / early tracts on cookery, including this, would be a curious and even valuable addition to archæological literature. Those who are engaged in researches of this nature, frequently feel a difficulty in ascertaining the precise meaning of early technical terms in the various arts and sciences ; the inconvenience of which would at least be considerably decreased by compilations of the kind just mentioned.

J. O. H.

p.1 ]



QWOSO wylle of curtasy lere,
In this boke he may hit here;
Yf thow be gentylmon, zomon, or knave,
The nedis nurture for to have.
Whenne thou comes to a lordis zate,
The porter thou shalle fynde therate ;
Take hym thow shalt thy wepyn tho,
And aske hym leve in to go,
To speke with lorde, lady, squyer, or grome,
Ther to the nedys to take the tome ;
ffor yf he be of logh degré,
Than hym falles to come to the ;
Yf he be gentylmon of kynne,
The porter wille lede the to hym.
p.2 /
When thow come tho halle dor to,
Do of thy hode, thy gloves also;
Yf tho halle be at the furst mete,
This lessoun loke thou nozt forzete,
The stuard, countroller, and tresurere,
Sittand at de deshe, thou haylse in fere.
Within the halle sett on ayther side,
Sitten other gentylmen as falle that tyde ;
Enclyne the fayre to hom also,
ffirst to the ryzht honde thou shalle go,
Sitthen to the left hond thy negh thou cast,
To hom thou bogh withouten wrast ;
Take hede to zomon on thy ryght honde,
And sithen byfore the screne thou stonde,
In myddys the halle opon the flore,
Whille marshalle or ussher come fro the dore,
And bydde the sitte or to borde the lede.
Be stabulle of chere for menske, y rede ;
Yf he the sette at gentilmonnes borde,
Loke thou be hynde and lytulle of worde.
Pare thy brede and kerne in two,
[ kerve ? in margin]
Tho over crust tho nether fro;
In fowre thou kutt tho over dole,
Sett hom togedur as hit where hole;
Sithen kutt tho nether crust in thre,
And turne hit downe, lerne this at me.
And lay thy trenchour the before,
And sitt upryzht for any sore.
Spare brede or wyne, drynke or ale,
To thy messe of kochyne be sett in sale ;
p.3 /
Lest men sayne thou art honge betene,
Or ellis a gloten that alle men wytene.
Loke thy naylys ben clene in blythe,
Lest thy felaghe lothe ther wyth.
Byt not on thy brede and lay hit doun,
That is no curtesye to use in towne ;
But breke as myche as thou wylle ete,
The remelant to pore thou shalle lete.
In peese thou ete, and ever eschewe
To flyte at borde, that may the rewe ;
If thou make mawes on any wyse,
A velany thou kacches or ever thou rise.
Let never thy cheke be made to grete,
With morselle of brede that thou shalle ete ;
An apys mow men sayne he makes,
That brede and fleshe in hys cheke bakes.
Yf any manne speke that tyme to the,
And thou schalle onsware, hit wille not be,
But waloande and abyde thou most,
That is a schame for alle the host.
On bothe halfe thy mouthe, yf that thou ete,
Mony a skorne shalle thou gete.
Thou shalle not lauzhe ne speke no thyng,
Whille thi mouthe be fulle of mete or drynke ;
Ne suppe not with grete sowndyng,
Nother potage ne other thyng.
Let not thi spone stond in thy dysche,
Whether thou be served with fleshe or fische ;
Ne lay hit not on thy dishe syde,
But clense hit honestly withouten pride.
p.4 /
Loke no browyng on thy fynger pore,
Befoule the clothe the before.
In thi dysche yf thou wete thy brede,
Loke therof that nozt be lede,
To cast agayne thy dysche into,
Thou art unhynde yf thou do so.
Drye thy mouthe ay wele and fynde,
When thou shalle drynke other ale or wyne.
Ne calle thou nozt a dysche azayne,
That ys take fro the borde in playne ;
zif thou spit on the borde or elle opone,
Thou shalle be holden an uncurtayse mon ;
Yy thy nowne dogge thou scrape or clawe,
That is holden a vyse emong men knawe ;
Yf thy nose thou clense, as may befalle,
Loke thy honde thou clense wythalle,
Prively with skyrt do hit away,
Or ellis thurgh thi tepet that is so gay.
Clense not thi tethe at mete sittande,
With knyfe ne stre, styk ne wande.
While thou holdes mete in mouthe, be war
To drynke, that is anhonest char,
And also fysike forbedes hit,
And sais thou may be choket at that byt ;
Yf hit go thy wrang throte into,
And stappe thy wynde, thou art fordo.
Ne telle thou never at borde no tale,
To harme or shame thy felawe in sale ;
ffor if he then witholde his methe,
Eftsone he wylle forcast thi dethe.
p.5 /
Whereso thou sitt at mete in borde,
Avoide the cat at on bare worde,
ffor yf thou stroke cat other dogge,
Thou art lyke an ape teyzed with a clogge.
Also eschewe, withouten stryfe,
To foule the borde-clothe with thy knyfe ;
Ne blow not on thy drynke ne mete,
Nether for colde, nether for hete ;
With mete ne bere thy knyfe to mowthe,
Whether thou be sett be strong or couthe ;
Ne with tho borde do the thi tethe thou wype,
Ne thy nyen that rennen rede as may betyde.
Yf thou sitt by a ryzht good manne,
This lessoun loke thou thenke apone.
Undur his thezgh thy kne not pit,
Thou ar fulle lewed, yf thou dose hit ;
Ne bacwarde sittande gyf nozt thy cupe,
Nother to drynke, nother to suppe.
Bidde thi frende take cuppe and drynke,
That is holden an honest thyng.
Lene not on elbowe at thy mete,
Nother for colde ne for hete ;
Dip not thi thombe thy drynke into,
Thou art uncurtayse yf thou hit do ;
In salt-saler yf that thou pit,
Other fisshe or flesshe that men may wyt,
That is a vyce as men me telles,
And gret wonder hit most be elles.
After mete when thou shalt wasshe,
Spitt not in basyn ne water thou dasshe ;
p.6 /
Ne spit not lorely for no kyn mede,
Before no mon of God for drede.
Whosoever despise this lessoun ryzt,
At borde to sitt he hase no myzt ;
Here endys now our fyrst talkyng,
Crist graunt us alle his dere blessyng !


p.7 /


YFF that thou be a zong enfaunt,
And thenke tho scoles for to haunt,
This lessoun schulle thy maister the merke,
Cros Crist the spede in alle thi werke ;
Sytthen thy Pater Noster he wille the teche,
As Cristes owne postles con preche ;
After thy Ave Maria and thi Crede,
That shalle the save at dome of drede ;
Thenne aftur to blesse the with the Trinité,
In nomine Patris teche he wille the ;
Then with Marke, Mathew, Luke, and Jon,
With the pro cruce and the hegh name ;
To shryve the in general thou schalle lere,
Thy confiteor and misereatur in fere ;
To seche the kyngdam of God, my chylde,
Thereto y rede thou be not wylde.
Therfore worschip God, bothe olde and zong,
To be in body and soule y-liche strong.
When thou comes to the churche dore,
Take the haly water stondand on flore ;
Rede or synge or byd prayeris
To Crist, for alle thy Crysten ferys ;
p.8 /
Be curtayse to God, and knele doun
On bothe knees with grete devocioun.
To mon thou shalle knele opon the toun,
The tother to thyself thou halde alone.
When thou ministers at the hegh autere,
With bothe hondes thou serve tho prest in fere,
The ton to stabulle, the tother
Lest thou fayle, my dere brother.
Another curtasye y wylle the teche,
Thy fadur and modur, with mylde speche,
Thou worschip and serve with alle thy myzt,
That thou dwelle the lengur in erthely lyzt.
To another man do no more amys,
Then thou woldys be done of hym and hys,
So Crist thou pleses, and gets the love
Of menne and God that syttes above.
Be not to meke, but in mene the holde,
ffor ellis a fole thou wylle be tolde.
He that to ryztwysnes wylle enclyne,
As holy wryzt says us wele and fyne,
His sede schalle never go seche nor brede,
Ne suffur of mon no shames dede.
To forgyf thou shalle the hast,
To venjaunce loke thou come on last ;
Draw the to pese with alle thy strengthe.
ffro stryf and bate draw the on lengthe.
Yf mon aske the good for Goddys sake,
And the wont thyng wherof to take,
Gyf hym bone wordys on fayre manere,
With glad semblaint and pure good cher.
p.9 /
Also of service thou shalle be fre
To every mon in hys degré.
Thou schalle never lose for to be kynde,
That on forzets another hase in mynde.
Yf any man have part with the in gyft,
With hym thou make an ever skyft ;
Let hit not henge in honde for glose,
Thou art uncurtayse yf thou hyt dose.
To sayntes yf thou thy gate hase hyzt,
Thou schalle fulfylle hit with alle thy myzt,
Lest God the stryk with grete venjaunce,
And pyt the into sore penaunce.
Leve not alle men that speke the fayre,
Whether that hit ben comyns, burges, or mayr ;
In swete wordis the nedder was closet,
Disseyvaunt ever and mysloset ;
Therfore thou art of Adams blode,
With wordis be ware, but thou be wode :
A short worde is comynly sothe,
That first slydes fro monnes tothe.
Loke lyzer never that thou become,
Kepe thys worde for alle and somme.
Lawze not to of[t] for no solace,
ffor no kyn myrth that any man mase ;
Who lawes alle that men may se,
A schrew or a fole hym semes to be.
Thre enmys in thys world ther are,
That coveytene alle men to for-fare,—
The devel, the flesshe, the worlde also,
That wyrken mankynde ful mykyl wo :
p.10 /
Yf thou may strye these thre enmys,
Thou may be secur of hevene blys.
Also, my chylde, agaynes thy lorde
Loke thou stryfe with no kyn worde,
Ne wajour non with hym thou lay,
Ne at the dyces with him to play.
Hym that thou knawes of gretter state,
Be not hys felaw in rest ne bate.
zif thou be stad in strange contré,
Enserche no fyr then falle to the,
Ne take no more to do on honde,
Then thou may hafe menske of alle in londe.
zif thou se any mon fal by strete,
Lawegh not therat in drye ne wete,
But helpe hym up with all thy myzt,
As Seynt Ambrose the teches ryzt :
Thou that stondys so sure on sete,
Ware lest thy hede falle to thy fete.
My chylde, yf thou stonde at tho masse,
Ac undurstondis bothe more and lasse,
Yf tho prest rede not at thy wylle,
Repreve hym nozt, but holde the stylle.
To any wyzt thy counselle yf thou schewe,
Be war that he be not a schrewe,
Lest he disclaundyr the with tong,
Amonge alle men, bothe olde and zong.
Bekenyng fynguryng non thou use,
And pryvé rownyng loke thou refuse.
Yf thou mete knyzt, zomon, or knave,
Halys hym anon, " Syre, God zou save."
p.11 /
Yf he speke fyrst opon the pore,
Onsware hym gladly withouten more.
Go not forthe as a dombe freke,
Syn God has left the tonge to speke ;
Lest menne sey be sibbe or couthe,
zond is a mon withouten mouthe.
Speke never unhonestly of woman kynde,
Ne let hit never renne in thy mynde ;
The boke hym calle a chorle of chere,
That vylany spekes be wemen sere:
ffor alle we ben of wymmen borne,
And oure fadurs us beforne ;
Therfor hit is a unhonest thyng
To speke of hem in any hething.
Also a wyfe be falle of ryzt,
To worschyp hyr husbonde bothe day and nyzt,
To his byddyng be obediente,
And hym to serve withouten offence.
Yf two brether be at debate,
Loke nother thou forther in hor hate,
But helpe to staunche hom of malice,
Then thou art frende to bothe i-wys.
zif thou go with another at tho gate,
And ze be bothe of an astate,
By curtasye and let hym have the way,
That is no vylanye, as men me say ;
And he be comen of gret kynraden,
Go no before thawgh thou be beden ;
And yf that he thy maystur be,
Go not before, for curtasé,
p.12 /
Nother in fylde, wode, nother launde,
Ne even hym with, but he commaunde.
Yf thou schalle on pilgrimage go,
Be not the thryd felaw for wele ne wo ;
Thre oxen in plowgh may never wel drawe,
Nother be craft, ryzt, ne lawe.
zif thou be profert to drynk of cup,
Drynke not al of, ne no way sup ;
Drynk menskely and gyf agayne,
That is a curtasye, to speke in playne.
In bedde yf thou falle herberet to be,
With felawe, maystur, or her degré,
Thou shalt enquer be curtasye
In what part of the bedde he wylle lye ;
Be honest and lye thou fer hym fro,
Thou art not wyse but thou do so.
With woso menne, bothe fer and negh,
The falle to go, loke thou be slegh
To aske his nome and qweche he be,
Whidur he will kepe welle thes thre.
With freres on pilgrimage yf that thou go,
That thei will zyme wilne thou also,
Als on nyzt thou take thy rest,
And byde the day as tru mannes gest.
In no kyn house that rede-mon is,
Ne womon of tho same colour y-wys,
Take never thy innes for no kyn nede,
ffor those be folke that ar to drede.
Yf any thurgh sturnes the oppose,
Onswere hym mekely and make hym glose,
p.13 /
But glosand wordys that falsed is,
fforsake and alle that is omys.
Also yf thou have a lorde,
And stondes byfore hym at the borde,
While that thou speke kepe well thy honde,
Thy fete also in pece let stonde;
His curtasé nede he most breke,
Stirraunt fyngurs too when he shall speke.
Be stabulle of chere and sumwhat lyzt,
Ne over alle wayne thou not thy syzt.
Gase not on walles with thy negh,
ffyr ne negh, logh ne hegh ;
Let not the post becum thy staf,
Lest thou be callet a dotet daf ;
Ne delf thou never nose thyrle
With thombe ne fyngur, as zong gyrle ;
Rob not thy arme ne nozt hit claw,
Ne bogh not done thy hede to law ;
Whil any man spekes with grete besenes,
Herken his wordis withouten distresse.
By strete or way yf thou shalle go,
ffro thes two thynges thou kepe the fro,—
Nother to harme chylde ne best,
With castyng, turnyng west ne est ;
Ne chaunge thou not in face coloure,
ffor lyghtnes of worde in halle ne boure ;
Yf thy vysage chaunge for nozt,
Men say the trespas thou hase wrozght.
Byfore thy lorde ne mawes thou make,
zif thou wyll curtasie with the take.
p.14 /
With hondes unwasshen take never thy mete,
ffro alle thes vices loke thou the kepe.
Loke thou sytt and make no stryf,
Where tho est commaundys or ellis tho wyf.
Eschewe the hezest place with wyn,
But thou be beden to sitt therin.
Of curtasie here endis the secunde fyt,
To heven Crist mot oure saules flyt !

p.15 /



NOW speke we wylle of officiers
Of court, and als of her mestiers.
ffoure men ther be that zerdis schall bere,
Porter, marshalle, stuarde, usshere ;
The porter schalle have the lengest wande,
The marshalle a shorter schalle have in hande ;
The ussher of chamber smallest schalle have,
The stuarde in honde schalle have a stafe,
A fyngur gret, two wharters long,
To reule the menne of court ymong.


THE porter falle to keep tho zate,
The stokkes with hym erly and late ;
zif any manne hase in court mysgayne,
To porter-warde he schall be tane,
Ther to abyde the lordes wylle,
What he wille deme by ryztwys skylle.
ffor wesselle clothes, that nozt be solde,
The porter hase that warde in holde.

p.16 /
Of strangers also that comen to court,
Tho porter schall warne ther at a worde.
Lyveray he hase of mete and drynke,
And setts with hym whoso hym thynke.
When so ever tho lorde remewe schalle
To castell til other as hit may falle,
ffor cariage the porter hors schall hyre,
ffoure pens a pece within tho schyre ;
Be statut he schalle take that on the day,
That is the kynges crye in faye.


OW of marschalle of halle wylle I spelle,
And what falle to hys offyce now wylle y telle ;
In absence of stuarde he shalle arest
Whosoever is rebelle in court or fest ;
zomon, usshere, and grome also,
Undur hym ar thes two:
Tho grome for fuelle that schalle brenne
In halle, chambur, to kechyn, as I the kenne,
He shalle delyver hit ilke a dele,
In halle make fyre at yche a mele ;
Borde, trestuls, and formes also,
The cupborde in his warde schalle go,
The dosurs cortines to henge in halle,
Thes offices nede do he schalle ;
Bryng in fyre on Alhalawgh day,
To Candulmas even, I dar welle say.

p.17 /


SO longe squiers lyverés shalle hafe,
Of grome of halle or ellis his knafe ;
But fyre shalle brenne in halle at mete,
To cena Domini that men hase ete;
Ther browzt schalle be a holyn kene,
That sett schalle be in erber grene,
And that schalle be to Alhalawgh day,
And of be skyfted, as y the say.
In halle marshalle alle men schalle sett
After here degré, withouten lett.


THE botelar, pantrer, and cokes also,
To hym ar servauntes withouten mo ;
Therfore on his zerde skore schalle he
Alle messys in halle that servet be,
Commaunde to sett bothe brede and ale
To alle men that servet ben in sale ;
To gentilmen with wyne i-bake,
Ellis fayles tho service, y undertake ;
Iche messe at vjd brene shalle be,
At the countyng house with other mené ;
Yf tho koke wolde say that were more,
That is tho cause that he hase hit in skore.
p.18 /
The panter also yf he wolde stryfe,
ffor rewarde that sett schalle be be-lyve.
Whenne brede faylys at borde aboute,
The marshalle gares sett withouten doute
More brede, that calde is a rewarde,
So shalle hit be prevet before stuarde.


OTLER shalle sett for yche a messe
A pot, a lofe, withouten distresse ;
Botler, pantrer, felawes ar ay,
Reken hom togedur fulle wel y may.
The marshalle shalle herber alle men in fere,
That ben of court of any mestere ;
Save the lordys chambur, tho wadrop to,
Tho ussher of chambur schalle tent tho two.


SPEKE I wylle a lytulle qwyle
Of ussher of chambur, withouten gyle.
This gentylmen, zomon, ussher also,
Two gromes at tho lest, a page therto.

p.19 /


GROMES palettes shyn fyle and make litere,
ix. fote on lengthe without diswere ;
vij. fote y-wys hit shalle be brode,
Wele watered, i-wrythen, be craft y-trode.
Wyspes drawen out at fete and syde,
Wele wrethyn and turnyd azayne that tyde.
On legh unsonken hit shalle be made,
To tho gurdyl-stode hegh on lengthe and brade ;
ffor lordys two beddys schalle be made,
Bothe utter and inner, so God me glade !
That henget shalle be with hole sylour,
With crochettes and loupys sett on lyour ;
Tho valance on fylour shalle henge with wyn,
iij. curteyns strezt drawen withinne,
That reche schalle even to grounde aboute,
Nother more, nother lesse, withouten doute ;
He strykes hom up with forket wande,
And lappes up fast aboute the lyft hande.
Tho knop up turnes and closes on ryzt,
As bolde by nek that henges fulle lyzt.
Tho counturpynt he lays on beddys fete,
Qwysshenes on sydes shyn lye fulle mete.
Tapetes of Spayne on flore by syde,
That sprad shyn be for pompe and pryde ;
Tho chambur sydes ryzt to tho dore,
He henges with tapetes that ben fulle store ;
And fuel to chymné hym falle to gete,
And streves in clof to y-save tho hete.

p.20 /
ffro tho lorde at mete when he is sett,
Borde, trestuls, and fourmes, withouten let ;
Alle thes thynges kepe schalle he,
And water in chafer for laydyes fre ;
iij. perchers of wax then shalle he fet,
Above tho chymné yt be sett,
In syce ichone from other shalle be
The lenghthe of other that men may se,
To brenne, to voide, that dronkyn is,
Other ellis I wote he dose amys.
Tho ussher alleway shalle sitt at dore
At mete, and walke schalle on the flore,
To se that alle be servet on ryzt,
That is his office be day and nyzt ;
And byd set borde when tyme schalle be,
And take hom up when tyme ses he.
The wardrop he herbers and eke of chambur
Ladyes with bedys of coralle and lambur,
Tho usshere schalle bydde tho wardropere
Make redy for alle nyzt before the fere ;
Then brynges he forthe nyzt-gone also,
And spredys a tapet and qwysshens two,
He layes hom then opon a fourme,
And foteshete theron and hit returne.
Tho lorde schalle skyft hys gowne at nyzt,
Syttand on foteshete tyl he be dyzt.
Then ussher gose to tho botré,
" Have in for alle nyzt, syr," says he ;
ffyrst to the chaundeler he schalle go,
To take a tortes lyzt hym fro;
p.21 /
Bothe wyne and ale he tase indede,
Tho botler says, withouten drede,
No mete for mon schalle sayed be,
Bot for kynge or prynce or duke so fre ;
ffor heiers of paraunce also y-wys,
Mete shalle be sayed, now thenkys on this.
Then to pantré he hyzes be-lyve,
" Syrs, have in withouten stryffe ;"
Manchet and chet bred he shalle take,
Tho pantere assayes that hit be bake ;
A morter of wax zet wille he bryng,
ffro chambur, syr, without lesyng;
That alle nyzt brennes in bassyn clere,
To save tho chambur on nyzt for fyre.
Then zomon of chambur shynne voyde with ryme,
The torches han holden wele that tyme ;
Tho chambur dore stekes tho vssher thenne,
With priket and tortes that conne brenne ;
ffro cupborde he brynges bothe brede and wyne,
And fyrst assayes hit wele a fyne.
But fyrst the lorde shalle vasshe i-wys,
ffro tho fyr hous when he comen is ;
Then kneles the ussher and gyfes hym drynke,
Brynges hym in bed where he shalle wynke ;
In strong styd on palet he lay,
At home tase lefe and gose his way ;
zomon ussher before the dore,
In utter chambur lies on the flore.

p.22 /


NOW speke I wylle of tho stuarde als,
ffew ar trew, but fele ar fals.
Tho clerke of kechyn countrollour,
Stuarde, coke, and surveyour,
Assenten in counselle, withouten skorne,
How tho lorde schalle fare at mete tho morne ;
Yf any deyntethe in countré be,
Tho stuarde shewes hit to tho lorde so fre,
And gares by hyt for any cost,
Hit were grete syn and hit were lost.
Byfore the cours tho stuarde comes then,
The server hit next of alle kyn men
Mays way and stondes by syde,
Tyl alle be served at that tyde.
At countyng stuarde schalle ben,
Tylle alle be brevet of wax so grene,
Wrytten into bokes, without let,
That before in tabuls hase ben sett,
Tyl countes also theron ben cast,
And somet up holy at tho last.


HO countrollour shalle wryte to hym,
Taunt resten, no more I myn ;
And taunt dispendu that same day,
Uncountabulle he is, as y zou say.

p.23 /


URVEOUR and stuarde also,
Thes thre folke and no mo,
ffor nozt resayne, bot ever sene
That nothyng fayle and alle be whene;
That tho clerke of kechyn schulde not mys,
Therfore tho countrollour, as hafe I blys,
Wrytes up tho somme as every day,
And helpes to count, as I zou say.


HE clerke of the cochyne shalle alle thyng breve,
Of men of court, bothe lothe and leve,
Of achater and dispenses then wrytes he,
And wages for gromes and zemen fre ;
At dressour also he shalle stonde,
And fett forthe mete dresset with honde ;
The spicery and store with hym shalle dwelle,
And mony thynges als, as I nozt telle;
ffor clethyng of officers alle in fere,
Save the lorde hymself and ladys dere.


HE chaunceler answeres for hor clothyng,
ffor zomen, faukeners, and hor horsyng;
ffor his wardrop and wages also,
And asseles patentes mony and mo;
p.24 /
Yf tho lorde gyf ozt to terme of lyf,
The chaunceler hit seles withouten stryf;
Tancome nos plerra men seyne, that is quando nos placet,
That is whille us lykes hym nozt omys,
Overse hys londes that alle be ryzt
On of tho grete he is of myzt.


OW speke y wylle of tresurer,
Husbonde and houswyf he is in fer;
Of the resayver he shalle resayne,
Alle that is gedurt of baylé and grayne;
Of the lordes courtes and forfetes als,
Whether thay ben ryzt or thay ben fals;
To tho clerke of cochen he payes moné,
For vetayle to bye opon tho countré.
The clerke to kater and pulter is,
To baker and butler bothe y-wys;
Gyffys selver to bye in alle thyng
That longes to here office, withouten lesyng;
The tresurer schalle gyfe alkyn wage,
To squyer, zomon, grome, or page;
Tho resayver and tho tresurer,
Tho clerke of cochyn and chaunceler,
Graynis, and baylys, and parker,
Echone come to acountes every zere
Byfore tho auditour of tho lorde onone,
That shulde be trew as any stone;
Yf he dose hom no ryzt lele,
To a baron of chekker thay mun hit pele.

p.25 /


F the resayver speke wylle I,
That fermys resayvys wytturly;
Of graynys and honi aquetons makes,
Sex-pons therfore to feys he takes,
And pays feys to parkers als i-wys,
Therof at acountes he loved is.
And overseys castels, maners aboute,
That nozt falle within ne withoute.
Now let we thes officers be,
And telle we wylle of smaller mené.


HE aveyner schalle ordeyn provande good won,
ffor tho lordys horsis everychon ;
Thay schyn have two cast of hay,
A pek of provande on a day ;
Every horse schalle so muche have,
At racke and manger that standes with stave.
A maystur of horsys a squyer ther is,
Aveyner and ferour undur hym i-wys;
Those zomen that olde sadels schyn have.
That schyn be last for knyzt and knave,
ffor yche a hors that ferroure schalle scho,
An halpeny on day he takes hym to;
Undur ben gromes and pages mony one,
That ben at wage everychone;
p.26 /
Som at two-pons on a day,
And som at iij. ob., I zou say;
Mony of hem fotemen ther ben,
That rennen by the brydels of ladys schene.


F tho baker now speke y wylle,
And wat longes his office untylle;
Of a Lunden buschelle he shalle bake
xx. lovys, I undurtake;
Manchet and chet to make brom bred hard,
ffor chaundeler and grehoundes and huntes reward.


HALPENY tho hunte takes on the day
ffor every hounde, tho sothe to say;
Tho vewter two cast of brede he tase,
Two lesshe of grehoundes, yf that he hase;
To yche a bone that is to telle,
If I to zou the sothe shalle spelle;
Bysyde hys vantage that may befalle,
Of skynnes and other thynges withalle,
That huntes con telle better than I,
Therfore I leve hit wytt[ ur ]ly.


ND speke I wylle of other mystere
That falles to court, as ze mun here;
p.27 /
An euwer in halle there nedys to be,
And chandelew schalle have and alle napere;
He schalle gef water to gentilmen,
And als in alle zomen.

IN kynges court and dukes also,
Ther zomen schynne wasshe and no mo;
In duke Jonys house a zoman ther was,
ffor his rewarde prayde suche a grace;
The duke gete graunt therof in londe,
Of the kyng his fader, I undudurstonde; (sic)
Wosoever gefes water in lordys chamber,
In presens of lorde or levedé dere,
He schalle knele downe opone his kne,
Ellys he forzetes his curtasé;
This euwer schalle hele his lordes borde,
With dowbulle napere at on bare worde:
The selvage to tho lordes side withinne,
And doune schalle heng that other may wynne;
Tho over nape schalle dowbulle be layde,
To tho uttur syde the selvage brade;
Tho over selvage he schalle replye,
As towelle hit were fayrest in hye ;
Browers he schalle cast theropon,
That the lorde schulle clense his fyngers [on],
The levedy and whosever syttes withinne,
Alle browers schynne have bothe more and mynne.

p.28 /


HENNE comes the pantere with loves thre,
That square are corvyn of trenchour fre,
To sett withinne and oon withoute,
And saller y-coveryd and sett in route;
With tho ovemast lofe hit shalle be sett,
Withoute forthe square, withouten lett;
Two kervyng knyfes withoute one,
The thrydde to tho lorde, and als a spone.


F tho two tho haftes schynne outwarde be,
Of the thrydde the hafte inwarde lays he,
The spony stele ther by schalle be layde,
Moo loves of trenchirres at a brayde;
He settes and servys evyr in fere
To duches his wyne that is so dere ;
Two loves of trenchors and salt tho,
He settes before his son also;
A lofe of trenchours and salt on last,
At bordes ende he settes in hast;
Then brede he brynges in towelle wrythyne,
Thre lofys of tho wyte schalle be gevyne;
A chet lofe to tho elmys dyshe,
Wether he servyd be with flesshe or fysche;
At ather ende he castes a cope,
Layde downe on borde, the endys plyed up.
p.29 /
That he assayes knelande on kne,
Tho kerver hym parys a schyver so fre;
And touches tho lovys yn quere aboute,
Tho pantere hit etys withoute dowte;
Tho euwere thurgh towelle syles clene,
His water into tho bassynges shene;
Tho over bassyn theron schalle close,
A towelle theron, as I suppose,
That folden schalle be with fulle grete lore,
Two quarters on lenkethe and sumdele more;
A qwyte cuppe of tre therby shalle be,
Therwith tho water assay schalle he;
Quelmes hit agayn byfore alle men ;
Tho kerver the bassynges tase up thenne;
Annaunciande sqyer, or ellis a knyzt,
Tho towelle downe tase by fulle good ryzt;
Tho cuppe he tase in honde also,
Tho kerver powres wat[er] the cuppe into;
The knyzt to tho kerver haldes anon,
He says hit are he more schalle done;
Tho cuppe then voyde is in tho flette,
The euwer hit takes withouten lette.
The towelle two knyzhtes schyn halde in fere,
Before the lordes sleves, that ben so dere;
The over bassyn thay halde never the queder,
Quylle tho kerver powre water into the nedur.
ffor a pype ther is insyde so clene,
That water devoydes, of selver schene ;
Then settes he the nethyr, I und[u]rstonde,
In the over, and voydes with bothe is honde ;
p.30 /
And brynges to the euwer that he come fro;
To tho lordys bordes azayn con go;
And layes iiij. trenchours tho lorde before,
The fyft above by good lore;
By hymself thre schalle he dresse,
To cut opon the lordes messe;
Smale towelle aboute his necke shalle bene,
To clens his knyfys that ben so kene.


HE aumenere by this hathe sayde grace,
And tho almes dysshe hase sett in place;
Therin the kerver a lofe schalle sette,
To serve God fyrst withouten lette;
These other lofes he parys aboute,
Lays hit myd dysshe withouten doute.
The smalle lofe he cuttes even in twynne,
Tho over dole in two lays to hym.
The aumenere a rod schalle have in honde,
As office for almes, y undurstonde.
Alle the broken met he kepys y wate,
To dele to pore men at the zate,
And drynke that leves served in halle;
Of ryche and pore bothe grete and smalle.
He is sworne to overse the servis wele,
And dele hit to the pore every dele;
Selver he deles rydand by way;
And his almys-dysshe, as I zou say,
To the porest man that he can fynde,
Other ellys I wot he is unkynde.

p.31 /


HIS wyle tho squyer to kechyn shalle go,
And brynges a bof for assay tho;
Tho coke assayes the mete ungryzt,
Tho sewer he takes and kovers on ryzt;
Wosoever he takes that mete to bere,
Schalle not so hardy tho covertoure rere,
ffor colde ne hote, I warne zou alle,
ffor suspecyone of treson as may befalle.
Yf tho sylver dysshe wylle algate brenne,
A sotelté I wylle the kenne,
Take the bredde corvyn and lay bytwene,
And kepe the welle hit be not sene;
I teche hit for no curtayse,
But for thyn ese.
When the sewer comys unto the borde,
Alle the mete he sayes at on bare worde,
The potage fyrst with brede y-corvyn,
Coverys hom agayn lest they ben storvyn;
With fysshe or flessh yf be served,
A morselle therof shalle he be kervyd;
And touche the messe over alle aboute,
The sewer hit etes withouten doute.
With baken mete yf he servyd be tho,
Tho lydes up-rered or he fyr go,
The past or pye he sayes withinne,
Dippes bredde in gravé no more ne mynne;
zif the baken mete be colde, as may byfalle,
A gobet of tho self he sayes withalle.
p.32 /
But thou that berys mete in hande,
Yf tho sewer stonde, loke thou stande;
Yf he knele, knele thou so long for ozt,
Tylle mete be sayde that thou hase broght.
As oft at hegh borde yf brede be nede,
The butler two lovys takys indede;
That on settes down, that other agayn
He barys to cupborde in towelle playn.
As oft as the kerver fettys drynke,
The butler assayes hit how good hym thynke;
In the lordys cupp that levys undrynken,
Into the almes-disshe hit schalle be sonken.
The kerver anon withouten thouzt,
Unkovers the cup that he hase brouzt;
Into the covertoure wyn he powres owt,
Or into a spare pece, withouten doute ;
Assayes, an gefes tho lorde to drynke,
Or settes hit doun as hym goode thynke.
Tho kerver schalle kerve tho lordes mete,
Of what kyn pece that he wylle ete ;
And on hys trenchour he hit layes,
On thys maner without displayes;
In almes-dysshe he layes yche dele,
That he is with served at tho mele;
But he sende hit to ony strongere,
A pese that is hym leve and dere,
And send hys potage also,
That schalle not to the almes go.
Of kerver more, yf I shulde telle,
Another fytt thenne most I spelle,
p.33 /
Therfore I let hit here over passe,
To make oure talkyng summedelasse.
When the lorde hase eten, tho sewer schalle bryng
Tho surnape on his schulder ryng,
A narew towelle, a brode besyde,
And of hys hondes he lettes hit slyde;
The ussher ledes that on hed ryzt,
Tho aumener tho other away shalle dyzt.
When the ussher comys to the borde ende,
Tho narow towelle he strecches unkende;
Before tho lorde and the lady so dere,
Dowbelle he playes tho towelle pere;
Whenne thay have wasshen and grace is sayde,
Away he takes at a brayde;
Awoydes tho borde into tho flore,
Tase away tho trestes that ben so store.


OW speke I wylle a lytulle whyle
Of tho chandeler, withouten gyle,
That torches and tortes and preketes con make,
Perchours, smale condel, I undertake;
Of wax these candels alle that brennen,
And morter of wax that I wele kenne;
Tho snof of hom dose away
With close sesours, as I zow say;
The sesours ben schort and rownde y-close,
With plate of irne upon bose;
p.34 /
In chambur no lyzt ther shalle be brent,
Bot of wax therto, yf ze take tent;
In halle at soper schalle caldels brenne
Of Parys, therin that alle men kenne;
Iche messe a candelle fro Alhalawghe day
To Candelmesse, as I zou say;
Of candel liveray squiyers schalle have,
So long, if hit is mon wille krave.
Of brede and ale also the boteler
Schalle make lyveré thurghout the zere
To squyers, and also wyn to knyzt,
Or ellys he dose not his office ryzt.
Here endys the thryd speche,—
Of alle oure synnes Cryst be oure leche,
And bryng us to his vonyng place !
Amen, sayes ze, for hys grete grace !
                    Amen, par charité.


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