Caxton's Book of Curtesye eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 77 pages of information about Caxton's Book of Curtesye.



And whan ye speke / loke men in the face
[Sidenote:  When you speak to men, look ’em in the face.]
With sobre chere / and_e_ goodly semblaunce
Caste not your eye a syde / in other place 101
For that is a token of wantou[=n] inconsta_n_ce
Whiche wil appeyre your name & disaua[=n]ce
The wise ma_n_ saith who hath these thi_n_gis thre
[Sidenote:  The wise Man says]
Is not lyke a good_e_ man for to be 105


[Sidenote:  Leaf 3 b.]

In herte he seith / who that is inconsta[=n]te
A waueryng eye / glydyng sodeynly
[Sidenote:  an inconstant man with a wavering eye and a wandering foot]
Fro place to place / & a foot varia[=n]te 108
That in no place / abydeth stably
These ben [th]^e signes / the wisema_n_ seith sikerly
Of suche a wight / as is vnmanerly nyce
And is ful likely disposid vnto vyce 112
[Sidenote:  will turn to vice.]


Awayte my chylde / whan ye sta_n_de atte table
[Sidenote:  When you serve at table,]
Of maister or souerayn / whether it be
Applye you for to be seruysable 115
[Sidenote:  be attentive and tidy,]
That no defaute in you founden be
Loke / who doth best / and hym ensiewe ye
And in especyal / vse ye attendaunce
[Sidenote:  specially to well-off men.]
Wherein ye shal your self best auaunce 119

* * * * *



A[s] ye be comaundyd, so ye do algate,
  Beth not wyth-oute cause from the tabul absent;
Hit is plesaunce vnto the gret astate 122
  To se theyr_e_ saruaunt about them p_re_sent;
  Haunteth no halkes, for then ye woll be schent. 
    Lette maner and Mesure be your_e_ guydes twey,
    So shall ye best please, I dare well sey. 126


Rewarde all-way the loke and countenaunce
  Of your_e_ master, or of your_e_ souereine,
Ther shall ye best preue what is plesaunce, 129
  And what displesaunce; this is the soth serteyne,
  The chere discureth often tyme both twayne,
    And eke the chere may some tyme you addresse
    In thyng that langage may not [th]an expresse. 133


And what ye here there, loke ye kepe hit secre,
  Besy report of mystrust is cheff norice;
Mekell langage may not all fautles be; 136
  Than doth, my childe, as teicheth you the wyse,
  Whiche vnto you this wysdome dothe devise,
    ’Here and see, be still in euery prees,[1]
[Sidenote 1:  MS. ‘in euery place and in prees.’ Place was to have
been the last word; and in prees was carelessly added, instead of
striking out place.—­Sk.]
    Passe forth your_e_ way in silence and in pees.’

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Caxton's Book of Curtesye from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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