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.


[Sidenote:  Leaf 4 b.]

Awayte my chylde / ye be haue you manerly
Whan at your mete / ye sitte at the table
[Sidenote:  When you’re at meals,]
In euery prees and in euery company 150
Dispose you to be so compenable
[Sidenote:  be companionable]
That men may of you reporte for comme_n_dable
For trusteth wel / vpon your beryng_e_
Men wil you blame or gyue preysyng_e_ 154


And prynte ye trewly your memorie
For a princypal point of fair noreture
Ye depraue no man absent especyally 157
[Sidenote:  and don’t run down absent men.]
Saynt austyn amonessheth with besy cure
[Sidenote:  St. Austin.]
How men atte table / shold hem assure
That there escape them / no suche langage
As myght other folke hurte to disparage 161

* * * * *



This curteise clarke writeth in ryght this wyse,
  Rebukyng the vice of vile detracc_i_ou_n_;
’What man hit be that of custome and guise 164
  Hurteth wyth his toung wyth foule corrosiou_n_
  The absent wight, for that abusiou_n_
    Suche detractoure [wayue][1] from this table
[Sidenote 1:  A word loss.]
    As vn-worthe, not to be reprocheable. 168


Whan ye sitten therfor at your_e_ repaste,
  Annoyethe no man present nor absent,
But speketh feyre, for and ye make waste 171
  Off [large] langage, for soth ye most be schent;
  And wan ye speke, speketh wyth good entent
    Of maters appendyng to myrth and plesaunce,
    But nothyng that may causen men greuaunce. 175


Eschewe also taches of foule rauenyng,
  Of gredy lust the vncurteyce appetite;
Pres not to sone to your_e_ viaunde, restraine 178
  Your_e_ handis a while wyth manerly respytte;
  Fedith for necessite, not for delite,
    Demeneth you in mete and drink soo sobrely,
    That ye be not infecte wyth gloteny.’ 182

[Sidenote:  Hill’s Text.]

P) This curteys clerke wryteth i_n_ this wyse,
    Rebukyng the vyce of vyle detracc_i_on: 
  what may yt be that of custu_m_ & gvyse 164
    hurteth w_i_t_h_ tonge or by fowle colusyon
    The absente / weyne[1] ye for that abusyon
[Sidenote 1:  or weyne]
      Suche a detractowr_e_ from the table
      As vnworthy & also reprocheable. 168

P) Whan ye sytte therfor at yo_u_r repast,
    Annoye ye no ma_n_ present nor absente,
  but speke ye fewe; for yff ye make wast
    of large langage, for soth ye must be shent. 172
    & wha_n_ ye speke // speke w_i_t_h_ good Intent
      Off maters accordyng vnto plesavnce,
      but no thy_n_ge that may cavse me_n_ grevaunce.

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