Regius Poem

Halliwell MS or Regius Poem

The Halliwell Manuscript


The MS is a very small quarto on vellum, and is No. 17, A1. in the Bibl. Reg., British Museum. It is described in David Casley’s Catalogue of the MSS. of the Old Royal Library, 1734, page 259, as "A Poem of Moral Duties: here entitled, Constitutiones Artis Gemetrie secundem Euclidem. - 'Whoso wol bothe wel rede and loke.'"

The existence of this MS. has been known for a long time, but its contents were mistaken until Mr. Halliwell-Phillips drew attention to it in a paper "On the introduction of Freemasonry into England," read before the Society of Antiquaries in the 1838-9 session. He thereafter published two small editions of a work entitled "The Early History of Freemasonry in England,"giving a transcript of the poem.

"In the year 1757, King George II., under an instrument that passed the Great Seal, presented [the old Royal] Library to the nation. At that time it was deposited in the old Dormitory at Westminster, to which place it had been removed from Ashburnham House, at the time of the lamentable fire which broke out in that building on the 23rd October, 1731 from which it fortunately sustained but slight injury." [Sims’s Handbook to Library of Brit. Mus., 1854. p. 35.]

The facsimile is the exact size of the original. It bears the Royal arms stamped on both covers, and G.R.II., with the date 1757. The lettering on the back has also been reproduced. The MS. was bound in its present cover in or about the year 1838.

The age of the MS. has been variously estimated. Mr. Halliwell and the late Rev. A.F.A. Woodford supposed it to have been written about 1390, or earlier.

The MS. is admitted to be the oldest genuine record of the Craft of Masonry known. Mr. Halliwell pointed out that the writer of the poem was evidently a priest , from the words, "And when the gospel me rede schal," on line 629. He also drew attention to line 143, which intimates a still older MS. must have existed when the poem was written.

Here Begin the Constitutions

Hic incipiunt constituciones artis gemetriae secundum Eucyldem. Here begin the constitutions of the art of Geometry according to Euclid.
1 Whose wol bothe wel rede and loke, Whoever will both well read and look
2 He may fynde wryte yn olde boke He may find written in old book
3 Of grete lordys and eke ladyysse, Of great lords and also ladies,
4 That hade mony chyldryn y-fere, y-wisse; That had many children together, certainly;
5 And hade no rentys to fynde hem wyth, And had no income to keep them with,
6 Nowther yn towne, ny felde, ny fryth: Neither in town nor field nor enclosed wood;
7 A cownsel togeder they cowthe hem take; A council together they could them take,
8 To ordeyne for these chyldryn sake, To ordain for these children’s sake,
9 How they my[g]th best lede here lyfe How they might best lead their life
10 Withoute gret desese, care and stryfe; Without great disease, care, and strife;
11 And most for the multytude that was comynge And most for the multitude that was coming
12 (They) sende thenne after grete clerkys, Of their children after great clerks,
13 To techyn hem thenne gode werkys; To teach them then good works;
14 To techyn hem thenne gode werkys; To teach them then good works;
15 And pray we hem, for our Lordys sake, And pray we them, for our Lord’s sake.
16 To oure chyldryn sum werke to make, To our children some work to make,
17 That they my[g]th gete here lyvynge therby, That they might get their living thereby,
18 Bothe wel and onestlyche, ful sycurly. Both well and honestly full securely.
19 Yn that tyme, thro[g]gh good gemetry, In that time, through good geometry,
20 Thys onest craft of good masonry This honest craft of good masonry
21 Wes ordeynt and made yn thys manere, Was ordained and made in this manner,
22 Y-cownterfetyd of thys clerkys y-fere; Counterfeited of these clerks together;
23 At these lordys prayers they cownterfetyd gemetry, At these lord’s prayers they counterfeited geometry,
24 And [g]af hyt the name of masonry, And gave it the name of masonry,
25 For the moste oneste craft of alle. For the most honest craft of all.
26 These lordys chyldryn therto dede falle, These lords' children thereto did fall,
27 To lurne of hym the craft of gemetry, To learn of him the craft of geometry,
28 The wheche he made ful curysly; The which he made full curiously;
29 Thro[g]gh fadrys prayers and modrys also, Through fathers' prayers and mothers' also,
30 Thys onest craft he putte hem to. This honest craft he put them to.
31 He that lerned best, and were of onesté, He learned best, and was of honesty,
32 And passud hys felows yn curysté; And passed his fellows in curiosity,
33 [G]ef yn that craft he dede hym passe, If in that craft he did him pass,
34 He schulde have more worschepe then the lasse He should have more worship than the lasse, (less)
35 Thys grete clerkys name was clept Euclyde, This great clerk’s name was Euclid,
36 Hys name hyt spradde ful wondur wyde His name it spread full wonder wide.
37 Get thys grete clerke more ordeynt he Yet this great clerk ordained he
38 To hym that was herre yn thys degré, To him that was higher in this degree,
39 That he schulde teche the synplyst of (wytte) That he should teach the simplest of wit
40 Yn that onest craft to be parfytte; In that honest craft to be parfytte; (perfect)
41 And so uchon schulle techyn othur, And so each one shall teach the other,
42 And love togeder as syster and brothur. And love together as sister and brother.
43 Forthermore [g]et that ordeynt he, Furthermore yet that ordained he,
44 Mayster y-called so schulde he be; Master called so should he be;
45 So that he were most y-worschepede, So that he were most worshipped,
46 Thenne sculde he be so y-clepede: Then should he be so called;
47 But mason schulde never won other calle, But masons should never one another call,
48 Withynne the craft amongus hem alle, Within the craft amongst them all,
49 Ny soget, ny servand, my dere brother, Neither subject nor servant, my dear brother,
50 Tha[g]ht he be not so perfyt as ys another; Though he be not so perfect as is another;
51 Uchon sculle calle other felows by cuthe, Each shall call other fellows by cuthe, (friendship)
52 For cause they come of ladyes burthe. Because they come of ladies' birth.
53 On thys maner, thro[g] good wytte of gemetry, On this manner, through good wit of geometry,
54 Bygan furst the craft of masonry: Began first the craft of masonry;
55 The clerk Euclyde on thys wyse hyt fonde, The clerk Euclid on this wise it found,
56 Thys craft of gemetry yn Egypte londe. This craft of geometry in Egypt land.
57 Yn Egypte he taw[g]hte hyt ful wyde, In Egypt he taught it full wide,
58 Yn dyvers londe on every syde; In divers lands on every side;
59 Mony erys afterwarde, y understonde, Many years afterwards, I understand,
60 [G]er that the craft com ynto thys londe, Ere that the craft came into this land.
61 Thys craft com ynto Englond, as y [g]ow say, This craft came into England, as I you say,
62 Yn tyme of good kynge Adelstonus day; In time of good King Athelstane’s day;
63 He made tho bothe halle and eke bowre, He made then both hall and even bower,
64 And hye templus of gret honowre, And high temples of great honour,
65 To sportyn hym yn bothe day and ny[g]th, To disport him in both day and night,
66 An to worschepe hys God with alle hys my[g]th. And to worship his God with all his might.
67 Thys goode lorde loved thys craft ful wel, This good lord loved this craft full well,
68 And purposud to strenthyn hyt every del, And purposed to strengthen it every del, (part)
69 For dyvers defawtys that yn the craft he fonde; For divers faults that in the craft he found;
70 He sende about ynto the londe He sent about into the land
71 After alle the masonus of the crafte, After all the masons of the craft,
72 To come to hym ful evene stra[g]fte, To come to him full even straghfte, (straight)
73 For to amende these defautys alle For to amend these defaults all
74 By good consel, [g]ef hyt myt[g]th falle. By good counsel, if it might fall.
75 A semblé thenne he cowthe let make An assembly then he could let make
76 Of dyvers lordis, yn here state, Of divers lords in their state,
77 Dukys, erlys, and barnes also, Dukes, earls, and barons also,
78 Kyn[g]thys, sqwyers, and mony mo, Knights, squires and many mo, (more)
79 And the grete burges of that syté, And the great burgesses of that city,
80 They were ther alle yn here degré; They were there all in their degree;
81 These were ther uchon algate, There were there each one algate, (always)
82 To ordeyne for these masonus astate. To ordain for these masons' estate,
83 Ther they sow[g]ton by here wytte, There they sought by their wit,
84 How they my[g]thyn governe hytte: How they might govern it;
85 Fyftene artyculus they ther sow[g]ton Fifteen articles they there sought,
86 And fyftene poyntys they wro[g]ton. And fifteen points there they wrought,

Return to Top

First Article

Hic incipit articulus primus. Here begins the first article.
87 The furste artycul of thys gemetry: The first article of this geometry;
88 The mayster mason moste be ful securly The master mason must be full securely
89 Bothe stedefast, trusty, and trwe, Both steadfast, trusty and true,
90 Hyt schal hum never thenne arewe: It shall him never then rue;
91 And pay thy felows after the coste, And pay thy fellows after the cost,
92 As vytaylys goth thenne, wel thou woste; As victuals goeth then, well thou woste; (knowest)
93 And pay them trwly, apon thy fay, And pay them truly, upon thy fay, (faith)
94 What that they deserven may; What they deserven may; (may deserve)
95 And to her hure take no more, And to their hire take no more,
96 But what they mowe serve fore; But what that they may serve for;
97 And spare, nowther for love ny drede, And spare neither for love nor drede, (dread)
98 Of nowther partys to take no mede; Of neither parties to take no mede; (bribe)
99 Of lord ny felow, whether he be, Of lord nor fellow, whoever he be,
100 Of hem thou take no maner of fe; Of them thou take no manner of fee;
101 And as a jugge stonde upry[g]th, And as a judge stand upright,
102 And thenne thou dost to bothe good ry[g]th; And then thou dost to both good right;
103 And trwly do thys whersever thou gost, And truly do this wheresoever thou gost, (goest)
104 Thy worschep, thy profyt, hyt shcal be most. Thy worship, thy profit, it shall be most.

Return to Top

Second Article

Articulus secundus. Second article.
105 The secunde artycul of good masonry, The second article of good masonry,
106 As [g]e mowe hyt here hyr specyaly, As you must it here hear specially,
107 That every mayster, that ys a mason, That every master, that is a mason,
108 Most ben at the generale congregacyon, Must be at the general congregation,
109 So that he hyt resonably y-tolde So that he it reasonably be told
110 Where that the semblé schal be holde; Where that the assembly shall be holde; (held)
111 And to that semblé he most nede gon, And to that assembly he must needs gon, (go)
112 But he have a resenabul skwsacyon, Unless he have a reasonable skwasacyon, (excuse)
113 Or but he be unbuxom to that craft, Or unless he be disobedient to that craft
114 Or with falssehed ys over-raft, Or with falsehood is over-raft, (overtaken)
115 Or ellus sekenes hath hym so stronge, Or else sickness hath him so strong,
116 That he may not com hem amonge; That he may not come them among;
117 That ys a skwsacyon, good and abulle, That is an excuse good and able,
118 To that semblé withoute fabulle. To that assembly without fable.

Return to Top

Third Article

Articulus tercius. Third article.
119 The thrydde artycul for sothe hyt ysse, The third article forsooth it is,
120 That the mayster take to no prentysse, That the master takes to no 'prentice,
121 but he have good seuerans to dwelle Unless he have good assurance to dwell
122 Seven [g]er with hym, as y [g]ow telle, Seven years with him, as I you tell,
123 Hys craft to lurne, that ys profytable; His craft to learn, that is profitable;
124 Withynne lasse he may not be able Within less he may not be able
125 To lordys profyt, ny to his owne, To lords' profit, nor to his own
126 As [g]e mowe knowe by good resowne. As you may know by good reason.

Return to Top

Fourth Article

Articulus quartus. Fourth Article
127 The fowrhe artycul thys moste be The fourth article this must be,
128 That the mayster hym wel be-se, That the master him well besee,
129 That he no bondemon prentys make, That he no bondman 'prentice make,
130 Ny for no covetyse do hym take; Nor for no covetousness do him take;
131 For the lord that he ys bonde to, For the lord that he is bound to,
132 May fache the prentes whersever he go. May fetch the 'prentice wheresoever he go.
133 Gef yn the logge he were y-take, If in the lodge he were ty-take, (taken)
134 Muche desese hyt mygth ther make, Much dis-ease it might there make,
135 And suche case hyt mygth befalle, And such case it might befal,
136 That hyt mygth greve summe or alle. That it might grieve some or all.
137 For alle the masonus tht ben there For all the masons that be there
138 Wol stonde togedur hol y-fere Will stand together all y-fere. (together)
139 Gef suche won yn that craft schulde swelle, If such one in that craft should dwell,
140 Of dyvers desesys ge mygth telle: Of divers dis-eases you might tell;
141 For more gese thenne, and of honeste, For more ease then, and of honesty,
142 Take a prentes of herre degre. Take a 'prentice of higher degree.
143 By olde tyme wryten y fynde By old time written I find
144 That the prenes schulde be of gentyl kynde; That the 'prentice should be of gentle kind;
145 And so symtyme grete lordys blod And so sometime, great lords' blood
146 Toke thys gemetry, that ys ful good. Took this geometry that is full good.

Return to Top

Fifth Article

Articulus quintus. Fifth Article
147 The fyfthe artycul ys swythe good, The fifth article is very good,
148 So that the prentes be of lawful blod; So that the 'prentice be of lawful blood;
149 The mayster schal not, for no vantage, The master shall not, for no advantage,
150 Make no prentes that ys outrage; Make no 'prentice that is outrage; (deformed)
151 Hyt ys to mene, as [g]e mowe here, It is to mean, as you may hear
152 That he have hys lymes hole alle y-fere; That he have all his limbs whole all y-fere; (together)
153 To the craft hyt were gret schame, To the craft it were great shame,
154 To make an halt mon and a lame, To make a halt man and a lame,
155 For an unperfyt mon of suche blod For an imperfect man of such blood
156 Schulde do the craft but lytul good. Should do the craft but little good.
157 Thus [g]e mowe knowe everychon, Thus you may know every one,
158 The craft wolde have a my[g]hty mon; The craft would have a mighty man;
159 A maymed mon he hath no my[g]ht, A maimed man he hath no might,
160 [G]e mowe hyt knowe long [g]er ny[g]ht. You must it know long ere night.

Return to Top

Sixth Article

Articulus sextus. Sixth Article
161 The syxte artycul [g]e mowe not mysse, The sixth article you must not miss
162 That the mayster do the lord no pregedysse, That the master do the lord no prejudice,
163 To take of the lord, for hyse prentyse, To take the lord for his 'prentice,
164 Also muche as hys felows don, yn alle vyse. As much as his fellows do, in all wise.
165 For yn that craft they ben ful perfyt, For in that craft they be full perfect,
166 So ys not he, [g]e mowe sen hyt. So is not he, you must see it.
167 Also hyt were a[g]eynus good reson, Also it were against good reason,
168 To take hys, hure as hys felows don. To take his hire as his fellows don. (do)
169 Thys same artycul, yn thys casse, This same article in this case,
170 Juggythe the prentes to take lasse Judgeth his prentice to take less
171 Thenne hys felows, that ben ful perfyt. Than his fellows, that be full perfect.
172 Yn dyvers maters, conne qwyte hyt, In divers matters, know requite it,
173 The mayster may his prentes so enforme, The master may his 'prentice so inform,
174 That hys hure may crese ful [g]urne, That his hire may increase full soon,
175 And, ger hys terme come to an ende, And ere his term come to an end,
176 Hys hure may ful wel amende. His hire may full well amend.

Return to Top

Seventh Article

Articulus septimus. Seventh Article
177 The seventhe artycul that ys now here, The seventh article that is now here,
178 Ful wel wol telle gow, alle y-fere, Full well will tell you all y-fere (together)
179 That no mayster, for favour ny drede, That no master for favour nor dread,
180 Schal no thef nowther clothe ny fede. Shall no thief neither clothe nor feed.
181 Theves he schal herberon never won, Thieves he shall harbour never one,
182 Ny hym that hath y-quellude a mon, Nor him that hath killed a man,
183 Wy thylike that hath a febul name, Nor the same that hath a feeble name,
184 Lest hyt wolde turne the craft to schame. Lest it would turn the craft to shame.

Return to Top

Eight Article

Articulus octavus. Eight Article
185 The eghte artycul schewt [g]ow so, The eighth article sheweth you so,
186 That the mayster may hyt wel do, That the master may it well do.
187 [G]ef that he have any mon of crafte, If that he have any man of craft,
188 And be not also perfyt as he au[g]te, And he be not so perfect as he ought,
189 He may hym change sone anon, He may him change soon anon,
190 And take for hym a perfytur mon. And take for him a more perfect man.
191 Suche a mon, thro[g]e rechelaschepe, Such a man through rechalaschepe, (recklessness)
192 My[g]th do the craft schert worschepe. Might do the craft scant worship.

Return to Top

Ninth Article

Articulus nonus. Ninth Article
193 The nynthe artycul schewet ful welle, The ninth article sheweth full well,
194 That the mayster be both wyse and felle; That the master be both wise and felle; (strong)
195 That no werke he undurtake, That he no work undertake,
196 But he conne bothe hyt ende and make; Unless he can both it end and make;
197 And that hyt be to the lordes profyt also, And that it be to the lords' profit also,
198 And to hys craft, whersever he go; And to his craft, wheresoever he go;
199 And that the grond be wel y-take, And that the ground be well y-take, (taken)
200 That hyt nowther fle ny grake. That it neither flaw nor grake. (crack)

Return to Top

Tenth Article

Articulus decimus. Tenth Article
201 The then the artycul ys for to knowe, The tenth article is for to know,
202 Amonge the craft, to hye and lowe, Among the craft, to high and low,
203 There schal no mayster supplante other, There shall no master supplant another,
204 But be togeder as systur and brother, But be together as sister and brother,
205 Yn thys curyus craft, alle and som, In this curious craft, all and some,
206 That longuth to a maystur mason. That belongeth to a master mason.
207 Ny he schal not supplante non other mon, Nor shall he supplant no other man,
208 That hath y-take a werke hym uppon, That hath taken a work him upon,
209 Yn peyne therof that ys so stronge, In pain thereof that is so strong,
210 That peyseth no lasse thenne ten ponge, That weigheth no less than ten ponge, (pounds)
211 But [g]ef that he be gulty y-fonde, But if that he be guilty found,
212 That toke furst the werke on honde; That took first the work on hand;
213 For no mon yn masonry For no man in masonry
214 Schal no supplante othur securly, Shall not supplant other securely,
215 But [g]ef that hyt be so y-wro[g]th, But if that it be so wrought,
216 That hyt turne the werke to nogth; That in turn the work to nought;
217 Thenne may a mason that werk crave, Then may a mason that work crave,
218 To the lordes profyt hyt for to save; To the lords' profit for it to save
219 Yn suche a case but hyt do falle, In such a case if it do fall,
220 Ther schal no mason medul withalle. There shall no mason meddle withal.
221 Forsothe he that begynnyth the gronde, Forsooth he that beginneth the ground,
222 And he be a mason goode and sonde, If he be a mason good and sound,
223 For hath hyt sycurly yn hys mynde He hath it securely in his mind
224 To brynge the werke to ful good ende. To bring the work to full good end.

Return to Top

Eleventh Article

Articulus undecimus. Eleventh Article
225 The eleventhe artycul y telle the, The eleventh article I tell thee,
226 That he ys bothe fayr and fre; That he is both fair and free;
227 For he techyt, by hys my[g]th, For he teacheth, by his might,
228 That no mason schulde worche be ny[g]th, That no mason should work by night,
229 But [g]ef hyt be yn practesynge of wytte, But if be in practising of wit,
230 [G]ef that y cowthe amende hytte. If that I could amend it.

Return to Top

Twelfth Article

Articulus duodecimus. Twelfth Article
231 The twelfthe artycul ys of hye honesté The twelfth article is of high honesty
232 To [g]every mason, whersever he be; To every mason wheresoever he be,
233 He schal not hys felows werk deprave, He shall not his fellows' work deprave,
234 [G]ef that he wol hys honesté save; If that he will his honesty save;
235 With honest wordes he hyt comende, With honest words he it commend,
236 By the wytte that God the dede sende; By the wit God did thee send;
237 Buy hyt amende by al that thou may, But it amend by all that thou may,
238 Bytwynne [g]ow bothe withoute nay. Between you both without nay. (doubt)

Return to Top

Thirteenth Article

Articulus xiijus. Thirteenth Article
239 The threttene artycul, so God me save, The thirteenth article, so God me save,
240 Ys,[g]ef that the mayster a prentes have, Is if that the master a 'prentice have,
241 Enterlyche thenne that he hym teche, Entirely then that he him teach,
242 And meserable poyntes that he hym reche, And measurable points that he him reche, (tell)
243 That he the craft abelyche may conne, That he the craft ably may conne, (know)
244 Whersever he go undur the sonne. Wheresoever he go under the sun.

Return to Top

Fourteenth Article

Articulus xiiijus. Fourteenth Article
245 The fowrtene artycul, by good reson, The fourteenth article by good reason,
246 Scheweth the mayster how he schal don; Sheweth the master how he shall don; (do)
247 He schal no prentes to hym take, He shall no 'prentice to him take,
248 Byt dyvers crys he have to make, Unless diver cares he have to make,
249 That he may, withynne hys terme, That he may within his term,
250 Of hym dyvers poyntes may lurne. Of him divers points may learn.

Return to Top

Fifteenth Article

Articulus quindecimus. Fifteenth Article
251 The fyftene artycul maketh an ende, The fifteenth article maketh an end,
252 For to the mayster he ys a frende; For to the master he is a friend;
253 To lere hym so, that for no mon, To teach him so, that for no man,
254 No fals mantenans he take hym apon, No false maintenance he take him upon,
255 Ny maynteine hys felows yn here synne, Nor maintain his fellows in their sin,
256 For no good that he my[g]th wynne; For no good that he might win;
257 Ny no fals sware sofre hem to make, Nor no false oath suffer him to make,
258 For drede of here sowles sake; For dread of their souls' sake,
259 Lest hyt wolde turne the craft to schame, Lest it would turn the craft to shame,
260 And hymself to mechul blame. And himself to very much blame.

Return to Top

Beginning of the Fifteen Points

First Point

Plures Constituciones. Plural constitutions.
261 At thys semblé were poyntes y-ordeynt mo, At this assembly were points ordained mo, (more)
262 Of grete lordys and maystrys also, Of great lords and masters also.
263 That whose wol conne thys craft and com to astate, That who will know this craft and come to estate,
264 He most love wel God, and holy churche algate, He must love well God and holy church algate, (always)
265 And hys mayster also, that he ys wythe, And his master also that he is with,
266 Whersever he go, yn fylde or frythe; Wheresoever he go in field or frythe, (enclosed wood)
267 And thy felows thou love also, And thy fellows thou love also,
268 For that they craft wol that thou do. For that thy craft will that thou do.

Return to Top

Second Point

Secundus punctus. Second Point.
269 The secunde poynt, as y [g]ow say, The second point as I you say,
270 That the mason worche apon the werk day, That the mason work upon the work day,
271 Also trwly, as he con or may, As truly as he can or may,
272 To deserve hys huyre for the halyday, To deserve his hire for the holy-day,
273 And trwly to labrun on hys dede, And truly to labour on his deed,
274 Wel deserve to have hys mede. Well deserve to have his mede. (reward)

Return to Top

Third Point

Tercius punctus. Third Point.
275 The thrydde poynt most be severele, The third point must be severele, (severely)
276 With the prentes knowe hyt wele, With the 'prentice know it well,
277 Hys mayster conwsel he kepe and close, His master’s counsel he keep and close,
278 And hys felows by hys goode purpose; And his fellows by his good purpose;
279 The prevetyse of the chamber telle he no man, The privities of the chamber tell he no man,
280 Ny yn the logge whatsever they done; Nor in the lodge whatsoever they don; (do)
281 Whatsever thou heryst, or syste hem do, Whatsoever thou hearest or seest them do,
282 Telle hyt no mon, whersever thou go; Tell it no man wheresoever you go;
283 The conwsel of halls, and [g]eke of bowre, The counsel of hall, and even of bower,
284 Kepe hyt wel to gret honowre, Keep it well to great honour,
285 Lest hyt wolde torne thyself to blame, Lest it would turn thyself to blame,
286 And brynge the craft ynto gret schame. And bring the craft into great shame.

Return to Top

Fourth Point

Quartus punctus. Fourth Point.
287 The fowrthe poynt techyth us alse, The fourth point teacheth us alse, (also)
288 That no mon to hys craft be false; That no man to his craft be false;
289 Errour he schal maynteine none Error he shall maintain none
290 A[g]eynus the craft, but let hyt gone; Against the craft, but let it gone; (go)
291 Ny no pregedysse he schal not do Nor no prejudice he shall not do
292 To hys mayster, ny hys felows also; To his master, nor his fellow also;
293 And that[g]th the prentes be under awe, And though the 'prentice be under awe,
294 [G]et he wolde have the same lawe. Yet he would have the same law.

Return to Top

Fifth Point

Quintus punctus. Fifth Point.
295 The fyfthe poynte ys, withoute nay, The fifth point is without nay, (doubt)
296 That whenne the mason taketh hys pay That when the mason taketh his pay
297 Of the mayster, y-ordent to hym, Of the master, ordained to him,
298 Ful mekely y-take so most hyt byn; Full meekly taken so must it byn; (be)
299 [G]et most the mayster, by good resone, Yet must the master by good reason,
300 Warne hem lawfully byfore none, Warn him lawfully before noon,
301 G]ef he nulle okepye hem no more, If he will not occupy him no more,
302 As he hath y-done ther byfore; As he hath done there before;
303 A[g]eynus thys ordyr he may not stryve, Against this order he may not strive,
304 [G]ef he thenke wel for to thryve. If he think well for to thrive.

Return to Top

Sixth Point

Sextus punctus. Sixth Point.
305 The syxte poynt ys ful [g]ef to knowe, The sixth point is full given to know,
306 Bothe to hye and eke to lowe, Both to high and even to low,
307 For suche case hyt my[g]th befalle, For such case it might befall;
308 Amonge the masonus, summe or alle, Among the masons some or all,
309 Throwghe envye, or dedly hate, Through envy or deadly hate,
310 Ofte aryseth ful gret debate. Oft ariseth full great debate.
311 Thenne owyth the mason, [g]ef that he may, Then ought the mason if that he may,
312 Putte hem bothe under a day; Put them both under a day;
313 But loveday [g]et schul they make none; But loveday yet shall they make none,
314 Tyl that the werke day be clene a-gone; Till that the work-day be clean gone
315 Apon the holyday [g]e mowe wel take Upon the holy-day you must well take
316 Leyser y-now[g]gth loveday to make, Leisure enough loveday to make,
317 Lest that hyt wolde the werke day Lest that it would the work-day
318 Latte here werke for suche afray; Hinder their work for such a fray;
319 To suche ende thenne that hem drawe, To such end then that you them draw.
320 That they stonde wel yn Goddes lawe. That they stand well in God’s law.

Return to Top

Seventh Point

Septimus punctus. Seventh Point.
321 The seventhe poynt he may wel mene, The seventh point he may well mean,
322 Of wel longe lyf that God us lene, Of well long life that God us lene, (lend)
323 As hyt dyscryeth wel opunly, As it descrieth well openly,
324 Thou schal not by thy maysters wyf ly, Thou shalt not by thy master’s wife lie,
325 Ny by the felows, yn no maner wyse, Nor by thy fellows', in no manner wise,
326 Lest the craft wolde the despyse; Lest the craft would thee despise;
327 Ny by the felows concubyne, Nor by thy fellows' concubine,
328 No more thou woldest he dede by thyne. No more thou wouldst he did by thine.
329 The peyne thereof let hyt be ser, The pain thereof let it be sure,
330 That he prentes ful seven [g]er, That he be 'prentice full seven year,
331 [G]ef he forfete yn eny of hem, If he forfeit in any of them
332 So y-chasted thenne most he ben; So chastised then must he ben; (be)
333 Ful mekele care my[g]th ther begynne, Full much care might there begin,
334 For suche a fowle dedely synne. For such a foul deadly sin.

Return to Top

Eigth Point

Octavus punctus. Eight Point.
335 The eghte poynt, he may be sure, The eighth point, he may be sure,
336 [G]ef thou hast y-taken any cure, If thou hast taken any cure,
337 Under thy mayster thou be trwe, Under thy master thou be true,
338 For that pynt thou schalt never arewe; For that point thou shalt never rue;
339 A trwe medyater thou most nede be A true mediator thou must needs be
340 To thy mayster, and thy felows fre; To thy master, and thy fellows free;
341 Do trwly al….that thou my[g]th, Do truly all that thou might,
342 To both partyes, and that ys good ry[g]th. To both parties, and that is good right.

Return to Top

Ninth Point

Nonus punctus. Ninth Point.
343 The nynthe poynt we schul hym calle, The ninth point we shall him call,
344 That he be stwarde of oure halle, That he be steward of our hall,
345 Gef that ge ben yn chambur y-fere, If that you be in chamber y-fere, (together)
346 Uchon serve other, with mylde chere; Each one serve other with mild cheer;
347 Jentul felows, ge moste hyt knowe, Gentle fellows, you must it know,
348 For to be stwardus alle o rowe, For to be stewards all o-rowe, (in turn)
349 Weke after weke withoute dowte, Week after week without doubt,
350 Stwardus to ben so alle abowte, Stewards to be so all in turn about,
351 Lovelyche to serven uchon othur, Amiably to serve each one other,
352 As thawgh they were syster and brother; As though they were sister and brother;
353 Ther schal never won on other costage There shall never one another costage (cost)
354 Fre hymself to no vantage, Free himself to no advantage,
355 But every mon schal be lyche fre But every man shall be equally free
356 Yn that costage, so moste hyt be; In that cost, so must it be;
357 Loke that thou pay wele every mon algate, Look that thou pay well every man algate, (always)
358 That thou hsat y-bow[g]ht any vytayles ate, That thou hast bought any victuals ate, (eaten)
359 That no cravynge be y-mad to the, That no craving be made to thee,
360 Ny to thy felows, yn no degré, Nor to thy fellows in no degree,
361 To mon or to wommon, whether he be, To man or to woman, whoever he be,
362 Pay hem wel and trwly, for that wol we; Pay them well and truly, for that will we;
363 Therof on thy felow trwe record thou take, Thereof on thy fellow true record thou take,
364 For that good pay as thou dost make, For that good pay as thou dost make,
365 Lest hyt wolde thy felowe schame, Lest it would thy fellow shame,
366 Any brynge thyself ynto gret blame. And bring thyself into great blame.
367 [G]et good acowntes he most make Yet good accounts he must make
368 Of suche godes as he hath y-take, Of such goods as he hath y-take (taken)
369 Of thy felows goodes that thou hast spende, Of thy fellows' goods that thou hast spende, (spent)
370 Wher, and how, and to what ende; Where and how and to what end;
371 Suche acowntes thou most come to, Such accounts thou must come to,
372 Whenne thy felows wollen that thou do. When thy fellows wish that thou do.

Return to Top

Tenth Point

Decimus punctus. Tenth Point.
373 The tenthe poynt presentyeth wel god lyf, The tenth point presenteth well good life,
374 To lyven withoute care and stryf; To live without care and strife;
375 For and the mason lyve amysse, For if the mason live amiss,
376 And yn hys werk be false, y-wysse, And in his work be false y-wisse, (I know)
377 And thorw[g] suche a false skewysasyon And through such a false skewsasyon (excuse)
378 May sclawndren hys felows oute reson, May slander his fellows without reason,
379 Throw[g] false sclawnder of suche fame Through false slander of such fame.
380 May make the craft kachone blame. May make the craft acquire blame.
381 [G]ef he do the craft suche vylany, If he do the craft such villainy,
382 Do hym no favour thenne securly. Do him no favour then securely,
383 Ny maynteine not hym yn wyked lyf, Nor maintain not him in wicked life,
384 Lest hyt wolde turne to care and stryf; Lest it would turn to care and strife;
385 But get hym [g]e schul not delayme, But yet him you shall not delayme, (delay)
386 But that [g]e schullen hym constrayne, Unless that you shall him constrain,
387 For to apere whersevor [g]e wylle, For to appear wheresoever you will,
388 Whar that [g]e wolen, lowde, or stylle; Where that you will, loud, or still;
389 To the nexte semblé [g]e schul hym calle, To the next assembly you shall him call,
390 To apere byfore hys felows alle, To appear before his fellows all,
391 And but [g]ef he wyl byfore hem pere, And unless he will before them appear,
392 The crafte he moste nede forswere; The craft he must need forswear;
393 He schal thenne be chasted after the lawe He shall then be punished after the law
394 That was y-fownded by olde dawe. That was founded by old dawe. (day)

Return to Top

Eleventh Point

Undecimus punctus. Eleventh Point.
395 The eleventhe poynt ys of good dyscrecyoun, The eleventh point is of good discretion,
396 As [g]e mowe knowe by good resoun; As you must know by good reason;
397 A mason, and he thys craft wel con, A mason, if he this craft well con, (know,
398 That sy[g]th hys felow hewen on a ston, That seeth his fellow hew on a stone,
399 And ys yn poynt to spylle that ston, And is in point to spoil that stone,
400 Amende hyt sone, [g]ef that thou con, Amend it soon if that thou can,
401 And teche hym thenne hyt to amende, And teach him then it to amend,
402 That the l(ordys) werke be not y-schende, That the lords' work be not y-schende, (spoiled)
403 And teche hym esely hyt to amende, And teach him easily it to amend,
404 With fayre wordes, that God the hath lende; With fair words, that God thee hath lende; (lent)
405 For hys sake that sytte above, For his sake that sit above,
406 With swete wordes noresche hym love. With sweet words nourish his love.

Return to Top

Twelfth Point

Duodecimus punctus. Twelfth Point.
407 The twelthe poynt of gret ryolté, The twelfth point is of great royalty,
408 Ther as the semblé y-hole schal be, There as the assembly held shall be,
409 Ther schul be maystrys and felows also, There shall be masters and fellows also,
410 And other grete lordes mony mo; And other great lords many mo; (more)
411 There schal be the scheref of that contré, There shall be the sheriff of that country,
412 And also the meyr of that syté, And also the mayor of that city,
413 Kny[g]tes and sqwyers ther schul be, Knights and squires there shall be,
414 And other aldermen, as [g]e schul se; And also aldermen, as you shall see;
415 Suche ordynance as they maken there, Such ordinance as they make there,
416 They schul maynté hyt hol y-fere They shall maintain it all y-fere (together)
417 A[g]eynus that mon, whatsever he be, Against that man, whatsoever he be,
418 That longuth to the craft bothe fayr and fre. That belongeth to the craft both fair and free.
419 [G]ef he any stryf a[g]eynus hem make, If he any strife against them make,
420 Ynto here warde he schal be take. Into their custody he shall be take. (taken)

Return to Top

Thirteenth Point

xiijus punctus. Thirteenth Point.
421 The threnteth poynt ys to us ful luf. The thirteenth point is to us full lief,
422 He schal swere never to be no thef, He shall swear never to be no thief,
423 Ny soker hym yn hys fals craft, Nor succour him in his false craft,
424 For no good that he hath byraft, For no good that he hath byraft; (bereft)
425 And thou mowe hyt knowe or syn, And thou must it know or sin,
426 Nowther for hys good, ny for hys kyn. Neither for his good, nor for his kin.

Return to Top

Fourteenth Point

xiiijus punctus. Fourteenth Point.
427 The fowrtethe poynt ys ful good lawe The fourteenth point is full good law
428 To hym that wold ben under awe; To him that would be under awe;
429 A good trwe othe he most ther swere A good true oath he must there swear
430 To hys mayster and hys felows that ben there; To his master and his fellows that be there;
431 He most be stedefast and trwe also He must be steadfast and also true
432 To alle thys ordynance, whersever he go, To all this ordinance, wheresoever he go,
433 And to hys lyge lord the kynge, And to his liege lord the king,
434 To be trwe to hym, over alle thynge. To be true to him over all thing.
435 And alle these poyntes hyr before And all these points here before
436 To hem thou most nede by y-swore, To them thou must need be y-swore, (sworn)
437 And alle schul swere the same ogth And all shall swear the same oath
438 Of the masonus, be they luf, ben they loght, Of the masons, be they lief be they loath.
439 To alle these poyntes hyr byfore, To all these points here before,
440 That hath ben ordeynt by ful good lore. That hath been ordained by full good lore.
441 And they schul enquere every mon And they shall enquire every man
442 On his party, as wyl as he con, Of his party, as well as he can,
443 [G]ef any mon mowe be y-fownde gulty If any man may be found guilty
444 Yn any of these poyntes spesyaly; In any of these points specially;
445 And whad he be, let hym be sow[g]ht, And who he be, let him be sought,
446 And to the semblé let hym be brow[g]ht. And to the assembly let him be brought.

Return to Top

Fifteenth Point

Quindecimus punctus. Fifteenth Point.
447 The fiftethe poynt ys of ful good lore, The fifteenth point is of full good lore,
448 For hem that schul ben ther y-swore, For them that shall be there y-swore, (sworn)
449 Suche ordyance at the semblé wes layd Such ordinance at the assembly was laid
450 Of grete lordes and maystres byforesayd; Of great lords and masters before said;
451 For thelke that be unbuxom, y-wysse, For the same that be disobedient, y-wisse, (I know)
452 A[ g]eynus the ordynance that ther ysse Against the ordinance that there is,
453 Of these artyculus, that were y-meved there, Of these articles that were moved there,
454 Of grete lordes and masonus al y-fere. Of great lords and masons all y-fere, (together)
455 And [g]ef they ben y-preved opunly And if they be proved openly
456 Byfore that semblé, by an by, Before that assembly, by and by,
457 And for here gultes no mendys wol make, And for their guilt’s no amends will make,
458 Thenne most they nede the crafy forsake; Then must they need the craft forsake;
459 And so masonus craft they schul refuse, And no masons craft they shall refuse,
460 And swere hyt never more for to use. And swear it never more to use.
461 But [g]ef that they wol mendys make, But if that they will amends make,
462 A[g]ayn to the craft they schul never take; Again to the craft they shall never take;
463 And [g]ef that they nul not do so, And if that they will not do so,
464 The scheref schal come hem sone to, The sheriff shall come them soon to,
465 And putte here bodyes yn duppe prison, And put their bodies in deep prison,
466 For the trespasse that they hav y-don, For the trespass that they have done,
467 And take here goodes and here cattelle And take their goods and their cattle
468 Ynto the kynges hond, everyt delle, Into the king’s hand, every delle, (part)
469 And lete hem dwelle ther full stylle, And let them dwell there full still,
470 Tyl hyt be oure lege kynges wylle. Till it be our liege king’s will.

Return to Top

Another Ordinance of the Art of Geometry.

Alia ordinacio artis gematriae Another ordinance of the art of geometry
471 They ordent ther a semblé to be y-holde They ordained there an assembly to be y-holde, (hold)
472 Every [g]er, whersever they wolde, Every year, wheresoever they would,
473 To amende the defautes, [g]ef any where fonde To amend the defaults, if any were found
474 Amonge the craft withynne the londe; Among the craft within the land;
475 Uche [g]er or thrydde [g]er hyt schuld be holde, Each year or third year it should be holde, (held)
476 Yn every place whersever they wolde; In every place weresoever they would;
477 Tyme and place most be ordeynt also, Time and place must be ordained also,
478 Yn what place they schul semble to. In what place they should assemble to,
479 Alle the men of craft tehr they most ben, All the men of craft there they must be,
480 And other grete lordes, as [g]e mowe sen, And other great lords, as you must see,
481 To mende the fautes that buth ther y-spoke, To mend the faults that he there spoken,
482 [G]ef that eny of hem ben thenne y-broke. If that any of them be then broken.
483 Ther they schullen ben alle y-swore, There they shall be all y-swore, (sworn)
484 That longuth to thys craftes lore, That belongeth to this craft’s lore,
485 To kepe these statutes everychon, To keep their statutes every one
486 That ben y-ordeynt by kynge Aldelston; That were ordained by King Athelstane;
487 These statutes that y have hyr y-fonde These statutes that I have here found
488 Y chulle they ben holde thro[g]h my londe, I ordain they be held through my land,
489 For the worsche of my ry[g]olté, For the worship of my royalty,
490 That y have by my dygnyté. That I have by my dignity.
491 Also at every semblé that [g]e holde, Also at every assembly that you hold,
492 That ge come to [g]owre lyge kyng bolde, That you come to your liege king bold,
493 Bysechynge hym of hys hye grace, Beseeching him of his high grace,
494 To stonde with [g]ow yn every place, To stand with you in every place,
495 To conferme the statutes of kynge Adelston, To confirm the statutes of King Athelstane,
496 That he ordeydnt to thys craft by good reson, That he ordained to this craft by good reason.

Return to Top

The Art of the Four Crowned Ones

Ars Quatuor Coronatorum The Art of the Four Crowned Ones
497 Pray we now to God almy[g]ht, Pray we now to God almight, (almighty)
498 And to hys moder Mary bry[g]ht, And to his mother Mary bright,
499 That we mowe keepe these artyculus here, That we may keep these articles here,
500 And these poynts wel al y-fere, And these points well all y-fere, (together)
501 As dede these holy martyres fowre, As did these holy martyrs four,
502 That yn thys craft were of gret honoure; That in this craft were of great honour;
503 They were as gode masonus as on erthe schul go, They were as good masons as on earth shall go,
504 Gravers and ymage-makers they were also. Gravers and image-makers they were also.
505 For they were werkemen of the beste, For they were workmen of the best,
506 The emperour hade to hem gret luste; The emperor had to them great luste; (liking)
507 He wylned of hem a ymage to make, He willed of them an image to make
508 That mow[g]h be worscheped for his sake; That might be worshipped for his sake;
509 Suche mawmetys he hade yn hys dawe, Such monuments he had in his dawe, (day)
510 To turne the pepul from Crystus lawe. To turn the people from Christ’s law.
511 But they were stedefast yn Crystes lay, But they were steadfast in Christ’s lay, (law)
512 And to here craft, withouten nay; And to their craft without nay; (doubt)
513 They loved wel God and alle hys lore, They loved well God and all his lore,
514 And weren yn hys serves ever more. And were in his service ever more.
515 Trwe men they were yn that dawe, True men they were in that dawe, (day)
516 And lyved wel y Goddus lawe; And lived well in God’s law;
517 They tho[g]ght no mawmetys for to make, They thought no monuments for to make,
518 For no good that they my[g]th take, For no good that they might take,
519 To levyn on that mawmetys for here God, To believe on that monument for their God,
520 They nolde do so thaw[g] he were wod; They would not do so, though he were wod; (furious)
521 For they nolde not forsake here trw fay, For they would not forsake their true fay, (faith)
522 An beyleve on hys falsse lay. And believe on his false lay, (law)
523 The emperour let take hem sone anone, The emperor let take them soon anon,
524 And putte hem ynto a dep presone; And put them in a deep prison;
525 The sarre he penest hem yn that plase, The more sorely he punished them in that place,
526 The more yoye wes to hem of Cristus grace. The more joy was to them of Christ’s grace,
527 Thenne when he sye no nother won, Then when he saw no other one,
528 To dethe he lette hem thenne gon; To death he let them then gon; (go)
529 Whose wol of here lyf [g]et mor knowe, Whose will of their life yet more know
530 By the bok he may kyt schowe, By the book he might it show
531 In the legent of scanctorum, In the legend of sanctorum (holy ones)
532 The name of quatour coronatorum. The names of the quatuor coronatorum.
533 Here fest wol be, withoute nay, Their feast will be without nay, (doubt)
534 After Alle Halwen the eyght day. After Hallow-e'en the eighth day.
535 [G]e mow here as y do rede, You may hear as I do read,
536 That mony [g]eres after, for gret drede That many years after, for great dread
537 That Noees flod wes alle y-ronne, That Noah’s flood was all run,
538 The tower of Babyloyne was begonne, The tower of Babylon was begun,
539 Also playne werke of lyme and ston, As plain work of lime and stone,
540 As any mon schulde loke uppon; As any man should look upon;
541 So long and brod hyt was begonne, So long and broad it was begun,
542 Seven myle the he[g]ghte schadweth the sonne. Seven miles the height shadoweth the sun.
543 King Nabogodonosor let hyt make, King Nebuchadnezzar let it make
544 To gret strenthe for monus sake, To great strength for man’s sake,
545 Tha[g]gh suche a flod a[g]ayne schulde come, Though such a flood again should come
546 Over the werke hyt schulde not nome; Over the work it should not nome; (take)
547 For they hadde so hy pride, with stronge bost, For they had so high pride, with strong boast
548 Alle that werke therfore was y-lost; All that work therefore was lost;
549 An angele smot hem so with dyveres speche, An angel smote them so with divers speech,
550 That never won wyste what other schuld reche. That never one knew what the other should tell.
551 Mony eres after, the goode clerk Euclyde Many years after, the good clerk Euclid
552 Ta[g]ghte the craft of gemetré wonder wyde, Taught the craft of geometry full wonder wide,
553 So he ded that tyme other also, So he did that other time also,
554 Of dyvers craftes mony mo. Of divers crafts many mo. (more)
555 Thro[g]gh hye grace of Crist yn heven, Through high grace of Christ in heaven,
556 He commensed yn the syens seven; He commenced in the sciences seven;
557 Gramatica ys the furste syens y-wysse, Grammar is the first science I know,
558 Dialetica the secunde, so have y blysse, Dialect the second, so I have I bliss,
559 Rethorica the thrydde, withoute nay, Rhetoric the third without nay, (doubt)
560 Musica ys the fowrth, as y [g]ow say, Music is the fourth, as I you say,
561 Astromia ys the v, by my snowte, Astronomy is the fifth, by my snout,
562 Arsmetica the vi, withoute dowte Arithmetic the sixth, without doubt,
563 Gemetria the seventhe maketh an ende, Geometry the seventh maketh an end,
564 For he ys bothe make and hende, For he is both meek and hende, (courteous)
565 Gramer forsothe ys the rote, Grammar forsooth is the root,
566 Whose wyl lurne on the boke; Whoever will learn on the book;
567 But art passeth yn hys degré, But art passeth in his degree,
568 As the fryte doth the rote of the tre; As the fruit doth the root of the tree;
569 Rethoryk metryth with orne speche amonge, Rhetoric measureth with ornate speech among,
570 And musyke hyt ys a swete song; And music it is a sweet song;
571 Astronomy nombreth, my dere brother, Astronomy numbereth, my dear brother,
572 Arsmetyk scheweth won thyng that ys another, Arithmetic sheweth one thing that is another,
573 Gemetré the seventh syens hyt ysse, Geometry the seventh science it is,
574 That con deperte falshed from trewthe y-wys. That can separate falsehood from truth, I know.
575 These bene the syens seven, These be the sciences seven,
576 Whose useth hem wel, he may han heven. Who useth them well he may have heaven.
577 Now dere chyldren, by [g]owre wytte, Now dear children by your wit
578 Pride and covetyse that [g]e leven, hytte, Pride and covetousness that you leave it,
579 And taketh hede to goode dyscrecyon, And taketh heed to good discretion,
580 And to good norter, whersever [g]e com. And to good nurture, wheresoever you come.
581 Now y pray [g]ow take good hede, Now I pray you take good heed,
582 For thys [g]e most kenne nede, For this you must know nede, (needs)
583 But much more [g]e moste wyten, But much more you must wyten, (know)
584 Thenne [g]e fynden hyr y-wryten. Than you find here written.
585 [G]ef the fayle therto wytte, If thee fail thereto wit,
586 Pray to God to send the hytte; Pray to God to send thee it:
587 For Crist hymself, he techet ous For Christ himself, he teacheth ous (us)
588 That holy churche ys Goddes hous, That holy church is God’s house,
589 That ys y-mad for nothynge ellus That is made for nothing ellus (else)
590 but for to pray yn, as the bok tellus; But for to pray in, as the book tellus; (tells us)
591 Ther the pepul schal gedur ynne, There the people shall gather in,
592 To pray and wepe for here synne. To pray and weep for their sin.
593 Loke thou come not to churche late, Look thou come not to church late,
594 For to speke harlotry by the gate; For to speak harlotry by the gate;
595 Thenne to churche when thou dost fare, Then to church when thou dost fare,
596 Have yn thy mynde ever mare Have in thy mind ever mare (more)
597 To worschepe thy lord God bothe day and ny[g]th, To worship thy lord God both day and night,
598 With all thy wyttes, and eke thy my[g]th. With all thy wits and even thy might.
599 To the churche dore when tou dost come, To the church door when thou dost come,
600 Of that holy water ther sum thow nome, Of that holy water there some thou nome, (take)
601 For every drope thou felust ther For every drop thou feelest there
602 Qwenchet a venyal synne, be thou ser. Quencheth a venial sin, be thou ser. (sure)
603 But furst thou most do down thy hode, But first thou must do down thy hood,
604 For hyse love that dyed on the rode. For his love that died on the rood.
605 Into the churche when thou dost gon, Into the church when thou dost gon, (go)
606 Pulle uppe thy herte to Crist, anon; Pull up thy heart to Christ, anon;
607 Uppon the rode thou loke uppe then, Upon the rood thou look up then,
608 And knele down fayre on bothe thy knen; And kneel down fair upon thy knen, (knees)
609 Then pray to hym so hyr to worche, Then pray to him so here to worche (work)
610 After the lawe of holy churche, After the law of holy church,
611 For to kepe the comandementes ten, For to keep the commandments ten, 
612 That God [g]af to alle men; That God gave to all men;
613 And pray to hym with mylde steven And pray to him with mild steven (voice)
614 To kepe the from the synnes seven, To keep thee from the sins seven,
615 That thou hyr mowe, yn thy lyve, That thou here may, in this life,
616 Kepe the wel from care and stryve, Keep thee well from care and strife;
617 Forthermore he grante the grace, Furthermore he grant thee grace,
618 In heven blysse to hav a place. In heaven’s bliss to have a place.
619 In holy churche lef nyse wordes In holy church leave trifling words
620 Of lewed speche, and fowle bordes, Of lewd speech and foul bordes, (jests)
621 And putte away alle vanyté, And put away all vanity,
622 And say thy pater noster and thyn ave; And say thy pater noster and thine ave;
623 Loke also thou make no bere, Look also that thou make no bere, (noise)
624 But ay to be yn thy prayere; But always to be in thy prayer;
625 [G]ef thou wolt not thyselve pray, If thou wilt not thyself pray,
626 Latte non other mon by no way. Hinder no other man by no way.
627 In that place nowther sytte ny stonde, In that place neither sit nor stand,
628 But knele fayre down on the gronde, But kneel fair down on the ground,
629 And, when the Gospel me rede schal, And when the Gospel me read shall,
630 Fayre thou stonde up fro the wal, Fairly thou stand up from the wall,
631 And blesse the fayre, [g]ef that thou conne, And bless the fare if that thou can,
632 When gloria tibi is begonne; When gloria tibi is begun;
633 And when the gospel ys y-done, And when the gospel is done,
634 A[g]ayn thou my[g]th knele adown; Again thou might kneel down,
635 On bothe thy knen down thou falle, On both knees down thou fall,
636 For hyse love that bow[g]ht us alle; For his love that bought us all;
637 And when thou herest the belle rynge And when thou hearest the bell ring
638 To that holy sakerynge, To that holy sakerynge, (sacrament)
639 Knele [g]e most, bothe [g]yn[g]e and olde, Kneel you must both young and old,
640 And bothe [g]or hondes fayr upholde, And both your hands fair uphold,
641 And say thenne yn thys manere, And say then in this manner,
642 Fayr and softe, withoute bere; Fair and soft without noise;
643 "Jhesu Lord, welcom thou be, "Jesu Lord welcome thou be,
644 Yn forme of bred, as y the se. In form of bread as I thee see,
645 Now Jhesu, for thyn holy name, Now Jesu for thine holy name,
646 Schulde me from synne and schame, Shield me from sin and shame;
647 Schryff and hosel thou grant me bo, Shrift and Eucharist thou grant me bo, (both)
648 [G]er that y schal hennus go, Ere that I shall hence go,
649 And vey contrycyon of my synne, And very contrition for my sin,
650 Tath y never, Lord, dye therynne; That I never, Lord, die therein;
651 And, as thou were of a mayde y-bore, And as thou were of maid y-bore (born)
652 Sofre me never to be y-lore; Suffer me never to be y-lore; (lost)
653 But when y schal hennus wende, But when I shall hence wend,
654 Grante me the blysse withoute ende; Grant me the bliss without end;
655 Amen! amen! so mot hyt be! Amen! Amen! so mote it be!
656 Now, swete lady, pray for me." Now sweet lady pray for me."
657 Thus thou my[g]ht say, or sum other thynge, Thus thou might say, or some other thing,
658 When thou knelust at the sakerynge. When thou kneelest at the sakerynge. (sacrament)
659 For covetyse after good, spare thou nought For covetousness after good, spare thou not
660 To worschepe hym that alle hath wrought; To worship him that all hath wrought;
661 For glad may a mon that day ben, For glad may a man that day be,
662 That onus yn the day may hym sen; That once in the day may him see;
663 Hyt ys so muche worthe, withoute nay, It is so much worth, without nay, (doubt)
664 The vertu therof no mon telle may; The virtue thereof no man tell may;
665 But so meche good doth that syht, But so much good doth that sight,
666 As seynt Austyn telluth ful ryht, That Saint Austin telleth full right,
667 That day thou syst Goddus body, That day thou seest God’s body,
668 Thou schalt have these, ful securly:- Thou shalt have these full securely:-
669 Mete and drynke at thy nede, Meet and drink at thy need,
670 Non that day schal the gnede; None that day shalt thou gnede; (lack)
371 Ydul othes, an wordes bo, Idle oaths and words bo, (both)
672 God for[g]eveth the also; God forgiveth thee also;
673 Soden deth, that ylke day, Sudden death that same day
674 The dar not drede by no way; Thee dare not dread by no way;
675 Also that day, y the plyht, Also that day, I thee plight,
676 Thou schalt not lese thy eye syht; Thou shalt not lose thy eye sight;
677 And uche fote that thou gost then, And each foot that thou goest then,
678 That holy syht for to sen, That holy sight for to sen, (see)
679 They schul be told to stonde yn stede, They shall be told to stand instead,
680 When thou hast therto gret nede; When thou hast thereto great need;
681 That messongere, the angele Gabryelle, That messenger the angel Gabriel,
682 Wol kepe hem to the ful welle. Will keep them to thee full well.
683 From thys mater now y may passe, From this matter now I may pass,
684 To telle mo medys of the masse: To tell more benefits of the mass:
685 To churche come [g]et, [g]ef thou may, To church come yet, if thou may,
686 And here thy masse uche day; And hear the mass each day;
687 [G]ef thou mowe not come to churche, If thou may not come to church,
688 Wher that ever thou doste worche, Where that ever thou dost worche, (work)
689 When thou herest to masse knylle, When thou hearest the mass knylle, (toll)
690 Pray to God with herte stylle, Pray to God with heart still,
691 To [g]eve the part of that servyse, To give they part of that service,
692 That yn churche ther don yse. That in church there done is.
693 Forthermore [g]et, y wol [g]ow preche Furthermore yet, I will you preach
694 To [g]owre felows, hyt for to teche, To your fellows, it for to teach,
695 When thou comest byfore a lorde, When thou comest before a lord,
696 Yn halle, yn bowre, or at the borde, In hall, in bower, or at the board,
697 Hod or cappe that thou of do, Hood or cap that thou off do
698 [G]er thou come hym allynge to; Ere thou come him entirely to;
699 Twyes or thryes, without dowte, Twice or thrice, without doubt,
700 To that lord thou moste lowte; To that lord thou must lowte; (bow)
701 With thy ry[g]th kne let hyt be do, With thy right knee let it be do, (done)
702 Thyn owne worschepe tou save so. Thine own worship thou save so.
703 Holde of thy cappe, and hod also, Hold off thy cap and hood also,
704 Tyl thou have leve hyt on to do. Till thou have leave it on to do. (put)
705 Al the whyle thou spekest with hym, All the time thou speakest with him,
706 Fayre and lovelyche bere up thy chyn; Fair and amiably hold up thy chin;
707 So, after the norter of the boke, So after the nurture of the book, 
708 Yn hys face lovely thou loke. In his face kindly thou look.
709 Fot and hond, thou kepe ful stylle Foot and hand thou keep full still,
710 From clawynge and trypynge, ys sckylle; For clawing and tripping, is skill;
711 From spyttynge and snyftynge kepe the also, From spitting and sniffling keep thee also,
712 By privy avoydans let hyt go. By private expulsion let it go,
713 And [g]ef that thou be wyse and felle, And if that thou be wise and felle, (discrete)
714 Thou hast gret nede to governe the welle. Thou has great need to govern thee well.
715 Ynto the halle when thou dost wende, Into the hall when thou dost wend,
716 Amonges the genteles, good and hende, Amongst the gentles, good and hende, (courteous)
717 Presume not to hye for nothynge, Presume not too high for nothing,
718 For thyn hye blod, ny thy connynge, For thine high blood, nor thy cunning,
719 Nowther to sytte, ny to lene, Neither to sit nor to lean,
720 That ys norther good and clene. That is nurture good and clean.
721 Let not thy cowntenans therfore abate, Let not thy countenance therefore abate,
722 Forsothe, good norter wol save thy state. Forsooth good nurture will save thy state.
723 Fader and moder, whatsever they be, Father and mother, whatsoever they be,
724 Wel ys the chyld that wel may the, Well is the child that well may thee,
725 Yn halle, yn chamber, wher thou dost gon; In hall, in chamber, where thou dost gon; (go)
726 Gode maneres maken a mon. Good manners make a man.
727 To the nexte degré loke wysly, To the next degree look wisely,
728 To do hem reverans by and by; To do them reverence by and by;
729 Do hem [g]et no reverans al o-rowe, Do them yet no reverence all o-rowe, (in turn)
730 But [g]ef that thou do hem know. Unless that thou do them know.
731 To the mete when thou art y-sette, To the meat when thou art set,
732 Fayre and onestelyche thou ete hytte; Fair and honestly thou eat it;
733 Fyrst loke that thyn honden be clene, First look that thine hands be clean,
734 And that thy knyf be scharpe and kene; And that thy knife be sharp and keen,
735 And kette thy bred al at thy mete, And cut thy bread all at thy meat,
736 Ry[g]th as hyt may be ther y-ete. Right as it may be there y-ete. (eaten)
737 [G]ef thou sytte by a worththyur mon. If thou sit by a worthier man,
738 Then thy selven thou art won, Then thy self thou art one,
739 Sofre hym fyrst to toyche the mete, Suffer him first to touch the meat,
740 [G]er thyself to hyt reche. Ere thyself to it reach.
741 To the fayrest mossel thou my[g]ht not strike, To the fairest morsel thou might not strike,
742 Thaght that thou do hyt wel lyke; Though that thou do it well like;
743 Kepe thyn hondes, fayr and wel, Keep thine hands fair and well,
744 From fowle smogynge of thy towel; From foul smudging of thy towel;
745 Theron thou schalt not thy nese snyte, Thereon thou shalt not thy nose smite. (blow)
746 Ny at the mete thy tothe thou pyke; Nor at the meat thy tooth thou pike; (pick)
747 To depe yn the coppe thou my[g]ght not synke, Too deep in cup thou might not sink,
748 Thagh thou have good wyl to drynke, Though thou have good will to drink,
749 Lest thyn enyn wolde wattryn therby- Lest thine eyes would water thereby-
750 Then were hyt no curtesy Then were it no courtesy.
751 Loke yn thy mowth ther be no mete,
752 When thou begynnyst to drynke or speke. When thou beginnest to drink or speak.
753 When thou syst any mon drynkynge, When thou seest any man drinking,
754 That taketh hed to thy carpynge, That taketh heed to thy carpynge, (speech)
755 Sone anonn thou sese thy tale, Soon anon thou cease thy tale,
756 Whether he drynke wyn other ale. Whether he drink wine or ale,
757 Loke also thou scorne no mon,
758 Yn what degré thou syst hym gon; In what degree thou seest him gone;
759 Ny thou schalt no mon deprave, Nor thou shalt no man deprave,
760 [G]ef thou wolt thy worschepe save; If thou wilt thy worship save;
761 For suche worde my[g]ht ther outberste, For such word might there outburst.
762 That myg[h]t make the sytte yn evel reste, That might make thee sit in evil rest.
763 Close thy honde yn thy fyste, Close thy hand in thy fist,
764 And kepe the wel from "had-y-wyste." And keep thee well from "had I known".
765 Yn chamber amonge the ladyes bryght, In chamber, among the ladies bright,
766 Holde thy tonge and spende thy syght; Hold thy tongue and spend thy sight;
767 Law[g]e thou not with no gret cry, Laugh thou not with no great cry,
768 Ny make no ragynge with rybody. Nor make no lewd sport and ribaldry.
769 Play thou not buyt with thy peres, Play thou not but with thy peers,
770 Ny tel thou not al that thou heres; Nor tell thou not all that thou hears
771 Dyskever thou not thyn owne dede, Discover thou not thine own deed,
772 For no merthe, ny for no mede; For no mirth, nor for no mede: (reward)
773 With fayr speche thou myght have thy wylle, With fair speech thou might have thy will,
774 With hyt thou myght thy selven spylle. With it thou might thy self spylle. (spoil)
775 When thou metyst a worthy mon, When thou meetest a worthy man,
776 Cappe and hod thou holle not on; Cap and hood thou hold not on;
777 Yn churche, yn chepyns, or yn the gate, In church, in market, or in the gate,
778 Do hym revera(n)s after hys state. Do him reverence after his state.
779 [G]ef thou gost with a worthyor mon If thou goest with a worthier man
780 Then thyselven thou art won, Then thyself thou art one,
781 Let thy forther schulder sewe hys backe, Let thy foremost shoulder follow his back,
782 For that ys norter withoute lacke; For that is nurture without lack;
783 When he doth speke, holte the stylle, When he doth speak, hold thee still,
784 When he hath don, sey for thy wylle; When he hath done, say for thy will,
785 Yn thy speche that thou be felle, In thy speech that thou be felle, (discreet)
786 And what thou sayst avyse the welle; And what thou sayest consider thee well;
787 But byref thou not hym hys tale, But deprive thou not him his tale,
788 Nowther at the wyn, ny at the ale. Neither at the wine nor at the ale.
789 Cryst then of hys hye grace, Christ then of his high grace,
790 [G]eve [g]ow bothe wytte and space, Save you both wit and space,
791 Wel thys boke to conne and rede, Well this book to know and read,
792 Heven to have for [g]owre mede. Heaven to have for your mede. (reward)
793 Amen! amen! so mot hyt be! Amen! Amen! so mote it be!
794 Say we so all per charyté. So say we all for charity.

Return to Top


Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License