Adagia. Selections. Lat.-Engl — Proverbes or adagies — Adagies — Chiliades
Forasmoche as I thynke it wol be no les pleasaunte then profitable unto you (good readers) to heare some of the most nette & handsome prouerbes which the incomparable lerned man Erasmus Roterodam hath in his boke of Chiliades gathered to gether out of the moste approued authors: although it be a mater of great importaunce to handle them in their kynde, and a prouince farr surmountying the sklender capacitie of my wytte: yet for your sakes and for the loue I beare to the furtheraunce & adourment of my native countrey, I wyll not stycke after myne accustomed maner, whiche is rudiori ac crassiori minerva, to make here a brefe collection of some of them. If ye shall lyke my studie and industrie taken in thys behalfe, I wolbe glad: If not, yet my honeste harte is not to be blamed. Fare ye well.
No man can be a good ruler, onles he hath bene fyrste ruled. Certes, nothyng is truer, than this prouerbe, both bycause no prince, no ruler, no mayster can well do hys office: onles he fyrste were a subiecte and under the correction eyther of hys parentes, tutours, gouernours, or teachers. And also bycause that a man must fyrst rule hys owne lustes, and be hym selfe obedient to ryght reason, ere he can well gouerne other.
The Troyans are wyse to late. When the sege of Troye had endured for the space of ten yeares, then at laste the Troyans whych nowe had suffred innumerable mischiefes, began to take counsaile whether it were best to send home agayne fayre Helene the occasion of al their miserye. But when their countrey was now with contynuall warres wasted and destroied it was to late to be wise. Even so it is of many at thys daye. They be wyse, but to late.
The fysher stryken woll be wise. A certayne fisherman, when he had drawen up his nette, and began now to take in his handes the fishes which he had caught, chaunced [Page A3r] to take up also a Scorpion, which forthwith strake him. Well says he, nowe that I am stryken I woll beware.
An olde beaten oxe fastenethe hys [Page A3v] fote the stronger. Hierome used thys proverbe wrytying to S. Austyne to feare hym that he a yonge man shulde not prouoke. S. Hierom at that tyme olde, Forasmuch as though sage and auncient persons be not sone sturred to reuenge themselves, sythe they be nowe as it were weery for age, yet yf ther be no remedy but they must nedes meddle, they woll gyve much tougher and more ernest strokes.
Kynges haue many eares & manye eyes, as who shulde saye, no thynge can be spoke, nothynge doon so secretly agaynst kynges and Rulers, but by one meanes or other at length it wol come to their knowledge. They haue eares that lysten an hundreth myles from them, they haue eyes that espye out more thynges, then men wolde thynke. Wherefore it is wysdome for subjectes, not onlye to kepe theyr princes lawes & ordinaunces in the face of the worlde, but also prevely: namely syth Paule wold have rulers obeyed even for conscience sake. [Page A4v]
Euyll counsayle is worst to the counsaylour. Counsayle is a certayn holy thinge. And as it ought gladly to be taken, whan occasion requyreth: so it ought aduysedly, [Page A5r] purely, and wythout fraude to be gyuen when one nedeth it. Otherwyse wythout doubt Godes hande woll appere to take punyshmente of hym that wyth falshod & gyle hathe foyled a thynge bothe holy and diuine. To thys agreeth Ecclesiasticus. Who so euer (sayeth he) gyueth a leude counsayle: It shall turne upon hym selfe, and he shall not knowe from whens it cometh. Here I thynke it not amysse to make report of a certayne pleasaunt fable wrytten in Greke, not much dyssentynge from thys purpose, whych is thys.
Only the foxe absenteth her selfe. Wherefore the wolfe now espyeng a good occasion, accuseth the Foxe of treason unto the Lions maiesty, as one that dyspyseth the kynge and gouernour of all beastes and whych of frowardness and traytorous harte woll not wyth other beastes vysite hys maiestye, as theyr allegiaunce requyred.
Whyle the wolfe was thus accusynge the Foxe, the Foxe preuelye cumeth in and heareth the ende of the wolfes complaynte. Nowe whan the Lion loked up & espyed the Foxe, forthwith he gnassheth with hys teeth agaynst her. But she, after she hadde obteyned a space to pourge her selfe, thus begynneth to make her defence. I besech you syr kynge, says she, what one beaste of all that be here assembled to visite [Page A6r] your maiestye, is so carefull, & busye to do you good, and to helpe you, as I am, whyche haue runne about euer sythens ye sykened, to seke counsayle for your maladye, & nowe at last I haue serched out a soueraygne medicyne of physiciens. The Lion hearynge thys, streyght charged her to tell the medicine. Truly says the Foxe, yf ye woll slee the wolfe and wrap your selfe in hys skynne, ye shall fynde (saye they) ease of your payne. The Lion lyght of credite, forthwith rane upon the wolfe and slewe hym, who thus kylled, the crafty Foxe laughed that the sklaunderous & euyll counsayle of the wolfe lyghted upon hys owne pate. Let all counsaylours beare thys exemple wel in mynde, Yf they be nothing moued wyth fables: Let them at [Page A6v] lest be admonyshed wythe the history of Aman in the boke of Hester, whych is in the Byble.
Euery man thynketh hys owne thynge fayre. Mans mynde is so infected with the blynde loue of it selfe: that thou shalte fynde no man so sobre, so ware, so lokynge about hym: but in estemynge hys owne thynges dooteth.
The smoke of a mans owne countrey, is much clearer than the fyer in a straunge countrey. The countrey wherin we be borne, pleaseth naturally euerye man beste, and he longeth continuallye to se it, yea be hys owne countre neuer so unkynde unto hym, lette hys [Page A7r] owne countreymen banyshe hym, exclude hym, thurst him out neuer so spytefully, yet he can not so harden hys herte, but he must nedes loue it, desyre to hear of it, be glad to be at one with it agayne. Which thyng thexemples of most renoumed personnes haue wel declared.
The forehed is afore the hynder parte of the heed. As who shulde saye, the thynge a man seeth done afore hys face & in hys owne presence is for most part better done, than y&dotab; is done behynde his backe.
A certayne man (as Arostole telleth) was asked what thynge best fedeth a horse, he answereth the maysters eye, Hytherto pertayneth also the storye that Gelly telleth. A certayne man well fedde [Page A7v] had a very leane horse. Now whan he was asked what was the cause that his horse was so leane: He answered that thys oughte not to seme any maruayle at all, yf he were in better lykynge than hys horse, for asmuch as he hym selfe fedde him selfe, but hys seruante fedde hys horse. These thynges tende all to thys ende, that euery man shulde as muche as maye be, execute hys busynes, hys callynge, hys office by hym selfe and not by vycares or deputies, as nowe we se done, well nere of all degrees of men. There be kynges, there be Cardinalles, there be Bishops, Prelates and sondry other officers and magistrates in Christendome, whych do all by vycares and deputies, but them selues lyue in most ydelnes and in all kyndes of pleasure [Page A8r] lyke popes. Wold god these wold take exemple of our most vigilant prince and soueraygne lord kinge Henry the eyght, who not only setteth vigilant deputies and ministers under hym, but also loketh hym selfe ryght busely upon hys charge committed unto him of god.
Lyke delyteth the lyke. Lykenes of maners, egalitie of age, similitude in all thynges wonderfullye knytteth persons togyther & gendreth frendshyp. We se yonge persons kepe companye wyth yonge persons, aged wyth the aged, we se lerned men resorte to lerned, unthryftes do gather togyther wyth unthryftes, and good fellowes wyth suche as be good fellowes, and so forth. [Page A8v]
The potter enuyeth the potter, the smythe the smythe. Assuredly where men exercise one science, there comonly the lykenes of the science [Page B1r] doth rather gender hart brenyng then it dothe loue or beneuolence.
Practyse craft wyth the craftie. Of the vanitie and dissimulation of the Cretians thapostle Paule also speketh. Thys prouerbe byddeth us otherwhiles to dissemble wyth dissemblers, namelye where singilnes woll take no place.
The begynnynge is halfe the hole. There be many greate dilaiers. Long they be ere they can be persuaded to set upon an honest acte, so many peryls they cast. To morowe [Page B1v] to morowe they saye we wol begyn, but thys to morow is euer commynge but neuer present. Wherefore who so wyth good courage ventureth upon his maters, hath already halfe done.
Better it is to remedy the begynnynges then the endes. Stoppe a disease (sayeth the poete Ouide) whyle it is in the commynge. Medicine is sought for to late, whan by longe continuance of tyme the disease catcheth ones strength.
He that hath borne a calfe, shal also beare a bull, he that accustometh hym selfe to lytle thynges, by lytle & lytle shalbe hable to go away wyth greater thynges. One named Milo was wont euery day to beare a certayne waye on hys shoulders a calfe. At length the calfe grew to a great oxe, his dayly exercyse made hym styl able to bear the oxe, when the oxe was now [Page B2v] of an exedynge great quantitie: ye se what maystries use worketh.
We ought to remember the lyuyng. There be many that loue to talke of deade men, yea and wyth deade men as much as in them lyeth. And yf they go aboute to extende theyr lyberalitie & to do any good dedes, they hadde leuer lashe oute theyr wycked Mammon on the deade, than on the quyke. So lyttel regard they haue to the lyuely ymages of God, whom god neuertheles so tendereth, that what so euer we bestowe upon them, he counteth bestowed euen upon hymselfe.
Become an olde man betyme yf thou wyle be an olde man longe. [Page B3r] By thys we be monyshed, that whyle we be stronge and lusty, we cease from ouer moche labours & also from suche riottes, daliaunce, & surfettyng, as commonly youth desyreth. For who so contynueth in them, shall fall into age, that is to say, into weaknes of nature or euer he be ware. Wherfore yf he entende to lyue longe and to lyue manye wynters an olde man, let hym forsake the fonde ragies of youth by tymes.
He oughte to holde the oore that hathe lerned it. That is to saye: Euery man muste practyse that science & facultie that hath ben afore taughte him. Let not the shomaker medle further then hys shoes. Lette the [Page B3v] ploughman talke of his plough
Of syght is loue gendred. Noman loueth the thynge he knoweth not, of companyenge and resortynge together spryngeth mutuall loue. And namelye the eyes be lures & baytes of loue. Wherfore yf thou woll not loue the thynge that is unlawfull for the to loue, absteyne from beholdynge. He that beholdeth a woman (sayth Christ) wyth a luste unto her, hathe alredye played an adouwterers parte with her in hys harte. If thyn eye therfore be an impediment & let unto thee, plucke it out. Better it were for [Page B4r] the to entre into heauen wythout an eye, then with bothe eyes to be caste into helle fyer. Now we rede that certayne philosophers euen for this cause (and amonges them Democritus) plucked out theyr owne eyes, because they were the occasioners and prouokers of all euyll affections and lustes. But albeit Christe meant not, that we shuld so deforme our bodies and spoyle our selues of a membre of the same, which otherwayes is very profitable unto us, yet we christen men be so inhibited by thys commaundemente of christe that we ought not to fasten oure eyes where it is not lawfull. For better it were to lacke the operacion of the eyes & neuer to behold thynges delectable to the eye, then by the same to be in daunger of damnacion. [Page B4v]
It is not for one man to speake both many wordes and apte wordes. [Page B5r] This prouerbe teacheth us to eschue much talke, for asmuche as for moost parte, he must nedes fayle in hys speche that loueth to haue many wordes. To thys agreeth the wyse man in hys prouerbes, where he sayeth, that unto much speakynge is synne annexed.
So many men, so many wyttes. So many heades, so many iudgementes. Thapostle Paule not forgetfull herof aduertyseth us, that for the excludynge of contencion we suffer euery man to abunde in hys owne sence, whose counsayle of oure diuines in Christendome wolde followe, there shulde not be at thys day so great dissension in the church in maters of smal weyght. For there be many thynges which [Page B5v] without daunger of the christen relygyon maye be unknowen wel ynough.
I had leuer bye, then begge. Herby is signifyed that a thynge obteyned with moche sure & prayer, is i dede derely bought. For assuredly to an honest harte it is deth to begge, onles it be of his specyall frende, of whom he myght be as bolde, as upon him selfe, in so moche that he had rather bye the thynge very deare for his money, then to get it by petition at an other mans hande.
Where frendes be, there be goodes. By thys is meant that frendes be better than money, and that unto the sustenacion of mannes [Page B6r] lyfe, frendes be more auaylable without money, than money wythoute frendes. And for thys cause amonges the Scythians (as Lucian declareth) he was counted the rychest man, whych had the surest & beste frendes. But now yf a man woll haue respecte to the maners of these dayes: we had nede to turne the prouerbe and saye, where goodes, be, there be frendes.
It is harde kyckynge against the gode. It is euyll stryuyng against the streme, that is to saye, It is great folye to struggle agaynste such thinges as thou canst not ouercome, or to prouoke them, who yf they be sturred maye do the displeasures, or to wrastle with gods [Page B6v] prouidence, and the incommoditie whych thou cannest not auoyd, by thy impacient bearynge not onely not to eschue it, but also to double the same.
Trouthes tale is simple, he that meaneth good sayth, goeth not aboute to glose hys communicacion wyth painted wordes. Plaine and homely men call a fygge, a fygge, & a spade a spade. Rhetorike and colorynge of spech proueth many tymes a mans master to be naught. [Page B7r]
Euery man loueth hym selfe better than he loueth another. Whether thys saynge may stande with Christes doctrine, whych byddeth us loue our neyghboure as oure selfe: let the doctours and professours of diunitie discusse. For some there be that put degrees of charitie, and woll that charite shuld begyn fyrst at a mans owne selfe.
Many thynges fall betwene the [Page B7v] cuppe and the mouth. Thoccasion of this prouerbe was this. Ther was a certayne person called Anceus, which was sonne to Neptune. This Anceus in sowyng tyme of vynes, called sore upon his seruauntes for to apply theyr worke, with which importune callyng on, one of his seruantes beyng euen for werines of the laboure moued agaynst his maister: well mayster, says he, as hastelye as ye nowe call upon us, it shall not be your chaunce euer to tast wine of this vine. After, when the vine tre dyd springe up happely, and the grapes were nowe rype, the maister triumphynge and moch reioysyng, calleth for the seruant and commaundeth him to press wyne into his cuppe. Now when he had the cuppe ful of syne in his hande, [Page B8r] redy to set it to hys mouth, he putteth hys sayde seruant in mynde of hys wordes, upbraydynge hum of hys false prophecienge. The seruant than bryngeth forth thys sentence to hys master. Betwene the cuppe and the lyppes maye come many casualties. Whyle the seruaunt was thus speakynge, & euen as the mayster was lyftynge up the cuppe to hys mouth, beholde the chaunce, sodeynly commeth runnynge in, an other seruaunt & telleth how a great wilde bore is destroyenge the vyneyarde. Whych tydynges as sone as Anceus heareth, forthwyth he setteth downe hys cuppe and runneth upon the wylde bore, of whome (whyle he was chasyng of hym) he was greuously wounded and so dyed.
Olde folke are twyse chyldren, or double chyldren. Aristotle in his politykes writeth, that after two and fyfty yeares, the sharpnes of wyt waxeth bounte & dull, wherfore comonly from that tyme men & women growe euery day more chyldyshe and more, so that when they come ones to extreme age as to foure scoore or there aboute, they dyffer in wytte and fascyons very lytle from chyldren. I saye commonly, for al be not so, but such as exercyse not their memory, and wol not retayne theyr myndes occupyed [Page C1r] in the practyse and continual exercyse of honest and comly busynesses.
Not Hercules agaynst two, that is to saye: Thoughe a man nauer so much excelleth other in strength, yet it woll be harde for hym to matche two or mo at ones. And one man maye lawfully gyue place to a multytude.
Let not the shoemaker go beyond hys shoe. Plinye reherseth thys history. Whan the moost kunnynge and excellent painter Apelles had [Page C1v] made anye goodlye and excellent pece of worke, he was wont to set it out towardes the stretes syde, that men myght loke upon it & talke theyr fansies of it, & he him selue wold also lye lurkyng in a corner to heare mens iudgementes what faultes were found in his worke, to thintent yf ther were any thyng amys, he might amende it. A monges other ther came to the stall where his worke stode out to be seen a shomaker, which vewynge well the picture, anone espyed a faulte in the shoes that there lacked a latchet. Apelles agaynste the next day amendeth the fault. The next day the shomaker commeth, agayne, and takyng a lytle pryde that he had found a fault, in so kunnynge a mans worke, begynneth to fynd an other fault in the legge. [Page C2r] Apelles not sufferyng his sawcynes, cryed out unto him, Let the shomaker not passe the shoe. Certes euery man ought to medle no further then he can skyll of. Euery man (sayth Aristotle) is a mete iudge of that hiselfe is lerned in. For he sayeth a blynd man ought not to dispute of colours. and therfore Quintilian wryteth, that sciences shulde be happy, yf onlye artificers might iudge of them.
He is in vayne wyse that is not wyse for hym selfe. This prouerbe how true it is, I wol not dispute, but sure I am, that men of our tyme kepe this saynge so iompe, that he is not counted worthy to be called a man whiche by anye meanes can not seke his owne auantage. [Page C2v]
Of an euyl rauyn an euyll egge. These two prouerbes be of one meaynge. Of euyll is engendred euyll. The chylde for the moost part followeth the fathers steppes. An euyll tre (sayeth Christ) can bryng forth no good frute. Our foreparentes Adam & Eue were for theyr transgression depriued of originall iustice, of the true feare of God, of [Page C3r] the true and pure loue of God, of the true and perfyte knowlege of God &c. Wherfore all we that be spronge of them, cannot but be lykewyse spotted & naturally corrupted wyth the same vyces.
Whan we be hayle, we easely gyue good counsayles to the sycke. This sentence of Terence is not muche unlyke the wyse answere of Thales the sage, who beynge demaunded what is the moost harde thynge to do: answered, to know they selfe. Agayne whan the same Thales was demaunded, what is the easest [Page C3v] thynge of all: he aunswered, to gyue good counsayle to other.
The thynges that be aboue us, belonge nothynge unto us. This was the sayng of Socrates. But we maye also turne it the contrarye way. The thinges that be underneth us, perteyne nothyng unto us. For as we ought not cuiouslye to enserche what thynges be done in heuen: so is it no lytell foly narowly to seke what is done under the earth. And as it becometh not Jacke Strawe to reason of princes maters, so agayne it is not semyng for persons of honest hauour to be euer busye in euerye tryflynge mater.
The slowe oxe wysheth for the sadle and the geldynge to eare the ground. No man is contented wyth hys lotte, the courtier wolde dwell in the countrey, the dweller in the countrey wold be a courtier, the bachiller wysheth hym selfe maryed, agayne whan he is maryed he wold be unmaryed.
Nothynge to muche. There is (sayeth Horace) a measure in thynges and certayne lystes ouer whiche and on thys syde whyche, the [Page C4v] ryght can not stande. Measure no doute is an hygh treasure. Some can not do but they ouer do, ether in the redresse of the abuses in the church they wyll runne to farre & quyte and cleane take away al honest ceremonies, tradicions, and lawes, or els in the mayntenynge of that is honeste, they woll wythout choyce styffely defende yea and kepe styll in theyr churches al customes, ceremonies, and traditions be they neuer so detestably abused and gone from the fyrst instruction. So harde it is to kepe the golden mediocritie whych the sayd Poete Horace full wyttely describeth.
Be suretie for an other and harme is at hande. What losse, what utter undoynge, commeth by surety-shyp [Page C5r] who knowth not? Albeit, I graunt, a man must beare with hys frende, and in case of necessitie also wyth the poore and nedye.
All that haue harpes be no harpers. Outwarde sygnes many tymes deceyue men. All that haue the gospel hangynge at theyr gyrdels be no gospellers. Nor agayn all that disprayse the leude fascions of the Papistes be not forthwyth Heritiques. We ought not to iuge accordynge to the outwarde appearaunce of thynges.
An ape is an ape although she weare badges of golde. Thys prouerbe aduertyseth us that the ornamentes [Page C5v] of fortune do not chaunge the nature of man. The occasion of this prouerbe (as telleth Lucia) came herof. A certayne kynge of Egypte kepte up a numbre of Apes and caused them to be taught the fourme and waye of daunsynge. For like as no beast approcheth nerer to the fygure of man, then the Ape: so is there none other beaste that eyther better or more wyllyngly counterfayteth mans actes, gestures and fashions, than thys beast. Beynge therfor anone taught the feate of daunsynge: they began to maske, clad in purple robes, wyth visours on theyr faces. Thus of longe tyme thys gorgious syghte delyted excedyngly the kynge and his lordes and ladyes, tyl at last a mery felowe bryngynge previly in hys bosome a good sorte of nuttes [Page C6r] dyd cast them in the stoore amonges the maskers. Here forthwyth the apes so soone as they sawe the nuttes, forgettynge theyr daunsynge began to shewe what they were and of daunsers retourned in to apes, & tearynge asunder theyr visours and maskynge apparell skambled and went together by the eares for the nuttes not wythoute great laughynge of the lokers on. It is to be feared lest at thye daye there be in Christendome many apes (that is to saye counterfayters whych by a Greeke worde we commonlye call hypocrites) decked in purple badges and cognisaunces, that is to wyte, whyche beare outwarde sygnes & badges of greate holynes as though they were lambes, but inwardly they be rauenous wolues. [Page C6v]
Art or kunnynge euery countrey nourysheth, that is to say, kunnynge men & such as haue any facultie or science, whether so euer they goo: shall lacke no liuynge. Cunnynge (they say) is no burthen. It neither can be taken from the by theues, and into what parte of the world so euer thou go, it foloweth thee. Suetonius wryteth that it was shewed before unto themperour Nero by his astronomers that the tyme shuld come when he shulde be put out of his empire, by reason wherof he gaue him selue moche the more egerly unto the studie of Musike, in so muche that he became very excellent, and then he was wonte to haue oft in his mouth the said prouerbe. And estemed it the fowlest [Page C7r] reproche that coulde be layd unto him to be called an euyl harper or player upon instruments. The same thyng also (as in an other place is mencioned) did happen unto Dionisius kyng of the Syracusans, which after he was thrust out of his kyngdome, came to Corynthe and there dyd set up a schole and taught children letters and musicke. For this cause amonges the Greakes is art or kunnynge called the porte or hauen of necessite unto men mortall, that is to say, the onely refuge in pouerty. Wherfore so many as haue abundaunce of worldly goodes for the tyme, yet let them not despyse honeste artes, neyther yet be recheles in bryngynge up theyr chyldren, and puttyng them to lernynge or some faculty, wherby [Page C7v] yf fortune fayle they maye yet get them a lyuynge.
There is an alteracion of al things. This sentence of Terence signifieth that in mens thynges nothyng is perpetual, nothynge stable, but all passe & repasse euen lyke to the ebbynge & flowynge of the Ocean see.
Chaunge of thynges is pleasaunt. Where shyft of thynges is not, mans mynde anone shal waxe wery & dul. For assuredly such is the nature of thynges, so great lothsomnes there is of mans appetyte, that nothynge can be so swete, but shal be abhorred, yf it be any longe whyl used. Nothynge is so galuant, so excellent, that can longe content the mynde. And therfore the poete Juuenal wryteth very handsomly. [Page C8r]
A seldom use of pleasures maketh the same the more pleasaunt. Shift & varietie hath so gret force in euery thing that by reason of the newnes, otherwhiles thynges that be not al of the best do please me very well.
Knowe tyme. Opportunitie is of such force that of honest it maketh unhonest, of dammage auauntage, of pleasure greuaunce, of a good turne a shrewed turne, & contrarye wyse of unhonest honest, of auauntage dammage, and brefly to conclude it cleane chaungeth the nature of thynges. Thys opportunitie or occasion (for so also ye maye cal it) in auenturynge and finishynge a busynes: doubtles beareth the chiefe stroke, so that not wythout good skyll the paynyms of olde tyme counted it a diuine thynge. [Page C8v] And in thys wyse they painted her. They made her a goddesse standynge wyth fethered feete upon a whele and turnynge her selfe aboute the circle therof most swyftly, beynge on the former parte of her hed all heary and on the hynder parte balde, so that by the fore parte she maye easely be caughte, but by the hynder parte, not so.
Of musyke hyd is no regarde. Haue a man neuer so excellent lernynge or knowledge in any feate, [Page D1r] yet, yf he be not knowen, he is had in no price. A lyke thyng is rad in Ecclesiastico. Of wyseome hydd, & of treasure caste in a corner, commeth no profite.
It is not one swalowe that bryngeth in somer. It is not one good qualitie that maketh a man good. Swalowes be a token of the begynnynge of somer, yet one swalowe is no sure token. So of al other thynges.
Honoure maynteineth kunnynge. Be a man neuer so excellent in anye science or feate, yf he be nothyng promoted or set by, anone he is discouraged, yea and al they that be studentes of the same, be in lyke wyse dyscouraged. On the contrary parte, let cunnynge persons be had in honest reputation and be worthyly preferred, anone ye shall se bothe them and other by theyr exemple stryue who may excelle other.
Shamefastnes is unprofitable to a nedy person. This prouerbe admonisheth us, to cast away bashfulnes where nede constrayneth. For shamefastnes is very unprofytable unto many thynges, but in especyall when the mater requyreth to attempt al wayes possible.
The mynde of gyftes is best, that is to saye, In the gyftes or presentes of freendes the price or value of the thyng that is sent is not to be considered, but the mynde rather of the sender, as the renoumed kyng Xerxes receyued thankfully of an uplandish man an handful of water. And Christ also preferred the wydowes two fardynges afore al the ryche mens offerynges.
Wyth many strokes is an oke ouerthrowen. Nothyng is so stronge but by lyttel and lyttel maye be brought downe. Wherfore yonge men ought not to be discouraged by the greatnesse of an enterpryse, so it be honest, for by continuance, seme it neuer so harde, it may be reclaymed and ouercome.
A rych man is eyther wycked, or a wycked mans executour or heyre. Thys prouerbe S. Hierome hym selfe useth. How true it is not only experience teacheth, but our leader and capitayne Christe also in hys doctrine declareth unto us whych bycause he wolde fraye us from the wycked Mammon, sayeth a camel shall soner passe through a nedles [Page D3r] eye, than a rych man entre into heuen. Meanyng that it is excedyng harde for such as flowe in worldly goodes to haue a mynde untangled wyth the same, & to beare them selues upright towardes god and man. Yet I woll not gaynsay but a man may be rych and not put hys confidence in his ryches, as Dauid, Job, Abraham and many other Patriarches were.
Better it is to runne backe agayne, than to runne forth amysse. Many be eyther so shamefast, or els so styffe in theyr owne opinion that they had leuer runne forth styl in errour and out of the waye, than to apply them selues to better and more holsome counsayles. [Page D3v]
An olde foxe is not taken in a snare. Longe experience and practise of sylye and subtyle felowes maketh that thoughe in dede they be great iuggelers, dissemblers, & priuie workers of falshod yet they can not easely be taken in a trap.
Extreme lawe is extreme wronge. Thys is to saye, then moost of all men swarue from rught and equitie: whan they most supersticiously stycke to the letters of lawes not regardyng thintent of the makers. For thys is called summum ius, that is to saye, the extremitie or rigoure [Page D4r] of the lawe, whan all the stryfe and contention is upon the wordes of the lawe wythout any respecte to the meanynge and purpose of the lawe makers. Thys fondnes of some supersticiouse lawyers doth Marke Tully copiously and pleasauntly illude in hys oration for Murena.
Good lawes be gendred of euyll maners. Lawes (as testifyeth thapostle Paule) be not made for the ryghtuous persons, but for horemongers, aduouterers, theues, [Page D4v] traytours, mansleers and suche other. If al were good we shulde nede no lawes.
Authorities declareth a man. The meanyng of this prouerbe is this that in a priuate lyfe, wehre no rule is borne, a mans disposition and maners be not espyed. But lette him ones be put in office & authoritie, so that in maner he maye do what hym lusteth: anone he sheweth himselfe what he is. Epaminondas properly turned the prouerbe the contrary waye. For when [Page D5r] the Thebanes euen of spyt had put hym to a very vyle office in the cytie, he despysed it not, but with suche diligence executed the rowme, that where before it was counted an office skace honest, nowe it was had in high reputacion. And to suche as meruayled why he wolde take so vyle & disworshypfull and office upon hym, he aunswered in thys wyse. Not only a rowme or office declareth the man, but a man declareth the office.
Make slowe hast, or hast the slowly. Thys is as muche to saye as temper thy hast wyth slouth. Yf ye [Page D5v] lyste to knowe more of thys prouerbe moste worthy continuallye to be borne in mynde, reade the Chiliades of Erasmus, who handleth this mater at large.
Harde or difficile be those thynges that be goodly or honeste. This sentence of the wyse man Solon declarethe unto us that the waye of honestie, of vertue, of renowm, is uneasye, paynful, ieopardouse, harde, which thyng also teachethe us our Guyde & Sauiour Christe sayng that narowe is the way which leadeth to lyfe. Wherfore let not the difficultie or hardnes of the thyng withdrawe us from honest enterpryses.
Silence breaketh many frendships. Thys adage monysheth us that wyth ofte accompanyenge, and frequent speakinges unto, frendships be both gotten and meynteyned, & agayne wyth absence & leauynge of, they be commonly broken.
The thynge that lyeth in a sobre mans hart, is in the tongue of the dronkarde. Dronken folke can kepe no counsayle. Wherfore it is wysedome bothe to kepe thy selfe from that vyce, leste thou utterest in [Page D6v] thy dronkenes the thynge, that afterwarde shal repent the, and also not to kepe companye wyth suche nor to disclose thy harte to them that be subiecte to thys foule vice, leste they happen to tourne the to displeasure.
Loue as in tyme to come thou shuldest hate, & hate as thou shuldest in tyme to come loue. There is no man, be he neuer so muche [Page D7r] thyne enemye, but here after maye chaunce to be thy frende. It is therfore the propertie of a prudent and wyse man, so to temper hys affection as well in loue as in hatred, as he susteyne no incommoditie by the same. Now though christianitie requireth of us a perfect loue of our neyghboure and forbyddeth al suspicion: yet we are not by the same commaunded to communicate oure secrete counsayles and thaffections of our harte, to all men alyke. And agayne though we ought to hate no person no not our moost bytter enemyes, yet the frayltie of mans nature is so great, and thoccasions be so many on bothe parties to be gyuen, that a man oughte in thys case to distrust him self, And as he ought in thynges not procedynge accordynge to hys desyre loke and [Page D7v] hope for better, so it is wysedome in prosperitie when all is as thou woldest haue it, to feare & suspecte the worst.
Exercyse can brynge to passe al thynges. Nothinge (sayeth Seneca) is so harde but mans mynde can ouercome it, and continuall practisynge brynge it into an acquayntaunce. There be no affections so wylde, so unruly, but discipline & awe may tame them. What thyng so euer the mynde commaundeth she obteyneth. Some haue accustomed [Page D8r] themselues neuer to laugh. Some haue forbydden them selues wyne, some bodely lust. &c.
It is to late sparinge at the bottome. This sentence of Seneca is worthy to be wrytten upon the dores of all stoore houses, of all countyng houses, upon all kaskettes, al vessels of wyne or such lyke thynges. It monysheth us to spare bytymes and not to folowe the common sorte of prodigall yongkers, whyche whan theyr landes and goodes be ones fallen into theyr [Page D8v] handes, thinke there is no botome of theyr fathers bagges & cofers nor no boundes of theyr landes.
A frende is more necessary than ether fyer or water. Assuredly how necessarie trustye, and faythful frendes be: is than at last knowen, whan a man hath nede of them. There is no person, be he neuer so ryche, neuer so myghtye, neuer so muche in hys princes fauour, yea though he be hym selfe a prynce, a kynge, a kesar, but nedeth the ayde of frendes. For as wythout fyer and water mans lyfe can not consyste, so neyther can it stande wythout the use, familiaritie, and seruice of familiars, whome the Latynes euen for thys selfe cause do call necessarios, [Page E1r] and amitie or frendshyppe they call necessitudinem. Wherfore the prouerbe meanethe that two of the gretteste commodities that can be are gathered of frendshyp, that is to wyt, pleasure and profite. For there is nothyng neyther more delectable or cherefull then is fyer, neyther more profitable then is water.
Let euerye man exercise hym selfe in the facultie that he knoweth. Let the kobler medle wyth clowtyng his neyghbours shoes, and not be a captaine in felde, or meddel wyth maters concernynge a common wealth. Let them iudge of controuersies in the christen religion, that be lerned in the same, [Page E1v] and not euery Jacke plowman.
Aske that is unreasonable that thou mayst beare awaye that is reasonable. If thou wylte begge an ooke of thy frende, aske twenty or an hundreth ookes. This craft our merchaunt men and other that sel what so euer ware it be, knowe wel ynough. For yf thou cheapest anye thynge of them, forthwith they woll not be ashamed to aske double or treble the price of it. If they do it (sayth Erasmus) bycause the cheaper shulde be the more willyng to gyue the reasonable & due price, it maye perchaunce be suffred, but yf they do the thing of a mynd to circumuent and deceyue the ignoraunt and simple persons [Page E2r] and to make them beleue the thyng is of moch more value then in dede it is, surely the crafte is deuelysh, intollerable, and farre unmete for christen persons.
Loke how many bondmen we haue & so many enemyes we haue. Euery man naturally desyreth to be at lybertie, & therfore he can not but hate in his harte, those that kepe hym in bondage. And this is the cause why also tyrannes that wol of their subgiettes make bondmen be so abhorred, so detested, & cursed of them, that at the laste they conspyre all togyther to expulse them, as infinite exemples in Crhonicles do testifie.
It is beste to use an others mans madnes. We use, enioye, or take the commodities of other mennes madnes, when the thynge that other men do rasshelye or folishlye, we aplye to oure profytte, pleasure and commoditie.
The thynge that is done can not be undone. For onlye this one thyng (sayth a certayne Poete) is denyed unto god himself to make that thynges shulde be undone which ones were done. How great [Page E3v] foly than is it for a mortall creature to call agayne (as they saye) yesterdaye.
A lyer ought not to be forgetfull. It is very harde for hym that lyeth, alwayes to agre in one talke, onles he hath a ryght good memorie, for asmuche as the remembraunce of thynges feined, is farre more hard than the memorie of true thynges. By reason whereof for the moost parte the deuysours and forgers of lyes are by thys meanes taken, [Page E4r] while forgettyng what they spake afore, they speake thynges contrary and repugnaunte to theyr former tale.
Wythout meate and drynke the lust of the body is colde. The beste way to tame carnal lust, is to kepe abstinence of meates and drynkes. Ceres amonges the Panyms was taken for the Goddesse [Page E4v] of corne, Bacchus for the god of wyne, and Venus for the goddesse of loue.
Nether all thynges, nor in all places, nor of all men. Thys prouerbe teacheth us, that in takynge of rewardes, we shewe oure selues not [Page E5r] only shamefast, but also ware and circumspecte. For there be some thynges, whych is not semyng for a man to take. There is also a place and tyme, that it were much better for one to refuse the gyfte that is offered than to take it. And agayn there be some, of whom it is no honestye, to receyue any gyfte.
A vessel woll kepe longe the savour wherewyth it is fyrste seasoned. For thys cause Quintilian counsayleth us forthwyth euen from our youth to lerne the best thynges, [Page E5v] syth nothyng stycketh more fastly, than that, that is receyued and taken of pure youth not yet infected wyth peruerse and croked maners or opinions.
No man in the worlde is wyse at all houres. It is only belongynge to God & properly due unto hym, neuer to commyt folly. There is (I saye) noman, but otherwhyles doteth, but is deceyued, but playeth the foole, thoughe he seme neuer so wyse. Whan I saye man I excepte not the woman.
A mans owne maner do shape hym hys fortune. Men commonly when any aduersitie chaunce, accuse fortune, or when they se other [Page E6r] men to prospere well in theyr matters, they saye it is theyr fortune. So they laye all together upon fortune, thynkynge there is suche a thynge called fortune that ruleth all. But surely they are hyghly deceyued. It is theyr owne maners, theyr owne qualities, tetches, condicions, and procedynges that shape them thys fortune, that is to saye, that cause them eyther to be sette forwarde or backwarde, eyther to prosper or not to prospere.
Commytte not a swearde to a [Page E6v] chylde. Who so euer putteth a chylde, or a foolyshe and ignoraunt person (whych in dede differeth no thynge from a chyld) in authoritie and office, commytteth a swerde to a chylde. All be it I studye in these prouerbes to be shorte, yet it becommeth not me an Englysh man and the kynges seruaunt to passe ouer wyth sylence the thynge, that Erasmus beynge a straunger unto us vouchsaued here to recorde of the moost prudent and excellent prince kinge Henry the .vii. father to our moost drad soueraygne lorde that now is. Thys excellent kynge (sayeth Erasmus) beynge a prynce of a very sharpe iudgement, and also one that had a wonderfull grace in gyuynge of wytte and quycke answeres, whan on a tyme he had herde a certayne doctoure of diuinitie [Page E7r] preache which was one of the secte of those that were called mendicant fryers, & the fryer had spente hys hole sermon in ragynge oute wyth open mouthe lyke a madde man agaynste the lyfe of princes (for there be some that by thys waye seke to get them a name) and was asked how he liked the fryers preachynge: Truely, says the kynge, methought that a naked sworde was commytted to the handes of a madde man.
The fayreste of Apes is fowle. That that of the owne kynd is unhonest, can not be made honest. To be a bawde, to be a harlot, is unhonest of the selfe nature, wherefore in what so euer person it be or after what sorte, it can not be made honest. Semblably it is to be iudged of all other thygnes.
A lytle euyl, a great good. Of a lytel incommoditie and labour otherwhyles is gathered moste greate and hyghe commoditie. To this agreeth the excellent sentence of Musoni the Aulus Gellius remembreth [Page E8r] in his .vi. boke whyche is this: If thou do any honest thyng wyth laboure, the labour goeth away, the honestie remayneth. But yf thou do any dishonest thyng with pleasure, the pleasure goeth away the dishonestie remayneth.
Wyth sluggers or unhardy persons, it is alwayes holydaye. They that flee labour, wysh for holydayes wherin they may loyter & gyue them selues to good chere and pleasures. For amonges the olde Panymes (as full eloquentlye declareth Erasmus) certayne [Page E8v] holydayes were therfore gyuen to the uplandish folke and craftesmen that in the same they mought wyth honest disporte and playe refreshe them of theyr werynes & trauayle. And to thintent the pastyme shuld be the more moderate, they mengled therwyth religion, that is to wyte, seruice of goddes. But at thys daye (sayeth Erasmus) the common sorte of christians do fowlye abuse holydayes (whych in tymes past were instituted and ordeyned for a godly use) spendynge them upon bankettynges, upon reuellynges, stues, dyes, cardes, frayes, byckerynges and upon all naughtynes, neyther is there at any tyme more leudnes and myschiefe done them on holy dayes, when men ought moost of all to absteyne from leudnes. Neyther do we euer folowe [Page F1r] more than Panyms, then when cheiflye we shuld playe the christians. And where as it is evident and playne, that the thyng which was inuented for the mayntenaunce of relygion or deuocyon, is nowe growen to the utter destruction & subuersion of relygion: yet (sayth thys excellent clerke) I can not know for what consyderation and purpose the bysshoppes of Rome do dayly multiply the holydayes, and do continually increase them into an infinite nombre, where as it had ben moch more conuenient in this behalfe to folow wyse physiciens, whiche accordynge to the qualitie of the deseases, do chaunge their medicines & remedies, hauyng this onely as a marke afore their eyes, then they prescribe suche thynges unto theyr pacientes, [Page F1v] as be profytable to the restorynge and preseruacion of helth. Wherfore, syth now it is apparant, that the thynge ones well institute, hauynge regarde to those tymes, is now by the chaunge of mens maners become a decaye of deuocion I praye you, what mater were it, to chaunge the constitucion, moued of the same consyderation that the elders dyd fyrst constitute it. That I say of holydayes, the same is to be iudged of many other thynges, not (sayth he) that I condemne the christen mens holydayes, but that I wold not haue them thus increase into such innumerable a nombre, and that I wold wysh rather, that those fewe holydayes whyche the authoritie of the auncient fathers haue ordined, mought be conuerted to that use, wherunto they were [Page F2r] fyrst inuented. For wyth true christen folke euery day (to say the trouth) is the Sabboth daye and is feastfull. But agayne, to euyll disposed persons and unthryftes, the verye feastfull and holy dayes, be lesse feastfull, then be the workyng dayes. Hytherto haue I translated the workes of that renowned clerke Erasmus. But now in Englande thanked be god through the hygh benefyte of oure incomparable prince Henry the .viii. dyuerse superfluouse holydayes be already abrogate. Neyther do we tary the byshop of Romes redresse in maters of religion, which as it semeth forceth nomore of Christes church (ouer whych neuertheles he pretendeth to haue the charge) then the hyre lynge passeth upon the flocke of shepe, as Christ hymselfe declareth. [Page F2v] Vino vendibili suspensa hedera nihil opus.
Wyne that is saleable and good nedeth no bushe or garland of yuye to be hanged before. Lyke as men woll seke oute good wyne, though there be no sygne at all to directe and appoynte them where it is to be solde: so all good thynges nede no commendation of any outward badge or token. Good merchaundyse and also pure and subtanciall thynges of what kynd so euer they be, do prayse them selues.
Cowardes yet neuer wanne a fylde, or neuer had the victorie. In olde tyme they that had gotten the victorie in batel were wonte to erecte and set up some great stone, [Page F3r] pyller or other thyng for a sygne of victorie, which marke they called Trophaeum. Nowe such as be cowardes and which cast manye perylles and doubtes, shall neuer come to this glorie, forasmoch as such excedyng renowne and glorie, can not happen without great perylles and daungers. And as it is to be thought of the euentes and chaunces in warres, so it is of al other valyaunte and hardye enterpryses.
One eye wytnesse, is of more value, then tenne eare wytnesses, that is to saye, Farre more credite is to be gyuen to suche as reaporte the thynge they sawe wyth theyr eyes, than to such as speake but by heare saye.
The multitude of rulers destroyed the countrey of Caria. This countrey was sumtyme a very floryshynge realme and by the discorde & dissention of the citizens amonges them selues, whyle euery man stroue to be a lord, it was brought at last to a thyng of naughte. Wherefore this prouerbe aduertiseth us that nothynge is more noysome nor [Page F4r] more pestiferous to a common weale, then the ouermoche libertye of a multitude, where no man chieflye is obeyed, but euery man doth as him lusteth. This unleful libertie or license of the multitude is called an Anarchie, A mischief surely in maner worse then any Tyranye.
If thou trouble the pure water wyth the myer thou shalte neuer fynd drynke. This prouerbe is wont to be sayde, when the thyges which of themselues be verye good, a man marreth with the medley of thynges that be naughte. As yf a man wolde depraue the most excellent facultie of Diuinitie wyth hereticall opinions, or wyth fylthynes of wordes, or fynallye wyth any prophane and straunge [Page F4v] doctrines.
Systeyne and absteyne. Thys sentence is worthye to be written upon all dores, postes, walles, yea and in euery corner where so euer a man casteth his eye. The author of it is Epictetus a noble Philosopher, by whych two words, he hath comprised all that perteyne to the felicitie of mans lyfe, and that other philosophers coulde skarse declare in so many great volumes hath he declared by these two wordes, susteyne and absteyne. By the fyrst worde we be taught, strongly to beare aduersitie, & by the seconde by absteyne from all unlefull pleasures and pastymes.
Thurst out nature wyth a croche, yet woll the styll runne backe agayne. It is an harde thinge doutles, to stryue against nature. A croked bough of a tree, be it neuer so much dryuen an other waye wyth a forke, or crotch, yet yf thou ones take awaye the forke, anone it returneth to the owne nature & course agayne. So in lyke wyse, yf man contrary to hys nature and bryngynge up take upon hym an other person ether for fear, or for shame, or for some other cause, let an occasion be offered, and anone he returneth to his owne maners & nature.
Yf he hope that he shall not be espyed (sayeth Terence) agayne he commeth to hys owne disposicion and inclinacion: as he that feareth to commytte offences not for any loue he hath to vertue, but for fear [Page F5v] of the staffe or sworde, take me away the staffe or sworde, and forth wyth ye shal se hym returne to his olde kynde. For assuredlye theyr kinde and natural inclinacion (sayeth Pindarus) can nether the craftye foxe, neyther the wylde Lyon chaunge. For tame thou neuer so much the lyon, he wol styll returne to hys natiue fyernes, neyther wol the foxe by any meanes forget her naturall wylynes, be she neuer so muche mekened and made tame.
There is no goodnes of shepe, yf the shepherde be awaye. Seruantes do nothynge wel, where the mayster is absente. Scholers do no good, when the teacher is gone. That commonalitie is nothynge [Page F6r] worth, that is not gouerned by thauthoritie of a prince. In summa, wheris an anarchie and no monarchie, I meane, where one hedde & ruler is not, but euery man as a lorde doth what hym lusteth, there is no thynge well done.
A yonge woman or wenche bryngeth lyghtlye forth chyldren, although she be not halfe well knowen of man. The cause hereof is, that youth is moche more redy to conceyue then age. Semblably, a fyne wytte that is redye to take anye thynge is taught anone, thoughe he hath but an euyll maister. And so of all other thynges.
these many other incommodities gnis & uoluisse sat est. ufficeth that a man hath wylled. Wylle nges that passe a mans power, deserueth acion, although hys enterpryse take not terpryse take not se take not
Viri infortunati procul amici. i infortunati procul amici. 'F7v'> e, anone e, honeste rtunam boni consule. d worth thy present fortune. esent fortune. it nucem. reaketh the nutte. He . owne power. For all these and wyth these many other incommodities both debt bring wyth it.
In great maters it euen sufficeth that a man hath wylled. Wylle otherwhyles namelye in thynges that passe a mans power, deserueth great prayse and commendacion, although hys enterpryse take not effecte.
Flatery & folowing of mens mynds getteth frendes, where speakyng of [Page F8r] trouth gendreth hatred. Suche is now and euer hath ben the fascion of the worlde, that who telleth the trouthe, is for moost parte hated, and he that can flatter and saye as I say, shalbe myne owne whyte sonne.
Many shall hate the, yf thou loue [Page F8v] thy selfe. Undoutedly, nothynge is more hurtful to a man, then selfe loue is, nether is it possible, but that he muste nedes displease many, that pleaseth hymselfe and standeth best in hys owne conceyte.
It is the partes of a good shepherde or pastor to sheare the shepe and not to plucke of theyr skinnes. [Page G1r] This prouerbe did Tiberius Cesar an Emperoure of Rome aunswere to certayne of hys frendes, which counsayled him to inhaunce the rentes and exactions of suche as helde of him. Also Alexander kynge of Macedonie surnamed the greate, when one aduertysed him that he mychte take farre greater tributes of the cities that he had conquered, aunswered agayne on this wyse. I hate that gardiner which cutte of the herbes by the harde rotes: meanyng the same thynge that Tiberius meaned. This prouerbe agreeth aswell upon kynges & other magistrates as upon bisshoppes curates and all other ecclesiastical ministres.
Batell is a swete thynge to them that neuer assayed it. He that lysteth to knowe more of thys prouerbe, let him go to Erasm' which handleth in hys Chiliades this prouerbe both ryght copiously & also eloquently.
Se thou be that thou arte reported and borne in hande to be. Rych [Page G2r] men for the moost parte are praysed of the poore & called wyse, iust, honest, lerned, godly and all that good is. Now Horace byddeth them loke and put theyr diligence, that they become suche persons in dede, as they heare them selues bruted and borne in hande.
Silence garnysheth a woman. Assuredlye there is no tyre, no apparayl that better becommeth a woman then sylence. Whych thynge also the Apostle Paule requyreth, whyle he forbyddeth women in the church or congregacion to speake, but wylleth them to aske theyr husbandes at home, yf they be in doubt of any thynge.
That nedeth not, is to dere of a fardyng. Cato (which is thauctour of this prouerbe) amonges hys other preceptes and lessons of husbandry teacheth the husband man to be a seller and no byer, & to bye onely suche thynges as he muste nedes use. For suche thynges (says he) as thou nedeste not, be ouer dere of a farthynge, as who shulde saye, be a thynge neuer so chepely bought, yet it is deare, yf it be not necessary.
Shortnes is acceptable. Unto lyttel thynges is a certayne grace annexed. Some thinges do please men by reason of the greatnes and quantitie. Agayne there be other thynges whych euen for that very [Page G3r] cause be acceptable & had in pryce bicause they be litle.
A couetouse man doth noman good but whan he dyeth. They that giue themselfes only to the hourdyng up of money be, profitable to no bodie whiel they liue. Only their death bryngeth pleasure and profyte [Page G3v] to theyr heyres & executours.
Nothyng to Parmenoes sowe, occasion of this prouerbe was this: There was a certayne man called Parmeno who was of that sorte of men which also in our tymes be wonte so featlye to counterfayte & represent sondry voyces aswell of men as of beastes, that they that herde hym and saw hym not, wold haue thought them true voyces & not counterfayted. In which kynde of pastyme there be many that delyte [Page G4r] excedyngly much. Thys Parmeno then as he was by this feate and qualitie verye acceptable and plasaunt to the people: so hys fame and brute for hys excellency in thys behalfe dyd not a lytle florysh aboue the rest. Wherfore whan dyuerse other for gaines sake studied to counterfayte the same, and to represente the gruntynge of the sow, as dyd Parmeno, anone the people were wonte to crye: well done, but nothyng to Parmenos sow. Now a certayne wytty felowe, espyenge, that the iudgement of the people proceded rather of ymaginacion than of trouth, and caryenge under hys clothes a very pygge in dede, hyd himself from the peoples syght as the maner was. Forthwith the pygge cryeth. The people thynkyng it to be but a counterfayt voyce, began [Page G4v] accordyng to theyr maner to crye. Tush, what is thys to Parmenos pygge? Here the felowe bryngyng forth out of hys clothes the verye ygge in dede, and openly shewynge it to them all, dasheth theyr foolysh iudgement. Assuredly suche a fonde beast is the people, that the thynge that they ones take into theyr heades, be the contrary neuer so apparant, they styffely upholde.
Amonges frendes al thynges be commune. The authour of thys prouerbe is Pythagoras an auncient Philosopher. Neither dyd he only speak it, but also brought in, such a certayne communion of lyfe and goodes, as Christ wolde haue used amonges al Christians. For [Page G5r] as manye as were admitted of him into the felowship and company of his doctrine, al the mony & substaunce they had: they layd it togither, which thyng not only in worde, but also in dede was called coenobium. Certes, this communion of those Hethen Pythagorians resembled moche better that communion used in the primatiue churche amonges the Apostles, that doth either our Monkry at this day, or the wycked Anabaptistical secte, whiche woll haue no Rulers, no order, but whiche go aboute to disturbe the hole world with horrible confusion.
Frendship (sayth pythagors) is equalitie & al one mynde or wyll, [Page G5v] and my frende is as who shuld say an other I. He pronounced also many Enygmata or Symboles, of whych, I intend of some to make here a brief rehersall.
Syt not upon the measure. Erasmus thynketh that by thys darke [Page G6r] sentence is meant we shuld not lyue upon the measure or dyete gyuen us at other mens handes but that euery man by hys owne industrie and labour ought to seke hym goodes where by he maye leade a cleane & honest lyfe, and not by slouthfulnes to haunte ydelnes and other mens meate. For it is the fascion of a flatterer and parasyte to lyue of an other mans trencher, & to haue no honeste facultie where by thou mayest lyue of thyne owne.
Weare no streyght rynge. As who shulde saye, caste not thy selfe into [Page G6v] bondage or into suche a kynde of lyfe from whence thou cannest not afterwarde wynde out thy selfe. For who so euer weareth on hys fynger a narow & streyght rynge, in maner layeth bandes on hym selfe, and imprisoneth hym selfe.
Absteyne from beanes. There be sondry interpretacions fo thys symbole. But Plutarche and Cicero thynke beanes to be forbydden of Pythagoras, bycause they be wyndye and do engender impure humours and for that cause prouoke bodely lust.
Put not meate into a pyspot. Plutarche expouneth thys sayng thus. Cast not good sentencies in to the mynde of a wycked person. So that it is al one in effecte with that sayenge of Christ. Cast not perles afore swyne. For spech is the meate of the mynde. But thys meat is corrupted and doth putrify, yf it fal into an unsounde minde. Unto thys loked the Poete Horace [Page G7v] where he sayeth. Onles the vessel be pure, what so euer thou powreste into it, it waxeth sowre.
When thou comest to the ende, turne not backe agayne, He monysheth us, that when oure tyme is come, and when we haue runne our course, so that we muste nowe departe thys wretched world, we then drawe not backe agayne desyrouse to begyne our lyfe a new.
Helpe the taker of a burthen, but not the layer down. As who shuld saye. Further suche as laboure to atteyne to vertue, but suche as be slowthfull and laye downe all honest [Page G8r] labours, helpe not.
Walke not by the highe weye. That is to say as S. Hierom expouneth it, Folowe not the errours of the people. For it is not possible, that those thynges whiche be beste: can please the most part of folke. Thys precepte of Pythagoras is not moche disagreyng from the Euangelical doctrine of Christe, whiche monysheth us to flee the broade & wyde wey, that the moste parte of men walke in, & to entre into the narowe and streight wey which is litle beaten but leadeth to immortalitie and lyef euerlastinge.
Kepe no swalowes under the same roufe of thy house. That is, Brynge not up, neyther kepe thou company with such as in thy prosperite seke thy frendship, but in aduersitie or when they haue their desyre, forsake the. The swalowes properte is, in the spring tyme of the yeare to repare to a mans house, and under his roufe to nestle, but so sone as she ones hathe brought up her yonge, when it is towardes wynter: anone she forsaketh his company without anye thankesgyuyng or good turne doynge for harbroughynge and lodgynge [Page H1r] of her. Such unkynde byrdes or rather beastes there be not a few in the world, whych neuertheles tyll they haue obteined theyr prayse that they hunt for, pretende to bear most hartie & entier loue unto the. But the ende declareth all.
Breake not bread. Here he admonysheth us (sayeth Erasmus) that we breake not amitie or frendship which thynge is signifyed by bread. For in old tyme it was the maner to ioyne frendship by eatynge togither of breade. And therfore also Christ oure capitayne and sauiour by distributinge of breade did stablysh & as it were consecrate perpetuall amitie betwen hys disciples and folowers. Wherfore when Pythagoras commaunded his disciples [Page H1v] not to breake bread: he meant not that they shuld not breake the bread whiche they did eate, but the thynge whiche by breakynge of bread in those dayes was understande that is to wit, a sure and perpetuall amitie and loue betwen them selues. What shall I saye? Christen men be in dede breakers, but no eaters of this bread that Pythagoras speaketh of. What discorde, what contention, what mortall hatred, is betwen Christians, it wolde make a true Christen mans harte blede to se. And yet Christ was a farre greater solemnitie taught his disciples this concord, then euer pythagoras did. At a solemne souper the nyght before his departure out of this world from us, he toke bread, and thankes yeuen, brake it and sayde to his disciples, take, eate, this is [Page H2r] my bodye, whiche is beytrayed and broken for you. This do ye, in remembraunce of me &c. Lo with how expresse & lyuely a sacrament he hathe incorporate us into him selfe. He maketh us all one with him, yea and all one togither with in our selues. And yet settyng this moste sacred Symbole and sacrament at naught, by malice & discord we disseuer our selues one of us from an other, yea & consequently from him that thus in hys own bodye hathe knytte us together. Is not the brede (sayth S. Paule) whiche we breake the partakynge of the lordes body? For we beynge many be one bread and one body. We be all partakers of one bread and of one cuppe. Christe himselfe speaking of Judas who ungentlye betrayed him sayd, He that eateth [Page H2v] bread with me hath lifted up his hele ayenste me. I praye you do not we Christen men (at lest wey whiche wyl so be called) expresse & resemble Judas? yearlye by thys solemne sacrament we be incorporate in Christ, we be partakers of his body, we eate the mistical bread. This in outwarde apparaunce is a symbole and argument of an excedyng unitie and brennyng charitie. But inwardly very Judasses yea and outwardly to, we lyft up our heles, we kyck, we spurne, ayenste Christe. Wherfore to returne to my purpose we be breakers and not eaters or (to speake more truly) we be unworthy eters of this mystical beade not discernynge the lordes bodye. And for thys cause I meane for the prophanacion of thys sacrament no [Page H3r] doubte the terrible thretenynges that Paule speaketh of, be come upon us. Many of us be weake and many slepe.