Obrazy na stronie

Symon's Lesson of Udtysedone for all

Maner Chyldryn.

[From MS. Bodl. 832, leaf 174.]

You'd be better unborn than

your own way

[The Rev. J. R. Lumby has kindly sent me the following amusing lesson of wysedome' to 'all maner chyldryn', signed Symon, which he found in the Bodleian. Mr G. Parker has read the proof with the MS. Lydgate sinned against most of its precepts. It makes the rod the great persuader to learning and gentleness.] All maner chyldryn, ye lysten & lere

Children, attend!
A leffon of wyfedome pat ys wryte here!
My chyld, y rede pe be wys, and take hede of

þis ryme!
4 Old men yn prouerbe fayde by old tyme

A chyld were beter to be vnbore
Than to be vntaught, and so be lore.!!

The chyld þat hath hys wyll alway

You mustn't have 8 Shal thryve late, y thei? wel say,

And þer-for euery gode mannys chyld
That is to wanton and to wyld,

Lerne wel this leffon for fertayn, 12 That thou

may be pe beter man.
Chyld, y warne þee yn al wyse
That þu tel trowth & make no lyes.

Tell the truth,
Chyld, be not froward, be not prowde,

don't be froward, 16 But hold vp by hedde & fpeke a-lowde;

head, And when eny man spekyth to the,

take off your hood

when you're Do of þy hode and bow thy kne,

spoken to. And waysch thy handes & þy face,

Wash your hands 20 And be curteys yn euery place.

Compare “Better vnfedde then vntaughte" in Seager's Schoole of Vertue, above, p. 348, 1. 725.

hold up your

and face,
Be courteous.


2 thee

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Don't throw stones at dogs and hogs.

Mock at no one.

Don't swear.

Eat what's given you,

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and don't ask for this and that.

Honour your father and mother:

kncel and ask their blossing.

And where pou comyst, with gode chere
In halle or bowre, bydde “god be here !"

Loke pou cast to no mannes dogge,
24 With staff ne stone at hors ne hogge ;

Loke þat pou not fcorne ne iape
Noper with man, maydyn, ne ape;

Lete no man of þee make playnt;
28 Swere pou not by god noper by saynt.

Loke pou be curteys stondyng at mete;
And þat men zeuyth pee, pou take & ete;

And loke that pou nother crye ne crave,
32 And say " that and that wold y have;"

But stond pou ftylle be-fore borde,
And loke pou fpeke no lowde worde.

And, chyld, wyrshep thy fader and thy moder,
36 And loke þat þou greve noßer on ne oper,

But euer among pou shalt knele adowne,
And aske here bleslyng and here benesowne.

And, chyld, kepe thy clopes fayre & clene,
40 And lete no fowle fylth on hem be fene.

Chyld, clem pou not ouer hows ne walle
For no frute , bryddes, ne balle;

And, chyld, caft no ftonys ouer men hows,
44 Ne cast no stonys at no glas wyndowys;

Ne make no crying, yapis, ne playes,
In holy chyrche on holy dayes.

And, chyld, y warne þee of anoper thynge,
48 Kepe þee fro many wordes and yangelyng.

And, chyld, whan pou gost to play,
Loke þou come home by lyght of day.

And, chyld, I warne the of a-noper mater,
52 Loke pou kepe þee wel fro fyre and water ;

And be ware and wyse how þat þou lokys
Ouer any brynk, welle, or brokys;

Keep your clothes clean.

Don't go bird's-
or steal fruit,

or throw stones
at men's windows,

or play in church.

Don't chatter.

Get home by daylight.

Kcep clear of tire and water,

and the edges of wells and brooks.

· Cp. Lydgate's Tricks at School, Forewords, p. xliv.

or make faces at any man.

When you meet

And when þou stondyst at any fchate',
56 By ware and wyse þat þou cacche no stake,

For meny chyld with-out drede
Ys dede or dyffeyuyd throw ywell hede.

(leaf 175.) Chyld, kepe thy boke, cappe, and glouys, Take care of your 60 And al thyng þat þee behouys;

book, cap, and

gloves, And but pou do, pou fhat fare the wors,

or you'll be

birched on your And þer-to be bete on pe bare ers.

bare bottom. Chyld, be pou lyer noßer no theffe ;

Don't be a liar or

thief, 64 Be pou no mecher? for myfcheffe.

Chyld, make pou no mowys ne knakkes
Be-fore no men, ne by-hynd here bakkes,

But be of fayre femelaunt and contenaunce, 68 For by fayre manerys men may bee a-vaunce. Chyld whan pou gost yn eny strete,

any one,
Iff pou eny gode man or woman mete,
Avale thy hode to hym or to here,

lower your hood

and wish 'em 72 And bydde, “ god fpede dame or sere !” "god speed."

And be they smalle or grete,
This leffon þat þou not for-gete, -

For hyt is femely to euery mannys chylde,76 And namely to clerkes to be meke & mylde. And, chyld, ryse by tyme and go to scole,

Rise early.

go to school,
And fare not as Wanton fole,
And lerne as fast as pou may


and learn fast 80 For owre byschop is an old man,

And þer-for pou most lerne fast
Iff þou wolt be bysshop when he is past. if you want to be

our bishop.
Chyld, y bydde pe on my blessyng
84 That pou for-zete nat pis for no thyng,
But pou loke, hold hyt wel on þy mynde,

these things, ? ? meaning. Skathie, a fence. Jamieson. Skaith, hurt, harm. Halliwell.

A mychare seoms to denote properly a sneaking thief. Way. Prompt., p. 336. Mychare, a covetous, sordid fellow. Jamieson. Fr. pleure-pain : m. A niggardlie wretch; a puling micher or miser. Cotgrave.

Be mcek to

Attend to all

for a good child needs learning.

Leaf 175 D.) and he who hatcs the child spares the 101.

As a spur makes a horse go, 80 a rod makes a chill learn and be mild.

For po best þu shalt hyt fynde;

For, as þe wyfe man fayth and preuyth,
88 A leve chyld, lore he be-houyth;

And as men sayth þat ben leryd,
He hatyth pe chyld þat fparyth be rodde ;

And as þe wyse man fayth yn his boke
92 Off prouerbis and wyfedomes, ho wol loke,

“As a sharppe fpore makyth an hors to renne
Vnder a man that shold werre wynne,

Ryzt fo a zerde may make a chyld
96 To lerne welle hys lesson, and to be myld."

Lo, chyldryn, here may ze al here and fe
How al chyldryn chastyd shold be;

And perfor, chyldere, loke pat ye do well,
100 And no harde betyng shall ye

be-falle :
Thys may ze al be ryght gode men.
God graunt yow grace fo to preferue yow.


80, children,
do well, and you'll
not get a sound

May God keep you good!


The Birched School-Boy

OF ABOUT 1500 A.D.

(From the Balliol MS. 354, fl. ij C xxx.)

[As old Symon talks of the rod (p. 400, 11. 90, 62), as Caxton in his Book of Curtesye promises his ‘lytyl John'a breechless feast, or as the Oriel MS. reads it, a 'byrchely’one,' & as the Forewords have shown that young people did get floggings in olden time, it may be as well to give here the sketch of a boy, flea-bitten no doubt, with little bobs of hazel twigs, that Richard Hill has preserved for us. Boys of the present generation happily don't know the sensation of unwelcome warmth that a sound flogging produced, and how after it one had to sit on the bottom of one's spine on the edge of the hard form, in the position recommended at College for getting well forward in rowing. But they may rest assured that if their lot had fallen on a birching school, they'd have heartily joined the school-boy of 1500 in wishing his and their masters at the devil, even though they as truant boys had been ‘milking ducks, as their mothers bade them.')

hay! hay ! by this day !
what avayleth it me thowgh I say nay?

Learning is strange work;

I wold ffayñ be a clarke ;
but yet hit is a strange werke ;?
the byrchyñ twyggis be so sharpe,
hit makith me haue a faynt harte.

what avaylith it me thowgh I say nay?

the birch twigs are so sharp.

r'a sooner go 20 miles than go to school on Mondays.

TOn monday in the mornyng whañ I shall rise

at vj. of the clok,3 hyt is the gise

See Caxton's Book of Curtesye, in the Society's Extra Series, 1868.

2 Compare the very curious song on the difficulty of learning singing, in Reliquiæ Antique, i. 291, from Arundel MS. 292, leaf 71, back.

See Rhodes, p. 72, 1. 61; and Seager, p. 338, 1. 110.

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