A merry Ieste of a shrewde and curst
Note on the e-text: this Renascence
text is based on the edition of circa 1580, by the kind permission
of the Henry
E. Huntington Library. It was transcribed by Risa.S.
Bear, September 2001. Content
unique to this presentation is
copyright © 2001 The University
Oregon. For nonprofit
and educational uses only. Send comments and
corrections to the publisher.
Publication of this
edition honors the visit of Willard
McCarty to the University of Oregon, October 6-7, 2001.
begynneth a merry Ieste of
shrewde and curst Wyfe, lap-
ped in Morrelles
for her good beha-
London in Fleetestreete,
the Conduite, at the signe of Saint
Euangelist, by H.
friendes, and holde you still,
Abide a while
A mery Iest tell you I will,
And how that it
As I went walking vpon a day,
Among my friendes to
To an houre I tooke the way,
To rest me for my
A greate feast was kepte there than,
And many one, was
With wyues and maydens and many a good man,
good game and chat.
It befell then at that tyde,
An honest man was
A cursed Dame sate by his syde,
That often did him
His wife she was I tell you playne,
This dame ye may me
To play the maister she would not layne,
And make her
At euery word that she did speake,
To be peace he
was full fayne:
Or else she would take him on the cheeke,
him to other payne.
When she did winke, he durst not stere,
where euer he wente:
With friend or neighbour to make good
Whan she her browes bent.
These folke had two maydens fayre
Which were their Daughters dere:
This is true, belieue
Of condicions, was none their pere.
The yongest was
meeke and gentle ywys,
Her fathers condicion she had:
her mothers withouten misse,
Some time franticke and sometime
The father had his pleasure in the one alway.
And glad he was
her to behold:
The mother in the other this is no nay,
For in all
her custnesse she made her bolde.
And at the last she was in
As curste as her mother in word and deede:
pageauntes sometime to play,
Which caused her fathers heart to
For he was woe and nothing glad,
And of her would fayne be
He wished to God that some man her had,
But yet to maryage he
durst her not bid.
Full many there came the yongest to haue,
father was loth her to forgoe:
None there came the eldest to
For feare it should turne them to woe.
The father was loth
any man to beguile,
For he was true and nist withall:
came one within a while,
That her demaunded in the Hall.
Another there came
right soone also,
The yongest to haue he would be fayne:
made the fathers heart full woe,
That he and the yongest should parte
But the mother was fell, and might her not
Wherefore of her she would haue bene rid:
The yong man full
soone she graunted pardy,
Greate Golde and syluer, with her she
Saying full soone, he would her haue,
And wedded they were
shorte tale to make:
The Father sayd so god me sa[u]e,
heauinesse and sorowe, I tremble and quake.
Also his heart was in
How he should bestowe the eldest ywys:
make his purse full bare,
Of her he would be rid by heauens
As hap was that this yong man should,
Desyre the eldest
To maryage he sayd full fayne he would,
might her haue for his auayle.
The Father sayd with wordes
Golde and syluer I would thee giue:
If thou her marry by
sweete saynt Iohn,
But thou shouldest repent it all thy
She is conditioned I tell thee playne,
Moste like a fiend,
this is no nay:
Her Mother doth teach her, withouten layne,
mayster of her husband another day.
If thou shouldest her marry, and
with her not gree,
Her mother thou shouldest haue alway in thy
By night and day, that shouldest vex thee,
Which sore would
sticke, then in thy crop.
And I could not amend it by God of might,
I dare not speake my selfe for my life:
Sometime among be it wrong or
I let her haue all for feare of strife.
If I ought say, she
doth me treate,
Except I let her haue her will:
As a childe that
should be beate,
She will me charme the Deuill her kill.
Another thing thou
Her mothers good will thou must haue also:
she be thy friend, by sea or by lande,
Amisse with thee, then can it
For she doth her loue with all her minde,
And would not
see her fare amisse:
If thou to her dareling could be kinde,
couldest not want by heauens blisse.
If thou to the mother, now wilt
Behaue thy selfe then like a man:
And shew thy selfe
both humble and meeke,
But when thou haste her do what thou
Thou wotest what I sayd to thee before,
I counsayle thee
marke my wordes well:
It were greate pitty, thou werte
With such a deuillishe fende of hell.
I care not for
that the yong man sayd,
If I can get her mothers good will:
would be glad to haue that mayde,
Me thinketh she is withouten
Alas good man I am sory for thee,
That thou wilt cast thy
Thou arte so gentle and so free.
Thou shalt neuer tame
her I dare well say.
But I haue done I will say no
Therefore farewell and goe thy way:
Remember what I sayd to
And beware of repentaunce another
Now the yong man departed from the father, and
sought to the Mother, for to haue the
NOw is the
yong man come to the Dame,
With countenaunce glad and manners
Saying to her God keep you from blame,
With your dere
daughter so fayre and pure.
She welcommeth agayne the fayre yong
And bid him come neare gentle friende:
Full curteously he
thanked the good dame than
And thought her wordes full good and
Then he began I shall you tell,
Unto the Mother thus to
With wordes fayre that become him well
For here deare
daughter thus to pray.
Saying good Dame now by your leaue,
for none euell though I come here:
If you to me good leaue would
With you right fayne would I make good chere.
The dame sayd syt
downe a while abyde,
Good chere anon then will we make:
daughter shall sit downe by thy syde,
I know well thou commest for her
You say full true forsooth sayd he,
My minde is stedfastly
on her set:
To haue that mayden fayre and free,
I would be fayne
if I coulde her get[.]
The mother thanked him for his good will,
her daughter so did desyre:
Saying I hope you came for none
But in good honesty her to requyre.
For if ye did, I will
Right soone it should turne you vnto griefe:
your comming I would disdayne,
And bid you walke with a wylde
But surely I take you for none of those,
Your conditions shew
it in no wise:
Wherefore me thinke you doe not glose,
Nor I will
not counsell you, by mine aduise.
For I loue my Daughter as my
And loth I were, I will be playne:
To see her suffer payne
For if I did my harte were slayne.
If that thou
shouldest another day,
My daughter haue and her good will:
her then vnto her pay,
As reason requireth it is good skill.
women sometime great wisdome is,
And in men full little it is often
But she is wise withouten mis,
From a yong child vp she
hath so beene.
Therefore to her thou must audience giue,
owne profite when she doth speake:
And than shalt thou in quiet
And much strife, thus shalte thou breake.
Howe sayest thou
yong man what is thy minde,
Wouldest thou her haue my doughter
Than to her thou must be kinde,
And alway ready to make her
For an. C.li. of money have thou shalte,
Of Syluer and eke of
Golde so round:
With an. C. quarters of Corne and malte,
acres of good ground.
If thou wilt liue with her like a man,
shalte her haue, and this will I giue:
And euer after while I
Be thy good Mother as long as I liue.
And I will speake
to my daughter for thee,
To know if it be her will also:
If she be
content, my daughter free,
Then together may ye go.
demaunded, her daughter than,
If that she could fynde in her
With all her harte to loue that yong man,
So that he to her
would be kinde.
She sayd yea mother as you wyll,
So will I doe in
worde and deede:
I trust he commeth for none yll,
better may we speede.
But I would haue one that hath some good,
well as I good reason is:
Me thinke he is a lusty blood,
gooddes there must be withouten misse.
The yong man was glad these
wordes to here,
And thanked the mother of her good will:
the Mayden with right mild cheare,
And prayed her hertely to be
Saying to her then in this wise,
Mine heart, my loue, my
Take no displeasure of my enter pris,
That I desyre
to be your peare.
I am not riche of Gold nor fee,
Nor of greate
marchandise ye shall vnderstand:
But a good Crafte I haue
To get one liuing in any land.
And in my heart I can well
You for to loue aboue all other:
For euermore to you to be
And neuer forsake you for none other.
Lyke a woman I
will you vse,
And doe you honour, as ye should doe mee:
your sake all other refuse,
As good reason is, it should so be.
my trouth, but well you say,
And me thinke by your countenaunce
That ye should not another day,
For no cause deale with me
And in you I hope pleasure to take,
If ye woulde by gentle as
And neuer none other for your sake.
To marry for a. M.
pound of gold.
But sometime ye must me a little forbeare,
For I am
hasty but it is soone done:
In my home I doe nothing
Whatsoever thereof to me become.
And I cannot refrayne me in no
For I haue it by nature a parte ywis:
It was wont to be my
Sometime to be mayster withouten misse.
And so must
I by God now and than,
Or else I would thinke it should not be
For though ye were neuer so good a man,
Sometime among I
will beare the bell.
And therefore tell me with wordes playne,
If ye can
be pacient what time it is:
To suffer with me a little
Though that you thinke I doe amisse.
Or else say nay, and
make a shorte ende,
And soone we shall sonder departe:
your liberty you may hence wend,
Yet I doe loue you with all my
The yongman was glad of her loue in fay,
But loth he was
master her for to make:
And bethought him what her father before did
When he on wooing his iorney did take.
And so consented to
all her will,
When he aduised him what he should doe:
He sayd ye
may me saue or spill,
For ye haue my loue sweete heart and no
The mother hearing this, for the father sente,
to him what was befall:
Wherewith he was right well content,
all their promises in generall.
Upon this greement they departed
To prepare all thinges for the feast:
Glad was the bride and
her spouse then,
That they were come to this
Howe the Bryde was maryed with
Her Father and
approched, the time drue neare,
That they should be wedded withouten
The Bryde was glad and made good cheare,
For she thought to
make greate ioye and blisse.
As that day to tryumphe with games and
Amonge her friendes a rule to beare:
And eake with his
friendes that thither should resorte.
Thinking that no body might be
The Bridegrome was glad also in fay,
As man might be vpon the
And to himselfe thus gan he say,
Now shall I receyue an
heape of golde.
Of poundes many one, and much goods besyde,
reioyce my sorrowes, and also my smarte:
I know not her peare in this
country so wyde,
But yet I feare alway her proude harte.
She is so syb to
the mother withouten fayle,
Which hath no peare that I know:
all mischiefe she dare assayle,
The boldest Archer that shooteth in a
But no force I care not, I wote what I thinke,
When we be wed
and keepe house alone,
For a small storme I may not shrinke,
run to my neighbour, to make my mone.
Soone to the church now were they
With all their friends them about:
There to be maryed as
And after them followed a full great rout.
to offer as custome is,
Among good neighboures it is alway
Full richly deckte withouten mis,
And she thought her
selfe, most likest a Queene.
Incontinent when the Masse was done,
forsooth they tooke the way:
There followeth after them right
Many a tall man and woman full gay.
The fathers and mothers
next of all,
Vnto the Bridgrome and Bryde also:
As to them then,
it did befall,
With them that tyde, so for to
Now the Bryde and her friendes came from the
Church, and were
of the Brydegroome at
their feast honestly
Hen they came
home the bordes were spread,
Bride was set at the hye dysse:
Euery one sayd, she had well
Of such a fayre husband as serued her mysse.
sate about her, on euery syde,
Each in their order, a good syght to
The Bryde in the middest, with much pryde,
beseene, she was pardye.
The mother was right glad of this sight,
fast she did her daughter behold:
Thinking it was a pleasaunt
But alway her Fathers heart was cold.
When he remembred
what might befall,
Of this yong Daughter, that was so bold:
could nothing be merry at all,
But moned the yong man full many a
Beholde how often with countenaunce sad,
Saying to himselfe
alas this day:
This yong man proueth much worse then mad,
hath marryed this cursed may.
Where I haue cousayled him by heauens
That he should not meddle in no wise:
Least he repented
That euer he made this enterprise.
But seeing it is
thus, selfe doe selfe haue,
He is worse then mad that will him
For I will no more so God me saue,
But God send him ioy,
with my daughter Ione.
She is as curste I dare well swere,
angry ywis as euer was waspe:
If he her anger she will him
And with her nayles also him claspe.
What auayleth it
to say ought now,
The deede is done, no remedy there is:
cheare to make I make God auowe,
Is now the best withouten
For now is the time it should so be,
To make good game and
sporte in fay:
In comforting all this company,
That be assembled
here this day.
The father and mother, were dilligent still,
welcome the friendes both more and lesse:
The yongman did also his
To serue them well at euery messe.
Wherein the mother
great pleasure tooke,
And so did the father eake truely,
gaue a friendly looke,
Casting on him a wanton eye.
Then was the
Brydegrome reioyced sore,
Alway our Lord thanking of his great
Hauing in minde times many a score,
That his Bryde shewed
him such a fayre place.
The mynstrelles played at euery bord,
people therewith reioyced right well:
Geuing the Bridegrome their good
And the bryde also that in bewty did excell.
The time past
forth the dinner was done,
The tables were taken vp all:
Brydegroome welcommed them euery echone,
That were there in the
They thanked him then and the Bryde also,
Of their greate
cheare they had:
And sware great othes so mote I go,
neuer at feast so glad.
Nowe we will remember you or we depart,
As vse and
custome doth requyre:
He thanked them with all his harte,
both dame and syre.
The Bryde to the Table agayne was set,
keepe countenaunce than in deede:
The friendes that were together
Be gyfted them richely with right good speede.
The father and the
mother fyrst began,
To order them in this wise:
The Brydegrome was
set by the Brydes syde than,
After the countrey guise.
father the fyrst present brought,
And presented them there richly in
With deedes of his land in a boxe well wrought,
And made them
his heyres for aye.
He gaue them also malte and corne,
quarters and more:
With sheepe and oxen, that bare large horne,
keepe for household store.
And then came the mother as quick as a
To the Brydegrome with wordes sma[r]t:
Saying sonne so mote I
I must open to thee my harte.
She gaue them also both carte and
And bid them alway to doe well:
And God should send them
If they did marke, what she did tell.
Before the people
in this hall,
I will say and to thee rehearse:
An hundred pound
now geue thee I shall,
But harken fyrst vnto my vearse.
Thou haste here my
A pleasaunt thing it is:
In all the countrey I
know not her peare,
So haue I parte of blisse.
For she is wyse and
fayre with all,
And will nothing cast away:
I trow there be now
none in this hall,
That better can saue all thing in
Nor better doth know what doth behoue,
Vnto an house or
Then she doth, which causeth me to moue,
This matter to
thee so busily.
She can carde she can spin,
She can thresh, and
she can fan:
She can help thee good to win,
For to keep thee like
And here is an hundred pound in Golde,
To set thee vp, thy
crafte to vse:
Wherefore I am playne I would thou should,
maner of wise thy selfe abuse.
To striue with my daughter or her to
For any thing that she shall doe:
Here after my child,
therefore to beate,
It should turne playnely, to thy great woe.
deare mother take no displeasure,
Till you haue cause what so befall,
But vse your selfe alwaye by measure,
For other cause none haue
My wyfe and I full well shall gree,
I trust to God in
She is my loue and euer shall be,
And none but she alone.
deare sonne thou makest me glad,
Which before was full of
For my deare daughter, I was full sad,
But now I say our
Lord to borrow.
Thou geuest me good comfort now fare wel care
is thy hundred pound,
I pray God geue thee well to fare,
thee whole and sound.
I thanke you dere mother the yong man
Of your good gifte and daughter deare:
Me thinkes she is the
In all this Lande withouten peare.
I hoape to
liue with her alway,
So gentelly that she shall fynde:
And you her
mother I dare well say,
In euery season gentle and
The people standing them to behold,
Regarded the wordes of
the Brydegrome than,
And sayd he aunswered with wordes cold,
become full well the good yong man.
And then they prest forth ech
With golde and syuer, and riche giftes eake:
many a scorne they gaue the mother,
But euer they praysed the yong man
To whome he gaue thankes with all his might,
requyreth him to doe:
He ordred himselfe alway aright,
thought all he should haue woe.
For he was matched so ywys,
he could not wante for sorrow in fay,
But alway hampred withouten
Of mother and daughter, for euer and aye.
When all was done
they gan depart,
And tooke their leaue full friendly
Thanking ech other with all their harte,
And on their way
home they gan go.
The Father and mother thanked them all,
Bryde and Brydegrome, also without mis,
Did thanke the company in
Departing from them with ioy and blisse.
Then they went
home while it was day,
And left the Bryde and Brydegrome
And they that did abide there in good fay,
They made at
euen agayne good cheare.
And after supper they did make good
With dauncing and springing as was the vse:
Yong people by
other there did resorte,
To no mans hynder nor confuse.
After that all
sportes were ended and done,
And that the bryde should goe to
Aboute the hall they daunced soone.
And suddaynly away the
bryde was led.
To take her rest with her dere spouse,
would it should so be:
Euen as the cat, was wonte with the
To play forsoth euen so did he.
The next morning if that ye will
The mother did come to their bedsyde:
Demaunding them what
was their cheare,
And the Bryde began her head to hyde.
her as one ashamed,
Iwys deare mother I would ye were gone:
came heare I was not blamed,
For being in his armes heare all
Myne own deare daughter, be not displeased
Though I doe let
you of your desport:
I would be loath ye were diseased,
shall haue a Cawdell for your comforte.
A while I will goe and let you
Till ye be ready for to ryse:
And sodaynely the mother was
from them gone
To make the Cawdell after the best wise.
When that the
mother departed was,
They dallyed togither and had good game,
hit her awry, she cryed alas,
What doe ye man, hold vp for
I will sweete wife then gan he say,
Fulfill your mynde,
both loud and shrill:
But ye be able I sweare in fay,
sportes to abide my will.
And they wrestled, so long beforne,
they had, for their greate meade:
Both shyrt and smock was all to
That their vprysing had no speede.
But yet the mother came
And sayd to her daughter how doest thou nowe,
betweene vs twayne,
Our shyrtes be torne, I make God
By Gods dere mother, she sware than,
This order with vs may
I will no more lye by this man,
For he doth me brast
both vayne and sinew.
Nay nay deare mother this world goeth on
By sweete saynt George ye may me trowe:
He lyeth kicking
with his heeles,
That he is like to beare me a blow.
My owne deare
daughter if thy smock be asonder,
Another thou shalte haue then by
I pray thee hartely doe thou not wonder,
For so was I
dealt with the fyrst night.
That I by thy father lay by the
And I doe thee, with wordes playne:
Me thought neuer night
to me so good,
As that same was, when I tooke such
Why mother were ye then glad,
To be thus delt with as I am
Me thinke my husband worse then mad,
For he doth exceede I
make God auow,
O could not lye still nor no rest take,
Of all this
night beleue ye me:
Sometime on my syde, and sometime on my
He rolde and layd me so mote I thee.
And from the beds
head vnto the beds feete,
A cloth we had not vs for to
Neyther our couerlet nor yet our sheete,
That I pray God
the deuell him checke.
For I am ashamed my mother deare,
nightes rest by God in throne:
Before our friendes I dare not
Would to Gods passion, I had layne alone.
Nay nay deare
daughter be not ashamed,
For here is nothing done amis:
more worthy to be blamed,
That hereof thinketh shame ywys.
this is honesty for thee and vs all,
And a new smock I will thee
And eke for thee my sonne I shall,
For thy true laboure, a
new shyrte get.
And soone of these, they were both sped,
daughter and eake the sonne also:
Full quickly they rose out of their
And with their mother, they gan go.
Abroade among their
Which bid them good lucke, and eake good grace,
cawdell was ready there in the Hall,
With myrth and glee for their
Thus ended the feast with sporte and play,
And all their
friendes each with other:
Did take their leaue and went their
From bryde, and Brydegrome, with father and mother:
right hartely did thanke them tho,
So did the Bryde, and Brydegrome
Yet when the friendes were all ago,
This yong folke abode
with the mother all the weeke.
The father was glad to see them
So was the mother by heauen queene:
And sayd eche to other
so mote I thee,
I thought not so well it should haue
Betweene them twayne as it is now,
And therefore alone here
shall they bide:
We will leaue them all I make God auowe,
to dwell in our house harde beside.
At shorte conclusyon they went
Leuing their children all that was there:
And come not
agayne of many a day,
For their deare daughter to inquere.
they bode together than,
He set vp his shop with haberdash
As one that would be a thriuing man,
To get great goods for
And after that he tooke greate payne,
To order his plowes and
He kepte both boye and also swayne,
That to the
carte and plow did goe.
And some kepte neate, and some kept
Some did one thing, some did another,
But when they came
home to haue their meate,
The wife played the deuell then, like her
With countenaunce grim and wordes smart,
She gaue them meate
and bad them brast:
The pore folke that come from plow and
Of her lewde wordes they were agast.
Saying eche to other
what dame is this,
The deuill I trow hath brought vs here:
mayster shall know it by heauens blisse,
That we will not serue him
The good man was fourth in the towne abroade,
other thinges I you say,
When he came homeward he met with a
One of his carters was going away.
To whome he sayde Lob
whether goest thou,
The carter spyde his mayster than:
And sayd to
him I make God auow,
No longer with thy wife abide I
Mayster he sayd by Gods bliss,
Our dame is the deuell thou
mayst me beleeue:
If thou haue sought her thou haste not miste,
one that full often thee shall greeue.
By God a man, thou canst not
To go to carte, ne yet to plow:
Neyther boy, nor yet
By Gods deare mother I make God auow.
That will bide
with thee day or night,
Our Dame is not for vs for she doth
When we shall eate or drinke with right,
She bannes and
frownes, that we be all the worse.
We be not vsed where euer we
To be sorely looked on, for eating of our meate,
I trow vs to thee send,
God helpe vs a better maystres to
Come on thy way Lob, and turne agayne,
Go home with me and
all shall be well:
An Oxe for my meyny shall be slayne,
hyde at the market I will sell.
Vpon this together, home they
The good man was angry in his minde:
But yet to his wife
with good intent,
He sayd sweete heart you be vnkinde.
Entrate our meyny
And geue them meate and drinke ynough:
For they get
our liuing euery day,
And theirs also, at carte and
Therefore I would that they should haue,
Meate and drinke
to their behoue:
For my sweete wife, so god me saue,
Ye will doe
so, if ye me loue.
Gyue them what thou wilt I doe not care,
By day nor
night man beleeue thou me:
What euer they haue of how they fare,
pray God euell mote they thee.
And specially that horeson that doth
I will quite him once if euer I liue.
I will dash the
knaue vpon the brayne,
That euer after it shall him
What my deare wife for shame be still,
This is a payne such
wordes to heare:
We can not alwayes haue our will,
Though that we
were a kinges pere.
For to shame a knaue what can they get,
art as lewde for God as they:
And therefore shalt thou serue them of
And drinke also, from hence alway.
What wife ye be to blame,
speake to me thus in this wise:
If we should striue folke woud speake
Therefore be still in mine aduise.
I am loth with you to
For ought that you shall doe or say:
I sweare to Christ
wife by my liue,
I had rather take Morell and ryde my way.
seeke mine aduenture till your moode be past
I say to you these
manners be not good:
Therefore I pray you that this be the
Of your furious anger that semeth so wood.
What can it
auayle you me for to greeue,
That loueth you so well as I doe mine
By my trouth wife you may me beleeue,
Such toyes as these
be, would make vs both smarte
Smarte in the twenty fayning Deuelles
That liste me once well for to see:
I pray God geue the
What shouldest thou be werte not for me.
A ragge on
thine arse thou shouldest not haue,
Excepte my frendes had geue[n] it
Therefore I tell thee well thou drunken knaue,
Thou art not
he that shall rule me.
O good wife cease and let this ouerpasse,
your great anger and hye wordes eake:
I am mine owne selfe euen as I
And to you will be louing, and also meeke.
But if ye should
doe thus as ye do begin,
It may not continue no time ywys:
not let for kyth nor kin,
To make you mend, all thinges that is
Make me, mary out vpon the deuill,
Sayest thou that, wilt
I pray God and our Lady that a foule euill,
vpon thee and all thy kinne.
By gods deare blest vex me no
For if thou doe thou shalte repente:
I gaue yet so near yet
for thee in store,
And with that a staffe in her hand she
At him full soone then she let flee,
And wholled about her as
it had bene a man:
Her husband then was fayne perdy,
To voyde her
stroake and goe his way then.
By Gods deare mother then gan she
From henceforth I will make thee bow:
For I will trim thee
in thy geare,
Or else I would I were cald a Sow.
Fye on all
wretches that be like thee,
In word or worke both lowde and
I sweare by him that made man free,
Of me thou shalte not
haue thy will.
Now nor neuer I tell thee playne,
For I will haue
Gold and riches ynow:
When thou shalte goe iagged as a simple
With whip in hande at carte and plough.
Of that my deare
wife I take no scorne,
For many a good man with minde and
Hath gone to plough and carte beforne,
By time ywys with
payne and smarte.
Which now be rich and haue good at will,
at home and make good cheare:
And there they intend to leade their
Till our Lord doe sende for them heare.
But now I must
ryde a little way,
Peace wife I will come right soone
Appoynt our dinner I you pray,
For I doe take on me great
I doe my best I sweare by my life,
To order you like a
And yet it cannot be withouten strife,
lewde tongue by heauens blisse.
Ryde to the Deuell and to his
I would I should thee neuer see:
I pray God sende thee
In any place, where euer thou be.
fayne, the mayster play,
But thou shalte not by God I make thee
I sweare I will thy Peticote pay,
That long with me thou
shalte not endure.
How the good man rode his way till he
her anger was past, and then he
THe good man was
sorry and wente his way,
About his busines, as he was vsed:
himselfe thus gan he say,
Lord God, how was I thus abused.
tooke this wife I was worse then mad
And yet can I blame my selfe and
Which maketh me sigh and often be sad,
sore by Gods deare Mother.
Fye vpon goods withouten pleasure,
man and wife that cannot agree:
It is a payne far passing
Such stryfe to see where as loue should be.
For there was
neuer man ywys,
So hampred with one wife as I am now,
thinke withouten misse,
She shall repent it I make God
Except she turne and change her minde,
And eake her
She shall fynde me to her so vnkinde,
I shall her coyle both backe and bone.
And make her blew and also
That she shall grone agayne for woe:
I will make her bones
all to cracke,
Without that she her condicions forgoe.
I was neuer so
vexte this time beforne,
As I am now of this wife alone:
vengeaunce on her that euer she was borne,
for she maketh me often
full woe begon.
And I cannot tell, where me to tourne
For me to
wende, by God in faye
Which cause me often for to mourne
Or yet to
know what for to say.
I am worse, then mad or wood,
And yet I am loth
with her to begin,
I feare me I shall neuer make her good
do wrap her in black Morels skin,
That can no more drawe at plough ne
It shall be to late to call for her kinne,
beginneth once for to smarte,
For little ease thereby she shall
Morell is olde, he can labour no more,
And doe no good but
I trowe I haue kept him thus long in store,
To worke a
charme that shall be feate.
The horeson is blynde and faine
Behynde and before, he cannot stere,
When he from the stable
to the streete should go,
He falleth downe, ryght than in the
Yet I am loth him for to kyll
For he hath done me good
seruice by nowe,
But if my wyfe fulfyll not my wyll
I must him
flea by God I trowe
But at thys poynt nowe will I be,
I wyll be
mayster as it is reason,
And make her subiect vnto me
For she must
learne a newe lesson.
Her father did warne me of this beforne,
should it finde in euery degree:
But i did take it for halfe a
And would not beleeue him then perdee.
But now I perceaue
it very well,
He did it for good will ywis:
Wherefore I thinke
that Morels fell,
Must mend all thing that is amis.
Thus he that will
not beleeue his friend,
As her deare father was vnto me:
worthy for to fynde,
Alway greate payne and misery.
But I may not
choose him to beleeue,
For the deede doth proue himselfe in
Euer she is redy me for to greeue,
And thinkes to continue so
But now I will home to proue her minde,
And see what welcome
I shall haue:
She may be so to me, vnkinde,
That she shall repent
it, so God me saue.
For if I should of her complayne,
me mock, and giue me scorne:
And say I were worthy of this
Because it was she wed me so well beforne.
How the goodman was welcommed, when
he retourned home
THe good man came ryding
to the gate,
And knocked as he had bene wode:
His seruaunt right
soone did meete him thereat,
And bid him welcome with right milde
The mayster sayd what doth my dame now,
Is she as frantick
yet as she was:
Than will I tame her I make God auow,
And make her
sing full loude alas.
Where art thou wife shall I haue any meate,
Or am I
not so welcome vnto thee:
That at my commaundement I shall ought
I pray thee hartely soone tell thou me.
If thou doe not serue
me and that anon,
I shall thee shew mine anger ywis:
I sweare by
God and by saynt Iohn,
Thy bones will I swaddle so haue I
Forth she came, as brym a bore
And like a dog she rated him
Saying thus I set no store,
By thee thou wretch thou art no
Get thee hence out of my sight,
For meate nor drinke thou
gettest none heare:
I sweare to thee by Mary bright,
Of me thou
gettest here no good cheare.
Well wyfe he sayd thou doste me compell,
doe that thing, that I were loath:
If I bereaue Morell of his old
Thou shalte repente it by the fayth now goath.
For I see
well that it will no better be,
But in it thou must, after the new
It had bene better so mote I thee,
That thou haddest not
begon this enterpryse.
How the good man caused Morell to be
and the hide salted, to lay his wife
NOw will I begin, my wife to
That all the world shall it know,
I would be loth her for to
Though she do not care, ye may me trow.
Yet will I her
And it preserue where euer ye may,
that is in yonder yarde,
His hyde therefore he must leese in
And so he commaunded anon,
To flea old Morell his great
And flea him then, the skin from the bone,
To wrap it about
his wiues white coarse.
Also he commaunded of a byrchen
Roddes to be made of a good great heape:
And sware by deare
God in Trinity,
His wife in his seller should skip and
The hyde must be salted then he sayd eake,
Bycause I would
not haue it stinke:
I hope herewith she will be meeke,
For this I
trow will make her shrinke.
And bow at my pleasure, when I her
And obay my commaundementes both lowde and still,
Or else I
will make her body bleede,
And with sharp roddes beate her my
Anon with that to her gan to call,
She bid abide in the
I will not come what so befall,
Sit still with
sorrow and mickle shame.
Thou shalt not rule me as pleaseth
I will well thou know by Gods deare Mother,
But thou shalt
be ruled alway by me,
And I will be mayster and none
Wilte thou be mayster deare wife in fay,
Then must we wrestle
for the best game:
If thou win then may I say,
That I haue done my
selfe greate shame.
But fyrst I will make thee sweate good
Redde blood euen to the heeles adowne,
And lappe thee in
Morels skin alone,
That the blood shall be seene euen from the
Sayest thou me that thou wretched knaue,
It were better thou
haddest me neuer seene:
I sweare to thee so God me saue,
nayles I will scratch out both thine eyen,
And therefore thinke not to
touch me once,
For by the masse if thou begin that,
Thou shalte be
handled for the nonce,
That all thy braynes on the ground shall
Why then there is no remedy I see,
But needes I must doe euen
as I thought:
Seeing it will none other wise be,
I will thee not
spare by God that me bought.
For now I am set for to charme,
make thee meeke by Gods might,
Or else with roddes while thou art
I shall thee scourge with reason and right.
Receiue my curst wife in.
Now the curst wife in Morels skin
Because she would not her husband obay.
NOw will I my sweete wife trim,
According as she deserueth to
I sweare by God and by saynt Sim,
With Byrchen roddes well
beate shall she be.
And after that in Morels salte skin,
her lay and full fast binde,
That all her friendes, and eake her
Shall her long seeke or they her fynde.
Then he her met,
and to her gan say,
How sayest thou wife wilte thou be mayster
She sware by Gods body, and by that day,
And sodaynly with
her fyst she did him hit.
And defyed him deuill at euery
Saying pretious horsesone what doest thou thinke
I set not
by thee a stinking torde
Thou shalt not get of me neyther meate nor
Sayest thou me that wyfe quoth he than
With that in his armes
he gan her catche
Streyght to the seller with her he ran
fastned the dore with locke and latche
And threwe the key downe him
Askyng her than if she would obay
Than she sayde nay for
all thy pryde
But she was mayster and would abyde alway.
Then quoth he we
must make afraye
And with that her cloths he gan to teare
thee horesone than she did saye
Wylte thou robbe me of all my
It cost thee naught thou arrant theefe
And quickly she gat
him by the heade
With that she sayde God giue thee a mischiefe
them that fed thee fyrst with breade.
They wrestled together thus they
So long that the clothes asunder went
And to the grounde he
threwe her tho
That cleane from the backe her smock he rent.
euery hand a rod he gate,
And layd vpon her a right good
Asking of her what game was that,
And she cryed out horson,
What wilt thou doe, wilte thou kill me,
I haue made thee a
man of nought:
Thou shalte repente it, by Gods pitty,
this deede thou hast ywrought.
I care not for that dame he did
Thou shalt giue ouer or we departe
The maystership all, or
all this day
I will not cease to make thee smarte.
Euer he layde on,
and euer she did crye,
Alas, alas, that euer I was borne
thee murderer I thee defye
Thou hast my white skin, and my body all to
Leaue of betyme I counsayle thee,
Nay by God dame I saye not
I sweare to thee, by Mary so free
We begyn but nowe, this
is the first fyt.
Once agayne, we must daunce about
And then thou
shalt reast in Morels skyn,
He gaue her than so many a greate
That on the grounde the bloud was seene.
Within a whyle, he
cryed newe roddes newe
With that she cryed full lowde alas,
yet about dame, thou came not where it greiue,
And sodainely with that
in a sowne she was.
He spyed that and vp he her hente,
And wrang her
harde then by the nose:
With her to Morels skin, straighte he
And therein full fast he did her close.
Within a while, she
Through the grose salte that did her smarte:
thought she should neuer haue gone on liue,
Out of Morels skin so sore
is her harte.
When she did spy that therein she lay,
her wit she was full nye:
And to her husband then did she say,
canst thou doe this vilany.
Nay how sayest thou, thou cursed
In this foule skin I will thee keepe,
During the time of all
Therein for euer to wayle and weepe.
With that her
moode began to sinke,
And sayd deare husband for grace I call:
I shall neuer sleepe nor winke,
Till I get your loue whatso
And I will neuer to you offend,
In no maner of wise, of
all my lyue:
Nor to doe nothing that may pretend,
To displease you
with my wittes fyue.
For Father nor Mother whatsoeuer they say
not anger you by God in throne:
But glad will your commaundementes
In presence of people and eake alone.
Well on that condicion
thou shalt haue,
Grace and fayne bed to rest thy body in:
thou rage more so God me saue,
I will wrap thee agayne in Morels
Then he tooke her out in his armes twayne,
And beheld her so
pitteously with blood arayed,
How thinkest thou wife, shall we
Haue such businesse more to her he sayd,
She aunswered nay
my husband deare,
While I you know, and you know me,
commaundementes I will both far and neare,
Fulfill alway in euery
Well then I promise thee by God euen now,
Betweene thee and
me shall neuer be strife,
If thou to my commaundementes quickly
I will the cherish all the dayes of my life.
In bed she was
layde and healed full soone,
As fayne and cleare as she was
What he her bid was quickly done,
To be dilligent ywys
she tooke no scorne.
Then was he glad, and thought in his minde
I done, my selfe great good,
And her also, we shall it
Though I haue shed parte of her blood.
For as me thinke,
she will be meeke:
Therefore I will her father and Mother,
guest, now the next weeke,
And of our neighboures, many
Howe the good man did byd her Father and Mo-
ther to guest,
and many of his neighbours
that they might see his
GReat payne he made his
wife to take,
Agaynst the day they they should come:
Of them was
none that there did lack,
I dare wel say vnto my doome.
and mother and neighbours all.
Dyd thether come to make good
Soone they were set in generall,
The wyfe was dilligent as
Father and mother was welcome then,
And so were they all in
The husband sate there like a man,
The wyfe did serue
them all that day.
The good man commaunded what he would haue,
wyfe was quick at hand,
What now thought the mother, this arrant
Is mayster as I vnderstand.
What may this meane then she gan
That my daughter so dilligent is:
Now can I nother eate
Till I it know by heauens blisse.
When her daughter
To serue at the borde as her husband bad,
stared with her eyen twayne,
Euen as one that had ben
All the folke, that at the boord sate,
Did her behold then
The mother from the boord her gate,
daughter and that anone,
And in the kitching she her fand,
vnto her in this wise:
Daughter thou shalt well vnderstand,
not teach thee after this guyse.
A good mother ye say full
All thinges with me is not as ye weene:
If ye had bene in
As well as I it should be seene.
In Morels fell what
deuill is that,
Mary mother I will it you show:
But beware that
you come not thereat,
Lest you your selfe then doe
Come downe now in this seller so deepe,
And Morels skin there
you shall see:
With many a rod that hath made me to weepe,
the blood ranne downe fast by my knee.
The Mother this beheld and
cryed out alas.
And ran out of the Seller as she had bene
She came to the table where the company was,
And sayd out
horeson I will see thy harte blood.
Peace good Mother, or so haue I
Ye must daunce else as did my wyfe:
And in Morels skin lye,
that well salted is,
Which you should repent all the dayes of your
All they that were there, held with the yong man,
he dyd well in euery maner degree,
Whan dynner was done, they departed
The mother no lenger durst there be.
The Father abode
last and was full glad,
And gaue his children his blessyng
Saying the yong man full well done had,
And merely departed
This yong man was glad ye may be sure,
That he had
brought his wyfe to this,
God gyue vs grace in rest to indure,
hereafter to come vnto his blisse.
Thus was Morell slayne out of his
To charme a shrew so haue I blisse:
Forgeue the yongman if
he did sin,
But I thinke he did nothing amisse.
He did all thing
euen for the best.
As it well prooued then,
God saue our wiues
from Morels nest,
I pray you say all amen.
Thus endeth the
iest of Morels skin,
Where the curst wife was lapped in,
she was of a shrewde leere.
Thus was she serued in this
Finis. quoth Mayster Charme
IMPRINTED AT LON
don in Fleetestreate,
Conduite, at the signe of S. Iohn Euangelist,