The Second Book of the Courtier
This English translation of The Book of the Courtier is that of Sir Thomas Hoby (1561) as edited by Walter Raleigh for David Nutt, Publisher, London, 1900, and partakes of the virtues and faults, as may be, of that edition. It was transcribed by Risa S. Bear at the University of Oregon during the summer of 1997. This edition is provided to the public for nonprofit purposes only; the design is copyright © 1997 The University of Oregon. Corrections and comments to the Publisher at rbear at uoregon.edu.
OF THE COURTYER OF COUNT
OT often without marveile many a time and often have I considered wyth my self howe one errour should arise, the which bicause it is generally seene in olde men, a man may beleave it is proper and naturall unto them: and that is, how (in a maner) all of them commend the times
past, and blame the times present: dispraising our doinges and maners: and whatsoever they dyd not in their youthe: affirmynge moreover every good custome and good trade of lyving, every vertue, finally ech thing to declyne alwayes from yll to worse. And in good sooth it seemeth a matter very wide from reason and worthye to be noted, that rype age whiche with long practise is wont to make mennes judgementes more perfecte in other thynges, should in this behalf so corrupt them, that they should not discerne, yf the world wexed worse and worse, and the fathers were generally better than the children, we should long ere this tyme have ben come to that utmost degree of yll that can not wexe worse. And yet doe we see not onely in our dayes, but also in tymes past that this hath alwaies ben the peculiar vyce of that age. The which is to be manifestlye gathered by the writynges of manye most auntient aucthours, and especyally comedy writers, whiche expresse better then the rest, the trade of mannes lyfe. The cause therefore of this false opinion in old menne, I beleve (in mine opinion) is, for that, yeares wearing away, cary also with them many commodities, and emonge other take awaye from the bloud a greate part of the lyvely spirites that altereth the complection, and the instrumentes wexe feeble, wherby the soule worketh her effectes. Therfore the sweete flowers of delite vade away in that season out of oure heartes, as the leaves fall from the trees after harvest, and in steade of open and cleere thoughtes there entreth cloudy and troublous heavinesse accompanied with a thousand heart grieffes: so that not onely the bloude, but the mind is also feble, neither of the former pleasures receyveth it anye thynge elles but a fast memorye and the print of the beloved time of tender age, which whan we have upon us, the heaven, the earth, and ech thing to our seeming rejoiceth and laugheth alwayes about our eyes, and in thought (as in a savoury and pleasaunt gardein) florisheth the sweete spring time of mirth, so that peradventure it were not unprofitable, when now in the colde season, the Son of our lief (taking away from us oure delites) beginneth to draw towarde the Weste, to lose in like case therwithal the mindefulnesse of them, and to find out (as Themistocles sayth) an art to
An errour in age.
The cause of the errour.
teach us to forget: for the sences of oure bodye are so deceyvable, that they beguile many times also the judgment of the mind. Therefore (me thinke) olde men be like unto them, that saylinge in a vessell out of a haven, behoulde the ground with their eyes, and the vessell to ther seeminge standeth styll and the shore goeth: and yet it is cleane contrarye for the haven, and likewise the time and pleasures continue still in their astate, and we with the vessell of moratalitye flying away, go one after an other through the tempestuous sea that swaloweth up and devoureth al thinges, neither is it graunted us at any time to come on shore again, but alwaies beaten with contrary windes, at the end we break our vessell at some rocke. Because therefore the minde of old age is without order subject to many pleasures, it can not taste them: and even as to them that be sycke of a feaver whan by corrupt vapours they have lost theyr taste, all wines appeare most bitter, though they be precious and delicate in dede: so unto olde men for there unaptenes (wherein notwithstanding desier fayleth them not) pleasures seeme without taste and colde, much differing from those they remember they have proved in foretyme, althoughe the pleasures in themselves be the selfe same. Therefore when they feele themselves voide of them, it is a griefe, and they blame the time present for yll, not perceyvinge that this chaunge proceadeth of themselves and not of the tyme. And contrarywyse whan they call to mind the pleasures past, they remember therwithall the time they had them in, and therfore commend it for good, because to their weening it carieth with it a savour of it, which they felt in them when it was presente, by reason that in effecte our mindes conceyve an hatred against all thynges that have accompanyed oure sorowes, and love such as have accompanied our pleasures. Upon this it commeth that unto a lover it is most acceptable sometime to behoulde a window though it be shutte, because otherwhiles it may be hys chaunce to see his maistresse there: in like maner to see a rynge, a letter, a gardein or anye place or what ever other thynge he supposeth hathe bene a wittinge testimoniall of his pleasures. And contrariwise, often times a faire trymmed and well decked chamber is abhorred of him that
Tyme of youth.
Senses of the body.
The mind of olde age.
hath bene kept prysoner in it, or abidde therin any other sorow. and in my dayes I have knowen some that will will never drinke of a cup like unto that wherin in their sickenesse they had taken a medicin. For even as that windowe, ringe, or letter, doeth bring to the minde a sweete remembraunce unto the one that somuch pleaseth him, for that he imagineth it was a percell of his pleasures, so unto the other the chamber or cuppe seemeth to bringe with the memory his sicknes or imprisoninge againe. The verye same cause (I beleave) moveth old men to praise the times past and dsicommend the present. Therfore as they talke of other thynges, so do they also of Courtes, affirminge suche as have bene in their memory to be much more excellent and farre better furnished with notable men, then we see them to be that are now a dayes. And immediatly whan they entre into this kind of talke, they beginne to extol with infinyte praises the Courtes of Duke Philip, or of Duke Borso, and declare the sayinges of Nicholas Piccininus and reherse that in those tymes a man should very sildome have hearde of a murther committed, and no combattes, no craftes nor deceites: but a certaine faithful and loving good meaning emong all men and an upright dealing. And in Courtes at that time there reigned such good condicions and such honestie that the Courtyers were (in a maner) religious folke: and woe unto him that shoulde have spoken an yll word of an other, or made but a signe otherwyse then honestly to a woman. And on the other side, they say in these dayes every thing is cleane contrary, and not onely that brotherlye love and manerlye conversation loste emonge Courtiers, but also in Courtes there reigneth nothynge elles but envye and malyce, yll maners, and a most wanton lyfe in every kinde of vice: the women enticefull past shame, and the men womanishe. They disprayse also the apparaile to be dishonest and to softe. To be shorte, they speake against infinite thinges, emonge the whiche many in very dede deserve to be discommended, for it cannot be excused, but there are many yll and naughtie menne emonge us, and this oure age is muche more full of vices then was that whiche they commende. But (me thinke) they doe full yll skanne
Thinges beloved that accumpanye pleasures.
Old mens opinion of Courtes.
the cause of this difference, and they bee fonde persones, because they woulde have all goodnesse in the worlde withoute any yll, whiche is unpossible. For synce yll is contrarie to good, and good to yll, it is (in a maner) necessarie by contrarietye and a certayne counterpese the one shoulde underproppe and strengthen the other, and where the one wanteth or encreaseth, the other to want or encrease also: beecause no contrarye is wythoute hys other contrarye. Who knoweth not that there shoulde bee no Justyce in the worlde, were it not for wronges? no stoutenesse of courage, were there not feynthearted? no continency, were there not incontinencie? nor health, were there not sickenes? nor trueth, were there not lyes? nor happynesse were there not mischaunces? Therefore Socrates saieth well in Plato that he marveyleth that Esope made not an Apologus or fable, wherin he mighte have feigned that God, since he coulde never coople pleasure and sorowe together, might have knit them with an extremitie, so that the beginninge of the one shoulde have beene the ende of the other. For we see no pleasure can delite us at anye time if sorow goeth not beefore. Who can love rest well onlesse he have firste felte the griefe of weerinesse? Who savereth meate, drinke, and sleepe, if he have not firste felt hunger, thirste, and watchinge? I beleave therfore passions and dyseases are geven to menne of nature, not principallye to make them subject to them, for it wer not mete that she, whiche is the mother of all goodnesse, shoulde by her owne purposed advise give us so manye evilles, but since nature doth make healthe, pleasure and other goodnesse, consequentlye after these, were joyned diseases, sorowes and other evilles. Therefore since vertues were graunted to the worlde for a favoure and gifte of nature, by and by were vices by that lincked contrariety necessarily accompanied with them: so that the one encreasing or wanting, the other must in like maner encrease or want. Therefore when our olde men praise the Courtes of times past because there were not in them so vitious men, as some that are in oures, they doe not knowe that there were not also in them so vertuous men, as some that are in oures: the which is no wonder, for no yll is so evill, as that which arriseth of the corrupte seede of goodnesse. And therfore where nature now bringeth forth muche better
wyttes then she did tho, even as they that bee geven to goodnesse doe muche better then didde those of theyr tyme, so also they that be geven to yll doe muche woorse. Therefore it is not to bee saide, that suche as absteyned frome doinge ill because they knewe not howe to doe it, deserved in that case any praise: for although they dyd but a lyttle yll, yet dydde they the woorste they knewe. And that the wittes of those tymes were generaly much inferiour to these now a dayes, a man may judge by all that hath proceaded from them, letters, peynctynges, statues, buildinges and al other thinges. Again these olde men discommende many thynges in us, which of themselves are neyther good nor badde, onelye because they did them not: and say it is no good sight to see yonge men on horsebacke aboute the stretes and especially upon Mules, nor to wear furres, nor syde garmentes in winter, nor to weare a cappe before a man be a the least xviii. yeares of age, and such other matters, wherin truly they be much deceyved. For these facions (beside that they be commodious and profitable) are brought up by custome, and generallye men delite in them, as at that time they were contented to goe in their jacket, in their breechlesse hose and in their lowe shoes with lachettes, and (to appeere fine) carye all day longe a hauke upon their fiste, without pourpose, and daunce without touching a womans hand, and used many other facions, the which as they are nowe stale, so were they at that time muche set by. Therefore may it be lawfull for us also to followe the custome of our times, without controulment of these olde men, whiche going bout to praise themselves, say: Whan I was xx. yeares olde I laye wyth my mother and sisters, nor a great while after wiste I what women ment: and nowe children are not so soone crepte oute of the shell, but they knowe more naughtynesse, then they that were come to mans state did in those dayes: neither be they aware in so sayinge that they confirme our children to have more wit then their olde men. Let them leave therfore speakinge against our times, as full of vyces: for in takinge awaye them, they take also
One contrarie foloweth an other.
Better wittes now then in foretime.
Thinges neither good nor badd.
away the vertues. And let them remember that among the good men of auncient time, when as the glorious wittes florished in the world, which in very dede were of most perfection in every vertue, and more then manlye, there were also manye moste mischevous, which if they had still lived, shoulde have excelled oure yll men somuch in ill, as those good men in goodnes, and of this do all Histories make full mention. But unto these olde men I weene I have made a sufficient aunswer. Therfore we will leave aparte this discourse, perhappes to tedious, but not altogether out of pourpose: and beeing sufficient to have declared that the Courtes of oure time are worthy no lesse praise, then those that old men commend so much, we wil attende to our communication that was had about the Courtier, wherby a man may easely gather, in what degre the Court of Urbin was emonge the reste, and what maner a Prince and Lady they were that had suche noble wyttes attendyng upon them, and howe fortunate all they might call themselves that lyved in that familiar felowship. Whan the day folowinge therefore was come, there was great and sundrye Therfore almost the whole day was spent about talking in this, and assoone as night drue on, the L. Generall commaunded meate to be set on the borde, and toke all the Gentelmen with him, and immediatlye after supper he repayred to the Dutches side: who beehouldinge so great a companye assembled sooner then they had done at other times, saide: Me thinke, it is a great weight, Sir Friderick, that is layd upon your shoulders, and a greate expectacion that you must satisfy.
Facions setby in the olde tyme.
The sayinge of olde men.
Noble wittes in the Court of Urbin.
Here not tariynge for Sir Friderickes answere, And what greate weight (I beseche ye) is it? said then Unico Aretino. Who is so foolishe that whan he can do a thinge, will not do it in a fit and due time?
Reasoninge in this wise about the matter, every man satte him downe in his wonted place and maner with very heedful expectacion of the propounded talke.
Then Sir Fridericke tourninge him to Unico: Doe you not think then, M. Unico (quoth he) that I am laden this night with a great and peinful burden, since I must declare in what sort, maner and time, the Courtier hath to practise hys good condicions and qualities, and to use those other thinges that are alreadie saide to be mete for him?
Me thynke it is no great matter, answered Unico: and I beleve a good judgement in the Courtyer is sufficient for al this, which the Count saide well yesterday nighte that he oughte to have: and in case it be so, without any other preceptes, I suppose he may practyse welynough the thynge that hee knoweth in due time and after a good sorte. The whiche to bring more particularly into rule were to harde a matter, and perhappes more then nedeth, for I know not who is so fonde to go about his fence, whan the rest be in their musicke: or to goe about the streetes daunsing the Morisco, though he could doe it never so well: or goinge aboute to comfort a mother that had buried her childe, to beginne to talke with her of pleasant matters and mery conceites. I beleve surely no gentleman will do this, onlesse he wer cleane out of his wittes.
Me think (M. Unico) quoth Sir Friderick then, ye harpe to muche uppon your extremities. For it happeneth otherwhile a man is so fonde that he remembreth not himself so easilye, and oversightes are not all alike. And it may be that a man shall abstaine from a common foly which is to manifest, as that is you speak of, to go daunce the Morisco in the market place, and yet shal he not refraine from praising himself out of purpose, from using a noysome sawcinesse, from casting out otherwhile a worde thinking
to make men laughe, whiche for that it is spoken out of time will appeare colde and without any grace, and these oversightes often times are covered with a certaine veile that suffereth a manne not to forget who doeth them, onlesse he take no heed to them: and although for many causes our sight descerneth but litle, yet for ambicions sake it is darkened in especyall, for every man willingly setteth forth himselfe in that he perswadeth himself he knoweth whether this perswasion of his bee true or false. Therefore the well behaving of a mannes selfe in this case (me think) consisteth in a certein sidedome and judgement of choise, and to knowe more and lesse what encreaseth or diminisheth in thinges, to practise them in due time or out of season. And for all the Courtyer be of so good a judgement that he can discerne those differences, yet shall he the sooner compasse that hee seketh, if his imagination be opened with soem rule, and the wayes shewed him, and (as it were) the places where he should ground himself upon, then yf he should take him self onely to the generaltie. Fosomuche as therefore the Count yesterday night entreated upon Courtyership so copiously and in so good a maner, he hath made me (truely) conceive no small feare and doubte that I shall not so throughly satisfie this noble audience in the matter that lieth upon me to discourse in, as he hath done in that was his charge. Yet to make my self partener in what I maye of his praise, and to be sure not to erre (at the least in thys part) I will not contrarie him an any point. Wherefor agreing to his opinions, and beside the reste, as touchynge noblenes of birthe, wit and disposition of person and grace of countenaunce, I say unto you that to gete hym prayse worthely and a good estimation with all men, and favour with suche great men as he shal attende upon, me thinke it behouffull he have the understanding to frame all hys life and to set foorth his good qualities generally in company with al men without purchasing himself envy. The whiche howe harde a matter it is of it selfe, a man maye consider by the sildomenesse of suche as are seen to attain to that point: because we are al the sort of us in very dede more enclined of nature to dispraise faultes, then to commende thinges well done. And a man would thinke that many by a certain rooted malice, although they manifestly descerne the goodnes, enforce themselves with al study and diligence to finde in us either a faulte or at the leaste
To observe time.
the likenes of a fault. Therefore it behoveth oure Courtyer in all his doinges to be charie and heedfull, and what so he saith or doeth to accompany it with wisedome, and not onely to set his delite to have in himself partes and excellent qualities, but also to order the tenour of his life after suche a trade, that the whole may be answerable unto these partes, and see the selfe same to bee alwayes and in every thing suche, that it disagree not from it selfe, but make one body of all these good qualities, so that everye deede of his may be compact and framed of al the vertues, as the Stoikes say the duetie of a wiseman is: although not withstanding alwaies one vertue is the principall, but all are so knit and linked one to an other, that they tende to one ende, and all may bee applyed and serve to every purpose. Therefore it behoveth he have the understandynge to set them forth, sometime to make the other the better knowen: as the good peincters with a shadow make the lightes of high places to appeere, and so with light make lowe the shadowes of plaines, and meddle divers coulours together, so that throughe that diversitie bothe the one and the other are more sightly to behoulde, and the placing of the figures contrarie the one to the other is a helpe to them to doe the feate that the peincters mynde is to bring to passe. So that lowlines is muche to be commended in a Gentleman that is of prowesse and well seene in armes: and as that fearcenesse seemeth the greater whan it is accompanied with sobermoode, even so dooeth sobermood encrease and shewe it selfe the more through fiercenesse. Therefore little speaking, muche dooing, and not praising a mannes owne selfe in commendable deedes, dissemblying them after an honeste sorte, dooeth encrease both the one vertue and the other in a person that can discreatly use this trade: and the like is to be said in all the other
To set forthe good qualities.
Manye bent to finde faultes.
To set out one qualytie with another.
good qualities. Therefore will I have our Courtyer in that he doeth or saieth to use certaine general rules, the whiche (in my minde) containe briefly asmuch as belongeth to me to speake. And for the first and chief lette him avoid (as the Count saide wel in that behalf yester night) above all thinges curiositie. Afterwarde let him consider wel what the thing is he doth or speaketh, the place wher it is done, in presence of whom, in what time, the cause why he doeth it, his age, his profession, the ende whereto it tendeth, and the meanes that may bring him to it: and so let him apply himselfe discreatly with these advertisementes to whatsoever he mindeth to doe or speake.
After Syr Fridericke had thus saide, he seemed to staye a whyle.
Then said M. Morello of Ortona: Me thinke these your rules teache but litle. And I for my parte am as skilfull now as I was before you spake them, althoughe I remember I have harde them at other times also of friers with whom I have bene in confession, and I weene they terme them circumstances.
Then laughed Syr Fridericke and said: If you doe well beare in mynde, the Counte willed yesternighte that the chief profession of the Courtyer should bee in armes, and spake very largely in what sorte he shoulde do it, therefore will we make no more rehearsall thereof: yet by our rule it may be also understoode, that where the Courtyer is at a skirmishe, or assault, or battaile upon the land, or in such other places of enterprise, he ought to worke the matter wisely in seperating himself from the multitude, and take his notable and bould feates which he hath to do with as litle company as he can, and in the sighte of noble men that be of most estimation in the campe, and especially in the presence and (if it wer possible) beefore the very eyes of his king or greate parsonage he is in service withal: for in dede it is mete to set forth to the shew thinges well done. And I beleave even as it is an yll matter to seke a false renoume, and in the thing he deserveth no praise at all, so is it also an yll matter to defraude a mans self of his due estimation, and not to seke that praise, which alone is the true reward of vertuous enterprises. And I remember I have knowen of them in my time for all they wer of prowesse, yet in this point they have shewed themselves but grossheaded, and put their life in as great hasard to go take a flock of shiepe, as in being the formost to scale the walles of a batred towne, the which our Courtyer wil not doe if
he beare in minde the cause that bryngeth him to the warre, which ought to be onely his estimation. And if he happen moreover to be one to shewe feates of Chivalrie in open sightes at tilt, turney, or Joco di canne or in any other exercise of the person, remembryng the place where he is, and in the presence of whom, he shall provide before hand to be in his armour no lesse handsome and sightly then sure, and feede the eyes of the lookers on wyth all thinges that he shall thinke may geve him a good grace, and shall do his best to gete him a horse sett out with fair harneis and sightly trappinges, and to have proper devyses, apt poesies, and wittie inventions that maye drawe unto him the eyes of the lookers on, as the Adamant stone doth yron. He shall never be among the last that come furth into the listes to shewe themselves, considering the people, and especially women take muche more hede to the fyrste then to the last: because the eyes and mindes that at the begynning are greedy of that noveltye, note everye lyttle matter and printe it, afterward by continuance they are not onely full, but weery of it. Therefore was there a noble Stageplaier in olde tyme that for this respecte would alwaies be the first to come furth to playe his parte. In like maner also if our Courtier do but talke of armes, he shal have an eie to the profession of them he talketh withall and according to that frame himselfe, and use one maner of talke with men, and an other
An example of the circumstances.
Praise to be sought for.
The cause to venture life is estimacion.
Readie in his armour.
A horse well trimmed.
Not of the last to come furth.
with women: and in case he will touche any thing sounding to his own praise, he shall do it so dissemblinglye as it wer at a chaunce and by the way and with the discretion and warinesse that count Lewis shewed us yesterday. Do you not nowe thinke (M. Morello) that our rules can teache somewhat? Trowe you not that friende of ours I tould you of a fewe dayes agoe had cleane forgotten with whom he spake, and why? Whan to entertein a gentilwoman whom he never saw before, at his first entring in talke with her, he began to tell how many men he had slain and what a hardie felow he was, and how he could play at twohand-sworde and had never done untill he hadde taught her howe to defende certeine strokes with a Pollaxe being armed and how unarmed, and to shewe howe (in a mannes defence) to lay hande uppon a dagger, so that the poore gentilwoman stood upon thornes, and thought an houre a thousande yeare till she were got from him, for feare least he would go nigh to kil her as he had done those other. Into these errours runne they that have not an eye to the circumstances whiche you saye ye have heard of Friers. Therefore I say of the exercises of the body, some there are that (in maner) are never practised but in open shewe, as runninge at Tilt, Barriers, Joco do Canne, and all the reste that depende uppon Armes. Therefore whan oure Courtyer taketh any
Q. Roscius comoedus.
of these in hande, firste hee muste provide to bee so well in order for Horse, Harneys, and other fournitures beelongynge thereto, that he wante nothinge. And if he see not hym selfe throughelye fournyshed in all poyntes, lette him not meddle at all. For if he dooe not well, it can not bee scused that it is not his profession. After thys, he oughte to have a great consideration in presence of whom he sheweth himselfe, and who be his matches. For it were not meete that a Gentilman shoulde be present in person and a doer in such a matter in the countrey, where the lookers on and the doers were of a base sort.
Well provided for open showes.
Then saide the L. Gaspar Pallavicin: In our countrey of Lumbardy these matters are not passed uppon, for you shall see there yonge Gentilmen upon the holy dayes come daunce all the day long in the Sunne with them of the countrey, and passe the time with them in casting the barre, in wrastling, running and leaping. And I beleve it is not ill done. For no comparason is there made of noblenesse of birth, but of force and slight, in which thinges many times the men of the countrey are not a whit inferiour to Gentilmen, and it seemeth this familiar conversation conteineth in it a certein lovely freenesse.
This daunsing in the son, answered Syr Fridericke, can I in no case away withall: and I can not see what a man shall gain by it. But whoso wyll wrastle, runne and leape with men of the countrey, ought (in my judgement) to do it after a sorte: to prove himselfe and (as they are wonte to saye) for courtesie, not to trye maistry with them: and a man ought (in a maner) to be assured to get the upper hand, elles let him not meddle with al, for it is to ill a sight and to foule a matter and without estimation to see a Gentilman overcome by a Carter and especially in wrastling.
Therfore I beleve it is wel done to abstaine from it, at the leastwise in the presence of many, because if he overcome, his gaine is small, and his losse in being overcome very great. Also they play at tenise (in maner) alwaies in open sight, and this is one of the commune games which the multitude with their presence muche set furth. I will have oure Courtier therfore to do this and all the rest beside handlyng his weapon, as a matter that is not his profession: and not seeme to seeke or loke for any praise for it, nor be acknowen that he bestoweth much study or time about it, although he do it excellently well. Neither shall he be like unto some that have a delite in musicke, and in speaking with whom soever alwaies whan he maketh a pause in their talke, begine in a voice as though they would sing. Other walking in the stretes or in the churches, go alwayes daunsing. Other meetyng in the market place or whersoever anye friende, make a gesture as though they would play at fence, or wrastle, according as their delite is.
How to practise feates with men of the countrey.
Play at tenise.
The fond toyes of some.
Here, said the L. Cesar Gonzaga, we have in Roomé a yong Cardinal that doeth better then so, whiche feeling him self lusty of person leadeth as manye as come to visit him (though he never sawe them before) into a gardein, and is very instant uppon them to strippe themselves into their dublet to leape with him.
Syr Fridericke laughed, afterwarde he proceaded on: There be some other exercises that may be done both openly and privately, as dauncyng: and in this I beleve the Courtier ought to have a respecte, for yf he daunseth in the presence of many and in a place ful of people, he must (in my mind) keepe a certain dignitie, tempred notwithstanding with a handsome and sightly sweetnesse of gestures, and for all he feeleth himself very nimble and to have time and measure at will, yet let him not enter into that swiftnesse of feete and doubled footinges, that we see are very comely in oure Barletta, and peradventure were unseemely for a Gentilman,
although privately in a chamber together as we be nowe, I will not saye but he maye do both that, and also daunce the morsico and braulles, yet not openlye onlesse he were in a maske. And though it were so that all menne knewe him, it skilleth not, for there is no way to that, if a man will shewe himselfe in open sightes about such matters, whether it be in armes, or out of armes. Because to be in a maske bringeth with it a certaine libertie and lycence, that a man may emong other thinges take uppon him the fourme of that he hath best skill in, and use bente studye and preciseness about the principall drift of the matter wherin he will shewe himselfe, and a certaine Reckelesness aboute that is not of importaunce, whiche augmenteth the grace of the thinge, as it were to disguise a yonge man in an olde mannes attire, but so that his garmentes be not a hindraunce to him to shew his nimblenes of person. And a man at armes in fourm of a wield shepehearde, or some other suche kinde of disguisinge, but with an excellent horse and wel trimmed for the purpose. Because the minde of the lookers on runneth furthwith to imagine the thing that is offered unto the eyes at the first shew, and whan they behold afterward a farre greater matter to come of it then they looked for under that attire, it deliteth them and
To be in maske.
Maner of disguising.
they take pleasure at it. Therefore it were not meete in such pastimes and open shewes, where they take up counterfaiting of false visages, a prince should take upon him to be like a prince in dede, because in so doing, the pleasure that the lookers on receyve at the noveltye of the matter should want a great deale, for it is no noveltie at all to any man for a prince to bee a prince. And whan it is perceyved that beside his beinge a prince, he wil also beare the shape of a prince, he loseth the libertie to do all those thinges that are out of the dignity of a prince. And in case there should any contencion happen especially with weapon in these pastimes, he might easily make men beleave that he keepeth the persone of a prince because he will not be beaten but spared of the rest: beside that, doing in sport the very same he should do in good earnest whan neede required, it woulde take away his authoritye in deede and would appeere in lyke case to be play also. But in this point the prince stripping himself of the person of a prince, and minglinge himselfe equallye with his underlinges (yet in suche wise that he maye bee knowen) with refusynge superioritye, lette him chalenge a greater superioritie, namelye, to passe other men, not in authoritie, but in vertue, and declare that his prowes is not encresed by his being a prince. Therefore
The prince in maske not to take the shap of a prince.
I saye that the Courtier ought in these open sightes of armes to have the self same respect according to his degree. But in vauting, wrastling, running and leaping, I am well pleased he flee the multitude of people, or at least be sene very sildome times. For there is nothing so excellent in the world, that the ignorant people have not their fil of, and smallye regard in often beholding it. The like judgement I have in musike: but I would not our Courtier should do as many do, that assone as they come to any place, and also in the presence of great men with whom they have no acquaintance at al, without much entreating sett out themselves to shew asmuch as they know, yea and many times that thei know not, so that a man would weene they cam purposely to shew themselves for that, and that it is their principall profession. Therfore let our Courtier come to shewe his musike as a thing to passe the time withall, and as he wer enforced to doe it, and not in the presence of noble menne, nor of any great multitude. And for all he be skilfull and doeth wel understand it, yet wil I have him to dissemble the study and peines that a man must needes take in all thinges that are well done. And let him make semblante that he estemeth but litle in
In some exercises flee the multitude.
People have sone their fill.
Some set out them selves unadvisedly.
himself that qualitie, but in doing it excellently wel make it muche estemed of other menne.
How to shew musike.
Then saide the L. Gaspar Pallavicin: There are manye sortes of musike aswell in the brest, as upon instrumentes, therfore would I gladly learne whiche is the best, and at what time the Courtyer ought to practise it.
Me thinke, answered Sir Friderick, pricksong is a faire musicke, so it bee done upon the booke surely and after a good sorte. But to sing to the lute is muche better, because al the sweetenesse consisteth in one alone, and a manne is muche more heedefull and understandeth better the feate maner and the aer or veyne of it, whan the eares are not busyed in hearynge any moe then one voyce: and beesyde everye lyttle erroure is soone perceyved, whiche happeneth not in syngynge wyth companye, for one beareth oute an other. But syngynge to the Lute wyth the dyttie (me thynke) is more pleasaunte then the reste, for it addeth to the wordes suche a grace and strength, that it is a great wonder. Also all instrumentes with freates are ful of harmony, because the tunes of them are very perfect, and
with ease a manne may do many thinges upon them that fil the minde with the sweetnesse of musike. And the musike of a sette of Violes doth no lesse delite a man, for it is verie sweete and artificiall. A mannes breste geveth a great ornament and grace to all these instrumentes, in the which I wil have it sufficient that our Courtyer have an understanding. Yet the more counninger he is uppon them, the better it is for him, without medlynge muche with the instrumentes that Minerva and Alcibiades refused, because it seemeth they are noisome. Nowe as touchyng the time and season whan these sortes of musike are to be practised: I beleave at all times whan a man is in familiar and loving company, having nothing elles a doe. But especiallye they are meete to bee practised in the presence of women, because those sightes sweeten the mindes of the hearers, and make them the more apte to bee perced with the pleasantnesse of musike, and also they quicken the spirites of the verye doers. I am well pleased (as I have saide) they flee the multitude, and especially of the unnoble. But the seasoning of the whole must bee discreation, because in effect it
To synge to the lute.
Singinge with dittie.
Instrumentes with freates.
A sette of violes.
A mannes brest.
wer a matter unpossible to imagine all cases that fall. And if the Courtyer be a righteous judge of himselfe, he shall apply himselfe well inough to the tyme, and shall discerne whan the hearers mindes are disposed to geve eare and whan they are not. He shall knowe his age, for (to saie the trueth) it were no meete matter, but an yll sight to see a man of eny estimation being olde, horeheaded and toothlesse, full of wrinckles, with a lute in his armes playing upon it and singing in the middes of a company of women, although he coulde doe it reanablye well. And that, because suche songes conteine in them woordes of love, and in olde men love is a thing to bee jested at: although otherwhile he seemeth emonge other miracles of his to take delite in spite of yeres to set a fier frosen herts.
Time to practise musike. Discreation.
How olde men should practise musike.
Then answered the L. Julian: Doe you not barr poore olde men from this pleasure (Syr Fridericke), for in my time I have known men of yeeres have very perfect brestes and most nimble fingers for instrumentes, much more then some yong men.
I go not about, quoth Syr Fridericke, to barr olde men from this pleasure, but I wil barr you these Ladies from laughing at that folie. And in case olde men will sing to the lute, let them doe it secretly, and onely to ridde their mindes of those troublesome cares and grevous disquietinges that oure life is full of: and to taste of that excellency which I beleve Pythagoras and Socrates favoured in musike. And set case they exercise it not at all: for that thei have gotten a certain habit and custome of it, they shal savour it muche better in hearing, then he that hath no knowledge in it. For like as the armes of a smith that is weake in other thinges, because they are more exercised, be stronger then an other bodyes, that is sturdy, but not exercysed to worke with his armes: even so the eares that be exercised in musike do muche better and sooner descerne it, and with much more pleasure judge of it, then other, how good and quicke soever they be that have not bene practised in the varietie of pleasant musike: because those musical tunes perce not, but withoute leaving anye taste of themselves passe by the eares not accustomed to heare them although the very wilde beastes feele some delite in melodye. This is therfore the pleasure meete for olde men to take in musike. The self same I say of daunsing, for in dede these excercises oughte to bee lefte of before age constraineth us to leave them whether we will or no.
It is better then, aunswered here M. Morello, halfe chafed, to excepte all olde men and to saie that only yong men are to be called Courtiers.
Then laughed Syr Fridericke and said: Note (M.Morello) whether suche as delite in these matters, yf they bee not yonge men, do not study to appere yonge, and therfore dye their hear and make their beard grow twise a weeke, and this proceadeth upon that nature saith to them in secrete, that these matters are not comely but for yong men.
Olde men that will seme yonge against nature.
The nature of olde men.
The nature of yong men.
All the Ladies laughed, because thei knew these wordes touched M. Morello, and he seemed somwhat out of pacience at the matter.
Yet are there other enterteinments with women, saide immediatly Syr Fridericke, meete for olde men.
And what be these, quoth M. Morello, to tell fables?
And that to, answered Syr Fridericke. But every age (as you know) carieth with him his thoughtes, and hath some peculiar vertue and some peculier vice. And old men for al they are ordinarily wiser then yong men, more continent, and of a better foresight, yet are they withall more lavish in wordes, more greedie, harder to please, more fearfull, alwayes chafyng in the house, sharpe to their children, and will have every man wedded to their will. And contrarywise, yonge men are hardy, easie to be entreated, but more apt to brawling and chiding, waveringe and unstedfast, that love and unlove all at a time: geven to all their delites, and ennemies to them that tell them of their profit. But of all the other ages, mans state is moste temperate, whiche hath
nowe done with the curst prankes of youth, and not yet growen to aunciety. These then that be placed (as it were) in the extremities, it is behouffull for them to knowe howe to correct the vices with reason, that nature hath bredde in them. Therefore oughte olde men to take heede of muche praising themselves, and of the other vices, that we have said are proper to them, and suffre the wisdome and knowledge to beare stroke in them that they have gotten by long experience, and be (as it were) Oracles, to the whiche everye man should haunt for cousaile, and have a grace in utteringe that they knowe, applying it aptlye to the purpose, accompanying with the grace of yeeres a certaines temperate and meery pleasauntnesse. In this wyse shall they be good Courtiers, and be well entertayned wyth menne and women, and everye man will at all tymes be glad of their companye, without syngynge or daunsynge: and whan neede requireth they shall showe their prowesse in matters of weighte. The verye same respecte and judgemente shall yonge men have, not in keepyng the facion of olde menne (for what is meete for the one, were not in all poynctes so fitte for the other, and it is a commune sayinge, To muche gravytee in yonge menne is an yll signe, but in correctynge the natural vices in them. Therfore delite I
Mans state moste temperate.
The behaviour of olde men.
in a yonge manne, and especiallye a man at armes, if he have a certayne sagenesse in him and few woordes, and somewhat demure, wythoute those busye gestures and unquyete manners whyche we see so manye tymes in that age: for they seeme to have a certayne gyfte above other yonge menne. Beesyde that, thys mylde beehavyour conteyneth in it a kynde of syghtelye fiersenesse, because it appeereth to bee sturred, not of wrathe but of judgement, and rather governed by reason then appetyte: and thys (in manner) alwayes is knowen in al menne of stomacke, and we see it lykewyse in brute beastes, that have a certayne noble courage and stoutnesse above the reste: as the Lion and the Egle, neither is it voide of reason, forsomuche as that violente and sodeyne mocyon withoute woordes or other token of coler whyche wyth all force bursteth oute together at once (as it were the shott of a gunn) from quietnesse, whyche is contrary to it, is muche more violente and furious, then that whiche encreaseth by degrees and wexeth hott by little and little. Therefore suche as goynge aboute some enterpryse, are so full of woordes, that they leape and skip and can not stande styll, it appeereth they be ravyshed in those matters, and (as oure M. Peter Mount sayeth well) they doe like children, that goinge in the nighte singe for feare, as though that synginge of theirs shoulde make them plucke up their spirites to be the boulder. Even as therfore in a yonge man a quiet and ripe youthe is to be commended, because it appeareth that lightnesse (whiche is the peculiar vice of that age) is tempred and corrected: even so in an olde man a grene and lively olde age is much to be esteamed, because it appeareth that the force of the minde
The behaviour of yonge menne.
Noble corrage in brute beastes.
is so much, that it heateth and geveth a certein strength to that feeble and colde age, and mainteineth it in that middle state, which is the better part of our life. But in conclusion al these good qualities shal not suffise oure Courtyer to purchase him the general favour of great men, Gentlemen and Ladies, yf he have not also a gentle and lovynge behaviour in his daily conversation. And of this I beleve verely it is a hrd matter to geve anye maner rule, for the infinit and sundry matters that happen in practising one with an other: forsomuch as emong al the men in the world, there are not two to be found that in every point agree in mind together. Therfore he that must be pliable to be conversant with so many, oughte to guide himselfe with hys own judgement. And knowing the difference of one man and an other, every day alter facion and maner accordyng to the disposition of them he is conversant withall. And for my part I am not able in this behalf to geve him other rules then the aforesaid, whiche oure M. Morello learned of a child in confessing him self.
Behaviour in dailye conversation.
So many men so many mindes.
Here the L. Emilia laughed and said: You would rid your handes of peines taking (Syr Fridericke) but you shall not escape so, for it is youre parte to minister talke untill it be bed time.
And what if I have nothing to saye (madam)? Howe then? aunswered Sir Fridericke.
The L. Emilia said: We shall nowe trie your wit. And if al be true I have heard, there have bene men so wittie and eloquent, that thei have not wanted matter to make a booke in the praise of a flie, other in the praise of a quartaine fever, an other in the praise of bauldnes, doth not your hert serve you to finde oute omwhat to saie for one nyghte of Courting?
We have already, answered Syr Fridericke, spoken asmuch as wil go nigh to make two bokes. But since no excuse shal serve me, I wil speak until you shal think I have fulfilled though not my duety, yet my poure. I suppose the conversation which the Courtier ought chiefly to be pliable unto with al diligence to get him favour, is the very same that he shal have with his prince. And although this name of conversation bringeth with it a certain equalitie that a man would not judge can reigne betweene the maister and the servaunt, yet will we so terme it for this once. I will have our Courtyer therfore (beside that he hath and doeth daily geve men to understande that he is of the
prowesse which we have said ought to be in him) to turne al his thoughtes and force of minde to love, and (as it were) to reverence the Prince he serveth above al other thinges, and in his wil, maners and facions, to be altogether pliable to please him.
Conversation with his prince.
To please his prince.
Here without anye lenger staye, Peter of Naples saide: Of these, Courtyers noweadayes ye shall finde ynow, for (me thinke) in fewe wordes ye have peincted us out a joly flatterer.
You are farre deceived, answered Sir Fridericke, for flatteres love not their Lordes nor their frindes, the whiche I saie unto you I will have principally in our Courtyer: and to please him and to obey hys commaundementes whom he serveth, may be done without flattery, for I meane the commaundementes that are reasonble and honest, or suche as of themselves are neyther good nor bad, as is gaming and pastime, and geving himself more to some one exercise then to an other. And to this will I have the Courtyer to frame himselfe, though by nature he were not enclined to it: so that whansoever his lorde looketh upon him, he may thinke in his minde that he hath to talke with him of a matter that he will be glad to heare. The which shal come to passe if there bee a good judgement in him to understand what pleaseth his prince and a wit and wisedom to know how to applie it, and a bent wil to make him pleased with the thing which perhappes by nature should displease him. And havinge these principles, he shal never be sad before his prince nor melancholy, nor so solein as many, that a man would weene wer at debate with their Lordes, whiche is truly an hateful matter. He shall not be yll tunged, and especiallye againste his superiours, whiche happeneth often times: for it appeereth that there is a storme in courtes that carieth this condicion with it, that alwaies
looke who receyveth most benifittes at his Lordes handes, and promoted from very base degree to high astate, he is evermore complaynynge and reporteth woorst of hym: which is an uncomly thing, not onely for suche as these be, but even for such as be yll handled in deede. Oure Courtier shall use no fonde sausinesse. He shall be no carier about of trifling newes. He shall not be overseene in speakinge otherwhile woordes that may offende, where his entent was to please. He shall not be stubborne and full of contencion, as some busy bodyes that a man would weene had none other delite but to vexe and stirr men like flyes, and take uppon them to contrarie every man spitefullye without respect. He shall be no babbler, not geven to lyghtenesse, no lyar, no boaster, nor fonde flatterer, but sober, and keapinge hym alwayes within his boundes, use continually, and especially abrode, the reverence and respecte that beecommeth the servaunte towarde the mayster. And shall not do, as many that meetinge a Prince how great soever he be, yf they have once spoken with him beefore, come towarde him with a certaine smilynge and frindly countenaunce, as though they would make of one their equall, or showe favour to an inferiour of theirs. Very sildome or (in maner) never shall he crave any thinge of his Lorde for himselfe, least the lorde having respect to denie it him for him selfe, should happen to graunte it him with dyspleasure, which is farr worse. Againe in suinge for others, he shall discreatly observe the times, and in his suite shall be for honest and reasonable matters, and he shall so frame hys suite, in leavinge oute those poinctes that he shall knowe wil trouble him, and in making easie after a comely sort the lettes, that his Lord wil evermore graunt it him: and though he denie it, he shall not think to have offended him whom he ment not to doe, for, because greate menne often times after thei have denied request to one that hath suid to them with great instance, thinke the person that laboured to them so earnestly for it, was very greedy of it, and therefore in not obtaining it, hath cause to beare him yll will that denied him it, and upon this suspicion thei conceive an hatred
His behaviour in his princes presence.
Not yl tunged.
The most made of worst reporters.
No pratler of newes.
The behaviour of some fonde persons toward great men.
against that person, and can never afterwarde brooke him nor aforde him good countenance. He shall not covet to presse into the chamber or other secrete places where his Lord is withdrawen, onlesse he be bed, for all he be of great authoritie with him: because great men often times whan thei are privatly gotten alone, love a certain libertie to speake and do what thei please, and therefore will not be seene or herd of any person that may lightly deeme of them, and reason willeth no lesse. Therefore suche as speake against great menne for making of their chamber persons of no great qualitie in other thinges but in knowing how to attende about their person (me thinke) commit an errour: because I can not see why they should not have the libertie to refresh their mindes, whiche we oure selves would have to refreshe ours. But in case the Courtyer that is inured with weightie affaires, happen to bee afterwarde secretely in chamber with him, he oughte to chaunge his coate and to differr grave matters till an other time and place, and frame himselfe to pleasante communicacion, and suche as his lorde will bee willing to geve eare unto, least he hinder that good moode of his. But herein and in al other thinges, let him have an especial regard, that he be not cumbrous to him. And let him rather looke to have favour and promotion offred him, then crave it so openly in the face of the worlde, as manye dooe, that are so greedy of it, that a man would weene the not obtaynynge it, greeveth them as muche as the losse of lyfe: and yf they chaunce to enter into anye displeasure, or elles see other in favoure, they are in suche anguishe of mynde, that thei can by no meanes dissemble the malice, and so make al men laugh them to scorne: and many times thei are the cause that great men favour some one, only to spite them withal. And afterward if thei happen to enter in favour that passeth a meane, they are so dronken in it, that thei know not what to do for joy: and a man would wene that thei wist not what wer become of their feete and handes, and (in a maner) are ready to cal company to behoulde them and to rejoice with them, as a matter they have not bene accustomed withal. Of this sort
Why he shall not sue for him selfe.
His sute for others.
The imaginacyon of princes.
He shall not presse into secret places.
Greate men should make of their chamber men of no greate estimation.
I wil not have our Courtyer to be. I would have him esteame favour and promotion, but for al that, not to love it so much, that a man should thinke he could not live without it. And whan he hath it, let him not shew himself new or straunge in it: nor wonder at it whan it is offred him: nor refuse it in such sort as some, that for very ignorance receive it not, and so make men beleve that thei acknowledge themselve unworthy of it. Yet ought a man alwaies to humble himself somewhat under his degree, and not receive favour and promocions so easilye as thei be offred him, but refuse them modestlye, shewing he much estemeth them and after such a sort, that he may geve him an occasion that offreth them, to offer them with a great deale more instance: because the more resistance a man maketh in such maner to receive them, the more doeth he seeme to the prince that geveth them to be estemed, and that the benefite whiche he bestoweth is so muche the more, as he that receiveth it seemeth to make of it, thinking himself much honoured therby. And these are the true and perfect promotions that make men esteamed of such as se them abrode: because whan they are not craved, everye man conjectureth they arrise of true vertue, and so muche the more as they are accompanied with modestie.
Not to sue for promotions.
The griefe of some for anger.
The wye of some in a meane authoritye.
Behaviour in receivynge promotion.
Promotions not begged.
Then said the L. Cesar Gonzaga: Me thinke ye have this clause oute of the Gosspell where it is written: Whan thou art bed to a mariage, go and sit thee downe in the lowest rowme, that whan he commeth that bed thee, he may saie, Friende come higher, and so shal it be an honour for thee in the sight of the gestes.
Syr Fridericke laughed and said: It were to great a sacrilege to steale out of the Gospell. But you are better learned in scripture than I was aware of: then he proceaded. See into what daunger they fal sometime, that
rashly before a great manne entre into talke unrequired: and manye times that Lorde to skorne them withall, maketh no aunswere and tourneth his head to the other hand: and in case he doeth make aunswewe, every man perceyveth it is done full skornfullye. Therfore to purchase favour at great mens handes, there is no better waye then to deserve it. Neyther must a manne hope when he seeth an other in favour with a Prince, for whatsoever matter, in folowinge his steppes to come to the same, because every thing is not fitt for every man. And ye shal finde otherwhile some one that by nature is so readie in his meeye jestes, that what ever he speaketh bringeth laughter with it, and a man would weene that he were borne onlye for that: and if another that hath a grave facion in him, of howe good a witt so ever he be, attempt the like, it will be very colde and without any grace, so that he will make a man abhorre to heare him, and in effect will be like the asse, that to counterfeyt the dogg would play with his maister. Therefore it is meete eche man knowe himselfe and his own disposicion, and applye himself thereto, and consider what thynges are mete for him to folow, and what are not.
The rashnes of some.
To deserve favour.
Not to counterfait other mens doings.
Some ready in their jestes.
Before ye go anye farther, saide here M. Vincent Calmeta, if I have well marked, me thaught ye said right now, that the best way to purchase favour, is to deserve it: and the Courtier oughte rather to tarie till promotions bee offered him, then presumpciously to crave them. I feare me least this rule bee litle to purpose, and me thinke experience doeth us very manifestly to understande the contrarye: because noweadayes very fewe are in favoure with Princes but such as be malapert. And I wote well you can be a good witnesse of some, that perceivyng themselves in smal credite with their Princis, are come up only with presumption. As for such as come to promtion with modestie, I for my parte know none, and if I geve you respite to bethink your self, I beleve ye wil find out but fewe. And if you marke the French Court, which at this day is one of the nobleste in al Christendome, ye shal find that al such as are generally in favour there, have in them a certein malapertnesse, and that not onely one with an other, but with the king himselfe.
Do you not so say, answered Syr Fridericke, for in Fraunce there are very modest and courtious gentlemen. Truth it is, that they use a certein libertie and familaritie
without ceremonies, which is proper and natural unto them, and therefore it ought not to be termed malapertnesse. For in that maner of theirs, although they laugh and jeste at suche as be malapert, yet do they sett muche by them that seeme to them to have any prowesse or modesty in them.
The Frenche gentlemen without ceremonies.
Many Spaniardes be sawcye.
Calmeta answered: Marke the Spaniardes that seme the very maisters of Courtly facions, and consider how many ye find that with women and great men are not moste malapert, and so muche woorse then the Frenchemen, in that at the fyrste showe they declare a certein modesty. And no doubt but they be wise in so doing, because (as I have said) the great men of our time do al favour suche as are of these condicions.
Then answered Syr Friderick: I can not abide (M. Vincent) that ye should defame in this wise the great men of our time, because there be many notwithstanding that love modesty: the which I do not say of it self is sufficient to make a man estemed, but I saie unto you, whan it is accompanied with great prowesse it maketh him muche esteamed that hath it. And though of it self it lye styll, the woorthye deedes speake at large, and are much more to be wondred at, then if they were accompanied with presumption or rashnes. I will not nowe denie but many Spaniardes there be full of malapertnesse: but I saie unto you, they that are best esteamed, for the moste part are very modest. Agayne some other there be also so cold, that they flee the companye of menne to out of measure, and
passe a certein degree of meane: so that they make men deeme them either to fearfull or to high minded. And this doe I in no case allowe, neyther would I have modestie so drye and withered, that it shoulde become rudenesse. But let the Courtier, whan it commeth to pourpose, be well spoken, and in discourses uppon states, wise and expert: and have such a judgement that he maye frame himselfe to the manners of the countrey where ever he commeth. Then in lower matters, let him bee pleasauntly disposed, and reason well uppon everye matter, but in especiall tende alwayes to goodnesse. no envious person, no caryar of an yll tunge in his head: nor at anye tyme geven to seeke prefarmente or promotion anye naughtie waye, not by the meane of anye subtyll practise.
What modestie ought to be.
Then saide Calmeta: I wyll assure you all the other waies are much more doubtfull and harder to compasse, then is that you discommende: because now a dayes (to rehearse it againe) great menne love none but such as be of that condicion.
Do you not so say, answered then Syr Fridericke, for that were to plaine an argumente that the greate menne of our time were all vitious and naughte, whiche is untrue, for some there be that bee good. But if it fell to oure Courtyers lott to serve one that wer vitious and wycked, assoone as he
knoweth it, let him forsake hym, least he taste of the bytter peine that all good menne feele that serve the wicked.
What he must do in service with the wicked.
We must praie unto God, answered Calmeta, to helpe us to good, for whan wee are once with them, wee muste take them with all theyr faultes, for infinite respectes constraine a Gentleman after he is once entred into service with a Lorde, not to forsake him. But the yll lucke is in the begynnyng: and Courtyers in this case are not unlyke unluckye foules bread up in an yl vale.
Me thinke, quoth Syr Fridericke, duetye oughte to vayle beefore all other respectes, but yet so a gentleman forsake not his Lorde at the warre or in anye other adversitie, and bee thought to doe it to follwe Fortune, or because he wanted a meane to profitte by, at al other times I beleve he maye with good reason, and oughte to forsake that service, that among good men shall put hym to shame, for all men will imagine that he that serveth the good, is is good, and he that serveth the yll, is yll.
I woulde have you to clere me of one doubt that I have in my head, quoth the the L. Lodovicus Pius, namely, whether a gentleman be bound or no, while he is in his Princis service, to obey him in all thinges which he shal commaund, though they were dishonest and shamefull matters.
In dishoneste matters we are not bounde to obey any body, aunswered Syr Fridericke.
And what (replyed the L. Lodovicus Pius) if I be in service with a Prince who handleth me well, and hopeth that I will do any thing for him that may be done, and he happen to commaunde me to kyll a man, or any other like matter, ought I to refuse to do it?
You ought, answered Syr Fridericke, to obey your Lorde in all thinges that tend to his profitt and honour, not in suche matters that tende to his losse and shame. Therefore yf he shoulde commaunde you to conspire treason, ye are not onely not bounde to doe it, but ye are bounde not to doe it, bothe for your owne sake and for being a minister of the shame of your Lorde. Truth it is, many thinges seeme at the first sight good, which are il: and many ill, that not withstanding are good. Therefore it is lawfull for a man sometyme in his Lordes service to kill not one manne alone, but tenne thousande, and to do many other thinges, which if a man waye them not as he ought, will appeare yll, and yet are not so in deede.
Whan a man may forsake his maister.
Howe and in what princis are to be obeied.
Thinges otherwhile seeme good that be yll.
Then aunswered the L. Gaspar Pallavicin: I beseche you let us heare you speake somwhat in this case, and teach us how we maie descerne thinges good in dede, from suche as appeeare good.
I pray you pardon me, quoth Syr Fridericke, I will not at this time enter into that: for there were to muche to be saide in it: but all is to be referred to your discretion.
Clere ye me at the least of another doubt, replied the L. Gaspar.
And what doubt is that? quoth Syr Fridericke.
This aunswered the L. Gaspar: I would know where I am charged by my maister in expresse wordes in an interprise or businesse what ever it be, what I have to do therein: if I, at the deede doynge thinkynge wyth my selfe in doynge it more or lesse, or otherwise then my commission, to bringe it more prosperouslye to passe and more for his profit that gave me that commission, whether ought I to govern my selfe accordinge to the first charge withoute passinge the boundes of the commission, or elles do the thinge that I judge to be best?
Then answered Sir Fridericke: In this pointe I woulde geve you the judgemente with the example of Manlius Torquatus, whiche in that case for overmuch affeccion slue his sonne, if I thought hym woorthy great praise, which (to saie the troth) I doe not: although againe I dare not discommende him, contrarye to the opinion of so manye hundreth yeeres. For oute of doubte, it is a daungerous matter to swarve from the commaundementes of a manes superiours, trusting more in his owne judgement then in theirs, whom of reason he ought to obey: because if his imagination faile him and the matter take yll successe, he renneth into the errour of disobedience, and marreth that he hath to doe, without any maner excuse or hope of pardon. Againe in case the matter come well to passe accordinge to his desier, he muste thanke his fortune, and no more a doe. Yet in this sorte a custome is brought up to set litle by the commaundementes of the superiour poures. And by his example that bryngeth the matter to good passe, which paraventure is a wise man and hath discoursed with reason and also ayded by fortune, afterwarde a thousand other ignoraunt persons and light headed will take a stomake to aventure in matters of moste importaunce to doe after their owne waye, and to appere wise and of authoritie, wil swarve from the commission of their heades, whiche is a very yll matter, and often times the cause of infinite errours. But I beleave in this point, the person whom the matter toucheth ought to skanne it depely, and (as it were) put in a balaunce the goodnesse and commoditie that is like to ensue unto him in doing contrarie to that he is charged, admytting his purpose succeede according to his hope: and counterpese on the other side the hurt and discommoditie that arriseth, if in doing otherwise then he is commaunded, the matter chaunce to have yll successe: and knowing that the hurt may be greater and of more importance, if it succeede yll, then the profitt, if it happen well, he ought to refrain, and in every point to observe his
Whether a man maie folow a part of his owne mind in a commission.
T. Manlius Torq. caused his sonne to be slaine for fighting contrary to commaundement.
Commaundementes of the superioure poures are to be obeyed.
commission. And contrarywise, if the profitt be like to bee of more importaunce, if it succeede well, then the hurte, if it happen amisse, I beleve he may with good reason take in hand to do the thing that reason and judgement shall sette before him, and leave somewhat a side the very fourme of the commission, after the example of good marchaunt men, that to gaine much, adventure a litle, and not much, to gaine a litle. I allowe well that he have a regarde to the nature of the Lorde he serveth, and according to that, frame hymselfe. For in case he be rigorous (as many suche there are) I woulde never counsell him, if he were my friende, to varye in any parcell from the appointed order least it happen unto him, as a maister Inginner of Athens was served, unto whom P. Crassus Mutianus being in Asia and going aboute to batter a towne, sent to demaunde of him one of the two shipmastes that he had sene in Athens to make a Ramm to beate down the walles, and sayde he woulde have the greater. Thys Inginner, as he that was verye counnynge in deede, knewe the greater woulde not verye well serve for thys pourpose, and because the lesser was more easy to bee caried, and also fytter to make that ordinaunce, he sent that to Mutianus. After he had understoode how the matter passed, he sente for the poore Inginner and asked hym why he obeyed hym not, and not admyttinge anye reason he coulde alleage for hymselfe, made hym to be strypped naked, beaten and whipped with roddes, so that he died, seemyng to hym in steede of obeying him, he would have counsailed him: therefore with suche rigorous men, a man muste looke well to his doynges. But lette us leave a parte nowe this practyse of the superiours, and come downe to the conversation that a manne hath with his equalles or somewhat inferiours, for unto them also must a manne frame hymselfe, because it is more universallye frequented, and a manne findeth himselfe oftner emonge them, then emong his superiours. Although ther be some fonde persons that beeing in companye with the greatest friende they have in the worlde, if they meete wyth one better apparailed, by and by they cleave unto him: and yf an other come in place better then he, they doe the like unto him. And againe, whan the Prince passeth throughe
What he that receiveth a charge ought to do.
The nature of the L. to be considered.
The crueltye of Mutianus.
the market place, through churches, or other haunted places, they make all men geve them rowme with their elbowes tyll they come to thier heeles, and thoughe they have nothing to saie to him, yet wyll they talke with him and keape him with a long tale, laugh, clappe the handes, and nod the head, to seeme to have weightie businesse, that the people maye see they are in favoure. But because these kynde of menne vouchesafe not to speake but with great menne, I wyll not we should vouchsafe to speake of them.
Conversacion with a mannes equalles.
Some felowship them selves alwayes with the best apparailed.
Men that will seeme to be in favour.
Of raiment and apparail.
Then the L. Julian: Since ye have (quoth he) made mention of these that are so ready to felowshippe themselves with the wel apparailed, I would have you to shew us in what sorte the Courtier shoulde apparayle hymself, what kind of garment doeth beste become hym, and howe he shoulde fitte himselfe in all his garmentes aboute his bodye: beecause we see infinite varietie in it, and some are arayed after the Frenche facion, some after the Spanyshe attier, an other wyll seeme a Dutcheman. Neyther wante wee of them also that wil cloth themselves lyke Turkes: some weare beardes, other dooe not. Therefore it were a good deede in this varietie, to shewe howe a manne shoulde chouse oute the beste.
Syr Fridericke saide: In verye deede I am not able to geve anye certeyne rule about rayment, but that a man should frame himselfe to the custome of the moste. And since (as you saye) this custome is so variable, and Italians are so desirous to take up other mennes facions, I beleave every manne maye lawfullye apparaile himselfe at his pleasure. But I knowe not by what destinye it commeth that Italy hathe not, as it was wonte to have, a facion of attier knowen to bee the Italian facion, for although the bringing up of these new facions maketh the first to appeere very grosse, yet were they peraventure a token of libertie, where these have bene a pronosticate of bondage, the which (me thinke) now is plainly ynough fulfilled. And as it is written, when Darius the yere before he fought with Alexander had altered his swerd he wore by his side, which was a Persian blade, into the facion of Macedony, it was interpreted by the Sothsayers, how this signified, that they into whose facion Darius had altered the fourme of his Persian blade should become rulers of Persia: even so where we have
altered our Italian facions into straunge, me thinke, it signified, that all they into whose facions oures wer chaunged, should come in to overrunne us: the whiche hathe been to true, for there is not nowe a nation lefte that hath not made us their prey, so that there remaineth little behinde to prey upon, and yet for all that cease they not to prey still. But I wyll not enter into communication of sorowe: therefor it shalbe wel to speake of the raiment of our Courtyer, the whiche so it be not out of use, nor contrary to his profession, in the rest (I thinke) it will do welynough, so the wearer be satisfied withall. Truth it is, that I woulde love it the better yf it were not extreme in anye part, as the Frenchman is wont to bee sometyme over longe, and the Dutchmanne overshorte, but as they are bothe the one and the other amended and broughte into better frame by the Italians. Moreover I will houlde alwayes with it, yf it bee rather somewhat grave and auncient, then garishe. Therefore me thinke a blacke colour hath a better grace in garmentes then any other, and though not throughly blacke, yet somwhat darke, and this I meane for his ordinary apparaile. For there is no doubt, but upon armour it is more meete to have sightly and meery coulours, and also garmentes for pleasure, cut, pompous and riche. Likewise in open showes about triumphes, games, maskeries, and suche other matters, because so appointed there is in them a certein livelinesse and mirth, which in deede doeth well sette furth feates of armes and pastimes. But in the rest I coulde wishe they should declare the solemnitie that the Spanyshe nation muche observeth, for outwarde matters manye times are a token of the inwarde.
Italy a prey to all nations.
Frenchemen use long wastes.
Colours upon armour.
Solemnitie of Spaniardes.
Then saide the L. Cesar Gonzage: I woulde not sticke muche at this, for so a gentleman be of woorthinesse in other matters, his garmentes neyther encrease nor minishe reputation.
Syr Friderick answered: Ye saie true. Yet whiche of us is there, that seeing a gentleman go with a garment upon his backe quartred with sundry coulours, or with so many points tyed together, and al about with lases and fringes set overthwart, will not count him a very disard or a commune jestar?
Neither disard, quoth M. Peter Bembo, nor jestar woulde a man count him, that had lived any while in Lumbardy, for there they all go so.
Why then, answered the Dutchesse smylyng, if they go all so, it ought not to bee objected to them for a vice, this kinde of attier being as comely and proper to them, as it is to the Venetians to weare their longe wyde sleeves, and to the Florentines, their hoodes.
I speake no more of Lumbardy, quoth Syr Fridericke, then of other places, for in every nation ye shall finde bothe foolishe and wyse. But to speake that I thinke is most requisite as touching apparaile, I will have the Courtier in all his garmentes handsome and clenlye, and take a certain
delite in modest Precisenesse, but not for all that after a womanish or lyghte maner, neither more in one point, then in an other, as we see many so curious about their hear, that they forget all the rest. Other delite to have their teeth faire. Other in their beard. Other in buskines. Other in cappes. Other in coyffes. And so it commeth to passe, that those fewe thinges whiche they have clenly in them, appeere borowed ware, and all the rest, whiche is most fonde, is knowne to be their owne. But this trade wil I have our Courtier to flee by my counsel, with an addition also, that he ought to determine with himselfe what he will appeere to be, and in suche sorte as he desireth to bee esteamed so to apparaile himselfe, and make his garmentes helpe him to be counted suche a one, even of them that heare hym not speake, nor see him doe anye maner thyng.
Delites of men.
I thinke it not meete, quoth then the L. Pallavicin, neyther is it used emong honest menne to judge mennes conditions by their garmentes, and not by their woordes and deedes, for many a manne might be deceived: and this proverb arriseth not without cause: The habit maketh not the Monke.
I say not, answered Syr Friderick, that menne shoulde geve a resolute judgement by this alone, of mennes conditions, and that they are not knowen by wordes and deedes, more then by the garmentes. But I saie that the garment
is withall no small argument of the fansie of him that weareth it, although otherwhile it appeere not true. And not this alone, but all the behaviours, gestures, and maners, beeside wordes and deedes, are a judgement of the inclination of him in whome they are seene.
The garment judgeth the mynde.
Gozzuti, men in the mountaines with great bottles of flesh under their chin, through the drinking of snow water.
And what thynges be those, aunswered the L. Gaspar, that you fynde we maye geve judgement upon, that are neyther woordes nor deedes.
Then said Syr Friderick: You are to subtill a Logicien, but to tell you as I meane, some Operations there are that remayne after they are done, as buylding, writynge, and suche other: some remayn not, as these that I meane now. Therefore doe I not counte in this pourpose, goynge, laughyng, lookyng, and suche matters to bee Operations, and notwithstandyng outwardly doe geve many times a knowledge of that is within. Tell me, dyd you not geve your judgemente upon that friende of oures we communed of this morning paste, to bee a foolishe and light person, assoone as you sawe he wried his head and bowed his bodye, and invited with a cheerful countenaunce the companye to put of their cappes to him? So in like maner whan you see one gase earnestely with his eyes abashed, lyke one that had lytle witt: or that laugheth so fondly as do those dombe menne, with the great wennes in theyr throte, that dwell in the Mountaines of Bergamo, thoughe he neyther speake ne doe anye thinge elles, will you not counte him a verye foole? Ye may see then that these beehaviours, maners and gestures, whiche I mynde not for this time to terme Operations, are a great matter to make menne knowne. But me thynke there is an other thyng that geveth and dimynisheth muche reputation: namely, the choyse of friendes, with whom a manne must have inwarde conversation.
For, undoubtedly reason wylleth that suche as are coopled in streicte amitie and unseparable companye, should be also alike in wyll, in mynde, in judgemente, and inclination. So that who so is conversaunt wyth the ignoraunt or wycked, he is also counted ignoraunt and wucked. And contrariwise he that is conversaunt with the good, wyse, and dyscreete, he is reckened suche a one. For it seemeth by nature, that everye thing doeth willingly felowshippe with his lyke. Therefore I beleave that a man oughte to have a respect in the first beeginning of these frendshippes, for of two neere friendes, who ever knoweth the one, by and by he ymagineth the other to bee of the same condition.
Choise of friendes.
Then aunswered M. Peter Bembo: To bee bounde in frenshyppe with suche agreemente of mynde as you speake of, me thynke in deede a manne ought to have great respect, not onely forgetting or leesing reputation, but because nowe adaies ye finde very fewe true friendes. Neyther doe I beleave that there any more in the world, those Pylades and Orestes, Theseus and Perithous, nor Scipio and La&elig;lius, but rather it happeneth dailye, I wote not by what destinye, that two friendes whiche many yeeres have lyved together with most hartie love, yet at the ende beguile one an other, in one maner or other, either for malice, or envye, or for lightnesse, or some other yll cause: and eche one imputeth the faulte to his felow, of that whiche perhappes both the one and the other deserveth. Therfore because it hath happened to me more then once to bee deceived of hym whom I loved beste, and of whom I hoped I was beloved above anye other person, I have thought with my selfe alone other while to bee well done, never to put a mannes trust in any person in the worlde, nor to geve himselfe so for a prey to friend how deere and loving so ever he wer, that without stoppe a manne shoulde make him partaker of all his thoughtes, as he woulde his owne selfe: because there are in our mindes so many dennes and corners, that it is unpossible for the witt of manne to knowe the disymulations that lye lurking in them. I beleave therefore that it is well done to love and awaie with one more then another, according to the desertes and honesty: but not for all that so to assure a mannes selfe, with this sweete bait of frendship, that afterwarde it shoulde be to late for us to repente.
Then Syr Fridericke: Truely (quoth he) the losse shoulde bee much more then the gain, if that high degree of frindshippe shoulde bee taken from the felowshippe of
manne, whiche (in mine opinion) ministreth unto us all the goodnes conteined in our life: and therefore wyll I in no case consente to you, that it is reasonable, but rather I can finde in my heart to conclude, and that with moste evident reasons, that without this perfect friendship, men were much more unluckie, then all other livyng creatures. And albeit some wicked and prophane taste of this holye name of friendship, yet is it not for all that to be so rooted oute of mennes mindes, and for the trespasse of the yll, to deprive the good of so great a felicitie. And I beleave verely for my parte, there is here emong us moe then one couple of friends, whose love is indissoluble and without any guile at all, and to endure untill death, with agreement of will, no lesse then those menne of olde time, whom you mentioned right nowe. And so is it alwaies, whan beside the inclination that commeth from above, a man chouseth him a friende lyke unto himselfe in conditions. And I meane the whole to consist emong the good and vertuous menne, because the friendship of the wicked, is no friendshippe. I allowe well that this knott, which is so streicte, knitt or binde no mo then two, elles were it in a hasarde: for (as you knowe) three instrumentes of musike are hardlier brought to agree together then two. I woulde have our Courtier therefore to finde him oute an especiall and hartie friende, if it were possible, of that sort we have spoken of. Then according to their desertes and honesty, love, honour, and observe all other menne, and alwaies do hys beste to felowshippe himselfe with menne of estimation that are noble and knowen to bee good, more then with the unnoble and of small reputation, so he be also beloved and honoured of them. And this shall come to passe if he be gentle, lowely, freeharted, easie to be spoken to, and sweete in company, humble and diligent to serve, and to have an eye to
Frendshippe necessarye for the lyfe of man.
Frendshippe of two together.
his friendes profitt and estimation, as wel absente as present, bearing with their naturall defaultes that are to be borne withall, without breaking with them upon a small grounde, and correcting in himselfe such as lovingly shall bee toulde him, never prefarring himselfe before other menne in seeking the highest and chiefe rowmes of estimation, neither in doing as some that a manne would weene despised the worlde, and with a noysome sharpnes will tell every manne his duetie, and beside that they are full of contention in avery trifling matter, and out of tyme, they comptroule whatsoever they doe not themselves, and alwaies seeke cause to complaine of their friendes, which is a most hatefull thing.
A mans duetie towarde his friend.
Here whan Sir Friderick had made a stay, the L. Gaspar Pallavicin saide, I would have you to expresse somewhat more particularlye this conversation with friendes, then you doe, for in deede ye keepe your self to muche in the generall, and touch unto us thinges (as it were) by the waie.
How by the waye? aunswered Sir Fridericke. Woulde you have me to tell you also the verye woordes that a manne muste use? Suppose you not then we have sufficientlye communed of this?
I thynke yea, aunswered the L. Gaspar. Yet doe I desier to understand also some particular point of the maner of enterteinment emong menne and women, whiche (me thynke) is a verye necessary matter, consideryng the moste parte of a mans tyme is spent therein in Courtes, and if it were alwayes after one maner wyse, a manne would soone wexe weerye of it.
Me thynke, aunswered Syr Fridericke, we have geven the Courtier a knowledge in so many thynges, that he maye well varye his conversation and frame hymselfe accordynge to the inclination of them he accompanyeth hymself withall, presupposyng him to be a a good judgemente, and therewithall to guyde hymself. And according to the time otherwhile, have an eye to grave matters, and sometyme to pastimes and games.
And what games? quoth the L. Gaspar.
Syr Friderick aunswered: Lette us aske counsel of Frier Seraphin that daily inventeth newe.
But in good earneste, replied the L. Gaspar, doe you not thynke it a vice in the Courtier to plaie at Dice and Cardes?
Dice and Cardes.
The play at Chestes.
I thynke it none, quoth Syr Fridericke, onlesse a man apply it tomuch, and by reason of that, setteth aside other thynges more necessary, or elles for none other entent but to get money, and to beguile his felow, and in his losse, fume and take on so, that it might be thought a token of covetounesse.
The L. Gaspar answered: And what say you to the game at chestes?
It is truely an honest kynde of enterteynmente and wittie, quoth Syr Friderick. But me think it hath a fault, whiche is, that a man may be to couning at it, for who ever will be excellent in the playe of chestes, I beleave he must beestowe much tyme about it, and applie it with so much study, that a man may assoone learne some noble scyence, or compase any other matter of importaunce, and yet in the ende in beestowing all that laboure, he knoweth no more but a game. Therfore in this I beleave there happeneth a very rare thing, namely, that the meane is more commendable, then the excellency.
The L. Gaspar answered: There be many Spaniardes excellent at it, and in many other games, whiche for all that bestowe not muche studye upon it, nor yet lay aside the compassing of other matters.
Beleave not the contrarye aunswered Syr Fridericke, but they beestowe muche studye upon it, although feiningly. As for those other games ye speake of beeside chestes, paraventure they are like many which I have seen that serve to small pourpose, but onely to make the commune people wonder. Therfore (in mine opinion) thei deserve none other praise or reward, then the great Alexander gave unto him, that standing a farr of, did so well broch Chiche peason upon a nedle. But because fortune, as in manye other thinges, so in the opinion of men seemeth to beare a great stroke, it is somtime seen that a gentleman, how well conditioned ever he be, and endowed with many qualities, shall be litle set by of a great man, and (as thei say) groweth not in favour with him, and without any cause why, that a man may discearn. Therefore whan he commeth into his presence without any acquaintance before hande, with the reste about him, though he be wittie and ready in his answeres, and showeth himself handsomly wel in his beehaviours, in his conditions and wordes, and in what ever belongeth unto him, yet wil that Lord sett light by him,
The meane knowledge is best in the play at Chestes.
Spaniardes dissemble their study in the play at Chestes.
and rather geve hym an yll countenance, then esteame him: and of this wil arrise that the rest immediatly will frame tenselves to their lordes mind, and it shall seeme unto every man that he is litle worth, neyther will any manne regarde hym, or make of him, or laugh at his pleasante sayinges, or set any thing by hym, but will beeginne all to serve him sluttish pranckes, and make him a Cousin, neyther shall good aunsweres suffyce the poore soule, nor yet the takynge of thynges as spoken in jeste, for even the verye Pages wyll bee at hym, so that were he the fairest condicioned man in the world, he can not couse but bee thus baited and jested at. And contrariwise, if a Prince bee inclined to one
Some woorthy in deede, smally regarded of great men.
that is moste ignoraunt, that can neither do nor saie any thing, his maners and beehaviours (be they never so fonde and foolish) are many tymes commended with acclamation and wonder of all menne, and it seemeth that all the Courte behouldeth and observeth him, and everye manne laugheth at his boording and certein cartarlike jestes, that shoulde rather move a manne to vomite, then to laughe: so addicted and stiffe menne bee in the opinions that arrise of the favoures and disfavoures of great men. Therefore wil I have our Courtier the best he can (beside his worthinesse) to help himself with witt and art, and whan ever he hath to goe where he is straunge and not knowen, let him procure there goe first a good opinion of him, beefore he come in person, and so woork, that they maie understand there, howe he is in other places with Lordes, Ladyes, and gentlemen in good estimation: because that fame, which seemeth to arrise of the judgementes of many, engendreth a certeine assured confidence of a mans worthinesse, which afterwarde finding mennes mindes so settled and prepared, is easily with deedes mainteined and encreased, beeside that a man is eased of the trouble that I feele, whan I am asked the question, who I am and what is my name.
Ignoraunt men otherwhile in favour..
I can not see what this can helpe, aunswered M. Bernard Bibiena, for it hath sundry times happened unto me, and I beleve to many moe, after I had grounded in my mynde by reporte of manye menne of judgemente a matter to bee of great perfection beefore I had seene it, whan I had once seen it, it feinted muche, and I was muche deceived in mine imagination, and this proceaded of nothyng elles,
but of geving to muche credit to fame and reporte, and of conceivinge in my minde so greate an opinion, that measuring it afterwarde with the trueth, the effecte, thoughe it were greate and excellente, yet in comparison of that I had imagined of it, seemed very sclender unto me. Even so (I feare me) maye also come to passe of the Courtyer. Therefore I can not see howe it were well done to geve these expectations, to sende that fame of a man beefore: because oure mindes manye times facion and shape thinges, whiche is unpossible afterwarde to aunswere to and fulfill, and so doeth a man lose more then he gayneth by it.
The report of thinges that the eye is judge of, may deceyve.
Here Sir Friderick saide: Thinges that unto you and many moe are lesse in effect than the fame is of them, are for the most part of that sort, that the eye at the first sight maie geve a judgemente of them. As if you have never been at Naples or at Roome, whan you here men commune of it, you imagine muche more of it, then perhappes you find afterwarde in sight. But in the conditions of menne it is not alike, because that you see outwardly is the least part. Therefore in case the first daie you heare a gentlemanne talke, ye perceive not the worthinesse in him that you had beefore imagined, you doe not so soone lose the good opinion of him, as you doe in the thinges wherein your eye is by and by a judge. But you will looke from day to day, to have him disclose some other hid vertue, kepinge notwithstanding alwaies that stedfaste imprinting whiche you have, risen by the woordes of so manye. And this man then beeing (as I set case our Courtyer is) of so good qualities, he will every houre strengthen you more and more, to geve credence to that fame, for that with his doinges he shall geve you a cause, and you will ever surmise somwhat more to bee in him, then you see. And certeinly it can not bee
denied, but these first imprintinges, have a very great force, and a man ought to take muche heede to them. And that you may understand of what weight they bee, I saie unto you, that I have knowen in my dayes a gentleman, who albeit he was of sufficient manerly beehaviour and modest conditions and well seene in armes, yet was he not in any of these qualities so ecsellente, but there were manie as good and better. Notwithstandynge (as lucke served him) it beefell that a gentlewoman entred most fervently in love with him, and this love daily encreasing through declaration that the yonge man made to agree with her in that beehalf, and perceivinge no maner meane how they might come to speake together, the gentlewoman provoked with to greate passyon opened her desire to an other gentlewoman, by whose meane she hoped upon some commodity, this woman neyther in blood nor in beautie was a whitt inferiour to the firste. Uppon this it came to passe that she, perceivynge her talke so effectuallye of this yonge manne, whom she never sawe, and knowinge howe that gentlewoman, whom she wist well was most discreete and of a very good judgement, loved him extreemelye, imagyned furthwith that he was the fairest, the wisest, the discreetest, and finallie the woorthiest manne to be beloved that was in the world: and so without seeinge him fell so deepe in love with hym, that she practised what she coulde to come by him, not for her friend, but for her owne selfe, and to make him answerable to her in love, the which she brought to passe without anye greate a doe, for (to say the troth) she was a woman rather to be sought upon then to seeke upon others. Nowe heare a pretye chaunce. It happened no longe time after, that a letter which this last gentlewoman writt unto her lover came to the handes of another, that was a noble woman of excellent qualities and singular beawtye, who beeinge (as the most part of women are) inquisitive and greedie to understande secretes and expecyallye of other women, opened the letter, and in readinge it perceyved it was written with an extreeme affection of love. And the sweete woordes full of fire that the reade, firste moved her to take comapassyon on that Gentlewoman (for she knew verie well from whom the letter came and to whom it went) afterward they had suche force, that skanning them in her minde, and consideringe what maner a man this was like to be, that could bring that woman into suche love, by and by she fell in love wyth him, and that letter was more effectuall to woorke in thys case, then peradventure it would have bene if it had bene sent her from the yonge man himselfe. And as it chaunceth sometime, poyson prepared in a dishe of meate for some great man, killeth him that tasteth first of it, so thys poore gentlewoman because she was to greedye, dranke of the amourous poyson that was ordeyned for an other. What shall I saye to you? The matter was verie open and spred so abrode, that manie women beeside these, partlye in despite of the other, and partly to do as the other did, bent all their studie and diligence to enjoye his love, and for a season played as children do at Chipchirie: and the wholl proceaded of the first opinion which that woman conceyved that heard him so prayed of an other.
Thinges in the judgement of the minde.
The first conceiving of a thing in ones minde.
An example what reporte can doe.
Nowe the L. Gaspar Pallavicin answered here smilinge: You to confirme your judgement with reason, alleage unto
me womens doinges, which for the most part are voide of al reason. And in case you would tell all, this good felowe thus favoured of so manie women was some doult, and a man in deede not to be regarded, because the maner of them is alwayes to cleave to the woorst, and like sheepe to do that they see the first do, bee it well or yll: beeside that they be so spiteful emong themselves, that if he had bene a monstrous creature they would surelye have stolen him one from an other.
Womens dedes out of reason.
Here manie began and (in maner) all, to speake againste the L. Gaspar, but the Dutchesse made them all to houlde their peace. Afterward she said smilinge: If the yll which you speake of women were not so farr wide from the truth, that in speakinge it, it hurtheth and shameth rather the speaker than them, I would suffer you to be answered. But I will not have you, in speaking agaynste you wyth a number of reasons, forsake thys youre ill custome, because you may be sharplie punished for this offence of yours: which shall be with the ill opinion that all thei wil conceive of you that heare you talke in this wise.
Then aunswered Syr Fridericke: Saye not, my L. Gaspar, that women are so voide of reason, though somtime they applie themselves to love, more through the judgemente of others then their owne, for great men and many wyse men doe often times the like. And it it be lawfull to tell the troth, you your selfe and all we here ave many tymes, and doe at this presente credit the opinion of others, more then our owne. And that it is true, not long agoe there were certein verses showed here, that bore the name of Sanazarus, and were thought of every bodie very excellent,
and praised out of reason, afterwarde whan they wer certeinly knowen to bee an other mannes doyng, they loste by and by their reputation, and seemed worse then meane. And where there was song in the Dutchesse presence, here a certein Antheme, it never delited nor was reckened good, until it was knowen to be the doing of Josquin de Pris. But what token will you have more plainer of opinion? Doe you not remember where you your selfe dranke of one self wine, sometime ye said it was most perfect, and an other time, without al taste? and that because you had been perswaded they were two sortes, the one of the Coost of Genua, and the other of this soile: and whan the errour was opened, by no meanes you woulde beleave it: that false opinion was grounded so stifly in your head, whiche arrose notwithstanding of other mennes woordes. Therefore ought the Courtier diligently to applie in the beeginning to geve a good imprinting of himself, and consider what a harmefull and deadly thing it is, to runne in the contrarie. And in this daunger more then other menne doe they stande that wil make profession to be pleasaunt and with this their meerie facion purchase them a certeine libertie, that lawfully they may saye and doe what commeth in their minde, without thinking upon it. For suche men many times enter into certein matters, which whan thei can not gete out again, will afterwarde helpe them selves with raising laughter, and it is done with so yll a grace that it will in no wise frame, whereby they bring a very great lothsomenesse upon as manie as see or heare them, and they remain very colde and without any grace or countenance. Sometime thinking thereby to bee subtill witted and ful of jestes, in
What opinion doeth.
the presence of honourable women, yea, and often times to them themselves, they thrust out filthie and most dishonest woordes: and the more they see them blush at it, the better Courtiers they recken themselves, and styll they laugh at it, and rejoyce emong themselves at thys goodlie vertue they thinke thei have gotten them. But they practise this beastlinesse for none other cause, but to bee counted good felowes. This is the name alone whiche they deeme woorthie praise, and whiche they bragg more of, then of anye thing elles, and to gete it them, thei speak the foulest and shamefullest villainies in the world. Many times they shoulder one another downe the stayers, and hurle billettes and brickes, one at an others head. They hurle handfulles of dust in mens eyes. Thei cast horse and man into ditches, or downe on the side of some hill. Then at table, potage, sauce, gelies, and what ever commeth to hande, into the face it goith. And afterwarde laughe: and whoso can doe most of these trickes, he counteth himselfe the best and galantest Courtyer, and supposeth that he hath wonne great glorye. And in case otherwhile they gete a gentleman in these their pleasaunt pastimes, that will not geve himselfe to suche horseplay, they say by and by: He is to wise, we shall have him a Counsellor, he is no good felowe. But I will tell you a worse matter. Some there bee that contende and laye wager, who can eate and drinke more unsaverye and stincking thinges, and so abhorryng and contrary to mans senses, that it is not possible to name them, without very great lothsomenesse.
Men that counterfeit to be pleasant.
And what thinges be those? quoth the L. Lodovicus Pius.
Syr Friderick aunswered: Let the Marquesse Phebus tell you, for he hath often seen it in Fraunce, and peraventure felte it.
The Marquesse Phebus aunswered: I have seen none of these thinges done in Fraunce more then in Italy. But looke what good thinges the Italyans have in their garmentes, in feastinge, in bancketting, in feates of armes and in every other thinge that belongeth to a Courtier, they have it all of the Frenchmen.
I denie not, answered Syr Friderick, but there are also emong the Frenchmen verye honest and sober gentlemen,
and for my part I have knowen manye (without peraventure) worthye all praise. But yet some there are of litle good maner: and to speake generally (me thinke) the Spaniardes agree more wyth Italyans, in condicions, the Frenchmen: because (in my minde) the peculiar quiet gravitie of the Spaniardes is more agreeable to oure nature then the quicke livelinesse that is perceived in the French nation almost in every gesture: which is not to be discommended in them, but is rather a grace, for it is so naturall and propre to them, that there is no maner affecting or curiositie in it. There are many Italians that would faine counterfeit their facion, and can do naught elles but shake the head in speakinge, and make a legg with an yll grace, and when they come oute of their doores into the Citie, goe so faste that good footemen canne scant overtake them, and with these maners they weene themselves good Frenchmen, and to have of that libertye: whiche (ywisse) chaunseth verie sildome savinge to suche as are brought up in Fraunce and have learned that facion from their childhood. The like is to be said in the knowleag of sundrie tunges, which I commend much in oure Courtier, and expeciallye Spanish and Frenche, because the entercourse of both the one nation and the other is much haunted in Italy, and these two are more agreable unto us then any of the rest, and those two Princes for that they are verye mighty in war and most riall in peace, have their Court alwaies fournished with valiant gentlemen, whiche are disperesed throughout the world, and againe we must needes practise with them. I wil not now proceade to speake any more particularly of matters to well knowen, as that oure Courtier ought not to professe to be a glutton nor a dronkard, nor riotous and unordinate in any il condicion, nor filthy and unclenly in his living, with certaine rude and boysterous beehaviours that smell of the plough and cart a thousand mile of, for he that is of that sort, it is not only not to be hoped that he will make a good Courtier, but he can be set to no better use then to kepe sheepe. And to conclude, I saye that (to doe well) the Courtier oughte to have a perfect understandinge in that we have sayde is meete for him, so that every possible thinge may be easye to him, and all men wonder at him, and he at no manne: meaning notwithstanding in this poinct that there be not a certaine loftye and unmanerlye stubburnnesse, as some men have that showe themselves not to wonder at the thinges which other men do, because they take upon
Italyans borow of the Frenchmen.
Spaniardes agree wyth Italians in condicions.
Gravitye. in Spaniardes.
Livelines in French men.
To have sundry languages.
them that they can do them much better: and with their silence do commend them as unworthy to be spoken of, and wyll make a gesture (in a maner) as though none beeside were (I will not say their equall, but) able to conceyve the understanding of the profoundnes of their couning. Therfore ought the Courtier to shonn these hateful maners, and with gentlenesse and courtesie praise other mens good dedes: and thoughe he perceyve himselfe excellent and farr above others, yet showe that he esteameth not hymselfe for such a one. But because these so full perfections are very sildome founde in the nature of man, and perhappes never, yet ought not a man that perceyveth himself in some part to want, to lay aside his hope to come to a good passe, though he can not reach to that perfect and high excellency which he aspireth unto: because in every art there be manye other places beeside the best, all praiseworthye: and he that striveth to come by the highest, it is sildome sene that he passeth not the meane. I will have our Courtier therfore, if he find himself excellent in anie thinge beeside armes, to sett out himselfe, and gete him estymatyon by it after an honest sorte, and be so dyscreete and of so good a judgemente, that he maye have the understandinge after a comelye maner, and with good pourpose to allure men to heare or to looke on that he supposeth himselfe to be excellente in: making semblant alwaies to doe it, not for a bragge and to shewe it for vainglory, but at a chaunce, and rather praied by others, then commyng of his owne free will. And in every thing that he hath to do or to speake, if it be possible, lette him come alwaies provided and thinke on it beefore hande, showyng notwithstanding, the whole to bee done ex tempore, and at the first sight. As for the thinges he hath but a meane skill in, let him touche them (as it were) by the waie, without grounding muche upon them,
Some commende not thynges well done.
Many places to be commended beeside the best.
yet in such wise that a man may beleve he hath a great deale more cunning therin, then he uttereth: as certein Poetes sometime that harped upon verye subtill pointes of Philosophie, or other sciences, and paraventure had small understanding in the matter. And in that he knoweth himself altogether ignoraunt in, I will never have him make any profession at all, nor seeke to purchase him anye fame by it: but rather whan occasion serveth, confesse to have no understanding in it.
Howe a man should show his couning.
Somtyme a mannes ignoraunce is to be confessed.
Men utter thinges to their shame many times.
This, quoth Calmeta, would Nicholetto never have done, whiche being a verye excellent Philosopher, and no more skilfull in the lawe then in fleeing, whan a Governour of Padoa was mynded to geve him one of those Lectures in the lawe, he woulde never yelde at the perswasion of many Scholars, to deceyve the opinion whiche the governour had conceived of him, and confesse that he had no understanding in it: but saide styll that he was not in this point of Socrates opinion, for it is not a Phylosophers part to saye at anye tyme, that he hath no understanding.
I say not, aunswered Syr Fridericke, that the Courtyer should of hymself go say he hath no understandyng, without it bee required of hym: for I allowe not this fondnesse to accuse and debase himselfe. Againe I remember some otherwhyle that in like sorte doe willingly disclose some matters, whiche although they happened perhappes without any faulte of theirs, yet bring they with them a shadowe of sclaunder, as did a gentleman (whom you all know) which alwayes whan he heard any mencion made of the battaile beeside Parma agaynst kynge Charles, he woulde by and by declare how he fled away, and a man would weene that he sawe or understoode nothing elles in that journey. Afterward talking of a certein famous just, he reheresed continuallie howe he was overthrowen: and manye times also he seemed in his talke to seeke how he might bringe into pourpose to declare that upon a nyghte as he was goynge to speake with a gentlewoman, he was well beaten wyth a cudgell. Such triflyinge folyes I will not have our Courtier to speake of. But me thinke whan occasion is offred to showe his skill in a matter he is altogether ignoraunte in it is well done to avoide it. Yf necessitie compell him, let him rather confesse plainly his lack of understanding in it, then hasard himself, and so shall he avoide a blame that manye
deseve nowadayes, which I woote not through what corrupte inward motion or judgement out of reason, do alwayes take upon them to practise the thinge they know not, and lay aside that they are skilfull in: and for a confirmation of this, I know a very excellent musitien, which leaving his musike a part hath whollye geven himselfe to versifiynge, and thynketh himselfe a great clearke therin, but in deede he maketh everye man to laugh him to skorne, and now hath he also cleane lst his musike. An other, one of the chieffest peincters in the world, neglectinge his art wherin he was verie excellent, hath applied himselfe to learne Pilosophye, wherein he hath such straunge conceites and monstrous fansyes, that withall the peinctinge he hath he can not peinct them. And such as these there be infinite. Some there be that knowing themselves to have an excellency in one thing, make their principall profession in an other, in which not withstanding they are not ignoraunt, but whan time serveth to show themselves in that they are most skilfull in, they doe it alwayes verie perfectlye: and otherwhile it commeth so to passe, that the companye perceivinge them so couning in that which is not their profession, they imagine them to be much better in that thei professe im deede. This art in case it be coopled with a good judgemente, discontenteth me nothing at all.
How he should doe in a matter he hath no skil in.
Men that take in hand thinges they have no skill in.
Then answered the L. Gaspar Palavicin: I thinke not this is an art, but a verie deceite, and I beleave it is not meete for him that will bee an honset man to deceive at anye time.
This, quoth Syr Fridericke, is rather an ornament that accompanyeth the thinge he doeth, then a deceite: and though it be a deceite, yet it is not to be disalowed. Will you not saye also, that he that beateth he felow, where there be two plaiyng at fence together, beeguyleth hym, and that is bicause he hath more art then the other? And where you have a jewell that unsett seemeth faire, afterward whan it commeth to a goldsmithes handes that in well setting it maketh it appeere muche more fairer, will you not saye that the goldsmith deceiveth the eyes of them that looke on it? And yet for that deceite, deserveth he praise, for with judgement and art a couninge hande doeth manie tymes ad a grace and ornament to yvorie, or to sylver, or to a stone that is faire in sight, settinge it in golde. We saye not then that this art or deceite (in case you wyll so terme it) deserveth anie maner blame. Also it is not ill for a man that knoweth himselfe skilfull in a matter, to seeke occasyon after a comelye sorte to showe hys feat therein, and in lykecase to cover the partes he thynketh scante woorthye praise, yet notwithstandinge all after a certeine warye dyssymulacion. Doe you not remember how kinge Ferdinande
wythout makinge any showe to seeke it, tooke occasion verye well to stryppe hymselfe sometyme into his doblet? and that bicause he knewe he was verye well made and nymble wythall. And bicause hys handes were not all of the fairest, he sildome plucked of hys gloves, and (in maner) never. And fewe there were that tooke heede to this warinesse of hys. Me thynke also I have reade, that Julius Cæsar ware for the nones a garlande of Laurell, to hyde hys baldenesse withall. But in these matters a manne muste be verye circumspecte and of a good judgemente least he passe hys boundes: for to avoyde one errour often tymes a manne falleth into an other, and to gete him praise, purchaseth blame.
King Ferdinand of Naples.
Therfore the surest way in the worlde, is, for a manne in hys lyving and conversation to governe himself alwaies with a certeine honest meane, whych (no doubt) is a great and moste sure shield againste envie, the whiche a manne ought to avoide in what he is able. I wyll have oure Courtier also take heede he purchase not the name of a lyar, nor of a vaine person, whiche happeneth manie tymes and to them
also that deserve it not. Therfore in his communicatyon let him be alwayes heedefull not to goe out of the lykelyhoode of truth, yea and not to speake to often those truthes that have the face of a lye, as many doe, that never speake but of wonders, and will be of suche authoritye, that everye uncredyble matter must be beleaved at their mouth. Other, at the firste entringe into a frendshipp wyth a newe friende, to gete favour wyth hym, the firste thynge they speake, sweare that there is not a person in the world whom thei love better, and they are wyllynge to jeoparde their lyfe for hys sake, and suche other matters out of reason, and whan they part from hym makewise to weepe, and not to speake a woorde for sorowe. Thus bicause they woulde bee counted to lovynge woormes, they make menne counte them lyars, and fonde flatterers. But it were to longe a matter and tedyous to recken uppe all vyces that maye happen in conversatyon. Therefore, for that I desire in the Courtyer, it suffyceth to saye (beesyde the matters rehersed) that he bee suche a one that shall never wante good communycatyon
An honest meane in livinge.
and fytte for them he talketh wythall, and have a good understandynge with a certein sweetnesse to refresh the hearers mindes, and with meerie conceites and Jestes to provoke them to solace and laughter, so that without beinge at any time lothesome or satiate he may evermore delite them. Now I hope my L. Emilia wil give me leave to houlde my peace, which in case she denie me, I shall by mine owne woordes be convicted not to be the good courtier I have tould you of, for not only good communication, which neither at this time nor perhappes at any other ye have heard in me: but also this I have, such as it is, doeth cleane faile me.
Conceytes and jestes.
Then spake the L. Generall: I will not have this false opinion to sticke in the heade of anye of us, that you are not a verye good Courtier, for (to say the truth) this desire of yours to houlde your peace proceadeth rather because you would be rid of your peine, then for that ye want talke. Therfore that it maye not appeare in so noble assemblye as this, and in so excellent talke, any percell be left out, saye you not nay to teach us how we shoulde use these Jestes you have made mention of, and showe us the art that beelongeth to all this kinde of pleasant speach to provoke laughter and solace after an honest sorte, for (in myne opinion) it is verye necessary and much to pourpose for a Courtier.
My Lord, answered Syr Fridericke, Jestes and meerie conceites are rather a gifte, and a grace of nature, then of
art, but yet there are some nations more redier in it then other some, as the Tuscanes, which in deede are very subtill. Also it appeareth propre to the Spaniardes to invent meerie conceites. Yet are there manye notwithstandinge both of this nation and other also that in to much babblinge passe sometime their boundes and wexe unsavery and fonde, because thei have no respecte to the condicion of the person they commune withall, to the place where they be, to the time, to the gravitie and modestye which they ought to have in themselves.
This discourse of Jestes is taken out of Cicero de Orat. lib. ii.
Respectes in jesting.
Then answered the L. Generall: You denie that there is any art in Jestes, and yet in speaking against such as observe them not with modestye and gravitie and have not respecte to the time and to the person they commune withal, me thinke ye declare that this may also be taught and hath some doctrine in it.
These rules my Lorde, ansered Sir Fridericke, be so generall that they maye be applied to everie matter, and helpe it forward. But I have said there is no art in Jestes, because (me thinke) they are onlie of two sortes: whereof the one is enlarged in communication that is longe and without interruption: as is seene in some men that with so good an utterance and grace and so pleasantly declare and expresse a matter that happened unto them or that they have seene and hearde, that with their gesture and woordes they sett it beefore a mans eyes, and (in maner) make him feele it with hande, and this peraventure for want of an other terme we may call Festivitie or els Civilitie. The other sort of Jestes is verie breef, and consisteth only in quicke and subtill saiynges, as manie times there are heard emong us, and in nickes, neyther doeth it appeare that they
are of any grace without that litle bitynge, and these emong them of olde time wer also called Saiynges, now some terme them Privie tauntes. I say therfore in the first kinde, whiche is a meerye maner of expressinge, there needeth no art, bicause verye nature her self createth and shapeth menne apt to expresse pleasantly and geveth them a countenaunce, gestures, a voice, and woordes for the pourpose to conterfeit what they luste. In the other of Privie tauntes what can art do? Sins that quippie ought to be shott out and hit the pricke beefore a man can descerne that he that speaketh it can thinke upon it, elles it is colde and litle woorth. Therfore (thinke I) all is the woorke of witt and nature.
Then tooke M. Peter Bembo the matter in hande, and said: The L. Generall denieth not that you say: namely that nature and witt beare not the chieffest stroke, especiallye as touching invention, but it is certein that in ech mans mind, of howe good a witt so ever he be, there arrise conceites both good and badd, and more and lesse, but then judgement and art doeth polishe and correct them, and chouseth the good and refuseth the bad. Therfore laiynge aside that beelongeth to witt, declare you unto us that consisteth in art: that is to weete, of Jestes amd meery conceites that move laughter, whiche are meete for the Courtier and whyche are not, and in what time and maner they ought to be used: for this is that the L. Generall demaundeth of you.
Then Sir Fridericke said smilynge: There is never a one of us here that I will not geve place unto in everie matter, and especiallie in Jestinge, onlesse perhappes folies, whiche make menne laugh manie times more then wittie saiynges, were also to be allowed for Jestes.
And so tourning him to Count Lewis and to M. Bernarde Bibiena, he said unto them: These be the maisters of this facultie, of whom in case I must speake of meerie saiynges, I must first learne what I have to saye.
Count Lewis answered: Me thynke you begine nowe to practise that you saye ye are not skilfull in, whiche is, to make these Lordes laughe in mockinge M. Bernarde and me, bicause everye one of them woteth well that the thinge which you praise us for, is much more perfectly in you. Therefore in case you be weerie, it is better for you to sue to the Dutchesse that it would please her to deferr the remnant of oure talke till to morowe, then to go about with craft to rid your handes of peines takinge.
Sir Friderick beegan to make aunswere, but the L. Emilia interrupted him immediatlye and said: It is not the order that the disputacion shoulde be consumed upon your praise, it sufficeth ye are verie well knowen all. But bicause it commeth in my minde that you (Count) imputed to me yesternyght, that I divided not the paines takinge equallye, it shall be well done that Syr Frydericke reste him a whyle and the charge of speakynge of Jestes we wyll commytte to M. Bernarde Bibiena, for we doe not onlye knowe hym verye quicke wytted in talkynge wythoute intermission, but also it is not oute of oure memorye that he hath sundrye tymes promysed to wryte of thys matter. And therfore we maye thynke he hath verye well thought uppon it all thys whyle, and ought the better to satiysfie us in it. Afterwarde when there shall be sufficientlye spoken of Jestes, Syr Fridericke shall proceede forwarde againe wyth that he hath yet bee hinde concerning the Courtier.
Then sayde Sir Fridericke: Madam, I knowe not what I have lefte beehinde anie more, but lyke a travailer on the waye nowe weerie of the peinefulnesse of my longe journey at noone tide, I will reste me in M. Bernardes communication at the sowne of hys woordes, as it were under some faire tree that casteth a goodlye shadowe at the sweete roaringe of a plentifull and livelye springe: afterward (maye happe) beeinge somewhat refreshed I maye have somewhat elles to saye.
M. Bernarde answered laughynge: Yf I showe you the toppe ye shall see what shadowe may be hoped for at the leaves of my tree. To heare the roaringe of the livelye sprynge ye speake of, it maye happen bee your chaunce so to doe, for I was once tourned into a sprynge: not by anye of the goddes of old tyme, but by oure frier Marian. And from that tyme hytherto I have never wanted water.
Then beegan they all to fall in a laughynge, bicause thys pleasante matter whiche M. Bernarde ment that happened to him in Roome in the presence of Galeotto Cardinal of S. Petro in Vincula, was well knowen to them all.
After they had ceased laughinge the L. Emilia saide: Leave now makynge us laugh wyth practisynge of Jestes, and teache us howe we should use them, and whence they are deryved, and what ever elles ye knowe in thys matter. And for losynge anye more tyme beegyne oute of hande.
I doubte me, quoth M. Bernarde, it is late, and leaste my talke of pleasant matters should seeme unpleasant and tedyous, perhappes it were good to deferr it tyll to morrow.
Here incontinently many made answer that it lacked yet a good deale of the houre whan they were wont to leave of reasoning.
Then M. Bernarde tourning to the Dutchesse and to the L. Emilia, I wil not refuse this labour (quoth he) althoughe I be wont to marveile at the boulnesse of them that dare take upon them to sing to the lute, whan our James Sansecondo standeth by, even so ought not I in the presence of hearers that have much better understanding in that I have to saye, then I my selfe, take upon me to entreate of Jestes. Nevertheles least I should show a president to anye of these Lordes to refuse that they shall bee charged withall, I will speake as breeflye as I can possible what commeth in my minde as touching matters that cause laughter, which is so propre to us that to describe a man
the commune saiyng is, He is a livinge creature that can laugh: because this laughing is perceived onlie in man, and (in maner) alwaies is a token of a certein jocundenesse and meerie moode that he feeleth inwardlie in his minde, which by nature is drawen to pleasantnesse and coveteth quietnes and refreshing, for whiche cause we can see menne have invented many matters, as sportes, games and pastimes, and so many sundrie sortes of open showes. And because we beare good will to suche as are the occasion of this recreation of oures, the maner was emonge the kinges of olde time, emong the Romanes, the Athenians and manie other, to gete the good will of the people withall, and to feede the eyes and myndes of the multitude, to make greate Theatres, and other publyque buildinges, and there to showe new devises of pastimes, running of horses and Charettes, fightinges of men together, straunge beastes, Comedies, Tragedies, and daunses of Antique. Neither did the grave Philosophers shonn these sightes, for manie tymes both in thys maner and at banckettes they refreshed their weeryesome myndes, in those high discourses and divine imaginacions of theirs. The which in lykewyse all sortes of men are wyllinge to doe, for not onlye Ploughmen, Mariners, and all such as are inured wyth harde and boysterous exercises, with hande, but also holye religious men and prisoners that from hour to hour waite for death, goe about yet to seeke
Homo animal risibile.
some remedy and medicine to refreshe themselves. Whatsoever therefore causeth laughter, the same maketh the minde jocunde and geveth pleasure, nor suffreth a man in that instant to minde the troublesome greefes that oure life is full of. Therefore (as you see) laughing is very acceptable to all men, and he is muche to be commended that can cause it in due time and after a comlie sort. But what this laughing is, and where it consisteth, and in what maner somtime it taketh the veines, the eies, the mouth and the sides, and seemeth as though it woulde make us burst, so that what ever resistance we make, it is not possible to kepe it, I will leave it to be disputed of Democritus, the which also in case he woulde promise us, he should not perfourme it. The place therfore and (as it were) the hedspring that laughing matters arrise of, consisteth in a certein deformitie or ill favourednesse, bicause a man laugheth onlie at those matters that are disagreeing in themselves, and (to a mans seeminge) are in yll plight, where it is not so in deede. I wote not otherwise how to expounde it, but if you will beethinke your selfe, ye shall perceive the thinge that a man alwayes laugheth at, is a matter that soundeth not well, and yet is it not in yll syttinge. What kinde of wayes therefore those be that the Courtier ought to use in causing laughter and of what scope, I will assay in what I can tho utter unto you as farr as my judgemente can give me, bicause to make men laughe alwayes is not comelie for the Courtier, nor yet in suche wise as frantike, dronken, foolishe and fonde men and in like maner commune jesters do: and though to a mans thinkinge Courtes cannot be without suche kinde of persons, yet deserve they not the name of a Courtier, but eche man to be called by his name and esteamed suche as they are. The scope an measure to make men
To fede the eyes of the people.
Wherein laughing matters consist.
laughe in tauntinge must also be diligentlye considered: who he is that is taunted, for it provoketh no laughter to mocke and skorne a seelye soule in miserie and calamitie, nor yet a naughtie knave and commune ribaulde, bicause a man would thinke that these men deserved to be otherwise punished, then in jestinge at. And mens mindes are not bent to scoff them in misery, onelesse such men in their mishapp bragg and boast of them selves and have a proude and haughtye stomake. Again a respect must be had to them that are generallye favoured and beloved of everie man, and that beare stroke, bicause in mockinge and scorninge such a one, a man may sometime purchase himselfe daungerous enimitie. Therefore it is not amysse to scoff and mocke at vices that are in persons not of such miserye that it should move compassion, nor of suche wickednesse that a man woulde thinke they deserved not to go on the grounde, nor of such aucthoritie that any litle displeasure of theirs may be a great hindraunce to a man. You shall understande moreover that out of the places jestinge matters are derived from, a man may in like maner pike grave sentences to praise or dispraise. And otherwhile with the self same woordes: as to praise a liberall man that partaketh his goodes in commune with his friendes, the commune saying is, That he hath is none of his owne. The like may be saide in dispraise of one that hath stolen or compased that he hath by other ill meanes. It is also a commune saiyng, She is a woman of no small price, whan a man will praise her for her vertues, for her wisedome and goodnes. The very same may be said of a woman that loketh to be kept sumtiouslye: But it commeth oftner to pourpose that a man in this case serveth his tourne with the self same places then with the self same woordes. As within these few dayes three Gentilmen standinge at masse together in a churche where was a gentilwoman one of the three was in love withall, there came a poore beggar and stood before her requiringe her almes, and so with much instance and lamenting with a groning voice repeted manie times his request: yet for all that did she not give him her almes, nor denie it him in making signe to depart in Gods name, but stoode musing with her self as though she minded another matter. Then said the gentilman that loved her to his two companions, See what I maye hope for at my maistresse handes, which is so cruell, that she will neither give the poore naked soule dead for hunger, that requireth her with such passion and so instantly, her almes, ne yet leave to depart, so much she rejoyceth to beehoulde with her eyes one that is broughte lowe with misery and that in vaine requireth her reward. One of the two answered: It is no crueltye, but a privie adminicion for you to doe you to weete that your maistresse is not pleased with him that requireth her with much instance. The other answered: Nay, it is rather a lesson for him, that although she give not that is required of her, yet she is willing inough to be suid to. See here, bicause the gentilwoman sent not the poore man away, there arrose one saying of great dispraise, one of modest praise and another of nipping boord. To retourn therefore to declare the kindes of Jests apperteining
Considerations in jesting.
Who are to be jested at.
Praise or dispraise in the self woordes.
to our pourpose, I say (in mine opinion) there are of three sorts, although Sir Fridericke hath made mention but of two. The one a civill and pleasant declaration without interruption, which consisteth in the effect of a thing. The other a quicke and subtill readines, which consisteth in one saiyng alone. Therfore wil we ad a third sort to these, which we call Boordes or meerie Prankes, wherin the processe is long and the saiynges short and some deedes with all. The firste therfore that consisteth in communication without interruption are in that sort (in a maner) as though a man woulde tell a tale. And to give you an example, whan Pope Alexander the sixte died and Pius the thirde created, beeinge then in Roome and in the Palaice youre Sir Anthonye Agnello of Mantua, my L. Dutchesse, and communynge of the death of the one and creatyon of the other, and therin makyng sundrie discourses with certein friendes of his, he said: Sirs, in Caullus time gates beegan to speake without tunge and to heare without eares and in that sort discovered advouteries. Now although men be not of such worthinesse as they were in those daies, yet perhappes the gates that are made, a great sorte of them, especiallye here at Roome, of auntient Marble, have the same vertue they had then. And for my parte I beleave that these two will cleere us of all our doubtes, in case we will aske counsell of them. Then those Gentilmen mused much at the matter and attended to see to what ende it woulde come, whan Sir Anthony folowinge on still up and downe lifte up his eyes as at a sodeine, to one of the two gates of the hall where they walked: and stayinge a while with his finger he showed his companye the inscriptyon over it, which was Pope Alexanders name, and
Cicero mentioneth not this last kind of jestes.
at the ende of it was V and I, bicause it should signifie (as ye knowe) the sixt. And said: See here, this gate sayth Alexander Papa VI. which signifieth he hath bin Pope through the force he hath used, and hath prevailed more thereby then with right and reason. Now let us see if we may of this other understand anye thinge of the newe Bishoppe: and tounyng him as at aventure to the other gate, pointed to the inscription of one N. two PP. and one V. whiche signifieth Nicholaus Papa Quintus, and immediately he said: Good Lord ill newis, see here this gate saith Nihil Papa Valet. See now how this kinde of Jestes is propre and good and how fitting it is for one in Court, whether it be true or false a man saith, for in this case it is lawfull to feigne what a man lusteth wythout blame: and in speakinge the truthe to sett it furthe with a feat lye, augmentinge or diminishinge according to the pourpose. But the perfect grace and very pith of this, is to set furth so well and without peine not onlie in woordes but in gestures, the thynge a man pourposeth to expresse, that unto the hearers he maye appeere to do before their eyes the thinges he speaketh of. And this expressed maner in this wise hath suche force, that otherwhile it setteth furth and maketh a matter delite verie muche, whiche of it selfe is not verie meerie nor wittie. And althoughe these protestacions neede gestures, and the earnestnesse that a livelie voice hath, yet is the force of them knowen also otherwhile in writing. Who laugheth not when John Boccaccio in the eight journey of his hundreth tales declareth howe the priest of Varlungo strayned himselfe to singe a Kyrie and a Sanctus,
Alexander PP. VI.
N. PP. V.
when he perceived Belcolore was in the Church? These be also pleasant declarations in his tales of Calandrino and manie other. After the same sort seemeth to be the makinge a man laughe in counterfeitinge or imitatinge (howe-ever we lyste to terme it) of a mans maners, wherin hitherto I have seene none passe oure M. Robert of Bari.
Novel. ii. and vi.
Novel. iii. and v.
Counterfeiters of mens maners.
This were no small praise, quoth M. Robert, if it were true, for then would I surely go about to counterfeite rather the good then the bad: and if I could liken my self to some I know, I would thinke my selfe a happye man. But I feare me I can counterfeite nothinge but what maketh a man laughe, which you said before consisteth in vice.
M. Bernarde answered: In vice in deede, but that that standeth not in yll plight. And weete you well, that this counterfeitinge we speake of, can not be without witt, for beeside the maner to applie his woordes and his gestures, and to set beefore the hearers eyes the countenance and maners of him he speaketh of, he must be wise, and have great respect to the place, to the time and to the persons with whom he talketh, and not like a commune Jester passe his boundes, which thinges you wonderfully well observe, and therefore I beleave ye are skilfull in all. For undoubtedlye it is not meete for a Gentlemanne to make weepinge and laughing faces, to make sounes and voices, and to wrastle with himselfe alone as Berto doeth, to apparaile himself like a lobb of the Countrey as doeth Strascino, and such other matters, which do well beecome them, bicause it is their profession. But we must by the way and privilie steale this counterfeiting, alwayes keeping the astate of a gentilman, without speaking filthy wordes, or doing uncomelye deedes, without making faces and antiques, but frame our gestures after a certein maner, that who so heareth and seeth us, may by our wordes and countenances imagin muche more then he seeth and heareth, and upon that take occasion to laughe. He must also in this counterfeiting take heed of to much taunting in touching a man, especially in the ill favourednesse of visage or yll shape of bodye. For as the mishappes and vices of the bodie minister manie times ample matter to laughe at, if a man can discreatly handle it, even so the usinge of this maner to bytingly is a token not onlie of a commune jester, but of a plaine ennemy. Therfore must a man observe in this poinct (though it be hard) the facion of our M. Roberte, as
I have said, which counterfeiteth al men and not with out touchinge them in the matters wherein they be faultie and in presence of themselves, and yet no man findeth himselfe agreeved, neyther may a man thinke that he can take it in ill part. And of this I will geve you no example, bicause we all see infinit in him dailie. Also it provoketh much laughter (which nevertheles is conteined under declaration) whan a man repeteth with a good grace certein defaultes of other men, so they be meane and not worthy greater correction: as foolishe matters sometime symplye of themselves alone, somtime annexed with a litle readie nippinge fondenesse. Likewise certein extreme and curious matters. Otherwhile a great and well forged lye. As few dayes ago oure M. Cesar declared a pretie foolishe matter, which was, that beeyng with the Mayor of this Citie, he saw a Countrey man come to him to complaine that he had an Asse stolen from him, and after he had toulde him of his povertie and how the theif deceyved him, to make his losse the greater he said unto him: Syr if you had seen mine Asse you should have knowen what a cause I have to complaine, for with his pad on his backe a man would have thought him very Tully himself. And one of our train meetinge a herd of Gotes beefore the which was a mightie great Ramm Gote, he stayed and with a merveilous countenaunce saide: Marke me this Gote, he seemeth a Saint Paul.
Nippes that touch a man.
The L. Gasper saith he knew an other, whyche for that he was an olde servaunt to Hercules duke of Ferrara, did offre him two pretie boyes which he had, to be hys pages, and these two died both beefore they came to hys service. The which whan the duke understoode, he lamented lovinglie with the father, saying that he was verie sorie, bicause whan he sawe them upon a time he thought them handsome and wittie children. The father made answere, Nay My Lorde, you sawe nothing, for within these fewe dayes they were become muche more handsomer and of better qualities then I woulde ever have thought, and sange together like a coople of haukes. And one of these dayes a Doctour of oures beehouldinge one that was judged to be whipped aboute the markett place, and taking pitye upon him bicause the poore soules shoulders bled sore, and went so soft a pace, as thoughe he had walked about for his pleasure to pass the time withall he sayd to hym: Goo on a pace poore felowe that thou mayst be the sooner out of they peine. Then he tourninge about and beehouldynge him that so said (in a maner) with a wonder, staide a while withoute anye woord, afterwarde he saide: Whan thou art whipped goe at thy pleasure, for nowe will I goe as I shall thinke good.
You may remember also the foolyshe matter that not longe a goe the Duke rehersed of the Abbot that beeynge presente upon a daye whan Duke Fridericke was talkynge where he shoulde bestowe the greate quantitye of rubbyshe that was caste up to laye the foundacyon of this Palayce,
woorkynge dailye upon it, sayde: My Lorde, I have well beethoughte me where you shall bestowe it, let there be a great pitt digged and into that may you have it cast without any more ado. Duke Fridericke answered him not withoute laughter: And where shall we beestowe then the quantitie of earth that shall be cast out of that pit? The abbot saide unto him: Let it be made so large that it may well receive both the one and the other. And so for all the Duke repeted sundrie times, the greater the pitt was, the more earth should be cast out of it, yet coulde he never make it sink into his braine, but it might be made so large that it mighte receive both the one and the other: and he answered him nothinge elles but make it so much the larger. Now see what a good forecast this Abbot had.
The judgement of an Abbot.
Then said M. Peter Bembo: And why tell you not that, of your great Capitain of Florence that was beeseaged of the Duke of Calabria within Castellina? Where there were found upon a day in the towne certeine quarelles pysoned that had bine shott out of the campe, he wrott unto the Duke, yf the warr should procead so cruellye, he would also put a medicin upon his gunnstones, and then he that hath the woorst, hath his mendes in his handes.
M. Bernarde laughed and saide: Yf you houlde not youre peace (M. Peter) I will tell whatsoever I have seene my selfe and hearde of your Ventians, which is not a litle, and especially when they play the riders.
Doe not I beseech ye, answered M. Peter, for I will keepe to my selfe two other verie pretye ones that I knowe of your Florentines.
M. Bernarde saide: They are rather of the Seneses, for
it often happeneth emonge them. As within these fewe dayes one of them hearing certein lettres read in the Counsell chamber, in which for avoidinge to often repetition of his name that was spoken of, this terme was manie times put in, il Prelabato (which signifieth the aforenamed) he said unto him that read them: Soft, stay there a litle and tell me, this Prelibato what is he? A frinde to oure Communaltye?
M. Peter laughed, then he proceaded: I speake of Florentines and not of Seneses.
Speake it hardly, quoth the L. Emilia, and bash not for that matter.
M. Peter said: Whan the Lordes of Florence were in warr against the Pisanes, they were otherwhile out of money by reason of theyr great charges, and laying their heades together upon a daye in the counsell chambre what waye were beste to make provision to serve their tourne withall, after many divises propounded, one of the auntientest Citizins said: I have found two wayes, wherby without much travaile we may in a small while come by a good portion of money.
Wherof the one is (bicause we have no redier rent then the custome at the gates of Florence) where we have xi. gates, let us with speede make xi. mo, and so shall we double oure revenue. The other way is, to set up a mint in Pistoia and an other in Prato no more nor lesse then is here within Florence: and there doe nothinge elles daye and night but coyne money, and all Ducates of golde, and this divise (in mine opinion) is the speedier and lesse chargeable.
A Florentines devise.
They fell a laughing apace at the subtill divise of this Citizin, and whan laughinge was ceased the L. Emilia said: Will you (M. Bernarde) suffre M. Peter thus to jeste at Floretines without a revenge?
M. Bernarde answered smilinge: I pardon him this offence, for where he hath displeased me in jestinge at Floretines, he hath pleased me in obeyinge of you, the which I would alwaies do my selfe.
Then said the L. Cesar: I heard a Brescian speake a jolie grosse matter, whiche beeinge this yeere in Venice at the feast of the Assention, rehersed in a place where I was to
certain mates of his, the goodlye matters he had seene there, what sundrie merchaundise, what plate, what sortes of spices, and what cloth and silke there was, then how the Signora yssued out with a great pompe in Bucentoro to wedd the Sea, in which were so manie gentilmen well apparailed, so manie sortes of instrumentes and melodies that a man woulde have thought it a paradise. And whan one of his companions demaunded him what kynde of musike did please him best of all that he had heard there, he said: All were good, yet emong the rest I saw one blowe in a straunge trumpett, whiche at everye pushe thrust it into his throte more then two handful, and then by and by drew it out again, and thrust it in a freshe, that you never sawe a greater wondre.
Upon the ascention daye a great faire in Venice.
A faire vessell of pleasure in Venice made Galliwise. Everye yeere upon the Ascension daye the Duke with all the counsell goith in it a mile or two into the sea, and there casteth a ring of gold into it thinking by this yeerly ceremonye they so marie the Sea that it will never leave the Citye on drie lande.
Then they all laughed, understandinge the fonde imagination of him that thoughte the blower thruste into his throte that part of the Sagbout that is hid in puttinge it backe againe.
Then M. Bernarde went forward: Those Affectations and curiosities that are but meane, bringe a lothsomnesse with them, but whan they be done oute of measure they much provoke laughter. As otherwhile whan some men are heard to speake of their antientrye and noblenesse of birth: sometime women of their beawtie and handsomenesse: as not long ago a Gentilwoman did, which at a great feast beinge verie sad and musing with her self, it was demaunded of her, what she thought upon that should make her so sad. And she made answere, I thought upon a matter whiche as ofte as it commeth into my minde doth muche trouble me, and I can not put it out of my hert: whiche is, where in the daye of generall judgement all bodies muste arrise again and appeere naked beefore the judgement seat of Christ, I can not abide the greef I feele in thinking mine must also be sene naked. Such Affectacions as these be bicause they passe the degree, doe rather provoke laughter then lothsomnesse. Those feat lyes now that come so well to pourpose, how they provoke laughter ye all knowe. And that friend of oures that suffreth us not to wante, within these fewe dayes rehersed one to me that was very excellent.
Then said the L. Julian: What ever it were, more excellenter it can not be, nore more suttler then one that a Tuscane of oures, whiche is a merchaunt man of Luca, affirmed unto me the last day for most certein.
Tell it us, quoth the Dutchesse.
The L. Julian said smilinge: This merchaunt man (as he saith) beeinge upon a time in Polonia, determined to buie a quantitie of Sables, mindinge to bringe them into Italy and to gaigne greatly by them. And after much practisinge in the matter, where he could not himselfe go into Moscovia bicause of the warr beetweene the kynge of Polonia and the Duke of Moscovia, he tooke order by the meane of some of the Countrey that upon a day apointed certein merchaunt men of Moscovia shoulde come with their Sables into the borders of Polonia, and he promysed also to be there himselfe to bargaine with them. This merchaunt man of Luca travailing then with his companie toward Moscovia arrived at the river of Boristhenes, which he found hard frosen like a marble stone, and saw the Moscovites, which for suspicion of warr were in doubt of the Polakes, were on the other side, and neerer cam not than the breadth of the river. So after they knewe the one the other, makinge certein signes, the Moscovites beegan to speake aloud and toulde the price how they would sell their Sables, but the colde was so extreme, that they were not understood, bicause the woordes beefore they cam on the other syde where thys merchaunt of Luca was and his interpreters, were congeled in the aere and there remayned frosen and stopped. So that the Polakes that knew the maner, made no more adoe but kindled a great fire in the middest of the river (for to their seeminge that was the point wherto the voice came hott beefore the frost tooke it) and the river was so thicke frosen that it did well beare the fire. When they had thus done the wordes that for space of an houre had bin frosen beegan to thawe and cam doun, making a noyse as doeth the snow from the mounteignes in Maye, and so immediatlye they were well understood, but the men on the other side were first departed, and bicause he thought that those woordes asked to great a price for Sables, he woulde not bargaine, and so cam awaye without.
Then laughed all. And M. Bernarde: Truelye (quoth he) thys that I wyll tell you is not so subtill, yet it is a pretye matter, and this it is. Where talke was a fewe dayes ago of the countrey or world newly founde out by the mariners of Portugal, and of straunge beastes and other matters brought from thens, that friend I toulde you of, affirmed that he had seene an Ape,
verie divers in shape from such as we are accustomed to see, that played excellently well at Chestes. And emong other times upon a day beefore the king of Portugal the Gentilman that brought herr played as Chestes with herr, where the Ape showed some draughtes very suttill, so that she put him to his shiftes, at length she gave him Checkemate. Upon this the gentilman beeinge somwhat vexed (as communlie they are all that lose at that game) tooke the kinge in his hande whiche was good and bigg (as the facion is emonge the Portugalles) and reached the Ape a great knocke on the heade. She furthwith leaped aside complayning greatly, and seemed to require justice at the kinges handes for the wrong done her. The gentilman afterward called her to play with him again, the whiche with signes she refused a while, but at last was contented to play an other game, and as she had done the other time beefore, so did she now drive him to a narrow point. In conclusion: the Ape perceivinge she could give the gentilman the mate, thought with a newe divise she would be sure to escape without any mo knockes, and privilie conveyed her right hande without makinge semblant what her entent was, under the gentilmans left elbowe, leaning for pleaser upon a litle taffata coushin, and snatchinge it slightlie awaye, at one instant gave him with her left hande a mate with a paune, and with her right hande caste the coushin upon her heade to save her from strokes, then she made a gamboll beefore the king joifully, in token (as it were) of her victory. Now we see whether this Ape were not wise, circumspect and of a good understanding.
An ape plaied at chestes.
To lose at chestes vexeth men.
Then spake the L. Cesar Gonzaga: It must needes be that this ape was a Doctour emong other Apes and of much authoritie: and I beleave the commune weale of the Apes of India sent her into Portugall to gete a name in a straunge countrey.
At this every manne laughed, both for the lye and for the addition mande to it by the L. Cesar.
So proceadinge on in his talke M. Bernarde said: You have understoode therfore what Jestes are that be of effect and communication without interruption asmuche as cummeth to mynde: therfore it shall be well nowe we speake of such as consist in one saying alone, and have a quicke sharpenesse that lyeth breefly in a sentence or in a word. And even as in the first kind of meerie talke a man must in his protestacion and counterfeitinge take heede that he be not like commune jesters and parasites, and such as with fonde matters move menne to laughe, so in this breef kinde the Courtier must be circumspect that he appeere not malitious and venimous and speake tauntes and quippies only for spite and to touch the quick, bicause such men often times for offence of the tunge are chastised in the wholl body. Of those readie Jestes therfore that consist in a short sayinge, such are most livelie that arrise of doubtfulnesse, though alwais they provoke not laughing, for they be rather praised for wittie, then for matters of laughter.
Come pochi di sono disse' il nostro M. Anniball Palleotto ad uno che' li proponea un maestro per insegnare' Grammatica a suoi figliuoli, et poi che' gliel hebbe' laudato per molto dotto, venendo al salario, disse' che' oltre' ai danari volea una camera fornita per habitare e dormire, perche'
esso non havea letto. Allhor M. Anniball subito rispose', e come' puo egli esser dotto se non ha letto?
These two examples are put in Italian, bicause they have no grace in the English tunge by reason of the doubtfulnesse of the woordes that may be taken two sundry wayes: yet is the English as plentifull of these jestes as any other tunge, wherin Syr Thomas Moore excelled in our time.
A naturall foole.
See howe well he tooke avauntage at the diverse signification of Haver letto (which is interpreted both to have a bed and to have read). But bicause these doubtfull woordes have a pretie sharpenesse of witt in them, beeing taken in a contrarie signification to that al other men take them, it appeereth (as I have said) that they rather provoke a manne to wondre then to laughe, except whan they be joyned with other kindes of sayinges. The kinde therfore of wittie sayinges that is most used to make men laughe, is whan we give eare to heare one thinge, and he that maketh answere, speaketh an other and is alleaged contrarye to expectacion, and in case a doubt be annexed therwithall, then is it verie wittie and pleasant.
Come' laltr' hieri disputandosi di far un bel mattonato nel camerino della S. Duchessa, dopo molte' parole Voi M. Jo. Christofero diceste, Se' noi potessimo havere' il vescovo do Potentia, e farlo ben Spianare, saria molto a proposito, perche egli e' il piu bel matto nato ch'io vedessi mai. Ogn'un rise molto, perche' dividendo quella parola matto nato faceste' lo ambiguo, poi dicendo che' Si havesse a spianare' un vescovo e metterlo per pavimento d'un camerino fu fuor d'opinione' di chi ascoltava, cosi riusci il motto argutissimo e risibile.
But of doubtfull woordes there be manie sortes, therfore must a man be circumspect and chouse out termes verie artificiallye, and leave oute suche as make the Jest colde, and that a man would weene were haled by the heare, or
elles (as we have saide) that have to much bitternesse in them. As certeine companions beeinge in a friendes house of theirs, who had but one eye, after he had desired the company to tarye dinner with him, they departed all saving one, that said: And I am well pleased to tarye, for I see a voide roume for one, and so with his fingre poyncted to the hole where his eye had bine. See howe bytter and discourtious this is passynge measure, for he nipped him without a cause and wythout beeinge first pricked himselfe: and he saide the thynge that a man might speake against blinde men. Suche generall matters delyte not, bicause it appeereth they are thought upon of pourpose. And after thys sorte was the saiynge to one wythout a nose: And where doest thou fasten thy spectacles? Or, wherewithall doest thou smell roses at the time of the yere? But emong other meerie saiynges, they have a verie good grace that arryse whan a man at the nippynge talke of his felowe taketh the verye same woodes in the self same sence, and retourneth them backe agayne pryckynge hym wyth hys owne weapon. As an attourney in the lawe, unto whom in the presence of the judge his adversarye saide, What barkeste
Jestes that are to nipping.
thou? furthwyth he answered: bycause I see a thief. And of this sorte was also, whan Galeotto of Narni passyng throughe Siena stayed in a streete to enquire for an ynn, and a Senese Seeinge hym so corpulente as he was, saide laughinge: Other menne carye their bougettes beehynde them, and this good felowe caryeth his beefore him. Galeotto answered immediatlye: So must menne do in the Countrey of theeves. There is yet another sorte called in Italian Bischizzi, and that consisteth in chaungynge or encreasinge, or diminisshinge of a letter or syllable. As he that saide: Thou shouldest be better learned in the Latrine tunge then in the Greeke. And to you (madam) was written in the superscription of a letter, To the Ladye Emilia Impia. It is also a meerye divise to mingle together a verse or mo, takyng it in an other meeninge then the Author doeth, or some other commune sayinge. Sometyme in the verye same meanynge, but altringe a woorde, as a Gentilman said that had a foule and scoulinge wief: whan he was asked the question how he dyd, answered: Thynke thou thy selfe, for Furiarum maxima juxta me cubat. And M. Hierom Donato goynge a vistinge the Stacions of Roome in Lente, in companye wyth manye other Gentilmen, mett with a knott of faire Romaine Ladies, and whan one of those gentilmen had said:
To nicke a man with his owne woordes.
Catullus answere to Philippus.
To chaunge a letter or sillable.
The vii. churches of Roome.
Quot coelum stellas, tot habet tua Roma Puellas,
by and by he added:
Pascua quotque hædos, tot habet tua Roma cinædos,
showinge a rout of yonge menne that came on the other
side. And Marcantonio della Torre sayde after the maner to the Byshoppe of Padoa: Where there was a Nounrye in Padoa under the charge of a religious person muche esteamed for hys good lye and learnynge, yt happened that thys father hauntinge much to the Nounrye verie familiarlie, and confessynge often the Sisters, beegat five of them with chylde, where there were not passinge five mo in all. And whan the matter was knowen, the father would have fled, and wist not how. The bishoppe caused him to be apprehended, and upon that, he confessed that he had gotten those five Nounnes with childe through the temptacion of the Dyvell, so that the Bishoppe was fullye bent to chastice him sore. And bicause this man was learned, he had manye friendes, which altogether assayed to helpe him, and emonge the rest there went also M. Marcantonio to entreate for him. The Bishoppe would in no wise give eare to them. At length they beynge instant upon him and commending the gyltie, and excusinge him throughe the commoditie of place, frailtye of manne and manie other causes, the Bishop said: I will do nothing for you, bicause I must make accompt unto God of this. And whan they had replyed again, the Bishop said: What answere shall I make unto God at the day of judgement, whan He shall say unto me Redde' Rationem villicationis tue? M. Marcantonio answered him immediatly:
Ovid. Of wanton dames Roome hath like store, As sterres be in the skie. As many boyes preservde for love, As Kiddes in pastures lie.
Mary my lord the verie same that the Gospell sayth: Dominé quinque talenta traddisti mihi, ecce alia quinque superlucratus sum. Then could not the Bishoppe absteine laughing and he asswaged much his anger and the punishemente that he had ordeined for the offender. It is likewise verie pretie to allude to names and to feine somwhat, for that he the talke is of, is so called, or els bicause he doeth some such thinge. As not longe sins Proto da Luca (which as you know is one meerelie disposed) asking the Bishopprike of Calio, the Pope answered him: Doest thou not knowe that Calio, in the Spanishe tunge is as muche to say as, I houlde my Peace, and thou art a great prater? Therfore it were unfittinge for a Bishoppe at any time in naminge his title to make alye, now Calia, houlde thy peace then. To this Proto gave an answere, the which although it were not in this sorte yet was it no lesse pretie then this. For after he had often put him in remembrance of this his suite and sawe it take none effect, at last he said:
Yelde an accompt of thy husbandrie.
Lord, thou deliveredst into me v. talentes, beholde I have gained v. mo.
To allude to names.
Holye father, in case youre holynesse do give me this bisshoppricke, yt shal not be without a profit to you, for then will I surrender two offices into your handes. And what offices hast thou to surrender into my handes? quoth the Pope. Proto answered: I shall surrender unto you Officium principale, and Officium beatæ Mariæ. Then coulde not the Pope though he were a verye grave person, absteine from laughinge. An other also in Padoa said Calphurnius was so named, bicause he was wont to heate fourneyses. And upon a day whan I asked Phedra how it happeneth, where prayer is made in the Church upon goodfridaye not onlie for Chrystyans, but also for Paganes and for Jewes, there was no mention made of the Cardinalles, as there was of Bishops and other prelates. He answered me, that the Cardinalles were conteined in the Collet, Oremus pro hæticis et Schismaticis. And oure Count Lewis saide that I reprehended a ladie of love for occupyinge a certein kinde of lye that shined muche, bicause whan she was trimmed therwithall, I might see my selfe in her face, and for that I was yll favoured I coulde not abyde to looke upon my selfe. In this maner was that M. Camillo Paleotto saide unto M. Anthonio Porcaro, whiche reasoninge of a companion of his that under confessyon had sayde unto the Priest that he fasted with all his harte, and went to Masse and to holye service and did all the good deedes in the worlde, said: This felowe in stead of accusynge prayseth hym self. Unto whom M. Camillo answered: Nay, he rather confesseth himself of these matters, bicause he reckeneth the doinge of them great sinn. Do you not remember how well the L. Generall said the last daye, whan Johnthomas Galeotto wondred at one that demaunded two hundreth Ducates for a horse? for whan Johnthomas saide that he was not worth a farthing, bicause emong other yll properties he had, he could not abide weapons, neyther was it possible to make him come nighe where he sawe anye, the L. Generall said (willing to reprehende him of cowardise): Yf the horse hath this propertie that he can not abide weapons, I marveile he asketh not a thousand Ducates. Also sometime a man speaketh the verie same woord, but to another ende then the commune use is. As, whan the Duke was passing over a very swift river, he said to the trompetter: Goo on. The trumpetter tourned him backe with his cappe in his hande and after a reverent maner, saide: It shalbe youres my lorde. It is also a pleasant maner of jestinge, whan a man seemeth to take the woordes and not the meaninge of him that speaketh. As this yeere a Dutch man in Roome meetinge in an Eveninge oure M. Philipp Beroaldo whose Scholar he was, said unto him: Dominé magister, Deus det vobis bonum sero. And Beroaldo answered incontinently: Tibi malum cito. And Diego Dé Chignognes
Dooble signification of Calio.
Dooble signification of Officium.
beeinge at table with the Great Capitain, whan an other Spaniarde that satt there had saide, Vino dios (calling for wine) Diego answered hym again: Vino, y nolo conocistes, to nip him for a marrané. Also M. James Sadoleto said unto Beroaldo, that had tould him how he wold in any wise go to Bolonia: What is the cause that maketh you thus to leave Roome where there are so manie pleasures, to go to Bolonia full of disquietnesse? Beroaldo answered: I am forced to go to Bolonia for three Countes. And nowe he had lifte up three fingers of hys left hande to alleage three causes of his goynge, whan M. James sodeinlye interrupted hym and said: The three countes that make you goe to Bolonia are, Count Lewis da San Bifacio, Count Hercules Rangon and the Count of Pepoli. Then they all laughed bicause these three Countes had bine Beroaldoes Scholers and were propre yonge menne and applyed their studie in Bolonia. This kinde of meerye jestinge therfore maketh a man laughe muche, bicause it bryngeth wyth it other maner answeres then a manne looketh for to heare: and oure owne errour doeth naturallye delite us in these matters, whyche whan it deceyveth us of that we looke for, we laughe at it. But the termes of speache and fygures that have anye grace and grave talke, are likewise (in a maner) alwayes comelye in Jestes and meerye pleasantnesse. See how woordes placed contrarywyse give a great ornament, whan a contrarye clause is sett agaynste another. The same maner is often times verye meerye and pleasant. As a Genuesé that was verye prodigall and lavysh in hys expences beeinge reprehended by a usurer, who was most covetous, that said unto him: And whan wilt thou leave castynge away thy substance? Then he answered: Whan thou leavest stealinge of other mens. And bicause (as we have alreadie said) from the places that we derive Jestes from, that touch a manne, we may manie times from the verie same take grave sentences to prayse and commende, it is a verye comelye and honest maner both for the one and the other pourpose, whan a man consenteth to and confirmeth the selfe same thinge that the other speaketh, but interpreteth it otherwise then he meaneth. As within these fewe dayes a Priest of the Countrey sayinge Masse to his parishioners, after he had toulde them what holye dayes they shoulde have that weeke, he beegane the generall confession in the name of all the people, and sayde: I have synned in yll dooynge, in yll speakynge, in yll thynkynge, and the rest that foloweth, makynge mention of all the deadlye sinnes. Then a Gossippe of his and one that was verye familiar wyth the Priest to sporte with hym, saide to the standers bye: Beare recorde, Sirs, what he confesseth with hys owne mouth he hath done, for I entende to present him to the Bishoppe for it. The verye same maner used Salazza della Pedrata to hounoure a Ladye of love wythall. With whome entringe in talke, after he had praysed herr beeside her vertuous qualities for her beawtie also, she answered him that she deserveth not that praise, bicause she was now well striken in yeeres. And he then said to her: That is in you of age, is nothing elles but to liken you unto the aungelles, whiche were the firste and are the auntientest creatures that ever God made. Also meerie sayinges are muche to the pourpose to nippe a man, aswell as grave sayinges to praise one, so the metaphors be well applyed, and especiallye yf they be answered, and he that maketh answere continue in the self same metaphor spoken by the other. And in this sorte was
Note here the dooble signification of Vino. Diego tooke it not for wine but for, God came, He came indeed (quoth Diego, meninge it by Christe) and thou knewest him not: wherby he signified to the hearers that Spaniarde to be of the beleaf that Christ is not yet come.
Countes taken here both for respectes or causes and also for Erles.
To enterpret otherwise then a man meaneth.
answered to M. Palla Strozzi, whiche banished out of Florence, and sendinge thither one of his about certein affaires, said unto him after a threatninge maner: Tell Cosmus de Medicis in my name that The henn sitteth abroodé. The messenger did the errand to him, as he was wylled. And Cosmus without any more deliberacion, answered him immediatlye: Tell M. Palla in my name again, that Hennes can full yll sitt abroodé out of the nest. With a metaphor also M. Camillo Porcaro commended honorablye the Lorde Marcantonio Colonna, who understandynge that M. Camillo in an Oration of hys had extolled certein noble men of Italy that were famous in marcial prowesse, and emonge the rest had made most honorable mention of him, after rendringe due thankes, he said to him: You (M. Camillo) have done by your friendes as some merchaunt men play by their money, which findinge a counterfeit Ducat, to dispatch him away, cast him into a heape of good ones and so uttre him: even so you, to honour me withall, where I am little woorth, have sett me in company with so excellent and vertuous personages, that through their prowesse, I may peraventure passe for a good one. Then M. Camillo made answere: They that use to counterfeit Ducates, gylte them so that they seeme to the eye much better then the good: therfore if there were to be founde counterfeiters of menne, as there be of Ducates, a man might have a juste cause to suspect you were false, beeinge (as you are) of much more faire and brighter mettall then any of the rest. You may see that this place is commune both for the one and the other kinde of Jestes, and so are manie mo, of the which a man might geve infinite examples, and especially in grave sayinges. As the great Capitain saide, whiche (beeinge sett at table and everye roume filled) save two Italian Gentilmen standinge bye that had done him verye good service in the warr, sodainly he start up and made all the rest to arrise to give place to these two, and said: Make roume Sirs for these gentilmen to sitt at their meat, for had they not bine we should not have had now wherwithall to feade our selves. He saide also to Diego Garzia that perswaded hym to remove out of a dangerous place that lay open upon gunnshott:
Cosimo de Medici.
The Lorde Marcus Anthonius Columna.
Sins God hath not put feare into your mynd, put not you it into myne. And kinge Lewis, which is nowe Frenche kinge, where it was saide unto him soone after his creation, that then was the time to be even with his enemies that had done him so much injurye while he was Duke of Orleans. He made answere: That the French kinge hath nothing ado to revenge the wronges done to the Duke of Orleans. A man toucheth also in Jest manye times with a certein gravitie without moving a man to laughe. As Gein Ottomani brother to the great Turke, whan he was prisoner in Roome, he said: Justinge (as we used it in Italye) seemed to him overgreat a daliaunce, and a tryfle to that should be in deede. And he said, whan it was tould him that kinge Ferdinande the yonger was nimble and quycke of person in renning, leapinge, vautynge and suche matters, in his country slaves used these exercises, but great men learned from their childhood liberalitie and were renowmed for that. And in a maner after the same sort, savinge it had a litle more matter to laughe at, was that the archbishopp of Florence said unto Cardinal Alexandrino: That men have nothinge but Substance, a body and a soul: their Substance is at Lawyars disposynge, their Bodye at Phisitiens, and their Soul at divines.
Lewis the XII.
Then answered the L. Julian: A man might ad unto this the saiynge of Nicholetto: which is, that it is seldome seene a Lawyer to go to lawe, nor a Phisitien take medicin, nor a divine a good Christian.
M. Bernarde laughed, then he proceaded: of this there be infinite examples spoken by great Princes and verie grave men. But a man laugheth also manye times at
comparasons. As oure Pistoia wrott unto Seraphin: I sende thee backe again thy great male whiche is like thy self. If ye remember well Seraphin was muche like a male. Again, there be some that have a pastime to liken menne and women to horses, to dogges, to birdes, and often times to coffers, to stooles, to cartes, to candelstickes, which somtime hath a good grace and otherwhile verye stale. Therfore in this point a man must consider the place, the time, the persones, and the other thinges we have so manie times spoken of.
Then spake the L. Gaspar Pallavicin: The comparason that the L. John Gonzaga made of Alexander the Great to M. Aleaxander his son, was verye pleasant.
I wote not what it was, answered M. Bernarde.
The L. Gaspar said: The L. John was playinge at dice (as his use is) and had lost a numbre of Ducates and was still on the losing hande, and M. Alexander his sonn, which for all he is a childe delyteth no lesse in playe then his father, stoode verie still to beehould him and seemed verye sad. The Count of Pianella, that was there present with manye other Gentilmen, said: See (my Lorde) M. Alexander is verie heavie for youre losse, and his hert panteth waytinge whan lucke will come to you that he may gete some of your winninges: therfore rid him of this griefe, and beefore ye lose the rest, gyve hym at the least one Ducat that he maye goe playe him too, emonge hys companyons. Then sayde the L. John: You are deceyved, for Alexander thynketh not upon suche a trifle, but as it is wrytten of Alexander the great, while he was a childe, understandinge that Philipp his father had dyscomfited a great armie, and conquered a certein kingdome, he fell in weepinge, and whan he was asked the question whye he wept, he answered, bicause he doubted that his father would conquerr so manye Countryes, that he should have none left for him to conquerr: even so nowe Alexander my sonne is sorye and readye to weepe in seeinge me his father lose, bycause he doubteth that I shall lose so much, that I shall leave him nothinge at all to lose.
Whan they had a whyle laughed at this M. Bernarde wente forwarde: A man must take heede also his jestynge be not wicked, and that the matter extende not (to appeere quycwitted) to blasphemye, and studye therin to invent newe wayes: least herein, where a manne deserveth not
onelye blame, but also sharpe punishment, he should appeere to seke a praise, which is an abhominable matter. And therfore suche as these be, that goe about to shew their pregnant witt wyth small reverence to Godward, deserve to be excluded out of everye Gentylmans companye. And no lesse, they that be filthye and bawdye in talke, and that in the presence of women have no maner respect, and seeme to take none other delite but to make women blushe for shame, and upon thys goe seekynge oute meerye and jestynge woordes. As thys yeere in Ferrara at a banckett in presence of manye Ladyes there was a Florentine and a Senese, whiche for the moste parte (as you knowe) are ennemies together. The Senese sayd to nipp the Florentine: We have maryed Siena to the Emperour and given him Florence in dowerye. And this he spake bicause the talke was abrode in those dayes, that the Senes had given a certein quantitie of money to the Emperour, and he tooke the protection of them upon him. The Florentine answered immediatlye: But Siena shalbe first ridden (after the Frenche phrase, but he spake the Italian worde) and then the dowerye afterward be pleaded for at good leyser. You may see the taunt was wittie, but bicause it was in presence of women it appeered bawdie and not to be spoken.
Filthy and baudie in persons talke.
Then spake the L. Gaspar Pallavicin: Women have none other delite but to heare of such matters, and yet will you deprive them of it. And as for my part I have bine ready to blushe for shame at woordes which women have spoken to me oftener then men.
And I speake not of such women as these be, quoth M. Bernarde, but of the vertuous that deserve to be reverenced and honoured of all gentilmen.
The L. Gaspar saide: It were good we might finde out some pretie rule howe to knowe them, bicause moste communlie the best in apparance are cleane contrarye in effect.
The said M. Bernarde smylinge: Were not the L. Julian here present that in everye place is counted the protectour of women, I woulde take upon me to answere you, but I will take his offyce from him.
Here the L. Emilia in like maner smilinge, said: Women neede no defendoure againste an accuser of so small authoritie. Therefore let the L. Gaspar alone in this his froward opinion, risen more bicause he could never finde woman that was willynge to loke upon him, then for anye want that is in women, and proceade you in youre communication of Jestes.
Then M. Bernarde: Trulye mandam (quoth he) me thinke I have named unto you manie places, out of the which a man may pike pleasant and wittie sayinges, which afterward have so much the more grace, as they are set furth with a comelie protestacion. Yet may there be alleaged manie other also, as whan to encrease or diminish, thinges be spoken that uncrediblye passe the likelihoode of truth. And of this sort was that Marius da Volterra said by a prelate that thought himselfe so taule a person, that as he went into Saint Peters, he stowped for hittinge his heade againste the greate beame over the porche. Also the L. Julian here saide that Golpino hys servaunte was so leane and drie, that in a morning as he was blowing the fire to kendle it, the smoke bore him up the chimney unto the tonnell, and had gone awaye with him had he not stooke on crosse at one of the holes above. And M. Augustin Bevazzano toulde, that a covetous manne whiche woulde not sell hys corne while it was at a highe price, whan he sawe afterwarde it had a great falle, for desperacion he hanged himself upon a beame in his chamber, and a servaunt of his hearing the noise, made speede, and seeing his maister hang, furthwith cut in sunder the rope and so saved him from death: afterwarde whan the covetous man came to himselfe, he woulde have had hys servaunt to have paide him for his halter that he had cut. Of this sort appeareth to be also that Laurence de Medicis said unto a colde jester: Thou shouldest not make me laugh if thou ticklidest me. The like he answered unto an other foolishe person, who in a morninge had founde him in bed verie late and blamed him for sleeping somuche, sayinge unto him: I have now bine in the new and olde markett place, afterward I went oute at the gate of San Gallo to walke about the walles, and have done a thousande other matters, and you are yet in bed. Then said Laurence: That I have dreamed in one houre is more woorth, then al that you have done in foure. It is also pretie whan one reprehendeth a thinge which a man would not thinke he minded to reprehende. As the marquesse Friderick of Mantua oure Dutchesse father, beeinge at table wyth manye gentilmen, one of them after he had eaten up his dishe of broth, said: By your leave my L. marquesse. And whan he had so said, be beegane to suppe up the rest that remayned in the dishe. Then said the marquesse by and by: Aske leave of the swyne, for thou doest me no wronge at all. Also M. Nicholas Leonicus said, to touch a noble manne that was falsely reported to be liberall: Gesse you what liberalitye is in him that doeth not onlye
geve awaye hys owne good but other mens also. That is in like maner an honest and comelie kinde of jesting that consisteth in a certein dissimulacion, whan a man speaketh one thinge and privilie meaneth another. I speake not of the maner that is cleane contrarye, as if one shoulde call a dwarf a giaunt: and a blacke man, white: or one most ilfavoured beawtifull, bicause they be to open contraries, although otherwhile also they stirr a man to laughe. But whan with a grave and drie speache in sportinge a a man speaketh pleasantlie that he hath not in his minde. As whan a gentilman tould M. Augustin Folietta a loude lye and earnestlye did affirme it, bicause he thought he scase beleaved it. At laste M. Augustin said: Gentilman, if you will ever do me pleaser, be so good to me as to quiet your selfe in case I do not beleave anye thinge you saye. Yet whan he replied again and bound it with an othe to be true, at lengthe he saide: Sins you wyll have me, I am content to beleave it for your sake, for to saye the trueth I would do a greater thinge for you then this commeth to. In a maner after the same sorte Don Giovanni di Cardona said of one that woulde forsake Rome: In mine opinion thys felowe is yll advysed, for he is so wicked that in abidinge in Rome it maye be his chaunce in time to be made a Cardinall. Of this sorte is also that Alphonsus Santacroce said, whiche a litle beefore havinge certein injuries done him by the Cardinall of Pavia, and walking without Bolonia with certein Gentilmen nighe unto the place of execution, and seeinge one newlye hanged there, tourned him that waye with a certein heavie looke and said so loude that every man might heare him: Thou art a happie man that hast nothinge adoo with the Cardinal of Pavia. And the kinde of jestinge that is somewhat grounded upon scoffinge seemeth verie meete for
great men, bicause it is grave and wittie and may be used both in sportynge matters and also in grave. Therfore dyd manye of olde time and menne of best estimatyon use it: as Cato, Scipio Affricanus minor. But above all they saye Socrates the Philosopher excelled in it. And in oure time Kynge Alphonsus the first of Aragon: which upon a time as he went to diner tooke manye ryche jewelles from his fingers, for wetting them in washing hys handes, and so gave them to him that stoode nexte him as thoughe he had not minded who it was. This servaunt had thought sure the king marked not to whom he gave them, and bicause his heade was busied with more waightie affaires, wold soone forgete them cleane, and therof he tooke the more assurance, whan he sawe the kinge asked not for them again. And whan the matter was passed certein dayes, wekes and monthes without hearinge anye woord of it, he thought surelye he was safe. And so about the yeeres end after this matter had happened, an other time as the kinge was in like maner going to diner, he stepped furth and put out his hande to take the kinges ringes. Then the kinge rounding him in the eare, said: The first is well for thee, these shall be good for an other. See this taunt how pleasant, wittie and grave it is, and woorthie in verie deede for the noble courage of an Alexander. Like unto this
Jestinge grounded upon scoffing meete for great men.
maner grounded upon scoffinge there is also an other kinde, whan with honest woordes, a man nameth a vitious matter or a thinge that deserveth blame. As the great Capitain said unto a Gentilman of hys, that after the journey of Cirignola and whan all thinges were alreadye in safetye, mett him as richelye armed as might be, readye to fight. Then the great Capitain tourninge to him Don Ugo di Cardona, saide: Feare ye not now any more Sea tempest, for Saint Hermus hath appeered. And wyth thys honeste woorde he gave him a nicke. Bicause you knowe Saint Hermus doeth alwayes appeer unto Mariners after a tempeste and gyveth a token of calme. And the meaning of the great capitain was, that whan this gentilman appeered it was a signe that daunger was alreadye cleane past. Again M. Octavian Ubaldino beeinge in Florence in Companye wyth certein of the best Citizins and reasonynge together of souldiers, one of them asked him whether he knewe Antonello da Forli whiche was then fled out of the state of Florence. M. Octavian answered: I have no great knowledge of him, but I have heard him alwaies reported to be a quick souldier. Then said an other Florentin: it appeereth he is quicke, for he taried not so longe as to aske leave to depart. They be also pretie tauntes whan a man of the verie communication of his felowe taketh that he would not, and my meaning is in that sort, as our Duke answered the Capitain that lost Saint Leo. Whan this state was taken by Pope Alexander and given to Duke Valentin, the Duke beeing in Venice at that time I speake of, manie of his subjectes came continually to give him secret information how the matters of state passed, and emonge the rest, thither came also this
To name an yll thing with honest woordes.
Capitain, whiche after he had excused himselfe the best he coulde, laiynge the fault in his unluckinesse, he saide: My Lorde doubt ye not, my hart serveth me yet to woorke a meane that Saint Leo may be recovered again. Then answered the Duke: Trouble not thy self any more about that, for in losing it thou haste wrought a meane that it may be recovered again. Certein other sayinges there are whan a man that is knowen to be wittie speaketh a matter, that seemeth to proceede of folye. As the last day M. Camillo Paleotto said by one: That foole, assoone as he beegane to wexe riche, died. There is like unto this maner a certein wittie and kinde dissimulacion, whan a man (as I have said) that is wise maketh semblant not to understande that he doth understande. As the marquesse Friderick of Mantua, which beeing sued to by a prating felow that complained upon certein of his neighbours takinge the Pigions of his Dovehouse with snares, and helde one continuallye in his hande hanging by the foote in a snare, which he had founde so dead, he answered him that there should be a remedye for it. This felowe never satisfied, not
Pope Alexander VI. usurped the dukedome of Urbin and gave it to hys sonne Cesar Borgia, comunlye called Duca Valentino.
once but manye a time repeted unto him his losse, showinge alwaies the Pigion so hanged, and saide still: But I besech you, howe thinke ye (my Lorde) what should a man do in this matter? The marquesse at length said: By mine advise the Pigeon ought in no wise to be buried in the Church, for sins he hath so hanged himself, it is to be thought that he was desperat. In a maner after the same sorte was that Scipio Nascia said unto Ennius. For whan Scipio went unto Ennius house to speake with him and called to him in the streete, a maiden of his made him answere that he was not at home. And Scipio heard plainlye Ennius himselfe saye unto his mayden to tell hym that he was not at home, so he departed. Within a while after Ennius came unto Scipioes house, and so likewise stoode beneethe and called him. Unto whom Scipio himselfe with a loude voice made answere that he was not at home. Then said Ennius: What, do not I knowe thy voice? Scipio answered: Thou hast smalle Courteysie in thee, the last day I beleaved thy maiden thou waste not at home, and now wilt not thou beleave
me my selfe? It is also pretie whan one is touched in the verie same matter that he hath first touched his felowe. As Alonso Carillo beeinge in the Spanishe Court and havynge committed certein youthfull partes that were of no great importance, was by the kinges commaundement caried to prison, and there abode for one night. The next day he was taken out again, and whan he came to the Palaice in the morninge, he entred into the chamber of presence that was full of gentilmen and Ladies, and jestynge together at this his imprisonment, maistresse Boadilla said: M. Alonso, I tooke great thought for this mishap of yours, for al that knew you were in feare least the kinge wold have hanged you. Then said immediatlye Alonso: Indeede maistresse, I was in doubte of the matter my selfe to, but yet I had a good hope that you would have begged me for your husbande. See howe sharpe and wittie this is. Bicause in Spaine (as in many other places also) the maner is, whan a manne is lead to execution, if a commune harlot will aske him for her husbande, it saveth his life. In this maner also did Raphael the peincter answere two Cardinalles (with whom he might be familiar) which to make him talke, found fault in his hearinge with a table he had made, where Saint Peter and Saint Paul were: saiynge, that those twoo
To touche in the same matter a man is touched.
pictures were to red in the face. Then said Raphael by and by: My lordes, wonder you not at it, for I have made them so for the nones, bicause it is to be thought that Saint Peter and Saint Paul are even as red in heaven as you see them here, for verie shame that their Churche is goverened by such men as you be. Also those Jestes are pleasant, that have in them a certein privie semblant of laughter. As whan a husband lamented much and bewayled his wief that had hanged her selfe upon a figgtree, an other came to him and pluckynge him by the slieve, said, Friend, may I receive such pleaser as to have a graff of that figgtree to graff in some stocke of my Orcharde? There be certein other Jestes that be pacient and spoken softlie with a kinde of gravitie. As a man of the Countrye caryinge a coffer upon his shoulders, chaunced therwithall to gyve Cato a harde pushe, and afterward said: Give roume. Cato answered: Haste thou anye thinge upon thy shoulders beeside that coffer? It is also a matter of laughter whan a man hath committed an errour and to amend it speaketh a matter pourposelye that appeereth foolishe, and yet is applyed to the ende that he hath appointed, and serveth hys tourne therwithall that he seeme not oute of countenaunce and dismayed. As not longe sins two ennemies beeinge together in the Counsell chamber of Florence (as it happeneth often in those Commune weales) the one of them, which was of the house of Altoviti, slept, and he that satt next unto him for a sporte, where his adversarye that was of the house of Alamanni, had said nothinge neyther then nor beefore,
The maner of Spaine.
A semblant of laughing.
With a certein gravitie.
A matter that seemeth foolishe.
stirringe him wyth his elbowe made him awake, and saide unto him: Hearest thou not what such a one saith? Make answere, for the Lordes aske for thine advise. Then did Altoviti all sleepie arrise upon his feete and without anye more deliberation said: My Lordes, I say the cleane contrarye to that Alamanni hath spoken. Alamanni answered: What? I have said nothinge. Altoviti said immediatlye: To that thou wilt speake. In this maner also did youre M. Seraphin the Phisitien here in Urbin saye unto a manne of the Country, which had receyved such a stroke upon the eye, that in verie deede it was oute, yet thought he beste to go seeke to M. Seraphin for remedie. Whan he saw it thoughe he knewe it was past cure, yet to plucke money out of his handes as that blowe had plucked the eye oute of his heade, he promised him largely to heale it. And so he was in hande with him everye day for money, puttinge him in comforte that within sixe or seven dayes, he shoulde beegine to see wyth it agayn. The poore countrye manne gave him the litle he had, but whan he sawe him so prolonge the matter, he beegane to finde himself agreeved wyth the Physitien, and sayde that he was nothinge the better, neyther coulde he see anye more wyth that eye, then if he had hadd none at all in hys heade. At length M. Seraphin perceyvynge there was no more to be gotten at hys handes, saide: Brother myne, thou muste have pacience, thou haste cleane lost thine eye and no remedye is there for it, praye God thou lose not thyne other wythall. The Countrye manne seeynge thys, fell in weepynge, and lamented muche and saide: Mayster myne, you have pylled me and robbed me of my money, I will complayne to the Duke, and made the greatest outcryes in the worlde. Then sayde M. Seraphin in a rage and to cleere hymselfe: Ah thou vyllein knave: thou wouldest then have two eyes as Cityzins and honest menne have, wouldest thow? Get thee hence in the Dyvelles name. And these woordes were thruste out wyth suche furye that the poore selie manne was dismayed, and held his peace, and soft and faire departed in Gods name, thinking that he himselfe had bine in the wronge. It is also pretie whan a man declareth or enterpreteth a matter meerilie. As in the Spanishe Court in a morning there came into the Palaice a knight who was very ylfavoured: and his wief, that was verie beawtifull, both apparailed in white Damaske, and the Queene said unto Alonso Carillo: Howe thinke ye Alonso by these two? Madam, answered Alonso, me thnke the Ladye is the Dame, and he the aske, which signifieth a foule person and uglesome. Also whan Raphael de Pazzi sawe a letter that the Priour of Messina
had written to a maistresse of his, the superscription whereof was: Esta carta s'ha da dar a qui en causa mi penar, Me thinke (quoth he) this letter is directed to Paul Tholossa. Imagine you how the standers bye laughed at it, for they all knew that Paul Tholossa had lent tenn thousand Ducates to the Priour of Messina, and bicause he was verie lavishe in his expences, he could finde no waye to paye his dett. It is like unto this, whan a man geveth familiar admonition in maner of counsell, but dissemblinglie. As Cosmus de Medicis said unto a friend of his that had more riches then wit, and by Cosmus meanes had compassed an office without Florence, and at his settinge furthe askinge Cosmus what way he thought best for him to take to execute this office well: Cosmus answered him: Apparaile thy selfe in scarlate, and speake litle. Of this sort was that Count Lewis said unto one that woulde passe for an unknowen person in a certein daungerous place, and wist not howe to disguise himself, and the Count beeinge demaunded of hys advise therin, answered: Apparaile thy selfe like a Doctour, or in some other rayment that wise men use to weare. Also Jannotto de Pazzi said unto one that minded to make an armynge coat of as manye divers colours as might be invented: Take the woordes and deedes of the Cardinall of Pavia. A man laugheth also at certein matters disagreeinge. As one said the last daye unto M. Antony Rizzo of a certein Forlivese: Gesse whether he be a foole or no, for his name is Bartholomew. And an other: Thou
To enterpret a matter meerely.
This letter be geven to the cause of my griefe.
Familiar admonition in maner of counsell.
seekest a rider and hast no horses. And this man wanteth nothinge but good and a horse. And at certein other that seeme to agree. As within these few dayes where there was a suspicion that a friend of oures had caused a false advoucion of a benifice to be drawen out, afterward whan an other Priest fell sicke, Antony Torello saide unto him: What doest thou lingre the matter, whie doest thou not sende for the Clerke and see whether thou cannest hit upon this other benefyce? Likewise at certein that doe not agree. As the last day whan the Pope had sent for M. Johnluke of Pontremolo and M. Dominick dalla Porta, which (as you knowe) are both crookbacked, and made them Auditours, sayinge that he entended to bringe the Rota into a right frame, M. Latin Juvenal saide: Oure holie father is deceived yf he thinke that he can bringe the Rota into a right frame with two crooked persons. Also it provoketh laughter, whan a man graunteth the thinge that is toulde him and more, but seemeth to understande it otherwise. As Capitain Peralta beeing brought into the listes to fight the combatt wyth Aldana and Capitain Molart that was Aldanus patrine requiringe Peralta to sweare whether he had about him any Saint Johns Gosspell or charme and inchanmente, to preserve him from hurt. Peralta swore that he had about him neyther Gosspell nor inchauntment, nor relike, nor any matter of devocion wherein he had any faith. Then said Molart, to touch him to be a marrané: Well no mo woordes in this, for I beleave without swearinge that you have no faith also in Christ. It is pretie moreover to use mataphors at a time in such pourposes. As oure M. Marcantonio that said to Botton da Cesena, who had vexed him with woordes: Botton, Botton, thou shalt one day be the botton, and the halter shalbe the bottonhole. And also whan Marcantonio had made a comedye whiche was verie longe and of sundrye actes, the verye same Botton saide in like maner to Marcantonio: to play youre Comedye ye shall neede for preparation asmuche wood as in Sclavonia. M. Marcantonio answered: And for preparation of thy Tragedie three trees is inoughe. Again a man speaketh a word manie times wherin is a privie signification farr from that appeereth he wold say. As the L. Generall here being in company where there was communication of a Capitain that in deede al his lief time for the more part had received the overthrow, and as then by a chaunce wann the victorie: and whan he that ministred this talke said: Whan he made his entrie into that towne he was apparailed in a verie faire crimosin velute coate, which he wore alwaies after his victories. The L. Generall said: Beelike it is verie new. And no lesse doeth it
That seeme to agree.
That agree not.
The Rota in Roome is suche an other matter as the Court of the Arches in England.
provoke laughter, whan otherwhile a man maketh answere unto that which the other he talketh withall hath not spoken: or els seemeth to beleave he hath done that he hath not done, and should have done it. As Andrew Cosia, when he went to visit a gentilman that discourtiously suffered him to stand on his feete and he himselfe satt, saide: Sins you commaund me, sir, to obey you I will sitt, and so satt him downe. Also a man laugheth whan one accuseth himselfe of some trespace. As the last daye whan I saide to the Dukes Chapplaine, that my Lordes grace had a Chapplaine that coulde say masse sooner then he: he answered me, It is not possible. And roundinge me in the eare, saide: You shall understande that I say not the third part of the secretes. Also Biagin Crivello, when a priest was slain at Millane, he required his benefice of the Duke, the which he was minded to bestowe upon an other. At length Biagin perceyvinge no other reason wold prevaile, And what (quoth he) if I were the cause of his death, why will you not geve me his benefice? It hath also manie times a good grace to wish those thinges that can not be. As the last day one of our companie beehouldinge all these Gentilmen
An answere to that a man hath not said.
here playnge at fence, and he liynge uppon a bed, said: Oh what a pleasure it were, were this also a valiaunt mans and a good souldiers exercise. In like maner it is a pretie and wittie kinde of speakinge and especially in grave men and of authoritie, to answere contrarye to that he would, with whom he speaketh but drilie and (as it were) with a certein doubting and heedfull consideracion. As in times past Alphonsus the first Kinge of Aragon, gevinge unto a servaunt of his, horse, harneis and apparaile, bicause he toulde him how the night beefore he had dreamed that his highnesse had given him all those kindes of matters, and not longe after, the verie same servauntes said again how he dreamed that night, that he had given him a good sort of royalles, he answered him: Hensfurthe beleave dreames no more, for they are not alwaies true. In this sort also did the Pope answere the Bishop of Cervia, that to grope his minde saide unto him: Holye father, it is noysed all Roome over and in the Palice to, that your holynesse maketh me Governour. Then answered the Pope: Let the knaves speake what they luste, doubt you not, it is not true I warrant you. I could (my Lordes) beeside these gather manye other places, from whiche a manne maye dirive meerye and pleasant Jestes, as matters spoken with feare, wyth marveyle, with threatninges oute of order, with overmuche furiousnesse: beesyde this, certein newlye happened cases provoke laughter: sometime silence with a certein wonder, at other tymes verie laughter it selfe without pourpose: but me thinke I have nowe spoken sufficient, for the Jestes that consiste in woordes (I beleave) passe not these boundes we have reasoned of. As for such as be in operacion, though there be infinite partes of them, yet are they drawen into fewe principles. But in both kindes the chief matter is to deceive opinion, and to answer otherwise then the hearer loketh for: and (in case the Jest shal have any grace) it must nedes be seasoned with this deceit, or dissimulacion, or mockinge, or rebukinge, or comparason, or what ever other kinde a man will use. And althoughe all kinde of Jestes move a man to laugh, yet do they also in this laughter make diverse effectes. For some have in them
To wish that cannot be.
A contrarye answere.
a certein cleannesse and modest pleasantnesse. Other bite sometime privily, otherwhile openlye. Other have in them a certein wantonnesse. Other make one laughe assone as he heareth them. Other the more a man thinketh upon them. Other in laughinge make a man blushe withall. Other stirr a man somewhat to angre. But in all kindes a man must consider the disposition of the mindes of the hearers, bicause unto persons in adversitie oftentimes meery toyes augment their affliction: and some infirmities there be, that the more a man occupieth medicine aboute them, the woorse they wexe. In case therfore the Courtier in jestinge and speakinge meerie conceytes have a respecte to the time, to the persons, to his degree, and not use it to often (for parde it bringeth a lothsomnesse if a man stand evermore about it, all day in all kinde of talke and without pourpose) he maye be called pleasant and feat conceyted. So he heedefull also that he be not so bitter and bitinge, that a man mighte conjecture he were an envious person in prickinge without a cause, or for plaine malice, or men of to great authoritie (whiche is lacke of discreation) or of to much miserie (which is crueltye) or to mischevous (which is vanitie) or elles in speakinge matters that may offende them whom he would not offende (which is ignoraunce). For some there be that thinke they are bound to speake and to nippe without regard, as often as they can, howe ever the matter goe afterwarde. And emonge these kinde of persons are they, that to speake a woord which should seeme to come of a readinesse of witt, passe not for staynynge of a woorthie gentilwomans honesty, which is a very naughtie matter and
Diverse effectes in jestes.
woorthie sore punishment. Bicause in this point women are in the number of selie soules and persons in miserye, and therfore deserve not to be nipped in it, for they have not weapon to defende themselves. But beeside these respectes he that wilbe pleasant and full of jestinge, must be shaped of a certein nature to all kinde of pleasantnesse, and unto that frame his facions, gestures and countenaunce, the which the more grave, steadie and sett it is, somuch the more maketh it the matters spoken to seeme wittie and subtil. But you (Sir Fridericke) that thought to rest your selfe under this my tree without leaves and in my withered reasoninges, I beleave you have repented youre selfe, and you recken ye are entred into the baytinge place of Montefiore. Therfore it shall be well done for you like a wel practised Courtier (to avoide an ill hosterie) to arryse somwhat beefore your ordinarye hour and set forwarde on your journey.
The smalle respett some have in jestinge.
A paltockis ynn.
Nay, answered Sir Fridericke, I am come to so good an hosterie, that I minde to tarye in it lenger then I had thought at the firste. Therfore I will rest me yet a while, untill you have made an ende of all the talke ye have beegone withall. Wherof ye have left oute one percell that ye named at the beeginning: whiche is, Meerie Pranckes, and it were not well done to deceyve the companye of it. But as you have taught us manie pretie matters cancerninge Jestes, and made us hardie to use them throughe example of so many singular wittes, great men, Princis, Kinges and Popes, I suppose ye will likewise in Meerie Pranckes so boulden us, that we maye take a courage to practise some against you your selfe.
Then said M. Bernarde smilinge: You shall not be the firste, but perhappes it will not be your chaunce, for I have so manie times bin served with them, that it maketh me looke wel about me: As dogges, after they have bine once scaulded with hott water, are aferd of the colde. How be it sins you will have me to speake somewhat of this to, I beleave I may rid my handes of it in fewe woordes. And in mine opinion a Meerie Prancke is nothinge elles, but a
friendlye deceit in matters that offende not at all or verie little. And even as in Jestynge to speake contrary to expectacyon moveth laughter, so doeth in Meerie Pranckes to doe contrarie to expectacion. And these doe so muche the more delite and are to be praised, as they be wittie and modest. For he that will woorke a Meerie Prancke without respect, doth manie times offende and then arrise debates and sore hatred. But the places that a man may dirive Merie Pranckes from are (in a maner) the verie same that be in Jestes. Therfore to avoide repetition of them, I will say no more but that there be two kyndes of Meerie Pranckes everye one of which may afterwarde be divided into mo partes. The one is, whan any man whoever he be, is deceyved wittilie, and after a feat maner and with pleasantnesse. The other, whan a manne layeth (as it were) a nett, and showeth a piece of a bayte so, that a man renneth to be deceyved of himself. The first is suche, as the Meerie Prancke was, that within these fewe dayes was wrought unto a coople of greate Ladyes (whom I will not name) by the meane of a Spaniarde called Castilio.
What is a Meerye prancke.
Then the Dutchesse: And whie (quoth she) will you not name them?
M. Bernarde answered: Bicause I would not have them to take it in yll part.
Then said the Dutchesse again, smilinge: It is not againste good maner sometime to use Meerie Pranckes with great men also. And I have heard of manie that have bine played to Duke Fridericke, to kinge Alphonsus of Aragon, to Queene Isabel of Spaine, and to manie other great Princis, and not onlie they tooke it not in ill part, but rewarded very largely them that plaied them those partes.
M. Bernarde answered: Neyther upon this hope do I entend to name them.
Say as pleaseth you, quoth the Dutchesse.
Then proceaded M. Bernarde and said: Not manie dayes since in the Court that I meane, there arrived a manne of the Countrie about Bergamo, to be in service wyth a Gentilman of the Court: whyche was so well sett oute with garmentes and so finely clad, that for all hys brynginge up was alwayes keapinge Oxen and could doe nothinge elles, yet a manne that had not hearde him speake woulde have judged him a woorthie gentilman. And so whan those two ladies were enfourmed that there was arrived a Spaniarde, servaunt to Cardinall Borgia, whose name was Castilio, a verie wittie man, a musitien, a daunser and the best Courtier in all Spaine, they longed verie much to speake with him, and sent incontinentlye for him, and after they had receyved him honorablye, they caused him to sitt downe, and beegan to entertein him with a verie great respect in the presence of all menne, and fewe there were present that knew him not to be a Bergamask Cowherd. Therfore seeinge those Ladies enterteine him with such respect, and honour him so muche, they fell all in a laughyng, the more
bicause the seelie felowe spake still his natyve language, the meere Bergamaske tunge. But the Gentilmen that divised this Prancke, had first toulde those Ladyes that emonge other thinges he was a great dissembler and spake all tunges excellently well, and especiallye the Countrie speache of Lumbardye, so that they thought he feigned, and manie tymes they beehelde the one the other with certein marveilinges, and saide: What a wonderful matter is this howe he counterfeyteth this tunge! In conclusion thys communication lasted so longe that eveye mans sydes aked for laughinge, and he could not chouse himselfe but uttre so manye tokens of hys noblenesse of birth, that at length those Ladies (but with much ado) beleaved he was the man that he was in deede. Suche Meerie Pranckes we see daily, but emong the rest they be pleasant that at the first make a man agast and after that, ende in a matter of suretie, bicause he that was deceived laugheth at himself whan he perceyveth he was afeard of nothing. As liynge upon a time in Paglia, there chaunced to be in the verie
The woorst speach in all Italy.
same ynn three other good felowes, two of Pistoia and one of Prato, whiche after supper (as the maner is for the most part) fell to gamynge. And not longe after, one of the Pistoiens losinge his rest, had not a farthynge left him to blesse himselfe, but beegan to chafe, to curse, and to bann and to blaspheme terriblye, and thus tearinge of God he went to bed. The other two after they had played a while, agreed to woorke a Meerie Pranke with him that was gone to bed. And whan they perceyved that he was fallen in sleepe, they blew out the candels and raked up the fire and beegane to speake aloude, and then make the greatest hurly burly in the worlde, makinge wise to contende together about their game. The one said: Thou tookest the carde underneath. The other deniynge it said: Thou hast viede upon flush, let us mount: and suche other matters with suche noise that he that slept awoke, and hearynge them at play and talkinge even as though they had seene the cardes, did a litle open his eyes: whan he sawe there was no maner light in the chamber, he sayde: What a Dyvell meane you to crie thus all night? Afterwarde he layed him downe again to sleepe. The other two companions gave him no maner answere, but still continued in their pourpose untill he awoke better and muche wondred, and whan he saw for certeintie that there was neyther fire nor anye kinde of lighte and perceyved they played still and fell in contention, he said: And how can ye see the cardes without light? The one of the two answered: I weene thou hast lost thy sight aswel as thy money. Seest thou not that we have here two candels? He that was in bed lift up himselfe upon his elbowes and in a maner angred, said: Eyther I am dronken or blinde, or elles you make a lye. The two arrose and went to bed darkelong, laughing and makinge wise to beleave that he went about to mocke them. And he again saide to them: I tell you troth I see you not. At length the two beegane to seeme to wonder much, and the one saide to the other: By good Lord, I beleave he speaketh in good earnest, reach me the candell and lett us see perhappes he have some impediment in his sight. Then thought the poore wretch surelie that he had bine blinde, and weeping dounright, saide: Oh Sirs, I am blinde: and furthwith he beegane
Whan a man is afeard of nothing.
Paglia is a litle village in the utmost boundes of the territorie of Siena.
to call upon our Ladye of Loreto and to beeseche her perdon him his blasphemies and cursinge for the losse of his money. But his two companions put him in good comforte and saide: It is not possible but thou shouldest see us. Yt is some fansye that thou haste conceyved in thine heade. Oh good lorde, answered the other, it is no fansye, nor I see no more then if I had never had eyes in my heade. Thy sighte is cleere inoughe, quoth the two. And the one said to the other: Marke how well he openeth his eyes? And how faire they be to looke to? And who wolde beleave but he coulde see? The poore soule wept faster, and cried God mercye. In conclusion they said unto him: See thou make a vow to go divoutlye to our ladye of Loreto barefoote and barelegged, for that is the best remedie that may be had. And in the meane space we will goe to Aquapendente and the other townes here about to seeke for some Phistien, and will helpe the in what we can. Then did the seelie soule kneele upon his knees in the bed, and wyth aboundance of teares and verie bitter repentance for his blaspheminge, made a solemne vow to go naked to our ladye of Loreto and to offre unto her a paire of eyes of silver, and to eate no flesh upon the Wenesdaye nor egges upon the Fridaye, and to faste bread and water every Saturday in worship of our lady: yf she give him the grace to receyve his sight again. The two companions entringe into an other chamber, lighted a candell, and came with the greatest laughter in the world beefore this poore soule, who for all he was rid of so great an anguish as you may thinke he had, yet was he so astonied with his former feare, that he could not onlye not laugh, but not once speake a woord, and the two companions did nothinge elles but sturr him, saiynge that he was bounde to perfourme all those vowes, for that he had received the grace he asked. Of the other kynde of Meerie Pranckes whan a man deceyveth himselfe, I will give you
The greatest pilgromage in Italy.
Aquapendente is a towne of the Popes xii. miles from Paglia.
none other example, but what happened unto me my selfe not longe sins. For this shroftide that is past, my Lordes grace of Saint Peter ad Vincula, which knoweth full wel what a delite I have whan I am in maskerie to play Meerie Pranckes with friers, havinge first given order as he had divised the matter, cam upon a daye with my L. of Aragon and certein other Cardinalles, to the windowes in the banckes, making wise to stande there to see maskers passe to and fro, as the maner of Roome is. I being in maskerie passed bye, and whan I behelde on the one side of the streete a frier standinge (as it were) in a studye with himselfe, I judged I had found that I sought for, and furthwith rann to him, like a greedye hauke to her preye, and whan I had asked him and he toulde me who he was, I made semblant to knowe hym, and wyth manye woordes beegane to make him beleave that the marshall went about to seeke him for certein complaintes against him, and persuaded him to go with me to the Chauncerye and there I would save him. The frier dismayed and all tremblinge seemed as thoughe he wist not what to do, and said that he doubted taking in case he should go far from Saint Celso. Still I put him in good comfort, and saide somuche to him that he leaped up beehinde me, and then me thought my divise was fully accomplished. And I beegane to ride my horse by and by up and downe the merchauntes streete, which went kicking and winsing. Imagine with your selves now what a faire sight it was to beehould a frier on horsebacke beehinde a masker, his garmentes fleeing abrode and his head shaking to and fro, that a man would have thought he had bine alwaies falling. With this faire sight, the gentilmen beegane to hurle egges out at the windowes, and afterwarde all the bankers and as many as were there, so that the haile never fell with a more vyolence from the skye, then there fell egges out from the windowes, whiche for the moste part came all upon me. And I for that I was in maskerie passed not upon the matter, and thought verilie that all the laughinge had bine for the frier and not for me, and upon this went sundrie times up and downe the Bankes alwayes with that furye of hell beehinde me. And thoughe the frier (in maner) weepinge beesought me to lett him goe downe and not to showe suche shame to the weede, yet did the knave afterward privile cause egges to be given him by certein Lackayes sett there for the nones, and makinge wise to greepe me harde for fallynge, squised them in my bosome, and many times on my head, and otherwhile in my forehead, so that I was foule arayed. Finally whan everie man was weerye both of laughinge and throwing egges, he leaped downe from behind me, and plucking his hood backward showed me a great bushe of heare, and said: M. Bernarde, I am a horse keaper in the stable at Saint Peter ad Vincula, and am he that looketh to youre mulett. Then wiste I not whyche prevayled moste in me, grief, angre or shame. Yet for the lesse hurt I fled towarde my lodgynge, and the nexte mornynge I durste not showe my heade abrode. But the laughynge at that Meerie Prancke dyd not endure the daye followynge onelye, but also lasteth (in a maner) until this daye.
Whan a man deceiveth himselfe.
And so whan they had a whyle renewed the laughinge at rehersynge this agayn, M. Bernarde proceaded. It is also a good and pleasant kinde of Meerie Pranckes, from whens in like maner Jestes are dirived, whan one beleaveth that a man will do a matter which he will not in
deede. As whan I was in an Eveninge after supper uppon the bridge of Leo, and goinge together with Cesar Boccadello sportinge one with an other, we beegan to take houldfast the one of the others armes, as though we wold have wrastled, bicause then we perceyved no man about the bridge, and beeing in this maner together, there came two Frenchmen by, which seeing us thus striving, demaunded what the matter ment, and stayed to part us, thinkinge we had bine at debate in good ernest. Then said I incontinentlye: Helpe sirs, for this poore gentilman at certein times of the moon is frantike, and see now how he striveth to cast himselfe of the bridge into the river. Then did the two renn and layed hande upon Cesar with me and helde him streict. And he (sayinge alwayes that I was out of my witt) struggled the more to winde himself out of their handes, and they greeped him somuch the harder. At this the people assembled to beehoulde our rufflinge together, and everie manne rann, and the more poore Cesar layed about him with his handes and feete (for he beegane nowe to enter into coler) the more resorte of people there was, and for the greate strength he put, they beleaved verelie that he woulde have leaped into the river, and therfore helde they him the streicter, so that a great thronge of people caried him to the ynn above grounde, all tourmoiled and without his cappe, pale for wrath and shame that nothinge he spake coulde prevaile, partlye bicause those Frenchmen understood him not, and partly bicause I also cariyinge him to the the ynn did alwaies bewaile the poore soules ill lucke, that was so wexed out of his witt. Now (as we have saide) of Meerie Pranckes a man may talke at large, but it sufficeth to repete that the places whens thei are dirived be the verie same whiche we have said of Jestes. As for examples, we have infinit whiche we see daylye: and emong the rest there are manye pleasant in the tales of
To feigne the doinge of a matter.
Boccaccio, as those that Bruno and Buffalmacco played to their Calandrino, and to M. Symon: and manie other of women, which in verie deede are wittie and pretie. I remember also I have knowen in my dayes manye that have bine meerilie disposed in this maner, and emonge the rest a Scholar in Padoa borne in Sicilia called Pontius, which seeinge upon a time a man of the countrey have a coople of fatt capons, feininge himselfe to bye them, was at a point with him for the price, and bed him come wyth him to his lodginge, for beeside his price he woulde geve him somwhat to breake his fast withall. And so brought him to a place where was a styple that stoode by himself, alone severed from the Church, that a manne might goe rounde about him, and directlye over againste one of the foure sides of the stype was a lane. Here Pontius, whan he had first beethought himselfe what he had to doe, saide unto the man of the countrey: I have layd these Capons on a wager with a felowe of mine, who saith that this toure compaseth xl. foote, and I say no, and even as I met with thee I had bought this packthrid to measure it, therefore beefore we go to my lodging I will trie which of us hath wonn the wager. And in so saiynge he drewe the packthrid out of his sleeve, and put the one ende of it into the man of the countreys hand, and saide: Give here, and so tooke the Capons: and with the other ende he beegane to go about the bell toure, as though he would have measured it, making first the man of the countrey to stand still, and to houlde the packthrid directly on the contrary side of the toure to that, that was at the head of the lane, where assone as he came, he drove a nail into the walle, to the which he tied the packthrid, and leavynge it so, went his wayes without anye more a do downe the lane with the Capons. The man of the Countrey stoode still a good while, alwayes lookinge whan he wolde have done measuring. At length after he had said manie times, What do you so longe? he thought he woulde see, and founde that Pontius held not the line, but a naile that was driven into the walle, which onlye remayned for payment of his Capons. Of this sort Pontius played manye Meerie Pranckes. And there have bine also manie other pleasaunt men in this maner, as Gonella, Meliolo, in those dayes, and now our frier Seraphin and frier Marian here and manye well knowen to you all. And in verie deede this kinde is to be praysed in men that make profession of nothinge elles. But the Meerie Pranckes that the Courtier ought to use, must (by myne advyse) be somewhat wyde from immoderate jesting. He ought also to take heed that his Meerie Pranckes tourne not to pilferinge, as we see many naughtipackes, that wander about the
Pontius a scholar of Padoa.
world with divers shiftes to gete money, feining now one matter, now an other. And that they be not to bitter, and above all that he have respect and reverence, aswell in this, as in all other thinges, to women, and especially where the staininge of their honestie shall consist.
Reverence to women.
Then the L. Gaspar: Trulye, M. Bernarde (quoth he) you are to partiall to these women. And whie will you that men shoulde have more respecte to women then women to men? Set not you asmuch by your honestie, as they do by theirs? Thinke you then that women ought to nippe men both with woordes and mockes in every matter without any regarde, and men shoulde stande with a flea in their eare, and thanke them for it?
M. Bernarde answered: I say not the contrarye, but women in their Jestes and Meerie Pranckes ought to have the respectes to menne which we have spoken of. Yet I say with more libertie may they touch men of smalle honestie, then men maye them. And that bicause we oure selves have established for a lawe, that in us wanton lief is no vice, nor default, nor any sclaunder, and in women it is so great a reproch and shame, that she that hath once an yll name, whether the report that goith of her be true or false, hathe loste her credit for ever. Therfore sins the talkinge of womens honestie is so daungerous a matter to offende them sore, I say that we oughte to touche them in other matters and refraine from this. For whan the Jest or Meerie Pranck nippeth to sore, it goith out of the boundes whiche we have alreadye said is fitt for a gentilman.
Here M. Bernarde makinge a little stopp, the L. Octavian Fregoso saide smylinge: My L. Gaspar can make you an answere to this law which you alleage that we oure selves have made, that yt is not perchaunce so oute of reason, as
you thynke. For sins women are moste unperfect creatures and of litle or no woorthynesse in respect of menne, it beehoved for that they were not apt to woorke any vertuous deede of them selves, that they should have a bridle put upon them with shame and feare of infamye, that shoulde (in maner) by force bring them into some good condicion. And continency was thought more necessary in them, then any other, to have assuraunce of children. So that verie force hath driven men with all inventions, pollicies, and wayes possible to make women continent and (in maner) graunted them in all thinges beeside to be of smalle woorthinesse, and to do the cleane contrarye alwaies to that they ought to do. Therefore sins it is lawfull for them to swarve out of the waye in all other thinges without blame, if we should touch them in those defaultes, wherin (as we have said) they are to be borne withall, and therfore are not unseemelye in them, and passe full litle upon it, we shoulde never move laughter. For you have alreadye said, that Laughter is provoked with certein thinges that are disagreeinge.
Then spake the Dutchesse: Speake you (my L. Octavian) of women thus, and then complaine that they love you not?
The L. Octavian answered: I complaine not of it, but rather I thanke them for it, sins in not lovinge of me, they bind not me to love them. Neither do I speake after mine owne opinion, but I say that the L. Gaspar might alleage these reasons.
M. Bernarde said: Truly women should make a good bargayne, if they coulde make attonementes with suche two great ennemies as you and the L. Gaspar be.
I am not their enemye, answered the L. Gaspar, but you are an ennemye to menne. For in case you will not have women touched in this honesty of theirs, you ought aswell to appoynt them a law not to touche menne, in that whiche is asmuche shame to us, as incontinencye to women. And why was it not as meete for Alonso Carillo to make the answere which he gave maistres Boadilla of the hope that he had to save his lief, in that she wold take him to husband, as it was for her to say first: All that knew
him thought the kinge wold have hanged him. And whie was it not as lawefull for Richard Minutoli to beguile Philippelos wief, and to trane her to that bayne, as it was for Beatrice to make Egano her husbande arrise out of his bed, and Anichin to beeswadell him with a cudgell, after she had lyen a good space with him? And the other that tied her packthrid to her great toe, and made her owne husbande beleave that he was not hymselfe, sins you saye those Meerie Pranckes of women in Boccaccio are so wittie and pretie.
Then said M. Bernarde smiling: My lordes, forsomuch as my part hath bin to entreat onlie of Jestes, I entende not to passe my boundes therin, and I suppose I have already showed whie I judge it not meete to touch women neyther in woorde nor deede about their honestie, and I have also given them a rule not to nippe men where it greeveth them. But I saye that those Meerie pranckes and Jestes whiche you (my L. Gaspar) alleage, as that Alonso said unto M. Boadilla, althoughe it somewhat touche honestie, yet doeth it not discontent me, bicause it is fett farr inoughe of, and is so privie, that it may be simplye understoode, so, that he might have dissembled the matter, and affirmed that he spake it not to that ende. He spake an other (in mine opinion) verie unseemlie, whiche was: Whan the Queene passed by M. Boadillas house, Alonso sawe peincted with coles all the gate over, suche kinde of dishonest beastes, as are peincted about ynnes in such sundrie wise, and cumminge to the Countesse of Castegneto said unto her: See (madam) the heades of the wielde beastes that M. Boadilla killeth everie day in huntinge. Marke you this, thoughe it were a wittie metaphor, and borowed of Hunters, that counte it a glorye to have manie wilde beastes heades nayled at their gates, yet it is dishonest and shamefull jestinge. Beeside that, it was not in answeringe, for an answere hath muche more courtesie in it, because it is thought that a manne is provoked to it, and it must needes be at a sodeine. But to retourn to our matter of the Meerie Pranckes of women, I say not that they do well to beguile their husbandes: but I say that some of the deceites whiche Boccaccio recyteth of women, are pretie and wittie inough, and especiallye those you have spoken of your selfe. But in mine opinion the prancke that Richarde Minutoli wrought, doeth passe the boundes, and is muche more bitterer then that Beatrice wrought. For Richarde Minutoli tooke muche more from Philippellos wief, then did Beatrice from Egano her husbande: bicause Richarde with that privie pollicie enforced her, and made her to do of herself that she wolde not have done: and Beatrice deceyved her husbande to do of herself that she lusted.
Then saide the L. Gaspar: For no other cause can a manne excuse Beatrice but for love, whiche ought to be alowed aswell in men as in women.
Then answered M. Bernarde: Trulye the passions of love bringe with them a great excuse of everye fault, yet
judge I (for my part) that a Gentilman that is in love, ought aswell in this point as in all other thynges, to be voide of dissimulation, and of an upright meaninge. And if it be true that it is such an abhominable profit and trespace to use tradiment against a mans verie ennemye: consider you how muche more haynous that offence is againste a person whom a man loveth. And I beleave ech honest lover susteyneth such peynes, such watchinges, hasardeth himselfe in suche daungers, droppeth so manie teares, useth so manie meanes and wayes to please the woman whom he loveth, not cheeflye to come bye her body, but to winn the fortresse of that minde, to breake in peeces those most harde Diamondes, to heate that colde yce, that lye many times in the tender brestes of these women. And this do I beleave is the true and sounde pleasure, and the ende wherto the entent of a noble courage is bent. And for my part trulye (were I in love) I wold like it better to know assuridlye that she whom I loved and served loved me again with hert, and had bent her minde towarde me, without receiving any other contentation, then to enjoye her and to have my fill of her againste her owne will, for in that case I shoulde thinke my selfe maister of a deade carcase. Therfore suche as compase their desires by the meane of these Meerie Pranckes, which maye perhappes rather be termed Tradimentes then Meerie Pranckes, do injurye to other, and yet receyve they not for all that the contentacion which a man should wishe for in love,
Love without diissimulation.
Tradiment against one beloved.
The true end of lovers desires.
possessynge the bodie without the will. The like I saye of certein other that in love practise enchauntmentes, sorceries, and otherwhile plaine force, sometime meanes to cast them in sleepe and suche like matters. And knowe for a sooth, that gyftes also diminishe muche the pleasures of love, bicause a man maie stand in doubt whether he be beloved or no, but that the woman maketh a countenance to love him, to fare the better by him: therfore ye see that the love of Ladies and great women is esteamed, bicause it appeereth that it can arrise of none other cause, but of perfect and true love, neyther is it to be thoughte that a great Ladye wyll at anye tyme showe to beare good will to her inferiour, onlesse she love him in verye deede.
Gyftes in love.
Then answered the L. Gaspar: I denie not that the entent, the peynes and daungers of lovers ought not principally to have their ende dyrected to the victorye rather of the minde then of the bodye of the woman beloved. But I saye that these deceytes whiche you in men terme Tradimentes, and in women Meerie pranckes, are a verie good meane to come to this ende, bicause alwayes he that possesseth the bodie of women, is also maister of the mind. And if you beethinke you well, Philippellos wief after her great lametatyon for the deceyt wrought her by Richard, knowinge howe muche more savourye the kysses of a lover were then her husbandes, tournynge her rigour into tender affection towarde Richarde, from that daye forwarde loved hym moste deerlye. You maye perceive nowe that his continuall hauntinge, hys presentes, and hys so manye other tokens, whyche had bine so longe a proof of hys good will toward her, were not able to compasse that, that hys beeyinge with her a smalle while did. Nowe see this Meerie Prancke or Tradiment (howe ever you will terme it) was a good waye to wynn the fortresse of that minde.
Then M. Bernarde: You (quoth he) make a surmise, which is most false, for in case women should alwayes give their minde to him that possesseth their body, there should be none found that wold not love their husbandes more then anye person in the worlde beesyde, where it is seene not to be so. But John Boccaccio was (as you be) without cause an ennemye to women.
The L. Gaspar answered: I am no ennenye of theirs, but (to confesse the troth) fewe menne of woorthynesse there be that generally set any store by women, although otherwhile, to serve their tourne withall, they make wise to the contrarye.
Then answered M. Bernarde: You doe not onelye injurye to women, but to all menne also that reverence them: notwithstandinge (as I have saide) I will not swarve from my first pourpose of Meerie Pranckes, and undertake suche an enterprise so harde, as is the defence of women against you, that are a valiant Champyon. Therfore I will ende this my communication, whyche perhappes hath byne lenger then needed, but oute of paraventure not so pleasaunt as you looked for. And syns I see the Ladyes so quyet and beare these injuries at youre handes so pacyentlye as they doe, I wyll hensefurth beleave that some parte of that which the L. Octavian hath spoken is true: namely that they passe not to be yll reported of in everye other matter, so theyr honesty be not touched.
Then a greate parte of the women there, for that the Dutchesse had beckoned to them so to doe, arrose upon their feete, and ran all laughyng toward the L. Gaspar, as they wold have buffeted him and done as the wood women
did to Orpheus, saing continually: Now shall we see whether we passe to be yll spoken of or no.
Orpheus was torne in peeces with women.
Thus partlye for laughinge, and partlye for the risinge of everye one from his seate, yt seemed the sleepe that now beegane to enter into the eyes and heade of some of them departed.
But the L. Gaspar said: See I pray you where thei have not reason on their side, they will prevaile by plaine force, and so end the communication, gevinge us leave to depart with stripes.
Then answered the L. Emilia: No (quoth she) it shall not be so: for whan you perceyved M. Bernarde was weerie of his longe talke, you beegan to speake so muche yll of women, thinkinge you shoulde finde none to gainsaye you. But we will sett into the field a fresher knight that shall fight with you, bicause your offence shall not be so long unpunished. So tourninge her to the L. Julian that hitherto had said little, she said unto him: You are counted the protectour of the honour of women, therfore it is nowe hyghe time to showe that you come not by this name for nothinge, and in case ye have not bine woorthelye recompensed at anye time for this profession hitherto, nowe muste you thinke that in puttinge to flight so bitter an ennemy, you shall binde all women to you muche more, and so muche, that where they shall do nothinge elles but rewarde you, yet shall the bondage still remaine freshe, and never cease to be recompensed.
Then answered the L. Julian: Me thinke (madam) you show great honour to your ennemy, and verie litle to youre defender: for undoubtedlye the L. Gaspar hath said nothing against women, but it hath bine fullye answered by M. Bernarde. And I beleave everye one of us knoweth, that it is meete the Courtier beare verie great reverence towarde women, and a discreete and courtiouse person ought never to touch their honestie neither in boord, nor in good earnest. Therfore to dispute of this so open a trueth, were (in maner) to put a doubt in manifest matters. I thinke wel that the L. Octavian passed his boundes somwhat in sayinge that women are most unperfect creatures and not apt to woorke anye vertuous deede, and of litle or no woorthinnesse in respect of men. And bicause manie times credit is geven to men of great authority, although they speake not the full truth, and also whan they speake in boorde, the L. Gaspar hath suffered himselfe to be lead by the L. Octavians woordes to saye that Men of wisdome sett no store by them,
which is most false. For I have knowen few men of woorthinesse at anye time doe not love and observe women, the vertue and consequentlye the woorthinesse of whom I deeme not a jott inferiour to mens. Yet if we should come to this contention, the cause of women were lyke to quaile greatlie, bicause these Lordes have shaped a Courtier that is so excellent and of so manie divine qualities, that whoso hath the understanding to consider him to be such a one as he is, will imagin that the desertes of women can not attaine to that point. But in case the matter should be equally devided, we have first neede of so witty and eloquent a person as is Count Lewis and Sir Fridericke, to shape a gentilwoman of the Palaice with all perfections due to a woman, as they have shaped the Courtier with the perfections beelonging to a man. And then if he that defended their cause were anie thinge wittie and eloquent, I beleave (bicause the truth will be a helpe to him) he may plainlye showe that women are as full of vertues as men be.
Men of worthines observe women.
The Ladye Emila answered: Nay, a great deale more, and that it is so you may see, vertue is the female, and vice the male.
The L. Gaspar then laughed, and tourning him to M. Nicholas Phrisio: What is your judgement, Phrisio (quoth he)?
Phrisio answered: I am sorie for the L. Julian that he is so seduced with the promises and flatteringe woordes of the L. Emilia to renn into an errour to speake the thinge whiche for hys sake I am ashamed of.
The L. Emilia answered smilinge: You will sure be shamed for your owne sake, whan you shall see the L. Gaspar after he is convicted, confesse his owne errour and yours to, and demaunde that pardon whiche we will not graunt him.
Then spake the Dutchesse: Biscause it is very late, I will we defar the wholl untill to morow, the more for that I thinke it well done we folow the L. Julians counsell, that beefore we come to this disputacion we maye have a gentilwoman of the Palaice so facioned in all perfections, as these Lordes have facioned the perfect Courtier.
Madam, quoth the L. Emilia then, I pray God it fall not to oure lott to give this enterprise to anye confederate with the L. Gaspar, least he facion us for a gentilwoman of the Court, one that can do nought elles but looke to the kitchen and spinn.
Then said Phrisio: In deede that is an office fitt for herr.
Then the Dutchesse: I have a good hope in the L. Julian (quoth she) who will (for the good witt and judgement I knowe he is of) imagyn the greatest perfection that maye be wished in a woman, and in like maner expresse it well in woordes, and so shal we have somewhat to confounde the L. Gaspars false accusations withall.
Madam, answered the L. Julian, I wote not whether youre divise be good or no to committ into my handes an enterprise of so great weight, for (to tell you the troth) I thinke not my selfe able inoughe. Neyther am I like the Count and Sir Fridericke, whiche with their eloquence have shaped suche a Courtier as never was, nor I beleave ever shalbe. Yet if your pleasure be so that I shall take this bourden upon me, let it be at the least with those condicions that the other have had before me: namely, that everie man, where he shall thinke good, maye replye against me, and this shall I recken not overthuartinge but aide, and perhappes in correctynge myne erroures we shall finde the perfection of a gentilwoman of the Palaice whiche we seeke for.
I trust, answered the Dutchesse, your talke shall be such, that litle may be said against you. Therfore settle your minde to thynke upon onlie this and facion us suche a Gentilwoman that these our adversaries maye be ashamed to say, that she is not equall with the Courtier in vertue: of whom it shall be well done Sir Friderick speake no more, for he hath but to well sett him furth, especiallye sins we must compare a woman to him.
I have (madam) answered Sir Friderick, litle or nothinge now left to speake of the Courtier, and that I did thinke upon, M. Bernardes Jestes have made me forgete.
If it be so, quoth the Dutchesse, assembling together to morow beetimes, we shal have leiser to accomplish both the one and the other. And whan she had so said, they arrose all upon their feete, and takynge their leave reverentlye of the Dutchesse everye man withdrue him to his lodging.
Go on to the third Booke.