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3. LETTER TO HIS DAUGHTER, MARGARET ROPER,
SHORTLY BEFORE HIS EXECUTION.
(WRITTEN, “WITH A COLE,” IN 1535.)
MYNE owne good daughter, our Lorde be thanked, I am in good helthe of bodye, and in good quiet of minde; and of worldly thynges I no more desyre than I have. I beseche hym make you all merry' (happy) in the hope of heaven. And such thynges as I somewhat? longed to talke with you all, concerning the worlde to come, our Lorde put them into your mynde, as I truste he dothe and better to (too), by hys holy spirite : who blesse you and preserve you all.
*Written wyth a cole by your tender, loving father, who in hys pore ( poor) prayers forgetteth none of you all, nor your babes, nor your nurses, nor your good husbandes, nor your good husbandes shrewde (sharp, clever) wyves, nor your fathers shrewde wyfe neither, por our other frendes. And thus fare ye hartely well—for lacke of paper4.
THOMAS MORE. KNIGHT.
(1) Merry. See note 2, p. 56.
(2) Somewhat, fr. A.S.; has now-in the 16th century-superseded the sumdel of Chaucer and Gower, which appears no more. See note 6, p. 17.
(3) Shrewde. This word-used here with that graceful and bewitching pleasantry which characterised the writer, and which not even the sword's sharp edge, as he handled it on the scaffold, could daunt-is seen changing somewhat its original meaning—which, as used by Chaucer, was “wicked”-into the modern sense.
(4) The editor cannot but gratify himself (and he hopes, not himself only) by inserting the touching narrative, given by Margaret Roper's husband, of her sad, sad parting with her father. It is taken from William Roper's “Life of Sir Thomas More,”
“When Sir Thomas More came from Westminster to the Tower ward (or wharf ) again (i.e. after his condemnation), his daughter, my wife, desirous father, whom she thought she should never see in this world after, and also to have his final blessing, gave attendance about the Tower wharf, where she knew he should pass by, before he could enter into the Tower. There tarrying his coming, as soon as she saw him, after his blessing upon her knees reverently received, she, hasting towards him, without consideration or care of herself, pressing in amongst the midst of the throng and company of the guard, that with halberds and bills went round about him, hastily ran to him, and there openly in sight of them all, embraced him, and took him about the neck and kissed him, not able
LEAD US NOT INTO TEMPTATION.
(FROM HIS “ EXPOSITION OF THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT,” WRITTEN
That is, let us not elippe out of thy lease? (leash or holding thong, control) but hold us fast; geve us not up nor cease to governe us, nor take thy spirite from us. For as an hounde can not but folow his game when he seeth it before him, if he be lowse (loose, free), so can we not but fall into sinne when occasion is geven us, if thou withdraw thine hand from us. Lead us not into temptation. Let no temptation fall upon us, greater then (than) thine help in us : but be thou stronger in us then (than) the temptation thou sendest or lettest come uppon us. Lead us not into temptation. Father, though we be negligent, yea and unthankfull and disobedient to thy true prophetes, yet let not the devil lowse (loose) upon us, to deceave us with his false prophetes, and to harden us in the way, in which we gladly walke, as thou diddest Pharao with the false miracles of his sorcerers. A litle threde holdeth a strong man where he gladly is. A litle pullyng draweth a man whether (whither) he gladly goeth. A litle wynde dryveth a great shyp with the streame. A light persuasion is inough to make an angry man [believe] that it is lawful to advenge (avenge) him selfe, and so forth by all the corrupt nature of man. A litle miracle is able to confirme and harden a man in that opinion and faith which his blind reason beleveth all ready. Even so,
to say any word, but 'Oh, my father! Oh, my father!' He liking well her most natural and dear daughterly affection towards him, gave her his fatherly blessing and many godly words of comfort besides. From whom after she was departed, she, not satisfied with the former sight of her dear father, having respect neither to herself, nor to the press of people and multitude that were there about him, suddenly turned back again, ran to him as before, took him about the neck, and divers times together kissed him most lovingly (whereat he spoke not a word, but carrying still his gravity, tears fell also from his eye) and at last, with a full and heavy heart, she was fain to depart from him; the beholding whereof was to many of them that were present thereat so lamentable, that it made them for very sorrow thereof, to weep and mourn."
(1) Lease, fr. Fr. lasse, a thing to hold an animal in by. Chaucer has “they all run in a lees, but in divers ma ers."
father, if thou geve us over for our unkyndnessel (unnatural behaviour) seying (seeing that) the blynd nature of man deliteth in evill, and is ready to beleve lyes, a litle thyng is inough to make them that love thee allready not to walk in thy truth, and therefore never able to understand thy sonnes doctrine.
SIR THOMAS ELYOT.
SHOOTING WITH THE LONG BOW.? (FROM "THE GOVERNOR: A TREATISE ON THE EDUCATION OF A GENTLE
MAN," WRITTEN ABOUT A.D. 1545.)
In myne opynion, none (i.e. no kind of bodily exercise) maie be compared with shootyng in (with) the longe bowe and that for sondry utilitees that come thereof, wherein it incomparably excelleth all other exercyse. For in drawving of a bow, easy and congruent (adapted) to his strengthe, he that shooteth'dothe moderately exercyse his armes, and the other parte of his body: and yf his bowe bee bygger, he must add to more strengthe, wherein is no lasse valiaunte exercise than in any other whereof Galen writeth.
Some menne wolde saie, that in mediocritee (moderation, absence of violence) whyche I have soo much praysed in shootyng, why should not boulying (bowling or bowls) cloyshe3, pynnes (ninepins) and koytyng (quoits) be as much commended Verily as for the laste two be to be (are to be) utterly abjected (discarded) of all noble menne; in lyke wise, foote balle, wherein is nothyng but beastely fury, and extreme violence, wherof procedeth hurte, and consequently rancouro (hatred) and malice
(1) Unkindnesse, unnaturalness. See note 1, p. 27.
(2) About the same time, Roger Ascham was writing, on the same subject, his book entitled, “ Toxophilus," vainly endeavouring to revive the declining art of “shotying in the longe bowe.”
(3) Cloyshe. This is probably the same as klosh or clossynge, a sort of ninepins which were thrown at with a bowl, whereas "pynnes ” were knocked down with a "truncheon” or stick, See “ Notes and Queries," 2nd Series, iii. 477.
(4) Rancor, fr. Lat. rancor or old Fr. rancoeur, meaning 1, a rank smell, 2, an old grudge; hence deep-seated spite. Webster says (questionably), “ This is the strongest term for enmity which the English language supplies.” Malignity is probably a stronger term than rancor.
do remayne with them that be wounded; wherfore it is to be put in perpetuall silence.
Also in shotyng is a double utilitee, wherein it excelleth all other exercyses and games incomparably. The one is that it is, and alwaie hath ben, the most excellent artillery' for warres, whereby this realme of England hath bene not onely best defended frome outwarde hostilitee, but alsoo in other regions a few Englyshe archers have been sene to prevayle against people innumerable. Also won (i.e. they have won) impreignable citees, strong holdes, and kepte theim (them) in the myddess of the strength of theyr enemies. This is the feates (accomplishment) wherby Englysshe menne have ben most dradde (dreaded) and had in estimacion with outward (foreign) princis, as well ennemyes as alies (allies). And the commoditeé thereof hath ben approved as far as Hierusalem, as it shall appear in the lyves of Rycharde the fyrst and Edward the fyrste, kynges of Englande, who made severall iourneis (journeys) to recover that holye citee of Hierusalem into the possession of christen (christian) men and achieved them honorablye, the rather by the power of this feate of shootynge.
The premisses (foregoing arguments) consydered, 0 what cause of reproche shall the decaye of archers be to us nowe livyng! Ye (yea) what irrecuperable (irrecoverable) damage eyther to us or theym (them) in whose tyme nede of semblable (like) defence shal happen (be felt); which decaie, though we al redy perceive, feare and lament, and for the restoryng thereof cesse (cease) not to make ordynaunces, good lawes and statutes : yet who effectually putteth his hand to continuall execution of the same lawes and provisions; or beholdyng them dayely broken, winketh not at the offendours ?
(1) Artillery, missile weapons, fr. low Lat. artiliaria; hence Fr. artillerie, and both fr. Lat. ars, artis. The word signifies originally a workshop, then tools or implements made or used in it, then implements of war, and specially bows and arrows, as above, and as in 1 Sam. xx. 40, “ And Jonathan gave his artillery (i.e. the bow and arrows which he had just been using) to the lad."
(2) Impreignable, impregnable, a perpetuated misspelling fr. Fr. imprenable, untakable.
(3) Myddes. This word, like agenes and amonges, subsequently received a strengthening t.
(4) Feate, fr. old Fr. faict, wh. fr. Lat. factum, done, a thing done, deed. In various forms this element finds place in English words, as in fetisly, neatly, cleverly (used by Chaucer), and also parfite, counterfeit.
NICHOLAS UDALL.' THE LEARNED LADIES OF ENGLAND. (FROM THE PREFACE TO THE PRINCESS (AFTERWARDS QUEEN) MARY'S
TRANSLATION OF ERASMUS'S PARAPHRASE UPOX ST. John's GOSPEL, WRITTEN ABOUT 1547.)
Now in this gracious and blisseful tyme of knowelage, in which it bath pleased Almightee God to revele and shew abrode (abroad) the light of his most holy Ghospel, what a noumbre is there of noble weomen (especially here in this realm of England), yea, and how many in the yeres of tender virginitee, not onely as well seen in? (as well acquainted with) and as familiarly traded in3 (grounded in) the Latin and Greke tongues, as in their own mother language; but also bothe in all kyndes of prophane literature, and liberal artes exactly studied and exercised, and in the holy scriptures and Theologie 80 rype that thei are hable (able) aptely, cunningly, and with much grace, either to endicte* (indite, compose) or translate into the vulgare tongue for the public instruction and edifiying of the unlerned multitude. Neither is it now any straunge thyng to hear ientleweomen (gentlewomen) in stede of moste vain communication (idle talk aboute the moon shyning on the water, to use grave and substauncial talke in Greke or Latine with their housbandes of godly matiers (matters).
It is now no newes (new thing) in England to see young
(1) Udall was head master of Eton in 1534, and greatly promoted the prospects of the school by his energy and mental ability. The above passage throws some light upon that from Ascham's “ Toxophilus."
(2) Well seen in. Harrison also uses this now lost idiom : “Excellentlie seene in the Greek and Latin toongs” (“ Historie of Britain," p. 20).
(3) Traded, trodden, grounded. The word trade, derived from tread, had originally a more general meaning than it has now. Udall in another place speaks of "the right trade (i.e. path or way) of religion.” Any beaten path of life was a trade. It was, however, early restricted to the “ trade of merchandise.” Nash says of Sir John Cheke, that “ he was supernaturally traded in all tongues."
(4) Endicte, apparently fr. Fr. endicter, but used in a different sense, for this means to impeach or accuse. Palsgrave distinguishes the word from write, thus, "Write thou and I will endyte" (tu escripras et je composeray). See “ Esclaircissement,” p. 534.
(5) The moon shyning. Compare this with our phrase "all moonshine.” It seems to be a hit at some passage in one of the romantic stories then in vogue.