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Baron Steuben Lodge #264 

"The Regius Manuscript"

Perhaps one of the oldest documents with obvious relevance to Masonry, the Regius Manuscript was written between 1350 - 1450, probably by a monk or a priest with access to earlier Masonic documents, somewhere around 1390. This is the original version of the poem. You can click  HERE to read the translated version.

Hic Incipiunt Constituciones Artis Gemetriae Secundum Eucyldem


Whose wol bothe wel rede and loke,
He may fynde wryte yn olde boke
Of grete lordys and eke ladyysse,
That hade mony chyldryn y-fere, y-wisse;
And hade no rentys to fynde hem wyth,
Nowther yn towne, ny felde, ny fryth:
A cownsel togeder they cowthe hem take;
To ordeyne for these chyldryn sake,
How they my[g]th best lede here lyfe
Withoute gret desese, care and stryfe;
And most for the multytude that was comynge
Of here chyldryn after here [g]yndynge.
(They) sende thenne after grete clerkys,
To techyn hem thenne gode werkys;
And pray we hem, for our Lordys sake,
To oure chyldryn sum werke to make,
That they my[g]th gete here lyvynge therby,
Bothe wel and onestlyche, ful sycurly.
Yn that tyme, thro[g]gh good gemetry,
Thys onest craft of good masonry
Wes ordeynt and made yn thys manere,
Y-cownterfetyd of thys clerkys y-fere;
At these lordys prayers they cownterfetyd gemetry,
And [g]af hyt the name of masonry,
For the moste oneste craft of alle.
These lordys chyldryn therto dede falle,
To lurne of hym the craft of gemetry,
The wheche he made ful curysly;
Thro[g]gh fadrys prayers and modrys also,
Thys onest craft he putte hem to.
He that lerned best, and were of onesté,
And passud hys felows yn curysté;
[G]ef yn that craft he dede hym passe,
He schulde have more worschepe then the lasse.
Thys grete clerkys name was clept Euclyde,
Hys name hyt spradde ful wondur wyde.
Get thys grete clerke more ordeynt he
To hym that was herre yn thys degré,
That he schulde teche the synplyst of (wytte)
Yn that onest craft to be parfytte;
And so uchon schulle techyn othur,
And love togeder as syster and brothur.
Forthermore [g]et that ordeynt he,
Mayster y-called so schulde he be;
So that he were most y-worschepede,
Thenne sculde he be so y-clepede:
But mason schulde never won other calle,
Withynne the craft amongus hem alle,
Ny soget, ny servand, my dere brother,
Tha[g]ht he be not so perfyt as ys another;
Uchon sculle calle other felows by cuthe,
For cause they come of ladyes burthe.
On thys maner, thro[g] good wytte of gemetry,
Bygan furst the craft of masonry:
The clerk Euclyde on thys wyse hyt fonde,
Thys craft of gemetry yn Egypte londe.
Yn Egypte he taw[g]hte hyt ful wyde,
Yn dyvers londe on every syde;
Mony erys afterwarde, y understonde,
[G]er that the craft com ynto thys londe,
Thys craft com ynto Englond, as y [g]ow say,
Yn tyme of good kynge Adelstonus day;
He made tho bothe halle and eke bowre,
And hye templus of gret honowre,
To sportyn hym yn bothe day and ny[g]th,
An to worschepe hys God with alle hys my[g]th.
Thys goode lorde loved thys craft ful wel,
And purposud to strenthyn hyt every del,
For dyvers defawtys that yn the craft he fonde;
He sende about ynto the londe
After alle the masonus of the crafte,
To come to hym ful evene stra[g]fte,
For to amende these defautys alle
By good consel, [g]ef hyt myt[g]th falle.
A semblé thenne he cowthe let make
Of dyvers lordis, yn here state,
Dukys, erlys, and barnes also,
Kyn[g]thys, sqwyers, and mony mo,
And the grete burges of that syté,
They were ther alle yn here degré;
These were ther uchon algate,
To ordeyne for these masonus astate.
Ther they sow[g]ton by here wytte,
How they my[g]thyn governe hytte:
Fyftene artyculus they ther sow[g]ton
And fyftene poyntys they wro[g]ton.
Hic incipit articulus primus.
The furste artycul of thys gemetry:--
The mayster mason moste be ful securly
Bothe stedefast, trusty, and trwe,
Hyt schal hum never thenne arewe:
And pay thy felows after the coste,
As vytaylys goth thenne, wel thou woste;
And pay them trwly, apon thy fay,
What that they deserven may;
And to her hure take no more,
But what they mowe serve fore;
And spare, nowther for love ny drede,
Of nowther partys to take no mede;
Of lord ny felow, whether he be,
Of hem thou take no maner of fe;
And as a jugge stonde upry[g]th,
And thenne thou dost to bothe good ry[g]th;
And trwly do thys whersever thou gost,
Thy worschep, thy profyt, hyt shcal be most.

Articulus secundus.
The secunde artycul of good masonry,
As [g]e mowe hyt here hyr specyaly,
That every mayster, that ys a mason,
Most ben at the generale congregacyon,
So that he hyt resonably y-tolde
Where that the semblé schal be holde;
And to that semblé he most nede gon,
But he have a resenabul skwsacyon,
Or but he be unbuxom to that craft,
Or with falssehed ys over-raft,
Or ellus sekenes hath hym so stronge,
That he may not com hem amonge;
That ys a skwsacyon, good and abulle,
To that semblé withoute fabulle.
Articulus tercius.
The thrydde artycul for sothe hyt ysse,
That the mayster take to no prentysse,
but he have good seuerans to dwelle
Seven [g]er with hym, as y [g]ow telle,
Hys craft to lurne, that ys profytable;
Withynne lasse he may not be able
To lordys profyt, ny to his owne,
As [g]e mowe knowe by good resowne.
Articulus quartus.
The fowrhe artycul thys moste be
That the mayster hym wel be-se,
That he no bondemon prentys make,
Ny for no covetyse do hym take;
For the lord that he ys bonde to,
May fache the prentes whersever he go.
Gef yn the logge he were y-take,
Muche desese hyt mygth ther make,
And suche case hyt mygth befalle,
That hyt mygth greve summe or alle.
For alle the masonus tht ben there
Wol stonde togedur hol y-fere
Gef suche won yn that craft schulde swelle,
Of dyvers desesys ge mygth telle:
For more gese thenne, and of honeste,
Take a prentes of herre degre.
By olde tyme wryten y fynde
That the prenes schulde be of gentyl kynde;
And so symtyme grete lordys blod
Toke thys gemetry, that ys ful good.


Articulus quintus.

The fyfthe artycul ys swythe good,
So that the prentes be of lawful blod;
The mayster schal not, for no vantage,
Make no prentes that ys outrage;
Hyt ys to mene, as [g]e mowe here,
That he have hys lymes hole alle y-fere;
To the craft hyt were gret schame,
To make an halt mon and a lame,
For an unperfyt mon of suche blod
Schulde do the craft but lytul good.
Thus [g]e mowe knowe everychon,
The craft wolde have a my[g]hty mon;
A maymed mon he hath no my[g]ht,
[G]e mowe hyt knowe long [g]er ny[g]ht.
Articulus sextus.
The syxte artycul [g]e mowe not mysse,
That the mayster do the lord no pregedysse,
To take of the lord, for hyse prentyse,
Also muche as hys felows don, yn alle vyse.
For yn that craft they ben ful perfyt,
So ys not he, [g]e mowe sen hyt.
Also hyt were a[g]eynus good reson,
To take hys, hure as hys felows don.
Thys same artycul, yn thys casse,
Juggythe the prentes to take lasse
Thenne hys felows, that ben ful perfyt.
Yn dyvers maters, conne qwyte hyt,
The mayster may his prentes so enforme,
That hys hure may crese ful [g]urne,
And, ger hys terme come to an ende,
Hys hure may ful wel amende.
Articulus septimus.
The seventhe artycul that ys now here,
Ful wel wol telle gow, alle y-fere,
That no mayster, for favour ny drede,
Schal no thef nowther clothe ny fede.
Theves he schal herberon never won,
Ny hym that hath y-quellude a mon,
Wy thylike that hath a febul name,
Lest hyt wolde turne the craft to schame.
Articulus octavus.
The eghte artycul schewt [g]ow so,
That the mayster may hyt wel do,
[G]ef that he have any mon of crafte,
And be not also perfyt as he au[g]te,
He may hym change sone anon,
And take for hym a perfytur mon.
Suche a mon, thro[g]e rechelaschepe,
My[g]th do the craft schert worschepe.
Articulus nonus.
The nynthe artycul schewet ful welle,
That the mayster be both wyse and felle;
That no werke he undurtake,
But he conne bothe hyt ende and make;
And that hyt be to the lordes profyt also,
And to hys craft, whersever he go;
And that the grond be wel y-take,
That hyt nowther fle ny grake.


Articulus decimus.

The then the artycul ys for to knowe,
Amonge the craft, to hye and lowe,
There schal no mayster supplante other,
But be togeder as systur and brother,
Yn thys curyus craft, alle and som,
That longuth to a maystur mason.
Ny he schal not supplante non other mon,
That hath y-take a werke hym uppon,
Yn peyne therof that ys so stronge,
That peyseth no lasse thenne ten ponge,
But [g]ef that he be gulty y-fonde,
That toke furst the werke on honde;
For no mon yn masonry
Schal no supplante othur securly,
But [g]ef that hyt be so y-wro[g]th,
That hyt turne the werke to nogth;
Thenne may a mason that werk crave,
To the lordes profyt hyt for to save;
Yn suche a case but hyt do falle,
Ther schal no mason medul withalle.
Forsothe he that begynnyth the gronde,
And he be a mason goode and sonde,
For hath hyt sycurly yn hys mynde
To brynge the werke to ful good ende.


Articulus undecimus.

The eleventhe artycul y telle the,
That he ys bothe fayr and fre;
For he techyt, by hys my[g]th,
That no mason schulde worche be ny[g]th,
But [g]ef hyt be yn practesynge of wytte,
[G]ef that y cowthe amende hytte.
Articulus duodecimus.
The twelfthe artycul ys of hye honesté
To [g]every mason, whersever he be;
He schal not hys felows werk deprave,
[G]ef that he wol hys honesté save;
With honest wordes he hyt comende,
By the wytte that God the dede sende;
Buy hyt amende by al that thou may,
Bytwynne [g]ow bothe withoute nay.


Articulus xiijus.

The threttene artycul, so God me save,
Ys,[g]ef that the mayster a prentes have,
Enterlyche thenne that he hym teche,
And meserable poyntes that he hym reche,
That he the craft abelyche may conne,
Whersever he go undur the sonne.


Articulus xiiijus.

The fowrtene artycul, by good reson,
Scheweth the mayster how he schal don;
He schal no prentes to hym take,
Byt dyvers crys he have to make,
That he may, withynne hys terme,
Of hym dyvers poyntes may lurne.


Articulus quindecimus.

The fyftene artycul maketh an ende,
For to the mayster he ys a frende;
To lere hym so, that for no mon,
No fals mantenans he take hym apon,
Ny maynteine hys felows yn here synne,
For no good that he my[g]th wynne;
Ny no fals sware sofre hem to make,
For drede of here sowles sake;
Lest hyt wolde turne the craft to schame,
And hymself to mechul blame.


Plures Constituciones.

At thys semblé were poyntes y-ordeynt mo,
Of grete lordys and maystrys also,
That whose wol conne thys craft and com to astate,
He most love wel God, and holy churche algate,
And hys mayster also, that he ys wythe,
Whersever he go, yn fylde or frythe;
And thy felows thou love also,
For that they craft wol that thou do.


Secundus punctus.

The secunde poynt, as y [g]ow say,
That the mason worche apon the werk day,
Also trwly, as he con or may,
To deserve hys huyre for the halyday,
And trwly to labrun on hys dede,
Wel deserve to have hys mede.


Tercius punctus.

The thrydde poynt most be severele,
With the prentes knowe hyt wele,
Hys mayster conwsel he kepe and close,
And hys felows by hys goode purpose;
The prevetyse of the chamber telle he no man,
Ny yn the logge whatsever they done;
Whatsever thou heryst, or syste hem do,
Telle hyt no mon, whersever thou go;
The conwsel of halls, and [g]eke of bowre,
Kepe hyt wel to gret honowre,
Lest hyt wolde torne thyself to blame,
And brynge the craft ynto gret schame.
Quartus punctus.
The fowrthe poynt techyth us alse,
That no mon to hys craft be false;
Errour he schal maynteine none
A[g]eynus the craft, but let hyt gone;
Ny no pregedysse he schal not do
To hys mayster, ny hys felows also;
And that[g]th the prentes be under awe,
[G]et he wolde have the same lawe.


Quintus punctus.

The fyfthe poynte ys, withoute nay,
That whenne the mason taketh hys pay
Of the mayster, y-ordent to hym,
Ful mekely y-take so most hyt byn;
[G]et most the mayster, by good resone,
Warne hem lawfully byfore none,
[G]ef he nulle okepye hem no more,
As he hath y-done ther byfore;
A[g]eynus thys ordyr he may not stryve,
[G]ef he thenke wel for to thryve.


Sextus punctus.

The syxte poynt ys ful [g]ef to knowe,
Bothe to hye and eke to lowe,
For suche case hyt my[g]th befalle,
Amonge the masonus, summe or alle,
Throwghe envye, or dedly hate,
Ofte aryseth ful gret debate.
Thenne owyth the mason, [g]ef that he may,
Putte hem bothe under a day;
But loveday [g]et schul they make none;
Tyl that the werke day be clene a-gone;
Apon the holyday [g]e mowe wel take
Leyser y-now[g]gth loveday to make,
Lest that hyt wolde the werke day
Latte here werke for suche afray;
To suche ende thenne that hem drawe,
That they stonde wel yn Goddes lawe.


Septimus punctus.

The seventhe poynt he may wel mene,
Of wel longe lyf that God us lene,
As hyt dyscryeth wel opunly,
Thou schal not by thy maysters wyf ly,
Ny by the felows, yn no maner wyse,
Lest the craft wolde the despyse;
Ny by the felows concubyne,
No more thou woldest he dede by thyne.
The peyne thereof let hyt be ser,
That he prentes ful seven [g]er,
[G]ef he forfete yn eny of hem,
So y-chasted thenne most he ben;
Ful mekele care my[g]th ther begynne,
For suche a fowle dedely synne.
Octavus punctus.
The eghte poynt, he may be sure,
[G]ef thou hast y-taken any cure,
Under thy mayster thou be trwe,
For that pynt thou schalt never arewe;
A trwe medyater thou most nede be
To thy mayster, and thy felows fre;
Do trwly al....that thou my[g]th,
To both partyes, and that ys good ry[g]th.


Nonus punctus.

The nynthe poynt we schul hym calle,
That he be stwarde of oure halle,
Gef that ge ben yn chambur y-fere,
Uchon serve other, with mylde chere;
Jentul felows, ge moste hyt knowe,
For to be stwardus alle o rowe,
Weke after weke withoute dowte,
Stwardus to ben so alle abowte,
Lovelyche to serven uchon othur,
As thawgh they were syster and brother;
Ther schal never won on other costage
Fre hymself to no vantage,
But every mon schal be lyche fre
Yn that costage, so moste hyt be;
Loke that thou pay wele every mon algate,
That thou hsat y-bow[g]ht any vytayles ate,
That no cravynge be y-mad to the,
Ny to thy felows, yn no degré,
To mon or to wommon, whether he be,
Pay hem wel and trwly, for that wol we;
Therof on thy felow trwe record thou take,
For that good pay as thou dost make,
Lest hyt wolde thy felowe schame,
Any brynge thyself ynto gret blame.
[G]et good acowntes he most make
Of suche godes as he hath y-take,
Of thy felows goodes that thou hast spende,
Wher, and how, and to what ende;
Suche acowntes thou most come to,
Whenne thy felows wollen that thou do.


Decimus punctus.

The tenthe poynt presentyeth wel god lyf,
To lyven withoute care and stryf;
For and the mason lyve amysse,
And yn hys werk be false, y-wysse,
And thorw[g] suche a false skewysasyon
May sclawndren hys felows oute reson,
Throw[g] false sclawnder of suche fame
May make the craft kachone blame.
[G]ef he do the craft suche vylany,
Do hym no favour thenne securly.
Ny maynteine not hym yn wyked lyf,
Lest hyt wolde turne to care and stryf;
But get hym [g]e schul not delayme,
But that [g]e schullen hym constrayne,
For to apere whersevor [g]e wylle,
Whar that [g]e wolen, lowde, or stylle;
To the nexte semblé [g]e schul hym calle,
To apere byfore hys felows alle,
And but [g]ef he wyl byfore hem pere,
The crafte he moste nede forswere;
He schal thenne be chasted after the lawe
That was y-fownded by olde dawe.


Punctus undecimus.

The eleventhe poynt ys of good dyscrecyoun,
As [g]e mowe knowe by good resoun;
A mason, and he thys craft wel con,
That sy[g]th hys felow hewen on a ston,
And ys yn poynt to spylle that ston,
Amende hyt sone, [g]ef that thou con,
And teche hym thenne hyt to amende,
That the l(ordys) werke be not y-schende,
And teche hym esely hyt to amende,
With fayre wordes, that God the hath lende;
For hys sake that sytte above,
With swete wordes noresche hym love.


Punctus duodecimus.

The twelthe poynt of gret ryolté,
Ther as the semblé y-hole schal be,
Ther schul be maystrys and felows also,
And other grete lordes mony mo;
There schal be the scheref of that contré,
And also the meyr of that syté,
Kny[g]tes and sqwyers ther schul be,
And other aldermen, as [g]e schul se;
Suche ordynance as they maken there,
They schul maynté hyt hol y-fere
A[g]eynus that mon, whatsever he be,
That longuth to the craft bothe fayr and fre.
[G]ef he any stryf a[g]eynus hem make,
Ynto here warde he schal be take.
xiijus punctus.
The threnteth poynt ys to us ful luf.
He schal swere never to be no thef,
Ny soker hym yn hys fals craft,
For no good that he hath byraft,
And thou mowe hyt knowe or syn,
Nowther for hys good, ny for hys kyn.


xiiijus punctus.

The fowrtethe poynt ys ful good lawe
To hym that wold ben under awe;
A good trwe othe he most ther swere
To hys mayster and hys felows that ben there;
He most be stedefast and trwe also
To alle thys ordynance, whersever he go,
And to hys lyge lord the kynge,
To be trwe to hym, over alle thynge.
And alle these poyntes hyr before
To hem thou most nede by y-swore,
And alle schul swere the same ogth
Of the masonus, be they luf, ben they loght,
To alle these poyntes hyr byfore,
That hath ben ordeynt by ful good lore.
And they schul enquere every mon
On his party, as wyl as he con,
[G]ef any mon mowe be y-fownde gulty
Yn any of these poyntes spesyaly;
And whad he be, let hym be sow[g]ht,
And to the sembl&3233; let hym be brow[g]ht.


Quindecimus punctus.

The fiftethe poynt ys of ful good lore,
For hem that schul ben ther y-swore,
Suche ordyance at the semblé wes layd
Of grete lordes and maystres byforesayd;
For thelke that be unbuxom, y-wysse,
A[g]eynus the ordynance that ther ysse
Of these artyculus, that were y-meved there,
Of grete lordes and masonus al y-fere.
And [g]ef they ben y-preved opunly
Byfore that semblé, by an by,
And for here gultes no mendys wol make,
Thenne most they nede the crafy forsake;
And so masonus craft they schul refuse,
And swere hyt never more for to use.
But [g]ef that they wol mendys make,
A[g]ayn to the craft they schul never take;
And [g]ef that they nul not do so,
The scheref schal come hem sone to,
And putte here bodyes yn duppe prison,
For the trespasse that they hav y-don,
And take here goodes and here cattelle
Ynto the kynges hond, everyt delle,
And lete hem dwelle ther full stylle,
Tyl hyt be oure lege kynges wylle.


Alia ordinacio artis gematriae.

They ordent ther a semblé to be y-holde
Every [g]er, whersever they wolde,
To amende the defautes, [g]ef any where fonde
Amonge the craft withynne the londe;
Uche [g]er or thrydde [g]er hyt schuld be holde,
Yn every place whersever they wolde;
Tyme and place most be ordeynt also,
Yn what place they schul semble to.
Alle the men of craft tehr they most ben,
And other grete lordes, as [g]e mowe sen,
To mende the fautes that buth ther y-spoke,
[G]ef that eny of hem ben thenne y-broke.
Ther they schullen ben alle y-swore,
That longuth to thys craftes lore,
To kepe these statutes everychon,
That ben y-ordeynt by kynge Aldelston;
These statutes that y have hyr y-fonde
Y chulle they ben holde thro[g]h my londe,
For the worsche of my ry[g]olté,
That y have by my dygnyté.
Also at every semblé that [g]e holde,
That ge come to [g]owre lyge kyng bolde,
Bysechynge hym of hys hye grace,
To stonde with [g]ow yn every place,
To conferme the statutes of kynge Adelston,
That he ordeydnt to thys craft by good reson, 
Ars quatuor coronatorum.
Pray we now to God almy[g]ht,
And to hys moder Mary bry[g]ht,
That we mowe keepe these artyculus here,
And these poynts wel al y-fere,
As dede these holy martyres fowre,
That yn thys craft were of gret honoure;
They were as gode masonus as on erthe schul go,
Gravers and ymage-makers they were also.
For they were werkemen of the beste,
The emperour hade to hem gret luste;
He wylned of hem a ymage to make,
That mow[g]h be worscheped for his sake;
Suche mawmetys he hade yn hys dawe,
To turne the pepul from Crystus lawe.
But they were stedefast yn Crystes lay,
And to here craft, withouten nay;
They loved wel God and alle hys lore,
And weren yn hys serves ever more.
Trwe men they were yn that dawe,
And lyved wel y Goddus lawe;
They tho[g]ght no mawmetys for to make,
For no good that they my[g]th take,
To levyn on that mawmetys for here God,
They nolde do so thaw[g] he were wod;
For they nolde not forsake here trw fay,
An beyleve on hys falsse lay.
The emperour let take hem sone anone,
And putte hem ynto a dep presone;
The sarre he penest hem yn that plase,
The more yoye wes to hem of Cristus grace.
Thenne when he sye no nother won,
To dethe he lette hem thenne gon;
Whose wol of here lyf [g]et mor knowe,
By the bok he may kyt schowe,
In the legent of scanctorum,
The name of quatour coronatorum.
Here fest wol be, withoute nay,
After Alle Halwen the eyght day.
[G]e mow here as y do rede,
That mony [g]eres after, for gret drede
That Noees flod wes alle y-ronne,
The tower of Babyloyne was begonne,
Also playne werke of lyme and ston,
As any mon schulde loke uppon;
So long and brod hyt was begonne,
Seven myle the he[g]ghte schadweth the sonne.
King Nabogodonosor let hyt make,
To gret strenthe for monus sake,
Tha[g]gh suche a flod a[g]ayne schulde come,
Over the werke hyt schulde not nome;
For they hadde so hy pride, with stronge bost,
Alle that werke therfore was y-lost;
An angele smot hem so with dyveres speche,
That never won wyste what other schuld reche.
Mony eres after, the goode clerk Euclyde
Ta[g]ghte the craft of gemetré wonder wyde,
So he ded that tyme other also,
Of dyvers craftes mony mo.
Thro[g]gh hye grace of Crist yn heven,
He commensed yn the syens seven;
Gramatica ys the furste syens y-wysse,
Dialetica the secunde, so have y blysse,
Rethorica the thrydde, withoute nay,
Musica ys the fowrth, as y [g]ow say,
Astromia ys the v, by my snowte,
Arsmetica the vi, withoute dowte
Gemetria the seventhe maketh an ende,
For he ys bothe make and hende,
Gramer forsothe ys the rote,
Whose wyl lurne on the boke;
But art passeth yn hys degré,
As the fryte doth the rote of the tre;
Rethoryk metryth with orne speche amonge,
And musyke hyt ys a swete song;
Astronomy nombreth, my dere brother,
Arsmetyk scheweth won thyng that ys another,
Gemetré the seventh syens hyt ysse,
That con deperte falshed from trewthe y-wys.
These bene the syens seven,
Whose useth hem wel, he may han heven.
Now dere chyldren, by [g]owre wytte,
Pride and covetyse that [g]e leven, hytte,
And taketh hede to goode dyscrecyon,
And to good norter, whersever [g]e com.
Now y pray [g]ow take good hede,
For thys [g]e most kenne nede,
But much more [g]e moste wyten,
Thenne [g]e fynden hyr y-wryten.
[G]ef the fayle therto wytte,
Pray to God to send the hytte;
For Crist hymself, he techet ous
That holy churche ys Goddes hous,
That ys y-mad for nothynge ellus
but for to pray yn, as the bok tellus;
Ther the pepul schal gedur ynne,
To pray and wepe for here synne.
Loke thou come not to churche late,
For to speke harlotry by the gate;
Thenne to churche when thou dost fare,
Have yn thy mynde ever mare
To worschepe thy lord God bothe day and ny[g]th,
With all thy wyttes, and eke thy my[g]th.
To the churche dore when tou dost come,
Of that holy water ther sum thow nome,
For every drope thou felust ther
Qwenchet a venyal synne, be thou ser.
But furst thou most do down thy hode,
For hyse love that dyed on the rode.
Into the churche when thou dost gon,
Pulle uppe thy herte to Crist, anon;
Uppon the rode thou loke uppe then,
And knele down fayre on bothe thy knen;
Then pray to hym so hyr to worche,
After the lawe of holy churche,
For to kepe the comandementes ten,
That God [g]af to alle men;
And pray to hym with mylde steven
To kepe the from the synnes seven,
That thou hyr mowe, yn thy lyve,
Kepe the wel from care and stryve,
Forthermore he grante the grace,
In heven blysse to hav a place.
In holy churche lef nyse wordes
Of lewed speche, and fowle bordes,
And putte away alle vanyté,
And say thy pater noster and thyn ave;
Loke also thou make no bere,
But ay to be yn thy prayere;
[G]ef thou wolt not thyselve pray,
Latte non other mon by no way.
In that place nowther sytte ny stonde,
But knele fayre down on the gronde,
And, when the Gospel me rede schal,
Fayre thou stonde up fro the wal,
And blesse the fayre, [g]ef that thou conne,
When gloria tibi is begonne;
And when the gospel ys y-done,
A[g]ayn thou my[g]th knele adown;
On bothe thy knen down thou falle,
For hyse love that bow[g]ht us alle;
And when thou herest the belle rynge
To that holy sakerynge,
Knele [g]e most, bothe [g]yn[g]e and olde,
And bothe [g]or hondes fayr upholde,
And say thenne yn thys manere,
Fayr and softe, withoute bere;
"Jhesu Lord, welcom thou be,
Yn forme of bred, as y the se.
Now Jhesu, for thyn holy name,
Schulde me from synne and schame,
Schryff and hosel thou grant me bo,
[G]er that y schal hennus go,
And vey contrycyon of my synne,
Tath y never, Lord, dye therynne;
And, as thou were of a mayde y-bore,
Sofre me never to be y-lore;
But when y schal hennus wende,
Grante me the blysse withoute ende;
Amen! amen! so mot hyt be!
Now, swete lady, pray for me."
Thus thou my[g]ht say, or sum other thynge,
When thou knelust at the sakerynge.
For covetyse after good, spare thou nought
To worschepe hym that alle hath wrought;
For glad may a mon that day ben,
That onus yn the day may hym sen;
Hyt ys so muche worthe, withoute nay,
The vertu therof no mon telle may;
But so meche good doth that syht,
As seynt Austyn telluth ful ryht,
That day thou syst Goddus body,
Thou schalt have these, ful securly:-
Mete and drynke at thy nede,
Non that day schal the gnede;
Ydul othes, an wordes bo,
God for[g]eveth the also;
Soden deth, that ylke day,
The dar not drede by no way;
Also that day, y the plyht,
Thou schalt not lese thy eye syht;
And uche fote that thou gost then,
That holy syht for to sen,
They schul be told to stonde yn stede,
When thou hast therto gret nede;
That messongere, the angele Gabryelle,
Wol kepe hem to the ful welle.
From thys mater now y may passe,
To telle mo medys of the masse:
To churche come [g]et, [g]ef thou may,
And here thy masse uche day;
[G]ef thou mowe not come to churche,
Wher that ever thou doste worche,
When thou herest to masse knylle,
Pray to God with herte stylle,
To [g]eve the part of that servyse,
That yn churche ther don yse.
Forthermore [g]et, y wol [g]ow preche
To [g]owre felows, hyt for to teche,
When thou comest byfore a lorde,
Yn halle, yn bowre, or at the borde,
Hod or cappe that thou of do,
[G]er thou come hym allynge to;
Twyes or thryes, without dowte,
To that lord thou moste lowte;
With thy ry[g]th kne let hyt be do,
Thyn owne worschepe tou save so.
Holde of thy cappe, and hod also,
Tyl thou have leve hyt on to do.
Al the whyle thou spekest with hym,
Fayre and lovelyche bere up thy chyn;
So, after the norter of the boke,
Yn hys face lovely thou loke.
Fot and hond, thou kepe ful stylle
From clawynge and trypynge, ys sckylle;
From spyttynge and snyftynge kepe the also,
By privy avoydans let hyt go.
And [g]ef that thou be wyse and felle,
Thou hast gret nede to governe the welle.
Ynto the halle when thou dost wende,
Amonges the genteles, good and hende,
Presume not to hye for nothynge,
For thyn hye blod, ny thy connynge,
Nowther to sytte, ny to lene,
That ys norther good and clene.
Let not thy cowntenans therfore abate,
Forsothe, good norter wol save thy state.
Fader and moder, whatsever they be,
Wel ys the chyld that wel may the,
Yn halle, yn chamber, wher thou dost gon;
Gode maneres maken a mon.
To the nexte degré loke wysly,
To do hem reverans by and by;
Do hem [g]et no reverans al o-rowe,
But [g]ef that thou do hem know.
To the mete when thou art y-sette,
Fayre and onestelyche thou ete hytte;
Fyrst loke that thyn honden be clene,
And that thy knyf be scharpe and kene;
And kette thy bred al at thy mete,
Ry[g]th as hyt may be ther y-ete.
[G]ef thou sytte by a worththyur mon.
Then thy selven thou art won,
Sofre hym fyrst to toyche the mete,
[G]er thyself to hyt reche.
To the fayrest mossel thou my[g]ht not strike,
Thaght that thou do hyt wel lyke;
Kepe thyn hondes, fayr and wel,
From fowle smogynge of thy towel;
Theron thou schalt not thy nese snyte,
Ny at the mete thy tothe thou pyke;
To depe yn the coppe thou my[g]ght not synke,
Thagh thou have good wyl to drynke,
Lest thyn enyn wolde wattryn therby_
Then were hyt no curtesy
Loke yn thy mowth ther be no mete,
When thou begynnyst to drynke or speke.
When thou syst any mon drynkynge,
That taketh hed to thy carpynge,
Sone anonn thou sese thy tale,
Whether he drynke wyn other ale.
Loke also thou scorne no mon,
Yn what degré thou syst hym gon;
Ny thou schalt no mon deprave,
[G]ef thou wolt thy worschepe save;
For suche worde my[g]ht ther outberste,
That myg[h]t make the sytte yn evel reste,
Close thy honde yn thy fyste,
And kepe the wel from "had-y-wyste."
Yn chamber amonge the ladyes bryght,
Holde thy tonge and spende thy syght;
Law[g]e thou not with no gret cry,
Ny make no ragynge with rybody.
Play thou not buyt with thy peres,
Ny tel thou not al that thou heres;
Dyskever thou not thyn owne dede,
For no merthe, ny for no mede;
With fayr speche thou myght have thy wylle,
With hyt thou myght thy selven spylle.
When thou metyst a worthy mon,
Cappe and hod thou holle not on;
Yn churche, yn chepyns, or yn the gate,
Do hym revera(n)s after hys state.
[G]ef thou gost with a worthyor mon
Then thyselven thou art won,
Let thy forther schulder sewe hys backe,
For that ys norter withoute lacke;
When he doth speke, holte the stylle,
When he hath don, sey for thy wylle;
Yn thy speche that thou be felle,
And what thou sayst avyse the welle;
But byref thou not hym hys tale,
Nowther at the wyn, ny at the ale.
Cryst then of hys hye grace,
[G]eve [g]ow bothe wytte and space,
Wel thys boke to conne and rede,
Heven to have for [g]owre mede.
Amen! amen! so mot hyt be!
Say we so all per charyté.