» » The Babees' Book Medieval Manners for the Young_ Done into Modern English

The Babees' Book Medieval Manners for the Young_ Done into Modern English

The Babees' Book
Medieval Manners for the Young_ Done into Modern English
Category:
Title: The Babees' Book Medieval Manners for the Young_ Done into Modern English
Release Date: 2019-02-28
Type book: Text
Copyright Status: Public domain in the USA.
Date added: 27 March 2019
Count views: 77
Read book
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 ... 34

 

This book has many links, both to footnotes and to longer notes withmore explanation. Clicking on a footnote marker on a page will take you to thetext of the footnote.

Sometimes, a footnote will just contain the text “Seenote.” meaning there is more explanation for that note. Clicking onthe highlighted word will take you to the Notes section. If you scrolldown through those notes, you’ll find the text for that particularpage.


THE NEW MEDIEVAL LIBRARY

The School of Aristotle.
See page 9.


THE BABEES
BOOK. Mediæval
Manners for the
Young Now first
done into Modern
English from The
Texts of
Dr. F. J. Furnivall:~
Published MCMVIII


The engraved title on the reverse
of this page was adapted
by Miss Blanche C. Hunter
from B.M. Add. MS. 31240,
f. 4.

THE BABEES’ BOOK:

MEDIEVAL MANNERS FOR
THE YOUNG: DONE INTO
MODERN ENGLISH FROM
DR. FURNIVALL’S TEXTS
BY EDITH RICKERT
CHATTO AND WINDUS: LONDON
NEW YORK: DUFFIELD & CO.
1908

All rights reserved

vii

CONTENTS

INTRODUCTION xi
 
THE BABEES’ BOOK 1
 
THE A B C OF ARISTOTLE 9
 
URBANITATIS 11
 
THE LITTLE CHILDREN’S LITTLE BOOK 16
 
THE YOUNG CHILDREN’S BOOK 21
 
STANS PUER AD MENSAM 26
 
HOW THE GOOD WIFE TAUGHT HER DAUGHTER 31
 
HOW THE WISE MAN TAUGHT HIS SON 43
 
JOHN RUSSELL’S BOOK OF NURTURE 47
 
THE BOOK OF COURTESY 79
 
SYMON’S LESSON OF WISDOM FOR ALL MANNER CHILDREN 122
 
HUGH RHODES’S BOOK OF NURTURE 126
 
FRANCIS SEAGER’S SCHOOL OF VIRTUE 141
 
RICHARD WESTE’S SCHOOL OF VIRTUE, THE SECOND PART, OR THE YOUNG SCHOLAR’S PARADISE 157
 
NOTES 179
 
FOOTNOTES 204

ix

ILLUSTRATIONS

THE SCHOOL OF ARISTOTLE Cotton, MS. Aug. A. 5, fol. 103. Frontispiece
 
“DE LA DISPUTATION Q’ FIST CATHON A SOY MESMES ET CONTRE SON CORPZ A SA MORT” Royal MS. 16 G. viii., fol. 324. 44
 
“CY PARLE DUNE GRANT FESTE QUE LE ROY RICHARD DENGLETERRE FIST A LONDRES” Royal MS. 14 E. iv., fol. 265b. 54
 
“IF THOU BE A YOUNG INFANT” Harl. MS. 621, fol. 71. 85
 
JOHN OF GAUNT RECEIVES A CIVIC DEPUTATION Royal MS. 14 E. iv., fol. 169b. 112
 
“WHO SPARETH THE ROD, THE CHILD HATETH” B.M. Add. MS. 31240, fol. 4. 126

xi

INTRODUCTION

NEARLY forty years ago, Dr. Furnivall collectedfor the Early English Text Society “diverstreatises touching the Manners and Meals of Englishmenin former days.” Some of these were published in1868, under the title The Babees’ Book,[1] and others,chiefly of later date, in 1869, under the title QueeneElizabethes Achademy.

These two volumes, with their introductions andillustrative matter, to my mind present the most vividpicture of home life in medieval England that wehave. Aside from their general human interest, theyare valuable to the student of social history, and almostessential to an understanding of the literature of theirtime. The whole fabric of the romances was basedupon the intricate system of “courtesy” as here setforth, and John Russell furnishes an interesting commentxiion Chaucer and his school, as do Rhodes andSeager and Weste on the writers of the sixteenthcentury. Finally, among these treatises, there is manya plum by the way for the seeker of proverbs, curiouslore, superstitions, literary oddities. And as comparativelyfew people have time or inclination to worrythrough antiquated English, Dr. Furnivall has longwished that the substance of his collections mightbe presented in modern form. Therefore this littlevolume has been undertaken.

Doubtless unwritten codes of behaviour are coevalwith society; but the earliest treatises that we possessemphasize morals rather than manners. Even the lateLatin author known as Dionysius Cato (fourth century?),whose maxims were constantly quoted, translated,imitated, and finally printed during the lateMiddle Ages, does not touch upon the niceties of conductthat we call manners; wherefore one John Garland,an Englishman educated at Oxford, who livedmuch in France during the first half of the thirteenthcentury, felt bound to supplement Cato on thesepoints. His work, entitled Liber Faceti: docens moreshominum, precipue iuuenum, in supplementum illorum quixiiia moralissimo Cathone erant omissi iuuenibus utiles,[2] isalluded to as Facet in the first piece in this volume,and serves as basis for part of the Book of Courtesy.

But, earlier than this, Thomasin of Zerklaere, about1215, wrote in German a detailed treatise on mannerscalled Der Wälsche Gast.[3] And in 1265, Dante’steacher, Brunetto Latini, published his Tesoretto,[3]which was soon followed by a number of similartreatises in Italian.

While we need not hold with the writer of the LittleChildren’s Little Book, that courtesy came down fromheaven when Gabriel greeted the Virgin, and Maryand Elizabeth met, we must look for its origin somewhere;and inasmuch as, in its medieval form at least,it is closely associated with the practices of chivalry, wemay not unreasonably suppose it to have appeared firstin France. And although most of the extant Frenchtreatises belong to the fourteenth or fifteenth centuries,a lost book of courtesy, translated by Thomasin ofxivZerklaere, is sometimes held, on good grounds, to havebeen derived from French, rather than from Italian.

In any case, such of the English books as were nottaken immediately from Latin, came from Frenchsources. To be sure, there is a Saxon poem, based itwould seem on Cato, though by no means a translation,called A Father’s Instructions to his Son; but this,although it is greatly exercised about the child’s soul,takes no thought for his finger-nails or his nose.

It is not, therefore, surprising to find that nearly allEnglish words denoting manners are of French origin—courtesy,villainy, nurture, dignity, etiquette, debonaire,gracious, polite, gentilesse, &c., while to balance them Ican, at this moment, recall only three of Saxon origin—thew(which belongs rather to the list of moral wordsin which Old English abounds), churlish and wanton(without breeding), both of which, significantly enough,are negative of good manners.

The reason for the predominance of the Frenchterms is simply that “French use these gentlemen,” asone old writer puts it; that is, from the Conquest untilthe latter part of the fourteenth century the languageof the invaders prevailed almost entirely among thexvupper classes, who, accordingly, learned their politenessout of French or Latin books; and it was only with thegrowth of citizenship and English together, that thesematters came to be discussed in this latter tongue forthe profit of middle-class children, as well as of the“bele babees” at Court.

We must suppose, from numerous hints and descriptions,that an elaborate system of manners and customsprevailed long before it was codified. The Bayeuxtapestry (eleventh century) shows a feast, with a serverkneeling to serve, his napkin about his neck, as JohnRussell prescribes some four hundred years later.

The romances again, alike in French and in English,describe elaborate ceremonies, and allude constantly todefinite laws of courtesy. Now and again we find apassage that sets forth the ideal gentleman. YoungHorn, for example, was taught “skill of wood andriver” (hunting and hawking), carving, cup-bearing,and harping “with his nails sharp.” Child Florentshowed his high birth by his love of horse, hawk, andarmour, and by his contempt of gold; but he was notthought ill-mannered to laugh when his foster-fatherand mother fell down in their attempt to draw a rustyxvisword from its scabbard! Chaucer’s Squire mightwell have been brought up on a treatise similar to thoseincluded in this volume:

“Well could he sit on horse and fairly ride;
He could songs make and fair could he indite,
Joust and eke dance, and well portray and write.
────────────────
Courteous he was, lowly, and serviceáble,
And carved before his father at the table.”

But the Prioress outmatched him, having possiblylearned her manners in the French of “Stratford-atte-Bowe,”in Les Contenances de la Table, or some suchthing:

“At meatë well y-taught was she withal,
She let no morsel from her lippës fall,
Nor wet her fingers in her saucë deep:
Well could she carry a morsel, and well keep,
That no dropë did fall upon her breast;
In courtesy was set full much her lest.[4]
Her over-lippë wipéd she so clean,
That in her cup there was no farthing seen
Of grease, when she drunken had her draught.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 ... 34
Comments (0)
Free online library ideabooks.net