Desiderius Erasmus.

A Merry Dialogue Declaringe the Properties of Shrowde Shrews and Honest Wives online

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and lytell set bi corrupting the medecine that shuld
haue cured al deadly greifes, & odible offences.
xantip. That is no newes to me. Eula. Though the woman
shulde be well ware and wyse that she shulde neuer be
disobedient vnto her husband yet she ought to be most
circumspect that at meting she shew her selfe redy
and pleasaunt unto him. xantyppa. Yea vnto a man, holde
well withall but I am combred with a beast. Eula. No
more of those wordes, most commonly our husbandes ar
euyll through our owne faute, but to returne againe
vnto our taile they that ar sene in the olde fables of
Poetes sai that Venus whome they make chiefe lady of
wedlocke (hath a girdle made by the handy worke of
Vulcan her Lorde, and in that is thrust al that
enforceth love and with that she girdeth her whan so
ever she lyeth wyth her housbande xantippa. A tale of a
tubbe. Eulalya. A tayle it is, but herken what the
taile meaneth. xantippa. Tell me. Eulalia That techeth
us that the wyfe ought to dyspose her selfe all the she
maye that lieng by her husband she shew him al the
plesure that she can; Wherby the honest love of
matrimony may reuiue and be renewed, & that there with
be clene dispatched al grudges & malice xant. But how
shall we come by the thys gyrdle? Eula. We nede neyther
wytchraft nor enchauntment, ther is non of them al, so
sure as honest condicions accompayned with good
feloshyp. xan. I can not fauoure suche an husbande as
myne is. Eula, It is moste thy profyt that he be no
longer suche. If thou couldest by thy Circes craft
chaunge thin husband into an hogge, or a bore wouldest
thou do it? xantip. God knoweth. Eu. Art thou in dout?
haddest thou leauer marye an hogge than a man.
Xantip. Mary I had leauer haue a manne. Eulalia. wel,
what and thou coudest by sorcery make him of a
dronkarde a soober man, of a vnthrifte a good
housbande of an ydell losell a towarde body, woldest
thou not doe it? xantip. yes, hardely, woulde I doe it.
But where shoulde I learne the cunnyng? Eula. For soth
that conning hast thou in the if thou wouldest vtter
it, thyn must he be, mauger thy head, the towarde ye
makest him, the better it is for the, thou lokest on
nothing but on his leude condicions, and thei make
the half mad, thou wouldest amende hym and thou puttest
hym farther oute of frame, loke rather on his good
condicions, and so shalt thou make him better. It is to
late calagayne yesterdaie before thou were maryed unto
hym. It was tyme to consyder what his fautes were for
a women shold not only take her husbande by the eyes
but by the eares. Now it is more tyme to redresse
fautes then to fynd fautes. xantt. What woman euer
toke her gusband by the eares. Eulali. She taketh her
husbande by the eyes that loketh on nothyng, but on the
beautye and pulcritude of the body. She taketh him by
the eares, that harkeneth diligently what the common
voice sayth by him xantip. Thy counsaile is good, but
it commeth a day after the faire. Eula. Yet it commeth
time ynough to bringe thyne husbande to a greate
furtheraunce to that shall bee yf God sende you anie
frute togither. xantippa. We are spede alredy of that.
Eulaly. How long ago. Xantip. A good whyle ago Eulalia.
How many monethes old is it. Xantip. It lacketh lytle
of. vii. Eula What a tale is this, ye reken the
monethes by nightes and dayes double. Xantippa. Not so.
Eula. It can not be none other wyse, yf ye reken from
the mariage day. xantippa. yea, but what then, I
spake with him before we were maried. Eulalia. Be
children gotten by speakinge. xantip. It befell so that
he mette me alone and begon to ticke at me, and tickled
me vnder the arme holes and sydes to make me laugh. I
might not awaie with ticklynge, but fell downe
backewarde vpon a bedde and he a lofte, neuer leuinge
kyssynge on me, what he did els I can not saye, but by
sayncte Marie within a while after my bely beganne to
swell. Eula. Go now and disprayse thine husbande
whiche yf he gette children by playe, what wyll he do
when he goeth to it in good ernest. xantippa, I fere
me I am payed agayin. Eula. Good locke God hath sent a
fruitfull grounde, a good tylman. Xantip. In that
thing he might haue lesse laboure and more thanke.
Eula. Few wyues finde at theyr husbandes in that behalf
but were ye then sure togither. xanti. yea that we
were Eula. The offence is the lesse. Is it a man
chylde. xantip. yea. Eula. He shal make you at one so
that ye wil bow & forbere. What saieth other men by
thin husband, they that be his companions, they
delite with him abrode xan, They say that he is
meruelous gentyl, redy to do euery man pleasure,
liberal and sure to his frende. Eula. And that putteth
me in good comfort that he wyll be ruled after our
counsayll. xantip. But I fynde him not so. Eula. =Order
thy selfe to him as I haue tolde thee, and cal me no
more true sayer but a lier, if he be not so good vnto
the as to anie creature liuinge Again considre this
he is yet but a childe, I thinke he passethe not.
xxiiij. the blacke oxe neuer trode on hys fote, nowe it
is but loste laboure to recken vpon anye deuorse.
xantippa. Yet manye a tyme and ofte I haue troubled my
braynes withal Eulalia. As for that fantasye whensoeuer
it commeth into your mynd first of all counte how naked
a thynge woman is, deuorsed from man. It is the hyghest
dignitie that longethe to the wyfe to obsequyous vnto
her spouse. So hath natyre ordeined so god hath
appoynted, that the woman shoulde be ruled al by the
man loke onely vppon this whiche is trouth, thine
husbande he is, other canste thou none haue. Againe
forgette not that swete babe be gotten of both your
bodies what thin beste thou to do with that, wilte thou
take it awaye with thee? Thou shalte bereue thyne
husband his ryght wylt thou leue it with hym? thou
shalt spoile thy self of thy chefeste Jewell thou
haste. Beside all this tell me trueth hast thou none
euyll wyllers, Besyde all thys tell me trueth, hast
thou none euyll wyllers. xan. I haue a stepdame I
warrant you, and myne husbandes mother euen such
another. Eula. Do they hate the so deadly. xantip. They
woulde se me hanged. Eula. Then forget not then
what greater plesure couldest thou shew them then to se
the deuorsed from thine husband and to led a wydowes
lyfe. Yea and worse then a wydow, for wydowes be at
their choise. xantippa. I holde well with youre
counsell, but I can not awaye with the paynes.
Eulalia. yet recken what paines ye toke or ye colde
teache your paret to speake. xantippa. Exceadynge much.
Eu. And thinke you much to labour a lytel in reforming
your husband with whom you may liue merely all the
dayes of your lyfe. What busines doe men put them
self to be wel & easly horsed & shal we think our
selues to good to take paines that we mai haue our
husbandes gentil & curteise vnto vs. xantip. What
shal I do. Eu. I haue told you al redy, se that al
thing be clene & trim at home, that no sluttysh or
vnclenlye syghtes dryue hym oute a dores. Be your selfe
alwayes redy at a becke, berynge continuali in minde
what reuerence the wife oweth vnto her husband. Be
neyther in your dumpes, nor alwayes on your mery
pinnes go nether to homely nor to nycely. Let your meat
be cleane dressed, you know yourhusbandes diet. What
he loueth best that dresse. Moreouer shewe your selfe
louinge and fayre spoken vnto them where he loueth,
call them now and then vnto your table. At meate, se
that al thinges be well sauored, and make good there,
And when that he is toppe heuy playing on his lute,
sytte thou by and singe to him so shalte thou make hym
keepe home, and lessen hys expences This shall he
thynke at length, in faythe I am a fonde felowe that
maketh suche chere with a strumpet abroode with greate
lossee bothe of substance and name, seyng that I haue a
wyfe at home bothe muche fayrer, and one that loueth me
ten times better, with whome I may be both clenlyer
receiued and dayntelier cherisshed xantip. Beleuest
thou that it will take and I put it into a profe.
Eulali. Looke on me. I warrante it or ought longe I
wyll in hande with thyne husbande, & I will tell hym
his part. xantippa. ye marie that is well sayde. But be
wyse that he espie not our casle, he would plaie his
fages, all the house should be to lytle for hym.
Eulalia. Take no thoughte. I shall so conuey my
matters, that he shall dysclose all together hym selfe,
what busynesse is betwene you, that done I wyll handell
him pretelie as I thinke beste, and I truste to make
him a new man for the and when I se my time I wyl make
a lie for thee, how louinge thou hast spoken of him.
xantippa. Chryst spede vs and bringe our pupose well
aboute. Eulalia. He will not fayle the so thou do thy
good wyll.
There was a man that maried a woman whiche hadde great
riches and beawtye. Howe bee it she hadde suche an
impedyment of nature that she was domme and coulde not
speake, whiche thynge made him ryghte pensyfe, and
sayd, wherfore vpon a daye as he walked alone ryght
heuye in hearte thynkynge vpon his wyfe. There came one
to hym and asked him what was the cause of his
heuynesse whiche answered that it was onely bycause his
wife was borne domme. To whome this other said I shal
shewe the soone a remedy and a medicyne (therfore that
is thus) go tak an aspen leafe and lay it vnder her
tonge this night shee beinge a sleape, and I warrant
the that shee shall speake on the morowe whiche man
beyng glad of thys medycyne prepared therfore and
gathered aspen leaues, wherfore he layd thre of them
vnder her tonge whan shee was a sleape. And on the
morow when he him selfe awaked he Desyrous to know how
hys medicine wrought being in bed with her, he
demaunded of her how she did, and sodenly she
answered and sayd, I beshrewe thy harte for waking me
so early, and so by the vertue of that medycyne she was
restored to her speche. But in conclusion her spech
encresed day by day and she was so curst of condycyon
that euery daie she brauled and chyd with her husbande,
so muche at the laste he was more weped, and had much
more trouble and disease wyth her shrewed wordes then
he hadde before when she was dumme, wherfore as he
walked another time alone he happened to mete agayne
with the same personne that taught hym the sayde
medycine and sayde to hym thys wyse. Syr ye taught me a
medicin but late to make my domme wyfe to speake,
byddynge me lay an aspen leafe vnder her toung when
she sleapte, and I layde three Aspen leaves there.
Wherfore nowe she speaketh. But yet she speaketh soo
much & so shrewdlye that I am more werier of her now,
then I was when she was domme: Wherfore I praie you
teache me a medycine to modyfye her that she speake not
so muche. This other answered and sayd thus. Sir I am a
deuyl of hel but I am one of them that haue least
power there. Al be yet I haue power to make a woman
to speake, but and yf a woman begin ones to speake, I
nor al the deuyls in hel that haue the mooste power be
not able to make a woman to be styll, nor to cause her
to leue speakyng.

The end of this pleasant dialogue declaryng the seueral
properties of ye two contrary disposers of the wyues

Imprinted at London in Paules
church yearde, at the sygne of
the Sunne, by Antony


Online LibraryDesiderius ErasmusA Merry Dialogue Declaringe the Properties of Shrowde Shrews and Honest Wives → online text (page 2 of 2)