G. G. (George Gordon) Coulton.

A medieval garner; human documents from the four centuries preceding the reformation online

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therefore do ye delay ? Wherefore do ye not consider
the reformation of such men ? Wherefore do ye not
restrain the evil lives of your monks ? We are con-
founded by their evU report, and their examples are a
stone of stumbling to us ; for, the more numerous they
are, the more powerful indeed they are believed to be
by such as know us not. Kise up now, Fathers, for
the time is short and the days are evil ! reform with all
3'^our might this deformed Order, raise it up from its
fall, restore it from its ruin ! for, unless ye bring a remedy
without delay, ye shall soon feel some grievous harm.
. . . Even though we may not bring the whole Order
to the unity of good life, yet let us do all that in us lieth
to reform at least the monks of our own province ; and,
if we cannot attain to complete conformity in all things,
yet at least let them be reformed in the three substan-
tial vows, without which the monastic life can be called
naught else but the vile brothel of a faithless soul.
The reformation must begin with the Abbots, and then
be continued among the monks.

Good Ale. 659

303.— ($0011 aie.

(From a 15th century MS. printed in T. Wright's Songs and Carols
[Percy Society], p. 63).

[RING us in no brown bread, for that is made
of bran,
Nor bring us in no white bread, for therein

is no game.
But bring us in good ale, and bring us in
good ale ;
For our blessed Lady's sake, bring us in good ale !

Bring us in no beef, for there is many bones.
But bring us in good ale, for that goeth down at once ;
And bring us in good ale, &c.

Bring us in no bacon, for that is passing fat.
But bring us in good ale, and give us enough of that ;
And bring us in good ale, &c.

Bring us in no mutton, for that is often lean,
Nor bring us in no tripes, for they be seldom clean ;
But bring us in good ale, &c.

Bring us in no egges, for there are many shells,
But bring us in good ale, and give us nothing else ;
And bring us in good ale, &c.

Bring us in no butter, for therein are many hairs ;
Nor bring us in no pigges flesh, for that will make us
boars ;

But bring us in good ale, &c.

Bring us in no puddings, for therein is all God's good ;
Nor bring us in no venison, for that is not for our blood ;
But bring us in good ale, &c.

Bring us in no capon's flesh, for that is often dear ;
Nor bring us in no duck's flesh, for they slobber in the

mere ;
But bring us in good ale, and bring us in good ale,
For our blessed Lady's sake, bring us in good ale !

66o A Medieval Garner.

304.— SHitjcs at tfic Catjcrn.

{Ibid, p. 91).

OW, gossip mine, gossip mine,
When will ye go to the wine ?

I will you tell a full good sport,
How gossips gather them on a sort,
Their sick bodies for to comfort,

When they meet, in a lane or street.

But I dare not, for their displeasance.
Tell of these matters half the substance ;
But yet somewhat of their governance,
As far as I dare, I will declare.

" Good gossip mine, where have ye be ?

It is so long sith I you see.

Where is the best wine ? tell you me.

Can you ought tell, [then say] full well.

" I know a draught of merry-go-down.
The best it is in all this town ;
But yet would I not, for my gown.

My husband it wist, ye may me trist !

Call forth your gossips by and by,
Elinor, Joan, and Margery,
Margaret, Alice, and Cecily ;

For they will come both all and some.

And each of them will somewhat bring,

Goose, pig, or capon's wing.

Pasties of pigeons, or some other thing ;

For a gallon of wine they will not wring."

" Go before by twain and twain,

Wisely, that ye be not seen ;

For I must home, and come again.

To wit ywis where my husband is.

Wives at the Tavern. 66 1

A stripe or two God might send me,
If my husband might here see me.
She that is af eared, let her flee."

Quoth Alice then, " I dread no man."

*' Now we be in tavern set,

A draught of the best let him go fet,

To bring our husbands out of debt ;

For we will spend, till God more send."

Each of them brought forth their dish ;
Some brought flesh, and some [brought] fish.
Quoth Margaret meek : " Now with a wish,

I would Anne were here, she would make us cheer."

" How say you, gossips, is this wine good ? "
" That it is, " quoth Elinor, " by the rood ;
It cherisheth the heart, and comforteth the blood ;
Such junkets among shall make us live long !

" Anne, bid fiU a pot of muscadel ;
For of aU wines I love it well.
Sweet wines keep my body in heal ;

If I had of it nought, I should take great thought."

" How look ye, gossip, at the board's end ?
Not merry, gossip ? God it amend.
All shall be well, else God it forfend ;

Be merry and glad, and sit not so sad."

" Would God I had done after your counsel !

For my husband is so fell,

He beateth me like the devil of hell ;

And the more I cry, the less mercy ! "


Alice with a loud voice spake then,
" Ywis," she said, " little good he can,
That beateth or striketh any woman,

And specially his wife ; God give him short life ! "

Margaret meek said, " So mot I thrive,
I know no man that is alive, i/^

That give me two strokes, but he shall have five ;
I am not afeard, though I have no beard ! "


662 A Medieval Garner.

One cast down her shot, and went her way.
*' Gossip," quoth Elinor, " what did she pay ? •'
*' Nought but a penny." " Lo, therefore I say,
She shall no more be of our lore.

Such guestes we may have y-now.
That will not for their shot allow.
With whom came she ? gossip, with you ? "
" Nay," quoth Joan, " I came alone."

" Now reckon our shot, and go we hence.
What ? cost it each of us but three pence ?
Parde, this is but a small expence.

For such a sort, and all but sport.

Turn down the street where ye came out.
And we will compass round about."
" Gossip," quoth Anne, " what needeth that doubt ?
Your husbands be pleased, when ye be reised.

Whatsoever any many think.

We come for nought but for good drink.

Now let us go home and wink ;

For it may be seen, where we have been."

This is the thought that gossips take.
Once in the week merry will they make,
And all small drink they will forsake ;

But wine of the best shall have no rest.

Some be at the tavern once in a week ;
And so be some every day eke ;
Or else they will groan and make them sick.
For thinges used will not be refused.

What say you, women, is it not so ?
Yes, surely, and that ye well know ;
And therefore let us ch-ink all a row.

And of our singing make a good ending.

Now fill the cup, and drink to me ;
And then shall we good fellows be.
And of this talking leave will we.
And speake then good of women.

A Saint in Purgatory. 663

One of the Preacher's Manuals which became so popular in the later
Middle Ages was entitled Dormi Secure. This brief appellation is
explained by the sub-title of the book, which runs thus : " Sermons for
Saints' Days throughout the year, very notable and useful to all priests,
prelates, and chaplains. Which sermons are called Dormi Secure, or
' Sleep Without Care,' seeing that they can easily be incorporated
without great study and preached to the people." There is a com-
panion volume of Dormi Secure sermons for the regular Sundays of the
year, with practically the same sub-title. The author was a Franciscan
named John of Verden or Werden, who flourished according to Wadding
in 1330 or, if we are to believe more recent students, a century later.
The following extract is from fol. XXIa of the edition pubUshed by
Jehan Petit, (Paris, 1517) ; the book passed through at least thirty

Although the Church refused for centuries to pronounce upon the
Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary, and the great school-
men of the 13th century were against it, and the learned Dominican
Order combated the doctrine almost to the last, yet the current of
opinion among the masses ran more and more strongly in its favour,
and this extract exempUfies how popular preachers explained away the
contrary decision of great Saints and Doctors in the past. The Preacher
has just been attempting to show that even Mahomedans hold the
doctrine of the Immaculate Conception, supporting this assertion by
texts from the Koran which, even if genuine, are of course utterly
beside the point. He then proceeds :

305.— a ^aint in IPurgatorp.

PJERILY I say that the Virgin Mary was con-
ceived without original sin ; for this is con-
firmed by examples ; and in especial by

three examples which came to pass in the

case of three great Doctors of holy Mother
Church ; to wit, Master Alexander Neckam,* the lord
Cardinal Bonaventura, and St. Bernard. First then
this doctrine was confirmed and proved by a miraculous
example which came to pass in Master Alexander
Neckam' s case ; of whom we read that thrice in succes-

* A distinguished EngUsh scholar who became Abbot of Cirencester
and died in 1227. A MS. formerly in possession of the Earl of Arundel
had the following entry: "In the month of September 1157 Prince
Richard was born to Henry II. at Windsor ; and that same night saw
the birth at St. Albans of Alexander Neckam, whose mother suckled
Richard at her right breast and Alexander at her left." Bonaventura
is of course the Saint, who was only canonized in 1482.

664 A Medieval Garner.

sion he proclaimed how he would determine [in the
Schools] that the Blessed Virgin had been conceived in
original sin ; yet was he ever prevented by sickness.
At length he purposed and promised finally to declare
and determine this conclusion ; yet once again, the
night before, he fell into great sickness and suffering.
Then he called upon the Blessed Virgin to succour him ;
in virtue of which invocation she came by night when
all was wrapt in silence and only Neckam watched,
saying unto him : " This sickness is fallen upon thee
for that thou strivest to prove that I was conceived in
original sin." Then she took a knife from her hand-
maiden and cut from the Master's side a great and foul
inward ulcer ; after which she took her needle and
sewed up the whole wound with silken thread. Then,
when the Blessed Virgin was gone, the Master found
himself whole and sound ; wherefore he called to the
scholar who slept with him in his room, and learned
more fully and perfectly how the matter stood. There-
fore he afterwards put away that impious opinion of
his, and wrote a great book how the Virgin had been
conceived without any original sin. In which book
he expounded of the Blessed Virgin Mary that text of
the fourth Chapter of Solomon's Song, " Thou art all
fair, my love, and there is not a spot in thee," as
showing that she had no spot either of original or of
actual sin.

Secondly, the doctrine was proved by a miraculous
example in the case of the lord Cardinal Bonaventura,
because it is still maintained in Book iii., Dist. IV.,
Quest. 2, r. 3 [of his Commentary on the Sentences]
that the Virgin Mary was conceived in original sin.
Wherefore there is related of him an event which befel
at Paris. A certain devout friar of the Brethren
Minor* prayed frequently and devoutly every night in
the choir. As he was thus in prayer, he heard a buzzing

* The Franciscans in general soon decided in favour of the popular
opinion, and it was their support which did much to secure its final
victory. It was all the more distressing to them that their great Doctor
should have already pledged himself to the doctrine of St. Bernard and
other great theologians of an earlier time.

A Saint in Purgatory. 66^

as it were of a fly, and marvelled what this might be,
and what might be portended by such a sound at so
unwonted a time. Then he listened more carefully ;
and for many nights he ever heard that same sound
over the altar of the Virgin Mary. When therefore* he
had oftentimes heard this with much wonder, then'; he
cried : "I adjure thee by our Lord Jesus Christ, tell
me who thou art." Then he heard a voice saying, " I
am Bonaventura." Whereunto he made answer, "
most excellent Master, how is it with you and wherefore
make ye such a sound ? " Then the other made
answer, " It shall be well with me, who am of the
number of such as shall be saved ; nevertheless,
seeing that I held that conclusion that the Blessed
Virgin was conceived in original sin, therefore I endure
this my purgatory and pain over the altar of the
Blessed Virgin ; and, after that I shall have been
purged, I shall fly up to heaven." Wherefore Bona-
ventura may say that word of the Psalmist : " For
this conclusion we are mortified all the day long."*

Thirdly, it hath been proved by the example of St.
Bernard's case, who held that the Blessed Virgin Mary
was conceived in original sin. . . . Wherefore it is
related of him that, after his death, he appeared to a
certain man with a stain, and told how he bare that
blemish for that he held the conception of the Blessed
Virgin in original sin. Wherefore it hath been plainly
proved by three examples that the glorious Virgin was
conceived without original sin. For to this effect it is
well said in St. John's first epistle, the fifth chapter,
" There are three that bear witness in heaven," to wit,
in favour of the Virgin Mary, that she was conceived
without original sin. And again in the third chapter
of Daniel, " These three as with one mouth praised
God," to wit, because He preserved His Mother from
original sin.

♦ Psabn XLIII. 22, Vulg. The preacher has taken the liberty of
altering propter te into de ilia conclusione.

666 A Medieval Garner.

The Blessed James of the Mark — Beatus Jacobus de Marchia — was
born in 1391 and died in 1476. After brilliant studies, he joined the
Franciscans at the age of 19, was raised to the rank of Preacher in his
Order, and preached almost daily for 40 years, during 13 of which he
traversed the greater part of Europe, even as far as Scandinavia and
Russia. In 1460 he was appointed Inquisitor ; later on, he refused the
Archbishopric of Milan. His missionary tours into outlying mountain
villages brought him into contact with the FraticeUi — heretics bred of
the persecutions to which the stricter Franciscans had been subjected
by their laxer brethren — and, in spite of his naturally merciful disposi-
tion, he became their conscientious and relentless persecutor. The two
following extracts are from his voluminous Answer to an Open Letter
which the Fraticelli had written in their own defence, and in which they
insisted much on the grave suspicion of heresy against John XXII.
(see Extracts 222-3 above). The letter of the FraticelH is pubUshed in
the Scelta di Curiosita Letter arie (Bologna, 1865) ; the Answer of St. James
is in Baluze-Mansi, Miscellanea, vol. II., pp. 595 fE : it was written
after 1449, but probably not long after.

306.— Popes anD ©ercgp.

(p. 599).

]ND again I say unto thee, [0 heretic], that
albeit certain Supreme Pontiffs have died
in unfaith, yet thou [shalt ever find that,
when one Pope died in heresy, a Catholic
Pope immediately succeeded him. Where-
fore it cannot be found, in the whole series of the list of
Supreme Pontiffs, that any two Popes were successively
and immediately heretics ; and thus it is not said that
faith hath failed without qualification {^sim'pliciter'] in
the order of Popes ; since, when our Lord said to Peter,
" I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not," he
said it not only for him but for the whole church. But
ye short-sighted Michaelists* hold as heretics all the
Popes who have succeeded the aforesaid John [XXII]
and all who favour, believe in, or adhere to him ;
wherefore ye deceive yourselves and have become
heretics. ... (p. 601). Yet, supposing that a pope
were heretical, and not publicly condemned, still
bearing his office ; supposing that a simple person, not
a public person, enquired of that Lord Pope concerning

* Michael of Cesena, Minister- General of the Franciscans, had
played a leading part in the revolt against John XXII.









Popes and Heresy. 667

the unity of the faith, and the Pope then instructed him
in that heresy which he himself held for a truth ; then
the man thus instructed, if he be not made conscious [of
his error] from some other quarter, is not to be adjudged
an heretic, seeing that he believeth himself to be
instructed in the Catholic faith. If therefore the simple
Brethren, and the rest of the clergy and laity who hear
Pope John [XXII] proclaiming his own decrees [con-
cerning the Poverty of Christ] as catholic, — even suppos-
ing that they were heretical — if these men, I say, have
believed in them, they are not to be condemned as
heretics, especially since they are considered by all to
be in the majority ; thou therefore, being a Michaelist,
art thou not an heretic ? For in a matter so weighty
the Michaelists ought to have looked to the determina-
tion of the Holy Church, and more especially of the
Roman Court,* to which it specially pertaineth to
decide such points as concern the essentials of faith ;
but these [Fraticelli], with the rashness habitual to
heretics, refer to themselves and to their own know-
ledge, thus plunging mto heresy and apostasy.

' * i.e., the Pope in conjunction with his cardinals, to which latter
body the writer has just before attributed the primary duty of correcting
the Pope in case of error.

307.— Cl)e mom of ©etesp.

(p. H(Xl).

UT I desire thee to be won over to thine own
salvation ; wherefore know for certain that
it is a property of the Catholic faith, which
was in St. Peter, to grow under persecution
and oppression, and to wax more worthy.
But the sect of Michaelists faileth and groweth more
debased under persecution. For all Catholic Doctors
attribute to the true Faith that it waxeth ever in
tribulation and oppression, as is clear from the times of
the martyrs, when a hundredfold more were converted
than those who were slain ; and the more the Church

668 A Medieval Garner.

was oppressed, the more glorious she rose up agam ;
wherefore that most excellent Doctor Hilary saith :
" This is proper to the Church, that she conquereth
when she is hurt ; when she is rebuked, then she under-
standeth ; when she hath abandoned, then doth she
obtain." And Cassiodorus : " The Church of God
hath this quality in especial, to flourish under persecu-
tion, to grow in oppression, to conquer under injury,
and to stand all the firmer when men deem her over-
come." So also Augustine [De Civ. Dei, cap. 71) and
Gregory {Moralia, XVIII., 13). Moreover it is yet
more marvellous, as the aforenamed Doctors assert,
that the Church unresisting subdueth her persecutors,
and prevaileth more without resistance than when
she withstandeth her adversaries ; but this sect of
Michaelists had at first most mighty and powerful
defenders ; yet now it hath but gross boors. Espe-
cially mayest thou see how aU other rites which do
and did exist have taken their source and origin from
St. Peter and his successors, but with the lapse of time
they have grown in riches by the dignity, wisdom,
virtue, and multitude of their adherents ; while all
other rites which were not [founded] in St. Peter and
his Catholic successors have so dwindled that no man
is left in them who knew his own rite and could defend
it and was able even to expound it. . . . Therefore
the Greeks, and all other sects which have departed
from the faith of Peter, have dwindled in wisdom,
honour, and power ; and aU other heretical sects (which
up to St. Augustine's time numbered two hundred, as
he himself saith in his Book of Heresies) have failed,
and have aU ended in lechery . . . (610). Moreover,
in God's Church there are always holy men through
whom God worketh many miracles ; for ever [apparent
lacuna in text] even as now at this present time God
hath raised twenty-three dead men through St.
Bernardino of the Friars Observant of our Order, as
approved by the commissaries deputed by the supreme
Pontiffs of the Holy Roman Church ; thrice, at three
different times, hath the Holy Roman Church inquired
into the miracles aforesaid, and innumerable others which

The Odottr of Heresy. 669

God worketh through His servant Brother Bernardino,
as the}^ have been received and approved by the Holy
Roman Church, and as I have seen with mine own eyes ;
as appeareth also by the [votive] images of gold and
silver that hang in testimony of his miracles within the
church of St. Francis at Aquila ; so also of many other
saints who have been since John XXII., but whom ye
condemn together with the whole Church. And it is
marvellous indeed that in the case of all heretics and
schismatics, since they have withdrawn from the
Church, God hath wrought no miracles among them
(for miracles, as Riccardus and Scotus say, are wrought
by God for confirmation of faith in Him) ; but it is never
found of you who make a church of your own, nor hath
it ever been heard of that any of you have wrought any
miracle, except that in burning they stink like putrid
flesh.* Whereof ye have an example in Fabriano,
while Pope Nicholas V. was there ; some of these
heretics were burned, and the whole city stank for
three days long ; and this I know because I smelt the
stench of them for those three days even in my convent ;
and — whereas I had persuaded them all to come back
to the faith, all of whom returned and confessed and
communicated, and wept tears of compunction, and
were thus justified even though they had relapsed —
yet one who was called Chiuso of Fabriano, the treasurer
of those heretics, would never return. I testify before
God that he never called upon God to help him, or the
Virgin, or any Saint ; nor did he pray that God would
forgive his sins ; but as one desperate and withered he
continued saying : " The fire cannot burn me ! " and
I bear witness before God that he burned for three days
long, while men brought fresh wood again and again !
[The Saint goes on to accuse the Fraticelli of the same
crimes which they themselves laid to the charge of the
orthodox clergy.]

* The corrumpuntur of the text is an evident slip for comhuruntur.

670 A Medieval Garner.

The medieval Freshman was called hejaunus or beanus (=bec-jaune=
greenhorn). According to the convenient fiction of his seniors, he
came up from home in the shape of an uncouth and offensive wild beast,
horned, tusked, and rough-haired : nor could he take place in decent
society until all these deformities had been removed. The rough
horseplay and blackmail for which this Depositio Cornuum gave excuse
are set forth at length in a Scholars' Manual composed for Heidelberg
university about 1480 a.d., and frequently printed before the Reforma-
tion. This has been reprinted by F. Zarncke {Die Deutschen Univer-
sitdten im Mittelalter, Leipzig, 1857) ; I give it here in an abbreviated
form. For the similar ordeals at other universities see Dr. H. Rashdall.
Universities of Europe in the Middle Ages, II., 628£E.

308.— Cfte jFtesijman's Oroeal

§AMILLUS. What is this stench which fills
the whole place ? Faugh ! it must either
be some decaying corpse or a goat, most
unsavoury of beasts. Good masters and
excellent fellows all, how can ye sit in the
midst of this stench ? It availeth not even to hold one's
nose : I must needs go forth or die ! Come, Berthold !

Berthold. Tarry awhile, and we shall see whence it

Camillus. Well said ! Search we every nook and
cranny of the building till we find the source of this
hog-stye odour. . . . Ha ! what do I see ? What
monster is this ? . . . Horned like a bull, tusked like
a wild swine, beaked like an owl, with red and inflamed
eyes that bespeak his furious mood ! Didst thou ever
see a devil ? Methinks this is worse still. Flee, lest
he fall upon us !

Berthold. Nay, I will gaze upon him, even at mine
own peril ! What say'st thou, Camillus ? here we
have a beanus !

Camillus. What, a beanus ?

Berthold. If I be not altogether deceived, a beanus
it is.

Camillus. Never before have I seen a beast which
giveth so plain a promise of cruelty and ferocity as this
uncouth creature !

Berthold. Peace, I will address him. Master Johann,
when didst thou come hither ? Of a truth thou art a

The Freshman's Ordeal. 671

fellow-countryman of mine, hold forth thy hand. What,
ruffian ! wilt thou tear me with thy claws ? A man
must be clad in mail to accost thee safely. . . . What,
thou sittest, wild ass of the desert ! Seest thou not
here Masters of the University, reverend seniors, before
whom thou shouldst humbly stand ? . . . Good God !
see him stand like a block of wood, stock still, shameless,

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