The seuen soro­wes that women haue when theyr husbandes be deade. Compyled by Robert Copland.


¶The excuse of the Authour.

TO all archewyues I do pray instantly
And to all wydowes of the seconde degree
Me to excuse, that ignorantly
your wordes to wryth I haue taken on me
For suerly it is of no malignitite
But only to comforte young wyues that haue
young louyng husbandes in their felicite
How after their death they may them haue.

¶Prologue of Robert Copland.

WHy should I muse suche tryfles for to wryte
Or wanton toyes, but for the appetyte
Of wandryng braynes, that seke for thynges new
And do not reche if they be fals or trew.
With what newes? or here ye any tidinges
Of the pope, of the Emperour, or of kynges
Of martyn Luther, or of the great Turke
Of this and that, and how the world doth worke.
So that the tongue must euer wagge & clatter
And waste their wyndes, to medle of eche matter
Thus ben we prynters called on so fast
That maruayle it is, how that our wittes can last.
With haue ye the takyng of the Frenche kyng
Or what conceptes haue ye of laughyng
Haue ye the balade called maugh murre
Or b [...]ny wenche, or els go from my durre
Col to me, or hey downe dery dery
Or a my hert, or I pray you be mery.
Thus if our heades forged were of brasse
yet shoulde we wexe as dulle as any asse
And alof baggage nought worthe in substaunce
But bokes of vertue haue none vtteraunce
As thus, syr I haue a very proper boke
Of morall wysdome please ye their on to loke
Of els a boke of comen consolation.
Tusshe a straw man, what should I do therewith
Hast thou a boke of the wydowe Edith
That hath begyled so many with her wordes
Or els suche a geest that is ful of bourdes
Let me se, I wyll yet waste a peny
Upon suche thynges and if thou haue eny.
How say ye by these, wyll ye bestowe a grote
ye syr somuche? nay, that I shorowe my cote
A peny I trow is ynough on bokes
It is not so soone goten, as this worlde lokes
By saynt Mary I cannot tell the brother
Money euer goeth for one thyng or for other
God helpe my fryende, this worlde is harde & kene
They that haue it wyll not let it be sene
But let that passe vnto another tyme
Haue ye not seene a prety geest in tyme
Of the seuen sorowes that these women haue
whan that their husbandes been brought to graue.
No I sayth, I dyd neuer here ther of.
By God and it is a very propre scoffe
[Page]If it were prynted, it wyl be wel soulde
I haue heard it or now, ful madly tolde.
It may well be, but I wene I should gyt
Displeasure of women if that I prynt it
And that were I loth, for I haue alway
Defended them, and wyll to my last day.
Ah ha, than I seye be wel at ease
Whan ye are afrayde women to displease.
What nede me gette angre, if I may haue thāke
In faythe I can not se, but as madde a pranke
as soone wyl a man do as a woman
why should they be rayled and gested on than
And to say soth it is but a fond apetyte
To geste on women, or against them to wryte.
That is truthe, if they be good and honest
But this is but a mery bourdyng Ieest
without reproufe, dishonesty or shame
That in no wyse can appayre their good name.
That is good, but haue ye any copy
That a man myght enprynt it thereby
And whan I se it, than I wyll you tell.
If that the matter be ordred yll or well.
I haue no boke, but yet I can you shewe
The matter by herte, and that by wordes fewe
Take your penne, and wryte as I do say
But yet of one thyng, hertely I you praye
Amende the englysh somwhat if ye can.
[Page]And spel it true, for I shall tel the man
By my soule ye prynters make such englyshe
So yll spelled, so yll poynted, and so peuyshe
That scantly one cane rede lynes tow
But to fynde sentence, he hath ynought to do
For in good fayth, yf I should say truthe
In your craft to suffer, it is great ruthe
Suche pochers to medle, and can not skyl
Of that they do, but doth al marre and spyl
I ensure you, your wardeins ben therof to blame
It hyndreth your gayne and hurteth your name
Howe be it, it is al one to mee
Whether ye thryue, or elles nenuer thee.
Wel brother. I can it not a mende
I wyl no man ther of dyscommende
I care no greatly, so that I nowe and than
May get a peny as wel as I can
Howe be it, in our crafte I knowe that there be
Connyng good worke men, and that is to se
In latyn and englysh, whiche they haue wrought
Whose names appereth, where they be sought
But to our purpose, nowe tourne we agayne
And let me begyn to wryte a lyne or twayne.
Wyth al my hert, but fyrst I pray you say
Unto all women that I them hertely pray
To haue me excused of thys homely dede
And what I say, of themselfe take no hede.

¶The fyrst sorowe.

The fyrst sorowe that these women haue
Is or theyr husbandes be layde in graue
And that is duble in this maner wyse
This man full sycke in deadly paynes lyse
Many a daye, nygh to the houre of deth
His eyene dymineth, and very shorte is his breth
The flew me ratleth in his brest and throte
His powlces beten, his tounge is roughe and hote
Phisicions forsake him euery chone
Whan that they se his money almost gone
Than this pore woman that so hreatly toyled
Wrappyge, and warminge wt many a hand defoyled
Doth hym beholde, and seeth he wyll dye
The holy candell she lyghteth hym by
And so he lyeth consumyng to his ende
This wyfe then that busely doth hym tende
[Page]Seing hym lye to longe in that case
Wyth droppes and markes in euery place
Consyderyng her good, that is gretly spente
And the candell well nygh wasten and brent
She loketh on the candell wyth a dolefull gost
Alas seyth she, thou arte gone almost
How shall I for go thy company
Whan thou arte gone, I ensure perfytely
To my lyues nede I wyll haue no mo
For thy sake, I haue the loued so
Alas good woman full w [...] arte thou
But what wylt thou do wyth hym now
Bury hym, alas thou arte ther to full loth
But though that she be neuer so wrothe
It must be done, and so this good woman
Ordreth all thynges so well as she can
For his buryenge, and other seruyce
So cometh the pres [...]es and other lykewyse
As the mourners, and executours
Torche berers, kynsfolke and neyghbours
Than is the corps layd on the bere
Or in a coffyn as the guyse is here
Than this pore widow clothed all in blacke
Of sorow be sure she doth nothyng lacke
From her chamber she cometh a downe
Than for great fere to fall in aswowne
Upon her she bereth some confeccion
As powder of peper, or a red onyon
And whan she cometh thre ye corps doth lye
Her handes she wryngeth pyteously
Out out alas, what shall I do forth on
Wolde god I were by thy graue anon
This sorow is longe, what shal me now betyde
I beseche Iesu thy soule in heauen may bide.

¶The second sorow.

THe seconde sorow that these wyues do make
Is whan .iiii. men the corps on thē do take
Toward the chyrche, and the prestes do syng
This wofull wydow al waye folowyng
With bedes in hande, in mournynge hood
God knoweth yf syghes do her any good
Now thinketh she, here haue I much to do
And haply thys wydowe hath a shorte sho
That streyneth her toes, and doeth hurte her fote
Than thynketh she, I be shrew the hearte rote
Of the horeson sowter, it greueth me so
And to the chrche we haue ferre to go
Or els she is laced in her new blacke gowne
That for straytnes she is lyke to swone
Or els it may fortune so that she
Hath in her som lose infyrmyte
[Page]Or els the wynde doth waste the waxe to sore
And she knowes well that she must pay therfore
But whan they nyghe vnto the churche be
who soroweth nowe: for so the none but she
I can suppose, beyng so nere the place
where he must rest, this is a heuy case
Who sygheth now, alas this pore woman
For I am sure that she woulde be as than
As farre home warde, but she dothe take in worthe
This heuy chaunce, and wofully goeth forthe
And to herselfe al pryuely doth saye
what remedy all is wel on the waye
well a way, than sayd the executour
That ledeth her, why make ye this dolour
I you ensure that ye do God displease
So for to fare, but it were more ease
For the soule, to saye som good oreyson
Nothynge can helpe your lamentacyon
Alas syr she sayeth, ye saye of certaynete
But yet my heart can not so serue me
And therewithall she doeth wepe so fast
That her heart tikleth as it would brast
O kynde womane I blame the not at all
Thou woulde hym haue in christen buryall

¶The thyrd sorowe.

FOrth now than goeth this wofull creature
To the thyrd sorowe. I may you well ensure
In to the chyrche and sytteth in a pewe
Full often than chaungeth all her hewe
For veray fayntnes, or is to harde enbraced
Would God sayth she that I were vnlaced
Or els may chaunce with chylde that she go
Of .x. wekes tyme, or haply of mo
Or els some qualme may in her stomacke ryse
As women haue in many dyuers wyse
But for all that this wydowe sytteth styll
Puttyng her selfe all in goddes wyll
Hearyng deuoutly the deuyne songe
A Iesu mercy thys seruyce is longe
And she is very sycke and would be thence
In fayth I had leuer that .xl. pence
She were awaye, so I myght her excuse
[Page]But not so, she will her selfe sadly vse
Men shal not say yt she would fayne be ryde
Her sorowes shalbe womanly hyde
And in her prayers, her selfe occupy
Ne were it so that the beggers cry
On her so faste and let her for to pray
with some good man haue these folke away
I neuer sawe such folke, and so lewde
withstande at the dore knaues al be shrewde
ye troble this woman, and it is no nede
Come to morowe and ye may haply spede
Thus is thys woman troublously arayde
Tyll that the last dyryge is sayde
And wyth the corps walketh to the pytte
But than in dede harde is to forgette
Alas sayth she, all this busines
Nowe were me leuer for to die than lyfe
Now wyll I all my goodes away gyue
The mantyll and ryng, now wyll I take
A las alas, now must I leue my make
Fare well my Ioye, thou act gone for euer
Ah my pore herte in sonder wyll sheuer
Ah fals death, why haste thou hym so slayne
And leueth me here in thys most woful payne
Thus nethelesse, this man is layde alowe
And than ye priest earth vpō him doth throw
She seyng that loketh full heuely
Upon the clerke, and wofully doth crye
A good swete man, please it the trinite
That I were layd vpryght vnder thee
Whan this is done though it be to her payne
As wo full as she went, she must go home agayne

¶The fourth sorowe.

NOwe wofull women Iesu be thy spede
Harde is to knowe what lyfe thou wilt lede
All this nyght, when I to me mynde call
With no more rest than a stone in a wall
Now wyll thou consyder thy great coste
And howe thow hast a good husbande lofte
I meane thy bedfelowe, for he is gone
Thus is a newe payne for to lye a lone
Now muse thou must, where thou wast wōt to plai
yet for all this as sone as any day
Th [...]u must a rys and ouerse thy hous
With come here, go there, as busy as a mous
Bring this fetche that, care this thens
walke hyther, renne thyther, be not long thens
Go for hym, fetche her and desyre them
[Page]To go wyth me to the masse of Requiem
Lo thus these women can not be out of care
But what than yet wyl they nothyng spare
To be quyte of thys charges, and what than?
God haue mercy on hys soule good man
I am well a payde that I haue brought to passe
Thus far forth, now let vs go to masse
Beshorow me, yf I woulde take suche payne
On condicion to haue hym agayne
Whan for thys, for that, one thyng and other
Fye on it Fye, I swere by godds mother
ye wyll not beleue what is the exspens
For this .xl. shyllynges and for that .xl. penens
Here a noble, and there well nyghe a pounde
There goeth a grote, and there a shyllyng rounde
The prestes and clarkes, for the knyll and pyt
And other thynges, that I am wery of it
Here is great sorow but what remedy
Go we to church I pray you hartely
I thinke this sorow wyl euer last
Mayde lay meate to fyre for our breke fast
Agaynste we come home, wel wel mayitresse
ye shal se me do al my busines
To masse now is the widow on her way
Deuoutly for her husband to pray
There doth she syt, god wat how sore mournynge
Tyl that the tyme come of the offring
Than for her husbande can not fro her mynde
The most fayrest peny that she can fynde
She taketh and in to the quere
Sayng softly that al the prestes may here
Lokyng on the peny with wofull eye
Full loth am I to depart fro the
[Page]I can not blame her yf she were lothe to parte
Wyth that she loueth wel with all her harte
Thus with her loue, sorowe, and kyndnesse
The wydowe bydeth the residewe of the masse.

¶The fyfth sorowe.

THe fyfth sorowe is very dolorous
As he is buried and the wyfe in hous
Alone is left, and al her neyghbours gone
Styl museth she than makyng great mone
Sayng, wo is me thys tyme for to se
Now must I both husband, and wyfe be
yet what of that I may take such sorow
Parauenture to dye or to morowe
Nay let it be, for I wyl take no thought
Sorow wyl ryght soone bryng me to nought
Now syth he be gon, wel what remedy
Other be wyddwes as wel as I
[Page]Than sytteth she sadly downe on the benche
What Ione I say, and called her wenche
Come hyther Ione to me is your hous drest:
I pray god gyue all chrysten soules good rest
And wt her knyfe bytwene her fyngers two
She dalieth, waggyng it to and fro
With dydle dydle dydle, tyrle tyrle tyrle
The brayne rennyth and ther of no terle
As in suche a case, and than wyl requyre
O sorowe great, more hote than the fyre
Now is thys woman in greate fantasy
And no maruayle, yet hathe she no couse whi
For haply he was vnto her vnkynde
But for al that as clene out of her mynd
Of womanhed, and eke of here kyndnes
She dothe forget hys waywerde folyshnes
And dote performe the tenour of hys wyl
And is in purpose hys mynd to fulfyl
Remembrynge greatly how the pore soule is
In great peryl, yf he haue left ought amysse
And than a gayne her owne selfe for to chere
Her mayde she calleth as I dyd saye ere
Com hyther I one and god on my arande
God and desire my gossyp Coplande
My gosseyp Miles, and my gssip Susan
My gossip Stodarde, and my neybour An
The good wyfe Rychardson, & the good wyfe Gayes
And to Peters vyfe, & pray them streyght wayes
To do so moch as to come speke with me
And whan thou hast done loke that thou hie the
And take a pot and go to saint Iohans heade
For a quart of Muscadel and newe bread
[...] couple of bounes or maunchettes newe bake
[Page]For I promyse thee, my hert doth ake
Anone maystresse sayth she as a good damsell
And douth her message right fayre and well
And whan the gossyppes assembled be
What chere goode gossyp, than sayeth she and she
Be ye of good chere, and thanke god of all
This worlde ye se, doth tourne lyke as a ball
Now vp, and now downe, now to and now fro
Now myrth than Ioye, nowe care and than wo
A good man, god haue mercy on thy soule
By my trouth whan I dyd her the bell tole
My hert erned and I shall tell you why
Ah good man thou speke ful meryly
Thys day seuen nyght and now thou art ful lowe
Now by my faythe in al this strete I trowe
Is not his felow in euery degree
By my sowle yf ye wyll beleue me
I trowe he wyll neuer out of my mynde
Surly gossyp he was euer kynde
A Iesu howe he woulde you prayes
His mynde was so occupyed alwayes
On this worlde, in his myrth and his game
I harde hym neuer no man defame
Ah gossyp, gossyp sayth thys wydow than
Though I say it he was an honest man
He left me so to dryue the wat a way
That I am bounde for hym dayly to pray
For by thys syluere and wyne in this cuppe
And therewith she made a soppe
Saynge of gossyppes my hert is so sore
That I care not whyche ende doth go a fore
And therewyth putteth it in to her mouthe
And swere by hym that dyed in the southe
[Page]There was neuer sorow, wo nor smerte
That euer dyd go more nerer my herte
Alacke good woman, take it not so heuyly
Sayth her gossyppes, lest that ye dye
Now he is gone, there is no better reede
Thus this wydowe they comfort euery day
The best they can, to dryue her care a way

¶The syxte sorowe.

Now hath thys wydow, thanked be Iesu
Performed the buriyng, as to her is due
Sadly and wysely me nede not to tell
She hath behaued her ther in so well
That I dare sweare if it chaunce her agayne
She can it do with lesse coste and payne
But for all that she is to hym so kynde
Thao she wyl not forget his monethes minde
[Page]Nor his annuuersary at the yeres ende
She doth so well that eche doth here commende
She renneth not hourly fro house to hous
But kepeth home as duly as a mous
Erly she ryseth and lyeth downe late
And laboureth sore to kepe her estate
Walkyng sadly in towne and strete
Without acquayntaunce of them that she mete
And somtyme hereth how folke doth der prayes
Se ye yonder wydowe that goeth that wayes
I ensuer you she is a sadde woman
By my trouth if I were a sengleman
If I had fourty pounde and fourty there by
I could fynde in my herte to make her lady.
ye but I pray you is she of any substaunce
That would make a man any fortheraunce.
ye by sant Mary I holde her well at ease
I tell you if that ye coulde her please
Or haue her good wyll than were it cocke
For better it were to haue her in her smocke
Than som other that hath more good
It is a great treasure to haue womanhood.
That is truth, but I shall tell you one thyng
Many that been so smothe in their goyng
Been also shrewed as is the deuell of hell
And neuer cease, but euer fyght and yell
Euer vnquiet, and alway chyde and brall
And that freteth a man both herte and gall
And many tymes in stede of fleshe or fyshe
[Page]A dede mannes head is serued in a dyshe
And he ther with is made so very mate
That hous and profite he doth in maner hate
For I haue herde a hundred tymes and mo
That wyues & smoke cause men there hous to for go
He that is afrayde to treade on the grasse
Through medowes I counsell hym not to passe
He must aduenture that shuche a thyng wyll haue
Often he for goeth, that fereth for to craue
Thus been these wowers euer in greate doubt
That sumtyme do bryng ther mater so a bout
That they went to haue God by the cote
And haue the dyuel fast a bout the throte
As I haue herde say I wote not what it meaneth
The matter goeth not as some folke weneth
But what of that, we must forth on procede
To our wydowe, Iesu be oure spede
She lyueth so well and so honestly
That all her knowledge woweth her company
Fro the tauerne, daunces, and common players
And wanton may games, she kepeht her alwaies
Pleasaunt pylgrymages, wylsdon and Crome
She seketh not, but tarieth styll at home
So chaunceth it, that on a festfulday
Whan that folke wandred [...]o pastyme and play
This woman at home hath a delyte to be
Saufe to the dore no farther walketh she
And on thresholde fortuneth to syt
Than som neyghbour happeneth to se it
And to her cometh to pastyme and to talke
For she no lust hath, a brode as than to walke
with good euen fayre wydowe, how do ye to day
[Page]well I thanke you as a lone woman may
That hath great charges, and but smal counsel
wel neyghbour sayth he, al thyng shal be wel
Thanked be God ye be out of det
God haue his soule that hath you so well set
ye nede not to sequester vnder the bysshoppe
And that is sene by our warehous and shoppe
And I am sure there is muche owyng you
Mary sayth she I can not shew you how
For he occupied muche more without
Than within, and that causeth me dout
How to get inwarde that other men haue
And I am ashamed on them for to craue
For all my sorow, payne, and thought
Is for to gather, that to hym was aught
For he was fre, and lent it here and there
To them that would browe euery where
How be it, yet for his owne sowle sake
Here and there somwhat I wyll ay take
As they may paye, for I wyll none trouble
For I ensure you, though that it were double
I set not by it, but I wyll haue all ryght
As nyghe as I can of euery wyght
For what by tayle, by wrytyng and by score
I am ryght sure ther is ought me more
Than I wyl say, and that they would maruayle
One can not lyue with scoryng on the taile
Noywys neybour, and that you know full wel
As wel as I, me nede not ther offo [...] to tell
For it is a new thyng for to take in hand
To order all thynges right as it shoulde stande
For one that is but lytle wount ther to
No remedy but it must nedes be do
[Page]But how be it I shall tell you what
If I coulde wel rule and guyde all that
Without the dore as I cane that with in
I would not care therfore scantly a pyn
But or it be longe, neyghbour I trust
It shall be ordred par [...]ly as I lust
ye, ye, neyghbour sayth he I dare trust your wit
That well ynough ye wyll puruey for it
And what I can do ye shall fynde me redy
Whan that ye nede, both late and erly
And fare you well I take my leue as now
Neyghbour she sayth, I pray god thanke you.

¶The .vii. sorowe.

UOis laste sorow, yf any sorow be
Is so the wydow of her chairte
Now must perfourme her husbandes intent
[Page]Touching his wyll, his mynde and tesstament
And so she doth, as nygh as she can
So that no where ther is any man
That can demaunde of ryght and duty
But she them pleaseth well and honestly
So that her name is so wel spredde
That many delyteth her for to wedde
Wouers com with many a proude offre
Some with loue, and other som with proffre
Som come gayly, and all in pleasure
Som come poorely wyth countenaunce demure
Som launcheth mony largely fro theyr powches
Some sheweth tynges, Ieweles, and riche owches
Some sendeth her a tokne or a Capon
Som sendeth her wyne, other sendeth venyson
And all for to kendle, and set her hert on fire
To cause her to bowe, and folow ther desyre
But this wydow as stedfast as a wall
As she well can, thanketh them greatly all
Excusyng her as she can do full well
For certayne causes more that I can tell
How be it perchaunce that she woulde fayne
But she casteth in her mynde agayne
yf I should wedde and holde me vnto one
That myght fortune all this chere were gone
Me thynke I lede a metely mety lyfe
Whiche I should not yf that I whre a wyfe
To bed I go and ryse whan I wyll
All that I do is reason and skyll
I commaunde other but noue commandeth me
And eke I stande at myne owne liberte
How be it I do note in consynence
Whether to wedde or lyue in continence
[Page]For I am yonge, and may the worlde increase
And vnto me it is full harde to cease
The wanton delyte, that younge women haue
And ferther more my good name for to saue
For the resorte that here do com dayly
I take suche thought, and so much care yt I
Wote not well in what estate to abyde
For yf a yonge man shoulde me betide
That were to sharpe, or hath no worldli shifte
Than myght I say a dew fare wel my thryfte
And yf I sholde hym in any wyse contray
Than myght perchaunce that we two shoulde vart
In the deuyls name, peke thee out at the dore
And so me bete, saying olde wyddred hore
Or lay to pledge suche as I haue, or sell
yet had I leuer neuer with none to mell
yf he be olde and a waywarde wyght
He is yll to please, eyther day or nyght
Euer hummyng at thys thyng and that
And alway chydyng, and wotes not for what
And yf he fall ones in ialowsy
The deuyl than troubleth his fantasy
Thus I ne wote by god and by my soule
How that I may now me selfe controule
He that I had, me thought was very yll
But yf god pleased I wolde I had hym styll
So than this wydow hee selfe to comforte
Unto a frende of hers dothe resorte
With her neyghbours, and goynge be the way
They chaunce to walke ouer an olde raw say
Whiche is to broke, and the pauement [...]ore
Than taketh she vpher clothes a fore
For fylyng, rememberyng her husbandes entent
[Page]Thai euer amended that broken pauement
Saynge our lorde Iesu graunt hym his grace
That was wont to lay stones in this place
But if that I may lyue an other yere
They shalbe layde as well as euer they were
Ah true wydowe, so true, louyng and kynde
Thy husbandes dedes be not fro thy mynde
Now all true wydowes as ye do entende
In all our sorowes Chryst you comforte sende.
¶Finis. deo laus et honor.

Lenuoy of .R. Copland

[...]O lytle quayre, god gyue the wel to sayle
To that good sheppe, ycleped Bertelet
For through it thou mayst the more preuayle
Agaynst the rockes, that blyndly ben yset
Up on the land thy substaunce for to fret
And from all nacyous, if that it be thy lot
Lest thou be hurt, medle not with a Scot.
¶And to thy readers, as custome is to say
Do thy deuoyr, but to wydowes chefely
Desyringe them to take it as in play
For that to do, was myne entent truely
Desyryng them to accept my fantasy
And to amende thyne englyshe where is nede
For to pastime myne intent was in dede.


¶Imprented at London in Lothburi ouer agaynste Sainct Margarytes church by me Wyllyam Copland.

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