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A Merry Dialogue Declaringe the Properties of Shrowde Shrews and Honest Wives   By: (1469-1536)

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[Transcriber's Note: With the exception of hyphenation at the end of lines, the text version preserves the line breaks of the original; the html version has been treated similar to drama and starts a new paragraph for each change of speaker. An illustration of the title page is included to give an impression of the original.]

A mery Dia logue, declaringe the propertyes of shrowde shrewes, and ho nest wyues, not onelie verie pleasaunte, but also not a lytle profitable: made by ye famous clerke D. Erasmus. Roteroda mus.

Translated into Englyshe.

Anno. M.CCCCC. LVII.

Eulalia. God spede, & a thousand mine old acqueintance. xantippa. xan. As many agayn, my dere hert. Eulalia. me semets ye ar waren much faire now of late. Eula. Saye you so? gyue you me a mocke at the first dash. xan. Nay veryly but I take you so. Eula. Happely mi new gown maketh me to loke fayrer then I sholde doe. xan. Sothe you saye, I haue not sene a mynioner this many dayes, I reken it Englishe cloth. Eu. It is english stuff and dyed in Venis. xan. It is softer then sylke what an oriente purpel colore here is who gaue you so rich a gift. Eu. How shoulde honeste women come by their gere? but by their husbandes. xan. Happy arte thou that hathe suche an husband, but I wolde to god for his passyon, that I had maryed an husband of clowts, when I had maried col my good man. Eula. Why say ye so. I pray you, are you at oddes now. xan. I shal neuer be at one with him ye se how beggerly I go. I haue not an hole smock to put on my backe, and he is wel contente with all: I praye god I neuer come in heuen & I be not ashamed oftimes to shewe my head, when I se other wiues how net and trim they go that ar matched with farre porer men then he is. Eula. The apparell of honest wiues is not in the aray of the body, nor in the tirements of their head as saynte Peter the apostle teacheth vs (and that I learned a late at a sermon) but in good lyuynge and honest conuersacion and in the ornamentes of the soule, the common buenes ar painted up, to please manye mennes eies we ar trime ynough yf we please our husbands only. xan. But yet my good man so euyll wylling to bestow ought vpon his wyfe, maketh good chere, and lassheth out the dowrye that hee hadde with mee no small pot of wine. Eulaly, where vpon? xantipha, wheron hym lykethe beste, at the tauerne, at the stewes and at the dyce. Eulalia Peace saye not so. xan. wel yet thus it is, then when he commeth home to me at midnight, longe watched for, he lyeth rowtyng lyke a sloyne all the leue longe nyght, yea and now and then he all bespeweth his bed, and worse then I will say at this tyme. Eulali. Peace thou dyshonesteth thy self, when thou doest dishonesteth thy husband. xantip. The deuyl take me bodye and bones but I had leuer lye by a sow with pigges, then with suche a bedfelowe. Eulali. Doest thou not then take him vp, wel favoredly for stumbling. Xantip. As he deserueth I spare no tonge. Eulalia. what doth he then. xantip. At the first breake he toke me vp vengeably, trusting that he shoulde haue shaken me of and put me to scilence with his crabid wordes. Eula Came neuer your hote wordes vnto handstrokes. xantip. On a tyme we fel so farre at wordes that we wer almost by ye eares togither. Eula what say you woman? xan. He toke vp a staffe wandryng at me, as the deuill had bene on hym ready to laye me on the bones. Eula. were thou not redye to ron in at the bench hole. xanti. Nay mary I warrant the. I gat me a thre foted stole in hand, & he had but ones layd his littell finger on me, he shulde not haue founde me lame... Continue reading book >>




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