Excerpt from “The Prologe of the Translatour of This Lytell Werke, of the Lyfe of Saynt Werburge” by Henry Bradshaw (with modern spelling version appended)

Dyvers people / have dyvers condicions:
Comynly proved / it is every day:
Some set to vertu / and good disposycyons,
In penaunce / prayer / all that they may,
Some in contemplacyon / the sothe to say,
Some in abstynence / to chastyce the body
And make it subget / to the soule perfytely;

Some other rejoyce / in synne and ydelnes,
Some servauntes to Venus / both day and nyght,
Other to covetyse / and worldly besynes,
Some to deceyve / by subtylte in syght,
Some unto marchandyse / & wynnynge full ryght,
Some ferefull and tymerous / without audacyte,
Some sadde and sobre / and of great gravyte;

Many have pleasure to speke of rybaudry,
Some of fyghtynge / braulynge / and actes marcyall,
Other to flater / and paynt the company,
Some to syt bytwene the cuppe and the wall,
Some to blaspheme / and dyssemble withall,
To backbyte and sclaunder / by malyce and envy,
Some to extorcyon / thefte and playne robry.

Thus after fraylte / and sundry compleccyons
Dyvers men dyvers in lyvynge there be,
Dysposed by a contrary dysposycyon,
Some unto vertue / some unto vanyte;
Many maners of people / now we may se
Waverynge in the worlde / without quyetnes,
As a shyp by tempest / is dryven, doubtles.

Excerpt from The Prologue of the Translator of This Little Work, of the Life of Saint Werburgh

Diverse people have diverse conditions:
Commonly proved it is every day:
Some set to virtue and good dispositions,
In penance, pray, all that they may,
Some in contemplation, the soothe to say,
Some in abstinence to chastise the body
And make it subject to the soul perfectly.

Some other rejoice in sin and idleness,
Some servants to Venus, both day and night,
Other to covetousness and worldly business,
Some to deceive by subtlety in sight,

Some unto merchandise and wining full right,
Some fearful and timorous without audacity,
Some sad and sober and of great gravity;

Many have pleasure to speak of ribaldry,
Some of fighting, brawling and acts martial,
Other to flatter and paint the company,
Some to sit between the cup and the wall,
Some to blaspheme and dissemble withal,
To back bite and slander by malice and envy,
Some to extortion, theft and plain robbery.

Thus after frailty and sundry complexions
Diverse men diverse in living there be,
Disposed by a contrary disposition,
Some unto virtue, some unto vanity;
Many of manners of people, now we may see
Wavering in the world, without quietness,
As a ship by tempest is drive, doubtless.

From: Bradshaw, Henry and Horstmann, Carl (ed.), The Life of Saint Werburge of Chester by Henry Bradshaw. Englisht A.D. 1513, Printed by Pynson A.D. 1521 and Now Re-Edited, 1887, Early English Text Society: London, pp. 10-11.

Date: 1513

By: Henry Bradshaw (c1450-1513)


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