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Touchyng women, the parfit innocence
Thoughe that they hade of Hester the noblesse,
Or of Grisilde the humble pacience,
Or of Judith the previd stabilnesse,
Or Polyxene's virginal clennesse,
Yet dare I feine, and trustith right wel this,
Some wickid tonge wol deme of them amis.

The wifely trouthè of Penelope
Though they it had in ther possession,
Helene's beautie, the kindneffe of Medee,
The love unfained of Martia Caton,
Or Alceste's moft trewe affeccion,
Yet dare I sain, and trustith right wel this,
A wickid tonge wol alway deme amis.

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Than fevith it that no man maye eschewe
The swerde of tonges, but it wil kerve and bite,
Ful harde it is a man for to remewe,
Out of ther daungir him for to acquite;
Wo to the tongis that 'hem felfe delite
To hinder or selaunder, and set their study' in this,
And ther plesaunce to deme alwaye amis. 126

Mofte noble princis, cherishers of vertue, Remembrith you of high discrecion, The first vertue moste plesing to Jesu (By the writing and sentence of Caton) Is a gode tonge in his opinion, Chastice the reverse, of wisdome do this, Woideth your heringe from al that deme amis. 133

Scogan unto the lordes and gentilmen of the kinge’s boufe. Here followeth a moral ballad to the prince, to the D. of

Clarence, the D. of Bedford, the D.of Glocester, the king's jon, by Henry Scogan, at a supper among the merchants

in the vintry at London, in the house of Lewis John.
Me noble sonnes and eke my lordis dere!
I, your fathir callid unworthilie,
Sende unto you this litil tretise here,
Writtin with mine owne hand full rudilie;
Although it be that I not reverentlie
Have written to your eftatis, I you praie
Myoe unconnyng takith benignèlie
For Godd'is fake, and herkia what I saie.

8
I complain fore when I remembre me
The sodain age that is upon me fall,
But more complain my mispent juventute,
The whiche is impossible'ayen to call,
But certainly the moste complaint of all
Is to thinkin that I have be so nice
That I'ne wouldin vertues to me call
In all my youth, but vices aie cherice;

16 Of whiche I askè mercie of the, Lorde, That art almightie God in majestie, Befekyng to make so evin accorde Betwixt the and my soule that vanitie,

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Ne worldlie lust, ne blinde prosperitie,
Have no lordfhip ovir my feshe to frele;
Thou, Lorde of refte and perfite unitie,
Put fro me vice, and kepe my soule in hele,

And yeve me might, while I have life and space,
Me to confirme fully to thy plesauoce,
Shewe to me the abundaunce of thy grace,
And in gode werkes graunt me perseveraunce,
Of all my youth forget the ignoraunce,
Yeve me gode will to serve the aie to quepe,
Set all my life after thyne ordinaunce,
And able me to mercie or thou deme!

My Lordis dere, why I this complaint write
To you whom that I love most entirely,
Is for to warne you as I can endite
That tymè lofte in youthhed folily
Grevith a wight bodily and ghostly,
I mene hym that to lofte and vice entende,
Wherefore, Lordis, 1 praie you specially
Your youth in vertue shapith to dispende. 40

Plantith the rote of youth in foche a wife
That in vertue your growyng be alwaic,
Loke alwaie godenesse be your exercise,
That shall you mightie make at eche affaie;
The fende to withstandin at eche affraie
Paffith wisely this perillous pilgrimage;
Thinke on this worde, and werke it every daie,
Tha: shall you yeve a parfite flourid age.

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Takith also hede how that these noble clerkes
Writin in ther bokes of grete sapience,
Saiyng that faith is ded withoutin werkes,
And right so is estate with negligence
Of vertue, and therefore with diligence
Shapith of vertue so to plante the rote
That ye thereof have full experience,
To worship of your life and soul'isbote.

Taketh also hede that lordship ne estate
Withoutin vertue maie not long endure;
Thinketh eke how vice and vertue at debate
Have ben and shal while that the worlde maie dure,
And evir the vicious by avinture
Is ovirthrowe; and thinkith evirmore
That God is Lorde of all vertue' and figure,
Of all godeneffe, therfore folowe his lore.

My maistir Chaucer, God his soulè fave!
That in his langage was so curious,
He said, the fathir whiche is ded and grave
Biqueth nothing his vertue with his hous
To his childrin, and therefore labourous
Ought ye to be, besekyng God of grace
To yeve you might for to be vertuous,
Thro whiche ye mightin have parte of his place. 72

Here maie ye se that vertuous noblesse
Cometh not to you by waie of auncestrie,
But it comith by lefull businesse
Of honeft life, and not by sogardrie,

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Wherefore in youth I rede you edific
The house of vertue in foche a madere
That in your age it maie you kepe and gie
Fro the tempeft of world'is wawis here.

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Thinkith how betwixe vertue and estate
There is a parfite bleflid mariage,
Vertue is cause of pece, vice of debate,
In manne's foule, the which be full of corage ;
Cherishith then vertue, vice to outrage
Driveth it away, let it have no wonning
In your soules; lesith not the heritage
Whiche God hath yeve to vertuous livyng.

Take hede also how men of pore degre Through vertue have be set in gret honour, And evir lived in grete profperitie, Through cherishyng of vertuous labour; Thinkith also how many'a govirnour Callid to estate hath be set full lowę Through misusyng of right and of errour, Therfore I counsaile you vertue to know.

By your auncestirs ye maie nothing claime, As that my maistir Chaucer faieth expresse, but tempo'ral thing, that men may burt or maime ; Then is God socke of vertuous noblesse, And sithe that he is Lorde of blissidnesse, And made us all, and for us all ydeide, Folowe' hym in vertue with full bufinesse, And of this thing herke how my mailtįr seide: 164

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