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THE BOKE OF CURTASYE.

HERE BEGYNNETHE THE FIRST BOKE OF

CURTASYE.

Qwoso wylle of curtasy lere,
In this boke he may hit here;
Yf thow be gentylmon, zomon, or knave,
The nedis nurture for to have.
Whenne thou comes to a lordis zate,
The porter thou shalle fynde therate;
Take hym thow shalt thy wepyn tho,
And aske hym leve in to go,
To speke with lorde, lady, squyer, or grome,
Ther to the nedys to take the tome;
ffor yf he be of logh degré,
Than hym falles to come to the;
Yf he be gentylmon of kynne,
The porter wille lede the to hym.

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When thow come tho halle dor to,
Do of thy hode, thy gloves also;
Yf tho halle be at the furst mete,
This lessoun loke thou nozt forzete,
The stuard, countroller, and tresurere,
Sittand at de deshe, thou haylse in fere. 20
Within the halle sett on ayther side,
Sitten other gentylmen as falle that tyde;
Enclyne the fayre to hom also,
ffirst to the ryght honde thou shalle go,
Sitthen to the left hond thy negh thou cast, 25
To hom thou bogh withouten wrast;
Take hede to zomon on thy ryght honde,
And sithen byfore the screne thou stonde,
In myddys the halle opon the flore,
Whille marshalle or ussher come fro the dore, 30
And bydde the sitte or to borde the lede.
Be stabulle of chere for menske, y rede;
Yf he the sette at gentilmonnes borde,
Loke thou be hynde and lytulle of worde.
Pare thy brede and kerne in two,
Tho over crust tho nether fro;
In fowre thou kutt tho over dole,
Sett hom togedur as hit where hole;
Sithen kutt tho nether crust in thre,
And turne hit downe, lerne this at me.
And lay thy trenchour the before,
And sitt upryght for any sore.
Spare brede or wyne, drynke or ale,
To thy messe of kochyne be sett in sale;

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Lest men sayne thou art honge betene,
Or ellis a gloten that alle men wytene.
Loke thy naylys ben clene in blythe,
Lest thy felaghe lothe ther wyth.
Byt not on thy brede and lay hit doun,
That is no curtesye to use in towne;
But breke as myche as thou wylle ete,
The remelant to pore thou shalle lete.
In peese thou ete, and ever eschewe
To flyte at borde, that may the rewe;
If thou make mawes on any wyse,
A velany thou kacches or ever thou rise.
Let never thy cheke be made to grete,
With morselle of brede that thou shalle ete;
An apys mow men sayne he makes,
That brede and fleshe in hys cheke bakes.
Yf any manne speke that tyme to the,
And thou schalle onsware, hit wille not be,
But waloande and abyde thou most,
That is a schame for alle the host.
On bothe halfe thy mouthe, yf that thou ete, 65
Mony a skorne shalle thou gete.
Thou shalle not lauzhe ne speke no thyng,
Whille thi mouthe be fulle of mete or drynke;
Ne suppe not with grete sowndyng,
Nother potage ne other thyng.
Let not thi spone stond in thy dysche, .
Whether thou be served with fleshe or fische;
Ne lay hit not on thy dishe syde,
But clense hit honestly withouten pride.

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Loke no browyng on thy fynger pore,
Befoule the clothe the before.
In thi dysche yf thou wete thy brede,
Loke therof that nozt be lede,
To cast agayne thy dysche into,
Thou art unhynde yf thou do so.
Drye thy mouthe ay wele and fynde,
When thou shalle drynke other ale or wyne.
Ne calle thou nozt a dysche azayne,
That ys take fro the borde in playne;
zif thou spit on the borde or elle opone,
Thou shalle be holden an uncurtayse mon;
Yy thy nowne dogge thou scrape or clawe,
That is holden a vyse emong men knawe;
Yf thy nose thou clense, as may befalle,
Loke thy honde thou clense wythalle,
Prively with skyrt do hit away,
Or ellis thurgh thi tepet that is so gay.
Clense not thi tethe at mete sittande,
With knyfe ne stre, styk ne wande.
While thou holdes mete in mouthe, be war
To drynke, that is anhonest char,
And also fysike forbedes hit,
And sais thou may be choket at that byt;
Yf hit go thy wrang throte into,
And stappe thy wynde, thou art fordo.
Ne telle thou never at borde no tale,
To harme or shame thy felawe in sale;
ffor if he then witholde his methe,
Eftsone he wylle forcast thi dethe.

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Whereso thou sitt at mete in borde, 105
Avoide the cat at on bare worde,
ffor yf thou stroke cat other dogge,
Thou art lyke an ape teyzed with a clogge.
Also eschewe, withouten stryfe,
To foule the borde-clothe with thy knyfe; 110
Ne blow not on thy drynke ne mete,
Nether for colde, nether for hete;
With mete ne bere thy knyfe to mowthe,
Whether thou be sett be strong or couthe;
Ne with tho borde do the thi tethe thou wype, 115
Ne thy nyen that rennen rede as may betyde.
Yf thou sitt by a ryzht good manne,
This lessoun loke thou thenke apone.
Undur his thezgh thy kne not pit,
Thou ar fulle lewed, yf thou dose hit; 20
Ne bacwarde sittande gyf nozt thy cupe,
Nother to drynke, nother to suppe.
Bidde thi frende take cuppe and drynke,
That is holden an honest thyng.
Lene not on elbowe at thy mete,
Nother for colde ne for hete;
Dip not thi thombe thy drynke into,
Thou art uncurtayse yf thou hit do;
In salt-saler yf that thou pit,
Other fisshe or flesshe that men may wyt; 130
That is a vyce as men me telles,
And gret wonder hit most be elles.
After mete when thou shalt wasshe,
Spitt not in basyn ne water thou dasshe;

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