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A Dyssputacio of the Nobylytye off wymen

by Willem Bercher

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Title: A Dyssputacion of the Nobylytye off wymen
Author: Bercher, William (1490–unknown)
Date of publication: 1904
Edition transcribed: (London: Roxburghe Club, 1904)
Source of edition: the Gerritsen Collection.
<>Gerritsen-G154.2< >
Transcribed by: Kosta Gligorijevic and Zoli Filotas, McGill University, 2015.
Transcription conventions: Page numbers in roman numerals have been supplied by transcribers.
Status: Completed and correct, version 1.0, October 2016.

Produced as part of Equality and superiority in Renaissance and Early Modern pro-woman treatises, a project funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.


[p. 85 begins]

A Dyssputacon^ off the

Nobylytye off wymen / Betwene

dyvers ladis / and gentleme*

off ytalye at a place called

Petriôlo / One of the Bayns

of Siena the noble

Cyttye of Toscane/.

Magna ope minorum.



To the Quenis moste exelent Matie.



Greate ys the dutye that all men owethe to theyre

Cheffe Soveraigne/ and greater is the same, beinge

ioyned withe pryncely benefyte/. every man is naturally

bownde, to honor hys prynce, by generall Servyce, that

is requyred of hym/ and som be spetiallye more bownde/ [5]

by severall occasyon, that aught not to be forgot/.

fforgetffullnes, emonge vertuous men/ have ever ben thaught a greate

vyce/ and theye have reputed nothinge so evyll as a man vnmyndefull

of his dutye/.

I ffynde my selffe (moste Exelent pryncesse) to be even he, that [10]

beside the comon* bonde, whearwithe all men be holden to the obser-

vaunce of theyr governor/, have allso pryvate cawse to acknowledge the

debt that growethe by spetyall bonde/. And whear I wolde be lothe

to condempne my selffe of ingratitude, I have wth humble harte/ and

due Recordacon^ off tyme passed/ entreprysed/ to honor the preasent [15]

State, withe a declaracon^ of my sellffe hearin/.

Your highnes mother, Quene of moste worthy memorye/ earnestly

myndenge thadvauncement of learnenge/ employed her bountyfull

benevolence vppon sondry Studentes/ that wer placed at Chambridge/

emonge the whiche yt pleased her highnes to appoynte me (moste un- [20]

worthy) for one/ that shoulde enioye the ffrewyte thearoffe/.

And after that crewell deathe had beraft vs/ her most desyred lyffe,

to the vtter dyscoragement of or purpose begonne/, as dyvers dyd by

and by geve over all/ and deᵱte/: So, I colde not leave that lyve

entred/ by myne owne inclynacon^ and confyrmed by hyr mates gratious [25]

goodnes/. but made myne habode a good tyme/ travelenge in sutche

maner of Stodye, as then was theare approved/.

[p. 88]

yet all this whyle colde I not have (fol. 2) anye determynacon^ withe

my selffe, to professe anye one thynge more then other/ but was content

onelye to satysfye my meanenge ioyned wth the memorye of hyr mtie/.

To this I thought good to add an experyence of travell/ and know-

ledge off more contris then myne owne/. Wch, when I had donne/ my [5]

formor fancye of professenge nothinge partycularly was verye mutche


ffor theare the Stodye of a gentlema* is supposed to consyst in know-

ledge Suffitient for his owne contentacon^, and not to make a gayne

thearof,/ and becom a Servaunte to every mannis Salarye/. [10]

Wth this opynyon/ I retorned home/ and put my Sellffe to attende

vppon the Duke of Norfolke/ that nowe is, whose Synceritye and noble

harte/ as I cannot reache to vtter to yor highnes: so I dowbte not but

the same, doe so well vndrestonde of yt/ as neyther in the one/ nor in

the other any myslyking shalbe had of my demeanor in this behalffe/ [15]

Nowe yt maye lyke your Royall Mate to pardon me in this em-

pryse/ whearin I travell to trye my selffe devoyde of fforgetfullnes/ in

doenge whearof I hadd rather be accompted bolde then ingrate.

I have none other meane to shewe my selffe myndefull of the re-

nomyd memorye of your hyghnes mother/ nor to expresse the con- [20]

solacon^ that I have of yor Mates assumption to your Imperyall Crowne/.

onelye the Servyce and dutye that I owe to your highnes is my guyde/.

Whiche is so greate/, that when I have donne all that I cann doe/, yt

shalbe lesse then I wolde or aught to doe/. And as I wyll not presume

to serve youre grace withe the depe knowledge of learnenge/ whear- [25]

withe I beganne, leavinge that to other that have contynued in the

same/: So wythe these thynges, not allto gether dyssevered (fol. 3) from

learnenge/ and tendinge to honest myrthe/, and not vnlearned recreacon^,

I have made the waye to approche to your Matie bryngynge nothynge

wth me, but a poore preasent off Ytalyon costume/ whear the ladys and [30]

gentle wymen/ ar so enclyned to learnenge and vertue/ as no tyme

appoynted to passe tyme is suffred to passe awaye, wthowte regarde

thearof/ as this that I nowe exhibytt to youre highnes/, and other that

hearafter I mynde to doe, maye testeffye/, yf yt shall (neverthelesse)

stonde wythe youre Maiestis good pleasure/, to geve me lycens theare- [35][p. 89]

vnto/. the whiche showlde be to me a greater gayne/, then by optayn-

enge of som other lycens to atchyve a great deale of Rytches/. ffor by

this waye, showlde I gett, that I have so longe desyred/ that is, in som

sorte to Serve your highnes in myne ende, (beinge borne to be a moste

puisant Quene) as in my begynnyng was ment/, by her that was chosen [5]

to be a Wyffe to a moste victorious kynge/. And so deryvynge the

Course of my dayes/, ffrom a Renomyd Quene/, the Mother/, to a

moste Exelent Quene the daughter/, I maye in the one, honour the

memory of the other/. Havynge yet a thrid cawse of ioye/ that a

Dowches beinge my good lady and Mystres/ can testefye to youre Mati/ [10]

that she hathe had som proffe of my dyssposysyon to this effect/. I maye

thynke my sellffe fowre tymes happye, yf your highnes, wyll never so

lyttle, seme to take wythe gratious hande, the thynge that withe a

tremblyng mynde (ffor lack of better guyfte) I offre to the same.

Contynually prayenge vnto god, to preserve your Maiestye in longe [15]

and prossperous Raigne/ that your highnes maye devyse ffor vs, all (fol.

4) generation off mercye and pyttie,

off welthe and benefytes, of plentie

and peace, to the contentacon^

of or selves and ffrendes/ to [20]

the desolacyon of or enemis

and ffoes/ to the confyrma-

syon of or Contrye and
to the Glorye of god.

Who graunte yor [25]

grace maye passe

and Surmowte*

the ffamous

and highe

Renowme [30]

off yor moste noble ᵱgenitors/.



Your Mates moste humble

Subiect [35]

Wyllm@ Bercher




The Preface.


It was my chaunce to travell a brode and see

ye worlde at lardge/ and lyve a tyme in Ytalye a place

of sutche Renowme/ as all men crave ye sight of yt

and passethe for no more/. Thearbe so many staetes/

so many Cyttis ffayre/. as men shall stonde in mar- [5]

velous dowbte wheare best wer to remayne/ Som tyme

the walles so highe of Rome/. Somtyme the plesant platt of naples/.

Somtyme ye Cortesye of Siena Somtyme fayre fflorence will drawe ye

mynde to staye/. Then venys wth hyr trayne/ Myllayne great & plenty-

full/ Mantua the mylde & Genua the prowde/. will make ye thynke/ [10]

no place ye lyke to plante thy sellfe to lyve/. Then ye learned haunte

of Padoa/ Pysa/ & Perugia/ Pavia/ & Bononia/ shall cawse the[e]

Iudge thother vayne & call ye to theyre trade/. All that whch when I had

seene/ & vewide/ I chose the place of Curtesye/ fullfylled withe other

guyftes/ to be ye porte of myne abode/ and that for dyvers skylles/. [15]

Thear was a matie of State/ thear was exelencye of learnenge/ and thear

was aer of Purytie/ Siena was this Seate of all Toscayne moste tem-

perate in ye hote tyme off (fol. 5) the year/. And as this Cyttye in

everye place of Italye had the brewyte for curtesy to straingers/ so I

well fownde that the thinge/ was no lesse then the ffame/. ffor I had [20]

not longe byn thear/ but I was provoked/ withe dyvers curtesis/ bothe

for the increas of Studye and learnenge, and for delight/ and honest

recreatyon/. And that no parte shoulde be vnshewed vnto me/ a gentle-

man of the howse off borghese/ wolde nedes have me wth hym in to the

countreye/ to his village/ wch was nighe a place of bathe/ whearvnto was [25]

greate resorte of gentle folke/ withe whome the maner of the contrey


[images here][p.92]

we call an vnyversytie/ by reason whearof sondry nations make their

repaire thyther/.

And yf the creweltye of warr/ (wth the wch they have byn afflycted

ever syns I was ther/) have destroyed the commodities of so worthy a

state/ I am sorry for yt/ for thear was no Cyttye on the Earthe/ wher [5]

in were/ more lyvely wyttes/ more lerned men/ more cortese to

straingers/ nor more goodly gentlewymen/. Thear were ffewe ffamelyes/

but had sum one notably learned of theyr name/ and so lerned as

throughe owte Ytalye/ they were publyque professors of the same/

beinge called of every prynce to sett forthe their Studies. The Gentle- [10]

wymen allso were geven to knowlege in sutche sorte/ as theyr was no

matter propoundid but they colde reason probablye in yt/. (fol. 7)

The cawse whearof was/ the maner and custome of theyr contrye/ wch

do not bestowe the tyme of theyr assemblyes/ in wastefull surfett/ and

banquetenge/ but in some devyse/ wherin lernenge and vertue maye [15]

be shewed/ and encreased/. An other cause of the great resorte to this

bathe of Petriôlo/ was the commodytye and benefyte/ whearwth god

and nature had endewyd the place/. ffor as in dyvers partes of Ytalye

thear be manye baynes: so in no place/ is thear so manye baynes to

gether for all dyseasis/ and spetiallye one for the hedd/ wch was thaught [20]

to be the great cause of helpe to the moste ffeble and lame bodies/.

The third cause of the assemblye thear/ was that many of the cheffe

gentlemen of the Cyttie have theyr vineyardes thear a bowtes and

daylye make/ theyr repayre/ to vysyte their ffrendes/ and acquayntance

by wch occasyon/ thear were manye of dyvers placis/. Thear were of [25]

all ᵱartes off Ytalye/ there were of ffraunce and germanye/ and thear was

an ynglyshe man or two/ whiche bycawse they wer

braught thyther by a gentleman of

the contreye/ they wer had in

the more reputacon^/. ffor [30]

as they be cortese to all

men/ so to hym that

hathe any recom-

mendacon^ they

be more ffa- [35]






When they wer cum/ after their custum to the Countesses

lodginge/ and had begonn to singe/ ytalyan versis/ and

daunce after theyr maner/ and so a lyttle pausid/. The

Countesse saide/. I have two causis to reioyce of my

comenge* to the bayne/. One for that I truste to ffynde [5]

sum remedye for my wretched bodye/ wch is in sutche

case/ as yt wer better to be sepperate from the sowle/ then to be in

sutche myserable state/ as yt cannot serve the same/. Thother is that

I receive sutche consolacon^ of myne afflycted mynde by yor comfortable

resorte/ and gentle intreteynment/ as the same beinge in ᵱte releved/ [10]

is in good forwardenes to be vtterlye revyved/ and cawsethe the better

workemanship of my bodyes recoverye. And that yor commenge hyther

be not deleyed by my vayne talke/ I leave yt to your choyse/ whether

you wyll appoynte/ some newe matter/ to be reasoned this night/ or

resume that wch was begonne yester night of vs selye wemen/ in the [15]

wch Mr Orlando was our Champyon/ and Mr Camillo our adversarye/.

Wch two gentlemen promysed this nyght to mayntayne their quarrell

to the vttermoste/ yf we wolde be content/. In good ffaythe (quothe

Iohn@ Borghese) a merry olde gentleman/ well taken amonge them/

and made the lorde of the bath for the tyme/ yt maketh no matter [20]

what we saye of you/ ffor whatsoever we saye/ in the ende/ we ar

fayne to doe as ye will/. Mr Iohn@ borghese (quothe the Countesse)

you nede not so to saye/ ffor ye have cawse to saye the contrarye/: but

of a custome ye take pleasure/ to speake the thinge/ that you thynke

not/. And becawse the matter was begonne yester night/ by two [25]


[p. 94]

gentlemen that in this quarrell/ have allwais varried I shall desyer

you/ becawse you ar or hedd to geve your concent/ that the rest moved

by yr awcthoritye/ maye do the lyke/.

Every man was content that the matter (fol. 9) shoulde go forwarde/

and the Countesse desyred Mr Orlando to begynne/. This was a worthy [5]

gentleman/ of great estymasyon/ and a maynteyner of wemens cawsis to

the vttermoste/. Lady Cowntesse (qd he) I wolde be gladd/ yt might

pleas you/ to appoynte sum other/ to take this matter in hande/. partly

bycawse I am vn mete/ for sutche an enterpryes/ beinge armed wth no-

thinge but withe my good will, and partlye becawse myne adversarye [10]

is so stronge/ as I shall not be able to stonde in his handes/. Be yt/ as

it wylbe/ (qd the Cowntesse) we will abide the adventure/. Then yf I

quayle (qd he) ye must blame yor selffe for your choyse/ and not me ffor

thobedyence/. I am content (qd she) to take all the blame vppon me/.

Then ye shall call to remembrance (qd he) that I tolde ye yester night/ [15]

thocasyon of this taulke/ did ffyrst ryes at Myllayne/ at the marriage

off the Noble Marques of Carravagge/ and the exelent ladye ffaustina

Sforza/. The wche by one that was learned/ and longe tyme trayned in

the love of ladyes/ was after to theyr greate glorye/ sett forthe in writ-

inge/ off the whiche thoriginall off or resonenge yester night was [20]

moved/ and whear as I ment nothenge ellse/ but to speake of the same/

as I thaught good wthowte any contention/ yt is nowe cum so ffarr as I

must trye yt to thextremytie/.

Whearfore to procede/ as I dyd yester night I saye that thopynyon

is good/ wch in the begynnenge of the talke was affirmed/ that yff the [25]

parfection of wemen/ had not bynn of yt selffe/ more clere/ and many-

fest then any prayse of wrighters colde have made yt/ thear shoulde

have byn no place off the worlde/ but had bynn full off bookes of their

commendacon^/ but becawse or awncestors well parseved/ that theyre

praysenge by writinge/ colde not suffise (fol. 10) to prayse a thynge/ [30]

that ffur passed all prayse/ they thaught yt best to lose no tyme in vtter-

enge a matter/ that of yt selffe was moste evident/ and withe wrightinge

to dymynyshe the reputation of a thinge that was moste exelent/[.] And

vppon this consideracon^/ they turned theyr Styele to dyscribe the dig-

nytye of men/ bycawse theyr vertue semyd lesse/ (as it was in dede) and [35]


[p. 95]

dystrusted not/ but they might wthe probabilytie/ prayse a thinge that

Stode indyfferent to receave yt/. This syncere and trewe Iudgement of

or awntient ffathers/ growndid of naturall vertue,/ in processe off tyme

began to ffayle and decay in sutche sorte/ as they that succeeded them,

did wrongly interprete the same/ specyally the gretians/ who beinge the [5]

moste instable men of the worlde/ and greatest advowterers/ ymagyned

that the olde men had no harte to prayse wymen/ bycawse they sawe

nothinge in them prayseworthye/ and so continewenge/ in this opynyo*,

wch increased by ambytion and vayne glory, they raged so ffarr/ as they

began to preffer/ men before wymen/ and to make no more accompte [10]

of them/ then of Servauntes or base thinges/, appoynted for common

mynysterye/ and yet they left not hear/ but wadid so depe/ as they

ffell in to a fowle error/ thynkynge wymens companye to be hurtfull

and vnprofytable for man/ the wch grevous error/ thoughe yt wer after-

warde well plaged/ yet thear be sum of the remanant of this sorte/ that [15]

ceas not to their powre/ to throwe theyr toolis abrode/ to infect the

worlde/ wch thynge becawse I se yt abhomynable/ and worthye vtter

extermynacon^/ I, that was borne of a woman/ and nowe and ever shall

owe them my servyce/ acknowlegeng my beinge by them/ and all other

thinges that is in me/ to be occasyoned by theyr worthynes/ am movid [20]

to recorde vnto you what I thinke of theyr opynyon/ that handled this

matter at Milane/ not somoche for the settenge forthe of wymen/ wch

have no nede of yt/ as for the deffence and honor of men/ wch beinge

of myne opynyon/ ar determyned to serve/ and love (fol. 11) Wymen/

as the Creatures that be moste worthye the same/. Whearefore I saye/. [25]

that the right order of praysenge/ aught to Procede ffrom that be-

gynnenge and origynall that leadethe to the vertewis off the mynd[,]

to the quallytis of the bodye/ and to the ffeates that yssewe of the

same/ and to declare that they be greater in the thinge/ that we will

prayse then in anye other/. Yff then the nature off man had begynnenge [30]

of the corrupsyon of Earthe/. by the bathynge of the water/ and

Scaldenge of the Sonne/ as manye thynges be/ by thopynyo* of Phylo-

zophers/ theare showlde be no dyfference betwene man and woman[.]

And yff all thynges have byn everlastyngly wthowte begynnenge (as

Arystotle thynkethe) then yt wer but veyne/ to treate this matter/ ffor [35]


[p. 96]

neyther the one/ nor the other colde be saide to have begynnenge[.]

But whearas we Chrysten people beleve that this worlde was created

of god/ fyve thousande/ ffyve hondrd/ & odd yearis passed we muste

nedes graunte/ that ye begynnenge off woman/ is ffar ᵱfecter then of

man by cawse Moses confessithe/ that the man was made of earthe/: [5]

and woman of ffleshe[:] and so moche as ffleshe is/ more noble then

earthe somoche is their beginnege* more exelent/. And ye aught to

knowe ffurther yt woman is the more worthye Creature/ bycawse she

deserved to have a more worthye name. ffor Adam signefyethe earthe/

and Eva signefyethe lyffe/ and as lyffe passeth earth so dothe woman [10]

passe man/[.] And trewe yt is/ that the ffyrste creator of thinges did

well knowe ye quallytie off them before he gave them/ their namis/

and thearfore so termyd them as the name might expresse/ the nature

of the thynge/. Whearfore bothe lawyers and dyvyns makith greate

Importaunce of an argument off name/. Saynct pawle in his Epistle [15]

provithe χρē@ to be above all Creatures/ bycawse he had a name that

ffarr passed (fol. 12) all other/ in somoche as to the name off Ihu@, all

the creatures of heaven and earthe shoulde bowe their knees/. ffurther-

more/ yf the ymage or exemplare of god/ is represented by man/ and

woman (as the Scripture affirmethe) then must we nedes conffesse the [20]

woman to have the prehemynence/ becawse the ffeatures of a womans

fface/ moche excedethe all thinges in the earthe/. And as plato sayethe/

the frewit of bowntie is bewtye/ and the bewtye of the fface is (for the

moste parte) a token of the bowntye of the mynde/: thearfore yff the

woman/ have the ydea and ymage of the creator/ moste faire in resemblance, [25]

we must nedes graunte/ she hathe the better begynnenge/ and conse-

quentlye aught to be the more noble creature/. Egayne/ the order that

nature hathe appoynted in the creation of bothe/ declarethe the ᵱfection

of the one/: ffor naturall Philozophers confessethe/ that a man childe

is formed in forty dais/ and a woman in fowre score/ sum by this reason [30]

wolde prove the man to be more parfect/ but it is contrary/ ffor as the

worke of an artyfycer/ that requyrethe longar tyme is more exelent/

becawse yt cannot be donne in so shorte space: evenso the worke of

Nature/ that is longar in doenge/ must nedes be of more ᵱfection. And

so in comparyson of other creatures/ man is more absolute/ becawse his [35]


[p. 97]

formacon^ askethe longer tyme/. and the proverbe sayth the hasty

bytche bringethe forthe blinde whelpes/. We all knowe that thinges

wch god created do onely dyffer/ becawse sum of them be incorruptible/

and sum subiect to mutation/ and that god toke/ this order in the crea-

tion of them/ as he began withe the Noble/ and endid wth the moste [5]

Noble. ffyrst he created Angelles and sowlles incorruptible/ then bodis/

eternall/ as the (fol. 13) Heavens and the Starrs/ next Elementes/

Whiche as they be Subiect to mutatyon: so they ever contynue and

renue the parfection off the vnyversall/. After them he made beastis,

ffowle, ffysshes, Trees, plantes/ and so forthe/ in the ende he creatyd [10]

two thinges to his awne lykenes[,] man and woman/ in the wch heaven

and earthe withe all their ornamentes was accomplyshed/. And when he

had created the woman he dyd repose hym selffe/ bycawse he had no-

thinge of more honor to do/ in the wche all the Sapyence and powre of

the Creator did ende/ thearfore becawse woman was the ende of god [15]

his worke/ ye cannot denye me but she is the moste exelent creature/

ffor yt is a common proposycon^ the ende is ffyrste in intencon^ and last

in execution/. Ye knowe right well that Philozophye/ makethe an

argument of the wysedome of the mynde by the constytucon^ of ye bodye/

and sayethe that creaturs endewid wth soft and tendr fleshe/ have ye [20]

better wysedome & vnderstandynge/ Whearby it canot* be dowbted

but wymen havinge moste soffte and delycate fleshe/ muste nedes have

better wyttes/ and be more apte to speculacon^ then men/. And yf ye

wyll consyder the operation of nature/ ye shall fynde that she hathe vsed

marvelous arte in makenge of wymen/. Whose bodis as they be the [25]

weaker/ so their myndes be quyeter/ and yff the naturall debylitye of

body makethe wymen lesse bolde/ the same makethe them more Circum-

spect/. What Payne takethe wymen in norryshenge & bringynge vp

their Children/ wythe the whiche men be lyttle trobled/ What labor

have theye in governenge theyr ffamelis/ whear in, they travell everye [30]

howre/. And yff men do any ffeate to guett a brode, they, wth dilligence/,

kepe and save the same at home[.] (fol. 14) ye knowe the owlde vers/

yt is no lesse prayse to kepe then to guett/. Who doe not see that the

bodye of wymen/ dothe ffurr passe and exell all thynges/. the bewtye

off hyr face/ wth a certeyne dyvyne brightnes/ shynynge in hyr counten- [35]



[p. 98]

auce*/ wythe all other partes so well proporconed^, as all the worlde dothe

confesse hyr, to be/ the moste notable creature, in the whiche nature

thaught to prove hyr connynge/ insomoche as the goddes and their

chyldren have byn caught wythe their love/ as dothe well appere by

awntient learnenge/ and one pryveledge they have geven in the hed/ that [5]

is the pryncypall parte/ wch in a woman is never devoide of heare/

as it is in a ma*/ and whear the fface of man is the moste parte de-

formed by the growethe of his berde/ the womans remaynethe ever

smothe and pure/. and is of Sutche vertue, as yf yt be once ffayre

wasshed/ the water never receavethe spott thear bye/ whear as contrary [10]

in man/ lett hym washe never so ofte, the water remaynethe trowbled

and ffowle.

When thus mutche was sayde/ and he purposynge to saye more The

Countesse spake thus/ Mr Orlando, you have saide somoche in our behalf

as we be all greatly bownden vnto you/ but I ffeare me/ you will note [15]

every thinge so precyselye/ as your adversarye shall thynke you tryffle/

or ellse lack matter/ whear in dede ye doe neyther of bothe/ but wth

good order and argumentes, have hytherto so provid yor purpose/ as I

trust you shall remove Mr Camyllo/ from his olde opynyon in the

same/. I trust not so (qd Master Iohn@ boghese) for then you wymen [20]

wolde becum so prowde/ as we shoulde have no rule wythe you/. And

I dowbte not but Mr Camyllo wyll answer hym (fol. 15) home/ and yf

nede be/ I wyll saye sumwhat my sellffe/. In dede (qd the Coutesse*) I

knowe you can saye mutche/ & thearfore yf Mr Orlando wyll, ye shalbe

harde/. I shalbe glad to heare hym (qd Mr Orlando)/ but I shall desyer [25]

bothe you and hym/ that I maye ffyrste seye a lyttle more/ and then I

wyll geve place/. Ye knowe that nature hathe so appoynted the con-

dytion off thinges, that all have a dyfference amonges them/ the heaven/

the sterrs/ the Elementes/ the trees/ the herbes/ and all lyke thynges/

dyffer in forme and vertue/. All lyvelye creatures/ as well brewyte as [30]

reasonable hathe the same and in all theas is sum shape of Nobylytye,

and that so evident/ as it apperethe more in one then in a nother/ and

so to cum to or matter that thinge is more noble that possessethe more

goodes of the mynde[,] off the bodye/ and off ffortune/ and howe

mutche the mynde is better then the bodye or fortune/ so moche [35]


[p. 99]

more worthye is the guyftes that procede of yt/. The cheffe vertues of

the mynde be those that be praysed in scripture/ of the whiche Charytye

is the cheffe[,] in the whiche wymen passe so ffurr, as men maye in no

wyes compare wth them/. Their contynuall prayer and servys of god/

at Churche/. Their gevynge of allmos/ and helpenge of the poore, is [5]

allwais notable in them/. Ther parfection off lyffe, hathe byn so many-

fest/ as St Ierrom/ and other holye men/ have clerelye celebrated them

for their solytary lyffe in wildernes/ whear they have byn spectacles/

and examples to the whole worlde of their pure religion/. In adversytie/

wch is the tryall of ffaithe, men comonly* rage/ and blaspheme god and [10]

his saynctes/ wymen take all patientlye/ and geve god thankes/ and

(fol. 16A) the more they be trobled/ the more constaunte they con-

tynue/ wch was well sene in the deathe of hym/ that gave vs all lyffe/

when men, wch had sene so manye myracles/ and made sutche bostes of

theyr faythe/ lost it quyte/ and forsoke theyr Mr rennynge hyther/ and [15]

thyther, but the wymen/ remayned sownde in their beleve/ and never/

forsoke theyr lorde/. and one thinge is certeyne/ that their faithe is so

stronge/ as yf anye of them happe to ffall in to any superstition of

Magicque or inchauntement, they will not forsake it to the deathe/ by-

cawse their faythe is growndid in yt/. Whyche thynge I do brynge in/ [20]

for none other purpose but to declare theyr constancy in beleffe/ whiche

is a moste evident proffe of theyr exelencye/ synce ffewe swarve from

the right waye/ the wch they holde to the ende/. And ye cann have no

greater argument of their earnest observynge of goddes behest/ then the

ffyrst temptacon^ of the devyll in paradyce/ whear when he sawe bothe [25]

man/ and woman obeyenge the comandyment* of god/ he devysede howe

they might be made to lose the grace that they had obteyned/ and as

he was ffathr of all craft/ so he vsed moste craft in this ffeate/. He knewe

full well that man was easye to be overcum/ and that his victorye shoulde

not be greate a bowte hym/ and thoughe yt wer/ yt wolde not serve [30]

bycawse the greater was in the other/ Thearfore he considered/ that

yf he cowlde overcum the woman/ he shoulde be shewre of the man/

and evenso yt cam to passe/. ffor the woman was no soner overcum/

but the man gave place by & bye/. So that you may well see/ the

dyvell gave the ffyrst assaulte to the (fol. 16B) Stronguest place/ thynk- [35]


[p. 100]

ynge sewrlye yf he did overcum the ffyrst and the greater, he shoulde

have lyttle adoe withe the seconde and the weaker./ Nowe to speake

of morall vertues, wherin I wyll not be longe/ nor curious/ but treate

them as they shall cum to mynde/ you shall vnderstonde that wymen

have ever had moste noble Spyrites/. Who can suffiteintly declare the [5]

prudence of the Sybylles doctryne/ whiche was of sutche estymacon^

withe the Romayns/ as nothinge was donne withoute ther aucthorytye.

All the oracles of the thauntient goddes wer gyven to wymen/. Sapho a

yonge wenche invented that meter that is called Saphicum/. A daughtr

of Pythagoras provid in Philozophye equall wythe hyr ffather/[.] [10]

Emonge the Ebrewes/ Maria Delbora and Anna/ knewe the Successe

of thynges by their dyvynytie/[.] what highe prudence was in the

wymen somoche celebrated in Scripture/ Iudythe and hester./ Yff the

Troianes woolde have followed/ the councell of Cassandra/ the Cyttye

had not byn destroyed. Did not Tomiris wythe hyr polecye dysspatche [15]

the greate Conqueror Cyrus?/ Did not Semiramis by hyr prudence

buylde Babylon/ and after recover yt withe hyr valeant coradge/ when

yt had rebelled? What ffeates of all vertewes shewed the Amasones/

more then a thowsand years to gether?/ what princely harte shewed

Zenobia agaynst the Emperour Valeryan?/ An Englyshe woman/ taught [20]

and rulid the Scole at Athenys/ and after was created Pope of Rome.

A maide of ffraunce namyd Iane gave sutche instruction to Charls

(fol. 17) the vij as he recovered his realme wche he had loste/ by the

councell of his wyes me*[.] Ysabela of Castilia by her wysdome drave

owte the moors of Granata/ whose doenges have byn so notable in all [25]

maner of noble workes/ as all the worlde shall beare everlastinge fame/

thearof/. And this daye/ quene Marye of hungarye is of sutche wytte

as she alone bearethe the brewyte of ye resystaunce off the ffrenche

kynge & in all nedes have maynteyned Themperor/. And Marye the

kinges eldest Syster off Englond/ off whome I have harde great ffame/ [30]

hathe shewed marvelous examples off wysedome and constantnes/ and

by her godlye and Syncere lyffe hathe put to sylence all her enemyes.

and adversaris/.

Lyke wyse Elizabethe the yonger Syster to that kinge/ beinge but

yonge off yearis have shewed sutche great and wonderfull proffe of [35]


[p. 101]

Royall harte in trobles/ that she of late have had/ as all men do honor

hyr vertues and thynke she shalbe com a moste Noble Prynces/. Off

theas two ladis I had Vnderstandynge in fflaunders when I was Embas-

sador to the Emperours Matie/ off whose Syngler vertues/ ye may heare

more at lardge of theas Englyshe gentlemen that be heare/. [5]

In som regions wymen have bynn off all Councell the Cheffe as

Ceaser shewethe off ffraunce/. I maye say that wymen savid Rome/

when Marcus [C]Oriolanus helde the cyttye So straight/. The wymen

of Sabyno made the peace betwene the Romayns and their husbandes/,

The Cyttye of Carthage had byn lost the ffyrst daye yf wymen had not [10]

bynne/ Their exelencye of learnenge/ shewethe their worthynes whear-

in they did so notablye in Causis of deffence/ as men beganne to envye

them/ and forbid them that offyce/ ffea- (fol. 18) ringe to be inferior

to them/ and I think yt was the ffirst cawse/ why the Romayns for bad

them/ their councell-howse/ least their bewetye Ioyned wth Eloquence/ [15]

shoulde have wraught marvelous effectes/. And the cawse whye Saynct

Paule fforbiddethe them to preache/ is not for lack of wytt/ or vndr-

standinge/ but for that the hearers shoulde not be movid/ by the rare

vertewes of the mynde/ expressid by the mowthe of a bodye so ffayre/.

The wysdome off Rebecca/ gave the lordeship to hyr sonne Iacob/. [20]

Raab preserved the Esspies of Iosua/. Volumna*?? savid Rome/ and a

Selye woman saved Argus/. All antyquytye affyrmethe Mynerva to be

mystres of all Scyencis/ off whome commethe the Musis/[:] the Artes/

and Mysteris of the worlde, wer invented by wymen/. The Tyllenge

of the Earthe, by Ceres/. Wevenge of clothe by Arachne/. The worke [25]

of theyr handes donne by the nedle/ is marvelous and maye compare/

withe the payntenge or gravinge of the renomyd men in ye same/. I

maye omytt thinges/ and yet towche ynowghe/. The Stately and magny-

fycall workes of the worlde/ wer of wymen/ wytnesythe the Pyramides

of Egipt, the Sepulchre of kynge Mausolus/ the walles of Babylon/. [30]

and the Peres of the Rodes lyke vnto the whiche was thear never none

fownde. Eloquence was ffyrst taught by wymen/ all men/ learne to

speake off their mothers/. Cornelia the Romayne taught hyr sonnes to

be eloquent/. Tulliola daughter of Cicero/ and eke Hortensia/ wer

marvelous in vtterenge their myndes/. howe redye they be in matters [35]


[p. 102]

of dowbte howe constant (fol. 19) in the Sodeyne of dayngers/ what

shift they can make in myscheves/ I nede not mutche to tarrye vppon/.

ffor it is right well knowen/ nature hathe created them to save and

mayntayne thynges/ wheare bye she shewethe/ that she hathe endewed

them withe paynefullnes and wysdom/. ffor the guettenge of thinges [5]

may be onely wythe fforse and ffrawde/ but the kepeg* requyrethe

another maner vertue/. ye see howe they can temper theyr affeccons^[;]

ye see none of them robbe or kyll/ nor do anye of those enormyties/

whiche every daye men commytt/. Thear was never woman/ that so

degendred from hyr state and did thinges agaynst hyr honor/ as Sar- [10]

danapalus/ or heliogabalus/. wche of them have byn so vyle/ as Allex-

andr kynge of the Iewis/ or so crewell as Marrius or Sylla?/. The

wyves of Mythridates/ followed hym in adversytie/ and when he cowlde

not escape deathe, he sent them poyson/ whiche they receaved/ and

dyed. Sophonisba/ withe great corage/ toke the venome/ that was sent [15]

hir to dye/ notablye as she had lyved/. whear as Massinissa cowlde do

nothinge but wepe/ lyke a childe when he was rebuked of Scipio/.

Lucretia by verry valiantnes of harte berafte hyr sellffe hyr lyffe/ when

Sextus had dyssparagyed hyr honor/. Portia the wyffe of Brutus shewed

hyr constant love/ when she kylled hyr selffe wth hott coelles/ by cawse [20]

other weapon was kept from hyr/. The wymen of Sagunt when theyr

Cytty was battred of hanyball did more wyllenglye cast them selves in

to the ffyer/ then the men of the same dyd fight agaynste their crewell

enemyes/. When Marius had broken the Cimbrians, he was forced to

ffight a newe felde wythe theyr wyves/. Ye see wth what strengthe of [25]

mynde they contempe* the worlde/ they shut them selves in monasteris/

they lyve wth patiens/ they spoyle them selves of lybertye/ they aban-

don all pleasure/. that (fol. 20) theye might wholy attende vppon

prayer and good lyffe/ insomoche as yt may be rightlye saide/ that good

religion onelye remaynethe amonge them/. they be not trobled/ withe [30]

heresyes/ wythe sectes/ wth Symonys/ or any sutche as raignethe a monge

men/. They blaspheame not/ theye dyspayre not/ they be of Sutche

charytye, as wo vnto the worlde but for them/. They be the example

of noble hartes/ and honour/ They doe wthstonde thassawltes of men

to ye vttermoste/ and rather then they wolde marry vnder their deggree/ [35]



they remayne all their lyffe vnmarryed/. I am sure theyr gyvenge and

lyberall bestowenge off their thinges/ agreethe more wth modeste

Christyanytie/ than menns doe/ wch be eyther prodigall or couetous/

and eyther they spende wythe excesse/ or kepe wthoute reason/. Wyme*

ye knowe have respect to the parson/ and to the tyme of their guyft, [5]

whearin they doe acknowledge a dutye towardes god/ and for his sake

bestowe their guyftes/ and forr none other vanytye of the worlde/. And

not to howlde you to longe/ I wyll note one thynge and make an ende/.

The parpetuytye of mankinde/ whearbye the worlde contynuethe/ is

more of the woman/ than off the man/. ffor lady nature the moste Sage [10]

preservatrice of hyr workes/ hathe geven to man and woman/ a desyer

to bring forthe a thinge lyke them selves/ as a contynuance of the

same/. and the same nature hathe wraught so as love descendythe/. We

love or Chyldren/ as well or more then or selves and we love or Neph-

ewes/ more then or childr for by them we thinke we be concerved[:] [15]

so that it is a naturall instinction/ to ᵱcure by generacon^/ an other lyke

or selves/[.] whiche thinge beinge evident/ we muste nedes geve the

prehemynence to wymen/ ffor in the tyme of generacon^/ in the place

of lyffe/ and in all thinges apparteynenge to the same the woma* dothe

excell/. And in the love of or children (fol. 21) wch is the bonde and [20]

knott of parpetuall Successyon, wymen do excede/ all the wch thinges/

I might wel prove by philozophy, but that I thinke I have all redye

made you werye/ and that lyttle that I have saide or cann saye of them/

is nothinge in respect of that whiche might be sayed/ Thearfore

Mr Camillo/ as a gentle adversarye/ I requyer you/ to leave yor error [25]

in this behalf/ least it happenethe to you/ as have donne to all them/

that have spoken evyll by wymen/. Aristotle was made to playe the

hobbye horse/ to be reconcyled to his woman/. As for Saynct Thomas

he is to be howlde excused/ by cawse he thaught he cowlde not cum

to parradyce/ except he ffledd the companye of wymen/. ffryer Ierrom [30]

Sansavarola/ had his worthy payment for his slanderous tong/ Orpheus

and hyppolytus/ had myserable endes/ for offendinge wymen/. Demo-

sthenes had his pennaunce for his lavishe tonge/. Stesicorus waxid

blinde ffor dysspraysenge of helena/. and in conclusyon whatsoever they

be/ that slander wymen they be rewarded/ at one tyme or at another [35]


[p. 104]

and of them that knowe what reason is ar not to be harde/. Whearfore

I thynke yt every reasonable manis parte/ to geve the* that they de-

serve/. whiche I wolde doe yff I were as able/ as I am willenge/: and

dowbte not/ but sum other gentleman of this cumpanye wyll Supplye

my want in this interpryse/ wch I at this tyme have rather taken in [5]

hande to content the request of the lady Countesse/ and other gentle

wymen heare/ then for anye hope or truste that I had in myne owne

powre/ and thoʒ I must nedes confesse/ that I have allwais byn of this

opynyon/ yet I was never so hote in yt/ as I wolde of purpose provoke

the dyssputacon^ of yt/ but saye that lyttle that I cowlde/ as occasyon [10]

was offred by chaunce/. Nowe I will ceas and hear what (fol. 22A)

myne enemye cann saye/ and after doe as I shall see cawse/.

When Mr Orlando had pawced a lyttle/ the Countesse saide thus/

I woulde yt laye in me/ to rewarde the Servyce/ that you have taken

in our ffavor/ and then ye shoulde well ᵱseave that I wolde not appere [15]

ingrate in so worthy a travell/: but I trust yor rewarde shalbe greater/

then anye that I can geve you and that is/ victorye and glorye/. And

it maye be that Mr Camyllo is allredye ᵱswadid/ and wyll contende no

ffurther wth you/. In dede (quod Mr Camyllo) you threape kindenes

vppon me/ and surely for my parte I can well a way wth yor prayse/. [20]

but when I see/ that you have more attributed vnto you/ then be-

hovythe/ that it is that I cannot abide/. yet I wolde not that you

shoulde thinke that I professe anye enemytye wth you/ for I must nedes

confesse/ that I have loved and served wymen/ as other men have don/.

And thoughe I take vppon me the parte of an enemye/ I dowbte not/ [25]

that you shall fynde me a ffrende/ ffor verry ffrendeship concistethe in

tellenge his ffrende the trewythe/. They that vse to fflatter ye, and

bear ye in hand off this and that/ ye aught rather to Susspect then


Thearfore/ ye may thinke that bye my replycacon^ to yor prayse/ I [30]

geve occasyon/ to sett forthe yor honor/. wch in dede I muste confesse

to be greate in you/ and yet not so greate in all thinges as other men

makes ye beleve/. thearfore to passe awaye the night/ and to performe

my promys I wyll take the contrarye parte and mynyster matter to

ffurther talke/. [35]


[p. 105]

I am sure you all knowe as well as I, that god made all thinges for

sum ende, as Ritches to helpe the poore/ Strengthe to releve the op-

pressed/ Helthe to travell in busynes/ chyldren to be in or placis/ and

(fol. 22B) wymen/ to be an helpe and concervacon^ off mankynde/ and

not as ffoolis thynkethe/ that the ritche showlde vaynely spende theyr [5]

Substance/. the stronge be negliget* in daungers*/ the whole men lyve

idelye, Children to be vntaught and wymen to have aucthorytie of

men/. I thinke the sayenge of the wyse man (knowe thy selfe) was the

ffyrst precept of mans lyffe/ that ma* showlde knowe of what dignytie

he was and to what ende god had created hym/. Thearfore I cannot [10]

beleve that Mr Orlando is of the opynyon that he pretendethe/ that ye

exelencye/ the syngular industrye and wytt of man/ shoulde not be

mutche above the condycon^ of wymen/.

Whear as he made his beginnenge off the creation of man and woman/

I wyll not graunte hym that ffleshe is more worthye then earthe/ ffor [15]

seinge the earthe was created before ffleshe, yt is lyke to be the more

worthye/ ffor thinges werr created in order/ as they wer worthy in

degree/ and bycawse ffleshe in thende doe resolve into earthe/ the same

dothe acknowledge the earthe as a superior & mother/ of whome yt

hathe begynnenge and in the wch yt shall ende/. As for the argument [20]

he made of name/ I saye yt is no sure proffe to grounde vppon, for a

man maye devyse of a name what he wyll/. The Bewtye that he

ascrybid to wymen/ may allso be attributed to man/ for nature hathe

created hym allso after due proportion/ and geven hym a bewtye/ it is

called maiestye/ or venustie or howe you wyll call yt/ wch passethe all [25]

other bewtye that you canne aledge and then by his awne reason/

bewetye is the ffrewit of Bowntye/ aswell in man as in wymen/ and yt

is not allwais trewe/ that the bewtye of the fface declarethe the bowntye

of the mynde/ for ye shall See the moste parte of learned men and wyes

men to have but small (fol. 23) bewetye/. I have ever thaught that the [30] thinge wch is made parfect in lesse tyme, had byn the more to be

praysed/ whearfore I saye/ that seinge nature hathe createde man in

hallfe the tyme/ that she createthe woman/ she dothe yt wythe better

wyll/ and is better pleased/ wth the workes of hyr handes/: ffor we see

everye daye when a thinge is donne wth good wyll/ yt is quyckly donne/ [35]



[p. 106]

and when yt is otherwyse yt is long a doenge/ and nothinge to the

purpose/[:] and in proffe of this/ I wyll bringe in one conclusyon/ of

phylozophye/ wch is/ that nature/ entendythe evermore to make the

thinges parfect she takethe in hande/ and thearfore yff she cowlde/ she

wolde allwais bringe forthe a man/ for whan she makethe a woman/ [5]

she takethe it as a defect/ and an error of hyr worke/ as we see in

monsters (wch wymen be in verry dede) and as sum lyvenge creatures

be borne/ blynde/ lame/ and croked/ and in frewytes sum hathe sower

and bytter taste/ even so a woman maye be saide to be evill created/ and

a gaynste the will off nature/. Nowe all thoughe thear be imᵱfections [10]

in them/ yet bycawse they procede of nature/ and not of them selves/

we aught not to have them in contempt/ nor to ffayle of or curtesye

towardes them/ wch thoughe it be not due to their merrites/ yet it is

convenyent to or humanytie/ the whiche apperethe greater in vs/ as we

have the lesse occasyon to vse it in them/. but one thinge I iustly iudge [15]

a manyfest error of fflatterye, that men showlde exhalte them more

then they be/. Thearbe olde tales/ that in the begynnenge/ men and

wymen wer all one and howe for their pride Iupiter did devide them/

and left them seperate/ whearby the woman remayned imparfect/ and

ever after saught hyr parfectnes of man/. The opynyon of the Philozo- [20]

phers is/ that woman is lyke to materia/ and man to fforma/ and as

forma is more parfect/ then materia, (fol. 24) So is man more then

woman/[.] Other conclusyons thear be in philozophye that well

provithe the same/ whiche I will not nowe recyte/ for thoughe many

thinges be trewe/ and manye be treated by learnenge, yet in ffamylyer [25]

taulke/ thei aught to be over passed/. The hystorye that you recyted of

Adam and Eve/ and off their temptacon^/ do not dyrectly prove yor in-

tention/ ffor thoughe Eve wer ffyrst assayled/ yt followethe not bye

and bye/ that she was the strongar and valyaunter/ but rather the

weaker and easyer to be overcum/. ffor in assawltes off Cyttis and [30]

ffortes/ you never se the battrye made whear the wall is strongest/ but

whear it is weakest/ whear ye dyches be shallowest/ and the deffence

rarest/ for whan an entrye is made to one parte the residue is the soner


A fflood dothe not breake downe and eate whear the earthe is [35]


[p. 107]

stronge and ffyrme/ but whear it is soft and brokyn/ into the whiche

beinge once entered yt ragithe with ffurye/ and beatethe downe as

mutche as standethe agaynst yt/ be yt never so stronge/ thearfore no

argument makethe so moche agaynste you as this in the whiche you

semed to put a greate grounde of yr fforesaide opynyon/. And for this [5]

offence of or ffyrst parentes/ thear be so manye that have dyversly

wrytten in yt/ that I cannot tell what to saye off yt. Sum thinke yt

was not of pride and ambition/ but of pleasure/ and inordenate appetite/

and sum thinke otherwyse/ so that I wyll not stande to dyscusse yt/.

One thinge I mutche marvell/ that ye attribute to them sutche vertues [10]

off the mynde/ whearin they never had prayse. Of their notable charytie

and ffaythe ye make sutche a doe/ as all or staye of religio* did depende

vppon them/. As for their ffaythe (qd Iohn@ burghese) I will not speake,

but their charytye and allmes dede is verry (fol. 25) notable in one

Signyfycacon^/ ffor of them selves/ and their bodis they be so liberall/ [15]

yt the dystribution of yt to vs men must nedes be celebrated/. Iohn@

Burghese (qd the Coutesse*) you have comytted* two errors/ one in speak-

enge iniuriously of vs/ another in takinge the tale owte of a nother

mannis mowthe/. Nay (qd he) I am preveleged to speake when I lyst/

not wthstondenge I wyll hear master camyllo/. Then (qd he) I saye that [20]

the lightnes off beleve/ and redynes of credyte is a thing of small

prayse/ for they ar as prone to beleve the yllusyons of the dyvell/ as the

vysyons of aungelles/ wch thinge yr sellf was ffayne to confesse/ and aught

in dede to call yt bye an other name then by faithe. ffor whear as they

take, be yt never so bad they holde yt wth marvelous obstinacye/ wch [25]

you withe a clenly tearme called constancy. all the worlde is full of

their wytchcraft and sorcerye/ they devise every daye charmys and in-

cantacons^ wch be repognant to the Scriptures/. and in this behalf they

be moste to lack/. and yf wymen had byn so mete for cyvyll Iustyce/

as ye make them, then had not Calphronia byn occasyon of ye decree/ wch [30]

for bad wymen to cum in place of Iudgement/ for thoughe sum of them

can shewe at the begynnenge sum forme of wysedom and reason/ yet in

fewe wordes thei declare them selves as Calphronia dyd in Rome

agaynste the thre pryncis of the same/ they be lyke to the ffoolis that

sum noblemen have/ whiche at the fyrst sight/ shewythe a cowntenauce* [35]


[p. 108]

of wyse interteignement/ but cannot longe hyde their folyshe nature/

and yt was not the envye of men that bereft them this pryveledge/ but

the weakenes of them selves wch muste have cawsed great inconvenyens,

for men be not so sone allured wth vayne sightes of wymen as ye wolde

make them nor did not prohybyte their handelenge of (fol. 26) Cawsis [5]

for fear of their temptacon^/ but for the preservacon^ of the integrytie off

Right and Iudgement/. What shall I nede to speake mutche of theyr

variable nature/ all bookes be full of yt/ they never contynue longe in

one thaught/ nor one love[:] and one thinge moste certeynly declarethe

their Imᵱfection/ that the tallest woman that is/ wolde gladly be the [10]

meanest man in the worlde/ and thearfore ye maye see it is a naturall

instinction that teachethe them a desyer to the parfection/ whiche

thinge yf they did not acknowledge of man/ and for the same be glad

to serve hym we shoulde have no rule of them/. And he yt showlde go

a bowte to delyver them from yt shall bringe them to worse condycon^/ [15]

evene as he shoulde make the noble lyon/ a vyle and ffearefull gote/

that wolde go a bowte to heale hym of the ffever wch he hathe naturallye

as proper to his kinde/. And to cum to the consideracon^ of the order

and purpose of creation/ can ye denye me/ but that man is more

excelent/ then woman/ as the agent is more worthye then the patient. [20]

The worke man that makythe an ymadge or statue of a pece of marble/

is more worthe then the verry ymage/ and the ffyer that burnethe the

wood, is of more dignytie in burnenge/ then the wood is Sufferenge

yt self to be burned/. And I thinke that better yt wer for the worlde

to have the olde ffables trewe/ that thinges wer create by myracle/ as [25]

mynerva of Iupyters brayns/ and Mars by an herbe that made Iuno wth

childe/ or to have in one bodye bothe kindes/ accordinge to plato his

opynyon/. then to be thus seperate and let wymen have the Sovereintye/.

And all that you can saye by wymen in forme of the bodye/ maye be

aswell saide of men and more to wth lesse incombrance of naturall [30]

defectes/ then woman hathe/ and thinges that ye reprehende in man

deserve moste prayse/ as his berde/ (wch as Cicero sayeth) (fol. 27) is

geven hym for an ornament. The place of creation/ shewethe playnelye

the dyfference of or parfection/ for every man knowethe that a woman

is formed in the lefte side/ and man in the right side of the bodye/ and [35]


[p. 109]

every man seethe that the right side gevethe the ffyrst mocon^ to man/

and he that movethe by reason settethe his right foote before/ and in

doenge of anye thinge the right side is promptest/ wch is well declared

by the names of bothe/ in or tonge we call the lefte side the Imparfect

and the side of wante/. the wch the mocons^ of the heavens declare/ wch [5]

is from the east to the west/ as from the right to the lefte/. And the

order of the Earthe is for honors sake to put a man to the right hande/

and the Scripture sayethe/ that all the last daye/ when every man shalbe

iudged accordenglye/ the good shall go on the right side/ and the evill

on the left/. [10]

And all the prayse that you geve to the lenytie of wymen/ is so well

knowen to have byn theyr awne destruccon^/ and mens to/ as yt wer

better they had yt not/ then to have yt wth sutche dyscommodytye/.

And whear ye gave them/ the prayse as of a rare thinge/ for not beinge

bawlde/ me thynkethe you might vse yt to the contrary ffor in my sight [15]

it is ffayre to se the hedd voide of hearis in a man/ wch you dyd somoche

commende in the fface of a woman/. And whear as you shewed yor

sellffe a marvelous paynter in describinge all the ffeatures of a womans

bodye/: yf you will geve me leave/ I will prove that it neyther hathe

proportion/ nor good fforme/ in yt/. Whiche thinge I wyll not speake [20]

to reprove god or nature/ but to make you vnderstonde that their shape

do deserve/ no sutche prayse as you attribute vnto yt/. ffor the wyes men

of naturall dyscourse have lefte in writeng/ that the iust proportion of

a man wolde be the lengthe of nyen hedds/ that is to saye nyne tymes

as highe as is from the lowe parte of the chynne to the heighthe (or [25]

(fol. 28) as we call yt/ the crowne of the hed) and that I call an hed/

that is from the ende of the throte vpwarde/ that yff ye drawe a lyne/

from the lowest parte of the chynne to the highest parte of the hed/.

the same nyen tymes in lengthe is the iust stature of mannis proporcon^/

the whiche generall rule/ is aswell vnderstande/ by the woma* as by the [30]

man/. and yf it be so/ every man maye see that can take the iust mea-

sure/ howe muche a man excellethe the woman and howe ffarr she is

inferior/ in this due proportion/.

Well quod the Countesse/ yf you have none other matter but mea-

sures/ and proportions/ we have no great ffear of you/. yt is parte of [35]


[p. 110]

the prayse (qd he) that was geven vnto you/. and thearfore muste be


Lett hym saye his ffyll madam (qd master Orlando/) and then I or

sum other shall have tyme to confute hym/. I am content (qd he) and

to procede I saye/ as for Arystotle that was so abused by a woman/ yt [5]

dothe not derogate the trewythe of his wrightinge/. the wysest hedds

beinge intangled/ wth love/ fallethe to moste inconvenyence/. And yf

you wolde prayse wymen for any thinge/ ye might well do yt for this/

that they have devyses to all thinges of wantonnes/ whear by they blear

the eyes of all men/. Nowe to touche a lyttle of your notable wymen by [10]

name[:] and ffyrst of the Sybilles/ and other prophetesses/ I saye they

might well sumtyme speake of thinges to cum/ bycawse the dyvell who

had ever moste powre and aucthorytie over them/. was their scolemr/

and suffred them to be madd/ and speake thinges/ that sum tymes hap-

pened trewe accordinge to the ᵱverbe/ ffoolis and children/ be best [15]

prophetes. and as the spryte of god/ have entred many tymes into men/

so the spryte & furye off mallyce entrethe ever into wymen/. As for

the prayse that Sainct Ierrom gave to wymen/ he cowlde do no lesse/

eyther for affection/ or for dutye or to allure men the better/. And yf

you will nedes shewe forthe yor englyshe woman that was made pope/, [20]

(fol. 31) whye wyll ye not allso/ shewe hyr dyshonesty so longe vsed

wth her Scoller/ that she traveled of childe openlye/ to the great dys-

honor of that holy See/. And yf thear be sutche a synguler guyft in

them of wrytenge as ye ascribe vnto them/ why do they not dyscusse

matters of ffaythe? whye dothe St paule ffor bid them to teache/ whye [25]

ar they not suffered in Comon* Counseylles/[?] And the matter is many-

fest ynoughe/ that to declare the powre of god & his myracles/ ffoolis

and wymen have sumtyme don ffeates of prayse. as they did whome ye

namid owte of the scripture/ but yf it had byn the pleasure of god/

men might have donne them aswell or muche better/. And your heathen [30]

wymen and quenes whome ye sett so forthe for buildenge of the Cyttis/

ye might aswell sett forthe for buyldenge of places & previleges to all

abhomynable myscheve/[.] Off the Chrystyan Quenes I can speake but

honorablye/ yet I thinke that quene ysabell had mutche prayse ffor the

dedis of kynge fferrando. I can well beleve Cesar of the ffrence ffacion/ [35]


[p. 111]

in takinge councell of the wymen/ and yet the wymen in that region

bear a greate stroke/ & is the cawse that their enterprysis cum to so lyttle

honor as they doe/. The prayse that you geve them of Eloquens/ was

the cawse of many a manis rewyn/ and their owne to/. wch torned the

state of Rome vpsedowne/ and for one that saved a Cyttye or a contreye/ [5]

you might bringe in an hondrethe/ that have destroyed/ and yf they

refrayne from doenge sutche thinges as be odious in the worlde/ yt is

not bycawse they lack will to do them/ but powre and strengthe/. I am

sure you maye ffynde ynowe that have byn crewell/ as Medea/ and

Progne and manye other/ and I thynke yt wer better for them to be [10]

lesse stowte in harte/ yan (fol. 32) to stonde vppon the reputacon^ in

mariage wch you all so praysed in them/ ffor it dothe but increas their

pride/ and otherwyse might remedye a thowsand [inconveniences.]

And to make an ende of this longe talke yt maye be evidently sene/ what

they be by the greate errors and dysspleasures that they brynge men to/ [15]

as to comytt* ydolatrye (as they did Salamon) and lose the ffavor of god

for ever/. ffrom the wch god blysse me and all this companye/.

When Mr Camyllo/ had saide thus and sumwhat pawsed/ Iohn@

Burghese began to speake/ affyrmenge that he was glad/ that Mr Camyllo

had saide so well/ that the wymen shoulde not thinke their cawse so [20]

shewer/ but indyfferent men might see the trewythe/ and for my parte

(quoth he) I wolde not that any man shoulde thinke I am partiall in

wymens cawsis/ and yet I cannot agree they showlde be made more then

they bee/. Naye (quoth the Countesse) your indyfferencye is so well

knowen vnto vs/ as yf we wyll tearme yt right/ we muste call yt ex- [25]

tremytie/. ffor ye will not admytt/ any thinge well donne by wymen/

or well saide of them/. but yt makethe no matter/ for hear be gentle-

men/ that canne saye their opynyon in bothe partes/ and we ar as well

content to heare/ what can be saide agaynste vs/ as wth vs/. And thear-

fore Mr Orlando shall resume the matter a ffreshe/ and Mr Camyllo shall [30]

do the like and when they have donne other shall supply their partes/.

In good ffaythe Madam (quothe Mr Orlando) I am redy to mayntayne

the cawse/ and knowe howe to do yt. but I had rather sum other off

theas gentlemen/ wolde take the thinge in hande/ wch can do yt better

then I/. As for that (quothe the Countesse) shalbe donne hearafter/ nowe [35]



you must go on wth yt/ bycawse you have had our concent to do yt/.

yf yt be so yor pleasure (quoth he) I will doe accordenglye/ and sumwhat

repeate of that Mr Camyllo hathe saide wch in my tale I passed over

lightlye/ bycawse thinges that might (as he saide) be (fol. 33) dyssputed

by learnenge/ cannot so well be braught into ffamylyer taulke/ of the wch I [5]

tooke sum of them to be/ wch he hathe at the full dyscussed/. I see no

cawse (quothe Mr Camyllo) but I may treate of any thinge that learned

men have dysscussed/ and seing he that reported this talke in wrightynge

did expresse mutche more strange matter then this/ I knowe not but in

wordes we may a lyttle touche the same/. yet (quothe the Countesse) [10]

thear is a regarde to be had for sum thinges maye be well donne that maye

not be well spoken/ and thearfore I beseke you forbear as mutche as you

canne/. As for my parte (quoth Mr Orlando) I am content/ and will reherse

nomore then hathe byn allredye towched/. And whear as he gave a prefer-

ment to man/ bycawse he was the agent/ and the woman the patient yf that [15]

ye will consider the tyme/ the travell/ the payne that the woman takethe

he shall eyther ffinde that she is the agent or that thear is no agent at

all/. And ffor the seconde poynte/ wch he put[,] in the place of creation/

no man awght to dowbte/ but that the lefte side is more noble then the

right/ for the susteynenge and bearenge vp of the whole bodye is by the [20]

lefte side/ ffor ellse thothr movinge the bodye showlde ffall/ so that yt is/

as the ffowndacon^ to the rest/ wch is better then all thother partes/. This

thinge is allso knowen by the infyrmytis/ that grewethe in the sides/ wch

be moste daingerous in the lefft bycawse thear consystethe the harte &

ffownedation of lyffe/. and yt is not allwais trewe that thear is moste [25]

ᵱfection/ whear is moste operacon^/ for then slaves and drudgis sholde be

better then craftes men and artyficers/. but that that gevethe vertu to

another to worke is so mutche the more noble as yt movethe lesse/. as

god is vnmovable and wthowte variacon^ and yet movethe all thinges/ the

wch thinge is seene by the left side/ wch beinge the begynnenge and cawse [30]

of motion/ and working to thother partes/ yt restethe allwais Immovable/

not bycawse yt is the worse/ but by cawse yt conteynethe the harte/

whear the blood is purefyed/ and the ffowntayne off those Spyrites/ wch

by their ffynenes do peerse (fol. 34) the hole bodye and cawse yt to

move/ thearfore the lefte side/, whear the woman is conceyved, is more [35]


[p. 113]

noble then the right/, whear the man is formed/[.] And as for the name

yt you proved the contrarye/ you shall vnderstonde that the comon* sorte

gyve yt the name of the effectes that be apparant/ rather then of the

vertue and hid valor/ and thearfore they gave yt the name of want/

bycawse they did not vnderstonde/ that yt hadd more noble operation/. [5]

Plato denyethe any right hande or left hande to be in heaven/ but in

respect to vs/. ffor yf the heavens have movid allwais/ yt had no begyn-

nenge from whence yt shoulde move and so have nether^ left nor right

side/ but yf it have not allwais movid/ butt had begynnenge/ and shall

have endinge as we Χρians@ beleve/. the lefte side is mutche the more [10]

noble/ as rest is better then travell/ for he movithe from the easte to the

west/ that is from the right side to the left/ and so from the este begyn-

nethe to seke his welthe/ and in the west wch is the left side/ restethe/

and pawsethe wth quyetnes/ as one that hathe obtayned that he saught

for/. And yf thear wer in god/ any qualytye of membrs/ and dissposition [15]

of bodye/ as thear is not/ by cawse he is incorporall/ and incompre-

hensible/ paradventure I wolde confesse vnto you thear wer in hym allso

dystynction off place/ but whensoever the separacon^ off sowlis shall cum/

it is of reason to be beleved that the Angelles and sowls of good men

shall stonde rounde abowte Allmightye god/ to enioye the sight of hym/ [20]

wch is a ioy incomperable/ he beinge the originall/ and ende of all ioye/

and ffelicitie/ wth the wch I will make an ende of this matter/.

And whearas you saide mutche of the iust proporcon^/ of mannis

shape/ ye must vnderstonde/ that wymen have their determynate shape

appoynted/ wch is vij handfulles and an halfe/ and everye hande is nyne [25]

ynchis/ to be taken of a reosonable syes/ as the measure of the hed of the

wch (fol. 35A) you spake muste be so lykewyes/ in somoche as you

cannot by that argument obiect any thinge agaynste the worthynes off

wymen/. Nowe to go further I saye that all the vertue of men and

wymen concysteth in the bodye and the mynde/. and yt is well knowen [30]

that the myndes be equallye ᵱfect/ in bothe/ so that speakenge indyffer-

ently/ thear is no dyfference betwixt man and woman concernenge the

mynde/. That is not so (qd Iohn@ burghese) ffor Aristotle sayethe/ that

thear is lyttle dyfference betwene wymen/ and beastes/ and Maghomt

affirmethe that wymen have no sowlles but dyethe wth the bodye as other [35]



[p. 114]

creaturs voide of reason/. yff Arystotle be of that opynyon (quoth the

Countesse) he is agaynste hym self and all other Philozophers (as I have

hard say) wch indyfferently appoyntethe to men and wymen the Immor-

talytie of the sowle[.] As for Maghomet I care not mutche ffor [him]/

for he hathe so many fonde opynyons in his Alcoron/ that I will not [5]

labor to reprove this/. So that Mr Orlando nede not passe of this obiec-

tion/ but go on withe his matter as he was determyned/.

Then (quothe Mr Orlando) yf thear be any dyfference of parfection

betwene man and woman/ yt procedethe of the operacons^/ the wch be

derived of the instrumentes of the bodye/. and thearfore the more par- [10]

fect the instrumentes be/ the better be the operacons^./ I praye you

(quoth the Countesse[)]/ declare this by sum example/ that we poore

wemen may understande yt the better/. Madam (quothe he) I wyll geve

ye an example/ wch shalbe playne/ and that is this/. Thear be two men

that can wright excellently well and have equall connynge/ is it not then [15]

lyke that he that hathe the better penne shall wright the better hande? that

is trewythe (quothe the Countesse) the same is to the vnderstonde (quothe

  1. he) in the instrumentes of men and wymen/. And ( 35B) heare ye

muste geve me leave to speake a lyttle Scolastycallye/[.] ffor the in-

strumtes be named/ Symple/ and Organycall/[.] the body is the instru-[20]

ment Organyck of the sowle[;] wch is considered two wais/ in shape and

complexion/ of the varietie of the whiche commethe all the dyfference

of or operasyons/, and whye/ Sum be fools/ and sum be wyes/[.] by the

shape no man makethe any argument of parfection/ but of the com-

plexyon/ wch in man is hot and dry & in a woman cowlde and moyste/. [25]

the body hathe fowre pryncypall humors/ coler[,] fflewme/ blood/ and

Melancholy/. in sum bodis one of theas have domynacon^ and in sum

an other/ and the generall opynyon is that man is collerick and woman/

fflewmatyque. and of this yt ffolowethe that I purpose to prove/ that

thoughe wymen be of the flewmatyque complexion and men of the con- [30]

trarye/ yet by thoperacon^ of the instrumtes the ᵱfectyon do rest in wymen/.

The wyes philozophers affyrme that the hote and drye complexion do en-

gender ffervent desyers and willes inflamyd/ so that the ffervor of this

complexion/ makethe men dysordynate and intemperate/ and thoughe

it bringethe forthe quycker wyttes and good sprytes/ yet it is so over- [35]


[p. 115]

cum wth the vehemecy* of affections/ that raege destroyethe reson, and

good witt is evill imployed/ and thearfore the complexion of wymen/

that is contrarye to this/ muste nedes prove in them to be/ more tem-

perate condycons^ and stayed desyers/. And becawse the appetites off

wymen be ffewe and weake/. reason nowe muste nedes take more place [5]

in them/ and so consequentlye/ wymen folowe reason & vnderstandinge/

and men folowe sensse and their dyshonest appetytes/. ffarther the whote

complexion hathe more nede off plentyfull nutryment/ of the wch arysethe
haboundaunce of vapours/ the wch ascendithe to the brayne/ and be

mutche hurtfull to the mynde/ and this is evidentlye sene that after [10]

meate we be nothinge so dyspoced to contemplacon^ as we be ffastenge

(fol. 36A) thearfore we maye conclude, that the whote complexion/ have

so manye dyscomoditis*, that it is not hable to countrevayle thother wch

makethe wymen temperate and obedyet* to reason/. And yf hypocrates

be of anye aucthorytie in this matter/ who hathe ever byn reputed the [15]

god of the phesycons^, the Sangwyne Complexyon/ that is peculyar of

mann/ and hote and moyste, doe make men ffoolis and to prompt to

laughter/. Nowe I wyll speake of the operacons^ and accons^/[.] And to

begynne wth strengthe/ off the whiche men make theyr great boste: yf

we wyll reason of the strengthe of bodye/ whearbye men crewellye [20]

oppresse wymen./ bycawse he is stronger/ yt hathe not so great dignitie,

nor prayse yn yt./ ffor yf man be more noble than woman bycawse he

is strongar/ than the horse/ and the oxe/ shalbe more noble then the

man: but yff you will speake of that strengthe/ wch Arystotle callethe the

shelde of morall vertues/ ye shall fynde that men doe not onelye/ not [25]

deserve to be preferred before wymen/ but rather not to be nombred

amonge stronge men/. and to speake off this ffortytude of the mynde,

by the whiche so manye trobles and myseris, so manye sorrowes and

dyseasis/ ar suffered to bridle/ the brutyshe/ and sensuall desyers, I shall

not nede to recite vnto you hystoris or provynces/ ffor thear is never a [30]

poore towne nor borroughe/ but ye maye ffynde infynyte wymen/ that

daylye suffer the tormentes of their howsbandes/ and yet be content

withe them/ and onelye doe love them/. Temperance is indyfferent to

men and wymen/. and yet the proper prayse off yt is of wymen/. Off

Temperaunce comethe* the lawdable and good Companyons of vertue [35]


[p. 116]

wch is shamefastenes/ modestye abstynence[,] honestye/ Sobryetie/ and

integrytie. off the wch yf thone be wantenge in a woman all other vertue

is so corrupted and spotted as all the water of the great fflood Poo is

not hable to washe yt off/. And whear yt is certeynely thaught of

allmen/ that wymen be more desyrous of carnall lust then men/ yt is [5]

well seene that withe great constancye/ they bridle that affection and

all theyr lyffe/ kepe them trewe to their (fol. 36B) promis that they

make/ whearas men ar never content/ but styll ronne at rovers wth-
owte regarde/ insomoche as he is cownted a ffoole nowe adayes/ that

is of other opynyon./ And thearfore Arystotle knowenge the evill [10]

dyssposicon^ and mynde of men/ geve them warenenge to beware of

strange wymen who never gave precept to wymen to beware of strange

men/ bycawse he parceaved they had no nede/[:] and all thoughe

lycentious poetes/ do baye and bable that no woman wyll denye so

she have comodyti* and be desyred/ let them baye as mutche as they [15]

will/ ffor allthoz thearbe a ffewe that have for gott them selves/ yet the

nomber is infynyte of them that have shewed marvelous prove off con-

tynencye and daylye doe/. And yff yt be trewe that Heraclitus sayethe/

that it is harder to resyst pleasure/ then angre, howe mutche aught

wymen to be praised, whome not the absence of their husbandes, nor [20]

the intysementes of their ffrendes have byn hable to/ remove from their

ᵱmysed ffaythe/[:] and of theas hystoris bothe awntient/ and preasant

be full/ and or noble poet of Toscane, ffraunces Petrarke/ cowlde ffynde

an infenyte nomber of wymen to honor his tryumphe of Chastytie/

whearas of men he fownde none or verrye ffewe/. And the Romayns [25]

when they buyldyd the temple off Chastitie/ they did consecrate yt by

a woman/ and not by a man/ knowenge more honestye and contynencye

in their kynde/ and this is well proved by the wordes of god in the

Creacon^/ when he saide, let vs make man an helpe/ that is for his

inconstancye/ and might well call yt an helpe ffor wthowte woman man [30]

had byn but a thynge of nawghte/[.] The cawse whye wemen be so

banyshed wth the crosse/ when anye of them dothe a mysse/ is becawse

thearbe so ffewe yt dothe yt/ that every man cryethe owte of them/ when

they do yt/[:] ffor everye (fol. 37) woman is not by and by so inclyn-

able to a man his request/ as theye of small vnderstandinge/ do iudge/ [35] [p. 117]

bycawse she is gentle in her behavior and interteigneng of men/. ffor

a man cannot make an argument strayghtwaye of the affabylytie of

wymen/. and of the curtesse talke of them/ as of or gentlewymen off

Sciena, and off prynces Courtes/ the wch for the honor of theyr place/

must fforce them selves to shewe a famylyar gentlenes/[:] as for other [5]

lett/ them vse as their contrye alowethe/ and go no further/. ffor I doe

not intende to prayse wymen for anye thynge that is not prayse worthye/

and to kepe me wthin my bondes/. I saye that for as mutche as a woman is

more ware, she is allso more temperate/ and thearfore as oft as desyer of

mynde/ or ffragiliti of bodye or instigation of vs men/ (wch never ceas [10]

to provoke them) comethe* before their eyes, shamfastnes and ffeare of

infamye apperethe vnto them/ that they doe rather concent to dye (yf

case so requyrethe) then to aventure their honor to be loste/ in a moment/.

I thinke (quothe the Countes) you have donne to greate an iniurye a

gaynst wymen/ agaynste yor will/ when you saye that shame and ffeare [15]

makethe vs lyve honestlye/ and to overcum our appetites/[.] Had it not

byn better to have attributed yt to the love of vertue/ to ye desyer of

honor/ and the hate of vyce[?] and thus mutche I am so bowlde to saye

bycawse I wolde leave no matter of cavillacon^ to Mr Camyllo/ who me-

thaught began to rowse hym selffe/ for ioye that he had gotten sutche [20]

an occasyon/.

Naye (saide he) I am not so weake a warryour as I lack armewre

to ffight a gaynste hym, and you to, yff I wer dyspoced/ but I will not

doe what I might doe becawse you cannot suffer to be overcum/.

Madam (qd Mr Orlando) have ye no feare of any thinge that I saye/ [25]

for I will prove that same resspect of wymen (fol. 38) to be fur above

anye that men have/ for they in everye place and tyme/ that occasyon

is geven them/ folowe the rase of their raege/ and neyther shame/ ffeare

of infamy, love of vertue/ nor hate of vyce dothe reteigne them/ no nor

the respect of amytie[,] the bonde of parentage/ dutye nor office nor [30]

any thinge can reffrayne them ffrom the accomplyshement of their fonde

appetytes/. And thearfore I saye that intemperaunce (wch is the pecu-

lyar vyce of men) is the cawse whye/ they waxe lyke beastes withoute

reason/ and who is not more afraide off the ffurye of a dronken man/

then off the rage of any brewit beaste/ and yet thearbe that saye that [35]


[p. 118]

sutche men (yf they deserve so to be called) have more reason in them/

then anye woman/. And yf I showlde demawnde/ when men go to

drynke so moche/ whether they be then dronke or sober/. yff they be

dronke, we muste allwais call them ffoolis yf they be Sober/ howe can

we saye that they have good Iudgement/ to teache and governe other/ [5]

when they suffer them selves to be transformed ffrom men to beastes/[?]

and ffewe of vs can name anye wymen that once have sufferid them

selves to be so overseene at anye tyme/ as the moste ᵱte of men be

manye tymes/. Thearfore by cawse or actions be moste sure testymonis

of or mynde/ and we see that the moste parte of men/ be incontynent/ [10]

and lascivious, maye we not/ necessarylye conclude that whear thear is

no sutche deffect in wymen/ that they be a greate deale more parfect

in theas vertues then men be/. Nowe lett vs learne of theyr further

demeanure/ seinge the vertue of lyberalytie is a meane betwene the ex-

tremytis/ of prodigalytie/ and covetusnes/. yf I can declare vnto you/ [15]

that they, by theyre wyse doenges be neyther prodygall nor covetous/.

Cann ye denye me but they muste nedes be liball^/ and consequentlye

(fol. 39) vertuous/[?] that generally they not be ᵱdigall/ yt is evidentlye

seene in them/ that be left widowes of theyr husbandes/ amonge whome

you shall fynde ffewe or none/ that have wastid the goods/ wch her [20]

husbande left her but rather withe wysdome and lawfull wais increased

yt/ Whear as contrarye you shall ffynde ffewe men/ wch yf theye maye

spende at their pleasure/ but that consume all/ and more to/. The

cawse whearof is theyr lose lyvenge/ suffrenge them selves to be wrapped

in the snares of dyshonest pleasure/ and sensualytie to overcum reason/ [25]

and so bycawse theye have no vse of reason them selves/ nor wyll

receave it at other/. They cast a waye rashelye their substaunce in a

shorte tyme/ that wth mutche payne hathe byn longe agettenge/[.] And

of this foloethe covetusnes/ ffor when they have spent all theyre owne

goodes/ they begyn to covet other menns/ of the wch followethe so many [30]

prevye robberis/ so manye open thefftes[,] so manye murthers/ and

occysyons/ as I am ashamyd to reherse them/. In the bestoweg* of their

allmos for god his sake/ we se howe wemen releve the poore/ and sutche

as have nede/ and geve yt not ffondlye awaye to ffoolis and scoffers as

men doe/. thearfore yf they do not consume theyr owne/ nor covet [35]


[p. 119]

other menns/ but spende wyselye in their busynes/ howe can anye

manne dowbte but in the vertue of lyberalytie they do ffarr exced

men/. Why shoulde I not shewe wth what Iustyce they vse them

selves/ in their ffamelis/ wch is evydentlye seene in the howsis of sum

widos wch cowlde not so longe be preserved yf thear wer not a greate [5]

regarde of Iustice, and bycawse trewe Iustyce dothe not departe from

charytie/ the woman that is more charitable/ muste nedes be more

iuste/ ffor we ar wonte to saye/ that god is moste iuste/ bycawse he is

the gever of all good thinges/. I wyll not call L. Silla nor Iulius Cezar/

nor other vyolente (fol. 40) prynces liberall, thoughe they gave a waye [10]

the goodes of theyre enemys/, to them that tooke their parte/ but I will

rather call them robbers/ ffor he is lyberall that gevethe of his owne/

and yf men vse any lyberalytie it is in sum magnyfycens or pomp rather

to gett a ffame/, then for love off vertue/ whearas wymen for goddes

sake geve all to the poore/ and to the mayntenance of holye Churche/ [15]

not lokynge for prayse of men/. Yt is manyfest ynoughe that Iustyce

is more in wymen then men. bycawse the signe of Iustice is a woman/

and not a man/ and whear all nations by generall concent have agreed

to the same yt is lyke that yt procedid of Reason/. And that they do

passe men in prudence allso, it is to be gathered of that we have saide [20]

before/ for they be more temperate and contynent/ than men/ and

temperance is the preservacon^ of prudence/ of the whiche and Iustyce,

comethe* manye vertues in the wch wymen be lykewyse superior[,] as

innocensye/ religion/ pyetye/ amytie/ affection/ and humanytye/.

I am a fraide (quothe Iohn@ burgheso) you wyll give so manye [25]

vertues to wymen/ as they shall not be hable to beare them/. Well

(quothe he) in companye of theas vertues/ I wyll (as I saide) geve them

prudence allso, wch you nor noman ellse canne denye me to be moste

proper to wymen/. Thear is noman of So small dyscours/ but that he

knowethe nothinge to be so contrarye to prudence/ as soden and [30]

ffumyshe mocons^ of angre/. whiche yff they be once in wymen they

be a thowsand tymes in me*[,] and that commethe of the cowlde com-

plexion/ wch is wonte to make them lesse troblesom/ and more quyet/.

And thoughe yt be a comon* opynyon/ that wymen be best at the

sodeyne/ that makethe not a gaynste them/ ffor soden cowncell have [35]


[p. 120]

ever byn cowmpted best/ and longe delyberacon^ have manye tymes

donne hurte. (fol. 41) Whylste the Romayns dyssputed in the Senate

howse to sende Embassadors to Carthage/. the Cyttye of Sagunt that

loved them so well/ was destroyed of Annyball/[.] Yff the wymen of

Rome/ had had the matter in handlynge/ they had made shorter con- [5]

clusyon/ and savid their honor/. and preservid their ffrendes/ whearby

the warr that so longe vexed ytalye in contynuall peryll and travell/.

had byn endyd in spayne/. The noble Capytayne Iulius Cezar was

wont to saye/ that great thinges had no nede off longe delibercon^/ and

that spede for ye moste parte had the better ende/. And Thucidides [10]

wrytethe/ that thinges sodenne shewe and geve experyence of the wytt/.

for I wolde not that ye shoulde thynke that wymen take theyre soden

councell withowte dyscourse/. but by the ffynenes and subteltye of

theyr vnderstandig*, wch commethe bycawse theyr sprites ar more Sub-

tyll/ and soner percethe the vnderstandynge/. And thoughe theyre [15]

Coldenes might hynder their dyscourse/ yt it is so medlyd withe ffyne-

nes off wytt and Iudgement/ that the temperature is sutche as maye

provide agaynste all soden and greate Chaunce/. Nowe to sum par-

tycularytie/ off prudence/[:] is yt not a comon* opynyon of all men/ that

it is no lesse vertue to kepe a thinge that is gotten/ then to gett yt/ as [20]

Augustus Cezar notably dyd saye/ when he marveled at Allexander

magnus/ wch was sorye he showlde be in ydlenes/ by cawse he cowlde

not tell what to doe/ when he had overcum all the worlde/ as thoughe

yt showlde not have byn a greater travell quyetly to kepe/ then valy-

antlye to gett/. The Governinge of thinges gotten and the concervacon^ [25]

of an howse appartaynethe to wymen/. And everye daye wee See those

howsis to doe evill that be not governed off wymenne/. When the

man hathe donne his Indevor in marchandyse/ and hathe sayled so manye

seas/ wth sutche dainger and suffraunce/, (fol. 42) do not ye woman

take charge of yt at home/? Howe manye howsis for lack of womyn [30]

be yn sutche dysorder/ as is evyll to heare/? Howe manye cum to

worse/ and worse for lack of wymen/. Howe manye off the contrarye

side/ by the rule of wymen do increas and fflorrishe/ and be of greate

ffame/. And consider them that be braught vp of theyr ffathers/ howe

unsemelye, how vncerteynlye they go/ howe lyttle regarde is had of [35]


[p. 121]

them/. whearby so many vntaught yonge men have succeded in or age,

as is a greffe to see/. What a greater Consolacon^ can a man have/

then a mothr a wyffe or a Syster/. that ffaythefully cann governe her

ffamelye/. and have one and a dyscrete woman wth whome he maye

partycipate his caers when he comethe* home at night/. Thear is none [5]

other waye to fflye solytarynes the mother of melancoly and pensyvenes

but this/. And yff Sycknes comethe* or any other thynge/ that is cawse

off greffe (as happenethe everye daye) thear is no ᵱson in whome we

can so well trust/ as in or owne wyves/ and thear is none other cawse

whye we trust her/ but for that we knowe hyr so skyllfull/ as she wyll [10]

not be over seene, and so iuste/ as she will not be dysceyved. Thear-

fore we maye well truste the woman/ wch in wysedome and Iustyce

excedeth the man/. Besides this, wymen be off moste gentle mynde/

they robbe not/ they kyll not/ they burne no mans howse/ rather theye

doe resyste all sutche errors/. Whearfore seinge it is proper to them to be [15]

of meke mynde (as Arystotle sayethe) they have this guyft of god more

then anye man/. And yff we wyll rightlye Consider/ the excellencye and

naturall parfection that wymen have/. thear is no dowbte but we men

shoulde confesse that to be in them/ that is moste trewe/[.] Take what

man/ what soldyer/ what Conqueror you wyll/ and he wyll confesse that a [20]

woman hathe byn lady and mystres (fol. 43) off his harte/: and yf that be

so/ whye have we not a comawndyment* to agree withe the noble parfection

off wymen/. What man did ever optayne the love of a woman/ but he was

ffayne to desyer her/ ffayne to make sute vnto her/ was ffayne to beseche

her/ and when we do ffyrste offer orselves/ and geve or hartes to receave [25]

theirs/ yt muste nedes folowe that their worthynes is more then owers/.

I wyll not alowe this (quothe Iohn@ burghese) to be allwais trewe/

that he that makethe sewte is allwais inferior/ for to bringe or purpose to

passe/ we shewe a marvelous Submyssyon/ and make them beleve manye

thinges/ that be not trewe/. You have well declared (qth the Cowntesse) [30]

what craftye fflatterars ye be/ and howe that ye shewe yor wylie nature/

in that ye be so great dyssemblers/. Madam (quothe Mr Orlando) all

makethe for you/ ffor you never see a ritcheman aske anye thinge of a

poore man/ thearfore seinge we praye and desyr/ we Conffesse or povertye

and inferioritie/. And I wyll saye ffurther/ that nature gave men the [35]



[p. 122]

strengthe of bodye/ for none other respect/ but that they showlde gett

wymen those thinges/ that wer necessarye for their lyvenge/. And

ffurther we see that men never refused them selves/ to be put to a

thowsande fawltes/ and daingers to deffende wymen/. wch thinge declareth

their Nobilitie/ and maye be proved by example/. ffor as the arme is [5]

ffarr more vnnoble then the hedd/ yet to deffende the hedd/ yt re-

ceavethe many tymes verrye sore woundes/. howe manye prynces?/

how manye knightes?/ how manye Capytayns/? have suffred so sharpe

perilles/ so dayngerous assais/ ffar from their contrye/. And all to de-

ffende a woman/. And thearfore I maye make an ende/ that all honor [10]

and nobylytie concyste in woman and that generallye they be full of

vertue and parfection/: and doe mutche marvell that for the ffawlte of

Sum one/ men wylbe so crewell to blame all/.

In (fol. 44) ffaythe (saide the Countesse) the cawse of that is/ that

whear as men be so farre gon in doenge yll/ as yt apperethe a greate [15]

matter yff one doe well/. And contrarye wymen beinge vnyversally

geven to doe well/ they make a marvelous matter yf one do evyll/. In

dede Madam (quothe he) yor reason is moste trewe/. and I thynke you

might and cowlde/ aswell answer to the reste/. But bycawse you ap-

poynted me to the thinge/ I will make an ende of yt/[.] And so to [20]

speake sumwhat of knowlege I saye thear be two kyndes/ thone naturall

the other gotten withe Studdye/. in the naturall the cheffe honor is

geven to the woman/ by cawse by the opynyon of wyse men/ they in

lesse tyme cum to the ᵱfectyon thearof/: in the other/ thoughe men ex-

cede, yt is not greatlye to theyr prayse/. bycawse wymen be not suffred [25]

to trye them selves in the Scoles and other places/ of exercis as men

be/: ffor yf they wer I doe not dowbte/ that they in shorte tyme wolde

not onelye be equall wth men/ but allso fur go beyonde them/. And as

men be in sum thinges/ more ᵱfect. then wymen/ as in the boysteous

strengthe of the bodye/ appoynted vnto them by thorder of nature, so [30]

yf nature had not geven more wisedom to wymen/, I wolde saye/ she

wer a verry stepp dame/[:] and thoughe I maye conclude before I go

anye further/ yet I will recorde howe Iustyce is loved by wymen, howe

they refrayne from the usurpacon^ of other mens goodes/, and remayne

contented wth theyr owne honors/[.] Nowe I knowe that to gentlemen [35]


[p. 123]

of Noble hartes this that I have saide wyll suffice, yet peradventure sum

thear be/ so obstynate that they wyll ffinde fawltes at the matter/. And

whear as I might have ample ffelde to speake of the bewtye of wymen/.

and of their goodlye shape whiche passethe all other creatures/ I wyll

not ioyne the bodye wth the mynde nor mortalytie wth Immortalytie/ [5]

and thearfore not havinge byn able to exalte the woman kynde as the

same (fol. 45) deservethe, to satysfye yr will,/ I have saide thus mutche/.

and wolde be glad to hear sum other/ to saye more that can saye better/.

you make an end to sone allwais (quothe the Countes) and wolde

have other men to take yor office in hande whiche they will not doe/. [10]

And I wolde have you to go throughe wth it/ bycawse you arr or vnd-

owbted Champyon/. Madam (quothe he) I leave, bycawse I wolde

not be tedious/ neyther to you/ nor none other[,] for thoughe I ffavor

the cawse/ yet I must have a respect to the tyme/. Naye (qth Iohn@

burghese) ye leave, bycawse your matter ffaylethe you/ and muste have [15]

sumtyme to seke for more/. And I marvell you ffynde not that ffawlte

wth yor advrsary for he is a great deale shorter then he nedethe/. He

maye be as longe as he will (quothe the Countes) and so maye you to/

for or cawse is sewer ynoughe/. in dede madame (quothe Mr Camyllo)

we might be bothe longer in or matters/ but to what purpose/ he is con- [20]

tent wth mesurable tyme in his praysis/ and I seke not mutche matter to

dyssprayse/ but onely am ledd/ withe the fforce off trewthe/. wch movethe

me to saye sumwhat to that wch he hathe last spoken/. I praye you

saye what you will (quothe the Countesse) and for my parte I shalbe

glad to heare you/. I wyll not (quothe he) repeate every thinge/ but [25]

towche Sumwhat/ and lett the rest go/[.] youre dyssputacon^ of com-

plexion and humors/ made nothinge to yor purpose/. And thearfore

bycawse you be my ffrende and Companyon/ I am sorye you spende

yor tyme so in vayne/ wch peradventure you shoulde not doe/ yf you

wolde leave yor highe gate/ and dyscende a lyttle lower and be content [30]

to be sett in the right waye by sum wyseman/ that might brynge theas

wymen/ from the ffalse Credyte that theye have in you/ professinge yor

selffe to be their Champyon and Cappytayne/. And yff ye confessethe

whote and drye complexyon is proper (fol. 46) to men/ and that yt

gendrethe better Spirites and more agreynge wth reason/. and bringth [35]


[p. 124]

forthe more gentle behavyor/ then anye other Complexyon/ ye can-

not[,] for all your shyftenge, denye/ but man hathe the better case in

this behalffe/. And of this sorte of men ye maye see (and ye will) many

gevin to learnenge and vertue/. ffor thoughe in sum ffervor apperethe

in the yonge yearis, yet tyme bryngethe yt to rule and order whearby [5]

men of whot temperature doe bridle their will/ and make yt obedyent to

reason/, and prove moste forwarde men/. And I cannot tell howe ye

conclude the matter makynge men bothe of whot and drye and allso of

whot and moyste Complexion and dyssposycon^ of nature/ whiche is

cawse of so manye deffectes/ in the wch sum what might be saide/ but [10]

I wyll onelye take your owne wordes/ that wymen maye have the same

Complexyon and dysposytion of nature/ wch is cawse of so many defectes/

and then shall yor extremytie be seene, wch you vse agaynste men/.

chargynge them onelye wth a want that is common to other. And I

promys you/. I thaught men suffred to mutche iniurye/ at yor hande/ [15]

and did well parceave/ what desyer off pleasynge wymen cowlde doe/

in a wyse man as you be/. to make you perswade a thinge/ wch neyther

you nor none other can thynke to be trewe/. ffor whear as you make

wymen to be so fufylled wth all vertues/ and men wth none/ I see your

matter so ffar a wrye/ that I wyll not travell in the confutacon^ thear- [20]

off/ ffor whoe doe not see the vyces that raignethe in wymen/?/ was

not man well holpe vp by woman? of the whiche you made a great

adooe/ and wrested the word that god spake/ to a superioritie/ whear

yt was ment of an equalytie/. And do you not thinke yt a goodly helpe/

that in thende made the man to lose the ffavor of god and to be dryven [25]

owte of paradyce/? and ffor all your prayse of contynencye/ did not the

same god by his lawe/ ponyshe the incontynencye of wymen wth stonenge

to deathe? (fol. 47) Was thear anye sutche correction for man/? who

beinge so badd/ as you wolde make hym/ muste nedes have had yt and

more to/. But bycawse the makers off lawes/ sawe that men did seldum [30]

ffayle of their promis to theyr wyves/ Thynking yt to be allmoste

Impossible that a Creature of Sutche stable nature shoulde offende in

that parte/ appoynted no payne at all/. but contrarye wyse/ bycawse

wymen wer so lascyvious/ and dyshonest, they cowlde not devyse to

greate a payne to bridle their affections/. And ffor all the praysis that [35]


[p. 125]

ye gave them/ and all the shadowes that ye make them/ ye cannot hide

their ffawltes/ but ar ffayne to cover them withe sum ffayer excuse/ as

ther overmutche boldenes in talke/ and their light behavior wth men/.

yor dronken men thatt you braught in be odious/ and yf you wolde

have towlde of dronken wymen/ we shoulde have fownde them more [5]

odyous/ for they be as sone oversene/ and yf theft and all theves we[? r]

poneshed accordenglye/, ffewe wymen showlde scape vnponyshed/ wch

robb men of theyr cheffe rytches/ wch is their hartes/. And they be not

onelye not poneshed for yt/ but praysid and commendid/. And I cann

see no sutche vertue of liberalytie in them/ not knowenge to whome/ [10]

nor when to geve their gyftes/ but as their ffansye wthowte iudgement

dothe leade them/. And yf I wolde stonde vppon this/ I cowlde bringe

you in bothe reason/ and examples to the contrarye/. As I might right

well speake of their prudence/ whiche you attribute to them/ and they

be not apt to receave yt/ ffor that/ that they have, concystethe onelye [15]

in the hastynes and sodentye of tonge/ and in no deliberature of the

mynde/. And I cannot tell whye you showlde make sutche a dyssprayse

of Chyldren that be braught vpp off theyre ffathers/ whearof manye

prove well/ and ffewe of thother/[:] and in that they take the govern-

ment of their children and their howsis/ they meane yt of their (fol. [20]

48) husbandes/ and so vse yt/ and thearfore many men/ when they cum

home to their howsis thynke they go to hell/ or to hangynge/. Yt is

not allwais trewe/ that he that desyrethe a thinge of another is inferiour

vnto hym (as Iohn@ Burghese noted verrye well/.) ffor as yt maye be/

that for to have a thinge desyred/ he will submytt hym selffe/. So in [25]

other thinges he will not vse yt/. And for all the Servyce that men do

vnto wymen/ what thankes have they at ther handes/[?] even that/

they allwais procure/ that is myscheffe and destruction/ as at Troye and

other places/. As for their Science and knowlege, howe canne ye prayse

them/ seinge all learnenge bothe dyvyne/ and humayne withe other [30]

artes/, have all byn the invention of men/. and not of wymen/. So that

I canne see no sutche Cawse whye ye showlde celebrate yor wymen/

wch thynge I might towche more at large, but that I meane not to be

vehement/ and thoughe I knowe that sentence shall be geven agaynste

me/; yet I maye vse the remedye off appellacon^/ and have right at your [35]


[p. 126]

owne hande/ beinge owte of love/ as you ar nowe in love/ and looke to

have Iustyce off you in another Courte[,] that is of reason/. and not of

rage[:] and thearfore I reserve my reasons tyll a nother tyme/ know-

enge the rage to be so corrupted/ and wayed downe by the promyses and

fflatteris/ of theas ffayre ladys/ that thear is no tyme to crave Iustyce at [5]

his hande/. And this I maye saye vnto you ladis all/ that ye have

ffownde a man/ that better can dysprais men/ and consequently hym

selffe/, then prayse wymen. Well saide (quothe Iohn@ Burghese) I am

glad we have one that is not affraide to tell the trewith and that wyll

not be overcum withe the vayne mynde/ that many have by fflaterenge [10]

of wymen/. You (quoth the Cowntesse) ar ever redy to stryke vpp a

myscheffe/. and to helpe (fol. 49) fforwarde a thynge vntrewe/. Naye

a thynge moste trewe madam (quoth he) wch shoulde be well proved/

yf we wolde doe or best[.] Madam (quoth Mr Orlando) lett them do

their best/ and theyr worst to yff they will. I wolde (quoth she) they [15]

had vttered all theyr poyson/ esspesyally bycawse they pretende a for-

bearenge of theyr parte/ and a partiallyti in or parte/. No poyson

madam (quoth Mr Camyllo) but rather a purgacon^ to clense you/. and

other of infected humors of error/ whiche yff they contynue will

destroye mutche people/. I am suere (quothe she) yt shalbe helthesum [20]

physyck that you wyll mynyster/ and spetyallye when you geve yt your

adversarye/. By my trothe Madam (quothe Mr Orlando) I wolde they

wolde be/ as playne as we be/ and speake for the trewythe/. and not for

the tyme/. Naye then (quoth Mr Camyllo) lett everye man/ iudge who

speakethe to pleas/. And seinge ye wyll nedes have me saye sum thynge/ [25]

that I intendid not/ I wyll content your mynde, not vsinge any saught

or Studyed matter but that/ that all men/ in all tymes/ sithes* the

begynnenge/ have beleved and affirmed to be trewe/. Hathe not the

generall concent of all the worlde/ dryven wymen owt of Cowncell

howsis/ owte of scolis, and owte off all assemblis of Importauce*/? hathe [30]

not the vnyversall Iudgement off tyme/ proved their insufficiencye at

home and their inhabylitie abrode/? Theire councell is compared to

swarmes off Swallowes/ their talke to chatterenge of pyes/ and sutche

lyke/ their lascyvyousnes to sparrows/ and their wantonnes to goetes,

and so forthe/. What sayethe the wyes poet of them/. [35]


[p. 127]

A woman is a beaste/ mutable & vnsure

her worde is lyke the leafes of trees that longe do not endure/.


promys she kepethe none/ vnstable is her mynde/.

her wrytenge is in rennynge streame/ & changinge as the wynde/.


(fol. 50) Theyr Condycon^ hathe ever byn takyn for troblous/ obsty- [5]

nate/ and prone to all qualytie of hate and contention/. Every ma*

knowethe, that, to be trewe wch is wrytten of them/.


The bedd whearin the woman lyethe:

is full of Stryffe and vyllanye/.

The husband takethe but lyttle rest: [10]

allwais in Care and myserye.


Yt is not wthowte a dyvyne providence that a monge so manye

rewyns of Rome thear is a pece of marble savid whearin theas wordes

ar wrytten/.


Stay wayefarenge man hear is: nothynge but well/. [15]

hear is no stryffe wth man and wyfe: my name I wyll not tell/.


Than wyll I (quothe she) thou arte: dronken bebrius/.

And sayest that I am dronke/[:] lett: hym be Iudge betwene vs/.


Howe nowe wyffe (quoth he) muste: yt nedes be so/.

That thow wylt chide when thou art: deade and Styll worke me my wo/. [20]


Thear is another common proverbe/. who hathe no controversye/

hathe no wyffe/. The awntient learned man Simonides namyd a woman

to be the shipwracke of hyr husband/ the tempest of her howse[,] the

lett of rest/ the poyson of lyffe/ the payne of contynuance/ the battell off

Sumptuosytie/ the beaste of ffamylyaritie[,] and the evill of necessytie/. [25]

I have harde saye of them that cum owte of ffraunce that the ffrenche-

men describe a womann thus/ A woman is a furye/ and an hurtfull

Spyrite in the howse/. an angell/ in the Churche/. an ape in the bedd/




[p. 128]

a mule vnbrideled in the ffelde/ and a gote in the garden/. The Egip-

tians affirme/ when Nylus the fflood/ did fflowe from the ffowntayne

overwhelmynge the earthe, certeyne grownde remayned/ as a fenne, in

the whiche by the fforse of the sonne, many lyttle beastes did growe/

amonge (fol. 51) the whiche the ffyrst woman was fownde. All other [5]

Creatures wer borne in the wombe of their mothers/ onely the woman/

hadde no mother at all/. and sythens they werr borne withowte mother/

yt is evidentt that they lyve wthowte rule/, and dye wthowte order/[.]

shewerlye he hathe to endure mutche travell/, to seke mutche councell,

to muse many devisis/, and to have muche helpe/ and to loke for manye [10]

yearis/ and to chose amonge many wymen/, that wyll governe one

woman withe reason/. howe ferse so ever the lyons be/ they ffear their

keper/. The bull is braught wthin the barrs/ the bridle rulethe the

horse/ onely a woman is a beaste vntamyd/. that never losethe her

boldenes by comaundyment*, nor leavethe, hyr vyolence by governmt[.] [15]

The goddes have created men so manlye[,] so profound in Iudgement

and so strong in fforce/ that thear is nothinge so highe nor so depe/ but

that they can comprehend yt/ nor so swyft that can scape them/ nor so

stronge that canne resyst them/: but for the woman/ they have no

spurrs that can make them go/ no bands that can holde them/ no bridle [20]

that can staye them/ no lawe that can subdue them/ no shame that can

reteigne them/. no ffeare that can afraye them./ no Chastysment that

can amende them/. he is yll bested/ that muste rule them/ or correct

them/. ffor yff they take an obstynacye in the hed, all the worlde/ shall

not gett [it] awaye/. yf they be advysed of any thynge/ theye beleve yt [25]

not/. yff anye councell be geven them/ they never take yt/[.] yf they be

threpned/ they langwyshe/. yf they be cheryshed they be prowde/. yf

they have no solace/ they envye them that have yt, yf a man wynke at

them/ they becum shamlesse/. yff they be chastysed/ they be more

poysened/. And thear was never woman that cowlde pardon iniurye/ [30]

or acknowlege benefyte/. take the moste Symple woman that is/ and

she wyll sweare she knowethe as mutche as any (fol. 52) man alyve/.

Wyll ye knowe what lyttle yt is/ that wymen knowe/ and what mutche

yt is that they knowe not/ they knowe that in harde matters they canne

resolve aswell at a sodeyne determynasyon/ as yf they studyed for yt a [35]


[p. 129]

thowsand yearis/. And yf any man will speake a gaynste them. they/

take hym for a mortall enemye/. This I will saye/ that as the woman

is presumptuos that will teache a man any Councell/: so is the man

folyshe that accepteth yt/. he is a foole that takethe yt/. he is a more

foole that asketh yt/. and he is moste fole that/ followethe yt/[.] he that [5]

wyll not fall into this fondenes/ let hym hear what they saye/ and do what

he lystethe/. lett him speake fayre/ and worke fowle/. lett hym ᵱmys

mutche/ and parforme nothinge/. lett hym prayse their wordes/ and refuse

their councell/. Trewly when I remember that I am borne of a woman/

I abhorr my lyffe/ and when I thynke to lyve wth them I love my deathe/. [10]

ffor thear is none other deathe/ then to have to doe wth them/ nor none

other lyffe then to fflye from them/: When I consider wth my selffe the

occasyon whye men love them/ thear is none eye, but that maye wepe/.

nor no harte but that maye breake/ no spryte but that maye be sadd/

to se a wyseman lost wth a folyshe woman/. yff he passe the daye in [15]

ffedinge his eyes/ he lyethe the nightes in tormentes and payne/, and the

next day in Servyce and slaverye/. Sumtyme he lovethe darknes/ and

hatethe light/. Sumtyme he refusethe cumpanye/ and desyrethe soly-

tarynes/. he cann do that he wolde not/ and wyll that he cannot[.] the

councell of his ffrendes/ nor the infamy of his enemyes/ can helpe hym/. [20]

not the losse of goodes/ the hasardinge of his honor/. not the leavenge

of lyffe/ nor sekynge of deathe/ not to drawe nighe nor go ffurre of/ not

to see wth eye/ nor heare wth eare/. And wheare he might have vyctorye/.

he is all wais in warr (fol. 53) agaynste hym selffe/ and all this is bycawse

we be borne of ffleshe/[:] the brestes that we suck be ffleshe/: the armes [25]

that handle vs be fleshe/. the workes that we doe be of ffleshe/. the

men wth whome we lyve be of ffleshe/. and the wymen whome we love

be of ffleshe/. Yt is well known^ that they be borne in ffenns/ (after the

opynyon of the Egiptians) ffor ffenns have no clere water to drynke/.

no fruyte to eate/ no ffyshe to catche/ nor no grounde to beare/. Even [30]

so wymen in theyr lyves be fowle/. in their ᵱsons infamous/ in adver-

cytye ffearfull/. in prossperitie neglygent, in wordes/ ffalse/. in dedis

dowbtfull[.] in hatenge wthowte order/ and in love they be in extremes/

in gevenge they be coveteus, in receavenge thei be dyscortes/. Wyse

men have their ffame dyssparaged by them/ and Symple men their [35]




[p. 130]

lyffe in Susspence/. The awntient grekes saide/ that the fyrst woman

was created of the greate heate of the sonne/ and off the wormes of the

rotten trees in Arabia/ and they saide not a mysse. for wymen in

theyr tonges, be off ffyer/ and in manners, of corrupcon^/. Accordynge

to the diversytie of the beastes/ nature hathe placed their Strengthe/. [5]

in dyvers partes of theyr bodys/. The Egle in the beake/. The vnycorne

in the horne/. the Serpent in the tayle/. The Bull in the hedd/. The

beare in his pawe/. The horse in the brest/. The dogue in the tethe/.

The hogue in the groyne/. The dove in the wynges/ and the wymen

in theyr tonges/. The dove fflyethe not so highe/ wth the wynge/ as [10]

they wth theyr ffansye/. The catt scratchethe not so harde wth hyr pawe/

as they wth their Importunytie/. Nor the Serpent hathe not so moche

venome in theyr taylles/, and whole bodye/ as they have in their tonges.

And thearfore bycawse men can lyve wthoute wymen/. I councell yonge

men/. I beseche olde men I remember wyes men/ and I teache [15]

symplemen/ that they fflye theas wymen of yll condycon^/ even as a

common pestylence/. The lawe of plato (fol. 54) ordeigned that anye

woman of evyll ffame/ shoulde be openly dryven owte of the Cyttye/.

and that/ that woman that did amende showlde be pardoned/ exept she

had donne amys wth her tonge/. ffor wth her bodye she offendythe wth [20]

ffraylenes[,] and wth her tonge by mallyce/. O noble Plato the measure

of order and prynce of Philozophye/. what woldest thowe have donne

in theas or dayes/ when thearbe so manye wymen of evyll ffame open/.

and so ffewe good secrett/, Seinge thowe madest thy lawe in the golden

worlde when all wer good/. I thynke (quoth Iohn@ burghese) he wolde [25]

have passed yt wth Scylence/. ffor when the ffawlte is comon*/ the thinge

passythe wthowte correction/. I thynke not so (quothe he) but they

saye thus nowe/ that of the leaste evill woman/ the evyll lyffe cowld

not be towlde in a mannis whole lyffe[:] and to conclude/ they saye

that a man may advoide all evilles/ by removinge for a tyme/ savinge [30]

evyll wymen/ whome he muste fflye/ and never turne agayne/.

Thear is nothinge more trewer then this (quoth Iohn@ borghese)

and thearfore holde you thear/. Thear is nothinge more ffalse (quothe

Mr Orlando) and that will I prove/. yff yt be not the pleasure of anye

other gentleman to doe yt/. [35]


[p. 131]

I thynke for this night (quothe the Cowntesse) none of them wyll

take the offyce ffrom you/. and thearfore I whold have you go thoroughe

wth yt/. I am content madam (quothe he) when he hathe made an ende of

his slaunderous tale/. I thaught (quoth Mr Camyllo) you wolde be angrye/.

No angre (quoth the Cowntesse) but good wyll whatsoevr anyman speak- [5]

ethe/ thearfore tell vpp your tale/. Naye Madam (Quoth he) I have donne

for this tyme/ bycawse I se the tyme passe/ and the night spent/[.]

Yff that be your consideracon^ (qoth (fol. 55) she) let Mr Orlando

speake his pleasure/. and we wyll breake of for this tyme/.

I am redy Madam (quothe he) to doe my indevor/. And I saye [10]

that all that myne adversarye hathe spoken/ hathe byn nothing but a

calumnyacon^/ and a ffalse waye of accusement/ gathered rather of per-

tyculer occasyon/ then of any vnyversall verytie/. ffor as everye poet

hathe falne owte wythe his Mystres/ so hathe he sett his penne to wright

evill/. And parte of this ffurious tale/ hathe byn answered before/ and [15]

parte nedethe no answereng. yet I wyll towche those partes/ that be

reasonable/ and ffyrst for the ffaythe of wymen/ wch as yt is a vertue

that gevethe fowndacon^ to all other vertues: so yt is moste relygiouslye

observed off wymen/. Portia after Brutus was deade/ cowlde not be

intreated to lyve/. Allcest the wyffe of Admetus/ loved hyr husband [20]

wth sutche ffaythe and benevolencce, that wth her deathe she baught his

lyffe and this parte I towched before/ and thearfore I maye passe yt/.

As for their vyelnes of harte/ I saye they be falslye reported/. ffor everye

man knowethe how coragious and valeant Semiramis quene of Babylon

was/ how many Capytayns she brake/ howe manye armys she over- [25]

threwe/. and howe manye battelles she made/. ye (quothe Iohn@ Bor-

gheso) howe manye amerous battelles/ faught bye night/. Who can lett

you to deprave eûy woman (quoth Mr Orlando) yf ye will? But who

hathe not redd howe noblye Tomiries of Scythya overthrewe Cyrus?

who dothe not knowe that Celia the maide of Rome did passe from [30]

porsena his Campe/ and abated the pride of the Toscanes/. I wyll not

speake of the wymen of lacedemonia/ nor of hipolyta yt affronted Allex-

ander the greate/ yff the wymen of or tyme do not exercyse armys/ yt

is bycawse the Custom is other wyse, and not ffor lack of their bolde-

nes. (fol. 56) Thear is a contrye called Trimballie wher the men sytt [35]


[p. 132]

at home and take theyr eas and the wymen go and doe ffeates a brode.

yf this good custom wer in or contreye, we showlde well see/ that wymen

should furr passe men/ as bragg, as they make them selvis/. What fface

have men to saye that wymen be not mete to geve cowncell/. Octa-

vyan thempror did nothinge but wth the councell of lyvia his wyffe/ [5]

and yet I am sewer his doenges wer passinge/. and Iustynyan that noble

Empror/ wolde have his wyffe ᵱtner of all his secret councelles/. Helio-

gabalus made a Senate of wymen/ whearin they dysputed of wymens

vestures and ornamentes/. And wolde to god/ they had that awctho-

rytie in or dayes/ and we sholde see sutche a redresse in the suᵱfluous [10]

cost of theyr araye/ wch is the vndoenge of manye men/ as all the worlde

shoulde speke good and honor of them/. Whearas nowe bycawse they

be ever obedyent/ they muste take sutche as is geven them/. The All-

mayns of olde tyme/ had an opynyon/ that an holye and sacred vertue

was in theyr wymen/ and thearfore wolde never order publique matter [15]

wthowte the councell of them/. In learnenge have not wymen won-

derously florished/. be not their wyttes more aptt to the same throughe

their quycknes, than the dull generation of men/? Socrates that worthy

man/ learned the moste parte of his Phylozophye of Asspasya and Dio-

tima/ did not the two Graccis the noble yonge men of Rome, learne [20]

their eloquens of theyr mother Cornelia? Did not hortensia defende

hyr ffather before the thre Tyrantes/? Did not Polla helpe her hus-

bande lucan in the makynge of versis/? In dede thear have byn allwais

sene in wymen great proves of vertues well notefyed by the olde verse/.


(fol. 57)                                  You yonge men have wymes* hartes/ [25]

and wymen do playe mens partes/.


Thear be sum men so colde and gellose that they will not theyr

wymen/ to write and rede any thinge/, nor to take a booke in hande/

and all is that they shoulde write no letters of love/. What a rudnes

is this? yf learnenge be a pretious guyft/ whye is yt not so in wymen [30]

also? and whye do we obiect want of learnynge in wymen/ yf we will

not suffr them to have yt/[?] yff men be afraide of wymen/ then let

them go dwell in wyldernes/. I wolde never councell astronomer to

take a wyffe/ leaste whylst he is lokynge for the hed of the drago* and


[p. 133]

the Eclipse of the moone/ his wyfe do make an Eclips at home/[.] I

wyll not speake of the wymen of Cimbria wch had rather dye wth their

owne handes than suffer any dyshonor/. I wyll leave the maydens of

Mylesia/ wch for the love of Immortalytye taught them by Carneades

valeantlye procured their owne deathes[.] Thearfore (as I saide before) [5]

of this matter infynyte examples/ might be braught for the purpose/

wch I of purpose omytt/. And I thynke that all that hathe byn ordeyned

agaynste wymen by lawe/ have ᵱcedid by envye/ and evill will onelye/.

He that was so depe in Philozophye/ as he fownd another lawe of

another kynde whiche he called a dyvyne lawe/ cowlde not love [10]

wymen/. ye knowe that in a cheffe bushop/ every thinge aught to be

exelent and ᵱfect/. And yet cowlde an ynglyshe woman ascende/ to

that highe dignitie/. Cicero makethe muche a doe a bowte a ᵱfect

Capitayne/ and yet who can compare withe Ione off ffraunce/ a contrye

maide/ that delyvered her contreye from their awntiet* enemyes/. I [15]

tolde before howe saynct Ierrom had muche confidens/ for the further-

enge of Χρis@ ffaythe in marcella paula and Eustochia/. Nowe to cum to

(fol. 58) sum other thinges/ as kepenge of howsholde/. Arystotle in his

booke off ffamelye wyll have hym that kepe howse take a wyffe in anye

wyse/[.] As for that/ that men somoche dowbte in maryage/ yt is [20]

nothinge/. ffor of all sortes/ and all agis/ they prove good and honest/.

Yff it might be/, yt wer good followeinge/ one of zenophons councell/

that is/ to take her that have seene lyttle, have lyttle/, and speake

lyttle/. but howe soever yt goethe/ a woman (as I saide) is necessarye/.

yff she be well condycionede she hathe a good dowrye/. And whear [25]

sum wolde have his not to ffayre/ nor to fowle, for the ffeare of the one/

and the greffe off the other/ let them take the meane accordige to the

olde Philozophers Cowncell/. Albeyt many verry ffayer/ have byn

verry good, and many verry fowle/ have had verry fayer manners/[.]

Nature hathe geven to wymen the care of children/ wch is the worke [30]

of Syngler* love/ ffor yt is not possible/ but the woman that have the

childe nyne moneths in hyr wombe shoulde love yt better then the

man/ and have more wysdome to brynge yt vppe/[:] and as this love is

greate/ so is that more that wymen beare to their husbandes/ in comen-

dacon^* of the wch/ valerius maximus wrote/ a goodly chappyter/ wheare [35]


[p. 134]

he cowlde wryte no sutche matter of men/. ffor he showlde have had

to mutche adoo to fynde a nomber to supplye his purpose whearas he

had an infynyte, of wymen, that suffred all tormentes/ and crewell

deathe/ for the love of their husbandes/. I praye ye tell me/ whye did

the auntyent men sett fforthe/ the musis that be the ladis of learnenge/ [5]

in the person of wymen/ and not of men/? Whye mynerva in the

ᵱson of a woman and not of a man, as I saide afore of Iustyce/? The

phylozophers affirme/ that in every kynde the ffemales be more apt to

learnenge then the males/ and made no exception of wyme*. But as I

saide before/ the bewtye of bodye is an argument of the bowntye of the [10]

mide*/. Homer writethe that Aiax was a man (fol. 59) of great Stature/

and thearfore ffumyshe and foolyshe/ and Vlysses a man of small

Stature/ and thearfore the wyser/ and prudent/. Then yf in bodis of

lesse proporcon^, reignethe moste wytt/ yt muste nedes followe/ that in

wymens bodys, wch be of that measure, is the lyke effect/. The vertue [15]

of wymenn allso/ is known by their gentlenes/ and pleasauntnes/[.]

Helena by her swete condycons^ & favour cowlde cawse olde Pryamus

to endure sharpe warr/. Thear is sutche a nature in wymen of vertue/

as makethe men devyse/ how they maye be exelent in vertues/ and

ffeates to be able to appere in their preasens/. And I dare be bolde to [20]

saye/ that for all that he saide before agaynste the love of wymen/, that

the occasyon of their love makethe more forwarde gentlemen then anye

other thinge/[.] We rede that or ffather Adam/ was created in the

ffelde of Damasco/ of the earthe/ and we rede that woman of the

bodye of man in the parradyce of delight/. And for this cawse/ it [25]

is an vse to honor wymen/ bycawse they have more honorable Crea-

tion/. What honor wymen have in every place/ everyman seethe/. The

honor that Coriolanus gave his mother veturia/, saved his contrye

Rome/. The vnicorne/ that can a bide none other Creature/ wilbe

towched of a virgynne/ acknowlegenge in her an hiz exelencye/. The [30]

worlde, wch nature hathe made for men/ testefyethe the prehemynes* of

wymen/. ffor wheare yt is devidid in to thre partes/ that is Asia/ Affrica/

and Europa/ Asia had the name of the wyeff of Iapetus/ and mother

of prometheus/. Africa otherwyse called libia of the daughter of

Epaphus/ Europa of the daughter off Agenor/ and all the earthe to gether [35]


[p. 135]

is called or vnyversall mother/. And off all thinges that nature or

ffortune have geven them, the bewtye of their body passethe/ wch beinge

compared wth all earthely Creatures/ hathe the prayse from them all/.

And bycawse me* cannot compare wth them in this/ they have devysed

a bewtye for them selves called maiestye/ or reverence/ but all is furr [5]

(fol. 60) of, and not to be compared wth the woman/. And the arty-

ficers/ not onelye of or tyme/ but off awntient tyme/ have evermore

fownde ᵱfectnes more in wymens shape/ then in mens, and comonlye*

we see wymen of a more generall iuste proporcon^ then men/ in whome

sum be gyantes and sum be dwarfes/[:] the cawse of this is that wymen [10]

be more moyste/ and moyste thinges be more easely drawn to their

measure/ and thearfore they be not so oft deformed but braught to

their ᵱfection/ and have the heavens more ffavorable to their bewtye

then we have/. Off other guyftes of the bodye and ffortune/ as children/

ffrendeshippe, riches/ glorye/. helthe and might/ they be nowhit [15]

inferior to men./ Children be common/ and yf anye have the greater

parte I thinke yt is she wch have borne yt/ wch have noryshed yt/ and

braught it vpp/. Off ffrendeshipp/ thear is no dowbte/ for that tender

love that they beare to their husbades*, their children, and ffrendes, is

in comperable/. [20]

ffrendes was well put in (quod Iohn@ burghese) for they have more

love to them, then to theyr husbandes/. Yff you (quoth the Countesse)

had not a love to ffinde faultes wthowte cawse/ you wolde not speake

after sutche sorte/. Lett hym speake and spare not (quothe Mr Orlando)

for all is to your prayse in thende/. And so I saye/ that ffor ryches/ all [25]

thoughe manye of them be moste riche/ yet it is more prayse to them/

to have domynyon over them that have riches/ and yt is ynoughe to
them to have the love off men/ whearby they be ladys of them/ and

their riches to/. Honor and ffame [are the meed] of guyftes of the

mynde/ in the wch they be superyor/ beinge in everye place/ of every- [30]

man honored/ and made ffamous/. the other guyftes of the body, as

helthe/ and strengthe[,] be no lesse in them than in men/ and thoughe

they be not/ yt makth no matter/ for they be not able to dymynyshe the

leaste parte of their excelencye/ for helthe concystethe in sober dyet/

whiche wymen kepethe more then men/. And by the helpe of naturall [35]


[p. 136]

purgacons^ wch they have, they escape manye dyseasis/ that men fall in

to/. As for strengthe we rede of the Amasones/ and manye other/ that

wer wont (fol. 61) to go to batteyll/ and have braught home manye

tryumphes/ and victoris/ and yf this vse were in or dais/ we shoulde see

what ye strengthe of wymen cowlde doe/. and nature hathe allso pre- [5]

ferred them in the order off generacon^/ ffor Gallen and Avicen sayethe,

that the woman hathe the pryncypall office to conserve and conceyve the

seede/ whearby the more parte of chyldren be lyke theyre mothers/. And

theare is no greater reason whye the love of mothers is greater to the

children/ but that they ffeele more of them selves in them/ than the ffathers [10]

doe/. And this is the cawse whye we love or mothers better then

or ffathers/ and not to the same ende nature hathe geven mylke to wymen/

wch is not onlie able to norrishe yonge babis/ but to restore the weake/

and preserve the whole/ and this is (wthowte dowbte) that wymen be

allwais more pyttyfull then men/. And Aristotle dothe attribute mercye [15]

to the ffemynyne kinde/ and for this cawse I thinke Salamon sayethe/

whear a woman is not, thear the Syckman waylethe/ ffor in the service

and handsomnes abowte syck men,/ the woman hathe marvelous dex-

teritie/ and for the bennefyte of hyr mylke/ able to restore the ffeable

creature/ as yt wer from deathe to lyve/. And the physycons^ affirme/ [20]

that ye heate of their papps/ ioyned to the brestes off men consumed

wth age/ dothe restore and increas/ theyr vitall heate in them/ wch thinge

David did knowe right well/ when he chose Abysag the yonge wenche

to comforte his olde bodye/[.] And one thynge that is moste marvelous/

a woman hathe brought forthe humayne nature/ wthoute mannis helpe/ [25]

wch thinge Averrois declarethe of a woman of Arabia/ and the Turckes

have wymen of that condycon^ wch they call nesesoglye/ and in sum

ylandes women conceave by other meane/ but howe so ever this is we

ar certayne/ that a virgyn onely by the worke of god & myracle braught

forthe to vs/ Chryste the sonne off god/ and that was the moste holy [30]

vyrgyn Mary the trewe and naturall mother of Ihus@ or Redemer/.

Nowe to speke of Speche, in the wch man passethe other creatures, and

(fol. 62) is called of hesiodus, the best treasure of man and reputed of

trimogistus/ equall wth Immortalyti/. Ys not the woman/ more plesaunte

more eloquent/ more abowndante then man? And all we fyrste learne [35]



to speake of oure mothers and norrishes/ wch was well forsene of nature/

for or behove/. bycawse ffewe or no wymen is borne dum/. and yt is

a goodlye prehemynence to passe man/ whearin he passeth all other/.

But lett vs cum to or beleve[:] no man dowbtethe but by the meane of

womanne/ god did blysse the man/, wch as one that deserved yt not/ [5]

had yt not vntyll the woman was created/ and wth this the proverbe of

Salamon agreethe/ he that fyndethe a good woman/ fyndethe a benefyte

and receavethe the benedyccon^ of god/ and Ecclesiasticus sayethe/ the

husband is blyssed by his good wyffe/ and theyr yearis shall be dowbled/

and nothinge cann be compared to hym that hathe a good wyffe/ ffor [10]

by ye same aucthoritie/ a good woman is a grace above all grace/. And

Sallamon callethe her the crowne/ and St paule the glorye of man/ and

glorye is the thinge wch is quyet and delightethe in thende/. to the

wch no more parfection can be addid. Thearfore the woma* is the ffull-

fyllenge/ the parfection/ the ffelycytie/ the benedyccon^/ and the glorye [15]

off man/. And (as St Austen sayethe) the principall companye of man-

kynde in this mortall lyffe/. And as they that be called Cabalisti affirme/

the woman hathe more conformytie in hyr name wth the ineffable tetra-

grammaton of god/ then man hathe/. So the same men affirme/ that

Abraham deserved to be blyssed by Saraghe/ and had a lre^ of hyr name [20]

addid to his. Thearfore benediccon^ was geven ffor womans sake/ and

lawe for manns sake[,] I saye the law of ire & maledyccon^/. The fruyte

of the tree of parradyse/ was forbidden to the man/ and not to woman/

ffor god from the begynnenge wolde have hyr ffree/. Thearfore the

man by eatenge/ offendyd and not the woman/ he gave deathe and not [25]

she/ and all we have synned in Adam and not in Eve/ and we have

receaved originall synne of or ffather Adam/ and (fol. 63) not of or

mother Eva/. And for this cawse the olde lawe wolde have men cyr-

cumcysed and not wymen/ determynenge playnelye that the thinge

shoulde be poneshed in that kinde that had erred/. God dyd not reprove [30]

the woman for eatenge but the man/ ffor he offendid by Scyence and

knowlege and she by ignorance/. and deceipt/[:] and Saynct Barnarde

sayethe/ that the dyvell beholdeg* the marvelous bewtye of hyr/ and

parceavenge yt was sutche as he to fore had seene in the dyvyne light/

he thaught to worke his envy in the woman onelye/ bycawse off hyr [35]



[p. 138]

exelencye/. Note allso that when Χρe@ wolde be borne in the worlde/

to purge the pride and synne of or ffyrst ffather/ he wolde take vppon

hym lowe and base kynde of man/ and not the noble and highe kynde

of woman/ and bycawse we wer condempned by the ffawlte of man/ he

wolde have that kinde to satysfye therrour/ that had commytted the [5]

offence/ and by that kynde that ignorantly had offendyd/ the revenge-

ment shoulde be made/. Whearfore yt was saide to the Serpent/ the

seede of the woman (and not of the man) shall presse thy hed/ and

this peradventure is the cawse whye the Churche rather commyt the

order of prestehoode to men then to wymen/ bycawse everye preste [10]

representethe Χρe@/ and Χρe@ the ffyrste Synner/ that is man[.] And in

that cannon whear yt is affirmid that woman was not made after the

symylytude of god/ yt is vnderstonde after the corporall semblaunce of

Ihu@ Chryste. And Chryste wolde not be the sonne of a man/ but of a

woman/ whome he magnefyed so moche/ that of hyr onelye he tooke [15]

ffleshe. And thoughe he be called the sonne of manne yt is for respect

of the woman/ wch is comprehendyd in this worde man. And this is the

greate marvell of the wch the prophett marveylethe beyonde measure/

that the woman did environ the man/ that was when Χρe@ was borne

in the wombe of the virgyn/. And thoughe the Churche prayeth thus/ [20]

The hurte that Eva did, thou restorest wth thy byrthe/ yt is trewe that

the Symplycitie of Eva/ was the cawse of or vnyver- (fol. 64) sall hurte/

but if the dysobedyence/ and pride of Adam/ had not followed/ the

error shoulde not have byn Imputed to the woman/.

Shewrlye theas wymen (quothe Iohn@ burgheso) have greate prevy- [25]

lege/. theyr fawltes deserve no ponyshement/ rather other be poneshed

for them/ and so we must supplye theyre wantes in every thinge/.

Yff ye wold (quothe Mr Orlando) be contented wth reasonn, ye

shoulde be instructed wellinoughe/ but yff ye wyll not/ yet trewythe is

trewythe/ in every thynge/ and of evident proffe yt followethe, that [30]

the woman aught to be loved/ reverenced and obeyed of all creatures/ and

everye creature is subiect to her/, by good skyll, and obayethe her as a

Quene/ and ende of all thynges/ as a ᵱfection and glorye/ in all wais

parfect/ whearfore the wyes man sayethe, glorefye the nobylytie of

wymen who hathe ffamylyarytie wth god[.] And bycawse I am no verye [35]


[p. 139]

good orator/ nor can of any prophane mattr make any ffyne invention/

I will go playnelye to worke/. And I saye that every man maye see/

what favor or lorde Ihus@ Χρe@ shewed wymen when he rose from deathe

to lyffe/ in that he appered to them/ before any man/ And yt is a thynge

moste certeyne that he did this/ as he dothe all thynges wth great [5]

Iustyce/. ffor he sawe howe all men denyed hym/ after his deathe and

lost theyr ffaythe/ whear as the wymen stoode shewer/ and never


This is no proffe (quoth Mr Camello) of any specyall favor that

Chryste bare them, but rather a confyrmacon^ of theyr weakenes/ ffor as [10]

they be evyll to kepe any councell/, So to blabb a brode his Resurrec-

tyon, he thaught them moste mete instrumentes. And as for theyr con-

stancye/ yt was happy yt chaunced in a good matter/ for they wold have

byn obstynate in a false opynyon

Yff yt wer mete (quothe Mr Orlando) that Χρis@ Ressurection shoulde [15]

be know* and his apperance notefyed/ ye maye well Iudge of wymen/

that they wer reputed moste mete for the purpose/. Yt was never redd/

that wymen did ever ᵱsecute the ffaythe of Chryste/ nor that any error

or (fol. 65) heresye have procedyd by them but bye men/. Thear is

matter ynoughe to prove ye contrarye/ the more is the pyttye/[.] Off [20]

men Chryste was betrayed/ sowlde/ baught/ accused/ condempned/ tor-

mented/ crucefyed & villanouslye put to deathe/. Off Sayncte Peter he

was denyed/. Off his dysciples he was forsakyn/. onelye of the wymen

he was accompanyed/ and bewayled to his Crosse and grave/. The wyffe

of Pylate, thoughe she were a pagan/ wrought more to save Χρis@ lyffe/ [25]

then all the men in the worlde/[.] The dyvynes holde opynyon/ that

the Churche onelye remayned in one womanne that is/ in or blyssed

ladye the virgyn mary, and for that cawse the kynde of wymen is called

holy/ and devowte/ and thopynyon is of good men/ that in the dome

weke/ that when all the xv candles be put owte that bren before the [30]

highe Alter/ the laste that is kept is the glorious mother of Chryste wch

onely in so great tribulacon^/ did neverr lose her ffaythe/. And Saynct

Paule saythe that god chose the thinges that be folyshe in the worlde,

to confownde the wise, and the weake, to confownde the stronge/ and

the abiect and base to destroye the highe & greate/. The chefeste of all [35]


[p. 140]

creatures in all quallytis that nature gevethe/ was or ffyrst ffather Adam/

and yet a woman made hym humble/. The moste stronge in body was

Sampson/ and yet a woman cowlde dyspache hym/. who was more cont-

ynent then lot, and yet a woman made hym comytt* the vnherde incest/.

A woman made the holye David to oversee hym self/ a woman [5]

dysceyved Salamon that was so wyse/ Iobe was the moste patient man/

from whome the dyvell (by the will of god) toke his cattel and pos-

sessyon/ he kylled his ffamely and chyldren/ and fullfylled hym wth sores

and infection/ and wth dolor of his whole bodye, and yet cowlde not

drawe hym from his formar symplycitie of mynde/ and never pryck hym [10]

to anger/ but a woman cowld so provoke hym to dyspaire/ that she

made hym curse the daye that he was borne/ whearin she cowlde do

more then the dyvell (fol. 66) him selffe/[.] And yf a man maye in this

comparyson/ bringe in Chryste/ wch was the moste wyse and stronge Crea-

ture/ that ever was[,] he beinge the eternall sapience and power of god/ [15]

he wolde be overcum of the poore woman of Cananie/. ffor when he

saide it is not good/ to geve the breade of Children to dogges/ she

answered/ yt is trewe lord, and yet the whelps eate of the croms* that

fall from their masters table/. And when Christe sawe that he cowlde

not overcum her by this argument/ of humylitie/, he blyssed hyr/ and [20]

saide, be it don vnto the as thou woldeste/. Who was more ardent in

the ffaythe then peter/ the Apostle/ beinge cheffe and highe pastor of

the Churche/ and neverthelesse was braught by a woman to denye


All theas thinges (quothe Mr Camyllo) that you have spokyn seme [25]

rather to tende to the dyssprayse of wymen/ then to their prayse/. And

the people have a comon* proverbe/ that a woman can do more then the


Naye (quothe he) not so/ ffor ye shall see ye evill doenge of wymen/

more often praysed in the Scripture/ then the well doenge of men/[.] [30]

Rachell is commendid for decyvenge her ffather/ Rebecka is celebrated

for robbenge the benediccon^ of Esau/, and retornenge it to Iacob/.

Raab a comon* harlot betrayed hir contreye/ hid thesspies of Iosue/

deceyved them/ and for the same is thaught a Iuste woman/. Iohell

receyved Sisara,/ interteigned hym ffrendelye/ and when he was a slepe/ [35]


[p. 141]

stroke a nayle in to his hed & killed hym/ and for this murther the

Script gyvethe hyr a blyssenge/ sayenge blyssed is Iohell emonges

wymen/ blyssed be she in her tabernacle/. The ffact of Iudythe whearby

she begyled holofernes wth so many ffayer wordes/ and in thend kylled

hym, is praysed in the Scripture/ and exalted vnto the heavens/[.] Off [5]

the contrary side Cayne did a good deede offringe to god the ffirste of

all his best fruyte/ and yet he (fol. 67) was reproved/[.] Esau did an

honest parte when he obeyed his ffather/ and went a huntynge to gett

hym meate/ and for his labor lost his ffathers benedyction/, and the

ffavor of god/[.] Oza thaught to do a greate service to god/ when he [10]

stayed the arke that yt shoulde not ffall/. and for his good mynde was

dysspatched/, by the wrathe of god/[.] Kinge Saule for kepenge ffat

beastes to Sacrefyce to god/ was dryven from his kingdo* and geven

to the powre of a wycked spirite[.] The daughters of lot wch vsed car-

nallye wth their ffather/ be excusid of so great a fawlte/ and he and his [15]

Successyon baneshed from the Churche of god/ yet theyr fawlte was of

knowledge/ and his of ignoraunce/. Thamar comytted* incest/ and yet

is counted more iuste/ then the patryarche Iuda/.

This is (quothe Iohn@ borghese) a pretty matter to tell my ladye

yf wymen maye vnderstande this gear/ that they be praysed for their [20]

wykednes/ yt is tyme for vs to geve over/[.]

Naye ye mystake yt (quothe he). And ye do not see howe they in

all thinges have respect/ to god and their honestye/. ffor thoughe they

be borne wth in the Scriptures/ and or lawe ᵱmyttethe them to provide

for them selves wth others losse/ yet have they the ffeare of god before [25]

their eyes/ and be so obedyet* to their husbandes/, and governors/ that

they will take none advauntage at this ᵱveleg/[.] And by the concent

of the Churche one woman deservid to be ye moste worthye creature

of the worlde/ conceyved wthowte originall synne/ and that was the

moste holye virgyn/ and in this case equall wth hyr sonne Chryste/. [30]

Off all creatures yff a woman be better then the best/ and a man worse

then the worste/ yt followethe by playne argument that my matter is

trewe/. Amonge men/ thear was never borne so greate as Iohn@ bapt.

the wch was so inferyor to the virgyn Marye as he maye not compare/.

Amongst wymen thear was never none halffe so evyll/ as Iudas yscaryothe/ [35]


[p. 142]

or (fol. 68) as som thynke Antechriste/ who hathe all mallyce of the

dyvell wthin hym/. And to this agreethe an apparant excelencye in

beastes/ wthowte reason/. ffor the Eagle the cheffe/ and moste noble of

all byrdes[,] is a ffemale/. And the Baselyst the worste of all Cerpentes

is a male/. And the Egiptyans have ffownde the Phenyx/ the onely [5]

byrde of the worlde to be a ffemale/.

Yff they coulde ffynde but one woman in [the] worlde (quothe Iohn@

Burghese) they should ffynde a Treasure passynge thother/ and what

hathe the lyon offendyd that he maye not be braught in/ beinge prynce

off all beastes/ and yet a maele/. ye muste note (quothe he) in som [10]

thinge nature wyll varrye at hyr pleasure/. But let vs ᵱcede further/

did not the rote of all evill procede by man/. Was not Adam the

cawse that heaven gaetes wer shett agaynste hym/ and he made subiect

to synne and deathe? Did not Cayne his eldeste sonne open the gaetes

of hell/ was not he the ffyrste envious man/ and ffyrste murtherar of [15]

his brother/. Lameche was the ffyrste that at one tyme tooke two

wyves/. Noe was the first that was dronke/. Nembrothe the ffyrste

tyrante and ydolater/. men were the ffirst that practysed wth dyvelles/

for thinvocacon^ of wycked artes/. The sonns of Iacob soulde their

brother/ Pharao of Egipt was the ffirst that killed ynnocentes/. Men [20]

wer the ffyrst that synned agaynste nature/ witnes Sodom and Gomorra

destroyed wth ffyer and Sowlphure/. Men have geven thexample of

lose lyvenge/ off takynge of many wyves and more concubynes/ as

David/ Salamo*[,] Roboam/ Assuerus and other/. What woman can

you ffinde that was not content wth one husband/ exept Berseba/ and [25]

she as ye knowe was allured by a kinge/[.] what marvelous contyn-

encye hathe ben seene in som/ that when they have ᵱceyvid them

selves barren/ have graunted their husbandes other wyves for procrea-

con^ of chyldren/. as Sarae/ Rachell/ and many (fol. 69) other/ you

never cowlde rede of any man that wolde suffer the lyke wer he never [30]

so owlde/. And thoughe Solon and lycurgus made laws in this matter/

that is, that yf a yonge woman had an olde husband that cowlde get

no chyldren/ she might take a yonge man to Supplye this wante/. and

children so gotten showlde be legittimate by the lawe/. And thoughe

theas lawse wer made in the benefyte of wymen/ yet they never vsed [35]


[p. 143]

them/. not throughe the hardnes of men/ but by the honestye of

wymen/. you cannot make me beleve that (quoth Iohn@ Burghese/ for

yf theye might I dare saye they wolde/. The trewithe (quothe he)

hathe tried the contrarye/ and thearfore you ar answered/[.] hear I

cowlde reherce/ an infynyte nomb* of them that have byn notable [5]

wymen/ but bycawse sum have byn before namyd[,] and I thynke hear

be other men/ that will make their callender/ I wyll leave yt indyfferent/.

Yff I (quoth Mr Camillo) wolde tarry abowte examples/ I cowlde

bringe you in the vnhappy marriage off Sampson/ of Iason/ of Dei-

phebus/ off Agamemnon/ and manye other/ wch bye theyr wycked [10]

wyves/ had myserable endes/. The awntient wymen of wch you make

so moche a do/ be not remembred for none other purpose/ but for to

geve a provocacon^ to other wymen to infflame them to honor and

vertue/. Yt was not trewe that Camylla penthesilea/ nor Iudythe wer

so valyant in armes nor Corrinna & Sapho so excelent in verse/ Theas [15]

be devysed lyke to Trystram/ and Isotte/ nor I do not thynke that you

be in opynyon to thynke them trewe/ but onely devysed of wysemen/

to call from vyce the wymen of every age/ wch neyther by example/

by rewarde nor by lawe have byn able to be donne/. Naye, (quothe

Mr Orlando) I do not thynke you of that opynyon/ for then you wolde [20]

race awaye the remembrance of all Antyquytie/[.] I praye you (fol.

70) tell me of anye wyffe that hathe geven her husbande cawse to

lament/ except yt hathe procedid of hym/[.] yff wymen might have

wrytten Storis/ they wolde have shewed infynyte nombers of naughty

men/ that wth all generacon^ of wykednes/ have abused their moste [25]

honest wyves/ and cawsed all other myscheffe/. Contrarye wyes, wymen

have ffownde all artes and vertues/[:] was not a woman the ffyrst that

offred her vowe of virginitie to god/ I meane Marye the virgyn/ wch

thearby deserved to be the mother of god/? Whye then (quothe Mr

Camillo) did she not saye/ that god had lokid vppon hyr/ for the vir- [30]

ginytie of his hand mayden, whear as she saide for the humylytie/ and

for a more proffe of this/ she tooke an husband/ all thoughe the angell

towld her she sholde be vndefyled/. All this (quoth he) is nothynge/

for her virginytie was intyerly preserved by godes grace/ and hyr

humylytie an acknowlegenge of his goodnes[.] The wymen that wer [35]


[p. 144]

prophetessis wer more enspyred wth the holy ghoste/ then men/ and

that is provid in the Sybylles by the testymonye of lactantius/ Eusebius/

and Awsten/. Marye the Syster of moyses and Aron was a prophetesse/

Olda alyed to Ieremye becam a prophetesse when she was in pryson/.

The Stablenes of wymen in ffaythe is redd in the Scripture/. Abraham [5]

who is reputed iust ffor his beleve is inferyor to his wyfe Sara, he

beinge comawndyd* of god to obaye her in all thynges/[.] Rebecka for

hyr shewer truste in god/, had aucthorytie to talke wth hym and have

answer of hym/, that two nations/ and two people showlde be deryved

from hyr wombe/. The widowe beleved the wordes of Elyas/ thoughe [10]

the thynge semed Impossible/: Zachary the prophet was made domme

for his vnbeleve/ and Elizabethe was praysed for her truste in god/ and

vysyted of his mother Marye/[:] Anna the prophet/ after the revelacon^

of Symeon/ confessyd god (fol. 71) and reasoned with everyman/ that

wolde heare off the redemptyon off ysrahell/. Phyllippe had ffower [15]

daughters that did prophesye/[.] Howe marvelous was the ffaythe of

the Samarytane/ wth whome Chryste resoned at the well/. and lefte the

companye of hys dysciples/. What ffaythe had the woman of Cananye/

and thother woman that had the blodye fflixe/[.] Might not the ffaythe

and confessyon of Martha compare wth peter/. Howe sure and constant [20]

her Syster Magdalene was, all the Scripture is ffull/ ffor whenn men

wyckedly crucefyed Chryste/ and ranne ffrom hym/ she abode at the

Crosse, she braught oyntement/ she searched the Sepulchre/ she know-

ethe god in the fforme of a gardyner/ she ronnethe to tell the Apostles/

they stonde in dowbte/ and she belevethe certeynlye/. As mutche a [25]

doe as ye make of the matter/ saide (Mr Camyllo) ye knowe that

Chryste wolde not suffer yor Magdalen to touche hym, but for bad hyr

by expresse wordes/ wch thinge he wolde not have donne/ yf he had

made sutche accompte of her as you saye/ ffor to Saynct Thomas he

made no denyall at all/. The cawse is evydent (qth Mr Orlando) ffor [30]

he suffred Saynct Thomas to towche hym/ that his ffaythe might be

stayed/ and he did not suffer Magdalen/ by cawse hyr ffaythe was con-

fyrmed afore/. Pryscylla instructed the bushop of Corinthe, who beinge

in the place of an Apostle, was not a shamed to learne that of a woman,

wch after he taught in the Churche/. What a woman was she/ mar- [35]


[p. 145]

velous/ and worthy eternall memorye/ wch cowlde in hyr presence see/

hyr vij chyldren dye of cruell torment/ and not onely wth noble harte

beholde that myserable sight/ but stowtly exhorted them to dye/ and

she in every thinge trustinge in god dyed after her chyldren for the love

of the lawe of her Creator and hyr Contrye/. what lyke example of [5]

man was thear ever sene/? Nowe yf yt wer so/ that by nature or for-

tune (fol. 72) the woman wer of lesse worthynes then man/ yt wer

no matter/ ffor in thinges that cannot otherwies bee/ thear is neyther

prayse nor dyssprayse/. And Cato the Censor was wonte to saye/

that in thynges geven hym of nature and fortune/ he cowlde easelye [10]

suffer to be overcom/ but in those that a man might gett by hym

selffe/ he cowlde not abide/ that another showlde passe hym/. And

in consideracon^ of theas/ the makers of lawes do blame them that

reprove wymen/ and accompte them enemyes of them selfes/ and of

nature/ and surely yt is a great shame/ yea a creweltye to speake evill [15]

of wymen of whome we have or beinge/ who maynteynethe and in-

creasethe or contynuance/ and wthowte wche or lyffe showlde be nothing

ellse/, but a solytarynes/ a ᵱpetuall melancolye, or rather a contynuall

deathe/. And noble harted men aught to doe in this/ as theye wer

wont to doe in a slaunder of the contry, wch they aught to revenge wth [20]

all their powre/[.] Theare is noman (quoth Mr Camyllo) that wyll

blame them for thinges that be not blame worthye/ but yf they deserve

blame, whye shoulde they not have yt? And he that considerethe

well their doenges/ and the orders that have byn made for them[,] shall

fynde that they have not byn reputed worthye any place of prayse/ in [25]

any matter of Importaunce/ ffor the bearenge of offyce/ hathe ever

byn forbidden them/ and as well the awntyent as the psente$ custome/

forbidd them in matter of Sacrifyse to be bareheddyd/ wch thinge is a

playne argument of their vnclennes/ ffor man bycawse he is neate &

cleane shewth his hed/ at everye matter of Sacriffyse/. [30]

All is not trewe (quothe Mr Orlando) that you have saide/ ffor in

olde tyme wymen had charge of officis/ as men have nowe/ and

ordeyned manye lawes/[:] Ceres is called a goddes of laws. Sibilla a

gyver of orders/ Dido gave lawes to the Carthag[in]iens/ as Semyramus

did to the Babylonyans/ and manye more (fol. 73) in other places/. [35]



[p. 146]

But as the Mallyce and insolencye of men/ did increas wth tyme/ so wer

they bowlde in wymens preasence/ to talke of matters vnmete/ wthowte

regarde of honestye/ wch cawsed them to refrayne and leave all to men/.

But in dyvyne Servyce/ yt hathe byn indyfferente to men and wymen

allwais/ as the vyrgins Vestalles in tymes past/ and the nonns in or [5]

dayes/. And the cawse whye they be ffor bid to appere bareheddyd/ is

not for the reason that you have aledged/ but ffor another skyll more

convenyent/ and it is/ that the sight of a woman in her heare wch is

moste pleasaunte/ shoulde not styrr anyman/ to lascyvious/ and vnhonest

cogytacon^/ and bycawse wymen be of greater previlege/ and enduyd [10]

wth more grace/ then men/ yt is not amys that in token of humylytie

and modestye they go wth covered hedd/. And thoughe they have not

the handlynge of every offyce yt makes no matter/ ffor thoughe all wer

in mens handes/ yt cowlde not demynishe the thowsand parte of

wymens exelencye/[.] And yt is not allwais trewe that offices be geven/ [15]

to the moste worthye and best beloved/. Chryste gave the keys of

heaven to Peter/ and not to Iohn@ whome he loved so moche/. nor to

hyr who deserved to beare hym/ in her virgins wombe/. whearbye she

is called of vs the mother of grace/ and moste exelent of all creatures/[.]

A Quene in a Courte hathe none offyce[,] and yet she is more honored [20]

and lovid then all the offycers that thear be/.

Thear is another cawse (quothe Mr Camyllo) whye thei ar reiect

from offyce/ & that is the mutabylitie/ and vnstablenes of their mynde/

the varietye of opynyo* is sutche in them as maye not be suffred in no

matter of waight/. Thear showlde be no certentye of thinges/ yf they [25]

had the handlynge of them/. That is not trewythe (quothe Mr

Orlando) for amoges* wyes men/ mutacon^ of mynde is manye (fol. 74)

tymes praysed/[.] What folyshe governowure of a ship is he/ that when

the winde & tempest is agaynste hym/ wyll not chaunge his coorse/.

The example of heaven & tyme shewethe vs/ that it muste nedes [30]

chaunce sumtyme/ that/ that to daye is profytable, to morrowe is hurt-

full/. Thearfore we must many tymes chaunge wyll and councel for

the better, beinge moved thearvnto by reason/ and necessytie/ and not

by appetyte and pleasure/. And to stonde allwais styff and obstynate in

one opynyon is rather vyce then vertue/. Well (quothe Iohn@ Bur- [35]


[p. 147]

ghese) I see wymen wyll have the daye/. ffor what soever they doe/

wel or evill, it is torned to ther prayse/.

The cawse of that (quothe he) is that ye blame of yvell doenge wch

is put vppon them is so light/ and vniuste/ that yt is sone confuted/.

And thoughe I am not able to speake of them/ nor for them/ as I [5]

wolde, I am glad that I maye geve occasyon to other to saye more then

I have or can saye/. And howesoever the worlde goethe/ men cannot

but saye well of them/. ffor wthowte them the conservacon^ of man-

kynde/ showlde in shorte space dekeye/. Romulus the foundr of Rome

considered well the same/ when he tooke the Sabyne wymen/ to [10]

mayntey* his estate/. that otherwyes showlde soone have dekayed/.

Thear wer lawes in Rome that no woman showlde grynde ne drudge

in kytchyn/. that the woman showld geve nothinge to the man/ nor

the man to the woman/ meanenge that all thinges was comon* betwene

them/. and of this cam ye custom/ that they that braught the bride in [15]

to her howse made her saye/ Wheare thowe, thear I/. that is to saye/

whear thow arte lorde/ thear am I ladye/. wymen had previledge in

apparell/ and Emprors that made actes/ of araye/ made another lawe/

that when any prohibycon^ was of wearenge apparell/ yt showlde not

be vnderstonde of wymen/. yt was allso (fol. 75) graunted them to [20]

succede in mens inherytaunce/ and goodes/. And that the ffuneralles

of wymen showlde openlye be celebrated wth prayse as men/. The

cawse of the wch prevylege they deserved/ when they gave all their

Iewelles/ and ornamentes/ to the fulfyllenge of the vowe/ that Camyllus

had made to Appollo of Delphos/. And in ye warr that Cyrus made [25]

agaynste Astiages, the persyans beinge put to fflight wer reproved of

their wymen/. and ffor very shame retorned into Battell/ and optayned

vyctorye/. Off the wch occasyon Cyrus ordeyned a lawe/ that whensoevr

the kinge did entre that Cyttye/. he should geve the wymen every one

a pece off golde/. And allexander the greate twyse entrenge the Cyttie [30]

cawsid the money to be paide/[.] and to them that were wythe childe to

be dowbled/[.] Thus wolde the awntient kinges of Rome and persia

honor wymen/. Themprors allso as Iustynyan and other gave them

previlegis and the lawe sayethe/ that the wyffe dothe shyne in honour

and is equall wth the husband in the same/ and as the Eprour* is not [35]


[p. 148]

subiect vnto the lawe/ nomore is the Empresse/. but have the same

previlegis that his mate hathe[;] and this is the Cawse why wymen of

state as Quenis/ duchessis/ and other, may receive homage/ and geve

Iudgement/ and make lawes/. Thear is a lawe that a woman of honest

ffame and lyffe, shall not be put in pryson/ and the Iudge that sendethe [5]

her to pryson is poneshed wth capytall payne, and yff she do amysse/

she is shut in a Monasterye/ or comytted* to wymen to be emprysoned/

thearfore by lawe woman is in better case/ then man/ and for a ᵱffe of

that in lyke fawlte/ the ponyshement is greater of thone than thother/.

ffor adultry in man is poneshed by the hed/ and in a woman yt is cor- [10]

rected by puttige* hyr in a monasterye/. The cawse of this (quothe Mr

Camyllo) maye be ffor that wymen be so infenyte that offend yn this

case/ as yf they shoulde be poneshed (fol. 76) by deathe/ we sholde

have ffewe left/. No (quothe he) rather the payne of deathe was

ordeyned for man/ bycawse he was the author and provoker of the [15]

offence/ wch other wyes wolde not once thinke of suche a matter/. And

to retorne to the awntient lawe makers/ and ffownders of Comon-

welthes*/. Lycurgus and plato vnderstandynge by secret conclusyons/

of nature and phylozophye/ that neyther in nobilitie of mynde/ nor

valour of bodye/ nor excelency of nature/ wymen wer inferior to men/ [20]

but equall wth them/ in every thinge/ theye ordeyned that they shoulde

exercyse wth men in wrestlenge/ in ffeates of warr/ in shotenge/ slyng-

ynge/ in castenge the Stone/ in ffyghtenge afoote/ and on horsebacke/

in campynge[,] in layenge seage, in settenge araye/ in leadeng an

armye, and ffynally all that men did excersyes, wymen showlde do the [25]

same/[.] yt was towlde of contreis affarre of whear men gave them

selves to pleasure/ and wymen to payne/ they tyll/ they buylde/ they

trafycque/ they ride/ they ffight/ and do all thynges as men withe vs/.

in Cantabria wch is nowe a pece of Navarra/ Systers had the care to

provide wyves for their bretherne/ and daughters wer instytuted heyrs/. [30]

in Scythia/ and thracia/ all waiztye matters of warr and peace/ wer

donne as well by wymen/ as men/. And nowe agaynste all Iustice/ the

tyrannye off men/ have vsurped/ all thinges/ and will not suffer wymen

to do nothinge/ they maye not have anye offyce be they never so

prudent/ They maye not pleade a cawse, be they never so wyse/, and [35]


[p. 149]

eloquet*. In padoa was one called Severina/ yt for her exelency was

admytted/ and for envy was kylled/[.] They maye not teache the worde

of god/ wch the scripture ᵱmyttethe/ sayenge by the mowthe of Ioell/

yor daughters shall prophesye/. in the tyme of the Apostles they taught

openlye/ as Anna of Symeon/ and (fol. 77) the daughters of Phillip/ [5]

and Priscilla, of Aquyla/ but the iniquytye of men have abrogated the

precept of god/. No Iniquytye (quothe Mr Camillo) but aucthoryty

by godes woorde/. wch when he gave the maledyccon^ to the woman/

saide thow shalt be vnder the power of man/ and he shall be thy lorde/

As for that (quoth he) ye aught to vnderstonde/ that Χρe@ hathe taken [10]

awaye the malediccon^/. Naye (quothe the other) ffor by the wordes

of Saynct peter/ and paule/ yt remaynethe, sayenge/ wymen be obedyent

to your husbandes/ and remember to be quyett in the Churche/[.] ye

muste (quothe he[)] vnderstonde the maner of Speakynge of the Scripture/

and then ye shall ᵱceve that yor reason dothe not greatly prove/ ffor in [15]

the Churche of ffaythefull men is this order/ that men in Goverment

should be preferred before wymen/ as the Ebrues wer in the promis

before the grekes/ yet god is not partiall nor acceptor of persons[,]

becawse in Χρe@ thear is no dyfference of person/ but a newe creature/

and rather for the hardnes of mens hartes/ yt is lawfull for them to do [20]

what they wyll wythe wymen/ as the Ebrues had a devorce graunted

them for theyr infyrmytis[,] wch thynge dothe derogate no parte of

wymens exelencye/ but in Spyte of theyr heddes they have prehemynence/

ffor the Quene of Saba shall Iudge them of Ierusalem/ and they that be

Iustefyed as be the chyldren of Abraham/ that is of promyssyon, be Sub- [25]

iect to the woman/ and be bownde to the comawndement* of god/ whiche

said to Abraham heare the wordes of Sarae and be obedyent to every thynge

that she comaundethe* the/[:] and so I wyll make an ende of my rude

talke/ wch is nothynge mete for so highe a matter/ desyrenge the lady

Countesse/ and other to beare wth my weakenes/. I am shuer (quothe the [30]

Countesse) thear is none hear (fol. 78) but that is right well satysfyed/ wth

yor speakenge/. whearin ye have wth probable matter set fforthe a trewe

cawse/ and for my parte I colde very well have byn content to have

harde you procede/. but ffor as mutche as Mr fflaminio promysed vs to

saye somwhat in the matter/ we will dyscharge you and hear hym/. [35]


[p. 150]

Madam (qth Mr fflaminio) you knowe that I am allwais redye at

yor Comandymet*. marye nowe I wolde desyer you of pardon partly

bycawse so moche hathe byn saide all redye/ as lytle more maye be

saide, wch a man maye vtter withe honeste wordes/ and partly bycawse

ynoughe is as good as a ffeaste/. And to speake so moche of one matter [5]

be yt never so trewe gendrethe tediousnes to the hearer/.

Rather the contrarye (quothe she) when dyvers men dyversly prove

one thinge wth good reason/ for by that the quicknes of wytt/ and

swetenes of eloquence is sene/. In dede Madam (quothe he) wheare

those two be, yt is pleasant to heare/ but in me theare is neyther of [10]

them/. and thear fore I am vn mete for the purpose/.

Aghe (quothe Iohn@ Burghese) you wyll have mutche intreatenge/

and that may not be heare/ for you be at comandyment*.

Howe saye ye nowe (quothe the Countesse) when our governor

callethe you/ and appoyntethe you/. [15]

yff I muste nedes (quothe he) I wyll do my parte and fulfyll my

promis/. wch was to shewe what notable guyftes of mynde god hathe

shewed in many wymen/ and so geve occasyon that everyman heare

may celebrate sutche as he hathe in mynde/.

That is a verye good purpose (quoth the Countesse) and the thinge [20]

that I desyer/ thearfore/ go forward wth yt/.

I am redy madam (quothe he) to obeye/. And one thinge I

comende* mutche in the order of this dyssputacon^ at Myllayne/ yt after

reasons had bynn made suffitient (fol. 79) the matter was concludid wth

examples/. And thearfore I agree wth that opynyone that suffrethe the [25]

ffame of wymen to be sprede a brode/ and am not so precyes as Thuci-

dides was/ whiche thaught that woman to be best/ wch was neyther

praysed /nor dysspraysed of Straingers/ Supposenge that as the bodye/

so the name of a woman/ aught not to com owte of her awne howse/.

I thynke Georgias leontinus had more reasonable opynyon/ that was [30]

that not the bewtye of a woman/ but hyr good name showlde be

knowen/ to mannye/. Whearfore I Iudge that lawe of the Romayns to

be exelent/ whearby yt was permytted/ that good wymen might be

praysed openlye/, by the oracons^ of theyr ffrendes/ as well as men/[.]

mye purpose shall conciste in this, to shewe the same learnenge to be [35]


[p. 151]

in wymen, that is in men/ the same fortytude/ the same Magnanymytie/

and so forthe/. I will begynne/ with learnenge/. I am sure ye doctryne

that Aspasia and Diotima tauzt Socrates/ was of the same vertue wche he

taughte his Scollers/ and the Eloquens that Cornelia taught her

sonnis, was the same that Cicero vsed in the deffence of men/ and hor- [5]

tensia defendyd her husband wth that rethoryck/ that Ceaser dyd that

accused men/ and polla in makynge of versis had the same vayne/ that

her husband lucane vsid/. And to com more nighe or tyme/ Cassandra

ffedele/ had yt vnderstandyng in liberall Scyencis/ that Angelus poli-

tianus had who wrytethe hyr prayse/. The ladye Margarita Valesia [10]

quene of navarra hathe the same vnderstandinge of lattyn and greke yy

other her contreymen have/. The Marques of Pescare/ of whome I

am not able suffitiently to speake/ wrote her meter so well as the poet

Molza/. I thynke you have herd of Thomas Moore a knight of (fol.

80) Englond who had thre daughters/ that speake well lattyn/ greke/ [15]

and hebrewe/ and of this yf anye of you dowbte ye may be ascerteyned

of theas ynglyshe gentlemen that be heare/. Thearfore (lady Countes)

yf you will desyer them to tell vs of their gentlewymen/ we shalbe glad

to heare yt/. I am sure (quothe she) they will not refuse so to doe/

seinge yt tendethe but to vertue and prayse of their contrey, and for [20]

that we knowe/ that at or request they have ben content a fore this

tyme/ to accompanye vs in or other talke/ and have well spoken in the

same/. Thearfore to satysfye this request in yor name I hartely desyer

them/. Madam (quothe one of the Englyshemen) yt is ynoughe for vs

and or Contreye/ that som of or gentlewymen be knowen to you/ for that [25]

is a testymonye suffitient/ that wymen be worthy the prayse/ that have hear

ben geve* them/. And that or lyttle Contreye have regarde and desyer of

the same/. And yf we nowe showlde entre in to a further declaracon^/ we

shoulde interrupt the good purpose/ that nowe emonges you is begonne.

Not so (quothe Mr fflaminio) but rather confyrme yt by evident [30]

proffe of certeyne matter/. yt is trewe (qth the Cowntes) for or delight

nowe shalbe to hear of strange gentlewymen/ and or cawse shalbe mayn-

teyned by the accesse of them/ whome we lokyd not ffor/ thearfore I

praye you tell vs what ye knowe of this case/. Madam/ (quoth the

Englysheman) I wolde be lothe in so an obedyent companye/ to be [35]


[p. 152]

noted dysobedyent/. and thearfore am redye as well as I can/ to answer

to yor mynde/. And so to speake as I thynke/. I confesse I have byn

of that opynyon/ that theas gentleme* ar/ wch have pleadyd the wymens

cawse for I have noted/ in som, learnenge/. in som, wysdom/. in some,

Stowtenes/ in som, temperance/ in som, lyberalytye, and so forthe of [5]

other vertues/. And I have compared them wth men/ that have byn

enduyd wth the lyke guyftes/ and I have fownde them equall/ or superior

(fol. 81) to that/ that men have had/: ffor whear as men have ever had

fre place and grounde to work vppon/ wymen havinge not so, but

beinge restrayned from the course of vertues race/ by the order of men/. [10]

and have neverthelesse excelled in the same, I have byn compelled to

confesse greater vertue in them/ than in men/. And when I had respect

to the nomber of the one and thother/ I ᵱceyved that more men wer

lesse apt to vertue then wymen for of them many have assayed the

thinge and byn fownde verry vnfytt/ manye of them have byn of theyr [15]

ffathers set forthe to learnenge/ and have lyttle proffytyd thearin/ I

have sene no woman but have marvelously prosspered in yt/. of theas

ij compared together/ I have concludyd that yf wymen wer generallye

tradyd in those vertues/ that men/ they should farr excede them/. ffor

none of them be fownde vnapt/ yf they be sett vnto yt/ and many men/ [20]

when they have ben at yt, have geven over for theire vnaptnes[.] The

nomber of men that be vertuos is not greate/ and the nomber of wymen

is lesse[,] so that the nomber provithe nothynge/ and yf it dothe yt

provethe for the woma*[,] bycawse of a lykelehood ye moste ᵱte off

them wolde excell/. and of a proffe the moste parte of thother cannot

excell/[.] The maner of lyffe is a greate helpe to matters of mynde/.

Wheare people be braught vp in armure/ they prove good Soldyers/.

wheare they be traned in mannuall artes/ they prove good workemen/.

When Cyrous had taken the vse of warr from the lidyans/ they be cam

a coward and ydle nation/. When he had practised the persyans in the [30]

ffeates of armes, they wexed a valyant people/. The Gretians have byn

notable warriors/, nowe they be fearfull slaves/. The bryngynge vpp

and the traynenge off womans lyffe is so straight and kept as in pryson

that all the good inclynacon^ wch theye have of nature is vtterly

quenchyd/[.] we se that by practyse men of small (fol. 82) hope com [35]


[p. 153]

to good proffe/ so that I maye affyrme the cawse of wymens weaknes

in handlenge of matters/ to procede of the costome that men hathe

appoynted in the maner of theyr lyffe/ for yf they have any weake

spyrite/ yf they have any mutabylytie/ or any sutche thynge yt com-

methe of the dyvers vnkyndnes that they ffynde of men/ whose [5]

unbrydled ffantesis they knowe not howe to serve certeynlye/. and

thearfore shewethe a great wytt in that they can agree to the tyme and

case/[.] So that I saye yf wymen/ have any naturall dyssposycon^ to

theas wantes[,] the credyt of thynges/ the charge of office and governe-

ment/ sholde worke the contrary in them/. ffewe wymen/ have shewed [10]

any worthynes in governement of thinges, bycawse ffewe have byn

appoynted to yt. for yf many wer/ many showlde shewe greate vertues/

wch is well declared by them/ that have had any thynge adooe/. But I

have forgot my self/ wch beinge requested to shewe what learned wymen

we had/ am entred in to the campe of all wymens case/. And verye [15]

well (quothe the Cowntes) yf you wolde proced accordenglye/. Not so

Madam (quothe the Englysheman) ffor bothe I am vnmete to reason

the matter/ and all so I showlde doe iniurye to sutche/ as ar all redy

appoynted to the same/. But as mutche as parteynethe to my charge

that is to saye sowhat* of or gentlewyme* I shall gladly doe/. I wyll not [20]

speake of them that be past/ but of or preasent tyme/. And bycawse

the gentleman made mensyon of Syr Thomas mooris dauzters of the

wch one[,] of whome I am sure ye have harde/ by the name of Mar-

gareta Ropera/. provid so notable/ not onely in learnenge/ but in all

other vertues/ that she maye compare wythe any notable man/ and she [25]

have left vnto the world thre daughters in lyke sorte/ whiche beinge

trayned/ and taught onelye by hyr do excell/. wch bycawse they wer

ffyrst menconed^ of you/ ar ffyrst answered (fol. 83) of me. But nowe I

wyll speake off them/ whome I aught not onely to love for my contries

sake/ but allso to honor for Dutis sake/ and they be the two Systers of [30]

the moste noble prynce kynge Edward the Sixt/ of the wch the Elder

is the lady Maris grace/ (of whome I was glad to hear Mr Orlando

Speake) so exelent and passinge in all kinde of learnenge and langwage/.

as ffewe have byn the lyke/. and thearfore I can do no more/ but praye

for hyr gracis longe pservacon$^ [.] [35]



[p. 154]

Thother is my lady Elyzabethes grace/ in whose tender yearis is

seene so wonderfull towardnes of awntyent vertue/ as is great comforte

to all hyr contrye/ her learnenge is notable in the whiche she hathe

moste delight hyr other qualytis be corresspondent/ ye wch I praye god

may longe increas in hyr good grace/[.] of theas two I cannot speake [5]

ynoughe/ and yet dare not speake to moche/ least by vnmete speche I

shold duske and shadowe/ theyr moste clere ornamentes of bodye and

mynde/. Next to theyr exelences I wyll Ioyne one of a moste noble

howse/ moste vniustly afflycted I meane the howse of the hawardes/

whear of an ympe hathe byn so crewelly cutt of and the olde stock so [10]

rigorously delt wth all/ that yt wolde make a stonye harte to rewe/. Off

this ffamelye be thre Systers/ whearof one lady Iane haward[,] who is

of sutche marvelous towardnes in learnenge/ as ffewe men maye com-

pare wth her/. bothe greke and lattynne is vulgare vnto her/. her

composycon^ in versis so notable, that all the world dothe acknowledge [15]

hyr a worthye daughter of a moste worthy ffather. I am glad (quothe

Mr fflamynio) that you have made mentyon of the howse of hawarde/

ffor when I was at Rome wth the learned Bushop paulus Iovinus I

harde hym speake muche of that howse affyrmenge that he knewe

ffewe howsis to be compared to yt/ and mutche lamented the harde [20]

happ/ that yt have (fol. 84) had a late/ yt is Ioyfull to me allso to heare

that of bothe kyndes/ thearbe of fforward myndes in yt/. ffor I have

hard sutche reporte of that earle/ that was so vilanouslye murthered/

that not onelye that ylande/ but all Χρianitie@ showlde have had a

worthy member of hym/ of whome I am glad that som be descendyd/ [25]

that maye helpe to garneshe or enterpryse/ of comendynge* woman


You knowe (quothe the englyshema*) the olde worde/ vertue lyvethe

afterr deathe/ his forsid deathe cannot take the glorye from his naturall

vertues vnto the wch I wyll leave hym and all his for this tyme/. Thear [30]

be allso the dauzters of the Duke of Sommersett vncle to ye kynge by the

mothers side/ and late protector of his Realm wch be well trayned in

learnenge[;] of whome one namyd Iane lyke wyse dothe prossper verye

mutche bothe in lattyn/ and in other langwagis/[.] A marques we

have allso whose daughters be braught vpp in learnenge (and one of [35]


[p. 155]

them as I hear called Iane provethe very notable bothe in greke and

lattyn/ and other learnenge and of very good Condycons^ of Nature as

maye be requesyte in so worthye a personne/. Beside theas/ the Earle

of Arondell hathe two daughters/ ladye Iane/ and ladye marye[,] wch

be braught vp in knowledge/ and do so prossper in yt/ as thone all [5] redye hathe shewed great testymonye/ of her proffyt thearin/ and

thother goethe so forward in the Stodye of good lres^/ as they bothe be

like to matche wth anye of the other,/ that have purchesid ffame thear-

bye/ and be of so good qualytis beside/ in any maner of vertue/ as they

augment the honor of theyr moste honorable howse/. Dyvers other [10]

lordes/ and gentlemen thearbe whose daughters prove very well

learned/ in esspetiallye the daughters of Syr Anthony Cooke a knight/

wch, for greke & lattyn be not inferior to anye that we have namyd/.

I wyll not be tedyous in theas of or tyme/ and of them and or ffathers

(fol. 85) tyme I will saye nothinge/ ffor as mutche as the testymonye [15]

of one/ who hathe byn dyvers tymes namyd amonges vs/ is suffycyent

to all the worlde/. to declare what our wymen cann doo/. when they

bende them selves to a matter worthy the travel[,] as she dyd/ who

colde not onely be alowed a reder at Athens/ but after be chosen a pope

of Rome. in the atchevement of the wch, she shewed sutche abowndance [20]

of learnenge/ wysdom/ dyscressyon/ and all other vertues requesyte to

Sutche thinges[,] and all other vertues/ of Importance as all the world

maye not deface yt/ but yt shall compare wth anye man that ever was/.

In dede (quothe Iohn@ Burghese) she maye. and yf she colde have [25]

carryed all cleane/ she had had no ffellowe/.

Well (quoth the Countesse) her doenges wer be yonde the Condycon^

of any woman/ and thearfore envious ffortune thaught to dysgrace hyr

in somwhat/. Nowe madam (quothe the Englysheman) I have fulfylled

yor Comandyment*/ and somwhat gon beyonde my Comyssyon*/. for the [30]

whiche enterpryse I beseche you pardon me/.

You have not don so moche (quoth the Cowntesse) but yf you wolde

do more we wolde well accept yt/ and not onely take yt in gree/ but

hartely thanke you/.

No madam (quoth he) that wer not mete/ seynge heare be so manye [35]


[p. 156]

to speake in the matter/. And Mr fflaminio hathe a great deale to doe/

yf he accomplyshe his charge/.

I am not so desyrous to speake my sellffe (quoth he) as to hear

other/ and I wolde desyer the ladye Cowntesse I might be dyscharged/.

ffor then showlde I receyve greatr consolacon^ by this assemblye than I [5]

doo but yf yt be not hyr pleasure that any other shall enter the matter

tyll I have dyscharged my sellf/ I am redy to obeye/ and wyll go


ye saye verry well (quoth (fol. 86) the Cowntesse) but I thinke

mutche of the night is past/ and we must have regard to or Commenge [10]

hyther/ wch is for our helthe/ wch we seke by the bathe/. and muste

thearfore dysspoce or bodis accordenglye/ that the operacon^ of the

water, be not hyndered by or dystemperature[;] ffor as all other physyck/:

even so the bayns do worke/ as they ffynde or bodys dyspoced/. And

bycawse slepe is one of the necessary thinges that apparteyne vnto vs/, [15]

and we be not a lyke dyspoced thear vnto/ yt is reason that every man

have convenyent tyme for the same/. And to morrowe yf yt be yor

pleasure we will mete agayne and resume this dysputacon^[.] And

bycawse the tryall hathe ever byne betwene theas two gentlemen/ that

have saide theyr myndes cheffelye this night/ they shalbe restored to [20]

theyre formar interest/ to saye theyr pleasure at the next metenge/.

and for this night I thynk everye man/ is very well pleased wythe your

talke/ and so be we to/ allthoughe Mr Camyllo professythe enemytye

agaynste vs/.

You ar more bownde (quothe Iohn@ borghese) to hym/ than to any [25]

other/ for he tellethe you the playne trewthe/ whearby ye may the

rather amende your fawltes/[:] other by fflatterye and vayne Commen-

dacon^, brynge ye in to a false beleve withe theyr prayse/ and make you

forgett yorselves/.

We shoulde (quothe the Countesse) be marvelous beastes/ yf we wer [30]

sutche as you allwais descrybe vs/.

Well madam (quoth Mr Camyllo) youre wysdom is sutche as ye

can dyscerne who speakethe rightly/ and who not. all thoughe it is

yor parte for verrye womanhed/ to maynteyne your kynde as you

doo/. [35]


[p. 157]

I dowbte not (quoth Mr Orlando) but the ladye Countes ᵱceyvethe

well inoughe whearto our talke tendethe/.

I thanke you bothe (quoth she) of your good opynyon of me/ and I

am sure all the (fol. 87) companye have no lesse of you/[.] Thearfore

for this tyme we will geve over, leavenge to Mr fflamynyo his chardge [5]

that he have taken in hande/ and your quarrell indyfferent to you

bothe/. And that or metenge maye ende as yt hathe begonne I praye

you before ye deᵱte to daunce and synge to gether/ and thouz I cannot

kepe you companye for my lame bodye/ yt shall do me good to beholde

you/. And when they had so donne every man tooke leave of other [10]

and departed for that night/ to theyr lodgynge/.