The Conuercyon of swerers - (The Conversion of Swearers)
by Stephen Hawes
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[Transcriber's Note:

This text is intended for users whose text readers cannot use the "real" (unicode/utf-8) version of the file. Characters that could not be fully displayed have been "unpacked" and shown in brackets:

[an], [en], [in], [on], [um], [un], [yn] [vowel printed with "tilde" or overline] [Th] initial Thorn [P] [paragraph symbol]

Spelling and punctuation are unchanged unless otherwise noted. Errors and details are given at the end of the text.]

[P]The Conuercyon of swerers.

The frutefull sent[en]ce & the noble werkes To our doctryne wryt[en] [in] olde [an]tyquyte By many gret & ryght notable clerkes Gro[un]ded on reason and hygh auctoryte Dyde gyue vs example by good moralyte To folowe the trace of trouth and ryght wysnes Leuynge our synne and mortall wrechednes

By theyr wrytynge doth to vs appere The famous actes of many a champyon In the courte of fame renowned fayre and clere And some endyted theyr entencyon Cloked in coloure harde in construccyon Specyally poetes vnder cloudy fygures Couered the trouthe of all theyr scryptures

So hystoryagraphes all the worthy dedes Of kynges and knyghtes dyde put in wrytynge To be in mende for theyr memoryall medes How sholde we now haue knowledgynge Of thynges past / but by theyr endytynge Wherfore we ought to prayse them doubteles That spent theyr tyme in suche good busynes.

Amonge all other my good mayster Lydgate The eloquent poete and monke of bury Dyde bothe contryue and also translate Many vertues bokes to be in memory Touchynge the trouthe well and sentencyously But syth that his deth was intollerable I praye god rewarde hym in lyfe perdurable

Amonge all thynges nothynge so prouffytable As is scyence with the sentencyous scrypture For worldly rychesse is often transmutable As dayly dothe appere well in vre [Th]et scyens a bydeth and is moost sure After pouerte to attayne grete rychesse Scyens is cause of promocion doubtles

I lytell or nought expert in poetrye Remembrynge my youth so lyght and frayle Purpose to compyle here full breuyatly A lytell treatyse wofull to bewayle The cruell swerers which do god assayle On euery syde his swete body to tere With terryble othes as often as they swere

But all for drede plonged in neclygence My penne dothe quake to presume to endyte But hope at laste to recure this scyence Exorteth me ryght hardely to wryte To deuoyde ydlenesse by good appetyte For ydlenesse the grete moder of synne Euery vyce is redy to lette ynne

I with the same ryght gretely infecte Lykely to deye tyll grace by medecyne Recured my sekenes my payne to abiecte Commaundynge me by her hye power deuyne To drawe this treatyse for to enlumyne The reders therof by penytencyall pyte And to pardon me of theyr benygnyte

Ryght myghty pr[yn]ces of euery crysten regy[on] I sende you gretynge moche hertly & grace Right wel to gouern vpright your domini[on] And all your lordes I greete in lyke cace By this my lettre your hertes to enbrace Besechynge you to prynte it in your mynde How for your sake I toke on me mankynde

And as a lambe moost mekely dyde enclyne To suffre the dethe for your redempcyon And ye my kynges whiche do nowe domyne Ouer my comons in terrestryall mancyon By pryncely preemynence and Iuredyccyon In your regall courtes do suffre me be rente And my tender body with blode all besprente

Without my grace ye maye nothynge preuayle Though ye be kynges for to mayntene your see To be a kynge it may nothynge auayle Buy yf my grace preserue his dygnyte Beholde your seruauntes how they do tere me By cruell othes now vpon euery syde Aboute the worlde launcynge my woundes wyde

All the graces whiche I haue you shewed Reuoule in mynde ryght ofte ententyfly Beholde my body with blody droppes endewed Within your realmes nowe torne so pyteously Towsed and tugged with othes cruelly Some my heed some myn armes and face Some my herte do all to rente and race

They newe agayne do hange me on the rode They tere my sydes and are nothynge dysmayde My woundes they open and deuoure my blode I god and man moost wofully arayde To you complayne it maye not be denayde Ye nowe do tug me / ye tere me at the roote Yet I to you am chefe refuyte and boote

Wherfore ye kynges reygnynge in renowne Refourme your seruauntes in your courte abused To good example of euery maner towne So that theyr othes whiche they longe haue vsed On payne and punysshement be holly refused Meke as a Lambe I suffre theyr grete wronge I maye take vengeaunce thoughe I tary longe

I do forbere I wolde haue you amende And graunte you mercy and ye wyll it take O my swete brederne why do ye offende Agayne to tere me whiche deyed for your sake Lo se my kyndenes and frome synne awake I dyde redeme you from the deuylles chayne And spyte of me ye wyll to hym agayne

Made I not heuen the moost gloryous mansyon In whiche I wolde be gladde to haue you in Now come swete bretherne to myn habytacyon Alas good brederne with your mortall synne Why flee ye from me / to torne agayne begynne I wrought you I bought you ye can it not denye Yet to the deuyll ye go nowe wyllyngly


See Me Be (kynde

[P] Agayne My payne Reteyne (in mynde

[P] My swete bloode On the roode Dyde the good (my broder

[P] My face ryght red Myn armes spred My woundes bled (thynke none oder

[P] Beholde thou my syde Wounded so ryght wyde Bledynge sore that tyde (all for thyn owne sake

[P] Thus for the I smerted Why arte [thou] harde herted Be by me conuerted (& thy swerynge aslake

[P] Tere me nowe no more My woundes are sore Leue swerynge therfore (and come to my grace

[P] I am redy To graunte mercy To the truely (for thy trespace

[P] Come nowe nere My frende dere And appere (before me

[P] I so In wo Dyde go (se se

[P] I Crye Hy (the


Vnto me dere broder my loue and my herte Turmente me no more with thyn othes grete Come vnto my Ioye and agayne reuerte From the deuylles snare and his sutyl net Beware of the worlde all aboute the set Thy flesshe is redy by concupyscence To burne thy herte with cursed vyolence

Thoughe these thre enmyes do sore the assayle Vpon euery syde with daungerous iniquite But yf thou lyst / they may nothynge preuayle Nor yet subdue the with all theyr extremyte To do good or yll / all is at thy lyberte I do graunte the grace thyn enemyes to subdue Swete broder accepte it theyr power to extue

And ye kynges and prynces of hye noblenes With dukes and lordes of euery dygnyte Indued with manhode wysdome and ryches Ouer the comons hauynge the soueraynte Correcte them whiche so do tere me By cruell othes without repentaunce Amende be tyme lest I take vengeaunce

Exodi vicesimo / non accipies nomen dei tui in v[an]num

Vnto the man I gaue commaundement Not to take the name of thy god vaynfully As not to swere but at tyme conuenyent Before a Iuge to bere recorde truely Namynge my name with reuerence mekely Vnto the Iuge than there in presence By my name to gyue to the good credence

A my brederne yf that I be wrothe It is for cause ye falsly by me swere Ye knowe yourselfe that I am very trothe [Th]et wrongfully ye do me rente and tere ye neyther loue me nor my Iustyce fere And yf ye dyde ye wolde full gentylly Obeye my byddynge well and perfytely

The worldly kynges hauynge the soueraynte ye do well obey without resystence ye dare not take theyr names in vanyte But with grete honoure and eke reuerence Than my name more hye of magnyfycence ye ought more to drede whiche am kynge of all Bothe god and man and reygne celestyall

No erthely man loueth you so well As I do / which mekely dyde enclyne For to redeme you from the fendes of hell Takynge your kynde by my godhede dyuyne you were the fendes I dyde make you myne For you swete bretherne I was on the rode Gyuynge my body my herte and my blode

Than why do ye in euery maner of place With cruell othes tere my body and herte My sydes and woundes it is a pyteous cace Alas swete brederne I wolde you conuerte For to take vengeaunce ye do me coherte From the hous of swerers shall not be absent The plage of Iustyce to take punysshement

[P]Vnde. Ecclesiastici .xxxiii. Vir multum iurans implebitur iniquitate et non discedet a domo eius plaga.

A man moche swerynge with grete iniquite Shall be replete and from his mancyon The plage of vengeaunce shall not cessed be Wherefore ye brederne full of abusyon Take ye good hede to this dyscrypcyon Come nowe to me and axe forgyuenes And be penytente and haue it douteles

Augustinus. Non potest male mori qui bene vixit et vix bene moritur [qui] male vixit.

Who in this worlde lyueth well and ryghtwysly Sall deye well by ryght good knowlegynge Who in this worlde lyueth yll and wrongfully Shall hardly scape to haue good endynge I do graunte mercy but no tyme enlongynge Wherfore good brederne whyles that ye haue space Amend your lyfe and come vnto my grace

My wordes my prelates vnto you do preche For to conuerte you from your wretchednes But lytell auaylleth you nowe for to teche The worlde hathe cast you in such blyndnes Lyke vnto stones your hertes hathe hardnes That my swete wordes may not reconsyle Your hertes harde with mortall synne so vyle

Wo worthe your hertes so planted in pryde Wo worthe your wrath and mortall enuye Wo worthe slouth that dothe with you abyde Wo worthe also inmesurable glotony Wo worthe your tedyus synne of lechery Wo worthe you whome I gaue free wyll Wo worthe couetyse that dothe your soulse spyll

Wo worthe shorte Ioye cause of payne eternall Wo worthe you that be so peruerted Wo worthe your pleasures in the synnes mortall Wo worthe you for whome I sore smerted Wo worthe you euer but ye be conuerted Wo worthe you whose makynge I repente Wo worthe your horryble synne so vyolent

Wo worthe you whiche do me forsake Wo worthe you whiche wyllyngely offende Wo worthe your swerynge whiche dothe not aslake Wo worthe you whiche wyll nothynge amende Wo worthe vyce that dothe on you attende Wo worthe your grete vnkyndenes to me Wo worthe your hertes withouten pyte

Wo worthe your falshode and your doublenesse Wo worthe also your corrupte Iugement Wo worthe delyte in worldely rychesse Wo worthe bebate without extynguyshment Wo worthe your wordes so moche impacyent Wo worthe you vnto whome I dyde bote And wo worthe you that tere me at the rote

Blessyd be ye that loue humylyte Blessyd be ye that loue trouthe and pacyence Blessyd be ye folowynge werkes of equyte Blessyd be ye that loue well abstynence Blessyd be ye vyrgyns of excellence Blessyd be ye which loue well vertue Blessyd be ye whiche do the worlde eschue

Blessyd be ye that heuenly Ioye do loue Blessyd be ye in vertuous gouernaunce Blessyd be ye whiche do pleasures reproue Blessyd be ye that consyder my greuaunce Blessyd be ye whiche do take repentaunce Blessyd be ye remembrynge my passyon Blessyd be ye makynge petycyon

Blessyd be ye folowynge my trace Blessyd be ye louynge trybulacyon Blessyd be ye not wyllynge to trespace Blessyd be ye of my castycacyon Blessyd be ye of good operacyon Blessyd be ye vnto me ryght kynde Blessyd be you whiche haue me in your mynde

Blessyd be ye leuynge yll company Blessyd be ye hauntynge the vertuous Blessyd be ye that my name magnefy Blessyd be ye techynge the vycyous Blessyd be ye good and relygyous Blessyd be ye in the lyfe temperall Whiche applye yourselfe to Ioye celestyall

The brytyll worlde ryght often transmutable Who wyll in it his lyfe in tyme well spende Shall Ioye attayne after inestymable For in the worlde he must fyrst condyscende. To take grete payne as his power wyll extende Agaynst the worlde the flesshe and the deuyll By my grete grace for to withstande theyr euyll

For who can be a gretter fole than he That spendeth his tyme to hym vncertayne For a breuyat pleasure of worldly vanyte Than after that to haue eternall payne Who of the worlde delyteth and is fayne Shall after sorowe and cry ve ve In an other worlde quante sunt tenebre

Who is wyser than he that wyll applye In the worlde to take payne by due dylygence After shorte payne to come to grete glorye Whiche is eterne moost hye of excellence Where he shall se my grete magnyfycence With many aungelles whiche for theyr solace Insacyately do beholde my face

Regarde no Ioye of the erthly consystory For lyke as Phebus dothe the snowe relente So passeth the Ioyes of the worlde transytory Tyme renneth fast tyll worldly lyfe be spente Consyder this in your entendemente Blessed be they that my worde do here And kepe it well, for they are to me dere

Therfore good brederne your hertes enclyne To loue and drede me that am omnipotent Bothe god and man in Ioye celestyne Beholde my body all to torne and rente With your spytefull othes cruell and vyolent I loue you ye hate me ye are to harde herted I helpe you ye tere me lo how for you I smerted

Mercy and peace dyde make an vnyte Bytwene you and me but trouthe & ryghtwysnesse Do nowe complayne byddynge my godheed se How that ye breke the lege of sothfastnesse They tell me that by Iustyce doubtelesse I must take vengeaunce vpon you sykerly That by your swerynge, agayne me crucefye

For at the request of good mercy and peace I haue forborne you longe and many a daye [Th]et more and more your synnes do encrease Wherfore my Iustyce wyll no more delaye But take vengeaunce for all your proude araye I warne you ofte ye are nothynge the better But ye amende my vengenaunce shall be gretter

[P] Contra iuratores [christi] in celo crucifigentes. per bernard[um] dicit dominus. Nonne satis pro te vulneratus sum? nonne satis pro te afflictus sum? desine amplius peccare. [quia] magis aggrauat vulnus peccati [quam] vulnus lateris mei.

Am not I wounded for the suffycyent Haue I not for the ynoughe afflyccyon Leue more to synne by good amendement The wounde of synne to me is more passyon Than the wounde of my syde for thy redempcyon Thoughe I do spare I shall you desteny But ye amende to brenne eternally

With my blody woundes I dyde your chartre seale Why do you tere it / why do ye breke it so Syth it to you is the eternall heale And the releace of euerlastynge wo Beholde this lettre with the prynte also Of myn owne seale by perfyte portrature Prynte it in mynde and ye shall helthe recure

And ye kynges and lordes of renowne Exorte your seruauntes theyr swerynge to cease Come vnto me and cast your synne adowne And I my vengeaunce shall truely releace With grace and plente / I shall you encrace And brynge you whiche reuolue inwardly This is my complaynte to eternall glory.


[P]The Auctour as foloweth.

[P]Go lytell treatyse deuoyde of eloquence Tremblynge for dreade to approche the maieste Of our souereynge lord surmountynge in excellence Put under the wynge of his benygnyte Submyttynge the to his mercyfull pytie. And beseche hys grace to pardon thy rudnesse Whych of late was made to eschewe ydlenesse.

[P]Thus endeth the conuersyon of swerers, made and compyled by Stephen Hawys, groome of the chambre of our souerigne lorde Kyng Henry the seuenth. Enprynted at London, in Fletestrete, at the sygne of the Sonne, by Wynken de Worde, Prynter vnto the moost excellent prynses, my lady the kynges graundame, the yere of our Lord a MCCCCCIX. the first yere of the reigne of our souerayne lord kyng Henry the VIII.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Errors and Irregularities

[Th]et scyens a bydeth and is moost sure [spacing unchanged] Reuoule in mynde ryght ofte ententyfly [error for "Reuolue"?] Dyde go (se se [open parenthesis missing] Wo worthe bebate without extynguyshment [error for "debate"?] For lyke as Phebus dothe the snowe relente [text reads "Phehus"] And the releace of euerlastynge wo [initial "A" invisible] Put under the wynge of his benygnyte [initial "u" in original]

Unusual letters or letterforms

Capital U/V is shown as "V" for consistency, although the letterform is closer to "U". Thorn [Th] appears several times at the beginning of lines, and once in an abbreviation; "th" is used everywhere else. A series of lines on page A.iiii. verso, starting with "ye neyther loue me nor my Iustyce fere", have initial lower-case "y". The first of these may have been necessary to avoid collision with the [Th] of theprevious line.

In verse, nasal abbreviations such as [an] and [en] appear only in lines with large initial drop caps. Other abbreviations—mainly in the Latin passages—are shown in brackets: [qui], [christi]. The word shown as [thou] was printed as "u" directly above "thorn" (not "y").


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