University of Virginia Library

B. Reading Edition of the Emmanuel College Fragment

[F2r] lenger place to my reasons, seyng that even so as ye complayne of us, ye also complayne of your owne honours, gyvyng occasyon that your fawtes may be manyfest to all the worlde, whiche as yet are unknowen to moche people. This sayd by Affranio, Hortensia in this wyse as foloweth dyde begyn.

I perceyve you, Affranio, so very cruell and unto us so coniured an hole enmy that, yf ye were assured that trouth shold be dryven out of the worlde and faythe loste and dystroyed and the chyrches defoyled, moche sooner wolde ye consent to the ruyne of heven and erthe than ye wolde absteyne your odyous purpose of saying evyll by women. Yet by as moche as though your subtyl speche doth surmount me in dysputacion, your evydent coleryke envy is sufficient to abate the weyght of your wordes and to make them lyght and without credence. And yet if that women durst deny without shame that men are the purchasers in lovyng, I am sure that your secrete conscyence within you reproveth you and maketh you to thynke all the contrary, admonysshing you of the manyfolde gracious requestes that ye can make that, whyther we wyll or not, it behoveth us to yelde as overcome. Wherfore yf in flateryng us thus ye can fynde wordes to deceyve us, it is no wonder yf in dyspreysynge us ye be inventyf by your reasons for to confounde us. But for all that these your audacyous facyons be not gretely to be alowed, in that our ferefull dulnesse and your extreme knowlege doth make a lesyng seme


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to be true. And yet though I dyde nothyng but holde my peas, without doubt symplenesse, whiche is subgect to many wronges and outra [F2v] ge, oughte to be worthy of supportacion, for bycause that who that hath leest knowlege and understandyng sholde take councell of them that be more dyscrete and prudent. The whiche we do whan we, ygnourauntly faylyng, beleve the councell of you that ought to be the wysest, in suche wise that ye of all the ygnoraunt errour be unto them the cause, which as dishonest you do disdayne. By this reason unto you of whome all the evyll procedeth double blame ought to be imposed, and natwithstandynge your counsell, yet happeneth it often unto them that insueth it, that before the parfyte agrement, they fele a mervaylous difference betwene the reason and the affeccyon. But for what purpose shuld it serve me to brynge forth reasons and to argue agaynst them that for them and in theyr favoure hathe approved and made the lawes and all the ordynaunces? What constitucyon may I allege unto unreasonable persons whiche wyll nat receyve reason, and the whiche hath made the statutes unto their owne advauntage, contrarye unto us, theyr mortall enemyes? And therfore nat so as ye ought you wold have it, but even so as it semeth best unto youre pleasure, with th’infamye of your fautes, you do us blame and sclaunder, and yet more wolde ye do havynge none that wolde withsaye you, inasmoche as we nat beynge of auctoryte to ordayne nor cannat alege the lawe accordyng unto our ryght, nor we have none that in our faver wyll wryte, but you that have the penne in the hande, as it pleaseth you, so do you dispose and wryte. Wherfore who that suffereth, nat beynge of power to do any other thing than to suffre, is more rather strengthed than vaynquesshed, and it foloweth nat for all that, that in the malyce of youre ...