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and go.

The first river is called Pison, that is, in our In the reign of Henry VI., William Paston, well language, Assembly; for many other rivers meet there, and educated by a frugal father who had no worldly posigo into that river. And some call it Ganges, from an Indian tion, rose in the law, till he became in 1429 a judge king, called Gangeres, because it ran through his land. of the Common Pleas. He married Agnes, heiress of And its water is in some places clear, and in some places Sir Edmund Berry, of Hertfordshire.

They had a troubled; in some places hot, and in some places cold. The

son John, also bred to the law, who was twenty-four second river is called Nile, or Gyson, for it is always

years old when his father died in 1444, a son troubled ; and Gyson, in the language of Ethiopia, is to say

Edmund, who also was a lawyer, a son William, and Trouble, and in the language of Egypt also. The third

a daughter Elizabeth. Before the judge died he had river, called Tigris, is as much as to say, Fast Running ;

made for his son a good marriage with Margaret, for it runs faster than any of the others. The fourth river

heiress of John Mauteby. John Paston's wife was is called Euphrates, that is to say, Well Bearing; for there

found for him, according to the fashion of the time, grow upon that river corn, fruit, and other goods, in great plenty

but proved, as Margaret Paston, a good wife to her And you shall understand that no man that is mortal may

“right reverent and worshipful husband,” for six-andapproach to that Paradise ; for by land no man may go for

twenty years. She managed his affairs in Norfolk wild beasts, that are in the deserts, and for the high

when he was up in London during term time, and mountains, and great huge rocks, that no man may pass by when she heard of him ill in London wrote, “I for the dark places that are there; and by the rivers may no

would ye were at home, if it were for your ease (and man go, for the water runs so roughly and so sharply, your sore might be as well looked to here as it is because it comes down so outrageously from the high places there ye be), now, liever than a gown, though it were above, that it runs in so great waves that no ship may row or

of scarlet." sail against it; and the water roars so, and makes so huge a The following letter addressed to this John Paston, noise, and so great a tempest, that no man may hear another by a kindly intervening lady, treats of a marriage in the ship, though he cried with all the might he could. project for his young sister Elizabeth, and of the Many great lords have assayed with great will, many times, home discipline of Agnes Paston, about the year to pass by those rivers towards Paradise, with full great 1449. companies; but they might not speed in their voyage ; and many died for weariness of rowing against the strong waves;

OF MARRYING AND GIVING IN MARRIAGE. and many of them became blind, and many deaf, for the

Trusty and well beloved Cousin, I commend me to you, noise of the water; and some perished and were lost in the waves; so that no mortal man may approach to that place

desiring to hear of your welfare and good speed in your without special grace of God; so that of that place I can

matter, the which I pray God send you, to His pleasaunce tell you no more.

and to your heart's ease.

Cousin, I let you wete that Scrope hath be in this country Our literature includes a series of family letters,

to see my cousin your sister, and he hath spoken with my written between the years 1422 and 1509. They

cousin your mother, and she desireth of him that he should were written by and to members of the Paston

show you the indentures made between the knight that hath family, which derived its name from a Norfolk

his daughter and him, whether that Scrope, if he were original letters, they were presented to the Royal Library, and as repayment for the gift John Fenn was knighted. Thus encouraged, Sir John Fenn issued, in 1789, a third and fourth volume of these letters, and had a fifth volume ready at his death in 1794. It was published by his nephew, Mr. Sergeant Frere, in 1823. Meanwhile the original MSS. had been lost. The originals of Fenn's first two volumes, bound into three MS. vols. for the King, have disappeared from the Royal Library. The original MSS., published in Fenn's third and fourth volumes also disappeared ; the MSS. used for the fifth volume were also lost until 1865, when they were discovered by the late Mr. Philip Frere in his house at Dungate, in Cambridgeshire, along with a large mass of additional MSS. belonging to the same collection.

Single letters from the collection have been scattered about from time to time. Twenty are in the Bodleian, two volumes of Fastolf and Paston papers were bought by Sir Thomas Phillipps for his library at Cheltenham. In 1875 the MSS. used by Sir John Fenn for his third and fourth volumes were at last found, among the papers of another member of the Frere family, at Roydon Hall. But the two volumes presented to the Royal Library, and last seen in the hands of

Queen Charlotte, who is supposed to have lent them to one of her PASTON HALL AND CHURCH.

ladies in attendance, have yet to be found. Mr. James Gairdner, of From Sir John Fenn's "Original Letters."

the Record Office, long known as the chief special student of the period

of history which these letters illustrate, has applied his exact know. village where they lived near the sea at Paston Hall, ledge to a careful chronological arrangement of the letters, doubled in

number by recent discoveries, and published them in three volumes about a mile from Bromholm Priory, famed for

with full historical introduction, and with notes to the successive possession of a piece of the true Cross.

letters, that make their contents clear to all readers. As publishers

will not recognise a sufficient public for such books, Mr. Edward 1 The Paston Letters were first made known to the public in 1787 by Arber has added to his many services to good literature by taking John Fenn, of East Dereham, in Norfolk, who possessed the autographs upon himself to issue Mr. Gairdner's edition-now the standard edition from which he then published two folio volumes of letters by various -of the Paston Letters, in three seven-shilling volumes, which are to persons of rank and consequence during the reigns of Henry VI., be had through the post by direct application to Edward Arber, F.S.A., Edward IV., and Richard III. They were dedicated to the King, and Southgate, London, N. It is the only work issued by Mr. Arber that the first edition was sold in a week. The King wishing to see the is not edited as well as published by himself.

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banished him for five years, hoping thereby to save his life, after he left the English shore he was followed and murdered at sea. Before his departure the ruined party chief wrote a letter to his eight-year-old son, of which a copy was preserved among the letters of the Paston family.

married and fortuned to have children, if the children should inherit his land, or his daughter the which is married.

Cousin, for this cause take good heed to his indentures, for he is glad to show you them, or whom ye will assign with you; and he saith to me he is the last in the tail of his lifelode, the which is cccL mark and better, as Watkin Shipdam saith, for he hath take account of his lifelode divers times; and Scrope saith to me if he be married, and have a son an heir, his daughter that is married shall have of his lifelode L mark and no more ; and therefore, cousin, me seemeth he were good for my cousin your sister, without that ye might get her a better. And if ye can get a better, I would avise you to labour in it as short time as ye may goodly, for she was never in so great sorrow as she is nowadays, for she may not speak with no man, whosoever come, ne not may she ne speak with my man, ne with servants of her mother's but that she beareth her on hand otherwise than she meaneth. And she hath be since Easter the most part be beaten once in the week or twice, and some time twice on one day, and her head broken in two or three places. Wherefore, cousin, she hath sent to me by Friar Newton in great counsel, and prayeth me that I would send to you a letter of her heaviness, and pray


My dear and only well beloved son, I beseech our Lord in Heaven, the Maker of all the world, to bless you, and to send you ever grace to love Him and to dread Him; to the which, as far as father may charge his child, I both charge you and pray you to set all spirits and wits to do and to know His holy laws and commandments, by the which ye shall, with His great mercy, pass all the great tempests and troubles of this wretched world. And that also wittingly ye do nothing for love nor dread of any earthly creature that should displease Him.

An there is any frailty maketh you to fall, beseecheth His mercy soon to call you to Him again with repentance, satisfaction, and contrition of your heart, never more in will to offend Him.

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Showing the Directed and Sealed Sides, with the Manner of Folding. (From Sir John Fenn's " Original Letters.")


you to be her good brother, as her trust is in you; and she saith, if ye may see by his evidences that his children and hers may inherit, and she to have reasonable jointure, she hath heard so much of his birth and his conditions that, an ye will, she will have him whether that her mother will or will not, notwithstanding it is told her his person is simple, for she saith men shall have the more deyntee of her if she rule her to him as she ought to do.

Cousin, it is told me there is a goodly man in your Inn, of the which the father died lately, and if ye think that he were better for her than Scrope, it would be laboured; and give Scrope a goodly answer that he be not put off till ye be sure of a better, for he said when he was with me, but if he have some comfortable answer of you, he will no more labour in this matter, because he might not see my cousin your sister, and he said he might 'a see her, an she had be better than she is; and that causeth him to demur that her mother was not well willing, and so have I sent my cousin your mother word. Wherefore, cousin, think on this matter, for sorrow oftentime causeth women to beset them otherwise than they should do, and if she were in that case, I wot well ye would be sorry. Cousin, I pray you burn this letter, that your men ne none other man see it ; for an my cousin your mother knew that I had sent you this letter, she should never love me. No more I write to you at this time, but Holy Ghost have you in keeping. Written in haste, on St. Peter's Day, by candle light.

By your Cousin,


Secondly, next Him, above all earthly thing to be true liegeman in heart, in will, in thought, in deed, unto the king, our aldermost high and dread sovereign lord, to whom both ye and I been so much bound to; charging you, as father can and may, rather to die than to be the contrary, or to know anything that were against the welfare or prosperity of his most royal person, but that as far as your body and life may stretch, ye live and die to defend it, and to let his highness have knowledge of it in all the haste ye can.

Thirdly, in the same wise, I charge you, my dear son, alway, as ye be bounden by the commandment of God to do, to love, to worship your lady and mother, and also that ye obey alway her commandments, and to believe her counsels and advices in all your works, the which dreadeth not but shall be best and truest to you. And if any other body would stir you to the contrary, to flee the counsel in any wise, for ye shall find it nought and evil.

Fourthly,' as far as father may and can, I charge you in any wise to flee the company and counsel of proud men, of covetous men, and of flattering men, the more especially and mightily to withstand them, and not to draw nor to meddle with them, with all your might and power. And to draw to you and to your comp [any good) and virtuous men, and such as ben of good conversation and of truth, and by them ye shall never be deceived, nor repent you of. [Moreover never follow] your own wit in no wise, but in all your works, of such folks as I write of above, axeth your advice a[nd counse]l; and doing thus, with the mercy of God, ye shall do right well,

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and live in right much worship and great heart's rest and marks." His stepfather's stinginess obliged Scrope

And I will be to you as good lord and father as my to sell part of his inheritance and take service with heart can think. And last of all, as heartily and as lovingly the Duke of Gloucester in France. When he came as ever father blessed his child on earth, I give you the

back Fastolf required him to pay for his meat and blessing of our Lord and of me, which of His infinite mercy drink. Need of money drove him to hasty marriage, increase you in all virtue and good living.

And that your

and Fastolf then brought an action that deprived blood may by His grace from kindred to kindred multiply in

his stepson of what property the wife brought him. this earth to His service, in such wise as after the depart

The wife died, leaving Scrope with a little daughter, ing from this wretched world here, ye and they may glorify and afterwards he says, For very need I was fain Him eternally amongst the angels in Heaven.

to sell a little daughter I have for much less than I Written of my hand,

should have done by possibility.” Elizabeth Paston The day of my departing from this land.

did not become the second wife of Stephen Scrope. Your true and loving father,

She married about New Year's Day, 1459, Robert SUFFOLK.

Poynings, who had been an ally of Jack Cade's in The Scrope who made suit for Elizabeth Paston 1450. was Philip, son of Sir John Fastolf's wife by a Fastolf's friend, John Paston, died in 1466, and former husband. Fastolf, whose name was borrowed left a large family. His two eldest sons were both for Shakespeare's Falstaff, was among the friends of named John, and each became a knight. A motherly the Pastons, and here is a letter from him, written letter from Margaret Paston to one of these sons, in February, 1455.

who, in November, 1463, had left home clandestinely,

and gone, apparently, to wait upon King Edward IV., SIR JOHN FASTOLF TO JOHN PASTON.

at Pomfret, will enable us to part kindly from the To my right trusty and well beloved cousin, John Paston, in Paston family. The original spelling shall be left. goodly haste.

Right trusty and well beloved cousin, I commend me to you. And please you to wit that I am advertised that at a To my wellbelovyd son, Sir John Paston, be this deliveryd in dinner in Norwich, whereas ye and other gentlemen were

hast. present, that there were certain persons, gentlemen, which I gret you welle, and send yow Godds blissyng and myn uttered scornful language of me, as in this wise, with more, latyng yow wet 3 that I have receyved a letter from you, the saying, “Ware thee, gosune,' ware, and go we to dinner; go wyche ye deliveryd to Master Roger at Lynne, wherby I we where? To Sir John Fastolf, and there we shall well conseyve thar ye thynke ye ded not well that ye departyd pay therefore.” What their meaning was I know well, to hens withowt my knowlage. Wherfor I late you wett I was no-good intent to meward: wherefore, cousin, I pray you, as

ryght evyll payed with you. Your fader thowght, and my trust is in you, that ye give me knowledge by writing

thynkyth yet, that I was asentyd to your departyng, and that what gentlemen they be that had this report with more, and hathe causyd me to have gret hevinesse. I hope he wolle be what mo' gentlemen were present, as ye would I should and your good fader hereafter, if ye demene you * well and do as were my duty to do for you in semblable wise. And I shall ye owe to do to hym; and I charge you upon my blyssyng keep your information in this matter secret, and in God's that in any thyng towchyng your fader that shuld be hys grace so purvey for them as they shall not be all well pleased. worchep, profyte, or avayle, that ye do your devoyr and At such a time a man may know his friends and his foes dyligent labor to the fortherans therin, as ye wulle have my asunder &c. Jesu preserve and keep you.

good wille, and that shall cause your fader to be better fader Written at Caister the vii. day of February, anno xxxiii. R. H. VIth.

It was told me ye sent hym a letter to London. What the John Fastolp, Knight. entent therof was I wot not, but thowge he take it but

lyghtly, I wold ye shuld not spar to write to hym ageyn as Sir John Fastolf dated from Caister, near Yar- lowly as ye cane, besechyng hym to be your good fader; and mouth, where he had, at much cost of money and send hym suche tydings as be in the contre thir ye bethe in, time, just completed the turning of his house into a and that ye waró of your expence bettyr and ye have be strong castle that covered six acres of ground. He

befor thys tyme, and be your owne purse berer, I trowe ye was akin to John Paston's wife Margaret, and when shall fynd yt most profytable to you. he died, in 1459, John Paston was his executor. A I wold ye shuld send me word howghe ye doo, and howghe servant of his own, speaking of him in one of these ye have schevyfte 6 for yourself syn ye departyd hens, be? letters, says "cruel and vengeable he hath been ever, some trosty man, and that your fader have no knowlage and for the most part without pity and mercy.” His therof. I durste not late hym knowe of the laste letter that steward also complains of stingy usage. There must ye wrot to me, because he was so sor dyspleasyd with me at have been small cheer in a dinner with the real that tyme. historical Jack Fastolf. He sold the wardship of Item. I wold ye shuld speke with Wekis 8 and knowe his his stepson, Stephen Scrope, and bought it back dysposysion to Jane Walsham. She hathe sayd, syn he again for his own advantage; as the stepson himself departyd hens, but she myght have hym she wold never said, “He bought me and sold me as a beast, against

to you.


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3 Latyng yow wet, letting you know. From First English “ witan," all right and law, to mine hurt more than 1,000

* If ye demene you. Observe throughout the original use, also rei Gorune may be gossone, godson ; but more probably is of the origin

tained in the modernised letters, of ye (ge) as a nominative and you ascribed to the Irish gossoon, garçon, boy; the phrase meaning, "Be

(eow) as a dative or accusative. on your guard, my boy."

5 War, be on guard. 6 Schevyfte, shifted.

7 Be, by. ? Mo, First English “mi," more.

8 Wekis. John Wykes, usher of the king's chamber.

to know.

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maryd, hyr hert ys sor set on hym; she told me that he seyd to hyr that ther was no woman in the world he lovyd so welle. I wold not that he shuld jape hyr, for she menythe good feythe ; and yf he wolle not have hyr, late me wete in hast, and I shall purvey for hyr in othyr wysse.

As for your harneys and ger that ye left here, it ys in Daubeneys kepyng; it was never remevyd syn your departyng, be cause that he had not the keyes. I trowe it shall apeyer” but if it be take hed hate 3 be tymys. Your fader knowythe not wher it is.

I sent your grey hors to Ruston to the ferror, and he seythe he shull never be nowght to rood, nowthyr ryght good to plowe nor to carte; he seyth he was splayyd, and hys shulder rent from the body. I wot not what to do with hym.

Your grandam wold fayne here sum tydyngs from you. It wer welle do that ye sent a letter to her howe ye do, as astely as ye may. And God have you in Hys kepyng, and make you a good man, and zif yow grace to do as well as I would ye should do.

Wretyn at Caster, ye Tewisday next befor Seynt Edmund the Kynge.

Your Moder,

M. Paston. I wold ye shuld make mech of the parson Fylby, the berer herof, and make hym good cher yf ye may.

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There is, in decayed MS., an inventory-made in the reign of Edward IV., but not otherwise datedof books belonging to one of the John Pastons. His library consisted of twelve manuscripts, with one piece of print, Caxton's earliest : "Item, a booke in preente off the Pleye off the Chess)." The books

A PRINTING PRESS OF 1498. representing the library of a gentleman at the close From the Frontispiece to a Book printed in that Year by Iodocus Badius

Ascensianus, figured in Charles Knight's Life of Caxton.” of the fifteenth century -

--one MS. volume containing several works—consisted of some romances, some

is a moral treatise translated by Caxton from the poems of Chaucer, Occleve’s “De Regimine Prin

French, divided into tractates, each completing a cipum," a few religious and moral pieces, three pieces division of the subject, and illustrated by Caxton of Cicero, a "Book of Blazonings of Arms," and a “ Book of Knighthood.”

with woodcuts, of which I give those which belong to the first tractate of

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The first chapter of the first tractate sheweth under what king FROM WILLIAM CAXTON TO ROGER ASCHAM.

the play of the Chess was founden and made. Capitulo primo. A.D. 1474 TO A.D. 1558.

Among all the evil conditions and signs that may be in a WILLIAM Caxton, born about 1422, was bred to

man, the first and greatest is, when he feareth not ne dreadeth

to displease and make wroth God by sin, and the people by commerce, and loved literature in the days when the

living disordinately; when he retcheth 6 not nor taketh heed art of printing by movable types was introduced

unto them that reprere him and his vices, but sleeth them, in into Europe. He saw the commercial as well as the

such wise as did the Emperor Nero, which did do slee 6 his intellectual gain to be secured by learning the art

master Seneque, for as much as he might not suffer to be and bringing it to England. In 1468, Caxton was

repreved and taught of him. In like wise was sometime a in the service of Edward IV.'s sister Margaret at

king in Babylon that was named Evilmerodach, a jolly Bruges. At that time, Caxton was translating from

man without justice, and so cruel that he did do hew his Raoul le Fevre a “Recuyell of the Historyes of

father's body in three hundred pieces, and gave it to eat and Troye,” and afterwards he says that he learnt the devour to three hundred birds that men call vultures, and was art of printing. His first printed book was of such condition as was Nero, and right well resembled and Game and Play of the Chess," of which there were was like undo his father Nabugodonosor, which on a time two editions, the first of them finished in March, would do slee all the sage and wise men of Babylon, for as 1474. It is supposed to have been the first book much as they could not tell him his dream that he had dreamed printed in England, though the clear statement,

5 Retcheth, recketh, from "récan," to reck, care for. One spelling 1 Harneys, armour ; ger, gear.

represents pronunciation with a soft c, the other with a hard c. Apeyer, become worse, suffer damage.

Between the two weak vowels, e e, there was a natural tendency to 3 Take hed hate, taken heed at, looked to.

softening of the c; so from “feccan" fetcheth. • Ferror, farrier,

6 Do slee, cause to be slain; do hew, cause to be hewed.

« The

on a night, and had forgotten it, like as it is written in the for as much as they dare not say to thee the truth, for to do Bible, in the book of Daniel. Under this king then, Evil- justice righteously; of myself I make no force : whether I die merodach, was this game and play of the chess founden. True on the land or on the water or otherwise. As who said he it is that some men ween that this play was founden in the retched not to die for justice. In like wise as Democreon, the time of the battles and siege of Troy; but that is not so,


philosopher, put out his own eyen by cause he would not see this play came to the plays of the Chaldees, as Diomedes the that no good might come to the evil and vicious people without Greek saith and rehearseth, that was the most renomed play right. And also Defortes the philosopher as he went towards among all other plays, and after that, came this play in the time his death, his wife that followed after him said that he was of Alexander the Great into Egypt, and so unto all the parties damned to death wrongfully, then he answered and said to toward the South. And the cause wherefore this play was so her, Hold thy peace and be still, it is better and more mererenomed, shall be said in the iij chapter.

torye to die by a wrong and unrightful judgment than that

I had deserved to die.” This chapter of the first tractate sheweth who found first the play of the Chess. Capitulo ij.

The third chapter of the first tractate treateth wherefore the The play found a philosopher of the Orient which was

play was founded and made. Capitulo ij. named in Chaldee Exerses, or in Greek Philematos, which is The causes wherefore this play was founden, ben iij. The

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as much to say in English as he that loveth justice and mea- first was for to correct and repreve the king, for when this sure. And this philosopher was renomed greatly among the king Evilmerodach saw this play, and the barons, knights Greeks and them of Athens which were good clerks and and gentlemen of his court play with the philosopher, he philosophers also renomed of their cunning. This philosopher marvelled greatly of the beauty and novelty of the play, and was so just and true that he had liever die than to live long desired to play against the philosopher. The philosopher and be a false flatterer wtih the said king. For when he answered and said to him that it might not be done but if he beheld the sinful life of the king, and that no man durst blame first learned the play. The king said it was reason, and that him, for by his great cruelty he put them all to death that he would put him to the pain to learn it. Then the philosodispleased him, he put himself in peril of death and loved and pher began to teach him and to shew him the manner of the chose rather to die than longer to live. The evil life and table of the chess board and the chess men. And also the disfamed of a king is the life of a cruel beast, and ought not manners and the conditions of a king, of the nobles, and of long to be sustained, for he destroyeth him that displeaseth the common people, and of their offices, and how they should him. And therefore rehearseth Valerius that there was a wise be touched and drawn: and how he should amend himself and man named Theodore Cereni? whom his king did do hang on the become virtuous. When this king heard that he repreved cross for as much as he repreved him of his evil and foul life, him, he demanded him upon pain of death to tell him whereand alway as he was in the torment he said to the king, fore he had founden and made this play, and he answered,“ My “Upon thy councillors and them that ben clad in thy clothing right dear lord and king, the greatest and most thing that I and robes were more reason that this torment should come, desire is that thou have in thyself a glorious and virtuous

life. And that may I not see but if thou be endoctrined and 1 Renomed, “renommé,” renowned.

well mannered, and that had, so mayst thou be beloved of thy * Theodorus Cyrenæus, in Valerius Maximus' " Dictorumque Factorumque Memorabilium," lib. vi., cap. 2.

3 No force, no consequence.

* But if, unless.


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