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Title: A Very Pleasaunt & Fruitful Diologe Called the Epicure

Author: Desiderius Erasmus

Release date: July 8, 2005 [eBook #16246]
Most recently updated: December 11, 2020

Language: English

Credits: Produced by David Starner, Louise Hope and the Online
Distributed Proofreading Team at


[Transcriber's note:

The printed text marks the first few leaves of each 16-page signature: A.i., A.ii... Other page breaks are marked in this e-text with a single line | .

In the original text, the dialogue was printed as one continuous block. This e-text has placed each speaker on a new line.

A few apparent typographic errors were corrected and are marked like this. Some additional problems are marked in the same way but were left unchanged. All other spelling, capitalization and punctuation are as in the original.]

ry pleasaunt &
fruitful Dio-
loge called the

made by that fa-
mous clerke Eras
mus of Rotero-
dame, newly


S. Paule to the Ephesians

You that haue professed Christ,
suffre not your selues to be deceyued
vvith false doctrine, nor vaine
and noughtie talkyng, but herken
vnto all Godly thynges, and
especially too the doctryne
of the Gospell.


daunt mercie and grace of our

heauenly father Iesu Christ,
maye alwaies strengthen
and defende oure noble

& vertuous Prynce Ed-
ward too the mainte-
naunce of the liue-
ly woord of

W HERE as manye histories of olde & auncient antiquitie, and also al godly & Christiã writers most playnely consêt together, and agree in this, that dignitie, riches, kinred, worldly pompe, and renoume, doo neither make men better, ne yet happiar, contrarie too the blynde & fonde iudgement of the most part of menne: but by the power and strength of the mynde, that is, learnyng, wysedome, |and vertue, all menne are hyghly enriched, ornated, & most purely beutified, for these bee thinges bothe notable, eternall, and verye familiar betwene the heauenly father & vs. It is therefore euidente (most excellent Prince) that the fittest ornamêtes for your graces tender age, bee, eruditiõ and vertue. Wherunto you are bothe so ernestly addicte and therin so wõderfully doo preuaile, that I nede not too exhorte & exstimulate your grace vnto the study thereof. For that God him self hath wrought, and fourmed your mynde so apt and desirous too attayne and diligêtly too seeke for al godly doctrine, that euê now you doo shewe in all youre saiynges and dooinges suche a wonderfull pleasaûtes much lyke vnto a certayne swete musike or harmonie, that any honest hart exceadinglye woulde reioyce in the sight therof. Verely, your grace thinketh plainly all time lost, that is not bestowed vpon learnyng, which is a verie rare thyng in anye childe, and rarest of all in a Prince. Thus youre noblenes, rather desireth vertue and A.iii.learning the most surest and excellent treasures, which farre surmounte all worldly ryches, then anye vanities or trifles. Nowe youre grace prepareth for the holsome and pleasaunt foode of the mynde. Now you seke for that whiche you shal fynd most surest helper and faythfulst councellour in all your affaires. Now your magnificêt mynde studieth that, whiche all Englyshe menne with meke and humile heartes shuld desire GOD to endue your grace with all. Now with diligent labour you searche for a thyng, as one most myndeful of this saiyng: Happy is that realme that hath a lerned Prince. Nowe you trauaile for that, whiche conquereth, and kepeth doune all greuous tourmentes & outragious affections of the mynde, too the furderaunce of good liuyng, and maintenaûce of vertue, I meane holsome erudition and learnyng. Many Heathen Princes forsoth, are highly magnified with most ample prayses, which gaue them selues too the study of Philosophie, or knowledge of tongues, for their owne commoditie, and |especially for the weale of their subiectes. Who is nowe more celebrated and worthelier extolled then Mithridates? that noble kyng of Pont and Bithinia, which, (as Aulus Gellius writeth) vnderstoode so perfitly the languages of .xxii. sondrye countries that were vnder his dominiõ, that he neuer vsed any interpretour too answer his subiectes, but spake their lãguages so finelye, as thoughe he had been of the same coûtrie. Ageyn, that honorable manne Quintus Ennius saied: that he had .iii. heartes, because he coulde speake Greke, Italian, and Latin. Yea, and breuely, the most famaus writers, as well the Heathen, as the Christien, with an vniuersall consent, playnly affirme: Whan thei had weied the nature and condiciõ of the purest thinges vnder heauen, thei sawe nothyng faire, or of any pryce, or that ought too be accõpted ours, but onely vertue and learning. Euen now too acknowledge that same, it is yeouê you from aboue, for your grace delecteth in nothyng more then too bee occupied in the holye Byble: wherin, beginne too sauer & smelle furth the treasure of wisedome, knowledge and fulnes of the deuyne power, that is a studie most conuenient for euery Christien Prince, that kynd of studye cannot haue sufficient laude and commendation. Whose Princely heart forsoth, is raueshed on suche a godlie and vertuous studie, it can neuer haue condigne and worthie praises, but deserueth alwaies too bee had in great price, estimation, and honour. Who dooeth not know? that Prince which is yeouen vnto the scriptures of God and with a stoute stomake and valiãt heart, both searcheth furth and also defendeth ye true doctrine of the Gospell, too bee inrolled in the assemble of Christ. Who dooeth not see? that Prince too bee moost surelye armed, which carieth in his heart the swerd of ye spirit, which is the blessed woord of God. Who is ignoraunt? that euer lastyng lyfe consisteth in the knoweledge of God. What Prince woulde not studie to maintaine that, which is written for the health, and saluation of all menne weiyuge with himselfe |that a Prince can not deserue, neither by conquest, ciuel policie, nor yet by anye other meane vnder heauen, thys name high or honorable, so wourthely as by the setting forward of Goddes woorde. What young Prince humily defendyng doune intoo him selfe and callyng to memory his bounden dutie woulde not with a glad hearte and a chearfull mynde, gredelye desyre too knowe, enlarge, and amplifie the glory and maiestie of hys derely beloued father? Your grace (forsoth) hath professed God too bee your father: Blessed are you then if you obey vnto hys word, and walke in his waies. Blessed are you, yf you supporte suche as preache the Gospell. Blessed are you, yf your mind bee full furnished with the testament of Christ, and shew your selfe too bee the most cruel too and enemy agaynst ypocrisie, supersticion, and all papistical phantasies, wherwt the true religion of God hathe been dusked and defaced these many yeres Blessed are you, if you reade it daye & nighte, that your grace maye knowe what GOD dooeth forbyd you, and A.v.euer submit your selfe therunto with seruiceable lowlines chiefly desiring to florysh and decke your mynd with godly knowledge. And most blessed are you, if you apply your self vnto al good workes, & plant surely in your heart the scriptures of Christ, If you thus doo, nether the power of any papistical realme, nor yet of hel can preuaile at any time against your grace. Nowe therfore, with humile hearte, faithfully receiue the swete promises of the Gospel. If you kepe the woordes of the Lorde and cleaue fast vnto them: there is promised you the kingdome of heauen: You are promised a weale publick most riche and welthy You are promised too bee deliuered from the deceiptes of all youre priuie enemyes. You are promised also, too conquere great and mightie nations. Agayne, let your grace bee most fully perswaded in this, that ther was neuer Kyng nor Prince, that prospered whiche tooke parte against Goddes woord, and that the greatest abhomination that can bee, either for Kyng, Prince, or any other manne, is too for|sake the true woord of God. O with howe rebukefull woordes & greuous iudgement thei be condemned, which dispice & set lytle by the holy Byble & most blessed Testamêt of God, wherin there is contained all the wil & pleasure of our heauêly father toward vs most miserable & ignoraunt wretches Who would not quake, too beholde the terrible feares & threatenynges of God ageinst al suche? Who would not lament & gladly helppe their obstinate blyndenes? Who woulde not weepe? to heare and reade in how many places, they be openly accursed by the scriptures of Christ. God him self playnely affirmeth, that he wyll sodênly consume them with the breath of his anger. Yea, besides that whoso euer declyneth from the word of God is accursed in all his doynges, whether he be Kyng, or Prynce, riche, or poore, or of what estate soeuer he bee. This fearfull saiyng (most excellent Prynce) shulde moue all men to take hede vnto their duties and to praie that gods word maie take place emõgist vs. O that al men would fanta|sie the scriptures of God, and saye wt the vertuous man Iob. Wee will not bee ageynst the woordes of the holy one. Truth it is, God taketh diligent care too haue vs al know his woord. Woulde God therfore, that all wee were now willing to haue the syncere woorde of God & all holsom doctrine too go forward. O that all we would consent togither in the Gospell, brotherly admonishyng, and secretelye prouokyng one an other too true religion & vertue. O that no man would sow emongist the people pernitious doctryne, but with all lowly diligêce and Godlye monition euer prouoke, tempt, and stere them, tyll their heartes were remoued frõ their olde dautyng dreames and supersticiõ, which haue been long grafted in them thorow popyshe doctrine. By this meane wee shuld euer haue concorde emongist vs, whiche in all thynges is necessary, but most nedefull and expedient in Gods holi woord. Now truely the godlyest thynge that can bee deuysed, for any christian realme, is to haue emongist them one maner and |fourme of doctryne, & too trace trueli the steppes of God and neuer to seeke any other bywayes. Who hath not redde in ye scriptures? but that realme is endued with godly ornamentes & riches, where all men prospere, go for ward and florishe in gods woord, delectyng day and night in the swete cõsolations of the holy testament. By this way we shuld especially set forth the glory of God, and of our sauiour Iesu Christ, if we would reuerently shew one an other that whiche God hath taught vs. Yea & in this doyng all men shulde well perceaue that we were the true disciples of Christ, being knitte and coupled fast together in mynde and iudgement, preachyng God with one mouth and also with one assent euer promotyng his gloryous testament. O the good happe and grace of that king or prynce emongist whose subiectes there is such an hole consent and iudgement in the woord of God, for yt most assuredly byndeth & adiuigneth ye hartes of al subiectes too their kyng. The strength of the Gospell is euen suche in this puincte, |that there was neuer man, which did humily receaue it, that would murmour ageynst his Prince. It teacheth how wyllyngly all men shulde obey their kyng. It sheweth verye lyuely and most apertly vnto euery man his ful dutie. It euer prouoketh vs from all wicked, cursed, and most obstinate disobedience. It euer instructeth men too shewe them selues most lowly, humile, and obesaunt toward their Prynce. Whosoeuer hath tasted fully therof, will declare hym selfe in al thynges, too bee a faithful subiect. Furthermore, it is clearer then the light (most vertuous prince) that it woulde make muche for the weale of this noble realme, yf all mê with heart and mynde, would nowe as well expulse the pernitious and deuelyshe doctryne af that Romishe bishop, as his name is blotted î bookes. There is none so ignoraunt, but he knoweth that, thorough hym we were brought into a wõderful blindnes, thorough hym we did sauer of nothyng, but of stynkyng Ydolatry, through hym we were deceiued with |false Ypocrisie. Now let euery blind stiffe hearted, and obstinate creature compare his abhomination with the gospell, and if he be not shameles, he will abashe to smell of his papistrie, and to walow still in ignoraunce, vn lest he bee priuely confederate and in heart consent with the detestable felowship of al wicked papistes. Now would God all suche men would reduce ageyn their heartes vnto ye gospell of Christ, would god they would bee prouoked by some meane to desire knowledge. O that god woulde yeoue them a couragious mynde too reade the gospel, there they shal sone fynde all the venoume of the romishe sort most playnely detected. Forsoth wee see dayly, yt lacke of knowledge of the gospel maketh some busserdes runne hedlong on all rockes, daungers, & extreme perilles: yea, and beside that, olde popysh doctryne whiche lyeth folded vp & locked faste in their heartes, doeth so sore blynd thê that they haue neither fauour ne affectiõ too printe in their myndes, the expressed coûcels, admonitions, and |preceptes of the holy scripture, but too slepe stil in their owne conceites, dreames, & fonde phansies. Wherfore let your dignitie note well this, that all those whiche bee not wyllyng yt gods woord should bee knowen, and that blyndenes should be clean expulsed from all men, whiche be baptised in ye blessed bludde of Christ, bewray themselues playne papistes: for in very deede that most deceatful wolfe and graund maister papist with his totiens quotiens, and a pena et culpa blesseth all suche as will bee blynde stil, maintaine his põpe, drinke of his cuppe of fornication, trust in his pardounes, liue in popery, ypocrisie, and dãnable ydolatrie, shut vp the kingdome of heauen, & neuer regarde the gospel. Cõtrarie too this, christ bi his holy Prophete calleth al those blessed yt seke for his testimonies, al those his elect & chosê childrê, which turne frõ synne, ypocrisie, & ydolatrie, all those goddes yt heare his word, yea, & breuely, al those which set it forward honorable mê. & in this puincte your grace shoulde euer beare in mynde, |that noble and vertuous kyng Hezekiah, whiche shewed hymselfe very honorable in settîg forward ye woord of God, and therby gotte hym glory and fame immortall, so that nowe he is most highly praysed amongtst all men. Ageyn his subiectes dyd obey his commaundement feynedly with Ypocrisie, but in their heartes they abhorred gods woord. O the miserie that dyd afterwarde sodeinly ensue vpon them, O the wonderfull wrath of God that was poured vpon them, O their great and obstinate blindnes whiche caused them most greuously too be scourged: Their plage was no lesse then too bee vtterly spoyled of their enemies, Their plage was no lesse then to eate one an other: Yea, their plage was no lesse then to eate their owne sonnes and doughters. This calamitie and sorow (most noble prynce) happened them because they dyd not regarde the lawes of God, but tourned too their olde abhominable Ydolatrie, and lightelye estemed gods holy woord. Wherfore euen now whosoeuer is an enemie the holy Bible, that is, neither studiyng it himselfe, nor willyng that other men shulde knowe it, he can in no wyse be a right christian man: although he fast, pray, doo almes, & all the good workes vnder heauen. And he that hath suche a mynde, is ye most cursed and cruel enemie too god, a playne sower of sedition, and a deuelishe disquieter of all godly men. For truly those that reade the gospel of Christ, and labour diligêtly therin: doo fynde wonderfull rest & quietnes, from all woofull miserie, perturbatiõ, and vanities of this world. And surely none but ypocrites or els deuilles would go about too stoppe or allure men from suche a treasure and godly study. And it were conuenient, that all they whiche wyll remayne styll necligent, styffe, & blind: shuld set before their faces the feare of paynes infernall, and if thei haue any grace at all, their spirites ought to be moued: too note the great plages that haue happened the slouthful in gods woord, & those that haue been stubburne ageynst the settyng |out of it. There bee a thousand recordes and examples in the holy Bible agaynst such as be farre wyde from knowledge, and lye now walteryng styl in ignoraunce and will not looke vpon the bible. It woulde seme, they hope for a thyng, but their hope is in vaine: For saint Paule plainely writeth the hope of suche ypocrites shall coomn too nought. And too conclude (most honorable Prince) seeyng wee haue suche knowledge opened vnto vs, as neuer had englishe mê, and are clearly deliuered from the snares and deceiptes of al false and wicked doctrine, if we shuld not now thãkefully receaue the gospell, and shewe our selues naturally enclyned to set it forwarde, yea, and pray daye and night vnto God, for the preseruatiõ and health of the kynges highnes, your graces deare, and most entierly beloued father, we were neither true subiectes nor ryght christen men. Forsoth, through the absolute wisedome, and the most godly and politike prudencie of his grace, the swete sounde of gods woorde is gone thoB.ii.rough out all this realme, the holye Bible and blessed testament of oure sauiour Christ are coomnne to lighte, and thousandes haue faithfully receiued those pleasaunt, ioyfull, and most comfortable promises of God. Surely this thyng before all other, is acceptable too god. This thyng especially swageth ye ire of god. This thyng in all holi scriptures god most chiefly requireth of his elect & faithfull seruaûtes, euen too haue his lytell flocke knowe his blessed woorde, whiche woulde bee muche better knowê & more thankefulli receaued, yf al agees and degrees of men with one mynd, wyll, & voice, would nowe drawe after one lyne, leauyng their owne priuate affections, and shewe theim selues euer vigilant, prompt, & ready helpers & workers with God, (accordynge to the councell of sainct Paule) & especially priestes, scolemaisters & parêtes, which accordyng too ye Prophete Dauid are blessed, if they gladly requite ye lawe of God. They shuld therfore reade ye bible & purdge theyr mindes of al papistry: for theyr |necligence, in dooyng their duties & slugishnes toward ye blessed woord of god, dooeth too muche appere. Through them forsoth the gospel of Christ shuld bee most strongely warded and defended, for almost all the Prophetes, and a great parte of the scripture beside teache them their duties, and shew playnely what maner of men they shulde bee: Yea, and how greuously the holy Prophetes crie out vpon false and ignoraunt priestes, the thyng is very euident. But through the helppe of God all those that be ignoraunt, or els learned (as they take them selues) wyll leaue of, and repent them of their wicked and obstinate blyndnes, and bowe them selues with all oportunitie too draw mens heartes too the holy testament of God: consideryng, yt in the terrible day of iudgement, euery mã shall yeoue accompte of his Beliwicke, where neither ignoraûce shall excuse vs, ne yet any worldly põpe may defêd vs. Most happye thê shall they bee, whiche haue walked iustely in the sight of the Lorde, and B.iii.that haue syncerely preached his testament and lyuely woord withoute flattery or iuggelyng: Yea, and in yt fearful day, all they (as writeth S. Augustine) shal fynde mercie at the handes of god, whiche haue entised and allured other vnto goodnes and vertue. Weiyng this with my self, (most excellent, and vnto all kynd of vertues most prõpt & prestãt Prince) I thought it good too translate this Dialoge, called the Epicure, for your grace: whiche semed too me, too bee very familiar, & one of ye godliest Dialoges yt any mã hath writtê in ye latin tong. Now therfore I most humili praie, yt this my rude & simple trãslation may bee acceptable vnto your grace, trustyng also yt your most approued gentilnes, wil take it in good part. There as I doo not folow ye latyn, woord for woord, for I omytte yt of a certaine set purpose.

Your humile seruaunt, Philyppe
Gerrard, groume of your
graces Chambre.


The inter-



W HAT meaneth hit Spudeus, too applye hys booke so ernestlye I praye you what is the matter you murmour so with yourselfe?
SPVDEVS. The truth is (O Hedoni) I seke too haue knowledge of a thing, but as yet I cannot fynde yt whych maketh for my purpose.
HEDO What booke haue you there in your bosome?
SPVDE. Ciceros |dialoge of the endes of goodnes.
HEDO. It had bene farre more better for you, too haue sought for the begynnynges of godly thynges, then the endes.
SPVDE. Yea, but Marcus Tullius nameth yt the ende of godlines which is an exquisite, a far passing, and a very absolute goodnes in euerye puincte, wherein there is contained all kynde of vertu: vnto the knowledge ther of whosoeuer can attaine, shuld desire none other thîg, but hold himselfe hauyng onely that, as one most fully content and satisfied.
HED. That is a worke of very great learning and eloquence. But doo you thynke, yt you haue preuailed in any thîg there, whereby you haue the ra|ther come too the knowledge of the truth?
SPE. I haue had such fruite and cõmoditie by it, that now verelye hereafter I shall doubt more of the effect and endes of good thinges, then I did before.
HEDO. It is for husbãd menne too stande in doubt how farre the limittes and merebãkes extend.
SPE. And I cannot but muse styll, yea, and wonder very muche, why ther hath been so great controuersie in iudgementes vpon so weightie a matter (as this is) emongist so well learned menne: especially suche as bee most famous and auncient writers.
HEDO. This was euen the cause, where the verite of a thyng is playne and manifest, cõtrarily, ye errour through |ignoraunce againe in the same, is soone great & by diuers meanes encreaseth, for yt thei knewe not the foundation and first beginnyng of the whole matter, they doo iudge at all auentures and are very fondly disceaued, but whose sentence thynke you too bee truest?
SPE. Whan I heare MARCVS Tullius reproue the thyng, I then fãtasie none of all their iudgementes, and whan I heare hym agayne defende the cause: it maketh me more doubtfull thê euer I was and am in suche a studie, that I can say nothyng. But as I suppose ye Stoickes haue erred the lest, and nexte vnto thê I commend the Peripatetickes.
HEDo. Yet I lyke none of their opini|ons so well as I doo the Epicures.
SPV. And emõgist all the sectes: the Epicures iudgement is most reproued and condemned with the whole consent and arbitremêt of all menne.
HED. Let vs laye a side all disdayne and spite of names, and admitte the Epicure too bee suche one, as euery man maketh of hym. Let vs ponder and weighe the thyng as it is in very deed. He setteth the high and principall felicitie of man in pleasure, and thiketh that lyfe most pure and godly, whiche may haue greate delectatiõ and pleasure, and lytle pensiuenes.
SPV. It is euen so.
HED. What more vertuouser thyng, I praye you, is possible too bee spokê then this |saiyng.
Spu. Yea, but all menne wonder and crye out on it, and saye: it is the voyce of a bruite beast, and not of manne.
Hedo. I knowe thei doo so, but thei erre in ye vocables of theise thinges, and are very ignoraunt of the true and natiue significations of the woordes, for if wee speake of perfecte thynges, no kinde of menne bee more righter Epicures, then Christen men liuing reuerêtly towardes God and mã, and in the right seruice and worshiping of Christ.
SPV But I thinke the Epicures bee more nerer and agree rather with the Cynickes, then with the Christien sorte: forsoth ye Christiens make them selues leane |with fastynge, bewayle and lament their offences, and eyther they bee nowe poore, or elles theyr charitie and liberalitie on the nedye maketh theim poore, thei suffer paciently to bee oppressed of mêne that haue great power and take many wronges at their handes, and many men also laughe theim too skorne. Nowe, if pleasure brynge felicitie wyth it, or helpe in anye wyse vnto the furderaunce of vertue: we see playnly that this kynde of lyfe is fardest from al pleasures.
Hedonius. But doo you not admitte Plautus too bee of authoritie?
Speudeus. Yea, yf he speake vprightely.
Hedonius. Heare nowe them, and beare awaye wyth you the saiynge of |an vnthriftie seruaunt, whyche is more wyttier then all the paradoxes of the Stoickes.
SPE. I tarie to heare what ye wil say.
HEDO. Ther is nothyng more miserable then a mynd vnquiet & agreued with it selfe.
SPE. I like this saiyng well, but what doo you gather of it?
HEDO. If nothing bee more miserable thê an vnquiet mynde, it foloweth also, that there is nothing happiar, then a mynde voyde of all feare, grudge, and vnquietnes.
SPEV. Surely you gather the thing together with good reasõ but that notwithstandynge, in what countrie shall you fynde any such mynde, that knoweth not it selfe gyltie and culpable in some kynde of euell,
HEDO. |I call that euyll, whiche dissolueth the pure loue and amitie betwixt God and manne.
SPV. And I suppose there bee verye fewe, but that thei bee offêders in this thynge.
HEDO. And in good soth I take it, that al those yt bee purdged, are clere: whych wiped out their fautes with lee of teares, and saltpeter of sorowfull repentaunce, or els with the fire of charitie, their offêces nowe bee not only smalle grefe and vnquietnes too them, but also chaunce oftê for some more godlier purpose, as causing thê too lyue afterward more accordyngly vnto Gods commaûdemêtes.
SPV. In deede I knowe saltpeter and lee, but yet I neuer hearde before, that faultes |haue been purdged with fire.
H. Surely, if you go to the minte you shall see gould fyned wyth fyre, notwithstãdyng that ther is also, a certaine kynde of linê that brenneth not if it bee cast in ye fyre, but loketh more whiter then any water coulde haue made it, & therefore it is called Linum asbestinum, a kynde of lynen, whyche canne neither bee quenched with water nor brent with fyre.
Spu. Nowe in good faith you bring a paradox more wõderful then all the maruailous and profound thynges of the Stoickes: lyue thei pleasasauntly whom Chryst calleth blessed for that they mourne & lament?
Hedonius. Thei seme too the worlde too mourne, but |verely they lyue in greate pleasure, and as the commune saiynge is, thei lyue all together in pleasure, in somuche that SARDANAPALVS, Philoxenus, or Apitius compared vnto them: or anye other spoken of, for the greate desyre and study of pleasures, did leade but a sorowefull and a myserable lyfe.
Spe. These thinges that you declare bee so straunge and newe, that I can scarcelye yeoue any credite vnto them.
Hedo. Proue and assaye them ones, and you shall fynde all my saiynges so true as the Gospell, and immediatly I shal bryng the thynge too suche a conclusion (as I suppose) that it shall appeare too differ very lytle from the truth C.i
SPV. make hast then vnto your purpose.
HED. It shalbe doone if you wyll graunt me certayne thynges or I begynne.
Spu. If in case you demaunde suche as bee resonable.
Hedo. I wyl take myne aduauntage, if you confesse the thyng that maketh for mine intent.
Spu. go too.
Hedo. I thynke ye wyll fyrste graunt me, that ther is great diuersitie betwxt the solle and the bodye
Spu. Euen as much as there is betwene heauen and yearth, or a thyng earthly and brute, & yt whiche dieth neuer, but alwayes cõtaineth in it the godly nature.
Hedo. And also, that false deceiueable & coûterfetted holy thynges, are not too bee taken for those, which in very dede be |godly.
Spude. No more then the shaddowes are too bee estemed for the bodies, or the illusions and wonders of wytchcraftes or the fantasies of dreames, are too bee taken as true thynges.
HE. Hitherto you answer aptly too my purpose, and I thynke you wyl graunt me this thyng also, that true and godly pleasure can reste and take place no where but only on such a mynd that is sobree and honest.
SPV. What elles? for no man reioyseth too beholde the Sunne, if his eyes bee bleared or elles delecteth in wyne, if the agew haue infected hys tast.
HED. And the Epicure hymselfe, or elles I am disceiued, would not clippe & enbrace that pleasure, whiche C.ii.would bring with it farre greater payne and suche as would bee of long continuaunce.
SPV I thynke he woulde not, if he had any wytte at all.
HED. Nor you wyll not denye this, that God is the chiefe and especiall goodnes, then whõ there is nothyng fayrer, there is nothyng ameabler, ther is nothing more delicious and swetter.
SPVDE. No man wyll deny thys except he bee very harde hearted and of an vngentler nature then the Ciclopes.
HED. Nowe you haue graunted vnto me, that none lyue in more pleasure, then thei whyche lyue vertuouslye, and agayne, none in more sorowe and calamytie then those that |lyue vngratiously.
Spu. Then I haue graûted more thê I thought I had.
He. But what thing you haue ones cõfessed too bee true (as Plato sayth) you should not deny it afterward.
SPV. Go furth with your matter.
HEDO The litle whelpe yt is set store and greate price by, is fed most daintely, lieth soft, plaieth and maketh pastime continually, doo you thinke that it lyueth plesaûtly?
SPV. It dooeth truely.
HEDO. Woulde you wyshe to haue suche a lyfe?
SPV. God forbyd that, excepte I woulde rather bee a dogge then a man,
HEDO. Then you confesse that all the chief pleasures arise and spring frõ the mynd, as though it were from a welspryng.
SPV. C.iiiThat is euident ynough.
HE. Forsoth the strength and efficacy of the minde is so great, that often it taketh away the felyng of al externe and outward pain & maketh that pleasaunt, which by it selfe is very peynful.
SPV. We se that dayly in louers, hauyng great delight to sytte vp long & too daunce attendaunce at their louers doores all the colde wynter nyghtes.
HEDo. Now weigh this also, if the naturall loue of man, haue suche great vehemency in it, which is a cõmune thyng vnto vs, both with bulles and dogges, howe much more should all heauenly loue excell in vs, which cõmeth of ye spirit of Christ, whose strêgthe is of suche power, that it |would make death a thîg most terrible, too bee but a pleasure vnto vs.
Spu. What other men thîke inwardly I know not, but certes thei wãt many pleasures which cleaue fast vnto true and perfect vertue.
He. What pleasures?
Spu. Thei waxe not rich, thei optein no promotiõ, thei bãket not, thei daûce not, thei sing not, thei smell not of swete oyntmêtes, thei laugh not, thei play not.
He. We should haue made no mention in thys place of ryches and prefermente, for they bryng wyth them no pleasaunt lyfe, but rather a sadde and a pêsiue. Let vs intreate of other thynges, suche as they chiefely seeke for, whose desyre is to liue deliciously, see ye not daily drõC.iiiikerdes, fooles, and mad menne grinne and leape?
SPV. I see it
HED. Do you thynke that thei liue most pleasaûtly?
SPV God send myne enemies such myrth & pleasure.
HE. Why so?
Sp. For ther lacketh emongist thê sobrietie of mind.
HE. Then you had leuer sit fastyng at your booke, then too make pastime after any suche sorte.
SP. Of thê both: truly I had rather chose to delue.
H. For this is plaine that betwixt the mad mã & the drûkerd ther is no diuersitie, but yt slepe wil helpe the one his madnes, & with much a doo ye cure of Physicions helpeth the other, but the foole natural differeth nothing frõ a brute beast except by shape and portrature of body, yet thei |be lesse miserable whom nature hathe made verye brutes, then those that walowe theim selues in foule and beastly lustes.
SP. I confesse that.
Hedo. But now tell me, whether you thynke thê sobre and wyse, which for playn vanities and shadowes of plesure, booth dispice the true and godlye pleasures of the mynde and chose for them selues suche thynges as bee but vexacion & sorowe.
SPV. I take it, thei bee not.
Hedo. In deede thei bee not drûke with wyne, but with loue with anger, with auarice, with ambicion, and other foule and filthie desires, whiche kynde of drunkenes is farre worse, thê that is gotten with drinking of wine. Yet Sirus yt leude cõspaniõ |of whom mention is made in ye commedie, spake witty thynges after he had slepte hym self soobre, and called too memorie his greate and moost beastlye drunkenes: but the minde that is infected with vicious & noughty desire, hath muche a doo too call it selfe whom agein? How many yeares doeth loue, anger, spite, sensualitie, excesse, and ambition, trouble and prouoke the mynde? How many doo wee see, whiche euen from their youth, too their latter dais neuer awake nor repêt them of the drunkennes, of ambitiõ, nigardnes, wanton lust, & riatte?
Spu. I haue knowen ouermany of yt sorte.
Hedo. You haue graûted that false and fayned good |thinges, are not too bee estemed for the pure and godly.
Sp. And I affirme that still.
Hedo. Nor that there is no true and perfect pleasure, except it bee taken of honest and godly thynges.
Spud. I confesse that.
He. Then (I pray you) bee not those good that the commune sorte seeke for, they care not howe?
Spu. I thinke they be not.
Hedo. Surely if thei were good, they would not chaunce but onely too good men: and would make all those vertuous that they happen vntoo. What maner of pleasure make you that, doo you thinke it too bee godly, which is not of true & honest thynges, but of deceatfull: and coometh out of ye shadowes of good thynges?
Sp. |Nay in noo wyse.
He. For pleasure maketh vs to liue merely.
Spu. Yea, nothyng so muche.
He. Therfore no man truely liueth pleasauntly, but he that lyueth godly: that is, whiche vseth and delecteth onli in good thynges: for vertue of it selfe, maketh a man to habound in all thynges that bee good, perfete, & prayse worthy: yea, it onely prouoketh God the fountaine of all goodnes, too loue and fauour man.
SP. I almost consent with you.
HED. But now marke howe far they bee from all pleasure, whiche seeme openly emongist all men too folowe nothyng, but the inordinate delectation in in thynges carnall. |First their mynde is vile, and corrupted with the sauour and taste of noughtie desires, in so muche yt if any pleasaunt thing chaunce them, forthwith it waxeth bitter, and is nought set by, in like maner as where ye welle hed is corrupted and stynketh, there ye water must nedes be vnsauery. Agein ther is no honest pleasure, but that whiche wee receaue with a sobre and a quiet mynde. For wee see, nothyng reioyseth the angry man more, thê too bee reuenged on his offenders, but that pleasure is turned into pain after his rage bee past, and anger subdued.
Spu. I say not the contrary.
He. Finally, suche leude pleasures bee taken of fallible thinges, there|fore it foloweth that they be but delusiõs and shadowes. What woulde you say furthermore, if you saw a mã so deceaued with sorcerie & also other detestable witchecraftes, eat, drynke, leap, laugh, yea, and clappe handes for ioye, when ther wer no such thyng there in very dede, as he beleueth he seeth.
Spu. I wolde say he were both mad and miserable.
Hedo. I my self haue been often in place, where the lyke thyng hath been doone. There was a priest whiche knewe perfectly by longe experience and practise, the arte to make thynges seme that they were not, otherwise called, deceptio visus.
Sp. He did not lerne that arte of the holy scripture?
Hedo. Yea, ra|ther of most popeholy charmes and witchecraftes: that is too saye, of thinges, cursed, dampnable, and wourthy too bee abhorred. Certayne ladies & gentlewomen of the courte, spake vnto hym oftentimes: saiyng, they woulde coomn one day too his house and see what good chere he kept: reprouyng, greatly vile and homly fare, and moderate expenses in all thynges. He graunted they shulde bee welcome, and very instauntly desired them. And they came fastyng because they would haue better appetites. Whã they wer set to dyner (as it was thought) ther wãted noo kynde of delitious meat: they filled thê selues haboûdantly: after ye feast was |doone, they gaue moost hearty thanckes, for their galaunte cheare, and departed, euery one of them vnto their owne lodgynges: but anone their stomackes beganne too waxe an hungred, they maruayled what this shuld meane, so soone to be an hungred and a thirste, after so sumptuous a feast: at the last the matter was openly knowen and laught at.
Spu. Not without a cause, it had been muche better for thê too haue satisfied their stomackes at their owne chãbers with a messe of potage, thê too be fed so delitiousli with vain illusiõs.
H. And as I thîk ye cõmune sort of men ar muche more too bee laught at, whiche in steede of Godlye thynges, |chose vaine and transitory shadowes, and reioyce excedyngly in suche folishe phansies that turne not afterwarde in too a laughter, but into euerlasting lamentation and sorow.
Spudeus The more nerelier I note your saiynges, the better I like thê.
Hedo. Go too, let vs graunt for a tyme these thynges too bee called pleasaunt, that in very dede ar not. Would yow saye that meeth were swete: whiche had more Aloes myngled with it, then honye?
Spud. I woulde not so say and if there were but the third part of an ounce of Aloes mixt with it.
Hedo. Or els, would you wishe to bee scabbed because you haue some pleasure too scratch?
Spud. Noo, if I wer D.iin my right mynd.
HED. Then weigh with your self how great peyne is intermyngled wyth these false and wrongly named pleasures, yt vnshamefast loue filthie desire, much eatyng and drinking bring vs vnto: I doo omitte now that, which is principall grudge of cõscience, enemitie betwixt God and mã, and expectation of euerlastyng punishêment. What kynd of pleasure, I pray you is ther in these thinges, that dooeth not bryng with it a greate heape of outeward euilles?
SPV. What bee thei?
HEDO. We ought to let passe and forbeare in this place auarice, ambition, wrath, pryde enuy, whiche of their selues bee heuy and sorowful euylles and |let vs conferre and compare all those thynges together, yt haue the name of some chief and special pleasure: wher as the agew the hedache, the swelling of the belly, dulnes of witte, infamy, hurt of memory, vomyting, decaye of stomacke, tremblyng of the body succede of ouer muche drynking: thynke you, that the Epicure would haue estemed any suche lyke pleasure as thys, cõuenient and wourthy desire?
SPV. He woulde saye it wer vtterly too bee refused.
HEDONi. Wheras young men also with hauntynge of whores (as it is dayly seene) catche the newe leprosie, nowe otherwyse named Jobs agew, and some cal it the scabbes of Naples, throughe D.iiwhich desease they feele often ye most extreme and cruell paines of deathe euen in this lyfe, and cary about a bodye resemblyng very much some dead coarse or carryn, do you thynke that thei apply them selues vnto godlye pleasure.
SPVD. Noo, for after thei haue been often familiar with their prety ones, then they must goo streighte too the barbours, that chaunceth continuallye vnto all whoremongers.
HED. Now fayne that ther wer a lyke measure of pain and plesure, would ye then require too haue the toothache so longe as the pleasure of quaffing & whordome endured?
SPV. Verely I had rather wãt them booth, for ther is no commoditie nor van|tage to bye pleasure with payn but only to chaûg one thing for another, but the best choise is nowe not too affectionate anye such leudnes, for MAR. Tullius calleth that an inward greife & sorow.
He. But now ye prouocation & entisemêt of vnleful plesure, besides that it is much lesse then the pain which it bringeth with it, it is also a thing of a very short time: but if the leprosye bee ones caught, it tourmêteth mê al their life daies very pitifully & oftentimes cõstraineth them to wyshe for death before thei cã dye.
SP. Such disciples as those then, the Epicure would not knowe.
HED. For the most part pouertie, a very miserable and painfull burden, foloweth D.iii.lechery, of immoderate lust cõmeth the palsie, tremblyng of ye senewes, bleardnes of eyes, and blyndnes, the leprosie and not these only, is it not a pper pece of worke (I pray you) to chaûg this short pleasure neyther honest nor yet godly, for so manye euylles far more greuouse and of muche longer continuance.
SP. Although there shoulde no pain com of it, I esteme hym to bee a very fond occupier, which would chaûge precious stones for glasse.
HE. You meane that would lose the godly pleasures of the mynde, for the coloured pleasures of ye body.
SP. That is my meanyng.
HE. But nowe let vs come to a more perfecter supputation, neither the agewe |nor yet pouerty foloweth alwaies carnal pleasure, nor the new leprosy or els the palsy wait not on at al times the great & excessiue vse of lecherye, but grudge of cõsiêce euermore is a folower & sure companiõ of al vnleaful pleasure, then the which as it is plainly agreed betwixt vs, nothyng is more miserable.
SPV. Yea, rather it grudgeth their cõscience sometyme before hande, & in the self pleasure it pricketh their mynde, yet ther bee some yt you woulde say, want this motion and feelyng.
HE. Thei bee nowe therfore in worse estate & cõditiõ. Who would not rather feele payne, then too haue hys body lacke any perfecte sence, truly from some ether intempeD.iiii.ratnes of euel desires, euen like as it were a certayne kynde of drunkenes, or els wont and cõmune haunt of vice which ar so hardened in them, yt they take a way ye felyng & cõsideration of euyl in their youth, so that whã agee commeth vpõ them beside other infinitie hurtes and perturbations agaynst whose commyng thei should haue layd vp the deedes of their former lyfe, as a special iuwel and treasure: then thei stande greatly in fear of death, a thyng emongist all other most ineuitable, & that no man canne shonne: yea, and the more they haue heretofore been dysmayed and lacked their sences, the greater now is their vnquietnes and grudge of cons|cience, then truely the mynde is sodenly awaked whether it wol or noo, and verely wher as olde agee is alwayes sad and heuy of it selfe for as muche as it is in subiection and bondage vnto many incommodities of nature, but then it is farre more wretchede and also fylthye, if the mynde vnquiet with it selfe shal trouble it also: feastes, ryotous banketyng, syngyng, and daunsynge, with manye suche other wanton toyes & pastimes which he was communely yeouê vnto & thought very plesaût when he was young, bee nowe paynfull vnto hym beyng olde and crooked, ne agee hath nothyng too comforte and fortifi |it selfe withall, but onely too remembre that it hath passed ouer the course of yeares in vertue and godly liuyng and conceaue a special trust too obtaine herafter a better kynde of life. These be the two staues wherevpon age is stayed, & if in their steed you wyll lay on hym these two burdens: that is, memorie how synfully he hath ledde his life, and desperation of the felicitie that is too coome, I praye you what liuyng thyng can bee feyned too suffre sorer punishement and greater miserie?
spu. Verely I can see nothyng although some man woulde saye an olde horse.
hedo. Then to cõclude it is too late to waxe wise And that saiyng appereth now |too bee very true. Carefull mornynges doo oftentymes folowe mery euentides, and all vayne and outragious mirth euer turneth into sorowfull sighes: yea, & they shulde haue considered both that there is noo pleasure aboue ye ioyfulnes of the heart, and that chearefull mynde maketh agee too florishe, an heauy spirit consumeth the boones, & also that all the dayes of the poore are euell: that is, sorowfull and wretched. And agayne a quiet mynde is lyke a contynuall feaste.
SPVDEVS. Therfore they bee wyse, that thryue in tyme, and gather too gether necessaries for that agee coomn.
HEDONI. The holy scripture intreateth not soo wordely |as too measure the felicitie and highe consolation of manne, by the goodes of fortune, onely he is very poore, that is destitute and voyde of al grace & vertue, and standeth in boundage and debette, bothe of bodye & solle vnto that tyranne oure moost foo & mortall enemie the deuill.
SPV. Surely he is one that is veri rigorous and impatient in demaundynge of his dutie.
HE. Moreouer that man is ryche, whiche fyndeth mercye and foryeouenes at the handes of god. What shuld he feare, that hath suche a protectour? Whether men? where as playnely theyr hole power may lesse do agaêst God, then the bytyng of a gnat, |hurteth the Elephant. Whether death? truly that is a right passage for good men vnto all sufficient ioy and perfection accordyng too the iust reward of true religion and vertue. Whether hell? For as in that the holy prophete speaketh boldely vnto God. Although I shulde walke in the middest of the shadow of death, I wil not feare any euils because ye art with me. Wherfore shulde he stande in feare of deuils, whiche beareth in his heart hym, that maketh the deuils too tremble and quake. For in diuers places the holye scripture praiseth and declareth opêly the mynde of a vertuous man, too bee the right temple of God. And this to bee so true yt |that it is not too bee spoken agaynst, ne in any wise shuld bee denied.
SPV. Forsoth I can not see, by what reason these saiynges of yours can be confuted al thoughe they seme too varye muche from the vulgar and cõmune opinion of men.
HEDO. Why doo they soo?
SPV. After your reasonyng euery honest poore man, shulde liue a more pleasaunt life, then any other, how much soeuer he did haboûd in riches, honour, and dignitie: and breuely though he had all kynde of pleasures.
HE. Adde this too it (if it please you) too bee a kyng, yea, or an emperour if you take away a quiet mynd with it selfe, I dare boldely say, that the poore man sklenderlye |and homely appareled, made weake with fastyng, watchyng, great toile and labour, and that hath scarcely a groat in all the worlde, so that his mynde bee godly, he lyueth more deliciously then that man whiche hathe fyue hûdreth times greater pleasures & delicates, then euer had Sardanapalus.
SP. Why is it thê, that we see communely those that bee poore looke farre more heuely then riche men.
HED. Because some of them bee twise poore, eyther some desease, nedines, watchyng, labour, nakednesse, doo soo weaken the state of their bodyes, that by reason therof, the chearefulnes of their myndes neuer sheweth it selfe, neyther in these thin|ges, nor yet in their deathe. The mynde, forsooth thoughe it bee inclosed within this mortal bodye, yet for that it is of a stronger nature, it sõwhat trãsfourmeth and fascioneth the bodie after it selfe, especially if the vehement instigation of the spirit approche the violent inclination of nature: this is the cause we see oftentymes suche men as bee vertuous die more cherefully, then those that make pastyme contynually, & bee yeouê vnto all kynd of pleasures.
SP. In very dede, I haue meruayled oftten at that thyng.
HE. Forsoothe it is not a thyng too bee marueyled at, though that there shulde bee vnspeakeable |ioy and comforte where God is present, whiche is the heed of all mirth and gladnes, nowe this is no straunge thyng, althoughe the mynde of a godly man doo reioyce contynually in this mortall bodye: where as if the same mynde or spirit discended into the lowest place of hell shuld lose no parte of felicitie, for whersoeuer is a pure mynd, there is god, wher God is: there is paradise, ther is heauen, ther is felicitie, wher felicitie is: ther is the true ioy and synsere gladnes.
SP. But yet they shuld liue more pleasauntly, if certein incommodities were taken from them, and had suche pastymes as eyther they dispise orels can not get nor attaine vnto.
HE. E.i.(I praye you) doo you meane, suche incommodities as by the commune course of nature folow the cõdition or state of mã: as hunger, thirst, desease, werynes, age, death, lyghtnyng yearthquake, fluddes & battail?
SPV. I meane other, and these also.
HEDO. Then we intreate styll of mortal thynges and not of immortal, & yet in these euils the state of vertuous men, may bee better borne withal, then of suche as seeke for the pleasures of the body they care not howe.
SPV. Why so:
HEDO. Especyally because their myndes bee accustomed and hardened with most sure and moderate gouernaunce of reason against al outragious affections of the mind |and they take more patiently those thynges that cannot bee shonned then the other sort doo Furthermore, for as muche as thei perceiue, all such thynges ar sent of god, either for the punishment of their faultes, or els too excitate and sturre them vp vnto vertue, then thei as meeke and obediente chyldren receiue them from the hãd of their mercifull father, not only desireously, but also chearefully and geue thankes also, namely for so merciful punyshment and inestimable gaines.
SPV. But many doo occatiõ griefes vnto thê selues.
HEDO. But mo seeke remedye at the Phisicions, either to preserue their bodies in helth or elles if they bee sycke, too reE.ii.couer health, but willyngly too cause their owne sorowes, that is, pouertie, sickenes, persecution, slaunder, excepte the loue of God compel vs therto, it is no vertue but folishnes: but as often as thei bee punyshed for Christ and iustice sake, who dar bee so bold as too cal them beggers & wretches? whã the Lord himself very famyliarly calleth them blessed, and commaûdeth vs to reioyse for their state and condition.
SPV. Neuerthelesse, these thynges haue a certayne payne and griefe.
HEDO. Thei haue, but on the onesyde, what for fear of hel, and the other for hoope of euerlastynge ioye, the payne is sone past and forgottê Now tell me if you knewe that |you myghte neuer bee sycke, or elles that you shoulde feele no payne of your body in your life tyme, if you woulde but ones suffer your vtter skinne too bee prycked with a pynnes puinct, would you not gladly and with all your very heart suffer then so lytle a payne as that is?
SPV Verye gladlye, yea, rather if I knewe perfectlye that my teeth would neuer ake, I would willynglye suffer too bee prycked depe with a nedle, and too haue both mine eares bored through with a bodkin.
HEDO. Surely what payne soeuer happeneth in this lyfe, it is lesse and shorter, compared with the eternall paines, then is the soden pricke of a needle, incomparisõ of the E.iii.lyfe of man though it bee neuer so long, for there is no conuenience or proportion of the thyng that hath ende, and that whych is infinite.
SPV. You speake very truly.
HEDO. Now if a man coulde fully perswade you, that you should neuer feele payne in al your life, if you did but ones deuide the flame of ye fyre, with your hande, whyche thyng vndoughtely Pithagoras forbade, woulde you not gladlye doo it?
SPV. Yea, on that condicion I had liefer doo it an hundred times, if I knew precisely the promiser would kepe touch.
HE. It is playne God cannot deceaue. But now that feelyng of paine in the fyre is longer vnto the whole lyfe of man, then is the |lyfe of mã, in respect of the heauenlye ioye, althoughe it were thrise so long as ye yeares of Nestor, for that casting of the hand in the fyre thoughe it bee neuer so shorte, yet it is some parte of hys lyfe, but the whole lyfe of man is noo portion of tyme in respect of the eternal lyfe.
SPV. I haue nothyng too saye against you.
HEDO. Doo you then thyncke that anye affliction or tourment can disquiet those that prepare them selues wyth a chearful hearte and a stedfast hoope vnto the kyngedome of God, wher as the course of this lyfe is nowe so shorte?
SPVDE. I thinke not, if thei haue a sure perswasion and a constant hope too attayne it.
HEDO. I coome vnto those pleasures, whiche you obiected agaynst me, they do wythdrawe them selues from daunsynge, bankettynge, from pleasaunte seeghtes, they dispyce all these thynges, as thus: for to haue the vse of thinges farre more ioyfulle, and haue as great pleasure as these bee, but after another sorte: the eye hath not seene, the eare hath not heard, nor the heart of man cannot thyncke what consolations GOD hathe ordeined for them that loue hym. Sayncte Paule knewe what maner of thynges shoulde bee the songes, queeres, daunsynges, and bankettes of vertuous myndes, yea, in this lyfe.
SPVDEVS but there bee some leafull plea|sures, whyche they vtterlye refuse.
HEDONIVS. That maye bee, for the immoderate vse of leafull and godly games or pastymes, is vnleaful: and if you wyll excepte this one thing onlye, in al other thei excelle whiche seeme too leade a paynfull lyfe, and whome we take too bee ouerwhelmed with all kynd of miseries. Now I prai you what more roialler sight can ther be, then ye cõtêplatiõ of this world? and such men as ye be in fauour of god keping his holy cõmaûdemêtes & loue his most blessed testamêt, receiue far geater pleasure in the syght therof, then thother sorte doo, for while thei behold wyth ouercurious eyes, ye wõderful worke, their mynde |is troubled because they can not compasse for what purpose he doeth such thinges, then thei improue the moost righte and wise gouernour of all and murmour at his doinges as though they were goddes of reprehension: and often finde faute with that lady nature, and saye that she is vnnaturall, whiche taunt forsooth with as muche spite as can bee shewed with woordes, greueth nature: but truely it reboundeth on hym, that made nature, if there bee any at all. But the vertuous man with godly & simple eyes beholdeth with an excedyng reioyce of heart the workes of his Lorde and father highly praysyng thê all, and neither reprehêdeth nor |findeth faut with any of thê, but for euery thyng yeoueth moste hearty thankes, when he considereth that al were made for the loue of man. And so in al thynges, he praieth vnto the infinite power, deuine wisedome, & goodnes of the maker, wherof he perceiueth moste euident tokens in thynges that bee here created. Now fain that there were suche a palace in verie deede as Apuleus faineth, or els one that were more royall and gorgeouse, and that you shoulde take twoo thither with you too beholde it, the one a straunger, whiche gooeth for this intent onely too see the thyng, and the other the seruaût or soonne of hym that firste causeth this buyldyng, whether |will haue more delectie in it? the straunger, too whom suche maner of house dooeth nothyng appartain, or the soonne whiche beholdeth with greate ioye and pleasure, the witte, riches, and magnificence of his deerely beloued father, especially when he dooeth consider all this worke was made for his sake.
Sp. Your question is too plain: for they most cõmunely that bee of euill condicions, knowe that heauen and all thinges contained therin, were made for mannes sake.
HEDO. Almoste al knowe that, but some dooe not remembre it, shewyng thêselues vnthãkeful for the great and exhuberãt benefittes of god, & al though thei remember it, yet that mã taketh |greater delight in the sight of it whiche hath more loue vnto the maker therof, in like maner as, he more chearfully wyll behold the element whiche aspireth towarde the eternall life.
SPV. Your saiynges are muche like too bee true.
HED. Nowe the pleasures of feastes dooeth not consist in the delicates of the mouth, nor in the good sauces of cookes, but in health of body and appetite of stomacke. You may not thynke that any delicious person suppeth more pleasauntly hauyng before hym partriches, turtelles, leuerettes, bekers, sturgeon, and lamprayes: then a vertuous man hauyng nothîg too eat, but onely bread potage, or wortes: and nothyng |too drynke, but water, single bere, or wyne well alayde, be cause he taketh these thinges as prepared of God vnto all lyuyng creatures, and that they bee now yeouê vnto him of his gentyll and mercifull father, praier maketh euery thyng too sauour well. The petition in ye begynnyng of dyner sanctifieth all thynges and in a while after there is recited some holy lesson of the woorde of God: whiche more refresheth the minde, then meate the body, and grace after all this. Finally he riseth from the table, not ful: but recreated, not laden, but refreshed: yea, refreshed both in spirit and bodie, thynke you that any chief deuiser of these muche vsed bãkets, & |deintye delicaces fareth nowe more deliciously?
SPudeus. But in Venus there is greate delectacions if we beleue Arestotell.
Hed. And in this behalfe the vertuous manne far excelleth as well as in good fare, wiegh you now the matter as it is, the better a manne loueth his wife, the more he delecteth in the good felowship and familiaritie that is betwene theim after the course of nature. Furthermore, no menne louê their wiues more vehemêtly then thei that loue theim euê soo, as Christ loued the churche. For thei that loue thê for the desire of bodely pleasure, loue thê not. More ouer, the seldomer any man dooeth accompany with his wife, the greater pleasure, it |is to hym afterwarde, and that thyng the wãtõ poete knew full well whiche writeth, rare and seldome vse stereth vp pleasures. Albeit, the lest parte of pleasure is in the familiare company betwene theim. There is forsothe far greater in the continuall leadyng of their liues too gether, whiche emongest none can be so plesaunt as those that loue syncerely and faithfully together in godly and christian loue, and loue a like one the other. In the other sort, oftê whêthe pleasure of ye body decaieth & waxeth old loue waxeth coold & is sone forgottõ, but emõgest right christê mê, the more ye the lust of ye flesh decreaseth & vanisheth away, ye more thê al godly loue encreseth |Are you not yet perswaded that none lyue more pleasauntly thê they whiche liue continually in vertue and true religiõ of god?
SP. Would god all men were as well perswaded in that thyng.
He. And if they bee Epicures yt lyue pleasauntli: none bee righter Epicures then they that liue vertuously, and if we wyll that euery thyng haue it right name none deserueth more ye cogname of an Epicure, then that Prince of all godly wisedome too whõ most reuerêtly we ought alwaies too praye: for in the greeke tonge an Epicure signifieth an helper. Nowe whan the lawe of nature was first corrupted with sinne, whê the law of Moses did rather prouoke euil desires F.i.then remedy them. Whã the tyraunte Sathanas reygned in this worlde freely and wythout punishement, then thys prynce onely, dyd sodenlye helpe mankynde redy to perishe: wherfore thei erre shamefully which scoff and bable that CHRIST was one that was sadd and of a malancolye nature, & that he hath prouoked vs vnto an vnpleasaunt kynde of lyfe, for onely he did shewe a kind of liuing most godly and fullest of al true pleasure, if we might haue the stone of Tantalus taken awaye from vs.
SPVD. What darke saiyng is this?
EDO. It is a mery tale too laugh at, but this bourd induceth verye graue and sadde thynges.
SPV. I tary too heare |this mery conceite, that you name too bee so sage a matter.
H. Thei whiche gaue their studye and diligence to colour and set furth the preceptes of Philosophie wyth subtil fables, declare yt there was one Tantalus broughte vnto the table of the goddes, whych was euer furnished wyth all good fare, and most nete and sumptuous that myght bee, whan thys straunger shoulde take hys leave, Iupyter thought it was for his great liberalitie and highe renoume, that his guest shuld not depart wythout some rewarde, he wylled him therfore too aske what he woulde, and he shoulde haue it: Tantalus (forsooth) lyke a verye leude and foolyshe person, F.ii.for that he sette all the felicitie and pleasure of man in the delectation of the bely, and glotonye, desired but only too sytte at suche a table all the dayes of hys life, Iupiter graunted him his desire, and shortly his vow was there stablished and ratifyed. Tantalus nowe sytteth at the table furnyshed wyth all kindes of delicates, such drinke as the goddes druncke of was set on the table, and there wanted no rooses nor odours that could yeoue any swete smel before the Goddes, Ganymedes the buttler or one lyke vnto hym, standeth euer redye, the Muses stande rounde aboute syngyng pleasauntly, mery Silenus daunseth, ne ther wanted noo fooles |too laugh at, and breuely, there was euerye thynge that coulde delyght any sence of mã but emongist all these, Tantalus sytteth all sadde, syghyng, and vnquiet with hym selfe, neither laughing nor yet touching such thynges as were set before hym
SPVDE. What was the cause?
HED. Over his head as he sate there hãged by an heere a great stone euer lyke too fall.
SPV. I woulde then haue conueied my selfe from suche a table.
HEDO But his vowe had bound hym too the contrarye, for Iupyter is not so easye too intreate as oure GOD, which dooeth vnloose the pernitious vowes of menne, that bee made contrary vnto his holy woord, if thei bee F.iii.penitent and sorye therfore, or elles it myght bee thus, the same stoone that woulde not suffer hym too eate, would neither suffer hym to ryse, for if he had but ones moued he shuld haue been quashed al in peeses with the fall thereof.
SPVDE. You haue shewed a very mery fable
HEDON. But nowe heare that thing, which you wil not laugh at: the commune people seeke too haue a pleasaunt life in outwarde thynges, where as noothyng can yeoue that, but onely a constant and a quiet mind: for surely a far heuier stone hangeth ouer these yt grudge with them selues, then hanged ouer Tantalus: it only hangeth not ouer them, but greueth and op|presseth the mynde, ne the mind is not troubled wyth any vayn hoope, but looketh euery houre to bee caste in too the paynes of hell, I praye you what can bee so pleasaunt emongist all thinges that bee yeouen vnto man, that coulde reioyse the mynde, whyche were oppressed wyth suche a stoone?
SPVDE. Truely there is nothyng but madnes, or elles incredulitie.
HEDO. Yf younge menne woulde weygh these thynges, that bee quyckly prouoked and entised with pleasure as it were wyth the cuppe of Circes, whiche in steade of theyr greatest pleasures receiue poysone myxte with honye. Howe circumspecte would they bee too doo anye thynge vnadF.iiiiuisedly yt shoulde grudge their mindes afterward? What thinge is it that thei would not doo too haue suche a godly treasure in store against their latter daies? that is a minde knowyng it selfe cleane & honest and a name that hath not been defiled at any time. But what thyng now is more miserable then is agee? Whan it beholdeth, and loketh backward on thinges yt be past seeth plainly with great grudg of conscience howe fayre thynges he hathe despiced and sette lyght by, (that is, howe farre he hath discented and gone astray from the promyses made vnto God in baptime) & agayn, how foule & noughty thîges he hath clipped and enbraced, and whã |hee looketh forwarde, hee seeth then the daye of iudgemente drawe neere, and shortely after the eternall punyshemente of of hell.
SPVDE. I esteme theim most happie whych haue neuer defyled theyr youthe, but euer haue increased in vertu, til thei haue coomne vnto the last puincte of age.
HEDO. Next them thei ar too bee commended that haue wythdrawne theim selues from the folie of youth in tyme.
SPVDE. But what councel wil you yeoue agee that is in suche great myserie.
HEDO. No man shoulde dispayre so long as life endureth, I wyl exhorte him to flee for helpe vnto the infinitie mercye & gentilnes of God.
SP. But the longer yt he hath liued |the heape of his synnes hath euer waxen greate and greater, so that nowe it passeth the nomber of the sandes in the sea,
H. But the mercies of our lord far excede those sãdes, for although the sande can not bee numbred of manne, yet hit hath an ende, but the mercie of God neither knoweth ende, ne measure.
SP. Yea but he hath no space that shall dye by and by,
HEDONI. The lesse tyme he hath the more feruêtly he should cal vnto god for grace, that thyng is long inough before God, whiche is of suche power as too ascende from the yearth vnto heauê, for a short prayer forsoth streght entreth heauê, if it bee made with a vehemêt spirit. It is written, yt |ye womã synner spoken of in the gospell did penaunce al her life dayes: but with how fewe wordes again did the thief obtain Paradise in the houre of death? If he will crye with hearte and mynde, God haue mercie on me after thy great mercie:

God wil take awaye from hym Tantalus stone
and yeoue in his hea-
ryng ioye and cõfort
and his bones hu-
miled throughe
cõtrition, wil
hath his synnes



Imprinted at London within the
precinct of the late dissolued house
of the gray Friers, by Richarde
Grafton, Printer too the
Princes grace.
the. XXIX.
daie of Iuly, the yere
of our Lorde.