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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
 
Of To[o] Moche Spekynge or Bablynge
By Sebastian Brant (1458–1521)
 
HE that his tunge can temper and refrayne
  And asswage the foly of hasty langage
Shall kepe his mynde from trouble, sadnes and payne,
  And fynde therby great ease and avauntage;
  Where as a hasty speker falleth in great domage        5
Peryll and losse, in lyke wyse as the pye
Betrays hir byrdes by hir chatrynge and crye….
 
Is it not better for one his tunge to kepe
  Where as he myght (perchaunce) with honestee,
Than wordes to speke whiche make hym after wepe        10
  For great losse folowynge wo and adversyte?
  A worde ones spokyn revoked can not be,
Therfore thy fynger lay before thy types,
For a wyse mannys tunge without advysement trypes.
 
He that wyll answere of his owne folysshe brayne        15
  Before that any requyreth his counsayle
Shewith him selfe and his hasty foly playne,
  Wherby men knowe his wordes of none avayle.
  Some have delyted in mad blaborynge and frayle
Whiche after have supped bytter punysshement        20
For their wordes spoken without advysement….
 
Many have ben whiche sholde have be counted wyse
  Sad and discrete, and right well sene 1 in scyence;
But all they have defyled with this one vyse
  Of moche spekynge: o cursyd synne and offence        25
  Ryte it is that so great inconvenience
So great shame, contempt rebuke and vylany
Sholde by one small member came to the hole body.
 
Let suche take example by the chatrynge pye,
  Whiche doth hyr nest and byrdes also betraye        30
By hyr grete chatterynge, clamoure dyn and crye,
  Ryght so these folys theyr owne foly bewraye.
  But touchynge wymen of them I wyll nought say,
They can not speke, but ar as coy and styll
As the horle wynde or clapper of a mylle.        35
 
Note 1. Well seen—well versed. [back]
 
 
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