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O all ye cursed and such evyll fooes,
Whose syghtes be blynded over all wyth foly,
Open your eyes in the pleasaunt schooles
Of perfit connyng, or that you reply
Agaynst fables for to be contrary;
For lacke of connyng no mervayle though you erre, In suche science, whych is from you so fer.
For now the people, whych is dull and rude,
If that you rede a fatall scripture,
And can not moralyse the semilitude
Whych to theyr wyttes is so hard and obscure,
Than wyll they say that it is sene in ure
That nought do poetes but depaynt and lye,
Deceyvyng them by tongues of flatery.
But what for that? they can not defame
The poetes actes, whych are in effecte;
Unto them selfe remayneth the shame
To dysprayse that whych they can not correcte;
And yf that they had in it inspecte,
Than they would it prayse, and often elevate
For it should be to them so delicate.
OF DISPOSITION, THE II. PARTE OF RETHORYKE.
THE second parte of crafty Rethoryke
Maye well be called Disposicion,
That doth so hyghe mater aromatyke
Adowne dystyll by consolacion;
As olde poetes make demonstracion
That Mercury, through his preeminence,
Hys natives endeth wyth famous eloquence.
By veray reason it maye ryght well appere,
That divers persons in sundry wyse delyght;
Theyr consolacions doth contrary so steere
That many myndes maye not agree aryght.
Such is the planettes of theyr course and myght.
But what for that? be it good or yll,
Them for to folowe it is at mannes fre wyl.
And dysposicion, the true seconde parte
Of rethorike, doth evermore dyrecte
The maters founde of this noble arte,
Gyvyng them place after the aspect,
And of tyme it hath the inspect,
As from a fayre parfit narracion,
Or els by stedfast argumentacion.
The whych was constitute by begynnyng,
As on the reason, and if apparaunce
Of the cause than by outwarde semyng
Be hard and difficulte in the utteraunce,
So as the mynde have no perceyveraunce,
Nor of the beginnyng can have audience,
Than must narracion begynne the sentence.
And if it be a lytle probable,
From any maner stedfast argument,
We ordre it for to be ryght stable,
And than we never begyn our sentement,
Recityng letters not convenient,
But thys commutacion shoulde be refused, Wythout cause or thynge make it be used.
Thys that I wryte is harde and covert
To them that have nothynge intelligence;
Up so downe they make oft transvert,
Or that they can knowe, they experience
Of thys craft and facundious science,
By dysposicion the rethorician
To make lawes ordinatly began.
Wythout disposicion none ordre gan be,
For the disposicion ordreth every matter,
And gyveth the place after the degre:
Wythout ordre, wythout reason we clatter,
Where is no reason it vayleth not to chatter.
Disposicion ordreth a tale directly,
In a perfit reason, to conclude truely.
The fatall problemes of olde antiquyte,
Cloked wyth myst and wyth cloudes derke,
Ordred wyth reason and hye auctorite,
The trouth dyd shewe of all theyr covert werke.
Thus have they made many a noble clerke.
To dysnull myschefe and inconvenyence,
They made our lawes wyth grete diligence.
Before the lawe, in a tumblyng barge
The people sayled, wythout parfitnes,
Through the worlde all about at large;
They hadde none ordre nor no stedfastnes,
Tyll rethoricians founde justyce doubtles,
Ordeynyng kynges, of ryght hye dygnite,
Of all comyns to have the soverainte ;
The barge to stere, wyth lawe and justice,
Over the waves of thys lyfe transitory,
To direct wronges, and also prejudice.
And tho that wyl resyst a contrarye
Agaynst theyr kynge, by justice openly,
For theyr rebellion and evyll treason,
Shall suffer death by ryght and reason.
O what laude, glory, and greate honoure,
Unto these poetes shall be notefyed,
The whiche dystylled aromatyke lycoure
Clensynge our syght wyth ordre puryfyed;
Whose famous draughtes so exemplyfyed
Set us in ordre, grace, and governaunce,
To lyve dyrectly, without encombraunce.
many one, the whiche is rude and dull, Wyll dyspice theyr warke for lacke of connynge: All in vaine they do so hayle and pull, Whan they therof lacke understandinge, They grope over where is no felynge; So dull they are, that they can not fynde This ryall arte for to perceyve in mynde.
OF ELOCUTION, THE THIRDE PARTE OF RETHORYKE, WITH COLOURYNG OF SENTENCES.
AND than the iii. parte is Elocusyon,
Whan Invencion hath the purpose wrought,
And set it in ordre by Disposicion.
Without this thyrde parte it vayleth ryght nought,
Though it be founde and in ordre brought,
Yet Elocusion with the powre of Mercury,
The mater exorneth right well facundyously
In fewe wordes, swete and sentencious,
Depaynted with golde harde in construction,
To the artyke eres swete and dylycious
The golden rethoryke is good refeccion,
And to the reder ryght consolacion;
As we do golde frome copper purifye
So that Elocucyon doth ryght well claryfy.