a  ¶ Here felowyth a compendious abstracte, translate into englysshe, out of the holy rule of saynte Benet for men and wymmen of the habyte therof,
b the whiche vnderstonde lytyll laten or none,
c to þe entent þat they maye often rede, execute the hole rewll, and the better kepe it than it is, accordyng to the abyte & their streyte professyon,
d so that the welle of their sowlys and better emsample of that holy relygyon1 maye be the sooner had and knowen.
Note to Foreword
1. d:relygyon: the monastery, the monastic order, the monastic life
[Chapter 64 (part 1)]
1 HE or she þat is to be made hede or souereyn in a monestary, in whom all the hole congregacion in one acorde after god consentyth, or els that the more parte thereof and sadder wyth god counseyll chesith.
11 WHan soo euer ony takyth by true eleccyon the name and dygnytee of an hede or souereyn in relygyon, they owne to shewe in their dedys to their disciples two doctrynes,
12 that is to sey, that all suche good dedys and holy that they teche, þat they first shewe hem by their owne dedys rather than by theyr wordys.
13 And al thynges that they teche their  children and disciples to be contrari to god & their rule, lete her dedes shew openly suche thinges not to be done, so2 þat theimselfe be not founde gylty & reprouable in their doctryne & ensample,
15 & redy to see a lytill mote in their disciples eyen, but a grete blocke or beme in their owne they can not espie, but lete it lye styll.3
26 The souereyns also shulde not dissymyle in punyshment and chastysyng of theyr subgettes whan they offende, but as sone4 as the synnes begyn to sprynge, forthwyth cut hem vp by the rote by correccyon,
a accordyng to the rule, wythoute acceptynge of ony persone,5
28 Remembryng þat foles wyll neuer be corrected with wordis, but rather by chastisment.
Notes to Chapter 2
2. 2:13. so ] so o
3. 2:15. but . . .styll: expansion
4. 2:26. as sone ] assone
5. 2:a. Cf. 2:16-22 on favoritism
1 As ofte as ony grete maters arn to be doon in the monestary, all þe congregacion is to be callyd & to be enformed of hem by the souereyns,
2 þe whiche owe to here the myndys of echone syngulerly,
3 for oft tymes oure lorde shewyth to the symplest of the relygyon a thynge that is best therfore.
4 how be it, what som euer shalbe seide of the subgettes, see that it be doon wyth al mekenes and submyssyon of spirite & body.
5 And therevpon the souereyn ouht to kepe well in mynde  the resons or seyenges of euery of theim, and to doo therafter as can be founde best and proffitable,
a For it is a token of an vnwytty mynde and of a prowde hert of theym that take their owne way oonly & counseyll.
6 Also as it is accordynge to a disciple for to obey his mayster, soo it is requyred to the souereyn visely & warely and all thynges of the place to dispose.
12 To other thynges of lesse charge the souereyn owe to take counseyle of the senyours of the relygion & sadder.
13 Soo þat euery thyng is to be doone at ony tyme wyth counseyle, accordynge to scripture þat seyth, "Doo all thyngs wyth counseyle, & thou shall not repente after."
7 Also bere in thy mynde this synguler note, that the hede or the souereyn wyth all the congregacion6 streytly be bounde to folowe the rule in euery poynte, & that none of theim be soo bolde to declyne7 or departe therefro;
8 So that none folowe the wyll of theyr owne mynde oonly,
b but euer be redy to be reformyd.
9 The subgettes also owe to be ryght ware þat they make no strife wythyn or wythout wyth theyr souereyns.
10 yf that they doo, anone lete hem haue the streyt reguler punysshment,
11 wyth þe fere of god and in  kepynge the rule, remembrynge that the hede withoute ony dowte shall yeue a full8 streyte accompte oon9 day of all their Iugementes & byhauour to god atte ferefull daye of rekenynge.
Notes to Chapter 3
6. 3:7. the hede. . . congregacion, Latin: omnes
7. 3:7. declyne ] declyue
8. 3:11. a full ] afull
9. 3:11. oon ] oo
[Chapter 63 (part 1)]
2 ¶ Also be they ware that they trowble not their flocke that ben commytted vnto theim, and that they dyspose noo thynge of the place vnryghtwysly, as though they wolde vse theim as their owne,
a the whyche is ayens god vterly, & þe reule.
b Therfore it is good that they at all tymes so behaue theim in vertue that all people may saye, "loo, suche one is worthy to occupye thys place and to haue thys dignytee."
[Chapter 64 (part 2)]
2 Wherfore suche owe not to be chosen therto by their age, but for their wertuous lyuyng and wysdom,
9 chastyte and sobre dealyng,
10 and also for their pyte and mercy, the whyche thei muste vse in all their dedys, that they the rather maye haue the same of god whan someuer they trespasse.
11 See thenne that they loue well their chyldren, and hate their synnes,
12 & in amending of their maners and correccyon of their synnes wysely to behaue theim. For to moche in ony thyng is nought, lesst þat thei breke the  vesell of the whiche wythoute discrecion and pyte they wolde haue taken of the rust.
8 Also they must see that they prouffyte in theyr werkys more than for to loke for worship,
15 and euer to studye to haue loue rather of the subgettes than drede,
19 dooynge all thynges wyth discrecion, whiche is moder of all wertues,
13 consideryng theyr owne freylte,
c where thorough of theyr subgettes the better they may haue compassion whan someuer they trespase.
16 Also thei may not be yrefull, vnrestfull, or obstynate, or to be Ielouse, or moche suspeccyouse ouer theyr subgettes, for thenne they shall neuer haue rest to gyder in the relygyon,
20 and euer kepe the rule.
a Also the souereyn & the subgettes owe euer to flee Idylnesse, þe norisshe of al synnes, & to be ocupyed euer in vertu,10
1 louyng god wyth all their herte, of all theyr soule, and of all their strength,
2 and theyr neyghbour as theyr selfe,
9 doyng euer vnto theym as they wolde be done vnto,
10 dyspisyng theyrselfe, and folow crist by the cross of penaunce.11
11 Also they must chastyse theyr body
12 and flee the pleasur thereof,
13 and to vse fastynge,
14 & refresshe the poore peple
b wyth dedes of mercy  goostly and bodely.
20 & medle lytyll wyth worldly actes,
21 no thyng preferrying aboue the loue of god.
22, 24 wrath or deceyte neuer to kepe in herte,
25 or to promyse ony false peas,
26 kepynge euer charytee.12
27 And vse neuer to swere, leeste that by custome ye fall in periurie,
28 and sey euer the trouth in herte & mouth,
29 neuer yeldyng euyll for euyll,
c but rather good for euyll,
30 doyng no wronge to ony, but for to suffre paciently whan it is done to you.
31 loue your enmyes,
32 & curse hem not,
33 & be redy to take persecucion for a rightwys mater.
34 neuer be prowde,
35 or dronklew,
36 nor moche etyng,
38 or slouthfull,
39 not grutchynge,
40 or bakbytynge,
41 euer puttynge your trust in our lord god.
42 Whan þat ye see ony goodnes in your selfe, anone put it to oure lorde & not to your selfe;
43 all thinge that is euyll ascryue to your selfe.
44 Fere euer the daye of Iugement,
45 & the dungeon of hell,
46 desyrynge wyth all your mynde & herte þe euerlastyng lyfe;
47 & haue euere deth suspecte afore your eyen,
48 & gyde euer your dedes wysely in euery hour.
49 And be certeyn þat god beholdith theim in eueri place,
50 & euery euyl thought that commyth to your mynde, anone put it a waye by thynkyng of cristes passyon,13 & shewe  theym by confessyon14 to your goostly fader.
51 & kepe euer your tongue from euyll & shrewde langage,
52 & speke lytyll & well,
53 & euer auoyde vayn wordes,
54 and dissolute laughter & Iapes,
55 and be glad to here gode lectures and lyues of sayntes;15
56 with preyer,
57 dayly waylyng your synnes,
d & the synnes & Ignoraunce of the peple,
58 wyth amendes makying.
61 The preceptes of your souereyn in all thynges obey, lefull as to god & fulfyll theym.
64 Loue euer chastyte,
67 & flee euer enuy,
68 & stryff,
70 & worship your elders,
71 & fauour the yong in all loue and drede of god.
72 Euer pray for your enmyes,
73 & or the sone goo downe, be in perfyte peas wyth theym dayly to your power,
74 & neuer dyspeyr of the grete mercy of god.
75 Loo, thyes ben the Instrumentes of the spirituell crafte & occupacion,
76 þe which exercised and doon, oure lorde hath promysed to you and vs
77a that eye neuer sawe, nor ere euer herde,
e nor cowde euer in to mannys herte ascende,
77b þe which to al his louyng seruantes he hath ordened. amen.
Notes to Chapter 4
10. 4:a. Cf. 48:1
11. 4:10. by. . . penaunce: expansion
12. 4:26. Latin: caritatem non derelinquere
13. 4:50. put. . . passyon, Latin: advenientes mox ad Christum allidere
14. 4:50. by confessyon: expansion
15. 4:55. and. . . sayntes: expansion
1 OBedyence is a grete vertu done without grutchyng or taryenge. It is the fyrst steppe vnto mekenes,
2 & it is right specyous & nedefull to be had for all peple,
3 &  namely for relygyous persones.
4 True obediencers, as sone16 as thei be called or commaundid of theyr souereyn, anone after þe worde seyde, they be redy wyth all gladnesse to doo the dede so commaundid,
7 settyng asyde all other thynges vndone & their owne wyll in euery poynt,
9 and þat wyth all quyknesse of herte & body for drede of our lorde.
11 Wherfore he callyth suche a lyfe a streyt waye to heuen,
12 and not a comyn waye where synners take her owne wyll, & be not vndir the yocke of obedyence to an other.
13 Wythouten doubte trew obedyencers folow surely oure lorde & his wordes where he seyth, "I come not in to thys world to doo myn owne wyll, but the wyll of my fader17 the whiche sent me."
14 Thenne this obedience is gretly acceptable to god and swete to al cristen peple,18 whan it is done quikly and wythoute grutchynge or frowarde countenaunce in worde or in herte.
16 Our lorde loueth a thyng done vnto hym cherefully in soule,
15 and such obedience done to the souereyn is done to god & for god, as he seyth hymselfe.
17 Yf one obey with grutchyng, either in worde or in their herte,
18 fulfyllyng the commaundement of theyr so-  uereyn, yet it is not acceptable to god, the whiche beholdyth the herte euer & the wyll of the doer therof,
19 & he shal haue noo grace, but rather payne ordeined for grutchers without he amende him.
Notes to Chapter 5
16. 5:4. as soon ] assone
17. 5:13. my fader ] myfader. Latin: sed eius qui misit me
18. 5:14. Latin: dulcis hominibus
1a AS for silence, doo aftir the cheyf prophete
a of god, dauid, where he seyth in þe sauter:
1b "I haue seyd that I shall not offende in my tongue. I haue put a kepyng to my mowth, & am dompe and therwith made meke & silent."
4 In moche speche, as it is writen, synne cann not be auoyded,
5 also in þe power of the tongue is deth & lyfe.
6 As it accordith to a mayster to speke & teche, so it behoueth the disciple to here & be silent.
8 wordes of vnclennes, voyde, or meuynge to disolucyon or to laughter, ben dampned by the rule in ony place to be had, & it is commaunded streytly by the same, none to be so bolde to open their mowth in suche maner of talkyng.
8 Also silence is to be kept by the rule at all tymes, & spyrituelly at nyght after complyn, and noo licence thenne is to be gyuen to ony for to speke,
a but oonly to officers,
b or to theim that grete nede causith to speke with sadnesse & honestee.
c & silence also is to be kept at  all refeccions and meles & in other places, & at other tymes specyfyed by the rule.19
9 Yf theyr be founde ony gylty in theis premyses, thei out to be punysshid streytly and greuously.
Note to Chapter 42
19. 42:c. Cf. 38:5-9
1 HOly scrypture cryeth and seyth, "he that wyll high hymselfe shal be made lowe, and he that mekyth hym selfe shall be made high."
2 In thys is shewid that exaltacyon is þe doughter20 and nygh of kyne to pryde, whiche is mortall.
5 Yf we wyll atteyne and come to the heyth of perfyte mekenes, the whiche wyll bringe vs to the honour of heuen in body and soule,
6 lete vs lyft vp our herte & mynde vnto heuen by þe skale and lader of Iacob,
7 descendyng wyth the angels from ony exaltacyon, and clymme vp to theym by mekenes & humyliacion.
10 The fyrste steppe of thys ladder ascendyng by mekenes to heuen, is to be euer aferde of god and of your souereyn,21 and not to be foryetful,
11 beringe in your mynde surely all thynges that god hath commaundyd you to be done, and your rule, and how they þat contempnyth god & hys preceptes or the rule22 shal goo to hell, and to theim that loue & drede god & kepith his commaundementes23 is ordeyned Ioye euerlastyng.
13 Oure  lorde in euery place beholdyth the dedes & thoughtes of euery creature, and þe angels ben redy to shewe to the trynitee dayly24 the gode dedes of eche good creature.25
31 ¶ The seconde steppe or26 degree of thys ladder of mekenesse is whan one hath no delyte to fulfyll theyr owne wyll or desire,
32 but oonli27 to folow crist, þat seith: "I come not in to the worlde to doo myn owne wyll but the wyll of my fader28 that sent me."
34 The iij. degree is whan one subdewyth & mekyth hym selfe for god lowly to their souereyn, folowynge crist, of whom the apostyll seyth: "Ihesus was made obedient vnto deth of the crosse."29
35 ¶ The iiij. degree is whan one can suffre wyth all obedience & pacyence all Iniuries, wronges, wordes of rebuke, & suche other done or sayd vnto theim,
36 & to take hem gladly for goddis sake, their lyfe enduring. For þe gospel seith: "he þat contynueth to the ende shall be sauff."
44 The v. steppe of this ladder of mekenes is þat whan all euyll thoughtes that come vnto their herte or to their mynde, & their synnes a fore hid & not confessyd, þat they wyll thenne open mekely to theyr sourereyn wyth repentaunce.
45 For it is writen: "shew  thy wayes of thy lyuyng to our lord & trust in hym & in his mercy,30
46 for he is al goodnesse & piteful,
a & redy is to foryeue thy trespace & synne,
47 yf thou wyll knowleche it wyth repentaunce & amende."
49 ¶ The vj. degre of mekenes is whan one is well content wyth symple araye or habite, & is glad to be set lytill by, & to be take as a drudge or outcast of the religion, & to be euer redy to doo al thynges that is boden hym to doo, Iugyng him an Idyll seruaunt and vnworthy to god and man.31
51 ¶ The vij. degree is yf he shew in dede hymself, not oonly with tongue but also wyth all the inwardes of his herte & by outwarde behauour, the lothliest & the vilest of all other,
52 seyeng wyth the prophete: "I am a worme & noo man, the repreef of peple & abieccion.
54 lord, I thanke the that þou hast mekid me so that I may the beter learne thy commaundementes."
55 ¶ The viij. degree is yf that he doo no thynge but as the commyn rule of the place and holy ensample of his senyours doo shewe vnto him in our lorde.
56 ¶ The ix. degree is yf one kepe his tongue in al silence to the tyme he be commaundid to speke, or els that he be asked a questyon.
59  ¶ The x. degree is yf one be not lyght and redy to laughter or to dissolucyon: It is writen, "a fole wylle exalte his voyce in laughter."
60 ¶ The enleuenth is for to speke euer softely wyth sadnes, & mekely, & with fewe wordes groundid vpon reason and godly.
61 It is wryten: "The wyse man is knowen by hys wordes."
62 ¶ The xij. degree is whan one not oonly in his mowthe, but as well32 in his body, shewyth meknesse to all that beholde hym,
63 as in al his dedes,33 in chaptour,34 in chirche, in garden, in felde, sittynge, walkynge, or standynge, & his hede enclynynge, and his sight to the grounde,
64 shewynge hym selfe euery houre gylty of hys synne. hauynge euer suspect for to be brought to the ferefull lugement of god,
65 seyeng thus wyth the publycan: "Good lorde, I a synner am not worthy to lyfte vp myn eyen to heuen."
67 who som euer hath ascendyd al thise degrees of mekenesse shall anone haue the charyte of god perfitely,
68 þe whyche thenne puttyth awaye all drede in suche thynges,
b the whyche he dyde afore with drede, and also dooth thenne al his actes of accustome, as it were naturalle to  hym, cherefully, & wythoute labour, & that
69 not for the drede of hell he dooth it. but for feruent loue þat he hath to god by a custome & delyte of35 vertue,
70 þe whyche grace is yeuen of þe holy gooste.
Notes to Chapter 7
20. 7:2. þe doughter: expansion
21. 7:10. and. . . souereyn: expansion
22. 7:11. and your rule; &. . . rule: expansion
23. 7:11. love &, &. . . commaundementes: expansion
24. 7:13. Latin: omni hora
25. 7:13. the. . . creature: expansion
26. 7:31. or ] of
27. 7:32. but oonli ] butoonli
28. 7:32. Latin: sed eius
29. 7:34. of the cross: expansion
30. 7:45. &. . . mercy: expansion
31. 7:49. This verse is expanded in a number of ways.
32. 7:62. as well ] aswell
33. 7:63. Latin: in opere Dei
34. 7:63. in chaptour: expansion
35. 7:69. of ] of of
a HOw the seruyse of god is to be doone at his howres accordying to the tyme, is shewid in the holy rule distynctly by chaptours,36
b where it is noted in þe ende37
23 þat euery weke, beynnynge on the sonday, shal be songe the hole sawter of dauid wyth anthemes & other appropyred therfore,38
25 & finally it is so of vs to doo in regarde of holy faders afore tyme, þat dide deuoutly rendre & say euery daye of the yer þe seyde holy sawter as we rede.39
Notes to Chapter 18
36. This refers to chapters 8-17.
37. Referring to chapter 18.
38. Cf. 18:23
39. Cf. 18:25
1 SIth it is so that our bileue, is that god is presente in euery place, & beholdyth at eche howre both the gode & the euyll,
2 thenne it is to truste wythoute ony dowte, þat moche more whan we be occupied in his seruyce
a in þe chirche or ony other holy place,
3 wherfore he is to be serued in drede by the counseyle of the prophete,
5 & wysely remembring his presence with innumerable angels,
6 the whyche ben theyr surely at  dyuyne seruyce,
7 and lete vs euer soo syng and saye, that our mynde accorde to our voys and the sentence of the dytee. Amen.
1 YF we shulde make ony suggestion to a state temporall,40 we wolde not presume to doo it but with mekenes & reuerence,
2 thenne how moche more owe we to oure lorde god wyth all mekenes and clenness deuoutly to make our prayer and supplicacion,
4 & that not in haste and moche seyenge,
3 but in clennesse of the herte & compunccion wyth wepyng, þat we may the rather be herde in our prayer & petycion.
Note to Chapter 20
40. 20:1. Latin: hominibus potentibus
a OF the eleccyon of the deanes & offycers of the religyon and of theyr good lyfe & of their charges,
b by the whyche the souereyn maye in partie be discharged;
3-4 And how they owe to be chosen for theyr good lyfe, theyr lernyge and wysdom;
5 And how they shal be correct and blamed; and also depryued if thei amende not after theyr defawte;
6 And how that other better disposyd shal occupye their place, and soo other offices.41
Note to Chapter 21
41. 21:f. Cf. 21:3(b), 21:4(c), 21:5 (d,e), 21:6(f)
a and also in what maner they shall slepe in their clothes gyrde.
a  And how offenses and sinnes, grete & less dyuersly, owen to be corrected;
1-2 And how þe souereyn owe to be dilygent aboute suche as a goode leche or phisicien in all charite & prayer;
a And also how they that oft haue ben corrupt & correcte wyll not amende by noo punysshement reguler, that prayer to god & good exhortacyon is thenne euer to be had vnto theim;
6-7 Yf they wyll not dispose theim so to be reconsiled & to take grace; how that thenne they shall departe from the congregacyon,
8 leest that suche a moreyne shepe empoysen and enfecte the residue of þe flocke;42
Note to Chapter 28
42. Cf. 28:8
a And also how those þat ones by their owne foly goone out of the religyon ben receyuen ayen;
a And how childern nouyces arn to be chastised.
b al thys afore wryten ben ordeyned afore by saynte benet in þe complete rule in seuerall chapitours full heavenly.43
Note to Chapter 30
43. Refers to Chapters 21-30
1 THe cellerer of the place is to be chosen of the congregacyon, suche one that is wyse, quicke, well condycyoned, & sobre, not prowde, impacient, not trowbelous, ferefull, nor large,
2 but euer dredynge god, beyng as a fader or a louyng moder to al þe congregacion.
3  ¶ They must haue grete laboure & thought for all theim,
4 doyng noo thyng wythout þe commaundement of the souereyn,
5 the whiche agreyng to god and the rule is euer to be kept,44
6 soo that they cause not ony of the couent to grutche or be heuy.
7 Yf cace be that ony aske a thynge vnresonable, yet they owe not to dysdeyne suche one or dispyse, makyng theim heuy with theyr countenaunce or answere, but reasonably, wyth all mekenes and cheyrfull countenaunce, in softnes of spiritte denie their petycion.
8 This sayd charge is dredefull and also meritorious, for the apostle seyth: "He or she that mynystrith wel shall haue grete rewarde & crowned in heuen."
9 Morouer theyr charge is to see diligently and well to the seke, and to Infauntes, to strangers, and to power peple, Remembring that wythout doubte, þat they shall yeue a streyt rekenyng and accompte for all theys, and for the leest thyng in theyr office myskepte or myspendid45 atte ferefull daye of dome.
10 All the vesels of þe place they own to kepe well, in that as well46 as though thei were the sacrate vesels of the awter.
11 Noo thynge they shulde doo nec-  lygently,
12 or to be couetous or ouerlarge or prodigious, but all thynges to doo mesurably wyth discreyon & after the commaundement of the souereyn.
13 And specially in thys offyce thei must haue mekenesse, & whan they haue not the thyng that is askyd of theym, thenne at leest to yeue an esy & gentill answer,
14 For it is writen, a soft & esy answere is a boue ony yeft.
16 The refresshynge and fode that is to be yeuen to the couent or congregacyon is to be done euer without grutchyng or taryeng, so that thei haue noo cause to compleyne for47 the minystracyon.48
18 All thynges is to be askyd in dew houres,
19 soo that none be trowbled or made pensy in the housholde of our lorde.
Notes to Chapter 31
44. 31:5. Latin: Que iubentur custodiat
45. 31:9. for. . . myspendid: expansion
46. 31:10. as well ] aswell
47. 31:16. compleyne for ] compleynefor
48. 31:16. so. . . minystracyon, Latin: ut non scandalizentur
1 FOr the other stuff of the monestary, and vesture of the couent wyth other necessaryes, þe souereyn owe to prouide suche officers of whos lyf & good maners he and other may be sure,
2 for the kepyng therof & gaderyng of the same, and for delyueryng of hem to theym þat haue nede.
3 Of the whiche stuff the souereyn shall haue wrytynge, wherby he maye delyuer the percels to the offycers49 as they chaunge, so þat  it maye be well knowen what is yeuen and what is receyued.
4-5 Who so euer neclygently or sluttisshly entretyth ony thyng of the place, anone be they rebukyd & punysshid.
Note to Chapter 32
49. 32:3. Latin: fratres
1 THe grete vice & syn of properte in relygyon is namely to be cutte awaye by þe rote.
2 Presume none in relygyon to yeue ony thyng, or to take, wythout the wyll & commaundement of the souereyn,
3 nor is it50 leefull ony to haue a thyng to theyrself propre,
4 not as moche as their owne body, or to haue their own wyll in their power.
5 All thynges to theim necessary is to be had of the souereyn accordynge to theyr nede,
a not acceptynge ony persone more than an other, but accordyng to nede & in firmyte.
6 And all thynges must be commyn emonge theym accordyng to the lyfe of þe apostles. None presume to sey, suche a thynge is myne.
7 Yf ony by founde gylty in thys venemouse offence of properte, lete them twyes or thries be correct,
8 yf they doo not amende, see thenne to51 their chastysment.52
Notes to Chapter 33
50. 33:3. is it ] it is
51. 33:8. to ] to to
52. 33:8. chastysment ] chatysment
3 Yf at ony tyme one nede a lytyll thyng, thanke he our lorde and say he euer: "Deo gracias," not beyng sory
2 that an-  other that nede hath, that pite is shewid vppon hym.
4 And he that hath suche pite shewyd upon hym shal not therof be proude by countenaunce or by worde,
5 and thus shall all the congregacyon be in rest and charitee,
6 and grutchynge layd a syde, the whiche is perilous to be had eyther by worde or sygne.
7 Yf ony therin be founde culpable, anone put theim to streyt disciplyne.
1 EAch one be besy to serue other, & none is to be exscusid from þe dressing bord of þe kechyn,53 wythout they be seke or other wyse occupyed for þe commyn well.
2 In suche meke & low seruice is goten grete mede, charite and rewarde.
7 and whan they shall departe wekely from the kechyn by cours, they owe to make al thynges clene at theyr departyng,
8 and þe clothes þat the couent hath fyled with theyr handes or fete they shall delyuer clene also wyth all mekenes.
9 And moreouer theyr54 owne fete they shall make clene in theyr departyng;
10 and delyuer al the naprye and clene clothes55 to the celerer.
12 Suche seruytoures by þe rule may take a lytyll refresshing of mete & drynke afore high dyner,
13 for by cause of their attendaunce & seruyse at þe same.
Notes to Chapter 35
53. 35:1. Latin: a coquinae officio
54. 35:9. Latin: Pedes vero tam ipse qui egreditur quam ille qui intraturus est
55. 35:10. Naprye and clene clothes. Latin: vasa
1  GRete attendaunce is to be had aboute seke persones aboue all other thynges, as though it were to criste hymselfe, the whiche doutlesse is seruyd in theym that is seke,
2 as he seyth hymselfe: "I was seke and ye visited me,
3 and that ye dide vnto the leest of theym that were seke, ye dide it vnto me."
4 Wherfor those that ben seke shulde considre that suche seruyce is doon to theym for the loue & honour of god, and therfore they shulde be righte ware to cause ony heuyness to theyr seruytoures by ony superfluite or vncurtees demenour.
5 Not for thy for theyr sekenes they owe pacyently to be suffred, for of suche is goton grete rewarde herafter in heuen.
6 The souereyn may not be neclygent to the ouersyght of suche seke persones, serchyng wel that thei lacke noo helpe or comforte,
7 or ony thing that is necessary for theim,56
8 as is wasshing bathyng, and medicynes,57 yeuyng as oft as nedeth,
9 and to suche is grauntid by the rule for theyr sooner amendement for to ete flesshe, so þat after their recouer thei absteyn in ony wyse therfro.
Notes to Chapter 36
56. 36:7. Latin: Quibus fratribus infirmis sit cella super se deputata et servitor timens Deum et diligens ac sollicitus.
57. 36:8. and medicynes: expansion
1 Prouyde alway þat fauour be had to Infantes, seke persones, & aged.
1  AT all refeccyons and meles, redying & lecture must be had.
2 And the reder, after the masse58 on the sonday, shall entre and humbly desire of all the congregacyon to pray for hym, makynge a cross in his forhede,59 for the euyll spirite of pryde and other,
4 and after the blessyng yeuen begyn to rede.
a and all the tyme of refeccyon or meles
5 none to be soo hardy to speke, but to kepe high silence as speche, noys, or other wyse, preuy or aperte.
9 how be it, the souereyn maye a lytyll speke of the processe that is rad, or of other
b for edefieng of his ghestes or of other that here hym, and not els.60
6 Also þe congregacion shal be seruyd of al thynges necessary to theym at that tyme, so that none haue nede to aske ony thynge.
7 Yf cace be þat suche nede befall, thenne signes must be vsid and no speche.
10 The reder maye afore his lecture take a lytyll refeccyon that is callyd mixtum yf nede be, for by cause of his redyng atte mete.
12 And suche owe to rede euer, the whiche by theyr redyng may best edyfye the herers.
c And the same is to be obseruyd in all syngyng and redynge in the chirche, or in prechyng, and that  to be done in mekenes, sadnesse, and drede.
Notes to Chapter 38
58. 38:2. Latin: post missas et communionem
59. 38:2. makynge. . . forhede: expansion
60. 38:b. els ] cls
a IT folowyth in the rule of the mesures of mete,
a and drynke,
a and what howres after the season and tyme of the year the congregacyon shall take theyr repast and meles,
b And also how the souereyn must soo tempre and dispose all suche thynges wyth other, so that the soules of his subgettes may be saaf.61
Notes to Chapter 41
61. Cf. 39:6, 40:9, 41:4-5
1-2 TO the seruyce of god, as sone as is herde ony bell or token, all thynges set aside, the couent owe to come in all godely haste and relygyously therto,
3 For noo thynge owe to be preferryd before the seruyce of god.
a And they that come late thereto shal not goo to their owne place in þe quere, but to the place assigned for suche late commers, to theyr rebuke, penaunce and amendement.62
b How they shall be punysshid that come late to meles, and of theyr sequestracyon from the feliship, and of theyr etyng alone in penaunce after other, the rule with63 his expositour dooth specifye.64
Notes to Chapter 43
62. Cf. 43:4-12
63. 43:b. with ] whiche
64. Cf. 43:13-18
1a  THo that fayle in psalmody, respons, anthemes, or lessons, yf they meke not theyr selfe openly afore all the congregacion,
a as puttynge theyr hede downe to the grounde, or other wyse by the rule,
1b for a satysfacyon, els they must haue afterwarde more largelier & greter penaunce for their offence.
3 And children euer for theyr trespace must be bette.
1 WHo that euer in his laboures, as in the kechyn, in celary, in the gardyn, or in ony other occupacyon, offnedyth
2 or brekyth ony thyng , or els lesith,
3 and wyll not knowleche his offence to the hede and souereyn or to the congregacyon, they owe to haue grete penance, yt if be openly knowen the offence.
5 yf it be not knowen, but oonly to hym selfe, thenne lete hym shew it bi confessyon to the souereyn or to his goostly fader65 and take his penaunce.66
Notes to Chapter 46
65. 46:5. Latin: spiritalibus senioribus
66. 46:5. and. . . penaunce: expansion
1a IDilness is the enmye of þe soule,
a wherfore lyke as the couent ben occupyed certeyn howres aboute the seruyce of god,
1b soo certeyn other howres ben thei occupyed in redying and studyeng of heuenly thynges, and in labou-  res wyth theyr body,
7 in thynges that is good and necessary to theim or þe place,
8 for thenne thei ben very religious, whan thei thus folowe holy faders and doon as the apostles dyden.
15 IN the time of lent echon by theyr selfe haue the bible,67 the whiche they owe to rede complete and hole besyde theyr seryse,68
16 and the seyde bible69 is to be delyuerd vnto theym atte begynnynge of lent.
17 And the serchers of the relygyon70 owe to see warely aboute þat they be occupyed in lecture thereof sonday71 and other,
18 & not aboute fables, Iapes, or sluggisshenes.
19 Yf ony suche be72 founde, see that they be spoken vnto sharply ones or twyes,
20 & yf they amende not theyrwyth, lete theym be correct, soo that all other maye beware by them.
23 If theyr be ony so slouthfull or neclygent, that they maye not or wyll not be occupied in redying or holy medytacyon, thenne lete theym be assigned to other occupacyons to doo, so that they be neuer vnoccupied in vertu.
24 If they be seke, or feble for age, thenne such an occupacyon is to be put vnto theym þat they maye awaye wyth, & not to be ydyll,
25 by þe discrecion of the souereyn.
Notes to Chapter 48
67. 48:15. Latin: singulos codices de bibliotheca
68. 48:15. besyde theyr seryse: expansion
69. 48:16. Latin: codices
70. 48:17. Latin: unus aut duo seniores qui circumeant monasterium. Later, circatores became a regular monastic office.
71. 48:17. sonday: expansion
72. 48:19. suche be ] be suche
1  HOw be it that a relygious73 persone owe euery tyme to keep lent,
2 yet for by cause that fewe haue thys vertu, therfore we aduise and counseyll, seyth saynt benet, all of the relygyon spiritually theys xl. dayes of lent to kepe in all clennesse of lyfe,
3 and to put vtterly awaye all theyr neclygences and olde custome of synne.
4 and thenne more spiritually to gyue theim to prayer, waylyng and wepinge74, redinge, and abstinence
a in mete and drynke, wythdrawynge somwhat of theyr takynge in mete and drynke
6 other wyse than they dide afore, and that wyth good wyll, offerynge it in his mynde to god and to the poore peple.75
7 And to wythdrawe some what of slepe and speche and wanton behauour.
8 And as for abstynence of mete and drynke, it owe to be doon wyth the consente euer of the souereyn and the helpe of prayer.
9 For yf it be otherwyse doon, it is to be taken of presumpcyon and vayne glory, and thenne it hath noo mede.
Notes to Chapter 49
73. 49:1. relygious ] relygions
74. 49:4. wepinge ] wepnige
75. 49:6. and. . . peple: expansion
1  NOo thynge is to be spoken in the chirche but prayer.
2 And after that ony seruyce is there doon, all they owe to departe wyth silence and lowe reuerence doon to god.
3 Yf ony after woll praye of deuocyon, none shall let hym by theyr noyse or ony other vncurteys delynge,
4a and thenne suche owe secretely to praye wyth deuocyon, and not on high. but wepynge for his synnes
a and the Ignoraunce of the peple and theyr synnes,
4b wyth all meke intencyon of herte and soule.
5 All other not soo there occupyed owe to avoyde.
1 AL strangers or ghestes arn to be receyued for god & as god.76 For here after they shal here hym saye to theim: "I was a stranger & ye toke me In
a and gaue me mete & drynke and lodgynge," and soo of other dedes of mercy.77
2 Euery persone is to be honourid for the ymage of god,78 thenne moche more those that ben of cristen religion and that commen for god.79
3 Whan euer it is shewyd that a stranger is come, anone the souereyn or his bredern shulde  quykly goo to hym wyth all charyte,
4 and after theyr prayer togider, made and knyt togider in goddis peas,
5 kissyng togyder and salutyng other,
9 with after refresshing theim with mete and drynk and other necessaryes80 to their power, redyng amonge the lawes of god to theyr edyfieng of soule.
10 The souereyn may breke his mele81 for a stranger, wythout it be a spirituell fastynge daye, and thenne he owe not to breke it.
11 The bredern may not breke ony faste for strangers.
13 Also the souereyn wyth the congregacion shulde with all mekenes folow oure lorde,82 and wasshe the fete of the strangers,
14 sayenge certeyn prayers,
15 for in theim and poore folke is to be had diligent watche and cure, for crist in theym is surely receyued.
21 He þat is asygned for suche gestes or poore folke, to gyue vnto theim necessaries, shulde drede god gretly and haue mekenes and pacience,
22 and doo all thynges with wisdom
23 and silence, euer fulfillyng the souereyns commaundement,
24 & whan they ony other mete or see, they owe to enclyne mekely and salute theim, departyng with silence.
Notes to Chapter 53
76. 53:1. Latin: tamquam Christus suscipiantur
77. 53:a. This continues the reference to Mt. 25.
78. 53:2. for. . . god: expansion
79. 53:2. that commen for god, Latin: peregrinis
80. 53:9. Latin: humanitas
81. 53:10. Latin: ieiunium
82. 53:13. with. . . lorde: expansion
1 NOo wyse be it leefull to ony broder to take or receyue of fader or moder ony  letters, tokens, or yeftes,
2 or els to sende hymself, or to yeue ony, without the wyll and comaundement of his hede and souereyn,
3 the which had, he thenne maye receiue theim, not forthy the souereyn after may yeue suche stuff to suche as it shall please hym,
4 and he that it was sent vnto shall take it in worthe & cherefully, in that an other hath it, leest that occasion of grutchinge inwarde or outwarde be yeuen to the by thy goostly enmye.
1-2 CLothynge to the couent, and habyte, is to be yeuen accordyng to the hete of the yere or to the coldenes of the countre that they dwell in, lasse or more as nede is.
3 And the souereyn must haue consideracion therof,
7 and to bye suche cloth that is made in that countre or prouynce, of the vilest and lyghtest pryce.
9 And as oft as they shal take new, thenne to render vp the olde for the vse of pore peple.
a Of other thynges necessary for theyr body daye & nyght in wynter and somer, and of theyr celles and lodgyng, and of their behauour in theim with other, the hole rule certifieth.83
16, 18 And how the souereyne shal dyligently serche that thei lacke no  thyng to theym necessary;84
19 soo that all occasion of grutchyng, or for ony thynge werkynge, or for ony thynge keypng, haue no place in þe relygyon;85
20 euer remembryng the wordes wrytyn in the actes of the apostles where it is seyde, that it was distribute & delyuerd to echone of theym as theyr nede required.86
Notes to Chapter 55
83. 55:a. Cf. 55:10-15, 19
84. 55:b. Cf. 55:20-21
85. 55:c. Cf. 55:16-18
86. 55:d. Cf. 55:22
1 THe borde or table of the souereyn is to be garnysshid wyth pilgrymes or ghestes.
2 And whan there ben few strangers, the soouereyn maye call vnto hym some of the brederen,
3 so that parte of the senyours be left wyth the couent for theyr awe and disciplyne.
1 WHan ony commyth from the worlde to entre in to religion, a light or soden entree is not to be graunted,
2 but for to doo after the apostle, preuynge the spirites, yf they be of god.
3 Yf cace be that suche one be abydynge in hys purpose, and founde pacyent for ony Iniuryes done vnto hym, or for delayeng of his entre & suche other, thenne after iiij or v. dayes
4 may be graunted vnto hym entree, abidying after by  certeyn space in the ghestys chambre,
5 and after in the cell for nouices, theyr to be for a tyme in prayer and medytacyon, and for to ete and drynke.
6 And a senyoure of the relygyon is to be assigned vnto hym, the whyche is apt to gete sowles to god.
7 the whyche shall see vnto hym warely and vysely that he be vertuously occupyed, sekynge our lorde by prayer, and to folow hym by obedyence and suffryng of repreues.
8 All the hardnesse and sharpnesse of the ordre is to be tolde hym playnly, by the whiche he must goo to heuen.
9 And yf he promyse to contynwe and to be stable in his purpoos, thenne after two monethes the rule shall be red hole by order vnto hym,
10 and thus it shall be seyde vnto hym: "Beholde here the lawe vndre whyche thou must sore laboure and fyght. Yf thou thynkyst that thou maye kepe it, come in; and yf thou may not, goo free ayen where it plesith þe."
11 Yf he yet contynewe by hys promyse, thenne he shall be brought ayen to the nouyces cell to be preued ayen, and yet ayen after in all pacience.
12  & thenne after six monethes the rule ayen shall be red vnto hym, soo that he may well know wherfore he entryth in to relygyon.
13 and yf he contynue styll iiij. mounthes after, yet not for thy þe rule ayen shall be red vnto hym.
14 And yf he promyse thenne vtterly to kepe all thynges that is so ofte red vnto hym,87 and to be obedient, thenne atte firste shall he be taken in to the congregacyon,
15 knowlechyng thenne that he is bounde to the law of the rule, and thenne after he may not departe from88 þe monestarye,
16 nor excsuse him, but that he is vnder the yocke of þe seyd rule to his deth.
17 ¶ Thenne whan he is admyttid and taken in to the chirche to be professid afore all the peple, there he shall promytte of his stabylnesse and amendyng of his maners, & there vpon make his obedience
18 afore god and his sayntes, the whiche is to be done with all his mynde and herte, leest that he mocke our lorde god to his dampnacyon.89
19 Of his promyse and profession he shall make a peticyon in writynge to god,90 and to all sayntes whos relykes ben in that chirche, and to the souereyn assygned thereto,
20 the whiche he shal wryte  with his owne hande, or els an other of hym required, yf that he can not write, & marke it with his owne sygne, the whiche he shall put vpon þe awter afterwarde wyth his hande.
21-22 & seye certayn prayers therwyth.
23 And after this he shall fall downe prostrate at fete of the couent, prayeng theym to praye for hym, and after thys he shall be nombrid for euer, and named for one of the congregacyon.
24 Suche stuff that he hath not yeuen before to folke þat ben poore, or other wyse, openly shall he thenne yeue to the monestary, noo thyng reseruyng vnto hym selfe.
25 for after that tyme he maye haue no propirte, not as moche as his owne body.
26 And whan in þe chirche he shal doo of his seculer arraye and be cladde with the habite of the place,
27 those that he puttyth of shall be kept in the vestuary,
28 leest that the enmye the fende perswade and cause hym after, the whiche god defende, for to departe from the religion, and thenne he must haue his seculer clothes ayen, and put out for euer.
29 But his petycyon in wrytinge that he put on the awter in his firste entre, ought euer to remayn and to be kept in the monestary.
Notes to Chapter 58
87. 58:14. that. . . hym: expansion
88. 58:15. from ] fomr
89. 58:18. Latin: ut si aliquando aliter fecerit, ab eo se damnandum sciata quem irridit
90. 58:19. to god: expansion
1  YF a man of worship offre a yong childe, his sone, to god and to the religion, thenne shall he or his frendes make the peticion, as it is91 wryten afore, for him with writyng,
2 and their offryng wyth the hande of þe childe, the whiche shall be rollyd togider in the pall or in the towell of the awter;
a How poore children;92
Note to Chapter 59
91. 59:1. as it is ] as it
92. Cf. 59:7-8
a and secular prestes;
a & how mounkes strangers owe to be receyued;
a and of the ordynacion of prestes & of dekens wythin þe selfe religion;
b is shewid folowyngly in the complete rule by large processe, the whiche I passe ouer for the grete change that is in that religion93 and the length.
Note to Chapter 62
93. d: Caxton presumably is referring to various but unspecified conciliar decrees and canon laws referring to priests.
[Chapter 63 (part 2)]
15 WHan euer the bredern mete togider, the yonger shall meke hymselfe, desirynge the blessynge of hys senyour.
16 And whan ony senyour commyth at ony tyme before hym, he shal arise and gyue place to sytte, and the sayd Ionger shall stande tyll he be commande to sitte.
18 Yonge children of the religion both in chirche and at table & elswhere shall kepe theyr place after their age in relygion,
19 and they shal haue ouerseers, techinge theym & gyuynge disciplyne, tyll they come to the age of vnderstondyng.
1  To the gate94 of the monestary an aged persone, wise and well manerd, is to be assigned, the whiche can take an answere wittely or a message; Whose good disposicyon woll not suffre hym to wandre aboute or to be idle.
2 The whiche broder owe to lodge nygh the gate, soo that strangers that come maye euer fynde hym redy, of whom they shall take an answere.
3 And whan someuer ony knockyth at gate, or els that the poore peple crye, anone he shall seye: "Deo gracias," cherefully,
4 and gyue theym an awnswere comfortably, in all mekenes and softnesse and drede of god.
5 The whiche broder portar shall haue helpe of an other yonger broder, yf grete nede requyre.
6 Suche a monestary is to be sette in such a place where all thynges necessary soone maye be had,
7 so that the couent nede not to passe the boundes of the clausures therof,95 the whiche yf thei dide, shulde be perylle for theyr soules.
8 Saynt benet woll that the rule be red effectuelly oftymes in the yere afore the congregacion, for by cause none of hem shall pretende Ignorance or ony exscuse.
Notes to Chapter 66
94. 66:1. Latin: ad portam
95. 66:7. Latin: vagandi foras
1  WHan ony of the bredern must doo a Iourney without the clausure of the place, after licence had,96 he shall commende hym to the prayer of his souereyn,
2 and euer at last oryson in the seruyse of god shal a prayer be sayd for him and all þat is absent.
3 And the daye that they come home ayen, they shal lye prostrate all the seruyse tyme,97
4 & desyre the couent to praye for theym for theyr excesses done in the iourney, as in syght, heryng of ony vanytees, or euylle thynges, or ony voyde wordes.
5 And they shall not tell ony thyng þat they sawe or herd in theyr iourney, for it is a grete meane to þe destruccion of suche a place of relygion.
6-7 And he that presumyth to doo the contrary, or to goo oute of the clausure of the monestary to ony place, though98 it be neuer so lytil, wythout commandement or licence of the souereyn, owe to be streytly punysshyd.
Notes to Chapter 67
96. 67:1. without. . . had: expansion
97. 67:3. Latin: dum expletur opus Dei
98. 67:6-7. though ] thought
1 IF ony greuouse or impossible thynges be put vnto a broder99 of his souereyn to doo, he shall wyth all mekenesse and obedience take the commaundement vpon hym.
2 Yf cace be that it passe his power in ony wise to fulfill it, thenne wyth all lowlynesse he shal tell it to  his souereyn, and the cause of impossibilytee.
4 And yf cace be the souereyn contynew in his sentence & wyll, thenne the broder owe to know that it is to hym right profitable
5 yet to obeye, puttynge his trust in the helpe of god,
a whiche woll not forsake all theym that truste in him.
Note to Chapter 68
99. 68:1. a broder ] abroder
1 EChe one shuld beware þat he exscuse not or defende an other in ony cause,
2 though al he were neuer soo nygh to hym of blode.
3 For of it lightly wolde growe grete occasion of sclaundre to the religion.
4 Who þat is founde fawty in this trespace owe to be punysshid greuosly.
2 IT is ordeyned also that it is not lefull to ony of the couent to punisshe or to bete an other of the same, but suche one as the souereyn hath yeuen power vnto.
3 Those that offende openly must be repreuyd and punysshid openly, that other maye be the rather aferd to offende.
4 Children to the xv. yere of age shall stande euer vndir streyt awe and diligent discipline,
5 & all thynges er to be doon vnto theym mesurably with discrecyon and reason,
a & vndir the commandement euer of the souereyn.
6 And he that otherwise dooth, shall be correct wyth  reguler disciplyne,
7 for it is100 writen in the gospell, All thynges that ye wolde þat other shuld doo vnto you, doo ye it to theym,
b and that ye wolde not haue done to you, doo it not to theim.
Note to Chapter 70
100. 70:7. is ] his
1 OBedience is not oonly to be yeuen of al the couent to the souereyn, but also echon to other must obeye,
2 knowyng that by þe way of obedience thei shall come vnto heuen.
3 Whan the commaundement of the soueuereyn is doon by the subgette, saynt Benet woll that besyde that,
4 þat euer the yonger in religion obeye theyr senyours in all charite, dilygence, & mekenesse;
5 who þat woll not must be correct.
6 Yf ony brother be blamed of his souereyn for ony cause, though it be right small,
7 as soone as that he knowyth that his souereyn or his senyour is greued wyth hym or trowbled, though it be right lityll,
8 anone he owe to fall down prosstrate at his fete, so longe to the tyme he that is greued be satisfied & plesid for his humyliacyon.
9 Yf ony disdeyn to doo thys, lete hym be punysshid on the nakyd body, and yf he be obstynate, put hym out of the monestary.
1  AS there is an euyll zele, loue or affeccyon,101 the whiche departyth one from god and bringith hym to hell,
2 soo there is a zele or affeccion102 the whiche departyth one from synne and bryngith hym to god to euerlastyng lyfe,
3 the whiche is to be had in religion in all feruent desire,
4 for by it echone gladly woll reuerence other,
5 and echon suffre other for ony infirmytee or condycions, and that wyth all pacience,
6 and moreouer echone be glad who can best meke hymselfe and to103 be obedient,
7 neuer folowyng that thyng the whiche he demeth to be profitable oonly to hymselfe, but moche more that thyng that is profitable for other.
8 Echone shewe charitee to other as brethren in all clene & chaste loue,
9 dredyng euer god,
10 and louynge theyr souereyn in charyte vnfeyned,
11 preferrying euer goddis cause and mater afore all other,
12 the whiche woll brynge hem all togider to reygne in the lyfe the whiche is eternalle.
a A M E N.
c ¶ Of your charite praye for the translatour of thys sayd treatyse.
Notes to Chapter 72
101. 72:1. loue or affeccyon: expansion
102. 72:2. or affeccion: expansion
103. 72:6. meke. . . to: expansion
Rev. 12.i.2000 | www.osb.org/aba/rb/feminine/caxton/caxtonwww.html