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LV


¶ The .lv. chapiter treateth of the rayment of the mynchins and the houses of office belongynge to the same.*

// * verses 4-6 and 13-14 are omitted //


1 GArmentes & clothinge shalbe gyuen unto the susters after the qualite of the place where they dwell or after the temperatnes of the ayer.

2 For in colde regyons is more nede in hote regions lesse nede.

3 And this* consyderacion resteth oonly in thabbasse.

// * this ] thus //

7 ¶ And as for the coloure or cursnes of the clothe & of all other apparell ganerally, the minshins shall not grudge nor complayne, but be content with su- [69] che cloth as may be gotten in the prouince or countre where they dwell, and with that cloth that is courseste and that may be bought best chepe.

8 Thabbasse shal se for the mesure of their garmentes, that they be not to short for the werers but meserable.

9 They that take newe garmentes shall delyuer alwaye their olde by and by to be put in the vestiarye for pore people.

10 It is sufficient for a mynchin to haue two garmentes* of euery sorte, by cause of nyghtes and for wasshynge of the same.

// * garmentes ] gramentes. Latin: duas tunicas et duas cucullas //

11 And what so euer and aboue the sayde two garmentes, that is superfluous and muste be take a waye.

12 Also shoos & what so euer other olde thynge there be, they shall delyuer them whan they receyue newe.

15 as touchinge their Bedstuffe, a mat, a stamyn, a couerlet, and a bolster be sufficient.

16 The which beddes muste be often tymes serched of thabbasse, lesse the mynchins take or kepe any thinge that thabbasse is not priuey unto.

17 And if ought be founde with any of theym that she hath not receyued of the abbasse, let hir be submitted to the moste greuous discipline.

18 And to the entent that this vyce of propriete may be plucked up by the rote, all thinges necessary muste be gyuen by thabbasse to the minchins.

19 as well garmentes, bokes, and instrumentes for their crafte and occupacions, so that all excuses of necessite may be taken away.*

// * Latin: id est cuculla, tunica, pedules, caligas, bracile, cultellum, graphium, acum, mappula, tabulas, ut omnis auferatur necessitatis excusatio //

20 yet the same abbasse muste alway consyder the sentence of thactes of the appostels, that distribucion was made to euery oon of them as necessite required.

21 And therfore the abbasse muste consyder the infirmytes of theym that lacketh, and not the euyll wyll of theym that be enuyous.

22 Howe be it, in all hir iugementes let hir well thinke That after hir dedes she shall be agayne rewarded of almyghty god.

b ¶ Other thynges there be in this chapiter concernynge the garmentes of monkes which by cause they be not mete nor conuenient for women, we haue in this oure translacion made no mencion of them.





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¶ The .lvi. chapiter treateth of the table of thabbasse.


1 [70] THe abbasse muste allway haue at hir table peregines and gestes.

2 howe be it as often as there is no gestes, thabbasse may call unto hir whome she luste of hir susters,

3 but she shall euer take hede that oon or too of the eldeste in the religion be left with the susters for their discipline.





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¶ The .lvii. chapiter treath of the artificers of the monastery.


1 IF there be any artificers in the monasterye they shall doo their occupacion with all humilite, so that they haue firste the commaundement or leue of the abbasse.

2 And if any of theym be prowde for the conninge of the crafte that she hath byfore a nother, bycause she semith to doo soom profyte to the monastery aboue other,

3 such oon must be withdrawen and sequestred from that crafte & shall not goo to it agayne, except thabbasse commaunde hir, after that she hathe meked & submitted hir selfe.

4 If any thinges of the warkes* of thartificers to be be solde, they that shal haue the sale must se wysely and beware that there be no fraude,

// warkes ] warbes //

a nether in the worker, nor in the seller, nor no fraude doo to the monastery.

5a And let theym all way remembre Ananie and Saphire,

6 lesse perauenture they and all other which do any deceyte in the goodes of the monastery, suffre lyke deth in their sowles,

5b as the forsayd Ananie and Saphire suffred in their bodies, that is to say sodeyne deth.

7 In the prices of all suche stuffe the synne of couetouse must utterly be exchued.

8 and therfore let it be solde somewhat better chepe than it sholde haue be of secular persons,

9 to thentent that god may be glorified in all thynges.





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¶ The .lviii. chapiter treateth of the maner & forme of the receyuinge of susters into the monastery.


1 WHan any person commeth newly to conuersyon towardes religion* hyr enterynge shall not be ly- [71] ghtly graunted to hir,

// * religion ] religigion //

2 but as the appostell saythe, take ye a good proufe whether hir inward intent and desyre com of god or not.

3 And therfore if suche oon commyng doo perseuer in hir desyre, & be perceyued to suffer pacyently iniurys sayd and doon unto hir, and to be contented* with the difficultie that is made for hir entringe, by the space of .iiii. or .v. dayes, and that she stonde stedfaste in hir peticion,

// * contented ] conteuted //

4 let hir be admitted to entre, and then let hir be in the gesten chambre a fewe dayes.

5 and afterward let hir be in the chambre of the nouices, where she shall contynewe in meditacion and there eate and drynke.

6 And such an aged suster shalbe deputed unto hir which is an apt person to wynne sowles, whiche shall tenderly and diligently take hede uppon hir,

7 and applye hir selfe to understonde if she seke god veryly, without feyning, & wether she be diligently gyuin to the seruyce of all myghty god, to obedience, & to abyde & suffre rebukes.

8 Harde thinges & sharpe thynges must be declared unto hir by the whiche men goo unto god,

9 & if she promyse to continewe in hir stedfastenes, then after tow monethes be passed let this rule be redde unto hir by order,

10 and these wordes say unto hir, "Beholde and loke: This is the lawe under the whiche thou wyll continewe and doo seruyce. If so be thou mayste kepe it, entre. If thou mayste not, goo thy waye wylest thou arte fre."

11 And if she contynewe styll, Then lette hir be brought into the forsayde chambre of Nouices. And agayne lette hir be proued in all pacience.

12 And aftur the space of .vi. monethes let the Rule be redde unto hir agayne, That she may well knowe whereto she entrethe.

13 And if she stonde yeat in hir purpose by the space of other .iiii. monethes, then after the same .iiii. monethes let this same rule be redde unto hir agayne.

14 And if that she, takynge with hir selfe a delyberacion, wyll promyse that she wyll kepe all maner of thinges in the rule and obserue all thinges commaunded of hir superior, then let hir be receyued into the couent,

15 knowynge for certeyn that it is ordeyned by the lawe of the rule, that it may [72] not be lelfull for hir fro that daye forthwarde to goo out of the monastery,

16 nor to caste the yoke of the rule from hir necke, nor plucke hir necke out of the yoke of the Rule, whiche with soo longe a visement she myght byfore haue refused.

17 whan she shall be reseyued, she must in the quere in the presence of all the couent, make a promisse of hir stabilite, and of the conuersacion of hir maners, and obedience,

18 byfore god and his sayntes after the sayde rule, to thentent that at any season when she doo other wyse, she may well knowe hir selfe to be dampned of allmyghty god, whome she mocketh & scorneth.

19 of the which hir promyse, she must make a wrytinge to the name of the seynt whose relequys there restith, and to the name of thabbasse there beyng present.

20 The whiche wrytynge she shall wryght with hir owne hande, or els if she be not lerned therto som other at hir desyre shall write it, and she shall signe it, and with hir honde ley it uppon the aulter.

21 and therwith begyn this verse, Suscipe me domine secundum eloquium tuum et vivam et ne confundas me ab expectatione mea,

a that is to say, Good lorde, receyue me after thyne owne worde, and graunt me to lyue in the, and put me not abacke from that I loke for & truste unto;

22 whiche verse all the couent must repete thries, addynge to it Gloria patri.

23 Then she muste prostrate hir selfe to the fete of euery mynchyn, and desyre theym to pray for hir. And from that daye forth she muste be accompted as oon of the couent.

24 Goodes, if she haue any, eyther let hir byfore hir profession distribute them to power people, or elles let hir by solempne and open graunte gyue them to the monastery, reseruinge nothynge to hir selfe thereof at all.

25 for from that day forth she muste well knowe that she shall haue no power of so moche as of hir owne bodye.

26 Therfore anone in the quere let hir be put out of hir owne apperell with the which she is clothed, and doo on the clothes of the monastery.

27 But the garmentes which she is put out of must be kept in the vestiarye,

28 that if in any tyme, through the intysynge of the deuyll, she cosent to goo [73] out of the monastery (as god for bede she shulde), then doinge off* the clothes of the monastery, let hir be caste out in hir olde array.

// * off ] of //

29 howe be it, that wrytynge which thabbasse receyued uppon the altare, she shall not receyue agayne, but it muste be kept styll in the monastery.





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¶ The .lix. Chapiter treateth of the children of noble men and poure men.


1 IF it fortune* any noble man to offre his daughter unto god in the monastery, if that chylde be within laufull agye,** Hir fader and moder shall make the writynge which we haue declared by fore.

// * fortune ] forfune. Latin: Si quis forte //

// ** Latin: si ipse puer minore aetate est //

2 And with their oblacion they shall wrappe the sayde wrytinge and the hande of the chylde in the alter clothe, and in that maner of wyse muste they offre their chylde.

3 And as for their goodes, they shal promyse in the same wrytinge with an othe, that nether by them selfe, nor by any other person, nor by no maner of way, nor at any tyme, they shall any thynge gyue to their sayde chylde, nor gyue occasion that she shall any thynge haue.

4 Or truly if they willnot doo thus, but they woll in any wyse somwhat gyue unto the monastery in almes for their owne sowle helth,

5 let theym make a graunte therof unto the monastery, reseruynge to them selfe (if they so woll ) the use and profit therof durynge their lyues.

6 And so euery way must be stopped, that no suspeccion of propriete remayne to the childe, by the which she deceyuyd (as god for bede) myght peryshe, whiche thynge we haue lerned by experience.

7 And in lyke maner shall pouer men do for offerynge of their chyldren.

8 But they that haue nothynge at all, let theym make their wrytynge without graunte of any thynge. And let theym offre their doughter with their oblacion byfore wytnes.





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¶ The .lx. chapiter treateth of seculer prestes that desyre to entre into religion in any monastery.


a [74] ALbeit that this .lx. chapiter, nor no parte therof, may touche or concerne the congregacion of Mynchins, yet for the cause aboue rehersed in the other chapiters of this rule not towchynge them, and specyally for the instruction of som monkes meynly lettered, we haue translated the sayde .lx. chapiter in fourme folowing.

1 ¶ If any preeste desyre to be receyued & takyn into the monastery, it shal not be lyghtly at the firste desyre graunted to him.

2 Howe be it if he continually persiste in this his desyre & supplicacion, let him knowe & be well assured to be bounde to obserue all the strayctnes of the rule,

3 and that no maner of thinge shalbe to him therof released according to the scripture, Frende or broder wher fore camme thou?

4 Neuerthelesse he may be licenced to stonde in order aftur the abbot, and to gyue benediction, & to synge masse, if so be that thabbot so commaunde.

5 And elles beynge not commaunded let him in no wyse presume any thynge aboue a nother brother. But let him euer remembre that he is subiect and bounde to reguler obseruance, and by the reason of his ordre let him the rather gyue all other example of all mekenes & humylite.

6 and if he be the cause of any goode ordinance or order of any other good thynge in the monastery,*

// * Latin: Et si forte ordinationis aut alicuius rei causa fuerit in monasterio //

7 let him euer regarde that place and degre that he entred into what he camme firste into the monastery, and not that place nor degre which for the reuerence of presthod to him was graunted.

8 And also if any clarke not preste,* of lyke desyre couet to be accept & associat into the monastery, let him be set in ameyne place,

// * Latin: clericorum //

9 so that firste he promyse thobseruacion of the rule and his stabilite in the same.





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¶ The .lxi. chapiter treateth of mynchyns Straungers.


1 IF a mynchin estraunger comme from fer contrey if she wyll abyde in the monastery as a geste,

2 and be content with the custome of the place as she fyndeth, & with hir ex- [75] cesse or superfluite trouble not the monastery,

3 but utterly be content what so euer she fynde, let hir then be receyued for as longe tyme as she desyreth.

4 If she with reason, charite, & mekenes, rebuke or fynde in any defaulte in any thynge that is a mysse in the monastery, thabbasse must handle & treate the mater wysely. For perauenture all myghty god hathe sent the same person thydder to that intent.

5 And if afterward the said mynchin wol stably she hir selfe there, hir wyll shall not be refused, especiallye for as moche as in the tyme that she hathe been there as a geste hir lyfe myght well haue be knowen.

6 and if she be founde wastfull or vicious in the tyme that she is there as a geste, then not alonly she muste not be associate to the body of the monastery,

7 but also it must be honestly sayde unto hir that she departe, lesse thoroughe hir wrechednes other be made the werse.

8 And if she be not suche oon as is worthy to be put out, then not oonlye if she desyre it she shall be receyued and associate to the couent,

9 but also she shalbe desyred to byde and continwe there, to thentent that by hir vertures other may take example, or by hir good example other may the better be instructed.

10 And in as moche as in euery place we do seruice to oon lorde & to oon kynge,

11 it is lefull for thabbasse to set hir som what in ahygher place, if she perceyue that she be a person worthy therto.

13 The abbasse muste beware alway that she take not at any tyme a mynchin to continewe in hir monasterye whiche is of an other knowen monastery, with[out] the consent of thabbasse of the same or elles hir letters of commendacon.

14 For it is written that thou wilt not haue doon to thy selfe, doo not thou to a nother.





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¶ The .lxii. chapiter treateth of monkes promoted to presthod after their profession in the monastery.


1 IF any abbot haue nede of a preste or deacon, let them chese oon of his owne monkes which may be worthy to take uppon him and use that ordre.

2 the which brother, after [76] that he be ordred, let him be ware of all elacion and pryde,

3 & let him not presume to do no thinge but suche as shalbe comnaunded by thabbot, beynge well assured that for the dignite of his ordre he is the more bounde unto regular lyfe and conuersacion.

4 And also let him take hede, that by the occasion of his presthod, he forget not the obbedience and discipline of the rule, but rather more and more encrease and profyte in vertues and good liuinge towardes god.

5a But let him all way

6a (except when he ministrethe in the auter),

5b regarde & remembre that place & rome that he was in when he entred the monastery.

6b and if perauenture the abbot and the couent by oon assent, for his great vertues and the merites of his lyfe, wyll promote and exalte hym aboue his seniors,

7 yet let him knowe and consyder, that he is neuer the lesse bounde to kepe & obserue the rule & preceptes ordeyned & assigned by the Deanes or suffraygnes,

8 and if he woll otherwyse presume, then let him by Iugged, estimed, & reputed not a preste but a rebell.

9 And if he after sondray monicions woll not reforme him selfe, than let the bishop of the diocese haue knowelege therof.

10 And if he wylnot amende by the byshop, then his offenses beinge manifeste and open, let him be eiect and expelled out of the monastery,

11 specyally if his contumacye & rebellion be suche that he woll not obey ne be subiecte to the rule.

a ¶ This the .lxii. chapiter in lyke wyse towcheth not in ony thynge the congregacion of mynchins, yet for lyke cause as we dyd the other chapiters aboue rehersed, we haue translate & insert it among the rules of the same mynchins.





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¶ The .lxiii. chapiter speketh of the ordre of the couent.


1 MInchins shall kepe and continewe their order and degre in the monastery as the tyme of their conuersion and the deseruing and merites of their lyuinge doth require, & as the abbasse wyll deserne & order.

2 allbeit as thabbasse muste be so discrete and circumspecte, that she in that behalfe [77] trowble not to the flocke committed unto hir. Nor She may not as she had an absolute power & fre wyll ouer hir susteres, order or dispose any thynge wrongfullye.

3 But she must remember alway that of all hir iugementes and dedes she muste gyue accomptis to all myghty god.

4 Therfore accordynge to the order that thabbasse doth, or elles to that that the susters haue them selfe by order of their conuersion & profession, so they shall com to the paxe,* & to receyue their maker,** to begyn a psalme, & to stonde in the quere.

// * Latin: ad pacem //

// ** Latin: ad communionem //

5 And euer in all places in order kepynge, ther shall no regarde had to age of yeres,

a nor ayge of yeres shalbe preiudiciall to the yonger beynge elder in conuersion or profession,

6 For Samuell and Daniell,* beinge but children in ayge, gaue iugement uppon them that were their seniors.

// * Daniell ] Damuell //

7 Therfore except oonly them the whiche of a great auisement thabbasse hath preferred, or elles degraded and put backe for certyene causes, al other as they come into the religion so shall they be in ordre as thus.

8 She that commeth into the monasterye at .ii. of the clocke of the daye* must knowe that she is Iunior to hir that came at on of the clocke,** what so euer ayge or dignite she be of.

// * Latin: secunda hora //

// ** Latin: prima hora //

9 And the yong mynchins in all thinges muste be kept in discipline and fere of all their susters.

10 The yonger must do reuerence to the elder, & and the elder must loue the yonger.

11 In thir callyng or spekyng oon to an other, It is not lefull for any to name another by hir propre name,

12 but the elders call their Iuniors, susters; the Iuniors shall call the elders, Dompnas;* whiche is to say, dames, a name of reuerence & suffragently.**

// * Latin: nonnos //

// ** Latin: quod intellegitur paterna reverentia //

13 Thabbasse stondenth in christes stede and shall be called Madame & abbasse,* & this name she hath not of hir owne presumpcion and usurpacion, but for the honour & loue of christe.

// * Latin: dominus et abbas //

14 She must remember & consider & so behaue hir selfe that she be worthy suche honour.

15 whersoeuer susters mete, the yonger shall aske blessinge of the elder.

16 If the elder passe by the yonger, the yonger shall aryse & gyue hir place to sit. The yonger shal not presume to sit downe except hir elder commaunde hir,

17 to thentent that it may be ac- [78] complyshed and fulfylled amonges them, that is written by thapostell, euery oon preuentinge an other in doinge reuerence.

18 yonge children & damaselles* in the quere and at the table muste take and kepe their places under fere and drede.

// * Latin: pueris parva vel adulescentes //

19 And without the quere & fro the table & elles where, they muste be kept under tutell and gouernance of their seniors therto assigned, unto the tyme that they com to the ayge of understondynge and discrecion.





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¶ The .lxiiii. chapiter treateth of the eleccion of thabbasse.


1 IN the ordinance & makynge of thabbasse this consyderacion muste allway be had, that is to say, that she be made Abbasse whome all the hole couent in the fere of god, or a parte of theym thoughe it be but small, beynge of better counsell & zele then the more parte, is woll chose.

2 She that shall be abbasse muste be chosen for the deserte & merites of hir lyfe, hir doctrine, and wisdom, yea, & though she be loweste in degre of all the couent.

3 And if all the couent be gyuen to vices, of oon assent (as god for bede ) chose a person which they thinke wyll concent & conforme hir to their vices, & so to to be of lyke mynde in lyue unto them,

4 if those vices in any wyse com to the knowlege of the Bysshoppe to whose diocesses that place belongeth, or elles be euident to abbasses or other of their neyghbours, christen men,*

// * Latin: christianos vicinos //

5 they shall prohibyte & let the concent of suche euyll religiose persons to take any effecte, and they shal set & ordeyne oon that is worthy, to haue the dispensocion & administracion of the house of god,

6 know ynge well that for the sittynge a parte of an unhable persone & prouidynge an hable person, they shall receyue a good rewarde if they doo it of pure mynde & for the loue of god. As contrary wyse it is great syn if they be negligent & se not therto.

a ¶ But it is to be remembred that this maner of election was made by seynt benet by fore the ordinance of the se apostolyque, which nowe be to be be obserued & preferred to his institucion of [79] seynt benet.

7 ¶ Thabbasse ones ordeyned must alway remember what charge she hath take uppon hir, & to whom she muste gyue accomptes of hir villicacion & dispensacion.

8 She muste also well knowe that it is hir dutie more to doo good & profyte than to haue preheminence.

9a Therfore she muste be well lerned in the lawes of god, & hir religion, & that she understonde & be that person that can shewe & teche the lawes, rules, & constitucions of the religion,*

// * The scriptural quotation (Mt. 13.53, proferat nova et vetera, is omitted. //

b with suche histories of holy scripture & seyntes lyues as be moste expedient for the congregacion.

9b She must be chaste, sober, mercifull, & meke,

10 and euer in all hir werkes let hir extoll and* exalte mercy & equite a boue Iustice & seuerite, to thentent that she may purchase that same hir selfe.

// * and ] a //

11 ¶ Let hir hate vyce, & loue hir susters,

12 and in hir correction she must deale wysely, that it excede not lesse whiles she coueyteth ouersore to rubbe a way the ruste the vessell breke.

13 She muste all way consyder hir owne fragilite, & remember that a rede, all though it be som what bruzed, yet is not to be utterly broken & destroyed.

14 But by these sayinges we do not meane nor entende that she suffer vices to growe, but wysely & with charyte she shall cut them a way, as she sethe to euery of hir susters to be expedient as we haue a forsayde,

15 and she muste couet & effectually laboure more to be loued of hir susters, than to be dradde.

16 She shall not be full of hastines, trowbelowse, ne of sowre mode, or displaysant countenance. she shall not be importune or intoleable, nor obstinate nor self wylled. she shall not be intangled with ielosy nor be to moche suspiciose, for such a person is neuer in quietnesse nor neuer takyth reste.

17 In hir commaundementes she must be wyse, prouident, & circumspect. And all suche labour or occupacion as she shall enioyne to any of hir susters, be it that it concerne the seruyce of god or the busines of the worlde, she muste haue good discrecion & moderacion,

18 callinge to hir mynde the discrecion of holy Iacob, sayinge, "If I cause my flocke to ouer labour them selfe they all shall dye in oon daye."

19 Therfore, takynge these witnesses & other [80] moo examples of discrecion, moder* of vertues, she shall so moderate all thynges that stronge persones shall desyre to do the sayd labours and occupacions, & weke persons shall not refuse them.

// * Latin: mater //

20 And specyally she must regarde that in all poyntes she obserue this present rule,

21 to thentent that for hir good administration,* she may here of almyghty god that the good seruante harde whiche distributed the corne to his felowes in tyme.

// * administration ] adnunstraction //

22 I tell you trough (sayth the gospell), God shall for his dispensacion in fewe thynges committe unto him the ouersyght of all his goodes.





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¶ The .lxv. chapiter sheweth of the proueste or priores* of the monastery.

// * Latin: praeposito //


1 OFten tymes truely it happeneth that through the makynge of a prouest or a prioresse, greuous sclaunders & occasioons of inconuenientes be raysed in monasteryes.

2 for whiles there be som inflate with the cursed spirite of pryde, supposinge them selfe to be seconde abbasses, takynge uppon them cruell ladiship,* they noryshe slaunders and make dyscencions and debates in the couent,

// * Latin: assumentes sibi tyrannidem //

3 and princypally in those places where the prioresse is made of the same bysshsope or of the same prelate* which made thabbasse.

// * Latin: abbatibus //

4 whiche thinge how farre out of reason it is a man may sone perceyue, for euyn from the begynnynge of hir makynge and orderying & occasion is gyuen unto hir to be prowde,

5 whiles hir owne mynde doth make suggestion unto hir, that she is clene delyuered from the power of hir Abbasse,

6 by cause she was made prioresse of him that thabbasse was made of.

7 Therof be raysed Inuies, wrothes, striues, backbytinges, hatredes, dissencions, makynge & marrynge, discordes & disorders.*

// * disorders ] discorders //

8 And whiles thabbasse & the prioresse be of contrary myndes, it foloweth necessaryly that whlles this dissencion hangeth, [81] these* two sowlles muste be in Ioperdy,

// * these ] there //

9 And also they that be under tham, whiles they flater the parties, do rynne unto utter perdicion & dampnacion.

10 Of the which iuperdie, the mischefe princypally towcheth them which were the cuasers, ayders & procurators, or assistencz of the makygne of the sayde prioresse.

11 And therfore we se byfore our Ien, that it is expedient for the conseruacion of pease & cheryte within the monastery, that the ordinance of all thofficers of the monastery hange in the wyll & disposicion of the abbasse.

12 And if it may be, let all the profite, utile, charges, & administracions of the monastery be ordred as we haue abouesayde, by the deanes suche as the abbasse woll assigne & not by a prioresse.*

// * not by a prioresse: expansion //

13 For whiles the charge is committed to dyuerse persons, oon person shall not fall into

pryde.

14 And if the place require to haue a prioresse, or elles the couent desyre it resonably, with humilite, & if thabbasse iuge it to be expedient,

15 then whom so euer she doth chese, with the counsayll of hir susters dredynge god, she may make hir prioresse.

16 The which prioresse shall do all suche thinges with reuerence as be committed & commaunded unto hir by hir abbasse; And nothinge do contrary to the will & ordinance of thabbasse.

17 For the more that she is preferred aboue other, the more busy & diligently she must obserue the preceptes of the rule.

18 whiche prioresse if she be espyed vicious or decyued, with the spirite of pride, or elles be proued a breker or a dispiser of this holy rule, let hir be warned with wordes unto the .iiii. tyme.

19 If she do not then amende, let hir then be corrected as regular disciplyne woll requyer.

20 And if thereby she doo not amende, let hir then be put out & eiecte of the office of the prioresse, & a nother whiche is worthy hir rome be surrogate and succede.

21 And if aftur warde amonge the couent, she be not quiete and obedient, let hir be expelled the monasterye.

22 yet neuer the lesse, to exclude the flame of enuy & euyll wyll out of thabbasse mynde and sowle, let hir in this processe a yenste the prioresse, thinke that she muste gyue an accomptes of god of all hir iugementes.





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[82] ¶ The .lxvi. [Chapter treateth of porters of the monastery.


1 AT the gate of* the monasterye ther shall be set a wyse olde suster,* whiche can receyue & gyue an answere. And she must be of suche grauite, that of lyklyhod she shall be no wanderer.

// * of ] or //

// ** Latin: senex sapiens //

2 which porter muste haue a lodge nygh the gate, that commers may fynde oon all way present of whom they shall be answered.

3 And as sone as ony oon knokketh, or elles a pore body callyth, she shall say, deo gracias, or elles som other good worde.*

// * Latin: deo gratias respondeat aut Benedic //

4 And with all mekenes & fere of god, she shall gyue an answere by and by with feruent* charyte.

// * feruent ] veruent //

5 whiche porter, if she nede helpe or comfort, shall haue with hir a yonge suster.

6 The monastery (if it may be ) must be so bylded that all necessaryes, that is to say water, a mylle, a gardyne, a bakehowse, & other dyuerse occupacions, may be exercysed within the monastery,

7 that the mynchins haue no nede to wandre out of the monastery, for wanderynge out of

there manastery in no wyse is expedient for their sowles.

8 we woll that this rule be often tymes red a monge the couent, lesse any suster woll excuse hir selfe by ignorance.





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¶ The .lxvii. chapiter treateth of bretherne sent forth in iorney.


1 MOnkes that muste be sent out of the monasterye for any busines, muste commende them selfe to the prayer of all their bretherne or elles of thabbot.

2 And allway at the laste oryson of the seruice of all myghty god, there shall be had a rememberance for them that be absent.

3 And bretherne retorninge home from their Iorney, that same day that that they comme home, in at euery houre of the day whan the seruice of god is sayde, shall prostrate their selfe uppon the payment of the quere,

4 And there shall desyre the prayers of all their bretherne for their excesses done in their absences, [83] lesse by chaunce they haue offended by the way, other in seing, or herynge of any euyll thynges, or idle speche.

5 Nether any of them shall presume to tell any maner of thynge that they sawe or harde without the monastery, for of that commethe mouche distruccion.

6 And if any presume to do it, let him be punisshed by reguler discipline.

7 In lyke wyse also shall he be punisshed, that presumeth eyther to goo out of the cloyster of the monastery eyther to goo any whither, or elles do any maner of thynge, be it neuer so lytle, wothout the commaundement of the abbot.

a ¶ All be it that the matter of this chapiter cannot towche any minchins, by cause they ought not for any cause, be it neuer so great, to be sent out of the monasterye, yet be cause we woll conceyle no thinge of the rule from theym, we haue therfore translate this chapiter in maner and fourme followynge.





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¶ The .lxviii. chapiter treateth what is to be doone if impossible thinges be inioyned to a suster.


1 IF fortune that to any suster any greuouse or impossible thynges be committed to be doon, she muste yet accept the commaundement with all mekenes & obedience.

2 & if she se that the weyght of that charge farre passe the measure of hir power, let hir shewe the causes why she may not do it to hir soueraygne sobrely, paciently & in tyme,

3 not with a prowde stomake, with stondynge or ageynsayenge it.

4 And if aftur she hathe thus shewed hir cause to hir Soureraygne, it be thought to the same that the sayd iniunccion or commaundement ought yet to be executed and doon, then let that suster well knowe that it is expedient for hir to do it,

5 & trustynge to the helpe of god, lat hir charytably obey.





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¶ The .lxix. chapiter commaundeth that oon presume not in the monastery to defende a nother.


1 [84] CHefely mynchins muste be ware that oon of theym presume not, for any maner of occasion, or in any maner or wyse, to defende a nother in hir offence in the monastery,

2 yea, all thoughe they be neuer so nygh in kynrede.

3 This thinge in no maner of wyse may be presumed of minchins. For of it communely spryngeth moste greuous occasions of slaundeers and debates and other inconuenintes.

4 And if any oon doo offende in this, let hir be more sharply punished.





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¶ The .lxx. chapiter commaundeth that none presume to bete a nother.


1 ALl occasion of presumpcion must be a voyded in the monastery.

2 wherfore we make and ordeynge (sayth seynt Benet), that it be not lefull to any suster to excommunicate* or bete any of hir susters, hir oonly except to whom power is committed to thabbasse so for to doo.

// * excommunicate ] excomicate //

3 They that doth amysse, muste be rebuked opynly before all their susters, to thentent that other may be affrayde therby.

4 ¶ To children, unto the tyme they be .xv. yeres of age, diligence of discipline, tutell, and sure kepynge muste be gyuen of all their susters,

5 & that with all measure and reason.

6 For she that ether presumethe to punishe or stryke ony suster of a gritter ayge then .xv. with out the commaundement of thabbasse, or elles is ouer sharpe or hasty with the children without discrecion, She must be puneshed by reguler discipline,

7 for it is written, That that thou wylt not haue doon to thy self, do thou to none other.





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¶ The .lxxi. chapiter sheweth that susters be obedient eche to other.


1 THe vertue of obedience is not oonly to be shewed & exhibite unto thabbasse of all the mynchins, But allso all the sustres must shewe obedience eche to other,

2 knowinge that by this way of obedience they shall goo to god.

3 Therfore the commaundementes of thabbasse or prioresse euer prefer- [85] red and set afore, to the which we wyll no priuate commaundement be preferred after them.

4 euery Iunior shall obey hir Senior with all cheryte and diligence.

5 And if ony be founde contencious, let her be rebuked.

6 ¶ If any suster, for any cause, be it neuer so lytel, be rebuked in any maner of wyse of the abbasse or of* any that is superior unto hir,

// * or ] if //

7 or elles if she understonde the mynde of any of hir superiors some what angrey or moued ayenst hir, all thoug hit be but litle,

8 by & by without any taryenge, so longe shall she prostrate uppon the grounde byfore the fete of the same superior doinge satisfaction, unto the tyme that the same anger or mouynge be heled with a benediction.

9 which thinge, if any oon refuse to do, let hir haue bodely punishement, or elles if she be stubborne, let hir be expelled the monastery.





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¶ The .lxxii. chapiter treateth of good zele whiche mynchins ought to haue.


1 AS there is an zele of bitternes, the which desseuerith man from god and ledith unto hell,

2 ryght so there is a good zele, whiche disseuerith man from vices and ledeth man unto god and to euerlastynge lyfe.

3 Therfore this zele must mynchins excersyse with most feruent loue;

4 that is to say, that eche preuent other in doinge reuerence.

5 They must suffre mostly paciently the infirmities of their susters, be the infirmites of body or of condicions.

6 They must shewe obedience as euery of them wolde be the furst to do obedience, and in maner stryue amonges them selfe who shalbe most obedient.

7 None of them shall pursue the thinge that she iugeth profytable for hir selfe, But rather that that she iugeth to be profitable to an nother.

8 They that shall shewe charite as susters ought* with pure and unfeynged loue.

// * Latin: caritatem fraternitatis //

9 They muste drede god.

10 They muste loue their abbasse, in pure and meke cherite.

11 They shall preferre nothing unto christe,

12 Who bringe us to gydder to euerlastinge lyfe . Amen.





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[86] ¶ The laste chapiter sheweth all obseruacion of Iustice is conteigned in this rule.


1 wE haue written & declared this rule (sayth seynt Benet ), to thentent that obseruinge the same in monasteres, we may showe our selfe to haue somwhat eyther of the honesty of goode maners, or els at the leest soom begynnyng of good conuersacyon.

2 But furthermore, they that effectually and spedely pursue to haue the veray perfection of goode lyuinge, to theym be necessarye the doctrynes of holy fathers, the kepynge of the whiche doctrines bryngeth a man to the higheste degre of perfection.

3 For what boke, or what sentence of the auctoryte of almyghte god* of the olde or of the newe testament, is not the moste streyght rule & directyue of the lyfe of man?

// * Latin: sermo divinae //

4 Or what boke of holy catholyque faders doth not declare the strayght way & euyn curse, wherby we may com to oure maker?

5 Also the collacions and sermons of faders, and their lyues and ordinances, yea, and also the rule of our holy fader seynt Basyle;

6 what other thinge be they, But for the well lyuyuge and obedient monkes and minchins, examples and instrumentes of vertues?

7 But to us that be slothfull, euyll lyuers, and neglygent persons, they be shame and confusion.

8 ¶ Therefore (sayth seynt Benet), what so euer thou art that makeste spede towarde the heuenly contray, performe thou by the helpe of christe this small rule written by us for the begynninge of good lyue and religiose conuersacion.

9 And then, in conclusyon, thorough the protection of all myghty god, thou mayst attayne to ferre higher steppes of doctrine & vertues, whereof we haue made mencion byfore.

a Finis

b ¶ Inprinted (by the commaundement of the reuerend fader in god, Richard, Bishope of Winchester ), by me, Rycharde Pynson, printer unto the kynges noble grace.



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