Justice’s handbook, ca. 1575, V.a.247
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This article features a transcription of a Folger Shakespeare Library manuscript, The Justice's handbook, V.a.247 , (ca.1575), featured in the Age of Lawyers Exhibition, September 13, 2015-January 3, 2016.
This handbook from about 1575 provides practical guidance to justices of the peace, with many examples from Essex. These pages at the beginning, however, are filled with poetry and sayings about the law—including a line from the 5th century Roman author Macrobius, "Ex mali moribus lege procreantur" (From bad habits come good laws).
Below is a semi-diplomatic transcription of folio 6 verso and folio 7 recto of Folger manuscript V.a.247. The transcription below was created by the Early Modern Manuscripts Online (EMMO) project. To access an image of the original leaf, click on each transcription's heading.
I judge hym werthy Mydas
that good from yll cannot discerne
Syth nature lendes vs somvche witt
the worste to leave the best to learne
I thanke you for your good advise
which semes to come of fryndly mynd
ffrom play to studye your entent
ys altogether me to bynde
Not euery one that goeth astraye
Is straightwey domed to be loste
Before the shipp her Iorney endes
by wynd to sondrye coast is caste
ffrom Este to weste from North to sowth
with every gale or blaste of wynd
yet prosperouslie atteynes at laste
The shore wherto she was assignde
your barke perhappes doth bend her course
wherto my shipp was never bound
ffor sundry shippes haue sondry costes
The world is very large & round
If so yt be that bothe our barkes
are bound to anker at one porte
The hyndmost shipp maye formest be
yf wynde do serue in prosperous
Snyde you yourself lett me alone
Tys saide that all thinges haue a tyme
I like your Councell very well
though sensles written were your ryme
But well: wher wordes sufficientlie
cannot expresse the meaners mynde
we muste accepte them curtuouslie
And take them as we them do fynde.
In nomine patris et filij et spiritus Sancti. Amen
Serue god devoutley credit______________________ hereste
___________________ saie________________________ thinkest
___________________ desiere___not all that thou____seeste______honor thie prince ./.
___________________ spend______________________ haste
___________________ doe________________________ mayeste
But in all thinges take heed in the begynnynge.
Se the myddle and praise the endinge.
Do that is good, saie that is true
Cheryshe olde ffryndes, change for no newe
Quod sibi quisque serit presentis tempore vite
Hoc sibi messis erit cum dicitur, Ite, venite. /
Tantum erit luctus Iudex cum dixerat. Ite.
Tantum erit fructus cum dixerat ille venite /
Infelix genus est meminisse fuisse beatum /
Lex uarba rei publica
Lex vita Reginis
Lex vnicula malorum
Ex malis moribus bone leges pireantur
Lex est defuncta cum Iudicis est manus vncta.
Et propter vnguentum Ius est in Carrere tentum
Vino forma perit vino corrumpitur [a]etas
Vino saepe suum nescit amica virum R
Mors tua, mors Christi, fraus mundi, gloria Celi
Et dolor inferni sint memoranda tibi.