Thursday, February 26, 2015

14th C. Etiquette From "Boke of Curtasye"

King Edward I of England, 1272-1307 AD. Known also as "Edward Longshanks," due to his great height and stature, was perhaps the most successful of the medieval monarchs. The first twenty years of his reign marked a high point of cooperation between crown and community in England, though his campaigns and efforts to capture territory in Wales, Scotland, Ireland, etc... "aroused in the Scots a hatred of England that would endure for generations."

From "The Boke of Curtasye" 
On reaching a Lord’s gate, give the Porter your weapon, and ask leave to go in. If the master is of low degree, he will come to you: if of high, the Porter will take you to him. At the Hall-door, take off your hood and gloves, greet the Steward, etc.., at the dais, bow to the Gentlemen on each side of the hall both right and left; notice the yeomen, then stand before the screen till the Marshal or Usher leads you to the table. 
Be sedate and courteous if you are set with the gentlemen.  
Cut your loaf in two, the top from the bottom; cut the top crust in, and the bottom in  cut the top crust in, and the bottom in.  
Put your trencher before you, and don’t eat or drink till your Mess is brought from the kitchen, lest you be thought starved or a glutton.  
Have your nails clean.  
Don’t bite your bread, but break it.  
Don’t quarrel at table, or make grimaces. 
Don’t cram your cheeks out with food like an ape, for if any one should speak to you, you can’t answer, but must wait. 
Don’t eat on both sides of your mouth. 
Don’t laugh with your mouth full, or sup up your potage noisily. 
Don’t leave your spoon in the dish or on its side, but clean your spoon. 
Let no dirt off your fingers soil the cloth. 
Don’t put into the dish bread that you have once bitten. 
Dry your mouth before you drink. 
Don’t call for a dish once removed, or spit on the table: that’s rude. 
Don’t scratch your dog. 
If you blow your nose, clean your hand; wipe it with your skirt or put it through your tippet. 
Don’t pick your teeth at meals, or drink with food in your mouth, as you may get choked, or killed, by its stopping your wind. 
Tell no tale to harm or shame your companions. 
Don’t stroke the cat or dog. 
Don’t dirty the table cloth with your knife. 
Don’t blow on your food, or put your knife in your mouth, or wipe your teeth or eyes with the table cloth. 
If you sit by a good man, don’t put your knee under his thigh. 
Don’t hand your cup to any one with your back towards him. 
Don’t lean on your elbow, or dip your thumb into your drink, or your food into the salt cellar: That is a vice. 
Don’t spit in the basin you wash in or loosely (?) before a man of God. 

If you go to school you shall learn: 

1. Cross of Christ,
2. Pater Noster, 
3. Hail Mary and the Creed, 
4. In the name of the Trinity, 
5. of the Apostles, 
6. the Confession. 
Seek the kingdom of God, and worship Him.  At church, take holy water; pray for all Christian companions; kneel to God on both knees, to man only on one. At the Altar, serve the priest with both hands. Speak gently to your father and mother, and honour them. Do to others as you would they should do to you. Don’t be foolishly meek. The seed of the righteous shall never beg or be shamed. Be ready forgive, and fond of peace. If you cannot give an asker goods, give him good words. Be willing to help every one. Give your partner his fair share. Go on the pilgrimages (?) you vow to saints, lest God take vengeance on you. Don’t believe all who speak fair: the Serpent spoke fair words (to Eve). Be cautious with your words, except when angry. Don’t lie, but keep your word. Don’t laugh too often, or you’ll be called a shrew or a fool.   
Man’s 3 enemies are: the Devil, the Flesh, and the World. Destroy these, and be sure of heaven. Don’t strive with your lord, or bet or play with him. In a strange place don’t be too inquisitive or fussy. If a man falls, don’t laugh, but help him up: your own head may fall to your feet. At the Mass, if the priest doesn’t please you, don’t blame him. Don’t tell your secrets to a shrew. Don’t beckon, point, or whisper. When you meet a man, greet him, or answer him cheerily if he greets you: don’t be dumb, lest men say you have men say you have no mouth. Never speak improperly of women, for we and our fathers were all born of women.  
A wife should honour and obey her husband, and serve him.  
Try to reconcile brothers if they quarrel.  
At a gate, let your equal precede you; go behind your superior and your master unless he bids you go beside him. 
On a pilgrimage don’t be third man: 3 oxen can’t draw a plough. 
Don’t drink all that’s in a cup offered you; take a little. 
If you sleep with any man, ask what part of the bed he likes, and lie far from him. 
If you journey with any man, find out his name, who he is, where he is going. 
With friars on a pilgrimage, do as they do. 
Don’t put up at a red (haired and faced) man or woman’s house. 
Answer opponents meekly, but don’t tell lies. 
Before your lord at table, keep your hands, feet, and fingers still. 
Don’t stare about, or at the wall, or lean against the post. 
Don’t pick your nose, scratch your arm, or stoop your head. 
Listen when you’re spoken to. 
Never harm child or beast with evil eye.
Don’t blush when you’re chaffed, or you’ll be accused of mischief. 
Don’t make faces.
Wash before eating. 
Sit where the host tells you; avoid the highest place unless you’re told to take it.

Etiquette Enthusiast, Maura J. Graber, is the Site Moderator for Etiquipedia© Etiquette Encyclopedia