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Seventeenth Century

Eighteenth Century



Miniature Detail of a Calendar Page for May. Medieval Manuscript, 1440-50.

From The Book of Margery Kempe

[Her Pride and Attempts to Start a Business]

And when this creature was thus graciously come again to her mind, she thought she was bound to God and that she would be his servant. Nevertheless, she would not leave her pride nor her pompous array that she had used beforetime, neither for her husband nor for none other man's counsel. And yet she wist full well that men said her full much villainy, for she wore gold pipes on her head and her hoods with the tippets were dagged. Her cloaks also were dagged and laid with divers colors between the dags that it should be the more staring to men's sight and herself the more worshiped. And when her husband would speak to her for to leave her pride she answered shrewdly and shortly and said that she was come of worthy kindred - him seemed never for to 'a wedded her - for her father was sometime mayor of the town N and sithen he was alderman of the high Gild of the Trinity in N. And therefore she would save the worship of her kindred whatsoever any man said. She had full great envy at her neighbors that they should be arrayed as well as she. All her desire was for to be worshiped of the people. She would not beware by one's chastening nor be content with the good that God had sent her, as her husband was, but ever desired more and more.

And then, for pure covetise and for to maintain her pride, she gan to brew and was one of the greatest brewers in the town N a three year or four till she lost much good, for she had never ure thereto. For though she had never so good servants and cunning in brewing, yet it would never prove with them. For when the ale was as fair standing under barm as any man might see, suddenly the barm would fall down that all the ale was lost every brewing after other, that her servants were ashamed and would not dwell with her. Then this creature thought how God had punished her beforetime and she could not beware, and now eftsoons by losing of her goods, and then she left and brewed no more. And then she asked her husband mercy for she would not follow his counsel aforetime, and she said that her pride was cause of all her punishing and she would amend that she had trespassed with good will.

Tippets, loose bands of cloth
Pipes, tubular head ornaments
barm, froth or head

The Norton Anthology of English Literature, 6th Ed. Vol. 1.
New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 1993.

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