Folio 67r Here bigynneþ a notable and profitable tretis techyng unto divers statis of man the governance and ledyng of his lijf in salvacion of his soule.

First whan thou arisist or fully wakist, þenk on þe goodnes of þi lord God þat how of his [o]wne goodnes and noon oþur nede he made al þing of nouht boþe aungeles and men and al oþir creatures good in hir kynde.

The seconde tyme þenke on þe gret passion and wilful Folio 67v deþe þat Crist suffrid for mankynde whan no man myht make satisfaccioun for þe gilt of Adam and of Eve and oþir moo, ne no aungele owid ne myht make aseethe þerfore. Than Crist of his endeles charite suffrid so grete passion and peynful dethe þat no creature myht suffre so moche.

And þenke þe þrid tyme how God haþe saved þe fro deþe and fro many oþir myschevys and suffrid many þowsandis to be lost, sum in watir and sum in fire and sum bi sodeyn deþe, and peraventure sum dampned wiþouten ende. And for þis goodnes and merci þanke þi God, þi good lorde, wiþ al þin herte and praie hym to ȝife þe grace to spende þis daie and evermore al þi myȝtis (as good mynde wiþ reson and wil, and þe miȝttis of þi Folio 68r bodi -- as strength, bewte, and þi fyve wittis) in his service and his worschepe, and noþing to forfete aȝenst his comandementes, but redi to performe þe werkis of merci and to ȝeve good ensample of holy life boþe in word and in dede to al men aboute.

Loke aftirward þat þou be wel occupied and no tyme ydel for peril of temptacions. Take mete and drynke in mesure, not to costly ne likerous, and be not to corious ne bisie þereaboute, but suche as God sendiþ þe, take it mekely in suche mesure þat þou be fressher in mynde and in wittis to serve God, and algatis þank hym of suche ȝiftis.

Over þis loke þat þou do riȝt and equyte to al man boþe to soverains, to peris and sugetis and to oþer servauntis, and stere alle Folio 68v to love trowþe and merci and verrei pees and charite. And suffre no man be at discencion but acorde hem þou myht in ony good manere.

Also þou must of al þingis drede God and his wraiþe. And þou must before al þing principally love God and his lawe and his worschippis, and aske nat principaly worldis mede, but in al þin herte desire þe blisse of hevene upon þe merci of God and þine owne good lijfe. And þenk moche on þe dredful dome and on þe peynes of helle forto kepe þe oute of synne, and on þe endeles gret joie of hevene forto kepe þe in vertues of good lyvynge, and aftir þi kunnynge teche oþer þe same doyng. And in þe ende of þe daie þenke where þou hast offendid God and how moche and how ofte, and Folio 69r þerfore have þou enteere sorow and amende hit while þat þou maist.

And þinke how God haþe suffrid many a man to perish þat day bi many weijs and summe peraventure be dampned wiþoute ende, and how graciously he haþe saved þe not for þi deserte but of his owne goodnes and merci. And þerfore þank hym wiþ al þin herte and praie to hym of grace þat þou mot dwelle and ende in his trewe and clene servise and in verrey love and charite, and to teche oþer men þe same doyng.

And ȝif þou be a preest, and namly a curatour, lyve in holynes passyng oþir men in holy preieres, desires, and meditacion, in holy spekyng, counselyng, and trewe teching.

And ever þat Goddis hestis and his gospel and Folio 69v vertuous wordis be in þi mouþe, and dispice synne forto drawe men þerfro. And þat þi dedis be riȝtful þat no man may blame hem wiþ reson, but þat þin opyn deedes be trewe þat alle sugettis and lay men mowe þerby take ensaumple to serve God and his hestes to do, for ensaumple of good lijf and opyn and lastyng sterith more rude men þan trewe preching.

Be of fewe wordis and waste not þi goodes in grete festis of riche men ne in gret aray, but l[o]ve* It is not entirely clear whether the scribe here means ‘love’ or ‘live’. a mene lijfe of pore mennys almes boþe in etyng, drynkyng and cloþing, and þe remenaunt bestowe hit trewly to þe worschepe of God, and speciali upon pore men þat have not of here owen and mowe not labore for febilnes or sijknes. For þou schalt undirstonde Folio 70r þat al þe good þat God haþe sent to þe it is bitake to þe forto dispende in good use and not forto waast it and wiþhold hit, for þou schalt make a rekenyng of þe leeste ferþing.

And ȝif þou be a lorde, loke þat þi lijfe be a riȝtful lijfe in þine owne persone anemptis God and man, kepyng þe heestis of God, doyng þe werkis of mercy, rewlyng wel þi fyve wittes, and doyng resoun in equyte and good conscience to al men.

The seconde tyme gouverne wel þi wife and þi children and þine homely meynee in vertues and in good lyvyng aftir þe lawe of God, and suffre noo synne amonge hem neiþir in worde ne in dede upon thi myht þat þei mowe be ensaumple of holynes and riȝtfulnesse to al oþir. For þou shalt be dampned for þeir evyl lijfe and for þin evyl Folio 70v sufferaunce but if þou amende hit bi þi lijfe after thi myȝht.

The þrid tyme governe wel þi tenauntis and meyntene hem in riȝt and reson, and be merciful to hem in her rentis and wordly mercementes, and suffre not þine officers to done hem wronge ne extorcions. And chastise hem þat ben rebelle in good manere, and namely þo þat bene aȝenst Goddis heestis and vertuous livyng more þan for rebelte aȝen þin owne cause or þi persone, for ellis þou lovyst more þin owne cause þan Goddis, and þiself more þan God almyȝtti.

And loke þat þou meyntene trewly upon þi kunnyng þe lawe of God and alle holy chirche and þe trewe servauntis þerof in reste and in pees, for bi þis skille þou holdist þi lordschip of God. And ȝif þou forfete aȝenst God, Folio 71r þou forfetist in þe mynistring of thi lordschip boþe in body and eke in soule, and principali ȝif þou meyntenest heretikes and ypocrites in her errours aȝenst þe good lawis of holy cirche and holy ordinances þe whiche han ben aproved bi al oure holy forme fadres.

Also if þou be a laborer, lyve in mekenes and trewli and wilfully do þi labour þat ȝif þi lord or þi maister be an hethen man so that bi þi mekenesse and þi wilful servise þat have no cause forto grucche aȝenst þe ne sklaunder þi God, but rather þat he be stired to com to Cristendom.

Also serve not to Cristen lordis or to maistris wiþ grucching, ne only in his presence but trewly and wilfully in absence, not only for wordly drede ne wordly rewarde but for drede of God and for good Folio 71v conscience and for rewarde in hevene. For God put þe in suche servise for he wot what state is best for þe and he wil rewarde þe more and bettir þan al oþir erþeli lordis mowe ȝif þou doost it trewly and wilfully for his ordenance.

And in al þing be war of grucching aȝenst God in ony visitacioun wheþir it be in grete labour and longe, in grete sijknes, in losse of wordly goodis, or in ony oþer divers disseses. And be war of þe wraþ of God and of man.

And þus ech man in þes þre states owen forto love principaly God and to save hemselvyn and forto help her evencristen wiþ here powere. And þus schal good lijfe, reste, pees, and charite be among cristen men and þat þei mowe be saved, and heeþen men þe sonner Folio 72r converted and magnified gretly in al nacions.

That þis may be fulfilled Criste of his holy and hiȝe myȝt graunt us synful here so to do and lyve in his servise þat we mowe his holy hestes and comaundementis fulfille and to his endeles blys bringe us alle for his mercy. Amen.

About this text

Title: A notable and profitable tretis techyng unto divers statis of man the governance and ledyng of his lijf .
Edition: Taylor edition
Series: Taylor Editions: Ex Scriptore
Editor: Transcribed by Anne Mouron. Encoded by Emma Huber.


Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Bodley 9, fols 67r-72r


This manuscript contains several works in Latin, French, and Middle English, some quite short, and the majority of a religious or didactic nature. This Table of Contents is based on a number of online descriptions, none of which gives a complete and detailed account of every text included in the manuscript. For this reason, it has not always been possible to give accurate foliation for all the texts mentioned here.

  • 1 A Sarum calendar, f. 1.
  • 2 Psautier de saint Jérôme, ff. 7r-24v
  • 3 Dix commandements, ff. 27v-28
  • 4 Various prayers and religious pieces (in French and Latin), ff. 28v-55v
  • 5 Urbain le Courtois (short version), ff. 55v-58v
  • 6 Mout est homme fous ke trop s’afie (poem on death and the vanity of the world), ff. 58v-61v
  • 7 L’apprise de nurture, ff. 61v-67r
  • 8 A notable and profitable tretis techyng unto divers statis of man the governance and ledyng of his lijf, ff. 67r-72r
  • 9 Lettre d’Aristote à Alexandre, ff. 72r-73v
  • 10 Phlébotomie, ff. 73v-74r
  • 11 Jours périlleux, ff. 74v-75r
  • 12 Te Deum, Benedicite omnia opera, ff. 75v-81, 86r
  • 13 Un petit tretis de norture, ff. 81v-85v
  • 14 Prière, ff. 86r-87v
  • 15 Cinq joies de sainte Anne, ff. 91r-v
  • 16 De la vertu du trente, ff. 98v
  • 17 The wysman seyde to hys sones, f. 99r 18 A prayer of St. Brandan (Latin), f. 103r 19 Prayers in Latin in a different hand, f. 122v

Physical description

Materials: Parchment



It is believed that this manuscript may have been written in an English nunnery dedicated to St. Etheldreda, at Leigh or Canon Leigh in Devon. 1425-1450


This manuscript was donated to the University of Oxford by John Lewger (1602-65) in 1620.

Error reporting

If you notice an error in the transcription, or an alternative reading, please email the ex scriptore team.

About this edition

This is a facsimile and transcription of ‘A notable and profitable tretis techyng unto divers statis of man the governance and ledyng of his lijf’. It is held by the Bodleian Library (shelfmark: MS Bodley 9).

For a more detailed description of the manuscript and a bibliography, go to: See also Jonas, Section Romane: and Arlima:

The transcription was encoded in TEI P5 XML by Emma Huber.


Publication: Taylor Institution Library, one of the Bodleian Libraries of the University of Oxford, 2021. XML files are available for download under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License . Images are available for download under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License .

Source edition

A notable and profitable tretis techyng unto divers statis of man the governance and ledyng of his lijf . England, 1425-1450

Editorial principles

Created by encoding transcription from manuscript.

The colours used in the transcription reflect those used in the manuscript (with brown representing gold). Note that it is not always possible to determine whether gold has been applied to all the paraph signs here shown in brown.