The Courtyer of Baldessar Castilio


To be well born and of a good house.
To flee affectation or curiositie.
To have a good grace in all her doinges.
To be of good condicions and wel brought up.
To be wittie and forseeing, not heady and of a renning witt.
Not to be haughtie, envious, yltunged, lyght, contentious nor untowardlye.
To win and keepe her in her Ladies favour and all others.
To do the exercises meete for women, comlye and with a good grace.
To take hede that she give none accasion to bee yll reported of.
To commit no vice, not yet to be had in suspition of any vice.
To have the vertues of the minde, as wisdome, justice, noblenesse of courage, temperance, strength of the minde, contingency, sobermoode, etc.
To be good and discreete.
To have the understandinge beinge maried, how to ordre her husbandes substance, her house and children, and to play the good huswyef.
To have a sweetnesse in language and a good uttrance to entertein all kinde of men with communication woorth the hearing, honest, applyed to time and place and to the degree and disposition of the person whiche is her principall profession.
To accompany sober and quiet maners and honesty with a livlie quicknesse of wit.
To be esteamed no lesse chast, wise and courteious, then pleasant, feat conceited and sober.
Not to make wise to abhorr companie and talke, though somewhat of the wantonnest, to arrise and forsake them for it.
Not to speak woordes of dishonestye and baudrye to showe her self pleasant, free and a good felowe.
Not to use over much family aritie without measure and bridle.
Not to willinglie to give eare to such as report ill of other women.
To be heedefull in her talke that she offend not where she ment it not.
To beeware of praysinge her self undiscreately, and of beeing to tedious and noysome in her talke.
Not to mingle with grave and sad matters, meerie jestes and laughinge matters: nor with mirth, matters of gravitie.
To be circumspect that she offend no man in her jesting and tauntynge, to appeare therby a readye witt.
Not to make wise to knowe the thing that she knoweth not, but with sobernesse gete her estimation witht that she knoweth.
Not to come on loft nor use swift measures in her daunsinge.
Not to use in singinge of playinge upon instrumentes to muche devision and busy pointes, that declare more cunning them sweetnesse.
To come to daunse, or to showe her musicke with suffrainge her self to be first prayed somewhat and drawen to it.
To appariale her self so, that she seeme not fonde and fantasticall.
To sett out her beawtye and disposition of person with meete garments that shall best beecome her, but as feininglye as she can, makying semblant to bestow no labour about it, nor yet to minde it.
To have an understanding in all thinges belonginge to the Courtier, that she maye gyve her judgemente to commend and to make of gentilmen according to their worthinesse and desertes.
To be learned.
To be seene in the most necessarie lanuages.
To drawe and peinct.
To daunse.
To devise sportes and pastimes.
Not to be lyghte of creddit that she is beloved, thoughe a man commune familierlye with her of love.
To shape him that is oversaucie wyth her, or that hath small respecte in hys talke, suche an answere, that he maye well undrstande she is offended with hym.
To take the lovynge communication of a sober Gentylman in a other significatyon, seeking to straye from that pourpose.
To acknoweleage the prayses whyche he giveth her at the Gentylmans courtesye, in case she can not dissemble the undestandinge of them: debasynge her own desertes.
To be heedfull and remembre that men may with lesse jeapordy show to be in love, then women.
To geve her lover nothing but her minde, when eyther the hatred of her husband, or the love that he beareth to others ubclineth to love.
To love one that she nay marye withall, beeingea mayden and mindinge to love.
To showe such a one all singnes and tokens of love, savynge suche as maye put hym in anye dysnonest hope.
To use a somewhat more famylyar conversation wyth men well growen in yeeres, then with yonge men.
To make her self beloved for her sesertes, amiablenesse, and good grace, not with anie uncomelie or dishonest behavior, or flickeringe enticemnet with wanton lookes, but with vertue and honest conditions.
The final ende whereto the Courtier applieth all his good condicions, properties, feates and qualities, serveth also for a waiting Gentilwoman to grow in favour with her Lady, and by that meanes so to instruct her and traine her to vertue, that she may both refraine from vice and from committing anye dishonest matter, and also abhorr flatterers, and give her self to understand the full troth in every thyng, without entring into self leeking and ignorance, either of other outward thinges, or yet of her owne self.

by Sir Thomas Hoby, 1561 translation
provided by Todde