The Digital Index of Middle English Verse
DIMEV 6703
IMEV 4180.3
Wise men alway
Thomas More, ‘A mery jest how a sergeant would learne to play the frere’, c. 1503 — in 12-line tail-rhyme stanzas
Author(s): Thomas More
Title(s): ‘A mery jest how a sergeant would learne to play the frere’
Subjects: tales; friars, criticism/satire of
Versification: — twelve-line

Print Witnesses:
1.Source: STC 18091. More, Thomas, A mery gest how a sergeau[n]t woldel erne [sic] to be a frere, [Enprynted at Londo[n]: By me Iulyan Notary dwelly[n]g in Powlys churche yarde at the weste dore at the sygne of saynt Marke, [1516?]]
First Lines:
Wyse men alwaye
afferme & say
þe best is for a man
dylygently ffor to apply
þe besynes þat he can…
Last Lines:
…All newe refuse / and vtterly let them gone
Playe not the frere
Now make good chere / and welcome eue[r]y chone
Emprynted at Londo[n] by me Julyan Notary dwelly[n]g
in Powlys churche yarde at the wiste dore
at the synge of saynte Marke
2.Source: STC 79. A ryght pleasaunt and merye historie of the Mylner of Abyngton Whereunto is Adioyned another merye iest of a Sargeaunt that Woulde haue Learned to be a Fryar, [J. Charlewood f.] R. Jhones, [c. 1575] C2-C6v
First Lines:
WIse men alway, affirme and saye,
the best is for eche man,
Diligently, for to apply,
such busines as he can.…
Last Lines:
…In any wise, I wolde auyse,
and councell euery man.
His owne crafte vse, all newe refuse,
and vtterly let them gone.
Playe not the frier, now make good cheere,
and welcome euerychone
Attributed Author: “By Sir Tho. More” (in MS, sig. C2)
Attributed Title: A mery gest, howe a Sergeaunt would learne to be a Friar (sig. C2); Of a Sergeaunt, that would learne to be a Fryar (RT)
3.Source: STC 18076. More, Thomas, Workes in the Englyssh Tonge, ed. Rastell, Tottell, 1557
Campbell, William Edward, ed. The English Works of Sir Thomas More. London: Eyre and Spottiswoode, 1927: 327-32.