<< Home Page | Caxton Index

Aesop's Fables: Caxton (1484)

3.10. Of the yonge man / and of the comyn woman
(Perry 555)

Of the comyn and folysshe wymmen Esope reherceth to vs suche a fable / Of a woman whiche had a name Tahys / the whiche was cause by her feyned loue of the dethe and losse of many yonge men / to one of the whiche she had be bete ofte before that tyme / she sayd to hym in this wyse / My ryght dere loue and good frende / I suppose that of many one I am wel byloued and desyred / Neuertheles I shall sette my loue on thy self alone / wherfore I pray the that thow mayst be myn / and I shalle be thyn / for alle thy goodes I retche not / but only I desyre thy swete body / And he that knewe the feyntyse and falsheed of the woman / ansuerd to her / ryght benyngly and swetely / thy wyll and the myn ben both but one alone / For thow arte she whiche I moost desyre / and the whiche I shall loue alle the terme of my lyf / yf thow deceyue me nomore / For by cause that thow hast deceyued me in tyme passed / I am euer aferd of the / but notwhithstondynge this / thow arte now moche playsaunt and fayr to the syghte of me / And thus the one begyled that other /
For the loue of a comyn woman is not to be trusted / For thow oughtest to knowe and thynk within thy self / that the comyn and folyssh woman loue the not / but she loueth thy syluer

Caxton published his edition of Aesop's fables in 1484. There are modern reprints by Joseph Jacobs (D. Nutt: London, 1889) and more recently by Robert Lenaghan (Harvard University Press: Cambridge, 1967). Lenaghan's edition is available at amazon.com.