Manuscripts and Special Collections

WLC/LM/4, f. 8v: William of Waddington, ‘Le Manuel des Péchés’ (composed c.1220-1240, Anglo-Norman)


¶ D e dames dium nus auant.
K e trop lunges uunt trainant.
M ielz ualdreit en almosne dune.
Q uantes traine suz le pe.
¶ L es guymples alsi ensaffronez.
P lus malement les auent dassez.
M eins sunt beles comest auis.
L eissent co dunc a tut dis.
¶ S i en les rues uet gigant.
H ome u femme sei demustrant.
Si co feit pur estre desire.
E n sun quor ad dunc pecche.


We will now speak of women, who go about with their trains too long. They would be much better giving the money spent [in indulging in this fashion] in alms to the poor, than trail it beneath their feet. In addition [this fashion of wearing] wimples dyed golden yellow with saffron will only add to the suffering that they will have.1 In my opinion, it does not seem beautiful at all. These actions allow all [the church authorities or teachings] to say that, if in the streets they go dancing, and make merry and in doing so show themselves off to men or women, if all of this is done in order that they make themselves desirable, then in that case they themselves have sin in their hearts.

1. 'auent' has the sense of 'coming' as in Advent. The line refers to the idea of suffering in Purgatory or Hell.

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