School of Music
University of Nebraska--Lincoln
Lincoln, NE 68588-0100
(phone: [402] 472-2507; Internet: plefferts1@unl.edu)

Data entry: Jonathan Haupt
Checked by: Peter Slemon
Approved by: Peter M. Lefferts

Author: Cornysh, William
Title: A Treatise between Information and Truth
Source: John Skelton, Pithy Pleasaunt and Profitable workes of maister Skelton, Poete Laureate. Nowe collected and newly published (London: Thomas Marshe, 1568; reprint ed., Menston, Yorks.: Scolar Press, 1970) [STC 22608] [no pagination; here assigned 1*-6*].

[-1*-] In the fleete made by me William
Cornishe otherwise called Nyshewhete
chapelman with the moste famose
and noble Kyng Henry the VII. his Reygne
the .XIX. yere the moneth of Iuly A treatise bitwene
Trouth, and Information.

A. B. of. E how. C. for. T. was. P. in. P.


The hoole content.

The knowledge of God, passyth comparison
The devill knowith all il thing consented or done
And man knoweth nothing, saue only by reason
And reason in man, is diuerse of operation
How can then man be parfite of cognicion
For reason shall so reason that somtyme among
A man by information may ryghte wisly do wrong


The auctorised gospel and reason holdeth therwith
Whose litterall sence agreith to the fore seyng
Qui ambulat in tenebris nescit quo vadit
Now moralyse ye farther and peyse the contriuyng
I meane, bytwene trowth and sotele conveynge
Who gothe in the darke, must stumble amonge
Blame neuer a blynd man, thou he go wronge.


A Juge to the Jury nedes must geue credence
Now what yf they purpose fals maters to compase
[-2*-] The iudge must procede yet in him non offence,
For as they geue verdit, the iugement must passe.
But wher the faulte is, non dormit Iudas
For by fals informacion many tymes amonge
Right shalbe rewled and the righteouse shal do wrong

Euell information.

But woo to suche informers who they be
That maketh their malice the mater of the power
And cruelly without conscience right or pity
Disgorgith theyr venome vnder that colowre
Alas not remembryng their soules doloure
When, dies illa, dies ire, shalbe their songe
Ite maledicti, take that for your wronge.

A parable betwen informacion and Musike

The examples.

Musike in his Melody requiereth true soundes
Who setteth a song, should geue him to armony
who kepeth true his tuenes may not passe his sonds
His alteracions and prolacions must be pricked treuly
For musike is trew though minstrels maketh maystry
The harper careth nothing but reward for his song
Merily soundith his mouth when his tong goth all of wrong.

The Harpe.

A harpe geueth sounde as it is sette
The harper may wrest it vntunablye
Yf he play wrong good tunes he doth lette
Or by mystunyng the very trew armonye
A harpe well playde on shewyth swete melody
[-3*-] A harper with his wrest maye tune the harpe wrong
Mys tunyng of an instrument shal hurt a true songe

A songe.

A songe that is trewe and full of swetnes
May be euyll songe and tunyd amyse
The songe of hym selfe yet neuer the les
Is true and tunable, and syng it as it is
Then blame not the song, but marke wel this
He that hath spit at an other mans songe
Will do what he can do to haue it song wronge.

A claricorde.

The claricord hath a tunely kynde
As the wyre is wrested hye and lowe
So it tuenyth to the players mynde
For as it is wrested so must it nedes showe
As by this reson ye may well know
Any Instrument mystunyd shall hurt a trew song
Yet blame not the claricord the wrester doth wrong.

A trompet.

A trompet blowen hye with to hard a blast
Shal cause him to vary from the tunable kynde
But he that bloweth to hard must suage at the last
And fayne to fall lower with a temperat wynde
And then the trompet the true tune shall fynde
For an instrument ouer wynded is tuned wrong
Blame none but the blower, on him it is longe.

True counsell.

Who plaieth on the harpe he should play trew
Who syngeth a songe, let his voice be tunable
[-4*-] Who wresteth the claricorde mystunyng eschew
Who bloweth a trompet let his wind be mesurable
For instrumentes in them self be ferme and stable
And of trouth, wold trouth to euery manes songe
Tune them then truly for in them is no wronge.

Colours of Musyke.

In Musike I haue lernyd iiij. colours as this
Blake, ful blake, verte, and in lykewyse redde
By these colours many subtill alteracions ther is
That will begile one tho in cuning he be wel sped
With a prike of Indicion from a body that is dede
He shall try so his nombre with swetnes of his song
That the eare shalbe pleased, and yet he al wrong.

The practiser.

I pore man vnable of this science to skyll
Save litel practise I haue by experience
I meane but trouth and of good will
To remembre the doers, that vseth such offence
Not one sole, but generally in sentence
By cause I can skyll of a litle songe
To try the true corde to be knowen fro the wrong


Yet trouth was drownde he not sanke
But still dyd fleete aboue the water
Informacion had played hym suche a pranke
That with power the pore had lost his mater
Bycause that trouthe begane to clater
Informacion hath taught hym to solfe his songe
Paciens parforce, content you with wrong

[-5*-] Truth.

I assayde theis tunes me thought them not swete
The concordes were nothynge Musicall
I called Masters of Musike cunyng and discrete
And the firtt prynciple whose name was tuballe
Guido Boice John de Murris, vitryaco and them al
I prayed them of helpe of this combrous songe
Priked with force and lettred with wronge

True answere.

They sayd I was horce I myght not synge
My voice is to pore it is not awdyble
Informacion is so curyous in his chauntynge
That to bere the trew plainsong, it is not posible
His proporcions be so hard with so highe a quatrible
And the playn song in the margyn so craftely bound
That the true tunes of tuball can not haue the ryght sounde.


Well quod treuth, yet ones I trust verely
To haue my voyce and synge a gayne
And to flete out treuth and clarify truly
And ete suger candy adaye or twayne
And then to the deske to synge true and playn
Informacion shall not alwaye entune hys song
My parts shalbe true, when his countreuers shalbe wrong.


Information hym enbolded of the monacorde
From consonaunts to concordes he Musyd his mastry
I assayde the Musyke both knyght and lorde
But none wold speke, the sounde bord was to hie
Then kept I the plain keyes that marred al my melody
[-6*-] Enformacion draue a crochet that past al my song
With proporcion parforce, dreuen on to longe.


Sufferance came in, to syng a parte
Go to quod trouth, I pray you begyne
Nay sofft quod he, the gise of my parte
Is to rest a longe rest or I set in
Nay by long restyng ye shall nothing wynne
For informacion is so crafty and so hye in his songe
That yf ye fal to resting infayth in wilbe wrong


Informacion wil teche a doctor his game
From superacute to the noble dyapason
I asayd to acute and when I came
Enformacion was mete for a doble dyatessaron
He song by a pothome that hath two kyndes in one
with many subtel semetnens most met for his song
Pacience parforce, content you with wronge


I kepe be rounde and he by square
The one is bemole and the other bequare
If I myght make tryall as I could and dare
I should show why these .ij. kyndes do varye
But God knowyth al, so doth not kyng Harry
For yf he dydde then chaunge shold this .iiii. song
Pytye, for pacience, and consience, for wronge

Nenysswhete Parabolam

FINIS. Finis.

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