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The commodities and nicetees of the Venetians and Florentines, with their Gallees. Chap. 7.

THE great Galees of Venice and Florence
Be well laden with things of complacence,
All spicery and of grossers ware:
With sweete wines all maner of chaffare,
Apes, and Japes, and marmusets tayled,
Nifles and trifles that little have avayled:
And things with which they fetely blere our eye:
With things not induring that we bye.
For much of this chaffare that is wastable
Might be forborne for dere and deceivable.
And that I wene as for infirmities
In our England are such commodities
Withouten helpe of any other lond
Which by witte and practise both yfound:
That all humors might be voyded sure,
Which that we gleder with our English cure:
That we should have no neede of Scamonie,
Turbit, enforbe, correct Diagredie,
Rubarbe, Sene, and yet they ben to needefull,
But I know things al so speedefull,
That growen here, as those things sayd.
Let of this matter no man be dismayde;
But that a man may voyde infirmitie
Without degrees fet fro beyond the sea.
And yef they should except be any thing
It were but sugre, trust to my saying:
He that trusteth not to my saying and sentence,
Let him better search experience.
In this matter I will not ferther prease,
Who so not beleeveth, let him leave and cease.
Thus these galeys for this licking ware,
And eating ware, bare hence our best chaffare:
Cloth, woll, and tinne, which as I sayd before,
Out of this lond worst might be forbore,
For ech other land of necessitie
Have great neede to buy some of them three:
And we receive of hem into this coste
Ware and chaffare that lightly wilbe loste.
And would Jesus, that our Lordis wold
Consider this well both yong and old:
Namely old that have experience,
That might the yonge exhort to prudence;
What harme, what hurt, and what hinderance
Is done to us, unto our great grievance,
Of such lands, and of such nations:
As experte men know by probations,
By writings as discovered our counsailes,
And false colour alwaies the countertailes
Of our enimies; that doth us hindering
Unto our goods, our Relme, and to the king:
As wise men have shewed well at eye;
And all this is couloured by marchandye.

An example of deceite.

ALSO they bere the gold out of this land,
And sucke the thrift away out of our hand:
As the Waspe souketh honie fro the bee,
So minisheth our commoditee.
Now wol ye here how they in Cotteswold
Were wont to borrow or they shold be sold
Her woll good as for yere and yere.
Of cloth and tinne they did in like manere:
And in her galies ship this marchandie:
Then soone at Venice of them men woll it bye.
Then utterne there the chaffare by the peise,
And lightly als there they make her reise.
And when the goods beene at Venice sold,
Then to carie her change they this money have,
They will it profer, their subtiltie to save,
To English marchants to yeve it out by eschange
To be payed againe they make not strange,
At the receiving and sight of a letter,
Here in England, seeming for the better,
by foure pence lesse in the noble round:
That is twelve pence in the golden pound.
And if wee wol have of payment
A full moneth, than must him needes assent
To eight pence losse, that is shillings twaine
In the English pound; as eft soone againe,
For two moneths twelve pence must he pay.
In the English pound what is that to say,
But shillings three? So that in pound fell
For hurt and harme hard is with hem to dwell.
And when English marchants have content
This eschange in England of assent,
That these sayd Venecians have in woone
And Florentines to bere her gold soone
Over the see into Flanders againe:
And thus they live in Flanders, sooth to saine,
And in London with such chevisance,
That men call usury, to our losse and hinderance.

Another example of deceite.

Now lesten well how they made us a valeys
When they borrowed at the town of Caleis
As they were wont, their woll that was hem lent,
For yere and yere they should make payment.
And sometime als two yere and two yeare.
This was fayre love: but yet will ye heare,
How they to Bruges would her woll carie,
And for hem take payment withouten tarie,
And sell it fast for ready money in hand.
For fifty pounds of money of losse they wold not wond
In a thousand pound, and live thereby
Till the day of payment easily,
Come againe in exchange: making
Full like usury, as men make undertaking.
Than whan this payment of a thousand pound
Was well content, they should have chaffare sound
If they wold fro the Staple full,
Receive againe three thousand pound in woll.
In Cotteswold also they ride about,
And all England, and buy withouten doubte
What them list with freedome and franchise,
More then we English may gitten many wise.
But would God that without lenger delayes
These galees were unfraught in fortie dayes,
And in fortie dayes charged againe,
And that they might be put to certaine
To goe to oste, as we there with hem doe.
It were expedient that they did right soe,
As we doe there. If the king would it:
Ah what worship wold fall to English wit?
What profite also to our marchandie
Which wold of nede be cherished hertilie?
For I would witte, why now our navie fayleth,
When manie a foe us at our doore assayleth.
Now in these dayes, that if there come a nede,
What navie should we have it is to drede.
In Denmarke were full noble conquerours
In time past, full worthy warriours:
Which when they had their marchants destroyed,
To poverty they fell, thus were they noyed:
And so they stand at mischiefe at this day.
This learned I late well writon, this no nay.
Therefore beware, I can no better will,
If grace it woll, of other mennis perill.
For if marchants were cherished to her speede,
We were not likely to fayle in any neede.
If they be rich, then in prosperitee
Shalbe our londe, lords, and commontee,
And in worship. Now thinke I on the sonne
Of marchandy Richard of Whitingdon;
That load sterre, and chiefe chosen floure:
What hath by him our England of honour,
And what profite hath bin of his riches,
And yet lasteth dayly in worthines?
That pen and paper may not me suffice
Him to describe: so high he was of price
Above marchants, that set him one of the best:
I can no more, but God have him in rest.

Now the principal matter.

WHAT reason is it that we should goe to oste
In their countries, & in this English coste
They should not so? but have more liberty
Then we our selves now also motte I thee.
I would to gifts men should take no heede
That letteth our thing publicke for to speede.
For this we see well every day at eye,
Gifts and fests stopen our policie.
Now see that fooles ben either they or wee:
But ever we have the worse in this countree.
Therefore let hem unto oste go here,
Or be we free with hem in like manere
In their countrees: and if it will not bee,
Compell them unto oste, and yee shall see
Moch avantage, and moch profite arise,
Moch more then I can write in any wise.

Of our charge and discharge at her marts.

CONCEIVE wel here, that Englishmen at martes
Be discharged, for all her craftes and artes,
In Brabant of her marchandy
In fourteene dayes, and ageine hastily
In the same dayes fourteene acharged eft.
And if they bide lenger all is bereft,
Anon they should forfeit her goods all,
Or marchandy: it should no better fall.
And we to martis in Brabant charged beene
With English cloth full good and fayre to seene:
We ben againe charged with mercerie,
Haburdasher ware, and with grosserie:
To which marts, that English men call fayres,
Ech nation oft maketh her repayres:
English, and French, Lombards, Jennoyes,
Catalones, thedre they take her wayes:
Scots, Spaniards, Irishmen there abides,
With great plenty bringing of sale hides.
And I here say that we in Brabant bye,
Flanders and Zeland more of marchandy
In common use then done all other nations:
This have I heard of marchants relations:
And if the English ben not in the marts
They ben feeble, and as nought bene her parts.
For they byemore, and fro purse put out
More marchandie then all the other rowte.
Kept then the see, shippes should not bring ne fetch,
And then the carreys wold not thidre stretch:
And so those marts wold full evill thee,
If we manly kept about the see.

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