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Home > Early Dance Texts > "Necessary Notes for a Courtier"



"Necessary Notes for a Courtier"

-- This is an appendix to Nicholas Breton's The Court and Country, or A Briefe Discourse betweene the Courtier and Country-man; of the Manner, Nature, and Condition of their liues (London, 1618). From W. C. Hazlitt (ed.), Inedited Tracts (New York, 1868)

-- E. F. Winerock

Necessary Notes for a Courtier.

WHAT is a Courtier?
Answer. An Attendant vpon Maiesty, a companion of Nobility, a friend to Vertue, and a hope of honour.
Quest. What things are chiefely to be required in a Courtier?
A. Two.
Q. What are they?
A. A good body, and a good minde.
Q. How are they to be vsed?
A. In humillity and ciuillity.
Q. To whom?
A. The first vnto God, the second to man.
Q. What are the proofes of a good mind?
A. Loue of goodnesse, and feare of greatnesse.
Q. What are the tokens of a good body?
A. Ability and agility.
Q. What preserues a good minde in goodnesse?
A. Prayer and Charity.
Q. And what keeps the body in strength?
A. Continence and exercise.

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Q. What is the chiefe grace of a Courtier?
A. The feare of God, and the fauor of a King.
Q. What is the Honour of a Courtier?
A. The loue of vertue.
Q. What is the wealth of a Courtier?
A. The loue [of[ a King.
Q. What is the charge of a Courtier?
A. Truth in Religion, care in his Seruice, loue to his Master, and secrecy in his trust.
Q. What is the care of a Courtier?
A. To deserue well, to keepe well, to liue well, and to dye well.
Q. What qualities are chiefely required in a Courtier?
A. Wisdome, Valour, Learning, and Bounty.
Q. What learning is most fit for a Courtier?
A. Diuinity, Philosophy, Policy, and History.
Q. What are the Ornaments of a Courtier?
A. Variety of Languages, obseruation of Trauels, experience of Natures, and the vse of Vnderstanding.
Q. What is a Courtier most to take heed of?
A. Enuious Ambition, malicious Faction, palpable Flattery, and base Pandarisme.
Q. What is a Courtier chiefely to take note of?
A. The disposition of the best, the words of the wisest, the actions of the noblest, and the carriage of the fairest.
Q. What things chiefely is a Courtier to be charie of?
A. His tongue and his hand, his purse and his midle finger.
Q. What conuersation is fittest for a Courtier?
A. Wise wits, noble spirits, faire eyes, and true hearts.
Q. How should a Courtier hope of aduancement?

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A. With prayer to God, diligence in his seruice, respect of persons, and iudgment in affections.
Q. What discourses are fittest for a Courtier?
A. Admiration of wisdome, desert of honour, truth of valour, and life of loue.
Q. What friends are fittest for a Courtier?
A. The wise and the wealthy, the valiant and the honest.
Q. What seruants are fittest for a Courtier?
A. The expert, the faithfull, the diligent, and the carefull.
Q. What is the true valour in a courtier?
A. To feare no fortune, to be patient in aduersity, to master affections, and to forgiue offenders.
Q. What are the follies in a Courtier?
A. Vaine discourses, idle complements, apish fancies, and superfluous expences.
Q. What are most dangerous in a Courtier?
A. To bee inquisitiue of Occurrents, to reueale Secrets, to scorne Counsaile, and to murmur at Superiority.
Q. What things are most profitable to a Courtier?
A. A sharpe wit and a quicke apprehension, a smo[o]th speech, and a sound memory.
Q. What should a Courtier shiefely ovserue in a King?
A. His wisdome, his valour, his disposition, and affection.
Q. What in a Councellor?
A. His religion, his reason, his car, and his iudgment.
Q. What in a Lord?
A. His title, his worthiness, his spirit, and his carriage.
Q. What in a Lady?
A. Her beauty, her portion, her parentage, and her disposition.

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Q. What in an Officer?
A. His knowledge, his care, his diligence, and his conscience.
Q. What time is best spent in a Courtier?
A. In prayer, in study, in graue discourses, and in good exercise.
Q. And what time is worse spent?
A. In deuising of fashions, in fitting of fancies, in faining of Loue, and in honouring vnworthines.
Q. What is commendable in a Courtier?
A. A concealing of discontentments, mitigating of passions, affability of speech, and courtesie in behauiour.
Q. What most delighteth a Ladies eye in a Courtier?
A. Neat apparell, wise speech, to manage a Horse well, to dance well.
Q. What most contenteth a King in a Courtier?
A. Religious valour, reuerent audacity, humble loue, and faithfull seruice.
Q. What is most troublesome to the minde of a Courtier?
A. Conscience and patience, continence and abstinence.
Q. What are most grieuous to a Courtier?
A. The frowne of a King, the displeasure of a Lady, the fall of honour, and the want of wealth.
Q. What friend shall a Courtier most rely vpon?
A. His God, his King, his wit, and his purse.
Q. What foes should a Courtier most stand in feare of?
A. Wanton eyes, glib tongues, hollow hearts, and irreligious spirits.
Q. What things are necessary for a Courtier to haue euer in memory?
A. Temperate speeches, moderate actions, deliberate inuentions, and discreete resolutions.

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Q. What delights are most fir for a Courtier?
A. Riding and tilting, hunting and hauking.
Q. What is most comely in a Courtier?
A. A stayed eye, a faire hand, a straight body, and a good legge.
Q. What should be hated of a Courtier?
A. Rudenes and basenes, sloathfulnesse and slouenlinesse.
Q. What speciall seruants of name are most fit for a Courtier?
A. A Barbour for his Chamber, a Taylor for his Wardrobe, a Groome for his Stable, and a Foote-man for his Message.
Q. What is the hapinesse of a Courtier?
A. To feare God, to haue the fauour of a King, to be able to lend, and to haue no neede to borrow.
Q. What is the shame of a Courtier?
A. To take much and giue nothing, to borrow much and lend nothing, to promise much and performe nothing, and to owe much and pay nothing.
Q. What should a Courtier be alwaies iealous of?
A. Insinuating spirits, intruding wits, alluring eyes, and illuding tongues.
Q. What is the life of a Courtier?
A. The labour of pleasure, the aspiring to greatnes, the ease of nature, and the commaund of reason.
Q. What is the fame of a Courtier?
A. A cleare conscience, and a free spirit, an innocent heart, and a bountifull hand.


Copyright 1999-2015 E. F. Winerock
Updated 10 March, 2015