The Fardle of Facions, by Johannes Boemus

The Fardle of Facions, conteining the aunciente maners, customes and lawes, of the peoples enhabiting the two partes of the earth, called Affricke and Asie.


The first Chapiter.

The true opinion of the deuine, concernyng the beginnyng of man.

When God had in V. daies made perfecte the heauens and the earth, and the furniture of bothe: whiche the Latines for the goodlinesse and beautie thereof, call Mundus, and we (I knowe not for what reason) haue named the worlde: the sixth daie, to the entent there mighte be one to enioye, and be Lorde ooer all, he made the moste notable creature Man. One that of all earthly creatures alone, is endowed with a mynde, and spirit from aboue. And he gaue him to name, Adam; accordyng to the colour of the molde he was made of. Then drawing out of his side the woman, whilest he slept, to thende he should not be alone, knitte her vnto hym, as an vnseparable compaignion, and therwith placed them in the moste pleasaunt plot of the earth, fostered to flourishe with the moisture of floudes on euery parte. The place for the fresshe grienesse and merie shewe, the Greques name Paradisos. There lyued they a whyle a moste blessed life without bleamishe of wo, the earth of the own accorde bringing forth all thing. But when they ones had transgressed the precepte, they ware banysshed that enhabitaunce of pleasure and driuen to shift the world. And fro thenceforth the graciousnes of the earth was also abated, and the francke fertilitie therof so withdrawen, that labour and swette, now wan1 lesse a great deale, then ydle lokyng on before tyme had done. Shortly crepte in sickenes, and diseases, and the broyling heate and the nipping cold began to assaile their bodyes. Their first sonne was Cayin, and the seconde Abell, and then many other. And as the world grewe into yeares, and the earth began to waxe thicke peopled, loke as the nombre did encreace, so vices grew on, and their lyuing decaied euer into woors. For giltelesse dealyng, wrong came in place, for deuoutnesse, contempte of the Goddes, and so farre outraged their wickednes, that God skarcely fyndyng one iuste Noha on the earth (whom he saued, with his housholde, to repayre the losse of mankind and replenysshe the worlde) sente a floude vniuersall, which couering all vnder water, killed all fleshe that bare lyfe vppon earth, excepte a fewe beastes, birdes, and wormes that ware preserued in the misticall arke. In the ende of fiue Monethes aftre the floude began, the Arque touched on the mounteines of Armenia. And within foure Monethes aftre, Noas and all his beyng restored to the earth, with Goddes furtheraunce in shorte space repeopled the worlde. And to thende the same myghte euery wheare again be enhabited, he dispersed his yssue and kyndredes into sondrie coastes. After Berosus opynion he sent Cham otherwyse, named Cameses and Chamesenuus with his ofspring, into Egipte. Into Lybia and Cirene, Triton. And into the whole residewe of Affrike the ancient Iapetus called Attalus Priscus, Ganges he sent into Easte Asia with certeine of the sonnes of Comerus Gallus. And into Arabia the fertile, one Sabus, sirnamed Thurifer. Ouer Arabia the Waste he made Arabus gouernour, and Petreius ouer Petrea. He gaue vnto Canaan, all that lyeth from Damasco to the outemost bordre of Palestine. In Europe he made Tuisco king of Sarmatia, from the floude of Tanais vnto the Rhene. And there were ioyned vnto him all the sonnes of Istrus, and Mesa, with their brethren, fro the mounteyne of Adula to Mesemberia pontica. Archadius and Emathius gouerned the Tirianes, Comerus Gallus, had Italie and Fraunce, Samothes, Briteigne and Normandie, and Inbal, Spayne. That spiedie and vnripe puttyng forthe of the children from their progenitours, before they had throughly learned and enured them selues with their facions and maners, was the cause of all the diuersitie that after ensued. For Cham, by the reason of his naughty demeanour towarde his father, beyng constrayned to departe with his wyfe and hys chyldren, planted him selfe in that parte of Arabia, that after was called by his name. And lefte no trade of religion to his posteritie, because he none had learned of his father. Whereof it came to passe, that when in processe of tyme they ware encreased to to many for that londe: beyng sent out as it ware, swarme aftre swarme into other habitations and skatered at length into sondrie partes of the worlde (for this banysshed progeny grewe aboue measure) some fel into errours wherout thei could neuer vnsnarle2 themselues. The tongue gan to altre and the knowledge of the true God and all godlie worsshippe vanished out of mind. Inso muche that some liued so wildely (as aftre thou shalt here) that it ware harde to discerne a difference betwixte them and the beastes of the felde. Thei that flieted into Egipt, wonderyng at the beautie and course of the Sonne, and the Moone, as though there had been in them a power diuine, began to worship them as Goddes: callyng the lesse, Isis and the bigger Osiris. To Iupiter also thei Sacrificed, and did honour as to the principall of life. To Vulcan for fire, to Pallas, as Lady of the skie, to Ceres as gouerneresse of the arth, and to sondry other for other sondry considerations. Neyther staied that darkenesse of iniquitie in Egipte alone, but where so euer the progeny of Cham stepte in from the begynnyng, there fell true godlines, all oute of minde and abondage to the deuell entred his place. And there neuer was countrie, mother of moe swarmes of people, then that part of Arabia, that he, and his, chase to be theirs. So greate a mischief did the vntymely banishemente of one manne, bring to the whole. Contrarily the progenie of Iapheth, and Sem, brought vp to full yeres vndre their elders, and rightly enstructed: contentyng them selues with a litle circuite, straied not so wide as this brother had doen. Whereby it chaunced that the zeale of the truthe, (I meane of good liuyng and true worshippe of one onely God) remained as hidden in one onely people, vntill the tyme of Messias.

1 Wan and won were used indifferently. Thus in Drayton’s Polyolbion, xi., p. 864 we find —

“These with the Saxons went, and fortunately wan,
Whose Captain Hengist first a Kingdom here began.”

And in the same page:

“As mighty Hengist here, by force of arms had done,
So Ella coming in, soon from the Romans won
The counties neighb’ring Kent.”

2 To snarle, to entangle; hence, to unsnarle — to disentangle. “And from her head ofte rente her snarled heare.” Spencer, Faerie Queene, iii., xii., 17. “You snarle yourself into so many and heynouse absurdities, as you shall never be able to wynde yourself oute.”— Cranmer’s Answer to Bp. Gardiner, p. 168. “Supposed to be formed from snare.” [Nares.]

Last updated Friday, March 7, 2014 at 20:27