Monday, March 06, 2006

The Boke of Nurture, c.1460

If your sovereign will to the bath, his body to wash clean, Hang sheets round about the roof. This is how I mean, Every sheet full of flowers and herbs sweet and green, And look you have sponges five or six, thereon your sovereign to sit, And on it a sheet, so he may bathe him there a fit, Under his feet also a sponge, if there be any to put, And always be sure of the door, and see that it is shut.
Take a basin in your hand full of hot herbs and fresh And with a soft sponge in hand [start] his body to wash. Rinse him with rose water warm and fair upon his flesh Then let him go to bed, but see that it's sweet and nesh. But first set onhis socks, his slippers on his feet, That he may go fair to the fire, there to take his foot sheet, Then with a clean cloth to wipe away all wet.
Then bring him to his bed, his troubles there to beat.

- John Russell, The Boke of Nurture, c.1460

(found in "The Sweet Life", Reflections on Home and Garden, gathered and illustrated by Laura Stoddart)
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