Geraardsbergen Manuscript, Text 23 (fols. 112v-113r)
In this twenty line verse text some general guidelines for good government are listed. Most of these suggestions are still valid today (on national level): a town should be governed harmoniously; the public welfare should be taken into account; justice should be equal for the rich and poor; one should be friends with the neighbouring towns; its freedom should not be violated; and those who misbehave should be ‘thrown out’. The text ends with a warning: ‘(Pay attention to this, because) it is an old lesson. If these guidelines are not followed, the town will be in fear! And (then) everyone should take a good look at himself, because he will die one day (and should better have confessed his sins by then).’
This reminder for governours to do an honest and a good job is a kind of short verse text that could be found posted on a town hall wall. Several examples of this and similar texts can still be seen in the Low Countries, painted on the beams supporting ceilings of large rooms:
- Brussels, City Hall (wedding room), post-medieval – Contact: Hôtel de Ville
- Deventer, Municipal Archives, medieval cut paper letters – Contact: Stadsarchief en Atheneumbibliotheek
See also: the complete table of contents.