Project Gutenberg's The epistle of Othea to Hector, by Christine de Pisan

This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with
almost no restrictions whatsoever.  You may copy it, give it away or
re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included
with this eBook or online at

Title: The epistle of Othea to Hector
       or The boke of knyghthode

Author: Christine de Pisan

Editor: George F. Warner

Translator: Stephen Scrope

Release Date: October 25, 2019 [EBook #60567]

Language: English

Character set encoding: UTF-8


Produced by Richard Tonsing and the Online Distributed
Proofreading Team at (This file was
produced from images generously made available by The
Internet Archive)

Transcriber’s Note:

The cover image was created by the transcriber and is placed in the public domain.



Harley MS. 4431, FOL. 97b.

The Epistle of Othea to Hector
Translated from the French of Christine de Pisan
With a Dedication to Sir John Fastolf, K.G.

M.A., D.Litt., F.S.A., Assistant Keeper of MSS. British Museum
The Roxburghe Club
Is Dedicated and Presented
Longleat, March, 1904
The Roxburghe Club.



Longleat MS. 253, FOL. 22b.



The English version here printed for the first time of Christine de Pisan’s “Épître d’Othéa la deesse à Hector” is taken from a MS. which is believed to be unique, and which, if not actually the original, can be very little removed from it. The volume of which it forms a part is numbered MS. 253 in the valuable library of the Marquis of Bath at Longleat, but how or when it found its way thither it is impossible to say. There is little doubt, however, that it was acquired at least as early as the time of Thomas Thynne, first Viscount Weymouth, who died in 1714, and it is not unlikely that it has been at Longleat ever since the house was built by Sir John Thynne in the latter part of the 16th century. It is a small vellum folio, 9¾ inches by 7, in modern binding, and in its present state it consists of ninety-five leaves, the first seventy-five of which are occupied by the work in question and the remainder by an English poem or series of poems, probably also translated from the French, in which love is compared with the growth of a tree. The hand appears to be the same throughout and of a date about the middle of the 15th century. As may be seen from the page here reproduced (cf. p. 33), it is fairly neat and regular, but it is hardly the hand of a professional book-scribe, the type being that more commonly found in correspondence and business documents of the period. As to ornament, there is none whatever; for, although blank spaces were left for rubrics and initials, and in a few instances apparently for miniatures as well, for some reason they were never filled in. But the deficiencies of the MS. in this respect are of less practical importance than the mutilation inflicted later upon the text. In the main article, and consequently in this edition of xit, there are two lacunæ, one of a single leaf (p. 13) and the other of a whole quire of eight (p. 53), while the supplementary matter has been shorn both of its first leaf and of an unknown number at the end. Nor is the mischief confined to the loss of these portions of the text. Probably, as in the case of another work by the same translator,[1] there was a colophon which would have given interesting particulars of the origin of the whole MS., and unfortunately this also has perished. As the translator has been identified and as specimens of his handwriting are available for comparison,[2] the question whether the copy is in his autograph is easily decided in the negative, but beyond this little can be ascertained of its history. For reasons which will appear further on it is a tempting supposition that it is the “Boke de Othea, text and glose ... in quayers” (sc. quires), which is included in an “Inventory off Englysshe boks” belonging to John Paston the younger (?) in the time of Edward IV. (after 1474).[3] If, however, the latter MS. in its turn was identical with the “Othea pistill” which one William Ebesham wrote for Sir John Paston at a cost of 7sh. 2d. about 1469,[4] it contained no more than forty-three leaves. In the margin of f. 75b is an entry, made about 1500, of a certificate of the banns of marriage, real or imaginary, of William Stretford and Joyce Helle, the certifying minister being William Houson, curate; and from scribblings on f. 50 and elsewhere it may be inferred that at a later date in the 16th century the MS. was in the hands of a certain William Porter, who, to judge from the nature of his entries, was perhaps a scrivener’s clerk. There is more decisive evidence of ownership in the signature “Jo. Malbee” on the first page, written towards the end of the 16th century under the moral distich:

Viue diu, sed viue Deo; nam viuere mundo
Mors est. Hæc vera est viuere vita Deo.

xiThe same page also contains the initials J. M., probably meaning John Malbee, together with the old library mark, ix D. 72.

Before commenting upon the English translation something must be said of the original “Épître d’Othéa” and the remarkable woman who was its author.[5] In no sense was Christine de Pisan French by birth. Her father Thomas de Pisan, or de Boulogne, was, as she tells us,[6] a native of Bologna, and he may reasonably be identified with Tommaso di Benvenuto di Pizzano, who was Professor of Astrology there between 1345 and 1356.[7] Later he obtained the salaried office of State Councillor at Venice, where also he married, and where Christine, probably the eldest of his three children and the only girl, was born in 1364.[8] It was shortly after her birth that he was prevailed upon by the French king Charles V. to remove to Paris, and the fact that Louis the Great of Hungary was equally anxious to attract him to Buda shows how widely the fame of his learning and science had spread.[9] For fifteen years he had no cause to regret his change of country, for Charles not only made him his physician and astrologer with handsome emoluments, but treated him altogether with marked distinction. Christine, who with her mother joined him at the end of 1368, was thus brought up at the most brilliant and intellectual xiicourt of the time, and when, at the early age of fifteen, she was married to Étienne du Castel in 1379, her ties with it were further strengthened by her husband’s appointment as secretary to the king. This prosperity was rudely interrupted by the premature death of Charles V. on 16th September, 1380. In her own words, “Or fu la porte ouverte de noz infortunes, adonc faillirent à mon dit père ses grans pensions.[10] Thomas de Pisan in fact was growing old and out of fashion; with the loss of his place at court and its prestige he soon fell into neglect, and when in a few years he died, his wife and two sons were left dependent upon his daughter and son-in-law. Happily the latter still retained his post under the new king, and if he had lived all might have gone well, though possibly in that case Christine’s latent powers would never have been called into activity. As a climax, however, to her misfortunes Étienne du Castel was carried off by an epidemic at Beauvais in 1389, and she thus found herself a widow at twenty-five with three children besides others[11] to support out of what little she could rescue from the claimants to her husband’s estate.

Curious details of the protracted lawsuits and other troubles by which she was harassed during the next few years are given in several of her works; but it is enough to say that her tenacity and force of character carried her safely through until she made for herself a literary position which for one of her sex was probably without precedent. Excepting a few short pieces anterior perhaps to her husband’s death, she appears to have begun writing poetry as a solace in her widowhood. Such pathetic effusions as “Seulete suy et seulete vueil estre” and “Je suis vesve, seulete et noir vestue,”[12] with others in a similar strain, could hardly fail to excite sympathy, and she was thus encouraged to utilize her pen for procuring more material support. At the end of the 14th century xiiiall that an author struggling with poverty had to depend upon was the patronage and munificence of the great, and it may therefore have been mainly to suit the taste of those to whom she looked for favour and assistance that she composed the lighter and more amatory of the “Ballades,” “Lais” and “Virelais,” “Rondeaux” and “Jeux à vendre,” which were the earliest, and not the least charming, of her poems. Besides Charles VI. and his queen, the Dukes of Berry, Burgundy, and Orleans, and other princes, nobles, and great ladies of the French court, it is interesting to find among her warmest patrons the English Earl of Salisbury,[13] who came on an embassy to Paris in December, 1398. The theory that it was for him that she made the collection of her “Cent Ballades” rests on little, if any, foundation, but his friendly regard for her is shown by his having taken her elder son Jean du Castel, then thirteen, to England, in order to educate him with a boy of his own of similar age. By her own account, as it appears,[14] this was at the time of the marriage of Isabella, daughter of Charles VI., to Richard II., which took place at Calais on 4th November, 1396, so that she may have become acquainted with the earl during a previous visit to Paris, or while he was in France with Richard, who crossed over for the marriage as early as 27th September. If he had not met a tragic fate on 7th January, 1400, in an abortive attempt in favour of his deposed sovereign, Christine herself might have followed her son. At the same time Salisbury was not the only nor most influential admirer of her talent on this side of the Channel. After his death the usurper Henry IV. himself took charge of the boy and tried to induce her to settle in England, and it is to her credit that loyalty to the earl’s memory among other reasons made her xivobdurate. In order, however, to get back her son she feigned compliance until he was sent to fetch her, when she kept him with her and remained in France.[15]

Before this she had entered on the second stage of her literary career, to which the “Épître d’Othéa” most probably belongs. In 1399 she resolved to attempt longer and more serious poems, animated by a more or less definite moral purpose, and she began by preparing herself for this task by a strenuous course of study, as nearly encyclopædic in character as was then possible, though there is no reason to suppose that she was acquainted with Greek authors except through Latin translations. But her earliest poems of any length, issued between 1399 and 1402, were still of the nature of “Dits d’Amour.” Such, for example, were the “Épître au dieu d’amour” and the “Dit de la Rose,” the “Débat de deux amants,” the “Dit de Poissy,” with its lively account of her visit in 1400 to Poissy Abbey, where her daughter was a nun, and the idyllic “Dit de la pastoure.[16] The first two of these poems were written in defence of women against the aspersions of Jean de Meun in the “Roman de la Rose” and his school, and they involved her in a protracted controversy, in which with the valuable support of Jean Gerson she fully held her own. The moralizing element is much more strongly developed in the “Chemin de long estude,”[17] and the “Mutation de Fortune,”[18] which were composed in xv1402 and 1403. In the earlier of these somewhat prolix, but withal extremely interesting, works Christine is conducted by the Sibyl Amalthea through the known world,[19] and then ascends with her as far as the fifth heaven. After recounting these experiences she proceeds to inculcate doctrines of right and justice by means of an elaborate allegory, in which Raison, Sagesse, Noblesse, Chevalerie, and Richesse play the leading parts, room being also found for a glowing eulogy of Charles V. In the “Mutation de Fortune” she again indulges her taste for allegory, but in place of geography and astronomy other sciences have their turn. The introduction, which is rich in personal interest, deals with her father’s life and her own and then leads up to her dream or vision of the great “Chastel de Fortune.” This castle is in fact the world, and those who lodge in it are the various classes of mankind, who from pope and king downwards are vividly characterized; while the subjects painted on the walls of the hall give occasion for summaries of philosophy and of universal history to the birth of Christ, followed by allusions to more recent events and by another tribute to the virtues of Thomas de Pisan’s royal patron. On 1st January, 1403–4, Christine presented this poem as a new-year’s gift to Philip, Duke of Burgundy, brother of Charles V. The immediate result was a commission to write the late king’s life, and although the duke himself died on 27th April following, she completed this task within the year, sending a copy to his elder brother John, Duke of Berry, on 1st January, 1404–5.

The “Livre des fais et bonnes meurs du sage roy Charles V.” is the best known and in many respects the most valuable of all her writings,[20] and it also marks the beginning of the period when she practically abandoned verse in favour of prose. Though full of interesting details, the work is not so much a regular biography as an appreciation of the king’s character from the point of view of an enthusiastic partisan. To some extent Charles V. realized xviChristine’s ideal of chivalry, and in her discursive way she seized her chance to enforce by his example the paramount necessity to a ruler of a sound education and virtuous principles, with covert reflections no doubt upon the political rivalries and dissolute morals which under the unhappy circumstances of his successor’s mental disease were bringing ruin upon France. Of her remaining works “La Vision,”[21] which appeared later in 1405, is of peculiar interest for its self-revelation. It was apparently meant as a reply to those who, on the ground of her sex and foreign origin, questioned her right to pose as an authority on French history and morals; but with a frank recital of her chequered fortunes and a defence of her position she mixes up a curious allegory on the mighty power of “Dame Opinion” and a discussion on the comfort to be derived from philosophy. To quote a simile which she more than once applies to herself,[22] “petite clochete grant voix sonne”; and this may certainly be said of two ambitious treatises written seemingly about 1407. One of them is the well-known “Livre des faits d’armes et de chevalerie,”[23] which is nothing less than an attempt to teach the whole art of war, grounded largely upon Vegetius and other authorities, but not without shrewd and pertinent observations of her own; while in the other, entitled “Le Corps de Policie,” she takes up the subject of civil government, more particularly with regard to the education of princes and the duties and mutual relations of the several orders in the state. The “Cité des Dames”[24] and its complement the “Livre des Trois Vertus”[25] deal xviion the contrary with subjects which fell less disputably within her natural sphere. As we have seen, she had already championed her sex in verse. In coming forward again in its defence, but this time in prose, she went further, taking upon herself to lay down rules of guidance for women of all ranks, which she effectively did by allegory as well as by precepts and by historical examples.

In all these works her aims were moral rather than political. But although, considering her relations with the leaders of the contending factions, it is not surprising that she abstained from decisively taking a side, there is no doubt that she was profoundly moved by the growing miseries of her adopted country. As early as 1405 she addressed to the queen, Isabella of Bavaria, a letter[26] strongly advocating peace, and five years later she returned to the subject in a passionate appeal[27] to the princes generally and the Duke of Berry in particular. The “Livre de la Paix,” the different parts of which were composed respectively in 1412 and 1413 in connexion with the transient pacifications of Auxerre and of Pontoise, is of less restricted scope.[28] It was dedicated by Christine to the youthful Dauphin, Louis, Duke of Guienne, and after an earnest exhortation to harmony it is expanded into a formal treatise on the virtues that go to form the perfect prince, Charles V. providing her as usual with an ever ready example. This appears to have been the latest, as it is one of the most important, of her prose works; for although possibly some of her religious verses were composed in the interval, so far as is known she maintained an unbroken silence until 1429, when the triumphs of the Maid of Orleans drew from her a poem ringing with patriotic fervour,[29] her joy at the approaching deliverance of France being no doubt all the greater because its promised saviour was a woman. What her feelings were when these hopes were again deferred can only be imagined, for nothing more is xviiiheard of her. In the opening lines of her poem she states that she had then been eleven years in a convent,[30] but she omits to give its name, and the date and the place of her death thus alike remain unidentified.

Of all her works the one with which we are here specially concerned presents perhaps most difficulty with regard to date. In the best copies, as in Harley MS. 4,431,[31] it is headed “Ci commence lepistre Othea la deesse, que elle envoya a Hector de Troie quant il estoit en laage de quinze ans,” for which reason, coupled with its dedication to Louis, Duke of Orleans, it has been too hastily assigned to 1386,[32] when Louis himself was of that age. Against this date it is almost enough to urge that Christine was then only twenty-two years old, and from all that we know of her she was not in the least likely to have begun authorship so early with a long didactic treatise mostly in prose; but, apart from this, Louis was not made Duke of Orleans until 4th June, 1391, so that the work could not have been addressed to him, as it is, under that title five years before. Another theory, that, although dedicated to Louis, it was designed for the edification of his son and heir Charles[33] is not open to the same objections; for, as the future poet-duke was born in 1391, the date would then be 1406, at which time Christine was in full career as a moralist and prose-writer, with strong views, as may be seen in her “Fais et bonnes meurs du sage roy Charles V.”, on the subject of chivalrous qualities. On the other hand, if the facts were as supposed, in addressing the work to the father she would hardly have failed to make some explanatory reference to the son. Her omission to do so therefore makes this theory hardly less untenable than the other. It is xixmore likely that the date lies between these two extremes. The significance of the dedication may easily be overrated. It was Christine’s habit to send her works with a separate dedicatory preface to her several patrons as new-year’s gifts for no other reason probably than the hope of a tangible acknowledgment, and we know in fact that other copies of the “Épître d’Othéa” were sent both to Charles VI. and the Duke of Berry.[34] If it is necessary to look for some particular youth of fifteen to whom she wished to play the part of a moral instructress, he may perhaps be found in her own son, for whom on another occasion she wrote the “Enseignemens Moraux.”[35] Jean du Castel was probably of the required age about 1400, so that in this case the work represents, as it well may, the first-fruits of the studies in which she immersed herself shortly before, and its date moreover exactly accords with its position in her own collections of her works, where it comes after the “Dit de Poissy” (1400) and before the “Chemin de long estude” (1402).[36]

Although without any claim to be reckoned among the best of her works, it is at least admirable in motive. Ostensibly it is addressed by the Goddess of Prudence or Wisdom to her protégé Hector with the object of inciting him to the attainment of true knighthood by the practice of virtue, the name of the goddess being clearly no more than the Greek vocative ὦ θεά, commonly used in Homer in speeches addressed to Athena.[37] The plan of the work is somewhat peculiar. The epistle proper, which purports to be Othea’s own, is in verse, and is divided into a hundred “textes,” each of which after the first five consists of a single quatrain. These hundred “textes” serve as a medium for instilling into the mind of the pupil as many moral precepts or rules of behaviour, wrapped up in an allusion to some story from mythology, xxfrom the history of Troy or, very rarely, from other sources, without the least regard for chronological propriety. Othea indeed anticipates the charge of anachronism by claiming at the outset (p. 6) the divine prerogative of prophecy, by which means she obviates the incongruity of drawing lessons for Hector from the circumstances of his own death (p. 105), from the story of Cyrus and Queen Tomyris (p. 63), and even from the vision of Christ shown by the Sibyl to the Roman emperor Augustus (p. 113). Perhaps the most glaring anachronism is the reference to the fate of “Thune” (p. 110). It has been suggested in a note on the passage that this is a corruption in the MSS. for “Thyre” or Tyre; but the rhyme both in the French and English versions requires “Thune,” and possibly the allusion is to the much vaunted expedition of Louis, Duke of Bourbon, against Tunis in 1391. If so, this is a single instance of a reference to an event in more recent times. The “textes,” however, are not left to stand alone, being invariably followed by a “glose” and an “allégorie,” both of which are in prose and often of some length. The bulk of the work therefore is really a commentary by Christine herself upon Othea’s supposed teaching. Thus, in the “glose” she amplifies and explains the allusion in the “texte,” and as a rule points its application by a maxim from an ancient philosopher; and, having done this to her own satisfaction, she next dilates in the “allégorie” on its more spiritual meaning, which she illustrates by a passage from one of the Fathers or some later theologian, and finally by a more or less appropriate verse from Scripture. These last citations are from the Latin Vulgate, and from the fact that the translator omits them it may be inferred that he was either ignorant of Latin or intended to supply them from the Wycliffite English version. In this way Christine works through the Virtues and Vices, the Articles of the Creed, the Ten Commandments, the properties and influences of the seven planets, and so forth; and the whole forms a curious and ill-assorted medley, which is not without interest as a reflection of the taste of the time, but which contains, it must be confessed, little either to attract or to edify the modern reader.

No critical edition of the original work has yet appeared, xxiand the preface to a translation is hardly the place in which to enter minutely into its composition. Apart, however, from the Latin Vulgate and the theological writers whose names may be found in the index, there are three sources from which the matter appears to be mainly derived. Christine’s classical mythology, it is clear, comes almost entirely from the Metamorphoses of Ovid, but whether she had recourse to the original or to a moralized mediæval adaptation is a question not so easily determined. There is a work of the latter kind in French verse and of prodigious length, fourteen MSS. of which are known, including one in the British Museum (Add. MS. 10,324). By some misunderstanding it was formerly attributed to Philippe de Vitry, Bishop of Meaux (1351–1362). Modern criticism, however, has proved that it was really written by Chrétien Legouais, a Friar Minor, for the queen of Philip IV., Jeanne de Champagne, who died in 1305.[38] There was a copy in the library of Christine’s patron, the Duke of Berry,[39] but it was apparently acquired in 1403, after the “Épître d’Othéa” was written. Although it is quite possible that she had a direct knowledge of this poem, she is more likely to have used a moralized prose paraphrase of the Metamorphoses by the Benedictine Pierre Bersuire, who in his second edition, written at Paris in 1342, laid Legouais under contribution. Bersuire wrote in Latin, which language Christine certainly understood, and how soon his work appeared in French it is difficult to say. In the Berry Library there were three MSS. of the Metamorphoses apparently in vernacular prose,[40] any one, if not all, of which may have been Bersuire in a French version. There is also a French prose version in Brit. Mus. Royal MS. 17 E. iv. in company with the “Épître d’Othéa” itself, but the MS. is not earlier than the latter part of the 15th century. This version is closely xxiiconnected with that printed at Bruges in 1484 by Colard Mansion, who supposed the original author to have been, not Bersuire, but Thomas Waleys or de Galles. The two are, however, not quite identical, and the former possibly represents an older version, which Mansion revised for printing. But whatever the particular form of Ovid’s Metamorphoses which Christine utilized, her naive interpretations of his mythological tales are no doubt largely her own. In this respect she was certainly not in advance of her age. In the usual euhemeristic fashion she regarded the classical deities and demigods as men and women who by the “prerogative of some grace” had raised themselves above their fellows and were for this reason accorded divine honours; or, on the other hand, they were mere inventions of the poets, who, for instance, by inverting the process by which the planets were named from the gods, made gods of the planets. A fair sample of her method may be seen in the story of Perseus (p. 15). This hero, whose name, by the way, our English translator changed into that of the better known Arthurian Sir Perceval, was a “moult vaillant chevalier,” his steed Pegasus was “bonne renommée” or fame, which carried his name into all lands, and his deliverance of Andromeda teaches the aspirant to knighthood the duty of relieving all women in distress. So much may be learnt from the “glose”; but in the “allégorie” Pegasus becomes the spiritual knight’s good angel, “qui fera bon rapport de lui au jour de jugement,” while Andromeda is his soul, which he frees from the power of the fiend.

With regard to the many personages and incidents from Trojan history introduced into the work, Christine’s authority was evidently a French prose romance which in a 15th century copy in the British Museum (Add. MS. 9,785) is entitled “La vraye ystoire de Troye.” Its origin has been traced in an instructive article by M. Paul Meyer entitled “Les premières compilations françaises d’histoire ancienne.”[41] It appears to be founded upon the well-known romance of Troy in French verse by Benoît de Ste. More and to have been composed before 1287, and it was xxiiiemployed, instead of Dares Phrygius as was previously the case, in the second edition of the compilation known as the “Histoire ancienne jusqu’à César.” There is, however, no reason to doubt that what Christine worked from was the “Vraye histoire” itself.

The third authority of which she habitually made use was of a different character, supplying her, not with mythological or legendary tales, but with moral maxims, one of which, as we have already remarked, she generally quoted at the end of each “glose.” These maxims are derived from a singular work known as “Dicta Philosophorum,” and consisting of long strings of apophthegms attached to the names of various ancient sages. They begin with Sedechias, of whom it is said “primus fuit per quem nutu Dei lex precepta fuit,” and besides Homer, Solon, Hippocrates, Pythagoras, Diogenes, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Alexander of Macedon, and Ptolemy, they include Hermes Trismegistus and such strange and evidently corrupted names as Tac, Salquinus (or, as it is written in some MSS., Zaqualquin), Rabion (or Sabion), Assaron, Longinon, Magdarges, Texillus (or Thesillus) and others, some of which have a distinctly oriental appearance. The Arabic original in fact exists in a work written by Abu-’l-Wafá Mobasschir ibn-Fátik al Káïd, an emir of Egypt, in 1053.[42] Sedechias appears there as Adam’s son Seth, and some other of the above names may be dimly recognized in Sab, ancestor of the Sabæans, Lókman, Maháda Gis, and Basilius. From the heading of the Latin version in the MS. from which it has been published,[43] it seems that the work was first translated from Arabic into Greek, and then again from Greek into Latin, the last version being by John de Procida, famous for the prominent part he took in the revolution which freed Sicily from Charles of Anjou and the French in 1282. Christine de Pisan, however, apparently employed a popular French version made xxivfrom the Latin for Charles VI. by one of his chamberlains, Guillaume de Tignonville, who was afterwards Provost of Paris (1401–1408) and died in 1414. As a copy of it at Paris was written in 1402,[44] it was certainly completed before then, and the probability is that it preceded the “Épître d’Othéa” by several years. It possesses a special interest from the fact that an English version of it had the honour of being the first book actually printed in this country. This was the famous Dictes and Sayengis of the Philosophres, which Anthony Wydeville, second Earl Rivers, translated from a copy of De Tignonville’s work lent to him when he was going on a pilgrimage to Compostella in 1473, and which Caxton issued from his newly established press at Westminster in 1477.[45] Neither of them seems to have been aware that another English version was in existence, which dated from 1450.[46] This is still preserved in two MSS. in the British Museum, but has never been printed. The late 15th century copy in Add. MS. 34,193 (ff. 137–201) has the advantage of being complete, but it bears no evidence of origin, having neither title nor preface and ending merely with the words “Hic est finis libri moralium philosophorum.” Harley MS. 2,266, on the contrary, though it is mutilated at the beginning and elsewhere, fortunately has the following colophon:

“This boke byfore wretyn is callid in Frensh lettris Ditz de Philisophius and in Englysh for to sey the doctryne and þe wysedom of the wyse auncyent philysophers, as Arystotle, Plato, Socrates, Tholome and suche oþer, translatid out of laten in to frensh to (sc. for) kyng Charles the vite of Fraunse by Wyllyam Tyngnovyle, knyght, late provest of the cyte of Parys, and syth now late translatyd out of frensh tung in to englysh the yere of oure Lord mlccccl. to (sc. for) John Fostalf, knyght, for his contemplacion and solas by Stevyn Scrope, squyer, sonne in law to the seide Fostalle. Deo gracias.”

xxvThe truth of the statement here made may be accepted without hesitation, nor is its interest confined to the translation of the “Dis des Philosophes” to which it is attached, for, as will be seen below, it also materially helps to determine the similar origin of the English version of Christine de Pisan’s “Épître d’Othéa,” which we now have to consider.

If the rubricator had done his work, no doubt the “Epistle of Othea to Hector” would have had this title prefixed in conformity with the MSS. of the French original. As it is, the text begins abruptly without a word of heading three lines from the bottom of the first page, and the only preliminary indication of its nature is furnished by the inscription “The Booke of Knyghthode,” written, apparently by a somewhat later hand, on the old vellum cover, which now serves for a fly-leaf. This alternative title is peculiar to the English version, and is extracted from the translator’s dedicatory preface, to which source we are also indebted for a clue to his identity and the knowledge of the circumstances under which the translation was made. The anonymous patron, “noble and worshipfull among the ordre of cheualrie,” to whom the preface is addressed was obviously a person of some consequence. He was of knightly rank and had won great renown in France and elsewhere[47] abroad, having spent most part of his life in “dedys of cheualrie and actis of armis.” He was now, however, sixty years of age, and was compelled by failing strength to seek retirement, and he is thereupon somewhat pointedly reminded that it behoved him to devote the remainder of his days to conflict with those spiritual enemies that war against the soul. If this were all, it might have applied to more than one veteran of the protracted French war which began in 1415; but, when the writer goes on to speak of himself (p. 2) as “I, yowre most humble son Stevyn,” there can hardly be a doubt that, as in the case of the above-mentioned translation of the “Dis des Philosophes,” we have to do xxviwith that famous old warrior Sir John Fastolf, K.G., and his stepson[48] Stephen Scrope, esquire.

The briefest summary of Fastolf’s military career[49] will suffice to show how closely it accords with the writer’s description. Son of a Norfolk squire and born in or about 1378, he appears to have begun active service early in the reign of Henry IV. with that king’s second son, Thomas, afterwards Duke of Clarence. In 1401, though a mere lad of fourteen, Thomas of Lancaster, as he was then called, was appointed his father’s Lieutenant in Ireland. Fastolf was in his train there in 1402, if not before, and on 14th April, 1406,[50] he had from him a grant of the office of joint Chief Butler of Ireland during the minority of the Earl of Ormonde. He was still in Ireland when he married Millicent, daughter of Robert, Lord Tiptoft, and widow of the Deputy Lieutenant, Sir Stephen Scrope. The marriage took place on 13th January, 1409, only four months after the death (4th September, 1408) of the lady’s first husband,[51] whose son and heir Stephen was a minor ten or twelve years old at the time.[52] Besides other advantages, it gave Fastolf the control over lands of his wife and stepson in Yorkshire, at Castle Combe in Wiltshire, and elsewhere, and he seems to have exercised it with little regard to any one’s interest except his own. His earliest service in France probably dated from 1412. He figures in the long muster-roll of esquires who joined the expedition under Clarence in August of that year,[53] and before its close he had become Lieutenant of the castle of xxviiBordeaux.[54] With the accession of Henry V. his energy and undoubted talent for war found ample scope. His contract in June, 1415,[55] to serve the king with ten men-at-arms and thirty archers was speedily followed by Henry’s invasion of France and the siege of Harfleur. Evidently it was not long before he attracted notice, for when the town surrendered on 22nd September he was at once put in command of it under the king’s uncle, Thomas Beaufort, Earl of Dorset.[56] This did not prevent him from displaying his prowess a month later at Agincourt; and he was again active in the sieges of Caen and Rouen and in other operations during Henry’s second invasion of Normandy in 1417–1419. Hardly any name in fact of secondary rank more frequently recurs in the chronicles and documents of the war for a quarter of a century. Already knighted before 29th January, 1415–6,[57] he was made a knight banneret in 1423 and a Knight of the Garter in 1426; and, only to mention a few of the posts conferred upon him,[58] in 1420 he was made Governor of the Bastille of St. Antoine at Paris, in 1422 Master of the Household to John, Duke of Bedford, Regent of France, and in 1423 Lieutenant of Normandy and Governor of Anjou and Maine. In the minor battles and sieges which made up so much of the desultory warfare of the time he was everywhere conspicuous. On 2nd March, 1423, with the Earl of Salisbury, he recovered Meulan; on 17th August, 1424, he shared in the victory at Verneuil and took the Duke of Alençon prisoner; on xxviii11th October in the same year he captured Sillé le Guillaume, from which he acquired the title of baron; on 2nd August, 1425, again with Salisbury, he received the surrender of Le Mans[59]; and on 12th February, 1429, when in command of a convoy of much needed supplies for the English camp before Orleans, he signally defeated a far stronger force of French and Scots at Rouvray St. Denis in the famous “Battle of the Herrings.” Up to this point, so far as is known, he had met with almost uninterrupted success; but after the advent of Jeanne Darc had caused the raising of the siege of Orleans, when the English were routed and Lord Talbot was taken prisoner at Pataye on 18th June following, he barely succeeded in escaping from the field. Unfortunately for his fame with posterity, the charge of cowardice on this occasion made against him in Monstrelet’s Chronicle was repeated by Hall and Holinshed and has been perpetuated in the “First Part of Henry VI.”[60] The effect of the charge at the time was, however, transient at most, and there is no need to dwell upon it here, either on its own account or in its bearing upon the question whether he was the original of Shakespeare’s Sir John Falstaff. It is contradicted by the chronicler Wavrin, who fought in the battle under him, and it is out of keeping with his whole career; moreover, Talbot, who was his bitterest accuser, was already on ill terms with him and, having flouted his advice just before the battle, in his chagrin at defeat was perhaps only too ready to make him a scapegoat. The Regent Bedford’s action in the matter is significant; for, although Fastolf was at first badly received by him, after a formal inquiry he was again taken into favour and the Garter, of which he is said to have been deprived, was restored to him in spite of Talbot’s protests. Nor was less use made of his services afterwards. Thus, between 1430 and 1434 we find him Lieutenant of Caen and of Alençon and Captain of Fresnay, and in 1431 he relieved Vaudemont and captured the Duke of Bar. As late as xxix1435 he is spoken of as Governor of Anjou and Maine,[61] and until the Duke of Bedford’s death on 14th September of that year he continued at the head of his household, being so described both in a list of the Regent’s retinue in 1435 and in a highly interesting report on the conduct of the war which he himself drew up about the same time.[62] Bedford’s confidence in him to the last is also clear from the fact that he named him one of the executors of his will. Notwithstanding the loss of so powerful a patron and his own advancing years, Fastolf was plainly in no hurry to put off his armour; for, with the exception of occasional visits to England as before, he remained abroad for at least five years longer. His retirement is generally fixed in 1440, but there is evidence of his being in Maine in the following year.[63] On 12th May, 1441, the Duke of York, Bedford’s successor as Regent, granted him a yearly pension of £20 for his services,[64] and probably therefore it was not very long before or after that date that he finally turned his back upon the country from whose unhappy distractions he had won fame and fortune.

It is at this stage of his life that we get a glimpse of him in the dedication of the “Epistle of Othea.” From its language this was written soon after he finally returned home; in fact it gives his age, no doubt somewhat loosely, as sixty, whereas even in 1440 he was probably sixty-two. During the greater part of the period which elapsed before his death on 5th November, 1459, he seems to have resided chiefly in Southwark, where he was within easy reach of a summons to the King’s Council, of which he was a member; and there is something attractive in the picture which xxxStephen Scrope’s words suggest of the war-worn old soldier beguiling his leisure with literary studies. Nor are the “Epistle of Othea” and the “Sayings of the Philosophers” the only two translations made at his “commaundement” and for his “contemplacion and solas.” In 1481 Caxton printed an English version, rendered from the French of Laurence de Premierfait, of Cicero’s “De Senectute.”[65] On the question of its authorship I shall have some remarks to make further on; but meanwhile it deserves notice that its preface states that it “was translated and thystoryes openly declared by the ordenaunce and desyre of the noble auncyent knyght Syr Johan Fastolf of the countee of Norfolk banerette, lyuyng the age of four score yere, excercisyng the warrys in the Royame of Fraunce and other countrees, ffor the diffence and vnyuersal welfare of bothe royames of englond and ffraunce by fourty yeres enduryng, the fayte of armes hauntyng, and in admynystryng justice and polytique gouernaunce vnder thre kynges, that is to wete Henry the fourth, Henry the fyfthe, Henry the syxthe, and was gouernour of the duchye of Angeou and the countee of Mayne, Capytayn of many townys, Castellys and fortressys in the said Royame of ffraunce, hauyng the charge and saufgarde of them dyuerse yeres, ocupyeng and rewlynge thre honderd speres and the bowes acustomed thenne, and yeldyng good acompt of the forsaid townes castellys and fortresses to the seyd kynges and of theyr lyeutenauntes, Prynces of noble recomendacion, as Johan regent of ffraunce Duc of Bedforde, Thomas duc of excestre, Thomas duc of clarence & other lyeutenauntes,” etc.

At the same time, there was another side to Fastolf’s character, which is revealed in that mine of curious information on the social life and manners of the time, the well-known Paston Letters. Through his intimacy with John Paston,[66] who was ultimately his xxxiexecutor and principal heir, many of his private letters and papers are there preserved, and they certainly do not exhibit him in a favourable light.[67] Hot-tempered, arbitrary and rapacious, harsh and mean to his dependents, an exacting creditor and a rancorous litigant, he was the reverse of Chaucer’s type of the “verray perfight, gentil knight.” Wealthy as he was and childless, he was still bent on making gain, partly no doubt to pay for the building of his great castle at Caister in Norfolk, the ruins of which may still be seen. No one perhaps knew him better or had suffered more from his hard dealing than his stepson. Some years later than the present work Stephen Scrope drew up a formal statement of his wrongs,[68] in which he not only complained that in the disposal of his wardship Fastolf had bought and sold him “as a beast,” but even charged him with being the cause of illnesses which had marked him for life[69] and with having at a later period used him so scurvily that he was compelled to sell his manor of Hever in Kent and take service with the Duke of Gloucester. Apparently this sign of independence did not meet Fastolf’s views, for he soon managed to get him into his own retinue, and, as the other admits, at this time he showed him “good fatherhood,” employing him at Honfleur and elsewhere, probably in a civil capacity,[70] until he returned home in pique at some slight. Fastolf’s dealings with regard to Scrope’s inheritance are somewhat obscure, but by some arrangement he contrived to secure Castle Combe for life.[71] As Lady Fastolf died in 1446, her son by her first marriage, to whom it should have then come by right, was thus kept out of it for thirteen years longer, only enjoying it from his stepfather’s death in 1459 until his own in 1472. But in spite of xxxiidifferences the two were apparently not altogether on bad terms; otherwise neither this translation nor that of the “Dis des Philosophes” would have been made, and still less would Scrope have spoken of Fastolf as he here does. His language indeed is something more than respectful and laudatory. While he fully endorses Wavrin’s description of Sir John as “moult sage et vaillant chevallier,”[72] there is a tone of humility which makes it difficult to realize that the writer was upwards of forty years of age and at least Fastolf’s equal by birth. The nature of their relations may be gathered from a singular letter to the latter about 1455 from Sir Richard Bingham, Justice of the King’s Bench, whose daughter Stephen Scrope had recently married.[73] In imploring help for him the writer says[74]:

... My saide son is and hath be, and will be to hys lifes ende, your true lad and servaunt, and glad and well willed to do that myght be to your pleaser, wirschip and profit, and als loth to offend yow as any person in erth, gentill and well disposid to every person. Wherfore I besech your gode grace that ye will vouchesafe remember the premissez, my saide sons age, his wirschipfull birth, and grete misere for verrey povert, for he hath had no liflode to life opon sithen my lady his moder deed, safe x. marc of liflode that ye vouched safe to gife hym this last yer, and therffore to be his good maister and fader. And thof he be not worthy to be your son, make hym your almesman, that he may now in his age life of your almesse, and be your bedeman, and pray for the prosperite of your noble person....”

The result of this appeal, and of more to the same effect, is not recorded, but that Fastolf could be gracious enough in words is evident from the only letter from him to Scrope which is included in the Paston Letters,[75] written on 30th October, 1457. It is addressed, “Worschepeful and my right wel beloved sone,” and, xxxiiiafter thanking him for his “good avertismentys and right well avysed lettres,” begs him to recommend to his father-in-law, Justice Bingham, a suit in which the writer was interested, and the tone throughout is unexceptionable. There is, however, another letter in the History of Castle Combe (p. 270), written from Calais, and, according to the editor, about 1420, which is not so amiable. After Scrope’s second marriage he and his stepfather no doubt lived apart, but at the time when the “Epistle of Othea” was translated they were probably under the same roof, and as late as 1454, when Caister Castle was completed and Fastolf was about to take up his residence there, it is expressly stated that Scrope would live with him.[76]

While there is little doubt that he was incapacitated by weak health from military service and that he was deficient also in force of character, it cannot be said that, so far as we can judge from his two translations from the French, he possessed much literary ability. There is nothing original in either of them except the short preface to the “Epistle of Othea” here printed, and, interesting as this is in other respects, its style is so involved that in places it is hardly intelligible. Nor is the writer more fortunate in his account of the French work which he translated; for by some strange misunderstanding he deprives its authoress of the credit of it and makes out (p. 3) that it was compiled by doctors of the University of Paris merely at the instance and prayer of the “fulle wyse gentylwoman of Frawnce called Dame Cristine.” It is curious that a very similar statement is made as to her works generally in a marginal note in the “Boke of Noblesse,”[77] with xxxivreference to a passage taken from her “Livre des faits d’armes,” which, however, is wrongly spoken of as the “Arbre des batailles.” It is there said that Christine was a lady of high birth and character, who dwelt in a house of religious ladies at Passy (Poissy?) near Paris, that she maintained with exhibitions several clerks studying in the University of Paris and caused them to compile divers virtuous books, such as the “Arbre des batailles,” and that the doctors in consequence attributed the books to Christine herself. As this note is in the hand of the well-known William Worcester or Botoner, who was servant and secretary to Fastolf, the two statements no doubt had a common origin, coming perhaps from Sir John himself.

From the prominent way in which Scrope mentions the Duke of Berry it is reasonable to conclude that the French MS. which supplied him with the original text contained a dedicatory address by the authoress to that famous royal bibliophil, who, as we know, was one of her special patrons. In the inventory of his library, among the MSS. acquired soon after 1401, there is in fact the entry,[78]Item le livre de l’espitre que Othéa la deesse envoia à Ethor (sc. Hector), compilé par damoiselle Christine de Pizan, escript en françois de lettre de court, très bien historié .... le quel livre la dicte Cristine a donné à mon dit seigneur”; and the probability is that on Fastolf’s return to England he brought with him either this identical MS. or a transcript of it, together with a copy of De Tignonville’s “Dis des philosophes.” Existing copies of the “Épître d’Othéa” are not uncommon. In the Bibliothèque xxxvNationale at Paris there are twelve,[79] and Koch (p. 59) mentions six others at Brussels, while the British Museum possesses four. One of these is included in the fine collection of Christine’s poems and other works in Harley MS. 4,431. It is the MS. “H,” readings from which are given here in the notes, and the collotype frontispiece, which depicts the goddess Othea personally handing her letter to Hector, is reproduced from the second of its numerous miniatures, one of which precedes each of the hundred “textes.” The collection, which is of the highest importance, including pieces found nowhere else,[80] was made by Christine herself, apparently about 1410–1415, for the French queen, Isabella of Bavaria, the MS. beginning with an introductory poem of ninety-six lines addressed to her.[81] Probably it came into the possession of John, Duke of Bedford, Regent of France, in 1425[82] among other MSS. from the royal library of the Louvre; for the signature “Jaquete” of his second wife, Jacquetta of Luxemburg, is written on the fly-leaf, together with that of Anthony Wydeville, Earl Rivers, her son by her second marriage, in 1437, with Sir Richard Wydeville, who was created Earl Rivers in 1466. As we have already seen, xxxviAnthony, Earl Rivers, translated the “Dis des philosophes,” and he also made an English version, printed by Caxton in 1478, of Christine’s “Proverbes moraux,” the text of which he no doubt obtained from this MS. After he perished on the scaffold in 1488, the volume passed by some means to Louis de Bruges, Sieur de Gruythuyse, created Earl of Winchester in 1472, whose motto and name, “Plus est en vous. Gruthuse,” appear on the same page. In 1676 it belonged to Henry Cavendish, Duke of Newcastle, and no doubt it found its way into the Harley collection by the marriage of his grand-daughter Lady Henrietta Cavendish-Holles in 1713 to Edward Harley, Lord Harley, second Earl of Oxford in 1724. That it was known to Fastolf, when Master of the Household to the Regent Bedford, is likely enough; but the copy of the “Épître d’Othéa” included in it can hardly have been the one used by Scrope, as it is dedicated, not to the Duke of Berry, but to his nephew Louis, Duke of Orleans. After some lines of apostrophe to the “Fleur de lis” and to “Seigneurie,” which begin,

Tres haulte flour, par le monde louee,
A tous plaisant et de dieu auouee,

it proceeds,

Et a vous tres noble prince excellant,
Dorliens duc loys, de grant renom,
Filz de Charles Roy quint de cellui nom,
Qui fors le roy ne congnoiscez greigneur,
Mon tres loue et redoubte seigneur,
Dumble vouloir moy, poure creature,
Femme ignorant, de petite estature,
Fille iadis philosophe et docteur,
Qui conseiller et humble seruiteur
Vostre pere fu, que dieu face grace,
Et iadis vint de Boulongne la grace,
Dont il fu ne, par le sien mandement,
Maistre Thomas de pizan, autrement
De Boulonge, fu dit et surnomme,
Qui sollempnel clerc estoit renomme.

xxxviiThis is the dedication which appears, not only in some other MSS. but in the edition printed by Philippe Pigouchet at Paris, probably in 1490, under the title Les cent histoires de troye.[83] Of the other three manuscript copies in the British Museum, Royal MS. 14 E. ii. (f. 294) and 17 E. iv. (f. 272) have no dedication at all, while that in Harley MS. 219 (f. 106) appeals to a third patron:

Prince excellent de haute renommee,
De qui grand vois par le mond est semee,
Tres noble en fais, sage, duit et apris
De touz les biens qui en bon sont compris,
Roy noble et haut chiualer conquerour,
Digne destre par vaillaunce Emperour,
A vous puissant, tres redoute seignour,
Qui dessur vous ne cognoise greignour,
Soit tres humble recommendacioun
Deuant mise de vray entencioun
De par moy que en sagesse non digne
Femme ignorant suy nommee Cristine,
Fille iadis philosophe et docteur,
Qui conseiller fu, humble seruiteur
Au Roy Charles quint, qui dieu face grace.

The king who is thus addressed can be no other than the unfortunate Charles VI., although any hopes that he once excited had by this time been dispelled by his strange intermittent fits of insanity, which dated from 1392. Very similar terms were employed in the dedication to him by name of the “Chemin de long estude” in 1402:

xxxviiiA vous, bon roy de France redoubtable,
Le VIe Charles du nom notable,
Que Dieux maintienge en joie et en sante,
Mon petit dit soit premier presente,
Tout ne soit il digne qu’en telz mains aille,
Mais bon vouloir comme bon fait me vaille.

In this instance, however, Christine associated with him his uncles Berry and Burgundy and his brother Orleans, who during his incapacity divided the real power between them:

Et puis a vous, haulz ducs magnifiez,
Dicelle fleur fais et ediffiez,
Dont l’esplendeur s’espant par toute terre,
Par quel honneur fait los a France a querre.

In her presentation copies she was not wont to measure her language, and probably Scrope’s extravagant eulogy of the Duke of Berry was based upon what he found in his MS., although, instead of translating the dedication as it stood, he chose to embody it in his preface. On the other hand, Christine of course was in no way responsible for the statement that the duke lived for a hundred years (p. 3). How it originated is a mystery, for there is no doubt whatever that he died on 15th June, 1416, at the age of seventy-six.[84] Jean Bouchet indeed in his Annales d’Aquitaine,[85] although he records the date of his death correctly, states that he was ninety or thereabouts, but he gives no authority, and it is enough to say that Berry’s father King John II. was born in 1319, and his eldest brother Charles V. in 1337. It will be seen that Scrope represents him as a perfect paragon of chivalrous qualities, unrivalled in his time both in war and in council, as well as for deeds of piety. In more sober history, however, he by no means appears to such xxxixadvantage. His cultured and sumptuous tastes, his splendid buildings and his library and other rich collections, have shed a certain lustre on his name; but, as he showed especially in his government of Languedoc, he was cruel, rapacious, and unprincipled, and in critical times his life was that of a selfish and prodigal voluptuary. For war he had neither talent nor zest; his real element appears to have been diplomacy, and, apart from his patronage of art and letters and his benefactions to the church, his chief claim to credit rests on his repeated attempts to mediate between the Burgundian and Orleanist factions. Scrope’s estimate of him is in striking contrast with that of modern historians, such as Raynal[86] and Martin, the latter of whom in recording his death writes, “Ce prince laissa une mémoire souillée entre toutes dans cette êpoque de souillures. Il joignait à bien d’autres vices le vice que la France pardonne le moins à ses chefs, le péché irremissible, la lâcheté.[87]

To pass from the preface to the “Epistle of Othea” itself, there is no reason to suppose that the translator had received the training of a scholar; on the contrary, the probability is that, owing to a sickly youth and other drawbacks, his education had been more or less neglected. It is not even certain that he had been regularly taught French. From a curious passage interpolated by Trevisa in his translation of Higden’s “Polychronicon,” which was finished in 1387, it seems that the fashion was then already dying out among the class to which by birth he belonged,[88] and possibly therefore he learnt all he knew of the language while he was with his stepfather in France. Be that as it may, his rendering of Christine de Pisan’s French may claim on the whole to be fairly well done. The verse of his “textes” is too much of the doggrel type and his meaning is xlsometimes obscure, but as a rule he follows the original closely, while the orthography of the MS., though atrociously bad, is no worse than what we are accustomed to in the Paston Letters and elsewhere at the same period. Occasionally, as is only natural, he goes astray, though it is of course possible that the fault lay with the MS. from which he translated. In most cases the source of his errors is obvious. Thus he translates “ton bon cuer” (p. 5) by “all good hertys,” having evidently mistaken “ton” for “tou[t]”; and again “en quant fraisle vaissel est sa vie contenue” (p. 28) by “in how frele (sc. frail) a vessel his lyff is all naked” (toute nue)! Similarly “conscience pour soy” (p. 16) appears as “conscience for feyth” (foy); “ala querre les autres dieux” (p. 62) as “thanne went he forth [to seek] the tothir iio” (deux); “mais a nostre propos [la fable] veult dire” (ibid.) as “Mars to owre purpose seith”; and “gard toy de lagait (l’agait) de tes ennemis” (p. 73) as “kepe the (sc. thee) from the peple (la gent) of thyn ennemyes.” It is not so easy to understand the process by which the simple sentence “Vanite fist lange devenir deable” (p. 15) was transformed into “Vanite made avoyde degre to becum a fende,” whatever that may mean; or why in the story of Acis and Galatea (p. 65) “un iouuencel qui Acis estoit nommez” became “and he was dede” (sc. dead), though possibly in this case there was some confusion between “acis” and “occis.” But the strangest mistranslation is in the words “Averyse and covetise be iio sausmakers the which sesseth neuer to seye, ‘Bryng, Bryng’” (p. 105), where the French text has “sont ii. sancsues,” sanguisugæ, or leeches. The reference of course is to Proverbs xxx. 15, “The horseleach hath two daughters, crying, ‘Give, give’”; and, as stated in the note, “horseleeches” is in fact the rendering given in another translation of Christine’s work. Scrope’s “sausmakers” can hardly be anything but “sauce-makers,”[89] but it is not impossible that he coined the mongrel word “sanc-suckers,” which the scribe miscopied.

xliThe second English translation of the “Épître d’Othéa” referred to above can be so little known that a brief account of it will not be superfluous. It exists only in the form of a small printed octavo in black-letter with the title Here foloweth the C. Hystoryes of Troye, and there is no doubt that it was taken from Pigouchet’s French edition of 1490,[90] or one of the reprints; in fact it copies the second title in French, merely omitting the imprint “à Paris.” Many of its rough woodcuts, one of which accompanies each “texte,” also come from the same source, being generally reversed, but others are independent and their subjects often have no connexion whatever with the text. In place of the dedication to the Duke of Orleans the translator gives a prologue of his own in ten seven-line stanzas, the first two of which are as follows:

Boke, of thy rudenesse by consyderacion
Plunged in the walowes of abasshement,
For thy translatoure make excusacion
To all to whom thou shalt thy selfe present,
Besechynge them vpon the sentement
In the composed to set theyr regarde
And not on the speche cancred and frowarde.
Shewe them that thy translatour hath the wryten,
Not to obtain thankes or remuneracions,
But to the entent to do the to be wryten
As well in Englande as in other nacyons.
And where mysordre in thy translation is,
Vnto the perceyuer with humble obeysaunce
Excuse thy reducer, blamyng his ygnoraunce.

All the information which he gives about himself in this prologue is that, when he made his translation, he was “flowring in youth,” but after the “Finis” he has added, “Thus endeth the .C. Hystories of Troye, translated out of Frenche in to Englysshe by me. xliiR.W.” This again is followed by the colophon, “Imprynted by me Robert Wyer, dwellyng in S. Martyns parysshe at Charyng Crosse at the sygne of S. John̄ Euangelist besyde the Duke of Suffolkes place”; and it is therefore highly probable that R. W. and Robert Wyer were identical, though the latter is not otherwise known except as a printer. A list of nearly a hundred books issued by him has been made up,[91] ranging in date from 1530 to 1556, and all those which, as in this instance, have the Duke of Suffolk’s name in the imprint must have been published after 1536, when the property referred to, which previously belonged to the Bishop of Norwich, passed into his possession. The date of the book therefore is about 1540–1550, though the translation may have been made some years before. For the sake of comparison with the earlier version of Stephen Scrope, one of the texts with its commentary is here given:

The .xxviii. Texte.
Loue and prayse Cadmus so excellente,
And his dyscyples holde thou in chyerte.
He gaygned the fountayne of the Serpente
With ryght great payne afore that it wolde be.
The .xxviii. Glose.

Cadmus was a moche noble man and founded Thebes, whiche cytie was greatly renomed. He set there a study & he hym selfe was moche profoundly lettered and of great science. And therfore sayth the fable that he daunted the serpent at the fountayne, that is to vnderstande the science and sages that alwayes springeth; the Serpent is noted for the payne and trauayle which it behoueth the student to daunte afore that he maye purchase scyence. And the fable sayth that he hym self became a serpent, which is to vnderstande he was a corrector and mayster of other. So wol Othea say that the good knight ought to loue and honour the clerkes lettered, which ben xliiigrounded in science. To this purpose sayeth Arystotle to Alexandre, “Honour thou scyence and fortyfie it by good maysters.”

The .xxviii. Allegorie.

Cadmus whiche daunted the Serpent at the fountayne, whiche the good knyght ought to loue, we may vnderstande the blyssed humanite of Jesu christ, which dompted the serpent and gaigned the fountayne, that is to say the lyfe of this world, from the which he passed afore with great payne and with great trauayle. Wherof he had perfyte victory whan he rose agayne the thyrd day, as sayth S. Thomas,Tertia die resurrexit a mortuis.”

In conclusion it only remains to say a few words on the possible connexion of Stephen Scrope with two other works already mentioned, which, like his “Epistle of Othea” or “Boke of Knyghthode” and his “Sayings of the Philosophers,” were written for Sir John Fastolf or under his influence. One of them, the “Boke of Noblesse,” is preserved in a unique copy in the British Museum, Royal MS. 18 B. xxii., and was edited for the Roxburghe Club in 1860 by Mr. J. Gough Nichols. In the form in which it has come down to us, it was addressed to Edward IV. at the time of his invasion of France in 1475, professing to be “write and entitled to courage and comfort noble men in armes to be in perpetuite of remembraunce for here noble dedis, as right conuenient is soo to bee,” or, more precisely, for the purpose of inciting the English to recover by force of arms their lost foreign conquests. The contents were admirably summarized in the editor’s introduction, and all that need be said of them here is that, in addition to a highly interesting retrospect of English relations with France, they include a large amount of matter derived from a French treatise on the art of war, which is spoken of as the “Arbre de Batailles” and attributed to “Dame Cristyn.” Although the editor failed to identify the author, he pointed out that he must have been intimately associated with Fastolf and had access to his papers. Strictly speaking, Fastolf’s name is not specially prominent except in the marginal insertions and notes, where the writer refers to him xlivas “myne autor” and gives several curious anecdotes as heard from his lips. The body of the MS. is clearly not autograph; but these additions, together with the title and colophon,[92] are in a different handwriting, and, although the editor seems to have been unaware of the fact, it is beyond question that of William Worcester, or Botoner, who was not only Fastolf’s servant and secretary, but is also known as an annalist and a diligent collector of matter on historical, topographical and other subjects.[93] The editor therefore dismissed his claims to the authorship of the work rather too hastily, for, as the final touches were certainly his, the only question is whether he was also responsible for the whole of it from its inception. From the limit of date of the events mentioned there is some reason to believe that it was originally composed within Fastolf’s lifetime and was only revised and enlarged in 1475 for a special occasion; and its date may perhaps be fixed still more exactly, since there is an allusion (p. 42) to “another gret armee and voiage fordone for defaut and lak of spedy payment this yere of Crist Mlccccli.” Apart from the final additions there is evidence to connect Worcester with it in a passage of the prologue to a series of documents relating to the wars in France which were collected by him,[94] mainly no doubt from materials that belonged to Fastolf, and which may be regarded as pièces justificatives to the “Boke of Noblesse.” This collection also appears to have been designed for Edward IV., but the original prologue was awkwardly recast, as we now have it, after Worcester’s death by his son for dedication xlvto Richard III. The passage in it referred to, for which he is responsible, is as follows:

And I, as moost symple of reasone, youre righte humble legemane, cannot atteyne to understond the reasons and bokes that many wise philosophurs of gret auctorite have writtene upone this vertue of Force, but that my pore fadyr, William Worcestre ... toke upone hym to write in this mater and compiled this boke to the most highe and gretly redoubted kyng, your most nobille brodyr and predecessoure, shewyng after his symple connyng, after the seyng of the masters of philosophie, as Renatus Vegesius in his Boke of Batayles, also Julius Frontinus in his Boke of Knyghtly Laboures, callid in Greke Stratagematon, a new auctoure callid The Tree of Batayles.”

Obviously this cannot apply to the purely historical documents of which the collection itself consists. It is, however, strongly suggestive of the “Boke of Noblesse,” to which they are, as it were, an appendix, and coupled with the evidence of the handwriting of the additions, it leaves little room for doubt that William Worcester was its author. At the same time, it is by no means unlikely that Stephen Scrope also had a hand in it. If indeed it was wholly compiled in 1475, this is impossible, since he died in 1472.[95] Assuming, however, for the reason given above, that it dates from 1451, or thereabouts, he was residing at the time with Fastolf and was no doubt on familiar terms with Worcester. As already remarked, a prominent feature of the work is the number of extracts translated from the so-called “Arbre de Batailles” of “Dame Cristyn.” This, however, was not, as the editor supposed, Honoré Bonet’s treatise of that name[96] assigned to a wrong author, but Christine de Pisan’s “Faits d’armes et de chevalerie” under a wrong title.[97] Whether Worcester was capable of making translations xlvifrom it as early as 1451 is somewhat doubtful; for he seems to have only begun to learn French about August, 1458,[98] little more than a year before Fastolf’s death. Scrope on the contrary had before this translated two French works for the latter, one of them being by the same Christine, and it is therefore in this part of the “Boke of Noblesse,” if at all, that he may possibly have collaborated.

Unlike the last-named work, the anonymous English version of Cicero’s “De Senectute” which Caxton printed in 1481 has already been attributed to William Worcester,[99] the ground of this assumption being an entry made in his “Itinerarium,”[100] that on 10th August, 1473, he presented to Bishop Waynflete at Esher a translation which he had made of this treatise, but got nothing in return. Apart from this statement there is no more reason for attributing Caxton’s text to Worcester than to Scrope. The language is better than might have been expected from either of them, but as no MS. copy exists, we cannot tell to what extent it was edited by Caxton. In the preface, as may be seen above (p. xxx.), it is said that the translation was made from the French of Laurence de Premierfait by Sir John Fastolf’s “ordenaunce and desyre.” As there is no reason to doubt this, its date cannot be later than 1459, so that, if Worcester was the translator, he kept it at least thirteen years before he offered it to Waynflete. This does not seem very likely, and his translation was therefore possibly a different one altogether, completed shortly before the occasion when the bishop so disappointed him by his cold acceptance of it. xlviiThe earlier version in that case was almost certainly by Scrope; but, where so much is left to conjecture, the most that can be said is that the evidence upon which it has hitherto been assigned to Worcester is not wholly conclusive.

G. F. W.


P. 2, l. 6, for yowr emost read yowre most.

P. 11, l. 1, for streygth read strey[n]gth.

P. 19, l. 17, for yif is read yif it.

P. 56, Text lii., l. 3, transfer semicolon to end of line.

P. 72, note 3, for metu Dei read nutu Dei.

P. 104, Text xci., l. 3, for thyre read thyne.



Noble[101] and worshipfull among the ordre of cheualrie, renommeed ffor in as much as ye and suche othir noble knyghtes and men of worchip haue exerciced and occupied by long continuaunce of tyme the grete part of yowre dayes in dedys of cheualrie and actis of armis, to the whic[h]e entent ye resseyved the ordre of cheualrie, that is to sey, principaly to be occupied in kepyng and defendyng the cristyn feythe, þe rigth of the chirch, the lond, the contre and the comin welefare of it—And now, seth it is soo that the naturel course off kynde, by revolucion and successyon of .lx. yeeres growyn vpon yowe at this tyme of age and feblenesse, ys comen, abatyng youre bodly laboures, takyng away yowre naturall streyngtht and power from all such labouris as concernyth the exercysing off dedis of cheuallrie, be it yowre noble courage and affeccion of such noble and worchipfull actis and desirys departyth not from yow, yet rygth necessarie [it] now were to occupie the tyme of yowre agys and feblenes 2of bodie in gostly cheuallrie off dedes of armes spirituall, as in contemplacion of morall wysdome and exercisyng gostly werkys which that may enforce and cavse yow to be callid to the ordire of knyghthode that schal perpetuelly endure and encrese in ioye and worship endelese.

And therefor I, yowre most humble sone Stevyn, whiche that haue wele poundered and consideryd the many and grete entreprises of labouris and aventuris that ye haue embaundoned and yovyn youre selph to by many yeeris contynued, as wele in Fraunce [and] Normandie as in othir straunge regions, londes and contrees—and God, which is souuerayne cheueten and knyght off all cheualrie, hath euer preseruyd and defendid yow in all yowre seyde laboures off cheualrye into this day, ffor the which ye be most specyaly obliged and bownden to becom hys knyght in yovre auncient age, namely for to make ffyghtyng ayen youre goostly ennemyes, that allwey be redy to werre wyth youre sovle, the |f. 3.| which, and ye ouerecom hym, shall cawse yow to be in renomme and worchyp in Paradis euerlastyng—I, consideryng thees premisses wyth othir, have (be the suffraunce off yowre noble and good ffadyrhode and by yowre commaundement) take vpon me at this tyme to translate ovte off Frenche tong, ffor more encrese of vertu, and to reduce into owre modyr tong a Book off Knyghthode, as wele off gostly and spirituell actis off armys for the sowle hele as of wordly[102] dedys and policie gouernaunce, and which is auctorised and grounded fryst vpon the .iiii. Cardinal Vertous, as Justice, Prudence, Fors and Temperaunce, also exempled vpon the grete conceytys and doctrine off fulle wyse pooetys and philosophurs, the whiche teche and covnesell how a man schuld be a knyght for the world prynspally, as in yeftis off grace vsyng, as the Cardinalle Vertuus make mencion, ffryst in iustice kepyng, prvdently hym self gouuernyng, hys streynght bodely and gostly vsyng, and magnanimite conseruyng, and allso gouuernyng hymself as a knyght in the seyde Cardinall Vertuouse kepyng. Which materis, conseytys and resons be auctorised and approued vpon the textys and 3dictes off the holde[103] poetys and wyse men called Philosophurs. And allso ye schal fynde here in this seyde Boke off Cheuallry how and in whatte maner ye, and all othir off whatte astate, condicion or degre he be off, may welle be called a knyght that ouercomyth and conqveryth hys gostly ennemyes by the safegard repuignand defence off hys sovle, wich among all othir victories [and] dedys off worchip is most expedient and necessarie, where as dayly in grettest aventures a man puttyth hym inne and most wery he is to be renommed in worchip and callid a knyght that dothe exercise hys armes and dedys off knyghthode in gostly dedys, in conqveryng his gostly ennemees and ouyrcomyng þe peple and aventure off the world.

And this seyde boke, at the instavnce and praer off a fulle wyse gentylwoman of Frawnce called Dame Cristine, was compiled and grounded by the famous doctours of the most excellent in clerge the nobyl Vniuersyte off Paris, made to the ful noble famous prynce and knyght off renovnne in his dayes, beyng called Jon, Duke of Barry, thryd son to Kyng Jon of Frawnce, that he throwe hys knyghtly labourys, as welle in dedys of armes temporell as spirituell exercisyng by the space and tyme of .c. yeerys[104] lyvyng, flowrid and rengnyd in grete worchip and renownne of cheualry. And in thre thyngges generaly he exercisyd his knyghtly labowris. Thereof oon was in victories, dedis of cheualrie and of armys, in defendyng the seyde royalme of Frawnce from his ennemyes. [The second was] in grete police vsyng, as of grete cowneseylles and wysdomys, yevyng and executing the same for the conseruacyon of iustice and transquillite and alsoo pease kepyng for all the comon welleffare of that noble royaulme. The thredde was in spirytuell and gostly dedys yovyn ontoo for the helthe and wellfare of hys sovle. And in euery of these thre thynggys the seyde prynce was holden ful cheualrouse and suremounted in his dayes above all othir. Wych schewyth welle opynly to euery vnder-stander |f. 4.| 4in the seyde booke redyng that it was made acordyng to hys seyde victorious dedis and actis of worchip exercysyng.

And the seyde booke ys diuidyd in thre partys gederid in a summe of an .c. textys, drawen vpon the dictis and conceytys of the seyd most famous poetys off olde tyme beyng, as Vyrgyl, Ouyde, Omer and othir; and also with an .c. commentys therevpon, callid exposicyons or glosis vpon the seyde textys, of exemplys temporell of policie gouernaunce and worldlye wysdoms and dedys, grovndyed and also exempled by experiens and by auctorite of the auncient philosophurs and clerkes, as Hermes,[105] Plato, Salomon, Aristotiles, Socrates, Ptholome and suche othir. And vpon thies exemplis and glosis is made and wretyn also an othyr .c. allegories and moralizacions, applied and moralized to actis and dedys of werkyng spirituell, for to doctrine enforme and to lerne euery man nov lyvyng in this world how he schuld be a knyht exercisyng and doyng the dedys of armys gostly, for euerlastyng victorie and helthe of the sovle. Which allegories and moralizacions ben grovnded and auctorised vpon the .iiii. holy doctoris of the chirche, as Austyn, Jerom, Gregorie, Ambrose, alsoo vpon the Bible, the Holy Ewaungelistes and Epistollys and othyr holy doctorus, as here textis more opynly schalle appere hereafftyr. Fiat. Fiat. Amen.



Othea, of prudence named godesse,
That setteth goode in worthynesse,
To the,[106] Hector, noble prince myghty,
That in armes is evere worthye,
The sone of Mars,[107] the god of bateyle,
In dedys of armes which wyll not fayle,
And of myghty Minerve, the godes, |f. 5.|
The whiche in armes is hy maystres,
Sucessoure of the noble Troyens,
Heyre[108] of Troye and of the ceteseyns,
Salutacion afore sette plenere
I sende, wyth love feyned in no manere.
O good lorde, how am I desyryng
Thi grete avayle, which I goo sekeyng,
And that aumented and preseruyd
It may be, and euer obseruede
Thy worchipe and worthines in old age,
That thow hast gretly hadde in thi fryst age.
Now for to schewe the my pistile playnely,
I wyll the enorte and telle verily
Off thyngges that be ful necessarie
To hye worthynesse and the contrarie,
To the opposite off worthinesse,
So that all goode hertys may theym dres[109]
For to gete be goode besy lernynge
The hors that in the eyre is flyynge
(It is named the Pegasus truly),
6That all louers loueth hyly.[110]
And because of thi condycion
I knowe be rygth inclynacion
Able to take knythly dedys on hand
More than is in othir .v. score thowsand
(For as a godes I haue knovynge,
Not by the assay but by kunnyng,
Of thynges the which be on to kome),
I owthe to thynkke on the, hole and some[111];
For I knowe thowe shalte be euer duryng,
Worthiest of all the worthy lyvyng,
And schall afore all othir namyd be,
So that I may be belouyd of the.
Belovyd, why schuld not I be soo?
I am that the which arayeth all thoo
That loueth me and holdyth me dere;
I rede theym lessons in chaiere,
Which maketh theym clyme heuen onto.
I pray the that thow be oon off tho
That will here inne beleve me wele.[112]
Now sete it well thane in thy mynd and fele
The wordes that I wyll to the endyte,
And yf thowe here me owght telle, sey or wryte
Any thyng that for to come may be
As that I seye, vmbethynke the
As that they were past, so do thow oughte
Knowe ryght wele that they be in my thought
In the spyrite off profecie.
Vndirstonde wele nowe and greve not the,
For I shall no thyng sey but that schalle falle.
Thynke wele the comyng is not yet at all.

7Othea opon the Greke may be takyn for the wysedome off man and woman[113], and as ancient pepyll of hold tyme, not havynge yit at that tyme lyght of feythe, wirchippyd many goddys, vndyr the which lawe be passed the hyest lordes that hathe ben in the world, as the reaume off Assire, of Perse, the Grekys, the Troyens, Alexandre, the Romaynes and many other, anamly the grettest philosophurs that[114] euer was—so as yet at that tyme God hade not oppenyd the ȝate off mercy, but we Crysten men and women now at this tyme by the grace of God enlumynid wyth very feyth may bryng ayene to morall mynde the oppinyons of ancient pepyll and thereopon many feyre allegories may be made—and as they hade |f. 6.| a costom to worchipe all thynge the which above the comon cours of thynges hade prerogatyue of some grace, many wyse ladyes in there tyme were called godesses. And trwe it ys, aftyr the storie, that in the tyme that grete[115] Troye fflorishede in his grete name a ful wyse ladie callede Othea, consyderyng the ffre thought[116] of Hector of Troye, the which that tyme ffloryshed in vertues, and that it be a shewynge of fortunes to be in hym in tyme commynge, sche sent hyme many grete and notabil yiftys, and namly the fayre stede that men callyd Galathee, the which had no felawe in all the worlde. And becavse that all wordly grace[s] that a good man oughte for to have were in Hector, morally we may sey that he toke theyme by the cownsel of Othea, the which sent hyme this pystylle.

By Othea we schall vndirstond by the vertu of prudence and of wysedome, wherewyth he was arayed; and because the Cardinal Vertues ben necessarie to good pollicie, we schall speke of them, sewynge ich after othyr. And to þe fryst we have youen a name and takyn a maner of speche in some wyse poetykly, the bettyr to folewe owre matere acordyng to the very storie, and to owre purpoyse we schall take some auctoritees of ancient philosophres. Thus we schall sey that by the seyde lady this present was yovyn 8or sente to goode Hector, the which in lech wyse may be to all other desirynge bounte and wysedome. And as the vertue of prudence ought gretely to be recomendede, Aristotle, the prynce off philosophurs, seyth, “Becavse that wysedome is þe most noble off all othir thynges, it schulde be shevyd by the best resone and the most behouely maner that myghte be.”

Fore to bryng ayen to allegorie the purpos of owre matyr to owre wordes, we schall applique Holy Scrypture to edificacion of the soule, beyng in wrecheed worlde. As by the grete wysedome and hye myȝte of God all thynges that be resonabily made all scholde streche to the ende of hyme, and becawse that owre speryt, mad off God to hys lekenes, is made of thynges moste noble aftyr the aungelles, it is behouely and necessarie that it be arayed wyth vertues, whereby it may be conveyed to the ende for the which it was made. And becavse it was lettyd by the assautes of the wacches[117] of the enemy of helle, the which is his dedely enemye and aduersarie and oftyn distourbeth it to come to hys beaute,[118] we may calle mankyndely lyfe very cheualrie, as the Scripture seyth in many partes, and standyng[119] all erthyly thynges[120] be desceyvable,[121] we schulde haue in contynuell mynde the tyme |f. 7.| for to come, which is wythowte ende. And because this is the grete wysedome of perfite knygthhode and that all othir be of no comparison to regarde of the victorius peple the which be corounede in blys, we schal take a maner of speche of gostly knyhthode, that [is] to be done princypally to the preysynge of God and to the profyth of thoo þat wylle delyte theyme to here this present dittee.

Howe prudence and wysedome is modyr and conditoures of all vertues, wythowte the which the tothire may not be well gouernede, it is necessarie to gostly knyghthode to be arayed wyth prudence, as Seynte Austyn seyth in the book of Singularite off 9Clerkes,[122] that in what maner of place prudence be men may lyghtly cesse and amende[123] all contrarius thynges, but there w[h]ere prudence is despisyd all cont[r]arius thynges hath domynacyon. And to this purpoose Salamon seyth in his Proverbis, “Si [intraverit sapientia cor tuum et scientia animæ tuæ placuerit, consilium custodiet te et prudentia servabit te.”][124]


And to the entent that know may be
What thou schuldeste do, drawe vnto þe
The vertues that may the most restore,
The bettir to come to that seyde afore
Of the worshipful chevalroures.[125]
Allthoughe that it be aventerous,
Yet schall I sey whi that I sey thus.
A cosyn germayne[126] I haue, I wys.
Fullefyllyd sche is beaute wyth all;
But of all thynges in specyall
Sche ys ful softe and temperede full wele;
Of stroke of ire felyth sche no dele; |f. 8.|
Sche thynkkyth no thynge but of rygth balance.
It is the godesse of Temperance.
I may not all only but by hyre face
Haue the name of that by myghty grace;
For yef the weghte ne were sche to the made,
10The all were not worthe a leke blade.[127]
Therefor I wyll that with me sche love the.
Yf she wyll, lete hire note forgetyn be;
For she is ryght a wele lerned godesse,
Hyr witte I love and prays myche in distrese.

Othea seyth that Temperance is here cosyn germayne,[128] the which he schuld loue; for the vertu of temperance may veryly be seyde cosyn germayne and lykennd [to] prudence, for temperans is schewer of prudence and of prudence folwyth temperance. Therefor it is seide that he shulde hold hyr for his love; and euery good knygth shulde do the same, that desiryth due prayse of goode peple. As the philosophre Demetricus[129] seyth, “Temperance moderath vices and perfyteth vertues.”

The good spiryte shuld haue the vertue of temperance, the whiche [hath] the propirte to lemyte and to sede on syde superfluytes.[130] For Seynt Austyn seyth in the book of the condycions[131] ... of concupyscence, the whiche be contrary to vs and lettyth vs from Godes lawe, and more also to dispite fleschely delytys and worldly praysynge. Seynt Petir spekyth to that purpose in hys fyrst Pystyl, [“Obsecro vos tanquam advenas et peregrinos abstinere vos a carnalibus desideriis, quæ militant adversus animam”].[132]



And wyth vs strey[n]gth be honesty þe yete.
If that be gretter vertues thou sete,
Thou moste the turne toward Hercules
And behold wele his grete worthines,
In whome there was full myche bounte.
And to thi lenage all thoughe that he
Was contrarie and a grete name hym gate, |f. 9.|
For all that haue thou neuer the more hate
To his vertue, streyngth and nobylnese,
Which opynned the ȝates of worthinese.
Yet, though that thowe wylt folwe hys weye
And also hys worthines, I sey
It nedyth no thyng to the to make
Were[133] with theyme of hell ne no stryfe take,
Ne for to were wyth the god Pluto
For ony fauour Proserpyng onto,
The godes dowter called Ceres,
Whome he rauysched on the se of Gres.[134]
Ne onto the it is no mystyr[135]
That thow be Serebrus,[136] the portar
Of helle, besye the hys cheynes to breke,
Ne of theyme of helle to take any wreke,
The which to vntrewe wynnors be;[137]
Nor for his felaws as dede he,
Pirotheus and Theseus,[138] in fere,
The which that nere hand desceyuyd were
12[To] auenture theyme in that valy soo,
W[h]ere many a sowle hath ful mych woo;
For werre inougth in herthe[139] þou schalt fynd felle,
Thougth thow goo not to sek yt in helle.
It is no thinge necessarie to the
So to purchase or do armes, parde,
To go and fyghte with serpentes stynggyng,
With boores wylde or beerys rampyng.[140]
Wheythir thou ymagen this I wote noghte,
Or ell of wyldenes it commyth in thy thougth
Of worthines for to have a name.
In dystres, yf it be not for the same,
As ffor thy body the ffor to defende,
Yf that sych bestis wylde the offende,
Than diffence, if asailled thou be,
Withowte dowte it is worchip to the;
Yf thow ouercome theym and the saue,
Bothe grete lavde and worchip thou shalt haue.

The vertu of strength is not only to vndyrstonde bodely strength, but the stabilnes and stedefastenes that a goode knygth schulde haue in all hys dedis by deliberaciou of good wytte and strength to resyst ayens contrariousnes that may come onto hym, weythir it be infortunes or tribulacions, where strengh and myghti corage may be vaylable to the exaussyng of worthines. And alyche[141] Hercules for to gif exampel of strengh, to the entent that it may be doble availe, that is to seye, in as myche as tocheth to his vertue and anamly in dedes of knygthhode, wherin he was ryghte excellent. And for the hynes of Hector, it is a behouely thynge to gyfe hyme hy[142] example. Hercules was a knyghte of Grece of meruelyous strengh and broute to ende many knyghtly worthines. 13A grete iorneyer he was in the worlde, and, for the grete and meruelyous viagis and thinges of grete strenghe that he made and dede, the poietes, the wyche spak couertly and in maner of fable, seyde that he wente into helle to fygth wyth the prynces off helle and that [he] favth[143] wyth serpentes and fiers bestis, by the wyche is to vndirstonden the grete and stronge entreprises.[144] * * *


Elles arte thou note worthy an helme to were, |f. 10.|
Ne for to gouerne a reaume nowhere.[145]

Prudence seith to the good knyghte that, yf he will be on of the goode mennes rowe, he most haue the vertue of iustice, that is to seye, ryghtwyse iustice. And Aristotle seith he that is a rytewyse iusticer fryst shulde iustifie hym selph, ffor he that iustifies not hym self is not worthi to iustifye anothir. This is to vndirstond that a man shulde correcte his owne defavtes, so þat thei be holy fordone, and than a man so correctid may wele, and schulde, be a corrector of othir men. And to speke morally, ve shall tell a fable to this purpoise vndir the couertvre of poyetis. Minos, as poyetis sey, is a iusticer off helle or a prouoste or a cheife bayle, and afore hym is broughte alle the sowles descendyng into 14that vaylie; and afftir that they haue disseruede of penance as many degrees as he wille that thei be sette deipe, as ofte he turnyth his tayle abwte hym. And becawse that he is thee iustice ande the punyschment of God, lete vs take owre maner to speke oure speche veryly to that purpose. O trouth there was a kyng in Grece[146] called Mynos of mervelious fairnes,[147] and in hym was grete rigoure of iustice; and therefor the poietis seyde that aftir his deth he was commytted to be iusticer of helle. And Aristotile seyth, “Justice is a mesure that God hath sette in erthe for to limitte thereby thynges ryghtwysly.”

And even as God is hede of iustice and of all orderes, it is necessarye to the cheualerous sperit that wille come to the victorius blysse for to have this vertue. And Seynt Bernard seith in a sermone[148] that iustice is not ellis but to giffe euery man that his is. “Yife than,” seith he, “to .iii. maner of peple that the whiche is theires, that is to say, to thi souereyne, to thi felawe and to thi soget: to thi souereyne reuerence and obeissance of body; to thi falawe thou schulde gyffe counsel and helpe, counsel in teschyng hym where he is ignorant and helpe hym in comfortynge his owyn power[149]; to thi soget, thow schuldest gyf hym chastissyng and kepyng hym frome euyl dedes, in chastisyng[150] hym forgiffeyng hym that he hath doo amysse.” And thus hereto seyth Salomon in his Proverbis, “Ex[cogitat iustus de domo impii ut detrahat impios a malo.... Gaudium est iusto facere iusticiam”].[151]



Also remenbre the of Percyvale,[152] |f. 11.|
Whos name is knowen ouer alle
Throwghowte the worlde, both soft and hard,
The swyffte hors Pegasus afterward.
He roode hyme through the eyre flyyng,
And Andromeda in hys goyng
Fro the bellue[153] he hyr delyueryd
And wyth his streynght hir from hym revede,
As a ryght good errant myghtty knyghte
Brought hyr ageyne to hir kyne ful ryght.
Thys dede in yowre mynde loke that it holde,
For a good knyght shuld kepe that is bolde
Thys wey, if that he will haue exprese
Wyrchip, which is mych better than ryches.
Hys shynnynge shelde than loke thou opon,
The which haue euer ouercome many one.
Wythe his fauchon loke that thou arme the,
Both strong and stedefast than shalt thou be.

And because that it is acordyng thyng[154] for a good knyght to haue wirchip and reuerence, we shalle make a fygure aftyr the maner of poietis. Percevale was a ful worthi knyght and whan[155] many reaumes, and the name off the grete lande of Perce come of hyme. And poyetis seide that he roode the hors that flawe in the eyre, the which was called Pegasus; and that is to vnderstonde a goode name, the which flyeth through the eyre. He bare in his honde a fauchon or a glayve; the whiche is seide for the grete multytude of peple that were discomfyte by hym in maney batayles. He delyueryd Andromeda from the bellue; this was a kynggys 16doghter, the which he delyuered from a monstre of the see, the which by the sentence of the godes shulde a[156] deuoured hire. This is to vndirstonde that alle knyghtes shulde socovre women that hade nede of there socoure. This Percivale and the hors |f. 12.| the which fleeth[157] may[158] be notede for the good name that a goode knyghte shulde haue and gete by hys good desertes; and there shuld he ryde, that is to seye, that hys goode name shulde be borne in all contrees. And Aristotile seyth that a good name of a man maketh a name shynnyng to the worlde and agreable in presence of princes.

The cheualerours sperit shulde desyre a goode name among the felachipe of the seyntis of heuen gotten by his goode desertes. The good hors Pegasus that [beareth][159] hyme shall be his good angel, the which shall make good reporte off hyme at the day of dome. Andromeda that shal be delyuered, it is his sowle, the which he delyueres fro the feend of hell by the ouercomyng off synne. And that a man on the same maner wyse shuld wylne to haue a good name in this worlde to the plesaunce of God and not for vayne glorie, Seynt Austin seyth in the Booke of Correccion[160] that “ii. thyngges be necessarie to beleve wele,[161] that is to sey, good conscience and good name, conscience for feyth,[162] good name for his neyburwe; and [w]ho so trostyth in conscience and dyspiteth a good name, he is cruel”; for it is a synge of a nobyll corage to loue the wele of a good name. And to this purpoise seyth the wyse man, “Curam habe [de bono nomine, magis enim permanebit tibi quam mille thesauri preciosi”].[163]



And wyth thyne inclynacions
Off Jouis[164] softe condiccions
Loke thou haue; the better thou shalt be,
Whene that thow kepes theme ryghtfulle.

As it is seyde, poyetis, the whiche worchipped many godes, they helde the planetis of heuen ffor speciall godes, and of the .vii. planetes they made the .vii. dayes of the weke. They worchypped and helde Jouis or Jubiter for there grettest god, because that he is sette in the hyest spere of the planetis vndyr Saturne. The day off Thurseday is named of Jouis. And anamely the philosophres yaf and compared the vertues of the .vii. metallis to the .vii. planetis and named the teremys of there sciences by the same planetis, as a man may se in Geber[165] and Nicholas[166] and in othir auctoris of that science. To Jouys is youyne copyr or bras. Jouis or Jubiter is a planete of softe condicion, amiable and ful gladde and fygure[167] to sanguyne comp[l]eccion. Therefor Othea seyth, that is to sey, Prudence, that a good knyght shuld haue the condicion of Jubiter, and the same shulde euery nobyll man haue, pursewyng knyghtthode. |f. 13.| To this purpose seythe Pictogoras[168] that a kyng shuld be gracyously conuersaunt wyth his peple and shew to them a glade visage; and on the same wyse it is to vnderstond off all wordly peple tendyng to wirchippe.

18Now lete vs brynge to owre purpoyse in allegorie the properteis of the .vii. planetis. Jouis, the which is a softe and a mankyndly[169] planete, of the whyche the good knyght schulde haue condicions, may sygnifie to vs mercy and compassyon that the good knyght hade, Jhesu Cryste that is, the which the sperit schulde haue in hym selfe. For Seynte Gregorie seyth in the pistylle of Pontian,[170]I remembre not,” seith he, “that euer I herde or redde that he dyed of heuy dethe that hathe wylle to fulfylle the dedes of mercy, ffor mercy hathe many prayeres and it is inpossyble but that many prayeres most nedes be exauced.” To this purpose oure Lord seythe in the Gospell, “Beati [misericordes, quoniam ipsi misericordiam consequentur”].[171]


Off Venus in no wyse make thi godesse,
And for no thynge sette store by here promysse.
To folowe here it is rauenous,[172]
Both vnworchippefull and peryllous.

Venus is a planete of heuen, aftyr whome the Fryday is named; and the metall that we call tynne or pewter is yovyn to the same. Venus yiffeth influence of loue and of ydylnes, and she was a lady called soo, the which was qwene of Cippre. And because that [she] excedyd all women in excellent beaute and jolynesse, and was ryght amerous and not stedefast in o loue, and becawse that she yevyth influence of lecheri, Othea seyth to the good knyght that he make here not his godes. This is to vndirstond, that in sech lyfe he shuld not abaundon his body ne his 19entent. Armes[173] seyth that the vice of lecherye steynyth all vertues.

Venus, of whom the good knyght shuld not make hys godes, it is þat the good speryth in hym selphe shuld haue no vanyte. And Cassidore seyth vpon the Sawtyr, “Vanite made avoyde degre[174] to becum a fende and yafe dethe[175] to the fryste man and voyeddid hyme frome the blyssidnesse that was grawntyd on to hyme.” Vanite is modyr off all evelles, welle off all vices, and the weyne[176] of wykydnesse, the which puttyth a man oute of the grace of God and setti[t]h hym in his hate. To this purpose Dauid seyth in his Sauter, spekyng to God, “Odisti [observantes vanitates supervacue”].[177]


Yf thou asemble the in jugement, |f. 14.|
Be leke to Saturne in avisement;
Or that thou gyf thy sentence, veryly
Be ware that thou yif it not doutously.

Satyrday is named after Saturne, ande the metall lede is youen therto, and it is a planete of slow condicion, hevy and wyse. And there was a kyng in Grece hadde the same name, the [which] was full wyse, off whom poyetis spake vnder conuerteure of fable, and they seyde that his sone Jubiter kutte from hym his preuy menbres. The which is to vnderstond that he toke ffrom hym his myghte 20and dysheryted him and drwe[178] hym avay. And becawse that Saturne is hevy and wyse, Othea seyth that a good knyght shuld peyse a thynge grettely or[179] that he[180] shulde yefe his sentence, weythir that it be in pris of armes or of ony othir dede. And euery iuge may not[181] the same that hathe offices longgynge to iugement. And to thys purpoise Hermes seith, “Thynkke wele on all thinges that thou hast for to do and in especyall of iugement of othyr.”

As the good knyghte scholde be slowe in the iugement of othir, that is to sey, to peise wele the sentence or þat he gyf it, on the same wyse the goode spiryte shulde doo in that the which longyth to hyme; for to Gode longeth the iugement, the which can discerne cawses ryghtwysly. And Seynt Grigorye seyth in hys Moralles[182] that, whan owre frelnes cannot comprehende the iugementes of God, we oughte not to discute them in bolde wordes, but we ought to worchippe thyme wyth ferefull scilens and, how mervelyous that euer we thowght theyme, we shulde holde them iuste. And to this purpoose spekyth Dauid in the Sawter-booke, “Timor [Domini sanctus, permanet in seculum seculi. Judicia Domini vera iustificata in semet ipsa”].[183]


Lete thi worde be clere and trwe in kynde.
Appollo shall gif it the in mynde,
For he by no mene may non ordure
Suffir no wyse vndere couerture.

Appollo or Phebus, that is the sone, to whom the Sonday is yoven and allsoo the metall that is callyd golde. The sonne by 21hys clerenes shewyth thynges that be hidde; and therefore trewth, the whiche is clere and shewith secrete thynges, may be yofe to hyme. The which vertue shulde be in the herte and in the mowthe of euery good knyghte. And to this purpose seyth Hermes, “Love Godde, trowthe euer, and gyffe good counsell.”

Apollo, the whiche is to sey the sonne, by whom we notyfye trowthe, we may take that man shulde haue in hys mouth the trwthe of the very knyght Jhesu Cryst and flee all falsenes. As Cassiodyr seyth in the booke of Praysyng of Seynt Powle,[184] “The condicion of falsenes ys swche that, where as it hath no geyneseyyng, yit it falleth in hym selphe; butte the condycion of trowth is to the contrary, ffor it is so sete that the more geyneseynges of aduersytes that it hath, the more it encresyth and reysyth hym selphe.” To this purpose seith Holy Scripture, “Super [omnia vincit veritas].”[185]


Vnto Phebe resemble not. For why?
He[186] is to chaungable and enemye
To stedefastnes and to courage strong,
Malencolius is and full of wronge.

Phebe is called the mone, off whom the Moneday hath his name; and to hyme is yoven the metall that we calle syluyr. The mone resteth non oure in a ryghte poynte and yiffeth influens of vnstefastenes and foly, and therefore it is seyde þat a goode knyght shulde kepe hym from which vicys. And to this purpose Hermes seith, “Vse wisedome and be stedefast.”

Phebe the moone, that we not for vnstedefastnes, the whiche a 22goode knyght shulde not haue; on the same wyse the good sperit. As Seynt Ambrose seith in the pistil of Simpliciain,[187] that a foole is schawnegeable as the moone, but a wyse man is euer stedefast in o state, where he neythir brekyth for fere ner schawngyth for no myght; he reyseth hym notte in prosperite ner plangeth not in heuynes.[188] “There where wysedome is, there is vertue, strengh and stedefastnes. The wise man is euer of oon corage; it lessyth it notte, ne encressyth not, for [he] schawngyth notte in no maner wyse for no thyng; he flotereth not in dyuers opynions, but abydyth perfythe in Jhesu Cryst, gon growndid in charite and roted in feyth.” And to this purpose seythe Holy Scripture, “Homo sanctus [in sapientia manet sicut sol, nam stultus sicut luna mutatur”].[189]


I dowte notte in no wyse Mars thi fadyr.
Thow shalt folowe hyme in heuery matyr;
For thy hy and nobil condycion
Draweth therto thyne inclynacion.

The Twysday is named after Mars; and that metalle that we |f. 16.| callen iren is youen to hym. Mars is a planete that yifeth influence of werris and batayles; therefore euery knyght that loveth and schewyth armes and dedes of knyghthod and hathe a grete name off worthines may be callyd the sone of Mars. And therfor Othea named Hector so, notwythstondyng he was sone to Knyng Pryant, and seyde he wolde well folowe hys fadir in as moche as a goode knyght ought to doo. And a wyse man seith that by the dedes of a man men may knowe his inclynacions.

Mars the god of bateyle may wele be called the Sone of God, the whiche bateilled victoriously in this worlde, by example; [and the 23good sperit shulde] folow[190] his Fadere Jhesu Cryst and fyght ayens vicis. Seynte Ambrose seyth in the fryst booke off Offices that how so will be Godes frend, he must be the fendes enemy, whoo so will haue pees wyth Jhesu Cryst, he most haue werre withe vices. And even as in veyne men maketh werre in the felde wyth foreyne enemys there where the cete is full of homely spyes, on the same wyse non may ouercome the eveles outewarde that wyll not were strongly wyth the synnes of there sowlys; ffor it is the most gloryous victorie that may be, for a man to ouercome hyme selphe. And tho this purpose seyth Seynt Poule the postyle, [“Non est vobis colluctatio adversus carnem et sanguinem sed adversus principes et potestates,” etc.].[191]


Of thi faucon[192] be thou bolde and pleyne,
And of thi worde bothe clene and certeyne.
Mercurye schall teche the that, holde[193] and sounde,
The which of good spech knowyth wele the grounde.

The Wednysday is named after Mercurye, [the which] ys a planete that yevyth influence off pontificall behavynge and of fayre langage arayed wyth retorique. Therefor it is seide to the good knyte that he shulde be arayed therewyth, for wirchipfull behavynge and faire langage ys full behovely to all nobill pepyll desyryng the hy pris of worchipe, so that they kepe them fro to myche langage; ffor Dyogeneys seyth that off all vertues the more the bettir, saue of speche.

24Be Mercurie, the whiche is called god of langage, we may |f. 17.| vndirstonde that the knyghte of Jhesu Cryste shulde be armed wyth good prechynges and wordes of techynges, and all so thei shulde loue and worchyppe the schewers thereof. And Seynte Gregory seithe in his Omelyis þat men shulde haue the prechores of Holy Scripture in grete reuerence, for they be the masseyngeres that gone to[fore][194] owre Lord God and owre Lorde followyth them. Holy prechyng maketh the way, and than owre Lord commeth into the dwellyng place of owre hert; the wordes of exortacion maketh the coorse, and so trwthe is reseyuyd intoo owre vndirstondyng. And to this purpose owre Lorde seyth to his aposteles, [“Qui vos audit me audit, et qui vos spernit me spernit”].[195]


Of all maner sortes of armure
For to arme the wyth, bothe wele and sure,
Be thi moder inough sygned shall be,[196]
Mynerve, the which is not bitter to the.

Mynerve was a lady of grete connyng and fonde the craft to make armure; for afore the pe[p]yl armed theyme but wyth cuirboyle.[197] And for the grete wysdom that was in this lady thei called hyr a godes; and because that Hector cowde sette armure welle on werke and that it was hys ryght craft, Othea called hym the sone of Mynerve, notwythstondyng that he was sone to qwen Ecuba of Troye. And in the same wyse all that loueth armes may be named. And to this purpose an auctoure seith that knyghtes youen to armes be soggettes to the same.

25Where it is seide that good armurs and strong inewgh shall be delyuered to the good knygh by his modir, wee may vndirstond the vertu of feyth, the whiche is a devyne vertue and is modir to the good spyrite. And that she delyuerith armoures inow, Cassiodir seythe in the Exposicion of the Crede[198] that feyth is the lyth[199] of the sowle, the yate off paradyse, the wynddowe of lyve, and the gronde of the euerlastyng helthe, for wythowte feythe non may plese God. And to this purpose seyth Seynt Poule in the pystyll, [“Sine fide impossibile est placere Deo”].[200]


Joyne thou to the Pallas the godesse,
And sette hir ryght wyth thi worthinesse.
Yf thow haue hir, good fortune thou shalt fele;
Pallas wyth Mynerve is fittyng[201] full wele.

All so where it is seyde that Pallas sholde be ioyned wyth Mynerve, the which is wele fyttyng, men shall vndirstonde that Pallas and Mynerve ys all o thyng, but the names be diueres and be takyn to .ii. vndirstondynges. For the lady that is callyd |f. 18.| Mynerve was so surnamed Pallas of an yle that is called Pallance[202] of the whiche she was borne; and because that she generally in all thynges was wyse and foonde many nwe craftes, fayre and sotle, thei called hyr goodes of kunnyng. Mynerve is called thus in that which longeth too knyghthode, and Pallas in all thynges that longeth to wysdom; and therefore it is seyde that he sholde yeuen[203] wysdom and knythhode, the which is ful wele acordvng therto, 26and that armes shulde be keptte may be vndirstonde be feyth. To this purpose seythe Hermes, “Joyne the loue of feithe wyth wisedom.”

And as that Pallas, the whiche is notyd for wysedom, shulde be ioyned with knyghthode, the vertue[204] of hope shuld be ioyned with good vertues of the knyghtly speryte, wyhtowte the which he may not avayle. For Orygene seyth in the Omelies opon Exode that the hoope of the goodes that be for to come is the solase of theyme that trauellyth in this bodely lyffe, leche as to laboreres the hoope of there payment softeth there laboures off there besynes, and as [to] champyons that be in bateyle the hoope of the corowne of victorie esyth the woo of there wondes. And to this purpose seyth Seynt Poule the apostyll, [“Fortissimum solatium habemus, qui confugimus ad tenendam propositam spem,” etc.].[205]


Pantassele[206] haue thou fauour vnto,
That ffor thi deth shall haue moch woo;
Syth a woman shuld be loued and knowe,
Off whom so noble a voys is sowe.[207]

Pantasselle was a ful fayre mayden and qwen of Damazonie[208] and off mervelyous worthines in armes and in hardines; and for the grete goodnes that the hy name witnessed through the worlde of Hector the worthy she loved hyme ryght hertyly, and fro the parties of the est she come to Troye in the tyme of the grete segge for to se Hector. But qwen she fond hym dede, she was owte off mesure hevy and wyth a grete oste [of] ful cheualrous gentilwomen 27vigerously she vengyd his dethe, where she dide mervelyous worthynesses. And many grete greuaunces she dide to the Grekes. And because she was vertuouse, it is seide to the good knyght that he shuld love hyr, and that is to vndirstonde that euery good knyght shulde loue and prayse euer[y] vertuous persone, anamely a woman in strong vertue of wytte and off concyens. And this woman that is woofull for the dethe of Hector is vndirstonde by worthines and valure, when it is dull and deded in knyghthode. And a wyse man seyth, “Bounte shulde be alowyd where that it is perceyued.”

Be Pantasselle, that was socourable, we may vndirstonde the |f. 19.| vertue off cherite, the whiche is the .iiie. devyne vertue that the good speryte shuld perfytely haue in hym self. Cassyodir[209] seith that charyte is as the reyne, the which fallyth in the prime temps, for it distillyth the dropes of vertues, vndir the whiche greine [of] good wille groweth[210] and good hoope fructifyeth, that is to be pacient in aduersite, tempered in prosperyte, pacient in mekenesse, ioyeus in afflicciones, wellwyllyng to his enemyes and frendes, anamely to his enemyes to be comuniall of his goodis.[211] To this purpose seyth Poule the postel, [“Caritas patiens est, benigna est, caritas non emulatur, non agit perperam,” etc.].[212]


Narcisus[213] looke ye resemble not,
Nor into mych pride knyt your knot;
For to ouerwenyng hawteyn knyght
Off many a grace is voide full ryght.

28Narcisus [was] a yonge bachelere that ffor his grete beaute seysyd hym in so grete pride[214] that he hadde all other in disprayes. And because that he praysed noon but hym selphe, it is seyde that he was so amerous and assottede of hym selfe that he dyede after that he hade beholden hym selfe in the welle. This is to vndirstonde by the ouerwenyng or ouctrecuidez man of hym selfe, wherein he beholdyth hym.[215] Therefor it is diffendyth the good knyght to beholde hym selfe in hys good dedes, where throwe he myght be ouerwenyng. And to this purpose seith Socrates, “Sone, be ware thou be not disseyvyd in thi beaute of thi youthe, ffor that is no durable thyng.”

Now lete vs sette an allegorie applyyng to owre purpose to the .vii. dedely synnys. Be Narcisus we shall vndirstond the synne of pride, fro the wyche the goode speryte shulde kepe hym. And Orygene seyth in the Omelees, “Whereof it is that erth and asshes prydeth hyme, or how derre a man rayse hym in arogance, when he thynketh whereof he is comyn and what he shall become, and in how frele a vessel his[216] lyff is all naked and in what harlotrees he is plongeden and what onclene maters he sesseth neuer to cast from hys flesch be all the condittes off hys body?” And to this purpose seith Holy Scripture, [“Si ascenderit ad cœlum superbia ejus et caput ejus nubes tetigerit, quasi sterquilinium in fine perdetur”].[217]



Athamas full of ryght grete madnes, |f. 20.|
The goodes verily of woodnes,
She feirsly strangled hir childern tweyne.[218]
Therefor ire I thefende the pleyne.

Athamas was a kyng maried to qwene Yno, the which made sothyn[219] corne to be sowne for to disheryte hyr[220] stepe childire, for she[221] with mony coromped the prestes of the lawe, the which reported the answeres of the godes, thus seyyng to the kyng or to theyme of the cuntre that the corne that the men hadden sowene profyted not, where it plesyd the godes that .ii.o fayre and ientyl childir the whiche the kyng hade were dreven away and exiled. And becawse that the kyng consentyd [to] the exillyng of the .ii.o childyrne, all though that he dyde [it] ayens hys wylle and wyth grete sorowe, the fabyl seyth that the godes Iuno[222] wolde take vengance therefor and went into helle to compleyne to the godesse 30of woodnes that sche myght come to the kyng Athamas. Than the orrible and the fereful goodes come with all hir serpently herres and sette hyr on the fumerelle[223] of the palais and streged hir armes to bothe sydys of the yate, and than there began sych stryfe betwene the kyng and the qwene that werrant[224] yche of them hade slayne othir. And whan they wend a hade rune oute of the palais, than þe woode goodes drwe out of hyr ryght foule herres .iio. horrible serpentis and kest in there lappes; and qwen that the goodes saw theyme so ferefull,[225] than they wexe both madde. Athamas slewe the qwene for woodnes and than his .ii.o childerne, and hym selfe leep into the see of frome a h[i]ght roche. The exposycion of this fable may wele be that a qwen myght be so dyuers to stepe chyldirne that for some malice she myght disheryte hem, for the which after pes myght notte be hadde betwene the fadir and the steppe modir. And it myght be soo that at the last he slewe theyme. And because that ire is a dedly vice and soo evyle that he that is sore teynt therewyth hath no knowyng of reson, it is seide to the goode knyght that he shuld kepe hym from ire, for it is too grete defaute in a goode knyght to be angry. And there[fore] Arystotile seithe “Kepe the from ire, for it trobelyth the vndyrstondyng and destroubeth reson.”

Be Athamas, the which was soo full of ire, we shall propirly vnderstond the synne of ire, the whiche the goode spyryte shuld woyde from hyme. And Seynte Austyn seith in a pistyll, “Lech as venegre, where it is poote, corrompeth the vessell that it is in, yf it abyde longe therinne, so ire corrumpyth the hert wherein it is sette, yf that it abyde long thereinne, that is to seye fro day to day.”[226] |f. 21.| 31Therfor seyth Seynt Poule the postell, [“Sol non occidat super iracundiam vestram”].[227]


Off all thyng that thou may se with ey
Fle euer the fals godes envie,
That made Aglaros[228] grennere than ivie,
The which to a ston chaunged was þerby.

A ffable seyth that Aglaros was systyr to Herce, the which was soo feire that for hir beaute Mercurius the god of langage wedded hyr, and thei weyre Cycropos doghters, kyng off Athenes. But Aglaros hade so mych envie to hir syster Herce, the which for beaute was so avaunced as to be maried to a god, that sche become throw here ensorgyng in envye dry[229] and discolourd and grene as ivy leffe for the envie that she hade to hyr systyr. On a day Aglaros was sette on the thresshefolde of the dore and lettyd Mercurius the entre into the hous, ne for no prayowr that he prayed hyre she woolde not suffre hym to hentre. Then the gode wexe wroothe and seide that euer myght she abide there stylle, as harde as hyr corage was; and than Aglaros becomme as hard as a stone. Thys fable may be lekend in leche case to fall to some personys. Mercurius may be a myghty man, weele spekynge, the which made his sistir to be presound or to dye for some displesure that she hade doon to hyme, and therefor it is seide that she was chaunged to a stone. And becawse it is to folow a aspotte[230] ayens ientylnes to be envyous, it is seide to the goode knyght that of all thynges he kepte hym therfro. 32And Socrates seyth, “He that beryth the fardell of envie hathe perpetuell peyne.”

Lyche as this auctorite dyffendyth the good knyghte envie the vice, Holy Scripture defendyth the good spyryte. And Seynt Austyn seyth[231] that envie ys hate of othir felycite, for the dedes of the envyos man strecheth ayens tho that be gretter than he by cawse that he is not so grete as they, ayens tho that be evenly to hyme because that he is notte gretter than they, and ayens tho that be lesse than he for fere that they shold wexe as grete as he. To this purpose Holy Scripture seyth, [“Nequam est oculus invidi et avertens faciem suam”].[232]


Ferre ne[233] slowe be ware that thou not be;
Fro[234] the malyce loke that thou kepe the
Off Vlyxes, that the geauntes ye[235]
Stale, though he looke neuer so clerely.

A ffable seyth that, when Vlixes retorned into Grece aftir the |f. 22.| destruccion off Troye, grete rages of tempestes brought hys chip into an ile where a geaunt was that hade but on eye in the myddes of his forred, the whiche was of an hooges gretnes. Vlixes by hy sutylte stale it and toke it fro hym, that ys to saye he putte it owte. This is to vndyrstond that the good knyght shulde be ware that slowthe ouercome hym not with disseytes and willes of malycyous peple, so that his eye be not takyn away, that is to seye, the eye of his vndirstondynge in his worchip, in his gettyng or in that the which is derrer to hym, as many inconu[en]iencies falleth ofte throwe slowthe and lachesse. And to this purpose Hermes seythe, “Blyssyd is he that vsyth hys dayes in dwe occupacions.”

33Where it is seide that the good knygh shulde not be ferre ne slowe, we may vndyrstond the synne of slewthe, the which the good spiryte shuld not haue. For, as Bede[236] seith in Salomones Prouerbes, the slowe man is not worthi to rengne with God, the which wil not laboure for the lowe of God, and he is not worthi to receyve the coronne promysyd to knyghtes that is a coward to vndyrtake feldes of baytaile. Therefor the Scripture seyth, [“Cogitationes robusti semper in abundantia, omnis autem piger semper in egestate est”].[237]


In no wyse stryve wyth no frosses,[238]
Ne defoule the not in there brothes.
Ayens Lathonna thei assembled sore,
And trobled the clere water hir afore.

The fable seith that the godesse Lathonna was modyr to Phebus and to Phebe, the which is the sone and the moone, and she bare theyme both in her wombe. Juno chased hir in euery contre becawse she was conseyvyd wyth Jubiter hir housbond. On a day the godesse Lathonna was trauelled gretly, and she arivede on a wassh and than she aboode opon the watter for to stawnsh hyr grete thyrste there where a grete feleshyp of carles were ffor to bathe them in the watyr ffor the hete of the sone. And [they] began to chide Lathonna and trobylyd hyr watyr that she [thought][239] to haue dronkyn of, and for no prayer that she made they wolde not suffyr hir drynke ne had no pete of hyre myschefe. Than she coursyd theyme and seyde that euer aftyr mote they abyde stylle 34in the broththe[240]; than were they fowle and abominable and cesyd neuer of brayeng ne chydyng. So the carles become frosshes, the which neuer sythyn cessed of brayng, as it shewyth in somer tyme by reuerys sydys. This may be takyn be communes that dedde some dysplesur to summe grete maystres, the which made them to be cast in a reuer and to be drounede, and thus become they |f. 23.| frosshes. And it is to vndyrstond that a knyght goodly shuld not fyll hyme in the brothe of veleny, ffor leche as veleny may not suffre ientylnesse, on the same wyse ientylnes in hym self may not suffre velany, anamely not to stryve ne make debate wyth a persone vilens of condicions, ne to speke outrageously. Platon seith he that ioyneth to his ientylnes nobilnesse of goode condicions is to prayse and he that holdyth hym content with the ientylnes that comyth of his kyne withowtyn addyng thereto some goode condicions shulde not be holdyn nobyll.

Be the carles that become frosshes we may vndyrstonde the synne of covetyse, the which is contrary to the good sperit. For Seynt Austyn[241] seith that a couetous man is leche to hell, for hell cannot swolve so many sowlis to seye that he hathe inowe. Euen so, thow all tresowre of the worlde were heppid togedir to the possession of the couetous man, he shuld not yette [be] satisffiede. To this purpose the Scripture seith, [“Insatiabilis oculus cupidi in partes iniquitatis non satiabitur”].[242]


Acorde for no thyng with the god Bachus,
For his tachys[243] be bothe fowle and vicyous.
His disportis be neyther goode ne fyne,
For he maketh the pepyll turne to swyne.

35Bachus was the man that fryst plantyde vines in Grece, and qwan thei of the cuntre felthe the streyngth of the wyne, þe which made thyme drownkyn, thei seide that Bachus was a god, the which hadde yovyn syche streynghte to his plante. By Bachus is vndirstond drwnkkynnes, as that the whiche is a full vnbehouely thyng to all noble men and to a man that wolde vse reson. And to this purpose Ypocras[244] seyth that superfluites of vynes and metes distroyith body, sowle and vertues.

Be the god Bachus we may vndirstond the synne off glotenye, ffor the which the good spyryt shuld kepe hym. Seynt Grigory seyth in his Morralles[245] that, qwan the vice of glotenye hathe the maystry of a person, he lesseth all the good that he hath doone; for, qwenne the bely is not restreynyd by abstynence, all vertues ben drouned togedir. And therefor Seynt Poule seith, [“Quorum finis interitus, quorum deus venter est,” etc.][246]


Pimaliones ymage for to fele,
Iff that thou be wyse, sette þerby no deele, |f. 24.|
For of siche an ymage so wele wroght
The beaute thereof is to dere bought.

Pymalion was a ful sotyl workeman in makyng of ymages, and a ffable seith þat, for þe grete lewdenes that he sawe in the women of Cidonie,[247] he dispreisyd them and seyde he shuld make an ymage wherein ther shulde be no thyng for to blame. He mad an ymage after a woman, of souereyne beaute. When he had full made it, 36loue, the which sotely can ravysshe hertis, made hym to be amorous opon the ymage, so that for hire he was vexed with wooes of love, full of clamorous and full of petyous syghynges that he made to hit. Butte the ymage, which was of ston, vndirstode hym notte. Pymalion wente to the temple of Venus and he made there so deuote prayores to hyre that the godesse [was full] of pete,[248] and in shewyng therof the brond that she helde be hire selfe began to take fire and shew flame, and than the louer was mery for þat tokyn and wente toward his ymage and toke it in his armes and warmed it so sore wyth hys nakyd flesch that the ymage hadde lyff and began to speke, and so Pymalyon recouuered ioye.

To this fable may be set [many][249] exposicions, and in leche wise to othir sich fables; and the poietes made them becawse that mennes vndirstondyng shuld be the more scharppe and subtyle to fynde dyueres exposicions. It may be vnderstond also by the dyspreysyng that Pymalion dispreysed the lewdenes of lewde wemen and enamoured hym on a mayden of ryght grete beaute, the which wolde not, or myght not, vnderstond hys petous pleyntes, no more than the ymage of a ston had done; that is to sey, that by thynkkyng on the fayre beautes he was enamoured, but at the last he prayed hir so myche and kepte hym so nere hir that the maydyn louyd hym and at his wille [he] had hir to mariage. And thus the ymage that was hard as stone recouuered lyff by the godesse Venus. So it wolde be seyde that the good knygh shuld not be assottede of sych a made ymage in sych wise that he lyst to folowe[250] the crafte of armes, to the which he is bownde by þe ordere of knyghthode. And to this purpose seyth Abtalin,[251] “It longghit nothyng ffor a prynce to assote hym on nothyng that is to be reproued.”

Pymaliones ymage on qwome þe good knygh shuld not be assotted we shall take for the synne of lechery, from þe which þe 37knyghtly gostly sperit shuld kepe his body. Wherefor Seynt |f. 25.| Jerom saith in a pistill, “O fire of hell,” seith he, “of whom the woode is glotenye, the flambe is pride, the sparkes is foule wordes, the smoke is evil name, the asches is pouerte, and the ende is the turnementes of hell.” To this purpose seyth Seynt Petir the apostel, [“Voluptatem existimantes diei delicias, coinquinationes et maculæ deliciis affluentes, in conviviis suis luxuriantes”].[252]


Off Dyane remenbre besely
For the honeste of thi body;
For hir plesyth no vileyns lyffe,
Ne non dyshoneste ne stryffe.

Dyane, that is the mone, and as þer is no thyng so evile but þat it hath some goode propirte, the mone gyffeth chast condicion; and thei named it after a lady that so was called, the which was full chaste and was euer a vergyn. So it wolde be seyde that honeste of the body is full wele longgyng to a good knygh. And to this purpose Hermes seith, “He may not be off perfyte wite that hathe in hym no chastite.”

And for to bryng to mynde the Articles of the Feyth to owre purpose, wythowte the which a good sperit may lytell avayle, ffor Dyane we shall take God of Heuen, the which is withowte onv spotte off onclen love, to whome a thyng foulede with synne may not be agreable. To the knyghly spirite þan it is necessari to beleve opon the Maker of heuen and of erthe, as þe fyrst Article of the Feyth seith, the which Seynte Petir the apostel sete, [“Credo in Deum Patrem Omnipotentem, creatorem cœli et terræ”].[253]



Be thou leke to the godesse Ceres,
That tooke fro noon but yafe to corne encres;
In syche wyse abaundonede shulde be
The[254] good knygh, well sette in his degre.

Ceres was a lady that fond the craft to erye[255] the londe, for aforne gaineyers swe withowte laboure[256]; and because þat þe londe bare the more plenteously after þat it was erryed, thei seide that she was godesse of cornes, and thei called the londe after hyr name. Wherefor it wold be seide þat, as þe lande[257] is habaundone[d] and a large yefer of all goodes, on the same wyse shuld a good knygh be habaundonede to all personys and [ought] to gyffe his helpe and comfort aftyr hys power. And Arystotyl seyth, “Be a lyberall gyfer and thou shall hau frendys.”

Here [for] Ceres, to whom þe good knygh shuld resemble, we |f. 26.| shall take the Sone of God, whom the good spirit sholde folowe, þe which hath yoven so largely to vs of hy goodnes,[258] and in hym shuld be belewede stedeffastly, as the .ii.o Article seith, the which Seynt Jon sette, [“Et in Ihesum Christum, filium eius unicum, Dominum nostrum”].



All hye vertues as that he wyll sette,
In the, as in Ysis[259] late theyme b[e] schette
And all maner graynes fructifie;
In sych wyse sholdest þou edyfye.[260]

Ysys, poetes seyth, is a goodesse of plantes and gryffes, and she yevyth theyme streynght and growyng to multiply. Therefor it is seide to þe good knyght þat so shulde he fructifie in all vertues and eschew all euyl vicis. And Harmes[261] to this purpose seyth, “O man, yf þou knew þe inconuenyency of vice, that þou woldest be ware þeroff and yf þou knew the rewarde for worthinesse, that[262] þou woldest loue it gretly.”

There qwere it is seide þat þe good knygh shulde be leche to Ysys, the whiche is a planter, may we vnderstond the blissyd Concepcion off Jhesu Cryst by þe Holy Gost in the Blyssyd Virgyne Marie, modyr off all grace, of whom the grete bountes may not be ymagenede ne holy seide, þe which worthi Concepcion the good sperit shuld haue holy in hym and kepe this holy Artecle stedefastly, as Seynt James the gretter seith, [“Qui conceptus est de Spiritu Sancto, natus ex Maria virgine”].



To the iugement in no wyse holde the
Of Mygdas, the which no thyng wysely
Juged; by his counsell sette thou no store,
For erys of an asse he hadde thereffore.

Mydas was a knyght[263] that hadde lytell vnderstondyng; and a fable seyth þat Phebus and Pan,[264] the god of pastures,[265] strove togedir and Phebus seide that the sownde of the harpe is more to prayse than the sownde of the pype or off the flowte. Pan heelde the contrarye and seide þe sownde of the flowte was more to prayse. Thei made Mygdas iuge off that discorde, and affter that thei were both ioyned afore Mygdas, at long leyser he iuged that the sownde of þe flowte was bettyr and more plesaunte than þe sownde of the |f. 27.| harpe. So the fable seith þat Phebus, the which was g[r]evyd [and] hadde dyspyte off his iugement, made hym rude erys leche an asse, in schewyng that he hadde vnderstondyng of an asse, the which hade iuged so folyly. It may be allso that some iuged lewdely ayens a prince or a myghty man, the whiche punychyd hym, makyng hym to bere on hym some syngne off a ffoole, the which is to vnderstond the eres of the asse. Also it is to vnderstond by this fable that a good knyght shuld not hold hym content with a lewde iugement, not grownded on reson, ne hym selfe shuld be no iuge of so fawty a sentence. A philosopher seyth to this purpose that a foole is leche a molle,[266] the which heryth and vnderstondyth not. And Dyogenes lykenyth the foole to a ston.

The iugement of Mygdas, the which a good knight shulde not kepe, we may vnderstond Pylate, the which iuged the blyssyd Sone of God to be taken and streyned as a harpe and to be hangged 41opon the gebet of þe Crosse as a bryboure,[267] he the which was pure wyth[out] ony spotte. Also it is to vnderstond þat þe goode speryt shulde be ware how he shulde iuge an innocent, and he shulde beleve the Artycle that Seynt Andrewe seith, [“Passus sub Poncio Pylato, crucifixus, mortuus et sepultus”].


As trewe felawes of armes doth,
Vnto hell, whedir that sowles gothe,
Thou schuldest go, theyme to socoure serteyne
In nede,[268] lich Hercules dyde, as men seyne.

The fable seith that Thesus and Protheus[269] went into hell for to rescue Proserpyne þat Pluto rauysshed, and thei hade ben evyle begone hade not Hercules a ben for there felawes; [for thei][270] hade not bene socoured hade he ne be, the which dyde so notable dedes of armes that he affrayed all the peple off hell, and he smote in soundir Cereberus the porteris chynnes.[271] So it is seyde þat a good knygh shulde not faile his felawe for no maner of perell that myght be; for trewe felaws shuld be evyn as on thyng and all on. And Pitagoras seyth, “Thou shuld kepe the loue of thi freende dylygently.”

By the auctorite that seith he shulde socoure his trwe freendis in armes vnto hell we may vnderstonde the blyssyd sowle of Jhesu Cryste, the which drewe owte the good sowles of holy patriarkes and profhetes þat were in lymbo; and be this example the goode sperite |f. 28.| scholde draw to hym all vertues and beleve the Article that Seynt Phelip seith, [“Descendit ad inferna”].



Cadimus[272] love and yife to hym preisyng,
And that auctorised may his techyng
Be in the; for the welle in serteyne
He whan[273] fro the serpent with grete peyne.

Cadimus was a full noble man and ffounded Thebes, the which was a cite of grete name. He sette þerin a vniuersyte[274] and hym selph was gretly lettyrd and of grete kunnyng and wysdom. The whiche man, after that the fabyl seith, he dowted þe serpent at the welle. This is to vnderstond konnyng and wisdom, the which rysyth all weye, that is for the welle; the serpent is notyd for the peyne and the trauell that a stodier most doute or that he gete kunnyng. And the fable seithe that he become a serpent hym selfe, the which is to vndirstond that he become mayster and correctore of othir. So Othea seith that a good knygh shulde love and worchip clerkes that be letteryd, þe which be growndyd in konnyng. To this purpose Aristotle seide to Alysawndre, “Worchip wisdom and fortyfie it wyth good maystres.”

Be Cadimus that douted the serpent at þe well, þe whiche þe good knygh shuld love, we may vnderstond the blyssed manhode of Jhesu Cryste, the which douted the serpent and wanne the welle, þat is to sey, the lyfe of this worlde, þe which he passed with grete peyne and with grete trauelle, off whom he hade victorie be strengh, when he rose the thredde day, as Seynt Thomas seith, [“Tertia die resurrexit a mortuis”].



Delyte gretly in the kunnyng
Of Yo more than good or othir thyng[275];
For by that thou mayst lerne full gretly
And of good theryng take largely.[276]

Yo was a yong ientilwoman and doughter to knyng Ynacus;[277] þe which was rygh konnyng and fond many maners of letteris þat hade not be se afore. Though that some fables sey þat Yo was Jupiteris love and þat sche becam a kowe and after a woman as she was, [this was not so], but, as the poietis hathe hyde trowth vnder couerture of fable, it may be þat Jubiter lovid hire, þat is to vndirstond by the vertues þe which was in here[278] she become a kowe, for, as a kowe yevith mylke, the which is swete and norisshyng, she be the letteris that she fonde gaffe norysshyng to |f. 29.| vnderstondyng. And in that she was a comon woman may be vndirstond that here wytte was comon to all, as lettris be comon to all peple. Þerfore it is seide þat þe good knygh shuld full mych love Yo,[279] þe which may be vnderstondyn þe letteris and scriptures and stories of good peple, þe which þe good knygh shold hire telle gladely and reede þe example of, þe which may be vailable to hym. To this purpos Hermes seith, “Who so enforceth hyme to gete konyng and goode condicions, he fyndith þat þe which shall plese hym in this worlde and in the tothir.”

44Yo, the which is noted for letteris and scriptures, may be vnderstondyn þat þe good sperit shuld delyte hym to reede or to here Holy Writte and not[280] þe Scriptures in his mynde, and thereby may he lerne to clyme to hevyn with Jhesu Cryst by good werkys and holy contemplacion and shuld beleve the worethi Article that Seynt Bertylmw seith, [“Ascendit ad cœlos, sedet ad dexteram Dei Patris Omnipotentis”].


Beware in whatte place so that it be
In the noyse of flowtes slepe not ye;
For Mercurius that softe syngeth
With his flowte þe peple enchaunteth.

A ffabill seyth þat, when Jubiter louede fayre Yo, Juno had hym gretly in suspeccion and discendid from heven in a skye[281] for to take hire husbonde whit[282] the dede. But qwhan Jubiter sawe hir come, he chawnged his love to a cowe; yit for all that Juno was [not] owt of suspeccion, but askyd hym þe cowe of yifte, and Jubiter ayens his lyst grauntyd [it] to hyr, as he þat dryst not ayens say hire for doute of suspeccion. Þan Juno gaffe Argus, þe which hade .c. yen, this cow to kepe, and euer he wchid[283] it. But the god Mercurius by þe commaundement of Jubiter toke his flowte, þe which song softly, and blew so longe in Argus eyre þat all his .c. eyne were aslepe. Than he smote of hys hede and toke the cowe.

The exposicion of this fable may be as þat some myghthi man loved a gentilwoman; than his wyf tooke to hire for to make wache on hir husbonde þat he disseyvyd hire not, and þeropon sette grete weches and clere seers, þe which may be noted for 45Argus eyne. But þe louer by a person malicius and well spekyng dide so miche þat þe kepers concentyd to gyf hym hys love, and thus were thei browght aslepe by Mercurius flowte and hade there hedes smyttyn off. There[fore] it is seyde to þe good knyght þat he shulde not suffre [himself] to be brought on slepe with non swiche flovte as to be robbed of that þe which he shuld kepe. And to this purpos Hermes seith, “Kepe thou fro þo that is gouuernede be malice.”

Be Mercurius flovte we may vnderstond þat þe goode sperit be |f. 30.| not disseyvid by þe hold enemy trowe[284] ony mysbeleve of þe feyth or othir wyse than he shuld beleue stedefastly þe Article þat Seynt Matheu þe Euangelist seith, þat God shall come and iuge þe qweke and the dede, where he seith, [“Inde venturus iudicare vivos et mortuos”].


Thinketh that Pirus[285] shalle resemble
His fadire and that he shal trobyle
His enemyis and put theyme to distres;
The deth he shall venge for Achilles.

Pyrus was Achilles sone and resembled full wele his ffadir in streyngh and hardines, and after the deth of his fadyr he come to Troye and full charply venged his fadir and hurte grettly the Troyens. Therefor it is seide to the good knyght þat, yf he have myssedone to the ffadir, lete hym be ware of the sone, when he comyth to age, and, yf the fadir be worthi or manly, þe sone shulde be þe same. The wise[286] man seith to this purpose that the fadris dethe asketh the sone þe vengaunce þerfore.

46There where he seith þat Pirus shulde be lech his fader, by þat we may vnderstond the Holy Gost, the which procedyth of the Fadir, in whome the good sperit shulde beleve, as Seynt James þe lesse seith, [“Credo in Spiritum Sanctum”].


Haunt thow the temple and worchip in tyme
The godesse[287] of heven, and at all tyme
Aftir Cassaundra kepe thow the gyse,
Yif þat þou wilt be holdyn for wyse.

Cassandra was Kyng Priantes doghtere, and she was a full good lady and a devoute in there lawe. She seruyd the godesse and haunted þe temple and she spak but lytell withowtyn cawse, and when she most speke she spake nothyng but that was trewe, ne she was neuer founde with no lesyng; she was full konyng. Therefor it is seide to þe good knygh þat he shulde be leke hir, for lewde costomes and lesynges ys gretly to blame in a knyte; for he shulde serue God and worchip the temple, þat is to sey, the chirche and the ministres thereof. And Pictagoras seith, “It is a ryght loveable thyng to serue God and to halowe hys seyntes.”[288]

The a[u]ctorite seyth þat þe good knygh shulde haunte the |f. 31.| temple. In leche wyse the goode sperit shuld do, and he shulde haue synguler deuocion in the feythefull holy chirche and in the communion of seyntes, as the Article seyth that Seynt Symond made, the which seyth, [“Sanctam ecclesiam catholicam, sanctorum communionem”].



Yf þou wylt often haunt the se,
Of Neptunus thou shuld ofte remenbre the,
And thou shuldest halow gretly his feste,
That he may kepe the euer fro tempest.

Neptunus opon the paynemes lawe was called þe god of þe see, and therefor it is seyde to the good knygh þat he shuld serue hym, þat is to vndirstond þat knyghttes, the which gosh often in many viages on the se or in other diueres perelles, haue more nede to be devoute and to serue God and his seyntens than othir peplyl, to the entente [þat] at here nede he may be socourable and helpy to theyme. And thei shulde take a synguler deuocion to some seynte be deuowte prayers, by the which thei may calle to hym or hire in there besynes. And that prayer wyth hert is not all only sufficiaunt, the wise man seith that God all only ys not well serued be wordes but by goode dedes.

Be Neptunus to whom the good knygh shulde calle yf he go ofte by the se we shall vndirstond that the goode sperite, the [which] is continually in the se of the worlde, he shulde calle deuoutely opon his Maker and pray that he wylle gyffe hym grace so to life that he may haue remissyon of his synnes, and he shulde beleve the Article þat Seynt Jude seyth [“Remissionem peccatorum”].


Looke at all tymes thou take goode hedde
Bothe to Acropose[289] craft and his spede,
Which smyteth and sparyth non in no kynde;
That shal make the to haue þi soule in mynde.

48Poyetis calle deth Accropos; wherefor it is seide to the good knyght that he shulde thyngke þat he shal not euer lyffe in this worlde, but sone depart derefro. Therfor he shulde sette more store by the vertues of the soule than to delytte hym in bodely delytes; and all Christen pepill[290] shulde thynkke þeropon to the entent that [t]he[i] myght remembre to[291] provide for the soule, þe which shall endure withowtyn ende. And to this purpose Pytagoras seith that, lech as owre begynnyng comyht of God, owre ende most |f. 32.| nedes be there.

There where it is seyde to the good knygh that he shulde take hede to Acropos, the which is notyd for deth, the same shuld the goode sperite haue, the which by þe merites of the Passyon of owre Lord Jhesu Cryste shulde haue stedefaste hoope with the payne and delygence that he shuld put therto to haue heuen at the last ende; and he shuld beleue stedefastly to ryse ayene at þe day of dome to haue euerlestyng lyfe yf he deserue it, as Seynt Mathi seith in the last Article, where he seith, [“Carnis resurrectionem, vitam æternam”].


Belorophon[292] lete hym example be
In all maner of dedes that doo will he,
The which hade mech leuer to dye
Than to supporte vntrouth be any weye.

Belorophon was a knyght of ryght grete beaute and full of trowthe. His stepmodir louyd hym so hoote þat sche required it of hym and, because that he wold not concent to hir will, sche dyde so myche that he was condempned to be deuoured with feers 49bestis, and he had mo lyste to chese the deth[293] than to do vntrwthe. To this purpose Hermes seyth, “Be glader to dye withowte cawse than to do a inconuenyence.”

We schall come now to declare the Commawndementis off the Feyth, and there too we shall take an allegorie to oure purpose.

Berolophon, the which was so full of trowthe, may be noted for God of Heuen and, as his hy mercy hath ben to vs, and is, full of all trouth, we may take the Fryst Commawndement, the which seith, “Thou shalt worchip no strawnge goddes.” To this seith Seynt Austyn that the worchippe the which is called latre[294] thou shulde not do it, neythir to ydoile ne to ymage ne to no lekenes of no maner of creature, for that is a dew worchyppe all only to God, and in this Commawndement is defendede all ydolatrie. To that owre Lord seyth in the Gospell, [“Dominum Deum tuum adorabis et illi soli seruies”].[295]


Maymon,[296] thyn owyn trewe cosyn indede,
The which is thy neyghburgh at þi nede,
He louyd the so meche thou ought hym loue,
And for his nede arme thy body aboue.

Kyng Maymon was cosyn to Hector and of the Troyens lyne, |f. 33.| and when Hector [was] in fers bayteyles, where he was oftyn grettely oppressed with his enemyes, Maymon, the which was a full 50worchipfull knyght, folowed hym euer nere and socoured Hector and brake the grete presses of pepyll. And that shewed wele; ffor when Achilles hade sleyn hym by treson, Maymons wonded Achilles sore and [wolde haue] sleyne[297] hym, hade not socoure acome to hym in hast. Therefor it is seide to the goode knygh þat he shulde loue hym and socoure hym at his nede; and this is to vnderstonde that euery prince and goode knygh which hath kyne, be thei neuer so lytell or poore, so he be goode and trwe,[298] he shulde loue hym and support hym in his dedes and en specyall whene he felyth hym trewe to hym. And it happenyth some tyme that a grete prince is better louede and more trwly of his poore kyne than off a full myghtye man. And to this purpose seith Rabyon[299] the phelesophre, “Encres ffrendes, for they shall be socourable to the.”

Be Maymon, þe trwe cosyn, we may vnderstonde God of Heven, þe which hath bene a full trwe cosyn for to take owre manhode, þe which benefette we may not guerdon. Thus here may we take the Secunde Commawndement, that seith, “Thow shalte not take the name of God in veyne,” that is to sey, as Seynt Austyn seith,[300] “Thou shalt not swere dyshonestly, ne withowte a cawse, ne for colour of falsenes, for there may no gretter abusyon ben than to brynge to a flasse[301] wittenes the chefe and the ryghte stefast trowthe.” And in this Commawndement all lesynges be defendede, all periure and all blaspheme. The lawe seith to this purpose, [“Non habebit Dominus insontem eum qui assumpserit nomen Domini Dei sui frustra”].[302]



Avyse the, or ony worde be shewede,
Off grete manisynges,[303] nyse or lewde,
Comyng forthe of thi mowth be to grete ire,
And looke well in Leomedom the fire.[304]

Leomedon was kyng of Troye and fader to Priant and, when Jason, Hercules and theire felawes went to Colcos for to gete the flese of gold and were arived and discendid at the porte of Troye ffor to refreysche theyme withowte ony hurte of the cuntre, Leomedon, not wele avised, sent bostus mesangers[305] to voyde theyme of the lond and to manyce theym gretly, if thei voyded not in hast. Than the barons of Grece were so wrooth for that wrongfull conveyng þat after that folowede the destruccion of the fryst Troye. Þerfor it is seide to þe good knyght that, stondyng the worde of manace is foule and velyens, it shulde be sadely passede[306] or that it were spokyne, for many grete hurtes oftyn |f. 34.| tymes folowyth theroff. To this purpose the poyete Omer seith, “He is wyse that can refreyne his mowth.”

How the worde of grete manase cometh of arrogaunce, and þat to breke þe Commawndment it is also an ouerhoope,[307] we may vndyrstonde by this that noon shulde breke the halyday, for þat is ayenst the Commawndment þat is seide, “Vmbethynke the to halowe the Sabat.” By the which Seynt Austyn seith it is commawndede vs to halowe the Sunday in the stede of the Jues Sabat, for than we shuld solemply allso take reste bodyly, cesyng solemply of all werkes of thralledom, and to be in rest of sowle in cesyng 52off all synne. And to this purpose Ysaye seyth, the profyte, [“Quiescite agere perverse, discite bene facere”].[308]


Trust no thyng to be in certeynete
Vnto that þe trowth wele knowyn be;
For a lytell of presumcion
Piramus maketh the mencion.

Pyramus was a yong ientylman of the cyte of Babylonie, and ffro that he was but vii. yere olde loue woundede hym with his darte, and [he] was sore takyne with the loue of Tysbe the feyre yong ientylwoman, þe which was leke to hym in kyn and of age; and by þe grete hauntyng of þe twoo louers togedir þe grete loue was perseyuid and by a seruaunte accused to þe modir of þe yong gentylvoman, þe which tooke hir dougter and schette hir in hir chambre and she shulde kepe hir wele inowgh from the hauntyng of Piramus. And þerfor þer was grete woo betwyne þe two childyrne in full pitous complayntes and wepyng. That prison dured longe, but as they wexe in age þe sparke of loue encressed; for all ther longe absence it qwenchid neuer the more. Bytweyne þe places of ther kyne[309] was but a thynne wall. Thesbe perceyved the wall crassed,[310] where throw she saw brygnes[311] on the toþer side; than she toke the pendavnde of hir gyrdill[312] and put it throw the crevesse to þe entent þat hir loue myht perseyue it, as that he dede in schorte tyme. And there thei iio louers made ofte there assembles wiht full petous compleyntes. At the laste, as two sore constreynyd be loue, there acorde was sich that [that] nyte in the fryst qwarter of the nyght they shulde parte fro there kynne and 53mete withowte the cyte at a well vndir a qwythe thorne,[313] w[h]ere in there childehode they were wonte to pleye. When Thesbe was come to the welle all alone and ferefull, she harde a lyon come full rudly, ffor the which she, full of fere, fledde and layde hyr in a bosche fast by; but in the waye felle from hir a white wymple. Piramus come, the which by the moneshyne perseyuyd the wymple, but the lyon hade fylyd it and made it all blody, the[314]

In[315] as mych as the nutte is better than the shelle,[316] it is seyde |f. 35.| to the good knyght þat he shulde not sette his thowght in felicite, þat þe parseyvyng of worthines be leste therefor. To this purpose Hermes seith that it is better to haue pouerte in doyng goode dedys than riches lewdly or evyl getyn, standing worthines is euerlestyng and riches voide and dissauable.

Juno, whom he shulde not sette myche by, þe which is takyn for ryches, we may vnderstond þerby þat þe good spyrit shulde 54disprayse ryches. And Seynt Bernard seith, “O son off Adam, leue couetyse. Wherefor louest thou so mych this worldly ryches, the which be neythir trwe ne thei be not yowres, and, wheþþer ye will or non, at yowre dethe ye most nedis leue theyme?” And the Gospell seyth þat a chamelle shuld souner passe throwe an nedelles ye than a riche man shuld entre into the kynddom of heuen; for a chamel hath but oo boche on the bake[317] and the evyl ryche man hath .iio., on of evill possessions and þe tothir of synnes. He most nedis leue the fryst boche at the dethe, but þe tothir, wheythir he will or non, he shall bere with hym, if he leue it not afore or that he dye. To this purpose oure Lord seith in þe Gospell, [“Facilius est camelum per foramen acus transire quam divitem intrare in regnum cœlorum”].[318]


Ayens Amphoras[319] sad counsell, I þe sey,
Go not to distrye, for than thou shalt dye,
To Thebes, ne in the cete of Arges
Assemble not host with chelde ne targes.

Amphoras was a full wyse clerk of the cete of Arges and hade myche connyng, and, when kyng Adrastus wolde go oppon Thebes for to distrye the cyte, Amphoras, þe which by kunnyng knewe what harme myth fall þerof, counseld the kyng not to goo, for, yf he wente, thei all shulde be dede a[n]d dystroyed; but he was not beleuyd. Yit it felle as he seyde. Wherefor it is seide to the good knyght þat ayens the counsell of wyse men he shulde take no grete enterpryse. But as Soleyne[320] seith, “The wyse manes counsell vayleth lytell to hym þat wyl not do therafter.”

55Be Amphoras counsel, ayens the which non shulde goo to bateyle, we may take that the goode sperit shuld folowe holy prechyngges. And Seynte Gregorie seyth in his Omelies þat, lech as the lyffe of the body may notte be susteyned withowte that he take his refeccion bodyly, on the same wyse þe lyfe of the soule may not be |f. 36| susteined withowte ofte heryng the good worde of God.[321] Than Godes wordes the which ye here[322] with youre bodely heris reseyue them in yowre hertis; for, whan the word is hed and kepte in yowre wombe of mynde, than it may profyte, but, as a seke stomak castyth owt his mete, and as men be in dispayre of hym that brokyth notte but casti[t]h all owte, euen so his he in perell of euerlastyng dethe þat heryth prechyng and doth not þerafter. Þerfor the Scriptur seith, [“Non in omni solo pane vivit homo, sed in omni verbo quod procedit de ore Dei.”][323]


Gouerne thou thi tong aftir Saturne;
Late not evill theryn long soiorne.
To speke to mech it is a fowle custome,
And grete foly þerin is to presume.

Saturne, as I haue seide before,[324] is a planeth hevy and sclowe. Therfor it is seide to þe good knyght that his tong shulde be leke to hym; for the tong shulde not be to hasty in spekyng to mych, but wysyly, so that it speke non harme of noon, ne no thyng þat a mane myth there impresun folye,[325] for a poyete seyth, “By the worde men knowyth a wyse man, and by the looke a foole.”

56Be the tong, the which shulde be lech Saturne, is vndirstonden the sadenes[326] of speche. Hue of Seynt Victore seith to this purpose that þe mouth þe which hathe not the kepyng of discrecion farith as a cete that is withoute a walle, as a vessell that hathe no bothom,[327] as an horse that hath no brydel, and as a chippe þat hath no rothir. An evil kepte tong glydith as an ele, it perchith as an arwe; frendes [are] sone turned therby and ennemyes multiplied. It is sclaunderus and soweth discordes; at a strok it smyttyth and kyllyth many persones. Whoso kepyth his tong kepith his soule; for[328] deth and lyffe is in the poure off þe soule. And to this purpose Dauid seith in the Sawter booke, [“Prohibe linguam tuam a malo, et labia tua ne loquantur dolum”].[329]


Beleue the Crow and his true counsell,
And be neuer besy ne trauele
In evil thyngges to be þe berer;
Off thi deme thou mayst be þe suerer.[330]

The fable seith that the crowe mette þe ravyn when he browte the tidynges to Phebus of his loue Corinis, þe which hade done |f. 37.| amysse, and she[331] requiryd of hym so ferre þat he tolde hyr[332] the cawse of this iurneye. But[333] she dissalowed hyme because he 57went not for to gyffe hym example of the same, the which for a lych cas hade ben chassede owte of the pallas howse, where some [time] [s]he was wonte to be gretly avanced. But he wolde not beleue hyr, for þe which harme folowed to hym. Where it is seyde to þe good knyght þat he shulde trost þe crowe; and Platon seith, “Be no iangeler ne to the knyng grete reportur of tydynges.”

How the crowe shulde be beleued, it is seide that the goode speryte shulde vse sych counsell. As Seynt Grigorie seith in his Omelies, þat strenght vailet not when counsel is not, ffor streynght is sone ouerthrowyn, iffe it be not rested opon the gyfte of counsell, and the soule þe whych hath lost in hym the seege of counsell outewarde he is dysparbuled[334] in diuerse desires. Therefor the wyse man seyth, [“Si intraverit sapientia cor tuum, consilium custodiet te et prudentia servabit te”].[335]


Iff thou enforce the with[336] any wyght
Strenger than thou to make playes of myghte,
Withdrawe the fayre þat hurte thou ne be;
Off Ganymedes vmbethynk the.

Ganymedes[337] was a yong ientilman of the Troyens ligne; and a fable seith þat Phebus and he strof togedir in castyng of a barre of yron, and, as Ganymedes myth not withstond the strenght of Phebus, he was slayne wyth þe reboundyng of þe barre Phebus hade lawnchyd so hye that he had lost þe syght þerof. And þerfor it is seyde that þe stryffe is not goode with a strenger and a 58myghtier than a man is hym selfe, ffor ther may not cumme thereof but grete inconuenyencie. Where a wyse man seith, “To be besy with men þat vse vngracious games, it is a syngne of pride, and communly the ende is angry.”

Fore to sey that a man shuld not enforce hym ayens a streynger þan he is hym selfe, it is to vndirstond that the goode sperite shulde not take on hym to stronge pennawnce withowte counsell. Seynt Grigori in his Moralles spekyth hereof and seyth þat penawnce profytteth not, yf it be not discrete, ne the vertue of abstynens is not worthe, yf it be sette in sych wyse that it be scharper than the body may suffre. And þerfor it is to conclude þat no poore person shulde take it on hym withowte counsel off more discrete than hym selfe. Where the wyse man seyth in his Prouerbes, [“Ubi multa consilia, ibi est salus”].[338]


Resemble not to Jasone, that man |f. 38.|
The which throuȝ Medee þe fleze wan
Off golde, for þe which soon afterwarde
He yafe hire right evill guerdon and harde.

Jason was a knyght of Grece, þe which went into strawnge cuntreis, that is to sey, into the Ile of Colcos, by the enortyng off his vncle Pelleus, the which of envy desired his deth. There was a chepe[339] þat hadde a flees of golde and it was kepte by enchauntment; but the conquest was so strong that non comme thedir but that lost there lyfe. Medee, the whiche was the kynges doughter of that cuntre, toke so grete loue to Jason þat by the enchauntmentes that sche cowde, off the which sche was a soueren maysteres, she made charmes and lerned Jason enchauntementis by the whiche 59he whanne the fleese of golde, wereby he hade worchip aboue all knyttes lyvynge, and by Medee was reserued fro deth, to whom he hade promysyd euer to be trwe freende. But efftyr he fayled of hys feyth and loued anothir and left hyr holy[340] and forsoke hir, notwithstondyng she was off soueren beaute. Therfor it is seyde to the good knyght that he shulde not be leke to Jason, the which was vnknowyn and to ontrwe to þat the which hade schewed hym mych goodenes.[341] Wherefor it is to veleyns a thyng for a knyght or any nobill person to be rekeles or evyll knowyng of goodenesse, iff any he hath reseyuyd, be it of lady or off gentylwoman or off ony othir persone; ffor he shulde euere thynke thereon and guerdon it vnto his powere. To this purpose Hermes seith, “Be not slowe ne delayyng to remembre of hym þat hath doone the goode, for thou shuldest euer thynkke thereopon.”

The good sperite shulde not be leke to Jason, the which was rekeles, ne vncunnyng of the benefices reseyvid of his Maker. And Seynt Barnarde seith opon the Cantecles that vnkunnyng is ennemye to the soule, a lesser of vertues and dispraysyng of meritis and a lessyng of beneficis, and allso ingratitude fareth as nowght,[342] the which dryeth the well of pete, the dewe of grace and the reuer of mercye. And to this purpose the wyse man seith, [“Ingrati enim spes tanquam hibernalis glacies tabescet et disperiet tanquam aqua supervacua.”][343]


Kepe the wele fro the serpent Gorgon; |f. 39.|
Be ware that thou looke not hyr[344] opon;
Haue good sadde mynde opon Percyualle,[345]
And he shall the tell the story all.

60Gorgon, as the fable seith, was a gentylvoman of souereyne beaute; but because that Phebus[346] lay by hyr in the temple of Diane, the godes was so sore meved and grevyd that she schawnged hir into a serpent of ryght orribil figure. And þat serpent hade sich a propirte þat euery man that [be]helde hir was changed sodeynely into a ston; and for the harme that folwed of hire Percyvale, the worthi knyght, went for to fyght with that fers beste. And he behelde hym selfe in the bryghtnes of his shelde, the whiche was all golde, because he shulde not beholde the evill serpent, and he dide so mych þat he smote of hir[347] hede. Many exposicions may be made of this fable, and Gorgon may be vndirstonden for a cete or a towne þat was wonte to be of grete bounte, but throw the vicis of the duellers þerin it become a serpent and venemus; that is to vnderstonde, þat it dede mych harme in the marches to there neygburs, as to robbe and to pyll holy chirche,[348] all tho þat thei myghte gete, and merchawndys and othir passeris forby were takyn and holden and put in streyte presonys and thus were thei chawnged into stones. Percivale, that behelde hym selfe in his chelde, þat is to sey, in his strynght and knyghode, and went to fyght ayens the cite, he tooke it and tooke the power fro it, þat it dede no more harme.[349] It myght be that some man myght take a full feyre lady of evyll dedys, þe which bi hire couetise put many from there goodes, but he put hir from þat wyll; and many othir vndirstondynges may be sette herein. Therefor it is seide to þe good knyght that he kepe hym fro behaldyng evill thyngges, þe which myght drawe hym to evyll. And Aristotil seith, “Fle peple full of wikydnes and befolowe wyse men and stody in there bookes and beholde thy selfe in theire dedes.”

How that Gorgon shulde notte be beholden, þat is to sey þat 61þe good sperite shuld not behold no thyng in no maner delyte, but beholde[350] hym in þe childe[351] of þe state of perfeccion, and þat is for to fle delites. Aristotyl[352] seithe þat, as it is impossibyl þat [fire shuld burn in water, so it is impossibyl þat] compunccion[353] of herte is among wor[l]dly delites, for thei be .iio. contrary thynges þat distroyith iche of them othir, for compunccion is modir of terres and delites engenderyth laughynges, compunccion restreynyth the |f. 40.| hert and delites enlargeth it. To thys purpose seyth Holy Scripture, “They þat sowyn in wepyng shal repyn in lawyng.”[354]


Yf that loue make shorte to þe þe nyght,
Be ware Phebus noye the not with his myght,
Wherby thou mayst be take and tied
In Vlnecans lyeines and ouerleyede.[355]

A ffable seith that Mars and Venus loued togedir par amovres. It ffelle on a nyght that þe[356] loueres were aslepe, arme in arme. Phebus, the which sawe clerly, come opon theyme and for the which he accused theyme to Vulcans, Venus husbond. Than he, þat sawe theyme in that plyte, forged a lyeine and a cheyne of bras and bond them togedir so that thei myght not meve, as he þat is smyth of heuen and can worke sotely, and thus he come opon 62theyme and thanne went he forth [to] the tothir godes[357] and sheued theyme his shame. And the fable seith that sich rotters there be þat wolde full fayne falle in þe same mysdede.[358] To this fabill may be sette diuers exposicions, and it may full souereynly towche some poyntes of astronomye[359] to tho þat sotely can vndirstond it. Mars[360] to owre purpose seith þat þe good knyght shulde kepe hym þat in syche [cas] he be not ouerlede before yetilnes of tyme.[361] And a wyse man seith, “Vnnethes is ony thynge of secrete but that of some it is perceyuyd.”

There where þe auctorite seith þat, if lowe[362] schorte the nyghte to the, we shall sey þat þe gode sperit shulde kepe hym from þe wacches of the fende. Seynt Leo the pope seith to this, þat þe holde ennemy, the which transfygured hym into an angell of lyght,[363] sesseth not to strech his snaris of temptacions ouer all and to aspie how he may corumpe þe feithe of good beleuers; he beholdyth whome he shall embrace with þe fyer of couetyse, whom he shall enflame with the brennyng desyre of lechery, to whom he shall purpose the lekerousnes of glotenye; he examynyth of all customes, discutyth of hertes, commyteth[364] affeccions and there seketh he cause of iniure where he fyndeth hyme. Therefor seyth Seynt Petyr the apostle, [“Sobrii estote et vigilate quia adversarius vester diabolus tanquam leo rugiens circuit quærens quem devoret”].[365]



Thamaris[366] dispraysed may not well be, |f. 41.|
Though a voman she were of Femene.
Umbethynk the where takyn was Cyrus,
For ryght herde and dere he brought þat distrus.[367]

Thamaris [was] qwen of Amazonie, a full worthy lady and full off grete worthynesse, of grete hardynes and wyse in armes and gouernauns. Cirus, the grete kyng of Perse, the which hadde conqwered many a region, with a grete host he meved ffor to goo ayens a grete reaume of Femene, of the which he sette but lytell by the streynghte. But she, the which was experte and sotyll in crafte of armes, suffyrd hym to entre into hyr reaume wythowte ony mevyng of hyr into the tyme that he was comyn into strate passage among hylles and grete mownteynes, where a full strong cuntre was. Than be Thamaris busshmentes[368] he was assaylled on euer[y] parte with the wymmens hoste and browght so ferre forthe þat he was takyn. The qwhen made hym to be browght before hir and made his hede be smetyn off and to be cast in a tobbe full off his barons blode, the which she had made to be sheded in his presens, and Thamaris spak in this wyse, “Cirus, the which had neuer inowgh of mannys blode, now mayst thow drynke inowthe.” And thus endyd Cirus, the grete kyng of Perse, the which was neuer ouercome in no batayle affore. Therefor Othea seith to the good knyght that he shulde neuer be ouertrostyng in hyme selphe, but þat he shulde doute that he mytht happe amysse by some infortune and yit by symplere than he ys. To this purpose Platon seith, “Disprayse noon, ffor hys wertues may be grete.”

64Thamaris, the which shulde not be dispraysed, thowe þat she be a voman, is to sey þat a good speryte shulde not disprayse in hate[369] the state of mekenes, be it in relygion or ell where; and that mekenes is to prayse. Jon Cassian[370] seith that in no wyse the edifice of vertues in oure sowle may not reyse ne dresse hym self if the fundement of very mekenes be not tastyd fryst in oure hertes, the which, and it be ryghte stedefastly sette, may susteyne þe lynes of perfeccion and of charite. Therefor the wyse man seyth, [“Quanto maior es humilia te ipsum in omnibus et coram Deo invenies gratiam”].[371]


Thy witte to be ennorted[372] suffre nought
To foly delitys, ne herto brought
Thy wyrchip; if it be asked of the,
Anon beholde the wele in Medee.

Medee was on of the konnyngest women of sorserye that euer |f. 42.| was and hade most kunnyng; and þat stories seith. Notwythstondyng she suffred hire witte to be enorted at the owne will for to fullfylle hire delyte, as in lewde love she suffyrd hyre to be maystyrde, so þat she sette hire herte opon Jason and yaffe hym worchip, body and goodes; ffor the which after that he yaffe hire a full evyll rewarde. Wherefor Othea seith that the good knyght shulde not suffre reson to be ouercome wyth lewde delyte in no maner cas, iff he will vse of the vertue of streynght. And Platon seyth that a man of lyghte corage is sone meved[373] wyth that the which he louede.

That a man shulde not suffre his wytte to be ennorted to lewde 65delyte may be vnderstondyn that the goode sperit shulde not suffre his propir will to haue dominacion; for, yf propir will of dominacion cesyd not, there shulde be noon hell ne the fyer off hell shuld haue no dominacion but opon the person that sufferyth his propir will to be lorde of hym, ffor propir will feythyt ayens God and enprideth the selfe. That is the which dispoilleth Paradyse and clothit hell and voydeth the valu of the blode of Cryst Jhesu and submyttyth the worlde to the tharledom of the feend. To this purpose the wyse man seyth, [“Virga atque correptio tribuit sapientiam; puer autem qui dimittitur voluntati suæ confundit matrem suam.”][374]


Iff thou be soget to god Cupido,
The wood[375] giant looke thou kepe the fro,
That the harde roche in no wyse may put be
Opon Acis and opon Galatee.[376]

Galatee was a fayre godesse, the which had a yong ientilman that she loued and he was dede.[377] There was a gyant of a fowle stature that loued hir, but she lyste not to loue hym; but he aspied hir so besily that he perceyued theyme bothe in the creues of a roche. Thanne were they ouerleyde[378] with a sodeyne rage, and the roche trembled in syche wyse that it holy brak and raffe 66asownedyr. But Galatee, the which was a fayrye,[379] dressyd hir into the see[380] and askapid therby. This is to vndirstond that the good knyght shulde be ware in sich case to be ouerleyde with sich as hath myght and wyll to greve hym.

How he shuld be ware of the gyant, the which is yoven to Cupido, itt is to vnderstond that the good speryte [shuld] be wele ware that he hath non ymagenacion to the worlde ne to no thynge |f. 43.| þerof, but euer thynke that all woordly thynges may litell while endure. For Seynt Jerom seyth opon Jeremye that there is no thyng may be noysed long emong those thynges which shalle haue ende; so all owre tyme is as of litell regarde to the euerlastyng terme. To this purpose the wyse man seyth, [“Transierunt omnia illa tanquam umbra et tanquam nuntius percurrens”].[381]


Fleeth euer the godesse of Dyscorde;
Euyl be hire lyenis and hire corde.
Pellus[382] mariage full sore she trobled,
For the which after mych foolke assembled.

Dyscorde is a godesse of evil dedys, and a fabyll seyth that whan Pellus weddyd the godesse Thetis, off whome Achilles was after that borne, Jubiter and all the tothir godes and godesses were at the mariage, but the godes of Discorde was not prayed therto and therefor for invie she com onsent for. But she come not all for noghte, for she dide verily hir office. When they were sette at dynne at a borde, the .iii. myghty godesses Pallas, Juno and Venus, there come Discorde and cast an appell of golde opon the 67borde, whereon was wretyn “Lete this be gouen to the ffayrest”; and than the fest was trobeld, for yche off theyme sey thei ought to haue it. They went afore Jubiter for to be iuged of that discorde, but he wolde not plese on to displese anothir. Wherefore thei putte the debate opon Paaris of Troye,[383] the [which] was an herde man than,[384] as his modir drempt, when sche was grete with hyme, that he schulde be cawse off distruccion of Troye; he was sent therfor to the forest to the herdeman, venyng[385] to hym that he hadde bene his sone. And there Mercurius, the wiche [conducted] the ladies,[386] tolde hym whos sone that he was; than he lefte kepyng of shepe and went to Troye to his grete kynne. The fabill witneschit thus, where the weri stori is hidde vndir poyetikly couertoure, and because that often tymes many grete mischevis hath fallen and fallyth throwe discorde and debate, Othea seith to the goode knyth that he shulde be ware of discorde; so that, as it is a fowle thyng to be a debatoure and to move riottes, Pitagoras seith “Go not,” seith he, “in that weye where that hattes[387] growes.”

Where it is seyde that discorde shuld be fleed, on the same wyse the good sperit shulde flee all lettynges of consience and |f. 44.| eschewe stryvis and riottes. [Cassiodorus][388] souuerainly seith, “He fleeth stryves and riottes; for to stryve ayens pes it is woodnes, to stryue ayens his souereyne it is maddenes, to stryve ayens his soogette it is grete velany.” Therefor Seynte Powle seith, [“Non in contentione et æmulatione”].[389]



Thyne evyll misdede forgete thou noght,
Iff thou to any[390] haue so myche wroughte,
For the reward he will wele kepe fro the.
Distroyed was Leomedon, parde.

Leomedon, as I haue seide, was kyng off Troye, and he hadde done grete velany to the barons of Grece[391] to voyde them fro his lande[392]; the wiche they foryate noght, but Leomedon hathe foryeten it whan the Grekes ron on hym, the wiche ouercome hym, he oncouered and disporveide, so they distroyyd hym. Therefor it is seide to the good knyght that, yf he hathe mysdone to any, that he kepe hym wele, ffor he may be sekyr it shal notte be foryeten, but rather wenged,[393] whanne he may haue tyme and place. And to this purpose Hermes seyth, “Be ware that thynne ennemyes com not vpon the, and thou disporveyde.”

That he shuld not forgete the myssedede that he hathe done to anothir may be vndirstondyn þat, when the good sperite felyth hym in synne for fawte of resistence, he shulde thynke that he shuld be ponnysshede, as thei be that be dampnyd, yf he amende hym notte. And therof seith Seynt Gregorie that the dome of God goth nowe fair and softely and a sclowe pas, but in tyme comyng it shall recompence the more greuously the mercy shall tarry of his acte. To this purpose the prophete Joel seith, [“Convertimini ad Dominum Deum vestrum, quia benignus et misericors est,” etc.].[394]



Iff it happe thou be of loue doited,[395]
Be ware at the leste to whom thou tell it;
That thi dedes discouered not be,
Vmbethynke the welle of Semelle.[396]

The fable seith that Semelle was a gentylwoman that Jubiter loved paramours. Juno, the wiche was in ialoucie, tooke the lekenes of an auncient woman and cam to Semelle and with fayre wordys began to reson hyre in so moche that Semelle knowliged to hyre all the love off hyre and of hyr loue, and to [be] well beloued and knowen of hyme she vaunted hire. The godesse þanne seyde to hir, the |f. 45.| wiche tooke no hede of the dissayte, [that] she perceyued[397] nothyng yit of the love of hire love, [but] when she shulde be nexte with hym, that she shulde aske hym a yifte and, when she hadde well requyred hym and that he hadde grawnted, that she shulde desyre of hym that he wolde vouchesafe to halse[398] hir in syche wyse as [he] halsed Juno his wyffe, when that he wolde solace hym with here, and in syche wyse myght she perceyue the loue of hyre love. Semelle fforyate it not, and when she hade made the requeste to Jubiter, the wiche hade promysyd it hyre and as a god that myght not calle it agayne, he was full sori and wyst wele that sche hadde bene disseyved. Than Jubiter tooke lekenes of fire[399] and halsed his loue, the wiche in a litell while was all bruled and brent, for the wiche Jubiter was full hevy of þat aventure. Opon this fabill may be 70takyn many vnderstondynges, anamly opon the science off astronomie, as maystris seyne. But it may be allso that be some weye a gentilwoman may be disseyved by the wyffe of hyr loue, wherethrowgh hym selfe made hir to die be inaduertance. And therfor it is seyde to the good knyght that he shuld be ware, whanne he spekyth of a thyng that he wolde that it were secrete, afore or he speke hys worde, to whome he seyth it and whatte he seyth, for by the circumstances thyngges ma ben vndirstondyn. Therefor Hermes seith, “Shewe not the secretes of thi thoughtes but to thoo that thou hast well preued.”

How he shulde take hede to whome he spekyth we may vndirstond that the good sperite, what so euer hys thowtys be, he shulde be ware in euery cas where evil suspeccion myght falle to ony othir. As Seynt Austyn seith in the booke of Job,[400] that we shuld not all only sete store to haue good conscience, but in as myche as owre infirmyte may, and as myche [as] the diligence of mankyndly frelnes may, wee shuld take good hede that we dede no thyng that myght come to evil suspeccion to owre stedefast brothir.[401] To this purpose seith Seynt Poule the apostle, [“In omnibus præbe te ipsum exemplum bonorum operum”].[402]


The disporte trust not to mychyll opon
Of Dyane, for þer is disporte right none
For them þat ben in knyghthode pursewyng
That shuld cause them to haunt to mych huntyng.

Dyane is called godess off the wode and of huntyng; so it is seide to the good knyght pursewyng the hight name of armes þat he 71shulde not mvse to myche in the disportes of huntyng, for it is a |f. 46.| thyng that longeth to ydylnes. And Arystotle seith that ydilnes ledyth a man to all inconveniences.

That a man shuld not folwe to myche Dyanes disporte, the wiche is take for ydilnes, the goode speryte may noote the same, and that is to eschew. Seynt Grygori seyth, “Do euer some goode thynge, that the fende may allway fynde the occupied in some goode occupacion.” To this purpose the wyse man seith, [“Consideravit semitas domus suæ et panem otiosa non comedit”].[403]


Avaunte the not, for grete harme fell therefore[404]
To Yragnes,[405] the wich myssetook hir sore,
That ayens Pallas hire so avaunted,
For the wyche the goodesse hire enchaunted.

The fable seyth that Yragnes was a gentylwoman full sotyll and kunnyng in schapyng, wevyng and sewyng, but she was too presumtuos of hir connyng and indede she vaunted hire ayens Pallas. For the wyche the godes was greued wyth here that fore that foly vauntyng sche schawneged hyr into an yraigne and than seyde, “Thou vaunted the so myche in wevyng and sewyng that thou shalt euer aftir this weve and spynne werke of no value,” and fro thiens come the yraignes that be yite, the wiche sessyth not of spynnyng and wevyng. It may be so vndirstonden that some persone wanted ayens hir maystres, ffor the wiche in some wyse thei tooke harme. Therefor it is seide to the good knyght that he shuld not vaunt hyme, standyng it is a foule thyng for a knyght to be a vauntoure, for it may abuse to myche the prayse of his bownte. 72And in the same wyse Platon seyth, “When thou dost a t[h]yng,” seith he,[406] “better than anothir, be ware thou avaunte not therof, for yf thou doo thyne avayle is myche the lesse.”

For that a man shuld not vaunte hym, we may sey that the goode sperite shulde be ware of wauntyng, for Seynt Austyn spekith ayens vauntyng in the .xii. boke of the Cete of God, þat vauntyng is not mankyndly praysyng, but is aturnyd to vyse of the sovle, the wich louyth mankyndly praysynges and dispithet the wery wytnes of his propyr consyence. To this purpose the wyse man seythe, [“Quid nobis profuit superbia, aut diuitiarum jactantia?”].[407]


Iff to grete desyre will them brynge
To loue mechell disporte of huntynge,
Dadonius[408] than remenbre may the,
For with a woode wilde bore dede was he.

Dadanius was a ioly gentylman[409] and of grete beaute. Venus loued hym paramoures, but because he delytyd hym to myche in huntyng, Venus, the wich douted that some hurt myth com to hym by some aventure, she prayed hym ofte to be ware how he huntyd to grete bestes. But Dadonius wolde not be ware, and therfor he was slayne wyth a wilde bore. Therfor it is seyde to the good knyght that, yf he wille all gates hunte, late [hym] kepe hym from sych huntyng that may doo hym harme. To this purpose the profete Sedechias[410] seith that a knyght shulde not suffre his sone hunte to myche ne be ydyll, but he shulde make hym to be enformed to goode condicions and to fle vanyte.

73How he shulde thynke on Dadonius may be vnderstondyn that, yif the goode sperite be in any wyse out off the weye, that at the leste he shulde thynke on the grete perell of perseuerance; for, as the fende hath grete myght opon synners, Seynt Petir seythe in the secund Pystyll[411] that synners ben bownde to corupcion and the fende hath power ouer theyme, for he that in batayle is ouercome of an othir is becomyn bonde to hym. And in tokyn therof it is seyde in the Pocalipse, [“Data est bestiæ potestas in omnem tribum et populum.”][412]


If so be thette there assaile the any,
Be ware thou ne thi men ryse not lyghtly
Ayens theyme, that thi town of strenght not slake;
Off the fryst Troye example thou mayst take.

Whenne Hercules wyth mych pepyll com opon the fryst Troye and that kyng Leomedon herd seye of there comyng, than he with all the peple that he myght gete in the cete yode owte and went ayens theyme to the water syde, and there theye assembled wyth full ferse bataile and þe cete was left voyde of peple. Than Thelamen Ayaux, the wich was enbushed wyth a grete oste nere the walles of the cete, enteryd into it, and thus the fryst Troye was takyn. Therefor it is seyde to the goode knyght that he shulde kepe hym, that in siche wyse he be not disseyuyd wyth his |f. 48.| ennemyes. And Hermes seyth, “Kepe the from the peple[413] of thyn ennemyes.”

Where it is seyde that a man shuld kepe hym, yf he be assayled, that his cete be not voide, it is to sey that the good 74spyryte shulde euer kepe hym sesid and filled with vertues. And hereto seyth Seynt Austyn that, lyche as in tyme of werre men of armes shuld not be onsesyde of theyre armes ne owt of theyme nyght ner day, on the same wyse duryng the tyme of this present lyfe he shulde not be dyspoyled of vertues, for he thate the fende fyndeth withowte vertues faryth as he that the aduersari fyndyth withoute armes. Therfor the Gospel seyth, [“Fortis armatus custodit atrium suum”].[414]


Opon the harpe assot the not to sore
Off Orpheus. Yf thou sete any store
Be armes, thou wylte þerin wele spede.
To fre[415] instrementis thou hast non nede.

Orpheus was a poyete, and the fabill seyth that he cowde welle pleye on the harrpe, so that the ryngyng[416] wateres all only tournyd theyre coruse, and the birdes of the eyre, the wylde bestes and the fres[417] serpentis foryate there cruelnes and restyd to here the songge and the swete sounde of his harpe. This is to vnderstond he pleyith so wele that all maner of pepill of whate condicions that they were delytede theyme to here the poietis pley. And becawse that syche instrumentis sotted often the hertis of men, it is seyde to the goode knyght that he shuld not delyte hym to meche therein, for it longeth not to the sones of knyghthode to mvse to mych in instrumentis ne in othir ydylnes. To this purpose an auctorite seyth, “The soule of the instrument is the snare of the serpent”; and Platon seyth, “He þat settyth holy 75his plesauns of fleysly delythes is more bond þan a sclawe,” that is to seye, than a man that is bought and solde.

Orpheus harpe, vpon the wich a man shulde not be assotted, we may vndirstonde that the knyghtly sperite shulde not be assotted ne mvsyd in no maner of wordly felacheppe, be it kynne or othir. Seynt Austyn seyth in the booke of the Syngularyte off Clerkis that the solytary man felyth lesse prekynges of his fleych that havntyth not voluptuousenes than he that hawntyth it, and lesse it |f. 49.| sterith to couetyse the which seeth not wordly riches[418] than he that seeth it. Therefor Dauyd seith, [“Vigilavi et factus sum sicut passer solitarius in tecto”].[419]


Grownde yow not opon noone avysyons,
Ne opon no lewde illusyons
Off grete emprise, thought it be ryght or wrong,
And of Paaris remenbre yow among.

Because that Paryis hadde dremed that he shulde ravysch Helayne in Grece, a grete army was made and sent ffro Troye into Grece, where that Paryis ravysshede Heleyne. Than for that wrongfull dede they com after that opon Troye with all the power off Grece. There was soo grete a covnetre at that tyme that it lastyd to the contre that we calle now Puille[420] and Calebre in Ytaly, and that tyme it was called Lytyl Grece.[421] And of that contre was Achilles and þe Mirmedewes, the which were so worthi fyters. That grete quantite of pepill confoundid Troye and all 76the contre. Therefor it is seyde to the good knyght that he shulde not ondirtake to doo no grete thynge opon avysiones, for grete harme and grete besynes may come thereoff. And that a grete emprise shuld not be done wythowte good deliberacion of counsell, Platon seyth, “Do nothyng,” seith he, “but that thy wytte hath ouerseen afore.”

That a grete empryse shuld not be takyn for avisyon, that is to sey that the good sperite shulde in no vyse presume ne reyse hym selphe in arrogance for no maner of grace that God hath yoven hym. And Seynt Gregorie seyth in his Morales that there be .iiii. spices[422] in the whiche all bolnynges of arrogances be shewed. The fryst is when they noyse they haue of them selfe the goodnes that they haue; the .ii. is when they wene welle that they haue deseruyd and reseyuyd it for ther meritis the goodnes þat they haue; the .iii. is when they avant to haue the goodnes that they haue not; and the .iiii. is when that they dysprese othir and desire that men shuld know the goo[d]nes that is in theyme. Ayens this vyse the wyse man spekyth in his Prouerbes, [“Arrogantiam et superbiam et os bilingue detestor”].[423]


Iff thou loue well houndes an birdes, than
On Anteon,[424] the fayre yong gentilman,
The which becomme an herte, vmbethynk well þe,
And loke that siche fortune com not to the.

Antheon was a full corteis ientylman and of gentyl condicions |f. 50.| and loued houndes and birdes to myche; fore the fabill seith that on a day as he huntyd all alone in a thykke forest, wheryn his men hadde lost hym, thane as Dyane the godesse of the woode hadde 77huntyd in the forest to it was the oure of noone, she was sore chaffede and hoote for the grete hete of the sunne, for þe which she had a lyste to bathe hir in a f[a]yre welle and a clere, the whiche was ther fast by, and as she was in the welle all nakyde envyrouned wyth fayreis[425] and godes the whiche seruyd hyre, Antheon, the which tooke non heede, com sodeynly opon hire and sawe all the godes, of whome for hire grete castite the vesage wexe reede for shame and was full sory. And than she seide, “Becawse that I know wele that thysse yong gentilman wyll vaunt hym of ladies and gentilwomen—to the entent that thou schalte not mowe vante the that hathe see me naked, I shall take the myght of thy speche from the.” Than she cursyd hym, and anon Antheon becomme a wilde herte and no thyng was lefte hym of mankyndly shape but all only vndirstondyng. Than he, full of grete sorowe and off sodeyne feere, wente fleyng throwe the busches, and anon he was reseyuyd with his owen houndes and halewed wyth hys owen men that serched the forest for hym, but nowe they haue founde hyme and knowe hym not. There Antheon was drawe doune, the whych wepte grete teres afore his owne men and fayne woolde haue cryed theyme mercy yif he myght haue spokyn. And sene that tyme hethir to hertes euer at there dethe wepyn. Antheon was slayne and martired with grete woo with his owen menye, the which in a litell while had all devowred hym. Many exposicions may be made vpon this fable; but to oure purpose it may be seide of a yong man that habaundoneth hym holy in ydylnes and dispendith his goodes and his gettynges in delyte off his body and in disportes of huntyng and to kepe ydel menye. Hereby may it be seide that he was hated of Dyane, the which is noted for chastite, and deuowred of his owen menye. Therefor it is seide to the good knyght that he shuld be ware he were not deuowred in leche wyse. And a wyse man seith, “Idilnes engendyrth idylnes[426] and errour.”

Be Antheon, the which become an herte, we may vnderstond 78the veray repentaunt man that was wonnte to be a synner and now hath ouercome his fleyssch and made it bonde to the good sperite [and] takyn the state of pennaunce. Seynt Austyn seith in the Sawtyr that pennance is an esy thyng or dede and a lyght charge; it owght not to be called a grete charge for a man but wenges off a byrde fleyng, for, as a birde in herth here bereth the charge of |f. 51.| there wenges and there wenges berith theyme to heven, on the same wyse, yff we bere on erthe here the charge off pennawnce, it shal bere vs to heven. To this purpose þe Gospell seith, [“Pœnitentiam agite, appropinquavit enim regnum cœlorum”].[427]


I seye go notte to the yates of helle
For to seke Euridice be my counselle.
Litell he wanne there with his harpe and play,
Orpheus, as that I haue ofte herd seye.

Orpheus the poyete, the which harpede so well,[428] a fabil seith that he maried hym to Euridice, but on the day of mariage thei wente to disporte theyme in a medwe barefoote ffor the grete hete of the sonne, and an herde coveytyd that fayyr woman and ranne ffor to a rauysshed hyr, and as she flede afore hym for fere of hym she was betyn with a serpent that was hyd wnder the gresse of the medwe, and within a litell while after the mayden dyed. Orpheus was ryght heuy of that mysse aventure; yit he tooke his harpe and wentte to þe yattes of helle in the dyrke waly afore the helle paleys, and thanne he begane to harppe pytously and he pleyyd so swetely that all the tormentes off helle cesyd and all the helly offices lefte there besynes for to here the sownde of the harppe, and anamly Proserpyne, the godes off 79helle, was meuyd with grete pete. Than Pluto, Lucifere, Cerebrus and Acaron,[429] the which for the harpor sawe that the offices off hell peynnes lefte and cesed, toke hym hys wyff vpon a condicion that he shulde goo afore and sche after, and that he shulde notte loke behynde hym to he come owt of the valy of helle, and yff he looked behynde hym he shuld lefe hire. Opon this condicion she was delyuered to hym ayen. So Orpheus wente afore and his loue after, but he that was to hoote in loue, the which desired to beholde hire, myght not kepe hym from lokyng ayen after his loue, and anoon as [he] loked byhynd hym Euredice partyd from hyme and was ayen in helle, so that he myght no more haue hire. This fable may be vndyrstondyn in many maneres. It myght be so that some man had his wyff takyn fro hyme and he had getten hire ayen; on the same wyse it may be of a castell or of anothir thyng. But to owre purpose it may be seide that he seketh veryly Euredice in hell, the which sekyth an inpossibyl thyng and, thowgh a man may notte recouer that, he owghte not to be wrothe. Salamon seyth the same, “It is a foly thyng,” he seith, “to seke that the which is impossybylle to be hadde.” |f. 52.|

Be that a man shulde not goo to seke Euredice in hell, we may vndirstond that the goode speryte shulde aske ne requyre of God no thyng that is meruellious,[430] ne that mervell to be thyng oon, that is to sey, to tempte God. And Seynt Austyn seith opon Seynt John Gospell that Godes creature is not exavced when he requiryth a thyng the which may not be doone or shuld not be doone, or a thyng the which he wolde vse amysse yf that it were grawntyd hyme, or ell a thyng that shuld hurte the sowle yf it were exauuced. And therfor it comyth of the mercy off God, if he gyff not to a creature a thyng the which he knowyth he wolde vse amysse. To this purpose Seynt James the apostell seyth in his Pistell, [“Petitis et non accipitis eo quod male petatis”].[431]



Iff thou will veraly knowe a knyght
In cloystir or clos where he be dyght,
The say[432] that was made to Achilles
Sall lerne the to proue theym doutles.

The fable seith that Achilles was sone to the godes Thetis, and becawse that, as a godes, she knew if hir sone haunted armes that he shu[l]d dye, she, the which louyd hym with to grete love, hide hym in maydinis clothyng and made hyme were a vaile leche a nonne. In the godesse abbay[433] he lyffed so, and Achilles was long hydde vnto that some persones perseyuyd hym, and the fabill seith that there he begate Pirus[434] opon the kynges dougther, the which was after that full cheualerous. Than began the Troyens grete werres, and the Grekes knew wele that thei hadde nede of Achilles for to streynght theyme. He was sowte ouer all, but thei myght not here of hym. Vlixes, the which was full of grete malice, sowgth hym ouer all [and] come to the temple, but yit he myght not perseyue the trowght. He avysyd hym of grete malice and sotilte, and than Vlixes toke keuercheffes, girdill and all maner of iowell[435] longyng to ladies and therwith feyre armure and bryghte and cast all doune in the myddes of the place in presens of the ladyes and praide iche of theyme to take[436] that the which plessede theyme best; and than, as euery thyng drawith to his nature, the ladies ronne to the jowell and Achilles sessede the armure. And thanne Vlixes ranne and tooke hyme in his armys and seyde, “This is he that I seke.” And becawse that knyghtes shulde be 81more inclyned to armes than to plesawnce,[437] which longgeth to ladies, the auctorite seith that therby a man may knowe the veray knyght. And to this purpose Legaron[438] seith that a knyghte is not |f. 53.| knowen but be his dedes of armes.[439] And Hermes seith that thou shuldest preue a man afore or that thou trost hym to gretely.

Where it is seyde, “Yf thou wylte knowe a goode knyght,” we may vnderstondyn that the good knyght [of] Cryst Jhesu shuld be know by the dede of armes in goode workyng, and that siche a knyght shulde haue the dwe prayse that longgeth to goode men. Seynt Jerom seith in a pistil that, as the ryghtvisnes of God levyth non evil thyng vnponysshede, on the same wyse it levith no goode thyng vnrewarded. So than to good pepill noo labour shulde be thought to harde, ne no tyme to longe, standyng that thei [are] abydyng[440] the euerlastyng hire and blys. Therfor Holy Scripture seith, [“Confortamini et non dissolvantur manus vestræ, erit enim merces operi vestro”].[441]


Wyth Athalenta stryue thou not nowe,
For she hath gretter talent þan thou.
It was hir crafte for to renne fast.
To siche a rennyng haue thou non hast.

Athalenta was on of the fayre[442] and lyche to a gentilvoman of grete beaute, but hire destonye was diuerse; ffor because of hire mony lost ther lyves. This gentilvoman for hire grete beaute was 82covetyde of mony oon to be hadde to maryage, but ther was made sich a conuenawnt that non shulde haue hire but he ouerranne hir, and yf she ouerranne hym, he shuld dye. Athalenta was mervelious swyft, so that non myght streche to hir in rennyng and that cawsed many on for to die. This rennyng may be vnderstondyn in many maneres. It may be as some thyng that is gretly covetyid of many persones, but yit it may notte be hadde withowte grete traueyle; the rennyng that she made is the defence or the resistence of the same thynges. And allso the fabill may be noted anamly for tho that makyth grete stryve and nedith not. Also the auctorite seyth that a hard man and a coragius ought not to myche to stryve for onprofytabyll thynges, the whiche he shulde not set by, stondyng that thei [t]owche[443] not to his worchyppe for many grete [h]urtes folwyth off sich stryues. And Thessille[444] [se]ith, “Thou shuldest doo that the which is moste [pro]fetable to the body and most behouely to the soule and fle the contrarye.”

That we shulde notte stryve wyth Athalenta may be vnderstondyn that the goode speryte shulde not be letted with non thyng |f. 54.| that the worlde dothe, of what gouernans it be. And to the same Seynt Austyn seyth in a pistil that the worlde is more perlious to creaturis when it is eesy than whan it is sharpe, for the softer he seeth it the les it shulde lete hym and lees he shulde drawe it to his love then whenne it yeffyth hym cause to dispite it. To this purpose Seynt John the Euaungelist seyth in his fryst Pistill, [“Si quis diligit mundum, non est charitas Patris in eo”].[445]


As that Paris iugede iuge thou noght,
For many men hau ben full hard brought
Be grauntyng of evil sentence
And had þerfor ryght greuous recompence.

83The fable seith that .iii. godesses of grete myght, that is to sey, Pallas godes of kunnyng,[446] Juno godes of goode,[447] and Venus godes off love, com before Paris holdyng an apple of golde,[448] the which seide, “Lete this be youen to the fayrest and the myghttyest of vs.” There was grete discord ffor this appyll, for iche of theyme seyde they ought to haue it, and at the last thei tooke Paris for to iuge the cavse. Paris sought delegently the strenghte and the myghte of ich of theyme by the selfe. Than seide Pallas, “I am godes of cheualry and of wysdom, for by me armes is departed to knyghtes and konyng to clerkes, and yf thou wilt yiff me the appyll, tryst veryli that I shall make the to paase[449] all othir in koonyng and in knytehode.” After that Juno, godes of goode, seide, “And by me is departyd the grete lordshippes and also tresowrys off the worlde. If thou wyl gyff me the appyll, I shall make the recher and mygh[t]ier than ony othir.” And than spake Venus wyth full louyng wordes and seide, “I am she that kepyth scoles of loue and off iolines[450] and maketh fooles to be wyse men and wyse men to do foly, and I make ryche men poore and tho þat be exiled riche. There is no myght that may compare wyth my myght. Iff thou wylt yeffve me the appyll, by me thou shalt haue þe love of fayre Helaine of Grece, the which may avayle the more than any maner of ryches.” And thanne Paris gaff his sentence and forsoke bothe knyghthode, wisdom and riches for Venus, to whome he gaff the appyll; for the which after that Troye was dystryd. This is to vnderstonde, because that Paris was not cheuallrous ne reche, he sette be noo thyng, but all his thought was on loue, and therefor yaffe he the appill to Venus. Werefor it is seide to the goode knyght that he shuld not demene hym so. And Pictagoras seith, |f. 55.| “The iuge that iugede not iustyly, diserveth myche evyll.”

Be Parys that iuged folely is vnderstonden that the goode 84sperite shulde be ware how he iuged oþer. Seynt Austyn spekyth thereoff ayens the [Manichees][451] that there be .ii. thynges the whych in especiall we shulde eschewe, fryst to iuge othir persones, for we know not of what corage thynges be done, the which to contempne it is þerfor[452] grete presumcion, for we shuld take theyme to the better partye; secundly for because we be not incerteyne what the[i] shall be that now be goode or now evill. Owre Lord to this purpose seith in þe Gospell, [“Nolite judicare et non judicabimini, in quo enim judicio judicaveritis judicabimini.”][453]


In Fortvne, that grete myghty godesse,
Trist not to mych, ne in hyre promyse;
For in a lytell space she chaungeth,
And the hyest ofte ouerthroweth.

Fortune aftyr the spekyng off poyetis may be wele called the grete godes, for by hire we see that wordly thynges be gouernde. And becauce she promysyth to many prosperite inowght—and indede to some she yeffeth it—and in litell space takyth it awaye when it plesyth hire, it is seide to the goode knyght that he shuld not trost in hire promysses ne discomfort hym not in his aduersites. And Socrates seith the cours of fortvne farith as engins.[454]

Becavse whi that he seith that he shulde not trost in fortvne, we may vnderstond that the good spirite shuld fle and disprayse wordly delittes. Therefor Boys[455] seith in the .iii. booke of Consolacion that the felicite off the Epicuriens shulde be called vnfelicite, for the full and the perfyȝth felicite it is that the which [can] make man sufficiently myghty, reuerende, solempne and ioyeux, the 85which condicions resiste not to thynges whereopon wordly peple settyth there felycite.[456] Thereffor God seyth by the profyte Ysaie, [“Popule meus, qui te beatum dicunt, ipsi te decipiunt”].[457]


To vndirtake to avance werre, |f. 56.|
Make thou not Paris the begynner;
Better he cowde (take vittenes aboue)
Disporte in the feyre armes of his loue.

Paris was nothyng condicionned to armes, but all to loue. Therefor it is seide to the goode knyght that he shuld not make a cheuetayne of his host ne of his bateilles a knyght the whiche is not apte to armes. And therefor Aristotyl seith to Alizaunder, “Thou shuldest make hym connestabil of thyne oste that thou knowes is wyse and experte in armes.”

That ye shulde not make Paaris to begynne yowre werres, it is to vnderstonde that the good knyght gostly, tendyng only to the knyghthode of heuen, shuld be holly drawen fro the worlde and ches contemplatyue lyffe. And Seynt Grigore seith vpon Ezeciell that the lyffe contemplatyue is of ryght preferred afore the actiue liue as for the worthier and the gretter, for the actiue life travellith hymselfe in the laboure of this present lyfe, but the contemplatyve lyfe farith as he that tristith[458] the sauour of the reste that is for to come. Wherefor the Gospell seith off Mary Magdalene, be whom contemplacion is figured, [“Optimam partem elegit sibi Maria, quæ non auseretur ab ea”].[459]



Sette the not to be a spy, I the seye,
But loke thou kepe euer the hey weye.
Sephalus[460] wyth his [s]harpe iaueloth[461]
Lereth it the, and the wyff of Lothe.

The fabill seith that Sephalus was an ancient knyght the which delyted hym grettely all his lyue in the disporte of huntyng, and he coude cast a darte hade sich a propirte that it was neuer cast in veyne, but it kyllyd all þat it tovched. And because that he hade a costome to ryse in the mornyng and to goo to the forest to aspye the wylde bestis, his wyff was ielous ouer hyme and supposed that he loued othir than hire, and for to know the trowthe she went after to aspy hym. Sephalus, the which was in the woode, when he herde the leues make noyse where that his wyff went, supposed that it hadde ben some wylde best, kest his iauelot and kyllyd his wyff. He was hevy of that mysse aventure, but there myght no remedy be hadde. The woman Lothes wyffe, as that Holy Scripture wytnessyth, turnyd ayen ayens the commawndment off the aungell, when she herde that the .v. cetees sanke behynde hyr, and therfor anon she was chawnged into a |f. 57.| salte ston. And be all sich figures may be sette many vndirstondynges. For the trwthe and for to take it in example for the trowthe, no good man shulde delyte hym to spye anothir in thynges that longeth not to hym; and to the entend that no man wolde be aspyed, Hermes seith, “Do not to thi felawe that the which thou woldyst not were done to the, and strech no snaris for to take men wythall, ne purches noon harme to theyme be aspyeng ne be wyles, for at the last it will turne opon þiselfe.”

That a man shulde not sette hym for to spye may be vndirstondyn 87that the good sperite shuld not peyne hym to knowe othir mennis dedes, ne to enqwere tydyngges of othir. For Seynt John Crisostome seith opon the Gospell of Seynt Mathieu, “Howe takys thow so grete hede,” seith he, “of so many litell defawtes of othir men and latyst pase so many grete defawtes in thyn owyn dedes? Yf thou loued thi selfe better than thi neyghburght, whi empechest thou his dedes and leuys thyne owyn? Be diligent to considir thin owyn dedes fryst, and than consider the dedes off othir.” To this purpose owre Lorde seith in the Gospelle, [“Quid autem vides festucam in oculo fratris tui, trabem autem in oculo tuo non vides?”].[462]


Disprayse not of Helene the councell;
I counsel the so wythowte fayle,
For ofte many hurtes falleth then,
Because that we beleue not wyse men.

Helene was brothir to Hector and Kyng Priantes sone of Troye. He was a full wyse clerke and full off konyng. As mych as he myght, he counseyled that Paarys shulde not goo into Grece to rauyssh Helayne; but thei wolde not do aftyr hym, for the which the Troyens were hurte. Therefor it is seide to the good knyght that he shuld beleue wyse men and there councell, and Hermes seith, “Who so worchyppyth wyse men and vsyth there councell, thei be euerlestyng pepyll.”

Helene, the which counselled ayens the werre, that is to sey that the goode sperite shulde eschwe temptacions. And Seynt Jerom seith that a synner hath noon excusacion whereby he howght to suffyr temptacions to ouercome hym, for the temptyng feend is so febill that he may ouercome noon but thoo that wyll be yolden to hyme. And thereopon Seynt Povle the apostyl seyth, [“Fidelis |f. 58.| Deus qui non patietur vos temptari supra id quod potestis,” etc.].[463]



Be not to mery ne to sori
For thi dremes, though thei be hevy.
Morpheus byddyth, the messanger
Off the god of slepe and dremes seere.[464]

A ffabill seyth that Morpheus is sone to the god of slepe, and he is his massenger and he is god of dremes and cawsyth men to dreme. And because that dremes be trobolous thynges and a derke and some tyme it may syngnifie contrarie to the dreme, þer is noon so wyse that may propirly speke[465] liche as the expositours seith of theyme[466]. Therfor it ys seide to the good knyght that he shulde not be to heuy ne to mery ffor sich avysyons, be the which a man may not shewe no certeyne knowlych ne to what thyng thei sal turne, and anamely þat a man shulde not be to mery ne to hevy ffor thynges off fortune, the which be transsitorie. Socrates seith, “Thou that arte a man, thou shuld not be to hevy ne to mery ffor no maner cawse.”

Where it is seide that a man shuld not be to mery ne to hevy for non avysyons, we shall seye that the good speryte shuld not be to heuy ne to meri for no maner cause that cometh to hym and that he shuld suffre tribulacions paciently. Seynt Austyn seith vpon the Savter, “Fayre son,” seith he, “yf thou wilte wepe for thi sorres that thou felest, veepe vnder the correccion off thi Fadir; yf thou wepe ffor tribulacions that comyth to the, be ware that it be not for indignacion ne for pride, for the aduersyte that God sendyth to the it is a medycyne and no payne, it is a chastisment and no dampnacion. Put not fro the thi Fadris rodde but yf that þou wylt that [he] put the from his heritage; and thynk not on the payne 89that thow owghtes to suffre of his scorge, but considir what place thow haste in his testament.” To this purpose the wyse [man] seythe, [“Omne quod tibi applicitum fuerit accipe et in dolore sustine, et in humilitate tua patientiam habe.”][467]


Be the see yf thou wylt vndertake
Perlyous viages for to make,
Off Alchion[468] beleue the counsell.
Ceys therof the soth may the tell.

Ceys was a kyng, a full good man, and loued wele Alchyon |f. 59.| his wyff. The kyng tooke a deuocion ffor to go a perlyows passage on the see in a tempest, but Alchyon his wyffe, the whiche loued hym ryght hertily, dyde gretyly hir besynes to meve hym fro[469] that vyage and with grete teris of wepyng prayde hyme full besyly; but it myght not be remedied by here ne he woold not suffir hir to goo with hym, stondyng that she wolde all gates haue gone with hymme and at the departyng she styrte on to the shepe.[470] But Ceys the kyng comfortyd hir and with force made hyre to abyde, for the which she was full anggwyssous and hevy and in ryght grete woo. Neuer the lesse Eolus,[471] the god of wyndes, meved theyme soo gretely opon the see that the kyng Ceys within fewe dayes perysshed on the see; ffor the which, whenne Alchyon knew that aventure, she kest hire selfe into the see. The ffabill seith that the godes had pyte þeroff and chawnged the bodyes of the .ii. louers into .ii. birdes, to the intent that there grete loue myght be had in perpetuell mynde. And yette þe same birdes flee opon the see syde, the which be called Alchions and there fedres be whyte; and whan the maryneris see theyme come, þan be they sekyr of a 90tempest.[472] The ryght exposicion hereof may be that in mariage .iio. loueres loued togedir in lich wyse, the which poyetes lykeneth to the .iio. byrdes that hade sich a case and aventure. Therefor it is seide to the goode knyght that he shulde not put hym in no perlyous passage ayens the counsell off his good ffrendis. And Assaron[473] seyth that the wyse man enforseth hym to draw hym fro hurtes, and the foole doth his diligence to fynde hurtes.

For to beleue Alchion, it is to vnderstond that the goode speryte by some evil temptacion is empeched with some errowe or dowte in his thowght, in the which he shuld reporte hym to the openyon off the cherche. For Seynt Ambrose seyth in the .ii. booke off Offices that he is fro hym selfe that dispyseth the counsell of the cherche, for Joseph helped kyng Pharaon more profitably with the cownsell off his prudence than though he had yoven hyme eythir gold or syluer; for syluer myȝgh not a purueyde for the famyn of Egypte the space of vii. yere. Therefor it is concluded, “trust counsell and thou shalt not repent the.” To this purpose the wyse man seith in his Proverbes to the persone of holy chirch, [“Custodi legem atque consilium et erit vita animæ tuæ”].[474]


Off a chylde beleue notte the counsell,
For off Troylus remenbre the wele.
Trest[475] ye may men aged and prouede,
That in armes hath sore bene charged.

When Kyng Priant had repared Troye ayen, the which was dystroyede because of the greuyng of theym that went into Colcos, |f. 60.| than Priant thought to take vengance for that distraccion and asemblyd his counsell, where that were many hy barons and wyse 91men, for to wete wheythir it were good that Paaris his sone shulde goo into Grece to ravyssh Elen or noon in achaunge for Esyona[476] his sistir, the which was taken be the Thelomonailles[477] and ledde into thraldom. But all the wyse men seyde nay, becavse of proficies and of scriptores, the whiche seide through that rauysshyng Troye shuld be dystroyed. Than Troylus, the whiche was a child and the yongest of Priantes sones, seyde that men shulde not in counsell of werre beleue olde men ne there prouerbes, the which threwe[478] there cowardyse counselleth euer to rest; so he counselled that they shulde goo togedir. Troylus conseil was holdyn, of the which felle myche harme. Therefor it is seyde to the good knyght that he shuld not holde ne beleve the counsell of a childe, the which of nature is full lyght and lityll to consydir. An auctorite seith to this purpose that where a childe is kyng þe londe ys onappy.[479]

That a good speryte shulde not agre hym to the counsell of a childe, it is to vndirstond that he shulde [not] be ignorant, but knowyng and full lerned in that the which may be prophyte to his helth; ffor ayens ignorant pepyll Seynt Austyn seith, “Ignorance is a full evyl modir, the which hath full evill doughteris, that is to sey, falssenes and doute; the fyrst is myschawnce, the secund is wreechednes, the fyrst is vicyous, but the secund is softer,[480] and these .ii. is drawen away by wysdome.” Therefor the wyse man seyth, [“Sapientiam prætereuntes non tantum in hoc lapsi sunt ut ignorarent bona, sed insipientiæ suæ reliquerunt hominibus memoriam”].[481]



Hate Calcas and his false disseytes,
Off whome the infynyte malicis
Betrayeth many reaumes expres[482];
Off wordly pepyll þer is no wers.

Calcas was a sootyl clerke of the cete of Troye,[483] and, whan Kyng Priante knew that the Grekes come opon hym with a grete oste, he sent Calcas into Delphos to wete of the god Appolonie[484] how the werre shulde fortvne. But after that the god hade aunsweryd, the which seide [that] after .x. yere the Grekes shulde haue the victorie, Calcas turned towarde the Grekes and aqwaynttyd hym with Achilles, the which was comme into |f. 61.| Delphos for the same cause, and with hym he went to the Grekes, whome he helpid for to cownsel ayens his owen cete and ofte tymes disturbed the pes betwyne the Grekys and the Troyens. And becawse he was a traytore, it is seide to the goode knyghte that he shulde hate sich evill sotell pepyll, ffor theyre traysones so done be willes may hurte gretly reaumes and empires and all maner of pepyll. Therefor Platon seith, “A soothel[485] enemy, though he be poore and not myghty, may greue more than a ennemy myghty and ryche vnknowyn.”

Calcas, the which shuld be hatyd, may be vnderstonden that the good speryte shulde hate all fraudelous malice ayens his neyghburgh, for he shulde in no wyse consent thertoo. For Seynt Jerom seith that a traytoure will not be sowpled, neythir for familiarite off felachep ne for homlynes of mete and drynke ne for grace of seruyce ne for plente off benefices. Off this vice seith 93Seynt Poule the aposstell, [“Erunt homines cupidi, elati, superbi, proditores, tumidi”].[486]


Be thou notte harde for to graunt, I say,
Sich a thyng as welle enploy thou may;
To Hermofrodicus[487] haue tendyyng,[488]
The whiche tooke harme for his denying.

Hermofrodicus was a beauteous yong thyng, and on of the fayree[489] was sore enamourede of hymme, but he in no wyse had leste to love hire and she purswed hym ouer all. Yt felle on a tyme that the yong thyng was full wery of the purswte wherein he hadd trauelled all the day. Than he come to a well-spryng sette abovte with salwes,[490] by the whiche was a fayre stanke, styll and clere, ffor the which a lest he hade to bathe hym.[491] He dyde of his clothes and went into the water. Whan she off the fayree sawe hym onclothyd and all naked, she went in to hym and for grete loue tooke that yong thyng in hir armes; but he, the which was full froward, put hire fro hym ryght rudely, so she myght not wynne his hert for no prayour. Than she of the fayree, full of woo, prayde to the godes that she myght neuer parte from hire loue, the whiche put hire so fro hym. The godes of pete harde hire deuoute prayere; than sodanly they chaunged the .iio. bodies into oone, the which were of .iio. seytis.[492] This fabill may be vnderstondyn in many maneres, lich as sothell clerkes and philosopheris hath hide there grete secretes vndir couertoure of fable. Thereto it may be |f. 62.| 94vnderstondyn sentence longyng to the science of astronomy, and as wele of nygromancye,[493] as that maystrys seyth. And because that the matyr of loue is more delictable to here than othir, gladely[494] they made there distinccions[495] opon loue for to be the more delectable to here, anamly to rude pepill, the whiche take but the barke, and the more agreable to subtile, the which sowketh the lyquor. But to owre purpose we may vndirstond that it is velany and a fowle thyng to refuse or to grawnte wyth grete daunger that the which may not turne to vyce ne to preiudice, thowgh it be grawnttyd. For Hermes seyth, “Make no long delay to put it in execucion that the which þou shuld doo.”

The goode speryte shulde notte be harde to graunt there where he seyth necessite, but reconforte the nedy to his power. As Seynt Gregore seith in his Moralles that, whan we wyll reconforte any that is afrayed in heuynes, we shulde fryst make heuynes with theyme, for he may not veryly reconforte the hevy person which cordeth hyme not with his heuines. For leche a man[496] may not ioyne oon yren to anothir yf thei be note hote bothe .iio. and softyd with the fire, on the same wyse we may not redresse anothir yif oure hertes be not softted be compassyon. To this purpose Holy Scripture seith, [“Confortate manus dissolutas et genua debilia roborate”].[497]


Thou mayst wyth the pleys the solace
Off Vlixes, when thou hast tyme and space
In the tyme of trwes and of fest,
For they be both sotel and honest.

95Vlyxes was a baron of Grece and off grete sotylte and duryng the long seege afore Troye, the whiche lestyd .x. yere, [when] that trwes were, he fond pleys full sotyll and feyre for to disporte knyttes therewyth in the tyme of soioure and rest. And some seyne that he fonde the game of the chesse and sich othir lich. Therefor it is seide to the good knyght that in dwe tyme men may wele play at sich games; for Solyn seith, “All thyngges that is sottyl and honest is lefull to be doone.”

The pleyes of Vlixes may be vnderstondyn that, when the knyghtly speryte shall be wery off prayer and of beyng in contemplacion, he may wele disporte in redyng of Holy Scriptures; ffor, as Seynt Jerom seith, Holy Scripture is sete in the yen of owre[498] |f. 63.| hertis as a merowre, to the entent that we shuld se the herdly face[499] of owre sowle, and therefor may we see the lewdenes, there may we see who myche[500] that we profyte and how fayre we ben [fro] profyte.[501] To this purpose owre Lord seith in the Gospell, [“Scrutamini scripturas, quia vos putatis in ipsis vitam æternam habere”].[502]


Yif thou wilt yeff the to Cupido,
Thy hert and all abaundon hire to,
Thynkke on Cresseides nwefanggyllnesse,[503]
For hire hert hade to meche dobylnesse.

Cresseide [was] a gentilwoman of grete beaute, an[d] she was yit more qwaynte and sotell to drawe pepill to hir.[504] Troylus, the yongest of Priantes sones, [the which] was full of grete gentilnesse, 96of beaute and of worthines, loued hire ryght hertily and she hade youen hym hir loue and promysyd to hym that it shuld neuyr fayle. Calcas, fadir to the gentilwoman, the which knew by science that Troye shuld be distroyid, dide so myche that his doughter was delyuered to hym and browght owte of the cete and ledde to the seege among the Grekes, where hir fadir was. Grete was the sorowe and full petous the[505] complayntis of the .iio. louers at the departyng. Neuerthelesse within a while aftir Dyomed, the which was a hye baron and a full worthi knyght, aqweynttyd hym with Cresseide and labowrd so soore to hir that she loued hym and only[506] foryate hir trwe loue Troylus. Because that Cresseide was so lyght of corage, it is seide to the gode knyght that, yf he will sette his herte in ony plase, late hym be ware that he be not aqwauyntyd with sich a lady as Cresseide was. And Hermes seith, “Kepe the from evill felachepe, that thou be not on of theyme.”

Cresseide, of whom a man shulde be ware to aqweynt hym, is veyne glori, with the which the good sperite shuld not aqwaynte hym, but fle it onto his power, for it is to lyghte and commyth to sodenly. And Seynt Austyn opon the Sauter seith that he the which hath wele lerned and asayed by experiens to ouergoo degrees of vices, he is coume to the knowlyge that the synne of veyne glory is holy or most specyaly to eschwe of perfyȝte men, ffor emong all othir synnes it is hardest to ouercom. Therefor the apostil Seynt Poule seith, [“Qui gloriatur, in Domino glorietur”].[507]


When thou hast kylled Patroclus,
Ware of Achilles, I counsell þe thus,
Yf thou loue me, for thei be all on, |f. 64.|
There goods betweyne theym be comon.

97Patroclus and Achilles were felawes togedir and ryght dere freendis, so that there were neuer to[508] brethere loued better togedir, and thei and here goodes were comon as all o thyng. And because that Hector slew Patroclus in batayle Achilles had grete hate to Hector, and fro theyns forthe swore his dethe. But because he doutyd meche his grete streynght, he lefte neuer to wayte how he myght fynde hym discouered to betray hym. Therfor Othea seide to Hector, as by profecye of that which was for to come, that, when he hadde sleyne Patroclus, it were nede for hym to be ware of Achilles. That is to vnderstond þat euery man the which hath slayne or mysdoon to anothir mannys trwe freen, his[509] felawe will take vengance if he may. Therefor Magdare[510] seith, “In what [place] that euer thou be wyth thy ennemye, holde hym euer in suspecte, thow[511] that thow be myghtyer than he.”

Where it is seide that, when thow hast sleyne Patroclus thou shulde be ware of Achilles, we may vnderstond that, yf the goode speryte suffir hym by the feend to bowe to synne, he howte[512] to dowte euerlastyng dethe. And Solyn seith,[513] “This present lyue is but a knyghthode an[d] in tokyn theroff this present lyf is called werre in deference of that aboue, the which is called victorius, for it hath euer of enemyes.” To this purpose the apostil Seynt Poule seith, [“Induite vos armaturam Dei, ut possitis stare adversus insidias diaboli.”][514]



Be ware thou voide note fro the Echo,
Ne hir[515] petous complayntes also;
Susteyne all hir wille, yif it may be,
For thou wote not what may com to the.

The fabill seith that Echo was a fayre woman, and because she was wont to be to grete a iangelere and by hir iangyllyng on a day accused Juno, the which for ialousie on day lay in awayte on hir husbond, the godesse was wroothe and seide, “For hens forth thou shalt no more speke fryst, but after anothir.” Echo was anamored on faire Arcisus,[516] but neyther for prayer ne for sygne of love that she made to hym he lyst not to haue pete off hire, in so mych that the faire creature diede for his love. But dyeng she prayed to the godesse that she myght be vengyd of hyme in whome |f. 65.| she hade fownde so mych cruellnes that ons yit thei myghte make hym to fele the charpenesse of loue, whereby he may preue the grete woo þat veray louers haue the which in loue be refussede; þan she died. So Eccho made an ende, but hire voyse remaneth, which lestyth yitte. And there the godes made it perpetuall for memorie of that aventure, and yit it answheris to pepill in valeyys and on reueres aftyr the woyse of othir, but it may not speke fryst. Eccho may syngnyfie a persone the which off grete necessite requyryth the voyse that is youen to anothir; that is to sey, of nedy pepyll there is abydyng enowe, for they may not helpe themselffe withowte helpe of othir.[517] Therefor it is seyde to the good knyght that he shuld haue pete of nedy pepill that reqwyrith it. And Zaqualquin[518] seith, “Who so will kepe wele the lawe, shulde helpe hys frend with his goode and leue to nedi pepill and 99be gracious, not denying iustice to his enemy, and kepe hym fro vice and dishonour.”

Be Echo, the which shuld not be refusyd, may be notyd the mercy þat the good sperite shulde haue in hym selfe. And Seynt Austyn seith in the book of owre Lo[r]dis Sermon that he made on the Hille that blyssyd be thoo that willyngly socourith poore pepill, the which be in penowrye, for thei discerue mercy of God opon them that is in penuery. And it is a iust thyng that who so will be holpyn of a souereyne more myghtye than he shuld helpe[519] a sympler than he is, in as myche that he is mythyer than he. Therefor the wyse man seith in his Prouerbis, [“Qui pronus est ad misericordiam benedicetur.”][520]


Iff thou wilte haue a croune of victorie,
Which is better than ony good wordly,
Damee[521] thou most folue and purswe
And shalt haue hir, if thou will wele swe.

The fabil seith Damee was a gentylwoman that Phebus loued hertily, and he purswede hire sore, but she wolde not agre to hym. It felle on a day that he sawe the fayre creature go in a way and he folowed and, whanne she sawe hym come, she fledde and the god aftir. And when he was so nere that she sawe well she myght not scape hym, she made hir prayers to the godes Diane that she shulde save hire virginite, and the body of the maydyn chaunged into a grene lorier; and when Phebus was come nere therto, he tooke of the brawnches of the tre and made hym a chaplete in syngne of victorie. And anamly in the tyme[522] of the Romayns greete felicite the victorius pepill of theyme were crowned with |f. 66.| lorier. This fabill may haue many vndirstondynges. It myght happe that some myty man with long traveyle swed a lady in so 100mych that with his grete pursvte he com to his will vndir a lorier, and for that cavse fro theyns forth he loued the lorier and bare it in his devyse in signe of the victorie that he hade of his love vndir the lorier. And allso the lorier may be take for golde, the which betokynyth worchippe. It is seide to the good knyght that he most pursue Damee, if that he will haue a croune of lorier, that is to seyne, payne and traveyle, yf he will com to worchippe. To this purpose Omer seyth, “Be grete diligence a man comyth to grete perfeccion.”

That Damee wolde be purswede for to have a croune of lorier, we may vndirstonde that, yf the goode speryth will haue a glorius victorie, he must haue perseuerance, the which sall lede hym to the victorie of paradyse, of the which the ioies be infynite. As Seynt Grygory seith, “Who hath þat tong that may suffice to tell it, and where is the vndirstondyng that may or canne comprehend it, who[523] many ioyes be there in that souereyne cete off paradyse, euer to be present[524] ... visage of God, to se the vnscribable lyght, to be in surte neuer to haue fere off deth, to be mery with the gyfte of euerlastyng clennes?” To this purpose Dauid seith in þe Savter, [“Gloriosa dicta sunt de te, civitas Dei”].[525]


To the also I make mencion
Off Andromathais[526] vision;
Dispite not thi wyfe, I counsell the,
Ne othir wemen that wise be.

Avdromatha was Hectoures wyffe, and the nyght afore that he was sleyne there com to his wyfe in a vision that the next daye 101that Hector went to the batayle withowten dowte there he shuld be sleyne. For the which Andromatha with grete seghens and vepynges dide hire power that he shuld no goo into the batayle; but Hector wold not beleue hir and there he was slayne. Wherefor it is seide that a goode knyght shuld not holy disprayse visions of his wife, that is to sey, in avice and the counsell of his wyfe, if he be wyse and well condiciond, and anamly of othir wise women. For Platon seith, “Thou shuld not disprayse the counsell of a lytill wise person, for, þough thou be neuer so olde, be not ashamed to lerne, though a childe wolde teche the, for some tyme the ingnorant may avise the wise man.”

The avision of Andromatha, the whiche shulde not be dispreysed, |f. 67.| is that a good purpose sent by the Holy Gost Jhesu Cristis knyght shuld not sette it at nought, but anoon sette it in effecte vnto his power. Thereoff spekyth Seynt Gregory in his Moralles that the good Sperite for to draw vs to goodnes andmonychit vs, meveth vs and techitht vs. He admonychyt owre mynde, he meuith oure will and techyt owre vnderstondynges. The Sperite, softe and swete, suffirth no maner of litell spote of chaffe[527] abydyng in the habitacion of the herte where he inspiryth, but broyleth it anoon with his subtile circunspeccion.[528] Therefore the postile Seynt Powle seith, [“Spiritum nolite extinguere”].[529]


If that thoue haue grete werre and besy,
In Babilonies streynght verely
Troste not, for be Minos[530] and that soone
It was take; trosteth not than thereone.

102Grete Babilony was founded bi the grete gyaunt Nambroth,[531] and it was the streyngest cete that euer was; but notwithstondyng it was take by knynght Minos.[532] Therefore it is seide to the good knyght that he shuld not so myche truste in the streynght of his cete or off his castell in tyme off werre, but that it be full purveide off pepyll and of all thyng that behoueth for dwe defence. For Platon seith, “Who so trostith all only in his streyngth is often ouercomen.”

Be the streynth of Babilonie, wherein men shuld not trost, it is to vndirstonde that the good sperite shulde not trust ne attende to thynges that the worlde promysith; and Seynt Austyn spekith therof in the booke of Syngularite of Clerkes,[533] that it is to lewde a trust[534] to name his lyffe to be swre ayens the perell of this worlde. And it is a folych hope to wene to be saue among the byttynges[535] of synnys; yit the victorie incerteyne is as long as men be among the dartes of there enmyes and kepith theyme vnhurte,[536] but who so is envirouned with flawmes is not lyghtly delyuered withowtyn brennyng. Trost to hym that hath the experience; though the world lawith[537] on the, tryst it not, lete thi hoope be sette in God. Therefor seith the prophete Dauid, “Spera in Domino,” etc.[538]



Hector me must pronunce thi deth smerte.
Wherefor grete sorwe bitteth my herte.
That shall [be] whene that Priant the kyng
[Thou] woldest not trost, which come the praying.[539]

The day that Hector was sleyne in bataile Andromatha his |f. 68.| wiffe come to pray Kyng Priant with full grete compleyntes and wepynges that he wolde not that day suffre Hector to goo to bataile, for withowte dowte he shulde be sleyne yf he went thedir.[540] Mars, the god of bataile, and Minerve, the godesse of armes, hade veraly shewed it there in hir slepe,[541] where thei apperid to hir. Priant dide all that he myghte for he shulde not fyght that day, but Hector stale fro his fadir and stirte owte of the cete by a waye vndir the erthe and went to the bataile, where he was sleyne. And for because he neuer dishobehed his fadir but that day, [it] may be seide the day that he shulde dishabey his ffadir than shulde he die. And it may be vnderstond that noon shulde dishobey his souereyne ne his good ffrendes, when they awyse hym as in reson. And therfor Aristotil seide to Alexandir, “As long as thou trustist the cownsell of theyme that vsith wisdom and that loued the truly, thou salt reigne glorously.”

Where she[542] seide to Hector that she most pronounce his name,[543] [it] is that the good sperite shulde haue contynell mynde on the owre of deth. Thereof seith Seynt Bernard[544] that in mankyndely thynges men fynde no thyng more certeyne þan deth, ne lesse incerteyne than is the owre of deth; for deth hath no mercy of pouerte and dothe no worshippe to reches; it sparith neythir 104wisedom, condicions ne age; men hath non othir certeyne of deth but that it is at the doores of aged men and it is in the mydwes[545] of yong men. To this purpose the wise man seith, [“Memor esto, quoniam mors non tardat”].[546]


I purpose yet to make the sadde and wyse,[547]
That thou vse in batailes ffor no gise
Off thyne harneis discouered for to be,
For thi deth than it will opyn to the.

In the bataile Hector was founde discouerede of his harneis, and thanne he was sleyne. And therefor it is seide to the goode knyght that he shuld not in bataile be discouered of his harneis. For Hermes seyth that deth farith as the stokke[548] of an arrowe and lyff farith as an arrowe that is sette to shoote.[549]

There where it is seide that he shuld kepe hym couered with his harneis it is vndirstond that the good sperite shulde kepe his wittis cloose and not voide. Seynt Grigori seith hereoff that a person the which departhit hys vittis fareth as a iowgolowre the |f. 69.| which fyndeth no wers hous than his owyn; therefor he is euer owte of his hows, euen as a man that kepith not his wittes clos is euer vagaunt and owte of the hous of his conscience and farith as an opyn hall where men may entre on euery syde. Therefor [our] Lorde seith in the Gospell, [“Clauso ostio, ora Patrem tuum in abscondito.”][550]



Of Pollibetes[551] coveite not hastly
His harmes, for thei be vnhappy;
Of his dispoylyng folowed, parde,
Thi wofull deth be theyme þat sewed þe.

Polibetes was a full myghty kyng, the which Hector slewe in the bataile after many othir grete dedes that he hadde done that day. And becawse that he was harmede with ffayre harmes and reche, Hector coveite theyme and stowpyd doung of his hors nekke for to dispoyle the body, and than Achilles, the which swede after hym with hole will to take hym discouerte, smote hym beneth for fawte off his harmure and at oo stroke kylled hym, of whom it was grete harme, ffor a worthier knyght was neuer gyrte whyth swerde of the which stories maken mencion. And that sich couetyses may be no noyens[552] in sich places it shewith bi the seide cas. Therefor the philosophir seith, “Disoordnet couetise[553] ledith a man to deth.”

That we shulde not couete Polibetis armis, we may vndirstond that the goode speryte shuld haue no couetise to no maner of wordly thynges. For Innocent seith[554] that it ledith a man to deth, for covetise it is a fyre that may not be stawnched. The couetous person is neuer content to haue that the which he desyrith, for, whan he hath that he desiryd, he desyrith euer more, euer he setteth his ende in as mych as that he tenteth to have more and not to that the which he hath. Averyse and covetise be .iio. saus makers,[555] the which sesseth neuer to seye, “Bryng, bryng”; and to the value that 106the money waxeth the loue of the mony waxeth. Couetise is the way to the gostly deth and oftetymes to bodily deth. Therefor the postyll Seynt Powle seith, [“Radix omnium malorum cupiditas est”].[556]


Assote the not in love of strawnge kynde;
The deede of Achilles haue in mynde,
Which wende to make of hys enmye |f. 70.|
His veri lyffe and that interely.

Achilles was asotyd in lowe of Polexene the faire mayden, the which was sister to Hector, as he sawe hir in the begynnyng of the yere at the servise off Ectoris yeris meynde[557] in the trwes tyme, where many Grekis went to Troye to see the nobilnes of the cete and of the reche terrement, that was the most solemny made that euer was made for the body of a knyght. There Achilles sawe Polixenne, where he was sore takyn with hir loue that he myght no wyse endure, and therefor he sent to Hecuba the qwene that he wolde treite of mariage and he wolde make the werre to sesse and the sege to departe and he shuld euer be there frend. It was long after or Achilles armed ayens the Troyens becawse of that lowe and [he] dede grete peyne to make the ost to departe, but he myght not doo it and therfor the mariage was notte made. After that Achilles slew Troylus, the which was so full of worthines that he was ryght leke to Hector his brothir, standyng the yong age that he hadde. But the qwene Ecuba was so full of woo for hym that she sent for Achilles to come to hir to Troye ffor to treite of the mariage. He went thedir, and there he was slayne. And þerfor it is seide to the good knyghte that he shuld not assote hym vpon strawnge loues, ffor by ferre loues comyth harme. And therfor the 107wyse [man] seith, “When thyn enemys may not venge theyme, than hast thou nede to be ware.”

That a goode spyryte shulde not assote hym vpon strawnge loues, that is to vndirstond that he shulde chawnge[558] no thynge but yf it comme holy of God and [be] determined in hym. “All strange loues” is the worlde, the which he shuld flee. That he shulde flee the worlde Seynt Austyn seith in expownyng of Seynt Jonis Pistil,[559] “The world passith [and its] concupiscens.[560] O resonable man,” than seith he, “whethir had thou leuer loue the temperell worlde and passe with the tyme, or be with[561] Cryst Jhesu and lyfe perpetualy with hyme?” To this purpose Seynt Jon seith in his fryst Pistill, [“Nolite diligere mundum neque ea quæ in mundo sunt”].[562]


Vndirtake non harmes folely;
It is perell for sowle and body
A naked harme and no shelde to take;
Off Ayaux may thou example make.

Ayaux was a full prowd knyght of þe Grekis and trostid to mych on hymselfe, but yet he was a goode knyght of his hand. |f. 71.| And for pride and soleynnes he vndyrtooke to doo armes with his arme naked discouered withowte a chelde, and so he was boron through[563] and ouerthrowen dede. Therefore it is seide to the goode knyght that to doo siche armes, thei be neythir profitabill ne worchipfull, but rather thei be named lewde and prowde, and thei be to perlyous. Aristotil seith that many erreth be ignorance and fawte of knowyng and woote not whate it is to do ne to leue, and some fayle be arrogance and pride.

108How armes shulde not be vndertake follely is þat þe good sperite shulde not tryst in his owyn fragilite. As Seynt Tawstyn[564] seyth in a sermon, þat non shulde presume in his owyn herte when he pronownceth a worde ne non sulde[565] [trust] in his streynghte when he sufferith tentacion, for, when we speke wysely goode wordes, thei coume of God and not of owre wytte, and when we endure aduersitees stedefastly, it cometh of God and not of oure pacience. To this purpose the apostyl Seynt Powle seith, [“Fiduciam talem habemus per Christum ad Deum, non quod simus sufficientes aliquid cogitare ex nobis quasi ex nobis”].[566]


Antenor exile and chase away,
Which purchassed ayens his contrey
Bothe treson, falsenes and grete vntrouth;
But yif he were yolden it were routh.

Anthenor was a baron of Troie, and when it com at the last to grete Troyenne bateylles, the Grekys that hadde long kepte sege afore the cete they wost not how they myght haue a conclusyon to take the cete, ffor it was of ryght grete streynghte, than by the tysyng[567] of Anthenor. For angre that he hadde to kyng Priaunt, he comforted theyme and seide that thei shulde make a pes with the kyng, and by that mene thei may putte theyme selue into the cete and they shall be youen a wey. Thus thei dede, by the which Troye was betrayed. And because that the treson hereoff was to grete and to evill, it is seide to the good knyght that all sich semblable, where he knoweth theyme, he shulde exile and chasse theyme awey, for sich pepill be gretili to hate. Platon seyth that disseyte is capteyne and gouernowre off shrewes.[568]

109Be Anthenor, the which shulde be chassed awey, we may |f. 72.| vnderstonde that the goode sperite shulde dryve away all thynges whereby ony inconuenyence myght come to hyme. To this Seynt Austyn seith that he that is not besy to eschewe inconueniencees[569] is leche a b[u]tyrflye that turnyth so ofte abowte the fyre of the lampe that he birneth his wenges and thanne is drowned in the oyle, and to the birde that flieth so ofte abowte the glewe that he lesyth his feddris. Example of Seynte Petir, the which aboode so long in the princes courte of the lawe that he fell into sich an inconuenience to renye[570] his Maystir. And the wyse man seith, [“Fuge a via malorum, ne transeas per eam”].[571]


In Mynervez tempell to offir
Thou shulde not thi ennemye suffre.
Take thou goode hede to the hors of tre;
Troye hadde yet bene, had that not be.

The Grekes hade made a feynte pes[572] with the Troyens by Anthemores trayson. Thei seyde thei hadde avowed a gifte to Mynerve the godes, the which thei wolde offyr, and the[i] hadde made a horse of tre of an huge grettenes, the which was full of men of armes, and it was so grete that the yate of the cete most be brokyn for to late it cum in. And the hors was sette opon whelis, that rolled it forth to the temple; and when nyght come and when the tovne was most in rest, than the knyghtes lepid owt of the hors and vent abowte in the cete, the which brente and kyllid and distroiid the towne. The[re]for it is seide to the good knyght that he shulde not trost in no sich fantasies ne offerynges. To this 110purpose a wyse man seith, “A man shulde dowte the sotiltees and the spies of his enemie, yif he be wise, and his shrewdenes,[573] yf he be a foole.”

By Minerve temple we may vnderstond holy chirch, where shulde not a been offird but prayer. And Seynt Awstyn seith in the booke of Feyth, that withowte the ffelechippe of holy chirch and baptym no thyng may availe, ne the dedes of mercye may not vaile to euerlastyng liffe, for withowte the lappe of the chirch non helthe may be. There[for] Dauid seith in the Sauter booke, [“Apud te laus mea in ecclesia magna”].[574]


Trost not to haue a sure castell;
For Ylyones towre, sette full well,
Was take and brent, and so was Thune.[575]
All is in the handes of fortune.

Ylyon was the mayster doongon of Troye and the faryst and |f. 73.| the strengest castell that euer was made of the which stories makyth mencion; but notwithstondyng it was take and brent and broute to nowte, and so was the cete of Thune, the which was some tyme a grete thyng. And becavse that sich causes falleth bi the chaungabilnes of fortvne, it is desirid that the good knyght shulde not be prowde in hyme selfe ne thynke hym selfe sure for no streyngh. Therefor Tholome[576] seith, “The hyer that a lorde be raysed the perlyouser is the ouyrthrowe.”

That man shuld not wene to have a svre castell, we may vndirstond that the good sperite shulde take non hede to no maner delite; for as delitees be passyng and not svre and ledith a person to dampnacion, Seynt Jerom seith that it is inpossibile for a person 111to passe fro delittes to delyttes, that is to sey, for to pase and lepe fro delites of this worlde to the delyttes of paradyse, the which fillyth the wombe here and the sowle there. For the diuine condicion is vnbounde, for it is not yoven to thoo that weneth to haue the worlde euerlastyng in delittes. And to this purpose is wreetyn in the Pocalipce, [“Quantum glorificavit se et in deliciis fuit, tantum date ei tormentum et luctum”].[577]


Eschwe thou shulde þe swyn of Circes,
Where that the knyttes[578] off Vlixes
Were turnyd to swyne as to the ye.
Vmbethynke the wele of this partie.

Cyrces was a qwene, whos reaume was opon the see of Ytaile, and she was a grete enchaunteresse and knew meche of sorcery and wichcraft. And whan Vlixes, the which wente to the se after the destruccion off Troye, as he went to a returnyd[579] into his cuntre, throwe many grete and perlyous tormentes that he hadde he aryved at a hauen of the same lande. He sent to the qwene by his knyghtes to wete wheythir he myght swrely taken hauen in her lond or noon. Circes reseyuyd his knyghtes full gentely and of curtesei made ordeyne for theyme a potage full delicious to drynke, but the potage hade sich a strengh that sodenly the knyghttes were chaunged into swyne. Circes may be vnderstond in many maners. It ma[y] be vndirstonde be a lande or a cuntre where that knyghtes were putte in fowle and veleyns preson; and allso she may be lekened to a lady full of wantonnesse and ydilnes, that by hire many errant knyghtes, that is to sey, sewyng armes, þe which anamly were of Vlixes pepill, that is to vndirstonde, malicious and noyens, were 112kepte to soiorne as swyne. And therefor it is seide to þe good knyght that he shulde not reste in sich a soioryng. For Arystotill |f. 74.| seith, “He that is holy[580] in fornicacion may not be aloved[581] in the ende.”

Cyrceses swyne may we take for ypocrysy, the which the goode sperite shulde eschewe off all thynges. Ayens ypocrytes Seynt Gregory seith in his Moralles,[582] that the lyfe of ypocrytes is but a frawdelous vysyon and as a fantasye ymagenid, the which shewith owtewarde lykenes of an ymage, the which is not in very dede inwarde. To this purpose owre Lorde seith in the Gospell, [“Væ vobis, hypocritæ, quia similes estis sepulchris dealbatis,” etc.].[583]


Thou shulde no grete reson shewe to þe man
The which as that tyme vndirstond ne can.
Yno, the which the soddyn corne dide sowe,
Noteth it to the well inowgh, I trowe.

Yno was a qwene, the which made sothyn[584] corne to be sowen, the which comme not vppe. And therfor it is seide to the goode knyght þat gode resons and weele sette and wyse autorites shulde not be tolde to the pepill of rude vndirstondyng and that cannot vndirstond them, ffor they be lost. And therfor Aristotile seith, “As reyne avaylith notte to corne that is sowen on a stone, no more availleth argumentes to an onwyse man.”

That faire and wise wordis shuld not be tolde to rude and ignorant pepill, the which cannot vnderstond theyme, it is to sey that it is as a thyng loste, and than ignorance is to blame. Seynt Bernard seith in a book of xv. Degrees of Mekenes that fore noght 113tho ascuse theyme of fragilite or off ignorance,[585] standyng that siche as syne most frely be gladly ffreel and ignorant, and many thynges the which shuld be knowen be some tyme vnknowen, outhir be necligence to kune it....[586] All sich ignorances hath non excusacion. Therefore the postil Seynt Povle seyth, [“Si quis ignorat, ignorabitur”].[587]


Auctorites I haue written to the
An .c.; late theyme be take agre,[588]
For a woman lerned Augustus
To be worchipped and taught hym thus.

Cesar Augustus was Emperoure off the Romayns and off all |f. 75.| the worlde, and because thet in th[e] tyme of his reygne pes was in all þe world and that he reyngned pesibily, lewed pepill and misse-beleueres thought that the pes was becawse of his goodnes; but it was notte, for it was Crist Jhesu, the which was borne off the Virgine Mary and was that tyme on þe erth, and as long as he was on erth, it was pes ouer all the worlde. So they wold haue worchippede Cesar as God; but thanne Sebille bad hym to be well ware that he made hyme note to be worchipped, and that ther was no God but on alone, þe which had made all thynges. And thanne she lede hyme to an hy mounteyn withowte the cete and in the sone by the will of owre Lord aperyd a Vergine holdyng a Childe.[589] Sibille shewed it to hym and seyd to hyme that ther was very God, 114the which shuld be worchipped, and than Cesar worchippede hym. And becaus that Ceesar Augustus, the [which] was prince off all the wor[l]de, lerned to knowe God and the Beleve off a woman, to the purpose may be seide the auctorite that Hermes seith, “Be not ashamed to here trowth and good techyngges of whom that euer seith it, for trouth noblyth hym þat pronounceth it.”

There where Othea seith that she hath wreten to hym an .c. |f. 75b.| auctorites and that Augustus lerned of a woman, it is to vndirstond that good wordes and good techynges is to prayse of what persone þat seith it.[590] Howe[591] de Seint Victor spekyth hereof in a boke called Didascalicon, that a wyse man gladdely herith all maner of techynges; he dispisyth not the Scriptur, he dispyseth not the person, he dispiseth not the doctrine; he sekyth indifferently ouer all, and all that euer he seth the which he hath defaute; he considerith notte what he is that spekyth, but [what] that is the which he seith[592]; he taketh no hede how myche he can hymme selfe, but how mech he cannot. To this purpose þe wyse man seith, [“Auris bona audiet cum omni concupiscentia sapientiam”].[593]






1. See below, p. xxiv.

2. Brit. Mus. Add. MS. 28,212, ff. 22b, 26.

3. J. Gairdner, The Paston Letters, ed. 1896, iii. p. 301.

4. Ibid., ii. p. 335 (cf. p. xxx. below, note 2). This copy was included in a “grete booke,” other articles of which now form Lansdowne MS. 285. Ebesham’s hand as they show it is not identical with that of the Longleat MS., though it bears a certain resemblance to it.

5. Of the authorities used the best and most recent are E. Robineau, Christine de Pisan, sa vie et ses œuvres, St. Omer, 1882; F. Koch, Leben und Werke der Christine de Pizan, Goslar, 1885; M. Roy, Œuvres poétiques de Christine de Pisan, Soc. des Anciens Textes Français, i.–iii. 1886–1896. The most interesting details are derived from her own writings, many of which are still unprinted.

6. See below, p. xxxvi.

7. Koch, p. 14.

8. This date may be inferred from two statements by herself, one in “Le Chemin de long estude,” written in 1402, that she had then been widowed thirteen years (ed. R. Püschel, Berlin, 1887, p. 6), and the other in “La Vision” (Koch, p. 12) that she was twenty-five when her husband died, sc. in 1389.

9. “Car comme renommée lors tesmoignast par toute crestienté la souffisance de mon pere naturel és sciences spéculatives comme supellatif astrologien, jusques en Ytalie en la cité de Boulongne la grace par ses messages l’envoya quérir” (“Livre des fais et bonnes meurs du sage roy Charles V.,” in Petitot’s Collection des Mémoires, v. p. 275).

10. Robineau, p. 10.

11. Thus in “La Vision” she writes “le me tolli en fleur de ieunece, comme en l’aage de xxxiiij. ans, et moy de xxv. demouray chargee de iii. enfans petiz et de grant maisnage” (cf. p. xi. note 4).

12. Œuvres poétiques, ed. Roy, i. p. 12, “Cent Balades,” No. xi., and p. 148, “Rondeaux,” No. iii.

13. John de Montacute or Montagu, who succeeded his father as second Baron Montacute in 1390, his mother as Baron Monthermer in 1395 (?), and his uncle as third Earl of Salisbury in 1397. One of the objects of his embassy in 1398 was to hinder the marriage of Henry of Lancaster with a daughter of the Duke of Berry. Christine speaks of him as “gracieux chevalier, aimant dictiez et luy mesme gracieux dicteur” (Boivin, “Vie de Chr. de Pisan,” in Kéralio’s Collection des meilleurs ouvrages François, 1787, ii. p. 118).

14. Koch, p. 36.

15. In a ballad praying the Duke of Orleans to take him into his service (Roy, i. p. 232) she speaks of his having been three years in England:

Ja trois ans a que pour sa grant prouesse
L’en amena le conte très louable
De Salsbery, qui moru a destrece
Ou mal païs d’Angleterre, ou muable
Y sont la gent.

Elsewhere she says that Henry IV. “tres joyeusement prist mon enfant vers luy et tint chierement et en très bon estat” (Boivin, p. 119).

16. All printed by Roy, vol. ii. 1891.

17. An edition, “traduit de langue romanne en prose françoise par Jan Chaperon,” appeared at Paris in 1549. See also above, p. xi., note 4, Koch, p. 76, and Kéralio, ii. p. 297.

18. For an analysis see Koch, p. 63.

19. In this part of the work she plagiarizes largely from the so-called Travels of Sir John Mandeville (see article by P. Toynbee in Romania, xxi. 1892, p. 228).

20. Printed in Petitot’s Collection des Mémoires, 1824, vols. v. vi. and elsewhere.

21. Analysed by Koch, p. 73.

22. As in the dedication of the “Épître d’Othéa” partly printed below, p. xxxvi.

23. The original of The book of fayttes of armes and of Chyualrye, printed by Caxton in 1489. He tells us in a note that it was given to him by Henry VII. on 23rd January, 1489, to translate and print, “to thende that euery gentylman born to armes and all manere men of werre captayns souldiours vytayllers and all other shold haue knowlege how they ought to behaue theym in the fayttes of warre and of bataylles.” He adds that the translation was finished on the 8th July and printed on the 14th. A French edition appeared at Paris in 1488, and others in 1497, etc.

24. An English translation by Bryan Anslay, entitled The boke of the cyte of Ladyes, was printed at London, 1521.

25. For the dedication to the Dauphiness and the table of chapters see Thomassy, Essai sur les écrits politiques de Christine de Pisan, 1838, p. 185.

26. Printed by Thomassy, p. 133.

27. Ibid., p. 141.

28. For an analysis of its contents, with extracts, see ibid., p. 150. The Dauphin Louis was born in 1396 and died in 1415.

29. See Thomassy, p. xlii.; Martin, Histoire de France, 4th ed. 1878, vi. p. 192. It is dated 31st July, 1429, a fortnight after the coronation of Charles VII. at Reims.

30. “Je Christine, qui ay plouré xi. ans en l’abbaye close.” It was perhaps the abbey of Poissy, of which her daughter was already an inmate in 1400 (above, p. xiv.), and which may possibly be meant by “Passy” in the passage from the Boke of Noblesse quoted in a note on p. xxxiii.

31. See below, p. xxxv.

32. Koch, p. 81. Louis was born 13th March, 1372.

33. Robineau, p. 89, speaks as if it was addressed to Charles himself, but the words are “Dorliens duc Loys” (see below, p. xxxvi.).

34. See pp. xxxiv., xxxvii.

35. “Les enseignemens que je Cristine donne a Jehan de Castel mon filz” (Œuvres poétiques, ed. Roy, iii. p. 27).

36. See the comparative table in Roy, i. p. xxii.

37. This was first pointed out by the Abbé Sallier, Mémoires de l’Académie Royale des Inscriptions, xvii. 1751, p. 518.

38. See articles by B. Hauréau in Mémoires de l’Académie des Inscriptions, xxx. 1883, p. 45, and by G[aston] P[aris] in the Histoire Littéraire de la France, xxix. 1885, p. 502.

39. Guiffrey, Inventaires de Jean, Duc de Berry, 1894, i. p. 237, “escript en françois rimé”; Delisle, Le Cabinet des MSS., iii. p. 192.

40. Guiffrey, i. pp. 226, 229, ii. p. 127.

41. Romania, xiv. 1885, p. 1.

42. De Jong and De Goeje, Catalogus codicum orientalium Bibl. Acad. Lugd. Bat., iii. p. 342; Brockelmann, Geschichte der Arabischen Literatur, i. p. 459.

43. Salv. de Renzi, Collectio Salernitana, iii. 1854, p. 69, “Incipit liber philosophorum moralium .... quem transtulit de Greco in Latinum Mag. Johannes de Procida.” The Latin text is quoted in the notes here from Brit. Mus. Add. MS. 16,906, the French text from Royal MS. 19 B iv., both of the 15th century.

44. P. Paris, Les MSS. françois de la Bibl. du Roi, v. p. 1.

45. “Enprynted by me William Caxton at Westmestre the yere of our lord m.cccc.lxxvii.” A second edition appeared in 1480 (?), and a third, by W. de Worde, in 1528.

46. Thus, the translator says in his preface, “And at the last [I] concluded in my self to translate it in to thenglyssh tong, wiche in my jugement was not before,” and Caxton adds in the colophon, “Certaynly I had seen none in englissh til that tyme.

47. No doubt there is some rhetorical exaggeration in the expression “othir straunge regions, londes and contrees” (p. 2, cf. p. xxx below); at any rate, there is no evidence that Fastolf served anywhere but in France, both north and south, and in Ireland.

48. In the colophon to the other work he is styled son-in-law, but the meaning is the same.

49. There is a good account of him in the Dict. of National Biography, vol. xviii. See also G. Poulett Scrope, Hist. of Castle Combe, 1852, ch. vii. p. 169. Besides other authorities given in the first-named work, some further particulars and corrections are supplied in Wylie’s Hist. of England under Henry IV., 1884–1898, and in Sir J. H. Ramsay’s Lancaster and York, 1892.

50. Wylie, iii. p. 168.

51. Ibid.

52. Hist. of Castle Combe, p. 282.

53. Wylie, iv. p. 74.

54. Wylie, iv. p. 86.

55. The warrant for his pay, 18th June, is in Rymer’s Fœdera, ed. 1740, iv. pt. ii. p. 130.

56. According to the Boke of Noblesse (see below, p. xliii.), p. 15, “the seyd erle made Ser John Fastolfe, chevaler, his lieutenaunt with mlvc soudeours.”

57. Rymer, iv. pt. ii. p. 153. Dict. Nat. Biogr. has 1417–18.

58. The Boke of Noblesse, after praising him for his care in provisioning his garrisons, goes on to say (p. 68), “and that policie was one of the grete causes that the regent of Fraunce and the lordes of the kyngys grete councelle lefft hym to hafe so many castells to kepe that he ledd yerly iiic sperys and the bowes.” The value of his foresight in this respect is then illustrated by an anecdote of what happened when the Bastille was threatened with a siege in 1420.

59. The Dict. Nat. Biogr. oddly calls the place Mons!

60. Act iii. sc. 2, ll. 104–109; Act iv. sc. 1, ll. 9–47.

61. Paston Letters, i. p. 37; Stevenson, Wars of the English in France, Rolls Series, ii. pt. ii. p. [549].

62. Stevenson, pp. [433], [575].

63. Ramsay, Lancaster and York, ii. p. 41.

64. Brit. Mus. Add. ch. 14,598, “pro notabili et laudabili seruicio ac bono consilio que predilectus consiliarius noster Ioh. Fastolff miles nobis impendit et impendet in futurum,” 12 May, 19 Hen. VI. The future service was no doubt to be rendered in the council-chamber rather than the field.

65. “Thus endeth the boke of Tulle of olde age translated ont of latyn in to frenshe by laurence de primo facto ... and enprynted by me symple persone William Caxton in to Englysshe ... the xii day of August the yere of our lord m.cccc.lxxxi.

66. He was father of Sir John Paston, for whom a copy of “Othea” was written in 1469, as well as of John Paston the younger, who owned a copy somewhat later (see above, p. x).

67. See Gairdner’s introduction, ed. 1896, i. p. lxxxvii. Fastolf’s relations with his stepson are also illustrated by numerous documents in G. Poulett Scrope’s History of Castle Combe, where there are memoirs of both, as lords of that manor.

68. Hist. of Castle Combe, p. 279.

69. “Thorugh the wiche sale I tooke sekenesses that kept me a xiii. or xiiii. yere swyng, whereby I am disfigured in my persone and shall be whilest I lyve” (ibid.).

70. From some curious accounts dealing with meat and fish in 1427–8 (ibid. p. 266) he was perhaps in the commissariat service.

71. Hist. of Castle Combe, p. 169.

72. Chroniques, ed. W. Hardy, Rolls Series, vol. for 1422–31, p. 289. Elsewhere (p. 254) he describes him as “moult sage et prudent aux armes au quel se fyoit grandement le duc de Bethfort, regent.”

73. She was a second wife, but the name of the first, who bore him a daughter, is not known (Hist. of Castle Combe, p. 271).

74. Ibid., p. 276; Paston Letters, i. p. 356.

75. Ibid., p. 419.

76. William Paston to John Paston: “He wyll dwelle at Caster, and Skrop wyth hym” (Paston Letters, i. p. 296). “The chaumboure sumtyme for Stephen Scrope” is mentioned in the inventory of Fastolf’s effects at Caister made after his death (ibid., i. p. 482).

77. See below, p. xliii. The note (Roxburghe Club ed. p. 54) runs, “Notandum est quod Cristina [fuit] domina præclara natu et moribus et manebat in domo religiosarum dominarum apud Passye prope Parys; et ita virtuosa fuit quod ipsa exhibuit plures clericos studentes in vniuersitate Parisiensi, et compilare fecit plures libros virtuosos, utpote librum arborum bellorum, et doctores racione eorum exhibicionis attribuerunt nomen autoris Cristine, sed aliquando nomen autoris clerici studentis imponitur in diuersis libris; et vixit circa annum Christi 1430, sed floruit ab anno Christi 1400.

78. Guiffrey, Inventaires, i. p. 249; cf. Delisle, Le Cabinet des MSS., iii. p. 193, no. 290.

79. In answer to an inquiry M. Omont, keeper of MSS., kindly states that only one of them, franç. 12,438, a poor copy on paper, contains a dedication to the Duke of Berry. It begins “Le Prologue. Louenge à Dieu soit .... et après ensuivant à très noble fleur .... et puis à vous excellant prince, saige, bon et vertueux, Jehan excellant, redoubté filz au roy de France .... duc de Berry,” etc.

80. The “Cent Balades d’Amant et de Dame” (Œuvres Poétiques, ed. Roy, iii. p. 209), besides ten others.

81. Printed by Roy, i. p. xiv. The MS. is there described and compared with another rather earlier collection (now Bibl. Nat. franç. 835, 606, 836, 605), which the Duke of Berry bought from Christine for 200 crowns. A reduced facsimile of the first page of the Harley MS., with a large miniature of Christine presenting the volume to the queen in her bedchamber, is prefixed to Roy’s vol. iii. (cf. a note by P. Meyer, p. xxii.). A coloured plate of the same miniature is given by Shaw, Dresses and Decorations of the Middle Ages, 1843.

82. Delisle, Le Cabinet des MSS., i. p. 52.

83. This is the only edition in the British Museum. Its second title runs: Lepistre de Othea deesse de prudence enuoyee a lesperit cheualereux Hector de troye auec cent hystoires. Nouuellement imprimee a Paris. Other editions are said to have been issued at Lyons in 1497 and 1519, and at Paris in 1522.

84. Both date and age were given on his tomb at Bourges erected by Charles VII. in 1457 (Raynal, Histoire du Berry, 1844, ii. pp. 504, 513; Champeaux and Gauchery, Les Travaux d’art executés pour Jean de France, Duc de Berry, 1894, p. 43).

85. Ed. 1644, p. 238. Bouchet was born in 1476, and his work first appeared in 1524. I owe the reference to it to Mr. Wylie.

86. Histoire du Berry, ii. p. 375.

87. Histoire de France, 4th edition, 1878, vi. p. 25. The most favourable view of his character is given by Guiffrey, Inventaires, p. cxci.

88. “Now children of gramere scole conneþ no more Frensch þan can here lift heele ... also gentil men habbeþ now moche yleft for to teche here childern Freynsch” (R. Morris, Specimens of Early English, 1867, p. 339). See also the Rolls Series edition of Higden, ii. p. 161, where Trevisa’s text is taken from another MS.

89. See Chaucer’s Nonne Prestes tale, l. 14, “Of poynant saws hir needide never a deel.

90. See above, p. xxxvi. There is an imperfect copy of the English text in the British Museum (C. 21. a. 34).

91. H. R. Plomer, Robert Wyer, printer and bookseller, 1897. For an account of the woodcuts, see p. 9.

92. “Here endyth thys Epistle, undre correccion, the xv. day of June, the yeere of Crist Mciiiiclxxv.,” etc. (p. 85).

93. Examples of his writing are fairly abundant, e.g. in the Brit. Mus. MSS. Cotton Julius F. vii., Royal 13 C. i., Sloane 4 and Add. 27,443–4, 28,208, 34,888. In Sloane MS. 4, f. 38b, he gives a curious account of Fastolf’s last illness.

94. Stevenson, Wars of the English in France, vol. ii. pt. ii. pp. [519]–[742], from Lambeth MS. 506, which is partly in Worcester’s own hand. His Annals, extending from 1324 to 1468, are printed in the same volume, p. [743], from the autograph MS. in the College of Arms.

95. Hist. of Castle Combe, p. 288.

96. Written about 1385 and dedicated to Charles VI. It was first printed at Lyons about 1480. See the modern edition by E. Nys, L’Arbre de Batailles, Brussels, 1883.

97. The colophon of Caxton’s English version (above, p. xvi.) points to the source of the misnomer: “Thus endeth this boke whiche Xpyne of Pyse made and drewe out of the boke named Vegecius de re militari and out of tharbre of bataylles.” Christine in fact made use of Bonet’s work.

98. “I may sey to you that William hath goon to scole to a Lumbard called Karoll Giles, to lern and to be red in poetre or els in Frensh; for he hath byn with the same Caroll every dey ii. tymes or iii. and hath bought divers boks of hym,” H. Wyndesore to J. Paston, 27th Aug. 1458 (Paston Letters, i. p. 431).

99. Paston Letters, i. p. cxiv.; Hist. of Castle Combe, p. 194.

100. Ed. J. Nasmith, 1778, p. 368, “1473, die 10 Aug. presentavi W. episcopo Wyntoniensi apud Asher librum Tullii de Senectute per me translatum in anglicis, sed nullum regardum recepi de episcopo.

101. For this dedication, addressed by the translator, Stephen Scrope, to his stepfather, Sir John Fastolf, see the Introduction.

102. Sc. worldly.

103. Sc. old.

104. So the MS., but John, Duke of Berry, was born 30th November, 1340, and died 15th June, 1416.

105. The mythical Hermes Trismegistus. The citations from these and other less well known philosophers were taken by Christine de Pisan from Guillaume de Tignonville’s “Les dis moraulx des Philosophes,” which Scrope himself translated into English (see Introduction). “Salomon” here represents the “Salon” or “Zalon,” sc. Solon, of the original.

106. Sc. thee, which is spelt “the” throughout.

107. This parentage is explained further on, pp. 22, 24.

108. Sc. Heir; Feyre MS.; Hoir, H.

109. Affin que ton bon cuer sadrece, H. The translator no doubt read “tout bon cœur.”

110. Qui de tous vaillans est ame, H. Pegasus is explained below (p. 15) as meaning “a goode name, the which flyeth through the eyre.”

111. Sc. thee, whole and sum; me doit il de toy souuenir, H.

112. Et que tu me vueilles bien croire, H.

113. Sagesse de femme, H.

114. Thas, MS.

115. Greke, MS.; Troye la grant, H.

116. La belle ieunece, H.

117. Par les agais et assaulx, H.

118. Beatitude, H.

119. Sc. considering that.

120. Kynges, MS.; toutes choses terrestres, H.

121. Thesceyvable, MS., with “de” interlined.

122. De Singularitate Clericorum, attributed to Cyprian and Origen as well as to St. Augustine (Migne, Patrologia Latina, iv. col. 835). The passage runs (col. 866): “Ubicumque fuerit providentia, frustrantur universa contraria; ubi autem providentia negligitur, omnia contraria dominantur.

123. Cesser et anientir, H.

124. Prov. ii. 10, 11. This and other quotations from the Vulgate are supplied from the French text, being omitted by the translator, possibly with the intention of filling them in from the Wycliffite English version.

125. De vaillance cheualereuse, H.

126. Seur germaine, H.

127. Sc. the leaf of a leek; Car selle nen faisoit le pois, Tout ne te vauldroit pas vn pois, H.

128. Serour, H.

129. Democritus, H.

130. De limiter les choses, H.

131. Ou liure des meurs de leglise, que loffice dattrempance est reffraindre et appaisier les meurs de concupiscence, H. The repetition of “meurs” caused the translator to omit some words. The reference is to the treatise “De moribus ecclesiæ catholicæ,” i. 19 (Migne, xxxii. 1326).

132. 1 Pet. ii. 11.

133. Sc. war, cf. next line; where, MS.

134. Sur la mer de Grece, H.

135. Maystyr, MS.; mestier, H.

136. Sc. by Cerberus.

137. Qui trop sont desloyaulx gaignons, H.

138. See below, p. 41.

139. Sc. on earth.

140. Aux lyons ne aux ours rampans, H.

141. Sc. allege, take example from; Et pour donner materiel exemple de force, allegue Hercules, H.

142. Sc. high; by, MS; hault exemple, H.

143. Sc. fought.

144. A leaf is here missing from the MS.

145. The complete “texte” in H. runs:—

Encor se veulx estre des noz,
Ressembler te couuient Minos,
Tout soit il iusticier et maistres
Denfer et de tous li estres.
Car se tu te veulx auancier,
Estre te couuient iusticier,
Autrement de porter heaume
Nes digne ne tenir royaume.

146. En Crete, H.

147. Fierte, H.

148. De adventu Domini Sermo iii. (Migne, clxxxiii. 45), but the passage is not literally translated.

149. Sa non puissance, H.

150. Chastisyng in chastisyng, MS.; garde et discipline, garde en le gardant de mal faire et discipline en le chastiant se il a mal fait, H.

151. Prov. xxi. 12, 15.

152. Apres te mire en Perseus, H., and so below; cf. Ovid, Met. iv., 610 sq.

153. Belue, H.; monstre, Wyer.

154. Chose couuenable, H.

155. Sc. won; il acquist, H.

156. Sc. should have; deuourer la deuoit, H.

157. Sc. flyeth; qui vole, H.

158. Many, MS.

159. Omitted in MS.; le porte, H.

160. Sermo ccclv., de vita et moribus clericorum (Migne, xxxix. 1569).

161. A bien viure, H.

162. Pour soy, H.; conscientia tibi, fama proximo tuo, S. Aug. The translator evidently read “foy.”

163. Eccl. xli. 15.

164. Sc. the planet Jupiter; Joyus, MS.; de iouis les condicions, H.

165. Jābir ibn Aflah, an Arab astronomer of uncertain date, whose work on Astronomy was published in Latin, in nine books, at Nuremberg in 1534. A 15th century MS. of it is in the British Museum, Harley MS. 625.

166. Perhaps Nicholas of Lynne, a Carmelite who lived in the latter part of the 14th century, and whose astronomical tables were used by Chaucer in his “Astrolabe.” Among other works he wrote tracts “de natura Zodiaci” and “de Planetarum domibus” (Tanner, Bibliotheca, p. 346).

167. Et est figuree a la compleccion sanguine, H.

168. Sc. Pythagoras.

169. Doulce et humaine, H.

170. A Nepocian, H. The passage does not appear to be among the works of St. Gregory, nor in St. Jerome’s epistle to Nepotianus.

171. Matt. v. 7.

172. Traueilleux, H.

173. Sc. Hermes Trismegistus.

174. An unintelligible corruption; fist lange deuenir deable, H. and other Fr. MSS.; doth [make] the aungell to become a devyll, Wyer; superbia est per quam angelus cecidit, per quam Adam de naturæ suæ dignitate dejectus est, Cass. Exp. in Psalterium (Migne, lxx. 843).

175. Tethe, MS.; la mort, H.

176. Sc. vein; la veine, H.

177. Ps. xxx. 7.

178. Sc. drove; le desherita et chaca, H.

179. Sc. ere; peser la chose ains quil donne, H.

180. Ye, MS.

181. Sc. note; peuent notter tous sages, H.

182. Moralia, xxvii. 3 (Migne, lxxvi. 401).

183. Ps. xviii. 10.

184. No such work appears under the name of Cassiodorus.

185. Esdras iii. 12.

186. The translator, not Christine de Pisan, is responsible for making Phœbe masculine.

187. Ep. ad Simplicianum (Migne, xvi. 1085).

188. Ne se plunge point, H.; non tristibus mergitur, St. Ambr.

189. Eccl. xxvii. 12.

190. Folowynge, MS. There is some confusion here in the translation, cf. en ce monde et que le bon esperit par son exemple [pot bien] ensuiuir son bon pere Ihesu Crist et batailler contre les vices, H.

191. Ephes. vi. 12.

192. Soyes aourne de faconde, H. The translator seems to have misinterpreted “faconde,” eloquence, speech, as “falchion.”

193. Sc. old; ce tapprendra Mercurius, H.

194. Qui vont deuant, H.

195. Luke x. 16.

196. Sc. By thy mother enough shall be assigned to thee; te liurera assez ta mere, H. The MS. reads “modus,” and in the next line “bater” (amere, H.).

197. Cuir-bouilli, leather boiled and moulded, while soft, into the required shape.

198. No exposition of the Creed appears among the works of Cassiodorus.

199. Sc. light; lumiere, H.

200. Hebr. xi. 6.

201. Sittyng, MS., and so also below.

202. There seems to be some confusion here between Pallas the goddess and Pallas son of Lycaon and reputed founder of Pallantium, in Arcadia.

203. ? join; il doit aiouster sagece a cheualerie, H.

204. The whiche vertue, MS.

205. Hebrews vi. 18.

206. Sc. Penthesileia, queen of the Amazons.

207. Dont si noble voix est semee, H.

208. Sic, the first letter being of course the Fr. “d’.”

209. Expos. in Ps. xii. (Migne, lxx. 100).

210. Soubz la quelle [pluye] germe la bonne voulente, H.

211. Inimicis benevola, bonis suis superans malos, Cass.

212. 1 Corinth, xiii. 4.

213. Narcissus, whose story is in Ovid, Met. iii. 341 sq.

214. Se esleua en si grant orgueil, H.

215. Cest a entendre loultrecuidance de lui meisme ou il se mira, H.

216. Thi, MS.; est sa vie contenue, H. The translator seems to have read “toute nue.”

217. Job xx. 6, 7.

218. Wrongly translated. H. reads:

Athamas plain de grant rage
La deesse de forcennage
Fist estrangler ces (sc. ses) .ii. enfans.
Pour ce grant yre te deffens.

The story (Ovid, Met. iv. 420 sq.), which is introduced again further on (p. 112), is much confused here. It is briefly as follows. Athamas by command of Hera married the divine Nephele, and had by her Phrixus and Helle. He was, however, more enamoured of Ino, who bore to him Learchus and Melicertes. Nephele in her anger having returned to heaven, Ino tried to get rid of her rival’s children. For this purpose she caused a famine by roasting the seed-corn before it was sown, and then bribed the messengers whom Athamas sent to Delphi for an oracle to bring back word that Phrixus must be sacrificed. Nephele, however, carried off Phrixus and his sister on the ram with the golden fleece, while Athamas, driven mad by Hera, killed his son Learchus, and Ino threw herself into the sea with Melicertes.

219. Sc. sodden; semer le ble cuit, H.

220. Hys, MS.

221. He, MS.

222. Yno, MS.; la deesse iuno, H.

223. A hole in the roof for the escape of smoke, here perhaps used for the hearth; le sueil, H.

224. Sic, meaning apparently “warring”; but from the reading in H., “a pou ne se entretuoyent,” it is perhaps a mistake for “near-hand,” sc. nearly, almost.

225. Quant la deesse virent tant espouentable, H.

226. Sic ira corrumpit cor, si in alium diem duraverit, S. Aug. Epist. ccx. (Migne, xxxiii. 958).

227. Ephes. iv. 26.

228. Aglauros or Agraulos, daughter of Cecrops. Hermes changed her into a stone for barring his access to her sister Herse (Ovid, Met. ii. 737 sq.).

229. Dey, MS.; seche, H.

230. Sic, probably for “too feloun a spotte”; trop est villeine tache et contre gentillece, H.

231. De Genesi ad litteram, xi. 13 (Migne, xxxiv. 436).

232. Eccl. xiv. 8, but the Vulg. has “lividi.”

233. No, MS.; ne soyes pas lonc ne prolice, H.

234. For, MS.

235. Sc. the eye of Polyphemus.

236. Bedeisus, MS.; no doubt a corruption of “Bede sur les Prouerbes,” H. The reference is apparently to Bede’s Expositio super Parabolas, ii. 20 (Migne, xci. 995).

237. Prov. xxi. 5.

238. Sc. frogs. This story of Latona is from Ovid, Met. vi. 313 sq.

239. Cuidoit, H.

240. Palu, H; maresse, Wyer.

241. Perhaps in error for St. Bernard, Liber de modo bene vivendi, xliv. (Migne, clxxxiv. 1266).

242. Eccl. xiv. 9.

243. Sc. manners; car ses condicions sont ordes, H.

244. Sc. Hippocrates, whose “dictum” was that “sanitas consistit .... non in replendo corpus cibis et potibus” (Add. MS. 16,906, f. 11).

245. Moralia, xxx. 18 (Migne, lxxvi. 556).

246. Philipp, iii. 19.

247. The scene of the story was in Cyprus. Cidonie (Cydonie, H.) apparently comes from a misunderstanding of Ovid, who says of Pygmalion, “Collocat hanc stratis concha Sidonide tinctis” (Met. x. 267).

248. En ot pitie. H.

249. Omitted in MS.; plusieurs, H.

250. Que il en lait a suiure, H.; leue to ensue, Wyer.

251. Apthalin, H.; but it is doubtful who is meant. The name occurs in the “Dicta Philosophorum,” but not with this “dictum.”

252. 2 Pet. ii. 13.

253. The assignment of a particular clause in the Creed to each of the Apostles appears in a sermon printed among the spurious works of St. Augustine (Migne, xxxix. 2190).

254. To, MS.

255. Sc. to plough.

256. Car deuant semoient les gainages sans labourer, H. “Gaineyer” is for “gaigneur,” a husbandman.

257. Lawde, MS.; ainsi que la terre est abandonnee et large donnarresse, H.

258. Qui tant nous a largement donne de ses haulx biens, H.

259. Isis, in her original character as wife of Osiris and inventor of the cultivation of corn.


Toutes vertus antes et plantes
En toy, comme Ysis fait les plantes
Et tous les grains fructifier;
Ainsi dois tu ediffier.

So H., where “antes,” sc. antez, entez, is from “enter, placer, faire entrer” (Godefroy, s.v.).

261. Sc. Hermes.

262. What, MS.

263. Vn roy, H.

264. Oan, MS., and so below.

265. Pastours, H.

266. Sc. mole; comme la tauppe, H.

267. Lierres, sc. larron, H.

268. And nede, MS.; au besoing, H.

269. Sc. Theseus and Peirithous, who invaded the lower world in order to carry off Persephone.

270. There is some confusion in this passage; se Hercules, qui leur compaignon yere, ne les eust secourus, qui tant y fist, etc., H.

271. Sc. chains; chayennes, H.

272. Sc. Cadmus, who founded Thebes and slew the dragon which guarded the neighbouring well of Ares, and who also invented letters.

273. Sc. won; gaigna, H.

274. Lestude y mist, H.

275. Plus quen nulle autre auoir, H.

276. Et du bien largement y prendre, H. The strange word “theryng” is probably nothing more than “therein.”

277. See Ovid, Met. i. 583 sq. The source of the statement that Io invented letters is doubtful. Possibly it rests only on the two lines (ib. 649):

Littera pro verbis quam pes in pulvere duxit
Corporis indicium mutati triste peregit.

278. Les vertus de iupiter, H.

279. Tho, MS.

280. Sc. note.

281. Sc. cloud; en vne nue, H.

282. Sc. with; surprendre ou fait, H.

283. Sc. watched; la gaitoit, H.

284. Sc. through.

285. Sc. Pyrrhus.

286. Which, MS.; vn sage, H.

287. Sc. gods; les dieux, H.

288. A wrong translation; tres louable chose est seruir dieu et sainctifier ses sains, H.; tous ses sens humains, G. de Tign.

289. Atropos, one of the Fates, here represented as masculine; a Atropos et a son dart, H.

290. Tout crestien, H.

291. The, MS.; la prouision, H.

292. Bellerophon, whose story is here confused with that of Hippolytus by making Anteia his stepmother.

293. Il mieulx ama eslire la mort, H.

294. Decre, MS.; latrie, H.; latria, Wyer; eo ritu ac servitute quæ græce λατρεία dicitur et uni vero Deo debetur, Aug. de Civitate Dei, vi. præf. (Migne, xli. 173).

295. Matt. iv. 10.

296. Memnon, the Ethiopian, whose father Tithonus was half-brother to Priam, being son of Laomedon by a different mother.

297. Leust occis, H.

298. Trwee, MS.

299. “Rabion” in the “Dicta Philosophorum” (Add. MS. 16,906, f. 9b), where the sentence is “Multiplica amicos qui sunt medicamina animarum.” The Museum MSS. of G. de Tignonville’s French version and of the English versions of Earl Rivers and Scrope read “Sabion” or “Zabion.”

300. Cf. Sermo clxxx. (Migne, xxxviii. 972).

301. Sc. false.

302. Exod. xx. 7.

303. Sc. menacings; de grant menace, nyce et fole, H.

304. Et en Leomedon te mire, H.

305. Enuoya messages laidement congeer, H. The word “bostus” is apparently connected with “bost, boast,” meaning “boastful” or “threatening.”

306. Sc. well weighed; moult pesee, H.

307. Et brisier commandement soit autressi oultrecuidance, H.

308. Isai. i. 16, 17.

309. Les palais des parens, H.

310. Sc. cracked; creuee, H.

311. Sc. brightness; la leur, H.

312. Le mordant de sa ceinture ficha par la creueure, H.

313. Vn morier blanc, H., sc. a white mulberry, cf. Arbor ibi, niveis uberrima pomis, Ardua morus, erat, Ovid, Met. iv. 89.

314. These words are at the bottom of f. 34b, after which there is a lacuna of a whole quire. The story in H. goes on “le lyon qui sus ot vomy lentraille dune beste quil ot deuouree. Oultre mesure fu grande la douleur de Piramus, qui cuida samie deuouree des fieres bestes; donc apres moult piteux reclaims soccist de son espee. Tisbee sailli du buisson, mais quant elle entent les sanglos de son ami qui mouroit et elle voit lespee et le sanc, adonc par grant douleur sus son ami chay, qui a elle parler ne pot, et apres plusieurs grans plains, regrais et pasmoisons soccist de la mesmes espee.” The mythological personages dealt with in the missing pages are Æsculapius, Achilles, Busiris, Leander, Helen, Aurora, Pasiphae, Adrastus, Cupid, Corinis, and Juno.

315. The preceding “texte” and “glose” in H. are as follows:—

De Iuno ia trop ne te chaille,
Se le noyel mieulx que leschaille
Donneur desires a auoir,
Car mieulx vault proece quauoir.

Iuno est la deesse dauoir selon les fables des poetes, et pour ce que auoir et richece couuient auoir et acquerir a grant soing et traueil et que tel soing peut destourner a honneur acquerre et comme honneur et vaillance soit plus louable que richeces de tant comme la noyel vault mieulx que leschaille, etc.

316. Slelle, MS.

317. Sc. one hump on the back.

318. Matt. xix. 24.

319. Amphiaraus, hero and seer, joint king of Argos with Adrastus, whose sister Eriphyle he married. Against his own opinion he was induced by his wife to join the expedition of the Seven against Thebes.

320. Sc. Solon, but the sentence is not under his name in the “Dicta Philosophorum.

321. What St. Gregory really says is, “Sicut carni vestræ, ne deficiat, cibos quotidie præbetis, sic mentis vestræ quotidiana alimenta bona sunt opera. Cibo corpus pascitur, pio opere spiritus nutriatur,” Hom. v. in Evang. (Migne, lxxvi. 1092).

322. Worde ye here the which, MS.

323. Matt. iv. 4.

324. See p. 19.

325. Ne chose dont vn puist presumer folie, H.

326. Sc. discretion; lente de parler, H.

327. Couuercle, H.

328. Fro, MS.; qui garde sa lengue il garde son ame, car la mort et la vie sont en la puissance de la lengue, H.

329. Ps. xxxiii. 14.

330. The “texte” in H. is:—

Croy la corneille et son conseil.
Jamais ne soyes en esueil
De male nouuelle apporter;
Le plus seur est sen depporter.

331. He, MS.

332. Hym, MS.

333. Literally translated, this sentence should read: “But she (the crow) dissuaded him from going by giving him an example of herself, who for a like case had been driven from the house of Pallas,” etc. See Ovid, Met. ii. 542.

334. Se espart, H.

335. Prov. ii. 10, 11.

336. Which, MS.

337. Ganymedes was son of Tros and brother of Ilus and Assaracus. His well-known story is here confused with that of Hyacinthus, who was accidentally killed in a game of discus with Apollo (Ovid, Met. x. 184).

338. Prov. xxiv. 6.

339. Sc. sheep.

340. Sc. wholly; du tout, H.

341. Descongnoissant et desloyaulx a celle qui trop de bien lui ot fait, H.

342. Comme vn vent sec, H.

343. Sap. xvi. 29.

344. Hym, MS.; ne la regardes, H.

345. Perseus, H.

346. Elsewhere it is Poseidon who was Medusa’s lover—Hanc pelagi rector templo vitiasse Minervæ Dicitur (Ovid, Met. iv. 797). Her hair alone was changed into serpents.

347. His his, MS.

348. “Holy chirche” is the translator’s addition, not being in H.

349. Le pouoir de plus mal faire, H.

350. He holde, MS.

351. Sc. shield.

352. Crisostome, H. and other Fr. MSS.

353. Comme cest impossible que le feu arde en leaue, aussi est ce impossible que compunccion, etc., H. The translator’s omission of the words in brackets was no doubt due to the repetition of “impossible que.”

354. Ps. cxxv. (cxxvi.) 5. This is the only instance in which the quotation at the end of an allegory is filled in.

355. Es liens Vulcanus et surpris, H.

356. That þat, MS.

357. iio (sc. two, deux), MS.; ala querre les autres dieux, H.

358. Que tel sen rioit, qui bien voulsist en semblable meffait estre encheut, H.

359. Darguemie, sc. alchemy, H.

360. Read “But to our purpose it seith.” The translator has misread “Mais” in the original as “Mars”; mais a nostre propos veult dire, H.

361. Que en tel cas ne soit surpris par oubli, H.

362. Sc. love.

363. Myght, MS.

364. Coniecture, H.

365. 1 Pet. v. 8.

366. Tomyris, queen, not of the Amazons or “Femeny,” but of the Scythian Massagetæ (Herod. i. 205).

367. Despris, sc. mépris, H.

368. Sc. ambushments.

369. Ne hayr, H.

370. De coenobiorum institutis, xii. 31 (Migne. xlix. 472).

371. Eccl. iii. 20.

372. Ne laisses ton sens auorter, H.

373. Sanuie (sc. s’ennuie) tost, H.

374. Prov. xxix. 15, somewhat corrupted in H.

375. Sc. mad, furious; du geant enragez, H.

376. The story was that Acis, son of Faunus, was beloved by the nymph Galatea, and that the Cyclop Polyphemus, furious with jealousy, crushed him beneath a huge rock (Ovid, Met. xiii. 750).

377. Qui Acis estoit nommez, H. The mistranslation in the text is inexplicable.

378. Adonc fu [le geant] surpris de soubdaine rage et tellement escroula la roche que tout en fu Axis acrauentez (sc. ecrasé, brisé), H.

379. Nymphe, H.

380. Se ficha en la mer, H.

381. Sap. v. 9.

382. Peleus, to whose marriage with Thetis all the gods were invited except Eris or Discord.

383. For his judgment see below, p. 83.

384. Sc. then; adonc, H.

385. Sc. weaning; a qui il cuidoit estre filz, H.

386. Qui conduisoit les dames, H.

387. Sc. hates; ou croiscent les haynes, H.

388. Cassiodore sus le Psaultier, H.

389. Rom. xiii. 13.

390. Iff thou aniy, MS.; Sc. tu las a qui que soit fait, H.

391. See above, p. 51.

392. Lawde, MS.

393. Sc. avenged.

394. Joel ii. 13.

395. Damours affoles, H.

396. Semele, whom Hera deceived in the form of her old nurse Beroe (Ovid, Met. iii. 260).

397. Ne perceyued, MS. The translator misunderstood the original, cf. dist a celle, qui garde ne sen prenoit de la deceuance, que de rien ne sestoit ancore apperceue de lamour, mais quant elle seroit auecques lui, etc., H.

398. La voulsist accoller, H.

399. Of hir, MS.; de feu, H.

400. Ou liure des brebis, H., Sc. Sermo xlvii. de ovibus, in Ezech. xxxiv. 17–31 (Migne, xxxviii. 303).

401. A noz freres enfermes, H.; infirmo fratri, St. Aug.

402. Tit. ii. 7.

403. Prov. xxxi. 27.

404. Thereoff, MS.

405. Arachne, who challenged Athena to compete with her in weaving and was changed by the goddess into a spider (Ovid, Met. vi. 1–145).

406. The, MS.

407. Sap. v. 8.

408. Sc. Adonis.

409. Vn damoisel moult cointe, H.

410. According to the “Dicta Philosophorum” Sedechias “primus fuit per quem nutu Dei lex precepta fuit et sapientia intellecta” (Add. MS. 16,906, f. 1).

411. 2 Pet. ii. 19.

412. Apoc. xiii. 7.

413. De lagait (l’agait, sc. ruse, artifice), H. The translator seems to have read “la gent.”

414. Luke xi. 21.

415. To follow? Dinstrumens suiure nas mestier, H.

416. Sc. running; courans, H.

417. Sc. fierce; fiers, H.

418. Et moins sent les molestes dauarice qui ne voit point les riches du monde, H.

419. Ps. ci. 8.

420. Apulia and Calabria.

421. This is an assumption from the fact that the Greek colonies of South Italy had the name of Magna Græcia. Hellas originally was the district of Phthiotis in Thessaly, where the Myrmidones dwelt.

422. Especes, H.; quatuor sunt species quibus omnis tumor arrogantium demonstratur, S. Greg. Moralia, xxiii. 6 (Migne, lxxvi. 258).

423. Prov. viii. 13.

424. Actæon, changed into a stag by Artemis (Ovid, Met. iii. 155).

425. Nymphes, H.

426. Ignorence, H., and so the “Dis des Philosophes.

427. Matt. iii. 2.

428. See above, p. 74.

429. Either Charon is meant, or Acheron, as the eponym of the river of Hades so named.

430. Miraculeuse ne merueillable qui est appelle tempter Dieu, H.

431. Jas. iv. 3.

432. Sc. assay, test; Lessay con fist a Achilles, H.

433. En labbaye la deesse Vesta, H.

434. Pyrrhus, his son by Deidameia, daughter of Lycomedes of Scyros.

435. Aneles, guimphes, conroyes et de tous ioyaulx, H.; quayntyses, prety japes and jewelles, Wyer.

436. Make, MS.

437. Cointeries mignotes, H.

438. Leginon, H.; Longinon, Add. MS. 16,906, f. 51b; Loginon, Roy. MS. 19 B. iv. f. 60.

439. Le vaillant nest conqneu que en guerre, G. de Tign. (Roy. MS. 19 B. iv. f. 64).

440. Attendent la gloire pardurable en loyer, H.

441. 2 Paralip. xv. 7.

442. Sc. fairies; vne nymphe, H.

443. The letters in brackets have been torn away with the edge of the leaf.

444. Texillus, Dicta Phil. (Add. MS. 16,906, f. 56).

445. 1 Joh. ii. 15.

446. Sc. knowledge; de sauoir, H.

447. Sc. riches; dauoir, H.

448. See above, p. 66.

449. Sc. pass, surpass.

450. Ioliuete, H.

451. Omitted in MS.; les Manichees, H.

452. It is þerfor it is, MS.

453. Matt. vii. 1, 2; ut non judicemini, Vulg.

454. Sc. snares; les tours de fortune sont comme engins, H.

455. Sc. Boethius; Boece, H.

456. Les quieulx addicions ne prestent point les choses ou les mondains mettent leur felicite, H.

457. Isai. iii. 12.

458. Sic, ? tasteth; gouster, H.

459. Luke x. 42.

460. Cephalus, who killed his wife Procris in the way described (Ovid, Met. vii. 836).

461. Glauellot, H.

462. Matt. vii. 3.

463. 1 Cor. x. 13.

464. Au dieu qui dort et fait songer, H.

465. That may propirly that may speke, MS.; qui proprement en puisse parler quoyque les expositeurs en dient, H.

466. Tyme, MS.

467. Eccl. ii. 4.

468. Alcyone, or Halcyone, wife of Ceyx, whose story is in Ovid, Met. xi. 410.

469. For, MS.

470. Dedens la nef se gita, H.

471. Colus, MS.

472. The fable was that for seven days before and after the winter solstice, when the Halcyon was breeding, the sea remained calm.

473. See the “Dis des Philosophes” (Roy. MS. 19 B. iv. f. 60).

474. Prov. iii. 21, 22.

475. Sc. Trust.

476. Hesione, whom Hercules rescued when she was exposed by command of an oracle to be devoured by a sea monster, and whom he gave to Telamon Ajax on being defrauded of his promised reward by her father Laomedon (Ovid, Met. xi. 211).

477. Thelamon Ayaulx, H.

478. Sc. through.

479. Væ tibi, terra, cujus rex puer est, Vulg. (Eccles x. 16).

480. Plus moleste, H.

481. Sap. x. 5.

482. Et empires, H.

483. Calchas was not a Trojan, but a son of Thestor of Mycenæ or Megara and the foremost soothsayer on the Greek side. Christine de Pisan or her authority seems to have misunderstood Dares Phrygius, ch. 15.

484. Sc. Apollo; Apollin, H.

485. Sc. subtle.

486. 2 Tim. iii. 2, 4, with omissions.

487. Sc. Hermaphroditus (Ovid, Met. iv. 285 sq).

488. A Hermofrodicus te mire, H.

489. The nymph of the well Salmacis; vne nimphe, H.

490. A la fontaine de Salmacis, H.

491. Lui prist talent de soy baigner, H.

492. Sc. sexes; qui ii. sexes auoit, H.

493. Darquemie, sc. alchemy, H.

494. Ghadely, MS.

495. Leurs ficcions, H.

496. Men, MS.

497. Isai. xxxv. 3.

498. Yen (sc. eyes) of yowre, MS.

499. Lenterine face, H. (enterin, sc. entier, complet, Godefroy, s.v.).

500. Sc. how much.

501. La pouons nous veoir nostre bel, la pouons nous veoir nostre lait, la pouons nous veoir combien nous prouffitons et combien nous sommes loings de prouffiter, H.

502. Joh. v. 39.

503. Gard toy Briseyda nacointier, H. The change is probably due to Chaucer’s “Troylus and Cryseyde.”

504. Cointe et vague et attrayant, H.

505. Of the, MS.

506. Sc. wholly?; du tout, H.

507. 1 Cor. i. 31.

508. Sc. two.

509. Or, MS. The passage is confused, cf. que tout homme qui a occis ou meffait au loyal compaignon dun autre que le compaignon en fera la vengence, H.

510. Madarge, H.; Magdargis, Add. MS. 16,906, f. 55b; Macdarge, Roy. MS. 19 B. iv. f. 65. The “dit” as given by G. de Tignonville in the last-named MS. is “En quelque lieu que tu soyes auecques ton enmemi .... fay touz iours bon guet; ia soit ce que tu soyes le plus fort et plus puissant, si doys tu trauaillier a faire la paix.

511. Sc. though.

512. Sc. ought.

513. This is not among Solon’s sayings in the “Dis des Philosophes.

514. Ephes. vi. 11.

515. His, MS., both here and in the next line.

516. Sc. Narcissus; Narcisus, H. See the story in Ovid, Met. iii. 356 sq.

517. Cf. qui par grant necessite requiert autrui; la voix qui est demouree, cest que de gens souffraiteux est il assez demoure ne ilz ne peuent parler fors apres autrui, H.

518. The fourth philosopher in the “Dicta”; Salquin, Add. MS. 16,906, f. 7b; Zaqualkin, Roy. MS. 19 B. iv. f. 10b.

519. To helpe, MS.

520. Prov. xxii. 9.

521. Sc. Daphne (Ovid, Met. i. 452 sq.); Damne, H.

522. To theyme, MS.; ou temps, H.

523. Sc. how.

524. An omission by homœoteleuton; cf. estre tous iours present aux ordres des anges auec les benois esperis assister a la gloire du conditeur, regarder le present visage, etc., H. The quotation is from Hom. xxxvii. in Evang. (Migne, lxxvi. 1275).

525. Psal. lxxxvi. 3.

526. Sc. Andromache’s.

527. Petite paille, H.

528. La brusle du feu de sa soubtille circonspeccion, H.

529. 1 Thess. v. 19.

530. Ninus, H.

531. Sc. Nimrod.

532. Le roy Ninus, H.

533. De Singularitate Clericorum (Migne, iv. 837). The Latin text is somewhat loosely rendered.

534. Cest vne sotte fiance, H.; adversaria est confidentia, St. Aug.

535. Estre sauf entre les morsures, H.

536. And—vnhurte, not in H. or Lat.

537. Sc. laugheth; rit, H.

538. Psal. xxxvi. 3; Bonum est confidere in Domino, etc. (Psal. cxvii. 8), H.

539. Ce sera quant le roy Priant ne croiras, qui tira priant, H.

540. See above, p. 100.

541. Shepe, MS.

542. Sc. Othea; he, MS., both here and a few words later on.

543. Sa mort, H.

544. Sermo de conversione ad clericos, ch. viii. (Migne, clxxxii. 843).

545. En espies, H.; auxpiez, Roy. MSS. 14 E. ii. f. 327, 17 E. iv. f. 313; adolescentibus in insidiis est, St. Bern.

546. Eccl. xiv. 12; tardabit, H.

547. Encor te vueil ie faire sage, H.

548. ? Stroke; le coup de vne sayette, H. and G. de Tign.

549. Qui met auenir, H.; qui meut a venir, G. de Tign (Roy. MS. 19 B. iv. f. 7b).

550. Matt. vi. 6.

551. The Politenes of Benoît de Ste. Maure (l. 16105) and Guido delle Colonne.

552. Puit estre nuisible, H.

553. Couuoitise desordenee, H.

554. Dit Ygnocence ou liure de la vilte de condicion humaine, H. The quotation is from Pope Innocent III., “De contemptu mundi,” ii. 6 (Migne, ccxvii. 719).

555. Sont ii. sancsues, H.; sanguisugæ, Innoc., quoting Prov. xxx. 15. Wyer’s version rightly has “horse-leeches”; and the reading “sauce-makers” is inexplicable.

556. Tim. vi. 10.

557. A luniversaire (sc. l’anniversaire) du chief de lan des obseques de Hector, H.; vnyuersarie, Wyer.

558. Amer, H.

559. In ep. Joannis ad Parthos tract. ii. (Migne, xxxv. 1994).

560. Et sa concupiscence, H.

561. Amer, H.

562. 1 Ep. Joh. ii. 15.

563. Perciez doultre en oultre, H.

564. Sc. Augustine.

565. Susde, MS.; ne nul en sa force ne se doit fyer, H.

566. 2 Cor. iii. 4, 5; tanquam ex nobis, H.

567. Lenditement, H.; exhortacion, Wyer.

568. Des mauuais, H.; Barat est le cappitaine des mauuoys et ire est son gouuerneur, G. de Tign. (Roy. MS. 19 B. iv. f. 39).

569. iii. (les, H.) inconueniencees, MS.

570. Sc. deny; reyne, MS.; renyer, H.

571. Prov. iv. 15.

572. Paix par faintise, H.

573. Sa mauuaistie, H.

574. Psal. xxi. 26.

575. So H. and other MSS.; perhaps a corruption for Thyre or Tyre.

576. Sc. Ptolemy; Ptholomee, H.

577. Apoc. xviii. 7.

578. Sc. knights.

579. Sc. as he weaned to have returned; si comme il cuidoit retourner, H.

580. Sc. wholly.

581. Louez, H.; loe, G. de Tign. (Roy. MS. 19 B. iv. f. 44b); lawded ne alowed, Wyer.

582. Moralia, xv. 6 (Migne, lxxv. 1084).

583. Matt. xxiii. 27.

584. Sc. sodden; le ble cuit, H. For the same story of Ino see above, p. 29.

585. Frustra sibi de infirmitate vel ignorantia blandiuntur, qui ut liberius peccent libenter ignorant vel infirmantur, Bern. de Gradibus Humilitatis, cap. vi. (Migne, clxxxii. 951).

586. There is an omission here, cf. ou par negligence de les sauoir ou par parece de les demander ou par honte de les enquerir, H.

587. 1 Cor. xiv. 38.

588. Si ne soient de toy despites, H.

589. This story is from the “Aurea Legenda” of Jacobus de Voragine with slight variations (ed. Graesse, 1846, p. 44).

590. De quelconques personne que ilz soient dis, H.

591. Hugh de St. Victor, Eruditionis didascalicæ libri vii. (Migne, clxxvi. 739).

592. Mais que cest que il dit, H.

593. Eccl. iii. 31. H. has the colophon, “Explicit lepistre Othea.”


  1. Table of Contents added by transcriber.
  2. The #ERRATA# corrections were incorporated in the text.
  3. There was no Chapter IL in the source.
  4. Some sidenote numbers were missing in the source, for example “f. 15”.
  5. P. 10, changed “desiderüs” to “desideriis”.
  6. P. 41, changed “sow e” to “sowle”.
  7. P. 47, is missing footnote 2.
  8. P. 62, added an anchor for footnote 7.
  9. P. 65, changed “seythyt ayens God and enprideth the selfe. That is the which dispoilleth Paradyse and clothit hell and voydeth the valu of the blode of Cryst Jhesu and submyttyth the worlde to the tharledom of the seende” to “feythyt ayens God and enprideth the selfe. That is the which dispoilleth Paradyse and clothit hell and voydeth the valu of the blode of Cryst Jhesu and submyttyth the worlde to the tharledom of the feend”.
  10. Silently corrected typographical errors.
  11. Except as noted, retained anachronistic, non-standard, and uncertain spellings as printed.
  12. Footnotes have been re-indexed using numbers and collected together at the end of the last chapter.

End of the Project Gutenberg EBook of The epistle of Othea to Hector, by 
Christine de Pisan


***** This file should be named 60567-h.htm or *****
This and all associated files of various formats will be found in:

Produced by Richard Tonsing and the Online Distributed
Proofreading Team at (This file was
produced from images generously made available by The
Internet Archive)

Updated editions will replace the previous one--the old editions
will be renamed.

Creating the works from public domain print editions means that no
one owns a United States copyright in these works, so the Foundation
(and you!) can copy and distribute it in the United States without
permission and without paying copyright royalties.  Special rules,
set forth in the General Terms of Use part of this license, apply to
copying and distributing Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works to
protect the PROJECT GUTENBERG-tm concept and trademark.  Project
Gutenberg is a registered trademark, and may not be used if you
charge for the eBooks, unless you receive specific permission.  If you
do not charge anything for copies of this eBook, complying with the
rules is very easy.  You may use this eBook for nearly any purpose
such as creation of derivative works, reports, performances and
research.  They may be modified and printed and given away--you may do
practically ANYTHING with public domain eBooks.  Redistribution is
subject to the trademark license, especially commercial



To protect the Project Gutenberg-tm mission of promoting the free
distribution of electronic works, by using or distributing this work
(or any other work associated in any way with the phrase "Project
Gutenberg"), you agree to comply with all the terms of the Full Project
Gutenberg-tm License (available with this file or online at

Section 1.  General Terms of Use and Redistributing Project Gutenberg-tm
electronic works

1.A.  By reading or using any part of this Project Gutenberg-tm
electronic work, you indicate that you have read, understand, agree to
and accept all the terms of this license and intellectual property
(trademark/copyright) agreement.  If you do not agree to abide by all
the terms of this agreement, you must cease using and return or destroy
all copies of Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works in your possession.
If you paid a fee for obtaining a copy of or access to a Project
Gutenberg-tm electronic work and you do not agree to be bound by the
terms of this agreement, you may obtain a refund from the person or
entity to whom you paid the fee as set forth in paragraph 1.E.8.

1.B.  "Project Gutenberg" is a registered trademark.  It may only be
used on or associated in any way with an electronic work by people who
agree to be bound by the terms of this agreement.  There are a few
things that you can do with most Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works
even without complying with the full terms of this agreement.  See
paragraph 1.C below.  There are a lot of things you can do with Project
Gutenberg-tm electronic works if you follow the terms of this agreement
and help preserve free future access to Project Gutenberg-tm electronic
works.  See paragraph 1.E below.

1.C.  The Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation ("the Foundation"
or PGLAF), owns a compilation copyright in the collection of Project
Gutenberg-tm electronic works.  Nearly all the individual works in the
collection are in the public domain in the United States.  If an
individual work is in the public domain in the United States and you are
located in the United States, we do not claim a right to prevent you from
copying, distributing, performing, displaying or creating derivative
works based on the work as long as all references to Project Gutenberg
are removed.  Of course, we hope that you will support the Project
Gutenberg-tm mission of promoting free access to electronic works by
freely sharing Project Gutenberg-tm works in compliance with the terms of
this agreement for keeping the Project Gutenberg-tm name associated with
the work.  You can easily comply with the terms of this agreement by
keeping this work in the same format with its attached full Project
Gutenberg-tm License when you share it without charge with others.

1.D.  The copyright laws of the place where you are located also govern
what you can do with this work.  Copyright laws in most countries are in
a constant state of change.  If you are outside the United States, check
the laws of your country in addition to the terms of this agreement
before downloading, copying, displaying, performing, distributing or
creating derivative works based on this work or any other Project
Gutenberg-tm work.  The Foundation makes no representations concerning
the copyright status of any work in any country outside the United

1.E.  Unless you have removed all references to Project Gutenberg:

1.E.1.  The following sentence, with active links to, or other immediate
access to, the full Project Gutenberg-tm License must appear prominently
whenever any copy of a Project Gutenberg-tm work (any work on which the
phrase "Project Gutenberg" appears, or with which the phrase "Project
Gutenberg" is associated) is accessed, displayed, performed, viewed,
copied or distributed:

This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with
almost no restrictions whatsoever.  You may copy it, give it away or
re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included
with this eBook or online at

1.E.2.  If an individual Project Gutenberg-tm electronic work is derived
from the public domain (does not contain a notice indicating that it is
posted with permission of the copyright holder), the work can be copied
and distributed to anyone in the United States without paying any fees
or charges.  If you are redistributing or providing access to a work
with the phrase "Project Gutenberg" associated with or appearing on the
work, you must comply either with the requirements of paragraphs 1.E.1
through 1.E.7 or obtain permission for the use of the work and the
Project Gutenberg-tm trademark as set forth in paragraphs 1.E.8 or

1.E.3.  If an individual Project Gutenberg-tm electronic work is posted
with the permission of the copyright holder, your use and distribution
must comply with both paragraphs 1.E.1 through 1.E.7 and any additional
terms imposed by the copyright holder.  Additional terms will be linked
to the Project Gutenberg-tm License for all works posted with the
permission of the copyright holder found at the beginning of this work.

1.E.4.  Do not unlink or detach or remove the full Project Gutenberg-tm
License terms from this work, or any files containing a part of this
work or any other work associated with Project Gutenberg-tm.

1.E.5.  Do not copy, display, perform, distribute or redistribute this
electronic work, or any part of this electronic work, without
prominently displaying the sentence set forth in paragraph 1.E.1 with
active links or immediate access to the full terms of the Project
Gutenberg-tm License.

1.E.6.  You may convert to and distribute this work in any binary,
compressed, marked up, nonproprietary or proprietary form, including any
word processing or hypertext form.  However, if you provide access to or
distribute copies of a Project Gutenberg-tm work in a format other than
"Plain Vanilla ASCII" or other format used in the official version
posted on the official Project Gutenberg-tm web site (,
you must, at no additional cost, fee or expense to the user, provide a
copy, a means of exporting a copy, or a means of obtaining a copy upon
request, of the work in its original "Plain Vanilla ASCII" or other
form.  Any alternate format must include the full Project Gutenberg-tm
License as specified in paragraph 1.E.1.

1.E.7.  Do not charge a fee for access to, viewing, displaying,
performing, copying or distributing any Project Gutenberg-tm works
unless you comply with paragraph 1.E.8 or 1.E.9.

1.E.8.  You may charge a reasonable fee for copies of or providing
access to or distributing Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works provided

- You pay a royalty fee of 20% of the gross profits you derive from
     the use of Project Gutenberg-tm works calculated using the method
     you already use to calculate your applicable taxes.  The fee is
     owed to the owner of the Project Gutenberg-tm trademark, but he
     has agreed to donate royalties under this paragraph to the
     Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation.  Royalty payments
     must be paid within 60 days following each date on which you
     prepare (or are legally required to prepare) your periodic tax
     returns.  Royalty payments should be clearly marked as such and
     sent to the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation at the
     address specified in Section 4, "Information about donations to
     the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation."

- You provide a full refund of any money paid by a user who notifies
     you in writing (or by e-mail) within 30 days of receipt that s/he
     does not agree to the terms of the full Project Gutenberg-tm
     License.  You must require such a user to return or
     destroy all copies of the works possessed in a physical medium
     and discontinue all use of and all access to other copies of
     Project Gutenberg-tm works.

- You provide, in accordance with paragraph 1.F.3, a full refund of any
     money paid for a work or a replacement copy, if a defect in the
     electronic work is discovered and reported to you within 90 days
     of receipt of the work.

- You comply with all other terms of this agreement for free
     distribution of Project Gutenberg-tm works.

1.E.9.  If you wish to charge a fee or distribute a Project Gutenberg-tm
electronic work or group of works on different terms than are set
forth in this agreement, you must obtain permission in writing from
both the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation and Michael
Hart, the owner of the Project Gutenberg-tm trademark.  Contact the
Foundation as set forth in Section 3 below.


1.F.1.  Project Gutenberg volunteers and employees expend considerable
effort to identify, do copyright research on, transcribe and proofread
public domain works in creating the Project Gutenberg-tm
collection.  Despite these efforts, Project Gutenberg-tm electronic
works, and the medium on which they may be stored, may contain
"Defects," such as, but not limited to, incomplete, inaccurate or
corrupt data, transcription errors, a copyright or other intellectual
property infringement, a defective or damaged disk or other medium, a
computer virus, or computer codes that damage or cannot be read by
your equipment.

of Replacement or Refund" described in paragraph 1.F.3, the Project
Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation, the owner of the Project
Gutenberg-tm trademark, and any other party distributing a Project
Gutenberg-tm electronic work under this agreement, disclaim all
liability to you for damages, costs and expenses, including legal

defect in this electronic work within 90 days of receiving it, you can
receive a refund of the money (if any) you paid for it by sending a
written explanation to the person you received the work from.  If you
received the work on a physical medium, you must return the medium with
your written explanation.  The person or entity that provided you with
the defective work may elect to provide a replacement copy in lieu of a
refund.  If you received the work electronically, the person or entity
providing it to you may choose to give you a second opportunity to
receive the work electronically in lieu of a refund.  If the second copy
is also defective, you may demand a refund in writing without further
opportunities to fix the problem.

1.F.4.  Except for the limited right of replacement or refund set forth
in paragraph 1.F.3, this work is provided to you 'AS-IS' WITH NO OTHER

1.F.5.  Some states do not allow disclaimers of certain implied
warranties or the exclusion or limitation of certain types of damages.
If any disclaimer or limitation set forth in this agreement violates the
law of the state applicable to this agreement, the agreement shall be
interpreted to make the maximum disclaimer or limitation permitted by
the applicable state law.  The invalidity or unenforceability of any
provision of this agreement shall not void the remaining provisions.

1.F.6.  INDEMNITY - You agree to indemnify and hold the Foundation, the
trademark owner, any agent or employee of the Foundation, anyone
providing copies of Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works in accordance
with this agreement, and any volunteers associated with the production,
promotion and distribution of Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works,
harmless from all liability, costs and expenses, including legal fees,
that arise directly or indirectly from any of the following which you do
or cause to occur: (a) distribution of this or any Project Gutenberg-tm
work, (b) alteration, modification, or additions or deletions to any
Project Gutenberg-tm work, and (c) any Defect you cause.

Section  2.  Information about the Mission of Project Gutenberg-tm

Project Gutenberg-tm is synonymous with the free distribution of
electronic works in formats readable by the widest variety of computers
including obsolete, old, middle-aged and new computers.  It exists
because of the efforts of hundreds of volunteers and donations from
people in all walks of life.

Volunteers and financial support to provide volunteers with the
assistance they need, are critical to reaching Project Gutenberg-tm's
goals and ensuring that the Project Gutenberg-tm collection will
remain freely available for generations to come.  In 2001, the Project
Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation was created to provide a secure
and permanent future for Project Gutenberg-tm and future generations.
To learn more about the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation
and how your efforts and donations can help, see Sections 3 and 4
and the Foundation web page at

Section 3.  Information about the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive

The Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation is a non profit
501(c)(3) educational corporation organized under the laws of the
state of Mississippi and granted tax exempt status by the Internal
Revenue Service.  The Foundation's EIN or federal tax identification
number is 64-6221541.  Its 501(c)(3) letter is posted at  Contributions to the Project Gutenberg
Literary Archive Foundation are tax deductible to the full extent
permitted by U.S. federal laws and your state's laws.

The Foundation's principal office is located at 4557 Melan Dr. S.
Fairbanks, AK, 99712., but its volunteers and employees are scattered
throughout numerous locations.  Its business office is located at
809 North 1500 West, Salt Lake City, UT 84116, (801) 596-1887, email  Email contact links and up to date contact
information can be found at the Foundation's web site and official
page at

For additional contact information:
     Dr. Gregory B. Newby
     Chief Executive and Director

Section 4.  Information about Donations to the Project Gutenberg
Literary Archive Foundation

Project Gutenberg-tm depends upon and cannot survive without wide
spread public support and donations to carry out its mission of
increasing the number of public domain and licensed works that can be
freely distributed in machine readable form accessible by the widest
array of equipment including outdated equipment.  Many small donations
($1 to $5,000) are particularly important to maintaining tax exempt
status with the IRS.

The Foundation is committed to complying with the laws regulating
charities and charitable donations in all 50 states of the United
States.  Compliance requirements are not uniform and it takes a
considerable effort, much paperwork and many fees to meet and keep up
with these requirements.  We do not solicit donations in locations
where we have not received written confirmation of compliance.  To
SEND DONATIONS or determine the status of compliance for any
particular state visit

While we cannot and do not solicit contributions from states where we
have not met the solicitation requirements, we know of no prohibition
against accepting unsolicited donations from donors in such states who
approach us with offers to donate.

International donations are gratefully accepted, but we cannot make
any statements concerning tax treatment of donations received from
outside the United States.  U.S. laws alone swamp our small staff.

Please check the Project Gutenberg Web pages for current donation
methods and addresses.  Donations are accepted in a number of other
ways including checks, online payments and credit card donations.
To donate, please visit:

Section 5.  General Information About Project Gutenberg-tm electronic

Professor Michael S. Hart is the originator of the Project Gutenberg-tm
concept of a library of electronic works that could be freely shared
with anyone.  For thirty years, he produced and distributed Project
Gutenberg-tm eBooks with only a loose network of volunteer support.

Project Gutenberg-tm eBooks are often created from several printed
editions, all of which are confirmed as Public Domain in the U.S.
unless a copyright notice is included.  Thus, we do not necessarily
keep eBooks in compliance with any particular paper edition.

Most people start at our Web site which has the main PG search facility:

This Web site includes information about Project Gutenberg-tm,
including how to make donations to the Project Gutenberg Literary
Archive Foundation, how to help produce our new eBooks, and how to
subscribe to our email newsletter to hear about new eBooks.