The Game and Playe of the Chesse: Book Three
BOOK THREE: FOOTNOTES
2 devyse, consider; oultrages, exertions.
4 fote, foot; "pietons," foot soldiers.
7 vycayre, representative.
8 vytaylle, food.
11 delve, dig.
12 conduyte, steer through.
13 gyrdel, girdle or belt; sarpe or crokyd hachet, a pruning hook or crooked hatchet; cutte of, cut off; superfluytees, overgrowth; vignes, vines.
16 for as moche as, because.
20 maryed, married.
21 attones, at once.
23 fayrer, fairer.
24 chekebone, cheekbone.
28 behoveth, is requisite.
32 at the last, in the end.
37 entende, direct himself towards; geve thankynges, give thanks.
38 goodes temporal, worldly goods.
39 dismes, obsolete meaning for dime or a tenth part, a tithe paid to the church or to a temporal ruler.
40 beste, beast; chese out, selected.
41 grutche and be greved, complain and are vexed.
42 rendre, offer up; tienthes, tenth; her, their.
43 falle in necessyté, fall into want; despoylyd, despoiled.
44 contray, country.
45 merveylle, marvel.
46 weneth, believes; multeplyeng, multiplying.
47 counceyl, deliberation; witte, intellect; ordenaunce, decree.
48 sone, soon.
49 haboundeth, abounds.
51 requyre, ask.
52 symple, humble.
53 enhauncid, elevated or lifted up.
54 advoultrie, adultery.
56 to take ageyn, to resume.
58 nygh enfamyned, nearly starved.
59 Anone, Immediately.
60 hem, them; manna and flessh, heavenly drink and food.
63 belies, bellies.
64 forgid ydolles, built idols.
65 that whan, so that when.
67 cure, care.
70–71 to suffise to them only, to be sufficient to them alone.
72 boistous metis, coarse food.
73 deynteous metes, delicate morsels.
75–76 cause henge, case was pending.
76 closed, guarded.
78 bare the lanterne (i.e., the servant guides Antonius to his secret rendezvous); abasshid, ashamed.
79 douted, feared; depose, testify.
81 for to be tormentid, for even if he were tortured; enpeyred, impaired or made worse.
82 noyed or grevyd, harmed or vexed.
83 brent, burned.
87–88 mervaillous faith, great loyalty.
90 knowen, recognized; did on, put on.
91 parelle, peril; respyte, save (obsolete use of "respite").
92 fooks, folks (Caxton’s spelling is questionable here); daigne, deign.
92–93 grose metis, coarse foods.
93 cours, coarse.
94 bonde, bound.
95 debylité and feblenes, debility and feebleness.
96 covetyse, covetousness; right, truly.
97 doubte, fear.
99 fle, flee.
100 yssue, issue (in the sense of sallying forth).
101 ayer, air.
102 envyronneth, encompasses; laboureth, produces.
103 conteyned, contained; flodes, floods.
104 deporte alle, depart entirely.
105 as wel, even.
109 versefyer, poet; versis, verses.
112 deffetid, destroyed; meritis, good works.
118 whether, where (whither).
119 holde hym, incline himself.
120 contray, country.
121 hermytage, hermitage.
122 enquere and seke, inquire and seek.
123 theder, thither.
124 thens, thence.
125 lignage, descendants.
126 wyst, knew; eschewe, avoid.
126–27 bethought hym, collected his thoughts.
137 abode, stayed.
140 preyseth, praises; Sawlter, Psalter.
143 behoveth, is fitting; endende, attend (the text should probably read entende here).
144 recuyel, collect (recueil); gadre togydre, gather together.
145 bestys, animals or livestock.
146 kepe, protect.
148 offrid, offered.
151 graffe, graft; vygnes, vines.
154 hym bytter, it bitter.
155 to wete, to wit.
157 medlid, mixed.
158 about the rotes, around the roots; byttirnes, bitterness.
160 despoyled hym, stripped himself of clothes.
161 pryvy membres, sex organs.
161–62 mocqued and skorned, mocked and scorned.
166 yrous, fierce; otherwhile, sometimes.
167 symple and shamefast, timid.
169 enforceth, strives.
170 apperteyne, pertain.
174 dronkenshyp, drunkenness.
175 apparaylle the corages, enhance the boldness.
177 covenable, open to; hertes, desire.
178 shortly, briefly.
180 sowle, soul; mynyssheth, diminishes; goodes temporels, worldly goods.
183 reson, logical.
184 bridellys, bridles; sadellis, saddles; spores, spurs.
186 squyer, a carpenter’s square, an implement for determining, measuring, or setting out right angles; gyrdel, belt.
187 marchallis, a person who tends horses.
188 of alle forges, of all types of manufacturing.
189 martel, hammer; dolabre, an adz or axe-like tool; squyre, square.
190 kervers, carvers; tylers, those who lay tiles.
193 hit is nede, it is necessary.
194 behoveth, belongs.
195 edefyces, buildings.
196 maroners, mariners.
197 sewerté, surety.
200 leseth, loses; beleve, belief.
202 deceyve, deceive.
203 mede, reward or recompense.
207 lene, loan.
208–09 heritage and patrymonye, inheritance and estate.
211 affyaunce, affiance or confidence.
212 prevyd, tested.
214 soveraynly proffytable, supremely profitable.
216 verily, truly.
220 fondement, fundament or foundation.
221 noye ne greve, annoy or aggravate.
223 entendeth, inclines.
224 hows, house.
225 afyre, on fire.
226 sette not by, do not heed.
227 blasygng, blazing.
229 whereas, wherever.
233 distinccion, class or category; defferenceth, differs.
235 wene, believe.
237 verayly, truly; tyme passid, past times.
238 supposid, known.
239 For ellis wold not, Otherwise, why would.
240 freres, friars; chanons, canons; observauntes, Franciscans.
241 professyd, promised or bound; ben conversaunt in, had social dealings with.
242 Whyt Freres, White Friars or Carmelites; Gaunt, possibly Gaunt Street, a central street in Southwark by the river.
245 overest or procuratour, superior or steward.
248 accordyng therto, on this topic.
249 ordeyned, ruled.
253 advysed, provided for.
254 God wyl, God ordains.
257 veray, true.
260 meurely, with consideration; fermely, steadfastly.
261 more havoyr, better deportment.
262 but bycause, unless.
263 sorowe, affliction.
264 ordenaunce, decree.
265 bounté, goodness.
268–69 Her thynges, Their things.
272 corrumpeth, corrupts.
275 weneth, supposes.
278 Zecyle, Sicily.
279 For as moche as, For it was because.
282 kembe, comb.
283 grete, grown or adult; yron, iron; occupyed, used.
283–84 brenne and senge his heeris, burn and singe his hair.
285 affyaunce, affiance or confidence; envyronne, surround.
286 brode, broad.
287 laye wythout, lay outside.
291 thee behoveth, it is necessary for you.
294 seure, sure.
295 maronners, mariners; tumerous, timorous; ferdful, fearful.
296 parilles, perils.
298 perisshed and dispeyrid, damaged and deprived of.
301 mervaylle, wonder.
304 hoop, hope.
307 creaunce, faith.
Title notaries, personal secretaries or clerks; advocates, those who plead cases in a court of justice; skryvenars, professional scribes; drapers, makers of and/or dealers in cloth.
311 alphyn, chess bishop or judge.
312 reson, logical; emonge, among.
313 plete, debate or plead in a legal sense.
314 otherwhyle, sometimes.
316 processe, proceedings.
317 figured, depicted.
318 sheris or forcettis, shears or scissors.
319 gurdel, belt; penner, pen case; ynkhorn, an ink horn, a small vessel for holding ink; eere, ear.
321 autentique, authoritative.
322 libelles, formal pleas; writes, writs or written orders; condempnacions, judicial decisions; sentences, judgments.
323 scripture, writings; aperteyneth to, is fitting to.
324 dyght, clean or prepare.
325 coupers, barrel makers.
326 coryers, craftsmen who prepare leather; tawyers, those who “taw" or prepare white leather; skynners, skinners; bouchers, butchers; kordwanners, cordwainers or those who work in cordovan leather; also shoemakers.
329 skynnes and hydes, skins and hides.
330 perchymyn, parchment; velume, vellum, a finer type of parchment made from lambs or calves; peltrie, peltry or undressed skins; cordewan, leather.
331 fullars, those who “full" or beat cloth in order to thicken it.
332 crafty men, craftsmen.
333 mestier, profession; duly ordayned, appointed or arranged; curiously, skillfully.
334 amyable companye, friendly camaraderie.
336 prouffytable, beneficial.
337 appropryyng, appropriating; aperteyneth, belongs.
339 processes, proceedings.
342 ensewe, ensue; domage, damage.
343 corumpe, corrupt.
344 forsworne, perjured.
345 amendis, amends; endomaged, harmed.
346 rede, read; visite, examine.
349 contraire, contrary (to right and reason); admoneste, admonish.
356 put aback, receded.
357 deceyve, deceive; disordenatly, unnecessarily.
358 covenable, appropriate.
359 mo traysons, more treasons.
360 alyaunces, alliances or unities.
362–63 of one accorde, of unified purpose.
365 as wel, as much.
366 ete, despoil.
367 enpovere, impoverish; comynté, community.
368 pletars, pleaders or advocates.
369 longe, belong; chaunserye, chauncery or high court.
369–70 kynge’s benche, supreme court of common law.
370 comyn place, lower courts; cheker, exchequer or treasury; ressayt, revenue office; helle, hall of justice; bagge berars, wallet carriers.
372 entende to, attend to.
373 synguler wele, personal good.
374 admoneste, admonish.
377 semblable, same.
379 convenable, consistent.
381 renne, run.
383 faylleth, fails.
385 verayly, truly; amytye, amity.
386 delectable, pleasant; yongthe, youth.
387 disordynate hete, excessive passion.
389 For for, Because.
390 veray, true.
393 alle tho thynges, all those things.
394 conivracions, contrivances.
396 wylle2, desires.
398 alowe and preise, commend and praise.
399–400 ner do to be doon, nor cause to be done.
401 excusasion, defense.
403 one his frende, one of his friends.
409 prouffytable, profit.
413 sommes, summary treatise.
418 hony, honey; carayn, carrion.
419 praye, prey.
420 nevewe, nephew.
422 parceyvd, recognized.
423 never perceyvyd afore tyme, never before had perceived a time.
424 puyssaunt, empowered.
426 duckes, dukes.
428 gevest, give.
429 endureth not, does not endure.
430 repute, esteem.
432 byeth, buys.
435 ewrous, prosperous or profitable; torneth, turns.
436 medowes, meadows; feldes, fields; bestys, beasts.
441 Arabye, Arabia.
443–44 trowe verely, truly believe.
445 apperteyneth and behoveth, is fitting and behooves.
445–46 assaye and preve, test and try.
446 or, before.
448 fayne, pretend.
450 requyred, requested.
457 mayné, people.
460 prevyd, proved; veray, faithful.
463 Bandach, Babylon.
467 esprised, enamoured (eprisé).
468–69 dyd do come, summoned; sekenes, sickness; sauf, except.
472 chees, chose.
474 to wyf, to marry; dowaire, dowry; lever, rather.
475 lese, lose.
479 seche, seek; breed, bread.
483 arestyd, arrested; homycide, murderer.
490 enforcid, encouraged (the judge).
491 he that had doon the feet, he who had done the deed (i.e., the real murderer).
493 doubtyng, fearing; dyvyne, divine.
494 by ordre, in sequence.
496 fayte, act.
497 And after, And after this.
502 contynent, self-restrained.
503 converse and accompanye them, talk and have dealings with.
505 meve, excite; entyse, entice; jape, seduce.
512 beaulté, beauty; mevyd, moved or excited.
515 lancettis, lancets (surgical instruments usually with two edges and a point); endlong and everthwart, from end to end and across.
516 fowle, foul.
522 chase, chose.
523 pestelence, disease.
524 customaunce, customary practice; hetes, heat.
526 ones, once.
527 dysporte, amusement or diversion.
529 repente me, regret; bye, buy; dere, expensively.
530 advysed hym, considered to himself; sore chauffyd, sorely inflamed.
534 greve, vex.
536 wan, won.
539 doubted, feared; corumpe, spoil.
541 defoyle, violate or rape.
544 condempneth, condemns.
545 of one accorde, of one will.
548 hernes, nooks or corners.
551 wene, think.
554 beste, beast; werkys, duties.
555 bestyal, bestial.
556 lyeng, lying.
557 oultrageous, outrageous (in the sense of evil).
558 wittyngly, knowingly.
565 lignage, descendants; pardurable, perdurable or existing for all time.
566 paradyse terrestre, the earthly paradise (i.e., Eden).
567 but onely bycause, only to the end that.
567–68 that her Mayster knewe, that which their Master knew.
568 double entente, deceitful purpose.
569 anone, immediately.
573 pistyl, epistle; saver, learn.
575 sobrenes, moderation.
576 Siracusane, Syracuse.
577 Secille, Sicily.
579 sauf, except.
585 to our kyng, as our king.
586 coveyted, desired; werse, worse (king).
588 doubte, fear.
Title chaungers, money changers.
593 balaunce, set of scales; weyght, weight.
594 gurdel, belt.
595 lynnen, linen.
596 wollen, wool.
597 lene, loan.
598 customers, custom or dues takers; tollars, toll takers.
599 receyvours of rentes, tax collectors.
600 covetyse, covetousness.
601 eschewe brekyng of the dayes of payment, avoid missing payment deadlines.
606 souldyes, Italian coins.
610 disordynate, immoderate.
612 hit reygneth in olde men (avarice was usually associated with age).
613 mortefyed and appetissed, deadened and lessened.
614 reservyd, except; onely, alone.
617 lengthe his viage, lengthen his trip (i.e., by sinning); vitayl, provisions.
619 tyl, until.
626 besaunt, a gold coin.
627 apperteyned, was appropriate.
628 axid, asked.
629 convenable, suitable.
638 semblable to, similar to; caasis, instances.
639 esprised in her love, taken with love for her.
642 lever, rather.
643 entende to, incline towards.
650 brenned, burned.
652 hem, them.
656 prevy, hidden.
657 foundement, foundation.
659 ferdful, fearful; kepar, keeper.
661 ewrous, lucky or prosperous.
665 smyte of, cut off.
667 wayed, weighed; bare, carried.
668 voyded, emptied.
669 leed, lead.
673 havoir, possessions.
674 hye see, high sea.
675 bycause, in order that.
676 perisshe it, destroy it.
680 seignorie, rule.
681 dewly, duly.
682 chamberer, handmaid.
685 destroubleth, disturbed; poesté, strength.
687 vendable, capable of being sold.
688 lene, borrow.
689 creaunces, buying things on credit.
693 axe, ask.
694 wylt, will; ner, nor.
696 reproche, reproach; lene, lend.
699 surmounte, surmount.
700 tornes, turns.
702 lenyng, loaning.
706 Gene, Genoa; chaungeour, money changer.
708 affermyd, confirmed.
709 floryns, gold coins.
714 tolde hem, counted them out.
716 renome, reputation.
718 gate, gained.
719 wan, earned.
722 devyne purveaunce, divine providence.
725 do marchaundise, engage in trade.
726 menny’s, men’s.
727 appertly, publicly.
731 of without, from elsewhere.
735 wrytyng, record.
738 so ferre and longe, for such a long time.
742 paraventure, perchance.
746 ordeyne and bye, arrange and buy.
748 fayne, feign.
752 fer contré, distant lands.
753 whilis, while.
754 tho, those.
756 Late, Let.
759 unadvysedly, unexpectedly.
761 did after her, sought their.
765 advysed me, considered to myself.
770 trichour, cheat.
772 begiler, cheater.
774 enseigneth, instructs.
777 bereth, carries; chese, cheese.
778 weneth, believes.
781 For for, Because in order to.
787–88 what that somever, whatsoever.
788 resaytes, receipts.
791 tho, those.
794 obstynat, resolute.
Title medecynes, medical practitioners; spycers, spice dealers; appotiquaries, apothecaries.
798 maistre, teacher; ample, ampule or a small container.
799 oynementis, ointments.
800 serche, probe; apostumes, apostems or abscesses.
802 gramariens, teachers of grammar; logyciens, teachers of logic; maystres of lawe, teachers of law; arsmetrique, arithmetic.
804 pygmentaries, makers of ointments and drugs; confeccions, medical compounds.
805 confites, preserves; ferremens, possibly “ferments" or organic material that causes yeast.
808 proporcions of lettres of gramayre, harmonious arrangement of words; monemens, movements (Caxton has put an “n" in the place of a “v"); sophyms, sophisms.
812 rethorique, rhetoric or the art of persuasion; speculatyf, speculative thinking.
813 how wel, because; curious, studious.
814 otherwhyle, sometimes; ordonaunce, care.
815 sagesse, wisdom or knowledge.
816 medlyth, meddles.
817 slear, slayer.
818 but yf, unless; sewre, sure; slee, slay.
819 moo, more.
822 happe, luck; kunnyng, knowledge or skill.
823 meurté, maturity.
825 contynuel, continual.
826 tokens, symptoms.
827–28 Ypocras, Galiene, and of Avycene (see note).
831 colacion, consultation; in suche wyse, in such a way.
832 encroche, encroach or seize.
833 salute, well-being or safety.
833–34 seek man, sick man.
836 demened, controled.
840 dyssencions, dissent.
841 leve, leave.
842 discencions, dissent.
844 figured, represented.
845 contynence, continence or self-restraint.
853 comyn (i.e., a prostitute).
854 besaunte, a gold coin; torne the corage of, seduce.
855 for to have to doon wyth her, to have sex with her.
859 axe, ask for.
861 holden and gaged, held and fastened on.
863 in semblable wyse, in a similar way.
865 made never semblaunt, never made a welcome.
869 stere, stir.
870 hoost, army; bourdellys, prostitutes.
871 apayred, weakened.
872 corages, strength.
873 Truphes, Frivolties.
874 by figure, figuratively; fonteyne, fountain.
875 corumped, corrupted.
877 cyrurgerye, surgery; plaisters, plasters or dressings.
878 enplastre, dressing.
879 otherwhyle, sometimes.
879–80 by his contrarye, by its opposite.
880 phisique, medical treatments.
882–83 lese her membris, lose their body parts.
883 benomen, ravished; repleccion, filling up.
888 in defaulte, wanting.
890 joyes fugetyves, fleeting pleasures.
892 veray matier of complecconn, true matter of temperament.
893 thondre, thunder.
898 enbracyng, embracing.
901 esmoved, moved.
904 mulier, as Caxton notes, is the Latin word for woman.
905 mole, without perception.
906 sonner, more quickly.
908 Yle of Corsika, Island of Corsica; sacrefyed his goodes, made sacrifices to his gods.
910 enterprised, taken.
914 distemperatly, excessively.
917 kunnyng, knowledge or skill.
918 nygh, near to.
920 had not longe tofore seen hym, had not seen him for a while.
921 attempre them, moderate themselves; or, before.
925 al his membris, all his body parts.
928 folke, people; had in hate, despised.
929 here speke of, hear any talk of; se, see.
932 ordeyned, commanded.
935 boutelers, servants.
936 cokes, cooks.
939 curtoisly, graciously.
940 chauffe, fume; felonye, anger.
942 waxe so ardant, became so fired up.
942–43 enbracid wyth so grete yre, was taken with such anger.
945 hete, heat; synewes, sinews.
946 hoole, whole.
949 espycers, spice sellers.
950 billes, orders.
951 charge curiously, fill [them] skillfully.
952 confecconns, medicinal compounds.
953 rechelesnes, carelessness.
955 enpayre, worsen; encrecyng, increasing.
956 thevys, thieves.
958 stuffe, ingredients; odoure, fragrance; receptes, formulae.
960 avayle, profit.
961 scathe, damage.
963 domage, harm.
964 destrucconns, destructions.
966 debonayr, gracious.
967 launce, pierce; apostumes, abscesses.
968 arrache, tear; but yf, unless.
969 renomee, reputation.
970 bouchers, butchers; helars or guarysshours, healers or guarishers (curers).
973 cure, care.
974 net, clean.
976 sterres, stars.
979 engyne, intelligence.
Title taverners, tavern-keepers; hostelers, innkeepers; vytayllers, purveyors of victuals or provisions.
981 alphyn, chess bishop or judge.
982 stratched, stretched.
983 loof of breed, loaf of bread.
984 gurdel, belt; bondel, bunch.
986 sourdeth, arises; noyse, contention or strife.
987 stryf, strife; trayted, settled.
988 enquere, inquire.
989 vytayl, food; byars, buyers.
990 herberowes, lodgings.
991 seure and sauf, secure and safe.
992 warde, care.
1000 outrage, excess; noye, disturb.
1003 molestaconns, injuries; lese, lose; otherwhyle, sometimes.
1004 eyen, eyes; membris, body parts.
1005 on a tyme, one time; hermyte, hermit.
1006 gossibs, a gossip is a godfather, godmother, close friend, soulmate (sibling in God), or sponsor at baptism; it also refers to the people who are sponsored.
1008 behoveth by force, are compelled.
1009 chese, choose; have to do flesshlye, have sex with.
1013 eschauffyd, heated; have a doo with, have sexual relations with.
1014 withstood, resisted.
1026 se comunely, see frequently; bole, bull; suffisid, satisfied.
1027 wode, forest; suffiseth to, is sufficient for; olephauntes, elephants.
1031 lichorous metis, rich foods.
1032 saciat, sated.
1036 vytayllis, food.
1038 Lerne, Know; demene, conduct.
1042 forgetenes, forgetfulness.
1044 distemperaunce, imbalance or disturbance.
1045 dommageous, damaging.
1049 dombe bestys, insensible animals.
1050 belues, monsters (whales).
1051 belyes, bellies.
1053 doth not the condicions, does not live in the manner appropriate to.
1059 eschauffe hym sone, drinks alcohol quickly.
1061 enpessheth, impedes.
1062 chauffid, heated (with drink).
1063 vylayns dedes, villainous deeds.
1066 apparayle, enhance.
1068 mynyssheth, diminishes; febleth, weakens.
1069 voys hoors and rawe, voice hoarse and ragged.
1070 aungellis, angels; possedyng, possessing.
1071 seurté, surety; pardurable, lasting.
1072 Noe, Noah; discoverd, exposed.
1073 prevy membris, sexual organs; mocqued, mocked.
1074 assoted, infatuated.
1077 tresour, treasure.
1078 hous of sapyence, source of wisdom; odour of good renomee, imbued with the very essence of good fame.
1079 dyverce, diverse men.
1080 amytie, friendship.
1081 parell, peril; eschauffid, heated.
1082 ronne eche upon other, attacked each other.
1085 dyner, dinner.
1086 chaced, chased; emonge, among.
1087 fond, found.
1088 wel bespoken, well-spoken; curtoys, polite.
1089 debonayr, used as an adjective modifying chere, in the sense of “graciousness."
1092 passeth, surpasses.
1094 herberowed, lodged.
1095 enseigne, teach.
1104 defende them, protect themselves.
1106 yelden, yielded.
1107 appayryng, appairing or damage.
1108 herberowed, lodged.
1109 commysed, entrusted; warde, care.
1114 ghestes, guests; provender, fodder.
1119 parties, regions.
1121 oure, hour.
1126 meyné, company of men.
1128 noyed wyth, disturbed by.
1129 knowen, exposed.
1130 feet, act; sentence diffynytyf, final verdict.
1131 vysage, face.
1132 abode, remained.
1133 caas, case; Tholouse, Toulouse.
1134 Galice, Galicia.
1136 advysed hym, considered to himself.
1137 male, purse or sack; bare, carried.
1140 excused, maintained the innocence of.
1142 feet, deed.
1143 confisqued, confiscated.
1145 must nedes, had to; hynge, hung.
1146 gybet, gibbet or gallows.
1150 fait, act.
1151 cause, case.
1152 trayson, treason.
1156 chaumberers and tapsters, chambermaids and barmaids; semblable, a similar.
1157 scrippe, small bag or wallet.
1162 crewe, crowed.
1162–63 began to wexe a lyve, there seems to be something missing here, although the sense is clear: the couple kills a rooster by burning it.
1163 pasture, feed.
1166 meure, careful.
Title customers, officials who collect customs.
1170 elle, measuring rod.
1171 gurdel, belt.
1173 mete, take measurements.
1174 receyve, receive; costumes, customs.
1175 scawage, a "scavage" or special toll imposed by the mayor of a town; peages, tolls paid for passing through a place; duetees, duties or taxes.
1177 ensigned, trained.
1180 besy, active; clere sayeng, of clear speech.
1184 seurté, security; denounce, make known; defaultes, failures or shortcomings.
1185 parellys, perils.
1187 renome, reputation.
1190 sory and hevy, sad and dispirited.
1191 compleyned on, cried out upon.
1192 have a thanke, receive thanks.
1200 doubte, fear.
1201 ewrous, prosperous.
1204 enteyle, carving or sculpture.
1205 Capuane, Capua, a city in the southwest region of Campania, Italy.
1207 sercle, circle.
1212 dysmesurably, without measure.
1216 Cecille, Sicily.
1217–18 triste semblaunt, sad expression.
1218 chare, chariot.
1219 agayn, in the opposite direction of; vysage, demeanor; habyte, clothing.
1222 corages, hearts; Notwithstondyng, Nevertheless; letted, prevented.
1224 certeynté, state of affairs; he, i.e., Dionysus; demaunde, inquiry.
1226 assaye, put to the test;. beneurté, blessedness.
1227 “ye," yes; requyred, requested.
1233 benerous, blessed; wene, believe.
1236 hors here, horse hair.
1243 dyscoverd, showed.
1243–44 hevy, cherid, and tryste, burdened, preoccupied, and sad.
1244 For where, For wherever.
1249 maleurtees, misfortunes.
1251 doubted, feared.
1255 commysed, entrusted.
1261 byars, buyers; langage, conversation or words.
1263 despytous, pitiless; vylayns, vile.
1264 mendycants, beggars.
1265 wylt, wish.
1267 jogheler, jester; eyen, eyes.
1268 corumpour, corrupter.
1272 chidde, chided.
1273 imposid to hym, imputed to him.
1274 brawled, quarreled; made her water, urinated.
1275 agayn, in return; sauf, except.
1278 chaumberer, chamber maid; shewyd, demonstrated to.
1279 cokke, rooster.
1280 acustumed with, accustomed to.
1283 retche, heed.
1286 lette, prevent.
1292 peagers, toll takers; kepe passages, guard the ways.
1294 peage, tolls.
1295 perelous, perilous; doubteuous, fearful.
1297 noyeng, harming or vexing.
1305 pencion, payment.
1308 heyre, heir.
1310 ribauldes, ribald or dissolute characters; currours, couriers.
1312 covenable, suitable; enquyre and espye, seek out and find.
1315 heeris, hair.
1316 gurdel, belt.
1318 fole large, foolishly liberal with money.
1320 playes, players; butters, betters.
1321 berars, bearers.
1323 bounden, under obligation; constitute, appoint.
1324 curatours, guardians.
1325 heritages, inheritances.
1327 dispendeth, spends.
1328 axe, ask for; breed, bread.
1329 delycious, addicted to indulgence.
1331 by force, necessarily.
1333 fole large, foolish generosity.
1335 dommage, damage.
1336 admonesteth, admonishes.
1339 straunge thynges, things that belong to others.
1343 felith, falls; dispendeth, dispenses.
1344 stroke, a blow; smyton, smitten.
1348 departed, gave; goodes temporel, worldly goods.
1353 amyable and obeysaunt, pleasant and obedient.
1356 sore, sorely; eschewe, escape.
1358 requyrid, requested.
1361 solempne feste, religious feast.
1362 her husbond, their husbands.
1363 had do make, had made; shittyng, shutting.
1365 tapite, tapet or table cover.
1370 shette, shut.
1372–73 bere hem as wel to hym, conduct themselves as nicely to him.
1379 savyng, except that.
1380 er I dye, before I die; frere prechours, preaching friars or Dominicans.
1380–81 frere menours, minor friars or Franciscans.
1381 heremytes of Saynt Austyn, the Augustinians.
1384 bylle, a formal document of deed.
1385 dyd to be gyven, commanded to be given.
1386 recluse, place of seclusion (for those of religious orders).
1389 exequye, funeral rites.
1391 demaunde, ask for.
1394 handlyng, handle.
1399–1400 nygh kynne, near relatives.
1403 make noveltees, generate news or tidings; noye and greve, annoy and vex; seignories, feudal lords.
1404 habounde, abound.
1405 clamours, outcrys.
1409 bordellys, prostitutes.
1420 oblyge, bet or pledge.
1421 alyght, dismount.
1424 sise, six.
1425 seure, sure.
1427–28 clefte a sondre, broke apart.
1429 aas, an ace or the side of a die with one point.
1433 spedely, expeditously; vyage, voyage.
1434 taryeng, delay.
1436 dommage, harm.
1437 maundementis, commands.
1438 otherwhiles, sometimes; joghelers and dronklewe, jesters and given to drunkenness.
1440 enpesshid, impeded.
1442 discovenable, unsuitable.
1443 feet of marchaundyses, mercantile transactions.
1444 leseth, fails.
1448 but yf, unless.
1450 wel ware, well aware.
1452 grevyd, taxed.
1452–53 for faute of good rewle tarye, on account of their lack of self-control.
1453 hastely, quickly.
BOOK THREE: EXPLANATORY NOTES
Abbreviations: CA: Gower, Confessio Amantis; CT: Chaucer, Canterbury Tales; LGW: Chaucer, Legend of Good Women; OED: Oxford English Dictionary; PL: Migne, Patrologiae cursus completus, series Latina; Whiting: Whiting, Proverbs, Sentences, and Proverbial Phrases.
15 And we rede in the Bible that the first labourer that ever was was Caym. Cain’s murder of Abel appears in Genesis 4:8.
52–53 And we rede of the Kyng Davyd, that was first symple and one of the comyn peple. David forgets God in 2 Kings 12:9. Absalon’s persecution of David is narrated in 2 Kings 15.
58 We rede also of the children of Ysrael, that were nygh enfamyned in desert. This story of manna in the desert comes from Exodus 16. The subsequent worship of the golden calf appears in Exodus 32.
74–75 And Valerius rehercith in his sixt book that there was a wyse and noble maistre that was named Anthonius. M. Antonius’ adultery trial is found in Memorable Doings and Sayings, Book 6.8.1 (2:74 and 75).
86–87 And also tellith Valerius that there was another labourer that was named Penapion. From Memorable Doings and Sayings, Book 6.8.6 (2:78 and 79). In Valerius, the master is Ubinius Panapio, and the slave is Unnamedo.
101 And of this speketh Claudyan. This is a paraphrased version of the poet Claudian’s late fourth- to early fifth-century De raptu Proserpinae Book 2, lines 294–302. Jacobus quotes Claudian directly. See Claudian, Claudian, 2:338–41.
109 And therof made a noble versefyer. The identity of the poet is unknown.
112 meritis. Good works. E.g., see Everyman, where Good Deeds alone accompanies Everyman beyond death.
113 And herof fynde we in Vitas patrum. The Vitae patrum is a collection of the lives and sayings of early Christian hermits. The copies circulating in the Middle Ages were not the Greek originals but translations into Latin, which were done primarily in the fourth through sixth centuries. The location of this particular story in the vast corpus of the Vitae is not known.
116 thre causes. A short lyric lament, popular in French and English; e.g.,
Wanne ich þenche þinges þre
ne mai neure bliþe be:
þat on is ich sal awe,
þat oþer is ich ne wot wilk day.
þat þridde is mi meste kare,
i ne woth nevre wuder i sal fare
(New College MS 88, one of four versions in Brown, English Lyrics of the XIIIth Century, pp. 18–19).
140–41 And thou oughtest to knowe that Davyd preyseth moche in the Sawlter the trewe labourers. This saying is derived from Psalm 127 ("Blessed are they that fear the Lord: that walk in His ways"), although some versions cite the Roman poet Lucan (39–65 C.E.) as the source. By contrast, Jacobus in his Liber includes six lines from the Carmina (Book 2.1, lines 5–10) of Albius Tibullus (c. 55–19 B.C.E.), a Roman elegiac poet. See "Tibullus," trans. J. P. Postgate, in Catullus, Tibullus, and Pervigilium Veneris, pp. 252 and 253.
148 The first pastour that ever was was Abel. This description of Abel can be found in Genesis 4:2–4.
152–53 And so dyd Noe, whyche was the first that planted the vygne after the deluge and flood. Genesis 9:20.
153–54 For as Josephus reherceth in the Book of Naturel Thynges. The extended story of Noah and his sons appears in the Gesta Romanorum, Tale CLIX, which in turn references Josephus’ Causes of Natural Things. See Gesta, pp. 336–37.
173–74 And therfore, Valerian reherceth that of auncient and in olde tyme women dranke no wyn. This exemplum can be found in Memorable Doings and Sayings, Book 2.1.5b (1:130 and 131).
176 And as Ovyde saith. This derives from Book 1, lines 237–40 of Ovid’s Art of Love (pp. 28–29). Jacobus quotes these lines in full: "Vina parant animos faciuntque caloribus aptos: / Cura fugit multo diluiturque mero. / Tunc veniunt risus, tum pauper cornua sumit, / Tum dolor et curae rugaque frontis abit."
200 And therfore sayth the phylosopher. At least one of Jacobus’ French translators attributes this quotation to Socrates. Yet as Collet notes, it most likely comes from Publilius Syrus’ Sentences, where the saying is rendered: "Fidem qui perdit, nil pote ultra perdere" or "Whoever loses faith has nothing more to lose." See The Latin Library at: http://www.thelatinlibrary.com/syrus.html (accessed 8–17–06).
204 Valerius rehercith that Fabius. This story of Fabius and Hannibal appears in Memorable Doings and Sayings, Book 4.8.1 (1:428–31).
211–13 But in thyse dayes it were grete folye . . . at theyr nede. These two sentences have been added by Caxton.
225–27 Caxton’s emphasis of the importance of common profit and the ways in which the avaricious ignore it to the peril of society resonates with Boethius’ Consolation of Philosophy, the Romance of the Rose, and, especially, Gower’s Confessio Amantis.
228–29 And fortune hath of nothyng so grete plesure as for to torne and werke alwey. And nature is so noble a thyng that whereas she is, she wyl susteyne and kepe. Although Caxton does not attribute this quote to a particular author, Jacobus in his Liber refers to Cicero’s Pro Q. Ligario oratio [Speech on Behalf of Quintus Ligarius], chapter 12.38 and quotes his source: "Nihil habet nec fortuna tua maius quam ut possis, nec natura melius quam ut velis servare quam plurimos" ["Your situation has nothing prouder in it than the power, your character nothing in it more noble than the wish, to preserve all whom you can"]. See Cicero’s "On Behalf of Libarius" in Pro Milone, pp. 492–93.
238–39 And also, it is to be supposid that suche as have theyr goodes comune and not propre is most acceptable to God. This sentence begins a paragraph that represents Caxton’s most substantial addition to the Liber. Initially, it seems that Caxton uses this passage to reinforce the moral probity of the White Friars, or Carmelites, and thus the superiority of the regular clergy over the secular clergy. After proposing that those who "have goods in common" are "most acceptable to God," he then asks: "Would not these religious men such as monks, friars, canons, observants [Franciscans], and all others make vows and keep themselves in voluntary poverty that they are bound to?" The "would not" construction here can be taken in at least two ways. First, it might affirm the general practice of monastic poverty, "would not" serving to indicate the fact that these groups do, in fact, follow this law. Taken this way, this section might read: "if this is the most acceptable practice, then why else would these religious men keep themselves in voluntary poverty." Alternately, "would not" might call attention to the deficiencies of the monks in this regard: if shared goods are more acceptable to God, then why don’t other religious orders follow this law? It is at this point that Caxton turns to the Carmelites who do, it seems, practice what they preach. Yet on closer inspection, Caxton’s endorsement of the Carmelites is not so clear. In 1464, the London Carmelites began a preaching battle with the secular clergy. The battle began when Harry Parker, a young Carmelite from the Fleet Street house, preached a sermon at St. Paul’s in which he declared that "Christ and his apostles had no private property, that they made their living exclusively by begging for alms, and that what they were given they possessed in common." Parker went on to add that "the state of the mendicant friars was the most perfect one to be found in the Church Militant, and that all priests ought likewise to live off alms, without benefices or private property." A good account of this battle can be found in Jotischky, Carmelites and Antiquity, pp. 157–58. The paraphrase of Parker’s sermon can be found in Du Boulay, "Quarrel between the Carmelite Friars and the Secular Clergy."
248 And accordyng therto, we rede in Plato. Comments about the dangers of individualism among the guardian class run throughout Plato’s Republic. However, this specific reference seems to come from Book 5, section 462. See Plato, Republic, pp. 126–27.
277–78 For we rede that Dyonyse of Zecyle. This story of Dionysius of Sicily (also Dionysius of Syracuse) and the misery provoked by his tyranny appears in Valerius, Memorable Doings and Sayings, Book 9.13, ext. 4 (2:384 and 385). It can also be found in Cicero’s Tusculan Disputations, Book 5, chapter 20 (pp. 451–52).
364–73 Alas! And in Engelond . . . to theyr synguler wele and prouffyt and not to the comyn. This is one of the few asides that Caxton has added to the text.
376 And Tullyus saith that frendshyp and good wylle. These observations about friendship seem to be a paraphrase of Cicero’s Laelius, Books 6 and 7 (pp. 38–39). The example of bees does not come from Cicero.
387–88 And this amytie is vertuous, of the whiche Tullyus saith. From Cicero’s De officiis, Book 3, chapter 10.46 (pp. 312–15). This also appears in Cicero’s Laelius, Book 11.37 (pp. 46–47).
396 And herof sayth Seneque that amytye. In citing Seneca, Caxton follows Jacobus, who also attributes these two quotes about friendship to Seneca. Although not an exact match, Seneca’s most relevant quotes about friendship appear in De beneficiis, Book 2, chapter 15 (3:76–79). A more likely quote for the Latin Liber comes from Cicero’s Laelius, Book 6.22: "Quid dulcius quam habere quicum omnia audeas sic loqui ut tecum?" ["What is more pleasant than to have someone with whom you can safely talk about anything whatever, just as with yourself?" (pp. 38–39)]. Likely sources for the subsequent section of the Liber are Books 8 and 9 of Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, in which Aristotle divides friendship into three types, those of utility, pleasure, and good. These correspond to the Latin text’s division of friendship into "delectabilis, utilis, et honesta." See Jacobus, Libellus de moribus hominum et officiis nobilium, p. 87.
401 And Valerian sayth that it is a foule thynge and an evyl excusasion. The exemplum of Taffile, or Rutilius, appears in Memorable Doings and Sayings, Book 6.4.4 (2:46–49).
413 And Varro rehercith in his sommes. Like the above reference to Varro (see note to 1.89), this is most likely taken from the Menippean Satires. I have not been able to locate the exact passage.
417 And Seneque saith that somme folowe the emperour for riches. This same saying is cited by Chaucer’s Parson in his tale. See The Parson’s Tale, CT X(I)440. Chaucer took much of the Parson’s Tale from the thirteenth-century Summa virtutem et vitiorum [Summa of Virtues and Vices] of Guilelmus Peraldus, which might also have served as a source for Jacobus.
420 And Tullyus sayth that Tarquyn the Proud had a nevewe of his suster. This observation of Tarquin is found in Cicero’s Laelius, Chapter XV.53 (pp. 52–53).
428 For Cathon sayth in his book. Jacobus credits these lines to Ovid. The first line comes from Ex Ponto, Book 2.3, line 8 ("Vulgus amicitias utilitate probat"); the subsequent lines are found in Tristia, Book 1.5, lines 33–34 ("Vix duo tresve mihi de tot superestis amici / Cetera Fortunae, non mea turba fuit" and Book 1.9, lines 5–6 ("Donec eris sospes, multos numerabis amicos / Tempora si fuerint nubila, solus eris"). See Ovid, Ex Ponto, pp. 332–33, and Tristia, pp. 30, 31, 44, and 45.
433 And therfore sayth the versefier thyse two versis. The identity of the poet is unknown.
440–41 And Piers Alphons sayth in his Book of Moralité that there was a phylosophre in Arabye. The story of the philosopher and his son comes from Book 1 of Peter Alfonso’s twelfth-century Disciplina Clericalis, a moral guide for the clergy. See Scholar’s Guide, pp. 36–38. It also appears in the Gesta Romanorum, Tale CXXIX (p. 276).
462–63 And yet reherceth the sayd Piers Alphons that there were two marchauntes, one of Bandach and that other of Egypt. This story also comes from the Disciplina Clericalis where it follows the story of the philosopher and his son (pp. 38–41). It also appears as Tale CLXXI of the Gesta Romanorum, where it is similarly attributed to Peter Alfonso (pp. 351–54).
507–08 Titus Livius reherceth that the philosopher Democreon dyd doo put out his eyen. In the Latin Liber and in its French translations, this story is attributed to the late second- to early third-century author Tertullian, although they do not name the specific work. Caxton credits Livy, although Livy does not include this story of Democritus in his History of Rome.
511 And Valerian tellyth that there was a yong man of Rome. The story of the beautiful young man from Rome appears in Memorable Doings and Sayings, Book 4.5, ext. 1 (1:400 and 401).
518–19 And also we rede that there was a nonne, a virgyne, dyd do put out bothe her eyen. I have not been able to locate the source for this story.
521 And also we rede that Plato. I have not been able to locate the source for this story.
526 Helemand reherceth that Demostenes. The story about Demosthenes appears in Aulus Gellius’ Attic Nights, Book 1, chapter 8 (1:42–45). For more information on Hélinand de Froidmont, see note to 2.265.
533–34 And Ovyde rehercith that thys thynge is the leste that maye helpe and most greve the lovers. This quote — "Quod iuvat, exiguum, plus est, quod laedat amantes" — comes from the Art of Love, Book 2, line 515 (pp. 100–01).
535–36 And therfore Saynt Augustyn rehercith in his book, De civitate dei, that there was a right noble Romayn named Marculian. The story of Marcellus’ conquering of Syracuse appears in Book 1, chapter 5 of The City of God (1:7). Valerius also describes Marcellus’ tears in Book 5.1.4 of Memorable Doings and Sayings (1:446 and 447).
551–52 For Saynt Austyn sayth . . . And also, he sayth in another place. Presumably these passages come from The City of God, although Jacobus does not name his source.
559 And herof speketh Saynt Bernard. This quote by Bernard appears in a letter that he wrote to the monk Adam. However, Bernard in turn is citing the apocryphal Book of Wisdom 1.11, which states: "Keep yourselves therefore from murmuring, which profiteth nothing, and refrain your tongue from detraction, for an obscure speech shall not go for nought: and the mouth that belieth, killeth the soul."
561–62 And yet sayth Saynt Austyn in another place, "For to say one thynge and do the contrarye maketh doctryne suspecious." Like the above references to Augustine, this one does not name a specific source.
564 For the lye that the auncient enemye maad Eve and Adam. The fall of man is described in Genesis 3.
573 And therfore saith Saynt Poule in a pistyl. This passage seems to be a paraphrase of 1 Corinthians 2.
576 And Valerian rehercith that there was a good woman of Siracusane. This story of the woman who praises the emperor comes from Memorable Doings and Sayings, Book 6.2, ext. 2 (2:26–29). It also appears in the Gesta Romanorum, Tale LIII (p. 150).
608–09 And herof sayth Tullyus that avarice is a covetise to gete that thyng that is above necessité. Cicero defines avarice in his Tusculan Disputations Book 4, chapter 11 (pp. 407–08).
613–14 And herof sayth Seneque that all worldly thynges ben mortefyed and appetissed in olde men, reservyd avarice onely. The covetousness of old men is proverbial. See Whiting C490.
618–21 the wolf doth never good tyl he be dede . . . the avaricious man doth no good tyl that he be deed. Proverbial. See Whiting W472. Compare the Latin proverb "Avarus nisi cum moritur, nil recte facit," from the Sententiae of Publilius Syrus, (http://www.thelatinlibrary.com/syrus.html, accessed 8–9–06).
625 And herof rehercith Seneque, and sayth that Antigonus. From Seneca’s De beneficiis, Book 2.17 (3:80–81). In Seneca’s essay, as well as in the Liber, Antigonus’ interlocutor is a Cynic not "Tynque," as Caxton has renamed him. It should be noted that in Seneca’s essay, he supports Antigonus and not the Cynic, adding: "the situation is intolerable that a man should ask for money when he despises it."
634–35 And Josephus rehercith in the Book of Auncient Histories that ther was in Rome a right noble lady named Paulyne. This exemplum comes from Flavius Josephus’ Jewish Antiquities, Book 18, chapter 3.4 (pp. 50–59). In Josephus’ version, Paulina does refuse Decius Mundus’ advances, although he later tricks her into sleeping with him. The story recurs in Hegesippus 2.4; Godfrey of Viterbo, Pantheon 15; and Vincent of Beauvais, Speculum Historiale 7.4; but the liveliest retelling is Gower’s Tale of Mundus and Paulina, CA 1.761–1059.
644–45 And we rede also in the Histories of Rome that there was a noble lady of Rome whiche lyved a solytarye lyf. I have not been able to locate a source for this quotation, although it might come from Lucius Annaeus Florus’ Epitome of Roman History.
657 Seneque rehercith in the Book of the Cryes of Women. The Liber attributes this saying to Seneca the Elder’s first-century Declamations, also known as the Controversiae. Although I have not been able to locate the precise Latin quotation, a similar sentiment is found in Book 2, chapter 6.2 of that work. See Declamations, 1.346–47.
657–58 avaryce is foundement of alle vyces. Proverbial. See Whiting C491 for dozens of citations. Compare the Latin radix malorum est cupiditas, recurrent from Alfred’s translation of the Pastoral Care (73.22–23) and Wulfstan’s Homilies (203.74–76) through Chaucer’s Pardoner’s Tale (CT VI[C]334).
659 And Valerian rehercith that avarice is a ferdful garde or kepar of richessis. Valerius’ comments on avarice and the story of Septimuleius can be found in Book 9.4, 1 and 3 of Memorable Doings and Sayings (2:331–33).
670 Ptolomé, Kyng of Egipciens, poursewed avarice in another manere. From Valerius, Memorable Doings and Sayings, Book 9.4, ext. 1 (2:332–35).
680–81 And therfore hit is said in proverbe that a man ought to seignorie over the riches, and not for to serve hit. This proverb, "Pecuniae imperare oportet, non servire," comes from the Sententiae of Publilius Syrus (http://www.thelatinlibrary.com/syrus.html, accessed 8–23–06).
685–86 And Saluste saith that avarice destroubleth fayth, poesté, honesté, and al thise other good vertues. This comes from Book 10 of Sallust’s first-century C.E. historical monograph, Bellum Catilinae [War with Cataline]. See Sallust, Sallust, pp. 18–19.
689–90 For Saynt Ambrose saith upon Thoby: "Poverté hath no lawe." This saying appears in chapter 21.81–82 of St. Ambrose’s Commentary on the Book of Tobias, a fourth-century treatise on usury. See De Tobia, pp. 94–95. The Liber, which cobbles together various phrases from this section of Ambrose’s text, reads: "Paupertas non habet crimen, sed debere vercundum est, non reddere verecundius. Dives es, pauper es, non sumas mutum."
694–95 And it is said in the proverbis that hit is fraude to take that thou wylt not ner mayst [not] rendre and paye agayn. This proverb, "Fraus est accipere, quod non possis reddere," comes from the Sententiae of Publilius Syrus (http://www.thelatinlibrary .com/syrus.htm, accessed 8–23–06).
698–99 And Seneke saith in his auctorités that they that gladly borowe ought gladly to paye. This saying comes from Seneca’s De beneficiis, Book 2, chapter 25 (3:102–03).
706–07 There was a marchaunt of Gene and also a chaungeour whos name was Albert Ganor. This exemplum seems to be original to Jacobus’ Liber.
728–29 Wherof hit happend that ther was a marchaunt which had a good and a grete name. This exemplum seems to be original to Jacobus’ Liber.
772 And therfore hit is sayd in proverbe, "To defraude the begiler is no fraude." This exact proverb does not appear in the Liber, although Jacobus cites a similar saying from Publilius Syrus: "Quid est dare beneficium? imitari deum." See the Sententiae (http://www.thelatinlibrary.com/syrus.html, accessed 8–23–06), and Whiting B213, which cites this line.
774–75 And Seneke sayth that charité enseigneth and techeth that men shold paye wel, for good payement is somtyme good confessyon. This quote comes from Seneca’s Moral Letters, Number 73.9–10 (2:108 and 109). Latin versions of the Liber quote Seneca directly: "Hoc docet philosophia praecipue, bene debere beneficia, bene solvere; interdum autem solutio est ipsa confessio."
title medecynes. The OED cites Caxton’s Aesop for medecyne meaning "medical practitioners," which is evidently the sense here.
820 And therfore sayth Avycenne in an Anforysme. Avicenna (980–1037 C.E.) is the European name for Ibn Sina, a Persian philosopher and scientist, who wrote over four hundred works on medicine, theology, and philosophy. One of his most famous texts was the Canon of Medicine, which was translated, explicated, and rewritten repeatedly throughout the Middle Ages. An early abridgement of this work, possibly by Muhammad ibn Yusuf al-Ilaqi, was limited to the Canon’s first book and was written in the form of aphorisms. It is this work that is most likely referenced by Jacobus and Caxton.
827–28 and specially in the bookes of Ypocras, Galiene, and of Avycene. Hippocrates (460–377 B.C.E.) and Galen (c. 130–200 C.E.) were both Greek physicians whose writings, like those of Avicenna, provided the foundations for Western medicine up to, and even beyond, the Renaissance.
851–63 For Valerian rehercith that Ypocras was of mervayllous contynence of his body . . . And in semblable wyse rehercith Valeryan of Scenocrates, phylosopher. This story of Xenocrates and his refusal of the prostitute appears in Memorable Doings and Sayings, Book 4.3, ext. 3a (1:380–83). There is no separate story of Hippocrates.
867 Cornelius Scipion, that was sent by the Romayns for to governe Spayn. This story of Scipio in Spain comes from Valerius, Memorable Doings and Sayings, Book 2.7.1 (1:178 and 179).
873–74 And herof it is sayd in the fables of the poetes in the first book of the Truphes of the Philosophres. The Truphes of the Philosophers is a reference to John of Salisbury’s Policraticus. Caxton’s specific citation is wrong: the saying appears in the fifth book, not the first book. Moreover, John of Salisbury’s treatise refers to the fountain of Salmacis, which had the effect of turning men into women, and not to the fountains of sirens. See John of Salisbury, Statesman’s Book, pp. 121–22.
890 And Marcial sayth that joyes fugetyves abyde not long, but fle awey anone. This saying comes from from Martial’s Epigrams, Book 1, chapter 15. The Latin quote reads: "gaudia non remanent, sed fugitiva volant." See Martial, Epigrams, 1:52–53.
893–94 Wherof hit happend that there was a woman named Lyna. Although Jacobus claims to have taken this story from Valerius, Memorable Doings and Sayings, he modifies it beyond recognition. In Valerius’ version (Book 9.12.2), it is a mother who, upon seeing her son return alive from Lake Trasimene, dies in his arms. See Memorable Doings and Sayings, 2.368–69.
899–900 Also, of another woman to whom was reported by a fals messanger that her sone was deed. See Valerius, Memorable Doings and Sayings, Book 9.12.2 (2:368–71).
907 Valerie rehercith that a knyght of Rome named Instavlosus. The story of M. Juventius Thalna (as he is called in the Liber) or Colaphe (as he is called in the French versions) comes from Memorable Doings and Sayings, Book 9.12.3 (2:370 and 371).
914–15 And also it is sayd that Phylomenus lawghed so sore and distemperatly that he dyed al lawghyng. This story of Philemon dying of laughter comes from Valerius, Memorable Doings and Sayings, Book 9.12, ext. 6 (2:376 and 377).
916 And we rede that Ypocras, the phisicien, fond remedye for thys joye. I have not been able to locate the source for this story of Hippocrates.
922–48 And also, we rede that Titus, the sone of Vaspasian, whan he had conquerd Jherusalem. The apocryphal story of the healing of Titus by Vespasian during the historical siege of Jerusalem in 70 C.E. is of uncertain origin (it does not appear in Josephus’ own account of the siege — see note to lines 926–27), but it was sufficiently popular by the thirteenth century to appear in texts as different as chronicles and law books (see Lewy, "Josephus"). It appears variously in Middle English (see, for instance, Siege of Jerusalem, ed. Livingston, lines 1027–68), though its appearance here has as its ultimate source Jacobus Voragine’s Legenda aurea, a text set into English by Caxton and published in 1483 (Golden Legend III, "Of S. James the Less").
926–27 Josephus, that made the historye of the Romayns ayenst the Jewys. Flavius Josephus was perhaps most widely known for the book referred to here: Wars of the Jews, an eyewitness account of events in Judaea before, during, and immediately after the destruction of Jerusalem by Rome in 70 C.E. He was of such fame by the later Middle Ages that he merits no introduction, for instance, in the Middle English Siege of Jerusalem (ed. Livingston, line 313).
927 a right wyse phisicien. Josephus was not, properly speaking, a physician of any kind. What few facts we have of his life portray him as a Jewish military leader from a priestly family, whose education and circumstances prompted him to write works of history and philosophy; the Middle English Siege of Jerusalem refers to him with some accuracy as a "gentyl clerke" (ed. Livingston, line 789). His reputation as a phisicien seems very much confined to this single apocryphal story.
935–36 boutelers, cokes, and other officers. These specifics regarding the servants taking part in Josephus’ scheme are not found in Voragine’s Legenda aurea, and Caxton does not include them in retelling this story for his translation of that text (see note to lines 922–48).
976 And herof sayth Boecius [in] De consolacisone, in his first booke. Boethius (c. 480–526 C.E.) was an advisor to the Ostrogothic king Theodoric in the early sixth century before Theodoric had him thrown into prison. While he awaited execution, Boethius wrote De Consolatio Philosophiae [The Consolation of Philosophy], a work of alternating poetry and prose that became one of the most widely circulated texts of the Middle Ages. This comes from the final poem (Metrum 7) of the first book. The Liber gives the poem in its entirety; Caxton and the French translators render it in prose. See Boethius, Consolation of Philosophy, p. 18.
1004–06 and somtyme ben slayn or hurte unto the deth as it is wreton in Vitas Patrum, as on a tyme an hermyte went for to vysite his gossibs. As with the reference to the Vitae in the first chapter of this book, the specific location of this particular story is not known.
1030 Wherof Quyntilian saith that hit happeth ofte tymes in grete festes and dyners. This saying is taken from Book 10.1.58 of Quintillian’s Institutio oratorio (4:34–35).
1034 And Lucan saith that "glotony is the moder of al vices." This saying comes from Lucan’s first century Bellum civile [Civil War], Book 4, lines 373–77. See Lucan, Lucan, pp. 200–03.
1039 And Cathon saith, "In no wyse obeye to glotonye, whiche is frende to lecherye." This quote comes from Book 4, Number 10 of Cato’s Distichs. The Latin verse reads: "Cum te detineat Veneris damnosa libido, / Indulgere gulae noli, quae ventris amica est" ["When hurtful lust hath hold of thee, refrain / From giving to thy appetites free rein"]. See Cato, Distichs, pp. 36–37.
1040–41 And the holy doctour Saynt Augustyn saith, "The wyn eschauffith the bely that falleth anone to lecherye." I have not been able to locate the precise source for this quote, although Augustine expresses a similar sentiment in Confessions, Book 10.
1048 And therfore saith Vasilly la Graunt: "Late us take hede howe we serve the bely." This quote most likely comes from St. Basil the Great (329–79), author of a variety of homilies, sermons, and other exegetical works. I have not been able to track the exact source.
1052–53 And herof sayth Boecius [in] De consolacisone in his fourth book, that a man that lyveth and doth not the condicions of a man. The Liber paraphrases this quote, which reads: "qui probitate deserta homo esse desierit, cum in divinam condicionem transire non possit, vertatur in beluam." This comes from Book 4 (Prosa 3) of Boethuis, Consolation of Philosophy (p. 79).
1061 For as Cathon sayth: "Ire enpessheth the corage." Although there is no mention of Cato in most Latin or French versions of the Liber, these texts contain similar passages, which are found in Cato’s Distichs, Book 2, Number 4: "Iratus de re incerta contendere noli: / Inpedit ira animum, ne possis cernere, verum" ["Strive not in wrath o’er something wrapped in doubt; / Wrath clouds the mind and puts good sense to rout"]. See Cato, Distichs, pp. 24 and 25.
1065–66 And therfore saith Ovyde in his book De remedio amoris: "Yf thou take many and dyverce wynes, they apparayle and enforce the corages to lecherye." The Latin Liber includes line 805 of the Remedies of Love: "Vina parant animum Veneri, nisi plurima sumas" or "Wine prepares the heart for love, unless you take too much." By contrast, Caxton and the Liber’s French translators repeat Ovid’s maxim from the Art of Love, Book 1, line 237: "Vina parant animos, faciuntque caloribus aptos" or "Wine gives courage and makes men apt for passion." See Ovid, Art of Love, pp. 28 and 29, and Remedies of Love, pp. 232 and 233.
1067–68 And Thobye wytnessyth in his book that luxurie destroyeth the body and mynyssheth rychessys. Jacobus does not include this quote, although it does appear in Caxton’s most likely French copy text. I have not been able to locate its source.
1072 Noe was one tyme so chauffyd wyth wyn. The stories of Noah and Lot appear in Genesis 9:20–21 and 19:31–36 respectively.
1077 And Crete rehercith that Boece. This is most likely a reference to St. Andrew of Crete (660–740 C.E.), author of sermons, discourses, and, most famously, a collection of hymns, now commonly known as the Great Canon. I have not been able to locate the source for his comments about Boethius.
1084 Herodes Antipas had not doon Saynt John Baptist to ben beheded. The stories of Herod and John the Baptist come from Matthew 14:3–12 and Mark 6:17–29, although there is no mention of Herod having consumed alcohol.
1085–86 Balthazar, kyng of Babylone, had not been chaced out of his kyngdom, ne be slayn. Balthazar’s killing is described in Daniel 5:30.
1099 We rede that Loth, whan he had receyvyd the aungellys into his hows. Lot welcomes the angels in Genesis 19:1–11.
1119–20 Hit happend on a tyme in the parties of Lombardye in the cyté of Jene that a noble man was lodgyd in an hostelrye. This story of a nobleman in Genoa seems to have been original to Jacobus’ Liber.
1133 Another caas right cruel and vilaynous fyl at Tholouse. The story of the two pilgrims also seems to have been original to Jacobus’ Liber. Saynt James in Galicev (1139) refers to the Way of St. James, the most popular pilgrimage route in the Middle Ages. Pilgrims ended their journey at the cathedral of Compostela in Galicia, Spain.
1137 Caxton has amplified this final exemplum.
1156 For semblable caas fyl in Spayn at Saynt Donne. This story seems to be one of Caxton’s own inventions.
1204–05 Hit is founden in the histories of Rome that the Emperour Frederik the Second dyd doo make a gate of marble. Although the Liber makes reference to the Histories of Rome, there is no mention in that text of the gate that Emperor Frederick II had erected at Capua in 1240.
1217–18 And herof we fynde in the auncient histories of Cecille that the Kyng Denys had a broder whom he lovyd sore wel. There are several possible sources for the story of King Dionysius, which include Cicero’s Tusculan Disputations, Book 5, chapter 21 (pp. 452–53) and Macrobius’ early fifth-century Commentary on the Dream of Scipio, Book I, chapter 10.16 (p. 129). Boethius’ Consolatio Book 3 (Prosa 5) also contains a brief reference to this narrative (Consolation of Philosophy, p. 48).
1250–51 And herof sayth Quyntilian that thys drede surmounteth alle other maleurtees and evylles. Although Jacobus and his translators all cite Quintilian here, the maxim comes from Publilius Syrus: "Res vera est, qui a multis timetur, multos timet" or, as Caxton writes, "And it is verite that to hym that is doubted of moche peple, so muste he doubte moche." See Publilius Syrus, Sentences (http://www.thelatinlibrary.com/syrus.html, accessed 8–25–06).
1268 A jogheler on a tyme behelde Socrates and sayd to hym. Although the jester in Caxton accuses Socrates of having eyes "of corumpour of children," other translators are often more explicit, referring to "les yeulx de home sodomite." I have not located a source for this story.
1273 This same Socrates hymself was chidde and right foul spoken to of hys wyf. The story of Xanthippe dousing Socrates with urine appears in Diogenes Laertius’ Lives of the Eminent Philosophers, Book 2, chapter 5.36–37 (1:166 and 167). See also Chaucer’s Wife of Bath’s Prologue (CT III[D]726–29). A discussion of Socrates’ reasons for enduring his wife’s temper can be found in Aulus Gellius’ Attic Nights, Book 1, chapter 17 (1:84 and 85).
1284–85 And Cathon saith: "Whan thou lyvest rightfully, retche thee not of the wordes of evyl peple." This proverb appears in Cato’s Distichs, Book 3, Number 2: "Cum recte vivas, ne cures verba malorum; / Arbitrii non est nostri, quid quisque loquatur" ["Upright, care not if bad men thee deride; / ’T is not within our power men’s tongues to guide"]. See Cato, Distichs, pp. 30 and 31.
1288–89 And Prosper sayth that to good men lacketh no goodnes, ner to evyl men tencions, stryves, and blames. The reference here is to the Epigrams of St. Prosper of Aquitaine (390–465 C.E.), an author most famous for his scriptural commentary. The Latin quote, "Numquam bella bonis, numquam discrimina desunt" is from Book 96, De bello intestino. See Epigrammata ex sententiis Augustini in PL 51:0528A.
1290–91 as a noble versefier saith that pacience is a right noble maner to vaynquysshe.vd The identity of the poet is unknown.
1301–02 And herof saith Ysaye: "Woo to thee that robbest! For thou, thyself, shalt be robbyd." This seems to be a paraphrase of the prophecy of Isaias 3:11: "Woe to the wicked unto evil: for the reward of his hands shall be given him."
1337 Cassiodore admonesteth the fole larges to kepe their thynges. Although Cassiodorus, a writer from the late sixth and early seventh centuries, is the purported source for this saying, Jacobus does not identify the work from which he has taken it, nor have I been able to locate it.
1342–43 And Claudyan saith in like wyse in his book that hyt is a gretter thynge and better to kepe that is goten than to gete more. This quote is a modification of Book 2, lines 326–27 of Claudian’s De consulatu Stilichonis [On Stilicho’s Consulship]: "plus est servasse repertum / quam quaesisse novum" (Claudian, 2:26 and 27).
1346 There was a noble man named John de Ganazath, whiche was right riche. Collet refers to this story as original to Jacobus (Le Jeu des Éschaz Moralisé, p. 251). However, Axon argues that this story was a common one throughout the Middle Ages (Caxton’s Game and Playe of the Chesse, 1474, pp. lx–lxii).
1418–19 Wherof hit happend on a tyme that Saynt Bernard rode on an hors about the contrey. Tale CLXX of the Gesta Romanorum contains a version of this story in which the dice do not split and Bernard simply wins the game outright. See Gesta, pp. 350–51.
BOOK THREE: TEXTUAL NOTES
244 three pence or four pence. Abbreviated in Caxton as "iii d or iiii d."
431 prouffyt. The text reads "puroffyt" here.
721 Albert. This appears in the text as Abbert.
732 tresour. This appears in the text as cresour.
878 or. The text reads "woundes of soores" here, although the context calls for "or."
The third tractate of the offices of the comyn peple. The first chappitre is of the offyce of the
labourers and werkmen. Capitulo primo.
For so moche as noble persones cannot rewle ne governe without the servyse and
werke of the people, than hit behoveth to devyse the oultrages and the offyces of the
werkmen. Than I shal begynne first at the first pawn that is in the play of the chesse
and signefieth a man of the comyn peple on fote. For they be al named “pietons,"
that is as moche to say as footmen. And thenne we wyl begynne at the pawn whyche
standeth tofore the rooke on the right syde of the kyng, for as moche as thys pawne
apperteyneth to serve the vycayre or lyeuetenaunt of the kyng and other officers
under hym of necessaries of vytaylle.
And this maner of peple is figured and ought be maad in the forme and shappe
of a man holdyng in his right honde a spade or shovel, and a rodde in the lyft hand.
The spade or shovel is for to delve and labour therwyth the erthe, and the rodde is
for to dryve and conduyte wyth al the bestys unto her pasture. Also, he ought to have
on hys gyrdel a sarpe or crokyd hachet for to cutte of the superfluytees of the vignes
And we rede in the Bible that the first labourer that ever was was Caym, the first
sone of Adam, that was so evyl that he slewe his broder Abel, for as moche as the
smoke of his tithes went strayt unto heven, and the smoke and fume of the tythes
of Caym went dounward upon the erthe. And how wel that thys cause was trewe.
Yet was there another cause of envye that he had unto his broder. For when Adam,
theyr fader, maryed them for to multeplye the erthe of his ligne, he wold not marye
ner joyne togyder the two that were borne attones, but gaf unto Caym her that was
born with Abel, and to Abel her that was borne wyth Caym. And thus began the
envye that Caym had ayenst Abel, for hys wyf was fayrer than Caym’s wyf. And for
this cause he sle[we] Abel wyth the chekebone of a beste. And at that tyme was never
no maner of yron blody of manne’s blood. And Abel was the fyrst martir in the
Olde Testament. And thys sayd Caym dyd many other evyl thynges whiche I leve,
for it apperteyneth not to my mater.
But it behoveth for necessyté that somme shold laboure the erthe after the
synne of Adam. For tofore or Adam synned, the erthe brought forth fruyt without
labour of handes. But sithe he synned, hit must nedes be laboured with the handes
of men. And for as moche as the erthe is moder of al thynges, and that we were first
formed and took our begynnyng of the erthe, the same wyse at the last, she shal be
the ende unto al us and to al thynges. And God that formed us of the erthe hath
ordeyned that by the labour of men she shold gyve nourysshyng unto al that lyveth.
And first the labourer of the erthe ought to knowe his God that formed and
made heven and erthe of nought, and ought to have loyalté and trouth in hymself,
and despise deth for to entende to his labour. And he ought to geve thankynges
to hym that made hym and of whom he receyveth al his goodes temporal, wherof
his lyf is susteyned. And also, he is bounden to paye the dismes and tythes of al his
thynges, and not as Caym dyd but as Abel dyd of the beste that he chese out alwey
for to gyve to God and to plese Hym. For they that grutche and be greved in that
they rendre and geve to God the tienthes of her goodes, they ought to be aferd and
have drede that they shal falle in necessyté, and that they myght be despoylyd or
robbyd by warre or by tempest that myght falle or happen in the contray. And hit
is no merveylle, though hyt so happen for that man that is disagreable unto God
and weneth that the multeplyeng of his goodes temporel cometh by the vertu of
his owne counceyl and his witte, the whiche is made by the only ordenaunce of
Hym that made al, and by the same ordenaunce is sone taken awey fro hym that
is disagreable. And hit is reson that whan a man haboundeth by fortune in goodes
and knowith not God by whom it cometh, that to hym come somme other fortune
by the whiche he may requyre grace and pardon, and to knowe his God.
And we rede of the Kyng Davyd, that was first symple and one of the comyn
peple, that whan fortune had enhauncid and sette him in grete estate, he left and
forgate his God, and fyl to advoultrie and homycide and other synnes. Than anone
his owne sone, Absalon, assaillid and began to persecute hym. And than whan he
sawe that fortune was contrarye to hym, he began to take ageyn his vertuous werkis
and requyred pardon and so retorned to God agayn.
We rede also of the children of Ysrael, that were nygh enfamyned in desert, and
sore hungry and thrusty, that they prayed and requyred of God for remedye. Anone
He chaunged His wille and sent to hem manna and flessh. And whan they were
replenysshed and fatte of the flessh of bestes and of the manna, they made a calf
of gold and worshipped hit, whiche was a grete synne and inyquyté. For whan they
were hongry, they knewe God. And whan theyr belies were filled and fatted, they
forgid ydolles and were ydolatreres.
After this every labourer ought to be faithful and trewe, that whan his maister
delyvereth to hym his lande to be laboured, that he take nothyng to hymself but
that he ought to have and is his, but laboure truly and take cure and charge in the
name of hys maystre, and do more diligently hys mayster’s labours than his owen,
for the lyf of the most grete and noble men next God lieth in the handes of the
labourers. And thus al craftes and occupacions ben ordeyned not only to suffise to
them only but to [the] comyn. And so it happeth oft tyme that the labourer of the
erth useth grete and boistous metis, and bryngeth to his maister more subtile and
more deynteous metes.
And Valerius rehercith in his sixt book that there was a wyse and noble maistre
that was named Anthonius, that was accusid of a caas of avoultry. And as the cause
henge tofore the juges, his accusers or denonciatours brought a labourer that closed
his lande, for so moche as they sayd whan his mayster went to do the advoultrye,
this same servaunt bare the lanterne, wherof Anthonius was sore abasshid and
douted that he shold depose agaynst hym. But the labourer, that was named
Papirion, said to his maister that he shold denye his cause hardily unto the juges,
for to be tormentid, his cause shold never be enpeyred by hym, ner nothyng shold
yssue out of his mouth wherof he shold be noyed or grevyd. And than was the
labourer beten and tormentid, and brent in many places of his body. But he sayd
never thyng wherof his maister was hurt or noyed. But the other that accused his
maister were punysshed, and Papirion was delyverd of his paynes.
And also tellith Valerius that there was another labourer that was named
Penapion, that servyd a maister whos name was Themes, which was of mervaillous
faith to his maister. For hit befel that certeyn knyghtes cam to his maister’s hows for
to slé hym. And anone as Penapion knewe hit, he went into his maister’s chambre
and wold not be knowen, for he did on his mayster’s gowne and his rynge on his
fyngre, and lay in his bedde, and thus put hymself in parelle of deth for to respyte
hys mayster’s lyf. But we see nowadayes many fooks that daigne not to use grose
metis of labourers and flee the cours clothyng and maners of a servaunt. Every
wyse man [who is] a servaunt that trewly servyth his maister is free and not bonde.
But a fool that is over proud is bonde. For the debylité and feblenes of corage that
is broken in conscience by pryde, envye, or by covetyse is right servytude. Yet they
ought not to doubte to laboure. For fere and drede of deth, no man ought to love
to moche his lyf, for hit is a foul thyng for a man to renne to the deth for the envye
of his lyf. And a wyse man and a stronge man ought not to fle for his lyf, but to
yssue. For there is no man that lyveth but he must nedes dye.
And of this speketh Claudyan, and saith that al tho thynges that the ayer goth
about and envyronneth, and alle thyng that the erthe laboureth, al thynges that
ben conteyned within the see, al thynges that the flodes brynge forth, alle thynges
that ben norisshed, and al the bestes that ben under the heven shal deporte alle
from the world. And al shal goo at His commaundement, as wel kynges, prynces,
and al that the world envyronneth and goeth about. Alle shal goo this way. Than
he ought not to doubte for fere of deth. For as wel shal dye the ryche as the poure.
Deth maketh alle thynge lyke and putteth al to an ende.
And therof made a noble versefyer two versis whiche folowe: “Forma, genus,
mores, sapiencia, res, et honores / Morte ruant subita sola manent merita." Wherof the
Englissh is: “Beauté, lignage, maners, wysedom, thynges and honoures / Shal ben
deffetid by sodeyn deth; nothyng shal abyde but the meritis."
And herof fynde we in Vitas patrum that ther was an erle, a riche and noble man,
that had a sone onely. And whan thys sone was of age to have knowleche of the
lawe, he herde in a sermone that deth spareth none. And as wel dyeth the yonge
as the olde. And that the deth ought specially to be doubted for thre causes. One
was that no man knoweth whan he comyth. And the second, ner in what state he
taketh a man. And the thyrd, he wote never whether he shal goo. Therfore eche
man shold dispyse and flee the world, and lyve wel, and holde hym toward God.
And whan this yonge man herde this thyng, he wente out of his contray and
fledde unto a wyldernesse unto an hermytage. And whan his fader had loste hym,
he made grete sorowe and dyd do enquere and seke hym so moche that atte last
he was founden in the hermytage. And thenne his fader cam theder to hym and
sayd, “Dere sone, come from thens! Thou shalt be after my dethe erle and chyef
of my lignage. I shal be lost yf thou come not out from thens."
And he than, that wyst none otherwyse to eschewe the yre of his fader, bethought
hym and sayd, “Dere fader, there is in your contré and lande a right evyll custume.
Yf hit plese you to put that awey, I shal gladly come out of this place and goo with
The fader was glad and had grete joye, and demaunded of hym what hit was.
And yf he wolde telle hym, he promysed hym to take hit awey, and hit shold be
lefte and sette aparte. Than he sayd, “Dere fader, there dyen as wel the yonge folke
as the olde in your contray. Do that awey, I praye you."
Whan his fader herde that, he sayd, “Dere sone, that may not be, ner no man
may put that awey but God onely."
Than answerd the sone to the fader, “Than wyl I serve Hym and dwelle here
wyth Hym that may do that." And so abode the childe in the hermytage and lyved
there in good werkis.
After this, hit apperteyneth to a labourer to entende to his labour and flee
ydelnes. And thou oughtest to knowe that Davyd preyseth moche in the Sawlter the
trewe labourers and sayth, “Thou shalt ete the labour of thyn handes and thou art
blessyd, and He shal doo to thee good."
And hit behoveth that the labourer endende to his labour on the werkedayes
for to recuyel and gadre togydre the fruyt of hys laboure. And also, he ought to reste
on the holy day, bothe he and hys bestys. And a good labourer ought to norisshe
and kepe his bestys. And this is signyfyed by the rodde that he hath, whiche is for
to lede and dryve them to the pasture.
The first pastour that ever was was Abel, whyche was juste and trewe, and offrid
to God the bestis unto hys sacrefise. And hym ought he to folowe in craft and
maners. But no man that useth the malyce of Caym maye ensue and folowe Abel.
And thus hit apperteyneth to the labourer to sette and graffe trees and vygnes,
and also to plante and cutte them. And so dyd Noe, whyche was the first that planted
the vygne after the deluge and flood. For as Josephus reherceth in the Book of
Naturel Thynges, Noe was he that fonde first the vigne, and he fonde hym bytter
and wylde. And therfore he took four maners of blood, that is to wete the blood of
a lyon, the blood of a lamb, the blood of a swyne, and the blood of an ape, and
medlid them al togeder wyth the erthe. And than he cutte the vigne and put thys
about the rotes therof, to the ende that the byttirnes shold be put awey, and that
hit shold be swete. And whan he had dronken of the fruyt of thys vygne, hit was so
good and myghty that he becam so dronke that he despoyled hym in suche wyse
that his pryvy membres myght be seen. And his yongest sone, Cham, mocqued
and skorned hym. And whan Noe was awaked and was sobre and fastyng, he
assemblid his sones and shewed to them the nature of the vygne and of the wyn,
and tolde to them the cause why that he had put the blood of the bestes about the
rote of the vigne, and that they shold knowe wel that otherwhile, by the strengthe
of the wyn, men be maad as hardy as the lyon and yrous. And otherwhile, they be
made symple and shamefast as a lambe, and lecherous as a swyne, and curious and
ful of play as an ape. For the ape is of suche nature that whan he seeth one doo a
thyng, he enforceth hym to do the same, and so don many whan they ben dronke.
They wyl meddle them with al offycers and maters that apperteyne nothyng to them.
And whan they ben fastyng and sobre, they can scarcely accomplisshe theyr owne
And therfore, Valerian reherceth that of auncient and in olde tyme women
dranke no wyn, for as moche as by dronkenshyp, they myght falle in ony filthe or
And as Ovyde saith, that the wynes otherwhyle apparaylle the corages in suche
manere that they ben covenable to al synnes, whiche take awey the hertes to do wel.
They make the poure, riche, as longe as the wyn is in his heed. And shortly,
dronkenshyp is the begynnyng of alle evylles, and corrupteth the body, and
destroyeth the sowle, and mynyssheth the goodes temporels.
And this suffiseth for the labourers.
The second chappytre of the thyrd tractate treteth of the forme and maner of the second
pawne and of the maner of a smyth. Capitulo secundo.
The second pawn that stondeth tofore the knyght on the right syde of the kyng
hath the forme and fygure of a man as a smyth and that is reson. For hit
apperteyneth to the knyghtes to have bridellys, sadellis, spores, and many other
thynges maad by the handes of smythes, and ought to holde an hamer in his right
hond, and in his lift hande a squyer. And he ought to have on his gyrdel a trowel,
for by this is signefyed alle maner of werkmen as goldsmythes, marchallis, smythes
of alle forges, forgers and makers of money. And al maner of smythes ben signefyed
by the martel or hamer. The carpenters ben signefyed by the dolabre or squyer.
And by the trowel we understonde al masons and kervers of stones, tylers, and al
those that make howses, castels, and towres.
And unto al thyse crafty men hit aperteyneth that they be trewe, wyse, and
stronge. And hit is nede that they have in hemself fayth and loyaulté. For unto the
goldsmythes behoveth golde and sylver, and alle other metallys, yren and steel, to
other. And unto the carpentiers and masons ben put to theyr edefyces the bodyes
and goodes of the peple. And also men put in the handes of the maroners body and
goodes of the peple. And in the garde and sewerté of them, men put body and
sowle in the parilles of the see. And therfore ought they to be trewe unto whom
men commytte suche grete charge and so grete thynges upon her fayth and truste.
And therfore sayth the phylosopher: “He that leseth his fayth and beleve may
lose no gretter ne more thynge." And fayth is a soverayn good and cometh of the
good wylle of the herte and of his mynde, and for no necessyté wyl deceyve no
man, and is not corrupt for no mede.
Valerius rehercith that Fabius had receyved of Hanybal certeyn prysoners that he
helde of the Romayns for a certeyn somme of money, whiche he promysed to paye
to the sayd Hanybal. And whan he cam unto the senatours of Rome and desyred
to have the money lente for hem, they answerd that they wold not paye nor lene.
And than Fabius sent his sone to Rome and made hym to selle hys heritage and
patrymonye, and sent the money that he receyvyd therof unto Hanybal, and had
lever and lovyd better to be poure in his contréy of heritage than of beleve and
fayth. But in thyse dayes it were grete folye to have suche affyaunce in moche peple
but yf they had ben prevyd afore. For oftentymes men truste in them by whom they
ben deceyvyd at theyr nede.
And it is to wete that these crafty men and werkmen ben soveraynly proffytable
unto the world. And wythout artificers and werkmen, the world myght not be
governed. And knowe thou verily that alle tho thynges that ben engendrid on the
erthe and on the see ben maad and formed for to do proffyt unto the lignage of
man, for man was formed for to have generacion that the men myght helpe and
proffyt eche other. And here in ought we to folowe nature, for she sheweth to us that
we shold do comyn proffyt, one to another. And the first fondement of justyce is
that no man shold noye ne greve other, but that they ought do the comen proffyt.
For men say in reproche, “That I see of thyn, I hope hit shal be myn." But who is
he in thyse dayes that entendeth more to the comyn proffyt than to his owne?
Certeynly none. But alwey a man ought to have drede and fere of his owne hows
whan he seeth his neyghbour’s hows afyre. And therfore ought men gladly helpe
the comyn prouffyt, for men otherwhyle sette not by a lytyl fyre and myght quenche
hit in the begynnyng that afterward maketh a grete blasygng fire.
And fortune hath of nothyng so grete plesure as for to torne and werke alwey.
And nature is so noble a thyng that whereas she is, she wyl susteyne and kepe. But
thys rewle of nature hath faylled longe tyme.
How wel that the decree saith that alle the thynges that been ayenst the lawe of
nature ought to be taken awey and put aparte. And he sayth tofore in the eighth
distinccion that the ryght lawe of nature defferenceth ofte tymes fro custom and
statutes establisshyd. For by lawe of nature al thyng ought to be comyn to every man.
And thys lawe was of olde tyme. And men wene yet specially that the Trojans kept
this lawe, and we rede that the multitude of the Trojans was one herte and one sowle.
And verayly we fynde that in tyme passid the philosophres dide the same.
And also, it is to be supposid that suche as have theyr goodes comune and not
propre is most acceptable to God. For ellis wold not thyse religyous men as monkes,
freres, chanons, observauntes, and al other avowe hem and kepe the wylful poverté
that they ben professyd to? For in trouth I have myself ben conversaunt in a
religious hows of Whyt Freres at Gaunt, whiche have al thyng in comyn among
them, and not one richer than another, insomoche that yf a man gaf to a frere
three pence or four pence to praye for hym in his masse, as sone as the masse is
don, he delyveryeth hit to his overest or procuratour, in whiche hows ben many
vertuous and devout freris. And yf that lyf were not the best and the most holyest,
Holy Chirche wold never suffre hit in religyon.
And accordyng therto, we rede in Plato, whiche sayth that the cyté is wel and
justly governed and ordeyned in the which no man may say by right, by custome, ne
by ordenaunce, “Thys is myn." But I say to thee certeynly that sythen this custome
came forth to say “This is myn, and this is thyn," no man thought to preferre the
comyn prouffyt so moche as his owne.
And al werkmen ought to be wyse and wel advysed so that they have none envye
ne none evyll suspecion one to another. For God wyl that our humayn nature be
covetous of two thynges, that is of religyon and of wysedom. But in this caas ben
somme often tymes deceyved. For they take often tymes religyon and leve wysedom,
and they take wysedom and refuse religion. And none may be veray and trewe
wythout other. For it apperteyneth not to a wyse man to do onythyng that he may
repente hym of hit, and he ought to do nothyng ayenst his wylle but to do al thyng
nobly, meurely, fermely, and honestly. And yf he have envye upon ony, hit is folye,
for he on whom he hath envye is more honest and of more havoyr than he whiche
is so envyous. For a man may have none envye on another, but bycause he is more
fortunat and hath more grace than hymself. For envye is a sorowe of corage that
cometh of this ordenaunce of the prouffyt of another man.
And knowe thou verily that he that is ful of bounté shal never have envye of
another. But the envyous man seeth and thynketh alwey that every man is more
noble and more fortunat that hymself, and saith alwey to hymself, “That man
wynneth more than I!" and “Myn neyghbours have more plenté of bestes!" and “Her
thynges multeplye more than myn!" And therfore thou oughtest knowe that envye
is the most grettest dedely synne that is, for she tormenteth hym that hath her within
hym wythout tormentyng or doyng ony harme to hym on whom he hath envye.
And an envyous man hath no vertu in hymself, for he corrumpeth hymself, for
as moche as he hateth alwey the welthe and vertues of other. And thus ought they
to kepe them that they take none evyl suspecion. For a man naturelly, whan his
affeccion hath suspecion in ony man that he weneth that he doth, hit semeth to
hym veryly that it is don.
And it is an evyl thyng for a man to have suspecion on hymself. For we rede
that Dyonyse of Zecyle, a tyraunt, was so suspecious that he had so grete fere and
drede. For as moche as he was hated of alle men, that he put his frendes out of
theyr offyces that they had and put other straungers in their places for to kepe his
body, and chese suche as were right cruel and felons. And for fere and doubte of the
barbours, he made his doughters to lerne shave and kembe. And whan they were
grete, he wold not they shold use ony yron to be occupyed by them but to brenne and
senge his heeris, and menaced them and durst not truste in them. And in like wyse
they had none affyaunce in hym. And also, he did do envyronne the place where
he lay wyth grete dyches and brode lyke a castel. And he entrid by a drawe bridge,
whiche closid after hym. And his knyghtes laye wythout wyth his gardes, whiche
watched and kept straytly thys forteresse. And whan Plato sawe thys said Dionyse,
Kyng of Zecille, thus envyroned and sette about wyth gardes and watchemen for
the cause of his suspescion, sayd to hym openly tofore alle men, “Kynge, why hast
thou don so moche evyl and harme that thee behoveth to be kept wyth so moche
peple? And therfore I say that it apperteyneth not to ony man that wylle truly
behave hymself in his werkes to be suspecious."
And also, they ought to be stronge and seure in theyr werkys. And specially they
that ben maysters and maronners on the see. For yf they be tumerous and ferdful,
they shold make aferde them that ben in theyr shippis that knowe not the parilles.
And so hit myght happen that by that drede and fere, al men shold leve theyr
labour, and so they myght be perisshed and dispeyrid in theyr corages. For a
shyppe is soon perisshed and lost by a litil tempest whan the governour faylleth to
governe his shyppe for drede and can geve no counceyl to other. Thenne it is no
mervaylle though they be aferde that ben in his governaunce. And therfore ought
to be in them strengthe, force, and corage, and [they] ought to considere the paryls
that myght falle. And the governour specially ought not to doubte. And yf hyt
happyn that ony parril falle, he ought to promyse to the other good hoop. And hit
aperteyneth wel that a man of good and hardy corage be sette in that office, in suche
wyse that he have ferme and seure mynde ayenst the parylles that oft tymes happen
in the see. And wyth this ought the maronners have good and ferme creaunce and
beleve in God, and to be of good recomforte and of fayr langage unto them that
he governeth in suche parellys.
And thys suffyseth to you as touchyng the labourers.
The thyrd chappytre of the thyrd book treteth of the office of notaries, advocates, skryvenars,
and drapers or clothmakers. Capitulo tercio.
The third pawn, whiche is sette tofore the alphyn on the right syde, ought to be
fygured as a clerke. And hit is reson that he shold so be. For as moche as emonge
the comune peple of whom we speke in this boke they plete the differences,
contencions, and causes, otherwhyle the whiche behoveth the alphyns to geve
sentence and juge as juges. And hit is reson that the alphyn or juge have his
notarye, by whom the processe may be wreton.
And this pawn ought to be maad and figured in this manere. He must be made
like a man that holdeth in his right hand a payr of sheris or forcettis, and in the
lyfte hand a grete knyf, and on his gurdel a penner and an ynkhorn, and on his eere
a penne to wryte with. And that been the instrumentis and the offyces that been
maad and putte in wrytyng autentique, and ought to have passyd tofore the juges
as libelles, writes, condempnacions, and sentences. And that is signefied by the
scripture and the penne. And on that other parte, hit aperteyneth to them to cutte
clothe, shere, dyght, and dye. And that is signefyed by the forcettis or sheris. And
the other ought to shave berdis and kembe the heeris. And the other ben coupers,
coryers, tawyers, skynners, bouchers, and kordwanners. And these ben signefyed
by the knyf that he holdeth in hys hand. And somme of thyse forsayd crafty men
been named drapers or clothmakers, for so moche as they werke with wolle. And
the notaries, skynnars, coryours, and cordwaners werke by skynnes and hydes as
perchymyn, velume, peltrie, and cordewan. And the tayllours, cutters of cloth,
wevars, fullars, dyers, and many other craftes ocupye and use wulle.
And al thyse crafty men, and many other that I have not named, ought to do
theyr craft and mestier, where as they ben duly ordeyned curiously and trewly. Also,
there ought to be amonge thyse crafty men amyable companye and trewe, honest
contenaunce, and trouthe in theyr wordes. And hit is to wete that the notaryes ben
ryght prouffytable and ought to be good and trewe for the comyn. And they ought
to kepe them from appropryyng to them self that thyng that aperteyneth to the
comyn. And yf they be good to themself, they ben good to other. And yf they be
evyl for themself, they ben evyl for other. And the processes that ben maad tofore the
juges ought to ben wreton and passyd by them. And it is to wete that by their writyng
in the processis may come moche prouffit. And also, yf they wryte otherwyse than
they ought to doo, may ensewe moche harme and domage to the comyn. Therfore
ought they to take good hede that they chaunge not, ne corumpe in no wise, the
content of the sentence. For than ben they first forsworne and ben bounden to
make amendis to them that by their trecherye they have endomaged.
And also ought they to rede, visite, and to knowe the statutes, ordenaunces, and
the lawes of the citees of the contré where they dwelle and enhabite. And they
ought to considere yf there be onythyng therin conteyned ayenst right and reson.
And yf they fynde onythynge contraire, they ought to admoneste and warne them
that governe that suche thynges may be chaunged in to better estate. For custume
establisshed ayenst good maners and ageynst the fayth ought not to be holden by
For as hit is sayd in the decree in the chappytre tofore all ordenaunce maad
ayenst right ought to be holden for nought. Alas, who is now that advocate or notarye
that hath charge to wryte and kepe sentence that putteth his entente to kepe more
the comyn prouffyt or as moche as his owen! But alle drede of God is put aback, and
they deceyve the symple men and drawen them to the courtes disordenatly, and
constrayne them to swere and make othes not covenable. And in assemblyng the
peple thus togyder, they make mo traysons in the cytees thenne they make good
alyaunces. And otherwhile they deceyve theyr soverayns, whan they may do hit
covertly. For there is nothyng at this day that so moche greveth Rome and Italie
as doth the College of Notaryes and Advocates Publique, for they ben not of one
Alas! And in Engelond, what hurte doon the advocates, men of lawe, and
attorneyes of court to the comyn peple of the royame, as wel in the spirituel lawe
as in the temporalle! How torne they the lawe and statutes at their plesure! How ete
they the peple! How enpovere they the comynté! I suppose that in alle Cristendom
are not so many pletars, attorneys, and men of the lawe as been in Englond onely.
For yf they were nombrid, alle that longe to the courtes of the chaunserye, kynge’s
benche, comyn place, cheker, ressayt, and helle, and the bagge berars of the same,
hit shold amounte to a grete multitude. And how al thyse lyve and of whom, yf hit
shold be uttrid and tolde, hit shold not be belevyd, for they entende to theyr
synguler wele and prouffyt and not to the comyn.
How wel they ought to be of good wyl togyder, and admoneste and warne the
cytees, eche in his right in suche wyse that they myght have pees and love, one wyth
another. And Tullyus saith that frendshyp and good wylle that one ought to have
ayenst another for the wele of hym that he loveth, with the semblable wylle of hym,
ought to be put forth tofore al other thynges. And ther is nothyng so resemblyng
and lyke to the bees that maken hony ne so covenable in prosperité and in
adversité, as is love. For by love, gladly the bees holden them togyder, and yf ony
trespace to that other, anone they renne upon the malefactour for to punysshe
And veray trewe love faylleth never for wele ne for evyl. And the most swete and
the most comfortyng thyng is for to have a frend to whom a man may say his secret,
as wel as to hymself. But verayly, amytye and frendshyp is somtyme founded upon
somme thyng delectable. And this amytie cometh of yongthe, in the which dwellith
a disordynate hete. And otherwhile, amytie is founded upon honesté. And this
amytie is vertuous, of the whiche Tullyus saith that there is an amytie vertuous by
the whiche a man ought to do to his frende al that he requyreth by reason. For for
to do to hym a thyng dishonest, it is ayenst the nature of veray frendshyp and
amytye. And thus for frendshyp ne for favour a man ought not to doo onythyng
unresonable ayenst the comyn prouffyt, ner agaynst his fayth, ne ageynst his othe.
For yf alle tho thynges that the frendes desyre and requyre were accomplisshed
and doon, hyt shold seme that they shold be dyshoneste conivracions, and they
myght otherwhyle more greve and hurte than proffyte and ayde.
And herof sayth Seneque that amytye is of suche wylle as the frende wylle, and to
refuse that ought to be refused by reason. And yet he saith more, that a man ought
to alowe and preise his frend tofore the peple, and to correcte and to chastyse hym
pryvely, for the lawe of amytie is suche. For a man ought not to demaunde ner do
to be doon to hys frende no vylayns thyng that ought to be kept secrete.
And Valerian sayth that it is a foule thynge and an evyl excusasion yf a man
confesse that he hath doon ony evyl for his frende ayenst right and reason. And
sayth that there was a good man named Taffyle, whiche herde one his frende
requyre of hym a thynge dishoneste, whiche he denyed and wold not do. And than
his frende said to hym in grete despyte, “What nede have I of thy frendship and
amytee whan thou wilt not do that thyng that I requyre of thee?"
And Taffile answerd to hym, “What nede have I of the frendship and of the
amyte of thee, yf I shold do for thee thyng dishonest?"
And thus love is founded otherwhile upon good prouffytable, and this love
endureth as longe as he seeth his prouffyt. And herof men say a comyn proverbe
in Englond, that love lasteth as longe as the money endurith, and whan the money
failleth than there is no love.
And Varro rehercith in his sommes that the riche men ben al lovyd by this love,
for their frendes ben like as the huske whiche is about the grayn. And no man may
prove his frende so wel as in adversité or whan he is poure, for the veray trewe
frende fayleth at no nede.
And Seneque saith that somme folowe the emperour for riches, and so don the
flies the hony for the swetenes, and the wolf the carayn. And thyse companye folowe
the praye and not the man.
And Tullyus sayth that Tarquyn the Proud had a nevewe of his suster, whiche
was named Brutus, and this nevewe had banysshed Tarquin out of Rome and had
sent hym in exyle. And than sayd he fyrst that he parceyved and knewe his frendes
whyche were trewe and untrewe, and that he never perceyved afore tyme whan he
was puyssaunt for to do theyr wylle, and sayd wel that the love that they had to hym
endured not but as longe as hit was to them prouffytable. And therfore ought al the
riche men of the world take hede, be they kynges, prynces, or duckes, to what
people they doo prouffyt and how they may and ought be lovyd of theyr peple.
For Cathon sayth in his book, “See to whom thou gevest. And thys love whiche
is founded upon theyr prouffit, whiche fayleth and endureth not, may better be
callid and sayd ‘marchaundyse’ than love. For yf we repute this love to our prouffyt
onely, and nothyng to the prouffyt of hym that we love, it is more marchaundyse
than love, for he byeth our love for the prouffyt that he doth to us."
And therfore sayth the versefier thyse two versis: “Tempore felici multi numerantur
amici / Cum fortuna perit nullus amicus erit," whiche is to say in Englissh that “as longe
as a man is ewrous and fortunat, he hath many frendes, but whan fortune torneth
and perissheth, there abydeth not to hym one frende." And of thys love ben loved
the medowes, feldes, trees, and the bestys for the prouffyt that men take of them.
But the love of the men ought to be charité, veray gracious and pure by good fayth.
And the veray trewe frendes ben knowen in pure adversité.
And Piers Alphons sayth in his Book of Moralité that there was a phylosophre in
Arabye that had an onely sone, of whom he demaunded what frendes he had goten
hym in his lyf. And he answerd that he had many. And his fader sayd to hym, “I am
an olde man, and yet coude I never fynde but one frende in al my lyf. And I trowe
verely that it is no lytyl thyng for to have a frende, and hit is wel gretter and more
a man to have many. And hit apperteyneth and behoveth a man to assaye and
preve his frende or he have nede."
And thenne commaunded the philosopher his sone that he shold goo and slee
a swyne and put hit in a sacke, and fayne that it were a man dede that he had slayn,
and bere hit to his frendes for to burye hit secretly. And whan the sone had don as
his fader commaunded hym, and had requyred his frendes one after another as
afore is sayd, they denyed hym and answerd to hym that he was a vylayne to requyre
and desire of them thyng that was so perilous. And than he came agayn to his fader
and sayd to hym how he had requyred al his frendes, and that he had not founden
one that wold helpe hym in his nede.
And than his fader sayd to hym that he shold goo and requyre his frende,
whyche had but one, and requyre hym that he shold helpe hym in his nede. And
whan he had requyred hym, anone he put out al his mayné out of hys hows. And
whan they were out of the waye or aslepe, he dyd do make secretly a pytte in the
grounde. And whan hit was redy and wold have buryed the body, he founde hit an
hogge or a swyne, and not a man. And thus this sone prevyd this man to be a veray,
trewe frende of his fader, and prevyd that his frendes were fals frendes of fortune.
And yet reherceth the sayd Piers Alphons that there were two marchauntes, one
of Bandach and that other of Egypt, whiche were so joyned togeder by so grete
frendshyp that he of Bandache cam on a tyme for to se hys frende in Egypt, of
whom he was receyvyd right honuurably. And this marchaunt of Egypt had in his
hows a fayre yonge mayden whom he shold have had in mariage to hymself, of the
whiche mayde thys marchaunt of Bandach was esprised with her love so ardantly
that he was right seek, and that men supposid hym to dye. And than the other dyd
do come the phisisiens, whiche sayd that in hym was no sekenes sauf passyon of
love. Thenne he axyd of the seek man yf there were ony woman in hys hows that
he loved and maad al the women of his hows to come tofore hym. And than he
chees her that shold have ben that other’s wyf and sayd that he was seek for her.
Than his frende sayd to hym, “Frende, comforte yourself. For trewly I gyve her to
you to wyf with alle the dowaire that is gyven to me wyth her." And had lever to
suffre to be wythout wyf than to lese the body of his frende. And than he of
Bandach wedded the mayde and went with his wyf and with his richesse ageyn in
to his contré.
And after this, anone after, hit happend that the marchaunt of Egypt became
so poure by evyl fortune that he was constreyned to seche and begge his breed by the
contray, in so moche that he cam to Bandach. And whan he entrid in to the toun, hit
was derk nyght that he coude not fynde the hows of his frende but went and lay
thys nyght in an olde temple. And on the morne, whan he shold yssue out of the
temple, the offycers of the toun arestyd hym and sayd that he was an homycide and
had slayn a man whiche lay there dede. And anone he confessid hyt wyth a good
wylle, and had lever to ben hangyd than to dye in that myserable and pour lyf that
he suffryd. And thus whan he was brought to jugement, and sentence shold have
ben gyven ayenst hym as an homycide, his frend of Bandach cam and sawe hym,
and anone knewe that thys was his good frende of Egypte. And forthwyth stepte in
and sayd that he hymself was culpable of the deth of this man and not that other,
and enforcid hym in alle maners for to delyver and excuse that other.
And than whan that he that had doon the feet and had slayne the man sawe this
thyng, he considerid in hymself that these two men were innocent of thys feet. And
doubtyng the dyvyne jugement, he came tofore the juge and confessyd al the feet
by ordre. And whan the juge sawe and herde al thys mater, and also the causes, he
considered the ferme and trewe love that was betwene the two frendes, and
understood the cause why that one wold save that other, and the trouth of the fayte
of the homycide. And than he pardoned al the feet hooly and entierly. And after,
the marchaunt of Bandach brought hym of Egipt wyth hym in to his hows, and gaf
to hym his sister in mariage, and departed to hym half his goodes. And so bothe of
hem were riche, and thus were they bothe veray faythful and trewe frendes.
Furthermore, notaries, men of lawe, and crafty men shold and ought to love
eche other, and also ought to be contynent, chaste, and honeste. For by theyr
craftes they ought so to be by necessyté. For they converse and accompanye them
ofte tyme wyth women. And therfore hit apperteyneth to them to be chaste and
honeste. And that they meve not the women, nor entyse them to lawghe and jape
by ony dysordynate ensignes or tokenes.
Titus Livius reherceth that the philosopher Democreon dyd doo put out his
eyen for as moche as he myght not beholde the women wythoute flesshly desyre.
And how wel it is sayd before that he dyd hit for other certeyn cause. Yet was this
one of the pryncipal causes.
And Valerian tellyth that there was a yong man of Rome of right excellent
beaulté. And how wel that he was right chaste, for as moche as his beaulté mevyd
many women to desire hym, insomoche that he understood that the parentes and
frendes of them had suspecion in hym, he dyd his vysage to be kutte wyth a knyf
and lancettis, endlong and everthwart for to deforme his vysage, and had lever
have a fowle vysage and disformed than the beauté of his vysage shold meve other
And also we rede that there was a nonne, a virgyne, dyd do put out bothe her
eyen, for as moche as the beauté of her eyen mevyd a kyng to love her, whyche eyen
she sente to the kyng in a present.
And also we rede that Plato, the right ryche phylosopher, lefte his owne lande
and contré, and chase his mansion and dwellyng in Achadomye, a toun whiche was
not onely destroyed but also was ful of pestelence, so that by the cure and charge
and customaunce of sorowe that he there suffrid myght eschewe the hetes and
occasions of lecherye. And many of hys dysciples dyd in lyke wyse.
Helemand reherceth that Demostenes the philosopher laye ones by a noble
woman for his dysporte, and playeng wyth her, he demaunded of her what he
shold geve to have to doo wyth her. And she answerd to hym, “A thousand pens."
And he sayd ageyn to her, “I shold repente me to bye hit so dere." And whan he
advysed hym that, he was so sore chauffyd to speke to her for to accomplisshe his
flesshly desyre, he despoyled hym al nakyd and wente and put hym in the myddes
of the snowe.
And Ovyde rehercith that thys thynge is the leste that maye helpe and most
greve the lovers.
And therfore Saynt Augustyn rehercith in his book, De civitate dei, that there was
a right noble Romayn named Marculian that wan and took the noble cité of
Siracuse. And tofore, er he dyd doo assayle hit or befight hit, and or he had do
beshedde ony blood, he wepte and shedde many teeris tofore the cité. And that was
for the cause that he doubted that his peple shold defoule and corumpe to moche
dishonestly the chastyté of the toun, and ordeyned upon payn of deth that no man
shold be so hardy to take and defoyle ony woman by force what that ever she were.
After thys, the crafty men ought to understonde for to be trewe and to have
trouth in her mouthes, and that theyr dedes folowe theyr wordes. For he that sayth
one thyng and doth another, he condempneth hymself by his word. Also, they
ought to see wel to that they be of one accorde in good, by entente, by word, and by
dede, so that they be not discordaunt in no caas, but that every man have pure verité
and trouth in hymself. For God Hymself is pure verité. And men say comynly that
trouth seketh none hernes, ne corners. And trouth is a vertu by the whiche alle
drede and fraude is put awey. Men saye trewly whan they saye that they knowe, and
they that knowe not trouthe ought to knowe hyt and alwey use trouthe.
For Saynt Austyn sayth that they that wene to knowe trouth and lyveth evyl and
vyciously, it is folye yf he knoweth hit not. And also, he sayth in another place that
it is better to suffre payn for trouth than for to have a benefete by falsnes or by
flaterye. And man that is callyd a beste resonable, and doth not his werkys after
reson and trouthe, is more bestyal than ony beste brute. And knowe ye that for to
come to the trouthe hit cometh of a resonable forsight in his mynde. And lyeng
cometh of an oultrageous and contrarie thought in hys mynde. For he that lyeth
wittyngly knoweth wel that hit is ageynst the trouthe that he thynketh.
And herof speketh Saynt Bernard and sayth that the mouth that lyeth destroyeth
And yet sayth Saynt Austyn in another place, “For to say one thynge and do the
contrarye maketh doctryne suspecious."
And knowe ye verily that for to lye is a right perilous thynge to body and sowle.
For the lye that the auncient enemye maad Eve and Adam to beleve hym, made hem
for to be dampned with alle their lignage to the deth pardurable, and made hem
to be cast out of paradyse terrestre. For he maad them to beleve that God had not
forboden them the fruyt but onely bycause they shold not knowe that her Mayster
knewe. But how wel that the devyl sayd thyse wordes yet had he double entente to
hem bothe. For they knewe anone as they had tastyd of the fruyt that they were
dampned to the deth pardurable. And God knewe hit wel tofore. But they supposid
wel to have knowen many other thynges and to be lyke unto his knowleche and
And therfore saith Saynt Poule in a pistyl: “Hit ne apperteyneth to saver or
knowe more than behoveth to saver or knowe, but to saver or knowe by mesure or
And Valerian rehercith that there was a good woman of Siracusane that wold
not lye unto the Kyng of Secille, whyche was named Dyonyse. And this kyng was
so ful of tyrannye and so cruel that alle the world desired his deth and cursid hym,
sauf this woman onely, whiche was so olde that she had seen three or four kynges
reignyng in the contré. And every mornyng, as sone as she was rysen, she prayed
to God that he wold gyve unto the tyraunt good lyf and longe and that she myght
never see his deth. And whan the Kyng Dyonyse knewe this, he sent for her and
mervaylled moche herof, for he knewe wel that he was sore behated, and demaunded
her what cause mevyd hyr to praye for hym. And she answerd and sayd to hym,
“Sir, whan I was a mayde, we had a right evyl tyraunt to our kyng, of whom we
coveyted sore the deth. And whan he was dede, there came after hym a werse, of
whom we coveyted also the deth. And whan we were delyveryd of hym, thou camest
to be our lord, which art worst of al other. And now I doubte yf we have one after
thee he shal be worse than thou art. And therfore I shal praye for thee."
And whan Dyonyse understood that she was so hardy in sayeng the trouth, he
durst not do torment her for shame by cause she was so olde.
The fourth chappitre of the third book tretith of the maner of the fourth pawn and of the
marchauntis or chaungers. Capitulo quarto.
The fourth pawn is sette tofore the kyng and is formed in the forme of a man
holdyng in his right hand a balaunce and the weyght in the lyft hand, and tofore
hym a table, and at his gurdel a purse ful of money redy for to geve to them that
requyred hit. And by thys peple ben signefyed the marchauntes of cloth, lynnen,
and wollen, and of al other marchaundyses. And by the table that is tofore hym is
signefyed the chaungers and they that lene money. And they that bye and selle by the
weyght ben signefyed by the balaunces and weyghtes. And the customers, tollars, and
receyvours of rentes and of money ben signefyed by the purse. And knowe ye that
alle they that ben signefied by this peple ought to flee avarice and covetyse, and
eschewe brekyng of the dayes of payment, and ought to holde and kepe theyr
promyses, and ought also to rendre and restore that that is gyven to them to kepe.
And therfore hit is reson that this peple be set tofore the kyng, for as moche as
they signefye the receyvours of the tresours ryal that ought alwey to be redy tofore
the kyng, and to answer for hym to the knyghtes and to other persones for theyr
wages and souldyes.
And therfore have I said that they ought to flee avarice, for avarice is as moche
to say as an adourer or as worshypar of fals ymages. And herof sayth Tullyus that
avarice is a covetise to gete that thyng that is above necessité. And it is a love
disordynate to have onythyng, and it is one of the werst thynges that is, and specially
to prynces and to them that governe the thynges of the comuneté. And this vyce
causeth a man to do evyll, and thys doyng evyl is whan hit reygneth in olde men.
And herof sayth Seneque that all worldly thynges ben mortefyed and appetissed
in olde men, reservyd avarice onely, whyche alwey abydeth wyth hym and dyeth
with hym. But I understonde not wel the cause wherof this cometh ne wherfore hit
may be. And hit is a fowle thyng and contrarye to reson that whan a man is at the
ende of his journey for to lengthe his viage and to ordeyne more vitayl than hym
behoveth. And this may wel be likned to the avaricious wolf, for the wolf doth never
good tyl he be dede.
And thus it is sayd in the proverbys of the wyse men that the avaricious man
doth no good tyl that he be deed, and he desireth nothynge but to lyve long in thys
synne. For the covetous man certeynly is not good for onythyng, for he is evyl to
hymself and to the riche and to the poure, and fyndeth cause to gaynsay theyr
And herof rehercith Seneque, and sayth that Antigonus was a covetous prynce.
And whan Tynque, whiche was his frende, requyred of hym a besaunt, he answerd
to hym that he demaunded more than hyt apperteyned to hym. And than Tynque,
constrayned by grete necessité, axid and requyred of hym a peny. And he answerd
to hym that it was no yefte covenable for a kyng. And so he was alwey redy to fynde
a cause nought to geve, for he myght have gyven to hym a besaunt as a kynge to his
frende and the peny as to a poure man. And ther is nothyng so litil but that the
humanyté of a kyng may geve hyt. Avarice ful of covetise is a maner of al vices of
And Josephus rehercith in the Book of Auncient Histories that ther was in Rome
a right noble lady named Paulyne, and was of the most noble of Rome, right honest
for the noblesse of chastité, whiche was maryed in the tyme that the wommen
glorefyed them in theyr chastyté unto a yonge man, fayr, noble, and riche above
al other, and was lyke and semblable to his wyf in al caasis. And thys Pawlyne was
belovyd of a knyght namyd Enymerancian and was so ardantly esprised in her love
that he sent to her many right riche yeftes and made to her many grete promyses.
But he myght never torne the herte of her, which was on her syde also colde and
harde as marbyll. But she had lever to refuse his yeftes and hys promyses than to
entende to covetyse and to lose her chastyté.
And we rede also in the Histories of Rome that there was a noble lady of Rome
whiche lyved a solytarye lyf and was chaste and honeste, and had gadrid togeder
a grete somme of golde, and had hyd hit in the erthe in a pytte wythin her hows.
And whan she was deed, the bisshop dyd do burye her in the chirche wel and
honestly. And anone after, this gold was founden and born to the bysshop. And the
bisshop had to caste hit in to the pytte where she was buryed. And thre dayes men
herd her crye and make grete noyse, and say that she brenned in grete payn, and
they herd her ofte tymes thus tormentid in the chirche. The neyghbours went unto
the bysshop and tolde hym therof, and the bisshop gaf hem leve to open the
sepulcre. And whan they had openyd hit, they fonde al the golde molten with fire
ful of sulphre, and was poured and put in her mouth. And they herd one say,
“Thou desiredest this gold by covetyse! Take hyt and drynke hyt!" And thenne they
took the body out of the tombe. And hit was cast out in a prevy place.
Seneque rehercith in the Boook of the Cryes of Women that avaryce is foundement
of alle vyces.
And Valerian rehercith that avarice is a ferdful garde or kepar of richessis, for
he that hath on hym or in his kepyng moche money or other richessis is alwey
aferd to lose hit or to be robbid or to be slayn therfore. And he is not ewrous ner
happy that by covetise getith hit.
And al the evyls of this vice of avarice had a man of Rome named Septenulle,
for he was a frend of one named Tarchus. And this Septenulle brent so sore and
so cruelly in this synne of covetise that he had no shame to smyte of the hede of hys
frend by trayson, for as moche as one Framosian had promysed to hym as moche
weyght of pure gold as the heed wayed. And he bare the said heed upon a staf
thrugh the cité of Rome, and he voyded the brayn out therof and filled hyt ful of
leed for to weye the hevyar. This was a right horrible and cruel avarice.
Ptolomé, Kyng of Egipciens, poursewed avarice in another manere. For whan
Anthonie, Emperour of Rome, sawe that he was right riche of gold and silver, he
had hym in grete hate and tormentid hym right cruelly. And whan he shold perissh
bycause of his richessis, he toke al his havoir and put hyt in a shippe, and went
withalle into the hye see to the ende for to drowne and perissh there the shippe
and his richesses bycause Anthonye, his enemye, shold not have hit. And whan he
was there, he durst not perisshe hit, ner myght not fynde in hys herte to departe
from hit, but cam and brought hit agayn into his hows, where he receyvyd the
rewarde of deth therfore. And without doubte he was not lord of the richesse, but
the richesse was lady over hym.
And therfore hit is said in proverbe that a man ought to seignorie over the
riches, and not for to serve hit. And yf thou canst dewly use thy richesse, than she
is thy chamberer. And yf thou cannot departe from hit and use hit honestly at thy
plesure, knowe verily that she is thy lady. For the riches never satisfyeth the covetous,
but the more he hath, the more he desireth.
And Saluste saith that avarice destroubleth fayth, poesté, honesté, and al thise
other good vertues, and taketh for thyse vertues pryde, cruelté, and to forgete God,
and sayth that al thynges be vendable.
And after this, they ought to be ware that they lene not to moche, ner make so
grete creaunces by whiche they may falle in poverté. For Saynt Ambrose saith upon
Thoby: “Poverté hath no lawe, for to owe, hit is a shame, and to owe and not paye
is a more shame. Yf thou be poure, beware how thou borowest and thynke how
thou mayst paye and rendre agayn. Yf thou be riche, thou hast no nede to borowe
And it is said in the proverbis that hit is fraude to take that thou wylt not ner
mayst [not] rendre and paye agayn.
And also, hit is sayd in reproche: “Whan I lene, I am thy frende, and whan I axe,
I am thyn enemye," as who saith God at the lenyng and the devyll atte rendryng.
And Seneke saith in his auctorités that they that gladly borowe ought gladly to
paye, and ought to surmounte in corage to love hem the better bycause they lene
hem and ayde hem in her nede. For benefetes and good tornes don to a man
ought to gyve hym thankynges therfore, and moche more ought a man to repaye
that is lent hym in his nede. But now in these dayes many men by lenyng of their
money have made of their frendes enemyes.
And herof speketh Domas the philosopher and saith that, “My frende borowed
money of me, and I have lost my frende and my money."
There was a marchaunt of Gene and also a chaungeour whos name was Albert
Ganor. And this Albert was a man of grete trouth and loyalté. For on a tyme there
was a man cam to hym and sayd and affermyd that he had delyveryd into his banke
five honderd floryns of gold to kepe, whiche was not trouth, for he lyed, whiche
five honderd floryns the sayd Albert knewe not of, ner coude fynde in al his bookes
ony suche money to hym due. And this lyar coude brynge no wytnes, but began to
braye, crye, and deffame the said Albert. And than this Albert callyd to hym this
marchaunt and sayd, “Dere frende, take here five honderd florens whiche thou
affermest and sayest that thou hast delyverd to me." And forthwyth tolde hem and
toke hem to hym. And lo this good man had lever to lose his good than his good
name and renome.
And this other marchaunt toke these florens that he had wrongfully receyvyd
and enployed them in dyverse marchaundyse, in so moche that he gate and encresid
and wan with them fifteen thousand florens. And whan he sawe that he approched
toward his deth, and that he had no children, he establisshed Albert his heyr in al
thynges, and sayd that with the five honderd florens that he had receyvyd of Albert
falsely, he had goten alle that he had in the world. And thus by devyne purveaunce,
he that had be a theef fraudelent was maad afterward a trewe procurour and atorney
of the sayd Albert.
But now in thyse dayes there be marchauntis that do marchaundise with other
menny’s money whiche is taken to hem to kepe. And whan they ben requyred to
repaye hyt, they have no shame to denye hit appertly.
Wherof hit happend that ther was a marchaunt which had a good and a grete
name and renome of kepyng wel suche thynges as was delyveryd to hym to kepe.
But whan he sawe place and tyme, he reteyned hit lyke a theef. So hit befel that a
marchaunt of without forth herd the good reporte and fame of this man, cam to
hym, and delyverd hym grete tresour to kepe. And thys tresour abode three yere
in his kepyng. And after this thre yere, thys marchaunt came and requyred to have
his good delyverd to hym agayn. And thys man knewe wel that he had no recorde
ne witnes to preve on hym this dueté, nor he had no obligacion ne wrytyng of hym
therof, in suche wyse that he denyed al entierly and sayd playnly he knewe hym
not. And whan this good man herd and understood this, he went sorowfully and
wepyng from hym so ferre and longe that an olde woman mette wyth hym and
demaunded of hym the cause of his wepyng. And he sayd to her, “Woman hit
aperteyneth nothyng to thee! Goo thy waye!"
And she prayed hym that he wold telle her the cause of his sorowe, for
paraventure she myght geve hym counceyl good and proffytable. And thenne this
man tolde to her by ordre the caas of his fortune. And the olde woman, that was
wyse and subtil, demaunded of hym yf he had in that cité ony frende whiche wold
be faythful and trewe to hym. And he sayd “ye," that he had dyverse frendes. Than
sayd she, “Goo thou to them and saye to them that they doo ordeyne and bye
dyverce cofres and chestes, and that they doo fylle them wyth somme olde thynges
of no value, and that they fayne and say that they be ful of golde, silver, and other
jewels, and of moche grete tresour. And thenne that they brynge them to thys sayd
marchaunt, and to say to hym that he wold kepe them, for as moche as they had
grete trust in hym, and also that they have herd of his grete trouth and good renome,
and also they wold go into fer contré and shold be longe er they retorned agayn.
And whilis they speke to hym of this mater, thou shalt come upon them and requyre
hym that he doo delyver to thee that thou tokest to hym. And I trowe, bycause of tho
good men that than shal proffre to hym the sayd tresour and for the covetise to
have hit, he shal delyver to thee thy good agayn. But beware! Late hym not knowe
they ben thy good frendes ner of thy knowleche."
This was a grete and good counceyl of a woman. And verily it cometh of nature
often tymes to women to geve counceyl shortly and unadvysedly to thynges that
ben in doubte or perilous and nedeth hasty remedye. And as ye have herd, this
good man dyd, and did after her counceyl, and came upon them whan they spack
of the mater to the marchaunt for to delyver to hym the sayd cofres to kepe, whiche
his frendes had fayned, and requyred of hym that he had taken to hym to kepe.
And than anone the sayd marchaunt sayd to hym, “I knowe thee now wel. For I
have advysed me that thou art suche a man, and camest to me suche a tyme, and
delyvered to me suche a thynge whyche I have wel kept."
And thenne callyd his clerk and bad hym goo fetche suche a thyng in suche a
place and delyver hit to that good man, “for he delyverd hit to me." And than the
good man receyvyd his good and went his waye right joyously and glad. And this
marchaunt trichour and deceyvour was defrauded from his evyl malice. And he ne
had neyther that one ne that other onythyng that was of value.
And therfore hit is sayd in proverbe, “To defraude the begiler is no fraude."
And he that doth wel foloweth our Lord.
And Seneke sayth that charité enseigneth and techeth that men shold paye wel,
for good payement is somtyme good confessyon.
And this marchaunt trichour and deceyvour resemblith and is lyke to an hound
that bereth a chese in his mouth whan he swymmeth over a water. For whan he is
on the watre, he seeth the shadowe of the chese in the watre, and than he weneth
hit be another chese. And for covetyse to have that, he openyth his mouth to catche
that. And than the chese that he bare fallith doun into the watre, and thus he loseth
bothe two. And in the same wyse was servyd thys marchaunt deceyvour. For for to
have the cofres whiche he had not seen, he delyverd agayn that he wold have
holden wrongfully, and thus by his covetise and propre malyce he was deceyved.
And therfore hit apperteyneth to every good and wyse man to knowe and
considere in hymself how moche he hath receyved of other men. And upon what
condycion hit was delyverd to hym. And it is to wete that thys thyng apperteyneth to
receyvours and to chaungeours, and to alle trewe marchauntis and other, what that
somever they be, and ought to kepe theyr bookes of resaytes and of payementes of
whom and to whom, and what tyme and day. And yf ye demaunde what thyng
makyth them to forgete suche thynges as ben taken to them to kepe, I answer and
say that it is grete covetise for to have tho thynges to themself and never to departe
from them. And hit is alle her thought and desire to assemble alle the goodes that
they may gete, for they beleve on none other god, but on her richesses theyr hertes
ben so obstynat.
And this suffyseth of the marchauntes.
The fifthe chappitre of the thyrd book treteth of physiciens, medecynes, spycers, and
appotiquaries. Capitulo five.
The pawn that is sette tofore the quene signefyeth the physicien, spicer,
apotiquare, and is formed in the fygure of a man. And he is sette in a chayer as a
maistre, and holdeth in his right hand a book, and an ample or a boxe with
oynementis in his lyft hand. And at his gurdel his instrumentis of yron and of silver
for to make incisions and to serche woundes and hurtes, and to cutte apostumes.
And by thyse thynges ben knowen the surgyens. By the book ben understonden the
phisiciens and all gramariens, logyciens, maystres of lawe, of geometrye, arsmetrique,
musique, and of astronomye. And by the ampole ben signefyed the makers of
pygmentaries, spicers, and apotiquaries, and they that make confeccions, and
confites, and medecynes maad wyth precious spyce. And by the ferremens and
instrumentis that hangen on the gurdel ben signefyed the surgyens and the maysters.
And knowe ye for certeyn that a maystre and physicyen ought to knowe the
proporcions of lettres of gramayre, the monemens, the conclucions, and the sophyms
of logique, the gracious speche and utteraunce of rethorique, the mesures of the
houres and dayes, and of the cours of astronomye, the nombre of arsmetrique, and
the joyous songes of musique. And of al thyse tofore named, the maysters of
rethorique ben the chyef maysters in speculatyf. And the two last that ben practiciens
and werkes ben callyd physiciens and surgyens, how wel they ben sage and curious
in thyse sciences, and how wel that manny’s lyf is otherwhyle put in the ordonaunce
of the physicien or surgyen. Yf he have not sagesse and wysedom in hymself of
dyverce wrytynges and is not expert, and medlyth hym in the craft of physique, he
ought better be callyd a slear of peple than a phisicien or surgyen. For he may not
be a maystre but yf he be sewre and expert in the craft of phisike that he slee not
moo than he cureth and maketh hoole.
And therfore sayth Avycenne in an Anforysme: “Yf thou curest the seek man and
knowest not the cause wherof the maladye ought to be cured, hit ought to be sayd
that thou hast cured hym by fortune and happe more than by ony kunnyng.” And
in al thyse maner of people, ther ought to be meurté of good maners, curtosie of
wordes, chastité of the body, promysse of helthe, and, as to them that been seek,
contynuel vysitacion of them. And they ought to enquere the cause of theyr
sekenessys and the sygnes and tokens of theyr maladyes, as is rehercid in the bokes
of the auctours by right grete dyligence, and specially in the bookes of Ypocras,
Galiene, and of Avycene.
And whan many maysters and phisiciens ben assemblid tofore the pacient or
seke man, they ought not there to argue and dispute, one agaynst another. But
they ought to make good and symple colacion togeder in suche wyse as they be not
seen in theyr dysputyng one agaynst another for to encroche and gete more glory
of the world to them self than to trete the salute and helthe of the pacient and seek
man. I mervaylle why that, whan they see and knowe that whan the seek man hath
grete nede of helthe, wherfore than they make gretter objeccion of contrariousnes,
for as moche as the lyf of man is demened and put amonge them. But hit is by
cause that he is reputed most sage and wyse that argueth and bryngeth in most
subtiltees. And alle this maner is amonge doctours of lawe that tretith nothyng of
manne’s lyf but of temporel thynges that he is holden most wyse and best lerned,
that by hys counceyl can best accorde the contencions and dyssencions of men. And
therfore ought the phisiciens and surgyens leve, whan they be tofore the seek men,
al discencions and contrariousnes of wordes, in suche wyse that hit appere that
they studye more for to cure the seek men than for to despute.
And therfore is the phisicien duly sette tofore the quene, so that it is figured that
he ought to have in hymself chastyté and contynence of body. For hit apperteyneth
som tyme unto the phisicien to vysite and cure quenes, duchesses and countesses,
and alle other ladyes, and see and beholde somme secrete sekenessis that falle and
come otherwhile in the secretis of nature. And therfore hit aperteyneth to them
that they be chaste and folowe honesté and chastyté, and that they be ensaumple
to other of good contynence.
For Valerian rehercith that Ypocras was of mervayllous contynence of his body.
For whan he was in the scoles of Athenes, he had by hym a right fayr woman,
whiche was comyn. And the yong scolers and the joly felawes that were students
promysed to the woman a besaunte yf she myght or coude torne the corage of
Ypocras for to have to doon wyth her. And she came to hym by nyght and dyd so
moche by her craft that she laye wyth hym in his bedde. But she coude never do
so moche that she myght corumpe his chaste lvyyng ne defoule the crowne of his
conscience. And whan the yonge men knewe that she had ben wyth hym al the
nyght and coude not chaunge his contynence, they began to mocque her and to axe
and demaunde of her the besaunt that they had geven to her. And she answerd
that hit was holden and gaged upon an ymage. For as moche as she myght not
chaunge hys contynence, she callyd hym an ymage.
And in semblable wyse rehercith Valeryan of Scenocrates, phylosopher, that
there laye wyth hym a woman alle nyght and tempted hym dysordonatly. But that
right chaste man made never semblaunt to her, ner he never remevyd from hys
ferme purpoos, in suche wyse as she departed from hym al confused and shamed.
Cornelius Scipion, that was sent by the Romayns for to governe Spayn, as sone
as he entrid in to the castellys and into the townes of that londe, he began to take
aweye al tho thynges that myght stere or meve his men to lecherye, wherfore men
sayd that he drof and chased out of the hoost moo than two thousand bourdellys.
And he that was wyse knewe wel that delyte of lecherye corupted and apayred the
corages of tho men that ben abandoned to the same delyte.
And herof it is sayd in the fables of the poetes in the first book of the Truphes
of the Philosophres by figure that they that entrid in to the fonteyne of the sirenes or
mermaydens were corumped, and they took them awey wyth hem.
And also ye ought to knowe that they ought to entende dylygently to the cures
of the infirmytees in cyrurgerye. They ought to make theyr plaisters accordyng to
the woundes or soores. Yf the wounde be rounde, the enplastre must be rounde.
And yf hit be longe, hit must be longe. And otherwhyle hit must be cured by his
contrarye, lyke as it apperteyneth to phisique. For the hete is cured by colde, and
the colde by hete, and joye by sorowe and sorowe by joye. And hit happeth ofte
tymes that moche peple be in grete parille in takyng to moche joye and lese her
membris, and become half benomen in the sodeyn joye. And joye is a repleccion
of thynge that is delectable, sprad abrode in alle the membres wyth right grete
gladnes. And al men entende and desyre to have the sayd right grete joye naturelly,
but they knowe not what may ensue and come therof. And this joye cometh
otherwhile of vertue of conscience, and the wise man is not wythout this joye. And
thys joye is never interrupt ne in defaulte at no tyme, for hit cometh of nature. And
fortune may not take awey that nature geveth.
And Marcial sayth that joyes fugetyves abyde not long, but fle awey anone.
And Valerian rehercith that he that hath force and strengthe resonable hath
hit of veray matier of complecconn, and that cometh of love. And this joye hath as
moche power to departe the sowle fro the body as hath the thondre. Wherof hit
happend that there was a woman named Lyna, whiche had her husbond in the
warre in the shyppys of the Romayns, and she supposid verayly that he was deed.
But hit happend that he came agayn home, and as he entrid into his yate, his wyf
mette wyth hym sodaynly, not warned of his comyng, whiche was so gladde and
joyous that in enbracyng hym she fyl doun deed.
Also, of another woman to whom was reported by a fals messanger that her
sone was deed, whiche went hoom soroufully to her hows. And afterward, when her
sone came to her, as sone as she sawe hym, she was so esmoved wyth joye that she
deyde tofore hym. But this is not so grete mervayle of women as is of the men.
For the women ben lykened unto softe waxe or softe ayer, and therfore she is
callyd mulier, whiche is as moche to saye in Latyn as mollis aer and in Englissh “softe
ayer.” And hit happeth ofte tymes that the nature of them that ben softe and mole
taketh sonner inpressyon than the nature of men that be rude and stronge.
Valerie rehercith that a knyght of Rome named Instavlosus that had newly
conquerid and subdued the Yle of Corsika. And as he sacrefyed his goodes, he
receyvyd lettres from the senate of Rome in whiche were conteyned dyverce
supplicacions, the whiche whan he understood, he was so glad and so enterprised
wyth joye that he knewe not what to do. And than a grete fume or smoke yssued
out of the fire, in whiche he dispayrid and fyl into the fyre, where he was anone
And also it is sayd that Phylomenus lawghed so sore and distemperatly that he
dyed al lawghyng.
And we rede that Ypocras, the phisicien, fond remedye for thys joye. For whan
he had long dwellyd out of hys contrey for to lerne kunnyng and wysedom, and
shold retorne unto his parentis and frendes, whan he approchyd nygh them, he
sent a messanger tofore for to telle them his comyng and commaunded hym to
saye that he cam. For they had not longe tofore seen hym, and that they shold
attempre them in that joye or they shold see hym.
And also, we rede that Titus, the sone of Vaspasian, whan he had conquerd
Jherusalem and abode in the contrees by, he herde that his fader, Vaspasian, was
chosen by al the Senate for to governe the Empyre of Rome. Wherfore he had so
right grete joye that sodeynly he lost the strength of al his membris and became
al inpotent. And whan Josephus, that made the historye of the Romayns ayenst the
Jewys, whiche was a right wyse phisicien, sawe and knewe the cause of this sekenes
of the sayd Titus, he enquyred of his folke yf he had in hate ony man gretely so
moche that he myght not here speke of hym ne wel se hym. And one of the
servauntes of Tytus sayd that he had one persone in hate so moche that ther was
no man in his courte so hardy that durst name hym in hys presence.
And than Josephus assigned a day whan this man shold come and ordeyned a
table to be sette in the sight of Titus, and did hit to be replenysshed plentously
wyth al dayntees. And ordeyned men to be armed to kepe hym in suche wise that no
man shold hurt hym by the commaundement of Titus, and ordeyned boutelers,
cokes, and other officers for to serve hym worshipfully like an emperour. And
whan al this was redy, Josephus brought in this man that Titus hated, and sette
hym at the table tofore his eyen, and was servyd of yong men with grete reverence
right curtoisly. And whan Titus behelde his enemye sette tofore hym wyth so grete
honour, he began to chauffe hymself by grete felonye, and commaunded his men
that this man shold be slayn. And whan he sawe that none wold obeye hym, but
that they alwey servyd hym reverently, he waxe so ardant and enbracid wyth so
grete yre that he, that had lost al the force and strengthe of his body and was al
impotent in alle his membrys, recoverd the helth agayn and strengthe of hys
membris by the hete that entryd into the vaynes and synewes. And Josephus dyd
so moche that he was recoveryd and hoole, and that he helde that man no more
for hys enemye but helde hym for a veray trewe frende, and afterward maad hym
his loyal felowe and companyoun.
And the espycers and apoticaries ought to make trewly suche thynges as is
commaunded to them by the phisiciens. And they ought to accomplisshe their billes
and charge curiously with grete diligence, that for none other cause they shold be
ocupied but in makyng medecynes or confecconns trewly. And that they ought,
upon paryl of their sowle, not to forgete by neglygence ne rechelesnes to gyve one
medecyne for another, in suche wyse that they be not slears of men, and that they
doo put no false thynges in her spices for to enpayre, or encrecyng the weyght. For
yf they so do, they may better be callyd thevys than espycers or apoticaries. And
they that ben acustumed to make oynementis, they ought to make it proprely of
trewe stuffe and of good odoure after the receptes of the auncient doctours, and
after the forme that the phisiciens and surgiens devyse unto them.
Also, they ought to be ware that for none avayle ne gyfte that they ought have,
that they put in their medecynes nothyng venemous ne doyng hurte or scathe to
ony persone of whom they have no good ne veray knowleche, to the ende that they
to whom the medecynes shold be geven torne not to them hurt, ne domage, ne in
destrucconns of their neyghbours. And also that they that have mynystrid tho
thynges to them been not taken for parteners of the blame and of the synne of them.
The surgyens ought also to be debonayr, amyable, and to have pyté of theyr
pacients. And also, they ought not be hasty to launce and cutte apostumes and
soores, ne open the heedes, ner to arrache bones broken, but yf the cause be
apparant. For they myght ellys lose theyr good renomee, and myght better be
callyd bouchers thenne helars or guarysshours of woundes and sores. And also hit
behoveth that alle thys maner of peple aforesayd, that have the charge for to make
hoole and guarisshe alle maner of maladyes and infirmytees, that they first have
the cure of themself. And they ought to purge themself from alle apostumes and
alle vyces, in suche wyse that they be net and honeste and enformed in al good
maners. And that they shewe hem hole and pure and redy for to hele other.
And herof sayth Boecius [in] De consolacisone, in his first booke that the sterres
that ben hyd under the clowdes may gyve no light. And therfore, yf ony man wyl
beholde clerely the verité, late hym withdrawe hym fro the obscureté and derknes
of the cloudes of ygnoraunce. For whan the engyne of a man sheweth in joye or in
sorow, the pensee or thought is envoluped in obscureté and under the clowdes.
The sixte chappitre of the thyrd book treteth of the sixte pawn, whiche is lykenyd to taverners,
hostelers, and vytayllers. Capitulo six.
The sixte pawn, whiche stondeth tofore the alphyn on the lyfte syde, is made
in this forme, for hit is a man that hath the right hond stratched out as for to calle
men, and holdeth in his lift honde a loof of breed and a cuppe of wyn, and on his
gurdel hangyng a bondel of keyes. And this resemblith the taverners, hostelers,
and sellars of vytayl. And thyse ought properly to be sette tofore the alphyn, as
tofore a juge. For there sourdeth oft tymes amonge hem contencion, noyse, and
stryf, whyche behoveth to be determyned and trayted by the alphyn, whiche is juge
of the kyng. And hit apperteyneth to them for to seke and enquere for good wynes
and good vytayl for to gyve and selle to the byars, and to them that they herberowe.
And hit aperteyneth to them wel to kepe theyr herberowes and innes, and alle tho
thynges that they brynge into theyr lodgyng, and for to putte hyt in seure and sauf
warde and kepyng.
And the first of them is signefyed by the lyfte hand in whyche he bereth breed
and wyn. And the second is signefyed by the right hand whiche is stratched out to
calle men. And the thyrd is representyd by the keyes hangyng on the gurdel.
And thyse maner of peple ought to eschewe the synne of glotonye. For moche
people come into theyr howses for to drynke and for to ete, for whyche cause they
ought resonably to rewle themself and to refrayne them from to moche mete and
drynke, to the ende that they myght the more honestly delyver thynges nedeful
unto the peple that come unto them, and nothyng by outrage that myght noye the
For hit happeth oft tymes that there cometh of glotonye, tencions, stryfs,
riottes, wronges, and molestaconns, by whiche men lese otherwhyle their handes,
theyr eyen, and other of theyr membris, and somtyme ben slayn or hurte unto the
deth as it is wreton in Vitas Patrum, as on a tyme an hermyte went for to vysite his
gossibs. And the devyl apperid to hym on the wey in likenes of another hermyte
for to tempte hym, and said: “Thou hast left thyn hermytage and goest to visite thy
gossibs. Thee behoveth by force to do one of the three thynges that I shal say to
thee. Thou shalt chese whether thou wolt be dronk, or ellys have to do flesshlye
with thy gossyb, or ellis thou shalt slee her husbond, whiche is thy gossib also.”
And the hermyte, that thought for to chese the leste evyl, chase for to be dronke.
And whan he cam unto them, he drank so moche that he was veray dronk. And
whan he was dronke and eschauffyd with the wyn, he wold have a doo with his
gossyb. And her husbond withstood hym. And than the hermyte slewe hym and
after that laye by his gossyb and knewe her flesshly. And thus by this synne of
dronkenshyp, he accomplisshed the two other synnes.
By whiche thyng ye may understonde and knowe that whan the devyl wyl take
one of the castellys of Jhesu Cryst, that is to wete the body of a man or of a woman,
he doth as a prynce that setteth a siege tofore a castel that he wold wynne, whyche
entendeth to wynne the gate. For he knoweth wel whan he hath wonne the gate he
may sone doo his wylle wyth the castel. And in lyke wyse doth the devyl wyth every
man and womman. For whan he hath wonne the gate, that is to wete the gate of
the mouthe by glotonye or by ony other synne, he may do wyth the offyces of the
body al his wylle as ye have herd tofore. And therfore ought every man ete and
drynke sobrely in suche wyse as he may lyve, and not lyve to ete glotonsly and for
to drynke dronk. Ye se comunely that a grete bole is suffisid with right a litil
pasture, and that one wode suffiseth to many olephauntes. And hit behoveth a man
to be fedde by the erthe or by the see. Nevertheles, it is no grete thynge to fede the
bely, nothyng so grete as is the desire of many metes.
Wherof Quyntilian saith that hit happeth ofte tymes in grete festes and dyners
that we be fylled with the sight of the noble and lichorous metis, and whan we wold
ete, we ben saciat and fylled.
And therfore it is sayd in proverbe: “Hit is better to fille the belye than the eye.”
And Lucan saith that “glotony is the moder of al vices, and especial of lecherye,
and also is destroyar of al goodes, and may not have suffysaunce of lytil thynge, a
covetous honger, what sekest thou mete and vytayllis on the lande and in the see.
And thy joye is nothyng ellis but to have playnteuous dysshes and wel filled at thy
table. Lerne how men may demene theyr lyf with litil thynge.”
And Cathon saith, “In no wyse obeye to glotonye, whiche is frende to lecherye.”
And the holy doctour Saynt Augustyn saith, “The wyn eschauffith the bely that
falleth anone to lecherye.” The bely and the membris ben neighbours to lecherie,
and thus the vice of glotonye provoketh lecherye, wherof cometh forgetenes of his
mynde and destruccion of alle quyck and sharpe reason, and is cause of
distemperaunce of his wyttes. What synne is fowler than this synne and more
stynkyng, ne more dommageous? For this synne hath taken awey the vertu of man.
His prowesse languyssheth, his vertue is torned to diffame, the strengthe of body
and of corage is torned by thee.
And therfore saith Vasilly la Graunt: “Late us take hede howe we serve the bely
and the throte by glotonye like as we were dombe bestys. And we studye for to be
lyke unto belues of the see, to whom nature hath gyven to be alwey enclyned
toward the erthe, and therto loke for to serve their belyes.”
And herof sayth Boecius [in] De consolacione in his fourth book, that a man that
lyveth and doth not the condicions of a man may never be in good condicion.
Than must hit nedes be that he be transported in nature of a beste or of a belue of
the see. How wel that right grete men and women, ful of mervayllous sciences and
noble counceyl in thyse dayes in the world, be norisshed in this glotonye of wynes
and metes, and ofte tymes ben overseen. How suppose ye is hit not right a perilous
thyng that a lord or governour of the peple and comyn wele, how wel that he be
wyse, yf he eschauffe hym sone, so that the wyn or other drynke surprise hym and
overcome his brayn? His wisedom is lost.
For as Cathon sayth: “Ire enpessheth the corage in suche as he may not kepe
verité and trouth.” And anone as he is chauffid, lecherye is mevyd in hym in suche
wyse that the lecherye makyth hym to meddle in dyverse vylayns dedes, for than
his wysedom is a slepe and goon.
And therfore saith Ovyde in his book De remedio amoris: “Yf thou take many and
dyverce wynes, they apparayle and enforce the corages to lecherye.”
And Thobye wytnessyth in his book that luxurie destroyeth the body and
mynyssheth rychessys. She loseth the sowle, she febleth the strengthe, she blyndeth
the syght, and maketh the voys hoors and rawe. A right evyl and foule synne of
dronkenshyp, by thee perisshith virgynyté, whiche is suster of aungellis, possedyng
al goodnes and seurté of al joyes pardurable.
Noe was one tyme so chauffyd wyth wyn that he discoverd and shewid to hys
sones his prevy membris in suche wyse as one of his sones mocqued hym, and that
other coverd hem. And Loth, whiche was a man right chaste, was so assoted by
moche drynkyng of wyn that on a mounteyn he knewe hys doughters carnelly, and
had to doo wyth them as they had ben his propre wyves.
And Crete rehercith that Boece, whiche was flour of the men, tresour of richesses,
synguler hous of sapyence, myrrour of the world, odour of good renomee, and
glorie of his subgettis, lost al thise thynges by his luxurie. We have seen that dyverce
that were joyned by grete amytie to geder whiles they were sobre, that that one
wold put his body in parell of deth for that other, and whan they were eschauffid
with wyn and dronke, they have ronne eche upon other for to slee hem. And
somme have ben that have slayn so his frende.
Herodes Antipas had not doon Saynt John Baptist to ben beheded, ne had the
dyner ben ful of glotonye and dronkship. Balthazar, kyng of Babylone, had not
been chaced out of his kyngdom, ne be slayn, yf he had be sobre emonge hys
peple, whom Tyrus and Dares fond dronken and slewe hym.
The hostelers ought to be wel bespoken and curtoys of wordes to them that they
receyve in to theyr lodgyng. For fayr speche, and joyous chiere and debonayr, cause
men to gyve the hosteler a good name. And therfore hit is sayd in a comyn
proverbe: “Curtoyse langage and wel sayeng is moche worth and coste lytyl.” And
in another place it is sayd that curtosye passeth beaulté.
Also, for as moche as many pareylls and adventures may happen on the wayes
and passages to hem that been herberowed wyth in theyr innes, therfore they ought
to accompanye them whan they departe, and enseigne them the weyes and telle to
them the parilles, to the ende that they may surely goo theyr vyage and journey.
And also they ought to kepe theyr bodyes, theyr goodes, and the good fame and
renomee of theyr innes.
We rede that Loth, whan he had receyvyd the aungellys into his hows right
debonayrly, whiche he had supposid had ben mortal men and straungers, to the
ende that they shold eskape the disordynate and unnaturel synne of lecherye of the
Sodomytes, by the vertu of good fayth, he sette a part the naturel love of a fader
and proferd to them his doughters, whiche were vyrgyns, to the ende that they
shold kepe them and defende them fro that villayn and horrible synne.
And knowe ye for certeyn that al tho thynges that been taken and delyverd to
kepe to the hoste or hostessis, they ought to be sauf and yelden ageyn without
appayryng. For the hoste ought to knowe who that entrith in to hys hous for to be
herberowed takith hit for his habitacion for the tyme he hymself, and alle suche
thynges as he bryngeth wyth hym, ben commysed of right in the warde and kepyng
of the hoste or hosteler, and ought to be as sauf as they were put in his owne
And also suche hostes ought to holde servauntes in theyr hows whiche shold be
trewe and without avarice, in suche wyse that they coveyte not to have the goodes
of theyr ghestes, and that they take not awey the provender fro theyr horses whan
hit is gyven to them, that by the occasion therof, their horses perisshe not, ne faylle
theyr maister whan they have nede, and myght falle in the handes of theyr enemyes.
For than shold the servauntes be cause of that evyl wherfore their maysters shold
see to. For without doubte, this thyng is worse than thefte.
Hit happend on a tyme in the parties of Lombardye in the cyté of Jene that a
noble man was lodgyd in an hostelrye wyth moche companye. And whan they had
gyven provendour to theyr horses, in the first oure of the nyght, the servaunt of the
hows came secretly tofore the horses for to stele awey theyr provender. And whan
he came to the lorde’s hors, the hors caught with his teth his arme and helde hit fast
that he myght not escape. And whan the theef sawe that he was so strongly holden,
he began to crye for the grete payn that he suffrid and felte, in suche wyse that the
noble manny’s meyné cam wyth the hoste. But in no maner, ner for ought they
coude doo, they coude not take the theef out of the horse’s mouth unto the tyme
that the neyghbours, whiche were noyed wyth the noyse, came and sawe hit. And
the theef was knowen and taken and brought tofore the juge, and confessyd the
feet, and by sentence diffynytyf was hanged and lost his lyf. And in the same wyse
was another that dyd so. And the hors smote hym in the vysage that the prynte of
the hors shoo and nayles abode ever in his vysage.
Another caas right cruel and vilaynous fyl at Tholouse. Hit happend a yong man
and his fader went a pylgremage to Saynt James in Galice and were lodgyd in an
hostelrye of an evyl hoost, and ful of right grete covetyse, inso moche that he
desired and coveyted the goodes of the two pylgrymes. And here upon advysed hym,
and put a cuppe of silver secretly in the male that the yonge man bare. And whan
they departed out of theyr lodgyng, he folowed after hem and sayd tofore the peple
of the court that they had stolen and borne awey his cuppe. And the yong man
excused hymself and his fader and sayd they were innocent of that caas. And thenne
they serchyd hem, and the cuppe was founden in the male of the yonge man. And
forthwyth he was dampned to deth and hanged as a theef. And thys feet doon, al
the goodes that longed to the pylgrym were delyverd to the hoste as confisqued.
And than the fader went forth for to do his pylgremage. And whan he came
ageyn, he must nedes come and passe by the place where his sone hynge on the
gybet. And as he came he complayned to God and to Saynt James how they myght
suffre this adventure to come unto hys sone. Anone his sone that hyng spake to his
fader and said how that Saynt James had kept hym wythout harme, and bad his
fader goo to the juge and shewe to hym the myracle, and how he was innocent of
that fait. And whan this thyng was knowen, the sone of the pylgrym was taken doun
fro the gybet, and the cause was brought tofore the juge, and the hoost was accused
of the trayson. And he confessyd his trespaas and sayd he dyd hit for covetyse to
have his good. And than the juge dampned hym for to be hanged on the same
gybet where as the yonge pylgrym was hanged.
And that I have sayd of the servauntes beyng men, the same I say of the women
as chaumberers and tapsters. For semblable caas fyl in Spayn at Saynt Donne of a
chaumberer that put a cuppe in lyke wyse in the scrippe of a pylgryme bycause he
wold not have a do wyth her in the synne of lecherye, wherfore he was hanged. And
his fader and moder that were there wyth hym went and dyd her pylgremage. And
whan they came agayn, they fonde her sone lyvyng. And than they went and tolde
the juge, whiche juge sayd that he wold not beleve hit til a cok and an henne,
whiche rosted on the fyre, were a lyve, and the cok crewe. And anone they began
to wexe a lyve, and the cok crewe and began to crowe and to pasture. And whan the
juge sawe this myracle, he went and toke doun the sone, and made the chaumberer
to be taken and to be hanged. Wherfore I say that the hostes ought to holde no
tapsters ne chaumberers but yf they were good, meure, and honeste. For many
harmes may befalle and come by the disordenate rewle of servauntes.
The seventh chappitre of the thyrd tractate treteth of kepars of townes, customers, and tolle
gaderers. Capitulo seven.
The gardes and kepars of citees ben signefyed by the seventh pawn, whiche
stondeth in the lyft side tofore the knyght, and is formed in the semblaunce of a
man holdyng in his lyft hond grete keyes and in hys right hand a potte and an elle
for to mesure wyth, and ought to have on his gurdel a purse open. And by the keyes
ben signefied the kepars of the citees and townes and comyn offyces. And by the
potte and elle ben signefyed them that have the charge to weye and mete and
mesure trewly. And by the purse been signefyed them that receyve the costumes,
tolles, scawage, peages, and duetees of the cytees and townes.
And thyse peple ben sette by right tofore the knyght. And hit behoveth that the
gardes and offycers of the townes be taught and ensigned by the knyghtes, and that
they knowe and enquyre how the citees and townes ben governed, whiche
aperteyneth to be kept and defended by the knyghtes. And first hit aperteyneth
that the kepars of the cyté be dyligent, besy, clere sayeng, and lovers of the comyn
prouffyt and wele, as wel in the tyme of pees as in the tyme of warre. They ought
alwey to goo in the cyté and enquyre of al thynges and ought reporte to the
governours of the cyté suche thyng as they fynde and knowe, and suche thynge as
aperteyneth and to the seurté of the same, and to denounce and telle the defaultes
and parellys that there be. And yf hit be in tyme of warre, they ought not to open
the gates by nyght to no man.
And suche men as ben put in this offyce ought to be of renome and fame, trewe,
and of good conscience, in suche manere that they love them of the cyté or towne,
and that they put to no man ony blame or vylanye with out cause by envye, covetyse,
ne by hate, but they ought to be sory and hevy whan they see that ony man shold
be compleyned on for ony cause. For hit happeth ofte tymes that dyverce offycers
accuse the good peple fraudulently, to the ende that they myght have a thanke and
ben praysed, and to abyde stylle in theyr offyces. And trewly hit is a grete and hye
maner of malice to be in wylle to doo evyl and dyffame other wythout cause to
grete glorye to hymself.
Also, the kepars and offycers of cytees ought to be suche that they suffre no
wronegs ne vylonyes tofore the juges and governours of citees wythout cause to be
doon to them that ben innocentes, but they ought to have theyr eyen and regarde
unto hym that knoweth the hertes and thoughtes of al men. And they ought to
drede and doubte Hym with out whos grace theyr watche and kepyng is nought,
and that promyseth to them that doubte Hym shal be ewrous and happy. And by
Hym ben al thynges accomplisshed in good.
Hit is founden in the histories of Rome that the Emperour Frederik the Second
dyd doo make a gate of marble of mervayllous werk and enteyle in the cyté of
Capuane upon the watre that renneth about the same. And upon this gate he made
an ymage lyke hymself sittyng in his magesté and two juges, whiche were sette one
on the right side and that other on the lift side. And upon the sercle above the hede
of the juge on the right side was wreton: “Al they entre seurely that wyl lyve
purely.” And upon the sercle of the juge on the lift side was wreton: “The untrewe
man ought to doubte to doo thyng that he be put to pryson fore.” And on the
sercle above the emperour was wreton: “I make them lyve in mysery that I see lyve
dysmesurably.” And therfore hit aperteyneth to a juge to shewe to the peple for to
drede and doubte to do evyl. And hyt aperteyneth to the gardes and offycers to
doubte the juges and to doo trewly theyr servyces and offyces. And hit aperteyneth
to a prynce to menace the traytours and the malefactours of right grevous paynes.
And herof we fynde in the auncient histories of Cecille that the Kyng Denys had
a broder whom he lovyd sore wel. But alwey where he went, he made hevy and triste
semblaunt. And thus as they went bothe to gyder on a tyme in a chare, ther cam
agayn hem two poure men with glad vysage but in foule habyte. And the kyng,
anone as he sawe them, sprange out of his chare and receyvyd them worshipfully
with grete reverence, wherfore his barons were not onely amervaylled but also angry
in their corages. Notwithstondyng, fere and drede letted them to demaunde hym
the cause, but they made his broder to demaunde the cause and to knowe the
certeynté. And whan he had herde his broder say to hym the demaunde, that he
was blessyd and also a kyng whiche was riche and ful of delytes and worshyppes, he
demaunded hym yf he wold assaye and knowe the grace and beneurté of a kyng.
And his broder answerd “ye,” and that he desired and requyred hit of hym. And
than the kyng commaunded unto alle hys subgettis that they shold obeye in al
thynges onely unto his broder. And than, whan the oure of dyner cam and al
thynge was redy, the broder was sette at the table of the kyng. And whan he sawe
that he was servyd with right noble botelers and other offycers, and he herde the
sownes of musique right melodyous, the kyng demaunded hym than yf he supposid
that he were benerous and blessyd. And he answerd, “I wene wel that I am right
blessyd and fortunat, and that I have wel proved and fele, and am expert therof.”
And than the kyng secretly made to be hanged over hys heed a sharpe cuttyng
swerde, hangyng by an hors here or a sylken threde so smale that no man myght
see hit where by hit henge. And whan he sawe his broder put no more his hand to
the table, ne had no more regarde unto his servauntes, he sayd to hym: “Why ete
ye not? Ar ye not blessid? Say yf ye fele onythyng otherwyse than blessid and wel.”
And he answerd, “For as moche as I see thys sharpe swerde hangyng so subtilly
and parilously over myn hede, I fele wel that I am not blessyd, for I drede that hit
shold falle on my hede.”
And thenne dyscoverd the kyng unto hem al wherfore he was alwey so hevy,
cherid, and tryste. For where he was, he thought alwey on the swerde of the secrete
vengaunce of God, whyche he behelde alwey in his herte, wherfore he had alwey
in hymself grete drede. And therfore he worshyppyd gladly the poure peple with
glad vysage and good conscience. And by this sheweth the kyng wel that what man
that is alwey in drede is not alwey mery or blessyd.
And herof sayth Quyntilian that thys drede surmounteth alle other maleurtees
and evylles, for it is maleurté of drede nyght and day. And it is verité that to hym
that is doubted of moche peple, so muste he doubte moche. And that lorde is lasse
thenne his servauntes that dredyeth his servauntes. And truly hit is a right sure
thyng to drede nothyng but God. And somtyme, right hardy men ben constrayned
to lyve in drede. Drede causith a man to be besy to kepe the thynges that be
commysed to hym that they perisshe not. But to be to moche hardy and to moche
ferdful, bothe two ben vices.
The comyn officers ought to be wyse and wel advysed in suche wise that they
take not of the peple ne requyre no more than they ought to have by reson, ne that
they take of the sellars ne of the byars no more than the right custume, for they bere
the name of a persone, and therfore ought they to shewe them comune to alle
men. And for as moche as the byars and sellars have somtyme moche langage, they
ought to have wyth them these vertues, that is to wete pacience and good corage wyth
honesté. For they that ben despytous to the comune been otherwhile had in vylayns
despite. Therfore, beware that thou have no despyte unto the poure mendycants,
yf thou wylt come and atteyne to thynges soverayn, for the injurye that is doon
wythout cause torneth to diffame hym that doth hit.
A jogheler on a tyme behelde Socrates and sayd to hym: “Thou hast the eyen
of corumpour of children and art as a traytre.” And whan his dysciples herde hym,
they wold avengyd theyr maister. But he reprevyd hem by suche sentence sayeng:
“Suffre my felawes, for I am he and suche one as he sayth by the sight of my vysage.
But I refrayne and kepe me wel from suche thyng.”
This same Socrates hymself was chidde and right foul spoken to of hys wyf, and
she imposid to hym many grete injuries wythout nombre. And she was in a place
above over his heed. And whan she had brawled ynough, she made her water and
poured hit on his heed. And he answerd to her nothyng agayn, sauf whan he had
dryed and wyped his heed, he said he knewe wel that after suche wynde and
thondre shold come rayne and watre. And the philosophers blamed hym that he
coude not governe two women, that was his wyf and his chaumberer, and shewyd
hym that one cokke governed wel fifteen hennes. He answerd to them that he was
so used and acustumed with theyr chidyng that the chidyngis of them ne of
straungers dyd hym no greef ne harme: “Gyve thou place to hym that brawleth or
chideth, and in suffryng hym thou shalt be his vaynquysshour.”
And Cathon saith: “Whan thou lyvest rightfully, retche thee not of the wordes
of evyl peple.”
And therfore hit is sayd in a comyn proverbe: “He that wel doth retcheth not
who seeth hit, and hit is not in our power to lette men to speke.”
And Prosper sayth that to good men lacketh no goodnes, ner to evyl men
tencions, stryves, and blames.
And pacience is a right noble vertu, as a noble versefier saith that pacience is
a right noble maner to vaynquysshe. For he that suffreth overcometh. And yf thou
wylt vaynquysshe and overcome, lerne to suffre.
The peagers, ner they that kepe passages, ought not to take other peage ne
passage money but suche as the prynce or the lawe have establisshed, so that they
be not more robbours of money than receyvours of peage and passage. And hit
aperteyneth to them to goo out of the perelous weyes and doubteuous for to kepe
theyr offyce. And they ought to requyre theyr passage of them that owe to paye hit
wythout noyeng and contencion. And they ought not to love the comyn prouffyt
so moche that they falle in the hurtyng of theyr conscience, for that shold be a
maner of robberye.
And herof saith Ysaye: “Woo to thee that robbest! For thou, thyself, shalt be
The gardes or porters of the gates of citees and of the comyn good ought to be
good and honeste. And al trouth ought to be in them, and they ought not to take
ne withdrawe the goodes of the comyn that they have in kepyng more than
aperteyneth to them for their pencion or fee, so that they that ben made tresorers
and kepars ben not named thevys. For who that taketh more than his, he shal never
thryve with al, ner shal not enjoye hit longe. For of evyl goten good, the third
heyre shal never rejoyse.
And thys suffyseth.
This eyght chappytre of the third book treteth of ribauldes, players of dyse, and of messagers
and currours. Capitulo eight.
The ribauldes, players at dyse, and the messagers and currours ought to be sette
tofore the rook, for hit apperteyneth to the rook, whiche is vicayr of the kyng to
have men covenable for to renne here and there for to enquyre and espye the places
and citees that myght be contrarie to the kyng. And thys pawn that representeth this
peple ought to be formyd in this maner: he must have the forme of a man that
hath long heeris and black, and holdeth in his ryght hand a litil money, and in his
lift hand thre dyse, and aboute hym a corde in stede of a gurdel, and [he] ought to
have a boxe ful of lettres.
And by the first, whiche is money, is understonde they that be fole large and
wastours of theyr goodes. And by the second, whiche is the dyse, ben represented
the playes at dyse, ribauldes, and butters. And by the thyrd, whyche is the boxe ful
of lettris, ben represented the messagers, currours, and berars of lettres. And ye shal
understonde that the rooke, whiche is vycayre of the kyng, whan he seeth tofore
hym suche peple as ben fole large and wastours, he is bounden to constitute and
ordeygne upon them tutours and curatours to see that they ete not ne waste in
suche maner their goodes ne their heritages, that poverté constrayne hem not to
stele. For he that of custume hath had habundaunce of money, and goeth and
dispendeth hit folily, and wasteth hit awey, whan he cometh to poverté and hath
nought, he must nedes begge and axe his breed, or ellis he must be a theef. For
suche maner of peple, yf they have been delycious, they wyl not laboure, for they
have not lernyd hit. And yf they be noble and comen of gentylmen, they be
ashamyd to axe and begge, and thus must they by force, whan they have wasted
theyr owne propre goodes, yf they wyl lyve, they must stele and robbe the goodes
of other. And ye shalle understonde that fole large is a ryght evyl vyce. For how wel
that she doeth good and prouffyt somtyme to other, yet she doth harme and
dommage to hym that so wasteth.
Cassiodore admonesteth the fole larges to kepe their thynges that by no necessité
they falle in poverté and that they be not constrayned to begge ne to stele of other
men. For he sayth that hit is gretter subtilté to kepe wel his owne goodes than to
fynde straunge thynges, and that it is gretter vertue to kepe that is goten than to
gete and wynne more.
And Claudyan saith in like wyse in his book that hyt is a gretter thynge and
better to kepe that is goten than to gete more. And therfore hit is sayd that the poure
demaundeth and beggith or he felith. And also hit is said that he that dispendeth
more than he hath without stroke, he is smyton to the deth.
There was a noble man named John de Ganazath, whiche was right riche. And
this man had but two doughters, whom he maried to two noble men. And whan he
had maried them, he loved so wel his sones-in-lawe, theyr husbondes, that in space
and successyon of tyme, he departed to them al his goodes temporel. And as longe
as he gaf to them, they obeyed hym and were right dyligent to plese and serve
So hit befel that on a tyme that he had alle gyven in so moche that he had right
nought. Than hit happend that they to whom he had gyven his goodes, whiche
were wont to be amyable and obeysaunt to hym as longe as he gaf, whan the tyme
came that he was poure and knewe that he had nought, they became unkynde,
dysagreable, and dysobeysaunt. And whan the fader sawe that he was deceyvyd by
his debonayrté and love of his doughters, he desyred and coveyted sore to eschewe
Atte laste he went to a marcheunt that he knewe of olde tyme and requyrid him
to lene to hym ten thousand pound for to paye and rendre agayn wythin thre dayes.
And he lente hit hym. And whan he had brought hit into hys hous, hit happend
that hit was a day of a solempne feste, on whiche day he gaf to his doughters and
her husbond a right noble dyner. And after dyner he entrid into his chaumbre
secretly wyth them, and drewe out of a coffre that he had do make al newe shittyng
wyth thre lockes, the money that the marchaunt had lente hym, and poured hit out
upon a tapite that his doughtres and their husbondes myght see hit. And whan he
had shewyd hit unto them, he put hit up ageyn and put hit into the cheste, faynyng
that hit had been al his. And whan they were departed, he bare the money home
to the marchaunt that he had borowed hit of.
And the next day after, his doughters and their husbondes axyd of hym how
moche money was in the cheste that was shette wyth thre lockis. And than he fayned
and sayd that he had therin twenty-five thousand pounde, whiche he kept for to
make his testament and for to leve to his doughters and hem yf they wold bere
hem as wel to hym afterward as they did whan they were maried. And than whan
they herde that, they were right joyous and glad. And they thought and concluded
to serve hym honourably as wel in clothyng as in mete and drynke, and of alle
other thynges necessarye to hym unto hys ende. And after this, whan the ende of
hym began to approche, he callyd his doughters and their husbondes, and sayd to
hem in this manere: “Ye shalle understonde that the money that is in the cheste
shette under thre lockes I wyl leve to you, savyng I wyl that ye geve in my presence,
er I dye whiles I lyve, to the frere prechours an hondred pounde, and to the frere
menours an hondred pounde, and to the heremytes of Saynt Austyn fifty pound to
the ende that whan I am buryed and put in the erthe, ye may demaunde of them
the keyes of the chest where my tresour is inne, whiche keyes they kepe. And I have
put on eche keye a bylle and writyng in witnessyng of the thynges above sayd.”
And also ye shal understonde that he dyd to be gyven, whiles he lay in his deth
bedde, to eche chirche and recluse and to pour peple, a certeyn quantité of money
by the handes of his doughter’s husbondes, whiche they dyd gladly in hope to have
shortly the money that they supposid in the cheste. And whan hit came to the last
day that he dyed, he was borne to chirche and his exequye doon and was buried
solempnly. And the seventh day, the servyse worshypfully accomplisshed, they went
for to demaunde the keyes of the religyous men that they had kept, whiche were
delyverd to them. And than they went and opend the coffre where they supposid
the money had ben inne. And there they fond nothyng but a grete clubbe. And on
the handlyng was wreton: “I, John of Canazath, make this testament: that he be slayn
wyth thys clubbe that leveth his owne prouffyt and gyveth hit to other, as who sayth
hit is no wysedom for a man to gyve his good to his chyldren and kepe none for
And ye shal understonde that hit is a grete folye to dyspende and waste his
good in hope for to recover hit of other, be hit of sone or doughter, or right nygh
kynne. For a man ought to kepe in his hand in dispendyng his owne goodes tofore
he see that he dispende other mennys. And he ought not to be holden for a good
man that hath litil renomee and spendeth many thynges. And I trowe that suche
persones wold gladly make noveltees as for to noye and greve seignories and meve
warres and tencions ageynst them that habounde in richessis and goodes, and also
make extorcions, clamours, and tribulaconns agenst their lordes to the ende to
waste the goodes of the peple, lyke as they have wasted theyres. And suche a wastour
of goodes may never be good for the comyn prouffyt.
And ye shal understonde that after these wastours of goodes we saye that the
players of dyse and they that use bordellys ben worst of al other. For whan the hete
of playeng at the dyse and the covetise of theyr stynkyng lecherye hath brought
hem to poverté, hit foloweth by force that they must ben thevys and robbours. And
also dronkenshyp, glotenye, and alle maner of evyls folowe them and myschyef. And
they folowe gladly the companyes of knyghtes and of noble men whan they goon
unto the warre or bataylles. And they coveyte not so moche the victorye as they doo
the robberye. And they doo moche harme as they goo, and they brynge lityl gayn
Wherof hit happend on a tyme that Saynt Bernard rode on an hors about the
contrey and mette wyth an hasardour, or dyse player, which sayd to hym: “Thou,
Goddes man, wylt thou playe at dyse with me, thyn hors agenst my sowle?”
To whom Saint Bernard answerd: “Yf thou wylt oblyge thy sowle to me agenst
my hors, I wyl alyght doun and playe wyth thee. And yf thou have mo poyntes than
I on thre dyse, I promyse thee thou shalt have myn hors.”
And thenne he was glad, and anone caste thre dyse. And on eche dyse was a
sise, whiche made eighteen poyntes. And anone he took the hors by the brydel, as
he that was seure that he had wonne, and sayd that the hors was his. And than
Saynt Bernard sayd: “Abyde my sone, for there be mo poyntes on the dyse than
eighteen.” And than he cast the dyse in suche wyse that one of the three dyse clefte
a sondre in the myddes. And on that one parte was six, and on that other side an
aas, and eche of that other was a sise. And than Saynt Bernard sayd that he had
wonne his sowle for as moche as he had cast on thre dyse nineteen poyntes. And
than whan this player sawe and aperceyvyd thys myracle, he gaf his sowle to Saynt
Bernard and became a monke and finysshed his lyf in good werkys.
The currours and berars of lettres ought hastely and spedely doo her vyage that
is commaunded hem without taryeng. For theyr taryeng myght noye and greve
them that sende hem forth, or ellis them to whom they be sent to, and torne hem
to right grete dommage or vylonye, for whiche cause every noble man ought wel
to take hede to whom he delyver his lettres and his maundementis.
And otherwhiles suche peple ben joghelers and dronklewe, and goon out of
their weye for to see abbayes and noble men for to have avauntage. And hit happeth
ofte tymes that whan suche messagers or currours ben enpesshid by ony tarieng,
that other currours bere letters contrarye to hys and come tofore hym, of whiche
thynges ofte tymes cometh many thynges discovenable of losse of frendes, of castellys,
and of lande and many other thynges as in the feet of marchaundyses. And
otherwhile hit happeth that a prynce, for the faulte of suche messangers, leseth to
have victorye upon his enemyes.
And also, there be somme that, whan they come in a cité where they have not
ben tofore, they ben more besy to visite the cyté and the noble men that dwelle
therin than they ben to do theyr voyage, whiche thyng they ought not to do, but yf
they had special charge of them that sent hem forth so to doo. And also whan they
be sent forth of ony lordes or marchauntes, they ought to be wel ware that they
charge hem not wyth over moche mete on mornynges ne wyth to moche wyne on
evenynges, wherby her sinewes and vaynes myght be grevyd that they must for
faute of good rewle tarye. But they ought to goo and come hastely for to reporte
to their maysters answers as hit aperteyneth.
And thise suffysen of the thynges above sayd.