The Game and Playe of the Chesse: Book Two
BOOK TWO: FOOTNOTES
1 purpure, purple.
2 ceptre, scepter.
4 corone, crown.
5 replenysshed, filled.
8 royame, realm.
10 appel, apple.
11 aperteyneth unto, is the responsibility of.
13 debonayr, gracious or meek.
14 debonayrté, graciousness.
16 amolissheth, appeases.
19 requyred of, asked.
20 smyten of, cut off.
23 vylonye, shameful behavior or language.
25–26 And that myght not suffyse hym, And as if that were not enough.
26 cratchid, scratched; vysage, face; suffryd, endured.
27 curtesye, courtesy.
28 avengyd, avenged.
28–29 so hardy so to doo, so rashly bold to do such a thing.
30 frende, friend.
32 “Ne doubte thee no thyng," Do not worry yourself.
33 also wel he was, he was not hurt; fro than forthon, from that time forth; tofore, before.
34 respited hym, granted respite to him.
38 candellis, candles.
39 jape, joke.
41 dronkenshyp, drunkenness.
42 punysshid, punished; preysed, praised.
45 verité, truth.
46 verrytable and stable, true and unchanging.
47 ooste, army.
50 to desire and requyre of hym, i.e., to plead for the city.
51 supposid, prepared; axyd, asked.
52 brake his demaunde, interrupted his request.
53 goddes, gods.
55 oth, oath; suffrid, allowed.
56 lever, rather.
59 parole, oath.
60 who, how.
61 her, their; sealis, seals.
62 faylleth, fail.
64 pietous, merciful or good.
66 boole of coppre, a copper bull; lityl wyket, small door.
67 brent, burnt.
68 voys, voice.
69 lasse pyté, less mercy.
73 alowed, praised.
74 assay, try (test); gefte, gift.
77 purchaseth unto other, gives to another.
79 of verry force, necessarily.
80 intituled, entitled.
81 theef of the see, pirate; rovar, wanderer (pirate).
82 dyd hym, commanded him.
83 afore, before; noyous, annoying.
84 agayn, in reply.
86 oon galey, one galley or ship; tweyn, two.
88 yf fortune were for me in suche wyse, (i.e., if I were rich like you).
91–92 as thou ne say that, so that you can no longer say that.
92 mavaysté, badness.
93 justicier, judge.
94 signefyeth, is represented by.
95 oonly, alone; belevyd, believed.
97 a trewe, a true one.
98–99 in partye, both.
100 togyder, together.
101 kepen them to, mate with.
102 dowves, doves; turtils, turtledoves.
103–04 nothyng norisshith, does not care for.
105 entente, purpose.
106 don they agaynst, they go against; leve, leave.
109 for as moche as, because.
110 how wel that, although.
111 ostage, hostage.
112 solas, comfort.
112–13 assured and handfast, promised and engaged.
114 not withstondyng that, although.
115 dyd do calle, had summoned; kynnesmen, kinsmen.
117 ordeyned, commanded; deel, part.
118 fraunchise, generosity.
119 torned, turned.
122 chayer, chair.
124 mantel, cloak; furrid wyth ermynes, lined with ermine.
125 amplexions and enbrasynges, embraces.
127 beclyppe, embrace.
129 chosers, choosers; accorde, be in accord.
131 convenyent, appropriate.
132 lignage, lineage; enseygned, taught.
133 norisshyd, nourished; tatches, gifts.
134 meve, make.
136–37 not curious in norysshyng of her chyldren, not fastidious in the rearing of her children.
138 fait and werkes, deed and works; wete, say.
145 payn, pain; hedes, heads.
146 Senatoyre, Senate chamber.
149 defended, prohibited.
150–51 one tyme, and afterward, alternately or by turns.
152 in no wyse, at all.
154 feyned a lesing, told a lie.
156 comyn wele, common good.
158 defended, prohibited.
159 gossyb, soulmate (gossip).
161 anone after, soon after.
162 had lever, would prefer.
164 abasshyd, surprised.
164–65 wyst not to say, did not know what to say.
165 tyl, until.
166 caas and fayt, reasons and circumstances.
168 ingenye, ingenuity.
169 forthwyth, immediately.
170 fro than forthon, from that point on.
173 estate, class.
181 stowped, stooped; on a tyme, one time.
182 stynkyng breeth, bad breath.
184 defaute, fault.
185 pourgyd, purged.
186 kyst, kissed.
187 praysed, praised; synguler lawde, special praise.
188 wenyng, believing.
189 sonner, sooner.
192 marye, marry.
194 ever, always; aferd, afraid.
195 alwey, always; fere and drede, fear and dread; wyl not, do not wish to.
196 a worse, (i.e., a worse husband).
197 chasteté, chastity.
199 gentyl, noble; hygh kynrede, high birth.
201 Orguyllous, Proud; calle Sixte, called Sixtus.
201–02 dyne and sporte hym, dine and amuse himself.
202 manoyr, manor.
203 advertysed, taken note of.
204 deportes, deportment; countenaunce, bearing.
204–05 ravysshed and esprysed wyth her love, ravished and taken with love for her.
205 espyed, spied.
206 oost, army.
208 maad redy, prepared; rially, royally; apperteyned to, befit.
210 first sleep, presumably the first period of deep sleep for the night.
212 pees, peace.
215 enclyne, bow or bend.
220 that . . . doubted, who . . . feared.
221 anone, immediately.
225 oppressyd, overcome.
227 foryefnes, forgiveness.
229 myschaunce, misfortune; devoyr, duty.
232–33 roof herself, stabbed herself.
233 tofore, before.
236–37 come to dygnyté, assume the throne.
238 mevyd, rallied.
240–41 tumerous and shamefast, timorous and modest.
245 parementes, accoutrements.
248 pelowe, pillow.
249 dissymyled, covered up.
250 a knowen of, exposed for.
252 otherwhile, sometimes; her, their.
253 whens, whence; dedes, deeds.
254 them (i.e., the recipient of one’s good deeds).
256 tatches, gifts.
260 grauntdame, grandmother.
261 comunely, usually.
263 enseigne, teach.
267 shold do lerne his children sones, should have his male children taught.
268 seven sciences liberal, seven liberal arts.
269 an asse coroned, a crowned donkey.
270 sprynge and lepe, jump and leap; juste, joust.
272 lynen, linen.
273 langyng to, appropriate for.
274 how wel that, although.
276 conne, know.
279 Historiagraph, Historian.
281 Hongrye, Hungary.
282 assayled, attacked.
284 wel faryng, handsome; esprysed, seized.
285 that so sore, it was so powerful; sent, sent word; delyver, deliver.
286 sware, swore.
288 soones, sons.
290 Boneventan (see note); sithen, afterwards; Lumbardis, Lombards; chykens, chickens.
291 her armes, their arms; bytwene her pappes, between their breasts.
292 chauffyng, warming.
293 enforced and defowled, violated and raped.
296 Almayn, Germany.
298 morne, morning.
299 made her comune (i.e., shared her sexually with).
304 alphyns, judges or chess bishops; juges, judges.
305 tofore, in front of; eyen, eyes.
306 crymynel, criminal; cyvyle, civil; temporel, worldly.
307 trespaces, violations.
310 enforme, educate.
312 axe, ask; ony eye opene to ony persone (i.e., showing favoritism).
313 ordeigne, ordain or confirm.
314 faste, fixed; yefte, gift.
315 lignage, lineage.
319 Romayn, Roman; renomee, renown.
321 prayeng, praying to.
322 reseyve, receive.
323 fond, found; ete, eating; mete, food.
324 dysshes, dishes; wode, wood; her, their.
327 vaynquysshed, vanquished.
328 corompid, spoiled.
329 subget, subject.
332 pletyng, pleading; mark, a monetary unit used for silver and gold.
335 dommegeable, corruptible; wynne, win.
336 yefte, gift.
338 togeder, together.
341 none of hem bothe, neither one.
342 theder, thither; may no thyng suffyse, nothing is sufficient.
344 halpeny, halfpenny or coin worth one-half of a penny.
347 exposed, rendered.
347–48 comyn wele, common good.
351 sithen that, since the time that.
352 used, engaged in.
354 in despite, in contempt; dredith, fears.
355 coveiteth, covets.
358 late, let.
360 evyn, even or just.
361 fowle and lothly, foul and ugly.
364 worse in his owne feet and cause, i.e., has less of an ability to present his own case dispassionately; mannys, man’s.
365 hem, themselves.
366 yrous, ireful; weneth, believes.
368 contrarious, opposed.
369 hastynes, hastiness.
371 geve, give.
372 yeft, gift.
373 Perce, Persia; right wis, upstanding or honest.
374 unrightwis, dishonest.
375 he dyd hym (i.e., Cambyses ordered the false judge); flayn al quyk, flayed alive.
376 chayer or siege, chair or seat.
379 egally, equally.
382 consul, a member of the ancient Roman Senate.
383 advoultrye, adultery.
384 accomplisshed, enacted.
385 mevyd, moved; suffre, allow.
386 vaynquysshed, overcome.
390 whosommeever, whosoever; entryd, entered; Senatoyr, Senate chamber; gyrt, girded.
391 from without (i.e., from outside the Senate building).
395 rather to, preferring to.
398 spyncoppis, spiders.
399 flee, fly.
402 sourden, spring up.
403 seignories, feudal domains.
404 lignage, lineage.
405 robbe and reve, rob and plunder.
407 false, cheat.
410 hemself, themselves.
411 entende for (i.e., direct themselves); smythes, blacksmiths.
412 vignours, vine tenders.
413 connyng, knowing.
414 contemplaire, reflect.
416 that they seme, that they who seem.
421 pensif, pensive; estate, position; meved, moved.
422 ravysshed, ravished or taken off.
423–24 “In al worldly thynges and labours of the same" (i.e., Socrates explains that he is thinking about all worldly things and labors, which is bound to make anyone pensive).
424 bourgeys, a burgess or an inhabitant of a borough who possesses full municipal rights.
429 hongre, hunger.
431 deynseyns, denizens.
432 abyde, abide or stay.
435 appertly, publicly.
Title chevalrye, knights.
439 helme, helmet; shelde, shield.
440 hawberk and plates, hauberk (a short protective shirt of mail) and metal armor.
441 harnoys, armor.
445 orisons, prayers; geve hem, give them.
446 gyrdeth aboute, belts around.
447 abyde, wait on; dispences, upkeep.
448 lyberalle, generous; trewe, honest.
449 pyté, mercy; kepar, keeper.
450 right as chevalrye, just as knightly prowess.
451 surmounte, surpass.
452 ellys, else; for, on account of.
453 provyd, tested.
454 Hit behoved, It behooved; usid, been used to.
455 the other (i.e., other people); sithen, since.
456 batayle, battalion.
457–58 art, craft, and engyne, artfulness, craftiness, and ingenuity.
459 otherwhile, otherwise.
460 affyeth and trusteth, places faith in and trusts.
461 engyne, skill.
462 chese, choose.
464 Judé, Judea; Caldee, Chaldea.
465 Assyrie, Assyria; Bragmans, The Isle of the Bragmans (see Explanatory Notes).
469 agenst, against; broder germayn, full brother.
470–71 leve and wylle, permission and consent.
472 Crysten, Christian.
473 Yle of Capayre, Island of Caprara off the eastern coast of Italy.
474 ladde, led; theder, thither.
476 affyaunce, faith.
479 revelaconn, revelation; howre, hour.
484 discomfiture, complete defeat or rout.
489 ageyn, against.
490 litil, few; in regarde of, with respect to.
492 leseth, loses.
494 medlid, melded.
495 Lombardes, people from the Lombard region in northern Italy.
496 Papye, Pavia.
497 parylle, peril.
498 Buneventayns, citizens of Benevento, a town and comune northeast of Naples.
500 Tarente, Tarento.
503 fere, fear; Hongrye, Hungary.
504 gate, obtained.
507 forseen, making sure.
509 doon, done.
514 wyse, fashion; betyng, beating; by, passed by.
516 entreted, treated.
519 Aast, Asti.
520 morne, morning.
525 doon and wrought agayn, done and acted against.
526 flayn, flayed.
529 feet, deed; after, afterwards.
531 feste of Saynt John, the Feast of Saint John (usually held in midsummer on June 24).
533 in aventure, at risk.
534 doubted, feared.
535 Syryens and Amonytes, Syrians and Ammonites.
539 parfight, perfect.
540 Zecille, Sicily.
541 Siracusane, Syracuse.
542 ordeyne, ordain or put in order.
543 sewrté, sworn or given as a surety.
545 trouth, honesty.
551 doubte, fear.
552 debonayr, debonair (in the archaic sense of gracious).
553 torne, turn; benefete, benefit (in the archaic sense of a kind deed).
558 concupissence, concupiscence.
559 selde, seldom.
564 covetyse, covetousness; dyspoyleth, dispoils.
565 souldyours, soldiers; put hem in parel, put themselves in peril.
567 sone, soon.
570 wene not, does not think or believe; scarceté, frugalness.
572 wythdrawe to hym them, withdraw them to him; large gevyng, generous giving.
575 achyevyd, gained.
576 tayllage, a tallage or tax.
577 levyth, leaves.
578 her, their.
579 armes, armor; dispoyle and botye, dispoil and booty.
582 abode, stayed.
583 butyn, spoils.
586 Ynde, India.
590 vessayl, vessels.
591 voyded, cleared.
592 slevys, sleeves.
593 accusid, betrayed or disclosed.
597 puyssaunt, powerful; dispencis, dispensing.
598 poure, poor.
603 yeftes, gifts.
605 shette, shut.
612 how wel that, even if.
615 Polipe, the Peloponnese.
620 lever, rather.
622 but yf, unless.
625 pietous, full of pity.
628 without, this seems to be a translation from the Latin version of the Liber, which states that Sulla governed “exterae partis," or in the outer regions.
630 Bataylle of Puylle, Battle of Apulia, a region in southeast Italy.
631 champayne, the countryside or the field.
633 Sesse, Cease.
637 sowned, sounded.
640 where that, wherever; chaas, pursuit.
644 “legyons," a body of an infantry ranging from three to six thousand soldiers.
645 entente, goal or end; entende to, attend to.
647 sewrely, surely.
649 purveye, provide; dispencis, upkeep.
650 sewre, secure (or possibly “sower," although there is no instance of this spelling in other texts).
652 crafty men, tradesmen.
653–54 gete and gadre, obtain and gather.
655 kepar, keeper.
656 alwey, perpetually.
657 magesté ryal, royal greatness; garnysshed, decorated.
660 auncient, ancient.
661 rapelle, repeal; sette hem aparte, set them aside.
662 dyd, caused.
664–65 avayled not, did not succeed.
666 or, before.
668 tyl, until.
669 accorded therto, agreed to this.
672 For as moche as yf, For if; theder, thither.
674 lever, rather.
678 malefactours, transgressors.
679 sobre, temperate; wyst, knew.
682 chaunge ware for ware, exchange goods.
684 dunge, dung.
686 meve, initiate; maisters’ counceyllours, royal council.
687 commysed, commissioned or entrusted.
690 departed, divided.
691 patrimony, inheritance.
692 eete, eat.
697 enploye, employ or direct.
698 dowaire, dowry.
705 vycayrs and legates, representatives and delegates.
706 furrid with menevier, lined with fur.
707 royame, kingdom.
709 noveltees, news.
710 sourde, spring up.
712 wylful, voluntary; lyberalyté, generosity.
714 orgueyl, pride.
715 otherwhyle, in these cases; culpe, culpability.
717 rightwys, upstanding.
723 counceyl, used in this section to refer both to advice and to the Senate as a whole.
724 but to one, only to one.
727–28 how be hit ye may revolve hit (i.e., however you may consider it).
729 Lacedome, Lacedaemon (Sparta).
733–34 enploye al his entente, direct all his energy.
734 save, preserve; nede, necessary.
738 in her message, as their messenger.
742 demaunded, requested.
743 Certeyn, Certainly.
744 for as moche as, because.
745 brusid, wounded.
747 holden hym, kept him; them (presumably Marcus travels with other prisoners).
748 abyde, stay.
749 how wel that, although.
750 lever, rather.
752 assiegid, attacked; Phalistes, citizens of Falerii, an ancient city in central Italy; scole maistre, schoolmaster.
754 moyan, means.
758 mavastye, evil; shalt ner hast not, shall not nor have not.
769 them, themselves.
773 hym, them.
774 constrayned, made.
777 enpoysone, poison.
780 admervaylid of, astounded by.
781 lightlyer and sonner, more easily and more quickly.
782 enpesshid of his cours, thrown off his course; letted to holde, prevented from keeping.
783 than, then; Crysten, Christian.
784 renomee, reputation.
786 barate, trouble or suffering.
788 fydelyté, fidelity.
790 avaylable to, beneficial to.
791 in effect, in deed.
792 almesse, alms; enclyne, turn.
793 debonayr, gracious.
795 smyten of, cut off.
798 or she entrid, before she entered.
800 mervayled, marveled.
802 gaf sowke to, nursed (with her breast).
805 that that, that which; amolissheth, soften.
806 wene, know.
807 Hit were agaynst nature but, But it would really be against nature unless.
814 Syracusane, Syracuse.
815 destruccyon, destruction.
817 enjoye thee, comfort yourselves; debonair, gracious.
820 pyetous, merciful.
822 estate, condition.
826 esperaunce, expectation or hope.
828 fete, deed.
829 caytyfs, prisoners.
830 hard, heard of.
831 patrymonye, patrimony or estate.
831–32 he lefte to his chyldren (i.e., Caesar leaves Cato’s inheritance to Cato’s children).
833 enseygneth, instructs.
836 deporte and forbere, spare and be forbearing towards.
837 for so enseyne, and in this way instruct.
840 concervyth, should probably be “convercyth," or converses.
843 pryvé, private.
847 acolde, chilled.
848 sete or siege, seat; though (best taken as “that").
855 dyd doo bete doun his hows, who caused his house to burn down; myddes, middle.
856 hyer, higher.
857 lasse, more modest.
859 at the dyspencis, at the expense.
861 royame, kingdom.
864 grauntsire, grandfather.
865 antecessours, ancestors; dyd he al his payn and labour, did he work to the end that.
866 offyce, responsibility; But for no thynge, But not for the reason.
867 attempered, well-balanced.
870 excusyd hym, exempted himself.
871 for age, on account of his age.
872–73 suffre your maners, endure your customs.
874 engyne, genius.
875 remembrid hym, reminded himself.
877 parylles, perils.
879 seignorye, power.
884 alowe for, sanction.
892 chaunchyng, changing.
894 royneous, ruinous/broken down.
895 souked, sucked.
897 smytest, smite.
898 lete come, cause to come.
899 poygnaunt, powerful.
904 heryng, hearing.
909 ballyd, bald; displasir, displeasure.
910 kempt, combed.
911–12 lightlier and soner, more easily and sooner.
922 sonner, sooner.
928 courtyne, curtain.
932 cutte of, cut off.
933 bote of, bit off; tethe, teeth.
934 vysage, face.
941 turmente, torment; to leve to punysshe, not to punish.
948 wytte, wit or intellect.
950 accused unto, accused before.
951 submysed Affrique, made Africa submit; poesté, poustie or pousté, an archaic word that means power.
955 hows, house.
956 erthe, clay.
957 vasseyll, vessels.
959 Secylle, Sicily; for as moche as, because of this.
960 yssued, issued.
961 natyvyté, nativity (in the sense of family origins).
962 entended, inclined himself.
965 sorowe, regret.
966 renomee, renown.
968 ner the . . . ner the, both in . . . and in.
975 no thyng shamefast, and in no way ashamed.
976 discovenable, unsuitable; leve, leave; plesyd, pleased.
977 gefte, gift.
979 mordent and bytyng, mordant and biting.
981 wonte, wont; chyef, chief.
982 maleheurte, misfortune.
983 Cristenté, the Christian world.
984 Seygnorye and Dysobeysaunce, Rule and Disobedience.
985 lightly and sone, quickly and soon.
987 large and liberall, generous and openhearted.
988 guerdoned, rewarded.
991 most prevy, closest.
994 tryste, sad.
995 whan hit was even and advysed hymself, when it was evening and he considered to himself.
999 travaylle, distress.
1002 parelle, peril; hangyng, pending.
1006 Batayl of Assise, Battle of Assisi.
1008 in his propre persone, himself.
1009 plete, plead; doubted, feared.
BOOK TWO: 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.
12–13 And for as moche as mysericorde and trouth conserve and kepe the kyng in his trone. Jean de Ferron’s French translation of Jacobus’ Liber includes an extra sentence, credited to Seneca, that essentially repeats this same idea. See Seneca’s De clementia [On Mercy], Book 1, 11.4, in Moral Essays (1:390 and 391).
15 And Valerius saith that deboneyrté percyth the hertes of straungers. The story of Pisistratus and his daughter comes from Book 5.1, ext. 2a of Memorable Doings and Sayings (1:454 and 455).
24 This prynce had also a frende that was named Arispe. The story of Thrasippus comes from Book 5.1, ext. 2b of Valerius, Memorable Doings and Sayings (1:454–56 and 455–57).
35 And in lyke wise rede we of the Kyng Pirre. The story of Pyrrhus comes from Book 5.1.3a of Valerius, Memorable Doings and Sayings (1:456 and 457).
47–48 Valerius reherceth that Alyxandre, wyth alle his ooste, rood for to destroye a cyté whiche was named Lapsare. The story of Alexander the Great and Anaximenes is in Book 7.3, ext. 4 of Memorable Doings and Sayings (2:140 and 141). Anaximenes of Lampsacus (380–320 B.C.E.), a Greek rhetorician and historian, was a favorite of Alexander the Great, whom he accompanied in his Persian campaigns.
58–59 Quyntilian sayth that no grete man ne lord shold not swere but where as is grete nede. The first part of this quote is a paraphrase of Quintilian, a first-century Roman rhetorician whose only extant work is a twelve-volume textbook on rhetoric entitled Institutio oratoria. The original quote, “Nam et in totum iurare, nisi ubi necesse est, gravi viro parum convenit," can be found in Book 9.2.98. See Institutio oratoria of Quintilian, 3:436 and 437.
60–62 Alas, who kepe . . . amende hit. These last two sentences are additions by Caxton.
64–66 Therfore recounteth Valerius that there was a man named Therile, a werkman in metalle, that maad a boole of coppre. The story of Perillus and his copper bull comes from Book 1, chapter 20 of the Historiarum adversus paganos libri VII [History against the Pagans in Seven Books] by Paulus Orosius (c. 385–420), a historian and theologian. See Orosius, Seven Books of History against the Pagans, p. 40. The Latin and French translations of the Liber cite Orosius by name, although Caxton mistakenly attributes the story to Valerius Maximus. It also appears in Ovid’s Tristia, III.11, lines 39–54 (see Ovid, Tristia, pp. 144 and 145). Gower tells the story in CA 7.3295–3338, following Godfrey of Viterbo’s Pantheon, where the craftsman of the “bole of bras" is named “Berillus," and the cruel tyrant “Siculus," rather than “Philardes." Philarde, or Phalarius, was a ruler in Sicily from about 570–554 B.C.E.
76–77 Therfore, sayth Ovide, “there is no thyng more resonable thenne that a man dye of suche deth as he purchaseth unto other." This quote comes from Ovid’s Art of Love, Book 1, lines 655–56: “Iustus uterque fuit: neque enim lex aequior ulla est, / Quam necis artifices arte perire sua" (pp. 56 and 57). Ovid states this maxim right after he himself narrates the story of Perillus and the copper bull.
79–81 Therfore reherceth Saynt Augustyn, in a book whyche is intituled The Cyté of God, that there was a theef of the see named Diomedes. The story of Alexander and Diomedes the pirate was extremely popular throughout the Middle Ages. It is found in Augustine’s fifth-century City of God, Book 4, chapter 4 (1:115). It also appears in Cicero’s first-century De re publica, Book 3, chapter 14 (pp. 202–03). The pirate is given the name Diomedes in the Gesta Romanorum, Tale CXLVI (p. 293). And it appears in an abbreviated form in John of Salisbury’s Policraticus 3.14. See John of Salisbury, Frivolities of Courtiers, pp. 204–05. In English, see Gower’s CA 3.2363–2417; Chaucer, too, makes a reference to the story in his Manciple’s Tale (CT IX[H]223–39). Neither Gower nor Chaucer names the thief.
95 Although University of Chicago Manuscript 392, Caxton’s most likely primary source, uses the word destre, or right, here, other French translations of the Liber refer to the king’s senestre, or left, side.
108–09 Of this chasteté reherceth Valerius an example, and saith that ther was a man of Rome whyche was named Scipio Affrican. The story of Scipio the African and the woman from Carthage comes from Memorable Doings and Sayings, Book 4.1 (1:366–67). It also appears in John of Salisbury’s Policraticus, Book 5, chapter 7. See John of Salisbury, Statesman’s Book, p. 97.
125–26 like as it is sayd in Scripture in the Canticles. This phrase appears twice in the Canticles, once at 2:6 and again at 8:3. Axon notes that “the quotation from the Canticles . . . may be compared with the translation in the Wicliffite version made by Nicholas de Hereford, A. D. 1380. This passage is rendered: ‘His left hond is undur myn heed; and his right hond shal biclippe me’" (Caxton’s Game and Playe of the Chesse, 1474, p. lvi).
141–42 And accordyng therto, Macrobe reherceth in the Book of the Dremes of Scypyo, that there was a chyld of Rome that was named Papirus. Macrobius, an early fifth-century grammarian and philosopher known for his Saturnalia, was also the author of a influential and popular commentary in two books on the Dream of Scipio narrated by Cicero at the end of his Republic. Although Caxton, following Jacobus, attributes this story to Macrobius’ commentary, it actually comes from Saturnalia, Book 1, chapter 6.20–25 (pp. 52–53). This story also appears in the Gesta Romanorum, Tale CXXVI (pp. 271–72). In all of these versions, as in most translations of the Liber, there is no mention of Papirus becoming a senator, and this seems to have been added by Caxton.
174–75 Wherof Jerome reherceth agaynst Jovynyan. This is a reference to Jerome’s treatise Adversus Jovinianum [Against Jovinian]. The story about Duillius and Bilia is found in Book 1, section 46. For the original quote, see Adversus Jovinianum in PL 23:0275B.
191 Also, we rede that there was a wedowe named Anna. This story also comes from Adversus Jovinianum, Book 1, section 46. The name given in Jerome’s version is Annia. The last sentence in this story — “And so she concluded that she wold kepe her chasteté" — seems to have been added by Caxton.
198–99 Saynt Austyn reherceth in the book De civitate dei that in Rome was a noble lady, gentyl of maners and of hygh kynrede, named Lucrecia. The story of the rape of Lucretia enjoyed an immense popularity throughout the Middle Ages. Caxton, following Jacobus, credits St. Augustine’s De civitate dei, Book 1, chapter 18 (1:22–24). But it is earlier found in Ovid’s Fasti 2.687–852; Valerius, Memorable Doings and Sayings, Book 6.1.1 (2:2 and 3); and Livy’s early first-century Ab urbe condita [From the Founding of the City], more commonly know as the History of Rome (Book 1, chapters 57–60 in Ab urbe condita, 1:196–209). For popular Middle English versions see Gower, CA 7.4754–5123, and Chaucer, LGW 1680–1895.
243–44 Wherfore sayth Symachus that they that ben not shamefast have no conscience of luxurye. This reference is either to Symmachus the Ebionite (late second century C.E.), the author of one of the Greek versions of the Old Testament, or Pope Symmachus (498–514 C.E.)
245–46 And Saynt Ambrose sayth that one of the best parementes and maketh a womman most fayr in her persone is to be shamefast. This is from Book 1, chapter 18 of St. Ambrose’s De officiis, a treatise on the office of the clergy that he wrote in roughly 388–89 C.E. See De officiis, 1.156–57.
247 Seneque reherceth that there was one named Archezylle. This story is found in Seneca’s De beneficiis [On Benefits] Book 2, 10.1 (Moral Essays, 3:64–65). It should be noted that in Seneca’s version Arcesilaus is male.
257–58 Wherof Valeryus Maximus sayth that there was one that wold marye. Although Caxton and the French translators of the Liber attribute this to Valerius, the Latin versions do not, nor does it appear in the Memorable Doings and Sayings. I have not been able to locate a source for this story.
263–64 as hit is wryten in Ecclesiastes: “Yf thou have sones, enseigne and teche them. And yf thou have doughters, kepe wel them in chastyté." Although the text credits Ecclesiastes, this is from Ecclesiasticus 7:25–26.
265 For Helemonde reherceth that every kynge and prynce ought to be a clerke. This reference is most likely to Hélinand de Froidmont (c. 1160–1229), a medieval poet and chronicler who spent time at the court of Philip Augustus then later became a monk at the Cistercian abbey in Froidmont. Although Hélinand composed most of his poetry in French, he also authored several moral treatises in Latin, which include De reparatione lapsi [Of the restoration of the fallen], De cognitione sui [On the knowledge of self], and a mirror of princes De bono regimine principis [Of the good rule of princes], later collected into his Chronicon. This quote most likely comes from De bono regimine principis.
269 The Emperour Octovyan maad his sones to be taught. This is from Suetonius’ first-century Lives of Caesars, Book 2 (Augustus), chapter 64. See Suetonius, Suetonius, 1:218–21.
279–80 For Poule the Historiagraph of the Lombardes reherceth that ther was a duchesse named Remonde. Paulus Diaconus, or Paul the Deacon, (c. 720–99) wrote the Historia Langobardorum (History of the Lombards), in the late eighth century. His description of Romilda appears in Book 4, chapter 37. Although incomplete, the Historia narrates the history of the Lombards from 568 to the death of King Liutprand in 747. See Paul the Deacon, History of the Langobards, pp. 179–84.
289–90 was duc of Boneventan, and sithen kyng of the Lumbardis. Boneventan, or Benevento, is a town and commune northeast of Naples. In the French versions of the Liber, it is rendered as “Bienventains," and it appears later in Caxton’s translations in reference to the commune’s citizens, the “Buneventayns." The Lombard area lies in northwest Italy, encompassing the modern-day city of Milan. The daughters become queens of France and Germany respectively.
316–17 And as touchyng the first poynt, Seneque saith in the Book of Benefets that the pour Diogenes was more strong than Alixandre. This derives from Seneca’s De beneficiis [On Benefits] Book 5, chapter 4.4. See Moral Essays, 3:298–99.
319 Marcus Cursus, a Romayn of grete renomee, saith thus. This story of Marcus Curius comes from Valerius, Memorable Doings and Sayings, Book 4.3.5a (1:370–71). As noted above, “Beneuvetans" refers to Benevento. “Samente" refers to the land occupied by the Samnites, in the center-south of Italy.
331–32 Helymond reherceth that Demostene demaunded of Aristodone how moche he had wonne . For Helymond, see “Helemonde" or “Hélinand" above, note 265. The story of Demosthenes is also recounted by Aulus Gellius in Book 11, chapter 9.2 of his Attic Nights (2:320 and 321). Demosthenes (384–322 B.C.E.) was a Greek statesman of ancient Athens.
338–39 Valerius rehercith that the senatours of Rome took counceil togeder of two persones. This story of Scipio’s advice is from Memorable Doings and Sayings, Book 6.4.2b (2:46 and 47).
346–47 Therfore we rede that as longe as the Romayns lovyd poverté, they were lordys of alle the world. In the Liber Jacobus attributes this quote to the Valerius’ chapter “Of Poverty," although the paragraph in Caxton’s translation is more of a distillation of what Valerius says there. See Book 4.5 (1:384–96).
356–57 Valere reherceth that he is not riche that moche hath, but he is riche that hath lityl and coveyteth no thyng. This saying derives from Memorable Doings and Sayings, Book 4.3.6a (1:372 and 373).
359 For Theofrast saith that all love is blynde. Theophrastus (371–287 B.C.E.) was a Greek philosopher and the immediate successor to Aristotle at the Lyceum. He is most famous for his Characters (brief sketches of negative allegorial character types, such as “Cowardice" and “Grouchiness"), but he also wrote essays about plants, winds, and nature, as well as about poetics, politics, and ethics. These latter exist mostly as fragments, and this quote most likely comes from one of these fragments.
362–63 And so reherceth Quinte Curse in his first book that the grete Godaches sayth the same to Alyxandre. Quintus Curtius Rufus, a second-century historian, is the author of the Historia Alexandri Magni [A History of Alexander the Great], a history of Alexander’s wars. This story of Guodares (or Gobares) comes from Book 7, chapter 4.10–12. See Curtius, Quintus Curtius, 2:152–55.
366–67 Tullyus sayth that an angry and yrous persone weneth that for to doo evyl is good counceyl. Cicero does indeed address the sin of wrath in Book 3, chapter 5 of his Tusculan Disputations (pp. 367–68). But this quote, “Iratus etiam facinus consilium putat," in fact has its origin in the Sententiae [Sayings] of Publius Syrus, a Latin writer of the first century B.C.E. The Sententiae, a collection of moral maxims, is his only extant work.
368–69 And Socrates saith that two thynges ben contrarious to counceyl, and they ben hastynes and wrath. In Book 2, chapter 7 of A Treatise of Moral Philosophie Containing the Sayings of the Wise, written by William Baldwin in 1555, the idea that “Wrath and hastiness are very evyl counsaylours" is attributed to Isocrates, not Socrates. The expression is clearly proverbial. A similar idea is found in Arthur Brooke’s Romeus and Juliet, a source for Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet (lines 1491–92): “skill-less youth for counsel is unfit, / And anger oft with hastiness are joined to want of wit."
370 And Galeren sayth in Alexandrye. Galeren’s “Alexandrye" is Gautier de Châtillon’s twelfth-century Gesta Alexandri Magni. This counsel on judgment is advice given to a young Alexander in Book 1, lines 210–16 (p. 11).
373–74 Helemond reherceth that Cambyses, kyng of Perce, whiche was a right wis kyng, had an unrightwis juge. Although Jacobus may have taken this story from Hélinand de Froidmont, it seems more likely that he used Valerius, Memorable Doings and Sayings, Book 6.3, ext. 3 (2:42 and 43). The story also appears in Herodotus’ Histories, Book 5, chapter 25. See Herodotus, Herodotus, 2:363. For information about Hélinand, see note 265.
380–81 Caton saith: “Accomplisshe and do the lawe in suche wyse as thou hast ordeigned and geven." Marcus Porcius Cato (234–139 B.C.E.) was a famous statesmen and orator. This saying is number 53 of Cato’s Monsticha (One-liners), which although attributed to Cato may in fact not be his. The original quote reads: “Pati legem, quam ipse tuleris," or “Keep the law you make yourself."
382 Valerius reherceth that Calengius. The story of Zaleucus and his son comes from Memorable Doings and Sayings, Book 6.5, ext. 3 (2:64 and 65).
389 We rede that there was a counceyllour of Rome. The story of the Roman consul comes from Valerius, Memorable Doings and Sayings, Book 6.5, ext. 4 (2:64 and 65).
397–98 But alas we fynde not many in thyse dayes that so do. But they do lyke as Anastasyus saith. This quote from Anacharsis is from Valerius, Memorable Doings and Sayings, Book 7.2, ext. 14 (2:122–25).
416–17 Wherfore saith Seneke: “Beleve me that they seme that they do no thyng, they do more than they that laboure, for they do spirituel and also corporal werkis." This saying is taken from Seneca’s Moral Letters, Number 8.6 (1:40 and 41).
420 And therfore Angelius saith in Libro Atticors de Socrate. Caxton means to refer here to Aulus Gellius’ Attic Nights, where a slightly different version of this story appears in Book 2, chapter 1 (1:122 and 123). Although Latin versions of the Liber refer to “A. Gellius" and give the correct name for his work (Noctes Atticae), the French translators often open this section with the name Socrates.
425–26 And Valerius rehercith that Carnardes, a knyght, was so sage, wyse, and laborous in pensifnes of the comyn wele. The story of Carneades is from Memorable Doings and Sayings, Book 8.7, ext. 5 (2:232 and 233). It should be noted that Valerius describes Melissa as a woman that Carneades “had in lieu of a wife."
431 Didimus sayd to Alixandre. This story comes from Collatio Alexandri et Dindimi [The Correspondence of Alexander and Dindimus], one of the many short narratives of Alexander in circulation among medieval authors. See “Correspondence of Alexander and Dindimus" in Stoneman, Legends of Alexander the Great, p. 64.
462 Therfore saith the philosopher. Latin versions of the Liber do not refer to “the philosopher," although French translations often do. The source is unknown.
464–65 Alixandre of Macedone vaynquysshed and conquerd Egipte, Judé, Caldee, Affrique, and Assyrie, unto the Marches of Bragmans. Judea historically refers to the land in the southern part of Israel now divided between Israel and the West Bank. Chaldea, the Western term for the ancient kingdom of Babylonia, usually refers to the region’s southern parts. It is now found in Iraq. Assyrie is an ancient kingdom that at its peak spanned much of the modern-day Middle East. The Bragmans are most likely the Brahmans, who would have inhabited modern-day India, although this might also refer to another ascetic group such as the Jains. References to the Bragmans also appear in Mandeville’s Travels and in Gower’s Confessio Amantis.
467–68 We rede in the Historye of Rome that there was a knyght whiche had to name Malechete. The story of Malecote (also “Mascezel") comes from Book 7, chapter 36 of Orosius’ Historiae adversus Paganos (pp. 346–49).
488 In lyke wyse, Judas Machabeus, Jonathas, and Symon, his brethern. This story comes from 1 Maccabees 3. Judas’ inspirational speech before his battle against Apollonius is from 1 Maccabees 3:18–22.
495–96 Paule the Historiagraph of the Lombardes reherceth that there was a knyght named Enulphus. The story of the faithful knight Unulf comes from Paul the Deacon’s Historia Langobardorum, Book 5, chapters 2–4 (pp. 209–16).
534–36 lyke as were the noble knyghtes Joab and Abysay, that fought ageynst the Syryens and Amonytes, and were so trewe. The story of Joab and Abisai comes from 2 Kings 10:9–14.
539 We rede that Damon and Phisias. The story of Damon and Phisias is taken from Cicero’s De officiis, Book 3, chapter 10.45 (pp. 312–13). It is also found in Valerius, Memorable Doings and Sayings, Book 4.7, ext. 1 (pp. 422–25).
555 Anthonyus sayth that Julius Cesar. The Anthonyus here is really Suetonius, who writes about Caesar in Book 2, chapter 72 of his Lives (1:234–37). In the Latin Liber, as in French translations, this story is correctly attributed to “Suetonius," and the reason Caxton changes this to “Anthonyus" remains unclear.
557 Scipion of Affrique saith. Scipio’s saying comes from Cicero’s De amictia, Book 10. (See On Friendship, pp. 44–45.)
567–72 And thus . . . large gevyng. This passage is found in Latin versions of the Liber; most French translations contain only Scipio’s quote.
581–82 And therfore Davyd . . . made a lawe. This detail of David comes from 1 Kings 30:24.
585–86 Alixandre of Macedone cam on a tyme lyke a symple knyght unto the court of Porus. According to Collet, this story is derived from Book 2, chapter 26 of Julius Valerius’ Res gestae Alexandri Macedonis, a fourth-century translation of Pseudo-Callisthenes’ History of Alexander.
607 Ovyde saith that he that taketh yeftes, he is glad therwyth. This quotation comes from Ovid’s Art of Love, Book 3, lines 653–54 (pp. 164–65). In Latin versions of the Liber, Ovid is quoted directly — “Munera, crede mihi, capiunt hominesque deosque / Placatur donis Iuppiter ipse datis" — and these lines are spliced together with two more lines of apparently original verse.
615 We rede that Cadrus, duc of Athenes, shold have a bataylle agayn them of Polipe. The story of Codrus comes from Valerius, Memorable Doings and Sayings, Book 5.6, ext. 1 (1:520 and 521). Gower retells the story in CA 7.3163–3214.
628 Therfore we rede that Scilla. The story of Sulla’s battle with the Romans comes from Orosius, Historiae adversum Paganos, Book 5, chapters 20–21 (p. 217).
637–39 Therfore Joab ordeyned, whan Absalon was slayn . . . And in like wyse dyd he whan he faught ayenst Abner. These two references are to 2 Kings 18:16 and 2 Kings 2:28.
649–54 How shold a plowman be sewre in the felde . . . the costis and expencis of them bothe. This section seems to have been added by Caxton.
655–56 We rede that Athis sayd to Davyd, whiche was a knyght: “I make thee my kepar and defendar alwey." This reference is from 1 Kings 28:2.
659 Turgeus Pompeus rehercith of a noble knyght named Ligurgyus. The story of Ligurius is found in Plutarch’s Lives of the Ten Orators (Book 7), in Valerius Maximus’ Memorable Doings and Sayings (Book 1.2, ext. 3), and in Herodotus’ Histories (Book 1, chapter 65). In the Latin Liber, however, the exemplum is credited to Marcus Junianus Justinus’ History of Trogus Pompeius, Book 3, chapters 2–3. (See Justin, Epitome of the Philippic History of Pompeius Trogus, pp. 46–47.) The story, followed by a list of Ligurius’ laws, appears in the Gesta Romanorum, Tale CLXIX, where is it similarly credited to Trogus Pompeius (see Gesta, pp. 349–50). Gower tells the story in CA 7.2917–3028, followed by a history of lawgivers, rather than Ligurius’ laws themselves.
663 Apollo Delphynus is another name for the Greek deity Apollo, the god of Delphi.
722 Wherof Valeryus reherceth that there was a man that was named Themystydes. The story of Themistocles comes from Memorable Doings and Sayings, Book 6.5, ext. 2 (2:62 and 63).
735 We have an ensaumple of Marcus Regulus. The story is found in Cicero’s De officiis, Book 1, chapter 13.39 (pp. 42–43), and in his De finibus bonorum et malorum, Book 2, chapter 20.65 (pp. 154 and 155). It also appears in Augustine’s De civitate dei, Book 1, chapter 14 (1:18–20).
751 Valerius rehercith in the sixth book of one Emelie, duc of the Romayns. The example of Camillus is found in Memorable Doings and Sayings, Book 6.5, 1a (2:52 and 53). In the Liber, this exemplum often follows the story of Hannibal. (See below.) It also appears in John of Salisbury’s Policraticus, Book 5, chapter 7. See John of Salisbury, Statesman’s Book, p. 97.
770 We rede that Hanybal had taken a prynce of Rome. From Cicero, De officiis, Book 3, chapter 32.113 (pp. 392–95).
775 Amos Florus tellith that the phisicien of Kyng Pirrus. This story of Pyrrhus’ physician comes from Lucius Annaeus Florus’ late first- or early second-century Epitome of Roman History, Book 1, chapter 13.21 (pp. 64–65). It can also be found in Cicero’s De officiis, Book 3, chapter 22.86 (pp. 358–61).
794 Valerius rehercith that there was a juge named Sangis. The exemplum of the judge, the condemned woman, and her daughter comes from Memorable Doings and Sayings, Book 5.4.7 (1:500 and 501). Caxton adds the name “Sangis" out of a confusion of the Latin word “sanguinis" or “of noble blood," which applies to the condemned woman and not to the judge.
809 Seneka sayth that the kyng of bees. From Seneca’s De clementia [On Mercy], Book 1, chapter 19.3. See Moral Essays, 1:410–11.
813 Valerius rehercith in his fifthe book of Marchus Martellus. The story of M. Marcellus comes from Memorable Doings and Sayings, Book 5.1.4 (1:446 and 447).
818 Also, he recounteth when Pompeeé had conquerd the kyng of Germanye. The story of Pompeius Tigranes (the king of the Armenians, not the Romans) appears in Valerius, Memorable Doings and Sayings, Book 5.1.9 (1:450 and 451).
824 Also, he reherceth of a counceyllour that was named Poule. The story of L. Paullus and the prisoner appears in Valerius, Memorable Doings and Sayings, Book 5.1.8 (1:448–51).
830 Cesar, whan he hard the deth of Cathon. The narrative of Caesar crying over Cato’s death appears in Valerius, Memorable Doings and Sayings, Book 5.1.10 (1:452 and 453).
833–34 Thus taught Virgyle and enseygneth the glorious prynces to rewle and governe the peple of Rome. The Liber refers specifically to Book 6 of the Aeneid. Collet further places it at lines 851–53. See Virgil, Virgil, 1:592–93.
835 And Saynt Austyn [in] De civitate dei sayth thus. Although Jacobus and his French translators attribute Augustine’s description of the Romans to De civitate dei, Book 9, it actually is found in Book 5, chapter 12 (1:157–61).
838 And hyt was wryten unto Alixaunder. This is taken from Ovid’s Epistulae ex Ponto [Letters from the Black Sea], Book 1, chapter 2, lines 121–26 (pp. 278–79).
841 rote of pyté. I.e., his pity comes from the heart, the sense of which is the root of his compassion.
842 We rede of the Emperour Trajan. I have not been able to locate a source for this exemplum. On Emperor Trajan’s pious compassion, see CA 7.3142–62, along with the note to 7.3144 in CA 3:468.
846 Also, we rede of Alisaunder. The story of Alexander the Great and the old soldier appears in Valerius, Memorable Doings and Sayings, Book 5.1, ext. 1a (pp. 452–55).
852–53 “The gretter or in the hyer astate that thou art, so moche more oughtest thou be meker and more humble." This quotation comes Ecclesiasticus 3:20.
854–55 Valerius reherceth in his seventh book that ther was an emperour named Publius Cesar. Although Jacobus attributes this to Valerius’ seventh book, it actually comes from Book 4.1.1 (1:336–39).
858 And Scipion of Affrique. Jacobus does not give a source for this story. Nevertheless, in John of Salisbury’s Policraticus, Book 5, chapter 7, there is a reference to Scipio’s extreme poverty, which led to the Senate having to provide doweries for his daughters after his death. See John of Salisbury, Statesman’s Book, p. 100.
863 Valerius rehercith in his third book that Fabyan the Grete. The narrative of Fabian’s reluctance to pass his office to his son comes from Memorable Doings and Sayings, Book 4.1.5 (1:340 and 341). Fabian’s refusal to accept the consulship appears in Book 6.4.1b (2:44 and 45). In Valerius’ version, however, this act is attributed to Manlius.
874 There was a kyng of so subtyl engyne that whan men brought hym the crowne. This story appears in Valerius, Memorable Doings and Sayings, Book 7.2, ext. 5 (2:118 and 119).
881 Vaspasian was so humble. The story of Vespasian’s humility in the face of his election appears in Tacitus’ first-century Historia, Book 2, chapters 74–78 (pp. 519–23).
886–87 Therfore saith the Byble that Joab, the sone of Saryne. Joab, son of Zeruiah, was a military commander under King David. His deferral of credit for his military defeat is recorded in 2 Kings 12:26–29.
891 Josephus rehercith that the frendes of Tyberius. This exemplum comes from Flavius Josephus’ Jewish Antiquities, Book 18, chapter 6.5. See Jewish Antiquities, 8:112–13. Josephus was a Jewish historian who lived from about 37 to 100 C.E., and his works were popular in the Middle Ages.
906 As to the first, one sayd to Alisaunder that he was not worthy to reigne. I have not been able to locate the specific source of this passage, though the Tale of Diogenes and Alexander, CA 3.1201–1313, rehearses a challenge to Alexander’s authority, which he accepts graciously.
910 Also, hit is rehercid that Julyus Cesar was ballyd. This story of Caesar’s baldness appears in Lives of the Caesars, Book 1 (Julius), chapter 45 (1:62 and 63).
919 A knyght callyd on a tyme Scipyon of Affrique. This story Scipio’s patience appears in John of Salisbury’s Policratius, Book 3, chapter 14. See John of Salisbury, Frivolities of Courtiers, p. 205.
923 Another sayd to Vaspasion. This story of Vespasian appears in Suetonius, The Lives of the Caesars, Book 8 (Vespasian), chapter 16 (2:310 and 311). In Suetonius’ version, Vespasian is compared to a fox, not a wolf. John of Salisbury also records this story in his Policraticus, Book 3, chapter 14. See John of Salisbury, Frivolities of Courtiers, p. 208.
927 Seneke rehercith that the Kyng Antygonus. I have not been able to locate the source for this quote.
931–33 Valerius reherceth that a tyraunt dyd do torment Anamaxymenes and thretenyd hym for to cutte of his tunge. This story of Anaxarchus and the tyrant of Cyprus appears in Memorable Doings and Sayings, Book 3.3, ext. 4 (1:278 and 279).
939 Valerius rehercith that Archyta of Tarente, that was mayster to Plato. The exemplum of Archytas of Tarentum appears in Memorable Doings and Sayings, Book 4.1, ext. 1 (1:352 and 353).
944 And therfore sayth Seneque. The quotation from Seneca — “Nihil tibi liceat, dum irasceris" — is actually Seneca quoting Plato. It is found in Seneca’s essay De ira, Book 3, chapter 12.7. See Moral Essays, 1:286–87. In his translation Caxton omits a story from Valerius, Memorable Doings and Sayings (Book 4.2, ext. 2) about Plato that Jacobus and the French translators place right before Seneca’s quotation.
950–51 And that rehercith Valerius in his eighth book that Scypyon of Affryque was accused unto the Senate. This narrative of Scipio being accused of wealth appears in Memorable Doings and Sayings, Book 3.7.1e (1:300 and 301).
956 And therfore sayth Seneque that the Kyng Altagone. This exemplum of Agathocles and his earthen plates is not from Seneca but from the fourth-century Epigrams of Ausonius (c. 310–94 C.E.), a writer and a teacher at the University of Bordeaux. It is Epigram 2 from Book 19. See Ausonius, Ausonius, 2:156–57.
965 And of this poverté speketh Saynt Augustyn in the Book of the Cyté of God. Augustine speaks of the corruption of Romans through their love of wealth in Book 5, chapter 14 of De civitate dei (1:162–63).
972–73 John the Monke, late cardynal of Rome, in the Decretal the Sixte, in the chappytre Gens sancta. According to Axon, “John the Monk" was Giovanni d’Andrea, a canonist “who died at the plague of Bologna in 1347. His learning gained him such titles as rabbi doctorum and normaque morum" (Caxton’s Game and Playe of the Chesse, 1474, p. lviii). Axon in turn cites Hoefer’s Nouvelle biographie universelle. This particular reference is to Giovanni d’Andrea’s Liber sextus decretalium.
991–92 And we rede that Titus, the sone of Vaspasian, was so large and so lyberal. This story of Titus’ generosity appears in Suetonius’ Lives of the Caesars, Book 8 (Titus), chapter 8 (2:330 and 331). It is also found in John of Salisbury’s Policraticus, Book 3, chapter 14. See John of Salisbury, Frivolities of Courtiers, p. 209.
998 And also, we rede of Julius Cesar. The most likely source for this is Suetonius, Book 1 (Julius), chapter 67 (1:86–89).
1002 And also, we rede of the same Julyus Cesar in the Book of Truphes of Philosophers. The main source here is in John of Salisbury’s Policraticus, Book III, chapter 14. See John of Salisbury, Frivolities of Courtiers, p. 207.
BOOK TWO: TEXTUAL NOTES
29 doo. The text reads dooo.
102 the. The text reads tho.
175 Jovynyan. The text reads Jonynyan. See Explanatory Note to 1.174–75.
262 chastité. The text reads chasttie.
353 there, where. Caxton writes there, there, although there, where captures a better sense of the meaning.
359 Where. Again, Caxton has used there when where seems better suited to the meaning of the sentence.
420 Libro. The text reads Li.
The second tractate. The first chapiter treteth of the forme of a kyng, of his maners, and of
his estate. Capitulo primo.
The kynge must be thus maad. For he must sytte in a chayer clothyd in purpure,
crowned on his heed, in his right hond a ceptre, and in the lift honde an apple of
golde, for he is the most grettest and hyest in dygnyté above al other and most
worthy. And that is signyfyed by the corone, for the glorie of the peple is the
dygnyté of the kyng. And above al other the kyng ought to be replenysshed with
vertues and of grace. And this signyfieth the purpure, for in like wyse as the robes
of purpure maketh fayr and enbelissheth the body, the same wyse vertues makyth
the sowle. He ought alwey thynk on the governement of the royame and who hath
the admynystracion of justyce, and this shold be by hymself pryncipally. This
signefyeth the appel of golde that he holdeth in his lift honde. And for as moche
as it aperteyneth unto hym to punysshe the rebelles, hath he the septre in his right
hond. And for as moche as mysericorde and trouth conserve and kepe the kyng in
his trone, therfore ought a kyng to be merciful and debonayr. For when a kyng or
prynce desireth or wyl be belovyd of his peple, lete hym be governed by debonayrté.
And Valerius saith that deboneyrté percyth the hertes of straungers, and
amolissheth and makyth softe the hertes of his enemyes. Wherof he rehercith that
Phylostratus, that was duc of Athenes, had a doughter whom a man lovyd so ardantly
that, on a tyme as he sawe her with her moder, sodaynly he cam and kyssed her.
Wherof the moder was so angry and sorouful that she went and requyred of her
lord, the duc, that his heed myght be smyten of. The prynce answerd to her and
sayd, “Yf we shold slee them that love us, what shal we do to our enemyes that hate
us?" Certeynly, this was the answer of a noble and debonayr prynce, that suffred
that vylonye doon to his doughter and to hymself yet more.
This prynce had also a frende that was named Arispe that sayd on a tyme as
moche vylonye unto the prynce as ony man myght saye. And that myght not suffyse
hym, but he cratchid hym in the vysage. The prynce suffryd hym paciently in suche
wyse as though he had doon to hym no vylonye but curtesye. And whan his sones
wold have avengyd this vylonye, he comaunded them that they shold not be so
hardy so to doo. The next day folowyng, Arispe remembrid of the right grete
vylonye that he had doon to his frende and lord without cause. He fyl in dyspayr
and wold have slayn hymself. Whan the duc knewe and understood that, he cam
to hym and said, “Ne doubte thee no thyng," and swore to hym by hys faith that
also wel he was and shold be his frend fro than forthon as ever he had ben tofore,
yf he wold. And thus he respited hym of his deth by his debonayrté.
And in lyke wise rede we of the Kyng Pirre to whom was reported that they of
Tarente had sayd grete vilonye of hym, for which cause he maad al them to come
tofore hym and demaunded of them yf they had so said. Than one of them answerd
and said, “Yf the wyn and the candellis had not fayled, thys langage had ben but
a jape, in regarde of that we had thought to have doon." Than the kyng began to
lawhe, for they had confessyd that suche langage as was said and spoken was by
dronkenshyp. And for this cause of debonayrté, the peple of Tarante tooke for a
custome that the dronken men shold be punysshid, and the sobre men preysed.
The kyng thenne thus ought to love humylité and hate falsyté after the Holy
Scripture, that speketh of every man generally. For the kyng in his royame
representeth God, and God is verité, and therfore hym ought to say no thyng but
yf hit were verrytable and stable.
Valerius reherceth that Alyxandre, wyth alle his ooste, rood for to destroye a
cyté whiche was named Lapsare, whan than a phylosophre, whyche had to name
Anaxymenes, whych had ben tofore maistre and governour of Alixandre, herd and
understood of his comyng, cam agayn Alixandre to desire and requyre of hym.
And whan he sawe Alixandre, he supposid to have axyd his request. Alixandre
brake his demaunde tofore and swore to hym, tofore he axid ony thyng, by his
goddes that suche thyng as he axyd or requyred of hym, he wold in no wyse doon.
Thenne the phylosopher requyred hym to destroye the cyté. Whan Alixandre
understood his desyre and the oth that he had maad, he suffrid the cyté to stonde
and not to be destroyed, for he had lever not to do his wyll than to be perjured and
forsworn, and doo ageynst his oth.
Quyntilian sayth that no grete man ne lord shold not swere but where as is
grete nede, and that the symple parole or worde of a prynce ought to be more
stable thenne the oth of a marchaunt. Alas, who kepe the prynces their promyses
in thyse dayes! Not onely her promyses but their othes, her sealis and wrytynges,
and signes of theyr propre handes alle faylleth, God amende hit.
A kyng also ought to hate all cruelté. For we rede that never dyed yet ony
pietous persone of evyl deth ne cruel persone of good deth. Therfore recounteth
Valerius that there was a man named Therile, a werkman in metalle, that maad a
boole of coppre and a lityl wyket on the syde wherby men myght put in them that
shold be brent therin. And hit was maad in suche manere that they that shold be
put and enclosyd therin shold crye no thynge lyke to the voys of a man but of an
oxe. And thys maad he bycause men shold have the lasse pyté of them. Whan he
had maad thys boole of copper, he presentyd hit unto a kyng whiche was called
Philarde, that was so cruel a tyraunt that he delited in no thynge but in cruelté,
and he tolde hym the condicion of the bole. Whan Philerde herde and understood
thys, he alowed and praisid moche the werke, and after sayd to hym, “Thou that
art more cruel than I am shalt assay and prove first thy presente and gefte." And
so maad hym to go into the boole and dye an evyl deth.
Therfore, sayth Ovide, “there is no thyng more resonable thenne that a man
dye of suche deth as he purchaseth unto other."
Also, the kyng ought soveraynly kepe justyce. Who maketh or kepeth a royame
without justyce, of verry force there must be grete robberye and thefte. Therfore
reherceth Saynt Augustyn, in a book whyche is intituled The Cyté of God, that there
was a theef of the see named Diomedes, that was a grete rovar and dyd so moche
harme that the complayntes cam tofore Alixander, whiche dyd hym to be taken
and brought afore hym. And he demaunded hym wherfore he was so noyous and
cruel in the see. And he answerd to hym agayn, “For as moche as thou art oon a
londe in the worlde, so am I another in the see. But for as moche as the evyl that
I doo is in oon galey or tweyn, therfore I am callyd a theef. But for as moche as thou
doost in many shyppys and wyth grete puyssaunce and power, therfore arte thou
callyd an emperour. But yf fortune were for me in suche wyse, I wold become a
good man and better thenne I now am. But thou, the more rycher and fortunat
that thou art, the more worse art thou."
Alyxaunder said to hym, “I shal chaunge thy fortune in suche wise as thou ne
say that thou shalt do it by poverté, but for evyl and mavaysté." And so he made
hym ryche. And this was he that afterward was a good prynce and a good justicier.
The kyng ought to be soveraynly chaste. And this signefyeth a quene that is
oonly on his right side. For it is to be belevyd and credyble that whan the kyng is
a good man, juste, trewe, and of good maners and condicions, that his children shal
folowe gladly the same, for a good sone and a trewe ought not to forsake and goo
fro the good condicions of his fader. For certes it is agaynst God and nature in98
partye whan a man taketh other thenne his propre wyf. And that see we by byrdes,
of whom the male and female have togyder the charge in kepyng and norisshyng
of their yonge fowles and byrdes. For somme maner of fowles kepen them to their
females oonly, as hit appereth by storkes, dowves, and turtils. But the fowles that
norisshith not their birdes have many wyves and femels, as the cok that nothyng
norisshith his chekens. And therfore amonge al the bestes that been, man and
woman putteth most their entente, and have most cure and charge, in norisshyng
of their chyldren. And therfore don they agaynst nature in partye whan they leve
theyr wyves for other women.
Of this chasteté reherceth Valerius an example, and saith that ther was a man
of Rome whyche was named Scipio Affrican, for as moche as he had conquerd
Affrique, how wel that he was of Rome born. Whan he was of thirty-four yere of
age, he conquerd Cartage and toke moche people in ostage, among whom he was
presented with a right fayr mayde for his solas and plaisir, which was assured and
handfast unto a noble yonge gentilman of Cartage, whiche was named Indivicible.
And anon as this gentil Scipio knewe that, not withstondyng that he was a prynce
noble and lusty, dyd do calle anon the parents and kynnesmen of them, and
delyverd to them their doughter without doyng of ony vylonye to her, and the
raunson or gold that they had ordeyned for their doughter, gaf hit every deel in
dowaire to her. And the yonge man that was her husbond sawe the fraunchise and
gentilnes of hym torned hymself and the hertes of the noble peple unto the love
and alliaunce of the Romaynes.
And this suffisith as touchyng the kyng.
The second chapitre of the second book, and treteth of the forme and maners of the quene.
Thus ought the quene be maad. She ought to be a fayr lady sittyng in a chayer
and crowned with a corone on her heed and cladde with a cloth of gold and a
mantel above furrid wyth ermynes. And she shold sitte on the lift side of the kyng,
for the amplexions and enbrasynges of her husbond, like as it is sayd in Scripture
in the Canticles: “Her lifte arme shal be under my heed, and her right arme shal
beclyppe and enbrace me." In that she is sette on his lifte syde is by grace gevyn to
the kynge by nature and of right. For better is to have a kyng by successyon thenne
by eleccion. For often tymes the electours and chosers cannot ne wylle not accorde,
and so is the eleccion left. And otherwhyle they chese not the beste and most able
and convenyent, but hym that they best love, or is for them most proffytable. But
whan the kyng is by lignage and by trewe succession, he is taught, enseygned, and
norisshyd in hys yougth all good and vertuous tatches and maners of his fader. And
also, the prynces of the royame dar not so hardyly meve warre agaynst a kyng
havyng a sone for to reigne after hym.
And so a quene ought to be chaste, wyse, of honest lyf, wel manerd, and not
curious in norysshyng of her chyldren. Her wysedom ought not onely to appere in
fait and werkes, but also in spekyng, that is to wete that she be secrete and telle not
suche thynges as ought to be holden secrete. Wherfore it is a comyn proverbe that
women can kepe no counceyl.
And accordyng therto, Macrobe reherceth in the Book of the Dremes of Scypyo,
that there was a chyld of Rome that was named Papirus that on a tyme went with
his fader, whych was a senatour, into the chambre whereas they helde theyr
counceyl. And that tyme they spake of suche maters as was comaunded and agreed
shold be kepte secret upon payn of theyr hedes, and so departed. And whan he was
comen home from the Senatoyre and fro the counceyl wyth his fader, his moder
demaunded of hym what was the counceyl and wherof they spake and had taryed
so longe there. And the chylde answerd to her and sayd he durst not telle nor saye
hit for so moche as hit was defended upon payn of deth. Thenne was the moder
more desirous to knowe than she was tofore, and began to flatere hym one tyme,
and afterward to menace hym that he shold saye and telle to her what it was. And
whan the chylde sawe that he myght have no reste of hys moder in no wyse, he
made her first promyse that she shold kepe hit secrete and to telle hit to noon of
the world. And that doon, he feyned a lesing, or a lye, and sayde to her that the
senatours had in counceyl a grete question and dyfference whiche was thys: whether
hit were better and more for the comyn wele of Rome that a man shold have two
wyves or a wyf to have two husbondys. And whan she had understonde thys, he
defended hyr that she shold telle hit to none other body.
And after thys she went to her gossyb and tolde to her thys counceyll secretely,
and she tolde to another, and thus every wyf tolde hit to other in secrete. And thus
hit happend anone after that alle the wyves of Rome cam to the Senatoyre where
the senatours were assemblyd and cryed with an hygh voys that they had lever, and
also hit were better for the comyn wele, that a wyf shold have two husbondys than
a man two wyves. The senatours, heeryng this, were gretely abasshyd and wyst not
to say, ner what ner how to answere, tyl atte laste that the child, Papire, reherced
to them all the caas and fayt how hit was happend. And whan the senatours herd
and understood the mater, they were gretely abasshyd and commendyd gretly the
ingenye and wytte of the chyld that so wysely contryved the lye rather than he wold
discovere their counceyl, and forthwyth made hym a senatour, and establisshed and
ordeyned fro than forthon that no chyld in ony wise shold entre into the counceyl
hows amonge them with their faders except Papirus, whome they wold that he
shold alwey be amonge them.
Also a quene ought to be chaste. For as she is above al other in estate and
reverence, so shold she be ensaumple unto al other in her lyvyng honestlye. Wherof
Jerome reherceth agaynst Jovynyan that there was a gentyl man of Rome named
Duele, and this man was he that first fond the maner to fight on the water and had
first the victorye. This Duele had to his wyf one of the best women, and so chaste
that every woman myght take ensaumple of her. And at that tyme, the synne of the
flesshe was the grettest synne that ony myght doo agaynst nature. And this sayd
good woman was named Ylie. And so hit happend that this Duele becam so olde
that he stowped and quaked for age. And on a tyme, one of his adversayres reprevyd
and reprochyd hym, sayeng that he had a stynkyng breeth. And forthwyth he went
home to his wyf al angry and abasshyd, and axed her why and wherfore she had
not tolde his defaute to hym that he myght have founden remedye to have ben
pourgyd therof. And she answerd that as for as moche as she supposyd that every
man had that same faute as wel as he, for she kyst never ony manne’s mouth but
her husbonde’s. O moche was this woman to be praysed and have a synguler lawde,
wenyng that this defaute had not ben onely in her husbond, wherfore she suffryd
hit paciently in suche wise that her husbond knewe his defaute sonner by other
thenne by her!
Also, we rede that there was a wedowe named Anna, whiche had a frende that
counceylled hyr to marye, for she was yonge, fayr, and ryche, to whom she answerd
that she wold not so doo in no wyse: “For yf I shold have an husbond as I have had,
and that he were as good as he was, I shold ever ben aferd to lose hym, lyke as I
lost that other, and thenne shold I lyve alwey in fere and drede, whiche I wyl not.
And yf hit happend me to have a worse, what shold hit proffyte me to have an evyl
husbond after a good?" And so she concluded that she wold kepe her chasteté.
Saynt Austyn reherceth in the book De civitate dei that in Rome was a noble lady,
gentyl of maners and of hygh kynrede, named Lucrecia. And [she] had an husbond
named Colatyne, whiche desired on a tyme the emperour’s sone, named Torquyne
the Orguyllous, or the Proude, and he was calle Sixte, for to come dyne and sporte
hym in his castel or manoyr. And whan he was entred amonge many noble ladyes,
he sawe Lucrecia. And whan thys emperour’s sone had seen and advertysed her
deportes, her countenaunce, her manere, and her beaulté, he was alle ravysshed and
esprysed wyth her love forthwyth, and espyed a tyme whan her husbond, Collatyn,
wente unto the oost of the emperour, and cam into the place where as Lucresse was
with her felawshyp, whom she receyved honourably. And whan tyme came to goo
to bedde and slepe, she maad redy a bedde rially for hym, as hit apperteyned to
the emperour’s sone. And this Sixtus espyed where Lucrecia laye. And whan he
supposid and knewe that every body was in his first sleep, he cam unto the bedde
of Lucresse, and that one hand sette on her breste, and in that other honde a
nakyd swerd, and sayd to her, “Lucresse, holde thy pees and crye not. For I am
Sixte, Tarquynus’ sone. For yf thou speke ony word, thou shalt be dede."
And for fere she helde her pees. Thenne he began to praye and promyse many
thynges. And after, he menaced and thretened her that she shold enclyne to hym
to doo his wylle. And whan he sawe he coude nor myght have his entente, he sayd
to her, “Yf thou do not my wylle, I shal slee thee and one of thy servauntis and shal
lay hym alle deed by thy syde. And thenne I shal say that I have slayn you for your
And Lucresse, that than doubted more the shame of the world than the deth,
consentyd to hym. And anone after, as the emperour’s sone was departed, the lady
sent lettres to her husbond, her fader, her brethern, and to her frendes, and to a
man callyd Brute, counceyllour and nevewe to Tarquyn. And sayd to them that:
“Yesterday, Syxte, the emperour’s sone, cam into myn hows as an enemye in liknes
of a frende and hath oppressyd me. And knowe thou, Colatyn, that he hath
dishonouryd thy bedde, and how wel that he hath fowled and dishonoured my
body. Yet myn herte is not, wherfore I beseche thee of pardon, foryefnes, and
absolucion of the trespas but not of the payne. And he that hath doon thys synne
to me, hit shal ben to his myschaunce yf ye doo your devoyr. And bycause no woman
take ensaumple of Lucresse and lyve after the trespas, but that she in lyke wyse take
ensaumple also of the payne."
And forthwyth with a swerde that she helde under her gowne or robe, she roof
herself unto the herte and deyed forthwyth tofore them. And thenne Brute, the
counceyller, and her husbond, Collatyn, and alle her other frendes swore by the
blood of Lucresse that they wold never reste unto the tyme that they had put out
of Rome Tarquyn and al his lygne, and that never after none of them shold come
to dygnyté. And al this was doon, for they bare the deed corps thrugh the cyté and
mevyd the peple in suche wyse that Tarquyn was put in exyle and Syxte, his sone,
A quene ought to be wel manerd, and amonge alle she ought to be tumerous
and shamefast. For whan a woman hath lost shamefastnes, she may ner can not
weel be chaste.
Wherfore sayth Symachus that they that ben not shamefast have no conscience
And Saynt Ambrose sayth that one of the best parementes and maketh a
womman most fayr in her persone is to be shamefast.
Seneque reherceth that there was one named Archezylle, whiche was so shamefast
that she put in a pelowe of fethers a certeyn somme of money and put hit under
the heed of a poure frende of herys, whiche dissymyled his poverté and wolde not
nor durst not be a knowen of his poverté for shame. She durst not gyve it openly
but had lever that he shold fynde hyt than that she had gyven hit hym. Wherfore
otherwhile men shold gyve and helpe her frendes so secretly that they knowe not
whens it come, for whan we kepe it secret and make no boste therof, our dedes and
werkes shal please God and them also.
A quene ought to be chosen whan she shal be weddyd of the moste honest
kynrede and peple, for often tymes the doughters folowen the tatches and maners
of theym that they ben dyscended from. Wherof Valeryus Maximus sayth that there
was one that wold marye whiche cam to a philosopher and axyd counceyl what wyf
he myght best take. He answerd that he shold “take her that thou knowest certeynly
that her moder and her grauntdame have ben chaste and wel condycioned. For
suche moder, suche doughter, comunely."
Also, a quene ought to teche her chyldren to ben contynent and kepe chastité
entierly, as hit is wryten in Ecclesiastes: “Yf thou have sones, enseigne and teche
them. And yf thou have doughters, kepe wel them in chastyté."
For Helemonde reherceth that every kynge and prynce ought to be a clerke for
to comaunde to other to studye and rede the lawe of our Lord God, and therfore
wrote the emperour to the kyng of Fraunce that he shold do lerne his children sones
the seven sciences liberal, and sayd amonge other thynges that a kyng not lettrid
resembleth an asse coroned. The Emperour Octovyan maad his sones to be taught
and lerne to swymme, to sprynge and lepe, to juste, to playe wyth the axe and
swerde, and al maner thyng that apperteyneth to a knyght. And his doughters he
made hem to lerne to sewe, to spynne, to labour as wel in wolle as in lynen cloth,
and al other werkis langyng to women. And whan his frendes demaunded wherfore
he dyd so, he answerd how wel that he was lord and syre of alle the world, yet wyste
he not what shold befalle of his children and whether they shold falle or come to
poverté or noo: “And therfore yf they conne a good crafte, they may alwey lyve
The quene ought to kepe her doughters in alle chastyté, for we rede of many
maydens that for their virgynyté have ben maad quenes. For Poule the Historiagraph
of the Lombardes reherceth that ther was a duchesse named Remonde whiche had
thre sones and [two] doughters. And hit happend that the kynge of Hongrye,
Cantanus, assayled a castel where she and her chylddren were inne. And on a day,
she behelde her enemyes, and amonge alle other, she sawe the kyng that he was a
wel faryng and a goodly man. Anone she was esprysed and taken wyth his love, and
that so sore that forthwyth she sent to hym that she wold delyver over the castel to
hym yf he wold take her to his wyf and wedde her. And he agreed therto and sware
that he wold have her to his wyf on that condicion. Whan than the kyng was in the
castel, his peple took men and women and alle that they fonde. Her soones fledde
from her, of whome one was named Ermoaldus and was yongest, and after was duc
of Boneventan, and sithen kyng of the Lumbardis. And the two susters toke chykens
and put hem under her armes next the flessh and bytwene her pappes, that of the
hete and chauffyng, the flessh of the chikyns stanke. And whan so was that they of
Hongrye wold have enforced and defowled, anone they felte the stenche and fledde
awey and so lefte hem sayeng, “Fy! How these Lombardes stynke!" And so they
kepte theyr virgynyté. Wherfore that one of hem afterward was quene of Fraunce,
and that other quene of Almayn.
And hit happend thenne that the Kyng Catanus toke acordyng to his promyse
the duchesse and lay wyth her one nyght for to save his ooth. And on the morne,
he made her comune unto al the Hungres. And the thyrd day after, he dyd doo put
a staf of tree fro the nether parte of her thrugh her body unto her throte or mouthe.
For by cause of the luste of her flessh, she betrayed her cyté. And sayd “suche
husbond, suche wyf."
And this suffyseth of the quene.
The thyrd chappytre of the second traytye treteth of the alphyns, her offyces and maners.
The alphyns ought to be maad and formed in manere of juges sittyng in a
chayer wyth a book open tofore theyr eyen. And that is by cause that somme causes
ben crymynel and somme ben cyvyle, as about possessions and other temporel
thynges and trespaces. And therfore ought to be two juges in the royame, one in
the black for the first cause and that other in whyt as for the second. Theyr offyce
is for to counceylle the kyng and to make by his commaundementis good lawes,
and to enforme alle the royame in good and vertuous maners, and to juge and gyve
sentence wel and trewly after the caas is had, and to counceyl wel and justely alle
them that axe counceyl of hem, wythout havyng of ony eye opene to ony persone,
and to estudye diligently in suche wyse, and to ordeigne alle that that ought to be
kept, be observyd, be faste and stable, so that they be not founde corupt for yefte,
for favour, ne for lignage, ne for envye varriable.
And as touchyng the first poynt, Seneque saith in the Book of Benefets that the
pour Diogenes was more strong than Alixandre, for Alixandre coude not gyve so
moche as Diogenes wold refuse.
Marcus Cursus, a Romayn of grete renomee, saith thus: that whan he had
besieged and assayled them of Samente and Beneventans, which herde that he was
poure, they took a grete masse and wedge of gold and sendyd hit to hym, prayeng
hym that he wold reseyve hit and leve his assault and siege. And whan they came
with the present to hym, they fond hym sittyng on the erthe and ete his mete out
of platers and dysshes of tree and of wode, and did than her message. To whom he
answerd and said that they shold goo home and saye to them that sente them that
“Marcus Cursus loveth better to be lord and wynne richesses than richesse shold
wynne hym. For by batayle he shal not be overcome and vaynquysshed, nor by
gold, ne silver he shal not be corrupt ne corompid." Oftentymes that thyng taketh
an evyll ende that is untrewe for gold and silver, and that a man is subget unto
money may not be lord therof.
Helymond reherceth that Demostene demaunded of Aristodone how moche he
had wonne for pletyng of a cause for hys client. And he answerd, “A mark of golde."
Demostenes answerd to hym agayn that he had wonne as moche for to holde hys
pees and speke not. Thus the tunges of advocates and men of lawe ben perilous and
dommegeable, yet they must be had yf thou wolt wynne thy cause, for with money
and yefte thou shall wynne. And oftentymes they selle as wel theyr scilence as their
Valerius rehercith that the senatours of Rome took counceil togeder of two
persones, that one was poure and that other riche and covetous, whiche of hem
bothe were most apte for to sende to governe and juge the contré of Spayne. And
Scipyon of Affrique said that none of hem bothe were good ne proffytable to be
sent theder. For that one hath no thyng, and to that other may no thyng suffyse,
and despysed in hys sayeng alle poverté and avarice in a juge. For a covetous man
hath nede of an halpeny, for he is servaunt and bonde unto money, and not lorde
therof. But poverté of herte and of wylle ought to be gretely alowed in a juge.
Therfore we rede that as longe as the Romayns lovyd poverté, they were lordys
of alle the world. For many there were that exposed al theyr goodes for the comyn
wele, and for that was most proffitable for the comynalté, that they were so poure
that whan they were dede they were buryed and brought to erthe wyth the comyn
good. And theyr doughters were maryed by the commaundement of the senatours.
But sithen that they despised poverté and begonne to gadre richesses and have
made grete bataylles, they have used many synnes. And so the comyn wele perisshed.
For ther is no synne but that it reigneth there, where is none that is so blisful as he
that hath al the world in despite. For he is in pees that dredith no man, and he is
riche that coveiteth no thyng.
Valere reherceth that he is not riche that moche hath, but he is riche that hath
lityl and coveyteth no thyng.
Than thus late the juges take hede that they enclyne not for love or for hate in
ony jugement. For Theofrast saith that all love is blynde. Where love is, there can
not right jugement by gyven, for all love is blynde. And therfore love is none evyn
juge. For ofte tymes love jugeth a fowle and lothly woman to be fayr.
And so reherceth Quinte Curse in his first book that the grete Godaches sayth
the same to Alyxandre. Men may saye in this caas that nature is evyl, for every man
is lasse advysed and worse in his owne feet and cause than in another mannys. And
therfore the juges ought to kepe hem wel from ire in jugement.
Tullyus sayth that an angry and yrous persone weneth that for to doo evyl is
And Socrates saith that two thynges ben contrarious to counceyl, and they ben
hastynes and wrath.
And Galeren sayth in Alexandrye: “Yf yre or wrath overcome thee whan thou
sholdest geve jugement, weye all thyng in the balaunce so that thy jugement be not
enclyned by love, ne by yeft ne favor of persone torne not thy corage."
Helemond reherceth that Cambyses, kyng of Perce, whiche was a right wis
kyng, had an unrightwis juge, whiche for envye and evyl wyll had dampned a man
wrongfully and agaynst right. Wherfore he dyd hym to be flayn al quyk and made
the chayer or siege of jugement to be coverid with his skyn, and made his sone juge
and to sitte in the chayer on the skyn of his fader, to the ende that the sone shold
juge rightwisly and abhorre the jugement and payne of his fader.
Juges ought to punysshe the defaultes egally and fulfille the lawe that they
ordeyne. Caton saith: “Accomplisshe and do the lawe in suche wyse as thou hast
ordeigned and geven."
Valerius reherceth that Calengius, a consul, had a sone whiche was taken in
advoultrye, and therfore, after the lawe at that tyme, he was dampned to lose bothe
his eyen. The fader wold that the lawe shold be accomplisshed in his sone wythout
favour. But al the cité was mevyd herewyth and wold not suffre hit. But in the ende
his fader was vaynquysshed by theyr prayers and ordeyned that his sone shold lese
one eye, whyche was put out, and he hymself lost an other eye. And thus was the
lawe observyd and kept, and the prayer of the people was accomplisshed.
We rede that there was a counceyllour of Rome that had gyven counceylle to
make a statute that whosommeever that entryd into the Senatoyr and a swerde gyrt
aboute hym shold be deed. Than hit happend on a tyme that he came from without
and entrid into the Senatoir and his swerd gyrt about hym, wherof he toke none
hede. And one of the senatours told hym of hit. And whan he knewe hit and
remembrid the statute, he drewe out his swerde and slewe hymself tofore them,
rather to dye than to breke the lawe, for whos dethe alle the senatours maad grete
But alas we fynde not many in thyse dayes that so do. But they do lyke as
Anastasyus saith, that the lawes of somme ben like unto the nettis of spyncoppis,
that take no grete bestes and fowles but let goo and flee thrugh. But they take flyes
and gnattes and suche smale thynges. In like wise, the lawes nowadayes ben not
executed but upon the poure peple. The grete and riche breke hit and goo thrugh
with al, and for this cause sourden batailles and discordes, and make the grete and
riche men to take by force and strengthe lordshippis and seignories upon the smale
and poure peple. And this don they specially that ben gentil of lignage and poure
of goodes, and causeth them to robbe and reve, and yet constreyne them by force
to serve them. And thys is no mervayle, for they that drede not to angre God, ner
to breke the lawe and to false hit, falle often tymes by force in moche cursidnes and
wickednes. But whan the grete peple do accordyng to the lawe and punysshe the
transgressours sharply, the comyn peple absteyne and withdrawe hem fro doyng
of evyl and chastiseth hemself by theyr example.
And the juges ought to entende for to studye. For yf the smythes, the carpentiers,
the vignours, and other craftymen say that it is not necessarye to studye for the
comyn proffit, and glorefye them in their connyng and say that they ben proffitable,
than shold the juges studye and contemplaire moche more than they in that that
shold be for the comyn wele.
Wherfore saith Seneke: “Beleve me that they seme that they do no thyng, they
do more than they that laboure, for they do spirituel and also corporal werkis."
And therfore, amonge artificers ther is no plesaunt rest but that reson of the juges
hath maad and ordeyned hit.
And therfore Angelius saith in Libro Atticors de Socrate that Socrates was on a tyme
so pensif that in an hole naturel day, he helde one estate, that he ne meved mouth,
ne eye, ne foot, ne hand, but was as he had ben deed or ravysshed. And whan one
demaunded hym wherfore he was so pensif, he answerd, “In al worldly thynges and
labours of the same," and helde hym bourgeys and cytézeyn of the world.
And Valerius rehercith that Carnardes, a knyght, was so sage, wyse, and laborous
in pensifnes of the comyn wele, that whan he was sette atte table for to ete, he
forgate to put his hond unto the mete to fede hymself. And therfore his wyf, that
was named Mellyse, whom he had taken more to have her companye and felawshyp
than for ony other thynge, fedde hym to the ende that he shold not dye for hongre
in his pensifnes.
Didimus sayd to Alixandre: “We be not deynseyns in the world but straungers,
nor we ben not born in the world for to dwelle and abyde alwey therein, but for to
goo and passe thrugh hit. We have doon noon evyl dede but that it is worthy to be
punysshed, and we to suffre payne therfore, and thenne we may goon with open
face and good conscience. And so may we goo lightly and appertly the way that we
hope and purpose to goo."
Thys suffyseth as for the alphyns.
The fourth chappitre of the second book treteth of the ordre of chevalrye and knyghthoode,
and of her offyces and maners. Capitulo quarto.
The knyght ought to be maad al armed upon an hors in suche wise that he have
an helme on his heed and a spere in his right hond, and coverid with his shelde, a
swerd and a mace on his lyft syde, clad with an hawberk and plates tofore his breste,
legge harnoys on his legges, spores on his heelis, on hys handes hys gauntelettes,
hys hors wel broken and taught, and apte to bataylle, and coveryd with his armes.
Whan the knyghtes ben maad, they ben bayned or bathed. That is the signe that
they shold lede a newe lyf and newe maners. Also, they wake alle the nyght in prayers
and orisons unto God that He wil geve hem grace that they may gete that thyng that
they may not gete by nature. The kyng or prynce gyrdeth aboute them a swerde in
signe that they shold abyde and kepen hym of whom they taken their dispences
and dignyté. Also, a knyght ought to be wyse, lyberalle, trewe, strong, and ful of
mercy and pyté, and kepar of the peple and of the lawe.
And right as chevalrye passeth other in vertue, in dignyté, in honour, and in
reverence, right so ought he to surmounte alle other in vertue. For honour is
nothyng ellys but to do reverence to another persone for the good and vertuous
disposicion that is in hym. A noble knyghte ought to be wyse and provyd tofore he
be maad knyght. Hit behoved hym that he had long tyme usid the warre and
armes, that he may be expert and wyse for to governe the other. For sithen that a
knyght is capitayn of a batayle, the lyf of them that shal be under hym lyeth in his
honde. And therfore behoveth hym to be wyse and wel advysed, for somtyme art,
craft, and engyne is more worthe than strengthe or hardynes of a man that is not
proved in armes. For otherwhile it happeth that whan the prynce of the batayl
affyeth and trusteth in his hardynes and strengthe, and wol not use wisedom and
engyne for to renne upon his enemyes, he is vaynquysshed and his people slayn.
Therfore saith the philosopher that no man shold chese yong peple to be
captayns and governours, for as moche as ther is no certeynté in her wisdom.
Alixandre of Macedone vaynquysshed and conquerd Egipte, Judé, Caldee, Affrique,
and Assyrie, unto the Marches of Bragmans, more by the counceyl of olde men
than by the strengthe of the yong men.
We rede in the Historye of Rome that there was a knyght whiche had to name
Malechete, that was so wyse and trewe that whan the Emperour Theodosius was
dede, he made mortal warre agenst his broder germayn, which was named Gyldo
or Guye, for as moche as this sayd Guye wold be lord of Affrique without leve and
wylle of the senatours. And thys sayd Guy had slayn the two sones of his broder
Malechete, and dyd moche torment unto the Crysten peple. And afore that he shold
come into the felde ayenst his broder Guyon, he went into an Yle of Capayre, and
ladde with hym al the Cristen men that had ben sent theder in exyle, and maad
hem alle to praye with hym by the space of thre dayes and thre nyghtes, for he had
grete affyaunce and truste in the prayers and orisons of good folk, and specially that
no man myght counceyl ne helpe but God. And thre dayes tofore he shold fight,
Saynt Ambrose, whiche was deed a litil tofore, apperyd to hym and shewed hym by
revelaconn the tyme and howre that he shold have victorye. And for so moche as
he had ben [three] dayes and thre nyghtes in orysons and prayers, and that he was
assuryd for to have victorye, he faught wyth fyve thousand men ayenst his broder
that had in his companye four score thousand men. And by Godde’s helpe, he had
victorye. And whan the barbaryans that were comen to helpe Guyon sawe the
discomfiture, they fledde awey, and Guyon fledde also into Affryque by shyppe.
And whan he was there aryved, he was sone after stranglid. These two knyghtes of
whom I speke were two brethern germayns, whyche were sent into Affrique for to
deffende the comyn wele.
In lyke wyse, Judas Machabeus, Jonathas, and Symon, his brethern, put them
self in the mercy and garde of our Lord God and ageyn the enemyes of the lawe
of God, with litil people in regarde of the multitude that were agayn them, and had
The knyghtes ought to ben trewe to theyr prynces, for he that is not trewe leseth
the name of a knyght. Unto a prynce, trouth is the grettest precious stone whan hit
is medlid wyth justice.
Paule the Historiagraph of the Lombardes reherceth that there was a knyght
named Enulphus, and was of the cyté of Papye, that was so trewe and faythful to his
lord and kyng named Pathariche that he put hym in parylle of deth for hym. For hit
happend that Grymald, duc of Buneventayns, of whom we have touched tofore in
the chapytre of the quene, dyd do slee Godebert, whyche was kyng of the Lombardes
by the hande of Goribert, duc of Tarente, whiche was descended of the crowne of
Lombardes. And this Grymalde was maad kyng of Lombardye in his place, and
after this put and banysshed out of the contraye this Patharich, whiche was broder
unto the Kyng Godebert, that for fere and drede fledde into Hongrye. And thenne
this knyght Enulphus dyd so moche that he gate the pees agayn of his lord Patharich
agaynst the Kyng Grymalde, and that he had licence to come out of Hongrye,
where he was alwey in parell. And so he came and cryed hym mercy. And the Kyng
Grymalde gaf hym leve to dwelle and to lyve honestly in his contré, alwey forseen
that he took not upon hym and named hymself kyng, how wel he was kyng by right.
This doon, a lityl whyle after the kyng, that belevyd evyl tonges, thought in
hymself how he myght brynge this Pathariche unto the deth. And al thys knewe wel
the knyght Enulphus, whiche came the same nyght wyth his squyer for to vysite his
lord, and maad hys squyer to unclothe hym and to lye in the bedde of his lord, and
maad his lorde to rise and clothe hym wyth the clothes of his squyer. And in this
wyse brought hym out, brawlyng and betyng hym as his servaunt by them that were
asigned to kepe the hows of Patharich that he shold not escape, which supposid
that hit had been his squyer that he entreted so outragyously, and so he brought
hym unto his hows which joyned wyth the walles of the toun. And at mydnyght,
when al men were aslepe, he lete adoun his maistre by a corde, whiche took an
hors out of the pasture and fledde unto the cyté of Aast, and there cam to the kyng
of Fraunce. And whan it cam unto the morne, hit was founden that Enulphus and his
squyer had deceyved the kyng and the watchemen, whom the kyng commaunded
shold be brought tofore hym and demaunded of them the maner how he was
escapyd. And they tolde hym the trouthe.
Thenne the kyng demaunded his counceyl of what deth they had deservyd to dye
that had so doon and wrought agayn the wylle of hym. Somme said that they shold
ben honged. And somme said they shold be flayn. And other said that they shold
be beheded. Than said the kyng, “By that Lord that maad me, they ben not worthy
to dye but for to have moche worshyp and honour. For they have ben trewe to theyr
lord." Wherfore the kyng gaf hem a grete lawde and honour for theyr feet. And after,
it happend that the propre squyer and servaunt of Godeberd slewe the traytre
Gorybalde, that by treson had slayn his lorde at a feste of Saynt John in his cyté of
Tarente, wherof he was lord and duc.
Thus ought the knyghtes to love togyder, and eche to put his lyf in aventure for
other, for so been they the strenger and the more doubted, lyke as were the noble
knyghtes Joab and Abysay, that fought ageynst the Syryens and Amonytes, and
were so trewe, that one to that other, that they vaynquysshed theyr enemyes, and
were so joyned togyder that yf the Siriens were strenger thenne that one of them,
that other helpe hym.
We rede that Damon and Phisias were so right parfight frendes togyder that
whan Dionysius, whiche was kyng of Zecille, had jugged one to deth for his trespaas
in the cyté of Siracusane, whom he wold have executed, he desired grace and leve
to goo into his contré for to dispose and ordeyne his testament. And his felawe
pledgyd hym and was sewrté for hym upon his heed that he shold come agayn.
Wherof they that herde and sawe this helde hym for a fool and blamed hym. And
he sayd alwey that he repentyd hym no thyng at all, for he knewe wel the trouth of
his felawe. And whan the day cam and the howre that execucion shold be doon, his
felowe cam and presented hymself tofore the juge and dischargid his felowe that
was pledge for hym, wherof the kyng was gretely abasshyd. And for the grete trouthe
that was founden in hym, he pardonyd hym and prayed hem bothe that they wold
receyve hym as theyr grete frende and felowe. Lo, here the vertues of love, that a
man ought not to doubte the deth for his frende! Lo, what it is to doo for a frende
and to lede a lyf debonayr, and to be wythout cruelté, to love and not to hate,
whyche causeth to doo good ayenst evyl, and to torne payne into benefete, and to
Anthonyus sayth that Julius Cesar lefte not lightly frendshyp and amytye, but
whan he had hit, he reteyned hit faste and mayntened hit alwey.
Scipion of Affrique saith that there is no thyng so stronge as for to maynteyne
love unto the deth. The love of concupissence and of lecherye is sone dissolvyd and
broken. But the verray trewe love of the comyn wele and proffyt nowadayes is selde
founden. Where shal thou fynde a man in thyse dayes that wyl expose hymself for
the worshyp and honour of his frende or for the comyn wele? Selde or never shal
he be founden.
Also, the knyghtes shold be large and liberal. For whan a knyght hath regarde
unto his synguler prouffyt by his covetyse, he dyspoyleth his peple. For whan the
souldyours se that they put hem in parel, and their mayster wyl not paye hem theyr
wages lyberally, but entendeth to his owne propre gayn and proffyt, than whan the
enemyes come, they torne sone her backes and flee often tymes. And thus hit
happeth by hym that entendeth more to gete money than vyctorye that his avaryce
is ofte tymes cause of his confusion. Thenne lete every knyght take hede to be
lyberalle in suche wyse that he wene not ne suppose that his scarceté be to hym a
grete wynnyng or gayn. And for thys cause, he be the lasse lovyd of his peple, and
that his adversarye wythdrawe to hym them by large gevyng. For ofte tyme batayle
is avaunced more for getyng of silver than by the force and strengthe of men. For
men see alle day that suche thynges as may not be achyevyd by force of nature ben
goten and achyevyd by force of money. And for so moche it behoveth to see wel to
that whan the tyme of bataille cometh, that he borowe not ne make no tayllage, for
no man may be riche that levyth his owne, hopyng to gete and take of other. Than
alwey al her gayn and wynnyng ought to be comyn emong [them], exept theyr
armes. For in like wyse, as the vyctorye is comune, so shold the dispoyle and botye
be comune unto them.
And therfore Davyd, that gentyl knyght in the first Book of Kynges, in the last
chappytre made a lawe that he that abode behynde by maladye or sekenes in the
tentes shold have as moche parte of the butyn as he that had ben in the batayle.
And for the love of this lawe, he was maad afterward kyng of Israel.
Alixandre of Macedone cam on a tyme lyke a symple knyght unto the court of
Porus, kyng of Ynde, for to espye the astate of the kyng and of the knyghtes of the
court. And the kyng receyvyd hym right worshypfully and demaunded of hym
many thynges of Alixander, and of his constance and strengthe, nothyng wenyng
that he had ben Alixander but Antygone, one of his knyghtes. And after he had
hym to dyner. And whan they had servyd Alixander in vessayl of gold and sylver
with dyverse metes, after that he had eten suche as plesid hym, he voyded the mete
and toke the vessayl, and helde hit to hymself and put hit in his bosom or slevys,
wherof he was accusid unto the kyng. After dyner, thenne, the kyng callyd hym and
demaunded hym wherfore he had taken hys vayssayl. And he answerd: “Sir kyng,
my lord, I pray thee to understonde and take heed thyself, and also thy knyghtes.
I have herd moche of thy grete hyghnes, and that thou art more myghty and
puyssaunt in chevalrye and in dispencis than is Alixaunder. And therfore I am
come to thee, a poure knyght whiche am named Antygone, for to serve thee. Than
hit is the custome in the courte of Alixander that what thyng a knyght is servyd
wyth, alle is hys, mete and vaissel and cuppe. And therfore I had supposid that this
custome had ben kept in thy court, for thou art richer than he."
Whan the knyghtes herde this, anone they lefte Porus and went to serve
Alixaunder. And thus he drewe to hym the hertes of hem by yeftes, whiche
afterward slewe Porus that was kyng of Ynde, and they maad Alixandre kyng
therof. Therfore, remembre knyght alwey that wyth a closid and shette purse shalt
thou never have victorye.
Ovyde saith that he that taketh yeftes, he is glad therwyth, for they wynne wyth
yeftes the hertes of the goddes and of men. For yf Jupyter were angrid, with yeftes
he wold be plesid.
The knyghtes ought to be stronge not onely of body but also in corage. There
ben many stronge and grete of body that ben faynt and feble in the herte. He is
stronge that may not be vaynquysshed and overcome, how wel that he suffrith
moche otherwhyle. And so we beleve that they that be not overgrete ne over litel
ben most corageous and beste in bataylle.
We rede that Cadrus, duc of Athenes, shold have a bataylle agayn them of Polipe.
And he was warned and had a revelacion of the goddes that they shold have the
vyctorye of whom the prynce shold be slayn in the batayle. And the prynce, whiche
was of a grete corage and trewe herte, took other armes of a poure man and put
hymself in the fronte of the bataylle to the ende that he myght be slayn, and so he
was. For the right trewe prynce had lever dye than his peple shold be overcomen.
And so they had the victorye. Certes hit was a noble and fayr thynge to expose
hymself to the deth for to deffende his contraye. But no man wold do so but yf he
hopyd to have a better thyng therfore. Therfore the lawe sayth that they lyve in her
sowles gloriously that ben slayn in the warre for the comyn wele.
A knyght ought also to be merciful and pietous, for there is no thyng that maketh
a knyght so renomed as is whan he savyth the lyf of them that he may slee. For to
shede and spylle blood is the condicyon of a wylde beste and not the condycion of
a good knyght. Therfore we rede that Scilla, that was duc of the Romayns without,
had many fair victories agaynst the Romayns. And within, that were contrayre to
hym, in so moche that in the Bataylle of Puylle he slewe eighteen thousand men,
and in champayne seventy thousand, and after in the cyté he slewe thre thousand
men unarmed. And whan one of his knyghtes that was named Quyntus Catulus
sawe this cruelté, sayd to hym: “Sesse now and suffre them to lyve and be merciful
to them wyth whome we have ben vyctorious and wyth whom we ought to lyve. For
it is the most hyest and fair vengeaunce that a man may do as to spare them and
gyve hem her lyf whom he may slé."
Therfore Joab ordeyned, whan Absalon was slayn, he sowned a trompette that
his peple shold nomore renne and slee theyr adversaries. For there were slayn about
twenty thousand of them. And in like wyse dyd he whan he faught ayenst Abner,
and Abner was vaynquysshed and fledde. For where that he went in the chaas, he
commaunded to spare the people.
The knyghtes ought to kepe the peple. For whan the peple ben in their tentis
or castellis, the knyghtes ought to kepe the watche. For this cause, the Romayns
callyd them “legyons," and they were made of dyverse provynces and of dyverse
nacions to the entente to kepe the peple. And the peple shold entende to theyr
werke, for no crafty man may bothe entende to his crafte and to fight. How may
a crafty man entende to his werke sewrely in tyme of warre but yf he be kept? And
right in suche wyse as the knyghtes shold kepe the peple in tyme of pees, in like
wyse the peple ought to purveye for theyr dispencis. How shold a plowman be
sewre in the felde but yf the knyghtes made dayly watche to kepe hem. For like as
the glorye of a kyng is upon his knyghtes, so it is necessarye to the knyghtes that
the marchauntes, crafty men, and comyn peple be defended and kepte. Therfore
late the knyghtes kepe the peple in suche wyse that they may enjoye pees, and gete
and gadre the costis and expencis of them bothe.
We rede that Athis sayd to Davyd, whiche was a knyght: “I make thee my kepar
and defendar alwey." Thus shold the knyghtes have grete zele that the lawe be
kept. For the magesté ryal ought not onely to be garnysshed wyth armes but also
wyth good lawes. And therfore shold they laboure that they shold be wel kepte.
Turgeus Pompeus rehercith of a noble knyght named Ligurgyus that had made
auncient lawes, the whiche the peple wold not kepe ne observe, for they semed
hard for them to kepe, and wold constreyne hym to rapelle and sette hem aparte
Whan the noble knyght sawe that, he dyd the peple to understonde that he had not
made them, but a god that was named Apollo Delphynus had made them and had
commaunded hym that he shold do the peple kepe them. Thyse wordes avayled
not. They wold in no wyse kepe them. And than he sayd to them that it were good
that or the sayd lawes shold be broken that he had gyven to them, that he shold goo
and speke wyth the god Appollo, for to gete of hym a dispensacion to breke hem,
and that the peple shold kepe and observe them tyl that he retorned agayn. The
eple accorded therto and swore that they shold kepe them unto the tyme he
retorned. Than the knyght went into Grece in exyle and dwellyd there alle his lyf.
And whan he shold dye, he commaunded that hys body shold be cast in the see.
For as moche as yf his body shold be borne theder, the peple shold wene to be quyt
of theyr othe and shold kepe no lenger his lawes that were so good and resonable
that the knyght had lever to forsake his owne contré and to dye so than to repele
And his lawes were suche:
The first lawe was that the people shold obeye and serve the prynces, and the
prynces shold kepe the peple and doo justyce on the malefactours.
The second lawe that they shold be al sobre, for he wyst wel that the labour of
chevalrye is most stronge whan they lyve sobrely.
The thyrd was that no man shold bye ony thyng for money, but they shold
chaunge ware for ware, and one marchaundyse for another.
The fourth was that men shold sette nomore by money ner kepe hit more than
they wold dunge or filthe.
The fifthe he ordeyned for the comyn wele alle thynge by ordre, that the prynces
myght meve and make bataylle by her power. To the maisters’ counceyllours he
commysed the jugementis and the annuel rentes. To the senatours, the kepyng of
the lawe. And to the comyn peple he gaf power to chese suche juges as they wold
The sixte he ordeyned that alle thynge shold be departed egally and al thyng
shold be comyn, and none richer than other in patrimony.
The seventh that every man shold eete lyke wel in comyn opynly, that richesse
shold not be cause of luxurye whan they ete secretly.
The eighth that the yonge peple shold not have but one gowne or garment in
The ninth that men shold sette poure children to laboure in the felde to the
ende that they shold not enploye theyr yongthe in playes and folye but in laboure.
The tenthe that the maydens shold be maried wythout dowaire, in suche wyse
that no man shold take a wyf for money.
The eleventh that men shold rather take a wyf for her good maners and vertues
than for her richesses.
The twelfth that men shold worshyp the olde and auncient men for theyr age
and more for theyr wysedom than for her riches.
This knyght made none of thyse lawes but he first kepte hem.
The fyfthe chappytre of the second book, of the forme and maners of the rookes.
The rookes, whiche been vycayrs and legates of the kynge, ought to be maad
a knyght upon an hors and a mantel and hood furrid with menevier, holdyng a staf
in his hand. And for as moche as a kyng may not be in al places of his royame,
therfore the auctorité of hym is gyven to the rookes, whiche represente the kyng.
And for as moche as a royame is grete and large, and that rebellyon or noveltees
myght sourde and aryse in one partye or other, therfore ther ben two rookes, one
on the right syde and that other on the lift syde. They ought to have in hem pyté,
justice, humylité, wylful poverté, and lyberalyté.
First justyce, for it is most fayr of the vertues. For hit happeth ofte tyme that the
mynystres, by theyr pryde and orgueyl, subverte justyce and doo no right, wherfore
the kynges otherwhyle lose theyr royames wythout theyr culpe or gylte. For an
untrewe juge or offycer maketh his lord to be named unjuste and evyl. And contrarye
wyse, a trewe mynystre of the lawe and rightwys causeth the kyng to be reputed just
and trewe. The Romayns therfore maad good lawes and wold that they shold be juste
and trewe. And they that establisshid them for to governe the peple wold in no wyse
breke them but kepe them for to dye for them. For the auncient and wyse men said
comynly that it was not good to make and ordeygne that lawe that is not just.
Wherof Valeryus reherceth that there was a man that was named Themystydes,
whiche came to the counceyllours of Athenes and sayd that he knewe a counceyl
whiche was right proffytable for them, but he wold telle hit but to one of them whom
that they wold. And they assygned to hym a wyse man named Aristydes. And whan
he had understonde hym, he cam agayn to the other of the counceyl, and sayd that
the counceyl of Themystides was wel proffytable, but “hit was not just, how be hit
ye may revolve hit in your mynde." And the counceyl that he sayd was thys: that
there were comen two grete shippes fro Lacedome and were arryved in theyr
londe, and that hit were good to take them. And whan the counceyl herde hym that
sayd that hit was not juste ner right, they left hem al in pees, and wold not have a
doo with al.
The vicair or juge of the kyng ought to be so just that he shold enploye al his
entente to save the comyn wele, and yf hit were nede to put his lyf and lose hit
therfore. We have an ensaumple of Marcus Regulus, wherof Tullyus reherceth in
the Book of Offyces, and Saynt Augustyn also [in] De Civitate dei, how he faught agayn
them of Cartage by see in shyppes and was vaynquysshed and taken. Than hit
happend that they of Cartage sent him in her message to Rome for to have theyr
prysoners there for them that were taken, and so to chaunge one for another, and
made hym swere and promyse to come ageyn. And so he came to Rome and made
proposicion tofore the Senate and demaunded them of Cartage of the senatours
to be chaunged as afore is sayd. And than the Senatours demaunded hym what
counceyl he gaf. “Certeyn," sayd he, “I counuceyll yow that ye doo hyt not in no
wyse, for as moche as the peple of Rome that they of Cartage holde in pryson of
youris byn olde men and brusid in the warre as I am myself. But they that ye holde
in pryson of theyr peple is alle the floure of alle theyr folke." Whyche couunceyl
they took. And than his frendes wold have holden hym and counceilled them to
abyde there and not retorne agayn prisoner into Cartage. But he wold never do so,
ner abyde, but wold goo agayn and kepe his oth, how wel that he knewe that he
went toward his deth, for he had lever dye than to breke his oth.
Valerius rehercith in the sixth book of one Emelie, duc of the Romayns, that
in the tyme whan he had assiegid the Phalistes, the scole maistre of the children
deceyvyd the children of the gentilmen that he drewe hym a litil and a litil unto the
tentis of the Romayns by fayr speche. And sayd to the Duc Emelye that by the moyan
of the chyldren that he had brought to hym, he shold have the cyté, for theyr faders
were lordes and governours. Whan Emelye had herde hym, he said thus to hym:
“Thou that art evyl and cruel, and thou that woldest gyve a gyfte of grete felonye
and of mavastye, thou shalt ner hast not founden here duc ne peple that resembleth
thee. We have also wel lawes to kepe in batayle and warre, as in our contrees and
other places. And we wol observe and kepe them unto every man as they ought to be
kept. And we ben armed ayenst our enemyes that wol defende them, and not ayenst
them that can not save their lyf whan their contré is taken, as thise litil children.
Thou hast vaynquysshed them as moche as is in thee by thy newe deceyvable falsnes
and by subtilnes and not by armes. But I that am a Romayn shal vaynquysshe them
by craft and strength of armes."
And anone he commaunded to take the sayd scole maister and to bynde his
handes behynde hym as a traytour, and lede hym unto the parentis of the chyldren.
And whan the faders and parentes sawe the grete curtoysye that he had doon to
them, they opened the gates and yelded them unto hym.
We rede that Hanybal had taken a prynce of Rome whyche upon his othe and
promyse suffred hym to goo home and to sende hym hys raunson or he shold come
agayn within a certeyn tyme. And whan he was at home in his place, he said that
he had deceyved hym by a false oth. And whan the Senatours knewe therof, they
constrayned hym to retorne agayn unto Hanybal.
Amos Florus tellith that the phisicien of Kyng Pirrus cam on a nyght to Fabrice,
his adversarye, and promysed hym yf he wold geve hym for his labour that he wold
enpoysone Pirrus, his mayster. Whan Fabricius understood this, he dyd to take hym
and bynde hym hand and foot, and sent hym to his maistre, and dyd do say to hym
word for word like as the phisicien had said and promysed hym to do. And whan
Pirrus understood this, he was gretly admervaylid of the loyalté and trouth of
Fabrice, his enemye, and said “certeynly that the sonne myght lightlyer and sonner
be enpesshid of his cours thenne Fabrice shold be letted to holde loyalté and
trouthe." Yf they than that were not Crysten were so juste and trewe, and lovyd
theyr contréy and theyr good renomee, what shold we now doon, than, that been
Cristen, and that our lawe is sette al upon love and charité? But now a dayes there
is nothynge ellis in the world but barate, treson, deceit, falsenes, and trecherye. Men
kepe not their covenauntes, promyses, othes, writynges, ne trouth. The subgettis
rebelle agayn their lord. Ther is now no lawe kepte, nor fydelyté, ne othe holden.
The people murmure and ryse agayn theyr lord and wol not be subget.
They [the vicars] ought to be pietous in herte, whiche is avaylable to alle thyng.
There is pyté in effect by compassyon and in worde by remyssyon, and pardon by
almesse for to enclyne hymself unto the poure. For pyté is no thyng ellis but a right
grete wylle of a debonayr herte for to helpe alle men.
Valerius rehercith that there was a juge named Sangis whiche dampned a
woman that had deservyd the deth for to have her heed smyten of or ellys that she
shold dye in pryson. The jayler that had pyté on the woman put not her anon to deth
but put her in the pryson. And this woman had a doughter whiche came for to see
and comforte her moder. But alwey or she entrid into the prison, the jayler serchyd
hyr that she shold bere no mete ne drynke to her moder, but that she shold dye for
honger. Than hit happend after thys that he mervayled moche why this woman
dyed not, and began to espye the cause why she lyvyd so long and fonde atte laste
how her doughter gaf sowke to her moder and fedde her with her mylke. Whan the
jayler sawe thys merveyle, he went and tolde the juge. And whan the juge sawe this
grete pyté of the doughter to the moder, he pardoned her and made her to be
delyverd out of her pryson. What is that that pité ne amolissheth? Moche peple
wene that it is agaynst nature and wondre that the doughtre shold gyve the moder
to souke. Hit were agaynst nature but the children shold be kynde to fader and
Seneka sayth that the kyng of bees hath no prykke to stynge wyth as other bees
have, and that nature hath take hit away from hym by cause he shold have none
armes to assayle them. And this is an example unto prynces that they shold be of
the same condycion.
Valerius rehercith in his fifthe book of Marchus Martellus that whan he had
taken the cyté of Syracusane and was sette in the hyest place of the cyté, he behelde
the grete destruccyon of the peple and of the cyté. He wepte and said: “Thou
oughtest to be sorowful, for so moche as thou woldest have no pyté of thy self. But
enjoye thee, for thou art fallen in the hande of a right debonair prynce."
Also, he recounteth when Pompeeé had conquerd the kyng of Germanye, that
often tymes had foughten ayenst the Romayns, and that he was brought tofore hym
bounden. He was so pyetous that he wold not suffre hym to be longe on his knees
tofore hym, but he receyved hym curtoysly and sette the crowne agayn on his heed,
and put hym in the estate that he was tofore. For he had oppynyon that it was as
worshypful and fittyng to a kyng to pardone as to punysshe.
Also, he reherceth of a counceyllour that was named Poule, that dyd do brynge
tofore hym a man that was prysoner. And or he knelid tofore hym, he toke hym up
fro the grounde and made hym to sitte besyde hym for to geve hym good esperaunce
and hope, and sayd to the other stondyng by in thys wyse: “Yf hit be grete noblesse
that we shewe ourself contrarye to our enemyes, than this fete ought to be alowed,
that we shewe ourself debonayr to our caytyfs and prisoners."
Cesar, whan he hard the deth of Cathon, whiche was his adversarye, sayd that
he had grete envye of hys glorye and nothyng of his patrymonye. And therfore, he
lefte to his chyldren frely al hys patrymonye.
Thus taught Virgyle and enseygneth the glorious prynces to rewle and governe
the peple of Rome.
And Saynt Austyn [in] De Civitate dei sayth thus: “Thou emperour, governe the
peple pyetously and make pees overall, deporte and forbere thy subgettis, repreve
and correcte the prowde, for so enseyne and teche thee the lawes."
And hyt was wryten unto Alixaunder that every prynce ought to be pyetous in
punysshyng and redy for to rewarde. Ther is nothyng that causeth a prynce to be
so belovyd of his peple as whan he spekyth to hem swetely and concervyth wyth
hem symply. And al this cometh of the rote of pyté.
We rede of the Emperour Trajan that his frendes reprevyd hym of that he was
to moche pryvé and famulier wyth the comyn peple more than an emperour ought
to be. And he answerd that he wold be suche an emperour as every man desyred
to have hym.
Also, we rede of Alisaunder that on a tyme he ladde his hoost forth hastely. And
in that haste he beheld where satte an olde knyght that was sore acolde, whom he
dyd do aryse and sette hym in his owne sete or siege. What wondre was hit though
the knyghtes desyred to serve suche a lorde that lovyd better theyr helthe than his
The rookes ought also to be humble and meke after the Holy Scripture, whiche
sayth: “The gretter or in the hyer astate that thou art, so moche more oughtest thou
be meker and more humble."
Valerius reherceth in his seventh book that ther was an emperour named
Publius Cesar, that dyd doo bete doun his hows, whyche was in the myddes of the
marketplace, for as moche as hit was hyer than other howses. For as moche as he was
more gloryous in estate than other, therfore wold he have a lasse hows than other.
And Scipion of Affrique, that was so poure of valuntarye poverté, that whan he
was dede, he was buryed at the dyspencis and in costes of the comyn good. They
shold be so humble that they shold leve theyr offyces and suffre other to take hem
whan her tyme cometh, and doo honour to other. For he governeth wel the royame
that may governe hit whan he wyl.
Valerius rehercith in his third book that Fabyan the Grete had ben maystre
counceyllour of his fader, his grauntsire, and of his grauntsir’s fader, and of alle
his antecessours. And yet dyd he al his payn and labour that his sone shold never
have that offyce after hym. But for no thynge that he mystrusted his sone, for he
was noble and wyse and more attempered than other. But he wold that the offyce
shold not alwey reste in the famylye and hows of the Fabyans.
Also, he reherceth in his seventh book that they wold make the sayd Fabyan
emperour, but he excusyd hym, and sayde that he was blynde and myght not see
for age. But that excusacion myght not helpe hym. Than sayd he to hem: “Seke ye
and gete you another! For yf ye make me your emperour, I may not suffre your
maners, nor ye may not suffre myn."
There was a kyng of so subtyl engyne that whan men brought hym the crowne,
tofore that he toke hit, he remembrid hym a litil, and sayd, “O thou crowne that art
more noble thenne happy! For yf a kyng knewe wel and parfaytly how that thou art
ful of parylles of thoughte and of charge, yf thou were on the grounde, he wold
never lyfte nor take thee up. Remembre thee that whan thou art most glorious,
thenne have somme men moste envye on thee. And whan thou hast most seignorye
and lordshyps, than shalt thou have most care, thought, and anguysshes."
Vaspasian was so humble that whan Nero was slayn, alle the peple cryed for to
have hym emperour. And many of his frendes came and prayed hym that he wold
take hit upon hym. So at the last he was constreyned to take hit upon hym, and sayd
to hys frendys, “Hit is better and more to prayse and alowe for a man to take the
empyre agaynst his wylle than for to laboure to have hit and to put hymself therin."
Thus ought they to be humble and meke for to receyve worshyp. Therfore saith
the Byble that Joab, the sone of Saryne, that was captayne of the warre of the Kyng
Davyd, whan he cam to take and wynne a cyté, he sente to Davyd and desyred hym
to come to the warre, that the victorye shold be geven to Davyd and not to hymself.
Also, they ought to be ware that they chaunge not ofte tymes her offycers.
Josephus rehercith that the frendes of Tyberius mervaylled moche why he helde
his officers so longe in theyr offyces wythout chaunchyng. And they demaunded
of hym the cause, to whom he answerd, “I wolde chaunge them gladly yf I wyst that
hit shold be good for the peple. But I sawe on a tyme a man that was royneous and
ful of sores, and many flyes satte upon the sores and souked hys blood, that hit was
mervayle to see. Wherfore I smote and chaced them away. And he than sayd to me
‘Why chasest and smytest thou away thyse flyes that been ful of my blood? And now
shalt thou lete come other that be hongrye, which shal doon to me double payne
more than the other dyd. For the prick of the hongry is more poygnaunt the half
thenne of the fulle.’"
“And therfore," sayde he, “I leve the offycers in theyr offyces, for they ben al riche
and do not so moche evyll and harme as the newe shold do and were poure yf I
shold sette hem in her places."
They ought also to be pacient in heryng of wordes and in suffryng payne on he
bodyes. As to the first, one sayd to Alisaunder that he was not worthy to reigne,
specially whan he suffred that lecherye and delyte to have seignorye in hym. He
suffrid hit paciently and answerd none otherwyse but that he wold correcte
hymself, and take better maners and more honeste.
Also, hit is rehercid that Julyus Cesar was ballyd, wherof he had displasir so
grete that he kempt hys heeris that laye on the after parte of his heed forward for
to hyde the bare tofore. Than sayd a knyght to hym, “Cezar, hit is lightlier and
soner to be maad that thou be not ballyd than that I have usid ony cowardyse in the
warre of Rome, or here after shal doo ony cowardyse." He suffryd hyt paciently and
sayd not one word. Another reprochyd hym by his lignage and called hym “baker."
He answerd that “Hit is better that noblesse begynne in me than hit shold faylle
in me." Another callyd hym tyraunt. He answerd, “Yf I were one, thou woldest not
A knyght callyd on a tyme Scipyon of Affrique “fowle and olde knyght in armes,"
and that he knewe lytyl good. And he answerd, “I was borne of my moder a lytyl
chylde and feble, and not a man of armes." And yet he was at alle tymes one of the
best and most worthyest in armes that lyvyd.
Another sayd to Vaspasion: “And a wolf shold sonner chaunge his skyn and
heer than thou sholdest chaunge thy lyf. For the lenger thou lyvest, the more thou
coveytest." And he answerd of thyse wordes: “We ought to laughe. But we ought to
amende ourself and punysshe the trespaces."
Seneke rehercith that the Kyng Antygonus herde certeyn peple speke and say
evyl of hym, and there was betwene hem nomore but a courtyne. And than he sayd,
“Make an ende of your evyl langage lest the kyng here you, for the courtyne heeryth
yow wel ynough."
Than, as touchyng to the paynes that they ought to suffre paciently, Valerius
reherceth that a tyraunt dyd do torment Anamaxymenes and thretenyd hym for to
cutte of his tunge, to whom he sayd, “Hit is not in thy power to do so." And forthwith
he bote of his owne tongue and chewid hit wyth his tethe, and caste hit in the
vysage of the tyraunt.
Hit is a grete vertu in a man that he forgete not to be pacient in correccions of
wronges. Hit is better to leve a gylty man unpunysshed than to punysshe hym in
a wrath or yre.
Valerius rehercith that Archyta of Tarente, that was mayster to Plato, sawe that
his feldes and landes were destroyed and lost by the necligence of his servaunt, to
whom he sayd: “Yf I were not angry with thee, I wolde take vengeaunce and
turmente thee." Lo, there ye may see that he had lever to leve to punysshe than to
punysshe more by yre and wrath than by right.
And therfore sayth Seneque: “Do not thyng that thou oughtest to doo whan
thou arte angrye. For whan thou art angry, thou woldest do alle thynges after thy
playsir. And yf thou canst not vaynquysshe thyn yre, than must thyn yre overcome
After thys ought they to have wylful poverté, lyke as hit was in the auncient
prynces. For they coveyted more to be riche in wytte and good maners thenne in
money. And that rehercith Valerius in his eighth book that Scypyon of Affryque
was accused unto the Senate that he shold have grete tresour. And he answerd,
“Certes, whan I submysed Affrique into your poesté, I helde no thyng to myself that
I myght say ‘This is myn’ save onely the surname of Affrique. Ner the Affriquans
have not founden in me, ner in my broder, ony avaryce, ner that we were so
covetouse that we had, ne had gretter envye to be riche of name than of richesses."
And therfore sayth Seneque that the Kyng Altagone usyd gladly in his hows
vessels of erthe. And somme sayd he dyd hit for covetyse. But he sayd that hit was
better and more noble thynge to shyne in good maners than in vasseyll. And whan
somme men demaunded hym why and for what cause he dyd so, he answerd, “I am
now Kyng of Secylle and was sone of a potter. And for as moche as, I doubte fortune.
For whan I yssued out of the hows of my fader and moder, I was sodaynly maad
riche, wherfore I beholde the natyvyté of me and of my lignage, whyche is humble
and meke." And al these thynges cometh of wylful poverté, for he entended more
to the comyn proffyt than to his owen.
And of this poverté speketh Saynt Augustyn in the Book of the Cyté of God, that
they that entende to the comyn proffyt sorowe more that wylful poverté is lost in
Rome than the richesses of Rome, for by the wylful poverté was the renomee of
good maners kepte entierly. Thus by this richesse, poverté is not onely corrupt in
thyse dayes, ner the cyté, ner the maners, but also the thoughtes of the men ben
corrupt by this covetise and by felonye that is worse than ony other enemye.
And of the cruelté of the peple of Rome speketh the good man of noble
memorye, John the Monke, late cardynal of Rome, in the Decretal the Sixte, in the
chappytre Gens sancta, where he sayth that they ben felons ayenst God, contrarye
to holy thynges, trayters one to that other, envyous to her neyghbours, proud unto
straungers, rebell and untrewe unto their soverayns, not suffryng to them that been
of lower degree than they, and no thyng shamefast to demaunde thynges
discovenable, and not to leve tyl they have that they demaunde, and not plesyd but
disagreable whan they have receyved the gefte. They have theyr tongues redy for
to make grete boost and do lityl. They ben large in promysyng and smale gyvers.
Thyy ben right fals deceyvours, and right mordent and bytyng detractours, for
whiche thyng hit is a grete sorowe to see the humylité, the pacyence, and the good
wysdom that was wonte to be in this cyté of Rome, whiche is chyef of al the world,
and is perverted and torned into maleheurte and thyse evylles. And me thynketh
that in other parties of Cristenté, they have taken ensaumple of them to do evyl.
They may say that this is after the Decretale of Seygnorye and Dysobeysaunce, that sayth
that suche thynges that the soverayns do is lightly and sone taken in ensaumple of
Also, thyse vycayres shold be large and liberall, in so moche that suche peple
as serve them ben duly payd and guerdoned of her labour. For every man doth his
labour the better and lightlyer whan he seeth that he shal be wel payed and
rewarded. And we rede that Titus, the sone of Vaspasian, was so large and so
lyberal that he gaf and promysed sumwhat to every man. And whan his most prevy
frendes demaunded of hym why he promysed more thenne he myght gyve, he
answerd, “For as moche as it aperteyneth not to a prynce that ony man shold departe
sorowful or tryste fro hym." Than hit happend on a day that he gaf ner promysed
no thyng to ony man. And whan hit was even and advysed hymself, he sayd to his
frendes: “O ye my frendes, thys day have I lost. For this day have I don no good."
And also, we rede of Julius Cesar that he never sayd in alle his lyf to his knyghtes
“Goo on," but alwey he sayd “Come, come! For I love alwey to be in your companye."
And he knewe wel that hit was lasse payne and travaylle to the knyghtes whan the
prynce is in her companye that loveth hem and comforteth hem.
And also, we rede of the same Julyus Cesar in the Book of Truphes of Philosophers
that there was an auncient knyght of his that was in parelle of a caas hangyng
tofore the juges of Rome. So he callyd Cesar on a tyme and sayd to hym tofore al
men that he shold be his advocate. And Cesar delyveryd and assygned to hym a
right good advocate. And the knyght sayd to hym, “O Cesar, I put no vycayr in my
place when thou were in paryl in the Batayl of Assise, but I faught for thee."
And than he shewyd to hym the places of his woundes that he had receyved in
the bataylle. And than cam Cesar in his propre persone for to be his advocate and
to plete his cause for hym. He wold not have the name of unkyndenes, but doubted
that men shold say that he were proude and that he wold not doo for them that
had servyd hym. They that can not do so moche as for to be belovyd of her knyghtes
can not love the knyghtes.
And this suffiseth of the rookes.