Princes proude that beth in pres,
I wol you telle thing, not lees!
In Cisyle was a noble kyng,
Fair and strong and sumdel yyng.
He hedde a brother in grete Roome,
Pope of alle Cristendome;
Another he hedde in Alemayne,
An Emperour, that Sarazins wroughte payne.
The kyng was hote kyng Robert,
Never man ne wiste him fert;
He was kyng of gret honour
For that he was conquerour;
In al the world nas his peer,
Kyng ne prince, fer no neer.
And, for he was of chivalrie flour,
His brother was mad Emperour,
His other brother Godes vikere,
Pope of Rome, as I seide ere.
The pope was hote pope Urban,
He was good to God and man;
The Emperour was hote Valemounde,
A strengur weorreour nas non founde
After his brother of Cisyle,
Of whom that I schal telle a while.
The kyng thoughte, he hedde no peer
In al the worlde, fer no neer;
And in his thought he hedde pryde,
For he was nounpeer in uch a syde.
At midsomer, a Seynt Jones Niht,
The kyng to churche com ful riht,
Forto heeren his evensong.
Hym thoughte, he dwelled ther ful long:
He thoughte more in worldes honour,
Than in Crist, ur saveour.
In "Magnificat" he herde a vers,
He made a clerk hit him rehers
In langage of his owne tonge,
In Latyn he nuste, that heo songe.
The vers was this, I telle the:
Deposuit potentes de sede,
Et exaltavit humiles.
This was the vers, withouten les.
The clerk seide anone riht;
"Sire, such is Godes miht,
That he may make heyghe lowe
And lowe heighe in luytel throwe.
God may do, withoute lyghe,
His wil in twynklyng of an eighe."
The kyng seide with herte unstable:
"Al your song is fals and fable!
What mon hath such pouwer,
Me to bringe lowe in daunger?
I am flour of chivalrye,
Myn enemys I may distruye;
No mon lyveth in no londe,
That me may withstonde.
Then is this a song of nouht!"
This errour he hedde in thought.
And in his thouht a sleep him tok
In his pulput, as seith the bok.
Whon that evensong was al don,
A kyng ilyk him out gan gon,
And alle men with hym gan wende,
Kyng Robert lafte out of mynde.
The newe kyng was, as I you telle,
Godes angel, his pruide to felle.
The angel in halle joye made,
And alle men of hym weore glade.
The kyng wakede, that lay in churche,
His men he thouhte wo to worche,
For he was laft ther alon,
And derk niht him fel uppon.
He gan crie after his men,
Ther nas non, that spak agen.
But the sexteyn atten eende
Of the churche to him gan wende,
And seide: "What dost thou nouthe her,
Thou false thef, thou losenger?
Thou art her with felenye,
Holy churche to robbye."
He seide: "Foule gadelyng,
I am no thef, I am a kyng!
Opene the churche dore anon,
That I mowe to mi paleis gon!"
The sexteyn thouhte anon with than,
That he was sum wood man,
And wolde the chirche dilyveret were
Of hym, for he hedde fere;
And openede the chirchedore in haste.
The kyng bygon to renne out faste,
As a mon that was wood.
At his paleys gate he stood,
And heet the porter gadelyng
And bad hym come in highing,
Anon the gates up to do.
The porter seide: "Ho clepeth so?"
He onswerde anon tho:
"Thou schalt witen, ar I go:
Thi kyng I am; thou schalt knowe.
In prison thou schalt ligge lowe
And ben anhonged and todrawe
As a traytur bi the lawe.
Thou schalt wel witen, I am kyng,
Open the gates, gadelyng!"
The porter seide: "So mot I the,
The kyng is mid his meyne;
Wel I wot, withoute doute,
The kyng nis not now withoute."
The porter com into halle,
Bifore the newe kyng aknes gan falle
And seide: "Ther is atte gate
A nyce fool icome late.
He seith he is lord and kyng
And clept me foule gadelyng.
Lord, what wol ye that I do?
Leten hym in or leten him go?"
The angel seide ryght in haste:
"Do him come in swithe faste!
For my fol I wole him make,
Forte he the name of kyng forsake."
The porter com to the gate,
And him he called, in to late.
He smot the porter, whon he com in,
That blod barst out of mouth and chyn.
The porter yeld him his travayle,
Him smot ageyn, withouten fayle,
That neose and mouth barst a blood;
Thenne he semed almost wod.
The porter and his men in haste,
Kyng Robert in a podel caste;
Unsemely heo maden his bodi than,
That he nas lyk non other man,
And brouht him bifore the newe kyng;
And seide: "Lord, this gadelyng
Me hath smyte withoute decert;
He seith, he is ur kyng apert.
This harlot oughte for his sawe
Ben ihonged and todrawe;
For he seith non other word,
Bote that he is bothe kyng and lord."
The angel seide to kyng Robert:
"Thou art a fol, that art nought fert
Mi men to don such vilenye;
Thi gult thou most nede abuye.
What art thou?" seide the angel.
Qwath Robert: "Thou shalt wite wel,
That I am kyng and kyng wol be,
With wronge thou hast my dignité.
The Pope of Roome is my brother
And the emperour myn other;
Heo wol me wreke, for soth to telle,
I wot, heo nulle not longe dwelle."
"Thow art my fol," seide the angel,
"Thou schal be schoren everichdel,
Lych a fool, a fool to be,
Wher is now thi dignité?
Thi counseyler schal ben an ape,
And o clothyng you worth ischape.
I schal him clothen as thi brother,
Of o clothyng - hit is non other;
He schal beo thin owne feere,
Sum wit of him thou miht lere.
Houndes, how so hit bifalle,
Schulen eten with the in halle;
Thou schalt eten on the ground;
Thin assayour schal ben an hound,
To assaye thi mete bifore the;
Wher is now thi dignité?"
He heet a barbur hym bifore,
That as a fool he schulde be schore,
Al around lich a frere
An hondebrede bove either ere,
And on his croune made a crois.
He gan crie and make nois.
He swor, thei schulde alle abuye,
That hym dude such vileynye,
And evere he seide he was lord,
And uche mon scorned him for that word,
And uche mon seide he was wod,
That proved wel, he couthe no good.
For he wende in none wyse,
That God Almihti couthe devyse,
Him to bringe to lower stat:
With o drauht he was chekmat!
With houndes everi niht he lay,
And ofte he criyede weylaway,
That he evere was ibore,
For he was a mon forlore.
Ther nas in court grom ne page,
That of the kyng ne made rage;
For no mon ne mihte him knowe,
He was defygured in a throwe.
So lowe er that was never kyng;
Allas, her was a deolful thing,
That he scholde for his pryde
Such hap among his men betyde!
Hunger and thurst he hedde grete,
For he ne moste no mete ete,
But houndes eeten of his disch,
Whether hit weore flesch or fisch.
He was to dethe neigh ibrouht
For hunger, ar he miht eten ouht
With houndes that beth in halle.
How might him hardore bifalle?
And whon hit nolde non other be,
He eet with houndes gret plenté.
The angel was kyng, him thoughte long;
In his tyme was never wrong,
Tricherie, ne falshede, ne no gyle
Idon in the lond of Cisyle.
Alle goode ther was gret plenté:
Among men, love and charité;
In his tyme was never strif
Bitwene mon and his wyf;
Uche mon lovede wel other:
Beter love nas nevere of brother.
Thenne was that a joyful thing
In londe to have such a kyng.
Kyng he was threo yeer and more.
Robert yeode as mon forlore.
Seythe hit fel uppon a day
A luytel bifore the moneth of May,
Sire Valemound, the emperour,
Sende lettres of gret honour
To his brother, of Cisyle kyng,
And bad him come withouten lettyng,
That heo mihten beo bothe isome
With heore brother, Pope of Rome.
Hym thoughte long heo weore atwinne;
He bad him lette for no wynne,
That he neore of good aray
In Roome an Holy Thoresday.
The angel welcomede the messagers
And gaf hem clothes riche of Pers,
Furred al with ermyne;
In Cristendom is non so fyne;
And al was chouched mid perré,
Better was non in Cristianté.
Such cloth, and hit weore to dihte,
Al Cristendom hit make ne mihte;
Of that wondrede al that lond,
Hou that cloth was wrought with hond;
Wher such cloth was to selle,
Ne ho hit maade, couthe no mon telle.
The messagers wenten with the kyng
To grete Rome withoute lettyng.
The fool Robert also went,
Clothed in lodly garnement,
With foxes tayles mony aboute:
Men miht him knowen in the route.
The angel was clothed al in whit;
Nas never seyghe such samyt;
And al was chouched myd perles riche,
Never mon seigh none hem liche.
Al whit atyr was and steede,
The steede was feir, ther he yede;
So feir a steede, as he on rod,
Nas never mon that ever bistrod.
The angel com to Roome sone,
Real, as fel a kyng to done;
So real kyng com never in Rome,
Alle men wondrede whethen he come.
His men weore realliche diht;
Heore richesse con seye no wiht
Of clothes, gurdeles, and other thing,
Everiche sqyyer thoughte a kyng.
And alle ride of riche aray
Bote Kyng Robert, as I you say.
Alle men on him gon pyke,
For he rod al other unlyke.
An ape rod of his clothing,
In tokne that he was underlyng.
The pope and the emperour also
And other lordes mony mo
Welcomede the angel as for kyng,
And made joye of his comyng.
Theose threo bretheren made cumfort;
The angel was brother mad bi sort;
Wel was the pope and emperour
That hedden a brother of such honour.
Forth con sturte Kyng Robert
As fool and mon that nas not fert,
And criyede with ful egre speche
To his bretheren to don him wreche
Of him that hath with queynte gyle
His coroune and lond of Cisyle.
The pope ne the emperour nouther,
The fol ne kneugh not for heor brother.
Tho was he more fol iholde,
More then er a thousend folde;
To cleyme such a bretherhede:
Hit was holde a foles dede.
Kyng Robert bigon to maken care,
Muche more then he dude are,
Whon his bretheren nolde him knowe:
"Allas," quath he, "nou am I lowe."
For he hopede, bi eny thing,
His bretheren wolde ha mad him kyng;
And whon his hope was al ago,
He seide "allas" and "weilawo."
He seide "allas" that he was bore,
For he was a mon forlore;
He seide "allas" that he was mad,
For of his lyf he was al sad.
"Allas, allas," was al his song:
His heer he tar, his hondes wrong,
And evere he seide, "Allas, Allas."
And thenne he thoughte on his trespas.
He thoughte on Nabugodonosore,
A noble kyng, was him bifore.
In al the world nas his peer,
Forte acounte, fer ne neer.
With him was Sire Olyferne,
Prince of knihtes stout and steorne.
Olyferne swor evermor
Bi god Nabugodonosor,
And seide ther nas no god in londe
But Nabugodonosor, ich understonde.
Therfore Nabugodonosor was glad,
That he the name of god had,
And lovede Olofern the more;
And seythe hit greved hem bothe sore.
Olofern dyyede in dolour,
He was slaye in hard schour.
Nabugodonosor lyvede in desert;
Dorst he noughwher ben apert;
Fyftene yer he livede thare
With rootes, gras, and evel fare.
And al of mos his clothing was:
Al com that bi Godes gras:
He criyede merci with delful chere,
God him restored, as he was ere.
"Nou am I in such caas,
And wel worse then he was.
Whon God gaf me such honour,
That I was clepet conquerour,
In everi lond of Cristendome
Of me men speke wel ilome;
And seiden, noughwher was my peer
In al the world, fer no neer.
For that name I hedde pride,
As angels that gonne from joye glyde,
And in twynklyng of an eighe
God binom heore maystrie.
So hath he myn, for my gult,
Now am I wel lowe ipult,
And that is right that I so be.
Lord, on Thi fool Thow have pité.
I hedde an errour in myn herte,
And that errour doth me smerte.
Lord, I leeved not on The.
On Thi fol Thou have pité.
Holy Writ I hedde in dispyt,
For that is reved my delyt,
For that is riht a fool I be,
Lord, on Thi fool Thou have pité.
Lord I am Thi creature,
This wo is riht that I endure,
And wel more, yif hit may be.
Lord, on Thi fool Thou have pité.
Lord, I have igult The sore.
Merci, Lord, I nul no more;
Evere Thi fol, Lord, wol I be.
Lord, on Thi fol Thou have pité.
Blisful Marie, to the I crie,
As thou art ful of cortesye,
Preye thi Sone, that dyed for me,
On me, His fol, thow have pité.
Blisful Marie, ful of graas,
To the I knowe my trespas;
Prey thi Sone, for love of the
On me, His fool, thow have pité."
He seide no more "Allas, Allas!"
But thonked Crist of His gras,
And thus he gon himself stille
And thonked Crist mid good wille.
Then pope, emperour, and kyng
Fyve wikes made heore dwellyng.
Whon fyve wykes weore agon,
To heore owne lond heo wolden anon,
Bothe emperour and the kyng;
Ther was a feir departyng.
The angel com to Cisyle,
He and his men, in a while.
Whon he com into halle,
The fool anon he bad forth calle.
He seide: "Fool, art thow kyng?"
"Nay, sire," quath he, "withoute lesyng."
"What artou?" seide the angel.
"Sire, a fol, that wot I wel,
And more then fol, yif hit may be;
Kep I non other dignité."
The angel into chaumbre went,
And after the fol anon he sent.
He bad his men out of chaumbre gon,
Ther lafte no mo but he alon
And the fol that stod him bi.
To him he seide: "Thou hast merci!
Thenk, thou weore lowe ipult,
And al was for thin owne gult.
A fool thou weore to Hevene kyng,
Therfore thou art an underlyng.
God hath forgiven thi mysdede,
Evere herafter thou him drede!
I am an angel of renoun,
Isent to kepe thi regioun;
More joye me schal falle
In hevene among my feren alle
In an houre of a day
Then in eorthe, I the say,
In an hundred thousend yeer,
Theigh al the world, fer and neer,
Weore myn at my lykyng.
I am an angel, thou art kyng!"
He went in twynklyng of an eye;
No more of him ther nas seye.
Kyng Robert com into halle,
His men he bad anon forth calle,
And alle weore at his wille,
As to heore lord, as hit was skille.
He lovede God and holi churche,
And evere he thoughte wel to worche.
He regned after two yer and more
And lovede God and his lore.
The angel gaf him in warnyng
Of the tyme of his diying.
Whon tyme com to dyye son,
He let write hit riht anon,
Hou God myd His muchel miht
Made him lowe, as hit was riht.
This storie he sende everidel
To his bretheren, under his seel.
And the tyme, whon he schulde dye
That tyme he diyede as he gon seye.
Al this is writen withouten lyye,
At Roome to ben in memorie
At Seint Petres chirche, I knowe.
And thus is Godes miht isowe,
That heighe beoth lowe, theigh hit ben ille,
And lowe heighe, at Godes wille.
Crist, that for us gon dye,
In His kyneriche let us ben heighe,
Evermore to ben above,
Ther is joye, cumfort and love. Amen.
proud; in company; (see note)
lies; (see note)
Sicily; (see note)
pain [upon] Saracens
No one ever knew him to be afraid
was not his equal; (see note)
far or near
flower of chivalry; (see note)
stronger warrior was not
arbiter (judge) on either side
on June 24 (see note)
To hear; (see note)
cared more about
verse; (see note)
He did not know Latin
in an instant
heart not steadfast (in virtue)
flower of chivalry
royal pew; (see note)
looking like him went out; (see note)
pride; destroy; (see note)
woe (i.e., harm) to work
left there alone
began to call
was none; back
sexton; at the back; (see note)
here; evil intent; (see note)
might go to my palace
wanted the church rid
he had fear
began to run
to lift up
be hanged and pulled to pieces
traitor according to the law
might I thrive
with his company
is not; outside
on his knees
silly fool come recently
Have; very quickly
[So] that nose; burst with
was not like
Has hit me; desert
hanged and pulled to pieces
fool; afraid; (see note)
guilt; atone for
They; avenge; truth
know; they will not; delay
shaved completely; (see note)
advisor; (see note)
one (same) clothing; shall be dressed
Hounds; as it will happen
taster; (see note)
So that; shorn
like a friar
hand's width above each ear
crown (top of his head); cross
cry out; noise
pay for it
showed well; understood [nothing]
thought in no way
one move; checkmated
man totally lost
was not; groom nor
no man; recognize
changed in appearance; instant
could not eat food
meat or fish
before; could; anything
How might (anything) harder befall him
when it might not be otherwise
it seemed to him
Treachery; falsehood; guile
goods; great plenty
went as man utterly lost
Later it happened upon a day
they might be; together
it seemed to him; they; apart
arrive in good array
on Holy Thursday; (see note)
gave; from Persia
Trimmed with ermine
decorated with gems
if it had to be made
could not make it
How; made; hand
Who made it, could
recognize; along the way
Was never seen such rich silk
decorated with pearls
man saw; like
white attire; horse; (see note)
horse; on which he went
Royally; was fitting
Such a royal
Their; gainsay; person
rode in the same clothing
As a sign he was an underling
made by necessity
leapt; (see note)
brothers revenge him
On him who has with clever guile
fool; knew; their
Therefore; fool considered
considered; fool's deed
When; brothers did not
hair; tore; wrung
was not his equal
According to the record, far nor near
swore; (see note)
later; grieved them; sorely
lived; (see note)
Dared he nowhere be seen
roots, grass, and poor food
cried mercy; sorrowful countenance
said, nowhere; equal (peer)
far nor near
Because of that name (reputation) I had pride
Like angels that from joy fell; (see note)
took away their power; (see note)
held in contempt
taken away my delight
woe; (see note)
offended You sorely
Mary; you; cry
Five weeks made their abode
When five weeks had passed
their; wanted to go
said; lying; (see note)
There were left no more
Think; were brought down
Sent to protect your region
earth, I tell you
bade at once
their; as it was right
to do good
had it written; immediately
with His great
every bit of it
high; though it be
royal lineage; be elevated