Hardyng's Chronicle, Book 1

JOHN HARDYNG, CHRONICLE, BOOK ONE: FOOTNOTES


1 And as some chronicles say he was King of Syria, in which these provinces are to be found: Palestine, Judea, Canaan, Idumea, Samaria, Galilee, Shechem, and Phoenicia

JOHN HARDYNG, CHRONICLE, BOOK ONE: EXPLANATORY NOTES

ABBREVIATIONS: Alliterative Morte: Alliterative Morte Arthure, ed. Benson; Arthur: Arthur: A Short Sketch of His Life and History in English Verse; Bede: Bede, Ecclesiastical History of the English People; Brut: The Brut or The Chronicles of England, ed. Brie; CT: Canterbury Tales; CPL: Peter Langtoft, The Chronicle of Pierre de Langtoft; EH: Eulogium Historiarum sive Temporis, ed. Haydon; FH: Flores Historiarum, ed. Luard; FP: John Lydgate, Fall of Princes; HA: Henry of Huntingdon, Historia Anglorum; HB: Nennius, Historia Brittonum; HRB: Geoffrey of Monmouth, Historia Regum Brittanniae; HRBVV: Geoffrey of Monmouth, Historia Regum Brittanniae, Variant Version; JG: John of Glastonbury, The Chronicle of Glastonbury Abbey; LB: Layamon’s Brut, trans. Allen; m: marginalia; Mort Artu: La Morte Artu, ed. Lacy; MED: Middle English Dictionary; MO: Martin of Troppau, Martini Oppaviensis Chronicon Pontificum et Imperatorum; NC: Þe New Croniclis Compendiusli Ydrawe of Þe Gestis of Kyngis of Ingelond; OED: Oxford English Dictionary; OV: The Oldest Anglo-Norman Prose Brut Chronicle, ed. Marvin; P: Ranulf Higden, Polychronicon; PRO: Public Record Office; Queste: La Queste del Saint Graal, trans. Burns; RB: Wace, Roman de Brut; RMB: Robert Mannyng of Brunne, The Chronicle; TB: John Lydgate, Troy Book; TC: Geoffrey Chaucer, Troilus and Criseyde; TNA: The National Archives of the UK; Whiting: Whiting, Proverbs, Sentences, and Proverbial Phrases.

1m How thay . . . eldest sustire. The pre-Trojan foundation myth of Albyne and her sisters has a long and complicated textual history, which appears to be linked with the classical tale of the Danaïds and the biblical account of the giants before the deluge in Genesis 6:1–6 (see Cohen, Of Giants, pp. 52–54 for the latter). Its first notable appearance in England is in the fourteenth-century Anglo-Norman poem Des Grantz Geantz, which survives in a long and short version, a unique prose redaction in Oxford Corpus Christi College MS 78, and a Latin prose adaptation, De Origine Gigantum. The story was attached to the Long and Short versions of the Anglo-Norman Prose Brut, FH, The Short English Metrical Chronicle, the Anonimalle Chronicle, Castleford’s Chronicle, Scalacronica, Mohun Chronicle, Thomas Sprott’s Chronicle, EH, the Latin Brut, the Middle English Prose Brut, NC, the Liber Monasterii de Hyda, John Rous’s Historia Regum Anglie, the Ynglis Chronicle, and Jean Waurin’s Chroniques. The story also occurs in the romance Guiron le Courtois and the unique text about Brutus and Albyne in London, College of Arms L6. For further information on the myth and its different forms see Des Grantz Geantz, ed. Brereton; Reynolds, “Medieval Origines Gentium”; Carley and Crick, “Constructing Albion’s Past”; Evans, “Gigantic Origins”; Matheson, Prose Brut; Marvin, “Albine and Isabelle”; and Lamont and Baswell, Albina Casebook.

Hardyng’s adaptation, which is similar to Des Grantz Geansz, contains some interesting and unique embellishments (see 1.20–61, 1.172–82, 1.232m, and 1.257–80). Though the accompanying marginalia demonstrate awareness of other versions of the story (see note 1.176m), Hardyng only pursues the issue of conflicting sources in his second Chronicle (see Peverley, “John Hardyng’s Chronicle” in The Albina Casebook and Chronicle of John Hardyng: The Second Version).

Seynt Colman. Hardyng appears to be referring to Saint Colman (d. 676), bishop of Lindisfarne; however, the “Dialoge” that he refers to as a source for the foundation myth of Albion does not correspond with any known texts written by the bishop. Since Hardyng later cites Colman as a source for events that occurred after his death in 676, he may be deliberately misrepresenting him to lend authenticity to his history. On the other hand, he may have encountered a text that erroneously attributed certain information to Colman, or confused him with Saint Columba, who is linked with a number of writings, but not a “Dialoge” including Albyne.

Trogus Pompeyus. Pompeius Trogus, an historian and naturalist from Gallia Narbonensis, composed the Philippic History during the reign of the emperor Augustus. The history, comprising forty-four books, is now known only from references to it by other writers and an abbreviated version, or Epitome, compiled by Marcus Junianus Justinus, or Justin, c. 200 AD. (For further information see Howatson, Classical Literature, pp. 308 and 582, and Yardley and Heckel, Justin, Epitome, ed. Yardley and Heckel). If Hardyng really had been instructed in Justin’s Epitome, his recollection of it is very poor; it is not a source for the legend of Albyne and her sisters, or indeed for any of the other passages that Hardyng attributes to Trogus and Justin (see 1.176m, and 2.554m). Hardyng may have made an erroneous connection between the proud Grecian princesses and the origin myth of the Amazon women recounted in Book Two of the Epitome, but it is more likely that he altered the work to lend authority to the early part of the Chronicle. Equally, he may have cited Trogus, like Colman, after seeing him mentioned as a source for ancient history in other chronicles, such as FH or P.

Julyus Cesaryne . . . and discripcion. Cesarini (1398–1444), an eminent scholar and humanist, had a prominent career in the service of the Papal Curia and was created cardinal in 1426. Pope Martin V (c. 1368–1431), whom Cesarini served, was elected on 11 November 1417. For further details on Cesarini and Martin, see Cross and Livingstone (Christian Church, pp. 314 and 1045).

the cardynal of Wynchester. The “cardynal of Wynchester” is Henry Beaufort (c. 1376–1447), bishop of Lincoln (1398–1404), bishop of Winchester (1404–47), and cardinal (from 1426/27). Hardyng also mentions Beaufort in the second version of his Chronicle; see note Prol.117 above. For Beaufort’s life and career see Harriss, Cardinal Beaufort.

1 The while that Troy was regnyng in his myghte. This line appears to be a reworking of the opening of John Walton’s verse translation of Boethius’s De Consolatione Philosophiae, which begins “The while þat Rome was reignyng in hir floures” (p. 4). For Hardyng’s probable knowledge and use of Walton’s text see note 2.14–56 and Peverley, “Chronicling the Fortunes.”

3 thretty. The number of daughters is usually thirty or thirty-three. The later reference to fifty daughters at 1.176m shows Hardyng’s awareness of the story’s association with the myth of the Danaïds.

20–61 Save only . . . alle fortorne. Whilst the presentation of the youngest daughter corresponds with that in Des Grantz Geanz, De Origine Gigantum, and NC (compare her declaration that she agreed to Albyne’s plan with her mouth but not her heart), Hardyng draws upon the romance tradition to develop her character further. She discloses her sisters’ plan out of “pyté” for the husbands (1.29), a desideratum in romance heroines, and she trembles, faints, cries “allase” (1.57), and scratches her face in the same manner as distressed romance heroines; see, for example, Queen Heroudis in Sir Orfeo, lines 78–82, and Chrétien de Troyes’ Erec and Enide, lines 4285 ff. and line 4560 ff.

62–99 And fro . . . me tolde. The dialogue between the king and his daughter is omitted from the second version of Hardyng’s Chronicle.

148–68 Thus in . . . right fayne. By comparing the sisters’ former and present states during the long sea voyage Hardyng highlights the sisters’ shift in status and prepares us for a change in landscape, as we move from the civilization of their father’s kingdom to the wilderness of Albion. The detailed description of the sea voyage does not occur in the second version.

172–82 Bot Albyne . . . gode policy. The succession laws of ancient Greece that Hardyng describes are really those that governed the inheritance of lay property and titles in medieval England. When the male line failed, as it so often did in the late Middle Ages, an “heir general,” or daughter, could inherit or pass on a claim over a younger male member of the family. In Hardyng’s time there were no explicit laws regulating the descent of the monarchy so, technically, either an “heir male” or an “heir general” could inherit it. However, in practice, the inheritance of the crown followed the rules of primogeniture governing the “heir male” principle, ensuring that the inheritance of titles and lands passed to the oldest male.

176m Nota that . . . xliiii bookes. The different names assigned to the king show Hardyng’s awareness of alternative versions of the Albyne myth. While he does not pursue the issue in this version, he discusses the conflicting stories in the second version of the Chronicle. Diocletian appears most commonly in the Middle English Prose Brut, where he is king of Syria, not Greece, and Albyne’s mother is Labana, not Albyne. He also appears in some manuscripts of the Anglo-Norman Prose Brut, the Latin Brut, and in several conflated versions of the Greek and Syrian story prefacing the Middle English Prose Brut.

The association of King Danaus with the Grecian king, who is usually unnamed, connects the sisters with the classical myth of the Danaïds; the same myth is alluded to in FH I:15. For further information about the different versions see the items listed at 1.1m above.

The chronicle Hardyng cites by Martin is MO, but this does not include the myth of the Danaïds; neither does Justin’s Epitome of Pompeius Trogus (see note 1.1m). Although some of the Chronicle’s material does correspond with that in MO (see, for example, 1.202–03, 2.163–205, 2.229–31), Hardyng probably encountered it via another source that acknowledged its debt to MO (and Trogus), and misappropriated its attributions to enhance the authority of his text. For the influence of MO in the Middle Ages see Ikas, “Martinus Polonus’ Chronicle.”

197m Nota whan . . . sayde Dialoge. For the “law of Grece” see note 1.172–82; for Colman see note 1.1m.

202–03 As Omer . . . his entent. We have been unable to find a satisfactory explanation for this remark. It may be an erroneous response to HRB §25, which states that “Omerus clarus rethor et poeta habebatur” (“Homer was considered to be a famous rhetorician and poet”) at the end of the reign of Guendolyne, but, this would not explain Hardyng’s correct use of the passage at 2.940–53. Conversely, it could be a serious misreading of the passage in MO (p. 399), FH (I:42–43), and EH (I:304), which states that Homer flourished in Greece during the forty-year reign of Agrippa Silvius.

211–17 Thus Fortune . . . withoute disobeyshance. This is the first of many references to the “mutabilité” of Fortune. For further discussion of Hardyng’s attitude to Fortune and its importance see Peverley, “Chronicling the Fortunes.” Compare also the reference to Fortune in Des Grantz Geantz (pp. 328–40).

232m How the . . . destroyed hem. Hardyng’s reference to God taking vengeance on those who embrace evil and fail to keep the “pese amonge thaymselfe” lays the foundation for later warnings about the perils that face the English if contemporary injustices and civil unrest are not resolved. This is further supported by the reference at 1.267–80 to contemporary men retreating to the “kaves” where the giants used to dwell in times of civil unrest (see note 1.257–80). By alluding to Brute’s overthrowing of the giants before we reach that part of the narrative, Hardyng initiates a pattern common in chronicles whereby Providence is consistently shown to punish the wicked. See also note 2.575–659 below.

251–52 Thus gat . . . and wight. This part of the Albyne legend alludes to Genesis 6:4, where the sons of God beget giants on the daughters of man. For giants in medieval literature, see Cohen, Of Giants.

257–80 Of peple . . . by waste. Hardyng appears to be suggesting that humans lived alongside the giants and were oppressed by them. This is an interesting adjustment to the usual story, because the description that ensues of the wild places where the giants make their “grete edificaciouns” (1.268) invites the audience to see a correlation between the civil unrest in Albion and that in late fifteenth-century England. Whilst other chronicles contain allusions to the giants’ dwelling in caves and on hills, Hardyng’s narrative makes a distinct connection between the “kaves” (1.272, 1.275) that giants once lived in and those where his contemporaries retreat with their goods in times of war. This shifts the theme of oppression and societal strife from the giants’ era to the present, where another type of “giant” — the self-serving lord — oppresses the people and maintains disorder (compare also note 2.560–61).

283–308 From Dame . . . very computacioun. Compare with CPL (I:20), and RMB (1.1745–48). See also note 2.570–74 below.

310 Til tyme come efte that Brutus have thaym slayne. These lines anticipate events in Book 2, where Hardyng describes the arrival of Brute in Albion, and he and Coryneus slay the last remaining giants (see note 2.575–659).

JOHN HARDYNG, CHRONICLE, BOOK ONE: TEXTUAL NOTES

Abbreviations: m: marginalia; MS: London, British Library MS Lansdowne 204 (base manuscript).

1m How thay . . . hys Dialoge. MS: This part of the marginalia (in red ink) appears to have been written over an earlier note in iron gall ink, traces of which can still be seen, although it is not legible. In most cases the red ink traces the original ink underneath, though regions of the marginalia at the start and the end of the present selection do contain illegible underwriting, partially visible at a wavelength of 420 nm of the electromagnetic spectrum.

Lyndisfarn. MS: Lyndifarn.

Wynchester. MS: Wynchest.

1 The. MS: illuminated initial.

176m Nota that . . . exiled thaym. MS: This part of the marginalia was originally copied in iron gall ink, but has been written over in red.

as Trogus . . . xliiii bookes. MS: This part of the marginalia appears to have been added when the scribe traced over the rest of the marginalia with red ink.

197–203 An early hand has copied a version of the first two lines into the left-hand margin: "Thys was the yere afore the incarnacyon a thousand iiii c v yere." Other annotations by this hand occur at 3.4004, 4.42, 6.1, 6.295, 6.332, and 6.346.

212 soveraynté. MS: soveraraynte.

266 So that. MS: That.

283 From Dame Albyne. MS: From.

286 Two hundre yere. MS: A contemporary hand has written “ii c yere” by the side of this text in the left-hand margin.

295–2.14 The stanzas on this folio, covering 1.295–2.14, have red rhyme bands.

308 A contemporary hand has written “x ii c yere afore the encarnacyon” in the left-hand margin next to this line.

 
Print Copyright Info Purchase

Hardyng's Chronicle, Book 1

fol. 5r


 
The First Book

The First Chapitle.
 


(see note); (t-note)

 
How thay came into this londe and named it Albion of Dame Albyne the eldest sustire (sister), as Seynt Colman, doctour Bisshop of Lyndisfarn, specifieth in hys Dialoge, and as the grete cronyclere, Trogus Pompeyus, in hys book of storyes of alle the worlde hath wryten; the whiche book hys disciple Justynus hathe drawe into xliiii books that bene at Rome in the kepynge of the pope, alle compiled agayn in til (into) oon, so that the stories of alle the worlde in it may be clierlyche sene; the whiche Julyus Cesaryne, auditour of the pope Martynes chaumbre, the fyfte, in hys sevent yer, gafe the maker of this book, John Hardyng, dayly inspection and discripcion at instance and wrytyng of the cardynal of Wynchester.




5





10





15




20





25





30




35





40



fol. 5v

45





50




55





60





65




70





75





80





fol. 6r
86



90





95





100




105





110





115





120




125


fol. 6v


130





135




140





145





150





155




160





165




fol. 7r
170




175
 
The while that Troy was regnyng in his myghte
There was in Grece a kinge right excellent
That doughtirs had thretty, right faire and brighte
Echone weddid to kinges of regyment.
Whiche aftyr longe by ful avisement
Right of thaym alle dyd mete by fulle acorde
For thaire gladnesse and susters fulle concorde.

Whiche felle in pride and hiegh elacioun
Thinkynge to ben in no subjeccioun
Of hosbonde more, ne domynacioun
But oonly by a foul conjeccioun
Thay caste so than by alle inspeccioun
To sla anone thaire husbondes sodenly
Sovereynes to bene and regne alle severaly.

Bot what thay hight I can nought fynde ne se.
Bot Albyne hight the eldest of echone
That set thaym alle of that inyquyté
Whanne thaire hosbondes were slepynge by thaym one
To sla thaym alle and severally anone
Save only than the yongest in hire mynde
Wolde nought assent, that was so trewe and kynde.

Bot nought forthy she graunted with hire mouthe
For drede of deth that elles thay had hire slayne.
Bot whan she myght or first diskever it couthe
Unto hire lorde she telde and wolde noght layne.
But for hire sistres she had alway grete payne
Prayng hire lorde to staunche thaym of thaire thought
Of thaire ymaginacioun that it were nought so wrought

For pyté that she had of tho gode lordes
That sakelesly in perile stode to de
Thurgh hire sisters covenaunts and concordes.
Bot if it myght or couthe distourebed be
She thought it shame to thayr paternyté
So foule a werke be done thurgh trechery
Was nought semynge unto thaire auncetry.

It was a poynt so of alligory
Thaire husbondes so to plese in alle semblaunce
Accordant als with pride and tirany
And undyr it to do thaym suche meschaunce
Of alle falshode it was a consonaunce
And to alle treuthe alway a fulle party
To shew one thynge and do annother in hy.

Thus in this muse for sorow and for thought
Thay rode bothe forthe thaire fadir forto se
To lete hym witte afore that it were wrought
It forto staunche by his paternyté
In alle suche wise as thaire fraternyté
Might holpen be and saufe fro alle meschaunce
Thaire sisters als be sette in governaunce.

Thay tolde hym alle how as it was devysed
Amonge his doughtirs by fulle and hool sentence
And bot it were sone holpen and avysed
Elles were thay like be slayne withoute offence.
The kinge byhelde his doughtirs innocence
How that for care hire sorows multiplyed
That like she was afore hym to have dyed.

She quoke, she felle, she cried fulle ofte “allase”
Forthought the tyme that she was bred or borne.
So mekel shame she had for thaire trespase
She liste nought leve, she thought hireselff forlorne.
She scrat hire face, hire hede was alle fortorne
And fro that she myght speke hire fadir tille
She seyde “Fadir I am here at youre wille

“I pray you lorde for mercy and for grace
And yow my lorde, my dere hosbonde also
That whiles I leve in worlde and may have space
I wille amende whare ever I ride or go.
My systirs alle have wrought me alle this wo
By thaym compelde to swere my husbonde dede.
Allas what shalle I do, what is youre rede?

“For drede of dethe I durste it nought forsake
For thay there swore of thaires right so to do.
But nought forthy that thynge on honde to take
I thought it never indede to do hym to.
The tenthe day now comynge shulde it be do.
Thus were we alle accordet and consente
Bot in myn herte til it I never assente.”

This mater sanke in tille hir fadirs witte
So sore and depe he myght no lengar bere.
Bot forthe anone his lettres made by wrytte
Whiche to his sonnes he sende whereso thay were
And also to his doughtirs for that affere
To come hym to withoute any dilay
And that in alle the godely haste thay may.

With that thay came als sone as ever thay myghte
Forto fulfille what was his comaundemente.
And whan thay were alle come into his sighte
Anone he sayde to thaym alle his entente:
“O doughtirs myne whi did ye so consente
Youre husbondes deth so cruelly diffyne?
O cursed be the day that ye were myne!

“What was youre cause to wyrke that felony
Agayne my lawe and als my rialté
To shame youre blode by suche a vileny
That comen bene alle of hiegheste regalté
And maride wele unto youre egalté
With kinges alle and grete of excellence?
Whi did ye thaym and me this grete offence?

Here is youre sistir that alle this case me tolde.”
Thay couthe it nought by ordal than defende
As was thaire lawe hote irne in honde to holde
And bere aboute in places that were kende
Bot with thaire othe thay profred to defende
The whiche he wolde in no wise lete thaym done
Trowynge thay wolde of it forsworne thaym sone.

The kinge than swore by alle his hiegh parayle
So irouse was that thay hote irne shulde bere
“And which of yow of it that doth so faile
Shalle de foule deth, or exilde for that feere.”
Thay saide echone “What so youre willes ere
Do with us than, for we wille never it done.
We swere yow here by sonne and als by mone.”

Thus were thay alle right dampned and attaynte
Sauf she that was the yongeste of thaym alle
That tille hire fadir of it had made complaynte.
So dyd she to hire lorde, fair mot hire falle
Whose fame therfore in no-wise may appalle
For recomende she stode in alkyn grace
Amonge the folke that herde ought of that case.

Thensforthe hire lorde hire helde in grete noblesse
And love evermore above alle creature.
And she hym als in alkyns gentillesse
With alle constance whils she on lyfe myght dure
Above alle thynge, as come hire of nature
For his noblay and als his worthynesse
She plesed hym ever with alle hire bisynesse.

Bot so the kinge anon gafe jugyment
Of his doughtirs that nyne and twenty were
Bycause thay cam doun of so hiegh descent
Of blode rial and also maride ere
To kinges of myght that corons did alle bere,
No foule done deth he wolde nought lete thaym have
Bot in a ship be putte to spille or save.

So in a ship he dyd thaym putte anone
Withouten men to be thaire governoure
Bot with the flode whareas the ship wold gone
Forthe in the se with tempest and with showre.
To se that sight it was ful grete doloure
Bot that no wight than had of thaym pité
For thaire treson and thaire inyquyté.

Within the se the flode so did thaym dryve
Ay forth right as the se his course had ronne.
The wynde thaym drofe, now here, now thare, bylyve
That unnethe myght thay in thaire wittes wonne
In grete perile thay were and litille konne
To helpe thaym self, so were thay superate
And seke thurgh stormes, and als infortunate.

Thus in sorow thay ere ful sore bystadde
Exilde forever away oute of thaire lande
Whiche were alle quenes richely arayd and cladde
With servants feel to knele at fote and hande
That now in se and flodes ben wayfande.
And to what parte that thay shalle draw or wynne
Thay know nothynge bot hungre that thay were ynne.

Thay wote no thinge if ever thay come to lande
Ne whether the dethe or life that thay shalle have
So feble were thay, myght no fote on stande.
Thaire braynes febled, thaire mouthes did bot rave
Thare was grete reuthe to se how that thay drave.
Was never that wight that bare suche herte on lyve
Bot it wold rewe to se thaym sogates dryve

In stormes grete forhungred and forwake
Thaire hertes sore with sekenesse closed aboute
Swownynge ful sore, suche wayknesse dyd thaym take.
Lo thay that were byfore so proude and stoute
How thay ere tame for care within and oute
And how afore thaire hosbondes wold have slayne
To whom subgets thay wold now bene right fayne.

So longe thay drofe and sailde upon the se
That at the laste thay cam unto a lande
And landed sone tharein as it myght be.
Bot Albyne first sette fote on grounde to stande
And seysyne firste she toke there with hire hande
As hire conqueste by ful possessioun
As eldeste sister by trew successioun.
its; (see note); (t-note)

thirty; beautiful
; (see note)
great power
consideration
of their own initiative
agreement

arrogance


conspiracy
planned; scrutiny
slay immediately
separately

were called



slay
Except; her
; (see note)


nonetheless

reveal; could
conceal

assuage
carried out


without cause; die
agreements
Unless; stopped


fitting

deceit (oblique language)
appearance
also
injury
in keeping
wicked
straight away

this musing; anxiety; reflection

know before
stop
brotherhood

to be


judgment
unless; amended; recognized


grief
likely

trembled
Regretted
much
desired; to live; lost
scratched
as soon as; to
; (see note)




live


dead
counsel

dared; deny

therefore





mind



matter






Straight away

plan


perform



married; equals




could; ordeal
hot iron
known
oath; offered
permit
Believing; forswear

character
angry; iron

die; fearful action
desires; are

sun; moon

judged; convicted
Except
to
may good fortune befall her
diminish
praised; all manner of
anything



also in all manner of kindness
endure

nobility; also
activity




married are

allow
to be killed or saved

directly

current

grief





rapidly
hardly; remain
knew
overcome
ill; unlucky

are; badly situated
; (see note)

dressed
many
tossing
arrive


know


enfeebled
pity; traveled
person; alive
grieve; thus journey

utterly sleepless

Fainting
strong
are meek

subjects; eagerly

travelled


(see note)
legal possession

Nota that hir fadyr hight Dioclician and hyr modir Albyne payens (pagans). And as some cronicle sayth he was Kynge of Syry, in qua sunt iste provincie: Palestina, Judea, Chanaan, Idumya, Samaria, Galilea, Cichen, et Fenycia.1 (see note)

Bot Martyne in his cronycle sayth thaire fadir was Danaus, Kyng of Argyves, and thaire husbondes fadir was his brother Egistus that had fyfty sonnes wed to .l. doughtirs, which thaire wifes slew alle but oone, fore whiche Danaus and Egistus exiled thaym as Trogus Pompeius sayth in his cronicles of al stories of the worlde, whiche Justyne his disciple abregid in xliiii bookes. (t-note)





180





185





190




195


As in Grece than from whyne that thay were sente
The rite so was the law and consuetude
Whare brether failde theldeste sistir by jugement
Shuld have the londe by right and rectitude.
So thinke me wele I may right wele conclude
Of hire conqueste she shulde have regency
By alle reson and alle gode policy.

But hir sistirs come aftir as thay myght
Unnethe thay myght ought gone for febillesse.
Thay felle to grounde with deth as thay were dight
Forhungred sore and sette in suche distresse.
Thay had foryette fro whyne thay come I gesse
And also alle the tempests of the se
In whiche thay felte ful grete adversité.

Thaire hungre was so grete withoute mesure
Thay had foryette alle harme thay felte afore.
Save oonly mete thay had non othyr cure
Of whiche thay brought with thaym but lytille store.
Yit thay ne wiste whither to go therfore
Bot erbes thay founde whiche of necessité
Thay ete, of whiche thay fonde gude quantité.

The .ii. chapitle
 
whence
custom
the eldest
justice

governance



Hardly; at all
agony; doomed

forgotten; whence





Except; food; restorative

did not know
herbs


(see note); (t-note)
 
Nota whan Dame Albyne and hir systers cam into thys ile whiche thay named than Albyon, for Albynes name, how they bicame hire sugits of whom she had sovereynté aftyr the lawe of Grece, fro whyne thay came, so that the eldest sister had the sovereynté that dwells in that party that now is called Englonde, as Seint Colman sayth in his sayde (aforesaid) Dialoge.




200





205




210

fol. 7v





215





220





225




230



 
This was the yere afore the incarnacioun
A thousand and foure hundre als and fyve
Whan thay come in this londe by al relacioun
Ful sore anoyed and dredinge of thaire lyve
Oute of the se whan that thay dyd arryve
As Omer whiche was poet sapient
To Agrippe wrote from Grece by his entent.

Bot of these systirs now forther forto say
How that thay dyd I wille me now enforse
That wente aboute this londe forto assay
Who dwelte therein, bot thay no mannysshe corse
In it couthe fynde, so nede thaym no dyvorse
Ne women none, bot right thaymselff allone.
So sovereyns were thay of thys londe anone.

Nota how Fortune foloweth a mannes devyse

Thus Fortune than folowed aftir thaire devise
As thay afore desired soveraynté
The whiche thay had so thus at thaire avise
Thurgh Fortunes stroke and mutabilité
That brought were thus from thaire priorité
The sovereynté to have and governance
Of alle this londe withoute disobeyshance.

Bot Albyne than sayde to hire sistirs bright
“This lande shalle hatte Albyon after me
It awe to bere the name of me by right
I am first borne to have the sovereynté
And first toke lande by my fortuyté
Wherfore ye alle owe me obedience
And service als by right and consequence.

“Fortune it gafe to us by desteny
Seynge afore oure cruelle aventure
At natife birthe sette oure predesteny
This londe to have whils we may leve and dure
To us and to alle oure hool engendrure
Wherfore sethe we have it so sovereynly
Lete us go bigge and dwelle here fynaly.”

The .iii. chapitle
 
incarnation of Christ

accounts
distressed; fearing for

Homer; wise; (see note)



direct my energies
find out
male body






plan
; (see note)
(t-note)
according to their wish






be called
ought

chance






live; endure
lineage

build

(see note)
 
How the ladise felle in syn and lychery had geants (giants) to sonne that leved agayne (against) the law of God and kepte no pese amonge thaymselfe, bot grete stryfe and wronge sustened, for whiche God toke vengeance on thaym whan Brute destroyed hem.



235





240




245





250



fol. 8r

255





260




265





270





275




280





285





290





fol. 8v
296



300





305





310




315





320


 
The ladise so with mete and drinke replete
And of nature revigourde corporaly
And alle thaire care foryete and undrefet
Thay felte desire to play thaym womanly
As women yit wille do fulle lovyngly
To have fulfilde the werke of womanhede
And frute to have the londe to reule and lede.

So were thay tempte and felle in vaynglory
That nyght and day thaire hertes were implyde
To have at do with men in lichory
And how thay myght of men bene beste provyde
So inwardly in it thay glorifyde
That spirits than on thaym toke mannysshe fourme
Liggynge by thaym thaire lustes to refourme.

So dwellynge forthe in that luste and delyte
With nature of thaymself and semynacioun
Tho spirits gat childre that were geants tyte
On thaym and thurgh thaire owne ymagynacioun
By fervent hete moved with temptacioun.
Thus gat thay than grete geants fulle of myght
Within short tyme that were bothe hieghe and wight.

So usualy echone by other lay
Modir ne sistir agayn it nought replyde.
Of children feel sonnes and doughtirs ay
Thay gate eche day and strongly multiplyde.
Of peple so this londe was fortyfyde
That in it was so grete generacioun
Non durste it noye for drede of supplantacioun.

Thay were so stronge by thaire fortunacioun
Bothe myche and large and of thaire persones wight
Men were adred of thaire malignacioun
There was no wight durste come in to thaire sight
Ought thaym to greve so were thay prest to fyght
Cruel and stern and hideuse onto se
So that oon of thaym a thousond wold nought fle.

Thay dwelte on heghtes on helles and hiegh montayns
In whiche thay made grete edificaciouns
And wondirfulle, withoute water or fountayns
Bot castels grete whare were thaire habitaciouns.
Yit men may se in crags thaire operaciouns
Of holes and house and kaves alle destitute
Bot whan werre is, yit do thay grete refute.

Comons for feere of enmyse and of were
Yit bere thaire gudes this day into suche kaves
With strengh of men ful seure abyde thay there
Fro spoylinge of ennemyse, boyes and knaves
In whiche ful ofte the peple thaire godes saves.
Bot alle tho werkes that were on hilles mast
Bene now alle doun by tempest and by waste.

Thise geants thus this londe did so obtene
Thay no wight durste ourwhare thaym ought offend
From Dame Albyne cam to this londe I mene
Whils that tho wightes it had and comprehende.
So regned thay and strongly it defende
Two hundre yere fully also and fyve
To tyme that Brute with thaym dyd aftir stryve.

Thaire custome eke and thaire consuetude
Thaire glory and mesgoverned appetyte
So curste were ay in yowthe and senectude
That longe thay myght not dure in thaire delyte.
Of alle levynge thay were so inperfyte
That God right by his reule and regyment
Of thayre regnynge wolde putte impediment.

As God it wolde of his hiegh provydence
At laste dyd sette amonge thaym grete dissencioun
That who maistry myght gete by violence
Distroed othyr by batayle and contencioun.
Amonge thaym felle thanne so grete succensioun
Of ire and wrathe thrugh thaire mesgovernaunce
That eche of thaym of other toke vengeance.

For echone other slew and brought to nought
Within few yeres, sauf thretty bode in alle
Of thousandes twelfe so were thay dede forfought
Thaire mysreulde pride and boste so doun was falle.
Than were thay few, thaire power did appalle,
Whose regne thus felle afore the incarnacioun
Twelfe hundre yere by very computacioun.

Of these now wille I cese and speke no more
Til tyme come efte that Brutus have thaym slayne
Of whom I wille telle forthe how he was bore
And of what kynde and blode he came sertayne
And how he wan and named it Bretayne
This londe mysled thurgh cruelle tyrany
Of geants felle that leved cursidly.

And whare he firste arryved in this ile
Of Albyon that hight afore that day
And as my tonge can langage it and file
At Adam nowe I wille bygynne and say
Of whom he came and clerly doun I may
Convay his blode as I fynde it writen.
In olde storise it is wele know and wytyn.
 
satisfied

forgot; subdued



offspring; govern

imbued with
intent
lechery

obsessed

Lying; satisfy


production of semen
soon


(see note)
powerful


objected
many
begot
(see note)

trouble; usurpation

chance
great; powerful
malignancy
person; dared
In any way; ready

flee from;
(t-note)

hills
dwellings


works

still; serve as; refuge

Commoners; war

protected
Against plundering by; ruffians

highest hills


take possession of
person; dared; anywhere
From [the time]; (see note);
(t-note)
possessed

(t-note)
Until; fight

also; usage

old age
endure
corrupt

wished to

(t-note)
civil strife
control
fighting
violence
anger



except; remained
dead through battle

diminish

true
; (t-note)


afterwards
; (see note)
born


destroyed
fierce; lived


was called
express; record



understood

 

Go To Book Two