14. ALEXANDER: FOOTNOTES3 moder, mother.
5 slee, slay; here, her; th'entente, the intent.
6 dede, dead; reame, realm.
8 fadir, father.
10 tother, other.
13 discomfited, defeated.
14 meoved, moved.
15 viage, voyage.
17 stered, agitated; wrothe, angry.
18 ware, aware; swerde, sword.
19 smeten, struck.
20 doute, fear.
21 leve, leave off.
24 wole, wish.
27 or, ere.
29 nygh, near.
32 here, their.
33 teche, teach.
36 oon, one.
39 dedis, deeds.
41 chesith, choose.
46 wele, weal (wealth).
54 wole, want.
56 chase, chose; here, their.
59 beseche, beseech.
67 sterres, stars; see, sea.
68 verey knowelech, true knowledge; stablisshed, established.
71 of, for.
73 ydoles, idols; nouther noye ne helpe, neither harm nor help.
76 hens, hence; verrey beleeve, true belief.
81 wele garnysshed, well equipped.
83 curteys, courteous.
84 rightwos, righteous.
87 here hertis, their hearts.
88 trewage, tribute.
89 peas, peace.
91-92 the henne that gave thes eggis was dede, the hen that laid these eggs was dead.
92 her, their.
94 devysioun, division.
95 scomfyted, defeated.
99 Occidente, the East.
101 Alysaundre, Alexandria.
103 Armenye, Armenia.
112 armures, armors.
113 her, their.
116 valure, valor.
117 excusacioun, reason for excuse.
119 logged, lodged.
121 passingely wrothe, surpassingly angry.
123 sonne, sun.
129 letest calle thiself kinge, allow yourself to be called king; croune, crown.
135 coffre, coffer (chest).
136 ure, here.
137 appyl, apple.
142 here, their.
143 of, off.
144 merveile, marvel.
149 and2, if.
155 bere, bear.
158 rygour, rigor.
159 hadde to here meete, taken to their food.
162 weneth, believes.
163 dradde and douted, dreaded and feared.
171 Creature, Creator.
175 wete, know.
177 trewage, tribute.
185 aferde, afraid; mencyon, mention; puyssaunces, powers.
189 here, their.
191 vicary, priest; discomfited, defeated.
195 brente, burned.
197 shette, shut; doute, fear.
198 ellis, otherwise.
199 agenst, for.
201 discomfyted, defeated.
203 hoost, host (army).
212 warde, custody.
214 revere, river; froren, frozen; yse, ice.
216 here, their.
218 bethoughte himself, thought to himself.
225 Ynde, India.
226 yghe, eye.
230 wote, know; cunne, give.
232 of2, off.
233 or, ere.
236 puyssaunce roial, royal power.
241 discomforte, dismay.
244 to1, too.
246 what is falle of me, what has befallen me.
247 here, her.
250 aumbre, amber.
252 beere, bier.
256 entered, interred.
263 brenne, burn; payennes, pagans.
265 exampleres, exemplars.
266 here, their.
267 lete bylde, allowed to be built.
271 here, her.
273 to1 and2, too.
275 noyeth, annoys.
283 here, hear.
284 muste nedes passe, had to pass.
287 Creature, Creator; holpen, helped.
289 here, their.
294 wole, wish.
295 trewage, tribute.
296 be, by.
304 olyfauntes, elephants.
305 fyte, fight.
307 here, their.
310 yren, iron.
312 batailes, battle-lines.
314 here, their.
316 meyne, men.
321 lesyn, lessen.
329 here, their.
332 sethen, since.
333 wole, will.
334 of here harneys, off their armor.
336 seeced, ceased.
337 enteered, interred.
338 longed unto, was fitting for.
341 saleweden, saluted.
342 werre, war.
345 tarye, tarry.
346 her, their.
350 asshe, ask.
353 lefe, live.
354 othre, others.
356 levynge, living; Syn, Since.
359 leve, leave.
362 wawes of the see, waves of the sea.
364 leve, live.
367 kepe, maintain (govern).
374 sadellis, saddles.
375 harneys, armor.
376 alloes, the aloe tree; habregeons, suits of chainmail.
378 leve, leave.
380 bylded, built.
383 on lasse, unless.
384 vesyte, visit.
387 toon, one.
389 sethen, since.
392 wote, know.
393 tothir, other.
397 Sythen, Since.
405 here lyfelode, their livelihood.
407 wende, thought.
411 reyned, rained; sonne schoone, sun shone.
417 dyche, ditch.
418 cetezeyns, citizens.
427 pamente, surface.
429 noose felle on bledinge, nose began to bleed.
430 waxe passinge, became surpassingly.
431 of, off; coote of yron, coat of iron.
435 heere, hear.
441 ferre hens, far hence.
445 syn, since.
450 wote, know.
455 bethe, be.
458 weren bene deede, were are [now] dead.
459 ruyne, ruin.
460 sewed, pursued.
462 lenage, lineage.
464 herre, higher.
465 wexen, became.
467 Lybye, Libya.
468 Assye, Asia.
473 decessed, died.
474 Alysaundre, Alexandria.
481 recomforte, comfort; werne, were.
483 wonte, accustomed.
491 heere, hear; noone durste, no one dared.
493 petevous, piteous.
496 nygh, near; dyspreise, denounce.
497 Alysaundre, Alexandria.
499 here, her.
500 chaare, chair (bier).
503-04 heelde here peas, held her peace.
513 leete crye, let cry.
514 reherced, rehearsed.
515 here, their.
517 here meete, their food.
524 woldest, would; wrothe, angry.
529 emplyed, employed.
530 vesyted, visited.
533 drowgh, drew.
534 yemen, yeomen; werre, war.
537 vesage, visage.
540 meynee, company.
542 dreede, dread.
549 here, their.
559 seeche, seek; boones, bones.
560 dyssever, separate; mennys, men(s.
562 sewe, pursue.
570-71 custumably, customarily.
571 here, hear.
573 wolde, wished; cownted, counted.
574 feyghte, fight.
577 motouns, muttons; beestis, beasts; kechen, kitchen.
578 patryarkes, patriarchs.
580 lynage, lineage.
594 forthwithal, forthwith.
595 pecis, pieces.
596 valure, valor; somme, sum.
607 resceyvoure, receiver.
611 boonde, bound.
613 and, if.
620 passyngely, surpassingly; doute, fear.
626 herers, hearers.
629 here, their.
633 leesith, loses.
637 wenynge, believing.
638 soore, sorely.
639 Bethe, Be.
640 scole, school.
641 wore, were.
650 be, been.
651 empeche, impeach (accuse).
652 apayed, pleased with.
659 slouthe, sloth.
667 wexe, become.
676 here, their.
678 wyndes, winds.
679 wedyr, weather.
682 or, ere; lowable, praiseworthy.
684 heere, hear (listen to).
686 fawte, fault.
14. ALEXANDER: EXPLANATORY NOTESABBREVIATIONS: B = Dicts and Sayings of the Philosophers, ed. Bühler (1941); CA = Gower's Confessio Amantis; CT = Chaucer's Canterbury Tales; G = Pierpont Morgan Library MS G.66; MED = Middle English Dictionary; OED = Oxford English Dictionary; S = Scrope, Dicts and Sayings of the Philosophers, ed. Schofield (1936).
These explanatory notes cannot hope to provide a complete accounting for the source of every proverbial statement in Dicts and Sayings. That task would be a separate book in its own right. Instead, I have attempted to contextualize this rather heterogeneous body of lore by identifying the people and places named in the text, as well as noting points that may be of interest to students and general readers. Those interested in tracing the source of particular quotations should begin by consulting Whiting's Proverbs, Sentences, and Proverbial Phrases From English Writings Mainly Before 1500. Readers are also invited to consult the thorough notes to Knust's Bocados de Oro, the Spanish translation of the original Arabic ancestor of Dicts and Sayings.
1 Alysaundir. The son of Philip II of Macedonia, Alexander (356-323 BC) conquered a vast empire spanning from Greece to the western frontiers of India. As a young man he ruled much of central Asia, but his huge empire collapsed shortly after his death. Alexander had a rather ambivalent reputation in the Middle Ages, in that he was remembered as both a brilliant military leader and a brutal imperialist. The primary source for the life of Alexander in Dicts and Sayings is the Greek romance known as Pseudo-Callisthenes, so named because it was once attributed to the Greek historiographer who accompanied Alexander's expedition until the king turned against him and had him killed. The original Pseudo-Callisthenes was composed sometime after 200 BC (Cary, Medieval Alexander, p. 9). There are several redactions. The earliest (Alpha) was translated into Latin by Julius Valerius in the fourth century and entitled Res gestae Alexandri Macedonis; an abbreviated form, called the Julius Valerius Epitome (or the Zacher Epitome), was widely circulated and often appears in manuscripts with Epistola Alexandri Magni ad Aristotelem magistrum suum de situ et mirabilibus Indiae (The Letter of Alexander the Great to His Teacher Aristotle on the Geography and the Marvels of India). A later "Delta" recension does not survive in its original Greek but can be found in a Syriac translation and a tenth-century Latin translation by Leo, archbishop of Naples. Leo's version was revised in the eleventh century into the I1 version of the Historia de Preliis Alexandri Magni, which adds new material, such as Alexander's conversations with Dindimus (Bunt, Alexander the Great, pp. 6-7). The Historia de Preliis, existing in three redactions, provided the source material for many English Alexander romances; the I3 redaction, for instance, was the source for The Wars of Alexander (Bunt, pp. 27-29). As in many of the texts inspired by Pseudo-Callisthenes, the Wars presents, Bunt writes, "a heroic and philosophical Alexander, well aware that he is mortal, and that pride is a constant danger, but yet succumbing to the vice himself; in short, a hero who may be larger than life, but is still recognisably human" (p. 31). Dicts and Sayings contains some alterations to the basic story found in Pseudo-Callisthenes: most significantly, here the exiled Egyptian pharaoh Nectanebus - who is secretly Alexander's father in the original version is nowhere to be found, and Alexander is the son of Philip.
Kinge Phelip of Macedoyne. See the explanatory note for Aristotle, line 33.
2 Chaus. His name is Theosidos in Pseudo-Callisthenes. This is Pausanias, a nobleman and member of Philip's bodyguard, who had a long-standing grievance against the king.
7 Pilate. I have been unable to ascertain his identity.
11 Sarapye. The town is called Methone in Pseudo-Callisthenes.
65-77 Here Alexander instructs his people to stop worshiping idols and turn instead to the one true God. As Cary notes, "[t]he portrait of Alexander contained in [Dicts and Sayings] belongs to the Oriental tradition; he appears as a philosopher king, bent on the suppression of idolatry" (Medieval Alexander, p. 23). Indeed, in the Middle Ages the legendary Alexander often was co-opted into the mono-theistic fold. Bunt notes echoes of Vulgate Psalms 113:5 and 134:16 in this passage (Alexander the Great, p. 72).
88-89 King Dayre, whiche was kinge of Perce. This is the Persian king Darius III (r. 336-330 BC), who rose to power amidst a series of bloody coups. When the Macedonian army pushed into Persian territory, Darius seriously underestimated Alexander's determination and military strength. After a series of humiliating defeats, he was murdered by his own subordinates.
102 Desteme. In Scrope's translation of Dicts and Sayings, the town is called Estam. "In Arabic, this town is el-Farama, a city which lies to the east of Tinnis in Egypt" (S, p. 213n96).
106 Tyre. Established by the Phoenicians, this crucial port city in modern-day Lebanon was besieged and taken by Alexander in 332.
120 Usyoche. The Oxus River, today known as the Amu Darya.
194 Quylle. The town is called Abdera (located in Thrace) in Pseudo-Callisthenes.
216 ff. The extended narrative recounting the death of Darius is marked by several interesting elements. First, the two enemies reconcile, speaking well of one another after their long and bitter conflict. Alexander also shows great courtesy by promising to look after Darius' family. His magnanimity here is consistent with the typical portrait of Alexander in the Pseudo-Callisthenes tradition, in which the king is cast as a great hero and a man of virtue. In Dicts and Sayings, the author makes it clear that Alexander's victories over Darius and later the Indian king Porrus are a "result of his moral and philosophical superiority" (Bunt, Alexander the Great, p. 72). Even more interesting, perhaps, is Darius' dying speech: "O Alysaundre, loke thu be nat to proude, nor make nat thiself higher thanne longeth to thyne estate, and truste nat to moche on this world, and lete this be a suffysaunte myrroure unto the seenge what is falle of me" (lines 243-46). The moralizing tone in this passage is similar to what we find in the Historia de Preliis (particularly the I3 recension), where Darius' speech becomes a warning against pride (Bunt, p. 9).
301 Porrus, the Kinge of Ynde. In the Alexander tradition, Porus was a king in what is now India; he opposed Alexander, was defeated by him, and then entered into an alliance with him and thus was allowed to retain control of his territory.
340 Brachemos. These are the famous "naked philosophers" whom Alexander encounters in many of the medieval romances. As Bunt elaborates, "this episode resembles the story of Alexander's meeting with the Gymnosophists in the romances which derive from the Historia de Preliis, but gives more emphasis to Alexander's rejoinder to the question of the Brachemos why he exerts himself so much" to destroy everything and amass treasures (Alexander the Great, p. 72). Alexander replies that "he acts in obedience to God's command, who has sent him" to uphold God's law and punish unbelievers (pp. 72-73).
368 Swanne. I have been unable to identify this "land," but it is so named in The Prose Life of Alexander. There are several instances in Pseudo-Callisthenes, and in later Alexander tales, in which the inhabitants of a city or region surrender to Alexander without a fight.
379 estwarde into Turkye. Obviously the geography is off, but in the Middle Ages "Turkey" often referred more generally to the vast steppes of Central Asia.
427 by aunsuers of trees. Tree of the Sun and the Tree of the Moon, which speak to Alexander and prophesy his impending death. The earliest known reference to the trees can be found in the fourth-century Res gestae Alexandri Macedonis of Julius Valerius (ed. Rosellini, pp. 145-50), whose work is a Latin translation of the earliest (Alpha) recension of Pseudo-Callisthenes. See Cary, Medieval Alexander, p. 337n137, for a list of later medieval texts that cite this anecdote.
428-29 he toke a grete heete, wherupon his noose felle on bledinge. Here Dicts and Sayings departs from the standard account of Alexander's demise in Pseudo-Callisthenes, where the king is felled by poison.
476 ff. Here the great lords of Alexander's empire pay homage to the dead king at his funeral. The episode parallels a similar scene found in many versions of the Historia de Preliis, where philosophers gather at Alexander's grave; they each "pronounce an epigrammatic, if platitudinous, comment on the transience of human glory. The ultimate source of this scene is the Disciplina Clericalis of Petrus Alfonsi, a Spanish Jew who became a Christian and who travelled widely in Western Europe" (Bunt, Alexander the Great, p. 10).
538 And Alysaundre seide in his lyfe. While most of the preceding text was biographical in nature and drawn from Pseudo-Callisthenes, from this point the remainder of Alexander's section is devoted to his maxims. Though he was always regarded as more of a warrior than a philosopher, Alexander was often depicted as a learned wise man in medieval Islamic writings. See Southgate, "Portrait of Alexander in Persian Alexander-Romances." Southgate notes that "[i]n Persian romances Alexander is learned himself, and he surrounds himself with philosophers at his court and on his expeditions . . . The notion of Alexander as a philosopher-king originated in a didactic genre consisting of lives of philosophers followed by a collection of their wise sayings" (p. 282). Thus works like the original Arabic version of Dicts and Sayings influenced Muslim Alexander romances. In such texts Alexander is depicted as a great hero, sage, protector of man, and prophet, but also he is also human, and has human failings like avarice (Southgate, p. 284).
660 Nychomaque. Perhaps Nichomachus, the son of Aristotle (named after Aristotle's father).
676-77 Do wele to othir men yf thu wilt that thei wole do wele to thee. Another manifestation of the Golden Rule. See Whiting D274.
685-86 It was a gretter fawte to lacke discrecioun thanne to lacke ricchesse. This is an interesting final statement for Alexander to make. How, ultimately, are we to view Alexander's place in this work? He is the only speaker who was not a thinker by trade, yet he is the most prominent character of all: in addition to his own section - the longest of any - he recurs throughout the Diogenes and Aristotle sections. It is not a uniform characterization throughout. As Bunt notes,
[t]he picture of Alexander presented in The Dicts and Sayings of the Philosophers is . . . not entirely consistent. Whereas the sections dealing with his own life portray Alexander as a wise and devout ruler, other episodes make him simply the recipient of wise admonitions, or, in the case of the famous Diogenes anecdote, sound a distinctly critical note. (Alexander the Great, p. 74)For my own analysis of Alexander's inconsistent portrayal in this text, see the note to Diogenes, lines 146-47.
14. ALEXANDER: TEXTUAL NOTES32 thei. I follow B in emending from G's the.
40 counseile. So G. B reads I counseile, mistaking a virgule for the first person pronoun.
130 comethe thee of. B suggests comethe of thee or comethe to thee of.
178 me. So G. B omits.
235 shalt. I follow B in emending from G's shat.
245 nat. G: word added above the line.
250 ten thousande. B, G: x ml. See textual note to Socrates, line 104. Here, too, confirmation can be found in Scrope: xm.
256 sepulture. So G. B reads sepulcure.
309-10 twenty-foure thousand. B, G, Scrope: xxiiij ml. See textual note to Socrates, line 104.
533-34 thre hundred twenty-foure thousande. B, G: cccxxiiij ml. Scrope: cccxiijm. See textual note to Socrates, line 104.
595 twelve thousande. B, G: xij ml. Scrope: xm. See textual note to Socrates, line 104.
617 And. B inserts seid after this word, but there is no obvious need for this emendation.
624 annoyed. G: noyed written below the line, this being the end of the MS page.
650 had. I follow B in adding.
656 nat. So G. B inserts not, indicating that the word is missing from G, but it is not.
The grete Alysaundir was sone to Kinge Phelip of Macedoyne, whiche regned
seven yere. And a grete lord of his lande, whos name was Chaus, was the cause of
his death, for that he loved the moder of Alisaundir and enforced himself as moche
as he might for to have her, and she wolde in no wise consente to him. Wherfore
he thoughte for to slee the kinge here husbande to th'entente whanne that he were
dede, he shulde wedde the quene, and so for to regne over that reame. So it befell
that aftir the deth of a kinge that was named Pilate, whiche in his tyme was subjecte
to Kinge Phelip, his sone anone aftir the deth of his fadir disobbeyed Kinge Phelip.
And the same Kinge Phelip sente a grete partie of his knyghtis agenste him; [fol. 42r] and
the tother partie of his people he sente with Alysaundir to besege a towne whiche
was named Sarapye, that rebelled of newe agenste Kinge Phelip. And so the seide
kinge was lefte right destitute of people, and this seide Cahus assembled alle the
people that he myght make, and came agenst Kinge Phelip and discomfited him
and hurte him unto the deth, wherof the towne was gretely troubled and meoved.
And even as this caas felle, came Kinge Alisaundir home from his viage, and fonde
his fadre almoste deed, and his moder was in pryson in the hondes of this Cahus.
Thanne was Alisaundir gretely stered and wrothe, and nat withoute cause. And
anone as he was ware of the seid Cahus, he pulled oute his swerde for to have
smeten him. Thanne was he ware that Cahus helde his moder, and withdrowe his
strook for doute of his moder, leste he shulde have hurte here. Thanne seide his
moder unto him: "Sone, kille this cursed man and leve nat for me!" Thanne Ali-
saundir smote him that he felle to the erthe, and broughte him unto his fadir,
whiche hadde yet a litil lyffe lefte in him, and seide unto his fadir: "Kinge, lo, here
is thyne enemy. I wole that he dye of thyne handes, and so shalt thu be venged."
And thanne Kinge Phelip aroose up with grete peyne and killed Cahus, and
anoone aftir he deyed himself. And Alisaundir made him buryed with grete wor-
ship, and thanne he regned aftir him. And yet before or Kinge Phelip deyed, he
put Alisaundir to the rule of Aristotle, whiche taughte him right worshipfully, and
was of right grete undirstondinge. And whanne Kinge Phelip was nygh the deth,
he called Alysaundre to him and made him kinge, and sette the crowne upon his
hed and made him sytte in the roial seete and made calle alle the princes and
charged hem that thei shuld take him for here lorde. And thanne he called Aris-
totle and prayed him that he wolde teche Alysaundir somme good thinge in his
presence before he shulde departe oute of this worlde. And so he dede. And
anoone aftir the deth of Kinge Phelip, Alysaundre spake to his men and seide:
"Faire lordes, I wole nat have any maner lordship over you but wil be as oon of
you, and what that pleaseth you I shal holde me right wel agreed. And I wole love
that ye love. And I wole hate that ye hate. And I wole in no wyse bee contrarie to
youre dedis. But I that hate fraudes and malice and have alleweyes loved you while
my fadir leved, and yet do [fol. 42v] and shal do, counseile and praye you that ye drede
God and that ye obbeye Him as youre sovereigne. And chesith Him for your kinge
that ye see wole be obeysaunte to God, him also that wole beste thenk upon the
state of the people, he that shal be moste debonaire and merciful to the people,
he that kepeth beste justice, and he that wole helpe the feoble man in his right
agenste the stronge man, and he that wole beste dispose his body to the profites
of the comoun wele, and him that wole nat for no dilectaciouns or delites be slowe
for to kepe you or defende you, by the whiche ye shal be kept frome alle evell by
the meane of his goode werkys, and he that moste hardily wole put himself in
daungier of deth agenst your enemyes. For suche a man oughte to be chosen for
kinge and none other." And whanne his people hadde herde his grete reasons
aboveseide and undirstode his grete discrecioun, thei were gretly abasshed.
Thenne thei aunsuerd him, seyenge in this wyse: "We have right wele undirstande
and herde thi reasons, and we have resceived and resceive thi counseile. Wherfore
we wole and praye thee that thu regne and governe us for evermore. And we
undirstonde that there is none so worthy nor have so wele deserved for to be oure
kinge." And right so thei chase him, and crowned him to here kinge, and thei gave
him the blessinge, and preyed God hertily for to mayntene him. To whome he
seide: "I have herde the prayour that ye have made for me, and also that ye have
with a good herte made me kinge, wherfore I beseche almighty God with alle
humblenesse that He wole afferme the love of me in youre courages, that for any
dilectacioun He suffre me not to do anythinge but it be to you profitable, and to
me honour and worship." And anone he sente oute his lettres to alle the goode
townes of his realme, and to alle this princes, aftir the fourme as hereaftir shal
[fol. 43r] Alysaundir, kinge of Macedoyne, to suche and suche, sende gretinge. Almyghty
God is my Lorde and yours, my Creatour and yours, maker of heven and of erth,
of sterres, of mounteyns, of the see, and of alle other thinges whiche hath put in
my courage verey knowelech of Hym and of His drede, and hath stablisshed me
to His servyces. Also He hath bounde me for to kepe His people and in my childe-
hoode hath sette me in the highest estate of this werlde. Wherfore I thanke Him
lowely of so noble a begynnynge, and I beseche Him hertily to be my good meane,
that I maye be brought to the goode ende. And ye wote wel that youre faders and
oures have worshipped ydoles that myght nouther noye ne helpe, see nor heere,
ne have nouther reasoun ne undirstondinge. And we oughte to have grete shame
for to worship thes ymages that we have made with oure handes. Wherfore I wole
that fro hens forthe ye have verrey beleeve in the true God and that ye serve Him
and honoure Him.
And aftir that he sente lettres to his knightis, by the whiche thei knewe his lyffe
and his wille, and that his entent was to helpe hem to his power, wherof thei were
right gladde and joiefull. And aftir that thei hadde resceived his lettres, thei comen
to him wele garnysshed of suche thingis as longen unto knyghthode, and he
ordeigned hem goode wages. And whanne thei sawe that he was so wise, so liberal,
so stronge and of so grete a courage, so curteys and of so goode condyciouns, so
rightwos and so fulle of pitee to poure men and feble men, dredynge and obbey-
nge God, and enclyned himself so gretely to His servyce, thei thought hemself that
he shulde be a grete and a mighty [fol. 43v] lorde and that he shulde by his grete wor-
thynesse make hem grete maisters. Wherfore thei served him with alle here hertis.
And his fader Kinge Phelip payed every yere of custume a trewage to the King
Dayre, whiche was kinge of Perce, to that entente that he myghte sytte in peas. And
therfore Kinge Dayre sente his men to Alysaundre for to resceive the payemente
of the trewage, as is before seide. To whome he aunsuerd and seide that the henne
that gave thes eggis was dede, and so thei wente her weye, and hadde non other
aunsuere. And whanne Alysaundre began to regne, the londe of Grece was in so
grete devysioun that thei hadde divers kinges, and eche oon of hem was in debate
with other; and for because of that devysyon the Kinge Alysaundre scomfyted hem
everych aftir other, and was lorde over hem alle. Wherfore and thei hadde bene
alle oone, he hadde nat so lightly conquered hem. And he was the firste man that
made the lordeship of Greece undir oon lorde. And thanne it fell in his courage
for to go and conquere alle the reames of the Occidente, and so he dede, and
regned over hem. And aftir that he wente into Egipte, and there he bilded a cité
nygh to the greene see and called it Alysaundre aftir his name; and this was done
in the seveneth yere of his regne. Aftir that he wente into the land of Desteme, and
from thens into the londe of Armenye. And whanne Dayre, the kinge of Perce, had
herde the aunsuer that Alysaundre had sente him by his messangiers, and herde
also of his grete dedis and how that he come and shulde hastily entre in the lande
of Tyre, wherof he had grete indignacioun. And thanne anoon he sente his lettres
unto the people of the same cuntrey, seyenge as here aftir follewith:
Dayre, kinge of kinges, to the people of Tyre, sende gretynge. It is comen to
myn undirstondinge that the theef whiche is openly knowen named Alysaundre,
with alle the power that he can make of othir theeffis, is goynge unto your land.
Wherfore I praye you that ye wol take him and alle his companye and alle his
beestis and armures, and caste hem alle into the see and drowne hem. And as
touchinge the theef that calleth himself her lorde, loke ye take and brynge him to
me in alle possible haste, for I knowe certeignely that youre wysedams and youre
myghtis bene grete ynough for to accomplyssh a gretter thinge thanne that is,
seenge that thei of Grece bene [fol. 44r] but of easy deedis and of litil valure. And loke that
in this be none excusacioun.
Yet natwithstandinge these lettres, Alysaundre regned over the same people.
And from thens he wente forth into the lande of Kinge Dayre of Perce and logged
him upon a ryver, whiche was named Usyoche. And whanne Dayre herde thes
tydinges, he was passingely wrothe and wrote his lettres to Alysaundir in this
Dayre, kinge of kinges, and lorde of alle the worlde, shynynge as the sonne, to
Alysaundre, theef. Thu oughtest to knowe that the kinge of heven hathe stablisshed
me to be kinge of alle the erthe, and hathe geven me the ricchesses, the honoures,
the highnesse, the noblesse, the streyngthe, and the lordship of the same. Nat-
withstandyng, I have herde that thu, with many othir theefis, arte so bolde to come
and logge thee upon the ryver of Usyoche and doynge harm in my lande. And yet
moreover, thu letest calle thiself kinge and thu woldest have the croune, and I
knowe wele that it comethe thee of grete pride, and of the foly of Greekis. Wher-
fore I sende thee worde and commaunde thee that, as soone as thu haste seene
these lettres, thu wilt, incontynente, put thee oute of thi grete foly, for thu arte but
a childe of no valure, fulle of foly, and thu oughtest nothinge make comparyson
unto me. And yf thu refuse this, thu shalt curse the tyme that ever thu sawe my
lande. And I sende thee a coffre full of golde, to that entente that thu shalt knowe
that I have ricchesse ynough, by the whiche I may put in ure alle thinge that I wole
take upon me. And I sende thee an appyl, whiche is rounde, in token that alle the
worlde is in myn honde. And I sende thee a bagge full of smale seedes, [fol. 44v] in token
that I have grete multytude of knyghtis. And in lyke wyse I sende thee a scourge,
in token that thu shalte be corrected by me lyke as a childe.
And whanne Alysaundre had sene his lettres and undirstonden his messangers,
he commaunded anoone that thei shulde be taken and to bynde here handes
behynde hem, and made oon pulle oute a swerde, lyke as he wolde have smeten of
here heedis. And then the messangiers seyden to Alysaundre: "Sir, we have merveile
of thee that thu wilt put us to the deth, for it is nat accustumed that the messan-
giers that comen from kinges, for any maner message that thei bringe, shulde be
putte to dethe, ne have any maner harme, namely whanne thei be avowed by him
that sendeth hem." To whome Alysaundre aunsuerde: "Youre lorde holdeth me as
for a theef, and nat for a kinge, wherfore and I put you to deth I do lyke as a theef, and
nat as a kinge. And therfore the offence herof is in your lorde, that hathe sente
you to me as a theef, and nat as a kinge." Wheruppon thei aunsuerd and seide:
"The kinge Dayre knewe thee nat wele, but we knowe thee and undirstonde wele
the grete worshippes, and the grete goodnesse that is in thee. Wherfore we besech
thee that thu wilt graunte us grace of oure lyves, and we shull shewe thi worship to
Kinge Dayre, and bere witnesse of that we have seene in thee." To whome
Alysaundre aunsuerd: "For because that I see youre humblenesse and that ye re-
quere me of mercy, I forgeve it you to that entente that ye maye knowe and under-
stande my mercy, and that I have pitee upon meekenesse, and rygour upon
pryde." And commaunded that thei shulde be hadde to here meete and that thei
were honestly served; and made write a lettre of an aunsuere unto Kinge Dayre,
aftir the forme as heraftyr follewith:
Alysaundre, soone of Kinge Phelip, to Dayre, whiche weneth himself to be
kinge of kinges, dradde and douted of the sterres, and also calleth himself the
lighte of God and of the worlde. How maye it be possible that so grete a lorde that
lighteth alle the worlde as the sonne dothe shulde in any wise doute and drede so
poure a creature as Alysaundre is? But this I knowe wele, that thi pride maketh
thee to undirstonde that thu arte God, whiche is to the grete outerage, for a man
that is dedly maye nat be God, but it is in God to take awey the lordshippes and the
lyves of men at His pleasir. Wherfore, it is a [fol. 45r] juste cause and a rightwos to God to
have His grete indignacyoun upon that creature that dare take upon him the name
of His swete Creature, and applieth himself to be as grete as He. And knowe right
wele that it is fully myne entente with the special grace of Him that hath made me
for to be in right hasty tyme before thee, and for to offre thee bataile. And I recom-
maunde me to Him, which I have grete truste inne, that shal helpe me for to abate
thi grete pride. Thu haste also lete me wete that thu haste grete quantyté of golde,
of the whiche thu haste sente me a coffre fulle, and that betokeneth that thu shalt
paye me trewage. Also, thu haste sente me a rounde appyl, whiche betokeneth that
I shal have alle thi lande in my possessyoun. Thu haste also sente me a scorge, in
token that I am he that God hathe ordeigned for to chastyse thee and to correcte
thee, and for to be thi lorde and thi kinge. And in lyke wise thu sendeste me a
bagge of smale seedys, whiche betokeneth that I shal assemble alle thi knyghtes
and myne togedir, and shal do hem more good thanne thu doste. And as touch-
inge the coffre wherinne the golde was that thu sendest me, it shulde be a true
signe that thi thresoure shulde be myne. And moreover, thu haddest wente for to
have made me aferde with thi grete wordes, makinge mencyon of thi grete puys-
saunces. Knowe right wele that I have a truste in God that I shal destroy thee to the
utmest, in so moche that thu shalte be exsample to alle othir.
And thanne he sealed his lettres and toke hem to the messangers to bere unto
here lorde, and made geve hem alle the golde that thei brought with hem in the
coffre. And whanne thei come to Dayre, whiche was here lorde, thei fonde the
vicary of Dayre whiche Alysaundre had discomfited and sende him a prysoner agen
to his maister. And so Alysaundre wente forthe conquerynge and getynge many
citees and at the laste he came to a towne of the kinge Dayre that was called
Quylle. And there thei shette the gates agenste him, and thanne Alysaundre or-
deigned that the towne shulde be take, and thanne brente, wherupon oon that
dwelled in the towne come oute to Alysaundre and seide unto him: "We have nat
shette the gates agenste thee, but we doute that the kinge Daire, to whome we be
subjectis, wolde ellis put us unto the deth whanne that he knewe that we opened
the gates agenst thee." Thanne [fol. 45v] Alysaunder aunsuerd him: "Open me the gates
and I shal promyse you that I nor none of my men shulle entre into the towne unto
the tyme that I have discomfyted the kinge Dayre. And I wole that ye knowe the
trouthe that I owe to hem that wole obbeye me." And thanne thei opened the gates
and brought oute mete and drynke to the hoost. And, natwithstondinge that the
gates of the towne were sette open, yet there was no man so hardy to entre into the
towne. And fro thens Alysaundir departed and spedde him so faste that he came
to the place where Kinge Daire laye with alle his grete hoost. And there thei
fowghten togedre fro the mornynge unto the myddes of the daye, and there was
an outragious bataile and grete shedinge of mannes blood. And, at the ende, the
partie of Kinge Dayre was discomfyted and the Macedoynes aboden in the felde
as conquerours. And whanne Dayre sawe the grete discomfyture of himself and of
his peple that were slayne and hurte, he toke him to the flighte. And ther his wyfe
was taken, his soone, and his doughtir, and put in warde by the commaundemente
of Alysaundir. And thei followed the chaace upon Kinge Dayre til thei come unto
a grete revere that was strongely froren over. And there he passed over the yse, but
the multitude of people that followed him were drowned by brekinge of the yse.
And so Dayre escaped but with a fewe people and wente to an hous, where here
ydolles were inne for to aske counsel of hem. But in conclusyon he fonde no
comforte in hem. And thanne he bethoughte himself and seid that he wolde put
him to the wille of Kinge Alysaundre, for he undirstode wele that he was a worship-
ful man, and a true man. Wherupon he wrote his lettres by the whiche he preyed
Alysaundre that he wolde have mercy on him, and on his wyfe and on his children,
and he wolde in alle possible haste delyver him alle the thresoure of Perce, and
alle the thresoure that was his and his faders before him. Wherof Alysaundre toke
but litil heed and sette but litil by his offre, and so pursewed him forthe, til he
came into Ynde, whedir that he was fledde. And whanne Alysaundir came so nygh
to Dayre that he myght see him with his yghe, two baronnes of Kinge Dayre
thought that thei wolde fulfille the wille of Kinge Alysaundre and hurte Dayre unto
the dethe. Thanne seide Dayre unto hem: "Feyre lordes, ye done evel [fol. 46r] and ye
remembre you full litel of the grete goodnesse that I have done to you before this
tyme. And I wote wele that Alysaundre wole cunne you no thanke, for I doute nat
but he wole put you to deth therfore, anoon as he knoweth it, for it longeth unto
a kinge to avenge the dethe of anothir kinge." And with that he fell downe of his
hors to the erthe. And or he was fully deed came Alysaundre upon him and wyped
his vesage and seide unto him, weepynge with his yghen: "Kinge Dayre, aryse up
and be nat aferde of me, for I wole that thu shalt be kinge stille of thi provynce.
And I swere to thee by the name of God that I wole gefe thee puyssaunce roial, and
that thu shalt regne, and I shal restore thee ageyne alle maner thinges that bene
taken from thee. And moreover I shal helpe thee and comforte thee agenste thyne
enemyes, for I am beholden to thee for the goode meetes and drynkes that I had
in thyne hous, for I was therinne whanne thu knewest me nat. And therfore aryse
up and discomforte thee nothinge, for kinges shulde more paciently suffre and
endure the oppressiouns and the peynes thanne other men of lower degree. Also,
I praye thee telle me ho hathe thus hurte thee." To whome Dayre seide: "O Alys-
aundre, loke thu be nat to proude, nor make nat thiself higher thanne longeth to
thyne estate, and truste nat to moche on this world, and lete this be a suffysaunte
myrroure unto the seenge what is falle of me. But I preye thee hertily that thu wilt
worship my moder, and take here as thyne owen, and my wyfe as thi suster. And
yf it please thee, thu shalt have my doughtir in mariage, and thus thu shalte do me
grete worship." And even as he hadde made an ende of his tale, he passed oute of
this worlde, and Alysaundir made wasshe him with aumbre and muske, and lete
berye him in a riche clothe of golde, and made arme hem of Grece and of Perce,
and sette ten thousande before the beere, and ten thousande behynde, ten thou
sande on the right syde, and ten thousande on the lefte syde. And every man bare
his swerde naked in his hande, and Alysaundre wente before with alle his prynces
and his grete lordes; and in this wyse he lete carye the bodye of Kinge Dayre unto
his sepulture, and there he was entered with grete worship. And even at the bur-
yenge he lete take the two baronnes that killed him, wherof the men of Perce were
passinge gladde, and from thens forthe thei loved Alysaundre the bettir, and
preysed him gretely for his rightwos jugemente. [fol. 46v] And thanne Kinge Alysaundre
made aske Kinge Dayres doughter whedir she wolde have him to here husbande,
and she was right agreable therto, and thanne she was broughte unto him. And
whanne that was doone, Alysaundre ordeigned that her brother shulde regne for
him. And thanne he made for to brenne alle the bookes of payennes, and made to
translate alle the bookes of astronomye and of phylosophye, and sente the trans-
lacions into Grece, and made to brenne alle the exampleres, and in lyke wyse alle
suche houses wherinne thei hadde here sacrefices, and made slee alle the preestis
of the lawe, and lete bylde there many townes, and filled hem with people whiche
he broughte oute of other londes. And as Alysaundre was goynge forthe with his
armee agenste another payen, there came lettres to him from his moder, lyke as
the tenoure maketh mencyon heraftir:
Moder of Alysaundre to Alysaundre here sone, somtyme feeble and now right
stronge and sette up by the wille and the myght of God, I grete thee wele. Sone,
loke thu be nat to proude, ne be nat to lowely for any estate that maye falle to thee,
and knowe right wele that the grete estate whiche thu arte inne maye falle for a litil
thinge. Also, sone, kepe thee from covetyse, whiche is a thinge that gretely noyeth.
Firthermore, sone, I praye thee that thu sende me alle the thresoure and moneye
that thu haste assembled unto this tyme.
And whanne Alysaundre had redde his lettres, he asked of the wysemen yf thei
coude expowne those lettres. And thei seide naye. And thanne Alysaundre called
to him oon of his secretaryes and commaunded him to wryte a lettre unto his
moder, "by the whiche thu shalt certefye her the noumbre and the quantyté of my
thresoure, and the place where she shal fynde hem, for it is oonely that she cov-
eyteth for to here of myne estate." And from thens Alysaundre departed for to go
agenste the kinge of Ynde, and so he muste nedes passe thurgh many desertis. And
thanne he wrote a lettre to that kinge, lyke as it shal folowe:
Alysaundir, kinge of kinges of this worlde, to the kinge of Ynde, sende gret-
ynge. My God, my Creature, hath kept me, defended me, and holpen me to con
quere landes, in suche maner that I have overcomen myne enemyes and brought
here londes and lordshippes unto my hondes, and hath ordeigned me in this
worlde for to avenge Him upon His mysbelevyng peple [fol. 47r] that denye Him. Wher-
fore I praye thee that thu wilte beleeve in Him, whiche is the Maker of alle thinges,
thi Lorde and myne, and thu wilt worship Him and none other, for He hathe
deserved it wel unto thee for the goode deedis that thu haste founde in Him, and
beleeve my counsell. And I wole that thu sende me the ydolles that thu doste
worship in signe of trewage. And yf thu wilte do these thingis, thu shalt be sure.
And yf thu do it nat, I swere thee be my God that I wole override thi lande and dis-
troye it, and I shal do so moche agenste thee that I shal geve exsample to alle other
men for to speke of thee. And thu knoweste wele how God hathe shewed agenst the
kinge of Perce and how that He hathe holpen me agenst him. Wherfore thu ought-
est to desire nothing but oonely the peas.
And upon this, Porrus, the kinge of Ynde, made an aunsuer whiche was right
evel and sharpe. And thanne Alysaundir with alle his hooste entred into his lande,
and fonde that Porrus hadde made redy his armee for to come agenste him, and
in his armee he had ordeigned a grete quantyté of olyfauntes and wolffes that were
wele accustumed and wel taught to fyte. And whanne Alysaundre had perceyved
this grete ordenaunce, he had grete merveille therof, and called his fellashippe to
him and asked here counsell therinne how thei might withstande thees beestis
aboveseide, and thei coude geve him no counsell therinne. And thanne anoon he
lete calle alle the werkemen of his hooste and made hem for to make twenty-foure
thousand ymages of brasse, and made sette hem on a rowe upon cartes of yren,
and filled hem full of drye woode and made sette hem by rowe in the fronte of the
batailes. And whanne his enemyes comen nyghe, thei sette fyre in the cartes. And
whanne the batailles were assembled, the olyfauntes and the wolffes aboveseid
token the ymages of bras with here teeth, lyke as thei had bene men, and the fyre
brente many of hem. And the remenaunt were so aferde that thei wente backe
upon here owen meyne, and dede moche harme amonge hem. And so the people
of Alysaundre escaped the grette perell of thees beestis, and anoone the two
batailles wente togedre. And that bataille endured twenty dayes, in suche wyse that
moche peple was slayne on bothe parties. And thanne spake Alysaundre to Porrus
and seide it was no worship to a kinge for to lose his knyghtes, but save hem as
moche as he myght: "And thu seest wel [fol. 47v] that oure people lesyn. Lete us suffre it
no lenger, but lete us two fight hande for hande. And whiche of us overcometh
other, leete him have the lordeship of the tothir." And thees wordes were grete
pleasaunce to Porrus, for he was a grete man of stature, and Alysaundre was but of
a litil stature. And as thei foughten togedre upon the condycion aboveseide, the
people of Porrus hooste sette up a grete crye, wherof Porrus was gretely abasshed.
And sodeynely he turned him to hem for to undirstonde what it mente. And with
that, Alysaundre smote him betwene the shuldres so grete a strooke that he felle
downe ded. And whanne the people of Ynde understode that here kinge was
slayne, natwithstondynge the promysses that were made before, thei wolde have
foughten. And thanne Alysaundre asked hem why thei wolde fight, and what here
cause was sethen that here lorde was slayne. And thei aunsuerd: for because that
thei wolde deye worshipfully. Thanne Alysaundre seide unto hem: "I wole assure
alle hem that wole caste of here harneys to the erthe that thei shull have none
harme, and thei that wole nat, on here owen perille." And thanne anone every man
toke of his harneys, and so seeced the bataille. And aftirwarde Alysaundre dede
hem moche goodnesse, and made Porrus to be worshipfully enteered, lyke as
longed unto a kinge. And thanne he lete take alle his thresoure and his harneys
and departed oute of Ynde, and wente to thees parties where the people bene
named Brachemos, whiche sente many wysemen to Alysaundre whanne thei herde
of his comynge, whiche saleweden Alysaundre and seide unto him: "Sir, thu haste
no matier for to make us werre, nor for to owe us any evel will, for we be poure and
humble and we have nothinge but wysedame. And yf thu wilt have it, praye to God
that He wole geve it thee, for by bataile thu shalt nat have it." And whanne Alys-
aundre had herde hem speke, he made alle his knyghtes for to tarye, and with a
smal fellaship wente with hem into her cuntree for to serche wheder thei seide
trouthe or not. And whanne he entred into here lande, he fonde poure men,
wommen, and children alle naked, gaderynge fruyte and herbes in the feeldes.
And there he asked hem many questyons, of the whiche thei aunsuerd hym ryght
wele to his pleasaunce. Thanne he seide unto hem: "Loke that ye asshe me any-
thinge that maye be to youre profite and to the [fol. 48r] people, and I wole geve it you
with right a good wille." And thanne thei aunsuerd to Alysaundre, seyenge in this
wise: "Sire, we aske nothinge of thee but that thu wilte lete us lefe perpetuelly."
And thanne seide Alysaundre: "How maye a man make the lyffe of othre perpetuel,
whanne he maye nat encrece his owen lyfe an houre? That power is nat in any
levynge man." Wherupon thei aunsuered him: "Syn that thu knowest certeynely
that none erthely man maye graunte this, whi doste thu enforce thiself for to
destroye so grete thinges in this worlde and to assemble also the grete thresours
that thu fyndeste, and knowest nat the houre that thu shalt leve hem?" Thanne
Alysaundre seide unto hem: "I do nothinge of myself. My God hathe sente me to
enhaunce His lawe in this worlde, and to destroye the mysbelevers. Ye knowe wele
that the wawes of the see meoven nat but by the constreynte of the wynde, and in
lyke wyse if it hadde nat be commaunded me by God, I coude nat have meoved it
of my propre nature. But whiles I leve, I wole obbeye the commaundemente of
God, for I knowe wel that I come into this worlde alle naked, and so shal I passe
oute therof." And thanne he sente lettres to Aristotle of the merveilles that he
hadde seen in Ynde, and asked him counsel how he myght kepe the regiouns that
he hadde conquered. And from thens he passed unto the lande of the Swanne. And
whanne he approched nygh unto the same lande, the kinge sente unto Alysaundre
his croune withoute obbeysaunce, seynge in this wyse that it was more covenable
and bettir employed in Alysaundre thanne in his persone. Wherupon he sente him
a presente of an hundred thousande pounde sylvere, a thousande and fyve hun-
dred pounde of plate of golde, two hundred pounde weight of precyous stones,
two thowsande of fyne furres, an hundred sadellis, an hundred apples of ambre,
the weight of two thousande pounde of harneys, two hundred pounde weight of a
tree whiche is called alloes, and a thousand habregeons with as many helmes; the
whiche giftes Alysaundre resceived and sente worde unto him ageyne by his mes-
sangiers that he shulde beleve in God and leve alle othir beleeves. And aftir thes
thinges done he wente forthe estwarde into Turkye, conquerynge and getynge the
landes. And there he bylded many townes in divers places, and ordeigned diverse
kinges that fro thens forthwarde shulde yelde him trewage. And from thens [fol. 48v] he
retourned into the weste partyes. And he wolde nat beleeve lyghtly alle reportes
that were broughte unto him by his subjectis on lasse thanne he might see it or
knowe it openly. Wherfore he wolde go himself divers tymes secretely and vesyte
his lordeshippes, and to enquere of other necessitees, and he nat knowen. And
upon a tyme he came to oon of his townes and there he sawe come before the juge
two men whiche were in grete debate; of the whiche, the toon seide in com-
pleynynge to the juge: "Sir juge, I have bought an hous of this man, and in the
same hous, longe sethen that I boughte it, I fonde a thresoure that was hidde in the
erthe, whiche was nat myne. And I have offered and wolde have delyvered it unto
him, and he wolde nat take it. Wherfore I praye you, sir juge, that ye wole compelle
him for to take it, for I wote wele I have no right therto." And thanne the juge
commaunded the tothir partye for to aunsuere. Thanne seide the partie: "Sir juge,
knowe ye for certeyne that thresoure was never myne, but I bylded an hous in that
place whiche that was comowne to every man for to bylde inne. And therfore have
I no cause for to have it." Wherupon thei bothe requered the juge that he wolde
take it himself, to the whiche the juge aunsuerd: "Sythen ye that have the herytage
have no right therto, what maner right myght I have therto, that am but a straun-
gier to the heritage? And also I herde never of suche a thinge before this tyme; for
ye wolde excuse youreself of the taking therof and wolde leye the charge upon me,
and therinne ye do evell." And thanne he asked of him that fonde the thresoure
yf he hadde any children. He aunsuerd and seide that he hadde a sone; and in lyke
wise he asked the tother, and he seide that he hadde a doughtir. To whome the
juge seide: "Lete make a mariage betwene the doughtir and the sone, and lete this
thresoure be geven to hem in encresinge of here lyfelode." And whanne Alys-
aundre hadde herde this jugemente, he merveilled gretely and seide to the juge:
"I wende never that in alle the worlde a man shulde have founde so true men ne
so true a juge." Thanne the juge aunsuerd to Alysaundre as to a man that he knewe
not and seide: "Is there any place that men done othirwise?" "Forsothe," quod
Alysaundre, "yee, in divers landes." Thanne the juge asked him, in merveillinge
gretely, yf it reyned in that londe, or ellis that the sonne schoone therinne, as ho
shulde seye God ought nat [fol.49r] to sende reyne ne sonne ne any othir thinge that were
fruytefull in that lande, where rightwose justyce is nat kepte. And thanne had
Alysaundre more merveille thanne he hadde before, and seide to the juge:
"Suche people as ye be bene affermed in heven and in erthe." And from thens
Alysaundre departed and came by a citee where that alle the houses were of oon
height, and at every doore of the houses was made a grete dyche, in the whiche
citee was never a juge. Wherof he hadde grete merveille and asked of the cetezeyns
alle a rowe wherof thees thinges served. To whome thei aunsuerd: "Firste," thei
seide, "for the outeragious highnesse of the houses: love and justice maye nat be
longe togedre in a citee." And as touchinge the dyches that bene before the houses,
thei aunsuerd and seide that thei were the propre houses wherinne thei shulde go
in haaste, and lengeste abyde in hem. "And as touchinge the cause that we have no
juge," thei aunsuerd and seide that every man dede good justyce upon himself,
wherfore thei had no neede of any juge. And Alysaundre was wele contente with
hem and so departed. And somme seyne that Alysaundre knewe by astronomye,
or by aunsuers of trees where he had been, that he shulde deye upon a pamente
of yren, and under the coveringe of golde. So it happed anone aftir that he toke
a grete heete, wherupon his noose felle on bledinge, and bledde so gretely that he
waxe passinge feble, that he myght no lenger sytte on horsebacke. And so he lyghte
downe of his hors in the feelde and anoone a knyght caste downe his coote of yron
upon the erthe. And Alysaundre leened him upon it, and anothre leyde a cloothe
of golde upon him for to keepe the sonne frome him. And whanne he had advysed
and consydered thees thingis, it felle in his mynde that was shewed to him of his
deeth as it is seide before. And seide that alle men myghte heere: "Feir lordis, I am
at the deth," and called to him a secretarye, and commaunded him to wryte his
lettres to his moder as heraftre follewith:
Alysaundre, servaunte, sone to a servaunte, whiche hathe alleweye applyed his
bodye to gete erthely thinges, and hathe stablysshed his soulle in anothir worlde,
to my deere moder, with that also that I rested never in this worlde. And I muste
nedys of necessyté make my dwellinge in an hous ferre hens. Wherfore I praye
thee, moder, that thu wilt nat resemble in fragilité ne in feblenesse of herte to othir
wommen, [fol. 49v] lyke as I, thi sone, have not willed to resemble othir men. And knowe
for certeyne that I have no sorowe for my dethe, for I was incerteyne therof before,
and in lyke wyse thu oughtest nat to make sorowe syn that thu knewest before that
I was a man mortal. Wherfore, moder, I sende thee thes lettres in hoope that thu
shuldest be recomforted of my dethe by hem. And loke ye do so that myne hoope
maye take effecte by the seide lettres, and thu knoweste wele that I have leved
longe in this worlde, wherof thu haste ynowgh to thenke upon, and nat upon my
deth. And also, I wote wele that thu shalt come soone aftir me, and yf thu thenke
wel therupon, thu shalte forgete the dethe of alle othir and doth non other thinge
thanne I have desyred you and prayed you, for the signe of a true lover is for to do
to him that is beloved lyke as he requereth and prayeth. And knowe wele, moder,
that the people wole undirstande thi maners and thi dyscrecioun; wherfore,
moder, bethe of good comforte and of grete courage, and thenke also, moder, that
alle thees creatures that have generacion of corupcioun shulle retourne agen to
the same matier that they were made of. Looke also that alle the goode and worthy
people that ever weren bene deede. Looke also how many faire habytacyons bene
fallen downe into ruyne. And with that also have in consyderacioun that I never
sewed the condyciouns of feoble and litell kinges, and therfore in lyke wyse take
nat upon you the condyciouns nor the maners of feoble moders, but lete thi com-
forte be aftir the highnesse of thi lenage. And knowe right wele that alle the
thinges that God hathe made, thei were at the begynnynge right litill and feoble,
and aftirwarde thei grewe bettir and were made more herre, and aftirwarde thei
wexen more feoble and at the laste come to nought. And yet I preye you whanne
that ye bene ascerteyned of my dethe, that ye lete make a grete place where ye
maye have togedre alle the men of the londe whiche is called Lybye, of Europe, of
Assye, and of Macedoyne, and lete crye that every man, of what estate or degree
that he were of, shulde come at suche a daye as was assigned for to eete and drynke
at a rounde table. And whanne alle people be comen to that place, make anothir
crye upon grete peyne that no man were so hardy for to eete but oonely thei that
were never angred ne troubled for none adversyté that ever felle [fol. 50r] unto hem.
And this was the ende of his lettres, and anoone after he decessed. Thanne was
he taken and putte in a coffre of golde, and brought unto the citee of Alysaundre
and was ledde with grete reverence by the kinges, prynces, and othir lordes that
kepte his testamente lyke as he hadde ordeigned it. And thanne aroos oon of the
grete lordes whiche had the rule, and seide to the othir lordes: "Whosomever
wepte nat for other kinges oughte of right for to weepe for this, and ho that never
merveilled upon noon adversyté, yet he oughte to merveille upon the deeth of this
kinge." And thanne he seide to other folkes that thei shulde seye somme goode
thinges for to recomforte the lordes and the people, which werne in grete trouble
as for the deth of the moste noble kinge that ever was. Thanne oon of hem seide:
"Alysaundre was wonte to kepe golde and sylver, and now golde and sylver kepith
him." And he seide so for because that he was closed in a coffre of golde. And
anothir seide that Alysaundre was parted from synnes and fylthes, and now he is
with the goode that bene puryfyed. And anothir seide: "Alysaundre was wonte for
to chastice wel his men, and now is he wele chasticed." And anothir seide: "The
kingis dredde him yestirdaye and the pourest of alle the people dredeth him
nothinge this daye." Anothir seide: "Yesterdaye alle the world suffysed him not,
and now a clooth suffyceth him." And thanne seide anothir: "Yesterdaye Alys-
aundre myght heere and noone durste speke before him, and now every man spek-
eth before him, and he heereth no man." Anothir seide: "The more that Alys-
aundre was excellente, the more is his dethe grevous and petevous." Thanne seide
anothre: "Thei that sawe Alysaundre yestirday hadden grete feere of him, and now
thei that see him doute hym nothinge." Another seide: "Alysaundre was he whiche
his enemyes durste nat approche nygh, and now his frendes dyspreise him and wil
nat see him." And so thei brought forthe his body to Alysaundre, and whanne he
came nygh to the citee, his modir commaunded the citezeyns that thei shulde come
oute with here for to meete the corps in the moste honourable wyse that thei
myghte, and so thei deden. And whanne his moder was comen nygh to the chaare
where he laye inne, she seide: "It is merveille how He that by His wysedame hathe
made heven and erthe and hath stablysshed the realmes to hem that will [fol. 50v] obbeye
Him that He hath broughte thee in this estate." And with that worde she heelde
here peas and myghte speeke no more at that tyme. And soone aftir that she seide:
"O my goode sone, what I wolde geve with good wille, grete geftes, to him that
wolde lete thee have in knoweleche how I fulfille thi wille, whiche thu senteste unto
me. And yet wolde I nat do so moche for the grete consolacioun that I shulde res-
ceive therby, but oonly that I knowe wele that I shal tarye aftir thee but awhile.
Sone, I praye to God save thee, thu haste bene good in thi lyfe and good muste thu
be nowe thu arte deed." And so aftir the recommendacioun of Alysaundre notably
done, he was buryed and thanne his moder lete ordeigne for thys grete feest afore-
seide, and sente for alle thees regyounes lyke as Alysaundre hadde desired her in
his lettres. And whanne the daye and the people were comen, she leete crye, lyke
as it was reherced before, that no man shulde entre inne but oonly such as were
never troubled in here adversitees. And as the houre of the dyner tyme passed and
sawe no man that entred inne, she made hem to be asked whi thei wente nat to
here meete. Thei aunsuerd and seide: "Thu haste charged us that none shulde
entre inne that in any maner hathe bene troubled whanne he hath hadde ad-
versytees of this worlde. Certeynely there is no one heere but that he hathe bene
angry and troubled with the adversitees of this worlde, wherfore noone of us maye
entre inne." And thanne she perceyved wele Alysaundre here sone that he was of
that condycioun and seide: "O deere sone, I perceyve wele nowe that thu haste
done grete peyne in thi lyffe to comforte me aftir thi deth, and how that thu were
of so grete courage that thu woldest nat be wrothe for anythinge that felle to thee,
shewinge me exsample that I shulde do in lyke wyse. And now I knowe why thu
wrotest unto me thees thinges. And certeignly, sone, thy laste exsamples aftir thi
deethe bene full lyke thy deedis in thi lyfe." And whanne Alysaundre beganne to
regne, he was eightene yere of age and his regne dured seventene yere, of the
whiche he emplyed seven yere in batailles and grete conquestis, and ten yere he was
in reste and wente and vesyted the citees and realmes that he hadde conquered.
And he hadde the victorye of twenty-thre maner languages. And withinne two yer
he seerched bothe the este and the weste, and the noumbre of [dol. 51r] his knyghtes
whiche he helde at his wages drowgh to the noumbre of thre hundred twenty-foure
thousande, withoute his yemen and other men that were necessarye to the werre.
And Alysaundre deyed in his thirty-fyveth yere. And he was reed of coloure. And
oon of his yghen was greye, and the tother was blacke. He hadde litill teeth and
sharpe. He hadde also a vesage lyke a lyoun, and he was right stronge. And of his
childehod he loved wele bataille. And Alysaundre seide in his lyfe: "A man shulde be
shamefaste for to do lewed thinges, as wel in his house before his wyffe and his
meynee as withoute before straungiers that maye see him; and though so be that
no man maye see hem, yet shulde he forbere hem for hurtynge of his soulle. And
yf he have no shame for none of thees thinges, yet shulde he dreede God and be
shamefaste for the love of Him." And he commaunded every daye thre tymes at his
gate to make a crye that every man shulde worship God and kepe hem from synne.
And seithe: "The worlde is nat susteyned but by science, and the reames be nat
redressed by any othir thinge, and alle thinges bene submytted to reasoun." Ande
seith: "Wysedame is the messanger of reasoun." And it happened that Alysaundre
passed by a towne in the whiche syx kinges somtyme reigned. Thanne he asked
whedir any of here lygne were lefte. Thei aunsuerd him and seide: "Yes, a soone
of oon of hem." Thanne he badde oon shewe him to the childe, and thanne thei
aunsuerd him and seide that he was alwaye in the chircheyerde, wherof Alysaundre
merveilled gretely. Thanne he wente for to see him and asked him why he aboode
alleweye in the chircheyerde, and what was the cause that he toke nat upon him the
state of his fadir and of his predecessours and othir kinges, "seenge that the people
of the towne wolde resceyve thee with a good wille, and in the same estate that thei
were inne." To whom he aunsuerd and seide thus: "Right honourable kinge, I have
a thinge for to do here in this place, and that thinge done I wole do that thu com-
maundeste me." Thanne Alysaundre asked him what he hadde for to do in the
chircheyerde. He aunsuerd and seide: "I seeche the boones of my fadir, and of
othir kinges, to dyssever hem frome othir mennys, but I fynde oon so lyke anothir
that I can nat knowe hem." To whome Alysaundre seide: "Thu shuldeste seeche
worship, and yf thu haddest a goode herte, thu shuldeste sewe the worshippes and
the estate of thy fadir and of thi predecessours." Wherupon he aunsuerd [fol. 51v] and
seide: "Thenke nat but my herte is good." Thanne Alysaundre asked him wherinne
he hadde so good an herte. He aunsuerd and seide: "I have founde lyfe withoute
dethe and youthe withouten age, rychesse withoute povertee, gladnesse withoute
sorowe, and helthe withouten seeknesse." "Now forsothe," quod Alysaundre, "of
alle thees have I never oon." Thanne he seide to Alysaundre: "Aske hem of hym
that hathe hem." Thanne seide Alysaundre that he sawe never man in his lyffe of
so grete dyscrecioun. And as Alysaundre was in a place where that dailly and cus-
tumably he wolde here the requestes and desires of every man, and for the good
speede of the comowne wele, there happened oon daye that there came no man
to aske him anythynge, wherfore he seide that he wolde nat that daye were cownted
for oon of the dayes of his regne. And whanne he shulde feyghte with Kinge Dayre,
oon come to him and seide that there were thre hundred thousande men with
Kinge Dayre; and Alysaundre aunsuerd him and seide that a good cooke shulde
nat be abasshed, though he sawe many motouns and othir beestis in the kechen.
And there came to Alysaundre the patryarkes, whiche were prelates in that tyme.
And seide unto him in this maner: "God hathe geven you power over many landes
and reames to that entente that ye shulde have grete lynage of youre body for to
succede aftir you, wherfore it were right necessarye that ye hadde many wyffes." To
whome he aunsuerd and seide: "It were to grete a shame to him that hathe con
quered alle the myghtyest men of the worlde and thanne to be overcome with
wommen." And thanne there came a man before him whos clothyng was alle to
rente and torne, but he speke wele and aunsuerd wele, to whome Alysaundre seide:
"I merveyle moche why thy clothinge is nat like thy speche, for there is a grete
difference." To whome he aunsuerd and seide: "O myghty kinge, I maye of my self
lerne and make goode reasouns and ye maye worshipfully cloothe me." And
thanne he gave him a gowne of his owen. And aftir that it happened that men
broughte a theef to hangynge and muste needes passe forthe by Alysaundre, and,
as he passed by the kinge, seide: "O noble kinge, save my lyfe, for I have grete re-
pentaunce and sorowe for the evel dede that I have done." Thanne commaunded
Alysaundre, for as moche as he undirstode that he was of grete repentaunce, that
thei shulde hange him forthwithal. Ande [fol. 52r] thanne there came a man unto him
prayenge him that he wolde geve him twelve thousande pecis of moneye, to whome
Alysaundre aunsuerd: "Thu arte nat of the valure for to have so grete a somme of
money." Thanne the tothir seide agen: "Yf I be nat of the valure to have so grete
a somme of money, yet are ye of the valure for to geve it me?"
And Alysaundre asked Platon what longed to a kinge for to do. He aunsuerd
agen and seide that a kinge aughte to thenke upon the good governaunce of his
people, and the nexste daye follewinge he shulde do his peyne for to execute the
same. And somme asked hym what thinge was moste profitable and most pleas-
aunte to hym in the getynge of his lordshippes. Thanne he aunsuerd and seide:
"That I have hadde wherof to recompense hem that have done me servyce." And
asked of Arystotle be whome he aughte to be counseilled in his needes, and thanne
he aunsuerd and seide: "By him that hathe many servauntes and subjectis, and that
can wele governe hem and make him thi resceyvoure of thi rentes and revenewes
that hathe grete heritages and governeth hem wele." And a patryarche come to
him and asked him what he shulde do with divers prysoners that he hadde,
wherupon he aunsuerd and seide that he was lorde over the people that was free
and that he myght wele passe for to be lorde over the people that was boonde. And
there come two men that were in grete stryfe before Alysaundre, to whome he
seide: "The sentence that pleasith the toon displeasith the tother; wherfore and ye
consente you bothe to trouthe, it shal please you bothe." And somme asked him
whi he worshipped more his maister thanne his fader, to whome he aunsuerd: "For
I have of my fadir the lyffe but for a certyene tyme, and of my maister I have the
perpetuell lyfe. And I have nat in alle my lordship taken for so precious a thinge
as for to have hadde puyssaunce to avenge myself upon hem that wolde offende
me." And whanne the doughters of Kinge Dayre were taken, thei reported to Alys-
aundre that thei were passyngely faire, but he wolde never see hem for doute that
he shulde do anythinge to hem that were nat worshipfull. And seide: "It were a
foule thinge to overcome the stronge men in bataile, and we to be overcome with
wommen that bene prysoners in oure pryson." And it happened that oon preeched
before him and made a longe sermowne, whiche annoyed [fol. 52v] Alysaundre gretely. To
whome he seide: "The predycacioun is nat to be allowed that is over the powere of
the herers, but that is good that the herer is possible to bere it aweye." And somme
asked hym how a man myghte gete the love of the people. He aunsuerd: "By
doynge goode deedes unto hem, or ellis that ye do hem none harme." And seith:
"Somme men profyten more by here enemyes thanne by here frendes." And
thanne thei asked him how he myght be of so grete myght as he was, seenge that
he was so yonge. He aunsuered and seide: "For by cause that I have done peyne
for to gete me frendes, and I have geven to myne enemyes, and in this maner I
have power over bothe." And seith: "He leesith that leesith his frendes, and nat his
sone nor his thresoure." And seith: "Thes frendes that bene goten by goodnesse
bene more worthe thanne thei that bene goten by force." And as Alysaundre wente
for to pley and walke in the streetes, somme that were above in the wyndowes caste
watir upon him, wenynge that he hadde bene oon of her fellawes. And whanne thei
sawe that it was Alysaundre, thei were soore abasshed. Thanne he seide unto hem:
"Bethe nat aferde, for ye have wette him that ye thought to wete." And as Aristotle
taught him in the scole with many othir children of kingis, he asked of oon of hem
what he wolde geve him whanne he wore a kinge. He aunsuerd him and seide: "I
wole geve thee the reule and governaunce of alle thinges that bene necessarye to
me." And in lyke wise he asked anothir, to whome he aunsuerd: "I wole geve thee
a parte of my reame." And thanne he asked of Alysaundre: "What wilt thu geve
me?" To whome he aunsuerd: "That I shulde do tomorowe, enquere nat of me this
daye, for whanne I see that I sawe never, I wole thenke that I never thought. But
yf I shal regne as ye seye, I shal thanne do that ye shal thenke that it is covenable
for me to do." And thanne seid Aristotle unto him: "Withouten faille I knowe wele
that thu shalt be a grete kinge, for thi vesage and thi nature shewith it." And
thanne Alysaundre spake to oon whiche was his lieutenaunte, that had be longe
with him, and at any tyme he coude never empeche him of no vyce nor put any
blame in him. And seide unto him: "I am nat wele apayed of thy servyce." Wher-
upon he aunsuerd: "What is youre cause?" Thanne seide he agayne: "For because I
am a man, and therfore it is convenyente and [fol. 53r] needes muste be done that at somme
tymes I muste needes erre; and for because thu haste bene so longe with me, thu
art nat wyse ne no suche man as longeth to be my lieutenaunte, where thu haste
knowen my defautes and haste nat shewed hem unto me. Wherfore thu arte nat
true unto me." And seith: "Resoun empecheth never a man for to gete connynge,
but slouthe dyspreyseth it." And somme men asked a wiseman whiche was named
Nychomaque what was the cause that men obbeyed so gretly and so lightly to
Alysaundre. And thanne he aunsuerd: "For because that he hathe in himself goode
vertues and that he hath also kepte goode justyce, and also that he hathe bene and
is of good conversacioun and of right excellente governaunce." And two men
desired him that he wolde geve hem the doughtyr of a ryche man to here wyfe, of
the whiche oon of hem was ryche and the tothir poure, and thanne he gave her to
the poure man. Thanne Alysaundre asked him whi he gave her to the pour man,
wherupon he aunsuerd: "For because the riche man is ignoraunte and able to
wexe poure, and the poure man is wyse and is able to for to be ryche." And Alysaundre
asked of a wyse man by what maner of thinges the reames myght be kepte in the
beste estate, and he aunsuerd and seide: "By the obbeysaunce of his people and by
the justyce of the kinge." And oones as Alysaundre faught in a bataile, wommen
come agenste him and anoone he withdrowe him and seide to his people: "Yf we
conquer this assemble where as wommen bene inne, we shul nat be taken for
worthy, and yf thei happened for to overcome us, it shulde be oure perpetuel
shame. Wherfore, I wole nat feyghte with the tothir men as longe as the wommen
be in here felaship." And seith: "Do wele to othir men yf thu wilt that thei wole do
wele to thee." And seith: "It is perylous thinge to abyde so longe in the see, til the
season wexe outeragious and the grete wyndes begynne to aryse, while a man maye
departe oute therof in faire wedyr; and in lyke wyse I seye by hem that haunten the
courte of prynces." And seith: "It is a lewed thinge to make many wordes and do
but litill dedis, and it is righte a fayre thinge to him that putteth his dedis in effecte
or he make many wordes therof." And seith: "The moste lowable freedom is for a
man to kepe him from ambycioun." But whanne his [fol. 53v] fader commaunded him that
he shulde dyligently heere his maister, he aunsuerd agen and seide that he wolde
nat oonely heere hym, but he wolde accomplysshe it to his power. And seide: "It
was a gretter fawte to lacke discrecioun thanne to lacke ricchesse."
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