19. MARCEDARGE: FOOTNOTES1 besynesses, business.
2 oon, one; science, knowledge; tother, other.
3 lette, forsake.
4 douted and dredde, respected and feared.
5 lynage, lineage; covenable, appropriate; connynge, cleverness.
6 entente, intent.
7 levynge, living.
9 disportes, amusements.
10 doste, do.
13 lowable, praiseworthy.
14 tother, other.
15 dedes, deeds.
16 peyneth, pains.
17 dothe, does.
20 gever, giver.
22 wacche, watch; strenger, stronger.
23 peas, peace.
24 beere, bear.
25 leefful, permissible.
26 nygard, niggard.
27 canne, gives; of, for.
28 moche wers that denyeth, much worse that denies.
19. MARCEDARGE: 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 Marcedarge. Schofield notes that "it seems more probable that this is an Arabian sage whose fame has not spread beyond his own land. I am unable to find any trace of him" (S, p. 213n91). B¨hler adds: "In the Latin MSS. the philosopher is called Macdargis, Medargis, Medardus, and Medarges." In the French texts, it appears as Magdarge, Macdarge, Madargue, Ardarge, Madarge, Sacdarge, Mardarge, Mardaige, and Matdarge (B, p. 372n250 21-26). This individual could be St. Medardus (c. 456-c. 545), a man of deep piety and formidable intellectual prowess, who became bishop of Noyon in 530.
19. MARCEDARGE: TEXTUAL NOTES2 whiche2. So G. B emends to with whiche. See textual note to line 3.
3 by. So G. B omits silently, forcing an emendation (see textual note to line 2).
20 moste. So G. B: most.
Marcedarge seith: "The besynesses of this worlde bene dressed by two thinges:
oon, by science, whiche the soulle is ruled by; and the tother, by solicitude, whiche
bothe body and soulle bene ruled by." And seith: "Men lette to do many evell
thinges whanne thei have a lorde that is douted and dredde." And seith: "The
noblesse of lynage is right covenable for to resceive connynge." And seith: "The
entente of a man shulde be to refreyne his courage from foule and lewed thinges,
for the good levynge causeth a man to have good renowne, and also it getith him
a good ende. And he is right worshipful and excellente that is honourable in alle
his disportes and where also that his undirstondinge surmounteth his wrathe." And
seith: "Suffyce thee to be so wyse that thu knowest whanne thu doste wel, and to
kepe thee from harme." And seithe: "There is nothinge that is more unsyttinge to
a man thanne to be evel taughte, and specially whanne he is comen of good lynage
and noble." And seithe: "Connynge is a lowable thinge, for the goodnesse of this
worlde and of the tother bene founde oute therof." And seith: "A wyse man wil nat
have of his prynce but that he hathe wonne by true seyenge and by goode dedes."
And seith: "He is the goode lorde that peyneth himself to kepe his subjectes as he
dothe his owne propre body, and that is nat so rigorous ne so oppressinge his peo
ple that thei be constreyned to leeve his lordship, and also that is not so debo-
naire unto hem that thei dare dysobbey his commaundementes." And seith: "The
moste gracious gever is he that geveth withoute askynge." [fol. 66r] And seith: "In what
place soever thu be inne, be it in dysportynge or othirwise with thyne enemye, loke
thu make ever good wacche. And though so be that thu be strenger thanne he, yet
shuldest thu labour for to gete the peas." And seithe: "Lyke as it is grete peyne to
the body of man to beere a thinge that is impossyble to him, in lyke wyse it is as
grevous a thinge to a wyse man for to teeche a foole." And seithe: "It is leefful to
a man to be ryche." [fol. 61r] And seith: "He is gretely unknowen and a grete nygard that
canne a man no thanke of the goodnesse that he hath done to him, but yet is he
moche wers that denyeth the goodnesse that hathe be done to him." And seithe:
"He that asketh nothinge but reason is able for to overcome his enemye."
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