15. Ptolemy

15. PTOLEMY: FOOTNOTES

2 musyke, music; arsmetyque, arithmetic.

3 oon, one.

4 Alysaundre, Alexandria; stondeth, stands.

6 Roodes, Rhodes.

8 doute, fear.

10 stablyssheth, establishes.

12 enclyned, inclined.

13 nerre, nearer.

16 felawes, fellows.

17 deye, die.

18 herte grene, heart green.

20 knowelechinge, knowing.

21 Ho, Who.

23 merveilles, marvels; rightwosly, righteously.

24 nedes be wrothe, need be angry.

25 to, too.

26 covertures, coverings.

27 othir, another.

29 erreth, errs.

30 habundaunce, abundance.

32 pece of yren, piece of iron.

33 lettith, abates.

34-35 to moche meete or drynke dothe hem, too much meat or drink does to them.

35 seeke, sick.

37 conne, can.

39 leese, lose.

41 science, learning.

42 feoble, feeble.

43 holly, wholly.

44 bonde, bound; esclave, slave; areysed, raised.

46 certeynté, certainty; reffews, refuse; caytef, churl.

47 mayste, may.

49 rightwos, righteous.

50 can, are capable of.

51 his, its.

52 Folye, Folly.

53 foundemente, foundation.

54 tother, other.

55 leveth, leaves; dothe, does.

15. PTOLEMY: EXPLANATORY NOTES

ABBREVIATIONS: 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 Ptholomee. Ptolemy (c. AD 100-c. 170), Claudius Ptolemaus, was a Greek mathematician, astronomer, and geographer whose work had an enduring impact on medieval thought.

2 foure sciences. This refers to the quadrivium (geometry, music, arithmetic, astronomy), which, combined with logic, grammar, and rhetoric, constitute the seven liberal arts in classical tradition.

3-4 Almageste, that is, Of Astrologie. Ptolemy's greatest work was called Almagest, a thirteen-volume compendium of the Greek world's knowledge of astronomy. The geocentric model of the universe that is propounded in Almagest would endure until the sixteenth century.

5-6 Kinge Adryan. The Roman emperor Hadrian (r. 117-38), who reigned during part of the life of Ptolemy.

15. PTOLEMY: TEXTUAL NOTE

20 hath. I follow B in adding.

 
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Ptholomee was right a wyse man and he hadde understondinge specially in
foure sciences, that is to seye, in geometrye, musyke, arsmetyque, and astrologye,
and made many noble bokes, amonge whiche oon of hem was called Almageste,
that is, Of Astrologie. And he was borne in Alysaundre, whiche stondeth in the
londe of Egipte, and there he made his consyderaciouns in the tyme of Kinge
Adryan, and made his seyenges upon his consyderacions at Roodes. And Tholomee
was no kinge, though so were that somme men called him a kinge, and he leved
seventy-eight yere. And seith: "The wyse man oughte to doute and dreede God to
that entente that his thoughtes shulde be the more oftenner redressed to have the
knoweleche of his graces." And seith: "He is wyse that stablyssheth his tunge for to
speke of God, and he is a foole that wille nat knowe it." And seith: "He that is
moste enclyned to his owen wille is nexste the wrathe of God." And seith: "The
nerre that thu draweste to thyne ende, of reasoun thu oughtest to do thi peyne for
to do wele." And seith: "Wysedame abydeth no more in the herte of a fool thanne
a thinge that passeth lightly and maketh haste for to go his weye." And seith:
"Goode wysedoms and goode instrucciouns bene two felawes togedre." And seithe:
"A man of good wysedome maye not deye, and a man of good undirstondynge
maye nat be poure." And seith: "Wysedame is a tree that maketh the herte grene
and geveth frute to the tunge." And seithe: "Kepe thee wele that thu despute nat
with him that hath no [fol. 54r] knowelechinge, and telle nat thi counsel but to him that
can wele kepe it." And seithe: "Ho that wil leve wele, loke he take nat to herte alle
adversytees that falle unto him." And seithe: "A grete hous putteth his maister in
many merveilles." And seithe: "Loke thu speeke rightwosly though it be agenste
thee as wel as with thee." And seith: "Yf thu shalte nedes be wrothe, yet lete nat
thyne angre abyde to longe with thee." And seith: "The hertes of goode folkes bene
the covertures of the secrete thinges." And seith: "A man that is nat defoulled maye
right wele chastice othir." And seith: "Ho that asketh counsel of wyse men, though
so be that it falle him wele or evel, he oughte nat to be blamed." And seith: "He
that hydeth his connynge, he is nat sure that he erreth nat." And seith: "It is bettir
for a prynce to sette his people in good rule thanne for to have grete habundaunce
of knyghtes." And seith: "A man shulde punnysshe evell doers by other evell doers,
lyke as a pece of yren is fyled with a fyle of yren." And seith: "Suretee putteth awey
hevynesse, and feere lettith gladnesse." And seith: "Goddes wordes profyten nat
hem that have here hertes to the worlde, no more thanne to moche meete or
drynke dothe hem that bene seeke." And seithe: "It is an outeragious foly for a
man to speke moche of suche matiers as bene beyonde his undirstondynge." And
seith: "Men bene of two natures: somme conne never holde hem contente whanne
thei fynde ynough, and othir fynde nat though so be that thei seeke ynough." And
seith: "The envyous man othirwhile holdeth him wele contente to leese his goodes
in hurtynge of anothir." And seith: "The men bene cause of getynge of the money,
and money is cause of getynge of men; and that man that his science excedith his
witte maye be lyke a feoble shepeherd that hath a grete flocke of sheepe for to
kepe." And seith: "He that hathe holly sette his undirstondinge in flesshely delytes
is more bonde thanne an esclave." And seith: "In as moche as a man is areysed into
gretter lordship thanne anothir, so moche more greef it is to him for to falle." And
seithe: "Thought is the keye of certeynté." And seith: "The reffews of a caytef is
better thanne the largesse of a wastoure of goodes." And seith: "Thu mayste do
nothinge more aggreable to God thanne to do wele to him that hathe done thee
offence." And seith: "Yf thu wilt be rightwos, loke thu fellaship thee nat with fooles
ne boystous people, [fol. 54v] but be alleweyes in the felaship of hem that can more good
thanne thiself." And seith: "The soulle maye never be deceyved by his hope unto
the tyme that the body take his ende." And seith: "Folye is the gretteste enemye
that man maye have." And seithe: "Good wille is the foundemente of alle goode
werkes, and the goode werkes is the messangier of the tother worlde." And seith:
"He that taketh the good oppynyoun and leveth the evel dothe grete reste to his
herte." And seithe: "Seeknesse is the charter of the body."


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