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Henry VI's Triumphal Entry into London


ABBREVIATIONS: BL: British Library; CT: Chaucer, Canterbury Tales; MED: Middle English Dictionary; MP: Minor Poems of John Lydgate, ed. MacCracken.

After two years in France where he had been crowned king, Henry VI landed at Dover and made his way to Blackheath where on February 21, 1432 he was met by the mayor, aldermen, and other Londoners, and led past seven pageants that had been set up at various locations in the city. The pageants included a giant at London Bridge, who was flanked by two antelopes bearing the arms of England and France, with an inscription declaring that the giant would protect the king from foreign enemies; a tower erected in the middle of the bridge, featuring Nature, Grace, and Fortune along with seven maidens representing the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, who sang a roundel of welcome to the king; a tabernacle at Cornhill, with Dame Sapience and the seven sciences; at the conduit a child-king on a throne surrounded by Mercy, Truth, and Clemency; at the conduit in Cheapside, a well at which Mercy, Grace, and Pity offered wine and a paradise of fruit trees near which stood Enoch and Elias; a castle of jasper, with a pedigree showing Henry’s lineage and a Jesse tree; and at the conduit in St. Paul’s, an image of the Trinity with angels. When Henry reached St. Paul’s, he dismounted and entered the church, where he was greeted by the archbishop and other clerics, then continued on to Westminster, where the abbot and monks met him with the scepter of Saint Edward. On the following Saturday, the mayor and aldermen solidified their welcome to the king by offering him a golden hamper filled with a thousand pounds of gold. As Henry VI processed through London, he was enveloped in the qualities of the ideal king on a kind of pilgrimage that ended at the celestial city at St. Paul’s. The pageantry conveyed the hopes of Londoners for their king, advice to him about the qualities needed for good rule, and an attempt to demonstrate London’s prestige and importance.

Lydgate’s poem is a versified account in English of the entry, which appears to have been based on an informal Latin letter from John Carpenter, who as the town clerk of London probably organized the event and entered his letter in the city’s letter book (see Barron, London, p. 21). Although some scholars have suggested that Lydgate helped plan the pageants (see Ebin, John Lydgate, p. 83, and Schirmer, John Lydgate, pp. 139–43), it seems unlikely that he devised any of the pageants. Lydgate probably witnessed the entry, however, since he offers information not given in Carpenter’s letter, such as the presence of the figures of Mercy, Grace, and Pity, as well as an explana­tion for the allegorization of the mayor’s name in one of the displays, among others. Carpenter’s letter (a copy of which survives in Guildhall Letter Book K, fols. 103b–104b, printed by Riley in Munimenta Gildhallae Londoniensis, 3:457–64), is addressed to a “reverende frater et amice praestantissime,” presumably Lydgate, suggesting that the letter was designed to assist Lydgate in crafting an official commemoration (see MacCracken, “King Henry’s Triumphal Entry,” p. 11, and Kipling, “Poet as Deviser,” pp. 87–89). Another Latin account, which differs somewhat from Carpenter’s, can be found in Lambeth Palace Library, Lambeth MS 12 (see Osberg, “Lambeth Palace,” for a discussion of its political differences from both Carpenter and Lydgate). Pearsall has aptly described Lydgate’s poem as a kind of souvenir program (Bio-Bibliography, p. 170), and Nolan (John Lydgate, p. 235) notes that Lydgate’s verses, with their introduction of poetic set pieces, offer a reinterpretation of the public event of the entry that transformed the spectacle into poetry. The praise for London in the final stanzas of the poem underscores the attempt to craft an enduring poetic representation of the event.

Henry VI’s Triumphal Entry survives in six manuscripts and in three prose paraphrases, which might be independent accounts, in one case possibly by an eyewitness (see McLaren, London Chronicles, pp. 53–54, and Osberg, “Lambeth Palace”) and a 1516 printing by Pynson; the base text for this edition is BL MS Cotton Julius B.ii, fols. 89r–100v (MP, 2:630–48), collated with BL MS Cleopatra C.iv, fols. 38r–48r and BL MS Harley 565, fols. 114v–124r.

2–4 The astrological conceit in these lines, not present in Carpenter’s letter, is typical of the flourishes Lydgate adds to his fairly straightforward source. For a stanza-by-stanza comparison of Lydate’s poem to the Latin letter, see MacCracken, “King Henry’s Triumphal Entry.”

10–14 Henry VI lived from 1421 to 1471, reigning from 1422 to 1461, and again in 1470–71. His coronation as king of England took place on November 6, 1429, at Westminster, and as king of France on December 16, 1431, at Paris. See Bryant, “Configurations of the Community,” for a discussion of the political context of the 1432 entry.

22–28 See Kipling (Enter the King, pp. 15–16 and pp. 143–44) for the significance of the comparison of Henry to the biblical King David and of London to Jerusalem. Andrew Horn, city chamberlain of London, described London as the “new Jerusalem” in writing of the reception of Edward II and Isabella in 1308 (Annales Londinienses, p. 152). Ganim notes that in medieval literature, the city “was always being filtered through the ways in which the city of God was visualized” (“Experience of Modernity,”pp. 86–87).

30 The mayor of London in 1432 was John Welles, grocer and alderman of Langbourn Ward, five times member of parliament for the city between 1417 and 1433, sheriff in 1420–21, and mayor in 1431–32 (Chronicles of London, p. 303, note to p. 109, line 15).

42 The Londoners wore white, with guilds adding their own distinctive insignia (devyses).

43–46 The list of “aliens” present at the entry is Lydgate’s substitution for the minstrels and servants mentioned by Carpenter. MacCracken suggests that Lydgate may have made the change to suit the mayor, but adds that Lydgate’s “own interest accounts well enough” for the substitution (“King Henry’s Triumphal Entry,” p. 79).

50 Blackheath was the customary place at which the mayor and citizens welcomed royalty entering London: Henry V was greeted there in 1415, Emperor Sigismund in 1416, Catherine of Valois in1421, and Margaret of Anjou in 1445.

54–55 The moste princypall among the Londoners (e.g., the aldermen) wore red.

After 63 The mayor’s speech is recorded in English by Carpenter, with slightly different wording; MacCracken (“King Henry’s Triumphal Entry,” pp. 80–81) suggests that Lydgate’s changes, which improve the speech, were made with the help of the mayor.

64 ff. Lydgate omits a paragraph in which Carpenter describes 120 clergy assembled at Deptford to sing praises to the king, going straight to description of the pageants arranged by the city. The Noble devyses and dyvers ordenaunces refer to those pageants while the phrase Conveyed by scripture refers to the biblical quotations that accompanied the pageants as written mottoes.

71 ff. The first of the pageants Henry encountered was at the entrance to London Bridge, where a giant stood with raised sword; on either side was a scripture (which Carpenter gives in Latin and Lydgate renders in English) explaining that he is the king’s protector. A giant, a champion of the city, seems to have been standard for pageants at this location; in 1415, a giant held an axe in one hand and the keys to the city in the other, and was accompanied by a giantess, the two in Kingsford’s view representing “the medieval ancestors of Gog and Magog” (Chronicles of London, p. 302, note to p. 100, line 4). The 1432 giant was flanked by two antelopes, one of the heraldic devices associated with the Lancastrians (an antelope atop a pillar and wearing a shield of the royal arms around its neck was one of the figures on London Bridge in the entry of Henry V in 1415; see Gesta Henrici Quinti, pp. 60–67).

76 gan manace. Lydgate’s description suggests that the giant was rigged for movement, as apparently were the giants who bowed in the pageants for Catherine of Valois in 1421 (see Redman, Vita Henrici Quinti, pp. 297–98).

85 ff. Latin marginalia: Inimicos eius induam confusione. [His enemies I will clothe with confusion (Psalm 131:18).] MacCracken notes that there is no evidence that Lydgate’s “scriptures,” such as this one written near the giant, are anything other than translations of the Latin Vulgate Bible mottoes supplied by Carpenter (“King Henry’s Triumphal Entry,” p. 98). The 1392 show for Richard II included a custos or expositor who traveled with the king and made formal speeches explaining each pageant, while the actors who were costumed as angels and saints sang songs and delivered gifts for the king to the custos (see Kipling, “London Pageants for Margaret of Anjou,” p. 25n8), but there is no mention of a similar translator for Henry in 1432 and Lydgate assumes in lines 265–68 that at least some of the mottoes were meant to be readily legible by the king and other spectators.

99 ff. The second pageant, located in the middle of the bridge, featured a tower out of which came three empresses — Nature, Grace, and Fortune — who gave the king gifts of various strengths and virtues, intended to ensure his long reign. They were accompanied, on the right, by seven angelic maidens dressed in white, who presented the king with seven gifts of the Holy Ghost in the guise of seven white doves (which Carpenter’s letter makes clear were actually released [per emissionem septem albarum columbarum]) and a scripture, which Lydgate has them saying, and, on the left, by seven virgins, who also presented symbolic gifts to the king and sang a roundel of welcome. The 1431 Paris entry included the gift of three hearts to the king, which opened to release birds and flowers (see Wolffe, Henry VI, p. 60). The account of the 1432 entry found in Trinity MS 0.9.1 says Henry was given actual objects by Nature, Grace, and Fortune: a crown of glory, scepter of meekness and piety, sword of might and victory, mantle of prudence, shield of faith, helm of health, and girdle of love and perfect peace (see The Brut) which as McLaren (London Chronicles, p. 54) notes, resembles metaphorical dressing of a knight in Caxton’s Boke of the Ordre of Chyualry and the garbing of the king in coronation. Although MacCracken (“King Henry’s Triumphal Entry,” p. 100n1) asserts that the whole entry is more “monkish than civic,” Benson notes that the second pageant had a domestic message that emphasized bourgeois values of comfort and prosperity (“Civic Lydgate,” p. 156).

113 Marginalia: Nature.

119 Marginalia: Grace.

129 Marginalia: Fortune.

133 crounes tweyne. A reference to the dual monarchy.

134 Marginalia: Nature, Grace, and Fortune.

135 The goostly giftes presented by Nature, Grace, and Fortune are consistent with the pageantry’s emphasis on portraying the king, as Straker puts it, “in a state of potentiality and as an object of instruction” (“Propaganda, Intentionality, and the Lancastrian Lydgate,” p. 119).

143 ff. Latin marginalia: Intende, prospere [procede] et regna. [Set out, proceed prosperously, and reign (Psalm 44:5).]

181–86 Lydgate changes Carpenter’s account by describing actors who seem to speak in English to the crowds, while Carpenter’s hold placards in Latin; although Carpenter records the English speech of the mayor when he greeted the king and the song of the seven virgins offering gifts to the king, he usually emphasizes that the verses were written, using rescribere and subscribere, since he also uses recitata.

183 ff. Latin marginalia: Impleat te Deus spiritu sapiencie et intellectus, spiritui consilij et fortitudinis et sciencie et pietatis et spiritui timoris Domini. [God send you the spirit of wisdom, and of understanding, the spirit of counsel, and of fortitude, the spirit of knowledge, and of godliness (Isaiah 11:2).]

197 ff. Latin marginalia: Induat te Dominus corona glorie, gladio iusticie, septro clemencie, palio prudencie, scuto fidei, galea salutis et vinculo pacis. [The Lord clothe you with the crown of glory, the sword of justice, the scepter of mercy, the mantle of prudence, the shield of faith, the helmet of health, and the girdle of peace.] McLaren (London Chronicles, p. 54 and p. 54n10) reads these gifts as a “manifestation of the metaphorical dressing of a knight in Caxton’s Boke of the Ordre of Chyualry and of the king in coronation.”

211–22 The roundel of the seven virgins is written in English in Carpenter’s letter, and, in MacCracken’s view, is both a good example of a fifteenth-century lyric and the one that was actually sung, while Lydgate’s version offers “an artistic revision” of the roundel (“King Henry’s Triumphal Entry,” p. 98). We do not know who played the roles of the seven virgins and sang this roundel, but the boys of St. Magnus the Martyr, located at London Bridge, sang for the entry of Elizabeth Woodville some forty years later (I. Lancashire, Dramatic Texts and Records no. 942 [wrongly dating the entry to 1464]).

223 ff. At Cornhill, the king encountered the third pageant, a tabernacle built for Dame Sapience and the seven liberal sciences and their classical practitioners. Benson (“Civic Lydgate,” p. 156) notes that the third and fourth pageants, both of which are in Cornhill, emphasize the law and justice in a part of the city in which commercial abuses were punished by the pillory. Saygin argues that Gloucester asked for the Sapience pageant as part of his educative plans for Henry VI (“Humphrey,” p. 57).

233 Latin marginalia: Septem sciencie liberales. [Seven liberal sciences.] The trivium (grammar, dialectic [logic], and rhetoric) and the quadrivium (arithmetic, music, geometry, and astronomy) formed the core curriculum of medieval universities.

239 Precian. Priscian (fl. 500 A.D.) was a Latin grammarian whose Institutiones grammaticae was the standard text for the study of Latin in the Middle Ages.

243 Tulyus. The Roman statesman Marcus Tullius Cicero (106–43 B.C.) was known for his oratorical skill.

245 Boece. Boethius’ De institutione musica was from the ninth century on considered to be the chief authority for music.

256 Albunisar. Albumazar (Abu-Mashar Jafar ibn Muhammed) was an influential ninth-century Persian astronomer, whose works were translated into Latin in the twelfth century.

258–71 Latin marginalia: Per me reges regnant et gloriam sapiencie possidebunt. [Through me kings reign and possess the glory of wisdom (Proverbs 8:15).] Sapience has a scripture before her, which she reads aloud (signaled by use of the word quod, a word that indicates direct quotations (see MED, s.v. quthen) and then presents another scripture in English, one that can be read with-oute a spectakle (in large enough letters for viewers to see them without artificial assistance). Nolan argues that by having Sapience read aloud, Lydgate transforms Carpenter’s Latin mottoes, which would have been legible to only a few, into direct address to the English people (John Lydgate, p. 238). Kipling (“London Pageants for Margaret of Anjou,” p. 6) argues that Lydgate’s manner of referring to the scriptures suggested the use of actual speeches to the designers of the 1445 entry into London for Queen Margaret.

265 ff. Latin marginalia: Et nunc reges intelligite et erudimini qui iudicatis terram. [And now, kings, understand and receive instruction, you who judge the earth (Psalm 2:10).]

272 MacCracken notes that Lydgate uses phrases like “the matere doth devyse” when following a source (“King Henry’s Triumphal Entry,” p. 88).

274 ff. The fourth pageant was at the conduit in Cornhill and featured a child on a throne, dressed like a king, accompanied by Mercy, Truth, and Clemency, as well as two judges and eight sergeants-at-arms with a scripture emphasizing equity and justice. MacCracken notes that the phrase the matere doth devyse with which Lydgate begins the description of this pageant is one he uses when following a source (“King Henry’s Triumphal Entry,” p. 88). The child-king pageant was clearly designed with an eye to Henry as its chief spectator, a tactic adopted in other royal entries, including Henry’s Paris entry of the previous year (Parisian Journal, p. 270).
274 the Conduyte made in cercle wyse. Kingsford (Chronicles of London, p. 303, note to p. 106, line 28) notes that the castellated conduit in Cornhill was built in 1282 as a prison for nightwalkers and in the fifteenth century still featured a timber cage used for that purpose, with stocks and a pillory for fraudulent bakers. The conduit was called the Tun (since it resembled a tun standing on one end) and in 1401 was made into a cistern for water carried by lead pipes from Tybourn. Wickham discusses the importance of conduits as locations for stages (Early English Stages, 1:55–58).

279 Latin marginalia: Domina misericordia a dexteris et Domina veritatis a senistris cum clemencia roborabitur thronus eius. [Lady Mercy to the right and Lady Truth to the left, with Clemency his throne shall be strengthened (see Proverbs 20:28).]

289 Latin marginalia: Misericordia et veritas custodiunt regem. [Mercy and Truth preserve the king (Proverbs 20:28).]

293 Latin marginalia: Iudicium et Iusticiam [Judgment and justice (compare Psalm 88:15)]. Osberg (“Lambeth Palace,” pp. 258–59) believes that this gloss points to a “scripture” for the fourth pageant that is missing in Carpenter and Lydgate.

296 Latin marginalia: Honor Regis Iudicium diligit [The king’s honor loves judgment (Psalm 98:4)].

300 Latin marginalia: Deus iudicium tuum Regi da et iusticiam tuam filio Regis [Give to the king thy judgment, O God, and to the king’s son thy justice (Psalm 71:2)].

307 ff. The fifth pageant was in Cheapside, at its conduit, where a Wells of Paradise scene depicted the water from the fountains being miraculously turned into wine. For lines 314–63, Lydgate’s account is independent of Carpenter’s letter: he adds a description of three virgins who draw up the wine (Mercy, Grace, and Pity) and points out the pun linking the name of the mayor (John Welles) to the fountains (thes welles) while describing the elaborate fruit trees that had been arranged there. MacCracken argues that Lydgate added these details at Welles’ instigation to underscore the mayor’s efforts in arranging the pageants (“King Henry’s Triumphal Entry,” pp. 90–91). Kipling, however, argues that Lydgate may have seen the Wells of Paradise pageant himself (“Poet as Deviser,” pp. 87–89, and Enter the King, pp. 142–69). But Welles punned on his own name on other occasions; see Chronicles of London, p. 303, note to p. 109, line 15. Kipling argues that the fifth pageant enacts Henry VI’s capacity to “transform the city into a holy place” (Enter the King, p. 163), but Benson observes that it is a distinctly earthly paradise in which the commercial heart of London becomes a place of pleasure and abundance (“Civic Lydgate,” pp. 156–57); see also DeVries, “And Away Go Troubles,” for the urban problem of clean water.

308 a place of alle delycys. Cheapside was a busy section in the middle of London, known for its market, Goldsmiths’ Row, and the Mercers’ shops; as the widest street in medieval London, it was a prime location for processions, civic ceremonies, and even tournaments (see A. Lancashire, London Civic Theatre, p. 28). The Great Conduit stood at the intersection of Poultry and Cheapside; Stow (Survey of London, 1:17 and 1:264) says it was built around 1285.

312 Archedeclyne. The master of the feast at Cana (John 2:1–10), used both as a common noun and a proper name. See MED arch(i)triclin (n.), which cites this line, along with the Towneley Plays and five other instances from the mid-thirteenth century on.

313 Latin marginalia: Verba translatoris. [The translator’s words.] The same phrase appears at the opening of Lydgate’s Dance of Death.
turned into wyne. The first reference to the practice of having the conduit in Cheap flow with wine for all to drink comes in descriptions of the coronation of Edward I in 1274 (Barron, London, p. 19).

314 Latin marginalia: Thetes est dea aquarum. [Thetis is the goddess of the sea.]

319 Latin marginalia: Bachus vere est deus vini. [Bacchus is really the god of wine.]

328 ff. Kipling thinks that Mercy, Grace, and Pity were introduced by the pageant maker to solve the problem of a disorderly scrambling for the wine, while also adding allegorical significance and ceremony to the dispensing of wine to the king when he approached this pageant (“Poet as Deviser,” p. 87); Carpenter’s letter doesn’t include them, because he is working from the original device for the entry, which didn’t envision that problem or solution.

345 Latin marginalia: Nomen Maioris Iohannes Welles. [The name of the mayor is John Welles.]

349–62 Lydgate translates Carpenter’s reference to “stallatum floribus et arboribus fructiforis” into two full stanzas, which Nolan (John Lydgate, p. 137) describes as a “poetic set piece” that takes the reader out of the world of the pageant into the world of poetic composition that substitutes for historical reality. For Lydgate’s use of the orchard, see Wickham, Early English Stages, 1:91.

354–59 For the meanings of the names of these fruits, see the MED: Blaunderells were a kind of especially prized apples; quenings and costards were kinds of apple (costards were described in the nineteenth century as having five prominent ridges); wardouns were a variety of pear; pomewaters and ricardouns were varieties of apple.

366–67 Enoch and Elijah were known as the guardians of Paradise. In the Hebrew Bible, they are also lawgivers, suggesting that an earthly paradise requires law and order.

370 Latin marginalia: Nichil proficiat Inimicus in eo. Et filius iniquitatis non apponat nocere ei. [The enemy shall have no advantage over him: nor the son of iniquity have power to hurt him (Psalm 88:23).]

379 Latin marginalia: Dominus conseruet eum et uiviticet eum et beatum faciet eum. [The Lord preserve him and give him life, and make him blessed (Psalm 40:3).]

386 Latin marginalia: Haurietis aquas in gaudio de fontibus Salvatoris. [Thou shall draw waters with joy out of the savior’s fountains (Isaiah 12:3).]

391 ff. The sixth pageant featured a castle made of jasper (at the Cross in Cheapside, according to Carpenter, though Lydgate omits the location), with, in Lydgate’s but not Carpenter’s account, a pedigree showing Henry VI’s descent from two trees springing from Saint Edward and Saint Louis (patron saints of England and France, respectively). On the other side of the castle is a Tree of Jesse, showing David’s descent from Jesus. See Osberg (“Jesse Tree”) for a discussion of the Jesse tree in this entry.

419–25 MacCracken (“King Henry’s Triumphal Entry,” p. 93) argues that Lydgate’s defense of the Jesse-tree pageant at the Cross in Cheap, which is absent from Carpenter’s letter, may be evidence that he devised the pageant himself or that it may have been added because the mayor had been criticized for its inclusion.

426 ff. The final pageant, at the Little Conduit in Paul’s, showed a likeness of the Trinity on a throne surrounded by angels, and had a precept in scripture written at the front of “the hyhe stage” (suggesting that the pageant was elevated on a stage). In lines 440–46, Lydgate adds a second set of verses not found in Carpenter, which he describes as being written on the front of the pageant, and concludes with an additional stanza offering wishes of good will to the king as well as to the mayor and the city.

435 ff. Latin marginalia: Angelus eius mandavit de te. [For he hath given his angels charge over thee (Psalm 90:11).]

449 nyne sperys. In the Ptolemaic system, the planets and stars revolve around the earth in nine concentric spheres.

454 ff. In Carpenter’s letter the description of the proceedings at St. Paul’s is brief and there is no account of events inside the church at Westminster, perhaps because he did not see them firsthand or had no source for them. MacCracken believes that Lydgate witnessed the two church processions and elaborates on them from memory (“King Henry’s Triumphal Entry,” p. 95).

457 I.e., Henry Chichele, archbishop of Canterbury from 1414 to 1443, and Chancellor John Kemp, a supporter of Henry Beaufort, who as a concession to Gloucester was forced to resign the chancellorship on February 28, 1432.

458–61 I.e., the bishops of Lincoln (William Gray), Bath (John Stafford), Salisbury (Robert Neville), Norwich (William Alnwick), and Ely (Philip Morgan). The bishop of Rochester in 1432 was John Langdon.

478 The scepter of St. Edward was a relic of Edward the Confessor; it was housed in Westminster and used for coronation ceremonies until it was destroyed in 1649 along with other royal regalia.

484 Te Deum. The Te Deum laudamus (We praise Thee, Lord) is one of the most familiar hymns of praise, sung at the end of matins when the Gloria has been said, and on special occasions such as the election of a pope, consecration of a bishop, or canonization of a saint. The friar in Chaucer’s Summoner’s Tale claims that he and his confreres sang one to accompany heavenward the soul of the son of Thomas and his pretty wife; the child had died a couple of weeks earlier (CT III[D]1866). The hymn is often sung in the cycle plays.

487 Latin marginalia: Ex duabus arboribus Sancti Edwardi et Sancti Lodowici. [From two trees, Saint Edward and Saint Louis.]

490 Unto his paleys. I.e., Westminster palace.

496 ff. Carpenter describes the Saturday gift-giving and quotes the mayor’s speech in English; Lydgate’s version follows it closely. The hamper filled with gold brought by the mayor, aldermen, and sheriffs of London to the king was a lytyll gifte, as the mayor modestly says in his speech, designed to make the king look favorably on the city and remind him of his obligations toward it. Kingsford notes that in 1415 Londoners presented Henry V with 1000 pounds in gold in two gold baskets (Chronicles of London, p. 303, note to p. 114, line 21).

510 ff. Lydgate here adds three stanzas of praise to London, not found in Carpenter’s letter. In BL MS Cotton Cleopatra C.iv and BL MS Harley 565, these stanzas are prefaced by the Latin marginalia Verba translatoris.

512 Newe Troye. According to the legendary history of England recounted by Geoffrey of Monmouth in his Historia Regum Britannorum, Brutus, a descendant of Aeneas, with other exiles from the Trojan war came to the island of Albion and built a capital city called Trojanova or Troynovant (New Troy). The notion of translatio imperii, that Troy was the original of later cities, was a medieval commonplace.

517–23 Lydgate’s Serpent of Division, probably written in the crisis of rule just after the death of Henry V, retells the life of Caesar as a lesson in the consequences of political and social divisiveness, and presents Caesar as a virtuous pagan. Nolan (John Lydgate, pp. 186 and 233) argues that the comparison of Henry VI’s entry to Caesar’s triumph is the first explicit forging of a connection between medieval royal entries and Roman practices and reveals Lydgate’s ambivalence about Lancastrian propaganda.

530 The Kyngis Chambre. The notion that London is the king’s chamber recognizes the city’s special relationship with the king and suggests that London is his dwelling place (see McLaren, London Chronicles, p. 55n13).

531–37 The envoy contains a conventional humility topos addressed to the mayor, asking forgiveness for the poet’s efforts (his symple makyng, line 535); for a discussion of the fifteenth-century uses of this topos, see Lawton, “Dullness and the Fifteenth Century,” p. 762. The last line offers the only explicit evidence that the poem was written at the mayor’s request. Lydgate was presumably paid by Londoners for his efforts, as in all likelihood was Richard Maidstone for his Latin poem describing the four pageants in the reconciliation ceremonies between London and Richard II; see Barron, London, p. 20.

532 Nolan (John Lydgate, p. 239) notes that Lydgate’s real and imaginary audience has expanded from the “wyse governours” of the 1422 Serpent of Division to “alle that duelle in this citee” (an illusory expansion, of course, since there is no documented increase in the number of Lydgate’s readers).


ABBREVIATIONS: CC: Cotton Cleopatra C.iv; H: Harley 2251; Ha: Harley 565; Jii: Cotton Julius B.ii, copy text for King Henry VI’s Triumphal Entry into London; M: MacCracken’s 1934 edition.

headnote Omitted in Ha; CC reads Pur le Roy. Ordynauncez.

2 eronne. Ha reads ronne (not noted by M); CC reads croune.

6 shewed. Ha reads shed.

8 reyne. Ha reads reynes.
hevynesse. CC reads highnes.

9 olde. Omitted in Ha.

12 dissent. Ha reads assent.

13 hevene. Ha reads even.

19 eyre. Ha reads erthe.

26 the. CC and Ha read this.

32 colour. Ha reads colour of.

34 well. Ha reads were wel.
made. Ha reads and mad.

40 dyde. M’s emendation; Jii reads dyd.

45 the. Omitted in CC and Ha.

46 gladde. Ha reads clad.

55 theire. Ha reads the.

56 the kyng. Omitted in CC.

62 konnyngly abrayde. CC reads knouyngly abbarayd.

prose God. Ha reads Almyghty god.
arenyng. Ha reads athenyng.
Beseching. Ha reads besechynge of; not noted by M.

65–66 These lines are reversed in Jii.

66 dyvers. Jii reads dyverser.

69 shall yt. Ha reads it schal.

71 he passed was. Ha reads they passyd (M: passed) was.

72 town. M’s emendation as well as the reading in Ha; Jii reads Citee.

82 a scripture. Ha reads a long scripture.

84 Some of the marginal rubrics are positioned above stanzas in Ha.

85 Alle tho that ben. CC reads Also that beth.

91 of the. Ha reads of this.

96 and. Ha reads and all.

97 mow ryde or. Ha reads myghte ryden and; CC reads mowgh ride and.

102 yitt. M’s emendation; Jii reads yutt.

103 velvettes. CC reads welvettes. Ha reads velwetty.

106 beauté. M mistakenly claims that Ha reads Benygne.

109 here. Ha reads his.

111 gaf. Jii reads yaf.

113 called was. Ha reads was callyd.

116–17 These lines are transposed in Jii; M mistakenly claims they are transposed in Ha.

119 komyth. Ha reads com.

120 of grete. CC reads of the grete.

123 to. M mistakenly claims omitted in CC.

124 holdeth. CC reads haldith; Ha reads halt.

127 shulde. Ha reads shal.
contune. M’s emendation, following Ha; Jii reads continue. MacCracken notes that contune is Lydgate’s regular spelling (see “King Henry’s Triumphal Entry,” p. 83n4).

130 Apperyng to hym. CC reads To apperyng him; M claims Ha reads Tokyne aperyng, but it actually reads To hym aperyng.

132 Grace lyst to. Ha reads lust.

134 ff. Rubrics in left margin in Jii not noted by M: Nature / Grace and / Fortune.

137 hyhnesse. Ha reads hignesse.

138 termyne. Ha reads determyne.

144 this. Omitted in CC.

146 joyfully. So Jii. M emends to ioyfully.

148 undirstonde. Ha reads understondith.

155 thes emperesses. CC reads this Empresse.

158 cornall. Ha reads crownall.

164 an. CC reads in.

168 at komyng of. Ha reads at the comyng; CC reads at comyn.

169 of. Ha reads on.

172 theym thouht. Ha reads thei thought.
unto hem. Ha reads to hem.

175 include. Ha reads includyd.
thes giftes. Ha reads the gyftes.

183 unto thy moste vaylle. Ha reads to thi moost availe.

185 of strenth. CC reads a strength.

186 and. Ha reads and of.

192 attendaunce. CC reads attendaunt.

196 theire. CC reads thre.

198 septre. Ha reads a septre.

199 swerde. Ha reads sheld.
myht. Ha reads right.

202 encrees. CC reads encreses.

206 othir. CC reads ther; Ha reads here.

216 of herte. CC reads offte hert.

217 ye be. Ha reads oure joye.

219 now. Ha reads newe.

222 Line omitted in Ha, but indicated in margin by the words Soverayn Lord.

232 callyd. Omitted in CC.

236 hire. Ha reads his.

240 hire. Ha reads here ek.

241 moste clerkely. Ha reads so clerkly.

244 voyde. Ha reads royde.

248 scolers. Ha reads clerkes.

249 eke. Ha reads we.

250 at komyng of the. Ha reads at the comynge of oure.

255 stode. CC reads tooke.

258 called. Ha reads callyd dame.

270 hyh. Ha reads highe.

273 upon. M’s emendation; Jii reads on.

279 figured. Ha reads asgnyd.

281 shall nat feyne. CC reads schuld not fayle.

283 Clemens. CC reads clennes.

287 kepyn. CC reads kepyng.

288 kepte. Ha reads kepit.

291 sayde. Omitted in Ha.

292 prosperytee. Ha reads felicite.

293 afore. Ha reads afore also.

297–98 M’s emendation following Ha; Jii and CC read Honour of kyng which I shall expresse / With this scripture in every mannes siht. Ha omits I; CC transposes 297–98.

301 geve. Ha reads gif us.

302 and thy. M claims H inserts and thi, but H follows Jii.

303 The. Ha reads To the.
his. M’s emendation; Jii reads hie.

306 in lawe. CC reads in the lawe.

307 Chepe. M’s emendation, following Ha; Jii and CC read into Chepe.
anoon. Omitted in CC.

309 the. CC reads to.

313 was. CC and Ha read were.

314 that. Omitted in CC.

315 welle. CC reads well.

316 Bachus. CC reads bochous.

320 Shewed. Ha and CC read shedde.

321 of recreacioun. M’s emendation, following Ha; Jii reads of grete recreacioun.

322 alle. Omitted in Ha.

323 Unto the Kyng of famous and hyh. Ha reads Into the kyngges famous high.
and. CC reads of.

324 us. Omitted in CC and Ha.

329 wyn up. CC reads of wyne up; Ha reads up wynes of.

332 hire. CC reads the.

335 by. Ha reads of.

337 cristallyne. M’s emendation, following CC (as he notes in “King Henry’s Triumphal Entry,” p. 90n1); Jii reads cristall.

339 blymsith. CC reads blemeshith (M transcribes CC’s reading as blemishith).

340 Convenable. Ha reads Conable.

342 take. Ha reads tok.

350 of yeer. Ha reads of the yeer.

356 the fruytes which. Ha reads othere frutis whiche (M transcribes as whice).

357 and. MacCracken notes that CC reads etiam (abbreviated), perhaps pointing to a copy of this list in Latin, which Lydgate used (“King Henry’s Triumphal Entry,” p. 90n2); note, however, that elsewhere CC employs the same abbreviation for and.

364 Alle. CC reads And.

366 of. Omitted in Ha.

372 in. Ha reads on.

373 that. Omitted in Ha.

378 Seyde well devoutly. Ha reads wel devoutly seyde.

380 in erthe levyng. Ha reads in erthe here.

382 specially. Ha reads special.

384 at fronteur. Ha reads at the frontour.

388 curen. M claims that CC reads ouryn, but it appears to me to be curen.
langour. CC reads langures.

390 avoydyng. M’s emendation; Jii reads avoydoying.

392 clene. Ha reads clere.

396 notable. CC reads noble.

397 This. Ha reads The.

398 upriht. M emends to up-[a]riht.

401 by lynes. Omitted in Ha.

402 and. Omitted in Ha.

405 pedegree. M’s emendation, following Ha; Jii reads degree.

412 on the tothir. CC reads unto the thoder.

415 crounyd first. Ha reads first crounyd.

416 myht. So Jii. M emends to myhte. Ha reads myghte.

417 in. Omitted in Ha.

423 of. CC reads be.

424 to excuse. Ha reads for to excuse.

428 Conduyt a liht. Ha reads the conduyt he light; CC reads a lytell.

432 wern. Ha reads was; CC reads were.

433 goven. Jii reads yoven.

434 Wrete. M claims that Ha reads Wrethe, but it is actually Wreten.
hyhe. M’s emendation; Jii reads hyh; Ha reads highe (M transcribes as hize).

436 M, following Ha and CC, inserts sure after kyng; omitted in Jii.

438 sprede and shyne. Ha reads shyne and sprede.

439 And. Omitted in Ha.
his. CC reads these.

440 CC contains the Latin marginalia: Longitudinorem repletem et ostendet illi saltare imem (not noted by M).

442 M, following Ha, inserts many after lengthe off.

445 And. Omitted in Ha.

446 thurh. CC reads thorow oute; Ha reads thorugh out.

448 pees. CC reads Pees and.

450 contune. M’s emendation; Jii reads cotune.

451 Meire. CC reads mayer; Ha reads mair.

453 With how good will. M’s emendation, following Ha; Jii reads Heer good wille; CC reads Here god woll.

455 Entryng. CC reads Entered.

463 CC reads For of dewete (M misnumbers the line [to 462] and mistakenly claims that CC reads dew os).

475 alle. M’s emendation; Jii deletes al.

478 septre. Ha reads scripture.

479 it. Ha reads he.

481 the Kyng. CC reads he.

483 Tyl. Ha reads Til that.

485 the. Ha reads all the.

486 Thanked. Ha reads Thankynge.

489 this ys. Ha reads this it; the omitted in Ha.

491 M, following Ha, inserts anon after kyng.

494 this. Ha reads this thing.

499 Kyng. So Jii. M emends to King.

500 theire asking. Ha reads there a thyng.

502 to. Omitted in CC and Ha.

505 yclosyd. CC and Ha read closyd.

prose otherwyse cleped. Ha reads otherwise callid.
to youre. CC reads unto youre.
a goode wille. Ha reads as good awille.
of trouthe. of omitted in Ha.

510 In margin of CC and Ha: Verba translatoris.

514 thy. Ha reads the.

517 nevere. CC reads nat; omitted in Ha.

518 surplusage. M’s emendation; Jii and Ha read surpluage.

522 the. Ha reads his; omitted in CC.

530 thee. CC reads it.

530a L’envoye. Omitted in CC.

531 unto. Ha reads into.

532 to. Ha reads unto.

536 in. Ha reads in the.

537 yow. Omitted in Ha.
There is no colophon in Jii. CC reads Deo gracias; Ha reads Here endith the makyng of the comynge of the kyng out of fraunce to London, Be the monk of Bery. Deo Gracias.
  [Ordenaunces (Contrivances) for the Kyng made in the Cité of London. (t-note)













Towarde the end of wyndy Februarie,
Whanne Phebus was in the Fysshe eronne,
Out of the synge, which called is Aquarie,
Newe kalendes wern entred and begonne
Of Marchis komyng, and the mery sonne
Upon a Thursday shewed his bemys briht
Uppon London, to make hem glade and liht.

The stormy reyne of alle theyre hevynesse
Were passed away and alle her olde grevaunce,
For the sixte Herry, roote of here gladnesse,
Theyre hertis joye, theyre worldis suffisaunce,
By trewe dissent crounyd kyng of Fraunce,
The hevene rejoysyng the day of his repayre
Made his komyng the wedir to be so fayre.

A tyme, I trowe, of God, for hym provided,
In alle the hevenes there was no clowde seyn,
From other dayes that day was so devided,
And fraunchised from mistys and from reyn,
The eyre attempred, the wyndis smoth and pleyn,
The citezenis thurhoute the Citee
Halwyd that day with grete solempnyté.

And lyke for David, after his victorie,
Rejoyssed was alle Jerusalem,
So this Citee with laude, pris, and glorie,
For joye moustred lyke the sonne beem,
To geve ensample thurhout the reem;
Alle of assent, whoso kan conseyve,
Theyre noble kyng wern gladde to resseyve.

Theyr clothing was of colour ful covenable,
The noble Meire cladde in reede velvette,
The Sheryves, the Aldermen ful notable,
In furred clokes, the colour skarlette;
In statly wyse, when they were mette,
Eche oon well horsed made no delay,
But with here Meire roode forth in her way.

The citizenis echoon of the Citee
In here entent that they were pure and clene,
Chees hem of white a ful feyre lyveré,
In every crafte, as yt was well sene;
To showe the trouthe that they dyde mene
Toward the Kyng hadd made hem feythfully
In soundry devyses enbrowdred richely.

And forto remembre of other alyens;
First Jeneweys, though they were straungers,
Florentyns and the Venycyens,
And Esterlinges gladde in her maners,
Canveyed with sergeauntes and other officers
Estatly horsed, after the Meire rydyng,
Passed the subbarbes to mete with the kyng.

To the Blakeheeth whanne they dydde atteyne,
The Meire, of prudence in especyall,
Made hem hove in rengis tweyne,
A strete bitwene eche partye lyke a wall,
Alle cladde in white, and the moste princypall
Afforn in reede with theire Meire rydyng
Tyl tyme that he sauh the kyng komyng.

Thanne with his sporys, he toke his hors anoon,
That to beholde yt was a noble siht,
How like a man he to the kyng ys goon
Riht well cherid, of herte gladde and liht;
Obeying to him as him ouht of riht;
And after that he konnyngly abrayde,
And to the kyng evyn thus he sayde:

When the sun was in Pisces; (see note); (t-note)

(i.e., February 16)


Henry VI; (see note)

rightful lineage; (t-note)
return; (t-note)


The air was mild; (t-note)


(see note)

realm; (t-note)


very suitable
(see note)
scarlet; (t-note)
on their way

each one



various devices; (see note)

aliens (i.e., foreigners); (see note)
Hansa merchants; (t-note)


(see note)
ride in two rows

(see note)


as he ought to by right
courteously began to speak; (t-note)

  “Sovereyn Lorde and noble Kyng, ye be welcome out of youre Reeme of Fraunce into this your blessed Reeme of Englond, and in speciall unto your moste notable Citee of London, othir wyse called youre Chaumbre; We thankyng God of the goode and gracious arenyng [disposition] of youre Croune of Fraunce. Beseching his Mercyful Grace to sende yow prosperité and many yeers, to the comforte of alle youre lovynge peple.” (see note); (t-note)


























































































But forto tellen alle the circumstaunces,
Of every thing shewed in sentence,
Noble devyses, dyvers ordenaunces
Conveyed by scripture with ful grete excellence,
Alle to declare I have noone eloquence,
Wherfore I pray to alle that shall yt rede,
Forto correcte where as they se nede.

First whanne he passed was the fabour
Entryng the Brigge of this noble town,
Ther was a pyler reysed lyke a tour
And theron stoode a sturdy champeoun,
Of looke and chere sterne as a lyoun,
His swerde up rered proudely gan manace,
Alle foreyn enmyes from the kyng to enchace.

And in defence of his estate ryall
The geaunt wolde abyde eche aventure;
And alle assautes that wern marcyall,
For his sake he proudely wolde endure,
In tokne wherof he hadde a scripture
On eyther syde declaryng his entent,
Which seyde thus by goode avysement:

“Alle tho that ben enemyes to the Kyng,
I shall hem clothe with confusioun,
Make him myhty with vertuous levyng
His mortall foon to oppressen and bere adoun,
And him to encresen as Cristis champioun,
Alle myscheffes from hym to abrigge
With the grace of God at th’entryng of the Brigge.”

Twoo antelopes stondying on eytheyr syde
With the armes of Englond and of Fraunce,
In tokenyng that God shal for hym provyde,
As he hath tytle by juste enheritaunce
To regne in pees, plenté and plesaunce;
Sesyng of werre, that men mow ryde or goon,
As trewe lieges, theyre hertes made both oon.

Ferthermore, so as the Kyng gan ryde,
Midde of the Brigge ther was a tour on lofte,
The Lorde of Lordes beyng ay his guyde,
As He hath be and yitt wole be ful ofte;
The tour arrayed with velvettes softe,
Clothis of golde, sylke, and tapcerye,
As apperteynyth to his regalye.

And at his komyng, of excellent beauté,
Beyng of port most womanly of chere,
Ther yssed oute emperesses three;
Theyre heer dysplayed as Phebus in here spere,
With crounettes of golde and stones clere;
At whos out komyng they gaf such a liht,
That the byholders were stonyed in theire siht.

The first of hem called was Nature,
As she that hath under her demeyne,
Man, beeste, and foule, and every creature,
Withinne the bondys of hire goldyn cheyn;
Eke heven, and erthe, and every creature
This emperesse of custume doth enbrace;
And next hire komyth hire sustre called Grace.

Passyng famous, and of grete reverence,
Moste desired in all regions;
For wher that ever she with here precence,
She bryngeth gladnes to citees and touns;
Of alle well fare she holdeth the possessions,
For, I dar say, prosperyté in no place
No while abydith, but yf ther be grace.

In tokne that Grace shulde longe contune
Unto the Kyng she shewed hire full benyngne;
And next hire come the emperesse, Fortune,
Apperyng to hym with many a noble sygne,
And ryall toknes, to shewe that he was dygne,
Of God dysposed as Grace lyst to ordeyne,
Upon his heede to were crounes tweyne.

Thes three ladyes, all of oon entent
Three goostly giftes, hevenly and devyne,
Unto the Kyng anoon they dydde present,
And to his hyhnesse they dydd anoon enclyne;
And, what they were pleynly to termyne,
Grace gaf him first at his komyng
Twoo riche giftes, Sciens and Kunnyng;

Nature gaf him eke strenth and feyrenesse,
Forto be lovyd and dredde of every wiht;
Fortune gaf him eke prosperité and richesse,
With this scripture apperyng in theire siht,
To him applyed of verrey dewe riht,
“First undirstonde and joyfully procede
And lange to regne” the scripture seyde in dede.

This ys to mene, whoso undirstonde ariht,
Thow shalt be Fortune have lange prosperité;
And be Nature thow shalt have strenth and myht,
Forth to procede in lange felicité;
And Grace also hath graunted unto thee,
Vertuously lange in thy ryall citee,
With septre and croune to regne in equyté.”

On the riht hande of thes emperesses
Stoode sevyn maydenys verrey celestyall;
Lyke Phebus bemys shone hire goldyn tresses,
Upon here heedes eche havyng a cornall,
Of porte and chere semyng inmortall,
In siht transendyng alle erthely creatures,
So aungelyk they wern of theyre figures.

Alle cladde in white, in tokne of clennesse,
Lyche pure virgynes as in theyre ententys,
Shewyng outward an hevenly fressh brihtnesse;
Stremed with sonys were alle their garmentis,
Aforne provyded for pure innocentis,
Most columbyne of chere and of lokyng,
Mekely roos up at komyng of the Kyng.

They hadde an bawdrykes alle of safir hewe,
Goynge outward gan the Kyng salewe,
Hym presentyng with her giftes newe,
Lyche as theym thouht yt was unto hem dewe,
Which goostly giftes here in ordre sewe,
Doune dessendyng as sylvere dewe fro hevyn,
Alle grace include withinne thes giftes sevyn;

Thes ryall giftes ben of vertue moste
Goostly corages, moste sovernynly delyte;
Thes giftes called of the Hooly Gooste,
Outward figured ben seven dowys white,
And seyying to him, lyke as clerkes write,
“God thee fulfille with intelligence
And with a spyryt of goostly sapience.

“God sende also unto thy moste vaylle
Thee to preserve from alle hevynesse,
A spyrit of strenth, and of goode counsaylle,
Of konnyng, drede, pité, and lownesse,”
Thus thes ladyes gan theire giftes dresse,
Graciously at theyre oute komyng,
Be influence liht upon the Kyng.

Thes emperesses hadde on theyre lefte syde
Other sevyne virgynes, pure and clene,
Be attendaunce contenuelly to abyde,
Alle cladde in white, smytte fulle of sterres shene;
And to declare what they wolde mene
Unto the Kyng with ful grete reverence
Thes were theire giftes shortly in sentence:

“God thee endewe with a crowne of glorie,
And with septre of clennesse and pytee,
And with a swerde of myht and victorie,
And with a mantel of prudence cladde thow be,
A shelde of feyth forto defende thee,
An helme of helthe wrouht to thyn encrees,
Girt with a girdyll of love and parfyte pees.”

Thes sevyn virgyns, of siht most hevenly,
With herte, body, and handes rejoysynge,
And of othir cheris appered murely,
For the Kyngis gracious home komynge;
And for gladnesse they beganne to synge,
Moste aungelyk with hevenly armonye,
This same roundell, which I shall now specyfye:

“Sovereyne Lorde, welcome to youre citee;
Welcome, oure Joye, and oure Hertis Plesaunce,
Welcome, oure Gladnesse, welcome, our Suffisaunce,
Welcome, welcome, riht welcome mote ye be.

“Syngyng toforn thy ryall Magesté,
We say of herte, withoute variaunce,
Sovereyene Lorde, welcome, welcome ye be.

“Meire, citezenis and alle the comounté,
At youre home komyng now out of Fraunce,
Be grace relevyd of theyre olde grevaunce,
Syng this day with grete solempnyté,
Sovereyne Lorde, welcome to youre citee.”

Thus resseyvyd, an esy paas rydyng,
The Kyng is entred into this Citee:
And in Cornhill anoon at his komyng,
To done plesaunce unto his Magestee,
A tabernacle surmountyng of beauté,
Ther was ordeyned, be ful fresh entayle,
Richely arrayed with ryall apparayle.

This tabernacle of moste magnyficence,
Was of his byldyng verrey imperyall
Made for the lady callyd Dame Sapience;
Tofore whos face moste statly and ryall
Wern the sevyn sciences called lyberall
Rounde aboute, as makyd ys memorie,
Which nevere departed from hire consistorie.

First ther was Gramer, as I reherse gan,
Chief founderesse and roote of all konnyng,
Which hadde aforne hire olde Precian;
And Logyk hadde aforn hire stondyng
Arestotyll moste clerkely dysputyng;
And Rethoryk hadde eke in hire presence,
Tulyus, called Mirrour of Eloquence;

And Musyk hadde, voyde of alle discorde,
Boece, hire clerke, with hevenly armonye,
And instrumentis alle of oone accorde;
Forto practyse with sugred melodye
He and his scolers theyre wyttes dydde applye,
With touche of strenges on orgons eke pleyng,
Theyre crafte to shewe at komyng of the Kyng;

And Arsmetryk, be castyng of nombrarye,
Chees Pyktogeras for hire partye;
Called chief clerke to governe hire lybrarye,
Euclyde toke mesours be crafte of Gemetrye;
And alderhyhest stode Astronomye,
Albunisar last with hire of sevyn,
With instrumentis that rauht up into hevyn.

The chief pryncesse called Sapience,
Hadde toforn hire writen this scripture:
“Kynges,” quod she, “moste of excellence,
By me they regne and moste in joye endure,
For thurh my helpe, and my besy cure,
To encrece theyre glorie and hyh renoun,
They shull of wysdome have full possessioun.”

And in the front of this tabernacle,
Sapience a scripture ganne devyse
Able to be redde withoute a spectakle,
To yonge kynges seyynge in this wyse,
“Understondith and lernyth of the wyse,
On riht remembryng the hyh lorde to queme,
Syth ye be juges other folke to deme.”

Ferthermore the matere doth devyse:
The Kyng, procedying forth upon his way,
Kome to the Conduyte made in cercle wyse;
Whame to resseyve, ther was made no delay,
And myddys above in ful riche array,
Ther satte a childe of beauté precellying,
Middis of the throne rayed lyke a kyng.

Wham to governe, ther was figured tweyne,
A lady, Mercy, satte on his riht syde;
On his lyfte hande, yf I shall nat feyne,
A lady, Trouthe, his domes to provyde;
The lady Clemens alofte dydde abyde,
Of God ordeyned in the same place
The Kyngis throne strongely to enbrace.

For, by the sentence of prudent Salamon,
Mercy and Riht kepyn every kyng,
And Clemencé kepte by Resoun
His myhty throne from myschief and fallyng,
And makith yt stronge with lange abydyng;
For I darr say thes sayde ladyes three
A kyng preserve in lange prosperytee.

Thanne stoode also afore the seyde kyng
Twoo juges with full hyh noblesse —
Eight sergeauntes echon representyng
For comune profyte, doom and rihtwysnesse,
With this scripture, which I shall expresse:
“Honour of kyngys, in every mannys siht,
Of comyn custum lovith equyté and riht.”

Kyng Davyd wrote, the Sawter berith wytnesse,
“Lorde God,” quod he, “thy dome geve to the Kyng,
And geve thy trouthe and thy rihtwysnesse
The Kyngis sone here in his levyng”;
To us declaring, as by theyre writyng,
That kyngis, princes, shulde aboute hem drawe
Folke that be trewe and well expert in lawe.

The Kyng forth rydyng entryd Chepe anoon,
A lusty place, a place of alle delycys;
Kome to the Conduyt, wher, as cristall stoon,
The watir ranne like welles of Paradys,
The holsome lykour, ful riche and of grete prys,
Lyke to the water of Archedeclyne,
Which by miracle was turned into wyne.

Thetes, which that is of waters chief goddesse,
Hadde of the welle power noon ne myht,
For Bachus shewed there his fulsomnesse
Of holsome wynes to every manere wiht;
For wyn of nature makith hertes liht,
Wherfore Bachus, at reverence of the Kyng,
Shewed oute his plenté at his home komyng.

Wyn is a likour of recreacioun,
That day presentyd in tokne of alle gladnesse,
Unto the Kyng of famous and hyh renoun,
From us t’exile alle manere hevynesse;
For with his komyng, the dede berith wytnesse,
Out of the londe he putte away alle trouble,
And made of newe oure joyes to be double.

Eke at thes welles there were virgyns three
Which drewe wyn up of joye and of pleasaunce,
Mercy and Grace, theyre suster eke Pyté;
Mercy mynystred wynes of attemperaunce,
Grace shedde hire likour of goode gouvernaunce,
And Pitee profered with ful goode foysoun
Wynes of comforte and consolacioun.

The wyn of Mercy staunchith by nature
The gredy thristis of cruell hastynesse,
Grace with hire likour cristallyne and pure
Deferrith vengaunce of furious woodnesse,
And Pitee blymsith the swerde of Rithwysnesse;
Convenable welles, moste holsom of savour,
Forto be tasted of every governour.

O! how thes welles, whoso take goode hede,
With here likours moste holsome to atame,
Afore devysed notably in dede
Forto accorden with the Meirys name;
Which by report of his worthy fame
That day was busy in alle his governaunce,
Unto the Kyng forto done plesaunce.

Ther were eke treen, with leves fressh of hewe,
Alle tyme of yeer, fulle of fruytes lade,
Of colour hevynly, and ever-yliche newe,
Orenges, almondis, and the pomegernade,
Lymons, dates, theire colours fressh and glade,
Pypyns, quynces, blaunderell to disport,
And the pomecedre corageous to recomfort;

Eke the fruytes which more comune be —
Quenynges, peches, costardes and wardouns,
And other meny ful fayre and fresh to se;
The pomewater and the gentyll ricardouns;
And ageyns hertes for mutygaciouns
Damysyns, which with here taste delyte,
Full grete plenté both of blak and white.

And besydis this gracious paradys,
Alle joye and gladnesse forto multyplye,
Twoo olde men, full circounspecte and wyse,
There dydde appere lyke folkes of feyrye;
The toon was Ennok, the tothir Elye,
The Kyng presentyng theire giftes ful notable,
That God conferme his state ay to be stable.

The first seyde, with benynge chere,
Gretly desirynge his prosperyté,
That noon enemyes have in him power,
Nor that no childe by false iniquyté
Parturble nevere his felicité;
Thus olde Ennok the processe gan well telle,
And prayd for the Kyng as he roode by the welle.

After, Elyas, with his lokkes hoore,
Seyde well devoutly, lokyng on the Kyng,
“God conserve thee and kepe thee evermore,
And make him blessid, here in erthe levyng,
And preserve him in alle manere thyng,
And specially amongis kynges alle,
In enemyes handes that he nevere falle.”

And at fronteur of thes welles clere,
There was a scripture komendyng the lykour; —
“Yee shall drawe waters, with goode chere,
Oute of welles of oure Savyour,
Which have vertue to curen alle langour,
Be influence of her grete swetnesse,
Hertes avoydyng of alle theire hevynesse.”

Thanne from thes welles of fulsome habundaunce,
With theyr lykours as eny cristall clene,
The Kyng roode forth, with sobre contenaunce,
Towarde a castell bilt of jaspar grene,
Upon whos toures the sonne shone shene,
Ther clerly shewed, by notable remembraunce,
This kyngis tytle of England and of Fraunce.

Twoo green treen ther grewe upriht,
Fro Seint Edward and fro Seint Lowys,
The roote ytake palpable to the siht,
Conveyed by lynes be kyngis of grete prys;
Some bare leopardes, and some bare floure-de-lys,
In nouther armes founde was there no lak,
Which the sixte Herry may now bere on his bak.

The pedegree be juste successioun,
As trewe cronycles trewely determyne,
Unto the Kyng ys now dessended doun
From eyther partye riht as eny lyne;
Upon whos heede now fresshely done shyne
Two riche crounes most sovereyn of plesaunce
To brynge inne pees bitwene England and France.

Upon this castell on the tothir syde
There was a tree, which sprange out of Jesse,
Ordeyned of God ful longe to abyde; —
Davyd crounyd first for his humylité
The braunches conveyd, as men myht se,
Lyneally and in the genologie,
To Crist Jhesu, that was born of Marie.

And why the Jesse was sette on that partye,
This was the cause in especyall,
For next to Paulis, I dar well specefye,
Is the partye moste chief and princypall,
Callyd of London the chirche cathederall,
Which ought of reson the devyse to excuse,
To alle thoo that wholde ageyn yt froune or muse.

And fro that castell the Kyng forth gan him dresse
Toward Poulys, chief chirche of this citee,
And at Conduyt a liht, and a lyknesse
Indevysible made of the Trinité,
A throne compassid of his ryall see;
About which, shortly to conclude,
Of hevenly aungelles wern a grete multitude;

To whom was goven a precept in scripture,
Wrete in the frontour of the hyhe stage,
That they shulde done theyre besy cure,
To kepe the Kyng from alle damage
In his lyf here, duryng alle his age,
Hys hyh renoun to sprede and shyne ferre,
And of his twoo reemes to sese the mortall werre.

And laste was wretyn in the fronterys:
“I shall fulfille him with joye and habundaunce,
And with lengthe of holsome yeerys,
And I shall shewe him my helpe with alle plesaunce,
And of his lieges feythfull obeyssaunce,
And multyplye and encrese his lyne
And make his noblesse thurh the worlde to shyne.

Love of his peple, favour of alle straungers,
In bothe his remys pees, reest, and unyté,
Be influence of the nyne sperys,
Longe to contune in his ryall see,
Grace to cherice the Meire and the Citee,
Longe in his mynde to be conceyved
With how good will, that day he was resseyved.”

Comyng to Poulis ther he liht adoun,
Entryng the chirche ful demure of chere,
And there to mete him with processioun
Was the Erchebisshop, and the Chaunceller,
Lyncoln, and Bathe, of hoole herte and entier,
Salysbury, Norwich, and Ely,
In pontyficall arrayed richely.

Ther was the Bisshop of Rouchestre also,
The Dene of Paulys, the Chanons everychon,
Of dewté as they auht to do,
On processioun with the Kyng to goon;
And thouh I kan nat reherse hem oon by oon,
Yitt dar I say, as in theyre entent,
To do theyre devere full trewely they ment.

Lyke theyre estates forth they ganne procede;
With observaunces longyng for a kyng
Solempnely gan him conveye in dede
Up into the chirche with full devoute syngyng;
And whanne he hadde made his offryng,
The Meire, the citezenis, abode and left him nouht,
Unto Westmynstre tyl they hadde him brouht;

Wher alle the covent, in copys richely,
Mette with him of custume as they ouht;
The Abbot after moste solempnely
Amonges the relikes the septre oute souht
Of Seint Edward, and to the Kyng it brouht;
Thouh it were longe, large, and of grete weyht,
Yitt on his shuldres the Kyng bare it on heyht,

Into the mynstre, while alle the belles ronge,
Tyl he kome to the hyh awtere;
And full devoutly Te Deum ther was songe,
And the peple, gladde of looke and chere,
Thanked God with alle here hertes entere,
To se theire Kyng with twoo crounys shyne,
From twoo trees trewly fette the lyne.

And after that, this ys the verrey sothe,
Unto his paleys of kyngly apparaylle,
With his lordes the Kyng forth goothe
To take his reste after his travaylle;
And than of wysdome, that may so mych avaylle,
The Meire, the citezenis, which alle this dyd se,
Ben home repeyred into hire citee.

The Shereves, the Aldermen in fere,
The Saturday alther next suyng,
Theire Meire presented, with theyre hertes entere,
Goodly to be resseyved of the Kyng;
And at Westminster confermed theire askyng,
The Meyre and they with full hole entent
Unto the Kyng a gyfte gan to present.

The which gifte they goodly have dysposyd,
Toke an hamper of golde that shene shone,
A thousand pounde of golde therinne yclosyd;
And therwithall to the Kyng they goone
And fylle on knees toforn him everychoone,
Full humbly the trouthe to devyse,
And to the Kyng the Meire seyde in this wyse:
(see note)


suburb; (see note); (t-note)
London Bridge; (t-note)
pillar; tower

threaten; (see note)
drive away



prudently; (t-note)

All those who are; (see note); (t-note)
clothe them
i.e., the king

happiness; (t-note)
Stopping war; so that men might; (t-note)
vassals; one

(see note)
In the middle of

Befitting his royalty

came out
hair; their cosmic spheres; (t-note)
coronets; bright
gave off; light; (t-note)

(see note); (t-note)


by custom
sister; (see note); (t-note)

Very; (t-note)


Does not long abide, unless

remain; (t-note)
(see note)
royal; worthy
(see note)

with one intent; (see note); (t-note)
spiritual; (see note)

to declare plainly; (t-note)


honored by everyone
(see note)


Phebus’ beams
their heads; circlet; (t-note)
bearing and manner

Ornamented with sun rays

demure in manner and look

wore sashes; sapphire; (t-note)
to greet
spiritual; follow




(see note)

benefit; (see note); (t-note)

reverence; humility; (t-note)

By flowing in

studded with shining stars


endow; (see note)
scepter; purity; (t-note)

perfect peace

gestures; joyfully; (t-note)

angelic; harmony

(see note)


sincerely, without hesitation; (t-note)

common people


easy pace; (see note)

of new design

in its construction
Before; (see note)

her court; (t-note)

Who had before her; (see note)

(see note)

Boethius; harmony; (see note)


Arithmetic, through mathematics
Chose Pythagoras

by; Geometry
highest of all; (t-note)
(see note)

(see note); (t-note)

(see note)

learn from
please; (t-note)
Since; rule over

(see note)
(see note)
Whom to receive
in the middle
In the middle; dressed

Whom; two; (see note); (t-note)

feign (lie); (t-note)

(see note)


(see note); (t-note)
each one
common profit, justice; righteousness; (see note)


Psalter; (see note)
King’s son while he is alive; (t-note)


(see note); (t-note)
delights; (see note)
stone; (t-note)

(see note)
(see note); (t-note)

Thetis; (see note); (t-note)
abundance; (t-note)
every sort of man

(see note)

to exile; (t-note)

(see note)
happiness; (t-note)


blunts; Righteousness; (t-note)
Excellent; (t-note)

their; subdue

Mayor’s; (see note)

to do

trees; (see note)
laden; (t-note)
Pippins; blaunderell (apples) to enjoy; (see note)
citron eager to invigorate


for relief of pains
Damson plums


fairyland; (see note); (t-note)
The one
Presenting to the king

in a kindly manner; (see note)

wicked person; (t-note)
Disturb; happiness

gray hair
(see note)


the front; (t-note)

(see note)


Purging hearts; (t-note)

plentiful; (see note)
pure as any crystal; (t-note)

towers; bright


lineage; visible
by; honor; (t-note)

by; (t-note)

i.e., from both lines of descent



there; (see note)


(see note)




given; (t-note)
work diligently; (see note)

afar; (t-note)
realms to stop; (t-note)

in front; (t-note)


vassals; obedience
nobility throughout; (t-note)

realms peace; unity; (t-note)
Under; [cosmic] spheres; (see note)
continue; (t-note)


St. Paul’s Cathedral; (see note)
manner; (t-note)

(see note)
most devoutly; (see note)

The Dean of St. Paul’s
duty; (t-note)


belonging to


convent; copes; (t-note)

(see note); (t-note)

on high; (t-note)

high altar; (t-note)
(see note)
(see note)

absolute truth; (t-note)
(see note)
that is so useful
Went home

in a group; (see note)
On the following Saturday
received by; (t-note)
confirmed their request; (t-note)


planned well
gold casket that shone brightly


  “Most Cristen Prynce and noble Kyng, the goode folke of youre moste notable Citee of London, otherwyse cleped youre Chambre (called your Chamber), beseching in here moste lowly wyse they mowe be recomaunded (might be recommended) to youre Hyhnesse and that yt kan lyke unto your Noble Grace to resseyve this lytyll gyfte, gyfyn with a goode wille of trouthe and lownesse (allegiance and humility), as evere eny gifte was yoven (given) to eny erthely prince.” (t-note)






Be gladde, O London! be gladde and make grete joye,
Citee of Citees, of noblesse precellyng,
In thy bygynnynge called Newe Troye;
For worthynesse thanke God of alle thyng,
Which hast this day resseyved so thy Kyng
With many a signe and many an observaunce
To encrese thy name by newe remembraunce.

Suche joye was nevere in the Consistorie,
Made for the tryumphe with alle the surplusage,
Whanne Sesar Julius kam home with his victorie;
Ne for the conqueste of Sypion in Cartage;
As London made in every manere age,
Out of Fraunce at the home komyng
Into this citee of theyre noble Kyng.

Of sevyn thinges I preyse this citee:
Of trewe menyng, and feythfull observaunce,
Of rihtwysnesse, trouthe, and equyté,
Of stablenesse ay kepte in lygeaunce;
And for of vertue thow hast such suffisaunce,
In this lande here and other landes alle
The Kyngis Chambre of custume men thee calle.


O noble Meir! be yt unto youre plesaunce,
And to alle that duelle in this citee,
On my rudenesse and on myn ygnoraunce,
Of grace and mercy forto have pitee,
My symple makyng forto take at gree;
Considre this, that in moste lowly wyse
My wille were goode forto do yow servyse.
(see note); (t-note)
surpassing nobility
(see note)

received; (t-note)

(see note); (t-note)
embellishments; (t-note)



(see note); (t-note)

The epilogue; (t-note)

(see note) ;(t-note)
dwell; (see note); (t-note)

look with favor on


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