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22. Galen


1 oon, one; phesyk, physic (medicine).

7 sextene, sixteen.

8 wole, will.

9 scole, school; good, wealth.

10 Ayse, Asia.

11 Alysaundyr, Alexandria; seche, seek.

12 gramer, grammar.

16 deyed nygh, died near; marches, borderlands.

17 connynge demonstratyf, demonstrative knowledge.

18 soore, sorely.

19 cesed, ceased.

24 evrous, fortunate.

26 ayel, uncle.

29-30 Danathomie, On Anatomy.

30 tretyes, treatises.

31 werne brente, were burned.

32 wreten, written.

33 Danaxogoras, Concerning Anaxagoras; Dandromachye, Concerning Andromachus.

34 tecches, blemishes.

35 valeyes, valleys; pleyne weyes, plain ways.

36-37 revers for to renne thurgh, rivers to run through.

38 wele, weal (benefit); hertes, hearts.

40 here, their; studyauntes, students.

42 phesycians, physicians; preef, examination.

43 preved, proven.

44 here, their.

45 seeke, sick; here heele, their healing.

46 proufyte, profit.

47-48 longeth, belongs.

50 curyouse, curious (desirous).

51 tecches, habits.

52 wonte, accustomed.

54 her, their; durste, dares.

55 anone, soon.

56 here, their.

59 holpen, helped.

60 attempred in here levynge, temperate in their living.

61 glotons, gluttonous.

62 boorde, board (table).

67 wene, believe.

69 discrete, discreet.

70 suffysaunt, sufficient.

73 leve, leave.

77 bare, bore.


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 Gallyene. Galen (c. 129-c. 200) was a Greek physician and proponent of the study of anatomy (he demonstrated, among other things, that arteries carry blood), and the most brilliant medical mind of his age. Galen wrote hundreds of works that spread across Europe and the Islamic world; his authority in medical matters was nearly unquestioned in the Middle Ages.

3 Esculapius. See the explanatory note for Zalquaquine, line 1.

Gorus. This may be Gorgias of Leontini (c. 485-c. 380 BC), the Greek Sophist who believed that there is no such thing as objective knowledge or truth. The Sophists were philosophers who traveled throughout Greece teaching rhetoric. They were harshly criticized by later thinkers for charging payment for their services and for teaching persuasive tactics instead of more "serious" pursuits; such criticism has led to the negative connotations of words like sophist and sophistry.

Myrus. Though the chronology would be off, this could be Marinus, an anatomist of the first century AD who was greatly admired by Galen.

Promenides. Parmenides (b. c. 515 BC), a Greek philosopher who founded the Eleatic School, which taught that change is not real and that motion is an illusion of the senses. Zeno of Elea (see the explanatory note for Zabyon, line 1) was one of his greatest disciples.

4 Platon. See the explanatory note for Plato, line 1.

Esculapius the secunde. A curious reference, most likely meant to be Asclepiades of Bithynia, a scholar of physiology who flourished in the first century BC.

Ypocras. See the explanatory note for Hippocrates, line 1.

6 Jhesu Cryste. This is the only overt reference to Jesus Christ in Dicts and Sayings. 10 Pergame. Pergamum, in western Asia Minor. Galen was born there in 129.

13 Cleupare. A woman named Cleopatra, "called ibn Abi Oseibi'a, a woman doctor from whom Galen learned much in medicine pertaining to women. She is mentioned in his works" (S, p. 213n95). Women physicians were, needless to say, out of the ordinary, but not without precedent; perhaps the most famous example from the Middle Ages was an eleventh-century doctor and medical professor named Trotula of Salerno, who wrote about women's health issues. There are doubts, however, about whether she was actually the author of the works attributed to her.

16 Descen. See the explanatory note for Alexander, line 102. Galen actually died sometime after 200 in Rome, where he spent much of his life as physician to the powerful (such as the emperor Marcus Aurelius).

28-29 at the begynnynge of the regne of Anthonye, that regned nexst aftir Adryan. That is, the Roman Emperor Antonius Pius (r. 138-61), who followed Hadrian (r. 117-38).

29-30 Danathomie. This is On Anatomy, or On Anatomical Procedures, a fifteen-volume work that ranks as one of Galen's most important contributions to the study of medicine.

33 Danaxogoras, Dandromachye. These references are obscure, but Danaxogoras clearly refers to Anaxagoras of Clazomenae (see the explanatory note to The Last Philosophers, line 256). In his Metaphysics, Aristotle critiques and revises Anaxagoras' conception of nous (Mind), the infinite, supreme, rational force that set in motion and guides the universe. Dandromachye probably refers to Andromachus, Nero's personal physician, who is frequently mentioned in Galen's writing.

a booke whiche oon Ruxus made of tecches. Rufus of Ephesus was a medical philosopher who flourished around the end of the first century AD. Presumably the book dealt with skin diseases and deformities.


34 tecches. G: tecches and, followed by a gap of about one inch.

43 to kinges. B adds the after to.

78 The last part of Galen's section is missing, probably because G is so badly disarranged toward the end. These lines were most likely lost in the shuffle.









Gallyene was oon of the eight maisters of phesyk, whiche were chieff and moste
excellente above alle othir maisters in the science of phesyk, wherof the firste was
named Esculapius, the secunde Gorus, the thirde Myrus, the fourthe Promenides,
the fyveth Platon, the sixte Esculapius the secunde, the sevenethe Ypocras, the
eighthe Galliene, after the whiche was never none lyke hym. And was borne aboute
a two hundred yere aftir the commynge of our Lorde, Jhesu Cryste, and composed
wele foure hundred bookes, grete and smale, amonge whiche bene sextene that
men studye inne that wole undirstonde the crafte of medecyne. His fader entended
gretly for to sette him to scole, and spended gretely of his good for his lernynge,
and thanne he sente him into Ayse, after unto the citee of Pergame, and unto the
citee of Athenes, to Roome, and aftir that into Alysaundyr to seche where he myght
fynde beste maisters; and there he lerned phesyk, geometrye, and gramer, and
othir sciences. [fol. 62v] And he lerned phesyk of a womman that was called Cleupare,
whiche taughte him and shewed many goode herbes, namely for sekenesse of
wommen. And he duelled longe in Egipte for to knowe thes herbes, and longe
tyme aftir he deyed nygh the citee of Descen, besyde the grene see in the marches
of Egipte. And in his youthe he desired moche to have connynge demonstratyf and
was so soore sette for to lerne it that whanne he departed fro the scoole with other
children, he cesed nat for to thenke upon that thinge which his maistir hadde
taughte him. Wherfore his fellawes mocked hym and asked him why he wolde nat
laughe and pleye with hem, to whome he aunsuerd and seide: "I take as moche
pleasaunce in your pleyes as ye done in youre pleasyres, and I take as moche
pleasire to thenke on my lesson as ye do on youre pleyes." Thanne somme seyden
that the fader of this childe was right evrous for to be ryche and to have a wille to
sette his childe to scoole that loveth connynge so moche. His fader was right a
grete labourer, his ayel was a sovereigne maister of carpentrye, and the fader of his
ayel was a connynge man in the mesurynge of londe, whiche longeth to the scyence
of geometrye. And Gallyene was at Roome at the begynnynge of the regne of
Anthonye, that regned nexst aftir Adryan, and there he made the book Dana-
thomie, and many other tretyes. And somme seyne that many of Gallyens bookes
werne brente in a towne where thei were in kepinge, amonge whiche were brente
also somme of Aristotles bookes, whiche were wreten with his owen hande, that is
to seye Danaxogoras, Dandromachye, and a booke whiche oon Ruxus made of
tecches. And at that tyme the kinges of Grece werne right besy for to breke downe
the hilles for to fylle up the valeyes and to make pleyne weyes in theire cuntree, to
bilde citees and to cloose hem with walles, and for to make the revers for to renne
thurgh the townes, and in othir places where it was needfull, and to make alle othir
thinges that were profytable to the comon wele. And thei sette more theire hertes
upon the good governaunce of here reames thanne of the delytes of here propre
persones, and sette moche in here herte for to have goode studyauntes and goode
clerkes, specially in phesyk. And there were grete men assigned for to gadre
herbes, whiche werne broughte to the phesycians for to put hem in preef by ex-
peryence; and whanne thei were [fol. 63r] preved, thei were sente to kinges closed and
sealed with here seales, to that entente that thei shulde nat be chaunged. And
thanne the kinge sente hem to seeke folkes for here heele. And Gallyene seide:
"Science maye nat proufyte to a foole, ne wysedome to him that wil nat use it." And
seithe: "He that serveth truly is worthy to be rewarded." And seith: "Sorowe long-
eth to thinges passed, and thoughte to thinges for to come." And Gallyene was of
age eighty-sevene yere. And seith: "Moche people, grete lordes and othir, bene so
fulle of ignoraunce that thei be more curyouse for to have goode horses and gay
gownes and othir jewelles thanne for to gete goode tecches or noble condycions."
And seith: "Somtyme the leeches were wonte to be maisters and reulers over the
seeke persones, to make hem do suche thinges as thei wolde commaunde hem that
were profitable to her helthe, and there durste no seeke man seye naye ne dis-
obbeye, but anone he shulde be constreyned for to obbeye: wherfore thei resceyved
here heele in shorte tyme. And now the leeches bene subjectes to the seeke folkes,
and thei bene constreyned for to touche the pacientes but litel or noughte, and for
to geve hem swete drynkes and of litil profyte: and so the seeke folkes lyve longe
seeke and be nat holpen." And seithe: "Somtyme thei that dranke leest wyne and
wer most attempred in here levynge were moste worshipped and preysed, and now
thei that bene moste glotons and ofteste drunken bene sette highest at the lordes
boorde for to geve exsample to othir men to do the same." And seith: "Thu maiste
teeche every man but oonely him that is withoute shame." And seith: "A man that
knoweth himself wele is myghty to redresse himself wele. And I holde him right
excelente that hathe good knoweleche of himself, for a man maye love himself so
moche that he maye be deceyved and thenke himself that he is bettir thanne he is.
And we see many that wene hemself thei bene goode and true and be nat, and alle
thei that bene of that thoughte bene of litil discrecion." And seith: "He is a juste
man that maye do wronge and dothe it not; and he is wyse and discrete that
knoweth that that is suffysaunt to be knowen for the good wille of every creature
humayne." And seith: "Lyke as a man is seeke of a grete seekenesse and wil nat
departe from the phesycian in hope that he shulde have his heele, in lyke wyse we
shulde thenke upon oure soulles and leve nat unto the tyme that we maye come
unto the state of helth." [fol. 63v] And he sawe a man whiche kinges worshipped meche for
his grete streyngth, and he asked what he hadde done that the kingis worshipped
him so moche, and men seide unto him that he hadde lyfte an oxe upon his necke
withouten helpe of any man, and bare him oute of the hous. Thanne Gallyene
aunsuerd him, seyenge: [The rest of Galen's section is lost.]

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