23. The Last Philosophers
23. THE LAST PHILOSOPHERS: FOOTNOTES1 oon, one.
2 heeres, hairs.
4 lewedder, most ignorant.
5 empeyre, impair.
7 trowe, believe.
8 agenseythe, rejects.
9 wole, will.
11 lynage, lineage.
12 Enquere, Inquire.
14 escalve, slave.
15 delyverd, delivered (set free).
16 boonde, bound; and, if.
17 Elles, Else.
18 dyspreyseth, denounces.
26 sciences, I.e., academic disciplines.
28 her, their.
29 negardship, greed.
30 covetyse, covetousness; spended, spent.
32 dede, did.
34 noye, annoyance.
35 by weye of manace, by way of menace.
39 Sarazyne, Saracen (Muslim); eche, each.
42 merveile, marvel; peas, peace.
43 or, ere.
44 his, its.
47 leene, loan.
50 demenynge, managing.
51–52 condycioned, conditioned.
52 here, their.
54 leve menely, live frugally.
57 prechour, preacher; besy, busy.
60 peys, pace; wote, know.
62 conne, give.
63 leyne, lay.
66–67 to moche, too much.
67 mynstralsye ne musycienes, minstrelsy nor musicians.
70 noon, none.
71 myre and donge, mire and dung.
72 quycke, living.
73 deed, dead.
76 soper, supper.
80 prynable, pregnable.
83 durste, dared.
86 tother, other.
91 here, their; conne lasse, understand less.
92 lycoure, liquor.
95 see, sea.
98 peyntours, painters.
100 saulf, save (except for).
101 brederne, brethren.
102 and, if.
105 marchaundyse, mercantile activity.
106 wote, know.
108 her, their.
109 deed, dead; dureth, endures.
111 careyne, carrion.
112 here, their.
113 his, its.
116 to meche, too much.
118 eten, eat; seche, seek.
120 saulf, save (except for).
123 dyspreise, discount.
125 Syn, Since.
129 me semyth, it seems to me; covenable, appropriate.
131 here, their.
132 wyselyer, more wisely.
134 herken, hearken (listen).
135 or, ere; labourages, labors.
137 renneth, runs.
138 meene, restraint.
139 levynge, living.
144 fleeth, flees.
145 aknowen, reminded.
148 leve, leave (give up).
149 here, their; weene, believes.
151 dure, endure.
152 verrey, true.
154 negarde, niggard.
158 leesynge, lie.
159–60 Requere, Request.
160 suffysauntee, sufficiency.
163 deede, dead.
164 sewe, pursue.
165 aventure, happenstance.
166 jangelere, jester; sclaunderer, slanderer.
171 leese, lose.
175 yghen, eyes; eeres here, ears hear.
178 steringes, steerings.
180 scylence, silence.
184 sene, have seen.
185 hoolle, whole.
187 peas, peace.
188 boonde–mannes, bond–man's.
190 heere, hear.
191 apperteyneth, pertains.
194 agen in here, again in their.
198 thoo, those.
199 nother, neither; noye, annoy.
201 breeke, break.
213 reprevest, reproves.
220 vyage, journey.
233–34 eten of the pecocke for lokynge, eaten by the peacock for looking; fedres, feathers.
235 werre, war.
236 meynee, retinue.
239 reede, read.
242 attemperaunce, temperance; her, their.
243 fautes, faults.
248 here, their.
251 syn, since; Sythen, Since.
252 leesynges, lies.
254 peas, peace.
256 verrey, true.
259 seechers, seekers.
263 sewe, pursue.
264 subsedye, subsidy.
267 dreemed, dreamed.
268 geete, get; colver, dove.
269 pryvee, concealed.
272 geftys, gifts; faute, fault; dyscrecione, discretion.
273 Sclaunderers, Slanderers; theefes, thieves.
277 doughte, fear.
278 engynes, schemes.
282 nygarde, greedy.
283 over beesily, too forcefully.
284 weres, wears.
286 onlasse, unless. 289 allatoones, all at once; yghe, eye.
290 atoones, at once.
291 verey, valid.
293 aughte, ought.
295 parfyte, perfect (pure).
306 dureth, endures.
308 werche, work.
309 wenyth, believes.
314 peas, peace.
315 enemytee, enmity.
318 renoune, renown.
319 caytefes, churls.
325 levynge, living.
326 desierest, desire.
334 nygarde, niggard; encresed, increased.
335 sustened, sustained.
339 freelté, frailty.
340 Superfluytee, Superfluity; seeke, sick.
341 attemperaunce, temperance.
342 heele, health.
346 wexeth, becomes.
352–53 meketh himself, makes himself meek.
353–54 wele attempred, temperate.
355 tother, other.
359 lowable, praiseworthy.
360 beerdes, beards; heeres, hairs.
362 peas, peace.
363 here, their.
364 malencolye, melancholy.
366 his, its.
368 verrey, true.
370 wexe, grow; delyces, delights.
371 here, their.
374 empeyerynge, impairing; cone, give.
375 teche, instruct.
378 besynesse, business.
380 enquer, inquire.
384 amyneuse, lessen; dreeden, dread.
389 deede careynes, dead carrions.
392 areyseth, raises.
395 lefe, [would] rather; dede, dead.
399 empechementes, impeachments (accusations).
403 empeche, impeach (accuse).
407 vayleable, valuable.
410 leve, leave.
411 dedes, deeds.
413 dyspenses, expenditures.
415 eete, eats.
416 anone, anon.
417 to, too; seeke, sick.
420 forswereth, perjure.
422 vytaile, food.
427 lyere, liar.
436 transytorye, transitory.
437 his sembleable, its likeness.
438 sonner, sooner.
440–41 parfyte, pure.
441 weneth, believes.
18. ONESE: 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 Protégé. This is likely Protagoras (c. 490–c. 420 BC), a Greek Sophist philosopher who specialized in rhetoric. He was a friend of Pericles but had to flee Athens because of his heretical agnosticism. He is best known as the main character of Plato's dialogue of the same name. See also the note for Galen, line 3 (Gorus).
3 Plyves. I have been unable to ascertain his identity.
4 Araston. Perhaps Ariston, the father of Plato, said to be descended from the earliest kings of Athens.
6 Dinicrate. Dinocrates of Rhodes, a Greek architect hired by Alexander the Great to design the city of Alexandria.
11 Azee. Possibly the same as Zac (see the explanatory note for Zac, line 1).
13 Fyguanee. I have been unable to ascertain his identity.
26 Artasan. I have been unable to ascertain his identity.
31 Luginon. See the explanatory note for Loginon, line 1.
43–44 I am maistir of my worde or I speke it; and whanne it is seide, I am his servaunte. Compare Socrates, lines 354–55. The Sarazyne ("Saracen") who speaks this maxim is the only overtly described Muslim in the entire text; clearly the English Dicts and Sayings has traveled far from its Islamic roots. See Loginon, line 182, for this text's sole reference to a mosque.
46 Assoras. I have been unable to ascertain his identity.
51 Theophrastes. Theophrastes Eresius (c. 372–287 BC), a Greek philosopher widely regarded as the father of botany.
53 Dystomes. I have been unable to ascertain his identity.
56 Nychomake. See the explanatory note for Alexander, line 660.
58–59 Cynecus. Perhaps a generic name for a Cynic philosopher. See the explanatory note for Diogenes, line 1.
64 Aunselyne. St. Anselm (AD 1033–1109), archbishop of Canterbury, was a brilliant theologian famous for his proof of the existence of God. Anselm believed that God was inherently rational, and thus so was all of His creation. His argument on knowing God by knowing his creation provided an intellectual basis for empirical science and humanistic studies.
70 Pillothecus. Most likely a tenth–century saint named Philoteus the Presbyter.
77 Quirarus. Perhaps the important Roman deity Quirinus.
79 Dymocrates. Democritus (c. 460–c. 370 BC) was the Greek philosopher credited with expounding the theory that matter was made up of tiny indivisible particles called atoms.
81 Dyochomaces. I have been unable to ascertain his identity.
87 Arystotle. See the explanatory note for Aristotle, line 1.
90 Octyphon. Schofield notes that "Octavian" should be "Antoninus, " to agree with the text's French and Latin predecessors (p. 214n98).
93 Orycas. I have been unable to ascertain his identity.
96 Samaron. I have been unable to ascertain his identity.
97 Gesius. Perhaps Gesius Florus, the first–century AD governor of Judaea, known for computing the number of pilgrims to the Second Temple during one Passover festival; or Gesius Petaeus, a translator who lived during the time of Zeno (r. 474–91), emperor of the eastern half of the Roman Empire during the period when the western part fell to Germanic invaders.
98 Gregory. See the explanatory note for Gregory, line 1.
100–01 Kinge Cromesis. This may well be Croesus, the wealthy and powerful king of Lydia (r. 560–47 BC), an ancient state in Asia Minor. His defeat at the hands of Cyrus the Great brought Lydia into the expanding Persian Empire.
103 Tales Millesius. Thales of Miletus (c. 636–546 BC) is among the very earliest known Greek philosophers. Astronomy and geometry were among his many fields of study, but today he is remembered for arguing that the universe is made up of one basic material, which he believed to be water. Higden (through his anonymous English translator) has this to say about Tales:
Tales Millesius, the firste of the vij. wise men, was in the tyme of Romulus . . . This Tales Millesius serchede firste amonge the Grekes philosophy, the causes of heuyn, and the strenʒhte of thynges naturalle, whiche science he distribute after to the peple in iiij. destincciones, as in to Arsmetrike, Geometry, Musike, and in to Astronomy . . . That philosophre and diuine, serchenge the natures of þinges, seide afore the defawtes of the son and of the moone, trawenge that humor [i.e., water] was the begynnenge of alle thynges. (Polychronicon, ed. Lumby, vol. 3, pp. 63–65)109 Pyctagoras. See the explanatory note for Pythagoras, line 1.
116 Eugene. Perhaps Eugenius, the name of several medieval popes.
120 Estrycon. I have been unable to ascertain his identity.
122 Adryan. Perhaps the Roman emperor Hadrian, or one of several medieval popes of this name.
123 Hermes. See the explanatory note for Hermes, line 1.
125 Quirianus. If not the important Roman deity Quirinus (originally a Sabine god, and later identified by the Romans with their legendary founder Romulus), then possibly one of several Christian saints bearing that name.
130 Dimicrates. See the explanatory note for line 79, above.
136 Phelip the dyssiple of Pictagoras. Perhaps Philip the Opuntian, about whom little is known. For Pictagoras, see the explanatory note for Pythagoras, line 1.
138 Silique. I have been unable to ascertain his identity.
150 Moleyus. This may be Melissus of Samos (b. c. 470 BC), a philosopher of the Eleatic School and a follower of Parmenides. See also the note for Galen, line 3 (Promenides).
153 Bratalyque. I have been unable to ascertain his identity.
153–54 The covetouse men have never reste, nor the negarde ne the suspecious man maye nat have good lyffe. For other manifestations of this maxim, see Whiting M52.
154–55 Phelyp, kinge of Macedoyne. See the explanatory note for Aristotle, line 38.
157 Archide. Perhaps Petrus Archiater, the personal physician of Theodoric the Great (c. 454–526), the Ostrogoth overlord who conquered Italy in the 490s and later ordered the execution of the philosopher Boethius.
162 Pictagoras. See the explanatory note for Pythagoras, line 1.
244–45 desyre nat ne do nat to other men suche thinges that he wolde nat have himself. Another variation on the Golden Rule. See Whiting D274.
256 Anaxagoras. This is Anaxagoras of Clazomenae (c. 500–c. 428 BC), the Greek philosopher and astronomer. A friend of Pericles and other Athenian luminaries, and said to have been a teacher of Socrates, Anaxagoras is recognized as the first major Athenian philosopher, but his views were not well accepted in his own time (or even by his successors) and he was ultimately driven out of Athens.
304–06 He is right a grete enemye whos dedes bene felle and bitter, and his wordes sweete and curteys. See also Zedechye, lines 80–82; Pythagoras, lines 72–73; and Loginon, lines 104–05. For other manifestations of this maxim, see Whiting W642.
368–72 Lyke as the children that bene in the modre wombe . . . aftirwarde gone to a betir worlde where thei bene gretely enjoyed. These lines evoke a passage from Jesus' last discourse to His disciples:
And he said to them: Of this do you inquire among yourselves, because I said: A little while, and you shall not see me; and again a little while, and you shall see me? Amen, amen, I say to you, that you shall lament and weep, but the world shall rejoice: and you shall be made sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy. A woman, when she is in labour, hath sorrow, because her hour is come; but when she hath brought forth the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into this world. So also you now indeed have sorrow: but I will see you again and your heart shall rejoice. And your joy no man shall take from you. (John 16:19–22)447–48 translated oute of Frenshe into Englysshe. This refers to the immediate source of this version of The Dicts and Sayings, Guillaume de Tignonville's Dits Moraulx.
23. THE LAST PHILOSOPHERS: TEXTUAL NOTES6 Dinicrate. So G. B: Dimicrate.
20 prayest. G: word written below the line, this being the end of the MS page.
54 lete. So G. B: let.
120 Estrycon. B: Escrycon. It is difficult to determine whether the scribe has meant to form a t or c with the third letter: the ascender breaks the midline (as a t), but the crossbar does not break the left plane of the ascender (as a c). I have opted for a t in my reading partly on the basis of Scrope, which reads Esterion (though with the variant Escription).
162 not. I follow B in adding this word to the sentence so that it makes better sense with the proto–Christian nature of what the Pythagoras character is saying. Moreover, Pythagoras and his followers were known to have believed in the transmigration of souls.
181 And. G: word repeated at the top of the next MS page.
209 haste. G: another word is cancelled out following haste (wryke).
213 whom. So G. B: whome.
242 to1. G: word added above the line.
263 he. I have added to make better grammatical sense.
284 worlde, and. In G a space of over an inch is left between worlde and and; instead of simply and, G reads A and.
382 wherfore. So G. B omits.
444 And. In G a space of a few inches is left before the beginning of this new sentence.
[fol. 58v] Somme asked of oon whiche was named Protege whi that oon of his neyghbors
made dye his heeres blacke. He aunsuerd and seide: "For because that men shulde
aske him wysedome." And Plyves seith: "The more goodes that a fool hathe, the
more lewedder he is." And somme asked of Araston what tyme was beste a man to
lye with his wyfe. He aunsuerd and seide: "At alle tymes that a man wolde empeyre
or make feoble his body." And thei asked of Dinicrate wherinne he perceyved his
witte beste. "In that," quod he, "that I trowe myne undirstondynge be but litil."
And seith: "The wyseman that agenseythe is bettir thanne the foole that agreeth
to alle thinge." Thanne oon of his dyssiples aunsuered and seide: "A wyseman wole
nat agenseye but litil, but a fool wole agenseye alle." There was a wyseman whiche
was called Azee and was a prysonere, whome his maister asked of what lynage he
was of. To whome he aunsuerd and seide: "Enquere nat of my lynage, but oonely
of my wysedome and of my prudence." And anothir, whiche was named Fyguanee,
was a prysoner, an escalve, of whome oon that wolde have boughte him asked
wherto he was good. He aunsuerd and seide: "For to be delyverd." And anothir
asked of a boonde man yf he wolde be goode and he boughte him. To whome he
aunsuerde and seide: "Elles I were nat good, wheder ye or any other boughte me."
And seide to anothir: "That man dyspreyseth himself that dyspreyseth alle othir
men and preyseth himself." And there was oon that prayed to God that He wolde
kepe him from his frende. Thanne it was asked him: "Why prayest [fol. 59r] thu more that
God shulde kepe thee more fro thi frende thanne fro thyne enemye?" He aunsuerd
and seide: "For I maye wele kepe me fro myne enemye, whiche that I put no truste
inne, and nat fro my frende, whiche that I truste." And somme asked of a wyseman:
"Whiche bene thes thinges that bene moste noble amonge alle worldly thinges?"
He aunsuerd: "Hate foly, love wysedome, and be nat ashamed to lerne." And it was
asked of oon Artasan: "Whiche bene the sciences that children shulde lerne?" He
aunsuerd and seide: "Thes sciences that shull make hem moste eschewe ig-
noraunce in her age." And thei asked of anothir why he sette nat by sylver. He
aunsuerd: "For it cometh to people by fortune, and it is kepte by negardship and
by covetyse, and comounly it is lewedly spended and folily, in evel usage." And thei
asked of Luginon what he hadde wonne in his science. He aunsuerd and seide: "I
have wonne so moche that alle the goode dedes that I have done I dede hem with
good herte and with good thought and good undirstondinge, and nat as con-
streyned by the lawe." And seith: "The love of a fool shal do thee more noye
thanne his haate." And anothir seide to a man of Irelonde, by weye of manace: "I
wole do peyne for to destroye thee." To whome the tothir aunsuerd: "And I wole
do my peyne to appese thyne ire." And there came before the kinge three wyse-
men, wherof that oon was a Greeke, the tothir was a Jewe, and the thirde was a
Sarazyne, to whome the seide kinge seide that eche oon of hem shulde shewe him
somme notable seyenges. Thanne the Greeke seide: "I maye nat correcte nor
amende my thought bettir thanne my worde." And the Jewe seide: "I have grete
merveile of hem that speken thinges that bene hurtefull, for his holdynge peas
were moche bettir." And the Sarazyne seide: "I am maistir of my worde or I speke
it; and whanne it is seide, I am his servaunte." And thei asked him who was the
beste kinge. He aunsuerd and seide: "That kynge that is nat subjecte to his wille."
And Assoras seide to an evel payer, whiche came to the seide Assoras for to borowe
moneye, and he seide that he wolde leene him none. "And yet," quod he, "it shal
nat be so evel to me for to warne thee, as it shulde be evel for to aske my money
agayne whanne I hadde lente it." And seith: "The wyseman speketh at the leste
wyse by ymagynacioun, evenly demenynge his thoughte, and the fool speketh by
ymagynacioun withoute thoughte." And Theophrastes seide: "That man is wele con-
dycioned that can wele reporte the [fol. 59v] goodnesse of folkes and hyde here malyces."
And it was asked of Dystomes how a man myght do that he hadde no neede to
othir men. He aunsuerd and seide: "Yf he be a riche man, lete him leve menely;
and yf he be a poure man, lete him put himself in excercyse of laboure." And
Nychomake seithe that there is no bettir doctour thanne dyscrecioun, nor so good
prechour as is tyme. "And he is right diligente and besy that correcteth himself by
othir and that geveth bettir exsample to othir men thanne to himself." And Cyne-
cus seithe: "Medle thee nat to teche nor to governe the werkes of fooles, for though
so be that thei feele the charge and the peys of here thinges greete, yet wote nat thei what
thei be worthe no more thanne horses or other beestes that bene charged
with golde or othir ricchesses, and at the ende thei wole conne thee no more
thanke thanne the beestes done hem that leyne the grete burdeyne on here
backes." And it was asked of Aunselyne why men were punysshed by here dedes
and nat by here thoughtes. He aunsuerd and seide: "At the leest weye there be thre
thinges that a prynce oughte for to eschewe. That is to seye: for to drynke wyne to
moche; secondly, he shulde nat haunte to moche mynstralsye ne musycienes; the
thridde he shulde nat haunte the foolysshe love of wommen. For these thre thinges
shull empeche alle his othir thoughtes." And anothir seithe: "Thynges that bene
done, to forgete hem is the medecyne, for it maye be noon other." And Pillothecus
made an oxe of myre and donge, and made his sacrefyce therof to the ydoles,
seyenge in this wyse: "I wol nat offre a quycke thinge that hathe soulle to that
thynge that is deed and hathe no soulle." And seithe: "Trouthe is good to be seide
wheere that it is profytable to every man." And seith: "Yf thu mayste nat atteyne
to come to the connynge of olde wysemen, yet studye and see here bokes, lyke as
the blynde men make for to sette lyght before hem whanne thei go to here soper,
though so be that it do hem but litil profyte." And Quirarus seithe: "I merveille
gretly of hem that blamen alle evell thinges that thei see on othir men, and thei
seeme that same faire upon hemself." And Dymocrates seith: "Pacience is a castell
nat prynable, and grete haste bryngeth grete repentaunce aftir him, and hon-
ourynge is fruyte of trouthe." And somme asked of Dyochomaces why the riche
men were prouder thanne the wysemen. He aunsuerd and seide: "For because that
the wysemen knewe oure Lorde before, wherfore thei durste never be proude, and
the riche men take [fol. 60r] but litil knoweleche." And thei asked him wheder were bettir
for to gete wysedome or ricchesse. He aunsuerd and seide: "There be no ricchesses
goode but yf thei be profitable in this worlde and in the tother, but wysedome is
good overall." And men seide to Arystotle that thei herde a man seye right wele of
him, and he aunsuerd hem and seide that he wolde deserve it unto him. And thei
asked him in what maner. "In lyke wyse," quod he, "as the trouthe that he seithe."
And Octyphon seithe: "The herte of the people maye nat comprehende over the
possibilité of here undirstondinge, but thei maye conne lasse, lyke wyse as a man
maye put lasse lycoure in a vessell thanne it holdethe, but he maye put no more
inne thanne it holdeth." And Orycas seithe: "A man of good understondynge maye
overcome wel grete quantité of adversytees of this worlde, lyke wyse as the good
maryner knoweth by experyence whanne he shulde put himself to the see." And
Samaron seithe: "I have loste alle that I have, wherfore I am no more aferde." And
Gesius seithe: "In alle thyne enterpryses, loke thu have more truste in thi connynge
thanne in thi streyngthe." And Gregory seithe: "The peyntours maye wele peynte
thynges that bene full lyke to that thinge that he peynteth it aftir outward, but of
the thinges innewarde can no man make hem saulf nature." And the Kinge Cro-
mesis called his brederne to him and seide: "Yf ye wole take me oonely but for
youre brother, I wole shewe you that I am youre kinge. But and ye take me for
youre kinge, I wole shewe you that ye be my brethren." And Tales Millesius seithe:
"I merveille moche of hem that for getynge of good wole put hemself in perille of
dethe every daye in the weye of marchaundyse or other weyes, as wel by lande as
by watir, and wote never to whome her good shal be departed aftir here dethe nor
how - and myght lightly gete connynge and with lasse peyne, by the whiche their
good name myght gretely be commended aftir her deth." Wherfore oon seith in
a proverbe: "He is nat deed as longe as his good name dureth." And Pyctagoras
seithe: "Science hathe none enemyes but ignorauntes." And anothir seithe: "The
tales of a fool bene as dyspleasaunte as the stynkynge of a careyne is to hem that
smellen it. And the fooles knowe no more the lewednesse of here wordes thanne
the careyne may smelle his owen stynke." And thei asked of anothir how thei
myght kepe hemself from drynkinge of to moche wyne. He aunsuerd and seide:
"Loke ye take heed of the grete inconvenyentes that fallen by [fol. 60v] men that bene
dronken, and loke ye kepe you from drynkynge to meche." And Eugene seithe: "I
see men that asken for torches, candelles, and othir lightes for to see the meete
that thei eten, but thei seche no lyghtes for suche thinges as bene necessarye to the
soulle. That is to seye: by good doctryne, by wysedome, by reasoun, and undir-
stondynge." And Estrycon seithe: "The deth dyspleaseth every man saulf wyse men,
and there is nothinge that putteth aweye the grete thought of deth so moche as
dothe wysedome." And Adryan seith: "Yf I hadde wysedome for nothinge elles but
oonely for to dyspreise the deth, yet oughte I for to love it wele." And Hermes
seith: "The grettest profyte that I have founde in wysedome is that I have com-
posed alle my thoughtes in oon." And Quirianus seith: "Syn a man maye nat be
withoute thoughtes, he shulde thenke on these thinges that ben perpetuell." And
Quirius seith: "Somme seyne it were good that every man were of oon condycioun,
but me thenketh it shulde nat be good, for every man wolde comaunde and no
man wolde obbeye; and therfore me semyth that it is covenable in this worlde that
oon commaunde and anothir obbeye." And Dimicrates seith: "Whanne thu comest
in straunge places, herken lightly othir men speke and consydre wele here sey-
enges. And yf thu see that thu mayste speke as wysely or wyselyer thanne thei,
thanne speke and teche hem surely. And yf thu canste nat speke so wele as thei,
loke thu herken and lerne of hem." And seithe: "Peyne thee to lerne and to knowe
before or grete thinges falle unto thee, as wyffe and children, labourages or other
suche thinges falle upon thee." And Phelip the dyssiple of Pictagoras seith: "He
ought nat to be holden for worthy that renneth upon anothir man that maye nat
defende himself." And Silique seith: "Of alle the thinges of the worlde, meene is
the beste, and the beste levynge in the worlde is to mesure his dispenses, for the
wastynge of goodes is the keye of povertee, and also it is impossible for him to have
the grace of alle folkes." And seith: "Loke thu bewar that thu be nat wrothe with
him that seith trouthe; and have pacience, and it shal be good unto thee." And
seith: "The evel lorde resembleth a man that is drunken, that in his drunkennesse
fleeth from alle goode and faire vertues and loveth alle vyces and other lewed-
nesses, and whanne his drunkennesse is passed, he dare nat for shame be aknowen
of the lewednesse that he hathe done." And seith: "A kinge of good dyscrecioun
ought nat to be deceyved, [fol. 61r] though that many men offre hem to him in his pros-
perité; nor he shulde never the rather leve the worshippinge of his knyghtes and
geve hem here wages, though so be he weene that he have but fewe enemyes, for
in every place where he is, he shal have evermore adoo." And Moleyus seith: "He
is nat riche that his ricchesses dure nat but litil, nor that maye litely be taken from
him, ne suche also as duren longe, but the verrey true ricchesses bene thei that
duren everlastyngely." And Bratalyque seith: "The covetouse men have never reste,
nor the negarde ne the suspecious man maye nat have good lyffe." [fol. 66r] And Phelyp,
kinge of Macedoyne, seide unto hem that counselled him that he shulde brenne
the citee of Athenes whanne he had wonne it: "It shulde seeme thanne," quod he,
"that we were conquered, and we bene conquerours." And Archide seithe: "Thi
tunge maye juge a leesynge withoute consentynge of the herte, and therfore it is
a faire thinge that the tunge and the herte be of oon oppynyon." And seith: "Re-
quere nat of God that thinge that thu maist fynde, that is to seye, suffysauntee, that
every man maye have. But requere that oonely that suche thinge as thu haste maye
suffyse thee." And Pictagoras seithe: "He that beleeveth not in the resurreccion of
deede bodies is lyke a shadowe or a beeste that is dombe, or elles a tree that falleth
lightly for a litil wynde." And seithe: "We shulde sewe oure werkes by deliberacion
and by grete provysyon, and not by aventure oonly." And seith: "Yf thu wilte ex-
cede thyne enemye, loke thu calle him nat a jangelere, a foole, nor a sclaunderer,
ne full of othir vices, for thi blame shal be to him a grete worship." And seithe: "A
man that wil be allowed in his werkes shulde have a good frende that wolde reporte
him forthe." And seithe: "A man shulde chastyse the peple more by goode and
humble wordes and sweete thanne by evell and sharpe wordes." And seithe: "Kepe
thi frende above alle thinges, and consydre wele what a losse it is for to leese him,
for though thyne hous falle, thu leesest no more but the walles, but in the losse of
thi frende, thu shalt wynne many enemyes." And seith: "Whanne a man is in his
grete wrath, he is lyke an house that is sette on fyre, in the whiche for the quan-
tytee and the noyse of the fyre the yghen maye nat see nor the eeres here. And lyke
as a shippe by a grete and outeragious tempeste may nat be wel governed and
ruled for the outerage of the tempeste, in lyke wyse a courage meoved with angre
maye nat be wele governed ne appeesed, neithir by meanes ne steringes what-
somever thei be. For anger is so cursed that a litil flame maketh lightly a grete fyre,
and many tymes it is appeesed by scylence, lyke as the fyre is staunched by takinge
aweye of the woode. And [fol. 66v] also lyke as a drunken man hath no knowelech of his
drunkennesse as longe as it dureth, and aftir that whanne he seeth anothir drunk-
en thanne he knoweth in what estate he was himself, in lyke wyse it is of a man that
is wrothe." And seithe: "We sene comounly the wommen sooner wrothe thanne the
men, the seeke men sooner thanne the hoolle, and the oolde men sooner thanne
the yonge men, wherby a man may knowe that angre cometh of feblenesse of cour-
age." And a man disputed with his servaunte, to whome he seide: "Holde thi peas,
boonde-mannes sone." To whome he aunsuerd: "I maye nat be the wors for my
lyne, but thu mayste be lasse worthe for thi condyciouns." And seith: "A wyse man
shulde seye these thinges that bene covenable, and othirwhile heere that thinge
that apperteyneth nat to him." And seith: "Ther is nothinge that maye greve thi
frende so meche as for to have hym in suspescyon." And anothir seithe: "Loke thu
be conversaunte with thi fellawes in suche wise that thei wil wysshe and desire to
have thee agen in here presence whanne thu arte departed from hem, and that
thei myght weepe aftir thi dethe." And there was a man that wepte the daye of the
nativitee of his sone, whome oon asked wherfore he wepte and hadde so grete a
cause to be mery. He aunsuerd and seide: "For because my sone gothe towarde his
dethe." And somme asked of anothir who were thoo people that were leest hated.
He aunsuerd and seide: "Thei that maye nother helpe ne noye and that do nother
good ne harme, for the evell haten the goode, and the goode the evell." And
anothir seide: "Custome is harder to breeke thanne nature." And another seithe:
"There bene two maner of abstynences: oon is by constreynte and the tothir is of
good wille, whiche is the bettir." And anothir seithe: "Loke thu speke nat of thinges
but suche as bene profitable. And loke thu eete no more thanne is necessarye for
thy sustenaunce. And loke thu aske nothinge but that thu arte possible for to have.
And loke thu pleyne thee not on thi frendes. And loke thu dyspeire thee not of
thees thinges that thu maiste nat amende. And aske nothinge of a coveitouse man.
And holde faste that thu haste lerned. And lerne that thu haste nat knowen before
tyme. And geve of that that thu haste. Wryte in thi seal or in thi signet that the
goode and the evell shull ende, and loke upon that oftentymes. And have pacience
in thyne adversitees." And anothir seith: "Oon of the thinges that makith a man
sonnest to erre in his jugemente is short thenking [fol. 67r] and hastynesse for to speke."
And oon rebuked a wyse man, to whom the wyse man aunsuerd: "Thu reprevest
me for I shulde amende my vices." And thei asked of anothir wyse man wherof
profyted a good sone. He aunsuerd and seide: "He geveth dilectacioun to his fader
in his lyffe and putteth awey the doute of his deeth." And thei asked of anothir why
he wolde have no sone. He aunsuerd and seide: "Whanne I see the love that a man
hath to his sone and the grete peynes and sorowes that he hathe for hem, I had
lever be withoute him thanne have him." And somme seyden to another, that wente
in a straunge vyage, that he shulde nat go, for he myght lightly deye by the weye.
And he aunsuerd hem seyenge in this wise, that the deeth was in a straunge cun-
tree, even as it was in his owen chambre at hoome. And thei asked of anothir what
thinge was that that was nat good for to do, though so were that it were true. And
he aunsuerd and seide: "A man that preyseth his owen goode deedes, though so
be that thei be true; and also for to lye othirwhile it is good, in gevynge comforte
to his enemyes and save his frende from the deeth; and trouthe is nat alweyes good
to be seide." And thei asked him what thinge was moste delectable. He aunsuerd
and seide: "That thinge that might nat longe abyde in oon state, and that that a
man maye leest fynde." And seithe: "A man that hathe wille to come to any goode,
he shulde nat leeve it, though so were that he myght nat come therto at the firste
tyme, but he shulde do his parte for to recover it agen, for there falleth at oon tyme
that falleth nat at anothir tyme." And seithe: "The wyse man is never deceyved by
flaterers and sweete wordes, lyke as the serpente is taken and eten of the pecocke
for lokynge on the faire fedres of his taille." And seith: "A wyse prince shulde
helpe hymself in the werre with goode and evell men in divers maners." And seith:
"Yf thu have a man in hate, thu oughtest nat for that to hate alle his meynee." And
somme seiden to anothir that a man had bought a booke and studyed nat
therinne, to whome he aunsuerd and seide: "The bookes constreyne nat a man for
to reede hem." And anothir seithe: "Men shulde serve God in ten maners. That is
to seye: yelde graces to God of the goodes that He hathe sente hem; suffre
paciently the adversitees that thei resceyven; speke thinges that bene true; holde
that thei promyse; juge truly; and to have good attemperaunce; to do wel aftir her
power withoute requeryng; worship theire frendes; and forgeve also the fautes of
theire [fol. 67v] frende and of his enemyes; and desyre nat ne do nat to other men suche
thinges that he wolde nat have himself." And he was blamed for he gafe moneye
to an evel man that was poure, and he aunsuerd unto hem that blamed him: "I
have nat geven him the moneye as for an evel man, but as for a poure and a nedy
man." And seith: "A man shulde worship the goode folkes in here lyfe, and preye
for hem aftir her dethe." And seith: "The excercise of diverse werkemen putteth
aweye the dilectacioun of the body." Thanne somme asked him how longe it was
syn he was a wyse man. He aunsuerd and seide: "Sythen that tyme that I began to
dyspreyse my lyffe." Thanne he herde a man that rehersed leesynges and wordes
that were impossible, to whome he seide: "Yif anothir tolde thee thes wordes that
thu seyste, thu woldest nat beleve him, wherfore thu shuldest holde thi peas and
thenke that men beleve nat thee." And Arystophanus seith: The victorye of worde
is no victorye, but the verrey victorye is in dedes." And Anaxagoras seith: "The
wyse man dredeth not the dethe, for wysedome governeth his undirstandinge,
his tunge is voyce of trouthe, his herte is good wille, pytee and mercy bene his
frendes, his feete bene the seechers of wysemen, his lordship is justice, his regne
is mesure, his swerde is grace, his speere is peas, his arowe is salvacion, his knyght-
hode is the counsell of wysemen, his arraye is streyngthe, his thresoure is disci-
plyne, the companye of goode is his love, and alle his desire is for to flee synne and
to sewe and love God." And anothir wyse man seide that he hadde gone aboute the
barrage of a good towne, that is to seye, for to gadre a newe subsedye whiche the
lorde of the towne had sette. Thanne oon seide unto him: "Arte thu nat wrothe
with that thu haste done?" To whome the wyse man aunsuerd: "It is even soo with
me lyke as I hadde dreemed it." And seithe: "The frendes ben of noble affeccion,
wherfore a man shulde kepe hem wele and geete oon aftir anothir, lyke a colver
that is pryvee draweth straunge doves to him and maketh hem pryvee." And a
kynge asked of a wyse man who he wolde thenke shulde be a juge. He aunsuerd
and seide: "That man that is nat meoved by flaterers, nor he that wole nat be
overcomen with geftys, and he that is nat deceyved by faute of dyscrecione." And
anothir seithe: "Sclaunderers bene worse thanne theefes, for theefes steele not but
goodes, and sclaunderers taken and steelen aweye the worship of a man." And
anothir seithe: "Worship geven to a man withoute cause, in the ende it shal be [fol. 68r]
turned into shame." And anothir seith: "It were better to dwelle with a serpente
thanne with an evel womman." And seithe: "Oon oughte to doughte the subtilitees
and the engynes of his enemye yf he be wyse; and yf he be a foole, his cursyd-
nesse." And anothir seithe: "The moste liberal man of the worlde is he that taketh
for a grete thing the goodnesse that oon dothe him, and for litil the goodnesse that
he himself dothe to othir men; and also he that holdes him contente with that he
hathe, be he ryche or poure." And seithe: "The moste nygarde of the worlde is he
that asketh over beesily a thinge aftir that that he is seide pleynely naye to and
utterly refused." And another seithe: "Envye destroieth the worlde, and weres it as
the fyle dothe the yren." And anothir seithe: "Lyke as a man maye nat wryte in a
letter that is wreten inne before onlasse thanne the writynge be defaced before, in
the same wyse a man maye not putte the vertues and the noblesses in a body on-
lasse thanne the vices and the ordeures bene voyded oute therof." And anothir
seithe: "Lyke as a man maye nat see allatoones with his yghe bothe the heven and
the erthe, in lyke wyse a man maye not applye his witte bothe atoones to vertues
and to vyces." And seith: "The verey true and stable love is whanne the frendes
bene of lyke condycioun, for yf thei have divers and contrarye condycions, with
grete peyne the love shal endure." And seithe: "The people aughte for to obbeye
and doute the kinge and for to love him and dreede him." And somme asked him
what tyme a mannes witte was parfyte. He aunsuerd and seide: "Whanne he
speketh nothinge but allewey wele to the poynte." And anothir seithe: "The
envyous man hateth the liberal man, and the covetouse man is wrothe with that
that other men spenden." And another seithe: "Wynnynge may nat be with justifi-
cacioun, ne helthe with glotonye, frendeship with deceyvenge, justice with neces-
sitee, noblesse with dysciplyne, love with pryde, reste of herte with envye, wyse
dame and dyscrecioun with vengeaunce, nor processe withoute counsell." And
anothir seithe: "Loke thu put not thi truste in a foole nother for love ne for neigh-
burhed that thu haste in him, for it were as good have the neighburhed of an hous
that is sette on fyre." And seithe: "He is right a grete enemye whos dedes bene felle
and bitter, and his wordes sweete and curteys." And anothir seith: "The wyse man
dureth while the worlde dureth, and aftir his dethe [fol. 68v] his ymage shal endure in the
hertes of the people." And another seithe: "Ho that consydereth the ende of
thinges, it helpeth him meche for to werche wele." And anothir sethe: "Thu
shuldest love whedir thu be loved or not." And anothir seithe: "The foole wenyth
alwey that God hathe employed nothinge wele but that He hathe geven unto him,
and he weneth also that he coude have made the worlde bettir thanne God, though
so be that he can nat wele governe his owen persone." And another seithe: "Loke
ye geve and do wele to the poure and needy people, for in so doynge, ye shal serve
and please God." And anothir seithe: "It is bettir for a man to holde his peas
thanne to contrarye and argue with a foole. And it is bettir to have the enemytee
of an evel man thanne his frendship. And it is bettir to have a sharpe lyfe in doynge
wele thanne to have a plesaunte lyfe in doynge evel. And it is bettir to be withoute
renoune thanne for to have it evel. And povertee is bettir thanne the ricchesse of
caytefes. And it is bettir be poure withoute vices thanne ryche to be worshipped by
synnes." And anothir seith: "It is better a man knowe nat a kinge that is nat juste
thanne to be his secretarie or nexste aboute him." And another seithe: "Yf thu geve
any man for to be wele named therby oonely, it is no liberalté, for thu doste nat but
for thi profyte." And anothir seithe: "Ho that pleyeth ungoodely pleyes, it is a signe
of pride and it shal gladly ende in angre." And anothir seithe: "He ne ys to be
allowed in his levynge that taketh nat this daye as good or better as that that is
passed." And another seithe: "Thu mayste nat have that thu desierest, but yf thu
susteyne firste that thing that thu woldest nat have." And seithe: "The men shull
be in thyne handes as longe as thei maye truste in thee." And somme asked of a
wyse man why he wolde have no sones. He aunsuerd and seide: "For I have hadde
ynough adoo to chastise my body, and to redresse my soulle, though I hadde none
other to redresse and teche." And thei asked him ho it was that repented him
moste in this worlde. He aunsuerd and seide: "The wyse man at the houre of his
dethe that hath nat wrought aftir his wisdome, and that man also that hathe done
wele to a nygarde." And thei asked him what thinge encresed the lawe. He aun-
suerd and seide: "Trouthe." And thanne thei asked him what thynge sustened
trouthe, he aunsuerd and seide: "Witte." And thanne: [fol. 69r] "Ho governeth witte?" He
seide: "The kepynge of a mannes tunge." "Ho kepeth the tunge?" "Pacience." "Ho
maketh for to have pacience?" "The drede of God." "And what maketh a man to
drede God?" "Spekinge of the dethe, and to knowe his freelté." And anothir
seithe: "Superfluytee maketh the body seeke, the wyne troubleth the witte, wrathe
is contrarye to sapience, but attemperaunce comforteth the herte; it putteth awey
hevynesse and sendeth heele." And seithe: "Though so be that the wyse man be of
lowe lynage, yet is he noble; yf he be a straungier, he is worshipped; yf he be
poure, yet men have neede to him." And another seithe: "He that endureth noth-
inge in his youthe shal nat be in rest whanne he is aged." And another seithe: "The
erroure of a foole wexeth lesse by oftentymes thenkinge theron." And anothir
seithe: "The tunge of a discrete man is in his herte, and the herte of a fool is in his
tunge." And another seithe: "A man shulde contynuelly enquere and understonde
what men seyne of him, wherinne thei preyse him and wherinne thei blame him.
Yf thei preyse him in his deedes, loke he use hem and do hem alweye; and yf thei
blame him, kepe him wele that he falle no more in hem, withoute hatyng of hem
that dispreysed his dedes." And seithe: "He is holden for the beste that meketh
himself in his highnesse, and in his grete estate dispreyseth the worlde and is wele
attempred whanne he is in his grete myghte." And thei desired of a wyse man to
telle hem what was the defference betwene this worlde and the tother. He aun-
suerde and seide: "This worlde is a dreeme and the tother is a thynge that is wak-
inge the mydde of the dethe, and we bene the vanytees and the dreemes of this
worlde." And anothir seith: "Natwithstondynge thy nature, accustome thiself alle-
weyes in suche condycions as bene lowable." And anothir seithe: "In afflyccyons,
in grete beerdes, in longe heeres, is nat the servyce of God, but it is oonly to kepe
himself from vices and to applye his werkes in goode vertues." And anothir seithe:
"To speke wele is bettir thanne to holde peas wele." And anothir seith: "I was ac-
companyed with ryche men and I sawe here clothinge and here araye and other
bettir thinges thanne myne were, wherof I hadde so grete envye and malencolye
that I myghte have no reste; thanne I fellashipped me with poure men and thanne
was I in rest." And anothir seithe: "Lyke as a feoble sighte maye not see in his pro-
pre fygure, in lyke wyse the soulle that is not clene [fol. 69v] maye not perceyve cleerly the
verrey goodnesse." And anothir seithe: "Lyke as the children that bene in the
modre wombe entre into the worlde with peyne and sorowe, and aftirwarde bene
joyefull whanne thei wexe grete and have felte the swetnesse and delyces of this
worlde, in lyke wyse the men sorowen at here dethe and aftirwarde gone to a betir
worlde where thei bene gretely enjoyed." And anothir seithe: "Lyke as the good-
nesse of wyse men is allewey amendynge, in lyke wyse gone the malyces of a foole
in empeyerynge." And anothir seithe: "Yf thu correcte a wyse man, he wole cone
thee thanke, and yf thu teche a foole, he wole dyspreyse thee." And anothir seithe:
"He is a frende that in thy neede abandoneth himself and his goodes at thy plea-
sire." And anothir seithe: "The governour of a wyse man is pacience, and pride
governeth a foole." And anothir seithe: "That man is slowe in his besynesse that
comounly is envyous of other mennes besynesses." And anothir seithe: "It is good
for a man to enquer twyes of a thinge, for the firste enquerye is trouthe and the
secunde is dyscrecioun." And anothir seithe: "Trouthe is a messangier of God,
wherfore a man oughte gretely to worship it for the love of his maister." And
anothir seithe: "Ho that encreseth and multiplyeth his temporell goodes, he shal
amyneuse the spirituell goodes." And another seithe: "Thei that dreeden and
beleeven in God stedefastely have no delectacioun but oonely in Him and in His
werkes." And anothir seithe: "The moste true werkes bene thei by the whiche men
obbeye the pleasires of God; and the werkes of the body joyned with the werkes of
the herte bene more true thanne the werkes of the herte oonely." And anothir
seithe: "The evell men bene wors thanne deede careynes, venymes, leouns, or ser-
pentes; and in lyke wyse there is nothinge better upon the erthe thanne the goode
creature, and in the same wyse there is nothing wors thanne the evel creature."
And seithe: "He that areyseth himself in a gretter estate thanne longeth unto him
dothe grete peyne to have the wordes of envyous folkes." And anothir seithe: "He
that wole have reste in his lyfe muste kepe him from foure manere thinges: the
firste is that he make no sorowe though a man lefe that he wolde were dede; the sec-
unde is yf any man deye whiche he wolde have for to lefe; the thirde is though he
may nat have that he coveyteth; the fourthe is though he see fortune areyse another
man of a lower degree thanne he is himself." [fol. 70r] And seithe: "That thinge that maye
moste kepe a man oute of alle empechementes is for to be litil conversaunte
amonge the people." And anothir seithe: "The evel kinge is lyke a careyne that
maketh alle the erthe aboute him for to stynke." And anothir seithe: "The wyse
men bene not contente of the profyte that falleth oonely to hem, but in lyke wyse
of the profyte that falleth to othir men. And the fooles empeche not onely hemself,
but thei travaile allewayes for to empeche othir men." And anothir seithe: "A foole
for a litil wynnynge dysposeth himself lightly to the weyes of fortune." And seithe:
"Thu mayste nat be so wele arrayed in any wyse as with trouthe." And another
seithe: "A man that absteyneth himself from angre and covetyse, it is a vayleable
thinge in this worlde and in the tother." And seithe: "He that geveth good counsell
and aftirwarde shewith himself of good discrecioun ought to be holden for wyse."
And anothir seithe: "Loke thu leve nat for to do wele though so be that thi goode
dedes be not knowen, for the good deede is so good in itself that it shal worthe
goode ynough to thee." And seithe: "A man of good dyscrecioun shulde nat put
himself in excercise of thinges that bene impossible, ne make his dyspenses gretter
thanne his wynnynge, ne promyse more thanne he maye paye." And anothir
seithe: "A man maye nat have but povretee and laboure in his lyfe, for yf he eete
not he shal deye anone. And yf he eete any more thanne him oughte, it wyl greeve
him and he shal nat sleepe wele. And yf he eete to outeragyously, he shal be seeke.
And yf he eete to litel, he shal deye for hunger, wherfore it is an harde thinge and
a straunge to be longe in suretee." And anothir seithe: "Loke thu truste nat in him
that forswereth him by his feithe for any worldly thinges." And anothir seithe:
"Idelnesse engendereth ignoraunce, and ignoraunce erroure." And anothir seithe:
"Thu shalte fynde overall coverynge, vytaile, and places for to abyde inne, but and
so be that these thinges that bene necessarye to thee suffyse thee not, thu shalte be
boonde to covetyse." And anothir seithe: "In longe sleepynge is no profyte, but
grete hurte in the contynuaunce; and he shulde keepe him that he use not halfe
his lyfe in ydelnesse." And anothir seithe: "The goode soulle wole have no grete
reste in this worlde here." And anothir seithe: "Kepe thee frome fellaship of a lyere
in alle besynesses, be thei grete or smale." And anothir seithe: "Ho that loveth thee
for vanytees and worldly thinges, he wole hate thee for the same thinges. But he
that loveth thee for the perpetuell goodes shal alleweyes be encresed [fol. 70v] in thi love."
And anothir seithe: "Governe thee so wele that thu mayste kepe thee frome evell
doynges, and thanne suffyse thee with the goode dedes that thu mayste do aftir."
And anothir seithe: "Ho that wole knowe wheder his soulle be clene or foulle, lete
him consydre his delectacioun. And yf he delyte him in profitable thinges and
withoute ende, his soulle is noble and worthy. And yf so be that he sette his delec-
tacioun in foulle thinges that bene transytorye and unprofytable, his soulle is
foulle, for everythinge rejoysseth with his sembleable." And anothir seithe: "He is
blessed that gothe the righte waye, for he shal the sonner fynde the ende of the
weye that he gothe to; and he that gothe oute of his weye, the more he gothe the
further he is from his weyes ende." And somme asked of a wyse man what was par-
fyte folye. He aunsuerd and seide: "He that weneth to come to goode estate by
evell werkes, to love falshede and hate trouthe." And somme asked him what was
the ende of folye. He aunsuerd and seide: "To love ricchesses and truste every man
to moche." And thei asked him what is the sygne of litil syght and litil knoweleche.
He aunsuerd and seide: "To truste in him that hathe deceyved men before tyme."
And suffyse thee of the translacioun of morall seyengis of phylosophye.
Here endeth the booke of morall seyenges of philysophres, translated oute of
Frenshe into Englysshe.
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