20. THESCILE: FOOTNOTES1 boystous, blunt.
2 barate, deception.
3 venyme, venom.
4 sonnest geven heele, soonest give healing.
5 desyerous, desirous; meetes, foods; leve, leave; coryous, exquisite.
7 see, sea; wynde, wind.
9 covenable, appropriate.
17 heed, head; meche, much.
23 seethe, sees.
24 wrothe, angry.
26 doste, do; breke, break.
27 wilte, will; wole, will.
28 leeche, physician.
29 seeke, sick.
20. THESCILE: 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 Thescile. Schofield suggests that this is "Basilius" (S, p. 213n92), by whom I assume she means St. Basil the Great, Bishop of Caesarea, among the most celebrated of the fourth-century Church doctors. He was one of the "Three Cappadocians," along with Gregory of Nazianzus and Gregory of Nyssa.
12 ff. See the note to Plato, lines 400 ff.
Thescile seith: "Thu oughtest to love bettir the boystous and true wordes that
bene profitable thanne the sweete wordes that bene medled with barate and
flaterye, for somme medlen the venyme with sweete drynkes: and thes medecynes
that sonnest geven heele bene bitter and of evel savoure." And seith: "It is an evel
thinge for us to be desyerous of goode meetes for the body, and leve the coryous
meetes that shulde refresshe the soulle." And seith: "A maryner dare nat put him-
self into the see but yf the wynde be propre for hym, and we dyspose oure soulle
absolutely to alle maner of wyndes." And seith: "Thu oughtest to do suche thinges
as bene moste profitable for the body and moste covenable to the soulle, and flee
the contrarye." And seith: "He that counsellith other men wele ought by reasoun
to counseyle [fol. 61v] wel himself and to thenke wele on his soule, for ho that can honoure
other men and dyshonoure himself it is right a sorowful vyce." And seithe: "In lyke
wyse as it becometh a man evel that hathe a foulle body and a sluttysshe to be
cladde in cloth of golde or sylke, in lyke wyse it is a lewde thinge to a man for to
have grete beauté in his body and vysage and to be full of evell werkes." And
seithe: "Lyke as we are bounden of propre nature to kepe oure membres, and
namely the heed that is moste pryncipal, meche more are we bounden to kepe that
that geveth us suche knoweleche, that is to seye oure undirstondinge." And it was
asked him how a man myght kepe himself from angre. He aunsuerd and seide:
"Lete him bethenke hym wele that it is impossible that men shulde alleweyes ob-
beye to hym, for he himself muste nedes serve at somme tymes othir men, wher-
fore he maye not at alle tymes commaunde other men, but he shal be com-
maunded himself. And also God seethe everythinge, and yf his thinges weren wele
consydered, he shulde nat be at any tyme longe wrothe though so were that he
were angred." And he sawe a man whiche was right fatte, to whome he seide: "Thu
doste grete peyne for to breke the walles of thi pryson." And seithe: "Whanne thu
wilte corecte anothir man, loke thu shewe nat thiself lyke him that wole be avenged
on his enemye, but shewe thiself lyke the leeche that speketh sweetely to his
paciente, and whanne thu wilt corecte thiself, shewe thee as the seeke man dothe
to the leeche."
Go To 21. Gregory