12. PLATO: FOOTNOTES3 stablissed, established.
4 science, i.e., intellectual pursuit.
5 cunnynge, cleverness.
7 yede, went.
22 Yelde, Yield (Give).
23 egalle, equal.
24 thenke, think.
25 covenable, appropriate.
26-27 suffisaunce, sufficiency.
27 tothir, other.
28 beleeve of, belief in.
30 tho, those.
33 dampne, damn.
35 ne, nor; science, wisdom.
39 unycornes, unicorn's.
39 boon, bone.
40 juery, jewelry; somme, sum.
41 laton, latten (a metal alloy); and, if.
46 sewe, follow.
50 alloes, the aloe tree.
51 hony, honey.
55 temporell, temporal.
59 venge him, avenge himself.
64 dispended yt, spent it; feestys, feasts; eteth, eats.
65-66 thresoure, treasure.
69 smeten, struck.
70 techith, teaches.
71 odir, other.
77 attemprely, moderately.
82 Dispreise, Denounce.
85 hool, whole.
87 worcheth, works; mysknowe, misunderstand.
88 here, their.
89 disordeigneth, disorganizes.
90 her, their.
92 by cause, because; oyle, oil.
97 bene preved by her sowne, put to the test by their sound.
100 defaute, lack.
103 jugen, judge.
111 rever, river.
113 to moche, too much.
116 habundaunce, abundance.
118-19 leve unrightwosly, live not righteously.
122 lesen, lose.
123 here, their.
125 werres, wars.
128 parfyte, perfect.
129 seeke, sick.
133 wotest, know.
137 with, by.
145 endeuseth, induces.
146 sewen, pursue.
148 to1, too.
150 highe, exalt.
151 herre, higher.
156 entendes, intends.
161 owene, own.
175 meven, move; wrothe, angry; custume, accustom.
177 entencion, intention.
178 wotest, know; or, ere.
183 peas, peace.
187 here, hear.
191 sowke, suck.
193 egall, equal.
196 Yelde, Yield.
198 meovable, moveable (changeable).
200 herken, listen to.
201 dewe, due.
206 thonke, thanks.
214 meetys, meats.
220 here, their.
223 pees, peace.
224 festefull, festival.
226 meke thee, make yourself meek.
229 chese, choose.
232 he, it.
234 he, it.
244 bonde, bound.
245 can, can give.
251-52 kaytiff, wretch.
258 strengest, strongest.
260 equyté, equity.
262 Bounté, Bounty; berith, bears.
263 he, it.
265 resseyveth, receives.
272 mo, more.
279 to moche, too much.
280 sembleably, likewise.
282 rentes, expenses.
286 and, if.
290-91 enclyne her, incline their.
296 here, their.
297 amynuse, weaken.
300 to, too.
303 thenkith, thinks.
305 her, their; defaute, default.
309 leve, leave.
319 oones, once.
323 empeyre, impair.
324 of, by.
327 her, hear.
329 sene, seen.
344 yghe, eye.
345 knowe, known.
348 or, ere.
349 negarde, miser; kaytef, churl; nouther, neither; nedy, needy.
353 rightewos, righteous.
361 to1, too.
363 her, their.
364-65 him semyth, he seems.
365 annoye, annoyance; wenest, supposed.
366 her, their.
369 reame, realm.
374 pourveye, purvey.
384 sembleable, similar.
397 hers, theirs.
401 vesage, visage.
406 odir seyne, others say.
408 heeris wexen, hairs become.
409 is abeden, abides (dwells).
415 etes, eats.
421 forfendyd, forbidden.
424 prevee, privy.
429 oo, one.
433 longeth to, is proper for.
434 attempre, temper.
435 rigoreux, rigorous.
438 and, if.
443 londe, land; passen, surpass.
445 here, their.
446 practyk, practical matters.
454 shete, shoot..
461 natyvytee, nativity.
462 erely, early; his, its.
463 mekith himself, makes himself meek.
465 parties, parts.
471 meyne, populace.
472 quyte, requite.
475-76 vylenye, villainy.
484 parfyte, perfect.
486 aventures, fortunes; here, their.
488 staunchith, is staunched; leyeng to of, laying down; but for defaute that thei leye noon to, but when they do not lay any.
489 wexeth, increases.
491 skars, hesitant.
493 sate oones, sat once.
494 herkeners, listeners.
503 semethe, seems.
506 here, their.
511 nygarde, villain.
514 to, too.
515 trewaunte, truant.
517 her, their.
521 on lasse, unless.
522 capteyne, captain.
529 plesyr, pleasure.
536 grevyth, grieves.
538 membres, limbs.
546 peryssed, perished.
547 wery, weary.
552 leste, least.
560 doute, fear.
12. PLATO: 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 Platon. The towering philosopher Plato (c. 428-c. 348 BC) was the student of Socrates, teacher of Aristotle, and founder of the Academy, a center of philosophical research. He presented his philosophies primarily in dialogue form, where Socrates is the major character and mouthpiece of his beliefs. For another medieval account of Plato's life and teachings, see Higden's version (Polychronicon, ed. Lumby, vol. 3, pp. 340-58).
2 Esculapius. See the explanatory note for Zalquaquine, line 1.
Zalon. See the explanatory note for Solon, line 1. Plato was, in fact, descended from Solon on his mother's side.
5 Socrates. See the explanatory note for Socrates, line 1.
7 Pictagoras. See the explanatory note for Pythagoras, line 1.
14 sixty-one yere. Though there is some manuscript variation, in the Spanish Bocados de Oro (the first translation of Dicts and Sayings from its original Arabic) Plato's age at the time of his death is given as 41: "quarenta e un annos" (ed. Knust, p. 203). The Latin translation of Bocados de Oro, Liber Philosophorum Moralium Antiquorum, has the same number as the English: "LXI annis" (ed. Francheschini, p. 462). Outside of the Dicts and Sayings tradition, Hugh of St. Victor claims in his Didascalicon (an encyclopedic pedagogical text written in Paris in the late 1120s) that "Plato died writing in his eighty-first year" (trans. Taylor, p. 98).
17 Zenocrates. Zenocrates of Chalcedon, one of Plato's most distinguished students.
Aristotle. See the explanatory note for Aristotle, line 1.
21 Thymeo. Timaeus. See the explanatory note for Socrates, line 11.
fifty-six bokes. So also the number in the Latin Liber Philosophorum Moralium Antiquorum: "LVI libros" (ed. Francheschini, p. 462). In the earlier Spanish Bocados de Oro (though there is some variation in the manuscripts) the number is 57: "cinquenta e siete libros" (ed. Knust, p. 204).
83-85 It is mor covenable thinge to a kinge for to thenke upon himself and on the governaunce of his realme by the space of a daye thanne for to daunce an hool yere. These lines seem to be a criticism of court indolence, but even if the author had no particular court in mind, this passage fits well with the general "Mirror for Princes" theme that is so prevalent in Dicts and Sayings.
92-93 For by cause that I have mor oyle in my lampe thanne wyne in my cuppe. This statement evokes Jesus' parable of the ten virgins (Matthew 25:1-12). In this tale, the five unwise virgins are denied entry into a wedding (symbolically, the kingdom of heaven) because they were unprepared and off seeking oil for their lamps when it came time to enter.
207-08 Loke thu do nothinge whiche thu woldest dispreyse anothir yf he dede it. Another variation on the Golden Rule. See Whiting D274.
329-31 He is thi kinge that is of good and true renown in his lyfe, and of the whiche men remembre and speke wel of aftir his deth. In the heroic tradition of classical and early medieval literature, a man would strive to win a glorious reputation that would endure after his death. In Homer's Iliad, for example, great champions like Achilles and Hector wager their lives to win kleos aphthiton ("imperishable fame"); additionally, during the funeral of Beowulf, the last of a litany of virtues describing the hero (and, indeed, the last word in the entire poem) is that he was lofgeornost ("most eager for fame").
375-77 Witte is more honorable thanne wille, for wite hath stablisshed the lorde of the tyme of the whiche wille wolde make thee servaunte. For other manifestations of this maxim, see Whiting W419. On the dangers of excessive willfulness, see also the notes to Hermes, lines 299-300, Solon, line 4, and Diogenes, line 17.
400 ff. A man shulde loke ofte in a myrrour. It was a common belief in the Middle Ages that physical appearance was associated with moral character. A man who was not handsome was already considered morally suspect, so he should not commit an evil deed and thus combine two lewdnesses togedres (line 403).
414-15 Whanne a man taryeth to do his werkes til tyme come that he muste nedis do hem, he shal fynde himself oftentymes in grete necessité. This maxim remains good advice for modern-day students.
453-54 in like wise as the white is sette in a butte to shewe the archier where he shal shete. In archery, the "white" is the target, and the "butt" is the mound or erection upon which the target is set.
461 ympe that is newe sette. That is, a tree that has been grafted recently. Grafted trees were called "imp" trees.
471 An evel lorde, an evel meyne. The king as head of the body politic; as he goes, so go the masses. See the note to Hermes, lines 299-300.
512 I have wonne none othir thing in connynge but that I knowe wele I am not wyse. This saying echoes the wisdom of Socrates in Plato's Apology.
12. PLATO: TEXTUAL NOTES4 him. G: word added above the line.
34 seye you. So G. B emends: seye to you.
84 to1. G: word written above the line.
88 to1. G: word written above the line.
110 that. G: word written above the line.
174 do. B adds after to fill a gap following do.
192 thu. G: word added above the line.
223 to. I follow B in adding.
233 to doute. G: the phrase oute of is canceled and to written above it.
250 that. I follow B in emending from G's than.
338 consydre. B: consydrith.
437 a. G: word added above the line.
456 And. G: an extra capitalized A is in the margin next to this word.
[fol. 26v] Platon is as moche to seye as "accomplysshed," and was of Grece by his fadir
side of the good lynage of Esculapius and of his moder side of the lynage of Zalon,
whiche stablissed many lawes, as it is seide here beforne. And the seide Platon lern-
ed firste the science of poetrye, and it pleasid him moche for to lerne it, but the
cunnynge displeased him. And he dwelled with Socrates the space of fyve yeris. And
aftir the deth of Socrates, the seide Platon undirstode that in Egipte were somme
of the dissiples of Pictagoras, to whome he yede and proufited gretely with hem
and aftirward retourned agen to Athenes. And there he sette up two scooles, and
ledde a ful true lyfe in doynge many goode dedis, and norysshed the poure. And
thei of Athenes wolde have geven him the lordship and the governaunce over hem,
and he refused it, for because he fonde hem of evell disposicion, and knewe wele
that he myght nat lightly chaungen her condicions. And also he wiste wele yf he
wolde correcte hem as he ought to do, thei wolde have done with him as thei dede
with Socrates. And the seide Platon leved sixty-one yere a man of good disposicion
and of goode maners, of grete pacience, and departed gretly his goodis with his
frendes, and with straungiers. And he had many dissiples amonge whiche he hadde
tweyne whiche oon of hem was called Zenocrates and the tothir was called Aristotle.
And aftir the deth of Platon thei helden the scoles. And the seide Platon shewed
his science by allegorye, to that entente that his connynge shulde nat be undir
standen but yf it were of suche men as had subtille and grete wittes. And he lerned
of Thymeo and of Socrates, and composed fifty-six bokes, and preched the people,
seynge in this wise: "Yelde graces to God for His goodis and His mercy, for He
hath made you alle egalle, in so moche that the myghty man maye nat save himself
by his myght. And sembleably for the witte that He hathe geven you, and ye thenke
nothinge to Hym but yf it be necessarye, good, and covenable." And seith: "Loke
ye be nat covetous upon the good, for God hath ordeigned that we shulde have suf-
fisaunce in this worlde here and in the tothir worlde. And that suffisaunce is called
sapience, the whiche ye oughte to have with the beleeve of God, whiche bene the
keyes of goodnesse, by the whiche ye shull entre into good wynnynge in levynge of
alle tho thinges that maye drawe to any hate and evel will. For yf ye wiste how som-
me thingis that ye preyse bene foulle and evell, ye shulde have hem more in hate
thanne in love. Adresse youreself and correcte youreself, and thann do your [fol. 27r]
peyne to amende and correcte othir. And yf ye do it nat, ye dampne youreself. And
also I seye you that thinge that hathe made me moste gladde hath bene that I sette
never by golde ne sylver, for I have had more delyte in science thanne I have hadde
for to assemble any sylver. For yf I hadde sette my herte upon sylver or golde, I
shulde have hadde many an hevy thought, and now I have gladnesse, whiche
encresith in me of the getynge of connynge. And knowe it wele that golde and
sylver bene evell. There bene somme cuntrees that a litil of the unycornes boon or
juery is bought for a grete somme of golde and sylver, and in somme othir places
thei geven glasse, laton, or othir thingis for as meche golde; wherfore and it wer
good in itself, it shulde be loved egally overall, as wisedame is chosen and borne
forthe in alle londes." And seith: "Laboure to gete vertues and ye shal be saved."
And seith: "Allowe nat suche thinges as be nat to be allowed, and loke ye blame nat
thes thingis that oughte to be allowed." And seith: "Enforce you nought to gete
these thingis that wole be soone loste, and loke that ye sewe youre goode prede-
cessours. Arraye you with justice and clothe you with chastité, and so ye shal be
bleste, and youre dedis shulle be wele allowed." And seith: "Custume passeth alle
thinges." And seith: "The evell maners destroye and dampne the goode maners,
lykewise as the bitternesse of the woode that is called alloes distroyeth the swet-
nesse of the hony." And seith: "A wiseman shulde never thenke on that thinge that
he hath loste, but he shulde thenke to kepe wele the remenaunt." And seith: "Ho
that wil do no good to his frendis whanne that he maye easily do it, he shal lose
hem whanne that he hath neede to hem." And seith: "Sapience is good, for a man
maye nat take it as he dothe othir temporell goodis." And thei asked him in what
maner thinge a man shulde knowe a wise man. He aunsuerd and seide: "Whanne
a man wil nat be wrothe for the injuryes that be done unto him, and that he wil nat
rejoyse himself whanne that men preysen him." And thei asked him how a man
might venge him on his enemyes. He aunsuerd and seide: "By doynge so wele that
ye maye cause hem to be goode." And seide to his dissiples: "Enforce you to wynne
science, by the whiche ye maye redresse youre soulles ande enforce you for to kepe
the lawe in suche wise that your Creatour oughte to be contente." And he sawe a
yonge man whiche had solde his lande that was fallen to him by successyon of his
fadir, and [fol. 27v] he dispended yt in grete feestys, to whome he seide: "The erthe eteth
the men and thu etest the erthe." And thei asked him why that science and thre-
soure myght nat be joyned togedir. He aunsuerd and seide: "For because that oone
maner thinge accomplisshed maye nat be tweyne." And seith: "Ho that trusteth in
his fortune and is none othirwise occupied to profite himself with goode dedis, the
goode shal resorte aboute him as dothe the arrowe that hath smeten a stone." And
seith: "Ho that techith othir men goode and dothe none himself ys lyke a man that
with a candelle geveth light to odir men and none to himself." And seith: "He
aught nat to be called a kinge that regneth oonly upon bonde men, but he that
regneth and governeth the free men." And seith: "He shulde nat be called riche
that hath assembled grete tresour, but he that dispendes his ricchesses worshipfully
in his propre servyce." And somme asked him how a man might kepe himself that
he shulde nat be nedy. He aunsuerd and seide: "Yf a man be riche, lete him leve
attemprely. And yf he be poure, lete him putte him lightly to laboure." And thei
asked him with how moche goode a man shulde holde himself contente. He aun-
suerd and seide: "With so moche that he shulde nat neede to flater othir men."
And seide to his dissiples: "Whanne ye ceese of youre studye, take youre disportes
in goode storyes." And seith: "The wise man shulde nat coveyte the ricches of his
frende, leste he wolde take grete displeasir." And seith: "Dispreise nat a litil good
whanne thu maiste do it, for a litil good thinge is right grete." And seith: "It is mor
covenable thinge to a kinge for to thenke upon himself and on the governaunce
of his realme by the space of a daye thanne for to daunce an hool yere." And seith:
"Ho that werkith by wisedome shal knowe the thinges and devyde the toon fro the
tothir. And he that worcheth by ignoraunce shal mysknowe the thinges and be in
doute of hem; to worche by trouthe is to establisshe alle thinges in here right
places; and to worche by lesyngis, it disordeigneth alle thingis, and putteth hem
oute of her propre places." And seith: "Thu shalt never be paciente as longe as thu
arte covetous." And somme asked him how he had lerned so moche cunnynge. He
aunsuerd and seide: "For by cause that I have mor oyle in my lampe thanne wyne
in my cuppe." And it was asked hym what man were moste expediente to governe
a towne. He aunsuerd and seide: "He that can governe wel himself." And it was
asked him what man ought beste to be called wyse. He aunsuerd and seide: "He
that counseilleth moche and that maketh moste doutes." And seith: "The [fol. 28r] vessellis
of golde bene preved by her sowne whedir thei be hool or broken; in lyke wise the
men bene preved and knowen by her wordes." And thei asked him what people
were moste ignoraunte in her dedis. He aunsuerd and seide: "Thei that moste usen
her owen counseill, and thei that by defaute of good advys dispose hemself hardely
to thingis." And thei asked him what man dede himself moste wronge. He aun-
suerd and seide: "He that mekith himself to him that he oweth nat to do." And
seith: "The ignorauntes jugen the beautee or the foulenesse lyke as thei seen by the
condicions of the people." And seith: "He fyndes wisedame that sekith it by the
right weye; and many oon erreth in wisedame, for thei seke it not by the right
weye, and blameth it withoute cause." And seith: "He that is ignoraunte of the right
wey of sapience knoweth not himself, and he that knoweth not himself is moste
ignoraunte of alle othir ignorauntes." And seith: "He is wise that knoweth ig-
noraunce, and he is ignoraunte that knoweth it not." And seith: "Such angre is
worshipful that bryngeth oftetymes shame to gladnesse." And seith: "A kinge is
lyke a grete rever that cometh oute of litill brookes, wherfore yf the grete rever be
salte, the litill brookes shull be salte." And seith: "Kepe thee in bataille that thu
truste nat to moche to thyne owen streyngthe in dispreisinge of thyn owen reson-
able witte, for somtyme the witte suffiseth for to overcome withouten streyngth, but
with a grete peyne maye a man overcome by force withoute that he use his natural
witte." And seith: "Worde withoute dede is lyke a grete habundance of watir that
drowneth the men withoute doynge himself any proufyte." And seith that a man
that is full of suspessyon, it maketh him for to be of evell maners, and to leve un-
rightwosly. And seith: "Loke ye use nat any maner dilectacyons of this worlde unto
the tyme that thu knowe that witte and reasoun accorden therto, and yf thu be
accorded with thes tweyne, thu shalt knowe the faire fro the foulle, and in what
maner thei differyn." And seith: "Thes realmes lesen whanne thei bene to nec-
ligente of here werkis, and to diligente in ydelnesse, and also in that thei truste to
moche upon fortune, with more that thei entende not for to fylle the lande with
people. And thei losen also whanne the werres enduren longe tyme." And seith:
"The ende of indignacyon is to be ashamed of himself." And thei asked how a
wiseman might be troubled. He aunsuerd and seide: "Whanne he is constreyned to
lerne trouthe of an ignorant. And [fol. 28v] seith: "Whanne thu seeste a man full of parfyte
discrecioun, knowe for certeyne that coveityses bene right seeke and feble in him."
And seith: "Dispreyse nat a litil thinge, for it maye growe more." And seith: "Loke
thu chalenge nat a man whanne he is angry, for at that tyme thu shalte nat redresse
it." And seith: "Loke thu be nat gladde of the evel fortune of othir men, for thu
wotest nat howe it wole turne agenste thee." And seith: "Stable thi witte on the
right syde, and trouthe on the lefte syde, and thu shalt be free." And seith: "Thre
thingis do men harme: the firste is to see a man that hath bene riche falle in
povertee, the secunde is to see a worshipful man dispreysed, and the thirde is to
see a wise man mocked with ignorauntes." And seith: "Loke that thu fellaship nat
with evell folkes, for any maner good that thei wole promyse thee." And seith:
"Whanne a roialme is in prosperité, the covetyses bene as servauntes to the wise-
dome of the king, and whanne he is in adversité, the witte is servaunt to the
covetyses." And seith: "Loke thu desire not that thi werkis be to hastily don, but
loke thu coveite that thei be wele done." And seith: "A man is more bounden to
holde him contente for a goode worde of his prynce thanne that there were geven
him grete geftis." And seith: "The geftis that bene geven to goode folkes abiden
restitucioun, and the geftis that bene geven to evell folkes endeuseth hem to aske
more." And seith: "The evel people sewen the malices of men, and dispreyseth the
propre bountees lyke as the flye sittes upon corupte thinges, and levyth the hoole
thinges." And seith: "Haste nat to faste for to preyse a thinge til that thu knowe
right wele that it be worthy to be preysed." And seith: "The wise man shulde nat
highe himself agenst an ignorant, but meeke him to him, and thanke God that He
wolde of His grace make him herre thanne he. And he shulde do his peyne to
putte him oute of doute, and to brynge him agen unto trouthe, for yf a man shulde
repreve him lewedly, it were cruelté, and to governe him gentilly, it is a redusynge
into goodnesse." And seide to hem that disputen: "Thes that enqueren the trouth
of thinges, thei aught nat to be hated, for their questyon falleth in a conclusyon;
but he that entendes for to overcome anothir maye lightly have cause of hate, for
eche man wolde enforce himself to brynge his fellawe to his entente." And seithe:
"Whanne thu askest of any man anythinge for to leeve thee or for to geve thee, and
he refuse for to do it, have more shame on thee for thyne askinge thanne of him
that seith thee naye." And seith: "That man [fol. 29r] maye nat governe moche people that
maye nat governe his owene soule oonly." And seith: "A wise man shulde aske cur-
teysly and lowely and with fewe wordes, lyke as the watir leeche that draweth more
blood of a man symply withoute noyse thanne that thinge that prykketh more
faster and maketh grete noyse." And seith: "A man of feble courage annoyeth
lightly of that thinge that he loveth." And Platon seide these wisedams that fol-
lewen aftir: "Knowe God and drede Him. Enforce thee for to lerne wisedome and
to teche othir men more thanne of daily werkis. Loke thu desire nothinge of God
but yf it be profitable but requere Him of that good that shal allewayes be durable."
And seith: "Love nat oonly thi good lyfe, but love more pryncipally thi good ende."
And seith: "Putte nat thy wynnynge in these thingis that bene withoute thee, ne
tarye nat to do wele to hem that have deserved it unto thee, unto the tyme that thei
aske thee." And seith: "That man is not wise that joieth himself in worldly pros-
peritees and is troubled in his adversitees." And seith: "The lewednesse of mannys
witte is knowen by moche spekinge; thenke firste, speke, and do, for the thinges
meven lightly. And loke thu be nat to gretely wrothe, for yf thu custume thiself
therto, the wrath at somme tyme shal be agenste thee." And seith: "Yf thu have
entencion to gefe anythinge to a nedy man, loke thu abyde nat for to do it til on
the morowe, for thu wotest never what shal falle of thee or that tyme; and gefe to
hem that maye nat laboure, ne wynne anythinge." And seith: "Be nat oonly wyse
in seyenge, but in dede, for the wisedame of the worde perissheth in this worlde,
and the wisedame of dede is profitable to the everlastinge worlde." And seith:
"God taketh him for noble that dothe goode werkis, though so be that he holde his
peas, and holdes for evell the prayers and the sacrefices done by evell dedis." And
seith: "Yf thu laboure in wele doynge, thi peyne shal be nothinge, and the good
that thu doest shal be perpetuel." And seith: "Yf thu have dilectacioun of synne,
thi dilectacion shal be nothinge, and thi synne shal abide alleweyes. Loke thu have
in remembraunce that daye that thu shalt be called, and where thu shalt here
nothinge but good, for thanne the tunge of the jangeler shal cese, the thoughtes
shull faille, the yghen shull be troubled and wexe derke, manhode shal be con-
sumed to erthe, and thi mynde in like maner shal be broken that thu mayste nat
smelle the stynke of thi body, ne how the wormes shulle sowke thi roten flessh.
Have in thi mynde also that in the place that thu shalt go to, the [fol. 29v] governours and
the sergeauntes shull bene egall, and there maye helpe no frende. Wherfore loke
thu lerne good disciplyne, for thu shalt nat knowe the houre of thi departynge.
And knowe for certeyne that among alle the giftes of God, sapience is the moste
excellente." And seith: "Yelde agen to the goode, and geve pardone to the evell.
Thenke alweye on that thu haste to done, and loke thu put nat thi truste in thingis
that bene meovable. And kepe thee wel, that thu do none evel thinge for any dylec-
tacioun of wynnynge. And kepe thiself that for the joyes that bene varyable thu
leese nat the joyes perdurable. Love wysedame, and herken the wiseman. Obeye
to thi Lorde. And do nothinge but in dewe tyme, and yet loke how thu doste it. And
kepe thee from spekinge of wordes that be nat profitable. Loke thu bere thiself
never the herre for thi ricchesse. Loke thu be nat in dispeir, though there falle to
thee evell fortunes. Make thee even with alle folkis, and dispreyse no man for his
humylitee, and that that thu takest nat for evel unto thee, thu shuldest not chal
enge anothir yf he do it. Also, thu oughtest nat to desire to have thonke for that
thinge that is nat in thee. Loke thu do nothinge whiche thu woldest dispreyse a-
nothir yf he dede it. Thu shuldest do these thinges that bene goode and covenable,
though so be that thu wer not commaunded for to do hem, and loke thu eschewe
alle uncovenable thinges." And seith: "A wyse man shulde take his errour as for
grete and his goodnesse as for litil." And seith: "It is a lewde thinge to you to cutte
awey the deede wode of the vynes and the superfluytees of hem, and to leve with-
inne youre body the coveityses and othir evell thingis. And lyke as we shulde kepe
us from the grete multitude of meetys for the helthe of oure bodies, by a greter
reason we ought to refreyne us from vices for the salvacion of oure soulles. And ho
that joyneth his gentilnesse to the noblesse of goode maners, he is for to be al-
lowed. And he that suffiseth himself of the gentilnesse that cometh to hym by his
fadir withoute lernynge or getynge of any othir goode condicions oughte nat to be
holden for noble." And seith: "Yf thu feele thiself that thu be more true to the
kynge thanne othir and thi wagis be but even with here wagis or lesse, thu shuldest
nat be sorowfull, for thi wages shull be durable and theirs shull not." And seith: "Yf
any man have envye to thee or seith evel of thee, sette not therby and thu shalte
have pees of him, for he asketh no more but to falle at noyse with thee." And seith:
"A man shulde kepe wele the festefull dayes, that is to seye: that he shulde do none
evell dedis specially. Ande _ the higher that thu arte lyfte up in estate, the more
shuldest thu meke thee to the people, to that entente that the love of the people
shulde abyde with thee yf any myschief shulde falle unto thee." And seith: "With
grete peyne a man shal kepe the love of his frende that wole rebuke hym reger-
ously of his errours." And seith: "A wise man shulde chese goode men to his ser-
vauntes, in lyke wise as men chesen the goode erthe to do her labours inne." And
seith: "Yf thu have a litil erroure medeled with othre thinges that bene goode, it
is doutefull, for errour is an evel humour. Wherfore yf he be medled with goode
thinges, it is to doute, for yf there be an evel humour in a persone in contynuaunce
of tyme, he is lyke to distroye alle the remenaunte of othir goode humours, with-
oute that it maye be voided awaye." And seith: "Whanne thu shalt serve any lorde,
loke thu shewe nat thiself to be his fellawe but in thre thinges, that is to seye: in
feith, in witte, in pacience. And beware of alle thingis that he perceyve not that thu
woldest be in thi wille even to him, that is to seye: in estate, in clothinge, and in
delices. And yf thu take upon thee to be more wyse thanne thi maistir, he wole nat
love thee bettir." And seith: "Yf thu wilt undirstande the nature of any man, gefe
him thi counsell upon somme thinge, and by that thu shalt knowe his inyquyté, his
goodnesse, and his malice." And seith: "Thes men that bene of churlyssh condi-
ciouns undirstonden that suche persones as thei have done any good to shulde
alleweyes be bonde unto hem. And the worshipfull men take it where that thei do
any good thing, that thei be bounde for to do it. The goodman can grete thanke
to that man that geveth to his possibilitee, and aftir the satisfaccioun of him that
resceyveth it; and the churle can nat thanke the gefer, but oonly of the qualité of
the gifte." And seith: "Whanne thi servauntes reherse thi vertues before thee, thu
shuldeste beleve that at that tyme thi vyces were hidde withinne thee; wherfore thu
shuldeste truste more in thiself that thu knowest thanne the wordes of straungiers."
And seith: "Whanne thu seest a man that hath bene large and liberal became a kay-
tiff and have no wyffe, and a joiefull man be malencolyous withoute cause, it is a
token that withinne shorte tyme there shal come to him some grete myschef." And
seith: "Whanne thu haste spoken to thyne enemye, beware that thu obbeye nat to
wrath, for it shal be gretter enemye to thee thanne to him." And seith: "Eschewe
wrath as moche as thu mayst, for it wil nat lete a man see the ende of thingis. And
whanne thyne estate is growen _ and borne up, do thi peyne to satisfye the people
and for to gete thee frendes, for it is the strengest castell that thu maiste holde thee
inne." And seith: "Whanne thu seest any man ymagyne anything agenste thee, loke
thu laboure to gete him for to love thee by getilnesse and by equyté rather thanne
by vengeaunce, for harme is greefe to bothe parties, and equyté is profitable to alle
folkes." And seith: "Bounté is lyke to the palme that berith late his frute but thanne
he kepith it longe withoute corupcioun." And seith: "A man shulde correcte the
people gentilly and easily, and ellis he shal be in labour and in noyse with hem."
And seith: "A covetous man resseyveth and holdeth gladly and is of grete gad-
eringe." And seith: "The man of leest myght is he that hathe no power to kepe his
owen counsell, and he is moste myghty that maye overcome his owen ire; and the
moste paciente is he that can beste hide his povertee, and he is moste attempre
that hath suffysaunce." And seith: "Loke thu make thee nat served of any man suche
servyce as longeth nat unto thee or ellis that is agenste thi nature, though so be that
he were highely bounden therto." And seith: "Kepe thee that covetyse make thee
nat to be a flaterer, for thu shalt lose mo benefyces of the soulle thanne thu shalt
wynne of benefetes for thi body." And seith: "Whanne a man is olde, his vertues
bene lasse preised and his vyces and fylthes more taken heed of, and also the more
a man is riche, the more feere he hath." And seith: "Ire, covetyse, and other af-
fectes of the soulle have a certeigne quantité by the whiche the estate of man is
governed and adressed. And yf that quantité excede, it distroieth the man, and by
wrath a man shal preve it; the whiche maye be lykned to salt that salteth the
flesshe, for ho that putteth to moche salt upon his mete, it distroyeth it and loseth
it, and sembleably of othir thingis." And seith: "There is oon thinge that resem-
bleth a childe, another that resembleth a man that is at ful power, and anothir that
resembleth an olde man. Whanne the rentes and revenues of a realme surmounten
the dispence of a kinge, and of his householde, that same realme oughte to be
called a childe; that is for to seye that the lande is like to be durable by reasoun, for
it is encresinge. And yf the rentes and revenews be even egall, that same realme
maye wel be called a man at ful age. But and the dispences surmounten the rev-
enews of the realme, it oughte [fol. 31r] to be called an olde man; that is to seye: the realme
shal endure no while." And seith: "A kinge that regneth in right and justice is
kinge of his people, and whanne a kinge regneth in wyckednesse and in violence,
though so be that his people take him as for kinge, yet certeignely thei wole en-
clyne her wille to anothir." And seith: "Obbeye to hem that done thee good, and
to hem that outher geveth thee or levyth thee anythinge of hers; and holde hem
for thi lordis for suche people bene thi lordes." And seith: "Somme kinges and
pryncis have grete affeccioun to kepe up the estate of somme lynage of her sub-
jectis whiche that thei be. And in that thei erren gretly, for alle these that bene of
oon lynage bene nat of oon estate, ne of oon condicioun, but thei varye in here
estates, and amynuse the bountees of oon lygne, like as the erthe chaungeth and
is hurte by sowynge contynuelly oon maner seed on the same." And seith: "It
longeth not to a gret lorde to be conversaunte over gretly with his people, ne be
to famylier with hem, for thei wole preyse him the lasse, for the nature of a people
is to dispreyse eche oon of hem othir. And he that is conversaunte amonge hem
shal be lyke as thei be." And seith: "Whanne a man is withoute shame, he is blynde
in his thought, for he thenkith nat before the dede the shame that shal folowe aftir
to him." And seith: "The bontees of kinges ben aftir the disposicion and considera-
cioun of sight that thei have unto her lawes. And the defaute of their bontees is
aftir the quantité of the delayenge of hem. For by observacioun of the lawe, the
kinges done to the people that that thei might, and are bounden to do, and take
awey also thes thingis that thei ben bounden to restreyne. But whanne thei have
nat rewarde to the lawe, thei take fro the people suche thingis as thei shulde leve
hem, and geveth hem nat suche thinges as thei shulde have, wherfore many periles
fallen to kinges, to their subjectis, and to their realmes." And seith: "Whanne the
fader dothe nat his peyne to instructe and teche his childe by crafte or cunnynge
or othirwise wherby he maye gete his levynge, the sone is nat bounden to aunsuere
to the necessitees of his fadir." And seith: "Whanne a kinge taketh thee unto him,
loke that thyne askinge be lasse of him thanne thu supposest that he wol geve thee,
and whanne thu arte allone with him, speke nat to him of thyne owen matiers, but
loke thu shewe him somme thinge that shulde be profitable and pleasaunte to
him." And seith: "Reporte never a tale to a kinge of his enemye other thanne he
hath seide. [fol. 31v] And loke thu be nat a reportoure of tales nor tydingis, for oones he
wole parceyve thee for a lyer and wil sette the lasse by thee, and he wil have thee
allewaies in suspessyoun." And seith: "Whanne thu shalt do or sey anythinge bettir
thanne anothir that is as good as thiself, beware that thu make none avaunte
therof, for it shal empeyre thi goode deede, and it shal cause thee to be hated and
to be envyed of thi fellawe." And seith: "Loke thu blame nat him that thu haste
preysed." And seith: "God suffreth the felon unto the tyme that he do agenste the
stablesshinge of the lawe, but thanne He punnysshith him comounly." And seith:
"Whanne a man spekith merily, men wole the more gladly her him." And seith:
"Aske counsell of olde men, and nat of alle, but oonly of hem that have experience
and have sene many thingis." And seith: "He is thi kinge that is of good and true
renown in his lyfe, and of the whiche men remembre and speke wel of aftir his
deth." And seith: "A maistir aughte nat to be recommended for his grete science
but for because that he eschewith vyces." And seithe: "Whanne thu seest a man dye
that is of thi complexion and of thyne estate, thenke thanne that it shulde nat be
longe til thu were in the same condicioun." And seith: "Loke thu juge never til thu
here the parties speke." And seith: "Loke it plese thee nat to be ydel and slowe.
And truste nat to moche in thi goode fortune. And repente thee never of thi goode
dedes." And seith: "Ho that wole flee shame and dishonoure, loke he eschewe the
occasyons of hem." And seith: "Ho that hathe an humble estate and consydre wel
his entree and his yssue in this worlde is moche for to be recommended." And
seith: "Love maketh to be hidde the evelnesse of othir, and hate maketh to be
hidde the goodnesse." And seith: "He is full of wykkednesse that commaundeth
othir to do suche thingis as he wolde nat do himself, and is wroth for he dothe hem
nat; wherfore his wrath wole nat lete him thenke of the ende of his werkes, for his
witte is so derke that the sunne maye nat shyne upon it." And seith: "The yghe of
the lover is knowe by the lokynge upon that that he loveth." Ande seith: "Suffre
with good herte the peyne that thu haste for evell dedis. And yf thu have evel for
goode dedis, yet loke thu be nat wrothe therfore." And seith: "A delicious man
taketh his delytes before or he see wheder he do wel or evel." And seith: "He is a
negarde and a kaytef that wil nouther geve ne leeve to the nedy, namely of that
that he hath above his estate." And seith: "Enforce thee not [fol. 32r] to redresse a man that
is corupte, for he had lever a sette thee in his estate thanne thu shuldeste corecte
him." And seith: "That man that is full of injury excuseth him alweies by custume,
and the rightewos man by reasoun." And seith: "Whanne thu spekest with oon that
undirstandeth nat as wel as thiself, thu muste telle him the ofter thi tale for to
make him undirstande thee." And seith: "That man profiteth nat in connynge that
wil nat gete it lyke as it were by stelthe." And seith: "Whanne thu techest a dissiple
that is of rude witte, loke thu speke to him derkely at the begynnynge, and
aftirwarde declare it pleynly." And seith: "Somtyme the counsel of a yonge man is
good, but the counsel of the olde man is bettir at the begynnyng, and the counsel
of him that is lyke as wyse as thiself shal be more worth to thee thanne thyne owen,
for thi wil that maye hurte thi witte is nat in him." And seith: "Be nat to redy to
susteyne and defende othir that shal make lasse thi goodnesse." And seith: "The
goode men multiplyen her governaunce, and the evel people here corupcioun."
And seithe: "Loke thu sette nat a litil by thyne enemye, though so be that him
semyth but right feble, for he maye do thee more annoye thanne thu wenest fore."
And seith: "Susteyne nat so moche other folkes in her errour that thi goodnesse
maye be lasse therfore." And seith: "The lordship of evel folkes is nat covenable,
though so be that it shewe good at some tyme, yet shal the ende be evell." And
seith: "The grettest distruccioun that a reame maye have cometh by hem that bene
to high-herted, and also of suche as have gretter estate thanne thei have deserved,
and more thanne longeth to hem. Werfore thei dispreise hem that bene bettir and
wyser thanne thei be, and the ordenaunce of the reame is perverted and troubled.
Wherfore it were right expediente for a kinge that he ordeigned and stablissed the
people in suche place and suche estate as thei have deserved, and pourveye for the
offices and nat for officers." And seith: "Witte is more honorable thanne wille, for
wite hath stablisshed the lorde of the tyme of the whiche wille wolde make thee
servaunte." And seith: "He is of right a grete herte that douteth nat the peyne of
poverté." And seith: "Alle men of goode condicions maye suffre other of what
condiciouns that ever thei bene of." And seith: "He that hath goode vertues is sub-
stancially a noble man, and he that hath hem accydently maketh himself noble and
is nat." And seith: "He is right goode that serveth a kinge in loyalté and the people
in pitee, [fol. 32v] and ho that is nat deceyved in his estate, and ho that is nat in dispeire for
anythinge that falleth to him." And seith: "Take thi counsel of thi matiers of him
that is even to thee, that is to seye: of hem that have had sembleable matiers be-
fore, for he knoweth wel the remedy therfore." And seith: "Loke thu be nat wroth
with thi lorde, though so be that he geve thee charge of alle his werkes." And seith:
"Whanne the goode asken anythinge of gyfte or of borowinge and it is taken hem,
thei thenke nat but to restore it agen outher by servyce or ellis to pay it; and
though thei bene warned, yet thei thenke none harme to hem that have warned
hem. But the evell done the contrarye, for thei thenke never for to paye agen, and
hates hem that wole seye hem nay for to leve hem." And seith: "At somtyme the
enemyes bene more profitable thanne the frendes, for thei wole kepe hemself that
thei falle nat in suche vyces as her enemyes have. And so a man maye kepe him fro
the feere of hem. And a man shulde do his peyne to kepe his goodes that he maye
the bettir withstande the evel wille of his enemyes." And seith: "Loke thu do
nothinge to thi power but suche as thi witte hath preved before." And seith: "Loke
thu felaship not with evell folkes, for thi nature shal take of hers, though so be that
thu semest nay." And seith: "Have alwaye favour to use goode counseill, for though
so were that it felle nat to thee as thu thenkest, yet shal it be comforte to thee that
thu haste done as moche as is in thee." And seith: "A man shulde loke ofte in a
myrrour. And yf he fynde that his vesage shewe faire in the myrrour, it shulde be
grete shame to him that he shulde do any lewde dedis. And yf he fynde his vesage
nat clene, it were to grete shame to him to joyne two lewdnesses togedres." And
seith: "Whanne a wiseman drynketh swete drynke, he shulde allewaye thenke on
the bitter medecyne." And seith: "The ende of goodnesse is himself." And seith:
"Yf a man understonde with good herte what odir seyne, it is lyke as he were con-
tente with the same wordes." And seith: "No man shulde merveille of age, nor
though the heeris wexen white of an olde man, but a man shulde merveille of the
substaunce of witte that is abeden in him; wherfore it longeth to you to be shame-
faste whanne ye shal be olde. And kepe you that ye do nat lewde werkes. And yf thu
mayntenest any oppynyoun agenest a noble man and that thu overcomest him by
reasoun, he wole love thee and preyse thee the bettir; and yf thu overcome [fol. 33r] a man
of churlyssh condycioun, he wole hate thee and praise thee the lesse." And seith:
"Whanne a man taryeth to do his werkes til tyme come that he muste nedis do
hem, he shal fynde himself oftentymes in grete necessité." And seith: "He that etes
good mete is norisshed by it, and he that etes evell metes hathe no more but the
substaunce of hem." And seith: "It is to grete peyne and laboure for a riche man
to countirfete a poure man, and for a wise man to counterfete an ignoraunt, and
for a stronge man to counterfete a feble man, and comonly there falle grete ad-
versytes to hem that done it." And seith: "Dronkennes is forfendyd in a kinge, for
whereas a kinge is made keper of a reame, it were a lewde thinge yf he coude nat
kepe himself." And seithe: "Amonge alle othir that kinge is gracious and blessed
that encresith and kepith the state and the lordship that his predecessours have
lefte him, and he is unhappy that maketh hem lasse, or ellis prevee therto." And
seith: "Alle thingis that bene of custume bene at somtyme taken for goode and
somtyme for evell, excepte trouthe that every man kepith and oughte to kepe for
good." And seith: "Goodnesse constreyneth the goode to love eche one other, and
evelnesse constreyneth the evell for to hate eche one othir. A true man shal love
anothir, and a juste man also, but ye shal ever see that oo lyer shal hate anothir,
and oo theef to take anothir, and wolde have him distroyed." And seith: "A man
of corage that is constaunte is alweyes governed by good counsell, and he that is
alweyes of a feble corage disposith himself to abide the comoun fortune." And
seith: "It longeth to the kingis lieutenaunt for to have power over the people. And
yf the kinge were cruel, he shulde do his peyne for to attempre him by gentilnesse.
And yf he were to debonair, he shulde cause him to be more rigoreux." And seith:
"It is nat covenable to have a man in a reame that aughte or myght governe the
reame as peasibly as the kinge but yf it were oonely in his absence; and by a gretter
reasoun and there be many of hem, it shal be so moche the worse for the reame."
And seith: "The evell folkes beleven lesingis lightly and evell reportes of othir men
to that entente that thei maye have the bettir cause for to do evell, and that alle
evell maye the bettir be accustumed in hem." And seith: "Loke thu travaile nat to
do by dede that that thu maiste do by worde." And seith: "Loke thu make nat thyne
habitacioun in that londe where that the dyspenses passen the wynnynges, nor
there as the evell men bene maisters over the goode men, nor where as the lordes
holde nat here trouth." And [fol. 33v] seith: "Alle trouthe is not for to seye." And seith:
"He that lerneth connynge oonly for wynnynge and for practyk, he is nat holden
for noble; but he that getes it oonly for noblesse of the same ought to be called for
noble." And seith: "Yf thu wilt have the love of a foole, loke thu folowe his wille, be
it resonable or not. And yf thu wilt have the love of a wiseman, shewe him alle
thinges that bene resonable to the purpos, though so be that thei be nouther
profitable ne pleasaunt unto him." And seith: "Whanne thu spekest with thyne
adversarye, beware that thu telle him nat the secrete of thyne entente, for thanne
thu sheweste him the place where he shal smyte thee, in like wise as the white is
sette in a butte to shewe the archier where he shal shete." And seith: "Thu shuldest
nat seye naye of thi love to him that requereth it whanne that thu knowest wherfore
he wolde have it. And yf he desire it for the goodnesse that is in thee, the love
maye endure and be stedfaste, but yf he coveyte it oonly for his goode or for to
helpe himself in any othir maner by thee, the love shal nat be stedefaste unto thee."
And seith: "A wise man shulde gete and norysshe, litill and litill, the love of his
frende in goodely maner and covenable dedis, like as a man noryssheth a childe
diligently fro the houre of his natyvytee; and as an ympe that is newe sette that
berith erely or late his fruyte, lyke as a man is diligente in the governaunce therof."
And seith: "He is of churlysshe condicioun that mekith himself to an ignoraunte,
and ho that serveth a man for covetyse to have his good." And somme asked him:
"How maye we putte aweye the covetyse frome alle the parties of oure body?" He
aunsuerd and seide: "In what place that ever it be that coveityse is inne, reasoun
is in the same, by the whiche a man maye redresse alle evell dedis and discerne
betwene the good and the evell. And therfore ho that is governed by reasoun maye
lightly eschewe alle maner coveityses." And thei asked hym by experience in what
maner might good counsel be geven. He aunsuerd and seide: "By right grete ex-
perience or by natural witte." And seith: "An evel lorde, an evel meyne." And seith:
"Loke thu enforce thee to quyte him ageyne that hath done thee good, and yf thu
have nat wherof for to do it in dede, yet thanke him with goode wordes. Nothwith-
standinge, thu shuldeste nat holde thee contente unto the tyme that thu haddest
quytte it in dede aftir thi possibilité." And seith: "Yf thu haste done or seide vyl-
enye to any man though so be that it be litill, thu oughtest nat to sleepe seurely
unto the tyme that thu haste made [fol. 34r] him a covenable satisfaccioun." And thei asked
him yf a man myghte do alleweye wele. He aunsuerd and seide: "Ye, for doynge
wel was to gefe laude and thankinge to God, and to put oute of his thoughtes and
his myndes alle maner of covetises, and thes two thinges a man maye do alleweyes."
And thei asked him by what thinge a man myght knowe a wiseman. He aunsuerd
and seide: "Whanne he dothe nothinge that is harmeful to othir, and that he kep-
ith him from lyeng for any prouffite that maye falle unto himself." And seith: "He
is nat parfyte that for any doute levyth for to do right and resoun." And thei asked
him what men were moste able to lerne cunnynge. He aunsuered and seide: "Thei
that forgeten lightly the aventures that ben passed, and thei that turne awey here
thoughtes from thinges that bene impossible to be hadde." And seith: "The fyre
staunchith nat by leyeng to of woode, but for defaute that thei leye noon to, and
in lyke wyse connynge wexeth nat lesse in a wise man though that he shewe it, but
it encresith gretely. And also yf a man shewe it nat but kepe it withinne himself, it
wole wexe lasse, wherfore a man shulde nat be skars for to shewe it to anothir the
goodnesse that he can." And seith: "Hope is the begilinge of courages." And as
Plato sate oones in his chayer for to reede, and somme of his dissiples asked him
whi he redde not, he aunsuerd and seide: he abode the herkeners. And anone
came Aristotyl, whiche was his dissiple, and thanne seide Plato: "Now lete us speke,
for the herkeners be comen." And he seide that oonly by Aristotle. And seith: "It
is evel done for a man to make himselfe poure, but it is wors for a man for to make
himself wycked. And whanne thu haste a frende, it is right expediente that thu be
a frende to his frendes." And seith: "He is a fool that holdes himself wyse, though
so be that he be wele arayed or wel horsed." And seith: "He is good that endureth
lightly and suffreth oon that is more mighty thanne he, and he is bettir that suf-
freth oon that is febler thanne he." And seith: "A wyse man shulde nat serve but
him that him semethe that he be lyke of goode condyciouns." And seith: "The ver-
tues that bene sharpe and bytter at the begynnynge bene in the ende right swete,
and the vices that bene swete at the firste tyme bene in the ende sharp and bitter."
And seith: "The true lordes bene by here grete trouthe possessyoners of the thre-
soure of here people." And seith: "Loke thu fellaship nat with hem that seyne evel
by othir folkes, for even soo will thei do by thee." And he sawe how somme folkes
wepten over a [fol. 34v] dede body, to whome he seide: "Loke ye wepe nat for this man, nor
for his synnes, but wepe for youre owen synnes." And seith: "He is an evel man and
a nygarde that can nat knowe the goodnesse that a man dothe to him." And seide:
"I have wonne none othir thing in connynge but that I knowe wele I am not wyse."
And seith: "The evell thoughtis dystroien and corupte a man and put him oute of
al good ordenaunce. And a man shulde nat corecte a childe to sharpely, for it wol
make him haate and flee the scoole, by the whiche he shal lerne to be a trewaunte,
and at the end to be withoute connynge." And thei asked him whi that aged men
enforced hem to kepe her thresoure and her rycches. He aunsuerd and seide: "For
thei love bettir aftir here deth to leeve it to here enemyes thanne be in here lyffe
in the daungier of here frendes." And seith: "Nature is servaunte to understond-
inge." And seith that connynge is the peyntynge of the soulle, and peyntynge maye
nat goodly be leyde upon a thinge on lasse thanne the place be made clene,
wheron it shal be leyde." And seith: "Debate is the capteyne of evell folkes, and
wrath is here governoure." And seith: "Connynge is so good that it maye nat be
loste as othir accidentes." And Aristotle asked him wherby he knewe a wise man.
He aunsuerd and seide: "In that that a man preyseth nat himself for his connynge,
and also that he endureth paciently withoute wrath for to have connynge; and also
that he be at no tyme lyfte up by the pleasaunce of flaterers or by preysingis." And
thei asked him what maner of man had worste condycions. He aunsuerd and seide:
"He that taketh plesyr for to seye evel of alle folkes." And yet thei asked him what
thinge it was that was leste curable. He aunsuerd: "The dyshonoure of a foole."
And seith: "Yf thu wilt knowe to what man thu arte moste lyke unto, take him that
thu lovest withoute cause." And seith: "It semyth to an evel man that oone dothe
him grete velanye whanne he seith wel of a good man." And seith: "The good wyse
man preyseth his predecessours and the evel man blameth hem." And seith: "He
that useth his tyme in anger, in covetyse, and in othir vices in his youthe hath a
thenkyng therof comonly in his age; and yet it grevyth him that he maye nat folowe
his olde rule, savynge oonly his power maye nat serve him for the feblenesse of his
membres. But he that useth goode vertues in his youthe, though so be that it greve
him, yet shal he be of the bettir name in his age." And seith: "A covetous man is
more enclyned to avenge any injurye that a man hathe done [fol. 35r] unto him thanne for
to recover any good dede." And seith: "Though so be that thu be olde, yet be nat
ashamed for to lerne, though so be that a childe teche thee, for the gretteste ignor-
aunce that maye be ys that a man is shamefaste for to lerne." And seith: "A wyse
man rejoiseth moche whanne he knoweth that by his cunnynge he is escaped from
the vyces of this worlde, and the malyces of the same; in lyke wise as a man is es-
caped oute of a ship where alle his fellawes bene peryssed in his sight." And he
taught his dyssiples, seyenge: "Whanne ye bene wery of studyenge, go and loke
upon the storyes." And thanne thei asked him whiche of all the wyse men was
moste accomplysshed. He aunsuerd and seide: "He that moste counseilleth and
douteth moste unto the tyme that he hathe founde the weye of trouthe." And thei
asked him ho was moste lewde in his werkes. He aunsuerd and seide: "He that is
leste governed by wysedame, and he that leste discerneth betwene good and evel."
And thei asked him from whens came the subtilté of undirstondynge. He aunsuerd
and seide: "Of the right cleere and pure nature, and to be conversaunte in his lyfe
amonge wyse men." And thei asked him ho is of moste complete bountee." He
aunsuerd and seide: "He that can refreyne his ire and to withstande his owen will."
And thei asked him ho was moste cleene and moste free from alle lewde dedis. He
aunsuerd and seide: "He that to his power maketh discrecioun his lieutenaunte,
and he that maketh of predycacioun his bridell, of pacience his governour, and
doute of the dethe his secretarye."
Go To 13. Aristotle