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Har/ey MS. 4431, fol. 97b. 

The Epistle of Othea to Hector 



Translated from the French of Christine de Pisan 

With a Dedication to Sir John Fastolf, K.G. 







M.A., D.Litt, F.S.A.^ Assistant Keeper of MSS. British Museum 




• 1904. 

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LoNGLEAT, March, 1904 

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Longieat MS. 253, fol. 22b. 


^ I ^HE English version here printed for the first time of Christine 
^ de Pisan's " Epitre d'Othea la deesse k Hector " is taken from 
a MS. which is believed to be unique, and which, if not actually the 
original, can be very little removed from it. The volume of which 
it forms a part is numbered MS. 253 in the valuable library of the 
Marquis of Bath at Longleat, but how or when it found its way 
thither it is impossible to say. There is little doubt, however, that 
it was acquired at least as early as the time of Thomas Thynne, 
first Viscount Weymouth, who died in 17 14, and it is not unlikely 
that it has been at Longleat ever since the house was built by 
Sir John Thynne in the latter part of the i6th century. It is a small 
vellum folio, 9! inches by 7, in modern binding, and in its present 
state it consists of ninety-five leaves, the first seventy-five of which 
are occupied by the work in question and the remainder by an 
English poem or series of poems, probably also translated from the 
French, in which love is compared with the growth of a tree. The 
hand appears to be the same throughout and of a date about the 
middle of the 15th century. As may be seen from the page here 
reproduced {cf. p. 33), it is fairly neat and regular, but it is hardly 
the hand of a professional book-scribe, the type being that more 
commonly found in correspondence and business documents of the 
period. As to ornament, there is none whatever ; for, although 
blank spaces were left for rubrics and initials, and in a few instances 
apparently for miniatures as well, for some reason they were never 
filled in. But the deficiencies of the MS. in this respect are of 
less practical importance than the mutilation inflicted later upox. 
the text. In the main article, and consequently in this edition of 


X The Epistle of Othea to Hector. 

it, there are two lacunae, one of a single leaf (p. 13) and the other 
of a whole quire of eight (p. 53), while the supplementary matter 
has been shorn both of its first leaf and of an unknown number at 
the end. Nor is the mischief confined to the loss of these portions 
of the text. Probably, as in the case of another work by the same 
translator,^ there was a colophon which would have given interesting 
particulars of the origin of the whole MS., and unfortunately this 
also has perished. As the translator has been identified and as 
specimens of his handwriting are available for comparison,^ the 
question whether the copy is in his autograph is easily decided in the 
negative, but beyond this little can be ascertained of its history. 
For reasons which will appear further on it is a tempting supposi- 
tion that it is the " Boke de Othea, text and glose .... in quayers " 
{sc. quires), which is included in an "Inventory off Englysshe boks" 
belonging to John Paston the younger (?) in the time of Edward IV. 
(after 1474).^ If, however, the latter MS. in its turn was identical 
with the "Othea pistill " which one William Ebesham wrote for 
Sir John Paston at a cost of ysh. 2d. about 1469,* it contained no 
more than forty-three leaves. In the margin of f. 75b is an entry, 
made about 1500, of a certificate of the banns of marriage, real or 
imaginary, of William Stretford and Joyce Helle, the certifying 
minister being William Houson, curate ; and from scribblings on 
f. 50 and elsewhere it may be inferred that at a later date in the i6th 
century the MS. was in the hands of a certain William Porter, who, 
to judge from the nature of his entries, was perhaps a scrivener's 
clerk. There is more decisive evidence of ownership in the 
signature "Jo. Malbee " on the first page, written towards the end 
of the 1 6th century under the moral distich : 

" Viue diu, sed viue Deo ; nam viuere mundo 
Mors est. Haec vera est viuere vita Deo." 

' See below, p. xxiv. 

2 Brit. Mus. Add. MS. 28,212, fif. 22b, 26. 

3 J. Gairdner, The Paston Letters^ ed. 1896, iii. p. 301. 

* Ibid.^ ii. p. 335 {cf. p. XXX. below, note 2). This copy was included in a 
"grete booke," other articles of which now form Lansdowne MS. 285. Ebesham's 
hand as they show it is not identical with that of the Longleat MS., though it bears 
a certain resemblance to it. 

Introduction. xi 

The same page also contains the initials J. M., probably meaning 
John Malbee, together with the old library mark, ix D. 72. 

Before commenting upon the English translation something 
must be said of the original "Epitre d'Othea" and the remarkable 
woman who was its author/ In no sense was Christine de Pisan 
French by birth. Her father Thomas de Pisan, or de Boulogne, 
was, as she tells us,^ a native of Bologna, and he may reasonably 
be identified with Tommaso di Benvenuto di Pizzano, who was 
Professor of Astrology there between 1345 and 1356.^ Later he 
obtained the salaried oifice of State Councillor at Venice, where 
also he married, and where Christine, probably the eldest of his 
three children and the only girl, was born in 1364/ It was shortly 
after her birth that he was prevailed upon by the French king 
Charles V. to remove to Paris, and the fact that Louis the Great of 
Hungary was equally anxious to attract him to Buda shows how 
widely the fame of his learning and science had spread.^ For 
fifteen years he had no cause to regret his change of country, for 
Charles not only made him his physician and astrologer with 
handsome emoluments, but treated him altogether with marked 
distinction. Christine, who with her mother joined him at the end 
of 1368, was thus brought up at the most brilliant and intellectual 

' Of the authorities used the best and most recent are E. Robineau, Christine de 
Pisan, sa vie et ses oeuvres, St. Omer, 1882 ; F. Koch, Leben tind Werke der Christifie 
de Pizan, Goslar, 1885; M. Roy, CEuvres poetiques de Christine de Pisan, Soc. des 
Anciens Textes Frangais, i.-iii. 1 886-1 896. The most interesting details are derived 
from her own writings, many of which are stUl unprinted. 

2 See below, p. xxxvi. 

8 Koch, p. 14. 

* This date may be inferred from two statements by herself, one in " Le Chemin 
de long estude," written in 1402, that she had then been widowed thirteen years (ed. 
R. Piischel, Berlin, 1887, p. 6), and the other in " La Vision" (Koch, p. 12) that she 
was twenty-five when her husband died, sc. in 1389. 

^ " Car comme renommee lors tesmoignast par toute crestiente la souffisance de 
mon pere naturel €% sciences speculatives comme supellatif astrologien, jusques en 
Ytalie en la cite de Boulongne la grace par ses messages I'envoya querir " (" Livre des 
fais et bonnes meurs du sage roy Charles V.," in Petitot's Collection des Memoires, v. 
P- 275)- 

xii The Epistle of Othea to Hector, 

court of the time, and when, at the early age of fifteen, she was 
married to Etienne du Castel in 1379, her ties with it were further 
strengthened by her husband's appointment as secretary to the 
king. This prosperity was rudely interrupted by the premature 
death of Charles V. on i6th September, 1380. In her own words, 
** Or fu la porte ouverte de noz infortunes, adonc faillirent i mon 
dit pfere ses grans pensions." ^ Thomas de Pisan in fact was 
growing old and out of fashion ; with the loss of his place at court 
and its prestige he soon fell into neglect, and when in a few years 
he died, his wife and two sons were left dependent upon his 
daughter and son-in-law. Happily the latter still retained his post 
under the new king, and if he had lived all might have gone well, 
though possibly in that case Christine's latent powers would never 
have been called into activity. As a climax, however, to her 
misfortunes Etienne du Castel w^as carried ofif by an epidemic at 
Beauvais in 1389, and she thus found herself a widow at twenty- 
five with three children besides others^ to support out of what 
little she could rescue from the claimants to her husband's estate. 
Curious details of the protracted lawsuits and other troubles 
by which she was harassed during the next few years are given in 
several of her works ; but it is enough to say that her tenacity and 
force of character carried her safely through until she made for 
herself a literary position which for one of her sex was probably 
without precedent. Excepting a few short pieces anterior perhaps 
to her husband's death, she appears to have begun writing poetry 
as a solace in her widowhood. Such pathetic effusions as " Seulete 
suy et seulete vueil estre " and " Je suis vesve, seulete et noir 
vestue," ' with others in a similar strain, could hardly fail to excite 
sympathy, and she was thus encouraged to utilize her pen for 
procuring more material support. At the end of the 14th century 

1 Robineau, p. 10. 

- Thus in " La Vision " she writes " le me tolli en fleur de ieunece, comme en 
I'aage de xxxiiij. ans, et moy de xxv. demouray chargee de iii. enfans petiz et de grant 
maisnage " {cf. p. xi. jiote 4). 

3 CEuvres poetiques, ed. Roy, i. p. 12, "Cent Balades," No. xi., and p. 148, 
"Rondeaux," No. iii. 

Introduction. xiii 

all that an author struggling with poverty had to depend upon was 
the patronage and munificence of the great, and it may therefore 
have been mainly to suit the taste of those to whom she looked 
for favour and assistance that she composed the lighter and more 
amatory of the "Ballades," "Lais" and "Virelais," "Rondeaux " 
and "Jeux a vendre," which were the earliest, and not the least 
charming, of her poems. Besides Charles VI, and his queen, the 
Dukes of Berry, Burgundy, and Orleans, and other princes, nobles, 
and great ladies of the French court, it is interesting to find among 
her warmest patrons the English Earl of Salisbury,* who came on 
an embassy to Paris in December, 1398. The theory that it was 
for him that she made the collection of her " Cent Ballades" rests 
on little, if any, foundation, but his friendly regard for her is shown 
by his having taken her elder son Jean du Castel, then thirteen, to 
England, in order to educate him with a boy of his own of similar 
age. By her own account, as it appears,^ this was at the time of 
the marriage of Isabella, daughter of Charles VI., to Richard II., 
which took place at Calais on 4th November, 1396, so that she 
may have become acquainted with the earl during a previous visit 
to Paris, or while he was in France with Richard, who crossed 
over for the marriage as early as 27th September. If he had not 
met a tragic fate on 7th January, 1400, in an abortive attempt in 
favour of his deposed sovereign, Christine herself might have fol- 
lowed her son. At the same time Salisbury was not the only nor most 
influential admirer of her talent on this side of the Channel. After 
his death the usurper Henry IV. himself took charge of the boy 
and tried to induce her to settle in England, and it is to her credit 
that loyalty to the earl's memory among other reasons made her 

1 John de Montacute or Montagu, who succeeded his father as second Baron 
Montacute in 1390, his mother as Baron Monthermer in 1395 ('*)> ^^^ ^^^ uncle as 
third Earl of Salisbury in 1397. One of the objects of his embassy in 1398 was to 
hinder the marriage of Henry of Lancaster with a daughter of the Duke of Berry. 
Christine speaks of him as " gracieux chevalier, aimant dictiez et luy mesme gracieux 
dicteur " (Boivin, " Vie de Chr. de Pisan," in K^ralio's Collection des meilleurs ouvrages 
Francois, 1787, ii. p. 118). 

^ Koch, p. 36. 

xiv The Epistle of Othea to Hector. 

obdurate. In order, however, to get back her son she feigned 
compliance until he was sent to fetch her, when she kept him with 
her and remained in France.^ 

Before this she had entered on the second stage of her literary 
career, to which the "Epitre d'Oth^a" most probably belongs. 
In 1399 she resolved to attempt longer and more serious poems, 
animated by a more or less definite moral purpose, and she began 
by preparing herself for this task by a strenuous course of study, 
as nearly encyclopaedic in character as was then possible, though 
there is no reason to suppose that she was acquainted with Greek 
authors except through Latin translations. But her earliest poems 
of any length, issued between 1399 and 1402, were still of the 
nature of *' Dits d'Amour." Such, for example, were the " Epitre 
au dieu d'amour" and the "Dit de la Rose," the "D^bat de 
deux amants," the " Dit de Poissy," with its lively account of her 
visit in 1400 to Poissy Abbey, where her daughter was a nun, and 
the idyllic " Dit de la pastoure." ^ The first two of these poems 
were written in defence of women against the aspersions of Jean 
de Meun in the "Roman de la Rose" and his school, and they 
involved her in a protracted controversy, in which with the valuable 
support of Jean Gerson she fully held her own. The moralizing 
element is much more strongly developed in the '* Chemin de long 
estude,"^and the " Mutation de Fortune,"^ which were composed in 

^ In a ballad praying the Duke of Orleans to take him into his service (Roy, i. 
p, 232) she speaks of his having been three years in England : 

Ja trois ans a que pour sa grant prouesse 
L'en amena le conte tres louable 
De Salsbery, qui moru a destrece 
Ou mal pais d'Angleterre, ou muable 
Y sont la gent. 
Elsewhere she says that Henry IV. " tres joyeusement prist mon enfant vers luy et 
tint chierement et en tres bon estat " (Boivin, p. 119). 
2 All printed by Roy, vol. ii. 1891. 

' An edition, "traduit de langue romanne en prose frangoise par Jan Chaperon," 
appeared a Paris in 1549. See also above, p. xi., note 4, Koch, p. 76, and Keralio, 
ii. p. 297. 

* For an analysis see Koch, p. 63. 

Introduction, xV 

1402 and 1403. In the earlier of these somewhat prolix, but withal 
extremely interesting, works Christine is conducted by the Sibyl 
Amalthea through the known world,^ and then ascends with her 
as far as the fifth heaven. After recounting these experiences she 
proceeds to inculcate doctrines of right and justice by means of an 
elaborate allegory, in which Raison, Sagesse, Noblesse, Chevalerie, 
and Richesse play the leading parts, room being also found for a 
glowing eulogy of Charles V. In the " Mutation de Fortune " she 
again indulges her taste for allegory, but in place of geography and 
astronomy other sciences have their turn. The introduction, which 
is rich in personal interest, deals with her father's life and her own 
and then leads up to her dream or vision of the great " Chastel de 
Fortune." This castle is in fact the world, and those who lodge 
in it are the various classes of mankind, who from pope and king 
downwards are vividly characterized ; while the subjects painted 
on the walls of the hall give occasion for summaries of philosophy 
and of universal history to the birth of Christ, followed by allu- 
sions to more recent events and by another tribute to the virtues 
of Thomas de Pisan's royal patron. On ist January, 1403-4, 
Christine presented this poem as a new-year's gift to Philip, Duke 
of Burgundy, brother of Charles V. The immediate result was a 
commission to write the late king's life, and although the duke 
himself died on 27th April following, she completed this task 
within the year, sending a copy to his elder brother John, Duke of 
Berry, on ist January, 1404-5. 

The " Livre des fais et bonnes meurs du sage roy Charles V." 
is the best known and in many respects the most valuable of all 
her writings,^ and it also marks the beginning of the period when 
she practically abandoned verse in favour of prose. Though full 
of interesting details, the work is not so much a regular biography 
as an appreciation of the king's character from the point of view 
of an enthusiastic partisan. To some extent Charles V. realized 

^ In this part of the work she plagiarizes largely from the so-called Travels of Sir 
John Mandeville (see article by P. Toynbee in Romania, xxi. 1892, p. 228). 

2 Printed in Petitot's Collection des Memoires^ 1824, vols. v. vi. and elsewhere. 

xvi The Epistle of Othea to Hector. 

Christine's ideal of chivalry, and in her discursive way she seized 
her chance to enforce by his example the paramount necessity to 
a ruler of a sound education and virtuous principles, with covert 
reflections no doubt upon the political rivalries and dissolute morals 
which under the unhappy circumstances of his successor's mental 
disease were bringing ruin upon France. Of her remaining works 
*' La Vision,"^ which appeared later in 1405, is of peculiar interest 
for its self-revelation. It was apparently meant as a reply to those 
who, on the ground of her sex and foreign origin, questioned her 
right to pose as an authority on French history and morals ; but 
with a frank recital of her chequered fortunes and a defence of her 
position she mixes up a curious allegory on the mighty power of 
" Dame Opinion " and a discussion on the comfort to be derived 
from philosophy. To quote a simile which she more than once 
applies to herself,^ "petite clochete grant voix sonne " ; and this 
may certainly be said of two ambitious treatises written seemingly 
about 1407. One of them is the well-known " Livre des faits 
d'armes et de chevalerie,"^ which is nothing less than an attempt 
to teach the whole art of war, grounded largely upon Vegetius and 
other authorities, but not without shrewd and pertinent observations 
of her own ; while in the other, entitled " Le Corps de Policie," 
she takes up the subject of civil government, more particularly 
with regard to the education of princes and the duties and mutual 
relations of the several orders in the state. The " Cite des 
Dames ""^ and its complement the "Livre des Trois Vertus'"^ deal 

1 Analysed by Koch, p. 73. 

2 As in the dedication of the " Epitre d'Othea " partly printed below, p. xxxvi. 

^ The original of The book of fay ties of armes and of Chyualrye^ printed by 
Caxton in 1489. He tells us in a note that it was given to him by Henry VII. on 
23rd January, 1489, to translate and print, *' to thende that euery gentylman born to 
armes and all manere men of werre captayns souldiours vytayllers and all other shold 
haue knowlege how they ought to behaue theym in the fayttes of warre and of 
bataylles." He adds that the translation was finished on the 8th July and printed on 
the 14th. A French edition appeared at Paris in 1488, and others in 1497, etc. 

* An English translation by Bryan Anslay, entitled The boke of the cyte of Ladyes^ 
was printed at London, 1521. 

5 For the dedication to the Dauphiness and the table of chapters see Thomassy, 
Essai sur les ecrits politiques de Christbie de Pisan, 1838, p. 185. 

Introduction. xvii 

on the contrary with subjects which fell less disputably within her 
natural sphere. As we have seen, she had already championed her 
sex in verse. In coming forward again in its defence, but this time 
in prose, she went further, taking upon herself to lay down rules of 
guidance for women of all ranks, which she effectively did by 
allegory as well as by precepts and by historical examples. 

In all these works her aims were moral rather than political. 
But although, considering her relations with the leaders of the con- 
tending factions, it is not surprising that she abstained from decisively 
taking a side, there is no doubt that she was profoundly moved by 
the growing miseries of her adopted country. As early as 1405 
she addressed to the queen, Isabella of Bavaria, a letter^ strongly 
advocating peace, and five years later she returned to the subject 
in a passionate appeaP to the princes generally and the Duke of 
Berry in particular. The " Livre de la Paix," the different parts of 
which were composed respectively in 141 2 and 141 3 in connexion 
with the transient pacifications of Auxerre and of Pontoise, is of less 
restricted scope.' It was dedicated by Christine to the youthful 
Dauphin, Louis, Duke of Guienne, and after an earnest exhortation 
to harmony it is expanded into a formal treatise on the virtues that 
go to form the perfect prince, Charles V. providing her as usual 
with an ever ready example. This appears to have been the latest, 
as it is one of the most important, of her prose works ; for although 
possibly some of her religious verses were composed in the interval, 
so far as is known she maintained an unbroken silence until 1429, 
when the triumphs of the Maid of Orleans drew from her a poem 
ringing with patriotic fervour,* her joy at the approaching deliver- 
ance of France being no doubt all the greater because its promised 
saviour was a woman. What her feelings were when these hopes 
were again deferred can only be imagined, for nothing more is 

1 Printed by Thomassy, p. 133. 

2 Ibid.y p. J41. 

8 For an analysis of its contents, with extracts, see ibid.y p. 150. The Dauphin 
Louis was bom in 1396 and died in 1415. 

* See Thomassy, p. xlii. ; Martin, Histoire de France^ 4th ed. 1878, vi. p. 192. 
It is dated 31st July, 1429, a fortnight after the coronation of Charles VII. at Reims. 


xviii The Epistle of Othea to Hector. 

heard of her. In the opening lines of her poem she states that she 
had then been eleven years in a convent/ but she omits to give its 
name, and the date and the place of her death thus alike remain 

Of all her works the one with which we are here specially 
concerned presents perhaps most difficulty with regard to date. In 
the best copies, as in Harley MS. 4,431,^ it is headed " Ci com- 
mence lepistre Othea la deesse, que elle envoya a Hector de Troie 
quant il estoit en laage de quinze ans,^' for which reason, coupled 
with its dedication to Louis, Duke of Orleans, it has been too 
hastily assigned to 1386,' when Louis himself was of that age. 
Against this date it is almost enough to urge that Christine was 
then only twenty-two years old, and from all that we know of her 
she was not in the least likely to have begun authorship so early 
with a long didactic treatise mostly in prose ; but, apart from this, 
Louis was not made Duke of Orleans until 4th June, 1391, so that 
the work could not have been addressed to him, as it is, under that 
title five years before. Another theory, that, although dedicated 
to Louis, it was designed for the edification of his son and heir 
Charles * is not open to the same objections ; for, as the future poet- 
duke was born in 139 1, the date would then be 1406, at which 
time Christine was in full career as a moralist and prose-writer, 
with strong views, as may be seen in her "Fais et bonnes meurs 
du sage roy Charles V.", on the subject of chivalrous qualities. On 
the other hand, if the facts were as supposed, in addressing the 
work to the father she would hardly have failed to make some 
explanatory reference to the son. Her omission to do so there- 
fore makes this theory hardly less untenable than the other. It is 

1 "Je Christine, qui ay plourd xi. ans en I'abbaye close." It was perhaps the 
abbey of Poissy, of which her daughter was already an inmate in 1400 (above, p. xiv.), 
and which may possibly be meant by " Passy " in the passage from the Boke of Noblesse 
quoted in a note on p. xxxiii. 

2 See below, p. xxxv. 

2 Koch, p. 81. Louis was born 13th March, 1372. 

♦ Robineau, p. 8g, speaks as if it was addressed to Charles himself, but the words 
are " Dorliens due Loys " (see below, p. xxxvi.). 

Introduction. xix 

more likely that the date lies between these two extremes. The 
significance of the dedication may easily be overrated. It was 
Christine's habit to send her works with a separate dedicatory 
preface to her several patrons as new-year's gifts for no other 
reason probably than the hope of a tangible acknowledgment, and 
we know in fact that other copies of the " Epitre d'Othea" were 
sent both to Charles VI. and the Duke of Berry.' If it is necessary 
to look for some particular youth of fifteen to whom she wished 
to play the part of a moral instructress, he may perhaps be found 
in her own son, for whom on another occasion she wrote the 
" Enseignemens Moraux." ^ Jean du Castel was probably of the 
required age about 1400, so that in this case the work represents, 
as it well may, the first-fruits of the studies in which she immersed 
herself shortly before, and its date moreover exactly accords with 
its position in her own collections of her works, where it comes 
after the " Dit de Poissy" (1400) and before the "Chemin de long 
estude" (1402).' 

Although without any claim to be reckoned among the best 
of her works, it is at least admirable in motive. Ostensibly it is 
addressed by the Goddess of Prudence or Wisdom to her protege 
Hector wuth the object of inciting him to the attainment of true 
knighthood by the practice of virtue, the name of the goddess 
being clearly no more than the Greek vocative a) ded, commonly 
used in Homer in speeches addressed to Athena.^ The plan of 
the work is somewhat peculiar. The epistle proper, which pur- 
ports to be Othea's own, is in verse, and is divided into a hundred 
"textes," each of which after the first five consists of a single 
quatrain. These hundred "textes" serve as a medium for instilling 
into the mind of the pupil as many moral precepts or rules of 
behaviour, wrapped up in an allusion to some story from mythology, 

1 See pp. xxxiv., xxxvii. 

2 " Les enseignemens que je Cristine donne a Jehan de Castel mon filz " {(Ettvres 
poetiques, ed. Roy, iii. p. 27). 

' See the comparative table in Roy, i. p. xxii. 

* This was first pointed out by the Abbe Sallier, Memoires de V Academic Royale 
des Inscriptions, xvii. 1751, p. 518. 

XX The Epistle of Othea to Hector. 

from the history of Troy or, very rarely, from other sources, with- 
out the least regard for chronological propriety. Othea indeed 
anticipates the charge of anachronism by claiming at the outset (p. 6) 
the divine prerogative of prophecy, by which means she obviates 
the incongruity of drawing lessons for Hector from the circum- 
stances of his own death (p. 105), from the story of Cyrus and 
Queen Tomyris (p. 63), and even from the vision of Christ shown 
by the Sibyl to the Roman emperor Augustus (p. 113). Perhaps the 
most glaring anachronism is the reference to the fate of "Thune" 
(p. iioj. It has been suggested in a note on the passage that this 
is a corruption in the MSS. for " Thyre " or Tyre ; but the rhyme 
both in the French and English versions requires "Thune," and 
possibly the allusion is to the much vaunted expedition of Louis, 
Duke of Bourbon, against Tunis in 139 1. If so, this is a single 
instance of a reference to an event in more recent times. The 
" textes," however, are not left to stand alone, being invariably 
followed by a "glose" and an ''allegoric," both of which are in 
prose and often of some length. The bulk of the work therefore 
is really a commentary by Christine herself upon Othea's supposed 
teaching. Thus, in the " glose " she amplifies and explains the 
allusion in the " texte," and as a rule points its application by a 
maxim from an ancient philosopher ; and, having done this to her 
own satisfaction, she next dilates in the " allegoric" on its more 
spiritual meaning, which she illustrates by a passage from one of the 
Fathers or some later theologian, and finally by a more or less appro- 
priate verse from Scripture. These last citations are from the Latin 
Vulgate, and from the fact that the translator omits them it may be 
inferred that he was either ignorant of Latin or intended to supply 
them from the Wycliffite English version. In this way Christine 
works through the Virtues and Vices, the Articles of the Creed, the 
Ten Commandments, the properties and influences of the seven 
planets, and so forth ; and the whole forms a curious and ill-assorted 
medley, which is not without interest as a reflection of the taste 
of the time, but which contains, it must be confessed, little either to 
attract or to edify the modern reader. 

No critical edition of the original work has yet appeared. 

Introduction, xxi 

and the preface to a translation is hardly the place in which 
to enter minutely into its composition. Apart, however, from 
the Latin Vulgate and the theological writers whose names 
mav be found in the index, there are three sources from 
which the matter appears to be mainly derived. Christine's 
classical mythology, it is clear, comes almost entirely from the 
Metamorphoses of Ovid, but whether she had recourse to the 
original or to a moralized mediaeval adaptation is a question not so 
easily determined. There is a work of the latter kind in French 
verse and of prodigious length, fourteen MSS. of which are known, 
including one in the British Museum (Add. MS. 10,324). By some 
misunderstanding it was formerly attributed to Philippe de Vitry, 
Bishop of Meaux (1351-1362). Modern criticism, however, has 
proved that it was really written by Chretien Legouais, a Friar 
Minor, for the queen of Philip IV., Jeanne de Champagne, who 
died in 1305.^ There was a copy in the library of Christine's 
patron, the Duke of Berry,^ but it was apparently acquired in 1403, 
after the "Epitre d'Othea" was written. Although it is quite 
possible that she had a direct knowledge of this poem, she is more 
likely to have used a moralized prose paraphrase of the Metamor- 
phoses by the Benedictine Pierre Bersuire, who in his second 
edition, written at Paris in 1342, laid Legouais under contribution. 
Bersuire wrote in Latin, which language Christine certainly under- 
stood, and how soon his work appeared in French it is difficult to 
say. In the Berry Library there were three MSS. of the Meta- 
morphoses apparently in vernacular prose,^ any one, if not all, of 
which may have been Bersuire in a French version. There is also 
a French prose version in Brit. Mus. Royal MS. 17 E. iv. in com- 
pany with the ** Epitre d'Othea " itself, but the MS. is not earlier 
than the latter part of the 15th century. This version is closely 

^ See articles by B. Haureau in M'emoires de PAcadhnie des Inscriptions^ xxx. 
1883, p. 45, and by G[aston] P[aris] in the Histoire Littiraire de la France, xxix. 
1885, p. 502. 

2 Guiffrey, Inventaires de Jean, Due de Berry, 1894, i. p. 237, "escript en 
frangois rime"; Delisle, Le Cabinet des MSS., iii. p. 192. 

8 Guiffrey, i. pp. 226, 229, ii. p. 127. 

xxii The Epistle of Othea to Hector. 

connected with that printed at Bruges in 1484 by Colard Mansion, 
who supposed the original author to have been, not Bersuire, but 
Thomas Waleys or de Galles. The two are, however, not quite 
identical, and the former possibly represents an older version, 
which Mansion revised for printing. But whatever the particular 
form of Ovid's Metamorphoses which Christine utilized, her naive 
interpretations of his mythological tales are no doubt largely her 
own. In this respect she was certainly not in advance of her age. 
In the usual euhemeristic fashion she regarded the classical deities 
and demigods as men and women who by the " prerogative of some 
grace " had raised themselves above their fellows and were for this 
reason accorded divine honours ; or, on the other hand, they were 
mere inventions of the poets, who, for instance, by inverting the 
process by which the planets were named from the gods, made gods 
of the planets. A fair sample of her method may be seen in the 
story of Perseus (p. 15). This hero, whose name, by the way, our 
English translator changed into that of the better known Arthurian 
Sir Perceval, was a " moult vaillant chevalier," his steed Pegasus 
was " bonne renommee " or fame, which carried his name into all 
lands, and his deliverance of Andromeda teaches the aspirant to 
knighthood the duty of relieving all women in distress. So much 
may be learnt from the "glose " ; but in the " allegoric" Pegasus 
becomes the spiritual knight's good angel, " qui fera bon rapport 
de lui au jour de jugement," while Andromeda is his soul, which 
he frees from the power of the fiend. 

With regard to the many personages and incidents from 
Trojan history introduced into the work, Christine's authority was 
evidently a French prose romance which in a 15th century copy 
in the British Museum (Add. MS. 9,785) is entitled "La vraye 
ystoire de Troye." Its origin has been traced in an instructive 
article by M. Paul Meyer entitled " Les premieres compilations 
frangaises d'histoire ancienne." ^ It appears to be founded upon 
the well-known romance of Troy in French verse by Benoit de 
Ste. More and to have been composed before 1287, and it was 

^ Romania^ xiv. 1885, p. i. 

Introduction, xxiii 

employed, instead of Dares Phrygius as was previously the case, 
in the second edition of the compilation known as the ** Histoire 
ancienne jusqu' ^ C^sar." There is, however, no reason to doubt 
that what Christine worked from was the " Vraye histoire " itself. 

The third authority of which she habitually made use was 
of a diflferent character, supplying her, not with mythological or 
legendary tales, but with moral maxims, one of which, as we have 
already remarked, she generally quoted at the end of each " glose." 
These maxims are derived from a singular work known as ** Dicta 
Philosophorum," and consisting of long strings of apophthegms 
attached to the names of various ancient sages. They begin with 
Sedechias, of whom it is said "primus fuit per quem nutu Dei lex 
precepta fuit," and besides Homer, Solon, Hippocrates, Pythagoras, 
Diogenes, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Alexander of Macedon, and 
Ptolemy, they include Hermes Trismegistus and such strange and 
evidently corrupted names as Tac, Salquinus (or, as it is written in 
some MSS., Zaqualquin), Rabion (or Sabion), Assaron, Longinon, 
Magdarges, Texillus (or Thesillus) and others, some of which have 
a distinctly oriental appearance. The Arabic original in fact exists 
in a work written by Abu-'l-Wafa Mobasschir ibn-Fdtik al Kaid, 
an emir of Egypt, in 1053.^ Sedechias appears there as Adam's 
son Seth, and some other of the above names may be dimly 
recognized in Sab, ancestor of the Sabseans, Lokman, Maihdda Gis, 
and Basilius. From the heading of the Latin version in the MS. 
from which it has been published,^ it seems that the work was first 
translated from Arabic into Greek, and then again from Greek into 
Latin, the last version being by John de Procida, famous for the 
prominent part he took in the revolution which freed Sicily from 
Charles of Anjou and the French in 1282. Christine de Pisan, 
however, apparently employed a popular French version made 

^ De Jong and De Goeje, Catalogus codicum orientaliutn Bill. Acad. Lugd. Bat., 
iii. p. 342 ; Brockelmann, Geschichte der Arabischen Liieraiur, i. p. 459. 

2 Salv. de Renzi, Collectio Sakrnitana, iii. 1854, p. 69, " Incipit liber philoso- 
phorum moralium .... quem transtulit de Greco in Latinum Mag. Johannes 
de Procida." The Latin text is quoted in the notes here from Brit. Mus. Add. MS. 
16,906, the French text from Royal MS. 19 B iv., both of the 15th century. 

xxiv The Epistle of Othea to Hector, 

from the Latin for Charles VI. by one of his chamberlains, Guillaume 
de Tignonville, who was afterwards Provost of Paris ( 140 1- 1408) 
and died in 1414. As a copy of it at Paris was written in 1402/ it 
was certainly completed before then, and the probability is that it 
preceded the " Epitre d'Othea" by several years. It possesses 
a special interest from the fact that an English version of it had 
the honour of being the first book actually printed in this country. 
This was the famous Dictes and Sayengis of the Philosophres^ 
which Anthony Wydeville, second Earl Rivers, translated from a 
copy of De Tignonville's work lent to him when he was going on 
a pilgrimage to Compostella in 1473, and which Caxton issued 
from his newly established press at Westminster in 1477.^ Neither 
of them seems to have been aware that another English version was 
in existence, which dated from 1450.^ This is still preserved in two 
MSS. in the British Museum, but has never been printed. The 
late 15th century copy in Add. MS. 34,193 (ff. 137-201) has the 
advantage of being complete, but it bears no evidence of origin, 
having neither title nor preface and ending merely with the words 
" Hie est finis libri morahum philosophorum." Harley MS. 2,266, 
on the contrary, though it is mutilated at the beginning and else- 
where, fortunately has the following colophon : 

" This boke byfore wretyn is callid in Frensh lettris Ditz de Philisophius 
and in Englysh for to sey the doctryne and J;e wysedom of the wyse auncyent 
philysophers, as Arystotle, Plato, Socrates, Tholome and suche oJ>er, trans- 
latid out of laten in to frensh to {sc. for) kyng Charles the vi*^ of Fraunse by 
Wyllyam Tyngnovyle, knyght, late provest of the cyte of Parys, and syth 
now late translatyd out of frensh tung in to englysh the yere of oure Lord 
m^ccccl. to (jc. for) John Fostalf, knyght, for his contemplacion and solas by 
Stevyn Scrope, squyer, sonne in law to the seide Fostalle. Deo gracias." 

1 P. Paris, Les MSS. franfois de la Bid I. du Roi, v. p. i. 

3 " Enprynted by me William Caxton at Westmestre the yere of our lord 
m.cccclxxvii." A second edition appeared in 1480 (?), and a third, by W. de Worde, 
in 1528. 

* Thus, the translator says in his preface, " And at the last [I] concluded in my 
self to translate it in to thenglyssh tong, wiche in my jugement was not before," and 
Caxton adds in the colophon, " Certaynly I had seen none in englissh til that tyme." 

Introduction. xxv 

The truth of the statement here made may be accepted without 
hesitation, nor is its interest confined to the translation of the 
" Dis des Philosophes " to which it is attached, for, as will be seen 
below, it also materially helps to determine the similar origin of the 
English version of Christine de Pisan's " Epitre d'Othea," which 
we now have to consider. 

If the rubricator had done his work, no doubt the " Epistle of 
Othea to Hector " would have had this title prefixed in conformity 
with the MSS. of the French original. As it is, the text begins 
abruptly without a word of heading three lines from the bottom of 
the first page, and the only preliminary indication of its nature is 
furnished by the inscription " The Booke of Knyghthode," written, 
apparently by a somewhat later hand, on the old vellum cover, 
which now serves for a fly-leaf. This alternative title is peculiar 
to the English version, and is extracted from the translator's 
dedicatory preface, to which source we are also indebted for a clue 
to his identity and the knowledge of the circumstances under which 
the translation was made. The anonymous patron, " noble and 
worshipfull among the ordre of cheualrie," to whom the preface 
is addressed was obviously a person of some consequence. He 
was of knightly rank and had won great renown in France and 
elsewhere ^ abroad, having spent most part of his life in " dedys of 
cheualrie and actis of armis." He was now, however, sixty years 
of age, and was compelled by failing strength to seek retirement, 
and he is thereupon somewhat pointedly reminded that it behoved 
him to devote the remainder of his days to conflict with those 
spiritual enemies that war against the soul. If this were all, it 
might have applied to more than one veteran of the protracted 
French war which began in 14 15 ; but, when the writer goes on to 
speak of himself (p. 2) as " I, yowre most humble son Stevyn," 
there can hardly be a doubt that, as in the case of the above- 
mentioned translation of the " Dis des Philosophes," we have to do 

* No doubt there is some rhetorical exaggeration in the expression " othir straunge 
regions, londes and contrees " (p. 2, cf. p. xxx below) ; at any rate, there is no evidence 
that Fastolf served anywhere but in France, both north and south, and in Ireland. 


xxvi The Epistle of Othea to Hector. 

with that famous old warrior Sir John Fastolf, K.G., and his stepson^ 
Stephen Scrope, esquire. 

The briefest summary of Fastolf's military career ^ will suffice 
to show how closely it accords with ihe writer's description. Son 
of a Norfolk squire and born in or about 1378, he appears to have 
begun active service early in the reign of Henry IV. with that 
king's second son, Thomas, afterwards Duke of Clarence. In 
1 40 1, though a mere lad of fourteen, Thomas of Lancaster, as he 
was then called, was appointed his father's Lieutenant in Ireland. 
Fastolf was in his train there in 1402, if not before, and on 
14th April, 1406,^ he had from him a grant of the office of joint 
Chief Butler of Ireland during the minority of the Earl of 
Ormonde. He was still in Ireland when he married Millicent, 
daughter of Robert, Lord Tiptoft, and widow of the Deputy 
Lieutenant, Sir Stephen Scrope. The marriage took place on 13th 
January, 1409, only four months after the death (4th September, 
1408) of the lady's first husband,* whose son and heir Stephen 
was a minor ten or twelve years old at the time.® Besides other 
advantages, it gave Fastolf the control over lands of his wife and 
stepson in Yorkshire, at Castle Combe in Wiltshire, and elsewhere, 
and he seems to have exercised it with little regard to any one's 
interest except his own. His earliest service in France probably 
dated from 141 2. He figures in the long muster-roll of esquires 
who joined the expedition under Clarence in August of that year,*' 
and before its close he had become Lieutenant of the castle of 

1 In the colophon to the other work he is styled son in-law, but the meaning is 
the same. 

2 There is a good account of him in the Diet, of National Biography^ vol. xviii. 
See also G. Poulett Scrope, Hist, of Castle Combe, 1852, ch. vii. p. 169. Besides other 
authorities given in the first-named work, some further particulars and corrections are 
supplied in Wylie's Hist, of England under Henry J V.^ 1884-1898, and in Sir J. H. 
Ka.vasa.y's Lancaster and York, 1892. 

8 Wyhe, iii. p. 168. 

* /did. 

* Hist, of Castle Combe, p. 2 8 2. 

* Wylie, iv. p. 74. 

Introduction. xxvii 

Bordeaux.^ With the accession of Henry V. his energy and 
undoubted talent for war found ample scope. His contract in June, 
1415,^ to serve the king with ten men-at-arms and thirty archers 
was speedily followed by Henry's invasion of France and the siege 
of Harfleur. Evidently it was not long before he attracted notice, 
for when the town surrendered on 22nd September he was at once 
put in command of it under the king's uncle, Thomas Beaufort, 
Earl of Dorset.^ This did not prevent him from displaying his 
prowess a month later at Agincourt ; and he was again active in the 
sieges of Caen and Rouen and in other operations during Henry's 
second invasion of Normandy in 14 17- 141 9. Hardly any name in 
fact of secondary rank more frequently recurs in the chronicles 
and documents of the war for a quarter of a century. Already 
knighted before 29th January, 1415-6,^ he was made a knight ban- 
neret in 1423 and a Knight of the Garter in 1426 ; and, only to 
mention a few of the posts conferred upon him,' in 1420 he was 
made Governor of the Bastille of St. Antoine at Paris, in 1422 
Master of the Household to John, Duke of Bedford, Regent of 
France, and in 1423 Lieutenant of Normandy and Governor of 
Anjou and Maine. In the minor battles and sieges which made 
up so much of the desultory warfare of the time he was everywhere 
conspicuous. On 2nd March, 1423, with the Earl of Salisbury, 
he recovered Meulan ; on 17th August, 1424, he shared in the 
victory at Verneuil and took the Duke of Alengon prisoner ; on 

1 Wylie, iv. p. 86. 

' The warrant for his pay, i8th June, is in Rymer's Fxdera, ed. 1740, iv. pt. ii. 

p. 130- 

3 According to the Boke of Noblesse (see below, p. xliii.), p. 1 5, " the seyd erle 
made Ser John Fastolfe, chevaler, his lieutenaunt with mV" soudeours." 

* Rymer, iv. pt. ii. p. 153. Diet. Nat. Biogr. has 141 7-18. 

^ The Boke of Noblesse^ after praising him for his care in provisioning his 
garrisons, goes on to say (p. 68), " and that policie was one of the grete causes that 
the regent of Fraunce and the lordes of the kyngys grete councelle lefft hym to hafe 
so many castells to kepe that he ledd yerly iii* sperys and the bowes." The value of 
his foresight in this respect is then illustrated by an anecdote of what happened when 
the Bastille was threatened with a siege in 1420. 

xxviii The Epistle of Othea to Hector, 

nth October in the same year he captured Sille le Guillaume, 
from which he acquired the title of baron ; on 2nd August, 1425, 
again with Salisbury, he received the surrender of Le Mans ^ ; and 
on 1 2th February, 1429, when in command of a convoy of much 
needed supplies for the English camp before Orleans, he signally 
defeated a far stronger force of French and Scots at Rouvray 
St. Denis in the famous " Battle of the Herrings." Up to this point, 
so far as is known, he had met with almost uninterrupted success ; 
but after the advent of Jeanne Dare had caused the raising of the 
siege of Orleans, when the English were routed and Lord Talbot 
was taken prisoner at Pataye on i8th June following, he barely 
succeeded in escaping from the field. Unfortunately for his fame 
with posterity, the charge of cowardice on this occasion made 
against him in Monstrelet's Chronicle was repeated by Hall and 
Holinshed and has been perpetuated in the " First Part of 
Henry VL"^ The effect of the charge at the time was, however, 
transient at most, and there is no need to dwell upon it here, either 
on its own account or in its bearing upon the question whether he 
was the original of Shakespeare's Sir John Falstaff. It is contra- 
dicted by the chronicler Wavrin, who fought in the battle under 
him, and it is out of keeping with his whole career ; moreover, 
Talbot, who was his bitterest accuser, was already on ill terms 
with him and, having flouted his advice just before the battle, in 
his chagrin at defeat was perhaps only too ready to make him a 
scapegoat. The Regent Bedford's action in the matter is signifi- 
cant ; for, although Fastolf was at first badly received by him, after 
a formal inquiry he was again taken into favour and the Garter, of 
which he is said to have been deprived, was restored to him in 
spite of Talbot's protests. Nor was less use made of his services 
afterwards. Thus, between 1430 and 1434 we find him Lieutenant 
of Caen and of Alengon and Captain of Fresnay, and in 1431 he 
relieved Vaudemont and captured the Duke of Bar, As late as 

1 The Diet. Nat. Biogr. oddly calls the place Mons ! 
3 Act iii. so. 2, 11. 104-109 ; Act iv. sc. i, 11. 9-47. 

Introduction. xxix 

1435 he is spoken of as Governor of Anjou and Maine/ and until 
the Duke of Bedford's death on 14th September of that year he 
continued at the head of his household, being so described both in 
a list of the Regent's retinue in 1435 and in a highly interesting 
report on the conduct of the war which he himself drew up about 
the same time.^ Bedford's confidence in him to the last is also 
clear from the fact that he named him one of the executors of his 
will. Notwithstanding the loss of so powerful a patron and his 
own advancing years, Fastolf was plainly in no hurry to put off his 
armour ; for, with the exception of occasional visits to England 
as before, he remained abroad for at least five years longer. His 
retirement is generally fixed in 1440, but there is evidence of his 
being in Maine in the following year.' On 12th May, 1441, the 
Duke of York, Bedford's successor as Regent, granted him a 
yearly pension of ;^20 for his services/ and probably therefore it 
was not very long before or after that date that he finally turned 
his back upon the country from whose unhappy distractions he had 
won fame and fortune. 

It is at this stage of his life that we get a glimpse of him in 
the dedication of the '* Epistle of Othea." From its language this 
was written soon after he finally returned home ; in fact it gives 
his age, no doubt somewhat loosely, as sixty, whereas even in 1440 
he was probably sixty-two. During the greater part of the period 
which elapsed before his death on 5th November, 1459, he seems 
to have resided chiefly in Southwark, where he was within easy 
reach of a summons to the King's Council, of which he was a 
member ; and there is something attractive in the picture which 

^ Paston Letters, i, p. 37; Stevenson, Wars of the English in France, Rolls Series, 
ii. pt. ii. p. [549]- 

2 Stevenson, pp. [433], [575]. 

3 Ramsay, Lancaster and York, ii. p. 41. 

* Brit. Mus. Add. ch. 14,598, "pro notabili et laudabili seruicio ac bono consilio 
que predilectus consiliarius noster loh. Fastolff miles nobis impendit et impendet in 
futurum," 12 May, 19 Hen. VI. The future service was no doubt to be rendered in 
the council-chamber rather than the field. 

XXX The Episth of Othea to Hector. 

Stephen Scrope's words suggest of the war-worn old soldier 
beguiling his leisure with literary studies. Nor are the " Epistle 
of Othea " and the " Sayings of the Philosophers " the only two 
translations made at his " commaundement " and for his " contem- 
placion and solas." In 1481 Caxton printed an English version, 
rendered from the French of Laurence de Premierfait, of Cicero's 
" De Senectute." ^ On the question of its authorship I shall have 
some remarks to make further on ; but meanwhile it deserves 
notice that its preface states that it *'was translated and thystoryes 
openly declared by the ordenaunce and desyre of the noble 
auncyent knyght Syr Johan Fastolf of the countee of Norfolk 
banerette, lyuyng the age of four score yere, excercisyng the warrys 
in the Royame of Fraunce and other countrees, ffor the diffence 
and vnyuersal welfare of bothe royames of englond and ffraunce 
by fourty yeres enduryng, the fayte of armes hauntyng, and in 
admynystryng justice and polytique gouernaunce vnder thre kynges, 
that is to wete Henry the fourth, Henry the fyfthe, Henry the 
syxthe, and was gouernour of the duchye of Angeou and the 
countee of Mayne, Capytayn of many townys, Castellys and fortressys 
in the said Royame of ffraunce, hauyng the charge and saufgarde 
of them dyuerse yeres, ocupyeng and rewlynge thre honderd speres 
and the bowes acustomed thenne, and yeldyng good acompt of the 
forsaid townes castellys and fortresses to the seyd kynges and of 
theyr lyeutenauntes, Prynces of noble recomendacion, as Johan 
regent of ffraunce Due of Bedforde, Thomas due of excestre, 
Thomas due of clarence & other lyeutenauntes," etc. 

At the same time, there was another side to Fastolf 's character, 
which is revealed in that mine of curious information on the social 
life and manners of the time, the well-known Paston Letters, 
Through his intimacy with John Paston,^ who was ultimately his 

1 "Thus endeth the boke of Tulle of olde age translated ont of latyn in to 
frenshe by laurence de primo facto .... and enprynted by me symple persone 
William Caxton in to Englysshe .... the xii day of August the yere of our lord 

2 He was father of Sir John Paston, for whom a copy of " Othea " was written 
in 1469, as well as of John Paston the younger, who owned a copy somewhat later 
(see above, p. x). 

Introduction, xxxi 

executor and principal heir, many of his private letters and papers are 
there preserved, and they certainly do not exhibit him in a favour- 
able light.^ Hot-tempered, arbitrary and rapacious, harsh and mean 
to his dependents, an exacting creditor and a rancorous litigant, he 
was the reverse of Chaucer's type of the " verray perfight, gentil 
knight." Wealthy as he was and childless, he was still bent on 
making gain, partly no doubt to pay for the building of his great 
castle at Caister in Norfolk, the ruins of which may still be seen. 
No one perhaps knew him better or had suffered more from his 
hard dealing than his stepson. Some years later than the present 
work Stephen Scrope drew up a formal statement of his wrongs,^ 
in which he not only complained that in the disposal of his wardship 
Fastolf had bought and sold him "as a beast," but even charged 
him with being the cause of illnesses which had marked him for 
life* and with having at a later period used him so scurvily that he 
was compelled to sell his manor of Hever in Kent and take service 
with the Duke of Gloucester. Apparently this sign of independence 
did not meet Fastolf s views, for he soon managed to get him into his 
own retinue, and, as the other admits, at this time he showed him 
" good fatherhood," employing him at Honfleur and elsewhere, 
probably in a civil capacity,* until he returned home in pique at some 
slight. Fastolf's dealings with regard to Scrope's inheritance are 
somewhat obscure, but by some arrangement he contrived to secure 
Castle Combe for life.® As Lady Fastolf died in 1446, her son by 
her first marriage, to whom it should have then come by right, was 
thus kept out of it for thirteen years longer, only enjoying it from 
his stepfather's death in 1459 until his own in 1472. But in spite of 

^ See Gairdner's introduction, ed. 1896, i. p Ixxxvii. Fastolfs relations with his 
stepson are also illustrated by numerous documents in G. Poulett Scrope's History of 
Castle Combe, where there are memoirs of both, as lords of that manor. 

2 Hist, of Castle Combe, p. 279. 

^ " Thorugh the wiche sale I tooke sekenesses that kept me a xiii. or xiiii. yere 
sw^yng, whereby I am disfigured in my persone and shall be whilest I lyve " {ibid.). 

* From some curious accounts dealing with meat and fish in 1427-8 {ibid. p. 266) 
he was perhaps in the commissariat service. 

' Hist, of Castle Combe, p 169. 

xxxii The Epistle of Othea to Hector. 

differences the two were apparently not altogether on bad terms ; 
otherwise neither this translation nor that of the " Dis des 
Philosophes" would have been made, and still less would Scrope 
have spoken of Fastolf as he here does. His language indeed is 
something more than respectful and laudatory. While he fully 
endorses Wavrin's description of Sir John as *' moult sage et 
vaillant chevallier,"^ there is a tone of humility which makes it 
difficult to realize that the writer was upwards of forty years of age 
and at least Fastolf s equal by birth. The nature of their relations 
may be gathered from a singular letter to the latter about 1455 
from Sir Richard Bingham, Justice of the King's Bench, whose 
daughter Stephen Scrope had recently married.^ In imploring help 
for him the writer says^ : 

" . . . . My saide son is and hath be, and will be to hys lifes ende, your 
true lad and servaunt, and glad and well willed to do that myght be to your 
pleaser, wirschip and profit, and als loth to offend yow as any person in 
erth, gentill and well disposid to every person. Wherfore I besech your 
gode grace that ye will vouchesafe remember the premissez, my saide sons 
age, his wirschipfuU birth, and grete misere for verrey povert, for he hath had 
no liflode to life opon sithen my lady his moder deed, safe x. marc of liflode 
that ye vouched safe to gife hym this last yer, and therffore to be his good 
maister and fader. And thof he be not worthy to be your son, make hym 
your almesman, that he may now in his age life of your almesse, and be your 
bedeman, and pray for the prosperite of your noble person " 

The result of this appeal, and of more to the same effect, is not 
recorded, but that Fastolf could be gracious enough in words is 
evident from the only letter from him to Scrope which is included 
in the Paston Letters^ written on 30th October, 1457. It is 
addressed, " Worschepeful and my right wel beloved sone," and, 

^ Ckroniques, ed. W. Hardy, Rolls Series, vol. for 1422-31, p. 289. Elsewhere 
fp. 254) he describes him as " moult sage et prudent aux armes lu quel se fyoit 
grandement le due de Bethfort, regent." 

2 She was a second wife, but the name of the first, who bore him a daughter, is 
not known {Hist, of Castle Combe, p. 271). 

' Ibid., p. 276 ; Paston Letters, i. p. 356. 

* Ibid., p. 419. 

Introduction. xxxiii 

after thanking him for his " good avertismentys and right well 
avysed lettres," begs him to recommend to his father-in-law, 
Justice Bingham, a suit in which the writer was interested, and 
the tone throughout is unexceptionable. There is, however, 
another letter in the History of Castle Combe (p. 270), written 
from Calais, and, according to the editor, about 1420, which is not 
so amiable. After Scrope's second marriage he and his stepfather 
no doubt lived apart, but at the time when the " Epistle of Othea" 
was translated they were probably under the same roof, and as late 
as 1454, when Caister Castle was completed and Fastolf was about 
to take up his residence there, it is expressly stated that Scrope 
would live with him.^ 

While there is little doubt that he was incapacitated by weak 
health from military service and that he was deficient also in force 
of character, it cannot be said that, so far as we can judge from 
his two translations from the French, he possessed much literary 
ability. There is nothing original in either of them except the 
short preface to the "Epistle of Othea" here printed, and, inter- 
esting as this is in other respects, its style is so involved that in 
places it is hardly intelligible. Nor is the writer more fortunate 
in his account of the French work which he translated : for bv 
some strange misunderstanding he deprives its authoress of the 
credit of it and makes out (p. 3) that it was compiled by doctors of 
the University of Paris merely at the instance and prayer of the 
"fullewyse gentyl woman of Frawnce called Dame Cristine." It 
is curious that a very similar statement is made as to her works 
generally in a marginal note in the " Boke of Noblesse," ^ with 

1 William Paston to John Paston : " He wyll dwelle at Caster, and Skrop wyth 
hym" {Paston Letters, i. p. 296), "The chaumboure sumtyme for Stephen Scrope" 
is mentioned in the inventory of Fastolfs effects at Caister made after his death {ibid., 
i. p. 482). 

3 See below, p. xliii. The note (Roxburghe Club ed. p. 54) runs, " Notandum 
est quod Cristina [fuit] domina praeclara natu et moribus et manebat in domo 
religiosarum dominarum apud Passye prope Parys; et ita virtuosa fuit quod ipsa 


xxxiv The Epistle of Othea to Hector. 

reference to a passage taken from her " Livre des faits d'armes,' 
which, however, is wrongly spoken of as the " Arbre des batailles." 
It is there said that Christine was a lady of high birth and character, 
who dwelt in a house of religious ladies at Passy (Poissy ?) near 
Paris, that she maintained with exhibitions several clerks studying 
in the University of Paris and caused them to compile divers 
virtuous books, such as the ** Arbre des batailles," and that the 
doctors in consequence attributed the books to Christine herself. 
As this note is in the hand of the well-known William Worcester 
or Botoner, who was servant and secretary to Fastolf, the two 
statements no doubt had a common origin, coming perhaps from 
Sir John himself. 

From the prominent way in which Scrope mentions the Duke 
of Berry it is reasonable to conclude that the French MS. which 
supplied him with the original text contained a dedicatory address 
by the authoress to that famous royal bibliophil, who, as we know, 
was one of her special patrons. In the inventory of his library, 
among the MSS. acquired soon after 1401, there is in fact the 
entry,* " Item le livre de I'espitre que Othea la deesse envoia k 
Ethor (sc. Hector), compile par damoiselle Christine de Pizan, 
escript en frangois de lettre de court, tres bien historic . . . . le 
quel livre la dicte Cristine a donne ^ mon dit seigneur " ; and the 
probability is that on Fastolf s return to England he brought with 
him either this identical MS. or a transcript of it, together with a 
copy of De Tignonville's " Dis des philosophes." Existing copies 
of the "Epitre d'Othea" are not uncommon. In the Bibliothfeque 

exhibuit plures clericos studentes in vniuersitate Parisiensi, et compilare fecit plures 
libros virtuosos, utpote librum arborum bellorum, et doctores racione eorum exhibicionis 
attribuerunt nomen autoris Cristine, sed aliquando nomen autoris clerici studentis 
imponitur in diuersis libris; et vixit circa annum Christi 1430, sed floruit ab anno 
Christi 1400." 

^ Guiffrey, Inven^atres, i. p. 249; c/. Delisle, Z^ Cabinet des MSS., iii. p. 193, 
no. zgo. 

Introduction, xxxv 

Nationale at Paris there are twelve/ and Koch (p. 59) mentions 
six others at Brussels, while the British Museum possesses four. 
One of these is included in the fine collection of Christine's poems 
and other works in Harley MS. 4,431. It is the MS. " H," readings 
from which are given here in the notes, and the collotype frontis- 
piece, which depicts the goddess Othea personally handing her 
letter to Hector, is reproduced from the second of its numerous 
miniatures, one of which precedes each of the hundred "textes." 
The collection, which is of the highest importance, including pieces 
found nowhere else,^ was made by Christine herself, apparently 
about 1410-1415, for the French queen, Isabella of Bavaria, the 
MS. beginning with an introductory poem of ninety-six lines 
addressed to her.^ Probably it came into the possession of John, 
Duke of Bedford, Regent of France, in 1425* among other MSS. 
from the royal library of the Louvre ; for the signature " Jaquete " 
of his second wife, Jacquetta of Luxemburg, is written on the fly- 
leaf, together with that of Anthony Wydeville, Earl Rivers, her 
son by her second marriage, in 1437, with Sir Richard Wydeville, 
who was created Earl Rivers in 1466. As we have already seen, 

1 In answer to an inquiry M. Omont, keeper of MSS., kindly states that only 
one of them, frang. 12,438, a poor copy on paper, contains a dedication to the Duke 
of Berry. It begins " Le Prologue. Louenge a Dieu soit . . . . et apres ensuivant 
k tres noble fleur . . . . et puis a vous excellant prince, saige, bon et vertueux, 
Jehan excellant, redouble filz au roy de France .... due de Berry," etc. 

2 The "Cent Balades d'Amant et de Dame" {(Euvres Poetiques, ed. Roy, iii. 
p. 209), besides ten others. 

^ Printed by Roy, i. p. xiv. The MS. is there described and compared with 
another rather earlier collection (now Bibl. Nat. fran^. 835, 606, 836, 605), which the 
Duke of Berry bought from Christine for 200 crowns. A reduced facsimile of the first 
page of the Harley MS., with a large miniature of Christine presenting the volume to 
the queen in her bedchamber, is prefixed to Roy's vol. iii. {cf. a note by P. Meyer, 
p. xxii.). A coloured plate of the same miniature is given by Shaw, Dresses and 
Decorations of the Middle Ages, 1843. 

* Delisle, Ze Cabinet des MSS., i. p. 52. 

xxxvi The Epistle of Othea to Hector. 

Anthony, Earl Rivers, translated the " Dis des philosophes," and 
he also made an English version, printed by Caxton in 1478, of 
Christine's " Proverbes moraux," the text of which he no doubt 
obtained from this MS. After he perished on the scaffold in 1488, 
the volume passed by some means to Louis de Bruges, Sieur de 
Gruythuyse, created Earl of Winchester in 1472, whose motto and 
name, " Plus est en vous. Gruthuse," appear on the same page. In 
1676 it belonged to Henry Cavendish, Duke of Newcastle, and no 
doubt it found its way into the Harley collection by the marriage 
of his grand-daughter Lady Henrietta Cavendish-Holies in 171 3 
to Edward Harley, Lord Harley, second Earl of Oxford in 1724. 
That it was known to Fastolf, when Master of the Household to 
the Regent Bedford, is likely enough ; but the copy of the " Epitre 
d'Othea " included in it can hardly have been the one used by 
Scrope, as it is dedicated, not to the Duke of Berry, but to his 
nephew Louis, Duke of Orleans. After some lines of apostrophe 
to the " Fleur de lis " and to " Seigneurie," which begin, 

" Tres haulte flour, par le monde louee, 
A tous plaisant et de dieu auouee," 

it proceeds. 

" Et a vous tres noble prince excellant, 
Dorliens due loys, de grant renom, 
Filz de Charles Roy quint de cellui nom, 
Qui fors le roy ne congnoiscez greigneur, 
Mon tres loue et redoubte seigneur, 
Dumble vouloir moy, poure creature, 
Femme ignorant, de petite estature, 
Fille iadis philosophe et docteur, 
Qui conseiller et humble seruiteur 
Vostre pere fu, que dieu face grace, 
Et iadis vint de Boulongne la grace, 
Dont il fu ne, par le sien mandement, 
Maistre Thomas de pizan, autrement 
De Boulonge, fu dit et surnomme, 
Qui sollempnel clerc estoit renomme." 

Introduction, xxxvii 

This is the dedication which appears, not only in some other MSS. 
but in the edition printed by Philippe Pigouchet at Paris, probably 
in 1490, under the title Les cent histoires de troye} Of the other 
three manuscript copies in the British Museum, Royal MS. 14 E. ii. 
(f. 294) and 17 E. iv. (f. 272) have no dedication at all, while that 
in Harley MS. 219 (f. 106) appeals to a third patron : 

" Prince excellent de haute renommee, 
De qui grand vois par le mond est semee, 
Tres noble en fais, sage, duit et apris 
De touz les biens qui en bon sont compris, 
Roy noble et haut chiualer conquerour, 
Digne destre par vaillaunce Emperour, 
A vous puissant, tres redoute seignour, 
Qui dessur vous ne cognoise greignour, 
Soit tres humble recommendacioun 
Deuant mise de vray entencioun 
De par moy que en sagesse non digne 
Femme ignorant suy nommee Cristine, 
Fille iadis philosophe et docteur, 
Qui conseiller fu, humble seruiteur 
Au Roy Charles quint, qui dieu face grace." 

The king who is thus addressed can be no other than the unfor- 
tunate Charles VI., although any hopes that he once excited had 
by this time been dispelled by his strange intermittent fits of 
insanity, which dated from 1392. Very similar terms were 
employed in the dedication to him by name of the "Chemin de 
long estude " in 1402 : 

1 This is the only edition in the British Museum. Its second title runs : Lepistre 
de Othea deesse de prudence enuoyee a lesperit cheualereux Hector de troye auec cent 
hystoires. NouueUement imprimee a Farts. Other editions are said to have been 
issued at Lyons in 1497 and 15 19, and at Paris in 1522. 

xxxviii The Epistle of Othea to Hector. 

" A vous, bon roy de France redoubtable, 
Le VP Charles du nom notable, 
Que Dieux maintienge en joie et en sante, 
Mon petit dit soit premier presente, 
Tout ne soit il digne qu'en telz mains aille, 
Mais bon vouloir comme bon fait me vaille." 

In this instance, however, Christine associated with him his uncles 
Berry and Burgundy and his brother Orleans, who during his 
incapacity divided the real power between them : 

" Et puis a vous, haulz dues magnifiez, 
Dicelle fleur fais et ediffiez, 
Dont I'esplendeur s'espant par toute terre. 
Par quel honneur fait los a France a querre." 

In her presentation copies she was not wont to measure her 
language, and probably Scrope's extravagant eulogy of the Duke 
of Berry was based upon what he found in his MS., although, 
instead of translating the dedication as it stood, he chose to 
embody it in his preface. On the other hand, Christine of course 
was in no way responsible for the statement that the duke lived for 
a hundred years (p. 3). How it originated is a mystery, for there 
is no doubt whatever that he died on 15th June, 14 16, at the age 
of seventy-six.^ Jean Bouchet indeed in his Annales d' Aquitaine^ 
although he records the date of his death correctly, states that he 
was ninety or thereabouts, but he gives no authority, and it is enough 
to say that Berry's father King John II. was born in 13 19, and his 
eldest brother Charles V. in 1337. It will be seen that Scrope 
represents him as a perfect paragon of chivalrous qualities, unrivalled 
in his time both in war and in council, as well as for deeds of piety. 
In more sober history, however, he by no means appears to such 

1 Both date and age were given on his tomb at Bourges erected by Charles VII. 
in 1457 (Raynal, Histoiredu Berry^ 1844, ii. pp. 504, 513 ; Champeaux and Gauchery, 
Les Travau:x d' art epcecutes pour Jean de France^ Due de Ber^y, 1894, p. 43). 

* Ed. 1644, p. 238. Bouchet was born in 1476, and his work first appeared in 
1524. I owe the reference to it to Mr. Wylie. 

Introduction. xxxix 

advantage. His cultured and sumptuous tastes, his splendid build- 
ings and his library and other rich collections, have shed a certain 
lustre on his name ; but, as he showed especially in his government 
of Languedoc, he was cruel, rapacious, and unprincipled, and in 
critical times his life was that of a selfish and prodigal voluptuary. 
For war he had neither talent nor zest ; his real element appears to 
have been diplomacy, and, apart from his patronage of art and 
letters and his benefactions to the church, his chief claim to credit 
rests on his repeated attempts to mediate between the Burgundian 
and Orleanist factions. Scrope's estimate of him is in striking 
contrast with that of modern historians, such as Raynal ^ and Martin, 
the latter of whom in recording his death writes, " Ce prince laissa 
une memoire souillee entre toutes dans cette dpoque de souillures. 
II joignait ^ bien d'autres vices le vice que la France pardonne le 
moins a ses chefs, le peche irremissible, la lachete." ^ 

To pass from the preface to the "Epistle of Othea" itself, there 
is no reason to suppose that the translator had received the training 
of a scholar ; on the contrary, the probability is that, owing to a 
sickly youth and other drawbacks, his education had been more or 
less neglected. It is not even certain that he had been regularly 
taught French. From a curious passage interpolated by Trevisa in 
his translation of Higden's " Polychronicori," which was finished in 
1387, it seems that the fashion was then already dying out among 
the class to which by birth he belonged,^ and possibly therefore he 
learnt all he knew of the language while he was with his stepfather 
in France. Be that as it may, his rendering of Christine de Pisan's 
French may claim on the whole to be fairly well done. The verse 
of his " textes " is too much of the doggrel type and his meaning is 

* Histoire du Berry, ii. p. 375. 

2 Histoire de France, 4th edition, 1878, vi. p. 25. The most favourable view of his 
character is given by Guiffrey, Inventaires, p. cxci. 

' " Now children of gramere scole conne{> no more Frensch )>an can here lift 
heele .... also gentil men habbef now moche yleft for to teche here childern 
Freynsch " (R. Morris, Specimens of Early E?iglish, 1867, p. 339). See also the Rolls 
Series edition of Higden, ii. p. 161, where Trevisa's text is taken from another MS. 

xl The Epistle of Othea to Hector. 

sometimes obscure, but as a rule he follows the original closely, 
while the orthography of the MS., though atrociously bad, is no 
worse than what we are accustomed to in the Paston Letters and 
elsewhere at the same period. Occasionally, as is only natural, 
he goes astray, though it is of course possible that the fault lay 
with the MS. from which he translated. In most cases the source 
of his errors is obvious. Thus he translates "ton bon cuer" (p. 5) 
by " all good hertys," having evidently mistaken " ton " for 
*' tou[t] " ; and again " en quant fraisle vaissel est sa vie contenue " 
(p. 28) by "in how frele {sc. frail) a vessel his lyff is all naked" 
(toute nue) ! Similarly "conscience pour soy" (p. 16) appears as 
"conscience for feyth " (foy) ; " ala querre les autres dieux " 
(p. 62) as "thanne went he forth [to seek] the tothir ii°" (deux) ; 
" mais a nostre propos [la fable] veult dire" {ibid.) as "Mars to 
owre purpose seith " ; and " gard toy de lagait (I'agait) de tes 
ennemis " (p. 73) as " kepe the {sc. thee) from the peple (la gent) 
of thyn ennemyes." It is not so easy to understand the process 
by which the simple sentence " Vanite fist lange devenir deable " 
(p. 15) was transformed into "Vanite made avoyde degre to becum 
a fende," whatever that may mean ; or why in the story of Acis 
and Galatea (p. 65) " un iouuencel qui Acis estoit nommez" 
became "and he was dede " {sc. dead), though possibly in this case 
there was some confusion between "acis" and " occis." But the 
strangest mistranslation is in the words " Averyse and covetise be 
ii° sausmakers the which sesseth neuer to seye, ' Bryng, Bryng' " 
(p. 105), where the French text has "sont ii. sancsues," sanguisugae, 
or leeches. The reference of course is to Proverbs xxx. 15, "The 
horseleach hath two daughters, crying, 'Give, give' " ; and, as stated 
in the note, "horseleeches" is in fact the rendering given in 
another translation of Christine's work. Scrope's " sausmakers " 
can hardly be anything but "sauce-makers,"^ but it is not impossible 
that he coined the mongrel word " sane-suckers," which the scribe 

* See Chaucer's Nonne Prestes tale, 1. 14, "Of poynant saws hir needide never 
a deel." 

Introduction, xli 

The second English translation of the "Epttre d'Othea" referred 
to above can be so little known that a brief account of it will not 
be superfluous. It exists only in the form of a small printed 
octavo in black-letter with the title Here foloweth the C. Hy story es 
of Troye^ and there is no doubt that it was taken from Pigouchet's 
French edition of 1490/ or one of the reprints ; in fact it copies 
the second title in French, merely omitting the imprint " k Paris." 
Many of its rough woodcuts, one of which accompanies each 
"texte," also come from the same source, being generally reversed, 
but others are independent and their subjects often have no con- 
nexion whatever with the text. In place of the dedication to the 
Duke of Orleans the translator gives a prologue of his own in ten 
seven-line stanzas, the first two of which are as follows : 

" Boke, of thy rudenesse by consyderacion 
Plunged in the walowes of abasshement, 
For thy translatoure make excusacion 
To all to whom thou shalt thy selfe present, 
Besechynge them vpon the sentement 
In the composed to set theyr regarde 
And not on the speche cancred and frowarde. 

" Shewe them that thy translatour hath the wryten, 
Not to obtain thankes or remuneracions, 
But to the entent to do the to be wryten 
As well in Englande as in other nacyons. 
And where mysordre in thy translation is, 
Vnto the perceyuer with humble obeysaunce 
Excuse thy reducer, blamyng his ygnoraunce." 

All the information which he gives about himself in this prologue 
is that, when he made his translation, he was " flo wring in youth," 
but after the " Finis " he has added, "Thus endeth the .C. Hystories 
of Troye, translated out of Frenche in to Englysshe by me. 

* See above, p. xxxvi. There is an imperfect copy of the English text in the 
British Museum (C. 21. a. 34). 


xlii The Epistle of Othea to Hector. 

R.W." This again is followed by the colophon, " Imprynted by 
me Robert Wyer, dwellyng in S. Martyns parysshe at Charyng 
Crosse at the sygne of S. John Euangelist besyde the Duke of 
Suflfolkes place " ; and it is therefore highly probable that R. W. 
and Robert Wyer were identical, though the latter is not otherwise 
known except as a printer. A list of nearly a hundred books issued 
by him has been made up/ ranging in date from 1530 to 1556, and 
all those which, as in this instance, have the Duke of Suffolk's 
name in the imprint must have been published after 1536, when 
the property referred to, which previously belonged to the Bishop 
of Norwich, passed into his possession. The date of the book 
therefore is about 1540- 1550, though the translation may have 
been made some years before. For the sake of comparison with 
the earlier version of Stephen Scrope, one of the texts with its 
commentary is here given : 

The .xxviii. Texte. 

Loue and prayse Cadmus so excellente, 
And his dyscyples holde thou in chyerte. 
He gaygned the fountayne of the Serpente 
With ryght great payne afore that it wolde be. 

The .xxviii. Close. 

Cadmus was a moche noble man and founded Thebes, whiche cytie was 
greatly renomed. He set there a study & he hym selfe was moche pro- 
foundly lettered and of great science. And therfore sayth the fable that he 
daunted the serpent at the fountayne, that is to vnderstande the science and 
sages that alwayes springeth; the Serpent is noted for the payne and trauayle 
which it behoueth the student to daunte afore that he maye purchase scyence. 
And the fable sayth that he hym self became a serpent, which is to vnder- 
stande he was a corrector and mayster of other. So wol Othea say that 
the good knight ought to loue and honour the clerkes lettered, which ben 

^ H. R. Plomer, Robert Wyer, printer end bookseller, 1897. For an account of 
the woodcuts, see p. 9. 

Introduction. xliii 

grounded in science. To this purpose sayeth Arystotle to Alexandre, 
" Honour thou scyence and fortyfie it by good maysters." 

The .XXVIII. Allegorie. 

Cadmus whiche daunted the Serpent at the fountayne, whiche the good 
knyght ought to loue, we may vnderstande the blyssed humanite of Jesu 
christ, which dompted the serpent and gaigned the fountayne, that is to say 
the lyfe of this world, from the which he passed afore with great payne and 
with great trauayle. Wherof he had perfyte victory whan he rose agayne the 
thyrd day, as sayth S. Thomas, *' Tertia die resurrexit a mortuis." 

In conclusion it only remains to say a few words on the pos- 
sible connexion of Stephen Scrope with two other works already 
mentioned, which, like his " Epistle of Othea " or " Boke of 
Knyghthode " and his " Sayings of the Philosophers," were written 
for Sir John Fastolf or under his influence. One of them, the 
" Boke of Noblesse," is preserved in a unique copy in the British 
Museum, Royal MS. i8 B. xxii., and was edited for the Roxburghe 
Club in i860 by Mr. J. Gough Nichols. In the form in which it 
has come down to us, it was addressed to Edward IV. at the time 
of his invasion of France in 1475, professing to be " write and 
entitled to courage and comfort noble men in armes to be in 
perpetuite of remembraunce for here noble dedis, as right con- 
uenient is soo to bee," or, more precisely, for the purpose of 
inciting the English to recover by force of arms their lost foreign 
conquests. The contents were admirably summarized in the 
editor's introduction, and all that need be said of them here is that, 
in addition to a highly interesting retrospect of English relations 
with France, they include a large amount of matter derived from 
a French treatise on the art of war, which is spoken of as the "Arbre 
de Batailles " and attributed to " Dame Cristyn." Although the 
editor failed to identify the author, he pointed out that he must have 
been intimately associated with Fastolf and had access to his papers. 
Strictly speaking, Fastolf s name is not specially prominent except 
in the marginal insertions and notes, where the writer refers to him 

xliv The Epistle of Othea to Hector, 

as '* myne autor " and gives several curious anecdotes as heard from 
his lips. The body of the MS. is clearly not autograph ; but these 
additions, together with the title and colophon/ are in a different 
handwriting, and, although the editor seems to have been unaware 
of the fact, it is beyond question that of William Worcester, or 
Botoner, who was not only Fastolf s servant and secretary, but is 
also known as an annalist and a diligent collector of matter on 
historical, topographical and other subjects.^ The editor therefore 
dismissed his claims to the authorship of the work rather too 
hastily, for, as the final touches were certainly his, the only ques- 
tion is whether he was also responsible for the whole of it from 
its inception. From the limit of date of the events mentioned there 
is some reason to believe that it was originally composed within 
Fastolf s lifetime and was only revised and enlarged in 1475 for a 
special occasion ; and its date may perhaps be fixed still more 
exactly, since there is an allusion (p. 42) to " another gret armee 
and voiage fordone for defaut and lak of spedy payment this ycre 
of Crist M'ccccli." Apart from the final additions there is evidence 
to connect Worcester with it in a passage of the prologue to a series 
of documents relating to the wars in France which were collected 
by him,' mainly no doubt from materials that belonged to Fastolf, 
and which may be regarded as pieces justificatives to the " Boke 
of Noblesse." This collection also appears to have been designed 
for Edward IV., but the original prologue was awkwardly recast, as 
we now have it, after Worcester's death by his son for dedication 

1 " Here endyth thys Epistle, undre correccion, the xv. day of June, the yeere of 
Crist M<=iiii«lxxv.," etc. (p. 85). 

2 Examples of his writing are fairly abundant, e.g. in the Brit. Mus. MSS. Cotton 
Julius F. vii., Royal 13 C. i., Sloane 4 and Add. 27,443-4,28,208, 34.888. In Sloane 
MS. 4, f.38b, he gives a curious account of Fastolf 's last illness. 

3 Stevenson, Wars of the English in France^ vol. ii. pt ii. pp. [5i9]-[742], from 
Lambeth MS. 506, which is partly in Worcester's own hand. His Annals, extending 
from 1324 to 1468, are printed in the same volume, p. [743], from the autograph MS. 
in the College of Arms. ri, 

Introduction. xlv 

to Richard III. The passage in it referred to, for which he is 
responsible, is as follows : 

" And I, as moost symple of reasone, youre righte humble legemane, 
cannot atteyne to understond the reasons and bokes that many wise philo- 
sophurs of gret auctorite have writtene upone this vertue of Force, but that 
my pore fadyr, William Worcestre .... toke upone hym to write in this 
mater and compiled this boke to the most highe and gretly redoubted kyng, 
your most nobille brodyr and predecessoure, shewyng after his symple 
connyng, after the seyng of the masters of philosophie, as Renatus Vegesius 
in his Boke of Batayles, also Julius Frontinus in his Boke of Knyghtly 
Laboures, callid in Greke Stratagematon, a new auctoure callid The Tree of 

Obviously this cannot apply to the purely historical documents 
of which the collection itself consists. It is, however, strongly 
suggestive of the " Boke of Noblesse," to which they are, as it 
were, an appendix, and coupled with the evidence of the hand- 
writing of the additions, it leaves little room for doubt that William 
Worcester was its author. At the same time, it is by no means 
unlikely that Stephen Scrope also had a hand in it. If indeed it 
was wholly compiled in 1475, this is impossible, since he died in 
1472} Assuming, however, for the reason given above, that it 
dates from 145 1, or thereabouts, he was residing at the time with 
Fastolf and was no doubt on familiar terms with Worcester. As 
already remarked, a prominent feature of the work is the number 
of extracts translated from the so-called "Arbre de Batailles " of 
" Dame Cristyn." This, however, was not, as the editor supposed, 
Honore Bonet's treatise of that name ^ assigned to a wrong author, 
but Christine de Pisan's " Faits d'armes et de chevalerie " under a 
wrong title.' Whether Worcester was capable of making transla- 

1 Hisf. of Castle Combe, p. 288. 

2 Written about 1385 and dedicated to Charles VI. It was first printed at Lyons 
about 1480. See the modern edition by E. Nys, UArbre de Batailles, Brussels, 1883 

^ The colophon of Caxton's English version (above, p. xvi.) points to the source of 
the misnomer : " Thus endeth this boke whiche Xpyne of Pyse made and drewe out of 
the boke named Vegecius de re militari and out of tharbre of bataylles." Christine in 
fact made use of Bonet's work. 

xlvi The Epistle of Othea to Hector, 

tions from it as early as 145 1 is somewhat doubtful ; for he seems 
to have only begun to learn French about August, 1458/ little 
more than a year before Fastolf s death. Scrope on the contrary 
had before this translated two French works for the latter, one of 
them being by the same Christine, and it is therefore in this part 
of the " Boke of Noblesse," if at all, that he may possibly have 

Unlike the last-named work, the anonymous English version 
of Cicero's " De Senectute " which Caxton printed in 148 1 has 
already been attributed to William Worcester/ the ground of this 
assumption being an entry made in his ''Itinerarium," ^ that on loth 
August, 1473, he presented to Bishop Waynflete at Esher a transla- 
tion which he had made of this treatise, but got nothing in 
return. Apart from this statement there is no more reason for 
attributing Caxton's text to Worcester than to Scrope. The 
language is better than might have been expected from either of 
them, but as no MS. copy exists, we cannot tell to what extent it 
was edited by Caxton. In the preface, as may be seen above 
(p. XXX.), it is said that the translation was made from the French 
of Laurence de Premierfait by Sir John Fastolf s ** ordenaunce 
and desyre." As there is no reason to doubt this, its date cannot 
be later than 1459, so that, if Worcester was the translator, he kept 
it at least thirteen years before he offered it to Waynflete. This 
does not seem very likely, and his translation was therefore possibly 
a different one altogether, completed shortly before the occasion 
when the bishop so disappointed him by his cold acceptance of it. 

1 " I may sey to you that William hath goon to scole to a Lumbard called Karoll 
Giles, to lern and to be red in poetre or els in Frensh ; for he hath byn with the same 
CaroU every dey ii. tymes or iii. and hath bought divers boks of hym," H. Wyndesore 
to J. Paston, 27th Aug. 1458 {Paston Letters^ i. p. 431). 

3 Paston Letters^ i. p. cxiv. ; Hist of Castle Combe^ p. 194. 

3 Ed. J. Nasmith, 1778, p. 368, " 1473, ^^^ 1° -^^g- presentavi W. episcopo 
Wyntoniensi apud Asher librum TuUii de Senectute per me translatum in anglicis, 
sed nullum regardum recepi de episcopo." 

Introduction, xlvii 

The earlier version in that case was almost certainly by Scrope ; 
but, where so much is left to conjecture, the most that can be said 
is that the evidence upon which it has hitherto been assigned to 
Worcester is not wholly conclusive. 

G. F. W. 


P. 2, 1. 6, for yowr emost read '^qi^xq most. 

P. II, 1. \,for streygth r^a^ strey[n]gth. 

P. 19, 1. IT, for yif is read yif it. 

P. 56, Text lii., 1. 3, transfer semicolon to end of line. 

P. 72, note 3,^r metu Dei readnvAn Dei. 

P. 104, Text xci., 1. 3,y&r thyre read thyne. 




IVT OBLE ^ and worshipfuH among the ordre of cheualrie, 
renommeed fFor in as much as ye and suche othir noble 
knyghtes and men of worchip haue exerciced and occupied by 
long continuaunce of tyme the grete part of yowre dayes in dedys 
of cheualrie and actis of armis, to the whic[h]e entent ye 
resseyved the ordre of cheualrie, that is to sey, principaly to be 
occupied in kepyng and defendyng the cristyn feythe, fe rigth 
of the chirch, the lond, the contre and the comin welefare of it — 
And now, seth it is soo that the naturel course oflf kynde, by revo- 
lucion and succefsyon of .Ix. yeeres growyn vpon yowe at this tyme 
of age and feblenesse, ys comen, abatyng youre bodly laboures, 
takyng away yowre naturall streyngtht and power from all such 
labouris as concernyth the exercysing off dedis of cheuallrie, be it 
yowre noble courage and affeccion of such noble and worchipfuU 
actis and desirys departyth not from yow, yet rygth necefsarie 
[it] now were to occupie the tyme of yowre agys and feblenes 

1 For this dedication, addressed by the translator, Stephen Scrope, to his step- 
father, Sir John Fastolf, see the Introduction. 


2 The Epistle of Othea to Hector ; 

of bodie in gostly cheuallrie off dedes of armes spiritual!, as in 
contemplacion of morall wysdome and exercisyng gostly werkys 
which that may enforce and cavse yow to be calHd to the ordire 
of knyghthode that schal perpetuelly endure and encrese in ioye 
and worship endelese. 

And therefor I, yowr emost humble sone Stevyn, whiche that 
haue wele poundered and consideryd the many and grete entre- 
prises of labouris and aventuris that ye haue embaundoned and 
yovyn youre selph to by many yeeris contynued, as wele in Fraunce 
[and] Normandie as in othir straunge regions, londes and con- 
trees — and God, which is souuerayne cheueten and knyght off all 
cheualrie, hath euer preseruyd and defendid yow in all yowre seyde 
laboures off cheualrye into this day, ffor the which ye be most 
specyaly obliged and bownden to becom hys knyght in yovre 
auncient age, namely for to make ffyghtyng ayen youre goostly 
ennemyes, that allwey be redy to werre wyth youre sovle, the 
which, and ye ouerecom hym, shall cawse yow to be in renomme 
and worchyp in Paradis euerlastyng — I, consideryng thees premisses 
wyth othir, have (be the sufFraunce off yowre noble and good 
ffadyrhode and by yowre commaundement) take vpon me at this 
tyme to translate ovte off Frenche tong, jffor more encrese of 
vertu, and to reduce into owre modyr tong a Book off Knyghthode, 
as wele off gostly and spirituell actis off armys for the sowle hele 
as of wordly' dedys and policie gouernaunce, and which is auctorised 
and grounded fryst vpon the .iiii. Cardinal Vertous, as Justice, 
Prudence, Fors and Temperaunce, also exempled vpon the grete 
conceytys and doctrine off fulle wyse pooetys and philosophurs, the 
whiche teche and covnesell how a man schuld be a knyght for the 
world prynspally, as in yeftis off grace vsyng, as the Cardinalle 
Vertuus make mencion, ffryst in iustice kepyng, prvdently hym 
self gouuernyng, hys streynght bodely and gostly vsyng, and 
magnanimite conseruyng, and allso gouuernyng hymself as a knyght 
in the seyde Cardinal! Vertuouse kepyng. Which materis, con- 
seytys and resons be auctorised and approued vpon the textys and 

1 Sc. worldly. 

or The Boke of Knyghthode, 3 

dictes off the holde^ poetys and wyse men called Philosophurs. 
And allso ye schal fynde here in this seyde Boke off Cheuallry 
how and in whatte maner ye, and all othir off whatte astate, 
condicion or degre he be off, may welle be called a knyght that 
Quercomyth and conqveryth hys gostly ennemyes by the safegard 
repuignand defence off hys sovle, wich among all othir victories 
[and] dedys off worchip is most expedient and necefsarie, where as 
dayly in grettest aventures a man puttyth hym inne and most wery 
he is to be renommed in worchip and callid a knyght that dothe 
exercise hys armes and dedys off knyghthode in gostly dedys, in 
conqveryng his gostly ennemees and ouyrcomyng \t peple and 
aventure off the world. 

And this seyde boke, at the instavnce and praer off a fulle 
wyse gentylwoman of Frawnce called Dame Cristine, was compiled 
and grounded by the famous doctours of the most excellent 
in clerge the nobyl Vniuersyte off Paris, made to the ful noble 
famous prynce and knyght off renovnne in his dayes, beyng called 
Jon, Duke of Barry, thryd son to Kyng Jon of Frawnce, that he 
throwe hys knyghtly labourys, as welle in dedys of armes temporell 
as spirituell exercisyng by the space and tyme of .c. yeerys ^ ly vyng, 
flowrid and rengnyd in grete worchip and renownne of cheualry. 
And in thre thyngges generaly he exercisyd his knyghtly labowris. 
Thereof oon was in victories, dedis of cheualrie and of armys, 
in defendyng the seyde royalme of Frawnce from his ennemyes. 
[The second was] in grete police vsyng, as of grete cowneseylles 
and wysdomys, yevyng and executing the same for the conseruacyon 
of iustice and transquillite and alsoo pease kepyng for all the 
comon welleffare of that noble royaulme. The thredde was m 
spirytuell and gostly dedys yovyn ontoo for the helthe and wellfare 
of hys sovle. And in euery of these thre thynggys the seyde 
prynce was holden ful cheualrouse and suremounted in his dayes 
above all othir. Wych schewyth welle opynly to euery vnder- f 4. 

1 Sc. old. 

2 So the MS., but John, Duke of Berry, was born 30th November, 1340, and died 
15th June, 1416. 

4 The Epistle of Othea to Hector; 

stander in the seyde booke redyng that it was made acordyng to 
hys seyde victorious dedis and actis of vvorchip exercysyng. 

And the seyde booke ys diuidyd in thre partys gederid in a 
summe of an .c. textys, drawen vpon the dictis and conceytys of the 
seyd most famous poetys off olde tyme beyng, as Vyrgyl, Ouyde, 
Omer and othir ; and also with an .c. commentys therevpon, callid 
exposicyons or glosis vpon the seyde textys, of exemplys temporell 
of policie gouernaunce and woridlye wysdoms and dedys, grovndyed 
and also exempled by experiens and by auctorite of the auncient 
philosophurs and clerkes, as Hermes,^ Plato, Salomon, Aristotiles, 
Socrates, Ptholome and suche othir. And vpon thies exemplis 
and glosis is made and wretyn also an othyr .c. allegories and 
moralizacions, applied and moralized to actis and dedys of werkyng 
spirituell, for to doctrine enforme and to lerne euery man nov 
lyvyng in this world how he schuld be a knyht exercisyng and 
doyng the dedys of armys gostly, for euerlastyng victorie and 
helthe of the sovle. Which allegories and moralizacions ben 
grovnded and auctorised vpon the .iiii. holy doctoris of the chirche, 
as Austyn, Jerom, Gregorie, Ambrose, alsoo vpon the Bible, the 
Holy Ewaungelistes and Epistollys and othyr holy doctorus, as here 
textis more opynly schalle appere hereafftyr. Fiat. Fiat. Amen. 

^ The mythical Hermes Trismegistus. The citations from these and other less 
well known philosophers were taken by Christine de Pisan from Guillaume de 
Tignonville's " Les dis moraulx des Philosophes," which Scrope himself translated 
into English (see Introduction). "Salomon"' here represents the "Salon" or "Zalon," 
sc. Solon, of the original. 

or The Boke of Knyghthode. 


/^THEA, of prudence named godesse, 

^^^ That setteth goode in worthynesse, 

To the/ Hector, noble prince myghty, 

That in armes is evere worthye, 

The sone of Mars,^ the god of bateyle, 

Tn dedys of armes which wyll not fayle, 

And of myghty Minerve, the godes, f- 5- 

The whiche in armes is hy maystres, 

Sucefsoure of the noble Troyens, 

Heyre ^ of Troye and of the ceteseyns, 

Salutacion afore sette plenere 

I sende, wyth love feyned in no manere. 

good lorde, how am I desyryng 
Thi grete avayle, which I goo sekeyng, 
And that aumented and preseruyd 

It may be, and euer obseruede 
Thy worchipe and worthines in old age, 
That thow hast gretly hadde in thi fryst age. 
Now for to schewe the my pistile playnely, 

1 wyll the enorte and telle verily 
Oflf thyngges that be ful necefsarie 
To hye worthynesse and the contrarie. 
To the opposite off worthinesse, 

So that all goode hertys may theym dres * 
For to gete be goode besy lernynge 
The hors that in the eyre is flyynge 
(It is named the Pegasus truly), 

1 Sc. thee, which is spelt " the " throughout. 

2 This parentage is explained further on, pp. 22, 24. 
» Sc. Heir; Feyre MS.; Hoir, H. 

* Affin que ton bon cuer sadrece, H. The translator no doubt read " tout bon 


6 The Epistle of Othea to Hector ; 

That all louers loueth hyly.^ 

And because of thi condycion 

I knowe be rygth inclynacion 

Able to take knythly dedys on hand 

More than is in othir .v. score thowsand 

(For as a godes I haue knovynge, 

Not by the assay but by kunnyng, 

Of thynges the which be on to kome), 

I owthe to thynkke on the, hole and some '^ ; 

For I knowe thowe shalte be euer duryng, 

Worthiest of all the worthy lyvyng, 

And schall afore all othir namyd be, 

So that I may be belouyd of the. 

Belovyd, why schuld not I be soo ? 

I am that the which arayeth all thoo 

That loueth me and holdyth me dere ; 

I rede theym lessons in chaiere, 

Which maketh theym clyme heuen onto. 

I pray the that thow be oon off tho 

That will here inne beleve me wele.^ 

Now sete it well thane in thy mynd and fele 

The wordes that I wyll to the endyte. 

And yf thowe here me owght telle, sey or wryte 

Any thyng that for to come may be 

As that I seye, vmbethynke the 

As that they were past, so do thow oughte 

Knowe ryght wele that they be in my thought 

In the spyrite off profecie. 

Vndirstonde wele nowe and greve not the, 

For I shall no thyng sey but that schalle falle. 

Thynke wele the comyng is not yet at all. 

1 Quidetous vaillans estame, H. Pegasus is explained below (p. 15) as meaning 
" a goode name, the which flyeth through the eyre." 

2 Sc. thee, whole and sum ; me doit il de toy souuenir, H. 
^ Et que tu me vueilles bien croire, H. 

or The Boke of Knyghthode. 7 

Othea opon the Greke may be takyn for the wysedome off 
man and woman', and as ancient pepyll of hold tyme, not havynge 
yit at that tyme lyght of feythe, wirchippyd many goddys, vndyr 
the which lawe be passed the hyest lordes that hathe ben in the 
world, as the reaume off Assire, of Perse, the Grekys, the Troyens, 
Alexandre, the Romaynes and many other, anamly the grettest 
philosophurs that ^ euer was — so as yet at that tyme God hade not 
oppenyd the 3ate off mercy, but we Crysten men and women now 
at this tyme by the grace of God enlumynid wyth very feyth may 
bryng ayene to morall mynde the oppinyons of ancient pepyll and 
thereopon many feyre allegories may be made — and as they hade f. 6. 
a costom to worchipe all thynge the which above the comon cours 
of thynges hade prerogatyue of some grace, many wyse ladyes in 
there tyme were called godefses. And trwe it ys, aftyr the storie, 
that in the tyme that grete^ Troye fflorishede in his grete name 
a ful wyse ladie callede Othea, consyderyng the ffre thought^ of 
Hector of Troye, the which that tyme ffloryshed in vertues, and that 
it be a shewynge of fortunes to be in hym in tyme commynge, 
sche sent hyme many grete and notabil yiftys, and namly the fayre 
stede that men callyd Galathee, the which had no felawe in all the 
worlde. And becavse that all wordly grace[s] that a good man 
oughte for to have were in Hector, morally we may sey that he 
toke theyme by the cownsel of Othea, the which sent hyme this 

By Othea we schall vndirstond by the vertu of prudence and of 
wysedome, wherewyth he was arayed ; and because the Cardinal 
Vertues ben necefsarie to good pollicie, we schall speke of them, 
sewynge ich after othyr. And to f e fryst we have youen a name 
and takyn a maner of speche in some wyse poetykly, the bettyr to 
folewe owre matere acordyng to the very storie, and to owre 
purpoyse we schall take some auctoritees of ancient philosophres. 
Thus we schall sey that by the seyde lady this present was yovyn 

^ Sagesse de femme, H. 

2 Thas, MS. 

2 Greke, MS. ; Troye la grant, H. 

* La belle ieunece, H. 

8 The Epistle of Othea to Hector ; 

or sente to goode Hector, the which in lech wyse may be to all 
other desirynge bounte and wysedome. And as the vertue of 
prudence ought gretely to be recomendede, Aristotle, the prynce 
off philosophurs, seyth, " Becavse that wysedome is fe most noble 
off all othir thynges, it schulde be shevyd by the best resone and 
the most behouely maner that myghte be." 

Fore to bryng ayen to allegoric the purpos of owre matyr to 
owre wordes, we schall applique Holy Scrypture to edificacion of 
the soule, beyng in wrecheed worlde. As by the grete wysedome 
and hye my3te of God all thynges that be resonabily made all 
scholde streche to the ende of hyme, and becawse that owre 
speryt, mad off" God to hys lekenes, is made of thynges moste 
noble aftyr the aungelles, it is behouely and necefsarie that it be 
arayed wyth vertues, whereby it may be conveyed to the ende for 
the which it was made. And becavse it was lettvd bv the assautes 
of the wacches* of the enemy of helle, the which is his dedely 
enemye and aduersarie and oftyn distourbeth it to come to hys 
beaute,2 we may calle mankyndely lyfe very cheualrie, as the 
Scripture seyth in many partes, and standyng^ all erthyly thynges * 
be desceyvable,^ we schulde haue in contynuell mynde the tyme 
for to come, which is wythowte ende. And because this is the 
grete wysedome of perfite knygthhode and that all othir be of 
no comparison to regarde of the victorius peple the which be 
corounede in blys, we schal take a maner of speche of gostly 
knyhthode, that [is] to be done princypally to the preysynge of 
God and to the profyth of thoo fat wylle delyte theyme to here 
this present dittee. 

Howe prudence and wysedome is modyr and conditoures of 
all vertues, wythowte the which the tothire may not be well 
gouernede, it is necessarie to gostly knyghthode to be arayed wyth 
prudence, as Seynte Austyn seyth in the book of Singularite off" 

1 Par les agais et assaulx, H. 

2 Beatitude, H. 

^ Sc. considering that. 

* Kynges, MS. ; toutes choses terrestres, H. 

5 Thesceyvable, MS., with *' de " interlined. 

or The Boke of Knyghthode. 9 

Clerkes,' that in what maner of place prudence be men may lyghtly 
cesse and amende" all contrarius thynges, but there w[h]ere prudence 
is despisyd all cont[r]arius thynges hath domynacyon. And to this 
purpoose Salamon seyth in his Proverbis, " Si [intraverit sapientia 
cor tuum et scientia animse tuae placuerit, consilium custodiet te et 
prudentia servabit te."] ' 


A ND to the entent that know may be 
'^^ What thou schuldeste do, drawe vnto Jje 
The vertues that may the most restore, 
The bettir to come to that seyde afore 
Of the worshipful chevalroures.'' 
Allthoughe that it be aventerous, 
Yet schall I sey whi that I sey thus. ,,, 

A cosyn germayne' I haue, I wys. 
Fullefyllyd sche is beaute wyth all ; 
But of all thynges in specyall 
Sche ys ful softe and temperede full wele ; 

Of stroke of ire felyth sche no dele ; f. 8. 

Sche thynkkyth no thynge but of rygth balance. 
It is the godesse of Temperance. 
I may not all only but by hyre face 
Haue the name of that by myghty grace ; 
For yef the weghte ne were sche to the made, 

1 De Singularitate Clericorum, attributed to Cyprian and Origen as well as to 
St. Augustine (Migne, Patrologia Latina, iv. col. 835). The passage runs (col. 866) : 
" Ubicumque fuerit providentia, frustrantur universa contraria ; ubi autem providentia 
negligitur, omnia contraria dominantur." 

- Cesser et anientir, H. 

^ Prov. ii. 10, II. This and other quotations from the Vulgate are supplied 
from the French text, being omitted by the translator, possibly with the intention of 
filling them in from the Wycliffite English version. 

* De vaillance cheualereuse, H. t 

* Seur germaine, H. 


ro The Epistle of Othea to Hector ; 

The all were not worthe a leke blade.^ 
Therefor I wyll that with me sche love the. 
Yf she wyll, lete hire note forgetyn be ; 
For she is ryght a wele lerned godesse, 
Hyr witte 1 love and prays myche in distrese. 

Othea seyth that Temperance is here cosyn germayne,^ the 
which he schuld loue ; for the vertu of temperance may veryly be 
seyde cosyn germayne and lykennd [to] prudence, for temperans 
is schewer of prudence and of prudence folwyth temperance. 
Therefor it is seide that he shulde hold hyr for his love ; and euery 
good knygth shulde do the same, that desiryth due prayse of goode 
peple. As the philosophre Demetricus ^ seyth, " Temperance 
moderath vices and perfyteth vertues." 

The good spiryte shuld haue the vertue of temperance, the 
whiche [hath] the propirte to lemyte and to sede on syde super- 
fluytes.* For Seynt Austyn seyth in the book of the condycions * 
. ... of concupyscence, the whiche be contrary to vs and 
lettyth vs from Godes lawe, and more also to dispite fleschely 
delytys and worldly praysynge. Seynt Petir spekyth to that 
purpose in hys fyrst Pystyl, [" Obsecro vos tanquam advenas et 
peregrinos abstinere vos a carnalibus desidertis, quae militant 
adversus animam "].® 

^ Sc. the leaf of a leek ; Car selle nen faisoit le pois, Tout ne te vauldroit pas vn 
pois, H. 

2 Serour, H. 

^ Democritus, H. 

* De limiter les choses, H. 

* Ou liure des meurs de leglise, que loffice dattrempance est reffraindre et ap- 
paisier les meurs de concupiscence, H. The repetition of " meurs " caused the 
translator to omit some words. The reference is to the treatise " De moribus ecclesiae 
catholicae," i. 19 (Migne, xxxii, 1326). 

^ I Pet. ii. II. 

or The Boke of Knyghthode, 1 1 


A ND wyth vs streygth be honesty |?e yete. 
'^^ If that be gretter vertues thou sete, 
Thou moste the turne toward Hercules 
And behold wele his grete worthines, 
In whome there was full myche bounte. 
And to thi lenage all thoughe that he 
Was contrarie and a grete name hym gate, 
For all that haue thou neuer the more hate 
To his vertue, streyngth and nobylnese, 
Which opynned the 3ates of worthinese. 
Yet, though that thowe wylt folwe hys weye 
And also hys worthines, I sey 
It nedyth no thyng to the to make 
Were ' with theyme of hell ne no stryfe take, 
Ne for to were wyth the god Pluto 
For ony fauour Proserpyng onto, 
The godes dowter called Ceres, 
Whome he rauysched on the se of Gres.^ 
Ne onto the it is no mystyr ^ 
That thow be Serebrus,* the portar 
Of helle, besye the hys cheynes to breke, 
Ne of theyme of helle to take any wreke, 
The which to vntrewe wynnors be ; ^ 
Nor for his felaws as dede he, 
Pirotheus and Theseus,® in fere. 
The which that nere hand desceyuyd were 

1 Sc. war, cf. next line ; where, MS. 

2 Sur la mer de Grece, H. 

^ Maystyr, MS. ; mestier, H. 

* Sc. by Cerberus. 

^ Qui trop sont desloyaulx gaignons, H. 

^ See below, p. 41. 

12 The Epistle of Othea to Hector ; 

[To] auenture theyme in that valy soo, 

W[h]ere many a sowle hath ful mych woo ; 

For werre inougth in herthe ^ J>ou schalt fynd felle, 

Thougth thow goo not to sek yt in helle. 

It is no thinge necefsarie to the 

So to purchase or do armes, parde, ■» 

To go and fyghte with serpentes stynggyng, 

With boores wylde or beerys rampyng.^ , 

Wheythir thou ymagen this I wote noghte, 

Or ell of wyldenes it commyth in thy thougth 

Of worthines for to have a name. 

In dystres, yf it be not for the same, ! 

As ffor thy body the ffor to defende, 

Yf that sych bestis wylde the offende, 

Than diffence, if asailled thou be, 

Withowte dowte it is worchip to the ; 

Yf thow ouercome theym and the saue, 

Bothe grete lavde and worchip thou shalt haue. 

The vertu of strength is not only to vndyrstonde bodely 
strength, but the stabilnes and stedefastenes that a goode knygth 
schulde haue in all hys dedis by deliberaciou of good wytte and 
strength to resyst ayens contrariousnes that may come onto hym, 
weythir it be infortunes or tribulacions, where strengh and myghti 
corage may be vaylable to the exaussyng of worthines. And alyche ^ 
Hercules for to gif exampel of strengh, to the entent that it may 
be doble availe, that is to seye, in as myche as tocheth to his vertue 
and anamly in dedes of knygthhode, wherin he was ryghte 
excellent. And for the hynes of Hector, it is a behouely thynge 
to gyfe hyme hy * example. Hercules was a knyghte of Grece of 
meruelyous strengh and broute to ende many knyghtly worthines. 

' Sc. on earth. 

2 Aux lyons ne aux ours rampans, H. 

3 Sc. allege, take example from ; Et pour dormer materiel exemple de force, 
allegue Hercules, H. 

* Sc. high ; by, MS ; hault exemple, H. 

or The Boke of Knyghthode. 13 

A grete iorneyer he was in the worlde, and, for the grete and 
meruelyous viagis and thinges of grete strenghe that he made and 
dede, the poietes, the wyche spak couertly and in maner of fable, 
seyde that he wente into helle to fygth wyth the prynces off helle 
and that [he] favth ^ wyth serpentes and fiers bestis, by the wyche 
is to vndirstonden the grete and stronge entreprises 2 « « * 


Elles arte thou note worthy an helme to were, 
Ne for to gouerne a reaume nowhere.^ 

Prudence seith to the good knyghte that, yf he will be on of 
the goode mennes rowe, he most haue the venue of iustice, that is 
to seye, ryghtwyse iustice. And Aristotle seith he that is a 
rytewyse iusticer fryst shulde iustifie hym selph, ffor he that iustifies 
not hym self is not worthi to iustifye anothir. This is to vndir- 
stond that a man shulde correcte his owne defavtes, so fat thei be 
holy fordone, and than a man so correctid may wele, and schulde, 
be a corrector of othir men. And to speke morally, ve shall tell 
a fable to this purpoise vndir the couertvre of poyetis. Minos, as 
poyetis sey, is a iusticer off helle or a prouoste or a cheife 
bayle, and afore hym is broughte alle the sowles descendyng into 

^ Sc. fought. 

2 A leaf is here missing from the MS. 

' The complete " texte " in H. runs : — 

Encor se veulx estre des noz, 

Ressembler te couuient Minos, 

Tout soit il iusticier et maistres 

Denfer et de tous li estres. 

Car se tu te veulx auancier, 

Estre te couuient iusticier, 

Autrement de porter heaume 

Nes digne ne tenir royaume. 

14 The Epistle of Othea to Hector ; 

that vaylie ; and aflftir that they haue disseruede of penance as 
many degrees as he wille that thei be sette deipe, as ofte he 
turnyth his tayle abwte hym. And becawse that he is thee iustice 
ande the punyschment of God, lete vs take owre maner to speke 
oure speche veryly to that purpose. O trouth there was a kyng in 
Grece' called Mynos of mervelious fairnes,^ and in hym was grete 
rigoure of iustice ; and therefor the poietis seyde that aftir his deth 
he was commytted to be iusticer of helle. And Aristotile seyth, 
" Justice is a mesure that God hath sette in erthe for to limitte 
thereby thynges ryghtwysly." 

And even as God is hede of iustice and of all orderes, it is 
necefsarye to the cheualerous sperit that wille come to the victorius 
blysse for to have this vertue. And Seynt Bernard seith in a 
sermone ^ that iustice is not ellis but to giflfe euery man that his 
is. ** Yife than," seith he, " to .iii. maner of peple that the whiche 
is theires, that is to say, to thi souereyne, to thi felawe and to thi 
soget : to thi souereyne reuerence and obeissance of body ; to 
thi falawe thou schulde gyffe counsel and helpe, counsel in 
teschyng hym where he is ignorant and helpe hym in com- 
fortynge his owyn power*; to thi soget, thow schuldest gyf hym 
chastissyng and kepyng hym frome euyl dedes, in chastisyng^ 
hym forgiffeyng hym that he hath doo amysse." And thus 
hereto seyth Salomon in his Proverbis, " Ex[cogitat iustus de 
domo impii ut detrahat impios a malo . . . Gaudium est iusto 
facere iusticiam "].® 

1 En Crete, H. 

2 Fierte, H. 

3 De adventu Domini Sermo iii. (Migne, clxxxiii. 45), but the passage is not 
literally translated. 

* Sa non puissance, H. i > 

' Chastisyng in chastisyng, MS. ; garde et discipline, garde en le gardant de mal 
faire et discipline en le chastiant se il a mal fait, H. 
^ Prov. xxi. 12, 15. 

or The Boke of Knyghthode, 15 


A LSO remenbre the of Percyvale/ 
Whos name is knowen ouer alle 
Throwghowte the worlde, both soft and hard, 
The swyffte hors Pegasus afterward. 
He roode hyme through the eyre flyyng, 
And Andromeda in hys goyng 
Fro the bellue^ he hyr delyueryd 
And wyth his streynght hir from hym revede, 
As a ryght good errant myghtty knyghte 
Brought hyr ageyne to hir kyne ful ryght. 
Thys dede in yowre mynde loke that it holde, 
For a good knyght shuld kepe that is bolde 
Thys wey, if that he will haue exprese 
Wyrchip, which is mych better than ryches. 
Hys shynnynge shelde than loke thou opon, 
The which haue euer ouercome many one. 
Wythe his fauchon loke that thou arme the, 
Both strong and stedefast than shalt thou be. 

And because that it is acordyng thyng^ for a good knyght to 
haue wirchip and reuerence, we shalle make a fygure aftyr the 
maner of poietis. Percevale was a ful worthi knyght and whan * 
many reaumes, and the name off the grete lande of Perce come of 
hyme. And poyetis seide that he roode the hors that flawe in the 
eyre, the which was called Pegasus ; and that is to vnderstonde a 
goode name, the which flyeth through the eyre. He bare in his 
honde a fauchon or a glayve ; the whiche is seide for the grete 
multytude of peple that were discomfyte by hym in maney batayles. 
He delyueryd Andromeda from the bellue ; this was a kynggys 

1 Apres te mire en Perseus, H., and so below; cj. Ovid, Met. iv,, 6ro sq. 

* Belue, H. ; monstre, Wyer. 
^ Chose couuenable, H. 

* Sc. won ; il acquist, H. 

1 6 The Epistle of Othea to Hector ; 

doghter, the which he delyuered from a monstre of the see, the 
which by the sentence of the godes shulde a' deuoured hire. 
This is to vndirstonde that alle knyghtes shulde socovre women 
that hade nede of there socoure. This Percivale and the hors 
the which fleeth'^may^ be notede for the good name that a goode 
knyghte shulde haue and gete by hys good desertes ; and there 
shuld he ryde, that is to seye, that hys goode name shulde be borne 
in all contrees. And Aristotile seyth that a good name of a man 
maketh a name shynnyng to the worlde and agreable in presence of 

The cheualerours sperit shulde desyre a goode name among 
the felachipe of the seyntis of heuen gotten by his goode desertes. 
The good hors Pegasus that [beareth] * hyme shall be his good 
angel, the which shall make good reporte off hyme at the day of 
dome. Andromeda that shal be delyuered, it is his sowle, the 
which he delyueres fro the feend of hell by the ouercomyng off 
synne. And that a man on the same maner wyse shuld wylne to 
haue a good name in this worlde to the plesaunce of God and not 
for vayne glorie, Seynt Austin seyth in the Booke of Correccion '^ 
that *' ii. thyngges be necefsarie to beleve wele,^ that is to sey, good 
conscience and good name, conscience for feyth,'^ good name for 
his neyburwe ; and [w]ho so trostyth in conscience and dyspiteth 
a good name, he is cruel " ; for it is a synge of a nobyll corage to 
loue the wele of a good name. And to this purpoise seyth the 
wyse man, " Curam habe [de bono nomine, magis enim perma- 
nebit tibi quam mille thesauri preciosi " ].^ 

^ Sc. should have ; deuourer la deuoit, H. 
2 Sc. flyeth ; qui vole, H. 
» Many, MS. 

4 Omitted in MS. ; le porta, H. 

^ Sermo ccclv., de vita et moribus clericorum (Migne, xxxix. 1569). 
^ A bien viure, H. 

7 Pour soy, H. ; conscientia tibi, fama proximo tuo, S. Aug. The translator 
evidently read " foy." 
^ Eccl. xli. 15. 

or The Boke of Knyghthode. 17 


A ND vvyth thyne inclynacions 
Oflf Jouis ' softe condiccions 
Loke thou haue ; the better thou shalt be, 
Whene that thow kepes theme ryghtfulle. 

As it is seyde, poyetis, the vvhiche worchipped many godes, 
they helde the planetis of heuen ffor speciall godes, and of the .vii. 
planetes they made the .vii. dayes of the weke. They worchypped 
and helde Jouis or Jubiter for there grettest god, because that he is 
sette in the hyest spere of the planetis vndyr Saturne. The day oflf 
Thurseday is named of Jouis. And anamely the philosophies yaf 
and compared the vertues of the .vii. metallis to the .vii. planetis 
and named the teremys of there sciences by the same planetis, as a 
man may se in Geber ^ and Nicholas ^ and in othir auctoris of that 
science. To Jouys is youyne copyr or bras. Jouis or Jubiter is a 
planete of softe condicion, amiable and ful gladde and fygure * to 
sanguyne comp[l]eccion. Therefor Othea seyth, that is to sey. 
Prudence, that a good knyght shuld haue the condicion of Jubiter, 
and the same shulde euery nobyll man haue, pursewyng knyghtt- f. 13. 
hode. To this purpose seythe Pictogoras ^ that a kyng shuld be 
gracyously conuersaunt wyth his peple and shew to them a glade 
visage ; and on the same wyse it is to vnderstond oflf all wordly 
peple tendyng to wirchippe. 

1 Sc. the planet Jupiter ; Joyus, MS. ; de iouis les condicions, H. 

' Jabir ibn Aflah, an Arab astronomer of uncertain date, whose work on 
Astronomy was published in Latin, in nine books, at Nuremberg in 1534. A 15th 
century MS. of it is in the British Museum, Harley MS. 625. 

3 Perhaps Nicholas of Lynne, a Carmelite who lived in the latter part of the 
14th century, and whose astronomical tables were used by Chaucer in his "Astrolabe." 
Among other works he wrote tracts " de natura Zodiaci " and " de Planetarum domi- 
bus " (Tanner, Bibliotheca, p. 346). 

* Et est figuree a la compleccion sanguine, H. 

^ Sc. Pythagoras. 

1 8 The Epistle of Othea to Hector ; 

Now lete vs brynge to owre purpoyse in allegoric the 
properteis of the .vii. planetis. Jouis, the which is a softe and a 
mankyndly ' planete, of the whyche the good knyght schulde haue 
condicions, may sygnifie to vs mercy and compassyon that the 
good knyght hade, Jhesu Cryste that is, the which the sperit 
schulde haue in hym selfe. For Seynte Gregorie seyth in the 
pistylle of Pontian,^ "I remembre not," seith he, "that euer I 
herde or redde that he dyed of heuy dethe that hathe wylle to 
fulfylle the dedes of mercy, iFor mercy hathe many prayeres and 
it is inpossyble but that many prayeres most nedes be exauced." 
To this purpose oure Lord seythe in the Gospell, " Beati [miseri- 
cordes, quoniam ipsi misericordiam consequentur "].^ 


/^FF Venus in no wyse make thi godesse, 

^■^^ And for no thynge sette store by here promyfse. 

To folowe here it is rauenous,* 

Both vnworchippefuU and peryllous. 

Venus is a planete of heuen, aftyr whome the Fryday is 
named ; and the metall that we call tynne or pewter is yovyn 
to the same. Venus yifFeth influence of loue and of ydylnes, and 
she was a lady called soo, the which was qwene of Cippre. And 
because that [she] excedyd all women in excellent beaute and 
jolynesse, and was ryght amerous and not stedefast in o loue, and 
becawse that she yevyth influence of lecheri, Othea seyth to the 
good knyght that he make here not his godes. This is to vndir- 
stond, that in sech lyfe he shuld not abaundon his body ne his 

1 Doulce et humaine, H. 

2 A Nepocian, H. The passage does not appear to be among the works of 
St. Gregory, nor in St. Jerome's epistle to Nepotianus. 

' Mattrv. 7. 

* Traiieilleux, H. 

or The Boke of Knyghthode. 19 

entent. Armes ' seyth that the vice of lecherye steynyth all 

Venus, of whom the good knyght shuld not make hys godes, it 
is fat the good speryth in hym selphe shuld haue no vanyte. And 
Cassidore seyth vpon the Sawtyr, " Vanite made avoyde degre^to 
becum a fende and yafe dethe ^ to the fryste man and voyeddid 
hyme frome the blyssidnefse that was grawntyd on to hyme." 
Vanite is modyr off all evelles, welle off all vices, and the weyne * of 
wykydnesse, the w^hich puttyth a man oute of the grace of God and 
setti[t]h hym in his hate. To this purpose Dauid seyth in his 
Sauter, spekyng to God, " Odisti [observantes vanitates super- 
vacue " ].^ 


"V/'F thou asemble the in jugement, f. 14. 

Be leke to Saturne in avisement ; 
Or that thou gyf thy sentence, veryly 
Be ware that thou yif is not doutously. 

Satyrday is named after Saturne, ande the metall lede is youen 
therto, and it is a planete of slow condicion, hevy and wyse. And 
there was a kyng in Grece hadde the same name, the [which] was 
full wyse, off whom poyetis spake vnder conuerteure of fable, and 
they seyde that his sone Jubiter kutte from hym his preuy men- 
bres. The which is to vnderstond that he toke ffrom hym his myghte 

^ Sc. Hermes Trismegistus. 

2 An unintelligible corruption ; fist lange deuenir deable, H. and other Fr. MSS. ; 
doth [make] the aungell to become a devyll, Wyer ; superbia est per quam angelus 
cecidit, per quam Adam de naturae suae dignitate dejectus est, Cass. Exp. in Psalterium 
(Migne, Ixx. 843). 

> Tethe, MS. ; la mort, H. 

* Sc. vein ; la veine, H. 

* Ps. XXX. 7. 

20 The Epistle of Othea to Hector ; 

and dysheryted him and drwe ' hym avay. And becawse that 
Saturne is hevy and wyse, Othea seyth that a good knyght shuld 
peyse a thynge grettely or^ that he^ shulde yefe his sentence, 
vveythir that it be in pris of armes or of ony othir dede. And euery 
iuge may not * the same that hathe offices longgynge to iugement. 
And to thys purpoise Hermes seith, " Thynkke wele on all thinges 
that thou hast for to do and in especyali of iugement of othyr." 

As the good knyghte scholde be slowe in the iugement of 
othir, that is to sey, to peise wele the sentence or fiat he gyf it, on 
the same wyse the goode spiryte shulde doo in that the which 
longyth to hyme ; for to Gode longeth the iugement, the which 
can discerne cawses ryghtwysly. And Seynt Grigorye seyth in 
hys Moralles ^ that, whan owre frelnes cannot comprehende the 
iugementes of God, we oughte not to discute them in bolde wordes, 
but we ought to worchippe thyme wyth ferefull scilens and, how 
mervelyous that euer we thowght theyme, we shulde holde them 
iuste. And to this purpoose spekyth Dauid in the Sawter-booke, 
" Timor [Domini sanctus, permanet in seculum seculi. Judicia 
Domini vera iustificata in semet ipsa "].^ 


T ETE thi worde be clere and trwe in kynde. 
^~^ Appollo shall gif it the in mynde. 
For he by no mene may non ordure 
Suffir no wyse vndere couerture. 

Appollo or Phebus, that is the sone, to whom the Sonday is 
yoven and allsoo the metall that is callyd golde. The sonne by 

1 Sc. drove ; le desherita et chaca, H. 

2 Sc. ere ; peser la chose ains quil donne, H. 
» Ye, MS. 

* Sc. note ; peuent notter tous sages, H. 

* Moralia, xxvii. 3 (Migne, Ixxvi. 401). 

* Ps. xviii. 10, 

or The Boke of Knyghthode, 21 

hys clerenes shewyth thynges that be hidde ; and therefore trewth, 
the whiche is clere and shewith secrete thynges, may be yofe to 
hyme. The which vertue shulde be in the herte and in the mowthe 
of euery good knyghte. And to this purpose seyth Hermes, 
** Love Godde, trowthe euer, and gyffe good counsell." 

Apollo, the whiche is to sey the sonne, by whom we notyfye 
trowthe, we may take that man shulde haue in hys mouth the 
trwthe of the very knyght Jhesu Cryst and flee all falsenes. As 
Cafsiodyr seyth in the booke of Praysyng of Seynt Powle,^ "The 
condicion of falsenes ys swche that, where as it hath no 
geyneseyyng, yit it falleth in hym selphe ; butte the condycion of 
trowth is to the contrary, fFor it is so sete that the more 
geyneseynges of aduersytes that it hath, the more it encresyth and 
reysyth hym selphe. To this purpose seith Holy Scripture, " Super 
[omnia vincit Veritas "J.^ 


T /"NTO Phebe resemble not. For why? 

He ^ is to chaungable and enemve 
To stedefastnes and to courage strong, 
Malencolius is and full of wronge. 

Phebe is called the mone, off whom the Moneday hath his 
name ; and to hyme is yoven the metall that we calle syluyr. The 
mone resteth non oure in a ryghte poynte and yiffeth influens of 
vnstefastenes and foly, and therefore it is seyde fat a goode knyght 
shulde kepe hym from which vicys. And to this purpose Hermes 
seith, " Vse wisedome and be stedefast." 

Phebe the moone, that we not for vnstedefastnes, the whiche a 

^ No such work appears under the name of Cassiodorus. 
' Esdras iii. 12. 

^ The translator, not Christine de Pisan, is responsible for making Phoebe 

22 The Epistle of Othea to Hector ; 

goode knyght shulde not haue ; on the same wyse the good sperit. 
As Seynt Ambrose seith in the pistil of Simpliciain,^ that a foole is 
schawnegeable as the moone, but a wyse man is euer stedefast in o 
state, where he neythir brekyth for fere ner schawngyth for no 
myght ; he reyseth hym notte in prosperite ner plangeth not in 
heuynes.2 There where wysedome is, there is vertue, strengh and 
stedefastnes. The wise man is euer of oon corage ; it lessyth it notte, 
ne encressyth not, for [he] schawngyth notte in no maner wyse for no 
thyng ; he flotereth not in dyuers opynions, but abydyth perfythe in 
Jhesu Cryst, gon growndid in charite and roted in feyth." And 
to this purpose seythe Holy Scripture, " Homo sanctus [in 
sapientia manet sicut sol, nam stultus sicut luna mutatur"].^ 


T DOWTE notte in no wyse Mars thi fadyr. 

-*■ Thow shalt folowe hyme in heuery matyr ; 
For thy hy and nobil condycion 
Draweth therto thyne inclynacion. 

The Twysday is named after Mars ; and that metalle that we 
callen iren is youen to hym. Mars is a planete that yifeth influence 
of werris and batayles ; therefore euery knyght that loveth and 
schewyth armes and dedes of knyghthodand hathe a grete name off 
worthines may be callyd the sone of Mars. And therfor Othea 
named Hector so, notwythstondyng he was sone to Knyng Pryant, 
and seyde he wolde well folowe hys fadir in as moche as a goode 
knyght ought to doo. And a wyse man seith that by the dedes of 
a man men may knowe his inclynacions. 

Mars the god of bateyle may wele be called the Sone of God, the 
whiche bateilled victoriously in this worlde, by example ; [and the 

^ Ep. ad Simplicianum (Migne, xvi. 1085). 

2 Ne se plunge point, H. ; non tristibus mergitur, St. Ambr. 

^ Eccl. xxvii. 12. 

or The Boke of Knyghthode. 23 

good sperit shulde] folow ' his Fadere Jhesu Cryst and fyght 
ayens vicis. Seynte Ambrose seyth in the fryst booke off Offices 
that how so will be Godes frend, he must be the fendes enemy, whoo 
so will haue pees wyth Jhesu Cryst, he most haue werre withe vices. 
And even as in veyne men maketh werre in the felde wyth foreyne 
enemys there where the cete is full of homely spyes, on the same 
wyse non may ouercome the eveles outewarde that wyll not were 
strongly wyth the synnes of there sowlys ; fifor it is the most 
gloryous victorie that may be, for a man to ouercome hyme selphe. 
And tho this purpose seyth Seynt Poule the postyle, ["Non est 
vobis coUuctatio adversus carnem et sanguinem sed adversus 
principes et potestates," etc.].^ 


Z' \F thi faucon ^ be thou bolde and pleyne, 

And of thi worde bothe clene and certeyne. 
Mercurye schall teche the that, holde * and sounde. 
The which of good spech knowyth wele the grounde. 

The Wednysday is named after Mercurye, [the which] ys a 
planete that yevyth influence off" pontificall behavynge and of fayre 
langage arayed wyth retorique. Therefor it is seide to the good 
knyte that he shulde be arayed therewyth, for wirchipfuU 
behavynge and faire langage ys full behovely to all nobill pepyll 
desyryng the hy pris of worchipe, so that they kepe them fro to 
myche langage ; ffbr Dyogeneys seyth that off" all vertues the 
more the bettir, saue of speche. 

1 Folowynge, MS. There is some confusion here in the translation, cf. en ce 
monde et que le bon esperit par son exemple [pot bien] ensuiuir son bon pere Ihesu 
Crist et batailler contre les vices, H. 

- Ephes. vi. 12. 

' Soyes aourne de faconde, H. The translator seems to have misinterpreted 
" faconde," eloquence, speech, as '* falchion." 

* Sc. old ; ce tapprendra Mercurius, H. 

24 The Epistle of Othea to Hector ; 

Be Mercuric, the whiche is called god of langage, we may 
vndirstonde that the knyghte of Jhesu Cryste shulde be armed 
wyth good prechynges and wordes of techynges, and all so thei 
shulde loue and worchyppe the schewers thereof. And Seynte 
Gregory seithe in his Omelyis Jjat men shulde haue the prechores 
of Holy Scripture in grete reuerence, for they be the mafseyngeres 
that gone to [fore] ' owre Lord God and owre Lorde folio wyth 
them. Holy prechyng maketh the way, and than owre Lord 
commeth into the dwellyng place of owre hert ; the wordes of 
exortacion maketh the coorse, and so trwthe is reseyuyd intoo 
owre vndirstondyng. And to this purpose owre Lorde seyth to 
his aposteles, [" Qui vos audit me audit, et qui vos spernit me 
spernit "].^ 


/^F all maner sortes of armure 
^~^ For to arme the wyth, bothe wele and sure, 
Be thi moder inough sygned shall be,^ 
Mynerve, the which is not bitter to the. 

Mynerve was a lady of grete connyng and fonde the craft 
to make armure ; for afore the pe[p]yl armed theyme but wyth 
cuirboyle.^ And for the grete wysdom that was in this lady thei 
called hyr a godes ; and because that Hector cowde sette armure 
welle on werke and that it was hys ryght craft, Othea called hym 
the sone of Mynerve, notwythstondyng that he was sone to qwen 
Ecuba of Troye. And in the same wyse all that loueth armes 
may be named. And to this purpose an auctoure seith that 
knyghtes youen to armes be soggettes to the same. 

1 Qui vont deuant H. 

2 Luke X. 1 6. 

3 Sc. By thy mother enough shall be assigned to thee; te liurera afsez tamere, H. 
The MS. reads " modus," and in the next line " bater " (amere, H,). 

* Cuir-bouilli, leather boiled and moulded, while soft, into the required shape. 

or The Boke of Knyghthode. 25 

Where it is seide that good armurs and strong inewgh shall be 
delyuered to the good knygh by his modir, wee may vndirstond 
the vertu of feyth, the whiche is a devyne vertue and is modir 
to the good spyrite. And that she delyuerith armoures inow, 
Cassiodir seythe in the Exposicion of the Crede ' that feyth is the 
iyth 2 of the sowle, the yate off paradyse, the wynddowe of lyve, 
and the gronde of the euerlastyng helthe, for wythowte feythe non 
may plese God. And to this purpose seyth Seynt Poule in the 
pystyll, ["Sine fide impossibile est placere Deo "J.^ 


JOYNE thou to the Pallas the godefse, 
And sette hir ryght wyth thi vvorthinefse. 
Yf thow haue hir, good fortune thou shalt fele ; 
Pallas wyth Mynerve is fittyng * full wele. 

All so where it is seyde that Pallas sholde be ioyned wyth 
Mynerve, the which is wele fyttyng, men shall vndirstonde that 
Pallas and Mynerve ys all o thyng, but the names be diueres and 
be takyn to .ii. vndirstondynges. For the lady that is callyd f. iJ 
Mynerve was so surnamed Pallas of an yle that is called Pallance ^ 
of the whiche she was borne ; and because that she generally in 
all thynges was wyse and foonde many nwe craftes, fayre and sotle, 
thei called hyr goodes of kunnyng. Mynerve is called thus in 
that which longeth too knyghthode, and Pallas in all thynges that 
longeth to wysdom ; and therefore it is seyde that he sholde yeuen ^ 
wysdom and knythhode, the which is ful wele acordyng therto, 

1 No exposition of the Creed appears among the works of Cassiodorus. 
^ Sc. light ; lumiere, H. 
^ Hebr. xi. 6. 

* Sittyng, MS., and so also below. 

^ There seems to be some confusion here between Pallas the goddess and Pallas 
son of Lycaon and reputed founder of Pallantium, in Arcadia. 
^ ? join ; il doit aiouster sagece a cheualerie, H. 


26 The Epistle of Othea to Hector ; 

and that armes shulde be keptte may be vndirstonde be feyth. To 
this purpose seythe Hermes, " Joyne the loue of feithe wyth 

And as that Pallas, the whiche is notyd for wysedom, shulde be 
ioyned with knyghthode, the vertue ^ of hope shuld be ioyned with 
good vertues of the knyghtly speryte, wyhtowte the which he may 
not avayle. For Orygene seyth in the Omelies opon Exode that 
the hoope of the goodes that be for to come is the solase of theyme 
that trauellyth in this bodely lyffe, leche as to laboreres the hoope 
of there payment softeth there laboures off there besynes, and as [to] 
champyons that be in bateyle the hoope of the corowne of victorie 
esyth the woo of there wondes. And to this purpose seyth Seynt 
Poule the apostyll, [" Fortissimum solatium habemus, qui confugimus 
ad tenendam propositam spem," etc.].^ 


pANTASSELE^ haue thou fauour vnto. 

That ffor thi deth shall haue moch woo ; 
Syth a woman shuld be loued and knowe, 
Off whom so noble a voys is sowe.* 

Pantafselle was a ful fayre may den and qwen of Damazonie ^ 
and off mervelyous worthines in armes and in hardines ; and for 
the grete goodnes that the hy name witnessed through the worlde 
of Hector the worthy she loved hyme ryght hertyly, and fro the 
parties of the est she come to Troye in the tyme of the grete segge 
for to se Hector. But qwen she fond hym dede, she was owte off 
mesure hevy and wyth a grete oste [of] ful cheualrous gentilwomen 

1 The whiche vertue, MS. 

2 Hebrews vi. i8. 

3 Sc. Penthesileia, queen of the Amazons. 
* Dont si noble voix est semee, H. 

^ Sic, the first letter being of course the Fr. " d'." 

or The Boke of Knyghthode. 27 

vigerously she vengyd his dethe, where she dide mervelyous 
worthynefses. And many grete greuaunces she dide to the Grekes. 
And because she was vertuouse, it is seide to the good knyght that 
he shuld love hyr, and that is to vndirstonde that euery good 
knyght shulde loue and prayse euer[y] vertuous persone, anamely 
a woman in strong vertue of wytte and off concyens. And this 
woman that is woofull for the dethe of Hector is vndirstonde by 
worthines and valure, when it is dull and deded in knyghthode. 
And a wyse man seyth, " Bounte shulde be alowyd where that it is 

Be Pantasselle, that was socourable, we may vndirstonde the f 19. 
vertue off cherite, the whiche is the .iii'. devyne vertue that the 
good speryte shuld perfytely haue in hym self. Cassyodir ' seith 
that charyte is as the reyne, the which fallyth in the prime temps, 
for it distillyth the dropes of vertues, vndir the whiche greine [of] 
good wille groweth ^ and good hoope fructifyeth, that is to be 
pacient in aduersite, tempered in prosperyte, pacient in mekenesse, 
ioyeus in afflicciones, wellwyllyng to his enemyes and frendes, 
anamely to his enemyes to be comuniall of his goodis.^ To this 
purpose seyth Poule the postel, [" Caritas patiens est, benigna est, 
caritas non emulatur, non agit perperam," etc.].* 


IVpARCISUS ^ looke ye resemble not, 

Nor into mych pride knyt your knot ; 
For to ouerwenyng hawteyn knyght 
Off many a grace is voide full ryght. 

1 Expos, in Ps. xii. (Migne, Ixx. 100). 

^ Soubz la quelle [pluye] germe la bonne voulente, H. 

3 Inimicis benevola, bonis suis superans malos, Cass. 

* I Corinth, xiii. 4. 

^ Narcissus, whose story is in Ovid, Met. iii, 341 sq. 

28 The Epistle of Othea to Hector ; 

Narcisus [was] a yonge bachelere that fFor his grete beaute 
seysyd hym in so grete pride ' that he hadde all other in disprayes. 
And because that he praysed noon but hym selphe, it is seyde that 
he was so amerous and afsottede of hym selfe that he dyede after 
that he hade beholden hym selfe in the welle. This is to vndir- 
stonde by the ouerwenyng or ouctrecuidez man of hym selfe, 
wherein he beholdyth hym.^ Therefor it is diffendyth the good 
knyght to beholde hym selfe in hys good dedes, where throwe he 
myght be ouerwenyng. And to this purpose seith Socrates, "Sone, 
be ware thou be not difseyvyd in thi beaute of thi youthe, fFor that 
is no durable thyng." 

Now lete vs sette an allegoric applyyng to owre purpose to 
the .vii. dedely synnys. Be Narcisus we shall vndirstond the synne 
of pride, fro the wyche the goode speryte shulde kepe hym. And 
Orygene seyth in the Omelees, *' Whereof it is that erth and 
asshes prydeth hyme, or how derre a man rayse hym in arogance, 
when he thynketh whereof he is comyn and what he shall become, 
and in how frele a vefsel his ^ lyff is all naked and in what harlot- 
rees he is plongeden and what onclene maters he sefseth neuer 
to cast from hys flesch be all the condittes off hys body?" And 
to this purpose seith Holy Scripture, [" Si ascendent ad coelum 
superbia ejus et caput ejus nubes tetigerit, quasi sterquilinium 
in fine perdetur"].* 

1 Se esleua en si grant orgueil, H. 

2 Cest a entendre loultrecuidance de lui meisme ou il se mira, H. 

^ Thi, MS. ; est sa vie contenue, H. The translator seems to have read " toute 

* Job XX. 6, 7. 

or The Bokc of Knyghthode. 29 


A THAMAS full of ryght grete madnes, 

The goodes verily of woodnes, 
She feirsly strangled hir childern tweyne.' 
Therefor ire I thefende the pleyne. 

Athamas was a kyng maried to qwene Yno, the which made 
sothyn ^ come to be sowne for to disheryte hyr ^ stepe childire, for 
she* with mony coromped the prestes of the lawe, the which 
reported the answeres of the godes, thus seyyng to the kyng or to 
theyme of the cuntre that the come that the men hadden sowene 
profyted not, where it plesyd the godes that .ii.° fayre and ientyl 
childir the which e the kyng hade were dreven away and exiled. 
And becawse that the kyng consentyd [to] the exillyng of the .ii." 
childyrne, all though that he dyde [it] ayens hys wylle and wyth 
grete sorowe, the fabyl seyth that the godes luno^ wolde take 
vengance therefor and went into helle to conipleyne to the godefse 

^ Wrongly translated. H. reads : 

Athamas plain de grant rage 

La deesse de forcennage 

Fist estrangler ces {sc. ses) .ii. enfans. 

Pour ce grant yre te deffens. 
The story (Ovid, Met. iv. 420 sq.), which is introduced again further on (p. 112), is 
much confused here. It is briefly as follows. Athamas by command of Hera married 
the divine Nephele, and had by her Phrixus and Helle. He was, however, more 
enamoured of Ino, who bore to him Learchus and Melicertes. Nephele in her anger 
having returned to heaven, Ino tried to get rid of her rival's children. For this pur- 
pose she caused a famine by roasting the seed-corn before it was sown, and then 
bribed the messengers whom Athamas sent to Delphi for an oracle to bring back word 
that Phrixus must be sacrificed. Nephele, however, carried off Phrixus and his sister 
on the ram with the golden fleece, while Athamas, driven mad by Hera, killed his son 
Learchus, and Ino threw herself into the sea with Melicertes. 

2 Sc. sodden ; semer le ble cuit, H. 

3 Hys, MS. 

4 He, MS. 

^ Yno, MS. ; la deefse iuno, H. 

30 The Epistle of Othea to Hector ; 

of woodnes that sche myght come to the kyng Athamas. Than 
the orrible and the fereful goodes come with all hir serpently 
herres and sette hyr on the fiimerelle ' of the palais and streged 
hir armes to bothe sydys of the yate, and than there began sych 
stryfe betwene the kyng and the qwene that werrant- yche of 
them hade slayne othir. And whan they wend a hade rune 
oute of the palais, than jn; woode goodes drwe out of hyr ryght 
foule herres .ii*. horrible serpentis and kest in there lappes ; 
and qwen that the goodes saw theyme so ferefnll,' than they 
wexe both madde. Athamas slewe the qwene for woodnes and 
than his ii.* childeme, and hym selfe leep into the see of firome 
a h[i]ght roche. The exposycion of this fable may wele be 
that a qwen myght be so dyners to stepe chyldime that for 
some malice she myght disheryte hem, for the which after pes 
mrght notte be hadde betwene the fadir and the steppe modir. 
And it myght be soo that at the last he slewe therae. And 
because that ire is a dedly vice and soo evyle that he that is sore 
teynt therewith hath no knowyng of reson, it is seide to the goode 
knyght that he shnld kepe hym from ire, for it is too grete defaute 
in a goode knyght to be angry. And there [fore] Arystotile seithe 
"Kepe the from ire, for it trobelyth the vndjrrstondyng and 
destroubeth reson." 

Be Athamas, the which was soo full of ire, we shall propirly 
vnderstond the synne of ire, the whiche the goode spyryte shuld 
woyde from hyme. And Seynte Austvn seith in a pistyll, " Lech 
as venegre, where it is poote, corrompeth the velsell that it is in, 
yf it abyde longe therinne, so ire corrumpyth the hert wherein it is 
sette, yf that it abyde long thereinne, that is to seye fro day to day.* 

1 A hole in the roof for the escape of smcd^e, here perhaps used for the hearth ; 

s Sic, mfanh^ a^iparendy ^'iraiiii^"; bat from the readii^ in H^ "a poa ne se 
entretrnqrent," it is p e it i aps a mistake for ** near-hand," u. nearly, ahnost. 

s Qaant la deebe Tirent taut e^xxientaUe, H. 

* Sc iia couuiiipit cor, si in afinm diem doniTerit, S. Aug. Ejnst ccx. (^ligne, 
xxxiiL 958). 

or The Boke of Knyghthode, 31 

Therfor seyth Seynt Poule the postell, [ " Sol non occidat super 
iracundiam vestram "].^ 


/^FF all thyng that thou may se with ey 
^"^^ Fie euer the fals godes envie, 
That made Aglaros ^ grennere than ivie, 
The which to a ston chaunged was f erby. 

A fFable seyth that Aglaros was systyr to Herce, the which was 
soo feire that for hir beaute Mercurius the god of langage wedded hyr, 
and thei weyre Cycropos doghters, kyng off Athenes. But Aglaros 
hade so mych envie to hir syster Herce, the which for beaute was 
so avaunced as to be maried to a god, that sche become throw here 
ensorgyng in envye dry ^ and discolourd and grene as ivy leffe for 
the envie that she hade to hyr systyr. On a day Aglaros was sette 
on the thresshefolde of the dore and lettyd Mercurius the entre into 
the hous, ne for no prayowr that he prayed hyre she woolde not 
suffre hym to hentre. Then the gode wexe wroothe and seide 
that euer myght she abide there stylle, as harde as hyr corage was ; 
and than Aglaros becomme as hard as a stone. Thys fable may be 
lekend in leche case to fall to some personys. Mercurius may be 
a myghty man, weele spekynge, the which made his sistir to be 
presound or to dye for some displesure that she hade doon to hyme, 
and therefor it is seide that she was chaunged to a stone. And 
becawse it is to folow a aspotte* ayens ientylnes to be envyous, it is 
seide to the goode knyght that of all thynges he kepte hym therfro. 

1 Ephes. iv. 26. 

2 Aglauros or Agraulos, daughter of Cecrops. Hermes changed her into a stone 
for barring his access to her sister Herse (Ovid, Met. ii. 737 sq.). 

» Dey, MS. ; seche, H. 

* &V, probably for "too feloun a spotte"; trop est villeine tache et contre 
gentillece, H. 

32 The Epistle of Othea to Hector ; 

And Socrates seyth, " He that beryth the fardell of envie hathe 
perpetuell peyne." 

Lyche as this auctorite dyffendyth the good knyghte envie 
the vice, Holy Scripture defendyth the good spyryte. And 
Seynt Austyn seyth ^ that envie ys hate of othir felycite, for 
the dedes of the envyos man strecheth ayens tho that be gretter 
than he by cawse that he is not so grete as they, ayens tho that be 
evenly to hyme because that he is notte gretter than they, and 
ayens tho that be lesse than he for fere that they shold wexe as 
grete as he. To this purpose Holy Scripture seyth, [" Nequam 
est oculus invidi et avertens faciem suam *']. ^ 


"PERRE ne ^ slowe be ware that thou not be ; 

Fro* the malyce loke that thou kepe the 
Off Vlyxes, that the geauntes ye ^ 
Stale, though he looke neuer so clerely. 

A ffable seyth that, when Vlixes retorned into Grece aftir the 
destruccion off Troye, grete rages of tempestes brought hys chip 
into an ile where a geaunt was that hade but on eye in the myddes 
of his forred, the whiche was of an hooges gretnes. Vlixes by hy 
sutylte stale it and toke it fro hym, that ys to saye he putte it owte. 
This is to vndyrstond that the good knyght shulde be ware that 
slowthe ouercome hym not with difseytes and willes of malycyous 
peple, so that his eye be not takyn away, that is to seye, the eye of 
his vndirstondynge in his worchip, in his gettyng or in that the 
which is derrer to hym, as many inconu[en]iencies falleth ofte 
throwe slowthe and lachefse. And to this purpose Hermes seythe, 
" Blyssyd is he that vsyth hys dayes in dwe occupacions." 

1 De Genesi ad litteram, xi. 13 (Migne, xxxiv. 436). 

2 Eccl. xiv. 8, but the Vulg. has "lividi." 

8 No, MS. ; ne soyes pas lone ne prolice, H. 

4 For, MS. 

^ Sc. the eye of Polyphemus. 

or The Boke of KnyghtJiode. 


Where it is seide tiiat the good knygh shiilde not be ferre ne 
slowe, we may vndyrstond the synne of slevvthe, the which the 
good spiryte shuld not haue. F or, as Bede ' seith in Salomones 
Prouerbes, the slowe man is not worthi to rengne with God, the 
which wil not laboure for the lowe of God, and he is not worthi to 
receyve the coronne promysyd to knyghtes that is a coward to 
vndyrtake feldes of baytaile. Therefor the Scripture seyth, 
[" Cogitationes robusti semper in abundantia, omnis autem piger 
semper in egestate est "j.^ 


T N no wyse stryve wyth no frosses,^ 

Ne defoule the not in there brothes. 
Ayens Lathonna thei afsembled sore, 
And trobled the clere water hir afore. 

The fable seith that the godefse Lathonna was modyr to Phebiis 
and to Phebe, the which is the sone and the moone, and she bare 
theyme both in her wombe. Juno chased hir in euery contre 
becawse she was conseyvyd wyth Jubiter hir housbond. On a day 
the godefse Lathonna was trauelled gretly, and she arivede on a 
wafsh and than she aboode opon the watter for to stawnsh hyr 
grete thyrste there where a grete feleshyp of carles were ffor to 
bathe them in the watyr ffor the hete of the sone. And [they] 
began to chide Lathonna and trobylyd hyr watyr that she [thought] "* 
to haue dronkyn of, and for no prayer that she made they wolde 
not sufFyr hir drynke ne had no pete of hyre myschefe. Than she 
coursyd theyme and seyde that euer aftyr mote they abyde stylle 

1 Bedeisus, MS. ; no doubt a corruption of " Bede sur les Prouerbes," H. The 
reference is apparently to Bede's Expositio super Parabolas, ii. 20 (Migne, xci. 995). 

2 Prov. xxi. 5. 

2 Sc. frogs. This story of Latona is from Ovid, Met. vi. 313 sq. 
4 Cuidoit, H. 


34 The Epistle of Othea to Hector ; 

in the broththe'; than were they fowle and abominable and cesyd 
neuer of brayeng ne chydyng. So the carles become frosshes, the 
which neuer sythyn cefsed of brayng, as it shewyth in somer tyme 
by reuerys sydys. This may be takyn be communes that dedde 
some dysplesur to summe grete maystres, the which made them 
to be cast in a reuer and to be drounede, and thus become they 
frosshes. And it is to vndyrstond that a knyght goodly shuld not 
fyll hyme in the brothe of veleny, ffor leche as veleny may not 
suffre ientylnesse, on the same wyse ientylnes in hym self may not 
suffre velany, anamely not to stryve ne make debate wyth a persone 
vilens of condicions, ne to speke outrageously. Platon seith he 
that ioyneth to his ientylnes nobilnesse of goode condicions is to 
prayse and he that holdyth hym content with the ientylnes that 
comyth of his kyne withowtyn addyng thereto some goode con- 
dicions shulde not be holdyn nobyll. 

Be the carles that become frosshes we may vndyrstonde the 
synne of covetyse, the which is contrary to the good sperit. For 
Seynt Austyn 2 seith that a couetous man is leche to hell, for hell 
cannot swolve so many sowlis to seye that he hathe inowe. Euen 
so, thow all tresowre of the worlde were heppid togedir to the 
pofsefsion of the couetous man, he shuld not yette [be] satisffiede. 
To this purpose the Scripture seith, ["Insatiabilis oculus cupidi 
in partes iniquitatis non satiabitur "]. ^ 


A CORDE for no thyng with the god Bachus, 
"^^ For his tachys* be bothe fowle and vicyous. 
His disportis be neyther goode ne fyne, 
For he maketh the pepyll turne to swyne. 

1 Palu, H ; maresse, Wyer. 

2 Perhaps in error for St. Bernard, Liber de mode bene vivendi, xliv. (Migne, 
clxxxiv. 1266). 

3 Eccl. xiv. 9. 

* Sc. manners ; car ses condicions sont ordes, H. 

or The Bokc of Knyghthode. 35 

Bachus was the man that fryst plantyde vines in Grece, and 
qwan thei of the cuntre felthe the streyngth of the wyne, ]?e which 
made thyme drownkyn, thei seide that Bachus was a god, the which 
hadde yovyn syche streynghte to his plante. By Bachus is vndir- 
stond drwnkkynnes, as that the whiche is a full vnbehouely thyng 
to all noble men and to a man that wolde vse reson. And to this 
purpose Ypocras ' seyth that superfluites of vynes and metes 
distroyith body, sowle and vertues. 

Be the god Bachus we may vndirstond the synne off glotenye, 
ffor the which the good spyryt shuld kepe hym. Seynt Grigory 
seyth in his Morralles ^ that, qwan the vice of glotenye hathe the 
maystry of a person, he lefseth all the good that he hath doone ; 
for, qwenne the bely is not restreynyd by abstynence, all vertues 
ben drouned togedir. And therefor Seynt Poule seith, [" Quorum 
finis interitus, quorum deus venter est," etc.] ^ ' 


piMALIONES ymage for to fele, 

Iff that thou be wyse, sette fierby no deele, 
For of siche an ymage so wele wroght 
The beaute thereof is to dere bought. 

Pymalion was a ful sotyl workeman in makyng of ymages, and 
a ffable seith fat, for jje grete lewdenes that he sawe in the women 
of Cidonie,* he dispreisyd them and seyde he shuld make an ymage 
wherein ther shulde be no thyng for to blame. He mad an ymage 
after a woman, of souereyne beaute. When he had full made it, 

^ Sc. Hippocrates, whose " dictum " was that " sanitas consistit .... non in 
replendo corpus cibis et potibus " (Add. MS. 16,906, f. 11). 

2 Moralia, xxx. 18 (Migne, Ixxvi. 556). 

3 Philipp. iii. 19. 

* The scene of the story was in Cyprus. Cidonie (Cydonie, H.) apparently 
comes from a misunderstanding of Ovid, who says of Pygmalion, " Collocat banc 
stratis concha Sidonide tinctis " (Met. x. 267). 

36 The Epistle of Othea to Hector ; 

loue, the which sotely can ravysshe hertis, made hym to be amorous 
opon the ymage, so that for hire he was vexed with wooes of love, 
full of clamorous and full of petyous syghynges that he made to hit. 
Butte the ymage, which was of ston, vndirstode hym notte. 
Pymalion wente to the temple of Venus and he made there so 
denote prayores to hyre that the godefse [was full] of pete,' and in 
shewyng therof the brond that she helde be hire selfe began to 
take fire and shew flame, and than the louer was mery for }?at 
tokyn and wente toward his ymage and toke it in his amies and 
warmed it so sore wyth hys nakyd flesch that the ymage hadde lyff 
and began to speke, and so Pymalyon recouuered ioye. 

To this fable may be set [many]^ exposicions, and in leche 
wise to othir sich fables ; and the poietes made them becawse that 
mennes vndirstondyng shuld be the more scharppe and subtyle to 
fynde dyueres exposicions. It may be vnderstond also by the 
dyspreysyng that Pymalion dispreysed the lewdenes of lewde 
wemen and enamoured hym on a mayden of ryght grete beaute, 
the which wolde not, or myght not, vnderstond hys petous pleyntes, 
no more than the ymage of a ston had done ; that is to sey, that by 
thynkkyng on the fayre beautes he was enamoured, but at the last 
he prayed hir so myche and kepte hym so nere hir that the 
maydyn louyd hym and at his wille [he] had hir to mariage. And 
thus the ymage that was hard as stone recouuered lyff by the 
godesse Venus. So it wolde be seyde that the good knygh shuld 
not be afsottede of sych a made ymage in sych wise that he lyst to 
folowe^ the crafte of armes, to the which he is bownde by J?e 
ordere of knyghthode. And to this purpose seyth Abtalin,* " It 
longghit nothyng ffor a prynce to afsote hym on nothyng that is to 
be reproued." 

Pymaliones ymage on qwome Jjc good knygh shuld not be 
afsotted we shall take for the synne of lechery, from J)e which \t 

1 En ot pitie. H. 

2 Omitted in MS. ; plusieurs, H. 

' Que il en kit a suiure, H, ; leue to ensue, Wyer. 

* Apthalin, H. ; but it is doubtful who is meant. The name occurs in the " Dicta 
Philosophorum," but not with this " dictum." 

or The Boke of Kiiyghthode. 37 

knyghtly gostly sperit shuld kepe his body. Wherefor Seynt 
Jerom saith in a pistill, "O fire of hell," seith he, "of whom the 
woode is glotenye, the flambe is pride, the sparkes is foule wordes, 
the smoke is evil name, the asches is pouerte, and the ende is the 
turnementes of hell." To this purpose seyth Seynt Petir the 
apostel, ["Voluptatem existimantes diei delicias, coinquinationes et 
maculae deliciis affluentes, in conviviis suis luxuriantes"].^ 


/~^FF Dyane remenbre besely 
^^ For the honeste of thi body ; 
For hir plesyth no vileyns lyfFe, 
Ne non dyshoneste ne stryffe. 

Dyane, that is the mone, and as ]>er is no thyng so evile but 
]7at it hath some goode propirte, the mone gyfFeth chast condicion ; 
and thei named it after a lady that so was called, the which was full 
chaste and was euer a vergyn. So it wolde be seyde that honeste 
of the body is full wele longgyng to a good knygh. And to this 
purpose Hermes seith, " He may not be off perfyte wite that hathe 
in hym no chastite." 

And for to bryng to mynde the Articles of the Feyth to owre 
purpose, wythowte the which a good sperit may lytell avayle, ffor 
Dyane we shall take God of Heuen, the which is withowte onv 
spotte oflf onclen love, to whome a thyng foulede with synne may 
not be agreable. To the knyghly spirite |?an it is necessari to 
beleve opon the Maker of heuen and of erthe, as ]?e fyrst Article of 
the Feyth seith, the which Seynte Petir the apostel sete, [" Credo 
in Deum Patrem Omnipotentem, creatorem coeli et terrae"].^ 

1 2 Pet. ii. 13. •:-. 

2 The assignment of a particular clause in the Creed to each of the Apostles 
appears in a sermon printed among the spurious works of St. Augustine (Migne, 
xxxix. 2190). 

38 l^he Epistle of Othea to Hector ; 


"DE thou leke to the godesse Ceres, 

That tooke fro noon but yafe to corne encres ; 
In syche wyse abaundonede shulde be 
The ' good knygh, well sette in his degre. 

Ceres was a lady that fond the craft to erye ^ the londe, for 
aforne gaineyers swe withowte laboure ^ ; and because \2X |7e londe 
bare the more plenteously after jjat it was erryed, thei seide that 
she was godefse of cornes, and thei called the londe after hyr name. 
Wherefor it wold be seide fat, as fe lande^ is habaundone[d] and a 
large yefer of all goodes, on the same wyse shuld a good knygh be 
habaundonede to all personys and [ought] to gyffe his helpe and 
comfort aftyr hys power. And Arystotyl seyth, " Be a lyberall 
gyfer and thou shalt hau frendys." 

Here [for] Ceres, to whom J?e good knygh shuld resemble, we 
shall take the Sone of God, whom the good spirit sholde folowe, 
f e which hath yoven so largely to vs of hy goodnes,** and in hym 
shuld be belewede stedeffastly, as the .ii." Article seith, the which 
Seynt Jon sette, ["Et in Ihesum Christum, filium eius unicum, 
Dominum nostrum "]. 

1 To, MS. 

2 Sc. to plough. 

8 Car deuant semoient les gainages sans labourer, H. "Gaineyer" is for 
" gaigneur," a husbandman. 

* Lawde, MS. ; ainsi que la terre est abandonnee et large donnarresse, H. 

* Qui tant nous a largement donne de ses haulx biens, H. 

or The Boke of Knyghthode. 39 


A LL hye vertues as that he wyll sette, 
'^^ In the, as in Ysis,' late theyme b[e] schette 
And all maner graynes fructifie ; 
In sych wyse sholdest fou edyfye.^ 

Ysys, poetes seyth, is a goodefse of plantes and gryffes, and 
she yevyth theyme streynght and growyng to multiply. Therefor 
it is seide to f e good knyght jjat so shulde he fructifie in all vertues 
and eschew all euyl vicis. And Harmes^ to this purpose seyth, 
" O man, yf fou knew fe inconuenyency of vice, that )?ou woldest 
be ware ]?erofF and yf jjou knew the rewarde for worthinesse, that* 
}?ou woldest loue it gretly." 

There qwere it is seide jjat )?e good knygh shulde be leche to 
Ysys, the whiche is a planter, may we vnderstond the blissyd Con- 
cepcion off Jhesu Cryst by fe Holy Gost in the Blyssyd Virgyne 
Marie, modyr off all grace, of whom the grete bountes may not be 
ymagenede ne holy seide, \sq which worthi Concepcion the good 
sperit shuld haue holy in hym and kepe this holy Artecle stede- 
fastly, as Seynt James the gretter seith, [" Qui conceptus est de 
Spiritu Sancto, natus ex Maria virgine "]. 

1 Isis, in her original character as wife of Osiris and inventor of the cultivation of 

2 Toutes vertus antes et plantes 
En toy, comme Ysis fait les plantes 
Et tous les grains fructifier ; 
Ainsi dois tu ediffier. 
So H., where " antes," sc. antez, entez, is from " enter, placer, faire entrer " (Godefroy, 


^ Sc. Hermes. 
^ What, MS. 

40 The Epistle of Othea to Hector ; 


nnO the iugement in no wyse holde the 

Of Mygdas, the which no thyng wysely 
Juged ; by his counsell sette thou no store, 
For erys of an afse he hadde therefFore. 

Mydas was a knyght ' that hadde lytell vnderstondyng ; and 
a fable seyth fat Phebus and Pan,^ the god of pastures,^ strove 
togedir and Phebus seide that the sownde of the harpe is more to 
prayse than the sownde of the pype or off the fiowte. Pan heelde 
the contrarye and seide ]?e sownde of the flowte was more to prayse. 
Thei made Mygdas iuge off that discorde, and affter that thei were 
both ioyned afore Mygdas, at long leyser he iuged that the sownde 
f. 27. of ]7e flowte was bettyr and more plesaunte than fe sownde of the 
harpe. So the fable seith Jjat Phebus, the which was g[r]evyd [and] 
hadde dyspyte off his iugement, made hym rude erys leche an afse, 
in schewyng that he hadde vnderstondyng of an afse, the which 
hade iuged so folyly. It may be allso that some iuged lewdely 
ayens a prince or a myghty man, the whiche punychyd hym, makyng 
hym to bere on hym some syngne off a ffoole, the which is to 
vnderstond the eres of the afse. Also it is to vnderstond by this 
fable that a good knyght shuld not hold hym content with a lewde 
iugement, not grownded on reson, ne hym selfe shuld be no iuge of 
so fawty a sentence. A philosopher seyth to this purpose that a 
foole is leche a molle,* the which heryth and vnderstondyth not. 
And Dyogenes lykenyth the foole to a ston. 

The iugement of Mygdas, the which a good knight shulde not 
kepe, we may vnderstond Pylate, the which iuged the blyssyd Sone 
of God to be taken and streyned as a harpe and to be hangged 

1 Vn roy, H. 

- Oan, MS., and so below. 

2 Pastours, H. 

^ Sc. mole ; comme la tauppe, H. 

or The Boke of Knyghthode. 41 

opon the gebet of }?e Crosse as a bryboure,' he the which was pure 
wyth[out] ony spotte. Also it is to vnderstond fat fe goode 
speryt shulde be ware how he shulde iuge an innocent, and he 
shulde beleve the Artycle that Seynt Andrewe seith, [" Passus sub 
Poncio Pylato, crucifixus, mortuus et sepultus "]. 


A S trewe felawes of armes doth, 

Vnto hell, whedir that sowles gothe. 
Thou schuldest go, theyme to socoure serteyne 
In nede," lich Hercules dyde, as men seyne. 

The fable seith that Thesus and Protheus'^ went into hell for 
to rescue Proserpyne fat Pluto rauysshed, and thei hade ben evyle 
begone hade not Hercules a ben for there felawes ; [for thei] * 
hade not bene socoured hade he ne be, the which dyde so notable 
dedes of armes that he afFrayed all the peple off hell, and he smote 
in soundir Cereberus the porteris chynnes.^ So it is seyde fat a 
good knygh shulde not faile his felawe for no maner of perell that 
myght be ; for trewe felaws shuld be evyn as on thyng and all on. 
And Pitagoras seyth, "Thou shuld kepe the loue of thi freende 
dyly gently." 

By the auctorite that seith he shulde socoure his trwe freendis 
in armes vnto hell we may vnderstonde the blyssyd sow e of Jhesu 
Cryste, the which drewe owte the good sowles of holy patriarkes and 
profhetes fat were in lymbo ; and be this example the goode sperite f. 28. 
scholde draw to hym all vertues and beleve the Article that Seynt 
Phelip seith, [" Descendit ad inferna "]. 

^ Lierres, sc. larron, H. 

'^ And nede, MS.. ; au besoing, H. 

* Sc. Theseus and Peirithous, who invaded the lower world in order to carry off 

* There is some confusion in this passage ; se Hercules, qui leur compaignon 
yere, ne les eust secourus, qui tant y fist, etc.^ H. 

* Sc. chains ; chayennes, H. 


42 The Epistle of Othea to Hector; 


/^"^ADIMUS' love and yife to hym preisyng, 
^^ And that auctorised may his techyng 
Be in the ; for the welle in serteyne 
He whan ^ fro the serpent with grete peyne. 

Cadimus was a full noble man and ffounded Thebes, the which 
was a cite of grete name. He sette ]?erin a vniuersyte ^ and 
hym selph was gretly lettyrd and of grete kunnyng and wysdom. 
The whiche man, after that the fabyl seith, he dowted j?e serpent at 
the welle. This is to vnderstond konnyng and wisdom, the which 
rysyth all weye, that is for the welle ; the serpent is notyd for the 
peyne and the trauell that a stodier most doute or that he gete 
kunnyng. And the fable seithe that he become a serpent hym selfe, 
the which is to vndirstond that he become mayster and correctore 
of othir. So Othea seith that a good knygh shulde love and 
worchip clerkes that be letteryd, fe which be growndyd in konnyng. 
To this purpose Aristotle seide to Alysawndre, " Worchip wisdom 
and fortyfie it wyth good maystres." 

Be Cadimus that douted the serpent at ]7e well, J>e whiche ]7e 
good knygh shuld love, we may vnderstond the blyssed manhode 
of Jhesu Cryste, the which douted the serpent and wanne the welle, 
)?at is to sey, the lyfe of this worlde, j^e which he palsed w4th grete 
peyne and with grete trauelle, off whom he hade victorie be strengh, 
when he rose the thredde day, as Seynt Thomas seith, ["Tertia die 
resurrexit a mortuis " ]. 

^ Sc. Cadmus, who founded Thebes and slew the dragon which guarded the 
neighbouring well of Ares, and who also invented letters. ,,, , 

2 Sc. won ; gaigna, H. .^ ^ . 

2 Lestude y mist, H. 

or The Bokc of Knyghthode. 43 


T~\ELYTE gretly in the kunnyng 
^"^ Of Yo more than good or othir thyng ' ; 
For by that thou mayst lerne full gretly 
And of good theryng take largely."^ 

Yo was a yong ientilwoman and doughter to knyng Ynacus ; ' 
pe which was rygh konnyng and fond many maners of letteris |?at 
hade not be se afore. Though that some fables sey Jjat Yo was 
Jupiteris love and fat sche becam a kowe and after a woman as 
she was, [this was not so], but, as the poietis hathe hyde trowth 
vnder couerture of fable, it may be |?at Jubiter lovid hire, Jjat is 
to vndirstond by the vertues Jje which was in here* she become 
a kowe, for, as a kowe yevith mylke, the which is swete and 
norisshyng, she be the letteris that she fonde gaffe norysshyng to f. 29. 
vnderstondyng. And in that she was a comon woman may be 
vndirstond that here wytte was comon to all, as lettris be comon to 
all peple. perfore it is seide fat fe good knygh shuld full mych 
love Yo,^ fe which may be vnderstondyn J>e letteris and scriptures 
and stories of good peple, fe which fe good knygh shold hire 
telle gladely and reede |?e example of, fe which may be vailable to 
hym. To this purpos Hermes seith, "Who so enforceth hyme to 
gete konvng and goode condicions, he fyndith fat fe which shall 
plese hym in this worlde and in the tothir." 

1 Plus quen nulle autre auoir, H. 

2 Et du bien largement y prendre, H. The strange word " theryng " is probably 
nothing more than " therein." 

' See Ovid, Met. i. 583 sq. The source of the statement that lo invented letters 
is doubtful. Possibly it rests only on the two lines {ib. 649) : 

Littera pro verbis quam pes in pulvere duxit 
Corporis indicium mutati triste peregit. 
*• Les vertus de iupiter, H. 
« Tho, MS. 

44 The Epistle of Othea to Hector ; 

Yo, the which is noted for letteris and scriptures, may be 
vnderstondyn )7at ]7e good sperit shuld delyte hym to reede or to 
here Holy Writte and not ' f'e Scriptures in his mynde, and thereby 
may he lerne to clyme to hevyn with Jhesu Cryst by good werkys 
and holy contemplacion and shuld beleve the worethi Article that 
Seynt Bertylmw seith, ["Ascendit ad coelos, sedet ad dexteram 
Dei Patris Omnipotentis "]. 


T)EWARE in whatte place so that it be 
In the noyse of flowtes slepe not ye ; 
For Mercurius that softe syngeth 
With his flowte J^e peple enchaunteth. 

A ffabill seyth [?at, when Jubiter louede fayre Yo, Juno had 
hym gretly in suspeccion and discendid from heven in a skye ^ for to 
take hire husbonde whit^ the dede. But qwhan Jubiter sawe hir 
come, he chawnged his love to a cowe ; yit for all that Juno was 
[not] owt of suspeccion, but askyd hym J^e cowe of yifte, and 
Jubiter ayens his lyst grauntyd [it] to hyr, as he J?at dryst not 
ayens say hire for doute of suspeccion. pan Juno gaffe Argus, 
fe which hade .c. yen, this cow to kepe, and euer he wchid* it. 
But the god Mercurius by \t commaundement of Jubiter toke his 
flowte, l^e which song softly, and blew so longe in Argus eyre fat 
all his .c. eyne were aslepe. Than he smote of hys hede and toke 
the cowe. 

The exposicion of this fable may be as ]7at some myghthi man 
loved a gentilwoman ; than his wyf tooke to hire for to make 
wache on hir husbonde f>at he difseyvyd hire not, and jjeropon 
sette grete weches and clere seers, ]?e which may be noted for 

1 Sc. note. 

^ Sc. cloud ; en vne nue, H. 

* Sc. with ; surprendre ou fait, H. 

* Sc. watched ,; la gaitoit, H. 

or The Boke of Knyghthode, 45 

Argus eyne. But f e louer by a person malicius and well spekyng 
dide so miche |?at ]?e kepers concentyd to gyf hym hys love, and 
thus were thei browght aslepe by Mercurius flowte and hade there 
hedes smyttyn off. There [fore] it is seyde to jje good knyght J^at 
he shulde not suflfre [himself] to be brought on slepe with non 
swiche flovte as to be robbed of that )?e which he shuld kepe. 
And to this purpos Hermes seith, " Kepe thou fro jjo that is 
gouuemede be malice." 

Be Mercurius flovte we may vnderstond fat fe goode sperit be f. 
not disseyvid by ]je hold enemy trowe ' ony mysbeleve of \t, feyth 
or othir wyse than he shuld beleue stedefastly )?e Article fat Seynt 
Matheu fe Euangelist seith, fat God shall come and iuge f e qweke 
and the dede, where he seith, [" Inde venturus iudicare vivos et 
mortuos "]. 


nrHINKETH that Pirns'^ shalle resemble 

His fadire and that he shal trobyle 
His enemyis and put theyme to distres ; 
The deth he shall venge for Achilles. 

Pyrus was Achilles sone and resembled full wele his flTadir 
in streyngh and hardines, and after the deth of his fadyr he come 
to Troye and full charply venged his fadir and hurte grettly the 
Troyens. Therefor it is seide to the good knyght fat, yf he have 
myssedone to the ffadir, lete hym be ware of the sone, when he 
comyth to age, and, yf the fadir be worthi or manly, f e sone shulde 
be f e same. The wise ^ man seith to this purpose that the fadris 
dethe asketh the sone f e vengaunce f erfore. 

1 Sc. through. 

2 Sc. Pyrrhus. 

3 Which, MS. ; vn sage, H. 

46 The Epistle of Othea to Hector; 

There where he seith ]?at Pirus shulde be lech his fader, by 
]7at we may vnderstond the Holy Gost, the which procedyth of 
the Fadir, in whome the good sperit shulde beleve, as Seynt James 
)?e lefse seith, [" Credo in Spiritum Sanctum "]. 


T T AUNT thow the temple and worchip in tyme 

The godefse * of heven, and at all tyme 
Aftir Cafsaundra kepe thow the gyse, 
Yif jjat \o\x wilt be holdyn for wyse. 

Cafsandra was Kyng Priantes doghtere, and she was a full 
good lady and a devoute in there lawe. She seruyd the godefse and 
haunted f e temple and she spak but lytell withowtyn cawse, and 
when she most speke she spake nothyng but that was trewe, ne she 
was neuer founde with no lesyng ; she was full konyng. Therefor 
it is seide to \^ good knygh J^at he shulde be leke hir, for lewde 
costomes and lesynges ys gretly to blame in a knyte ; for he shulde 
serue God and worchip the temple, \2X is to sey, the chirche and 
the ministres thereof. And Pictagoras seith, " It is a ryght love- 
able thyng to serue God and to halowe hys seyntes."^ 

The a[u]ctorite seyth )?at ]?e good knygh shulde haunte the 
temple. In leche wyse the goode sperit shuld do, and he shulde 
haue synguler deuocion in the feythefull holy chirche and in the 
communion of seyntes, as the Article seyth that Seynt Symond 
made, the which seyth, [" Sanctam ecclesiam catholicam, sanctorum 

^ Sc. gods ; les dieux, H. 

3 A wrong translation ; tres louable chose est seruir dieu et sainctifier ses sains, 
H. ; tous ses sens humains, G. de Tign. 

or The Boke of Knyghthode. 47 


X/F ]70u vvylt often haunt the se, 

Of Neptunus thou shuld ofte remenbre the, 
And thou shuldest halow gretly his feste, 
That he may kepe the euer fro tempest. 

Neptunus opon the paynemes lawe was called ]?e god of fe see, 
and therefor it is seyde to the good knygh J^at he shuld serue hym, 
|>at is to vndirstond Jjat knyghttes, the which gosh often in many 
viages on the se or in other diueres perelles, haue more nede to be 
devoute and to serue God and his seyntens than othir peplyl, to 
the entente [)?at] at here nede he may be socourable and helpy to 
theyme. And thei shulde take a synguler deuocion to some seynte 
be deuowte prayers, by the which thei may calle to hym or hire in 
there besynes. And that prayer wyth hert is not all only sufficiaunt, 
the wise man seith that God all only ys not well serued be wordes 
but by goode dedes. 

Be Neptunus to whom the good knygh shulde calle yf he go 
ofte by the se we shall vndirstond that the goode sperite, the 
[which] is continually in the se of the worlde, he shulde calle 
deuoutely opon his Maker and pray that he wylle gyffe hym grace 
so to life that he may haue remissyon of his synnes, and he shulde 
beleve the Article |?at Seynt Jude seyth [" Remifsionem pecca- 
torum "]. 

f ■-, 

XXXIV. -^^ 


T OOKE at all tymes thou take goode hedde 

^^ Bothe to Acropose' craft and his spede,^-: .,. ;' 

Which smyteth and sparyth non in no kynde ; 

That shal make the to haue \\ soule in mynde. noT 

' ■ 'f' ■ ' 

^ Atropos, one of the Fates, here represented as masculine ; a Atropos et a son 
dart, H. ... ,!o;:.t,-..; 

48 The Epistle of Othea to Hector ; 

Poyetis calle deth Accropos ; wherefor it is seide to the good 
knyght that he shulde thyngke fat he shal not euer lyfFe in this 
worlde, but sone depart derefro. Therfor he shulde sette more 
store by the vertues of the soule than to delytte hym in bodely 
delytes; and all Christen pepill' shulde thynkke feropon to the 
entent that [t]he[i] myght remembre to^ provide for the soule, [?e 
which shall endure withowtyn ende. And to this purpose Pytagoras 
seith that, lech as owre begynnyng comyht of God, owre ende most 
nedes be there. 

There where it is seyde to the good knygh that he shulde take 
hede to Acropos, the which is notyd for deth, the same shuld the 
goode sperite haue, the which by [je merites of the Pafsyon of 
owre Lord Jhesu Cryste shulde haue stedefaste hoope with the 
payne and delygence that he shuld put therto to haue heuen at the 
last ende ; and he shuld beleue stedefastly to ryse ayene at )?e day 
of dome to haue euerlestyng lyfe yf he deserue it, as Seynt Mathi 
seith in the last Article, where he seith, ["Carnis resurrectionem, 
vitam aeternam "]. 


TD ELOROPHON ' lete hym example be 
"*-^ In all maner of dedes that doo will he, 
The which hade mech leuer to dye 
Than to supporte vntrouth be any weye. 

Belorophon was a knyght of ryght grete beaute and full of 
trowthe. His stepmodir louyd hym so hoote j^at sche required it 
of hym and, because that he wold not concent to hir will, sche 
dyde so myche that he was condempned to be deuoured with feers 

1 Tout crestien, H. 

2 The, MS. ; la prouision, H. 

' Bellerophon, whose story is here confused with that of Hippolytus by making 
Anteia his stepmother, i^. 

01' The Boke of Knyghthode. 49 

bestis, and he had mo lyste to chese the deth ' than to do vntrwthe. 
To this purpose Hermes seyth, " Be glader to dye withowte cawse 
than to do a inconuenyence." 

We schall come now to declare the Commawndementis off 
the Feyth, and there too we shall take an allegorie to oure 

Berolophon, the which was so full of trowthe, may be noted 
for God of Heuen and, as his hy mercy hath ben to vs, and is, full 
of all trouth, we may take the Fryst Commawndement, the which 
seith, " Thou shalt worchip no strawnge goddes." To this seith 
Seynt Austyn that the worchippe the which is called latre ^ thou 
shulde not do it, neythir to ydoile ne to ymage ne to no lekenes 
of no maner of creature, for that is a dew worchyppe all only to 
God, and in this Commawndement is defendede all ydolatrie. To 
that owre Lord seyth in the Gospell, [ " Dominum Deum tuum 
adorabis et illi soli seruies " ].^ 


IV /r AYMON,* thyn owyn trewe cosyn indede, 
The which is thy neyghburgh at \\ nede, 
He louyd the so meche thou ought hym loue. 
And for his nede arme thy body aboue. 

Kyng Maymon was cosyn to Hector and of the Troyens lyne, f- 
and when Hector [was] in fers bayteyles, where he was oftyn 
grettely oppressed with his enemyes, Maymon, the which was a full 

1 II mieulx ama eslire la mort, H. 

2 Deere, MS.; latrie, H.; latria, Wyer; eo ritu ac servitute quae grsece Xarpeia 
dicitur et uni vero Deo debetur, Aug. de Civitate Dei, vi. prasf. (Migne, xli. 173). 

2 Matt. iv. 10. 

* Memnon, the Ethiopian, whose father Tithonus was half-brother to Priam, 
being son of Laomedon by a different mother. 


50 The Epistle of Othea to Hector; 

worchipfuU knyght, folowed hym euer nere and socoured Hector 
and brake the grete presses of pepyll. And that shewed wele ; 
ffor when Achilles hade sleyn hym by treson, Maymons wonded 
Achilles sore and [wolde haue] sleyne ' hym, hade not socoure 
acome to hym in hast. Therefor it is seide to the goode knygh |7at 
he shulde loue hym and socoure hym at his nede ; and this is to 
vnderstonde that euery prince and goode knygh which hath kyne, 
be thei neuer so lytell or poore, so he be goode and trwe,^ he 
shulde loue hym and support hym in his dedes and en specyall 
whene he felyth hym trewe to hym. And it happenyth some tyme 
that a grete prince is better louede and more trwly of his poore 
kyne than off a full myghtye man. And to this purpose seith 
Rabyon^ the phelesophre, " Encres ffrendes, for they shall be 
socourable to the." 

Be Maymon, \q trwe cosyn, we may vnderstonde God of 
Heven, j?e which hath bene a full trwe cosyn for to take owre 
manhode, fe which benefette we may not guerdon. Thus here 
may we take the Secunde Commawndement, that seith, " Thow 
shake not take the name of God in veyne," that is to sey, as Seynt 
Austyn seith,* ** Thou shalt not swere dyshonestly, ne withowte a 
cawse, ne for colour of falsenes, for there may no gretter abusyon 
ben than to brynge to a flasse ^ wittenes the chefe and the ryghte 
stefast trowthe." And in this Commawndement all lesynges be 
defendede, all periure and all blaspheme. The lawe seith to this 
purpose, ['' Non habebit Dominus insontem eum qui afsumpserit 
nomen Domini Dei sui frustra "].^ 

^ Leust occis, H. 

2 Trwee, MS. 

3 "Rabion" in the " Dicta Philosophorum " (Add. MS. 16,906, f. 9b), where the 
sentence is "Multiplica amicos qui sunt medicamina animarum." The Museum MSS. 
of G. de Tignonville's French version and of the English versions of Earl Rivers and 
Scrope read " Sabion " or *' Zabion." 

* Cf. Sermo clxxx. (Migne, xxxviii. 972). 
« ^^r. false. 
^ Exod. XX. 7, 

or The Boke of Knyghthode. 51 


A VYSE the, or ony worde be shewede, 
"^^ OfFgrete manisynges/ nyse or lewde, 
Comyng forthe of thi mowth be to grete ire, 
And looke well in Leomedom the fire.^ 

Leomedon was kyng of Troye and fader to Priant and, when 
Jason, Hercules and theire felawes went to Colcos for to gete the 
flese of gold and were arived and discendid at the porte of Troye 
fFor to refreysche theyme withowte ony hurte of the cuntre, 
Leomedon, not wele avised, sent bostus mesangers^ to voyde 
theyme of the lond and to manyce theym gretly, if thei voyded not 
in hast. Than the barons of Grece were so wrooth for that 
wrongfull conveyng J^at after that folowede the destruccion of the 
fryst Troye. perfor it is seide to ]?e good knyght that, stondyng 
the worde of manace is foule and velyens, it shulde be sadely 
pafsede * or that it were spokyne, for many grete hurtes oftyn f- 34- 
tymes folowyth theroff. To this purpose the poyete Omer seith, 
" He is wyse that can refreyne his mowth." 

How the worde of grete manase cometh of arrogaunce, and 
J?at to breke fe Commawndment it is also an ouerhoope,^ we may 
vndyrstonde by this that noon shulde breke the halyday, for f»at is 
ayenst the Commawndment J^at is seide, '' Vmbethynke the to 
halowe the Sabat." By the which Seynt Austyn seith it is com- 
mawndede vs to halowe the Sunday in the stede of the Jues Sabat, 
for than we shuld solemply allso take reste bodyly, cesyng solemply 
of all werkes of thralledom, and to be in rest of sowle in cesyng 

1 Sc. menacings ; de grant menace, nyce et fole, H. 

2 Et en Leomedon te mire, H. 

2 Enuoya messages laidement congeer, H. The word "bostus" is apparently 
connected with " host, boast," meaning " boastful " or " threatening." 
* Sc. well weighed ; moult pesee, H. 
^ Et brisier commandement soit autressi oultrecuidance, H. 

52 The Epistle of Othea to Hector ; 

off all synne. And to this purpose Ysaye seyth, the profyte, 
["Quiescite agere perverse, discite bene facere"].' 


n^RUST no thyng to be in certeynete 

Vnto that J^e trowth wele knowyn be ; 
For a lytell of presumcion 
Piramus maketh the mencion. 

Pyramus was a yong ientylman of the cyte of Babylonie, and 
fFro that he was but vii. yere olde loue woundede hym with his 
darte, and [he] was sore takyne with the loue of Tysbe the feyre 
yong ientylwoman, fe which was leke to hym in kyn and of age ; 
and by fe grete hauntyng of ]?e twoo louers togedir fe grete loue 
was perseyuid and by a seruaunte accused to (je modir of fe yong 
gentylvoman, j^e which tooke hir dougter and schette hir in hir 
chambre and she shulde kepe hir wele inowgh from the hauntyng 
of Piramus. And ferfor J>er was grete woo betwyne fe two 
childyrne in full pitous complayntes and wepyng. That prison 
dured longe, but as they wexe in age ]pe sparke of loue encrefsed ; 
for all ther longe absence it qwenchid neuer the more. Bytweyne 
fe places of ther kyne ^ was but a thynne wall. Thesbe perceyved 
the wall crafsed,^ where throw she saw brygnes * on the tof er side ; 
than she toke the pendavnde of hir gyrdill * and put it throw the 
crevefse to fe entent f»at hir loue myht perseyue it, as that he dede 
in schorte tyme. And there thei ii° louers made ofte there 
afsembles wiht full petous compleyntes. At the laste, as two sore 
constreynyd be loue, there acorde was sich that [that] nyte in the 
fryst qwarter of the nyght they shulde parte fro there kynne and 

^ Isai. i. i6, 17. 

2 Les palais des parens, H. 

* Sc. cracked ; creuee, H. 

* Sc. brightness ; la leur, H. 

* Le mordant de sa ceinture ficha par la creueure, H. 

cr The Boke of Knyghthode. 53 

mete withowte the cyte at a well vndir a qwythe thorne,' w[h]ere in 
there childehode they were wonte to pleye. When Thesbe was 
come to the welle all alone and ferefull, she harde a lyon come fall 
rudly, ffor the which she, full of fere, fledde and layde hyr in a 
bosche fast by ; but in the waye felle from hir a white wymple. 
Piramus come, the which by the moneshyne perseyuyd the 
wymple, but the lyon hade fylyd it and made it all blody, the "^ 

In ^ as mych as the nutte is better than the shelle," it is seyde f. 35- 
to the good knyght \zX. he shulde not sette his thowght in felicite, 
fat )?e parseyvyng of worthines be leste therefor. To this purpose 
Hermes seith that it is better to haue pouerte in doyng goode 
dedys than riches lewdly or evyl getyn, standing worthines is 
euerlestyng and riches voide and dissauable. 

Juno, whom he shulde not sette myche by, Jje which is takyn 
for ryches, we may vnderstond J?erby Jjat fe good spyrit shulde 

^ Vn morier blanc, H , jr. a white mulberry, cf. Arbor ibi, niveis uberrima pomis, 
Ardua morus, erat, Ovid, Met. iv. 89. 

2 These words are at the bottom of f. 34b, after which there is a lacuna of a 
whole quire. The story in H. goes on " le lyon qui sus ot vomy lentraille dune beste 
quil ot deuouree. Oultre mesure fu grande la douleur de Piramus, qui cuida samie 
deuouree des fieres bestes ; done apres moult piteux reclaims soccist de son espee. 
Tisbee sailli du buisson, mais quant elle entent les sanglos de son ami qui mouroit et 
elle voit lespee et le sane, adonc par grant douleur sus son ami chay, qui a elle parler 
ne pot, et apres plusieurs grans plains, regrais et pasmoisons soccist de la mesmes 
espee." The mythological personages dealt with in the missing pages are ^sculapius, 
Achilles, Busiris, Leander, Helen, Aurora, Pasiphae, Adrastus, Cupid, Corinis, and Juno. 

3 The preceding "texte" and "glose" in H. are as follows :— 

De luno ia trop ne te chaille, 
Se le noyel mieulx que leschaille 
Donneur desires a auoir, 
Car mieulx vault proece quauoir. 

luno est la deesse dauoir selon les fables des poetes, et pour ce que auoir et richece 
couuient auoir et acquerir a grant soing et traueil et que tel soing peut destourner a 
honneur acquerre et comme honneur et vaillance soit plus louable que richeces de tant 
comme la noyel vault mieulx que leschaille, etc. 
* Slelle, MS. 

'54 The Epistle of Othea to Hector ; 

disprayse ryches. And Seynt Bernard seith, " O son off Adam, 
leue couetyse. Wherefor louest thou so mych this worldly ryches, 
the which be neythir trwe ne thei be not yowres, and, wheffer 
ye will or non, at yowre dethe ye most nedis leue theyme ?" And 
the Gospell seyth fat a chamelle shuld souner pafse throwe an 
nedelles ye than a riche man shuld entre into the kynddom of 
heuen ; for a chamel hath but oo boche on the bake ' and the evyl 
ryche man hath .ii°., on of evill pofsefsions and ]>& tothir of synnes. 
He most nedis leue the fryst boche at the dethe, but j?e tothir, 
wheythir he will or non, he shall here with hym, if he leue it not 
afore or that he dye. To this purpose oure Lord seith in fe 
Gospell, [" Facilius est camelum per foramen acus transire quam 
divitem intrare in regnum coelorum"].^ 


A YENS Amphoras ^ sad counsell, I )?e sey, 
Go not to distrye, for than thou shalt dye, 
To Thebes, ne in the cete of Arges 
Afsemble not host with chelde ne targes. 

Amphoras was a full wyse clerk of the cete of Arges and 
hade myche connyng, and, when kyng Adrastus wolde go oppon 
Thebes for to distrye the cyte, Amphoras, f e which by kunnyng 
knewe what harme myth fall ferof, counseld the kyng not to goo, 
for, yf he wente, thei all shulde be dede a[n]d dystroyed ; but he 
was not beleuyd. Yit it felle as he seyde. Wherefor it is seide 
to the good knyght )?at ayens the counsell of wyse men he shulde 
take no grete enterpryse. But as Soleyne* seith, "The wyse 
manes counsell vayleth lytell to hym fat wyl not do therafter." 

1 Sc. one hump on the back. 

2 Matt. xix. 24. 

^ Amphiaraus, hero and seer, joint king of Argos with Adrastus, whose sister 
Eriphyle he married. Against his own opinion he was induced by his wife to join the 
expedition of the Seven against Thebes. 

* Sc. Solon, but the sentence is not under his name in the " Dicta Philosophorum." 

or The Boke of Knyghthode, 55 

Be Amphoras counsel, ayens the which non shulde goo to bateyle, 
we may take that the goode sperit shuld folowe holy prechyngges. 
And Seynte Gregorie seyth in his Omelies |?at, lech as the lyflfe of 
the body may notte be susteyned withowte that he take his refec- 
cion bodyly, on the same wyse fe lyfe of the soule may not be f. 36- 
susteined withowte ofte heryng the good worde of God.' Than 
Godes wordes the which ye here ^ with youre bodely heris reseyue 
them in yowre hertis ; for, whan the word is hed and kepte in yowre 
wombe of mynde, than it may profyte, but, as a seke stomak 
castyth owt his mete, and as men be in dispayre of hym that 
brokyth notte but casti[t]h all owte, euen so his he in perell of 
euerlastyng dethe ]?at heryth prechyng and doth not ferafter. 
perfor the Scriptur seith, [" Non in omni solo pane vivit homo, sed 
in omni verbo quod procedit de ore Dei."]^ 


r^ OUERNE thou thi tong aftir Saturne ; 
^-^ Late not evill theryn long soiorne. 
To speke to mech it is a fowle custome, 
And grete foly ferin is to presume. 

Saturne, as I haue seide before,* is a planeth hevy and sclowe. 
Therfor it is seide to J?e good knyght that his tong shulde be leke 
to hym ; for the tong shulde not be to hasty in spekyng to mych, 
but wysyly, so that it speke non harme of noon, ne no thyng fat 
a mane myth there impresun folye,^ for a poyete seyth, " By the 
worde men knowyth a wyse man, and by the looke a foole." 

1 What St. Gregory really says is, " Sicut carni vestrse, ne deficiat, cibos quotidie 
praebetis, sic mentis vestrse quotidiana alimenta bona sunt opera. Cibo corpus pascitur, 
pio opere spiritus nutriatur," Horn. v. in Evang. (Migne, Ixxvi. 1092). 

2 Worde ye here the which, MS. 

3 Matt. iv. 4. 

* See p. ig. 

* Ne chose dont vn puist presumer folic, H. 

56 The Epistle of Othea to Hector; 

Be the tong, the which shulde be lech Saturne, is vndirstonden 
the sadenes^ of speche. Hue of Seynt Victore seith to this purpose 
that \q mouth ]?e which hathe not the kepyng of discrecion farith 
as a cete that is withoute a walle, as a vefsell that hathe no bothom,^ 
as an horse that hath no brydel, and as a chippe fat hath no rothir. 
An evil kepte tong glydith as an ele, it perchith as an arwe ; 
frendes [are] sone turned therby and ennemyes multiplied. It is 
sclaunderus and soweth discordes ; at a strok it smyttyth and 
kyllyth many persones. Whoso kepyth his tong kepith his soule ; 
for ^ deth and lyffe is in the poure off j^e soule. And to this purpose 
Dauid seith in the Sawter booke, [" Prohibe linguam tuam a malOj 
et labia tua ne loquantur dolum"].* 


"DELEUE the Crow and his true counsell, 

And be neuer besy ne trauele 
In evil thyngges ; to be J?e berer 
Off thi deme thou mayst be fe suerer.* 

The fable seith that the crowe mette (?e ravyn when he browte 
the tidynges to Phebus of his loue Corinis, fe which hade done 
amysse, and she* requiryd of hym so ferre fat he tolde hyr^ the 
cawse of this iurneye. But* she dissalowed hyme because he 

^ Sc. discretion ; lente de parler, H. 
2 Couuercle, H. 

' Fro, MS. ; qui garde sa lengue il garde son ame, car la mort et la vie sont en 
la puissance de la lengue, H. 
* Ps. xxxiii. 14. 

5 The " texte " in H. is :— 

Croy la corneille et son conseil. De male nouuelle apporter ; 

Jamais ne soyes en esueil Le plus seur est sen depporter. 

6 He, MS. 

7 Hym, MS. 

8 Literally translated, this sentence should read : " But she (the crow) dissuaded 
him from going by giving him an example of herself, who for a like case had been 
driven from the house of Pallas," etc. See Ovid, Met. ii. 542. 

or The Boke of Knyghthode, 57 

went not for to gyffe hym example of the same, the which for a 
lych cas hade ben chassede owte of the pallas howse, where some 
{time] [s]he was wonte to be gretly avanced. But he wolde not 
beleue hyr, for J?e which harme folowed to hym. Where it is seyde 
to fe good knyght fat he shulde trost |?e crowe ; and Platon seith, 
" Be no iangeler ne to the knyng grete reportur of tydynges." 

How the crowe shulde be beleued, it is seide that the goode 
speryte shulde vse svch counsell. As Seynt Grigorie seith in his 
Omelies, ]?at strenght vailet not when counsel is not, ffor streynght 
is sone ouerthrowyn, iffe it be not rested opon the gyfte of counsell, 
and the soule \q whych hath lost in hym the seege of counsell 
outewarde he is dysparbuled ^ in diuerse desires. Therefor the 
wyse man seyth, [" Si intraverit sapientia cor tuum, consilium 
custodiet te et prudentia servabit te"].^ 


IFF thou enforce the with ^ any wyght 
Strenger than thou to make playes of myghte, 
Withdrawe the fayre fat hurte thou ne be ; 
Off Ganymedes vmbethynk the. 

Ganymedes* was a yong ientilman of the Troyens ligne ; and 
a fable seith fat Phebus and he strof togedir in castyng of a barre 
of yron, and, as Ganymedes myth not withstond the strenght of 
Phebus, he was slayne wyth f e reboundyng of f e barre Phebus 
hade lawnchyd so hye that he had lost f e syght f erof. And f erfor 
it is seyde that fe stryffe is not goode with a strenger and a 

' Se espart, H. 

2 Prov. ii. 10, II. 

> Which, MS. 

* Ganymedes was son of Tros and brother of Ilus and Assaracus. His well- 
known story is here confused with that of Hyacinthus, who was accidentally killed in a 
game of discus with Apollo (Ovid, Met. x. 184). 


58 The Epistle of Othea to Hector ; 

myghtier than a man is hym selfe, flfor ther may not cumme thereof 
but grete inconuenyencie. Where a wyse man seith, " To be besy 
with men jjat vse vngracious games, it is a syngne of pride, and 
communly the ende is angry." 

Fore to sey that a man shuld not enforce hym ayens a streynger 
J>an he is hym selfe, it is to vndirstond that the goode sperite shulde 
not take on hym to stronge pennawnce withowte counsell. Seynt 
Grigori in his Moralles spekyth hereof and seyth J?at penawnce 
profytteth not, yf it be not discrete, ne the vertue of abstynens is 
not worthe, yf it be sette in sych wyse that it be scharper than the 
body may suffre. And Jjerfor it is to conclude |7at no poore person 
shulde take it on hym withowte counsel off more discrete than 
hym selfe. Where the wyse man seyth in his Prouerbes, ["Ubi 
multa consilia, ibi est salus "].' 


T> ESEMBLE not to Jasone, that man 

The which throu} Medee fe fleze wan 
Off golde, for \& which soon afterwarde 
He yafe hire right evill guerdon and harde. 

Jason was a knyght of Grece, J^e which went into strawnge 
cuntreis, that is to sey, into the He of Colcos, by the enortyng off 
his vncle Pelleus, the which of envy desired his deth. There was 
a chepe 2 jjat hadde a flees of golde and it was kepte by enchaunt- 
ment ; but the conquest was so strong that non comme thedir but 
that lost there lyfe. Medee, the whiche was the kynges doughter 
of that cuntre, toke so grete loue to Jason |7at by the enchaunt- 
mentes that sche cowde, off the which sche was a soueren maysteres, 
she made charmes and lerned Jason enchauntementis by the whiche 

1 Prov. xxiv. 6. 

2 Sc. sheep. 

or The Boke of Knyghthode, 59 

he whanne the fleese of golde, wereby he hade worchip aboue all 
knyttes lyvynge, and by Medee was reserued fro deth, to whom he 
hade promysyd euer to be trwe freende. But efftyr he fayled of hys 
feyth and loued anothir and left hyr holy' and forsoke hir, not- 
withstondyng she was off soueren beaute. Therfor it is seyde to 
the good knyght that he shulde not be leke to Jason, the which 
was vnknowyn and to on trwe to Jjat the which hade schewed hym 
mych goodenes.* Wherefor it is to veleyns a thyng for a knyght 
or any nobill person to be rekeles or evyll knowyng of goodenesse, 
iff any he hath reseyuyd, be it of lady or off gentylwoman or off 
ony othir persone ; ffor he shulde euere thynke thereon and 
guerdon it vnto his powere. To this purpose Hermes seith, " Be 
not slowe ne delayyng to remembre of hym \2X hath doone the 
goode, for thou shuldest euer thynkke thereopon." 

The good sperite shulde not be leke to Jason, the which was 
rekeles, ne vncunnyng of the benefices reseyvid of his Maker. And 
Seynt Bamarde seith opon the Cantecles that vnkunnyng is 
ennemye to the soule, a lesser of vertues and dispraysyng of meritis 
and a lessyng of beneficis, and allso ingratitude fareth as nowght, ^ 
the which dryeth the well of pete, the dewe of grace and the reuer 
of mercye. And to this purpose the wyse man seith, [** Ingrati 
enim spes tanquam hibernalis glacies tabescet et disperiet tanquam 
aqua supervacua."]* 


T/'EPE the wele fro the serpent Gorgon ; 

Be ware that thou looke not hyr^ opon ; 
Haue good sadde mynde opon Percyualle,^ 
And he shall the tell the story all. 

1 Sc. wholly ; du tout, H. 

2 Descongnoissant et desloyaulx a celle qui trop de bien lui ot fait. H. 

3 Comme vn vent sec, H. 

* Sap. xvi. 29. 

^ Hym, MS. ; ne la regardes, H. 

• Perseus, H. 

6o The Epistle of Othea to Hector ; 

Gorgon, as the fable seith, was a gentylvoman of souereyn6 
beaute ; but because that Phebus ' lay by hyr in the temple of 
Diane, the godes was so sore meved and grevyd that she schawnged 
hir into a serpent of ryght orribil figure. And jjat serpent hade 
sich a propirte fat euery man that [be]helde hir was changed 
sodeynely into a ston ; and for the harme that folwed of hire 
Percyvale, the worthi knyght, went for to fyght with that fers beste. 
And he behelde hym selfe in the bryghtnes of his shelde, the whiche 
was all golde, because he shulde not beholde the evill serpent, and 
he dide so mych |?at he smote of hir^ hede. Many exposicions may 
be made of this fable, and Gorgon may be vndirstonden for a cete 
or a towne )?at was wonte to be of grete bounte, but throw the vicis 
of the duellers f erin it become a serpent and venemus ; that is 
to vnderstonde, fat it dede mych harme in the marches to there 
neygburs, as to robbe and to pyll holy chirche,^ all tho J?at thei 
myghte gete, and merchawndys and othir pafseris forby were takyn 
and holden and put in streyte presonys and thus were thei chawnged 
into stones. Percivale, that behelde hym selfe in his chelde, fat is 
to sey, in his strynght and knyghode, and went to fyght ayens the 
cite, he tooke it and tooke the power fro it, fat it dede no more 
harme.* It myght be that some man myght take a full feyre lady 
of evyll dedys, fe which bi hire couetise put many from there 
goodes, but he put hir from fat wyll ; and many othir vndir- 
stondynges may be sette herein. Therefor it is seide to f e good 
knyght that he kepe hym fro behaldyng evill thyngges, fe which 
myght drawe hym to evyll. And Aristotil seith, " Fie peple full of 
wikydnes and befolowe wyse men and stody in there bookes and 
beholde thy selfe in theire dedes." 

How that Gorgon shulde notte be beholden, fat is to sey fat 

^ Elsewhere it is Poseidon who was Medusa's lover — Hanc pelagi rector templo 
vitiasse Minervae Dicitur (Ovid, Met. iv. 797). Her hair alone was changed into 

2 His his, MS. 

3 " Holy chirche " is the translator's addition, not being in H. 
* Le pouoir de plus mal faire, H. 

or The Boke of Knyghthode. 6i 

)?e good sperite shuld not behold no thyng in no maner delyte, but 
beholde ' hym in |7e childe ^ of J?e state of perfeccion, and )>at is 
for to fie delites. Aristotyl ^ seithe ]?at, as it is impossibyl )?at [fire 
shuld burn in water, so it is impossibyl (?at] compunccion * of herte is 
among wor[l]dly delites, for thei be .ii*. contrary thynges ]?at 
distroyith iche of them othir, for compunccion is modir of terres 
and delites engenderyth laughynges, compunccion restreynyth the ^- 4o. 
hert and delites enlargeth it. To thys purpose seyth Holy 
Scripture, " They fat sowyn in wepyng shal repyn in lawyng.'" 


'V/F that loue make shorte to f e fe nyght, 

Be ware Phebus noye the not with his myght, 
Wherby thou mayst be take and tied 
In Vlnecans lyeines and ouerleyede. ** 

A flfiable seith that Mars and Venus loued togedir par amovres. 
It flfelle on a nyght that f e ^ loueres were aslepe, arme in arme. 
Phebus, the which sawe clerly, come opon theyme and for the 
which he accused theyme to Vulcans, Venus husbond. Than he, 
fat sawe theyme in that plyte, forged a lyeine and a cheyne of bras 
and bond them togedir so that thei myght not meve, as he fat is 
smyth of heuen and can worke sotely, and thus he come opon 

» He holde, MS. 

- Sc. shield. 

3 Crisostome, H. and other Fr, MSS. 

* Comme cest impossible que le feu arde en leaue, aussi est ce impossible que 
compunccion, etc., H. The translator's omission of the words in brackets was no doubt 
due to the repetition of " impossible que." 

* Ps. cxxv. (cxxvi.) 5. This is the only instance in which the quotation at the end 
of an allegory is filled in. 

^ Es liens Vulcanus et surpris, H. 
7 That )>at, MS. 

6i The Epistle of Othea to Hector ; 

theyme and thanne went he forth [to] the tothir godes ' and sheued 
theyme his shame. And the fable seith that sich rotters there be 
l^at wolde full fayne falle in fe same mysdede.^ To this fabill may 
be sette diuers exposicions, and it may full souereynly towche some 
poyntes of astronomye ^ to tho \2X sotely can vndirstond it. Mars * 
to owre purpose seith )7at fe good knyght shulde kepe hym fat in 
syche [cas] he be not ouerlede before yetilnes of tyme.* And a 
wyse man seith, " Vnnethes is ony thynge of secrete but that of 
some it is perceyuyd." 

There where J7e auctorite seith ]?at, if lowe^ schorte the nyghte to 
the, we shall sey |)at )>e gode sperit shulde kepe hym from J>e 
wacches of the fende. Seynt Leo the pope seith to this, jjat fe 
holde ennemy, the which transfygured hym into an angell of lyght, 
sesseth not to strech his snaris of temptacions ouer all and to aspie 
how he may corumpe )7e feithe of good beleuers ; he beholdyth 
whome he shall embrace with jje fyer of couetyse, whom he shall 
enflame with the brennyng desyre of lechery, to whom he shall 
purpose the lekerousnes of glotenye ; he examynyth of all customes, 
discutyth of hertes, commyteth ^ aflfeccions and there seketh he 
cause of iniure where he fyndeth hyme. Therefor seyth Seynt 
Petyr the apostle, ["Sobrii estote et vigilate quia adversarius 
vester diabolus tanquam leo rugiens circuit quaerens quem 
devoret "].^ 

1 ii'' {sc. two, deux), MS. ; ala querre les autres dieux, H. 

5 Que tel sen rioit, qui bien voulsist en semblable meflFait estre encheut, H. 

' Darguemie, sc. alchemy, H. 

* Read " But to our purpose it seith." The translator has misread " Mais " in 
the original as " Mars " ; mais a nostre propos veult dire, H. 

* Que en tel cas ne soit surpris par oubli, H. 

* Sc. love. 

7 Myght, MS. 
® Coniecture, H 
9 I Pet. V. 8. 

or The Boke of Knyghthode. 63 


'T^HAMARIS * dispraysed may not well be, 
Though a voman she were of Femene. 
Umbethynk the where takyn was Cyrus, 
For ryght herde and dere he brought )?at distrus.* 

Thamaris [was] qwen of Amazonie, a full worthy lady and full 
off grete worthynefse, of grete hardynes and wyse in armes and 
gouernauns. Cirus, the grete kyng of Perse, the which hadde 
conqwered many a region, with a grete host he meved ffor to goo 
ayens a grete reaume of Femene, of the which he sette but lytell by 
the streynghte. But she, the which was experte and sotyll in 
crafte of armes, suffyrd hym to entre into hyr reaume wythowte 
ony mevyng of hyr into the tyme that he was comyn into strate 
pafsage among hylles and grete mownteynes, where a full strong 
cuntre was. Than be Thamaris busshmentes * he was afsaylled on 
euer[y] parte with the wymmens hoste and browght so ferre forthe 
|?at he was takyn. The qwhen made hym to be browght before 
hir and made his hede be smetyn off and to be cast in a tobbe full 
off his barons blode, the which she had made to be sheded in his 
presens, and Thamaris spak in this wyse, "Cirus, the which had 
neuer inowgh of mannys blode, now mayst thow drynke inowthe." 
And thus endyd Cirus, the grete kyng of Perse, the which was 
neuer ouercome in no batayle affore. Therefor Othea seith to the 
good knyght that he shulde neuer be ouertrostyng in hyme selphe, 
but jjat he shulde doute that he mytht happe amyfse by some 
infortune and yit by symplere than he ys. To this purpose Platon 
seith, ** Disprayse noon, ffor hys wertues may be grete." 

^ Tomyris, queen, not of the Amazons or " Femeny," but of the Scythian 
Massagetae (Herod, i. 205). 
2 Despris, sc. mepris, H. 
' Sc. ambushments. 

64 The Epistle of Othea to Hector ; 

Thamaris, the which shulde not be dispraysed, thowe }?at she 
be a voman, is to sey fat a good speryte shulde not disprayse in 
hate ' the state of mekenes, be it in relygion or ell where ; and that 
mekenes is to prayse. Jon Cassian^ seith that in no wyse the edifice 
of vertues in oure sowle may not reyse ne dresse hym self if the 
fundement of very mekenes be not tastyd fryst in oure hertes, the 
which, and it be ryghte stedefastly sette, may susteyne fe lynes of 
perfeccion and of charite. Therefor the wyse man seyth, [" Quanto 
maior es humilia te ipsum in omnibus et coram Deo invenies 
gratiam "].^ 


' I "HY witte to be ennorted * suflfre nought 

To foly delitys, ne herto brought 

Thy wyrchip ; if it be asked of the, 

Anon beholde the wele in Medee. 

i!7ii — :_ 

Medee was on of the konnyngest women of sorserye that euer 
was and hade most kunnyng ; and fat stories seith. Notwyth- 
stondyng she suffred hire witte to be enorted at the owne will for 
to fuUfylle hire delyte, as in lewde love she suffyrd hyre to be 
maystyrde, so fat she sette hire herte opon Jason and yaffe hym 
worchip, body and goodes ; ffor the which after that he yaflfe hire 
a full evyll rewarde. Wherefor Othea seith that the good knyght 
shulde not suflfre reson to be ouercome wyth lewde delyte in no 
maner cas, iflf he will vse of the vertue of streynght. And Platon 
seyth that a man of lyghte corage is sone meved ' wyth that the 
which he louede. 

That a man shulde not suflfre his wytte to be ennorted to lewde 

1 Ne hayr, H. 

* De coenobiorum institutis, xii. 31 (Migne. xlix. 472). 
^ Eccl. iii. 20. 

* Ne laisses ton sens aworter, H. 

* Sanuie {sc. s'ennuie) tost, H. 

or The Bohe of Knyghthode. 65 

delyte may be vnderstondyn that the goode sperit shulde not suflfre 
his propir will to haue dominacion ; for, yf propir will of domina- 
cion cesyd not, there shulde be noon hell ne the fyer off hell shuld 
haue no dominacion but opon the person that sufFeryth his propir 
will to be lorde of hym, ffor propir will feythyt ayens God and 
enprideth the selfe. That is the which dispoilleth Paradyse and 
clothit hell and voydeth the valu of the blode of Cryst Jhesu and 
submyttyth the worlde to the tharledom of the feende. To this 
purpose the wyse man seyth, [" Virga atque correptio tribuit 
sapientiam ; puer autem qui dimittitur voluntati suae confundit 
matrem suam."] ' 


T FF thou be soget to god Cupido, 
*- The wood 2 giant looke thou kepe the fro, 
That the harde roche in no wyse may put be 
Opon Acis and opon Galatee.^ 

Galatee was a fayre godefse, the which had a yong ientilman 
that she loued and he was dede.* There was a gyant of a fowle 
stature that loued hir, but she lyste not to loue hym ; but he aspied 
hir so besily that he perceyued theyme bothe in the creues of a 
roche. Thanne were they ouerleyde^ with a sodeyne rage, and 
the roche trembled in syche wyse that it holy brak and raflfe 

1 Prov. xxix. 15, somewhat corrupted in H. 

* Se. mad, furious ; du geant enragez, H. 

3 The story was that Acis, son of Faunus, was beloved by the nymph Galatea, 
and that the Cyclop Polyphemus, furious with jealousy, crushed him beneath a huge 
rock (Ovid, Met. xiii. 750). 

* Qui Acis estoit nommez, H. The mistranslation in the text is inexplicable. 

* Adonc fu [le geant] surpris de soubdaine rage et tellement escroula la roche 
que tout en fu Axis acrauentez {sc, ecrase, brise), H. 


66 The Epistle of Othea to Hector ; 

asownedyr. But Galatee, the which was a fayrye/ dressyd hir into 
the see ^ and askapid therby. This is to vndirstond that the good 
knyght shulde be ware in sich case to be ouerleyde with sich as 
hath myght and wyll to greve hym. 

How he shuld be ware of the gyant, the which is yoven to 
Cupido, itt is to vnderstond that the good speryte [shuld] be wele 
ware that he hath non ymagenacion to the worlde ne to no thynge 
jjerof, but euer thynke that all woordly thynges may litell while 
endure. For Seynt Jerom seyth opon Jeremye that there is 
no thyng may be noysed long emong those thynges which shalle 
haue ende ; so all owre tyme is as of litell regarde to the euer- 
lastyng terme. To this purpose the wyse man seyth, [" Transie- 
runt omnia ilia tanquam umbra et tanquam nuntius percurrens "].^ 


"PLEETH euer the godefse of Dyscorde ; 

Euyl be hire lyenis and hire corde. 
Pellus * mariage full sore she trobled, 
For the which after mych foolke assembled. 

Dyscorde is a godefse of evil dedys, and a fabyll seyth that 
whan Pellus weddyd the godefse Thetis, off whome Achilles was 
after that borne, Jubiter and all the tothir godes and godefses were 
at the mariage, but the godes of Discorde was not prayed therto 
and therefor for invie she com onsent for. But she come not all 
for noghte, for she dide verily hir office. When they were sette at 
dynne at a borde, the .iii. myghty godefses Pallas, Juno and 
Venus, there come Discorde and cast an appell of golde opon the 

1 Nymphe, H. 

2 Se ficha en la mer, H. 
' Sap. V. 9. 

* Peleus, to whose marriage with Thetis all the gods were invited except Eris or 

or The Boke of Knyghthode. 67 

borde, whereon was wretyn *' Lete this be gouen to the fFayrest" ; 
and than the fest was trobeld, for yche off theyme sey thei ought to 
haue it. They went afore Jubiter for to be iuged of that discorde, 
but he wolde not plese on to displese anothir. Wherefore thei 
putte the debate opon Paaris of Troye/ the [which] was an herde 
man than,^ as his modir drempt, when sche was grete with hyme, 
that he schulde be cawse off distruccion of Troye ; he was sent 
therfor to the forest to the herdeman, venyng^ to hym that he hadde 
bene his sone. And there Mercurius, the wiche [conducted] the 
ladies,* tolde hym whos sone that he was ; than he lefte kepyng of 
shepe and went to Troye to his grete kynne. The fabill witneschit 
thus, where the weri stori is hidde vndir poyetikly couertoure, and 
because tliat often tymes many grete mischevis hath fallen and 
fallyth throwe discorde and debate, Othea seith to the goode knyth 
that he shulde be ware of discorde ; so that, as it is a fowle thyng to 
be a debatoure and to move riottes, Pitagoras seith ** Go not," seith 
he, " in that weye where that hattes^ growes." 

Where it is seyde that discorde shuld be fleed, on the same 
wyse the good sperit shulde flee all lettynges of consience and f. 44. 
eschewe stryvis and riottes. [Cassiodorus]® souuerainly seith, " He 
fleeth stryves and riottes ; for to stryve ayens pes it is woodnes, to 
stryue ayens his souereyne it is maddenes, to stryve ayens his 
soogette it is grete velany." Therefor Seynte Fowle seith, ["Non 
in contentione et aemulatione " ].^ 

^ For his judgment see below, p. 83. 

2 Sc. then ; adonc, H. 

^ Sc. weaning ; a qui il cuidoit estre filz, H. 

* Qui conduisoit les dames, H. 

^ Sc. hates ; ou croiscent les haynes, H. 

* Cassiodore sus le Psaultier, H. 
7 Rom. xiii. 13. 

68 The Epistle of Othea to Hector ; 


npHYNE evyll misdede forgete thou noght, 

Iflf thou to any ' haue so myche wroughte, 
For the reward he will wele kepe fro the. 
Distroyed was Leomedon, parde. 

Leomedon, as I haue seide, was kyng oflf Trove, and he hadde 
done grete velany to the barons of Grece ^ to voyde them fro his 
lande ^ ; the wiche they foryate noght, but Leomedon hathe for- 
yeten it whan the Grekes ron on hym, the wiche ouercome hym, 
he oncouered and disporveide, so they distroyyd hym. Therefor 
it is seide to the good knyght that, yf he hathe mysdone to any, 
that he kepe hym wele, fFor he may be sekyr it shal notte be 
foryeten, but rather wenged,* whanne he may haue tyme and place. 
And to this purpose Hermes seyth, "Be ware that thynne ennemyes 
com not vpon the, and thou disporveyde." 

That he shuld not forgete the myssedede that he hathe done to 
anothir may be vndirstondyn )7at, when the good sperite felyth hym 
in synne for fawte of resistence, he shulde thynke that he shuld be 
ponnyfshede, as thei be that be dampnyd, yf he amende hym notte. 
And therof seith Seynt Gregorie that the dome of God goth nowe 
fair and softely and a sclowe pas, but in tyme comyng it shall 
recompence the more greuously the mercy shall tarry of his acte. 
To this purpose the prophete Joel seith, [" Convertimini ad Domi- 
num Deum vestrum, quia benignus et misericors est," etc.].* 

1 Iff thou aniy, MS. ; Sc. tu las a qui que soit fait, H. 

2 See above, p. 51. 
' Lawde, MS. 

* Sc. avenged. 

* Joel ii. 13. 

or The Boke of Knyghthode. 69 


TFF it happe thou be of loue doited,' 
-■- Be ware at the leste to whom thou tell it ; 
That thi dedes discouered not be, 
Vmbethynke the welle of Semelle.^ 

The fable seith that Semelle was a gentylwoman that Jubiter 
loved paramours. Juno, the wiche was in ialoucie, tooke the lekenes 
of an auncient woman and cam to Semelle and with fayre wordys 
began to reson hyre in so moche that Semelle knowliged to hyre all 
the love off hyre and of hyr loue, and to [be] well beloued and 
knowenof hyme she vaunted hire. Thegodefse fanne seyde to hir,the f. 45- 
wiche tooke no hede of the difsayte, [that] she perceyued ^ nothyng 
yit of the love of hire love, [but] when she shulde be nexte with hym, 
that she shulde aske hym ayifte and, when she hadde well requyred 
hym and that he hadde grawnted, that she shulde desyre of hym 
that he wolde vouchesafe to halse * hir in syche wyse as [he] halsed 
Juno his wyflfe, when that he wolde solace hym with here, and in 
syche wyse myght she perceyue the loue of hyre love. Semelle 
fforyate it not, and when she hade made the requeste to Jubiter, the 
wiche hade promysyd it hyre and as a god that myght not calle it 
agayne, he was full sori and wyst wele that sche hadde bene 
difseyved. Than Jubiter tooke lekenes of fire " and halsed his loue, 
the wiche in a litell while was all bruled and brent, for the wiche 
Jubiter was full hevy of ]?at aventure. Opon this fabill may be 

1 Damours affoles, H. 

2 Semele, whom Hera deceived in the form of her old nurse Beroe (Ovid, 
Met. iii. 260). 

* Ne perceyued, MS. The translator misunderstood the original, cf. dist a celle, 
qui garde ne sen prenoit de la deceuance, que de rien ne sestoit ancore apperceue 
de lamour, mais quant elle seroit auecques lui, etc., H. 

* La voulsist accoUer, H. 
« Of hir, MS. ; de feu, H. 

7o The Epistle of Othea to Hector; 

takyn many vnderstondynges, anamly opon the science oflf astro- 
nomie, as maystris seyne. But it may be allso that be some weye 
a gentilwoman may be difseyved by the wyfFe of hyr loue, where- 
throwgh hym selfe made hir to die be inaduertance. And therfor 
it is seyde to the good knyght that he shuld be ware, whanne he 
spekyth of a thyng that he wolde that it were secrete, afore or he 
speke hys worde, to whome he seyth it and whatte he seyth, for 
by the circumstances thyngges ma ben vndirstondyn. Therefor 
Hermes seith, " Shewe not the secretes of thi thoughtes but to 
thoo that thou hast well preued." 

How he shulde take hede to whome he spekyth we may 
vndirstond that the good sperite, what so euer hys thowtys be, he 
shulde be ware in euery cas where evil suspeccion myght falle to 
ony othir. As Seynt Austyn seith in the booke of Job,' that we 
shuld not all only sete store to haue good conscience, but in as 
myche as owre infirmyte may, and as myche [as] the diligence of 
mankyndly frelnes may, wee shuld take good hede that we dede no 
thyng that myght come to evil suspeccion to owre stedefast brothir.^ 
To this purpose seith Seynt Poule the apostle, [" In omnibus 
praebe te ipsum exemplum bonorum operum "].^ 


' I ''HE disporte trust not to mychyll opon 

Of Dyane, for j^er is disporte right none 
For them fat ben in knyghthode pursewyng 
That shuld cause them to haunt to mych huntyng. 

Dyane is called godefs off the wode and of huntyng ; so it is 
seide to the good knyght pursewyng the hight name of armes fat he 

^ Ou liure des brebis, H., Sc. Sermo xlvii. de ovibus, in Ezech. xxxiv. 17-31 
(Migne, xxxviii. 303). 

* A noz freres enfermes, H. ; infirmo fratri, St. Aug. 
3 Tit. ii. 7. 

or The Boke of Knyghthode, -ji 

shulde not mvse to myche in the disportes of huntyng, for it is a f. 46. 
thyng that longeth to ydylnes. And Arystotle seith that ydilnes 
ledyth a man to all inconveniences. 

That a man shuld not folwe to myche Dyanes disporte, the 
wiche is take for ydilnes, the goode speryte may noote the same, and 
that is to eschew. Seynt Grygori seyth, " Do euer some goode 
thynge, that the fende may allwayfynde the occupied in some goode 
occupacion." To this purpose the wyse man seith, [ " Consider- 
avit semitas domus suae et panem otiosa non comedit " ].' 


A VAUNTE the not, for grete harme fell therefore ^ 
'^^ To Yragnes,^ the wich myfsetook hir sore, 
That ayens Pallas hire so avaunted, 
For the wyche the goodefse hire enchaunted. 

The fable seyth that Yragnes was a gentylwoman full sotyll 
and kunnyng in schapyng, wevyng and sewyng, but she was too 
presumtuos of hir connyng and indede she vaunted hire ayens 
Pallas, For the wyche the godes was greued wyth here that fore 
that foly vauntyng sche schawneged hyr into an yraigne and than 
seyde, " Thou vaunted the so myche in wevyng and sewyng that 
thou shalt euer aftir this weve and spynne werke of no value," and 
fro thiens come the yraignes that be yite, the wiche sefsyth not of 
spynnyng and wevyng. It may be so vndirstonden that some 
persone wanted ayens hir maystres, fFor the wiche in some wyse 
thei tooke harme. Therefor it is seide to the good knyght that he 
shuld not vaunt hyme, standyng it is a foule thyng for a knyght to 
be a vauntoure, for it may abuse to myche the prayse of his bownte. 

* Prov. xxxi. 27. 
2 Thereoff, MS. 

^ Arachne, who challenged Athena to compete with her in weaving and was 
changed by the goddess into a spider (Ovid, Met. vi. 1-145). 

72 The Epistle of OtJiea to Hector ; 

And in the same wyse Platon seyth, " When thou dost a t[h]yng," 
seith he/ " better than anothir, be ware thou avaunte not therof, 
for yf thou doo thyne avayle is myche the lesse." 

For that a man shuld not vaunte hym, we may sey that the 
goode sperite shulde be ware of wauntyng, for Seynt Austyn 
spekith ayens vauntyng in the .xii. boke of the Cete of God, )?at 
vauntyng is not mankyndly praysyng, but is aturnyd to vyse of 
the sovle, the wich louyth mankyndly praysynges and dispithet 
the wery wytnes of his propyr consyence. To this purpose the 
wyse man seythe, [" Quid nobis profuit superbia, aut diuitiarum 


IFF to grete desyre will them brynge 
To loue mechell disporte of huntynge, 
Dadonius ^ than remenbre may the, 
For with a woode wilde bore dede was he. 

Dadanius was a ioly gentylman * and of grete beaute. Venus 
loued hym paramoures, but because he delytyd hym to myche in 
huntyng, Venus, the wich douted that some hurt myth com to hym 
by some aventure, she prayed hym ofte to be ware how he huntyd 
to grete bestes. But Dadonius wolde not be ware, and therfor he 
was slayne wyth a wilde bore. Therfor it is seyde to the good 
knyght that, yf he wille all gates hunte, late [hym] kepe hym from 
sych huntyng that may doo hym harme. To this purpose the 
profete Sedechias ^ seith that a knyght shulde not suffre his sone 
hunte to myche ne be ydyll, but he shulde make hym to be 
enformed to goode condicions and to fle vanyte. . 

1 The, MS. 

2 Sap. V. 8. 

^ Sc. Adonis. 

* Vn damoisel moult cointe, H. 

« According to the "Dicta Philosophorum " Sedechias "primus fuit per quem 
metu Dei lex precepta fuit et sapientia intellecta" (Add. MS. 16,906, f. i). 

or The Boke of Knyghihode. 73 

How he shulde thynke on Dadoniiis may be vnderstondyn 
that, yif the goode sperite be in any wyse out oflf the weye, that at 
the leste he shulde thynke on the grete perell of perseuerance ; 
for, as the fende hath grete myght opon synners, Seynt Petir 
seythe in the secund Pystyll ' that synners ben bownde to corupcion 
and the fende hath power ouer theyme, for he that in batayle is 
ouercome of an othir is becoinyn bonde to hym. And in tokyn 
therof it is seyde in the PocaHpse, [" Data est bestiae potestas in 
omnem tribum et populum."] ^ 


T F so be thette there afsaile the any, 

Be ware thou ne thi men ryse not lyghtly 
Ayens theyme, that thi town of strenght not slake ; 
OfF the fryst Troye example thou mayst take. 

Whenne Hercules wyth mych pepyll com opon the fryst Troye 
and that kyng Leomedon herd seye of there comyng, than he with 
all the peple that he myght gete in the cete yode owte and went 
ayens theyme to the water syde, and there theye assembled wyth 
full ferse bataile and j^e cete was left voyde of peple. Than 
Thelamen Ayaux, the wich was enbushed wyth a grete oste nere 
the walles of the cete, enteryd into it, and thus the fryst Troye was 
takyn. Therefor it is seyde to the goode knyght that he shulde 
kepe hym, that in siche wyse he be not difseyuyd wyth his f. 48. 
ennemyes. And Hermes seyth, " Kepe the from the peple ^ of 
thyn ennemyes." 

Where it is seyde that a man shuld kepe hym, yf he be 
afsayled, that his cete be not voide, it is to sey that the good 

1 2 Pet. ii. 19. 
* Apoc. xiii. 7. 

' De lagait (I'agait, sc. ruse, artifice), H. The translator seems to have read 
" la gent." 


74 The Epistle of Othea to Hector ; 

spyryte shulde euer kepe hym sesid and filled with vertues. And 
hereto seyth Seynt Austyn that, lyche as in tyme of werre men 
of armes shuld not be onsesyde of theyre armes ne owt of theyme 
nyght ner day, on the same wyse duryng the tyme of this present 
lyfe he shulde not be dyspoyled of vertues, for he thate the fende 
fyndeth withowte vertues faryth as he that the aduersari fyndyth 
vvithoute armes. Therfor the Gospel seyth, [" Fortis armatus 
custodit atrium suum"].' 


/^PON the harpe afsot the not to sore 
^"""^ Off Orpheus. Yf thou sete any store 
Be armes, thou wylte jjerin wele spede. 
To fre ^ instrementis thou hast non nede. 

'■■-'■ Orpheus was a poyete, and the fabill seyth that he cowde 
welle pleye on the harrpe, so that the ryngyng ^ wateres all only 
tournyd theyre coruse, and the birdes of the eyre, the wylde bestes 
and the fres* serpentis foryate there cruelnes and restyd to here 
the songge and the swete sounde of his harpe. This is to 
vnderstond he pleyith so wele that all maner of pepill of whate 
condicions that they were delytede theyme to here the poietis pley. 
And becawse that syche instrumentis sotted often the hertis of 
men, it is seyde to the goode knyght that he shuld not delyte hym 
to meche therein, for it longeth not to the sones of knyghthode 
to mvse to mych in instrumentis ne in othir ydylnes. To this 
purpose an auctorite seyth, "The soule of the instrument is the 
snare of the serpent " ; and Platon seyth, " He fat settyth holy 

^ Luke xi. 21. 

' To follow? Dinstrumens suture nas mestier, H. 

^ Sc. running ; courans, H. 

* Sc. fierce ; fiers, H. 

or The Boke of Knyghthode, 75 

his plesauns of fleysly delythes is more bond fan a sclawe," that is 
to seye, than a man that is bought and solde. 

Orpheus harpe, vpon the wich a man shulde not be afsotted, we 
may vndirstonde that the knyghtly sperite shulde not be afsotted 
ne mvsyd in no maner of wordly felacheppe, be it kynne or othir. 
Seynt Austyn seyth in the booke of the Syngulafyte off Clerkis 
that the solytary man felyth lefse prekynges of his fleych that 
havntyth not voluptuousenes than he that hawntyth it, and lefse it f. 49. 
sterith to couetyse the which seeth not wordly riches' than he 
that seeth it. Therefor Dauyd seith, ["Vigilavi et factus sum 
sicut pafser solitarius in tecto"].* . - > 


r^ ROWNDE yow not opon noone avysyons, 

Ne opon no lewde illusyons 
Off grete emprise, thought it be ryght or wrong, 
And of Paaris remenbre yow among. 

Because that Paryis hadde dremed that he shulde ravysch 
Helayne in Grece, a grete army was made and sent ffro Troye 
into Grece, where that Paryis ravysshede Heleyne. Than for that 
wrongfuU dede they com after that opon Troye with all the power 
off Grece. There was soo grete a covnetre at that tyme that it 
lastyd to the contre that we calle now Puille^ and Calebre in 
Ytaly, and that tyme it was called Lytyl Grece.* And of that 
contre was Achilles and )>e Mirmedewes, the which were so worthi 
fyters. That grete quantite of pepill confoundid Troye and all 

^ £t moins sent les molestes dauarice qui ne voit point les riches du monde, H. 

2 Ps. ci. 8. 

' Apulia and Calabria. 

* This is an assumption from the fact that the Greek colonies of South Italy had 
the name of Magna Graecia. Hellas originally was the district of Phthiotis in Thessaly, 
where the Myrmidones dwelt. 

76 The Epistle of Othea to Hector ; 

the centre. Therefor it is seyde to the good knyght that he 
shulde not ondirtake to doo no grete thynge opon avysiones, for 
grete harme and grete besynes may come thereoflf. And that a 
grete emprise shuld not be done wythowte good deliberacion 
of counsell, Platon seyth, *'Do nothyng," seith he, "but that thy 
wytte hath ouerseen afore." 

That a grete empryse shuld not be takyn for avisyon, that is to 
sey that the good sperite shulde in no vyse presume ne reyse hym 
selphe in arrogance for no maner of grace that God hath yoven 
hym. And Seynt Gregorie seyth in his Morales that there be .iiii. 
spices ' in the whiche all bolnynges of arrogances be shewed. The 
fryst is when they noyse they haue of them selfe the goodnes that 
they haue ; the .ii. is when they wene welle that they haue deseruyd 
and reseyuyd it for ther mentis the goodnes J?at they haue ; the .iii. 
is when they avant to haue the goodnes that they haue not ; and the 
.iiii. is when that they dysprese othir and desire that men shuld 
know the goo[d]nes that is in theyme. Ayens this vyse the wyse 
man spekyth in his Prouerbes, [" Arrogantiam et superbiam et os 
bilingue detestor "].^ 


T FF thou loue well houndes an birdes, than 

On Anteon,^ the fayre yong gentilman, 
The which becomme an herte, vmbethynk well fe, 
And loke that siche fortune com not to the. 

Antheon was a full corteis ientylman and of gentyl condicions 
and loued houndes and birdes to myche ; fore the fabill seith that 
on a day as he huntyd all alone in a thykke forest, wheryn his men 
hadde lost hym, thane as Dyane the godefse of the woode hadde 

* Especes, H.; quatuor sunt species quibus omnis tumor arrogantium demonstratur, 
S. Greg. Moralia, xxiii. 6 (Migne, Ixxvi. 258). 
2 Prov. viii. 13. 
^ Actaeon, changed into a stag by Artemis (Ovid, Met. iii. 155). 

or The Boke of Knyghthode, 7/ 

huntyd in the forest to it was the oure ot noone, she was sore 
chafFede and hoote for the grete hete of the sunne, for ]?e which 
she had a lyste to bathe hir in a f[a]yre welle and a clere, the 
whiche was ther fast by, and as she was in the welle all nakyde 
envyrouned wyth fayreis ' and godes the whiche seruyd hyre, 
Antheon, the which tooke non heede, com sodeynly opon hire 
and sawe all the godes, of whome for hire grete castite the vesage 
wexe reede for shame and was full sory. And than she seide, 
" Becawse that I know wele that thysse yong gentilman wyll vaunt 
hym of ladies and gentilwomen — to the entent that thou schalte 
not mowe vante the that hathe see me naked, I shall take the myght 
of thy speche from the." Than she cursyd hym, and anon Antheon 
becomme a wilde herte and no thyng was lefte hym of mankyndly 
shape but all only vndirstondyng. Than he, full of grete sorowe 
and oflf sodeyne feere, wente fleyng throwe the busches, and anon 
he was reseyuyd with his owen houndes and halewed wyth hys 
owen men that serched the forest for hym, but nowe they haue 
founde hyme and knowe hym not. There Antheon was drawe 
doune, the whych wepte grete teres afore his owne men and 
fayne woolde haue cryed theyme mercy yif he myght haue spokyn. 
And sene that tyme hethir to hertes euer at there dethe wepyn. 
Antheon was slayne and martired with grete woo with his owen 
menye, the which in a litell while had all devowred hym. Many 
exposicions may be made vpon this fable ; but to oure purpose 
it may be seide of a yong man that habaundoneth hym holy in 
ydylnes and dispendith his goodes and his gettynges in delyte off 
his body and in disportes of huntyng and to kepe ydel menye. 
Hereby may it be seide that he was hated of Dyane, the which is 
noted for chastite, and deuowred of his owen menye. Therefor it 
is seide to the good knyght that he shuld be ware he were not 
deuowred in leche wyse. And a wyse man seith, " Idilnes en- 
gendyrth idylnes ^ and errour." 

Be Antheon, the which become an herte, we may vnderstond 

^ Nymphes, H. 

3 Ignorence, H., and so the " Dis des Philosophcs." 

78 The Epistle of Othea to Hector; 

the veray repentaunt man that was wonnte to be a synner and now 
hath ouercome his fleyssch and made it bonde to the good sperite 
[and] takyn the state of pennaunce. Seynt Austyn seith in the 
Sawtyr that pennance is an esy thyng or dede and a lyght charge ; 
it owght not to be called a grete charge for a man but wenges off a 
byrde fleyng, for, as a birde in berth here bereth the charge of 
there wenges and there wenges berith theyme to heven, on the 
same wyse, yff we here on erthe here the charge off pennawnce, it 
shal here vs to heven. To this purpose fe Gospell seith, [" Poeni- 
tentiam agite, appropinquavit enim regnum ccelorura "]/ 


T SEYE go notte to the yates of belle 

For to seke Euridice be my counselle. 
Litell he wanne there with his harpe and play, 
Orpheus, as that I haue ofte herd seye. 

Orpheus the poyete, the which harpede so well,^ a fabil seitti 
that he maried hym to Euridice, but on the day of manage thei 
wente to disporte theyme in a medwe barefoote ffor the grete hete 
of the Sonne, and an herde coveytyd that fayyr woman and ranne 
flfor to a rauyfshed hyr, and as she flede afore hym for fere of hym 
she was betyn with a serpent that was hyd wnder the grefse of 
the medwe, and within a litell while after the mayden dyed. 
Orpheus was ryght heuy of that myfse aventure ; yit he tooke his 
harpe and wentte to ]?e yattes of belle in the dyrke waly afore the 
helle paleys, and thanne he begane to harppe pytously and 
he pleyyd so swetely that all the tormentes off helle cesyd 
and all the helly offices lefte there besynes for to here the 
sownde of the harppe, and anamly Proserpyne, the godes off 

^ Matt. iii. 2. 

^ See above, p. 74. 

or The Boke of Knyghthode, 79 

helle, was meuyd with grete pete. Than Pluto, Lucifere, 
Cerebrus and Acaron/ the which for the harpor sawe that the 
offices off hell peynnes lefte and cesed, toke hym hys wyfF vpon a 
Gondicion that he shulde goo afore and sche after, and that he shulde 
notte loke behynde hym to he come owt of the valy of helle, and 
yff he looked behynde hym he shuld lefe hire. Opon this con- 
dicion she was delyuered to hym ayen. So Orpheus wente afore 
and his loue after, but he that was to hoote in loue, the which 
desired to beholde hire, myght not kepe hym from lokyng ayen 
after his loue, and anoon as [he] loked byhynd hym Euredice 
partyd from hyme and was ayen in helle, so that he myght no more 
haue hire. This fable may be vndyrstondyn in many maneres. It 
myght be so that some man had his wyff takyn fro hyme and he 
had getten hire ayen ; on the same wyse it may be of a castell or of 
anothir thyng. But to owre purpose it may be seide that he 
seketh veryly Euredice in hell, the which sekyth an inpofsibyl 
thyng and, thowgh a man may notte recouer that, he owghte not to 
be wrothe. Salamon seyth the same, *' It is a foly thyng," he seith, 
"to seke that the which is impofsybylle to be hadde." . f- 52. 

Be that a man shulde not goo to seke Euredice in hell, we 
may vndirstond that the goode speryte shulde aske ne requyre of 
God no thyng that is meruellious,^ ne that mervell to be thyng oon, 
that is to sey, to tempte God. And Seynt Austyn seith opon 
Seynt John Gospell that Godes creature is not exavced when he 
requiryth a thyng the which may not be doone or shuld not be 
doone, or a thyng the which he wolde vse amyfse yf that it were 
grawntyd hyme, or ell a thyng that shuld hurte the sowle yf it were 
exauuced. And therfor it comyth of the mercy off God, if he gyff 
not to a creature a thyng the which he knowyth he wolde vse 
amyfse. To this purpose Seynt James the apostell seyth in his 
Pistell, [" Petitis et non accipitis eo quod male petatis "].^ 

* Either Charon is meant, or Acheron, as the eponym of the river of Hades 
so named. 

2 Miraculeuse ne merueillable qui est appelle tempter Dieu, H. 
^ Jas. iv. 3. 

8o The Epistle of Othea to Hector ; 


T FF thou will veraly knowe a knyght 

In cloystir or clos where he be dyght, 
The say ' that was made to Achilles 
Sail lerne the to proue theym doutles. 

The fable seith that Achilles was sone to the godes Thetis, 
and becawse that, as a godes, she knew if hir sone haunted armes 
that he shu[l]d dye, she, the which louyd hym with to grete love, 
hide hym in maydinis clothyng and made hyme were a vaile leche 
a nonne. In the godesse abbay ^ he lyfFed so, and Achilles was 
long hydde vnto that some persones perseyuyd hym, and the fabill 
seith that there he begate Pirus ^ opon the kynges dougther, the 
which was after that full cheualerous. Than began the Troyens 
grete werres, and the Grekes knew wele that thei hadde nede of 
Achilles for to streynght theyme. He was sowte ouer all, but thei 
myght not here of hym. Vlixes, the which was full of grete malice, 
sowgth hym ouer all [and] come to the temple, but yit he myght 
not perseyue the trowght. He avysyd hym of grete malice and 
sotilte, and than Vlixes toke keuercheffes, girdill and all maner of 
iowell * longyng to ladies and therwith feyre armure and bryghte 
and cast all doune in the myddes of the place in presens of the 
ladyes and praide iche of theyme to take ' that the which plefsede 
theyme best ; and than, as euery thyng drawith to his nature, the 
ladies ronne to the jowell and Achilles sefsede the armure. And 
thanne Vlixes ranne and tooke hyme in his armys and seyde, 
" This is he that I seke." And becawse that knyghtes shulde be 

1 Sc. assay, test ; Lessay con fist a Achilles, H. 

2 En labbaye la deesse Vesta, H. 

' Pyrrhus, his son by Deidameia, daughter of Lycomedes of Scyros. 
* Aneles, guimphes, conroyes et de tous ioyaulx, H. \ quayntyses, prety japes and 
jewelles, Wyer. 
« Make, MS. 

or The Boke of Knyghihode. 8l 

more inclyned to armes than to plesawnce/ which longgeth to 
ladies, the auctorite seith that therby a man may knowe the veray 
knyght. And to this purpose Legaron * seith that a knyghte is not f. 53. 
knowen but be his dedes of armes.^ And Hermes seith that thou 
shuldest preue a man afore or that thou trost hym to gretely. 

Where it is seyde, " Yf thou wylte knowe a goode knyght," 
we may vnderstondyn that the good knyght [of] Cryst Jhesu shuld 
be know by the dede of armes in goode workyng, and that siche 
a knyght shulde haue the dwe prayse that longgeth to goode men. 
Seynt Jerom seith in a pistil that, as the ryghtvisnes of God levyth 
non evil thyng vnponyfshede, on the same wyse it levith no goode 
thyng vnrewarded. So than to good pepill noo labour shulde be 
thought to harde, ne no tyme to longe, standyng that thei [are] 
abydyng * the euerlastyng hire and blys. Therfor Holy Scripture 
seith, [''Confortamini et non difsolvantur manus vestrae, erit 
enim merces operi vestro"].^ 


T^T'YTH Athalenta stryue thou not nowe, 
For she hath gretter talent fan thou. 
It was hir crafte for to renne fast. 
To siche a rennyng haue thou non hast. 

Athalenta was on of the fayre ^ and lyche to a gentilvoman of 
grete beaute, but hire destonye was diuerse ; ffor because of hire 
mony lost ther lyves. This gentilvoman for hire grete beaute was 

1 Cointeries mignotes, H. 

2 Leginon, H. ; Longinon, Add. MS. 16,906, f. 51b; Loginon, Roy. MS. 19 B. 
iv. f. 60. 

3 Le vaillant nest conqneu que en guerre, G. deTign. (Roy. MS. 19 B. iv. f. 64). 

* Attendent la gloire pardurable en loyer, H. 

* 2 Paralip. xv. 7. 

^ Sc. fairies; vne nymphe, H. 


82 The Epistle of Othea to Hector ; 

covetyde of mony oon to be hadde to maryage, but ther was made 
sich a conuenawnt that non shulde haue hire but he ouerranne hir, 
and yf she ouerranne hym, he shuld dye. Athalenta was mervelious 
swyft, so that non myght streche to hir in rennyng and that cawsed 
many on for to die. This rennyng may be vnderstondyn in many 
maneres. It may be as some thyng that is gretly covetyid of many 
persones, but yit it may notte be hadde withowte grete traueyle ; 
the rennyng that she made is the defence or the resistence of the 
same thynges. And allso the fabill may be noted anamly for tho 
that makyth grete stryve and nedith not. Also the auctorite seyth 
that a hard man and a coragius ought not to myche to stryve for 
onprofytabyll thynges, the whiche he shulde not set by, stondyng 
that thei [t]owche ' not to his worchyppe for many grete [h]urtes 
folwyth off sich stryues. And Thessille^ [sejith, " Thou shuldest 
doo that the which is moste [pro]fetable to the body and most 
behouely to the soule and fle the contrarye." 

That we shulde notte stryve wyth Athalenta may be vnder- 
stondyn that the goode speryte shulde not be letted with non thyng 
that the worlde dothe, of what gouernans it be. And to the same 
Seynt Austyn seyth in a pistil that the worlde is more perilous to 
creaturis when it is eesy than whan it is sharpe, for the softer he 
seeth it the les it shulde lete hym and lees he shulde drawe it to his 
love then whenne it yeffyth hym cause to dispite it. To this 
purpose Seynt John the Euaungelist seyth in his fryst Pistill, 
[ " Si quis diligit mundum, non est charitas Patris in eo " ].' 


A S that Paris iugede iuge thou noght, 

For many men hau ben full hard brought 
Be grauntyng of evil sentence 
And had j^erfor ryght greuous recompence. 

1 The letters in brackets have been torn away with the edge of the leaf. 

2 Texillus, Dicta Phil. (Add. MS. 16,906, f. 56). 
^ I Joh. ii. 15. 

or The Boke of Knyghthode. 83 

The fable seith that .iii. godefses of grete myght, that is to sey, 
Pallas godes of kunnyng/ Juno godes of goode,^ and Venus godes 
off love, com before Paris holdyng an apple of golde,' the which 
seide, ** Lete this be youen to the fayrest and the myghttyest of vs." 
There was grete discord flfor this appyll, for iche of theyme seyde 
they ought to haue it, and at the last thei tooke Paris for to iuge 
the cavse. Paris sought delegently the strenghte and the myghte 
of ich of theyme by the selfe. Than seide Pallas, " I am godes of 
cheualry and of wysdom, for by me armes is departed to knyghtes 
and konyng to clerkes, and yf thou wilt yiff me the appyll, tryst 
veryli that I shall make the to paase '' all othir in koonyng and in 
knytehode." After that Juno, godes of goode, seide, "And by me 
is departyd the grete lordshippes and also tresowrys off the worlde. 
If thou wyl gyff me the appyll, I shall make the recher and 
mygh[t]ier than ony othir." And than spake Venus wyth full 
louyng wordes and seide, " I am she that kepyth scoles of loue and 
off iolines ^ and maketh fooles to be wyse men and wyse men to do 
foly, and I make ryche men poore and tho }>at be exiled riche. 
There is no myght that may compare wyth my myght. Iff thou 
wylt yeffve me the appyll, by me thou shalt haue f e love of fayre 
Helaine of Grece, the which may avayle the more than any maner 
of ryches." And thanne Paris gaff his sentence and forsoke bothe 
knyghthode, wisdom and riches for Venus, to whome he gaff the 
appyll ; for the which after that Troye was dystryd. This is to 
vnderstonde, because that Paris was not cheuallrous ne reche, he 
sette be noo thyng, but all his thought was on loue, and therefor 
yaffe he the appill to Venus. Werefor it is seide to the goode 
knyght that he shuld not demene hym so. And Pictagoras seith, f- 55- 
" The iuge that iugede not iustyly, diserveth myche evyll." 

Be Parys that iuged folely is vnderstonden that the goode 

1 Sc. knowledge ; de sauoir, H. 

2 Sc. riches ; dauoir, H. 
^ See above, p. 66. 

* Sc. pass, surpass. 

* loliuete, H. 

84 The Epistle of Othea to Hector ; 

sperite shulde be ware how he iuged ofer. Seynt Austyn spekyth 
thereofFayens the [Manichees]' that there be .ii. thynges the whych 
in especiall we shulde eschewe, fryst to iuge othir persones, for we 
know not of what corage thynges be done, the which to contempne 
it is |?erfor^ grete presumcion, for we shuld take theyme to the 
better partye ; secundly for because we be not incerteyne what 
the[i] shall be that now be goode or now evill. Owre Lord to this 
purpose seith in J^e Gospell, [" Nolite judicare et non judicabimini, 
in quo enim judicio judicaveritis judicabimini."] ^ 


T N Fortvne, that grete myghty godefse, 

Trist not to mych, ne in hyre promyse ; 
For in a lytell space she chaungeth, 
And the hyest ofte ouerthroweth. 

Fortune aftyr the spekyng off poyetis may be wele called the 
grete godes, for by hire we see that wordly thynges be gouernde. 
And becauce she promysyth to many prosperite inowght — and indede 
to some she yeffeth it — and in litell space takyth it awaye when it 
plesyth hire, it is seide to the goode knyght that he shuld not trost 
in hire promysses ne discomfort hym not in his aduersites. And 
Socrates seith the cours of fortvne farith as engins.* 

Becavse whi that he seith that he shulde not trost in fortvne, 
we may vnderstond that the good spirite shuld fie and disprayse 
wordly delittes. Therefor Boys ^ seith in the .iii. booke of Conso- 
iacion that the felicite off the Epicuriens shulde be called vnfelicite, 
for the full and the perfy3th felicite it is that the which [can] make 
man sufficiently myghty, reuerende, solempne and ioyeux, the 

1 Omitted in MS. ; les Manichees, H. 

2 It is ))erfor it is, MS. 

8 Matt. vii. I, 2 ; ut non judicemini, Vulg. 

* Sc. snares ; les tours de fortune sont comme engins, H. 

* Sc. Boethius ; Boece, H. 

or The Boke of Knyghthode. 85 

which condicions resiste not to thynges whereopon wordly peple 
settyth there felycite.' TherefFor God seyth by the profyte Ysaie, 
[*' Popule meus, qui te beatum dicunt, ipsi te decipiunt"].^ 


" I ^O vndirtake to avance werre, f. 56. 

Make thoii not Paris the begynner ; 
Better he cowde (take vittenes aboue) 
Disporte in the feyre armes of his loue. 

Paris was nothyng condicionned to armes, but all to loue. 
Therefor it is seide to the goode knyght that he shuld not make a 
cheuetayne of his host ne of his bateilles a knyght the whiche is 
not apte to armes. And therefor Aristotyl seith to Alizaunder, 
** Thou shuldest make hym connestabil of thyne oste that thou 
knowes is wyse and experte in armes. 

That ye shulde not make Paaris to begynne yowre werres, it is 
to vnderstonde that the good knyght gostly, tendyng only to the 
knyghthode of heuen, shuld be holly drawen fro the worlde and 
ches contemplatyue lyffe. And Seynt Grigore seith vpon Ezeciell 
that the lyfFe contemplatyue is of ryght preferred afore the actiue 
Hue as for the worthier and the gretter, for the actiue life travellith 
hymselfe in the laboure of this present lyfe, but the contemplatyve 
lyfe farith as he that tristith ^ the sauour of the reste that is for to 
come. Wherefor the Gospell seith off Mary Magdalene, be whom 
contemplacion is figured, ["Optimam partem elegit sibi Maria, quae 
non auferetur ab ea "].* 

1 Les quieulx addicions ne prestent point les choses ou les mondains mettent leur 
felicite, H. 

3 Isai. iii. 12. •■ 

3 Sic^ ? tasteth ; gouster, H. 
* I.uke X. 42. 

86 The Epistle of Othea to Hector ; 


OETTE the not to be a spy, I the seye, 

But loke thou kepe euer the hey weye. 
Sephalus ' wyth his [sjharpe iaueloth ^ 
Lereth it the, and the wyfF of Lothe. 

The fabill seith that Sephalus was an ancient knyght the 
which delyted hym grettely all his lyue in the disporte of huntyng, 
and he coude cast a darte hade sich a propirte that it was neuer 
cast in veyne, but it kyllyd all }?at it tovched. And because that 
he hade a costome to ryse in the mornyng and to goo to the forest 
to aspye the wylde bestis, his wyff was ielous ouer hyme and 
supposed that he loued othir than hire, and for to know the 
trowthe she went after to aspy hym. Sephalus, the which was in 
the woode, when he herde the leues make noyse where that his 
wyflf went, supposed that it hadde ben some wylde best, kest his 
iauelot and kyllyd his wyflf. He was hevy of that mysse aventure, 
but there myght no remedy be hadde. The woman Lothes wyflfe, 
as that Holy Scripture wytnefsyth, turnyd ayen ayens the com- 
mawndment oflf the aungell, when she herde that the .v. cetees 
sanke behynde hyr, and therfor anon she was chawnged into a 
sake ston. And be all sich figures may be sette many vndir- 
stondynges. For the trwthe and for to take it in example for the 
trowthe, no good man shulde delyte hym to spye anothir in thynges 
that longeth not to hym ; and to the entend that no man wolde 
be aspyed, Hermes seith, " Do not to thi felawe that the which thou 
woldyst not were done to the, and strech no snaris for to take men 
wythall, ne purches noon harme to theyme be aspyeng ne be wyles, 
for at the last it will turne opon [jiselfe." 

That a man shulde not sette hym for to spye may be vndir- 

^ Cephalus, who killed his wife Procris in the way described (Ovid, Met. vii. 

8 Glauellot, H. 

or The Boke of Knyghthode. 87 

stondyn that the good sperite shuld not peyne hym to knowe othir 
mennis dedes, ne to enqwere tydyngges of othir. For Seynt John 
Crisostome seith opon the Gospell of Seynt Mathieu, ** Howe takys 
thow so grete hede," seith he, '' of so many litell defawtes of othir 
men and latyst pase so many grete defawtes in thyn owyn dedes ? 
Yf thou loued thi selfe better than thi neyghburght, whi empechest 
thou his dedes and leuys thyne owyn ? Be diHgent to considir 
thin owyn dedes fryst, and than consider the dedes off othir." To 
this purpose owre Lorde seith in the Gospelle, [" Quid autem vides 
festucam in oculo fratris tui, trabem autem in oculo tuo non 


T~AISPRAYSE not of Helene the councell ; 

I counsel the so wythowte fayle, 
For ofte many hurtes falleth then, 
Because that we beleue not wyse men. 

Helene was brothir to Hector and Kyng Priantes sone of 
Troye. He was a full wyse clerke and full off konyng. As mych 
as he myght, he counseyled that Paarys shulde not goo into Grece 
to rauyssh Helayne ; but thei wolde not do aftyr hym, for the which 
the Troyens were hurte. Therefor it is seide to the good knyght 
that he shuld beleue wyse men and there councell, and Hermes 
seith, "Who so worchyppyth wyse men and vsyth there councell, 
thei be euerlestyng pepyll." 

Helene, the which counselled ayens the werre, that is to sey 
that the goode sperite shulde eschwe temptacions. And Seynt 
Jerom seith that a synner hath noon excusacion whereby he howght 
to suffyr temptacions to ouercome hym, for the temptyng feend is 
so febill that he may ouercome noon but thoo that wyll be yolden 
to hyme. And thereopon Seynt Povle the apostyl seyth, [" Fidelis f. 58. 
Deus qui non patietur vos temptari supra id quod potestis," etc.].^ 

1 Matt. vii. 3. 

2 I Cor. X. 13. 

88 The Epistle of Othea to Hector ; 


T)E not to mery ne to sori 

"^ For thi dremes, though thei be hevy. 

Morpheus byddyth, the mefsanger 

Oflf the god of slepe and dremes seere.' 

A fifabill seyth that Morpheus is sone to the god of slepe, and 
he is his mafsenger and he is god of dremes and cawsyth men to 
dreme. And because that dremes be trobolous thynges and a derke 
and some tyme it may syngnifie contrarie to the dreme, fer is noon 
so wyse that may propirly speke ^ liche as the expositours seith of 
theyme'. Therfor it ys seide to the goodknyght that he shulde not 
be to heuy ne to mery ffor sich avysyons, be the which a man may 
not shewe no certeyne knowlych ne to what thyng thei sal turne, 
and anamely fat a man shulde not be to mery ne to hevy flfor 
thynges off fortune, the which be transsitorie. Socrates seith, 
" Thou that arte a man, thou shuld not be to hevy ne to mery ffor 
no maner cawse." 

Where it is seide that a man shuld not be to mery ne to hevy 
for non avysyons, we shall seye that the good speryte shuld not be 
to heuy ne to meri for no maner cause that cometh to hym and 
that he shuld suffre tribulacions paciently. Seynt Austyn seith 
vpon the Savter, " Fayre son," seith he, " yf thou wilte wepe for 
thi sorres that thou felest, veepe vnder the correccion off thi Fadir ; 
yf thou wepe ffor tribulacions that comyth to the, be ware that it be 
not for indignacion ne for pride, for the aduersyte that God sendyth 
to the it is a medycyne and no payne, it is a chastisment and no 
dampnacion. Put not fro the thi Fadris rodde but yf that )?ou wylt 
that [hej put the from his heritage ; and thynk not on the payne 

^ Au dieu qui dort et fait songer, H. 

2 That may propirly that may speke, MS. ; qui proprement en puisse parler quoy- 
que les expositeurs en dient, H. 

3 Tyme, MS. »► 

or The Boke of Knyghthode. 89 

that thow owghtes to suflfre of his scorge, but considir what place 
thow haste in his testament. To this purpose the wyse [man] 
seythe, [" Omne quod tibi applicitum fuerit accipe et in dolore 
sustine, et in humilitate tua patientiam habe."] ' 


"O E the see yf thou wylt vndertake 

Perlyous viages for to make, 
Off Alchion ^ beleue the counsell. 
Ceys therof the soth may the tell. 

Ceys was a kyng, a full good man, and loued wele Alchyon f. 59. 
his wyfF. The kyng tooke a deuocion ffor to go a perlyows 
pafsage on the see in a tempest, but Alchyon his wyffe, the whiche 
loued hym ryght hertily, dyde gretyly hir besynes to meve hym fro ^ 
that vyage and with grete teris of wepyng prayde hyme full besyly ; 
but it myght not be remedied by here ne he woold not suffir hir to 
goo with hym, stondyng that she wolde all gates haue gone with 
hymme and at the departyng she styrte on to the shepe.* But 
Ceys the kyng comfortyd hir and with force made hyre to abyde, 
for the which she was full anggwyssous and hevy and in ryght grete 
woo. Neuer the lesse Eolus,^ the god of wyndes, meved theyme 
soo gretely opon the see that the kyng Ceys within fewe dayes 
perysshed on the see ; fifor the which, whenne Alchyon knew that 
aventure, she kest hire selfe into the see. The fFabill seith that 
the godes had pyte ferolF and chawnged the bodyes of the .ii. louers 
into .ii. birdes, to the intent that there grete loue myght be had in 
perpetuell mynde. And yette (je same birdes flee opon the see 
syde, the which be called Alchions and there fedres be whyte ; 
and whan the maryneris see theyme come, f>an be they sekyr of a 

^ Eccl. ii. 4. 

2 Alcyone, or Halcyone, wife of Ceyx, whose story is in Ovid, Met. xi. 410. 

3 For, MS. 

* Dedens la nef se gita, H. 
5 Colus, MS. 

f. 60. 

90 The Epistle of Othea to Hector ; 

tempest/ The ryght exposicion hereof may be that in manage .ii°. 
loueres loued togedir in lich wyse, the which poyetes lykeneth to 
the .ii°. byrdes that hade sich a case and aventure. Therefor it is 
seide to the goode knyght that he shulde not put hym in no 
perlyous pafsage ayens the counsell off his good ffrendis. And 
Assaron ^ seyth that the wyse man enforseth hym to draw hym fro 
hurtes, and the foole doth his diligence to fynde hiirtes. 

For to beleue Alchion, it is to vnderstond that the goode speryte 
by some evil temptacion is empeched with some errowe or dowte 
in his thowght, in the which he shuld reporte hym to the openyon 
off the cherche. For Seynt Ambrose seyth in the .ii. booke off 
Offices that he is fro hym selfe that dispyseth the counsell of the 
cherche, for Joseph helped kyng Pharaon more profitably with 
the cownsell off his prudence than though he had yoven hyme 
eythir gold or syluer ; for syluer my3gh not a purueyde for the 
famyn of Egypte the space of vii. yere. Therefor it is concluded, 
*' trust counsell and thou shalt not repent the." To this purpose 
the wyse man seith in his Proverbes to the persone of holy chirch, 
[**Custodi legem atque consilium et erit vita animae tuae"].^ 



|FF a chylde beleue notte the counsell, 
For off Troylus remenbre the wele. 
Trest * ye may men aged and prouede, 
That in armes hath sore bene charged. 

When Kyng Priant had repared Troye ayen, the which was 
dystroyede because of the greuyng of theym that went into Colcos, 
than Priant thought to take vengance for that distruccion and 
asemblyd his counsell, where that were many hy barons and wyse 

^ The fable was that for seven days before and after the winter solstice, when the 
Halcyon was breeding, the sea remained calm. 

2 See the " Dis des Philosophes" (Roy. MS. 19 B. iv. f. 60). 

3 Prov. iii. 21, 22. 
* Sc. Trust. 

or The Boke of Knyghthode, 91 

men, for to wete wheythir it were good that Paaris his sone shulde 
goo into Grece to ravyssh Elen or noon in achaunge for Esyona * his 
sistir, the which was taken be the Thelomonailles "" and ledde into 
thraldom. But all the wyse men seyde nay, becavse of proficies 
and of scriptores, the whiche seide through that rauysshyng Troye 
shuld be dystroyed. Than Troylus, the whiche was a child and the 
yongest of Priantes sones, seyde that men shulde not in counsell 
of werre beleue olde men ne there prouerbes, the which threwe ^ 
there cowardyse counselleth euer to rest ; so he counselled that 
they shulde goo togedir. Troylus consell was holdyn, of the which 
felle myche harme. Therefor it is seyde to the good knyght that 
he shuld not holde ne beleve the counsell of a childe, the which of 
nature is full lyght and lityll to consydir. An auctorite seith to 
this purpose that where a childe is kyng }>e londe ys onappy.* 

That a good speryte shulde not agre hym to the counsell of a 
childe, it is to vndirstond that he shulde [not] be ignorant, but 
knowyng and full lerned in that the which may be prophyte to his 
helth ; ffor ayens ignorant pepyll Seynt Austyn seith, " Ignorance is 
a full evyl modir, the which hath full evill doughteris, that is to 
sey, falssenes and doute ; the fyrst is myschawnce, the secund is 
wreechednes, the fyrst is vicyous, but the secund is softer,^ and 
these .ii. is drawen away by wysdome." Therefor the wyse man 
seyth, [" Sapientiam prgetereuntes non tantum in hoc lapsi sunt 
ut ignorarent bona, sed insipientiae suae reliquerunt hominibus 
memoriam "].* 

1 Hesione, whom Hercules rescued when she was exposed by command of an 
oracle to be devoured by a sea monster, and whom he gave to Telamon Ajax on being 
defrauded of his promised reward by her father Laomedon (Ovid, Met. xi. 211). 

2 Thelamon Ayaulx, H. 

3 Sc. through. 

* Vse tibi, terra, cujus rex puer est, Vulg. (Eccles x. 16). 
" Plus moleste, H. 
^ Sap. X. 5. 

92 llie Epistle of Othea to Hector ; 


. ^ T T ATE Calcas and his false disseytes, 

Oflf whome the infynyte malicis 
Betrayeth many reaumes expres ' ; 
Oflf wordly pepyll J^er is no wers. 

.. Calcas was a sootyl clerke of the cete of Troye,^ and, whan 
Kyng Priante knew that the Grekes come opon hym with a grete 
oste, he sent Calcas into Delphos to wete of the god Appolonie ^ 
how the werre shulde fortvne. But after that the god hade 
aunsweryd, the which seide [that] after .x. yere the Grekes 
shulde haue the victorie, Calcas turned towarde the Grekes 
and aqwaynttyd hym with Achilles, the which was comme into 
Delphos for the same cause, and with hym he went to the 
Grekes, whome he helpid for to cownsel ayens his owen cete and 
ofte tymes disturbed the pes betwyne the Grekys and the Troyens. 
-And becawse he was a traytore, it is seide to the goode knyghte 
that he shulde hate sich evill sotell pepyll, ffor theyre traysones so 
done be willes may hurte gretly reaumes and empires and all 
maner of pepyll. Therefor Platon seith, "A soothel* enemy, 
though he be poore and not myghty, may greue more than a 
ennemy myghty and ryche vnknowyn." 

Calcas, the which shuld be hatyd, may be vnderstonden 
that the good speryte shulde hate all fraudelous malice ayens his 
neyghburgh, for he shulde in no wyse consent thertoo. For Seynt 
Jerom seith that a traytoure will not be sowpled, neythir for 
familiarite oflf felachep ne for homlynes of mete and drynke ne for 
grace of seruyce ne for plente oflf benefices. Oflf this vice seith 

^ Et empires, H. 

2 Calchas was not a Trojan, but a son of Thestor of Mycenae or Megara and the 
foremost soothsayer on the Greek side. Christine de Pisan or her authority seems to 
have misunderstood Dares Phrygius, ch. 15. 

2 Sc. Apollo ; ApoUin, H. 

^ Sc. subtle. 

or The Boke of Knyghthode, 93 

Seynt Poule the apofstell, [ " Erunt homines cupidi, elati, superbi, 
proditores, tumidi " ]/ 


T) E thou notte harde for to graunt, I say, 
"^ Sich a thyng as welle enploy thou may ; 
To Hermofrodicus "^ haue tendyyng,' 
The whiche tooke harme for his denying. 

Hermofrodicus was a beauteous yong thyng, and on of the 
fayree * was sore enamourede of hymme, but he in no wyse had 
leste to love hire and she purswed hym ouer all. Yt felle on a 
tyme that the yong thyng was full wery of the purswte wherein he 
hadd trauelled all the day. Than he come to a well-spryng sette 
abovte with salwes,^ by the whiche was a fayre stanke, styll and 
clere, flfor the which a lest he hade to bathe hym.^ He dyde of his 
clothes and went into the water. Whan she off the fayree sawe 
hym onclothyd and all naked, she went in to hym and for grete 
loue tooke that yong thyng in hir armes ; but he, the which was 
full froward, put hire fro hym ryght rudely, so she myght not wynne 
his hert for no prayour. Than she of the fayree, full of woo, prayde 
to the godes that she myght neuer parte from hire loue, the whiche 
put hire so fro hym. The godes of pete harde hire deuoute 
prayere ; than sodanly they chaunged the .ii*. bodies into oone, the 
which were of .ii^ seytis.''^ This fabill may be vnderstondyn in many 
maneres, lich as sothell clerkes and philosopheris hath hide there 
grete secretes vndir couertoure of fable. Thereto it may be f- 62. 

1 2 Tim. iii. 2, 4, with omissions. 

2 ^. Hermaphroditus (Ovid, Met. iv. 285 sq). 
2 A Hermofrodicus te mire, H. 

* The nymph of the well Salmacis ; vne nimphe, H. 

* A la fontaine de Salmacis, H, 

^ Lui prist talent de soy baigner, H. 
'^ Sc. sexes ; qui ii. sexes auoit, H. 

94 The Epistle of Othea to Hector ; 

vnderstondyn sentence longyng to the science of astronomy, and as 
wele of nygromancye/ as that maystrys seyth. And because that 
the matyr of loue is more dehctable to here than othir, gladely ^ 
they made there distinccions ' opon loue for to be the more 
delectable to here, anamly to rude pepill, the whiche take but the 
barke, and the more agreable to subtile, the which sowketh the 
lyquor. But to owre purpose we may vndirstond that it is velany 
and a fowle thyng to refuse or to grawnte wyth grete daunger that 
the which may not tume to vyce ne to preiudice, thowgh it be 
grawnttyd. For Hermes seyth, ** Make no long delay to put it in 
execucion that the which pou shuld doo." 

The goode speryte shulde notte be harde to graunt there 
where he seyth necefsite, but reconforte the nedy to his power. 
As Seynt Gregore seith in his Moralles that, whan we wyll 
reconforte any that is afrayed in heuynes, we shulde fryst make 
heuynes with theyme, for he may not veryly reconforte the hevy 
person which cordeth hyme not with his heuines. For leche a man * 
may not ioyne oon yren to anothir yf thei be note bote bothe .ii*. 
and softyd with the fire, on the same wyse we may not redrefse 
anothir yif oure hertes be not softted be compafsyon. To this 
purpose Holy Scripture seith, [" Confortate manus dissolutas et 
genua debilia roborate "] .^ 


nPHOU mayst wyth the pleys the solace 

Off Vlixes, when thou hast tyme and space 
In the tyme of trwes and of fest, 
For they be both sotel and honest. 

1 Darquemie, sc. alchemy, H. 

2 Ghadely, MS. 

^ Leurs ficcions, H. 
4 Men, MS. 
^ Isai. XXXV. 3 

or The Boke of Knyghthode,- 9(5 

Vlyxes was a baron of Grece and off grete sotylte and duryng 
the long seege afore Troye, the whiche lestyd .x. yere, [when] that 
trwes were, he fond pleys full sotyll and feyre for to disporte 
knyttes therewyth in the tyme of soioure and rest. And some seyne 
that he fonde the game of the chesse and sich othir lich. There- 
for it is seide to the good knyght that in dwe tyme men may wele 
play at sich games ; for Solyn seith, "All thyngges that is sottyl and 
honest is lefull to be doone." 

The pleyes of Vlixes may be vnderstondyn that, when the 
knyghtly speryte shall be wery off prayer and of beyng in contem- 
placion, he may wele disporte in redyng of Holy Scriptures ; ffor, 
as Seynt Jerom seith. Holy Scripture is sete in the yen of owre ' f. 63. 
hertis as a merowre, to the entent that we shuld se the herdly face ^ 
of owre sowle, and therefor may we see the lewdenes, there may 
we see who myche ^ that we profyte and how fayre we ben [fro] 
profyte.* To this purpose owre Lord seith in the Gospell, 
[" Scrutamini scripturas, quia vos putatis in ipsis vitam aeternam 
habere "].5 


'V/IF thou wilt yeff the to Cupido, 

Thy hert and all abaundon hire to, 
Thynkke on Cresseides nwefanggyllnesse,^ 
For hire hert hade to meche dobylnesse. 

Cresseide [was] a gentilwoman of grete beaute, an[d] she was 
yit more qwaynte and sotell to drawe pepill to hirJ Troylus, the 
yongest of Priahtes sones, [the which] was full of grete gentilnesse, 

1 Yen {sc. eyes) of yowre, MS. 

^ Lenterine face, H. (enterin, sc. entier, complet, Godefroy, s.v). 

^ Sc. how much. 

* La pouons nous veoir nostre bel, la pouons nous veoir nostre lait, la pouons 
nous veoir combien nous prouffitons et combien nous sommes loings de prouffiter, H. 

5 Joh. V. 39. 

^ Gard toy Briseyda nacointier, H. The change is probably due to Chaucer's 
" Troylus and Cryseyde." 

''' Cointe et vague et attrayant, H. 

96 The Epistle of Othea to Hector ; 

of beaute and of worthines, loued hire ryght hertily and she hade 
youen hym hir loue and promysyd to hym that it shuld neuyr 
fayle. Calcas, fadir to the gentilwoman, the which knew by 
science that Troye shuld be distroyid, dide so myche that his 
doughter was delyuered to hym and browght owte of the cete and 
ledde to the seege among the Grekes, where hir fadir was. Grete 
was the sorowe and full petous the ' complayntis of the .ii°. louers 
at the departyng. Neuerthelesse within a while aftir Dyomed, the 
which was a hye baron and a full worthi knyght, aqweynttyd hym 
with Crefseide and labowrd so soore to hir that she loued hym and 
only ' foryate hir trwe loue Troylus. Because that Cresseide was 
so lyght of corage, it is seide to the gode knyght that, yf he will 
sette his herte in ony plase, late hym be ware that he be not 
aqwauyntyd with sich a lady as Crefseide was. And Hermes 
seith, "Kepe the from evill felachepe, that thou be not on of 

Crefseide, of whom a man shulde be ware to aqweynt hym, is 
veyne glori, with the which the good sperite shuld not aqwaynte 
hym, but fle it onto his power, for it is to lyghte and commyth to 
sodenly. And Seynt Austyn opon the Sauter seith that he the 
which hath wele lerned and asayed by experiens to ouergoo degrees 
of vices, he is coume to the knowlyge that the synne of veyne 
glory is holy or most specyaly to eschwe of perfy3te men, ffor 
emong all othir synnes it is hardest to ouercom. Therefor the 
apostil Seynt Poule seith, [** Qui gloriatur, in Domino glorietur "].* 


AIT" HEN thou hast kylled Patroclus, ^ 
' Ware of Achilles, I counsell )7e thus, 
f, 5^ Yf thou loue me, for thei be all on, 

There goods betweyne theym be comon. 

1 Of the, MS. 

' Sc. wholly ? ; du tout, H. 

8 I Cor. i. 31. 

or The Boke of Knyghthode. ^7 

Patroclus and Achilles were felawes togedir and ryght dere 
freendis, so that there were neuer to' brethere loued better 
togedir, and thei and here goodes were comon as all o thyng. And 
because that Hector slew Patroclus in batayle Achilles had grete 
hate to Hector, and fro theyns forthe swore his dethe. But 
because he doutyd meche his grete streynght, he lefte neuer to 
wayte how he myght fynde hym discouered to betray hym. Ther- 
for Othea seide to Hector, as by profecye of that which was for to 
come, that, when he hadde sleyne Patroclus, it were nede for hym 
to be ware of Achilles. That is to vnderstond )?at euery man the 
which hath slayne or mysdoon to anothir mannys trwe freen , his - 
felawe will take vengance if he may. Therefor Magdare * seith, 
" In what [place] that euer thou be wyth thy ennemye, holde hym 
euer in suspecte, thow* that thow be myghtyer than he." 

Where it is seide that, when thow hast sleyne Patroclus thou 
shulde be ware of Achilles, we may vnderstond that, yf the goode 
speryte suffir hym by the feend to bowe to synne, he howte ^ to 
dowte euerlastyng dethe. And Solyn seith,* " This present lyue is 
but a knyghthode an[d] in tokyn theroflf this present lyf is called 
werre in deference of that aboue, the which is called victorius, for 
it hath euer of enemyes." To this purpose the apostil Seynt 
Poule seith, ["Induite vos armaturam Dei, ut possitis stare adversus 
insidias diaboli."]^ 

' Sc. two. 

2 Or, MS. The passage is confused, cf. que tout homme qui a occis ou meffait 
au loyal compaignon dun autre que le compaignon en fera la vengence, H. 

^ Madarge, H. ; Magdargis, Add. MS. 16,906, f. 55b ; Macdarge, Roy. MS. 19 B. 
iv. f. 65. The " dit " as given by G. de Tignonville in the last-named MS. is " En 
quelque lieu que tu soyes auecques ton enmemi .... fay touz iours bon guet ; ia 
soit ce que tu soyes le plus fort et plus puissant, si doys tu trauaillier a faire la paix." 

** Sc. though. 

* Sc. ought. 

* This is not among Solon's sayings in the " Dis des Philosophes." 
7 Ephes. vi. II. 


98 The Epistle of Othea to Hector ; 


T>E ware thou voide note fro the Echo, 

Ne hir ' petous complayntes also ; 
Susteyne all hir wille, yif it may be, 
For thou wote not what may com to the. 

The fabill seith that Echo was a fayre woman, and because 
she was wont to be to grete a iangelere and by hir iangyllyng on a 
day accused Juno, the which for ialousie on day lay in awayte on 
hir husbond, the godefse was wroothe and seide, " For hens forth 
thou shalt no more speke fryst, but after anothir." Echo was 
anamored on faire Arcisus,^ but neyther for prayer ne for sygne of 
love that she made to hym he lyst not to haue pete off hire, in so 
mych that the faire creature diede for his love. But dyeng she 
prayed to the godefse that she myght be vengyd of hyme in whome 
she hade fownde so mych cruellnes that ons yit thei myghte make 
hym to fele the charpenefse of loue, whereby he may preue the 
grete woo }?at veray louers haue the which in loue be refufsede ; 
)?an she died. So Eccho made an ende, but hire voyse remaneth, 
which lestyth yitte. And there the godes made it perpetuall for 
memorie of that aventure, and yit it answheris to pepill in valeyys 
and on reueres aftyr the woyse of othir, but it may not speke fryst. 
Eccho may syngnyfie a persone the which off grete necefsite 
requyryth the voyse that is youen to anothir ; that is to sey, of 
nedy pepyll there is abydyng enowe, for they may not helpe 
themselffe withowte helpe of othir.^ Therefor it is seyde to the 
good knyght that he shuld haue pete of nedy pepill that reqwyrith 
it. And Zaqualquin* seith, " Who so will kepe wele the lawe, 
shulde helpe hys frend with his goode and leue to nedi pepill and 

1 His, MS., both here and in the next line. 

2 Sc. Narcissus ; Narcisus, H. See the story in Ovid, Met. iii. 356 sq. 

3 Cf. qui par grant necessite requiert autrui ; la voix qui est demouree, cest que 
de gens souffraiteux est il assez demoure ne ilz ne peuent parler fors apres autrui, H. 

* The fourth philosopher in the "Dicta"; Salquin, Add. MS. 16,906, f. 7b ; 
Zaqualkin, Roy. MS. 19 B. iv. f. lob. 

or The Boke of Knyghthode. 99 

be gracious, not denying iustice to his enemy, and kepe hym fro 
vice and dishonour." 

Be Echo, the which shuld not be refusyd, may be notyd the 
mercy fat the good sperite shulde haue in hym selfe. And Seynt 
Austyn seith in the book of owre Lo[r]dis Sermon that he made 
on the Hille that blyssyd be thoo that willyngly socourith poore 
pepill, the which be in penowrye, for thei discerue mercy of God 
opon them that is in penuery. And it is a iust thyng that who so 
will be holpyn of a souereyne more myghtye than he shuld helpe * 
a sympler than he is, in as myche that he is mythyer than he. 
Therefor the wyse man seith in his Prouerbis, [" Qui pronus est ad 
misericordiam benedicetur."]^ 


T FF thou wilte haue a croune of victorie. 

Which is better than ony good wordly, 
Damee ^ thou most folue and purswe 
And shalt haue hir, if thou will wele swe. 

The fabil seith Damee was a gentylwoman that Phebus loued 
hertily, and he purswede hire sore, but she wolde not agre to hym. 
It felle on a day that he sawe the fayre creature go in a way and 
he folowed and, whanne she sawe hym come, she fledde and the 
god aftir. And when he was so nere that she sawe well she myght 
not scape hym, she made hir prayers to the godes Diane that she 
shulde save hire virginite, and the body of the maydyn chaunged 
into a grene lorier ; and when Phebus was come nere therto, he 
tooke of the brawnches of the tre and made hym a chaplete in 
syngne of victorie. And anamly in the tyme ■* of the Romayns 
greetc felicite the victorius pepill of tbeyme were crowned with f, 6( 
lorier. This fabill may haue many vndirstondynges. It myght 
happe that some myty man with long traveyle swed a lady in so 

1 To helpe, MS. 

2 Prov. xxii. 9. 

3 Sc. Daphne (Ovid, Met. i. 452 sq.); Damne, H. 
* To theyme, MS. ; ou temps, H. 

loo The EpisUe of Othea to Hector ; 

mych that with his grete pursvte he com to his will vndir a lorier, 
and for that cavse fro theyns forth he loued the lorier and bare it 
in his devyse in signe of the victorie that he hade of his love vndir 
the lorier. And allso the lorier may be take for golde, the which 
betokynyth worchippe. It is seide to the good knyght that he 
most pursue Damee, if that he will haue a croune of lorier, that is 
to seyne, payne and traveyle, yf he will com to worchippe. To 
this purpose Omer seyth, "Be grete diligence a man comyth to 
grete perfeccion." 

That Damee wolde be purswede for to have a croune of lorier, 
we may vndirstonde that, yf the goode speryth will haue a glorius 
victorie, he must haue perseuerance, the which sail lede hym to 
the victorie of paradyse, of the which the ioies be infynite. As 
Seynt Grygory seith, " Who hath J^at tong that may sufl5ce to tell 
it, and where is the vndirstondyng that may or canne comprehend 
it, who ' many ioyes be there in that souereyne cete oflf paradyse, 
euer to be present ^ . . . . visage of God, to se the vnscribable 
lyght, to be in surte neuer to haue fere off deth, to be mery with 
the gyfte of euerlastyng clennes ? " To this purpose Dauid seith in 
J?e Savter, [''Gloriosa dicta sunt de te, civitas Dei "].^ 


'T^O the also I make mencion 

Off Andromathais ^ vision ; 
Dispite not thi wyfe, I counsell the, 
Ne othir wemen that wise be. 

Avdromatha was Hectoures wyffe, and the nyght afore that 
he was sleyne there com to his wyfe in a vision that the next daye 

1 Sc. how. 

2 An omission by homceoteleuton \ cf. estre tous iours present aux ordres des anges 
auec les benois esperis assister a la gloire du conditeur, regarder le present visage, 
etc. H. The quotation is from Horn, Evang. (Migne, Ixxvi. 1275). 

^ Psal. Ixxxvi. 3. 
* Sc. Andromache's. 

or The Boke of Knyghtho^e. loi 

that Hector went to the batayle withowten dowte there he shuld 
be sleyne. For the which Andromatha with grete seghens and 
vepynges dide hire power that he shuld no goo into the batayle ; 
but Hector wold not beleue hir and there he was slayne. Where- 
for it is seide that a goode knyght shuld not holy disprayse visions 
of his wife, that is to sey, in avice and the counsell of his wyfe, if 
he be wyse and well condiciond, and anamly of othir wise women. 
For Platon seith, " Thou shuld not disprayse the counsell of a 
lytill wise person, for, fough thou be neuer so olde, be not ashamed 
to lerne, though a childe wolde teche the, for some tyme the 
ingnorant may avise the wise man. 

The avision of Andromatha, the whiche shulde not be dis- f. 67. 
preysed, is that a good purpose sent by the Holy Gost Jhesu 
Cristis knyght shuld not sette it at nought, but anoon sette it in 
effecte vnto his power. Thereoff spekyth Seynt Gregory in his 
Moralles that the good Sperite for to draw vs to goodnes and- 
monychit vs, meveth vs and techitht vs. He admonychyt owre 
mynde, he meuith oure will and techyt owre vnderstondynges. 
The Sperite, softe and swete, suffirth no maner of litell spote of 
chaflfe' abydyng in the habitacion of the herte where he in- 
spiryth, but broyleth it anoon with his subtile circumspeccion.*^ 
Therefore the postile Seynt Powle seith, ["Spiritum nolite ex- 
tinguere " ].^ 


T F that thoue haue grete werre and besy. 

In Babilonies streynght verely 
Troste not, for be Minos "* and that soone 
It was take ; trosteth not than thereone. 

1 Petite paille, H. 

* La brusle du feu de sa soubtille circonspeccion, H. 
' I Thess. V. 19 

* Ninus, H. 

I02 The Epistle of Othea to Hector ; 

Grete Babilony was founded bi the grete gyaunt Nambroth/ 
and it was the streyngest cete that eiier was ; but notwithstondyng 
it was take by knynght Minos.^ Therefore it is seide to the good 
knyght that he shuld not so myche truste in the streynght of his 
cete or off his castell in tyme oJBT werre, but that it be full purveide 
off pepyll and of all thyng that behoueth for dwe defence. For 
Platon seith, "Who so trostith all only in his streyngth is often 

Be the streynth of Babilonie, wherein men shuld not trost, it 
is to vndirstonde that the good sperite shulde not trust ne attende 
to thynges that the worlde promysith ; and Seynt Austyn spekith 
therof in the booke of Syngularite of Clerkes,^ that it is to lewde a 
trust* to name his lyflfe to be swre ayens the perell of this worlde. 
And it is a folych hope to wane to be saue among the byttynges ^ of 
synnys ; yit the victorie incerteyne is as long as men be among the 
dartes of there enmyes and kepith theyme vnhurte,^ but who so is 
envirouned with flawmes is not lyghtly delyuered withowtyn 
brennyng. Trost to hym that hath the experience ; though the 
world lawith ^ on the, tryst it not, lete thi hoope be sette in God. 
Therefor seith the prophete Dauid, " Spera in Domino," etc.^ 

1 Sc. Nimrod. 

2 Le roy Ninus, H. 

' De Singularitate Clericorum (Migne, iv. 837). The Latin text is somewhat 
loosely rendered. 

* Cest vne sotte fiance, H. ; adversaria est confidentia, St. Aug. 

* Estre sauf entre les morsures, H. 

* And — ^vnhurte, not in H. or I^t. 
7 Sc. laugheth ; rit, H. 

' Psal. xxxvi. 3 ; Bonum est confidere in Domino, etc. (Psal. cxvii. 8), H. 

or The Boke of Knyghthode. 103 


T T ECTOR me must pronunce thi deth smerte. 

Wherefor grete sorwe bitteth my herte. 
That shall [be] whene that Priant the kyng 
[Thou] woldest not trost, which come the praying,' 

The day that Hector was sleyne in bataile Andromatha his f. 68. 
wiffe come to pray Kyng Priant with full grete compleyntes and 
wepynges that he wolde not that day suffre Hector to goo to 
bataile, for withowte dowte he shulde be sleyne yf he went thedir.^ 
Mars, the god of bataile, and Minerve, the godefse of armes, hade 
veraly shewed it there in hir slepe,^ where thei apperid to hir. 
Priant dide all that he myghte for he shulde not fyght that day, but 
Hector stale fro his fadir and stirte owte of the cete by a waye 
vndir the erthe and went to the bataile, where he was sleyne. 
And for because he neuer dishobehed his fadir but that day, [it] 
may be seide the day that he shulde dishabey his ffadir than shulde 
he die. And it may be vnderstond that noon shulde dishobey his 
souereyne ne his good ffrendes, when they awyse hym as in reson. 
And therfor Aristotil seide to Alexandir, " As long as thou trustist 
the cownsell of theyme that vsith wisdom and that loued the truly, 
thou salt reigne glorously." 

Where she * seide to Hector that she most pronounce his 
name,^ [it] is that the good sperite shulde haue contynell mynde on 
the owre of deth. Thereof seith Seynt Bernard^ that in man- 
kyndely thynges men fynde no thyng more certeyne fan deth, ne 
lefse incerteyne than is the owre of deth ; for deth hath no mercy 
of pouerte and dothe no worshippe to reches ; it sparith neythir 

1 Ce sera quant le roy Priant Ne croiras, qui tira priant, H. ' 

2 See above, p. 100. 

3 Shepe, MS. 

* Sc. Othea ; he, MS., both here and a few words later on. 
^ Sa mort, H. 

* Sermo de conversione ad clericos, ch. viii. (Migne, cbcxxii. 843). 

I04 The Epistle of Othea to Hector ; 

wisedom, condicions ne age ; men hath non othir certeyne of deth 
but that it is at the doores of aged men and it is in the mydwes^ 
of yong men. To this purpose the wise man seith, [" Memor 
esto, quoniam mors non tardat "J.^ 


T PURPOSE yet to make the sadde and wyse,^ 

That thou vse in batailes ffor no gise 
Oflf thyre harneis discouered for to be, 
For thi deth than it will opyn to the. 

In the bataile Hector was founde discouerede of his harneis, 
and thanne he was sleyne. And therefor it is seide to the goode 
knyght that he shuld not in bataile be discouered of his harneis. 
For Hermes seyth that deth farith as the stokke * of an arrowe 
and lyff farith as an arrowe that is sette to shoote.^ 

There where it is seide that he shuld kepe hym couered with 
his harneis it is vndirstond that the good sperite shulde kepe his 
wittis cloose and not voide. Seynt Grigori seith hereoff that a 
person the which departhit hys vittis fareth as a iowgolowre the 
which fyndeth no wers hous than his owyn ; therefor he is euer 
owte of his hows, euen as a man that kepith not his wittes clos is 
euer vagaunt and owte of the hous of his conscience and farith 
as an opyn hall where men may entre on euery syde. Therefor 
[our] Lorde seith in the Gospell, [" Clauso ostio, ora Patrem 
tuum in abscondito." ] ^ 

* En espies, H. ; auxpiez, Roy. MSS. 14 E. ii. f. 327, 17 E. iv. f. 313 ; adolescent- 
ibus in insidiis est, St. Bern. 

3 Eccl. xiv. 1 2 ; tardabit, H. 

^ Encor te vueil ie faire sage, H. 

* ? Stroke ; le coup de vne sayette, H. and G. de Tign. 

* Qui met auenir, H. ; qui meut a venir, G. de Tign (Roy. MS. 19 B. iv. f. 7b). 
^ Matt. vi. 6. 

or The Boke of Knyghthode. 105 


/^F Pollibetes' coveite not hastly 

His harmes, for thei be vnhappy ; 
Of his dispoylyng folowed, parde, 
Thi wofull deth be theyme fat sewed fe. 

Polibetes was a full myghty kyng, the which Hector slewe in 
the bataile after many othir grete dedes that he hadde done that 
day. And becawse that he was hannede with ffayre harmes and 
reche, Hector coveite theyme and stowpyd doung of his hors nekke 
for to dispoyle the body, and than Achilles, the which swede after 
hym with hole will to take hym discouerte, smote hym beneth for 
fawte off his harmure and at 00 stroke kylled hym, of whom it was 
grete harme, ffor a worthier knyght was neuer gyrte whyth swerde 
of the which stories maken mencion. And that sich couetyses may 
be no noyens ® in sich places it shewith bi the seide cas. There- 
for the philosophir seith, " Disoordnet couetise ^ ledith a man to 

That we shulde not couete Polibetis armis, we may vndirstond 
that the goode speryte shuld haue no couetise to no maner of 
wordly thynges. For Innocent seith * that it ledith a man to deth, 
for covetise it is a fyre that may not be stawnched. The couetous 
person is neuer content to haue that the which he desyrith, for, 
whan he hath that he desiryd, he desyrith euer more, euer he setteth 
his ende in as mych as that he tenteth to have more and not to that 
the which he hath. Averyse and covetise be .ii^ saus makers,^ the 
which sefseth neuer to seye, " Bryng, bryng"; and to the value that 

1 The Politenes of Benoit de Ste. Maure (1. 16 105) and Guido delle Colonne. 

' Puit estre nuisible, H. 

3 Couuoitise desordenee, H. 

* Dit Ygnocence ou liure de la vilte d econdicion humaine, H. The quotation is 
from Pope Innocent III., "De contemptu mundi," ii. 6 (Migne, ccxvii. 719). 

5 Sont ii. sancsues, H. ; sanguisugae, Innoc, quoting Prov. xxx. 15. Wyer's 
version rightly has "horse-leeches"; and the reading "sauce-makers" is inexplicable. 


io6 The Epistle of Othea to Hector ; 

the money waxeth the loue of the mony waxeth. Couetise is the 
way to the gostly deth and oftetymes to bodily deth. Therefor the 
postyll Seynt Povvle seith, [" Radix omnium malorum cupiditas 


A SSOTE the not in love of strawnge kynde ; 
'^^ The deede of Achilles haue in mynde. 
Which wende to make of hys enmye 
His veri lyfFe and that interely. 

Achilles was asotyd in lowe of Polexene the faire mayden, the 
which was sister to Hector, as he sawe hir in the begynnyng of the 
yere at the servise off Ectoris yeris meynde ^ in the trwes tyrae, 
where many Grekis went to Troye to see the nobilnes of the cete 
and of the reche terrement, that was the most solemny made that 
euer was made for the body of a knyght. There Achilles sawe 
Polixenne, where he was sore takyn with hir loue that he myght no 
wyse endure, and therefor he sent to Hecuba the qwene that he 
wolde treite of mariage and he wolde make the werre to sesse and 
the sege to departe and he shuld euer be there frend. It was long 
after or Achilles armed ayens the Troyens becawse of that lowe 
and [he] dede grete peyne to make the ost to departe, but he myght 
not doo it and therfor the mariage was notte made. After that 
Achilles slew Troylus, the which was so full of worthines that he 
was ryght leke to Hector his brothir, standyng the yong age that 
he hadde. But the qwene Ecuba was so full of woo for hym that 
she sent for Achilles to come to hir to Troye ffor to treite of the 
mariage. He went thedir, and there he was slayne. And j^erfor it 
is seide to the good knyghte that he shuld not assote hym vpon 
strawnge loues, ffor by ferre loues comyth harme. And therfor the 

^ Tim. vi. lo. 

2 A luniversaire (^sc. I'anniversaire) du chief de Ian des obseques de Hector, H. ; 
vnyuersarie, Wyer. 

or The Bake of Knyghthode. 107 

wyse [man] seith, " When thyn enemys may not venge theyme, 
than hast thou nede to be ware." •!» ;•:•;>■ -ziw 

That a goode spyryte shulde not afsote hym vpon strawnge 
loues, that is to vndirstond that he shulde chawnge ' no thynge but 
yf it comme holy of God and [be] determined in hym. " All strange 
loues " is the worlde, the which he shuld flee. That he shulde flee 
the worlde Seynt Austyn seith in expownyng of Seynt Jonis 
Pistil,^ *' The world pafsith [and its] concupiscens.^ O resonable 
man," than seith he, "whethir had thou leuer loue the temperell 
worlde and pafse with the tyme, or be with * Cryst Jhesu and lyfe 
perpetualy with hyme ? " To this purpose Seynt Jon seith in his 
fryst Pistill, [" Nolite diligere mundum neque ea quae in mundo 
sunt "].^ 


WNDIRTAKE non harmes folely ; 
It is perell for sowle and body 
A naked harme and no shelde to take ; 
Off" Ayaux may thou example make 

Ayaux was a full prowd knyght of fe Grekis and trostid to 
mych on hymselfe, but yet he was a goode knyght of his hand. f. ^i. 
And for pride and soleynnes he vndyrtooke to doo armes with his 
arme naked discouered withowte a chelde, and so he was boron 
through ^ and ouerthrowen dede. Therefore it is seide to the goode 
knyght that to doo siche armes, thai be neythir profitabill ne 
worchipfull, but rather thei be named lewde and prowde, and thei 
be to perlyous. Aristotil seith that many erreth be ignorance and 
fawte of knowyng and woote not whate it is to do ne to leue, and 
some fayle be arrogance and pride. 

1 Amer, H. 

2 In ep. Joannis ad Parthos tract, ii. (Migne, xxxv. 1994). 
^ Et sa concupiscence, H. 

* Amer, H. 

^ I Ep. Joh. ii. 15. 

* Perciez doultre en oultre, H. 

io8 The Epistle of Othea to Hector; 

How armes shulde not be vndertake follely is fat f e good 
sperite shulde not tryst in his owyn fragiHte. As Seynt Tawstyn ' 
seyth in a sermon, fat non shulde presume in his owyn herte when 
he pronownceth a worde ne non sulde ^ [trust] in his streynghte 
when he sufFerith tentacion, for, when we speke wysely goode 
wordes, thei coume of God and not of owre wytte, and when we 
endure aduersitees stedefastly, it cometh of God and not of oure 
pacience. To this purpose the apostyl Seynt Powle seith, 
[" Fiduciam talem habemus per Christum ad Deum, non quod simus 
sufficientes aliquid cogitare ex nobis quasi ex nobis "].^ 


A NTENOR exile and chase away, 
"^"^ Which purchafsed ayens his contrey 
Bothe treson, falsenes and grete vntrouth ; 
But yif he were yolden it were routh. 

Anthenor was a baron of Troie, and when it com at the last to 
grete Troyenne bateylles, the Grekys that hadde long kepte sege 
afore the cete they wost not how they myght haue a conclusyon to 
take the cete, ffor it was of ryght grete streynghte, than by the 
tysyng * of Anthenor. For angre that he hadde to kyng Priaunt, 
he comforted theyme and seide that thei shulde make a pes with the 
kyng, and by that mene thei may putte theyme selue into the cete 
and they shall be youen a wey. Thus thei dede, by the which Troye 
was betrayed. And because that the treson hereoff was to grete 
and to evill, it is seide to the good knyght that all sich semblable, 
where he knoweth theyme, he shulde exile and chafse theyme 
awey, for sich pepill be gretili to hate. Platon seyth that difseyte 
is capteyne and gouernowre off shrewes.^ 

^ .Sir. Augustine. 

' Susde, MS. ; ne nul en sa force ne se doit fyer, H. 
' 2 Cor. iii. 4, 5 ; tanquam ex nobis, H. 
* Lenditement, H. ; exhortacion, Wyer. 

^ Des mauuais, H. ; Barat est le cappitaine des mauuoys et ire est son gouuer- 
neur, G. de Tign. (Roy. MS. 19 B. iv. f. 39). 

or The Boke of Knyghthode. 109 

Be Anthenor, the which shulde be chafsed awey, we may f. 72. 
vnderstonde that the goode sperite shulde dryve away all thynges 
whereby ony inconuenyence myght come to hyme. To this Seynt 
Austyn seith that he that is not besy to eschewe incomieniencees ' is 
leche a b[u]tyrflye that turnyth so ofte abowte the fyre of the 
lampe that he birneth his wenges and thanne is drowned in the 
oyle, and to the birde that flieth so ofte abowte the glewe that he 
lesyth his feddris. Example of Seynte Petir, the which aboode so 
long in the princes courte of the lawe that he fell into sich an 
inconuenience to renye^ his Maystir. And the wyse man seith, 
[" Fuge a via malorum, ne transeas per earn "].^ 


T N Mynervez tempell to offir 

Thou shulde not thi ennemye sufFre. 
Take thou goode hede to the hors of tre ; 
Troye hadde yet bene, had that not be. 

The Grekes hade made a feynte pes* with the Troyens by 
Anthem ores trayson. Thei seyde thei hadde avowed a gifte to 
Mynerve the godes, the which thei wolde offyr, and the[i] hadde 
made a horse of tre of an huge grettenes, the which was full of men 
of armes, and it was so grete that the yate of the cete most be 
brokyn for to late it cum in. And the hors was sette opon whelis, 
that rolled it forth to the temple ; and when nyght come and when 
the tovne was most in rest, than the knyghtes lepid owt of the hors 
and vent abowte in the cete, the which brente and kyllid and 
distroiid the towne. The[re]for it is seide to the good knyght that 
he sbulde not trost in no sich fantasies ne ofFerynges. To this 

* iii. (les, H.) inconueniencees, MS. 
2 Sc. deny ; reyne, MS. ; renyer, H, 

* Prov. iv. 15. 

* Paix par faintise, H. 

no The Epistle of Othea to Hector ; 

purpose a wyse man seith, " A man shulde dowte the sotiltees and 
the spies oi his enemie, yif he be wise, and his shrewdenes/ yf he 
be a foole." 

By Minerve temple we may vnderstond holy chirch, where 
shulde not a been offird but prayer. And Seynt Awstyn seith in 
the booke of Feyth, that withowte the ifelechippe of holy chirch 
and baptym no thyng may availe, ne the dedes of mercye may not 
vaile to euerlastyng liflfe, for withowte the lappe of the chirch 
non helthe may be. There [for] Dauid seith in the Sauter booke, 
[" Apud te laus mea in ecclesia magna "].^ 


nPROST not to haue a sure castell ; 

For Ylyones towre, sette full well, 
Was take and brent, and so was Thune.^ 
All is in the handes of fortune. 

Ylyon was the mayster doongon of Troye and the faryst and 
the strengest castell that euer was made of the which stories 
makyth mencion ; but notwithstondyng it was take and brent and 
broute to nowte, and so was the cete of Thune, the which was 
some tyme a grete thyng. And becavse that sich causes falleth 
bi the chaungabilnes of fortvne, it is desirid that the good knyght 
shulde not be prowde in hyme selfe ne thynke hym selfe sure for 
no streyngh. Therefor Tholome* seith, "The hyer that a lorde be 
raysed the perlyouser is the ouyrthrowe." 

That man shuld not wene to have a svre castell, we may 
vndirstond that the good sperite shulde take non hede to no maner 
delite ; for as delitees be pafsyng and not svre and ledith a person 
to dampnacion, Seynt Jerom seith that it is inpofsibile for a person 

1 Sa mauuaistie, H. 
^ Psal. xxi. 26. 

2 So H. and other MSS. ; perhaps a corruption for Thyre or Tyre. 
* Sc, Ptolemy ; Ptholomee, H. 

or The Boke of Knyghthode. iii 

to pafse fro delittes to delyttes, that is to sey, for to pase and 
lepe fro delites of this worlde to the delyttes of paradyse, the 
which fillyth the wombe here and the sowle there. For the diuine 
condicion is vnbounde, for it is not yoven to thoo that weneth to 
haue the worlde euerlastyng in delittes. And to this purpose is 
wreetyn in the Pocalipce, [" Quantum glorificavit se et in deliciis 
fuit, tantum date ei tormentum et luctum "].' 


"P SCHWE thou shulde J>e swyn of Circes, 
^^ Where that the knyttes ® olTVlixes 
Were turnyd to swyne as to the ye. 
Vmbethynke the wele of this partie. 

Cyrces was a qwene, whos reaume was opon the see of Ytaile, 
and she was a grete enchaunterefse and knew meche of sorcery and 
wichcraft. And whan Vlixes, the which wente to the se after the 
destruccion off Troye, as he went to a returnyd ' into his cuntre, 
throwe many grete and perlyous tormentes that he hadde he aryved 
at a hauen of the same lande. He sent to the qwene by his 
knyghtes to wete wheythir he myght swrely taken hauen in her lond 
or noon. Circes reseyuyd his knyghtes full gentely and of curtesei 
made ordeyne for theyme a potage full delicious to drynke, but the 
potage hade sich a strengh that sodenly the knyghttes were chaunged 
into swyne. Circes may be vnderstond in many maners. It ma[y] 
be vndirstonde be a lande or a cuntre where that knyghtes were 
putte in fowle and veleyns preson ; and allso she may be lekened 
to a lady full of wantonnefse and ydilnes, that by hire many errant 
knyghtes, that is to sey, sewyng armes, )?e which anamly were of 
Vlixes pepill, that is to vndirstonde, malicious and noyens, were 

1 Apoc. xviii. 7. 

3 Sc. knights. 

3 Sc. as he weaned to have returned ; si comme il cuidoit retourner, H. 

112 The Epistle of Othea to Hector; 

kepte to soiorne as swyne. And therefor it is seide to |7e good 
knyght that he shulde not reste in sich a soioryng. For Arystotill 
seith, " He that is holy' in fornicacion may not be aloved^ in the 

Cyrceses swyne may we take for ypocrysy, the which the 
goode sperite shulde eschewe off all thynges. Ayens ypocrytes 
Seynt Gregory seith in his Moralles,^ that the lyfe of ypocrytes is 
but a frawdelous vysyon and as a fantasye ymagenid, the which 
shewith owtewarde lykenes of an ymage, the which is not in very 
dede inwarde. To this purpose owre Lorde seith in the Gospell, 
["Vae vobis, hypocritas, quia similes estis sepulchris dealbatis," 


' I "HOU shulde no grete reson shewe to fje man 
The which as that tyme vndirstond ne can. 
Yno, the which the soddyn corne dide sowe, 
Noteth it to the well inowgh, I trowe. 

Yno was a qwene, the which made sothyn* corne to be sowen, 
the which comme not vppe. And therfor it is seide to the goode 
knyght )?at gode resons and weele sette and wyse autorites shulde 
not be tolde to the pepill of rude vndirstondyng and that cannot 
vndirstond them, flfor they be lost. And therfor Aristotile seith, 
" As reyne avaylith notte to corne that is sowen on a stone, no 
more availleth argumentes to an onwyse man." 

That faire and wise wordis shuld not be tolde to rude and 
ignorant pepill, the which cannot vnderstond theyme, it is to sey 
that it is as a thyng loste, and than ignorance is to blame. Seynt 
Bernard seith in a book of xv. Degrees of Mekenes that fore noght 

^ Sc. wholly. 

2 Louez, H. ; loe, G. de Tign. (Roy. MS. 19 B. iv. f. 44b) ; lawded ne alowed, 

3 Moralia, xv. 6 (Migne, Ixxv. 1084). 

* Matt, xxiii. 27. 

* Sc, sodden ; le ble cuit, H. For the same story of Ino see above, p. 29. 

or The Boke of Ktiyghihodc. . U3 

tho ascuse theyme of fragilite or off ignorance,' standyng that siche. 
as syne most frely be gladly ffreel and ignorant, and many thynges 
the which shuld be knowen be some tyme vnknowen, outhir be 
necligence to kune it ... .^ All sich ignorances hath non 
excusacion. Therefore the postil Seynt Povle seyth, ["Si quis 
ignorat, ignorabitur"].' 


A UCTORITES I haue written to the 
"^^ An .c. ; late theyme be take agre,* 
For a woman lerned Augustus 
To be worchipped and taught hym thus. 

n' f«'"> ' 

Cesar Augustus was Emperoure off the Romayns and off all f. 75. 
the worlde, and because thet in th[e] tyme of his reygne pes was in 
all pe world and that he reyngned pesibily, lewed pepill and misse- 
beleueres thought that the pes was becawse of his goodnes ; but 
it was notte, for it was Crist Jhesu, the which was borne off the 
Virgine Mary and was that tyme on }>e erth, and as long as he was 
on erth, it was pes ouer all the worlde. So they wold haue 
worchippede Cesar as God ; but thanne Sebille bad hym to be well 
ware that he made hyme note to be worchipped, and that ther was 
no God but on alone, pe which had made all thynges. And thanne 
she lede hyme to an hy mounteyn withowte the cete and in the 
sone by the will of owre Lord aperyd a Vergine holdyng a Childe.^ 
Sibille shewed it to hym and seyd to hyme that ther was very God, 

1 Frustra sibi de infirmitate vel ignorantia blandiuntur, qui ut liberius peccent 
libenter ignorant vel infirmantur, Bern, de Gradibus Humilitatis, cap. vi. (Migne, 
clxxxii. 951). 

3 There is an omission here, cf. ou par negligence de les sauoir ou par parece de 
les demander ou par honte de les enquerir, H. 

3 I Cor. xiv. 38. 

* Si ne soient de toy despites, H. 

5 This story is from the " Aurea Legenda " of Jacobus de Voragine with slight 
variations (ed. Graesse, 1846, p. 44). ; u5ut...v>; 


114 The Epistle of Othea to Hector. 

the which shuld be worchipped, and than Cesar worchippede hym. 
And becaus that Ceesar Augustus, the [which] was prince oj0f all the 
wor[l]de, lerned to knowe God and the Beleve off a woman, to the 
purpose may be seide the auctorite that Hermes seith, " Be not 
ashamed to here trowth and good techyngges of whom that euer 
seith it, for trouth nobly th hym Jjat pronounceth it." 

There where Othea seith that she hath wreten to hym an .c. 
auctorites and that Augustus lerned of a woman, it is to vndirstond 
that good wordes and good techynges is to prayse of what persone 
Jjat seith it.* Howe ® de Seint Victor spekyth hereof in a boke 
called Didascalicon, that a wyse man gladdely herith all maner of 
techynges ; he dispisyth not the Scriptur, he dispyseth not the 
person, he dispiseth not the doctrine ; he sekyth indifferently ouer 
all, and all that euer he seth the which he hath defaute ; he con- 
siderith notte what he is that spekyth, but [what] that is the which 
he seith ^ ; he taketh no hede how myche he can hymme selfe, but 
how mech he cannot. To this purpose fe wyse man seith, ["Auris 
bona audiet cum omni concupiscentia sapientiam "].■* 

1 De quelconques personne que ilz soient dis, H. 

* Hugh de St. Victor, Bruditionis didascalicae libri vii. (Migne, clxxvi. 739). 

2 Mais que cest que il dit, H. 

* Eccl. iii. 31. H. has the colophon, " Explicit lepistre Othea." 


a, have, i6, 78, iii 

abaundonede, devoted, 38 

a ben, been, 41 

abusyon (abusion, H.), abuse, 50 

accused (accusee, H.), told, reported, 


achaunge, exchange, 91 

acome, come, 50 

acorde, agree, 34 

acorde, agreement, 52 

acordyng (couuenable, H.), fitting, pro- 
per, 15, 25 

afore or, before that, 70 

affrayed, terrified, 41 

z.%x&, favourably, in good part, 113 

all gates, anyhow, by any means, 72, 89 

all only but, except, 9 

aloved (louez, Yi..), praised, 112 

alyche (allegue, H.), allege, 12 

anamely, anamly, namely, 7, 12, 17, 27, 
70, 78, etc. 

anggwyssous (angoisseuse, H.), full of 
anguish, 89 

applique, apply, 8 

arayed (aoumez, H.), equipped, adorned, 
7, 8, 23 

arayeth (arroie, H.), equippeth, 6 

armure, armour, 24 

arwe, arrow, 56 

assay (essay, H.), trial, test, 6 

assot, assote, besot, make foolish, 36, 74, 

assotted, besotted, 75 

assottede of, besotted with, doting on, 28, 

atumyd, turned, 72 

auctorised, authenticated, vouched for, 2, 4 
availe, avayle, advantage, profit, 5, 12, 

26, 37 
aventerous, adventurous, 9 
aventure, adventure, 12 
avisement, reflection, counsel, 19 
avowed, vowed, 109 
avysyons, visions, dreams, 75, 76, 88 
ayen, against, 2 
ayen, ayene, again, 7, 48, 79 
ayens, against, 12, 29, 32, etc. 
ay ens say, gainsay, 47 

bachelere, bachelor, 28 

bateilled, battled, fought, 22 

bayle (baillif, H.), <5a///;^, 13 

be, (5^tf«, 41 

beerys (ours, H.), <5garj, 12 

befolowe, ^//(jze/, 60 

begone {sc. evylle b.), affected, beset, 41 

behouely (couuenable, H.), proper, befit- 
ting, 8, 12, 23, 82 

bellue (belue, H.), monster, 15 

ben, be, 70 

besy, busy, 5 

boche (boce, H.), hump {of a camel), 54 

bolnynges (lenfleure, H.), swellings, 
pride, 76 

borde, table, 67 

P 2 


The Epistle of Othea to Hector. 

bosche (buisson, H.), bush^ 53 
bostus, boastful, threatening, 51 
boores, boars, 1 2 
bounte (bonte, bernage, sc. barnage, H.), 

goodness, nobility, 8, 11, 27, 60 
brayeng, braying (de brayre, H.), croak- 

i^S W frogs), 34 
brennyng, burning, 62 
brent, burnt, 69, 110 
brokyth (retient, H.), digests, retains {on 

the stomach), 55 
brond (brandon, H.), brand, torch, 36 
brothe, broth the (palu, H.), muddy 

water, 33, 34 
broute, hxowte, brought, 12, 56, no 
bruled, broiled, burnt, 69 
bryboure (lierres, sc. larron, H.), thief, 

robber, 41 
busshmentes (embusches, H.), ambushes, 

b[u]tyrflye (papillon, H.), butterfly, 109 

carles (villains, H.), churls, rustics, 33, 

cesse (cesser, H.), make to cease, 9 
chaiere (chayere, H.), chair {of a pro- 
fessor), 6 
chamel, chamelle, camel, 54 
chelde, shield, 54, 60 
chepe, sheep, 58 
ches, choose, 85 

chesse, the (esches, YL^, game of chess, 95 
chevalroures (vaillance cheualereuse, H.), 

chivalry, 9 
cheualerous, cheualerours, chivalrous, 14, 

cheuetayne, cheueten (cheuetaine, H.), 

chieftain, leader, 2, 85 
chippe, ship, 56 
chynnes, chains, 41 
clyme (monter, H.), climb, 6, 44 
communes (paysans, H.), common people, 

communiall (communicaire, H.), sharing 
with others, 2 7 

condicionned (condicionne, H.), accus- 
tomed, 85 

conditoures (conduissaresse, H.), con- 
ductress, guide, 8 

condittes (conduis, H.), conduits, 28 

connestabil, constable, 85 

connyng (sauoir, H.), knowledge, 24 

contrarie, contrary, adverse, 1 1 

contrariousnes (les contrarietez, H.), 
adversity, 12 

contrarius, contrary, adverse, 9 

conveyed (conuoye, H.), conducted, guided 
{of the spirit), ?, 

conveyng (congeement, H.), removal, 
expulsion, 5 

copyr, copper, 17 

corage, spirit, mind, 31, 84, 96 

coromped, corrupted, 29 

corrompeth, corrumpyth, corrupteth, 30 

corumpe, to corrupt, 62 

cosyn germayne, cousin german, 9, 10 

coude, cowde, could, 85, 86 

couertly, secretly, disguisedly, 13 

couerture, disguise, concealment, 13, 19, 

43, 93 
couetise, covetyse, covetousness, 34, 54, 

cowde, knew, 58 
crafsed (creuee, H.), cracked, 52 
creues, crevefse (creueure, H.), crevice, 

52, 65 
cuirboyle, cuir-bouilli, boiled leather, 24 

debatoure (discordant, H.), debater, 
quarreller, 67 

deded (amortie, H.), deadened, 27 

deele, dele, part, whit, 9, 35 

defavtes, y&!«//x, defects, 13 

defendyth, yor^/^i^(?M, 32 

dQVCiQ, judgment, 56 

departed (departis, H.), allotted, 83 

desceyvable (faillible, H.), deceitful, un- 
trustworthy, 8 

dictis, diets, sayings, 4 



diSandyth., forbidden, 28 

discomfyte, discomfited, 15 

discouered, uncovered, unprotected, 97, 

discouerte, uncovered, 105 

discute, discuss, 20, 62 

disheryte, disinherit, 29, 30 

dispite, despise, 10, 100 

disportis, amusements, 34 

disporveide (despourveu, H.), unpro- 
vided, 68 

disprayes (despris, H.), contempt, 28 

disprayse (desprisier, H.), contemn^ 
despise, 54, 84, 87 

dispraysyng (despercion, H.), contemn- 
ing, despising, 59 

dispreisyd, dispreysed, contemned, despised, 

35. 36 

dispreysyng, contemning, despising, 36 

dissalowed (desloua, H.), disapproved, 
dissuaded, 56 

dissauable, deceitful {of riches), 53 

disseruede (desserui, H.), served, per- 
formed {sc. of penance), 14 

dittee (dictie, H.), treatise, 8 

do armes (armes . . . faire, H.), perform 
exploits, 12 

dobylnesse, doubleness, duplicity, 95 

doghter, daughter, 16, 31 

doited (affoles, H.), doting, 69 

don\Q, judgment, 16, 48, 68 

doo, done, 14 

doongon (dongion, H.), keep, castle, no 

doute (dompter, H.), conquer, 42 

doutyd (doubtoit, H.), doubted, feared, 

douted, dowted (dompta, H.), conquered, 

doutously, doubtfully, 19 
dowter, daughter, 11 
dres (adrece, H.), dress, direct, apply, 5 
dressyd hyr (se ficha, H.), betook herself, 

drwe, drew, 30 

drwe avay (chaca, II.), drove away, 20 
dryst, durst, 44 

dured, endured, lasted, 52 

duryng {sc. euer d.), lasting, 6 

dySendyih., forbiddeth, 32 

dyght, disposed, placed, 80 

dynne, dinner, 66 

dysheryted (desherita, H.), disinherited, 

dysparbuled (se espart, H.), disparpled, 

divided, 57 
dyspiteth (despite, H.), despiseth, 16 
dyspyte (despit, H.), contempt, scorn, 40 
dystres (destrece, H.), distress, 12 

ell, elles, ellis, else, 12, 13, 14 

embaundoned, devoted, 2 

empeched (empesche, H.), hindered, 

injured, 90 
empechest (empesches, H.), impeach, 

find fault with, 87 ...u ,.i . 
emprise, undertaking, 75, 76 
enbushed, ambushed, 73 
encres, increase, 38 
endyte (escripre, H.), wnV^, 6 
engins (engins, H.), snares, 84 
ennorted, exhorted, 64 
enorte (ennorter, H.), exhort, 5 
enortyng (enditement, H.), exhortation, 

ensorgyng, ^mV/^, 31 
entent, ?«/W, understanding, 19 
eres, erys, earj, 40 
errant {sc. e. knyghte), wandering, 15, 

erryed (aree, 'H..), ploughed, 38 
erye (arer, H.), to plough, 38 
exailced, heard, granted, 18, 79 
exavced (of a person praying), heard, 

gratified, 79 
exaussyng (exaufsement, H.), exalting, 

excusacion, excuse, 87, 113 
exempled, exemplified, justified, 2, 4 
eyne, O'W, 44, 45 
eyre, ear, 44 


The Epistle of Othea to Hector. 

fardell (faissel, H.), burden, 32 

fauchon (fauchon, YL.), falchion, sword, 15 

izxth., fought, 13 

idc^y, faulty, 40 

fayre, fayree, fayreis (nymphes, H.), 

fairies, 77, 81, 93 
felachep, ieXzchx^e, fellowship, 16, 92 
ie\z.vf&, fellow, 14 
feleshyp, fellowship, company, 33 
felle, savage, cruel, 12 
iQythyt, fighteth, 65 
flawe, y?<?ze;, 15 
fleeth (vole, }l.),flyeth, 16 
fiotereth (flote, H.), flutters, hesitates, 22 
ficmvA, flourished, 3 
^ovfie, flute, 40, 44 
folely, ioWely, foolishly, 83, 107, 108 
folwe (ensuiuir, 'R.), follow, 11 
folwyth (sensuit, Yi.), followeth, 10 
io\y, foolish, 64, 79 
fond, foonde,/^^^«^, invented, 24, 25, 38, 


fordone (amortis, H.), destroyed, done 
away with, 13 

{oxyaXQ, forgot, 68, 69, 74, 96 

ioTye.ier\, forgotten, 68 

fro ward, /tf/Ty^r^^, 93 

fraudelous, deceitful, 92, 112 

frele, _/^a/7, 28 

ix€irves, frailty, 20, 70 

frosses (renouUes, H.), ^<7^x, 33, 34 

ful, fulle, very, 2, 3, 7, 12, 15 

fullefyllyd (remplie, Yi..), filled, 9 

fumerelle (sueil, H., sc. threshold), smoke- 
hole {in the roof), hearth, 30 

fundement, foundation, 64 

gaineyers, husbandmen, 38 
gate, got, 1 1 

gebet (gibet, H.), gibbet, 41 
geyneseyyng (contredisans, H.), gain- 
saying, 21 
glayve (faulx, H.), sword, 15 
glewe (gluyon, H.), glue, 109 
gosh, go, 47 

gostly, ghastly, spiritual, 2, 3, 8, 85 

grenner, greener, 31 

greuaunces, evils, harm, 27 

gryffes (cultiuemens, H.), grafts, shootSy 

guerdon (subst.), reward, 58 
guerdon (v.), reward, estimate properly, 

50. 59 
gyi,give, 19 
gyrte, girded, 105 
gyse, guise, 46 

habaundonede, devoted, 38 
halse (accoUer, H.), embrace, 69 
haunt, j^//(?z^?, devote oneself to, 70, 75, 80 
hauntyng (frequentise, H.), intercourse, 


hawteyn, haughty, proud, 27 

helly (infernaulx, H.), hellish, of hell, 

heppid (amassez, H.), heaped, 34 

herdly (enterine, H.), earthly (?), 95. 
For " enterin," or, as sometimes spelt, 
"enterrin," see p. 95, note 2. Scrope 
seems to have mistaken its meaning, 
connecting it with " terre." 

heris, ears, 55 

herres, hairs, 30 

hire (loyer, H.), reward, 81 

holde {sc. h. counsell), take, follow, 91 

holden, held, considered, 3 

holdyn, taken, followed, 91 

hole and some, whole and sum, entirely, 

holpyn, helped, 99 

homely {sc. h. spyes, priuees, H.), domes- 
tic, 23 

homlynes, (priuete, H.), intimacy, 92 

hooges, huge, ^2 

hy, hye, high, 5, 7, 8, 23 

hyly, highly, 6 

hynes, highness, greatness, 12 

iangeler (iengleur, gengleresse, H.), 
chatterer, prater, 57, 98 



iangyllyng (gengle, H.), chattering^ 

prating, 98 
iauelot, iaueloth (glavellot, H.), dart, 

javelin, 86 
ich, iche, each, 7, 80, 83 
inewgh, enough, 25 
inougth, enough, 12 
inowe, enough, 34 
inowgh, enough, 52, 63 
inowght, enough, 84 
inowthe, enough, 63 
iolines, iolynesse (ioliuete, H.), gaiety, 

mirth, 18, 83 
ioly (cointe, H.), gay, sprightly, 72 
iorneyer (voyager, H.), traveller, 13 
iowgolowre (iugleur, H.), buffoon, 104 
loyeux, joyous, 84 
iren, iron, 22 
iusticer, y«^(f , i3> 14 
iustifie (iusticier, H.), to judge, 13 
I wys, sc. iwis, assuredly, 9 

kest, cast, threw, 30, 89 
keuercheffes, kerchiefs, 80 
konyng, koonyng, knowledge, 83, 87 
kunnyng, knowledge, 6, 25, 83 
kynde, nature, i 

lachesse, negligence, remissness, 32 

lavde {suhsX.), praise, 12 

lawyng, laughing, 61 

lech, leche, like, 8, 26, 31, 34, 36, etc. 

lede, lead {the metal), 19 

lefuU, lawful, 95 

leke, leek, 10 

lekend, likened, 31 

lekerousnes (alecheraens, H.)i appetite, 

greediness, 62 
lemyte, /m//, 10 
lenage, lineage, 11 
lemed, taught, 113 
lessyng, lessening, 59 
lest, leste (talent, H.), desire, 93 
lesyng (menconge, H.), /v/«^, 46 
lete (empescher, H.), hinder ^ 82 

letted, lettyd, hindered, 8, 31, 82 
letteryd, lettyrd (letrez, H.), lettered, 42 
lettynges (empeschemens, H.), hindrances^ 

lettyth, hinder, 10 
leuer, rather, 48, 107 
lewde (fol, sotte, H.), foolish, 40, 46, 51, 

leyser, leisure, 40 
lich, //>^^, 41 

longeth, longyth, belongeth, 20, 25, 71 
longgyng, belonging, 20, 37 
lorier (laurier, H.), laurel, 99, loo 
lyeines, lyenis (liens, H.), bonds, 61, 66 
lymbo (limbe, H.), limbo, the outskirts of 

hell, 41 
lyst, desired, 98 
lyst, lyste (courage, talent, H.), will, 

desire, 44, 49, 77 

ma, may, 70 

malencolius, melancholy, 21 

malice, artfulness, 80 

malicius, artful, 45, iii 

manace, menace, 51 

manisynges, menacings, 51 

mankyndely, mankyndly (humaine, H.), 

human, 8, 18, 70, 72, 103 
manyce, menace, 51 
marches (marches, H.), borders, 60 
masseyngeres, messengers, 23 
maystry, mastery, 35 
maystyr (mestier, H.), office, business, 11 
meche, wt/^rA, 49 
mechell, much, 72 
mene, means, 20 
menye (mesgnee, maignee, H.), company 

pack {of hounds), 77 
merowre, mirror, 95 
mervelious, meruelyous, marvellous, 12, 

13, 14, 20 
miche, much, 45 
molle (tauppe, H.), mole, 40 
mote, wwj/, 33 
mowe, more, 77 


The Epistle of Othea to Hector, 

muse, take amusement, 71, 74 

mych, myche, much, 11, 12 

mychyll, much, 70 

mydwes, meadows, 104 (Scrope's Fr. 

MS. probably read "aux piez" {cf. 

104, note i), and he confused it with 

" aux prez " 
mysbeleve, misbelief, 45 
myschefe (meschief, H.), misfortune, 33 
myssedone (meffait, H.), misdone, done 

amiss, 45 

ne, not, 41 

nedelle (aguille, H.), needle, 54 

nedis, needs, 54 

neyburwe, neighbour, 16 ,. 

nerehand (a pou, H.), nearly, 11 . , 

noblyth, ennobleth, 114 

noye (nuit, H.), annoy, harm, 61 

noyens (nuisible, H.), harm, nuisance, 

noyens, harmful, iii 

nwefanggyllnesse, newfangledness, incon- 
stancy, 95 

nygromancye (arquemie, sc.alchemy, H.), 
necromancy, 94 

nyse (nyce, H.), stupid, foolish, 5 1 

o, one, 18, 22, 25, 97 

obeissance (obeyssance, H.), deference, 

respect, 14 
onsesyde of, unseised of, without, 74 
00, one, 105 

or that, before that, 19, 20, 51 
orduTQ, filth, vileness, 20 
oste (ost, H.), host, 26 
ouctrecuidez, /r<72if^, overweening, 28 
ouer all (par tout, H.), everywhere, 80, 

93. 114 

ouergoo (surmonter, H.), master, con- 
quer, 96 

ouerhoope (oultrecuidance, H.), pre. 
sumption, 51 

ouerlede, ouerleyde (surpris, H.), sur- 
prised, 61, 65 

ouerwenyng (oultrecuidez, H.), inordi- 
nately proud, 27, 28 
owthe (doit, H.), ought, 6 

paase (passer, H.), surpass, 83 
"^dctzxaoViX^ (adv.), passionately, 69, 72 
-^diX^Q, par dieu, 12, 68, 105 
passede (pesee, H.), weighed, considered, 

paynemes (payens, H.), pagans, heathen, 

peise, peyse (peser, H.), weigh, consider, 

pendavnde, /^^^/aw/, 52 
penowrye, penuery (misere, H.), penury, 

perchith (perce, YL.), pierceth, 56 
Tpex?iXe, perfect, 8 

perlious, perlyous, perilous, 82, 89 
perlyouser, more perilous, no 
pes, peace, 30 

pewter (peaultre, H.), pewter, 18 
peyne hym, trouble himself, 87 
pistil, pistile, pistylle, epistle, 5, 18, 22 
plangeth (plunge, Hi.), plunges, 22 
plenere, full, 5 

plesauns, plesawnce, //(jaj^^rtf, 75, 81 
plongeden, plunged, 28 
ply te, plight, 61 
Pocalipse, Apocalypse, 73 
pontificall (pontifical, H.) dignified, 23 
prayed, invited, 66 
prerogatyue (prerogatiue, H.), privilege, 

exclusive possession, 7 
presound, imprisoned, 31 
prime temps, spring, 27 
pris (pris, Yi.), prize, 20, 23 
prouoste (preuost, a.), provost, 13 
purchase (^^. p. armes, pourchacier, H.), 

pursue, follow, 12 
purchassed (^r. p. tray son, pourchace, H.), 

contrived, 108 
purches (jf. p. harme, pourchacier, H.), 

contrive, 86 

-,■1 ♦-«»•/ 



purveide off (pounieu, H.), provided 

with J 1 02 
^y)\^ pillage, 60 
pystyl, pystylle, epistle, 7, lo 

qwan, when, 35 

qwaynte (cointe, H.), clever, ingenious, 

qweke (vifs, H.), quick, living, 45 
qwen, qwenne, when, 26, 30, 35 
qwere, where, 39 
qwhan, when, 44 
qwhen, queen, 63 
qwome, whom, 36 
qwythe thome (morier blank, H.), white 

thorn, 35 

raffe, split, was riven, 65 

rampyng (rampans, H.), rampant, 

raging {of bears), 12 
rauenous (traueilleux, H.), vexatious, 

painful, 18 
reaume, realm, 7, 13, 15, iii 
reconforte, comfort, 94 
refeccion (reffeccion, H.^food, 55 
renomme, renown, 2 
renommeed, renowned, i 
repuignand, resisting, repelling, 3 
revede (tolue, H.), tore away, rescued, 

rejme, rain, zi 

rothir, rudder, ^6 
rotters, gallants, 62 
rowe (renc, H.), rank, class, 13 
royalme, royaulme, realm, kingdom, 3 
ryght, very, 12, 15, i8, 29, 106 
ryghtwyse, righteous, 13 
ryghtwysly, righteously, 14, 20 
rytewyse (droictupere, H.), righteous, 13 

sadde, discreet, careful, 59 
sadely, carefully, 51 

sadenes {sc. s. of speche, lente de pader, 
H.), discretion, 56 

salwes, sallows, willows, 93 

saue, except, 23 

say, assay, test, 80 

schawnegeable, changeable, 22 

schawneged, schawnged, changed, 60, 71 

schawngyth, changeth, 22 

schette, shut, included, 39, 52 

schewyth (suiue, H.), sueth, followeth, 

schorte, shorten, 62 
sclaunderus, slanderous, 56 
se, j^a, II, 47 
sede on syde, set aside, 10 
seege, siege {sc. the camp), 96 
sege, siege {sc. the besieging force), 106 
seege {sc. of counsell, siege de conseil 

H.), seat, 57 
segge, siege, 26 
seghens, sighings, loi 
sekyr, sure, 89 
semblable, similar, 108 
serpently (serpentins, H.), serpent-like, 

sesid with (saisi de, H.), seised, possessed 

of 74 

sewyng, sewynge, following, 7, m 

seyntens, saints, 47 

seysyd hym in {sc. esleua en, H-), arro- 
gated to himself, 28 

seytis, sexes, 93 

sheded, shed, 63 

shrewdenes (mauuaistie, H.), wkkedness, 

shrewes (des mauuais, EL), the wicked, 
vicious, 108 

skye (nue, H.), cloud, 44 

slake, ^//, grow slack, 73 

slewthe, slowthe, sloth, 32, 33 

smexie, painful, 103 

socourable, helpful, 27, 50 

socovre, succour, 16 

soffted (amoli, H.), softened, 94 

softeth (adoulcist, H.), softeneth, easeth, 

soget (subget, H.), subject, 14, 65 

soggettes (subges, H.), subjects, 24 


The Epistle of Othea to Hector. 

soioryng (seiour, H.), resting place^ 

abode, 112 
soioure, sojourn, 95 
Sonne, sun, 20 
soothel, sootyl, sotell, sothell, subtle, 92, 

93. 94 

sorwe, sorrow, 103 

sotely, subtly, 36, 61 

soth, truth, sooth, 89 

sothyn (cuit, H.), sodden, 29, 112 

sotle, subtle, 25 

sotted (assottent, H.), besotted, made 
foolish, 74 

sottyl, subtle, 95 

sotyl, subtle, 35 

sotylte, subtlety, 95 

soundir, sunder, 41 

sowlehele, salvation, 2 

sowpled (se adoulcist, H.), 'softened, 
mollified, 92 

sowte, sought, 80 

spotte (tache, H.), blemish, taint, 37, 41 

stabilnes (constance, H.), stability, con- 
stancy, 12 

stale, stole, 32 

standing, standyng, stondyng, considering 
that, 8, 51, 53, 81, 82, 89, 106 

stanke (estanc, H.), a pool, 93 

s\.2i'WCiche6., quenched {of fire), 105 

stawnsh, staunch, quench, 33 

stepechildire (fillastres, Yi.), step-children, 

29. 30 
stepmodir, steppemodir (marrastre, H.), 

stepmother, 30, 48 
stirte, styrte (sailli, se gita, H.), hurried, 

89, 103 
stodier (lestudiant, H.), study er, student, 

strate, strait, narrow, 63 
streche (tendre, H.), stretch, tend, 8 
streche to, reach to, rival, 82 
strecheth, stretch, are directed, 32 
streged, stretched, 30 
streyned, strained, stretched, 40 
streyte, strait {of a prison), 60 
strof, strove, 57 

strong (fort, H.), difficult, 58 
suremounted, raised, 3 
suspeccion, suspicion, 70 
swe, sowed, 38 
swiche, such, 45 
swolve, swallow, 34 
synguler, special, 46, 47 
sythyn, si then, since, 34 

tachys (condicions, H.), manners, 34 
targes (targes, H.), target, shield, 54 
tendyng (tendans, H.), having regard, 


tendyyng, regard, attention, 93 

teremys, terms, 17 

terrement (obseques, H.), interment, 
burial, 106 

teschyng, teaching, 14 

teynt (attaint, H.), tainted, affected, 30 

tharledom, thraldom, thralledom (serui- 
tude, H), servitude, 51, 65, 91 

thefende, defend, forbid, 29 

thredde, third, 3 

thresshefolde (sueil, H.), threshold, 31 

tobbe (tine, H.), tub, 63 

tocheth to (touche, H.^, regards, con- 
cerns, 12 

to regard of, in regard to, 8 

trauell, labour, travail, 42 

trauellyth, labour, travail, 26 

trowght, truth, 80 

trwes (treues, H.), truce, 106 

tumementes (tourment, H.), torments, 37 

tweyne, twain, 29 

tynne, tin, 18 

tysyng (enditement, H.), enticing, 108 

vagaunt (vague, H.), vagrant, 104 
vailable, vaylable (valable, H.), useful, 

12, 43 
vailet, vayleth (est proufitable, vault, H.), 

availeth, 54, 57 
valure (valeur, H.), valour, 27 
vauntoure (vanteur, H.), boaster, 71 ■ 



vaylie, valley, 14 

veleyns, velyens, vile, abject, 51, 59, iii 

venegre, vinegar, 30 

veray, very (vraye, Fr.), true, 7, 81, 98 

viagis, voyages, 13 

vilens, vileyns, vile, abject, 34, 37 

vmbethynke the, consider, 6, 57, 63, 69, 

76, III 
vnbehouely (inpartinent, H.), unbecoming, 


vncunnyng (ingrat, H.), unmindful, 59 

vndirstondynges (entendemens, H.), 
meanings, 25 

vngracious {sc. v. games, mal gracieux, 
H.), discourteous, 58 

vniuersyte, university, 3, 42 

vnknowyn (descongnoifsant, H.), un- 
mindful, ungrateful, 59 

vnkunnyng (ingratitude, H.), unmind- 
fulness, ingratitude, 59 

vnnethes (a peine, H.), scarcely, hardly, 

voide, voyde, woyde, remove, expel, 30, 
51, 68, 98 

voyded (vuidoient, H.), removed, de- 
parted, 51 

voyeddid (vuida, H.), removed, expelled, 

wacches (agais, H.)> watches, plots, 8 
wassh (gue, H.), lake, pool, 33 
wchid (gaitoit, H.), watched, 44 
wellwyllyng (bien vueillant, H.), benevol- 
ent, 27 
wend, wende (cuiderent, cuida, H.), 

weaned, thought, 30, 106 
weneth (cuident, H.), wean, think, iii 
were (guerre faire, H.), make war, 11, 


weri, very, real, true, 67 
werre, war, 2, 12, 23 
wery, truly, 3 

wete (sauoir, H.), wit, know, learn, 91, 

wexe (deuiengnent, H.^, wax, become, 


wexe, waxed, grew, 30, 31, 52 

weyne, vein, 19 

whan, whanne, won, 15, 42, 59 

whedir, whither, 41 

whit (j<r. with) the dede (ou fait, H.^, 
in the act, 44 

wombe (ventre, H.), belly, iii 

wombe of mynde (ventre de la memoire, 
H.), inmost mind, 55 

wood, woode (forsennee, enragez, H.), 
mad, furious, 30, 65, 72 

woodnes (forcennage, enragerie, H.), 
madness, fury, 29, 30, 67 

worthynefses (proueces, H.), worthy 
deeds, 27 

wote (scay, scez, H.), know, 12, 98 

wreke (ateines, Yi.), vengeance, 11 

wylne (v.), will, 16 

wymple (guimple, H.), wimple, 53 

wynnors (gaignons, H.), 11. According 
to Grodefroy, Diet, de Pancienne langue 
Fran^aise, s.v., " gaignon " means a 
" matin, chien de basse-cour," and 
then a " homme vil et mechant," or, 
as we say, a " cur." Scrope seems to 
have confounded it with " gaigneur," 
from " gagner," to win. 

wyse, manner, 16, 20, 40 

wytte (sens, H.), wit, sense, 12 

yaf , yafe, ^az;^, 17, 19, 38 
yate, gate, 30 
yche, each, 67 
ye, eye, 32 
yef, if, 9 
ye{e,give, 20 
yefer, giver, 38 
yeffeth, yeffyth, giveth, 82, 84 
yeflfve, give, 83 
yeftis, gifts, 2 
yen, eyes, 44 

yens meynde (luniversaire, H.), anni 
versary, 106 

Q 2 


The Epistle of Othea to Hector. 

yete, ^^/ (imper.), II. The line should 
probably be read, " And wyth vs 
strey[n]gth be (jc. by) honesty )>e 
yete," cf. " Et auec nous te couuient 
force," H. 

yeveth, yevyth, gi'vef A, i8, 23, 39 

yevyng, giving, 3 

yif, yife,give (imper.), 14, 19 

yiff, give, 83 

yiffethf givef A, 18, 21 

yite, yet, 11 

yode, went, 73 

yofe, given, 2 1 

yolden, yieided, given up, 87 

youen, youyn, yoven, yovyn, given, 2, 7, 

19, 20, 21, 22, etc, 
yraigne (yraigne, H.), spider, 71 

3ate, gate, 7 
^a.tes, gates, 11 


Abtalin, the philosopher, maxim of, 36 
Achilles, 45, 50, 66, 75, 80, 92, 96, 105, 

Acis, son of Faunus, 65 
Actaeon (Anteon, Antheon), 76 
Adonis (Dadonius), 72 
Adrastus, King of Argos, 54 
iEolus (Eolus), god of winds, 89 
Aglauros (Aglaros), daughter of Cecrops, 

Ajax (Thelamen Ayaux, Thelomonailles, 

Ayaux), 73, 91, 107 
Alcyone (Alchion), wife of Ceyx, 89 
Alexander, King of Macedon, 85, 103 
Ambrose, St., 4; quoted, 22, 23, 90 
Amphiaraus (Amphoras), 54 
Andrew, St., article of, in the Creed, 41 
Andromache (Andromatha), wife of 

Hector, loo, 103 
Andromeda, 15, 16 
Antenor (Anthenor), 108, 109 
Apocalypse (Pocalipse, Pocalipce), the, 

quoted, 73, in 
Apollo (AppoUo), 20. See also Phoebus 
Apulia (Puille), 75 
Arachne (Yragnes), 71 
Argus, the hundred-eyed, 44 
Aristotle (Aristotiles, Aristotile, Aristo- 

till), 4 ; maxims of, 8, 13, 14, 16, 30, 

38, 42, 60, 71, 85, 103, 107, 112 
Assaron, the philosopher, maxim of, 90 
Atalanta (Athalenta), 81 
Athamas, King, 29 

Atropos (Acropose, Accropos), 47, 48 
Augustine (Austyn, Tawstyn), St., 4j 
quoted, 8, 10, 16, 30, 32, 34, 49, 50, 
51, 70, 72, 74, 75, 78, 79, 82, 84, 88, 
91, 96, 99, 103, 107, 108, 109, no 
Augustus Caesar, 113 

Babylon (Babylonie, Babilonie), 52, loi 

Bacchus (Bachus), 34 

Bartholomew (Bartylmew), St,, article of, 

in the Creed, 44 
Bede, quoted, 33 
Bellerophon (Belorophon, Berolophon), 

Bernard, St., quoted, 14, 54, 59, 103, 

Berry, John, Duke of (Jon, Duke of 

Barry), 3 
Boethius (Boys), quoted, 84 

Cadmus (Cadimus), 42 

Calabria (Calebre), 75 

Calchas (Calcas), 92, 96 

Cardinal Virtues, 2, 7 

Cassandra, daughter of Priam, 46 

Cassian, John, quoted, 64 

Cassiodorus, quoted, 19, 21, 25, 27, 

Cecrops (Cycropos), King of Athens, 


Cephalus (Sephalus), 86 


The Epistle of Othea to Hector, 

Cerberus (Serebrus, Cereberus, Cere- 

brus), II, 41, 79 
Ceres, 11, 38 
Ceyx (Ceys), 89 
Charon (Acaron), 79 
Cidonie (Sidon?), 35 
Circe (Circes, Cyrces), iii 
Colchos (Colcos), 51, 58, 90 
Commandments, the Ten, 49 
Corinis, the nymph, 56 
Corinthians, St. Paul's Epistles to the, 

quoted, 27, 87, 96, 108, 113 
Correction, Book of, by St. Augustine, 

Creed, Articles of the, 37 
Cressida (Cresseide), 95 
Crow, 56 
Cupid,65, 95 
Cyrus (Cirus), King of Persia, 63 

Dadonius. See Adonis 

Daphne (Damee), 99 

Democritus (Demecritus), maxim of, 10 

Diana (Dyana), 37, 60, 70, 76, 77, 99 

Diogenes (Dyogeneys), maxims of, 23, 

Diomed (Dyomed), 96 
Discord, goddess of, 66 

Ecclesiasticus, book of, quoted, 16, 22, 

32, 34, 64, 89, 104, 114 
Echo (Eccho, Echo), 98 
Ephesians, St. Paul's Epistle to the, 

quoted, 23, 31, 97 
Esdras, book of, quoted, 21 
Eurydice (Euredice, Euredice), 78 

Fastolf, Sir John, i, note 

Femene {sc. Amazonia), kingdom of, 63 

Fortune, the goddess, 84 

Galatea (Galatee), the nymph, 65 
Galatea (Galathee), Hector's horse, 7, 
Ganymedes, 57 

Geber, astronomer, 17 

Gorgon, 59, 60 

Gregory (Gregorie, Grigori, Grigory), St., 
4; quoted, 18, 20, 24, 35, 55, 57, 58, 
68, 71, 76, 85, 94, 100, loi, 104, 

Hebrews, Epistle to the, quoted, 25, 26 
Hector, 5, 7, 22, 24, 26, 49, 97, 100, 

103, 104, 105, 106 
Hecuba (Ecuba, Hecuba), 24, 106 
Helen (Helaine, Elen, etc.), 75, 83, 87, 

Helenus (Helene), son of Priam, 87 
Hercules, 11, 12, 41, 51, 73 
Hermaphroditus (Hermofrodicus), 93 
Hermes (Armes, Harmes, Hermes), the 
philosopher, 4; maxims of, 19, 20, 
21 (2), 26, 32, 37, 39, 43, 45, 49, 53, 
59. 68, 70, 73, 81, 86, 87, 94, 96, 104, 
Herse (Herce), daughter of Cecrops, 31 
Hesione, daughter of Laomedon, 9 1 
Hippocrates (Ypocras), maxim of, 35 
Homer (Omer), 4 ; maxims of, 51, 100 

Ilium (Ylyon), no 

Innocent III., Pope, quoted, 105 

Ino (Yno), wife of Athamas, 29, 112 

lo (Yo), daughter of Inacus, 43 

Isaiah (Ysaie, Ysaye), quoted, 52, %^^ 

Isis (Ysis), 39 >■ 

James, St., the Greater, article of, in the 

Creed, 39; epistle of, 79 
James, St., the Less, article of, in the 

Creed, 46 
Jason, 58, 64 
Jerome (Jerom), St., 4; quoted, 37, 66, 

81, 87, 93, 95, no 
Jesus Christ, shown by the Sibyl to 

Augustus, 113 



Job, book of, quoted, 28 
Joel, book of, quoted, 68 
John (Jon), St., article of, in the Creed, 

38 ; Epistles of, quoted, 82, 107 ; 

Grospel of, quoted, 95 
John Cassian (Jon Cassian), quoted, 64 
John Chrysostom, St., quoted, 87 
John II., King of France, 3 
John, Duke of Berry, 3 
Jude, St., article of, in the Creed, 47 
Juno, ^z, 44, 53, 66, 69, 83 
Jupiter (Jouis, Jubiter), 17, 18, 19, 33, 

43, 44, 66, 69 

Laomedon (Leomedon, Leomodon), 

King of Troy, 51, 68, 73 
Latona (Lathonna), 33 
Legaron (Leginon, H), the phDosopher, 

maxim of, 81 
Leo, St., pope, quoted, 62 
Lot (Lothe), wife of, 86 
Lucifer, 79 
Luke, St., Gk)spel of, quoted, 24, 85 

Magdare, the philosopher, maxim of, 97 

Mars, 5, 22, 61, 103 

Mary, St., the Virgin, shown by the Sibyl 

to Augustus, 113 
Matthew (Matheu), St., article of, in the 

Creed, 45 ; Gospel of, quoted, 18, 54, 

78, 84, 87, 104 
Matthias (Mathi), St., article of, in the 

Creed, 48 
Medea (Medee), 58, 64 
Memnon (Maymon), King, 49 
Mercury, 23, 31, 44, 67 
Midas (Mydas, Mygdas), 40 
Minerva (Mynerve, Minerve), 5, 24, 25, 

103, lOQ 

Minos (Mynos), 13, 14 

Morpheus, 88 

Myrmidones (Mirmedewes), 75 

Narcissus (Nardsus, Arcisus), 27, 98 
Neptunns, 47 
Nicholas, astronomer, 17 
Nimrod (Nambroth), 102 
Ninus (Minos), loi 

Origen (Orygenes, Orygene), quoted, 

26, 28 
Orpheus, 74, 78 
Othea, goddess of prudence, 5, 7, 10, 

13, 17, etc. 
Ovid (Ouyde), 4 

Pallas, 25, 66, 71, 83 

Pan, 40 

Paris (Paaris, Paarys, etc.), 75, 85, 87; 

judgment of, 67, 82 
Patroclus, 96 
Pegasus, 5, 15, 16 
Peirithous (Pirotheus, Protheus), 11, 

Peleus (Pellus), 66 
Pelleus, 58 
Pentheseleia (Pantasselle), Queen of 

the Amazons, 26 
Perceval. See Perseus 
Perseus (Percyvale, Percjmalle), 15, 59, 

Peter (Petir), St, article of, in the 

Creed, 37; Epistles of, quoted, 10, 

37, 62, 73 
Philip, St., article of, in the Creed, 41 
Philippians, St. Paul's Epistle to the, 

quoted, 35 
Phoebe (Phebe), 21, 33 
Phoebus (Phebus), 20, 33, 40, 56, 57, 

60, 61, 99 
Pisan, Christine de (Dame Cristine), 3 
Plato, 4; maxims of, 34, 57, 63, 64, 72, 

74, 76, 92, loi, 102, 108 
Pluto, II, 41, 79 
Pollibetes, 105 
Polyphemus, 32, 65 


The Epistle of Othea to Hector, 

Polyxena (Polexena, Polixenne), daughter 
of Priam, io6 

Priam (Priant, Priaunt, etc.), King of 
Troy, 22, 51, 90, 92, 103, 108 

Proserpine (Proserpyng), 11, 41 

Prudence, goddess of. See Othea 

Psalter, quoted, 19, 20, 56, 61, 75, 100, 

Ptolemy (Ptholome, Tholome), the philo- 
sopher, 4; maxim of, no 

Pygmalion (Pimalion, Pymalion), 35 

Pyramus, 52 

Pyrrhus (Pirus, Pyrus), son of Achilles, 

Pythagoras (Pictagoras, Pitagoras, etc.), 
maxims of, 17, 41, 46, 48, 67, 83 

Rabyon, the philosopher, maxim of, 50 
Raven, 56 

Romans, St. Paul's Epistle to the, 
quoted, 67 

St. Victor, Hugh de, quoted, 56, 114 

Saturn, 19, 55 

Scrope, Stephen, 2, note 

Sedechias, the philosopher, maxim of, 

Semele (Semelle), 69 
Sibyl (Sebille), the, 113 
Simon, St., article of, in the Creed, 46 
Singularity of Clerks, book of, 8, 75, 

Socrates, 4 ; maxims of, 28, 32, 84, 88 
Solomon, Proverbs of, quoted, 9, 14, 33, 

57. 58, 65, 71, 76, 90,99. 109 
Solon (Salamon, Soleyne, Solyn), 4; 

maxims of, 54, 79. 95. 97 

Tawstyn, St. See Augustine, St. 
Temperance, goddess of, 9, 10 
Theseus, 11, 41 
Thessalonians, St. Paul's Epistle to the, 

quoted, 10 1 
Thessille, the philosopher, maxim of, 82 
Thetis, 66, 80 

Thisbe (Tysbe, Thesbe), 52, 53 
Thomas, St., article of, in the Creed, 42 
Thune (Tyre ?), no 
Timothy, St. Paul's Epistle to, quoted, 

93, 106 
Titus, St. Paul's Epistle to, quoted, 70 
Tomyris (Thamaris), Queen of the 

Amazons, 63 
Trojan horse, 109 
Troylus, son of Priam, 90, 95, 106 
Tyre ? (Thune), no 

Ulysses (Vlixes, Vlyxes), 32, 80, 94, 

Venus, 18, 36, 61, 66, 72, 83 
Virgil (Vyrgyl), 4 
Vulcan (Vlnecan), 61 

Wisdom, book of, quoted, 59, 66, 72, 

Ypocras. See Hippocrates 

Zaqualquin, the philosopher, maxim of,