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After a woodcut by Hans Weiditz in H. Ziegler's German translation of 
Boccaccio's De casibus, published by Steiner in Augsburg, Feb. 27, 1545, fol. n. 
verso. The woodcut is one of 261 completed by Weiditz in the years 1519*20, 
and first published in the" Trostspiegel," Steiner, Augsburg, 1532. (See Dodgson, 
Catalogue of Early German and Flemish Woodcuts m the British Museum, 11. 
pp. 144, 157.) Approximately original size, 157x100. 






(Books I. and IL) 



The Carnegie Institution of Washington 
Washington, 1923 


Publication No. 262 


I / 










Introductory Note ix-xxvii 

The Metre xxviii-xlvi 

Boccaccio's and Laurence's Prefaces, etc. . . xlvii-lxv 

Book I i-i99 

Book II 200-328 


On page 174, line 6172, patisynge is a more correct 

reading than paryschyng. 
On page 426, line 3514, for Lacedemonios, read 

On page 815, line 1453, for impreuable read im- 



Part I, p. xlix, line 2 from bottom, for hoifs read ho;;;i«es. 

,, p. 3, line 88, Miss Hammond suggested to me that " spare " means 
to spar up, support, in other words that it is not related to OE 
sparian, to spare, but is a verb formed from ME sparre, a spar, 
„ p. 46, hne 1659, " thenbracyng of Pheton." This is not the English 
word " embracing," but, as Laurence says, " lembrasement de 
Pheton qui en grec signifie feu ou challeur " (comp. Part IV, 144). 
Lat. brdsa, Fr. braise, glowing charcoal; braiser, to cook on hot 
charcoal; enbyaser, to set fire to, to make glow. 
Part III, p. S09, side-note to 1223-24 should read : " Lead, called leprous 
gold and Tin of Jupiter, is duU of sound ; mercur\- is false and 
„ p. 1029, hne no, insert hast after in. 
Part IV, p. 92, line 12 from bottom : delete (also Wayland). 

,, pp. 113, 114. To the twelve copies of P^mson's 1494 edition 
mentioned, a thirteenth may be added ; namely, the New- 
battle Abbey copy, which was sold by the American Art 
Association in New York on January- 28, 1932. According to 
the catalogue (Selections from the Famous Libraries of the most 
hon. the Marquess of Lothian, New York, 1932), p. 57 (facing 
facsimile of title-page), the volume is imperfect: 57 leaves 
(a 1-8, b 2-3, h 6-8, i 1-3, k 4-8, 1 1-2, 4-5, n 4-6, o 1-8, p 1-3, 
q 1-2, 7-8, r 2-8, s 1-4, C I and D 4-5) are missing and have 
been made up with leaves taken from the edition of 1527. 

On p. 46 of the same catalogue it is stated that the New- 
battle Abbey copy of the Colard Mansion edition of Laurence's 
first version is " one of three known copies . . . the two others 
are both in public hbraries and both are imperfect." Actually 
there are thirteen or fourteen known copies; the Newbattle 
Abbey copy, however, is according to Henri Michel the only 
known copv in the third state (comp. Fall of Princes, Part IV, 
„ p. 120. For a discussion of Wayland '3 print and its relation to 
the Mirror for Magistrates, see Professor W. T. Trench, A 
Mirror for Magistrates, London, 1898, and Lily B. Campbell, 
The Suppressed Edition of A Mirror for Magistrates in the 
Huntington Library Bulletin, No. 6, November 1934. 


As a result of an abortive attempt to collate both Harley 116 and Lans- 
downe 699, each of which belongs to a different group of ^ISS. (Harley to 
the Ellesmere group (A) , and Lansdowne to the B group) and of the fact 
that the incomplete variants were pieced together, in part with incorrect 
attributions, while I was in America in 191S-19, only to be forgotten and 
left unrevised on my return to England in 191 9, and finally, in 1923, in- 
advertently printed as they stood, the footnotes to the Daunce of Machabree 
are in a state of error and confusion that must be seen to be believed. 
The only amends I can make is : i. to refer the reader to the edition of the 


2 Additions and Corrections to the Fall of Princes. 

Dance of Death edited by the late Miss Florence Warren, with introduction 
and notes by Miss Beatrice White of King's College, London, where he will 
find the Ellesmere and Lansdowne IMSS. printed complete, together with a 
collation of all the known MSS., and 2. to supply the following revised 
collation of Harley 116 and Lansdowne 699. 

I was not struck by it at the time, but 1 now have a strong suspicion that 
in spite of their manner, and to a certain extent their vocabulary, many if 
not all of the additional stanzas in the B group, as well as the major variants, 
are not by Lydgate, who so far as we know was not in the habit of revising 
his work, but by another hand (or hands). All the at present known MSS. 
are late and excessively corrupt, but with few exceptions the additional 
stanzas, substituted lines and other textual alterations in the B group are 
at the worst so inferior and at the best so indifferent both in sentiment and 
in metre as compared with the A group, that I find it difficult to believe 
that Lydgate had anything to do with them. Even the Emperesse, the 
Mayr, the Chanoun Reguler and the Doctor utriusque Juris, although I 
should hesitate to include them positively as later additions, have a 
certain emptiness difficult to parallel in the A version and could very well 
be imitations of Lydgate's style. On the other hand, the Justice and 
Monialis are metrically impossible as they stand, the Artifex (also metrically 
bad, and in which Death appears as a woman), the Sergeant in Law, the 
substituted seventh line of the Jurour, the Famulus, and Machabre the 
Doctour, seem to be hardly more than a travesty of Lydgate. It is also 
difficult to believe that the Dean, the Physician, the Minstrel (especially 
his Kesponse) and the two final stanzas are revisions. A careful study of 
the relations of the MSS. to one another as well as of the poem itself — its 
vocabulary, rhyme and metre — would be of great interest. 


The first five stanzas are omitted. 46 of Machabree] which that ye see. 
47 ylike] om. 48 ne] nor. 49 wight] man. 51 toforne] before — shall go. 
56 00] oon. — yforged] Forgid. 57 most] om. 59 hath] have. 60 and 
states temporall] most in especiall. 65 for] with deth. 71 which al] sich. 
75 mot] must. 77 leue your] lat. 79 is worth] vaileth. 81 that] om. 

— me] om. 82 Whan deth me sailith that doth me constreyn. 83 helpen] 
socour. 86 and] and my. 87 Wher vpon sore I me compleyn. go 
sheweth] seemeth. gi yet for-thy] for al that. 92 folke my] estates this. 
93 ye] om. 95 I fee;'e. 96 honour] worship. g7 certes this] trewly it. 
g8 to dreede. loi vnto] to. 102 eke] hecr. 103 which] the which. 

— conceyued] lemyd. 104 That worldly] How that al. Two stanzas, the 
Imperatrix and her response, are here included in L : Lat se your hand / my 
lady dame Empresse : Have no disdeyn / with me for to daunce : Ye may a 
side / leyn al your richesse : Your fresh attyres / devises of plesauHce : 
Your soleyn cheeris / your strange countenaunce : Your clothis of gold / 
most vncouthly wrouht : Hauyng of deth / ful litcl remembrance : But 
now se wcel al is come to nouht : Rcsponsum : What availeth / gold 
richesse o[r] perre : Or what availeth / hili blood or lentylnesse : Or what 
availeth / freshnesse or beaute : Or what is worth / hih portc o[r] straunge- 
nesse : Deth seith chck mat / to al sich veyn noblesse : All worldly power / 
now may me nat availe : RauKSOun kyndrede / frenship nor worthynesse : 
Syn deth is come / myn hih estat tassaile. 105 O] Right. 107 That som 
tyme had so gret possessiot^n. 108 Rewmys obeyng / vn to your hih 
noblesse. log Ye most of nature / to this daunce yow no & 
P'ynally your crouwne / & sceptre leete. in Who] For who so. — here] 
om. 113 nought] nat. — toforn] afforn. 115 Wher bi I see / ful cleerly 
in substauMce. 116 or force of high linage] force or hih parage. 119 is] 
that is. — 1 holde hym most sage] hath most avauwtage. 121 Sir 
I'atriarch / ful sad & huwble of cheere. 122 Ye mote with othir / gon on 
this dauMce with. 125 very] trouth. 126 Be possid / in hast as I rehers 
can. 127 Trusteth] Trust. 129 gret] ovi. 131 olde ioyes] ioies old. 

Additions and Corrections to the Fall of Princes. 3 

— tristesse] distresse. 132 treasours' honour. 133 for' to. 134 estates" 
estat. — wasten' waste. 135 Who so montith hihest stondith most in 
drede. 136 Create" Such heuy. — hym oft" hem often. The Cunstable 
is replaced bv the Princeps, in which only the third hne is similar to that 
in the A group : Riht mvhty pr>-nce / be rith weell certeyn : This d&unce to 
yow / is Tnot eschewable] : For more myht>- ' than euer was Carlema\-n : 
6r worthy Arthour / of prowes ful notable : With al his knyhtes of the 
rouKde table : What did ther platis ther armour or ther made : Ther 
strong corage ' ther sheeldes defensable : A ge\-ns deth >vaile; , whan he 
hem dide assaile. The reponse shows fewer variations. 145 whole] myn. 
146 assail" assegid. 147 And br\-nge folke] RebeUis to br\-ng. 148 To 
seeke worshipis ' fame & "grete r\-chesses]. 149 See" se weel. — prowess'e>. 
150 which is a great' wher of I have. 151 eke] om. — swetnesses. 153 
voul so. 154 So frowardlv] Your look your face. 155 Yee must obey to 
[my] mortal lawe. 156 contran.-] co»stre\Tie. 157 For day bi day be 
right wele certe^-n. 15S the] o»i. 159 Preestes & deth may nat be holden 
a geyn. 160 a daye] oon our. — contith. 162 haue so gret] stonde in 
sich. 163 might" power. 164 That who-soj But who that it. 166 And 
se>Ti A-dieu / pompe and p;-/de also. 167 My pexTited paleys / tresour & 
richesse. 169 Erl or Baron ' which that thourh regiouKS. 170 Have sore 
laboured / for worship & renoim. 172 This] om. 173 Whylom] som 
t\-me. — and] & your. 174 ^^'as in estat / & wordly wurship to glade. 
175 oft it] often t\-me. 177 ofte sith] often tyme. 17S ewpr\-se — th},-ng. 
179 high & lowl gret estates. iSo ladies & women] princes tt lordis. 181 
Xe] Nor. 182 lordes courte] roial courtes. — was] weer. 185 But deth 
vnwarly / al power makith lame. Under] And vndir. The next two 
stanzas, the Princess and her response, are omitted in L. 201 My Lord] 
Com ner. — with] with your. 202 soothlye I] soth I yow. 207 couwte. 
208 ouer] on. 209 Of these tid^•nges ,' I am no th\-ng glaad. 210 \Much 
deth to me ; so sodeynly doth br\-ng. 211 It makith my face & cou«ten- 
au«ce ful saad. 213 now to my] to me in. 215 And needis we must / on 
to our departATig. 217 Commeth forth Syr Squyer] Knyht or sc\vyer — 
gises. 219 fresshe] wele. 220 devises. 221 on you so] upon yow. — 
high emprise] straunge emprises. 224 stroke] power. 225 Sith. 226 that] 
oni. 22S whilom] som t>Tne. 229 Adieu beaute that lastith but short space. 
Here L, together with the other MSS. of the B group, includes the following 
four stanzas on the " Maior " and the '" Canonicus Regularis " : Com forth 
sir Ma\T ; which had gou^mau^-'ce : Bi poUicie to rewle this cite : Thouh 
your power / were notable in siebstaunce : To flee my dau>!ce ye have no 
liberte : Estate is noon nor wordly dygn^-te : That may escape ' out of 
my dau'.'geris ; To f\'nde rescew / exau>;!ple ye may se : Xouther bi 
richesse / nor force of off ceres. Responsum : What helpith now ' thestat 
in which I stood : To rewle Cites / or Comouws to goueme : Plente of 
richesse / or increce of good : Or olde ^^-^-nn^^lg / that cometh to me so 
yeme : Deth al defaceth who so list to leme : Me for tareste ' he com\-th 
on so faste : Eche man ther fore shold a fore disceme : Prudently to 
th^-nk \'pon his laste. The Canonicus Regularis : Lat see your hand ' sir 
chanon Reguler : Som tvme sworn ' to religioim : As huw!ble soget & 
obedienceer : Chastly to live ,' lik vour professioifn : But ther may be no 
consolaciojm : Age\Ti mv sawes ' sode\'n & cruell : Except oonly / for 
short conclusioim : Who liveth in vertu : mot nedis dey weel. Respon- 
sum : Whi shulde I grutche ' or disobeye : The th\Tig which ' of verrey 
kyndly riht : Was I orde\-ned & born for to deye : As in this world is 
orde\Tied euer\- wiht : Which to remembre is no thyng liht : Pra\-ng the 
lord / that was sprad on the roode : To medle mercy / with his eternal 
myht : And save the sowles that he bouht with his blood. 233 Commeth 
forth Syr Abbot] Sir Abbot and priour. 234 To been abassht / ye have a 
maner riht. 236 noth\-ng" nat. 237 Leven your lordship. 239 Who 
that] Who so — to hyw; I have. 240 In his grave sonnest shal 
putrefie. 241 o] no. 242 bnow] o»i. — al] al maner. 244 This doth 
to me ' somwhat the lesse grevau;fce. 245 libertes. 246 availe. 24S 
in d^-ing] to fom deth. 250 mantyl. 252 bedes sister] beddes softe. 

4 Additions and Corrections to the Fall of Princes. 

255 for] om. 256 no] om. 257 this for me] oni. 258 it nought declyne] 
nat hy;« eschewe. 259 If it so be ful oft] Vnto this of riht. 260 That heer 
with othir / I must his trace sewe. 261 This pilgrymage / to every man is 
dewe. 262 An ernest mateer / a mateer of no iape. 263 Who that is 
alwey redy / shal nevir rewe. 264 The hour abydyng / that god hath for 
hym shape. Here are inserted four stanzas, the Index and the Doctor 
vtriusque juris and their responses. The two stanzas on the Bayly are 
omitted. That hand of youres / my lord lustice : That have rewlid / so 
long the lawe : Weel may men holde / yow war & wise : So that this drauht / 
be weel drawe : Escape shal ye nat / wold ye neuer so fawe : Sich dome to 
have / as ye have youen in soth : Wher fore men seyn / of an olde sawe : 
Weel is hy;M / that alwey weel doth. Response : Alias ne were / that myn 
entent : Was weele dressid / thouh I othir while erryd : Now shuld I vttrely / 
be shamyd & shent : For many causes / that I have oftyn d[e]ferrid : 
Sauff mercy oonly / now were I marrid : Blissid ther fore / is enery wiht : 
As bi holy scriptur / may ben averrid : That in all tyme / doth lawe & 
kepith riht. The Doctor Vtriusque juris : Com forth doctour / of Canon 
cS; Cyvile : In bothe these lawis / of long cowtinuaunce : Your tyme hath 
spent / bewar ye did no gile : In your mateers / for to han fortherauwce : 
Now must ye lerne / with me for to dauwce : All your lawe / may yow nat 
a vaile : Gifl me your hand / & make no perturbauwce : Your hour is 
come / this is withonten faile. His re.sponse : A mercy lesn / whow man- 
kynde is freele : And litel tyme / in this worlde abydyng : No man of his 
liiffi / hath charter nor seele : Ther fore it may / be likned in all thyng : 
Vnto a Flour / so amorously fioorsshyng : Which with a Froste / bi gynneth 
riht sone to fade : Whan cruell deth / his massage list to bryng : Al 
liffly thyng / he bryngeth in the s[h]ade. 281 Maister] om. — lookest] 
loken. 287 aresteth] doth arrest. 289 and] or. 290 nought] om. 291 Ne 
in the] Nor in. — seke] serche out. 292 nor] or. 294 descriven. 296 
Who liueth aryght] om. The two stanzas on the Burgess are omitted. The 
Chanon Seculer is headed Decanus in L. 313 And ye Syr] Sir dean or. 
315 In gret array / your tresour to dispende. 316 With all your richesse / 
& your possessiouws. 317 For kynde hath sett / hir revoluciouws. 318 
Eche man som day / to dau«ce on dethis brynk. 319 Ther of ye may, etc. 
320 For deth cometh evir, etc. 321 My divers cures / my riche pej-sonages. 
322 God wot ful lite] Alias ful litel thei. 323 Deth vpon me / hath geten 
his avantages. 324 That] om. — can make me now no sporte. 325 gris] 
grey. — wyl] must. 326 a surples and] with many a gret. 327 For 
which trewly / as clerkis can reporte. 328 deye. Here follow two stanzas, 
" Monialis " and response, in L : Thouh ye be barbid / & claad in clothis 
blaake : Chastly receyued / the mantil & the ryng : Ye may nat the 
cours / of nature for sake : To daunce with othir / now at my comyng : 
In this world / is non abidyng : Nouthir of maide / widewe nor wiff : 
As ye may seen / heer cleerly bi wrytyng : That a geyns deth / is iounde 
no preseruatiff. The Response : It helpith nat / to stryve a geyn natwre : 
Namely whan deth / bi gynneth tassaile : Wher fore I couwseil / euery 
creature : To been redy / a geyn this fel batayle : Vertu is sewrer / than 
othir plate or maile : Also no thyng / may helpe at sich a nede : Than to 
provide / a sur acquytaile : With the hand of almesse / to love god &. 
drede. 329 Ye] Come. — ye mot] &. 330 That passid haue] Which 
hast passid. — ful] om. 331 regard] reward. 333 ye, your] thou, thyn. 
334 Al thyn old labour / wher is it be come now. 336 coveitith than he 
that hath. 338 many] om. 339 Bi strauwge seeis carried. 341 ay] evir. 
342 now] om. — me doth] doth me. 344 litle] he lityl. Two stanzas, 
the " Artifex " and his response, follow here in L : Yeve hidir thyn hand / 
thou Artificeer : For ther is fouMcle / no subtilite : Bi witt of man / that 
fro my dauwgeer : To save \\ym silff / can have no liberte : My strook is 
sodeyn / fro which no man may flee : Bi coriouste / nor cunnyng of fressh 
devise : Kynde hath ordeyned / it will non othir be : Eche man mote 
passe / whan deth settith assise. The Response : Ther is no craft / serchid 
out nor souht : Cast nor compassid / bi old nor newe entaile : I se ful weel / 
withynne myw owen thouht : A geyns deth / [whiche that may] availe : 

Additions and Corrections to the Fall of Princes. 5 

She p^rshith sheeldis •' she pershith plate & maile : A ge\-ns her strok -' 
cunnyng nor science : Whan that hir Ust mortally to assaile : Alas alias 
ther mav be no deffence. 347 and vour selt doth your chyne. 351 as^ 
outward'. 353 long agon" ago ful longe. 355 And; om. 356 Dreadeth] 
Dredith hvw. — kindly; naturall. 35S But please to God; Plese it lorde. 
361 Sir' oin. — vour; thi. 362 nor; nor no. 364 ye; thou. 366 you; the. 
367 sturdi a. 36S another is also; deth is \-it mor. 369 durste; darst. 
370 Thafi Which. 371 Which; And. — 'bothen; \valk>-ng. 372 ful 
surquedou's of with ful dispitous. 373 arested; arest. 374 can; may. 
375 both' o;«. 376 for" om. The four stanzas on the Monke and the 
Usurer, as well as the stanza, " The Poore Man boroweth of the Usurer," 
are omitted in L. The stanzas on the " Physicien " are quite different in 
L : Ye phisiciens / for monv that loken so fast : In othir mennys watris 
what thei evle : Look weel to your silf / or att last : I not what your 
medic\Ties / nor crafte may av'aile : For deth com>-ng , sode\-nly doth 
assaile' : As weel lechis as othir that shal ye knowe : Atte last lugement / 
withouten anv faile : \\'han al men shal repe as thei have sowe^ The 
Response ; Alias to long and to myche in phisik ; For lucre I plye;d; al 
mv bis\-nes5e : Bothe in specIacio;.'n / ^v in practik : To knowe ^t konne al 
bo'dely"siknes=e : But of gostly helthe I was reklesse : Wher fore shal 
helpe'nother herbe nor roote : Nor no medic\-ne saurt goddes goodnesse : 
For a ge\-ns deth  is fN-naly no boote. The two stanzas on the Amerous 
Squ^-re are omitted in L. 451 ye was; o»'.. 452 and; o>n. 453 thei went 
otn. ' 455 daunger long in loue; deynous dau>.'geer. 456 Vnto this dau>:ce 
ye mote your fot>-ng dresse. '457 sparist. The Man of Law is called the 
Sergeant in Lawe in L. 465 Syr Aduocate; Come neer sir Sergeant. 466 
highe iudge; Iu;ge; on hihe. 467 quarei; quarell thouh. 46S to folke 
refuge; folk gret remedie. 469 Ther shal your sotil wittis be deemyd 
rfoh-;. 470 YifiE sleathe / & covetise be nat exiled. 471 Be war bi t\-mes 
& labour for mercy. 472 For thei that trust most thew silff ar sonnest 
bigiled. 474 I can alleggen nor make no diffence. 475 Xor bi sleihte 
nor statute me with drawe. Tescape a way - from this dreedful sentence. 
477 For al my witt , nor gret prudence. 4 78 No th^mg ;i;n erthe may no 
man preser\-e. 479 Agayn; A ge^ms. 4S0; oni. Here L omits Master 
John Rikil Tregetour and the Parson, four stanzas. 515 like to; aftir. 
519 But lat se now that wythinne so short a space. 520 Before — acqu\-te. 
521 Som t^Tne I was callid, etc. 524 whom; om. 525 Hang — acqu\te. 
52S a man is; oon wole be. The two stanzas on the Minstrel are replaced 
by two others so different that they must be given entire : Gentil menstral 
shewe now thi witt : How thou canst pleye or foote ariht this dau)!ce : 
I dar weel sei that an harder fitt : Than this ; fil neuyr to thi chauKce : 
Look ther fore what may best avauwce : Thi sowle as now & vse that I 
reede : Refuse nyce play & vevn plesau^ce : Bettir late than neuyr to 
do good deede. The Response : Ey benedicite this world is freele : Now 
glad / now sor\- what shal men vse : Harpe lute phidil pipe farwell : 
Sautr\- Sithol & Shalmuse : Al wordlv m\Tthe I here refuse : God 
grauwte me grace ' of sich penaunce : As may myn old s>Tines excuse : 
For alle be nat mer\- that othir whyle dau'.ce. The two following stanza.s, 
the Famulus and his response, are included here in L : Seruant or of?.cer / 
in th\Ti office : Yifi thou hast ben as god wold ct riht : To poore A; riche / 
doon ple\-n lustice : Fled extorciouw with al thy myht : Than maist thou / 
in this dauwce go hht : Or elles ful hevy- ' shalt thou be thanne : Whan alle 
domys shal fynaly be diht : Go we hens the tvde a bidith no man. The 
Response : Shal I so sone to dethis dauwce : That wend to have l\•^•ed 
yeeris many mo : And sodeynly forsake al my plesauwce : Of offices / 
& profites ;that; long ther to : Yit oon th\-ng I consel or I go : In offi.ce 
lat no man doon outrage : For dreede of god A: pevn also : Also sen.-ice _ 
is noon heritage. 546 fuF ow. 547 Ye must eke; Thou must here. 54? if; 
thouh. 550 this; the. — from thee' for. 551 The' This. — can so folkes; 
causith folk to. 552 He; For he. 554 Albe that; Al thouh. 556 to haue 
gon at the plowe; & go;n; forth at ;the; plouh. 55S diked — atte cart. 
559 telle platly howe; ple\-nly avow. 560 In this world here / rest is ther 

6 Additions and Corrections to the Fall of Princes. 

noon. 561 Come forth thou frere / to the, etc. 562 To] Vpon. — you] 
the. 563 your] thi — hast ful often tauht. 564 most] oyn. 565 Albe] al 
thouh. — thereto] ther of. 566 nor] ne. 567 Death dare hym rest] I 
dar arrest hym. 570 to abide] for tabide. 571 Strength] Strengthe nor. 

— so] om. 572 Of] O. 579 beforne] to forn. 580 in hast by fatall] with 
hem with sotil. 518 ouer] of. — upon my] on this. 582 escape in soth] 
in soth skape. 584 Who] Who so. 585 a] o. 586 so] ful. 587 so] ful. 
588 list no lenger to] of his strok list. 589 come] cam. 590 Of me no] On 
me more. — ye] om. 592 As] For as. — man] sheep. The stanzas on 
the Yong Gierke are omitted in L. 610 there] om. At the laste yet] 
Tyme is come that. 612 thexpenence. 613 may be] is. 614 hermitage] 
heritage. 615 aduert to] advertise. 616 That this lift heer / is but a 
pilgrymage. 617 To liue] Liff. 618 again] a geyns. — • respite none nor 
space] no respite nor [sp]ace. 620 by] be. 621 hym] my lord. 622 and 
great habundaunce] such as I have assayed. 624 that lacketh sufEraunce] 
but he that halt hym payed. The next stanza, Death speaketh agayn to 
the Hermite, is omitted in L. The last three stanzas are entitled " Con- 
clusio " in L. 633 Ye] Ye ye. — loken — portrature] scripture. 634 Be- 
holding] Conceyveth. — all] that al. 635 been] be. 637 haueth] have. 
638 Be fore your mynde / a boven al thyng. 640 fine of our] ende of your. 
641 What is mannys liff / but a countenauwce. 642 Or [as] a puff of 
wynde / that is transitorie. 643 As may be weel / pcj'ceived bi this dauwce. 
644 Ther fore ye / that reden this storye. 645 Keepe thentent / in your 
memorye. 646 And it shal steer yow / in to gostly liff. 647 Teschewe 
peyn / & come vnto glorie. 648 And be your socour / in al gostly stryff. 
The final stanza in L is as follows : Be nat a fferd / this scriptur in tyme of 
pley : In your mynde / to revolve & reede : For trust trewly / ye shal 
nevir the sonner deye : But it shal cause yow / synne for to dreede : The 
which refusid / ye shal have gret meede : Ther fore a mong / have mynde 
on this lettir : And vse vertu / praj'er & almesse deede : And than I dar 
sey / ye shal doon the bettir. The Lenuoye of the Translatoure, two stanzas, 
is omitted in L. 

Variant readings in MS. Harley 116 = H : 3 cuer lasten] laste exxer. 
4 prouidence] prudennce. 5 To see a fore. 6 be] dethe {corrected to sleth). 
"]] om. 8 high & loue. 9 not hight ne law. 11 in] in thaire. 13 Her] The. 
17 Consideryng. 18 it] yit. 19 the example. 20 Full] But. 21 Ther of 
franch clerkes. 30 that] whiche. 32 may clerly ther. 33 intentes. 36 
surplusages. 38 declare] delyuere. 40 is transposed after 36. The next 
stanza, " The Wordes of the Translatour," is included in the Prologue in H. 
42 which] which pat. The foUoiuing .stanza [lines 49-56) is omitted. 57 
O ye. — high] hight. 59 to] as. — hath] hadde. 61 ye] om. 64 of all] 
om. 68 Seynt Petris] petres. 69 fro] om. 70 Vpon this] On his. 74 
Most] om. — surmountyng] and hieste. 79 is worth] worthe is. 83 gin] 
bote. 88 litle auauntage] so lytell vayntage. 90 it sheweth] me semeth. 
97 this] Jjat. — faile] fable. 100 All myn array to leue be hend me [mis- 
placed after loi). loi vnto] to. 107 whylom had] hadd somtyme. 109 
great] om. no ye] you. 113 toforn] a fore. 114 sauage] sage (sa[ua]ge). 
115 through] for. — by] my. 116 or] om. — of] or. 118 Great] bothe 
grett. 119 hym] he is. 121 al] witA al. 122 quiteth] quite. — nor] for. 
137 my] om. — arcst you and] rest and you. 140 enforcede. 141 ne] 
nor. — this] is. 142 Nor] Ne. 143 most] om. 146 assail] haue assayled. 

— mighty] om. — fortresse. 150 see] see well. 153 you] so. 158 the] 
om. 160 a] 00. 163 to escape. — no] non. — se] seen. 166 &] my. 
168 Thyng] For thinge. 169 Lordes] ladies. 172 nor] ne. 173 Whylom] 
Som tyme. 174 daunsen] davne. 176 One] that 00. 177 sith] tymes. 
178 Empryse. 185 good] and. 188 Nether] Nojjcr. — nor] ne. 190 
whylom couth] somtyme cowde holde so. 195 this] his. 196 nis] is. 197 
bountie nor in her] beaute ne in. 198] That she of Kight most nedys the 
trace sew. 199 When] For to. — fairne.s] fresshnes. 200] Oure Reueled 
age saith farwell adiev. 201 with] with your. 203 For] om. 208 ouer] 
om. 209 nother] nothing. 214 Which al estates] That al folkes. 217 
Commeth] Come. — of] in. 218 daunces] davncc. 221 toke] take. 

Additions and Corrections to the Fall of Princes. 7 

223 Daunseth" Da\Tice. — no" not. 225 Sithe. 227 now" ow. 22S 
whilom^ somtyme. 229 al" oni. 233 Come. 234 Beeth nought] Be not — 
haue. 235 rounde" large. 239 Who is most fatte. 241 manace] tretyse. 

— hauen o gret] I haue noon. 243 cloystre. 244 is' o»i. 246 they vayle~ 
avaylle. 247 aske I] I haske. — devoute] hartly. 251 your r3,-ng] 
passing. 252 bedes sister] beddys softe. — mot now le\-n a-syde] must 
now lay on syde. 254 borne] and borne. 256 man] wyght. 259 If] 
Thogh. 263 with] doth. 265 knowen] know. 26S Extorcioun. 271 
exclude. 274 To] To the. 276 Whilom] Somt^ine. 277 by labour oft] 
for favor or. 27S seth\-n — by] ne. 279 wel] o»i. 2S0 Ayen. 2S1 loken. 
285 Sith that — genelogie. 291 difference] defence. 292 domif^-ing] 
demonstr^-nge. 294 our] all our. 296 \Mio liueth an,-ght mot] But who so 
Ij-ueth Ryght most. 299 strong] strange. 300 Toward] To. — mot you] 
muste now. 302 came] come. 30S fordoth] distroieth. 310 on] of. 311 
it] is. — the worlde wil it] and he will hit. 319 no] none. 320 ay] euer. 
321 benefices — mony] many a. 322 hte] h-tell. 323 of] on. 324 That] o»i. 

— may] may be. — nought disport] not support. 325 wyl] om. 326 
a] om. 32S dye. 329 mot] must. 330 many a. 337 a] ow. 339 downe] 
do. 340 more] mo. 349 striue] strve. 351 as] om. 355 And] Thoghe. 
35S please] pleas it. 359 Fro] From. — 2nd fro] o»j. 360 ame to-day] 
men be this day — not. 362 nor] ne no. 402 eke] om. 404 none] no. 
406 loke] se. 40S seen] se. 417 on] in. 420 cunne] kanne. 421 so fer- 
forth is iRonne. 422 Ayenste. 423 haue] hath. 426 eke] om. 432 
Ayenste. 435 of hert eke desirous is erased. 436 chaunge] chanche. 43S 
into] NTito. 439 al] all your. 442 A yenste. 446 so fresh so weF so well 
and fresshe. 451 whilom] somt\-me. 455 hath lad] haue lede. 462 many 
a man haue all»erede. 463 sentement] sentence. 466 plete] and plete. 

— highe] om. 46S done to] to do. 470 auaile may] may a wale. 471 
scapeth] schapith. 472 Be fore — nought teint] not ta}-ne. 474 nought' 
om. — against] a yene. 475 kepen or] kepe ne. 476 al] o»;. 478 
Nor noth}-ng] No no man. 479 make] make no. 4S0 quiteth] quiethe. 
TJie Trege'tour and the Parson follow the Man of Law in Tottel, otherwise the 
order is as in H. 4S1 whilom] somtyme. 4S5 my] this. 4S7 ne] and. 4S9 
magike] mau;.'kynde. 492 the heauens] heuen. 493 A venste. 496 
\\TOught] wronge, with " at longe " written oier it in a later hand as a correc- 
tion. 497 now] om. 499 ic' and yo»r. 500 of] on. 502 to' vnto. 504 
And] As. 509 and] om. 513 at] is at. 515 devise. 516 gaue] haue. 
517 bothe] o»i. 518 folkes. 521 \\'hilom] Somt}-me. 523 Not. 525 
Hange. 527 say. 529 canst. 530 do. 531 anone] soon. ^^2 go. 
533 nef>er. 536 schewe. 539 doth] dethe. 540 measures] musures. 
543 not. 545 Thou] O thou. 547 Ye] Thou — not. 548 if] thoghe — not. 
550 from] om. 551 The] For the. — so] om. 552 lyve. 553 wished] 
wissede. ^^^ haue] had. 557 haue labored. 558 Doluen and ditched] 
Delue and dyke. 559 platiye] pla^-nly. 560 here there. 563 taught'. 
564 that o>/i. 565] om. 567 h}-m rest] arest h\-m. — mede] man. 571 
nor what so] ne what f>at. 572 Of] om. 573 no'r] ne. 577 Eiifante. 579 
to fome. 58oledd. 593 Clarke — free] so free. 594 Fro] For. 595 wend] 
om. 597 highest] hie. 59S ayenst. 599 at] in. 604 Xe— ne. 611 muste'. 
613 J)er ayen. 615 f)frfor — to] om. 617 To hue] L}-fi. 618 a venst — ne. 
619 houre] stewyne. 624 suffraunce] suffysance. 627 all his] om. 629 
deserue God quiteth] serue god quite.' 630 To] The. 633 folk'e" folken — 
purturature. 636 not elles. 637 haueth] haue. — ave' euer. 638 
whylom] somtyme. 641 Mans lyfe is nought els] Man is life elles (hfe 
inserted above the line). 644 haue! 645 Remembre. 645 the] om. 64S in 
heuen that maketh. 649 been there] ther ben. 652 errours. 655 hnie. 
657 my lordes A: maisters] m.aistres and folkes. 659 prav" prav vou. 
663 suppowle. 666 in] the. 667 fro. 670 me' o;«. 672 Her""Thever. 

',/ K 


It was probably not long after May 143 1 that Lydgate 
began his "Fall of Princes," ^ at the request of Humphrey, Duke 
of Gloucester, who was lieutenant and warden of England 
from April 1430 to early January 1432 during the absence 
of Henry VI. in France.* The mention of Gloucester's prowess 
against heretics (Prologue, 400-413) no doubt refers, as Miss 
Hammond has suggested,' to the suppression of the Lollard 
risings at Oxford, Salisbury and London in the spring of 143 1, 
and perhaps to Gloucester's presence "at the beheading, at 
Oxford, of a small band of men led by the bailiff of Abingdon," 
in May 143 1.* We do not know the date of the com- 
pletion of the work, but as Lydgate complains of his age, 
"more than three score years," in Book VHI, (he was sixty- 
five in 1436), and was engaged on the "Life of Albon and 

^ There has been confusion in regard to the title of the book: some students 
write "falls" and others "fall"; one or two have on occasion used both forms. 
Tottel's title-page seems to have been responsible for the plural, as Wayland 
printed "tragedies" in his title and "fall" in the heading of the table of con- 
tents, and Pynson "fall" (falle) in the titles and colophons of both his editions. 
Among others who have followed Tottel are Thomas Arnold, Henry Morley, 
Ten Brink, Koerting, Schick (who prefers "falles"), A. W. Ward, Courthope, 
Saintsbury, and Lee (art. Lydgate, Diet. Nat. Biog.). G. Ellis, Hazlitt's Warton, 
Taine, David Laing, Hortis, MacCracken, Miss Hammond, the Diet. Nat. Biog. 
(art. Humphrey of Gloucester), and practically all catalogues of MSS., includ- 
ing Ward, have "fall." R. Lane Poole prints "falls" on p. 229 of his edition 
of Bale, Oxford, 1902, and "fall" on pp. 228 and 231; E. Gordon DuflF, "falls" 
in Camb. Hist. Eng. Lit., H. 321, and "fall" elsewhere in his bibliographical 
works. Earlier writers, such as William Baldwyn (preface to "Mirror of Mag- 
istrates," ed. 1563), and Edward Phillips {Tbeatrum Poetarum Anglicanorunu, 
ed. Brydges, 1800), and Thomas Gray have "fall"; Watt quotes "falls" 
from Tottel; but Tottel himself printed "fall" in the heading of his table 
of contents and in the colophon, fol. ccxviii verso. I have used "fall" because 
there is no doubt that Lydgate himself called his book "The Fall of Princes." 
He refers directly to it in lines VL 304 and IX. 3622, and in the same terms 
to Boccaccio's original, L 51, 77, 270, 471, HL 133, VL 231, and to Chaucer's 
"Monk's Tale" of the same title, L 249 and IX. 3422. He also used "fall" 
as a subject of general interest (in reference to the opinions of Andalus di 
Nigri), III. 174. "Fallys" he uses once as a subject of general interest, IX. 
3450, and, so far as I have been able to discover, four times in reference to the 
the "fallis" of specific princes. 

* Prologue, 372 ff. * Anglia, 38. 133-136. * Jnglia, loc. cit. 

X Introductory Note 

Amphabel" in 1439, it is quite possible that, as Professor Schick 
conjectures, it was finished in 1438 or 1439,^ perhaps before the 
end of 1438; and there was at least a partial interruption 
in 1433, while Lydgate was engaged in writing the "Legend 
of St. Edmund and Fremund" at the command of Abbot 
William Curteys, during and after a visit of Henry VI. to St. 
Edmund's Bury, which lasted from Christmas 1432 to Easter 


The "Fall of Princes" consists of 36,365 lines of decasyllabic 
verse arranged in seven and eight line stanzas,' rhyming ahabbcc 
(rhyme royal) and ahabbcbc, and is a paraphrase of Des Cas des 
Nobles Hommes et Femmes, Laurence de Premierfait's second, 
amplified version in French prose of Giovanni Boccaccio's 
De Casibus Virorum Illustrium.* The original Latin prose 
work was written by Boccaccio between 1355 and 1360 and 
dedicated to his friend, the chevalier Mainardo dei Caval- 
canti, because "no emperor, king, prince or pope" seemed to 
him worthy of his regard; and although a revised and some- 
what augmented edition was issued at a later date (probably 
before 1374), we are here concerned with the earlier text, 
which is the one Laurence used in making his translation.^ 
The De Casibus might, as Henri Cochin suggests,^ be called 
; a history of Fortune; for it is a collection gathered throughout 
i the centuries describing the most memorable and crushing 

^ Temple of Glas, p. cvii. 

2 Legend of St. Edmund and Fremund, I. 187 fF. Temple of Glas, p. cvi. 

* There are but few eight-line stanzas. See the Envoys on Arsinoe, Antio- 
chus, the Scipios, Herod, and Charles of Anjou; the Chapitle of Fortune; the 
Last Envoy, addressed to Humphrey, and the Words of the Translator to his 
Book (IV. 3445, V. 1590, 1846, Vn. 246, IX. 2017, 3239, 3541, 3589). 

* We sometimes meet with the title, De Casibus Virorum et fceminarum 
Illustrium; but as Paul Durrieu has pointed out in his Le Boccace de Munich, 
Munich, 1909, p. 19, the word virorum was used in the general sense of 
"human beings," or, as we say, "people." (Parmi les ecrits latins de Boccace, 
celui qui eut de beaucoup la plus grande notoriete fut le traite intitule De 
Casibus virorum illustrium, le mot casibus repondant a la vieille expression 
fran^aise cas, signifiant vicissitude de fortune, et le mot virorum etant entendu 
dans le sens general de genre humain, ce qui fait que le titre De Casibus viro- 
rum illustrium est devenu, dans le fran^ais du XV* siecle, Des Cas des nobles 
hommes et femmes.) 

' See Henri Hauvette, Boccace, 6tude Biographique et Litteraire, Paris, 
1914, pp. 391 and 393, note. Also the chapter on Les CEuvres Latines, pp. 
389, 396 and 347 ff. 

' Henri Cochin, Boccace, £.tudes Italiennes, Paris, 1889, p. 122. 

Introductory Note xi 

blows dealt by fate to the illustrious personages of mythology 
and history, and written, as the author himself said,^ with the 
object of teaching princes the virtue of wisdom and modera- 
tion by holding up to them the example of misfortunes pro- 
voked by egotism, pride and inordinate ambition.' The form 
is the familiar one of a vision or dream, the author represent- 
ing himself at work in his study, while the "famous unfortu- 
nates" pass before him in succession, and each tells the story 
of his fall. Some are presented to Boccaccio by the goddess 
Fortuna as those to whom she had at one time shown her 
favour and afterwards thrown from her wheel; others enter 
unannounced and clamour to be allowed to speak; and there 
are several who take part in excited conversations with one 
another or with the author, as in the chapters on Atreus 
and Thyestes; Messalina, Tiberius and Caligula; and Brun- 
hilde. Occasionally, Boccaccio himself contributes a tale by 
way of illustration, and several stories are told by Fortuna;' 
and the work is filled with ironical remarks on the vicious 
stupidity of those to whom fate has given power over the lives 
of their fellow men. The Latin book is more dramatic and of 
greater literary value than either Laurence's or Lydgate's 
translation. The dedicatory- epistle to Mainardo dei Caval- 
canti, written in 1363,* and Boccaccio's preface were translated 
by Laurence, but the former appears as such only in his first 
and more literal version; and although he worked parts of it 
into the preface of his second version, very little was pre- 
served by Lydgate, who also omitted the long dedication by 
Laurence to the Duke of Berry. 

At the present day Boccaccio is known best as the earliest 
and greatest master of Italian prose, as the author of charming 
lyrical poems and interludes, and of the first heroic epic in 
the language; he is hardly known at all as the moralist, historian 
and man of science of the prose Latin works, De Genealogia 
Deorum, De Claris Mulieribus, De Montibus, and De Casibus 
Firorum Illustrium, all of which were compiled or written 
during the latter part of his life. The history and natural 

* See Boccaccio's preface, " Exquirenti mei" etc., p. xlvii. below. 
' Comp. Boccaccio's preface and Hauvette, loc. cit., p. 347. 

* See the beginning (first few hundred lines) of Book VI. 

* See Hauvette, p. 392. 

xii Introductory Note 

science of the fourteenth century have Httle interest for us 
now except as antiquarians; the moral and poHtical doctrines 
of De Casihus are commonplace and could hardly have been 
considered very remarkable even at the time they were written, 
and its art, in spite of its dramatic form and the power of its 
bitter satire, is not distinguished enough to hold it above the 
level of the books that perish for all but a few curious stu- 
dents and collectors. But from the fourteenth to the end of 
the sixteenth century the case was very different. Although the 
Decameron had been translated into French by Laurence in 
141 1, there was no public then capable either of comprehend- 
ing its historical importance or appreciating its style; and the 
indelicacy of a few of its stories, no greater than that of many 
other popular tales of the time, was certainly not such as to cause 
any great commotion except in ecclesiastical circles, outraged 
far less by indecency than by the satire of the priesthood. So 
it was inevitable that, as far as his contemporaries and imme- 
diate successors were concerned, Boccaccio's fame as a writer 
should rest chiefly on his Latin works; and it was as a moral- 
ist and man of profound learning that he was best known and 
respected. To judge by the number of existing manuscripts, 
the De Casibus had an exceedingly large circulation. It was 
the sort of book that would especially appeal to the great 
personages of the time: it told about people just like them- 
selves; and although very naturally it taught them nothing — 
as if the impulses and desires of men were controlled by 
either precept or example — it at any rate interested them. 
They were all exposed to the vicissitudes of fortune, and, 
the world being then very much as it is to-day, many of them 
became victims of the same disasters that had afflicted and 
destroyed their predecessors;^ and it was no doubt a source 

1 En plus d'une occasion, dans les deux cents annees qui ont suivi la compo- 
sition de cet ouvrage, le De Casibus a pu servir de reconfort moral a des mal- 
heureux. Pour ne citer qu'un exemple, nous savons qu'au XV"^ siecle le due 
Charles d'Orleans, retenu prisonnier en Anglcterre, se fit envoyer pour charmer 
les loisirs de sa captivite un exemplaire du traite de Boccace. — Durrieu, 
loc. cit., pp. 20, 21, who refers to Leopold Delisle, Le Cabinet des manuscrits de 
la Bibliotheque nationale, Paris, 1 868-1881, I. p. 106. Even in the middle of 
the sixteenth century, Hieronymus Ziegler, editor and translator of the De 
Casibus, an able man and no pedant, wrote, " Ich habe nie etwas gelesen was 
mehr Vergnugen und Belehrung gewahrt." — Marcus Landau, Boccaccio, Stutt- 
gart, 1877, p. 218. 

Introductory Note xiii 

of consolation to some of them, when their hour of trial came, 
to read about the tribulations of others. And as many of 
these great people were unable to read Latin, it is quite evident 
that Laurence was certain of a large and influential public 
for his translation. 

Laurence,^ who took his name from the village of Premier- 
fait near Arcis-sur-Aube, was clerk of the diocese of Troyes, 
a competent writer in French and a Latin scholar, and in the 
eyes of his contemporaries a poet and orator of distinction. 
He seems to have made his living chiefly by translating, and 
his first and more literal version of De Casibus was finished 
on November 13, 1400, and dedicated to Duke Louis of Bour- 
bon. At about this time he became a confidential advisor 
and clerk to Jean Chanteprime, conseiller du roi de France. 
In 1405 he translated Cicero's De Senectiite into French for 
Duke Louis of Bourbon. Between 1405 and 1409 he translated 
De Amicitia and completed his second version of De Casibus * 
for the Duke of Berry while living in the house of Bureau de 
Dammartin, tresorier de France. During the years 1411-14 
he translated the Decameron, and in 141 7 Aristotle's Eco- 
nomics; a version of Martin Dumiense's De quatuor virtutibus 
is also attributed to him. He died in Paris in 1418, "annee 
terrible de massacres, d'epidemie et de misere," and was 
buried in the Cimetiere des Innocents.' 

Of Laurence's first version there are but few manuscripts ^ 
and only two printed editions, that of Colard Mansion, Bruges, 
1476, and the Lyons edition of 1483. Considering the atti- 
tude of translators of his time to their originals, it is a 
comparatively complete and straightforward rendering, and 

^ For the above details in regard to Laurence I am indebted to A. Hortis, 
Studi sulle opere latine del Boccaccio, Trieste, 1879, p. 618 fF.; Durrieu, loc. 
cit., p. 19 fF. See also Hauvette, De Laureniio de Primofato (thesis), Paris, 
1903, and Recbercbes sur le " De Casibus virorum illustrium" de Boccace, Paris, 
1901 {Extrait du volume " Entre camarades" publie par la SociHe des anciens 
ileves de la Faculte des Lettres de l' Universiu de Paris). 

* Cy fine le liure de Jehan Boccace des cas des nobles hommes et femmes 
translate de latin en Francois par moy laurens de premierFait clerc du diocese 
de troies et Fut complie ceste translacion le XV' jour d'auril mil IIII et IX. 
Cest assauoir le lundi apres pasques. — Various MSS. Some add the word 
"closes" to "pasques." 

' Durrieu, p. 21. 

* In the British Museum, Additional 11,696 and Harley 621. 

xiv Introductory Note 

includes Boccaccio's dedicatory epistle to Mainardo dei Caval- 
canti. In his second version Laurence enlarged his earlier 
work, extending it to more than double its original length by 
the addition of geographical and historical notes and explana- 
tions, interpolating all manner of odd pieces of information 
from the books he had read — Justin, Florus, Livy, Vincent, 
Valerius Maximus and others — with the result that much of 
the dramatic form and power of the original is lost. Although 
he omitted Boccaccio's epistle to Mainardo, he nevertheless 
used parts of it as material for his own preface, and added a 
long dedication to the Duke of Berry, in which he discussed 
the question of man's relation to fortune, the abuses of the 
church and priesthood, the conduct of the nobility and the 
condition of the agricultural labourers.^ 

As Durrieu points out, the work thus transformed became 
for the French reader "not only a subject for moral discussions 
and a suitable guidance for the restoration of courage in 
adversity, but a collection of facts and anecdotes, of curious 
information about countries and men, and almost a picture 
in perspective of universal history from Adam and Eve up to 
the middle of the fourteenth century." It was considered 
to be an original work rather than a translation, and its success 
was great. Copied and recopied many times during the entire 
fifteenth century, it was printed in Paris by Jean du Pre in 
1483, in the next year for Antoine Verard, again for Verard 
(n. d., but after 1503), by Michel le Noir in 1515, by Nicolas 
Couteau in 1538, and finally superseded by a new version 
by Claude Witart, which appeared in 1578. Magnificent 
manuscript copies^ were in the possession of the last dukes 
of the house of Burgundy, from Jean sans Peur to Charles le 
Temeraire, of Jacques d'Armagnac, duke of Nemours, le 
Grand batard de Bourgogne, Queen Charlotte of Savoy, wife of 

^ See p. liv. fF. 

2 See Paulin Paris, Les Manuscrits Francois de la Bibliothique du Roi, Paris, 
1836-38; Leopold Delisle, Le Cabinet des Manuscrits de la Bibliotheque Im- 
periale (Nationale), Paris, 1868-81; Hortis, loc. cit., p. 933-938. The manu- 
scripts of Laurence's second version in the British Museum are Royal 18. 
D. VIL, Royal 20. C. IV., Royal 14. E. V., Add. 18,750 and Add. 35.321, of 
which the last mentioned has been described by Sir Edward Maunde Thomp- 
son in the Burlington Magazine, Vol. VIL (1905), pp. 198-210, with repro- 
ductions of six half-page miniatures. 

Introductory Note xv 

Louis XL, Louis' sister, Jeanne de France, duchess of Bourbon, 
his illegitimate daughter, Jeanne, countess of Rousillon, Jean 
d' Orleans, count of Angouleme (grandfather of Francis L), 
Louise of Savoy (mother of Francis L), Catherine d' Alen^on, 
Henry VIL of England, and many others.^ A beautifully 
illuminated codex was presented to the Duke of Berry towards 
the end of 1410 by Martin de Gouges, bishop of Chartres,* 
and there is a manuscript in the National Library, Munich (de- 
scribed by Durrieu in the work already referred to), with many 
large miniatures attributed to Jean Foucquet (141 5-1485), the 
most distinguished French painter of the fifteenth century. 

The Duke of Berry,' for whom Laurence translated the 
De Casihus and Decameron, was bom November 30, 1340, 
third son of king John IL In 1356 he was created Count 
of Poitiers and made king's lieutenant in southern France, 
and later on received the province of Languedoc. He sup- 
pressed a revolt of the peasants with barbaric severity, col- 
lected a fine of £15,000 from the states of the province, fought 
against the Flemings at Rosebeke in 1382, was active in sup- 
pressing the Parisian revolts, and by his bungling and pro- 
crastination is said to have caused the failure of a naval expe- 
dition planned against England in 1386. In 1389 Charles VI. 
went to Languedoc to investigate his uncle's government, 
with the result that the duke was disgraced and his agent 
Betisac burnt. And although he was restored in 1401, he did 
not dare show himself in the province, but delegated his author- 
ity to Bernard d'Armagnac. He died in Paris, June 15, 1416, 
"leaving vast treasures of jewelr\% objects of art, and especially 
of illuminated MSS., many of which have been preserved." * 

* Comp. Durrieu, p. 24. ' Hortis, loc. cit., p. 621. 

* See L. Raynal, Histoire du Berry, Bourges, 1845. 

* Encyclopedia Britannica, article on the Duke of Bern*. Hiver de Beau- 
voir says in his La Librairie de Jean Due de Berry au Chateau de Mebun-sur- 
Tevre, Paris, i860, p. i, "Jean, due de Berrj-, frere de Charles V, fut le prince 
le plus magnifique de son temps, s'inquietant peu des moyens des qu'il s'agis- 
sait de batir, et sourtout d'amasser des reliquaires et des joyaux d'eglise, pour 
lesquels sa passion alia jusqu'a la manie." And in Leopold Delisle, loc. cit., I. 
p. 58, we read, "On savait partout, en France et meme a I'etranger, le bonheur 
que le due de Berry eprouvait a posseder des livres et la munificence avec 
laquelle il recompensait les cadeaux qui lui etaient faits. Aussi s'empressait- 
on de lui ofFrir des volumes dont la beaute devait flatter les plus delicat des 
bibliophiles du XIV' et du XV' siecle." 

xvi Introductory Note 

He was fiercely satirized in Le Songe veritable, an anonymous 
pamphlet of the fifteenth century, for, as Henri Moranville 
tells us, in order to satisfy his expensive tastes, "le due de 
Berry, dans les lieutenances royales qui lui furent confiees, 
n'hesita jamais a accabler d'exactions de tous genres les popu- 
lations soumises, bien malgre elles, a son autorite. Aussi la 
reputation de ce prince etait-elle execrable de son temps; 
on n'ignorait point ses gouts dispendieux et on les haissait, 
parce qu'on en soufFrait cruellement. . . . Apres lui avoir retire 
tres justement la lieutenance en Languedoc a la suite de scan- 
dales financiers, oil Betisac avait paye pour son maitre, on 
avait eu le tort de la lui rendre. Aussi, n'ayant plus de frein, 
depensait-il enormement, ruinant le domaine, absorbant le 
revenu des aides; I'argent fondait litteralement entre ses mains 
et enrichissait d'indignes favoris. Froissart a raconte qu'il 
s'etait pris d'une inexplicable affection pour un tailleur de 
chausses; le Songe veritable parle d'un paveur. " ^ 

Laurence's long dedication, in which he expresses his indig- 
nation aroused by the abuses of the church, the bad behaviour 
of the nobility and the sufferings of the agricultural labourers, 
must have had a peculiar interest for the Duke of Berry; 
although it is quite probable that he read it much as it pleases 
one to think that the good Duke Humphrey, who appears to 
have been equally egoistic, avaricious, untrustworthy, intriguing 
and dissolute, read Lydgate's gravely offered moral and polit- 
ical wisdom, with serious and wholly detached interest. It 
is an irony of Boccaccio's fate that the translations of his 
De Casibus should have been dedicated to two such men. It 
is also obvious that both the French and the English versions 
differed greatly from the original, no less in spirit than in 
style. As already mentioned, Boccaccio's book was not only 
more dramatic and concise, but, in spite of its pretentious 
and artificial manner, which was fashionable at the time, a far 
more powerful and able work, the work of a great man. The 
chief effect of Laurence's remarkable capacity for making in- 
terpolations was only to impair the literary value of the origi- 
nal, however much it may have added to its interest for con- 

^ Henri Moranville, Le Songe veritable, pamphlet politique d'un parisien 
du XV* siecle. In Memoires de la Societe de I'Histoire de Paris et de Vlle-de- 
France, Vol. XVII. (1890), Paris, 1891, p. 227. 

Introductory Note xvit 

temporary readers; and Lydgate, his translator, suffering under 
the same inability to let well enough alone, might have made 
matters still worse had it not been for his choice of verse 
instead of prose, his echoes of Chaucer, and the occasional 
intrusion of his by no means unsympathetic personality. As 
it is, Lydgate's version is very superior to that of Laurence 
and can at least be looked upon as the work of one who, 
had he written less, might have been an artist, an implica- 
tion into which there was never any danger of Laurence's 

In regard to the spirit of the three authors, especially their 
reaction to their environments, it can be said with reasonable 
certainty that Laurence was not much of an idealist or very 
distinguished intellectually: he added no original thought to 
the work, except perhaps his prefaced plea for the agricul- 
tural labourers, who, as we know, were so badl}' treated as to 
endanger their efficiency; and if this plea was the utterance of 
a kind heart, as no doubt it was, rather than an expression of 
precocious utilitarianism, nevertheless his loyalty and reverence 
for the great personages of the day were no less unquestioned 
than his approval of the social and political system under which 
they lived; and his willingness to kick the dead lions of the 
past, after Boccaccio had kicked them, both dead and alive, 
hardly betrayed a disposition to rashness. Still, he did not 
hesitate to condemn in general terms what he considered 
wrong, and took advantage of every occasion to lament the 
tyranny and avarice of the feudal lords, laity and ecclesias- 
tics, and the unhappy condition of the people; and although 
he appears occasionally to have reproved the nobility (with- 
out being too specific), his tone is moderate, supplicating, 
seldom admonitory; his wish was to serve and instruct, and 
he never grew weary of telling his princes that neither their 
position nor their lives would be secure unless they were willing 

^ "Tuttoche il Lydgate modestamente si contentasse d'essere tenuto per 
traduttore del Premierfait, 11 suo lavoro puo dirsi opera originale. Egli aveva 
anima da poeta, e lo manifesta gia I'ardito pensiero di tradurre in versi un' 
opera di prosa. Da poeta, egli modifica, come piu gli toma, I'ordine de' capi- 
toli, e allarga e rawiva il testo francese, abbastanza prosaico, che gli sta di- 
nanzi. Un concetto filosofico egli abbellisce con leggiadre similitudini tolte per 
lo piu da' fiori o dalle gemrae; le storie e le leggende rende piacevoli con parti- 
colarita immaginose, poetiche," etc. — Hortis, p. 649. 

xviii Introductory Note 

to defend the people and preserve them in their well-being and 

Boccaccio studied his princes from a wholly different point 
of view. They were to him objects of hostility and bitter 
scorn, for whom he had neither sympathy nor respect.'^ As 
he said in his dedicatory Epistle to Mainardo, there was none 
living, pope, emperor, or king, to whom he cared to dedicate 
his book. They made him sick.* And he believed that as a 
result of their luxury, magnificence and pride, their avarice, 
idleness and licentiousness, their hatred of one another and 
desire for revenge, all honesty, justice and virtue were lost, 
and that by the example of their superiors the people were 
contaminated and led into evil customs.^ So he wrote, hoping 
to bring the erring to the right path, to suppress vices, to 
arouse the indolent from their slumber, and to incite all men 

* Hortis, p. 627. 

' Qualiter hoc faciant principes hodierni, viderit Deus. In Tyrannidem 
versi sunt regii mores, et despecta impotentia subditorum: auro, gemmisque 
splendere uolunt, longo seruientium ordine circumdari, palatia in excelsum 
erigere, grege pellicum, et histrionum, deformi sodalicio oblectari: obscoeni- 
tatibus aures complere, conuiuia in longissimam noctem deducere, ebrietati- 
bus, atque ignominiosis libidinibus vacare, dies in somnos profundissimos 
perdere, populos in suam salutem uiglles permanere: et bella non iure, sed 
iniuria sumere, magnificum arbitrantur: consilia proborum respuere, sibi 
tantiim credere: bonos deprimere, improbos extoUere: ciuitates vectigalibus 
onerare, ciues torquere, in exilium agere, trucidare, & luti more calce calcare. 
O scelestum malum, praedonum, lurconumque, ne regum dicam, inhonesta, 
& horrenda facinora. O longa, immo vecors pacientia populorum, & stolida 
confidentia dominorum, si putent, dum talia peragunt, a populis sibi obsequi 
cum fide. Quaeso cum videam eum, cui honorem meum, libertatem, maiesta- 
tem, officium, prseeminentiam omnem concessi: cui obsequium iussus im- 
pendo, cui desudo, cuius substantias meas imparcior, cuius in salutem sangui- 
nem effundo meum, in extenuationem, desolationem, vituperium, & perniciem 
inuigilare meam: sanguinem sitire, haurire, emungere, inhonestis fceminis, 
& perditissimis quibuscunque hominibus prodige facultates (quibus susten- 
tare egenos, et miserabiles debuerant) efFundere, atque disperdere: & in con- 
silium niti pessimum, & pessimis operibus delectari: ac circa salutem publi- 
cam segnem, torpentem, desidemque video, regem dicam? principem colam? 
tamquam domino fidem seruabo? absit. Hostis est, in hunc coniurare, arma 
capessere, insidias tendere, vires opponere magnanimi est, sanctissimum est, 
&omnino necessarium. Cum nulla fere deo sit acceptior hostia Tyranni san- 
guine: durum quippe, & importabile pro meritisiniuriam reportare. Recalci- 
trent quantum libet reges, si centies negent, regnant tamen sufFragio populorum, 
eorumque vires illos formidabiles faciunt. Quasi minus iuste caedibus, aut 
iniuriis extenuent, suum sentient confestim diminutum imperium. — De Cas- 
ibus, II. s, In Superbos, from Hieronymus Ziegler's edition, Augsburg, 1544. 
> See Epistle to Mainardo. * Comp. Boccaccio's preface. 

Introductory Note xix 

to virtue; but unlike Laurence and Lydgate, he wrote not 
for the personal advantage of the princes, for whose benefit 
his translators believed their subjects existed, but for the 
welfare of the community.^ 

Boccaccio was also responsible for an attack on women in 
the eighteenth chapter of Book II., In Mulieres, which deserves 
more than passing reference. We know that invectives and 
satires of women were especially popular during the Middle 
Ages. Stories, many of them of oriental origin, such as were 
included in collections like the Disciplina Clericalis of Petrus 
Alfunsi (baptised in 1106), the influence of asceticism, of 
sentiments similar to those expressed in the latter part of the 
third chapter of Isaiah, and of writers like the thirteenth 
century Franciscan, Brother Jacopone da Todi,- whose Lauda 
viii., "O femene, guardate," is still delightful to read, helped 
to create an atmosphere in which Boccaccio found himself 
even more at home than Guido delle Colonne, author of the 
"Troy Book," had been a century earlier. For towards the 
end of 1354, a few years before the De Casibus was begun, he 
at the age of forty-one was most unkindly rebuffed and ridi- 
culed by a young widow to whom he had been imprudent 
enough to write declaring his affection. At first, as Hauvette 
tells the story, he was overcome with mortification, and fancied 
that he could see the passers-by pointing their fingers at him 
in the street — he could even hear their smothered laughter — 
for the rebuff had included personal remarks of a gross nature, 
and he was grey and precociously stout; but as time went on 
his mortification gave way to anger, which, according to 

^ "II Boccaccio, cittadino di una libera repubblica, da lungo dimentico del 
feudalistno, aveva co' propri occhi veduto il mal govemo de' principi d' allora, 
e la cacciata di uno che aveva tentato di farsi tiranno in Firenze. Dallo studio 
amoroso e intelligente dell'antichita latina egli aveva acquistato un modo 
di pensare democratico e pagano, che s'accordava mirabilmente col suo amore 
d'indipendenza. II Premierfait legge tutti gli autori, ma de' profani e classici 
s'appropria le notizie, non il modo di pensare. I suoi libri erano chiesti e letti 
dai principi; ma nelle opere del Boccaccio, piu spesso che panegirici, i prin- 
cipi potevano leggere la propria satira." — Hortis, p. 626. 

• For Brother Jacopone, see two admirable articles in the " Times Literary 
Supplement" of April 15 and December 23, 1920. The Laude have been 
edited by Giovanni Ferri and published by the Societd Filologica Romano, 
Rome, 1910, as well as in the series Scritiori d' Italia, Bari, 1915, and there are 
translations, together with the texts, of many of them in Evelyn Underbill's 
"Jacopone da Todi," London, 1919. 

XX Introductory Note 

Hauvette, " fut tres vif, et se manifesta tout d'abord par un 
immense desir de vengeance." So he sat down and wrote his 
Corhaccio, an unimaginative and unpleasantly interesting book, 
and was apparently still very angry when he wrote the In 
Mulieres chapter.of the De Casibus, in which, returning to the 
same subject, he presents us with another instructive, if one- 
sided, description of the artifices employed for various purposes 
by the women of fashion of his time. However, as we have 
seen, he did not spare the men, nor, for that matter, did Brother 
Jacopone; their blows were equitably distributed. 

The attitude of Lydgate to his surroundings, and especially 
to his princes, was quite different from that of either Boccac- 
cio or Laurence. Although always ready to counsel and advise, 
and, when he considered it necessary, to admonish, he was 
never rude, like Boccaccio, nor servile, like Laurence, but wrote 
throughout as a man of the world, an aristocrat and courtier, 
whose contempt for the political capacity of the people was 
exceeded only by Boccaccio's scorn for the political and moral 
accomplishments of their sovereigns. He omitted most of 
Boccaccio's censure of the clerics, which Laurence had allowed 
to remain in his versions, and showed himself by his fierceness to 
heretics much less tolerant in religious matters than the great 
Italian. Neither foolish nor ill-bred enough to take his "manly 
and wise" patron to task for his infidelities and excesses, he 
nevertheless stood out firmly enough for the domestic virtues 
and did not hesitate to tell princes, at least in the abstract, 
to lead sober, industrious lives and to set aside their concu- 
bines.^ Murder, poison, bloodthirstiness and tyranny (p. 310), 
deceit (p. 323), dishonesty (p. 416), slander and hasty belief 
in it (p. 126), pride (pp. 38, 170), suspicion, ingratitude (p. 655), 
bad behaviour to the church (p. 278), covetousness (p. 432), 
and vulgar materialism (p. 399), are among the things which 
he mentions with special reprobation in his envoys. 

In spite of his expressed opinion that the people were there 
chiefly for the personal advantage of their rulers,* he never- 
theless believed that if a man of humble origin is ordained by 
God to be a king he will succeed in overcoming the resistance 
of all earthly princes; ^ for nobility is by the grace of God and 

' Pp. 299, 360. " Comp., for example, L 1393. 

3 See the stories of Nimrod, I. 1282, and Cyrus, III. 2962. 

Introductory Not£ xxi 

not by blood, and poverty is no bar to royalty; nor can any- 
thing good ever come of an evil stock. His attitude towards 
women remains the same as it was in the "Troy Book: " some 
of Boccaccio's remarks he leaves out; for others he apologises. 
It must be remembered, however, that Boccaccio also qualified 
his apparently sweeping assertions, and that not only the senti- 
ments expressed on pages i88 and 189, but the very words, are 
his as well as Lydgate's. An old and not very brilliant jest on 
marriage makes its appearance apropos of the story of Orpheus; 
but it evidently pleased Lydgate and his readers (the lines are 
marked in approval in several MSS.), just as Dr. Thomas Lisle's 
version is said to have pleased Benjamin Franklin, and, as we 
have reason to believe, it pleases certain of the public to-day.^ 
Although Lydgate's work was much admired by his con- 
temporaries and immediate successors and enjoyed at least 
one hundred and fifty years of popularity, no one in more 
recent times, so far as I am aware, except Thomas Gray in his 
"Remarks," who was hardly enthusiastic, and Mrs. Brown- 
ing, * who approved of him for other than purely aesthetic 
reasons, has given him much praise as an artist. A writer who 
usually contrives to spoil even his most felicitous passages 
before he has done with them, who systematically pads out 
his lines with stock phrases and rhyme-tags, and pours out 
unending streams of verse during apparently the whole of a 
very long life, cannot well be taken seriously as one of the 
great poets. We search his works in vain for evidence either 
of imagination or originality, of sympathetic insight into char- 
acter, sensibility, delicacy of feeling or a fine instinct for form; 
nor is he distinguished for more purely intellectual qualities. 
On occasion he shows that he has power and rises to a 
sombre dignity of manner, well seen in parts of the " Fall of 
Princes"' and in the Daunce of Macbabree, and this, together 
with a strain of melancholy, which was in the air at the time 
and a few years later inspired Francois Villon to his finest 

^ For Dr. Thomas Lisle and " The Power of Music," see " The London 
Mercury," Vol. V., p. 295. For a modem instance, see the "At Random" 
column of "The Observer," February 27, 1921. 

*In "The Book of the Poets." Comp. Schick, p. dvii. 

•See the Envoy on Rome, IL 4460, the Envoy on Ciesar, especially the 
latter part, VL 2871, the Envoy on Charles of Anjou, IX. 2017, and the 
Chapter and Envoy on King John of France, IX. 3134. 

xxii Introductory Note 

work, is perhaps his strongest point. No doubt in his day 
he was highly commended for both pathos and humour; but 
the latter when not unconscious is as a rule little more than 
clumsy playfulness, and the former too obvious and exagger- 
ated to make any deep impression on the reader (although 
Thomas Gray seems to have thought highly of it)/ and neither 
is sufficient to make a poet. However, considering his intel- 
lectual environment, his position, and his public, he surely did 
all that can reasonably be expected of him. The rude men of 
action of the time were slow-witted and uneducated; even the 
clerks, if we are to judge, as we must, by their literary per- 
formances, were a singularly prosaic lot, and taste was evi- 
dently unknown in their circles. As Gray remarked, "it is a 
folly to judge of the understanding and of the patience of 
those times by our own. They [the reading public] loved, 
I will not say tediousness, but length and a train of circum- 
stances in a narration." They got both in the "Fall of 
Princes." Even Boccaccio laid aside much of his genius when 
he began to write histories for the edification of the men of the 
world of his day; and whatever qualities of greatness the work 
possesses lie rather in the hammer blows of its subject-matter 
than in the art either of the author or of his translators. 

On the other hand, the " Fall of Princes" is a document of 
considerable historical and philological importance. Taken 
together with the original Latin and Laurence's French trans- 
lation, it does indeed illumine the intellectual life of its day,* 
if only faintly, for the thought reflected on the pages of both 
Laurence and Lydgate is unfortunately that of a very narrow 
and conservative group and cannot be considered as represen- 
tative of the best minds of the time. The most that may be 
said of either of them is that he was able to recognize that, in 
general, men reap what they have sown. 

From the philological point of view the book is of interest, 
in part because we may assume that the language in which 
it was written is the English of the most highly educated classes 
of its period, in part because, just as in the case of the " Troy 

^ Gray says that Lydgate, in the Epistle of Canace, " has touched the very 
heart-springs of compassion with so masterly a hand, as to merit a place among 
the greatest poets." 

* Comp. Hortis, p. 654. 

Introductory Note xxiii 

Book," many words borrowed early in the fifteenth century 
from the French make their first documented appearance on its 
pages. Practically the entire literature of the " Fall of Princes " 
has yet to be investigated. There is no modem edition either 
of Boccaccio or of Laurence; neither the one nor the other 
has been printed since the sixteenth century; no adequate 
study of their sources has been published; and except for 
Dr. Koeppel's short essay/ we have no account of Lydgate's 
sources or of the influence of his work on succeeding writers. 
The most recent edition of the " Mirror for Magistrates " is 
Haslewood's of 1815. 

The text of the present edition is based on MS. Bodley 
263 (B), collated throughout with the British Museum MSS. 
Royal 18. D. iv. (R) and Harley 1245 (H), and in part 
(especially in regard to doubtful points) with MSS. Royal 
18. B. xxxi. (R 3), Harley 4203 (H 5), and the Rylands- 
Jersey MS. (J). Use has also been made of Sloane 4031, Add. 
21,410, the Phillips-Garrett MS. in the Library of Princeton 
University, and Tottel's print, which, considering the time 
of its publication, is most excellent and derived from a good 
manuscript. The "Envoy to Gloucester" (IX. 3303-3540), 
the "Last Envoy" (IX. 3541-3588), and six stanzas missing 
from the story of Lucrece (II. 1058-1099) have been supplied 
from Harley 1766, a unique abridged but early MS., and one 
stanza of the Villon-like "Envoy on Rome" (11. 4460 flp.) 
is from Tottel, collated with the Phillips-Garrett MS. 

In preparing the text for the press I have supplied capital 
letters when necessar>' and punctuated according to modern 
usage; but I have not noted blunders or slips of the pen 
that were subsequently corrected by the original copyist 
unless they are of special interest. All alterations in spelling 
by the editor are noted, with one exception: the awkward 
form "wordly" of the Bodley copyist, for which I have con- 
sistently substituted "worldly"; and all other changes in the 
text are marked by asterisks. The numerous hooks and flour- 
ishes of the scribe, which, when they signify only a final e 
(and often they are quite meaningless), have not as a rule 
been expanded unless the e is of more than graphical sig- 
nificance. For the crossed i?'s, ^'s, /'s and double /'s, I have 
1 Munich, 1885. 

xxiv Introductory Note 

substituted plain letters, except when the horizontal stroke 
actually stands for a contraction, as, for example, "Boch" 
with crossed h = Bochaj, "who" and *'hy" with ^'s crossed = 
whom and hyw, "makyg" with crossed k = makywg. The 
crossed / is usually a contraction for a following e, as is also 
the crossed double /; the latter, which is commonly used in 
manuscripts of the period to represent Wes, is rarely, if at all, 
employed for that purpose in B. The occasional horizontal 
strokes over w's and ns and us are as a rule omitted to 
avoid confusion, and expanded only when actually necessary, 
as is certainly not the case in such words as Chaucer, up, 
favour, or dismembred. 

In the following brief survey of the contents of the " Fall 
of Princes" the references are to the pages, and passages of 
special interest or charm are marked with asterisks. 

Book I. Prologue; * Adam and Eve, 13; Nimrod, 28; 
* Against the Pride of Princes, 36; Saturn and the Process 
of Time, 39; Zoroaster, Ninus, Moses, 42; Ogygus, Isis, 45; 
Erysichthon, Danaus, Philomela and Procne, 49; Cadmus, 
51; ^etes, Jason, Theseus, Scilla, Nisus, 60; Sisera, Deborah, 
Gideon, 79; Jabin, 86; CEdipus, 87; *Atreus and Thyestes, 
106; The Story of Theseus, 118; * Envoy on Hasty Credence, 
126; Facetious defence of Woman accused by Bochas of 
unstableness, 132; On the Suspicion and Dread of Lords, 
134; Althaea and Meleager, 136; Hercules, 141 (lines 5104 
fF. are excellent); Narcissus, Byblis, Myrrha, Orpheus (play- 
ful lines about marriage), 156; Marpessa, Priam and Troy 
Book, 166; *Against the Pride of Those who Trust in Riches, 
170; * In Praise of Poverty, 172; * Samson, 179; * Chapter 
on the Malice of Women, 184; Pyrrhus, son of Achilles, 190; 
Canace and Macareus, 193; * The Letter of Canace, 194. 

Book II. Saul, 204; On the Virtue of Obedience, 214; Reho- 
boam, 216; On the Governance of Princes (analogy of human 
body to body politic), 221; Mucius Scaevola, Lucrece (first 
appearance), 225; Appius and Virginia, 237; Jeroboam, Zerah, 
Ahab, Athaliah, 240; Dido, 253; * Satirical Envoy to Wid- 
ows by Lydgate, 262; * Sardanapalus, On Virtuous Industry, 
263; * Amaziah and Uzziah, Jehoash (good lines on the Cypress 
and the PufF-Ball), 272; Hoshea, Sennacherib, Zedekiah, 278; 
The Story of Cyrus' Youth (nobility comes by grace of God 
not by blood, poverty no bar to a throne), 283; * Candaules 
and Gyges, 294; Midas, Belshazzar, Envoy advising Princes 
to set aside their Concubines, 296; Croesus and Cyrus, the 

Introductory Note xxv 

end of Cyrus, 300; Romulus and Remus, 311; * On the Abuse 
of Deifying Men, 318; Metius SufFetius, 319; * Against De- 
ception, Hostilius, 323; * Envoy on Rome, 325. 

Book III. * Prologue; the Strife between Fortune and 
Glad Poverty (tedious except for a few lighter touches), 333; 
Hostilius, Ancus Marcius, Lucinio, 349; Lucrece (second 
appearance), 355; * Bochas on the Immorality of Princes, 
360; Cambyses, Smerdis, Oropastes, Otanes, Darius, 374; 
Coriolanus, 381; Miltiades, 386; Envoy on the Fickleness 
of the People; Xerxes, Leonidas, 390; * On the Vulgar Materi- 
alism of Men, 399; Artabanus and Darius, 402; Phalanthus 
and his Spartans, 405; Ceso Quintius, Cloelius Gracchus, 410; 

* On the Tyranny of Appius, 413 ; On the Dishonesty of Judges 
and The Former Age (some interesting lines), 416; * An Ex- 
clamation against Dishonest Officials, 419; Alcibiades, 420; 

* Exclamation on the Death of Alcibiades, 430; * On Worldly 
Covetousness and Ambition, 432; * In Praise of Industrious 
Men, On Poets, 434; Machaeus, Himilco, Hanno, 437; * Against 
Covetous People, 447; Evagoras of C^'prus, Theo of Egypt, 
Amyntas, Philip of Macedon, Epam nondas, 454; Haman and 
Mordecai, Esther, 462; Artaxerxes and Cyrus, Darius, An 
Envoy on Fraternal Strife, 465. 

Book IV. * Prologue on Poets and Writing, 473; Marcus 
Manlius, Roman Crowns and Wreaths, 479; A description of 
Roman Triumphs, the Tarpeian Rock, 487; Nectanebes, 
Pausanias, Heliarchus, 492; * Dionysius of Syracuse, Envoy 
on Tyranny, on Princes who hold themselves Gods, 495; Poly- 
crates, 500; Alexander and Callisthenes, 504; Alexander of 
Epirus, 513; Darius and Alexander the Great, 517; * Envoy 
on Darius, 527; On the Misery and Ruin of W'ar, the Heirs 
of Alexander, Eumenes, Antigonus, 528; Envoy on Sudden 
Adversity, * Queen Olympias, 536; Envoy on Murder and 
Vengeance, 543; Agathocles (a crown of gold is not suitable 
for the head of a knave; a crowned ass is more to dread than 
a lion), 545; Envoy — ever\' creature takes after his parents' 
stock, 553; Cassander, Bersane, Antipater, Peucestas, Amyn- 
tas, Sandrocottus, 554; Seleucus and Antiochus, Arsinoe and 
Ceraunus, * Envoy on Fortune's Variance, 562; Ceraunus 
slain by the Gauls, Brennus, who had no respect for the gods, 
Pyrrhus of Epirus, Aristotimus, 569; Arsinoe, wife of Magas, 
and Demetrius, her daughter's husband. 582. 

Book V. Bochas' Disdain of those who set all their Joy to 
excel in Beauty, Spurina, * Envoy on the Fragility of Worldly 
Fairness, 585; Seleucus and Antiochus, 5S8; Laodameia of 
Sicily, Cleomenes, Hiero of Syracuse, Xanthippus, 592; Marcus 
Regulus, 597; Ptolemy Philopator, Britomaris, 608; Syphax 
and Masinissa, Hasdrubal, Scipio, 614; Nabis of Macedonia, 
617; The Wars between Rome and Carthage, 619; Perseus 

xxvi Introductory Note 

of Sparta, the Destruction of Corinth, 621; Seleucus and 
Antiochus, Laodice and the Ring and Anchor, 626; Hieronymus 
of Syracuse, the Ingratitude of the Romans to the Scipios, 
6^0; Philopoemen, 634; the Story of Hannibal, 638; Prusias 
of Bithynia, Persa of Macedon, Azariah, Andriscus (a cur is 
more impudent than a lion), Alexander Balas, 645; An Envoy 
on Ingratitude; Caius and Tiberius Gracchus, Hasdrubal's 
wife, Jonathan Maccabeus, Demetrius 11. , Zebina, Bituitus, 
655; Ptolemy Euergetes, Jugurtha, 666. 

Book VI. * Fortuna appears to Bochas; they converse to- 
gether, 675; Fortuna tells Bochas about Saturninus, Marius, 
Drusus, Fanaticus, Spartacus, Viriathus, Orodes and Pompey, 
689; Marius and Sulla, 701; Mithridates, 711; Envoy on 
Worldly Variance, Eucratides of Scythia, Orodes and Crassus, 
Fymbria, Adrian of low degree, usurper of Rome, Sothimus, 
Description of Thrace, 720; Pompey and the Wars with Caesar, 
729; Pompey's Death, Julius Caesar, Juba, * A Digression on 
Clothes, the last Scipio, Pompey's son Pompey, 743; the 
Death of Caesar, Envoy on Caesar, Octavian, TuUy, 751; A 
Chapter on Rhetoric and Oratory, 763; Sextus Pompey, 
Antony and Cleopatra, 769. 

Book VII. Antony's son, Antony, Caesarion, Julia, Agrippa, 
Cassius, * Herod, Herod Antipas, 775; * The Words between 
Messalina, Caligula, and Tiberius, 784; * Nero, Eleazar, Galba, 
Otho, * Vitellius, 791; Bochas on The Vice of Gluttony, *A 
Description of the Golden World, 806; * The Destruction of 
Jerusalem, 812. 

Book VIII. * Petrarch appears to Bochas, 823; the Roman 
Emperors, Domitian, Commodus, Severus, Antoninus, Macri- 
nus, Antoninus Aurelius, Marcus Aurelius, Maximus, Gor- 
dian, the two Philips, Decius, Gallus, Volusian, ^milian, Gallien, 
* Valerian, Gallienus, Quintilius, Aurelian the Dane, Probus, 
Clarus, 829; Zenobia, 842; Diocletian, Carausius, Maximian, 
Galerius, Maxence, Licinius, Constantine and Crispus, 844; 
Constans and Constantius, Vetranio, 853; * Constantine the 
Great, 856; * Julian the Apostate, On Blasphemy and Oaths, 
864; Valens, Theodosius I., Hermanric, Gratian, * Theodo- 
sius the Great, 870; Alaric, Radagaisus, Rufinus, Stilicho, 
Heraclius, Odoacer, and * On the Conduct of Kings, 882; 
"Remembre o Rome," Trasilla, Busar, Philete, Symmachus, 
Boethius, 894; * King Arthur and Britain, An Exclamation 
against Men who are Unkind to their Kindred, 898; Gelimer, 
Amarales, Sindbal, * Queen Rosamond, 913. 

Book IX. The Emperor Maurice, * Muhammad, * Brun- 
hilde, 919; Heraclius and Chosroes, Constantine, son of Hera- 
clius, who was murdered in a stew, Gisulf and his wife Romilda, 
Justinian Temerarius, Philippicus, an odious heretic, 933; 
The Covetousness and Pride of the Priesthood, Four strangely 

Introductory Note xxvii 

dressed kings of Lombardy; Desiderius, Pope Joan, a woman 
with child, Arnulph, natural son of Carloman, made unfortu- 
nate by worms and lice, 942; Bochas against the Pride of 
Princes, Pope John XII., Duke Charles of Lorraine confounded 
by hunger, Salamon of Hungary, Diogenes Romanus, Robert 
of Normandy, Josselyn of Rages, Andronicus I. Comnenus, 
Envoy on Vicious Princes, 948; the Emperor Isaac, Robert 
Surrentine, Tancred, Guy de Lusignan, John of Brienne, 
Henry, son of Frederick II., A Commendation of Love be- 
tween Kindred, 962; Manfred of Naples, Enzio of Sardinia, 
A Water that makes Thieves Blind and an Herb that makes 
People Laugh themselves to Death, Frederick, son of Alphonse 
of Castile, Maumetus of Persia, and Argones, 970; Charles 
of Lorraine, * Envoy to Charles, Ugolino of Pisa, Aiton of 
Armenia, Pope Boniface VUL, who ate his hands, 972; The 
Order of Templars, A Commendation of three Philosophers 
for their Patience, A Commendation of Patience, Philip the 
Fair and his Sons, 979; * Dante appears to Bochas and tells 
him to write the Story of Duke Gaultier, 990; * Philippa 
Catanensi, Louis of Jerusalem, * King John of France, 998; 
* Envoy to John of France, * A Chapter of Fortune, Envoy 
to Duke Humphrey, * The Last Envoy, Words of the Trans- 
lator to his Book. 


During the years that I have been occupied with the "Fall 
of Princes" the conclusion has been forced upon me more and 
more that Lydgate's decasyllabic lines are far better, in the 
sense of being more capably written from a purely metri- 
cal point of view, than some of his modern critics, who 
evidently had no proper facilities for studying his work, were 
able to discover. It is most improbable that his reputation 
as a poet among his contemporaries and immediate successors 
would have been as great as it was had he not had a good ear 
for rhythm and been a competent and, in spite of the conven- 
tion of exaggerated modesty which led him to speak always 
in disparagement of his ability, skilful writer of metrical Eng- 
lish. Nor is it easy to believe that his introduction of variety 
into what would have been otherwise an intolerably monoto- 
nous flow of regular decasyllabics was not both conscious 
and intentional. As Mr. Bridges has pointed out in one of 
his Oxford lectures on poetry, the fundamental motive of our 
pleasure in the beauty of verse "may be described as a balance 
between the expected and the unexpected," that "arises from 
our knowledge of the normal rhythm (the t5^pe) beneath the 
varieties which the poet delights to extend and elaborate; his 
skill in this sort of embroidery being to push its disguises as 
far as he dare without breaking away from the type." ^ It 
has also been well said by Mr. Owen Barfield,^ that the music 
of poetry is "a kind of elusive discrepancy between two 
rhythms. Some rigidly regular metrical form is taken, . . . 
and on to this, as on an iron frame, is fitted a soft fabric 
of words already woven in a rhythm of their own . . . the 
rhythm of natural speech or prose. . . . The two rhythms 
clash and overlap, and subtly intersect in such a way that one 

^Quoted from a review in the "Times Literary Supplement," July 4, 1918. 
' "The New Statesman," January 15, 1921. 


The Metre xxix 

delicate, unreal echo is struck out from their jarring; and this 
is the main music of poetr}'." Accent is not constant, nor 
ought it to be constant, for if perfectly regular the effect of 
a long passage is ruined by its monotony. 

Although such principles as these may not seem readily 
applicable to the art of a writer who usually manages to ruin 
his long passages in a wholly different and even less creditable 
manner, they are nevertheless to be considered in his case 
precisely as in that of any other writer of verse. 

In the introductory note to the "Troy Book " I said that no 
fault could legitimately be found with the metre so long as 
Lydgate paid due regard to the swing of his dominant five 
beats; and I was no less unable to agree then than I am now 
with the opinion that because of his so-called broken-backed 
line, which can be on occasion a very fine line indeed, and 
the blunders of copyists he should be considered as inferior 
as a metrist as he undoubtedly was as a poet and thinker. 
If we are to do justice to Lydgate's metre, it is first of all 
necessary for us to know what Lydgate wrote. Even in the 
oldest manuscripts many lines occur in a distorted, mutilated 
form, and there are invariably some lines which appear to 
be defective in all manuscripts. It would be no less unfair to 
make Lydgate responsible for lines like these, than difficult, 
assuming that he did write them, to decide which of the alter- 
native readings should be accepted as his. Another source of 
uncertainty to the present-day editor, of which I shall have 
occasion to speak later on, is a result of the increasing negli- 
gence of copyists during the fifteenth centur^^, not only in 
regard to such small matters as final ^'s, to which they gave 
no attention whatever, and various prefixes and suffixes, but 
sometimes extending to the insertion or omission of articles, 
conjunctions and prepositions, like the and as, or for preceding 
the to of the infinitive, and the alternative use of synonyms or 
parallel word-forms having an unequal number of syllables. 

A further cause of trouble, which should not be forgotten, 
as it has had more influence, perhaps, than anything else in giv- 
ing students false notions of Lydgate's metre and incidentally 
has shown how little real knowledge of his style there has been 
up to within comparatively recent times, is the attribution to 
him of works he did not write, such, for example, as "The 

XXX The Metre 

Assembly of Gods," and shorter poems, like the admirable but 
metrically corrupt "London Lickpenny." ^ Nor has the 
reissue of texts, which, like the Secreta Secretorum, exist only 
in a few late manuscripts and are naturally far from correct, 
tended to improve matters. 

Unfortunately the question of Lydgate's metre is made very 
complicated by difficulties of the language; for unless we have 
a fair idea of the pronunciation of his time and class and a 
working know^ledge of Chaucer's metrical practice, especially 
his use of the final e, for the analysis of which we are so 
largely indebted to Bernhard ten Brink, we cannot expect to 
get very far. To read Lydgate as if his language were present- 
day English, as I have actually heard some people do, or even 
to try to pronounce his lines as if they were written in French 
(which is somewhat closer to the mark), is impossible and 
absurd. At the best our attempts to reproduce his pronun- 
ciation and that of his contemporaries amount to no more 
than a very rough approximation. We are certain to do a 
large amount of misrepresenting and to make a good many 
mistakes; and I have often wondered, were Lydgate now 
alive and for once inclined to do a little correcting on his own 
account, what he would think of our efforts at criticism and 
interpretation and of the various opinions that have been ex- 
pressed at different times by scholars in regard to his metre. 

We have in the " Fall of Princes " numerous examples of all 
the "types" or "forms" of the decasyllabic line used by Lyd- 
gate except the somewhat doubtful type with a trisyllabic first 
measure. There are the normal type of ten or eleven syllables 
(A), the line with an extra syllable before the caesura (B), 
lines with a syllable missing directly after the caesura (C), 
with the first syllable missing (D), and with both the first 
syllable and the syllable after the caesura missing (a combi- 
nation of C and D). There are very few examples of the 
combination of B and D described in the "Troy Book" under 
the heading 5, for most of these lines can be read as normal; 
and I can find no absolutely certain examples of lines with a 

1 See " The Lydgate Canon " by H. N. MacCracken, Miss Hammond's 
parallel text reprint in Anglia, xx., p. 400, and the text of the eight-line ver- 
sion in Sir Frederick Bridge's "The Old Cryes of London," Novello & Co., 
London, 192 i. 

The Metre xxxi 

trisyllabic first measure: it is questionable whether there are 
any such in the " Fall of Princes." 

The majority of the lines are of the ordinary type A, with 
ten or eleven syllables: 

I. 2. The book of Bochas in Frensh to translate 
I. 3. Out of Latyn, he callid was Laurence, etc., etc. 

Of type B there are also many examples: 

I. 29. AfForn prouydid that no presumpcioun 
II. 3361. Alas I was nat auysid weel befom 
II. 3458. Besouhte Bachus sum remedi to shape 
III. 1660. The temple off lupiter to robbe it be rauyne (syncope 

of z in lupiter) 
III. 3088. This litil tragedie doth shortli heer deuise (apocope of 

U in liiU) 
III- 3355- Wente into exil nat ferr fro that cuntre 
HI- 3553- Cam out to meete hym upon a wol fair pleyn 
III. 3612. A thyng most odious to eueri comounte (synizesis of 

JO in odious) 
VII. 206. An hundrid fourti four thousand as I reede 
IX. 2081. A thousand thre hundred acountid was the yeer (apocope 
o{ ed in hundred) 
Other examples are: I. 5306, II. 1018, 1848, III. 1946, 2000, 2011, 3014 
3618, IV. 3127, 3961, V. 514, 2933, VI. 2353, 2953, 3347, VIII. 130, 1022 
1965, 2191, 2291, IX. 3050, 3067, 3386. 

Type D is of frequent occurrence: 

I. I. He that whilom dede his dilligence 

I. 9. Artificeres hauyng exercise 

I. II. Shappis formys and newli hem deuyse (read "forrms") 

I. 27. With ther colours agreable of hewe 

III. 2235. Had also in cronycles as I reede (syncope of y in crony cUs) 

III. 3617. How in manhod he was pereles 

V. 2857. To the Romeyns any wise tobeye 

Lines in which the first syllable is missing and an extra 
syllable added before the caesura are comparatively rare and 
difficult to identify with certainty, for most of them can be read 
very well as normal. The following are probably examples: 

II. 557. Stant the weelfare off eueri regeoun 

II. 728. In losephus his story ye may reede 

II. 933. Wher Porcenna sat in his roial see 

VI. 3070. AUe assentid & sworn to Catallyne 

In regard to type C, the so-called broken-backed line, it 
can be said with no less certainty that it was frequently used 
by Lydgate in the "Fall of Princes" — I cannot agree with Pro- 
fessor Kaluza's apparent rejection of it — than that properly 

xxxii The Metre 

read and not lifted out of its context it is usually, although 
not always, admirable, and on the whole quite as "good" 
as any other line. In many cases it is a practical impossi- 
bility for us to say whether we have to deal with it or with 
the normal type (A), into which it can always be transformed 
by the addition of a syllable at the caesura; and although I 
doubt that there was ever any question in Lydgate's mind as 
to what sort of line he was writing or how he intended his lines 
to be scanned, we are to-day greatly handicapped by the neglect 
of copyists in matters of detail (the presence or absence of a 
final ^ in a manuscript usually meaning nothing at all) as well 
as by our ignorance of Lydgate's pronunciation. In saying that 
the use of the final <? as a metrical syllable was wholly artificial 
in Lydgate's time, for the reason that it had long disappeared 
from the spoken language, and that consequently it is not 
impossible that, for the sake of the metre, Lydgate sometimes 
added an e to words to which it did not belong etymologic- 
ally,^ Professor Kaluza was no doubt in the main correct. 
Only in the case of Lydgate, who although quite conscious of 
his inferiority always had Chaucer's metrical practice in mind 
and apparently never varied his method, the idea of time hardly 
comes into consideration. As a metrlst he looked upon him- 
self as one of his master's contemporaries. Final /s had crept 
in through false analogy long before the fifteenth century, and 
it cannot be assumed that Lydgate knew very much about 
etymology; nevertheless, I believe that a careful examination of 
the metre will show nothing more than an inclination on 
Lydgate's part to make a somewhat fuller use of the final e 
than Chaucer did, especially in the dative case, more rarely in 
the accusative, and very seldom in the nominative, of nouns 
of the strong declension with consonant endings. There is no 
evidence whatever of an indiscriminate adding of silent /?'s. 

The following examples of type C are to my mind very good 
lines. Properly read, with a marked pause at the caesura, there 
is no unpleasant clashing together of accented syllables. One 
could as well say that the syllables clash together unpleasantly 
in "That stretches and swings to the slow passionate pulse of 
the sea"; or "I know a bank where the wild thyme blows." 

' LiUraturblatt fur germ. Phil., 1899, pp. 373-375; 1900, p. 408. 











































The Metre xxxiii 

Nor alle men may nat been iliche 

And fyTiali as poetis telle 

Senacherib off Assirie kyng 

Ther woful fall Guido dede endite 

And heerupon to be certefied 

Foure thousand men Xerses thedir sente 

Fledde in a boot lik a coward knyht 

Bi gret auys weies he hath souht 

This was theflfect pleynli in substaunce 

Nor fader non by his gret errour 

On hors[e]-bak thoruh ther gret swiftnesse 

Amyd the se ferr out fro the stronde 

Strong was the fiht or that thei wer take 

And aftir that whan he cam to londe 

Bothe old & yong with ful glad visages 

Banyshed ageyn out of his cite 

Which sufFred nat them to lyue in pes 

Is seelde glad as for his partie 

Is onli this thei do non excesse 

Tween man and man or of wilful rage 

Al desolat cried for almesse 

Other good examples are: I. 4629, 5469, 5582, III. 2034, 2836, IV. 149, 
1629, 1756, 2443, 3052, 3156, 3564, 3634, 3751, 3852, V. 63, 256, 588, 742, 
813, iiio, 1923, 2019, 2878, 3085, VI. 1215, 1220, 1380, 1885, 2261, 6s, 2351, 
2782, 3049, VII. 315, 1495, VIII. 817, 1296, 1852, 2052, 2129, 2944, 3312, 
IX. 2020, 24, 2998, 3254. 

In the following lines both the first syllable and a syllable 
at the caesura are wanting: 

I. 906. Than a man for to haiie delit 

I. 1004. Which that God took with Noes Flood 

rV. 860. Whereupon whan he caste his look 

V. 2063. Hanybal gan his purpos holde 

V. 2455. Set him up in his roiall stall 

VI. 792. Spartharchus was ther cheef capteyn 

VI. 914. Vnto which whan thei wer repeired 

VI. 1335. Aftir that for hir gret faimesse 

VI. 1796. Thei to hym 3'old[e] up the toun 

VIII. 53. Lik a man hangyng in ballaunce 

VIII. 515. Smet out oon of his eyen tweyne 

VIII. 2723. Orcadois, Denmark and Houlond 

IX. 2303. Chewed it al on pecis smale 

IX. 2857. Day be day caried vitaile 

On the other hand, there are many doubtful and difiicult 
examples of lines of the above types. Some of them, as Pro- 
fessor Kaluza and Dr. MacCracken have stated, can be easily 
mended, or, as I should prefer to say, transformed, into type 
A or D. It would be most undesirable to amend Lydgate 
with a view to smoothing his lines for the benefit of present- 

xxxiv The Metre 

day readers; and whenever textual alterations are undertaken 
it should naturally be done with the sole object of restoring, 
so far as we are able, the text to its original state. This we 
are often able to do successfully on the basis of the manuscripts; 
but when there is no manuscript authority for a change, it is 
best to leave things as they are unless the suggested emenda- 
tion is a very simple and obvious one, as is sometimes the case; 
for often manuscript authority may represent nothing more, 
especially if in a late text, than the very questionable conjecture 
of a copyist. The presence or absence of a final <f in a manu- 
script, as I have already said, usually means nothing: we are 
glad enough to take advantage of it when it is there; but the 
copyists apparently did not trouble themselves about it one 
way or the other, and the readers in Lydgate's day were pre- 
sumably able to sound it for themselves where it was needed. 
Lines like the following can easily be altered into the 
regular type; and in many such cases it is quite possible that 
Lydgate did originally write them in the more expanded form; 
yet the majority of these lines are wholly characteristic and 
require no emendation. 

III. 2336. But off assent cast in your passage (casteth) 
III. 2755. A myhti due callid Palantus (y-callid) 

III. 3192. He callid was god of marchaundise (the god) 

IV. 2367. Another thyng bookis specific (as bookis) 

IV. 3654. For thei wer set Bochas doth deuise (as Bochas) 
IX. 2998. And in caas verray resemblable (verraily) 

Compare also III. 4787, V. 850, VI. 1362, etc. 

Sometimes it is hard to say whether a line ought to be scanned 
as type C or type D; for here the type depends entirely upon 
whether the first syllable is emphasized or not, a matter 
which the taste of the modern reader must decide in the ab- 
sence of all knowledge of the niceties of speech-accent of the 
fifteenth century: 

I. 682. And In ther trust for they wer nat stable 
II. 1616. The and thi kyn no man may socoure 
II. 1617. Flessh skyn and bon houndis shal deuoure 
IV. 529. He shal be set of gold bornid briht (gold probably 

IV. 3727. To his encres which that myhte auaille 

V. 519. And wher that he in his tendre age 

In many other cases where at first sight there might appear 

The Metre xxxv 

need for another syllable, there is actually no need for it; the 
syllable is already there. And although we certainly do not 
know just how Lydgate read his lines and pronounced his 
words, the conjecture at any rate lies near at hand that there 
was, in addition to diaeresis (as in Piroides, II. 2502; circuit, 
VII. 654; deer [O. E. dior], I. 5125; boy, V. 2588; day(?) II. 
3396, V. 2019; weel, IV. 1564; heeld. III. 213 1; clees, VI. 2481; 
dees, V. 2700; trees, I. 540, II. 2619), an occasional resolution 
of one syllable into two, either by lengthening or by the quasi- 
insertion of an extra vowel-sound, especially before an r and / 
and n. This is wholly consistent with the thicker and more 
broken utterance which, in view of the analogous mode of 
speech preserved to-day, apparently independently of dialect, 
by country people in parts of England and especially of Ireland, 
we may assume was prevalent in Lydgate's time and among 
his class. Examples of such lengthening or vowel-insertion are: 
Saul (Sauel), II. 167, etc.; foul (O. E. fugol), IV. 1742; tail 
(O. E. taegl), I. 854, IX. 1467; soil, I. 746; gold, II. 3452,^ 
etc. (see infra); poynt, VI. 2440; reyn (O. E. regn), I. 713; 
Minotaur, I. 864; tour, I. 1098, II. 1738; repeir, VI. 3201; 
dispeir, VI. 2433; hair (heir), I. 5140; boor, I. 4918; boord, IV. 
1332; fir (fire), I. 1417, II. 21 11 (comp. feer-brond, I. 6388). 

The consonant combinations Ik and // seem to have formed 
a syllable by themselves in folk (follek), I. 148, III. 148, 4051, 
4425, IV. 2442, IX. 1819, 2970 (but folk, monosyllable, I. 806, 
IV. 3630, V. 12), calfF, I. 6380, halff, I. 6378, mylk, IV. 1131, 
and on occasion in self (him, her-self). The letter r was evi- 
dently strongly rolled, or pronounced with a distinct burr,, 
producing a disyllabic effect in such words as world ^ (fern, i 
stem), which, however, has an organic silent e in the dative and 
accusative, I. 793, 822, 6179, 6253, II. 2081, III. 3165, IV. 83; 
in the strong masculines and neuters, hors, III. 1842, 52, 2556, 
2979;* arm, II. 952, 1521; clerk, IV. 2663, IX. 113; werk, I. 
1 1 25, 29, 39; turn, IV. 2863, VI. 584; in the French words 
cours. III. 2802; court, II. 2251, III. 4785, VIII. 2945, 76, IX. 
2103; and sort, I. 2725; and in first, erst, -fom and thoruh. 

In k3aig, the g may have been pronounced separately as 

* Comp. VI. 201, 2515, 2893 wor-eldli. 

* In VI. 1369, "Vpon an hors wildere than a leoun," the a is omitted in 
MSS. B and H, showing that the copyist probably said '*hor-€s," if he 
pronounced the word at all. 

xxxvi The Metre 

a guttural following the n (see ten Brink, §120, ff), thereby 
producing an additional syllable that could be sounded or 
slurred at will. It is not at all probable that Lydgate added 
an e ; yet the word is used in so many lines where two sylla- 
bles are unquestionably required that it is difficult to believe 
that it was not indeed disyllabic: 

II. 1625. Off this warnyng the kyng took non heed 

II. 2937. The woful fal off kyng Amazie 

IV. 1800. And whan kyng Alisaundre hadde 

IV. 2390. And of the kyng of Epirothes 

VI. 1345. Which weddid was to kyng Tholome 

VI. 1681. So that the kyng Mitridate alas 

VIII. 3257. Of Gepidois how kyng Trusimounde 

IX. 903. This kyng caste the damages to redresse (apocope of 

the s in damages) 

IX. 2792. With kyng lohn this Gaulteer lik a kniht 

Other examples are: I. 5227, 5986, II. 1516, 24, 78, 2122, 2248, 
2714, 3207, III. 2319, 74 2650, 2714, IV. 1552, 1863, 2340, 
V. 2968, VI. 1025, IX. 708, 924, 1287. Yet several of these 
are doubtful; we do not know but that Lydgate may have 
had the "broken-backed" line in his mind more often than is 
perhaps apparent to us now, and the following lines can be 
read very well with kyng as a monosyllable: II. 1665, 4107, 
III. 869, 4808, IV. 1461, 1944, 2981, V. 2409, IX. 865, 2956. 
On the other hand, kyng is certainly a monosyllable in lines 
III. 1705, 08, 39, 43, 2662, IV. 1315, 17, 78, VI. 1352, VIII. 
2364, IX. 1285; and when it occurs at the end of a line it 
rhymes with the present participle (III. 1724, 4104, V. 2438, 
3028, etc.). 

To deth, str. masc, an e was probably added in the dative 
on occasion (pronounced dede.?); and examples of its dative use 
are comparatively numerous: I. 761, 5739, II. 2325, III. 2752, 
4733, 54, IV. 722, 1083, 2062, 2133, 58, 3060, 3976, V. 2124, 
2251, VI. 1 163, 2550, 3618, VII. 56, VIII. 1044, 1434, 64, 1864, 
2587, IX. 254. Of these lines, IV. 1083, " For of his deth no 
man list compleyne," and VIII. 1044, "Of whos deth Lycynyus 
was glad," can be read as type D; and IV. 2062, " That for his 
deth tempted the poisoun," is a fine example of type C as it 
stands. Lines VI. 2087, 2504, and VIII. 1457 are of the normal 
type, requiring no e in the dative. The word occurs but seldom 
in the accusative case; but in lines IV. 1957, "Tauenge my 

The Metre xxxvii 

deth wrouht bi gret outrage," IX. 151 5, *' Tauenge the deth[e] 
of Andronicus," and IX. 2031, "His lyfF his deth[e] put in 
iupartie," it may be considered to require two syllables. 

In regard to feeld, str. masc, the indication is that it either 
took an <r, when required, in both the dative and accusative, or 
was lengthened into fe-eld. There are many examples of its 
use: II. 23CX), 09, 2648, 4358, III. 2103, 4914, IV. 222, 3652, 
85, V. 324, 31, 2036, VI. 1871. 

Wheel, str. neuter, was certainly disyllabic (Middle English 
spellings: hweol, wheol, hue3el, etc.); compare nominative case, 
"Troy Book," II. 8561, and accusative, "Fall of Princes," 
V. 1 145. An e may have been added to the dative, I. 2170, 
V. 2293, VI. 308, and in the "Troy Book," II. 2021; but I am 
inclined to doubt it, although in my indecision I added one 
in VI. 308. In lines VI. 703, 11, 2538 (dative), and IV. 2858 
(accusative) it is all right as it stands. 

Although lord is one of the masculines of the strong declen- 
sion that sometimes takes an e in the dative in Chaucer (ten 
Brink, §201), it is probable that it was also pronounced disyl- 
labically lau-erd. It usually occurs in the accusative and 

I. 814. Was bi the Lord as hym list ordeyne 

I. 2790. Made hir lord at hir to disdeyne 

II. 1006. Also my lord bad I sholde abide 

II. 1936. Hadde slayn hir lord for his gret richesse 

II. 3426. Whan that his lord was be tresoun slayn 

II. 4542. And to that Lord bowwe doun thi chyne 

III. 1984. Ful lik a lord and a knyhtli man 

VI. 1641. W'as to his lord[e] fals & eek vnkynde 

VIII, 1879. Of his lord[e] be ful cruel hate 

Compare also I. 6619, II. 196, VII. 1203, VIII. 881, 1674. In 
line II. 1930, lord is evidently monosyllabic; in IV. 1326, 
"Ageyn his lord bi an horrible crj^me," the pronunciation of 
lord depends upon whether "bi an horrible" is elided or not: 
if we read "banorrible," lord is disyllabic. 

In kniht, the k and the n were probably sounded separately, 
and the word was disyllabic (IV. 1924, VIII. 2845, 3231, IX. 
642). Hed, str. neuter, was more likely pronounced heved 
than hed[e] when two syllables are needed; and although I 
have added an ^ in a few instances, it is rather to indicate that 
the word is disyllabic than to imply that Lj-dgate thought of 

xxxviii The Metre 

it otherwise than as heved. It occurs as a rule in the nomi- 
native and accusative: 

II. 3626. The speris hed rooff hym thoruh the herte 

III. 1762. Gropyng his hed[e] as he lai slepyng 

IV. 3892. His hed smet ofF in the same place 
VI. 1159. Lost his hed[e] & his lyfF in deede 
VI. 2453. Took up the hed[e] of that prince alas 

The str. neuters gold and child were also in all probability 
disyllabic, go-eld and chi-eld: 

II. 3452. He thouhte gold myhte hym most auaile 

II. 3474. Though he of gold hadde so gret plente 

II. 3790. Riche of gold perle and precious stonys 
IV. 529. He shal be set of gold bornid briht 

IV. 889. Of most fj'n gold shon so cleer & briht 

VIII. 1269. Al of gold fret with perles fyne 

IV. 3684, "Armed al in gold and with gret violence," is of 

type A, with gold a monosyllable. I prefer to read VIII. 

3160, "Al is nat gold that is cleer shynyng," as type A rather 

than type D. In IV. 506, " Bies of gold crownes of laureer," 

we have the alternative choice of a disyllabic "gold" or a 

trisyllabic " c[o]rownes." There are numerous examples of 

child, which may have sometimes taken an e in the dative; we 

meet with it, however, most frequently in the nominative and 

accusative cases: 

She and hir child fill into the se 
Hath maad this child now so fortunat 
Is first a child which may nat suffise 
Bad that the child sholde anon be take 
Whethir the child sholde lyue or deye 
Kepte this child in ful secre wise 
To keepe the child was nat rekeles 
How that this child greene & tendre off age 
The yonge child took in ther depos 
Because this child tendre yong & fair 
Sold hym a child which was born in Ynde 

And on the child which that stood beside 
But off this child whan the deth was kouth 
Was with hir child[e]? seruid that was slayn 

In other cases the word is to be read as a monosyllable in lines 
of types A and D (I. 3192, 99, 3213, 19, 27, 31, 45, II. 1624, 

Blood, birth, land, and swerd (which may have been other- 
wise disyllabic, swe-erd, O. E. sweord) occasionally take an e 






























The Metre xxxix 

in the dative; good (possessions) apparently requires an e 
in the accusative, III. 3853. To the str. masc. gilt an e was 
probably added, I. 6925, but not elsewhere (III. 2034, IV. 
427, 3751); hill also seems to have required an e in the 
dative (II. 4122, III. 2973, V. 2601, VI. 1612, VII. 1054). 
Wal, I. 2479, II. 3510, certainly was pronounced wal[le] in 
the dative and accusative, VI. 1108 and IV. 339. To knyfF, 

II. 1305, 84, III. 1 147; doom, V. 875, VI. 2926; crafft, I. 6523, 
41; drem (perhaps disyllabic, O. E.* dream), II. 3222, 3585, 

III. 1666, apparantly no e was added. The consonant-stem 
noun book, however, seems to have been sometimes disyllabic 
through the addition of an inorganic e to the dative, I. 4076, 
V. 366, 804, VI. 2871, IX. 177, 3070 (ace, I. 258, 423, VI. 224), 
although some of these lines can be read as type D. 

The French words estat, III. 534, VI. 2865, VIII. 2786; 
chaung, I. 2064; assent. III. 2336, IV. 3787, V. 2000, IX. 
1349, 3232; feith, IX. 1223, 28; and accord, I. 3706, II. 4117, 
IX. 2218, also seem to have required an e in some instances. 

So far we have been dealing with lines that require more 
syllables than they apparently possess; but there are many 
other lines that at first sight might be considered to have too 
many syllables. It is therefore necessary to examine shortly 
Lydgate's usage in slurring over and eliding syllables and 
otherwise contracting his words. 

There is very frequent use of elision and apocope. Of the 
former the following are characteristic examples: 

Lat us (Lat's), I. 938; it wer ('twer), II. 3648; Fortune is 
(Fortune's), IX. 3526; There is (there's), I. 2581,4611, II. 3639, 
III. 3932; He enfectith, I. 4624; He abod. III. 816; He is, 

I. 6986, III. 1365; Heere is, I. 2596; She is, I. 6185; Wil is, 
III. 3980; and in (=nin), VI. 2825; bi his, VI. 2633; beAmilius, 

II. 3992; Bi Eneas, II. 987; be interpretacioun, VIII. 1940; 
be influent, IX. 3222; be exacciouns, VIII. 2638; be occa- 
sioun, IX. 350; Be Honorius, VIII. 2281; Bamaner, VI. 
944; bagredi, VI. 1005; birfadres, IV. 3324; bextorsioun, 

III. 3231, this (= that is) II. 4040; so infortunat, I. 3470; 
so onable. III. 49; elision of the e in the before vowels and 
h, I. 1370, 2388, 5848, III. 2352, V. 373, VI. 2303, 04, 3428, 
VII. 1 1 20, 1400, VIII. 3261; of the o\nto,\. 5719, II. 684, 2289, 

xl The Metre 

IV. 3996, VI. 3267, VIII. 2056, 2205, 2394, IX. 2030; glorye 
and, I. 1 1 18, II. 1073, 2108, III. 3343; miserie and, I. 968; 
sclaundre and, III. 3017; childre and. III. 2007; wynter and, 

III. 2204; fadir and, I. 900; childre in, VIII. 2363; fadir in, 
I. 194; rekne in, VI 1745; other in, I. 2860; lettir in, I. 6344; 
rancour in, II. 785; thastlabre in, I. 295; peeple in, I. 996; 
Brothir of, VII. 1044; double of, VIII. 3152; double Apostata 
VIII. 1483; title of, VI. 3647; slauhtre of, VIII. 223; temple 
off. III. 3315; sobre of, I. 6208; enlumyned ofF, III. 666; 
chartre is, V. 1873; mekil is. III. 555; writen is, V. 1476; 
lauhtre on, I. 1528; Phebus on, VI. 2472; Capue he, V. 2049; 
leuer he. III. 3918; togidre he, III. 4568; peeple he, II. 215; 
ordre as, VIII. 2598; sugre eek, I. 4001; title had, VI. 732; 
Vttre hem, VI. 298; merci or, II. 1699; gredi excesse, VI. 
1425; foure dementis, VI. 3398; walkyn appeere, V. 1000; 
peeple onhappi, I. 3864; furie unrestreynable. III. 4027. 

Apocope is quite frequent of the endings el or le, er {ir, re), 
w, we, uh, in narw, naruh, sorwe, etc., ed in hundred and the 
past participle, ^ and of the es, is in plurals, especially of 
French words. Examples are: bridle. III. 4608; litil, III. 3088, 

IV. 2345, VIII. 421; stable. III. 1878; nouther, IV. 1035; 
sobre, I. 3449; remembre, I. 3102; fostre, I. 3255; hunger, VII. 
1353; mooder, I. 4811, 6185, III. 3980, IV. 151, V. 2940; 
moordre, VIII. 3372; whethir, I. 4653, 4658, 59, 61; somer, 
III. 2204, mydsomer, I. 3998; holuh, V. 2105; sorwe, I. 3532; 
a-morwe. III. 1524, 3825; naruh. III. 208; folwe. III. 1488; 
hundred, VIII. 2296, IX. 2081; fadid, VIII. 194; weddid, IV. 
3968; disclaundrid, IX. 2445; delyuered. III. 3314; corages, 
I. 999, 2931, (rhymes "corages: language: visage," I. 5154); 
offices, I. 614; deluges, I. 1081; pillages, I. 6139, IV. 836, 

VIII. 2638; pryncessis, I. 1829, 3125, II. 4230, trespacis, I. 
291 1, II. 4582, V. 3109; sciences, I. 4246; facis, VIII. 3142; 
ymages, II. 834, 4497, V. 1440; damages, III. 2483, IV. 639, 

IX. 3023; euidencis, I. 3105; toknes, IX. 117; prouynces, III. 
4867, VII. 1564, VIII. 698; richessis. III. 4240, 45, 4932, IV. 
3924, VIII. 2596 (rhymes with apocopated " falsnessis, wit- 
nessis," V. 1661); goddessis, VII. 837, IX. 277, (rhymes with 
apocopated " witnessis, brihtnessis," IX. 282, with " heuynes- 
sis," IX. 293); liknessis, IV. 17; paleisis, VI. 1296. 

* See V. 3021, where "exercised " rhymes with "deuise" and "guise." 

The Metre xli 

SjTicope also is frequent and often indicated by contrac- 
tions. It occurs in the third and second person singular end- 
ings of many verbs, in the participle, in the plural of nouns 
ending in es (is), and otherwise in a very large number of 
words. Examples are: appallith, III. 1629; causeth, III. 4046; 
gynneth. III. 4547; komth. III. 1036; lakketh, III. 2275; 
makith, I. 1015, makth III. 70, maketh. III. 1628, 3235, 
4209, VI. 1282; taketh, III. 533, 1235, 1625; tarageth, IV. 
2930; yeueth. III. 397; holdeth, II. 531; preueth, III. 4035; 
declareth, II. 3462; bryngith, I. 1414; reuersith, III. 1462; 
settest, VI. 495; recurid. III. 1400; astonid, IV. 939; co- 
maunded, IV. 427; namyd, I. 574; lokkid, VIII. 42. 

In the plural of nouns: goddis, II. 4256, III. 3564, IV. 
3708, 23,37 ; innocentis, II. 4421; personys, III. 3607; mys- 
cheuys, VIII. 2626. 

Other examples are: adamaunt, IV. 66; aduertjseth, I. 806; 
aduersite, VI. 1262, 1687, VIII. 3259, IX. 1845; antiquite, 
IX. 916; appetit, VI. 13 19, appetites, VIII. 2404; auctorite, 
VI. 2242, VIII. 971, 2054, 2216, IX. 2171, 99, 2645; auisili, 
VI. 3356; bestialite, IV. 2687; cardynales, IX. 1087, cardynal, 
IX. 21CXD (but cardinales, IX. 1077); cathedral, VIII. 2035; 
chapitle, I. 4499, VI. 1282; charite, VII. 1172, IX. 2400; cher- 
isshe, I. 997, 3840, II. 3146, IV. 1372, VIII. 2366, cherysshyng, 

II. 1096 (but cherisshid, III. 4794); chronycle, I. 2607; cit- 
eseyns, IV. 3916; confederat, VIII. 2256; consuleris, V. 1956; 
contemplatyfF, IX. 3413; corupt. III. 967 (but c6rupt, VIII. 
990); countirfet, VII. 1207; countirpeis, VI. 2893; couenable, 

III. 4006, VI. 618; delicat, VI. 1424; dilligentli, VII. 1324; 
disconfited, I. 5291, III. 2520, VI. 2132, VIII. 1055, 251 1; 
disseueraunce. III. 2814; disherited, I. 2563; dissymulyng, 

IV. 1306; enheritour,'fX. 1252; enlumjned. III. 666; emperour, 
VIII. 754, 1041, emperours, II. 4467, VII. 1264; felicite, I. 
1834, III. 1 1 53, infelicite, I. 3168; fauourable (slurred), IV. 
990; felashipe, VII. 8; flaterers, III. 3164, IX. 2712; florys- 
shynges, IX. 3446; gentilesse, IV. 2702; gouemaunce, V. 1770; 
gouemour, V. 1758, IX. 49; humylyte, IX. 2393; imagynatyff, 
VIII. 521; importable, VIII. 1579; impossible, I. 3835, VI. 
1717; indigent, III. 4324; infirmytes, VII. 1256, IX. 1087; 
infortunat, IV. 3987; innocent, IX. 1493; ipocras, VII. 1282; 
laboreer, VII. 1198, liberalite, IV. 3994, libertes, IX. 2608; 

xlii The Metre 

mageste, IV. 3127; magnificence, IX. 3602; malencolie, III. 
4026; malencolik, VI. 3442; martirloge, IX. 42; mellodie, VI. 
344; merciful, VIII. 1204; meryly, I, 4795; modefie, IX. 2615; 
mutabilite, V. 1823, VI. 399; myneral, VII. 1216; myracle, 
VIII. 1503, 1623; naked, VII. 1062; necessite, I. 4981, VII. 
548; norice, III. 4278; notable, I. 1460, VI. 513, 891, 3630, 

VII. 84; ocupied, VIII. 299; onchaungable, I. 1207; ordenaunce, 

VIII. 933; origynal, IV. 1137; perisshed, IV. 22; pestilence, 
VII. 1353; philosophie, IV. 1139, VI. 345; philisophre, VI. 
1303, 3120, VII. 1223; politik, VI. 347; polyshing, III. 1040; 
possible, VI. 3199; predecessours, I. 3910; prerogatifF, VI. 
3377; prerogatyues, VI. 3080; promyses. III. 4252; prosperite, 

I. 124, IV. 1052, 68, VIII. 2550, 2671; punysshe, II. 1241, 
1327, 4380, III. 1457 (but punyshe, III. 304, 1129, 1684, 
etc.); rethorik, VIII. 193; reuerence, II. 1966, IX. 2101; re- 
uolucioun, VI. 189; salari, II. 3167; senatours, VI. 3104, 3226, 
VII. 543, VIII. 2539 (but senatours VIII. 223); sensualite, V. 
1503, VI. 3381, VIII. 2350; seuen. III. 2530, 2651, 2702, 37, 
4550, IV. 113; skarmysshes, IV. 292; souereyne, V. 1172; 
subtilite, V. 1609; syngulerte, III. 1280, 2258; synguler, I. 
409, II. 4305, III. 2136, IV. 133, VI. 2209, 3004, 3140 (but 
synguler, IV. 3623); tragedie, I. 5519, 44; trynyte, IX. 2404; 
venymous, III. 4595; werreyours, VII. 1036. 

Synizesis, the combination into one syllable of two vowels 
that can not make a diphthong, is frequent and often accom- 
panied by slurring. Mariage is as a rule of two syllables 
= marage (I. 1988, 3483, 3752, II. 2121, III. 4112, 16, IV. 
184, 3973> VIII. 3273, IX. 257, 63, 73, 83, 88, etc.); but we 
also have mariage in three syllables (I. 3500, 5462). Other 
examples are: cariage, V. 193 1; alliaunce, V. 2450 (alliaunce, 

IX. 259); daliaunce, VI. 214, 3467; embassiat, V. 1545; 
meriere, I. 5813; permiable, VI. 2168; rhetoricien, VI. 3454; 
superfluite, VI. 2689, 3332, VII. 1307; tarieng, VI. 2737; 
variaunce, VI. 2893, 3399; vertuous. III. 4383, VIII. 127, IX. 
1 153, 2027, 3046 (but vertuous, VII. 399, IX. 2034). 

There is synizesis of the i and in the following adjectives: 
compendious, VI. 3630; contrarious, IX. 529; furious, 1. 
2388; gracious, IX. 3349; ungracious, VIII. 3273; victorious, 

II. 204, VI. 1209, IX. 2417. 

The same applies to many nouns ending in ioun: accusacioun, 

The Metre xliii 

V. 1658; aflFeccioun, III. 821; champiouns, IX. 2426; collu- 
sioun, II. 4240, III. 1713; compassioun, III. 4812, VI. 276, 
2996; composicioun, II. 766; condicioun, VI. 281; confec- 
ciouns, III. 2574, IX. 2907; coniuracioun, VI. 3052; conspir- 
acioun, VII. 447, VIII. 3127; constellacioun, III. 3628; 
contencioun, IV. 436; desolacioun, VI. 362; deuocioun, IX. 
2140; digressioun, III. 3228, V. 1776, VI. 2000 (but not in 

VI. 3330); dilacioun, I. 7053; discencioun, IV. 677; discre- 
cioun, I. 503, III. 4627, IV. 2329, 4032, V. 1783; divisioun, 
III. 5122, VI. 2310, 2535 (but not so in lines I. 4611, VI. 358, 
3329, and perhaps in IX. 511); dominacioun, VIII. 229, IX. 
1507; ellocucioun, VI. 3334; entencioun, IV. 1365; execu- 
cioun, IX. 2982; extorsioun, III. 3231; exacciouns, IX. 2615; 
facioun, I. 5051; fundacioun, IX. 2427; generaciouns, VI. 
3400; intrusioun, VIII. 2316; lamentaciouns, VI. 2384; men- 
cioun, III. 4941, VIII. 1 174; obligacioun, IV. 1978; occa- 
siouns, I. 4736, in sing., IV. 1013; oppressioun, VIII. 1306; 
perfeccioun, IX. 798; pocessioun, VIII. 2891; presumpcioun, 
IX. 939 (but four syllables, VI. 3628); professioun, VIII. 1480, 
2250; pronunciacioun, VI. 3140, 3340; refecciouns, VII. 904; 
religioun, IX. 2129; reuolucioun, VI. 189; subieccioun, V. 
582; successioun, I. 4273, III. 2964; supplantacioun, IX. 
3039; suspeccioun, III. 2728. 

Synizesis also occurs in proper nouns, such as Albioun, 
VI. 2882; Amphioun, VI. 3491; Scipioun, V. 1249, etc. 

Hiatus is comparatively rare, but nevertheless there are a 
number of cases where the final e is evidently sounded before 
a succeeding vowel, as in VI. 2461, " Bi fals rauyne and extor- 
sioun "; VII. 268, " The firste also who list take heede; " VII. 
380, "And saide also mor for assuraunce;" VIII. 2395, 
" Brothir to force auctours seyn echon "; IX. 1044, " In suich 
disioynt the sayd[e] Arnold stood." There are other ex- 
amples in which the words ** boost " and " steel " with dative 
ending are followed by the word "armed." 

In proper nouns the accent is often shifted from one syl- 
lable to another; sometimes a name is shortened by apocope, 
or, as we have seen above, by synizesis. Thus, Ypolitus reads 
Ypolitus, I. 4488; Roboam, II. 772, Roboam, II. 792; lerusa- 
lem, II. 755, 1825, 2656, 83, but lerusalem, II. 707, 1491, 
2891, VII. 1458, IX. 1859, 1917, 57; Abithomarus, V. 957, 

xliv The Metre 

Abithomarus, V. 981, Abithomarus, V. 946; Lacedemoyn and 
Lacedemoyn, III. 3362, 77, 3439, 64, etc.; Pelopia, I. 4151; 
Odoacer, VIII. 2510, Odoacer, VIII. 2501; Anthjochus, V. 
1523, 48, 2781, Anthiochus, V. 1590, etc.; Nabugodonosor, II. 
3531; Artabanus, III. 2669, Artabanus, III. 2647, 92; Fana- 
ticus, VI. 662; Tantalus, III. 3730; Diogenes, III. 4392; 
Macedoyne, V. 282; Laodices, V. 1473; Aristobolus, VI. 2742, 
52; Constantynople, VIII. 2222; Alcibiades and Alcibiades, 
III. 3375, etc.; Tholome and Tholome, VI. 2627, 48, 52; 
Artaxerxes, III. 5022, but usually Artaxerxes; lubiter and 
lubiter, III. 1660, VI. 3206, VII. 385, 551, VIII. looi, 1004; 
Radagasus and Radagasus, VIII. 2143, 60, 62; Cesarea, VIII. 
1733, Cesarea, VIII. 1747; Phebus, VI. 2472; Alisaundre, IV. 
1428, etc.; Cleopatra, VI. 2648, Cleopatra, VI, 2643; Calligula, 
VII. 411, 86, Calligula, VII. 323; Antigonus, IV. 2264, Anti- 
gonus, IV. 2282; Galerius, VIII. 980, Galerius, VIII. 981. 

It is exceedingly doubtful whether there are any lines with 
a trisyllabic first measure in the " Fall of Princes." Personally 
I am inclined to believe that there are none. Lines having 
the word "seven" in the second measure will hardly do, for 
seven, with the second e syncopated, was a monosyllable (I. 
4255, IV. 1 166, 1232). "Philisophre" was disyllabic through 
syncope of the second i, which puts IV. 1303 and VI. 3120 
out of court (comp. also VII. 1223 and philosophic in IV. 
1 139 and VI. 345). In VIII. 1005, "In the capitoile set sothli 
as he saide," the first i in "capitoile" is syncopated; the line 
is regular. In the line, I. 4169, "Off the noble worthi kyng 
Agamenoun," "noble" loses its second syllable through 
apocope. The first i in "countirpeis," VI. 2893, is syncopated 
and the r slurred (comp. countirfet, VII. 1207); and in the 
only remaining questionable line of this sort that I have noted, 
VI. 3104, "In the Romeyn court afFor the senatours," there 
is syncope of the e in "senatours" (for further references see 
senatour in list of words illustrating syncope). 

There are several irregular lines, but whether the irregu- 
larity is due to the author or to the copyists is often impossible 
to say. Line 3480, Book III., "This was the mene that he 
mente," has only four beats as it stands, and may have been, 
but was probably not, so written by Lydgate. "Natwith- 
stonding mor boldli that tyme atte leste " (VII. 962) has 

The Metre xlv 

evidently been garbled; VI. 991, "Sone of a carpenteer the 
stori tellith thus," has a beat too many unless the er in 
"carpenteer" is syncopated; and VII. 356, "With certeyn 
dr>'nkis to cast hym in a rerage" (rhyming with age), appar- 
ently has one syllable too many as it appears in the MSS. 
There are many lines in which the accent is thrown on the 
definite article; but whether the practice was considered ob- 
jectionable I cannot say. It is at any rate very easy to read 
such lines by slurring over the arsis, a practice not unknown 
in the poetry of the present day. The following are examples: 

I. 2172. To considre the successiouns 

I. 5663. Sterte into the welle and hymseluen dre>-nt 

II. 2924. Off mortal man the condicioun 

III. 161 1. It is in erthe oon the moste pereilous thj-ng 

IV. 513. The straunge salaire and the famous guerdoun 
rV. 2846. And eclipsed the liht of his glorie 

VI. 94. Othir vndir the pool Antartik 
VI. 2307. Gan among Romeyns and the contagious fiht 
VIII. 179. That laboure may of slouthe haue the victorie 

In the following lines the accent falls on the indefinite article : 

I. 959. Suffred on a crosse deth and passioun 
I. 2332. The fir brast out a ful large space 
VI. 3 187. In a desert and a gret wildimesse 

Finally, in some cases it is preferable to read a word in a 
shorter, but alternative, form to that which occurs in the 
text. Thus, Lydgate probably wrote "vauntage" rather than 
"auauntage" in III. 499, "It were to me no worshepe nor 
auauntage"; and in several lines, "geyn" is preferable to 
"ageyn." In VI. 2307 above, Lydgate may have written 
"mong." The copyists did not seem to care which form they 

I have made the following emendations to the text without 
manuscript authority; but all except one (VI. 2459) are obvious 
and simple corrections of copyists' blunders and omissions: 

II. 423. Natwithstanding [that] the PalestjTies 
II. 1732. Till al his blood be bledyng dede raile * (The MSS. 
and prints have "fayle" instead of "raile" a blun- 
der evidently of an early copyist.) 

III. 2906. Thei heeld hemsilff[e] verrai^ly] ashamed (The MSS. 

and prints have "verrai.") 

IV. 1627. And [he] hadde toward thoxidcnt 

xlvi The Metre 

IV. 1972. Hir * fatal wheel most dyuers & chaungable (The MSS. 
have "Ther" instead of "Hir," but the wheel is 
Fortuna's wheel.) 
IV. 2744. With al the vicis * of pride & lecherie (The reading 
in the MSS. is "spicis," "spices," "spyces," and 
"spises" in Tottel.) 
IV. 2791. Callid [him] hom ageyn into ther toun 
V. 992. And of thes [noble] worthi princis tweyne 
V. 3 141. Off this moordre[r] the hatful tirannye 
VI. 2459. Which thoruh the * world yiueth so gret a soun (The 
MSS. have "thoruh al the world"; and it is possible 
that Lydgate so wrote the line, although he uses 
"al" in the preceding line.) 
VII. 1610. Of plate and maile [ther] armure was so fair 
VIII. 408. To this emperour I nil * resorte ageyn (The MSS. 
have "wil" instead of "nil.") 

De Casxbus Ptrorum Jllustrtum 


Exquirenti mlhi quid ex labore studioruw meorum possem 
reipublicae vtilitatis adferre, mores hominuTn illustrium max- 
ime obtulere sese obuiam: quos dum illecebres turpiqw<f libidine 
foedos intuerer: effraenesque non aliter quam si fortunam in 
sopnum perpetuuw soporassent haerbis aut cantato carmine: 
suosqu<f principatus ferreis vncis adamantine in scopulo fir- 
massent: aduerterem: Nee ob id solum caeteros pro viribus 
premere: quinimmo et in ipsum rerum omnium opificem stulta 
quadam temeritate consurgere cemerem: obstupui. Et dum 
damnarem dementiam: longam quepii patris patientiam ad- 
mirarer: Ecce in mentem incidit quod quaerebam. Quid enim 
hac charitate auiditati mortalium et saluti perpetuae vtilius: 
quam oberrantes si possis / in rectum tramitem reuocare ? In 
quod & si hactenus eloquentissimi & sacra pietate conspicui 
viri persaepe conatu maximo elaborauerunt: Non inofficiosum 
existimo: si vt ipse (quamuis per viribus non sim) eos a sopore 
letifero inuitarem: vigiliam excussisse tentauerim. Sane quum 
tales oscenis voluptatibus adsueti difficiles animos demon- 
strationibwj praestare consueuerint: & lepiditate historiarum 
capi nonnunquam: exemplis agendum ratus sum. Et quid 
deus sine (vt eorum more loquar) fortuna in elatos possit 
describere: Et (ne in tempus aut sexum cadat obiectio) a 
mundi primordio in nostrum vsque aeuuw consternatos duces: 
illustresque alios tam viros quam mulieres passim disiectos: 
in medium succincte deducere mens est. Absit tamen vt omnes 
dixerim. Quis enim mortalium tanti foret vt infinito posset 
labori sufficere ? Set ex claris quosdam clarissimos excerpsisse 
sat erit, vt dum senes fluxosque principes et dei iudicio quas- 
satos in solum reges viderint: dei potentiam: fragilitatem 
suam: & fortunae lubricum noscant: & laetis modum ponere 
discant: Et sic aliorum periculo suae possint vtilitati consu- 
lere. Porro ne continua historiarum series legenti possit esse 
fasti dio: morsus in vitia: & ad virtutem suasiones inseruisse 
quandoque tam delectabile quam vtile arbitratus: adnectam. 
Cui tam sublimi coepto ac successui is quem penes potestas 
est omnis / supplex precor / sauens adsit: & in sui nominis 
gloriam quod scripsisse dederit ipse conseruet. 

^ From Jean Petit's edition [n.d., but after isoy^- 



Exquirenti mihi, quid ex labore studiorum meoruw possem 
forsan Reipub. utilitatis addere, occurrere pmeter creditum 
multa, maiori tamen ornatu in mentem sese ingessere princi- 
pum, atqwif praesidentium quorum cunqw^ obscoenae libidines, 
violentiae truces, perdita otia, auaritia inexplebilis, cruenta 
odia, vltiones armatae, praecipitesq7<(?, & longe plura scelesta 
facinora. Quae cum ductu caelestium viderem in illo coercito 
freno euolantia undiqw^, inde honestatem omnem foedari 
publicam, iustitiae sacratissimas leges solui, labefactari uirtutes 
omnes, & quod infandum est, detestandis exemplis, in mores 
impios ignar^ae multitudinis ingenia trahi. Ratus eo me a 
fortuna deductuw, quo appetebat intentio: festinus arripui 
calamum scripturus in tales. Nam quid satius est, quam 
uires omnes exponere, ut in frugem melioris uitae retrahantur 
errantes, a desidibus sopitis letalis somnus excutiatur, uitia 
reprimantur, & extollantur virtutes. Nee me terruit maiorum 
nostrorum in hos ingentia vidisse volumina, & ilia nouisse 
styli suauitate, & pondere sententiarum meis literulis praepo- 
nenda: plurimum eum meminerim, nonnunqw^ rudem notulam 
excitasse nonnuUos, quos tonitrua mouisse non poterant. Bona 
igitur pace talium, quo impellit dicendi impetus tendaw: si 
forsan saxea haec corda, tenui spiritu oris mei, in salutem 
meam mollire saltem paululum queam. Sane cum tales ob- 
stent, sueti voluptatibus animos difficiles demonstrationibus 
praestare consuerint, & lepiditate Historiarum capi nonnunqw^, 
exemplis agendum ratus sum eis, quid Deus omnipotens, seu, 
ut eorum loquar more, fortuna in elatos possit, & fecerit. Et 
ne in tempus, aut sexuw cadat abiectio, a mundi primordio, 
in nostrum usque aeuum consternatos duces, illustresqw^ alios, 
tam uiros, quawi mulieres passim deiectos, in medium suc- 
cincte deducere mens est. Absit tamen ut omnes dixerim. 
Quis enim mortalium tanti foret ? ut infinito labori possit 
sufficere ? Sed ex claris quosdam clariores excerpsisse satis 
erit. Vt dum segnes, fluxosq?^^ principes, & Dei iudicio quas- 
satos in solum, reges viderint, Dei potentiam, fragilitatem suam, 
& fortun^e lubricuw noscant: & laetis modum ponere discant, 
ut aliorum periculo suae possint vtilitati consulere. Porro ne 
continua historiarum series legenti possit fastidium aliquod 
inferre, morsus in vitia, et ad virtutem suasiones inseruisse 
quandoqw^, tam delectabile, quam utile arbitratus annectam. 
Cui tam audaci ceptui, & successui, eum quem penes maiestas 
est omnis supprecor, fauens adsit, & in sui nominis gloriam, 
quod scripsisse dederit, ipse conseruet. 

^ From Ziegler's edition, Augsburg, 1544. 





Div strenve miles emvnctum ex ingenio meo opusculum, 
in quo virorum Illustrium tractantur casus, & ut plurimum 
infelices exitus, me penes ociosum fuit. Non enim satis mecum 
conueniebam, cui nam primo illud mittere uellem, ut nomini 
suo aliquid adferret omatus: & eiusdem adiutus subsidijs, 
melioribus quam meis auspicijs prodiret in medium. Cupimus 
enim omnes, quadam vmbratili impulsi gloria, quibus auxilijs 
possumus, fragiles labores nostros nobilitare, & diuturniores 
facere: & scriptores potissime. Et inter alia, quasi multum 
illis splendoris consequuturum sit, Pontifici, seu Caesari, aut 
Regi, uel alicui principi maximo titulamus eosdem. Quamo- 
brem longa indagine mentis quaesiui, quem ex multis unum 
eligerem: & ante alios praepollentes mecum euoluere coepi 
Pontifices, quorum vetus sanctitas, iamdudum plures, pia 
afFectione, libellos claros reddiderat. Sane dum modemos, 
ex veteribus exorbitantes, (qui lachn'^mis, & orationibus in 
aduersantes deuotioni eorum, uirtutes coelorum mouere con- 
sueuerant) vidi ex sacerdotalibus infulis galeas, ex pastoralibus 
baculis lanceas, ex sacris uestibus loricas, in quietem, et lib- 
ertatem innocentium conflate: ambire Martialia castra, in- 
cendijs, violentijs, Christiano sanguine fuso laetari: satagen- 
tesqu^ aduersus veritatis verbum dicentis, Regnum meum non 
est de hoc mundo, orbis imperium occupare, horrui, retraxiqu^ 
pedem: ratus apud huiusmodi ludibrium potius opusculum 
meum futurum, quam ob aliquod eius meritum preciosum: 
& ab ijs frustratus, in hodiemum Caesarem aciem mentis de- 
flexi, Sed confestim reuocaui consilium, sentiens eum mag- 
nalium suorum immemorem, praeponentemqu<f Thebani Bacchi 
uina colentis gloriam, splendoribus Martis Italici, nee non 
torpentem sub Circio in extremo orbis angulo, inter niues, & 
pocula. Sed quid tandem? subiere pectus anxium, qui notis 
insigniti regijs, reges haberi uolunt, cum phalerati sint ona- 
gri: & ij potissime, qui hac tempestate praesident regnis. Oc- 
curritqw^r primus Gallus Sicamber, qui se temerario ausu genere, 
& moribus praeferre caeteris audet: & cui primates monstrauere 
sui, nedum philosophari turpissimum fore Regi, uerem liter- 
arum nouisse caracteres, detrimentum Regiae Maiestatis 
permaximum signari. Qui sic sapiunt, damnantes in Regibus, 
quod bellicosos reddit egregios. Inde Hispani, seu Barbari, 
& eflTeraces hoies affuere. Post & Seuerus Britannus, elatus 
nouis successibus. Sic et Pannonius Bilinguis populi multi- 

^ From Ziegler's edition, 

1 Boccaccio's Letter to Mainardo del Cavalcanti 

tudine potius quam virtute valens. Postremo mollis, & efFoem- 
inatus Siculus. Quorum omnium dum mores, & vitam segre- 
gatim intueor, ne per eorum discurram luxum, & inertiam, 
rectius regum simulachra, quam reges uisi sunt, Quadpropter 
nausea quadam vexatus (ne in fabulam deducerem, quod 
cupiebam extollere) ab indagine destiti: & quasi decreueraw 
illud fortunae manibus cowmittere, et fere iam emissurus eram, 
dum illi misertus Deus, in laudabile consilium incidi. Nemini 
scilicet quamtumcumqw^ eminenti, ztque praefulgido principi 
posse quiddaw fidentius quam amico committi: etiamsi extre- 
mae fortis homo sit. Quod iampridem persaepe legimus illustres 
fecisse uiros. Et cum tali gratularer animaduertentiae, & ecce 
quasi tu missus in mentem uenisti, Tum ego mecum, quid 
inter syluestres beluas rugientes potius quam loquentes, mag- 
istr<3e rerum philosophise hostes quaeris, quod in sinu tuo opta- 
tissimum tenes, quod in oculis tuis assidue est, quod te coram 
semper obambulat? Nonne uides Machinardum tuum? tua 
iamdiu approbatum sententia: cuius fidem, dilectionew, cuius 
munificentiam saepe expertus es. Quem ergo aluim quaeris? 
Nonne insuper huic sacra affinitate iunctus es? Secum si 
meminit, vnici filij eius communis pater es. Illi enim dedit 
ipse naturali lege ut esset, cum paracleto operante spiritu, 
ut bene esset dedisti, dum ilium ex sacri fontis lauacro sus- 
cepisti, Praeterea is, esto, plene philosophicis eruditus non 
sit, amantissimus tamen studiorum est, & probatorum homi- 
num praecipuus cultor, atque eorum operum solertissimus 
indagator. Nee est, quod tu summopere uitare uidebaris, 
vnus ex mercenaria plebe, aut inglorius, & degener homo, 
regia enim militia insignitus est, & egregie splendido titulo: 
& ex Caualcantibus clara ciuitatis nostrae familia genitus. Ab 
auorum fulgore non deuiat, quinimo singulare decus, & pricae vir- 
tutis specimen, nomen suum, & patriam laudabili fulgore red- 
dit illustrem. Quid multa dixerim? a deo in sententiam banc 
venisse placuit, ut quanto magis mecum ista reuoluerem, tanto 
arctius roboraretur consilium, et firmius infigeretur animo. Tuo 
igitur, amantissime mi, dummodo pauperis amici munusculum 
now renuas, honorando semper nomini dico, quod paulo ante 
Regali insigniri cupiebam. Suscipe illud liberali animo, si quid 
sanctum amicitiae nomen, iamdiu inter te, & me aequo firmatum 
animo meretur. Quaeso susceptum, dum per honestum ocium 
poteris legas, non equidem legisse penitebit, si satis ingenium 
tuum noui. Et inter legendum non pigeat minus decenter 
se habentia emendasse. Et dum uidebitur, post hoc, inter 
amicos communes, & postremo tuo nomine emittas in publi- 
cum, ut ipse pro viribus celebre nomen tuum, meumqw<f aliquali 
fulgore, per ora uirorum discurrens, illustres. Vale. 

2De« Ca« SDes JI3obIe« i^ommes 
et iFemmes 


[fiir war retaitud in Laurence's second version.^ 

Cest la translacion du prologue lehan boccace ou liure des 
cas des nobles hommes & femmes maleureux, commencant en 
latin: Exquirenti michi quid ex labore, & cetera. [^ Et enuoie 
son liure a vng sien compere cheualier appelle messire maguard 
des cheualchans de florence Senechal de Scicile ainsi comme 
II appart par vne epistre surce (aicte par le dit Boccace en 
la quele II blasme et reprent ouuertement et a cause tous 
les princes crestiens.]^ 

Qvant le enqw^roye quel proufiit le peusse faire a la chose 
publique par le labeur de mon estude, le tournay mon engin 
a considerer les maintiens & les meurs des nobles hommes 
& femmes qui principallement se presenterent deuant les yuelx 
de mon entendement, & quant le les apperceu ordoyez en vains 
delictz & en plaisirs deshonnestes, le consideray Iceulx estre 
desroyes & sans fraing, ainsy comme se [ilz eussent endormie 
fortune par herbes ou par enchantemens ou ainsi comme se]' 
Ilz eussent fermees leurs seignouries a croz de fer a roche day- 
mant. Et pource que ilz cuydoient leurs seignouries estre 
fermes & p<rrdurables, Ilz par leurs forces submarchoient 
non pas seullement les autres moindres hommes, mais le les 
regardoye enorgueillir & rebeller comme folz & oultrageux * 
contre dieu, le faiseur de toutes choses, dont le me esmerueillay; 
& quant le condamnoie lenragee folie de ces nobles hommes 
& femmes, & le conme esbahy consideroye la longue pacience 
de dieu, le pere debonnaire, celle chose me vint en courage 
que le querroie. Certes le dis en mon cueur aucune chose 
nest pas plus prouffitable ne plus charitable a la communaulte 
des hommes & au salut pardurable, que de rappeller au droit 
chemin ceulx qui sont desuoyez se le puis, auquel rauoyement 
combien que aulcuns hommes bien enlangagiez * & nobles 

^ From du Pre's edition, 1483, with corrections and additions from MSS. 
Royal 18. D. VII. and Royal 20. C. IV. 

« From MS. Royal 18. D. VII. ' From the two Royal MSS. 

* oultrageiaj orgueilleux, du Pre. ^ enlangagiez]] alangagez, du Pre. 


Hi Laurence's Prologue 

par aucuwes sainctes & doulces paroUes y ayent traueille lusques 
cy, toutesfois le pense que cest chose prouffitable se le me essaye 
oster telz hommes du somme qui est semblable a la mort & 
a les reueillier pour vitement ouurer, combien que le ne soye 
mie pareil aux anciens historiens. Et certain est que cowme 
telz hommes desuoiez soient accoustumez de ensuiuir ordes 
delectacions, Ilz acoustumeront a grant peine leurs couraiges 
a ouyr les clers enseignemens de vertu, mais puis que Ilz ont 
acoustuwe de voulentiers ouyr la doulceur des histoires lay 
pense en mon cueur de demener mon pr^fsewt liure aulcunes- 
fois par exemples, & de escrire quelle puissance ait dieu contre 
les orgueilleux qui appellent dieu fortune. Et affin que len 
ne doubte de quel temps ou de quelles pi?rsonnes nous traic- 
tons en ce liure, nous respondons que des le commencement du 
monde lusques a nostre temps nous voulons briefment de- 
mener & descrire en appert les fortunes & les cas daulcuns roys, 
ducz & C^e]] autres nobles hommes & femmes lesquelz fortune 
communement a abbaissiez ^ de leurs haultains esta[t]s, & si 
ne dis pas que le escripue de tous roys, ducz & autres nobles 
[hommes], car II nest aucun engin si grant qui souffisist a si 
grant labeur & peine, mais des nobles hommes & femmes II 
me souffist prendre aulcuws des plus nobles affin que quant 
les howmes verront par escript les princes du monde estre febles 
& vains, & les roys ^exus & quotis lusques a [la]] terre par le 
lugement de dieu, Ilz ayent congnoissance de la puissance 
diuine & de la feblesse et muablete de lestat de fortune, & 
que Ilz ayent mesure & attemprance^ entre les bieneuretez 
mondaines. Et affin que per le peril la aduenu aux autres 
Ilz puissent pourueoir a leur mesme prouffit, & aussy affin 
que par continuel racomptement des histoires le ne face ennuy 
a celuy que ce liure lira: lay determine tant pour prouffit 
comme pour delectacion de reprendre & blasmer les vices des 
personnes & de semer^ & mettre en aulcuns chapitres admon- 
nestemens pour viure selon vertus, auquel hault commence- 
ment & pour suite le prie humblement celuy enuers qui est 
toute puissance quil me vueille estre fauorable & que II garde 
& deffende ce que II me ottroiera escrire a la gloire de son nom. 


Le prologue du translateur. 

Selon raison et bonnes meurs lowme soy excercant en aulcune 
science speculatiue ou aultre, peut honnestement muer son 
conseil [ou propos] de bien en mieulx attendue la mutacion 
des choses, des temps, & des lieux, & aussi peut vng potier 

1 abbaissiez] abessez, du Pre. ^ attrempance, du Pre. * finer, du Pre. 
* From du Pre's edition. This is the preface to the second version. 

Laurence's Prologue liii 

casser & rompre aulcun sien vaissel combien quil solt bien 
fait, pour lui donner autre forme qui luy semble meilleure. 
Et ceste licence de muer la chose en mieulx nest pas donnee 
a lowme pour seullement amender ou corrigier sa propre oeuure, 
ains mesmement est a chascun donnee pour ce faire en la be- 
songne dautruy, mais que on le face par bonte de couraige 
& par mouuement de pure ^ charite qui en soy ne contient 
enuye ne arrogance. Comme doncques la pieca le laurens 
de premier fait a lenhortement & requeste daulcuns euz trans- 
late de latin en francois le moins mal qu<f le peuz vng tresno- 
table & exquis liure de lehan boccace, des cas des nobles homme- 
& femmes, en la translation du quel lay ensuyui precisement 
& au luste les sentences prinses du propre langaige de lacteur, 
qui est moult subtil & artificiel, & II soit vray que mesmes 
aulcuns de ceulx qui se dient clers & hommes lettrez seufFrent 
en eulx tresgrant dommage dignorance qui leur aduient par 
defFaulte de trois sciences, qui enseignent droictement, vraye- 
ment, & bellement parler, cestassauvoir grawmaire, logiqw(f, 
& rethorique, parquoy II aduient (\ue les liures latins ditez 
& escritz par les philosophes, poetes, & historiens bien en- 
seignez en toutes sciences humaines sont moult loing & des- 
seruez de lentendement que dame nature donne communement 
aux hommes, [et|] pource doncques [jsecourir a ce tres grant 
default il] conuient se me semble, que les liures latins en leurs 
trenslacions soient muez & conuertis en tel lengaige que les 
liseurs & escouteurs diceulx puissent comprendre lefFect de 
la sentence sans trop grant & trop long trauail de entende- 
ment. le doncques selon le lugement* commun en amendant, 
se le puis, la premiere translacion du dit liure vueil sans riens 
condawner autre ^ fois translater le dit liure. Affin cest as- 
sauoir que de tant quil sera plus cler & plus ouuert en sentences 
& en parolles, de tant II delectera a lire & a escouter plusieurs 
hommes & fenrmes. Et par ce moyen auec laide de la grace 
diuine apr<fs quilz congnoistront plus a plain la miserable 
condicion & le tourment & le muable estat des choses de fortune, 
Ilz les reputeront moins, ains les despriseront de tant plus & 
estimeront les choses diuines & celestes qui ont vraye seurete 
& loye pardurable. Et certain est que entre tous autres vol- 
umes escriptz par a[u]cteurs historiens, ce present liure parlant 
des doulces & ameres fortunes des nobles hommes & femmes 
est de tressingulier prix & de noble exemple de vertus, car II 
fait presque mencion ou en long ou en brief des histoires de 
tous ceulx & celles qui depuis le commencement du monde 

1 de pure charite, Royal i8. D. VII. and Royal 20. C. IV. Du Pre has 
"de oeuure de charite." 

' le lugement] lentendement, du Pre. 
* autre] vne autre, du Pre. 

liv Laurence's Dedication to the Duke of Berry 

lusques a lehaw roy de France, mort prisonnier en angleterre, 
ont eu puissances, richesses, dignitez, honneurs, & delectacions 
mondaines, car fortune a de coustume de abatre lus & de froisser 
presque tous ceulx quelle a esleue au plus hault degre de sa roe; 
& par ainsy ce liure moult estroit & brief en parolles est entre 
tous Qes^ autres liures le plus ample & le plus long a le droit 
expliquer par sentences ramenables aux histoires, en faisant 
done ceste beso[i]ngne longue, & espandue & recueillie de diuers 
historiens par le moyen de la grace diuine. le vueil [[princi- 
palment moy ficher] en deux choses cest assauoir mettre en 
cler langaige les sentences du liure, & les histoires qui par 
laucteur ^ sont si briefment toucheez que II nen met fors 
seulement les noms. le les assouuiray selon la verite des vieilz ^ 
historiens qui au long les escriuirewt. Et si ne vueil pas dire 
que lehan boccace, a[u]cteur de ce liure, qui en son temps fut 
tresgrant & renomme historien, ait delaisse les dictes histoires 
par Ignorance de les non auoir scenes, ou par orgueil de les 
non daignier escripre, car II les auoit si propices a la main & 
si ficheez en memoire, que II les reputa communes & cogneues 
aux autres comme a soy. Affin doncqw^s que le liure ait toutes 
ses parties et soit cowplet en soy, le les mettray briefmCnt 
sans delaisser que trespou le texte de lacteur. Si prie dieu ' 
que a ceste oeuure commencer, moyenner & finer, me vueille 
donner faueur & ayde. Et si requier les hommes que benigne- 
ment me suportent & excusent en moy donnant pardon des 
choses moins bien faictes ou dictes. 


[_Th{s appears only in Laurence's second version."} 

A Puissant noble et excellent prince lehan filz de Roy de 
france, due de berry et dauguerne, Conte de poitou, destampes 
de boulongne & dauuergne, Laurens de premierfait, clerc et 
vostre mains digne secretaire et serf de bonne foy, toute obe- 
dience et subieccion deue comme a mon tresredoubte seigneur 
et bienfaicteur, et agreablement recepuoir le labour de mon 
estude et benignement excuser la petitesse de mon engin au 
resgart de la grant besoigne de vostre commandement par 
moy ia pieca entreprise et nouuelement finee. ^ Combien 
que par vostre espicial mandement Je aye soubz la confiance de 
vostre naturele benignite et en espoir de uostre gracieux aide 

^ laucteur] les acteurs, du Pre. 

^ vieilz] haulx, du Pre. ' dieu] a dieu, du Pre. 

4 From MS. Royal i8. D. VII. (R), fol. z,ff., with a few corrections from 
MSS. Royal 20. C. IV. (R 2) and Add. 18,750 (Add.) 

Laurence's Dedication to the Duke of Berry Iv 

et confort entrepris le dongereux et long trauail de la trans- 
lacion de vng tresexquis et singulier volume, des cas des nobles 
hommes et femmes escript et compile par lehan bocacce de 
Certald, ladis homme moult excellent et expert en anciannes 
hystoires et toutes aultres sciences humaines et diuines. Neant- 
moins pour lexcellence de celle ancienne Royale lignie dont 
vous prenes naissance, et aussi de la noblesse de voz meurs 
et uertus qui a bon droit desseruent pardurable beneurete 
enuers dieu, et enuers les hommes louenge et renomnee. ^ la 
long temps a que en obeissant a voz commandemens le toumai 
mon couraige, a Iceulx acomplir ainsi comme le doy. Cest 
asauoir a translater en langaige franco3's le volume dessuj 
dit, contenant en latin neuf liures particuliers racomptans ou 
en long ou en brief les malheureux cas des nobles hommes et 
femmes qui depuis adam et eue, les premiers de tous hommes 
monterent ou hault degre de la Roe de fortune, iusques au 
temps de tres excellent et noble prince lehan, le premier de 
ce nom, vostre tr^s loyal pere, ladiz Roy des francoys, du 
quel le cas tresbriefment raconte, fait la fin de ce present volume. 
Et pource doncques que ce present liure est intitule des cas 
des nobles hommes et femmes, et que les cas semblent auoir 
dependence et cause efl&cient de par fortune, ie veuil premiere- 
ment et en brief selon mon aduiz yci dire la cause pour quoi 
toutes les dignites et honneurs, richesses, puissances et glo[i]re 
mondaines ^ samblent estre et soient subiectes a fortune, qui 
tousdiz toume sa Roe en transmuant les choses de ce monde. 
Et apres ie diray vne prouuable maniere par quoy chascuin 
homme et femme puissent eulx afFranchir et exempter des 
cas et des trebuschetz de fortune. 

^ Pour quoy choses mondaines sent subiectes a fortune. 

fl Pour declarer donques la premiere de ces deulx choses: 
Sauoir affiert que au commancement homme et femme furent 
de dieu creez auecques entiere beneurete et telement parfaiz 
tant en corps comme en ame, que neiz les sages croient que 
adam et eue, parens de tout humain lignaige, estoient immortelz 
et impassibles se il[z] eussent bien gardee celle saincte et seule 
loy que dieu leur ot donnee ou paradis de delices. Maiz pour 
ce que contre eulx maismes esquelz estoit toute humaine nature. 
Ilz getterent vng hazart par lequel ilz perdirent les princi- 
paulx doarres- tant de corps comme de ame. Q Lenfrainte 
et le comptent ' de celle seule loy entre les innumerables maulx 
et infinis dogmages en engendra vng tres grief, par quoi toute 
hu[m]aine creature * deuint subiecte a fortune et a sa moquerie. 
Car deslors dieu soufFri que les choses du monde qui atous 
estoient pareillement communes de uindrent propres selonc 

* mondaine Add., R 2. * contempt R 2. 

* douaires R 2, Add. * nature R 2, Add. 

Ivi Laurence's Dedication to the Duke of Berry 

la couuoltise de celui qui par violence et force les occupoit 
pour soy. Et pource que tous les couraiges des hommes au 
regart de leur premier conmencement sont tous semblables, 
lun couuoita celle mesme chose que lautre occupoit. Maiz 
pource que deulx ne peuent ensemble possider vne mesme 
chose, II a couuenu que lun dechiee de son desir. Et celui 
qui obtient ce que il desiroit sewble estre iuchiez ^ ou hault 
degre de la roe de fortune, qui comme chamberi(?re de dieu 
pour la punicion de leurs pechies, vne foiz haulse et autre 
foiz abaisse hommes et femmes saws discreccion ne aduiz et 
non pas selon la quawtite des merites des hommes. Maiz p<3r 
vne confuse maniere dont les causes sont euidens a dieu. Maiz 
les hommes comme ignorans de lordrenance diuine ne peuent 
congnoistre telles causes. Quant donqw<fz lomme par quel- 
conque moien monte du bas estat ou hault on lappelle beneureux, 
Et le descendement on le appelle ou cas ou malheurte puis 
que celui qui descent sefforce au contraire et que cest maulgre 
soy. Par quoy cestui liure est apelle des cas des nobles hommes 
et fenmes. ^ Et comme donques iuste punicion ait este cause 
par quoi les howmes et les biens de ce monde furent et sont 
soubzmiz a fortune et a sa moquerie, en tant que les estatz 
de toutes choses mondaines sont enfermes et soubdainement 
muables, et en espicial des haultes choses trop plus que des 
moyennes. En la punicion des deulx premiers parens qui 
orguilleusement enfraingnirent la loy a eulx donnee, la iustice 
de dieu fut estroitement et droictement gardee parce que 
tous participent la moquerie de fortune qui se loue en esleuant 
et en trebuchant les hommes. Car puis ^ que adam & eue 
mistrent en rafle toute la bienheurte huwaine en cuidant icelle 
agrandir et en desobeissant Il[z] perdirent leur chance, Ilz 
deslierent a tous le malheur que auoit atachie dieu a vne forte 
coulompne et soubmistrent eulx et toute leur succession aus 
tournoiemens de la roe de fortune et a ses trebuchetz. Il[zl 
ouurirent les portes a tous pechies. Il[z] dechacierent de ce 
monde les uertus et geterent en terre la semence de tous vices 
que Jamais neussent este nommez ne congneuz entre hommes. 
Et ainsi comme toute nature humaine estoit a done en deux, 
adam et eue, qui par leur franc arbitre hazarderent toute 
leur beneinete,' aussi nous tous descendus deulx sommes par 
droit compaignons de celle perte. Car se il[z] eussent gaigne 
et actaint la chose aquoy il[z] tendoient, chascun en voulsist 
estre compaignon et parsonnier. Aulcuns par aduenture ses- 
bahissent powr quoy tant de nobles hommes et femmes cy 
apres racontes chayrent si miserablem<fnt du tres hault au tres 
bas. Et mesmement alain le pouete se complaint, pource 
que les iniustes et mauues hommes sont tres souuent esleues 

* enchiez Add. ' deputs Add., R 2. • bienheurte R 2. 

Laurence's Dedication to the Duke of Berry Ivii 

aux tres haulx estatz du monde. Et a ces deulx pointz, Alain 
respont vraiement et embrief, Cest assauoir, que fortune les 
esleua en hault afin quil[z] descendissent par plus grief trebuchet 
qui les desrompe & froisse selon la pesanteur de leurs iniquites; 
puis donquez que iay briefment monstre que les cinq dons de 
fortune qui contiennent tous les biens mondains et transsitoires 
sont droittement par ordrenance diuine soubzmis a fortune 
et a sa moqw^rie. le vueil monstrer cleres voyes et manieres 
par les queles tant hommes comme femmes puissent eulx et 
leurs choses exempter et affranchir des cas et de trebuchetz 
de fortune. 

Comment lomme affranchist soy et ses choses de fortune. 

Et pource que ceste matere est dongereuse et obscure enuers 
aulcuns, premierement ie suppose pour uray que se les biens 
de aulcun Homme ne lui semblent tres grans et tres larges 
il est meschant et poure combien que il feust seigneur de tout 
le monde. Et celui est Homme malHeureux et poure qui selon 
sa droicte conscience ne iuge soy estre bienHeureux, la soit 
ce que tout le monde feust soubz sa seignorie. Et cellui nest 
beneureux ne parfait qui par son propre lugement ne le cuide 
estre, Et riens ne vault se aulcun repute soy beneureux qui est 
plain de ricHesses, se il vit et ait uescu desHonnestement et mal, 
et celui na en soy aulcune felicite qui est seigneur de maintes 
cHoses, Maiz il est serf de plusieurs. ^ Ces cinq cHoses dessus 
dictes ne cheent lamaiz en Homme sage. Se donques Homme 
veult soy affrancher et exempter de malHeur II lui conuient 
auoir la uertu de sapience qui en soy seule contient tous biens 
sans commixcion de mal. ^ Le sage Homme est en soy si par- 
fait et si bienHeureux que neiz pour bien viure II na besoing 
lamy.^ Le sage nest point subget a fortune, comme Seneque 
le preuue par vne exemple de demetrius ancian Roy de Surie, 
qui par tirannie occupa main[t]s pays et ardi maintes Cites 
de partHie et de oriant. En lune des cites de partHie estoit 
adonc vng moult sage pHilo[so]pHe nomme Stilbon, qui auoit 
femme, enfans, possessions et aultres RicHesses temporelles. 
Toutes ses cHoses furent arses, perdues & degastees par le 
tirant Demetrius et ses gens. Maiz Stilbon tout seul escHapa 
bienHeureux. Or aduint que demetrius lui demanda sil auoit 
perdu aulcunes siennes choses, et il vraiement et sagement 
respondi, quil nauoit riens perdu, aincois dist: tous mes biens 
sont auesques moy. La responce de Stilbon fist doubteux le 
tirant en tant que II cuida que stilbon leust vaincu, pour ce 
que il dist toutes mes cHoses demeurent auecques moy; et 
uerite disoit, car auecques lui estoient les uertus lustice, pru- 
dence, magnanimite, attemprance^ et la doulce memoire de 
ses uertueuses oeuures continuees sans les queles aucun ne 

' Iamy3 damy R. * attemprance] attrempance R. 

Iviii Laurence's Dedication to the Duke of Berry 

puet luger soy estre beneureux. Car homme indigne et mau- 
uaiz ne puest auoir sentement de iuger soy estre beneureux. 
Ains conuient que tous iours et nom pas en pou de temp quil 
ait bien uescu selon le droit iugement de soy mesmes. ^ Et 
aussi II nest homme aqui ces choses ne deplaisent fors que au 
sage. Car toute folie et aussi chascun fol engendre souuent a 
soy mesmes desplaisir et ennuy. 

Comment lacteur parle du cas de leglise presente et des 

Helas, las, et troys foys las, par faulte de ceste sapience, 
mere et nourrice de toutes vertus diuines et humaines cheirent 
Adam et eue, et par eulx est toute leur succession habandonnee 
au cas & trebuschetz de fortune. Quelz cuers tant soient durs 
pourroient soy abstenir de douleur? Quelz yelx tant soient 
secz se porroient soi abstenir de larmes quant les hommes 
voient clerement et congnoissent les cas ia aduenus des troys 
estatz du monde.'' Cest assauoir, des prestres, des nobles 
hommes, aussi des laboureurs de cestui temps. ^ Car quant 
aux prestres qui par crasse ignorance ne congnoissent eulx 
estre cheuz de leur ancianne beneurete. le di, sauue la paix, 
des bons que ainsi comme dame chastete qui est la singuliere 
et souueraine beaulte des femmes apres le temps du iuste 
roy Saturnus. Chai et tomba ou temps de son filz lupiter 
Roy de Crete par les exces et superfluites qui suruindrent en 
delicieuses viandes en a tours orguilleux et sumptueux baptisse- 
mens de maisons et en aultres adminicules seruans a seule 
deshonneste delectacion. Aussi lancianne sanctite des pr<rstres 
est cheue et versee par la trop grant habondawce de Richesses 
mondaines qui soubz vmbre de la saintite de lesxxs crist et de 
aulcuns siens disciples ont este donnees aux prestres par aulcuws 
princes mondains qui a aulcuns les tollirent pour les donner 
aux prestres ausquelx il vaulsist mielx selon lancienne saintite 
viure des saincts decimes qui sont deuz par droit diuin que 
eulx voultrer et pourrir de dens orguilleux palays ou fiens des 
pechies auecques leurs grans et dommageuses richesses. ^ He- 
las, noble et excellant prince, ne doit len bien gemir, douler 
et plourer le cas et le tombement des prestres de cestui temps, 
qui en tout ou en partie forslignent et desuoient de la sante 
des anciens, qui par leurs larmes et oracions soloient mou- 
uoir dieu et les uertus des cieulx contre les aduersaires de la 
foy catholique. ^ Les sains prestres ancians sont en lewrs 
successeurs telment dessaintiz que maintenant len forge heaul- 
mes de mittres, len fait lawces des croces, len fait des uestemens 
sacerdotalz haubergons, plattes et aultres pieces darmes bait- 
ailleresses pour trauailler et asseruir les hommes simples et 
innocens. Les pr^fstres de cestui temps poursuiuent armes 
et paueillons, il font [IJarsins et violences pupliqw^s; Ilz ont 
plaisir et loye despendre sang humain; Ilz sefForcent de occuper 

Laurence's Dedication to the Duke of Berry lix 

la seignorie du monde centre la sentence du vray lesxxs, filz 
de dieu, disant en leuuangile, que son Roiaulme nest pas de 
cestui monde. ^ Les prestres en cestui temps emplient les 
sales des toys, les palays et les tables en delaissand leurs 
eglises, dont ilz se nomnent espoux. Ilz delaissent les choses 
saintes et poursuiuent les prophanes; Ilz sont pastours sans 
paistre ne congnoistre les brebis: Eulx que leglise fist nobles 
excercent vilz oflBces; Ilz desseruent par procureurs et vicaires 
qui deux foj'S tendent les simples brebiettes: La premiere 
tonture est aux vicaires, et la seconde est au pastour surnomme. 
^ Par le bannissement de celle ancianne sainctite, Cent mal- 
heureux cas sont aduenus, car le deable qui par les merites 
de la mort du bon i^jus et de ses victorieux martirs et glorieux 
confesseurs auoit este loies en labisme denfer par les nou- 
ueaulx pechies des nouueaux prestres, et du simple peuple qui 
est adheurtes en leur oeuures, est ia pieca des loie et sa[i]lli hors 
denfer. Et ia defait comme loup violent et forsene atraict a 
soy, las moy tresgrant partie des brebis coz/zmises en la garde 
du bon pastour S. Pierre, par quoy le bon i^fjus, vray espoux 
et pastour de sainte eglise, a retiree sa main du gouuemement 
de elle. Et est ia en vostre temps la chose atant venue, par 
le pechie principalment des prestres, et secondement du peuple 
que par eulx la loy c^ristianne est presque perie maintenant. 
La Robe de \es\xs sans piece et sans cousture, a este, par xxxij 
ans trenchee en deulx, puis en troys pieces. ^ Et ou saint 
et noble corps deglise dont lesm est le seul chief sont seur- 
creues troys testes a maniere de ung monstre. Et ne remaint 
que a trespou, que la nef de saint pierre ne ait este absorbie 
et noiee es flocz de lamer de ce monde par le uice des nanton- 
niers qui la deuoient tenir ou port de repos et de seurte. En 
brief, content le cas de leglise militant, excellent, noble et 
puissant prince, le prie humblement vous et tous aultres 
que uous me excuses benignement. Car le entens dire sobre- 
ment les choses que vous et Cent Mil hommes aues veues et 
vncores voyez: et le assez le voy se lay sentement ne memoire. 
Et pource ie ne allegue aulcuns autteurs ne liures, car ces 
paroles ont fontaine et naiscence de vne familiere epistre es- 
cripte par lehan Boccace, premier aucteur de ce liure. En 
celle epistre II pleure & regrecte le cas de mondaine noblesse. 

Laucteur parle du cas de noblesse mondaine. 

O dist il, bon dieu de sapience qui tout sees et congnoys, 
enseigne moy, le te prie, en quele partie du morzde soit reposte 
noblesse dont les empereurs & roys portent les tiltres princi- 
paulx? car le layquise en lostel de Cesar Roy des Rommains, 
de qui les ancesseurs par longs labours et par exquises dili- 
gences et par nobles oeuures de victorieuses armes ladis con- 
quistrent la monarchie du monde. ^ Maiz las moy, lai trouue 
que lempereur de ce temps a oublie, ou au moins il dissimule, 

Ix Laurence's Dedication to the Duke of Berry 

les proesses et loanges et les magnifiques besoingnes de ses 
predecesseurs. II a laissie le glorieux estude de Mars ^ le dieu 
des batailles et sest du tout adonne a bachus le dIeu du vin; 
II a delaissie la riche, ancianne et notable Italie es mains de mil 
titans, et sest ale repondre & dormir entre les naiges et grans 
hanaps de vin en celle part dallemaigne qui gist au coste destre 
deuers soleil couchant ou derrain anglet du monde. ^ O las, 
bon dieu, com poure miroer de noblesse, quel exemple de che- 
ualerie pour les roys et aultrifz princes du monde quant il[z] 
voient fetardie, peresse, oysiuete et entonnrisseur en celui 
qui deust a lexample de soy en hotter, esmouuoir, semondre 
et esueiller les autres princes a maintenir et defFendre les con- 
questz de l^wrs noblez awcestrez et a Iceulx amplier ^ et ac- 
croistre. Du corps de lempereur ainsi comme ou soleil soloient 
liure et resplendir toutes uertus qui appartement se monstroient 
par nobles euures dehors les vertus soient de corps ou de courage, 
qui ne monstrent au dehors leurs propres oeuures ne rendewt 
howme plus noble ne que la lune enlumine le monde quant 
la terre sest mise entre le soleil & la face de la lune. ^ O no- 
blesse mondaine, fille des nobles meurs & nourrie du lait des 
saintes vertuz qui est celui q^i ta vanny des hostelz voiaulx, 
& aussi des aultres princes? Tu respons que longuement tu 
habitas nomme comme hostesse en lostel des roys francoys, et 
que illenc volentiers demouroies, maiz que icelle erreur cessast 
parquoy aucuns folement cuiderent & encor*? dient qjie seule- 
ment ce nest pas laide chose a vng roy congnoistre les figures 
des lettres, maiz il cuident et dient que cest tresgrant empire- 
ment de maieste Royale. Maiz telz howmes sont folz qui 
ainsi dient et qui condempnent telle chose es Roys, parquoy 
les hommes ignobles sont droittement anoblis; car droit office 
de Roy et daultres princes est chacun iour seoir en siege iudica- 
tour, ouir paciemment et sagement examiner les merites des 
causes sur les controuersies de leurs hommes subgetz, et rendre 
droit aux parties selon balence de iustice. ^ DefFendre les Inno- 
cens et punir les mauuaiz, procurer princilpalment le pupliqw^ 
proufit, et apres le bien priue que len appelle demaine pource 
que il vient des mains et du labour du peuple en la main du 
prince, qui de sa puissant main doit garder et defFendre le 
peuple Impotent. Et certes clere chose est, que office royal 
ne puest homme sans science et sans art droictement {^conduire 
et] excercer, Ainsi comme vng patron de nauire ne puet bonne- 
ment condu[i]re en mer tempestueuse et vndoiant vne grant 
nef sans gouuernail, sans voile, ne sans remmes. ^ Et auoir 
en tour soy hommes lettres et nobles commis en offices publiques, 
ne monstre pas asses plainement la sapience ne la noblesse du 
roy, ou daultre prince, se il mesme nest lettres et expert en 

* de Mars3 maiz R. * amplier^ employer R. 

Laurence's Dedication to the Duke of Berry Ixi 

oeuure de sapience et en discipline darmes, cest vng corbiau 
vestu de plumes de paon. Et prince sans lettres se assorte 
a lasne qui coronne porte, Et sil nest aulcun homme bon iuge 
fors que es choses que il congnoist lamaiz archier ne tire droit 
sa flesche, se il na aulcun signe deuant soy. ^ O dieu, quel 
grant louenge et beneurete seroit a vng roy ou aultre prince 
cowgnoistre les causes de toutes choses auec celle noblesse se 
aulcune soit que viengne aux enfans de par leurs peres. Car 
ainsi comme vng iardin con plante de diuerses especes darbres 
& herbes flories et oudourans est plus noble et pluj- precieulx, 
aussi sont enfans de nobles hommes qui sont nourris entre 
les fleurs des sciences & oudeurs des vertus, et qui ont longue- 
ment este repeuz des fruitz. Attendu que noblesse nest pas 
hereditaire; car elle prent naiscence de vertuz et bonnes oeu- 
ures; Et combien que en punicion du pechie des premiers parens 
Adam & Eue seruitute par souffrence de dieu soit introduicte 
entre les hommes, en tant que les aulcuns seruent et les aultres 
seignorient nompas selon droit naturel ne ciuil, maiz par le 
droit des gens qui contient douze choses, dont seruitute est 
lune, neantmoins aulcuns nobles de ce temps sont si descheus 
de lestat de uraye noblesse que follement Ilz cuident eulz 
et non aultres estre hommes et que ilz puissent faire pareile- 
ment toutes choses permises et defFendues sans encourir ne 
difFame ne peine combien que il soit aultrement. ^ Car tout 
vice de courage est plus griefnjent a punir de tant comme le 
pecheur est en plus grant degre. Et se dieu sage et iuste seufFre 
et veult que les roys et princes et aultres nobles aient espee 
de puissance sur leurs subgetz II toute uoies ne veult quilz 
excercent fureur ne cruaulte, car aux nobles principalment 
affiert auoir clemence qui met equitte deuant rigueur et veult 
plus encliner a merci que a uerzgence sans faillir hors des termes 
de iustice, sans laqu<fle Roys ne sont roys ne royaulmes. Ains 
sont tirans cruelz et tirannies. ^ Par ainsi donqui?s appert 
que le plus grief cas et le plus dampnable trebuschetz de noblesse 
cest forsbanir et dechassier sciences et vertus de lostel des 
roys, et aultres princes ainsi comme il aperra clerem^nt par 
le compte des cas des nobles malheureux descriptz en ce pres- 
ent volume. 

Ci parle lacteur du cas des laboureux champestres. 

Or vienge a dire le cas des saintz laboureurs et tresbien 
fortunes, Maiz que ilz aient congnoissance de la quantite des 
biens que fortune leur donne. Et certes, puissant, noble et 
excellant prince, es choses dessus di'c/es en ce present prologue 
lusquez yci len me doit tenir pour raco7?;pteur des paroles 
de lehan Boccace en vne sienne familiere epistre: et chacun 
aussi congnoist la verite des deux cas de prestrise et de mondaine 
noblesse. ^ Maiz quant au tiers cas present parquoy ie vueil 
monstrer le tresbuchet des laboureurs, et de la chose rustique. 

Ixii Laurence's Dedication to the Duke of Berry 

le prens uirgile powr mon auteur et maistre. Aulcun done 
ne se m^rueille se le dy que lestat des laboureurs et de leurs 
choses ait este et soit subjet au cas de fortune: Combien que 
commun prouerbe soit que aulcun homme ne chiet, fors celui 
que siet en hault. Car en toutes choses sur quoy enuie gecte 
ses yeulx dame fortune y entreprent seignourie, la soit ce aussi 
que lendieque laboureurs sont de si bas estat que fortune ne 
les pourroit abaisser. Maiz sauue la paix de ceulx qui aiwsi 
dient car se les laboureurs et leurs choses rustiqMifs feussent 
ou [en]corez soubz celle beneurete et franchise en quoy ladiz 
il furent et oncorez deussent estre selon les loyx anciennes 
approuuees diuines et humaines, II nest aulcun aultre estat 
qui ait en soy teles excellances en profis en delitz et en honnes- 
tetes publiques et priues comme la vie et lestat des labou- 
reurs, par qui les hommes sont soustenus et nouris en necessite 
de corps et les sacrifices diuins sont admenistres selon la re- 
ligion publique. C| O bon dieu, quant ladiz les cites tambois- 
soient par discensions, riotes et batailles cruelles, quant chasti- 
aulx et chastelains guerroient les vngs contre les aultres. Adonc 
les laboureurs contens de leurs propres biens viuoient et de- 
lectable et continuelle paix en mutuelle amour sanz soufFrir 
aulcun dowmage, rapine ou violensce, ne en corps ne en biens: 
On laissoit iadiz cites murees et chasteaux assiz sur roches 
pour eschapper mesaises et perilz qui illenques souruenoient, 
Et venoit len aux villaiges ouuers et bas assiz pour y trouuer 
aisances et seurtes, Et pour auoirer mon dit en labourages 
terrestres sont prouffilz et delectacions Innumerables si haulte- 
ment descriptz et racomptes par tulle, noble orateur rommain, 
en son liure de vieillesse lequel vous auez comme ie croy oy 
diligewment et entendu, que ie nen vueil pr^sentement escripre, 
Maiz Ie vueil neantmoins auec vostre bon plaisir plourer 
apr<?s vous les cas des saintz laboureurs de la chose rustique 
pource que la chose ^ publique et la religion de vostre noble 
couraige se doit moult encliner a secourir aux choses tres dom- 
mageuses aux hommes detestables enuers dieu. ^ Las moy 
bon dieu, quele moquerie, quel monstre en bonnes meurs, quel 
abuz de iustice est ce maintenant veoir les hommes laboureurs, 
simples innocens sans cruaulte et sans armes, qui nuit et lour 
demeurent en poures maisonettes si sobremi?nt, repeuz et 
vestuz de leurs propres labours que a paines II appaisent la 
faim, et de vilz palestreaux II cueuurcent leurs mewbres recourbes 
et frossiez par continuel labour, Ilz qui purement nourissent 
leurs fewmes et enfans afin de les endurcir aux saints labours 
de la terre, Il[z] departent tout le temps de leur vie en trois pars: 
Premierement a dieu seruir en prieres et sacrifices, a titer 
par continuel labour des boyaulx de la terre toutes choses 

' chose]] pitie Add., R. 

Laurence's Dedication to the Duke of Berry Ixiii 

necessaires a la vie, Et a multiplier par leurs saintz mariages 
succession de lignie. Certes en ces iij choses na riens qui ne 
soit accordant a la loy diuine et humaine. La vie des labou- 
reurs champestres droittement examinee et congneue sambla 
tele aux ancians nobles hommes, philosophes et princes quilz 
instituerent par editz et par loix que ce lui seroit repute et 
pugny comme sacrilege qui ofFendroit et rauiroit leurs labours 
ou leurs biens feust en champ ou en ville. Et pource furent 
ilz et oncores sont appelles saintz. ^ Mais, puissant, noble et 
excellent prince, escoutez sil vous plaist le miserable cas de 
ces laboureurs et de leur chose rustique aux quelz se par vous 
ou aultre aiant puissance, voulente et sagesse nest briefment 
secouru et pourueu en vostre temps, de remede couuenable. 
Dieu, qui ne het ^ aulcun et qui de tous a merci et en espicial 
des bons simples laboureurs et aultres hommes iustes, II 
retirera sa main a sa beniuolance des prestres et des nobles 
qtti ne gardent misericorde, ne Justice enuers eulx, ne enuers 
les aultres. Ains les soubz marchent et foulent. II aduenra 
que dieu leur ostera, Raison dentendement, honneur de ancian 
estat et les vestira de confusion. II espressira les tenebres 
de leurs ywelx; II mettra trebuschetz a leurs piez afin quilz 
cheent du tres hault au tres bas. ^ II ramenra a neant ou 
transportera en aultres mains leurs orguilleuses richesses, hon- 
neurs, gloires, dignites et puissances. le ne vous persuade 
ne admonneste pas car vous aduisez asses par les yeulx de 
vostre pensee & ceulx de vostre corps, quele et com grant 
iniquite, seu[e]r[i]te et austerite ce soit voir les simples labou- 
reurs proufitables a tous et nuisans a nul homme estre par apperte 
violence [^oppressez etj] dechasses de leurs propres ^ maisons, 
mutiles, batus, Iniuries de fait et de paroles; leurs fames a 
hontages, leurs filles corrompuees, et leur aultres choses trans- 
glouties et gastees ou mises a rampson par les nobles hommes 
darmes de ce temps, ausquelz les roys et princes deputent 
ou au moins doiuent commettre la garde et la defFense des 
saintz laboureurs et de leur chose rustique. ^ De leurs gaings 
et labours sont comblees et esplendies les tables des Roys, 
des princes et daultres quel[z]conques nompas seulement 
hommes mayz bestes et oyseaulx soient priuees ou sauuaiges. 
Et en eulx est tele frugalite et sobresse que pour aisier et se- 
courir les aultres Ilz seuffrent voluntairement disettes et me- 
saises: Ilz portent sanz Reclam le lou de seruitute et le grief 
faiz de truage, Ilz regrettent seulement que ilz ne possident 
mie en seurte et en paix ce pou qui leur demeure apres dame 
sainte eglise et leurs aultres seigneurs satisfaitz de leurs rentes, 
demaines et subsidies. ^ Entre les trois griefz tresbuchetz 
de tele beneurte comme laboureurs ont liniquite et malice 

* het3 ^i2>t» Add. - propres] poures, R a. 

bciv Laurence's Dedication to the Duke of Berry 

des ministres des deulx iuridicions, eccliastique et seculiere 
cest la plwj- mortele plale qui plus dedens les naure et le diluge 
qui plus les sangloutist. Car a hommes corrumpus de tous 
vices en ce temps est cowmise ladministracion et lespee de 
Justice a luger les simples et Innocens laboureurs. ^ Es cours 
iudicatoires ^ sont aduocatz et procureurs bien instruitz en 
baratz et cauteles conseillans, a mouuoir et nourrir plaiz et 
controuersies soit a bon droit et ^ a tort, afin de tirer ou goufFre 
de leur couuoitise les deniers des parties plaidoiaws soubz 
faulse couleur de auoir loyaulment conseille et defFendu les 
causes. Las moy, ne souffisoit II assez selon les saintz droitz 
canons que les prelatz aians les premieres dignitez en sainte 
eglise eussent comment ^ il ont leurs diligens Archediacres 
pour aduiser et enquenx par les Cites et dioceses les crimes 
et exces parpetres par les howmes et iceulx rapporter aux 
oreilles des prelatz des lieux, afin de iceulx punir et corrigier 
selon iustice. Certes il souffisoit a dieu, maiz non pas au 
deable ne aux siens, car afin que soubz fardee Justice toute 
la substance des simples laboureurs viengne a saouler la faim 
de la mauldite couuoitise des Euesques et aultres hommes 
deglise. Ilz mettent officiers en leurs cours, hommes barbares 
et sans pitie, sans bonnes meurs, sans uertus et sans sciences 
qui nuit et lour espient par queles voiez Ilz puissent accuser 
et traire en lugement simples et Innocens hommes plus dignes 
destre absolz que comdempnes. ^ Pource, excellant, noble et 
puissant prince, ce que le scay vostre singulier plaisir et toute 
vostre estude tournes en la partie de commune bonte et que 
aux malheureux cas dessus diets wous comme puissant et sage, 
poues et sauez pourueoir et secourir. Et que vos salutaires 
cowmandemens attendue lauctorite de vostre noble et com- 
mandable vieillesse, peeuent souuerainement reparer les choses 
deformeez et confermer les bonnes, le au surcroys de tout 
ce liure ay mis fiablement ce prologue a fin que chacun 
congnoisse que vouz nestes pas seulement nez pour vous, Maiz 
pour profiter a tous en ouura?it la voye deschaper les cas de 
fortune muable et au[e]uglesse parce que vous abandonnez 
a tous le plain entendement du volume dessus dit, du quel 
par vostre commandement lay entrepris la charge de le trans- 
later de latin en langaige francoys. ^ Si vueillez donques 
excellant, noble et puissant prince, mon tres singulier bien- 
faitteur et redoubte seigneur, defFendre ma cause comme la 
vostre propre contre les enuieux, qui sans iuste cause vouldront 
malicieusement contrester a ceste vostre oeuure qui par moy 
est ourdie et terue au moins mal selon mon pouoir. Et pour 
leuident n[e]cessite et pour le iuste desir que lay dauoir bon 

1 iudicatoires] ludiciares, R 2. ^ et] ou, Add., R 2. 

• comment] comme, Add., R i. 

Laurence* s Dedication to the Duke of Berry Ixv 

commancement et de meilleur moyen et de tres bonne fin en 
ceste besoigne qui ne peuent daultre venir fors de celui qui 
sans en auoir moins donne a tous ces dons de grace. ^ le 
prie, appelle et requier dieu a qui fortune obeit, qui trebuche 
et drece les hommes selon leurs pechiez et uertus que par sa 
surhabundant grace II enrichisse mon ame de science sans 
errer, et ma bouche de paroles accordans a verite et me donne 
bonnes meurs sanz desroguer a la diuine loy: Et quil conduie 
ma plume diligemnent escruiant sanz langoureuse paresse au 
commun prouffit de touz et a la loange diuine. 

' L t>J'> 

i.v V 




CHere begynneth the book callyd I. Bochas des- 
criuyng the falle of F^rjmcys pryncessys and 
othir nobles translatid in to Inglissh bi lohn 
Ludgate Monke of the Monastery of seynt 
Edmundes Bury atte commaundement of the 
worthi prynce Humfrey duk of Gloucestre 
begynnyng at Adam & endyng wit/i kyng 
lohnc take prisonere in Fraunce bi Prynce 
Edward.] ^ 

HE that whilom dede his dilligence [p. i] 
The book of Bochas in Frensh to translate 
Out of Latyn, he callid was Laurence; 
The tyme trewli remembrid and the date, 4 

The yere * whan kyng lohn thoruh his mortal fate 
Was prisoner brouht to this regioun, 
Whan he first gan on this translacioun. 

In his prologe afFermyng ofF resoun, 
TArtificeres hauyng exercise 
May chaunge and tume bi good discrecloun 
Shappis, formys, and newli hem deuyse, 
Make and vnmake in many sondry w>'se, 
As potteres, which to that craft entende, 
Breke and renewe ther vesselis to a-mende. 

\ Thus men oflF crafft may off due riht, 
That been inuentifF & han experience, 
Fantasien in ther inward siht 
Deuises newe thoruh ther excellence; 
Expert maistres han therto licence 
Fro good to bettir for to chaunge a thyng, 

, And semblabli these clerkis in writyng, 

/ Thyng that was maad of auctowrs hem befom, 
Thei may off newe fynde and fantasie, 

Ljrdgate says 
that Laurence 
de Premierfait 
began his 
in the year 
that King 
lohn of 
was brought 
prisoner to 

3 As craftsmen 
use their 
powers of 

jg so may 

skilled clerks 
amend and 
improve their 

3. he3 erased in H. 
16. han|] have H. 

S. The yere] Yeer B, R, H, There J. 
1 MS. J. leaf I a. 

if they are 
modest and 
free from 

as was 

He excelled 
as a writer 
of French, 

but felt it 
to be a great 
task to write 
the Fall of 


No rose is 
without a 
no man so 
high in his 
estate that 
he may not 

Prologue Qbk. i 

Out of old chafF trie out ful cleene corn, 24 

Make it more fressh and lusti to the eie, 

Ther subtil witt and ther labour applie, 

With ther colours agreable off hewe, 

Make olde thynges for to seeme newe, 28 

Afforn prouydid that no presumpcioun 

In ther chaungyng haue noon auctorite, 

And that meeknesse haue dominaciouw, 

Fals Envie that she not present be; 32 

But that ther grouwd with parfit charite 

Conueied be to ther auauntage, 

Trewli rootid a-myd of ther corage. 

Thus Laurence fro hym envie excludid, 36 

Thouh toforn hym translatid was this book, 

Withywne hymsilff he. fulli hath concludid, 

Vpon that labour whan he caste his look, 

He wolde amende it; but first he forsook 40 

Presumpcioun, and took to hym meeknesse, 

In his prologe as he doth expresse. 

In which processe, lik as I am lerid. 

He in his tyme off cuwnyng dede excelle 44 

In ther language, therfore he was requerid 

Off estatis, which gan hym eek compelle, 

A-mong hem holde off rethorik the welle, 

To vndirfonge this labour they hym preie, 48 

And* ther request he lowli dede obeie. 

Ful weel he felte the labour was notable, 

The fall of nobles, with eueri circumstauwce, 

From ther lordshippes, dreedful and vnstable, 52 

How that thei fill to putte in remembrauwce, 

Therin to shewe Fortunys variauwce, 

That othre myhte as in a merour see 

In worldly worshepe may be no surete. 56 

Bi exauwple, as there is no rose 

Spryngyng in gardeyns, but ther be sum thorn, 

Nor fairer blosme than Nature list dispose. 

Than may ther beute, as men ha[ue] seyn toforn, 60 

With bittir wyndes be fro ther braunchis born, 

24. ful]wolH, well R 3, wel P — out]om.H5. 46. gan^canR. 
49. And] And he B — he] om. R — lowly he dide J. 
58. gardeyns] gardyn H. 61. fro] frome H. 

BK. l] 


Nor noon so hih in his estat contune 
Fre fro thawaityng & daunger of Fortune. 

Wherfore Bochas for a memoriall, 64 

Consid[e]ryng the grete dignitees 

Off worldli pryncis in ther power roiall, 

Grete emperours, estatis and degrees, 

How Fortune hath cast hem from ther sees; 68 

/ Namly such as koude hemsilff nat knowe, 
\Ful sodenly to make hem lyn ful lowe. 

This said auctour, auise and riht sad, 

Hath gadred out, with rethoriques sueete, 72 

In dyuers bookes which that he hath rad, 

Off phihsophres and many an old poete, 

Besied hym bothe in cold and hete* 

Out to compile and writen as he fond 76 

The fall of nobles in many dyuers lond. 

Vpon whos book in his translacioun 

This seid Laurence rehersith in certeyn, 

And holdith this in his opynyoun, 80 

/ Such language as open is and pleyn 

y Is more acceptid, as it is ofFte seyn, 
Than straunge termys which be nat vndirstande, 
Namly to folkis that duellyn vp-on lande. 84 

And* he seith eek, that his entencioun [p. 2] 

Is to a-menden, correcten and declare; 

Nat to condempne off no presumpcioun, 

But to supporte, pleynli, and to spare 88 

Thyng touchid shortly off the story bare, 

Vndir a stile breeff and compendious. 

Hem to prolonge whan thei be vertuous: 

For a stor^"^ which is nat pleynli told, 92 

But constreynyd vndir woordes fewe 
For lak off trouthe, wher thei be newe or old. 
Men bi report kan nat the mater shewe; 
These ookis grete be nat doun ihewe 96 

First at a strok[e], but bi long processe, 
( Nor longe stories a woord may not expresse. 

Bochas was 
the original 

of the Fall 
of Princes. 

held that !t 
is good to 
write simply 
and dearly. 

and he said 
that he would 
amplify the 
story wherever 

for a narrative 
must not be 
too condensed. 

63. fro3 frome H — of dawnger & H. 68. from] fro R. 

75. and] and in B, H, & eke in R 3. - — 

85. And] As B, R, — eek] also J. 94. newe] yong H. 

95. report] reprot R. 

4 Prologue [^bk. i 

Rewrote YoT which, plcynli, this noble translatour 

Caste off purpos these stories for to write, loo 

And for to doon his dilHgent labour 

As thei fill in ordre to endite, 

That men afFtir myhte hemsilfF delite, 

Auentures, so as thei fill in deede, 104 

Off sundry pryncis to beholde & reede, 

seeti^raiT^^ ,And hauc a maner contemplaciouw, 

"^ That thynges all, wher Fortune may atteyne, 
<.Be transitory of condiciouw; 108 

For she off kynde is hasti & sodeyne, 
Contrarious hir cours for to restreyne. 
Off wilfulnesse she is so variable, m 

Whan men most truste, than is she most chauwgable. 

fs deceitful!"'' And for hir chaung and for hir doubilnesse. 

This Bochas biddith* that men sholde enclyne 

Sette ther hertis, void off vnstabilnesse, 

Vpon thynges which that been deuyne, 116 

Where-as ioie perpetueli doth shyne 

Withoute eclipsyng in that heuenli see, 

Void off all cloudis off mutabilite. 

see that all 
things are 


we must set 
our hearts on 
divine and 

bot'h of j!^^r* Among, this Bochas writith off suetnesse 120 

And off materes that lusti been and glade, 
And sumwhile he writt off wrechidnesse. 
And how Fortune kan floure & afftir fade — 
Ioie vndir cloude, prosperite in the shade, 124 

Entirchauwgyng off euery maner thyng, 
Which that men feele, heer in this world lyvyng. 

And in his processe, who-so list beholde. 

Off alle estatis, off hih and louh degre, 128 

And off pryncis bothe yong and olde. 

Fro the begynnyng, which in this world ha be, 

Lyuyng in ioie or in aduersite. 

Fro the firste he descendith doun i3« 

Off ther fortune be pleyn descripcioun. 

Afim'a'Ifd '''''' Off the most noble he ne spareth noon, 
But settith hem in ordre ceriously, 
Gynnyth at Adam & endith at kyng lohn, 136 

; joy 
and sorrow 
and of 

He told the 
story of all 

ending with 
King John 
of France. 


1 14. biddith] bitt B, but R, bydde H 5. 120. writith] writ H. 
126. heer in this world lyvyng] in this world her lyvyng H. 
129. yong] of yong H. 

BK. l] 


Ther auentures rehersyng by and by, 
Off this kyng lohn concludyng fynaly, 
How that he was, for al his gret puissance, 
Off prynce Edward take prisoner in France. 

This seid[e] Bochas, auctour off this book, 
Which off stories hadde gret intelligence, 
Summe he leffte [and] summe also he took, — 
Such as he leffte was off no necligence, 
Supposyng and demyng off credence, 
Alle the stories which that comoun be, 
(Other knew hem also weel as he. 

And lest that folk wolde haue had disdeyn, 
■^i:::^ Thynges comoun to put in memorie,* 

Therfore Bochas thouhte it was but veyn. 
To his name noon encres off glorie, 
, To remembre no cronvcle nor historie, 




What he left 
out is of (mall 

for he induded 
all the best 
and most 

But tho that wern for ther merit notable. 

I Auctorised, famous and comendable. 

In his labour hauyng a delit, 
That the mater gretli myhte auaile. 
Do plesance to the comon profit. 
Off noble stories to make rehersaile, 
Shewyng a meroz^r how al the world shal faile, 
And how Fortune, for al ther hih renouw, 
Hath vpon pryncis iurediccioun. 

The which[e] thyng, in ful sobre wise. 

He considred in his inward entent. 

In his resoun gan to aduertise, 

Seyng off princis the blynd entendement. 

With worldli worshep how that thei be blent, 

As thei sholde euer ther estatis keepe. 

And as Fortune were I-leid to sleepe. 

As thei hadde off Fortune the maistry. 

Here enchauntid with ther pociouns 

Bi sum craft off newe sorcery. 

Or bi power off incantaciouns, 

To make stable ther domynaciouns 

With iren cheynys for to laste longe^ - 

Lokkid to rokkis off adamantis stronge. 

137. rehersyng] reh^rsith H. 148. folk] folkej R 3. 
149, etc. memoire, gloire, histoire B. 
163. considred] considrith H. 



shewing as in 
a mirror how 
Fortune is 

over Princes, 



[p. 3] 


believe, in 
their pride, 
that they are 
her masters. 


[bk. I 

But Fortune 
often casts 
them down. 

Some Princes 
even set God 
at nought. 

but He 


some with 
sickness, others 
with adversity. 

believed that 
it is right to 
hold before 
the vicious 
examples of 
those who fell; 


Supposyng[e] in ther surquedie 
Ther estatis sholde be durable; 
But Fortune kan frowardli denye, 
Pleynli preue that thai be chauwgable, 
And to pryncis, for thel be nat stable, 
Fortune ful ofFte, for al ther gret estat, 
Vnwarll chauwgith & seith to hem ^chekmat 

i^or lordis summe in ther magnificence 
<^Off roial power sette off God riht nouht, 
Thei nat considre his long pacience, 
Nor aduertise his power in ther thouht, 
But in ther hertis, yiff it were weel souht, 
How he is meek and pacient to a-bide, 
Thei wolde off resoun ther pompe leyn a-side. 

But for ther tarieng and ther necligence, 
That thei to hym wil nat resorte a-geyn, 
Yit off his mercy and benyuolence, 
Withoute vengance, rigour or disdeyn, 
As a meek fadir, in alle his werkis pleyn, 
Assaieth his yerde off castigaciouw, 
So for to brynge hem to correccioun. 

Suwme he can ful fadirli chastise, 
Where he loueth, be punshyng off siknesse. 
And off his mercy in many a-nother wise 
Baduersite* off sum worldll distresse; 
(And he nat asklth, for his kynd[e]nesse, 
' Off hih nor low, who-so can aduerte, 
-/Noon othir tresor but a manwys herte. 

And as myn auctour list to comprehende, — 
This lohn Bochas, bi gret auctorlte, — 
 It Is almesse to correct* and a-mende 
The vicious folk off euery comouwte. 
And bi exauwplis which that notable be 
Off pryncis olde, that whilom dede fall. 
The lowere peeple from ther errour call. 

Bi smale whelpis, as suwme clerkis write. 

Chastised is the myhti fers \eoun, 

And whan the suerd off vengauwce eek doth bite 



A'iu»v«-c lv,M«aj(^ 





184. rihtnoulit B, R. 186. auertise R. 

198. ponysshyng H, punysshyng R 3, punishyng H J. 

200. Baduersite] Bathuersite B, Bi adiiersite R. 

201. his] om. R. 206. correct] correctyn B. 

BK. l] 





Vpon prjTicis for ther transgressioun, 

The comon peeple in ther opynyouw, 

For verray dreed[e] tremble don* & quake, 216 

And bl such mene ther vices thei forsake. 

And such also as ha be defoulid 

In ther vicis bi long contynuaunce, 

Or in ther sjTinys rustid and ImowHd, 220 

Bi good example may come to repentaurzce: 

Who hym repentith, the Lord will hym auauTice, 

And hym accepte, in hih and louh estat, — 

The meek preserue, punyshe the obstynat. 

This said[e] mater, touchyng such[e] thyngis, 
Myn auctour Bochas heerafftir shal declare 
Bexaumple off pryncis & off myhti kyngis, 
\Miat was ther fyn, & nat the trouthe spare; 
And theih my stile nakid be and bare, 
In rethorik myn auctour for to sue, 
Yit fro the trouthe shal I nat remue, 

But on the substance bi good leiser abide, 232 

AiFtir myn auctour lik as I may atteyne, 
And for my part sette eloquence aside. 
And in this book bewepen and compleyne 
Thassaut off Fortune, froward and sodeyne, 236 

How she on pr^'ncis hath kid her variaurzce 
And off her malice the dedli mortal chaunce. 

But, o alias! who shal be my muse, 
Or onto whom shal I for helpe calle? 240 

Calliope my callyng will refuse. 
And on Pernaso here worthi sustren alle; 
Thei will ther sugre tempre with no galle, 
• For ther suetnesse & lusti fressh syngyng 244 

Ful ferr discordith fro materis compleynyng. 

My maistir Chaucer, with his fresh comedies. 

Is ded, alias, cheefF poete off Breteyne, 

That whilom made ful pitous tragedies; 248 

The fall of pryncis he dede also compleyne, tKvio 

As he that was of makyng souereyne, 

Whom al this land sholde off riht preferre, 

Sithe off oure language he was the lodesterre. 252 

216. don]] doun B, R, a dour. J. 217. mene] menys H. 

229. nakid] nake H. 

251. sholde off rihtj of right oujt J. 

for if Princes 
are chastised, 
so much the 
more ought 
the commons 
to dread a 
like fate. 

Even hardened 
sinners may be 
brought to 
repentance by 
g>3d eiamole. 

My style is 
bare of 

but I will 
deal faithfully 
with my 

I have no 
Muse: my 
subject is too 
doleful for 
the Sisters of 
Mt. Parnassus, 

and Chaascii. . 
alas, fs dead. { 
the lodestar \ 
of our /' 

language. ' 


Other men, 
too, wrote 
Seneca, Tully, 
and Francis 
Petrarch, who 

made a book 
of Two 

John Bochas 
told how 
Princes fell 
into distress. 

All praise to 
my master 
Chaucer, who 
refined our 

He wrote 




Prologue []bk. I 

Senek in Rome, thoruh his hih prudence, [p. 4] 

Wrot tragedies of gret moralite; 

And Tullius, cheefF welle off eloquence, 

Maad in his tyme many fressh dite; 256 

Franceis Petrak, off Florence the cite, 

Made a book, as I can reherce, 

Off too Fortunys, welful and peruerse. 

And ageyn bothe wrot the remedies, 260 

In bookis tweyne made a divisiouw, 

A-mong rehersyng many fressh stories. 

The firste book is thus conueied dou«, 

A dialoge twen Gladnesse and Resoun; 264 

The seconde can ber me weel witnesse, 

Maad atwen Resoun & Worldli Heuynesse. 

The mater is wondirful delectable, 

Thouh wo with ioie haue an interesse; 268 

And lohn Bochas wrot maters lamentable, 

The fall of pryncis, where he doth expresse 

How fro ther ioie thei fill in gret distresse; 

And all these writers, thoruh ther famous renouw, 272 

Gret worshipe dede vnto ther naciouw. 

And semblabli as I ha[ue] told toforn. 

My maistir Chaucer dede his besynesse. 

And in his dales hath so weel hym born, 276 

Out off our tunge tauoiden al reudnesse. 

And to refourme it with colours of suetnesse; 

Wherfore lat us yiue hym laude & glory 

And putte his name with poetis in memory. 280 

Off whos labour to make mencioun, 

Wherthoruh off riht he sholde comendid be, 

In youthe he made a translacioun 

Off a book which callid is Trophe 284 

In Lumbard tunge, as men may reede & see. 

And in our vulgar, longe or that * he deide, 

Gaff it the name off Troilus & Cresseide. 

Which for to reede louers hem delite, 288 

Thei ha[ue] theryn so gret deuocioun. 
And this poete, hymsilff also to quite, 

263. thus]] thus first H. 267. wondirful] riht wondir H. 

268. an interesse] intresse R. 

284. caliid is] is callid R. 286. that] than B, R. 

BK. l] 


Off Boeces book, The Consolacioun, 

Maad in his tyme an hool translacioun. 292 

And to his sone, that callid was Lowis, 

He made a tretis, ful noble & off gret pris, 

Vpon thastlabre in ful notable fourme, 

Sette hem in ordre with ther dyuysiouns, 296 

Mennys wittis tapplien and confourme. 

To vndirstonde be ful expert resouns 

Be domefieng off sundry mansiouns, 

The roote out-souht at the ascendent, 3cx5 

Toforn or he gaff any iugement. 

He wrot also ful many day agone, 

Dante in Inglissh, hymsilff so doth expresse, 

The pitous story off Ceix and Alcione, 304 

And the deth eek of Blaunche the Duchesse, 

And notabli dede his bisynesse, 

Bi gret auys his wittis to dispose, 

To translate the Romaunce off the Rose. 308 

Thus in vertu he sette al his entent, 

Idilnesse and vicis for to fle; 

Off Foulis also he wrot the Parlement, 

Theryn remembryng of roial Eglis thre, 312 

How in ther chois thei felte aduersite, 

Tofor Nature profred the bataile, 

Ech for his parti, yiff it wolde auaile. 

He dede also his dilligence & peyne 316 

In our vulgar to translate and endite 

Origen vpon the Maudeleyne, 

And off the Leoun a book he dede write; 

Off Anneleyda* and of fals Arcite 320 

He made a compleynt, doolful & pitous, 

And off the broche which that Vulcanus 

At Thebes wrouhte, ful dyuers of nature, 

Ouide writith, who theroff hadde a siht, 324 

For hih desir he shulde nat endure 

But he it hadde, neuer be glad nor liht; 

And yiff he hadde it onys in his myht, 

292. an]] & R. 294. The last two Utters of pris torn off H. 
303. Dante] Dant H. 305. eek] also H. 
312. remembryng] memebr\-ng R. 318. mawgdeleyne H. 
320. Anneleyda] Anneloyda B, H 5, Anneleida R, H, P, 
annelida J. 328. writ] wrott R. 

He made a 
treatise on 
the Astrolabe 
for his tea 

from Dante 
and wrote 
Celx and 
The Deth of 
The Romaunt 
of the Rose, 

The Parlement 
of Foules, 

Origen on 
The Book of 
the Lion, 
Anelida and 
Fals Arc>te, 
the story of 
the brooch 
that Vulcan 



[bk. I 

The I.egende 
of Good 

p :y 



the stories of 
Melibeus in 
and The 
Monk's Tale, 

and many 
and songs. 

Poets used 
to be the 
of kings. 

Lich as my maistir seith and writ in deede, 328 

It to conserue he sholde ay lyue in dreede. 

This poete wrot, at request off the queen, 

A legende off parfit hoolynesse, 

Off Goode Women to fynde out nynteen 332 

That dede excelle in bouwte and fairnesse; 

But* for his labour and [his] bisynesse 

Was inportable his wittis to encoumbre, 

In al this world to fynde so gret a nouwbre. 336 

He made the book off Cantirburi Talis, [p. 5] 

Whan the pilgrymis rood on pilgrymage 

Thoruhout Kent bi hillis and bi valis, 

And alle the stories told in ther passage, 340 

Enditid hem ful weel in our language: 

Sumwe off knyhthod, summe off gentilesse, 

And summe off loue & sumwe off parfitnesse, 

And suwme also off gret moralite, 344 

Suwme off disport, includynge gret sentence. 

In prose he wrot the Tale off Melibe, 

And off his wiff, that callid was Prudence, 

And off Grisildis* parfit pacience, 348 

And how the Monk off stories newe & olde 

Pitous tragedies be the weie tolde. 

This said poete, my maistir in his daies, 

Maad and compiled ful many a fressh dite, 352 

Compleyntis, baladis, rouwdelis, virelaies 

Ful delectable to heryn and to see. 

For which men sholde, off riht and equite, 

Sithe he off Inglissh in makyng was the beste, 356 

Preie onto God to yiue his soule good teste. 

And these poetis I make off menciouw. 

Were bi old tyme had in gret deynte. 

With kyngis, pryncis in euery regiouw, 360 

Gretli preferrid afftir ther degre; 

For lordis hadde plesance for to see. 

To studie a-mong, and to caste ther lookis 

At good[e] leiser vpon wise bookis. 364 

334. But] And B. 342. 2nd summe] & summe R. 
345. encludyng R. 348. Gresildes B. 
352. a] oTtt. H. 357. good] owi. R. 

BK. l] 



For in the tyme ofF Cesar lulius, 

Whan the tryumphe he wan in Rome town, 

He entre wolde the scoole off Tullius 

And heere his lecture ofFgret aiFeccioun; 368 

And natwithstandyng his conquest & renou;z, 

Vnto bookis he gafF gret attendaunce 

And hadde in stories ioie and gret pleasu7zce. 

Eek in this land, I dar afFerme a thyng: 372 

There is a prynce ful myhti ofF puissauwce, 

A kyngis sone and vncle to the kyng 

Henry the Sexte, which is now in Fraunce, 

And is lieftenant, and hath the gouernaunce 376 

OfF our Breteyne, thoruh whos discrecioun 

He hath conserued in this regioun, 

Duryng his tyme, ofF ful hih prudence. 

Pes and quiete and sustened riht, 380 

Yit natwithstandyng his noble prouidence, 

He is in deede proued a good[e] knyht, 

Eied as Argus with resoun and forsiht; 

OfF hih lettrure, I dar eek ofF hym telle, 384 

And treuli deeme that he doth excelle 

In vndirstondyng alle othir off his age, 

And hath gret ioie with clerkis to comune: 

And no man is mor expert off language, 388 

Stable in study alwey he doth contune, 

Settyng a-side alle chaungis of Fortune; 

And wher he loueth, yiff I shal nat tarie, 

Withoute cause ful loth he is to varie. 392 

Due off Gloucestre men this prynce calle, 

And natwithstandyng his staat & dignite, 

His corage neuer doth appalle 

To studie in bookis off antiquite, 396 

Therin he hath so gret felicite 

Vertuously hymsilff to ocupie. 

Off vicious slouthe to haue the maistrie. 

And with his prudence and with his manheed, 400 
Trouthe to susteene he fauour set a-side. 
And hooli chirch[e] meyntenyng in deed. 


listened to 

In this 
there is a 
Prince, a 
gcxxl kniiiht. 

who excels 
all in 

and loves to 
be with 
scholars and 
read their 

374. to] vn to H. 
376. lefFtenaunt H. 

369. renoun] gret Rcnourt H. 

375. Henry] Herry H, Henri J 

382. goode] riht good H. 

384. lettrure] lectrure B, R, lettur R 3, lecture P 

400. 2nd with] wit R. 

He is the 
Duke of 

a man who 
upholds the 
church and 
tolerates no 



[bk. I 


\ \ »-'• 

manly and 
wise, he is a 
foe to all 

He knew the 
book of 

and bade me 
translate it 
into English, 

which I will 
do, although 

That in this land no Lollard dar abide — 

As verray support, vpholdere and eek guide 404 

Sparith noon, but maketh hymsiluen strong 

To punysshe all tho that do the chirch[e] wrong. 

Thus is he bothe manli and eek wis, 

Chose off God to been his owyn knyht, 408 

And off o thyng he hath a synguler pris, 

That heretik dar noon come* in his siht, 

In Cristis feith he stant so hool vpriht. 

Off hooli chirche diffence and champioun, 412 

To chastise alle that do therto tresouw. 

And to do plesauwce to our lord I^ju, 

He studieth euere to haue intelligence; 

Reedyng off bookis bryngith in vertu, 416 

Vices excludyng, slouthe and necligence, 

Makith a prynce to haue experience, 

To knowe hymsilff, in many sundri wise, 

Wher he trespasith his errour to chastise. 420 

And a-mong bookis, pleynli this the cas, [p. 6] 

This said[e] prynce considred off resoun, 

The noble book off this lohn Bochas 

Was, accordyng in his opynyoun, 424 

Off gret noblesse and reputaciouw. 

And onto pryncis gretli necessarie 

To yiue exauwple how this world doth varie. 

And for this cause, as in his entent, 428 

To shewe thuntrust off al worldli thyng. 

He gaff to me in comaundement, 

As hym sempte it was riht weel sittyng, 

That I shulde, afftir my cuwnyng, 432 

This book translate, hym to do plesaunce, 

To shewe the chauwg off worldli variaunce. 

And with support off his magnificence, 

Vndir the wyngis off his correccioun, 436 

Thouh that I haue lak off eloquence, 

I shal procede in this translacioun. 

Fro me auoidyng al presumpcioun, 

Lowli submyttyng eueri hour & space 440 

Mi reud language to my lordis grace. 

409. o] oon H. 410. come] comcn B, R. 

415. studieth] studieht R. 421. this] this is R, J. 
428. this cause] |)ise causes J, these causes P. 


The Story of Adam and Eve 


And as I haue o thyng weel in mynde, 

He bad me I sholde in especiall, 

Folwyng myn auctour, writen as I fynde, 444 

And for no fauour be nat parciall — 

Thus I meene to speke in generall, 

And noon estat syngulerly depraue, 

But the sentence off myn auctour saue, 448 

Al this conceyuyd, I gan my stile dresse, 

Thouhte I wolde in my mater proceede; 

And for the mater abraid on heuynesse, 

Off fressh colours I took no maner heede, 452 

But my processe pleynli for to leede, 

As me sempte it was to me most meete 

To sette apart all rethoriques sueete. 

Dites of mumyng and off compleynynge 456 

Nat appertene onto Calliope, 

Nor to the Muses, that on Parnaso synge, 

Which be remembrid in nouwbre thries thre; 

And onto materes off aduersite, 460 

With ther sugred aureat licour 

Thei be nat willi for to doon fauour; 

But off disdeyn me settyng ferr a-bak 

To hyndre me* ofF that I wolde endite, 464 

Hauyng no colours but onli whit & blak, 

To the tragedies which that I shal write. 

And for I can my-silff no bet acquite, 

Vndir support off all that shal it reede, 468 

Vpon Bochas riht thus I will proceede. 

Explicit prologus. 

I will follow 
my author 
and shew 
no biai. 

and. at my 
matter is 
serious, I 
shall omit all 

Calliope and 
her Sisters 
cannot help 
me write of 

so I will do 
my best in 
simple black 
and white. 

Incipit Liber Primus. 

[|How adam and Eue for theire inobedience were 
putout of paradis lyued in sorowe and 
woo/thei and theire of spryng.]^ 

Whan lohn Bochas considred hadde & souht [p.8] 
The woful fall off myhti conquerours, 
A remembraunce entrid in his thouht, 472 

Reknyng the noumbre off our pr^decessours, 
And first to mynde cam the progenitours 

463. ferr] fast H. 464. me] men B, R. 

1 MS. J. leaf 3 b. 

Adam and 
Eve first 
appear before 

14 The Story of Adam and Eve 

%lTvtl^t Off al mankynde, ferre Ironne in age, 


old age. 

And toward hym holdyng the passage, 

As hym thouhte in his inward siht, 
In ther comyng ful pitousli tremblyng, 
Quakyng for age and for lak off myht, 
Ther gret feeblesse be signes out shewyng; 
And oon off hem, first at his comyng — 
Our fadir Adam — sodenH abraide, 
And to myn auctour euene thus he saide: 




Adam said, 
"It is right 
that you 
should begin 
with us. 

"The Serpent 
caused our 
exile from 

Fairest of 
all creatures 
were they; 

God gave 
them the 
Garden of 

[How Adam & Eue stondyng/naked before Bochas 
desired him to put theire woful fall first in 
remembraunce.] ^ 

"Cosyn Bochas, I will weel that thou lere, 484 

Thou that art besi to serche ouer all 

Off infortune the maner to enquere, 

Hir sodeyn chaung, turnyng as a ball, 

Off erthli pryncis from ther estat roiall — 488 

It is most sittyng, or we assundir twynne, 

At vs tweyne thi processe to be-gynne. 

Considre first, the Lord in his auis, 

Whan he us made onto his liknesse, 492 

He putte vs bothe into Paradis, 

There talyued in parfit stabilnesse — 

Til the Serpent dede his besynesse 

Off^fals envie to make us lese our grace, 496 

Perpetueir texile us fro that place." 

And whan lohn Bochas nakid hem beheeld, 

Withoute the hand fourmyd off Nature, — 

Off slym off therthe in Damascene the feeld 500 

God made hem fairest a-boue ech creature; 

And for thei sholde perpetueli endure, 

Bi discrecioun for a prerogatiff 

He endued hem with a soule off liff. 504 

Parfit off age as man off thretti yeerp^ 
Putte hem afftir in possessioun 
Off Paradis, a place most enteer, 

485] That art so besi to serche oueral J — serchel serch out 

H, P, R 3. 
486. maner^ mateer H — Inquere H. 504. HeJ om. H. 
^ MS. J. leaf 3 c. in margin. 

BK. l] 

The Slory of Adara and Eve 


'j^\ V 0\ 

And ofFdelicis a chose mansioun, 508 

Where Adam made an imposicioun 

To fissh and foul, and to thes beestis all, 

OflF verray resoun what men sholde hem call. 

Out off a rib, whil that Adam sleep, 512 

Eue was drawe, ful fair off hir visage, 

Al sodenly or that* he took keep, 
, AiFtir to hym ioynyd in mariage 
\Por his disport and his auantage, 516 

So as the Lord first wyues dede ordeyne 

Outher for helpe or for encres off peyne. 

God onto hem gafF the souereynte 

Off Paradis and dominacioun, 

A place fulfellid off al felicite. 

The frutis all in ther subieccioun, 

SaufF that off oon was maad excepcioun, 

Which God forbad, the Bible can deuise, 524 

That thei sholde touche it in no wise. 

All delices off that heuenli place 
God gaff to hem and put in her kepyng, 
To vsen hem eueri hour and space 528 

To ther most ese, as was to hem likyng — 
Bloomys, blosmys, ther faimesse ay hauyng, 
And the frutis alway off o fresshnesse, 
•For wyntir stormys myht do hem no duresse. 532 

The soil enbroudid ful off somer flour<fs, 

Wher weedis wikke hadde noon interesse; 

For God and Kynde with fresshnesse off colour^fs 

And with ther tapitis & motles off gladnesse 536 

Had maad that place habounde in al suetnesse; 

And fressh[e] Flora, which is off floures queene, 

Hir lyuere made off a perpetuel greene. 

The trees rauhten almost to the heuene, 540 

Which cast a-boute a ful plesant shade. 
That storm nor reyn, thundir, wynd nor leuene 
No power hadde ther leuys for to fade: 

and for 
Eve was 
created, and 
his wife. 

All fruits in 
that beautiful 

were theirs 
save one. 

and all the 
delights of 
that heavenly 
place were 
given into 
their keeping. 

The soil was 

with flowers, 

and the trees 
grew up 
almost to 
the sky. 

508. delicisj] delites H, delitis J, delitti?.)- R 3, delites H 5, P. 

509. an] om. R. 514. that] than B, H. 
516. and] and for H. 

521. fulfillid H, fulfild J. 

526. delices] delites H, H 5, delitt<rj R 3, delicis J, delices P. 

538. which] whilk H. 541. abouten R, H. 


But they 
foolishly ate 
the fruit of 
the Tree of 

against God'i 

and brought 
evil into the 

There were 
three rivers 
in Paradise, 

The Story of Adam and Eve [bk. i 

For euer thei wern Illch[e] fressh and glade; 544 

And whan thei list, ther thei myhte see 
Mid off that gardyn off lifF the holsum tre, 

Which vertu hadde ageyn al maladie 

Folk to preserue off youthe in ther fresshnesse^ 548 

Who eet therofF sholde neuer deie, 

But lyuen euere in ioie and in gladnesse, 

And nouther feele trouble nor siknesse, 

But in that place haue alwey hertis ese 552 

And suffisauwce off al that myht hym plese, 

Euer endure and neuer falle in age, [p. 9] 

For which it was callid the tre off liff. 

But whan Adam was fallyn in dotage 556 

And ageyn[es] God gan holdyn striflF, 

Thoruh excityng off hir that was his wifF, 
'::" And wilfuUi gaff to hir assent 
^ . To breke the precept & comandement 560 

^ Off God the Lord, thoruh wilful necligence, 
 Taproche the tre, which that bar the name, 
The tre off cunnyng and also off science: 
For off the frut who that dede attame, 564 

He sothli sholde, the Bible seith the same, 
/ Off good & euell haue cuwnyng in his thouht, 
\_Where-as tofforn off euyl he knew riht nouht. 

Thus hadde thei first off euyl experience, 568 

Where-as toforn thei knew no wikkidnesse; 

Presumpciouw and inobedience 

Brouht hem fro ioie into wrechidnesse: 

For afor-tyme, myn auctour berth witnesse, 572 

Helthe and goodnesse wer callid verray liff, 

Euyl namyd siknesse, first roote of al our striff. 

In Paradis, myn auctour seith certeyn, 

Thre ryuers wern, so orient and fyne, 576 

Lich quyksiluyr vpboilyng on the pleyn. 

And in ther rennyng verray cristallyne, 

Which from a welle heuenli and deuyne 

550. 2nd in] om. H. 553. hym] hem R. 

557. ageynes God gan holdyn] ageyn God began to holden J, 
ayenst God gan to holden P. 

558. excityng] encityng R. 559. gaflF] he yaue P. 

562. bar] here R. 574. Euyl] 111 R 3 — namyd] namy R. 

BK. l] 

The Story of Adam and Eve 


air, all manner 
of herbs and 
spices, and 
the sound 
of birds 

The sun shone 
brighter then 
than it does 

In ther vpspryngyng and ther aualyng doun 580 

Off al plesance gafF so soote a soun,* 

That it wolde rauysshe a corage, — 

Whos bawmy licour endued al the place, 

And with the fresshnesse & cours off his passage 584 

The holsum hair hertis dede embrace, — 

Ther was such plente off plesance & off grace. 

That eueri spice, herbe, greyn and roote 

Wer founde growyng in that gardeyn soote. 588 

Ther was also a delectable soun 

Off song off birdis in ther armonye^ 

The hair was cleene from arcofupcioun, 

For ther engendrid was no maladie; 593 

Ther was al merthe, ther was al melodie, 

OfFioie and blisse ^ouereyn suflSsance, i, f^-- >,tf, ■'''' *^^^'" 

With al that may toTiertis do plesance. 

And off clerkis lik as it is told 596 

In ther bookis, as thei determyne, 

How in his speer the sonne manyfold 

Was off mor vertu & mor cleer dede shyne 

Than it doth now in his mydday lyne, 600 

The moone whittere with hir* bemys cleer, 

And euery sterre brihtere dede appeer. 

Euery thyng was there more vertuous 

Than thei be now, who can beholde and see; 604 

For in that place ther was nothyng noious. 

But parfit gladnesse knet onto surete, 

Perpetuel pes, ioie and prosperite, 

And in that blisse to makyn hem mor strong, 608 

To ther confort God spak with hem a-mong. 

CMF his goodnesse he bar hem cumpanye, 

Shewed onto hem his gracious presence, 

Angelis also ther staat to magnefie 612 

A-mong to serue hem dede ther dilligence 

In dyuers offices with humble reuerence, 

And Nature wrouhte for the nonys 

Off roial purpill and off riche stonys 616 

Tissues off gold and othir omamentis 
For tenvirowne ther bodili beute, 

581. so soote a soun] a soote soun B, R. 585. enbrace H. 
601, hir] his B, R, R 3. 603. vertous R. 

617. omamentis] precious stonys R (m another band). 

and there was 
peace and jof . 

God often 
appeared to 
Adam and 
Eve, and 
angels served 


The Story of Adam and Eve 

[bk. I 

They could 
have lived 
there always 
in celestial 

had not Adam 
given credence 
to a Snake. 

Their fall 
was the more 

for It followed 

Take example 
of Adam 
and Eve, 

Shapyng to hem such maner garnementis 

As angeHs vsen in ther felicite — 620 

Nakid thei wer[e]n fairest on to see; 

For whil thei stood in staat off innocence, 

Thei hadde off clothyng noon experience. 

And off ther bHsse to make menciou«, 624 

And off ther ioies that were celestiall, 

Ther may be maad[e] no comparisoun 

Off no ioie which is temporall, 

Which sholde ha been lastynge & inmortall, 628 

Euer talyued in merthe and in gladnesse, 

SaufF ageyn resoun, off verray wilfulnesse 

Thei banshid hemsilff out of that bhsful HfF, 

Whan Adam gafF credence to a snake 632 

And wrechidH gan trustyn on his wifF, V -^>A « <  

Which gan thappill off the Serpent take, 

And plesantli dede a present make 

Onto Adam, as she that ferst began 636 

Deth to deuyse and poisoun onto man. 

But as ther ioie was incomparable, [p. 10] 

Grettest ther lordship aboue al ertheli thyng. 

So ther fall was to he[m] importable; 640 

For he that was all other surmountyng, 

In Paradis regnyng as a kyng — 

Was it nat a dedli mortal peyne 

Fro thilke place to haue* a fall sodeyne! 644 

For thilke sorwe surmountith euery sorwe. 

Which next folwith afFtir felicite; 

No wo mor greuous at eue nor at morwe. 

As is in deede sodeyn aduersite 648 

Which cometh onwarli afftir prosperite, 

Nor nothyng more may hertis disauaunce 

Than ofF old ioie newe remembraunce. 

Takith exaumpil ofF Adam and off Eue, 652 

Makith off hem a merour in your mynde, 
Wher of resoun it dede hem gretii greue 
For to be put, alias, so ferre behynde 

619. maner] om. R. 

621. weren] wern H 5, P, were J, R 3. 

628. immortall R. 629. 2nd in] om. H, J, H 5. 

631. banshid] banyssht H, banysshid J. 633. on] to R. 

644. thilke] that Hs — tohaue]taue B, 


The Story of Adam and Eve 


Out ofF that blisse, thei and al ther kynde, 
Chaungyng thestat off inmortalite 
And becam subiect to deth and pouerte. 

Ther sodeyn chaung & ther onwar myscheefF 

And ther onhappi transmutacioun, — 

It was to hem ful vnkouth and vnleeff 

For to departe fro thilke mansioun 

That was so full off delectacioun, 

Fro such delicis sodenli to goo 

Into this world which is so full off woo. 

There is delit, and heer is sorwe [&] care, 
There is ioie, and heer is heuynesse, 
There is plente, and heer is euel fare, 
There is helthe, and heer is gret siknesse, 
Heer trouble ay meynt with onseur gladnesse, 
Ther is ay blisse and eternal glorie,* 
And heere no merthe but fals & transitorie. 

Alias, how thei wer blyndid in ther siht 
Thoruh veynglorie* and fals ambicioun! 
Thei wente wrong, thei lokid nat a-riht, 
Fals couetise was ther confusioun, 
Wherthoruh thei loste the dominacioun 
Off Paradis, and wex bothe poore & thrall, 
Ther fredam leffte and becam mortall. 

Onto God thei wolde ha be semblable, 

Lik onto hym good and euel to* knowe, 

Arid in ther trust for thei wer nat stable, 

From ther estat thei were brouht ful lower 

And thus, alias, the seed was first isowe, 

The roote plantid off disobeissaunce, 

Which brouht our lynage to sorwe & myschauwce 

Thus cam in first thoruh inobedience. 
As bi a gate, pouerte and neede; 
And at ther bak folwed indigence, 
Sorwe, siknesse, maladie and dreede, 
Exil, banshyng and seruitute, in deede, 
Which causid man longe to contune 
Vndir the lordshipe & daunger off Fortune. 

c./L who became 
°50 subject to 

poverty and 





It was hard 
for thera to 
leave the 
Garden of 
Eden and its 







They were 
blinded by 

and brought 

Thus, through 


all evils came 

into the world, 



fear, pestilence, 


6^7. immortalite R. 664. delites H, R 3. 

668. euelfare B. 669. gret] om. H. 670. Heer] Heere is R. 
671, 2. gloire, transitoire B, transitoyre H. 674. veyngloire B. 
681. to] ta B. 683. brouht] I brouht H. 


and the 
of old age. 

Adam had 
to toil for 
his living 

in the dread 
of cruel beasts, 
dragons and 

He and Eve 
shed bitter 

Cain slew 

The Story of Adam and Eve [[bk. i 

Thus cam in eek maladie and deth 

To dispoile mankynde off his beute, 

Long siknesse and pestilence that sleth 696 

Bi sodeyn strok which no man may fle; * 

For onto Adam and his posterite 

Deth was annexid bi successioun 

For his offence, and so conueied doun 700 

Fro man to man in eueri maner age. 

For who list knowe, synwe brouht in shame, 

Man to be feeble and feynt in his passage, 

And be processe to wexen halt and lame — 704 

Onto Adam this was an vnkouth game. 

To be constreynyd from riche apparaile 

In bareyn erthe to sekyn his vitaile. 

In hungir [and] thrust heere he ladde his liff, 708 

With soot, with labour and tribulaciouns. 

Endured also many mortal striff, 

Off hot and cold riht strauwge passiouns, 

Off elementis sodeyn mutaciouws, 712 

Wynd, hail and reyn feerfulli fallyng, 

And onwar strokis off thundir & lihtnyng. 

Thei stood also in daunger and in dreed 
Off cruel beestis, tigres and leouws, 716 

Off tusshi booris, who-so taketh heed, 
And in gret feer off these fell dragouns, 
^Thassaut off serpentis and off scorpiouns; 
_ For thilke beestis that toforn were mylde, 720 

) Afftir ther synnyng ful rage wex and wilde. 

Wher thei stood[e] first in sekirnesse, [p. 11] 

Off ioie and blisse euer in oon lastyng, 

Out off ther reste thei fill in onseurnesse, 724 

In sorwe and sihhyng, & dolorous pleynyng; 

And fro ther eyen contynueli wepyng. 

The bittir teris day be day distille. 

In this desert for wantyng off ther wille. 728 

And whethir wer thei sorweful or* fayn, 

Long tyme afftir ther desolacioun, 

Whan thei fond Abel ther owyn sone slayn 

697. which] which that H 5 — fle] see B, R. 

699. annexid] anvexed R. 708. and] om. H. 

709. soot] seot R, swete H, swett R 3, swet P — 2nd with] 

and J, H 5. 713. feerfulH] feerdfuUi J. 

725. dolorous] dolours R. 729. or] outher B. 

BK. i] 

The Story of Adam and Eve 


Be cruel Caym to his confusioun, 

The same Caym, as maad is mencioun, 

Afftir that tyme wilde and vacabounde 

Til blynde Lamech gafF hym his dethis wounde. 

Adam nor Eue affor that ilke tyme 
Hadde neuer seyn no feste funerall, 
Off chaung it was* to hem a newe pryme, 
For to beholde a thyng disnaturall, 
Brethre off o wombe be hatred fraternall, 
The toon off herte* so feer hymselff deuyde, 
Off fals malis to been an homicide. 

And was it nat a peyne whan thei stood, 
For to beholde ther sone pale and ded 
Ligge on the ground[e], bathid in his blood, 
And al the soil where he lay was red. 
That whan Adam and Eue tooken heed, 
It was to hem ful gret aduersite 
The newe slauhtre to beholde and see. 

And euer a-mong ther sihhes harde and sore, 
Ther bittir wepyng and sorwes to auaunce. 
Or thei wer war, ther heris wexyn hore. 
And age gan ther beute disauaunce; 
Ther youthe also be ful gret displesaunce 
Gan tappalle, or thei it coude espie, 
Be cruel constreynt and force of maladie. 

And whan off youthe fallyn was the flour 
Bi the processe of many hundrid yeris, 
And bi the duresse off many gret labour 
Thei wex onlusti and ougli off ther cheris — 
Off age and deth, these be the daungeris, 
To seyn chekmat, in nature it is kouth, 
OntoTteute and greene lusty youth. 

For whan the yeris fulli passid be 
Off flouryng age, lastyng a sesoun. 
Be processe, at eie men may see, 
Beute declynyth, his blosmys falle doun; 
And lite and litil be successioun 


7?6 ^'^^'^^ 8»^'« 
'J occasion for 
the first 







hvjL> k> 

kc^- tiC'-M 

Their beauty 


they became 
dull and 
with yeari. 




732. Caym R, H, J, R 3, Cayrae H 5, Ca>-n P. 

735. Latneth, as written in B, R, H. 

738. Off chaung it wasj It was off chaung B — it was to hem] 

to hem it was R 3. 
741. herte] hate B, R. 
752. thei] the R. 759. labour] labours R. 


Thus Adam, 
once the 
fairest of 
men, grew 
old and died. 

He was 
buried in 

His dis- 
made all 
men subject 
to death. 

The Story of Adam and Eve 

Cometh croked elde onwarli in crepyng, 
With his potent ful poorli manasyng. 

Thus to our fadir, that callid was Adam, 
Off creatures fairest off alle faire, 
Afftir gret age, bi processe .deth. in cam. 
And gan onwarli ascende vpon the staire 
With his potent, and caste hym to repaire 
With Antropos, which affor shal goon 
For tuntwyne his lyuys threed anoon. 

And in Ebron was maad his sepulture, 

Ther afftir bilt a myhti gret cite, 

Bi whos story and record off nature 

I may conclude, who-so list to see. 

That neuer man hadde liberte, 

Sithen that Adam our Lord gan disobeye, 

Ageyn[e]s deth, but that he muste deye. 

Hbk. I 

< '*. ^I'-i 





laments the 
fate of Adam, 

teaches us 
the sorrow 
of the world. 

For all their 
pride, men 
must die. 

The compleynt off Bochas vpon the fall off Adam. 

IN compleynyng, myn auctowr lohn Bochas 
Ful pitousli in his aduertence 
Bewepith, wailith, & offte seith alias, 
In an appel ther was so gret offence, 788 

That for a tast off inobedience, 
Adam, alias, sholde ha[ue] so gret a fall, 
So sodenli to deie and be mortall! 

Which exauwpil ouhte I-nouh suffise, 792 

In al this world[e] thouh there were no mo, 

Texemplefie to folkis that be wise. 

How this world is a thoruhfare ful off woo, 

Lich fals Fortune, which turnyth to and fro 796 

To make folkis, whan thei most cleerli shyne. 

In ther estatis onwarli to declyne. 

For thouh that thei her hedis leffte a-loffte 
Hih as Phebus shynyth in his speer, 
Thynke them-silff[e], as it fallith offte, 
Ther renoun rechith aboue the sterris cleer, 
And how ther fame surmountith euery speer 




775. and] om. H. 

797. cleerli] clery R. 799. 

801. Thynke] tenke R. 

lifFt H. 800. Hih] lich R. 

BK. l] 

The Story of Adam and Eve 

Ther trust corrupt hath a ful sodeyn fall, 804 

For to declare how thei be mortall. 

O worldii folk, aduertlsith off entent. 

What vengaunce and what punycioun 

God shal taken in his iugement , 808 

For your trespas and your transgressioun. 

Which breke his preceptis a-geyn al resoun! 

Ye han forgoten, how with his precious blood 

You for to saue he starff vpon the rood. 812 

For yiff Adam for his disobeissaunce 

Was bi the Lord, as hym list ordeyne, 

Maad first & formyd with euery circumstaunce 

Off creatures to be most souereyne, 816 

Yiff that he was enbraced in the cheyne 

Off seruitute, with thraldam ouerseyn, 

What shal I thanne off othir folkis seyn. 

That lyuyn heer in this desert off sorwe, 820 

In this exil off plesance desolat, 

And in this world[e], both at eue &* morwe. 

Off hertili ioie stonde disconsolat, 

Al destitut and eek infortunat, 824 

And forpossid with wo off worldii trouble. 

Ay variable and ful off chauTzgis double? 

Ye nat entende but to fals couetise. 

To fraude, baret and extorsioun, 828 

Geyn God and trouthe in many dyuers wise, 

Geyn your neihbour be fals collusioun 

To doon [himj wrong and oppressioun. 

And werst off all, ye rechch[e] nat be synne 832 

To sle your soule, worldii good to wynne. 

And yiff it falle your power be but small 

Taccomplisshe your auarice in deede, 

Your synful will assentith ouerall 836 

Thyng to desire off which ye* may nat speede; 

And thus fals lust doth your bridil leede, 

Thrust off hauyng so sore you doth assaile, 

Falsli afferd the world you sholde faile. 840 


O woridly 
people, know 
that God will 
punish yon 

as he did 
Adam, most 
of men! 

You draw 
only to 
covet ousness 
and fraud, 
you opprest 
your fdlow 
men and 
slay your 
own souls 
for gain. If 
too weak to 
sin in deed, 
you sin in 

822. &] & at B, R, H, J, R 3. 

826. ful] om. R. 

831. him] om. R, H. 832. ye] the R. 834. falle] hap R3. 

837. ye] thei B, om. R. 839. Thurst R, H. 

840. Falsli] Fals R. 


The Story of Adam and Eve 

[bk. I 

If God 
chastises you 
lightly, you 

God do€s not 
bid us prove 
our might 
on the 

or conquer 
the Golden 
Fleece, or 
slay the 
Minotaur or 
do anything 
that is 

He does not 
tell us to risk 
our lives in 
adventure as 
did Hercules. 

And ylfF that God, benigne and debonaire, 

With his yerde off castigacioun 

Chastise you but esili and faire, 

Ye grucch ageyn[es] his correccioun, S44 

Nothyng aduertyng in your discrecioun, 

How God nat bad us, who can taken heed, 

Nat for to stryue nor to wrastle in deed, 

Nouther our strengthe nor our myht tapplie 848 

Vpon the beeste monstruous and sauage, 

Which callid is the Chymere off Licie — 

SpeciaH whan he is in his rage. 

Which monstre hadde to his auauntage 85a 

Hed off a leoun, as bookis determyne, 

Wombe off goot, and tail serpentyne, 

Which was outraied off Bellofforon, 

As olde poetis make mencioun. 856 

Nor God bad nat that men sholde gon 

Into Colchos to conquere with lason 

The Flees off Gold, which in that regioun 

With firi bolis off metal maad and bras, 860 

And bi a dragoun ful streihtli kepid was. 

God bad us nat our cuntrees for to lete 

To vndirfonge thynges inpossible, 

The Minotaur for to slen in Crete, 864 

HalfF man, halfF bole, yifF it be credible, 

Which was a monstre hatful and odible. 

Whilom brouht foorth, in bookis ye may see, 

Bi Minos wiff, callid Pasiphe, 868 

Whos story techith, yifF ye list to lere. 

This ougli beeste cruel and monstruous, 

Thoruh Adriane, the kyngis doubter deere, 

Was whilom slay[e]n be due Theseus 872 

Withynne a caue maad be Dedalus. 

God bit us nat, pleynli, for his sake. 

So gret emprises for to vndirtake. 

He bit us nat to been so rek[e]les 876 

In pereilous deedis that been marciali 
Vs to iuparte as dede Hercules, 

847. to wrastle] for to wrastile R, for to wrastle H, for to 

wrastill R 3. 
850. callid] clepid H. 855. Bellofforon] belliferoun J. 
862. bad] gaff R. 869. lere] heer H. 872. be] the R. 

BK. I^ 

The Story of Adam and Eve 


Which bi the biddyng in especiall 
Off Euristeus, the myhti kyng roiall, 880 

Lord off Athenys, to make his honour shjme, 
Lemyd off armys the famous disciplyne. 

Off his preceptis yiff we han a siht [p. 13] 

And remembre off his hih bounte, 884 

He vs comaundith thyngis that been hht 

For taccomplisshe with al humilite. 

From our corage tauoide al vanite. 

And from our hertis texcludyn idilnesse 888 

And the fals chaung off al worldli gladnesse. 

For on-taman that parfit is and stable, 

Bi good resoun myn auctour doth well preue. 

There is no thyng mor fair nor agreable 892 

Than fynali his vicious liff to leue. 

On verray God rihtfully beleue, 

Hym loue and worshepe a-boue al ertheli thinges; 

This passith victory off erap<frours and kynges. 896 

The Lord bit eek, who* that can disceme. 

Off enteer loue to doon our labour 

In this liff heer so oursilff * goueme. 

To fadir & moodir that we do dieu honour. 

And in ther neede to doon to hem socour, 

And in al vertu our frendis to conforte. 

And to our power in myscheeff hem supporte. 

For in this world is no thyng mor parfit, 904 

Nor taccomplisshe thyng off mor plesance. 

Than a man for to haue delit 

In litil good to hauen suffisance. 

And be content in his gouemance, 908 

Voide auarice and thynkyn euer a-mong. 

To his neihbour that he do no wrong. 

Nat to coueite his goodis in no wise, 

Hymsilff goueme lik to his estat, 912 

Nat excede, but fleen and eek despise 

He aaki ii« 
only to ezdude 
vanity and 
idleneai from 
our hearts. 

pleases a good 
man more 
than to do 
right and 
lore God. 


\ man ihould 
be content 
with little 
wealth, do ao 
wrong to hia 

880. Euristius R. 

890. on-taman] vnto a man H, J, R 3, P, H 5. 

895. ertheii] om. R. 

897. bit] biddith R 3, H 5 — who] we B, R. 

899. oursilff] our liff B, R. 902. comforte H. 

907. hauen] haue H, R, R 3. 

913. excede] to excede J, H 5 — an 1 precedes eke in H {slip 
of pen). 


and live in 
and peace. 

He should 
avoid scorn 
and follow the 
example of 
Our Lord, 

who asked 
nothing more 
than that we 
do as he 
bade us. 

Let us be 
better than 
beasts, and 
that all 
wealth shall 
fade as a 

and that 
pride and 
were the 
of sorrow. 

The Story of Adam and Eve [^bk. I 

Al maner loue which is disordynat, 

HymsilfF preseruyng from contek & debat, 

And speciali teschewen, it is good, 916 

Slauhtre, moordre & shedyng eek off blood. 

Fleen from his synne and hatyn for to lie, 

OfFolde offends a-mong ha[ue] repentance, 

And teschewe al scorn and moquerie, 920 

Ageyn vicis doon almesse and penance, 

And to haue most souere[y]nli plesance 

To sue the pathes* of our Lord lesw, 

Trewe exaumplaire off grace and al vertu. 924 

Which for our sake and our redempcioun 

And for our loue was nailid to a tre, 

Suffrid peyne and cruel passiouw. 

And nothyng axeth, off hih nor low degre 928 

Recompensid ageynward for to be. 

But that we sette al hooli our ententis 

For to fulfiUe his comaundementis. 

And off his grace heer in this mortal liff, 93a 

As we precelle in wisdom and resouw, 

And off his giffte han a prerogatiff 

Toforn all beestis bi discrecioun, 

Therfore lat us off hool entenciouw, 936 

As we off resouw beestis ferr exceede, 

Lat us forn* hem be, be woord, exaumple and deede. 

Grouwde us first vpon humilite, 

Our pompous eien meekli to vnclose, 940 

Enclyne our hedis, and to conceyue and see 

Al worldli welthe shal fadyn as a rose. 

And off meek herte lat us oursilff dispose, 

Bi this tragedie to ha[ue] knowlechyng 944 

Off our myscheeff how roote and eek gynnyng 

Was the vice off inobedience, 

Surquedie and fals disobeissaunce, 

As myn auctour hath shewid in sentence, 948 

Enprentith it weel in your remembraunce, 

Be-war* the serpent with his disseyuaunce, 

920. mokrye H. 923. pathes] paththes B, R, pathis H. 

932. his]om. R. 933. injofj — and]ofJ. 

934. hanl and R. 936. hool] hoolde R. 

938. fornj aforn MSS. — ist bej om. J — 2nd be] in H 5 — 

by example word & dede R 3. 
944. to haue] ta H. 950. Be-war] Beth war B, J. 

BK. Q 

Adam and EvCf the Envoy 


The flessh, the world, your enmies, alle thre, 
Thoruh ther treynys ye nat deceyued be. 

Your beste sheeld to make resistance 
Ageyn ther power sothli is meeknesse. 
Your haberioun most myhti off difFence, 
The feendis myht to venquysshe and oppresse, 
Is to remembre deuoutH with lownesse, 
How meekli Crist to paien our ransoun 
Suffred on a crosse deth and passioun. 

Wherbi men may, that prudent been & wis. 

The ioies cleyme which been etemall, 

And entre ageyn into Paradis, 

Fro when[ne]s whilom Adam hadde a fall; 

To which[e] place a-boue celestiall, 

O Crist I^ju, so brynge us to that glory, 

Which be thi deth hadde the victory! 



Meekness i 
your best 
shield of 

y- May Jesus 
900 bring us 
again into 


[p. 14] 

^ The lenvoye off this tragedie. 

SODEYN departing out off felicite 
Into miserie and mortal heuynesse, 
Vnwar depryuyng of our prosperite, 
Chaung off gladnesse into wrechchidnesse. 
Long langwisshyng in wo and bittirnesse, 
Contynuel sorwe, dreed, dool and pestilence 
Were first brouht in bi inobedience. 

Adam and Eue losten ther liberte, 
Ther frau^chise and ther blissidnesse, 
Put into exil and captyuyte 
To lyue in labour, in wo and pensifnesse, 
Thoruh fals desirs off pompous wilfulnesse, 
To the Serpent whan thei gaff credence. 
The Lord mistristyng thoruh inobedience. 

But, o alias, where-as thei were fre. 

Off ioie eternal stood in sekirnesse, 

Thei were to blynde — alias, it was pite! — 

To leue ther teste and lyue in werynesse, 

AI ther ofFspryng to bryngyn in distresse, 

Drawyng fro God his due reuerence 

Thoruh fals consentyng to inobedience. 

9S9. a] om. ], H 5. 

962. entre ageyn] ageyn entre H, R, R 3. 966. the] om. H. 

972. pestilence] offence H. 980. mystrustyng H. 





turned all 
joy into woe. 

Thus Adam 
and Eve fell, 

and brought 

into distress. 


The Story of Nimrod 

[bk. I 

beware of 
and pride, 

that your 
subjects will 
deal with 
you as you 
deal with 

Wherfore, ye Pryncis, auisili doth see, 988 

As this tragedie in maner berth witnesse, 

Where-as wantith in any comounte 

Subieccioun, for lakkyng off meeknesse, 

And with pouert pride hath an interesse, 992 

Ther folwith afFtir thoruh froward insolence 

Among the peeple fals inobedience. 

And, noble Pryncis, which han the souereynte 

To gouerne the peeple in rihtwisnesse, 996 

Lik as ye cherisshe hem in pes and vnyte. 

Or frowardli destroie hem or oppresse, 

So ageynward ther corages thei will dresse 

Lowli tobeie to your magnyficence, 1000 

Or disobeie bi inobedience. 

Only eight 
people were 
saved from 
the Deluge, 

therefore my 
author passes 
over to 

During the 
Flood all 
books were 

[How Nembroth bilt the toure of babilone to saue 
him from noyous flodis which for his pride was 
put fro his magnificence and his toure witTi 
sodeyne levene smyten doun.]] ^ 

MYN auctowr Bochas, as he that vndirstood 
The vengauwces & myscheuis huge 
Which that God took with Noes Flood, 1004 

Whan he sente an vniuersel deluge, 
Ageyn[e]s which there was no refuge, 
Sauf eihte personis in that mortal wo 
Withynne a ship were sauyd and no mo. 1008 

Wherfore myn auctour lihtli ouergoth, 
Makith off that age no special remembraunce. 
But passeth ouer from Adam to Nembroth, 
Consid[e]ryng how in that dedli chaunce 1012 

The Lord for synne took so gret vQngauwce, 
That be writyng off cronique nor historie,* 
Off hih nor low was lefft[e] no memorie. 

For ther was lefft cronicle noon nor book 1016 

Afftir the Flood, that made mencioun 
Off noon auctour, who-so list to look; 

991. lakkyng] lak H. 994, 6. poeple R. 1007. eihte] viij B. 

1014. cronique nor historie] story nor victoire B, H, R 3, 
P, stories nor victorie J; story nor victoire is altered to 
croniqtt^ nor histoire in R. 1015. memoire B. 

1 MS J. leaf 6 recto. 



The Story of Nimrod 






For al was brouht to destruccioun 
Bi a deluge, withoute excepcioun, 1020 

For which myn zuctour transportid hath his stile, 
And off that tyme list nothyng compile. 

He fond no mater wheron he myht founde 

Nor sette his foot, bi noon auctorite, 

Nor no trouthe his purpos on to grounde 

OfF old[e] writyng that he coude see; 

For which hym thouhte, off necessite 

The surplusage off al that tyme lete. 

And afftir Adam with Nembroth for to meete. 

And certis, lich as Bochas in this book 
Remembrith first off Adam the storye. 
So next in ordre he the story took 
To speke off Nembroth and his surquedie. 
Which heere in erthe, as bookis specefie, 
Afftir the Flood his wawes gan asswage. 
Was maad a lord to goueme in that age. 

For whan the floodis begonne* to discrese. 
And God his vengaunce gan to modefie, 
Withdrouh his hand, the watir tho gan cese, 
Vpon the mounteyns hie off Armenye 
The shipp gan reste, the Bible can nat lye; 
And in that age, callid the secounde, 
Lynage off man be-gan a-geyn tabounde. 

Tencrese ageyn and to multeplie, 

And bi discent, in bookis ye may see 

Specefied the genealogie. 

How that oon Chiris, cosyn to Noe, 

A man that tyme off gret auctorite. 

Onto this Nembroth, the story doth assure. 

The fadir was, as bi engendrure. 

This Nembroth wex myhti, large and long, 
Excellyng othre as off his stature, 
Surquedous, hardi and riht strong, 
And in his tyme gret labour myht endure, 
And in his force so moche he dede assure. 

so my author 
found no 
material until 
he came to 

a proud king. 

After the 




men began 
to increase 

Fn TCl Nimrod "as 
IF' * jJ mighty and 

10-2 ^'^' 

1024. foot] feot R. 

1026. altered into: Of Olde writyng eke coude he nothing se, R. 

1035. his] is R. 

1037. begonne] began B, R, H. 1055. he] om. R. 


called Prince 
of Hunting, 

feared by 
man and 

He began 
to conspire 
against God, 

and thought 
he would 
secure him- 
self against 

The Story of Nimrod []bk. i 

That ther was noon on watir nor on lond 1056 

Which durste presume his power to withstond. 

And his noblesse mor to magnefie 

In worldli worshepe, hi report off his glorie,* 

He was caUid cheefF prynce off venerie, 1060 

Desirous euer for to han victorie 

Off beestis wilde, to be put in memorie 

And haue a pris amongis these champiouws, 

Tigres to dauwte, bores and leouws. 1064 

Ther was no beeste in wodes so sauage 

That durste ageyn hym make resistence; 

His furious ire so mortal was and rage, 

The erthe quook for feer off his presence, 1068 

Til atte laste in his aduertence. 

As a prynce deuoidid ofF al grace, 

Ageyn[e]s God he gan for to compace. 

He made a maner coniuraciouw, 1072 

This froward geant, and a conspiracie. 

Took his counseil bi fals coUusiouw, 

His myht, his power for to magnefye,* 

And his estat for to glorefie, 1076 

Thouhte he wolde off his entent nat faile 

God and the heuene proudli to assaile. 

That maugre God, which [that] gouernyth all. 

He thouhte he wolde proudli take on honde, 1080 

Ageyn deluges, yifF any falle shall, 

OfF prouidence pleynli hem withstonde, 

HymsillF tassure & make a place on londe 

That sholde hym keepe & been to hym difFenge 1084 

Bothe a-geyn God and watris violence. 

And that thei myhte acomplisshe ther entent 

Lich ther desir, thei dedyn ther labour, 

Took ther couwseil al be oon assent, 1088 

Chose Nembroth ther due, ther gouernour 

Hem to conveie and doon to hem socour, "^ 

To been ther guide, afForn as thei were war, 

Toward a contre which callid is Sennar, 109a 

1058. his] om. R. 

1059, 61, 62. glo'"' 
1075. magnefye 
1079. which {)at 


loire, victoire, memoire B, R, 
{] multeplie B, J, H 5, R. 
t H; R, R 3, H 5, P agree wh 


agree with B. 


Tbr Story of Nimrod 

In compas wise rouwd a-boute closid 

With a gret flood namyd Eufrates. 

Ther straunge foli which thei han purposid, 

For to fulfiUe thei wer nat rek[e]les: 1096 

This to seyne, thei put hemsilfF in pres. 

So hih a tour for to edefie, 

Which that sholde surmounte a-boue the skie, 

That thei sholde greued be no more, noo 

With no deluge brouht to destruccioun. 

Nor that watres may nat greue hem sore, 

This was the fyn off ther entenciouw. 

And off that tour & myhti strong dongoun, 1104 

Geyn God and floodis hemsiluen to assure. 

The heihte and largesse were off o mesure. 

Thus off Nembroth encresen gan the name; 

And in the peeplis reputacioun, 1108 

Off gold and richesse he hadde so gret a fame, 

Thei callid hym god in ther opynyoun. 

Most eurous, most myhti off renoun. 

The world al hool vndir his obeissaunce, 1112 

As god and lord he took the gouernauwce. 

Vndir whos myht the peeple gan proceede. 

He as a lord hauyng inspeccioun, 

Pershyng the bowell[s] off the erthe in deede 1116 

To make myhti ther fundacioun; 

And off fals glory and veyn ambicioun. 

This proude Nembroth in his appetit, 

To seen hem werke hadde ful gret delit. 11 20 

His ioie was and his inward gladnesse 

To beholde so gret a cumpanye 

Percen the erthe bi so gret depnesse, 

To make the ground[e] strong bi masounrye, 1124 

The werk vpward for to fortefie, 

With many a ston, huge & large off weihte, 

Thei han it reisid vp in the heir off heihte. 

And fynali bi mediacioun 1128 

Off this gret werk Nembroth wex famous, 
Takyng in herte gret consolacioun, 

1099. that^ om. H. 

II 16. bowett R 3, H, bouel R, bowels J, bowelles H 5, bowels P. 

1 1 23. P^fsyng H. 


by building 
a high tower. 

Nimrod's repu- 
tation grew; 
he was con- 
sidered a 
god, and 
governed the 
whole world. 

He rejoiced 
in the build- 
ing of his 

and in his 
riches and 


The Story of Nimrod 

[bk. I 

The tower 
was called 
Babel, but 
now it is 
the lair of 
serpents and 
the air about 
it is in- 

Yet it rises 
to the stars 

so mightily 
that no liv- 
ing creature 
ever saw 
another like 

Nimrod grew 
proud and 
thought him- 
self the equal 
of God. 

who thereupon 
knocked down a 
great part of his 
tower and killed 
bis workmen. 

That be report he was so glorious, 

Off so gret myht & off port so pompous, 1132 

That he was so myhti, riche and strong 

To reise a tour, so wid, so large, so long. 

For to this day touchyng the grete myht [p. 16] 

Off this tour, which Babel yit men call, 1136 

Men fro ful ferr may han therof a syht. 

For it surmouMtith othir touris all. 

Off which[e] werk thus it is befall. 

Off serpentis and many a gret dragoun 1140 

It is now callid cheefF habitaciouw, 

That no man dar, as ferr as thei it see, 

For wikkid heir and for corrupcioun, 

Bi a gret space and hi a gret contre 1144 

Approche no neer that merueilous dongoun, 

So venymous is that mansioun 

And so horrible, no man dar approche, 

Lik to a mounteyn bilt off a craggi roche. 1148 

And as men seyn that haue had ther repair. 

This tour atteynyth onto the sterris cleer. 

And transcendith the regioun off the hair. 

The ston, the syment wer maad off such mateer, 1152 

And the ioynyng so stedfast and enteer, 

Thouh fir and watir bothe it dede assaile, 

Ful lite or nouht ther power sholde auaile. 

It was maad so myhti to endure, 1156 

So weel assurid be disposicioun. 

That in this world no lyuyng creature 

Sauh neuer noon lik in comparisouw; 

Whos reryng up was cheeff occasiouw, 1160 

And the richesse off the masounrye, 

Wherthoruh Newbroth off pride and surquedie 

Dempte proudli, as in his auys. 

He transcendid all othre in noblesse, 1164 

Thouhte hymsilff most myhti & most wis, 

Felawe to God, as be liklynesse. 

But God, that can al worldli pride oppresse. 

And make pryncis eclipsen in ther glory, 1168 

Such as truste in thyngis transitory — 

The same Lord off his eternal myht. 

This tour which Nembroth list to edefie, 

He made with thondir & with leuene liht 1172 

BK. i] 

The Story of Nimrod 


TherofF to falle a ful gret partie; 

The boistous wyndis and the rage skie, 

And Goddis power on the tother side, 

Gan thus a-bate a parcel off his pride. 1176 

And in discence and fallyng off the stonys, 

Off the werkmen ful many a man was ded, 

And oppressid, ther bak Ibroke and bonys, 

The masounry with ther blood was red: 1180 

Yit proude Newbroth, that of this werk was hed. 

With al these signes his Lord ne list nat knowe, 

For which his pompe was afftir brouht ful lowe. 

But Nimrod, 
angry and 

But in his errour procedith forth off newe, 

Thouhte he wolde gete hymselff a name, 

Off malencolie gan chaunge look and hewe. 

And gan also attempten and attame. 

For to encrece and magnefie his fame, 

A newe tour to edefie a-geyn, 

Lik as God hadde be blynd & nothyng seyn. 

He wolde haue rauht up to the sterris seuene 
Bassent off hem that gan hym first counsaile, 
Robbid God, & from hym rauht the heuene; 
But who presumeth the Lord aboue tassaile, 
It were no resoun that he sholde auaile: 
Pryncis may weel ageyn hym crie loude, 
But his power may clipse with no cloude. 

For in the middis off his grete emprises. 
This proude Nembroth makyng his masouns 
For to compasse and castyn there deuises, 
Gemetriens in ther dyuysiouns, — 
But God that hath his inspecciouns, 
Seyng thentent off eueri ertheli man. 
As he that is most myhti and best can 

Ageyn ther malis make resistence, 
Ther worldli power, ther domynacioun 
Off his onchaungable & most magnificence 

1 174. rage] Ragous H, ragious R 3, P. 
1 1 88. fame] name H. 
1 197. clipse] clippe R. 
1 199. masouns] mansiouns H. 

1201. Gemetriens] Geometrj^ens R, Geometries H 5, Geme- 
tries J, Geraetriciens R 3, Gemetriens H, P. 

itarted to 
build a new 

He would 
have snatched 
the heaveni 
from God, 

1 184 

1 188 



but God 
know* the 
1200 mindi of all 



The Story of Nimrod 

[bk. I 

and can 
punish the 
pride of 

God made a 
confusion of 

and divided 
the hearts of 
the work- 

They quar- 
relled with 
one another 
and forsook 
the land of 

efforts were 
in vain. 

He can chastise and ouerwhelme doun — 1208 

The pride off pryncis in eueri regioun, 
Bexauwple off Nembroth, a-noon as ye shal heer, 
Whos pompe rauhte a-boue the stems deer. 

For whan his werkmen stood at auauntage, 1212 

And most were besi to his entencioun, 

And to-fortyme spak al o language, 

Al sodenli be transmutacioun 

Ther was off tunges maad a dyuysioun, 1216 

That in ther werkyng as thei gan abraide, 

No man wiste what that othir saide. 

And it is likli accordyng with resouw, [p. 17] 

So as the chaung was maad off ther languages, 1220 

So off ther hertis was maad dyuysiouw, 

Bothe off ther will, and off ther corages; 

And in descendyng off ther werkyng stages, 

Ther was such chaung off brother onto brother, 1224 

Lik strauMgers noon knew thentent off other. 

Myn auctour trowith that this dyuersite 

Was for ther gilt causid be vengauwce, 

And ellis God off riht and equite 1228 

Disposid hath in his ordenauwce 

To been a-mong hem so gret a variauwce, 

That thoruh the world thei sholde hewself deuyde, 

And from Nembroth disseuere & nat a-bide. 1232 

Thei gan a-noon a-mong hemsilff disdeyne 

To accepte this Nembroth for ther kyng; 

Yit a-mong hem, in soth ther wer nat tweyne 

Oon off a-nother that hadde cleer knowyng, 1236 

Nor off ther speche that knew the pleyn menyng: 

For which the contre off Sennar thei forsook, 

And ech off hem a sondri contre took. 

Thei departid, made no lengere spacis, 
Folwyng the fortune off ther dyuysioun, 
And gan to chese hem newe duellyng placis 
In the parties off many a regioun; 
And thus Nembroth was pryued & put doun. 
And off Babel, the myhti famous tour, 
He was no lengere callid possessour: 



1220. maad] om. H. 

1244. thus] this H. 

BK. Q The Story of Nimrod 35 

. For a-geyn the pride off this Nembroth ^'a^TI,'^'^ 

rroward fortune gan hir cours to vane, 1248 

And God also was in maner wroth. 
Off surquedie that he was so contrarie; 
And for the place was wilde and solitarie 
Off this Sennar, furious and sauage, 1252 

Nembroth gan feeble & falle into gret age. 

And 5at summe bookis off hym specefie, b^kf"' 

He wix froward off his condicioun, ^« '^»» ^^ 

And was first ground off ydolatrie 1256 idolatry. 

And fyndere up off fals relegioun, 

Causyng peeplis to haue openyoun 

Goddis to worshepe in paganysme wise, 

Foundour off rihtis and off fals sacrefise. 1260 

Toward Perce he ches his duellyng-place. 

Which contre is in the orient; h^ ^^^ ^^ 

That his lordship sholde strecch a gret[e] space, •""* '"* ^'^^ 

He bounded hym into the Occident: 1264 

For Perce-lond haueth his extent 

Toward the parties of the Rede Se; 

And this land Perce, who-so list [to] see. 

As bookis olde remembre and put in mvnde — 1268 /"'^ 7H. 

TT I r> • 1 • '''°'° Media 

rlow that rerce costeieth enviroun » Gennany. 

Septemtrion and the grettere Inde 

And many a-nothir myhti regioun, 

Wher Nembroth first hadde domynacioun, 1272 

Which extendith, as bookis specefie, 

Out off Mede into Germanye. 

But in lordshipes, as myn auctour seith. There u no 

Withoute that vertu be ther trewe guide, 1276 •of'^sbip"'* 

In hem ther is suraunce noon nor feith — grodneL. 

Thyng that passith, which may no while abide; 

Wherfore Bochas, in despit off pride 

And in rebukyng off all folkis proude, 1280 

Makyng his compleynt crieth to hem ful loude: 

1255. wix B, R, wexe J, wexe H 5, P, wex R 3. 
1265. haueth] hath H. J. 
1267. this] his this R. 

1280. in]om. H. 

1281. Makyng] Maketh R. 


An Exclamation against Proud Men 

[bk. I 

You who 
are proud, 
who trust to 
reign long, 

build your 
huge castles, 
let your men- 
at-arms keep 

as if God 
were unable 
to take 
on you! 

Set before 
your blind 
eyes the 
pride of 

Though your 
power be 
great, God 
will con- 
found ycm. 

f The mater ageyn l)e pride of princis. 

[An exclamacioun of Bochas ageyn al proude men/ 
shewyng how god may them and theire pride 
whan him best list by many dyuers menes and 
wayes punysshe & chastise.] ^ 

YE all proude, most royall in yoi^r flouris, 
Which that most truste for to regne longe, 
Dressith up yo^^r rochis & your touris, 1284 

And ageyn God make your-siluen stronge, 
And lat your power proudll vndirfonge 
Your-silfF with pride for to magnefie, 
Ageyns the heuene to holden chauwpartie. 1288 

Beeldith your castelHs, reiseth hem vp on heihte 
Off adamantis [with iren] stronge Ibounde, 
With squar[e] stonys, large & huge off weihte, 
Reise up yo^r wallis, most myhti and profouwde, 1292 
And shet your dongouws with myhti cheynys rounde. 
Let men off armys, who-euer wake or sleepe, 
Nyht & day your wacch so streihtli keepe, 

As God nor man, in your opynyouws, [p. 18] 
Your forteressis ne myhte nat assaile. 
Your castellis nor your stronge dongouns 
Stujffid with men and plente off vitaile, 
Lik to stonde euere and neuere for to faile, 
As God nat myhte a-geyn your fals puissauwce 
Whan-euer hym list off riht. to do vengaunce! 

Settith afforn your eyen that be blynde 
The monstruous werk off grete Babilouw; 
The pride off Nembroth ther was put behynde, 
Maugre his myht, and his tour smet doun: 
For al the crafft off werkman or masoun 
Destroied was with a sodeyn leuene, 
Tauenge his pride sent a-dou« fro heuene. 

For thouh your strengthes so assurid be, 
That noon engyn may therto atteyne, 
Gunne nor buwbard hi no subtilite, 





1290. with iren] om. B, R, H, R 3, P; 

bounde H 5. 
1293. myhti cheynys] cheynes myhti R. 
1289,98. CastettH. 
13 12. Bombard H. 

^ MS. J. leaf 7 verso. 


with Irons stronge 

BK. l] 

An Exclamation against Proud Men 


Shot off arblast nor touch off dundeyne; 
Yit God that is lord and souereyne, 
Which lich desertis can bothe spille and saue, 
Mai al confounde with an erthe-quaue. 

Myn auctour axith, what castel or what tour 

May be so strong[e] maad in any wise, 

But that be mene off sum fals tretour, 

Or be sum weie that he can deuise, 

Jt may be lost or sold for couetise 

And delyuered, for al ther stronge bondis. 

Into the power off enmyes hondis. 

Or bi sum other sodeyn auenture, 

Castellis, citees and many a riche toun 

Han been lost; thei myhte hem nat assure 

For to resiste a-geyn[e]s fals tresoun: 

Summe ha be lost eek bi rebellioun; 

And alle these menys, the trouthe to be-gynne, 

Ys but punshyng which God sent for synne. 

God hath a thousand handis to chastise, 

A thousand dartis off punycioun, 

A thousand bowes maad in vnkouth wise, 

A thousand arblastis bent in his dongoun, 

Ordeyned echon for castigacioun; 

But where he fynt meeknesse & repentaunce, 

Mercy is maistresse off his ordynaunce. 

Ye that be wise, considreth how the roote 

Off vicis alle is pride, ye may weel see; 

Pullith hym doun and put hym vndir foote 

And tak your counseil off humilite: 

And yff ye list [to] stonde in surete, 

Beeldith in herte for mor sekimesse 

A tour off vertues groundid on meeknesse, 

Whos masonrie is off no costage, 

Off vertues ground and souereyne, 

Blast off wy^ndis and off wedris rage. 

Nor no tempest hasti nor sodeyne, 

Pompe nor host, thouh thei doon her peyne, 








TLe strongeat 
c^ castles 
may be lost 
by treasm 



or rebeilk>a. 

God can 
punish if he 
wili, and 
shew mercy 
where he 
find* re- 

Pride Is the 
root of all 
vices; build 
in your 
hearts a 
tower of 

It will stand 

13 13. aroweblast J, arrowblast H 5 — dundejTie] dundeyne R, 
Dondeyn H, don^dejne J, doudeyn R 3, dundayn H 5, 
dondine P. 1325. Castetl H. 

1335. echon ordej-ned H. 1342. to] om. H, R. 


An Exclamation against Proud Men 

[bk. I 

conquers all 

She may be 
sorely tried, 
but she will 
win in the 

This vertu meeknesse for to vndirmyne, — 
Thei be to feeble to make hire for tenclyne. 

For wher meeknesse is groundid verraily, 1352 

Thouh he sumwhile feele aduersite, 

He passith ouer and sufFreth paciently 

And venguisshith al maner enmite, 

Thassaut also and the contrariouste 1356 

OfF infortune, and ofF worldli trouble, 

And off victory conquereth a palme double. 

And thouh meeknesse a-myd the flodis flowe 

OfF worldli myscheefF and persecucioun, 1360 

Whil Pacience in hir boot doth rowe, 

Thouh froward wawes posse hir up & douw, 

A calm shal folwe ofF consolacioun, 

Whan Sterne wyndis ther blastis ha[ue] leid lowe, 1364 

The name ofF meeknesse shal shewe & be knowe. 

She may be troublid, but ouercome neuere; 

But for a tyme she may sulFer werre, 

But atte eende she venquisshith euere, 1368 

On londe and se, wher she be nyh or ferre: 

To the hauene ofF lyfF she was our lodesterre, 

I take record on the humylite 

OfF Mary, so blissid mut she be. 137a 

The roote ofF meeknesse flourith up so faire, 

Whos beute dredith no tribulaciouns; 

In somer, wyntir his flouris nat appaire, 

And hir frut last in al maner sesouns: 1376 

Pride may assaile with his bostful souns. 

But fynaly for hir encres ofF glorie. 

With humblesse she wynnith the victorie. 

You who 
have read 
this tragedy, 
take heed to 


OFOLKIS all that this tragedie reede, [p. 19] 1380 
Haueth to meeknesse a-mowg your adu^rtence, 
OfF proude Nembroth also takith heede, 
How that he fill from his magnificence, 
Onli for he be sturdi violence 1384 

List off malis the myhti Lord assaile, 
But in such caas what myht his pride auaile? 

135 1, for tenclyne] to inclyne H, the entire line is written in 

a later hand. 1370. our] Jie J, the H 5. 

1371. on]ofFR. 1381. Haueth] hath H. 

BK. l] 

Saturn and the Process of Time 


Noble Pryncis, which that this world posseede,* 
Ye that be famous off wisdam and prudence, 
And han so many subiectis, that you dreede, 
In gouemaunce vndir your excellence, 
Lat your power with meeknesse so dispence, 
That fals[e] pride oppresse nat the poraile. 
Which to your noblesse so moche may auaile. 

Pride of Nembroth dede the bridil leede, 
Which hym conueied to gret insolence; 
Pride apperteneth nothyng to manheede, 
Sauf in armys to shewen his presence — 
Wherfore honour, laude and reuerence 
Be to meeknesse, that hath the gouernaile 
Off alle vertues man may most auaile. 





[Bow many yeres was betwixt Adam and Nembroth 
and betwixt Nembroth and Cadmus and of other 
kynges.] ^ 

THESE olde poetis with ther sawes swete 
Ful couertli in ther vers do feyne. 
How olde Satwme was whilom kyng of Crete, 
And off custum dede his besy peyne, 
Off his godhed list for to ordeyne 
That he sholde, as off his nature, 
Echon deuoure as by his engendrure. 

In this mateer shortli to soiourne, 

To vndirstonde off poetis the processe, 

Thei meene pleynli that this woord Satume 

Doth in it-silff nothyng but tyme expresse; 

And philisophres here also witnesse. 

That as in tyme, foorth eu<fry thyng is brouht, 

So tyme ageynward bryngith eu<rry thing to nouht. 

Clerkis recorde eek in ther writyng, 

Vndir support as I dar reherse, 1416 

How that fir wastith euery thyng. 

And iren hard doth nesshe thynges perse; 

Yiff auht a-bitt that they may nat transuerse, 

Yit comyth tyme, and bi contynuaunce, 

And al consumeth with his sharp[e] launce. 





and, Princei, 
let not your 
pride oppress 
the poor. 

the pride of 

Saturn was 
once king of 
Crete. He 
devoured his 
children as 
they were 

His name 

means time, 
which brings 
all things to 

and is more 
than iron 
or fire. 

1387. posseede] do^) posseede B, R, do possede J, He — that] 

OOT. j, H5. 1403. was] om. H. 1407. engendrure] engendure R. 
141 1, it-silff] t)e silff H. 1416. I is misplaced afur reherse R. 

1 MS. J. leaf 8 recto. 


Time destroys all Things 

[bk. I 

TTie passing 
of years 
causes the 
greatness of 
men to fade. 

Their names 
are forgotten. 

Time wastes 
and destroys 
all things. 

In the 
earliest age 
Fortuna was 

From the 
time of 
Adam to 
Nimrod noth- 
ing notable 

His sharp[e] toth of consumpcioun 

In stille wise doth his besi cure 

For to anentise, in conclusiouw, 1424 

Alle thynge that is brouht foorth bi Nature, 

Bi long abidyng thei may hem nat assure; 

For olde thyngis deuourid men may see, 

Fer out off mynde, as thei neuer had be. 1428 

Who can or may remembre in any wise 

The glorious prowesse off these pryncis olde. 

Or the noblesse of philisophres wise, 

Or off poetis the feynyng to onfolde: 1432 

Processe off yeris, alias! as I you tolde, 

Deuoured hath ther fame and ther noblesse, 

Derkid ther renoun bi foryetilnesse. 

Thus off ther namys is lefft no memory, 1436 

Tyme* with his rasour hath doon so gret vengance, 

Shauen a-wey the honour and the glory 

Off many a noble, ful myhti off puissance. 

That there is lefft now no remembrance 1440 

Off pryncis, poetis, nor off philisophres; 

For whan that deth nailed hem in ther cofres, • 

Kam tyme vpon, and bi processe off yeeris 

Ther memory hath duskid and ther mynde, 1444 

And reuolucioun off the heuenli speeds, 

Bi offte turnyng ther glory hath lefft behynde: 

Thus euery thyng which subiect is to Kynde, 

Is* in this liff withoute mor auauntage 1448 

Wastid with tyme and processe off long age. 

In the firste age from Adam to Noe, 

Prudent listres, which list in bookis reede, 

Fynde off Fortune no mutabilite, 145a 

Nor off hir chaungis took[e] tho noon hede; 

But from Adam ther reknyd been in deede 

Onto Nembroth, bi turnyng off the heuene, 

A thousand yeer, seuene huwdrid and elleuene. 1456 

In which[e] space, who that considreth weel, 
Ther be no thyngis write in special,* 
Digne off memorie nor spoke off neueradeel, 

1424. aventisshe J, anentissh H 5. 1432. feynyng] feyng R. 

1437. Tyme] Tymes B, R. 1443- and] om. R. 

1445. And] And the R — the] om. R. 

1448. Is] As B, R. 1450. to] vn to H. 1457. considre H. 

1458. write] writen R — special] especial B. 

BK. i] Fixoses and Tbanaus 41 

Which that be notable nor historial; 1460 

But fro the tyme Nembroth hadde a fal, 

Onto Cadmus the yeeris to contene, 

Thei were a thousand, foure hundrid & fourtene. 

Touchyng [this] Cadmus, as Bochas list Uie'fim'SSg 

tendite, [p. 20] 1464 "^ ^gypt. 

It is rehercid bi rethoriciens. 
How oon Vixoses, in bookis as thei write, 
Was maad first kyng off the Egipciens,* 
Where philisophres & nygromanciens 1468 

Gan first tabounde ther renoun to auaunce, 
Nachor that tyme hau>Tig the gouemaunce 

Off the Hebreus, as maad is mencioun — ^^^^ 

Afftir Nembroth, bi trewe rehersaile, 1472 ^* J'"- 
Thre hundred yeer bi computacioun. 

Four score & tuelue, which tyme, it is no faile, lu^EBTtr? 

That Vixorses gan to werre & eek bataile might of 

Off volunte geyn straunge naciouns, 1476 his name 
And to conquere citees, burwes [&] touns. foi^nen. 

Bi force onli, withoute title off riht, 

He wan al Egipt to encrece his name; 

But for al that, who list to haue a siht, 1480 

There is now lefft no report off his fame, 

Sauf Bochas writ, how he first dede attame 

His myhti conquest off entencioun 

That the glory and the hih renoun 1484 

Ascryued were onto his worthynesse, |^^ ^^ei 

And the residue and the surplusage S^SJ^ 

Off gold, off tresor, off good & off richesse 

Tume sholde to comoun auauntage 14SS 

Off al his peeple, that euery maner age 

Reporte myhte, it was to hym mor nerre 

Boue syngulerte his comoun to preferre. 

q Eek Thanaus off Cithie first kyng, 1492 'S^^^ 

Whan Saruch was duk & souereyne ' Scythu. 

Ouer* the lewes, be record off writyng, — 

1463. foure] iiij B. 1464. this] om. R, H. 

1467. The gipciens B. 1470. Nakor H. 1474. twelue] xij B. 

1475. Vixorses B, R, Vixoses J, H, H 5, P, vixioses R 3 — 

werre] werrej' H. 
1479. to encrece] tencres of H, to encrease of P, to thencrece 

R 3. 1481. fame] name R. 1491. s\-ngulert R. 
1492. Thanaus] tanaus R, Thonans J, Thomvs H, Thomas 

H 5, P, thanas R. 3. 1494. Ouer] Euer B, R. 


Zoroaster and Ninus 

I^BK. I 

His name too 
is forgotten. 

Of Zoroaster 
we know 
nothing, ex- 
cept that he 
laughed the 
hour he was 

Ninus was 



Such men 
are never 
satisfied until 
casts them 

Too hundred yeer, sexti and eek tweyne 

AfFtir Nembroth, this Tanaus gan ordeyne 1496 

A myhti power and a strong bataile 

Hem off Cithie proudli to assaile, 

Conqueryng fro thens onto the ile 

CalHd Ponto, in ful cruel wise: 1500 

And thouh his lordship last nat but a while, 

Al that he wan, it was for couetise; 

And as Bochas doth off these folk deuise, 

Processe off yeris, for al ther gret puissauwce, 1504 

Hath put ther namys out off remembraunce. 

^ Zorastres eek, for al his grete myht. 

Off Bactrians kyng and possessour, 

Lord off Trace and a ful manli knyht, 1508 

OfF all his dedis and off his gret labour. 

Off his conquest nor off his gret honour 

Is nothyng lefFt, off writyng us beforn, 

Sauf that he louh the hour whan he was born. 1512 

He began ful soone to be merie. 

With sodeyn lauhtir at his natyuyte; 

And worthy Nynus, that was kyng oflF Assirie, 

Expowned his lauhtre to gret felicite, 1516 

The which[e] Nynus wan many a strauwge cuntre, 

And day be day his power gan encrese. 

For which he wolde off his conquest nat cese. 

For this the maner off these conqueroures: 1520 

Whan thei haue had in armis o victorie, 

Thei do ther myht, ther peyne & ther laboures 

With newe emprises to be put in memorie; 

For ther corages, supprisid with veynglorie, 1524 

Can nat be stille content in ther estat 

Til her parodie sey to hem chek-maat. 

Fortune ofF armys, in bookis ye may reede. 

With a fals lauhtre on folkis thouh she smyle, 1528 

She froward euere, or thei can takyn heede, 

OfF hit nature will falsly hem be-gyle; 

Conquest bi werre lastith but a whyle, 

1496. Tanaus] thauance P, Thomvs H, Thomas H 5. 

1499. onto] In to H. 1500. Ponto] Ponte J. 

1506. Zorastres] Zorastes R j, Zoroastres P, Zorastees R. 

1511. toforn H. 1513. fulj wol R. 

1520. maner] mateer R. 

1528. a] om. R — folkis] bookis H. 

BK. l3 

Zoroaster and Ninus 


For who bi deth doth sturdi violense, 1532 

God will bi deth his vengaunce recompense. 

^ This worthy Nynus gan myhtili preuaile 

A-geyn Zorastres, off whom I spak tofore; 

For he with hym fauht last in bataile, 1536 

In which Nynus hath hym so weel Ibore, 

That Zorastres hath the feeld Ilore. 

And he was auctour, as bookis specefie, 

Off fals magik and off nygromancie. 1540 

He fond the nature off euery element, 

Ther kyndeli werkyng & ther mutaciouns, 

The cours off sterris & off the firmament, 

Ther influencis, ther disposiciouns, 1544 

Ther aspectis and ther coniuncciouns, 

Wrot in peleris deuised off metall 

The seuene sciencis callid liberall. 

Eek in pilers off brik ful harde Ibake, [p. 21] 1548 

Which were up set, longe, large & huge. 

He gan eek write hem & to vndirtake 

To make hem seur, as for ther refuge. 

That thei sholde be flood nor [no] deluge 1552 

Diffacid been, as off ther scripture. 

But in ther grauyng perpetueli endure. 

But thouh Zorastres this crafft first out fond, 
Ful lite or nouht to hym it myhte auaile; 
And thouh he were a good knyht off his bond, 
He was off Nynus slay[e]n in bataile, 
Loste his rewm and royal apparaile; 
And Nynus deide withynne a litil throwe, 
But in what wise the story is nat knowe. 

^ Eek Moides kyng off Sodomee, 
I fynde off hym no memory be writyng, 
Sauff in a story, as men may reede and see. 
He and his peeple were fre in ther lyuyng; 
But he that was off Assiriens kyng, 
Thoruh fals Fortune, that can so offte varie. 
To Babiloyne made hem tributarie. 

Ninui de- 
who wrote 
books o£ 




and caused 
the seven 
sciences to 
be inscribed 
on strong 
pillars, tnat 
they might 

But Nina* 
slew him 
in battle, 
and looa 
after he 
also died. 

The people oi 
Sodom were 
free in their 


IS35- A-geyn] geyn H — to forn/r H. 

1548. brik] breke H. 

1552. no] om. R, H 5. 

1554. endure] to endure R. 

1567. ofFten H. 

1537. bom/ H. 


Moses and Pharaoh 

[]bk. I 

Pharaoh and 
his men were 
drowned in 
the Red Sea, 

but Moses 
and the Jews 
passed safely. 

In Exodus 
we read 
about the 

and how the 
Jews robbed 
the Egyptians. 

Pharaoh pur- 
sued them, 
but lost his 
life because 
he was 
proud and 

^ We han eek sey[e]n and rad also 

The vengaunces and the pestilence 

Doon in Egipt to kyng Pharao, 

For that he made a maner resistence 1572 

Ageyn[e]s God, off wilful necligence; 

Therfore his peeple vpon a day and he 

Were dreynt echon amyd the Rede Se. 

The peeplis off God lad be Moyses, 1576 

Withoute trouble off any maner wawe, 

Wente echon sauf in quiete & in pes; 

And Pharao, as he gan afFtir drawe 

Hem to pursue, bi a ful mortal lawe, 1580 

In his pursut froward and atteynt, 

A-mong the wawes with his host was dreynt. 

In Exodo ben the menciouns 

Ceriousli put in remembrauwce, 1584 

The twelue plages and persecuciouns 

In Egipt doon, bi ful gret vengaunce; 

And off ther tresor & ther gret substauwce 

Thei were despoilid bi Hebreus, it is told, 1588 

Off ther vesselis off siluer & off gold. 

And out off Egipt ful gret tresor thei ladde, 

Such as thei thouhte myhte hem most auaile; 

And Pharao, I fynde that he hadde 1592 

Too huwdrid charis enarmyd for bataile, 

Hem to pursue and proudli to assaile, 

And fifti thousand, in whom ther was no lak, 

Off men off armys folwyng on horsbak. 1596 

Too hundred thousand off footmen hym aboute, 

And off Egipt al this cheualrie; 

And Pharao with al [t]his gret[e] route 

Gan Israel pursuen off envie, 1600 

But for his pride and fals surquedie. 

He and his peeple wer drownyd euerichon, 

Off al his nouwbre ther was lefft nat oon. 

His froward herte a-geyn God indurat, 1604 

Fulfillid off malis and obstynacie, 

And [in] his purpos proud and obstynat: 

1569. eek] om. J, H 5. 

1576. peeplis] peeple H. 1579- gan] can R. 

1583. exodi J, Exody P, H 5. 

1585. twelue] xijB. 1606. in] ow. R. 

BK. f\ 

Ogygus of Thebes 


These foule vicis, or he koude hem espie, 
From his glory and his regalie 1608 

He was cast doun, thouh he tofForn was crownyd, 
A-myd the se a-mong his peeple drownyd. 

[Off Oggigus, kyng of Thebes.] ^ 

^ A-nothir prynce caUid Oggigus, 

Kyng off Thebes, as bookis determyne. 

And foundour was, thus Bochas tellith us, 

Off a cite calHd Eleusyne, 

Which stant in Grece, whos power to declyne 

Ther fill a flood in that regioun, 

Which ouerflowed ful many a royal toun. 

And in Achaia it dede most damage, 
Tyme off lacob, the patriark notable; 
And this deluge with his wawes rage 
Slouh lordis manye, & pryncis honurable: 
For dame Fortune is so deceyuable. 
That she sumwhile, whan she list disdeyne. 
Can folk assaile with a flood sodeyne. 

This flood also, where it dede assaile, 
Wastid comys bothe crop and roote, 
Causid also scarsete off vetaile. 
That many a man felte ful vnsoote; 
The pore nat wiste wher to fynde boote. 
For ther pryncis supprisid were with dreed, 
Thoruh lak off vitaile in that grete need. 

Eleusis ia 



where there 
was a great 
flood in the 
- time of 

1020 Jacob. 



[Off a grete Flood in Tessalie.] * 

fl Anothir flood there was in Thessalie, [p. 22] 1632 

In the tyme whan kyng Amphioun 

Heeld the sceptre and the regalie 

Vpon Thebes the myhti stronge toun, 

Beside the kyngdam off Semalioun, 1636 

This same tyme, this flood, ful dout[e]les, 

Whan Goddis peeple was lad be Moises. 

With this flood the land hadde be deuourid 

Off Thessalie, and al that regiouw, 1640 

But on Pemaso the peeple was socourid. 

1639. the] this H. 

^ MS. J. leaf 9 recto. 

There wa« 
another flood 
in Thessaly, 

but the 
people found 
refuge on 
the hills of 

* MS. J. leaf 9 verso. 


The Story of his 

[bk. I 

reign in 
Athens, there 
was a plague 
of heat 

called the 
of Phaeton. 

I sis, daughter 
of Prometheus, 
married Apis, 
king of 

She was very 
and a ward 
of her uncle 

Jupiter fell 
m love with 

And on the rochis that stoden enviroun 

Fond ther refut, to ther sauaciouw, 

And gret socour, til the flodis rage 1644 

Gan disencrece, withdrawen & asswage. 

^ In olde stories ye may also see, 

Whan Cicraps hadde first possessioun 

Off Athenes the myhti strong cite, 1648 

An heete ther fill in that regeoun. 

Be influence that descendid doun 

From all the bodies aboue celestiall. 

Which likli was for to deuouren all. 1652 

And this hete engendrid off the suwne, 

In dyuers cuntrees, bothe in lengthe & breede. 

Hath his cours so myhtili begunwe 

That many folkis fillyn in gret dreede — 1656 

Ryuers, wellis, who that list taken heede, 

Consumed were and dreied up echon, 

The hete callid thenbracyng off Pheton. 

[]Off goodly Isis, Wiff to Apys kyng of Arg3rue slajm 
bi his broJ)er T3^eus.] ^ 

^ We haue eek rad in stories heer-tofForn, 1660 

How that Ysis to Egipt took hir fliht 

Out off Grece, the trewe doubter born 

Off Promotheus, a ful manly knyht; 

And this Ysis in euery manwys siht 1664 

So fressh, so goodli, weddid bi hir lyue 

To worthi Apis, that was kyng off Argyue. 

The which Ysis, excellyng off beute, 

Afftyr tyme hir fadir was Igraue, 1668 

She was Iput for mor surete 

With hir vncle, that sholde keepe & saue 

This seid[e] maide, that no man sholde hir haue; 

And hir vncle, in Ouyde ye may see, 1672 

Lik as he writ, was callid Epymethe. 

And flouryng up in hir tendir age. 

This seid Ysis so plesant was & meete, 

Off semlynesse, off look & off visage, 1676 

1644. til] to H. 

1646. also may H, R 3, all so Je may H 5, also ye may P. 
1651. scelestiall H. 1653. ofT] first of H. 

1657. list taken] listen talc R. 1668. tyme] om. R. 

1669. put R, R 3, putte H 5. 1671. This] )^t H. 
^MS. J. leaf 9 verso. 

BK. i} 

The Story of Isis 


That lubiter, the myhti kyng off Creete, 
Was enamerid with hir for to meete; 
And she, excitid off femyn^te, 
Enclynyd hir herte onto his deite. 

And for she was off hir entent so cleene, 

Obeieng hym in most lowH wise, 

Off Argyuois he maad hir to be queene. 

Because that she was smet in couetise, 

Ageyn Argus a werre she gan deuise, 

And for he was vnweeldi off his age, 

Hir to withstonde he fond non auauntage. 

But yit Fortune gan vp[on] hir frowne, 
And kyng Argus thoruh his subtilite. 
With his counseil so prudentli gan rowne. 
That she was take bi ful gret cruelte, 
And hir soudeours were eek made* to fle; 
And bi Argus, ther geyned no ransoun, 
She fetrid was & put in strong presoun. 

But hir sone, the god Mercurius, 
Riht fressh, riht lusti & ful off hardynesse. 
And off his herte inU coraious, 
AgeyTi[es] Argus gan his power dresse, 
And so entierli dede his besynesse 
That he was slay[e]n, in conclusioun, 
And Ysis afftir delyuerid fro prisoun. 

Off hir sleihtis afftirward nat feynt. 

She took a ship and into Egipt wente. 

In which[e] ship ther was a cow depeynt; 

And Mercury,* whom lupiter eek sent, 

Is gon with hir, bothe off oon entent. 

To make a mariage afftir a-noon riht 

Twen hir and Apis, a prynce off ful gret myht. 

She was riht wis boue* othir creatures, 
Secret off cunnj-ng, weel expert in science, 
She tauhte first lettres and figures 
To Gipciens be pleyn experience. 
Gaff hem cunnyng and intelligence 


and made 
her queen of 
the Arrives. 
She warred 
on Argnt, 


1688 who captured 
her and put 
her in prison. 


but her ton 
1696 Jew Ai^s 
and Kt her 


She then 
took ship to 
EgTpt and 
married Apis. 



She taught 
the Egyp- 
tians how to 
write and to 
till their 

1680. deite] darte R. 1688. vpon] vp R. 
1692. madej fayn B, R — eek] also J, H 5. 
1705. Mercur>-j Cheurie R, B, Cheuerj' H, thouris J, thoures 

H 5, Mercun- P. 
1709. boue] aboue B, R, H, J, P, H 5. 


The Story of Isis 

[bk. I 

and wag 
as a goddess. 

Apis, her 
husband, son 
of Jupiter 
and Niobe, 

was cruelly 
slain by his 

and after- 
wards be- 
came the 
god Serapis. 

To tile ther land, tauhte ther laborerls 
To sowe ther greyn & multeplie bl yeris. 

And In Egipt hir fame and hir renoun [p. 23] 1716 

Gan day be day wexe and hir worthynesse, 

Holde off cunnyng and reputacioun 

Be signes shewed, nat onli a pryncesse, 

But she was holde a-mong hem a goddesse, 1720 

And with worshepis which that were dyuyne 

And sacrefises, to hir thei dede enclyne. 

But to declare pleynli at a woord, 

A-myd[des] al hir gret prosperite, 1724 

Myhti Apis, hir husbonde and hir lord, 

Prynce off Egipt and duk off that cuntre, 

Sone off lubiter and off Nyobe, 

Which Nyobe, bi lynage descendyng, 1728 

The doubter was off Phoroneus the kyng — 

^ And Phoroneus first the lawes fond 

To which al Grece stant vndir obeissauwce, 

And the statutis off that myhti lond 1732 

Were establisshid bi his ordynauwce — 

But for to write the vnhappi chauwce 

Off kyng Apis, as it is remembrid. 

He slay[e]n was and pitousli dismembrid 1736 

Bi his brother callid Tiffeus, 

Sumwhat off hatrede, but mor for couetise; 

For Tiffeus was inli desirous 

To reioishe in ful mortal wise 1740 

The myhti kyngdam, as ye ban herd deuise, 

Off Argyuoys to haue possessioun, 

Preferrid be moordre & fals successioun. 

And whan that Ysis fond hir lord so ded, 1744 

Off entent that he were magnefied. 

First off wisdam she gan takyn heed, 

Ordeyned a mene that he were deified, 

Hih a-mong goddis to be stellefied, 1748 

In Egipt templis maad hym to be stallid, 

And god Serapis afftir he was callid. 

1718. and] & ofF R. 

1720. a-mong hem] ther R. 

1738. off] for H. 

1743. fals] bi R. 

BK. l] 

Erysicbtbon and Danaus 




QO]ff Grisiton ^at hes membres ete for hunger.] ^ 

^ What shal I write ofF the cas horrible 
Off Erisiton, with hungir so constreynyd, 
That his lifF was to hymsilfF odible, 
In ThesaUe with indigence peynyd; 
And pitousH his fame was disteynyd, 
Whan he solde his doubter in seruage, 
Liriope, which was but yong off age, 

Beschaung off gold to purueie hym vitaile. 

Off verray neede he was so wo-begon; 

He hadde no thyng that myhte his thrust auaile, 1760 

Nor staunche his hungir with gnawyng on a bon, 

WTierfore he eet his membris oon bi oon. 

A prynce, alias, was it nat pite 

To seen hym deie in such aduersite! 

^ We ban eek rad, ful many a day tofor. 
The grete baneshyng and proscripcioun, 
Off Argyuois how kyng Gelanor 
Was crueli put from his regeoun; 
And his lieges, off indignacioun. 
In his place thei sette oon Danaus, 
Sone and eek heir onto the god Belus. 

The peeple off malis dede hym so encoumbre, 

Tencrece his sorwe and his aduersite. 

And fifti douhtren he hadde also in noumbre, 

And Egistus his brother, eek parde 

Hadde fifti sones, the story ye may see, 

Atween the which bi surete off bond 

In mariage there was maad a bond, 

Vndir which compassid was tresoun, 

Couertli thouh thei dede it hide. 

But yiff ye list ban cleer inspeccioun 

Off this story vpon eueri side, 

Redith the legende of martirs off Cupide, 

Which that Chaucer, in ordre as thei stood, 

Compiled off women that were callid good. 

told hi* 
for huoger. 

and after- 
ward*, alas, 
ate hit 







founder of 

had fifty 
who married 
the fifty sons 
ol i£gyptu*. 

You will find 
their story in 

1752. Erisiton] Grisiton J, P, Grisitoun H 5, Herisiten R 3. 

1755. fame] name R. 

1771. the] om. R. 

1783. Redith] Reed R— off] & R. 

* MS. J. leaf 10 recto. 



who also 
told the 
tale of 
and Procne. 

It were pre- 
eumption for 
me to tell it 

I will go on 
to Cadmus; 

but I am 
terry that 
there are so 
few good 
women to 
write about. 



The Tale of Philomela and Procne 

^ Touchyng the story off kyng Pandioun, 
And off his goodli faire douhtren tweyne, 
How Thereus, fals off condicioun, 
Hem to deceyue dede his besi peyne, 
Thei bothe namyd, off beute souereyne, 
Goodli Progne and yong[e] Philomene, 
Bothe innocentis and ofF entent ful cleene. 

Ther pitous fate in open to expresse, 

It were to me but a presumpcioun, 

Sithe that Chaucer dede his besynesse 

In his legende, as maad is menciouw, 1796 

Ther martirdam and ther passioun, 

For to reherse* hem dede his besy peyne, 

As cheef poete caUid off Breteyne. 

OfF goode women a book he dede write, [p. 24] 1800 

The nouwbre compleet* fully ofFnynteene; 

And there the story he pleynli dede endite 

OfFTereus, ofF Progne &* Philomeene, 

Where ye may seen ther legende, thus I meene, 1804 

Doth hem worshepe & foorth ther lifF doth shewe 

For a cleer merour, because ther be so fewe. 

I will passe ouer and speke ofF hem no more, 

And onto Cadmus foorth my stile dresse — 1808 

Yit in my writyng it greueth me sore, 

Touchyng ofF women ofF feith or stabilnesse, — 

Blessid be God, — I fynde noon excesse; 

And for ther been so fewe, as thynkith me, 181 2 

The goode sholde been had in mor deynte. 

This tragedy 
told about 

^ Lenvoy. 

THIS tragedie bereth to you witnesse. 
How Saturnus bi disposiciouw, 
Maliciousli of his frowardnesse 1816 

Causith in lune ful gret infecciouw. 
She off nature conveieth the venym douw, 
The hair infect, which no man may socoure, 
Kometh deth a-noon, & all thynge doth deuoure. 1820 

1787. And] om. H. 1798. reherse] rehersen B, R. 

1801. compleet] vncompleet B, J, vncomplet H 5. 

1802. pleynly he did H. 

1803. Tereus] Terence H, Therence R 3, P, Theseus J, H 5 — 
&] & off B, R, H. 1804. ther] i>e H. 

BK. l] 

Jupiter, Europa and Cadmus 


and the_ 
of princes 
and princesses 

Princes, re- 
member that 
Fortuna is 

Tyme from Adam, myn auctour doth expresse, two dduges, 

Doun to Nembroth bi successioun. 

His stile conueied bi gret auysynesse, 

From Zorastres to kyng Pharaoun; 1824 

CM too deluges he maketh mencioun. 

In Thesalie the vengaunce gan laboure. 

And in Achaia Thebes to deuoure. 

Ye haue off hetis herd the gret excesse, 1828 

Off pryncis, pryncessis ful gret destruccioun, 

OfF Egistus the gret[e] wrechidnesse, 

The furie off Tereus, the wo off Pandioun, 

Off the too sustren the confusioun, 1832 

And how ther fate gan vpon hem loure, 

Ther felicite vnwarli to deuoure. 

Pryncis, Pryncessis, your eyen doth up dresse — 
I meene the eyen off your discrecioun — 1836 

Seeth off this world the chaung, the doubilnesse, 
The gret onseumesse, the variacioun, 
And aduertisith, for al your hih renoun. 
Fortunes dewes, whan thei most suetli shoure, 1840 
Than is she falsest, your glorie* to deuoure. 

[How lubiter rauisshed Europe, and how Cadmus 
was sent/to seke hir in diuers Regiouns.J ^ 

BE rehersaile off many an old poete. 
Be discent the lyne conueied doun. 
Next Satt^mus, the myhti kyng off Crete, 1844 

loue was crownyd bi successioun. 
As next heir bi procreacioun, 
Afftir his fadir the lond to enherite,* 
Regned in Crete, as poetis list to write. 1848 

Sone off the lynage, as I you tolde affom. 
Off the goddis most souereyn and enteere, 
Yit thouh he was off blood so hih I-bom, 
He ches Europa for to been his feere, 1852 

And doun descendid from his heuenli speere. 
As he that was, for al his deite, 
Supprisid in herte with hir gret beute. 

1831. Tereus] Thereus R, H, R 3, P, J, H 5 — furie] furies H. 

1832. 2ndthe]ofFR. 

1835. The second line of this stanza misplaced at end, H. 
1841. gloire B. 1847. tenherite B. 

^ MS. J. leaf 10 verso. 




and chose 
Europa to be 
his wife. 


The Story of Cadmus 

Hbk. I 

She was a 
daughter of 

Jupiter took 
her by force 
from her 

who told his 
son Cadmus 
to bring her 
back or him- 
self never to 
return home 

Cadmus set 


And she was douhter to the myhti kyng 

Callid Agenor, by lyneal discent, 

Whos myhti kyngdaw & roial fair duellyng 

Was in Phenice toward the orient; 

And to Arabie his land was adiacent, 

Ferre* be south, as ye may reede and see, 

Toward the parties of the Rede Se. 

But lubiter, whan he dede aduerte 

Off Europa the gret[e] semlynesse, 

Hym thouhte he was woundid thoruh the herte 

Onto the deth, beholdyng hir fairnesse, 

And for his constreynt, & his mortal distresse, 

Seyng she was so fair fouwde* in his siht, 

He rauesshid hire ofF veray force & myht. 

But Agenor, hir owyn fadir deere, 
Gan on this cas ful pitously compleyne, 
Whan she, alias, most goodli and enteere. 
Was hym berafFt, which doublid al his peyne; 
Recur was noon, thouh he dede pleyne, 
Til he, remembrynge in his regalie, 
Thouhte he wolde senden to espie 

His sone Cadmus hir to recure ageyn, 
For to serche hire in many a regeouw, 
Wherso his labour were fructuous or in veyn. 
His fadir sette hym a fell condicioun, 
Nat to retourne hi noon occasioun, — 
And therupon maad hym to be bounde, — 
Til that he hadde the kyngis douhter fouwde. 

He took his shippis bi gret auysynesse, [p. 25] 

And gan to saile be many a straunge se, 

Dede his labour and his besynesse. 

With many a worthi that were with hyw preue; 

But whan that he off resoun dede see, 

Ther was no mene for which that he was sent, 

For tacomplisshe the fyn off his entent, 

With glad[e] herte, deuoid off al gruchyng, 
Seyng the cas froward and contraire. 
Humble off [his] cheer[e] took his exilyng. 








1861. Ferre be south] For be south B, For be sothe R, for to 

be South P, For to be sought R 3. 
1868. founde] foundyn B, founden R, H. 

1871. Gan] Can R. 1873. berauht H. 1874. And recur R 3. 
1877. recure] espien H. 1878. a] om. H. 

BK. l] 

Cadmus consults Apollo 


And off manhod list nat hymsilff dispaire, 

But with his meyne knyhtli gan repaire 

Toward Grece, & proudli ther to londe, 1896 

OflF Appollo for to vndirstonde, 

To what parti that he myhte drawe. 

He praied the god to wissyn hym & reede, 

Sum tokne shewe or sum maner lawe, 1900 

Onto what ile that he myhte hym speede; 

Or that he wolde graciously hym leede 

Where-as he myhte bilden a cite, 

That were accordyng for hym & his meyne. 1904 

And to Appollo he dede sacrefise, 

And maad to hym his oblacioun, 

The god requeryng goodli to deuise, 

To what lond or to what regeoun 1908 

For his duellyng and habitacioun 

He sholde drawe, withoute mor obstacle. 

For hym and hise to make his habitacle. 

And Cadmus thus tofForn Appollo stood, 191a 

Knelyng a-mong with ful gret reuerence. 

And in the temple off Delphos stille a-rbod. 

With humble attendaunce & deuout dilligence 

Meekli besekyng,* bi woord or sum* sentence, 1916 

That Appollo to hym wolde onclose, 

To what parti he sholde hymsilff dispose. 

This was his answere in conclusioun. 

As the statue to hym dede expresse: 1920 

To goon and serche contrees enviroun. 

And til he fond, doon his besynesse, 

A bole that were excellyng of faimesse. 

Which, bi precept off Appollos lawe, 1924 

Hadde neuer afforn in no yok Idrawe. 

And where that euer sekyng that he fond 

A bole stonde stille in his pasture, 

Appollo bad vpon the same lond, 1928 

Where-as he sauh this sihte off auenture. 

That he sholde doon his besi cure 

To bilde a cite, he and his folkis all. 

And Boecia, afftir the bole, it call. 193a 

1899. &] or H. 1916. besek>Tig] abid>Tig B, R, H — sum] 

bi sum B, R, J. 1917. enclose] enclose R. 

1920. As] And R. 1926. ist that] om. H. 

and asked 
Apollo to 
tell him 

he and his 
people should 

Apollo told 
Cadmus to 
learch for a 
bull that 
had never 
drawn in 

and, where 
he found 
him, to 
build a city. 


Cadmus builds Thebes 

[bk. I 

which he did, And whan that Cadmus the precept vndirstood, 
And in serchyng dede his besynesse, 
He fond a place where-as a bole stood 
Fedyng hymselff, which as bi liklynesse 1936 

Was a place ful plesant off largesse, 
Wher-as he stynte and gan a cite reise, 
Which that poetis gretli comende & preise. 

And that his bildyng myhte the more auaile, 1940 

AUe tho foreyns that dede a-boute hym duelle, 

Ful lik a knyht, be force and be bataile 

Out ofF that cuntre he dede hem expelle, 

Reisyng a cite which that dede excelle, 1944 

And as Guide recordeth eek the same, 

Into this day off Thebes berith the name. 

and named 
it Thebes. 

Cadmus was 
a great and 
wise man 

And he was nat onli glorefied 
For reryng up off this grete cite. 
But he was also gretli magnefied 
For his manhod and magnanymyte, 
And most comendid, yiff ye list to see, 
For the surmountyng famous excellence 
Which that he hadde in wisdam & science. 



and invented 
laws and an 

He married 

at about the 
time of the 
death of 

For as myn auctour list off hym endite, 

Thoruh his noble prudent purueiance 

He tauhte figures & lettris for to write, 1956 

And made lawes off ful gret ordynance 

A-mong the Grekis, and sette gouernance 

Ther vicious liff bi vertu to restreyne; 

And who outraied was punshid with the peyne. i960 

And off entent tencrecen his lynage. 

And his cite also to multeplie. 

He took a wiff, that was but yong off age, 

And she was callid, as bookis specefie, 1964 

Hermyone; and touchyng hit allie, 

Thouh that she were born off roial blood, 

She was also bothe inly fair and good. 

And this was doon, as writith myn 

auctour, [p. 26] 1968 

Afftir the deth of worthi losue, 
Gothonyel beyng his successour, 

1934. serchyng] sechyng H. 
1941. tho] \)e J, the R 3, H 5. 

BK. l] 

Cadmus; bis four DaugbUrs 


Hauyng the ledyng and the souereynte 

OflF Israel whan Thebes the cite 1972 

Was foundid first in tho daies olde 

Bi kjmg Cadmus, tofforn as I you tolde. 

Foure douhtren he hadde be his lyue, 

Ful faire echon and goodli on to see; 1976 

And ther names to rehersen blyue, 

Semele was eldest, and next Authonoe, 

The thridde in ordre was callid Ynoe, 

And Agaue was yongest off hem all, 1980 

OfFwhich[e] douhtres thus [it] is be-fall: 

Thei were echon off port & off maneer 

Ful weel fauoured in euery manys siht, 

Riht womanli and heuenli of ther cheer; 1984 

And for ther beute, ther fadir anoon riht, 

As it was sittyng, with al his ful[le] myht, 

Lik ther estatis, ther berthe & eek ther age, 

Maad hem be weddid & ioyned in manage 1988 

To worthi pryncis, his lynage to auaunce. 

And thei encreced bi procreacioun, 

WherofF the kyng hadde ful gret plesaunce 

And gret reioishyng in his opynyoun 1992 

To seen his lyne bi generacioun, 

With his nevewes & cosyns off allie. 

Fro day to day so wexe and multeplie. 

And this encreced his felicite. 
Whan he considred verrali in deede 
The riche bildyng off his roial cite, 
And how Fortune dede his bridil leede 
To gret richesse, in bookis as I reede, 
To gret noblesse, hauyng residence 
In his cite off most magnyficence. 

His doubter Semele, record off myn auctour, 

Thouh she descendid were off the blood roiall, 

To lubiter she was paramour, 

And bi his power aboue celestiall. 

She conceyued in especiall. 

As poetis list off hire tendite, 2008 

Hym that is god off grapis rede & white, 

1971. 2nd the] om. R. 1973. foundid] founden R. 

198 1, it] om. R. 

2000. the t in gret stuck in scribe's pen H. 

and had four 

who were 
very beautiful 

and became 
the wives of 

1996 Cadmn* 

His daughter 
Semele had 
2004 a son, 

Baochus, by 


but Juno in 
her anger 
caused Semele 
to be burnt 
up together 
with her 

Actaeon, son 
of Autonog 
and Aristaeus, 
was devoured 
by hounds. 

Agave, the 



murdered her 
son Pentheus 
because he 
laughed at 
the women 
of Thebes 
when they 
sacrificed to 

Thus Cadmus 
fell into 
great trouble. 

The Misfortunes of Cadmus* Family [bk. i 

Callld Bachus, which hath the gouernaunce 

Off wynis alle and the regalie. 

WherofF afFtir ther fill ful gret vengaunce: 2012 

[For] whan luno dede first espie 

OfF lubiter the grete auoutrie, 

Off gret hatrede and envious desir, 

She made Semeles be brent with sodeyn fir, 2016 

Bi descendyng off a sodeyn leuene, 

Wherthoruh hir paleis was into asshes brent — 

The vnwar strook cam douw fro [the] heuene, 

And on Semeles the vengaunce is doun went; 2020 

And or the flawme consumed was & spent, 

Ther was off hir lefFt no remembraunce, 

But oflp hir eende the woful mortal chaunce. 

^ Eek Antheon, sone off Authonoe, 2024 

To gret[e] myscheefF and infortune born, 

Whos fadir was callid Eristee, 

Come off the kynrede that I you tolde aflForn; 

With cruel houwdis, alias, he was to-torn, 2028 

For that he sauh, as bookis off hym tell, 

Diane nakid bathe hire in a well. 

And as poetis remembryn atte leste. 

Whan the ladies off Thebes the cite 2032 

Heeld off Bachus solempneli the feste, 

The yongest suster, callid Agaue, 

Doubter to Cadmus, — alias, it was pite! — 

Ageyn Pantheus, hir* owyn sone deere, 2036 

She wex so wood & mortal off hir cheere, 

Moordryng hym in ful cruel wise. 

In hir rage she was so furious: 

For he louh[e] at the sacrefise 2040 

In Thebes doon bi women to Bachus; 

The which[e] sone was callid Pantheus, 

Whom that she slouh with a ful sharp[e] dart. 

In hir woodnesse, as she hym fond a-part. 2044 

These grete myscheuys fellyn in the lyne 

Off kyng Cadmus thoruh his onhappi chauwce; 

Fortune his noblesse gan to vndirmyne. 

2010. hath the] that hath R. 

2013. For]oOT. H, R. 2018,19] om.J. 

2019. 2nd the] om. H, R. P. 2030. in] at H. 

2036. hir] his B, R — Pantheus] om. J. 

BK. l] 

Tbf Troubles of Cadmus 


And thouhte she wolde his glory disauaunce. 2048 
Al worldli gladnesse is medlid with greuaunce, 
Experience in Cadmus ye may see. 
So importable was his aduersite. 

For whil he sat most hiest in his glory, [p. 27] 2052 

No parti clipsed off his prosperite, 

His briht renoun and his roial memory 

In rewmis sprad and many ferr cuntre. 

And he most welful in his kyngli see 2056 

Sat with his lynage, most hih in his noblesse, 

Than cam Fortune, the fals enchaunteresse, 

Off wilfulnesse, and fond occasioun 

A-geyn this Cadmus, & maad his renoun dulle, 2060 

And off his kynrede, bi fals coUusioun, 

She gan a-wey the brihtest fethres pulle; 

And whan his shynyng was wexe up to the fulle, 

Afftir the chaung off Fortunys lawe, 2064 

His glory gan discrecen and withdrawe. 

It was mor greuous to his dignite, 

A sodeyn fall from his hih noblesse. 

Than yiff that he neuer hadde be 2068 

Set in thestat off [so] gret worthynesse; 

For the furious mortal heuynesse 

Off his kynreede, withoutyn any more, 

Wolde haue greued a poore man ful sore. 2072 

And a-mong his sorwes euerichon, 

To reherse pleynli as it was, 

I dar afferme how that there was oon. 

Most horrible & dreedful in such cas; 2076 

For Cadmus sone, callid Athamas, 

His sone-in-lawe, thoruh fals malencolie 

Fill sodenli into a frenesie. 

Off whom the wiff was callid Ynoe, 20S0 

Cadmus doubter, as ye ban herd expresse. 

Which thoruh the constreynt off his infirmite, 

In his rage and furious woodnesse 

Thouhte that his wiff was a leonesse, 2084 

And in his wilde ymagynaciouns, 

That his too childre were also too leouns. 

2052. his gIory3 hiest R. 2062. brihtest] briht H. 
2069. thestatj the staat J, the state P — so] om. R. 
2085. wilde] wood R — ymaginacion R. 

Fortune, the 

his prosperity. 

It was the 
more grievous 
because of 
his high 

Hit greatest 
sorrow was 
caused by hi* 

who thought, 
hit wife a 
lioness and 
his sons lions. 


57?^ End of Cadmus 

[bk. I 

antJ ^w his And vpon hem ful loude he gan to crie, 

Toward his wifF in haste he ran anon, 2088 

And from hir armys, ther was no remedie, 

The child he rente, and on a craggi ston 

He gan* to brose it and breke it eueri bon. 

The which[e] child, Bochas writith thus, 2092 

Ful tendir and yong, was callid Learchus. 

ino fled with And ofF this woful sodeyn auenture 
son. OfF his rage, whan that [s]he took heed, 

As most sorweful ofF any creature, 2096 

Hir othir child she hente anoon for dreed; 

For ofF socour she knew no betir speed. 

So as she myhte gan haste out ofF his siht. 

But wellaway, as she took hir to fliht, 2100 

Hir husbonde cam afFtir pursuyng 

Lich a wood leoun in his cruel te; 

Doun from a mounteyn, which was dependyng, 

She and hir child fill into the se. 2104 

Was it nat routhe, was it nat pite, 

A kyngis doubter, hir lord in Thebes crownyd. 

He to be wood and she for feer so drownyd! 

Thus the joy of Loo, hecr the fyn ofF Cadmus euerideel, 
His childre slayn and his allies all. 
And he hymsilfF[e] fro Fortunys wheel, 
Whan he lest wende, ful sodenli is fall, 
His litil sugir temprid with moch gall: 
For a-mong[es] all his mortal peynes. 
His liege-men, ofF Thebes citeseynes, 

They fell 
into the sea 
and were 


with sorrow. 

Finally he 
and hia 
wife were 

and died in 

Made ageyn hym a conspiracioun, 

Put hym in exil and his wifF also, 

His sonys, his douhtris brouht to destruccioun; 

And to thencrecyng ofF his dedli wo. 

He and his wifF compellid bothe too 

For verray pouert and verray indigence 

In ther last age to purchace ther dispence. 

Thus [of] Cadmus the sorwes to descryue 
And his myscheefF to putte in remembraunce. 
He banshid was twies bi his lyue. 




hir] ther R. 2090. craggi] cragge R. 

He gan] Began B, R — brose] briste J, bris R 3, bruise P. 

she] he H, R. 2096. As] Was H. 2109. children R. 

all] om. R. 2120. verray] varrei R. 

of] om. R. 

BK. l] 

An Envoy on Cadmus 


First bi his fadris cruel ordynaunce 
Off his suster to maken enqueraunce. 
And althirlast in his vnweeldi age 
He was compellid to holden his passage 

Out off Thebes, his wifF and he allone, 

In sorwe & wepyng taccompHssh up ther daies. 

Into Illirie to-gidre thei be gone, 

Ther pacience put at fell assaies, 

Whos bittimesse felte noon allaies. 

Eek off ther eende nor ther vnhappi fate. 

Nor off ther deth I fynde noon other date, 

SaufF that Guide maketh mencioun, [p. 28] 

And John Bochas the poete excellent 

Seith that the* brethre, Zeto & Amphioun, 

Out off Thebes, bothe bi oon assent, 

Haue* this Cadmus into exil sent, 

His wifF also, afFtir ther hih noblesse. 

To eende her lifF in sorwe and wrechidnesse. 

But the goddis, ofF merci and pite, 

Whan thei hem sauh bi Fortune so cast doun 

From ther estatis into pouerte, 

Hauyng ofF hem ful gret compassioun, 

Thei made a-noon a transformacioun 

OfF bothe tweyne, hem yeuyng the liknesse 

OfF serpentis, to lyue in wildimesse. 



2136 But Ovid 
tayi that 
the gods bad 
mercy on 
them and 
them into 

2 140 seipcot*. 



<[ Lenvoye. 

OWHAT estat may hymsilfF assure 
For to conserue his lifFin sekimesse? 
What worldli ioie may heer long endure. 
Or wher shal men now fynde stabilnesse, 
Sithe kyngis, pryncis from ther hih noblesse — 
Record ofF Cadmus — been sodenli brouht lowe 
And from the wheel ofF Fortune ouerthrowe? 


Who may susteene the pitous auenture 

Off this tragedie be writyng to expresse? 

Is it nat lik onto the chaunteplure, 

Gynnyng with ioie, eendyng in wrechidnesse? — 2160 

Al worldli blisse is meynt with bittimesse, 

2126. Inqueraunce H. 

2138. the] thee B, thre H, R, two P. 

2140. Haue] Hath B, han H, J. 2143. and] & off R. 

What esute 
may live in 

All woridly 
happiness is 
mingled with 


^etes. King of Colchos 

[bk. I 

therefore, O 
Lords, be- 
ware the 
fate of those 

Fortune cast 
from her 

JEtXts, king 
of Colchos, 

6on of Apollo, 

The sodeyn chauwg no man therofF may knowe; 
For who sit hiest is sonest ouerthrowe. 

Was in this world yit neuer creature, 2164 

Rekne up pryncis, for al ther hih noblesse 

Fortune koude recleyme hem to hir lure 

And emporisshe thoruh hir frowardnesse. 

Wherfore, ye Lordis, for* al your gret richesse, 2168 

Beth war afForn or ye dauwce on the rowe 

Off such as Fortune hath from hir wheel throwe. 

[A processe of Oetes kyng of Colchos, lason, Medee, 
Theseus, Scilla Nisus, and other moo.] ^ 

WHAN lohn Bochas was most dilligent 
To considre the successiouws 
Off lynages, with all his hool entent, 
In his writyng and descripciouns 
To compile the generaciouns 
Of many noble, famous off estat — 
I meene off such as were infortunat, — 

In his serchyng he fond nat a fewe 

That were vnhappi founde in ther lyuyng; 

To his presence a-noon ther gan hem* shewe 

A multitude ful pitousli wepyng, 

A-mongis which, ful doolfully pleynyng, 

Cam first Oetes, and hath his cowpleynt gunne, 

Kyng off Colchos and sone onto the sunne. 2184 

For off Phebus, which is so briht & cleer, 

Poetis write that he was sone and heir, 

Because he was so myhti off poweer. 

So fressh, so lusti, so manli [and] so feir; 2188 

But off Fortune he fill in gret dispeir, 

Cursyng his fate and his destyne. 

Whan lason first entrid his cuntre, 

Be Pelleus sent fro Thesalie, 2192 

Ther for taccomplisshe be dilligent labour 
The grete emprises thoruh his cheualrie, 

2166. recleyme] recline R. 2168. for] with B, R, J, H 5. 
2170. as Fortune] fortune as R — as] om. J — throwe] ou^r- 
t)rowe J, H 5. 2180. hem] hym B, R, H 5, him J, them P. 
2183. compleynt] playnte R. 

2188. lusti manli and ri3t faier J, H 5 — and] om. H, R, R 3. 
2191. lason] losan R. 

1 MS. J. leaf 12 recto. 




BK. l] 

Jason and Medea 


YifF God and Fortune list doon to hym fauour, 

That he myhte wynnen the tresour: 

This is to meene, that he were so bold 

The ram tassaile which bar the Flees of Gold. 

This said lason thoruh* counseil off Mede, 
Bi sorcery and incantacioun 
The boolis slouh, horrible for to see, 
And venquysshid the venymous dragoun. 
The k3'ng despoilid off his possessioun, 
Accomplisshid with carectis & figures 
Off Colchos the dreedful auentures. 

And afFtirward, whan he his purpos hadde. 
He lefFte Oetes in ful gret dispair, 
And Medea foorth with hym he ladde 
And hir brother, which was the kyngis hair. 
But as I fynde, how in his repair, 
Out off Colchos whan thei gan remue, 
Kyng Oetes afftir hem gan sue. 

Vpon lason auenged for to be, 

Withoute tarieng, he folwid hem proudly; 

The which[e] thyng whan lason dede see, 

This Medea gan shape a remedy: 

She took hir brothir & slouh hym cruely, 

And hym dismembrid, as bookis make mynde, 

And pecemeel in a feeld behynde 

She gan hym caste, al bespreynt with 

blood. [p. 29] 

WherofF his fader whan he hadde a siht, 
Ful pale off cheer, stille in the feeld he stood, 
Whil she and lason took hem onto fliht — 
I trowe that tyme the moste wo ful wiht 
That was a-lyue, whan he dede knowe 
His child dismembrid and abrood Isowe! 

Which cause was, alias and wellaway! 
That he so stynte, as man disconsolat, 
Whil that lason fro Colchos went a-way. 
And Medea, most infortunat. 
Was ground and roote off this mortal debat: 


wa» de«poiled 
of the Golden 
2200 Fleece by 


who led 
away hi* 

„ Medea. 

Medea slew 
her brother 


to itajr her 



2195. to] om. R. 2197. is] om. R. 
2199. This] The H — saide] om. J, H c 

the B, H, R, R 3. 
2204. carectis] carecters R3, charactes P. 

thoruh] thoruh 


Medecis Enchantments 

Cbk. I 

Her love of 
Jason was 
the cause of 
it all. 

Medea re- 
stored iEson 
to youth 

and caused 
the death of 
Peiias, Jason's 

For who sauh euer or radde off such a-nothir, 2333 
To saue a straunger list to slen hir brothir? 

Forsook hir fader, hir contre & kynreede, 

The lond enporished thoruh hir robberie; 

Off hir worshep she took noon othir heed, 2236 

Loue had hir brouht in such a fantasie. 

And whil that she a-bood in Thesalie 

And with lason dede ther soiourne, 

She made Eson to youthe to retourne. 2240 

A yerde she took, that was drie and old, 

And in hir herbis and cowmixciouns* 

She made it boile, in Guide it is told. 

And bi carectis and incantaciouws, 2244 

And with the crafFt off hir coniurisouws 

The yerde be-gan [to] budde & blosme newe 

And to here frut and leuys fresh off hewe. 

And semblabli with hir confecciouws 2248 

His olde humours she hath depurid cleene, 

And with hir lusti fresh[e] pociouws 

His empti skyn, tremblyng & riht leene. 

Pale and wan, that no blood was seene, 2252 

But as it were a dedli creature — 

Al this hath she transfformyd bi nature. 

Made hym lusti and fressh off his corage, 

Glad off herte, liffli off cheer and siht, 2256 

Riht weel hewed and cleer off his visage. 

Wonder delyuer bothe off force & myht, 

In all his membris as weeldi & as lyht 

As euer he was, and in the same estat, 2260 

Bi crafft off Mede he was so alterat. 

Afftir al this, a-geyn kyng Pelleus 

She gan maligne, vncle onto lason; 

And off envie she procedith thus: 2264 

The kyngis douhtren* she drow to hir anoon, 

Hem counsailid that thei sholde goon 

Onto ther fadir & pleynli to hym seyn, 

Yiff he desirid to be yong a-geyn. 2268 


2nd hir] om. H. 2238. thatj] om. R. 
42. in"] wi[) J — in commixciouns the 2nd c is formed like t in 
B, H, J . 2244. carectis] charactes P. 2246. to] om. R, H. 

2249. humours] humerus R. 2250. hir] his H. 

2265. douhtren] douhter B, douhtir R, douhtren H, doughters 
P, R 3, H 5 — drow] drawij) J. 

BK. i\ The Treason of Medea 63 

Ful restored his force to recure by promwing 

And therwithal in lusti age floure, to make him 

She behihte to doon hir besi cure L^b^diCT, 

Lik his desir to helpyn and socoure, 227a 

And in this mateer so crafft[i]li laboure, 

Fynali stonde in the same caas 

To be maad yong, lik as his brothir was. 

Touchyng which thyng, for mor euydence 2276 

This Medea hath to the douhtren told, 

Off entent to yeue the mor credence, 

She bad hem take a ram that wer riht old, 

And with a knyff for to be so bold 2280 

To sleen this beeste affom hem ther he stood, 

And in a vessel drawe out his olde blood, 

FuUi affermyng lik as it wer trewe, pertu»ding 

That he sholde been a lamb a-geyn. 2284 "^ 

For she be crafft wolde his blood renewe 

In such wise be euidence pleyn 

That off elde no tokne shal be seyn — 

In al his membris as lusti and enteer 2288 

As was a lamb euyd off o yeer. 

And therupon in ful sleihti wise 

She gan a processe off ful fals tresoun. 

The sustre made vpon this ram practise, 2292 

Drouh out his blood lik her entenciouw; 

And she bi crafft off fals illusiouw 

Blent her eyen bi apperence in veyn 

The olde ram to seeme a lamb a-geyn. 2296 

Thus Medea be sleihte compassyng, to kfli their 

Off envie and venymous hatreede, 

Excitid hath the sustre in werkyng, 

A-geyn ther fadir mortali to proceede. 2300 

With sharp[e] knyuis thei made her fader bleede. 

Mid the herte thoruhout euery veyne, 

Supposyng, the celi sustren tweyne. 

That Pelleus renewed sholde be [p. 30] 2304 

To youthe a-geyn off force & off substauwce. 
But fynali bi tresoun off Mede 

2272. his] hir H. 2275. his] hir H. 2285. For] & H. 
2289. euyd] yewide R 3, yened P, eyned J, H 5. 

2299. sustre] sustren H, sustres H 5, susters P. 

2300. to] om. H, R 3. 2305. youht geyn R. 



The Fate of Creusa 

[bk. I 

thought this 
would please 
Jason, but 
it did not. 

He left her 
and went to 
where he 
whom Medea 
burnt up 
in revenge. 

Jason wanted 
to punish 

He lost* his lifF, such was his woful chaunce; 

For she it wrouhte onli ofF vengauwce, 2308 

As roote & ground off this cruel deede, 

A-geyn the* nature off al * womanheede. 

Supposyng in hir opynyoun, 

How that the deth gretli sholde plese 2312 

OfF Pelleus onto hir lord lasouw, 

Thoruh gret encres sette his herte at ese; 

But it rebounded into his disese, 

That fynali lason hir forsook 2316 

For hir offence, and he his weye took 

Into Corynthe, toward the kyng Creon, 

Whos douhter Creusa, for hir gret beute, 

Was afFtirward iweddid to lason. 2320 

But whan this weddyng was knowe to Mede, 

Caste she wolde theron auengid be, 

Gan to conspire off malis and envie, 

And thoruh hir magik and [hir] sorcerie, 2324 

In ful gret haste gan [for] to ordeyne 

A litil cofFre, onli off entent; 

And bi hir yonge faire sonys tweyne. 

With othre iewelis, she hath the cofFre sent, 2328 

Onto Creusa makyng a present. 

Which ofF malis she list so dispose. 

That whan Creusa the cofFre dede onclose, 

The fir brast out a ful large space, 2332 

Brent Creusa bi ful gret violence, 

Set a-fire pleynli al the place 

Benchauntement; ther* was no resistence — 

Al wente affire that was in hir presence, 2336 

Bi vengance dede ful gret damage. 

But whan lason the fir sauh in his rage. 

And considred the malis ofF Mede, 

Thouhte he wolde doon execucioun 2340 

For to punshe the gret iniquite 

A-geyn[e]s hym compassid ofF tresoun; 

For she ofF vengance, a-geyn[es] al resoun, 

2307. lost] lefFte B, R. 2309. &] off R. 

2310. the] om. B — al] al good B, R. 

2312. that] at R. 2314. encres] ences R — at] in R. 

2322. theron] om. R. 2324. hir] om. R, H. 

2325. for] om. ], R. 2335. ther] pleynli ther B, R. 

BK. l] 

Medea marries King ^geus 


Afftir that Creusa consumed was & brent, 
Hir owne sonys, which she hadde sent, 

Withoute routhe or womanli pite, 

She falsll moordred — the childre that she bar 

Lik a stepmooder auenged for to be, 

Cutte ther throtis or that thei wer war, 

A-geyn nature, ther was noon othir spaar, 

But for hatreede she hadde onto lason. 

AflFtir this moordre she fledde hir way a-noon, 

So escapyng his indignacioun. 

Be crafft off magik she wente at liberte 

To Athenys, and in that regioun 

She weddid was onto the kyng Egee. 

Nat longe aiFtir bi hym a sone had she. 

The which[e] child, myn auctour tellith thus, 

Afftir Medea caUid was Medus. 

Afftir whos name the famous regioun 
I-named was, which is caUid Meede. 
But folwyng ay hir olde condicioun. 
This Medea, void off shame & dreede, 
Compassid hath off wilful fals hatreede. 
That Theseus, the sone off kyng Egee, 
With newe poisoun shal deuoured be. 

But Theseus, ful lik a manli knyht. 
In repairyng hom to his contre. 
Off hih prudence espied a-noon ryht 
The mortal vengance, the gret[e] cruelte 
Off his stepmooder, which off enmite 
Concludid* hath in hir entencioun 
Hym to destroie onwarli with poisoun. 

Hir herte off malis, cruel & horrible. 

As she that was with tresoun euer allied, 

Whan that she sauh hir purpos most odible 

Be kyng Egeus fuUi was espied, 

She hath hir herte & wittis newe applied. 

As in ther bookis poetis han compiled, 

A-geyn to lason to be reconsiled. 

She fledde away for dreed off Theseus, 
List he hadde doon on hir vengaunce. 
And fynali, as writ Ouidius, 

2352. hir way] away H. 2361. callid is J, called is P. 
2372. Concludid] Concludyng B, R. 

especially as 
she murdered 
her two son* 
out of hatred 
to him. 

But the es- 
caped to 






and tried to 
poison her 
, Theseus, who 
2304 escaped. 



2376 She then 
went back 
to Jason. 



Medea restored to Jason. Minos 

[bk. I 

Poets do not 
tell how it 
was that 
they were 

It must 
have been 

At any rate, 
they restored 
iEetes to his 

Now I shall 
turn to 
Minos, son 
of Jupiter 
and Europa. 

He was king 
of Crete and 

And moral Senec concludith in substaunce, 2384 

In his tragedies makyng remembrauwce, 
How Medea, lik as poetis seyn, 
Onto lason restored was a-geyn. 

Touchyng the eende off ther furious 

discord, [p. 31] 2388 

Poetis make therofF no menciouw 
Nor telle no mene how thei fill at accord. 
But yifF it were bi incantacioun, 
Which so weel koude turne up-so-doun 2392 

Sundry thyngis off loue & off hatreede. 
And in Bochas off hir no mor I reede, 

Sauff whan she hadde fulfiUid hir purpos, 

Myn auctour tellith, that lason & Mede 2396 

Resorted han a-geyn onto Colchos 

Hir fadir Oetes, & from his pouerte 

Brouht hym a-geyn into his roial see. 

And to his crowne bi force thei hym restore: 2400 

Touchyng his eende, off hym I fynde* no more. 

Thus his fortune hath turnyd to and fro. 

First lik a kyng hauyng ful gret richesse, 

Afftir lyuyng in pouert and in wo, 2404 

Sithen restorid to his worthynesse: 

Thus ay is sorwe medlid with gladnesse. 

Who can aduerte, in al worldli thyng, 

Record off Mynos, the noble worthi kyng. 2408 

TO whom I muste now my stile dresse, 
Folwen the tracis off Bochacius, 
The which[e] Mynos, as Ouide doth expr^sse, 
Touchyng his birthe writ[eth] pleynli thus, 2412 

That he was manli, wis and vertuous, 
Sone bi discent off lubiter the grete. 
And off Europa born to been heir in Crete. 

Off his persone wonder delectable, 2416 

Ful renommed off wisdam and science, 

Bi dyuers titles off laude comendable 

Off birthe, off blood, off knyhthod & prudence; 

For bi his study and enteer dilligence 2420 

He fond first lawes groundid on resouw, 

Wherbi off Crete the grete regioun 

2390. zt\ om. R. 2401. I fynde] fynde I B, R, J. 

2412. wnteth] writ R. 2419. &]ofH. 

BK. l] 

Minos and ^een Pasipbae 


Gouemyd was and set in stabilnesse. 

Alle iniuries and wrongis to refourme, 

Made statutis extorsiouns to represse, 

Off rihtwisnesse thei took ther firste fourme, 

And that ech man sholde hymselfF confourme 

Lik ther degrees, subiect and souerayne. 

That no man hadde no mater to complayne. 

He made his liges to lyuen in quieete, 
Cleer shynyng in his roial noblesse, 
With suerd and sceptre sittyng in his seete; 
And whil he floured in his worthynesse 
He took a wifF off excellent faimesse, 
Doubter to Phebus, in Bochas ye may see, 
And she was callid faire Pasiphe. 

And hir fadir, bi record off writyng, 

In his tyme was holden ful famous; 

Off thile off Rodis he was crownyd kyng, 

And in his daies off port ful glorious, 

Riht proud in armis and victorious, 

Takyng witnesse Methamorphoseos. 

His doubter hadde thre childre be Mynos, 

The firste a sone callid Androgee, 

And afftirward ful faire douhtren tweyne, 

Riht womanli and goodli on to see; 

But, as Fortune for hem dede ordeyne, 

Thei felte her lyue gret trouble & [gret] peyne 

Callid Adriana, and Phedra was the tothir, 

Folwyng ther fate, it myhte be noon othir. 

Androgeus bi kyng Mynos was sent, 
For he sholde profityn in clergie, 
To Athenys off vertuous entent 
There to stodien in philosophie; 
And for he gan tencrece & multeplie 
And passe all othir bi studi in lernyng 
And to excelle his felawes in cunnyng, 

Thei off envie and fals malis, alias. 
Made a-geyn hym a conspiracioun, 
And from a pynacle sacrid to Pallas, 

2425. represse] oppresse R. 2439. thile] the vile F 

2441. riht victorious H. 2445. douhtre R. 

2448. 2nd gret] om. R. 2449. that othir R. 

2450. ther] the H. 2452. sholde] wold R. 

goTcmed his 
subjectt wdi. 



His wife's 

name was 

2432 Pasiphae, 








by whom he 
had three 

Their son 
was mali- 
ciously slain 
in Athens, 


Scylla and Nisus 

[bk. I 

for which 
Minos took 

Nisus, king 
of Megara, 
helped the 

but his 
Scylla fell 
in love with 

and conspired 
her father's 

Off ful gret heihte, made hym tumble doun. 

For which iniurie, Bochas maketh menciouw, 

His fadir Mynos auengid for to be, 

Leide a gret power a-boute the cite. 2464 

He caste hym fulH that no maw sholde hyw lette, 

But that he wolde doon crueli vengaunce; 

And round a-boute so sore he hem besette 

With men off armys & with his ordynauwce, 2468 

That fynali he brouht hem to vttrauwce, 

And them constreynyd, withynne a Htil space, 

Ther lifF, ther deth submyttyng to his grace. 

But whil thei made ageyn hym resistence, [p. 3 2] 2472 

Supposyng his power to withstonde, 

Nisus, that was kyng off Megarence, 

A-geyn Mynos ther parti took on honde: 

And offte tymes, as ye shal vndirstonde, 2476 

Whan kyng Mynos the cite dede assaile, 

Nisus withynne, with myhti apparaile 

Vpon the wal stood in his difFence — 

Whan that Mynos, ful lik a manli knyht, 2480 

Fauht withoute with sturdi violence, 

Lich Mars hymsilfF in steel armyd briht. 

WherofF whan Scilla onys hadde a siht, 

Douhtir to Nisus, aduertyng his prowesse, 2484 

A-noon for loue she fill in gret distresse. 

She was supprisid with his hih noblesse; 

His manli force, expert many-fold, 

Set[te] Scilla in gret heuynesse: 2488 

For loue off Mynos, off poetis it is told. 

Made hir herte presumen and be bold, 

First hir-silff to putte in iupartie, 

Hir fadris lifF, the cite, the clergie. 2492 

From hir herte loue hath set a-side, 

A-geyn nature, hir blood & hir kynreede; 

And al frenshipe from hire she gan deuyde, 

And off hir worship took no maner heede: 2496 

Loue maad hir cruel, a-geyn al womanheede, 

First hir herte so sore sette affire, 

Hir fadres deth falsli to conspire. 

2469. vttraunce] variaunce R. 2471. Ther] The H. 

2474. Magarence H. 2489. 2nd ofT] in H. 
2491. iupartiej parti R. 

BK. l] 

Scyllas unnatural Cruelty 


For kyng Mynos beyng a straunger 

Was so enprentid in hir opynyoun, 

Off creatures ther stood noon so neer; 

And for his sake, bi ful fals tresoun. 

She compassid the destruccioun 

First off hir fadir and off the cite — 

So straunge a thyng, alias, how myhte it be, 

That a woman off yens yong and tendre 
Koude ymagyne so merueilous a thyng! 
But offte it fallith, that creatures sclendre, 
Vnder a face off angelik lokyng, 
Been verrai wolues outward in werkyng. 
Eek vnder colour off ther port femynyne, 
Suwme be founde verray serpentyne, 

Lambis in shewyng, shadwid with meeknesse, 
Cruel as tigres, who doth to hem offence, 
Off humble cheer pretendyng a liknesse. 
But, o alias! what harm doth apparence. 
What damage doth countirfet innocence, 
Viidir a mantil shrowdid off womanheed. 
Whan feyned falsnesse doth ther bridil leed! 

For this Scilla, the kyngis doubter deere. 

In whom he sette hool his affeccioun, 

His hertis ioie, his plesaunce most enteere. 

His worldli blisse, his consolacioun, — 

But she al turned to his confusioun, 

Nat lich a doubter, but lik a sorceresse 

His deth compassid, the story berth witnesse. 

Hir fadir hadde a fatal her that shon 

Brihtere than gold, in which he dede assure 

Manli to fihte* a-geyn his mortal fon; 

For on his hed[e] whil it dede endure. 

He sholde venquysshe bi manhod, & recure, 

And thoruh his knyhthod, to his encres off glor>'. 

In euery quarell wynnen the victory. 

But whil hir fadir kyng Nisus lay & sleep, 
Vpon a nyht, parcel affor day, 
Ful secreli, or that he took keep, 
The her off gold this Scilla kit away; 
And onto Mjmos, armyd wher he lay. 

2500 a strange 
thing for a 
woman to 


(but often 
the most 
2508 angelic ap- 



are as cruel 
as tigers). 


Like a 





she cut 
away the 
fatal hair 
of gold from 
Nisus' head. 


fihte] fihten B. 
kit] did H. 


and, as Ovid 
tells, took a 
sharp knife 
and killed 

Scylla slays her Father 

[bk. I 

She presented 
her father's 
head to 

and declared 
that her 
love for him 

her to do 
this horrible 





' 'Wherefore, 
I pray, consider, 
like a gentle 

and accept ' 
my love. 

She it presentid thoruh hir ordynaunce, 
Off fals entent hym for to do plesaunce. 

But in this mateer, lik as writ Guide, 

Methamorphoseos, who-so taketh heed, 

Hir fadir slepyng, she knelyng hi his side. 

Took a sharp knyfF withoute feer or dreed, 

Whil he lay nakid, she kai-fF a-too his hed, 

Stal hir way[e] off ful fals entent. 

And to kyng Mynos the hed she doth present. 2548 

And in hir comyng onto his presence, 

Hir fadris hed whan she afforn hym laide, 

No-thyng a-shamed off hir gret offence. 

Onto Mynos thus she dede abraide. 

And with bold cheer[e] euene thus she saide: 

"Mi lord," quod She, "with support off your grace, 

Yeueth to my tale leiser tyme and space; 

Certis, my lord, loue hath excitid me [p. 33] 

And constreynyd to this cruel deede. 

To slen my fader, destroien my cite, 

Forgete my worshep, forsaken womanheede. 

And maad me hardi to make my fader bleede — 2560 

Thynges horrible thus I haue vndertake 

For tacomplisshe onli for your sake. 

Mi-silff disheritid for loue off your persone, 
Callid in my contre a fals traitouresse, 
Disconsolat stole a-wey a-lone. 
Off newe diffamed, named a maistresse 
Off fals moordre, I brynge a gret witnesse. 
Mi fadres hed and his dedli visage, 
A-geyn nature to forthren your viage. 

Wherfore, I praie that ye list aduertise, 
And considreth lich a gentil knyht 
How I, for loue toward your gret emprise, 
And to gret fortheryng also off your ryht, 
Haue first my fader depryued off his myht, 
Rafft hym his liff, dispoiled his richesse 
To do plesaunce to your hih noblesse. 

And no-thyng axe onto my guerdoun 
Nor to my reward that myhte me auaile, 
But that I myhte haue ful possessioun 





2548. present] sent R. 

2559. forsake R. 

BK. ij 

Minos* Ahborrence of the Deed 


Off your p<rrsone, most worthi in bataile; 
For ther is no tresor that myhte countiruaile 
To my desir, as that ye wolde in deede 
Goodli accepte me and my maidenheede. 

Ye may me saue & spille with a woord. 
Make most glad and most dolerous; 
I nat requere ofF you, my souereyn lord, 
But that ye wolde be to me gracious: 
For blood and kyn, and my fad res hous 
Al lefFt behynde, yiiF ye list aduerte, 
And vndepartid youe to you myn herte. 

Which to your hihnesse auhte inouh suffise, 
All thynge considred, in your roial estat, 
Conceyued also in how vnkouth wise 
For your loue I stonde desolat, 
Sauff off your mercy fulli disconsolat. 
Heere is al and sum, your loue I beie to sore, 
But ye do grace; I can sey you no more." 

And whan she hadde hir tale told knelyng, 
With a maner pretense ofF womanheed, 
OfF al hir tresoun a poynt nat concelyng, 
The kyng astonyd off hir horrible deed, 
Bi gret auys peised and took heed, 
It was not sittyng to prynce nor to no kyng 
To do fauour to so froward a thyng. 

With troublid herte and with a face pale, 
His look vpcast, [he] seide, "God forbeede. 
That euer in cronycle, in story or in tale, 
That any man sholde off Mynos reede, 
How he supported so venymous a deede — 
Fauoure a woman, alias and wellaway! 
Which slouh hir fader whan he a-bedde lay. 

But for your hatful and vnkyndli rage, 
I pray the goddis echon and Satume 
To take vengaunce on your fals outrage: 
For euery-wher, wher ye do retume. 
And eueri place wher-as ye soioume, 

2585. dolorous H. 

2589. Al] And R. 

*S93- Conceyued] And conceyve H. 

2603. no] om. H. 

2606. he] om. R, J, P, H s. 

2608. That] Tat R. 







" I have left 
all behind 
for your 

\Imos was 



Said he, 
"God forbid 
that Minos 
should ever 
tudi a deed. 

2612 "May the 
gods take 
on you! 



" Begone from 
my court! 

"May Tellus 
and Neptune 
refuse you 
an abiding- 

The gods 
Scylla into 
a quail 
and her 
father into 
a sparrow- 
hawk. That 
was their 

The End of Nisus and Scylla []bk. i 

Lond and se, shortli to expresse, 

Thei been infect with your cursidnesse. 

Your owne mouth your outrage doth accuse; 

And your accus is so abhomynable, 2620 

That your gifFtis I fulli do refuse, — 

Thei be so froward and repreuable. 

And your persone, disnaturel & vnstable, 

Withynne my court, it were a thyng nat fayr, 2624 

That ye sholde a-bide or haue repair. 

Ye be so hatful vpon eueri side 

And contrarious off condiciouw, 

I praie Tellus, which off the erthe is guide, 2628 

And to Neptunus I make this orisoun: 

As ferr as strecchith ther domynacioun 

Vnder the bouwdis off ther regalie, 

A duellyng-place that thei to you denye!" 2632 

Whan Mynos hadde his answer thus deuised. 

On resoun grouwdid and on equite, 

And Scilla sauh how she was despised. 

Knew no parti, passage nor contre 2636 

To fynde socour whedir she myhte fle. 

But disespeired as a traitouresse. 

Toward the se a-noon she gan hir dresse 

Tentre the water pleynli yiff she myhte, [p. 34] 2640 
For verrai shame hirseluen for to shrowde; 
And whan the goddis theroff hadde a syhte, 
Thei turned hire, as thei that myhte & kowde, 
In-ta quaile for to synge lowde. 2644 

Hir fader Nisus thei dede also transmue 
In ta sperhauk, the quaile to pursue. 

This was the eende off Nisus & off Scille. 

And afftirvf ard off Athenes the toun 2648 

Was yolden vp to stonden at the wille 

Off kyng Mynos, withoute condicioun; 

Euery thre yeer bi reuoluciouw 

Thei off the cite sholde nat dellaie 2652 

Nyne off ther childre for a tribut paie. 

2640. The second hand begins here R. 

2643. that] om. R. 

2645. transmuel remewe R. 

2646. sperhaukjsparow R, sparhawke H. 

2647. 2nd oflQ om. R. 
2651. thre] om. R. 

BK. l] 

Tbg Minotaur 


This was bi Mynos thymposicloun 

Vpon Athenys; and off verrai dreed 

Thei obeied, as maad is mencioun, 2656 

And ther childre yeer bi yeer thei leed 

Into Crete the Mynotaur to feed, 

Onto this monstre ordeyned for repast, 

Which at ther comyng deuoured wer in hast. 2660 

But or that I ferthere do proceede 

In this mater, I will do my cure 

To declare, yiff ye list take heede. 

Off this monstre to telle the engendrure,* 2664 

Vnkouth to heere and a-geyn nature; 

For bi the writyng off Ouidius, 

This ougli beeste was engendrid thus, 

Methamorphoseos, the maner ye may see: 2668 

Mynos hadde a bole off gret faimesse, 

Whit as mylk; and the queen Pasiphe 

Loued hym so bote, the story berth witnesse, 

And Dedalus dede his besynesse 267a 

[|Bi sotil craft, & made his gynnys so. 

That ayenst kynde with hir he had to do. 

And conceyued a beest[e] monstruous. 

That was departid, halfe bole, half man; 2676 

And as the poete bi wrytyng techith vs. 

Off Mynotaurus thus the name began. 

And Dedalus, not long aftir whan] 

That this monstre was bi the queen forth 

brouht, 26S0 

This subtil werkman hath an hous Iwrouht 

Callid Laboryntus,* dyuers and vnkouth, 

Ful off wrynkles and off straungenesse, 

Ougli to knowe which is north or* south, 2684 

Or to what part a man sholde hym dresse; 

Folk were ther blent with furious derknesse. 

Who that entred, his retourn was in veyn, 

Withoute a clue for to resorte a-geyn. 2688 

2654. bi] of H, R 3. 2657. children R. 

2658. M>Tiatour R. 2659. this] the R. 2662. will] woId^R. 

2664. telle the engendi-ure] tellen thengendrure B, H. 

2670. Posiphee R. 2673-9 a*"' supplied from R, om. in B, H. 

2676. halfe a bull P. 2677. bi] om. P. 

2678. Mynataurus J, Mynotouris H. 2682. Lobor>-ntus B. 

2684. or] & B. 

over the 
them to 
scad 9 chil- 
dren every 
3 years to 
the Minotaur 

The Minotaur 
was the off- 
spring of 
Pasiphae and 
a white bull. 

The bull 
lived in 

the Labyrinth 
made by 


a place like 
a prison, 
where it 
human flesh. 

Some books, 
however, say 
that Pasiphae 
had a child by 

Taurus, a 
secretary, — 
which would 
explain the 
matter of 
the bull. 

Wives are a 
bad lot, but 
we do not 
discard a 
falcon for 
one fault. 

To return to 
the Athenians, 
they paid 
their tribute; 

Wives are a Bad Lot [bk. i 

Off Mynotaurus this was the habltacle, 

Lik a prisoun maad for tormentrie, 

For dampnyd folk a peynful tabernacle; 

For all that lay ther in iupartie, 2692 

The monstre muste deuoure hem & defie: 

And speciali was ordeyned this torment 

For all that wern doun from Athenys sent. 

But in this mater suwme bookis varie, 2696 

And afFerme how queen Pasiphe 

Off kyng Mynos loued a secretarie 

Callid Taurus, in Bochas ye may see; 

And thus the kyng, for al his rialte, 2700 

Deceyued was, for who may any while 

HymsilfF preserue wher women list begile? 

For bi this Taurus, Bochas berth witnesse, 

Queen Pasiphe hadde a child ful fair, 2704 

Mynos nat knowyng bi no liklynesse 

But that the child was born to been his hair. 

His trust was good, he fill in no dispair; 

For some husbondis, as poetis han compiled, 2708 

Which most assure [hem] rathest been begiled. 

Innocentis can nat deeme a-mysse, 

Namli ofFwyues that be fouwde trewe; 

Clerkis may write, but doutles thus it isse, 2712 

Off ther nature thei loue no thynges newe: 

Stedfast off herte, thei chaunge nat her hewe; 

Hawkes best preued, suwwhile a chek can make, 

Yit for o faute the foul is nat forsake. 2716 

Off these materes write I will no more. 

But ay the tribut & seruage off the town 

Procedith foorth, thei cowstreyned wer so sore, 

Lich as ther lott turned up and doun; 2720 

For ther was maad[e] non excepcioun 

Off hih nor louh, nothir for sour nor swete, 

But as it fill, thei were sent into Crete. 

2695. from Atthenes doun sent R. 

2696. bookis] folk R. 2697. Posiphe R. 

2704. Posiphe R. 2705. liklynesse] liknesse R. 

2706. that at R. 

2709. hem] om. J, R. 2715. sumwhlle] sume tyme R — 
can] gan R. 

2716. o] a R — fouyl R. 

2717. these materes] this mateer R — will I R. 
2719. wer constreynyd R. 2721. made was R. 

BK. l3 

The Adventures of Theseus 




The* statut was so inli rigerous, 

Thei took ther sort as it cam a-boute, 

Til atte laste it fill on Theseus, 

That he mut gon foorth a-mong the route, 

Kyng Eges sone, beyng in gret doute 

Touchyng his liiF, which myht nat be socoured, 

But that he muste with othre be deuoured. 

Which Theseus, for his worthynesse, [p, 35] 

And off his knyhthod for the gret encres 2732 

Thoruh manly force, & for his hih prowesse 
Whilom was callid the seconde Hercules, 
Mong Amazones put hymselfF in pres, 
Weddid Ypolita, as bookis specefie. 
The hardi queen [callid] off Femynye. 

And afftirward to Thebes he is gon, 

Halp there the ladies in especiall, 

Which that cowpleyned vpon the kyng Creon, 

Which hem destourbed, lik ther estat roiall 

To holde and halwe the festis funerall 

Off ther lordis, as queenys & pryncessis, 

Off wifli trouthe to shewe ther kyndenessis. 

For whan this Duk the maner hadde seyn, 

And off Creon the grete iniquite, 

To the ladies he made delyuere a-geyn 

Ther lordis bonys, off routhe & off pite. 

Yit in his youthe out off his cite 

He was delyuered, bi statut ful odible. 

To be deuoured off this beeste horrible. 

He goth to prisoun, for al his semlynesse. 

As the statut felli dede ordeyne; 

But off routhe and off gentilesse, 

Hym to preserue from that dedli peyne. 

Off kyng Mynos the goodli douhtren tweyne, 

Adriane shoop off a remedie, 

And faire Phedra, that he shal nat die. 

Thoruh ther helpe he hath the monstre slayn. 
That was so dreedful & ougli for to see; 
Bi hem he scapid, wheroff he was ful fayn. 

and Theieu*. 











queen of the 


and helped 
the ladies of 
against the 
tyranny of 

sent to 


daughters re- 
solved to 
save him 
from the 

which he slew. 
^ He falscljr de- 
2700 scrted 

Ariadne for 

2724. The] Ther B. 

2735. Among Amozones he put R. 2736. Ipolito R. 

2741. disturblid R. 2748. Ther] The R. 2757. ofr>m R. 

2758. shal] shuld R. 2760. so] om. R. 2761. wheroflT] wherfor R. 


Theseus forsakes Ariadne for Phadra 


and Ariadne 
became the 
wife of 

Unlike men, 
women are 
constant, un- 
less their 
husbands be- 
have badly 
to them. 

Fortune was 
unkind to 

Pasiphae com- 
should bear 
such things 
in patience), 
his daughters 
ran away, 
the Minotaur 
was killed, 
Theseus es- 
caped, Athens 
was freed from 
its tribute, and 
Theseus for- 
sook Ariadne 
and married 

Lad hem with hym, toward his centre. 

And hi the weie, deuoid off al pite, 

Adriane he falsli hath forsake 2764 

A-geyn his surance, & Phedra he hath take. 

Amyd the se [he] lefFt hir in an ile, 

Toward no parti she knew no declyn; 

She crieth, wepith, alias, the harde while! 2768 

For off hir fate this was the mortal fyn, 

That for pite Bachus, the god off wyn, 

Took hir to wyue, whos crowne of stonys fyne 

Doth now in heuene with the sterris shyne. 2772 

Thus off Theseus ye may beholde and see 

To Adryane the gret onstedfastnesse, 

The grete ontrouthe, the mutabilite. 

The broke assurance and newfangilnesse; 2776 

But celi women keepe ther stedfastnesse 

Ay ondefouled, sauff, sumwhile off ther kynde, 

Thei must hew purueie, whan men be* founde 

Off Theseus I can no more now seyn 2780 

In this mater to make off hym memorie, 
But to kyng Mynos I will resorte a-geyn 
To tell how Fortune, ay fals & transitorie, 
In what poyntis diffacid hath his glorie. 2784 

First off echon Bochas doth specefie 
Off Pasiphe the foule aduout[e]rie, 
Which was his wiff, and stood weel in his grace, 
To his plesance she was most souerayne; 2788 

But a cloude off [a] smal trespace 
Made hir lord at hir to disdeyne: 
But he off wisdam bar preuyli his peyne, 
For in this cas, this is my sentence, 2792 

Lat prudent husbondis take hem to pacience. 
On* other thyngis Mynos gan compleyne, 
Hauyng in herte theroff ful gret greuaunce, 
That he so loste his faire douhtren tweyne, 2796 

2764. full falsly he hath R. 2765. AyensteR — assuraunce R. 
2766. Amyd] In myddis R, J, H J — he] om. H. 
2768. She wepith she crieth R. 2772. the] ix. R. 
2776. and] & the R. 2778. Ay] But euirre R — sumwhile] 

sum tyme R. 2779. be] been B — founde] om. H. 
2781. In]ofH. 2783. ay]eu/rreR. 2786. Posiphe R, 

H s, Pasipha P. 2789. 2nd a] om. R, H, R 3, P. 
2792. in this] such R. 2793. hem] hede R. 
2794. On] And on B, H — Mynos] om. H — gan] gan also R, J. 

BK. l] 

Pbadra and Hippolytus 


And Mynotaurus slay[e]n with myschaunce. 
Eek onto hym it was a gret penaunce 
That Theseus was gon at liberte, 
And from al tribut delyuered his cite. 

It greued hym eek in contenance & cheer. 

That Theseus Adriane forsook, 

It hked hym nat also the maneer 

Onto his wiff that he Phedra took; 

And yit this Phedra, lich as seith my book, 

Hadde too sonys bi this Theseus, 

First Demephon & next Anthilocus. 

Eek Theseus afftir gan hym drawe 
Toward Cecile, in steel armyd cleene, 
With Pirotheus, in armys his felawe. 
For to rauysshe Proserpyna the queene. 
But off entent Phedra ful oncleene, 
Loued hir stepsone callid Ypolitus. 
But for he was to hire daungerous. 

And to hir lust froward and contrarie, 
In his apport nat goodli nor benigne, 
Off fals entent anon she gan to varie. 
And a-geyn hym ful felli to maligne, 
With a pretence off many tokne & signe 
Off womanhed, she gan hym accuse. 
Hire auoutry falsli to excuse. 

Who seith that women can nat ymagyne 
In ther diffence talis ful vntrewe. 
To ther desir yiff men list nat enclyne 
Nor on ther feyned fals[e] wo to rewe, 
Anon thei can compasse[n] thynges newe, 
Fisshe and fynde out in ther entencioun 
A couert cloude to shadwe ther tresoun. 

She hath accusid yonge Ypolitus 
Off fals auoutri in his tendre age, 
Tolde & affermed to duk Theseus, 
With ful bold cheer[e] & a pleyn visage. 
How he purposed in his furious rage 





[p. 36] 





2798, 2801, 2808. Eek] Also R, 2803. nat] nouth R. 

2804. he] sche R. 2807. Demophan R. 

2816. nor] ne R. 2818. ayens his R. 2819. many a H. 

2823. ful] om. R. 

2825. Nor] Neithir R — fals feyned R. 2826. compassh R. 

2832. a] om. R. 

Theseuj then 
went to Sicfly, 
and Phxdra 
fell in love 
with her 

■When he 
repulsed her, 
she turned 
on him 
(women are 
well able to 
lie in_ their 
own interest) 

and accused 
him to 
Theseus of 
improper con- 
duct toward 


The Death of Hippolytus 

[bk. I 

(Women are 
very un- 

of course I 
don't mean 
good and in- 
nocent ones, 
but there 
are very few 
of that sort.) 

was frightened 
and fled. 

His horses 
ran away 
and he and his 
chariot were 
by a landslide; 

and Phaedra, 
fearing the 
of Theseus, 
slew herself. 

Onli bi force hir beute to oppresse, 

HIr lord besechyng to refourme & redresse 

The grete iniurie doon onto his wifF 2836 

Whil he was absent for thyngis that bar charge. 

Wyues off talis been sumwhile inuentifF 

To sufFre ther tunges falsli fleen at large; 

But folk that list off dauwger hem discharge, 2840 

Off such accusyng ne take thei noon heed 

Til the trouthe be tried out in deed. 

I meene nothyng off wyues that been goode, 

Nor off women that floure in innocence; 2844 

For God forbeede, and the Hooli Roode, 

But men sholde do deu reuerence 

To ther noblesse and ther excellence, 

Declare ther bounte and ther vertu shewe, 2848 

And more them cherisshe be-cause ther be so fewe. 

Touchyng thaccusyng ageyn Ypolitus, 

Thouh it so were that it was fals in deede, 

Yit he for shame and* feer off Theseus, 2852 

As in the story ye may beholde and reede, 

In his herte he cauhte a maner dreede. 

That he, alias! this cely yonge knyht, 

Fledde & withdrouh hym out off his fadris siht, 2856 

His indignaciouw pleynli to eschewe, 

Thouh bi desert in hym ther was no lak. 

Off hasti dreed as he gan remewe 

Other in a chaar or vpon hors[e]bak, 2860 

His hors affraied, ther fill a sodeyn wrak 

DouM from a roche pendant, as ye shal lere — 

He and his chaar wer drownyd bothe Ifeere. 

Thus ongilti, in his most lusti youthe 2864 

He was conueied to his destrucciouw; 

The sclandre conspired, as it is weel kouthe, 

Bi fals[e] Phedra: but in conclusioun 

The sclandre turned to hir confusioun; 2868 

For whan she wiste Ypolitus was ded 

Thoruh hir defaute, anon for shame & dreed 

2834. oppresse]] presse R. 2835. redresse] dresse R. 

2836. iniurie] iniquyte R — onto] to R. 

2838. suTwtyme been R. 

2840. folkis R — daunger] damage R. 

2850. thaccusyng] this accusyng R. 

2851. 2nd it] he R — was] wer H. 2852. and] and for B. 

BK. i} 

Pbadras End. Sis era 

She took a* swerd, ful sharpfe] whet & grounde, 
And therwithall she roofF hir herte on tweyne. 2872 
Loo, how that vengaunce will euer* a-geyn rebounde 
On hem that falsli doon ther bisi peyne 
To sclandre folk; for lik as thei ordeyne 
With ther defautis othir folkis tattwite, 
God atte laste ther malice can acquite! 

Yit summe bookis off Phedra do recorde 

That she, a-shamyd & confus off this deede, 

Heeng hirsilff up ful hih[e] with a corde. 

Loo, how fals sclandre can quite folk ther meede! 

Wherfore, I counseile eueri man tak heede. 

In such materis as stonde in noun certeyn, 

From hasti doomys his tunge to restreyn. 2884 




Such things 
happen to 
people who 
sunder other*. 

And it woold 
also be well 
for men not 
to draw 
hasty con- 
clusions, as 
Theseus seems 
to have done. 

AMONG these stories woful for to reede, 
Al bespreynt with teris in his face, 
Ful sodenli, lohn Mochas gan take* heede, 
A-myd the pres Zizara cam in place — 2888 

And how that Fortune gan eek to manace 
This proude duk, ful myhti & notable. 
Off kyng labyn callid the grete constable. 

Off his boost ledere and gouemour. 

To Israel verray mortall fo; 

With peeple he rood lich a conquerour. 

And wher that euer his meyne dede go. 

The erthe quook, peeplis drad hym so, 2896 

Fledde from his face wher-as he caw a-ferre. 

Nyne hundred waynes he hadde for the werre, 

Strongli enarmedwith hookesmadelyk*sithes, [p. 37] 
Whothatapprochedtomayme*hym &towounde. 2900 
For this tirant off custum offte sithes 

2871. a] his B, hir H — sherp I whet & groun R. 

2872. roofF] raff R — on twejTie] atwevne R. 

2873. that] om. H — euer] ay B, H, R 3, om. P. 

2876. defautis] diffamys — to atwjte R. 

2877. malice] mateer« H — can] gan R. 

2880. ful] wol H. 2881. folk qu\-te for ^ mede R. 

2884. hasti] om. H — hasti doomvs] his hasty language R. 

2887. take] taken B. J- b s 

2888. A-mvd] In middes R — in] to R. 

2889. eek] also R. 2896. peple R. 

2899. made lyk] & with B, H. 

2900. mayrae] mayne B, H, H 5 — hym] cm. R, J. 


2892 njortal ioc 
to the Jews, 


The Jews are ruled by Deborah 

[bk. I 

was suffered 
by God to 
chastise their 

But when 
they repented, 

God sent 
Deborah in 
their defence, 

who became 
their leader 
and judge. 

Hadde gret delit the lewes to confounde; 

And alle tho that his swerd hath fouwde, 

Kyng labyn bad, the prynce ofF Canaan, 2904 

In Israel to spare child nor man. 

This Zizara was sent to been ther scourge, 

Bi Goddis suffrance ther synnes to chastise, 

Ther olde offences to punshen & to pourge, 2908 

As a flagelle, in many sundry wise; 

But whan off resoun thei gan hem bet deuyse, 

And for ther trespacis to falle in repentaunce, 

God gan withdrawe the hand off his vengaunce. 2912 

For in ther myscheef thei gan the * Lord to knowe, 

Felyng the prikke off his punyciouw; 

And mercy thanne hath vnbent the bowe 

Off his fell ire and castigacioun: 2916 

To God thei made ther inuocacioun, 

And he hem herde in ther mortal dreede. 

In ludicuw the story ye may reede, 

How in the while that this Zizara 

Shoop hym off newe lewes to oppresse. 

In ther diffence God sent hem Delbora, 

A prophetesse, the story berth witnesse. 

To yeue hem counsail ther harmys to redresse, 

And bi the sperit off hir prophecye 

For to withstonde the grete tirannye 

Off Zizara, which was descendid doun 
With a gret boost into the feeld repeired. 
But Delbora, of hih discrecioun, 
Whan that she sauh the lewes disespeired, 
And for to fihte ther corages sore appeired, 
She made hem first deuoutli in ther dreed 
To crie to God to helpe hem in ther need. 

She ^as ther iuge and ther gouerneresse, 
Cheeff off ther couwsail; & off custom she, 
Causis dependyng, bi gret avisynesse, 
That stood in doute, bi doom off equite 
She tried hem out vnder a palme tre, 






2904. thei om. R. 2905. nor] ne J, R 3, H 5, P. 

2910. betj bettirr R. 291 1, ther] the R. 

2912. gan] can R. 2913. the] ther B, H, 

2919. Marginal note in R: "No/a ludicum iiij Ca"." 

2921. the lewis R. 

2928. hoost] coste R. 2932. ther] \»at R. 2936. bi] of R. 

BK. l] 

Dehorab overcomes Sisera 


And was nat hasty* no mater to termyne 

Til she the parties aflFor dede examyne. 2940 

And whan she knew & herde off the komyng 

Off Zizara with ful gret puissaunce, 

That was constable off the myhti kyng 

Callid labyn, with al his ordenaunce, 2944 

Vpon lewes for to doon vengaunce, 

This Delbora gan prudentli entende 

The lewes parti hi wisdam to diffende. 

She bad Barach, hir husbonde, anon riht i948 

OflF Neptalym ten thousend with hym take, 

Geyn Zizara to fihten for ther riht, 

And that he sholde a gret enarme make. 

But he for dreed this ioume gan forsake, 2952 

And durste nat a-geyn hym tho werreye 

But she were present, and list hym to conveye. 

"Weel weel," quod she, "sithe it stondith so. 

That off wantrust ye haue a maner dreed, 2956 

I will my-silff[e] gladli with you go, 

You to supporte in this grete need; 

But tristith fulli, as ye shal fynde in deed. 

That a woman, with laude, honour & glor>'^e, 2960 

Shal fro you wynne the pris off this victorj^e." 

It folwid afftir sothli as she saide. 

Auysili she made hir ordynaunce, 

And the cheeff charge on hirsilff she laide, 2964 

As pr3mcesse off lewes gouemaunce. 

And prudentli gan hirsilff auaunce, 

With God conueied & support off his grace, 

With Zizara to meetyn in the face. 2968 

And specialli touchyng this viage, 

God took a-way the sperit and the myht 

Fro Zizara, his force and his corage, 

That he was ferfull tentren into fyht, 2972 

Kepte his chaar & took hym onto flyht, 

Knowyng no place seurli in tabide. 

Til that label, a woman, dede hym hide 

2939. hasty] hardi B, hardy H. 

2940. affome H. 2941. herd & knew R. 
2948. Barish H. 

2950. GejTi] Ajens R. 

2956. That] Than H. 2972. feerdful R. 

2973. onto] into R. 2975. lael R. 

When the 
heard that 
Sisera had 
come with 
his army. 

she bade 
Barak, her 
husband, lead 
a host against 
him. But a5 
Barak was 

she herself 
took com- 
mand of hi] 

Sisera fled 

to the tent 
of a woman 
caUed Jael. 



drove a nail 
into his 
head while 
he slept. 

The Death of the Tyrant Sis era 

Cbk. I 

Such is the 
fate of 

Let Sisera be 
an example 
to you. No 
lordship en- 
dures with- 
out virtue. 

Sisera's pride 
was humbled, 
when he stood 
at the height 
of his glory. 

Withywne hir tente, almost ded for dreed, 2976 

Vnder a mantell desirous for to drynke. 

She gaiF hym mylk; the slep fill in his hed, 

And whil that he for heuynesse gan wynke 

And sadli slepte, she gan hir to be-thynke; 2980 

Thouhte she wolde for Zizara so shape, 

That with the lifF he shulde nat escape. 

She took a nail that was sharp & long, [p. 38] 

And couertli gan hirsilfF auauwce; 2984 

With an hamer myhti, round & strong 
She drofF the nail — loo, this was hir vengaunce! — 
Thoruhout his hed : seeth heer Jje sodeyw chauwce 
Off tirantis that trusten on Fortune, 2988 

Which wil nat sufFre hem longe to cowtune 

In ther fals vsurped tirannye 

To holde peeplis in long subiecciouw. 

She can hem blandissh* with hir flat[e]rye 2992 

Vnder a colour off fals collusiouw, 

And with a sodeyn transmutaciouw 

Fortune hem can, that pore folkis trouble, 

Reuerse ther pride with hir face double. 

What sholde I lengere in this mater tarye.? 
Thouh that lordshep be myhti & famous, 
Lat Zizara been your exauwplarye. 
It nat endureth but it be vertuous. 
Conquest, victory, thouh thei be glorious. 
Onto the world, yifF vertu be behynde. 
Men nat reioise to haue ther name in mynde. 

For Fortune thoruh hir frowardnesse 
Hath kyngis put out off ther regiouws, 
And she hath also thoruh hir doubilnesse 
Destroied lynages, with ther successiouws: 
Made she nat whilom hir translaciouws 
Off the kyngdam callid Argyuois, 
To be transportid to Lacedemonois.? 

The same tyme whan Zizara the proude 
Gan Goddis peeple to putte vnder foote, 
Famys truwpe bleuh his name up loude 






2986. this was hir] heer H. 2988. OfF] On R. 
2992. blandisshen B. 2995. folk R. 2996. hir] the R. 
3008. whilom] sume tyme R. 3010. Lacidomonois R, J. 
3013. Famys] Fame his R. 


How Gideon defeated the Midianites 

With sugred sownys semyng wonder soote; 

But al his pride was rent up hi the roote, 

Whan that his glori was outward most shewyng;3oi6 

But who may truste on any worldli thyng! 


FOLK han afFom seyn the fundacioun, 
Bi remembraunce off old antiquite, 
OfF myhti Troye and* ofF Ylioun, 
Afftir destroied bi Grekis that cite. 
To vs declaryng the mutabiHte 
OiF fals Fortune, whos fauowr last no while, 
Shewyng ay trewest whan she will begile. 

So variable she is in hir delites, 

Hir wheel vntrusti & frowardli meuyng, 

Record I take off the Madianytes, 

Ther vnwar fall ful doolfully pleynyng, 

Which shewed hemsilff [ful] pitousli wepyng 

To lohn Bocha/, as he in writyng souhte 

How that Fortune a-geyn ther princis wrouhte, 

Which that gouemed the lond off Madian, 
Trustyng off pride in ther gret puissaunce; 
And a-geyn lewes a werre thei be-gan, 
Purposyng to brynge hem to vttraunce: 
But God that holdeth off werre the balaunce. 
And can off pryncis oppresse the veynglory, 
Yeueth wher hym list conquest & victory, 

Nat to gret nouwbre nor to gret multitude, 
But to that parti where he seeth the riht; 
His dreedful hand, shortli to conclude, 
So halt up bi grace and yeueth liht* 
The hiere hand, where he caste his siht; 
List his power and his fauour shewe, 
Be it to many or be it onto fewe. 

The wrong[e] parti gladli hath a fall, 

Thouh ther be mylliouns many mo than oon: 

I take witnesse off leroboall. 

favour dcei 
not last 




Think of the 
who came 
weeping to 


They begin 
a war on 
3036 -^tejews. 

but God 
gives victory 
-„.- not to num- 
3°40 bcrs but to 



3014. sugred] sacrid R. 

3018. fimyacioun J. 3020. and] and eek B. 

3024. ay trewest] euer trust R. 3030. writjTig] bokys H. 

3039. nor] ne R. 

3042. halt] holdith H 5 — So haldith vp his grace P — liht] 

to eu^ry wiht B, H, euery wight P. 
3046. in R: nofa Ca° vj & Ca° vij ludicuwi. 


Gideon and the Midianites 

Hbk. I 

Gideon de- 
feated the 
with 300 men. 

Although he 
was weak, in 

God gave 
him victory. 

They ter- 
rified their 
enemies by 
blowing their 
empty pots 
and suddenly 
shewing the 
light of their 

Which is also callid Gedeon, 

That with thre hundrid fauht a-geyn the foon 

Off Israeli, the Bible can deuyse, 

Whan he to God hadde doon his sacrefise. 

Shewyng to hym a signe merueilous, 
Whan the flees with siluer deuh ful sheene 
Was spreynt and wet, the story tellith thus, 
And round a-boute the soil and al the greene 
Was founde drie, and no drope scene. 
In tokne onli, this duk, this knyhtli man, 
Shold ha[ue] victory off al Madian. 

Thus Gedeon took with hym but a fewe, 
Thre hundred chose, which laped* the ryuer, 
God onto hym such toknys dede shewe 
And euydencis afForn that wer ful cleer. 
That he sholde been off riht good cheer 
And on no parti his aduersaries dreede, 
For no* prowesse nouthir* [for] manheede. 

Where God a-boue holdith* chauwpartie. 
There may a-geyn hym be makid no diffence; 
Force, strengthe, wisdam nor cheualrie 
A-geyns his myht ar feeble ofi^ resistence. 
This was weel preued in experience. 
Whan thre hundred with Gedeon in noumbre 
So many thousandis bi grace dede encoumbre. 

This said[e] peeple, deuyded into thre. 
With ther trumpis, vpon the dirk[e] nyht, 
Bi Gedeon, that hadde the souereynte. 
With void[e] pottis & laumpis therynne lyht; 
And thus arraied thei entred into fyht. 
But onto hem this tokne was first knowe: 
Whan Gedeon his truwpe dede blowe, 

Thei bleuh echon & loude gan to crie, 
Brak ther pottis and shewed anon riht, 
As the story pleynli doth specefie. 





[p. 39] 




3050. thre]] iij B. 

3061. laped] scaped B, P, H 5, scapid H, J, scapide R 3 — 
which] with R. 3064.] om. R. 

3066. For no] ne for noo R 3, — no] nouht B, noujt J, nought 
H s — nouthir] nor B, neithir R, xxt\\>eT J, neyther P. 

3067. holdith] halt B, H. 3069. nor] nethir R, 
3070. ar] or R. 3075. trumpis] triumphis R. 
3083. doth pleynly R. 

BK. l] 

The Envoy to Gideon 


Ther laumpis shewed with a ful sodeyn liht, 
Wheroff ther enmyes, astonyd in ther siht, 
Were so troublid vpon euery side, 
That in the feeld thei durst[e] nat a-bide. 

The cri was this off hem euerichon : 
"Thank to the Lord most noble & glorious, 
Pris to the suerd off myhti Gedeon, 
Which vs hath causid to be victorious, 
Maad our enmyes, most malicious, 
Thoruh influence onli off his grace, 
For verray feer to fleen affom our face!" 

Thus can the Lord off his magnyficence 
The meeke exalte & the proude oppresse, 
Lich as he fyndeth in hertis difference, 
So off his power he can his domys dresse, 
Merci ay meynt with his rihtwisnesse. 
His iugementis with long delay differrid; 
And or he punshe, pite is ay preferrid. 

3084 ^^ hereupon the 





Thus the 
Lord can 

eialt the 
meek and 
humble the 

C| Lenvoye. 

MIHTI Princis, remembre that your power 
Is transitory & no while a-bidyng. 
As this tragedie hath rehersid heer 3104 

Bi euidencis ful notable in shewyng. 
And bexaumples, in substaunce witnessyng. 
That all tirantis, platli to termyne, 
Mut from ther staat sodenli declyne. 3108 

Phebus is fresshest in his mydday speer, 

His bemys brihtest & hattest out spredyng; 

But cloudi skies ful offte approche neer 

Teclipse his liht with ther vnwar comyng: 3112 

Noon ertheli ioie is longe heer abidyng, 

Record off Titan, which stound[e]meel doth shyne, 

Yit toward nyht his stremys doun declyne. 

Whan that Fortune is fairest off hir cheer 3 116 

Bi apparence, and most blandisshyng, 
Thanne is [she] falsest ech sesouw off the yeer, 
Hir sodeyn chauwgis now vp now doun turnyng; 
The nyhtyngale in May doth fresshli syng, 3120 

3089. Thank] than H. 

3109. Phebus is fresshest] Phebtt/ shen freish R. 

3 1 10. out spredyng] out shewyng R. 3 119. chaunge R. 

Princes, re- 
member, your 
power is not 

Phoebus is 
brightest at 
midday, but 
his light is 
often dimmed 
by clouds. 


Fortune seems 
fairest, then 
is she most 
ready to 


The Fall of Jabin 

[bk. I 

the un- 
certainty of 
all earthly 


But a bakwynter can somer vndermyne 
And al his fresshnesse sodenli declyne. 

Al ertheli blisse dependith in a weer, 

In a ballauwce oneuenli hangyng, — 3124 

O Pryncis, Pryncessis most souereyn & enteer, 

In this tragedie conceyueth be redyng, 

How that estatis bi ful vnwar chaungyng, 

Whilom ful worthi, ther lyues dede fyne, 3128 

Whan fro ther noblesse thei wer maad to declyne. 

Now I will 
write about 
the fall of 
Jabin, rebel 
to God, 

who long 
forbore to 
punish him, 

but finajly 
threw him 
down in the 
midst of his 

[Of mighty labjrn Kjmg of Canane, of quene locasta/ 
and how Thebes was destroied.]] ^ 

NOW must I write the grete sodeyn fall 
Off myhti labyn for his iniquite, 
Which onto lewes was ewmy ful mortall, 3132 

With sceptre & crowne regnyng in Canane, 
And vpon AfFrik hadde the souereynte, 
Rebel to God, and list hym nat obeye. 
But euer redi his peeple to werreye. 3136 

The Lord a-boue, seyng the tiranwye, 

Forbar his hand with ful long suffrauwce, 

And was nat hasti on his obstynacye, 

Lich his desert, for to do vengauwce; 3140 

But ay this labyn bi contynuauwce 

Endured foorth in his cursidnesse. 

Til that the suerd off Goddis rihtwisnesse 

Was whet ageyn hym, this tirant to chastise. 3144 

And to represse his rebelliouw, 

From his kyngdam, the story doth deuise, 

Mid off his pride he was pullid doun, 

Texemplefie wher domynacioun 3148 

Is fouwde wilfuU trouthe to ouercaste,* 

God wil nat suffre ther power longe laste. 

For this labyn, founde alway froward, [p. 40] 

Off hih disdeyn list nat the Lord to knowe, 3152 

Therfore his power drouh alwey bakward, 

3 121. abak wynter H 5, aback winter P. 

3127. ful] om. R. 3128. Whilom] Sumtyme R. 

3133. Chanane R. 3136. redi] redy is R. 3137. the] this R. 

3141. ay]eu^rR. 3147. Mid] In myddis R. 

3148. wher] the R. 

3149. to ouercaste] touercaste B. 

I MS. J. leaf 17 recto. 

BK. l] 

S^en Jocasta and Laius 

And his empire was I-brouht ful lowe; 
His roial fame Fortune hath ouerthrowe, 
His name eclipsid, that whilom shon so cleer 
Off grete Cison beside the ryueer. 



OFF queen locasta Bochas doth eek endite, 
Pryncesse off Thebes, a myhti gret cite, 
Off hir vnhappis he doolfulli doth write, 3160 

Ymagynyng how he dede hir see 
To hym appeere in gret aduersite, 
Lich a woman that wolde in teres reyne. 
For that Fortune gan at hir so disdeyne. 3164 

Thouh she were diffacid off figure, 

Ther shewed in hir a maner maieste 

Off queenli honour, pleynli to discure 

Hir infortunys and hir infeUcite, 3168 

And to declare pleynH how that she 

Off all princessis which euer stood in staat. 

She was hirselff the moste infortunat. 

Which gaff to Bochas ful gret occasioun, 3172 

Whan he sauh hir pitous apparaile, 

For to make a lamentacioun 

Off vnkouth sorwe which dede hir assaile. 

With a tragedie to wepyn and bewaile 3176 

Hir inportable & straunge dedli striff. 

Which that she hadde durj^ng al hir liff. 

He wrot off hir a story large & pleyn, 

And off hir birthe first he doth diffyne, 3180 

And affermeth in his book certeyn. 

She was descendid off a noble lyne; 

In flouryng age eek whan she dede shyne, 

She weddid was, for hir gret beute, 3184 

Onto the kyng off Thebes the cite. 

Which in his tyme was callid Layus. 

And whan hir wombe bi processe gan arise. 

The kyng was glad and also desirous 3188 

31543 And his empire was aftir \)at brouht ful lowe R. 

3156. whilom] some R. 3157. Cisoun J. 

3158. eek] also R. 3168. hir felicittee R. 

3170. stoden in estate R. 3171. the] om. R. 

3173. sauh] seeth R. 3175. sorowis R. 

3176. bewaile] to waile R. 

3179. wrot] writ R, H, P, write H 5, writte J — a] om. R. 

3183. eek] also R — she] l^Jt she R. 3187. arise] to rise H. 

Bochas also 
tells the story 
of Queen 


who appeared 
before him 
proudly declar- 
ing her misfor- 

She came of a 
noble line and 
married Laius, 
king of Thebes, 

88 The Infancy of (Edipus |^bk. i 

The childes fate to knowe[n] in sum wise, 
And thouhte he wolde go do sacrefise 
Onto Appollo, to haue* knowyng aforn* 
Touchyng this child whan that it were born. 3192 
who. when she What sholdc folwcn in conclusioun, 

became ^^ . i i • r 

pregnant, He was desiFOus and hasti for to see, 

asked Apollo 'p^. t • i i i- i- • • 

what would be T irst Di the heuenli disposiciouw, 

of the^cwid. And hi the fauour, yifF it wolde be, 3196 

Off Appollos myhti deite 
To haue answere, a-mong his rihtis all, 
Off his child what fate ther sholde fall. 

Apollo said it His answere, thouh it were contrarie 3200 

was latcci to «-, i"i* • •! «jf*'!i 

kill its father, lo his desir, yit was It thus* in deede: 
Appollo told hym, & list no lenger tarie, 
That this child sholde verraili in deede 
Slen his fader, & make his sides bleede, 3204 

And with his handis; ther was noon othir weie, 
But on his swerd he muste needis deie. 

When his son The kyng was heuy and trist off this sentence, 
king bade men Sorful in hcrte, God wot, and no thyng fayn, 3208 
death in a And caste afFom thoruh his prouidence, 
crest. That his sone in al haste sholde be slayn. 

And that he wolde nat oon hour delayn 
AfFtir his berthe, but bad his men to goon 3212 

Into a forest and sle the child a-noon. 

Lik his biddyng the mynystres wrouhte in deede, 

Takyng the child, tendre and yong off age; 

And in-tafForest with hem thei gan it leede, 3216 

To be deuoured off beestis most sauage: 

The mooder, alias, fill almost in a rage, 

Seyng hir child, so inli fair off face, 

Shal thus be ded, and dede no trespace. 3220 

His mother al- Litil wondcr thouh she felte smerte! 

most went mad _, ,, _ 

for grief, 1 o all womcn 1 reporte me. 

And onto moodres that be tendre off herte, 

3189. fate] state R, staat J. 3191- to haue] ta B — 

knowlychyng afForn R — aforn] beforn H, tofForn B. 

3192. were] was R. 3193- What] That R. 

3196. yifF] om. R. 3198. rihtis] wittis R. 

3199. ther sholde fall] schuld befall R. 

3201. thus] this B. 3205. noon othir] nd\^er R. 

3208. sorowfull H — in] off R. 3209. thoruh] om. R. 

321 1, delayn] delay R. 3215. yong & tendre H. 

3216. into a forest R — it] hym R. 3218. almost fill into R. 

BK. l] 

(Edipus is rescued by a Shepherd 


In this mater iuges for to be. 3224 

Was it nat routhe, was it nat pite. 

That a pryncesse and a queen, alias, 

Sholde knowyn hir child deuoured in such cas! 

AfFtir his berthe Layus took good keep, 3228 

Withoute mercy, respit or delay, 

That onto oon, which that kepte his sheep, 

This yonge child vpon a certeyn day 

Shal be delyuered in al the haste he may, 3232 

To this entent, it myht nat be socourid, 

But that he sholde off beestis be deuourid. 

This seid[e] shepperde goth foorth a-noon riht, [p.41] 

The child beholdyng, benygne off look & face, 3236 

Thouhte in his herte & in his inward siht. 

He sholde doon to God a gret trespace 

To slen this child; wherfore he dede hym grace, — 

Took first a knyfF, & dede his besi peyne 3240 

Thoruhout his feet to make holis tweyne. 

Took a smal* rod off a yong* oseer, 

Perced the feet, alias, it was pite! — 

Bond hj'm faste, and bi good leiseer 3244 

The yonge child he heeng vpon a tre. 

Off entent that he ne sholde be 

Thoruh wilde beestis, cruel & sauage. 

Been sodenli deuoured in ther rage. 324S 

Vpon the tre whil he heeng thus bounde. 

Off auenture bi sum occasioun, 

A straunge shepperde hath the child I-founde, • 

Which that off routhe & pite* took hym doun, 3252 

Bar it with hym hoom onto his toun. 

Made his wiff for to doon hir peyne 

To fostre the child with hir brestis tweyne. 

And whan he was brouht foorth & recurid, 3256 

And ful maad hool off his woundis sore. 

The yonge child, which al this hath endurid, 

When he in age gan to wexe more, 

And that nature gan hym to restore, 3260 

The said[e] shepperde, that loued hym best off all, 

Afftir his hurtis Edippus dede hym call. 

3230. which] om. R. 3241. feet] hert R. 

3242. smal aTid yong are transposed in B — osier R, P, H 5. 
3252. pite & routhe B, P. 3253. onto] in to R. 
3258. The] This R. 3259. began R. 

which was not 
in the 

But the shep- 
herd who was 
to slay the 
child had 
and, piercing 
his feet, hung 
him up in a 

where he was 
found by an- 
other shep- 
herd, who 
cared for him. 

and called him 


(Edipus is adopted by the King of Corinth [bk. i 

and presented 
him to Queen 
Merope, wife 
of Polybus. 

Thus CEdipus 
became the 
adopted son 
and heir of the 
king of 

How sudden 
are the 
changes of 

People who 
are brought 
low should not 
God can as 
quickly raise 

For Edippus is no more to seyne, 

Who that conceyueth thexposicioun, 3264 

But feet Ipershid throuhout bothe tweyne, 

In that language, as maad is menciouw. 

And to Meropa, wyfF off kyng PoHboun, 

The shepperde, ofF ful humble entente, 3268 

Gan the child ful lowli to presente. 

And for she was bareyn off nature. 

She and the kyng off oon afFeccioun 

Took Edippus bothe into ther cure, 3272 

As sone and heir bi adopciouw, 

To regne in Corynthe bi successiouw; 

The kyng, the queen off Corynthe the contre 

Haddyn the child in so gret cheerte. 3276 

Let men considre in ther discreciouw 

Sodeyn chauwg off euery maner thyng: 

This child sent out for his destruccioun, 

And now prouydid for to been a kyng; 3280 

And thoruh Fortune, ay double in hir werkyng. 

He that was refus to beestis most sauage. 

Is now receyued to kyngli heritage. 

Destitut he was off his kenreede, 3284 

Forsake and abiect off blood & off allie. 

In tendre youthe his feet wer maad to bleede, 

Heeng on a tre and gan for helpe crie; 

But God that can in myscheefF magnefie 3288 

And reconforte folk disconsolat. 

Hath maad this child now so fortunat, 

And prouyded to been a kyngis heir, 

OfF hym that stood off deth in auenture. 3292 

Fortune can shewe hir-selff bothe foul & fair, 

Folkis brouht lowe ful weel a~geyn recure; 

And such as can pacientli endure. 

And list nat gruchch a-geyn ther chastisyng, 3296 

God out off myscheeff can sodenli hem bryng. 

But whan Edippus was growe vp to good age, 

Lich a yong prynce encresyng in noblesse, 

Lusti and strong, and fresh off his corage, 3300 

3269. Be gan R, J. 

3286. youthej yough R. 

3287. on] vp on R — bigan for to crie R — helpe] to H. 
3295. such as can] sich (siche) as paaently can R, J. 
3299. encresshyng R. 

BK. l] 

(Edipus is iold his Fate 


CEdipus soon 
learned that he 
was not the 
real son of 
King Polybus, 

and consulting 
the oracle of 

Off auenture it fill so in sothnesse, 

Other be strifF or be sum frowardnesse, 

Or be sum contek, he hadde knowlechyng 

How he was nat sone onto the kyng 3304 

As be discent, but a ferr foreyn. 

Wherupon ful sore he gan to muse, 

And for to knowe and be put in certeyn, 

Thouhte he wolde sum maner practik vse; 3308 

And to the kyng he gan hymselff excuse, 

For a tyme withdrawyn his presence, 

Til that he knew bi sum experience 

Or bi sum signe how the mateer stood. 3312 

Thouhte he wolde doon his dilligence 

To knowe his fader, and also off what blood 

He was descendid, and haue sum euidence 

Touchyng trouthe, how it stood in sentence. 3316 

And heerupon to be certefied. 

Toward AppoUo faste he hath hym hied. 

Which in Cirra worsheped was that tyme, 

And yaff answeris thoruh his deite 

To folk that cam, at euen and at pryme. 

Off eueri doute and ambiguite. 

And there Edippus, fallyng on his kne, 

Afftir his offryng hadde answere anoon. 

Toward Greece that he sholde goon 

Onto a mounteyn that Phocis bar the name; 

And there he sholde off his kenrede heere. 

Eek lik his fate the answere was the same: 3328 

He sholde slen his owne fader deere. 

And afftir that to Thebes drawe hym neere, 

Wedde his mooder, off verray ignoraunce, 

Callid locasta, thoruh his vnhappi chaunce. 3332 

He list no lengere tarien nor abide, which he did. 

This said Edippus, but foorth in haste goth he. 

And on his weye he gan [anon] to ride. 

Til he the mounteyn off Phocis dede see, 3336 

Vnder the which stood a gret contre 

3304. How] om. H. 

3306. bigan R. 3308. practik] practiff R. 3309. began R. 
3320. answere R. 3325. that] om. R. 3326. Onto] In to R. 
3328. Eek] Also R. 3333. nor] ner R. 
3335. he gan anon] gan H, R 3, he began anoon J, he biganne 
anon H 5, he gan anone P, began anone R. 

[p. 42] 


was told that 
he would hear 
of his kindred 
if he went to 
Ml Phocis, 

92 (Edipus kills his Father ^ Laius [bk. i 

Callid Citoiens, which that tyme in certeyn 
Werreied hem that were on the mouwteyn. 

and there by His fadcF Layus, throuh his cheualrie, 3340 

his^father/ With Citoicns IS cntFid in bataile; 

Laius. ^^^ Edippus cam with the partie 

OfF the hiUis, armed in plate & maile. 

And as thei gan ech other to assaile, 3344 

Among the pres at ther encount[e]ryng, 

OfF auenture Edippus slouh the kyng. 

without knowing Onknowe to hym that he his fader was, 

Hauyng therofFno suspeciouw; 3348 

Passid his way, platli this the cas. 

And eek onknowe he cam onto the toun 

OfF myhti Thebes, where for his hih renoun 

He was receyued with ful gret reuerence, 3352 

Because that he slouh in ther difFence 

At Thebes he Spynx the setpent, horrible for to see, 

was received iirv m j j l  • ^ • 

with great Wiiilom ordcyncd bi mcantaciouns 

heTw^th?"'* For to destroie the toun and the contre 3356 

pentThat Trol ^^ ^^^ compassid sleihti questiouns. 

pounded a rid- Slouh man and child in all the regiouns, 

die to be solved r^ ■, i i i •  i 

on pain of buch as nat koude bi wisdam or resoun 

Make ofF his problem pleyn exposiciouw. 3360 

Who passid bi, he koude hym nat excuse, 

But the serpent hym felly wolde assaile. 

With a problem make hym for to muse, 

Callid ofF suwme an vnkouth dyuynaile, 3364 

Which for texpowne, who that dede faile, 

Ther was noon helpe nor other remedie, 

Bi the statut but that he muste deie. 

Since all people And for allc folk ha[ue] nat knowlechyng 3368 

this^riddie?! OfF this dcmauwde what it was in deede, 
will tell It to J ^jji reherse it heer in my writyng 

Compendiousli, that men may it reede. 

First this serpent, who that list take heede, 3372 

Was monstruous & spak a-geyn nature. 

And yifF it fill that any creature, 

3338. in] om. R. 3343. hil R. 3344. began R. 
3347. Onknowe] Vnknowen R. 3349- this is R, J, H 5. 
3350. eek] also R — onto] to R. 3356. destrie R. 
3362. wolde hym felly R. 3364. summe an] sum men R. 
3366. nor] nethif R. 3373. ayenst R. 

BK. i] The Riddle of the Sphinx 93 

Man or woman sholde forbi pace, 

Hih or low, off al that regioun, 3376 

As I seide erst, ther was noon othir grace. 

But ylff he made an exposlcioun 

Off this serpentis froward questioun, 

He muste deie and make no difFence. 3380 

Which demaunde was this in sentence: 

The serpent askid, what thyng may that be, u?"hat"2.nnot 

Beeste or foul, whan it is foorth brouht, ^^^^ Trld^goej 

That hath no power to stonde, go nor fle; 3384 fi"t on four. 

Airr- i*rr"i IL *■ °° three, 

And aiFtirward, yiiF it be weel souht, and finally on 

Goth first on foure, & ellis goth he nouht: wards on three 

Afftir bi processe, on thre, & thanne on tweyne; """^ ^°"'' ***'°^ 

And efFt ageyn, as nature doth ordeyne, 3388 

He goth on thre and efft on foure ageyn, 

Off kjmdly riht nature disposith it so. 

And in a while it folwith in certeyn, 

To the mateer which that he cam fro, 3392 

He muste oflF keende resorte ageyn therto. 

And who cannat the menyng cleerli see, 

He off this serpent shal deuoured be. 

Which Edippus, ful so[b]re in his entent, 3396 ^swe^'r'ed 

Nat to rakell nor hasti ofF language, "^''i? 8^' '^''- 

T> • 1 • 1 • I o o ' cretion. 

But m his herte with gret auisement. 

And ful demur off look & [of] visage, 

Considred* ferst this p^reilous fell passage, 3400 

Sauh weel tofom* that it was no iape. 

And ful prouyded that no woord escape. 

At good leiser with hool mynde & memory, [p. 43] 

Seyng the ernest ofF this mortal emprise, 3404 i7^"^id^' 

His lifF dependyng a-twen deth and victory, 

" This beeste," quod he, " pleynli to deuise. 

Is first a child, which may nat suffise. 

Whan it is born, the trouthe is alday seene, 3408 

Withouten helpe hymseluen to susteene. 

3375. forbi] furth bi R. 

3377. erst] arst R. 

3386. &] or R — he] it R. 

3389. efft] aftir R. 

3390. OffjAlsoR — riht]rithR. 
3397. nor] orto R. 

3400. Considred] Considreth B, R 3. 

3401. Sauh] Seeth R, si3e J — tofom] beforn B, R 3. 
3405. bitwene R. 


who grows to 
be a man. 

When age 
comes he uses 
a 8ta£F 

and finally re- 
turns with four 
feet to the 
earth from 
which he 

There is no 
defence against 
nature. Who 
climbs highest 
has the lowest 

The Riddle of the Sphinx [|bk. i 

Afftir on foure he naturali doth kreepe, 

For inpotence and greene tendirnesse, 

Norices can telle that* doon hem keepe. 3412 

But afFtirward, vp he doth hym dresse 

With his too feet; the thridde to expresse, 

Is hand or bench or support off sum wall 

To holde hym vp, list he cachche a fall. 3416 

And afFtirward encresyng off his myht, 

To gretter age whan he doth atteyne, 

Off his nature thanwe he goth vpriht, 

Mihtili vpon his leggis tweyne. 3420 

Thanne kometh age his power to restreyne, 

Crokid and lame, lik as men may see. 

With staff or potent to make up leggis thre. 

But whan feeblesse or siknesse doon assaile, 3424 

On feet and handis he must bowe & loute; 

For crossid potentis may nat thanwe auaile, 

Whan lusti age is banshed & shet oute. 

Thawne efFt ageyn, heerofF may be no doute, 3428 

With foure feet terthe he doth retourne 

Fro whens he cam, ther stille to soiourne." 

Al cam from erthe, and [al] to erthe shall; 

Ageyn nature is no protecciouw; 3432 

Worldli estatis echon thei be mortall, 

Ther may no tresor make redempciouw. 

Who clymbeth hiest, his fal is lowest douw; 

A mene estat is best, who koude it knowe, 3436 

Tween hih presumyng & bowywg douw to lowe. 

For who sit hiest, stant in iupartie, 

Vndir daunger ofF Fortune lik to fall: 

MyscheefF and pouert as for ther partie, 3440 

Be lowest brouht among these peeplis all. 

Summe folk han sugir, summe taste gall; 

Salamon therfore, merour ofF sapience, 

Tween gret richesse and atween indigence 3444 

3412, that] which that B. 3418. gretter] gret R. 

3420. Mihtili] Mihtly R. 3423. a staff R. 

3424. feblenesse R. 3425. hondis & feet R. 

3426. crossid] crossis R, J. 3429. foure] faire R. 

3431. 2nd al] ow. H. 3432. is] may be R, J. 

3435. lowest] ferthest H, farthest R 3, fardest P — his] is R. 

3437. Tween] Betwene R. 3438. For] Or R. 

3439. of Fortune is repeated in R. 3442. folkes R. 

3443. therfore] ther of H. 3444- Tween] Bitwene R — 

richesse] richessis R — atween] bitwene R. 

BK. l] 

The Misfortunes of CEdipus 


Axed a mene callid suffisaunce, 
To holde hym content off competent dispence, 
Nat to reioishe off to gret habundaunce, 
And ay in pouert to sende hym pacience, 
Sobre with his plente, in scarsete noon offence 
As off gruchchyng, but atwen ioie and smert 
Thanke God off all, and euer be glad off hert. 

Erthe is the eende off eueri maner man; 

For the riche with gret possessioun 

Deieth as soone, as I reherse can, 

As doth the poore in tribulacioun: 

For deth ne maketh no dyuisioun 

Bi synguler fauour, but twen bothe iliche, 

Off the porest and hym that is most riche. 

This seid problem concludith in this cas, 

Which the serpent gan sleihtili purpose, 

That whan a child is first born, alias, 

Kynde to his dethward anon doth hym dispose; 

Ech day a iourne; ther is noon other glose; 

Experience can teche in eueri age, 

How this world heer is but a pilgrymage. 

This said Edippus, first in Thebes born, 

Sent to a forest deuoured for to be, 

Founde & brouht foorth, as ye han herd toforn. 

And afftir*, drawyng hom to his contre, 

Slouh his fader, so infortunat was he 

Off froward happis folwynge al his lyue. 

As this tragedie his fortune shal descryue. 

But for that he thoruh his hih prudence 
Onto the serpent declared euerideel. 
He slouh hym afftir be myhti violence, 
Mor bi wisdam than armure maad off steel, — 
Stace off Thebes can telle you ful weel, — 

Therefore, as 
Solomon said, 
it is best to be 
neither too 
poor nor too 

for the end of 
all is earth, 
and Death 
shews favour 
to no man. 






CEdipus was 
3468 during all his 

The moment a 
child is bom he 
sets forth on a 
pilgrimage to- 
wards death. 



After he slew 
the Sphinx, 

3446. dispence^ expence R. 

341J.9. scarsetej scarsnesse R, J, scarcenes P, scarsenes H 5 — 

in] om. H 5. 

3450. but atwen] both betwene R. 

3457. twen] betwene R. 3458. and] & off R. 

3459. condudid R. 

3460. began R — sleihtili] sleihty to R. 3463. glose] chose R. 
3464. can] gan R. 3466. said] om. H. 

3469. afftir] afftirward B, H, R 3. 

3472. shal] doth H, can R 3. 3475. myhti] knyhtly R. 

3476. than armure, etc.] than of armure & of Steele R. 

96 CEdipus marries his Mother, Jocasta \byl. i 

Which was o cause, yiff ye list to seen, 
Wherthoruh Edippus weddid hath the queen 

he took his Callid locasta, pryncesse off that cite, 3480 

to°wjfe! ""^' His owne mooder, onknowe to hem bothe. 
And thouh she were riht fair vpon to see, 
With this manage the goddis were ful wrothe; 
For ther alliaunce nature gan to lothe, 3484 

That a mooder, as ye shal vndirstonde, 
Sholde take hir sone to been hir husbonde. 

encToflhe'sfars' There was theryn no convenyence, [p. 44] 

t^e'cl'u^^or" To be supportid be kynde nor be resouw, 3488 

this unnatural But yiff SO be the heueuH influence 


Disposid it be thyclynacioun 
Off sum fals froward constellacioun, 
. Causid bi Saturne, or Mars the froward sterre, 3492 
Tengendre debat or sum mortal werre. 

In this mateer, pleyn[H] thus I deeme 

Off no cunnyng but off opynyoun: 

Thouh he wer crownyd with sceptr<? & diademe 3496 

To regne in Thebes the stronge myhti touw. 

That sum aspect cam from heuene douw, 

Infortunat, froward and ful off rage. 

Which ageyn kynde deyned this mariage. 3500 

Two sons were fJc crowuyd was basseut off al the touw, 

born to them, _,, , ~. 

Eteocies and T loutyug a seson bc souereynte ott pes; 
two^ daughters, Aud whil he heeld[e] theer possessioun, 
fsmlr' ""^ Sones & douhtres he hadde dout[e]les: 3504 

The firste sone callid Ethiocles, 
Pollynyces callid was the tothir, 
As seith Bochas, the seconde brothir. 

Also he hadde goodli douhtren tweyne, 3508 

The eldest callid was Antigone, 

And the seconde named was Ymeyne; 

Bothe thei wern riht fair vpon to see: 

The queen locasta myhte no gladdere be, 3512 

3481. vnknawen R. 3483. this] his H. 

3487. no] none R. 3488. nor] no R. 

3489. so] it so R — the] that R. 3490. Dispose R. 

3494. pleyn R. 3500. deyned] denyed H 5, disposid P. 

3503. theer] the R. 

3506. Pollicynes R, Polymyces H — was callid H. 

3510. And] om. R. 

35 1 1. Bothe] And both R — riht fair] om. R — vpon] on R. 

BK. l] 

Fortune eclipses all Glory 


Than to remembre, whan thei wex in age. 
How goddis hadde encreced her lynage. 

It was hir ioie and hir fehcite 

To seen hir childre, that were so inli faire: 3516 

But ofFte in ioie ther cometh aduersite, 

And hope onsured whanhope doth ofte appaire; 

Contrarious trust will gladli ther repaire 

Wher fals[e] wenyng in hertis is conceyued 3520 

Thoruh ignorauTice, which fele folk* hath deceyued. 

What thyng in erthe is more deceyuable. 

Than whan a man supposith verraily 

In prosperite for to stonde stable, 

And from his ioie is remeued sodenly ? 

For wher Fortune is founde to hasty 

To trise folk, is greuous to endure, 

For sodeyn chaungis been hatful to nature. 

Vnwar wo that cometh on gladnesse, 
Is onto hertis riht passyng encombrous; 
And who hath felt his part off welfulnesse, 
Sorwe suynge oon is to hym odious. 
And werst off all and most contrarious. 
Is whan estatis, hiest off renoun, 
Been from ther noblesse sodenli put doun. 

There is no glory which that shyneth heer, 
That fals Fortune can so magnefie; 
But whan his laude brihtest is and cleer. 
She can eclipse it with sum cloudy skie 
OflF vnwar sorwe, onli ofF envie. 
Seeth off Edippus an open euydence. 
Which bi his lyue hadde experience 

OflF hih noblesse, and therwith also 
Part inportable off gret aduersite. 
Is ioie ay meynt with ful mortal wo: 
For whil he regned in Thebes his cite. 

in her 

but what 
thing it more 
3524 Fortune? 


The greatest 
sorrow is 
that which 
after joy. 



There is 
no glory- 
that Fortune 
cannot eclipse. 



3514. How] Heer R. 

3516. children R. 

3518. whanhope, separaud into Uvo words in J, R 3, P; whan in 
whanhope is corrected to wan, R, whanne H 5 — doth] om. J. 

3519. will] wol H. 3520. hert R. 3521. folk fele B. 
3527. trise] tryuse H. 353 1. wilfulnesse R. 

3535. put] brouht R. 3542. Which] Whilk H. 

3S4S- ay] tuer R. 3546. his] the R. 


The Prophecy of Tiresias 

[bk. I 

which brought 
the people in 

The land was And locEsta, With ful grct royalte, 
penHence^ ^ Withynnc the centre ther fill a pestilence, 3548 

The peeple infectyng with his violence 

Thoruh al the land and al the regioun 

In eueri age; but most greuousli 

On hem echon that were[n] off the touw 3552 

Thenfeccioun spradde most speciali. 

And ofF vengauwce the suerd most rigerousli 

Day be day [be]gan to bite and kerue, 

OfF ech estat causyng folk to sterue. 3556 

Thus gan encrece the mortalite, 

That eueri man stood in iupartie 

OfF ther lyues thoruhout the contre, 

So inportable was ther maladie. 3560 

Men myhte heer the peeple clepe & crie, 

Disespeired so were thei ofF ther lyues. 

Void ofF al socour and ofF preseruatyues, 

They asked the Thei souhte out hctbes & spices in ther cofFres, 3564 
divinert Jhy" And gan to seeke for helpe and for socours, 
pumsiTed^." '° The cause enqueryng ofF prudent philisophres 

And ofF ther moste expert dyuynours, — 

Whi that the goddis with so sharpe shours 3568 

OfF pestilence, and in so cruel wise, 

List hem, alias, so mortali chastise ? 

But among alle, in soth this is* the cas, [p. 45] 

Ther was founde oon ful prudent and riht wis, 3572 

A prophete callid Tiresias, 

OfF prophesie hauyng a souereyn pris. 

Which that afFermed and seide in his auys, — 

As onto hym was shewid be myracle, 3576 

Phebus hymselfF declaryng the oracle, — • 

None could 
answer save 

Th'^a't the^peslu Causc off this sikncsse and these maladies, 
lence would in- j^g i\^q goddis plcynli ban disposid, 

crease until a ini -i* !• ^• 

king, who slew And Scnck writ eek in his tragedies, 

his father and rr^, . , , j • 1 • j 

married his 1 houh the cause be secre and iclosid, 
Xo"uW °be "e- Onto the tyme ther be a kyng deposid. 


3549. enfectynge R. 

3555. began] gan H, R. 3557- bigan to encrese R. 

3561. That men myhten R. 3562. Dispeired R. 

3563. 2nd ofF 3 ofF ther R. 3565. bi gan R. 

3571. in soth this is] sothli this B, H. 3572. riht] ow. R. 

3578. these]of this R. 3580. eek] also R. 3581. secret R. 

BK. i] The Sorrow of (Edipus and Jocasta 99 

Which slouh his fader & reffte hym off his liff, 

And hath eek take his mooder to his wifF, 3584 

Til this be doon and execut in deede, 

Ther may be maad[e] no redempcioun; 

But pestilence shal multeplie & spreede 

Ay mor and mor thoruhout that regioun, 3588 

Til onto tyme that he be put doun 

From his crowne, — which nat longe a-goon 

His fader slouh among his mortal foon, 

And hath his mooder weddid eek also, 3592 

A-geyn[e]s lawe and a-geyn al riht. 

Til that vengaunce vpon this crym be do, 

Ther shal be werre, pestilence and fiht, 

Sorwe and* gret strilF, and euery maner wiht 3596 

Off vengaunce his neyh[e]bour shal hate; 

Brother with brother, & blood with blood debate. 

This al and sum; ther may be no socour. S'n"^^'* 

Which brouht the peeple in ful gret heuynesse, 3600 beiieye thit 

r-> '-r>- '11 Tiresias 

For Tiresia the grete dyuynour, meant 

Bi prophecie tolde hem thus expresse. ''""' °^' 

And atte laste, bi toknys and witnesse, 

Men vndirstood be signes out shewyng, 3604 

This pestilence was brouht in bi the kyng. 

And thouh the peeple [ne] gafF no credence 

To Tiresia, nor to his prophesie. 

The queen locasta cauhte an euidence, 3608 {^j^^^ 

And in hir herte a ful gret fantasie, tfaetmth. 

Speciali whan she dede espie 

Off kyng Edippus the feet whan she sauh woundid. 

How this rumour was vpon trouthe [I]groundid: 3612 

Because also there was a dyuynour 

Which tolde alForn Edippus sholde be 

To Layus in Thebes successour. 

Wherbi the kyng, the queen, and the cite 3616 s^j^.^-i 

Fill in gret trouble and gret aduersite, — were greatly 

Weel more than I be writyng can reporte, 

For ther was nothyng that myhte hem reconforte. 

3588. Ay] Euer R, J. 3589. onto] vnto the R. 

3592. eek] om. R, J. 3594- this] that R. 

3596. 1st and is crossed out B. 3600. ful] om. R. 

3604. be] and R. 3606. ne] om. H, P, R 3. 3607. nor] no R. 

361 1, sauh] se R, sey H. 3612. groundid H, R. 

3614. afFom] to fom R. 3615. Thebes] thes R. 

3617. and] and in R. 3619. reconforte] comfort H. 


(Edipus in Despair 

[bk. I 

The king 
cast away 
his crown 
and tore out his 
eyes and cried 
day and night 
for death. 

What grieved 
him most was 
that his sons 
hated him, 

so he prayed 
the gods that 
Polynices and 
Eteocles might 
bring one an- 
other to de- 

Ful ofte a-day locasta gan to swowne, 3620 

Kyng Edippus sobbe, crie and weepe, 
In salt[e] teris as they wolde hem drowne, 
Deth craumpisshyng into ther brest gan creepe, 
A-day compleynyng, a-nyht they may nat sleepe, 3624 
Cursyng the hour off ther natyuyte, 
That thei sholde a-bide for to see 

Ther mortal chauws, ther dedli auenture, 

Ther fortune also*, which gan on hem frowne, 3628 

Inpacient and doolful to endure, 

Ther froward fate with hir lookis browne. 

The kyng for ire cast a-wey his crowne, 

And gan tarace, for constreynt off his peyne, 3632 

Out off his hed his woful eyen tweyne. 

Day and nyht he cried afftir deth. 

Hatful to come* in any manys siht. 

Most desirous to yelden vp the breth, 3636 

Woful in herte to come in any liht, 

Croked for sorwe, feeble to stonde vpriht; 

And speciali in his dedli distresse, 

For dreed & shame he dared in derknesse. 3640 

The cruel constreynt off his most greuauwce 

Was that his sonys hadde hym in despiht, 

Which gan his sorwe gretli to auaunce, 

For hym to scorne was set al ther deliht; 3644 

Was neuer [man] that stood in a wers pliht. 

For thus liggyng and destitut off cheer, 

Onto the goddis he made this praier, 

Besechyng hem with a ful doolful herte 3648 

Vpon his wo to haue* compassioun. 

And that thei wolde, for tauenge his smerte, 

Atween his sonys make a dyuysioun, 

Ech to brynge other to destruccioun: 3652 

This was his praier pleynli in substauwce, 

That ech on other take may vengaunce 

3620. a-day3 in the day R. 3623. brestl hert R. 

3624. nat] noth R. 3625. Cursyng] Outraynge R. 

3628. also] eek B, H — gan] did R. 3630. lookis] lokkis R. 

3632. be gan R. 3635. come] comen B, J, comon R. 

3638. Croked] Corbide R. 3640. &] of H. 

3642. hadden hem R. 

3645. man is written between the columns in a later hand R. 

3646. thus] om. H, P. 

3649. to haue] ha sum B, haue sum J, haue some P. 
3653. pleynli] om. R. 3654. may take R. 

BK. l] 

The Enmity of Polynices and Euocles 


^6^6 His prayer wi J 


The brother* 
became mortal 

In yeeris fewe for ther onkynd[e]nesse. [p. 46] 

Thei herd his praier, as ye han herd deuyse; 

The brethre too, thoruh ther cursidnesse, 

Euerich gan other mortali despise, 

For lak off grace and for fals couetise, 

Ech for his parti desirous in deede 

Tofom other to regne and [to] succeede. 

And thus this brethre* most infortunat, 

A-tween hemsilfF fill at discencioun; 

And fynali this vnkynde[ly] debat 3664 

Brouht al Thebes onto destruccioun: 

Yit was ther first maad a convencioun, 

Bi entirchaungyng* that ech sholde regne a yeer, 

The tother absent, go pleie & come no neer. 3668 — 

This was concludid bi ther bothe assent 
And bi accord off al the regioun. 
Polynyces rod foorth and was absent, 
Ethyocles took first possessioun. 
But whan the yeer bi reuolucioun 
Was come a-boute, he, fals off his entent, 
Onto thaccord denved to consent. 


This was o cause off ther bothe stryues, 

Polynyces thus put out off his riht. 

Til Adrastus, that kyng was* off Argyues, 

Which thoruh al Grece grettest was oflF myht, 

Sente onto Thebes Tideus a knyht. 

His sone-in-lawe, to trete off this mateere. 

And the cause fynali to lere, 

Whethir the kyng callid Ethiocles 

Wolde condescende off trouthe and off resoun 

To stynte werre and to cherisshe pes, 

Affter thaccord and composicioun, 

Vp to delyuere Thebes the myhti toun 



Adrastus, king 
of Argos, sect 
Tydeus to 
Thebes to help 


but without 

3657. brethem R. 

3662. brethre] breed B, brethem R, H 5, Brethir H. 

3663. Betwene R. 3664. thus vnkinde P. 

3666. made first R. 

3667. Bentirchaungyng B — a yeer] eir R. 

3668. go] to R, J. P, H 5. 

3670. the] that R. 3673. But] & H. 

3675. consent] assent R. 3678. was kyng B. 

3681. oflGforH. 

3683. Whethir] Wher thoruh R — callid] om. R. 

3687. Vp] for H, om. P — the] that P. 

102 The Fall of Thebes [bk. i 

Onto his brother, which absent was withoute, 3688 
Now that his yeer was fully come a-boute. 

But he was fals, & frowardli gan varie, 

Ethiocles, from his conuenciouw. 
Uga"n 'l''wa""on ^or which Adrastus no lenger wolde tarie, 3692 

Eteocies in aid Whan Tideus hadde maad relacioun: 

of rolynices, . ' 

who had be- gut callid auoou thfouhout his regioun 
in-ia.v. '' AUe worthi, bothe nyh and ferre, 

A-geyn[es] Thebes for to gynne a werre. 3696 

For this cause, lich as ye shal lere, 

Polynyces, to forsen his partie, 

I-weddid hadde the kyngis doubter deere, 

I meene Adrastus, flour of cheualrie, 3700 

Whan Tideus dede hym certefie 

Touchyng the answere off Ethiocles, 

And off his trouthe how he was rech[e]les, 

Fals off his promys & cursidli forsworn; 3704 

th°e''v,"oie''8t'!)ry ^^^ ^o his trouthe noon aduertence had he, 
Thebet^'*^^ "^ ^^^ *° thaccord that was maad beforn 

Touchyng delyuerauwce off Thebes the cite. 

But who that list this story cleerli see 3708 

Off these too brethre & ther discenciouw, 

And how Adrastus lay tofor the touw, 

And Tideus, thoruh his hih prowesse, 

Fauht hi the way[e] goyng on message, 3712 

And how off" Grece al the worthynesse 

With kyng Adrastus wente in this viage, 

And off^ the myschefi^ that fill in ther passage 

For lak of water, til that Ysiphile, 3716 

Norice of Ligurgus, so fair vpon to see, 

Tauhte Tideus to fynde out a ryueer, 

(She that dede in fairnesse so excell,) 

Nor how the serpent, most ougli off^ his cheer, 3720 

Off" kyng Ligurgus the child slow at a well. 

Nor how Amphiorax fill a-doun to hell, — 

3695. AUe] All the R. 3696. begynne R. 

3698. Pollycynes R. 3706. beforn] to forne H. 

3707. the delyu^raunce R. 3709. brethern R. 

3714. this] his R. 

3720. Nor] Ney^T R. 3721. a] the R. 

3722. Nor] Neithir R. 

BK. l] 

The End of Polynices and Eteocles 

Al to declare, me semeth it is no neede, 
[For] in the siege of Thebes ye may it reede, 

The stori hool, and maad ther mencioun 

Off other parti, ther puissaunce & ther myht, 

And how Adrastus lay tofom the toun. 

And how thei metten eueri day in fiht. 

And Tideus, the noble famous knyht 

So renommed in actis marciall. 

Was slayn, alias, as he fauht on the wall. 

And how the brethre mette a-mong the pres, 
Lich too tigres or leouns that were wood. 
With sharp[e] speris; this is dout[e]les, 
Euerich off hem shadde other[s] herte* blood: 
This was ther fyn, & thus with hem it stood, 
Sauf at ther festis callid funerall, 
Ther fill a merueile which reherse I shall. 





[p. 47] 

W^han thei were brent into asshes dede, 

OflF ther envie there fill a [ful] gret wonder 

A-mong the brondes and the coles rede, 

Hih in the hair the smokes wente assonder. 

The ton [to] 00 parti and the tother yonder, 

To declare, the story list nat feyne, 3744 

The grete hatrede that was atwen hem tweyne. 

Thus for ther ire and fals discencioun, 

Alle the lordis and al the cheualrie 

Were slayn off Grece and also off the toun. 3748 

And roote off all, myn auctour list nat lie, 

Was fals alliaunce and fraternal envie; 

And cheefF ground, with al the surplusage, 

Who serche a-riht, was onkyndli mariage. 3752 

The queen locasta felte hir part off peyne 
To seen hir childre ech off hem slen other, 
Hir sone hir lord, blynd on his eyen tweyne. 
Which to his sonys was fader & eek brother: 3756 
Fortune wolde it sholde be noon other, 

3723. semeth it is3 sempte it was R. 

3714- For] om. H, R 3 — the] thes R — it] om. R. 

3726. other] eithir R — pouyschaunce R. 

3732. brethem mettjTi R. 3735- herte] hertis B. 

3740. ful] om. H. 3743. to] om. H, on R 3. 

3745. betwene R. 3746. ther] om. R — fals] for fals H. 

3752. serche] seche H — serche a-riht] sekith right R 3. 

3753. part] peyne R. 3754. children R. 
3756. eek] also R. 


So there is no 
need of my 
telling it here. 

Tydeus was 

the two 

brothers killed 
one another. 

and on their 
funeral pyre 
the smokes 
parted in 

The root of all 
this trouble was 
unnatural mar- 

weighed down 
with grief. 


The Death of Jocasta 

[bk. I 

dew herself 
with CEdipus' 

Eek Parkas sustre, which been in noumbre thre, 
Span so the threed at ther natyuyte. 

Eek whan locasta stood thus disconsolat, 3760 

And sauh off Thebes the subuersioun, 

The centre stroied, wast and desolat, 

The gentil blood shad off that regiouw, 

Withoute confort or consolaciouw, 3764 

Thouhte she myhte be no mor appeired; 

But off al hope fuUi disespeired, 

Trist and heuy, pensifF & spak no woord, 

Hir sorwes olde & newe she gan aduerte, 3768 

Took the swerd off hym that was hir lord, 

With which Edippus smot Layus to the herte, 

She to fynisshe all hir peynes smerte, 

And fro the bodi hir soule to deuyde, 3772 

RofF hir-selfF[e] thoruhout eueri side. 

She weri was off hir woful lifF, 

Seyng off Fortune the gret[e] frowardnesse, 

How hir diffame & sclandre was so riff, 3776 

And off Edippus the gret[e] wrechidnesse, 

Eek off hir sones the gret onkynd[e]nesse: 

Alle these thyngis weied on hir so sore. 

For distresse that she list lyue no more. 3780 

Bochas writith, the flour off hir fairnesse, 

Constreynt off sorwe causid it to fade; 

The famous liht also* off hir noblesse 

And al the cleernesse off hir daies glade 3784 

With vnwar harmys was so ouerlade, 

Off verrai angwissh, that she hirselff dede hate, 

So inli contrari [disposid] was hir fate. 

Death takes no Thus deth devouteth with his bittir gall 3788 

heed of high T • J J • J fr 1 

or low estate, loie and sorwc, deuoid oit ai mercy; 

And with his darte he maketh doun to fall 

Sorrow caused 
her beauty to 

3758. Eek] Also R — sustren H. 

3759. the] ther H. 3760. Eek] Also R. 

3761. sauh] sihe R. 3762. stroied] distrled R. 

3764. comfort H. 

3768. Hir] His R — newe] ner R. 3773- eueri] eithir R. 

3778. Eek] Also R. 3783. also] eek B, eke R 3, P, H. 

3784. hir] his R. 3785. sche was R. 

3787. disposid] om. H — hir] to hir H. 3788. his] hir H. 

3789. deuoid] auoyde R. 3790. his] hir H — he] she H. 

BK. l] 

(Edipus finally exiled by Creon 


Riche and poore, hem markyng sodenly: 
His vnwar strook smyt[eth] indifferently. 
From hym refusyng fauour & al meede, 
Off all estatis he takith so litil heede. 


Bet is to deie than lyue in wrechidnesse, 

Bet is to deie than euer endure peyne, 

Bet is an eende than dedli heuynesse, 

Bet is to deie than euer in wo compleyne; 

And where-as myscheeff doth at folk disdeyne 

Bi woful constreynt off long contynuaunce, 3800 

Bet is to deie than lyue in such greuaunce. 

Taketh exauwple heeroff and a preeff 

Off kyng Edippus, that was so longe a-go, 

Off queen locasta, that felte so gret myscheeff, 3804 

And off ther childre remembrith eek also. 

Which euer lyued in envie, sorwe* & wo: 

Fortune, alias, duryng al ther daies 

Was founde so froward to hem at all assaies. 3808 

Touchyng Edippus processe fynde I noon 

What eende he made in conclusioun, 

Sauf Bochas writith, how the kyng Creon, 

Cosyn and heir bi successioun, 3812 

Exilid hym cheyned ferr out off the toun, 

Where he endured in myscheeff, sorwe & dreed. 

Till Antropos ontwynid his lyuis threed. 

But it is better 
to die than live 
3796 in misery. 

Creon exiled 
CEdipus, and I 
cannot say how 
he died. 

CI Lenvoye. 

IN this tragedie foure thinges ye may see. 
The pride off labyn & fals pr<»su?npcioun. 
Off queen locasta the gret aduersite. 
Off kyng Edippus thynclynacioun 
To vices all, and the deuysioun 
Off the too brethre, pleynli vs tassure, 
K)mgdamys deuyded may no while endure. 


1 5 Kingdoms dis- 
tracted by in- 
ternal strife 
cannot endure. 


3791. markyng] makynge R. 3792. His] hir H — smyteth] 
smyt MSS. exupt P, H 5. 3793. hym] hir H. 3794. he] 
she H, 

3795-8, 3801, R, P, H 5 wrtU Bettir or Better insUad of Bet. 

3796. endure] tendur^ H, to liff (Hue) in R, P, H 5, lyue in J, 
to suffre R 3. 3799. at] al R. 

3805. remembrith eek] remembre R. 

3806. lyued in envie sorwe] lyueden in sorwe envie B, H — 
lyuede eu^r R 3. 

3813. hym] om. H 3814. in] om. R. 3816. foure] thre R. 

lo6 Atreus and his Brother Thyestes [|bk. I 

lOmneRegnum Yov who sauh cucF kvnedam or centre fp. 4.8I 

desoiabiturji btondc in quycct off thcr possessioun, 3824 

But yifF ther wer pes, riht and equyte 
be^"ea^"and ^^'^ ^"st accord, withoute discenclouw, 
justice. Void oflF ontrouthe and fals collusioun, 

Pleynli declaryng bexaumple & bi scripture, 3828 

Kyngdamys deuyded may no while endure. 

by 'thfeMmpie Seeth hecr exaumple off Thebes the cite, 

of Thebes. ^j^^ }^ow that noble myhti regiouw, 

Thoruh ther* froward [fals] duplicite 3832 

With werre brouht to ther destrucciouw; 
Ther promys brokyn, and ther couert tresoun, 
Shewed bi the[r] harmys, impossible to recure, 
Kyngdamys deuyded may no while endure. 3836 

Princes and Pryncis, Pryncessis, which ban the souereywte 
cherish yo'ur Oucr thc peeple and domynaciouw, 

subjects if you -trTr ^• i i • r ^• • 

would reign Yirt ye list iyue longe m lelicite, 

°"*' Cherisshith your subiectis, doth noon extorsiouw, 3840 

And aduertisith off wisdam and resoun, 
As this tragedie doth to you discure, 
Kyngdamys deuyded may no while endure. 

[How Atreus Kyng of Messene wrou3t ayenst his 
brothir Thiestes / slouh his iij. childre dis- 
membrid hem in pecys made Thiestes to ete of 
ther fiessh and drynke of ther blood.]] ^ 

Bochas was T) OCHAS the poete, auctOMr off this book, 3844 

preparing to ""^ "^ 7 o tt 


write the story J-^ rlym purposyng to-gidre to compile 

of Duke The- r~\ • 1 • 11 

seus, Uyuers stories, anoon his pewne he took, 

Hym remewbryng withynne a litil while, 
In this chapitle gan direct* his stile 3848 

To write the story, and be compendious, 
Afforn all othre off Duk Theseus, 

Lord off Athenys, a famous gret cite, 

Ryht strong and myhti vpon eueri side, — 3852 

But at his bak Bochas dede oon see, 

3825. pes riht] rith pees R. 3828. bi ensaumple R. 

3830. ensaumple R. 3832. ther] ther most B, H — fals^om. H. 

3833. brouht] weren brouht R. 3835. ther] the H. 

3837. han] had R. 

3839. long Iyue J — felicite] prospmte H. 3842. As] al H. 

3848. gan] bigan R — directen B. 3851. Athenys] Asye H. 

^ MS. J. leaf 20 verso. 

BK. Q 

Atreus and Thyestes 

Which cried loude & bad he sholde a-bide: 
" Bochas," quod he, " fro the me list nat hide 
My woful cas, nor in no wise spare 
My pitous compleynt to the to declare! 

I am Thiestes, be-spreynt al with wepyng, 
Drownyd in tens, as thou maist weel see, 
Whilom sone off the myhti kyng 
Philistynes, and bom also parde 
Off queen Pellopia, excellyng off beute; 
And for thou art desirous for tendite 
Off peeple onhappi, & ther wo to write, 

My will is this, that thou anon proceede 
To tume thi stile, and tak thi penne blyue, 
Leue* Theseus, tak now off hym non heede, 
But my tragedie first that thou descr>'ue. 
For I suppose that in al thi lyue. 
That thou sauh neuer a thyng mor dolerous, 
Mor onhappi, mor froward nor pitous 

Than is, alias, my mortal auenture. 
Incomparable, the sorwe surmountyng 
Off queen locasta, most woful creature. 
Or off Edippus, his fate ay compleynyng: 
For my compleynt haueth non endyng, 
But lastith euere, & bereth me witnesse. 
No wo rassemblith onto myn heuynesse." 

And with that woord John Bochoj stille stood, 

Ful sobirly to yiue hym audience; 

And in the place demeurli he a-bod 

To heere the substaunce off his mortal offence. 

Which thus began to shewen his sentence, 

" O lohn," quod he, " I pray the take good heed 

My wo to write that men may it reed. 

Alias! my brother, roote off onkynd[e]nesse, 
Attreus callid, off tresoun sours & well, 
And fyndere out off tresoun & falsnesse, 



when tuddecly 
Thyestes, soa 
of Pelops, ap- 
peared before 
him and said, 





Theseus and tell 
my tragedy 
first. Never 
was there one 
more terrible." 



So Bochas 

paused to 
3880 listen. 


"John," said 
Thyestes, "my 
brother Atreus 
was a great 
3888 scoundrel. 

3860. Whilom]) Sumtyme R — sone] ^ sone H. 

3863. for] om. R. 

3865. that thou anon] anone at thou do R. 

3867. Leue] Leff B — now] om. R. 

3868. that] at R. 3870. sih R. 3871. nor] neithir R. 
3875. ay] euer R. 3876. haueth] hath R, H. 

3877. euere] om H. 

3883. his] the R. 


but I trusted 
him as a 
brother should. 

I knew no 
wrong in him. 

There it no 
need of my 
telling you 
about the great 

Atreus and Thyestes [bk. 

And all other in fraude doth precell, 
Whos couert hate is more than I can tell — 
I supposyng, ofF verray innocence, 
In hym no malice, deceit, nor offence, 

But as a brother sholde his brother triste, 

I trusted hym off herte, will & thouht; 

Bi apparence non othir cause I wiste. 

For in his persone I supposid nouht 

That euer he koude so fals a thywg ha wrouht. 

But who may soner a-nother man deceyue, 

Than he in whom no malice men conceyue ? 

I dempte off hym as off my trewe brother, 
Wenyng he hadde feithful been to me; 
I sauh no signe, nor I kneuh non other, 
In hym supposyng no duplicite. 
But, o alias, how myhte it euer be. 
Or who dede euer in any story fynde 
Blood onto blood to be so onkynde! 

I will passe ouer to telle the worthynesse, 
Touchyng thestatis off our progenytours, 





[p. 49] 

torth and ^nT Off our kynrccdc, and the gret noblesse. 

bility of our 

I telle no thyng, nor off our predecessours. 
Nor off my youthe how passid been the flours — 
I leue al this, and onto mynde call 39" 

The wrechidnesse that I am in fall. 

My brother My brothit fond a fals occasioun 

falsely accused » r n i r 

me of corrupt- A-geyn[eJs me, and gan a cause teyne 

ing his wifes rj.^ ban[y]she me out off our regiouw. 

virtue, exiled 
me from our 
country and 
tried to kill 


And gan at me off hatrede so disdeyne, 

Vpon me affermyng in certeyne. 

In our kyngdam, which callid is Missene, 

I sholde haue ley[e]n bi his wiff the queene. 3920 

This he compassid ful falsli off malis, 
Hymsilff weel knowyng that it was nat so, 
Ay founde onkynde, and in his auys 

3889. doth] he dothe H 5, P — precell] excelle R. 

3892. nor] ne non R, nor noon H 5, J. 3893. his]a R. 

3895. Bi] For bv H. 

3902.] I see notnyng neithir I knowe non othir R. 

3910. nor] nethir R, neither P, H 5. 3912. onto] to R. 

3915. began R. 3917- hi gan R. 

3920. I sholde] In shuld R. 3922. nat] no R. 

3923. Ay] Eurre R. 

BK. l] 

Atreus and ThyesUs 





Nat lik my brother, but my dedli fo; 3924 

And to encrece gret parcell off my wo, 
Bi long processe in his entencioun 
He ymagined my destruccioun. 

And his cheefF cause was fals[e] couetise, 3928 

Touchyng this thyng which he dede on me feyne; 
And yit this kyngdam, treuli to deuise, 
Shold haue be partid of riht atwen vs tweyne: 
But a-geyn trouthe he dede so ordeyne 
Me to exile* out off that regioun, 
Hymsilff allone to haue possessioun. 

Yit in his herte he caste a-nother wile 
To myn ondoyng and desolacioun: 
To the place where he me dede exile, 
Vnder a shadwe off fals collusioun 
To make a maner reuocacioun, 
Off brethirheed shewyng a pretense, 
Me to resorte a-geyn to his presence, 

To be accepted, as a brother sholde, 
With ful accord stille with hym tabide, 
All iniuries, off which affom I tolde, 
On outher part forgete & set a-side. 
That nothyng afftir sholde our loue deuyde; 
But of oon will and oon entencioun 
Leede al our liff withoute dyuysioun. 

Wheroff the peeple was ful glad and liht 
Thoruhout Missene the myhti regioun. 
At my resortyng fyndyng euery wiht 
Redi off herte and hool affeccioun 
Me to receyue into that noble toun; 
And noon so redy, bi signes out shewyng, 
To make me cheer, in soth, as was the kyng. 

There is no damage in comparisoun. 
That may be likned, bi no rassemblaunce. 
To feyned trouthe and symulacioun. 

because he 
wanted the en- 
tire kingdom 
for himself. 

Afterwards he 
pretended re- 



and we made up 
our differences. 

which pleased 
our subjects, 
who received 
me back gladljr. 



There is noth- 
ing worse than 
fraud hid under 
an honest face, 

3924. but] bud lik R. 

3928. This and the next txoo stanzas are transposed with the 

following four in R. 
393 1, departid R — of riht] trewly H. 
3933- exile] besile B, R, J, besyle H 5 (exile H, P, R 3). . 
3937. did me R. 3940. he shewyng H. 3944. tofomr H. 
3945. partye R — forgot H. 3947. all off 00 will R. 

3949. was] were R — J, P om. the four following stanzas. 

3950. the] that R. 3953. receyue] resorte R. 


Atreus and Thyestes 

[bk. I 

Thus I came 
home. My 
brother acted 
as if he were 
with joy, 

Whan fraude is hid with a fair contenauwce, 
Pretendyng trouthe outward hi disseyuauwce, 3960 
And vndirnethe, off most fals entent, 
Off doubilnesse darith the serpent. 
As vnder floures is shroudid the dragouw, 
For to betraisshe bi sodeyn violence 3964 

like a snake Such folk as haue no suspeciouw, 

beneath flowers, y^ ,. .  

rJut treuli meene in ther peur innocence, 

Til thei be cauht dispurueied off difFence, 

As is a fissh with bait off fals plesauwce, 3968 

The hook nat seyn, to brynge hym to myschauwce. 

Thus semblabli, at myn horn comyng 

I was receyued with eueri circumstauwce, 

Lich as halfF heir and brother to the kyng; 3972 

And he, pretendyng, as bi contenauwce, 

That he hadde so inli gret plesauwce 

Off my repair, off* trouthe he tolde so. 

For, reioisshyng, saide he wolde go 3976 

Onto his goddis to doon sum obseruauwce 

For this accord, and humble sacrefise, 

Made his mynystris with feithful attendaunce 

Tawaite on me in al ther beste wise; 3980 

It nedith nat to tellyn nor deuise, 

Nor in writyng in bookis for to sette 

HalfF the ioie he made whan we mette. 

First how freendli he dede me embrace 3984 

Off hertli gladnesse withynwe his armis tweyne. 

And how for ioie the teris on his face 

Ful entierli gan doun distill & reyne, 

That, for my part, I koude me nat restreyne, 3988 

But that I muste off frenshipe fraternall 

Weepe as dede he in his estat roiall. 

Innocent lambs The wiH wolff that cast hym to deuoure [p. 50] 

tricked. The celi lamb, which can no diffence, 3992 

Nor non helpe hymseluen to socoure, 

So feeble he is to make resistence, 

Which demeth trouthe off fals apparence — 

What wonder ist the fraude nat conceyued, 3996 

Thouh such lambes onwarli be deceyued ? 

3964. be trausse R. 3975- ofT] & off B, H. 

3980. Tawaite] To wate R. 3981. nor] ne R. 

3982. Nor] Neithir R — in] bi R. 

3984. enbrace H. 3988. partie R. 

3992. no] non R, noon J. 3993. Nor] Ne R — hym sIlfF R. 

and we em- 
braced one an' 
other weeping. 



Atreus and Thyestes 


Thouh that roses at mydsomer be ful soote, 

Yit vndimethe is hid a ful sharp spyne; 

Summe fressh[e] floures han a ful bittir roote, 4000 

And lothsum gall can sugre eek vndermyne; 

In dreedful stormys the sonne among doth shyne, 

And vnder a shadwe off feyned freendliheed, 

Ther is no frenship so pereilous for to dreed. 4004 

Thus remembryng the feithful woordis stable 

Off my brother shewed onto me, 

At our meetyng the kyssyng amyable, 

Thassurid couenantis off our fraternite — 4008 

But ofFte tyme men may beholde and see 

That lelies growe among these netlis thikke, 

And flourdelis amyd these weedie wikke. 

Thus whil I restid in the kyngis hous, 4012 

Nothyng aduertyng his dedli cruelte, 

His olde hatreed was so venymous 

And so odible to destroie me, 

HymsilfF tauenge he took my childre thre, 4016 

And secreli — ^ is it nat a wonder? — 

He kutte her throtes with a knyf assonder. 

For he thouhte that it dede hym good 

Hem to dismembre into pecis smale, 4020 

And in a vessel for to gadre ther blood, 

Whil thei lay still & loked on hym* ful pale. 

This was his deede in a desert vale, 

Withynne a kaue, that no man sholde espie 4024 

Tresoun conspired off his fals tirawnye. 

This was the substaunce off his sacrefise, 

To sle my childre & do ther throtis bleede! 

I trowe the goddis therofF dede agrise, 4028 

Off his fals off ryng whan thei token heede. 

He dede ther membris afftir roste & seede, 

And with this viauwde most abhomynable 

He made me be serued at the table. 4032 

roses are 
fragrant, but 
there are sharp 
thorns beneath. 

No friendship 
is more danger- 
ous than one 
that is feigned. 

\\hile I dwelt 
in my brother's 
house, suspect- 
ing nothing, he 
cut the throats 
of my three 

and had them 
roasted and 
served up to 
me at table. 

3998. Thofe \)t Roos R 3 — that] the P. 

4001. sugre eek] al so suger R, J. 

401 1, amyd] In myddis R, J, H 5, among H, amonge R 3 

weedis] wides J. 

4017. secreli] sikyrly R — it is not R. 

4022. &] om. H — hym] hem B — ful] om. R, J, P, H 5. 

4027. do ther throtis] make ther hertis R, J, H 5, 

4032. me be serued] be s/rruyd me H. 


Atreus and Thyestes 

[bk. I 

I am sure the 
gods were dis- 
pleased. Even 
the sun was 
8o horrified 
that he 
his light. 

In couert cruses, also thus it stood, 

To staunche my thrust, thoruh his cruel vengaunce 

He made me vnknowe to drynke ther blood. 

Was nat this thyng to goddis displesaunce ? 4036 

Yis, I dar sey[e]n; for hi demonstrauwce, 

Vpon this deede, withoute mor obstacle, 

The Sonne in heuene shewed a myracle. 

Which sore agrisid* myht[e] nat beholde 
With his bemys theron to caste his siht, 
For displesaunce his clernesse gan withholde, 
And for vengaunce to withdrawe his liht. 
The day turnyng for horrour onto nyht. 
Whan he shon brihtest in his mydday speer, 
Shrowded his face and wolde nat appeen 



Unwittingly I But I, allas, vpon this cas horrible, 

ate my children ' ' x 

and drank 

their blood, 

which grieves 

me so that I 

can hardly 

speak of it. 


Bochas, did 
you ever hear 
of a more un- 
happy man? 

That koude nat ymagyne nouther thynke 

On ony mater that was so odible, 

Eet off ther flessh & off ther blood dede drynke. 

Which so sore doth in myn herte synke. 

That I may nat, touchyng this auenture, 4052 

The circuwstaunces for constreynt to discure. 

It nedith me nat to make rehersaile 

Touchyng myn exil, off alle maner thynges, 

Off dyuers sorwes that me dede assaile, 4056 

My woful sihhes, nor my greuous wepynges, 

Nor vpon nyhtes my dolorous wakynges, 

My pouert[e], nor how I stood in dreed 

To lese my liff; wheroff, Bochas, tak heed, 4060 

And remembre alle [the] circuwstaunces: 

Yiff euer thou sauh, off hih or low degre, 

Mor contrari or mor onhappi chaunces, 

Than thou herd remembrid heer off me. 4064 

Weie in ballauwce my sorwes, and lat see 

Yiff any sorwe or myscheuys onrecurid 

May countirpeise to that I haue endurid! 

4035. to] om. R. 

4037. demonstracion R. 

4040. sore agrisid] for agrisid B, H, R 3 — myhtnat B. 

4042. bi gan R. 4048. nethir R. 

4050. &] om. R — dede] also did I R. 4051. in] too R. 

4053. circumstaunce R — to] om. R. 4057. nor] ne R. 

4058, 9. Nor] Neithir R. 

4061. the] om. H, R 3 — circumstaunce H 5, syrcumstaunce P. 

4063. chaunce P, H 5. 4066. mischeefFR. 

BK. l] 

Atreus accuses Thyestes 


M)m infortunyes, I fond hem ay so fell, 4068 

Withoute fauour & socour dispurueied, 

My brother euer on me so cruell, 

That I ful ofFte desired to haue deied; 

For to this day my sperit hath be conveied 4072 

With sorwe and wo, deuoid off al refuge, 

Wherfore I pray, O Bochas be my iuge, 

And in thi writyng lefF me nat behynde, [p. 51] 

Nor in thi book[e] that thou nat disdeyne 4076 

Among tho folk that thou ha[ue] me in mynde, 
Which that for sorwe weepe, waile & pleyne," 
And thus Thiestes, rehersyng al his peyne, 
Lich as he wolde hymsilfF on pecis reende, 4080 

Maad onto Bochas off his tale an eende. 

You mu« not 
leave me out 
of your book 
of tragedies!" 

[How Atreus accusid himsilf of mordre and his 
brothir vpon auoutry don wit/i Europa the 
quene.] ^ 

ATREUS afFtir, with a ful pale cheer, 
And off envie ful ded in his visage, 
Onto lohn Bochas gan* approche neer, 4084 

Lich as he hadde be fallen in a rage, 
And furiousli abraid in his langage, 
" How may this be, that lik a man wer wood, 
Thiestes hath his venym sowe a-brod, 4088 

And lik a rebaude falsli me accusid, 

Nat-withstandyng that I ful cleerli see 

Myn infortunyes, which may nat be refusid. 

So sore, alias, thei werke ageyn[e]s me! 4092 

And thouh Thiestes fals & ontrewe be. 

And to the, Bochas, with a face pale 

Ageyn[e]s me hath forged heer a tale 

Which in effect shal be founde ontrewe, 4096 

Yiff I ha[ue] space my compleynt to declare. 

For I purpose to telle a tale newe 

Fro poynt to poynt, & for no man to spare, 

4076. Nor] Neithir R. 

4084. gan] he gan B, H, P, R 3, began J, byganne H 5 — he 

began to proche R — approche] to approche H 5. 
4087. wer] most R 3. 
4091, which t)at R. 4094. to] vnto R. 

^ MS. J. leaf 22 recto. 

At this, Atreuj 
appeared, pale 
»-ith an^r, 
and said: 
lies like the 
ribald and 
madman be is. 

and you, too. 
Bochas, are 
telling tales 
about me. 


Atreus accuses Thyestes 


Si* ThSsies ^^^ ^^ ^^^ roote & ground off al my care, 4100 

was the cause And cucnc Hk as it is befall 

of all my mis- -nil rr n 

fortunes. Kehcrse the gynnyng orr my sorvves all. 

Whilom whan I regned in Messene, 

Off age lusti, flouryng in my fresshnesse, 4104 

With my wyfF Europa, that was queene, 

Most renommed that tyme off hir fairnesse, 

Thiestes thanwe, ground off al falsnesse, 

As a traitour his tyme dede espie, 4108 

Thoruh his fals fraude & his flat[e]rie 

Compassid a mene withynne my cite 

Bi sleihti wilis that were incomparable, 

To corrupte my wyuys chastite, 4112 

Mi bed defoulyng, a thyng intollerable, 

And to the goddis verray abhomynable — 

Vsyng the queen to his flesshli plesauwce. 

Til onto tyme that bi continuaunce 4116 

She bi hym hadde sonys too or thre, 

Echon brouht forth in fals auout[e]rye. 

Deemyng euer that thei hadde be 

Myn owne childre, til that I dede espie, 4120 

How that this swyn thoruh his fals lecherie,* 

This Thiestes, afFtir Europa, 

Lay bi his doubter callid Pellopia. 

And bi processe foorth a child she brouhte, 4124 

Callid Egistus, which whan he cam to age, 

As seith Bochas, ful gret tresoun he wrouhte; 

For bi his malice and his gret outrage 

Destroied was al hooli the lynage 4128 

Off Tantalus, which bi his lyuyng 

In Frigia regned as lord and kyng. 

They cast But this Egistus, ofF whom I spak afForn, 

Egisthus out ^ , -, , ° S . 

to wild beasts, t alsii bcgote, myn auctour writ the same, 4132 

scandair' OfF Pclopia, anou as he was born. 

To hide the sclaundre & also the difFame 
OfF Thiestes, and for to saue his name, 

4102. begynnywg R. 

4103. WhilomJ Summe tyme R — Misseene H. 

4104. my] om. H. 4106. hirjom. R. 4107. as grounde R. 
4108. dede espie] aspie R. 4115. to] om. R, 

4119. euer] om. R, H. 4120. children R. 

4121. lecherie] trecherie B. 4125. he] l>at he R. 

413 1, to fom R. 4132. wryteth R. 

He corrupted 
Europa ray 
wife by his 
fraud and flat- 
tery, an intoler- 
able thing to 
do, and an 
to the gods, 

and had two 
or three sons 
by her, which 
I thought my 
own. After- 
wards this swine 
had a son, 
Egisthus, Ijy 
his own 

BK. l] 

Atreus accuses TbyesUs 

Whan that he was but a day ofF age, 
He was out cast to beestis ful sauage 

To be deuoured, the story is weel kouth, 
A mylch[e] goot God list for hym prouyde, 
To fostren hym in his tendre youth, 
He day & nyht hggyng bi hir side. 
Withynne the forest thus he dede abide 
Onto tyme that he gan growe in age; 
Thanne to the court he holdeth his passage, 

As onknowe to eueri maner wiht, 
Wher he herde, abidyng in houshold, 
OfF his kenreede, & how, ageyn al riht, 
Thiestes was presumptuous and bold, 
Bi his deceytis* compassid manyfold, 
With Europa my wiff to haue a-do. 
And on Pelopia begat a child also. 

Which was hymsilff, as he dede vndirstonde 
Bi euydencis many mo than on. 
Wherfore off malice he took on honde, 
On me, his vncle, tauengid been anon. 
For Thiestes, cheuest off all my fon, 
Myn owne brothir, made Egistus blyue 
To make a suerd thoruhout myn herte ryue. 

Thus bi this moordre, conspired bi tresoun. 

On me Atreus, Hggyng pale and ded, 

Cam Thiestes to haue* possessioun, 

And sette a crowne oniustli on his hed. 

He nouther hadde conscience nor dreed, 

Routheles to see my woundis bleede, 

With this that he myhte in my land succeede. 

This same Egistus, ful falsli in his lifF, 

As a yong braunche spronge out off tresoun. 

Lay bi Clymestra, which that was the wifF 

OfF the noble worthi kyng Agamenoun, 

Liggyng a-siege tofFor Troie toun. 

And this Egistus, which is a thyng nat fair, 

Moordred hym also in Grece at his repair. 








but he was 
fostered bv a 
goat and grew 
up and came 
to my court, 
where he 
Itamed who his 
parer.ts were. 

Incited by 
Thyeite*, he 
ran a sword 
through Tcy 




I hus Thyestes 
bccine kLig. 


Egisthuj after- 
wards was the 
paramour of 
and m-ifdered 


4139. mylke H, R 3 — prouvde] punieie R. 

4141. He] by H — nyht & day R. 

4145- This and the next three stanzas are om. in R, J. 

4149. dece\tes] desertis B. 4156. cheuest]cheff H, chefe R 3. 

4158. r>'ue] arrive H. 4161. han B. 


Atreus and Thyestes 

[bk. I 

Jocasta, or 

I admit I 
roasted Thyes- 
tes' children, 
but he begot 
my wife; and 
although murder 
and treason are 
hateful, he 
wronged me 

Wherfore, O Bochas, off herte I pray[e] the, 
Which story. Which ofF these stories is now most terrible ? — 

Bochas, IS most rr i 

terrible, that of (JlT JLClippUS, lOCaSta, Ot Oft me? 

QidipuS, of r^-. II -ff -I -11 

1 elle on anon, yirr it be possible, 4176 

Which off ther* sorwes is founde most penyble, 
OfF Theban brethre, most ful off wo & teene, 
Or off vs tweyne brethern off Missene ? 

I am a-knowe, as for my partie, 4180 

OfFvengaunce I dede a cruel deede: 

I slouh his childre ofF malice & envie 

And rosted hem, whan that thei wer dede» 

Onli because, yifF thou list take heede, 4184 

That he begat hem, as roote ofF al this strifF, 

Vpon Europa, which that was my wifF. 

Such hatful thyngis echman sholde lothe, 

Which appertene to moordre and to tresoun: 4188 

Thus may I seyn, we been vnhappi bothe, 

He first bi trespas ofF fornycaciouw 

Doon bi the queen withynwe my regioun, 

And I, disclauwdrid, on the tothir side, 4192 

OfF hasti vengaunce to been an homycide. 

My bed he fouled bi his auoutrie, 

To God & man a thyng most detestable; 

And I ofF malice and fals malencolie 4196 

Slouh his childr^? & serued hem atte table. 

Thus entirchaungyng, yifF it be comendable, 

Ech was desirous, thoruh our vnhappi chauwce, 

Vpon other for to do vengaunce, 4200 

Our gret hatreede, most odious founde att all, 

Our cruel deedis wrouht on outher side, 

Senech rehersith hem in especiall 

In his tragedies; and ther he doth deuyde 4204 

Our compleyntis, our malice & our pride. 

Our fatal eende in sorwe & myscheefF fyned, 

Whan Antropos our lyuys threed hath twyned." 

It was tip for 

and Seneca 
tells all about 
us in his 

4174. now] om. R, J. 

4177. ther] these B — founde] om. J, R, H 5 — sorwes] stones 

4178. brethern R. 4179. Mycene P. 4180. for] om. R. 
4182. &] & of R. 4184. bi cause repeated in R. 

4188. 2nd to] om. R. 4190. He] The R. 

4194. he fouled] defoulid R. 

4206. fyned] feyned R. 

BK. l] 

An Envoy on Brotherly Strife 

Whan lohn Bochas fulli hadde espied 420S 

Off these too brethre thaccusaciouns, 

And how thel hadde maliciousli replied 

Ech ageyn other in ther discenciouns, 

He gan duUe to heere ther mociouns, 4212 

Put vp his penne, & wrot nat mor a woord 

Off the[r] furie nor off ther fals discord. 


THIS tragedie sheweth a figure, 
A maner ymage & also a liknesse, 4216 

How contrari it is onto nature, 
Blood onto blood to shewe onkynd[e]nesse. 
This woful story can her [ful] weel witnesse. 
All such debatis been, as ye shal fynde, 4220 

Hatful to God and contrary onto kynde. 

For there is non mor dreed ful auenture, 

Than in kynredis to fynde frowardnesse, 

Nor no damage mor pereilous to endure, 4224 

Than in frenshepes whan there is straungenesse 

A maner parti; bexaumple I dar expresse, 

To seen the tre debate ageyn the rynde, 

To God were hatful and contrary onto kynde. 4228 

Eueri beeste and eueri creature 

Loueth his semblable, off kyndli riht, I gesse; 

And whan on trouthe* tweyne hertis assure, 

Vndepartid, off verray parfitnesse, 4232 

It were a vicious froward cursidnesse, 

Ther loue so knet, to losne it or onbynde, 

Hatful to God and contrari onto kynde. 

Prynds, Pryncessis, doth your besi cure 4236 

Fro you tauoide striff, fraude & doubilnesse, 

Remembrith you vpon thunhappi eure 

Off these too brethre & off ther wrechidnesse, 

And off ther bothe malicious wilfulnesse, 4240 

And how ther stryues — hath this weel in mynde — 

To God was hatful and contrary onto kynde. 

4208. had fully H. 4212. began R — ther] the R. 

4213. nat] no R, H, R 3. 

4214. nor] neithir R. 

4219. ful weel] om. P. 4220. as] om. H. 

4225. Frenshippe R. 4227. ayenst R. 

4231. ontruthe B. 4234. losne it] louse R. 

4238. Remembre R — eure] cure R, 4241- haveth R. 


After hearing 
the stories of 
these two 
Bochas put 

his pen and 
refused to write 
another word 
about them. 

This tragedy 
shews how 
strife is to 
God and 

Nothing is 
more dreadful 
than enmity 

Every living 
creature lo%e$ 
his fellow of 
natural right. 
It were a 
vicious deed to 
make them 

Princes and 
Princesses, try 
to avoid 
strife, fraud, 
and deceit; 
such things 
are very 
to God. 


The Story of Theseus 

[bk. I 

Athens wns 
once called the 
nurse of phi- 
losophers and 
sun of all 

Its renown 
shone in every 

[Off Duk Theseus and Adriane ^at saued his liflf 
in the Caue/ and how he lik a forsworn man 
forsook hir and weddid faire Phedra/ whiche 
aftirward slouh hirsilf .] ^ 

ATHENES whilom, whaw it was in his 
flour^s, . [P- 53] 

Was callid norice of philisophres wise, 4244 

Princesse off poetis & expert oratour^s, 
Sonwe off all sciences, as clerkis can deuise, 
Whens al cunwyng most cleerli dede arise. 
Named off Grece the lanterne and the liht, 4248 

Which thoruh al erthe shadde his beemys briht. 

With noble titles, which been out off nou?nbre, 

In eueri coost his renoun dede shyne, 

The fame theroff was clipsed with non 0U77ibre, 4252 

All other scooles it dede so enlumyne; 

For in that cite, pleynli to termyne. 

Off the seuene artis, as doun from on* hedspryng, 

Ther ran out ryuers and stremys off al cunwyng. 4256 

These sciences were callid liberall, 

Onli off fredam, fraunchise and liberte; 

For off a stok that were preued thrall, 

Ther sholde no brauwche studie in that cite, 4260 

But thilke blood that were fouwde fre, 

Bothe be discent & lyneal hih noblesse, 

Ther to scoleie sholde haue interesse. 

This cite was sacrid to Mynerue, 4264 

For ther wisdam and ther sapience; 

Off Mercurie the feestis thei obserue, 

For rethorik and for eloquence; 

And myhti Mars gaff hem influence 4268 

With glade aspectis, ther parti to a-mende. 

Noblesse off knyhthod ther clergie to diffende. 

and was famous This touw was nobleicd be title of other thynges, 

for its dukes a i i • i i • i 

and kings, And most glorious reknyd m that age 4272 

The^usTs^lTof Be successiouw off dukes and off kynges, 


4246. Sunne^ Som^ H. 4248. Name R. 
4253. scooles] om. R. 4254. determyne R. 
4255. on] an B, H. 4256. stremys & Ryvers H. 
4260. Ther] The R. 4266. thei] om. R. 
4270. ther] the R. 4273- 2nd ofQom. R. 
IMS. J. leaf 22 verso. 

and only free 
men of good 
family could 
study there. 

The city was 
sacred to 

BK. l] 

The Story of Theseus 


A-mong[es] which duk Theseus bi lynage, 
Sone off Egistus, ful fressh off his corage, 
Excellyng* alle of prudence & manheed^f 4276 

That euer dede the crowne ther posseed^. 

For to that cite, thoruh his hih noblesse, 

In ther diffencis such trust, such [af]fiaunce 

He gaff to hem bi his expert prowesse, 4280 

Off his triumphes so gret habundaunce. 

And speciaH ther renoun to auaunce. 

He made hem fre ther truage for to lete 

Ageyn Mynos the myhti kyng off Crete. 4284 

For bi his force, the story is weel kouth, 

Them to fraunchise and al that regioun. 

The Mynotaur he slouh in tendre youth; 

And afftirward he off deuocioun, 4288 

Taquite hymsilff[e] lik a champioun, 

Theroff made solempne sacrefise 

To lubiter in most humble wise; 

And in a theatre callid Maratoun, 4292 

Duk Theseus hadde this victorie. 

Afftir he wente to Colchos with lasoun, 

Cheeff off counseil, as makid is memorie. 

And bi processe to augmente his glorie, 4296 

With Hercules his brother to conveie, 

Geyn Amazones he wente to werreie, — 

Conquered hem, his manhod was weel seene, 

His force, his noblesse in that mortal stryff. 4300 

And afftir that, Ypolita the queene 

This Theseus took onto his wiff. 

And for his brother he list iuparte his liff, 

Duk Pirotheus, whan he dede vndirtake 4304 

The centaures to outraie for his sake. 

This centaures poetis specefie, 

And Seruyus maketh mencioun, 

How thei were whilom engendrid on a skie, 4308 

Whan first ther fadir, callid Yrion, 

Was enamourid, ful many day agon, 

4275. ofT] in R. 4276. Excellyng] Excelsyng B. 

4279. fiauwce] H, R 3. 4284. Ageynst R. 

4292. theatre] tiatre R. 4293. this] the R. 

4295. made R, H. 4296. bi] om. R. 4298. Ayens R. 

4303. list iuparte] leyde in iupardie R. 

4308. on]ofH, P, R3. 4310. many a R. 

who slew the 
Minotaur and 
freed the 
Athenians from 
their tribute, 
was the most 

Theseus went 
to Colchos 
with Jason and 
to Femenye 
with Hercules, 

where he mar- 
ried Hippolyte. 

He also con- 
quered the cen- 
taurs, creatures 
begotten on a 
cloud by Ixion, 


Theseus and the Centaurs 


who fell in 
love with his 
mistress, and 
she, disdaining 
him, took the 
likeness of a 

which in his 
folly he be- 
lieved to be 

The centaurs 
were half man, 
half horse. 
They tried to 
carry away 
Pirithous' wife 

but Theseus 
subdued them. 

Vpon luno, because she was so fair, 

Gouerneresse and goddesse off the hair. 4312 

This Yrion was hir secretarie, 

And for hir fairnesse & excellent beute, 

Loued hir ful hote, al-be she was contrarie 

To his desir, in Bochas ye may see. 4316 

Hym to delude, he writith, how that she 

Hirsilff transfourmyd, as she [that] myhte & koude, 

Into the liknesse off an heuenli cloude, 

This Yrion pleynli supposyng 4320 

It was hirsilff, and euene thus he wrouhte. 
The cloude enbracyng, withoute mor tarieng, — 
Off his foli the goddesse there he souhte; 
And with ther medlyng atwen hem foorth thei 

brouhte 4324 

The centauris, these beestis merueilous, 
Which off nature be founde monstruous.* 

Halff man, halff hors, [dejpartid thus on 

tweyne, [p. 54] 

And wonderful bi ther descripciouw, 4328 

Off fals[e] malice dede hemselff ordeyne 
On Pirotheus to make invasioun, 
And hym to putte out off possessioun 
Off his wiff, callid Ypodamen, 4332 

And hir to rauysshe, maugre all his men. 

Ther were off hem an hundred [as] in nouwbre, 

Swifft as the wynd 4n ther cours renwyng. 

Which off malice cast hem to encouwbre 4336 

Duk Pirotheus the day off his weddyng, 

And to rauysshe his wiff at ther comyng, 

Yiff for his parti ther were no diffence 

Ageyn ther power to make resistence. 4340 

But Theseus list nat to delaie 

Pirotheus his brother to diffende. 

First the centaures he knyhtli dede outraie 

So mortalli, thei durste hym nat offende; 4344 

Afftir this conquest to helle thei descende, 

4312. Gouirrnesse R, P, H J. 

4315. al be it R. 4320-4515.] om. U, fol. missing. 

4326. monstruous] contrarious B, R 3, P — ther nature R. 

4327. on] in R, J. 432?. And] A R. 
4330. invasioun] inuocacion R. 

4343. knyhtly he did R, J. 4345. this] the R, Jje J. 

BK. l] 

Theseus and Piritbous 


Duk Pirothe and worthi Theseus, 
Maugre the daunger off cruel Cerberus. 

There thei rauysshe in ther mortal teene, 
Thoruh ther knyhthod, yifF ye Hst to lere, 
Despiht off Pluto, Proserpyna the queene, 
Which off lubiter was the douhter deere. 
And Pirotheus fond first the manere 
Off wilful force, thoruh his hih renoun, 
Rewmys to conquere and holde possessioun. 

But bi writyng sothli off Ouyde, 
He pleynli tellith how duk Theseus 
Arested was in hell, and muste abide, 
Bi the force off cruel Cerberus; 
And Pluto was to hym contrarious. 
Til Pirotheus, to fynden a reles, 
The cas declared onto Hercules. 

Which off his knyhthod a remedi fond. 
To helpe his freend [he] dede his besi peyne; 
First bi his prowesse Cerberus he bond 
At belle gatis with a treble cheyne, 
And off his manhod he dede so ordeyne, 
Duk Theseus from daunger to discharge, 
Maugre Pluto for to gon at large. 

Thei were in armys brethre bothe tweyne, 
Louede as brethre bothe* in werre and pes. 
That nouther koude onto other feyne, 
Ther liff to iuparte & putte hemsilf;' in pres. 
And bothe as brethre wer callid Hercules, 
To signefie, poetis can weel tell. 
This name in conquest all other doth excell. 

Bi old[e] tyme thei that were pereles 
For ther noblesse in dyuers regiouns. 
All thei for manhod wer namyd Hercules, 
Such as were noised for famous champiouns, 
Tigres to daunte, boores and leouns. 
And renommed among hem euerichon, 
Bookis afferme, that Theseus was on. 





Afterwards he 
and Pirithous 
descended into 
hell, where 
they made 
off with 

But Ovid »ay» 

that Theseus 
was arrested in 
hell and kept 
there by Cer- 
berus, and 
rescued by 

AXfiA who bound 
^^ ^ Cerberus with 
a triple chain. 



Theseus and 
Pirithous were 
brothers in 
arms, and 

Ax-j() a name given 
to peerless 
knights in old 


4350. Preserpyna R. 
4363. he] om. J. 

4370. bothe] togidre B, R 3, P (both R, J, H 5). 

4371. neithir R, J. 4372. lupardie R, J. 

4382. Bookis] Bochas P, H 5 — afferme] affermeth R, J, P, 

122 The Early Life of Theseus [bk. i 

First, as I saide, bl his knyhtli trauaile, 
brought Whan Athenes stood in dyuysioun 4384 

peace to A-mong hcmsilfF bi werre and bi bataile, 

stored exiles, Bi* his wisdam and his* discreciouw, 

He sette accord withynne that noble touw: 

Them that were exilid & stood in nouwcerteyn, 4388 

He off his knyhthod made hem resorte ageyn; 

made laws and He gafF hcm lawes wherbi thei sholde hem gie, 

governed *j * 

wisely, Noble statutis foundid on resouw, 

Sette among hem so prudent poHcie, 4392 

In ther lyuyng that no discencioun 

Sholde arise bi non occasioun 

A-mong hemsilfF, in hih or low estat, 

Prouydyng euere that there were no debat, 4396 

so that the Thus gan the cite encrece and multeplie, 

city prospered ,^ ° _, . , i • i 

and became the lo wcxe tamous oiT wisoam and nchesse; 

first centre of f-r^i i iir rr*!*! i- 

knighthood and 1 her Sprang the welle hrst oit philosophic; 

p losop y. Xher first off knyhthod ros the hih noblesse, 4400 
Bi Theseus, Bochas bereth witnesse: 
Thus thynges too, lik as it is fouwde, 
Clergie and knyhthod dede there habouwde. 

And for to sette the cite in quieete, 4404 

CreonTrrifurn ^6 made pcs thoruh al that regions; 
the remains of ^nd off knyhthod he manli dede meete 

lords slam at -; 

Thebes to their Xhc ctucl titauwt that callid was Creouw, 

ladies. A /r 1 i • • 

Maugre hym made restituciouw 4408 

Off lordis bonys, that were at Thebes slayn, 
To the ladies, wheroff thei were ful fayn. 

Theseus lived Thus thoruh Grcce abrod his renoun spradde; [p. i;d 

long in honour ^t- i i i- r i- i i- 

and joy, but His knyhtli tame gan gretli multeplie, 4412 

turned her'^face And longe in ioie thus his liff he ladde, 
anf threw hiS Whil that Fortune list hym magnefie: 
whTei/"'™ *"" But ay hir gladnesse is meynt with sum envie. 

For she, froward, list no mor soiourne 4416 

With Theseus, but gan hir face tourne 

4386. 7 are transposed in B. 4386. 2nd his] bi his B. 

4387. He]ToR. 

4388. stooden R. 

4391. founde R — on] of J. 

4397. bigan R, J. 4403. knyhthod] lawe J, H 5, lowe R. 

4404. And] om. R, J. 4412. began R, bigan J. 

4417. began R, J, H 5. 

BK. i] Theseus forsakes Ariadne 1 23 

Awey from hym, wex peruers and froward, 

Off his glorie* ongoodli gan to dulle, 

Doun from hir wheel she made [him] go bakward, 4420 

Off his good fame she gan the fethres pulle; 

Whan his noblesse was hiest at the fulle — 

I meene the fulle off his felicite — 

Ther folwed an ebbe off gret aduersite. 4424 

And, morouer, hir frowardli to quite. After he h»d 

' , . ' ^ ^ slam the 

His onhappis rehersyng on bi on, Minouur 

On the firste, as Bochas list endite, 

Was whan he lay in Crete among his fon, 4428 

And out off prisoun sholde into Grece gon, 

Repeiryng homward & hymsilff withdrawe, 

The Mynotaur whan he hadde slawe. 

The firste emprise that he vndirtook, 4432 

Was whan he scaped thymportable peyne 

Off Mynotaurus, lik as seith my book, AriadnT^fo 

And with hym ladde the kyngis douhtren tweyne, "^'^"^ *>'» ''f^- 

That he off malice falsli list disdeyne 4436 

Geyn Adriane, which that dede hym saue 

From the deth, whan he lay in the caue. 

Sholde ha be slayn, hadde nat hir socour be, — 

In his repair he took theroff non heed; 4440 phld^a"'^ 

He leffte hir sool* in gret aduersite 

Withynne an yle, in myscheeff, sorwe & dreed. 

And fair[e] Phedra with hym he dede leed, 

Weddid hir, lik a forswore man: /\'\ ^'\ 

Thus with ontrouthe his myscheeff first began. 

How Phedra quit hir, — the story is weel knowe — Phedra fell in 
In his absence, Bochas writith thus, poiytus, who 

WTian that she, withynne a litil throwe, 4448 

Loued ageyn kynde his sone Ypolitus; 
But he to hire was contrarious, 

4419. gloire B — gan to dulle] be gan to double R, gan to 
double J. 

4420. him] om. R, J, P, R 3, H 5. 

4421. fame she gan] name she bigan R, J. 4422. the] om. J. 
4425. to aquyte R, J. 4427. to endite R, J. 

4433. escapid R, J. 4435. ladde] hadde R, had J. 

4437. Geyn] Ayens R, Ayenst J. 

4441. sool] soul B, alone H 5. 

4446. hir] om. R — knowe] om. R, coulje J. 

4449. his]hirj, P, Hs. 

124 Phcedra and Hippolytus [bk. i 

Nolde [not] assente to so foul a deede; 

For shame he fledde, & parcel eek for dreede, 4452 

was killed, as To his fadcr for she hym dede* accuse, 

ready seen. As ye tofom ha[ue] the story sayn. 
And for he dede hir cumpany refuse, 
He wente his way & cam neuer agayn; 4456 

For ye haue herd[e] how that he was slayn 
Withynne a char, thoruh his vnhappi chaunce, 
And how Phedra throuh myscheefF & vengaunce 

She then slew Slouh hirsclfF, ageyn al womanheed — '4460 

herself; and all __ . i • i i r t i i 

this Theseus Hcer m this book totorn as 1 you tolde. 
a^puntshment^ Of which[e] thyng, whan Theseus took heed, 
Ariadne^""''"^ Thouhte it was vengaunce for his ofFencis olde; 

For he nat quit hym lik as he was holde 4464 

To Adriane, which sholde ha been his wifF, 
Bi whos socour he scaped with the lifF. 

This infortune* and this vnhappi chaunce 

Was to his noblesse ful contrarious. 4468 

The deth also was to hym* a vengaunce 

Off his sone callid Ypolitus, 

For sorwe off whom, this duk Theseus 

With salte teris sore gan compleyne 4472 

At the exequies off these ilke tweyne. 

He wept bitter I ttowe also it dede hym sore greue, 
funeral and Duk Pirotheus whan he sauh li ded, 
TrtevS'^Vhen Slayn with a beeste, & myht[e] nat releue, — 4476 
!iiin^by'c"r- Kyug Orchus hound, which hadde a treble hed, 
berus. Whos teth horrible off his blood were red. 

Which infortunye, whan he gan beholde, 
Onto the deth he felte his herte colde. 4480 

And for to rekne the grete wrechidnessis, 
sorrow was that Thunhappi chaunccs that fill hym in his liff. 

enceto'phxdra.Amongis alle his other gret distressis, 

he gave jcred- 

"ra, _ 

Was non so mortal nor so ful off striff 4484 

As whan that he gaff credence to his wiff, 

4451. not] om. R 3. 44S2- eek] also R. 

4453. hym dede] dede hym B. 

4456. his way] away R, J, P, H 5. 

4464. holde] beholde R, J. 4466. the] his R. 

4467. infortune] Infortunye B. 4469. to hym was also B. 

4472. bigan R, bigan to pleyne J. 

4473. At] And R, J — these] the R, l>e J. 
4475. sauh li] sih be R, sije be J. 4479. infortune R, J. 
4484. nor] ne J. 

BK. l] 

Princes should not be unjust 


Phedra callid, which off entencioun 
Compassid ontreull an accusacioun 

Vpon YpoHtus, off hatreed and envie, 4488 

Because he nolde do so gret offence 

As for tassente to hir lecherie; 

Therfore off deth he felte the violence. 

And for his fader to soone gaff credence, 4492 

Bochas forbit husbondis al ther lyues, 

Withoute preeff, nat leeue to soone her wyues, 

Nor be [to] hasti talis for to leeue [p. 56] 

Off flaterers in chaumbre nor at table; 4496 

Forgers of lesyngis, myn auctowr doth weel preeue, 

Tabide with lordis that thei be nat able. 

Heeron he maketh a chapitle ful notable, 

And off his writyng, this was the cause whi: 4500 

That pryncis sholde examyne ech parti. 

Off wisdam also and off discrecioun, 

Withoute a preeff nat be parciall; 

For to a prynce it is confusioun, 

Yiff atween parties he be nat founde egall, 

Causid many on for to haue a fall; 

God suffred such nat longe to contune,* 

Withdrouh ther grace & hyndred ther fortune. 

and for thij 
reason Bochat 
forbid* hus- 
band* to be- 
lieve what 
their wive* tell 
them unless 
there be proof. 

and advise* u* 
not to be 
hasty to be- 
lieve tale* of 
any lort. 

A prince must 
be equally ynX. 
to all men, 
otherwise Go'J 
4504 will punish 

him as he did 

Thus Theseus for his hastynesse, 

His happ, his grace discrecid day be day. 

The fame appallid off his worthynesse. 

And froward Fortune in a-wait eek lay, 

For his diffautis to hyndre hym yiif she may; 

Caste she wolde his noblesse disauaunce. 

And thanne his kyngdam bi disobeisaunce 

From hym withdrouh honour and reuerence, 

Ful frowardli thoruh al his regiouTi. 

Thei off Athenys, bi cruel violence. 

Fill ageyn hym in* rebellioun, 

That he was fayn to fleen out off the toun: 





whose subject* 
rebelled and 
finally drove 
him out of 
hi* kingdom. 

4485. whan that]] was whan R, J — he] om. J. 

4486. oflF] an R, J. 4489. he] om. J. 

4490. to assente J — vnto R. 4494- her] om. J. 
449$. leeue] heere R, here J, H 5. 4496. nor] ne J. 
4505. betwene R, J. 4507. continue B, contynue H 5. 
4509. hastifnesse J. 4510. discrecid] distressid J. 
4512. in a-wait eek] also in a wayte R, J. 
4516. ]^ begins again. 4519. in]inaB, R3. 

126 The End of Theseus I^bk. i 

Thus hath Fortune dirked the brihtnesse 
Off al his nobley, and cast hym in distresse. 

This was the eende bi gret contrariouste 

Off Theseus, afFtir his daies glade, 4524 

Whan the fressh flour(?s off old felicite, 

Fortune aduerse made hem for to fade; 

Ech thyng mut bowwe whan it is ouer-lade, 

Worshepis & honouris, whan thei brihtest shyne, 4528 

With vnwar chaunges than rathest douw declyne. 



The prosperity I ^HE ouseur gladnesse, the loie transitone, 

of princes is  ^, ° 

subject to M. Ihunstable seurnesse, the* transmutaciouws, 

The cloudi brihtnesse, the fals eclipsid glorie 4532 
Off erthly pryncis which han possessiouns, 
Monarchies and dominaciouws — 
Ther sodeyn chauwg declareth to vs all, 
Ther pompous sugre is meynt with bittir gall. 4536 

Fortuna can THis blyude goddessc in hir consistorie,* 

take from them ■w-rj.-,-.': . ii*if 

their crowns With hir plesauwce medlith discenciouns, 

and sceptres, a rr • i i • • 

AiTtir tryuwphes, conquest and victone, 

Reueth fro pryncis ther sceptres & ther crouns, 4540 

Troubleth the peeple with fals rebelliouns: 

Seeth bi these dukis, which from her wheel be fall, 

Al worldli sugre is meynt with bittir gall. 

as this tragedy This tragcdic maketh a memorie * 4544 

Off dukis tweyne, & off ther hih renouws; 
And off ther loue writ a gret historic. 
And how thei conquered dyuers regiouns, 
Gouerned cites, contres and eek touns, 4548 

Til Fortune ther prowesse dede appall. 
To shewe ther sugre was* meynt with bittir gall. 

4525. flour R. 

4529. doun] doth R. 4530, 32. transitoire, gloire B. 
4531. the] ther B. 4534- Monarchies] & monarchies H. 
4537> 39' consistoire, victoire B. 

4540. fro pryncis] from kyngis R — 2nd ther] the R. 

4541. Troubleth] & troublith H. 

4542. her] her R. 

4543. bittir] sum R. 

4544. 46. memoire, histoire B. 
4544. a] om. R. 4548. eek] also R. 

4550. was] is B — menged R 3 — bittir] sum R, J, H 5. 

BK. l] 

The Danger of Unstable Princes 

Pryncis, Pryncessls, seeth how deceptorie ' 
Been alle these worldii reuoluciouns, 
And how Fortune in hir reclynatorie, 
With hir triacle tempreth fals poisouns: 
So merueilous been hir confecciouns, 
Off frowardnesse she will, what-so be-fall, 
Ay with hir sugre off custum tempre gall. 




Princes, Prin- 
cesses, remem- 
ber that For- 
tune always 
tempers her 
sugar with 

^ Here Bochas repreuyth all thimstabilnes of 
Princis & ot)ir persones tat 3eve hasti credence 
to euery report with-out preef . ^ 

ALTHOUH so be, in eueri maner age 
Folkis be dyuers off condiciouns. 
To tume, plie & chaunge in ther corage, 4560 

On outher parti with sodeyn mociouns, 
And for to bowe* bi transmutaciouns 
With eueri wynd, as doon thunstable leuys, 
WTiich hange on trees in fo testis and in greuys. 4564 

But off alle chaungis, that chaung is most to dreede, 
And most feerful is that variaunce. 
Whan that pryncis, which may the peeple leede. 
Be founde vnstable in ther gouernaunce: 4568 

For ther noblesse and ther hih puissaunce 
Assureth hem, bi a maner [of] fourme, 
What-euer hem list taccomplisshe and parfourme. 

To comoun profit thei may most auaile, [p. 57] 4572 

Whan thei be reulid bi wisdam and resoun; 

And to the peeple thei may most disauaile. 

Whan thei lakke wit and discrecioun: 

Thus atwen tweyne, in eueri regioun, 4576 

4SSi> 53- deceptoire, reclynatoire B. 4556. wole so what R. 

4557- Ay] Euere R. ^ The heading in J is as follows: "Here 
Bochas writeth ayenst hem that yeueth hasty credence to 
Hers and flaterers," MS. J. leaf 24 recto. The following 
heading is in R: "In this capitle Bochas repreueth | And 
blameth nat oonly princis | All hem that ouerlihtly yeueth 
credence | To tuery tale & fable which is." In J, written as 
an ordinary stanza: " In this Chapitle Bochas in sentence \ Re- 
preue}} and blamej) not oonly princ/j | But all hewt J)at ouer- 
lightly [gjeuej) credence | To eu^ry tale and fable whiche is j 
Reported vn to hem [break in bandzcriting'] for sothfastnesse | 
And list nothyng do as it were dewe | To prove the trouth 
whefre it be fals or trewe." 

4562. bowve B. 4565. This stanza is marked as in approval's. ■^. 

4570. of] om. R 3. 4576. betwene R. 

People are 
changing in 
their hearts. 

but the worst 
change is when 
princes are 

for their sub- 
jects are apt 
to follow their 

128 The Danger of Hasty Credence [bk. i 

The peeple draweth, who that can discerne, 
To good or badde, as pryncis hem gouerne. 

Princes must Thai may nat be to hasti nor sodeyne, 
judgment But doon all thynge bi good auysement, 4580 

Keepe hem from tunges that parted been on tweyne, 
Nat be to rakill to yiue no iugement, 
And off no folkis, whan thei been absent, 
Leue no talis nor yiue no credence, 4584 

Till that the parti may come to audience. 

or listen to Sumwhile hath happid, how that slouh credence 

readily. Hasty Hath in sum cas bc founde ful noious; 

worse"than " But hasti ctedence, I dar sey in sentence, 4588 

slowness of ^ thousend fold is more pereilous; 

For onauysid al haste is odious: ' • 

For haste ful offte, for lakkyng off resoun. 

Off moch[e] peeple hath be destruccioun. 4592 

There is no damage that men can purpose, 
Mor to be drad nor mor lamentable. 

Nothing indeed Than a prynce his eris to onclose 

bedr°ea'ded. To eueti tale and to eueri fable; 459^ 

It is a tokne ther hertis be nat stable. 
Whan thei to flatereris ther eris do* applie, 
Namli to such that can weel forge and lie. 

Some people Folkis be dyuers, suwme fals and suwme trewe, 4600 

are false, some _ , i • i i i 

are honourable; In dyuers studies doon ther besynesse; 

Summe can studie to fynde out talis newe, 

And sumwe for lucre can meyntene weel falsnesse 

And holde up quarelis ageyn[e]s rihtwisnesse, 4604 

Pretendyng trouthe vnder a fals entent 

To hyndre folkis which that been innocent. 

it were folly Men to suppose it were a gret foli, 

8houw"aU be^ That folkis sholde in ther oppynyoun 4608 

Speke or pronounce alle on o parti. 

Or holde o weie in ther entencioun; 

For semblabli as there is dyuysioun 

4579. nor! ne to R. 
4584. norj neithir R. 

4586. Sumwhile] Sumtyme R. 

4587. cas] om. R. 

4594. norJ ne R. 4596. 2nd to] om. R. 

4598. ther] thei R — do] so B, done R. 4599. forge] om. R. 
4600. and] om. R. 4607. to] doe P. 
461 1, a dyuysioun R, J, H s, P. 


BK. i] Princes should he slow to give Judgment 


Off* corages, off hih or low degre. 
So is ther treuli a gret dyuersite 

In rehersaile or report off a thyng, 
For to his parti ech man is fauourable: 
Sum man can sey weel in his rehersyng, 
Sum man is double, & sum man deceyuable, 
Sum men sey trouthe, and summe be variable; 
Wherfore a prynce off riht, as it doth seeme, 
Sholde weel examyne affom or that he deeme. 

For there is noon mor dreedful pestilence 
Than a tnnge that can flatre and fage; 
For with his cursid crabbid violence 
He enfectith folk* off eueri maner age. 
Wo to tunges froward off ther language, 
And wo to tunges fals, furious and wood. 
Which off no persone neuer can sey good. 

Bochas rehersith, it is riht weel sittyng 
That eueri man other do comende, 
And sey the beste alwey in reportyng; 
For in weel-seieng may no man offende. 
Where men sey weel, God will his grace sende; 
Afftir men been, men mut the pris vpreise, 
Lich ther meritis allowe hem or dispreise. 

But wher a thyng is vttirli onknowe, 
Lat no man ther been hasti off sentence; 
For rihtful iuges sittyng on a rowe. 
Off ther wisdam and off ther hih prudence 
Will of trouthe haue first sum euydence — 
I meene such as gouemed be bi grace — 
Or any doom forbi ther lippis pace. 

A prynce sholde assemble thyngis tweyne 
Withynwe hymsilff: [affom] ful prudently 
Shet up his doomys betwixe lokkis tweyne, 
On off the soule, resoun for that party, 
Prudence chose out, and riht for the body; 


therefore a 
prince ought to 
examine well 
before he de- 
4616 livers his 


4612. OflGInB — ofTJinH. 

4615. to] om. H. 4616. in] in all R. 4618. seyth R. 

4622. flatre] flaterie R — in red in margin, MS. J. 24 c: no/a. 

de falsis Unguis. 
4624. infectith R — folkis B, folkes R 3 — maner] om. J. 
4626. furious] froward H. 

4628. it is riht weel] as it is wele R. 4629. eueri] eu^re R. 
4631. no man may R, J. 4641. forth bi R — ther] the H. 
4643. aflFom]om.H. 4644. betwixt R. 4645. soule] soneR. 

Vs<x to 


4624 •>"'°?' 







Bochas says 
we should 
always speak 
well of one 

and where we 
have no knowl- 
edge, we 
should be 
slow to 

A prince should 
always decide 
according to 
reason and 
right, and take 
truth and con- 
science to 

130 Theseus* Impatience caused his Son's Death [bk. i 

And atween bothe, or he yiue a sentence, 

To couwsell calle trouthe and good conscience. 4648 

He should first First to consldre with eueri circuwstauwce, 
whether the DilHgentH doon theron his labour, 
honestiyr*^" * Off discteciouw to take the ballauwce. 

And first weie out who is thaccusour, 4652 

And whethir that he for falsnesse or fauour 

In his processe list for to proceede; 

Heroff a prynce must off riht take heede. 

and if he u a He muste also considre bi and bi, [p. 58] 4656 

friend or enemy __., , , . i • i • i • i 

of the accused What that he IS, which IS to hym accusid, 
^^o^bad" And whethir thaccusour be freend or enmy, 
report. q^. ^j^g^-i^ji. j^g g\^^\ \)QQn acceptc* or refusid 

In his accus — this muste afFor be musid — 4660 
And whethir he be, bi report off his name, 
A man weel noised or sclaundrid bi diffame. 

If Theseus had Yiff Theseus hadde be thus auysed, 

done this, he., • i t rr i 

would not have And considred oit resoun the maner, 4664 

caused his son's tt i i j ^ l ^'l' J J 

death; He hadde nat so hastih deuysed 

His sonys deth, lich as ye shal ler: 

For yiff ther hadde assemblid been I-feer 

In his persone prudence and resoun, 4668 

He sholde ha[ue] seyn in his discreciouw, 

Be knowlechyng off long experience, 

Off his wiff the gret onstedfastnesse, 
Mysrwom°e''nare Which thotuh hir froward compassid eloquence 4672 
born liars and \Yas redi cuere to brynge folk in distresse, 

sometimes t£iltC 

too much. As in his writyng Bochas berth witnesse. 
Off ther nature women can flatre and fage, 
And been sumwhile to copious off language. 4676 

Also off wisdam, this duk Theseus 

Shold ha[u]e considred afforn in his entent, 

How that his sone, callid Ypolitus, 

4647. bitwene hem both R. 

4650. And diligently R — theron] ther R. . 4654. for] om. R. 

4659. he"] that he R — accept] acceptid B and other MSS. 
except H 5 which has accepte. 

4660. accus] actis J, H 5 — this] he P, thus H 5. 
4663. thus had been J, R, H 5. 

4672. hir] his R. 4673. inJtoR. 

4676. sum tyme R — to copious off] copioMJ of ther R. 

4677. this] om. R. 

BK. i] Theseus ought to have known his Son better 


OflF al onclennesse was founde ay innocent; 4680 

And how that he off custum made his went 

Into forestis duryng his yong age, 

To hunte at beestis which that were sauage. 

Rennyng on foote, as ye shal vndirstonde, 4684 

On hillis, valis teschewen idilnesse, 
Mooder off vicis, with his bowe in honde, 
Diane to serue off huntyng cheeff goddesse. 
Suwtyme to hauke he dede his besynesse; 4688 

Eek onto fisshyng he gretly was applied, 
So that his youthe was neuer onocupied. 

Thus he lyiied in wodis solitarie, 

And off Venus despised the seruyse; 4692 

A-mong[es] women he wolde neuer tarie, 

Ther felashipp he dede alwey despise: 

For he dempte, be sentence off the wise. 

Who touchith pich, bassay men may see,* 4696 

It failith nat he shal defouled be. 

Ypolitus sauh weel this thyng afforn, 

Kept hym at large from such contrariouste; 

His greene youthe he wolde nat haue it lorn, 4700 

To be diffoulid for lak off chastite: 

For he lyued euer in virgynyte, 

And neuer dede, Bochas wil nat varie, 

Nothyng that was onto God contrarie. 4704 

Thus off entent he kepte his bodi cleene 

Duryng his liff, bothe in thouht & deede, 

Whos mooder was Ypolita the queene 

Off Amazones, in Ouyde ye may reede. 4708 

But, o alias, that Theseus took heede. 

For a tale off Phedra ful off gile, 

Withoute gilt his sone to exile. 

Afftir whos deth[e], summe poetis seyn, 4712 

How that Diana, for his chastite, 

Restorid hym onto lyue ageyn 

Bi Esculapius, and gaff hym liberte 

In hir forestis to hunten and go fre. 4716 

4680. ay] euer R. 4686. in] on H, J, H £. 

4689. Eek] Also R — gretly he was R. 4692. dispised R. 

4694. alwey] evir H, euer P, euer R 3. 

4696. Who] Who so R, J — see] weel see B — In MS. J. in red 

in margin: Qui tangit picem &c. 
4698.' seeh R — befome H. 4707. was] om H. 

Theseus shonld 
have remem- 
bered that his 
son was a 

who despised 

the society of 

and always re- 
mained chaste. 

His mother 
was Hippolyte; 

and after his 
death Diana 
restored him 
to life and 
gave him leave 
to hunt in her 
forests forever. 

132 Bochas exclaims against Women 

For which restoryng, as writ Ouidius, 
As twies a man, men callid hym Virbius. 

[bk. I 

Bochas here 
makes a great 
outcry against 
women and 
says that they 
are deceitful by 
nature and like 
insatiable beasts. 

Heer Bochas makith an exclamacion a-geyn the 
pride of vommen And thonseumes of princes. 

UT Bochaj heer, I not what he doth meene, 


Maketh in his book an exclamacioun 
Ageyn[e]s women, that pite is to scene — 
Seith how ther lyne, ther generacioun 
Been off nature double off condiciouw, 
And calhth hem eek dyuers and onstable, 
Beestis rassemblyng that been insaciable. 

Of course he He meneth off women that be born in Crete, 

means only the -^-r 1 rr 1 1 i 11 • 1 • 

women of Crete, JNothyng oiT hem that duelle m this centre: 
oTthis TOunto' For women heer, al doubilnesse thei lete, 

are very differ- ^^j ^^^^^^ ^^ ^^^^ off mUtabihte, 

Thei loue no chauwgis nor no duplicite; 
For ther husbondis, in causis smal or grete, 
What-euer thei seyn, thei can nat couwtirplete. 





be God, who 
made them so 
humble and 
patient. I 
don't mean 
one, but all, 
as their hus- 
bands can 

Blessid be God, that hath hem maad so meek, [p. 59] 

So humble and feithful off ther condiciouws; 

For thouh men wolde cause* and mater seek 

Ageyn ther pacience to fynde occasiouns, 4736 

Thei han refusid al contradicciouws. 

And hem submittid thoruh ther gouernauwce, 

Onli to meeknesse and womanli suffrauwce. 

I speke off alle, I speke nat off on. 

That be professid onto lowlynesse; 

Thei may ha[ue] mouthes, but language ha[ue] thei non 

Alle trewe husbondis can bern heroff witnesse; 

For weddid men, I dar riht weel expresse. 

That haue assaied and had experience, 

Best can recorde off wifli pacience. 



4718. callid] call R — between this line and the next the following 
note in red, MS J. 25 a: "Nota de transformatis i bis vii." 
4722. Seith] Seeth H — 2nd ther] the H. 4724. eek] also R. 
4726. women] them H. 4727. hem that is muddled in R. 
4729. tech] tache R. 4734. feithful] feerdful R. 
4735. cause] causes B, R 3 P, H — mateers H. 

4743. heroff] \>er of R. 

4744. riht] ful R. 

BK. l] 

Bocbas on Human Nature 


For as it longeth to men to be sturdy. 

And sumwhat froward as off ther nature, 4748 

Riht so can women suffre paciently. 

And alle wrongis humbl[el]i endure. 

Men sholde attempte no maner creature, 

A[nd] namli women, ther meeknesse for to preue, 4752 

Which may weel suffre whil no man doth hew greue. 

Eueri thyng resortith to his kynde, 

As Bochas writith, sum tyme off the yeer; 

And yit, who serchith, hi processe he shal fynde 4756 

That trouthe and vertu may neuer fade off cheer: 

For rihtwisnesse will alwey shyne cleer; 

Trouthe & falsnesse, in what thei ha[ue] to doone, 

Thei may no while assemble in o persone. 4760 

Feith and flatrie, thei be so contrarie, 

Thei may togidre holde no soiour; 

Nor symplesse, which that can nat varie. 

May neuer accorde with a baratour, 4764 

Nor innocence with a losengour, 

Nor chastite can nat hirsilff applie 

Hir to confottrme onto [no] ribaudie. 

Crafft and nature sue the professioun 4-68 

Bi thordynaunce set in ther courage; 

And ech man folweth his condicioun. 

As off the stok the frut hath his tarage: 

Pilgrymes may gon ful ferr in ther passage, 4772 

But I dar seyn, how ferr that euer thei go, 

Ther bit sum tarage off that that thei caw fro. 

Bochas maketh an introduccioun 

In this chapitle, off the hih noblesse 4776 

That pryncis han in ther possessioun; 

And bi a maner lawhhyng doth expresse, ' 

How for to sette hem in gret sekimesse. 

lot, unlike 
men, they 
suffer all 
wroogs ia 

Truth and 
falseness are 
never found 
together ia one 

or good faith 
and flatterj'. 
simplicity in a 
boaster or 
chastity ia a 

Each man lives 
according to 
his character. 

Bochas laughs 
at those 
princes who 
have sergeants 
waiting upon 
them and 

4747- it] om. R. 4750. humbileth R. 

47S3. doth] do P, H 5. 

4755. as write Boch. H. 

4759- &] om. R. 4761. so] om. R. 

4762. may not R — no] om. R. 4763, 65. Nor] Neithir R. 

4768. MS. J. 25 b ir. red between the lines: "Ars mutat naturam. 

4771. his] the R. 4774. 2nd that] om. R. 

4775. Bochas maketh] Makith here bochas R. 

4776. the] om. R. 

4778. lawhhyng] louthyng R — doth] om. H. 

134 ^^^ Suspicion and Dread of Lords []bk. i 

Thei han sergauntis vpon hem abidyng, 4780 

And men ofF armys day and nyht waityng. 

to keep people That no man entre, but yifF he ha[ue] licence, 

from approach- _,, f ^ • i i 

ing them. 1 he irowatd portens stondyng at the gate 

Putte men a-bak be sturdi violence; 4784 

It were ful hard ageyn hem to debate, 

Ther wachchis kept erli and eek late; 

And hem tassure a-nyhtis whil thei slepe. 

The chauwberleyns ther dorys streihtli keepe. 4788 

They are Men assigned ther metis to assaie, 

watched _-, ^, i- i 

oyer day and To taste thct wyncs, list thet were tresouw; 
anwNh'^ir^'^ ^uch mortal dreed these lordis doth afFraie; 
i^'^ta^s"fd''for^ So is thet seurnesse meynt with suspeciouw: 4792 

in^'S'skron'lrdWho fedith hym gladli, that ferith hym ofFpoisoun? 
^e". But pore folk frauwchised from such dreed, 

[With] such as God sent meryly* thei hem feed. 

Poor people are But poetis that Write tragedies, 4796 

d7e*ad'° The Ther compleynyng is al off hih estatis, 
ha^ve"ka"t"peace Rehersyng euer ther pitous iuparties, 
of mind. Ther sodeyn chauwgis & ther woful fatis, 

Ther dyuysiouws and ther mortal debatis, 4800 

And ay conclude ther dites, who can reede, 
Hiest estatis stonde ay most in dreede. 

Of all this And ground & roote off al this mortal trouble, 
tere'rs^are the As Writ Bochas and plcynli berth witnesse, 4804 

oral! is°the°r' Been these lieres with ther tunges double, 
whaHhty'sIy. Themsilff afforcyng ay trouthe to oppresse; 
With whom flatrie is a cheefF maistresse: 
And, werst off all, to ther dreedful sentence, 4808 
Is whan pryncis been hasti off credence. 

Hasty credence Hasti ctcdence is roote off al errour, 

is the source of.- , irriJ '1 

great sorrow. A froward stepmooder orr al good counsail. 

Ground ofFgret hyndryng, a dreedful deceyuour, 4812 

4780. sergauntls3 s^ruauntis R, J, H 5. 

4781. waityng] awaityng H, R, P, H 5. 

4782. entre] may entre R. 4786. eek] also R. 
4787. a-nyhtis] on nyhtis R — whil] whan R. 
4790. wynes is altered into wyfFes R. 

479c. With] om. R, J, H S — sent] hem sent R, J, them sent 

H 5 — meryly] with merthe (mirthe) B, J, R, H 5. 
4798. Rehersyng] Rewerdyng R. 
4800. 2nd ther] om. H. 4801. ay] eu^r R. 
4806. afforcyng] ay forshyng R. 


An Envoy on Hasty Judgment 

Fair ofFte off face, with a ful pereilous tail, 
Gladli concludyng with ful gret disauail, 
Next neyh[e]bour onto repentaunce 
To all that truste & haue in hir plesaunce. 



fl Lenvoye. 

PRYNCIS, considreth, how in eueri age [p. 60] 
Folkis be dyuers off ther condicioun 
To plie & tume & chaunge in ther corage; 
Yit is ther non, to myn opynyoun, 4820 

So dreedful chaung nor transmutacioun. 
As chaung off pryncis to yiue a iugement. 
Or hasti credence, withoute auisement. 

It is weel founde a passyng gret damage, 

Knowe and expert in eueri regioun, 

Thouh a tale haue a fair visage. 

It may include ful gret decepcioun: 

Hid vndir sugre, galle and fell poisoun, 4828 

With a fresh face off double entendement — 

Yit yiueth no credence withoute auisement. 

Let folkis alle be war off ther language. 

Keep ther tunges from oblocucioun, 4832 

To hyndre or hurte bi no maner outrage, 

Preserue ther lippis from al detraccioun. 

Fro chaumpartie and contradiccioun; 

For list that fraude wer founde in ther entent, 4836 

Ne yiueth no credence withoute auisement. 

Pryncis, Pryncessis, off noble and hih parage, 

Which ha[ue] lordshipe and domynacioun, 

Voide hem a-side, that can flatre and fage; 4840 

Fro tunges that haue a tarage off tresoun, 

Stoppith your eris from ther bittir soun; 

Beth circumspect, nat hasti but prudent. 

And yiueth no credence withoute auisement. 4844 

Princes, the 
most dreadful 
thing you can 
do is to 
deliver a hasty 

Q A story may 
4024 look well, yet 
be wholly false. 

Beware of 
speaking ill of 

and above all 
avoid liars and 

4813. offte^ owi. R — ful] om. R. 4814. disseivaile R. 

4817. Pryncessis considre R. 

4819. & chaunge in ther] in ther & chaunge R. 

4821. nor] ne R. 4822. a] om. R. 4829. entendent R. 

4830. yiueth] yeue R. 

4832. allocucion R. 4833. maner of R. 

4838. parage] Corage H. 

136 The Story of Althcea and Meleager [bk. i 

[Oflf Quene Althea, and how Hercules by women 
was brouht to confusioun.] ^ 

Bochas turning T T /"HAN Bochflj haddc shewed his sentence, 

again to those  / * / ' 


who had been ▼ T And declared his opynyoun 
Fortune, Gcyn hem that wer[e]n hasti off credence, 

He gan anon make a digressioun 4848 

Fro that mater, and off entencioun 
To serche out mo, his purpos to contune,* 
That were doun cast & hyndred hi Fortune. 
saw among a And, as he thouhte, he sauh a cuwpanye 48'?2 

large company ^ l • i • i i 11 

of worthies utt many worthi, which to hym dede appeere; 

Queen Althaea aj iir^iii 

weeping, with And a-mong alle hrst he dede espie 

ordered hair!" Quecn Althea, as she gan neihhe hym neere, 

Al bedewed hir face and eek hir cheere 4856 

With salt[e] teris, that pite was to seene. 
Which whilom was off Calidonye* the queene. 
She was the douhter off kyng Testius, 
Weddid to Oene off CaHdoyne* kyng, 4860 

Off cheer and face apperyng ful pitous, 
^atgetbiick' Hir her to-torn and frowardli liggyng; 
gown. ^j^j jj^ tokne also off compleynyng. 

As writ Bochas, wheroff he took [good] heed, 4864 
Blak was hir habite, and al to-rent hir weed. 
A sone she hadde, Mell[e]ager he hihte; 
^HedMefeage", I" ctthe was ther non fairere for to see, 
Hrlh^ the' Fates ^^^^ wccl fauouted in eueri manys sihte; 4868 

pst a brand And, as I fynde, at his natyuite 
and said that Present wern the Fatal Sustren thre 
consumed the With thet rokkc, and gan to spynwe faste, 

child would die. ^^ J ^^^y. ^ j^j.^^ J ^^ J jj^^.^ gj. j^ ^^^^^ ^g^^ 

And in that hour this was her language: 

"Touchyng this child, we ful accorded be, 

And han disposid the terme eek off his age, 

4847. Geyn^ Ayens R. 4850. contune] contynue B. 

4852. he sauh] hym seeh R. 

4856. bedewed] be wepid R — eek] also R. 

4857. was] is H. 

4858. whilom] sum tyme R — Calidonye] Calcidonye B, H 5, 
Calcydonye J, Calcidon R 3 — the] om. H. 

4859. Thestius P. 

4860. Calidoyne] Calcidoyne B, Calcydonye J, Calcidonye H 5. 
4864. he] I H. 4866. Melliager R, Mellager H, R 3. 
4871. roicke and gan] rokkis and bigan R. 

4873. in] into R. 

4875. the terme eek] also the terme R. 
1 MS, J. leaf 25 verso. 

BK. i} 

MeUager kills a Savage Boar 




The space concludid off his destyne. 
As long[e] tymp, who-so list to see, 
Til this brond among the coles rede 
Be ful consumed into asshes dede." 

But whan Althea espied ther entente, 
And conseyued the fyn off ther sentence, 
She ros hire up, and the brond she hente 
Out off the fir with gret dilligence, 
Queynt anon the fires violence; 
The doom off Parcas she gan thus disobeie. 
The brond reseruyng vnder lok and keie. 

Touchyng the fader off this Mell[e]ager, 

Oeneus, off hym thus I reede, 

How he wente and souhte nyh and fer 

Goddis and goddessis, who-so list take heede, 

In hope onli for to ha[ue] gret meede; 

For to hem alle, poetis thus deuise, 

Sauf to Diana, he dede sacrefise. 

Wheroff she cauhte an indignacioun; 

Caste she wolde on hym auengid be; 

Sente a boor into his regioun, 

Ful sauage and ful off cruelte. 

Which deuoured the frut off many a tre 

And destroied his cornys and his vynes. 

That such scarsete off vitaile and off wynes 

Was in his land vpon euery side. 

That the peeple off necessite 

Compellid wem a-mong hem to prouide 

Sum mene weie to saue ther contre. 

And at the laste thei condescendid be. 

That Mell[e]ager, lusti off his corage, 

Shold chese with hym folk fresh & yong off age. 

This dreedful boor myhtili tenchace. 4908 

And foorth thei wente, echon deuoid off dreed, 

With rounde speris thei gan hym to manace. 

But Mell[e]ager made first his sides red, 

And with a suerd[e] than«e smet off his hed; 4912 

4879. aspiede R. 

4882. hire] om. R, J, H 5. 

4888. Oneus H. 4889] How that he souht nyh & fer R. 

4899. distried R. 4900. vitailes R. 4903. hem] om. R. 

4905. thei] the R. 4906. his] om. R. 4907. fressh folkis R. 

4910. began R. 4911. red] bleede H. 

But AJthia 
extinguished the 
flame and put 
the brand 
away under lock 
and key. 


father, CEneus, 
in hope of 
reward made 
offerings to all 
the gods and 
goddesses ex- 
cept Diana, who 
in anger sent a 
J, boar to devas- 
4092 tajj his Land, 


[p. 61] 

which was killed 
by Nfdeager. 


Meleager slays his Two Uncles 


WherofF the centre was ful glad & fayn. 
And in this wise the tusshi boor was slayn. 

Some books SuTnmc boolcis telle ofF this huntyng, 

say that Ata- _,, i i • i • i i • \ 

lanta wounded 1 hat a ladi, which was born m Arge, 4916 

with a" arrow, CalHd Athalanta, doubter to the kyng, 
To sle this boor took on hire the charge, 
And with an arwe made his wounde large. 
Eek in Guide lik as it is fouwde, 4920 

Because that she gafF the firste wounde, 

and Meleager, Mell[e]ager anon for a memorie, 
knight, gave As he that was hir owne chose knyht, 
and'when\is Gaff hir the bed in tokne off this victorie. 4924 

TiromZXy But his tweyne vncles, ageyn al skile & ribt, 
them. ''" ''"" Rafft hir the bed, off verray force & myht, 
Hauyng despiht that she, in ther auys. 
Off this victorie sholde here awey the prys. 4928 

With which iniurie Mell[e]ager was wroth, 

And ageyn hem proudli gan disdeyne; 

Pullith out a suerd and vpon hem he goth, 

And thorub his manhod slouh his vncles tweyne, 4932 

And afftir that dede his besi peyne 

To take the bed, and with ful bumble entente. 

To Athalante ageyn it to presente. 

On off his vncles was callid Flexippus, 4936 

A manli knyht, and but yong off age; 

The totber brother named Thesyus. 

But whan ther suster herde off this outrage, 

How thei were slayn, she gan in hir visage 4940 

Wexe ded [&] pale, alias, for lak off blood, 

Whan she espied the cause bow it stood. 

She badde no mater, God wot, to be fayn, 

Queen Althea, to stonden and beholde 4944 

Hir bretbre tweyne off hir sone slayn 

At the huntyng, off which toforn I tolde. 

First thyngis too she gan peise & onfolde: 

When Althaea 
heard of this 
she grew pale 

and began to 
consider the 
love she bore 
her brothers and 
her son's hasty 

tusshi] tuskye R, tusky J. 

Suwme] And some H, P, And som R 3. 

woundis R. 4920. Eek] Also R. 

RafFt] berauht H. 4927. ther] his R. 

bigan R. 4931. PuUid R. 4932. he slouh R. 

callid] namyd H. 4937- and] om. R. 
4938. Theseus H, R. 4942. aspied R. 
4944. to] sto R (*/ttn</.ff o/j-m*^). 4947. too] tweyne R. 



BK. l] 

Althaas Indecision 


Off hir brethre the loue and nyh kenrede, 4948 

And off hir sone the hasti cruel deede. 

And remembryng, she castith in ballaunce, 

Off hertli wo that she dede endure, 

Thouhte yiff she dede vpon ther deth vengauwce, 4952 

To slen hir sone it were ageyn nature. 

Thus in a weer longe [time] she dede endure, 

Hir dedli sorwe peisyng eueri^eel, 

Whethir she* shal be tendre or cruel. 4956 

Thus tendre, I meene, hir sone for to spare. 

Or punshe the deth off hir brethre tweyne. 

Thus counfortles, al destitut and bare. 

In langwisshyng shendureth foorth hir peyne; 4960 

And remedie can she non ordeyne, 

Sauf fayn she wolde auenge hir, yiff she may. 

But thanne cam nature foorth and seide nay. 

It was hir sone, a-geyn al kyndli riht 4964 

On whom she caste auenged for to be: 

To women alle an ougli straunge siht. 

That a mooder, deuoid off al pite, 

Sholde slen hir child so merciles parde. 4968 

Nay nay, nat so, nature wil nat assente; 

For yiff she dede, ful sore she shal repente. 

But O alias, al fatal purueiaunce 

Kepith his cours, as summe clerkis seyn; 4972 

But the writyng off doctours, in substaunce. 

And these dyuynes replie ther ageyn, 

And afferme thoppynyoun is in veyn 

Off hem that truste on fate or destyne: 4976 

For God aboue hath the souereynte. 

And off Fortune the power may restrejoie, 

To saue and spille lik as folk disserue; 

Ageyn his will thai may nothyng ordeyne 4980 

Off necessite, what cours that thei conserue. 

But this mateer al hooli I reserue 

It were against 
nature to slay 
her Km; 

yet the murder 
of his uncles 
must be 

Without com- 
fort she 

but Fate must 
take its coarse 

(although not 
against God's 

495 1, indure H. 

4954. she dyd long while endure R (in later band) — time] 

om. R 3. 

4956. she] that she B, R 3. 4960. foorth] for R. 

4961. non] noon othir H, none other P. 

4963. forth nature R — foorth] ageyn H. 4970. shal] did R. 

497S- And] om. H. 4976. on] of H — destanye R. 

4981. that] om. R. 


Althcea casts the Brand into the Fire 



Onto deuynys to termyne and conclude, 

Which apparteneth to* no folkis rude. 4984 

«nd Althaea, But Althca, ofF Calidoync* queen, [p. 62] 

suddenly moved -^ i i • i ii n j 

to wrath, Gan soFC ttiusc, and heeng in a ballaunce: 

Hir brethre ded, whan she dede hem seen, 
Thanwe was she meued anon to do vengauwce 
Vpon hir sone bi ful gret displesaunce; 
But as poetis list for to compile, 
Nature made hire withdrawe hir hand a while 

Thus atwen ire and twen afFeccioun 

She heeld hir longe, on nouther parti stable, 

Till that she cauhte in hir opynyouw 

A sodeyn rancour, which made hire be vengable; 

And hasti wrathe,* which is nat comendable, 4996 

Ageyn hir sone, maad hire with hir bond 

Out off hire chest to take the fatal brond. 

cast the brand And sodcnli she cast it in the fir, 

into the nre. a i i i i i 

And wex cruel, ageyn al womanheede, 5000 

To execute hir venymous desir. 

The fatal brond among the flawmys rede 

Consumed was into asshes dede; 

And furiously in hir malencolie, 5004 

The vengaunce doon, thus she gan to crie: 

"O ye Parchas, froward sustre thre, 

Which off loue keepe the librarie, 

And off childre at ther natyuyte 5008 

Waite his sentence, which [that] may nat varie, 

Wherso it be welful or contrarie, 

Vpon his doomys takyng alway heed. 

How that ye shal dispose the fatal threed. 5012 

Thou Cloto first takest* thi rokke on honde. 
And Lachesis* afFtir doth begynwe, 

4983. determyne R. 

4984. apparteneth^ nat parteneth B, R, J, H 5 — to3 onto B, 
R, H 5 — no] om. R, J, H 5. 

4985. Calidoync] Calcidoyne B, Calidonye R. 

4986. Bigan R — a] om. R. 4987. seen] se H. 
4992. atwen] bitwene R — twen] betwene R. 
4996. wraththe B — is nat] ne is R. 
5002. flawmys] colis R. 5006. sustren R, H. 
5008. children R. 5009. Waite his] Awayten the R. 

5013. first] om. R, J, H 5 — takest] cast B, H {scribal blunder 
for tast), take R, takith R 3 — on] in R. 

5014. Lachesis] Lathesis B, R, J {a slip of pen merely, c and 
are often scarcely distinguishable). 

thus taken, 
she cried 
aloud to the 
Parcae, Clotho, 
Lachesis, and 

BK. i} 

The Death of Althaa 


Bi gret auys, who can vndirstonde. 

The threed on lengthe to drawen & to spynne; 5016 

But whan the sperit shal fro the bodi twynne, 

Thou Attropos doost thi cruel peyne 

Ful frowardli to parte the threed on tweyne. 

I may weel pleyne on such departisoun, 5020 

Nat for a day, but, o alias, for euere! 

Ye han ontwynyd and maad dyuysioun 

Off my too brethre, [and] causid hem disseuere. 

That heer a-lyue I shal seen hem neuere. 5024 

And I off haste, alias, whi dede I so! 

Tauenge ther deth ha[ue] slayn my sone also. 

ye thre douhtren off Herberus the felle, 

Whos ougli mooder was the blake nyht, 5028 

Al your kynreede and lynage lith in helle; 
And for tauenge the wrong and gret onriht 
Which that I haue accomplisshid in your siht, 

1 will with you perpetueli compleyne, 5032 
Lich my desert endure sorwe & peyne!" 

And whil she gan thus with hirself[e] stryue 
Vpon hir sorwes, that were eend[e]les. 
She made a suerd thoruhout hir h<frte ryue, 5036 

Off hir liff heer she was to rech[e]les. 

AND Bochas affter, amonges al the pres, 
Sauh, as hym thouhte, with a ful hidous cheer, 
Ded off visage, Hercules appeere, 5040 

Whos fader was lubiter the grete, 

His mooder doubter off kyng Amphitrion, 

Callid Alcumena, whilom born in Crete. 

And as poetis rehersyn oon bi oon, 5044 

So excellent was ther neuer noon. 

"You have 
killed my two 
brothers, and, 
alas, now I 
have slain my 
son to avenge 
their death. I 
will complain 
with you for- 

Whereupon she 
thrust a sword 
through her 

Hercules, son 
of Jupiter and 
Alcmene, most 
famous of men, 
next apTCared 
before Bochas. 

5015. who SO R. 5016. on^ofR. 

5018. Antropos R, J, H 5, Antrapos R 3. 5019. on] or R. 

5020. on] in R, J, of R 3 — departicioun H, H 5, departicion R, P. 

5023. brethern J — and] om. H. 

5024 . heer] he R — on lyue R. 

5027. Cerebus R, J, H 5, Herebus H, Erebus P — thre] om. J. 
5029. Al] And R — & al your lynage hih R.  

5034. Large capital in B — she gan] be gan J — wt'ti hirsilff 
\)us streyue R, J. 

5036. to ryue R, arive H. 

5037. heer] om. H, R, R 3 — llflF] silflF R, silf T, H c — to] om. 
R, so H, R 3, P. 

5038. B bos no initial here. 5042. kyng] om. R. 
5043. sumtyme R. 


Hercules appears before Bochas 

[bk. I 

To speke off conquest, [of] victorie* and [of] fame, 
Heer In this world that hadde so gret a name. 

He was terrible Dreedful of look hc was, and rlht terrible, 

His herd eek blak, which heeng ful lowe doun. 

And al his her as bristlis wer horrible. 

His robe also, ful merueilous off facioun, 

Was off the skyn ofF a fers leouw, 

Which [from his bake] of verray force he rente, 

With-in a forest* alone whan he wente. 

with bristly hair 
and dressed in 
a lion's skin, 

and he held 
a mace 
of steel in his 

In his hand he bar a maas off steel. 
Which to beholde was wonder large & huge 
Bi apperence, as Bochas felte weel; 
Dempte off resouw, as a rihtful iuge, 
That Hercules hadde to his refuge 
Wisdam with force, for tencrece his fame, 
AUe beestis wilde for to make hem tame. 

"Take heed, 
Bochas," he 
said, "my 
merits are 
more com- 
mendable than 
any tongue can 

"Before my 
birth, Jove 
said to Juno, 
that Hercules, 
noblest oi the 
noble, would 
be born on 
such a day. 





And onto Bochas he gan loude crie, 

"Tak riht good heed[e], for it is no fable, 

I for my meritis, to speke off cheualrie 5064 

And noble triuwphes, am most comendable, 

To be preferrid most worthi and most hable. 

Which haue accowplisshid al that may excelle 

Thoruh hih prowesse, that any tunge* can telle. 5068 

Eek off my berthe, in heuene ful yore ago [p. 63] 

FuUi conceyued my constellaciouw, 

Mihti loue saide onto luno. 

On such a day, in such a regioun, 5072 

Oon shal be born, most myhti off renoun, 

Noblest off nobles bothe in werre and pes, 

OfF whom the name shal be Hercules. 

5046. victoire B. 

5049. eek^ also R. 

5053. from his bake]] om. H, R 3. 

5054. With-in a forest] From his bak B, H, R 3 — whan] as 

5055. mas J, mase H 5, mace R, R 3, P. 
5058. Demede R. 

5060. With force wisdome R — for] om. R — fame] name H, 

5061. Alle] As R. 

5065. nobles R — triumphes is muddled in R. 

5068. hih] his R 3, his hih R — tunge] mouth B, H, man R 3. 

5069. Eek] Also R. 

BK. l] 

Hercules and Eurystheus 


The which[e] doom whan luno vndirstood, 5076 

Off lubiter conceyuyng the entente, 

And knew my fate sholde be so good, 

To Lucynya hir messager she sente." . . . 

But summe seyn, how doun hirselfF she wente 5080 

To this goddesse, goddesse off childyng. 

And hir besouhte to grauwte hire hir askyng: 

That she wolde from Hercules translate 

The influence off" his natyuyte, 5084 

Helpe to reuerse his fame and eek his fate, 

And grauwte it hqoli to yong Euristee; 

And that Lucynya present wolde be 

The same hour bi lubiter prouyded, 5088 

It to posseede al hool and ondeuyded. 

Thus to the mooder off [this] Euristee, 

luno the goddesse grauntid hir fauour, 

Therbi disposyng that he sholde be 5092 

Mihti off puissaunce lik an emperour; 

But off his noblesse the conquest & labour, 

And off his manhod the prowesse and pursut 

Bi Hercules was fully execut. 5096 

Thus Hercules hadde the trauaile. 

And Euristeus bar awey the name; 

Eek Hercules fauht in plate & maile. 

And hih emprises proudli dede attame: 5100 

But the report off his noble fame 

To Euristeus was fynali ascryued; 

Thus off his thank was Hercules dcpryued. 

Ful ofFte in armys sum man doth riht weel, 5104 

And ofFte causith that the feeld is won we; 

And off a-nother that dede neueradeel, 

The price out-spredith lich a sheene sonne. 

And ofFte it happith, that he that best hath ronwe 5108 

Doth nat the spere lich his desert posseede, 

Wher fals fauour yeueth eueri man his meede. 

"But Juno 
contrived that 
my good for- 
tune should be 
translated to 
young Eurj's- 

So it was 
Hercules who 
achieved the 
conquests and 
had all the 
labour, while 
bore away the 

It often hap- 
pens that the 
man who wins 
the victory 
does not get 
the credit for 
it. Fame has 
more than one 

5083. wolde] sholde H. 

5085. reuerse] resirrue R, J, H 5 — fame] name R, J, H 5 

eek] om. R, J, H 5. 

5090. this] om. H. 5097. Thus] This J. 

5099. Eek] Thus R, Also J, H 5. 5100. hih] his R. 

5102. was fynali] fully was R. 

5107. lich a] as shyneth Jie R, as shine^j \,t J, H 5, P. 

5108. 2nd that] which R. 

144 Good Fortune is not always to the Victor []bk. I 

Fame in hir paleis hath trumpes mo than oon, 

Sumwe ofF gold that yeuen a ful fressh soun; 5112 

Sum man hath laude, that deserueth non, 

And summe ha[ue] been ful worthi off renoun, 

Nothyng preferrid hi comendaciouw, 

As hi report off statis hih and lowe, 5116 

So frowardli Famys truwpe hath blowe. 

Touchyng armys, the poore nor the riche 

Be nat echon off herte coragous; 

Nor alle men may nat been iliche, 5120 

foiiow\hTt\e Nor off ther name egal nor gracious. 
de^e° fiways^^ -^"^ thouh the poore ha[ue] be victorious, 
eats the veni- Off auenture to do ful weel sum day, 
though one Other ha[ue] pynchid to take his thank away. 5124 

the\^sh! \t^^ Oon sleth the deer with an hokid arwe, 
who geVth?'''^ ^'^os part is non yit off the venysoun; 
birds. Oon bet the bussh, another hath the sparwe, 

And alle the birdis in his possessiouw; 5128 

Oon draweth his nettis in ryuers vp & dou«. 
With sundri baitis* cast out lyne and hook, 
And hath no part off al that euer he took. 

An euidence heeroff ye may see, 5132 

Ful notable to be put in memorie,* 

Off Hercules and [of] Euristee; 
KheuTare For Hercules gat ay the victorie, 
this^''*"'^'^ °^ ^^^ Euristeus receyued hath the glorie. 5136 

Thus ther palme partid was on tweyne; 

The ton reioisshid, the tother bar the peyne. 

f pHnceTf ^''^ Euristeus was a prynce off Athene, 

Athens son of ^qxxq and hair be discent off lyne 5140 

king Sthenelus; ii- i n mi 

but it was Onto the kyng that callid was Stillene, 
won the prize Vuder whos myht, as Bochas doth termyne, 
Hercules thoruh knyhtli disciplyne 
Profitid so, most manli and most wis, 5144 

That from all othre he bar awey the pris. 

5112. yeueth H. 

5117. Famys] fame his R, J, P, H 5. 5118. nor] ne R, J, P. 

5119. herds R. 5120, 21. Nor] Neithir R. 

5122. poore man R. 5127. betith R. 5129. &] owi. R. 

5130. baitis] battis B — out] om. R 3. 5132. An] In R. 

5133,35,36. memoire, victoire, gloire B. 5134. 2ndof]o»t. H. 

5137. departid was in R. 

5139. a] om. R, H 5. 5142. detirrmyne R. 

5144. Profited] Prouided J, Prouisid R, Prouidid P. 

of victory. 

BK. i] HercuUs and loU 145 

But O alias, that euer it sholde fall, Alas that » 

' , . noble a man 

So noble a knyht, so manli, so notable, «houid be 

1111' • 11 drawn from bis 

That any spotte sholde his pns appall 5148 knighthood by 

Or cause his corage for to been onstabl^f, * woman. 

Which is a thyng doolful and lamentable, 

From his knyhthod, which is a thyng to straunge, 

That euer a woman sholde his herte chaunge! 5152 

I will excuse hem, because ther nature [p. 64] i ^^ , 

' . ir T^j excuse them, 

Ys to chaungen hertis and corages; for it \% their 

. , " f. J nature to cause 

A-geyn ther power no force may endure, hearts to 

For ther flatrie and sugrid fair language, 5156 " *°^ 

Lich Sirenes, fressh off ther visage, 
For tenchaunge off pryncis the noblesse, 
Mo than Hercules can bem heerofF witnesse. 

Thus Hercules, astoned and ashamed, 5160 f^^^^'^^j 

Onto Bochas shewed his presence, before Bochas 

Seide, "alias! my knyhthod is difFamed my knighthood' 

Bi a ful fals amerous pestilence, Fo"i^™LimV 

So sore constreyned bi mortal violence, 5164 ^^^dr'IS^^ 

Wherbi, alias, my manhod was applied, |^ 'o^' °^ 
Be sleihte off women oppressid & maistried, 

To take ther habite & clothe me in ther weede. 

To shaue my herd and farse my visage 5168 

With oynementis, ageyn[es] al manheede, 

To make it souple, & chaungid my language; 

And to compleyne mor off myn outrage, 

Vpon my fyngris, fyue twies told, 5172 

I hadde ryngis richeli wrouht off gold. 

Thus was my corage chaungid femyiiyne 

For loue off oon callid Yole, 

Off condiciouns thouh she were serpentyne, 5176 though the 

Me thouhte she was so fair vpon to see, ^"dne * **" 

That al my ioie was with hire to be; disposition. 

And that non sholde apparceyue my trespace, 

I chaungid bothe habite, look and face, 5180 

5152. his herte3 herofF here R. 5155. power] nature R. 

5156. languages R. 5157. visages R. 

5158. tenchaunge] to eschauwge R. 

5160. astonyed R. 

5168. shaue] shere R — farse] force R. 

5170. chaunge R. 

5177. so fair] fayrest R. 

146 Hercules laments the Loss 0/ his Good Name |~bk. i 


Bochae, tell 
ray misfortunes 
as they were in 
deed, bo that 
others, hearing 
of them, may 
amend their 
vicious lives. 
Even wise men 
may profit by 
the example of 

• I did this that And was a woman outward in apparence, 

I might ap- ^„ , ... 

proach her (Jit cntcnt to hauc Hior liDcrte 

freely; but it np i • i i 

has ruined my 1 o vsc my lustis, and hauc experience 

good name. Qg- ^ppetitis which that onlecfful be. 

WherofF the sclauwdre reboundeth onto me, 
That I dar seyn, myn outragous trespace 
Doth al my knyhthod & my prowesse difFace. 

Wherfore, O Bochas, I pray the tak good heede 5188 

For to descryue in termys pleyn and cleer 

Myn infortunye, riht as it was in deede, 

That whan other conceyue the maneer 

Off myn onhappis, contagious for to heer, 5192 

Thei may bexauwple off me doon ther peyne, 

From vicious lifF ther hertis to restreyne. 

For these foolis that al wisdam despise, 

And be contrarie* to vertuous disciplyne, 5196 

May yiue exaumple to folkis that be wise. 

And been to hem a lanterne off doctryne, 

Vices teschewe and prudentli declyne 

Fro flesshli lustis; for it is tauht in scoolis, 52cx> 

That wise men been alday war be foolis." 

Bochas thought Whan Bochas hadde conceyued the compleynt 
wrong to speak Off Hctcules in his appceryng, 
alone' ^"^*^* And how his noblesse bi women was atteynt 
Thoruh his pitous disordynat lyuyng. 
He thouhte anon, hymselue remembryng. 
It hadde be routhe for taput in mynde 
His vicis alle, and vertues lefft behynde. 

or in any way Considted also it was inpettyneut, 

to cast a slur /-> i i • i • i -i 

on his good (Juthcr bi language to write, ageyn al riht. 
Any* thyng that sholde in sentement 
The fame amenuse off so noble a knyht, 
Or to discrece in ony manys siht 
His glorious prowesse, sith poet<?j- for his werris 
Reisen his renouw so hih aboue the sterris. 




5x81. R omits to 5348, leaf lost between 32 and 33. 

5188. Wherfore] wher of H, P, H 5. 

5 191. maneer] mateere H, matter R 3, P. 

5196. contraire B. 

5201. been alday war] al dai ben tau^t J, H c. 

5207. taput] ta be put H, to put J, H j, to nave put P. 

5209. impertinent P. 

S2II. Any] And B, H, P, A R 3. 



The Labours of Hercules 


For he was bothe knyht and phillsophre, 5216 

And for his strengthe callid a geaunt; 

For comoun profit he proudli gan eek profre, 

Off manli corage yafF therto ful graunt, 

Tentre in Egipt &* slen ther the tiraunt 5220 

Callid Busiris, which off ful fals entente 

Slouh all straungers that thoruh his kyngdaw wente. 

For vnder a colour off liberalite, 

To his paleis he gladli wolde calle 5224 

Straungers echon that cam thoruh his contre, 

And sollempneli receyue hem oon and alle, 

And lich a kyng, bothe in chaumbre and halle 

Make hem such cheer in alle maner thyng, 5228 

As appertened onto a worthi kyng. 

But whil his gestis lay a-nyht and sleep, 

This fals[e] tiraunt, in ful cruel wise, 

Moordred hem echon or thei toke* keep; 5232 

And afftir that — this was eek his gise — 

With ther blood to make a sacrefise 

To lubiter, god off that contre. 

Off hool entent to plese his deite, 5236 

That in his kyngdam, on frutis & on greyn [p. 65] 
The land tencrece bi gret[e] habundaunce, 
Doun from heuene he wolde sende hem reyn. 
This mene he made and this fals cheuysaunce, 5240 
To moordre and slen he hadde so gret plesaunce; 
For off alle thynge hym* thouhte it dede him* good 
To slayen* straungers and to sheede ther blood. 

But whan this moordre off Busiris was kouth, 
That no straunger myht passe his lond in pes. 
This manli knyht, yit flouryng in his youth. 
This noble famous, this worthi Hercules, 
Amonges other put hymsilff in pres. 
And lich a gest outward in shewyng 
Cam to the paleis off Busiris the kyng, 

Hercules was 
both a philoso- 
pher and a 



He slew 
Busiris in 
Egypt, who 
murdered his 

and offered up 
their blood to 
Jove, that he 
might send rain 
to his kingdom. 

But Herculei 
went to his 

5220. &] to B, J — in] in to J — ther the tirauwt] l)e geant 

J, Hs. 
5232. token B. 5236. hool] om. H. 
5238. tencrece] encreased H 5, P. 

5242. ofF] om. P — hym] he B — him] hem B. 

5243. slayen] slen B — slayen straungers and to sheede] mur- 
\>tre his gestis and shede J, H 5. 


The Labours of Hercules 


and after rebuk- Rebukcd hvm ofF hls gtet outrage 

ing him, killed _^ , / • , • 1 • 1 

him and set DOOn tO hlS gCStlS Dl CFUCl VlOlenCC. 525a 

gypt in ease, ^^j ^^^ ^^ make pcsiblc that passage, 

And for to auenge his inportable offence, 

And off his moordre to make recompence, 

This Hercules slouh Busiris* in deede, 5256 

And took the blood which he dede bleede, 

OfFrid it vp lubiter to plese. 

For this victorie hym to magnefie; 

And al Egipt thus was set in ese: 5260 

Ther lond, ther frutis gan also multeplie, 

Ther greyn encrece a-boute on ech partie 

And to habouwde bi influence ofi^ reyn, 

Which aflPortyme off vitaile was bareyn. 5264 

He also slew ^ Another geauwt callid Antheus, 

Antsus, who rr T • I • i i i i i j 

renewed his Kyng Oil LiDie, and gouerned al that iond, 
time he touched Whom Hercules, most strong & coraious, 

\YhJIom outraied [&] slouh hym with his bond; 5268 
For as thei wrastlid, bexperience he fond, 
Touchyng therthe this geaunt, it is trewe, 
His force, his myht dede alwey renewe. 

But whan Hercules the maner dede espie, 5272 

How his strengthe renewed ageyn so ofFte, 

Ther ageyns he shoop a remedie: 

Hie in the hair he reised hym vp a-lofFte; 

And with his armys, hard & nothyng soff'te, 5276 

Bak and bonys so sore he dede enbrace. 

That he fill ded toforn hym in the place. 

But suwme bookis olF this geaunt telle, 

Withynwe his kyngdam who dede hym assaile, 5280 

He wolde off newe his cheualrie compelle 

EfFt ageyn to meete hym in bataile; 

And in this wise ful seelde he dede faile 

TafForce off newe, as folk shal vndirstonde, 5284 

His strengthe, his myht all enmyes to withstonde. 

Some books 
say that An- 
taeus was in- 
vincible in his 
own kingdom, 

and that Her- But Hetcules ofF hih discrecioun, 

cules enticed ,_,, r ^ ^ i !• 

him away from 1 he leeld on hym manli to recure, 
thu8°defeated Hadde hym be sleihte out ofF his regiourt; 



And as thei mette theer ofF auenture, 
The said Antheus myht[e] nat endure, 

5253. that] the H. 5256. Bisiris B. 5267. &] & most H. 
5269. he]o7n. H. 5276. his] om. H. 


The Labours of Hercules 


Heroiles next 
conquered and 
slew Geryon of 
Spain, who had 
exfled all his 

and afterward* 
he killed 

He also slew 
the Cretan Bui 1 
and the 
Nemean Lion, 
of whose skin 
he made a 

But was disconfited bi Hercules anon, 

Maugre his myht, he and his men echon. 5292 

^ AfFtir this conquest Hercules is gon. 

For exercise his prowesse for to vse, 

Ageyn the myhti stronge* Gerion, 

Kyng oflF Spaigne, off Malliagre & Ebuse, 5296 

The which[e] tirant myhte hym nat excuse, 

That al his labour, as poetis do compile, 

Was fro these rewmys his peeple* to exile. 

His tirannye ne myht nat longe endure; 5300 

For Hercules, the noble worthi knyht, 

Made vpon hym a gret disconfiture, 

And slouh the tirant as thei mette in fiht. 

And afftir that, he, thoruh his grete myht, 5304 

Off his prowesse and magnanymyte 

Slouh Cerberus with his hedis thre. 

^ The famous boole off the lond off Crete, 

Which that destroied al that regioun, 5308 

He slouh also whan thei dede meete; 

And in Nemea he slouh a fers leoun. 

And for a record off his hih renoun. 

Off manli force his skyn away he took, 5312 

And to his bodi a coote theroff he shoop: 

To all his enmyes to shewe hym mor dreedful, 

Therfore he werid that hidous gamement. 

And for in armys he neuer was founde dull, 5316 

But euer ilich[e] fressh in his entent, 

Into a mounteyn he made anon his went, 

Callid Erimantus; and ther in his passage 

He slouh a boor, most wilde & most sauage, 5320 

Beside a r^'uer callid Stiphalus, [p. 66] 

Off furious birdis he slouh a gret[e] noumbre; 

Withynne the kyngdam off kyng Fyneus 

Al the contre for thei dede encoumbre: 5324 

For with ther shadwe & outraious oumbre, 

On seed or frutis whereuer thei aliht, 

Al was deuoured in eueri manys siht. 

9 Vpon the mounteyn callid Auent^Tie, 5328 

Which is nat ferr fro Rome the cite, 

Ther is a wode, as cronycles determyne, 

5295. stronge] straunge B, strange H. 5296. Malliagre]] Baleares P. 
5299. peeple] peeplis B, H. 531J. garment H. 5326. or frutis] on frute H. 

the Eryman- 
thian Boar, 




150 The Labours of Hercules [^bk. i 

Riht fressh off siht and goodli on to see. 
and Cacus And Hercules passyng bi that contre, 5332 

Mt. Aventine, Fto Spayncward goyng be Ytaile, 

Cachus the geaunt dede hym ther assaile. 

Whil Hercules among the leues greene 
Leide hym to slepe, off sodeyn auenture, 5336 

who stole his _/\nd his beestis ageyn the sonne sheene, 

cattle and hid __., .,111 • i 

them in a cave, Whil that he slepte, wente m ther pasture, 
Cam Cachus foorth, ful hidous off stature, 
Thouhte he wolde these beestis with hym haue, 5340 
Stal hem echon and hid hem in a caue. 

dragging them And Hk a thecfF he made hem go bakward, 

backwards by rr^. i i i i • rr ^ i 

the tail, like a 1 hat no man sholde the tracis oit hem knowe, 

Nor off ther passage haue no reward; 5344 

For bi ther tailis he ladde hem on a rowe 

Into his caue, which that stood ful lowe. 

And for thei wern off excellent fairnesse, 

To keepe hem cloos he dede his besynesse. 5348 

Hercules heard Qut off his slep whatt Hetculcs awook 

their lowing « i i i • 

And aparceyued his oxes were away, 

He roos hym up, and caste aboute his look, 

Gan tespie in al the haste he may 5352 

To what parti the tracis off hem lay. 

And whil he stood thus musyng in the shade, 

[He] herde lowyng that his oxes made. 

and, finding the And bi thet lowyug he gan anon approche 5356 

c7cus°a'^d"iew Toward the parti wher thei were kept ful cloos, 
'^""' Fond the caue vndir a myhti roche; 

And proude Cachus, which hadde hem in depoos, 
Geyn Hercules he sturdili aroos: 5360 

But for al that, he myht hymsilff nat* saue. 
For he hym slouh at thentre off the caue. 

He then cleared And thus his beestis he hath ageyn recurid, 

Mt. Aventine of ,-,-,, rr • Ul ^ 

brigands. That sempte attorn irrecuperable. 5364 

Afftir the mounteyn be force he hath assurid, 

5332. that] the H, 5333- be] fro H. 

5346. ful] so H. 

5350. parceyued R, p<?rceived J — oxen H, P. 

5351. hym ] OOT. R. 5352. Bigan to espie R. 
5355. He] om. H — the lowyng P, H 5 — oxen P. 
5360. Ayens R. 5361. myhtnat himsilfF B. 
5364. inrecup^rable R. 5365. hath] hast H. 

BK. l] 

The Labours of Hercules 


Which for brigantis afom was ful doutable; 

But bi his manhod it was maad habitable, 

That men myhte, for dreed off any fo, 5368 

Whan euer thei wolde freli come or go. 

9 Touchyng his conquest vpon Femynye, 

Geyn Amazones with Theseus he wente, 

The queen Ypolita thoruh his cheualrie, 5372 

For his parti anon to hym he hente. 

And Ypolita off ful trewe entente 

Gaff onto hym in tokne off victorie 

Off gold a girdil to haue hir in memorie. 5376 

^ Afftir to Affrik he wente a ful gret pas, 

Onli off purpos the gardeyn for to see, 

Which appertened to [the] kyng Athlas, 

That brothir was to kyng Promothe, 5380 

In astrologie ful weel expert was he. 

And in this gardeyn, off which I ha[ue] you told, 

The riche brauwchis and applis were off gold, 

Thoruh magik maad bi gret auisement, 5384 

Ful streihtly* kept and closid enviroun. 

And Iwachchid with a fell serpent. 

That no man entred that riche mansioun. 

But Hercules, most myhti off renoun, 5388 

The serpent slouh throuh his manli pursuit. 

And fro that gardeyn he bar awey the fruit. 

This seid Athlas, as bookis specefie, 

And poetis eek off hym endite, 5392 

He was ful cunnyng in astronomic 

And theryn dede ful gretli hym* delite; 

And many a book he made & dede write 

With gret labour and gret[e] dilligence 5396 

In his tyme vpon that science. 

The which[e] wern mor precious than gold. 

And mor riche in his opynyoun. 

But Hercules, in soth as it is told, 5400 

5367. manhod] knyhthode R. 

S37I. Ayens R. 

5373. parti] pray R. 5376. hir] om. R. 

5380. the kyng R, H, J. 

5385. streihtly]streihteB, R, streietj, streite P. 5389. The] 

Ther H. 

5392. eek off hym] of hym also R. 5393. ful] om. R. 

5394. hym ful gretli B. 5398. than] that R. 

\Mien he went 
to Feraynye, 
presented him 
with her golden 

Afterwards, in 
Africa, he slew 
a serpent in 
King Atlas' 
garden and 
fetched away 
the Golden 
Apples of the 
Hespe rides. 

Atlas was a 
learned a«ron- 
omer who 
wrote many 

which Hercules 
seized and 
brought to 


The Labours of Hercules 

[bk. I 

In Thrace he 
slew Diomedes, 
who fed his 
horses with 
human flesh. 

Gat alle the bookis thoruh his hih renouw, 

Bar hem hi force out off that regloun; 

And into Grece, lich a conquerour, 

With hym he brouhte for a gret tresour. 5404 

Off Trace he slouh the tirant outraious [p. 67] 

That whilom was callid Diomede, 

Which moordred al that cam in[to] his hous, 

And with ther flessh his hors he dede feede. 5408 

And thoruh his witt, labour and manheede, 

Off Achelaus, which was a gret[e] wonder, 

He made the stremys for to parte assonder; 

And bi his wisdam dede hem so deuide, 5412 

In too parties disseueryng his passage: 

For tofortyme no man myhte abide 

Off his cours the* furious fell outrage; 

For in contrees it dede so gret damage, 5416 

Turnyng vpward, ther was noon othir boote. 

Where it flowed, off trees cropp and roote. 

A gret emprise he dede eek vndirtake, 

Whan that the [wor]mees, hidous & horrible, 5420 

Aryued up off Archadie in the lake 

Callid Lerne, the beestis ful odible, 

Which with ther teeth & mouthes ful terrible 

Frut, greyn and corn dede mortali deuoure; 5424 

But Hercules, the contre to socoure. 

Cam lik a knyht ther malice for to lette; 

And bi his prudence destroied hem euerichon. 

Withynwe the lake the wermys up he shette, 5428 

Sauff among alle behynde was lefft on; 

And ageyn hym this Hercules anon 

Off knyhthod cauhte so gret auauntage, 

That to the contre he dede no mor damage. 5432 

No one ever Thus al that cuete may rehersed be 

had more fame nr i 11.11 J 

or excellence in Touchyng kuyhthod, prowcssc or prudence, 
arms; Glorious fame or long felicite, 

This knyhtli man hadde most excellence, 5436 

And in armys lengest experience. 

He parted the 
which before 
that time had 
done great 

He next slew 
all but one of 
the horrible 
serpents of 
Lake Lerna. 

5405. tirant] Geauwt R. 5406. wliilom]] sumtyme R. 

5411. departe R. 5415. the] and the B. 

5420. wormeesi mees B, H, P, mes R, J, H S, wormees R 3. 

5435. Glorious] by glorious H. 



Hercules and Deianeira 





For his tryumphes and actis marclall 
Sette up pliers for a memoriall, 

Which remembrid his conquestis most notable, 5440 

And his deedis bi grauyng dede expresse — 

Beyonde which no lond is habitable. 

So ferr abrod spradde his hih noblesse. 

But as the sonne lesith his brihtnesse 

Sumwhile whan he is fresshest in his speer, 

With onwar cloudis that sodenli appeer, 

Semblabli the noblesse and the glory 
Off Hercules in this onstable liff 
Eclipsid was and shadwid his memory 
Bi Deianira, that whilom was his wiff: 
For bi hir fraude cam in the mortal striff, 
As ye shal heere the maner and the cas, 
Wherbi that he loste his liff, alias. 

Yit for hir sake, this most manli man* 

Fauht, as I fynde, a synguler bataile 

With Achelous, sone off the occian, 

Lik as poetis make rehersaile. 

And as ech other proudli dede assaile. 

This Hercules, off knyhthod souereyne. 

Rente from his hed oon off his homys tweyne. 

Off kyng Oene she was the doubter deere. 

To Hercules ioyned in mariage; 

And as thei cam to a gret ryuere 

With sturdi wawes, wher was no passage, 

Nessus, the geaunt, ougli off visage, 

To Hercules profred his seruise, 

And ful falsli ageyn hym gan deuise. 

Made his promys to Hercules in deede. 
To putte his liff in gret auenture, 
Ouer the strem Deianire to leede, 
Because he was large off his stature. 
And for she was a riht fair creature. 
Whan thei were passid and Icome to londe, 
Nessus falsli wolde vpon the stronde 

5443. his hih] is his H, his J, H 5. 

5449. shadowde R. 5450. whilom] sumtyme R. 

S4SI. the]owt. H, P, R 3. 5453. that] am. H. 

S4S4- ^*" stanza is transposed with the next B, H. 

S458. other] (wi.R, 5460. Rente] Sent R — homvs] armvs R. 

5461. OemeR,J. 5462. in]bi R. 5467. ayens R. 




and as a mem- 
oriaJ to his 
martial deeds 
he set up the 
Pillars of 

Yet the glory 
of Hercules was 
tarnished by 
the fraud 
of his wife 



although he 
fought Ache- 
lous, son of the 
ocean, for her 


She was daugh- 
ter of King 
CEneus; and 
once when she 
and Hercules 
came to a river, 
the giant 
Nessus ottered 
to carry her 

but when they 
arrived at the 
other side, he 
attempted her 
virtue, and 
wounded him 
mortally with 
an arrow. 

154 'Tb^ Death of Hercules [bk. i 

Ha[ue] knowe hir flesshli, lik as writ Guide, 

Hercules hauyng therofF a siht, 5476 

As he abood vpon the tother side. 

And for tauenge hym off his grete onriht, 

Took his bowe and bente it anon riht, 

And with an arwe, filid sharp & grounde, 5480 

GafF to Nessus his dedli fatal wounde. 

His last re- Lich a conduit gusshed out the blood, 

quest was that »ii i iii !• 

Deianeira give And whan he sauh that he muste deie, 

his blood-stained nnr~»*"rri i i i 

shirt to Her- 1 o Ueianite attorn tiym ther she stood, 5484 

cu es. With al his herte hire he gan to preie. 

That in o thyng his lust she wolde obeie, 
To take his sherte, and be nat rech[e]les, 
With blood disteyned, and sende it Hercules, 5488 

so that he and Thcrwith to hym to be reconcilid. [p. 68] 

she might be . , , , ,-' , , , 

reconciled. And shc the shette to riym anon tiath sent, 

But when Her- rT-ii !» n i I'l'ii 

cuies put it on 1 hotuh whos venym, alias, tie was begiiid ! 

terrMy^ ^"" ^° Fof what be touchyng, & what benchauwtement, 5492 

His flessh, his bonys furiousli were brent, 

And among his dedli peynes alle, 

Into a rage he sodenli is falle. 

that he ran [And] as 3 beeste furiousli he ran 5496 

about like a^^, .,.,,. . . 

madman, up- (Jn valis, hillis among the craggi stonys, 

broke the"^' SemblabH as doth a wood[e] man, 

and"gn°awed"'' PulHd up ttccs & rootis al attonys, 

thus came' fo"*^ Btak beestis hornys, & al tognew ther bonys. 5500 

his end. Was it nat pite that a knyht so good 

Sholde among beestis renne sauagyne & wood! 

It was all be- Thus ouerwhelmyd was al his worthynesse, 

cause he aiii i* * 

trusted in And to declyn wente his prosperite. 5504 

rh°aTcouragr' And cause & roote off al his wrechidnesse, 
donXrn'inr" Was for that he sette his felicite 
and philosophy ^Q ttustc SO mochc the mutabilite 

should have 

been darkened Off these women, which erli, late & soone 5508 

by their sleight! i • j i 

Ott ther nature braide vpon the moone. 

5475. lik] om. H. 5481. fatall dedly H. 5482. guysshed R. 

5483. sauh] sije J. 5484. to forn R. 

5485. gan] began R, bigan J, biganne H 5 — to] om. J. 

5493. were] was R, H. 5496. And]o7n.H. 

5497. On] In H — valeis R, valeys P, valeies H 5. 

5502. sauagyne] sauage R, J, R 3, P, H 5. 

5503. was] as R. 5505. al] om. R. 5506. his] al his R. 
5508. late] om. R. 

BK. l] 

Tbf Envoy to Hercules 


Alias, alias! al noblesse & prudence, 

Prowesse off armys, force & cheualrie, 

Forsihte off wisdam, discrecioun & science, 5512 

Vertuous studie, profityng in clergie, 

And the deer shynyng off philosophie, 

Hath thoruh fals lustis been heerafom manacid, 

Be sleihte off women dirkid and diiFacid! 5516 

O Hercules, my penne I feele quake, 

Myn ynke fulfillid ofF bittir teris sake, 

Thi[s] pitous tragedie to write for thi sake, 

Whom alle poetis glorefie and exalte; 5520 

But fraude off women made thi renoun halte, 

And froward muses thi tryuwphes al toreende, 

For to descryue, alias, thi fatal eende. 

Hercules, my 
pen trembles, 
my ink is 
filled with 
bitter tears 
when I write 
your history. 




THE soote venym, the sauouri fals poisoun. 
The dreedful ioie, the dolerous plesaunce. 
The woful gladnesse, with furious resouw, 
Feith disespeired, ay stable in variaunce, 
Vertu exilyng, where lust hath gouemaurzce, 
Thoruh fals luxurie difFacen al noblesse. 
As this tragedie can here ful weel witnesse. 

Wher froward Venus hath dominacioun, 

And biynde Cupide his subiectis doth auaunce. 

And wilful lust thoruh indiscrecioun 

Is chose iuge to holden the ballaunce, 

Ther chois onlefFul hath thoruh onhappi chaunce 

Dirked off pryncis the famous hih prowesse. 

As this tragedie can here ful weel witnesse. 

O thou Hercules, for al thyn hih renoun. 
For al thi conquest and knyhtli suflSsaunce, 
Thou* were thoruh women brouht to confusioun 5540 
And thoruh ther fraude thi renom?ned puissaunce 
Disclaundred was and brouht onto myschaunce. 

5511. armys] nature R. 

SS 14. off] of al R. 5515. lust H — her afor be R. 
SSi7-0]om. R. 5518. ofr]witi7R. 5519. This] Thi H. 
5521. But] by H. 

5526. The] om. R — witi] the R, J, H 5 — resoun] tresoun H. 

5527. dispeired R. 

5535. chois] chose R. 5536. prowesse] noblesse R. 

5538. thyn] thy H. 

5540. Thou were] Thouh thou were B, Thoruh werre R. 



TTiis tragedy 
bears witness 
to the ruin 
wrought by 

Where Venus 
and Cupid rule, 
the fame of 
princes is dark- 

Hercules, I am 
ashamed to say 
that, for all 
your high re- 
nown, you were 
brought to 
confusion by 

156 Narcissus, Byblis and Myrrha [|bk. i 

I were ashamed to write it or expresse, 

Except this tragedie can here me weel witnesse. 5544 

Eihe'^l^'rcercsT Pfyncis, Pryncessis, off hih discrecioun 
temputioi"^" '^^^^ t^»yng enprentith in your remembraunce; 
Off othres fallyng make your proteccioun, 
You to preserue thoruh prudent purueiaunce; 5548 
AfForn prouyded, that your perseueraunce 
Be nat perturbid bi no fals sorceresse. 
As this tragedie off other berth witnesse. 

[A processe, of Narcisus, Biblis, Mirra and of othir 
ther onforttinys to Bochas compleynyng.] ^ 

Bybiifand 'VfARCISUS, Bibh's & Mirra, alle thre 5552 

Myrrha declare -i- ^ Tofor BochflJ dcde pitOUsH appCetC, 
their unhappi- »-r^i . /- i . ~ ,. . 

ness to Bochas. 1 her miortunyes, ther mrelicite 

To hym compleynyng with a dedli cheere. 

And off ther comyng to telle the manere, 5556 

Narcisus first, with sorwe & dool atteynt, 

Gan first off alle declaren his compleynt. 

Narcissus, son He was [the] sonc off Cephesus* the flood, 

of Cephissus . 1 1 • 1 11- 1 T • • 

and Liriope. And his mooder caliid Liriope, 5560 

Jende Wo^d And bi discent born off gentil blood, 
of Mlatures'"^ Off cteatutes fairest on to see; 

And, as I fynde, at his natyuite 

Tiresias,* be sperit off prophesie, 5564 

Touchyng his fate thus gan specefie: 

Tiresias fore- The goddis han prouydid hym a space 

told that his „, , ^ . i i i i 

life would end lo lyue m erthc, and so ionge endure 

beheld his own Til that he knowe & see his owne face; 5568 

many^rVri^^ And for his sakc ful many creature, 

would love him gj ordynauwcc off God and off Nature, 

in vain, lor no -^ , ' 

woman was Whan thei hym seen shal feelyn ful gret peyne, 

beautiful ,..,•' ,. -^ *= r J ^ 

enough to pieascYirr thci m louc his grace may nat atteyne. 5572 


5543. it3 om. R — to expr(?sse R. 5544- me^ full H. 

5546. enprinted R. 5SSO. soceresse R. 

5551. berth] berls H. 5553. lohn Bochas H. 5558. Bigan R. 

5559. 1st the] om. H — Cephesus] Thephesus B, H, R 3 — 
off] to H. 

5560. lynope R. 5564. Thiresias B. 

5565. MSS. R, J, H 5 transpose lines 5846-73 and the Envoy 

(5873-5901) mi^ /ini?j- 5566-5845. 
,5566. Opposite this stanza the following rubric in MS.]: Ouidius 

X°. et XI°. de transformatis. 5566. for hym R. 

1 MS. J. leaf 29 recto. 

BK. I^ 

The Story of Narcissus 


But he shal be contrarie* & daungerous, [p. 69] 

And off his port ful off straungenesse, 

And in his herte [riht] inli surquedous, 

Bi thoccasioun off his natif faimesse; 5576 

And, presumyng ofF his semlynesse, 

Shal thynke no woman so fresh nor fair of face, 

That able were to stonden in his grace. 

And for thexcellence off his gret beute, 5580 

He hym purposid in his tendre age, 

Neuer in his lifF weddid for to be — 

He thouhte hymsilfF so fair off his visage. 

For which he cast hym, throuh his gret outrage, 5584 

Ageyn all lustis off loue to disdeyne, 

To hunte at beestis alone and be soleyne. 

And in this while that he kepte hym so 

In forestis and in wildimesse, 5588 

A water goddesse, that callid was Echcho, 

Loued hym ful hoote for his gret faimesse; 

And secreli dede hir besynesse 

To folwe his steppis riht as any lyne, 5592 

To hir desirs to make hym to enclyne. 

He herde hir weel, but he sauh hir nouht, 

WherofF astonyd, he gan anon tenquere, 

As he that was amerueilid in his thouht, 5596 

Saide euene thus, " is any wiht now heere ?" 

And she ansuerde the same, in hir manere, 

What-euer he saide, as longeth to Echcho, 

Withoute abod she seide the same also. 5600 

" Come neer," quod he, and began to calle. 

" Come ner," quod she, " my ioie & my plesaunce." 

He lokid aboute [among] the rokkis alle 

And sauh nothyng beside nor in distaunce; 5604 

But she abraide, declaryng hir greuaunce. 

And to hym seide, " myn owyn herte deere, 

Ne be nat straunge, but late us duelle ifeere." 

And so it 
turned out. 
Early in life 
he thought 
too handsome 
to marry and 
became a 
But a water- 
nymph named 
Eicho, attracted 
by his great 
him, calling. 

Yet he saw no 
one; and 
whatever he 
said, the 
in the same 

" My own dear 
heart, let us 

5573. contraire B. 

5577, semblenesse R. 5578. Shal th\-nke] om. R. 

5581. purposid hym R. 5582. for] om. H. 

5583. his] om. R. 5586. soleyne] slayne R. 

5591. secreli] sikyrly R. 5593. Inclyne R. 

5595. began R. 5600. also] hyjn to R. 

5603. the]thesR. 

5605. & declaryng R. 5607. but] om. H. 


Narcissus and Echo 

[bk. I 

"NO'"„^e^re- " Nay, nay," quod he, " I will nothyng obeie 5608 
rather die, go To youF dcsirs, foF short conclusioun; 
s^eak to me " FoF Icucre I haddc pleynli for to deie, 
any more. Xhan ye sholde haue off me possessioun; 

We be nothyng off on opynyouw, 5612 

I heere you weel, thouh I no figure see, 
Goth foorth your way & spek no mor to me!" 

Ashamed, she And she ashamcd fledde hir way anon, 

hid herself in a . , , , „ , -' , 

cave. Since As shc that myhte ott hym no socour haue. 5616 

that time men y> ^» •ii*t^ii * r 1 

have heard her Dut disespeired, this iLchcho IS lootth gon 

has'^never been And hiddc hitsilfF in an ougli caue 

seen. Among the rokkis, as beried in hir graue. 

And thouh so be that men hir vois may heere, 5620 
Afftir that tyme she neuer dede appeere. 

And thus Narcisus thoruh daunger and disdeyn 
Vpon this lady dede crueli vengauwce. 
^kV with'^"^ But whan the goddis his cruelte han seyn, 5624 

Towardis hym thei fill in gret greuauwce, 
Off his vnmerci thei hadden displesauwce; 
And riht as he merciles was fouwde. 
So with onmerci he cauhte his dedli wouwde. 5628 

For al dauwger displesith to Venus, 

And al disdeyn is lothsum to Cupide: 

For who to loue is contrarious. 

The God of Loue will quite hym on sum side, 5632 

His dreedful arwis so mortali deuyde 

To hurte & mayme alle that* be rech[e]les, 

And in his seruise fouwde* merciles. 

And for Narcisus was nat merciable 5636 

Toward Echcho, for his gret beute. 

But in his port was fouwden ontretable, 

Cupide thouhte he wolde auengid be, 

As he that herde hir praier off pite, 5640 

Causyng Narcisus to feele & haue his part 

Off Venus brond and off hir firi dart. 

angry with 
Narcissus for 
his cruelty to 

and as he was 
so disdainful 
they resolved 
to punish him. 

5614. &P ye R — to3 ffhh R. 

5617. dispeired R. 5619. as] and R. 

5621. dede] durst R 

5622. Rubric in J, leaf 29 d: "How Narcisus, Biblis, and Mirra, 
deied atte mischefF." Misplaced owing to transposition of 

5623. this] the R. 5624. had R. 5634. that] tho B. 
5635. be founde B. 

BK. l] 

The End of Narcissus 


And on a day whan he in wildimesse 

Hadde afftir beestis ronne on huntyng, 5644 

And for long labour gan falle in werynesse, 

He was desirous to ha[ue] sum refresshyng; 

And wonder thrustleuh afFtir trauailyng, 

Miht nat endure lengere ther to duelle; 5648 

And atte laste he fond a cristal welle, 

Riht fressh spryngyng & wonder agreable, 

The watir lusti and delectable ofFsiht: 

And for his thrust was to hym inportable, 5652 

Vpon the brynkis he fill doun anon riht, 

And be reflexioun, myd off the watir briht 

Hym thouhte he sauh a passyng fair ymage 

To hym appeere, most aungelik off visage. 5656 

He was enamoured with the semlynesse, [p. 70] 

And desirous theroff to stonde* in grace; 

And yit it was nat but a likenesse,* 

And but a shadwe reflectyng off his face, 5660 

The which off feruence amerousli tenbrace, 

This Narcisus with a pitous compleynt 

Sterte into the welle & hymseluen dreynt. 

And thus his beute, alias, was leid ful lowe, 5664 

His semlynesse put ful ferre a-bak; 

Thus whan that he gan first hymsilff to knowe 

And seen his visage, in which ther was no lak. 

Presumptuous pride causid al to gon to wrak: 5668 

For who to moch doth off hymsilff presume, 

His owne vsurpyng will sonest hyw consume. 

And fynali, as poetis telle, 

This Narcisus, withoute mor socour, 5672 

Afftir that he was drowned atte welle. 

The heuenli goddis dede hym this fauour, 

Thei turned hym into a fressh[e] flour, 

5644. ronne on] runen in R. 5646. sum]] otn. R. 

5647. wonder] om. P, R 3 — thrustleuh] theugh seluth R 3. 

5651. delitable R. 5652. importable R, H. 

5654. myd] in myddis R. 

5657. with] for H, R 3 — sembl>Tiesse R. 

5658. to stonde therofF B. 5659. likenesse] liklynesse B. 
5663. hymseluen dreynt] hym siliF he dreynt R, hym siliF 

dreynt H, so himsilf he dreynt J. 5664. ful] om. H. 
5668. to gon] go R. 
5671. as] as thes olde R, as bese oolde H, as these P, as theis 

olde H s. 
5675. a] a ful R. 

One day, 
wearied by the 
chase and very 
thirsty, he 
found a spring, 
and seeing a 
most angelic 
image redected 
in the still 

tried to em- 
brace it in his 
arms and fell 
in and was 

That was the 
end of Narci»- 
sus's beauty. 
pride caused 
his fall. 

After his death 
the gods 
turned him 
into a water 
lily; and books 
say that it is a 
good remedy 
for sudden 

l6o The Fate of Byblis [bk. i 

A watir-lelle, which doth remedie 5676 

In hote accessis, as bookis specefie. 

Byblis appeared A FFTIR Nafcisus was at the well[e] dreynt, 
with 'her brother -tjL And to lohn Boch^j" declared hadd his wo, 

Biblis appered, with teris al bespreynt, 5680 

And toward hym a gret pas she gan go; 

And hir brother Caunus* cam also, 

And off o wombe as gemellis tweyne; 

But she toforn hir fate gan compleyne. 5684 

whom she loved She in hir loue was nat vertuous, 

against nature ^ /-^ t i t;^ t i 

and law. hox ageyn (jod and Kyndis ordynaunce, 

She loued hir brother that callid was Caunus;* 
And whan he sauh hir froward gouernauwce, 5688 

listen °to her°^ He outo hire gafF non attend aunce, 

Thouh she off sleihte tacowplisshe hir entent, 
In secre wise a pistil to hym sent. 

although she She seide it was an inpossible thyng 5692 

wrote him a ..^y. , , • i • i r 

letter saying Withoute his gtace hirselueu tor to saue, 
die uniess'he [And] but he wete to hire assentyng, 
assented. gj^^ g||jg pjeynli may non helthe haue 

But onli deth, and afFtirward hir graue. 5696 

Thus in hir writyng, to hym she dede attame; 
And to be couert she ne wrot no name. 

He paid no But whan this pistil cam to his presence, 

attention toit, ,, i-i i ^• ^ 

and Byblis Vertuousli thetat he gan disdeyne, 5700 

siSntly ^hat Aud gafF thetto no maner aduertence, 
finaify'llrned Not took non heed ofF hir furious peyne, 
foun't'lb.' ^"^ sulFred hir eternali to pleyne 

Til that she was, as Guide can weel telle, 5704 

With ofFte wepyngis transformed to a welle. 

Myrrhaun- "V TEXT Cam Mirra with face ful pitous, 

naturally loved ' ^ i "^ ' 

Cinyras, and 


her father X ^ Which that whilom loued ageyn nature 

Hir owne fadir callid Cinarus, 5708 

5676. lelie] like R {corrected in later hand to lilie). 

5678. AfFtir Jjat H. 5679. hadd] om. R. 

5682. Cannus B, Canus R, Cammus H, Cannus J, Caunus P. 

5687. Cannus B — callid was] om. J. 

5688. he] she R — gouernaunce] greuaunce R. 

5691. secre] sikir R. 5700. therat he gan] began ther at R. 

5702. Nor] Neither R, J, om. H — non] nouthir noon H, 

5705. wepyng R. 5707. whilom] sum tyme R. 

BK. l] 

The Story of Myrrh a 


For whos sake gret peyne she dede endure. 

But she ne durste hir sorwe nat discure, 

Til hIr norice be signes dede espie 

The hertll constreynt off hir maladie. 5712 

For hir norice, off which that I ha[ue] told, 

Conceyued hath, bi open euidence, 

As she that koude bothe off newe and old 

In such materis al hool thexperience, 5716 

That thoruh long labour & sleihti diligence, 

Dyuers meenes & weies out she souhte, 

To hir fadres bed that she Mirra brouhte. 

With whom she hadde hir lust & hir plesaunce; 5720 

For she onknowe lay with hym al nyht: 

He was deceyued bi drunkleuh ignoraunce, 

And on the morwe, longe or any liht. 

She stal awey and went out off his siht. 5724 

With hir norice kepte hir longe cloos, 

Til onto tyme that hir wombe aroos. 

But hir fadir, that was off Cipre kyng, 

Which, as I tolde, was callid Cinarus, 5728 

Whan he the trouthe espied off this thyng: 

That bi his doubter he was deceyued thus. 

She wex to hym lothsum and odious, 

Fledde from his face, so sore she was afferd, 5732 

And he pursued afftir with his suerd. 

In Arabic, the hoote myhti lond, 

Kyng Cinarus hath his doubter founde, 

And crueli he gan enhaunse his bond, 5736 

With his suerd tayouen hir a wounde; 

But the goddis, off merci most habounde, 

Han fro the deth[e] maad hire [to] go fre. 

And thoruh ther power transfowrmed to a tre. 5740 

Whiche afftir hire berith yit the name, [p. 71] 

Callid Mirra, as she was in hir liff. 

Out off which, as auctours sey the same, 

Distillith a gomwe, a gret preseruatiff, 5744 

And off nature a ful good defensiff, 

5710. But] For R. 571 1, hir] his R. 

5718. weyes and meenes R. 5722. dronklee R 3. 

5725. hir longe] hir silfF H. 5726. the tyme R, H. 

5734. Arabia H. 5736. he gan] bigan R. 

5737. tayouen] to yiffen R — his] hir H. 

5738. oflTjoOT. R. 5743. as] om. R. 

her nurse so 
contrived that 
she accom- 
plished her 

deceiving him 
when drunk. 

But as she 

became preg- 
nant, her 
father found it 
out and was so 
angry that he 
chased her all 
the way to 

Arabia, and 
would have 
slain her had 
not the gods 
her mto a tree. 

from which we 
obtain myrrh, 
that is very 
useful for keep- 
ing dead bodies 
from cor- 


Myrrhas Son Adonis 

[bk. I 

Myrrh is en- 
gendered by 
the sunbeams. 

Venus fell in 
love with him, 

To keepe bodies from putrefacciou7i 
And hem frauwchise from al corrupcioun. 

Bi influence off the sonne-bemys 5748 

Mirre is engendrid, distillyng off his kynde 

With rounde dropis ageyn[es] Phebus stremys, 

And doun descendith thoruh the harde rynde. 

And thoruh the rifftis, also as I fynde, 5752 

The said[e] Mirra hath a child foorth brouht, 

In al this world, that yifF it be weel souht, 

Myrrha's child Was non SO faitfe] fourmed bi nature; 

was called .— „... . . 

Adonis, and i^ ot ott his beute he was pereles. 5756 

And as poetis recorden bi scripture, 
He callid was the faire Adonydes; 
And to his worshep and his gret encres — 
For he off fairnesse bar awei the flour — 5760 

Venus hym ches to been hir paramour. 

The which[e] goddesse gaflF to hym in charge, 

That he sholde in his tendre age, 

In forestis whil he wente at large, 5764 

Hunte at no beestis which that were sauage; 

But he contrary, to his disauauwtage, 

Thoruh wilfulnesse — I can sey you* no mor — 

Was slayn onwarli oflf a tusshi bor, 5768 

At the whiche he felli dede enchace. 

But off foli in veyn was his labour; 

For he lay slayn, ful pale off^ cheer & face. 

Whom Venus turned to a ful fressh[e] flour 5772 

Which was as blood, lich purpil off^ colour, 

A budde off gold with goodli leuys glade 

Set in the myddis, whos beute may nat fade. 

and told him 
not to hunt 
beasts that 
were savage. 
But he paid 
no attention to 
her, and was 
killed by a 
wild boar. 

Venus turned 
him iuto a 
crimson flower. 

AND wha« [that] Mirra fro Bochas was 

After Myrrha 
had withdrawn 
herself, Or- 

ma'n.'appeared. And hadde decland hir gret aduersite. 
And off hir fate told the mortal lawe. 
Cam Orpheus, ful ougli on to see, 
Sone off Appollo and off Calliope, 



5764. at large^ alarge R. 5767. you sey B. 

5768. tusshi] tuskye R. 

5773. as] a R — lich] of R, J — ofF] the R, \,e J. 

5778. hir] his R. 

BK. l] 

Orpheus and Eurydice 


And appered with a ful doolful face. 
Whilom brouht foorth and ibom in Trace. 

Ful renommed in armys and science, 

Famous in musik and in melodie, 5784 

And ful notable also in eloquence. 

And for his soote sugred armonie, 

Beestis, foulis, poetis specefie, 

Wodes, flodes off ther cours most strong, 5788 

Stynt of* ther cours to herkne his soote song. 

An harpe he hadde off Mercurius, 

With the which Erudice he wan; 

And to Bachus*, as writ Ouidius, 5792 

Sacrifises ful solempne he began, 

And onto helle for his wifF he ran, 

Hir to recure with soote touchis sharpe 

Which that he made vpon his heuenli harpe. 5796 

But whan that he this labour on hym took, 

A lawe was maad[e] which that bond hym sore, 

That yifF that he bakward caste his look. 

He sholde hire lese & seen his wifF no more: 5800 

But it is seid[e] sithen gon ful yore, 

Ther may no lawe louers weel constreyne, 

So inportable is ther dedli peyne. 

Yiff summe husbondis hadde stonden in the cas 5804 

Ta* lost her wyues for a look sodeyne, 

Thei wolde ha[ue] sufFred and nat seid alias, 

But pacientli endured al ther peyne, 

And thanked God, that broken was the cheyne 5808 

Which hath so longe hem* in prisoun bounde. 

That thei be grace han such a fredam founde. 

To lyn in prisoun, it is a ful gret charge. 

And to be stokked vndir keie and lok; 5812 

It were weel meriere a man to gon at large, 

He was famous 
for his music 
and eloquince. 
Even the rivers 
ceased to now 
when he sang. 

Mercuo' gave 
him a harp, 
with which he 
won Eurj-dice 
back from hell. 

He was not to 
look behind, 
else he would 
lose her. 

But I think 
there are some 
husbands who, 
if a sudden 
look had lost 
them their 
would have 
put up with it 
very patiently 
and thanked 

It is much 
more pleasant 
to be free 
than nailed to 
a block. 

5781. appered] appeere H — ful] om. R. 

5782. Whilom] Some tyme R. 5783. and] & in R, J, H 5. 
5789. Stynt of] Styntid B — ther] om. H 5. 5790. herpe H. 

5792. Bachus] bochas B, R 3. 

5793. ful solempne] solenne R. 

5799. bakkard R. 5803. Importable H. 

5805. Ta] To ha B — in MS. J. opposite this stanza in a laUr 

band: " a trew saying." 

5807. ther] the R. 5809. hem so longe B. 

581 1, lyn] ligge R, Hue P. 5812. be] ly H. 

5813. meriere] myrie R, merie J, mery H 5. 


Orpheus^ Advice to Husbands 

[bk. I 

However, Or- 
pheus loved 
Eurydice, and, 
after all, lost 

and never 
married again. 
He got off 
very easily. A 
man who once 
escapes the 
snare isn't apt 
to go back to 

Than with Irenes be nailed to a blok: 
And there is o bond, which calHd is wedlok, 
Fretyng husbondis so sore, that it is wonder, 5816 
Which with no file may nat be broke assonder. 

But Orpheus, fadir off armonye, 

Thouhte Erudice, which was his wiff, so fair, 

For hir sake he felte he muste deie, 5820 

Because that he, whan* he made his repair. 

Off hir [in] trouthe enbracid nothyng but hair. 

Thus he lost hire, there is no mor to seyne; 

And for the constreynt ofF his greuous peyne, 5824 

At his herte hir partyng sat so sore, [p. 72] 

The greene memorie*, the tendre remembrauwce, 

That he neuer wolde wyuen more. 

So faire he was escapid his penauwce; 5828 

For wedlok is a lifF off most plesaunce. 

But who hath onys infernal peynys seyn, 

Will neuer his thankis come in the snare ageyn.^ 

Orpheus gave 
very important 
advice to hus- 
bands; he said 
that if one hell 

This Orpheus gaff couwseil ful notable 
To husbondis that han endurid peyne. 
To such as been prudent and tretable: 
wor«'!' ^''° "^ Oon hell is dreedful, mor pereilous be tweyne; 
And who is onys bouwdyn in a cheyne. 
And may escapen out off dauwger blyue — 
Yiff he resorte, God let hym neuer thryue! 

But women 
were not 
edified by 
these words, and 
so they slew 
him at the 
festival of 

On this sentence women wer vengable. 
And to his writyng ful contrarious, 
Seide his couwseil was nat comendable. 
At the feste thei halwed to Bachus, 
Thei fill echon vpon tRis Orpheus; 
And, for alle his rethoriques suete, 
Thei slouh, alias, this laureat poete. 





5814. Irnes R — to] OOT. R. 5815. And] But R, J, H 5. 

5816. Fretyng] Fetteryng R. 

5817. no]aR, J, Hs, P — nat]oOT. R3. 

5820. he felte] felte that R. 

5821. that he whan] whan that B. 

5822. in] om. R — no thyng enbracid R. 
5826. memoire B. 5830. peyn R. 
5835. mor] & more R. 

5839. On] Vpon R. 5844. rethorik R. 

^ MS. J. leaf 30 verso, in red in margin: 
secundas spreuit nupcias." 

"Ob quam c3.m 

BK. l] 

Marpessa and Lampedo 




And off his harpe yiff ye list to lere, 
The god Appollo maad a translacioun 
Among the ymages off the sterns cleere, 
WTieroff men* may haue yit inspeccioun. 
But Fortune, to his confusioun, 
Denyed hym, froward off hir nature, 
Whan he was slajm fredam off sepulture. 

NEXT Orpheus, ther dede appeere also 
Off Amazones worthi queenys tweyne, 
Marpesia and hir suster Lampedo, 
Which in conquest dede ther besi peyne. 
And gret worship in armys dede atteyne, 
Namyng hemsilff, be writyng nyh and ferr, 
Douhtren to Mars, which is the God off Werr. 

Marpesia rood out in regiouns 
And conquered ful many a gret cite. 
For couetise off gret possessiouns, 
Tencrece hir lordshepe, yiff it wolde be. 
And hir suster kepte surli ther contre 
From alle enmyes, that ther was no doute, 
Whil Marpesia rood with hir host aboute. 

But whil she was in conquest most famous 
And hir enmyes proudli dede assaile. 
Fortune anon wex contrarious. 
And causid she was slay[e]n in bataile. 
Loo, what conquest or victory may auaile. 
Whan that Fortune doth at hem disdeyne; 
Seeth heer exaumple bi these queenys tweyne. 

^ Lenvoye. 

THIS tragedie reme^wbrith thynges fyue: 
Off Narcisus thexcellent beute. 
And off Biblis doth also descryue 
The grete luxur[y]e and dishoneste, 
Mirra diffamed, turned to a tre, 

5846. OpposiU this stanza the follotoing rubric in MS. J. leaf 
29 b. margin: "Ouidius X°. et XJ°. de transformitis." 

5846. lere] here R, J. 5847. god] god of R. 

5849. men] man B, H — yit] clere J, H 5 — haue yit] vitte 
have cleer R. 

5863. lordshippis H. 5865. From] Off R — that] so bat R. 

5871. what] om. R. 5876. doth] deth R. 

5877. luxurye] luxuride R, 

You can see 

his harp in the 
sky, for ApoUo 
translated it to 
the stars. 

Two queens of 
the Amazons 
followed Or- 

Marpessa and 





Marpessa wa« 

slain in battle, 
cg5g a common fate 
■^ of conquerors. 




tragedies shew 
that licentious- 
ness and pri Je 
are very far 
removed from 

1 66 

Priam of Troy and Troy Book 


Orpheus' life 
was of mingled 
joy and ad- 

Texemplefie that lecherie and pride 
Been from al vertu set ful ferr a-side. 

How Orpheus endured in his lyue 

loie entirmedlid with aduersite; 

In his youthe whan he dede wyue 

He felte in wedlok ful gret feHcite, 

His woridli blisse meynt with duplicite, 

As Fortune hir chaungis gan deuyde, 

Which from al vertu be set ful ferr a-side. 

Marpessa made Marpcsia, for hir list to stryue 

war wantonly _... , ..^ , . "^ , . 

and came to a With wiliul wems tencrecen hir contre, 

sudden end. t» i • 111 

but hir pompe was ouerturned biyue, 
Whan in bataile vnwarli slayn was she: 
For off al werre deth is the fyn parde, 
So furious Mars can for his folk prouide, 
Which from al vertu is set ful ferr a-side. 



Princes, flee 
pride and lust, 
and do not be 
guided by 
avarice. Such 
things are set 
far aside 
from virtue. 

Ye myhti Pryncis, lat wit and resouw dryue 
Your hih noblesse to considre and see 
How Fortune estatis can depryue 
And plunge hem down from ther prosperite. 
Pride and luxure, I couwsaile, that ye fle, 
Fals auarice ne lat nat be your guide, 
Which from al vertu is set ful ferr a-side. 




After this, 
Bochas began 
to think of 

[Off Priamus kyng of Troye, and how the monke of 
Bury translatour of this book wroot a boke of 
the siege of Troye callid Troye book.] ^ 

AFFTIR these compleyntis & lamentaciouns, 
Which [that] Bochas dede in his book compile, 
Medlid among with transformaciouns 5904 

Set in Ouide be ful souereyn stile. 
Whan he on hem hadde musid a long while, 
Seyn the* maner bothe off ther sorwe & ioie, 
He gan remembre on Priamus off Troie. 5908 

5889. hir] his H. 

5894. v<rrtues R. 

5895. This stanza is omitted in R. 5899. luxurye H. 
5904. transmutaciouns R. 

5907. the] ther B — of ther] the R, H. 

5908. to remembre R — on] of R, H. 

'MS. J. leaf 31 recto. 

BK. l] 

Priam and the Troy Book 


First off" his berthe and off* his kenreede, [p. 73] 

How among k3mges he was most famous; 

And as poetis recorde off" hym in deede, 

He descendid of worthi Dardanus, 5912 

Which, as his lyne declareth onto vs, 

From lubiter was lyneaH come doun 

Onto his fader caUid kyng Lamedoun. 

Off" olde Troie this Lamedoun was kyng; 5916 

Destroied hi Grekis he and his contre. 

Afftir whom, [this] Priamus regnyng, 

Made there ageyn a myhti strong cite, 

Where he ful longe in ful gret rialte, 5920 

With wiff^ and childre, most worthi of renoun, 

With sceptre & crowne heeld possessioun. 

Gouemed his cite in pes and rihtwisnesse. 

And Fortune was to hym fauourable; 5924 

For off" al Asie the tresour and richesse 

He dede assemble, this kyng most honourable. 

And in armys he was so comendable, 

That thoruh the world as ferr as men may gon, 592S 

Off" hih noblesse the renoun off" hym shon. 

This Priamus hadde childre many 00^ 

Worthi pryncis, & ofi^ ful gret myht; 

Bat Ector was among hem euerichon 5932 

Callid ofi^ prowesse the lanteme & the lyht; 

For ther was neuer bom a bettir knyht. 

Troilus in knyhthod so manli eek was founde, 

That he was named Ector the secouwde. 5936 

But yiff" I shulde reherse the manheede 

Ofi^ kyng Priam & off" his sonys all. 

And how his cite besieged* was in deede. 

And al the story to remembraunce call, 5940 

Tween hym & Grekis how it is befall, 

The circumstaunces rehersjmg vp & doun, 

To sette in ordre the firste occasioun 

Off^ the siege, whi it was first laid 5944 

Bi Hercules and also bi lason, — 
The maner hool in Troie Book is said, 

5912, Dardanus] Dacianus R, Damamus J, H 5. 

5918. this] om. H, R3. 

5921. wiff] his wiff R. 5922. heeld] heeld the R. 

5924. hym] om. R. 5925. all of R. 5933. & the] of R. 

S93S. eek] om. R. 5939. besegied B. 5941. Betwene R. 

who was a 
•descendant of 
and Jupiter 
through his 

He ruled in 
I>eace and 

and had many 
children, of 
whom Hector 
and Troflus 
were the best 

But there is no 
need of my 
telling you his 
story here. 

for I have 
already told it 
as well as I 
could in the 
Troy Book, 

1 68 

King Henry V and the Troy Book 

[bk. I 

which I trans- 

for King Henry 
the Fifth, who 
was a very 
great man, 

chief defender 
of the church, 
an enemy of 
the Lollards, 
and diligent to 

peace to Eng- 
land and 

Alas, he died 
too soon! 

May God give 
his soul good 
rest with holy 
saints in 

Reudli endited ofF my translacioun, 

Folwyng vpon the destruccloun 5948 

Callid the seconde, which, hi acountis cleer, 

Fulll endured the space ofF ten yeer, — 

For, as me semeth, the labour were in veyn. 

Treuli also I not to what entent, 5952 

That I shold[e] write it newe ageyn; 

For I hadde onys in comauwdement, 

Bi hym that was most noble & excellent 

OfF kynges all[e], for to vndirtake 5956 

It to translate and write it for his sake. 

And yifF ye list to wetyn whom I meene, 

Henry the FifFte, most myhti ofF puissauwce, 

GafF me the charge ofF entent most cleene, 5960 

Thyng ofF old tyme to putte in remembraunce. 

The same Henry, for knyhtli suffisaunce, 

Worthi for* manhod, reknyd kynges all, 

With nyne worthi for to haue a stall. 5964 

To hooli chirch he was chiefF defensour; 

In alle such causes Cristes chosen knyht. 

To stroie Lollardis he sette al his labour, 

Loued alle vertues, and to sustene riht, 5968 

Thoruh his noblesse, his manhod & his myht, 

Was dilligent & dede his besi peyne 

To ha[ue] set pes atween[e] rewmys tweyne, — • 

I meene, in sooth, twen Ing[e]land & Fraunce, 5972 

His purpos was taue had a pes fynall, 

Souhte out menys with many circuwstauwce, 

As weel be trete as actis marciall, 

Theron iupartid goodis, lifF and all. 5976 

But, o alias, ageyn deth is no boone! 

This lond may seyn he deied al to soone. 

For a-mong kynges he was oon the beste, 

So alle his deedis conueied were with grace. 5980 

I pray to God, so yiue his soule good teste, 

With hooli seyntis in heuene a duellyng-place. 

For heere with vs to litil was the space 

5954. MS. J: "the monke of Bury," rubricated in margin, 

leaf 31 b. 
5959, 62. Herry R, H. 

5963. for] off B — reknyd] rekene R, J, reken H 5, P. 
5967. stroie Lollardis] destrye heritykes R. 5975. be] om. R. 
5976. liff goodis R. 5981. so] to R, R 3, om. H. 

BK. l] 

The Story of Troy 


That he abood; off whom the remembraunce 
Shal neuer deie in Ingland nor in Fraunce. 

This worthi kyng gaff to me in charge, 
In Inglissh tunge make a translacioun 
Out off Latyn, withynne a volum large, 
How longe the Grekis lay afor the touw. 
And how that Paris first at Citheroun 
In Venus temple slili dede his peyne 
Ther to rauesshe the faire queen Heleyne. 




He bade me 
translate the 
whole story 
from Latin 
into English. 
It tells how 
Paris carried 
oflF Helen and 
married her, 
how Menelaus 
and Agamem- 
non besieged 

In which[e] book the processe ye may see: [p. 74] 

To hym how she was weddid in the toun. 

And off the siege leid to the cite 

Be Menelay and* kyng Agamenoun,* 5996 

And many another ful worthi off renoun 

On outher party, which that in bataile 

Fro day to day ech other dede assaile. 

What sholde I telle, or wherto sholde I write 6000 

The deth off Ector or off Achilles ? 

Or wherto sholde I now off newe* endite 

How worthi Troilus was slayn among the pres ? — 

The eende off Paris or off Pallamydes, 6004 

Or the slauhtre off manli Deiphebus, 

Or how his brother, callid Helenus, 

Told affom how it was gret folie 

That Paris sholde wedde the queen Heleyne; 6008 

And how Cassandra in hir prophecie 

On this weddyng sore gan compleyne, 

And for the constreynt off hir hertly peyne. 

How she wex mad and ran aboute the toun 6012 

Til she was cauht and shet up in prisoun. 

Alle these materis ye may beholde in deede 
Set bi and bi withynne Troie Book, 
And how Cressaide loued Diomeede, 

how Hector, 
Achilles, Paris 
and others 

how Cassandra 
foretold the 
evil that would 
follow if Paris 
wedded Helen, 
and how 
they shut her 
up in prison 
for her noise, 
and how 
Cressida for- 
sook Troilus 
for Diomedes. 


5986. to] om. R. 

5989. to fore R. 5992. rauesshe] reioissh R. 

5995- to] vnto R. 

5996. Menelay] Meneldy R, H 5, meneldi J — and] and be B 

— Agamenoun] Lamedoun B, R, H, J, H 5, R 3. 

5998. eithir R. 

6002. now off newe] off newe now B, R — now] om. J. 

6008. the] this R. 6010. this] the R — bi gan R. 

6014. these materis] this mateer R, this matter P. 

6016. how] om. R — Crisseide H. 

170 Tou must read the Troy Book ! [^bk. i 

Whan worthi Trollus she wIlfulH forsook: 

Off hir nature a quarel thus she took, 

Tassaie bothe, yiff neede eek wer, to feyne 

To take the thridde, & leue hem bothe tweyne. 6020 

Nor will I tell I [wil] passe ouer and telle off hir no more; 

Greeks finally Not bi what menys Grekis wan the toun — 

won the town, tt t^ i i a i 

and of their How Lueas, nor how that Anthenore 
rn'their"home- Ageyn kyng Priam conspired fals tresoun, 6024 

rnd'oteses Nor how Vlixes gat Palladioun — 
and Penelope, ^hc deth off PHam not Heccuba the queene, 
Nor how that Pirrus slouh yonge Polliceene. 
v^ou must read Nor hcer to writc, it is nat myn entent, 6028 

Repair off Grekis horn to ther contre, 
Afftir the cite and Ylioun was brent, 
Nor off ther myscheuys thei hadde in the se, 
Nor how Vlixes fond Penolope 6032 

A trewe wiff, thouh he were longe hir fro; — 
Thoruhout al Grece I can reede off no mo. 
Off these materes thus I make an eende: 
What fell off Grekis afftir ther viage, 6036 

To Troie Book the folk echon I sende, 
Which haue desir to seen the surplusage, 
How Grekis first maden ther passage 
Towardis Troie, besegyng the cite — 6040 

Redith the story; — ye gete no mor off me. 

f Bochas ageyn t)e surquedous pride of hem that 
trusten m her riches.^ 

o^y<j^p^"<^ "VT^E proude folkis that sette* your affiaunce 
trust in A In strengthe, beute or in hih noblesse, 

strength, beauty, -I r/T- • i t-> 

nobility, wealth, lit ye considre rortunys variauwce, 6044 

remember a J J cr j 

Priam's fate! And coude a merout aitor your eyen dresse 

6019. eek wer^ wer al so R, were also J, H 5. 

6021. wil] om. R, R 3, P, H 5 — hir] it J. 

6022. Nor] Neithir R, J. 

6023. nor] neithir R, j, H 5, P — that] om. H, J, P, H 5. 
6025, 26. Nor] Neithir R. 6026. of Heccuba R. 
6029. to] in to R. 

6031. Nor] Neithir R — myscheuys] myschefFe R, myschef J, 
mischief P, myschifFe H 5 — hadden H. 

6032. Nor] Neithir R. 

6637. the folk echon] tho folke R. 6041. Redith] Rede R. 
6042. sette] setten B. 6043. ira beute R. 

^"Here spekith Bochas the AuctOMr of this book/ a-yenst the 
surquedous pride of hem that trust/ in richesse seying thise 
wordys vnto hem." MS. J. leaf 31 verso. 

BK. i^ An Envoy against the Pride of great Wealth 171 

CMF kyng Priam and off his gret richesse, 

To seen how he and [how] his children all 

From ther noblesse so sodenli be fall ! 6048 

Ector off knyhthod callid sours and well, 

Sad and demur & famous off prudence, 

Paris also in beute dede excell, 

And Helenus in parfit prouidence; 6052 

Troilus in armys hadde gret experience, 

Eek Deiphebus preued manli on his fon: 

Yit in the werre thei wer slayn euerichon. 

Hadde nat this kyng, eek as I can deuise, 6056 

Noble Eccuba, which that was the queene, 

A doubter callid Cassandra the wise, 

Hir yonge suster faire Polliceene ? — 

Alias, alias! what may such pride meene! 6060 

For al-be-it ther renoun sprang ful ferre, 

Yit were these women deuoured in the werre. 

Was he nat myhti & strong in all[e] thynges. 

And hadde also off his alliaunce 6064 

Riht worthi princis, & many riche kynges. 

And nyh al Asie vndir obeisaunce ? — 

Holde in his tyme most famous off puissaunce, 

Most renomwed off richesse and tresours, 6068 

Til that Fortune with hir sharp[e] shours. 

Whan that he sat hiest on hir wheel, [p. 75] 

This blynde goddesse gan hym to assaile. 

Hir froward malice, he felte it ful weel: 6072 

His gold, his tresour first thei gan to faile. 

And dirke gan his roial apparaile. 

Be which exauwple all proude men may see 

The onseur trust, the mutabilite, 6076 

Which in this world is seyn & found* aid ay. 
Mid off estatis in ther magnyficence, 
Ebbe afftir flowe maketh no delay. 

Hector, Paris, 
Hdeaus, — all 
were slain. 

Hecuba, Cas- 
sandra, and 
fair Polyiena, 
— tliey too 
were devoured 
in the war. 

Was not 

Priam mighty? 
Had he not 
worthy allies 
and almost 
all Asia under 
hi* rale? 

When he sat 
highest on her 
wheel,_ Fortune 
cast him down. 

Each man must 
take his turn 
as it comes 

6047. 2nd how] om. R, J, H 5, P. 

6054. Eek] Also R — on] in R. 

6055. euerichon] echone H. 

6056. eek] also R. 6059. faire] yong H. 
6060. such] al sich R. 6063. Was] What R. 
6066. vndir] vndir his R. 6071. began R. 
6073. thei] it R. 6074. derken R. 

6077. found] founden B. 6078. In myddis of statis R. 


The Praise of Poverty 


But halt hir cours; there is no resistence: 6080 

The tide abit nat for no violence; 
Ech man that standith off chauwges heer in doute 
Mut take his turn as it cometh a-boute. 

Let Priam be a Let Priam been to you a cleer merour, 

clear mirror to 
you, proud 
people, who 




Ye proude folkis, that sette your affiaunce 
put your trust In such veyn glorie,* which fadith as a flour, 
thatTdes°as'a And hath ofF bcute heer noon attend aunce. 
flower. Yhe world to you cast a ful bittir chauwce: 

For whan ye wene* sitte hiest atte fulle, 
Than will she rathest your briht[e] fethres pulle. 

You have had Ye han wamyngis for to taken heed 
enough of how Bexauwple off other, cleer & riht visible, 
m°ngied with' How worldli blisse is medlid ay with dreed. 
dread. p^^^ yjj^ your rcsouns and wittis be sensible, 

Thyng seyn at eye is nat incredible; 
And al this doctryn is to you in veyn, 6096 

YifF in your tyme ye ha[ue] no chauwges seyn. 

Bochas' advice Whcrforc Bochas onto your auail 

is to leave t^ i i i- i • • 

your vices and T ui prudeutli put you at this issu: 
nlm who ca^n Fitst of all he yeueth you this couwsail, 6100 

time of need. To leue yout viccs & take you to vertu, 
And sette your trust al hooli on \es\x'. 
For he may best in myscheefF helpe, & neede, 
OfF worldli chauwges that ye thar nat dreede. 6104 

When great 
lords and dig- 
nitaries sit 
highest on their 
thrones, the 
hour of their 
decline ap- 

f The preis of Bochas & suerte that stondith m 

THESE grete lordshipes, these hih[e] dignites, 
CheefF thyng annexid onto ther regalie, 
Whan thei sitten hiest in ther sees, 
And round aboute stant ther cheualrie, 6108 

Dreed entreth in, pereil and envie, 
And onwar chauMg[e], which no man may knowe, 
The hour whan Fortune will make hew loute lowe. 

6081. abyde R. 

6086. gloire B. 6089. wenen B, R. 

6094. wittis & resouns R. 6099. Ful3 & H. 

6104. chaunges3 thynges H — dare not R. 

6106,8. ther] the R. 61 11. loute] om. H. 

'"Here also, John Bochas put a grete preisyng and a com- 
mendacioun of suerte bat stondith in pouerte / vnder thise 
wordis in sentence." MS. J. leaf 32 recto. 

BK. l] 

The Praise of Poverty 


Thei may weel holden a statli gret houshold, 61 12 
With a veyn trust ther power sholde ay laste, 
Clad in ther mantles off purpil, perle & gold, 
And on the wheel off Fortune clymbe up faste — 
Lich as she myhte neuer doun hem caste; 6116 

But ay the hiere ther clymbyng is att all, 
Alias, the sorere is ther onhappi fall. 

The fal off Priam and kyng Agamenoun 

Ouhte off riht mor to be compleynyd, 6120 

Whan Fortune hadde hem puUid doun 

And off hir malice hath at hem disdeynyd. 

Than yiff thei neuer to worshepe hadde atteynyd; 

But ther fallyng was the more greuous 6124 

Because thei wern toforn so glorious. 

O thou Pouert, meek, humble and debonaire, 

Which that kepest the lawes off Nature, 

For sodeyn chaunges thou wilt nat disespaire, 6128 

So art thou frauwchised fro Fortunys lure; 

AUe hir assautis thou lowli doost endure, 

That she may haue no iurediccioun 

To interupte thi possessioun. 6132 

Thou settist litil bi al worldli richesse, 

Nor be his tresours which be transitorie; 

Thou scomest hem that ther sheltrouns dresse 

Toward batailles for conquest and victorie; 6136 

Thou despisist al shynyng off veynglorie, 

Laude off tryuwphes which conquerours ha[ue] souht. 

With all ther pillages, thou settist hem at nouht. 

Thou dispreisist al superfluite; 6140 

Non infortunye may chaunge thi corage: 

And the shippis that saile bi the se 

With marchaundise among the floodis rage, 

Ther auentures and ther pereilous passage — 6144 

L);^, bodi, good, al put in auenture 

Onii for lucre, gret richesse to recure — 

6114. mantell R — perle] perre H. 6118. ther] the R. 

61 19. kyng] of R. 6122. hir] owi. R. 

6125. to fore thei wer R. 6127. lawe H. 

6128. dispaire R. 613 1. iurisdiccion R. 

6134. Nor] Neithlr R. 6136. batalle R — and] or R. 

6137. dispisith R — off] or R. 

6138. tryuTwphe H — souht] wrouht H. 

6140. dispreisist] despisest H. 

6141. Non] nor noon H. 6144. 2nd ther] om. R. 

The more im- 
posing their 
household and 
the greater 
their state, the 
more unhappy 
their fall. 

It were better 
had Priam and 
never been 

Poverty is free 
from the 
assaults of 

He sets little 
store by wealth 
and scorns 
conquest, vain 

and all super- 
fluity. He does 
not risk his life 
at sea for the 
take of riches 


The Praise of Poverty 

[bk. I 

His wealth is 

or quarrel over QfF al such thyng thou talccst Htil hecdc, [p. 76] 

rewards, which Nor ofF that pccplc that mancrcs do purchace, 6148 
to leave for- NoF ofF pledcrcs, which for lucre & meede 
^^"' Meyntene quarells & questis doon enbrace, 

Thou hem beholdest with a ful stille face, 
Ther sotil werkyng souht out for the nonys, 6152 

And sodenli departe from al attonys. 

Thou canst in litil also haue suffisauwce, 

And art content with ful smal dispence; 

For thi richesse and thyn habundaunce 6156 

Withoute gruchchyng is humble pacience. 

YifF any man do to the offence, 

Thou foryetist and lihtli canst foryiue; 

To the suffisith so [that] thou maist lyue. 6160 

In summer the Xhc stctrid hcuene is thi couerture 

starry sky and ^ 111 

the green leaves In somet sesoun; vnder the leuys greene 

e er, 'pj^^^ makcst thi duellyng & doost thiselfF assure 
Ageyn gret heetis off the sunne sheene: 6164 

Content with frutis & watir cristal cleene 
To staunche thyn hunger & thi thrustis sore, 
Afftir the sesouns, & carest for no more. 

and in winter Pouert eek Hggith the colde wyntris nyht 6168 

he lies on straw ._, . , . °° i • i i 

without com- Wrappid m strauh, withoute compleynynge; 
Withoute dreed he go[e]th glad and liht. 
And tofor theuys he merili doth synge: 
He* goth also withoute paryschyng* 6172 

Fro lond to lond among[es] poore & riche; 
For freend and fo to hym be bothe aliche. 

Seneca says Motal Scnec Tccordeth be writyng, 

Poverty is the Richest off thynges is Glad Pouerte, 6176 

things, content Euet off o cheer[e], void off al gruchchyng, 

Idver^sity"*^ '" Bothe in ioie and in aduersite: 

Thoruh al the world[e] last hir liberte, 

And hir fraunchise stant in so gret ese, 6180 

That off hir fredam no man will hir displese. 

plaining, and 
sings merrily 
before thieves; 
for he can 
journey from 
land to land 
without fear. 

6148. Nor] Or R. 

6149. Nor] Nelthir R — pletours R, pleters H. 
6159. canst] dost H. 

6161. thi] the H. 6166. thi] thyne R. 6168. eek] also R. 

6172. He] She B, J, H, H 5, R 3, P — paryschyng] patisynge 

B, patisyng J, H 5, patisshyng H, parisynge R 3, paryschyng 


6174. hym] her P — be both to hym H — I-lyche R. 

6179. lastith R. 6180. hir] his H. 

BK. l] 

Zenocrates and Diogenes 


She is nonce off studie & off doctryne, 
In vertuous labour doth hir dilligence; 
And off sciences, which that be dyuyne, 
She is callid mooder be clerkis, in sentence. 
Off philisophres most had in reuerence, 
Fortune and she so ferr assonder varie, 
That ech to other off custum is contrarie. 

of study, 
mother of 



Hir hertili ioie is for to lyue in pes, 

Hateth tumulte, noise and disturbaunce; 

For hir disciple, calHd Zenocrates, 

In wilful pouert set hooli his plesauwce, 6192 

Sobre off his port, thoruh whose attemp[e]raunce 

Ful many a man bexauwple off his techyng 

Wer brouht to vertu fro vicious lyuyng. 

His diete was so mesurable 

And deuoid off superfluite. 

That his corage he kepte ferme & stable, 

Fro flesshli lustis he was so attempre: 

Resoun maistred his sensualite, 

Desirs onleefful for to sette a-side; 

Duryng his liff Pouert was his guide. 

His abidyng and conuersacioun 

Was in placis that were solitarie; 6204 

Mong trees & wellis he bilt hym a donioun, 

With multitude he hated for to tarie: 

For Pouerte was his secretarie, 

Sobre off his cheer & stable off his entent, 6208 

And in Ath^nes first to scoole he went. 

He was so myhti off auctorite, 

Rihtwisnesse & iustice to obserue, 

That rihtful iuges his sentence took at gre: 6212 

He coude his mouth & tunge so weel preserue. 

That in the temple onys off Mynerue, 

Withoutyn oth, onto his sentence. 

To that he saide the iuges gaff credence. 6216 

Poverty hates 
noise and 

Zenocrates was 
her disciple. 

6106 Moderate in all 
things, guided 
only hf reason. 


he loved soli- 
tary places and 
buUt him a 
retreat amidst 
trees and flow- 
ing water. 

He was known 
to be so up- 
right, that 
judges accepted 
his word with- 
out oath. 

6182. 2nd ofTI om. R. 6184. that] om. H. 

6185. is] om. R. 

6190. disturbaunce] p<rrturbaunce H. 6194. aj om. R. 

6199. so attempred was he H. 

6200. Pat Resoun H — manstried R. 

6206. hated] hate hym R. 
6213. so] ful R. 

6205. Amonge R. 

6209. to scole first R. 


Zenocrates and Diogenes 

[bk. I 

When king 
visited him, 

Asked why he He axcd was among gret audience, 
he answered' Whi he was solcyn ofF his daliaunce: 

that silence xy < - ., 

had never done flis answere was, that neuer tor silence 
him harm. ThoFuh Htil spekyng he felte no greuauwce, 6220 

Spech onavised causeth repentaunce; 
And rakil tuwges, for lak off refreynyng, 
To many a man hath be ful gret hyndryng. 

Diogenes also Diogenes, trewe heir and next allied 6224 

was a true T" Mr i i • i • 

heir of Poverty. 1 o wiliul pouert be lust enhentaunce, — 
littie'tun whkh For al richesse he pleynli hath diffied, 
alafnsTthe^^""^!^ was to hym so gret[e] encuwbraunce 
sun's rays. With worldH ttcsour to haue* alliaunce. 6228 

His duellyng made withynne a Htil tunwe, 
Which turned a-boute with concours off the sunne, 

HymselfF refresshyng with hete off Phebus 

bemys; ^ [p-??] 

For he was content, God wot, with ful lite. 6232 

Kyng Alisauwdre, that conquered rewmys, 
Cam ridyng doun, & gan hymselfF delite 
This philisophre to seen and visite, 
HymselfF sequestred sool from al the pres, 6236 

And cam alone to seen Diogenes. 

ProfFred to* hym gret richesse & tresour, 

Bad hym aske what thyng that he wolde, 

That myhte hym plese or doon to hym socour; 6240 

But ofF al that, he nothyng ne tolde. 

But praied hym ful lowli, that he sholde 

Nat drawe from hym ^at thyng, ageyn al riht, 

Which for to yiue lay nat in his myht. 6244 

" What thyng is that ?" quod Alisaundre ageyn, 
" I ha[ue] be conquest al ertheli tresour wonne." 
The philisophre seide he spak in veyn, 
"Thou hast," quod he, "no lordshep ofF the sonwe. 6248 
Thi shadwe lettith his bemys fro my tonne; 

and offered 
him great 
treasure, he 
said, "pray 
don't take 
from me that 
which you 
cannot give. 

"You have no 
lordship over 
the sun, and 
your shadow 
keeps his rays 
from me." 

6224. next3 om. R. 

6227. To him it was J, P, H 5 — an encombraunce R. 

6228. hauel hauen B. 

6231. hetej the heete H — hete off Phebus bemys3 wtti> the 

sunne beemys R. 

6235. to visite R. 6236. sequestred] requestrid R. 

6238. to] vnto B, R, J, P, H 5. 6241. ne] no R. 

6242. sholde] wolde H. 

6248. off] on R. 6249. lettist R. 

BK. l] 

Diogenes and Alexander 


And sithe thou hast no power off his Hht, 
I pray the freendli, forbarre me nat his siht." 

Thouh Alisaundre was myhti off puissaunce, 6252 

And al the world[e] hadde in his demeyne, 

Yit was his resoun vnder thobeisaunce 

OiFflesshli lustis fetrid in a cheyne; 

For in his persone will was souereyne, 6256 

His resoun bridled be sensualite, 

Troublyng the fredam ofF riht & equite. 

For where that will hath dominacioun 

In a prynce, which sholde sustene riht, 6260 

And parcial fauour oppressith his resoun, 

And trouthes title is bor doun with myht. 

And egall doom hath lost his cleer[e] lyht: 

Thouh for a sesoun thei sitte in hih[e] chaieres, 6264 

Ther fame shal fade withynne a fewe yeres. 

In this mater mak a comparisoun 

Twen Alisaundre and Diogenes: 

The ton endured but a short sesoun, 6268 

For that he loued werre more than pes; 

And for the tother was nat rech[e]les, 

But heeld hym content with gifFtis off Nature, 

Onto gret age his pouert dede endure. 6272 

Alisaundre was slay[e]n with poisoun. 

In his triumphes whan he dede excell; 

But in a tonne that lay ful lowe doun 

Diogenes drank watir off the well. 6276 

And off ther eende the difference to tell, 

Alisaundre with couetise was blent; 

The philisophre with litil was content. 

Blessid be pouert, that may endure longe, 6280 

Maugre the fraude & daunger off Fortune, 

Where-as kynges & emperour[e]s stronge 

In ther estat no while may contune. 

And off all vertues rekned in comune, 6284 

Tween indigence and gret habundaunce. 

Is a good mene content with suffisaunce. 

Alexander was 
mighty, his 
reason was 
fettered by 

and where will 
has domina- 
tion over truth, 
fame shall 

lasted but a 
short teasoQ 

and died by 

Diogenes lived 
to old age in 
his tun. 

Blessed be 
poverty, a 
mean between 
indigence and 
great wealth. 

6250. his] the R. 

6251. his] my R. 6258. Troublede R. 
6264. charis R. 

6267. Bitwene R. 6272. a gret R. 

6285. Bitwene R — gret] om. R. 


There is no Assurance in Riches 

[bk. I 

There is no For with grct plente men be nat assurid, 

riches; lords do AfFtiF thcF lust alway to lyue in ese; 6288 

not have every- a i i i i i • i 

thing to please And thouh that men gret tresour nan recurid, 
t em- With ther richesse thei feele many disese: 

Lordis ha[ue] nat all thynge that may hem plese; 
But hertili ioie, philisophres expresse, 6292 

Is grettest tresour tween pouert & richesse. 

Diogenes lived For this chapitle sheweth a figure, 

longer than . i-i i i • 

Priam, A maner liknesse and demonstraciouw, 

How Diogenes lengere dede endure 
Than myhti Priam or kyng Lamedoun: 
Texemplefie, in conclusiou^i, 
Ther is mor trust in vertuous symplesse, 
Than in presumyng olF vicious fals richesse. 

and Paris' and For thauouttic ofF Paris and Heleyne 

Helen 8 mis- 
brought all 
Troy to 

Brouhte al Troye to destruccioun; 

Pride & luxure were also menys tweyne 

Whi Grekis leide a siege to the touw, 

And fynal cause off ther confusioun, 

To outher parti losse off many a man, 

The ground conceyued whi first the werre gan. 




Priam fell 
from riches to 
poverty, from 
kingly honour 
to wretched- 

Hector was 

^ Lenvoye. 

THIS tragedie pitous & lamentable 
And dolerous to writen & expresse, 
That worthi Priaw, of kynges most notable, 
Was falle in pouert from* his gret richesse, 
Fro kyngli honour into wrechidnesse. 
Fro sceptre & crowne, & from his regalie 
To myschiefF brouht thoruh fals auoutrie. 

Was nat Fortune froward and deceyuable 

For to sufFre bi her doubilnesse. 

And bi hir cours, which euer is variable, 

That worthi Ector, flour off hih prowesse, 

Sholde onwarli, most famous off noblesse. 

Be slayn alias, cheeff stok off cheualrie, 6320 

For a quarell off fals auoutrie ? 

6288. ther lust] lust of hem R. 

6292. doth expresse R. 6293. bi twene R. 

6301. thauoutrie] the Auarice R. 6304. to] to fore R. 

6306. a] om. R. 6307. began R. 6309. &] or R. 

63 1 1, from] for B, for al H, J, H 5. 

6312. kyngli] knyhtly R. 6316. sufFre] suffre hir R. 



[p. 78] 

BK. l] 

The Story of Samson 


Agamenoun coumptid incomparable 

Among Grekis for trouthe & rihtwisnesse. 

To goueme most glorious and hable, — 6324 

Withynwe his paleis, the story berth witnesse, 

His wifF Clymestra thoruh hir cursidnesse 

Assentid was to moordre hym off en vie, 

For thoccasioun off fals auoutrie. 6328 

Ye noble pryncis, conceyueth how chaungable 

Is worldli honour thoruh onstedfastnesse! 

Seeth off kyng Pryam the glori was onstable; 

Fix in your mynde this mateer doth inpresse, 6332 

And your corages knyhtH doth vp dresse, 

Ageyn all titles holdeth chaumpartie 

Which appertene to fals auoutrie. 

murdered, and 
all through 

Princes, resist 
all things that 
appertain to 

[Off mighty Sampson whiche tolde his counsaile 
to Dalida wherby he was deceived^ ^ 


HO was mor myhti or strong than Samp- 


Non mor delyuer, ^t Bible berth witnesse: 

Withoute wepne he slouh a fers leoun. 

And for his enmyes to hym dede expresse 

His vnkouth problem, anon he gan hym dresse 

Geyn Philistes, and slouh off hem thretti. 

To paie his promys spoiled hem bi and bi. 

His problem was, the text thus rehersyng, 

Afftir the lettir in veray sothfastnesse: 

" Ther cam out mete off a thyng etyng, 

And fro the stronge ther wente out suetnesse." 

But his wiff, off froward doubilnesse, 

Which euer wrouhte to his disauail, 

Off worthi Sampson tolde the counsail: 

" W^hat is mor strong than is a leoun, 

Or mor soote than hony in tastyng?" — 

But women haue* this condicioun, 

Off secre thynges whan thei haue knowlechj-ng, 

Thei bollyn inward, ther hertis ay fretyng: 

Outher thei musten deien or discure. 

So brotil is off custum ther nature. 







6322. counted R. 6337. Non] Nor H — Bible] ston- H. 
6341. Ayens R. 6352. haue] han B, R. 
6354. boyllyng inwardis R. 

^MS. J. leaf 33 recto. 

Samson un- 
armed slew a 
lion and mads 
a riddle on his 

"Out of the 
eater came 
meat, sweet- 
ness out of the 

But his wife 
disclosed the 
(women must 
die if they 
cannot tell 

It was, that 
bees made 
honey in the 
head of the 
dead lion. 

Samson's wife 
wheedled it out 
of him, 

and then told 
the Philistines. 
A plague on 
weeping wives 
who cannot 
hold their 

1 80 Samson and his Riddle [bk. i 

This was the cas: the leouw that was ded, 

Ageyn the sonne gapyng lay vpriht; 

A swarm off been entred in his hed, 

Off whom ther cam hony anon riht. 6360 

And whan Sampson therofF hadde a siht, 

He fantasied in his opynyouw 

Ful secreH this proposiciouw, 

As ye han herd, and gan it foorth purpose, 6364 

That PhiHstes to hym it sholde expowne, 

Vnder a peyne the trouthe to hym onclose. 

But with his wifFthei preueH gan rowne; 

And she on Sampson gan compleyne & frowne, 6368 

And feynyngli so longe vpon hym weepe, 

That he nat coude his couwsail from hir keepe. 

Which whan she kneuh, she made no tarieng. 

But pleyn and hool she gan it to declare. 6372 

Such double trust is in ther wepyng; 

To keepe ther tunges womwen ca« nat spare. 

Such wepyng wyues, euel mut thei fare! 

And all husbondis, I pray God yiue hem sorwe, 6376 

That to hem tell ther couwseil eue or morwe. 

yo^J." said'°''^ She told hem hool, she tolde it hem nat halff; 
^u'"'°i"c ^'" And Sampson thanne gan vpon hem smyle, 

though Samson ,,,,.„ *^ i ii i i • • irr 

was very Yiit ye nat hadde herd it m my calit, 6380 

rather' afraid of Ye sholdc nat a fouwde it a gret while." 

\YhQ jyjay be seur, wher women list begile! — 
Thouh bookis Sampson off strengthe so comende, 
Yit durste he nat ageyn his wifF offende. 6384 

This myhti Sampson dede also his peyne, 

Thre hundred foxis onys that he fond. 

He took her tailes, knet hem tweyne & tweyne, 

And amyd euerich he sette a feer-brond; 6388 

And as thei ran in Philistes lond, 

So furiousli vp and doun thei wente, 

That thei her frutis & ther vynes brente. 

He killed a Eek be tresoun whan he was onys bouwde 6392 

thousand men __.. , t i i i i 

with the jaw- With newe cordis as he lay and sleep, 

bone of an ass, nni ii ii'iio rj 

1 her caw thr^ thousand, which that Sampson tounde, 

He tied the 
tails of foxes 
to firebrands, 
and set them 
running in the 

6363. secreli] sikirly R. 6368. on] in R. 
6377. eue] euen R, even H — or] & H. 
6380. ye] she R — it] om. R, H, P. 
6389. ran] ronne H. 6391. frute H. 6392. 

Eek] Also R. 



Samson and Delilah 



[p- 79] 



Tamoordred hym, or that he took keep: 

He brak his bondis, and vp anon he leep, 

Off an asse [he] cauhte a chaule-bon, 

And a thousand he slouh off hem anon. 

He gan to feynte & hadde a sodeyn lust 

For to drynke, fadid face and cheer; 

And God sente hym to staunche with his thrust 

From thassis toth watir cristal cleer, 

Which that sprang out large as a ryuer, 

Refresshid his sperit, which afforn gan dull, 

Til that he hadde off watir drunke his full. 

Afftir he wente to Gazam the cite, 

Mong all his enmyes, that were off gret myht, 

To his plesauwce where he dede see 

A ful fair woman, lay with hire al nyht, 

And on the morvi^e, longe or it was lyht, 

Maugre the wach, vpon his shuldres squar 

The gatis stronge vp to an hill he bar. 6412 

And in a vale* which callid was Soret 

Ful hoote he loued Dalida the faire, 

On whom his herte was ful sore set, 

She koude hir feyne so meek & debonaire, 6416 

Make hym such cheer whan that hym list repaire. 

But I dar calle hir Dalida the double, 

Cheeff roote & cause off al his mortal trouble. 

He neuer drank wynes whiht nor red, 6420 

Off Nazarees such is the goueraunce; 

Rasour nor sheer touchid neuer his hed. 

For in long growyng stondeth ther plesaunce. 

And this Sampson, most myhti off substauTice, 6424 

Hadde al his force be influence off heuene, 

B[y] heris wexyng, that were in nouwbre seuene. 

It was ful secre in euery manys siht, 

Among peeple told for an vnkouth thyng, 6428 

Wheroff Sampson hadde so gret myht. 

Outward shewed bi force off his werkyng. 

But Dalida with hir flateryng 

6395. ToamoordreR. 6399. began R. 6403. that] om. R. 

6405. Gazon R. 6407. Amonge R. 6408. that he R. 

6409. ful] OOT. H. 6410. or] er H. 6411. wach] wachis R. 

6412. vp to] vpon H. 6413. vale]vaIeiB — was]isR. 

6415. On] In R. 6421. such] which R. 

6424. substaunce] puyssaunce H. 6427. ful] om. R. 

6430. werkyng] wrytyng R. 

from which he 
drank dear 

And he went 
to Gaza, where 
he visited a 
harlot and 
carried oflf the 
town gates. 

Ddikh lived ] 
the vale of 

Samson never 
drank wine or 
cut his hair. 

But Delilah 
found out the 
secret of his 


Samson and Delilah 

[bk. I 

Although fair 
of face, she 
was like a 
snake hiding 
under flowers. 

He was honest 
and faithful; 
she was other- 
wise, and wore 
many colours, 

and shaved off 
his hair. 

Nothing is 
worse than a 
secret enemy, 
especially if it 
be one's own 

The Philistines 
put out Sam- 
son's eyes and 
compelled him 
to grind their 

Wolde neuer stynte, enqueryng euer among, 6432 
Til that she kneuh wherbi he was so strong. 

She lich a serpent daryng vnder flour-fs, 

Or Ilk a werm that wrotith on a tre, 

Or Hch an addere off manyfold colourifs, 6436 

Riht fressh apperyng and fair vpon to see: 

For shrowdid was hir mutabilite 

With lowHheed[e] and a fair pretense 

OfF trewe menyng vnder fals apparence. 6440 

He mente trouthe, & she was variable, 

He was feithful, and she was ontrewe, 

He was stedfast, and she was onstable, 

His trust ay oon; she loued thynges newe: 6444 

She wered colour^s off many dyuers hewe, 

In stede off bleu, which stedfast is and cleene; 

She loued chaunges off many dyuers greene. 

But to the purpos for to condescende, 6448 

Whan she off Sampson kneuh al the preuite, 

Hir falsheed shortli for to comprehende. 

She made hym slepe ful sofftli on hir kne; 

And a sharp rasour afftir that took she, 6452 

Shoof off his her, large and off gret lengthe, 

Wherbi, alias, he loste al his strengthe. 

Damage is erthe is non so greuous, 

As an enmy which that is secre, 6456 

Nor pestilence non so pereilous 

As falsnesse where he is preue. 

And speciali in femynyte; 

For yiff wyues be fouwden variable, 6460 

Wher shal husbondis fynden other stable ? 

Thus Sampson was be Dalida deceyued. 

She coude so weel flatre, forge and feyne, — 

Which Philistes, whan thei ha[ue] conceyued, 6464 

Onwarli bond hym in a myhti cheyne, 

Cast hym in prisoun, put out his eyen tweyne. 

And off despiht, afftir, as I fynde. 

At ther queernys maad hym for to grynde. 6468 

6436. eddre R. 

6438. shrowdid] froward R. 

6454. his] his gret R. 6457. Nor] Ne R. 6458. he] it R. 

6464. whan] whan t)at H. 

6467. off despiht afftir] aftir of despite wryten R. 

6468. ther] the R — maad] thei made R. 

BK. l] 

Samson's Death. The Envoy 


Thei made a feste statli and solempne, 

Whan the! hadde al this tresoun wrouht; 

And to rebuke hym, scome hym & condempne, 

Blynde Sampson was afom hem brouht: 6472 

Which thyng ful sore greued hym in his thouht, 

Caste he wolde in his preue mynde 

Tauenge his blyndnesse sum maner weie fynde. 

And whan he hadde thus bethouht hym longe, 6476 

He made a child hym preueH to leede 

To tweyne postis, large, squar and stronge, 

Enbraced hem, or any man took heede, 

And gan to shake hem, withoute feer or dreede, 6480 

So sturdili among his fomen all. 

That the temple is vpon hem fall. 

Thus he was auengid on his foon, [p, 80] 

WTiich that falsli dede ageyn hym stryue, 6484 

Slouh in his deieng, God wot, many on 

Mo than he dede euer afForn his lyue. 

And he was also, the date to descryue, 

In Israel, the Bible is myn auctour, 6488 

Twenti yeer ther iuge and gouernour. 


THIS tragedie yeueth in euidence 
To whom men shal ther counseil out discure; 
For rakell tunges, for lak off prouidence, 6492 

Ha[ue] do gret harm to many a creature: 
Whan harm is doon, ful hard is to recure. 
Beth war be Sampson, your counsail weel to keepe, 
Thouh Dalida compleyne, crie and weepe. 6496 

Whilom Sampson, for manhod & prudence, 
Hadde Israel in gouemaunce and cure. 
Daunted leouns thoruh his magnyficence. 
Made on a thousand a disconfiture; 6500 

But his moste pereilous auenture. 
Was whan he lay with Dalida to slepe, 
Which falsli coude compleyne, crie and weepe. 
Ye noble Pryncis, conceyueth the sentence 6504 

Off this story, remembrid in scripture, 
How that Sampson off wilful necligence 

6476. Whan] om. H. 6477. to] om. R. 6480. bi gan R. 
6485. ful many R. 64S6. euer he did R. 
6490. in] an R. 6497. Whilom] Sumtyme R, 

they made 
mock of 
him at a 
festival in 
their temple, 

but he upset 
the pillars anJ 
brought the 
temple down 
on their heads. 

Thus dying he 
dew more men 
than he ever 
did before in 
his life. 

This tragedy 
shews that men 
ought not to 
teli their 

Beware of 


Princes, keep 
your secrets; 
let Delilah 
complain and 
weep if she 

184 Bochas and the Malice of Women [bk. i 

Was shaue & shorn, difFacId his figure; 
Keep your conceitis vnder couerture, 6508 

SufFre no nyhtwerm withynne your couwsail kreepe, 
Thouh DaHda compleyne, crie and weepe! 

A chapitle of Bochas discrjmyng l)e malis of wom- 

My author T\ /f YN auctowf Bochflj" reioishcd in his lyue, 

Bochas was ' * '  "^ ' 


pleased to de- JL tX (I dar nat seyn, wher it was comewdable) 6512 
maiile V Off these women the malice to descryue 
donTkiTow ^ Generali, and writ — it is no fable — 
rommendlbr' Off ther natute how thei be variable, 
ofhimornot. And how thct malice best bc cuidence 6516 

Is knowe to hem that haue experience. 

He said that Thei Can afForce hem, alday men may see, 

try to keep Be synguler fredam and dominacioun 

don and'"erk" Ouer men to ha[ue]n souereynte, 6520 

IrtThafnaLre And kcepc hem lowe vnder subiecciouw. 

thenf''"'*"^ Ful* sore laboure in ther opynyouw, 

Bi sotil crafFt that thyng to recure, 

Which is to hem denyed off Nature. 6524 

They massage Bochas afFcrmeth, & halt it for no tale, 
wrinkled faces YifF thci wante frcsshncssc off colour, 
And han ther face iawne, swart & pale. 
Anon thei doon ther dilligent labour 6528 

In such a neede to helpe and do socour, 
Ther reuelid skyn abrod to drawe & streyne, 
Froward frounces to make hem smothe & pleyne. 
and apply oint- Yiff no tcdnesse in ther chekis be, 6532 

ments to make -_ ,,. ,, ,, ii- 

their cheeks look JN or no Iclics deiectabie and white, 

there^il nodose. Than thei take, tencrece ther beute. 
Such oynementis as may most delite; 
Wher Kynde faileth the surplusage tacquite, 6536 
Thei can be crafFt so for hemsilfF dispose, 
Shewe rednesse thouh ther be no rose. 

They use hot And for to shcwc ther face cleer and briht, 

spices and roots.... , . . . 

to clear their With hootc spices and oyuementis soote 6540 

complexions, and>T^i • i rr^ ^' c ^ "l ^ 

if their bosoms 1 hei Can be craitt cou7mrtete a-nht, 

are too flat or 
too full, 

6510. Thouh that R. 6516. best] kest R. 

6522. Ful]AndB,J, Hs. 6527. face] faces R, H, P, R 3. 

6529. do] to R. 6533. delytable R. 

• vommen B — Same heading in J, leaf 34 b. 

BK. l] 

Bocbas on the Malice of Women 


Take in such cas many an holsum roote: 
Wher Kynde faileth, cunnyng can do boote, — 
YifF ther brestis vp to hie hem dresse, 6544 

Thei can ful weel thenbosyng doun represse. 

And yifF thei been to sofFte or to tendre, 

Thei ha[ue] cunnyng to make hem hard & rouwde. 

Ther corsifnesse thei can eek make sclendre 6548 

With poynant sausis that been in phesik founde; 

Ther sotil wittis in sleihtis so habounde, 

Thyng that is courbid or wrong in mennys siht 

To make it seeme as it wente vpriht. 6552 

Thei han strictories to make ther skyn to shyne, 

Wrouht subtili off gommes & off glaire; 

Craffti lies to die ther her citryne, 

Distillid watres, to make hem seeme faire, 6556 

Fumygaciouns to rectefie the aiere, 

Stomachers and fressh confecciouns 

To represse fals exallaciouws. 

Off alle these thynges Bochas hath most 

despiht, [p. 81] 6560 

Whan these vekkes, ferre Ironne in age, 
Withynne hemsilff han veynglori and dehht 
For to farce and poppe ther visage, 
Lich a[s] peyntour[s] on an old ymage 6564 

Leyn ther* colours, riche and fressh off hewe, 
Wermfrete stokkes to make hem seeme newe. 

Ther slak[ke] skyn be craft abrod is streynyd, 
Lik an orenge fro the galei brouht; 6568 

Riche relikes aboute ther neckkis* cheynyd, 
Gold vpon gold, with perle & stonys wrouht. 
And that ther colour outward appeire nouht 
With wynd or sonne, which sholde hew steyne or 

fade, 6572 

For onkjmde heetis thei vse citrynade. 

6543. can] may R. 6546. And] am. R — been] om. R. 

6548. corsiousnesse R — eek] also R. 

6549. punyaunt sawis R. 

6550,51 are transposed in R. 6553. 2nd to] om. R. 
6555. die]dihtR. 6556. watir R. 

6564. as peyntours] a peyntour R, J, H 5. 

6565. Leyn ther] Leith his B, R, J, H 5, They lein P, Thei 
lay R3. 

6569. nekkis] necke is B, nekke is J, H5, necke is P. 

6570. perlys R. 6571. appeire] appereth R. 

they fashion 
them to their 
liking. They 
reduce their 
flesh by 
strong drugs, 
and whatever 
is crooked 
they cause to 

They use glair 
to make their 
skin shine, 
alkalies to 
bleach their 
hair, fumiga- 
tions for dis- 

Bochas is most 
scornful when 
these old vecks 
paint and pop 
their faces, like 
craftsmen lay- 
ing colours on 
worm eaten 

They stretch 
their loose skin 
till itresemblei 
an orange, 
hang their 
necks with 
gold and gems, 
use citrinade 
when their 
faces are 

1 86 Bochas on the Malice of Women [bk. i 

t"tting new^""' What sholdc I wHtc al ther vnkouth desires, 
devices to Sumtvme frovvard, suwtyme debonaire; 

make them- -' - . 

selves look like Ymagynyng sundry iressh attires, 6576 

Contreued ofF newe many thousand paire; 
Dyuers deuyses to make hem seeme faire 
In ther apport, be couwtirfet liknesse 
For to rassemble Venus the goddesse. 6580 

hlV^a^new OfF On deuys thei holde hem nat appaied, 
gown every day, Xhei mut cch day han a strauwge weede; 

and their hearts , -' . • 

bleed if one is Yiff any bc than othir bet* arraied, 

than another. Off froward gruchchywg thei feele ther herte 

Each considers i i j , „ 

herself fairest blcedc: 6584 

her'mir?oi-" '" For cuerich thynkith veraiH in deede, 

Amorwe prieng withynwe a merour briht, 
For to be fairest in hir owen siht. 

make eyes"at Thei cau ther cyeu and ther lookis dresse 6588 

men or pretend f o drawc folk be slcihtis to ther lure; 
always get And sumwhile bi ther frowardnesse 

what they want. . i r 11 1 • m 

And reyned dauTzger, thei can orr men recure 
What-euer thei Hst, such is ther auenture. 6592 

Ageyn whos sleihtis force nor prudence 
May nat auaile to make resistence. 

Jnd'feigne?m- With constrcynt wepyng & forgid flaterie, 

ness bring many gubtil spech[e] farcid with plesaunce, 6596 

snare. And many fals dissemeHd maladie — 

Thouh in ther hertis thei feele no greuauwce — 
And with ther couert sobre daliaunce, 
Thouh vndirnethe the double serpent dare, 6600 

Ful many a man thei ha[ue] brouht in ther snare. 

Kn oTmSr-' O suet[e]nesse ful off mortalitel 
taiity, their Serpcntync with a plesaunt visage I 

privilege islto ^ ^ , / . • r , rr 1 • 

daunt and op- Unstable loie tui ott aduersite; 6604 

Key cloose^" O most chauwgable off herte & off corage! 
In thi desirs hauyng this auauntage, 
What-euer thou list to dauwten and oppresse, — 
Such is thi fraunchise, Bochas berth witnesse. 6608 

6577. many a R. 6580. to Venus R. 

6583. bet than othir B, R, J. 

6589. folkis R. 

6590. sumtyme R. 6593. nor^ ne R. 
6594. to] forto R. 6597. many a R. 

BK. l] 

Bochas on the Malice of Women 


Off nature thel can in many wise 

Off myhti geauntis the power weel aslake: 

What wit off man can compass* or deuise, 

Ther sleihti wilis dar it vndertake, 6612 

And, yiff hem list, theroff an eende make. 

Fro this conceit, who-so that discorde, 

A thousand stories the reuers can recorde.* 

Remembre first, how Hercules most strong 6616 

Was brouht be women to his destruccioun; 

The queen Clymestra dede also gret wrong 

To moordre hir lord kyng Agamenoun. 

Dalida betraished also Sampsoun; 6620 

Amphiorax sane doun deepe into hell. 

Because his wiff his couwsail dede out tell. 

It nedith nat to make mencioun, 

Thouh Phillis deide thoruh inpacience 6624 

Off longe abidjmg off hir Demephoun, 

Nor how that Nisus, kyng off Magarence, 

Was bi his douhtres cursid violence 

Onwarli moordred, in Ouide it is told, 6628 

Whan from his hed she stal the her off gold. 

Bochas rehersith off wyues many on. 

Which in ther werkyng wer ful contrarious; 

But among all, he writith ther was on. 

Queen off Assirie and wiff to kyng Nynus, 

And be discent doubter to Neptunus, 

Semiramis callid in hir daies. 

Which off all men wolde make assaies. 6636 

She nouther spared straunger nor kynreede; 

Hir owne sone was nat set a-side. 

But with hym hadde knowlechyng in deede. 

Off which the sclaundre wente abrod ful wide. 6640 

For with on man she koude nat a-bide. 

Such a fals lust was vpon hir fall. 

In hir corage to haue a-do with all. 

To all that 
the wit of man 
can devise they 
are ready to 
apply their 

how Hercules, 
Samson, and 
many more 
men were 
brought to 
by women. 

Nor is the 
scale turned 
by Phyllis'* 
think of 
Scylla, who 
her father. 


6632 wife. 

who had to do 
with all men, 
even with her 
own 100. 

6610. the] ther R. 661 1. compassen B. 

6613. an ende ther of make R. 6615. recorded accorde B, J. 

66i6. first] om. R. 6618. Chymestra R. 

6621. deepe] om H — depe doun to R. 6624. Impacience H. 

6625, Off] For R. 6626. Nor] Nethir R — Margarence R. 

6630. rehersith] writith H. 6636. make] take R. 

6637. nor] no R. 6641. koude] myht H. 

4642. vpon] on R. 


Lydgate reproves Bochas 

But it wearies And treufelll it doth my witt appall 

me to rehearse y-^f^. , . i i -i 

the«e things. (JiT this matcer to make rehersaile; 

[bk. I 
[p. 82] 6644 

It is not right 
to condemn all 
women because 
one or two 
were at fault. 

It is no resoun tatwiten women all, 

Thouh on or too whilom dede faile. 

It sittith nat, nor it may nat auaile, 6648 

Hem to rebuke that parfit been & goode, 

Ferr out off ioynt thouh sum other stoode. 

The riche rube nor the saphir ynde 

Be nat appeired off ther fressh beute, 6652 

Thouh among stony s men couwtirfetis fynde; 

And semblabli, thouh sumwe women be 

Nat weel gouerned afftir ther degre, 

It nat difFaceth nor doth no violence 6656 

To hem that neuer dede in ther liff offence. 

The white lelie nor the holsum rose, 

Nor violettis spred on bankis thikke, 

Ther suet[e]nesse, which outward thei onclose, 6660 

Is nat appeired with no weedis wikke; 

And thouh that breris, and many crokid stykke 

Growe in gardyns among the floures faire, 

Thei may the vertu off herbis nat appaire. 6664 

And I dar seyn, that women vertuous 

Been in the[r] vertu off price mor comendable, 

That ther be sumwe reknyd vicious, 

And off ther lyuyng fouwde also onstable. 6668 

Goode women auhte nat be partable 

Off ther trespas nor ther wikked deede, 

But mor comendid for ther womanheede. 

What was What is appeired off Hester the meeknesse, 6672 

orcfytemnLtVa Thouh that Scilla was sturdi & vengable? 
to Aiceste? ^^^ ^^ Alccste the parfit stedfastnesse 
Is nat eclipsed, but mor acceptable, 
Thouh Clymestra was founde variable; — 6676 

Lik as whan cloudis ther blaknesse doun declyne, 
Phebus mor cleer doth with his bemys shyne. 

6646. tatwiten] to edwiten R — women] om. R. 
6653. among] ageyn H. 

6660. ou ward thei] thei vnward R, thei outward H. 

6661. Is] It is R. 6662. many a R. 
6666. Been] Seen R. 

6670. nor] ne of R. 6674. Alciste R. 

6676. Thouh] Thowh that R — Clytemestra H, Chtemnestra 


6678. wi't^ his beemys doth R. 

Rubies and 
sapphires are 
not the less 
beautiful be- 
cause there are 

nor are lilies 
and roses the 
less sweet 
though briars 
and crooked ' 
sticks grow 
among them. 

We should 
prize virtuous 
women the 
more because 
there are also 
vicious ones. 

BK. i] Good Women mustn't mind what Bochas says 189 

Ful many on ha[ue] cleene been al ther lyue, 

Ondefouled kept ther virgynyte; 

And summe coude ageyn alle vices stryue 

Hem to conserue In parfit chastite, 

Deuoid ofFchaung and mutabilite: 

Thouh sum other ha[ue] therageyn trespacid. 

The laude off hem is therwith nat diffacid. 

And who that euer oflF malice list accuse 

These celi women touchyng variaunce, 

Lat hem remembre, and in ther wittis muse, 

Men be nat ay stable in ther constaunce. 

In this world heer is no perseueraunce; 

Chaung is ay founde in men & women bothe, 

On outher parti, be thei neuer so wrothe. 

No man sholde the vertuous atwite 

In stede off hym that dede the trespace; 

Nor for a theeff a trewe man endite. 

Nor for the gilti an innocent manace. 

Goode and wikked abide in eueri place; 

Ther price, ther lak, lat hem be reseruyd 

To outher parti as thei han disseruyd. 

Thouh John Bochas in his opynyoun 

Ageyn[es] women list a processe make, 

Thei that be goode off condicioun 

Sholde ageyn hym no maner quarel take. 

But lihtli passe, and ther sleuys shake; 

For ageyn goode myn auctour* nothyng made, 

Who can conceyue theffect off this balade. 

Many hare 
lived all tbeir 
lives in 

chastity: what 
if others have 



And let the 
accusers of 
these poor 
6680 remember 
that men 
are no better. 



One does not 
indict an 
honest man 
for a thief. 

6yoo ^""^ although 
John Bochas 
abused bad 
women, those 
who are good 
may shake 
their sleeves 
and pass 
lightly on. 



^ Thexcus of Bochas for his vriting agejm mys- 
govem[ed] vommen in stede of lenvoye.^ 

YE women all, that shal beholde & see 
This chapitle and the processe reede, — 
Ye that be goode founde in your degre, 
And vertuous bothe in thouht and deede, 
What Bochas sei[e]th, tak[e] ye noon heede; 

6679. cleene] clear H. 6683. and] & of R. 6688. ii\] om. R. 

6691. in] on H. 6698. lat hem be] lete be R. 

6705. myn auctour] he B, H, J, R, P, H 5. 

6708. the] this R. 6709. founde] stonde R. 

6710. bothe] beeth R — in dede R. 671 1. ye] ther of R. 

* The same beading in J. " This bala'd declareth that no goode 
woman ouhte off riht to take A quarell ayens lohn Bochas {jowh 
he write a processe ayens hem ^at he mysgou/rned." MS. R. 
leaf 41 recto. 

Good women 
should pay no 
attention to 
what Bochas 
says. He 
rebuked bad 
ones only, 
and so 

190 Only bad Women are scolded (^bk. i 

For his writyng, yifF it be discernyd, 6712 

Is nat ageyn hem that be weel gouernyd. 

thii chapter pOF thouh it fall that oon, or too, or three 

doe« not con- tttii \ r r^ -i r ^ t 

cern well-be- hia[uej doon amyssc, as therrore God forbeede 
at all. That other women which stable & feithful be 6716 

Sholde be atwited off ther ongoodliheede, 
But mor comendid for ther womanheede: 
For this scripture, yifF it be concernyd, 
Is ageyn hem that be nat weel gouernyd. 6720 

A galled jade A galHd hors, the* sooth yfFye list see, [p. 83] 

touch, but good Who touchith hym, boweth his bak for dreede; 

women have no • i i • i ... 

need to be And who IS knowe ontrewe m his cuntre, 
sensitive. Shrynkith his hornis whan men speke of falsheede. 6724 

But goode women ha[ue] ful litil neede 
To gruchch or frowne whan the trouthe is lernyd, " 
T[h]ouh ther be sumwe which be nat weel gouernyd. 

It is the bad QfF Dalida and queen Pasiphe, 6728 

scolded. Thouh doubiluesse dede ther bridil leede, 

Yit off Lucrece and Penolope 
The noble fame abrood doth shyne and spreede: 
Out off good corn men may sum darnel weede, 6732 
Women rebuke, in ther difFautis wernyd,* 
And nat touche hem that be weel gouernyd. 

[Off mighti pirrus that slouh pollicene which for his 
pride and auoutrye deied in pouerte/ slayn atte 
last bi Horestes.3 ^ 

Among a com- TJ OCHAS musyng in his remembrauwce, 

pany of weep- r\ . i • i i • i • r 

ing princes, A-* And considrcd m his rantasie 6736 

The onseur trust off worldli variaunce. 
Off men & women the chauwg and the folic, 
The same tyme he sauh a cuwpanye 

6713. ayens R. 6716. which^ which Jjat R — feithfiill & 
stable H. 

6720. ayens R. 

6721. the] this veray B — the sooth yff ye list see] this verrey 
soth in deede H, })is is v^rray sothe in R. 

6724. his] ow!. R. 6727. which]l)atH. 6728. and]&ofR. 
6733. rebuke] rebukid H, rebuked R 3 — in] of H — diffautis] 
defaute R — wernyd] quernyd B, J, quernyde R, wernyd Hi 
6737. off] & R. 

^MS. J. leaf 35 recto. 

BK. l] 

Pyrrbus, Son of Achilles 

Off myhti pryncis, ful pitousli wepyng, 6740 

To hym appeere ther fortune compleynyng. 

Among other that put hemsilff in pres, 

Off myhti Pirrus first he hadde a siht, 

That was the sone off worthi Achilles, 6744 

Among Grekis the moste famous knyht, 

Most comendid off manhod & off myht, 

Sone and next heir, [as] bookis specefie, 

Off Pelleus kyng off Thesalie. 6748 

This Achilles, ful manli off his herte, 

Hurt off Ector, and his wounde greene, 

Slouh Ector afftir or he dede aduerte. 

The which Achilles, for loue off Polliceene, 6752 

Bi compassyng off Eccuba the queene, 

Vnder trete this Grekis champeoun 

Was slayn off Paris withynne Troie tou«. 

Whos deth tauenge Pirrus in his teene, 6756 

Furiousli, with face ded and pale, 

Slouh afftirward the said[e] Polliceene, 

And djsmembrid al on pecis smale, 

Which for to heere is a pitous tale, 6760 

That a knyht so vengable was in deede 

To slen a maide, quakyng in hir dreede. 

He koude for ire on hir no merci haue; 

But with his suerd, most furious & wood, 6764 

Merciles vpon his fadres graue, 

Lik a tirant he shadde hir chast[e] blood. 

The deede horrible diffacid his knyhthod. 

That to this day the sclaundre & the diffame 6768 

Be newe report reboundeth on his name. 

Poetis seyn, and speciali Guide 

Writ, whan Grekis fro Troie sholde saile, 

How ther shippis ban anker* dede ride, 67-2 

Off ther purpos which longe made hem faile. 

But in this while, he maketh rehersaile, 

Out off therthe, manacyng off cheers, 

Off Achilles an ymage dede appeere. 6776 

6741. appeere] appered R. 6742. in] om. R. 
6747. as] om. H. 6759. al] hir R. 
6763. forire]ofn. R. 6767. The] l)at H. 
6768. difFame] fame R. 

6772. ban anker] bananker B, an hankre R, bi an anker J, 
P, H s. 


Pyrrhus, son 
of Achilles, 
appeared to 

Achille* slew 
Hector, and 
Paris Achaies, 
when he came 
to Troy for 
love of Pdyi- 
ena, whom 
Pyrrhus after- 
wards dismem- 

on his father's 
grave, a hor- 
rible deed. 

Poets say that 
Achilles af>- 
[>eared to the 
Greeks before 
they sailed 
from Troy, 

192 The Cruelty of Pyrrhus [j&vl. i 

demanding Xo Grckis saldc with a dedli face, 

that they make ,,_ ^ , , , „ 1 • * 

a sacrifice of 1 teclc wecl myn honour & my glorie, 
atone for his And my noblcssc ful lihtli foorth dooth pace, 
mur er. Onkyndc peeple, out of your memorie, 6780 

Which bi me hadde your conquest & victorie. 
Your deuer doth Polliceene to take. 
And on my graue a sacrefise to make. 

How she died With hir blood looke ye spare nouht 6784 

18 told m Ovid. _, -11 1 

lo sprynge it round aboute my sepulture; 

Thus blood for blood with vengauwce shal be bouht, 

And for my deth, the deth she mut endure." 

And hool the maner off this auenture, 6788 

And how she deied in hir maydenheed, 

Methamorphoseos, the processe ye may reed. 

Pyrrhus was In hasti vengauwce set was al his ioie, 

thirsty; he slew With thrust onstaunchid Troian blood to sheede; 6792 

carried off He slouh PHam, the worthi kyng off Troie, 

Andromache. ^^j j^^^ q^.^^^ ^j^j^ ^^^ ^^ j^j^ j^^j^ 

Andromecha* — the story ye may reede — 

Wed did hir, and afFtir in certeyne 6796 

Be hym she hadde worthi sonys tweyne. 

He also became But in repairyug hom to his cuntre, 

sook An'drom- As Eolus dede his shippis dryue, 

Hermione, I fyudc he was a pirat off the se; 6800 

And into Grece whan he dede aryue, 

Fortune onwarli gan ageyn hym stryue: 

Forsook his wifF, leet hir lyue alone, 

Took a-nother callid Hermyone. 6804 

Orestes' wife, Which was that tyme ioyned in mariage [p. 84] 

by force. The „ „ rr A if tJ 

reward of lo rlorcstes, soue oiT Agamenoun; 

aiwayTsudden And hc, alas, off wilful louys rage, 

fortu^ne°' ""*" Took hir be force to his possessiouw. 6808 

But off auoutrie folwith this guerdouw, 
Sodeyn deth, pouerte or shame. 
Open disclaundr^, gret myscheeff or diffame. 

6778, 80, 81. gloire, memoire, victoire B. 

6779. dooth] do H. 

6781. your conquest had H. 6787. she] ye R. 
6795. Andromecha] Andromada B, J. 
6799. Eolus] solus R. 6802. began R. 
6809. auoutrie] Auentwre R — this] his R. 
681 1, disclauwdr^] Sclaundre R. 

BK. l] 

Canace and Mac are us 

Eek in his tyme this Pirrus, as I reede, 6812 

Fill into myscheefF and gret pouerte; 
And with such meyne as he dede leede, 
He was a rouere, and robbed on the se. 
. And as poetis reherse, ye may see, 6816 

Off such robbyng be sclaundre &* diffame 
This woord Pirat off Pirrus took the name. 

And as the story afftir doth deuise, 

The said Horestes gan secreli espie 6820 

Wher that Pirrus dede sacrefise 

Toforn Apollo, that god to magnefie. 

Ful onwarli Horestes off enuie 

Took a sharp suerd or Pirrus coude aduerte 6824 

Wher that he stood, & roof hym thoruh the herte. 

This was the fyn off Pirrus in substaunce, 

For al his pride and gret presumpcioun. 

Off fals auoutrie folwith this vengaunce: 6828 

Losse off sum membre, pouert or prisoun. 

Or hatful sclaundre bi sum occasioun. 

Or sodeyn deth, shortli in sentence, 

Compleet in Pirrus be ful cleer euidence. 6832 


P>rrhni fdl 
into poverty 
before he died, 
and the word 
pirate is 
derived from 
bis name. 

Finally he was 
slain by 
Orestes before 
the altar of 

That was his 
deserved end; 
for be was aa 

[^Ofif Machaire and his suster Canace.J ^ 

AFFTIR this Pirrus cam Canace the faire. 
With teres* distillyng from hir eyen tweyne, 
And hir brother, that callid was Machaire; 
And bothe thei gan ful pitousli compleyne, 6836 

That Fortune gan at hem so disdeyne, 
Hyndryng ther fate be woful auenture 
Toiichyng ther loue, which was ageyn nature. 

He was hir brother and hir loue also, 6840 

As the story pleynli doth declare; 

And in a bed thei lay eek bothe too, 

Resoun was non whi thei sholde spare: 

But loue that causith wo and eek weelfare, 6844 

Gan ageyn kynde so straungeli deuise, 

That he hir wombe made sodenli tarise. 

6812. Eek] Also R. 6817. &] & be B, R. 

6832. MS. R omits lines I. 6833 to II, 749. — Compleet] 

Compleynt H. 
6834. With teres] Teris B (Witi> ter« H, R 3, with teares P). 
6836. fuQom. J. 

^MS. J. leaf 35 verso. 

After Pyrrhus, 
Canace and her 
brother Maca- 
reus appeared 
to Bochas com- 
plaining pite- 

They loved one 
another against 

194 Canace and Macareus []bk. i 

*nd she had a And fynali, myii auctour berth witnesse, 
which eiceiied A child shc haddc bi hir owne brother, 6848 

ID eau y. Which excelHd in fauour and fairnesse; 
For lik to hym ofF beute was non other. 
But off ther loue so guyed was the rother, • 

That Karibdis, tween wyndis ful contraire, 6852 

Hath Canace destroied and Machaire. 
But when For whan ther fadir the maner dede espie 
father, heard OfF ther werkyug, which was so horrible, 
went mad* for For ire almost he fill* in frenesie, 6856 

"»«■ Which for tappese was an inpossible; 

For the mater was froward & odible: 
For which, pleynli, deuoid off al pite, 
Vpon ther trespas he wolde auenged be. 6860 

and sought to The cause knowe, the fadir anon riht 

kill them both. ^^ r i i i rr • • i 

Macareus fled. Castc lOt ther deth oit rigour to prouide; 
no'^means oi For which Machaire fledde out off his siht. 

And from his face his presence gan to hide. 6864 

But, o alas! his suster muste abide, 

Merciles, for ther hatful trespace 

Suffre deth; ther was non other grace. 
escape, and First hir fader a sharp suerd to hir sente 6868 

Eolus sent her _ , rr i ^ r i 

a sharp sword In tokne ott deth tor a remembrauwce, 
death.*" ° And whau she wiste pleynli what he mente 
And conceyued his rigerous ordenaunce, 
With hool purpos tobeien his plesauwce, 6872 

She gruchchith nat, but lowli off entente 
Lich a meek doubter to his desir assente. 
Like a meek But or she died she caste for to write 

daughter she a i- -i i i  i i i 

agreed to die, A litil letttc to hir brother deere, 6876 

a"Httie"iette°r^ to A dedU compleyut compleyne & endite 
her brother. ^j^}^ p^|g f^^^ ^^^ ^ mortal chccrc, 

The salt[e] teris from hir eyen cleere, 

With pitous sobbyng, fet from hir hertis brynke, 6880 

Distillyng douw to tempre with hir ynke. 

The lettre of compleynt of Canace to hir brothir 

"You are the /^UT off hir swouhfe] wha« she dede abraide,[p.8d 

cause of my   "^^ ''^ 


sorrow, once V-/ Knowyng no meue but deth in hir distresse. 

chief source of 
my joy 

To hir brother ful pitousli she saide: 6884 

6852, 53. Con^rarye, Macharye H. 6856. he fill almost B 
^ The same heading in MS. J. leaf 36 recto. 



Canace's Letter of Complaint 


"Cause off my sorwe, roote off myn heuynesse. 
That whilom were cheeff sours off my gladnesse, 
Whan bothe our ioies be will were so disposid, 
Vnder o keie our hertis to be enclosid.* 6888 

Whilom thou were support and sekirnesse, 
Cheeff reioisshyng off my worldli plesaunce; 
But now thou art the ground off my siknesse, 
Welle off wanhope, off my dedli penaunce, 6892 

Which haue off sorwe grettest habundaunce 
That euer yit hadde any creature, 
Which mut for loue the deth alas endure! 

"Alas, I mu»t 
endure death 
for lovel 





Thou were whilom my blisse & al my trust, 
Souereyn confort my sorwes to appese, 
Spryng and well off al myn hertis lust; 
And now, alas, cheeff roote off my disese. 
But yiff my deth myht do the any ese, 
O brother myn, in remembraunce off tweyne, 
Deth shal to me be plesaunce & no peyne. 

Mi cruel fader, most onmerciable, 

Ordeyned hath, it needis mut be soo, 

In his rigour he is so ontretable, 

Al merciles he will that it be doo, — 

That we algate shal deie bothe too. 

But I am glad, sithe it may been noon other. 

Thou art escapid, my best beloued brother. 

This is myn eende, I may it nat asterte, 

brother myn, there is no mor to seye, 

Lowli besechyng with al myn hool[e] herte 6912 

For to remembre speciali I preie, 

Yiff it befall my litil sone deie, 

That thou maist afftir sum mynde vpon us haue, 

Suffre us bothe be buried in o graue. 6916 

1 holde hym streihtli atwen myn armys tweyne. 
Thou and Nature leide on me this charge; 

He gilt[e]les with me mut suffre peyne. 

And sithe thou art at fredam and at large, 6920 

Lat kynd[e]nesse our loue nat so discharge, 

But haue a mynde, where-euer that thou be, 

Onys a day vpon my child and me. 

" But if my 
death be of 
avail to you, 
my brother, it 
will be a 
pleasure and 
no pain. 

"My cruel 
father has or- 
dained that 
both of us 
must die, and 
I am glad you 

"And if my 
little son also 
die, I beg you 
not to forget 

"Let us both 
be buried in 
one grave, and 
wherever you 
may be have a 
mind on us 
once a year. 


enclosid] onclosid B. 
alias \>t deth H, R 3. 

6901. ofTJof us R 3. 


Canace^s Letter of Complaint 

[bk. I 

"It is not just 
that our young 
child should 

he lies still as 
a lamb, only a 
heart of steel 
could do him 

"My father, 
your revenge is 
too cruel! 

"Was there 
ever creature 
who felt more 
dole than I? 

"My father is 
a mortal enemy, 
who seeks our 

"Alas, my 
brother, that 
should come 
before mercy. 

On the and me dependith the trespace 6924 

Touchyng our gilte* and our gret offence; 

But, wellaway, most angelik off face, 

Our yonge child in his pur innocence 

Shal ageyn riht sufFre dethis violence, 6928 

Tendre off lymes, God wot, ful gilt[e]les, 

The goodli faire that lith heere specheles. 

A mouth he hath, but woordis hath he noone, 

Cawnat compleyne, alas, for non outrage, 6932 

Nor* gruchith nat, but lith heer al a-loone, 

Stille as a lamb, most meek oiF his visage. 

What herte off steel coude doon to hym damage. 

Or sufFre hym deie, beholdyng the maneer 6936 

And look benygne off his tweyne eyen cleer? 

O thou, my fader, to cruel is thi wreche, 

Hardere off herte than tigre* or leoun. 

To slen a child that lith withoute speche, 6940 

Void off al mercy and remissioun. 

And on his mooder hast no compassiouw, 

His youthe considred, with lippis softe as silk. 

Which at my brest lith still & souketh mylk. 6944 

Ys any sorwe remembrid be writyng. 

Onto my sorweful sihhes comparable?* 

Or was ther euer creature lyuyng 

That felte off dool a thyng mor lamentable? 6948 

For couwfortles and onrecuperable 

Ar thilke hepid sorwes, ful off rage. 

Which han with wo oppressid my corage. 

Rekne all myscheuys in especiall, 6952 

And on my myscheeff remembre &ha[ue] goodmynde: 

Mi lord my fadir, is myn enmy mortall. 

Experience inouh theroff I fynde; 

For in his pursuit he hath lefft behynde, 6956 

In destrucciouw off the, my child and me, 

Routhe and al mercy and fadirli pite. 

And the, my brother, auoidid from his siht, 

Which in no wise his grace maist atteyne, 6960 

Alas that rigour, vengaunce & cruel riht 



me & the H. 6925. gilte] gile B, J, H. 
that] which H,R 3. 6933. Nor] NarB. 
tigre] any tigre B, H, J, R 3, H 5, P. 
comparable] incomparable B, J, H 5. 
my myschevis J. 6956. his] this H. 
vengaunce Rigour H. 

BK. i] Canace's Letter of Complaint 197 

Sholde a-boue merci be lord &* souereyne! 

But cruelte doth at me so disdeyne, 

That thou, my brother, my child & also I 6964 

Shal deie alas exiled* from al mercy. 

Mi fader whilom, be many sundri signe, [p. 86] |[Our father 

Was my socour, my supportacioun, nign and 

rr> 1 1 -01 „ gracious to us, 

10 the and me most gracieux & benygne, 6968 but now our 

r\ 1JI* 1 J 1  nameisjpotted 

Uur worldli giadnesse, our consoiacioun. with slander. 

But loue and Fortune ha[ue] turned up-so-doun To'^ISsh awfy. 

Our grace, alas, our welfare & our fame. 
Hard to recure, so sclaundrid is our name. 6972 

Spot off diffamyng is hard to wasshe away, 

Whan noise and rumowr abrod do folk manace; 

To hyndre a man ther may be no delay: 

For hatful fame fleeth ferr in ful short space. 6976 

But off vs tweyne ther is non othir grace 

Sauff onli deth, and afftir deth, alas, 

Eternal sclaundre off vs; thus stant the cas. 

Whom shal we blame, or whom shal we atwite 6980 "Whom shall 

f^ ff . I . 1*1^ we blame but 

Uur gret oirence, sithe we may it nat hide? the god Cupid, 

For our excus reportis to respite 

Mene is ther non, except the god Cupide. 

And thouh that he wolde for vs prouide, 6984 

In this mateer to been our cheeff refuge, 

Poetis seyn he is blynd to been a iuge. 

He is depeynt[e] lich a blynd archer, who i» blind 

nr« t *i r "1 i* • 2nd knows not 

lo marke anht lailyng discrecioun, 6988 where his 

Holdyng no meseur, nouther ferr nor neer; arrows strike. 

But lik Fortunys disposicioun, 

Al upon happ, void off al resoun. 

As a blynd archer with arwes sharp[e] grounde 6992 

Off auenture yeueth many a mortal wouwde. 

At the and me he wrongli dede marke, "He did wTong 

Felli to hyndre our fatal auentures, 

As ferr as Phebus shynyth in his arke, 6996 

To make us refus to alle creatures, 

Callid us tweyne onto the woful lures 

Off diffame, which will departe neuere, 

Be newe report the noise encresyng euere. 7000 

6962. lorde &] ladl B, J, P, H 5, R 3. 

6965. exiled alas B, J, H 5, P. 6968. gracious J, P, R 3, H 5. 

6992. I grownde H. 6997. us] om. H. 

to aim at us. 


The Death of Canace 

[bk. I 

"Evil report 
flies with swift 
wings, and 
good fame is 
hindered by 
envy. No 
man complains 
of his own 

Odious fame with swifft wengis fleeth, 

But al good fame en vie doth restreyne; 

Ech man off other the diffautis seeth, 

Yit on his owne no man will compleyne. 7004 

But al the world out crieth on vs tweyne, 

Whos hatful ire hi us may nat be queemyd; 

For I mut deie, my fader hath so deemyd. 

"Now I must Now farweel, brother, to me it doth suffise 7008 

you for ever. To deie alloue for our bothe sake. 

And in my moste feithful humble wise, 

Onto my dethward thouh I tremble & quake, 

Off the for euere now my leue I take. 7013 

And onys a yeer, forget nat, but take heed, 

Mi fatal day this lettre for to reed. 

Have mind on So shaltow han on me sum remembrauwce, 

Mi name enprentid in thi kalender, 7016 

Bi rehersaile off my dedli greuauwce; 

Were blak that day, & mak a doolful cheer. 

And whan thou comest & shalt approche neer 

Mi sepulture, I pray the nat disdeyne 7020 

Vpon my graue sum we teris for to reyne." 

^ Writyng hir lettir, awappid al* in dreede, 

In hir riht hand hir pewne gan to quake; 

And a sharp suerd to make hir herte bleede 7024 

In his lefFt hand, hir fader hath hir take. 

And most hir sorwe was for hir childes sake, 

Vpon whos face in hir barm slepyng 

Ful many a teer she wepte in compleynyng. 7028 

AfFtir al this, so as she stood and quook, 

Hir child beholdyng, myd off hir peynes smerte, 

Withoute abood the sharp[e] suerd she took 

And roofF hirselfF euene to the herte. 7032 

Hir child fill doun, which myht[e] nat asterte, 

Hauyng non helpe to socoure hym nor saue, 

But in hir blood the silfF began to bathe. 

Eoius then And thanwc hir fader, most cruel off entent, 7036 

^thTtTh"e child Bad that the child sholde anon be take, 
touid by Ifogs. Off cruel houndis in haste for to be rent 
And be deuoured for his mooder sake. 

me once a 
year, wear 
black that day 
and do not 
disdain to let 
fall some tears 
on my grave." 

Her sorrow was 
more for her 
child than for 
herself, and 

with a sword 
that her father 
placed in her 
hand she 
pierced her 

Off this tragedie thus an eende I make, 


7019. shalt] shal H. 7022. al] and B, J. 7024. a] om. H 
7025. his] hir H. 7035. But] om. H, R 3. 



An Envoy on basty Vengeance 


Processe off which, men may reede and see, 
Concludith on myscheefF & furious cruelte. 

Remembryng first, as maad is mencioun, 

How that Pirrus delited hym in deede, 7044 

Whan Troie was brouht to destruccioun, 

With cruel suerd[e] Troian blood to sheede, 

But of such slauhtr^, seeth heer the cruel meede, 

As riht requereth, bi vnwar violence, 7048 

Blood shad for blood is fynal recom pence. 

This tragedy 
tells of mis- 
fortune and 
furious cruelty, 
which is pun- 
ished in the 


WHAN surquedie oppressid hath pite, [p. 87] 
And meeknesse is with tirannie bor doun 
Ageyn al riht, &* hasti cruelte 7052 

To be vengable maketh no dilacioun, 
What folweth therofF? — be cleer inspeccioun, 
Seeth an exaumple how Pirrus in his teene 
Off hatful ire slouh yonge Polliceene. 7056 

Kyng Eolus to rigerous was, parde. 

And to vengable in his entencioun 

Ageyn his childre Machaire & Canace, 

So inportable was his punycioun, 7060 

Off haste procedyng to ther destruccioun; 

Wers in his ire, as it was weel seene. 

Than cruel Pirrus, which slouh Polliceene. 

Noble Pryncis, prudent and attempre, 
Differrith vengaunce, off hih discrecioun; 
Til your ire sumwhat asuagid be. 
Doth neuer off doom non execucioun: 
For hate and rancour perturben the resoun 
Off hasti iuges, mor off entent oncleene 
Than cruel Pirrus which slouh Polliceene. 

9 Explicit liber primus. 
9 Incipit prologus libri sectmdi.^ 

When pride 
oppresses pity 
against right, 
and rigour 
grants no 

King Eotus 
was even 
worse in his 
rage than 



Noble Princes, 
always defer 
untU the heat 
of your anger 
is gone. 

7047. slauhtrif seeth] om. H. 
7052. Ageyn al riht &3 And ageyn riht B, H. 
7061. haste] hasty H. 7062. his] om. H. 70&J. non] om. 
H, R3. 

^ The same rubric in MS. J. leaf 38 recto. 



maTthfnk'that '^ I ^^ summc follc, parcas, it wolde seeme, [p. 87^] 
I have told I Touchvng the chauwges & mutabilites 

enough trage- JL t>' i • i i i • i i 

dies, m me rehersid, that thei myhte deeme, 

Off Fortunes strauwge aduersites 4 

To pryncis shewed, douw pullid from ther sees. 
The tragedies auhte inouh suffise 
In compleynyng, which ye han herd deuise. 

for it is de- The stori pitous, the processe lamentable, 8 

pressing when -tt • , ^ . . 111 1* 1 

no joy is Void otr loie, al gladnesse and* plesauwce, 

mingled with . , " i • 1 1 

pain, A thyng to greuous and to mportable, 

Where-as no merthe is medlid with greuauwce, 
Al upon compleynt standith thalliauwce, 12 

Most whan Fortune, who that hir cowrs weel knewe, 
Chaungith old ioie into sorwes newe. 

whliTform^e^ ^" ^^^ ^^^^ ^Y"^ ^^^^ ncuet wiste ofF wo, 

gladness is Remembtauwce ofF his old gladnesse, 16 

turned into ^-j,, , . ,p o l 

new sorrow. Whan his weeliare & plesauwce is ago. 

And neuer aforn knew off non heuynesse, — 
Such vnwar chaung, such vnkouth wrechidnesse 
Causith in pryncis, thoruh newe dedli trouble, 20 
AfFtir ther fallyng ther sorwes to be double. 

But old exam- Qldc exauwples off pryncis that haruel fall, 

pies of princes ,^ ^ rr- 111 

who have fallen 1 het remembrauwcc on newe brouht to mynde, 

teach all estates •» «■ . •11 -> •» 

how to avoid May been a merour to estatis all, 24 

How thei in vertu shal remedies fynde 
Teschewe vices, off such as wer maad blynde. 
Fro sodeyn fallyng hemsiluen to preserue, 
Longe to contune and thank off God disserue.* 28 
The ^aii of one The fall ofF on is a cleer lanterne 
lantern to an- To teche a-nothet what he shal eschewe; 

other, for m Ti 'i ly • i i  

men deserve, so retell oit on, IS, who cau disccme, 
wTrdedf "^^ Scoole and doctryn from pereil to remewe. 32 

As men disserue such guerdouw ther mut sewe; 

9. and] and al B, J, H 5. 
14. chaungyng H — loies J, ioyes H 5, P. 
20. Causid H. 24. to]ofH, R3. 
28. disserue] to disserue B, J, P, H 5. 
33. ther] om. J, H 5 — ther mut] mvt thei H. 

BK. iQ 

The Prologue 

20 1 



In vice nor vertu no man may God deceyue, 
Lik ther desertis ther meede thei [shal] receyue. 

Who folweth vertu lengest doth perseuere, 

Be it in richesse, be it in pouerte; 

Liht off trouthe his cleemesse kepith euere 

Ageyn thassautis off al aduersite. 

Vertu is cause off long prosperite; 

And whan pryncis fro vertu doun declyne, 

Ther fame is shroudid vndir the cliptik lyne. 

For fals Fortune, which tumeth as a ball, [p, 88] 
Off vnwar chaunges thouh men hir wheel atwite, 44 
It is nat she that pryncis gaff the fall, 
But vicious lyuyng, pleynli to endite: 
Thouh God aboue ful offte hem doth respite, 
Longe abidith, and doth his grace sende 48 

To this entent, thei sholde ther liff amende. 

For ther weelfare and ther abidyng longe. 

Who aduertisith, dependith nat on chaunce. 

Good liff and vertu maketh hem to be stronge, 52 

And hem assureth in long perseuerauwce; 

Vertu on Fortune maketh a diffiaunce. 

That Fortune hath no domynacioun 

Wher noble pryncis be gouerned be resoun. 

But such as list[e] nat correctid be 
Bexaumple off othre fro vicious gouemaunce. 
And fro ther vices list nat for to fle: 
Yiff thei be troubled in ther hih puissauwce, 
Thei arette it Fortunys variaunce, 
Touchyng the giltes that thei deden vse, 
Ther demerites ful falsli to excuse. 

Vertu conserueth pryncis in ther glorie * 
And confermeth ther dominaciouns; 
And vicis put ther price out off memorie. 
For ther trespacis and ther transgressiouns. 
And in alle such sodeyn mutaciouws, 
Thei can no refut nor no bet socour, 
But ageyn Fortune to maken ther clamour. 

TTiose who fol- 
low virtue 
endure longest, 
for virtue is 
the source of 



It is not 
Fortuna who 
causes princes 
to fall, but 
vicious living. 

and Fortuna 
has no 
power over 
princes who 
are governed 
by reason. 


TThose who will 
not learn to 
abandon their 
evil ways by 
the example 

- of others, 

00 wrongly 

ascribe their 
fall to 

and know no 
better than to 
make an 
outcry against 
her deceitfjl- 
ness, as if 
they them- 
selves were 

35. shal] om. J, H 5. 

44. vnwar] soden H — wheel] will H. 

49. thei] J)at thei H. 

63. ful] om.R — to] om. J, H 5. 64, 66, gloire, memoire B. 

67. 2nd ther] om. H. 

202 The Prologue [bk. ii 

Make an outcri on hir doubilnesse, 

As no gilt were in ther owne deede; 72 

Thus ontreuli thei calle hir a goddesse, 

Which lite or nouht may helpe at such a neede. 

But yifF thei hadde God in loue & dreede, 

Trustid his lordshep in herte, will & thouht, ' 76 

Thei sholde Fortune pleynli sette at nouht. 

Many stones Euidcncis ful cxpert and palpable, 

have already •iiirr-V 

been told, which 1 otom rehersid, told ott dyuers ages, 

how they may WorldH glooe* veyu and ful onstable, 80 

famng. ^ °' ^" With deceites double off ther visages, 

Shewyng to pryncis ferme off ther corages, 
Be these exaumples, how and in what wise 
By othris* fallyng thei shal hemsilff chastise. 84 

Comets, strange Signcs shewed and toknes in the heuene, 

constellations, ° . 11 • 

lightning and Dyuets cometis and constellaciouns, 

rumbling of the Drecdful thundtyng, feerful firi leuene, 

sig^ns bildfng Rumour in erthe and gret discenciouws, 88 

blware and"' Disobeisauwce in sondry regiouns, 

fiveTbefore'^it Shewen exauwples, ful weel afferme I dar, 

is too late. Xo myhti pryncis, hem biddyng to be war, 

Ther liff tamende or the Lord do smyte, 92 

Thoruh necligence or it be to late; 

And or the suerd off vengauwce kerue & bite. 

Into vertues ther vicious liff translate, 

Cherisshe rihtwisnesse, ageyn al wrong debate, 96 

With dreed off God make hemsiluen stronger 

Than is no doubte thei shal enduren longe. 

Indurate the Who is nat wat bi othres chastisyng, 

heart that cannot ^^ , i-i 111 'ii -""^ 

profit by the fate Uthre bi hym shal chastised be: loo 

o ot ermen. f|^j.j jg jg ^j^^^. j^grte, which for no writyng. 

For no dottryn nor non auctorite. 

For non exauwple will from his vices flee; 

To indurat is his froward entent, 104 

Which wil nat suffre his hardnesse to relent. 

Soft raindrops The touwde dropis off the smothe reyn, 
•tones, Which that discende & falle from aloffte 

80. gloire B — veyn] full veyn H. 

83. how and in what wise]] full wele afferm? I dar^ H (but cor- 
rected later). 

84. By othris]] Bothris B — To myhti princis hem biddyng 
to be warir H. 

94. &3 or H. 100. shal chastised]] chastised shal H. 

BK. Il] 

The Prologue 


On stonys harde, at eye as it is seyn, 108 

Perceth ther hardnesse with ther fallyng ofFte, 

Al-be in touchyng, water is but sofFte; 

The percyng causid be force nor puissaunce, 

But oflF fallyng be long contynuaunce. 112 

Semblabli, ofF riht I dar reherse, 

OfFte reedyng on bookis fructuous 

The hertis sholde off prudent pryncis perse, 

Synke in ther mynde & make hem vertuous 116 

Teschewe all thynge that is vicious: 

For what auaileth thexaumples that thei reede, 

To ther reedyng yifF contraire be the deede ? 

Cunnyng and deede, who can comprehende, 120 

In cleer conceites thei be thynges tweyne; 

And yifF cunnyng doth the deede amende, 

Than atwen hem is maad a myhti cheyne, 

A noble thyng, and riht souereyne: 124 

For thanne ofF cunnyng the laboi^r is weel spent, 

Whan deede folweth, & bothe been ofF assent. 

Thus lohn Bochas procedyng in his book, 

Which in noumbre is callid the secounde, 

Gan for to write, and his purpos took 

To sette in stories such as he hadde founde, 

OfF entent alle vices to confounde 

Be thexaumples which he dede expresse. 

And at the gynnyng ofF his besynesse, 

Myhti Saul to hym dede appeere, 

Kyng ofF Israel, pitousli wepyng, 

Dedli ofF face, and with an hidous cheere, 136 

His vois I broke be manyfold sobbyng; 

And to myn auctour his sorwe compleynyng, 

Requeryng hym, togidre whan thei mette, 

First in his book his woful fate to sette. 140 

Anon afFtir, I ofF entencioun, 

With penne in hande faste gan me speede, 

As I koude, in my translacioun. 

In this labour ferthere to proceede, 144 

My lord cam forbi, and gan to taken heede; 

and the fre- 
quent reading 
of good books 
ought to make 

If actions are 
governed by- 
true knowledge 
one's labour 
is wdl q>ent. 

[p. 89] 

TTius John 
Bochas begins 
128 his Second 


First Saul ap- 
peared, begging 
him, in a voice 
broken by sobs, 
to write his 

And whilst I 
continued in 
my translation, 
my lord, IDuke 
came by and 
bade me set an 
envoy at the 
end of each 

126. ofTJatH, R3. 127. Thus] This H. 129. and] In H. 

130. hadde] hath H. 

136. an hidous] a pitouse H, a pitous R 3. 

140. to] otn. H, R 3. 

204 The Story of Saul ^bk. ii 

This myhti prynce, riht manli & rlht wis, 
GafF me charge in his prudent auys, 

tragedy for the That I sholdc in eucri tragcdie, 148 

of noble princes; AfFtif the pFocesse made menciouw. 
At the eende sette a remedie, 
With a lenvoie conueied be resoun, 
And afftir that, with humble afFecciouw, 152 

To noble pryncis lowli it directe, 
Bi othres fallyng [thei myht] themsilfFcorrecte.* 
And I obeied his biddyng and plesaunce, 
Vnder support off his magnyficence. 156 

As I coude, I gan my penne auaunce, 
Al-be I was bareyn off eloquence, 
Folwyng myn auctoMr in substaunce & sentence: 
For it suffised, pleynli, onto me, 160 

So that my lord my makyng took at gre. 

^ Finis prologi libri secundi. 
^ Sequitur liber secundus. 

and, to please 
my lord, I 
obeyed, al- 
though barren 
of eloquence. 

Saul was born 
of the Ime of 
Once, when 
seeking his 
father's asses. 

[How Saul, Kyng of lerusdem bom of low degre as 
long as he dred god was obedient to him/ and 
rewlid by good counsaile had many grete dis- 
confitures/ but atte last/ for his pride presump- 
cioun and grete disobysaunce/ he lost his crowne 
and was slajna by Philestees.] ^ 

THIS said[e] Saul, of whom I spak toforn, [p. 91] 
Ful weel compact & large of his stature, 
Off the lyne of Bewiamyn eek born, 164 

His fader Ceis was callid in Scripture, 
Whos assis whilom lefFte* ther pasture; — 
Space off thre daies Saul hadde hem souht, 
Loste his labour and ne fond hem nouht. 

a child For thei were gon out so ferr a-stray, 

him to leave off So disscucred hc nc koude hem meete, 
s^muef'" Til that a child hym suyng al the way 
Gaff hym couwseil his labour for to lete, 
And that he sholde gon to the prophete, 
Which was ful famous holde in Israel, 
Off whom the name was callid Samuel. 

154. correcte] to correcte B. 

166. leffte] lefften B, leften J, lost H. 

1 MS. J. leaf 38 recto, as long] aslong J. 



BK. Il] 

The Story of Saul 

Which Saul made in his hous to dyne, 176 

Receyued hym ofFgret affeccioun; 

And be precept & ordenaunce deuyne, 

Samuel made no prolongacioun, 

But shadde the hooli sacred vnccioun 180 

Vpon the hed off Saul, doun knelyng, 

And ful deuoutli off Israel made hym kyng. 

Off goddis peeple to ha[ue] the gouernaunce. 

With sceptre & crowne, and hool the regalie. 184 

And his noblesse mor myhtili tauaunce, 

With meek[e]nesse to reule his monarchie, 

God gaiF to hym a sperit off prophecie. 

Which was gret glorie* to his magnyficence, 188 

Off futur thynges to haue prescience. 

And whil that he was meek & humble in deede. 

Void off pride and fals presumpcioun. 

And prudent counsail with hym dede leede, 192 

Hym to goueme bi good discrecioun. 

He fond quiete thoruh al his regeoun; 

No foreyn enmy durst hym tho werreye, 

Whil he the Lord meekli dede obeie. 196 

Non enmy myhte ageyn[e]s hym recure 

Thoruh non enprises, but sore dede hym dreede; — 

Made many gret disconfiture 

Thoruh his force, knyhthod & manheede 200 

On Philistes, and dauntid eek in deede 

Too myhti kynges, the ton off Ammonytes, 

And a-nother, that gouemed Moabites. 

He was founde eek strong and victorious, 204 

The Palestynes bryngyng to myschaunce; 

Geyn Ydumes, so myhti and famous, 

Thoruh his knyhtli prudent gouernaunce, 

That he ther pride brouhte onto vttraunce, 208 

Outraied hem off wisdam and manheede, — 

Primo Reguw, as ye may pleynli reede. 

He was a sone callid off o yeer. 

In Israel whan his regne began, 212 

Stable off herte and benygne off cheer, 

Froward nor sturdi to no maner man. 

Al that while loue off the peeple he wan, 

179. no] no long H, noo longe R 3. 188. gloire B. 
195- tho] to H, J, P, H s. 204. founde] om. H, R 3. 


who received 
bim with affec- 
tion and 
anointed him 
King of Itrael. 

God gave Saul 
a spirit of 

and he ruled 
with wisdom 
and prospered 

and was suc- 
cessful against 
his enemie*. 

and defeated 
among others 
the Idumeans, 
as you may 
read in the 
First Book of 

So long as he 
remained kind 
and stable of 
heart, he kept 
the love of his 

2o6 SauVs Pride and Wilfulness [^bk. ii 

The tyme, I meene, whil he was iust & stable, 216 
And in his werkis nat founde* variable. 

but when he But whan that pride gan his herte enhauwce, 

grew proud and - / ° 

wilful and no Wiltulnesse and lals malencolie 

God, Outraied resoun, to ha[ue] the gouernaunce 220 

OfF his olde famous policie, 
And hadde forgetyn in his fantasie 
To knowe the Lord & meekH sue his lawe, 
God from his crowne his grace gan withdrawe. 224 

God withdrew Thonkynde werm off foryetilnesse 
him. In his herte hadde myned thoruh the wall, 

Whan he to God, for his kynd[e]nesse, 
Gaff no laude nor no thank attall, 228 

Which hadde hym reised onto estat royall 
Fro pore degre, mong al his kyn alone, 
Be synguler fauour to sette hym in his throne. 

What is more What thyng in herte mor froward mai be thouht 232 

f reward than ,_p,, • i i r ^ 

the presump- 1 han IS the sodcyu rals presumpcioun 
8u°ddeniy °°^ Off a wrechchc that cam vp off nouht, 
powM?^° To yeue hym lordshepe and dominacioun.? 

And for to make a pleyn comparisouw, 236 

Men sholde off resoun dreede a leoun lasse 
Than the reudnesse off a crownyd asse. 

A lion is less What thyug to God is mor abhomynable 

to be feared ,^, r, " . , ~ , 

than a crowned 1 han pride upreised out ort pouertc^ 240 

And nothyng gladli is founde mor vengable 
Than ar wrechchis set in hih degre: 
For from his stok kynde may nat fle; 
Ech thyng resortith, how ferr euer it go, 244 

To the nature which that it cam fro. 

reve^n ifui"thln ^^"^ ^"^ apples taken ther tarage [p. 92] 

a wretch set in Whcr thei fitst grcuh off the same tre, 

Every creature And scmblabH ech kyurcede & lynage — 248 

inherited'* Onys a yeer it will non othir be — 

nature. g^ tokuc OX signe, at eye as men may see, 

Draweth comounli in eueri creature 

Sum tech to folwen afftir his nature. 252 

217. founde] founden B. 

230. mong] among H, R 3. 238. "marke thys," in a later 

hand, arid a line drawn in margin opposite the following four 

and a half stanzas in J. 
239. is morf to god H. 242. ar] er H. 245. the] ther H. 

BK. Il] 

The Beginning of SauVs Misfortunes 


I write nat this in rebuk off pouert; 

But for suche onli as that it disserue: 

God off his myht, as men be weel expert. 

May hem in vertu encresen and conserue, 256 

From al myscheeff a poore man preserue, 

Reise hem on heihte to dominaciouns 

Thoruh hih noblesse off ther condiciouns. 

Be influence God may his grace sheede 
Wher he fynt cause onli be meeknesse, 
A poore man to reise hym vp in deede 
Onto thestat off vertuous noblesse; 
For out off vertu cometh al gentilesse. 
In poore and riche mak non excepcioun, 
But hem comende lik ther condicioun. 

A poore man which that is vertuous 

And dredith God in his pouerte, 26S 

Ech thyng eschewyng that is vicious, 

And to his power doth trouthe & equite, — 

I dar riht weel, what-euer that he be, 

Puttyng no rebuk onto his kynreede, 272 

But calle hym gentil veraili in deede.- 

But kyng Saul was contrarious, 

Disobeisaunt founde in his werkyng, 

WTian God made hym to be victorious 276 

On Amalech, where Agag was kyng, 

Hym comaundyng* to spare no maner thyng, 

Man nor woman, beeste nor child socoure. 

But that his suerd sholde al quyk thyng deuoure. 280 

But Saul wrouhte al in other wise, 

Ech thyng reseruyng that was fair to siht; 

And off entent to make a sacrefise, 

Afftir his victorie* he shoop hym anon riht, 284 

Fattest beestis he ches, & hath hem diht 

Toward the fir to maken his offryng. 

And fro deth he spared Agag the kyng. 

He was repreued afftir of Samuel, 288 

To Godis biddyng for he was contraire, 
As abiect to regne in Israel, 

I cast no slur 
on poverty: I 
blame those 
only who de- 
serve reproof. 

260 God may raise 
a poor man to 
nobility, for 
all gentility 
comes from 


and a poor 
man who is 
upright and 
fears God can 
only be called 

But Saul was 
when God bade 
him massacre 
the Amalekitet 
and destroy 
all their 

He even spared 
the life of 
Agag their 

Reproved by 
Samuel, his 
power of fore- 
seeing failed. 

257. do pr«<rrve H. 258. on] of H. 

261. fyndith R 3, findeth P. 262. to] om. H. 

271. I dar riht weel] I dar say H, R 3, P. 

278. comaundyng] comaundid B, J. 284. victoire B, J. 

2o8 Saul and David []bk. il 

and he was That al good hoDC III hvm gan disespaire; 

tormented by ^^. ° , . *^ , Ti o • 

an evU spirit. His gracc, his myht gan pallen & appaire, 292 

His prophecie afFtir hath hym failed. 
And with a feend he was also trauailed. 

Thus Fortune Thus from hif wheel Fortune cast hym doun, 

cast him down, aiii r ^ • • ^ 

and God trans- Aualed hym irom his roial see; 296 

to^ David""'^" And God also took awey the crown, 

Bothe from hym and his posterite, 

And set up Dauid for his humilite. 

Loo, how the Lord his doomys can deuyde 300 

Tenhaunce meeknesse and tabate pryde! 

Saul was Saul cudured in his frenesle, 

jealous of David . ., i t • i 11 "i 

because he slew A wikkcd Spent SO sorc hym dede assaile; 
oniy^a sraff- Onto Dauid euer he hadde envie, 304 

sling, That he was hardi tentren in bataile, — 

With a stafslynge, void off plate & maile, 
Slouh Golias, withoute feer or dreed, 
Pulled out his suerd[e] & smet off his hed. 308 

and when At thet rcpairyng hom out off the feeld, 
Fa"vid'8 praises. Whan Dauid hadde slay[e]n this Golie, 
Yonge maidnes whan [that] thei beheeld 
The grete victory, thei in ther armonye 312 

In laude off Dauid thus gan synge & crie: 
"Saul hath slayn a thousand thoruh his myht, 
Dauid ten thousand, the lusty yonge knyht!" 

Saul felt angry gaul disdcyned and seide frowardli, 316 

and conspired "Thei grauwtid han a thousand to my name, 

David's death. ^^^ ^^ ^^^ ^^^^ ^^^^ ^^ y^^j 

Youe ten thousand to encrece* his fame, 

Which is to me a rebeuk and a shame." 320 

Wherupon this Saul, fret with ire. 

Off yonge Dauid gan the deth conspire. 

He knew in hi» Jn his herte he hadde a fantasie 

singing was Off ther syngyug whan that he took heed^, 324 

prophetic. Dempte it was a maner prophecie. 

That Dauid sholde preferrid be in deed^ 

And to the crowne afftir hym succeed*?. 

Thouhte his childre, as he gan dyuyne, 328 

Sholde be depryued off the roial lyne. 

294. alsoTom. H. 

317. hanJhaveH. 319. to encrece] tencrece B, H, J. 

319, 20 are transposed in R 3. 

BK. Il] 

Saul and David 


Thus day be day Saul weies souhte [p. 93] 

To sle[en] Dauid, pleynli yifF he myhte, 

Al-be-it so that he no malice thouhte, 332 

But euer kept hym lowli in his sihte. 

Therfore good eure & grace on hym alihte; 

For ay the Lord off his magnyficence 

Ageyn tirantis preserueth innocence. 336 

And as the Bible pleynli doth us lere. 

This Dauid hadde in his tendre age 

For his noblesse the kyngis doubter deere, 

Callid Michol, ioyned be manage. 340 

And whan that Saul fill in any rage, 

Dauid anon, tasswagen his woodnesse, 

Touchid his harpe & brouht him in gladnesse. 

Saul ful ofFte gan Dauid to enchace 

And werreie thoruhout all his londis, 

Thoruh desertis hym pursue & manace. 

Off entent tashet hym up in bondis 

Or taslaie hym, yilF he com in his hondis. 

But fynali God thoruh his ordynaunce 

Preserued his knyht from al maner myschaunce. 

Saul ful ofFte was brouht to myscheefF, 

Yit ay fro deth[e] Dauid dede hym saue; 

And heeroff this was a special preefF, 

Whan Dauid kitte his garnement in the caue. 

And mo toknys yiff ye list to haue. 

Another tyme Dauid also kepte 356 

The liff off Saul, whan he lay & slepte. 

The cas was this: as thei lay hosteieng 

Nat ferr assonder, and Saul lay and sleeps, 

Al his peeple aboute[n] hym slepyng, 360 

And onpurueied lik a flok off sheep*? ; 

Off which[e] thyng Dauid took good keep^, 

Doun descendid, and made no delay. 

Cam to the tente wher kyng Saul lay. 364 

The spere off Saul stondyng at his bed, 
Dauid took it and wente his way anon; 
Off his comyng ther was no man took heed, 

David had no 
envy of Saul, 

and was 
married to hit 

■,.4 but Saul 
"'"*^ constantly 




David often 
352 spared his 

and once 
entered his 

and carried 
off his spear, 
while Saul 
and his men 

334. ahhte] hath liht H. 345. thoruhout] thoruh H, R 3. 

348. tasslayn H, to haue slevn R 3. 354. garment H, P. 

359. and] om. H. 361. lik] lik as H. 

366. his way] away H. 

2IO Saul and David Qbk. ii 

For Saul slepte and his men echon. 368 

And whan that he vp to the hill was gon, 
Toward Saul ageyn he cast his look, 
Made a noise that all his knyhtes wook. 

David then First to Abnor, prynce off his cheualrie, 372 

woke them and y-v • i • i i t • 

toidAbner Dauid scide these woordis in sentence: 

"Abnor," quod he, "thou hast doon gret folie, 

This day shewed a gret necligence, 

To suffre off Saul the magnyficence 376 

In pereil stonde, and non heed [to] take, 

Aboute his persone to make his knyhtis wake. 

iseen recWess of Xhou art to blame for thi reklesnesse, 

and deserved To leue the kyng stoudc in so gret zf dreed^, 380 

death and tor- , i i o 

ture for his In slcp to haue mor sauour & suetnesse 

carelessness. ^j^^^ ^^ j^j^ jj^ ^^^^.^ ^^ ^^j^^^^ j^^^j^^ 

Such necligence requereth for his meed<f 

Deth and torment, be rihtful iuggement, 384 

Aboute a prynce whan folk be necligent. 

"See, here is And yiff thou list to secn an euidence, 

nLVbdievr'' How that his lifF stood in iupartie, 

Jou were'"^^ See heer his spere, & yifF therto credence, 388 

How onprouyded ye were on your partie, — 
Saul nor thou, ye may it nat denye, 
Your lifF, your deth, your power, your puissaunce 
This day God put hool in my gouernauwce. 392 

"But I have But me taquiten off pur innocence, 
aglfnst°h1mjas As eueri man sholde onto his kyng, 
God knows." ^^j ^^ declare in me was non offence 

Ageyn his noblesse in will nor in werkyng, 396 

As God weel wot, that knoweth euery thyng, 
That I neuer be no conspiracie 
Wrouhte nor compassid ageyn his regalie." 

Thus David Loo, hecr exaumple off parfit pacience 4°° 

returned good j^^^^^ malice to shcwc kynd[e]nesse! 
Wher Saul shewed his mortal violence, 
Dauid aquit hym with suffraunce & goodnesse. 
The tirant venquysshid bi his prudent meeknesse.404 
Men ageyn trouthe may weel a werre gynne. 
But at the eende the palme he doth ay wynne. 

382. for]ofn. P, R 3- „ 

391. power your puissaunce] puyssau«ce your power H. 

392. governeer H. 394. onto] to H. 

BK. Il] 

Saul and the Witch of Endor 

For off this story yiff that ye take heed, 
Saul is falle for his frowardnesse 
Into myscheeff and into sodeyn dreed; 
For Philistees, the Bible berth witnesse, 
With a gret power gan ther wardis dresse 
Vpon kyng Saul auenged for to be, 
Ther tentis pihte beside Gelboe. 

Wheroff kyng Saul, astonj-d in his herte, 
Hadde lost his sperit off knyhtli hardynesse, 
And speciali whan he dede aduerte 
Prophete was non his harmys to redresse, 
Off futur thynges trouthe to expresse 
In Israel, which cast hym in gret dreed. 
Because that tyme Samuel was ded. 

For Saul hadde cast out alle dyuynes 
From Israel and ech dyuyneresse, 
Nat-withstandyng [that] the Palestynes 
Were rise ageyn, his power to oppresse; 
And he ne knew no maner sorceresse 
Off whom he myhte any counseil take. 
And he off God that tyme was forsake. 

In this wise he stood disconsolat, 

Counseil off God nor prophete kneuh he non, 

But lik a man most infortunat, 

Ongraciousli he spedde hym foorth anon, 

And secreli this Saul is foorth gon 

To a woman that sholde hym reede and wisse, 

In Israel callid a phetonysse. 

Which is a name, as clerkis writen all. 
And office, who that takith heede, 
Soulis off men ageyn to clepe & call — 
I meene such[e] that toforn wer dede — 
Which is a thyng straunge for to reede. 
That any woman sholde, who list to lere, 
Make soulis of dede men appeere. 




and Saul, 
finally attacked 
by the Phili»- 
tines, at 
Gel boa, 

[P- 94] 







became afraid; 
and as he had 
eiiled all the 
propheti and 
diviners, and 
Samuel was 

he went to a 
called in 
Israel a 

who could call 
the souls of 
dead men back 
to earth, which 
is a very 
strange thing, 


407. yiff that ye take"] who that takith H. 

413. Ther] The H. 

423. that] om. H, J, P, H 5, R 3. 

430. lik]om. J. 

433. that] which H. 

434. Phitonesse H, 
438. that] as H. 

441. appeere] tappeere H, to apper R 3, to appere P. 

212 Saul is told his Fate [^bk. ii 

and, as it seems Vnlcouth & straungc is thcF opynvoun, 

to me, not . ° . ^■' -f ' 

according to And to my Witt a maner inpossible, 

reason, that an ■» -r ■• i 

invisible thing IN at accordyng, me semeth, to resoun, 444 

to°b!^iiy^''ey"s. Not Hk a thyng which that is credible, 

That a soule, off nature inuisible, 

Mihte appeere or shewe visibly 

Onto eyen which that be bodily. 448 

?choiir»\'nd'*' But or that I any ferthere flitte, 
divine* List I Were holde to presumptuous, 

To dyuynys this mater I comwytte 

And wise clerkis that be vertuous, 452 

In ther wittis subtil and corious 

To conclude, as it doth hem seeme, 

In this mater a trouthe for to deeme, 

decide whether Whethit it was the soule off Samuel, 456 

of Samuel or Ot Other spcrit, that she dede call, 

sph^i^t wh"toid Which that tolde the kyng ofF Israel 
Off the bataile that sholde afFtir fall. 
His auenturis and his myscheuys all. 460 

And off his deth he tolde also in deede. 
And how Dauid sholde afFtir hym succeede, 

Saul, that for Bccause onli ofF his disobeisauwce, 

his disobedience ... . i r i • i 

he should die in As it IS writc, and tor his reclesnesse, • 464 

Ph"istinL and On Amalech for he took nat vengaunce. 
by Davld'^^'^ Thus the sperit bar to hym witnesse. 
Whereoff Saul fell in gret heuynesse, 
Knowyng no mene tescape out ofF this doute, 468 
But take his fortune as it cometh aboute. 

Tolde hym also his enmyes were so wroth, 

The Philistees beside Gelboe, 

In that bataile he and his childre both 472 

Sholde deie that day, ofF necessite; 

His cheualrie shal sconfited be, 

OfF his regne there is no lengere date. 

For God horn hym his kyngdam will translate. 476 

After his defeat, And thus Saul retoumed is agayn, 

Saul bade his ^. ~, . , , .. f. 

squire run him His meync afttir brouht to disconhture. 
heart,^ * "^ And whan he sauh al his peeple slayn, 

And how ther was no mene to recure 480 

In that dedli woful auenture, 

443. Impossible H. 44.7. or] & H, nor J. 

449. or] er H. 455] tor in this mater; I can nat deeme H. 

BK. Il] 

The Death of Saul 


He bad his squier take his suerd as blyue, 
And thoruh the herte that he sholde hym rj'^ue, 

That his enmyes, which were oncircumsised, 484 

Sholde ha[ue] no power, in story it is founde, 

To falle vpon hym as thei han deuised, 

To yeuen hym his laste fatal wounde, 

His hih noblesse at myscheeff to confounde. 488 

But his squyer, for feer of God and dreed, 

Wold nat assente to doon so foul a deed; 

To slen his lord he gretli was afFerd, 

A thyng hatful in eueri manys siht. 492 

But Saul took the pomel off his suerd. 

And in the ground ful deepe anon it piht; 

And in al hast possible that he myht, 

Made the poynt, in his furious peyne, 496 

To perce his herte & parte euene on tweyne. 

The Philistees, anon as he was ded, [p. 95] 

Spoiled hym off his roial armure, 

Dismembrid hym and smet off his hed, 

And in tokne off ther disconfiture 

Took the spoiles with al ther besi cure 

And therofF made, in al ther beste entent, 

To Astaroth* off pride a gret present. 

Thus was Saul slay[e]n in sentence 

Off Philistees vpon Gelboe, 

Forsake off God for inobedience, 

Abiect also doun from his roial see: 508 

And thus for lakkyng off humylite. 

Off God he was for euere set a-side. 

Loo, heer the eende off surquedie & pride! 

so that he 
should not fall 
into the hands 
of his foes; but 
the squire 

not kill him, 
and Saul had 
to fall on his 
own sword, 



and was des- 
poiled and 
by the 

Thus Saul, for- 
saken by God 
for disobedi- 
ence, was cast 
down from his 
throne and 

9 Lenvoy^. 

HATH mynde on Saul, which to estat roiall 
Fro louh degre was callid for meeknesse; 
But pr^sumpcioun made hym haue a fall. 
Off God abiect for his frowardnesse, 
Loste his crowne, the Bible berth witnesse. 
And cause was, for his disobeisaunce; 
To Godis biddyng he gaff non attendaunce. 


that] om. H. 
ofiG & of H. 

495 al] the H. 
504. Astraoth B, J. 



Remember the 
fate of Saul, 
who rose from 
low degree and 
lost his crown 
for disobedi- 

514. to have H. 


Bochas' Praise of Obedience 



God asks of us God nat axeth no mor off man att all 

only an honest „ , ,r , , . , it., 

heart, but he Cut nool[ej hcrtc withoute doubilnesse, 520 

who disobey FoF allc the glfftcs, which in especiall 

He gaff to man off his hih goodnesse; 

But he chastisith al onkynd[e]nesse, 

Such as be rebel for to do plesaunce, 524 

And to his biddyng ne yeue non attendaunce. 
Noble Princes, Noble Pryncis, vertu most pryncepall 

II you would -- •' . I •] 1 1 

keep your You to consetue m your hih noblesse, 

crowns, be just t . . ,, 

and obey God. Is to cnptente m yout memoriall 528 

Feith, equite, alle wrongis to redresse, 
To susteene trouthe and rihtwisnesse, 
And tofor God holdeth euenli the balaunce, 
And to his biddyng yeueth hool your attendaunce. 532 

Virtue of Vir- 
tues is true 
Without it all 
worldly policy 
were destroyed, 

rules without 
wilfulness, the 
people should 
obey their 

brings welfare, 
joy and prosper- 
ity to all 

^ The comendacion of Bochas oppon the vertu of 

VERTU off vertues, most off excellence, 
Which that hath most souereyn suifisauwce, 
Is the vertu off trewe obedience. 
Which set all thynge in rihtful gouernauwce: 
For ne v^^er nat this prudent ordenauwce, 
Sumwe tobeie and sum^we aboue to guie, 
Destroied were al v^^orldli policie. 
Where that vertu and hih discreciouw 
Auoided han from hem al w^ilfulnesse. 
Be title onli off domynacioun, 
Trew^li lyuyng vpon rihtv\^isnesse, 
Wrong and errours iustli to redresse. 
Off trouthe I may riht weel afferme & seie. 
The peeple meekli ther biddyng sholde obeie. 
This noble vertu off feithful obeisaunce, 
• Establisshid vpon humylite, 
Which includith no double variauwce. 
In all regeouws and in ech contre 
Causeth v^eelfare, ioie and prosperite; 
And as vertu, cheeff and souereyne, 
Al vicious riot it pleynli doth restreyne. 

519. of man no more H. This stanza is transposed with the 

next tn R J. 526. vertu] of yertu. H. 

528. Is to] It is (Emprent) H. 531. holdeth] hold P. 

541. have H. 546. sholde] did H. 553. riot] root H. 

^ "A commendacioun," etc., MS. J. leaf 40 a, otherwise agreeing 
with B. 






BK. II.] 

Bochas' Praise of Obedience 


Obedience eek, as men may see, 

Falsnesse exilith and al rebellioun; 

For hi atempraunce,* riht and equite 556 

Stant the weelfare off eueri regeoun : 

For the meeknesse and low subieccioun 

Off comountes halt up the regalies 

Off lordshepes & off all monarchies. 560 

And, no doubte, whan lordshepes off entent 

Besi been the souereyn Lord to queeme. 

To ther subiectis do rihtful iugement. 

In conscience as riht and resoun deeme, 564 

Than shal ther crowne and [ther] diadeeme 

Vpon ther hed perseuere & fresshli shyne, 

And make subiectis to her biddyng enclyne. 

Thus obeisauwce pleynli at a woord, 
In such as han lordshepe and souereynte, 
Doon off entent to ther souereyn Lord, 
Shal cause hem regne in long prosperite, 
And ther subiectis off humylite, 
For ther noble famous gouernaunce, 
Ay to be redy vnder ther obeisaunce. 

For who that serueth the Lord off Lordis all, [p. 

And hath the peeple in his subieccioun, 

God will keepe hym that he shal nat fall, 

Longe preserue his domynacioun; 

But ageynward, whan wisdam and resoun 

Been ouermaistried with sensualite, 

Farweel the floures off ther felicite! 

Obedience bluntith the sharpnesse 

Off cruel suerdis in tirantis hondis. 

And meeknesse appesith the felnesse 584 

Off hasti vengaunce, brekith atoo the bondis; 

Eek pacience set quyete in londis: 

And where these thre contune in comountes, 

Long pes perseuereth in kyngdames & cites. 588 

Obedience doth also restreyne 

Conspiracies and fals coUusiouns; 

Whan she stant onpartid, nat on tweyne, 

556. batempraunce B. 

565. 2nd ther] om. J, H 5, P. 567. enclyne] declyne H. 

568. Thus] This H. 569. han] have H. 

576. peeplis H. 586. settith R 3, setteth P. 

588. in] om. H, R 3, P. 

it excludes de- 
ceit and re- 

and when 
princes are 
zealous to 
please God 
and do right, 
they shall 
keep their 

rgg and their 

subjects will 
obey them. 


9 6] The ruler who 

seri-es God 
576 shall not fall. 


humility, and 
patience in 
princes bring 
peace to their 

and restrain 


Bochas' Praise of Obedience 

[bk. II 

Subjects are 
not rebellious 
to princes who 
honour God. 

But Saul was 
put down for 
his obstinacy. 

As it is incum- 
bent on kings 
to rule benevo- 
lently, so do 
obedience and 
reverence ap- 
pertain to their 
subjects, and 

there is neither 
obedience nor 
unity when 
subjects pre- 
sume against 
their princes. 

There is no dreed off no discenciouns: 

For she combyneth the trewe opynyouws 

In peepHs hertis, ful weel aforn prouyded, 

Vnder pryncis to stonde hool ondeuyded. 

Wher pryncis be meek, humble & debonaire 

Towardis God off hool afFecciouw, 

Ther subiectis be gladli nat contraire 

In ther seruise be no rebellious; 

For ther is fouwde no deuysioun, 

But bed & membris, ech for his partie, 

Be so gouerned be prudent policie. 

Contrariousli Saul was put douw, 

Abiect off God for his obstynacie, 

Put from his sceptre, his crowne, his regeouw, 

Off Israel loste al the monarchie, 

For he list nat make off his alie, 

Off frowardnesse and wilful necligence, 

This noble vertu callid obedience. 

For as it longith in kyngdamys & citees, 

Vnder a keye off on benyuolence, 

Pryncis, kynges to gouerne [in] ther sees, 

So apperteneth deu[e] reuerence 

To ther subiectis bi obedience, 

Tobeie ther lordis, as thei been off degre, 

Be title off riht in eueri comouwte. 

For obelsauwce, iff it be discernyd 

With Argus eyen, who that taketh heed. 

As riht requereth is nat weel gouernyd. 

Whan the membris presume ageyn the bed, 

Off gouernauwce ther is no parfit speed; 

From vnyte thei gon a froward weie. 

Whan subiectis ther pryncis disobeie. 









The young 
King Reho- 
boara, son of 

[How kyng Roboam for gevyng feith to yonge 
counsaile lost the beneuolence of his peple and 
deied a fool.] ^ 

ONTO lohn Bochaj in ordre next ther cam, 
With ful gret dool and lamentacioun, 
The yonge kyng callid Roboam, 

605. 3r(l his] & his H. 610. in] to H. 

617. obeisauMce] obedience H — discernyd] descrived H. 

1 MS. J. leaf 40 recto. 


BK, li] 

The Life of Rehohoam 


Sone and next heir to Salamoun, 

Entryng be title off iust successioun, 628 

Besouhte myn auctour to make ofF his folic 

And off his fallyng a pitous tragedie. 

First whan he entred into his regeoun, 

Twelue tribus gouernyng in deede, 632 

Rewlid hymsilfF be will and no resoun, 

Kepte his subiectis pleynli, as I reede, 

Nat vnder loue but vnder froward dreede; 

OfF olde wise, to his gret disauail, 636 

He despised the doctryn and counsail. 

He demened, as it is weel kouth, 

His sceptre, his crowne and his regalie 

Be such folk as floured in her youth, 640 

Coude off custum ther wittis weel applie 

To bleende hym falsli with ther flat[e]rie, 

Which is a stepmooder callid in substauwce 

To al vertu and al* good gouernaunce. 644 

Alas, it is gret dool and gret pite. 

That flat[e]rie sholde haue so gret fauour. 

Which bleendith princis that they may nat see, 

Mistith the eyen off eueri gouernour, 648 

That thei can nat knowe her owne errour, 

Fals hony shad ay on ther sentence. 

A fool is he that yeueth to hem credence. 

Thei may be callid the deuehs taboureris, 652 

With froward sownys eris to fulfille; 

Or oflF Circes the pereilous boteleris. 

Which galle and hony [togedir] doun distille, 

WTios drynkes been bothe amerous & ille, 656 

And, as clerkis weel deuise cunne, 

Wers than the drynkes off Cirenes tunne. 

Eris off pryncis ful weel thei can enoynte [p. 97] 
With the soffte oile off adulacioun, 660 

And ther termys most subtili appoynte, 
Ech thyng concludyng with fals decepcioun, 
Ay blandisshyng with amerous poisoun; 

640. her] om. H. 644. 2nd al] to al B, H, R 3, H 5. 

652. taboumer« H, taberoures R 3, tabourers P. 

654. butlers P. 655. togedir] om. J. 

659. Anoynte H. 

besought my 
author to t«5l 
the tragedy 
of his faU. 

Even when he 
first came to 
the throne he 
despised the 
counsel of 
wise men 

and followed 
the advice of 
youthful flat- 

to whom only 
fools give 

for such may 
be called the 
devil's tam- 
who din evil 
into men's 

subtle of 
speech, and 
always ending 

21 8 Rehoboam's Folly [bk. ii 

And fynali, as the poete seith, 664 

Ther feith off custum concludith with onfeith. 

they flower in Flourving in woordis, thouh ther be no frut, 

words without --^ , , ^— i i rr i 

fruit and are UouDie ott heftc, plesauwt oit language, 
trathf ° Off trewe menyng void and destitut, 668 

In mustryng outward pretende a fair visage: 
Who trusteth hem fyndeth * smal auauntage, 
Be apparence & glorious fressh shewyng 
Pryncis deceyuyng & many a worthi kyng. 672 

as Rehoboam Roboam * Can here ful weel witnesse, 

can well bear _^ , . . r 1 1 • i 

witness. T rom hym auoidyng tolkis that were trewe, 

How he was hyndred be flatrie & falsnesse 
Be hem that coude forge out tahs newe; 676 

Whos couwseil afftir sore dede hym rewe. 
And with ther feyned fals suggestions 
GretH abreggid his dominaciouw. 

Of fooiy youth He dempte hymsilff off more auctorite, 680 

tionheTeheved Off foH youthe and off presumpciouw, 
thTnhisTather, Than was his fader in al his * rialte. 

And this pompous fals opynyouw 

Cam into his conceit bi adulaciouw; 684 

For flatereris bar to hym witnesse. 

How he excellid his fadres hih noblesse. 

and oppressed He dede gret rigour and oppressions 
And when they Vpon his peeple, as it was weel preued; 688 

relfeTfrpm And thei to fynde sum mytigaciouw 
their tributes, j^^ matetis which that han hem greued, 
Off ther tributis for to be releued, 
Besouhte he wolde relece hem in ther neede: 692 
But al for nouht; he took theroff non heede. 

he set aside Al old coussail from hym he sette a-side 
seu^paw"" And refusid ther doctryn and ther lore; 

no mention to ^^^ ^^ ^^j^ cOUSSail off folkis ful off pride, 696 

His poore liges he oppressid sore. 

And ten kynredis anon, withoute more, 

For tiranwye and for mysgouernausce 

From hym withdrouh ther trouthe & legeauwce. 700 

670. fyndeth] fynt B, J, H. 

673. RoboamJ Roboan B, J (Roboam H, R 3, H 5, P). 

682. al his] his gret B, gret J. 684. into] to H. 

686. fadres hih noblesse] fadir in fairnesse H. 690. have H. 

694. he] to H, R 3. 

BK. Il] 

Rehohoam and the Ten Tribes 


Thus off the kyng conceyued the rigour, 
The peeple anon off indignacioun 
Stooned Adoram, which was collectour 
Off the tributis in al his regeoun; 
From hym departyng hi rebellioun. 
Wheroff astonyd, tauenge his gret onriht, 
Into Iherusalem took anon his fliht. 

And whan thei were partid from Roboam, 

The ten kynredis be dyuysioun 

Ches hem a kyng callid leroboam. 

And Roboam, withynne his roial toun. 

To been auengid on ther rebellioun 

And for to doon on hem cruel iustise, 

An hundred thousand he made anon tarise. 

With leroboam he caste hym for to meete, 

And al attonys sette in iupartie; 

But Semeias* the prophete bad hym lete, 

And from the werre withdrawen his partie. 

And mor the quarel for to iustefie, 

Off his peeplis froward departyng, 

It was Godis will doon for a pun[y]shyng. 

Touchyng the surplus off his gouemaunce, 
His roial beeldyng off many fair cite. 
His grete riche famous suffisaunce. 
Off wyn and oile hauyng gret plente. 
And how his empire encrecid yeres thre, 
Eek how that tyme he rihtful was in deede, 
In Josephus his story ye may reede. 

Off his childre bom in the riht[e] lyne, 
Eihtene wyues, as maad is mencioun, 
I fynde he hadde, and many concubyne, 
Sonys and douhtris be procreacioun; 
And how his richesse and gret pocessioun 
That tyme encreced, as it is weel knowe, 
To God a-boue whil that he bar hym lowe. 

But, as this auctour maketh rehersaile. 

In his encres and augmentacioun, 

Meeknesse off herte in hym gan waste & faile, 

706. gret] h^ne H. 707. took anon] he tooke H. 

708. departid H. 714. to rise H. 

717. Semeias] Rameus B, H, J, R 3 H 5. 

737. Aumentacioun H. 738. waste &] om. H. 







So ten tribes 
arose, stoned a 
tax collector 
named Adoram 
and renounced 

Rehoboam fled 
to Jerusalem. 
The ten tribes 

raised an armf 
of 100,000, 
but Shemaiah 
advised him 
to withdraw. 

For the rest, 
his story is 
told in 


He had 
wives and 
many concu- 
bines and a 
732 of children. 

njg but lost his 
meekness of 
heart and be- 
came vicious; 

220 The Chastising of Rehoboam [bk. ii 

And pride entrld with fals presumpcioun, 
Vertu dispisyng and al relegeouw; 740 

AfFter whos vices, as seith the same book, 
Wikkid exauwple off hym the peeple took. 
and the people. AfFter the mancrcs, wher thei be good or ille, f p. 08] 

as always hap- -rj - ■, ry ... ° 'li-^j 

pens, followed Vsid oit pryncis m dyuers regeouws, 744 

ample. The pecple is redy to vsen and fulfille 

Fulli the traces off ther condiciouws: 

For lordis may in ther subiecciouws. 

So as hem list, who-so can taken heede, 748 

To vice or vertu ther subiectis leede. 
So he was Thus Roboam for his transgressiouws, 

chastised by _. _ , . . . . S' 

God, In losephus as it is deuised. 

And for his froward fals opynyouns, 752 

Onli for he al vertu hath despised, 

Off God he was rihtfully chastised: 

In Jerusalem his cheeff roial toun 

Off his enmyes besegid envirouw. 756 

besieged in his The kyng off Egipt a sege aboute hym laide 

capital by the ._,. , "^ ° 11 1 

king of Egypt, With SO gtet peeple, that socowr was ther non, 
Al-be-it so that Roboam abraide 
And preied God delyuere hym from his fon, 760 

Tauoide off merci his enmies euerichon. 
But God list nat to granten his praiere, 
But hym chastised, lik as ye shal heere. 
and finally First his cite and his noble toun 764 

him together Delyuered was, he knew no bet socour, 

with all the xt j r j r i • • 

treasure of the Vudcr a teyned tals composiciouw; 
temple. Yqx at ther entryng, void off al fauour, 

Kepyng no couenant, took al the tresour, 768 

Withynwe the temple hauyng no pite. 
But ladde it hom to Egipt ther contre. 
Rehoboam was And to teherse, it is a gret[e] dool, 
fool, and I'll How Roboam, as losephus doth declare, 772 

dL ilThiT ^" Was inli proud and therwithal a fool, 
folly. ^j^j qIP ^I wisdam destitut and bare, 

Onmerciable his peeple for to spare, 
Hatyng good counsail, and so in his folie 776 

Regnyng a fool; and so I lete hym deie. 

750. R begins again here. 758. With] And R. 

761. Tauoide] Avoide R. 

766. fals] om. R. 770. it] hym R — ther] that R. 

771. a grete] to gret a H, R 3, so gret a H 5. 



An Envoy on foolish People 



PHILISOPHRES concluden and deuise 
In ther bookis off old* experience, 
That counseiIot^r[e]s sad, expert & wise, 
Trewe off ther woord, stable off ther sentence, 
Hasti nor rakel for no violence, 
Keepe & preserue, the trouthe I dar attame, 
Noblesse off pryncis fro myscheeff & diffame. 

Hasty* youthe and rancour in contrari wise, 
Which han to will[e] al ther aduertence. 
Except hemsilff all othir men despise 
Thoruh ther onbridled furious insolence, 
Nothyng aqueyntid with wisdam nor prudence, 
Brynge ageynward, wherofF thei be to blame, 
Noblesse of princis* in myschefF & difFame. 

Kyng Roboam, ageyn riht and iustise, 

To yonge foolis gaff feith & most credence, 

Crueli his subiectis to chastise; 

Which put his peeple from his benyuolence, 

Drouh* ten kynredis from his obedience, 

Which was to hym, be record, ful gret shame, 

Puttyng his noblesse in myschefF & difFame. 

Noble Prjmcis, doth wisli aduertise, 
In preseruyng* ofF your magnyficence, 
OfF olde expert nat blent with couetise 
Taketh your counseil and doth hem reuerence, 
Eyed as Argus in ther hih prouidence, 
Which conserue be report ofF good name 
Noblesse ofF pryncis from myscheefF & difFame. 

Wise counsellors 
preserve princes 
from mischief. 



but hasty 
youth and ran- 
cour bring them 
to destruction. 


yQ2 Kjd8 Reho- 
boam, advised 
by young fools, 
treated his 
subjects badly 
and drove 
them to re- 


Noble Princes, 
take your 
800 counsel of 

old and expert 
advisers, who 
are not blinded 
by covetout- 


[A Chapitle/ descryuyng how prynces beyng hedis of 
ther comountees sholde haue noble cheualrie true 
luges &€* ther commounte to goueme &c*.]^ v\'hat is more 

WHAT ertheli thyng is mor deceyuable, thTpomp^nd 

Than ofF pryncis the pompe & veynglorie,* pr^c^?"'' ^ 

779. old] good B. 782. nor] ne R. 785. Hasty] Haste B, J, R 3. 

786. have H. 787. all] & H. 789. nor] & H. 790 Br>nge] benyngne H. 

791. Noblesse of princis] Piitt>-ng his noblesse B, P, J, H 5, 

Putt>Tig ther noblesse H, Puttvng her noblesse R 3. 
796. Drouh] Thoruh B, through P, Thrugh R 3, H 5. 
800. preseruyiig] perseuer>'ng B. 801. expert] expertis R. 
802. Take P. 803. as] of H — hih] om. H, R 3. 
807, 9, 10. veyngloire, victoire, memoire B. 

^ MS. J. leaf 41 recto. 

222 A Chapter on good Government [j&k.. ii 

Suddenly they Which wccne [to] stonde in ther estatis stable, 808 

disappear, their \ ■> • i 11111 • • 

^me clouded As thci the world hadde conquered be victorie — 

shadow of ob- And sodenli be put out off memorie, 

Ther fame cloudid, alias, and ther noblesse 

With a dirk shadwe off foryetilnesse! 812 

^ould'be the WherofF kom[e]th the famous cleer shynyng 
glory of era- Off empcroures in ther consistories ? — 
not for scholars Or whcrofF komth ther laude in reportyng, 
histoHes?^ ^" SaufF that clerkis han wreten ther histories ? 816 

Or where were now conquestis transitories, 
Or ther tryumphes — wher sholde men hem fynde, 
Ne had* writeris ther prowesse put in mynde? 

of^'the^NiJe'"* Rekne up all, and first the worthy nyne, 820 

Worthies rested In hih noblcsse which hadde neuer peeris: 

on the labour r^^-t -i • i-i i 1*11 1 

of the people, i her marcial actis, which cieerli dede shyne, 
Ther fame vpborn aboue the* nyne speeris 
With loude sownys ofF Famys clariouweris, 824 

Ther glorious palmes, yifFthei be weel peised,* 
Be low labour off comouws was first reised. 

As a statue Mak a Hknesse off thes gret ymages [p. 99] 

without feet CotiousH corue out be entaile, — 828 

prince^may° Hed, atmys, bodi, and ther fressh visages, 
ScTs""'^"* Withoute feet or leggis may nat vaile 

To stonde vpriht; for needis thei mut faile. 

And semblabli subiectis in comouwtees 832 

Reise up the noblesse off pryncis in ther sees. 

The head is set As hed and membres in ymages been o ston, 

highest, as we ^~ , , , i i i 

know, Uuther o stok, be cumpas ondeuyded. 

And be proporciou^i ther feturis euerichon 836 

Set in trewe ordre, as Nature hath prouided. 

So that all errours thoruh crafft be circumcided: 

The hed set hiest be custom, as men knowe, 

The bodi amyd, the feet benethe lowe. 840 

808. to] om. J, H 5, t)ei R 3 — ay in '^er statis R. 

812. forgetfulnesse R. 

819. Ne had] Nadde B. 

823. the] all the B, J. 

825. peised] preised B. 

826. vpreisid H. 

827. thes] the H. 830. avale R. 

834. o]ofR,H. 

835. o]ofR, H, R3,P. 

838. thoruh] hi R, H, by R 3 — clrcumcided] circumcised R, 

circuwiscisede R 3. 
840. amyd] in myddis R. 



A Chapter on good Government 

Mihti pryncis for ther hih renoun, 

As most worthi shal ocupie the hed, 

With wit, memorie* and eyen off resoun 

To keepe ther membris fro myscheeflF & dreed, 

Lik ther degrees take ofF hem good heed. 

With cleer[e] forsiht off a prudent thouht 

Ther feet preserue that thei erre nouht. 

Ther mut been handis & armys off difFence, 

Which shal this ymage manli keepe & guie 

From alle assautis off foreyn violence, 

Which shal be named noblesse off cheualrie — 

Ther trewe office iustli to magnefie, 

Sustene the chirch & make hemsiluen strong 

To see that widwes nor maidnes ha[ue] no wrong. 

Prudent iuges, as it is skele and riht, 

To punshe wrong and surfetis to redresse, 

In this ymage shal ocupie the siht: 

For loue or hate, bi doom off rihtwisnesse, 

For freend or fo his iugementis dresse. 

So egali the lawes to susteene. 

In ther werkis that noon errour be scene. 

Mid this ymage there is a bodi set. 

An agregat off peeplis and degrees. 

Be parfit pes and vnyte I-knet 

Bi thestatis that goueme comountees, — 

As meires, prouostes & burgeis in citees, 

Marchauntis also, which seeke sundri londis. 

With othir crafftis which lyuen bi ther hondis. 

And as a bodi which that stant in helthe 
Feelith no greeff off no froward humours, 
So eueri comoun contynueth in gret welthe. 
Which is demened with prudent gouemours, 
That can appese debatis and errours, 
The peeple keepe from al contrauersie, 
Causyng the[r] weelfare tencrece & multeplie. 


and by its 
foresight must 
keep the other 
members from 


g .g There must also 
be hands and 
arms of defence. 


prudent judges, 
who are as 
856 eyes. 



a torso made 
of officials, 
burgesses and 


and as a body 
in health 
knows no dis- 
comfort, to is a 
country rich 
p_ when governed 
°72 by prudent 
men who keep 
the people in 

842. hed] stede H. 

843. memoire B. 844. ther] the R. 
848. arrays & hondis R, H. 

853. hemsiluen] hem ful R. 

854. nor] & R. 862. In myddis R. 

864. I-knet] knett R. * 

866. Mayores P, mayr\'S H 5, Mairis H — prouestes R. 

872. demened] demyd R. 874. to kepe R — countrouersye 

all men and 
reprove vices; 

224 A Chapter on good Government [bk. ii 

Iisl'hTvl^ ™"stThis bodi must haue a soule off lifF 876 

6oui of con- To quyke the membris with gostli mociouws, 
' Which shal be maad off folk contemplatifF, 
The cherche comwitted to ther pocessiouns, 
Which bi ther hooli conuersaciouns 880 

And good exau7nple[s] sholde as sterns shyne, 
Be grace and vertu the peeple [tjenlumyne. 

to whose care Vpon the Hht ofF thet condiciouns, 

txlC CxlurCn IS 

committed, and Off this bodi dependith the weelfare: 884 

who should tell -r- • i i ^ ^• • 

the truth to T or in thcr techyng and predicaciouws 

Thei sholde trouthe to hih & low declare, 

And in ther office for no dreed ne spare 

Vices correcte, lich as thei ar holde, 888 

Sithe thei been heerdis off Cristes folde. 

and there must Folwyng vpon, off entent ful cleene, 

be labourers to^,-''?'^, , ii-i 

hold up and Laboreris, as ye han herd deuised, 

sustain the r'l i i • i t i i 

body as feet bhal this Dodi Dem up and susteene 89a 

hSnesUabour As fcet and leggis, which may nat be despised; 
ju^ifi°ed^ For trewe labour is iustli auctorised, 

And ner the plouh vpholden be trauaile, 

Off kynges, pryncis farweel al gouernaile. 896 

Thus, if Thus first yiff pryncis gouerned been be riht, 

prmces, knights, . , , i i i rr i i i r i 

judges, bur- And knyhthod suttre the peeple to hatuej no wrong, 

fnd^abourers And trouthe in iuges shewe out his cleer liht, 

then ttm&y'' And feith in cites with loue be drawe a-long, 900 

this"image^\ -^"^ hooH cherche in vertu be maad strong, 

well wrought, ^nd in his labour the plouh ne feyne nouht, — 

Thanwe be proporciouw this ymage is weel wrouht. 

With King This mateer hool for texemplefie, 904 

an example, Kyug Roboam fot fals* oppressioun 

princes must Air i* 'irir i* 

remember that And lor his wiitui troward tirannye 
peotielor^the Loste a gtet patti off his regeoun; 
ruiers?nlt °lht Wherfore, let pryncis considren off resoun, 908 

oppressed. QqJ sette the peeple for lordis auauwtage, 
And nat to been oppressid with seruage. 

877. quykene R. 

879. commyttith H. 

881. sholde] holde R. 888. ar] er H. 

889. owne folde R. 

896. princis kyngis R, R 3 — al] the H. 

898. to] om. R. 

905. fals] a fals B, H, J, R 3, H 5, P — oppressioun] pr^- 
sumpciown H. 

BK. IlJ 

The Story of Mucins Sccevola 


Vpon sumwe pryncis Bochas doth compleyne, [p. lOo] Bocha$ aisap- 

--, I I I proves oi 

Duch as haue a custum and maneer 
Ageyn ther subiectis ongoodli to disdeyne, 
And off pride to shewe hem froward cheer; 
Counseileth hem to remembre & ler, 
As this chapitle doth fynali deuise, 
First out off labour al lordshepe dede arise. 

912 princes who are 
disdainful to 
their subjects, 
and counsels 
them to remem- 
ber that all 
lordship first 
arose out of 


[How Mucyus Sceuola slouh an Innocent in stede of 
Kyng Porcenna that leide siege to Rome.] ^ 

WHAN kyng Porcenna with his cheualrie 
Ageyn Romeyns a werre first began, 
The toun besegyng vpon ech partie 
With gret puissaunce brouht out off Tuskan, 
In the cite ther was a knyhtli man, 
Mucius Sceuola, which caste in ther distresse 
To breke the siege thoruh his hih prowesse. 924 

Leet arme hymsilfF[e] cleene in plate & maile, 

For comoun profit, tauauncen his corage 

Kyng Porcenna proudli to assaile; 

A tyme prouyded to his auauntage, 928 

Thoruh the siege to maken his passage, 

And fynali at his in-comyng 

luparte his persone for to sle the kyng. 

But Ilk as tellith Titus Lyuyus, 

Wher Porcenna sat in his roial see, 

This senatour, this manli Mucius, 

Sauh a prynce off gret auctorite. 

The kyng rasemblyng, clad [both] in o lyuere, 936 

Atween discernyng no maner variaunce; 

Slouh that prynce off veray ignoraunce. 

But whan he knew[e] that he dede faile 

To slen Porcenna, enmy to the toun. 

And sauh he hadde lost al his trauaile, 

He made a pitous lamentacioun. 

Because he dede execucioun 

Off ignoraunce, ageyn his owne entent, 944 

To spare a tirant and slen an innocent. 

916. As] And H, R. 

920. toun] ton H. 931. luparte] lupardie R. 
933. his]om. R. 935. Sauh] Sith R. 941. sauh]sithR. 
^ MS. J. leaf 41 verso. 

When the 
Etruscans once 
besieged Rome, 
Mucius Scae- 
920 vola determined 
to pass through 
the hostile 

lines and slay 
King Porsenna. 

Q'12 Unfortunately 
he mistook 
another prince 
for the king, 
and killed him. 

But when he 
saw his blunder, 
940 he cried out in 
grief at having 
slain an inno- 
cent man 

226 Mucins Scavola, Lucrece [^bk. ii 

and soing^up For which hc was with hymsilfF ful wroth, 
held his 'hand That hc was fouwdc SO necligcnt in deede, 

in the flames ai'ii'i i r*i i 

until it was And With his hand onto a hr he goth, 948 

consume . Made it btenne briht as any gleede, 

Bothe nerfF & bon and his flessh to sheede, 

His hand consumyng on pecis heer & yonder, 

And from his arm made it parte assonder. 952 

For this deed And as the story declareth onto vs. 

the Romans _., . , ■' , , 

ever afterward 1 his manli man, this noDle senatour, 

Scxvoia. Afor tyme was calUd Mucius, 

Which for the comoun dede many gret labour; 956 
And for the vnkouth hasti fell rigour 
Doon [vn]to hymsilfF, the Romeyns all, 
Sceuola thei dede hym afFtir call. 

which is to As moche to seyne be language off that lond — 960 

without a hand.Who take atiht the exposicioun — 

As a man which is withoute an bond. 

And afftir hym bi successioun 

Al his offspryng, that wer bor in the touw, 964 

In remembraunce for tencrece his fame. 

Off Sceuola bar afftir hym the name. 

Such examples Bc this exauwplc and many a-nother mo, 

shew what x/tt' i- i i 

perils and suf- YiiT men list her corages to awake, 968 

haTe^end^ured Thei sholde Seen what pereil & what wo 

t°a"nta°gTaT "^' For comouw profit men haue* vndirtake, 

BrntuT^'chased ^^ whilom Btutus fot Lucrecis sake 

Tarquin^and all Chaced Tarquyn for his transgressioun 972 

Rome. And kynges alle out off Rome toun. 

Lucrece's story Touchyng Lucrece, exauwple off wifli trouthe, 

is related by-jy ry-. i-rii'jj 

Chaucer, who How yonge 1 atquyn hir taisii dede oppresse, 

And afftir that, which was to gret a routhe, 976 

How she hirsilff[e] slouh for heuynesse. 

It nedith nat rehersyn the processe, 

Sithe that Chaucer, cheeff poete off Bretayne, 

Wrot off hir liff a legende souerayne. 980 

told why the Rehersyng ther amongfesl other thynges 

Romans exiled ^ , , -^ » 11 . "^ *= 

their kings and Lch circumstauwcc and ech occasiouw: 
se'rted Dtdo, '" Whi Romeyns exilid first ther kynges, 

948. And] An R. 950. and] om. R. 957. hasti] om. R. 

958. vnto]toH, J, R 3,H 5, P. 959. aftirdid hym R. 

960. As meche to seye R. 968. Corag<r H. 

970. haue] han B. 979. Sithe] Which R. 

BK. Il] 

The Story of Lucrece 


Neuer to regnen afftir in ther toun, 984 

As olde cronycles make mencioun, 
Remembryng also thunkyndli gret outrage 
Bi Eneas* doon to Dido off Cartage. 

Eek othir stories which he wrot his lyue 
Ful notabli with eueri circumstaunce, 
And ther fatis dede pitousli descryue, 
Lik as thei fill put hem in remembraunce, 
Wherfore yifF I sholde my penne auaunce, 992 

Afftir his makyng to putte hem in memorie,* 
Men wolde deeme it presumpciouw & veynglorie. 

as well as other 
tales, notably 
written. It 
were presump- 
tion for me to 
tell them again, 

For as a sterre in presence off the sunne 
Lesith his fresshnesse and his cleer[e] liht, 
So my reudnesse vnder skies dunne 
Dareth ful lowe and hath lost his siht, 
To be compared ageyn the bemys briht 
Off this poete; wherfore it were but veyn 
Thyng seid be hym to write it newe ageyn. 


lOl] f°'' ^' ^ ^'*'' 
pales before 
996 the sun, so 

my unpolished 
language can 
stand no com- 
parison to the 
bright beams of 
this poet. 

[How Lucrece/ oppressid bi Tarquin slouh hirsilf.] ^ 

BUT at Lucrece stynte I will a while, 
It were pite hir story for to hide, 
Or slouthe the penne of my reud[e] stile, 
But for hir sake alle materis set a-side. 
Also my lord bad I sholde abide, 
By good auys at leiser to translate 
The doolful processe off hir pitous fate. 

Folwyng the tracis off CoUucyus, 

Which wrot off hir a declamaciouw 

Most lamentable, most doolful, most pitous, 

Wher he descryueth the dolerous tresoun 

Off hir constreyned fals oppressioun, 

Wrouht & compassid bi vnwar violence, 

The liht ontroublid off hir cleer conscience. 

Yet, after all, I 
will pause at 
Lucrece. It 
would be a 
1004 pity not to tell 
her story, and, 
besides, my 
lord bade me 
do it. 


So, following 
CoUucius, I'll 
describe how 
she was taken 
unawares and 

986. Remembre R. 987. Eneas] encres B, encrece J, 

Encrece H, Encres H 5, encros R 3, Eneas R, Aenee P. 
988. his] in his H. 991. fill] ful R. 992. Wheroff R. 
993, 94. memoire, veyngloire B. 

999. compared] compacid R. looi. be hym] beforn R. 
1003. for] om. H. 
1007. at] bi H. 1008. hir] his R. 

1 MS. J. leaf 42 recto. 

228 The Story of Lucrece [bk. ii 

Her father was Hir fadcF whilom calHd Spurius, 1016 

husband CoUa- Hit worthi husbondc named Collatyn, 

Tarqub was WHIch bi thc luxuFC & trcsoun odious 

deat""'* °^ ^^' And vicious outrage of Sextus, proud Tarqwin, 

Oppressid was & brouht onto hir fyn. 1020 

Whos dedii sorwe in Inglissh for to make. 
Off pitous routhe my penne I feele quake. 

Tarquin came This Said Tatquyn, this euel auised knyht, 
thief in the This sclauwdrid man, most hatful for his deede, 1024 
naied'lword in Cam Hch a thccfF, alas, vpon a nyht 
his hand, With naked suerd, whan no man took non heede, 
Vpon Lucrece, she quakyng in hir dreede, 
Liggyng abedde ferr from hir folkes all, 1028 

And knew no refuge for helpe for to call. 

and said that He manacyng in his froward entent, 
not yield to Ou hit beholdyug with a furious cheer, 
fin'd'means°'to That with his suerd[e], but she wolde assent, 1033 
S°namYfor- Hire and a boy he wolde prente ifeer, 
*^'«'^- Such on as was most ougli off maner. 

Most onlikli off persone and off fame: 
Thus he hir thratte for to sclauwdre hir name. 1036 

So there was But his entent[e] whan she dede feele, 
N°xt^morainV And sauh no mene ageyn hir woful chauwce, 
hu!ba°nd S The morwen afftir she list nothyng concele, 
h?m' to^'d ""°* Tolde hir husbonde hooli the gouernauwce, 1040 

vengeance, said Hym requeryng for to do vengaunce 
Vpon this crym, saide lik a trewe wiff. 
She wolde hir herte percen with a knyff. 

In this mater this was hir fantasie: 1044 

that she would Bet was to deie than to lyue in shame, 
Hfe? il^hT^" And lasse wikke, to putte in iupartie 
lesser evil. j^j^. mottal bodi than hir good[e] fame. 

Whan honour deieth, farweel a manys name! 1048 

Bet it were out off this liff disseuere. 

Than sclaundrous fame to slen a man for euere. 

1017. Cellatyne R. 

1018. luxurie R, P, luxury H, R 3. 
1033. prente] present R, R 3. 

1039. morwenj morowe R, morow R 3, P, morn H, J, morwyn 

1042. this] his H. 

1045. Bettir R. 1046. wikke] wikkid was R. 

1049. Bettir R. 

BK. Il] 

Tbf Story of Lucrece 


But to that purpos hir husbonde seide nay, 
Hir fader also was therto contrarie,* 
Makyng a promys, withoute mor delay, 
To do vengauwce how thei wil nat tarie. 
To hir declaryng with resouns debonarie, 
Vnder these woordis trouthe & riht conserued. 
To slen hirsilfF she hath nothyng disserued : 

[]" My dere Lucrece, tempeste the nat at al, 
We knowe thy menyng and thy clene entent, 
Thy vertu prevyd in especial, 
Which yevith to vs a ful pleyn argument, 
Vn-to thavoutour thow gaff nevir* assent. 
And for a more singuleer ev^^dence, 
Cryest eu^rre to punysshe his greet offence. 

Lyst nat cese, but eu^re theron abydest. 
And al counfort doost fro thy-sylff refuse; 
Thyng that was secre, in covert thow nat hydest 
But rygerously thavoutour doost accuse, 
Wheer expert vertu thy renoun doth* excuse. 
Thy wyffly trouthe can hern also witnesse 
By deer repoort to vs of thy clennesse. 

For in the eyen of folkys ferre and neer. 

The glorye and honour of wyffly chastite 

Hath to this day with bryghte beemys cleer 

In thy persone enlvmyned this cyte. 

For bothe in opyn and also in secre 

The fame hath flouryd of thy chaast[e] name, 

Fre fro thatwytyng of ony spot of blame. 

We can our-sylff recordyn and expresse. 

How thy delyght and thyn hertly plesaunce 

Was to worshepe wyffly sobimesse. 

And to werreye al chaunge and varyaunce, 

Lyk a lantifrne set vp of constauwce. 

Or lyk a merour, in eu<fry mannys syght, 

Off good exaumple to yive al othir lyght. 

But CoUatine 
and her father 
._.. said no, prom- 
'^ ising to do 
vengeance at 


"My dear 
Lucrece, do not 
be troubled, we 
know your 
1060 virtue. 


"You cry out 
on this offence 
without com- 
fort, you conceal 
nothing from 
us, you have 
1068 always been a 
model of wifely 

propriety, we 
^^72 know ourselves 
that you are a 


lantern, a 
mirror of con- 

1080 "*°'=>- 


1052,54, 55. contraire, taire, debonaire B. 

1055. resoun H. 1056. these] ther H. 

1058. The following six stanzas are omitted in B, H, J, H 5, P. 

The text is supplied from Harley ij66,fol. 102 recto. 
1058. the] om. R. 

1062. nevir] nevir thyn Harley 1766. 
1069. doth] doost Harley 1766. 

1077. hath] om. R. 

1078. thatwytyng] the awaytyng R. 


"Don't you 
remember how 
Tarquin and I 
found you not 
long ago vir-_ 
tuously occupied 
amidst your 

making them 
embroider in 
soft wools, 
without thought 
of evil? 

The Story of Lucrece 

[bk. II 

"You were 
trapped like a 
fowl in a snare, 
and you think 
your good name 
is lost. 

"But this is 

"We will be 
avenged on 
your wrong. 

My trewe Lucrece, hastow nat in mynde, 
Nat yoore agoon, in verray sekirnesse, 
How thavoutour and I the did[e] fynde 
Amyd thy women in vertuous besynesse 
Occupyed, — a tokne of stedfastnesse, 
Therby concludyng of trouthe and of resouw, 
Modir of vertu is occupacyouw. 

I fond the thanne, as I haue do ful ofFte, 
Among thy maydenys besily sittyng, 
To make hem werke vpon wollys sofFte, 
In ther werkyng hem womanly cherysshyng. 
On vicious lust ful smal was thy thynkyng; 
Wherfore, thow shuldyst of resoun advertyse, 
Tatempre thy dool in more tendir wyse:] 

For sodenli and also onauised, 

As a foul is trappid in a snare, 

Be onwar fraude vpon the practised. 

Thou were deceyued, pleynli to declare, 

Hauyng this conceit, hard is to repare 

The name off hem which falsli be difFamed, 

Whan wrong report the[r] hih renoun hath shamed 

Touchyng thi persone, I dar afFerme & seyn, 
That it were a maner inpossible. 
And lik a thyng which neuer yit was seyn, 
That thi worshepe was fouwde coruptible, 
But stedfast ay and indyuysible, 
Ondepartid in vertu and maad strong. 
And now desirous tauenge thi pitous wrong. 

On thyn iniurie we shal auengid be, 
Considred first the dedli heuynesse 
Which thou suffredist bi gret aduersite. 
Whan thauoutour thi* beute dede oppresse, 
And reioishyng bi a fals gladnesse, 
Maugre thi will[e], as a theefF be nyht 
The encouwbred off veray force & myht. 




1 104 

1 108 


1091. 2nd of3 om. R. 

1092. of] and Harley 1766. 

1096. hem womanly] womanly hem R. 

1 100. also] al H. 1104. is] it is R. 

1 106. ther] the J, H, R 3, H S, P. 

1 1 13. now] not H. 

1 1 14. shal] shullen R. 
1 1 17. thi] thei B. 

BK. Il] 

The Story of Lucrece 


But yifF thou woldist leue al thi moomyng [p. 

And restreyne thyn Inportable wo, 

Thou sholdist seen so egal a punshyng 

Vpon thi moste froward mortal fo, 

To wame alle othre, thei shal no mor do so, 

In chastisyng ofF fals auoutrie, 

The and thi renoun off riht to magnefie. 

What was difFacyng to thi trewe entent, 

Thouh his youthe onbridled wente at large, 

So for tafForce a celi innocent ? 

Whos wikkednesse ouhte to here the charge, 

And we off riht thi conscience discharge. 

The ioie onleefFul off his fals plesaunce, 

With double palme thyn honour doth auauwce. 

Conceyue and see, o thou my Lucrece, 

How that resoun and good discrecioun 

Sholde thi trouble & thi moumyng cese. 

Off riht restreyne thyn opynyoun. 

So reklesli to do punycioun. 

With knyf on honde to slen thisilff, alas! 

For othres gilt, and dedist no trespas. 

Lat be, Lucrece, lat been al thi dool, 

Cese thi compleynt & thi wo restreyne. 

Sholde I fro the lyue alone al sool, 

And thi deth perpetueli compleyne t 

To putte thi fader in inportable peyne, — 

Off our weelfare be nat so rek[e]les. 

To deie and leue our childre moodirles. 

Off prudence eek thou ouhtest for to see 

And aduertise onli off resoun, 

Thouh off force thi bodi corupt be, 

Thi soule inward and thyn entencioun 

Fraunchised been from al corupcioun. 

Offens is noon, considre in thyn entent, 

But will and herte yiue therto ful consent. 

Thou were nakid in thi bed liggyng, 

Alone, onwar, slepyng and void off myht, 

Suspeciounles al off his comyng. 

J 02] "Only restrain 
" your sorrow 
and you will 
sec exemplary 
dealt to your 

^1-4 enemy, as a 

warning to all 

1 1 28 "His unbridled 
youth did not 

prejudice your 


reason and dis- 
cretion both 
1 136 demand that 
you should not 
sacrifice year 
life for an- 
other's gilt. 

1 140 

"Lay aside 
your sorrow, 
Lucrece, and do 
not be so reck- 
II44 !ess of our 

1 148 

"Your soul is 
free from all 

1 1 56 

It IS not sur- 
prising that a 
weak woman 
should be over- 
come by a 
strong man. 

1 122. Importable H. 

1131, ouhte to] of riht ouht R. 1132. off riht] also R. 

1 133. fals] hertly R. 1140. on] in R. 

1 142. thi] this R. 1 144. al] and R. 1146. importable H. 

1151. corruptidH. 1158. al]as H, H5, R 3— Suspiciousles P. 


The Story of Lucrece 

[bk. II 

" Yet I know 
that for all his 
strength he 
never could 
compel your 
heart to yield. 

"What is more 
than the con- 
trast between 
his fraud and 
your constancy? 

" We know well 
that the tyrant 
found you more 
like an image 
of stone than a 
being of flesh 
and blood. 

"Your father 
and I have 
both excused 
you, so do not 
think of killing 

"If you do, it 
will seem to 
some that you 
were guilty; 



That tyme namli, because that it was nyht. 

A feerful woman, and he an hardi knyht, 

Al-be-it so onknyhtli was his deede, 

With nakid suerd tassaile thi womanheede. . 

He myhte thi bodi be force weel oppresse 

Be sleihti weies that he hadde souht; 

But weel wot I, for al his sturdynesse, 

He myhte neuer ha[ue] maistri off thi thouht. 

The bodi yolde, the herte yald hym nouht. 

Ye wer[en] tweyne, thou feeble & he riht strong, 1168 

Thi trouthe afForced, he werkere off the wrong. 

Where myhtistou ha[ue] grettere price or laude, 

Al riht considred, trouthe and equite: 

First couMtirpeised his force & sleihti fraude, 

Thanne to perseuere in femynyte 

With thouht onchauwgid, & in fragilite 

Off womanheed to haue an herte stable, — • 

What thyng in the myht be mor comendable ? 

It is weel knowe thou were off herte ay oon. 

To all fals lustis contraire in gouernaunce, 

Mor lik an ymage korue out off a ston. 

Than lik a woman flesshli off plesaunce 

The tirant fond the in cheer & contenaunce. 

Which euer afftir be womanli victorie* 

Shal be ascryued to thyn encres off glorie. 

Thi fadir Brutus hath the weel excusid, 

Misilff also, thi blood & thi kynreede, — 

On this mater lat no mor be musid. 

To sle thisilff or do thi sidis bleede, 

Certis, Lucrece, thou hast ful litil neede; 

It were gret wrong be al our iugement 

To spare a tirant and slen an innocent. 

Thi-silff to moordre, to sumwe it wolde seeme 

Thou were gilti, wher-as thou art cleene. 

Dyuers wittis dyuersli wolde* deeme, 

Reporte thyng thou neuer* dedist meene. 

For which thou shalt pacientli susteene, 

1 160. feerdful R. 1164. out souht R. 

1 165. sturdynesse] worthynesse H. 

1 169. Thi]TheR — he]ofR. 

1174. &] om. R — fragilige R. 1182,83. victoire, gloire B. 

1 186. this] thi H — mor] man H. 

1 193. wolde] will B, R 3, wil J, P, wyl H 5. 

1 194. And reporte R — thou neuer] that thou neu^r R — 
neuer] non B, J, none P (which thou noon did meen R 3). 



1 180 

1 184 


BK. Il] 

Lucrece's Answer to her Husband 


Till thi chast[e] wiffli innocence 1196 

May seen hym punshed for his violence. 

Folk wil nat deeme a persone innocent, 

Which wilfulli, whan he is nat coupable, 

Yildith hymselfF to deth be iugement, 

And neuer afFom was off no gilt partable. 

His owne doom, vpon hymsilfF vengable, 

Causeth the peeple, thouh ther report be nouht. 

To deeme a thyng that neuer was doon nor thouht. 1204 

for folk will not 
hold a person 
innocent who 
wilfully yields 
1200 himself to 

To been auengid vpon thyn owne lifF, 

In excusyng off thi dedli diffame, 

To shewe thou art a trewe parfit wifF, 

Wenyng be deth to gete the a name, — 1208 

In this deuys thou art gretli to blame, 

Wher thou yit knowest thyn honour cleerli shyne, 

To yiue the peeple mater to deuyne." 

^ And with that woord Lucrece dede abraide, 

Ful dedli pale bothe ofF look and cheer. 

To them ageyn, euene thus she saide: 

" Lat be, husbonde, lat be, my fader deer, 

Spekith no mor to me off this mateer. 

List men dempte, in hyndryng off my name, 

I dradde deth mor than fals difFame. 

[p. 10"^] ^'^^ '' y°" '^''^ 

'•'^* ^ this you w 

you would 
be greatly to 

12 12 ^'th that word 
Lucrece an- 
swered," Let be, 

my husband 
and my father. 


Your counsail is, I shal my lifF conserue 
To sorwe and sclaundre, but to no gladnesse; 
But lasse wikke is at an hour to sterue 
Than euer langwisshe in sorwe & heuynesse. 
Deth maketh an eende off al worldli distresse; 
And it was said sithe[n] ful yore ago. 
Bet is to deie than euer to lyue in wo. 

Whan that worshepe in any creature 
Is slayn and ded be sclaund[e]rous report. 
Bet is off deth the dreedful peyne endure. 
Than be fals noise ay luye in disconfort, 
Wher newe & newe difFame hath his resort. 

"Your counsel 
is that I shall 
1220 li^"e in sorrow; 
but it is less 
wrong to die 
than ever to 
languish in woe. 



"When honour 
is (Iain, it is 
better to endure 

1204. nor] no R. 

1218. deth mor3 more deth R. 1219. my lifi" I shal H. 

1221. wikkyd R. 

1224. said] ow. R — sithen] sithe J, P, sythen H 5 — yore] 
longe R 3, yeere H 5. 

1225, 28. Bettir R. 1229. discomfort H. 
1230. difFame] fame R, H. 

234 Lucrece's Answer to her Husband [|bk. il 

Neuer deieth, but queklth be thoutrage 

Off hatful tuwges & venymous language. 1232 

"Do your best Doth youf dcucF to halwc & make stable 

wifely chastity The chast[e] chauwbres off wifli gouernaunce; 

geance on the FoF in this cas yiff yc be variable 

adulterer. q^ £^|g auouto foF to do vcngauwce, 1236 

Ther shal folwe euerlastyng remembrauwce, 
How trewe spousaile, as ye han herd deuysed, 
In your cite was broke and nat chastised. 

"If you are Yiff ye be founde in such cas necligent 1240 

found neghgent, t-. i m 't • i 

licentiousness io punysshe auoutouts, Oil Tiht as is your charge, 
bridied"at"iarge- Thotuh your slouthe, as ye were off assent, 

Luxure onbridled shal renne abrod at large. 

Who shal thanne your conscience discharge, 1244 

Or what woman stonde in sekirnesse, 

Off Lucrece afforced the clennesse ? 

"What joy O deere husbonde, what ioie sholde it be 

would you _, , . ' 

have, dear hus- lo thyn cstat, m ony maner place, 1248 

me after Tar- Lich as thi wiff [fot] to chcrisshc me, 
wime'f °'^" Or in thyn armys me goodli to enbrace, 
The gilt horrible considred and trespace 
Be Tarquyn doon — alas and welaway! — 1252 

Which in my persone may neuer be wasshe away? 

"And, my And fader myn, how sholdestou me calle, 

father, how can «rr'i-ii ii i 

you call me Aittir this day, thyn owne douhter deere, 
this day?* " Which am, alas, refus off women alle, 1256 

That to thi plesaunce was whilom most enteere, 
Withynne thi hous whan I dede lere, 
Bi cleer exauwple off manyfold doctryne, 
Al that partened to vertuous disciplyne? 1260 

"Having lost Which I haue lost now in my daies olde, 

my virtue, I _^. . , . -^ 

dare not even Discspeircd it to tccurc ageyn. 

chiidrenf'^ °^° Myn owne childre, I dar hem nat beholde, 

Because the wombe in which that thei ha[ue] leyn 1264 

Diffouled is and poUut in certeyn. 

Which was toforn in chastite conserued. 

Chastisith thauoutour, as he hath disserued! 

1 241. avoutrers R. 

1243. Luxury H, R 3, Luxurie P — renne abrod] goone aboute 

R, ryn about R 3. 
1245. schall stonde R. 1249. for] om. J. 
1258. thi] thyne R, thyn H, R 3, H 5. 1262. Dlspeired R. 
1264. the] that the R — haue] om. R. 1265. pollutid H. 



Lucrece^s Answer to her Father 

And for my part to speke in woordes fewe, 

Lenger to lyue I ha[ue] no fantasie; 

For wher sholde I out my face shewe, 

Or dore appeere in any cumpanye, 

Sithe a dirk spotte off fals auoutrie 

Shal euer encrece*, wher it be fals or trewe, 

Into myn hyndryng the sclaundre to renewe ? 

Lust afforcid hath a fals appetit, 
Of freelte includid* in Nature; 
Maugre the will, ther folweth a delit, 
As summe folk seyn, in eueri creature. 
Good fame lost, ful hard is to recure; 
And sithe I may myn harmys nat redresse, 
To you in open my gilt I will confesse. 

Al-be I was ageyn my will oppressid, 

Ther was a maner constreyned lust in deede, 

Which for noun power myht nat be redressid, 

For febilnesse I stood in so gret dreede. 

For which offence deth shal be my meede, 

Sith leuer I haue with sum egge tool 

To sle mysilff, than lyue in sclaundre & dool. 

O fader myn, spare and ha[ue] pite! 
And deere husbonde, rewe on myn offence! 
Goddis & goddessis callid off chastite, 
To my trespace graunteth an indulgence; 
For off my gilt to make a recompence, 
Wher that Venus gat in me auauntage, 
Deth shal redresse & chastise myn outrage. 

For yiff I sholde make a delay 

To perce my brest bi sharpnesse off a knyff. 

Men wolde deeme and sey fro day to day, 

To make my sclaundre mor open & mor ryff. 

How that I was mor tendir off my lyff 1300 

Than off my worshep, which wer to gret a shame, — 

To loue my liff mor than my good[e] name! 

1270. out my face3 my face out R. 

1273. euer encrece] euermore B, eu^rmore J — wher] whedir H. 

1274. renewe] remewe H. 

1276. includid] indudyng R, concludid hoolly H, encludid 

hooly R 3, the word includid is repeaUd in B, J, H 5. 
1281. my gilt in open R. 1282. Al-be] Also R. 
1283. Ther] the H. 1284. noun] no R. 
1287. Sith] And R. 1290. deere] trew H, 
1291. callid] om. R. 1297. a] om. H. 


1268 "^'°r have I 
the desire to 
live longer: 
defouled, I dare 
not appear in 
any company. 


"Lust afforced 
has a false ap- 
1276 petite, delight 
follows, even 
though it be 
against the 


and as such 
was my experi- 
ence, I would 
rather kill my- 
1284 sdf with some 
edged weapon 
than live in 


[p. 104] "T>« S°<Js and 
' ' goddesses of 

chastity grant 
this indulgence, 
that death may 
redress my 
1292 wrong-doing. 

1296 "I^ I 4f'*>'/. , 
men will thmlc 
that I loved 
life more than 
my good name. 

236 The Death of Lucrece {j&k. ii 

"No witness is In this matecr no witnesse is so good, 

so good as rri 1 r 1 

blood shed with lo puttc a-way ai rals suspeciouw, 1304 

a knife. ^^ W\t\\ a knyfF to sheede myn herte blood : 

I myht nat make a bet purgacioun 

To alle folk that ha[ue] discrecioun, 

Than fynali be my deth texcuse 1308 

The gilt horible, off which men me accuse. 

"Go forth, my Go fooFth my soule, peur & inmortal, 

soul, before the _,, „r i • rr 

judges infernal, Cheerr[e] witnessc ott myn mnocence, 

who will decide »-r. r i • i • i i • r l 

that my con- 1 otor tho mgcs which be mternal: 1312 

science was ^'ust Mynos, kyng, to deeme my conscience, 

With Radamanthus to yeuen a sentence 

Lik my desert, that it may be seene, 

In wifli trouthe how that I was cleene. 1316 

and let my Thou cttheli body, which thoruh thi fairnesse 

blood stir and __, • r ^ 

excite the Were to auoutri lul gret occasiouw, 
aiTking^for' ^ Off thi blood sheede out the red[e]nesse, 

Tarquin's sake. ^^^ ^^ ^j^j ^jj^^ j^^^ J^ ^.^Jj^ ^J^^^. ^^^^ 

Stere and excite the peeple off this toun 
To doon ther deuer, withynwe a litil while, 
For loue off Tarquyn, alle kynges to exile. 

"Do not delay And fitst I ptaic, myn husbonde most enteer^, 1324 
geance." Off this vengauwcc to make no delay; 

With helpe & socour off my fader deer^ 
To punysshe thauoutour, in al the haste ye may; 
Let hym take his wages and his pay, 1328 

Lik as ye seen, and pleynli now conceyue. 
For his offence the deth I do receyue." 

And suddenly. And sodcnli, or thei myhte aduerte, 

kneT what she She took 2L knyff, and with gret violence, 1332 

r"k aTnife'and Thotuh the btest, cucne onto the herte 

Ei"rf ind" She made it glide, — ther was no resistence. 

if thei^"feft"'^ Ful pale and ded fill doun in ther presence. 

And bi occasiouw* off this pitous deede, 1336 

Tarquyn exilid, and hooli his kenreede. 

1306. myht] may R — bet] bettir R. 

1308. Than] & H — texcuse] excuse R. 

1309. accuse] excuse R. 

13 10. peur] pore R — &] & and R — Immortall H. 
1312. tho] the R, H, R 3. 1319. thi] the H. 
1326. &] om. R. 

1328. pay] play R, pray H. 

J330. do] now R. 

1336. bi occasioun] boccasioun B, bi the occasion R. 

BK. ii] The Story of Appius and Virginia 237 

For which[e] cause, be record off writyng, S'Jre wL"^^^ 

Was ther neuer in Rome the cite, ^^" * ■''^s "» 

, ' Rome. 

AiFtir that day no man crownyd kyng, 1340 

As in cronycles ye may beholde and see. 

Thus for luxur[y]e and ther cruelte, 

Ther tirannye and fals extorsioun, 

Thei wer exilid out off Rome toun. 1344 

[How Rome aftir was gouemed and virginea bi hir 
fadir slaynj ^ 

GOUERNED afFtir bi other officeres, ^me '^a* 

As is remembred in Titus Lyuyus, goranta by 

Callid decemvir of dyuers cronycleres; a^^^'"hom 
Among[es] which ther was on Appius, 1348 r«e/for"hii 

A iuge ontrewe, proud and luxurious, dishonesty. 
Which thoruh the cite, the story berth witnesse, 
Behatid was for his gret falsnesse. 

And onys it fill, as he caste his look 1352 He once saw a 

Vpon a maide most inli fair off siht, daughter of 

A fals desir withynne his herte he took wh^'he ° 

Hir to disuse, ageyn al skele and riht. SSbn. ^*' ' 

And she was doubter to a worthi knyht, 1356 

Ful manli founde in his deedis all, 

And Virginius the Romeyns dede hym call. 

Whos goodli doubter, the story doth us lere, Her name was 

Was afftir hym for his noble fame 1360 ^'^^' 

Virginia callid, most goodli & enteere; 

And for this cause she bar the same name. 

But Appius ful gretli was to blame. 

Which hath conspired thoruh his gret falsnesse, 1364 

YifF that he myhte hir beute to oppresse. 

This iuge ontrewe bothe in thouht and deede, tt^'s dishonest 

Off lawe onrihtful souhte out occasioun; ier^""at-!aw 

Made a sergeant off his to proceede, 1368 IgaL'^^r on a 

Ageyn this maide to take an accioun, ^^"^ '^*'^' 

Qeymed hir his seruant bi fals collusioun. 

And this was doon be Appius off entent 

That he on hir myht yiue a iugement. 1372 

1346. in] bi H, by R 3. 

1366. and] in R. 1368. to] go R. 

1369. maide] raateer R. 1370. Cleymed] Clevm H. 

1372. on]ofH. 

^ MS. J. leaf 43 verso. 

238 Jppius* Disgrace and Death [bk. il 

mighffind op- And be this mene, in his fals delit, [p. 105] 

portunky to Thouhtc hc mvhte hir beute best disuse, 

accomplish bis i- i i • n i i- • 

desire. So fof taccomphsshe his flesshh appetit, 

She beyng feeble thaccioun to refuse. 1376 

Wherupon hir fader gan to muse, 
Fulli conceyued off Appius the maner, 
In hir difFence wrouhte as ye shal heer. 

hi"d^fd'eT Whan Appius hadde youe his iugement 1380 

her'fathertook ^geyn this maide, which aforn hym stood, 
her to one side Hir manli fadir, most knyhtU off entent, 

and stabbed ill- j 

her to the 1 ooK hir appatt, as he thouhte it good, 

And with a knyfF shadde hir herte blood: 1384 

Dempte it bettre to slen hir in clennesse, 
Than the tirant hir beute sholde oppresse. 

wfs pre\Mved. Thus hool conserued was hir chastite* 

And ondefoulid was hir maydenheede; 1388 

For Virginius to keepe hir honeste 

Spared no thyng to make hir sides bleede. 

But Appius for this horible deede, 

And decemvir, thoruh this onhappi chau«ce, 1392 

Hadde in that cite neuer afftir gouernaunce. 

pr^finMr '° ^ As the story maketh also mencioun, 

there slew him- Appius, ashamcd off this deede, 

Slouh hymsilfF[e] fetrid in prisouw: 1396 

Off a fals iuge, loo heer the fynal meede! 

And tho tribuni in Rome gan succeede, 

Twen riht & wrong treuli to discerne, 

And Romayn lawes iustli to gouerne. 1400 

lay'b^e'over- Men may heer seen as in a merour cleer, 
menrwh'o^a^r' Estatis chauwgid for ther gret offencis; 
sometimes or- And bc sum poote pcrsouc synguleer 

darned by God _^ . \ ^^ ^ r 

to chastise the Fryucis put doun ttom ther magnyhcencis, 1404 

Which nat considre in ther gret excellencis, 

How God ordeyneth his yerde [in] sundri wise. 

The poore sumwhile the pompous to chastise. 

1379. hir]] his H. 

1383. it] it was R. 1384. shadde] he shad H. 

1387. chastite] virgynyte B, J, R. 

1389. honeste] virgynyte H. 1391. this] his R, thi H. 

1392. thoruh this] for his H. 1395- this] his R. 

1398. Tribunes H — began to R. 1399. Betwene R. 

1402. offence R. 1404. magnyficence R. 

1405. excellence R. 

1406. ordeynyd H, ordeyned R 3 — in]om. H, H 5. 

1407. sumwhile] sumtyme R 

BK. Il] 

Princes f do no Wrong to the Poor. 


^ Heeron to shewe exaumple anon riht, 
Markid in story for a notable thyng, 
Pausanias, off Grece a manli knyht, 
Off Macedonye slouh Phelipp the kyng 
At a table where he was sittyng 
Tween Alisandre and Olimpiades, 
His wrong tauengen, amyddis al the pres. 

9 Eek Salmator, a knyht off low degre, 
For wronges doon in especiall, 
Off manli force groundid on equite 
Slouh off Cartage the prynce Hastruball, 
Which brother was onto Due Hanyball, 
Beside a ryuer, as thei mette in bataile, 
Callid Metaure, which renneth in Ytaile. 

Wherfore, ye Pryncis, yiff ye list longe endure, 

Beth riht weel war, be ye neuer so strong, 

In your lordshepis nat to moche assure 

Off surquedie the poraile to do wrong. 

In your discrecioun conceyuyng euer a-mong, 

Grettest dreed is, that may your staat assaile. 

Whan subieccioun doth in the peeple faile. 

I40S *? ^''s Pausa- 
nias, who slew 
Philip of Mace- 


and Salmator, 
who killed 
14 16 Hasdrubal of 

Carthage at the 




Princes, if you 
would live long, 
do no wrong 
1424 to the poor. 


^ Lenvoy. 

THIS tragedie declareth in partie. 
What myscheef folweth of extorsioun, 
Eek off spousbrech and of auoutrie 
Be Tarquyn doon thoruh fals oppressioun 
Onto Lucrece withynne Rome tou?: ; 
Kynges exiled for such mysgouemaile 
And fals outrages doon to the poraile. 

Eek Appius, off wilful tirannye, 
Ageyn Virginia took an accioun, 
Thoruh a fals lust off froward lecherie, 
Blent and fordirked his memorie* & resoun. 
Which was cheeff cause and occasioun 
Whi thestat off dishomme dede faile, 
Thoruh fals outrages doon to the poraile. 

This tragedy 
shews the mis- 
chief that fol- 
lows extortion 

and adultery. 


1AX6 tyranny and 
^■^ false luit. 





Pausamyas R — a] a ful R — manli] notable H. 
Betwene R. 1414. in myddis R. 1422. ye] om. R. 
statis R. 1428. doth] don H. 1432. thoruh] bi R. 
memoire B. 

dishomme] dishome R, H, thi Name (Na in later band) 
decemvir R 3, Decemuir P. 

240 Jeroboam, King of Israel [bk. ii 

oum 'm done ^^^S PHclipp lostc sccptrc and regalie 
to the poor. Off Maccdonye the famous regeoun, 1444 

Onwarli slay[e]n, myd his cheualrie 
Sittyng at mete withynwe his cheefF dongouw. 
And grettest cause off his fallyng doun, 
Was whan Fortune his pride dede assaile 1448 

For fals outrages doon to the poraile. 
Even Duke Duk Hasttubal, whom bokis magnefie 

Hasdrubal, for _, r i • i -i 

all his renown, Vp to the hcuenc lOt his hih renouw, 

was slain by a xtti ■, , i i • 

servant. Whos ttyuTTzphes tauht up to the skie, 1452 

And hadde al Cartage in his subiecciouw, — 
Yit was he slayn onwarH be tresouw, 
Be a seruant; loo, what doth* disauaile 
Treson purposid aforn in the poraile! 1456 

Noble Princes, Noble Pryncis, your resoun doth applie, [p. 106] 

people pru- Whiche ouet the peeple ha[ue] dominaciouw, 

dently; for p i i- i i • 

nothing can oo prudentH to goucme hem and guie, 

thlt thtT^°^^ That loue and dreed be trewe affecciouw 1460 

s^ct of the Preserue ther hertis from fals rebellioun, 


Sithe to your hihnesse nothyng may mor preuaile 
Than trewe subiecciouw expert in the poraile. 

[How leroboam Kyng of Israel for Idolatrie and 
disobedience cam to mischeues ende.] ^ 

Of six kings "VTEXT these stories, in Bochas as I fynde, 1464 

who next ap- I ^1 ,-p,, , , , . 

peared to JL ^ 1 her dede appeere onto his presence 
bMm^pokeTrst, Kywges sexe, hym praieng to ha[ue] mynde 

Vpon ther fall be onwar violence 

From ther estatis off roial excellence. 1468 

And toforn alle, I fynde, that ther cam 

Off al Israel kyng leroboam. 

declaring his Onto myn auctout he began* declare 

fall with a pale tt- i ii- i • i ^ r 

face. His dedli compleynt with a pale race, 1473 

His gret myscheuys and his euel fare, 
And how he fill doun from his kyngli place 
Thoruh gret onhappis, which dede his h^frte enbrace, 

1448. Was] om. R. 

1449. outrage R. 1451,52. Vp to] vnto R. 
1455. doth] it doth B, H, J, R 3, H 5, P — auaile P. 
1461. ther] your R — fals] al R. 1462. nothyng may] 

may no thyng R. 

1471. began] began to B, H, J, R 3, H 5, P. 

1472. fale] (u\ pale R. 1475. happis R. 

1 MS. J. leaf 44 recto. 

BK. Il] 

Jerohoam and Jadan the Prophet 


And, as this story pleynli hath deuysed. 
For his offends how he was chastised. 

An ydolatre* he was, as it is told, 
Reised up auteres, off veray force & myht, 
Set therupon too calueren of peur gold, 
Dede hem worshepe, ageyn al skele & riht, 
Gaff euel exaumple in the peeplis siht. 
Whan he dede with fumys and encens 
To fals ydoles ondeu reuerens. 

Fro the temple he made the peeple gon, 
Preestis ordeyned afftir his owne guise. 
Forsook the tribe off Leuy and Aaron, 
And vpon Bethel his offryng gan deuise. 
And whil he dede onleefful sacrefise, 
God, that weel knew off hym the fals entent, 
Fro Jerusalem a prophete to hym sent. 

Which hym rebuked off his mysgouemaunce. 
And gan the pereiles to hym specefie; 
Told hym afom[e], for to do vengaunce 
Off Dauid[s] kyn ther sholde come on losie, 
Which sholde his preestis, that falsli coude lie, 
Manli destroie, and slen hem alle attonys 
And into asshes brenne hem flessh and bonys. 

And in tokne off ther destruccioun. 

The prophete told among hem all. 

How his auteris sholde bowe doun. 

And his ydoles from ther stage fall. 

Whom that foolis ther goddis falsli call. 

Which ha[ue] no power to helpe in no manere. 

For thei may nouther feele, see nor heere. 

Afftir this prophete, ladan, hadde told 
These said[e] signes pleynli to the kyng, 
His auter fill on pecis manyfold, 





He was an 

idolater, who 
set up two 
golden calves, 

and ordained 
priests in his 
own fashion. 



God sent a 
Jadan, to re- 
buke him, say- 
ing that his 
priests would 
be destroyed by 

and that hit 
idols, called 
1500 gods by fools, 
would be over- 


After Jadan 
had finished 
speaking, the 
altar fdl to 


1476. this] his R. 1477, offence H. 1478. ydolastre B. 

1479. auteres] Aucttxes H. 

1480. Ther vpon sett R — too] om. H — caluys R, calves R 3, 
calues P — peur] cleen H. 

1483. he] that he H. 1489. whil] whan R. 
1493. hi gan R. 1495. Dauyd H, R 3, H s. 
1502. stages R. 

1505. nouther feele see nor] neither se feele ne heer R — feele 
see] see fele H, P, R 3 — nouther] not R 3. 

1506. Afftir] Aftir l)at H. 1508. auteris fyUen R. 

242 Jeroboam and Jadan |^bk. il 

And ouerturned bakward his ofFryng; 

For which the kyng, furiousli lokyng, 

Put foorth his hand, the story maketh mynde, 

Bad his men the prophete take and bynde. 1512 

The king was And ES he his arm rauht out on lengthe, 

furious, and, tt i i • • i i 

stretching out Hadde no power it to withdrawe ageyn, 
jldairto"^^ Wex onweeldi, contract and lost his strengthe. 
bound*"But And whan the kyng hath these toknys seyn, 1516 
Irm dmd^up, -^"d how the prophete spak no woord in veyn, 
Gretli astonyd, koude sey no more, 
But prai[e]de ladan his arm for to restore. 

and only by And bc his praier and mediacioun, 1520 

Jadan's prayer ^ ^p , . " rr^. ^,. 

was it restored. Oft his arm, aittir this vengauwce, 
Ther was anon maad restituciouw, 
And off his peyne feelith alegauwce. 
. For which the kyng, with ful gret instauwce, 1524 
Requered hym to be so gracious, 
That day tabide and dynen in his hous. 

The king then But the ptophete wolde nat assente, 
w^dine with Nouther with hym to ete nor to drynke; 1528 

jLdan refused Took his asse, and foorth anon he wente, 
and went away, q^ whose dcpattyng the kyng gan sore thynke. 
And fantasies gan in his herte synke, 
Speciali whan he taketh heede 1532 

OfF all his toknys, how thei were trewe in deede. 

God had com- God bad ladan in this gret emprise 

neither to'^t To leroboam first whan he was sent, 

tlTt'^clt'y. "" Ete nor drynke, in no maner wise, 1536 

In that cite whil he was present; 

But a-nother prophete off entent, 

Ful old and slyh, on the tother side, 

Compellid hath this ladan to abide. 1540 

But one of Hym afForcyng be fals coUusiouw [p. 107] 

Jeroboam's _,-' ^ * ...U V 

false prophets To resorte ageyn to* the cite, 
K^bfy^"" And to make no contradiccioun 
Sndm'eX With hym to dyne off fraternyte, iS44 

To hym afFermyng, it may non other be: 

1519. for] om. R. 1524. ful] ow. H. 1525. Requeryng H. 

1528. nor to drynke] nelthir drynke R. 

1534. ladan] lason R. 1535. leroboam] Jerusalem R. 

1536. nor] neithir R. 1537. while that R. 

1538. But yit R. 1539. on the tother] vpon that oter R. 

1542. to] onto B, J — the] that R. 

BK. Il] 

The Punishment of Jadan 

For God sent hym as to his freend and brother, 
Tabide with hym & pleynli with non other, 

Off freendliheed and trewe alFeccioun 

Withynne his hous to shewen his presence. 

For a repast and a refeccioun: 

This Godis will and fulli his sentence. 

To whos woordis the prophete gafF credence. 

And as thei sat at dyner bothe ifeere, 

God onto ladan seide in this manere: 

" For the brekyng off my comauwdement, 

Thi grete offence and transgressioun, 1556 

That thou hast been so wilful necligent, 

Thou shalt endure this punycioun, 

Been* al to-torn and rent off a leoun, 

And in thi cuntre thou shalt nat recure, 1560 

With prophetis to haue thi sepulture." 

OfFwhich[e] tithyng, this ladan nothyng fayn, 

Gan to departe with a ful heuy thouht: 

Off a leoun myd off the weye slayn; 

But his asse harmyd was riht nouht. 

A ful gret merueile, yifF it be weel souht. 

The leouw sittynge as in ther difFence, 

And kept hem bothe from al violence. 1568 

Alle these toknys myht[e] nat conuerte 

leroboam from* his iniquite; 

Godis warnyng hym list nat to aduerte. 

Nor be his prophete correctid for to be. 1572 

Wherfore, God wolde that he sholde see 

Vengaunce folwe, as it fill in deede, 

Bothe vpon hym and [on] his kynreede. 

A sone he hadde, which fill in gret siknesse, 1576 

Callid Abimen, the book doth specefie; 

For which the kyng bad the queen hir dresse, 

To gon disguised, withoute cumpanye, 

Onto a prophete* which callid was Achye, 1580 

Hym to requere, treuli for to seye 

Whethir the child sholde lyue or deye. 

1551. This is R. 1554. in] on H. 1559. Been] Bien B. 
1562. tydyngis R. 1563. Began R — fuQom. R. 
1564. myd] m the myddis R. 1570. from] for B. 

1574. as] riht as R. 

1575. on] also on R, om. H, J, R 3, H 5, P. 

1580. a] the H — On taprophete B — was] is H — Ahye P. 



1548 *°*^ while they 
sat at meat 
together, God 
said to Jadan, 

"For breaking 
my command- 
ment, thou 
shalt be slain 
by a lion and 
never return (o 
thy country." 

Jadan was not 
pleased to hear 
this, but never- 
theless it came 
1504 to pass. 

and Jeroboam 
continued in 
hit iniquity. 

His son Abijah 
feU ill, and he 
bade the queen 
go disguised to 
the prophet 
Ahijah for ad- 

244 ^0^ threatens Jeroboam's Wife ^bk. ii 

But God And in his inward sihte contemplatifF, 

shewed Ahijah y^ i i -t i i • i • • 

that it was Cjod shcwcd hym bi cleer inspeccioun, 1584 

wife who came Off Icroboam how she was the wifF, 

to him, Yqx al hir sleihti transformaciouw. 

For nouther fallas nor fals decepcioun 

May be to God, but it be parceyued; 1588 

For he nys prophetis may nat be deceyued. 

and he told her She Cam to hym in a strauwge weede; 
Jeroboam, that At thcntryng he callid hir bi hir name: 
raised him ^ " Com foorth," quod he, " for it is no neede 1592 
!o°T king,''''" To hide thi-silfF[e], as it were for shame; 
For the trouthe treuli to attame,* 
God hath youe me fulH knowlechyng 
What thou shalt answere & seyn onto the kyng. 1596 

ungra\'efu1 Tnd ^ey pleynli to hym, & marke it in thi thouht, 

an idolater, j^ ^hi repair these woordis rehersyng, 

*Sith God hath maad the, & reised the up off nouht, 
From a seruaunt to regnen as a kyng, 1600 

Fro Dauidis kyn, most worthi[ly] regnyng, 
Partid the kyngdam & youen it onto the, 
And thou onkynde therofF canst nothyng see, — 

and had for- His gtcte gooducssc is out off tcmembrauwce, i6o4 

goodness to FulH forgetyn off thi froward pride; 
In fals[e] goddis put thyn affiauwce, 
God aboue falsli set a-side, 

Wherfore from the anon he shal deuyde 1608 

Thy kyngdam hool, withoute mor delay, 
And fro thi lyne the crowne take away. 

God would take And fot thou hast to thi confusioun 

from him and Thi feith, oufeithful, to falsc goddis take, 1612 

his line and let 117 i- r j . 1 • 1 

dogs eat their Wrongh retused thi relegeoun 

Off God aboue, & pleynh hym forsake. 

This thende which that thou shalt make: 

The and thi kyn no man may socoure; 1616 

Flessh, skyn and bon houndis shal deuoure. 

1583. his] hir H. 1587. neithir R. 

1589. nys] ne his R, J, P, nor his H, R 3 — he nys] henys H 5. 

1591. hir callid R. 1592. for] for certis R. 

1594. tattame B. 1596. answere & seyn] make answere R. 

1597. pleyn R. 1598. these] ther H. 1601. worthi J. 

1603. theroff] om. R. 

1607. God] And god R — settist R. 

1609. Thy] this H, The R. 1610. schal take R. 

1615. This is the eende R — that] om. R. 


BK. Il] 

Abijab makes War on Jerohoam 

And at thentryng horn to thi cite, 

Thi sone and his, thou shalt fynde hym ded, 

Off al his kyn thouh ther was non but he 1620 

Founde veray good[e]; tak heeroff good heed.' " 

Off which answere the queen fill in gret dreed, 

Entryng the cite in especiall, 

Hir child was ded, & lay cold be the wall. 1624 

Off this wamyng the kyng took non heed, [p. 
But made hym redi with ful gret apparaile, — 
Fourti thousand with hym he dede leed 
Off manli men armed in plate & maile. 
With kyng Abias to haue a gret bataile. 
The which Abias, that was off luda kyng. 
Onto his peeple saide at ther meetyng: 

" noble knyhtis, hath o thyng in memorie,* 1632 

No man venquysshith, platli to conclude. 

With gret peeple, nor getith hym victorie 

With noumbres hepid nor gret multitude; 

Fals ydolatres, God will hem dillude, 1636 

Nat suffre his seruauntis that be trewe & sad 

Off mescreantis to been ouerlad. 


"And you'll 
find your ton 
dead when you 
go home." 

108] T>e king 

didn t care, and 
set out to fight 
Abijah, king of 
Judah, who told 
, _ his soldiers that 

1028 God would not 
allow an idola- 
ter to defeat 

Tryumphe is non founde off newe or old 

In these ydoles off ston nor siluer sheene. 

Nor in caluere off metal maad or gold, 

Youe to that parti which ontreuli meene. 

And sithe that God knoweth our quarel cleene, 

Ther is non hope, force non nor myht 1644 

With hem that grounde hem a cause ageyn[e]s ryht. 

Hope off victorie* stant on rihtwisnesse, 
Off them that caste ther synful liff tamende. 
And list forsake wrong and al falsnesse, 1648 

And with hool herte onto the Lord entende; 
Which shal this day his grace to you sende, 

1622. queen] kvng R. 

1624. Hir] His'R — wall] way R. 

1626. ful] om. R. 

1629. kyng] om. H, R 3 — to haue a gret bataile] to haven 

in bataile R. 

1632. hath] haue R. 1632,34. memoire, victoire B. 

1634. nor] neithir R, om. H — hym] om. R, J, P. 

1636. ydolatreris R. 1639. Tryumphes R — or] nor R. 

1640. nor] & R. 1641. caluere] caluys R, calues P, R 3. 

1644. nor] ne R. 1646. victoire B. 

1649. hool] the hool R. 1650. his] om. H. 

and that the 
gc4den calves 
1640 would be of no 
avail to Jero- 

"Hope of vic- 
tory stands on 
said he. 

246 The Fall of Jeroboam [bk. ii 

Our trewe cause iustly* to termyne." 

And thus Abias gan his tale fyne. 1652 

Fifty thousand His precstls gan ther truwpes for to blowe; 

of Jeroboams » i i a i • i i i • i m 

men were slain, And Jcyng Abias thotuh his hih renouw 
GafF to his peeple, bothe to hih & lowe, 
Ful manli confort and consolaciouw. 1656 

And fiftl thousand be computacioun 
Wer slayn that day, which ful proudli cam 
Vpon the parti off kyng leroboam. 

and Jeroboam And al the patti ofF Icroboam, 1660 

and all his Ime .1.1 r ^ rr i • ^ 1 

were eaten by And al that wcqejn oiT his lyne born, 
°^'' Afftir this bataile onto myscheefF cam, 

Whan thei were slayn, with houwdis al to-torn. 

As the prophete hadde hem told beforn. 1664 

But for the kyng took therofF non heed. 

With sodeyn vengaunce God quit hym his meed. 

[How Zareas Kyng of Ethiope was slayn in bataile.] ^ 

After Jeroboam, A FFTIR hym to Bochas dcdc appeere, 

Zerah, king of f-\ ,^ . "' , , ,. t r J 

Ethiopia and -*. A. JNext m otdte pleynii, as 1 rynde, 1668 

India, appeared, ^^ rj • i r i i 

almost blind for On Aareas, with a sorwerul cheere. 

LITetn^de-''' And he was kyng ofF Ethiope and Ynde, 

we°akh ^nd"^'' Whos cyett wem almost with wepyng blynde, 

slain in battle Praieng myn auctour, his onhappi chaunce 1672 

by Kmg Asa. i i r i • i 

With othre wotui to putte in remembraunce, 

And that he wolde recorden be scripture 

His sodeyn fall and dolorous distresse, 

And his difFamous hatful disconfiture, 1676 

With the dispoilyng ofF his gret richesse. 

And how kyng Asaph, thoruh his hih noblesse, 

Myd* his peeple, as he dede hym assaile, 

Hath hym venquysshid & slay[e]n in bataile. 1680 

165 1, iustly] treuli B, truly J, P, trewly H 5. 

1652. his tale] take his R. 1656. manli] many H. 
1659. kyng] om. R. 

1669. 3oreas H. 

1 67 1, wit^ wepyng almost R. 

1672. his] that his H. 

1676. diffamous] famous R — scomfiture H. 

1678. hih] am. H — Asaph] Asa P. 

1679. Myd] And B, J, H 5, P, Amyd R 3 InmyddisR. 

1 MS. J. leaf 45 recto. 

BK. Il] 

Adaby Zimri and Ahab 


paow Adab kyng of lenwalem lost sceptre & 
crowne.] ^ 

OFF Israel than cam the woful kyng 
Callid Adab, ful pitousli wepyng, 
Onto Bochas his compleynt rehersyng, 
How kyng Basa, be subtil fals werkyng, 1684 

With sodeyn slauhtre caused his fallyng, 
Whan Fortune gan falsH [on hym] frowne, 
And took oniustli from hym sceptre & crowne. 

Next, King 
Adab came to 
complain of his 
sudden slaugh- 
ter by King 

[How the vengeable prince Zambrias set a toure on 
fire and brent himsilf .] ^ 

NEXT cam Zambrias, a prince [ful] vengable, 1688 zimri, a 
Which slouh kyng Helam be fals tresoun, prince, who 

That fond also Fortune ful onstable; 
For this Zambrias off entencioun 
Hath moordrid hym withynne the cheefFdongoun 1692 
Off his castell, with a ful gret[e] route, 
As he onwarli laide a siege aboute. 

But Amaryn, a prynce off ful gret myht, 
Cam into Tharse, a famous strong cite, 
And cast hym pleynli, lik a worthi knyht. 
On this Zambrias auenged for to be, 
Hym to destroie withoute merci or pite. 
But into a* tour as Zambrias wente. 
Set it affire, and so hymsilff he brente. 

burnt himself 
up in a tower 
1696 to escape pun- 
ishment at the 
hands of Omri. 


[OS. Kyng Achab & lezabel his wifF.] ^ 

WYTH sihhes sore & wepyng inportable, 
Cam kyng Achab onto lohn Bochas, 
Whos hertli sorwe was incomparable. 
And, compleynyng, ful offte [he] seide, alas! 
Besechyng hym to write his woful cas, 

1681. woful] wolful R. 

1682. Adas R, Nadab P. 1688. ful] om. H, J. 
1689. fals] ful fals H, R 3, H 5. 1695. Amri P. 

1696. into] to H — Tharsa P. 1697. worthi] manly R. 

1699] om. R. 1700. inta B, in a R. 

1701. he] om. R, R 3. 

1704. hertli] erthly H. 1705. ful] of R. 

^ MS. J. leaf 45 recto. *MS. J. leaf 45 verso. 

King Ahab, 
with importable 
weeping, be- 
sought Bochas 
1 704 to write his 

and his daugh- 
ter Athaliah'g 

248 Ahab and Jezehel [^bk. ii 

Compile his fallyng and the fate ifeere 
Off AthaHa his owne douhter deere. 1708 

He was a To God aboue most contrarious [p. 109] 

wicked man rr>i • a i i • i i • 

and had a 1 his Achab was m al his gouernauwce, 
S'wifrcan^" And hadde a wifF cruel and lecherous 
Jezebel. CalHd lezabcl, which set al hir plesauwce 171a 

On Godis prophetis for to do vengauwce: 
In the Bible ther malice men may see, 
And ydolatres* thei were, bothe he and she. 
Both were God fot thet ttespacis, as it was weel seyn, 1716 

idolaters, and » rr- i i i 1 • 

God first pun- Aitorshewed be trewe prophesie, 

with three' Sente thre yeer nouther deuh nor reyn 

drouth!^ Vpon the erthe ther greyn to multeplie; 

Till efft ageyn, bi praier off Helie, 1720 

Holsum watres from heuene gan descende. 
Which gafF hem cause ther cursid liff tamende. 
But Jezebel, an But his wifF, that cutsid lezabel, 
woman, slew 300 To ech thyng hatful which that was dyuyne, 1724 

Md°es Naboth'for An huwdted prophetis she slouh in Israel, 
his vineyard, q^^^ g^^j f^j. ^j^^j ^^* ^^^di^ enclyne; 

And she also slouh Naboth for his vyne, 
Thoruh whos outrage & fals oppressiouw 1728 

Achab was brouht to his confusiouw. 
Not long after Off his enmyes outraied in bataile, 
fatally wounded With a shatp arwc cauht his fatal wouwde, 
was devou"ed* Till al his blood be bledyng dede raile* 1732 

EHjfh^prophe- Aboutc his chaar, with many dropis rouwde; 
sied, That the woordis wer ful trewe fouwde 

Off Helias, which told hym, as it stood, 
That huMgri houwdis sholde likke his blood. 1736 

and Jezebel fell In a citc, than calHd lezrael, 

out of a tower. i-x /• • i 11 

Beware, Princes, Doun irom 3 tout loynyng to the wall, 

of false counsel rTr-.i •jri ll'JT LI 

given by your 1 hc said[ej quecH, callid lezabel, 
wives. ^^g ouercast & hadde a dedli fall. 1740 

Touchyng these myscheuys, for she was cause of all, 

1707. his] J)e H — the] his R. 

1710. al] om. R. 1714. may men R. 

1715. ydolastres B, ydolatreris R. 1716. ther] his H. 

1718. neithir dewe ne R. 1723. that] this R. 

1726. ne] nat B, H 5 — wold not R, wolde nat J, would not P. 

1731. With] OfF R. 1732. raile] fayle B, H, R, J, H 5, R 3, 
V, y other MSS. and prints. 

1737. In] And in R — than] om. R — J)at was callid leziael H. 

1738. the] a R. 

BK. Il] 

The Story of Athaliah 


Bewar ye Pryncis, remembryng al your lyues, 
Teschewen fals counsail youen by your wyues. 


[Ofif queene Gatholia for Mr tyrannye slayn.] ^ 

NEXT to Achab in ordre dede sue 1744 

Gatholia, with doolful contenaunce 
Bochflj- besechyng, as she thouht it due,* 
Hir sodeyn fall to putte in remembraunce. 
Sours and chefFroote ofFsorwe and myschaunce, 1748 
Vsurpacioun and off fals couetise, 
Lik as hir story heeraftir shal deuise. 

She was vpreised be fauour in thre thynges; 

For fader, brother, and also hir husbonde 1752 

Wer in that tyme echon crownyd kynges, 

With sceptre and suerd, as ye shal vndirstonde. 

Many emprises ther daies took on honde; 

And how Fortune ther hihnesse dede assaile, 

I caste shortli to make rehersaile. 

She fill off Fortune in thunhappi boundis. 
First whan hir fader was with an arwe ded. 
His blood vplikked with cruel hungri houndis, 
A-boute his chaar[e] rennyng doun ful red. 
His bodi pale lay, who that took heed, 
Lik a careyn, naked and dispoiled. 
With foul blak erthe myd the feeld isoiled. 

Cause of a-nother onhappi heuynesse 

And ofF hir dedli desolacioun, 

Was, the peeple felli dede hem dresse 

Off Arabie in ther rebellioun 

Ageyn hir husbonde, off entencioun 

To robbe his tresour to ther auauntage. 

And his richesse be outraious pillage. 


Athaliah, who 
followed Ahab, 

was fortunate 
in that her 
father, brother 
and husband 
were kings; 

but her father 
was slain, and 
his body lay 
like carrion, 
soiled with 
earth in the 



Another cause 
of sorrow to 
her was that 
the people of 
Arabia rebelled 
against her 

1741. this myscheefF R. 1742. al] of R. 

1744. dede] ther did R. 

1745. Athalia P — ful doolful R. 

1746. she thouht it due] hym thouhte due B. 
1748. sorwe and myschaunce] myschefF & sorowe R. 
1752. hir] om. R. 1757. caste] purpose R. 
1762. good heed R. 1763. careyn] bareyn R. 

1764. foul] ful R, H, full R 3 — myd] in myddis R, amyd 

H, R 3, P — isoiled] yspoiled R. 

1766. ofF] om. H. 1767. Was] Was whan R — did felly R. 

^MS. J. leaf 45 verso. 

250 Athaliah slays David's Kin [byl. ii 

siet'^hl's^tub*"'^ Sumwe off his meyne thel puttyn in prisouw — 1772 
jects. Her ThcF was agcyii hem maked no difFence, — 

husband was r, j i • i i 

infected by the bparccl nouthcr Cite, Doruh nor touw, 
dieir ^" Slouh man and child be sturdi violence. 

Hir lord infect with sodeyn pestilence, 1776 

Conceyued fulli bi his maladie, 

There was no geyn but he muste [nedis] deie. 

»"<^ *^= , , . Afftir his deth, most wrechchid and odible, 

stench of his _ . ' i • i i- r ii i 

body was so His body corupt, his bowelis fell doun; 1780 

awful that no- r\{V i ' i i i -i i 

body would Urt his careyn the stench was so horible, 

htsTepu"hre. Their infect aboute hym enviroun 

With so gret horrour and putrefacciouw, 

That no man myhte abiden nor endure 1784 

To brynge his bodi onto sepulture. 

Her third mis- Hir thHdde onhapp, wheroff she was ful fayn 

fortune was the ^^ i- i • rr -i 

death of her 1 hat 1< ortune list hir eitt assaile, 

joram, after Made hir vncle, kyng loram, to be slayn 1788 

slew all the With an arwe, as he fledde in bataile. 

soTs^o^b^"''''^ She supposyng it gretli sholde auaile, 

sole ruler of LJj^ ^ womau most furious and wood, 

Judea. . ^ ' 

She off kyng Dauid slouh al the roial blood. 1792 

Hir purpos was to gouerne al the rewm, [p. no] 

Alone hirsilfF ta dominaciouw. 

To regne in luda and Jerusalem, 

This Gatholia be vsurpacioun. 1796 

And for that cause in hir entenciouw. 

With mortal suerd she made all tho to fyne 

That were descendid from Dauid doun be lyne. 

Except joash, Exccpt ou loas thet lefFte non alyue, 1800 

none of David's Child off z ycet, sone ofF kyng Ochosie, 

ai'iveTYnd^ Whom losakcth, the story doth descryue, 

wTs^'saUd'hy Off verai pite cauhte a fantasie 

jehosheba. 'pj^g child to sauc, that he shal nat deie, 1804 

From the malice off Gatholia. 

And she was wiff to bisshop loiada. 

1773. made R. 1774- noutherj] neithir R — nor]] neithir R. 

1776. infect] enfectid H, effect R — sodeyn] contagious R. 

1778. nedis] om. R, J, H 5. 1780. fell] fall H. 

1783. gret] gre H. 1784. nor] ne R. 

1786. onhapp] vnhappy R. 

1794. ta] to haue R. 

1796. Gotholia R, Gathalia H, Athalia P. 1798. to] om. R. 

1802. losabeth R, P. 1804. shal] shuld R. 

1806. And] As R. 

BK. Il] 

Atbaliah and Joash 




She and this bisshop, with hool herte & enteer, 

Kepte this child in ful secre wise 

Withynne the temple the space off seuene yeer, 

And in the seuente, the story doth deuise, 

loiada took on hym this emprise: 

Yonge loas withynne a certeyn day 

Be iust[e] title to crowne hym yifF he* may. 

His massageris he sendith out anon. 
Off pryncis, tribunes gan a counseil call, 
Off preestis eek, and leuytes euerichon. 
And whan he hadde discured to hem all 
Hool his entent, thus it is befall: 
Sworn and assentid, as it was sittyng, 
That yonge loas shal be crownyd kyng. 

"For be promys, which that is dyuyne," 

Quod loiada, "yiff ye taken heede, 

God hath behestid to Dauid and his lyne, 

And assurid onto his kynreede, 

In Jerusalem how thei shal succeede; 

And thouh loas be yong & tendr<f off myht, 

He to the crowne hath neuer-the-lesse ryht. 

In this mateer I wil nat that ye slepe. 
But to shewe your trewe deligence, 
On foure parties the temple for to keepe. 
That no man entre be no violence; 
And in the myddis, be roial excellence," 
Quod this bisshop, "no man shal us lette, 
On loas hed a crowne for to sette." 

And whan ech thyng was brouht onto the poynt, 

His hih estat tencrece and magnefie. 

The peeple anon, whan he was enoynt, 

" Fiuat rex!" thei began to crie. 

And whan Gatholia gan this thyng espie. 

For veray ire and the sodeyn wonder, 

Off malencoli hir clothes kitte assonder. 

Ran to the temple and gan make affray 

With hir meyne, and to crie loude, 

Bad hem go slen, and make no delay, 1844 

vrife of Bishop 
Jehoiada. For 
1S08 seven years 
they kept 
young Joash in 
the temple. 
Then Jehoiada 
called a coun- 
cil and pro- 

1812 ^^ V X. 
crown Joash 


as God had 

promised that 
David's line 
should rule in 


1828 "^'° n^*" **i»ll 
prevent our 
setting a crown 
on his head." 


\Mien Joash 
was anointed, 
1836 the people cried, 
"Long live the 
ran to the 
temple in a 
fury and bade 

1840 ^" ™«i *'?y 
^ the young lung. 

cret H. 1813. he] she B, J, R 3, H. 
id] & to R. 1824. onto] to H. i 
] for to H. 1839. tespye H. 

secret H 


1030. tOj i\jj \.\j xi. lo^y. Lcsijyc n. 

1841. kutte R, cutte H. 1844. go] to H. 

830. On] of H. 

252 The Death of Athaliah [bk. ii 

The yonge kyng, in al the haste thel coude: 

Hir venym hid vnder a couert cloude, 

Al attonys hir purpos to recure, 

Be sodeyn mahce she gan that day discure. 1848 

The temple Xhc temple kept, entre had she non, 

however was __. , '■ . *, . . . 

well guarded, Fceplc ordcyncd awaityng tor the nonys; 

and she was a i :i! i i r i 

seized by the And OF* she myhte any rerthere gon, 

8oon"aFtema"rds Clenli armed, the centurionys 1852 

put to death, 'pjjg cruel queen assailed al attonys. 

And off hir malice to writen a short tale, 
Thei slouh hir afftir off Cedron in the vale. 

Lo, this is the Loo, heer the eende off moordre and tirannye; 1856 

end of murder tii ^ rr • 

and tyranny! Loo, heer the eende oit vsurpaciouw; 

Noble Princes, y 1 i i rr r i 

beware of doing Loo, heer the eende on tais conspiracye; 

fd°hlir8."^'^^ Loo, heer the eende off fals presumpciouw! 

Born rihtful heires, wrongli to put hem douw. i860 
O noble Pryncis, thouh God hath maad you strong. 
To rihtful heires be war ye do no wrong! 

^ Lenvoye. 

These tragedies ^  ''HESE tragedies testatis & degrees, 

warned by God, A Fulli declarcth the decepciouws 1864 

ml from^heir OfF Fottunys fals mutabilitees 
""'• Shewed in provyncis, citees and eek touns. 

Pryncis onwarli lost ther posessiouns. 
Which from ther synnes, in no maner wise, — 1868 
Hadde off God warnyng, and list nat for to rise. 

Mighty kings Mihti kynges cast doun from ther sees, 

were cast down -^ , , 1,1 

unawares from Loste ther lyucs and ther regeouns, 

j^robolm'for Onwarli throwe from ther felicitees: 1872 

oppre°sk)nT *'"' leroboam for his oppressiouws 

And for his froward fals oblaciouns 

Doon to ydoles, his story doth deuise. 

Had off God warnyng, & list nat for to rise. 1876 

1846] om. R. 1851. or] ar B. 

1855. Thei] The R — ofF] corrected to on or at H. 

i860, to] om. H, R 3. 

1863. These tragedies testatis] This tragedie the astatis R — 

testatis] to estates P. 
1865. Fortunys] fortune R. 
1869. aryse R. 

BK. Il] 

An Envoy on evil Princes 


Achab also hadde gret aduersitees 
Thoruh fals counsail and exortaciouns 
Off lezabel, roote off iniquitees; 
Dede to his peeple gret extorsiouns: 
She slouh prophetis, Godis champiouns. 
Bothe he and she, most cursid in ther guise. 
Had off God wamyng, & list nat for to rise. 

Gathalia with hir duplicitees 

And conspired fals intrusiouns 

Slouh Dauides seed, tentre ther dignitees. 

And to possede ther domynaciouns; 

But for hir hatful fals collusiouns 

Onwarly slayn, for hir gret couetise, 

Had off God wamyng, & list nat for to rise. 

Pryncis remembreth in your prosperitees. 
And seeth afom in your discreciouns. 
Wrong clymbyng up of statis or degrees, 
Outher be moordre or be fals tresouns, 
Axeth a fall for ther fynal guerdouns; 
Namli off them that the Lord despise. 
And for his wamyng list nat for to rise. 

[p. Ill] 


Ahab for hit 
extortioos, and 
his abominable 
wife Jezcbd, 
who slew all 
the prophets: 

for murdering 
David's de- 

Princes, remem- 
ber in your 
1892 prosperity that 
wrongful usur- 
pation either by 
murder or 
treason invites 
a faU. 


[^ow Dido queen of Cartage slouh hirsilf for con- 
seniacion of hir chastite.] ^ 

NOW must I putte my reud[e] stile in pres. 
To queen Dido make my passage: 
Hir lord Siche was preest to Hercules, 
Hir fadir Belus, falle into gret age, 
Kyng off Tire, and she queen off Cartage. 
And it is rad in bookis that be trewe. 
How first in Tire was founde purpil hewe. 

Dido, queen of 
Carthage, was 
the wife of 
Sychseus; her 
1900 father, Belus, 
king of Tyre, 
invented purple. 


1877. This stanza is omitted in R. 1878. cownseiles H. 

1880. his] hir H. 1884. Athalia R, H, P, Athalya H 5. 

1885. intrusiouns] entenciouns H. 

1886. Dau>-this R, H — tentre] tencres H. 

1890. arv'se R. 

1891. in] om. H. 1893. statis or] estatis & R. 
1894. moordre] word R. 1895. ther] the H. 
1897. his] no R. 

1900. Siche] Sicheus H, P. 

1901. Belus] Bolas R. 

^ MS. J. leaf 46 verso. 

254 Dido, ^ueen of Carthage [bk. ii 

Cadi^s in- Cadmus fond first lettres for to write, 
alphabet, and Gaff hcm to Grckis, as maad is menciouw, 
discovered Whos brothcr Fenix, as clerkis eek endite, 
vermfiion. Fond first the colour off vermelioun. 1908 

And off Cartage, the famous myhti toun, 
This said[e] Dido, hir story doth expresse, 
How she was bothe queen and fouwderesse; 

Dido's husband, But hir husbonde was cheeff lord and sire, 1912 

slain for' his CalUd Sicheus, ful famous off renouw, 

brother Pyg" Off this noble cite named Tire, 

ma ion, Hadde gret tresour & gret possessions. 

And for envie kyng Pigmaliouw, 1916 

Brother to Dido, this Siche slouh in deede. 
Off fals entent his richesse to posseede. 

and Dido in Dido this slauhttc took greuousli at herte, 

her grief fled . " . 

from Tyre with Sote complcynyng this onhappi chauwce, 1920 

her husband's /-^ t ii tpi i 

treasure. Caste she woldc, yiit she myhte asterte, 

Fleen out off Tire and hirsilff auaunce, 
With al the tresour and the habundauwce 
Behynde lefft whan hir lord was ded, 1924 

Hir shippis entryng, went away for dreed. 

Knowing the She knew & dradde the gredi auarice 

Pygmalion, Off hir brother, kyng Pigmaliouw, 

And how that hatful onstauwchable vice 1928 

Was ground and roote & cheeff occasioun 

Whi that hir lord was slay[e]n in that toun. 

For whom ful offte she cried welaway, 

Whos deth was cause whi she fledde away. 1932 

she felt certain She hadde also this opynyouw, 

mained he Which causcd most hir hertli heuynesse, 

injure her. ° That sithe hir brothir, kyng Pigmalioun, 

Hadde slayn hir lord for his gret richesse, 1936 

Yiff she abod, that he wolde hym dresse, 

Parcel for malice, parcel for couetise, 

To haue hir tresour sum tresoun to practise. 

1910. hir] the R. 

1914. named] callid J, was callid H. 

1919. greuousH] gretly R. 1920. this] his R. 

1923. and] & al R. 1924. whan] whanne whan R. 

1928. onstaunchable] vnstable R, vnchaungeable H. 

1932. whi] whi J)at R. 

1935. sithe] sih R. 

BK. Il] 

Dido founds Carthage 

And for teschewe his malice and tresoun, 
For hir nauye she maketh ordenaunce 
Bauys off them, in whom, as be resoun, 
She sholde off riht sette hir affiaunce. 
And thei ful redy hir to do plesaunce, 
Be on assent, for nothyng wolde faile, 
With faire Dido out off that lond to saile. 

In Cipre first was hir arryuaile; 

And ther she fond[e] be a ryuer side, 

Off yong[e] maidnes, with ful riche apparaile, 

Sexti and ten in the same tide. 

Which in the temple off Venus dede abide, 

Afftir the custom, as I can reporte, 

Off Cipriens straungeris to disporte. 

And in ther moste feithful humble wise, 

Afftir the rihtis off Cipre the cuntre. 

Onto Venus ech day do sacrefise, 

Them to conserue in ther virgenyte, 

Duryng ther liff to lyue in chastite, 

Neuer to been ioyned in mariage; 

And with queen Dido thei went* to Cartage. 

In ther passage fill a gret meracle, 

As Seruyus maketh mencioun; 

For Dido took off luno this oracle, 

Outher baperv'ng or bi auisioun,* 

Off Cartage to beelde that myhti toun. 

And at reuerence off that gret goddesse, 

She to tho parties faste gan hir dresse, * 

The said[e] cite statli for to founde. 

And hir werkmen, as thei therthe souhte. 

An oxes hed off auenture thei founde; 

And to queen Dido anon the hed thei brouhte, 

Menyng wheroff to serchyn out she* thouhte. 

And hir clerkis in ther dj-uynaile, 

Tolde it was tokne off seruage & trauaile. 

1942, Bau3-s] Be a devis R. 1944. hir] for R. 

1954. in ther] the H. 1958. ther] the R. 

i960, went] wenten B, R, J — to] vn to H. 

1962. maketh] make R. 

1964. bi appenng J, R, H, P, R 3, H 5 — or] outhir H, H 5 — 

auisioun] dyuysion R, aduisioun J, P, a vision R 3 — or bi 

auisioun] outher bauysioun B. 

1971. anon the hed] the hed anon R, H, H 5. 

1972. Menyng] Mevj-ng R — she] thei B, J. 

1940 ^ °° ^^^ *'^" 
vice of her 
nobles she 
sailed away 
from Tyre, 


and £rst ar- 
rived in Cy- 
1948 prus, where she 
found seventy 
maidens, priest- 
esses of the 


of Venus, 
vowed to 

chastity, who 


[p. 112] When Carthage 
was founded 
a great miracle 
occurred, as 
Scrvius tells: 




Dido's work- 
men unearthed 
the head of 
an ox while 
digging, and 
her wise men 
told her that 
it was a token 
of servitude. 

256 Dido founds Carthage [bk. ii 

For which she lefFte to beeldyn [in] that place, 

And gan remeue, as she ouhte off riht; 1976 

And fro then[ne]s but a litil space 

A soil she fond ful delectable off siht; 

And as hir werkmen with ther ful[le] myht 

The ground gan serche, anon, or thei took heed, 1980 

The stori tellith, thei fond an horsis hed. 

So she began And bi expownyng off hir dyuynours, 

and found a Fond [that] this beeste gretli myhte auaile 

horse's head, ^^ • o i • « 

which was a Unto ptyncis & myhti conquerours, 1984 

/Sid tliere "she Necessatie* in werre and in bataile. 

built Carthage, ^j^j f^^ ^^ ^j}^^ j^jj. noblessc sholde assaile, 

Cartage she bilte, off so gret excellence, 

Geyn all enmyes to stonden at diffence. 1988 

Some books say Suwme bookis declare and specefie, 
chased as much Dido dcde as moche lond purchace 

land as could a i • 11 

be surrounded As a skyn in tound myhte ocupie 

by an ox's skin.Q^f ^^ ^^^^ ^j^^^.^^^ ^^ j^^^jj^ ^ pj^^^. ^^^^ 

The ground cumpasid took a large space. 
Which strongli bilt, thus it is befall, 
Afftir the skyn men dede it Birsa call. 

and when the And whan this cite myhtili was wallid, 1996 

city was walled ^ rr • i i i i 

it took the AJttir a skyn, wrouht be good curray, 
an? Birsa"fw/ The name take, Carta it was callid, — 
the skin. Lethir off Birsa, pleynli this no nay. 

Took eek his name duryng many a day, — 2000 

Carta and Birsa knet in ther language, 
As moch to seyne as this woord Cartage. 

Mrica"fnd''was And in Afftik stant the teritorie 

built in honour Whet she bilte this cite delectable, 2004 

of Juno, m the , , • • i i i • 

time of David, jh ouwded It m laude and m memorie 

Off myhti luno, the goddesse honourable. 
The cite wallid, with tour[e]s strong & stable, 

1975. in] om. H, R 3, J, H 5. 

1977. but] om. H. 1978. delitable R. 

1981. horsis] horse H, R 3, P, hors J, H 5. 

1983. that] om. J, H, P, H 5, R3 — Fond] & H. 

1985. Necessaire B. 1988. Ageyn R. 

1993. ful large R. 1994. bilt] belte R 3, bylded P. 

1997. curray] coraie R, Corray H. 

1999. pleinli this no nay] this is no way R. 

2000. a] om. R. 2004. dehtable R. 
2005. 2nd in] om. H. 

2007. The] This R. 

BK. Il] 

Dido refuses to marry again 


Tyme ofF kyng Dauid myd the fourte age, 
As I seide erst, callid it Cartage. 

With gret worshepe she regned in that toun, 

Euer off purpos to lyue in chastite; 

And round aboute floured the renoun 

Off hir prudence and hir honeste. 

Til the report off hir famous beute 

Cam to the eris, which gladli wil nat hide, 

Off a kyng that duellid ther beside. 

Off Musitan[e]s he was lord and sire. 
As poetis pleynii list descryue, 
Which in his herte gretli gan desire 
The queen Dido bi hir assent to wyue. 
Onto hir grace yiff he myhte aryue. 
But for she hadde auowed chastite, 
She neuer caste maried for to be. 

The kyng supprised with loue in his corage 
For hir wisdam and hir gret beute, 
Sent[e] for the pryncis off Cartage, 
On this mater to han a gret trete. 
To condescende, yiff it myhte be, 
Lich his desir, in al ther beste entent, 
Doon ther deuer to make hir to consent. 

With his request he gan hem eek manace, 
Yiff he failed off his entencioun, 
Lik his desir to stonden in hir grace, 
Saide he wolde been enmy to ther toun, 
Tordeyne be force for ther destruccioun. 
Nat fulli sobre, nor fulli in a rage, 
This was to hem pleynii his language. 

But for thei knew hir gret[e] stedfastnesse, 
And hir herte veray inmutable, 
Thei were affer[e]d any woord texpresse. 
Lest ther answere wer nat acceptable 
To his hihnesse, for he was nat tretable. 
Eek in ther conceit thei gan also recorde. 
To his desir the queen wold nat accorde. 

2009. it] is R, H. 

2017. Musicans H, R 3. 2020. The] To R. 

2026. ofTjofalR. 2031. eek] owt. R. 

2033. stoden R. 2034. he] that he R — ther] the R. 

2035. be force] repeated in R — for] to H, R 3. 

2039. immutable R, H. 2042. he was] thei wem R. 


Dido reigned in 
great prosperity 
until a neigh- 
bouring king 
2012 heard of her 


and wanted to 
have her for 
his wife, al- 
though she had 
vowed ne%'er 
again to marry. 


He sent for the 
princes of Car- 
thage to treat 
of a marriage 


and threatened 
to use force if 
2032 he failed in his 


The princes of 
Carthage knew 
that Dido 
would never 
2040 break her vow. 



Dido will yield to no Threats 

[bk. II 

fixed in her 

and told her 

so they tem- With good auys an answere thei purueie [p. 113] 

Dido remained To his purpos in parti fauorablc, 

AfFerd he wolde ther noble touw werreie. 

Or off disdeyn vpon hem be vengable. 2048 

But queen Dido, in hir entent ay stable, 

Caste she wolde, what-euer thei hir tolde, 

Hir chast auow feithfulli to holde. 

She set a-side off this cruel kyng 

His fell manacis & his woordis grete; 

And to hir pryncis for ther consentyng, 

Which stood in feer off that he dede hem threte, 

She onto hem gaff a maner hete, 

For thei wer bold tattempten or tattame 

To trete off mater rebouwdyng to hir shame. 

"Nay, rather deie," quod she, "than tassente 
grant the kiirg''sTo his dcsits, which thyng God forbeede, 

demand. /--. r i rr \ 

Ur iro the centre oit my chast entente 

For to remeue, outher in thouht or deede, — 

Which were disclauwdre to al womanheede, 

To condescende for any manacyng 

To breke my vow for plesauwce off a kyng. 

Touchyng manacis maad to this cite. 

For to destroie it with his gret[e] myht, 

Withoute cause or title off equite 

To grouwden hym a quarell ageyn riht, 

Onli for he is blyndid in his siht 

With froward lust my chast auow tassaile, 

Beth riht weel seur how he theroff shal faile. 

that she would 
rather die than 

"Be sure, he 
will fail in 
spite of his 







"If you were 
men, you 

Yiff ye wer bold and manli off corage, 
wouiYnot con- For comouw profit your cite to defende, 

descend to treat » i • i i i • •  

with him. And to withstonde his vicious outrage, 

To trete with hym ye wold nat condescende. 2076 
But myn entent, platli to comprehende, 
Wher* it to you be ioie or displesauwce, 
In my promys shal be no variaunce. 

2057. tattame] attame H. 2058. rebowndith H. 

2060. his] hir R. 

2061. centre] contre H, tentre J, P; in B the c in centre is very 
much like a t. 

2066. manacyng R. 2067. with] thoruh R — gret] om. R. 
2070. blynde R. 2072. how] om. R. 
2075. his] your R. 

2078. Wher] Whethir B, H, J, P, R 3 — it] it be J, P — be] 
om. R. 



Dido asks for Three Months* Time 


My lord Sicheus, the which, alas, is ded 
Onto the world[e], who[-so] list aduerte; 
Trustith riht weel, for manacyng nor dreed, 
That he shal neuer deien in myn herte, 
Nor ye shal neuer myn auow peruerte. 
Thus auysed, whil that I stonde fre, 
Queen off" Cartage to gouerne this cite. 

Myn hasti answere, I pray you nat disdeyne. 

But that ye list to gyue me liberte. 

With your support that I may atteyne 

To haue a space graunted onto me: 

This to meene, the space off monthes thre, 

Mi lordis will taccomplissh* ofFentent, 

Which he whilom made in his testament." 

Vnder colour to hir auauntage 

She took this space, bookis specefie. 

That she myhte hir cite off Cartage 

The mene while strongli fortefie 

Ageyn hir enmyes, that for no slogardrie 

Off them that wolde hir hih estat confounde, 

Onpurueied hir cite nat be* founde. 

Whan thre monthes passed were & gon, 
She afFtir wolde, for hir hertli plesaunce, 
With sundri rihtes, many mo than on. 
To all hir goddis doon sum obseruaunce. 
For a special synguler remembraunce 
Off hym that was, as folk shal vnderstonde. 
Whilom hir lord & best beloued husbonde. 

And mor texalte his glorie* & his honour, 

Heeld his exequies, be due reuerence, 

Off al Cartage in the hiest tour. 

With brennyng fir, fumys and encence, 

Hir pryncis all beyng in presence; 

To which she gan declare in compleynyng, 

Hir dedli sorwe, doun from hir tour lokyng. 

2080 "Fo"- rr.y part, 
I will keep my 
promise whether 
it please you or 
not, so long as 
I am Queer, of 


"Give me three 
months in 
2088 which to exe- 
cute my hus- 
band's testa- 


In the mean- 
time she for- 
tified her city. 


After the three 
months had 
passed, she did 
observance to 
the gods 


2108 '■^^ held the 
funeral rites of 
her husband 
with fire and in- 
cense in thehigh- 
est tower and 
bade farewell to 
her friends, 
praying them to 
report after her 
death, that Dido 
was married but 

2080. the]om. R. 2081. who so] who H, J, P, H 5, R 3. 

2084. myn auow] my vowe R. 2088. list] lust R. 

2092. taccomplisshen B. 2093. whilom] sumtyme R. 

2098. that] om. R — slugardie R, slugardye H. 

2099. hih] om. R. 2100. be] ne B, H, R', H 5. 
2101. thre] the R. 2107. Whilom] Suwityme R. 

2108. 1st his] hir B, P and MSS. except H 5 — gloire B — 

2nd his] om. R, R 3, hir H, her P. 


Dido dies rather than marry again 

Cbk. II 

"Go tell the 
king that I am 
dead; his 
threats are in 

"Let him go 
el sewhere 
and choose 

"Farweel my freendis, farweel for euermore! 

Onto my lord myn husbonde I mut gon, 21 16 

To hym, I meene, that was my lord off yore: 

For off husbondis, God wot, I ha[ue] but on; 

Praieng you to reporte euerichon 

AfFtir my deth, [how] Dido off Cartage 2120 

I-ioyned was but onys in manage. 

Seith to the kyng, which hath* you manacid, 

Mi chast[e] beute that he wolde assaile, — 

Go, tellith hym how that I am pacid, 2124 

And off his purpos how that he shal faile. 

His manacyng shal hym nat auaile. 

And seith how Dido deied for the nonys, 

For she nat wolde be weddid mor than onys. 2128 

Leuere I haue my liff as now to lese, [p. 114] 

Rathere than soile my widwes chastite. 

Lat hym go ferthere, sum other for to chese; * 

For in such cas he shal nat speede off me. 2132 

And with the tresour off myn honeste, 

Which I ha[ue] treuli obserued al my lyue, 

I will departe out off this world now blyue." 

And with that And iuto fir, that brente cleer and briht, 2136 

she plunged a ^, . . . 

knife into her bhe tan m hastc, there is no mor to seyne, 

heart and ran p rr ' ^\ i rr • "l.^ 

into the fire, bauff With a kuyit in euery manys siht 
Ful sodenli she roff hir herte on tweyne. 
Whos pitous deth the cite gan compleyne, 2140 

Sore wepyng for wonder and for routhe. 
In a woman to fynde so gret a trouthe. 

After her death Afftir hir dcth thei dede ther besynesse 

they worshipped r^. , , j j i i c ^ C II 

her as a god- lo holdc and halwe a teste lunerall; 2144 

and all widow!' Worshcpcd hir lik a chast goddesse, 
wept for her ^^j j^j^. comendyn[g] in especiall 

To heuenli goddis, & goddis infernall. 

And widwes all[e], in ther clothes blake, 2148 

At this feste weptyn for hir sake. 

2120. how] om. J, P, R 3, H 5. 

2122. hath] that B, OOT. J. 2124. Go] And R. 

213 1, ferthere] forth R. 

2132. Speede] be spedd H. 

2135. will] wolde R — out departe R. 

2136. fir] ^e fire H. 

2139. on]tnR. 2142. a] om. R. 

2147. infernall] fernall R. 

BK. ii] Lydgates Praise of Dido 261 

Touchyng Dido lat ther be no strifF: owd^c^** 

Thouh that she be accusid off Guide, Dido of mis- 

Afftir Bochas I wrot hir chast[e] lifF, 2152 self with 
And the contrary I ha[ue] set a-side; foQow*'Bo^has 

For me thouhte it was bet tabide h« chasw °ife 

On hir goodnesse, than thyng reherse in deede, °^y- 

Which myhte resowne ageyn hir womanheede. 2156 

To Eneas thouh she was fauourable, it seems tome 

_,_,.,,,. that It IS better 

1 o Ytaiie makyng his passage, ^^JT^^ °h '^" 

Al that she dede, [it] was comendable, of her failings, 

TT ^ l_ /^ ^ , and besides she 

Hym to receyue comyng be Cartage; 2160 did nothing but 
Thouh sum folk wern large off ther language, p^iLwo^y. 

Amysse texpowne be report, or texpresse better*to speak 

Thyng doon to hym onli off gentilesse. '■^eii than evil 

Ther shal for me be maad no rehersaile 2164 

But as I fynde wretyn in Bochas; 

For to sey weel may moch[e] more auaile 

Than froward speche, in many dyuers cas. 

But al Cartage offte seide alas, 2168 

Hir deth compleynyng thoruhout ther cite, 

Which slouh hirselff tobserue hir chastite. 

[^ LenvoyO 

OFAIR[E] Dido, most stable in thi constau/ice, F?ir ^^P\- , 
Queen of Cartage, merowr ofFhih noblesse, 2172 noblesse, you 

T> ' 1 ' ^ o III died illamining 

Kegnyng m glorie' & vertuous habundaunce, aii widowi with 

Callid in thi tyme cheefF sours off gentilesse, $^t'' °' 

In whom was neuer founde doubilnesse. 

Ay off on herte; and so thou dedest fyne, 2176 

With liht off trouthe alle widwes tenlumyne. 

Chast and onchaungid in thi perseueraunce. Chaste and 

• J. iiri' !• 1 steadfast in 

And mmutable tounde m thi goodnesse, your pcrsever- 

Which neuer thouhtest vpon variaunce, 2180 ^'nMs^was 

Force and prudence wardeyns off thi faimesse, 

I ha[ue] no language thi vertues to expresse, 

Be newe report so cleerli thei [do] shyne; 

With liht off trouthe alle widwes tenlumyne. 2184 


2151. that]om. H. 2152. wryte R, write H. 

2159. it] om. J. 2162. report] record H. 2173. gloire B. 

2179. immutable R, H, J. 

2183. thei] to H — do] om. J, P, H 5, R 3. 

262 An Envoy to Widows hy John Lydgate [bk. ii 

Lode-star of Q lodc-sterre ofF al good gouernauwce, 

good behaviour, .n'. | .,.," 

bridling your All VICIOUS lustis DC wisdam to reprcssc; 
soberness, Thi grcnc youth flouryng with al plesauwce, 

Thou di[d]st it bridle with vertuous sobirnesse. 2188 
Diane demened so chastli thi clennesse, 
Whil thou wer soul[e], pleynli to termyne, 
With liht off trouthe alle widwes tenlumyne. 
and finally Xhi famous bouwtc to put in remembraunce, 2192 
innocent purity Thou slouh thisclfF ofF innoccnt peurnesse, 
sureness were Lest thi scumcsse wcr hangid in ballauwce, 
jeopardise ! q^ svlq)^ as cast them thi chastite toppresse — 

Deth was inouh to here therofF witnesse — 2196 

Causyng thi beute to al* clennesse tenclyne, 
With liht off vertu alle widwes tenlumyne, 

^ Lenvoye direct to wydowis of the translatour.^ 

Noble matrons, "VTOBLE matrones, which han al suffisaunce 

such folly as JL ^ OfF womawhed, yowf wittis doth vp dtessc, 2200 

that of Dido tt i t-> i* i • i 

enter your How that T oFtune list to tumt hit chauwcc, 
hearts. Bcth nat to rakell ofF sodeyn hastynesse, 

But ay prouideth* in your stabilnesse, 
That no such foly entre your corage 2204 

To folwe Dido, that was queen ofF Cartage. 
To slay your- With hir maneHs hath non aqueyntaunce, [p. iii;] 

selves were too » -/ ' i.* ^j 

great a penance! Put out ofF myndc such foltissh wilfulnessc: 

May God bless >-r« i •^cr^ i i 

and preserve 1 o slen yoursiltr[eJ wcF a grct penaunce! 2208 

your raiity! q^j ^^ j^j^ gj.^^,g defendc you and blesse, 

And preserue your variant brotilnesse, 
That your trouthe falle in non outrage, 
To folwe Dido, that was queen ofF Cartage! 2212 

Pretend all With couett colour and sobre contenaunce, 
make for stead- OfF feithful menyug ptetendith a liknesse, 
doVTfoiiow Countirfetith in speche and daliaunce 
Dido's example. ^|jg thyngc that sowneth unto* stedfastnesse; 2216 

2188. Thou] Thi R — didst] dist J, did R 3, dost P. 

2189. demened] demede R. 2193. pournesse H. 
2197. to al] tal B. 2198. vertu] trewth R. 
2201. to] om. H. 

2203. preuideth B, J, provyd R 3, prouide P. 

2206. non] nouht R. 2210. brotilnesse] Doublenesse R. 

2213. The first line of the following stanza is misplaced before 

2213 in H. 
2216. unto] into B, R, J, P, H 5. 

^ The same heading is in MS. J. leaf 47 d. 

BK. ii3 Sardanapalus, last King of Assyria 263 

Off prudence be gret auisenesse* 
YoursilfF restreyneth, yong & old off age, 
To folwe Dido, that was queen off Cartage. 

Lat al your port be void off displesauwce; 2220 ^'ever be uq- 

r-T' r I'll I provided with 

10 gete rreendis doth your besynesse, lovers; there is 

And beth neuer withoute purueiaunce : one'ldone? "* 

So shal ye best encresen in richesse, — 

In on alone may be no sekirnesse; 2224 

To your herte beth dyuers off language, 

Contraire to Dido, that was queen off Cartage. 

Hold your seruauntis vnder obeisauwce, Hold a tight 

Yi iiriri 1 '^"* *°" bndle 

L-at nem noutner ha[uej rredam nor largesse, 2228 them with hu- 
But vnder daunger doon ther obseruaunce. when'^'the" ser- 

Dauwtith ther pride, them bridlyng with lownesse, nan^Vs^s" 
And whan the serpent off newfangilnesse ^mk^tlmm 

Assailith you, doth your auauntage, — , 2232 ^3°'J^° ^f 

Contraire to Dido, that was queen off Cartage. Carthage. 

[How vicious Sardanapalle kyng of Assirie brent 
himsilff and his tresour.] ^ 

OFF Assirie to rekne kynges alle Sardanapaius, 

Which hadde that lond vnder subieccioun, As^ria, came 
Last off echon was Sardanapalle, 2236 aTuSy^ainer 

Most femynyne off condicioun, ^° ^«^*- 

Wherfore Fortune hath hym throwe doun: 
And compleynyng, most ougli off maneere, 
Next afftir Dido to Bochas dede appeere. 2240 

To vicious lust his liff he dede enclyne; He was vicious 

Mong Assiriens, whan he his regne gan, L effemSa^te 

Off fals vsage he was so femynyne, amonfe'^omen 

That among women vppon the rokke he span, 2244 tTe'^pfe'ince of 
In ther habite disguisid from a man. *^ ™^°- 

And off froward flesshli insolence. 
Off alle men he fledde the presence. 

First this kyng ches to been his guide 2248 His guide was 

Moodir off vices, callid idilnesse, mor/ofv'ices. 

Which off custum ech vertu set aside whVhe M- 

2217. auesinesse B. 2221. gete] get yow R. 

2225. hertis R. 2227. Holdith R. 2232. doth] do H. 
2234. rekne] regne R. 2242. Amonge R — beganne R. 

2250. ech] his R — set] settith H, R 3. 

1 MS. J. leaf 48 recto. 

264 Sardanapalus ; his vicious Life \_&K. 11 

In ech acourt wher she is maistresse. 

Off sorwe & myscheeff the firste fouwderesse, 

Which causid onli this Sardanapall, 

That to al goodnesse his wittis dede appall. 

He fond up first ryot and drunk[e]nesse, 
Callid a fadir off lust and lecherie; 
Hatful off herte he was to sobirnesse, 
Cherishyng surfetis, wach and glotonye, 
Callid in his tyme a prynce off baudrie, 
Fond rere soperis* and father beddis soffte, 
Drynke late, and chaunge his wynes offte. 

The air off metis and off baudi cookis, 
Which off custum aid ay roste and seede, 
Sauour off spetis, ladlis & flesshhookis 
He loued vveel, and took off hem gret heede. 
And folk that drank[e] mor than it was neede, 
Smellyng off wyn for ther gret excesse, 
With hem tabide was hooli his gladnesse. 

He thouhte also that it dede hym good 
To haue aboute hym, ageyn* skele and riht, 
Boistous bocheris, al bespreynt with blood. 
And watry fissheris abood euer in his siht, 
Ther kootis poudrid with scales siluer-briht: 
Dempte ther odour, duryng al his liff. 
Was to his corage best preseruatiff. 

and nothing pot ther nas herbc, spice, gras ne roote 
pleasant to him To hym SO lusti, as was the bordelhous, 
hou^se and^ust- Nor gatdeyn non so holsum nor so soote 
mouthed people, To his plcsauwce nor so delicious, 
flauer°him. -^s the ptescnce off folkis lecherous; 
And euer glad to speke off ribaudie. 
And folk cherisshe that koude flatre & lie. 

jFinaiiy God Til at the laste God off veray riht 

became dis- t-vi'i -ii* ^• • 

pleased with hisDisplesid was With his condiciouws, 2284 

scandalous be- r» i • -i ^ 

haviour, because he was m euery manys siht 

2252. firste] chefF H, om. R 3. 2254. That] om. H, R 3. 

2260. reresoperis B, reresopirs R, reresopers J, rersuppers R 3, 
reresowpers P. 

2263. alday] ech day H. 

2264. spitis ladil & Fleishokes R. 2265. gret] goode R. 
2267. ther] the H. 2269. R omits lines 2269-4102. 
2270. ageyn] with B, J. 

2276. herbe] eke H — ne] nor H. 2277. as] a H. 

He invented 
and riot and 
feather beds, 
and was a 
libertine and 

He loved the 
odour of food 
and of dirty 
cooks, of spits, 
ladles, and 
meat hooks, 
and kept com- 
pany with 
drunken folk. 

He liked to 
have butchers 
and fishermen 
about him, 
their coats 
powdered with 









BK. Il] 

The End of Sardanapalus 


So femynyne in his affecciouns, 
And hooli gaff his inclynaciouns 
Duryng his liff to eueri vicious thyng, 
Terrible to heere, a[nd] namli off a kyng. 

But, as Bochas list to putte in mynde, [p. 

Whan Arbachus, a prynce off gret renoun, 
Sauh off this kyng the flesshli lustis blynde, 
Made with the peeple off that regeoun 
Ageyn[e]s hym a coniuracioun, 
And to hym sente, for his mysgouemaunce, 
Off hih disdeyn a ful pleyn diflSaunce. 

Bad hym be war, & proudli to hym tolde, 
That he hym caste his vicious liff tassaile, 
And in al haste, also, that he wolde 
Withynne a feeld[e] meete hym in bataile. 
Wheroff astonyd, his herte gan to faile, 
Wher among women he sat & made gaudes, 
No wiht aboute but flatereres and baudes. 

And vp he ros, & gan hymsilff auaunce, 
No stuff aboute hym but sergauntis riotous; 
Took the feeld withoute gouemaunce, 
No men off armys but folkis* vicious, 
Whos aduersarie,* callid Arbachus, 
Made hym proudli the feeld to forsake. 
That lik a coward his castell he hath take. 

And for his herte frowardli gan faile, 
Nat* lik a knyht, but lik a losengour. 
His riche perre, his roial apparaile. 
His gold, his ieweles, vesseles & tresour 
Was brouht afom hym doun [out] off a tour, 
Mid off his paleis, & gaff his men in charge 
Off cole and fagot to make a fir ful large. 

In which he caste his tresour and ieweles, 
Mor bestial than lik a manli man; 
And myd his riche stonys and vesseles. 
Into the fir furiousli he ran. 
This tryumphe Sardanapallus wan. 
With fir consumyd for his fynal meede, 
Brent al to asshes among the coles rede. 

2303. aboute] about hvm H. 2305. sargeauntifj H. 

2307. folkis] off folkis B, J, H, P, R 3, H 5. 

2308. aduersaire B. 

2312. Nat] I nat B, H 5. 2315. out] om. J, H, H 5, P. 


1 1 61 ^^'^i ** Bochas 
says, Arbaces, 
who saw his 
blind sensuality, 

2292 conspired 

against him. 


bidding him 
beware and 
challenging him 
to battle. 


2304 Sardanapalus, 
surrounded by 
women and 
flatterers, lost 
heart, but 
made a show of 
resistance and 
then, like a 
coward, fled 
to his castle. 


where he bade 
all his jewels 
2312 and gold and 
royal garment* 
be brought 
to him, and. 


having a large 
fire kindled, _ 
cast everything 
into it, and 
2320 running 

furiously into 
the flames, was 
himself burnt 
to ashes. 


266 Bochas commends Industry (^bk. ii 

Before his death Tofom his deth[e] bad men sholde write 
epitaph: "My VpoH his grauc, the book doth certefie, 

idleness and ttt- i i i i • r ^• 

vicious life With lettres large, this resouw tor tendite: 

brought me to <.jyjj ^^^^jj jj^^ ^^ froward glotciiye, 2328 

Myn idilnesse, myn hatful lecherye, 

Han causid me, with many fals desir. 

My laste daies to be consumpt with fir." 

From this, This epitaiFe on his graue he sette, 2332 

rrmces, you rj^ . i , • i i * i 

may see that 1 o shewe how he was in al his lyue 

vengeance al- r* • i i 11 

ways follows Dcsi euet to hyndren and to iette 


Al maner vertu, & therageyn to stryue. 
Who folweth his tras is neuer lik to thryue, 2336 

For which, ye Pryncis, seeth for your auail, 
Vengaunce ay folweth vices at the tail. 

f A comendacion of Bochas of vertuous besines 
rehersing names fondours of diuers sciencis & 
cunnjmgis in reprefe of Idilnes.^ 

There were ^TT^HER wet eck Other, hat list falsli prouide 

others also who  


delighted to live A Fals flesshli lustis & dissoluciouws, 2340 

fashionr Riot, outrage, froward disdeyn & pride. 

Vices tenhauwce in ther afFecciouws 
With many onlefful croked condiciouws, 
Resoun auoidyng, as I reherse shall, 2344 

ThemsilfF delityng for to be bestiall. 
for people may Tweyne mancr folkis to putte in remewbraunce, 

be divided into ^^~. . , i ^•^r 

two kinds: the (JiT vicc and vertu, and sette a dmerence: 
th""vicious'! and The goodc alway han set ther plesaunce 2348 

of both"is"u'ch In vertuous labour to doon ther deligence; 
as they deserve, ^j^j yicious pecple in slouthe & necligcnce. 
And the report off bothen is reserued. 
With laude or lak, as thei han disserued. 2352 

One must Men muste off riht the vertuous preferre, 
industrious and And ttculi prcisc labour and besynesse; 
idie'^'so f will And ageynward, dispreisen folk that erre, 
someWrtuots Which ha[ue] no ioie but in idilnesse. 2356 

pa'rVthem'^°with "^"^ ^° compare bamaner off witnesse, 
Sardanapaius. Vcttuous folk I will to myndc Call 
In rebukyng off kyng Sardanapall. 

2330. Han] have H. 2332. Epitaphye H, Epitaphie P. 

2335. ther ageyn to] therageyns H. 

2352. have H. 2353. preferre] presi?rve H. 

^ The same heading is in MS. J. leaf 48 verso. 

BK. Il] 

Bochas in Commendation of Industry 


The olde wise, callid Pictagoras, 

Be soun off hameris, auctours certefie, 

Exaumple took[e], and cheefF maister was 

That fond out first musik and melodie. 

Yit off Tubal sumwe bookis specefie, 

That he be strok of smethis where thei stood, 

Fond first out musik tofor Noes flood. 

And losephus remembreth be scripture, [p. 

That this Tubal koude forge weel, 

First ymagyned makyng oflF armure 

With instrumentis off iren and off steel, 

And ther temprures he fond out euerideel. 

Lucyus Tarquyn, in stori as I fynde, 2372 

Fond cheynes first, folk to fetryn & bynde. 

The childre off Seth, in story ye mai see, 

Flouryng in vertu be long successiouns. 

For to profite to ther posterite, 2376 

Fond first the craflFt off heuenli mociouns, 

OfFsondri sterris the reuoluciouns; 

Bequath ther cunnyng, off^ gret auauntage, 

To them that afftir cam off^ ther lynage. 2380 

For ther vertu God galF hem gret cunwyng, 
Touchyng natures bothe oflF" erthe & heuene, 
And it remembrid sothli be writyng. 
To lasten ay for water or for leuene. 
Generaciouns ther wer off hem seuene. 
Which for vertu, withoute werre or striff, 
Trauailed in cunnyng duryng al ther liff. 

And for that Adam dede prophesie, 
Twies the world destroied sholde be. 
With water onys stonde in iupartie. 
Next with fir, which no man myht[e] fle: 
But Sethis childre, as thei* dede see. 
Made too peleris wher men myhte graue. 
Fro fir & watir the carectis for to saue. 

The ton was maad off tilis hard ibake. 
Fro touch off fir to saue the scripture; 2396 

Off hard marbil thei dede a-nother make, 
Ageyn[es] water strongli to endure, 

2371. temprures] thempruriTS H. 2373. fettre H. 

2379. oflGsoH, forH s.orP. 2383. it] it is H. 

2392. asthei]althisB, J, P, R 3. 2393. graue] save H. 

2360 Pythagoras or 
Tubal invented 
music from the 
rhjthm of beat- 
ing hammer*. 


117] Tubal first in- 
vented forged 

2368 armour and 

Lucius Tarquin 

The children of 
Seth were the 
first astrono- 

seven genera- 
tions of them, 
who laboured in 
peace all their 


3388 ^^^ they made 
two pillars, one 
of tiles, the 
other of hard 
marble, upon 
which letters 
were engraved 

2 3fi2 ^° ^^^'^ ^^^^ 
•Sy from destruction 

by water and 



Bochas in Commendation of Industry 

[bk. II 

They thought 
that their 
would be in 
vain were it 
not passed on 
to other men. 

To saue ofFletris the preent & the figure: 
For ther cunwyng afForn gan so prouide, 
Geyn fir & watlr perpetueli tabide. 

Thei dempte ther cunwyng hadde be in veyn. 

But folk with them hadde be partable; 

And for ther labour sholde afftirward be seyn, 

Thei it remewbrid be writyng ful notable: 

Onto-fpr God a thyng ful comendable, 

To them that folwe, be scripture or writyng 

Or that men deie departe ther cunwyng. 

In old times Yov be old tyme folk dyuers crafFtis fouwde 

various crafts ^ , . . « 

were found for In sundti wise tor ocupacioun; 
Llnt°of°v'irtue Vcrtu to cherisshc, vices to confouwde, 
ance^of idieitss Thet witt thei sette & ther entencioun 
To putte ther labour in execucioun, 
And to outrage, this is veray trouthe, 
Fro manys lifF necligence & slouthe. 

Enoch invented Qldc Ennok, ful famous off vertu, 

the Hebrew _v i r ^ r rr • i 

Duryng that age tond first orr euerichon 

Thoruh his prudence lettres off Hebreu; 

And in a piler thei wer kept off ston, 

Til that the flood off Noe was agon. 

And afitir hym, Cam was the secounde 

Bi whom off Hebreu lettres wer first fouwde. 

and so did And CatacHsmus the firste was that fond 

Catacrismus. ■, , rr i i 

But the letters Letttcs also, as oiT that language. 
God's^haJd and But Ictttes wreten with Godis owne bond 
w«?d'fferlnr Moyscs fitst took, most briht off his visage, 
Vpon Syna as he heeld his passage, 
Which off carectis & namys in sentence 
From other writyng hadde a difference. 

Eek afftirward, as other bookis tell, 
And Seyn[t] lerom rehersith in his stile, 
Vnder thempire off Zorobabell, 
Esdras off Hebreu gan lettres first compile; 
And Abraham, gon sithen* a gret while, 
The firste was, in bookis men may see, 
That fond lettres off Cire & off Caldee. 

alphabet, and 
after Noah's 
Flood, Cam 
it again, 

Ezra became 
the fourth dis- 
coverer of He- 
brew letters, 
and Abraham 
invented those 
of Syria and 











2399. 2nd the] om. H. 2413. in] & H. 2415. Fro] For J. 

2421. Caame H, Cam J, R 3, P. 2431. seyn J. 

2433. first] om. H, R 3. 

2434. gon] gan J — gon sithen] gan sithe B. 

BK. Il] 

Bochas in Commendation of Industry 


Ysis in Egipt fond dyuersite 
Off sundri lettres, parted into tweyne: 
First for preestis, and for the comounte 
Vulgar lettres he dede also ordeyne. 
And Fenyces dede ther besy peyne 
Lettres off Greek to fynde in ther entent, 
Which that Cadmus first into Grece sent, 

Which in noumbre fulli wer seuenteene; 
Whan off Troye was endid the bataile, 
Pallamydes, ther language to susteene, 
Put thre therto, which gretli dede auaile. 
Pidagorus, for prudent gouemaile, 
Fond first out Y, a figur to disceme 
The liff heer short and liff that is eteme. 

First Latyn lettres off our A. B. C, [p. 

Carmentis fond, off ful hih prudence. 

Grete Omerus, in Isidre ye may see. 

Fond among Grekis crafft off eloquence. 

First in Rome, be souereyn excellence. 

Off rethorik Tullius fond the flours, 2456 

Pie and diffence off subtil oratours. 

Callicrates, a grauer most notable. 

Off whiht yuor dede his besynesse. 

His hand, his eye so iust wer & so stable, 2460 

Off an ampte to graue* out the liknesse, 

Vpon the ground as Nature doth hym dresse. 

This crafft he fond, as Sardanapall 

Fond idilnesse mooder to vices all. 2464 

Off a screueyn Bochas maketh mencioun, 

How in a scrowe off litil quantite 

Wrot off al Troie the destruccioun, 

Folwyng Omerus be gret subtilite: 2468 

Which among Grekis is had in gret deynte. 

Because he was founde in his writyng. 

So compendious the story rehersyng. 

Isis made a two- 
fold alphabet 
in Egypt, and 
the Phoenicians 
Greek letters 
2440 numbering 

seventeen, which 
Cadmus sent to 



118] Latin letters 
were invented 

2452 by Carmentis, 
Greek elo- 
quence by 
Homer, Roman 
oratory by 

carved a life- 
sized ant out 
of ivory. 

and Bochas 
mentions a 
scrivener who 
wrote the entire 
Iliad on a little 

2438. sundri] sondris H. 

2440. also did H. 

2450. 2nd liiF] te liff H, ^t life R 3, the life P. 

2453. ysodre H. 

2457. off] & H. 

2461. grauen B. 

270 Bochas in Commendation of Industry []bk. ii 

Mirmecides Mirmecldcs* made a char also 2472 

made a chariot t ■> ii- -iii 'i 

and a ship so And 2L smal shipp, with al the apparaile, 
b?e^ might cover So that a bee myhte close hem bothe too 
hb'^ings^ ^'^^ Vnder his weengis, which is a'gret meruaile — 

And nothyng seyn off al the hool entailer 2476 

This crafFt he fond off vertuous besynesse 
Teschewe the vice off froward idilnesse. 

Pan, the god of Pan, god off Kynde, with his pipes seuene, 
composed tunes Off recotderis fond first the melodies. 2480 

Mer\:vrry on^the And Metcuric, that sit so hih in heuene, 
chu^'dlscljv^red Fitst in his harpe fond sugred armonyes. 
of"ifquo^rl''^"^ Holsum wynes thoruhfyned from ther lyes 

Bachus fond first, of* vynes heuy lade, 2484 

Licour off licours corages for to glade. 

Perdix and Petdix be cuwpas fond triangle and lyne, 

Euclid invented a ■, t^ ■,• -t r ri 

geometry. And Luclid hrst lond geometne, 

cin^ AiblTr^as'ar And Phebus fond the crafft off medicyne. 2488 

Min°ervrchar- Albumasat [first] fond astronomye; 

farini!*'°° '^^' ^^^ Mynerua gan charis first to guye. 

lason first sailed, in story it is told. 

Toward Colchos to wynne the Flees off Gold. 2492 

Ceres agricuiture.Ceres the goddcsse fond first tilthe off lond; 

Dionysus and t-^. . . , • • * 

Beiiona warfare, Diomsms tryumphcs ttansitotie.' 

Ethoius^sha^" And Bellona be force first out fond 

spears. Conquest be knyhthod, & in the feeld victorie. 2496 

And Martis sone, as put is in memorie, 
Callid Etholus, fond speris sharp & keene, 
To renne a werre in platis briht and sheene. 

Aristaeus first Eck Atisteus fond out the vsage 250a 

curdsTnd ^" Off mylk & cruddis, & off hony soote. 
smote' firr/rom Piroidcs, for gret auauMtage, 
fnvente^d^weav- Fto flyntes smet fir daryng in the roote. 
'"s And Pallas, which that may to cold do boote, 2504. 

Fond out weuyng, this is veray soth, 
Thoruh hir prudence, off al maner cloth. 

2472. Mirmecides] Marmychides B, Mirmychides H, Mir* 
michiades R 3, Myrnychydes H 5, Mirmecides P. 

2473. al the apparaile] a trapparaile H. 2474. a bee] A B H. 
2475. a] om. H. 2480. the] om. H, R 3. 2481. sittith H. 
2484. of] on B, J, R3. 2487. gemetrye H. 

2494. 96. transitoire, victoire B. 

2496. be] of H — &] om. H. 2497. put is repeated in H. 

2502. Purides H. 2505. weyvyng H. 2506. hir] his H. 

BK. Il] 

An Envoy on vicious Idleness 


And Fido first fond out the science 
Off mesours and off proporciouns, 
And for marchantis dede his dehgence 
To fynde ballaunces be iust dyuysiouns, 
Tauoide al fraude in citees & in tou^zs 
On outher* parti, pleynli to compile, 
Off trewe weihte that ther wer no gile. 

Compare in ordre cleerli all these thynges 
Founde off old tyme be deligent trauaile, 
To the plesaunce off pryncis & off kynges. 
To shewe how moch[e] cunnyng may auaile, 
And weie ageynward the froward aquitaile, 
Contrariousli how Sardanapalle 
Fond idilnesse mooder off vices alle. 

Lat pryncis alle heeroff taken heed. 

What auaileth vertuous besynesse. 

And what damage the reuers doth in deed, 

Vicious liff, slouthe and idilnesse; 

And these exaumples lat hem eek inpresse 

Amyd ther herte, and how Sardanapalle 

Fond idilnesse mooder off vices alle. 

and Fido 
weights and 
2%oS measures. 


Compare these 
old inventions 
with the worth- 
lessness of Sar- 
2516 danapalus, who 
only discovered 
that idleness is 
the mother of 
all vices. 


Let princes 
remember the 
advantage of 
virtuous in- 
dustry and 
the damage 
2524 done by idle- 

[^ Lenvoy.] 

NOBLE Pryncis, heer ye may weel see 
As in a merowr, off ful deer euydence. 
Be many exaumple mo than too or thre. 
What harm folweth off slouthe & necligence, 
Deepe enprentyng in your aduertence. 
How gret hyndryng doth wilful frowardnesse 
To your estat thoruh vicious idilnesse. 

Whan resoun faileth, and sensualite [p. 

Holdeth the bridel off lecherous insolence, 
And sobirnesse hath lost his liberte, 
And to fals lust is doon the reuerence. 
And vice off vertu hath an apparence, — 
Misledith pryncis off wilful reklesnesse 
To gret errour off froward idilnesse. 

2>28 Noble Princes, 
see as in a 
mirror the 
harm that 
comes from 
sloth and 


IIQ] ^hen reason 
■^ fails and vice 

2536 takes on an 
appearance of 
virtue, princes 
recklessly fall 
into idleness. 


2507. Sido H. 2508. mesur^ H. 

2512. outher] nouther B. 2514. Compare] Compas H, R 3. 

2516. & off] om. H. 

2528. heer] om. H. 2532. empryntyng H. 

272 The Story of Amaziah ^bk. ii 

and adversity. 

which has no Thcr mav to slouthe non other guerdoun be, 

other reward _ _ -^ , . " ' 

than sorrow JNoF non Other condigiie recompense, 

But sorwe, myscheefF and aduersite, 2544 

Sodeyn vengaunce and onwar violence. 

Whan ye be froward in your magnyficence 

To knowe the Lord and bowe be meeknesse 

Tobeie his preceptis and eschewe idilnesse. 2548 

[How Amazias in luda kyng for pride and presump- 
cioun was venquysshed in bataUe & aftir slayn.] ^ 

As Bochas sat TN his studi as Bochas sat musyng, 

musing in his  ,,,. , , , / °' . 

study, Amaziah X With many vnkouth soleyn tantasie, 

and his son <-•-< i i i • i 

Uzziah appeared lo hym appcrcd many a myhti kyng; 

befof mighty And tofom allc cam worthi Amazie, 2552 

kings; Y{[s sone also, that callid was losie. 

Off Dauidis blood descendyng, as I reede, 

Ech afFtir othir in luda to succeede. 

and Amaziah Fitst Amazias compleyned on Fortune, 2556 

began to com- ^^ , . i • 

plain on For- Causyng his gteuous gret aduersites, 

tune, who cast npi • ii* i • 

both him and 1 he ttaitoutesse caliid m comune, 

theirThrones. These kynges tweyne castyng from ther sees; 

Whos ouerturnyng from ther dignites, 2560 

Onwar fallyng, dreedful and terible. 
Been ceriousli remembrid in the Bible. 

Men may read Ther pitous eende men may ther reede & see, 

about their sad __ ' i r • i i 

end in the How T ortune thet tatis dede entrete. 2564 

oniy'^'gilan out^ Whetfore teschcwe & fleen prolixite, 
the chief facts. ^| ^gjious thyng in this processe to lete. 

And in substaunce to glenen out the grete, 

Off ther fallyng I purpose nat to spare 2568 

Compendiousli the causes to declare. 

Amaziah held This Amazias hauyng gouernauwce 

the sceptre over -r-t r ^ • • i rr 

Judah and grew De tul mst title Olt SUCCCSSIOUM, 

prou rpj^^ sceptre off luda, with al the hool puissauwce, 2572 

2542. to] no H, P. — This stanza is omitted in J. 
2556. First] For H. 

2565. teschewe] to shewen H, to shew R 3. 

2566. Al] Off J — tedious thyng] tediouste H, tedioustee R 3, 
tediousty P. 

2569. causes] cause H. 2571. off] havyng H. 

1 MS. J. leaf 49 verso. 

BK. Il] 

The Story of Amaziah 


Ful pesibli in his possessioun, 

Til that pride and fals presumpcioun 

Most frowardli dede his herte enbrace, 

Which al attonys made hym lose his grace. 2576 

In herte he hadde a maner* veynglorie, 

Because that God made hym to preuaile 

In his conquest and to have* victorie, 

Amalechitis to venquysshe in bataile, 2580 

Eek Gabanytis, as he them dede assaile, 

Purposyng[e] afftir, yifF he myhte, 

With Israelitis off pride for to fyhte. 

Onto kyng loas off Israel he sente, 
Hym comaundyng to obeien his biddyng, 
And be lik subiect, as wem in ther entente, 
His predecessours in al maner thyng, 
Whilom to Dauid, the noble worthi kyng. 
This was his sonde to loas, plat and pleyn. 
Which bi a problem thus wrot to hym ageyn: 

"The ougli thistil off the valis lowe, 
Proudli presumyng aboue[n] his degre, 
To make his pride openli be knowe. 
Sent his message to the cedre tre, 
That his sone myhte weddid be 
To his doubter; al-thouh in substaunce 
Atwen hem too was a gret discordaunce. 

But off the forest the beestis sauagyne 

In ther corages hadde theroff disdeyn. 

Alle off assent fersli dede enclyne 2600 

The thistel leuys abrod vpon the pleyn. 

That ther was nouther leff nor prikke seyn." 

This was the problem, which loas be writyng 

Sent in a pistil to Amazie the kyng. 2604 

^ But losephus in his origynal. 

The said epistil, as he doth expresse, 

Seith off the vale how the pouder smal 

Off pride sente to the hih cipresse, 2608 

That his doubter, off excellent faimesse, 

Onto his sone, pleynli to descryue, 

Myhte be delyuered & hauen hir to wyue. 

2577. maner] maner off B. 2579. have] han B. 

2581. them dedel did them H. 

2600. fersli] freshly H. 261 1. &] to H. 

and vainglori- 
ous because 
God helped him 
defeat the 
Amalekites and 

2;&il He wanted to 
^^ fight Israel 

and commanded 
King Jehoash 
to be subject 
to him. 

Jehoash an- 
swered, "TTie 
2592 ugly thistle of 
the vale sent 
to the cedar- 
tree, saying, 
'give thy 
daughter to 
my son in 
marriage.' But 
the wild beasts 
of the forest 
trod down the 
thistle. Not a 
leaf or even a 
prick was left." 


Josephus sub- 
stitutes the 
puff-ball and 


The Story of Amaziah 

[bk. II 

and, according 
to him, the 
puff-ball was 
cast abroad. 

But a fell beeste, which that beside stood, 

Off cruel ire and indignaciouw, 

With feet disdeynyng the pouder caste abrod 

Hih in the air aboute hym envirouM. 

The which exaumple conceyued off resoun, 

Who that attempteth to clymben hih alofFte, 

With onwar chauwg his fall is ful onsofFte. 



There is no 
congruity be- 
tween a thistle 
and a cedar or 
a cypress and 
a puff-ball. 
Royalty should 
not be married 
to persons of 
low birth. 

Atwen the cedre, off tre[e]s most roiall, [p. 120] 

And a sharp thistil is no convenyence, 2620 

Nor twen a cipresse, statli* fouwde att all, 

And lothsum pouder is a gret difference: 

For roial blood sholde ha[ue] non assistence 

To be ioyned nor knet in mariage 2624 

With such as been brouht foorth ofF low p<2rage. 

The cedre is strong & myhti off substau«ce, 

In his vpgrowyng riht as any lyne; 

And thouh the thistil ha[ue] spottis off plesauwce, 2628 

He hath eek prikkis, sharp as any spyne. 

And bothe naturis, pleynli to termyne, 

The cedre off kynde, who looke[th] weel aboute, 

To no thistil* sholde his brauwchis loute. 2632 

The cypress is Holsum ofF odout is the fait cipresse, 

p"ff-baii' ""^ * As bookis telle, and vertuous off kynde; 

wfth'dust anr Dust & pouder, pleynli to expresse, 

gets in people's Xj-Qubieth the ait & maketh folkis blynde: 2636 

For which in spousaile convenyence to fynde, 
Lat estatis off ther berthe honurable, 
Voide al raskail & wedde ther semblable. 

The thistle, al- 
though it has 
some good 
qualities, also 
has pricks as 
sharp as a 

estates should 
avoid rabble. 
Amaziah lost 
bia temper, and 
made war on 
Jehoash; but 
his men ran 

But Amazias wolde nat be war 
For no warnyng, nor for no prophecie. 
But stille in herte gret hatrede [he] bar 
Ageyn kyng loas, oflF malice & envie; 
Into a* feld brouht al his cheualrie, 
Gadred them out, bothe nyh and ferre, 
Geyn Godis will on hym to gynwe a werre. 

2621. twenl atween H — statli] estatli B, estatly J. 

2623. For] Full H — sholde] shal H. 

2629. He] & H. 

2632. thistil] thouthistil B, H, thouhthistil J, thouthystyl H 5, 

thistill R %, thistle P. 
2636. air] day H. 
2639. al] of H. 
2642. he] om. J. 
2644. a] the B. 2646. on] geyn H. 



BK. Il] 

Amaziah's Son Uzziah 


And kyng loas, ful lik a worthi knyht, 
Into the feeld[e} faste gan hym speede; 
And alle the knyhtis off luda anon riht 
Wer smet off vengaunce with a sodeyn dreede 
To bidde hem fle, God wot, it was no neede, 
And Amazias, for al his gret[e] pride, 
Stood destitut and no man be his side. 

With hym was non lefft off al his meyne. 
So God and loas ageyn hym wrouhte. 
Off Jerusalem entred the cite. 
And Amazie off force with hym he brouhte; 
And in the temple the tresour out he souhte, 
Gold and siluer, and hooli ther richesse; 
And to Samarie hom he gan hym dresse. 

And Amazias he leet out off prisoun, 
Afftir al this, and suffred hym go fre. 
To his myscheeff and his confusioun, 
He was delyuered from his captiuite; 
For slayn he was in Lachis the cite. 
Among his freendis be symulacioun. 
His deth conspired vnder ful fals tresoun. 


and Jehoash 
captured him 



and took all 
the treasure of 
the temple to 


Afterwards he 
set Amaziah 
free, and 
Amaziah was 
soon after- 
, - ward slain in 
2004 Lachish. 

[How god vpon losias succedyng kjmg next in luda 
toke vengeaunce/ smot him wit/i lepre.^ ^ 

AFFTIR in luda, the myhti regioun, 
Next Amazias, losias gan succeede. 
Wonder manli & famous of renoun. 
In alle his werkis ful prouident in deede. 
And off his knyhthod venquisshid, as I reede. 
The Palestynes, for al ther gret puissauwce, 
With al Arabie he brouht onto vttraunce. 

Bike touns and many strong cite, 

And onto Egipt he his boundis sette; 

Made castelis beside the Rede Se, 

And in his conquest, whom that euer he mette, 

Off manli pride he ne wolde lette — 

I meene alle tho that were his aduersaires — 

To his lordshepe to make hem tributaires. 

2658. 2nd the] om. H. 

2674. vttraunce] myschaunce H. 

2681. his] his gret H. 

* MS. J. leaf 50 recto. 

2668 •■^fter Amaziah, 
Uzziah suc- 
ceeded, manly 
and famous. 


He defeated the 
Palestines, con- 
2676 quered Arabia 
and built to'xns 
and castles. 



Uzziah's Obstinacy and Pride 

[bk. II 

He also rebuilt 
its defences, 

and planted 
gardens and 
vineyards and 
grafted trees. 

He became very 
much dreaded 
for his bravery, 
and finally 
grew proud 

and obstinate 
to God. 

So Fortune de- 
cided to assail 
him, especially 
when he 
dressed up like 
a bishop out of 
pure wanton- 
ness and 
started to 
sacrifice in the 
temple, which 

He dede his labour also to repare 

lerusalem afFtir his ruyne; 

The wallis rered, which on the soil lay bare, 2684 

Made newe tour[e]s, riht as any lyne, 

Fanys off gold ther torettis tenlumyne, 

And tafforce hem, leet werkmen vndertake 

Squar bastiles & bolwerkis to make. 2688 

He delited to make fressh gardynes, 

Dyuers greynes & herbis for to knowe, 

R<?ioisshid to plante sundri vynes, 

To grifFe trees and seedis for to sowe, 2692 

And strauwge frutis [to] make hem growe arowe. 

And with hym hadde, his enmyes to encouwbre, 

Thre huwdrid thousand manli men in nouwbre. 

His noble fame gan to sprede wide, 2696 

And gret[e]li drad for his hih prowesse, 

Wherthoruh his herte corupt was with pride, 

Because onli off his gret richesse; 

And frowardli he dede his besynesse 2700 

For to maligne in his estat roial 

Ageyn the Lord, the which is inmortal. 

To God aboue he gan wexe obstynat, [p. 121] 

That be processe ful smal he dede wynne; 2704 

And sauour cauhte in his roial estat 

To folwe his fader in onthrift & synne, 

That grace and vertu from hym dede twynne. 

In most shynyng off his magnyficence, 2708 

Fortune proudli assailed his excellence. 

Caste she wolde withynne a litil while 

His surquedie & froward pride assaile, 

And ful onwarli deceyue hym and begile, 2712 

To make his power tappallyn & to faile, 

Whan that this kyng took on thapparaile 

Off a bisshop, off veray frowardnesse, 

And into temple proudli gan hym dresse, 2716 

Beyng in purpos, on a solempne day, 
To take his way up to the hih auter, 
Falsli vsurpyng, who-euer seide nay. 

2692. griffe] grifFt H, grift R 3, grafFe P — seede H. 

2693. to3 om. P. 

2697. hih] om. J. 2702. 2nd the] om. H. 

2706. &]&inPI, R3. 2714. that] 07W. H, R 3. 

BK. li] 

The End of Uzziab 



To sacrefie, holdyng the censer, 
Tofor the auter, that shon of gold ful cleer. 
For which offence, the Bible seith the same, 
Azarias the bisshop dede hym blame. 

Gan withstonde hym in the face anon. 

Four score preestis beyng in presence. 

Off the kynrede descendid off Aaron, 

Which forbad hym & made resistence. 

That with his hand he sholde putte incence 

Vpon the auter, ageyn[es] Godis lawe, 

Hym chargyng boldli his presence to withdrawe. 

But off despiht he made them holde ther pes, 
In peyne off deth began hem to manace; 
And sodenli among[es] al the pres. 
An erthequaue fill in the same place. 
And therwithal in the kynges face. 
Off the Sonne ther smet a bem so briht. 
That al his visage was scorkid with the liht. 

He wex a lepre, ful foul and riht horible 

For his ofFence, as God list ordeyne; 

To euery man off look he was terible, 

And but fewe his myscheefF gan compleyne. 

And a gret hill the same hour karff on tweyne, 

Nat ferr a-side from the toun withoute, 

Cites destroieng that stood round aboute. 

On kyng losie God took his vengaunce. 

For al his lordshepe & his magnyficence. 

To punyshe his pride & his froward puissaunce, 

And brouht hym lowe for his gret offence: 

For his persone was put out off presence 

Perpetueli, as Hooli Writ can telle, 

Fer from al peeple with lepres for to duelle. 

His flessh was troubled with dyuers passiouws. 
For his siknesse auoided the cite; 
In cri and sorwe and lamentaciouns 
His liff he ladde, in gret aduersite. 
And so he deied in sorwe and pouerte, 
Sympli buried, for al his grete myht, 
Withynne an iland that stood ferr out of siht. 

2720. sacrefie] sacrifise H, sacrifice R 3, P. 2721. shon] om. H. 
2722. \ie which H. 2730. boldli] proudly H. 

2732. he be gan H. 2737. visage] face P'— scorched P. 

2742. the] l)at H. 2758. stood ferr] ferr^- was H. 


2724 Bishop Azariah 
who, with hii 
eighty priests 
behind him, 
ordered Uzziah 
off the premises. 


But Uzziah 
told them to 
2732 hold their 

tongues, and 
suddenly there 
was an earth- 
quake, and the 
king's face was 
scorched by a 
ray of the sun 
and he became 
a leper, and a 
hill split in 
two and de- 
Kroyed cities. 
Thus God took 
his vengeance. 



Uzziah wai 
cast down from 
his throne and 
sent to a lazar 
house; and 
„ when he died 
2740 he was buried 
without cere- 
mony in an 



278 Hoshea captured by Shalmaneser [[bk. ii 

f An exortacion to Princis to be auisid to do ageyn 
goddis Preceptes.^ 

Let princes be T AT prvncis all[e] in ther prouidence 

careful not to  -r. -i 1 i 

offend God; -M^^ Be Fiht wcel War any thyng tattame, 2760 

repent they wU Which onto God sholde been offence, 
suffer for it. j^j^^ ^^^^ ^^^ ^^^ conclude to ther shame. 

Lat them thynke, for al ther noble fame, 

But thel repente, God off his iustise 2764 

Ther froward pride onwarH will chastise. 

And let them Lat hcm be wat off malice to presume 

not meddle • 1*11 1 rr • 

with the affairs Ageyn his cherche to doon oitenciouw; 

God will not ' For God off riht all tirantis will consume 2768 

permit that, j^^ £^j shott tyme for ther presumpcioun. 

Which wil nat suffre ther dominacioun 

To interupte, for al ther grete myht. 

Nor breke the fraunchise off hooli cherches ryht. 2772 

Let Uzziah's To prudent pryncis, which that can discerne, 

example teach ^ , y .  i j i * rr 

prudent princes Lat kyng losias, consiared his oirence, 
Jever°ence%o Been in ther mynde a merour & lanterne, 
holy church, 'p^ hooH cherchc to do due reuerence; 2776 

And conceyue in ther magnificence, 
God will off riht, be thei neuer so stronge. 
Chastise ther malice, thouh he abide longe. 

[How kyng Ozie was taken bi kyng Salmanazar 
and deied in prisoun.]] ^ 

Another king, ' I ^HER was a-uother, that callid was 

called Hoshea, 1 /-^ • r l ^ 

was taken by X OziC, [p. I22J 2780 

fnl'i^rcrp'tive Which whilom regned, as I afferme dar, 
into Assyria, j^^ Israel, whom Fortune be envie 

Made hym be take or that he was war, 

Besegid aboute off kyng Salmanazar; 2784 

And in Tassirie vnder his daunger, 

The Bible tellith, he was prisoner. 

His towns were His cites, touws btouht to desttucciouw, 

peopi7 en slaved, And al his peeple vnder long seruage 2788 

di"d of°Sf. Wer take and kept in strong[e] Babilouw, 

2772. chirch H. 2783. that] om. H. 

2785. vn to Assyrye H, in to Assirie J, R, 3, into Assirle P, 
in Tassyrye H 5. 

1 The same heading in MS. J. leaf 50 verso. 

* MS. J. leaf 50 verso. 

angel slew his 

BK. ii] Sennacherib and Zedekiah 279 

SufFred ther gret peyne & gret damage. 

And in a presouw, be furious outrage, 

This said Ozias, in cheynes bounde sore, 279a 

For sorwe deide : ofF hym write I no more. 

p5ow Senacheryb kyng of Assirie was slayne.] ^ 

WITH these forsaid woful kynges thre, ^""^^iSk 

Senacherib, off Assirie kyng, upon, com- 

/^ T 1 rt 1 1 * plained how he 

Cam to lohn oochas, most ougli on to see, 2796 was brought to 

Ful pitousli his fate compleynyng. °°"^ ^' 

And speciali his onwar chauwgyng 

He gan bewaile, oppressid in his thouht. 

From hih noblesse how he was brouht to nouht. 2800 

His renoun spradde thoruh many dyuers rewm, Kis renown 

A 1 !• iir 1 1 r "'^^ gre^U and 

And peeplis all[ej gan hym magnefae; he uid siege 

A] 1 • 1 T 1 to Jerusalem, 

Siege he laide onto lerusalem, but God's 

In the tyme off kyng Sedechie. 2804 

But in his most froward surquedie, 

Godis aungel tofor the cite 

An hundrid thousand slouh off his meyne. 

And the mor to maken hym afferd, 2808 Jf'^i^fT*^!, .j. 
Mid off his peeple, the silue same nyht, » terrifi^ him 

Godis aungel shooff awey his herd away and wa$ 

With a sharp suerd that shon cleer & bryht. byTs^s^nf '° 

Leffte his siege & took hym onto flyht; 2812 
And in a temple, his goddis worshepyng, 
His sonys slouh hym as he sat knelyng. 

[How kyng Sedechie/ for fals forsweryng was slayn 
and made blynde in prisoun.]] ^ 

TOUCHYA^G the compleynt of kyng Sedechie, Zcdekiah's nory 
- , ~ , . *^ / 1 'is told in the 

And oit his sorwes to shewe the maner, 2816 Bible. 

Hooli Writ dooth cleerli specefie, jeLiachin and 

Wherfore it were but veyn to telle hem heer. chnTrln*were 

For ther men may the processe pleynli ler, ]^^^° captive 

How loachym, kyng off lerusalem, 2820 

His owne brother, was lad out off his rewm. 

2794. With] And wit* H, R 3, H 5. 

2802. peeple H, peple R 3, pepyll H 5 — peeplis all] all people 

P. 2812. onto] to J)e H. 

2819. men] ye H — may] om. J. 

^ MS. J. leaf 50 verso. * MS. J. leaf 51 recto. 


The Pride of Zedekiah 

[bK. II 

Nebuchad- WhcFofF in hcrte he felte ful gret sor, 
grieved This Scdcchias, as it is ther fouwde, 

Because the kyng Nabugodonosor 
His brother heeld, strong in prisouw bouwde, 
Fulli in purpos the lewes to confouwde; 
For this tirant hadde in that mortal strifF 
His brethre, childre in prisouw, & his wiff. 

But when And yit this tirant in his tirannye 
nezzar restored This fauour dede in al his fell[e] rage 

him to histhrone/~v i • r i o i i • 

on condition Unto this mostc wotul bedechie, 

of paying a 
yearly tribute 
to the 

he became 
so elated 
that he 

forgot his 
brother and 
his friends, 

To sufFre hym regne in his gret[e] age, 
Fro yeer to yeer to paie hym a truage, 
Be feith and oth and composiciouw, 
Reised off his peeple & brouht to Babiloun. 

Yit Sedechias in especiall, 

Be a maner off fals felicite, 

HymselfF reioished in his see roiall 

To ocupie that noble dignite, 

And so forgat the gret aduersite 

Off his brother and other freendis all, 

Touchyng the myscheeff that thei wer in fall, 

and soon QfF pride he fill into presumpciouw, 

decided that he,_,, , i-ii'i i oi*i 

would not pay Whan he remembrid his brethre & his lynage, 

his tribute any r^ 'iii ri ni 

longer. Considred how rro kyng balamoun 

He was descendid be title off heritage, 
Gan disdeyne to paien his truage, 
And to maligne, in herte he was so wroth. 
And falsli brak his surauwce and his oth. 

He thought to He hadde a maner indignaciouw, 
"Solomon paid Which he cauhte off old remembraunce, 
t°ibu"e was paid How tymc passid, to kyng Salamoun, 
shou'id I dolt?" Be his manli prudent gouernauwce, 
Kynges aboute for a recognisauwce 
Paied tribut, and durst it nat withseie 
Fro yeer to yeer his noblesse to obeie. 

Which thyng remembrid off kyng Sedechie, 
As he wex gret and strong in his puissauwce. 
Off hih disdeyn his tribut gan denye. 










So he rebelled 
against the king 
of Babylon, 

2828. brethre] brothir H, brother H 5, brethern P — children 


2830. his] this H. 2832. hym] hem H. 

2838. reioysshyng H. 2844. 2nd his] om. H. 

BK. Il] 

Zedekiah's Faithlessness and Fall 


Sette a-side his feith and assuraunce, 2860 

So that his oth stood in no substaunce; 
For he ageyn the kyng off Babiloun 
Presumptuousli fill in rebellious. 

And his kyngdam to strengthe & fortefie, [p. 123] 2864 f?^'^'^ 

Thouhte he wolde to his auauntage 

The kyng off Egipt haue on his partie. 

Off pride he fill into so gret outrage, 

That he no mor wolde paien his truage; 2868 

But fynali such weies he hath souht, 

That off his oth litil he rouhte or nouht. 

king of Egypt, 
went back on 
his promised 

But O alas, it is a doolful thyng 

To be remembred, in hih or low degre, 

That any prynce or any worthi kyng 

Sholde false his oth or ontrewe be; 

Or that men sholde such variaunce see 

In ther corages, which been so hih[e] bom, 

For any cause falsli to be forsworn. 

Be report it doth ther fame trouble, 
Infortuneth and clipseth ther noblesse. 
Whan a prynce is ofl^ his heste double, 
And chargith nat, ofl"^ wilful reclesnesse, 
Al-be his promys conclude on doubilnesse. 
Thouh God a while suffre hem and respite. 
At onset hour ther falsnesse he will quite. 

His wamyng ofFte he sent to them afFor, 
Because thei lacke prudent policie. 
Record I take off Nabugodonosor, 
Which cam onwarli on kyng Sedechie, 
For he his tribut gan falsli hym denye; 
With al his power, as he dede abraide, 
To Jerusalem a myhti siege he laide. 

Thei withynne constreyned were off neede. 
The kyng hymsilfF, ther was no bett difFence, 
With manys flessh his peeple for to feede, 
Whil the Caldeies be myhti violence, 
Off verai force, withoute resistence, 
On fals forsweryng for to taken wrake, 
Ther myhti tour[e]s and ther wallis brake. 

which is 

a shameful thing 
2872 for any prince 
or king to do. 


It injure* their 
good name and 
eclipses their 
noblesse, and 
2880 God is sure to 
punish them 
for it. 



The result was, 
that Nebu- 
suddenly de- 
on Zedekiah, 

2892 '*i<^ siege to Je- 
rusalem, starved 
the Jews into 
eating one 
another, de- 
stroyed the city 
and killed most 

2896 °^ ^^^ people- 

2879. Infortunatith R 3 — eclipsith H, R 3. 
2888. on] vpon H. 2894. peeplis H. 

282 The End of Zedekiah [bk. II 

Zedekiah was To slcii and killc thei list non for to spare, 

put in chains, __^, , . . , ., 

his children slain, Whom-euer thci mette or cam in ther siht; 2900 

handeTover to Scdcchias IcfFtc the toun al bare, 
hireyfs"ent°out. But take hc was, as he hym took to fliht, 
In cheynys bouwde and fetrld anon riht, 
In whose presence, tencrece his peynes anon, 2904 
His yonge childre were slay[e]n euerichon. 

His wyues all, most woful ofF ther cheres, 

Which in ther tyme most goodli were and fair, 

Delyuered wern in handis ofFstrauwgeres; 2908 

And mor, alas, to putte hym in dispair. 

Into his kyngdam neuer to ha[ue] repair. 

With sharp[e] tonges, it was to gret a peyne. 

Out off his hed wer rent his eien tweyne. 2912 

His city Off lerusalem his cite was ibrent 

Jerusalem was _., ^ . , . i i j 

burnt to the rleyn to* the ground mto assnes dede. 

treasure sent to His gret richesse, his tresour hooli sent 

|ed''m"se?rbiy ' To Babilouw, with stonys bleu and rede; 2916 

in prison. Vcsselis ofF gold, which richest wer in deede, 

Withoute merci or remissiouw, 

Caldeies took to ther possessiouw. 

That is what And thus in sotwe and in wrechidnesse 2920 

perjury leads to. tt i • i i r i • 

He deied, alas, tetred m prisoun. 
Loo, heer the eende off periurie & falsnesse! 
Loo, how Fortune can turnen vp-so-dou« 
Off mortal men the condicioun: 2924 

Now richest shynyng in* prosperite. 
With onwar chauwg to hatful pouerte. 
What do royal Now men Icfft up to roial dignites, 
people who are Now hih aloffte be fulsum habundauwce: 2928 

themT""^^ '° But what auaileth to sitte in roial sees 
To folk that han therin non assurauwce, 
Namli whan Fortune holdeth the balaunce. 
Which ay off custum onto hih estatis 2932 

Hath a fals ioie to shewen hir chekmatis. 

Record I take off pryncis mo than on, 
uStaiT became Ther woful fatis hanging in iupartie, 
dieTIn ^fs^^'.^'^Remembrid late, and among echon 2936 

2904. peyn H. 

2913. ibrent] brent J. 

2914. to] into B, J, H, P, H 5 — the] om. H 5. 
2925. in]inhih B, J, in hygh H S- 2930. have H. 
2935. hangyng] havyng H. 

BK. ii] King Astyages and bis Grandson Cyrus 

The woful fal off kyng Amazie, 

His sone eek lepre, which callid was losie, 

And last off all[e], how in Babiloun, 

Kyng Sedechias deied in prisoun. 2940 


^ Lenvoye. 

NOBLE Pryncis, considreth the fallas 
Off Fortunys froward flat[e]rie; 
Seeth hir deceites in many dyu^rs cas, 
How she first mokkid manh Amazie, 2944 

Which slay[e]n was for his surquedie 
To yeue you wamyng, bexaumple as ye may reede, 
Whan ye sit hiest, your fal is most to dreede. 

And as it is remembred* in Bochas, [p. 124] 

Eek in the Bible off the kyng losie, 

In his tyme how famous that he was 

Bothe off richesse and off cheualrie, 

Punshed with lepre, bookis specefie. 

For his presumyng: remembrith this in deede, 

Whan ye sit hiest, yowr fal is most to dreede. 

Al worldli glorie* fleeth hens a gret[e] pas, 

I take witnesse off kyng Sedechie; 

For fals forsweryng he slay[e]n was, alas! 

Maad blynd in prisoun; this story cannat lie. 

Thus sheweth Fortune, thoruh hir froward envie. 

To you, Pryncis, yif ye list taken heede, 2960 

Whan ye sit hiest, your fal is most to dreede. 

[How kyng Astriages labored to disherite Cirus/ but 
god suffrid his malice not to preuaile.J ^ 

A FFTIR these kynges, on folwed in the pres, 
-^^ And gan to Bochaj- his cowpleynt discure; 
And he was callid the grete Astriages, 
Which tolde in ordre his vnkouth auenture, 
Lord off Asie, as bookis us assure. 
And hadde off tresour duryng al his liff 
A-boue alle kyuges a prerogatiff. 2968 

2948. is remembred] remembreth B, remembrith J, H 5. 

2949. 2nd the] om H. 2955. gloire B. 2958. this] his H. 
2963. to discure H. 2964. Astiages P. 

^ MS. J. leaf 51 verso. 

Noble Princes, 
when you sit 
highest, then it 
your fall most to 
be dreaded. 

2048 Remember how 
Uzziah was pun- 
ished for his 


and how King 
Zedekiah was 
2956 slain for 


After these 
kings followed 
Astyages, the 
richest mince of 
2904 his tim? 

284 '^he Dream of Astyages [bk. ii 

He lacked Most foFtunat in al his gouernaile, 

nothing but a „ , ~, „ , 

male heir, T Cite oiT T OFtunc non aducrsite, 

SaufF an heir male, nothyng dede hym faile; 

For he most glorious sat in his roial see: 2972 

Off worldli welthe he lakked no plente, 

Except onli, as clerkis off hym write, 

He hadde no sone his kyngdam tenherite, 

and once dreamt Which to his welthe was gtct disencres, 2976 

of a vine that ^ • r •! i • i • i 

grew, and a Lest succcssiouw tailed m his lyne. 

cie'a?'^slX!' A douhter had he callid Mundanes, 

daughter^' '"^'^"^ ofF whos wombe, as bookis determyne, 

womb^b^'th ^^ drempte a-nyht[e] how he sauh a vyne 2980 

spreading over Jn his auesiouw, with hym so it stood, 

Ouer al Asie his braunchis spredde abrod. 
He hadde also a reuelaciouw, 

Slepyng a-nyht[e] afFtir his souper, 2984 

Thouh he nat knew thexposicioun, 
He thouhte he sauh a cristallyn ryuer. 
With lusti watris, as any berell cleer, 
Out off hir wombe, with his stremys fressh 2988 

The soil of Asie make tendre and nessh. 
and could not Touchyng this reucr and this lusty vyne 

understand what ,._ , -^ °, , . , . 

it meant, 1 o hym shcwed in his auisiouw, 

Withynwe hymsilfF he coud[e] nat termyne, 2992 

TherofF to fynde no cleer conclusioun 

Withoute sum maner exposiciouw 

To hym declared be folkis in sentence. 

Which ofF such dremys hadde experience. 2996 

until his To hym he callid his astronomeris, 

philosophers and __. i .i- i i i • i 

diviners His philisophres and his dyuynours. 

That knew the meuyng ofF the nyne speeris, 
Ymages ofF sterris, ther houses & ther tours; 3000 
And such as wern expert expositours. 
And whan thei wern assemblid euerichon, 
Touchyng his drem thei corded all in on. 
told him that his To telle hym trouthe thei wer nat rec[e]les, — 3004 
havl rwn,°by Saide his douhter, fro whom ther cam a vyne, 
he°wlw beput She that be name was callid Mundanes, 
dom°^ ThUwa. Sholde haue a sone descendyng from his lyne, 
to be his fate. Whos noble fame thoruh Asia sholde shyne, 3008 

Which sholde [hym] putte, thoruh his hih renoun, 
Be* force ofF armys out ofF his regioun. 
3009. hym] om. J — hym putte] pull hym H. 
31 10. Be] Hym be B, j — armys] hys armes P. 

BK. ii] Astyages marries bis Daughter to Cambyses 285 

This was his fate; he myhte it nat refuse, whereupon he 

The heuenli cours but it dede faile. 3012 woiSd t^y^o 

Wherupon he sore gan to muse, *^°"^ "' 

Such fantasies dede his herte assaile; 

Fill in gret doubte off ther dyuynaile, 

Thouhte he wolde make purueiaunce 3016 

For to withstonde Godis ordenaunce. 

Ful hard it is to make resistence although men 

Geyn thyng ordeyned, whan God will that it be; Slye^^hT* 
And namli ther, wher as influence 3020 '^'^^'^^• 

Off heuene aboue hath shape a destyne: 
Sum men recorde that no man may it fle. 
The doom off this, wher that it holde or flitte, 
Tastronomeris al hooli I committe. 3024 

This said[e] kyng, off whom I spak but late, So the kin« 

Caste he wolde, for his auauntage, to ^\\% 

The ordenaunce reuersen and the fate s^mf^r.V 

Off the heuene, with al the surplusage, 3028 S?*""'''^ 

And yeue his doubter as in mariage 
To sum onworthi poore infortunat 
That neuer were likli to rise to hih estat. 

And in this wise, kyng AstriageS [p. 125] 3032 and married her 

Maried his doubter, as in his entent, n°amed a°rS'^ 

To on onworthi callid Cambises, ttTght n^uity 

Deemyng therbi, be short auysement, ^d notV°°^ 

Withynne hymselff that he was riht prudent, 3036 gr"iateut 
Wenyng that noblesse cam be discent off blood, such men as 

And nat be grace, nor as the heuene stood. posJ^ ^° 

moral virtue. 

In his resoun was nat comprehendid. 

How Socrates, maistir off Platoun, 3040 

Off ful low bed bi berthe was descendid. 

And nat tenherite kyngdam nor regioun, 

■But for to haue fulli possessioun 

Off moral vertu and philosophic, 3044 

Duryng his liff his witt he dede applie. 

He souhte contrees for wisdam and science, discovered that 

And secre cunnynges to serch[e] dede his peyne; imm^,^r" 

And he fond out thoruh his deligence, 3048 

3012. faile] falle H. 

3022. men] om. H. 3025. saide] same H. 

3031. likli] like H. 3041. bi berthe] om. H. 


Royalty depends on the Grace of God [^bk. ii 

This philisophre, as bookis acerteyne, 

To ioie reserued outher onto peyne, 

Be grace off God, which is eternall, 

How menys soulis be fouwde ay inmortall. 3052 

and was judged The gFcte Appollo, ill bookis it is founde, 

by Apollo to be --, ~,T ~, . i m 

the wisest GaiT lugemeiit oft equite and riht, 
hUtime!*""^ That Socrates in vertu most habouwde. 

And most preferrid in eueri manys siht, 3056 

Was callid ofFwisdam the lanterne & the liht, 
And wisest named, at evyn and at pryme, 
Off phiHsophres that wer in his tyme. 

and Euripides, The poete also calHd Euripides, 3060 

most honourable Most honoutable calHd in that age, 
mo\her^was'^ Al-be his mooder ofF lifF was rec[e]les 
wrote ma*n°/ And contagious thoruh vicious outrage: 
tort" tmh Yit was this poete, for al his vil lynage, 3064 

to all. Mosl vertuous fouwden at assaies, 

OfF alle poetis that wer in his daies. 

Callid in his tyme a gret tragician. 

Because he wrot many tragedies, 3068 

And wolde ofF trouthe spare no maner man, 

But hem rebuken in his poetries, 

Touchyng the vices ofF flesshli fantasies, 

Compleyne in pryncis ther deedis most horible, 3072 

And ech thyng punshe that was to God odible. 

Demosthenes, A-nother clerk callid Demostenes, 

greatest of _,, ,.,,.. 

rhetoricians, 1 fie moste subtil retfioncian, 

man, yet he^'i^s And most inuentifF among al the pres, 3076 

That euer was sithe[n] the world began, 
Al-be ofF berthe he was a poore man, 
Yit hadde he most souereyn excellence 
Mong philisophres ofF speche & eloquence. 3080 

So it would seem Be which exauwplc, me semeth dout[e]les, 

that royal blood _,, • i i i j i i M l 

and high lineage 1 fiat roial blood, uoutfier fiih lynage 

are of but small rr> i i .11^ 1 

advantage with- 1 o meuMys berthe yeueth but smal encres, 

gn the grace of ^^^ ^^^^ ^^^^^ ^^^ jj^jj ^uaUWtage I 3084 

For hih noblesse taketh nat his corage 
OIF riche nor poore, nor statis souereyne. 
But ofF his grace, as God list to ordeyne. 

3056. euerij any H. 

3073. punysh H, punnysch R 3, punysshed H 5, punishe P. 

3074. Domestenes J. 3082. nouther] nor J, P. 

the most 

BK. Il] 

The Childhood of Cyrus 


Wherfore, ofF foli kyng Astriages, 

Contrariousli ageyn al gent[e]rie, 

Bad that his douhter callid Mundanes, 

First whan folk with childe hir dede espie, 

For tacomplishe his froward fantasie, 

Whan it wer born, chargyng aboue all thyng, 

Off Archanye to bem it to the kyng. 

Which in that tyme was callid Arpagus; 
And, as I fynde, he dede in vertu floure. 
And pite* hadde, the story tellith thus. 
That beestis sholde the litil child deuoure. 
But God that may in myscheeff best socoure, 
To keepe the child was nat rek[e]les, 
Ageyn the malice off kyng Astriages, 

Which hadde comaundid off malice & hatreede, 
How that this child, greene & tendre off age, 
Bi Arpagus sholde be cast in deede 
To be deuoured off beestis most sauage. 
But for he dradde to doon so gret outrage. 
To his shepperde, hymselff to stonde at large, 
The child to slen he fulli gaff the charge. 

3088 Astyages was 
^ foolish and not 

a gentleman, for 
he commanded 
Mandane's new- 
bom child to be 
taken to Har- 
pagus to be cart 
3092 out to wild 



But Harpagus 
was afraid to 
put the child to 
death and told 
3104 his shepherd to 
do it. 


[How yong Cirus was in to the Forest/ cast with 
bestys to be devoured.^ ^ 

THIS heerdeman, albe that he was loth 
To execute this woful auenture, 
Inta forest foorth with the child he goth, 
And gaff to beestis that litil creature; 
Whom to fostre, be grace ageyn nature, 
A wilde bichche hir whelpis ther forsook. 
And to hir pappis the litil child she took. 

And with hir mylk she made hym suppe & 

dyne, [p. 126] 

And bisi was fro* hym to enchace 
Wilde foulis and beestis sauagyne, 

3091, did hir H. 

3094, Hircanye P. 3095. Harpagus P. 

3097. pite] spiht B, J, spyte P. 

3102. hadde] om. H. 3108. 2nd the] in H. 

3111. Inta] In to a H, J, R 3, H 5, P. 

3117. fro] for B, H, H 5. 3118. bestis & foulis H. 

* MS. J. leaf 52 recto, in margin. 

The shepherd, 
although un- 
willing, took the 
child into a 
forest, where it 
was suckled by 
31 12 a wild bitch. 

Behold how God 
can preserve in- 
3 1 16 nocents from 

288 Cyrus preserved by a Wild Bitch [bk. ii 

That non ne durste neihhen to that place. 

Loo, how that God disposer! can his grace, 3120 

Innocentis fro myscheefF to preserue 

Geyn fals envie, which wolde make hem sterue! 

JnnaS^iTcf' O blood onkyndc, founden in kynreede, 
murdlr^f child" ^^^ couetisc, O blood disnaturall 3124 

°n^^hom^even Off falg malice, O blood ful off hatreede! — 
pity! To moordre a child born off the stok roiall! 

Wher manys resoun is turned bestiall, 
Falsli transfourmed onto cruelte, 3128 

To slen a child wher beestis han pite! 

EdsmTn'^oid The celi heerde hath told his wifFthe cas; 

the "^hud^^nd ^"^ ^^ ^"*^" °ff P^*^ ^^^^ arise, 

she went' with With hir husbonde wente a ful eret pas 313a 

him to the forest _ ip iiii ii- 

to see it, and Into the totest, beholdyng al the guise, 
amis' '° " As heer-tofor[e]n ye han herd deuyse, 

Seyng the child, with lippis tendre & sofFte, 

The bichchis pappis how he sok ful offte. 3136 

The said[e] heerde callid Sparagos, 

His wifF also, off whom toforn I tolde. 

This yonge child took in ther depos; 

And in hir armys she sofFtli gan it folde. 3140 

And he ful goodli hir face gan beholde, 

And on his maner in the same while, 

In childli wise on hir gan to smyle. 

and fed it. The childcs lauhtre whan she dede aduerte, 3144 

wild bitch stood With al hir hool[e] feithful dilligence 
angn y at ay gj^^ ^^^ ^^ chcrishe it, and with al hir herte 
She gafF it souk, with ful gret reuerence, 
Albe the bichche made resistence, 3148 

Compleynyng stood felli at abay, 
The litil child whan she sauh lad away. 

and howled Ful pitousH she gan to houle and crie, 

when she earned .J ■, iirii i 

it home with her. At ther dcpartyng dooltully compieyne, 3152 

And afFtir them ful faste gan to hie, 
The child to lete she felte so gret a peyne. 
Loo, how that God oiF merci can ordeyne 
A cruel beeste such sorwe for to make, 3156 

And so to mourne for a childes sake! 

3137. Spargos P. 3153- to3 she H. 

BK. Il] 

Gyms' Life is preserved 


But eueri thyng that God will ha[ue] preserued, 
Ne may nat faile to stonde in sekimesse. 
His secre doomys been to hymsilfF reserued; 
Ther can no man expowne hem, as I gesse. 
For he shoop first that this shepperdesse, 
Off Sparagos the trewe poore wiff, 
For to be mene to saue the childes liff. 

Horn to hir hous the child she ladde anon, 
And it to fostre dede hir besynesse: 
Off othir salari, God wot, knew she non, 
Sauff that hir herte therto dede hir dresse. 
And mor enterli, the story berth witnesse. 
She tendrid hym, and with mor besi cure, 
Than hym that was hir child bom off nature. 

And as the story pleynli doth expresse, 
This yonge child, as he wex in age. 
Fro day to day encreced in noblesse, 
Lik for to been riht manli off corage. 
Cirus callid he was in that language, 
To seyne in Latyn pleynli in substaunce, 
A man ibom to gret enheritaunce. 

And whan the renoun off his excellence 

Bi long processe, and off his gret encres 

Cam be report onto the audience 

Off his aiel, the grete Astriages, 

And how the kyng was founde rech[e]Ies, 

Callid Arpagus, for to do vengauwce 

On yonge Cirus, he fill in displesaunce. 

This is to meene Astriages was wroth, 
That Arpagus was founde merciable 
Cirus to saue, and for that he was loth 
Ageyn[e]s al riht for to be vengable 
To slen a child, a thyng nat comendable, — 
Demyng off trouthe in his conscience, 
God was nat paied, to moordre innocence. 

Astriages caste hym to be wreke 
On Arpagus be fals collusioun. 
Because that he his biddyng dede breke, 
And was contraire to his entencioun 
Cirus to slen, ageyn[es] al resoun. 
And for that cause Astriages, I reede, 
Off Arpagus leet slen the child in deede. 

What God 
wishes preserved 
is safe. God 
saw to ii that 
3160 the shepherdess 
rescued the 
child out of the 
goodness of 
her heart. 


She cared for 
him better than 
if he had been 
her own. 


^172 Th*y named 
him Cyrus, 
which means in 
Latin a man 
bom to great 


When Astyages 
heard of all 
3180 this, he was 
• furious with 


because he did 
not kill Cyrus; 



so he slew 
Harpagus' son 
out of revenge. 



Cyrus and Harpagus 

[bk. II 

and had him 
roasted and 
served up to 
his father at 
table, a most 
thing to do. 

This to seyne, be ful fals compassyng [p. 127] 3200 

And couert moordre, wrouht bi Astriages, 

The sone was slayn off Arpagus the kyng, 

And afFtir rested, alias, ful causeles, 

And sithe presentid, amongis al the pres, 3204 

Toforn his fader, a thyng most lamentable, 

With Astriages as he sat at* table. 

When Harpagus But whan this kyng callid Arpagus 

found out this ^^ iiii- i mi 

horrible murder, Conceyued hath this moordre most terrible, 3208 

a rage And how his sone & heir was slay[e]n thus. 

In his ire most furious and odible, 

In al the haste that it was possible. 

He is repaired horn to his houshold, 3212 

And al the cas to Cirus he hath told. 

And how his sone was slay[e]n for his sake, 

In the most hatful odious cruelte, 

Excityng hym with hym to vndirtake 3216 

On this fals moordre auengid for to be, 

To hym declaryng off trouthe & equite. 

How he was bor[e]n be discent in deede. 

As riht[e] heir to regne in Perse & Mede. 3220 

To hym declaryng the stori bi and bi. 

First off the drem off Astriages, 

And how that he be fraude ful falsli 

Made his doubter, callid Mundanes, 3224 

Poorli be weddid onto Cambises, 

Which was his mooder, & how in tendre age 

He was out cast to beestis ful sauage. 

All things that Be a shcpperde and a shepperdesse 3228 

God disposes t-> i i • ^r l ^ 

must come to Fostted he was m gret[ej pouerte, 
wa'sVeordarn'^d And brouht fro beestis out off wildirnesse, 
ruie^r'of Til Asia. Because God wolde he sholde saued be: 

For thilke Lord, which euery-thyng may see, 3232 
Whan that he hath a thyng aforn disposid, 
Nedis it mut fall & may nat be deposid. 

This said[e] Cirus, at his natyuyte, 
Ordeyned was be reuolucioun 3236 

Off the heuenli speeris, in noumbre thries thre, 
(So stood that tyme his constellaciouw,) 

and told Cyrus 
what had hap- 
pened, urging 
him to take 
vengeance and 
telling him that 
he was the 
lawful heir to 
Astyages' king- 
dom, and how 
his grandfather 
had cast him 
out to be eaten 
by wild beasts. 

3206. at] attheB, H s, P. 
3215. odious hateful! H. 
3233. aforn] be for H. 

3 1 19. How] owi. R 3, P. 

BK. Il] 

Cyrus born to be King of Asia 


That he sholde haue the domynacioun 
Ouer al Asie, be influence dyuyne, 
Aforn figured be spredyng off the vyne. 

What may the fraude off sleihti folk auaile, 
Innocentis to putte out off ther riht? 
Thouh trouthe be hid amongis the poraile, 
Hard brouht foorth, & dar nat shewe his Hht, 
Yit God will ordeyne that the bemys briht 
Shal sum o day shewe out his cleemesse, 
Maugre all tho that wolde his title oppresse. 

For this Cirus, as clerkis off hym write, 
Was hi the title off his mooder side 
Bom to be kyng al Asie tenherite, 
Al-be his aiel from hym wolde it deuide; 
But God, that can for trouthe best prouide, 
Hath for Cirus be processe so ordeyned. 
That he off Asie the lordshep hath atteyned. 

Cirus that tyme was growe up weel on lengthe, 

Weel proporciownyd off membris & stature. 

Wonder delyuer, & passyng oflf gret strengthe, 

Straunge emprises proudli to endure; 

And to iuparte & putte in auenture 

His owne persone, the fame was ofF hym so, 

Was non mor likli wher men sholde haue a-do. 

And bi the counsail ofi" kyng Arpagus, 

Whan this Cirus was weel waxe in age. 

With Perciens proude & surquedous. 

And Archanytes cruel off corage. 

For to recure his rihtful heritage 

Be go with Cirus, armed in plate & maile. 

With Astriages to holden [a] bataile. 

And he ageynward gan to taken heede. 
And with hym took[e] many worthi knyht. 
With al the puissaunce off the lond off Mede 
Hath take the feeld the same dai foorth-ryht, 
To disherite Cirus off his ryht. 
But God and trouthe was atwen hem tweyne 
Egal iuge ther quarel to dareyne. 

3241. spredyng] spryngj'ng H. 

3256. up weel on] wele vpon H. 

3259. Straunge] Strong H. 

3269. a]om. J, P. 


What can the 
fraud of men 
avail to rob 
innocents of 
3244 their rights? 



Cyrus wa» bom 
to be king of 
Asia, and in 
spite of Asty- 
ages, God's will 

72?6 Cjmjs grew up 
into a strong, 
well-built man 


and by Har- 

pagus' advice 
3264 set out to give 
battle to Asty- 


Astyages took 
the field the 
same day, with 
all the power of 
3272 Media, 


292 Cyrus conquers Astyages [[bk. II 

but Cyrus won. The fccld ordcyncd, & splaied ther baneris, 
On outher parti ful proudli on thel sette, 
At thassemblyng lik liouws off ther cheris, 
In the face as thei fersli mette 3280 

With rouwde speris, ful sharp[e] grouwde & whette, 
Til that Cirus, off grace mor than noumbre, 
Off his aiel the parti dede encouwbre. 

and, pursuing his This myhti Citus, this yonge champiouM, [p. 128] 3284 
ages prisoner. Thoruhout the fecld gan such a slauhtre make, 
With his knyhtis as he wente up and doun, 
That as the deth his fomen hym forsake. 
Astriages vnder his baner take, 3288 

The feeld venquysshid, for al his fals veynglorie. 
To shewe that riht hath alwey the victorie. 

A man may A man off malice may a thyng purpose 

purpose a thmg _^. r ^ i 

of malice, but Bi a maner iroward prouydence; 3292 

disposes, Tud" But God a-boue can graciousli dispose 
wbs^intend. Ageyn such maUce to make resistence: 
Men for a while may suffre violence 
And wronges grete, wher-so that thei weende, 3296 
But trouthe alway venquysshith at the eende. 

fhaYhls'dream'^ Astriagcs fond ful sooth his drem; 

?™h"oTman* Thouh he agcyn it made purueiance 

is no match for To hauc* dcpryued Cirus off his rem, 3300 

God's power. ^ t ^ i • l • J 

He was deceyued m his ordynance: 

For wher that God thoruh his myhti puissance 

List for heires iustli to prouide, 

Sleihte in such cas off man, is leid a-side. 3304 

covSd^the'iand Maugte the myht[e] off Astriages, 

°| Media, and^ Cirus on hym made a disconfiture; 

in peace. And al Asic reioisshcd eek in pes. 

Off verai riht, as was his auenture. 3308 

And be iust title he dede also recure 
The lond off Mede, lik as was his fate. 
And into Perse he dede it hool translate. 

ve^nTfur°Ind' Agcyn his aiel he was nat vengable, 3312 

gave his 'grand- Which hadde wrouht to his destrucciouw, 

father the fourth j • i i 

partofArchania, But was to hym benygnc and merciable, 
And grauwtid hym, off hool affeccioun, 
The fourte part off the regioun 3316 

3300. To haue] Ta B. 3315. graunted] growndid H. 

BK. ii] Princes, do not oppose the Will of God 293 

Off Archanye, off which afom I tolde, 
Hym to sustenyn in his daies olde. 

For kyng Cirus wold[e] nat his lyue °« did he wish 

Suffre his aiel, off veray gentilesse, 3320 pnved of idngiy 

nni ^ i_iji_ c I'J honour. Prince* 

1 hat men sholde hym tynah depryue should always 

Off kyngli honour, for non onkynd[e]nesse, — jnnl^^S' 

To yeue exauwple to pryncis in sothnesse, mercy. 

Thouh God ha[ue] youe hem power in erthe & 

myht, 3324 

Thei sholde ay merci medle with the ryht. 

[^ Lenvoye.] 

NOBLE Princis, your eris doth enclyne, Nobic Pnnces, 

.| .... ,. . consider how 

And considreth m your discreciouns, dreams shewn 

How dremys shewed binfluence dyuyne 3328 encea^fike "' 

Be nat lik sweuenys, but lik auysiouns, whkh^'wiii 

Or resemblable to reuelaciouns,* trf™'^w'° 

Which thouh men wolde distourbe & make faile, 

God wil nat suffre ther malice to preuaile. 3332 

Astriages drempte he sauh a vjme, Astyages* dream 

Shewed off trouthe and non illusiouns, spite of aU his 

From his doubter wombe, riht as lyne, disbherit 

Spred in Asie ouer the regiouns; 3336 ^^^^ 

But to disherite be fals collusiouns 
Yonge Cirus, the kyng dede his trauaile, 
But God nat suffred his malice to preuaile. 

Pryncis remembreth, ye that in honour shyne, 3340 Ff*"^.'' f=™ef°- 

Vpon this stori in your entenciouns, and when God is 
And beth weelwillid, wher God list forthrif a lyne va?ce a Sie\o 

Outher to richesse or dominaciouns, I<rnot°oppoTe" 

To fauour them to ther promociouns, — 3344 ^'* '^'^' 
Be nat contrarie in your acquitaile, 
Sithe God will suffre no malice to preuaile. 

3317. afom] tofom H. 

3327. considre H. 

3330. reuelaciouns] reuolucioutis B, J, P, R 3, reuolucyons H [ 

3331. distourbe] distroble H, distrouble R 3. 
3335. IjTie] any lyne H. 

11 A A. nromvrinims H. 

294 '^be Story of Candaules King of Lydia [bk. ii 

[How Candalus kyng of Lide was made Cokewold / 
and aftir slayn.] ^ 

As Bochas sat TTT'HIL lohn Bochas caste his look a-side, 

writing in his V V T l • i • i 

study, Candau- T T in his stuQic as he sat writvng, xxsi 

les, king of rp , . , , a- T • f 

Lydia, came 1 o fiis presence cam the kyng oit Lide 
pre^nwTndb^ CalHd Candalus, ful pitousli pleynyng, 
tXheX'of With salte teris ful lowli besechyng, 
ce°vedan7ma1ic ^^^^ ^^ wolde, tasswagen his greuaunce, 3352 

a cuckold by His dedH sorwe to putte in remembraunce. 

(jyges, a knight *^ 

of his household, jjjg compleynt was most ofF onkynd[e]nesse, 
For fals deceit, ageyn al skile and riht, 
That wher his trust was most off gentilesse, 3356 

He mokkid was, for al his gret[e] myht; 
For off his hous ther was a certeyn knyht, 
Giges callid, thyng shamful to be told, 
To speke pleyn Inglissh, made hym a cokold. 3360 

But I should not Alas, I was nat auysid weel beforn, 

have used such ^_ ,. , ,, 

a coarse word! Uncunwyngli to spekc such language; 
sa?d1ie had a^^ I sholdc ha Said, how that he hadde an horn, 
t°aT called^ oTr- Or souht sum tee[r]me with a fair visage 3364 

nuto. Texcuse my rudnesse off this gret outrage, 

As in sum land Cornodo men them call, 
And summe afFerme how such folk ha[ue] no gall. 

It happened This was the cas: whan Pheb^j shon [ful] 

thus: One sum- , . ^ 

merdaythe shcCne [p. I29J 3368 

queen lay nri • 1 • 

naked on her 1 he somet sesouw m his ascencioun, 
^^' Whan soote brauwchis wer clad in newe greene, 

Heete inportable hadde domynaciouw. 
Whan that the queen for recreacioun, 3372 

Onprouyded that no man dede hit keepe, 
Vpon hir bed lay naked for to sleepe. 

and, as scholars And, as cletkis ofF hir beute write, 

say, there was _-,, , - . 

no fairer 1 her was a-iyue no tairere creature, 3376 

creature alive; 

Nor mor excellyng, lik as thei endite, 
OfF semlynesse, hir stori doth assure: 

3350. Candaules P. 

3356. That] Til H. 3359. be told] beholde'H. 

3364. teerme] teeme J, P, term H, terme H 5, tym R 3. 

3369. The] This H. 

3377. lik] of looke H. 

1 MS. J. leaf 53 verso. 

BK. ii] Candaules and Gyges bis Knight 295 

CalHd for beute cosyn to Nature, 

And worthi eek, ylfF I shal nat feyne, 3380 

To be comparid to Griselde* or Eleyne. 

Kynde in hir forge list nothyng to erre, ^f nat"" 

,17-i II- I I • did not blunder 

Whan she hir wrouhte, bi gret auysynesse, when she 

To make off beute the veray lode-sterre, 3384 «ce"p^t thar'she 

And yeue hir fauour, beute & semlynesse; £^1^6? "'*" 

But for Nature hadde so gret besynesse 

To fourme a woman that was so fressh of hewe, 

She hadde forgete for to make hir trewe. 3388 

Hir eyen wer verai celestiall, she had 

Hir her ontressid, lik Phebwj in his speer, — golden hair, an 

A thyng rasemblyng that were inmortall, unfxampied ^""^ 

So angehk she was off look and cheer, 3392 ^tur^n^gieSd 

An exauwplaire off port & off maneer, — ^ give her 

T*! i» r -K ' constancy. 

Ther was no lak, sauf Nature, thoruh hir slouthe, 
Hadde lefft behynde to yeue hir feith & trouthe. 

And on a day, as she lay slepyng 3396 That day Can- 
Naked a-bedde, most goodli on to siht, hertoGyg^s. 

Ful onwarli cam Candalus the kyng SuM Llt^hat 

Into the chaumbre, wher Titan shon ful bryht, [l^auTffuiThan 

And shewed hir beute onto his owne knyht, 3400 »"otherwomen. 
Off entent he sholde ber witnesse 
How she excellid all othir in faimesse. 

And whan Giges gan in ordre see But Gyges feii 

Off this queen the gret[e] excellence, 3404 Md°''»^n"afte/' 

He was enamoured vpon hir beute J^dla'^ried'hlr. 

Al the while he stood ther in presence, 

Gan ymagyne a tresoun in silence. 

To slen his lord, withoute long tarieng, 3408 

Wynne the queen, and afftir regne as kyng. 

This was the eende, doolful and pitous, That wa» the 

To be remembrid hatful and terrible, fe^^ who^wasl" 

Off this noble worthi Candalus; 3412 ?,t^r^^^' 

For off his trust to moche he was credible 
Onto Giges, the traitour most odible. 
And yit mor foltissh, wherbi he lost his liff. 
Outward to shewe the beute off his wiff. 3416 

3381. Gresilde B, Grisilde J, P, Griselde H, Grysilde R 3, 

Gresylde H 5. 
3385. beutefauottrj — beute] ow. P. 3391. Immortall H. 
3396. day] bedde H. 34CXD. his] hir H. 


The Story of King Midas 

[bk. II 

Alas that a Thouh shc wcFC fair & goodli on to see, 

queen or princess _,, ° 

should do such 1 hcF WES HO trust nOF HO sekimcsse, 
only' excuse is For Other hadde as good[e] part as he, — 
makes them Gigcs koudc here therofF witnesse. 
double. Alas, a queen, or any gret pryncesse 

Assente sholde hir fame for to trouble, 
But yifF Nature excuse hem to be double. 


[How what thing kyng Midas touched was golde/ 
yitt deied he in misery and wrecchidnesse.] ^ 

Gyges was soon 
crowned king 
of Lydia. 

Midas next 
appeared, and, 
weeping, told 
Bochas his 

BUT who-so-euer was therwith loth or fayn, 
Giges was afPtir crownyd kyng off LIde, 
Whan that his lord was be tresoun slayn. 
Off hym the surplus Bochas set a-side. 
And in his studi, as he dede abide, 
Ther cam off Frige, Midas the riche kyng. 
Told myn auctour his compleynt with wepyng. 

Never was there Fot thet was neuer, be conquest nor labour, 
When he was No kyng afom that hadde mor richesse, 

bom, ants laid 


of -wheat Nor mor plente off gold nor off tresour. 

about his cradle. ^^ whose berthe poetis thus expresse: 

A-boute his cradel amptis gan hem* dresse, 
Whil he slepte, and gan a-boute hym leyn 
A ful gret nouwbre off purid whete greyn. 

and diviners Whcrupon, most cxpcrt dyuynouts, 
the conclusion As thei took heed in ther attend auwce, 

that he would 01 r i L ^ '^ 

excel all men in buch as wer[ejn best expositours, 
wealth. Saide it was a tokne off habundaunce. 

To haue off richesse al maner suffisaunce, 
And concludyng, pleynli gan to tell. 
How he alle other in tresour sholde excell. 

It was also said Poetis off hym wrot that were ful olde, 

that Bacchus 
granted his 
request, that 
whatever he 
touched would 
turn to gold. 







How Bachus gaff hym — the myhti God of wyn, — 

What he toucheth shal turnen into golde 

As good as that which cam out off the myn, 3448 

At all assaies to been as pur and fyn. 

This request, as writ Ouidius, 

Was onto Midas grau7itid off Bachus. 

3435. hem] hym B. 3437. A] om. H. 

1 MS. J. leaf 53 verso. 

BK. Il] 

Midas and his Golden Touch 


He thouhte gold myhte hym most auaile 
What he handlid was gold with touchyng, 
But whan hunger his stomak gan assaile, 
His bred, his mete was cleer gold in shewyng; 
And whan he gan to faile off his fedyng, 
And fond in gold no recour to escape, 
Besouhte Bachus sum remedi to shape. 

Bachus bad hym go bathe in a ryuer 
To wasshe a-way the colour aureat, 
Wher yit is shewed the goldi grauel cleer. 
Which exaumple declareth to ech estat. 
That gold alone maketh men nat fortunat: 
For what may gold or tresour ther auaile, 
Wher men in hunger fynde no vitaile? 

Or what is worth* gold, perle or stonys red, 
Grene emeraudis or saphir[e]s ynde. 

Fd. \xd\ Xi<i2 But as he could 
If J JO'tO not eat gold, 

when he became 
hungry he 
begged Bacchus 
to help him, 


and, following 
3460 advice 

bathed in a 
river. The 
gravel still 
shines golden 


This only proves 
that a barley 
loaf is some- 

Whan men enfamyned ha[ue] no[u]ther greyn nor more than 


Nor in such myscheefF vitaile may non fynde 
For to fostre ther nature and ther kynde, — 
A barli lofF in such a distresse 
Mor myhte auaile than al worldli richesse! 

This knew Midas, & was expert in deede, 

Thouh he off gold hadde so gret plente, 

That with metall he myhte hymselfF nat feede. 

Which caused hym off necessite 3476 

To considre and cleerli for to see. 

That bred mor vailith for fostryng off nature. 

Than al [the] richesse that men may heer recure. 

For which this kyng gan haten al richesse; 
Gold and tresour he hadde eek in disdeyn, 
LeflFte his crowne and his roial noblesse. 
And ches to keepe sheep vpon a pleyn. 
Al worldli worshepe was to hym but veyn. 
OfF malencolie & froward pouerte, 
Endid his lifF in gret aduersite. 

3454. gan] did H. 

3458. shape] make H. 

3461. yit] it P. 

3466. worth] worthi B, J, worthy H, H 5. 

3478. availith H. 

3479. the] om. J, P, H 5 — hear] om. H. 
3484. was] isH. 

,_ all worldly 
3400 riches, 

as Midas learned 
by experience. 

348Q As a result he 
began to hate 
all wealth, left 
his throne and 
became a 


298 The End of Midas. Belshazzar [bk. 11 

His end was FoF ofF irc and inpacience, 

very terrible, for _, n i • i i • i 

in his great need 1* y Rally thus With hym It stood : 3488 

he drank the -rx • , . . , . ... 

blood of a mad- T unousli iH his gtct indigence, 
became^mad'"'^ As Writ Bochas, How He dtank the blood 
himseifanddied.Qfp^ bolc, sauagync and wood, 

With loue enchaufid,* made no delaies, 3492 

Most bestlali eendid thus his daies. 

[Off Balthasar kyng of Babilone and how Danyel 
expowned, Mane, Techel, Phares.] ^ 

Belshazzar mis- "V TEXT to Bochas, OF that he was war, 

used the sacred 

As he sat writyng with ful gret labowr, 
sai^m,' '° ' OfF Babilon cam grete Baltazar 3496 

To declare his sorwe and his langowr. 
Which had mysusid ful falsli the tresowr 
And the vesseles brouht fro Jerusalem, 
In Babilon cheefF cite ofF his rewm. 3500 

drinking For at z souDcr with his lordis all, 

wine out of them ._^, rr-i i-ii i l* 

at a supper, sur- Whan ott the vesselis he drank myhti wynes, 

concubines^and' And solcmpU sat in his roial stall, 

magicians. p^^^ round a-boute all his concubynes, 3504 

Philisophres, magiciens and dyuynes, 
Ther cam an hand, the Bible doth assure. 
And on the wall gan writen this scripture: 

when suddenly MattC techcl pharcs wreten in his siht, 3508 

a hand wrote 


a hand wrote rr^, 111 1 11 

A/an/, Techii, Thouh he the menyng conceyued neueradeel, 
i«t?" onVhf ' Which on the wall shewed cleer & briht, 

Fro whos sentence auailed non appel. 

But the prophete, hooli Danyel, 3512 

FuUi expownyd to Baltazar the kyng 

The mysterie ofF this derk writyng. 

3487. Impacience H. 

3488. yiith hym thus H. 

3492. enchaufid] eschaufid B, eschaufed J, R 3. 

3501. a] om. H. 

3503. solempnely H, R 3, solemnely P. 

35 10. cleer] fayre P. 

* MS. J leaf 54 recto. 

BK. ii] The Writing on the Wall 299 

" This woord Mane, pleynli and nat tarie, SlmdS^'^ed 

In Latyn tunge betokneth in substaunce, 3516 to him that 
The daies countid & rekned the noumbrarie Latin, 

Off thi regnyng & off thi gret substaunce. n^^b«^'^ 

And Techel sowneth a weieng in ballaunce, ^^^flmg. 

In tokne thi power & kyngdam be mesure, 3520 i°^fbli^^ 
God hath hem peised, thei shal no while endure. 

Phares also betokneth a brekyng, "Pkares 

_ _, . • 1 means a break- 

In Komayn tunge, into pecis smaie; ingintosmaU 

For thi power & froward rebellyng 3524 ^'^'»h°i ^ 

Shal from an hih be brouht into the vale, iS^lWoTy 

This Hooli Writ & no feyned tale : Wm a^dj^o^^ 

For whan pryncis wil nat ther liff redresse, warned long ago 

y-^ 1 Ml !• 1 1- by the fall of 

God will onwarli ther surquedie represse. 3528 Nebuchadnezzar 

and you took no 

Thou wer be toknys warned longe affor, \^^ ^ H 

Be many exauwple, the story ye may reede, be brouht low." 

Bi the fallyng oflF Nabugodonosor, 

And thou theroff took ful litil heede, 3532 

The Lord to thanke & haue his name in dreede. 

For which thou shalt withynne a litil throwe 

Lese sceptre & crowne, & be brouht ful lowe." 

[Lenvoye.] ^ 

9 Lat prjmcis all this story haue in mynde, [p. 131] 3536 Let aii prince. 

And for themsilfF[e] notabli prouide, ^^"nd put"* 

A[nd] namli thei that be to God onkynde, Sm SdX- 

Ther concubynes for to sette a-side, '"'^ ^''^** 

And make vertu for to been ther guide, 3540 

Voide lecheri and fals presumpcioun. 

Which haue* so many brouht to destruccioun. 

Nabugodonosor hadde repentaunce, Nebuchadnezzar 

• J .... . repented, and 

And was restond to his possessiouns; 3544 was restored to 

But God off riht took sodenli vengaunce g^ took%en!?* 

On Balthasar for his transgressiouns. S^!" ^*^ 
Wherfore, ye Pr3mcis, disposith your resouns, 

3517. & rekned] om. H, R 3, P. 

3519. a weieng] a weyen H. 3520. kyngdam & power H. 

3525. hih] hiht H — an hih] the hye P. 

3526. This is J, R 3, P. 3529. before H. 
3542. haue] han B. 

^ No beading in MSS. or P. The Envoy is indicaud by an 

300 The Dream 0/ Croesus [|bk. ii 

AfFtir your meritis to ha[ue] God merciable, 3548 

For your dementis to fynden hym vengable. 

Wherefore, Prin-Geyn hooH chirchfe] taketh no quarelis, 

ces, do not quar- •-, "^ . .... . i-i 

rei with the Dut aducrtisith in your inward siht; 

shazzar did, who For Balthasar drank ofFtho vesselis 3552 

oftheh'^i^'ve^' Stole fro the temple ofFverrai force & myht: 

&°8io°rd8hip He loste lordshepe and lifF vpon a nyht, 

and his life, go that the kyngdam off Assiriens 

Translatid was to Mede & Persiens. 3556 

plow* Cresus & balthasar were venquisshed bi 
Cirus and the son of Cresus slajm at huntyng of 
a boor.] ^ 

Bochas next saw "V TEXT to lohn Boch^j, withynwe a litil throwe, 

Croesus, who I ^J ttt • rr •  ■• r 

besought him to ±. ^ W Htyng oit pfincis many pitous late, 

his faif. ^ ^^ ° He sauh kyng Cresus, with other on J)e rowe, 

Lowli besechyng his fallyng to translate; 3560 

And how Fortune ageyn hym gan debate, 
And off his myscheefF, doolful for to reede. 
For to descryue anon he gan proceede. 

He was king of For as it is remembrid in writyng, 3564 

many other As God and Kynde list for hym ordeyne, 

kingdoms, and r\rr t • t t 01 

called the flower OiT Lide hc was gouemour & kyng, 

of all chivalry, j^^^ lordshep hadde, the story cannat feyne, 

OfF many kyngdam mo than oon or tweyne; 3568 
Fame in that tyme so dede hym magnefie, 
That he was callid flour ofF al cheualrie. 

Warlike and And he was also in his tyme fouwde 

aboundmg in ry-, . o • l ^ -i 

riches, with 1 he most expert in werre & in bataile, 3572 

LidiMs°and And ofF richesse was the most habouwde, 
many children, ^^^j ^^^^ excellyug iu conquest to preuaile — 

Plente ofF peeple, with roial apparaile. 

And with al this, to his gret auauwtage, 3576 

Nouwbre ofF childre tenbelishe his lynage. 

nothing failed In the most hiest ofF his roial see, 

him, until he.,, loi i 

dreamt that his And al was weel & nothyng stood amys, 
^aln, ^^* ''** Yit tamenuse his felicite, 3580 

A drem he hadde; & trewli that was thys, 

3564. in] by H. 

3567, 68 are transposed in H. 

^ MS. J. leaf 54 verso. How] Lo J. 

BK. Il] 

The Death of Croesus' Son Atys 





How that his sone, which caliid was Athys, 
Was take fro hym, & be mortal outrage 
Slayn sodenii in his tendre age. 

This woful drem dede hym gret distresse 
And putte his herte in ful gret disespeir, 
Stondyng in feer & in gret heuynesse 
Because his child, tendre, yong & fair. 
Which that was bor[e]n for to been his hair, 
Sholde causeles in such[e] myscheefF die, 
So as his drem afFom dede specefie. 

Off this processe to declare moor. 

How Cresus drem fulfellid was in deede: 

From Olympus ther cam a wilde boor, 

Most furious & sauagyne off dreede, 

With fomy tusshes, which faste gan hym speede, 3596 

Doun descendyng, & nowher list abide 

Til that he cam into the land off Lide, 

And gan destroie ther fruitis & ther vynes, 
Wher-euer he cam in any maner place, 
Brak the nettis and the stronge lynes 
Off the hunteris, that dede at hym enchace; 
But vnder support off the kynges grace. 
His sone and heir, off whom I spak tofor. 
Gat hym licence to hunten at this boor. 

His fader Cresus deemyng off this cas, 
Ther was no cause off dreed in no maner, 
Thouh his sone wer present at the chas 
With other hunteris such game for to let: 
But ay Fortune with hir double cheer 
Is reedi euere bi sum fatal treyne 
At such disportis sum myscheef to ordeyne. 

For oon ther was which hadde gouemaunce 

Vpon this child tawaiten and to see, 

Chacyng the boor, to saue hym fro myschaunce, 

From al damage and aduersite, — 3616 

Which many lusti folk off that centre. 

With homys, houndis & sharp speris grounde, 

Sekyng the boor til thei han hym founde. 

3587. ful gret H. 

3615. Chacyng^ causyng H. 

3618. speris] swerd^j H. 

which put him 
in great d««pair. 

A wild boar 
came down from 
Mc Oljrmpus 
into Lydia 

and began to 
destroy the 
3600 crops and defied 
the skiU of the 


whom Atys 
joined with his 
father's per- 
mission. But 
3608 Fortune is 

always ready to 
make mischief. 


One of the 
child's tutors, in 
the exdtement 
of the chase. 

302 Croesus* Grief and his Fall [bk. ii 

w wUdiy thftit A"^ as thei gan fersli this boor enchace, [p. 132] 3620 
rnd'str^ck Atys ^^ ^^^^ ^^^ chargid to been the childis guide, 
piercing his As with his spere he gan the boor manace, 
The hed nat entred, but forbi gan to gHde, 
And on the child, which that stood beside, 3624 

The strook ahhte, & or he dede aduerte, 
The speris hed roofF hym thoruh the herte. 

Sard" about"il But off this child, whan the deth was kouth, 
likVthaJ??'!^'^ ^^^^ ^ reportid hooli the manere 3628 

dead image for How he was slay[e]n in his tendre youth. 
Born to been heir onto his fader deere, 
Cresus for sorwe chauwged* look & cheere. 
And for constreynt off dool, in his visage 3632 

He resemblede a verrai ded ymage. 

w'Jrows^^s'uage; ^^^ eueu sorwe, be long continuaunce, 
At the laste it sumwhat must aswage; 
For ther is noon so furious greuauwce, 3636 

Nor so mortal importable rage, 
But long processe yeueth hym auauntage: 
I meene as thus, ther is noon so gret a sorwe. 
But it muste cese, outher eue or morwe. 3640 

philrs know?'^ Philisophres concluden & discerne, 
thingsthatare And bi thct resouws recorden in scripture, 

violent may not . » ' 

be eternal; Thyng Violent may nat been eterne; 

Nat in o poynt a-bit noon auenture, 3644 

Nor a sorwe alway may nat endure: 
For stound[e]meel thoruh Fortunys variaunce 
Ther folweth ioie afFtir gret greuauwce. 

wa'^'no'm^ns of The sorwc ofF Cresus, thouh it wer intollerable, 3648 
remedying the And at his herte the greuaunce sat ful sore, 

cause of Crcesus ^. ■, , i-ii • 

grief, Bochas Sith that his dool was irrecuperable, 

wrote no more . » i • i 

about it and And mene was non his harmys to restore, 
ofTrsVii/°*^ Myn auctot^r Bochaj writ off his wo no more, 3652 
But off his fall, how that it fill in deede. 
To telle the maner forth he doth proceede. 

Be&zz^^r^ who ^"^ ^^^ ^ while he set his stile a-side, 

had been joined And his proccsse in parti he forbar 3656 

then Croesus To spcke off Crcsus, that was kyng off Lide, 

himself was » i • rr ■r> i i 

overcome by And gan tcsorte to write orr Balthazar, 
Ageyn rehersyng: or that he was war, 

3626. thoruh] to H, P. 3631. he chaunged B. 
3645. may nat alwey H. 


BK. Il] 

Cyrus* Cruelty to Croesus 



How myhti Cirus, off fatal auenture, 3660 

Made on hym proudli a disconfiture. 

And as it is put in remembraunce, 

Off Balthazar to holde up the partie, 

Cresus with hym had maad an alliaunce 

With al his puissaunce & al his cheualrie. 

His liff, his tresour to putte in iupartie, 

Sworn in armis as brother onto brother, 

Be Cirus venquysshed, the ton afftir the tother. 

Ther bothe myscheeff no lenger was delaied, 

Al-be that Cresus fauht longe in his diffence, 

He fynali be Cirus was outraied 

And depryued be knyhtli violence, — 3672 

Take in the feeld, ther was no resistence, 

And rigorousli, to his confusioun, 

With myhti fetris cast in a derk prisouw. 

And mor tencrece his gret aduersite, 

A sone off his, tendre & yong off age. 

That was doumb from his natyuyte 

And neuer spak woord in no maner language — 

Cirus comaundyng be furious outrage, 

That Cresus sholde, be vengable cruelte, 

Ba knyht of Perse in prisoun heuedid be, — 

And with his suerd as he gan manace, 
Cresus taslayn withoute al reuerence. 
The doumb[e] child, ther present in the place. 
Which neuer had spoke, thus saide in audience: 
" Withdrauh thi strok and do no violence 
Onto my lord, thi fame for to confounde, 
To slen a kyng that lith in prisoun bounde." 

The knyht astonyd, hath his strok forbom, 

Gretli abaued in that derk habitacle. 

Which herd a child that neuer spak tofom 

A-geyn his suerd to maken an obstacle : 

Ran & tolde this merueilous myracle 

To myhti Cirus, with eueri circumstaunce, 

Hopyng therbi tattemprid his greuaunce. 3696 

in tpite of 
Crcesus was 
3664 P"t '° prison 


together with 
one of his sons 
who was dumb. 
Cyrus com- 
manded a 
knight to cut off 
Croesus' head; 
_ but, as he raised 
3600 his sword, the 
dumb child 
spoke and told 
him not to slay 
a helpless king. 



At this the 
knight was so 
abashed that he 
ran and told 
3692 Cyrus. 

3660. fatal] hatefull H. 

3677. yong & tendre H. 3686. thus] & H. 

3691. abaued] abasshid H, abashede R 3, abashed P. 

304 Croesus escapes Death but loses his Kingdom [|bk. ii 

ha"V\o%^ppea8e ^"^ whcF-as tirantis be set on cruelte, 
the malice of a XhcF crokid malice ful hard is to appese, 

tyrant, o • i . , . . . ff' 

ho indurat is ther iniquite, 

That al in vengauwce is set ther hertis ese, 37CX) 

ThemsilfF reioisshyng to seen folk in disese, 

Lich as thei wer, in ther froward daunger 

Clenli frauwchised fro God and his power. 

had Tfke^e This cruel Cirus, most vengable ofFdesir,[p. 133] 3704 
and commanded Tcxecutc his fel cntcnt in deede, 

his men to throw i • i rr r r 

Croesus into it. Leet make m haste off faget a gret fir, 

And gan them kyndle with many colis rede, 

And made Cresus, quakyng in his dreede, 3708 

For to be take wher-as he lay ful lowe. 

And bad men sholde into the fir hym throwe. 

jvTpTtTr'Sw what But lubiter, which hath this vengaunce seyn, 

was happening How ctuel Cirus with malice was atteynt, 3712 

and sent a storm o 

of rain, which Ftom heuene sente a tempest & a reyn, 

fire, and Croesus That sodenli the hotrible fir was queynt; 

hi"^fe. "" [And] woful Cresus, with dreedful fir maad feynt, 

Escapid is his furious mortal peyne — 3716 

God and Fortune for hym list so ordeyne. 

Cyrus then be- T^Js auentute, in maner merueilous, 

gan to have pity cr r>- 11 

and allowed Ynt, herte orr Cirus gan sumwhat to enbrace, 
backtoLydia, And caused hym for to been pitous 3720 

be\aiied"kfnV.° Ageyu Ctesus, & grauntid hym this grace, 
To ocupie, whil he hath liflF and space. 
The lond ofFLide; except onli this thyng. 
He sholde nat afFtir no mor be callid kyng. 3724 

£ of Lydu^* And thus off Lide the kyngdam dede fyne, 
came to an end. Which took his gyuwyng off oon Ardisius, 

Now I will pass , , 11 rr 1 

on to Cyrus. And cndured the space ott kynges nyne, — 

Look who will, the bookis telle thus. 3728 

Heroff no mor, but forth onto Cirus 
I will proceede, with al my wise* cure 
For to translate his woful auenture. 

3697. as3 om. H. 3706. fagott H. 
3715. And] om. J. 
3730. wise] vise B. 

BK. iij The Bloodthirstiness of Cyrus 305 

[How the cruel tiraunt Cirus delited euer in slauhtre 
& shedyng of blood and so ended.3 ^ 

HEIR be discent to gret Astriages, _ 3732 ^>%7t£!he^ 

Poorli brouht forth, as maad is mencioun, hdcPii^A^ 
And hadde al Asie to his gret encres, under hu do- 

Holdyng that regne be iust successioun *° ' 

In long quiete withoute rebellious, 3736 

Til tyme he thouhte, in ful froward wise, 
The world was smal to staunche his couetise. 

He hadde an etik most contagious ^"* he suffered 

,0 from a fever of 

Fretyng vpon hym for desir off good, x'tao Woodthintiness 

.j-'".'^, /, ir- "^'^ that turned his 

A dropesie, hattui and runous, royalty into 

Off froward rage, that made his herte wood, tyranny. 

A woluysh thrust to sheede manys blood. 

Which ouerthwertid, be fals malencolie, 3744 

His roial corage into tirannye. 

But whan he gan presuwzptuousli entende b^'LTtcTrob' 

To robbe and reue folk thoruh his pillage, *^^p}^^«^- 

God & Fortune made hym to descende 3748 his pride that 

T7>iji'/-i.., might was above 

rul sodenh irom his roial stage, right, God made 

Demyng off pride it was a gret vauwtage ve^ s^^Siiy 

To Wynne londis, off verray force & myht, ^""^ hi. throne. 

Thouh in his conquest ther wer no title off ryht. 3752 

To will he gaff hooli the souervnte, ^? ^^"-'t ^^^u 

. J . ° . •' ' rem to his will 

And aduertisid nothyng to resoun, and preferred 

•r> f 'J 1 • !• woridly success 

DUt prerernd his sensualite to discretion. 

To haue lordshep & domynacioun 3756 

A-boue sad trouthe and discrecioun. 

Which causith pryncis from ther estat roiall, 

Or thei be war, to haue a sodeyn fall. 

For the lordshepe off al Asia 7760 ■"»« 'ordship of 

"H/T'L rr r>' «*'"" all Asia was not 

Mint nat surhse to Cirus gredynesse, enough for him. 

But thouhte he wolde conquere Cithia, he would ron- 

And ther werreie tencrece his gret richesse, """ Scythw. 

Thouh he no title hadde off rihtwisnesse, 3764 

Sauff a fals lust; wheroff men sholde ha[ue] routhe, 
That will in pryncis sholde oppresse trouthe. 

3733. forth] vp H. 3735. that] ^e H. 
3741. hatful] ful hatful H. 

^ MS. J. leaf 55 recto. 

3o6 Cyrus and ^ueen Tomyris [bk. il 

JtifJfpnnMs in First thIs CiFus all pryncis dede excell 

conquest and Bothc it! conqucst, victoric and bataile, 3768 

cruel and QfF gold & trcsouF, as bookis off hym tell: 

Kyngdamys to wynwe he dede most preuaile; 
And yit too vicis dede his herte assalle, 
First couetise euere tencrece in good, 3772 

With a desir to sheede menwys blood. 
and carried away-^j^j^ thesc too vices he brcnweth euer in oon, 

by these vices, ne . ' 

marched on the That neuer myhte from his herte twynne, 

kingdom of -' , -, . 

Queen Tomyris, Made a gtet atme toward bceptemtnon, 3776 

Tween the Cas- And cast hym proudli to sette on & begynrze, 

Silcif Seaffnd Scithia, the myhti lond, to wynne, 

Tnu'have 1%' Queen Thamaris ther regnyng, as I fynde, 

fruits of the soil Whos kyngdam ioyneth to Ethiope and* Inde. 3780 

Toward the parti which is orientall, 

The Se off Surrie floweth ful plenteuous 

Doun to the Se callid Occidental^ 

And southward renweth toward Coucasus. 3784 

And folk off Cithie that been laborious, 

Which tile the lond, hanat to ther lyuynge 

But onli fruitis which from the erthe sprynge. 

r^ch i?graifald The lond ofF Cithic is riche for the nonys, [p. 134] 3788 
gold and precious por grevn and fruit a lond ful couenable, 

stones, although ^.,°7y,,, , < 

part of it is not Riche oiF gold, perle and precious stonys, 

inhabited for fear _. ., ,. « , 11 ii 

of griffons. Riht comodious & wonder delectable; 

But a gret parti is nat habitable, 379* 

The peeple dreedful to beelde ther mansiouws, 
For feer off deth, because off the grifFouns. 

Tomyriswasnot ji^g noble fame nor the hih renouw 

very tamous 

before Cyrus w^g nat fetr knowe nor Isprad a-boute 3796 

began his in- . rr* i 

vasion, OfF Thamaris, queen ott that regioun. 

Nor ofF hir noblesse, withynwe nor withoute. 

Till that kyng Cirus, with a ful gret route. 

Into Scithia gan hym proudli dresse, 3800 

The hardi queen to spoile ofF hir richesse. 

at^once to^^re- ^^^ ^he, hir fame mor to magnefie, 

pare to resist Q^n in gret haste with ful riche apparaile 

trustedone third Ful prudcutli asscmble hir cheualrie, 3804 

her ^n °'"' '^° And took a feeld, yifF he hir wolde assaile, 

3780. kyngdam] centre H — and] in B, J, R 3, P. 
3784. Coucasus J, H, cancasus R 3, Caucasus P. 
3790. perle] perell R 3. 3791. delitable H. 

BK. ii|] Cyrus slays the Son of Tomyris 307 

Redi with hym to haue[n] a bataile. 

And ofF hir meyne, lich as seith my book, 

Onto hir sone the thridde part she took. 3808 

And gafF hym charge in the same place, hfv^LlSr'° 

HymsilfF tacquite that day lik a knyht, hira'S for' 

And for to meete Cirus in the face, ^'"^ts^'cTwith' 

And nothyng dreede with hym for to fyht. 3812 food and drink 

But whan kyng Cirus off hym hadde a syht, iai^''^ bis 
Cast hym that day the yong[e] prynce [t]oppresse, '™"'^" 
Rather be wilis than manhod or prowesse. 

First he leet stuffe his large pauillouns 3816 

With gret plente off drynkis delectable, 

Duyers metis and confecciouns 

Round aboute vpon eueri table; 

And in his menyng passyng deceyuable, 3820 

Lich as he hadde in maner dreedful be. 

Took al his boost & gan anon to fle. 

This yonge prynce, off menyng innocent, ^*^°°lhs 

Nothyng demyng as be supposaile, 3824 knights thought 
But that Cirus was with his me[y]ne went afraid, and 

And fledde for feer, he durste hym nat assaile. ^vesand'™ 

And whan he fond such plente off vittaile, S^s^^red^nk 

He & his knyhtis thoruh mysgouemaunce, 3828 *°*^ incapable. 
To ete & drynke set al ther plesaunce. 

Thei hadde off knyhthod lost al the disciplyne, 

Forsook[e] Mars and put hym out off siht. 

And to Bachus ther hedis gan enclyne, 3832 ^^S^^^o™' 

Gorge vpon gorge till it drouh to nyht. ^^'™ and kiUed 

.J ^ . y^. ° , -^ ., them all: for, a« 

And proude Cirus cam on hem anon nht '^•se men say. 

With al his boost, thei out off ther armure, tistance in 

On bestial folk made a disconfiture. 3836 

Cruel Cirus leffte non a-lyue. 

Off hih nor low made non excepciouti, 

Thei wer to feeble ageyn his myht to stryue: 

For cheeff cause off ther destruccioun 3840 

Was dronkenesse, which voideth al resoun; 

And wise men rehersen in sentence, 

Wher folk be dronke ther is no resistence. 

3814. toppressej] oppresse J. 
3834. on^ vpon H. 

drunken folk. 

308 ^ueen Tomyris defeats and kills Cyrus [bk. ii 

S^staCTe'was ^nd whaii this slauhtre be relaciouw 3844 

TomyriVshe Reported was and brouht to the presence 
^'™°st went mad OiFThamaris, queen off that regiouw, 

Onto hir herte it dede ful gret offence. 

But off ire and gret inpacience, 3848 

Seyng hir sone slayn in tendre age, 

For sorwe almost she fill into a rage. 

Sn of°rrniy But fot al hir woful dedli peyne, 

re"te%o be ^^^ shewed no tokne ofF femynyte, 3852 

revenged on But ofF ptudence hir wepyng gan restreyne, 

And caste hir pleynli auengid for to be 

Vpon kyng Cirus & on his cruelte. 

Sente out meyne tespien his passage, 3856 

Yiff she hym myhte fynde at a-vauntage. 

fflfhtS"^ And with hir meyne gan feyne a maner fliht 
her army into Vp to the mounteyns, dreedful & terrible; 

the mountams, ^ . <->-•• i 

Cyrus pursuing And Cirus aiftir gan haste hym anon riht, 3860 

among the rocks; In hope to take hit, yiff it wer possible. 

Among which hilles, mor tharrit is credible. 
Been craggi roches, most hidous off entaile, 
Pereilous off passage & void off al vitaile. 3864 

guWeordfag-° And Citus thct fill in gret daunger, 
rppiie's:his"men Al onpurueied off drogenian or guide; 
fell into disorder Jo fostte his peeple vitaile was non ther, 

and all were i • • • i 

slain. Erryng as beestis vpon eueri side. 3868 

And thei off Scithie gan for hym so prouide, 
Wheroff ther queen[e], God wot, was ful fayn, 
At gret myscheeff that al his men wer slayn. 

SirceXi^/was Non off alle was take to ransouw, [p. 135] 3872 

brought to the ]\^or he hymsilff escapid nat ther bouttdis, 

Quccn. •/ X 7 

Such wait was leid to his destrucciouw. 
And he thoruh perced with many mortal wouwdis, 
On pecis rent, as beris been with houwdis, 3876 

The queen comaundyng, whan he lay thus totorn, 
To hir presence his* bodi to be born. 

he''a°d^cJft ollld First she hath chargid to smyte off his bed, 

then t^rewit Whau she thus hath the victorie off hym wonne. 3880 

full of blood And in a bath, that was off blood al red, 

and said: 

3845. to] vn to H. 

3866. drougeman H — or] or of J. P. 

3869. so for hym H, so for hem R 3 — so] om. P. 

3870. ther] the H. 3874. Such] om. H. 

3878. his] this B and MSS. except Add. which has his. 

BK. Il] 

God slays the Unmerciful 


She gan it throwe, withynne a litil tonne. 
And off despiht riht thus she hath begonne, 
Most tirantli in hir woful rage, 
To dede Cirus to hauen this language: 

" O thou Cirus, that whilom wer so wood 

And so thrustleuh in thi tirannye, 

Agejm Nature to sheede manys blood, 

So woluyssh was thyn hatful dropisie. 

That merci non myhte it modefie, 

Thyn etik ioyned, gredi and onstable, 

With thrust off slauhtre ay to be vengable! " 

It is an horrour in maner for to thynke 

So gret a prynce rebuked for to be 

Off a woman, manys blood to drynke, 

For to disclauwdre his roiall maieste. 

But gladli euer vengable cruelte 

Off riht requereth, with onwar violence 

Blood shad for blood iustli to recompence. 

fl Off myhti Cirus thymperial noblesse 

Was bi a woman venquysshid & bor douw; 

God made hir chastise his furious woodnesse, 

And for toppresse his famous hih renoun: 

For wher vengauwce hath dominacioun 

In worldli pryncis, pleynli to deuyse. 

With onwar strok God can hem weel chastise. 

The eende off Cirus can ber ful weel record. 
How God withstondith folk that be vengable; 
Lordshepe & mercy, whan thei been at discord, 
Riht wil nat suffre ther staat to stonde stable. 
And for this Cirus was so onmerciable. 
He with onmerci punshed was in deede: 
Deth quit for deth; loo, heer his fynal meede! 

In slauhtre & blood he dede hym most delite; 
For in tho tweyne was his repast in deede. 
He fond no mercy his vengauwce to respite 
Wher he fond mater any blood to sheede. 
Such ioie he hadde be deth to see folk bleede; 
And for the siht dede hym so mekil good. 
His fatal eende was for to swymwe in blood. 


"O thou Cyrus, 
once so eager 
in thy tyranny 
to shed men's 
blood, so wolfish 
in thy hateful 
craving that 
was tempered by 
no mercy." 



It is horrible to 
think that such 
a great prince 
was rebuked by 
a woman and 
compelled to 
drink blood; but 
it was neverthe- 
less a woman 
who brought 
him to his end. 




When lordship " 
and mercy are 
at discord in 
princes, God 
will punish 


Cyrus delighted 
in slaughter; he 
knew no mercy, 
but at the end 

2qt6 he himself swam 

^^ in blood. 


3888. to] so to J — manys] mennys H. 
3912. punysshid H. 

310 An Envoy on Cyrus []bk. ii 

hincrearfires°at Loo, hecF thexcqules off this myhti kyng! 
gdd'en"?om"b L°°' '^^^'^ ^^^ ccnde ofF his estat roiall! — 
was ordained Thcr wcF DO flawmys noF brondis cleer shynyng 

lor iijs shrine* "^ •/ •/ ^ 

To brenwe his bodi with fires funerall, 3924 

Nor obseruauwces nor ofFrynges marciall, 
Nor tumbe off gold with stonys riche & fyne 
Was non ordeyned that day to make his shryne! 

epitaph, no bells Epitaphie ther was non rad nor sunge 3928 

:-rper7so'tbed° ^6 no poete with thet poetries, 

out tragedies; Nor ofF his tryumphes ther was* no belle runge, 

no one was there - • • i i i t 

but his enemies, JNor no weperis With sobbyng tragedies, — 

who threw his ■» -r • , rr i • 

carrion out to JNon attend auMce, but ott his enmyes, 3932 

Which off hatrede in ther cruel rage 
Cast out his kareyn to beestis most sauage. 

uTants"'^ Loo, heet off Cirus the fynal auenture. 

Which off al Asie was whilom emperour! 3936 

Now lith he abiect, withoute sepulture, 

OfF hih ne low he fond no bet fauour. 

Loo, heer the fyn ofF al worldli labour, 

Namli olF tirantis, which list nat God to dreede, 3940 

But set ther lust in slauhtre, & blood to sheede! 

^ Lenvoye. 

Sn^iderihr' T} YHT noble Princls, co%sidreth in yowr siht 
d '"T^^f^'c rus "^^ T\\t fyn ofF Cirus, pitous & lamentable. 

How God punsheth ofF equite & riht 3944 

Tirantis echon, cruel and vengable: 

For in his siht it is abhomynable, 

That a prynce, as philisophres write, 

In slauhtre ofF men sholde hymsilfF delite. 3948 

manr/knight ^his said[e] Cirus was a ful manli knyht, 
until tyranny jf, \^\^ bcgynwyng riht famous & notable, 

entered his ^^ i i o l 

heart and he JN atute gait fiym semlyuesse & myht; 

began to delight „ . ^ ■' •' 111 

in slaughter. 1^ ot in couquest was nou seyn mor hable, 3952 

Till tiranwye, the serpent deceyuable, 
Merciles his corage dede atwite, 
In slauhtre ofF men whan he hym gan delite. 

3927. ordeyned] redy H. 3930. was] nas B, J. 

3935. fynal] fatall H. 

3944. punysshith H, punyshith R 3, punisheth P, punshith T. 

BK. 11^ The Story of Romulus and Remus 311 

Wherfore, ye Princis, remembreth day & piL«t7e- 

nyht [P- 136] 3956 »-^,t"- 

TafForce vour noblesse & make it perdurable, so honourable as 

/• 01 cr 1. ^** which pre- 

To gete you fauour & loue oir euery wyht, fers merc>- to 

Which shal your statis conserue & keepe stable: 
For ther is conquest non so honourable 3960 

In gouemaunce, as vengaunce to respite, 
Merci preferryng, in slauhtre nat delite. 

[How Amilius for couetise slouh his brothir and 
Remus and Romulus norisshed by a woluesse.] ^ 

AFFTIR kyng Cirus, Bochas dede espie ^''bSS 

Too worthi brethre, with facis [ful] pitous, 3964 ^^^^^^""^ 
Bom be discent to regne in Albanye, ^^?** ^° 

Bothe off o fadir, the story tellith vs. 
The ton off hem callid Amylius, 
And to remembre the name [eek] off the tother, 3968 
Muniter Icallid was his brother. 

Thei hadde a fader, which named was Prochas, SS p',^!'*' 

Kyng ofF that lond, the story doth deuyse. d^th°iEmiiiu5 

Afftir whos deth[e], pleynli this the cas, 3972 ^jf^^^^"^^"' 

Amilius for fals[e] couetise might be »oie 

His brother slouh in ful cruel wise, kingdom 

That he oniustli, be fals[e] tirannye, 
Miht ha[ue] the kyngdam alone off Albanye. 3976 
This Albania be descripcioun, fSr^ttl^; 

Lik as Bochas affermeth in certeyn, '^!^?°Tu 

. r r T\ which had been 

IS a cite nat ferr fro Rome touw, founded b>- 

^ 1 Ml I * 1 1 1 Ascamus and 

bet on an hill beside a large pleyn, 3980 was named after 

The beeldyng statli, riche and weel beseyn, » « w 1 eness. 

Stronge Iwallid, with many riche tour. 

And Ascanius was first therofF foundour. 

Which callid was in his fundacioun 3984 

Albania, for the gret whihtnesse; 

Ther kynges afftir be successioun 

Named Albanoys, princis off gret noblesse. 

And be discent, the story berth witnesse, 3988 

Fro kyng Prochas, record on bookis olde. 

Cam these too brethre, & Rea, ther suster, tolde. 

3964. ful] om. J, P. 

3969. Numitor P — his brother] the tothir H. 

3970. Procas P. 3977. Albanye H, Albany R 3, P. 
3982. wallid H. 3985. Albanya H, Albania J, R 3. 

^ MS. J. leaf 56 verso. 


^milius had a 
sister, Rhea, 
whom he 
when very 
young, to 
become a nun 
in the Temple 
of Vesta, 

so that neither 
she nor her de- 
scendants should 
have any claim 
to the kingdom. 

Rhea and her two Sons 

[bk. II 

Yet in spite of 
her virginal 
chastity, a 
miracle came to 
pass, and she 
against Nature 
(who is helpless 
in such cases), 
and bore two 

Although she 
was high 
priestess, her 
brother cast the 
two infants out 
to wild beasts. 

They were 
rescued and 
fostered by a 
she-wolf, for, 
as Holy Writ 
says, God can 
keep children 
from all harm. 

yEmilius was 

Muniter slayn, as maad is menciouw, 

The kyngdam ocupied be Amilius; 3992 

And Rea entred into relegioun, 

For to be wympled in that hooli hous 

Sacred to Vesta, with virgynys glorious, 

Ther for tabide and be contemplatifF, 3996 

With othre maidnes, duryng al hir lifF. 

And this was doon whil she was yong off age 

Bi hir brother, off fals entenciouw, 

That she sholde ha[ue] no maner heritage, 4000 

Nor cleyme no title in that regiouw 

Off hir kynreede be non occasiouw. 

But stonde professid to virgynyte 

Tofor Vesta, and lyue in chastite. 4004 

Yit natwithstandyng hir virgynal clennesse. 

She hath conceyued be natural miracle; 

Gan to encrece in hir hoolynesse, 

Whos wombe aroos, in Kynde was noon obstacle : 4008 

Ageyn such bollyng auaileth no triacle; 

But the goddesse for hir so dede ordeyne. 

That she attonys hadde sonys tweyne. 

The temple off Vesta stood in wildirnesse, 4012 

Wher Rea hadde hooli the gouernauwce 

Off preestli honour doon to the goddesse. 

With many strauwge vnkouth obseruauwce. 

But bi hir brothris mortal ordenauwce, 4016 

Hir yonge sonys myhte nat be socourid, 

But cast out to beestis to* be deuourid. 

But a she-wolfF, which whelpid hadde late. 

To yeue hem souke dede hir besynesse, 4020 

Be God ordeyned, or be sum heuenli fate. 

Them to conserue fro deth in ther distresse. 

For Hooli Writ pleynli ber[i]th witnesse, 

God can difFende, as it is weel kouth, 4024 

Childre fro myscheefF in ther tendre youth. 

furious with his But in this while this said Amilius, 

sister and shut Xhat was ther vncle, as maad is menciouw, 

her up in a r i o r • 

prison, where she Ageyn his sustct froward & furious. 

Made hir be shet in a ful derk presouw; 


400). bollyng3 bolnyng H, P, R 3. 4013. hoolH hool H. 
4018. to] for to B, H, J, P, H s; for is omitted in MS. R 3. 

BK. Ii3 Romulus and Remus suckled by a She-Wolf 313 

And ther compleynyng the destruccioun 

OfF hit too childre born to hir repreefF, 

For veray sorwe deied at gret myscheelF. 4032 

These said[e] childre, deuoid ofF al refut, Sc.^S?^ide 

Beside a ryuer lay pitousli crieng, l^^^^t ^^ °° 

From al socour naked & destitut, woUm to take 

_, , , . care of them; 

Lxcept a woluesse vpon hem awaityng, 4036 

At whos wombe ful stille thei lay sowkyng, 
Onto Nature a thyng contrarious, 
Childre to souke off beestis rauynous. 

But he, this Lord off eueri creature, [p. 137] 4040 ^^ ^^'J^ 
Riht as hym list[e] can bothe saue & spille; tX^ndu''' 

And beestis which be rage off ther nature, b^'r^s'IS 

He can adaunt* & make hem li ful stille, — tigers, saw 

Tigres, leouns obeien at his wille. 4044 came to no 
The same Lord hath maad a fell woluesse *'*'™* 

Onto twei childre hir bigges for to dresse. 

And whil this woluesse hadde hem in depos, found'byrS^p- 

Ther cam an heerde callid Faustulus, 4048 \:^^ home°^ 

Beheeld ther sowkyng & sauh hem lyn ful clos, »"» wife. 

Which shepperde was off kyng Amilius, 

Cauht up these childre, the story tellith thus. 

And brouht hem hom with ful gret dilligence 4052 

Onto his wiff, that callid was Laurence. 

And she for loue dede hir besi peyne h^r"^me,1in*d 

Them to fostre till thei cam to age, thenTu^^S 

Gaff them sowken off hir brestis tweyne 4056 «^^ "p- One 
Fro day to day, off herte and hool corage. Remus and the 

And thei wer callid as in that language, ° ^ ™""*' 

Afftir the story, the ton off hem Remus, 

And the seconde was named Romulus. 4060 

Off which[e] brethre, brefli to termyne, ^ndeTs*^! "^^ 

The toun off Rome took his origynall. Rome, and the^ 

/-\(r r 1 1- 1 1 r i i i ''°' °^^^ with 

Oit tais disclaundre hrst began that lyne, f^l** "** 

The roote out souht, ful vicious founde att all, 4064 

Cleerli remembred for a memoriall, 

Ther gynnyng greuh off such incontinence 

As clerkis call incestus in sentence. 

4040. this3 ]>at is R 3, that P. 

4043. adaunt^ aduerte B, J, aduert P. 

4046. Onto twei3 To too H — twei] tweyn H 5, tweine P — 

bigges] pappes R 3. 
4052. hom3 vp H, forth J — ful] om. J. 


314 ^^^ Touth of Romulus and Remus [j&k. ii 

r^d thing*, Incestus is a thyng nat fair nor good, 4068 

and means AfFtir that bookis weel deuise cunwe, 

trespassing with • i i • i i i i 

one's kin or a As trespasvng With kvii OF With blood, 

nun. And Rome ^r~.« iii 'ii- i 

started with (jF itoward meolyng with hir that is a nunwe. 
murder'and And thus the lync ofF Rome was begunne : 4072 

theft, for Yqx slauhtre, moordre & fals robberie 

Was cheefF gynwyng off al ther auncetrie. 

Reraul"became C)fF couctise thci took ther auauntage, 

highway robbers, Liggcris ofF weies & robbours openH, 4076 

who slew mer- ^r i i rr i i 

chants and Moordrers also on ther owne lynage, 

oppressed » i i i 

women by And strcngcst thcuys gat to ther cumpany, 
Spoilyng all tho that passed hem forby; 
Vnder shadwe ofF kepyng ther beestaile, 4080 

Al maner peeple thei proudii dede assaile. 

^nt^d^'slba^" To slen marchantis, the! had* no conscience, 
spears, And for to moordre folk ofF eueri age, 

Women toppresse ofF force and violence, 4084 

In al that cuwtre this was ther vsage: 

Wher thei abood ther was no seur passage; 

And these too brethre, lik as it is fouwde. 

Fond first the maner ofF speris sharp Igrounde. 4088 

Gritk'forwWch-''^ spere in Greek[e] callid is quirisy 
reason Romulus And for that cause, the said[e] Romulus, 

was afterwards . , , . j i i • •  

named Quirinus. As bOOklS SCyn, and SOthll SO it IS, 

He afFtirward was callid Quirinus. 4092 

Which with his brother, that namyd* was Remus, 
Was in alle thynge confederat & partable. 
That tofor God was vicious & dampnable. 
^ut tK^h he and ^j^ J ^g [^ ^^s accordyng to ther lifF, 4096 

lacked virtue and Por lak ofF vcrtu thei fill in gret difFame; 

were confederate , , i l 'rr 

in all damnable And atweu hem ther was an vnkouth striit, 
thmgs. Which ofF bothe sholde yeue the name 

Onto the cite, atwen ernest & game, 4100 

AfFtir ther namys Rome to be callid. 

Thus fill the cas afForn or it was wallid. 

They quarrelled ^j^j thctupon ful longe last ther stryues, 

should name the Which sholde ofF hcm ha[ue] dominacioun, 4104 

kt^g" *" * Shewyng ther titles & prerogatyues, 

4070. kyn] kynde H, kynd R 3. 4080. beestaile] vitaile 

H, vltaill R 3. 
4082. had] hadden B. 4085. that] ther H. 
4093. namyd] callid B, J. 4103. R begins again here. 
4105. titles] title H. 

BK. Il] 

Romulus becomes Lord of Rome 



and to settle the 
matter agreed 
that the one 
who first saw 
41 1 2 ^^ largest fiock 
of birds fly over 
« hill should be 


They ascended 
Mt. Aventir.e 
with a multitude 
of witnesses, 


Who sholde off hem yeue name to the toun 
And regne as kyng in that regioun. 
Ther was no resoun who sholde go befom. 
Because thei wer[e]n bothe attonys bom. 

But to fynysshe ther fraternal discord, 
Thei han prouyded atwen hem anon riht; 
Thus condescendyng to put hem at accord 
Nouther be force, oppressioun nor myht. 
That which off hem first sauh grettest fliht 
Off briddes fleen hie vpon an hill, 
Sholde name the cite at his owne will. 

Off this accord for to ber witnesse, 

Thei with hem ladde a ful gret multitude, 

Theron to yeue a doom off rihtwisnesse, 

Bothe off wise and off peeplis rude, 

All attonys this mateer to conclude. 

And vp tan hill[e] callid Auentyne, 

Thei been ascendid this mateer for to fyne. 

And birdis sexe to Remus dede appeere, [p. 138] 4124 ^Tw "ly *sTi"' 

Bi augurie as thei gan proceede, 

Callid vultures, ful fers in ther manere. 

But the nouwbre in double dede exceede, 

That Romulus sauh, whan he took good heede. 

Wheroff ther fill a gret contrauersie. 

Which off hem sholde preuaile on his partie. 

Thus first off all[e] Remus hadde a siht 

Off sexe birdis callid vultures, 

And for tauaunce and preferre his riht. 

He ful proudli put hymsilff in pres. 

But Romulus was nat rek[e]les, 

His brothres cleym pleynli to entrouble, 

Afforced his title with the nouwbre double. 

Yit off his purpos on off hem mut faile, 
Thouh it so be that thei euer stryue; 
But Romulus gan fynali preuaile, 
And to the cite foorth he wente blyue. 
And, as auctours list echon descryue. 

birds and 
Romulus more 
than twice as 




Romulus won, 
and after a 
long dispute (for 
his brother 
wouldn't give in 
and both could 
not be victori- 
ous) named the 
town Rome, 
after himself. 


4115. birdis fleeng H. 4117. ber] be P. 

4125. gan] dede R. 4128. That] Whan R. 

4133. tauaunce] auaunte R. 

4138. his] this R. 

3i6 The Death of Remus Qbk. ii 

And in ther bookis as thei rehersen all, 

AfFtir his name Rome he dede it call. 4144 

Jwafubout" And all foreyn[e]s for texcluden oute, 
madeY la^w*^ And agcyn hem to make strong difFence, 
forbidding any- First he began to walle it round aboute, 
death to climb And made a lawe ful dreedful in sentence: 4148 

\yho clamb the wall be any violence, 
Outward or inward, there is no mor to seie, 
Be statut maad, he muste* needis deie. 

JotTeen\dd'of This was enact be ful pleyn ordynauwce, 4152 

the law went jj, peyne ofF deth, which no man breke shall. 

over and was -n t m tj rr • 

slain by a knight But SO befill, Remus oiT ignorauwce, 

' Which off the statut kneuh nothyng att all, 
OfF auenture wente ouer the wall. 4156 

For which a knyht ordeyned in certayn. 
The said[e] Remus with a pekeis slayn. 

not^rry^arhe ^^^ btother Hst nat in no maner wise 

saw that 'with Ageyn the lawe to be fauourable, 4160 

Remus out of the -^ . ' •f-"" 

way he would be But assentid, patcel for couetise, 

sole ruler of tt Tt i i i 

Rome. Vpon Remus to be mor vengable, 

OfF this entent, to make his regne stable. 

That he alone myhte gouerne & non other, 4164 

Be no claym fouwde nor brouht in bi his brother. 

tow^popui^ous And that the peeple sholde hem mor delite, 
he devised a Thet tabide and ha[ue] possessioun, 

territory called rr t\ i i • 

Asylum, As olde auctouts off Romulus do write, 4168 

Withynwe the bouwdis ofF the same* touw. 
That he deuysed, bi gret prouisioun, 
In cumpas rouwd, so cronycles compile, 
A teritorie that callid was Asile. 4172 

refuje'fo/ar^ This Asilum be Romulus deuised, 

ind'murderers- ^^^ ^ place ofF refuge and socours, 

Lik a theatre, with libertes frawwchised. 

For to resseyue all foreyn trespassours, 4176 

Theuys, moordreris, weiliggeris & robbours. 

Be gret resort, withynne the wallis wide. 

To fostre all bribours that nowher durste abide. 

4149. clamb] clam R. 4151. mut B. 

4152. pleynj om. R. 

4158. pikeis R, J, pikoys H, pikeys, P, pikais R 3. 

4163. this] his R — regne] Rewm? H. 

4169. same] said B. 4170. prouisioun] possession R. 

BK. Il] Romulus first King of Rome 317 

And with fled peeple fro dyuers regiouns, 4180 ^p]^^s ufeie. 
The cite gan tencrece & multeplie; from^^^h" 

And banshed folk off straunge naciouns bounngcour- 

To fynde refuge thedir gan hem hie. grew ver>- 

And thus be processe gan ther cheualrie 4184 "^' ^ 
First thoruh tirantis, rekles off werkyng, 
Till al the world obeied ther biddyng. 

Off wilfull force withoute title ofF riht brouSt'iS 

Thei brouht al peeple vnder subieccioun. 41S8 ?"k»s under 

1 • 1 I • 1 o 1 '," subjection by 

A cleym thei made be violence & mynt, force, without 

And took non heed off trouthe nor resoun. right. 

And the first auctour off ther fundacioun 
Was Romulus, that gadred al this route 4192 

Withynne the cite, & wallid it round aboute. 

And many day, as maad is mencioun, ^ny'y'eCir*^ 

He hadde that cite in his gouemaunce; 

And was the firste kyng crownyd in that toun, 4196 

And regned ther be contynuaunce 

Ful many yeris, till the variaunce 

Off Fortune, thoruh hir* fals envie. 

In Campania made hym for to die 4200 

Vpon a day whan it gan thundre loude, Srw^ iLS^' 

His name for euere to be mor magnefied. upinadoudto 

Summe bookis seyn, he was rapt in a cloude, deified with 

Hih up in heuene to be stellefied, 4204 * *"" 

With othre goddis estatli deified, 
Ther to be stallid be lubiteris side, 
Lik for his knyhtis as Mars list prouide. 

Loo, heer off paynymys a fals opynyoun, [p. 139] 4208 ^^^^'^^ 

To Cristes lawe contrarie and odious, opinion of 

That tirantis sholde for fals oppressioun >ncious tyrants 

Be callid goddis or named glorious, gods for thtir 

Which bi ther lyue wer fou7zde vicious: 4212 Mo^^S-they 

For this pleyn trouthe, I dar it riht weel tell, u^is'^tii'i''are 

Thei rathere be feendis ful deepe in hell. virtuous on 

'^ earth, they are 

For but in erthe ther dominacioun K " '^^^ 

Conveied be bi vertuous noblesse, 4216 

And that ther power & ther hih renoun 

4180. with] om. H, which R. 4188. al] om. H. 

4196. firste] otn. R. 4199. hir] his B. 4203. in] vp in H. 

4205. estatH] stately H, statly R, stately P. 

4207. list] wil R. 4213. this is H. 4214. ful] ow. H, R 3. 

3i8 The Abuse of Deifying Men [bk. ii 

Be set on trouthe and on rihtwisnesse, 

Lich ther estatis, in prynce or in pryncesse, 

I dar afferme off them bothe tweyne, 4220 

For vicious lyuyng thei mut endure peyne. 

are'jut'an?''' But whan thei been feithful ofF entent, 

InA^eip -^^^^ ^"^ trouthe iustli to meynteene, 

poor folk, then And in thet roial power be nat blent, 4224 

they certainly ttt • i „ r 11 

deserve to reign Wrongis redressyug & poore rolk susteene, 

And so contynue, with conscience most cleene, 
Such HfF, mor rathe than pompe of worldh werris, 
Shal make hem regne in heuene aboue the sterris. 4228 

princilnV°' For which lat pryncis vndirstonde attonys, 
SndersVand'that "^"^ wotldH pHnccsses, with al thcr gret richesse, 
charity and That thet hih hornys, fret with riche stonvs, 

meekness arcrp. j» , ,, i 

more likely than 1 oward hcucne thcr passagc doth nat dresse. 4232 
win"^a"pk?e for But vcttuous HfF, chatite and meeknesse, 
them above, ^j^^^^ ^j^^j jj^^ p^.^^^ ^^^ ^^ ^^iet hette atace. 

That causeth hem in heuene to wynwe a place. 

wors^e^than'for Ther is no mor strauwge abusioun, 4236 

people: ^° ^"^'^^ ^^^ ^^^^^ ^^^ grettctc ydolattie, 

Than whan pryncis list cachche afFeccioun 
Creaturis falsli to deifie, 

Be collusioun brouht in be sorcerie. 4240 

Now God difFende alle princis weel disposid, 
With such fals crafFt neuer to been enosid ! 

?h°eybecome'Il5''And that ther eyen bi non illusiouws 
sei°fhrou"g°h their ^^ "^^ cuglucd nouthct with hook nor lyne, 4244 
outward richness Nor bc no baites ofF fressh inspecciouws, 
carrion within. Wrouht bi Citenes, be drynk or medicyne, 
Which ofF ther nature resemble to a shryne, 
Thoruh richesse outward & beute souereyne, — 4248 
And, who looke inward, be lik a foul kareyne. 

t^hemW^S God ofF his grace amende al such outrage 
error! j^j noblc pryucis, & saue hem fro such werre, 

4218. on] in R. 4219. princis R. 
4225. folk] men R — to susteene H, to susten R 3. 
4227. rathe] rather H. 4230. princesisse R. 
4231. riche] pfifcious H. 4234. Whan] And R. 

4235. hem] om. R — wynne] have H. 

4236. no mor straunge] noon mor strong H. 

4242. enoisid H, enoysed P, enosed R, ennosyd H 5, be noysed 


4247. a] om. H. 4248. outward richesse R, 

BK. iij The Treason of Melius Suffetius 319 

And hem enlumyne, disposymg ther corage 4252 

In such fals worshepe that thei no mor ne erre; 
Lik to Argus that thei mai seen a-ferre, 
That no fals fagyng cause hem to be blynde, 
Goddis nor goddessis to worshepe agejTi kjoide. 4256 

And thouh that Romeyns dede worshepe & honour ^e'^R^^f'' 
To Romulus, bi a constre>Tit[e] dreede, R^^infeir. 

Lat no man take exaumple off ther errour, '"no men 

T-> 1 T 1 1 • 1 13 follow their 

But to that Lord whos sides were maad rede 4260 example, but 

ri-. Ill J J P'^'c ^=ir htarti 

lo saue mankynde, and on a crosse was dede, — to the Lord who 
Lat men to hym in cheeff ther loue obsenie, to save°theS!*^ 

Which can hem quite bet than thei can disserue. 

[How Mecyus kyng of Albanoys beyng fals of his 
othe and assurau/ice/ was drawen in to pecys.] ^ 

NEXT Romulus, with teris al bespreynt 4264 B^'a,^° w"'"*" 
Onto lohn Bochas appered Mecius, fctlu'rw^' 

Off cheer & look, & off his port ful feynt, hf^? Ju^ " '^ 

His fall declaryng, froward and despitous. 
And he was callid eek Suffecius, 4268 

Louh off birthe, and symple in vpgrowyng, 
Off Albanoys till Fortune made hym kjTig. 

Ageyn whos pride the Romayns gan werreie, ^uM^'S^de 

Ful myhtili oppressyng his cuntre; 4272 ^ba^and^l 

And for kyng Mecius list hem nat obeie, k'^'^^r^ °° 

Thei caste hem fuUi auengid for to be, — 

Because his berthe was but off low degre. 

And was rise up onto estat roiall, 4276 

Thei hem purpose yeue hym a sodeyn fall. 

Hasti clymbyng off pouert set on heihte, ^ ^ve^hiTa"^ 

Whan wrong[e] title maketh hym to ascende, wdden fau. 

With onwar peis off his owne weihte, 4280 

A sodeyn fall maketh hym to descende. 

Whan he list nat off surquedie entende 

Fro whens he cam, nor hymsilff to knowe, 

Till God & Fortune his pompe hath ouerthrowe. 4284 

4252. illumyne R. 4256. is misplaced at foot of column R. 

4263. 2nd can] om. H. 

4265. Metius P. 4273. hem^om. H — tobej^e H. 

4278. clymmjTige R. 

4282. tentende H, to entende R 3. 

1 MS. J. leaf 58 recto. 

320 Melius rebels against Rome [bk. ii 

fo°rctragainsf For this Mccius ofF prcsumpcioun 
Rome Thouhte ageyn Romeyns his pride myhte auaile, 

Gan werre ageyn hem be rebelHouw, 
Was nat feerful ther noblesse to assaile, 4288 

Till on a day was signed a bataile, 
Bothe ther hoostis withynwe a feeld to meete, 
To take ther part, were it off sour or sueete. 

HostSwifh That tyme in Rome regned Hostilius, [p. 140] 4292 

ufdMidl the^^'^ A manli man and a ful worthi knyht; 

issue in single Tween hym concludid and kyng Mecius, 

Thei tweyne to meete in steel armed bryht, 

For bothe batailes to trien out the ryht 4296 

Be iust accord, and therfro nat varie, 

The parti venquysshid to be tributarie, 

Hostilius won, y^j^j }^qqJJ p^^ hjm in subieccioun, 

Withoute entretyng or any mor delay. 4300 

And fynali, for short conclusiouw, 

Kyng Hostilius the tryumphe wan that day, 

That Albenoys ne koude nat sey nay, 

But that Romeyns, as put is in memorie,* 4304 

Be synguler bataile hadde wonwe the victorie. 

Romans^ g'a^ined Thus haddc Romayns first possessioun 
possession of QfF Albanoys tobeie hem & to dreede, 

AlbaLonga, and • ij i i 

Melius swore Mecms yolde, and sworn onto the toun 4308 

never to rebel t- ^ i ii r r r i 

again. JNeuer to rebeli, tor rauour nor tor meede. 

But for he was double fouwde in deede 
OtF his assuraunce, & fals to ther cite. 
He was chastised, anon as ye shal see. 4312 

fr"on!ise^whVn^'' Gcyn Fidenatcs, a cuntre off Itaile, 
Hostilius asked Kyng Hostilius, for ther rebellious, 

his aid against jo ' ^ ^ 

the Fidenae, Castc he wolde meete hem in bataile 

For comouw profit and for diffencioun 4316 

Bothe off his cite & off his roial toun. 
And for tafForce his parti in werkyng, 
OflF Albanois he sente onto the kyng, 

amySS'To come in hast with his hool cheualrie, 4320 

And tarie nat in no maner wise. 
But make hym strong to sustene his partie 
Lich his beheste, as ye han herd deuise. 

4291. part] om. R. 4297. tovarieH, R3. 

4304, 5. memoire, victoire B. 

4310. for] when R. 4317. 2nd his] this R. 

BK. li] 

The treasonable Conduct of Metius 


But kyng Mecius ful falsli gan practise 
A sleihti tresoun and a couert wile, 
Ageyn his promis the Romeyns to begile. 

Yit he, outward pretendyng to be trewe. 
Cam to the feeld with a ful gret meyne, 
Lyuyng in hope to see sum chaungis newe. 
That he on Rome myhte auengid be. 
And speciali that he myhte see 
Kyng Hostilius, off froward [fals] envie, 
That day outraied with al his cheualrie. 

First whan he sauh the Romeyns enbatailed, 

And Fidynates on that other side, 

Ther wardis redi for to haue assailed. 

He couertli dede on an hill abide, 

And to nor fro list nat go nor ride. 

Nor his persone putte in iupartie. 

But who was strengest, to holde on that partie. 

Wheroff the Romayns fill in suspecioun 
Off kyng Mecius whan thei token heed, 
Till Hostilius off hih discrecioun, 
Thoruh his knyhthod put hem out off dreed, 
And gan dissymyle off Mecius the falsheed; 
And to conforte his knyhtis off entent, 
Seide what he dede was doon bi his assent. 

He was fill loth that his cheualrie 
Sholde knowe theffect off Mecius tresoun. 
Which cause myhte, in al or in partie, 
Ful gret hyndryng be sum occasiou/!, 
To deeme in hym falsnesse or tresouu; 
Yit off trouthe, the story berth witnesse, 
Al that he mente was ontrouthe & falsnesse. 

Thus off manhod and off hih prudence 
He to his knyhtis gaff herte & hardynesse. 
Made hem sette on be so gret violence. 
That he the feeld[e] gat off heih prowesse. 
On Fidynates brouht in so gret distresse. 
And so outraied off force on eueri side, 
Tofor Romayns that thei ne durste abide. 

4325, 26. are transposed H. 4332. fals] om. J 
4342. taken H. 4345. dissymule H, dissemble R 3. 
4355. hih] his R. 


pretended to be 
loyal, while in 

^,28 teat he hoped 

^•^ to see the 

Romans beaten. 


When the battle 
began he drew 
off to one side 
and waited, 
4336 intending to 
join forces 
with the 
stronger party, 


and as the 
Romans became 
Hostilius calmed 
their fears by 
saying that 
4344 Metius was 

acting according 
to his orders. 




The Romans 
then set on and 
defeated their 


322 The Punishment and Death of Metius [bk. ii 

^parendy'de- And whan Mcclus sauh hem thus outraied, 

RomtlTuccest ^^ ^ mancr off feyned fals gladnesse, 

Lik as he hadde in herte be weel [ajpaied, 4364 

To HostiHus anon he gan hym dresse, 

HymsilfF reioisshyng bacouwtirfet Hknesse: 

And for his menyng pleynli was conceyued, 

So as he cam, riht so he was receyued. 4368 

decek^under'^a Thus whan Mecius stood in his presence 
pretence of faith. \Yith a pretense ofFfeithful stabilnesse, 

And al thapport off trouthe in apparence, 

He shadwed hath his expert doubilnesse — 4372 

Under soote hony, couert bittirnesse, 

Freendli visage, with woordis smothe & pleyne, 

Thouh mouth & herte departed wer on tweyne. 

knowKhiT' B"^ HostiHus hath al his fraude espied [p. 141] 4376 
his heart was And his compassed falsnesse and tresouw, 

divided, resolved .,, ii-i-r -i 

to punish him And thetupon hath lusth lantasied 

with a double . i t  i rr 

torment, and A peync accotdyng, Ipeised oit resoun, 
andamstotwo Hym to pun[y]she badouble passiouw; 4380 

drivtoffin'^'^'This to meene, Hk as he was deuyded, 
dhStions A double torment for hym he hath prouyded. 

tearing his body 

in pieces. This was his doom and his fatal peyne, 

Be HostiHus contryued ofFiustise: 4384 

His feet, his armys tween chariettis tweyne. 
Naked and bare, the story doth deuise, 
To be bouwde and knet in trauers wise, 
Contrariousli the hors to drawe & hale 4388 

Till al his bodi wer rent on pecis smale. 

^unishment ^^^ ^^^^ ^^ ^^ ^^^ cause off ful gtet ttouble, 
was in a Founde ay in deede most ful off variauwce, 

manner turrw -^ 

manner two- 

fold, like his Therfor his peyne was maad in maner double, 4392 

own doubleness. y-, .• i •irr i i i • 

Riht as hymsilit was double m gouernauwce: 
Fals off his oth, off heste and assurauwce. 
And double in menyng as he hath perseuerid. 
So at his eende his membris wer disseuered. 4396 

4364. in herte be] be In hert R — paled J, payed P, H £. 

4368. riht3 om. R. 

4373. buttirnesse R. 

4375. on] in R. 

4381. This] Thus H. 4385. His]HusR. 

4390. ful] riht H. 

4394. 2nd ofTJ & H, his R — and] & his R. 

BK. Il] 

Bocbas on Fraud and Deceit 

His feet wer drawe from the hed assonder, 
Ther was no ioynt with other for tabide: 
Heer was a legg, and an arm lay yonder; 
Thus ech membre from other gan deuide. 
And for he koude holde on outher side, 
Be fals pretense to outher parti trewe, 
Hym to chastise was founde a peyne newe. 


His feet were 
drawn asunder 
fium his head: 
here lay a leg, 
there an arm, 
just as he him- 
4400 self had divided 
his allegiance. 

9 Bochas ageyn doubiliies and fals symulacion.^ 

LO, heer the eende off double fals menyng, 4404 
Whan woord & herte be contrarious, 
0th & beheste fals founden in a kyng, 
Off Albanoys as was this Mecius! 

noble Pryncis, prudent and vertuous, 4408 
Lat neuer story afftir mor recorde, 

That woord & deede sholde in you discorde. 

For kyng Mecius variaunt off corage, 

Whos inward menyng was euer on tresoun set, 4412 

Treynes contreuyng with a fair visage. 

His thouht, his herte with double corde fret. 

Be Bochas called deceit and fals baret, 

Which vice descryuyng, concludeth off resoun, 4416 

Fraude off all fraudes is fals decepcioun. 

For with a face flatryng and pesible, 

Pretendyng trouthe vnder fals plesaunce. 

With his panteris pereilous & terrible 4420 

Trappeth innocentis with granys off myschauwce, — 

1 meene deceit, that with hir c[o]untenaunce 
Folkis englueth, symple and rek[e]les. 

And them werreieth vnder a face off pes. 4424 

Puissaunce off pryncis famous & honourable 
Hath be deceyued bi this traitouresse. 
And folk most prudent in ther estat notable 
Ha[ue] be distourbled be such fals doubilnesse; 4428 

4399. Heer] Wheer R. 

4406. founden]] foundyng R. 

4414. cordej cordis H. 4416. 

4417. fraudes^ fraude H. 

4421. granys]] gravis H, gravis R 3. 

4426. Hath] ha H. 

4428. distroublid J, H, distroubled R, P, dlstrowblede R 3, 
dystourbed H 5 — Haue] Hath R, P. 

^ MS. J. leaf 58 verso in margin, has the following beading: 
A chapitle how prync>s sholde of ther othes and promises 
be true /avoidyng all doubilnesse & decepcoun. 

Such is the 
punishment of 
deceit, as suf- 
fered by this 
false Metius. 
Princes, never 
let it be said of 
you that your 
words are con- 
trary to your 

With a face of 
flattery. Deceit 
entraps the un- 
wary in his 
perilous noose. 

The puissance of 
princes has been 
imposed upon 
by this 

traitoress and 
many a Inight 
entricked for all 
his renown. 

vice] om. H — oflf] on H. 
4422. hir] his H. 

324 King Hostilius was consumed by Lightning [bk. ii 

And many a knyht victorious off prowesse 
Hath been entriked, for al his hih renouw. 
Be treynes fouwde off deceit and tresouw. 

Sifbe'declived.Deceit deceyueth and shal be deceyued, 
for to him who Yor be deceit[e] who is deceyuable, 

IS double, his 1 1 • 1 • • 1 • J 

1 houh his deceitis be nat out parceyued, 
To a deceyuour deceit is retournable; 
Fraude quit with fraude is guerdoun couenable; 
For who with fraude fraudulent is fouwde, 
To a difFraudere fraude will ay rebouwde. 

deceit returns 
his fraud is quit 
with fraud. 



[Off kyng Hostilius that first wered purpill hewe 
consumpt with firy Levene.] ^ 

Now I shall 
write the fall of 
Hostilius, who 

WHAT sholde I mor off deceit endite, 
Touchyng the fraude of ky wg Mecius ? 

was the tirst r i* . ° 

Roman king to For I me caste now lynali to write 
wear purp e. ^j^^ ^^^^^ ccnde ofF kyng Hostilius, 

Which was the firste, as seith Valerius, 
In Rome cite that auctour[e]s knewe, 
Among kynges, that wered purpil hewe. 

After all his 
victories, his 
fame began to 
darken; he 
neglected to 
sacrifice to 
Jupiter, who 
consumed him 
by lightning. 

I send him 
this envoy in 

But afFtir al his tryuwphal noblesse 
And many vnkouth knyhtli hih emprise, 
Fortune tappalle the pris off his prowesse, 
Made hym to be, in ful froward wise, 
Rekles and slouh[e] to do sacrifise 
To lubiter; for which, sent from heuene, 
He was consumpt with sodeyn firi leuene. 


y)/^ .^/^ 


Heer men mai seen the reuoluciouns 

OfF Fortunys double purueiaunce: 

How the most myhti ofF Romayn champiouws 

Haue sodenli be brouht onto myschauwce; 

And ther outrages to put in remembraunce, 

Greta conquestis turned to wo fro ioie, 

For a rebuk I sende hem this lenuoie. 

[p. 142] 


4444. auctoures] auctour H. 

4450. slouhe]] sleuth R 3. 

4452. firi^ fier R. 

4455. the] he R. 

1 MS. J. leaf 58 verso. 

BK. 113 An Envoy on Rome 325 

[^ Lenuoie.3 

OME, remembre ofF thi fundacioun, 4460 bS°S/Sl- 

And off what peeple thou took[e] thi gynnyng: a„d °„2er^d 
Thi bildyng gan off fals discencioun, k°o'' ttat a 

OfF slauhtre, moordre & outraious robbyng, shau end in 



Yevyng to vs a maner knowlechyng, — 4464 
A fals begynnyng, auctours determyne, 
Shal be processe come onto ruyne. 

Wher be thyn Emperours, most souereyn ofFrenoun? J^nomiedTem- 

Kynges exiled for outraious lyuyng? 4468 PF°","^"ii«<i 

Thi SenatOUrS, with WOrthi ScipioUTI? lenatorsand 

Poetis olde thi tryumphes rehersyng, thine aureate 

Thi laureat knyhtis, most statli ther ridyng, ^°^ 

Thyn aureat glorie, thy* noblesse tenlumyne, 4472 
Is be long processe brouht onto ruyne. 

Wher is now Cesar, that took possessioun ^'.Tndi^^ 

First off thempire, the tryvmphe vsurpyng? '^^° 'o'<i ti» 

-Ti 11 .*^-'° conquest? 

Ur wher is Lucan, that maketh mencioun 4476 Where is the 

Off al his conquest be cerious writyng? Octavian? 

Octovian most solempneli regnyng? 

Wher is become ther lordshepe or ther lyne ? 

Processe off yeris hath brouht it to ruyne. 4480 

[^Where is the palace or royall mancion, ^^a'^^th a 

With a statue clere of golde shining »"^e °f ^^^^ 

By Romulus wrought & set on that dongeon? byRomuiusf 

Where is thy temple of christal bright shewing, 4484 crys^ a/d 
Made half of gold, most rich[e]ly moustryng ^''''° """p^'^ 

Pe heauenly spheres, by compasse wrought & line, 
Which that long processe hath brought vnto ruinePJ 

Wher is Tullius cheeff lanteme off thi toun, 4488 ^ilii^. t^d 
In rethorik all other surmountyng? Scneca, Cato 

Moral Senek or* prudent sad Catouti, Trajan, who 

Ti • cr \ ' c shewed 

1 hi comoun promt alwei preierryng, preference to 


4460. off] on H. 4462. bildyng] billvng R. 

4471. statli] statly in R. 4472. gloir'e B — thy] thyn B. 

4480. It] om. H, R — to] onto R. 

4481. Stanza om. MSS. Supplied from TotuVs print, leaf Ixvi 
verso, collated with Garrett MS. 

4482. statue] stature G. 4483. on] in G. 

4484. shewing] shynynge G. 4485. (monstryng Tot.) 
4487, that] om. G — vnto] to G. 4488. thi] the H. 
4490. or] off B, R. 

326 An Envoy on Rome {bk. 11 

Or rihtful Traian, most iust* in his demyng, 4492 
Which on no parti list nat to declyne? 
But long processe hath brouht al to ruyne. 

wmpk ofW Wher is the temple off thi proteccioun 

pjf^«=5y°n^^j3'i« Maad be Virgile, most corious off beeldyng? 4496 

its images and Ymages erect for eueri regiouw, — 

small bells that ,^,, ° , , r i i ii 

rang out war? Whan any land was touwde rebeliyng, 

Toward that part a smal belle herd ryngyng, 

To that prouynce thymage dede enclyne, — 4500 

Which bi long processe was brouht onto ruyne. 

MtOTtlon'of con- Wher is also the grete extorsiouw 

Euis and prefects, Off consuleris and prefectis oppressyng? 

the collusion of _^_, ,. iri ii'5 

dictators the Off dictatouts the lals collusiouw ? 4504 

cemvirs and Off deccm vir the froward deceyuyng ? 
" ""^^ And off tribunys the fraudulent werkyng? 

Off alle echon the odious rauyne 

Hath be processe the brouht onto ruyne. 4508 

become" the Wher is become thi dominaciouw? 

the whoiewlrM The gtete tributis [enrichyng] thi tresours? 

under menace of xhe world al hool in thi subiecciouw, 

The suerd off vengaunce all peeplis manacyng, 4512 
Euer gredi tencrece in thi getyng, 
Nothyng be grace, which that is dyuyne, 
Which hath the brouht be processe to ruyne. 

In thy highest j^j ^hi most hiest exaltaciouw, 4516 

exaltation, con- .... . 

trary to God andXhi ptoude tirautis provyncis conqueryng, 

idolatrous, thou ,_,J,, . ,*, ■' in- ■' ^ 

climbed up lo (jrod conttairc be long rebellious, 

above the stars, /^ij- jj 'ril* l_* 

until vengeance (jroddis, godaessis lalsli obeieng, 

Aboue the sterris bi surquedous clymbyng, 4520 

Till [olde] vengaunce thi noblesse dede ontwyne 
With newe compleyntis to shewe thi ruyne. 

^"n.^Lay^'down Ley doun thi pride and thi presumpciouw, 

thy pride and fhi pompous boost, thi lordshepis encresyng, 4524 

presumption, r^ r ^ oi-l-i l 

cast out thy Contcsse thyn outrage, & iei thi boost a-douM, 

lift up thy heart Alle false goddis pleynli diffieng! 

to Jesus! Lefft up thyn herte onto that heuenli kyng, 

4492. iust] iustli B, J, iustly R. 

4493. nat] om. R. 

4499. part] parti R. 4510. The] Thi R — enrichyng] om. R. 

4515. the brouht] brouht the H. 

4520. clymyng R. 

4521. vengauwce and noblesse are transposed H. 

BK. Il] 

An Envoy on Rome 




Return from 
Satam and 
Jupiter and their 
golden and silver 
worlds to Him 
who died to save 
thee from ruin. 


Which with his blood, thi sorwes for to fyne. 
Hath maad thi ransoun to saue the fro ruyne! 

From olde Satume drauh thyn affeccioun. 
His goldene world [e] fulli despisyng; 
And fro lubiter make a digressioun. 
His siluerene tyme hertili dispreisyng. 
Resorte ageyn with will and hool menyng 
To hym that is Lord oiF thordres nyne, 
Which meekli deide to saue the fro ruyne. 

Thouh Mars be myhti in his ascencioun, 

Be influence victories disposyng, 

And brihte Phebus yeueth consolacioun 

To worldli pryncis, ther noblesse auaunsyng, — 

Forsake ther rihtis and thi fals ofFryng, 

And to that Lord bowwe doun thi chyne, 

Which shadde his blood to saue the fro ruyne! 

Wynged Mercuric, cheeff lord and patroun [p. 143] 4544 }^^^ 
Off eloquence and off fair spekyng, wh^'r^^M^? 

Forsak his seruise in thyn opynyoun, »t"ry heavens 

And serue the Lord that gouemeth all thyng — sake was 

The sterrid heuene, the speeris eek meuyng, 4548 So^s. ^ 
Which for thi sake was crownyd with a spyne, 
His herte eek perced to saue the fro ruyne! 

Cast up off Venus the fals derisiouw, 
Hir firi brond, hir flatries renewyng, 
OflF Diana the transmutacioun, 

Though Mars 
be mighty and 
Phoebus en- 
courage the 
worldly, forsake 
their rites and 
540 bow down to 
the Lord who 
shed His blood 
for thee. 

Leave Venus 
and Diana who 
. .-- '* forever 
^•'^ changing, and 
blind Cupid. 
»T 1 'L 1 1 r 1 1 None but Christ 

JNow brint, now pale, now cieer[ej, now drepyng, can save thee! 

Off blynde Cupide the fraudulent mokkyng, 
OfFIuno, Bachus, Proserpina, Lucyne: 
For non but Crist may saue the fro ruyne! 

Voide off Circes* the bestiall poisoun, 
Off Cirenes the furious chauntyng; 
Lat nat Medusa do the no tresoun. 
And fro Gorgones tume thi lookyng; 
And lat Sinderesis ha[ue] the in kepyng, 


Avoid the poison 
of Circe, the 
mad singing of 
the Sirens; turn 

4560 ^^y '°°'' ^^°^ 
the Gorgons and 
all such 
common trash! 

4541. thi] \>tr H, R 3. 
saue] servt H. 

4538. victories] victorie R. 
4542. bowwe] bew R. 4550. 
4552. fire R. 

4558. This stanza is transposed with the next R — Cirses B, J. 

4559. chauntyng] enchauntyng H, R 3, enchanting P. 

4560. nat] na R. 

4562. haue the in] hathe in H. 

328 An Envoy on Rome []bk. ii 

That Crist \es\\ may be thi medicyne 

Geyn such raskaile to saue the fro ruyne! 4564 

fchfp'aSOff fals ydoles mak abluracloun, 
may redress 'Yo SimulacFes do HO worshepyiifi;; 

thine errors t\ t i i • /~i • r^_ o' 

if thou Mak thi resort to Cristes passiouw, 

obey Christ s ^^,, . , , . , , 

discipline. WhicH may be merci redresse thyn erryng, 4568 

And be his grace repare thi fallyng, 
So thou obeie his vertuous disciplyne, 
Truste that he shal restore thi ruyne. 

"creTsYs^'^aiways His mcrci is surmountyng ofF foisoun, 4572 

and never Euct cucrcceth withoutc amenusyng, 

Ay at the fulle ech tyme and ech sesouw, 

And neuer waneth be non eclipsyng. 

Whan men list make deuoutH ther reknyng, 4576 

To leue ther synne & kome to his doctryne, 

He redi is to keepe hem fro ruyne. 

mercyTo G^ ^ Romc, Romc, al old abusioun 

and repent^that QfF ccrimotties falsU disusyng, 4580 

thee from Ley hem a-side, and in conclusiouw, 

eternal ruin! r^ • r~\ ■> • i • • I 

Cn (jrod merci, thi trespacis repentyng! 
Truste he wil nat refuse thyn axyng, 
The to receyue to laboure in his vyne, 4584 

Eternali to saue the fro ruyne. 
o noble Princes, Q ^qWq Pryucis, ofF hih discrcciouw 

nothmg in this J' _ 

world is lasting: gecth iu this wotld thct is non abidyng, 
with you only Peiscth couscicuce atwen will and resoun 4588 

R°emen^b^r of_ Whil yc hafuc] Iciser, off herte ymagynyng, 
Ye ber nat hen[ne]s but your disseruyng: 
Lat this conceit ay in your thouhtis myne, 
Bexauwple off Rome how al goth to ruyne! 4592 

^ Explicit liber Secundus. 

^ Sequitur prologus libri tercij. 

4565. abiuracioun^ obiuracioun H. 4577- his] this R. 

4578. hem] men R. 

4580. difusyng R. 4589. ofT] in H. 

4591. thouhtis] h^rtis H, hertes R 3, heartes P. 

4592. how] om. H. 

Rome how all 
goes to ruin! 







(Books III-V.) 

The Carnegie Institution of Washington 
Washington, 1923 







Book III 329-472 

Book IV 473-584 

Book V 585-673 

»>l (hi 



')'^ \ 

[ Prologue.] 

LIK a pilgrym which that goth on foote, [p. 144] 
And hath non hors to releue his trauaile, 
Hot, dne [&] wery, & fynde may no boote 
Off welle cold, whan thrust hym doth assaile, 4 

Wyn nor licour, that may to hym auaile, 
Riht so fare I, which in my besynesse 
No socour fynde my rudnesse to redresse. 

I meene as thus: I ha[ue] no fressh licour 

Out off the conduitis off Calliope, 

Nor thoruh Clio in rethorik no flour 

In my labour for to refresshe me, 

Nor off the sustren, in noumbre thries thre, 

WTiich with Cithera on Pemaso duel!, — 

Thei neuer me gaff dr^^nk onys off ther well! 

Nor off ther sprynges cleer & cristallyne, 

That sprang be touchyng off the Pegase, 16 

The fauowr lakkith my makyng tenlumyne, 

I fynde ther bawme off so gret scarsete. 

To tame ther tunnys with sum drope of plente; 

For Poliphemus thoruh his gret blyndnesse 20 

Hath in me dirked off Argus the brihtnesse. 

Our liff heer short, off wit the gret dulnesse, 

The heuy soule troublid with trauaile. 

And off memorie* the glacyng brotilnesse, — 24 

Dreed & onkunnyng ha[ue] maad a strong bataile 

With werynesse my sperit to assaile, 

And with ther subtil crepyng in most queynte 

Ha[ue] maad my sperit in makyng for to feynte. 28 

Like a pilgrim 
who goes wearily 
on foot and findl 
no spring to still 
his thirst, so fare 
I, knowing no 
help for my 

I have no fresh 
water from the 
fountain of 
Calliope, no 
flower of speech 
from Clio to 
refresh my 
labour. Not 
once have I 
drunk of the 
well on 

The blindness of 
P<Jyphemu» has 
darkened my 

Our life here is 
short: wit is 
dull and memory 
Dread and 
Ignorance have 
crept in to 
weaken my will 
to write. 

4. wellej] wellis H. 

7. No] None R. 

9. conduitis] conductis R. 

17. The] Ther R — makyng] fauouT H. 

24. oflF] om. R — memoTre B. 


330 57?(f Prologue [bk. hi 

mo^thTrVbfivion ^nd oucrmor, the feerful frowardnesse 
battiueofforget- ^^ ^Y stcpmooder callid oblyuyouw, 
fulness to shadow Hath maad a bastile off forvetilnesse, 

my reason and _, oil 

cause me to lose 1 o stoppc the passagc & shauwc my resouM, 32 

That I myht haue no cleer direccioun 
In translatyng off newe to qul^ke me, 
Stones to write off old antiquite. 

ild'oubiedSfbt. Thus was I set, and stood in double werre 36 

d™t"o con- -^^ ^^^ meetyng off feerful weies tweyne. 
unue my work The ton was this : who-euer list to lere, 
and Ignorance, Whete-as good[e] will gau me constreyne, 

who halted my t) i ^ i* i r i 

pen. jDOcnas taccomplisshe tor to do my peyne, 40 

Cam Ignorauwce with a maas off dreede 
Mi penwe tarreste; I durst[e] nat proceede. 

sidered ^a"t I Thus be my-selfF remewbryng on this book, 
my pe'jfquaked' ^^ ^^ translate how I hadde vndirtake, 44 

thauVid almost -^"^ P^^^ ofF chcer, astonyd in my look, 
abandoned my Myn hand gan tremble; my penwe I felte quake. 
That disespeired, I hadde almost forsake 
So gret a labour, dreedful & inportable, 48 

It to parfourme I fond my-silfF so on able. 

hotStleihad Twen the residue off this gret iourne 

st'iSd'checkmaJe ^^^ ^^^^^ P^''* thetofF that was begunwe, 

for fear, like a J stood chckmaat for feer whan I gan see 52 

wayfarer over- _ •ii-mtiii 

taken by night. In my wcie how litil I hadde runwe; 
Lik taman that failed day & sunwe. 
And hadde no liht taccomplisshe his viage. 
So ferr I stood a-bak in my passage. 56 

darkenS"by°"' The nyht Cam on, dirked with ignorauwce, 
f found"no one ^^ ^^^^ ^^^ ^^^^ ^^ cleemesse to discerne 
to help me but In rethoHk for lak off suffisauwce, 

the Piendes and _,• , . - , , 

Medusa, hard 1 he totchis out, & qucynt was the lanterne. 60 

as stone. a j * i  m 

And m this caas my stiie to gouerne, 
Me to forthre I fond non other muse 
But, hard as ston, Pierides and Meduse. 

proTched^and Support was uon my dulnesse for to guie; 64 

pur^^was"'' Pouert apptochid ; in stal crokid age: 
empty, and MercuHC abseut and Philologie; 

Bacchus 1 -I rr 1 

far away. Ml puts ay liht and void ort al coignage. 

29. ferdful R. 31. bastile] bataile H, batell R 3. 
35. antiquite] auctorite H. 39. gan] can H. 
66. Philologie] philosophye H. 

BK. Ill] 

The Prologue 


Bachus ferr off to glade my corage; 68 

An ebbe off plente; scarsete atte fulle, 
Which of an old man makth the spent dulle. 

But hope & trust to putte away dispair 

Into my mynde ofF newe gan hem dresse; 72 

And cheefF off all to make the wethir fair. 

Mi lordis fredam and bounteuous largesse 

Into myn herte brouht in such gladnesse. 

That thoruh releuyng off his benygne grace, 76 

Fals Indigence list me no mor manace. 

But hope rose 
again and the 
weather bright- 
ened, when rr.y 
lord's generosity 
brought me 
gladness and 

A, how it is an hertli reioishyng 

To serue a prynce that list to aduertise 

Off ther seruauntis the feithful iust menyng, 

And list considre to guerdone ther seruise. 

And at a neede list hem nat despise. 

But from al daunger that sholde hem noye or greue 

Been euer redi to helpe hem and releue. 84 

Ah, it it a 
pleasure to 
serve a pricce 
who it ready 
80 to reward and 
help those who 
are dependent 
upon him! 

J . -1 The mists of 
■^T'jJ despair and 

And thus releued be the goodliheed, [p. 

And thoruh the noblesse off this most knyhtli maw, '^^.^^ vanished. 

. . •' ' and I forthwith 

Alle mystis cleend off disespeir & dreed, |>e«»n my 

Trust, hope and feith into myn herte ran; 88 

And on my labour anon forthwith I gan: 
For be cleer support off my lordis grace, 
Al foreyn lettyng fro me I dede enchace. 

^ Folkis that vse to make grete viages. 

Which vndirfonge long trauaile & labour. 

Whan thei ha[ue] doon gret part off ther passages, 

Off werynesse tasswagen ther rigour, 

Age3m feyntise to fynde sum fauour, 

Looke offte ageyn, parcell to be releued. 

To seen how moch ther ioume is a-cheued. 

Cause whi thei so offte looke ageyn, 
Bakward turne look and eek visage, 
Is onli this: that it may be seyn 
To them how moch is doon off ther viage. 
Eek weri folk that gon on pilgrymage 
Reste hem sumwhile a ful large space. 
Laborious soot to wipen from ther face. 

Q2 People who 

" make long 
journeys or 
laborious tasks, 
often look back 
to see how much 
they have 

90 accomplished. 

and weary folk 
who go on 
100 pilgrimages 

sometimes stop 
to take a long 


69. An] And R. 

105. soot] swot H, swet R 3, swete P. 

332 The Prologue [bk. hi 

theij"hefvr T^^^ h^"y fardell among thei caste dou« 

drin'king*rt''cooi ^^ certeyn bouwdis to do ther bakkis ese, 

springs and At wcllis coldc cck ofF entcncloun io8 

reckoning up the _^ - . 

miles they have Urvnke tressii watos ther greuous thrust tapese, 

travelled. /^ i i i • i 

Ur holsum wynes ther appetit to plese, 

Reknyng the miles be computaciouws, 

Which thei ha[ue] passid, ofFcastellis & ofFtouns. 112 

!o wv how '"" It doth hem ese the nouwbre for to knowe 
much of their Sithe thei began off many gret iournees, 

journey is over; ^^ , . ° . 

Off hih[e] mouwteyns and off valis lowe, 
And straunge sihtes passyng be cuntrees, 116 

Thunkouth bildyng off burwes & citees, 
Couwtyng the distaunce fro toun[e]s & the spacis: 
This ther talkyng at ther restyng placis. 

f<S>ifcrd"to The residue and the surplusage 

see what still lies yi^ei rekne also off ther labour komyng, 

before them. . . J o^ 

Thynke it is a maner auauwtage 

To haue & seen a cleer[e] knowlechyng 

Off thynges passid & thynges eek folwyng; 124 

For to ther hertis it doth ful gret plesauwce, 

Whan al such thyng is put in remembrauwce. 

BochaJ'^aft And semblabH lohn Bochas, as I fynde, 

was astonished Q^^ tume his bak, look and cfoluntenaunce, 128 

when he con- ' . , . , 

sidered the Fall And to remembrc, apoyntyng in his mynde 

of Pnnces from rj^ , . i i • i 

Fortune's wheel, lo the stories rchersed in substauwce 

In his too bookis off sorwe & displesauwce, 
Hymsilff astonyd, merueilyng a gret deel 132 

The fall off pryncis fro Fortunys wheel. 

the7had bought Off ther onhapp, as he doth reherce, 

their misfor- Toward hemsilff the cause doth rebouwde; 

tunes upon 

themselves Ther clymbyng up the heuenes for to perce, 136 

through excessive- , ,,. ..."'■ i i i i 

ambition and In worldli Hchessc tcncteccn and habouwde, 
Ther gredi etik doth hemsilff confouwde; 
And ther thrust off hauyng onstauwchable 
Causeth ther noblesse to be so variable. 140 

Es'lhe^S" Hih clymbyng up, off resouw who can see, 
and causes men DuUeth off btayncs the memoriall, 

to fall; and those .•' • i -i o i i 

who covet too Blutitcth the sihte, in hih & low degre, 

everything. Which from a-loffte makith hem haue a fall. 144 

112. 2nd ofT] om. H. 

116. be] the R. 117. burwes] Bourhes R. 

118. distauncis H. 

143. &] or H. 

BK. Ill] 

The Fable told by Andalus 


Men seyn off old, who that coueitith all, 
At onset hour suchon shal nat chese. 
But al his gadryng attonys he shal lese. 

For worldli folk which so hih arise 148 

With the gret peis off woridli habundaunce, 
And with the weihte off froward couetise, — 
Namli wher Fortune holdeth the ballaunce, — 
With onwar turn off sum onhappi chaunce, 152 

This stormy queen, this double fals goddesse, 
Plungeth hem doun from al ther gret richesse. 

Wherfore Bochas heeroff to make a preeff 

Sheweth to purpos a sentence ful notable, 156 

A cleer exaumple off onwar such myscheeff. 

Write off an auctour be maner off a fable, 

Al-be the menyng be ful comendable. 

And weel accordyng in conclusioun 160 

To the cleer purpos off this entencioun. 

Fortune is 
alwa>'s ready- 
to plunge 
woridly folk 
down from 
their riches. 

Bochat tells a 
fable to shew 
how such un- 
expected mij- 
chief comes. 

^ Finis Prologi. 

pDacipit liber Tercius] 

[How Andalus doctor of Astronomye concludith/ 
how princys sholdenot atwite constellacions nor 
fortune of theire vnhappy fallyng but theire owne 
demeritys and vicious lyuyng.] ^ 

AT Naples whilow, as he doth specefie. 
In his 3'^outhe whan he to scoole went, 
Ther was a doctowr off astronomie, 
Famous off cunnyng & riht excellent. 
Off hym rehersyng, shortli in sentement, 
His ioie was most to studyen and to wake; 
And he was callid Andalus the blake. 

He radde in scoolis the meuyng off the heuene, 

The kynde off sterris and constellaciouns, 

The cours also off the planetis seuene, 

Ther influencis and ther mociouns, 

And heeld also in his op^iiyouns. 

The fall off pryncis, the cause weel out souht. 

Cam off themsilff & off Fortune nouht. 

154. gret] om. R. 

156. ful] most H. 
^ MS. J. leaf 60 verso. 

When Bochas 
went to school 
in Naples there 
was a doctor of 
164 astronomy called 
Andalus the 
Black, who 
understood the 
course of the 
stars and be- 
lieved that the 

168 ^^ °^ Pjl""* 
was caused by 

themselves aloae 

and not by 



334 '^k^ Dispute between Fortune and Glad Poverty [bk. hi 

StKe stars Nor the steros wer nothyng to wite, 176 

t"o bimrfor"^ ^^ ^^^^ meuyng nor be ther influence, 
tune'^s'^ '"'''°^" ^°^ ^^^^ "^^" sholde off riht the heuene atwite 
For no froward worldli violence : 
For this clerk ther concluded in sentence, 180 

How men be vertu longe may contune 
From hurt off sterris outher off Fortune. 

Sion'Ki'^Ther owne desert is cheeff occasiouw 
meL°"who'h°fve ^^ ^^^ onhap, who-so taketh heede, 184 

behave°lithe° ^^^ ^^^^ dcmeritis onwarli put hem doun, 
well or ill. Whan vicious liff doth ther bridil leede. 
Cours off Fortune nor off the sterris rede 
Hyndrith nothyng geyn ther felicite, 188 

Sithe off fre chois thei ha[ue] ful liberte. 

Sn'^iifmSy' God punsheth synne in many maner wise; 
ways; evil-doing Sum wc hc chastisith for ther owne auail: 

always calls lor ™, . 

retribution. Men may off resoun m such cas deuise, 192 

Synwe ay requereth vengauwce at his tail. 
God off Fortune taketh no couwsail, 
no one fs°mor"e^' ^or from hir mcuyng no man is mor fre, 
h"rThan^Giad^ ^^ clerkis writc,* than is Glad Pouerte. 196 

AndtkTs'used And onto purpos, this auctour ful notable, 
rektmg to his To his scoletis ther beyng in presence, 
pupils this fable, pui dcmurli gan reherse a fable, 

With many a colour off sugred eloquence; 200 

Theron concludyng the summe off his sentence 
Touchyng a striff, which he dede expresse, 
Atwen Glad Pouert & this blynd goddesse. 

[A disputacion between fortune & glad pouert.] ^ 

Po"vm^!'who /^VODAndalus: "Whilom off fortune 204 

dUh^eUed, * ^^ I" ^ streiht place ther sat Glad Pouerte, 
tattered woman, Which rcsemblid off look & figure 

sat where three . , , ,. 

roads met. A rckles woman, most ougli on to see. 

At a naruh meetyng off hih-weies thre, 208 

Al totorn, to-raggid and to-rent, 

A thousend pachchis vpon hir garnement. 

178. atwite] awyte R. 180. concludyng H. 

188. Hyndryng R — ther] the R, 

196. writen B. 203. this] his H. 

209. to-raggid] & raggid H. 

210. garment R, garmente P. 

^ MS. J. leaf 60 verso. 

BK. Ill]] The Dispute between Fortune and Glad Poverty 335 

She was hidous bothe off cheer and face, 
And in semyng void off sorwe and dreed. 
And hi that way as Fortune dede pace, 
And off Glad Pouert sodenli took heed. 
She gan to smyle & lauhhe at hir in deed, 
Bi a maner scomyng in certeyn. 
Off hir array she hadde so gret disdeyn. 

Whos froward lauhtre, whan Pouert dede espie 

How she oflF hir hadde indignacioun, 

She roos hire up off hih malencolie, 

PleynH to shewe hire entencioun, 

Withoute good day or salutacioun, 

Doyng to Fortune no maner reuerence, 

Vnder these woordis declaryng hir sentence: 

^ 'O thou Fortune, most fool off foolis all. 

What cause hastow for to lauhhe at me, 

Or what disdeyn is in thyn herte fall? 

Spare neueradeel, tell on, lat me see. 

For I ful litil haue a-do with the; 

OfF old nor newe I ha[ue] noon aqueyntaunce 

Nouther with the nor with thi gouemaunce.' 

And whan Fortune beholdeth the maneer 
OfF Glad Pouert in hir totom[e] weede. 
And kneuh also be contenaunce & cheer. 
How she off hire took but litil heede, 
Lik as she hadde to hir no maner neede, — 
The which[e] thynges conceyued and Iseyn, 
To Pouerte she ansuerde thus ageyn; 

^ 'Mi scornful* lauhtre pleynli was for the. 
Whan I the sauh so megre, pale and leene, 
Nakid and cold, in gret aduersite, 
Scabbid, scuruy, scallid and oncleene 
On bak and body, as it is weel seene. 
Many a beeste walke in ther pasture. 
Which day be day off newe thou doost recure. 


She wa» very 
but without 
sorrow or fear; 
and when 
Fortune hap- 
pened to come 
aiong and 
caught sight of 
her. Fortune 
began to laugh 
at her ragged 

At thi* Poverty 
arose indig- 
nantly, and 
without bidding 
220 Fortune good- 
day (aid: 


"O Fortune, 
greatest of all 
fools, why do 
you laugh at 
me? We have 
very small 
228 acquaintance 
with one 

Fortune saw 
232 tii^t Glad 
Poverty had 
little respect 
for her and 


"I laughed 
when I saw 
2 jQ you so thin 
^ and pale and 
cold, so scurvy 
and unclean. 
You dwell in 
the field* 


211. She]SchoR. 

228. neueradeel] not adeel J, not a dele P. 

234. know R. 

236. hadde] om. R. 

239. scornful] soruhful B. 

243. and] om. R. 

336 The Dispute between Fortune and Glad Poverty [bk. hi 

tti?a*p''your£dHauyng nothyng to wrappyn in thyn hed [p. 148] 
oid'matSg""^ Sauff a brod hat, rent out ofFnattis olde, 
Sin'theJ"^ ^"^ °^^^" hungri for defaute ofF bred, 248 

Tdo 'h"^ ™*°'' Slepyng on straw[e] in the frostis colde. 
gnawed on And whcr thou comcst, as men may weel beholde, 
your 8ta . ^qx feet ofF the, childre them withdrawe, 

And many a dogge hath on thi staff ignawe. 252 

olousYo all To alle estatis thou art most odious, 
flee°8'yoS7'^'^^ ^^!^ with the will ha[ue] no dahauwce, 
presence." Thi felaship is so contrarious, 

Wher thou abidest ther may be no plesauwce. 256 
Folk hate so dedii thi froward aqueyntauwce, 
That fynali, I dar conclude off the, 
Wher-euer thou comest thi felaship men fle!' 

pJvertw how Whan Glad Pouert gan pleynli vndirstonde 260 

watto°herr8he These rebukes rehersed off Fortune, 
replied: ' The rud[e] resouws that she took on honde, 
Which frowardli to hire she dede entune. 
As Pouert were a refus in comune, 264 

Bi the repreuis that Fortune on hir laide; 
For which Pouert replied ageyn & saide: 

wScei^lin^hat ^ 'Fortune, 'quod she, 'touchyng this debat, 

i^fItour°of'^ W^''^^ *^ff malice thou doost ageyn me take, 268 

my own freewill. Be wcel certcyu, touchyng my poore estat, 

be poor and I off fte will thi fauout ha[ue] forsake. 

possess great And thouh folk seyu thou maist men riche make, 

noVeace" of ^"^^ Yit I ha[ue] leuetc be poore with gladnesse, 272 

mmd. Than with trouble possede gret richesse. 

m^ki'°a"lne''°" For thouh thou seemc benygne & debonaire 

fwSc^fat'and*"'^ ^^ ^ maner couwtirfet apparence, 

weu fed Fat & weel fed, with rouwde chekis faire, 276 

With many colours off trouthe as in pretence, 
As ther off feith wer werrai existence, — 
But vnder all thi flour^s off fresshnesse 
The serpent glidith, off chaung & doubilnesse. 280 

ciothirind"'^'' And thouh thi clothyng be of purpil hewe, 
have many With gtet awaityug off many chauwbereris, 

servants and i j o i i j • i 

jewels, neverthe- Uit gold & penc cch clai chauwges newe, 

ready to fight Clothes off gold & sondty fressh atiris, 284 

*'""■ And in thyn houshold ful many officeris, — 

271. maist] may H. 

BK. Ill] The Dispute between Fortune and Glad Poverty 337 

Yit I dar weel putte in iupartie, 

With the to plete and holde chauwpartie/ 

Thus Glad Pouert gan wexen inportune. 
Off cheer contraire, off look & off language, 
Ageyn this ladi which callid is Fortune, 
That off disdeyn she fill into a rage: 
^ 'Behold,' quod she, 'off Pouert the corage. 
In wrechidnesse standyng disconsolat. 
How ageyn me she is now obstynat! 

She canwat see, how she stant outraied, 
Fer from the fauour off my felicite, 
Yit off pride she is nat disamaied, 
Nor* list nat bowwe for tobeie me, 
Thouh she be cast in mendicite, 
Ferthest a-bak, I do you weel assure. 
In myscheeff set off any creature. 

But treuli, Pouert, for al thi truaundise, 
Maugre thi pride and thi gret outrage, 
I shal the pun[y]she in ful cruel wise. 
To make the loute vnder my seruage. 
Which resemblest a dedli pale ymage. 
That were off newe rise out off his graue. 
And yit off pride darst ageyn me raue/ 

But whan Fortune hadde these woordis said, 

Glad Pouert gan falle in gret gladnesse, 

And ageyn Fortune with a sodeyn braid. 

She gan hir conceit out shewe & expresse: 

^ 'Fortune,* quod she, 'thouh thou be a goddesse 

Callid off foolis, yit lerne this off me. 

From thi seruage I stonde at liberte. 

But yiff I shal algatis haue a-doo 
With the in armis, most cruel & vengable, 
Touchyng the quarel that is atwen vs too, 
Ther is o thyng to me riht confortable. 
That thi corage is flekeryng & onstable; 
And wher an herte is in hymsilff deuyded, 
Victorie in armys for hym is nat prouyded. 

288. Importune R, H. 289. contrary H. 

298. Nor] Nar B — for] om. H. 

303. gretl om. J. 

318. that] which H — atwen] tween J. 



Fortune then 
lost her temper 
and said: 
"Behold the 
presumption of 
this wretched 
creature, she 


see bow misera- 
ble she is with- 
out my favour, 
and yet she is 
full of pride! 


for all your 
outrageous con- 
ceit, 111 punish 
304 y°" *''<^ make 
you bow down 
in my service. 
You look as if 
you had just 
risen from the 


On hearing this 
Glad Poverty re- 
joiced and said: 
"Fortune, if 
fools call you a 
goddess, I, at 

312 any rate, am free 
from your sub- 
jection; and 
since we are 
going to fight, 
it is comforting 
to know that 
you have no 

,Tfi firmness of 

-5^° heart. 


freely forsaken 
worldly wealth, 

and if once 
your servant, I 
am now emanci- 
pated from your 

338 The Dispute between Fortune and Glad Poverty [bk. hi 

yirahhoS"" Me Ust[e] nouther flatre the nor fage, 
Ke'^o'VoSr°'-'^°'" ^^^ tenoynte be adulaciouw, 324 

kind: I have Thouh flat[e]rie & feyned fals language 

Approprld be to thi condicioun; 

And in despit off thi presumpcioun, 

I ha[ue] forsake off my fre volunte 328 

All the tresours off worldli vanite. 

Whilom I was, as thou hast deuised, [p. 149] 

Seruant to the, and onto thi tresours; 

But fro thi daunger now that I am fraunchised, 332 

Sekyng off the nouther helpe nor socours, 

Manace kynges & myhti emperours: 

For Glad Pouert, late nouther soone, 

With thi richessis hath nothyng to doone. 336 

For thouh thou haue enbracid in thi cheyne 

Worldli pryncis & goodes transitorie,* 

And riche marchantis vndir thi demeyne, 

Yeuest to knyhthod conquest and victorie,* 340 

The fadyng palme off laude & veynglorie,* — 

But whan echon thi fauour han recurid, 

Than is Glad Pouert fre fro thi lure assurid. 

setvantTstand ^^^ ^^^ seruantis standen vnder dreede, 
h"/"^ °f y"""" Quakyng for feer[e] off thi doubilnesse; 

For nouther wisdam, force nor manheede, 
Fredam, bouwte, loue nor ientilesse 
Mai in thi fauour ha[ue] no sekirnesse; 
Thei be so possid with wyndis in thi barge, 
Wher-as Glad Pouert goth freli at his large. 

"You may hold 
worldly princes 
and rich 
merchants in 
Glad Poverty 
has wholly 
escaped your 


Glad Poverty 

alone is free. 



" Desiring 
nothing, I am 
not afraid of 
your menaces. 

Thi manacyng doth me no duresse. 

Which worldli pryncis dredyn euerichon. 352 

Thei may weel quake for losse off gret richesse; 

But I, Glad Pouert, theroff desire non. 

As flowe & ebbe al worldli thyng mut gon; 

For afftir flodis off Fortunys tyde, 356 

The ebbe folweth, & will no man abide. 

324. tonoynte R. 
331. onto] to R. 

331. onto] to R. 

338. transitolres B, R, J, transytoryes H 5, transitories P. 

340. victoires B, R, J, victories P, victoryes H 5. 

341. veyngloires B, R, J, vainglories P, veyngloryes H 5. 
347. gentilnesse R, H, gentlenes P. 348. Mai] Man R. 
349. wynde R. 

355. worldli] erthly H. 

BK. Ill] The Dispute between Fortune and Glad Poverty 339 

Flowe and ebbe be to me bothe aliche; 

I dreede nothyng thi mutabilite, 

Mak whom thou list[e] outher poore or riche; 

For I nothyng will requere off the, 

Nouther lordshepe nor gret prosperite: 

For with thi gifFtes who that hath to doone. 

Off chaunges braideth offter than the moone. 

Out off pouert cam first these emperours 
That were in Rome crownyd with laurer; 
Fredam & largesse made hem first victours, 
Causyng ther fame to shyne briht and cleer, 
Till couetise brouht hem in daunger, 
Whan thei off foli, in ther most excellence, 
To thi doubilnesse dede reuerence. 

For whan fredam a prynce doth forsake, 

And couetise put awei largesse. 

And streihtnesse is into houshold take. 

And negardship exilith ientilesse. 

Than is withdrawe from ther hih noblesse 

The peeplis herte; and, pleynli to deuise, 

Off ther seruauntis farweel al good seruise. 

Al such sodeyn chaungis in comune 

In this world vsid now fro day to day, 

Echon thei come be fraude off fals Fortune; 

Experience hath put it at assay, 

Loue, trouthe & feith be gon [so] ferr away. 

And yiff that trust with pryncis wil nat tarie, 

Litil merueile thouh the peeple varie. 

For thoruh thi chaungis off fraudulent fairnesse, 

Ther is now vsid in eueri regioun 

Glad cheer out shewed with couert doubilnesse, 

Vnder the courtyn off symulacioun. 

So secre now is adulacioun. 

That in this world may be no sur[e]te. 

But yiff it reste in Glad Pouerte. 

Yit off thi pereilous froward variaunce 

I sette no stor, treuli as for me; 

For al thi frenship concludeth with myschaunce, 

With sodeyn myscheeff off mutabilite. 

Which yeueth me herte to haue a-do with the: 

358. be]om. R. 375. gentliness H. 

383. so] om. J, R. 390. secret H. 397. me] my R. 

"Flow and ebb 
of fdtune are 
alike to me. 
Do at jrou will 
■?6o '^^ others; I 
ask nothing of 


"The emperors 
of Rome first 
arose oat of 
poverty, nor did 
they fall until 
they became 
368 covetous and 
worshiped you. 

"When a 
3 / * prince becomes 
avaricious he 
loses the love of 
his people; 


and sudden 
changes are to be 
,gQ expected when 
^ the honour of 
princes has de- 


"Owing to you, 
people every- 
where dissem- 
ble; there is no 
surety eicept 
in Glad Poverty. 


"I have no fear 
of your 
froward incon- 

my poor estate 
is quite safe 
390 from your 

340 The Dispute between Fortune and Glad Poverty [|bk. hi 

For suffisauMce in my poore estaat 

Shal to thi chau«ges seyn sodenli chekmaat.' 

thb^Fottunr"^ Fortune almost with anger disespeired, 400 

"Povert°""'she ^^ these woordis took ful gret greuauwce. 

said, "if i did (J 'Pouert,' quod she, 'which maist nat been apeired ! 

not snow you t* t i i 

my power men Jout 1 now shewe ageyu the my puissaunce, 

iTtUe of me. " Mcn wolde Htil accouMte my substauwce, 404 

O myhti Pouert ! O stronge Hercules ! 

Which ageyn[s] me puttest thi-silfFin pres! 

li^po^se" " Supposest thou it sholde the auaile, 

that you can Quthcr bc forcc or be hardynesse 408 

overcome me, O i-i -im 

strong Hercules? Xo hauc a-do With mc m bataile, 

Princess of Which am off conquest & off hih prowesse 

Conquest-and t ii*j i j* j i 

Arms!" lu armys calhd ladi and pryncesser 

For ther is non so myhti conquerour, 412 

That may preuaile withoute my fauour.' 

"Ait"ough''P'^' ^ Off these woordis Pouert nothyng afferd, [p. 150] 
have neither Ansucrde ageyn, thus pleynH in sentence: 

weapons nor iit*i ill J 

armour, let us 'Thouh hecr 1 ue* haue spere, sheeld nor suerd, 416 

see if you dare -^ , , j*fr 

wrestle with me, JNor choseu armour to stonden at airrence, 
Pollex nor dagger to make resistence, 
But bare and naked, anon it shal be seyn, 
Wher thou with- me darst wrastlen on this pleyn. 420 

dilbn that"""' Which shal be doon vnder condiciouw 
neither of us That non off vs shal hymsilff withdrawe, 

shall withdraw, •^^ ^ • ^ rr • 

and that the But stillc abide off- entenciouw, 

the other to _ Till he that venquysshe ordeyned hath a lawe, 424 
coey IS wi . g^^j^ ^g \\yn\ Hkith, ageyn[e]s his felawe. 
The which[e] lawe shal nat be delaied 
To be acomplisshid on hym that is outraied.' 

began' to^smiief ^ff whos woordcs Fortune ageyn gan smyle, 428 

"Who shall be That Pouett proffred so proudli to assaile. 

judge between i • i i- -i l M 

us? And vpon this she stynte a htil while, 

And to Pouert she putte this opposaile: 
^ 'Who shal,' quod she, 'be iuge off this bataile, 432 
Or yeue a doom iustli atwen vs tweyne 
Off this quarell which we shal darreyne? 

416. heer I ne] I heer B, R, P. 417. stonde in at R. 

420. Wher] WheJ)(fr H — on] in R. 

424. venquysshith H — haue H. 

434. OflG on H, R 3. 

BK. Ill] The Dispute between Fortune and Glad Poverty 341 

I axe also a-nother questioun 

Touch yng thi profre ofF furious outrage: 

Wher-as thou puttest a condicioun 

And a lawe with ful proud language, — 

Wher shaltow fynden pleggis or hostage 

To keepe the promys which thou doost ordeyne, 

TherofF tabide the guerdouw or the peyne? 

I meene as thus: yifFther be set a lawe 

Atween vs too or a condicioun 

Be sur[e]te, which may nat be withdrawe, 

As vnder bond or obligacioun; 

But there is nouther lawe nor resoun 

May bynde a beggere, yifF it be weel souht, 

Whan it is preued that he hath riht nouht. 

Thi sect off pouert hath a proteccioun 
From all statutis to gon at liberte,. 
And from al lawe a pleyn exempcioun: 
Than folweth it, yifF thou bounde the 
To any lawe that may contreuid be. 
It wer fraude, pleynli to endite, 
Which hast riht nouht thi parti to aquite. 

Thou art so feeble, yifF it cam therto, 
That thou were brouht onto vttrauwce, 
For noun power, whan al that wer do, 
Thou sholdist faile to make thi fynaunce, 
Bothe destitut ofFgood and ofFsubstaunce; 
And sithe no lawe thi persone may coarte, 
It wer foli with suchon to iuparte. 
YifF I wolde compulse the to wrak, 
Taxe ofF the the tresour ofF kyng Dane, 
On that parti thou stondest ferr abak, 
Mi paiement so longe sholde tarie, 
Indigence wolde make the to varie. 
.And yifF I wolde thi persone eek compare 
To Alisandre, — thi sides been ful bare! 
And fynali thou stondest in such caas 
OfF miserie, wrechidnesse and neede, 
That thou myhtest ofF resoun seyn* alias, 
Bothe forsake off frenshipe & kenreede. 
And ther is non dar plegge the for dreede: 

449. Thi] The P — sect] feet R. 

472. seyn] syngen B, syng R, synge J, sing P, say R 3. 

473. &] & of H. 


"And if I win, 
where will you 
find surety to 
keep your 


"If a condition 
be set between 
us, how can 
a beggar, who 
AAA has nothing, be 
^^ bound to keep 


"Your sect of 
Poverty goes 
free of all law; it 
would be a 
fraud for you 
to bind your- 
452 self without 
having any 

fi "And at you are 
4-50 destitute, and 
exempt from 
all penalties, it 
were folly to 
have ado with 


"I should have 
to wait a long 
.f-t time before I 
* ■* got anything out 
of you! 


"\Iiserable and 
without friends 
or kin, no one 
would stand 
472 surety for 

you; yet, like a 
fool, you expect 
to wia." 

342 The Dispute between Fortune and Glad Poverty [bk. hi 

Yit lik a fool supprisid with veynglorie, 

Hopest off me to wynne the victorie,' 476 

Pov«S"ihave^ Quod Glad Pouert, *I doute neueradeel 

ever that rsh*au ^Hat the victoric* shal passen on my side. 

«kany°piedge ^^^SS^ ^ hostages, lat hem go farweel! 

of you, except I axe no mor off al thi grete pride, 480 

that you will r) • j i i m i • i 

promise to fight tsut to the ccnde that thou wilt abide. 

Plegge thi feith, al-be that sum wen* seith, 
To truste in Fortune ther is ful litil feith. 

n^sfcurify^'tr And for my part, in this hih emprise, 484 

b^dy.ToTcaT ^'^^^^ ^ ha[ue] pleggis nouther on nor tweyne, 
take that and Mor sur hostage can I nat deuise, 

keep It in prison ^ -fr i i • • * i 

for ever if you tJut yitt SO be the victorie* thou atteyne, 

have the victory .--pi | i t i- i i • 'i 

1 han yelde my bodi bouwden in a cheyne, 488 

Perpetueli, lik the condiciouw, 
With the tabide fettrid in prisouw.' 

m™h\n ever!^ Than Fortune louh mor than she dede afForn, 
to niture"for^ Whan she sauh Pouert so presumptuous; 492 

a beggar tohave In hir* arrai al ruggid and totorn, 
heart! And hadde nouther rente, lond nor hous. 

*It is,' quod she, 'a thyng contrarious 
Onto nature, who that can aduerte, 496 

To a beggere to haue a sturdi herte. 

yot°ofwhat"use"And y iff that I the venquisshid in bataile, [p. 151] 

me"tokee^* '° ^^ wcre to me no worshepe nor auauwtage, — 

your empty What sholde thi bodi onto me auaile, coo 

belly full „, . -1 1- • 5 

in prison? 1 he tcnprisowne streihtli in a eager 

It sholde been a charge and a costage, 

Thyn empti wombe ech day to fulfill, 

YifFthou myhtest haue* vitaile at thi will! 504 

'\tL\ZV° And yifF I wolde my-silfF to magnefie, 

triumph behind Tokne ofF tryumphc afftir my char the leede, 

my chariot, men i i i • • 

would say. Men wolde deeme it a maner moquerie, 
fool, who has And scyn in scorn : 'tak off that fool good heede, 508 
beggarT * How he z bcggcrc hath ouercome in deede, 
Fauht with hym for to encrece his name, 
Which conquest turneth to his disclandr^ & shame! ' 

478. victoire B. 482. sumwien B. 

483. litil] om. R. 

487. victoire B. 493. hir] his B, R, J — ruggid] ragged 

R 3, H 5, to ragged P, rogged R. 
504. han B. 
511. sclaundre & difFame R 3. 

BK. Ill] Fortune seizes Glad Poverty by the Head 


Yit whan I haue brouht the to vttraunce, 

Mi power shewed and my grete myht, 

And thyn outrage oppressid hi vengaunce, — 

Afftir al this, as it is skile and riht, 

It shal be kouth in eueri manys siht, 

Out declarid the gret[e] difference 

Twen thi feblesse* & my gret excellence. 

Than to represse thi surquedie attonys, 

Cruel Orchus, the teidogge infernall, 

Shal reende thi skyn assonder fro thi bonys. 

To shewe my power, which is imperiall, 

And to declare in especiall, 

Pouert recleymed onto Pridis lure, 

With me to plete may no while endure/ 

And sodenli, or Glad Pouert took heed, 
Fortune proudli first began tassaile; 
And onwarli hent hire bi the hed, 
Demyng off pride, that she may nat faile 
Thoruh hir power to venquysshe this bataile. 
But it may falle a dwery in his riht 
Toutraie a geaunt, for al his grete myht. 

God taketh non heed to power nor to strengthe. 
To hih estaat[e] nor to hih noblesse. 
To squar[e] lemys, forged on breede or lengthe. 
But to quarelis groundid on rihtwisnesse; 
For out off wrong may growe no prowesse. 
For wher that trouthe holdeth chau?npartie, 
God will his cause be grace magnehe. 

Wherfor Pouert, strong in hir entent, 
Liht and delyu[e]re, auoid off al fatnesse, 
Riht weel brethed, & nothyng corpulent, 
Smal off dieete surfetis to represse, 
Ageyn Fortune proudli gan hir dresse, 
And with an ougli, steme cruel face, 
Gan in armys hir proudli to embrace. 

"At any rate, 
5^2 j^fj„ I have 

beaten you 
everybody ?rilJ 
see the great 
difference be- 
tween us, and 
then rU let 
510 Orcu» tear you 
in pieces to shew 
my power." 



With that. 
Fortune sud- 
denly seized 
Glad Poverty by 
528 ^^* head. 

53 a 

thinking it 
would be easy to 
overcome her. 
But God always 
defends the 


. and Poverty, 
•S^O thin and active, 
with an ugly 
expression on 
her face. 


518. febilnesse B, feebilnesse H, feblenesse R. 

520. tei dogge R, Teydogge H, tidogge J, tye dogge P, tey- 

dogges R 3. 

528. hent] tooke H. 531. dwery] down R. 

539. God] Gog {blunder) R. 543. Dietis H. 

545. with] om. R. 

546. enbrace R. H. 

344 Glad Poverty overcomes Fortune [^bk. hi 

fmund\^=r""' Pouert was sclendre & myhte wed endure; 

EhedVodT Fortune was round[e], short off wynd and breth. 548 
And wombes grete oppressid with armure, 
For lak ofF wynd the grete stuff hem sleth; 
And many a man bryngeth to his deth: 
For ouermekil off any maner thyng 552 

Hath many on brouht to his ondoyng. 

bmerto'br'' A mene is best, with good[e] gouernaunce; 
neither too fat To mekil is uouht, uor ouer-gret plente: 

nor too lean, and , . ' . 

sufficiency is Gretter nchesse is founde in suffisauwce 556 

superfluity) Than in the flodis off superfluyte. 
And who is content in his pouerte 
And gruchchith nat, for bittir nor for soote, 
What-euer he be, hath Fortune vndir foote, 560 

fn^lKr^'^^Coueitise put hym in no dispeir, — 

Wherfor Pouert, off herte glad and Hht, 

Leffte Fortune ful hih up in the heir, 

And hir constreyned off verai force & myht. 564 

For Glad Pouert off custum and off riht, 

Whan any trouble ageyn hir doth begynne, 

Ay off Fortune the laurer she doth wynwe. 

he?'dowTgave ^ Maugrc Fortunc, in the hair aloffte 568 

her such a biowConstreyned she was be Wilful Pouerte, 

over the heart -' -i i • r t r i rr 

with her sharp That to the erthe hir fal was ful onsoffte: 
For off Pouert the bony sharp[e] kne, 
Sclendre and long & leene vpon to see, 572 

Hitte Fortune with so gret a myht 
Ageyn the herte, she myht nat stande vpriht: 

nof rise."""'^ To signefie that Pouert with gladnesse, 

(Poverty in con- Which is Content with smal possessioun 576 

tentment always ,, ^ r rr- • ^ 

holds Fortune in And geueth no fors off tresour nor nchesse, 

subjection; ^- .^ _ i i • 

Hath ouer l^ortune the dommaciouw, 

And kepith hir euer vnder subiecciouw, 

Wher worldli folk, with ther riche apparaile, 580 

Lyue euer in dreed Fortune wolde faile. 

J^'b'^fore"" The poore man affor the theeff doth synge [p. 152] 
thieves; it is the Vnder the wodis with fresh notis shrille; 

nch man who is . rirrtrr 11 

afraid.) The Hche man, ful feerful off robbynge, 584 

553. ondoyng] endyng R, R 3. 

568. alofFte] of lofte R. 570. hir] his R. 

583, woode H. 

BK. Ill] Fortune must submit to Glad Poverty 


Quakyng for dreed[e], rideth foorth ful stille. 
The poore at large goth wher hym list at wille, 
Strongli fraunchised from al debat and striff; 
The riche alFerd alwei to lese his liff. 

Thus Glad Pouert hath the palme Iwonne, — 
Fortune outraied, for al hir doubilnesse. 
Vpon whom Pouert in haste is ronne, 
And streyned hir with so gret duresse, 
Till she confessid & pleynli dede expresse 
With feith & hand, in al hir gret[e] peyne, 
Tabide what lawe Pouert list ordeyne. 


Thus Glad 
Poverty won 
the battk asd 
Forttme so 
severdjr, that 
^92 she promised 

And in haste afftir this disconfiture. 

Fortune began to compleyne sore. 

But Glad Pouert, which all thynge myhte endure, 

Charged Fortune scornen hire no more. 

For it was said[e] sithen go ful yore, 600 

He that reioishith to scorne folk in veyn. 

Whan he wer lothest shal scorned been ageyn. 

*Yit,' quod Pouert, 'thouh thou were'despitous, 

Woordis rehersyng which wer nat faire, 604 

Straunge rebukis ful contrarious, 

And repreuys many thousend paire, 

Thou shalt me fynde ageynward debonaire: 

For thouh a tunge be sclandrous & vengable, 608 

To sclandre ageyn is nothyng comendable. 

Thou must considre, touchyng our bataile 

The ordynance and imposicioun, 

That which off vs in conquest do preuaile 612 

To brynge his felawe to subieccioun, 

He shal obeie the statut off resoun, 

And acomplisshe, off verai due dette, 

W^hat lawe the victour list vpon hym sette. 616 

For which thou shalt the said[e] lawe obeie. 

With circumstaunces off the condicioun 

Bi me ordeyned, and nothyng ageyn seie, — 

Make no gruchchyng nor replicacioun. 620 

Considred first the fals opynyoun 

Off hem that seyn, al worldli auenture 

Off good and badde abide vnder thi cure, — 

.^ to sobmit to 
39^ whatever 

penalty Poverty 
imposed on her. 

"You must not 
scorn me any 
more," said 
Poverty, " but 
even if you 
did, I would be 
pleasant to yoa, 
and, in con- 
formity with our 

you must do 
what I com- 
mand with- 
out grumbling. 

598. all thynge] om. R. 

616. vpon] on H — to sette H. 

34^ Fortune overcome by Glad Poverty [bk. hi 

'the°erronS°^ Sumwc poctis and phiHsophres also 624 

under your Which bc dccevued, I dar seyn, bothe too; 

control, I shall .,, -^ iri- i 

take Unhappy And thcF crrouF and roll to redresse, 

Adventure from t i i • i j • • i • 

your power. 1 shal withdrawe in verai sekirnesse 628 

Onhappi Auenture away fro thi power, 
That she no mor shal stonde in thi dauwger. 

Srnd'K'aThis lawe ofFnewe vpon the I make, 

ever*bod*lan That first thou shalt, al open in sum pleyn, 632 

see her and Eucl Aucnturc bynden to a stake, 

know that only ^~ i i i • i 

those who want Uv to sum pclct whct she mai be seyn, 

her need take t" i i r 1 1 • • 

her with them. 1 o shewe exauwple to lolkis in certeyn. 

That no man shal loosne hire nor discharge, 636 

But such as list with hire to gon at large. 

'wm no"men' Heeroff to make a declaraciouw, 

but the fools Touchyng thi myht off Euel Auenture, 

who trust m i i r i • i • • 

you." Thou shalt forgon thi dominaciouw 640 

To hyndre or harme any creature. 
But onli foolis, which in thi myht assure. 
Thei off ther foli may feele gret damage, 
Nat off thi power, but off ther owne outrage.' 644 

Jretch«"who For thilke foolis, which that list onbynde 
unbind Unhappy Xhis wrcchchc calHd Onhappi Auenture, 

Adventure and ^-^-« . . . . , , i i i 

call her a Off Witt & resouw thci make hemseluen blynde, 

Lich as the world stood in Fortunys cure, 648 

As thouh she myhte assure hem & onsure. 
And hem dispose to welthe or wrechchidnesse, — 
In ther errour hir callyng a goddesse! 

to'cod'g Such wilful wrechchis that hemsilff betake 652 

having given us ^q putte ther fredam in hir subiecciouw, 

free choice 01 

good and evil. Off God aboue the power thei forsake. 
And hem submitte, ageyn[e]s al resoun, 
Vnder Fortunis transmutacioun, 656 

Ther liberte ful falsli for to thrall, 
Namli whan thei a goddesse list hir call. 

With a dirk myst off variaciouw 

Fortune hath cloudid ther cleer natural liht, 660 

And ouershadwed ther discrecioun. 

That thei be blent in ther inward siht 

For to considre and to beholde ariht, 

650. dispoise R. 661. And] And hath R. 


It is wrong to worship Fortune 


How God aboue put vnder mannys cure 664 

Fre chois off good, his resoun to assure. 

The Lord enlumyned off his bounteuous 

largesse [p. 153] 

With mynde and witt his memoriall, 
Toward al vertu his steppis for to dresse, 
Endued his resoun for to be naturall, 
Off frowardnesse till he wex bestiall, 
To bynde hymsilflF contrariousli in deede 
To serue Fortune, atwixen hope and dreede. 672 

Thus bestiall folk made hire a goddesse, 

Falsli wenyng she myhte hem most auaile 

With hir plentes off habundant richesse; 

And summe demen in ther supposaile, 676 

With onwar chaung she dar the grete assaile, 

Whos trust[e] alwei medlid is with trouble, 

And hir plesaunce includith menyng double. 

And summe afFerme that she mai auaunce 
Conquestis grete and disconfitures, 
And how [it] lith also in hir puissaunce 
To forthre & hyndre all maner creatures. 
And calle hir pryncesse off fatal auentures, 
The riche tenhaunce be roial apparaile, 
And be disdeyn to hyndre the poraile. 

Whan she maketh most fulsumli hir profres, 

Hir blaundisshyng is farsid with falsheed; 

Whan hir richessis be stuffid up in coffres, 

Thei been ay shet vnder a lok off dreed. 

Wherfore, ye riche, off o thyng takith heed. 

As your gadryng cam in with plesaunce, 692 

Riht so your losse departeth with myschaunce. 

Your gredi thrust tresour to multeplie 

Causith an etik off nounsuffisaunce, 

In you engendryng a fals ydropisie, 696 

With a sharp hunger off worldli habundauwce, 

Makyng off you a maner resemblaunce 

God gave man 
Reason as a 
guide for his 
towards virtue; 
but he became 
668 irrational out 
of froward- 
ness, and bound 
himsdf to For- 

making her a 
goddess in the 
false belief that 
she could he!? 

^Q^ Some people 
^00 claim that she 

can give victory 

and further or 

hinder ail 



When she 
promises most, 
688 "^ flattery is 
stuffed with lies; 
when her wealth 
is piled up in 
chests, they are 
closed with a 
lock of dread. 

Therefore, you 
rich, fearing loss, 
your greed only 
engenders a 
fever for mere 
wealth, and you 
are very much 
like Tantalus. 

666. his] om. P — illumyned R. 

669. is transposed with 670 and 671, and blunder indicated by 

letUrs a and b R. 672. 1/ misplaced at foot oj column R. 
678. is medlid H. 682. how] om. R. 
684. fatal] al manirr R. 691. ye] the R. 

34^ The Fate of King Hostilius [bk. hi 

With Tantalus, — whan ye deppest synke, 

Than is yowrnatur^ most thrustleuh for to drynke. 700 

Sgton^'"'^' Who clymbeth hiest on Fortunys wheel 
£°u"whlnle"^^"^ sodenli to richesse* doth ascende, 
least expects it; An onwaF tum, afFom seyn neueradeel, 
exempt from Whan he Iccst wenyth makith hym descende. 704 
Fro such chauwgis, who may hymselfF defende, 
But thei that be with Pouert nat dismaied. 
And can with litil holde hemsilfF appaied." 

[How kyng hostilius worshippyng fals goddis/ was 
consumpt with firy Levene.]^ 

Bochas was A ^D whil Bochas gan muse in this mateer, 708 
thinking over jTJl Considrcd first al worldli thywg mut faile, 

this matter, tTT* i • i i 

princes who were With wepyng eien [to hym] ther dede appear 

once ismous in ^^ * 1 1 *i (* * t *i 

Italy came to rryncis that whilom wer lamous in Itaile, 
their falh""^ Which gan ther fall ful pitousU bcwaile: 712 

For mor contrarie* was ther fallyng lowe, 
That thei toforn hadde [of] no myscheeff knowe. 

wder'f or a ^or mor vnkouth is thilke aduersite, 

thin'^\^°oor" Namli to pryncis, whan it is sodeyne, 716 

wretch who has Which euer ha lyued in prosperite, 

always lived inyy y. , 

discomfort. flauyng on l^ortune no mater to compleyne. 

Than off a wrechche, that lyueth ay in peyne, — 
Off custom causeth, conceyued the sentence, 720 

Off ioie and sorwe a ful gret difference. 

br'Tncc'^f'past ^^ ^^^^ passid the newe remembrauwce, 

i°y«b'" their Whan folk be falle from ther felicite, 

In treble wise it doth hem gret greuauwce; 724 

Thonwar turn from ther tranquillite, 

Thonsur trust and mutabilite 

In worldli power, which that thei ha[ue] fouwde, 

Onto ther hertis yeueth a greuous wouwde. 728 

has ai^y" ^^° ^^^ ^ wrcchche, which in wrechchidnesse 
known want is Hath euer lyued, and neuer was partable 

proof agamst r\rf ir rr iri 

misfortune. OiF no weelfare nor off welfulnesse, 

700. your nature is R — for] om. R. 

702. richesses B, richessis J. 

708. in] on H — mateer] maner R. 

710. to hym] om. J, R. 713. contraire B. 714. of] om. J, R. 

731. 2nd off] of no H — wealthfulnes P. 

1 MS. J. leaf 63 recto. 

BK. Ill] 

King Hostilius becomes III 


Nor neuer fo[u]nd[e] Fortune fauourable, — 
His sorwe, his myscheefF been so custumable, 
That off his peynys long contynuaunce 
Doth to his greuys a maner allegaunce. 

But to pryncis, which sat so hih aloffte, 

A sodeyn fall is most contrarious, 

And ther descendyng weel the more onsofFte, 

In ther tryuwphes that thei wer glorious. 

Record I take off kyng Hostilius, 

Which in Rome from his roial stalle, 

Whan he sat crownyd, most sodenli is falle. 

It is remembrid off old and nat off newe, 
Off al Rome that he was lord and sire; 
The firste off kynges that wered purpil hewe, 
And off that cite gouerned the empire, 
Hadde off Fortune al that hym list desire. 
Till that he fill, in all his regalie. 
Into a froward dedli maladie. 

And off his peynes to fynden allegaunce, [p. 
To the temples he wente on pilgrymage. 
His offryng made with deuout obeisaunce, 
Wherbi sumdeel his peynes gan asswage; 
And when he was restored off corage, 
Felt hymsilffje] that he dede amende. 
To comouw proffit ageyn he gan entende. 

Vpon Thalbanys, regnyng in his glorie,* 

To gret auail off Rome the cite, 

Thoruh his knyhthod he hadde a gret victorie, 

Afftir the which, be ful gret cruelte. 

He beraffte hem fraunchise and liberte. 

And made hem afftir, thoruh his hih renoun. 

To been to Rome vnder subieccioun. 

Afftir this conquest, the stori doth deuyse. 

In his noblesse ful staatli and roial. 

He gan make a riche sacrifice 

To queeme and plese for a memorial, 

Affter the rihtes cerymonyal. 


„ < That princes 
'3^ suflfer greatly i( 
shewn by the 
fall of King 
Hostilius of 


the first king 
who wore 
744 P"n>le> and 
'^^ who had every- 
thing he desired 
until he became 


f r A He grew better 
^34J after he had 

made a devout 
pilgrimage to 
^cj the temples of 
his country. 


and wa< 
victorious over 
the Albaas. 


_^ After this 

' ^ victory he made 

a rich sacrifice 

to Jupiter, 


746. the empire^ he thempire R. 

757. Talbanys R — gloire B. 

759. victoire B. 

764. this] his R. 

35° Hostilius is slain by Lightning {byl. hi 

To lubiter, be ful gret reuerence, 
Aforn his auteres with fires & encence. 

t"diTfomething ^ut foF that hc in his inward entent, 

TnrTlrd^the ods ^^ circumstaunccs off his oblacioun, 772 

that they con- Was Fcchles fouwde and also necligent, 

sumed him with ^ _ ^ r ^ rr • o ' 

lightning. tie sum troward tals airecciouw, 

The goddis kauhte an indignacioun; 

And sodenli descendyng from the heuene, 776 

He was consumpt with a firi leuene, — 

fupi'ttrirttn His false goddis myhte hym nat auaile, 
and Venus, lubiter, Satumus nor Venus. 

were unable to ' _ 

help him. AH Lat al Christene defie such rascaile; 780 

Christians should—, r • i i • i • 

defy such J;* or to our icith thei be contrarious. 

And among goddis, a thyng most outraious, 

Ys, whan that pryncis, blent in ther folic, 

List ertheli thynges falsli deifie. 784 

wo'^rshfp" For onto God is hatful and odible 
earthly things, ^ withdtawyng off his reuerence, 

for It IS odious r 1 mi 

to God. To magnene thynges coruptible 

With ondue honour, be fals concupiscence. 788 

Wherfor, ye Pryncis, beth war, off hih prudence, 
List God onwarli pun[y]she your noblesse, 
Maak you in erthe no fals god nor goddesse. 

[How Anchus kyng of Rome was moordred by 
Lucynyo, bi thassent of his wiffj ^ 

Ancus Marcius 
succeeded to 

THYNKITH on Anchus, kyng off Rome touw, 792 
J J Which was so noble shynywg in his glorie, 

was murdered r ^ r rr o 7 

with the consent Wered a crowne, tul ramous ott renouw, 

of his wife, -_ ^^ ... . . 

Next Hostihus, as put is m memorie. 
Wan the palme off many gret victorie; 796 

But for al that, with a ful sharp[e] knyff 
He moordred was bassentyng off his wyfF. 
whom hegreatiy j^ loucd hir bcst aboue cch creature, 

lovea, blina to ^ ^ ' 

her falseness; Considred nat hir flatrie nor falsnesse, 800 

for she coveted . . , , , i 

his riches. Hir doublc menyng vnder couerture 
Falsli blent this pryncis worthynesse. 
To robbe and reue hym off his gret richesse 

770] Afore his auctirs wjt^ fiere & ensence R. 

777. firi] fiere R. 

783. Ys]YeR. 785. is] it is H. 788. be] wit/b R. 

1 MS. J. leaf 63 verso. 

BK. IIl3 

The Murder of Ancus Marcius 


Was hir labour, with countirfet plesaunce, 804 

In hir entent to brynge hym to myschauwce. 

This Anchus hadde a gret afFecciouw, 

Onto his goddis to make sacrifises, 

And to augmente the rehgioun 808 

Off paganysme, maad in sundri wises. 

Thoruh his manhod and circumspect deuyses, 

Vpon Latynes, rebel to his cite, 

For comoun profit he made a gret arme. 812 

Oon off ther cites, callid Politorie, 

He knyhtli wan, maugre al ther myht; 

And whan he hadde off hem ful victorie, 

He abod no lenger, but anon foorth ryht 816 

Made al the peeple, in eueri mannys siht. 

As prisoneris, this Romayn champioun, 

Be brouht afom hym bounde into the touw. 

Eek, as I fynde, this Anchus nolde cese, 820 

For comoun proffit in his affeccioun, 

Ther teritories taugmenten and encrese 

In all the cuntres abouten enviroun 

Toward the ryuer wher Tibre renneth doun; 

At which[e] place he leet[e] edefie 

A ful strong cite, which callid is Ostie. 

But natwithstandyng al his worthynesse. 

He was depryued, the story tellith so, 

Off his kyngdam and his gret richesse 

Bi a foreyn callid Lucynyo. 

His wiff Tarquild assentid was therto, 

Bi whos outrage and gredi couetise 832 

Anchus was moordred in ful cruel wise. 

Ancus was a. 
devout pagan 
and defeated the 

and brought 
many of 
them prisoner* 
to Rome. 

He was always 
busy to increase 
the territories of 
Rome, and built 


Nevertheless he 
was murdered 

828 ^f «n «li«i . . 
named Luamo. 

[How Lucynyo that mordred Anchus was aftir 
mordred.J ^ 

THUS fro the wheel of Fortune he is fall; [p. 155] \lf^^^ ^^ 
Lucynio in Rome is crownyd kyng, ""'^n 

And the Romayns afftir dede hym call 836 i^,'' f^^ud and 

Tarquyn the olde, be record off writyng. 

813. ther] the R — pylitorie R. 821. his] this R. 

822. encrese] crese R. 824. wher] om. H. 

830. Lucimyo H. 831. Tanquild R. 

833. in ful cruel wise] as ye have herd devise H, R 3, H j. 

1 MS. J. leaf 64 recto. 



He was also the 
first to wall 

352 The Murder of Lucinio who slew Ancus {byl. hi 

Which hath atteyned, be fraudulent werkyng, 

And bi his subtil forged eloquence 

Onto thestat off roial excellence. 840 

the p^*pi^ with He first ordeyned in his estat roial 
jousts and was Xumeis, iustcs iu castell[s] and cites, 

the first king to ' n-i • i 

instkute And Other pleies callid marcial, 

With many famous gret solempnites, 844 

Sessiouws for statis and degrees. 
This Tarquyn eek, was first that dede his peyne 
In open stretis tauernys to ordeyne. 

Eek to preserue his cite out off doubte, 848 

Rome and to Yiff thet cnmyes list them to assaile, 

build towers lor t r i ii- i t» i 

defence. He He was the fitst that waliid Rome aboute 

conquered the __-.. , , . ti i* r r •^ 

Sabines and With myhti touts, onlikii tor to raile, 
Tanaquii. And haddc also many strong bataile 853 

With the Sabynes in ther rebellious, 
And made hem subiect onto Rome toun. 

But for he was assentid to depryue 

Worthi Anchus from his estat roial, 856 

And afftir that took Tarquyld [onjto wyue, 

Which slouh hir lord be tresoun ful mortal, 

God wolde off riht that he sholde haue a fal: 

The Lord wil nat, which euery thyng may see, 860 

Suffre moordre longe to be secre. 

SfowTuchlranFor Lucynio, for his gret offence, 

to prosper, so he Xouchvng the mootdre off the kyng Anchus, 

was slam by.-l° , .. j<=> 

two shepherds Islay[e]n was be sodeyn violence 864 

Off too shepperdis, the stori tellitli thus. 
Which off entent[e] wer contrarious 
Atwen hemsilff[e] be a feyned striff, 
To fynde a weie to reue hym off his liff. 868 

h^ onThe^^°"' For whil the kyng sat in iugement 
pretence of a Upon thct Quarel for to do iustise, 

quarrel and then '^ i i • i • i rr 

fell on him with )< ul sodcnli, thci beyng oit assent. 

Fill vpon hym in ful cruel wise, 872 

And with an ax, the story doth deuise, 
Oon off hem, or any man took heed. 
On too parties roff the kynges hed. 

854. subiect] sogettis H. 

857. tanquyld J, Tanaquii P, Tanquile H 5. 

860. euery] euer^ R. 

870. quarellis H. 

an axe. 

BK. Ill] An Envoy on Slander, Murder and Poison 


This thyng was doon bi the procuryug 876 

Off too childre, sonys to Anchus, 

Which were exilid be fals compass^Tig 

Off Lucinio, ageyn hem most irous, — 

To hym ther presence was so odious. 880 

But thei hem shoop, thouh thei were out off siht, 

Ther fadres deth tauengen yiff thei myht. 

For off nature blood will vengid be, 

To recompense the wrong off his kjTireede, 

In this chapitle, lik as ye may see, 

Blood shad for blood: thus bothe dede bleede. 

Be which exaumple, lat prj'ncis taken heede. 

How moordre doon for supplantacioun* 

Requereth vengau?:ce for his fynal guerdouw. 

This was done 
by the in- 
stigation of 
whom Locinio 
had exiled. 

Blood win be 
avenged, as yxja 
go J may see in this 
* chapter. Let 
princes remem- 
ber this. 



THIS tragedie be cleer inspeccioun 
Openli declareth in substaunce, 
How slauhtre of princis causith subuersioun 
Off rewmys, cites put out off ordynaunce, 
Off mortal werre long contynuaunce. 
Blood be supplantyng* shad off k^nges tweyne, 
Bexaumple heer shewed, fals moordre to restreyne, 896 

The fyn declaryng off moordre & fals tresoun: 

The deede horrible crieth ay vengau?2ce 

To God aboue to caste his eien dou?:, 

To punshe this synne thoruh his m^hti puissaunce; 900 

For it is mooder off myscheeff & myschaunce. 

Wlierfor, ye Pr}''ncis, doth sum lawe ordeyne, 

WithjTine your boundis thre vices to restreyne: 

The vice off sclaundre, moordre and poisouti. 

Wher-euer these thre hauen aqueyntaunce, 

Thei brynge in sorwe and desolacioun, 

Put at a preeff be newe remembraunce 

Off falsheed vsed vnder fair cuntenaunce. 

Wherfor, ye Prjiicis, doth your besi peyne, 

\\ ithjTine your boundis these vices to restreyne. 

This tragedy 
plainly declares 
that the 
slaughter of 
8q2 prince* causes 
war and sub- 
version and cries 

V"4 Princes, see that 
the evils of 
dander, murder 
and poison, and 
the sorrow and 
desolation they 
bring are re- 
908 strained in your 

888. subplantacioun B. 
895. subplantyng B. 
900. thoruh] by H. 

354 Concerning Tarquin and Lucrece [|bk. hi 

EngkntfL God diffende this noble regioun 

siander.that With thcsc thrc viccs to hauc* alUauMce: 012 

slays good fame, i i r i i i -i 

and from murder i< or sclaundrc htst deuoureth hih renoun, 
punishment is And slcth good fame thoruh fals dalUaunce. 
them'^"^ °^ Harm doon, to late folweth repentauwce, 

Wherfor, ye Pryncis, doth a lawe ordeyne 916 

To punshe ther malice, fals tunges to restreyne. 

God hath ofFmoordre abhominaciouw, [p. 156] 

And fals poisouw doth to hym displesauwce; 

Ther is no peyen* in comparisouw 920 

Condigne to moordre, pelsed in ballauwce. 

Wherfor, ye Pryncis, makith an ordynauwce, 

Withynne your bouwdis off sum dedli peyne 

Bi du[e] punshyng fals moordre to restreyne. 924 

dliTbe'the ^ noble Pryncis, prouydeth off resoun 
final reward of Ageyn thcse vices to make purueiaunce, 

these vices. ^ -'. " . 

Uit rigour sheweth due execucioun 
With al your labour & your hertli instauwce. 928 

Lat deth be guerdouw for ther fynal penauwce. 
To warne all othre, be constreynt off ther peyne, 
Fro these thre vices ther corages to restreyne. 

[|How for the offence don to Lucrece by Tarquyn 
was never aftir crowned kyng in Rome.] ^ 

rndTiL"flmiS''^T"^UCHIA^G this Tarquyw, of whom I now[e] 932 

long dominated JL toldc, 

Rome, until the i i • 

time of the Rape As myu auctout maketh mencioun. 
Then tiTe^ame Hc calHd was Tarquinius the olde, 

of king came to ^j^j^j^ j^^^^^ j^ j^^^^^ j^^jj^ domiuacioUM, 

Till his kynreede and generaciouw, 936 

For thoffence doon onto Lucrece, 
Caused off kynges the name [for] to cese. 

Sn was'^caUed ^^^ ^^^ sone, which afftir gan succeede, 

Tarquin the Yox his outtages and his extorsiouws, 940 

Proud for his evil ° i i i 

life- And for many a-nother cruel deede, 

911. this] the R. 912. thre vices] regions R — haue] 

hauen B. 
()i'r,-iz, are replaced by ()0\-6^. 917. ther] the R. 
920. peyne B. 924. punishyng P. 

932. I nowe] riht now I H. 

933. There is a contraction sign for ur over the u in auctour B. 

934. Tarquinus R. 936. Till] Al H. 937. onto] to H. 
938. for] om. R, J, P — names P. 939. sone] sony R. 

1 MS. J. leaf 64 verso. 

BK. IIl3 

Tarquin and Lucrece 


For his haatful vsurpaciouns, 

His froward lifF and fals condiciou7is, 

Among the peeple, bothe stille and loude, 944 

He callid was Tarquinius the proude. 

Ful obstynat he was in his entent, 

Ambicious tacroche gret richesse, 

Till that Fortune wex inpacient 

Ageyn[e]s hym, in al his gret noblesse. 

Gan hir snares and hir crokes dresse, 

Thouhte she wolde, but he kept hym weel, 

Al sodenli cast hym from hir wheel. 952 

A sone he hadde, ful vicious, as I fynde, 

To all vertu most contrarious — 

To be froward it cam to hym off kynde — 

And off nature proud and despitous, 956 

Ageyn the peeple fell and malicious, 

Nat louyd but drad; for tirannye off riht 

Is thyng most hatid in the peeplis siht. 

This proude Tarquyn, the story is weel kouth, 960 

Ageyn Lucrece dede a gret outrage, 

Oppressid hir beute in his onbridled youth, 

Hir trouthe assailyug in a furious rage. 

For which his fader, he, and his lynage 964 

Exilid wern, and for this hatful thyng 

Ther was neuer afFtir in Rome crownyd kyng. 

Hir bodi corupt, she cleene off herte & thouht. 

Be force assailed was hir innocence, 968 

Oppressid hir beute, but hir sperit nouht, 

Hir chaast[e] will dede non offence; 

But entred is into hir conscience 

A gret remors, for al hir wifli trouthe, 972 

To slen hirsilff, which was to gret a routhe. 

And for that Bochas remembreth pitousli 

Hir dedli sorwe and lamentacioun. 

Writ hir compleynt in ordre ceriousli, 976 

Which that she made for hir oppressiouw, 

I folwe muste and make mencioun, 

AfFtir myn auctour parcel rehersyng, 

Touchyng hir woordis said in hir deieng. 980 

Obstinate and 
avaricious, he 
reigned until 
Fortune cast 
r\A9, hxva down from 
^^ her wheel. 

It was his 
vicious son, 
hated and feared 
by the people. 

who outraged 
Lucrece; and for 
that deed he and 
his father and 
all their kin 
were exiled. 

Lucrece's chaste 
will did no 
offence, she slew 
herself for re- 

and as Bochas 
wrote her dying 
complaint, so 
must I, 

945. Terquinius R. 
948. Impacient R, H. 
980. 1st hir] t)e H. 

959. peeple R. 963. Hir] His R. 

356 The Complaint of Lucrece [^bk. hi 

aireaiy'tof/'^ Al-be-lt SO, be biddyng ofF my lord, 

o^Tt"*^'"^ Rehersed haue in my translacioun 

bidding of my AfFtir PieHus heer and ther a woord 

OfF a ful doolful declamacioun 984 

Be hym remembred ofF entenclouw, 
For hir sake men myhte seen and rede 
What wifli trouthe was in hir womanheede. 

johnToSar And lohn Bochas Hst nat sette a-side, 988 

eloquence, but I gy^ ^j^^t he wolde rehcrsen in sentence 

will give you the 

lubstance of his Hir woful compleynt, & therupon abide, 

writing. ^„ • J ^ U- • 

(Jft wrongis doon onto hir innocence. 

And thouh I canwat folwe his eloquence, 992 

I shal sue the trouthe ofF rehersyng 

As in substauwce thefFect ofF his writyng. 

IterTeloui ^ The motwe next afFtir this foule deede, 

deed, Lucrece Luctece vproos with a ful dedli cheer. 996 

arose, and with a rr- i • r i i i 

deadly pale face Qut ofF hit lace gon was al the rede, 
in funereal black And dirked wem hir heuenli eien cleer, 

Al clad in blak[e] afFtir the maneer 

OfF thilke folk which in especiall 1000 

Ar wont to gon to feestis funerall. 

his father All hir freendis beyng in presence, [p. 157] 

and assembled Husboude, fader, with other eek also, " 

friends, i i • i • 

Bi and bi rehersyng in sentence 1004 

The circutnstauwces ofF hir hertli wo. 

And or that I any ferther go, 

Vnder hope my lord will me supporte, 

What that she saide I will to you reporte. 1008 

[The greuous compleynt of Lucrece vpon hir oppres- 
sioun.] ^ 

il^Lul°rece,'''am " T^OR-ASMOCHE," quod she, "as I Lucrcce 
joined to you in J/ Am be the lawe ioyned in mariage 

marriage as your _, , 111111 

humble subject, 1 o the, my iotd, whos loue shal ay encrece 

Towardis the, with al the surplusage 1012 

OfF wifli trouthe tenduren al myn age, 
As humble subiect with feithful obeisaunce 
Vnder thi lordshipe and thi gouernauwce, 

983. Piernis R, Pieryns H, Pierins J, pyernus R 3, pyrrus H J, 

Pierius P. 986. hir] liis H. 

991. onto] to R. 996. dedli] dooleful H. 997. hir] his R. 
999. Al] And R. 1000. folk] om. R. 1006. any] may R. 
* MS. J. leaf 64 verso. 



The Complaint of Lucre ce 


Colatyn, my lord and trewe husbonde, 1016 
Best beloued oflF hool afFeccioun, 

1 will no mor no quarell take on honde 
Nor in no wise make non accioun, 

Withoute that thou Hst enclyne doun 1020 

Goodii thyn eris to yiue me audience 
To that I shall reherse in thi presence. 

Iniurie doon or any maner wrong 

Ageyn my worshepe or myn honeste, 

Bi the lawe my sentence is maad strong, 

It touchet[h] you also weel as me, 

I am so hooli yolden onto the, — 

Thou art myn hed, who cleerli can discerne, 

Lord and husbonde my bodi to gouerne. 

Parcial causes in sooth ther may non be 
Atwen vs tweyne nor no disseueraunce: 
For soote and bittir, ioie and aduersite, 
We must hem weie bothe in o balaunce, 
Countirpeise our sorwes [&] our plesaunce, 
Entirmedle all thynge that is in doubte, 
Receyue our fortune as it komth aboute. 

Ther may atwen vs be no menyng double. 

But oon herte, o will and o corage. 

And as [a] woman that stondeth now in trouble, 

Withoute polishyng off any fair language, 

I mut disclose to you the gret outrage 

Doon onto me, and pleynli it discure. 

Which to redresse lith hooli in your cure. 

For the mater, to speke in woordes pleyne, 

A-riht out serchid and the trouthe out founde, 

As a iust cause, ondifFerent to tweyne 

Toward vs bothe the quarell doth rebounde. 

And mor strongli our mater for to grounde, 1048 

Reherse I will, so that ye sauff it vouche, 

A mortall wrong which the & me doth touche. 

O best bdoved 
Collatine, I will 
take no action 
until you have 
heard my story. 

" Injury done to 
my honerty 
1024 touches yxiu as 
^ well at me. 


There may be 
no sundering of 
our joy and 
adversity: we 
\OX2 must weigh 

them both in one 


and as no deceit 
can be between 
us, I must 
frankly disclose 
to you my 
outrage, which 
1040 it lies in your 
power to 

"It is a mc«tal 
^"44 wrong, which 
you must dearly 

1018. no3 none R. 

1022. reherse in thi presence^ reh^^en in sentence H. 

1024. or] & R. 1027. hooli] om. R. 

1034. &] om. J, H s, R 3. 

1037. menyng] mevyng R. 

1038. o will o hert H — 2nd o] one R. 
1045. A-riht] at riht H. 

358 The Complaint of Lucrece []bk. hi 

MstufcaUedCoi-I" a castcll which callid is Collace, 

iace,wh^n Off which mv lord hccF hath the gouemauwce, 1052 

young Tarquin -^ • i i 

appeared 1 arquvn the vonge cam into that place. 

without T r 11 J- 1 • 

warning. 1, tull diswarrc to make purueiauwce 

Ageyn his comyng or any ordenauwce, 
Toforn nat warnyd off his officeris, 1056 

Sat onpurueied among my chaumbereris. 

'i'dT°nes7'/and ^ cntcnt teschewcn idilnesse, 

my women sat Wg sat and Span vpon wolles soffte; 

spinning soft ^ t . ^ . ~. 

wools. Y or she orr vices is a cheeit maistresse 1060 

Wher she is cherisshid & iset aloffte: 
But off custum as I haue do ful offte, 
I and my women duli as we ouhte, 
Tauoide slouthe ful bisili we wrouhte. 1064 

vSyr?speafuiiyHis ent[e]ryng was meek and debonaire, 
"iVwo^rd^f th?t^ Benygne off port, off look & off visage, 
were contrary With a ptetencc off many woordes faire, 

to his heart. -,1 r 1 »»» 

In whos menyng was tul gret outrage, 1068 

His cheer contrarie* onto his corage. 
In this wise ther he was receuyed, 
Wherbi, alas, I falsli was deceyued! 

ciurtSi^siy. al^'At pryme face, as me thouhte it due, 1073 

became a man \ hym teceyued at his in comyng : 

of his position: -' ii- i i 

yet all the while Roos up meckli and gan hym to same, 

he intended to. I'li i 

betray me. As appcttencd in aile maner thyng 

Onto the sone off a worthi kyng. 1076 

And treuli Tarquyn, for which I seie alas, 
Me to be-traisshe stood in the same caas. 

kingXouid'be A kynges sone sholde off du[e]te ^ _ 

a protector of Bccn to wommcu Wall and protecciouw, 1080 

women and play , . ' , 

the part of a Prcserue and keepe hem in ai surete, 
°'^ '' That no man sholde, off no presumpciouw, 

Doon hem no wrong nor oppressiouw, 

1058. teschewen] to shew B. 1064. we] om. R. 

1067. many] may R. 1069. contraire B. 1074. to] om. R. 

^ l^he jollowing five lines, to which are appended the two last of 
the preceding stanza, are inserted before line 1079 as a complete 
stanza in the Phillipps-Garrett MS., section 10, leaf 6 a: 
I trusted well his riall noblesse 
Be any sing J)at y kouj) a spie 
He no })ing mtnt but troul> & gentilnesse 
But oft falleth as clerkes specefie 
Vndre fair speche men may treson wrye. 

BK. Ill]] 

The Complaint of Lucrece 


Rather deie than seen hem sufFre onriht, 
Aduertisynge thoflSce off a knyht. 

But in contraire off knyhthod he hath wrouht, [p. 

Be fals outrage doon ageyn[e]s me. 

Wrong[e] weies and crokid menys souht 

Off lawes tweyne to breke the liberte, 

And difface the auctorite 

Off lawe ciuyle & natural also, 

In my persone offendyng bothe too. 

First be his fals[e] subtil compassyng 

He gan espie thestris off the place; 

And whan a-bedde alone I lay slepyng, 

Lik a leoun, ful sterne off look and face, 

With his lefft hand my throte he dede enbrace, 

And in his other heeld ageyn al lawe 

Me for toppresse a naked suerd idrawe. 

Thus afforcyng my wifli chastite, 

Ageyn knyhthod he dede this gret offence, 

Mi liff, my worshepe put in perplexite, 

Hauyng no myht to make resistence, — 

Me manacyng be dedli violence, 

The ton off tweyne: to deie in his entente, 

Or to auoutri* falsli to consente. 

Thus I stood sool atwen deth & diffame, S"eti?d^ 

Mi bodi corupt, my sperit aboodfe] cleene; 1108 "d dishonour, 

-KK' •! 1 1 o ir 1 my body cor- 

Mi spousaiie broke, & my good[eJ name mpted, my spirit 

For euer disclaundred, that whilom shon ful sheene. g^' nam^'' 
Euel fame off custum will alwei wexe greene, evK^°* °' 

Neuer deie, the peeple so hem disporte ma 

The werste off thynges gladli to reporte. 

Alas, alas ! among my sorwes all, tem*We^f m°" 

This oon the moste that doth myn herte agrise; — sorrows i$ that i 

T I • 1 11111 *™ °° longer 

1 am nat worthi that men me sholde call, 1116 worthy to be 

01 ^1 • . called your wife! 

r haue the name m no maner wise, 

For thoffence which ye han herd deuise, 

To be callid, in this wrecchid liff. 

Off Collatyn from hen[ne]sfoorth the wiff. 1120 


J ..Q] "But Tarquin 
'^ 3 "J only sought 

meana to break 
both civil and 
1088 natural law in 
my p«noa. 


"First he spied 
out the inner 
rooms, and then, 
when I lay 
asleep in bed, 
he came on me 
1096 like a lion. 

■r,^^ and, seizing me 
^^°° by the throat, 
threatened my 
life with a naked 
sword if I would 
not consent to 
1 104 

11C56. tauoutri B. 
1 108. my] in H. 

1112. hem so H. 

1113. thynges] al H. 
1 1 15. the] om. R. 


The Complaint and Death of Lucrece 

Hbk. Ill 

bi^ded'^with'* Myn eien also be blyndid with derknesse, 

shame: never Qnll for shamC tO lefftCIl VD thcF siht, 
may 1 be ^ ' 

reckoned as an Outhcr thcr strcmys OF bcmys vp to dresse, 
Off the cleer heuene to looke vpon the liht. 
Nor I mai neuer been off the nouwbre off riht, 
Off trewe matrones, among hem ferr nor neer, 
For to be rekned in ther kalendeer. 

bi'so piTnUheZ Lat myn Iniurie and this mortal cryme 
that it may gg ^q punMshed off riht and equite, 

become a lastmg f i-j i -i ^ 

example to Withoute delay off any lenger tyme, 
That euer afftir it may exauwple be 
Thoruh al the world and eek in this cite, — 
With such a peyne therupon deuised, 
That all auoutours may be therbi chastised. 

to'^^iu'lhatTtoo And yiff it seeme in your opynyouw, 
am culpable, I jjj ^\^{g ^aas I sholde been onpure, 

will patiently t • i • • 

accept my { will receyue lust punyciouw 

punishment. ait • i* i 

And the peyne pacientii endure, 

Yiff it so stonde that parauenture 

Ye deeme off resouw, that be so iust & stable. 

In this mateer that I be coupable." 

Hir tale told. Whan thei longe hadde musid 
On this compleynt in ther inward siht. 
Off trouthe echon thei heeld hir ful excusid, 
Made all beheste, with al ther ful[le] myht 
Tauenge hir wrong; and Lucrece anon riht 
Took a sharp knyff, or thei myhte aduerte, 
And rooff hirsilff euene thoruh the herte. 

After she had 
told her story 
and they had 
absolved her of 
all blame and 
promised to 
avenge her 
wrong, she took 
a sharp knife and 
pierced herself 
to the heart. 

1 124 



1 136 

1 140 

1 144 

1 148 

Bochas in hot 
wrote a com- 
plaint against 
those princes, 

f The Compleynt of Bochas Oppon ^e luxurie of 
Princis by examplis of diuers myschevis.^ 

BOCHAS in herte brennyng hoot as fir 
Off verai ire and indignacioun 
Ageyn tho princis, which in ther desir 
Han fulli set ther delectaciouw, 1152 

Ther felicite and ther affeccioun 
To folwe ther lustis off fals lecherie, 
Froward spousbreche and off auoutrie. 

I125. neuer] OOT. R. 1126. nor] or R. 
1 140. be] it be H. 1141. coulpable R. 
1 148. thoruh] to H. 1 149- hoot] as hoote H. 

^ The same heading in J and R. by] as by J — many dyuers J — 
myschevis] myschaunces R, J. 

BK. Ill] Bocbas on the Immorality of Princes 


He writ ageyn hem that seeke occasiouns, 

Places off lust to han ther libertees 

For to fulfiUe ther delectaciouns; 

And for tacomplisshe ther gret dishonestees, 

Deuyse out tauemes in burwes & citees, 

And sittyng ther among ther cumpanye, 

Afftir the deede thei booste off ther folye. 

Yiff any man pynche at ther outrage, [p. 

Or them rebuke for ther tran[s]gressiouns, 

Thei will ansuere with froward fals language, 

And for ther parti allegge gret resouns : 

First how it longeth to ther condiciouns 

Be riht off Nature, as it is weel kouth, 1168 

Freli to vse lecheri in youth; 

AfFerme also, how lawe of Kynde is fre. 

And so afForce hem to sustene ther partie 

Bexaumple off Dauid, which that took Bersabe, 1172 

And for hir sake how he slouh Vrie, 

Dede manslauhtre and fals auoutrie, — 

For hem aleggyng, ageyn riht and resoun. 

For Dalida the luxure off Sampsoun. 1176 

The stori also thei frowardli applie. 
How for a woman prudent Salamouw, 
The Lord offendyng, dede ydolatrie. 
And in diffence off ther opynyoun, 
Reherse these storyes for excusacioun 
Off ther errour, therbi a pris to wynne. 
As tofor God lecheri wer no synne. 

Thei nat considre in ther entencioun 

Off these stories eueri circumstaunce: 

First off kyng Dauid the gret contricioun, 

Nor vpon Sampson how God took gret vengaunce; 

First how he loste his force & his puissaunce 1188 

For his offence — thei ha[ue] nat this in mynde, 

Nor how that bothe his eien wer maad blynde. 

Nor ther resouns thei list nat to enclyne 
For to conceyue in ther discrecioun, 
The sperit off wisdam, heuenli & dyuyne, 
Was take away fro prudent Salamoun 
In chastisyng for his transgressioun. 

1 157. lust] lustes R. 

1 171. so afForce] tafForce H. 

T T -A ^^o, following 

^^0" their evil 

desires, commit 
adultery, and 
publicly boast 
of their folly. 


T 'ol ^^ "'^ ram 
*3VJ rebuke them, 

1 164 they fill.t.e" 
him that it is 
a law of 
nature to do 
such things in 
one's youth. 

and allege 
David and 
Bathsheba and 
Samson and 
Delilah in their 

and tell also how 
Solomon be- 
came an idolater 
for the love of a 
woman; — as if 
harlotry were no 
1 180 sin before God! 

--0. They never con - 
^^°4 ,ider David's 
remorse or 
God's ven- 

teance on 

or how Solo- 
mon was 
1 IQ2 deprived of his 
spirit of wisdom 
for his offence, 
and, as some 
doctors afSrm, 
sorely repented 

362 Bochas on the Immorality of Princes [[bk. hi 

And summe doctours afFermen ouermore, 1196 

How Salamon repentid hym ful sore. 

fhe°Hcentiout" The play ofF youthc folk calle it lecherie, 

Srtur°a\''to"lu'' ^^y" ^^^^ ^^ ^^ ^ gamen off Nature, 

healthy animals; And to sustene and Bern vp ther partie, laoo 

they think only tt • • i i i rr • 

ofvicious How It Sit weel, be record oit scripture, 

pleasures and lie /^ • i ittt 

and boast and Unto cuerich iiiiii creature 

horribie*^oaths, That stant in helthe and is coraious, 

^^Ix^^llth C)fF verrai kynde for to be lecherous. 1204 


Vicious report thei han in remembrauwce, 

But vertuous thyng is ferr out off mynde; 

Flesshli lustis and lecherous plesaunce 

In ther desirs be nat lefft behynde. iao8 

Auauwtyng, lieng thei can off newe out fynde; 

And now-adaies thei holde curtesie 

Othes horrible, flatryng and ribaudie. 

Snk ofnobie I" ^hcr auys thei taken litil heede 121a 

Scipio and of his Qnto the doctryn off noble Scipiouw, 

advice to -^ , , * 

Masinissa either Which comauwdid, in story as I reede, 

Sophonisba alone To Masmissa, ful famous off renoun, 

ore se marry "• jy^^^ ^^ touche be no condicioun iai6 

Sophonisba, fairest off visage, 

But yiff it were be weie off mariage. 

roya°bl5od! Thouh she wer born off the blood roiall, 

she was virtuous f^j^ youthe was set to al honeste, ' 1220 

and wedded to -p,. f i i • i i tt i ii 

King Syphax, Douhter and hair to noble Hastruball, 

who reigned in .p^ rr r> i 

Numidia. Duc OIT Cartage, the story ye may see; 

And for hir vertues off femynyte, 
She weddid was, off berthe as she was lik, 1224 

To kyng Siphax, which regned in Affrik. 

iiberty°of vitue ^ud for to pteue the grete liberte 
'^•^ij^' r • Which is in vertu conveied be resoun, 

thraldom of vice, .,,^, ,,, rri-i 

Cato shewed And the fals thraldam off dishoneste, — 1228 

that the former ,-^pf, , , , . 

is never subject UiT bothe to make a pieyn compansouw, 
Afftir the doctryn off Censoryn Catoun, 
Shewid be hym to folkis in comune, 
That vertu neuer is subiect to Fortune: 123a 

1 196. evir more H. 1199. a game H. 

1210. holde it curtasye H. 1215. Mascinissa' P. 

1223. vertues]] vertuous R. 

1224. was weddyd R. 

BK. Ill3 Bocbas on the Immorality of Princes 


Vertu conserueth mesour and resoun, 

Considreth thynges aforn or thei befall, 

Takith non enprises but off discrecioun, 

And on prudence foundeth hir werkes all; 1236 

Ay to hir counsail attempraunce she doth call, 

Warli prouydyng in hirsilfF withynne 

The eende off thynges toforn or she begynne. 

This was the doctryn tauht foorth off Catouw, 
Lecherous lustis to put hem vndir foote, 
Grauntyng to vertu the domynacioun, 
Plukke up vices, braunche, cropp & roote. 
Frut off goodnesse groweth up so soote, 
Whan it is plauntid off youthe in a corage. 
It neuer appalleth in helthe off his tarage. 

Catoun with vertu was a cheeff officer, [p. 

Preferryng euer comouw comwodites 

Tofor profites that wer synguler; 

Tenhauwce the comoun in kyngdames & citees, 

Ther wittis peised and ther habilitees, 

Personys promotyng, in whom it was supposid, 1252 

That thei in vertu wer natureli disposid. 

Manli off herte he was ay to susteene 

Indifferentli trouthe and al iustise; 

Flesshli delites off folk that wer oncleene 1256 

He was ay redi be rigour to chastise, 

And sette lawes in ful prudent wise 

For to punshe flaterers and lechours 

And such as wern openli auoutours. 1260 

He hadde off womwen non opynyoun 

With hem to dele for lust nor for beute. 

But yiff it were for procreacioun, — 

So stable he was founde in his degre, 1264 

The book reedyng off inmortalite 

Which Plato made, the trouthe weel out souht, 

Therin concludyng, how soulis deie nouht. 

But lyueth euer outher in ioie or peyne. 1268 

Thus wrot Plato in his orygynall: 

Men may the body be deth ful weel constreyne, 

1235. Emprises H. 1237. she] he R. 

1239. toforn or she] or they R. 1245. a] om. R. 

1246. in helthe off] of helth in H, in hegh of R 3, in heyth of P. 

1265. Immortalite H. 1268. lyueth] lyven H. 

1269. Thus] this H. 

Virtue has fore- 
sight and under- 
takes nothing 

which was 
1240 Cajo'j doctrine. 


T^l Cato always 
*"^J preferred the 

^ people to in- 
dividual advan* 

and supported 
justice and 
truth, and was 
ever ready 
to punish 
unclean folk. 

He had no desire 
to have ado with 
women except 
for procreation. 

and read Plato's 
book on the 
immortality of 
the soul. 

364 Bochas on the Immorality of Princes [[bk. Ill 

But the soule abit ay inmortall. 

For which this Catouw, stedfast as a wall, 1272 

For comouw profit to deie was nat afferd, 

Whan he hymsilfF slouh with a naked suerd. 

SratdTo'dfe^for ^"^ ^^ Fottunc afom his deth he saide, 

the common "Q thou prynccssc ofF worldH goodes veyne, 1276 

weal, saying to r -^ . i i i • i 

1 o thi natereris 1 neuer dede abraide, 

Thi fauour is so fals and oncerteyne 

That neuer I fauht no fraunchise to atteyne 

As for my-silfF, nor parcial syngulerte, 1280 

But al for profit touchyng the comounte. 

never yUidid to A-geyn Ccsat I made resistence, 

thy flattery nor f o conquete fredam to me & to the tou«, 

sought gam for ^ ^ i • i 

myself. I resisted i< reli tcschewe his mottal violence, 1284 

Caesar for free- r^, . i i i • 

dom's sake and 1 his wotid despisyng m myn opynyouw, — 
d°e7^ing' the Our frauwchise thrallid vnder subieccioun, 
world." lustli forsakyng the variauwce off this lifF, 

Mi soule conveied to be contemplatifF." 1288 

?hfs°'!udent"id This philisophre, this prudent old Catoun, 
Cato wrote Tcndryng in herte comouw comoditees, 

beseechmg im- ^^ ~ "^ , T , , ^p 

moral princes to 1 oiom his deth wrot oit compassiouM 

follow the rr-' 1 1 • • 1 T • 

example of io them that sat m roiai dignitees, 1293 

Drusu.. ^^\^\c\y hadde ofF vertu lost the libertees, 

Pryncis besechyng, that wer luxurious. 
To take exauwple and folwe kyng Drusus. 

who loved virtue ^ ^j^g whichfcl Drusus, be successiouw 1296 

and was always . . i 

faithful to his Heir to Augustus, was next hym emp^rour, 
Sett al in vertu his aflFecciouw, 
And it to cherishe dede hooli his labour. 
To lust onleefFul he neuer gafF fauour; 1300 

And touchyng loue, duryng all his lifF, 
He neuer hadde lust but onli to his wifF. 

?8ked w^ith And in his paleis, myd off his roiall see, 

incredulous Qff noble pryncis duellyng in Rome toun 1304 

impertmence ^ r ii'j'* 

what sort of He axed was, for al his dignite, 

attraction could ..,,. 

his wife have What manct corage or temptaciouw, 
Or what feruence or delectacioun 

1271. Immortall H, R. 

1277. flatrers H. 1279. fauht] auht H. 1280. nor] no R. 

1286. Our] or H. 1287. this] his H. 1293. the] ther H. 

1302. to] til H. 

for him, 




BK. Ill] Bocbas on the Immorality of Princes 

Withynne hymsilfF he hadde off louys play, 
Sool bi his wifF whan he a-bedde lay. 

And lik a prynce fulfiUid off hih noblesse, 

Ansuerde ageyn with sobre cuntenaunce, 

" Touchyng such lust as folweth flesshlynesse, 

Lik as Nature me put in gouemaunce. 

In oon alone is set al my plesaunce: 

For with non other for no concupiscence, 

Sauff with my wiff I neuer dede offence." 

Pryncis echon folwe nat the traas 

Off noble Drusus, as ye shal vndirstonde; 

For summe ha[ue] stonde* al in a-nother caas, - 

Such as can holde too or thre on honde. 

Now heer, now ther, as botis home to londe, 

Nat considryng ther cres nor disauail, 

Whan newfangilnesse bloweth in ther sail. 

^ Eek Bochas writith, sum princis ha[ue] be 

Which viciousli ha[ue] do ther besy peyne, 
Vertuous wommen be flatrie to confounde, 
And tendre maidnes to bryngen in a treyne. 
Such manacis & tormentis to ordeyne, 
Them to transfourme from ther perseueraunce 
And interrupte ther virgynal constauwce. 

But off such folk that yeue no fors off shame, [p. 
Nor dreede God such treynes to deuise, 
Husbondmen in soth ar most to blame 
With foreyn women to trespase in such wise: 
I trowe ther wyues may hem inouh suffise; 
For many ar feeble ther dettis for to quyte, 
Thouh thei in chaung themsilff falsli delite. 

Summe afferme, for themsilff alleggyng, 

To such outrage that thei ha[ue] licence 

Freeli off Nature to vse ther owne thyng. 

And in such caas to no wiht doon offence. 

But froward is ther errour in sentence, 

Fro bond off wedlok, whan thei be so onstable, 

And tofor God most hatful and dampnable. 


he answered 
simply, that he 
had never 
known another. 

All prince* 
have not 
followed in 
Drusus' foot- 


Some even go so 
far a* to seduce 
J, 2^ virtuous women 
>* •* by flattery and 
young girls with 
brutal threats 
and torments. 



Of all such 
people married 
men are the 
worst: I'm 
sure their wives 
are quite 
sufficient for 
most of them, 
f- although they 
^ii^ delight in 

and say that 
Nature gives 
them permission 
to do as they 
1340 please with their 
own bodies. 
But they are 
very hateful to 


13 1 1. Ageyn answerd R. 13 17. traas] trac is H. 

13 19. stonden B. 1323. blowen H. 

1333. ar] be R, er H. 1337. falsely hem silff H. 

1338. ther silff H. 1343. Fro] For H. 

366 Bochas on the Immorality of Princes []bk. hi 

Su°s"hf!'the For she that Is thoruh hir hih noblesse 
that°lra^nimTh Namyd ofF clcrkis, which cleerli can concerne, 
She has given DouhtcF ofF God, ladi and prvncesse, 

him the knowl- ^ ,,. , * •' 

edge of right and Kesoun callid, to guyc man and gouerne, 1348 

wrong and the r-r , , , . , .  . 

power to resist i wccn gooQ and cucl lustii to disccme, — 


She hath departid, pleynli to conclude, 
The lifF off man fro liff off beestis rude. 

?haVonTshe This ladi Resouw, sithen go ful yore, 1353 

he beconfeT7' ^^^ °"^^ "^^" "^^^^ ^"^ disCrecioUM, 

beast rather Tauhte hym also bi hir souereyn lore 
Twen vice and vertu a gret dyuysioun, 
And that he sholde in his eleccioun 1356 

Onto al vertu naturali obeie, 
And in contraire al vicious lifF werrele, — 

than^a human p^^^ ^^ enprente in his memorial, 

How ofF luxure the gret dishoneste 1360 

DifForme a man & make hym bestial, 

And disfigure, ofF what estaat he be: 

For whan that resouw, in hih or low degre, 

Is fled away, folk may afFerme than, 1364 

He is lik a beeste rather than a man. 

Sn«s°'an!end Whetfor lat ptyncis that ha[ue] be defectifF 
^nn'u'T r'^ To folwe ther lustis off sensualite, 

punish all those ' 

who would Shape hem be resoun for tamende ther lifF 1368 

destroy the / i i • 

honest fame of And to consetue and keepe ther chastite, 
Bothe ofF virgines* and wiffli honeste. 
And to pun[y]she all tho that list laboure 
The honest fame off wommen to deuoure. 1372 





^°^ back?good For whan a lechour be force or be maistrie 
once it is Defoulid hath off virgynes the clennesse, 
Widwes oppressid, and be auoutrie 
Assailed wyues that stood in stabilnesse, 1376 

Who mai thanne ther sclaundrous harm redresse, 
Whan ther good name is hurt be such report? — 
For fame lost onys can neuer haue his resort. 

1348. man] folk R. 

1360. luxurie R. 

1362. he] the! H. 

1368. for] for to R. 

1370. virgines] wyuys B. 


BK. Ill] Bochas on the Immorality of Princes 

A theefF may robbe a man off his richesse 
And be sum mene make restituciouw; 
And sum man may disherite & oppresse 
A poore man from his possessiouw, 
And afftir[ward] make satisfaccioun; 
But no man may restore in no degre 
A maide robbid off hir virgynyte. 

A man mai also bete a castell doun, 

And beelde it afFtir mor fresshli to the siht. 

Exile a man out off a regioun 

And hym reuoke, wher it be wrong or riht; 

But no man hath the poweer nor the myht 

For to restore the paleis virgynal 

Off chastite, whan broken is the wal. 

Men mai also put out off seruise, 
And officeres remeue from ther place, 
And at a day, whan Fortune list deuise, 
Thei mai ageyn restored been to grace; 
But ther is nouther tyme set nor space, 
Nor neuer in story nouther rad nor seyn, 
That maidenhed lost recurid was ageyn. 

For which men sholde haue a conscience, 

Rewe in ther herte and repente sore, 

And ha[ue] remors off ther gret offence, 

To rauysshe thyng which thei may nat restore. 

For it is said and hath be said ful yore. 

The emeraud greene off parfit chastite, 

Stole onys away may nat recurid be. 

And hard it is to rauysshe a tresour 
Which off nature is nat recuperable; 
Lordshipe may nat, off kyng nor emp<rrour, 
Refourme a thyng which is nat reformable: 
Rust off diffame is inseparable, 
And maidenheed[e] lost off newe or yore, 
No man alyue mai it ageyn restore. 


o_ Thieve* and 
3°*-' oppressors of 
the poor can 

restitution; but 
no man can 
restore to a 
maid her 
1384 lost chastity. 

A cattle can be 
pulled down and 
afterwards re- 
built; an exile 
maybe recalled; 


officials and 
menials can be 
discharged and 
again taken into 

1396 ?ervice; but 
it has never 
been told that 
once lost was 
ever again 

J .QQ For this reason 
^ men should have 
conscience and 
not take what 
they cannot 


_ . _Q Even the lord- 
1400 ship of kings 
cannot repair 
that which 
is irrevocably 


1381. sum mene] fom^ men H. 

1384. afFtirward] afFtir J, P, H 5 — aflFtirward make] aftir 

make dew R 3. 
1389. 2nd a] his H. 1390. wher] whedir R. 
1398. tyme nouthir H. 1404. thei may] maist H. 

1413. maydenhoode H. 

1414. on lyve H. 

368 Bochas on the Immorality of Princes [^bk. hi 

The old Roman. Romevns oldc thoruh ther pacience fp. 162I 

patiently put up _ „ "i . ... . ^ '•*^ ■• 

with tyrant, and iiuitrede tiraiitis in ther tirannyes, 1416 

robbers, but they a i • i • i • i 

were careful to And in thcF citc to do gFct violencc, 
terers, * " The peeplc toppresse with ther robberies; 
But to pun[y]she thei sette streiht espies 
On fals auoutours, at it is weel kouth, 14S0 

Widwes to rauysshe & maidnes in ther youth. 

as is shewn by Vpon this mateet the stori berth witnesse, 

the exile of King ,_,*^ , i m rr i t- 

Tarquin and the 1 ouchyng thexil oiT kyng 1 atquynyus, 

daudiut. ''''"" AfForn rehersed be writyng ful expresse 1424 

The hatful deth off Appius Claudius 

For his trespas doon to Virgynyus, 

The iugementis rehersed and the peyne; 

And fro ther office depryued bothe tweyne. 1428 

Was not the city Was nat the cite whilom desolat 
itcs laid Off Synachites for the* ribaudie 

desolate for i~\cr o i 1 • 1 11 

the crime of Utt ooH bychcm, which gan a gret debat 
Shechem against j^ j^^^^* acomplisshed his foul Iccheric, 1432 

Whan yonge Dyna, as bookis specefie, 
Wente rek[e]lesli walkyng vp and dou« 
To seen the maidnes off that roial touw? 

He saw her But whan Sichem this Dyna dede espie 1436 

and assaulted Sool bi hirselfF[e] walke in the cite, 

her, for she had tt m i • i • • 

nochancetorunrle gan anon assaile hir be maistne, 

•way; ^^^ ^^^ tafforcen hir virgynyte, 

Because she hadde no leiser for to fle. 1440 

Whos gret offence and transgressioun 
The cite brouhte onto destruccioun. 

but her father Hir fadir lacob & hooli hir kynreede 
brothers Simeon Ageyn this Sichcm gau inwardli disdeyne; 
her kiJ**° * Whan the furie off Mars was most to dreede. 


To be vengid thei dede ther besy peyne. 

And speciali hir worthi brethren tweyne 

Fill on the cite, Symeon and Leuy, 1448 

Tauenge ther suster & stroie it fynaly. 

1417. citees R. 

1418. The] witfe H. 
1422. thej ther R. 
1428. ther] the R. 

1430. the] ther B, J, H, R, the H i, H 5, Sloane, R 3, 

143 1, sichen R. 1432. Taue B. 
1433. bookis] bochas R. 

BK. Ill] Bocbas on the Immorality of Princes 369 

So mortalli thel gan with hem stryue, «d wt*no mai^ 

With ther suerdis grounde sharp & keene, ^""^ *'■''"• 

OfF male childre thei lefFte non alyue, 1452 

Thei wer so vengable in ther furious teene. 

The Sichanytes myhte nat susteene 

That dai ageyn hem to stonden at difFence, 

So importable was ther violence. 1456 

For wher that God list punshe a man off riht i^ uS'.^nd" 

Bi mortal suerd, farweel al resistence: ^ ^"°''i?!'' 

. there can be no 

Whan grace faileth, awey goth force & myht, resistance. 

Feblith off pryncis the magnyficence, 1460 

Chaungeth ther* power into inpotence, 
Reuersith the kynges ther statli regalie, 
Exaumple in Sichem, for his fals ribaudie. 

It was an hard dreedful punycioun, 1464 Ju^shmen"d,e 

That, O Pryncis, trespas in lecherie destruction of 

ir/--iiii • an entire region; 

Caused afor God that al a regioun y« «uch things 

~. . , . , , . happen when 

Destroied was withoute remedie. princes become 

This story told[e] for texemplefie, 1468 "^°"°"'" 

Whan noble pryncis to wommen them submitte, 
Grace and al fauour anon doth fro them flitte. 

Off this stori what sholde I write mor? l^I".!l„°°™!lf 

you any more oi 

In Genesis the residue ye may reede, 1472 ^'' *^°^:- y°" 

The deth off Sichem and off kyng Emor, in Genesis. 

And how ther kyngdam destroied was in deede. 

Off Sichanites, loo, heer the fynal meede, 

Off lecherie and off his fals plesaunce, 1476 

Which many a rewm hath brouht onto myschauwce! 

fl What sholde I efft reherse ageyn or write And why should 

rr-., c, ' rr -n • wnte again 

The fals auoutn off Pans and Heleyne? f|TS^*r-'*d"* 

Ther woful fall Guido dede endite; 1480 and other poets 

T% • 1 11 111' have declared 

roetis echon dede eek ther besi peyne how aii the 

To declare, how onli bi these tweyne Tr^y a^ ''^ 

The worthi blood, for short conclusioun, w^^'eSTn 

Off Troie and Grece cam to destruccioun. 1484 ^^^'"^ account. 

1451. sharp] & sharp H. 1455. stonden] stoden R. 

1458. al] & R. 1461. ther] the B — Impotence H, R. 

1463. fals] om. R. 

1468. This] l)e H. 

1471. stori] mateer R. 

1475. Sychamytes H. 

1478. ageyne reherce R. 

370 Bochas on the Immorality of Princes Qbk. hi 

But ofFte it fallith that mekil habundauwce 

Off worldli good, with gret ese and richesse, 

In folkis that sette al hooli ther plesauwce 

To folwe ther lustis ofF froward wilfulnesse, 1488 

Hath caused in londes gret myscheefF & distresse, 

Whan vicious lifF ther corages dede encoumbre, 

Destroied kyngdames & peeplis out off nouwbre. 

^n^no^^tSln For whan the peeple thoruh fals obstynacie 1493 

from their jg indutat tamendc hem and correcte, 

licentiousness, . ' 

they are in- And wil nat tume hem from ther lecherie, 

evitably brought _, t i i • r 

to confusion, liice but ay ar Fcdi ther soules to miecte, — 

^' And onto purpos my stile I will directe, 1496 

Texemplefie how Gabaa the toun 
Was for his synwe brouht to confusioun. 

Whilom this peeple callid Gabanytes, [p. 163] 

From Beniamyn descendid in ther lyne, 1500 

Wer ai disposid to folwe ther delites, 

And off custum ther wittis dede enclyne 

In worldli plente to flouren & to shyne, 

And dempte alwai, to them it was most due 1504 

OfF wilfulnesse ther lustis for to sue. 

the'Levite'rwife ^^ Icchetie was set al ther plesauwce, 

And in that vice thei ladde most ther lifF, 

Wherbi thei wer[e]n brouht onto myschauwce, 1508 

And many on slayn be ful mortal striff, 

Whan the Leuite cam forbi with his wifF, 

Ful excellent ofF fetures and beute, 

And took his loggyng withynne that gret cite. 1512 

deathf"'^'^ '"'' He was ful old, and she was inli fair. 

He inpotent and she but tendre ofF age, 

Thoruh Gabaa makyng ther repair. 

The citeseyns ofF inportune rage, 1516 

Shewing the furie off ther gret outrage. 

So longe that nyht hir beute dede assaile, 

Till lifF and breth attonys dede faile. 

1485. it]om. H. 

1490. corage R. 

1498. his3 this H — to] om. R. 

1507. vice] wyse R. 

1514. impotent R, H. 

15 16. importune R, H. 

BK. iii3 Bochas on the Immorality of Princes 


Contagious was the sclaundre & difFame,* 
In ludicum the story ye mai reede, 
Which to reherse is a maner shame, 
To heere thabusioun off that foule deede; 
And how the Leuite amorwe gan take* heede 
With pitous cheer, & sauh his yonge wiiF 
Tofor the gate depryued off hit liff. 

He hente hir up & leid hir on his asse; 

To noise this crym vpon eueri side, 

Thouhte in such caas he myhte do no lasse, — 

Took a sharp suerd, & Hst no lenger bide, 

On twelue parties he gan hir to deuide. 

And to ech Tribe off Jacob he hath sent 

A certeyn parti, to seen ther iugement. 

Which thyng to hem was hatful & terrible, 

And in ther siht ful abhomynable. 

And in al haste likli and possible, 

Alle off o will and o corage stable, 

On Gabonites for to be vengable 

Thei gadred han, shortli to conclude, 

Tassaile that toun a ful gret multitude. 

Whan thei first mette, atwen hem thus it stood; 
The twelue Tribus wer twies put to fliht, 
On outher parti gret quantite off blood 
Was shad among hem in that mortal fiht; 
For sexti thousand, who that counte ariht, 
Wer slay[e]n ther, the stori wil nat lie, 
Tauenge the sclaundre off fals avoutrie. 

Loo, heer the guerdoun off the froward firis 
In lecherous folk, that wil nat staunchid be. 
That brente so hoote thoruh bestial desiris 
In Gabaa the myhti strong cite. 
Which was destroied for his iniquite. 
And almost brouht off Beniamyn the lyne 
Thoruh this offence to eternal ruyne. 

and brought 
•^•5^° great slander 
and defame on 
themselves, as 
is told in 


TTie Levite 
divided her 
j-jQ body into il 
"^ parts and sent 
one to each of 
the Twelve 


who resolved to 
take vengeance 
on the 



and fought a 
battle with 
them in which 
sixty thousand 
men were slain 
and their city 
1544 destroyed and 
the line of 
almost brought 
to ruin for ever. 



1520. was] om. J, P — &] & the B, R, H, J, H 5. 

1524. on morwe R — taken B. 

1527. hente] sent H — on] vpon H. 1530. abide H. 

1531. hir] hir hede R. 1532. to] om. R. 

1537. 2nd o] of o R. 1540. that] the R. 

1542. Tribus] tribs H. 1546. ther] om. R, 

1553. off] to H. 


An Envoy on the Vices of Princes 

[bk. Ill 

wSecapitaS'd ^ Eclc for hIs fcrucnt dronken lecherle 
huHkenrust OlofFernes be ludith loste his hed; 1556 

And al his host and al his cheualrie 
LefFte the feeld & fledde awei for dreed, 
And he lai bathed in his blood al red. 
Thus thoruh this vice, yifF it be weel souht, 1560 

Ful many a prynce hath be brouht to nouht. 

These said[e] stories ouhte inouh suffise, 

YifF men wolde considre & taken heede, 

The grete vengaunces in many sundri wise 1564 

Which God hath take for this synne in deede. 

As in ther bookis thei may beholde & reede 

Warnynges afForn, ful offte put at preefF, 

How thei hemsilfF shal saue fro myscheef. 1568 

and many a 
prince has come 
to his end for 
this vice. 


THIS tragedie yeueth vs a gret warnyng, 
Be deer exauwples of manyfold resoun. 
How many a prince for ther mysleuyng. 
And many riche, roial, myhti toun, 1572 

Many a cite and many a regioun 
Ha[ue] been euersid, ful notable & famous. 
For synne ofF pryncis that wer lecherous. 

Urirh*that°he"'The chose ofF God, Dauid the worthi kyng, 1576 

Prophete ofF prophetis, most souereyn ofF renouw, 
On Bersabe for a sodeyn lokyng 
To slen Vrie cauhte occasiouw, 

For which he sufFred gret punyciouw, 1580 

Chastised ofF God, he and al his hous. 
For cause onli that he was lecherous. 

This tragedy 
warns us that 
many princes, 
together with 
their regions, 
have been 
because of their 
dissolute habits. 

might possess 
Bathsheba, was 
well punished 
for it, 

and repented 
sorely, writing 
psalms of 
contritition to 
make amends 
for his 

Gret repentauwce he hadde & gret sorwyng, [p. 

And made psalmis ofF gret contricioun, 

With woful teris & manyfold wepyng 

To make a-seeth for his transgressiouw, 

Yeuyng to pryncis ful deer direccioun 

For to eschewe* the flatri odious 

And the fals fraude ofF womwen lecherous. 



1569. a] om. H. 
1573. 2nd a] om. R. 
1588. teschewe B. 

BK. Ill] 

y/n Envoy on the Vices of Princes 


^\T:o wa» there 
ever more 
famous for hii 
wisdom than 

by women. 

Samson yielded 
to the tears of 


-r_ . and Shechem 
^°°4 was siain for 

seducing Dinah. 


Wher was ther euere off science or cuwnyng 
So renommed as was kyng Salamoun? 
Yitwommenmadehym,thoruh[therl falsflatervTig.isoj Ki°« Solomon? 

rj. r 1 1 • 1 1 1 • -^ °' ^^ Yet his honour 

10 lOreyn gOddlS dOOn OblaClOUn, was darkened 

Which clipsid his honour & brouht his fame doun. 

That was in wisdam whilom most vertuous, 

Til he thoruh womr/zen fill to be lecherous. 1596 

Is it nat eek remembrid be writjiig. 

Off Israel how the cheeff[e] champioun, 

Which goddis peeple hadde in his ledyng, 

I meene the famous, myhti, strong Sampsoun, 

That thoruh his force to-rente the lyoun, — 

But Dalida with teres plenteuous 

His grace berafft hym & made hym lecherous. 

Sichem was slayn eek for the rauasshjTig 
Off yong Dyna, as maad is mencioun; 
His fader Emor brouh[t] to his eendj-ng. 
Lost his richesse in that discencioun, 
And his kyngdam brouht to destruccioun. 
Loo, heer the fyn off pryncis vicious, 
Which them dispose for to be lecherous! 

It is in erthe oon the moste pereilous thyng, 

A prynce to been off his condicioun 

Effemynat, his wittis encl>-n}Tig, 

Be fals desirs off flesshli mocioun. 

To put hj'mselff vnder subieccioun, 

And thralle his resoun, tresour most precious. 

To onleeful* lustis, hatful & lecherous. 

This is the sentence ful plejiili in menyng: 

WTier women haue the dominacioun 

To holde the re\Tie, ther hookis out castyng. 

That sensualite ha[ue] iurediccioun 

To entre on resoun bi fals intrusioun, 

W^erre age>Ti vertu most contagious, 

To be venquysshid off lustis lecherous, — 

It taketh fro men ther cleemesse off seyng, 
Causeth gret siknessis and corrupcioun, 
And to al vertu it is grettest hjiidryng, 


It is periloas 
for a prince to 
be effeminate 
and to allow 
his reason to 
become thrall 
to unlawful 


for where 
women have 
domination and 
sensuality con- 
1630 qoers virtue. 


men become 
corrupt in body 
and grow cAi 
before their 

1590. or] & R. 1591. Renouned H. 

1592. ther] am. J, R. 1597. Is it] It is R. 

1617. onleeful] thonleeful B, H, R, J. 

1626. and] of H. 

1605. Oflr].\sR. 

374 ^^^ Story of Cambyses [bk. hi 

Maketh men seeme old, as be inspeccloun, i6a8 

Appallith ther mynde and disposicloun, 
Shorteth ther dales, thyng dreedful & pitous, 
Whan thel dispose hem for to be lecherous. 

K/thr"' Noble Pryncis, in your ymagynyng ^ 1632 

women"'' °^ Conccyueth ofF womwen the fals decepciouw, 
especially Namli ofF them that loue but for wynnyne, 

such fls love 

only for gain. And laboure ay for your possessioun, 

anoint your ears Whos sugred flattie is fals collusiouw, 1636 

flatter^r"^ Lik to Sitenes with vois melodious 

Enoynte your eres to make you lecherous. 

[How Cambises assentyng to the moordre of his 
brothir Mergus at last slouh himsilf.] ^ 

fon"nte ^'' A FFTIR the deth of myhti kyng Cirus, 

Cambyses came ±\ Next Cam his soue callld Cambises, 1640 

complaining to. . -,.. 

Bochas, that the Heit be successioun ful victorious, 

idolaters and Which tofot Bochas put hymselfF in pres 

who was caifed' And gau his complcynt — this is dout[e]les, — 

f^1s°ind°'liaL^ That thei off Egipt, in many vnkouth wise, 1644 

by his brother. ^^ sundti goddis dedc sacrifise. 

First onto Apis thei dede reuerence, 

Callid Serapis, ther grettest god off all, 

Regnyng in Egipt ofF most excellence, 1648 

And god of goddis foolis dede hym call. 

And ofF his noblesse thus it is befall, 

Slayn bi his brother, which is a gret wonder, 

Seuered on pecis & ful ferr cast assonder. 1653 

tians^Md a'pIs And thei ofF Egipt made ther ordynaufices, 
Camb'^s^r°"^' ^P P^y"'^ off ^^^^^ ^^ ^^^^ statutis olde, 
resolved to A god to calle hym, & doon ther obseruaunces 
all their temples; Withynne his tempHs, lik as thei wer holde. 1656 

WherofF Cambises, toforn as I you tolde, 
AUe the templis ofF that regioun 
Cast hym be force for to throwe dou«. 

1629. and] and ther R. 

1647. ther] the R. 

1659. throwe] throw hem H. 

1 MS. J. leaf 68 recto. 

BK. Ill] 

Tbf Heath of Camhyses 


The temple off lubiter to robbe it be rauyne, 
Callid Amon, withoute excepcioun, 
His knyhtis sente to brynge it to ruyne. 
But thei echon for ther presumpcioun, 
With sodeyn leuene wer smet & bete doun. 
Wheroff Cambises, in Asie tho regnyng, 
Hadde this drem as he lai slepyng. 

He drempte his brother, that called was 

Sholde in the kyngdam afftir hym succeede, 
Wheroff in herte he wex so envious, 
That he purposed, off rancour and hatreede, 
Bi sum mene to make his sides bleede; 
And that his purpos sholde take auail, 
A magicien he took to his counsail. 

And he was holde a ful gret philisophre, 

Callid Cometes, ful sleihti and cunnyng, 

To whom Cambises made a large proffre 

Off gold and tresour to make hym assentyng 

To execute this horrible thyng; 

And that he wolde in most cruel wise 

The moordre off Mergus compassen & deuise. 

And whil Cambises ordeyned this tresoun. 

To slen Mergus, his owne brother deere, 

God from aboue caste his eien doun, 

Hym to pun[y]she in ful cruel manere: 

For he wex wood[e], who-so list to lere, 

Cauht a sharp suerd, & roff his thih on tweyne; 

And sodenli he deied for the peyne. 

For too causes God took on hym vengaunce. 
As myn auctour Bochas doth expresse: 
For his presumptuous fals disobeisaunce, 
Spoilyng the goddis off her gret richesse. 
And for the froward gret onkynd[e]nesse 
To yeue assent to the contagious caas. 
Whan that Mergus his brother moordred was. 


and when be 
sent his knights 
to rob Jupiter 
Ammon, they 
were suddenly 
struck by 
a thunderbolt. 


Ca mbytes 
dreamt that he 

[p. 1 65] »''°"'*^ ^ 

succeeded by 
1668 ^^^ brother 
Smerdis and 
resolved to kill 


He took counsel 
of a magician 
called Gometes 
and offered him 
1676 feat treasure 
lor Smerdis' 



But God, who 
saw what was 
going on, 
Cambyses with 


for two reasons: 
because he 
the gods of their 
great wealth, 
and because of 
, his unkindness 
1092 to his brother 

1662. it] om. H. 

1675. Comeres P — and] of H. 

1686. thih] teth H. 

376 Oropastes crowned King 0/ Persia []bk. hi 

Il^d'pers'irstckjd ^^^ ^^^^ °^ whom WES checfF occasioun 

disconsolate Off ful grct wcrrc, strvucs and debat, 1696 

without an heir -r-vii-i i-ii 

to the throne, Jiek tynal cause whi al the regioun 

Gomeus substi- Off myhti Perse stood disconsolat: 

Oropasies^'°'*'"For heir was non, ofF hih nor low estat, 

M^gTan) foAhe ^6 title ofF riht, thoruh this onhappi chauwce, 1700 

s'mefdu'^ To been ther kyng and ha[ue] the gouernaunce. 

For the magician callid Cometes, 

Which slouh Mergus, as ye haue herd expresse, 

Took his brother callid Oropastes, 1704 

And made hym kyng, the stori berth witnesse, 

Because that he resembled in liknesse 

Onto Mergus off face and off stature. 

To crowne hym kyng therfore he dede his cure. 1708 

Smerdu wa8°not HPHE dcth off Mctgus outward was nat knowe 
at ^first^ ''°°'^" Nor pleynli publisht in that regioun; 

His bodi buried and cast in erthe lowe. 
Off whom the moordre and fraudulent tresouw, 1712 
The pitous slauhtre wrouht be coUusiouw, 
And al the maner, bi processe was espied 
So openli it myhte nat be denyed. 

princfnamed^ And in what wise the noise gan out spreede 1716 

otanes sought Touchyug this moordre odious for to heere: 

to find out all the /-\ • i • i i 

circumstances Whan that Otapastcs ocupied m deede 

The crowne off Perse, the stori doth vs lere, 
Ther was a prynce ful notable & enteere, 1720 

Callid Hostanes, that gan his witt applie. 
Off hih prudence this moordre out tespie. 

Oro'^^s'tL hl^d Whil that Orapastes, vnder a fals pretence, 
no just right to Qff Percieus was resseyued as for kyng, 1724 

The said[e] prynce dede his deligence, 
Bi inquisicioun to ha[ue] knowlechyng. 
Be what engyn or be what sleihti thyng 
The said Orapastes cauhte occasioun 1728 

In stede off Mergus to ocupie the crouw. 

1696. strifFe R. 1697. whi] whi that R. 

1698. disconsolat] consolate R. 1700. this] his R. 

1701. kyngi heir R. 1702. Comares P. 

1711. erthe] therth H. 1717. for] owi. H. 

1718. Oropastes J, R 3, P. 1721. Otanes P. 

1723. Oropastes J. 1724. receyued was H. 

1726. to haue] ta full H. 1728. Oropastes J. 

BK. Ill] 

Otanes and Oropastes 


On this mateer he hadde a coniecture, 

That his title was nouther hool nor cleer. 

The trouthe to trie he dede his besi cure, 

And to serche out hooli the maneer, 

He souht[e] so ferr that he cam riht neer, 

And in this caas lettid for no slouthe, 

Till that he hadde founden out the trouthe. 

The cas was this, pleynli to termyne: 

He hadde a douhter, ful fair off hir visage, 

Which off the kyng was cheuest concubyne, 

Bi whom he thouhte to cachchen auauntage. 

And onto hir he hath sent his massage, 

Secreli tenqueren how it stood, 

Wher that .the kyng wer come oiF Cirus blood. 

And bad she sholde secreli taken heed, 

Whil that he slepte to doon hir besi peyne 

With hir handis for to feele his hed, 

And to grope aflPtir bothe his eris tweyne. 

And yilF it fill — ther is no mor to seyne — 

Vpon his hed that she non eris founde. 

To telle hir fadir, oflF trouthe as she was bounde. 

This myhti prynce Hostanes knew[e] weel, [p. 
Riht as it is recorded be scripture, 
Touchyng this caas how it stood euerideel. 
How kyng Cambises off sodeyn auenture, 
Bi his lyue for a forfeture. 
Made off Orapastes, the stori seith nat nay, 
Bothe his tweyne eris to be kit away. 

And heerupon to be certefied. 

He was desirous ta[ue] ful knowlechyng. 

Which be his douhter whan it was espied, 

Vpon a nyht liggyng bi the kyng, 

Gropyng his hed[e] as he lai slepyng, 

Ful subtili felte and took good heed. 

How he non eris hadde vpon his hed. 1764 

And to hir fadir anon she hath declarid 

The secrenesse off this auenture. 

And for no feer nor dreed he hath nat sparid, 



Finally he 
discovered the 
truth through 
his daughter, 
who was the 
king's chief 
1740 concubine. 

,^., He bade her 
^/44 secretly feel the 
king's head 
while he slept 
and see whether 
he had ears or 


^f\fA for Otanes 
*"^J knew that 
■w-j-n Oropastes had 
' •* forfeited his ears 
as a punishment 
during Cam- 
byse»' reign. 


It tnraed out 
that the king 
had no ears. 


So Otanes called 
the prince* of 
Persia to a 

1731. nor]neH. 1733. serche] seche R. 1738. hir]om. R. 
1759- taful B. 1766. this] his R. 

378 Otanes rids Persia of Oropastes [bk. hi 

How that it stood[e] pleynli to discure. 1768 

And first off all he dede his besi cure, 

AUe the pryncis off Perse-lond ifeere 

To couMseil calle tentrete off this mateere. 

them^'a'boJtthl'^'^nd whan thei wern assemblid euerichon, 1772 

WdL"^ OiF Orapastes he told hem al the chaunce, 

And how that Mergus was moordred yore agon, 
As heer-toforn is put in remembraunce. 
Wherupon to sette an ordynaunce 1776 

And to redresse tltjiese wronges doon toforn, 
Off Perse-lond wer seuene pryncis sworn. 

werrswom" ^^ oo" assent in ther entencioun, 

OropTs'te*. Bi bond off 0th thei made ther assuraunce, 1780 

And a ful secre coniuracioun * 

To putte Orapastes from his roial puissauwce, 
Which hadde al Perse vnder his gouernauwce 
Bi a ful fals pretens off heritage, 1784 

For he was lik to Mergus off visage. 

^or'd8°^kh^^"^ These seuene pryncis, off which toforn I tolde, 

teng^dfeir ^^^^ °^ ^°" hette, & bi ther oth ibouwde, 

'^a^iacl"'^° ^^\ d f*''"^^^^ ^^^ manli and off yeris olde, 1788 

the king, but Han souht a tyme Orapastes to confounde. 

held off by his And with ther suerdis sharp[e] whet & grouwde, 

slew two of them Wonder couert in ther apparaile. 

Cam off entent Orapastes to assaile. 1792 

And in the paleis whom-euer that thei mette 

Or ageyn hem made resistence, 

AUe off accord thei fersli on hym sette. 

But the magicien, that was ther in presence, 1796 

Cam ageyn hem be sturdi violence. 

And at thencouwtre gan hem so constreyne. 

That off the pryncis thei haue islay[e]n tweyne. 

[Oropastes occupyeng the crowne of Perce bi iniust 
title was moordred.] ^ 

prelaHed^'and ^^^ fynali the tothet pryncis fyue, 1800 

killed Oropastes Whan that thei sauh ther tweyne feeris bleede, 

and all who were ■, , ■. i-i-irr i 

in the pal