I Genius the prest of love,
Mi Sone, as thou hast preid above
That I the Scole schal declare
Of Aristotle and ek the fare
Of Alisandre, hou he was tauht,
I am somdel therof destrauht;
For it is noght to the matiere
Of love, why we sitten hiere
To schryve, so as Venus bad.
Bot natheles, for it is glad,
So as thou seist, for thin aprise
To hiere of suche thinges wise,
Wherof thou myht the time lisse,
So as I can, I schal the wisse:
For wisdom is at every throwe
Above alle other thing to knowe
In loves cause and elleswhere.
Forthi, my Sone, unto thin Ere,
Though it be noght in the registre
Of Venus, yit of that Calistre
And Aristotle whylom write
To Alisandre, thou schalt wite.
Bot for the lores ben diverse,
I thenke ferst to the reherce
The nature of Philosophie,
Which Aristotle of his clergie,
Wys and expert in the sciences,
Declareth thilke intelligences,
As of thre pointz in principal.
Wherof the ferste in special
Is Theorique, which is grounded
On him which al the world hath founded,
Which comprehendeth al the lore.
And forto loken overmore,
Next of sciences the seconde
Is Rethorique, whos faconde
Above alle othre is eloquent:
To telle a tale in juggement
So wel can noman speke as he.
The laste science of the thre
It is Practique, whos office
The vertu tryeth fro the vice,
And techeth upon goode thewes
To fle the compaignie of schrewes,
Which stant in disposicion
Of mannes free eleccion.
Practique enformeth ek the reule,
Hou that a worthi king schal reule
His Realme bothe in werre and pes.
Lo, thus danz Aristotiles
These thre sciences hath divided
And the nature also decided,
Wherof that ech of hem schal serve.
The ferste, which is the conserve
And kepere of the remnant,
As that which is most sufficant
And chief of the Philosophie,
If I therof schal specefie
So as the Philosophre tolde,
Nou herkne, and kep that thou it holde.
Of Theorique principal
The Philosophre in special
The propretees hath determined,
As thilke which is enlumined
Of wisdom and of hih prudence
Above alle othre in his science:
And stant departed upon thre,
The ferste of which in his degre
Is cleped in Philosophie
The science of Theologie,
That other named is Phisique,
The thridde is seid Mathematique.
Theologie is that science
Which unto man yifth evidence
Of thing which is noght bodely,
Wherof men knowe redely
The hihe almyhti Trinite,
Which is o god in unite
Withouten ende and beginnynge
And creatour of alle thinge,
Of hevene, of erthe and ek of helle.
Wherof, as olde bokes telle,
The Philosophre in his resoun
Wrot upon this conclusioun,
And of his wrytinge in a clause
He clepeth god the ferste cause,
Which of himself is thilke good,
Withoute whom nothing is good,
Of which that every creature
Hath his beinge and his nature.
After the beinge of the thinges
Ther ben thre formes of beinges:
Thing which began and ende schal,
That thing is cleped temporal;
Ther is also be other weie
Thing which began and schal noght deie.
As Soules, that ben spiritiel,
Here beinge is perpetuel:
Bot ther is on above the Sonne,
Whos time nevere was begonne,
And endeles schal evere be;
That is the god, whos mageste
Alle othre thinges schal governe,
And his beinge is sempiterne.
The god, to whom that al honour
Belongeth, he is creatour,
And othre ben hise creatures:
The god commandeth the natures
That thei to him obeien alle;
Withouten him, what so befalle,
Her myht is non, and he mai al:
The god was evere and evere schal,
And thei begonne of his assent;
The times alle be present
To god, to hem and alle unknowe,
Bot what him liketh that thei knowe:
Thus bothe an angel and a man,
The whiche of al that god began
Be chief, obeien goddes myht,
And he stant endeles upriht.
To this science ben prive
The clerkes of divinite,
The whiche unto the poeple prechen
The feith of holi cherche and techen,
Which in som cas upon believe
Stant more than thei conne prieve
Be weie of Argument sensible:
Bot natheles it is credible,
And doth a man gret meede have,
To him that thenkth himself to save.
Theologie in such a wise
Of hih science and hih aprise
Above alle othre stant unlike,
And is the ferste of Theorique.
Phisique is after the secounde,
Thurgh which the Philosophre hath founde
To techen sondri knowlechinges
Upon the bodiliche thinges.
Of man, of beste, of herbe, of ston,
Of fissch, of foughl, of everychon
That ben of bodely substance,
The nature and the circumstance
Thurgh this science it is ful soght,
Which vaileth and which vaileth noght.
The thridde point of Theorique,
Which cleped is Mathematique,
Devided is in sondri wise
And stant upon diverse aprise.
The ferste of whiche is Arsmetique,
And the secounde is seid Musique,
The thridde is ek Geometrie,
Also the ferthe Astronomie.
Of Arsmetique the matiere
Is that of which a man mai liere
What Algorisme in nombre amonteth,
Whan that the wise man acompteth
After the formel proprete
Of Algorismes Abece:
Be which multiplicacioun
Is mad and diminucioun
Of sommes be thexperience
Of this Art and of this science.
The seconde of Mathematique,
Which is the science of Musique,
That techeth upon Armonie
A man to make melodie
Be vois and soun of instrument
Thurgh notes of acordement,
The whiche men pronounce alofte,
Nou scharpe notes and nou softe,
Nou hihe notes and nou lowe,
As be the gamme a man mai knowe,
Which techeth the prolacion
Of note and the condicion.
Mathematique of his science
Hath yit the thridde intelligence
Full of wisdom and of clergie
And cleped is Geometrie,
Thurgh which a man hath thilke sleyhte,
Of lengthe, of brede, of depthe, of heyhte
To knowe the proporcion
Be verrai calculacion
Of this science: and in this wise
These olde Philosophres wise,
Of al this worldes erthe round,
Hou large, hou thikke was the ground,
The cercle and the circumference
Of every thing unto the hevene
Thei setten point and mesure evene.
Mathematique above therthe
Of hyh science hath yit the ferthe,
Which spekth upon Astronomie
And techeth of the sterres hihe,
Beginnynge upward fro the mone.
Bot ferst, as it was forto done,
This Aristotle in other thing
Unto this worthi yonge king
The kinde of every element
Which stant under the firmament,
Hou it is mad and in what wise,
Fro point to point he gan devise.
Tofore the creacion
Of eny worldes stacion,
Of hevene, of erthe, or eke of helle,
So as these olde bokes telle,
As soun tofore the song is set
And yit thei ben togedre knet,
Riht so the hihe pourveance
Tho hadde under his ordinance
A gret substance, a gret matiere,
Of which he wolde in his manere
These othre thinges make and forme.
For yit withouten eny forme
Was that matiere universal,
Which hihte Ylem in special.
Of Ylem, as I am enformed,
These elementz ben mad and formed,
Of Ylem elementz they hote
After the Scole of Aristote,
Of whiche if more I schal reherce,
Foure elementz ther ben diverse.
The ferste of hem men erthe calle,
Which is the lowest of hem alle,
And in his forme is schape round,
Substancial, strong, sadd and sound,
As that which mad is sufficant
To bere up al the remenant.
For as the point in a compas
Stant evene amiddes, riht so was
This erthe set and schal abyde,
That it may swerve to no side,
And hath his centre after the lawe
Of kinde, and to that centre drawe
Desireth every worldes thing,
If ther ne were no lettyng.
Above therthe kepth his bounde
The water, which is the secounde
Of elementz, and al withoute
It environeth therthe aboute.
Bot as it scheweth, noght forthi
This soubtil water myhtely,
Thogh it be of himselve softe,
The strengthe of therthe perceth ofte;
For riht as veines ben of blod
In man, riht so the water flod
Therthe of his cours makth ful of veines,
Als wel the helles as the pleines.
And that a man may sen at ije,
For wher the hulles ben most hyhe,
Ther mai men welle stremes finde:
So proveth it be weie of kinde
The water heyher than the lond.
And over this nou understond,
Air is the thridde of elementz,
Of whos kinde his aspirementz
Takth every lifissh creature,
The which schal upon erthe endure:
For as the fissh, if it be dreie,
Mot in defaute of water deie,
Riht so withouten Air on lyve
No man ne beste myhte thryve,
The which is mad of fleissh and bon;
There is outake of alle non.
This Air in Periferies thre
Divided is of such degre,
Benethe is on and on amidde,
To whiche above is set the thridde:
And upon the divisions
There ben diverse impressions
Of moist and ek of drye also,
Whiche of the Sonne bothe tuo
Ben drawe and haled upon hy,
And maken cloudes in the Sky,
As schewed is at mannes sihte;
Wherof be day and ek be nyhte
After the times of the yer
Among ous upon Erthe her
In sondri wise thinges falle.
The ferste Periferie of alle
Engendreth Myst and overmore
The dewes and the Frostes hore,
After thilke intersticion
In which thei take impression.
Fro the seconde, as bokes sein,
The moiste dropes of the reyn
Descenden into Middilerthe,
And tempreth it to sed and Erthe,
And doth to springe grass and flour.
And ofte also the grete schour
Out of such place it mai be take,
That it the forme schal forsake
Of reyn, and into snow be torned;
And ek it mai be so sojorned
In sondri places up alofte,
That into hail it torneth ofte.
The thridde of thair after the lawe
Thurgh such matiere as up is drawe
Of dreie thing, as it is ofte,
Among the cloudes upon lofte,
And is so clos, it may noght oute,-
Thanne is it chased sore aboute,
Til it to fyr and leyt be falle,
And thanne it brekth the cloudes alle,
The whiche of so gret noyse craken,
That thei the feerful thonder maken.
The thonderstrok smit er it leyte,
And yit men sen the fyr and leyte,
The thonderstrok er that men hiere:
So mai it wel be proeved hiere
In thing which schewed is fro feer,
A mannes yhe is there nerr
Thanne is the soun to mannes Ere.
And natheles it is gret feere
Bothe of the strok and of the fyr,
Of which is no recoverir
In place wher that thei descende,
Bot if god wolde his grace sende.
And forto speken over this,
In this partie of thair it is
That men fulofte sen be nyhte
The fyr in sondri forme alyhte.
Somtime the fyrdrake it semeth,
And so the lewed poeple it demeth;
Somtime it semeth as it were
A Sterre, which that glydeth there:
Bot it is nouther of the tuo,
The Philosophre telleth so,
And seith that of impressions
Thurgh diverse exalacions
Upon the cause and the matiere
Men sen diverse forme appiere
Of fyr, the which hath sondri name.
Assub, he seith, is thilke same,
The which in sondry place is founde,
Whanne it is falle doun to grounde,
So as the fyr it hath aneled,
Lich unto slym which is congeled.
Of exalacion I finde
Fyr kinled of the fame kinde,
Bot it is of an other forme;
Wherof, if that I schal conforme
The figure unto that it is,
These olde clerkes tellen this,
That it is lik a Got skippende,
And for that it is such semende,
It hatte Capra saliens.
And ek these Astronomiens
An other fyr also, be nyhte
Which scheweth him to mannes syhte,
Thei clepen Eges, the which brenneth
Lik to the corrant fyr that renneth
Upon a corde, as thou hast sein,
Whan it with poudre is so besein
Of Sulphre and othre thinges mo.
Ther is an other fyr also,
Which semeth to a mannes yhe
Be nyhtes time as thogh ther flyhe
A dragon brennende in the Sky,
And that is cleped proprely
Daaly, wherof men sein fulofte,
"Lo, wher the fyri drake alofte
Fleth up in thair!" and so thei demen.
Bot why the fyres suche semen
Of sondri formes to beholde,
The wise Philosophre tolde,
So as tofore it hath ben herd.
Lo thus, my Sone, hou it hath ferd:
Of Air the due proprete
In sondri wise thou myht se,
And hou under the firmament
It is ek the thridde element,
Which environeth bothe tuo,
The water and the lond also.
And forto tellen overthis
Of elementz which the ferthe is,
That is the fyr in his degre,
Which environeth thother thre
And is withoute moist al drye.
Bot lest nou what seith the clergie;
For upon hem that I have seid
The creatour hath set and leid
The kinde and the complexion
Of alle mennes nacion.
Foure elementz sondri ther be,
Lich unto whiche of that degre
Among the men ther ben also
Complexions foure and nomo,
Wherof the Philosophre treteth,
That he nothing behinde leteth,
And seith hou that thei ben diverse,
So as I schal to thee reherse.
He which natureth every kinde,
The myhti god, so as I finde,
Of man, which is his creature,
Hath so devided the nature,
That non til other wel acordeth:
And be the cause it so discordeth,
The lif which fieleth the seknesse
Mai stonde upon no sekernesse.
Of therthe, which is cold and drye,
The kinde of man Malencolie
Is cleped, and that is the ferste,
The most ungoodlich and the werste;
For unto loves werk on nyht
Him lacketh bothe will and myht:
No wonder is, in lusty place
Of love though he lese grace.
What man hath that complexion,
Full of ymaginacion
Of dredes and of wrathful thoghtes,
He fret himselven al to noghtes.
The water, which is moyste and cold,
Makth fleume, which is manyfold
Foryetel, slou and wery sone
Of every thing which is to done:
He is of kinde sufficant
To holde love his covenant,
Bot that him lacketh appetit,
Which longeth unto such delit.
What man that takth his kinde of thair,
He schal be lyht, he schal be fair,
For his complexion is blood.
Of alle ther is non so good,
For he hath bothe will and myht
To plese and paie love his riht:
Wher as he hath love undertake,
Wrong is if that he be forsake.
The fyr of his condicion
Appropreth the complexion
Which in a man is Colre hote,
Whos propretes ben dreie and hote:
It makth a man ben enginous
And swift of fote and ek irous;
Of contek and folhastifnesse
He hath a riht gret besinesse,
To thenke of love and litel may:
Though he behote wel a day,
On nyht whan that he wole assaie,
He may ful evele his dette paie.
After the kinde of thelement,
Thus stant a mannes kinde went,
As touchende his complexion,
Upon sondri division
Of dreie, of moiste, of chele, of hete,
And ech of hem his oghne sete
Appropred hath withinne a man.
And ferst to telle as I began,
The Splen is to Malencolie
Assigned for herbergerie:
The moiste fleume with his cold
Hath in the lunges for his hold
Ordeined him a propre stede,
To duelle ther as he is bede:
To the Sanguin complexion
Nature of hire inspeccion
A propre hous hath in the livere
For his duellinge mad delivere:
The dreie Colre with his hete
Be weie of kinde his propre sete
Hath in the galle, wher he duelleth,
So as the Philosophre telleth.
Nou over this is forto wite,
As it is in Phisique write
Of livere, of lunge, of galle, of splen,
Thei alle unto the herte ben
Servantz, and ech in his office
Entendeth to don him service,
As he which is chief lord above.
The livere makth him forto love,
The lunge yifth him weie of speche,
The galle serveth to do wreche,
The Splen doth him to lawhe and pleie,
Whan al unclennesse is aweie:
Lo, thus hath ech of hem his dede.
And to sustienen hem and fede
In time of recreacion,
Nature hath in creacion
The Stomach for a comun Coc
Ordeined, so as seith the boc.
The Stomach coc is for the halle,
And builleth mete for hem alle,
To make hem myghty forto serve
The herte, that he schal noght sterve:
For as a king in his Empire
Above alle othre is lord and Sire,
So is the herte principal,
To whom reson in special
Is yove as for the governance.
And thus nature his pourveance
Hath mad for man to liven hiere;
Bot god, which hath the Soule diere,
Hath formed it in other wise.
That can noman pleinli devise;
Bot as the clerkes ous enforme,
That lich to god it hath a forme,
Thurgh which figure and which liknesse
The Soule hath many an hyh noblesse
Appropred to his oghne kinde.
Bot ofte hir wittes be mad blinde
Al onliche of this ilke point,
That hir abydinge is conjoint
Forth with the bodi forto duelle:
That on desireth toward helle,
That other upward to the hevene;
So schul thei nevere stonde in evene,
Bot if the fleissh be overcome
And that the Soule have holi nome
The governance, and that is selde,
Whil that the fleissh him mai bewelde.
Al erthli thing which god began
Was only mad to serve man;
Bot he the Soule al only made
Himselven forto serve and glade.
Alle othre bestes that men finde
Thei serve unto here oghne kinde,
Bot to reson the Soule serveth;
Wherof the man his thonk deserveth
And get him with hise werkes goode
The perdurable lyves foode.
Of what matiere it schal be told,
A tale lyketh manyfold
The betre, if it be spoke plein:
Thus thinke I forto torne ayein
And telle plenerly therfore
Of therthe, wherof nou tofore
I spak, and of the water eke,
So as these olde clerkes spieke,
And sette proprely the bounde
After the forme of Mappemounde,
Thurgh which the ground be pourparties
Departed is in thre parties,
That is Asie, Aufrique, Europe,
The whiche under the hevene cope,
Als ferr as streccheth eny ground,
Begripeth al this Erthe round.
Bot after that the hihe wrieche
The water weies let out seche
And overgo the helles hye,
Which every kinde made dye
That upon Middelerthe stod,
Outake Noe and his blod,
His Sones and his doughtres thre,
Thei were sauf and so was he;-
Here names who that rede rihte,
Sem, Cam, Japhet the brethren hihte;-
And whanne thilke almyhty hond
Withdrouh the water fro the lond,
And al the rage was aweie,
And Erthe was the mannes weie,
The Sones thre, of whiche I tolde,
Riht after that hemselve wolde,
This world departe thei begonne.
Asie, which lay to the Sonne
Upon the Marche of orient,
Was graunted be comun assent
To Sem, which was the Sone eldeste;
For that partie was the beste
And double as moche as othre tuo.
And was that time bounded so;
Wher as the flod which men Nil calleth
Departeth fro his cours and falleth
Into the See Alexandrine,
Ther takth Asie ferst seisine
Toward the West, and over this
Of Canahim wher the flod is
Into the grete See rennende,
Fro that into the worldes ende
Estward, Asie it is algates,
Til that men come unto the gates
Of Paradis, and there ho.
And schortly for to speke it so,
Of Orient in general
Withinne his bounde Asie hath al.
And thanne upon that other syde
Westward, as it fell thilke tyde,
The brother which was hote Cham
Upon his part Aufrique nam.
Japhet Europe tho tok he,
Thus parten thei the world on thre.
Bot yit ther ben of londes fele
In occident as for the chele,
In orient as for the hete,
Which of the poeple be forlete
As lond desert that is unable,
For it mai noght ben habitable.
The water eke hath sondri bounde,
After the lond wher it is founde,
And takth his name of thilke londes
Wher that it renneth on the strondes:
Bot thilke See which hath no wane
Is cleped the gret Occeane,
Out of the which arise and come
The hyhe flodes alle and some;
Is non so litel welle spring,
Which ther ne takth his beginnyng,
And lich a man that haleth breth
Be weie of kinde, so it geth
Out of the See and in ayein,
The water, as the bokes sein.
Of Elementz the propretes
Hou that they stonden be degres,
As I have told, nou myht thou hiere,
Mi goode Sone, al the matiere
Of Erthe, of water, Air and fyr.
And for thou saist that thi desir
Is forto witen overmore
The forme of Aristotles lore,
He seith in his entendement,
That yit ther is an Element
Above the foure, and is the fifte,
Set of the hihe goddes yifte,
The which that Orbis cleped is.
And therupon he telleth this,
That as the schelle hol and sound
Encloseth al aboute round
What thing withinne an Ey belongeth,
Riht so this Orbis underfongeth
These elementz alle everychon,
Which I have spoke of on and on.
Bot overthis nou tak good hiede,
Mi Sone, for I wol procede
To speke upon Mathematique,
Which grounded is on Theorique.
The science of Astronomie
I thinke forto specefie,
Withoute which, to telle plein,
Alle othre science is in vein
Toward the scole of erthli thinges:
For as an Egle with his winges
Fleth above alle that men finde,
So doth this science in his kinde.
Benethe upon this Erthe hiere
Of alle thinges the matiere,
As tellen ous thei that ben lerned,
Of thing above it stant governed,
That is to sein of the Planetes.
The cheles bothe and ek the hetes,
The chances of the world also,
That we fortune clepen so,
Among the mennes nacion
Al is thurgh constellacion,
Wherof that som man hath the wele,
And som man hath deseses fele
In love als wel as othre thinges;
The stat of realmes and of kinges
In time of pes, in time of werre
It is conceived of the Sterre:
And thus seith the naturien
Which is an Astronomien.
Bot the divin seith otherwise,
That if men weren goode and wise
And plesant unto the godhede,
Thei scholden noght the sterres drede;
For o man, if him wel befalle,
Is more worth than ben thei alle
Towardes him that weldeth al.
Bot yit the lawe original,
Which he hath set in the natures,
Mot worchen in the creatures,
That therof mai be non obstacle,
Bot if it stonde upon miracle
Thurgh preiere of som holy man.
And forthi, so as I began
To speke upon Astronomie,
As it is write in the clergie,
To telle hou the planetes fare,
Som part I thenke to declare,
Mi Sone, unto thin Audience.
Astronomie is the science
Of wisdom and of hih connynge,
Which makth a man have knowlechinge
Of Sterres in the firmament,
Figure, cercle and moevement
Of ech of hem in sondri place,
And what betwen hem is of space,
Hou so thei moeve or stonde faste,
Al this it telleth to the laste.
Assembled with Astronomie
Is ek that ilke Astrologie
The which in juggementz acompteth
Theffect, what every sterre amonteth,
And hou thei causen many a wonder
To tho climatz that stonde hem under.
And forto telle it more plein,
These olde philosphres sein
That Orbis, which I spak of err,
Is that which we fro therthe a ferr
Beholde, and firmament it calle,
In which the sterres stonden alle,
Among the whiche in special
Planetes sefne principal
Ther ben, that mannes sihte demeth,
Bot thorizonte, as to ous semeth.
And also ther ben signes tuelve,
Whiche have her cercles be hemselve
Compassed in the zodiaque,
In which thei have here places take.
And as thei stonden in degre,
Here cercles more or lasse be,
Mad after the proporcion
Of therthe, whos condicion
Is set to be the foundement
To sustiene up the firmament.
And be this skile a man mai knowe,
The more that thei stonden lowe,
The more ben the cercles lasse;
That causeth why that some passe
Here due cours tofore an other.
Bot nou, mi lieve dere brother,
As thou desirest forto wite
What I finde in the bokes write,
To telle of the planetes sevene,
Hou that thei stonde upon the hevene
And in what point that thei ben inne,
Tak hiede, for I wol beginne,
So as the Philosophre tauhte
To Alisandre and it betauhte,
Wherof that he was fulli tawht
Of wisdom, which was him betawht.
Benethe alle othre stant the Mone,
The which hath with the See to done:
Of flodes hihe and ebbes lowe
Upon his change it schal be knowe;
And every fissh which hath a schelle
Mot in his governance duelle,
To wexe and wane in his degre,
As be the Mone a man mai se;
And al that stant upon the grounde
Of his moisture it mot be founde.
Alle othre sterres, as men finde,
Be schynende of here oghne kinde
Outake only the monelyht,
Which is noght of himselve bright,
Bot as he takth it of the Sonne.
And yit he hath noght al fulwonne
His lyht, that he nys somdiel derk;
Bot what the lette is of that werk
In Almageste it telleth this:
The Mones cercle so lowe is,
Wherof the Sonne out of his stage
Ne seth him noght with full visage,
For he is with the ground beschaded,
So that the Mone is somdiel faded
And may noght fully schyne cler.
Bot what man under his pouer
Is bore, he schal his places change
And seche manye londes strange:
And as of this condicion
The Mones disposicion
Upon the lond of Alemaigne
Is set, and ek upon Bretaigne,
Which nou is cleped Engelond;
For thei travaile in every lond.
Of the Planetes the secounde
Above the Mone hath take his bounde,
Mercurie, and his nature is this,
That under him who that bore is,
In boke he schal be studious
And in wrytinge curious,
And slouh and lustles to travaile
In thing which elles myhte availe:
He loveth ese, he loveth reste,
So is he noght the worthieste;
Bot yit with somdiel besinesse
His herte is set upon richesse.
And as in this condicion,
Theffect and disposicion
Of this Planete and of his chance
Is most in Burgoigne and in France.
Next to Mercurie, as wol befalle,
Stant that Planete which men calle
Venus, whos constellacion
Governeth al the nacion
Of lovers, wher thei spiede or non,
Of whiche I trowe thou be on:
Bot whiderward thin happes wende,
Schal this planete schewe at ende,
As it hath do to many mo,
To some wel, to some wo.
And natheles of this Planete
The moste part is softe and swete;
For who that therof takth his berthe,
He schal desire joie and merthe,
Gentil, courteis and debonaire,
To speke his wordes softe and faire,
Such schal he be be weie of kinde,
And overal wher he may finde
Plesance of love, his herte boweth
With al his myht and there he woweth.
He is so ferforth Amourous,
He not what thing is vicious
Touchende love, for that lawe
Ther mai no maner man withdrawe,
The which venerien is bore
Be weie of kinde, and therefore
Venus of love the goddesse
Is cleped: bot of wantounesse
The climat of hir lecherie
Is most commun in Lombardie.
Next unto this Planete of love
The brighte Sonne stant above,
Which is the hindrere of the nyht
And forthrere of the daies lyht,
As he which is the worldes ije,
Thurgh whom the lusti compaignie
Of foules be the morwe singe,
The freisshe floures sprede and springe,
The hihe tre the ground beschadeth,
And every mannes herte gladeth.
And for it is the hed Planete,
Hou that he sitteth in his sete,
Of what richesse, of what nobleie,
These bokes telle, and thus thei seie.
Of gold glistrende Spoke and whiel
The Sonne his carte hath faire and wiel,
In which he sitt, and is coroned
With brighte stones environed;
Of whiche if that I speke schal,
Ther be tofore in special
Set in the front of his corone
Thre Stones, whiche no persone
Hath upon Erthe, and the ferste is
Be name cleped Licuchis;
That othre tuo be cleped thus,
Astrices and Ceramius.
In his corone also behinde,
Be olde bokes as I finde,
Ther ben of worthi Stones thre
Set ech of hem in his degre:
Wherof a Cristall is that on,
Which that corone is set upon;
The seconde is an Adamant;
The thridde is noble and avenant,
Which cleped is Ydriades.
And over this yit natheles
Upon the sydes of the werk,
After the wrytinge of the clerk,
Ther sitten fyve Stones mo:
The smaragdine is on of tho,
Jaspis and Elitropius
And Dendides and Jacinctus.
Lo, thus the corone is beset,
Wherof it schyneth wel the bet;
And in such wise his liht to sprede
Sit with his Diademe on hede
The Sonne schynende in his carte.
And forto lede him swithe and smarte
After the bryhte daies lawe,
Ther ben ordeined forto drawe
Foure hors his Char and him withal,
Wherof the names telle I schal:
Erithes the ferste is hote,
The which is red and schyneth hote,
The seconde Acteos the bryhte,
Lampes the thridde coursier hihte,
And Philoges is the ferthe,
That bringen lyht unto this erthe,
And gon so swift upon the hevene,
In foure and twenty houres evene
The carte with the bryhte Sonne
Thei drawe, so that overronne
Thei have under the cercles hihe
Al Middelerthe in such an hye.
And thus the Sonne is overal
The chief Planete imperial,
Above him and benethe him thre:
And thus betwen hem regneth he,
As he that hath the middel place
Among the Sevene, and of his face
Be glade alle erthly creatures,
And taken after the natures
Here ese and recreacion.
And in his constellacion
Who that is bore in special,
Of good will and of liberal
He schal be founde in alle place,
And also stonde in mochel grace
Toward the lordes forto serve
And gret profit and thonk deserve.
And over that it causeth yit
A man to be soubtil of wit
To worche in gold, and to be wys
In every thing which is of pris.
Bot forto speken in what cost
Of al this erthe he regneth most
As for wisdom, it is in Grece,
Wher is apropred thilke spiece.
Mars the Planete bataillous
Next to the Sonne glorious
Above stant, and doth mervailes
Upon the fortune of batailes.
The conquerours be daies olde
Were unto this planete holde:
Bot who that his nativite
Hath take upon the proprete
Of Martes disposicioun
Be weie of constellacioun,
He schal be fiers and folhastif
And desirous of werre and strif.
Bot forto telle redely
In what climat most comunly
That this planete hath his effect,
Seid is that he hath his aspect
Upon the holi lond so cast,
That there is no pes stedefast.
Above Mars upon the hevene,
The sexte Planete of the sevene,
Stant Jupiter the delicat,
Which causeth pes and no debat.
For he is cleped that Planete
Which of his kinde softe and swete
Attempreth al that to him longeth;
And whom this planete underfongeth
To stonde upon his regiment,
He schal be meke and pacient
And fortunat to Marchandie
And lusti to delicacie
In every thing which he schal do.
This Jupiter is cause also
Of the science of lyhte werkes,
And in this wise tellen clerkes
He is the Planete of delices.
Bot in Egipte of his offices
He regneth most in special:
For ther be lustes overal
Of al that to this lif befalleth;
For ther no stormy weder falleth,
Which myhte grieve man or beste,
And ek the lond is so honeste
That it is plentevous and plein,
Ther is non ydel ground in vein;
And upon such felicite
Stant Jupiter in his degre.
The heyeste and aboven alle
Stant that planete which men calle
Saturnus, whos complexion
Is cold, and his condicion
Causeth malice and crualte
To him the whos nativite
Is set under his governance.
For alle hise werkes ben grevance
And enemy to mannes hele,
In what degre that he schal dele.
His climat is in Orient,
Wher that he is most violent.
Of the Planetes by and by,
Hou that thei stonde upon the Sky,
Fro point to point as thou myht hiere,
Was Alisandre mad to liere.
Bot overthis touchende his lore,
Of thing that thei him tawhte more
Upon the scoles of clergie
Now herkne the Philosophie.
He which departeth dai fro nyht,
That on derk and that other lyht,
Of sevene daies made a weke,
A Monthe of foure wekes eke
He hath ordeigned in his lawe,
Of Monthes tuelve and ek forthdrawe
He hath also the longe yeer.
And as he sette of his pouer
Acordant to the daies sevene
Planetes Sevene upon the hevene,
As thou tofore hast herd devise,
To speke riht in such a wise,
To every Monthe be himselve
Upon the hevene of Signes tuelve
He hath after his Ordinal
Assigned on in special,
Wherof, so as I schal rehersen,
The tydes of the yer diversen.
Bot pleinly forto make it knowe
Hou that the Signes sitte arowe,
Ech after other be degre
In substance and in proprete
The zodiaque comprehendeth
Withinne his cercle, as it appendeth.
The ferste of whiche natheles
Be name is cleped Aries,
Which lich a wether of stature
Resembled is in his figure.
And as it seith in Almageste,
Of Sterres tuelve upon this beste
Ben set, wherof in his degre
The wombe hath tuo, the heved hath thre,
The Tail hath sevene, and in this wise,
As thou myht hiere me divise,
Stant Aries, which hot and drye
Is of himself, and in partie
He is the receipte and the hous
Of myhty Mars the bataillous.
And overmore ek, as I finde,
The creatour of alle kinde
Upon this Signe ferst began
The world, whan that he made man.
And of this constellacioun
The verray operacioun
Availeth, if a man therinne
The pourpos of his werk beginne;
For thanne he hath of proprete
Good sped and gret felicite.
The tuelve Monthes of the yeer
Attitled under the pouer
Of these tuelve Signes stonde;
Wherof that thou schalt understonde
This Aries on of the tuelve
Hath March attitled for himselve,
Whan every bridd schal chese his make,
And every neddre and every Snake
And every Reptil which mai moeve,
His myht assaieth forto proeve,
To crepen out ayein the Sonne,
Whan Ver his Seson hath begonne.
Taurus the seconde after this
Of Signes, which figured is
Unto a Bole, is dreie and cold;
And as it is in bokes told,
He is the hous appourtienant
To Venus, somdiel descordant.
This Bole is ek with sterres set,
Thurgh whiche he hath hise hornes knet
Unto the tail of Aries,
So is he noght ther sterreles.
Upon his brest ek eyhtetiene
He hath, and ek, as it is sene,
Upon his tail stonde othre tuo.
His Monthe assigned ek also
Is Averil, which of his schoures
Ministreth weie unto the floures.
The thridde signe is Gemini,
Which is figured redely
Lich to tuo twinnes of mankinde,
That naked stonde; and as I finde,
Thei be with Sterres wel bego:
The heved hath part of thilke tuo
That schyne upon the boles tail,
So be thei bothe of o parail;
But on the wombe of Gemini
Ben fyve sterres noght forthi,
And ek upon the feet be tweie,
So as these olde bokes seie,
That wise Tholomes wrot.
His propre Monthe wel I wot
Assigned is the lusti Maii,
Whanne every brid upon his lay
Among the griene leves singeth,
And love of his pointure stingeth
After the lawes of nature
The youthe of every creature.
Cancer after the reule and space
Of Signes halt the ferthe place.
Like to the crabbe he hath semblance,
And hath unto his retienance
Sextiene sterres, wherof ten,
So as these olde wise men
Descrive, he berth on him tofore,
And in the middel tuo be bore,
And foure he hath upon his ende.
Thus goth he sterred in his kende,
And of himself is moiste and cold,
And is the propre hous and hold
Which appartieneth to the Mone,
And doth what longeth him to done.
The Monthe of Juin unto this Signe
Thou schalt after the reule assigne.
The fifte Signe is Leo hote,
Whos kinde is schape dreie and hote,
In whom the Sonne hath herbergage.
And the semblance of his ymage
Is a leoun, which in baillie
Of sterres hath his pourpartie:
The foure, which as Cancer hath
Upon his ende, Leo tath
Upon his heved, and thanne nest
He hath ek foure upon his brest,
And on upon his tail behinde,
In olde bokes as we finde.
His propre Monthe is Juyl be name,
In which men pleien many a game.
After Leo Virgo the nexte
Of Signes cleped is the sexte,
Wherof the figure is a Maide;
And as the Philosophre saide,
Sche is the welthe and the risinge,
The lust, the joie and the likinge
Unto Mercurie: and soth to seie
Sche is with sterres wel beseie,
Wherof Leo hath lent hire on,
Which sit on hih hir heved upon,
Hire wombe hath fyve, hir feet also
Have other fyve: and overmo
Touchende as of complexion,
Be kindly disposicion
Of dreie and cold this Maiden is.
And forto tellen over this
Hir Monthe, thou schalt understonde,
Whan every feld hath corn in honde
And many a man his bak hath plied,
Unto this Signe is Augst applied.
After Virgo to reknen evene
Libra sit in the nombre of sevene,
Which hath figure and resemblance
Unto a man which a balance
Berth in his hond as forto weie:
In boke and as it mai be seie,
Diverse sterres to him longeth,
Wherof on hevede he underfongeth
Ferst thre, and ek his wombe hath tuo,
And doun benethe eighte othre mo.
This Signe is hot and moiste bothe,
The whiche thinges be noght lothe
Unto Venus, so that alofte
Sche resteth in his hous fulofte,
And ek Saturnus often hyed
Is in this Signe and magnefied.
His propre Monthe is seid Septembre,
Which yifth men cause to remembre,
If eny Sor be left behinde
Of thing which grieve mai to kinde.
Among the Signes upon heighte
The Signe which is nombred eighte
Is Scorpio, which as feloun
Figured is a Scorpioun.
Bot for al that yit natheles
Is Scorpio noght sterreles;
For Libra granteth him his ende
Of eighte sterres, wher he wende,
The whiche upon his heved assised
He berth, and ek ther ben divised
Upon his wombe sterres thre,
And eighte upon his tail hath he.
Which of his kinde is moiste and cold
And unbehovely manyfold;
He harmeth Venus and empeireth,
Bot Mars unto his hous repeireth,
Bot war whan thei togedre duellen.
His propre Monthe is, as men tellen,
Octobre, which bringth the kalende
Of wynter, that comth next suiende.
The nynthe Signe in nombre also,
Which folweth after Scorpio,
Is cleped Sagittarius,
The whos figure is marked thus,
A Monstre with a bowe on honde:
On whom that sondri sterres stonde,
Thilke eighte of whiche I spak tofore,
The whiche upon the tail ben bore
Of Scorpio, the heved al faire
Bespreden of the Sagittaire;
And eighte of othre stonden evene
Upon his wombe, and othre sevene
Ther stonde upon his tail behinde.
And he is hot and dreie of kinde:
To Jupiter his hous is fre,
Bot to Mercurie in his degre,
For thei ben noght of on assent,
He worcheth gret empeirement.
This Signe hath of his proprete
A Monthe, which of duete
After the sesoun that befalleth
The Plowed Oxe in wynter stalleth;
And fyr into the halle he bringeth,
And thilke drinke of which men singeth,
He torneth must into the wyn;
Thanne is the larder of the swyn;
That is Novembre which I meene,
Whan that the lef hath lost his greene.
The tenthe Signe dreie and cold,
The which is Capricornus told,
Unto a Got hath resemblance:
For whos love and whos aqueintance
Withinne hise houses to sojorne
It liketh wel unto Satorne,
Bot to the Mone it liketh noght,
For no profit is there wroght.
This Signe as of his proprete
Upon his heved hath sterres thre,
And ek upon his wombe tuo,
And tweie upon his tail also.
Decembre after the yeeres forme,
So as the bokes ous enforme,
With daies schorte and nyhtes longe
This ilke Signe hath underfonge.
Of tho that sitte upon the hevene
Of Signes in the nombre ellevene
Aquarius hath take his place,
And stant wel in Satornes grace,
Which duelleth in his herbergage,
Bot to the Sonne he doth oultrage.
This Signe is verraily resembled
Lich to a man which halt assembled
In eyther hand a water spoute,
Wherof the stremes rennen oute.
He is of kinde moiste and hot,
And he that of the sterres wot
Seith that he hath of sterres tuo
Upon his heved, and ben of tho
That Capricorn hath on his ende;
And as the bokes maken mende,
That Tholomes made himselve,
He hath ek on his wombe tuelve,
And tweie upon his ende stonde.
Thou schalt also this understonde,
The frosti colde Janever,
Whan comen is the newe yeer,
That Janus with his double face
In his chaiere hath take his place
And loketh upon bothe sides,
Somdiel toward the wynter tydes,
Somdiel toward the yeer suiende,
That is the Monthe belongende
Unto this Signe, and of his dole
He yifth the ferste Primerole.
The tuelfthe, which is last of alle
Of Signes, Piscis men it calle,
The which, as telleth the scripture,
Berth of tuo fisshes the figure.
So is he cold and moiste of kinde,
And ek with sterres, as I finde,
Beset in sondri wise, as thus:
Tuo of his ende Aquarius
Hath lent unto his heved, and tuo
This Signe hath of his oghne also
Upon his wombe, and over this
Upon his ende also ther is
A nombre of twenty sterres bryghte,
Which is to sen a wonder sighte.
Toward this Signe into his hous
Comth Jupiter the glorious,
And Venus ek with him acordeth
To duellen, as the bok recordeth.
The Monthe unto this Signe ordeined
Is Februer, which is bereined,
And with londflodes in his rage
At Fordes letteth the passage.
Nou hast thou herd the proprete
Of Signes, bot in his degre
Albumazar yit over this
Seith, so as therthe parted is
In foure, riht so ben divised
The Signes tuelve and stonde assised,
That ech of hem for his partie
Hath his climat to justefie.
Wherof the ferste regiment
Toward the part of Orient
From Antioche and that contre
Governed is of Signes thre,
That is Cancer, Virgo, Leo:
And toward Occident also
From Armenie, as I am lerned,
Of Capricorn it stant governed,
Of Pisces and Aquarius:
And after hem I finde thus,
Southward from Alisandre forth
Tho Signes whiche most ben worth
In governance of that doaire,
Libra thei ben and Sagittaire
With Scorpio, which is conjoint
With hem to stonde upon that point:
Constantinople the Cite,
So as the bokes tellen me,
The laste of this division
Stant untoward Septemtrion,
Wher as be weie of pourveance
Hath Aries the governance
Forth with Taurus and Gemini.
Thus ben the Signes propreli
Divided, as it is reherced,
Wherof the londes ben diversed.
Lo thus, mi Sone, as thou myht hiere,
Was Alisandre mad to liere
Of hem that weren for his lore.
But nou to loken overmore,
Of othre sterres hou thei fare
I thenke hierafter to declare,
So as king Alisandre in youthe
Of him that suche thinges couthe
Enformed was tofore his yhe
Be nyhte upon the sterres hihe.
Upon sondri creacion
Stant sondri operacion,
Som worcheth this, som worcheth that;
The fyr is hot in his astat
And brenneth what he mai atteigne,
The water mai the fyr restreigne,
The which is cold and moist also.
Of other thing it farth riht so
Upon this erthe among ous here;
And forto speke in this manere,
Upon the hevene, as men mai finde,
The sterres ben of sondri kinde
And worchen manye sondri thinges
To ous, that ben here underlinges.
Among the whiche forth withal
Nectanabus in special,
Which was an Astronomien
And ek a gret Magicien,
And undertake hath thilke emprise
To Alisandre in his aprise
As of Magique naturel
To knowe, enformeth him somdel
Of certein sterres what thei mene;
Of whiche, he seith, ther ben fiftene,
And sondrily to everich on
A gras belongeth and a Ston,
Wherof men worchen many a wonder
To sette thing bothe up and under.
To telle riht as he began,
The ferste sterre Aldeboran,
The cliereste and the moste of alle,
Be rihte name men it calle;
Which lich is of condicion
To Mars, and of complexion
To Venus, and hath therupon
Carbunculum his propre Ston:
His herbe is Anabulla named,
Which is of gret vertu proclamed.
The seconde is noght vertules;
Clota or elles Pliades
It hatte, and of the mones kinde
He is, and also this I finde,
He takth of Mars complexion:
And lich to such condicion
His Ston appropred is Cristall,
And ek his herbe in special
The vertuous Fenele it is.
The thridde, which comth after this,
Is hote Algol the clere rede,
Which of Satorne, as I may rede,
His kinde takth, and ek of Jove
Complexion to his behove.
His propre Ston is Dyamant,
Which is to him most acordant;
His herbe, which is him betake,
Is hote Eleborum the blake.
So as it falleth upon lot,
The ferthe sterre is Alhaiot,
Which in the wise as I seide er
Of Satorne and of Jupiter
Hath take his kinde; and therupon
The Saphir is his propre Ston,
Marrubium his herbe also,
The whiche acorden bothe tuo.
And Canis maior in his like
The fifte sterre is of Magique,
The whos kinde is venerien,
As seith this Astronomien.
His propre Ston is seid Berille,
Bot forto worche and to fulfille
Thing which to this science falleth,
Ther is an herbe which men calleth
Saveine, and that behoveth nede
To him that wole his pourpos spede.
The sexte suiende after this
Be name Canis minor is;
The which sterre is Mercurial
Be weie of kinde, and forth withal,
As it is writen in the carte,
Complexion he takth of Marte.
His Ston and herbe, as seith the Scole,
Ben Achates and Primerole.
The sefnthe sterre in special
Of this science is Arial,
Which sondri nature underfongeth.
The Ston which propre unto him longeth,
Gorgonza proprely it hihte:
His herbe also, which he schal rihte
Upon the worchinge as I mene,
Is Celidoine freissh and grene.
Sterre Ala Corvi upon heihte
Hath take his place in nombre of eighte,
Which of his kinde mot parforne
The will of Marte and of Satorne:
To whom Lapacia the grete
Is herbe, bot of no beyete;
His Ston is Honochinus hote,
Thurgh which men worchen gret riote.
The nynthe sterre faire and wel
Be name is hote Alaezel,
Which takth his propre kinde thus
Bothe of Mercurie and of Venus.
His Ston is the grene Amyraude,
To whom is yoven many a laude:
Salge is his herbe appourtenant
Aboven al the rememant.
The tenthe sterre is Almareth,
Which upon lif and upon deth
Thurgh kinde of Jupiter and Mart
He doth what longeth to his part.
His Ston is Jaspe, and of Planteine
He hath his herbe sovereine.
The sterre ellefthe is Venenas,
The whos nature is as it was
Take of Venus and of the Mone,
In thing which he hath forto done.
Of Adamant is that perrie
In which he worcheth his maistrie;
Thilke herbe also which him befalleth,
Cicorea the bok it calleth.
Alpheta in the nombre sit,
And is the twelfthe sterre yit;
Of Scorpio which is governed,
And takth his kinde, as I am lerned;
And hath his vertu in the Ston
Which cleped is Topazion:
His herbe propre is Rosmarine,
Which schapen is for his covine.
Of these sterres, whiche I mene,
Cor Scorpionis is thritiene;
The whos nature Mart and Jove
Have yoven unto his behove.
His herbe is Aristologie,
Which folweth his Astronomie:
The Ston which that this sterre alloweth,
Is Sardis, which unto him boweth.
The sterre which stant next the laste,
Nature on him this name caste
And clepeth him Botercadent;
Which of his kinde obedient
Is to Mercurie and to Venus.
His Ston is seid Crisolitus,
His herbe is cleped Satureie,
So as these olde bokes seie.
Bot nou the laste sterre of alle
The tail of Scorpio men calle,
Which to Mercurie and to Satorne
Be weie of kinde mot retorne
After the preparacion
Of due constellacion.
The Calcedoine unto him longeth,
Which for his Ston he underfongeth;
Of Majorane his herbe is grounded.
Thus have I seid hou thei be founded,
Of every sterre in special,
Which hath his herbe and Ston withal,
As Hermes in his bokes olde
Witnesse berth of that I tolde.
The science of Astronomie,
Which principal is of clergie
To dieme betwen wo and wel
In thinges that be naturel,
Thei hadde a gret travail on honde
That made it ferst ben understonde;
And thei also which overmore
Here studie sette upon this lore,
Thei weren gracious and wys
And worthi forto bere a pris.
And whom it liketh forto wite
Of hem that this science write,
On of the ferste which it wrot
After Noe, it was Nembrot,
To his disciple Ychonithon
And made a bok forth therupon
The which Megaster cleped was.
An other Auctor in this cas
Is Arachel, the which men note;
His bok is Abbategnyh hote.
Danz Tholome is noght the leste,
Which makth the bok of Almageste;
And Alfraganus doth the same,
Whos bok is Chatemuz be name.
Gebuz and Alpetragus eke
Of Planisperie, which men seke,
The bokes made: and over this
Ful many a worthi clerc ther is,
That writen upon this clergie
The bokes of Altemetrie,
Planemetrie and ek also,
Whiche as belongen bothe tuo,
So as thei ben naturiens,
Unto these Astronomiens.
Men sein that Habraham was on;
Bot whether that he wrot or non,
That finde I noght; and Moises
Ek was an other: bot Hermes
Above alle othre in this science
He hadde a gret experience;
Thurgh him was many a sterre assised,
Whos bokes yit ben auctorized.
I mai noght knowen alle tho
That writen in the time tho
Of this science; bot I finde,
Of jugement be weie of kinde
That in o point thei alle acorden:
Of sterres whiche thei recorden
That men mai sen upon the hevene,
Ther ben a thousend sterres evene
And tuo and twenty, to the syhte
Whiche aren of hemself so bryhte,
That men mai dieme what thei be,
The nature and the proprete.
Nou hast thou herd, in which a wise
These noble Philosophres wise
Enformeden this yonge king,
And made him have a knowleching
Of thing which ferst to the partie
Belongeth of Philosophie,
Which Theorique cleped is,
As thou tofore hast herd er this.
Bot nou to speke of the secounde,
Which Aristotle hath also founde,
And techeth hou to speke faire,
Which is a thing full necessaire
To contrepeise the balance,
Wher lacketh other sufficance.
Above alle erthli creatures
The hihe makere of natures
The word to man hath yove alone,
So that the speche of his persone,
Or forto lese or forto winne,
The hertes thoght which is withinne
Mai schewe, what it wolde mene;
And that is noghwhere elles sene
Of kinde with non other beste.
So scholde he be the more honeste,
To whom god yaf so gret a yifte,
And loke wel that he ne schifte
Hise wordes to no wicked us;
For word the techer of vertus
Is cleped in Philosophie.
Wherof touchende this partie,
Is Rethorique the science
Appropred to the reverence
Of wordes that ben resonable:
And for this art schal be vailable
With goodli wordes forto like,
It hath Gramaire, it hath Logiqe,
That serven bothe unto the speche.
Gramaire ferste hath forto teche
To speke upon congruite:
Logique hath eke in his degre
Betwen the trouthe and the falshode
The pleine wordes forto schode,
So that nothing schal go beside,
That he the riht ne schal decide.
Wherof full many a gret debat
Reformed is to good astat,
And pes sustiened up alofte
With esy wordes and with softe,
Wher strengthe scholde lete it falle.
The Philosophre amonges alle
Forthi commendeth this science,
Which hath the reule of eloquence.
In Ston and gras vertu ther is,
Bot yit the bokes tellen this,
That word above alle erthli thinges
Is vertuous in his doinges,
Wher so it be to evele or goode.
For if the wordes semen goode
And ben wel spoke at mannes Ere,
Whan that ther is no trouthe there,
Thei don fulofte gret deceipte;
For whan the word to the conceipte
Descordeth in so double a wise,
Such Rethorique is to despise
In every place, and forto drede.
For of Uluxes thus I rede,
As in the bok of Troie is founde,
His eloquence and his facounde
Of goodly wordes whiche he tolde,
Hath mad that Anthenor him solde
The toun, which he with tresoun wan.
Word hath beguiled many a man;
With word the wilde beste is daunted,
With word the Serpent is enchaunted,
Of word among the men of Armes
Ben woundes heeled with the charmes,
Wher lacketh other medicine;
Word hath under his discipline
Of Sorcerie the karectes.
The wordes ben of sondri sectes,
Of evele and eke of goode also;
The wordes maken frend of fo,
And fo of frend, and pes of werre,
And werre of pes, and out of herre
The word this worldes cause entriketh,
And reconsileth whan him liketh.
The word under the coupe of hevene
Set every thing or odde or evene;
With word the hihe god is plesed,
With word the wordes ben appesed,
The softe word the loude stilleth;
Wher lacketh good, the word fulfilleth,
To make amendes for the wrong;
Whan wordes medlen with the song,
It doth plesance wel the more.
Bot forto loke upon the lore
Hou Tullius his Rethorique
Componeth, ther a man mai pike
Hou that he schal hise wordes sette,
Hou he schal lose, hou he schal knette,
And in what wise he schal pronounce
His tale plein withoute frounce.
Wherof ensample if thou wolt seche,
Tak hiede and red whilom the speche
Of Julius and Cithero,
Which consul was of Rome tho,
Of Catoun eke and of Cillene,
Behold the wordes hem betwene,
Whan the tresoun of Cateline
Descoevered was, and the covine
Of hem that were of his assent
Was knowe and spoke in parlement,
And axed hou and in what wise
Men scholde don hem to juise.
Cillenus ferst his tale tolde,
To trouthe and as he was beholde,
The comun profit forto save,
He seide hou tresoun scholde have
A cruel deth; and thus thei spieke,
The Consul bothe and Catoun eke,
And seiden that for such a wrong
Ther mai no peine be to strong.
Bot Julius with wordes wise
His tale tolde al otherwise,
As he which wolde her deth respite,
And fondeth hou he mihte excite
The jugges thurgh his eloquence
Fro deth to torne the sentence
And sette here hertes to pite.
Nou tolden thei, nou tolde he;
Thei spieken plein after the lawe,
Bot he the wordes of his sawe
Coloureth in an other weie
Spekende, and thus betwen the tweie,
To trete upon this juggement,
Made ech of hem his Argument.
Wherof the tales forto hiere,
Ther mai a man the Scole liere
Of Rethoriqes eloquences,
Which is the secounde of sciences
Touchende to Philosophie;
Wherof a man schal justifie
Hise wordes in disputeisoun,
And knette upon conclusioun
His Argument in such a forme,
Which mai the pleine trouthe enforme
And the soubtil cautele abate,
Which every trewman schal debate.
The ferste, which is Theorique,
And the secounde Rethorique,
Sciences of Philosophie,
I have hem told as in partie,
So as the Philosophre it tolde
To Alisandre: and nou I wolde
Telle of the thridde what it is,
The which Practique cleped is.
Practique stant upon thre thinges
Toward the governance of kinges;
Wherof the ferst Etique is named,
The whos science stant proclamed
To teche of vertu thilke reule,
Hou that a king himself schal reule
Of his moral condicion
With worthi disposicion
Of good livinge in his persone,
Which is the chief of his corone.
It makth a king also to lerne
Hou he his bodi schal governe,
Hou he schal wake, hou he schal slepe,
Hou that he schal his hele kepe
In mete, in drinke, in clothinge eke:
Ther is no wisdom forto seke
As for the reule of his persone,
The which that this science al one
Ne techeth as be weie of kinde,
That ther is nothing left behinde.
That other point which to Practique
Belongeth is Iconomique,
Which techeth thilke honestete
Thurgh which a king in his degre
His wif and child schal reule and guie,
So forth with al the companie
Which in his houshold schal abyde,
And his astat on every syde
In such manere forto lede,
That he his houshold ne mislede.
Practique hath yit the thridde aprise,
Which techeth hou and in what wise
Thurgh hih pourveied ordinance
A king schal sette in governance
His Realme, and that is Policie,
Which longeth unto Regalie
In time of werre, in time of pes,
To worschipe and to good encress
Of clerk, of kniht and of Marchant,
And so forth of the remenant
Of al the comun poeple aboute,
Withinne Burgh and ek withoute,
Of hem that ben Artificiers,
Whiche usen craftes and mestiers,
Whos Art is cleped Mechanique.
And though thei ben noght alle like,
Yit natheles, hou so it falle,
O lawe mot governe hem alle,
Or that thei lese or that thei winne,
After thastat that thei ben inne.
Lo, thus this worthi yonge king
Was fulli tauht of every thing,
Which mihte yive entendement
Of good reule and good regiment
To such a worthi Prince as he.
Bot of verray necessite
The Philosophre him hath betake
Fyf pointz, whiche he hath undertake
To kepe and holde in observance,
As for the worthi governance
Which longeth to his Regalie,
After the reule of Policie.
To every man behoveth lore,
Bot to noman belongeth more
Than to a king, which hath to lede
The poeple; for of his kinghede
He mai hem bothe save and spille.
And for it stant upon his wille,
It sit him wel to ben avised,
And the vertus whiche are assissed
Unto a kinges Regiment,
To take in his entendement:
Wherof to tellen, as thei stonde,
Hierafterward nou woll I fonde.
Among the vertus on is chief,
And that is trouthe, which is lief
To god and ek to man also.
And for it hath ben evere so,
Tawhte Aristotle, as he wel couthe,
To Alisandre, hou in his youthe
He scholde of trouthe thilke grace
With al his hole herte embrace,
So that his word be trewe and plein,
Toward the world and so certein
That in him be no double speche:
For if men scholde trouthe seche
And founde it noght withinne a king,
It were an unsittende thing.
The word is tokne of that withinne,
Ther schal a worthi king beginne
To kepe his tunge and to be trewe,
So schal his pris ben evere newe.
Avise him every man tofore,
And be wel war, er he be swore,
For afterward it is to late,
If that he wole his word debate.
For as a king in special
Above alle othre is principal
Of his pouer, so scholde he be
Most vertuous in his degre;
And that mai wel be signefied
Be his corone and specified.
The gold betokneth excellence,
That men schull don him reverence
As to here liege soverein.
The Stones, as the bokes sein,
Commended ben in treble wise:
Ferst thei ben harde, and thilke assisse
Betokneth in a king Constance,
So that ther schal no variance
Be founde in his condicion;
And also be descripcion
The vertu which is in the stones
A verrai Signe is for the nones
Of that a king schal ben honeste
And holde trewly his beheste
Of thing which longeth to kinghede:
The bryhte colour, as I rede,
Which in the stones is schynende,
Is in figure betoknende
The Cronique of this worldes fame,
Which stant upon his goode name.
The cercle which is round aboute
Is tokne of al the lond withoute,
Which stant under his Gerarchie,
That he it schal wel kepe and guye.
And for that trouthe, hou so it falle,
Is the vertu soverein of alle,
That longeth unto regiment,
A tale, which is evident
Of trouthe in comendacioun,
Toward thin enformacion,
Mi Sone, hierafter thou schalt hiere
Of a Cronique in this matiere.
As the Cronique it doth reherce,
A Soldan whilom was of Perce,
Which Daires hihte, and Ytaspis
His fader was; and soth it is
That thurgh wisdom and hih prudence
Mor than for eny reverence
Of his lignage as be descente
The regne of thilke empire he hente:
And as he was himselve wys,
The wisemen he hield in pris
And soghte hem oute on every side,
That toward him thei scholde abide.
Among the whiche thre ther were
That most service unto him bere,
As thei which in his chambre lyhen
And al his conseil herde and syhen.
Here names ben of strange note,
Arpaghes was the ferste hote,
And Manachaz was the secounde,
Zorobabel, as it is founde
In the Cronique, was the thridde.
This Soldan, what so him betidde,
To hem he triste most of alle,
Wherof the cas is so befalle:
This lord, which hath conceiptes depe,
Upon a nyht whan he hath slepe,
As he which hath his wit desposed,
Touchende a point hem hath opposed.
The kinges question was this;
Of thinges thre which strengest is,
The wyn, the womman or the king:
And that thei scholde upon this thing
Of here ansuere avised be,
He yaf hem fulli daies thre,
And hath behote hem be his feith
That who the beste reson seith,
He schal receive a worthi mede.
Upon this thing thei token hiede
And stoden in desputeison,
That be diverse opinion
Of Argumentz that thei have holde
Arpaghes ferst his tale tolde,
And seide hou that the strengthe of kinges
Is myhtiest of alle thinges.
For king hath pouer over man,
And man is he which reson can,
As he which is of his nature
The moste noble creature
Of alle tho that god hath wroght:
And be that skile it semeth noght,
He seith, that eny erthly thing
Mai be so myhty as a king.
A king mai spille, a king mai save,
A king mai make of lord a knave
And of a knave a lord also:
The pouer of a king stant so,
That he the lawes overpasseth;
What he wol make lasse, he lasseth,
What he wol make more, he moreth;
And as the gentil faucon soreth,
He fleth, that noman him reclameth;
Bot he al one alle othre tameth,
And stant himself of lawe fre.
Lo, thus a kinges myht, seith he,
So as his reson can argue,
Is strengest and of most value.
Bot Manachaz seide otherwise,
That wyn is of the more emprise;
And that he scheweth be this weie.
The wyn fulofte takth aweie
The reson fro the mannes herte;
The wyn can make a krepel sterte,
And a delivere man unwelde;
It makth a blind man to behelde,
And a bryht yhed seme derk;
It makth a lewed man a clerk,
And fro the clerkes the clergie
It takth aweie, and couardie
It torneth into hardiesse;
Of Avarice it makth largesse.
The wyn makth ek the goode blod,
In which the Soule which is good
Hath chosen hire a resting place,
Whil that the lif hir wole embrace.
And be this skile Manachas
Ansuered hath upon this cas,
And seith that wyn be weie of kinde
Is thing which mai the hertes binde
Wel more than the regalie.
Zorobabel for his partie
Seide, as him thoghte for the beste,
That wommen ben the myhtieste.
The king and the vinour also
Of wommen comen bothe tuo;
And ek he seide hou that manhede
Thurgh strengthe unto the wommanhede
Of love, wher he wole or non,
Obeie schal; and therupon,
To schewe of wommen the maistrie,
A tale which he syh with yhe
As for ensample he tolde this,-
Hou Apemen, of Besazis
Which dowhter was, in the paleis
Sittende upon his hihe deis,
Whan he was hotest in his ire
Toward the grete of his empire,
Cirus the king tirant sche tok,
And only with hire goodly lok
Sche made him debonaire and meke,
And be the chyn and be the cheke
Sche luggeth him riht as hir liste,
That nou sche japeth, nou sche kiste,
And doth with him what evere hir liketh;
Whan that sche loureth, thanne he siketh,
And whan sche gladeth, he is glad:
And thus this king was overlad
With hire which his lemman was.
Among the men is no solas,
If that ther be no womman there;
For bot if that the wommen were,
This worldes joie were aweie:
Thurgh hem men finden out the weie
To knihthode and to worldes fame;
Thei make a man to drede schame,
And honour forto be desired:
Thurgh the beaute of hem is fyred
The Dart of which Cupide throweth,
Wherof the jolif peine groweth,
Which al the world hath under fote.
A womman is the mannes bote,
His lif, his deth, his wo, his wel;
And this thing mai be schewed wel,
Hou that wommen ben goode and kinde,
For in ensample this I finde.
Whan that the duk Ametus lay
Sek in his bedd, that every day
Men waiten whan he scholde deie,
Alceste his wif goth forto preie,
As sche which wolde thonk deserve,
With Sacrifice unto Minerve,
To wite ansuere of the goddesse
Hou that hir lord of his seknesse,
Wherof he was so wo besein,
Recovere myhte his hele ayein.
Lo, thus sche cride and thus sche preide,
Til ate laste a vois hir seide,
That if sche wolde for his sake
The maladie soffre and take,
And deie hirself, he scholde live.
Of this ansuere Alceste hath yive
Unto Minerve gret thonkinge,
So that hir deth and his livinge
Sche ches with al hire hole entente,
And thus acorded hom sche wente.
Into the chambre and whan sche cam,
Hire housebonde anon sche nam
In bothe hire Armes and him kiste,
And spak unto him what hire liste;
And therupon withinne a throwe
This goode wif was overthrowe
And deide, and he was hool in haste.
So mai a man be reson taste,
Hou next after the god above
The trouthe of wommen and the love,
In whom that alle grace is founde,
Is myhtiest upon this grounde
And most behovely manyfold.
Lo, thus Zorobabel hath told
The tale of his opinion:
Bot for final conclusion
What strengest is of erthli thinges,
The wyn, the wommen or the kinges,
He seith that trouthe above hem alle
Is myhtiest, hou evere it falle.
The trouthe, hou so it evere come,
Mai for nothing ben overcome;
It mai wel soffre for a throwe,
Bot ate laste it schal be knowe.
The proverbe is, who that is trewe,
Him schal his while nevere rewe:
For hou so that the cause wende,
The trouthe is schameles ate ende,
Bot what thing that is troutheles,
It mai noght wel be schameles,
And schame hindreth every wyht:
So proveth it, ther is no myht
Withoute trouthe in no degre.
And thus for trouthe of his decre
Zorobabel was most commended,
Wherof the question was ended,
And he resceived hath his mede
For trouthe, which to mannes nede
Is most behoveliche overal.
Forthi was trouthe in special
The ferste point in observance
Betake unto the governance
Of Alisandre, as it is seid:
For therupon the ground is leid
Of every kinges regiment,
As thing which most convenient
Is forto sette a king in evene
Bothe in this world and ek in hevene.
Next after trouthe the secounde,
In Policie as it is founde,
Which serveth to the worldes fame
In worschipe of a kinges name,
Largesse it is, whos privilegge
Ther mai non Avarice abregge.
The worldes good was ferst comune,
Bot afterward upon fortune
Was thilke comun profit cessed:
For whan the poeple stod encresced
And the lignages woxen grete,
Anon for singulier beyete
Drouh every man to his partie;
Wherof cam in the ferste envie
With gret debat and werres stronge,
And laste among the men so longe,
Til noman wiste who was who,
Ne which was frend ne which was fo.
Til ate laste in every lond
Withinne hemself the poeple fond
That it was good to make a king,
Which mihte appesen al this thing
And yive riht to the lignages
In partinge of here heritages
And ek of al here other good;
And thus above hem alle stod
The king upon his Regalie,
As he which hath to justifie
The worldes good fro covoitise.
So sit it wel in alle wise
A king betwen the more and lesse
To sette his herte upon largesse
Toward himself and ek also
Toward his poeple; and if noght so,
That is to sein, if that he be
Toward himselven large and fre
And of his poeple take and pile,
Largesse be no weie of skile
It mai be seid, bot Avarice,
Which in a king is a gret vice.
A king behoveth ek to fle
The vice of Prodegalite,
That he mesure in his expence
So kepe, that of indigence
He mai be sauf: for who that nedeth,
In al his werk the worse he spedeth.
As Aristotle upon Chaldee
Ensample of gret Auctorite
Unto king Alisandre tauhte
Of thilke folk that were unsauhte
Toward here king for his pilage:
Wherof he bad, in his corage
That he unto thre pointz entende,
Wher that he wolde his good despende.
Ferst scholde he loke, hou that it stod,
That al were of his oghne good
The yiftes whiche he wolde yive;
So myhte he wel the betre live:
And ek he moste taken hiede
If ther be cause of eny nede,
Which oghte forto be defended,
Er that his goodes be despended:
He mot ek, as it is befalle,
Amonges othre thinges alle
Se the decertes of his men;
And after that thei ben of ken
And of astat and of merite,
He schal hem largeliche aquite,
Or for the werre, or for the pes,
That non honour falle in descres,
Which mihte torne into defame,
Bot that he kepe his goode name,
So that he be noght holde unkinde.
For in Cronique a tale I finde,
Which spekth somdiel of this matiere,
Hierafterward as thou schalt hiere.
In Rome, to poursuie his riht,
Ther was a worthi povere kniht,
Which cam al one forto sein
His cause, when the court was plein,
Wher Julius was in presence.
And for him lacketh of despence,
Ther was with him non advocat
To make ple for his astat.
Bot thogh him lacke forto plede,
Him lacketh nothing of manhede;
He wiste wel his pours was povere,
Bot yit he thoghte his riht recovere,
And openly poverte alleide,
To themperour and thus he seide:
"O Julius, lord of the lawe,
Behold, mi conseil is withdrawe
For lacke of gold: do thin office
After the lawes of justice:
Help that I hadde conseil hiere
Upon the trouthe of mi matiere."
And Julius with that anon
Assigned him a worthi on,
Bot he himself no word ne spak.
This kniht was wroth and fond a lak
In themperour, and seide thus:
"O thou unkinde Julius,
Whan thou in thi bataille were
Up in Aufrique, and I was there,
Mi myht for thi rescousse I dede
And putte noman in my stede,
Thou wost what woundes ther I hadde:
Bot hier I finde thee so badde,
That thee ne liste speke o word
Thin oghne mouth, nor of thin hord
To yive a florin me to helpe.
Hou scholde I thanne me beyelpe
Fro this dai forth of thi largesse,
Whan such a gret unkindenesse
Is founde in such a lord as thou?"
This Julius knew wel ynou
That al was soth which he him tolde;
And for he wolde noght ben holde
Unkinde, he tok his cause on honde,
And as it were of goddes sonde,
He yaf him good ynouh to spende
For evere into his lives ende.
And thus scholde every worthi king
Take of his knihtes knowleching,
Whan that he syh thei hadden nede,
For every service axeth mede:
Bot othre, which have noght deserved
Thurgh vertu, bot of japes served,
A king schal noght deserve grace,
Thogh he be large in such a place.
It sit wel every king to have
Discrecion, whan men him crave,
So that he mai his yifte wite:
Wherof I finde a tale write,
Hou Cinichus a povere kniht
A Somme which was over myht
Preide of his king Antigonus.
The king ansuerde to him thus,
And seide hou such a yifte passeth
His povere astat: and thanne he lasseth,
And axeth bot a litel peny,
If that the king wol yive him eny.
The king ansuerde, it was to smal
For him, which was a lord real;
To yive a man so litel thing
It were unworschipe in a king.
Be this ensample a king mai lere
That forto yive is in manere:
For if a king his tresor lasseth
Withoute honour and thonkles passeth,
Whan he himself wol so beguile,
I not who schal compleigne his while,
Ne who be rihte him schal relieve.
Bot natheles this I believe,
To helpe with his oghne lond
Behoveth every man his hond
To sette upon necessite;
And ek his kinges realte
Mot every liege man conforte,
With good and bodi to supporte,
Whan thei se cause resonable:
For who that is noght entendable
To holde upriht his kinges name,
Him oghte forto be to blame.
Of Policie and overmore
To speke in this matiere more,
So as the Philosophre tolde,
A king after the reule is holde
To modifie and to adresce
Hise yiftes upon such largesce
That he mesure noght excede:
For if a king falle into nede,
It causeth ofte sondri thinges
Whiche are ungoodly to the kinges.
What man wol noght himself mesure,
Men sen fulofte that mesure
Him hath forsake: and so doth he
That useth Prodegalite,
Which is the moder of poverte,
Wherof the londes ben deserte;
And namely whan thilke vice
Aboute a king stant in office
And hath withholde of his partie
The covoitouse flaterie,
Which many a worthi king deceiveth,
Er he the fallas aperceiveth
Of hem that serven to the glose.
For thei that cunnen plese and glose,
Ben, as men tellen, the norrices
Unto the fostringe of the vices,
Wherof fulofte natheles
A king is blamed gulteles.
A Philosophre, as thou schalt hiere,
Spak to a king of this matiere,
And seide him wel hou that flatours
Coupable were of thre errours.
On was toward the goddes hihe,
That weren wrothe of that thei sihe
The meschief which befalle scholde
Of that the false flatour tolde.
Toward the king an other was,
Whan thei be sleihte and be fallas
Of feigned wordes make him wene
That blak is whyt and blew is grene
Touchende of his condicion:
For whanne he doth extorcion
With manye an other vice mo,
Men schal noght finden on of tho
To groucche or speke therayein,
Bot holden up his oil and sein
That al is wel, what evere he doth;
And thus of fals thei maken soth,
So that here kinges yhe is blent
And wot not hou the world is went.
The thridde errour is harm comune,
With which the poeple mot commune
Of wronges that thei bringen inne:
And thus thei worchen treble sinne,
That ben flatours aboute a king.
Ther myhte be no worse thing
Aboute a kinges regalie,
Thanne is the vice of flaterie.
And natheles it hath ben used,
That it was nevere yit refused
As forto speke in court real;
For there it is most special,
And mai noght longe be forbore.
Bot whan this vice of hem is bore,
That scholden the vertus forthbringe,
And trouthe is torned to lesinge,
It is, as who seith, ayein kinde,
Wherof an old ensample I finde.
Among these othre tales wise
Of Philosophres, in this wise
I rede, how whilom tuo ther were,
And to the Scole forto lere
Unto Athenes fro Cartage
Here frendes, whan thei were of Age,
Hem sende; and ther thei stoden longe,
Til thei such lore have underfonge,
That in here time thei surmonte
Alle othre men, that to acompte
Of hem was tho the grete fame.
The ferste of hem his rihte name
Was Diogenes thanne hote,
In whom was founde no riote:
His felaw Arisippus hyhte,
Which mochel couthe and mochel myhte.
Bot ate laste, soth to sein,
Thei bothe tornen hom ayein
Unto Cartage and scole lete.
This Diogenes no beyete
Of worldes good or lasse or more
Ne soghte for his longe lore,
Bot tok him only forto duelle
At hom; and as the bokes telle,
His hous was nyh to the rivere
Besyde a bregge, as thou schalt hiere.
Ther duelleth he to take his reste,
So as it thoghte him for the beste,
To studie in his Philosophie,
As he which wolde so defie
The worldes pompe on every syde.
Bot Arisippe his bok aside
Hath leid, and to the court he wente,
Wher many a wyle and many a wente
With flaterie and wordes softe
He caste, and hath compassed ofte
Hou he his Prince myhte plese;
And in this wise he gat him ese
Of vein honour and worldes good.
The londes reule upon him stod,
The king of him was wonder glad,
And all was do, what thing he bad,
Bothe in the court and ek withoute.
With flaterie he broghte aboute
His pourpos of the worldes werk,
Which was ayein the stat of clerk,
So that Philosophie he lefte
And to richesse himself uplefte:
Lo, thus hadde Arisippe his wille.
Bot Diogenes duelte stille
A home and loked on his bok:
He soghte noght the worldes crok
For vein honour ne for richesse,
Bot all his hertes besinesse
He sette to be vertuous;
And thus withinne his oghne hous
He liveth to the sufficance
Of his havinge. And fell per chance,
This Diogene upon a day,
And that was in the Monthe of May,
Whan that these herbes ben holsome,
He walketh forto gadre some
In his gardin, of whiche his joutes
He thoghte have, and thus aboutes
Whanne he hath gadred what him liketh,
He satte him thanne doun and pyketh,
And wyssh his herbes in the flod
Upon the which his gardin stod,
Nyh to the bregge, as I tolde er.
And hapneth, whil he sitteth ther,
Cam Arisippes be the strete
With manye hors and routes grete,
And straght unto the bregge he rod.
Wher that he hoved and abod;
For as he caste his yhe nyh,
His felaw Diogene he syh,
And what he dede he syh also,
Wherof he seide to him so:
"O Diogene, god thee spede.
It were certes litel nede
To sitte there and wortes pyke,
If thou thi Prince couthest lyke,
So as I can in my degre."
"O Arisippe," ayein quod he,
"If that thou couthist, so as I,
Thi wortes pyke, trewely
It were als litel nede or lasse,
That thou so worldly wolt compasse
With flaterie forto serve,
Wherof thou thenkest to deserve
Thi princes thonk, and to pourchace
Hou thou myht stonden in his grace,
For getinge of a litel good.
If thou wolt take into thi mod
Reson, thou myht be reson deeme
That so thi prince forto queeme
Is noght to reson acordant,
Bot it is gretly descordant
Unto the Scoles of Athene."
Lo, thus ansuerde Diogene
Ayein the clerkes flaterie.
Bot yit men sen thessamplerie
Of Arisippe is wel received,
And thilke of Diogene is weyved.
Office in court and gold in cofre
Is nou, men sein, the philosophre
Which hath the worschipe in the halle;
Bot flaterie passeth alle
In chambre, whom the court avanceth;
For upon thilke lot it chanceth
To be beloved nou aday.
I not if it be ye or nay,
Bot as the comun vois it telleth;
Bot wher that flaterie duelleth
In eny lond under the Sonne,
Ther is ful many a thing begonne
Which were betre to be left;
That hath be schewed nou and eft.
How Dante the poete answerde
To a flatour, the tale I herde.
Upon a strif bitwen hem tuo
He seide him, "There been many mo
Of thy servantes than of myne.
For the poete of his covyne
Hath non that wol him clothe and fede,
But a flatour may reule and lede
A kin with all his lond about."
So stant the wise man in doute
Of hem that to folie draw:
For such is now the newe lawe.
Bot if a Prince wolde him reule
Of the Romeins after the reule,
In thilke time as it was used,
This vice scholde be refused,
Wherof the Princes ben assoted.
Bot wher the pleine trouthe is noted,
Ther may a Prince wel conceive,
That he schal noght himself deceive,
Of that he hiereth wordes pleine;
For him thar noght be reson pleigne,
That warned is er him be wo.
And that was fully proeved tho,
Whan Rome was the worldes chief,
The Sothseiere tho was lief,
Which wolde noght the trouthe spare,
Bot with hise wordes pleine and bare
To Themperour hise sothes tolde,
As in Cronique is yit withholde,
Hierafterward as thou schalt hiere
Acordende unto this matiere.
To se this olde ensamplerie,
That whilom was no flaterie
Toward the Princes wel I finde;
Wherof so as it comth to mynde,
Mi Sone, a tale unto thin Ere,
Whil that the worthi princes were
At Rome, I thenke forto tellen.
For whan the chances so befellen
That eny Emperour as tho
Victoire hadde upon his fo,
And so forth cam to Rome ayein,
Of treble honour he was certein,
Wherof that he was magnefied.
The ferste, as it is specefied,
Was, whan he cam at thilke tyde,
The Charr in which he scholde ryde
Foure whyte Stiedes scholden drawe;
Of Jupiter be thilke lawe
The Cote he scholde were also;
Hise prisoners ek scholden go
Endlong the Charr on eyther hond,
And alle the nobles of the lond
Tofore and after with him come
Ridende and broghten him to Rome,
In thonk of his chivalerie
And for non other flaterie.
And that was schewed forth withal;
Wher he sat in his Charr real,
Beside him was a Ribald set,
Which hadde hise wordes so beset,
To themperour in al his gloire
He seide, "Tak into memoire,
For al this pompe and al this pride
Let no justice gon aside,
Bot know thiself, what so befalle.
For men sen ofte time falle
Thing which men wende siker stonde:
Thogh thou victoire have nou on honde,
Fortune mai noght stonde alway;
The whiel per chance an other day
Mai torne, and thou myht overthrowe;
Ther lasteth nothing bot a throwe."
With these wordes and with mo
This Ribald, which sat with him tho,
To Themperour his tale tolde:
And overmor what evere he wolde,
Or were it evel or were it good,
So pleinly as the trouthe stod,
He spareth noght, bot spekth it oute;
And so myhte every man aboute
The day of that solempnete
His tale telle als wel as he
To Themperour al openly.
And al was this the cause why;
That whil he stod in that noblesse,
He scholde his vanite represse
With suche wordes as he herde.
Lo nou, hou thilke time it ferde
Toward so hih a worthi lord:
For this I finde ek of record,
Which the Cronique hath auctorized.
What Emperour was entronized,
The ferste day of his corone,
Wher he was in his real Throne
And hield his feste in the paleis
Sittende upon his hihe deis
With al the lust that mai be gete,
Whan he was gladdest at his mete,
And every menstral hadde pleid,
And every Disour hadde seid
What most was plesant to his Ere,
Than ate laste comen there
Hise Macons, for thei scholden crave
Wher that he wolde be begrave,
And of what Ston his sepulture
Thei scholden make, and what sculpture
He wolde ordeine therupon.
Tho was ther flaterie non
The worthi princes to bejape;
The thing was other wise schape
With good conseil; and otherwise
Thei were hemselven thanne wise,
And understoden wel and knewen.
Whan suche softe wyndes blewen
Of flaterie into here Ere,
Thei setten noght here hertes there;
Bot whan thei herden wordes feigned,
The pleine trouthe it hath desdeigned
Of hem that weren so discrete.
So tok the flatour no beyete
Of him that was his prince tho:
And forto proven it is so,
A tale which befell in dede
In a Cronique of Rome I rede.
Cesar upon his real throne
Wher that he sat in his persone
And was hyest in al his pris,
A man, which wolde make him wys,
Fell doun knelende in his presence,
And dede him such a reverence,
As thogh the hihe god it were:
Men hadden gret mervaille there
Of the worschipe which he dede.
This man aros fro thilke stede,
And forth with al the same tyde
He goth him up and be his side
He set him doun as pier and pier,
And seide, "If thou that sittest hier
Art god, which alle thinges myht,
Thanne have I do worshipe ariht
As to the god; and other wise,
If thou be noght of thilke assisse,
Bot art a man such as am I,
Than mai I sitte faste by,
For we be bothen of o kinde."
Cesar ansuerde and seide, "O blinde,
Thou art a fol, it is wel sene
Upon thiself: for if thou wene
I be a god, thou dost amys
To sitte wher thou sest god is;
And if I be a man, also
Thou hast a gret folie do,
Whan thou to such on as schal deie
The worschipe of thi god aweie
Hast yoven so unworthely.
Thus mai I prove redely,
Thou art noght wys." And thei that herde
Hou wysly that the king ansuerde,
It was to hem a newe lore;
Wherof thei dradden him the more,
And broghten nothing to his Ere,
Bot if it trouthe and reson were.
So be ther manye, in such a wise
That feignen wordes to be wise,
And al is verray flaterie
To him which can it wel aspie.
The kinde flatour can noght love
Bot forto bringe himself above;
For hou that evere his maister fare,
So that himself stonde out of care,
Him reccheth noght: and thus fulofte
Deceived ben with wordes softe
The kinges that ben innocent.
Wherof as for chastiement
The wise Philosophre seide,
What king that so his tresor leide
Upon such folk, he hath the lesse,
And yit ne doth he no largesse,
Bot harmeth with his oghne hond
Himself and ek his oghne lond,
And that be many a sondri weie.
Wherof if that a man schal seie,
As forto speke in general,
Wher such thing falleth overal
That eny king himself misreule,
The Philosophre upon his reule
In special a cause sette,
Which is and evere hath be the lette
In governance aboute a king
Upon the meschief of the thing,
And that, he seith, is Flaterie.
Wherof tofore as in partie
What vice it is I have declared;
For who that hath his wit bewared
Upon a flatour to believe,
Whan that he weneth best achieve
His goode world, it is most fro.
And forto proeven it is so
Ensamples ther ben manyon,
Of whiche if thou wolt knowen on,
It is behovely forto hiere
What whilom fell in this matiere.
Among the kinges in the bible
I finde a tale, and is credible,
Of him that whilom Achab hihte,
Which hadde al Irahel to rihte;
Bot who that couthe glose softe
And flatre, suche he sette alofte
In gret astat and made hem riche;
Bot thei that spieken wordes liche
To trouthe and wolde it noght forbere,
For hem was non astat to bere,
The court of suche tok non hiede.
Til ate laste upon a nede,
That Benedab king of Surie
Of Irahel a gret partie,
Which Ramoth Galaath was hote,
Hath sesed; and of that riote
He tok conseil in sondri wise,
Bot noght of hem that weren wise.
And natheles upon this cas
To strengthen him, for Josaphas,
Which thanne was king of Judee,
He sende forto come, as he
Which thurgh frendschipe and alliance
Was next to him of aqueintance;
For Joram Sone of Josaphath
Achabbes dowhter wedded hath,
Which hihte faire Godelie.
And thus cam into Samarie
King Josaphat, and he fond there
The king Achab: and whan thei were
Togedre spekende of this thing,
This Josaphat seith to the king,
Hou that he wolde gladly hiere
Som trew prophete in this matiere,
That he his conseil myhte yive
To what point that it schal be drive.
And in that time so befell,
Ther was such on in Irahel,
Which sette him al to flaterie,
And he was cleped Sedechie;
And after him Achab hath sent:
And he at his comandement
Tofore him cam, and be a sleyhte
He hath upon his heved on heyhte
Tuo large hornes set of bras,
As he which al a flatour was,
And goth rampende as a leoun
And caste hise hornes up and doun,
And bad men ben of good espeir,
For as the hornes percen their,
He seith, withoute resistence,
So wiste he wel of his science
That Benedab is desconfit.
Whan Sedechie upon this plit
Hath told this tale to his lord,
Anon ther were of his acord
Prophetes false manye mo
To bere up oil, and alle tho
Affermen that which he hath told,
Wherof the king Achab was bold
And yaf hem yiftes al aboute.
But Josaphat was in gret doute,
And hield fantosme al that he herde,
Preiende Achab, hou so it ferde,
If ther were eny other man,
The which of prophecie can,
To hiere him speke er that thei gon.
Quod Achab thanne, "Ther is on,
A brothell, which Micheas hihte;
Bot he ne comth noght in my sihte,
For he hath longe in prison lein.
Him liketh nevere yit to sein
A goodly word to mi plesance;
And natheles at thin instance
He schal come oute, and thanne he may
Seie as he seide many day;
For yit he seide nevere wel."
Tho Josaphat began somdel
To gladen him in hope of trouthe,
And bad withouten eny slouthe
That men him scholden fette anon.
And thei that weren for him gon,
Whan that thei comen wher he was,
Thei tolden unto Micheas
The manere hou that Sedechie
Declared hath his prophecie;
And therupon thei preie him faire
That he wol seie no contraire,
Wherof the king mai be desplesed,
For so schal every man ben esed,
And he mai helpe himselve also.
Micheas upon trouthe tho
His herte sette, and to hem seith,
Al that belongeth to his feith
And of non other feigned thing,
That wol he telle unto his king,
Als fer as god hath yove him grace.
Thus cam this prophete into place
Wher he the kinges wille herde;
And he therto anon ansuerde,
And seide unto him in this wise:
"Mi liege lord, for mi servise,
Which trewe hath stonden evere yit,
Thou hast me with prisone aquit;
Bot for al that I schal noght glose
Of trouthe als fer as I suppose;
And as touchende of this bataille,
Thou schalt noght of the sothe faile.
For if it like thee to hiere,
As I am tauht in that matiere,
Thou miht it understonde sone;
Bot what is afterward to done
Avise thee, for this I sih.
I was tofor the throne on hih,
Wher al the world me thoghte stod,
And there I herde and understod
The vois of god with wordes cliere
Axende, and seide in this manere:
"In what thing mai I best beguile
The king Achab?" And for a while
Upon this point thei spieken faste.
Tho seide a spirit ate laste,
"I undertake this emprise."
And god him axeth in what wise.
"I schal," quod he, "deceive and lye
With flaterende prophecie
In suche mouthes as he lieveth."
And he which alle thing achieveth
Bad him go forth and don riht so.
And over this I sih also
The noble peple of Irahel
Dispers as Schep upon an hell,
Withoute a kepere unarraied:
And as thei wente aboute astraied,
I herde a vois unto hem sein,
"Goth hom into your hous ayein,
Til I for you have betre ordeigned."
Quod Sedechie, "Thou hast feigned
This tale in angringe of the king."
And in a wraththe upon this thing
He smot Michee upon the cheke;
The king him hath rebuked eke,
And every man upon him cride:
Thus was he schent on every side,
Ayein and into prison lad,
For so the king himselve bad.
The trouthe myhte noght ben herd;
Bot afterward as it hath ferd,
The dede proveth his entente:
Achab to the bataille wente,
Wher Benedab for al his Scheld
Him slouh, so that upon the feld
His poeple goth aboute astray.
Bot god, which alle thinges may,
So doth that thei no meschief have;
Here king was ded and thei ben save,
And hom ayein in goddes pes
Thei wente, and al was founde les
That Sedechie hath seid tofore.
So sit it wel a king therfore
To loven hem that trouthe mene;
For ate laste it wol be sene
That flaterie is nothing worth.
Bot nou to mi matiere forth,
As forto speken overmore
After the Philosophres lore,
The thridde point of Policie
I thenke forto specifie.
What is a lond wher men ben none?
What ben the men whiche are al one
Withoute a kinges governance?
What is a king in his ligance,
Wher that ther is no lawe in londe?
What is to take lawe on honde,
Bot if the jugges weren trewe?
These olde worldes with the newe
Who that wol take in evidence,
Ther mai he se thexperience,
What thing it is to kepe lawe,
Thurgh which the wronges ben withdrawe
And rihtwisnesse stant commended,
Wherof the regnes ben amended.
For wher the lawe mai comune
The lordes forth with the commune,
Ech hath his propre duete;
And ek the kinges realte
Of bothe his worschipe underfongeth,
To his astat as it belongeth,
Which of his hihe worthinesse
Hath to governe rihtwisnesse,
As he which schal the lawe guide.
And natheles upon som side
His pouer stant above the lawe,
To yive bothe and to withdrawe
The forfet of a mannes lif;
But thinges whiche are excessif
Ayein the lawe, he schal noght do
For love ne for hate also.
The myhtes of a king ben grete,
Bot yit a worthi king schal lete
Of wrong to don, al that he myhte;
For he which schal the poeple ryhte,
It sit wel to his regalie
That he himself ferst justefie
Towardes god in his degre:
For his astat is elles fre
Toward alle othre in his persone,
Save only to the god al one,
Which wol himself a king chastise,
Wher that non other mai suffise.
So were it good to taken hiede
That ferst a king his oghne dede
Betwen the vertu and the vice
Redresce, and thanne of his justice
So sette in evene the balance
Towardes othre in governance,
That to the povere and to the riche
Hise lawes myhten stonde liche,
He schal excepte no persone.
Bot for he mai noght al him one
In sondri places do justice,
He schal of his real office
With wys consideracion
Ordeigne his deputacion
Of suche jugges as ben lerned,
So that his poeple be governed
Be hem that trewe ben and wise.
For if the lawe of covoitise
Be set upon a jugges hond,
Wo is the poeple of thilke lond,
For wrong mai noght himselven hyde:
Bot elles on that other side,
If lawe stonde with the riht,
The poeple is glad and stant upriht.
Wher as the lawe is resonable,
The comun poeple stant menable,
And if the lawe torne amis,
The poeple also mistorned is.
And in ensample of this matiere
Of Maximin a man mai hiere,
Of Rome which was Emperour,
That whanne he made a governour
Be weie of substitucion
Of Province or of region,
He wolde ferst enquere his name,
And let it openly proclame
What man he were, or evel or good.
And upon that his name stod
Enclin to vertu or to vice,
So wolde he sette him in office,
Or elles putte him al aweie.
Thus hield the lawe his rihte weie,
Which fond no let of covoitise:
The world stod than upon the wise,
As be ensample thou myht rede;
And hold it in thi mynde, I rede.
In a Cronique I finde thus,
Hou that Gayus Fabricius,
Which whilom was Consul of Rome,
Be whom the lawes yede and come,
Whan the Sampnites to him broghte
A somme of gold, and him besoghte
To don hem favour in the lawe,
Toward the gold he gan him drawe,
Wherof in alle mennes lok
A part up in his hond he tok,
Which to his mouth in alle haste
He putte, it forto smelle and taste,
And to his yhe and to his Ere,
Bot he ne fond no confort there:
And thanne he gan it to despise,
And tolde unto hem in this wise:
"I not what is with gold to thryve,
Whan non of all my wittes fyve
Fynt savour ne delit therinne.
So is it bot a nyce Sinne
Of gold to ben to covoitous;
Bot he is riche and glorious,
Which hath in his subjeccion
Tho men whiche in possession
Ben riche of gold, and be this skile;
For he mai aldai whan he wile,
Or be hem lieve or be hem lothe,
Justice don upon hem bothe."
Lo, thus he seide, and with that word
He threw tofore hem on the bord
The gold out of his hond anon,
And seide hem that he wolde non:
So that he kepte his liberte
To do justice and equite,
Withoute lucre of such richesse.
Ther be nou fewe of suche, I gesse;
For it was thilke times used,
That every jugge was refused
Which was noght frend to comun riht;
Bot thei that wolden stonde upriht
For trouthe only to do justice
Preferred were in thilke office
To deme and jugge commun lawe:
Which nou, men sein, is al withdrawe.
To sette a lawe and kepe it noght
Ther is no comun profit soght;
Bot above alle natheles
The lawe, which is mad for pes,
Is good to kepe for the beste,
For that set alle men in reste.
The rihtful Emperour Conrade
To kepe pes such lawe made,
That non withinne the cite
In destorbance of unite
Dorste ones moeven a matiere.
For in his time, as thou myht hiere,
What point that was for lawe set
It scholde for no gold be let,
To what persone that it were.
And this broghte in the comun fere,
Why every man the lawe dradde,
For ther was non which favour hadde.
So as these olde bokes sein,
I finde write hou a Romein,
Which Consul was of the Pretoire,
Whos name was Carmidotoire,
He sette a lawe for the pes,
That non, bot he be wepneles,
Schal come into the conseil hous,
And elles as malicious
He schal ben of the lawe ded.
To that statut and to that red
Acorden alle it schal be so,
For certein cause which was tho:
Nou lest what fell therafter sone.
This Consul hadde forto done,
And was into the feldes ride;
And thei him hadden longe abide,
That lordes of the conseil were,
And for him sende, and he cam there
With swerd begert, and hath foryete,
Til he was in the conseil sete.
Was non of hem that made speche,
Til he himself it wolde seche,
And fond out the defalte himselve;
And thanne he seide unto the tuelve,
Whiche of the Senat weren wise,
"I have deserved the juise,
In haste that it were do."
And thei him seiden alle no;
For wel thei wiste it was no vice,
Whan he ne thoghte no malice,
Bot onliche of a litel slouthe:
And thus thei leften as for routhe
To do justice upon his gilt,
For that he scholde noght be spilt.
And whanne he sih the maner hou
Thei wolde him save, he made avou
With manfull herte, and thus he seide,
That Rome scholde nevere abreide
His heires, whan he were of dawe,
That here Ancestre brak the lawe.
Forthi, er that thei weren war,
Forth with the same swerd he bar
The statut of his lawe he kepte,
So that al Rome his deth bewepte.
In other place also I rede,
Wher that a jugge his oghne dede
Ne wol noght venge of lawe broke,
The king it hath himselven wroke.
The grete king which Cambises
Was hote, a jugge laweles
He fond, and into remembrance
He dede upon him such vengance:
Out of his skyn he was beflain
Al quyk, and in that wise slain,
So that his skyn was schape al meete,
And nayled on the same seete
Wher that his Sone scholde sitte.
Avise him, if he wolde flitte
The lawe for the coveitise,
Ther sih he redi his juise.
Thus in defalte of other jugge
The king mot otherwhile jugge,
To holden up the rihte lawe.
And forto speke of tholde dawe,
To take ensample of that was tho,
I finde a tale write also,
Hou that a worthi prince is holde
The lawes of his lond to holde,
Ferst for the hihe goddes sake,
And ek for that him is betake
The poeple forto guide and lede,
Which is the charge of his kinghede.
In a Cronique I rede thus
Of the rihtful Ligurgius,
Which of Athenis Prince was,
Hou he the lawe in every cas,
Wherof he scholde his poeple reule,
Hath set upon so good a reule,
In al this world that cite non
Of lawe was so wel begon
Forth with the trouthe of governance.
Ther was among hem no distance,
Bot every man hath his encress;
Ther was withoute werre pes,
Withoute envie love stod;
Richesse upon the comun good
And noght upon the singuler
Ordeigned was, and the pouer
Of hem that weren in astat
Was sauf: wherof upon debat
Ther stod nothing, so that in reste
Mihte every man his herte reste.
And whan this noble rihtful king
Sih hou it ferde of al this thing,
Wherof the poeple stod in ese,
He, which for evere wolde plese
The hihe god, whos thonk he soghte,
A wonder thing thanne him bethoghte,
And schop if that it myhte be,
Hou that his lawe in the cite
Mihte afterward for evere laste.
And therupon his wit he caste
What thing him were best to feigne,
That he his pourpos myhte atteigne.
A Parlement and thus he sette,
His wisdom wher that he besette
In audience of grete and smale,
And in this wise he tolde his tale:
"God wot, and so ye witen alle,
Hierafterward hou so it falle,
Yit into now my will hath be
To do justice and equite
In forthringe of comun profit;
Such hath ben evere my delit.
Bot of o thing I am beknowe,
The which mi will is that ye knowe:
The lawe which I tok on honde,
Was altogedre of goddes sonde
And nothing of myn oghne wit;
So mot it nede endure yit,
And schal do lengere, if ye wile.
For I wol telle you the skile;
The god Mercurius and no man
He hath me tawht al that I can
Of suche lawes as I made,
Wherof that ye ben alle glade;
It was the god and nothing I,
Which dede al this, and nou forthi
He hath comanded of his grace
That I schal come into a place
Which is forein out in an yle,
Wher I mot tarie for a while,
With him to speke, as he hath bede.
For as he seith, in thilke stede
He schal me suche thinges telle,
That evere, whyl the world schal duelle,
Athenis schal the betre fare.
Bot ferst, er that I thider fare,
For that I wolde that mi lawe
Amonges you ne be withdrawe
Ther whyles that I schal ben oute,
Forthi to setten out of doute
Bothe you and me, this wol I preie,
That ye me wolde assure and seie
With such an oth as I wol take,
That ech of you schal undertake
Mi lawes forto kepe and holde."
Thei seiden alle that thei wolde,
And therupon thei swore here oth,
That fro the time that he goth,
Til he to hem be come ayein,
Thei scholde hise lawes wel and plein
In every point kepe and fulfille.
Thus hath Ligurgius his wille,
And tok his leve and forth he wente.
Bot lest nou wel to what entente
Of rihtwisnesse he dede so:
For after that he was ago,
He schop him nevere to be founde;
So that Athenis, which was bounde,
Nevere after scholde be relessed,
Ne thilke goode lawe cessed,
Which was for comun profit set.
And in this wise he hath it knet;
He, which the comun profit soghte,
The king, his oghne astat ne roghte;
To do profit to the comune,
He tok of exil the fortune,
And lefte of Prince thilke office
Only for love and for justice,
Thurgh which he thoghte, if that he myhte,
For evere after his deth to rihte
The cite which was him betake.
Wherof men oghte ensample take
The goode lawes to avance
With hem which under governance
The lawes have forto kepe;
For who that wolde take kepe
Of hem that ferst the lawes founde,
Als fer as lasteth eny bounde
Of lond, here names yit ben knowe:
And if it like thee to knowe
Some of here names hou thei stonde,
Nou herkne and thou schalt understonde.
Of every bienfet the merite
The god himself it wol aquite;
And ek fulofte it falleth so,
The world it wole aquite also,
Bot that mai noght ben evene liche:
The god he yifth the heveneriche,
The world yifth only bot a name,
Which stant upon the goode fame
Of hem that don the goode dede.
And in this wise double mede
Resceiven thei that don wel hiere;
Wherof if that thee list to hiere
After the fame as it is blowe,
Ther myht thou wel the sothe knowe,
Hou thilke honeste besinesse
Of hem that ferst for rihtwisnesse
Among the men the lawes made,
Mai nevere upon this erthe fade.
For evere, whil ther is a tunge,
Here name schal be rad and sunge
And holde in the Cronique write;
So that the men it scholden wite,
To speke good, as thei wel oghten,
Of hem that ferst the lawes soghten
In forthringe of the worldes pes.
Unto thebreus was Moises
The ferste, and to thegipciens
Mercurius, and to Troiens
Ferst was Neuma Pompilius,
To Athenes Ligurgius
Yaf ferst the lawe, and to Gregois
Forones hath thilke vois,
And Romulus to the Romeins.
For suche men that ben vileins
The lawe in such a wise ordeigneth,
That what man to the lawe pleigneth,
Be so the jugge stonde upriht,
He schal be served of his riht.
And so ferforth it is befalle
That lawe is come among ous alle:
God lieve it mote wel ben holde,
As every king therto is holde;
For thing which is of kinges set,
With kinges oghte it noght be let.
What king of lawe takth no kepe,
Be lawe he mai no regne kepe.
Do lawe awey, what is a king?
Wher is the riht of eny thing,
If that ther be no lawe in londe?
This oghte a king wel understonde,
As he which is to lawe swore,
That if the lawe be forbore
If makth a lond torne up so doun,
Which is unto the king a sclandre.
Forthi unto king Alisandre
The wise Philosophre bad,
That he himselve ferst be lad
Of lawe, and forth thanne overal
So do justice in general,
That al the wyde lond aboute
The justice of his lawe doute,
And thanne schal he stonde in reste.
For therto lawe is on the beste
Above alle other erthly thing,
To make a liege drede his king.
Bot hou a king schal gete him love
Toward the hihe god above,
And ek among the men in erthe,
This nexte point, which is the ferthe
Of Aristotles lore, it techeth:
Wherof who that the Scole secheth,
What Policie that it is
The bok reherceth after this.
It nedeth noght that I delate
The pris which preised is algate,
And hath ben evere and evere schal,
Wherof to speke in special,
It is the vertu of Pite,
Thurgh which the hihe mageste
Was stered, whan his Sone alyhte,
And in pite the world to rihte
Tok of the Maide fleissh and blod.
Pite was cause of thilke good,
Wherof that we ben alle save:
Wel oghte a man Pite to have
And the vertu to sette in pris,
Whan he himself which is al wys
Hath schewed why it schal be preised.
Pite may noght be conterpeised
Of tirannie with no peis;
For Pite makth a king courteis
Bothe in his word and in his dede.
It sit wel every liege drede
His king and to his heste obeie,
And riht so be the same weie
It sit a king to be pitous
Toward his poeple and gracious
Upon the reule of governance,
So that he worche no vengance,
Which mai be cleped crualte.
Justice which doth equite
Is dredfull, for he noman spareth;
Bot in the lond wher Pite fareth
The king mai nevere faile of love,
For Pite thurgh the grace above,
So as the Philosphre affermeth,
His regne in good astat confermeth.
Th'apostle James in this wise
Seith, what man scholde do juise,
And hath not pite forth with al,
The doom of him which demeth al
He may himself fulsore drede
That him shall lakke upon the nede
To finde pite, whan he solde:
For who that pite wol biholde
It is a poynte of Cristes lore.
And for to loken overmore,
It is behovely, as we fynde,
To resoun and to lawe of kynde.
Cassodre in his apprise telleth,
"The regne is sauf, wher pite duelleth."
And Tullius his tale avoweth,
And seith, "What king to pite boweth
And with pite stant overcome,
He hath that schield of grace nome,
Which to the kinges yifth victoire,"
Of Alisandre in his histoire
I rede how he a worthi knight
Of sodein wrathe and nought of right
Forjugged hath, and he appeleth.
And with that word the king quereleth,
And seith, "None is above me."
"That wot I wel my lord," quoth he;
"Fro thy lordshipe appele I nought,
But fro thy wraththe in all my thought
To thy pitee stant myn appeel."
The king, which understod him wel,
Of pure pite yaf him grace.
And eek I rede in other place,
Thus seide whilom Constantin:
"What Emperour that is enclin
To Pite forto be servant,
Of al the worldes remenant
He is worthi to ben a lord."
In olde bokes of record
This finde I write of essamplaire:
Troian the worthi debonaire,
Be whom that Rome stod governed,
Upon a time as he was lerned
Of that he was to familier,
He seide unto that conseiller,
That forto ben an Emperour
His will was noght for vein honour,
Ne yit for reddour of justice;
Bot if he myhte in his office
Hise lordes and his poeple plese,
Him thoghte it were a grettere ese
With love here hertes to him drawe,
Than with the drede of eny lawe.
For whan a thing is do for doute,
Fulofte it comth the worse aboute;
Bot wher a king is Pietous,
He is the more gracious,
That mochel thrift him schal betyde,
Which elles scholde torne aside.
To do pite support and grace,
The Pilosophre upon a place
In his writinge of daies olde
A tale of gret essample tolde
Unto the king of Macedoine:
How betwen Kaire and Babeloine,
Whan comen is the somer heete,
It hapneth two men forto meete,
As thei scholde entren in a pas,
Wher that the wyldernesse was.
And as they wenten forth spekende
Under the large wodes ende,
That o man axeth of that other:
"What man art thou, mi lieve brother?
Which is thi creance and thi feith?"
"I am paien," that other seith,
"And be that lawe which I use
I schal noght in mi feith refuse
To loven alle men aliche,
The povere bothe and ek the riche:
When thei ben glade I schal be glad,
And sori when thei ben bestad;
So schal I live in unite
With every man in his degre.
For riht as to miself I wolde,
Riht so toward alle othre I scholde
Be gracious and debonaire.
Thus have I told thee softe and faire
Mi feith, mi lawe, and mi creance;
And if thee list for aqueintance,
Now tell what maner man thou art,"
And he ansuerde upon his part:
"I am a Jew, and be mi lawe
I schal to noman be felawe
To kepe him trowthe in word ne dede,
Bot if he be withoute drede
A verrai Jew riht as am I:
For elles I mai trewely
Bereve him bothe lif and good."
The paien herde and understod,
And thoghte it was a wonder lawe.
And thus upon here sondri sawe
Talkende bothe forth thei wente.
The dai was hoot, the sonne brente,
The paien rod upon an asse,
And of his catell more and lasse
With him a riche trusse he ladde.
The Jew, which al untrowthe hadde,
And went upon his feet beside,
Bethoghte him how he mihte ride;
And with his wordes slihe and wise
Unto the paien in this wise
He seide: "O, now it schal be seene,
What thing it is thou woldest meene:
For if thi lawe be certein
As thou hast told, I dar wel sein,
Thou wolt beholde mi destresse,
Which am so full of werinesse,
That I ne mai unethe go,
And let me ride a Myle or two,
So that I mai mi bodi ese."
The paien wolde him noght desplese
Of that he spak, bot in pite
It list him forto knowe and se
The pleignte which that other made;
And for he wolde his herte glade,
He lihte and made him nothing strange.
Thus was there made a newe change,
The paien goth, the Jew alofte
Was sett upon his asse softe:
So gon thei forth carpende faste
Of this and that, til ate laste
The paien mihte go nomore,
And preide unto the Jew therefore
To suffre him ride a litel while.
The Jew, which thoghte him to beguile,
Anon rod forth the grete pas,
And to the paien in this cas
He seide, 'Thou hast do thi riht,
Of that thou haddest me behiht
To do socour upon mi nede;
And that acordeth to the dede,
As thou art to the lawe holde.
And in such wise as I thee tolde,
I thenke also for mi partie
Upon the lawe of Juerie
To worche and do mi duete.
Thin asse schal go forth with me
With all thi good, which I have sesed;
And that I wot thou art desesed,
I am riht glad an noght mispaid."
And whanne he hath these wordes said,
In alle haste he rod aweie.
This paien wot non other weie,
Bot on the ground he kneleth evene,
His handes up unto the hevene,
And seide, "O hihe sothfastnesse,
That lovest alle rihtwisnesse,
Unto thi dom, lord, I appele;
Behold and deme mi querele,
With humble herte I thee beseche;
The mercy bothe and ek the wreche
I sette al in thi juggement."
And thus upon his marrement
This paein hath made his preiere:
And than he ros with drery chiere,
And goth him forth, and in his gate
He caste his yhe aboute algate,
The Jew if that he mihte se.
Bot for a time it mai noght be;
Til ate laste ayein the nyht,
So as god wolde, he wente ariht,
As he which hield the hihe weie,
And thanne he sih in a valleie
Where that the Jew liggende was,
Al blodi ded upon the gras,
Which strangled was of a leoun.
And as he lokede up and doun,
He fond his asse faste by
Forth with his harneis redely
Al hol and sound, as he it lefte,
Whan that the Jew it him berefte;
Whereof he thonketh god knelende.
Lo thus a man mai knowe at ende,
How the pitous pite deserveth.
For what man that to pite serveth,
As Aristotle it berth witnesse,
God schal hise foomen so represse,
That thei schul ay stonde under foote.
Pite, men sein, is thilke roote
Whereof the vertus springen alle:
What infortune that befalle
In eny lond, lacke of pite
Is cause of thilke adversite;
And that aldai mai schewe at yhe,
Who that the world discretly syhe.
Good is that every man therfore
Take hiede of that is seid tofore;
For of this tale and othre ynowhe
These noble princes whilom drowhe
Here evidence and here aprise,
As men mai finde in many a wise,
Who that these olde bokes rede:
And thogh thei ben in erthe dede,
Here goode name may noght deie
For Pite, which thei wolde obeie,
To do the dedes of mercy.
And who this tale redily
Remembre, as Aristotle it tolde,
He mai the will of god beholde
Upon the point as it was ended,
Wherof that pite stod commended,
Which is to charite felawe,
As thei that kepen bothe o lawe.
Of Pite forto speke plein,
Which is with mercy wel besein,
Fulofte he wole himselve peine
To kepe an other fro the peine:
For Charite the moder is
Of Pite, which nothing amis
Can soffre, if he it mai amende.
It sit to every man livende
To be Pitous, bot non so wel
As to a king, which on the whiel
Fortune hath set aboven alle:
For in a king, if so befalle
That his Pite be ferme and stable,
To al the lond it is vailable
Only thurgh grace of his persone;
For the Pite of him al one
Mai al the large realme save.
So sit it wel a king to have
Pite; for this Valeire tolde,
And seide hou that be daies olde
Codrus, which was in his degre
King of Athenis the cite,
A werre he hadde ayein Dorrence:
And forto take his evidence
What schal befalle of the bataille,
He thoghte he wolde him ferst consaille
With Appollo, in whom he triste;
Thurgh whos ansuere this he wiste,
Of tuo pointz that he myhte chese,
Or that he wolde his body lese
And in bataille himselve deie,
Or elles the seconde weie,
To sen his poeple desconfit.
Bot he, which Pite hath parfit
Upon the point of his believe,
The poeple thoghte to relieve,
And ches himselve to be ded.
Wher is nou such an other hed,
Which wolde for the lemes dye?
And natheles in som partie
It oghte a kinges herte stere,
That he hise liege men forbere.
And ek toward hise enemis
Fulofte he may deserve pris,
To take of Pite remembrance,
Wher that he myhte do vengance:
For whanne a king hath the victoire,
And thanne he drawe into memoire
To do Pite in stede of wreche,
He mai noght faile of thilke speche
Wherof arist the worldes fame,
To yive a Prince a worthi name.
I rede hou whilom that Pompeie,
To whom that Rome moste obeie,
A werre hadde in jeupartie
Ayein the king of Ermenie,
Which of long time him hadde grieved.
Bot ate laste it was achieved
That he this king desconfit hadde,
And forth with him to Rome ladde
As Prisoner, wher many a day
In sori plit and povere he lay,
The corone of his heved deposed,
Withinne walles faste enclosed;
And with ful gret humilite
He soffreth his adversite.
Pompeie sih his pacience
And tok pite with conscience,
So that upon his hihe deis
Tofore al Rome in his Paleis,
As he that wolde upon him rewe,
Let yive him his corone newe
And his astat al full and plein
Restoreth of his regne ayein,
And seide it was more goodly thing
To make than undon a king,
To him which pouer hadde of bothe.
Thus thei, that weren longe wrothe,
Acorden hem to final pes;
And yit justice natheles
Was kept and in nothing offended;
Wherof Pompeie was comended.
Ther mai no king himself excuse,
Bot if justice he kepe and use,
Which for teschuie crualte
He mot attempre with Pite.
Of crualte the felonie
Engendred is of tirannie,
Ayein the whos condicion
God is himself the champion,
Whos strengthe mai noman withstonde.
For evere yit it hath so stonde,
That god a tirant overladde;
Bot wher Pite the regne ladde,
Ther mihte no fortune laste
Which was grevous, bot ate laste
The god himself it hath redresced.
Pite is thilke vertu blessed
Which nevere let his Maister falle;
Bot crualte, thogh it so falle
That it mai regne for a throwe,
God wole it schal ben overthrowe:
Wherof ensamples ben ynowhe
Of hem that thilke merel drowhe.
Of crualte I rede thus:
Whan the tirant Leoncius
Was to thempire of Rome arrived,
Fro which he hath with strengthe prived
The pietous Justinian,
As he which was a cruel man,
His nase of and his lippes bothe
He kutte, for he wolde him lothe
Unto the poeple and make unable.
Bot he which is al merciable,
The hihe god, ordeigneth so,
That he withinne a time also,
Whan he was strengest in his ire,
Was schoven out of his empire.
Tiberius the pouer hadde,
And Rome after his will he ladde,
And for Leonce in such a wise
Ordeigneth, that he tok juise
Of nase and lippes bothe tuo,
For that he dede an other so,
Which more worthi was than he.
Lo, which a fall hath crualte,
And Pite was set up ayein:
For after that the bokes sein,
Therbellis king of Bulgarie
With helpe of his chivalerie
Justinian hath unprisoned
And to thempire ayein coroned.
In a Cronique I finde also
Of Siculus, which was ek so
A cruel king lich the tempeste,
The whom no Pite myhte areste,-
He was the ferste, as bokes seie,
Upon the See which fond Galeie
And let hem make for the werre,-
As he which al was out of herre
Fro Pite and misericorde;
For therto couthe he noght acorde,
Bot whom he myhte slen, he slouh,
And therof was he glad ynouh.
He hadde of conseil manyon,
Among the whiche ther was on,
Be name which Berillus hihte;
And he bethoghte him hou he myhte
Unto the tirant do likinge,
And of his oghne ymaginynge
Let forge and make a Bole of bras,
And on the side cast ther was
A Dore, wher a man mai inne,
Whan he his peine schal beginne
Thurgh fyr, which that men putten under.
And al this dede he for a wonder,
That whanne a man for peine cride,
The Bole of bras, which gapeth wyde,
It scholde seme as thogh it were
A belwinge in a mannes Ere,
And noght the criinge of a man.
Bot he which alle sleihtes can,
The devel, that lith in helle fast,
Him that this caste hath overcast,
That for a trespas which he dede
He was putt in the same stede,
And was himself the ferste of alle
Which was into that peine falle
That he for othre men ordeigneth;
Ther was noman which him compleigneth.
Of tirannie and crualte
Be this ensample a king mai se,
Himself and ek his conseil bothe,
Hou thei ben to mankinde lothe
And to the god abhominable.
Ensamples that ben concordable
I finde of othre Princes mo,
As thou schalt hiere, of time go.
The grete tirant Dionys,
Which mannes lif sette of no pris,
Unto his hors fulofte he yaf
The men in stede of corn and chaf,
So that the hors of thilke stod
Devoureden the mennes blod;
Til fortune ate laste cam,
That Hercules him overcam,
And he riht in the same wise
Of this tirant tok the juise:
As he til othre men hath do,
The same deth he deide also,
That no Pite him hath socoured,
Til he was of hise hors devoured.
Of Lichaon also I finde
Hou he ayein the lawe of kinde
Hise hostes slouh, and into mete
He made her bodies to ben ete
With othre men withinne his hous.
Bot Jupiter the glorious,
Which was commoeved of this thing,
Vengance upon this cruel king
So tok, that he fro mannes forme
Into a wolf him let transforme:
And thus the crualte was kidd,
Which of long time he hadde hidd;
A wolf he was thanne openly,
The whos nature prively
He hadde in his condicion.
And unto this conclusioun,
That tirannie is to despise,
I finde ensample in sondri wise,
And nameliche of hem fulofte,
The whom fortune hath set alofte
Upon the werres forto winne.
Bot hou so that the wrong beginne
Of tirannie, it mai noght laste,
Bot such as thei don ate laste
To othre men, such on hem falleth;
For ayein suche Pite calleth
Vengance to the god above.
For who that hath no tender love
In savinge of a mannes lif,
He schal be founde so gultif,
That whanne he wolde mercy crave
In time of nede, he schal non have.
Of the natures this I finde,
The fierce Leon in his kinde,
Which goth rampende after his preie,
If he a man finde in his weie,
He wole him slen, if he withstonde.
Bot if the man coude understonde
To falle anon before his face
In signe of mercy and of grace,
The Leon schal of his nature
Restreigne his ire in such mesure,
As thogh it were a beste tamed,
And torne awey halfvinge aschamed,
That he the man schal nothing grieve.
Hou scholde than a Prince achieve
The worldes grace, if that he wolde
Destruie a man whanne he is yolde
And stant upon his mercy al?
Bot forto speke in special,
Ther have be suche and yit ther be
Tirantz, whos hertes no pite
Mai to no point of mercy plie,
That thei upon her tirannie
Ne gladen hem the men to sle;
And as the rages of the See
Ben unpitous in the tempeste,
Riht so mai no Pite areste
Of crualte the gret oultrage,
Which the tirant in his corage
Engendred hath: wherof I finde
A tale, which comth nou to mynde.
I rede in olde bokes thus:
Ther was a Duk, which Spertachus
Men clepe, and was a werreiour,
A cruel man, a conquerour
With strong pouer the which he ladde.
For this condicion he hadde,
That where him hapneth the victoire,
His lust and al his moste gloire
Was forto sle and noght to save:
Of rancoun wolde he no good have
For savinge of a mannes lif,
Bot al goth to the swerd and knyf,
So lief him was the mannes blod.
And natheles yit thus it stod,
So as fortune aboute wente,
He fell riht heir as be descente
To Perse, and was coroned king.
And whan the worschipe of this thing
Was falle, and he was king of Perse,
If that thei weren ferst diverse,
The tirannies whiche he wroghte,
A thousendfold welmore he soghte
Thanne afterward to do malice.
The god vengance ayein the vice
Hath schape: for upon a tyde,
Whan he was heihest in his Pride,
In his rancour and in his hete
Ayein the queene of Marsagete,
Which Thameris that time hihte,
He made werre al that he myhte:
And sche, which wolde hir lond defende,
Hir oghne Sone ayein him sende,
Which the defence hath undertake.
Bot he desconfit was and take;
And whan this king him hadde in honde,
He wol no mercy understonde,
Bot dede him slen in his presence.
The tidinge of this violence
Whan it cam to the moder Ere,
Sche sende anon ay wydewhere
To suche frendes as sche hadde,
A gret pouer til that sche ladde.
In sondri wise and tho sche caste
Hou sche this king mai overcaste;
And ate laste acorded was,
That in the danger of a pass,
Thurgh which this tirant scholde passe,
Sche schop his pouer to compasse
With strengthe of men be such a weie
That he schal noght eschape aweie.
And whan sche hadde thus ordeigned,
Sche hath hir oghne bodi feigned,
For feere as thogh sche wolde flee
Out of hir lond: and whan that he
Hath herd hou that this ladi fledde,
So faste after the chace he spedde,
That he was founde out of array.
For it betidde upon a day,
Into the pas whanne he was falle,
Thembuisschementz tobrieken alle
And him beclipte on every side,
That fle ne myhte he noght aside:
So that ther weren dede and take
Tuo hundred thousend for his sake,
That weren with him of his host.
And thus was leid the grete bost
Of him and of his tirannie:
It halp no mercy forto crie
To him which whilom dede non;
For he unto the queene anon
Was broght, and whan that sche him sih,
This word sche spak and seide on hih:
"O man, which out of mannes kinde
Reson of man hast left behinde
And lived worse than a beste,
Whom Pite myhte noght areste,
The mannes blod to schede and spille
Thou haddest nevere yit thi fille.
Bot nou the laste time is come,
That thi malice is overcome:
As thou til othre men hast do,
Nou schal be do to thee riht so."
Tho bad this ladi that men scholde
A vessel bringe, in which sche wolde
Se the vengance of his juise,
Which sche began anon devise;
And tok the Princes whiche he ladde,
Be whom his chief conseil he hadde,
And whil hem lasteth eny breth,
Sche made hem blede to the deth
Into the vessel wher it stod:
And whan it was fulfild of blod,
Sche caste this tirant therinne,
And seide him, "Lo, thus myht thou wynne
The lustes of thin appetit.
In blod was whilom thi delit,
Nou schalt thou drinken al thi fille."
And thus onliche of goddes wille,
He which that wolde himselve strange
To Pite, fond mercy so strange,
That he withoute grace is lore.
So may it schewe wel therfore
That crualte hath no good ende;
Bot Pite, hou so that it wende,
Makth that the god is merciable,
If ther be cause resonable
Why that a king schal be pitous.
Bot elles, if he be doubtous
To slen in cause of rihtwisnesse,
It mai be said no Pitousnesse,
Bot it is Pusillamite,
Which every Prince scholde flee.
For if Pite mesure excede,
Kinghode may noght wel procede
To do justice upon the riht:
For it belongeth to a knyht
Als gladly forto fihte as reste,
To sette his liege poeple in reste,
Whan that the werre upon hem falleth;
For thanne he mote, as it befalleth,
Of his knyhthode as a Leon
Be to the poeple a champioun
Withouten eny Pite feigned.
For if manhode be restreigned,
Or be it pes or be it werre,
Justice goth al out of herre,
So that knyhthode is set behinde.
Of Aristotles lore I finde,
A king schal make good visage,
That noman knowe of his corage
Bot al honour and worthinesse:
For if a king schal upon gesse
Withoute verrai cause drede,
He mai be lich to that I rede;
And thogh that it be lich a fable,
Thensample is good and resonable.
As it be olde daies fell,
I rede whilom that an hell
Up in the londes of Archade
A wonder dredful noise made;
For so it fell that ilke day,
This hell on his childinge lay,
And whan the throwes on him come,
His noise lich the day of dome
Was ferfull in a mannes thoght
Of thing which that thei sihe noght,
Bot wel thei herden al aboute
The noise, of which thei were in doute,
As thei that wenden to be lore
Of thing which thanne was unbore.
The nerr this hell was upon chance
To taken his deliverance,
The more unbuxomliche he cride;
And every man was fledd aside,
For drede and lefte his oghne hous:
And ate laste it was a Mous,
The which was bore and to norrice
Betake; and tho thei hield hem nyce,
For thei withoute cause dradde.
Thus if a king his herte ladde
With every thing that he schal hiere,
Fulofte he scholde change his chiere
And upon fantasie drede,
Whan that ther is no cause of drede.
Orace to his Prince tolde,
That him were levere that he wolde
Upon knihthode Achillem suie
In time of werre, thanne eschuie,
So as Tersites dede at Troie.
Achilles al his hole joie
Sette upon Armes forto fihte;
Tersites soghte al that he myhte
Unarmed forto stonde in reste:
Bot of the tuo it was the beste
That Achilles upon the nede
Hath do, wherof his knyhtlihiede
Is yit comended overal.
King Salomon in special
Seith, as ther is a time of pes,
So is a time natheles
Of werre, in which a Prince algate
Schal for the comun riht debate
And for his oghne worschipe eke.
Bot it behoveth noght to seke
Only the werre for worschipe,
Bot to the riht of his lordschipe,
Which he is holde to defende,
Mote every worthi Prince entende.
Betwen the simplesce of Pite
And the folhaste of crualte,
Wher stant the verray hardiesce,
Ther mote a king his herte adresce,
Whanne it is time to forsake,
And whan time is also to take
The dedly werres upon honde,
That he schal for no drede wonde,
If rihtwisnesse be withal.
For god is myhty overal
To forthren every mannes trowthe,
Bot it be thurgh his oghne slowthe;
And namely the kinges nede
It mai noght faile forto spede,
For he stant one for hem alle;
So mote it wel the betre falle
And wel the more god favoureth,
Whan he the comun riht socoureth.
And forto se the sothe in dede,
Behold the bible and thou myht rede
Of grete ensamples manyon,
Wherof that I wol tellen on.
Upon a time as it befell,
Ayein Judee and Irahel
Whan sondri kinges come were
In pourpos to destruie there
The poeple which god kepte tho,-
And stod in thilke daies so,
That Gedeon, which scholde lede
The goddes folk, tok him to rede,
And sende in al the lond aboute,
Til he assembled hath a route
With thritti thousend of defence,
To fihte and make resistence
Ayein the whiche hem wolde assaille:
And natheles that o bataille
Of thre that weren enemys
Was double mor than was al his;
Wherof that Gedeon him dradde,
That he so litel poeple hadde.
Bot he which alle thing mai helpe,
Wher that ther lacketh mannes helpe,
To Gedeon his Angel sente,
And bad, er that he forther wente,
Al openly that he do crie
That every man in his partie
Which wolde after his oghne wille
In his delice abide stille
At hom in eny maner wise,
For pourchas or for covoitise,
For lust of love or lacke of herte,
He scholde noght aboute sterte,
Bot holde him stille at hom in pes:
Wherof upon the morwe he les
Wel twenty thousend men and mo,
The whiche after the cri ben go.
Thus was with him bot only left
The thridde part, and yit god eft
His Angel sende and seide this
To Gedeon: "If it so is
That I thin help schal undertake,
Thou schalt yit lasse poeple take,
Be whom mi will is that thou spede.
Forthi tomorwe tak good hiede,
Unto the flod whan ye be come,
What man that hath the water nome
Up in his hond and lapeth so,
To thi part ches out alle tho;
And him which wery is to swinke,
Upon his wombe and lith to drinke,
Forsak and put hem alle aweie.
For I am myhti alle weie,
Wher as me list myn help to schewe
In goode men, thogh thei ben fewe."
This Gedeon awaiteth wel,
Upon the morwe and everydel,
As god him bad, riht so he dede.
And thus ther leften in that stede
With him thre hundred and nomo,
The remenant was al ago:
Wherof that Gedeon merveileth,
And therupon with god conseileth,
Pleignende as ferforth as he dar.
And god, which wolde he were war
That he schal spede upon his riht,
Hath bede him go the same nyht
And take a man with him, to hiere
What schal be spoke in his matere
Among the hethen enemis;
So mai he be the more wys,
What afterward him schal befalle.
This Gedeon amonges alle
Phara, to whom he triste most,
Be nyhte tok toward thilke host,
Which logged was in a valleie,
To hiere what thei wolden seie;
Upon his fot and as he ferde,
Tuo Sarazins spekende he herde.
Quod on, "Ared mi swevene ariht,
Which I mette in mi slep to nyht.
Me thoghte I sih a barli cake,
Which fro the Hull his weie hath take,
And cam rollende doun at ones;
And as it were for the nones,
Forth in his cours so as it ran,
The kinges tente of Madian,
Of Amalech, of Amoreie,
Of Amon and of Jebuseie,
And many an other tente mo
With gret noise, as me thoghte tho,
It threw to grounde and overcaste,
And al this host so sore agaste
That I awok for pure drede."
"This swevene can I wel arede,"
Quod thother Sarazin anon:
"The barli cake is Gedeon,
Which fro the hell doun sodeinly
Schal come and sette such ascry
Upon the kinges and ous bothe,
That it schal to ous alle lothe:
For in such drede he schal ous bringe,
That if we hadden flyht of wynge,
The weie on fote in desespeir
We scholden leve and flen in their,
For ther schal nothing him withstonde."
Whan Gedeon hath understonde
This tale, he thonketh god of al,
And priveliche ayein he stal,
So that no lif him hath perceived.
And thanne he hath fulli conceived
That he schal spede; and therupon
The nyht suiende he schop to gon
This multitude to assaile.
Nou schalt thou hiere a gret mervaile,
With what voisdie that he wroghte.
The litel poeple which he broghte,
Was non of hem that he ne hath
A pot of erthe, in which he tath
A lyht brennende in a kressette,
And ech of hem ek a trompette
Bar in his other hond beside;
And thus upon the nyhtes tyde
Duk Gedeon, whan it was derk,
Ordeineth him unto his werk,
And parteth thanne his folk in thre,
And chargeth hem that thei ne fle,
And tawhte hem hou they scholde ascrie
Alle in o vois per compaignie,
And what word ek thei scholden speke,
And hou thei scholde here pottes breke
Echon with other, whan thei herde
That he himselve ferst so ferde;
For whan thei come into the stede,
He bad hem do riht as he dede.
And thus stalkende forth a pas
This noble Duk, whan time was,
His pot tobrak and loude ascride,
And tho thei breke on every side.
The trompe was noght forto seke;
He blew, and so thei blewen eke
With such a noise among hem alle,
As thogh the hevene scholde falle.
The hull unto here vois ansuerde,
This host in the valleie it herde,
And sih hou that the hell alyhte;
So what of hieringe and of sihte,
Thei cawhten such a sodein feere,
That non of hem belefte there:
The tentes hole thei forsoke,
That thei non other good ne toke,
Bot only with here bodi bare
Thei fledde, as doth the wylde Hare.
And evere upon the hull thei blewe,
Til that thei sihe time, and knewe
That thei be fled upon the rage;
And whan thei wiste here avantage,
Thei felle anon unto the chace.
Thus myht thou sen hou goddes grace
Unto the goode men availeth;
But elles ofte time it faileth
To suche as be noght wel disposed.
This tale nedeth noght be glosed,
For it is openliche schewed
That god to hem that ben wel thewed
Hath yove and granted the victoire:
So that thensample of this histoire
Is good for every king to holde;
Ferst in himself that he beholde
If he be good of his livinge,
And that the folk which he schal bringe
Be good also, for thanne he may
Be glad of many a merie day,
In what as evere he hath to done.
For he which sit above the Mone
And alle thing mai spille and spede,
In every cause, in every nede
His goode king so wel adresceth,
That alle his fomen he represseth,
So that ther mai noman him dere;
And als so wel he can forbere,
And soffre a wickid king to falle
In hondes of his fomen alle.
Nou forthermore if I schal sein
Of my matiere, and torne ayein
To speke of justice and Pite
After the reule of realte,
This mai a king wel understonde,
Knihthode mot ben take on honde,
Whan that it stant upon the nede:
He schal no rihtful cause drede,
Nomore of werre thanne of pes,
If he wol stonde blameles;
For such a cause a king mai have
That betre him is to sle than save,
Wherof thou myht ensample finde.
The hihe makere of mankinde
Be Samuel to Sal bad,
That he schal nothing ben adrad
Ayein king Agag forto fihte;
For this the godhede him behihte,
That Agag schal ben overcome:
And whan it is so ferforth come,
That Sal hath him desconfit,
The god bad make no respit,
That he ne scholde him slen anon.
Bot Sal let it overgon
And dede noght the goddes heste:
For Agag made gret beheste
Of rancoun which he wolde yive,
King Sal soffreth him to live
And feigneth pite forth withal.
Bot he which seth and knoweth al,
The hihe god, of that he feigneth
To Samuel upon him pleigneth,
And sende him word, for that he lefte
Of Agag that he ne berefte
The lif, he schal noght only dye
Himself, bot fro his regalie
He schal be put for everemo,
Noght he, bot ek his heir also,
That it schal nevere come ayein.
Thus myht thou se the sothe plein,
That of tomoche and of tolyte
Upon the Princes stant the wyte.
Bot evere it was a kinges riht
To do the dedes of a knyht;
For in the handes of a king
The deth and lif is al o thing
After the lawes of justice.
To slen it is a dedly vice,
Bot if a man the deth deserve;
And if a king the lif preserve
Of him which oghte forto dye,
He suieth noght thensamplerie
Which in the bible is evident:
Hou David in his testament,
Whan he no lengere myhte live,
Unto his Sone in charge hath yive
That he Joab schal slen algate;
And whan David was gon his gate,
The yonge wise Salomon
His fader heste dede anon,
And slouh Joab in such a wise,
That thei that herden the juise
Evere after dradden him the more,
And god was ek wel paid therfore,
That he so wolde his herte plye
The lawes forto justefie.
And yit he kepte forth withal
Pite, so as a Prince schal,
That he no tirannie wroghte;
He fond the wisdom which he soghte,
And was so rihtful natheles,
That al his lif he stod in pes,
That he no dedly werres hadde,
For every man his wisdom dradde.
And as he was himselve wys,
Riht so the worthi men of pris
He hath of his conseil withholde;
For that is every Prince holde,
To make of suche his retenue
Whiche wise ben, and to remue
The foles: for ther is nothing
Which mai be betre aboute a king,
Than conseil, which is the substance
Of all a kinges governance.
In Salomon a man mai see
What thing of most necessite
Unto a worthi king belongeth.
Whan he his kingdom underfongeth,
God bad him chese what he wolde,
And seide him that he have scholde
What he wolde axe, as of o thing.
And he, which was a newe king,
Forth therupon his bone preide
To god, and in this wise he seide:
"O king, be whom that I schal regne,
Yif me wisdom, that I my regne,
Forth with thi poeple which I have,
To thin honour mai kepe and save."
Whan Salomon his bone hath taxed,
The god of that which he hath axed
Was riht wel paid, and granteth sone
Noght al only that he his bone
Schal have of that, bot of richesse,
Of hele, of pes, of hih noblesse,
Forth with wisdom at his axinges,
Which stant above alle othre thinges.
Bot what king wole his regne save,
Ferst him behoveth forto have
After the god and his believe
Such conseil which is to believe,
Fulfild of trouthe and rihtwisnesse:
Bot above alle in his noblesse
Betwen the reddour and pite
A king schal do such equite
And sette the balance in evene,
So that the hihe god in hevene
And al the poeple of his nobleie
Loange unto his name seie.
For most above all erthli good,
Wher that a king himself is good
It helpeth, for in other weie
If so be that a king forsueie,
Fulofte er this it hath be sein,
The comun poeple is overlein
And hath the kinges Senne aboght,
Al thogh the poeple agulte noght.
Of that the king his god misserveth,
The poeple takth that he descerveth
Hier in this world, bot elleswhere
I not hou it schal stonde there.
Forthi good is a king to triste
Ferst to himself, as he ne wiste
Non other help bot god alone;
So schal the reule of his persone
Withinne himself thurgh providence
Ben of the betre conscience.
And forto finde ensample of this,
A tale I rede, and soth it is.
In a Cronique it telleth thus:
The king of Rome Lucius
Withinne his chambre upon a nyht
The Steward of his hous, a knyht,
Forth with his Chamberlein also,
To conseil hadde bothe tuo,
And stoden be the Chiminee
Togedre spekende alle thre.
And happeth that the kinges fol
Sat be the fyr upon a stol,
As he that with his babil pleide,
Bot yit he herde al that thei seide,
And therof token thei non hiede.
The king hem axeth what to rede
Of such matiere as cam to mouthe,
And thei him tolden as thei couthe.
Whan al was spoke of that thei mente,
The king with al his hole entente
Thanne ate laste hem axeth this,
What king men tellen that he is:
Among the folk touchende his name,
Or be it pris, or be it blame,
Riht after that thei herden sein,
He bad hem forto telle it plein,
That thei no point of soth forbere,
Be thilke feith that thei him bere.
The Steward ferst upon this thing
Yaf his ansuere unto the king
And thoghte glose in this matiere,
And seide, als fer as he can hiere,
His name is good and honourable:
Thus was the Stieward favorable,
That he the trouthe plein ne tolde.
The king thanne axeth, as he scholde,
The Chamberlein of his avis.
And he, that was soubtil and wys,
And somdiel thoghte upon his feith,
Him tolde hou al the poeple seith
That if his conseil were trewe,
Thei wiste thanne wel and knewe
That of himself he scholde be
A worthi king in his degre:
And thus the conseil he accuseth
In partie, and the king excuseth.
The fol, which herde of al the cas
That time, as goddes wille was,
Sih that thei seiden noght ynowh,
And hem to skorne bothe lowh,
And to the king he seide tho:
"Sire king, if that it were so,
Of wisdom in thin oghne mod
That thou thiselven were good,
Thi conseil scholde noght be badde."
The king therof merveille hadde,
Whan that a fol so wisly spak,
And of himself fond out the lack
Withinne his oghne conscience:
And thus the foles evidence,
Which was of goddes grace enspired,
Makth that good conseil was desired.
He putte awey the vicious
And tok to him the vertuous;
The wrongful lawes ben amended,
The londes good is wel despended,
The poeple was nomore oppressed,
And thus stod every thing redressed.
For where a king is propre wys,
And hath suche as himselven is
Of his conseil, it mai noght faile
That every thing ne schal availe:
The vices thanne gon aweie,
And every vertu holt his weie;
Wherof the hihe god is plesed,
And al the londes folk is esed.
For if the comun poeple crie,
And thanne a king list noght to plie
To hiere what the clamour wolde,
And otherwise thanne he scholde
Desdeigneth forto don hem grace,
It hath be sen in many place,
Ther hath befalle gret contraire;
And that I finde of ensamplaire.
After the deth of Salomon,
Whan thilke wise king was gon,
And Roboas in his persone
Receive scholde the corone,
The poeple upon a Parlement
Avised were of on assent,
And alle unto the king thei preiden,
With comun vois and thus thei seiden:
"Oure liege lord, we thee beseche
That thou receive oure humble speche
And grante ous that which reson wile,
Or of thi grace or of thi skile.
Thi fader, whil he was alyve
And myhte bothe grante and pryve,
Upon the werkes whiche he hadde
The comun poeple streite ladde:
Whan he the temple made newe,
Thing which men nevere afore knewe
He broghte up thanne of his taillage,
And al was under the visage
Of werkes whiche he made tho.
Bot nou it is befalle so,
That al is mad, riht as he seide,
And he was riche whan he deide;
So that it is no maner nede,
If thou therof wolt taken hiede,
To pilen of the poeple more,
Which long time hath be grieved sore.
And in this wise as we thee seie,
With tendre herte we thee preie
That thou relesse thilke dette,
Which upon ous thi fader sette.
And if thee like to don so,
We ben thi men for everemo,
To gon and comen at thin heste."
The king, which herde this requeste,
Seith that he wole ben avised,
And hath therof a time assised;
And in the while as he him thoghte
Upon this thing, conseil he soghte.
And ferst the wise knyhtes olde,
To whom that he his tale tolde,
Conseilen him in this manere;
That he with love and with glad chiere
Foryive and grante al that is axed
Of that his fader hadde taxed;
For so he mai his regne achieve
With thing which schal him litel grieve.
The king hem herde and overpasseth,
And with these othre his wit compasseth,
That yonge were and nothing wise.
And thei these olde men despise,
And seiden: "Sire, it schal be schame
For evere unto thi worthi name,
If thou ne kepe noght the riht,
Whil thou art in thi yonge myht,
Which that thin olde fader gat.
Bot seie unto the poeple plat,
That whil thou livest in thi lond,
The leste finger of thin hond
It schal be strengere overal
Than was thi fadres bodi al.
And this also schal be thi tale,
If he hem smot with roddes smale,
With Scorpions thou schalt hem smyte;
And wher thi fader tok a lyte,
Thou thenkst to take mochel more.
Thus schalt thou make hem drede sore
The grete herte of thi corage,
So forto holde hem in servage.
This yonge king him hath conformed
To don as he was last enformed,
Which was to him his undoinge:
For whan it cam to the spekinge,
He hath the yonge conseil holde,
That he the same wordes tolde
Of al the poeple in audience;
And whan thei herden the sentence
Of his malice and the manace,
Anon tofore his oghne face
Thei have him oultreli refused
And with ful gret reproef accused.
So thei begunne forto rave,
That he was fain himself to save;
For as the wilde wode rage
Of wyndes makth the See salvage,
And that was calm bringth into wawe,
So for defalte of grace and lawe
This poeple is stered al at ones
And forth thei gon out of hise wones;
So that of the lignages tuelve
Tuo tribes only be hemselve
With him abiden and nomo:
So were thei for everemo
Of no retorn withoute espeir
Departed fro the rihtfull heir.
Al Irahel with comun vois
A king upon here oghne chois
Among hemself anon thei make,
And have here yonge lord forsake;
A povere knyht Jeroboas
Thei toke, and lefte Roboas,
Which rihtfull heir was be descente.
Lo, thus the yonge cause wente:
For that the conseil was noght good,
The regne fro the rihtfull blod
Evere afterward divided was.
So mai it proven be this cas
That yong conseil, which is to warm,
Er men be war doth ofte harm.
Old age for the conseil serveth,
And lusti youthe his thonk deserveth
Upon the travail which he doth;
And bothe, forto seie a soth,
Be sondri cause forto have,
If that he wole his regne save,
A king behoveth every day.
That on can and that other mai,
Be so the king hem bothe reule,
For elles al goth out of reule.
And upon this matiere also
A question betwen the tuo
Thus writen in a bok I fond;
Wher it be betre for the lond
A king himselve to be wys,
And so to bere his oghne pris,
And that his consail be noght good,
Or other wise if it so stod,
A king if he be vicious
And his conseil be vertuous.
It is ansuerd in such a wise,
That betre it is that thei be wise
Be whom that the conseil schal gon,
For thei be manye, and he is on;
And rathere schal an one man
With fals conseil, for oght he can,
From his wisdom be mad to falle,
Thanne he al one scholde hem alle
Fro vices into vertu change,
For that is wel the more strange.
Forthi the lond mai wel be glad,
Whos king with good conseil is lad,
Which set him unto rihtwisnesse,
So that his hihe worthinesse
Betwen the reddour and Pite
Doth mercy forth with equite.
A king is holden overal
To Pite, bot in special
To hem wher he is most beholde;
Thei scholde his Pite most beholde
That ben the Lieges of his lond,
For thei ben evere under his hond
After the goddes ordinaunce
To stonde upon his governance.
Of themperour Anthonius
I finde hou that he seide thus,
That levere him were forto save
Oon of his lieges than to have
Of enemis a thousend dede.
And this he lernede, as I rede,
Of Cipio, which hadde be
Consul of Rome. And thus to se
Diverse ensamples hou thei stonde,
A king which hath the charge on honde
The comun poeple to governe,
If that he wole, he mai wel lerne.
Is non so good to the plesance
Of god, as is good governance;
And every governance is due
To Pite: thus I mai argue
That Pite is the foundement
Of every kinges regiment,
If it be medled with justice.
Thei tuo remuen alle vice,
And ben of vertu most vailable
To make a kinges regne stable.
Lo, thus the foure pointz tofore,
In governance as thei ben bore,
Of trouthe ferst and of largesse,
Of Pite forth with rihtwisnesse,
I have hem told; and over this
The fifte point, so as it is
Set of the reule of Policie,
Wherof a king schal modefie
The fleisschly lustes of nature,
Nou thenk I telle of such mesure,
That bothe kinde schal be served
And ek the lawe of god observed.
The Madle is mad for the the femele,
Bot where as on desireth fele,
That nedeth noght be weie of kinde:
For whan a man mai redy finde
His oghne wif, what scholde he seche
In strange places to beseche
To borwe an other mannes plouh,
Whan he hath geere good ynouh
Affaited at his oghne heste,
And is to him wel more honeste
Than other thing which is unknowe?
Forthi scholde every good man knowe
And thenke, hou that in mariage
His trouthe pliht lith in morgage,
Which if he breke, it is falshode,
And that descordeth to manhode,
And namely toward the grete,
Wherof the bokes alle trete;
So as the Philosophre techeth
To Alisandre, and him betecheth
The lore hou that he schal mesure
His bodi, so that no mesure
Of fleisshly lust he scholde excede.
And thus forth if I schal procede,
The fifte point, as I seide er,
Is chastete, which sielde wher
Comth nou adaies into place;
And natheles, bot it be grace
Above alle othre in special,
Is non that chaste mai ben all.
Bot yit a kinges hihe astat,
Which of his ordre as a prelat
Schal ben enoignt and seintefied,
He mot be more magnefied
For dignete of his corone,
Than scholde an other low persone,
Which is noght of so hih emprise.
Therfore a Prince him scholde avise,
Er that he felle in such riote,
And namely that he nassote
To change for the wommanhede
The worthinesse of his manhede.
Of Aristotle I have wel rad,
Hou he to Alisandre bad,
That forto gladen his corage
He schal beholde the visage
Of wommen, whan that thei ben faire.
Bot yit he set an essamplaire,
His bodi so to guide and reule,
That he ne passe noght the reule,
Wherof that he himself beguile.
For in the womman is no guile
Of that a man himself bewhapeth;
Whan he his oghne wit bejapeth,
I can the wommen wel excuse:
Bot what man wole upon hem muse
After the fool impression
Of his ymaginacioun,
Withinne himself the fyr he bloweth,
Wherof the womman nothing knoweth,
So mai sche nothing be to wyte.
For if a man himself excite
To drenche, and wol it noght forbere,
The water schal no blame bere.
What mai the gold, thogh men coveite?
If that a man wol love streite,
The womman hath him nothing bounde;
If he his oghne herte wounde,
Sche mai noght lette the folie;
And thogh so felle of compainie
That he myht eny thing pourchace,
Yit makth a man the ferste chace,
The womman fleth and he poursuieth:
So that be weie of skile it suieth,
The man is cause, hou so befalle,
That he fulofte sithe is falle
Wher that he mai noght wel aryse.
And natheles ful manye wise
Befoled have hemself er this,
As nou adaies yit it is
Among the men and evere was,
The stronge is fieblest in this cas.
It sit a man be weie of kinde
To love, bot it is noght kinde
A man for love his wit to lese:
For if the Monthe of Juil schal frese
And that Decembre schal ben hot,
The yeer mistorneth, wel I wot.
To sen a man fro his astat
Thurgh his sotie effeminat,
And leve that a man schal do,
It is as Hose above the Scho,
To man which oghte noght ben used.
Bot yit the world hath ofte accused
Ful grete Princes of this dede,
Hou thei for love hemself mislede,
Wherof manhode stod behinde,
Of olde ensamples as I finde.
These olde gestes tellen thus,
That whilom Sardana Pallus,
Which hield al hol in his empire
The grete kingdom of Assire,
Was thurgh the slouthe of his corage
Falle into thilke fyri rage
Of love, which the men assoteth,
Wherof himself he so rioteth,
And wax so ferforth wommannyssh,
That ayein kinde, as if a fissh
Abide wolde upon the lond,
In wommen such a lust he fond,
That he duelte evere in chambre stille,
And only wroghte after the wille
Of wommen, so as he was bede,
That selden whanne in other stede
If that he wolde wenden oute,
To sen hou that it stod aboute.
Bot ther he keste and there he pleide,
Thei tawhten him a Las to breide,
And weve a Pours, and to enfile
A Perle: and fell that ilke while,
On Barbarus the Prince of Mede
Sih hou this king in wommanhede
Was falle fro chivalerie,
And gat him help and compaignie,
And wroghte so, that ate laste
This king out of his regne he caste,
Which was undon for everemo:
And yit men speken of him so,
That it is schame forto hiere.
Forthi to love is in manere.
King David hadde many a love,
Bot natheles alwey above
Knyhthode he kepte in such a wise,
That for no fleisshli covoitise
Of lust to ligge in ladi armes
He lefte noght the lust of armes.
For where a Prince hise lustes suieth,
That he the werre noght poursuieth,
Whan it is time to ben armed,
His contre stant fulofte harmed,
Whan thenemis ben woxe bolde,
That thei defence non beholde.
Ful many a lond hath so be lore,
As men mai rede of time afore
Of hem that so here eses soghten,
Which after thei full diere aboghten.
To mochel ese is nothing worth,
For that set every vice forth
And every vertu put abak,
Wherof priss torneth into lak,
As in Cronique I mai reherse:
Which telleth hou the king of Perse,
That Cirus hihte, a werre hadde
Ayein a poeple which he dradde,
Of a contre which Liddos hihte;
Bot yit for oght that he do mihte
As in bataille upon the werre,
He hadde of hem alwey the werre.
And whan he sih and wiste it wel,
That he be strengthe wan no del,
Thanne ate laste he caste a wyle
This worthi poeple to beguile,
And tok with hem a feigned pes,
Which scholde lasten endeles,
So as he seide in wordes wise,
Bot he thoghte al in other wise.
For it betidd upon the cas,
Whan that this poeple in reste was,
Thei token eses manyfold;
And worldes ese, as it is told,
Be weie of kinde is the norrice
Of every lust which toucheth vice.
Thus whan thei were in lustes falle,
The werres ben foryeten alle;
Was non which wolde the worschipe
Of Armes, bot in idelschipe
Thei putten besinesse aweie
And token hem to daunce and pleie;
Bot most above alle othre thinges
Thei token hem to the likinges
Of fleysshly lust, that chastete
Received was in no degre,
Bot every man doth what him liste.
And whan the king of Perse it wiste,
That thei unto folie entenden,
With his pouer, whan thei lest wenden,
Mor sodeinly than doth the thunder
He cam, for evere and put hem under.
And thus hath lecherie lore
The lond, which hadde be tofore
The beste of hem that were tho.
And in the bible I finde also
A tale lich unto this thing,
Hou Amalech the paien king,
Whan that he myhte be no weie
Defende his lond and putte aweie
The worthi poeple of Irael,
This Sarazin, as it befell,
Thurgh the conseil of Balaam
A route of faire wommen nam,
That lusti were and yonge of Age,
And bad hem gon to the lignage
Of these Hebreus: and forth thei wente
With yhen greye and browes bente
And wel arraied everych on;
And whan thei come were anon
Among thebreus, was non insihte,
Bot cacche who that cacche myhte,
And ech of hem hise lustes soghte,
Whiche after thei full diere boghte.
For grace anon began to faile,
That whan thei comen to bataille
Thanne afterward, in sori plit
Thei were take and disconfit,
So that withinne a litel throwe
The myht of hem was overthrowe,
That whilom were wont to stonde.
Til Phinees the cause on honde
Hath take, this vengance laste,
Bot thanne it cessede ate laste,
For god was paid of that he dede:
For wher he fond upon a stede
A couple which misferde so,
Thurghout he smot hem bothe tuo,
And let hem ligge in mennes yhe;
Wherof alle othre whiche hem sihe
Ensamplede hem upon the dede,
And preiden unto the godhiede
Here olde Sennes to amende:
And he, which wolde his mercy sende,
Restorede hem to newe grace.
Thus mai it schewe in sondri place,
Of chastete hou the clennesse
Acordeth to the worthinesse
Of men of Armes overal;
Bot most of alle in special
This vertu to a king belongeth,
For upon his fortune it hongeth
Of that his lond schal spede or spille.
Forthi bot if a king his wille
Fro lustes of his fleissh restreigne,
Ayein himself he makth a treigne,
Into the which if that he slyde,
Him were betre go besyde.
For every man mai understonde,
Hou for a time that it stonde,
It is a sori lust to lyke,
Whos ende makth a man to syke
And torneth joies into sorwe.
The brihte Sonne be the morwe
Beschyneth noght the derke nyht,
The lusti youthe of mannes myht,
In Age bot it stonde wel,
Mistorneth al the laste whiel.
That every worthi Prince is holde
Withinne himself himself beholde,
To se the stat of his persone,
And thenke hou ther be joies none
Upon this Erthe mad to laste,
And hou the fleissh schal ate laste
The lustes of this lif forsake,
Him oghte a gret ensample take
Of Salomon, whos appetit
Was holy set upon delit,
To take of wommen the plesance:
So that upon his ignorance
The wyde world merveileth yit,
That he, which alle mennes wit
In thilke time hath overpassed,
With fleisshly lustes was so tassed,
That he which ladde under the lawe
The poeple of god, himself withdrawe
He hath fro god in such a wise,
That he worschipe and sacrifise
For sondri love in sondri stede
Unto the false goddes dede.
This was the wise ecclesiaste,
The fame of whom schal evere laste,
That he the myhti god forsok,
Ayein the lawe whanne he tok
His wyves and his concubines
Of hem that weren Sarazines,
For whiche he dede ydolatrie.
For this I rede of his sotie:
Sche of Sidoyne so him ladde,
That he knelende his armes spradde
To Astrathen with gret humblesse,
Which of hire lond was the goddesse:
And sche that was a Moabite
So ferforth made him to delite
Thurgh lust, which al his wit devoureth,
That he Chamos hire god honoureth.
An other Amonyte also
With love him hath assoted so,
Hire god Moloch that with encense
He sacreth, and doth reverence
In such a wise as sche him bad.
Thus was the wiseste overlad
With blinde lustes whiche he soghte;
Bot he it afterward aboghte.
For Achias Selonites,
Which was prophete, er his decess,
Whil he was in hise lustes alle,
Betokneth what schal after falle.
For on a day, whan that he mette
Jeroboam the knyht, he grette
And bad him that he scholde abyde,
To hiere what him schal betyde.
And forth withal Achias caste
His mantell of, and also faste
He kut it into pieces twelve,
Wherof tuo partz toward himselve
He kepte, and al the remenant,
As god hath set his covenant,
He tok unto Jeroboas,
Of Nabal which the Sone was,
And of the kinges court a knyht:
And seide him, "Such is goddes myht,
As thou hast sen departed hiere
Mi mantell, riht in such manere
After the deth of Salomon
God hath ordeigned therupon,
This regne thanne he schal divide:
Which time thou schalt ek abide,
And upon that division
The regne as in proporcion
As thou hast of mi mantell take,
Thou schalt receive, I undertake.
And thus the Sone schal abie
The lustes and the lecherie
Of him which nou his fader is."
So forto taken hiede of this,
It sit a king wel to be chaste,
For elles he mai lihtly waste
Himself and ek his regne bothe,
And that oghte every king to lothe.
O, which a Senne violent,
Wherof so wys a king was schent,
That the vengance in his persone
Was noght ynouh to take al one,
Bot afterward, whan he was passed,
It hath his heritage lassed,
As I more openli tofore
The tale tolde. And thus therfore
The Philosophre upon this thing
Writ and conseileth to a king,
That he the surfet of luxure
Schal tempre and reule of such mesure,
Which be to kinde sufficant
And ek to reson acordant,
So that the lustes ignorance
Be cause of no misgovernance,
Thurgh which that he be overthrowe,
As he that wol no reson knowe.
For bot a mannes wit be swerved,
Whan kinde is dueliche served,
It oghte of reson to suffise;
For if it falle him otherwise,
He mai tho lustes sore drede.
For of Anthonie thus I rede,
Which of Severus was the Sone,
That he his lif of comun wone
Yaf holy unto thilke vice,
And ofte time he was so nyce,
Wherof nature hire hath compleigned
Unto the god, which hath desdeigned
The werkes whiche Antonie wroghte
Of lust, whiche he ful sore aboghte:
For god his forfet hath so wroke
That in Cronique it is yit spoke.
Bot forto take remembrance
Of special misgovernance
Thurgh covoitise and injustice
Forth with the remenant of vice,
And nameliche of lecherie,
I finde write a gret partie
Withinne a tale, as thou schalt hiere,
Which is thensample of this matiere.
So as these olde gestes sein,
The proude tirannyssh Romein
Tarquinus, which was thanne king
And wroghte many a wrongful thing,
Of Sones hadde manyon,
Among the whiche Arrons was on,
Lich to his fader of maneres;
So that withinne a fewe yeres
With tresoun and with tirannie
Thei wonne of lond a gret partie,
And token hiede of no justice,
Which due was to here office
Upon the reule of governance;
Bot al that evere was plesance
Unto the fleisshes lust thei toke.
And fell so, that thei undertoke
A werre, which was noght achieved,
Bot ofte time it hadde hem grieved,
Ayein a folk which thanne hihte
The Gabiens: and al be nyhte
This Arrons, whan he was at hom
In Rome, a prive place he nom
Withinne a chambre, and bet himselve
And made him woundes ten or tuelve
Upon the bak, as it was sene;
And so forth with hise hurtes grene
In al the haste that he may
He rod, and cam that other day
Unto Gabie the Cite,
And in he wente: and whan that he
Was knowe, anon the gates schette,
The lordes alle upon him sette
With drawe swerdes upon honde.
This Arrons wolde hem noght withstonde,
Bot seide, "I am hier at your wille,
Als lief it is that ye me spille,
As if myn oghne fader dede."
And forthwith in the same stede
He preide hem that thei wolde se,
And schewede hem in what degre
His fader and hise brethren bothe,
Whiche, as he seide, weren wrothe,
Him hadde beten and reviled,
For evere and out of Rome exiled.
And thus he made hem to believe,
And seide, if that he myhte achieve
His pourpos, it schal wel be yolde,
Be so that thei him helpe wolde.
Whan that the lordes hadde sein
Hou wofully he was besein,
Thei token Pite of his grief;
Bot yit it was hem wonder lief
That Rome him hadde exiled so.
These Gabiens be conseil tho
Upon the goddes made him swere,
That he to hem schal trouthe bere
And strengthen hem with al his myht;
And thei also him have behiht
To helpen him in his querele.
Thei schopen thanne for his hele
That he was bathed and enoignt,
Til that he was in lusti point;
And what he wolde thanne he hadde,
That he al hol the cite ladde
Riht as he wolde himself divise.
And thanne he thoghte him in what wise
He myhte his tirannie schewe;
And to his conseil tok a schrewe,
Whom to his fader forth he sente
In his message, and he tho wente,
And preide his fader forto seie
Be his avis, and finde a weie,
Hou they the cite myhten winne,
Whil that he stod so wel therinne.
And whan the messager was come
To Rome, and hath in conseil nome
The king, it fell per chance so
That thei were in a gardin tho,
This messager forth with the king.
And whanne he hadde told the thing
In what manere that it stod,
And that Tarquinus understod
Be the message hou that it ferde,
Anon he tok in honde a yerde,
And in the gardin as thei gon,
The lilie croppes on and on,
Wher that thei weren sprongen oute,
He smot of, as thei stode aboute,
And seide unto the messager:
"Lo, this thing, which I do nou hier,
Schal ben in stede of thin ansuere;
And in this wise as I me bere,
Thou schalt unto mi Sone telle."
And he no lengere wolde duelle,
Bot tok his leve and goth withal
Unto his lord, and told him al,
Hou that his fader hadde do.
Whan Arrons herde him telle so,
Anon he wiste what it mente,
And therto sette al his entente,
Til he thurgh fraude and tricherie
The Princes hefdes of Gabie
Hath smiten of, and al was wonne:
His fader cam tofore the Sonne
Into the toun with the Romeins,
And tok and slowh the citezeins
Withoute reson or pite,
That he ne spareth no degre.
And for the sped of this conqueste
He let do make a riche feste
With a sollempne Sacrifise
In Phebus temple; and in this wise
Whan the Romeins assembled were,
In presence of hem alle there,
Upon thalter whan al was diht
And that the fyres were alyht,
From under thalter sodeinly
An hidous Serpent openly
Cam out and hath devoured al
The Sacrifice, and ek withal
The fyres queynt, and forth anon,
So as he cam, so is he gon
Into the depe ground ayein.
And every man began to sein,
"Ha lord, what mai this signefie?"
And therupon thei preie and crie
To Phebus, that thei mihten knowe
The cause: and he the same throwe
With gastly vois, that alle it herde,
The Romeins in this wise ansuerde,
And seide hou for the wikkidnesse
Of Pride and of unrihtwisnesse,
That Tarquin and his Sone hath do,
The Sacrifice is wasted so,
Which myhte noght ben acceptable
Upon such Senne abhominable.
And over that yit he hem wisseth,
And seith that which of hem ferst kisseth
His moder, he schal take wrieche
Upon the wrong: and of that speche
Thei ben withinne here hertes glade,
Thogh thei outward no semblant made.
Ther was a knyht which Brutus hihte,
And he with al the haste he myhte
To grounde fell and therthe kiste,
Bot non of hem the cause wiste,
Bot wenden that he hadde sporned
Per chance, and so was overtorned.
Bot Brutus al an other mente;
For he knew wel in his entente
Hou therthe of every mannes kinde
Is Moder: bot thei weren blinde,
And sihen noght so fer as he.
Bot whan thei leften the Cite
And comen hom to Rome ayein,
Thanne every man which was Romein
And moder hath, to hire he bende
And keste, and ech of hem thus wende
To be the ferste upon the chance,
Of Tarquin forto do vengance,
So as thei herden Phebus sein.
Bot every time hath his certein,
So moste it nedes thanne abide,
Til afterward upon a tyde
Tarquinus made unskilfully
A werre, which was fasteby
Ayein a toun with walles stronge
Which Ardea was cleped longe,
And caste a Siege theraboute,
That ther mai noman passen oute.
So it befell upon a nyht,
Arrons, which hadde his souper diht,
A part of the chivalerie
With him to soupe in compaignie
Hath bede: and whan thei comen were
And seten at the souper there,
Among here othre wordes glade
Arrons a gret spekinge made,
Who hadde tho the beste wif
Of Rome: and ther began a strif,
For Arrons seith he hath the beste.
So jangle thei withoute reste,
Til ate laste on Collatin,
A worthi knyht, and was cousin
To Arrons, seide him in this wise:
"It is," quod he, "of non emprise
To speke a word, bot of the dede,
Therof it is to taken hiede.
Anon forthi this same tyde
Lep on thin hors and let ous ryde:
So mai we knowe bothe tuo
Unwarli what oure wyves do,
And that schal be a trewe assay."
This Arrons seith noght ones nay:
On horse bak anon thei lepte
In such manere, and nothing slepte,
Ridende forth til that thei come
Al prively withinne Rome;
In strange place and doun thei lihte,
And take a chambre, and out of sihte
Thei be desguised for a throwe,
So that no lif hem scholde knowe.
And to the paleis ferst thei soghte,
To se what thing this ladi wroghte
Of which Arrons made his avant:
And thei hire sihe of glad semblant,
Al full of merthes and of bordes;
Bot among alle hire othre wordes
Sche spak noght of hire housebonde.
And whan thei hadde al understonde
Of thilke place what hem liste,
Thei gon hem forth, that non it wiste,
Beside thilke gate of bras,
Collacea which cleped was,
Wher Collatin hath his duellinge.
Ther founden thei at hom sittinge
Lucrece his wif, al environed
With wommen, whiche are abandoned
To werche, and sche wroghte ek withal,
And bad hem haste, and seith, "It schal
Be for mi housebondes were,
Which with his swerd and with his spere
Lith at the Siege in gret desese.
And if it scholde him noght displese,
Nou wolde god I hadde him hiere;
For certes til that I mai hiere
Som good tidinge of his astat,
Min herte is evere upon debat.
For so as alle men witnesse,
He is of such an hardiesse,
That he can noght himselve spare,
And that is al my moste care,
Whan thei the walles schulle assaile.
Bot if mi wisshes myhte availe,
I wolde it were a groundles pet,
Be so the Siege were unknet,
And I myn housebonde sihe."
With that the water in hire yhe
Aros, that sche ne myhte it stoppe,
And as men sen the dew bedroppe
The leves and the floures eke,
Riht so upon hire whyte cheke
The wofull salte teres felle.
Whan Collatin hath herd hire telle
The menynge of hire trewe herte,
Anon with that to hire he sterte,
And seide, "Lo, mi goode diere,
Nou is he come to you hiere,
That ye most loven, as ye sein."
And sche with goodly chiere ayein
Beclipte him in hire armes smale,
And the colour, which erst was pale,
To Beaute thanne was restored,
So that it myhte noght be mored.
The kinges Sone, which was nyh,
And of this lady herde and syh
The thinges as thei ben befalle,
The resoun of hise wittes alle
Hath lost; for love upon his part
Cam thanne, and of his fyri dart
With such a wounde him hath thurghsmite,
That he mot nedes fiele and wite
Of thilke blinde maladie,
To which no cure of Surgerie
Can helpe. Bot yit natheles
At thilke time he hield his pes,
That he no contienance made,
Bot openly with wordes glade,
So as he couthe in his manere,
He spak and made frendly chiere,
Til it was time forto go.
And Collatin with him also
His leve tok, so that be nyhte
With al the haste that thei myhte
Thei riden to the Siege ayein.
Bot Arrons was so wo besein
With thoghtes whiche upon him runne,
That he al be the brode Sunne
To bedde goth, noght forto reste,
Bot forto thenke upon the beste
And the faireste forth withal,
That evere he syh or evere schal,
So as him thoghte in his corage,
Where he pourtreieth hire ymage:
Ferst the fetures of hir face,
In which nature hadde alle grace
Of wommanly beaute beset,
So that it myhte noght be bet;
And hou hir yelwe her was tresced
And hire atir so wel adresced,
And hou sche spak, and hou sche wroghte,
And hou sche wepte, al this he thoghte,
That he foryeten hath no del,
Bot al it liketh him so wel,
That in the word nor in the dede
Hire lacketh noght of wommanhiede.
And thus this tirannysshe knyht
Was soupled, bot noght half ariht,
For he non other hiede tok,
Bot that he myhte be som crok,
Althogh it were ayein hire wille,
The lustes of his fleissh fulfille;
Which love was noght resonable,
For where honour is remuable,
It oghte wel to ben avised.
Bot he, which hath his lust assised
With melled love and tirannie,
Hath founde upon his tricherie
A weie which he thenkth to holde,
And seith, "Fortune unto the bolde
Is favorable forto helpe."
And thus withinne himself to yelpe,
As he which was a wylde man,
Upon his treson he began:
And up he sterte, and forth he wente
On horsebak, bot his entente
Ther knew no wiht, and thus he nam
The nexte weie, til he cam
Unto Collacea the gate
Of Rome, and it was somdiel late,
Riht evene upon the Sonne set,
As he which hadde schape his net
Hire innocence to betrappe.
And as it scholde tho mishappe,
Als priveliche as evere he myhte
He rod, and of his hors alyhte
Tofore Collatines In,
And al frendliche he goth him in,
As he that was cousin of house.
And sche, which is the goode spouse,
Lucrece, whan that sche him sih,
With goodli chiere drowh him nyh,
As sche which al honour supposeth,
And him, so as sche dar, opposeth
Hou it stod of hire housebonde.
And he tho dede hire understonde
With tales feigned in his wise,
Riht as he wolde himself devise,
Wherof he myhte hire herte glade,
That sche the betre chiere made,
Whan sche the glade wordes herde,
Hou that hire housebonde ferde.
And thus the trouthe was deceived
With slih tresoun, which was received
To hire which mente alle goode;
For as the festes thanne stode,
His Souper was ryht wel arraied.
Bot yit he hath no word assaied
To speke of love in no degre;
Bot with covert subtilite
His frendly speches he affaiteth,
And as the Tigre his time awaiteth
In hope forto cacche his preie.
Whan that the bordes were aweie
And thei have souped in the halle,
He seith that slep is on him falle,
And preith he moste go to bedde;
And sche with alle haste spedde,
So as hire thoghte it was to done,
That every thing was redi sone.
Sche broghte him to his chambre tho
And tok hire leve, and forth is go
Into hire oghne chambre by,
As sche that wende certeinly
Have had a frend, and hadde a fo,
Wherof fell after mochel wo.
This tirant, thogh he lyhe softe,
Out of his bed aros fulofte,
And goth aboute, and leide his Ere
To herkne, til that alle were
To bedde gon and slepten faste.
And thanne upon himself he caste
A mantell, and his swerd al naked
He tok in honde; and sche unwaked
Abedde lay, but what sche mette,
God wot; for he the Dore unschette
So prively that non it herde,
The softe pas and forth he ferde
Unto the bed wher that sche slepte,
Al sodeinliche and in he crepte,
And hire in bothe his Armes tok.
With that this worthi wif awok,
Which thurgh tendresce of wommanhiede
Hire vois hath lost for pure drede,
That o word speke sche ne dar:
And ek he bad hir to be war,
For if sche made noise or cry,
He seide, his swerd lay faste by
To slen hire and hire folk aboute.
And thus he broghte hire herte in doute,
That lich a Lomb whanne it is sesed
In wolves mouth, so was desesed
Lucrece, which he naked fond:
Wherof sche swounede in his hond,
And, as who seith, lay ded oppressed.
And he, which al him hadde adresced
To lust, tok thanne what him liste,
And goth his wey, that non it wiste,
Into his oghne chambre ayein,
And clepede up his chamberlein,
And made him redi forto ryde.
And thus this lecherouse pride
To horse lepte and forth he rod;
And sche, which in hire bed abod,
Whan that sche wiste he was agon,
Sche clepede after liht anon
And up aros long er the day,
And caste awey hire freissh aray,
As sche which hath the world forsake,
And tok upon the clothes blake:
And evere upon continuinge,
Riht as men sen a welle springe,
With yhen fulle of wofull teres,
Hire her hangende aboute hire Eres,
Sche wepte, and noman wiste why.
Bot yit among full pitously
Sche preide that thei nolden drecche
Hire housebonde forto fecche
Forth with hire fader ek also.
Thus be thei comen bothe tuo,
And Brutus cam with Collatin,
Which to Lucrece was cousin,
And in thei wenten alle thre
To chambre, wher thei myhten se
The wofulleste upon this Molde,
Which wepte as sche to water scholde.
The chambre Dore anon was stoke,
Er thei have oght unto hire spoke;
Thei sihe hire clothes al desguised,
And hou sche hath hirself despised,
Hire her hangende unkemd aboute,
Bot natheles sche gan to loute
And knele unto hire housebonde;
And he, which fain wolde understonde
The cause why sche ferde so,
With softe wordes axeth tho,
"What mai you be, mi goode swete?"
And sche, which thoghte hirself unmete
And the lest worth of wommen alle,
Hire wofull chiere let doun falle
For schame and couthe unnethes loke.
And thei therof good hiede toke,
And preiden hire in alle weie
That sche ne spare forto seie
Unto hir frendes what hire eileth,
Why sche so sore hirself beweileth,
And what the sothe wolde mene.
And sche, which hath hire sorwes grene,
Hire wo to telle thanne assaieth,
Bot tendre schame hire word delaieth,
That sondri times as sche minte
To speke, upon the point sche stinte.
And thei hire bidden evere in on
To telle forth, and therupon,
Whan that sche sih sche moste nede,
Hire tale betwen schame and drede
Sche tolde, noght withoute peine.
And he, which wolde hire wo restreigne,
Hire housebonde, a sory man,
Conforteth hire al that he can,
And swor, and ek hire fader bothe,
That thei with hire be noght wrothe
Of that is don ayein hire wille;
And preiden hire to be stille,
For thei to hire have al foryive.
Bot sche, which thoghte noght to live,
Of hem wol no foryivenesse,
And seide, of thilke wickednesse
Which was unto hire bodi wroght,
Al were it so sche myhte it noght,
Nevere afterward the world ne schal
Reproeven hire; and forth withal,
Er eny man therof be war,
A naked swerd, the which sche bar
Withinne hire Mantel priveli,
Betwen hire hondes sodeinly
Sche tok, and thurgh hire herte it throng,
And fell to grounde, and evere among,
Whan that sche fell, so as sche myhte,
Hire clothes with hire hand sche rihte,
That noman dounward fro the kne
Scholde eny thing of hire se:
Thus lay this wif honestely,
Althogh sche deide wofully.
Tho was no sorwe forto seke:
Hire housebonde, hire fader eke
Aswoune upon the bodi felle;
Ther mai no mannes tunge telle
In which anguisshe that thei were.
Bot Brutus, which was with hem there,
Toward himself his herte kepte,
And to Lucrece anon he lepte,
The blodi swerd and pulleth oute,
And swor the goddes al aboute
That he therof schal do vengance.
And sche tho made a contienance,
Hire dedlich yhe and ate laste
In thonkinge as it were up caste,
And so behield him in the wise,
Whil sche to loke mai suffise.
And Brutus with a manlich herte
Hire housebonde hath mad up sterte
Forth with hire fader ek also
In alle haste, and seide hem tho
That thei anon withoute lette
A Beere for the body fette;
Lucrece and therupon bledende
He leide, and so forth out criende
He goth into the Market place
Of Rome: and in a litel space
Thurgh cry the cite was assembled,
And every mannes herte is trembled,
Whan thei the sothe herde of the cas.
And therupon the conseil was
Take of the grete and of the smale,
And Brutus tolde hem al the tale;
And thus cam into remembrance
Of Senne the continuance,
Which Arrons hadde do tofore,
And ek, long time er he was bore,
Of that his fadre hadde do
The wrong cam into place tho;
So that the comun clamour tolde
The newe schame of Sennes olde.
And al the toun began to crie,
"Awey, awey the tirannie
Of lecherie and covoitise!"
And ate laste in such a wise
The fader in the same while
Forth with his Sone thei exile,
And taken betre governance.
Bot yit an other remembrance
That rihtwisnesse and lecherie
Acorden noght in compaignie
With him that hath the lawe on honde,
That mai a man wel understonde,
As be a tale thou shalt wite,
Of olde ensample as it is write.
At Rome whan that Apius,
Whos other name is Claudius,
Was governour of the cite,
Ther fell a wonder thing to se
Touchende a gentil Maide, as thus,
Whom Livius Virginius
Begeten hadde upon his wif:
Men seiden that so fair a lif
As sche was noght in al the toun.
This fame, which goth up and doun,
To Claudius cam in his Ere,
Wherof his thoght anon was there,
Which al his herte hath set afyre,
That he began the flour desire
Which longeth unto maydenhede,
And sende, if that he myhte spede
The blinde lustes of his wille.
Bot that thing mai he noght fulfille,
For sche stod upon Mariage;
A worthi kniht of gret lignage,
Ilicius which thanne hihte,
Acorded in hire fader sihte
Was, that he scholde his douhter wedde.
Bot er the cause fully spedde,
Hire fader, which in Romanie
The ledinge of chivalerie
In governance hath undertake,
Upon a werre which was take
Goth out with al the strengthe he hadde
Of men of Armes whiche he ladde:
So was the mariage left,
And stod upon acord til eft.
The king, which herde telle of this,
Hou that this Maide ordeigned is
To Mariage, thoghte an other.
And hadde thilke time a brother,
Which Marchus Claudius was hote,
And was a man of such riote
Riht as the king himselve was:
Thei tuo togedre upon this cas
In conseil founden out this weie,
That Marchus Claudius schal seie
Hou sche be weie of covenant
To his service appourtenant
Was hol, and to non other man;
And therupon he seith he can
In every point witnesse take,
So that sche schal it noght forsake.
Whan that thei hadden schape so,
After the lawe which was tho,
Whil that hir fader was absent,
Sche was somouned and assent
To come in presence of the king
And stonde in ansuere of this thing.
Hire frendes wisten alle wel
That it was falshed everydel,
And comen to the king and seiden,
Upon the comun lawe and preiden,
So as this noble worthi knyht
Hir fader for the comun riht
In thilke time, as was befalle,
Lai for the profit of hem alle
Upon the wylde feldes armed,
That he ne scholde noght ben harmed
Ne schamed, whil that he were oute;
And thus thei preiden al aboute.
For al the clamour that he herde,
The king upon his lust ansuerde,
And yaf hem only daies tuo
Of respit; for he wende tho,
That in so schorte a time appiere
Hire fader mihte in no manere.
Bot as therof he was deceived;
For Livius hadde al conceived
The pourpos of the king tofore,
So that to Rome ayein therfore
In alle haste he cam ridende,
And lefte upon the field liggende
His host, til that he come ayein.
And thus this worthi capitein
Appiereth redi at his day,
Wher al that evere reson may
Be lawe in audience he doth,
So that his dowhter upon soth
Of that Marchus hire hadde accused
He hath tofore the court excused.
The king, which sih his pourpos faile,
And that no sleihte mihte availe,
Encombred of his lustes blinde
The lawe torneth out of kinde,
And half in wraththe as thogh it were,
In presence of hem alle there
Deceived of concupiscence
Yaf for his brother the sentence,
And bad him that he scholde sese
This Maide and make him wel at ese;
Bot al withinne his oghne entente
He wiste hou that the cause wente,
Of that his brother hath the wyte
He was himselven forto wyte.
Bot thus this maiden hadde wrong,
Which was upon the king along,
Bot ayein him was non Appel,
And that the fader wiste wel:
Wherof upon the tirannie,
That for the lust of Lecherie
His douhter scholde be deceived,
And that Ilicius was weyved
Untrewly fro the Mariage,
Riht as a Leon in his rage,
Which of no drede set acompte
And not what pite scholde amounte,
A naked swerd he pulleth oute,
The which amonges al the route
He threste thurgh his dowhter side,
And al alowd this word he cride:
"Lo, take hire ther, thou wrongfull king,
For me is levere upon this thing
To be the fader of a Maide,
Thogh sche be ded, that if men saide
That in hir lif sche were schamed
And I therof were evele named."
Tho bad the king men scholde areste
His bodi, bot of thilke heste,
Lich to the chaced wylde bor,
The houndes whan he fieleth sor,
Tothroweth and goth forth his weie,
In such a wise forto seie
This worthi kniht with swerd on honde
His weie made, and thei him wonde,
That non of hem his strokes kepte;
And thus upon his hors he lepte,
And with his swerd droppende of blod,
The which withinne his douhter stod,
He cam ther as the pouer was
Of Rome, and tolde hem al the cas,
And seide hem that thei myhten liere
Upon the wrong of his matiere,
That betre it were to redresce
At hom the grete unrihtwisnesse,
Than forto werre in strange place
And lese at hom here oghne grace.
For thus stant every mannes lif
In jeupartie for his wif
Or for his dowhter, if thei be
Passende an other of beaute.
Of this merveile which thei sihe
So apparant tofore here yhe,
Of that the king him hath misbore,
Here othes thei have alle swore
That thei wol stonde be the riht.
And thus of on acord upriht
To Rome at ones hom ayein
Thei torne, and schortly forto sein,
This tirannye cam to mouthe,
And every man seith what he couthe,
So that the prive tricherie,
Which set was upon lecherie,
Cam openly to mannes Ere;
And that broghte in the comun feere,
That every man the peril dradde
Of him that so hem overladde.
Forthi, er that it worse falle,
Thurgh comun conseil of hem alle
Thei have here wrongfull king deposed,
And hem in whom it was supposed
The conseil stod of his ledinge
Be lawe unto the dom thei bringe,
Wher thei receiven the penance
That longeth to such governance.
And thus thunchaste was chastised,
Wherof thei myhte ben avised
That scholden afterward governe,
And be this evidence lerne,
Hou it is good a king eschuie
The lust of vice and vertu suie.
To make an ende in this partie,
Which toucheth to the Policie
Of Chastite in special,
As for conclusion final
That every lust is to eschue
Be gret ensample I mai argue:
Hou in Rages a toun of Mede
Ther was a Mayde, and as I rede,
Sarra sche hihte, and Raguel
Hir fader was; and so befell,
Of bodi bothe and of visage
Was non so fair of the lignage,
To seche among hem alle, as sche;
Wherof the riche of the cite,
Of lusti folk that couden love,
Assoted were upon hire love,
And asken hire forto wedde.
On was which ate laste spedde,
Bot that was more for likinge,
To have his lust, than for weddinge,
As he withinne his herte caste,
Which him repenteth ate laste.
For so it fell the ferste nyht,
That whanne he was to bedde dyht,
As he which nothing god besecheth
Bot al only hise lustes secheth,
Abedde er he was fully warm
And wolde have take hire in his Arm,
Asmod, which was a fend of helle,
And serveth, as the bokes telle,
To tempte a man of such a wise,
Was redy there, and thilke emprise,
Which he hath set upon delit,
He vengeth thanne in such a plit,
That he his necke hathe writhe atuo.
This yonge wif was sory tho,
Which wiste nothing what it mente;
And natheles yit thus it wente
Noght only of this ferste man,
Bot after, riht as he began,
Sexe othre of hire housebondes
Asmod hath take into hise bondes,
So that thei alle abedde deiden,
Whan thei her hand toward hir leiden,
Noght for the lawe of Mariage,
Bot for that ilke fyri rage
In which that thei the lawe excede:
For who that wolde taken hiede
What after fell in this matiere,
Ther mihte he wel the sothe hiere.
Whan sche was wedded to Thobie,
And Raphael in compainie
Hath tawht him hou to ben honeste,
Asmod wan noght at thilke feste,
And yit Thobie his wille hadde;
For he his lust so goodly ladde,
That bothe lawe and kinde is served,
Wherof he hath himself preserved,
That he fell noght in the sentence.
O which an open evidence
Of this ensample a man mai se,
That whan likinge in the degre
Of Mariage mai forsueie,
Wel oghte him thanne in other weie
Of lust to be the betre avised.
For god the lawes hath assissed
Als wel to reson as to kinde,
Bot he the bestes wolde binde
Only to lawes of nature,
Bot to the mannes creature
God yaf him reson forth withal,
Wherof that he nature schal
Upon the causes modefie,
That he schal do no lecherie,
And yit he schal hise lustes have.
So ben the lawes bothe save
And every thing put out of sclandre;
As whilom to king Alisandre
The wise Philosophre tawhte,
Whan he his ferste lore cawhte,
Noght only upon chastete,
Bot upon alle honestete;
Wherof a king himself mai taste,
Hou trewe, hou large, hou joust, hou chaste
Him oghte of reson forto be,
Forth with the vertu of Pite,
Thurgh which he mai gret thonk deserve
Toward his godd, that he preserve
Him and his poeple in alle welthe
Of pes, richesse, honour and helthe
Hier in this world and elles eke.
Mi Sone, as we tofore spieke
In schrifte, so as thou me seidest,
And for thin ese, as thou me preidest,
Thi love throghes forto lisse,
That I thee wolde telle and wisse
The forme of Aristotles lore,
I have it seid, and somdiel more
Of othre ensamples, to assaie
If I thi peines myhte allaie
Thurgh eny thing that I can seie.
Do wey, mi fader, I you preie:
Of that ye have unto me told
I thonke you a thousendfold.
The tales sounen in myn Ere,
Bot yit min herte is elleswhere,
I mai miselve noght restreigne,
That I nam evere in loves peine:
Such lore couthe I nevere gete,
Which myhte make me foryete
O point, bot if so were I slepte,
That I my tydes ay ne kepte
To thenke of love and of his lawe;
That herte can I noght withdrawe.
Forthi, my goode fader diere,
Lef al and speke of my matiere
Touchende of love, as we begonne:
If that ther be oght overronne
Or oght foryete or left behinde
Which falleth unto loves kinde,
Wherof it nedeth to be schrive,
Nou axeth, so that whil I live
I myhte amende that is mys.
Mi goode diere Sone, yis.
Thi schrifte forto make plein,
Ther is yit more forto sein
Of love which is unavised.
Bot for thou schalt be wel avised
Unto thi schrifte as it belongeth,
A point which upon love hongeth
And is the laste of alle tho,
I wol thee telle, and thanne ho.
Rationale for this Diversion
I, Genius, priest of love, my son,
As you've requested to be done,
Sage Aristotle's schooling shall
Reveal, and too, the rationale
Of Alexander's tutelage;
I am conflicted, just how sage
It is for us from our concern
With things regarding love to turn,
As Venus for your shrift enjoined.
But if a little time's purloined
I think it wouldn't hurt too much;
It even may be seemly such
Important topics to explore.
So I'll impart to you this lore,
For wisdom is in every case
On knowledge built, which is its base,
Which does not just in love hold true.
Therefore, my son, I'll teach to you,
Though Venus may its worth debate,
That which did Aristotle state
Of what great Alexander learned
Which Callisthenes too concerned.
An Overview of Philosophy
But since the subjects are diverse,
I think that first I shall rehearse
Philosophy's domains to you
Which Alexander's tutors knew,
Who in all knowledge being versed
They did regard as being first
Among Philosophy's three main
Divisions, Theory, that terrain
Of abstract principles and laws
Based on Him who the world did cause
To be, from which all learning flows.
And then, the second one of those
Three branches, Rhetoric we style,
Whose oratory dazzles while
His language eloquence defines.
In law his courtroom manner shines,
For none can speak as well as he,
The final species of these three
Is Practice, he whose role is to
Be guardian of virtue, who
Instructs in conduct wise, to be
Avoiding evil company,
Thus Practice seeks us to advise
When we free choice
It is that still small voice, as well,
That unto worthy kings will tell,
In war and peace, how things should be.
Lo, Aristotle into three
Parts did Philosophy
And at the same time specified
that each of them would serve.
The first, the other two preserve,
For a foundation sound is he,
And the most basic of the three,
Philosophy's true conrnerstone
Now hearken well as I intone
What that Philosopher of old
Once taught, and value it as gold.
Of Theory, in particular,
We see that the Philosopher
Its attributes does well define.
As being those on which do shine
The glow of wit and prudence bright,
Attaining an unequalled height.
Upon three bases does it stand,
The first of which is in the grand
Scheme of Philosophy referred
To as Theology; the word
Is Physics for the second one;
Third Mathematics, and were done.
Theology gives unto men
The proof of things beyond our ken
Which do not from our senses flow,
Whereby the things of God we know,
The Trinity enthroned above,
Which is one God, the God of love
With no end nor beginning, who
All things created, earth and too
The realms of heaven and of hell.
Whereof, as ancient writings tell,
Unto this old Philosopher
Did this divine conceit occur,
Which he through reason's force inferred,
As First Cause he to God referred,
Through whom is every good thing wrought,
Without whom all good is for naught.
By which all living things possess
Their nature and their consciousness.
As to essential nature we
Three different forms of beings see:
Those which begin then terminate,
As temporal we term that state;
Then there are things which death defy.
Things which begin and shall not die,
Called spiritual, like a soul,
For whom death's bell will never toll.
But one who does outshine the sun,
Of a beginning He has none,
And endless shall He ever be;
And that is God, whose majesty
Shall over all creation reign,
Forever God He shall remain.
To Him is every honor due,
All things He gave existence to,
All species His creation are.
Commands He gives them from afar,
And all of them obey his word;
This power of His is not conferred
On others, He alone presides.
The universe God only guides,
For it began at His command;
All times to Him are present, and
All things are not to others shown,
Except what He wants to be known.
Thus angels and mankind as well,
Which of God's handiwork excel
All others, do obey God's might
Eternally He stands upright.
Acquainted with this science be
The vicars of divinity,
Those who unto the people preach
And of the sacred tenets teach,
Which more upon belief rely.
For they cannot be proven by
Recourse to reason, nonetheless
They credibility possess,
And are a great reward to them
That seek salvation's priceless gem.
Theology resides apart
From other sciences - the start
Of every high and lofty lore
Of Theory, standing at the fore.
The second branch is Physics which
Philosophers have found is rich
With knowledge of the worldly sphere
Where things to mortal eyes appear.
Thus man, and beast, and herb, and stone,
And fish, and foul, and all things known
On earth to be of matter made,
Are by this science all surveyed,
As well when it might wealth produce,
As when there's no apparent use.
In Theory there is one branch more,
Called Mathematics, into four
Distinct divisions organized.
Of these main fields it is comprised:
Arithmetic is first, then next
Comes Music, and then Euclid's text
Geometry, then number four
Astronomy, there are no more.
Arithmetic is where we find
Knowledge of a numeric kind,
Those algorithms wise men know
Are for computing apropos,
Applying calculating tools,
By way of algorithmic rules
By which we add, subtract, and by
Which we divide and multiply.
Sums are the substance of this art
And science; In the second part
Of Mathematics there is found
In Music the fine art of sound,
Which teaches composition so
That Melodies are made to flow
When notes for instrument and voice
Are made harmonious by choice,
Which bugles blow and singers sing,
Some soft while others louder ring,
Some notes are high and others low,
As by the scale a man may know,
That shows us how the tones are spaced
And with fine qualities are graced.
In Mathematics yet we see
Another subject, number three,
In wisdom and in doctrine rich;
Geometry it's christened, which
Gives men such calculating strength.
Of height of breadth, of depth, of length,
That all proportions can be shown
With rigor that was once unknown
Before this science; on this ground
Old wise Philosophers have found
Through observation of this earth
How far around did stretch its girth,
And its diameter, how great;
From earth clear up to heaven's gate
The centers of all arcs they knew
By geometric measures true.
In Mathematics a fourth field
There is, in which things are revealed
Concerning all the stars we see,
And that field is Astronomy,
Proceeding outward from the moon.
But first it was found opportune
By Aristotle to impart
Unto this worthy king a chart
Of elements of every kind
Which 'neath the firmament we find,
So that how they were made he sees,
And pictures all their properties."
Ere God celestial bodies made
And all across the sky arrayed,
The earth, and also heav'n and hell,
As texts from ancient sources tell,
As sound comes prior to the song
Yet they're together knit erelong,
Just so by Deity's design
Beneath His governance divine
There was then a substantial store
Of matter He intended for
Creation's labor. But alas,
Just one immense amorphous mass
Unordered, with no class nor phylum,
Was this matter known as ylem.
Ylem, as I have been told
Is matter from which God did mold,
The elements, which it is claimed
The school of Aristotle named;
You'll see, when I shall more disclose,
There are exactly four of those.
The first of them men call the
Which occupies the lowest berth,
And in his shape and form is round
Substantial, firmly fixed, and sound,
That he for bearing up might be
Sufficient for the other three.
For as the arrow pointing true
Within a compass, so earth too
Is set and constant shall abide
Not wavering from side to side.
And drawn toward His center are
All things regardless of how far,
For nature's law they must obey,
If there is nothing in the way.
The second element we find
Is water, which has been assigned
Unto a realm above the earth
Surrounding utterly its girth.
Despite its rarity, and though
It may seem weak. and soft as snow,
Yet it can show a side that's fierce
Enough earth's mighty crust to pierce.
For just as through the veins blood flows
Just so the water as it goes
Along its course though hills and plains
Makes all the planet full of veins.
Unto man's eye this is most clear
For in the highest hills appear
Both bubbling springs and flowing streams
Which gives us proof, or so it seems
That water's higher than the land.
Air, now I'd have you understand,
Of elements is number three;
For breathing is it meant to be
By every creature, to insure
That on the earth they may endure.
For as a fish, if it gets dry,
Will from a lack of water die,
Just so man without any air
Will surely similarly fare;
This rule unbending is imposed
On all, of flesh and blood composed,
This air is layered into three
Peripheries, by tiers we see
One is the lowest, then comes two
Three is the highest in this queue.
And where two different layers meet
Effects on moisture due to heat
Cause changes in humidity,
For by the sun's intensity,
As steam the water's caused to rise,
Becoming clouds up in the skies,
Made visible unto men's sight;
It is this, both by day and night,
Throughout the seasons of the year
Upon us on the earth down here
That causes sundry things to fall.
The first periphery of all
Engenders mists, and there we see
The dew and hoarfrosts are set free,
From forces which are brought to bear
Within this layer of the air.
We may from books this knowledge gain:
The second is the source of rain
Which down upon the earth descends
And it's reviving force extends
To irrigate the grass and flowers.
But oftentimes these mighty showers
In such a manner are produced
They lose the form of rain, and loosed
Upon the earth are storms of snow,
And then as to and fro they go
As through the sky around they range,
They into hailstorms oft do change.
The third periphery atop
The other two, which water drop,
Does often drier things contain
Amidst those clouds that in the main
Are higher, and yet are so near
The lower layer that the shear
And stress produces fire and light
Which all the other clouds ignite,
Thus causing them to crack asunder,
Causing loud and fearsome thunder.
Ere it flashes strikes the bolt
Of lightning, yet the thunder's jolt
Is not felt ere the light is seen:
And so from this the proof we glean,
Of this: that what far off we see.
Seems nearer to the eye to be
Than does the sound unto the ears.
That said, they still engenders fears,
The thunderclap and light as well;
No shelter, no protective shell
Where from the heavens they descend,
Unless the Lord his grace should send.
I'm not quite finished though, with air,
For in the atmosphere is where
Men often can observe at night
In sundry forms, fantastic light.
A dragon breathing fire may
Appear, the common people say;
At other times a star will seem
To shoot across the sky agleam:
But Aristotle tells us why
It's neither of the two, but by
Effects involving vapors from
Diverse evaporations, some
Will see assorted forms displayed,
By varied interactions made,
Composed of fire, with sundry names.
Assub is one of these, he claims,
That is in sundry places found,
When it has fallen to the ground
And by the fire has been annealed,
Like unto slime that's been congealed.
Some vapors coming from that flame
A fire kindle that's the same,
But of another form is it;
Whereof, if I a figure fit
For that which it resembles, choose,
The same one that old scholars use,
I'd say it's like a skipping goat
And if these scholars I can quote,
As Capra saliens it's known.
And these astronomers have shown
There's yet another fire by night
Which shows itself unto men's sight,
St. Elmo's Fire it's called, which we
May liken to that fire we see
Which on a fuse, like flickering suns,
Along its length like lightning runs
When it with sulphur is ignited.
One more light that can be sighted
In the heavens by man's eyes,
In which it seems as though there flies
A dragon in a burning volley,
Is that which is known as Daaly,
Of which, when men notice take
They say: "Aloft the fiery drake
Flies through the air in thund'ry storms!"
But why these fires in sundry forms
Appear for mankind to behold,
Those wise Philosophers of old
Have told us, and thus we're aware,
My son, at least concerning air,
Of its place and the roles it plays,
And how it works in varied ways,
And where it, with the other two,
Belongs in this triadic brew,
For it envelops both of these,
The vast expanse of land and seas.
And finally there's just one more;
The element that's number four
Is fire; since far afield it's found
The other three does it surround,
And dry is it, of moisture free.
Now hear what those traditions be
On which are all my teachings based
That our creator, God, has placed
Upon all in the human race
Those temperaments shown in the face.
Just as four elements there be
So are there, correspondingly,
In mankind found exactly four
Complexions, and there are no more,
Which Aristotle talks about
So that there's nothing he leaves out,
But tells how they are all diverse.
As I shall now to you rehearse.
He who, to all, endowments lends,
The mighty God, I note He tends,
To allocate these gifts diverse
To man as a conflicted curse,
Where none goes with the others well,
Which makes him go into a spell,
Where of himself he seems unsure,
And leaves him feeling insecure,
The dry and cold earth, I declare,
With man, is Melancholy's pair,
And that complexion is the first,
The saddest, gravest, and the worst;
For as to love's sweet work at night
He's lacking in both will and might:
No wonder, in the lusty place
Of love he has a lack of grace.
Whoever has that temperament,
Will fill his life with time ill spent;
His thoughts to fear and anger tend,
Fretting for nothing, in the end.
Next water, which is moist and cold,
Makes Phlegm, which is as we are told
Forgetful, wearied soon, and slow
When eagerness one ought to show,
He's of the kind that can perform
In bed, but he is just lukewarm
And lacking in the appetite
Belonging unto such delight.
Who takes his temperament from air,
He shall be light, he shall be fair,
If his complexion's understood.
There is no other near as good,
For Blood has both the will and might
To please and treat his lover right:
In love if he should take some tack,
He'd never think of turning back,
And lastly fire, which is akin
To Choler, that complexion's twin,
Whose properties accordingly,
Are dry and hot, which is the key
To that sly cunning we can gauge
Combined with restlesness and rage;
He's with contentions not a few
And fights, far too entangled to
Give thought to rolling in the hay,
Though he might promise big by day.
At night when it's time to come through
His promises may not come true.
The Seats of Temperament
The elements thus guarantee
What sort a man's inclined to be
As it concerns his qualities,
From combinations that one sees
Of dry, of moist, of chill, of heat,
And each of them has its own seat
Appropriate within a man,
Thus first, according to our plan,
To Melancholy is the spleen
Assigned, a tenement serene.
The Phlegm since it is cold and damp
Can aptly in the lungs encamp,
For that's the proper place to hold
A substance that's so damp and cold.
Next for the Sanguine temperament
It has been nature's wise intent
To designate the liver for
It's dwelling place forevermore.
And lastly Choler, dry and hot
Has for his house a proper spot
Within that bladder made for gall
As for complexions, that is all.
The Four Servants of the Heart
Now in addition one should know
As doctors in their writings show,
Of liver, lungs, of spleen, of gall,
Unto the heart they're servants all,
Each one does in his office act
To have a savory impact,
On him who over all them lords.
The liver for him love affords,
For breath speech the lungs are meant,
The gall can serves as anger's vent,
The spleen's for laughter and for play,
When it removes all waste away,
Lo, thus for each there is a need.
All these to nurture and to feed
Whenever nourishment's required,
Nature made, as God inspired,
The stomach as a chef to serve,
As books on doctoring observe,
And in his cauldron does prepare
Cuisine to serve as hearty fare
For all, to make them fit and hale
To serve the heart, which must not fail.
For as in his domain a king
Is lord in charge of everything,
The heart does likewise run the show,
With reason blessed so that he'll know
The way to govern righteously.
Thus nature has, as we can see,
Made man in this way, in control;
But God, who's jealous of the soul;
Has made it from a different mold,
Whose secrets no man may unfold;
But as the holy books record,
You'd think from God's own mold it's poured,
By virtue of whose likeness it
High noble nature does befit,
Appropriate to its own kind.
But ofttimes are its wits made blind
And all because its destiny
Must tied up with the body be;
Since it must with the body dwell,
With one's desire drawn down to hell,
Whereas the other's heaven bound;
Thus they can find no common ground,
But if the sinning man constrains
His errant flesh, and then the reigns
Are fully taken by the soul,
The flesh may then itself patrol.
All earthly things which God did make
Were all created for man's sake;
But for Himself He made man's soul
Where His own gladness was His goal.
All other beasts upon this earth
Have of divinity a dearth;
But reason is God's gift, the mind
Is that which sets apart mankind,
That and the good works he's accrued,
Will gain him life eternal's food.
Divisions of the World
If on some subject I expound
It is most pleasing, I have found.
When it is thoroughly addressed:
And therefore I would now suggest
That more completely we explore
The earth of which I heretofore
Have spoken, and the water too,
Marking the ancient scholars' view,
To note aright the boundaries
Of all the lands and all the seas.
By which partitioned is the globe
Into those three parts we shall probe,
That's Africa and Asia and
The land of Europe, which expand
As far as stretches any ground,
And thus do all the earth surround.
Now after that most savage storm,
When water o'er the earth did swarm,
And covered up the highest hill,
Which thus did every creature kill,
Who were all drowned by this great flood,
Except for Noah and his blood -
His sons all and his daughters three -
They came through safe and so did he.
Three brothers staked three different claims,
Shem, Ham, and Japheth were their names;
For when the Lord's almighty hand
Withdrew the water from the land,
And all the muddy earth had dried
That on the earth men might abide,
These three sons, to whom I referred.
Soon after that themselves bestirred,
This world between them to divide.
First Asia, on the sunrise side,
That region called the Orient,
They by unanimous assent
To Shem, the eldest, allocate
For that's the most immense estate,
Double the other two combined,
The boundary of which aligned
With that great flood men call The Nile
Which empties after many a mile
Into the sea, extending from
That fertile delta, till we come
Unto the Don whose course runs forth
To Azov lake down from the north,
Which empties in the great Black Sea;
To all which east of there we see
Can Shem lay claim: "All this is mine!"
This land whose boundaries define
A veritable paradise.
And briefly now, to be concise,
The Orient is all contained
Within the lands that Shem has gained.
Africa and Europe
As to those regions that remain
Towards the West, of that terrain
All Africa for Ham's descent
Was given, while all Europe went
To Japheth; Thus in three new parts
The inundated world restarts.
Of other lands there were a lot
From Oriental, scorching hot
To Occidental, freezing cold
Which could not any people hold,
For dsuch lands won't be occupied
By men, who can't therein abide.
The seas as well have sundry bounds,
According as the land surrounds
Their shores, and oft we find the name
Of lake and land will be the same:
But that sea with no western side
Is called by some the Ocean wide
Up out of which arise and fall
Those tides that on the beaches crawl.
And there's no spring that does not take
Its origin from this great lake.
The act of breathing out the air
Then in again, we can compare
Unto the sea; it's all about
The water going in and out.
So far of elements you've heard
The first, the second, and the third,
And finally the fourth, but now
I shall you, my good son, endow
With knowledge even more complete.
Since lately you did me entreat
To more extensively explore
The rest of Aristotle's lore,
In his discourses he makes known
There is yet in a distant zone
An element beyond the four,
The fifth, a gift God had in store,
A sphere that we The Ether call.
He tells us, of this hollow ball,
That as a shell that's whole and sound
Serves to protectively surround
That which within an egg should stay,
The same role does this Ether play
For those four spheres that it surrounds
Of which I have explained the bounds.
Beyond this you should now take heed,
My son, for I shall now proceed
To speak about a certain phase
Of Mathematics, as I raise
The subject of Astronomy.
I hope that I can make you see
That absent this sublime domain,
All other science is in vain
For explicating earthly things.
For as an eagle with his wings
Above all others soaring flies
So on this science all relies.
Down here upon the earth below
That which determines how things go,
As we are told by learned ones,
Is governed by eternal suns,
That is, the planets in the sky.
The weather, be it wet or dry,
The fates that all the world befall,
We luck or chance or fortune call,
That which the lives of men betide
The starry constellations guide,
Where some men health and vigor get
While others will disease beset
In love as well as other things.
The state of governments and kings,
In time of peace, in time of wars,
All things are governed by the stars:
This the astrologer maintains
A view the scientist sustains.
But theologians disagree,
And say, if good and wise men be
So that they God's commandments heed,
To fear the stars they'd have no need.
For one man, who can ill forestall
Is of more worth than are they all
Towards Him who in perfection reigns.
Yet nature's law which He ordains.
And has established in the sky
Cannot but to all men apply;
There can be no exceptions made
Unless some miracle be prayed
For by some pious holy man.
And so according to my plan
Upon Astronomy to dwell,
As published testimonies tell,
About how all the planets move
I shall, your knowledge to improve,
To your attentive ears declare.
Astronomy, as you're aware,
A science is that's quite profound
Through which one's education's crowned
With understanding of the skies
The orbits, motions, and the size
Of stars and planets in their places
All the intervening spaces,
How they move or are restrained
All this completely is explained.
Astronomy we find to be
Connected with Astrology,
Which tells how influential are
The wanderings of every star,
And how they're often omens for
Those regions over which they soar.
To tell it in a plainer way,
As would old Aristotle say,
That Ether, which I've spoken of
That we from far below above
Behold, the firmament we call,
Where God did all the stars install.
Among which in particular
Are seven planets, similar
To stars, that may be seen by man,
In this sublime celestial span.
And also there twelve signs reside,
Which round in their own orbits glide,
Upon this great celestial track,
A sequence called the zodiac.
According to how high they rise.
The more or less their orbit's size.
Gauged in proportion to the earth,
Which is established in its berth
To serve as the foundation for
The firmament forevermore,
And by this method man may know,
The lower in the sky they go
The smaller will their orbits be;
And this accounts for why we see
That one may overtake another.
The Seven Planets
Now though, my beloved brother
Since a knowledge you would gain
Of what the books I've read contain,
I'll of the seven planets speak;
Take heed, my son, for I shall seek
To show how in the heav'ns they stand,
And on all their locales expand.
So just as that Philosopher
On Alexander did confer
His wisdom and his knowledge too,
I'll try to do the same for you.
Beneath all others stands the moon
Which with the ocean is in tune.
The times when tides are high or low
By his mutations we may know.
And every fish that has a shell
Must all be subject to his spell,
To wax and wane accordingly
As by the moon a man may see;
And all that on dry ground exist
Must have his moisture to persist.
All other stars we see at night
Are seen to shine by their own light;
To do so, though, the moon declines
For of reflected light he shines,
The source of which would be the sun.
Yet him this light will sometimes shun,
So that he'll oft be somewhat dark;
The trouble being that his arc
Across the sky is traced so low,
This from the Almagest we know,
Wherefore the sun, viewed from its place,
Does not full on perceive his face.
For he is by this planet shaded,
Thus the moon is somewhat faded
And may not shine fully bright.
A man who's born beneath this light
Will be compelled to move around,
To many foreign places bound.
We note this disposition of
The restless moon, down from above
Is cast upon the German lands
Extending to Britannia's strands,
Which now as England's known instead;
For to all lands these people spread.
Above the moon the next in line
Down from the sky on earth to shine,
Is Mercury, and he is such
That those beneath him born are much
Toward being studious inclined
With writing aptitude refined,
But slow and not to working bent
Thus lacking in accomplishment:
He loves to be at ease and rest;
For excellence he does not quest;
But if great riches he would gain
Then he'll engage in work mundane.
The disposition of this planet
Do we find engraved in granite,
In the French most notably,
And in the land of Burgundy.
From Mercury do we now go
Unto that planet that we know
As Venus, whose ascendancy
Determines whether lovers see
Success in love, or are undone,
Of which I take it you are one:
Whichever way your fortunes go
This planet in the end will show.
As it to many more has shown;
Their fate some hail, and some bemoan.
This planet though is most replete
With fortunes that are soft and sweet;
For who thereunder takes his birth,
He shall desire love's joy and mirth;
Kind, courteous, and debonair,
He'll choose words that are soft and fair,
For that is just the way he is;
Whenever love comes calling his
First inclination is to start
To woo his love with all his heart.
He's amorous to an extent,
He has no mean ignoble bent
As touching love, for there the law
Is that no good man may withdraw,
Whose nature does his birth beneath
The sign of Venus, him bequeath.
Love's goddess thus is Venus called.
However where we are appalled
To see the flames of lewdness fanned
Is mostly in the Lombards' land.
The sun that brightly shines above
Comes next beyond the orb of love;
Whose light he in the night conceals
Then brightly in the day reveals,
Thus causing all the earth to see,
Which makes that lusty company
Of birds at morning time to sing,
Fresh flowers from the ground to spring,
High trees to give shade to the earth,
And every heart to fill with mirth.
Since he rules o'er all other spheres,
How he upon his throne appears,
Of all his pomp and all his glory
Tell these books, and here's their story.
Glistening wheels and spokes of gold,
Beneath the sun's cart we behold,
Upon which he sits, and is crowned
With shining gemstones all around;
Which if I may describe for you,
Among the others that we view
Are on his crown set in the fore
Three stones, that in no earthly ore,
Have e're been found. The first is one
That's know as licnithis, my son,
The others are referred to thus:
Astrices and ceramius.
And in his crown towards the rear,
On this old manuscripts are clear,
Of precious stones three more there be
That in their glory we can see.
The first one in that crown emplaced
A crystal is, and then it's graced
With diamonds far beyond compare,
Then third, a gem that is most rare,
One that is know as ydriades,
Which a beauty rare embodies.
On the sides then of this work
We can observe that in a cirque,
Are set five priceless gems to please:
An emerald's the first of these,
Then bloodstone purple, jasper too,
Then topaz yellow, sapphire blue,
A mixture meant each hue to show
As lovely as in rains great bow;
As his light shines from east to west.
His diadem set on his crest,
The sun upon his cart is sped
Across the heavens, being led
According to celestial law,
By horses four ordained to draw
The chariot on which he sits.
Each has a name that him befits:
Eritheus is called the first,
Who's blinding, like a lightning burst,
Next Acteos, charged too with light,
Then Lampes shining ever bright,
Philogeus the fourth is last
To bring to earth a blaring blast
Of sunlight. Swiftly, do they run
Across the sky, with cart and sun
In tow behind them. Twenty four
Brief hours it takes them, and no more
To circle all the earth in haste,
So punctually are they paced.
And so the sovereign sun controls
Each orb that through the heavens rolls,
Above him and beneath him three;
And thus between them reigneth he,
For he the center occupies
Among the seven in the skies;
All creatures at this sight rejoice
For he provides them with the choice
Of basking in his warming rays,
Those who are born beneath his gaze
Will certain qualities possess
Such as good humor and largesse
Which he'll display in every place;
And he will also gain much grace
Within the sight of those he serves
Thus getting blessings he deserves.
And furthermore such men are blessed
With wit more subtle than the rest,
To work in gold, and to be wise
Concerning everything men prize.
The sun, we find, with fate's caprice,
Reigns greatly the land of Greece,
For with no doubt, on Grecian ground,
This attribute is mostly found.
Mars is the planet bellicose
Which next above the sun stands close
In glory, and does wonders for
The fortunes of those locked in war.
The conquerors in ages olden
They were unto Mars beholden.
Those of his nativity
Of Martian disposition be,
For from this sign they get those traits
Determined by celestial Fates.
Foolhardy shall he be and fierce
Desiring with his sword to pierce
His enemies. As for the prime
Example of an earthly clime
Where this pugnacious planet rules,
It's said that such contentious fools
In Araby so much abound,
That peace can never there be found.
From Mars next farther out we find
The planet Jupiter, assigned
To rule o'er hedonism's realm
Where pleasure's always at the helm
For as that planet he is oft
Regarded, which is sweet and soft,
Becalming those to him belonging.
All of those around him thronging
'Neath his influential zone,
Shall be serene, to patience prone,
And known in business for success,
They emphasize fastidiousness
In all of their activities.
He too promotes and oversees
The science of how to avoid
The drudgery of those employed.
He is the planet of delight.
But it's in Egypt where the might
Of his effects are seen the most:
For that is where men are engrossed
In all that unto life pertains:
For there no stormy weather reigns,
Thus making man or beast to grieve;
There we a fertile land perceive,
That plenty yields with little toil;
No fallow land on barren soil
Mar those felicitous terrains,
Where Jupiter in glory reigns.
The highest planet of them all
Is that one which men Saturn call,
With temperament remote and cold;
The tendency, as we are told,
For those who underneath his throne
Are born, is to be cruel, and prone
To malice, enmity, and gall;
A harbinger of grief to all
Is he, for happiness he steals
From everyone with whom he deals.
The Orient is where we find
His most unmitigated kind.
About the planets one and all,
The sequences in which they fall,
The omens that we may discern.
Was Alexander made to learn.
Though up till now you've heard a lot,
There is much more that he was taught.
So that as king he might succeed,
So listen well as we proceed.
The Twelve Signs of the Zodiac
He which divided day from night,
And made one dark, the other light,
To weeks made seven days belong,
And made the month be four weeks long,
In His great wisdom did
That, in all, twelve months there should be,
Thus to the long year He gave rise.
To show His pow'r, across the skies,
Since earth he made in seven days,
The seven planets He arrays,
As you have heard about of late;
And now to put it to you straight,
He has to every month assigned
A constellation that's aligned
According to His own design
With one divine celestial sign,
As I intend to help you learn.
Appearing as the seasons turn,
Now I shall tell you, one by one,
How these twelve signs, omitting none,
He in the starry skies displays,
And all those properties appraise
That to the zodiac pertain
Within the sphere of His domain.
The first one, Aries, in the lead,
Is of a most majestic breed
Which like a great impressive ram
Leads proudly every other lamb
Across the skies. The Almagest
States he has two stars on his breast.
Which leaves of twelve ten more to be
Divided, thus the head has three,
While seven are there in the tail.
That's his great figure proudly trail,
This fiery Aries, hot and dry,
Who functions partly in the sky
To serve as host for mighty Mars,
Inclined to fight in sundry wars.
And furthermore, we also find
That He, who this whole world designed,
His work beneath this sign began
And all things made including man.
This constellation's gift is great;
That man will have a happy fate,
Who's lucky to reside therein;
Whatever work he does begin,
Achievement for him is assured,
Success is sure to be secured.
Each of the twelve months is assigned
To be in its own turn aligned
With one of these celestial signs;
And for that time when Aries shines,
And high up in the sky does arch,
A good match is the month of March.
For that's when every bird shall make
His choice of mate, and every snake,
And all that live beneath the earth,
Shall in a gesture of rebirth
Assay to crawl out in the sun,
When Spring, his season, has begun.
Next comes the second sign that's known
As Taurus, which men have been prone
To picture as a bull. Were told
That he is very dry and cold,
He is the house pertaining, queerly,
Unto Venus, Libra clearly
Would have been a better pick.
The stars his horns consist of stick
Into those in the tail of Aries,
Of the stars though heav'n he carries
Eighteen lie upon his breast,
And two more do we see that rest
Upon his tail. The place assigned
Within the year where him we find,
The month of April is, whose showers
Bring to life the springtime flowers.
Gemini is next in line
And men imagine that this sign
Is like two twins that side by side
Are standing naked, well supplied
With stars of every size and hue:
The upper part partakes of two
That also in the bull's tail shine,
And thus these neighbors intertwine;
Then midway down we can espy
Five more that shine in Gemini,
And on the feet we see two more,
As told in volumes on such lore
That came from Ptolemy's great mind.
There unto Gemini, we find,
Assigned the lusty month of May,
When every bird his springtime lay
Is heard to sing among green leaves,
And Cupid's dart flies through the trees,
Love's dormant feeling to dispel,
And on all creatures casts its spell.
Next Cancer comes, who occupies.
Fourth place among the signs. His guise
Is like a crab unto man's view,
And his celestial retinue
Of sixteen stars, as old wise men
Describe for us, consist of ten
Which are positioned towards the fore,
Then in the middle are two more,
And lastly four towards the rear,
Which make him as a crab appear.
His character is moist and cold,
The planet by which he's controlled;
Is that one which we call the Moon.
Unto this sign the month of June
Belongs and is that month we find,
Is by the normal rule assigned.
Then fifth comes Leo, in the sky
Whose character is hot and dry,
For his is that house where we see
reside; A lion he
Resembles; Here we can explore
A plenitude of stars; the four
On Cancer's rear end, those become
The one's on Leo's head and from
That point we see upon his breast
Another four, as for the rest,
But one does for the tail remain,
This knowledge from old books we gain.
July is when he takes the stage,
When men in many a game engage
Next after Leo Virgo shines
She's number six among the signs.
Who has the figure of a virgin;
Aristotle said things burgeon
Such as joy and lust surprising
When her planet's in her rising,
Mercury; and this is shown
By all the stars that are her own.
Whereof one has been lent by Leo
High upon her head; her trio
Is by two quints, on her feet
And on her body, made complete.
She has, as to her frame of mind
A disposition to be kind.
This constellation's cold and dry.
And when it's her turn in the sky,
Then nature does her harvest yield,
With corn abloom in every field
Where many a man has labored long
She thus to August does belong.
Next after Virgo in the heaven
Libra sits as number seven,
Looking like a person who
A balance holds from which we view
Suspended from his hand two trays,
With which the auspices he weighs.
To him do many stars belong,
Of which the first three of this throng
Are on his head, his breast has two
And lower down eight more we view.
Both hot and moist unto this sign
Pertain, things Venus finds benign,
And this explains why, as a guest,
She oft comes to his house to rest.
And Saturn in this house aloft
Exalted is, and honored oft.
The month assigned to him, September,
Is the time when men remember
Any slight for which amends
Are due to any foes or friends.
Of signs found in the nighttime sky
The eighth one that we see on high
Is Scorpio, malign and mean,
Who as a Scorpion is seen.
In spite of this he's not without
A multitude of stars to tout.
For Libra loans him from his tail
Eight stars, of which he does avail
Himself upon his head to bear,
And also on his body there
Are found three more, and then we see
That eight more on his tail there be.
And since this sign is cold and damp
His hospitality can cramp
The style of Venus when she stays,
But Mars when he a visit pays
Propitious is, but not with her.
That month within the calendar
Before snow falls, October, is
The month that men maintain is his.
Next after Scorpio the sign
That's in position number nine,
Is known as Sagittarius.
Whose figure is depicted thus:
A monster with a bow in hand
Upon whom stars aplenty stand,
Those eight in Scorpio we've seen,
The ones upon his tail I mean,
In Sagittarius are found,
Which on his head are spread around;
Then eight more stand, up in the heaven
On his body; there be seven
Seen upon his tail behind.
He's of the hot and arid kind.
He welcomes Jupiter to stay,
Not Mercury though, who since they
Are not inclined to get along,
Might be the cause of many a wrong.
There is a month that for this sign
Is suited, by God's grand design,
In that time when the ox that plows
Comes in his winter stall with cows;
And fire into the hall men bring,
When all may drink and all may sing
For then the grape juice turns to wine.
Then is the slaughter of the swine;
November is the month I mean,
When every leaf has lost his green.
Sign number ten, both dry and cold,
That would be Capricorn, behold
He has the figure of a goat
And for his fellowship, we note,
The planet Saturn often yearns,
And sometimes in his house sojourns.
The moon, though, is not welcome here,
No gain accrues when he is near.
As for the stars on him bespread,
He carries three upon his head,
And four more only do we view,
Two on his tail, and body too.
December, with his shortened day
And with his nights that longer stay,
According to the year's design,
That is the month claimed by this sign.
According to astrology
Eleventh is the place we see
Aquarius residing in,
And unto Saturn he's akin,
Who in his lodging likes to dwell.
The sun, though, makes the place a hell.
His figure in the sky unfolding
Seems to be a man, whose holding
In each hand a water spout,
From which two streams are pouring out.
His qualities are moist and hot.
One who of knowledge has a lot
Knows that the stars upon his head
Are those two that are also spread
In Capricorn upon his tail;
And as old books to us unveil,
Which Ptolemy himself composed,
Twelve on his body are exposed,
And two there are upon his rear.
I'd also like to make this clear,
That when cold January rings
The new year in, with him he brings
That Janus with his double face,
Who in his chair then takes his place,
And sees what lies on either side,
Somewhat toward the wintertide.
Somewhat toward the year ahead;
That is the month to this sign wed,
Whose gift is that in him appear
The first primroses of the year.
Then finally Pisces is the sign
Which of them all is last in line,
In which, while moving through skies
Two fishes do we recognize.
His qualities are moist and damp;
With stars he's lit up like a lamp
In sundry places: from his end
Aquarius does two stars lend
That serve on Pisces' head to shine,
And then belonging to this sign
Exclusively, another two
We shining on his body view,
And lastly twenty on his tail
Behind the others brightly trail.
Majestic Jupiter is oft
A tenant in this house aloft,
And Venus, with whom he accords
Whenever there with him she boards.
The month that to this sign pertains
Is February, filled with rains,
Such great deluges he delivers,
None can cross the streams and rivers.
Regions Governed by the
Thus the properties you've heard
Of all the signs; now for the word
Of Abumasar who declares
That in the world all men's affairs
Are by the constellations guided.
In four parts the world's divided
In four groups the signs retain
The right o'er different parts to reign.
Whereof the region first assigned
Is all the Orient, defined
As what lies east of Antioch,
A place that's governed by this bloc
Of signs that constitute a trio,
Namely Cancer, Virgo, Leo.
Northwest from Armenia
Is Pisces' privileged area,
He governs with Aquarius
And Capricorn; and to discuss
The third partition which goes south
Down from the mighty Nile's mouth,
The governance for that domain
Does unto Scorpio pertain
Along with Libra, who allied
With Sagittarius preside.
It is Constantinople that
Defines the last division at
It's easternmost extremity,
Which goes not towards the northern sea,
For that's where Aries has command.
And takes the governance in hand,
With Taurus and with Gemini.
Thus all twelve signs up in the sky
Have been, as I have said, assigned
To lands with which they are aligned.
The Fifteen Stars with their Stones and Herbs
Lo thus, my son, as we suppose,
Was Alexander taught by those
Who were most learned in the land.
And now to help you understand
Of other stars, what is their role,
I think now it shall be my goal.
Those things king Alexander learned
From those who these great truths discerned,
To teach and show unto your sight,
Up in the starry skies by night.
With various creations we
Do sundry operations see,
Each one performs a certain
The fire if left alone makes heat
And burns up all that's in his path,
The water though may tame his wrath,
For cold and moisture both it brings.
And it's like this with other things
Upon this earth around us here;
But speaking of the heavenly sphere,
The stars are all of sundry kinds
And it is clear to thoughtful minds
That they're the cause of sundry things,
Affecting us their underlings.
Among those who the stars did love
Nectanabus, the father of
King Alexander, knew the key
To magic and astronomy,
And so he undertook the task
For Alexander to unmask
The magic that's in nature hid
And thus of certain stars he did
Reveal to him just what they mean;
Of which, he said, there are fifteen.
To each one is assigned its own
Peculiar herbal cure, and stone,
With which men wonders can effect,
And thus things gone awry correct.
So starting with a star that's Tauran,
We'll begin with Aldebaran,
Shining like a ruddy flame,
And having a well chosen a name;
In color he resembles Mars
In brightness he's among the stars
Who's light to Venus does compare;
His proper stone - the ruby rare
His herb - the spurge which when imbibed,
Great virtue is by men ascribed.
The second, high up in the heaven,
Pleiades or Sisters Seven,
Like the moon in quality,
Is how I fathom him to be,
But also he is made like Mars,
And as is fitting for such stars
Quartz is his most congenial stone;
The herb regarded as his own
The fennel is, with virtue filled.
The next, which as the third is billed,
Is Algol that bright shining pair
Which does with Jupiter compare
And who from Saturn does derive
A temperament that makes him thrive.
The diamond is his proper stone,
Which fitting is to him alone;
His herb, which healing power bestows,
Is what we call the winter rose.
The fourth star, in the charioteer,
Is called Capella, It's the peer
Of Saturn; as in Algol's case
He too does Jupiter embrace.
And for his own peculiar stone
He takes the sapphire; as his own
Peculiar herb, a bitter weed
The hairy horehound is decreed.
As hidden stellar forces we
Enumerate, the fifth we see
Is Sirius who with Venus vies
For brightest in the nighttime skies.
The gleaming beryl is his stone.
And in that esoteric zone
Where herbs as medicines are used,
One with great faculty infused,
The herb that this star does prefer,
Is berries of the juniper.
Sixth in the sky as we look up
Is Procyon, Orion's pup,
Known too as Canis Minor; he
Is intimate with Mercury,
His temperament he takes from Mars,
This puppy in the realm of stars.
The stone and herb for such a star
The agate and the primrose are.
The seventh star to be explored
Is Ariel, lion of the Lord,
Known too as Regulus; and he
Unto the stone of mystery,
Gorgonza, is conjoined; an herb
Is his, with properties superb,
The celandine whose blossoms follow
Migrant martins and the swallow.
Star eight within the crow we find
Who's name is Algorab, inclined
To mimic Mars and Saturn too.
Malevolent is he, and true
To form his flower is the clover
Of no benefit, moreover
Onyx, the black stone he takes,
Malign and riotous men makes.
Next Spica seen upon the sign
Of Virgo is star number nine,
And of the planets takes his cue
From Mercury and Venus too.
His stone, praised for its beauty green,
The emerald, could crown a queen.
Of all herbs his, sage, is the king,
For it can cure most anything.
Star number ten lies on the skirt
Of him who learned to plow the dirt,
Bo÷tes, favored in the sky
With Jupiter and Mars nearby.
His stone is jasper, and his herb
Plantain, has properties superb.
The star in the eleventh place,
Goes by the name of Benenais,
And does, from his place in the plough,
Unto the moon and Venus bow.
With his jewel, adamant, he plies
His miracles amid the skies;
The herb which unto him pertains
Is Chicory, for sundry pains.
The gem Alphecca in the wreath
Is twelfth, and he is ruled beneath
The sign of Scorpio I'm told.
His stone is one of amber gold.
That stone, which many virtues has,
Is called imperial topaz;
Rosemary is his special herb,
Which many a malady may curb.
In Scorpio, in thirteenth place,
Antares lies with ruddy face;
And Jupiter and Mars have lent
Their gifts which for his use are meant,
His special herb is cotton grass,
A member of the sedgeweed class.
His stone, that stands for Judah's birth
Is sard, the reddest on the earth.
The star that's next to last is one
That dazzles like a distant sun;
His name is Vega, and he's true
To Mercury and Venus too.
His stone is only found in green,
And it is known as olivine,
His herb as savory is known,
Which makes men unto loving prone,
Now Lesath, last star of them all,
Does in the Scorpion's stinger fall,
And on the constellations based,
As they across the sky are placed,
For Saturn he has sympathy,
His mood is meet for Mercury.
His stone, one with a pleasing hue,
Is chalcedony brightly blue.
With marjoram his joyful weed.
The Authors of Astronomy
Thus we've now covered every breed
Of star that does possess its own
Peculiar herb and special stone,
And Hermes in old books I've read
Bears witness, as to what I've said
Astronomy! That is the prime
of that scholarship sublime,
Through which by nature's forces we
May far into the future see.
Those who first understood its lore
Took on a most demanding chore;
And those who on their shoulders
And carried on as best they could,
Were honorable men and
Deserving of a worthy prize.
And of those who this science
And put their words in writing too,
The first who after Noah
Who did the words of Nimrod note,
His pupil was,
Who did compose a book thereon,
Megaster, which all
Another author we should name
Is Arachel, whose book
As Abbategnyh. Greece's own
Don Ptolemy, one of the best,
The author of The Almagest,
And Alfraganus, both did write;
Chatemuz, his great work to cite.
We learn concerning Planispheres
From two illustrious careers,
Gebuz and Alpetragus both;
a worthy man the growth
Of this great scholarship did guide.
on Altimetry beside
Those on Planimetry are found
For both embody knowledge sound,
And knowing all that they contain
secrets to explain,
That Abraham was one, I've heard,
not sure I'd trust that word.
But Moses was, we know for sure.
However Hermes' fame's secure
As one who's insights far surpassed
All others, with his knowledge vast;
He many an unknown star did
His books as bibles are enshrined.
Pertaining to this
I may not of all writings know,
I nonetheless can
As simple common sense implies
That on one point they
Which is that all the stars men see,
That in the
heavens they have noted,
By the number that's been quoted,
thousand twenty two.
At least those bright enough to view,
they may be recognized.
And thus now you have been apprised
their properties, the way
These wise philosophers did lay
young Alexander all
This knowledge, a branch which we call
first domain belonging to
Philosophy, and to review,
We know that
this would Theory be
As we a while ago did see.
But now as to
the second part,
Which next did Aristotle start
Unto the youthful
king to teach,
The art of mesmerizing speech
For when one needs
the deck to stack,
Where there of substance is a lack.
Above all earthly creatures made
the power to persuade
By using spoken language, to
Man only was allotted, through
Which he might speak his heartfelt
Without regard to what ensues,
If he may lose or he may win;
There is no other creature in
Whom does this faculty reside.
And therefore honesty should guide
One to whom God gave this great gift;
And take great caution not to lift
His voice to serve a use malign;
For words that righteousness enshrine
We as Philosophy revere.
And so, as to this second
That is as Rhetoric defined
It teaches us to pick the kind
Of words that are the best to choose:
And that this art might not
It emphasizes goodly speech;
It Logic has and Grammar,
Assisting speech to make good sense.
The first is grammar, things like
Without which words no sense convey.
And logic has the role
As judge of truth and falsity,
That plain words not
And nothing shall be left unsaid
But all the truth
made clear instead,
Debate that's barren thus is cured,
results will be assured,
Peace could result from just the right
Soft gentle words, whereas one might
With rough hard words a war
Philosophers, more than most folk,
Are apt such eloquence
For they this science did create.
In nature virtue is
But in the books this truth we find:
That words more than all earthly things
A virtue have that's fit for
Whether it be to curse or bless.
For though words practiced may
And seem no falsehood to disguise
But really are replete
They oft accomplish great deceit;
When word and meaning do not meet
But are discordant, meaning blurred,
When what is meant is not what's
such Rhetoric must be despised.
The Oratory of Odysseus
Odysseus, we are apprised
In Homer's Iliad, did plead
With eloquence which guaranteed,
all the goodly words he told,
That Troy was by Antenor sold;
he the town with treason won.
The Power of Words
Many a man been undone,
With words, and wild beasts pacified,
On serpents charms have been
And words, when soldiers have been hit,
If there's no
medicine for it,
Are known to heal a cut or bruise;
And words a
sorcerer may use,
Spells, charms, and hexes to effect.
words may threaten or protect;
Some cause delight, and some cause woe;
One's words make of a friend a foe,
And foe of friend, and wars to
And wars to start; let's not pretend
That they can't both, be
used for guile,
Then turned around to reconcile.
'neath the heaven's vault
Bad things can cause or bad things halt;
With words can God on high be pleased,
With good words bad ones can
A soft word can the loud ones quiet
And thereby prevent
Or amends make for some wrong;
When words are intermixed
They serve to soothe us all the more.
The Cataline Conspiracy
now to look upon the lore
How Rhetoric by Cicero
Was fashioned so
his words would flow;
How he'd give praise before debate
his points articulate,
And how he'd plainly state his case,
rested on a solid base.
If an example we would find,
words we need to bring to mind
Of Cato and of Cicero,
consul long ago,
And Caesar, Julius I mean,
Who argued over
When he for treason was arraigned
Along with those whom
To help in his conspiracy.
We know they did not all
Upon how justice should be meted;
When the parliament was
Cicero was first to speak.
He said by duty he must seek
The common profit to achieve
Which meant that treason should receive
A cruel death, such was the view
Of Cato and the consul too;
such a crime, they made it clear,
No sentence would be too severe.
But then with words of wisdom Caesar,
Not appearing an appeaser,
But for leniency to plead,
Would cause the judges to accede
his view through eloquence,
With clemency the consequence,
their hearts he toward pity swayed.
Each side persuasive cases made;
According to the law they spoke,
But cleverly with words they cloak
Their speech to further their own views,
Thus his agenda each
As both sides make their arguments
To further their own
And so to be by reason ruled,
With tales like this men
should be schooled
In Rhetoric's important lore,
Philosophy is core,
With only Theory being higher,
For if men
should skill acquire
To be morefascinating when
They must in some
dispute with men
Engage, they might more sage appear,
they'll make their case more clear
Their thesis to they'll more
And foster principled
Theory thus is first,
Rhetoric - they both are reckoned
Of which I've touched on partially,
The same which
To Alexander: now I ought
To bring the third one
to your view,
Called Practice whereby men pursue
Their goals, which on three pillars rests
To govern kings in all
The first of these is Ethics named,
Concerning virtue, teaching things
Pertaining to the rule of kings,
His worthiness of character
fitness to administer
All his affairs with rectitude
with righteousness endued.
It also does a king instruct
On how he
shall himself conduct,
How he shall sleep, how he shall wake,
what for health he shall partake,
In food and drink, and what he
To wear, in all things there is naught,
Pertaining to how he
That Ethics guidance does not give,
Nor teach so
That there is not a thing left out.
pillar number two
Is called Economy, and through
This principle a
king shall guide
His wife and child and help, all tied
In unity as all revere
His character, for it is clear
To all who in his house abide,
Or on his property reside,
That he presides in such a way
they will not be lead astray.
There is to Practice yet a third
Concern, for on kings is conferred
The duty to establish laws
realm to govern, free of flaws;
And that is Policy, pertaining
Only to a monarch reigning
O'er his land, in war or peace,
wealth and honor might increase
For clerks and knights and
And all the other people who
Are common people who
In towns or in the countryside,
Those who as
craftsmen get high grades,
As well as masters of their trades,
All those who
any skill can claim.
And though they be not all the same,
in status, others high.
One law must to all men apply,
they lose or they prevail,
Whether they prosper or they fail.
thus this young and worthy king
Was fully taught in everything,
Which understanding might impart,
On how in ruling to be smart,
For such a worthy prince as he.
And to be clear as clear can be
Did this Philosopher affirm
Five points, which constitute the germ
From which good governance might grow,
If he adheres to what we know
Will make him in his role adept,
When rules of Policy are kept."
While schooling serves all people
A king above all should excel
In learning, for it's he who
The people; and it's by his deeds
That them he rescues, or
And since such power he enjoys,
It's good that he should
be well taught
In virtues which a sovereign ought
and practice when
He undertakes to govern men.
Whereof these, to
I shall hereafter now relate.
Among the virtues one is
Namely Truth, which is not biased,
Dear unto both God and
It's been so since the world began,
Taught Aristotle to his pupil
Alexander, such a
Should he foster in his youth
So that he with the grace of
Might make his words be true and plain
Toward the world,
and thus refrain
From any form of double-speak.
For if the truth
is what men seek.
And in a king it is not found,
would then abound.
The word reflects what's in the mind,
why a king should be inclined
To think ere he shoots off his mouth,
Then his repute would not go south.
With him men should take care
They make a solemn compact, for
When it is made then it's
To challenge his word in debate.
For since within a king
Power that can't be contested
By all others, therefore
Should the most equitable be;
And in his crown the key we find
What should be in a monarch's mind.
The gold stands for that
Which makes men show that reverence
Which is unto a
And all the varied stones we view
Their hardness is meant to impress
that the king stands firm,
He'll use no weasel words, nor squirm,
But rather he'll be resolute;
And also from what men impute,
way of value to these gems,
A second implication stems:
kingship honesty requires,
Sovereign lords cannot be liars,
Promises must honored be.
The colors bright, clue number three,
With which these priceless jewels shine,
Betokens what he can assign
No price unto, his worldly fame,
Which stands or falls on his good
The circle that his head surrounds
Is token of his
Within which as the head he reigns,
To make sure
To show that Truth surpasses all
attributes that fall
Squarely within a sovereign's sphere,
is a tale that you'll now hear,
Which is of Truth commendatory,
From the ancient books a story
That, my son, some light may throw
On Truth, so that the truth you'll know.
Darius and his Three
The chronicles of times past sing
The praises of a Persian king
Named Darius, Hystaspes son,
Who his high regal station won
Through wisdom and intelligence;
It was not out of reverence
his descent or family name
That he the ruler's crown did claim.
And as he was himself astute,
Wise men he held in high repute
sought them out on every side,
So that with him they might abide.
Among all of these, three there were
With whom he mostly did confer,
Within in his private room, and who
All of his plans were privy to.
Quite strange names all of them could claim,
Arpaghes was the first
Then Manachaz, the second one,
Zerubbabel was third, a
Of Babylon, is what that means.
This king upon their counsel
For guidance in all his affairs.
One time as he for bed
This king was deep in thought concerning
said about a burning
Question, on which he would task them
respond, when he would ask them
How this issue they would see:
Which is the strongest of these three,
The wine, the woman, or the
And that they should upon this thing
Their answer be
prepared to state
In just three days, and that the fate
Of him who
is the most convincing -
Of these words there'll be no mincing -
Is that he shall win a
So on this thing did these three guys
Apply their wits,
then to debate,
And then there followed quite a spate
Arpaghes was the first to speak
And argued that the
strength of kings
Was stronger than all other things.
For he holds
power over man,
And man is he who reason can,
His nature is the noblest grade
Of any creature ever made
by God, the noblest of the lot;
And for that faculty it's not
Contestable that any thing
On earth is stronger than a king.
king may kill, a king may save,
A king can make the lord a slave
And give the slave a lord's estate.
The power of a king's so great,
That he is from all laws exempt;
What's high he can hold in contempt
What's lowly oft times he adores
And as the noble falcon soars,
flies, and none may him reclaim;
But he alone can others tame,
stands himself above the law
Lo, thus of kings we stand in awe,
And reason argues that they are
The strongest, so he said, by far.
But Manachaz leaned towards the vine,
Selecting as his preference
And of his thinking here's the gist:
That wine will often
cast a mist,
Eclipsing reason in man's mind;
Wine may give sight
unto the blind,
And make a bright eyed person grope;
To leap it
gives a cripple hope,
And makes the energetic tired;
are at once inspired;
While wit from those who learned are
takes away; and in the bar
It tends to make a coward bold;
makes the stingy purse unfold.
It also lightens up the grief
one who cannot find relief
Whose soul is good, but can't withstand
The stormy winds by fortune fanned;
And by such logic he would show
Just why a higher place should go
To liquor; nothing can compare,
how it may men's hearts ensnare -
Not any king who ever reigned.
The honor for the strongest ought
To go to women, for they brought
The vintner and the king as well,
From God into this world to dwell;
And too he said that men obey
Their instinct to be men, when they
Are strongly unto women drawn
Whether or not their will is gone.
To show the woman's mastery,
tells this tale which he did see
That shows the strength of woman's
How Apeymen the daughter of
Besazis, that fair courtesan
Of Cyrus, when he sat upon
His throne and did with anger fume
About his realm's impending doom,
This tyrant king she did embrace,
And with but her good looks and grace
She made him gentle, mild, and
And by the chin and by the cheek
She dragged him round, at first she teased,
And then with kisses she
with him whate'er she chose;
When she was glad, his spirits
But when she scowled, he
Thus was this king to putty
By this fair miss he cared about.
For men there is no
Some woman for whom they can care;
But for the women,
For men the world would hold no joy:
They help a man
grow from a boy
Into a knight with worldly fame,
Instilling in him
fear of shame,
His love for honor they impart.
And by their beauty
is the dart
Of Cupid forged which from his bow
He sends to make
that passion grow,
Which has the whole world in it's thrall.
A woman is the whole man's all,
His life, his death, his health,
And that this thing is really so,
How women can be good
As an example this I find.
When duke Admetus had been taken
that men had forsaken
Hope that he'd much longer live,
Alcestis went to give
Unto Minerva sacrifice.
In hopes that
praying might suffice
To get this goddess to advise
How to prevent
her lord's demise,
And how this sickliest of men
Might have his
health restored again.
Lo thus she cried and thus implored,
Until a voice that struck a
She heard, that said if for his sake
She on herself his
cross would take,
And die herself, then he should live.
did this answer give
Unto Minerva with great praise
That if her
death her lord would raise,
That's what with all her heart she'd
And so back home her life to lose
She went at once and she did
To find her husband, whom she took
In both her arms and
kissed him sweetly,
For she loved him so completely;
Whereupon this good wife went
Where God rewards a life well spent,
And her death caused him whole
Thus may a man by reason see
The truth, that next to God
Are women with their ways in love,
Their grace, and
The mightiest upon this earth.
And are by far
man's greatest prize.
Zerubbabel spoke in this wise,
That to his stand all would incline:
But for his final word on wine,
And kings, and women, he maintains,
That more than all else truth
More than wine, women, or a king,
source, the thing
More powerful than all the rest.
falsehood it can't be suppressed;
Though it be for a time disgraced,
long it shall be embraced.
The proverb says, whoso is true
in life shall never rue.
For howsoever things may go,
Truth in the
end no shame shall know.
But that which does no truth possess,
Shall in the end be honorless,
And shame shall cause a man to cower.
Proving that there is no power
Without truth. Thus it occurred,
True unto to Darius's word,
was most commended
Whereupon the issue ended
And the praise to him
For if success is man's intent
The truth he cannot do without.
And that's why truth was singled out
As that most cardinal concern
Which Alexander first should learn
If as a king he would be crowned:
For truth is that which lays the
Which unto governance pertains:
And if a king would hold
Then truth will help him to
And God's salvation will secure.
"In Policy the second point
Next after Truth, which will anoint
king, who honors it, with fame
And with the worship of his name,
We call Largesse, that trait benign
That only Greed can undermine.
This world's wealth first in common was
Then common profit ceased
Of how fate did her gifts bestrew,
For when earth's
And different families multiplied
Each for their
own advantage vied,
And looked out only for their own;
the seeds of envy sown
With warring words; the strong debate
these factions was so great
That it was difficult to know
Who was a friend and who a foe,
Until at last in every land
Then people came to understand
was good a king to have,
Who might apply a healing salve,
would establish all estates
With justice, and all that relates
all their other properties.
Thus all such things he oversees
his prerogative as king
Peace and tranquility to bring
realm, of envy free.
So situated should he be
Twixt those with
more and those with less,
And be inclined unto largesse
toward himself and also toward
His people, and if they're ignored,
That is to say, if he lives high,
In splendor that is purchased by
That which he from his people takes,
Then he the law of Largesse
And Avarice becomes his name,
Which is in king's a crying
It's fitting for a king to flee
The vice of Prodigality,
That his expenses he'll contain
So that he solvent will remain;
Whoso needs wealth so he can flout it
All the worse he'll fare
Aristotle, from Chaldea
An example that would be a
Good one, to his pupil taught
About a restive folk distraught
their king taxed them to the hilt.
So he pledged, from a sense of
That to three points he would attend
In choosing where his
wealth to spend.
First he would of his own goods take
A tally, and
then put a brake
On giving to himself those things
That were not
requisite for kings.
And he must not fail to take heed
is any worthy need,
And make sure some provision's made,
other bills are paid.
He also must be certain to
foremost in his view
How worthy all his men have been;
they're meretricious kin
And men of means and property
reward them handsomely,
If they in war or peacetime served,
that their honor is preserved
Which otherwise might lead to shame,
And thus a king keeps his good name,
And is not thought to be unkind.
And in the books a tale I find,
Which to this matter speaks quite
As unto you I now shall tell.
Julius and the Poor Knight
Rome once there was this poor knight,
Who'd come for what was his by
And when the court in session was
Alone he came to plead
When Julius was referee.
And since he could not pay the
No lawyer was there on his side
Assistance for him to provide.
Though lacking aid to plead in court,
On manliness he was not short;
He well knew that his purse was drained,
Yet he would see his rights
And to the emperor he pled
His poverty, and thus he
'O Caesar, of all law the lord,
I can no counselor afford,
And so I trust that your decree
Will for me justice guarantee,
though a lawyer would be here
To make my case and defense clear'
And Julius dismissed right there
His case, as though he didn't care,
And did no comment make at all
The knight was angered by this call
And unto Caesar said this thing:
'O Julius, thou unkind king,
you in Africa once once warred
And I was with you there, my lord,
Alone I strove with all my strength
Until I rescued you at length;
You know how I was wounded there
But here it seems that you don't
For from your mouth no word, my lord,
Comes out, nor will
you from your hoard
For me one lousy farthing spare.
so, why should I care
To boast about the great largesse
Of one who
seeing my distress
No kindness unto me will show?'
quite well did know
That all he had been told was true;
he'd not have people view
Him as unkind, he did reverse
finding; opening his purse
He gave him quite enough to spend
Forever, until his life's end.
Thus every worthy king should be
Aware of a knight's loyalty,
That some reward, when he has needs,
He will be given for his deeds.
To others though, those less
Groveling, false, and self-serving
Shall the king his
Although they may have risen high.
Antigonus and Cinichus
A king should such discretion
That when implored for aid he'll know
How he should tailor
About which there's this story brief.
How Cinichus a
Prayed for a sum excessive quite.
To which his king
To him replied and answered thus:
'The gift you seek
exceeds your station.'
Seeking a reduced donation,
For a little
coin he prayed,
That his distress might be allayed.
replied: 'Please understand,
From one who governs all the land,
donate such a little thing
Would be unworthy of a king.'
can teach a king to choose,
In giving charity, to use
moderation. If his treasure
Is diminished without measure.
Foolishly by his own hands,
Those with legitimate demands,
come away with no relief.
That being so, it's my belief,
himself should every man
Provide, and do all that he can
By his own efforts; so his king
Can be supplied with every thing
Pertaining unto his estate,
His wealth and work he should donate
Especially when there is great
For whoso would not intercede
To guarantee his kings good
To loyalty can lay no claim.
Of policy I'll now expand
Upon the matter now at hand;
As Aristotle made quite clear
should to the rule adhere
To modify and to address
The gifts he
gives out of largesse,
That moderation might prevail,
For if a
king's finances fail,
All sorts of other things
And then his hand will not be strong.
One who will not
No longer plays a frugal role;
The thought of
saving makes him cringe,
He craves instead a spending binge.
that's the mother of distress
Which makes of many lands a mess;
I'm telling you that when this thing
Invades the office of a king
And holds his party in it's grip
The covetous deceitful lip,
many a worthy king deceives,
Before the falsehood he perceives
those that can cajole and please,
Will be his ruination; These
Foul scum the midwives are on earth
Who to all other sins give birth.
For which a king oft gets a pass
For he the victim is, alas.
old philosopher went on
To speak about a certain con,
flatterers three sins commit
For which they all deserve hell's pit.
One is toward the gods on high,
Who when this mischief they espy,
Are wroth to see the grief that follows
When the king their flimflam
Next a sin that's meant to cheat
The king, when
they by their deceit
And lying words, persuade him to
See black as
white and green as blue
As it pertains to his affairs.
with extortion there's
A host of other vices too,
But they are
hidden from men's view
So it appears that all is cool,
And they, with
soothing words to fool,
Assert that everything is fine.
are made like truth to shine,
So that their king cannot find out
Exactly what it's all about.
And thus they harm the public weal,
And so the common folk must deal,
With all the wrongs that they bring
Thus they commit a triple sin,
These flatterers around a king.
There surely can be no worse thing
Within the realm of royalty,
Than is the vice of flattery.
It's been a custom not to
Those speaking out in royal court,
A privilege everyone is
To have, that's always been allowed,
And may it ever be
But when it by this vice is stained,
By those who
virtue should invoke
And truth parades in covin's cloak,
inmates the asylum run,
As this old tale will show, my son.
Diogenes and Aristippus
Among those tales with wisdom fraught
old philosophers once taught,
I read how two from Carthage yearning
For a pilgrimage of learning.
When they came of age they went
Athens; they by friends were sent,
And there they studied long and
And so well in their studies starred,
They left all others
in the dust,
So much so, that they both were thrust
limelight of renown.
The first who graduation's gown
Diogenes was called,
Who never reveled, never brawled.
Aristippus was blessed,
For great endowments he possessed.
finally, as time wore on.
They yearned for Carthage whereupon
Their school in Greece they did forsake.
Diogenes did nothing take
Of worldly goods from Athens, nor
For learning would he labor more,
But only took what he would need
To live; and in the books we read.
A big tub was his house beside
A stream beneath a bridge. He tried
To live a simply as he could,
For he thought that it would be good,
For studying philosophy,
To put aside all vanity
And worldly pomp in every way.
Aristippus though, he did lay
His books aside; to court he went
Where in deceitful ways he meant
prince with flattery to ply,
And often schemed how would try
With guile and lies his prince to
This way he gained a life of ease
With worldly goods and honor vain.
Thus great importance he did gain;
When he says
"Jump!", all men reply,
Both in the court, and out, "How high?"
For with him was the king impressed.
He tries to gain through lies
Of what the people idolize,
Which men of virtue would not prize,
lofty learning left behind;
With only on riches on his mind,
Aristippus thus got his way.
But still Diogenes
And read his books, down in his tub.
To vanity could not entice
This man inclined, avoiding vice,
To be with modest means content;
And thus in his own house he meant
With bare subsistence to make do
And then one day, not far into
The month of May,
By chance walked out and there he sees
Some ripened herbs he'd like to
Which he thought in a soup he'd steep,
And so when he had
And what he wanted, from the ground
Had picked, he
went with sage and leek
To wash his herbs down in the creek
which did his garden grow,
Nigh to the bridge, as you well know.
While sitting next to his abode,
It happened that on down the road
Came Aristippus into view
horses, with his retinue,
And up onto the bridge he rode,
under which the river flowed;
And he, as down he cast his eyes,
His pal Diogenes espies,
As he did to his garden tend,
he spoke unto his friend:
"Diogenes, God with you go
There'd be no
need to sit below,
And for your little garden care
If to your
Prince you would declare
Your love as I do. Compromise!"
"O Aristippus," he replies,
"If you could pick your herbs beside
stream like me, and cast your pride,
Away, then you'd have little
On worldly vanity to feed
By flattering, that you thereby
For princely thanks might qualify,
And thus gain by your groveling
The recognition of the king,
All for some thing of little good.
If you'd use reason, as you should,
Then pride would cause you not to
And scrape and to the prince cowtow,
For this with reason does not
As we both learned when we were there,
In Athens getting our
roundly flattery decried.
Yet one thing cannot be denied:
men don't shun.
from Diogenes they run,
and office, all men turn
To this philosopher and learn
flattery when mixed with lies
Assures that one will win the prize
off the king's largesse;
Advice from those who
This way, these days is highly sought.
I don't know if it's true or not,
But it's quite commonly the view,
That in all lands where it is true
flattery is commonplace,
The rulers many a thing embrace
were best to leave alone -
Time and again, that has been shown.
The poet Dante once unto
A flatterer responded, who
Had argued with him, as I've read,
Where it's reported that he said:
"All of the servants that are thine
Exceed by far those that are mine;
While poets tend to starve, like actors.
Flatterers have benefactors
In the highest seats of power."
This is why wise men will glower
On those who to fools are drawn:
In law thus does a new day dawn.
The Example of Rome
But if a prince himself would rule
Then Rome would be a perfect
For were their practices pursued,
This vice would surely
Which causes kings to lose their senses.
And a prince the truth can see,
Then he can
from deceit be free,
As he sees through their cunning lies;
who's not to these tricksters wise,
Will not be warned ere woe
And that was proved within the walls
Of Rome, when o'er
the world they reigned.
Truth tellers then were not disdained,
would not any truth conceal,
But to the emperor reveal
truth, howsoever bold,
As in the histories is told;
And more about
this you shall learn,
As now unto this tale we turn.
Roman Triumphal Customs
A custom once there
was in Rome
Recorded in one hoary tome,
Where flattery was barred
There is a story of this sort
My son, when worthy
And their integrity retained,
That I will whisper in your ear.
When in the course of his career
An Emperor in foreign wars
Against his foe some victory scores,
And then in triumph he returns,
A triple honor he then earns,
which was magnified his fame.
The first, his valor to acclaim,
that, when into Rome he strides,
The chariot in which he rides
be by four white horses drawn;
Next he the coat of Jove would don
For this extravagant parade;
His prisoners were all displayed
either side of him; then ride
All nobles in the land with pride,
Before and after him as they
All rode along the Appian Way,
In honor of his victory,
And not intending flattery.
But honestly they him commend.
And as their way along they wend,
A jester was beside him there,
Who tried to choose his
words with care
As to the emperor he'd say:
"Whene'er you think
about this day
With all it's pomp and all it's pride
Do not let
justice be denied.
Whatever happens, be it known
That men have
often seen o'erthrown
What they were certain would endure.
though your victory is secure,
You may from fortune's favor stray;
Her wheel perchance another day
May turn, and plans may well go
For things may only last so long."
Thus on these wings of
words, and more
This wastrel next to him did soar,
And to the
emperor he told
His tale, and naught did he withhold
But spoke his mind
to him undaunted;
Plainly telling all he wanted
Him to hear, he
spoke it out;
In that way every man about,
The day of that
Might in the emperor confide,
to criticize and to complain.
And this was why, though he did reign,
And sat so high upon his throne,
To vanity he was not prone,
From all these words
that he had heard.
The Emperor and his Sculptors
Of how in those days it occurred
worthy lord so high:
A record tells us, that was by
The Chronicle authentic found.
An emperor when he was crowned,
The first day ruling in that place,
While sitting in his regal dais,
Within the palace was declared
A feast, where not a thing was spared,
With merriment on every side.
When he with food was satisfied.
And music ceased to fill the hall,
And, too, the story tellers all
Had finished with their pleasant fare.
His masons then approached his
Because they sought to know where he
Would like his
sepulcher to be,
And for his tomb what stone to use,
And too what
sculpture he would choose
Upon his resting place to see.
no thought of flattery
This worthy ruler to deceive;
thing they would achieve
By good advice; quite opposite
were wise, no perquisite
They sought, for very well they know,
That when those gentle breezes blow
Of flattery into the ear,
things are not what they appear;
But rather they could well detect
Such flattery, which does reflect
Contempt and disrespect for facts.
And so the flatterer exacts
Naught from a prince so sharp of mind.
Caesar and the Impudent Fool
And if we further proof would find,
There is a story
That from Rome's history we know.
Before the throne where
In all his regal glory that
Attended on his excellence,
A man came, claiming to dispense
Great wisdom; down on bended knees
He sought with reverence to please,
As though unto his God on high.
And all men marveled as to why
He chose to worship in that way.
Then from that posture prone, to pray,
He quite incongruously chose,
Abandoning his reverent pose,
To sit beside him as a peer,
said, 'If thou that sittest here
Art God, who does forever live,
Then I am right to worship give
As to a God; but otherwise,
are not, and your true guise
Is like my own, a human's too,
Then may I not sit next to you?
For are we not two of a kind?'
Then Caesar answered, 'Thou art blind,
And there's a fool 'neath your
For if you think that I'm a God,
Then I would like to
know, pray tell,
How you can sit where God doth dwell?
And if I be
a man, then too
You have great folly done, if you
Unto a mortal
And give unworthily away
God's worship, as
this day you've done.
And thus I've shown
that you are one
Who wisdom lacks.'
And near his throne
how his wisdom shone,
A lesson learned - now they revere
This lord whom all the more they fear,
Resolving to bring nothing to
His ear but what is plainly true.
there are who try for gain
As phony sentiments they feign,
as flattery is seen
By those whose cognizance is keen.
To seek himself to elevate;
No matter what his
If he is safe then he could not
Care less; and thus
for kings it's oft
The case, that with words smooth and soft
although innocent, are fooled.
And therefore that they may be
A wise Philosopher will say,
Whatever king can throw away
His treasure on such folks, has less
To use for genuine largesse,
But brings great harm with his own hand
Unto himself and his own
Which can occur in many ways.
If one the issue were to
In terms most general and broad
Where any king is fooled by
And thus to rule himself he fails,
The wise Philosopher
What is the cause if this disgrace,
For it has ever been
That when we see a king derailed
A certain mischief has
And that, he says, is Flattery
Already this great vice
Considered, so it's no surprise
That any listener who buys
Into a flatterer's deceit,
Just when he thinks all will be sweet,
He must for bitter moments brace.
For proving that this is the case
Examples by the many abound.
Of which a certain one I've found,
And I think that it would be well
If unto you this tale I tell.
Ahab and Micaiah
Among the kings of Israel
a tale that one can well
Believe, about one who was known
all around his throne
Whoever soothing words could use
him, it was those Jews
Who unto favored station rose
But those who
would the truth disclose
Unto this king and nothing hide,
wealth and gratitude denied,
Such words the court did not acclaim.
But then a time of peril came,
For Ben-hadad the Syrian king
Ramoth-Gilead still did cling,
A part of Israel he had seized,
those who his vain fancy pleased,
He summoned and their counsel
But not those who with wisdom taught.
In this predicament
To give himself some added strength,
He sent for king
Who on the throne of Judah sat,
For they through friendship were
And also were by marriage tied,
For Athaliah, Ahab's child,
Jehosaphat's son had beguiled,
And wed, Jehoram was his name.
to Samaria he came,
This king Jehosaphat, who found
when they got around
To having talks about this thing,
said to the king
That some true prophet he would hear
Who from the
truth would never veer,
That by his counsel they might know
In what direction they should go.
It just so happened at that
In Israel was one who'd climb
By flattery to place and fame,
And Zedekiah was his name;
So that's the prophet Ahab prayed
come, an order he obeyed,
And craftily, just like a clown
head a grotesque crown
With two large horns of brass he wore;
flatterer began to roar,
Like some fierce lion, while his crown
horns he hurtled up and down,
And said to all assembled there
as the horns pierce through the air
With no resistance, so he knew
By prophecy, they should pursue
And send Ben-hadad to defeat.
he was through with his deceit,
Sure that his lord had been
More false prophets were paraded,
Who supported his
And their corroboration made
King Ahab even more assured
That victory could be secured,
And all among them gifts he cast.
Jehosaphat said, 'Not so fast!'
He leery was of all he'd heard,
said to Ahab that some word
From any other man he would
listen to, who could
Speak prophecy before they go,
responded, 'One I know
Micaiah; he's a royal pain;
But far from me he must remain,
For he in prison long has been.
I've never known him yet to grin
And say to me a pleasant thing,
But if you'd like me him to bring
shall come out, and then he may
Speak as he has on many a day;
he has always made a stink.'
Jehosaphat began to think
That he at
last some truth might hear;
And that this prophet might appear,
bade that men should fetch him soon.
But when they went to importune
That he come with them, they explained
Unto Micaiah, now unchained,
How Zedekiah did declare
His prophecy; and would he care
him kindly, not to say
Or mention anything that may,
king to be aggrieved
For thus all men will be relieved,
own cause he might advance.
Micaiah thought. 'This is my chance
speak unto all men the truth,
As we've been trained to do since
I'll not some other phony thing
Make up to try and please
As far as God may grant me grace.
Thus came the prophet
face to face
Before the king, where he would by
His calling boldly
And in this way he spoke his mind:
'My lord, to jail
I've been confined,
For all the service unto you
faithfully and true;
In spite of that I'll never hide
The truth I
know down deep inside;
As to the matter of this battle,
not some foolish prattle
From me only you shall hear,
As God has
unto me made clear;
Of this you soon enough will know;
can choose which way to go,
For in a vision I was nigh
the throne of God on high;
It seemed the whole world was on hand,
Where I did hear and understand
God's voice that did all doubt allay.
He posed a question: "How, I pray,
May I king Ahab best beguile?"
All thought upon this for a while,
Then all at once began to speak
A spirit stood and said, "I'd seek
To undertake this enterprise."
"How so, my good son?" God replies.
"With flattery I'll prophesy"
He said, "and shall mislead and lie,
And thus they all shall be misled."
And He who has all power said,
"Go forth and with God's people walk."
And then I saw all Israel's flock,
Those who profess to do God's
Dispersed like sheep upon a hill
Unshepherded in disarray;
And as they aimlessly did stray.
I heard a voice from heaven sound.
"Go home! Stop wandering around.
For you I've better things in
Quoth Zedekiah, '"Thou, I find,
Hast spoken and
upset the king.'"
And in a rage about this thing,
He smote Micaiah
on the cheek;
The king would vengeance on him wreak,
All spoke with venom undisguised,
was thrown in jail,
In this the king's will did prevail.
Micaiah's message strong;
But as they learned, it wasn't long
would prove him right.
Though Ahab fought with
all his might
Against Ben-Hadad, he
Thus was the prophecy fulfilled,
His soldiers scattered on the plain.
But God, who does all
His people unto safety led;
He saved them, though heir king was dead,
And brought them home again in peace;
Their lesson learned, now they will cease
Believing Zedekiah's lies.
So should a
king who would be wise
Love those who to the truth hold fast;
then it will be seen at last
That flattery we should abhor.
now let's move on and explore
Some more of Alexander's stuff,
of the second point enough
We've heard, concerning Policy;
the third point we'll now see.
is a land of men devoid?
What are those men who've not enjoyed
Law's rule to which a king is key?
What is a king's authority,
Where there is no law in his land?
What causes righteous law to stand
If not for judges just and true?
Who will the evidence review
ancient and from modern days,
Will see how history portrays,
honoring the law can do,
By making fewer crimes accrue
Which keeps a kingdom from distress.
For where we see the common man
Joined with the lords in one great
Where each observes his proper place,
The king who may their honor claim
his throne belongs the same,
By which his subjects him sustain
That he in righteousness might reign,
As one who by the law is
Nonetheless it is provided
That he has, beyond the law,
The right to give and to withdraw
The sentence, that a man must die,
But that which too far does defy
The law, he strictly must eschew,
And not for love nor hatred do.
Although a king's might may be great
If he is worthy he shall hate
Wrongdoing, for who would preside
As one who will the people guide,
It would befit his status high
If he would firstly justify
Himself as worthy in God's sight;
to all other men he's quite
Unanswerable, but to God
may apply the rod
Of His chastisement to the king,
A rod that no
one else could swing.
So for a king it would be well
On his own
actions first to dwell,
Avoiding vice, and virtue showing,
the seeds of justice sowing,
unto his decree,
So that for both the rich and poor
His laws might
But since from only one place
Cannot do justice everywhere,
He, ruling from his regal chair,
Deliberating wisely shall
Ordain for this or that locale
judges as are soundly schooled,
So that his people might be ruled
By those who are both wise and true.
For should a
greedy judge pursue
His charge with an uneven hand
Woe to the
people of that land,
For there wrong may not be restrained,
elsewise if the law that reigned
Stood solidly on righteous ground,
There happy people would be found.
Where law does reason not defy,
The common people will comply,
And if the law is awry is bent.
All will have
reason to lament.
Of great Maximian in Rome
A tale there is to drive this home,
For when as emperor he sought
To fill an influential spot
Within a province, by decree,
With some new worthy nominee,
He first would publicize the name
Then let the populace declaim
About the man, for ill or good;
On this his reputation stood,
Appreciated or disgraced,
Thus in the office he is placed,
Or else forever is discharged.
Thus rightly was the law enlarged,
Which uncorrupted was by greed:
And thus was justice guaranteed,
By this transparent policy;
As I am certain you can see.
Fabricius in one eye blind,
A Roman censor, comes to mind,
Who also was a Consul from
Whom laws did go and laws did come;
For when the Samnites to him brought
A sum of gold, and him besought
Some legal favor them to pay,
He from the gold did back away,
And then within the sight of all
He took a portion of this haul,
Which to his mouth he put in haste
To see how it would smell and taste,
And to his ear, and one good eye,
But he no pleasure found thereby.
And then disgust he did display
And spoke unto them in this way:
"I know not what's the use of gold
When it leaves my five senses cold,
With nothing to delight therein.
So it is a foolhardy sin
To be so covetous of gold;
But he has riches manifold,
Who does in his subjection have
Those men who see in gold a salve
Of soothing riches, in this way:
If with one man he is okay,
But to another he is loath,
He can do justice unto both."
Lo, thus he spake, and with that fable
Said, while throwing on the table
All the gold held in his hand,
'To me this might as well be sand.'
And thus he kept his freedom to
Fair equitable justice do -
Was this integrity, or what!
There now are few such leaders, but
In those times it was always so
That every judge would have to go
Who was to equity no friend.
But those on whom one could depend
To make sure that the truth was heard
Were for those offices preferred
To render justice in each case,
A practice which now has no place.
Now laws are made and then ignored
If that would benefit some lord;
But to be true, it does not cease
That laws meant for promoting peace,
Should be established and observed
So that all men might be well served.
The Holy Roman Emperor
Named Conrad was the issuer
Of laws so just, that no one fanned
Disturbances in all the land
That might destroy its unity.
For such accord, this was the key:
That no law, being put in place,
Could gold or affluence erase,
For both the lowly and elect.
And thus the general respect
Which caused all men the law to fear,
For each man was all others' peer.
As told in some old hoary tomes
There was a Consul once in Rome's
Elite Praetorian elect,
Carmidotorus its Prefect,
And for the peace a law he made
That only with no arms displayed,
Could one into the Senate go,
Or else he as hostile foe,
By this strict law, his life shall lose.
This statute everyone did choose
To ratify, and thus endorsed
It was most stringently enforced.
Now soon thereafter therea need
Arose. this Consul on his steed
Rode on the fields to face his foes,
And for him long they waited, those
His councilors who for him sent.
Back home forgetfully he went
Wearing his sword in battle mode,
Till he inside the Senate rode.
Not one of them dared say a word
Till his mistake to him occurred.
When of his crime he was aware,
He said unto the twelve men there,
Which of the Senate were most wise
'My justice to myself applies,
May it be done with one quick blow.'
And then to him they all said: 'No!'
For they well knew it was no vice
Deserving of so high a price,
But only was a little slip
And thus they all desired to skip
This punishment for his mistake,
That his life they'd not have to take.
And when he saw them hesitate
He made a vow to face his fate
With manful heart, thus he declares,
That Rome should never towards her heirs
Feel shame that when their days grow short,
For laws they will withdraw support.
And so, almost before they knew it,
He did grab his sword and drew it
His law keeping. Thus he died
By his own hand as all Rome cried.
Elsewhere we may instruction take,
Where if a judge the law should break
And would not vengeance execute,
The king himself will take that route.
A king, who was Cambyses crowned,
When such a lawless judge he found,
Reflecting on his felony
This punishment he did decree:
That while alive he should be skinned,
A verdict he would not rescind.
And then his hide, this ghastly gown,
Was to the very seat nailed down
Upon which his own son should sit,
Reminding him, should he commit
A crime that unto greed relates,
He'd see what justice for him waits.
If other judges likewise failed
They too would by this king be nailed,
That he might law's right standard raise.
And speaking now of olden days,
To illustrate how things then were,
To a report I shall refer,
About a worthy prince who's bound
To uphold laws both wise and sound,
First for the sake of God on high,
And for his subjects who rely
On his wise guidance in all things,
Which is the industry of kings.
In books on history we read
Of one Lycurgus who did lead
As a just prince of Athens, whose
Ability good laws to choose,
By which his people he should guide,
Was well respected far and wide;
There was no city anywhere
With laws selected with such care
Right governance to cultivate,
Which did to equity equate,
Where each man kept his own increase;
Without war there was always peace,
And envy was by love replaced;
Abundance was on merit based
And not enjoyed by just a few,
And those who were in power knew
were secure in their estates;
All this prosperity translates
To peace, and thus devoid of strife,
All men enjoyed a tranquil
And when this noble king observed
How very well this system served
To make the people be at ease,
To him, who always tried to please
The most high God, whose help he sought
Occurred a most astounding thought,
And he imagined how his laws,
Within his city he could cause
Forever to survive his reign.
And thereupon he racked his brain,
To see what system he could find,
That his intent might be designed.
A parliament he thus ordained
Where his new plan could be explained
To men of stations high and low,
And to them he expounded so:
'God knows, as do you all, what fate
Does me here afterward await,
And that till now my will has been
To see what justice I could win
Thus furthering the good of all;
A work that's held me in its thrall.
But there's one thing of which I'm sure,
Which knowledge on you I'd confer:
The laws that unto me were lent,
Were altogether heaven sent
And nothing of my own design,
So must they ever on you shine,
And so they shall, if you resolve
With me this mystery to solve;
A messenger straight from God's throne
Has everything to me made known
Concerning all the laws I've laid
Before you, that you have obeyed;
Of these God was the guarantor
Not merely I, and now therefore
He has commanded by his grace
That I shall come into a place
Which is out in some foreign isle
Where I must tarry for a while
That there with him I may commune,
For he has said that with Him soon
There knowledge shall to me be passed,
That ever while the world shall last,
Athenians His care shall know.
But first, before I thither go,
I need to know that while I'm gone
My laws will never be withdrawn
And so before I say farewell,
I'd pray that, all doubt to dispel,
A pact between us might be made,
And that my fears might be allayed
You will assure me with an oath
That all Athenians be loath
The laws I've left you to despise.'
There were no Nays, but only Ayes,
And thereupon their oath they swore.
That from the time he left their shore,
Until he unto them returned,
His law which in their bosom's burned,
They all would faithfully obey.
And so Lycurgus went away
With that assurance he had sought.
But hear now what he really thought
Out of his great concern to do:
For when he'd bid them all adieu,
He made sure never to be found;
So that Athenians, now bound
By oath, could never wrest release,
Nor would true justice ever cease,
As all drank from this blessed cup,
Since in this way he'd sewed things up;
He, who for justice only yearned
For his own self was not concerned;
All for the common good he chose
The fate of exile to impose
Upon himself, and for the love
Of justice, left the office of
A prince, that after his demise
Forever would his city prize
The laws which for them he did make.
From this a lesson men should take
That to promote laws that are just
All of those governed by them must
To keep and honor them assent.
Concerning those who first were bent
On making sure those laws were found,
As long as Athens was around,
We know their names unto this day.
And if you like I shall convey
To you how some of them were known,
Now listen and you shall be shown.
For all deeds not by vice impaired
God has a great reward prepared;
And oft for those who so excel,
The world too will reward them well,
But in its own peculiar way.
God's gift they get on judgment day.
The world's reward is but a name,
Which brings to mind the worthy fame
Of those who have avoided vice.
In this way they're rewarded twice,
Those whose good deeds have been sincere;
Of whom, if you would like to hear,
According as their fame has spread,
You shall unto the truth be led,
How reputations that were made
By those who law's foundations laid,
And unto righteous laws gave birth,
May never fade from off this earth.
Forever where there's pen or tongue,
Their great names shall be read and sung
And in the histories recorded
So that men will be afforded
Knowledge of the noble deeds
Of those who first did sow the seeds
Of peace and justice under laws.
Unto the Hebrews Moses was
The first; Egyptians did enjoy
Mercurius; As first in Troy
Numa Pompilius we find;
Lycurgus Athens' laws designed;
Phoroneus brought law and peace
Unto the provinces of Greece,
As Romulus for Rome was first.
The law for criminals accursed,
That justice might be guaranteed,
Says what a man accused can plead.
And if a good judge was selected
All his rights will be protected.
This is how it came about
That good laws we are not without.
God grant that to such laws we're true,
Which every king is subject to;
From laws which hold a king accused,
A king should never be excused.
What king for law has no respect
His people may his reign reject.
For without law, what is a king?
There are no rights in any thing,
If in the land there is no law.
Of this ought kings to stand in awe,
As they which unto law are sworn,
For if the law should be forborne
Unexecuted by the crown,
It makes a land turn upside down,
Which for the king's a shameful thing .
Thus Alexander to the king,
As a philosopher, advised
That law should ne'er be compromised
On his behalf, but in all ways
He should do justice all his days,
So that in all the land about
His justice would not be in doubt,
And then his reign shall be secure.
For when law justice does ensure,
That more than any other thing
Will make his subjects fear a king.
But how a king may gain the love
Of that high God who reigns above,
And make all people him adore,
The next point, which is number four
Of Aristotle's, will explain.
Whoever knowledge would obtain,
Will know, that point of policy,
As from the following you'll see.
"I need not long dwell on that fame
Enjoying everywhere acclaim,
In times past and forevermore;
I speak of course of Pity, for
It is the virtue through which God,
When stirred thereby, did give the nod
For His begotten Son to take
From Mary flesh and blood, to make
Atonement for the sins of men.
Thus we may come to God again.
Since on us He applied the salve
Of Pity, men should Pity have
And always that pure virtue prize,
Since God Himself, who is all wise,
Its praise about the world has noised.
Pity cannot be counterpoised
By tyranny, which has no weight;
It makes a king both kind and great
In words and deeds; his subjects sing
His praises, for they fear their king
And all his righteous laws obey;
By that same token we can say
A king should always mercy show,
And on his people grace bestow,
Wherein he governs at the helm,
So that no vengeance in his realm
May unto him imputed be.
A dreadful thing is equity,
For Justice no man can evade.
But for a king by Pity swayed
His kingdom will abound in love,
For Pity, through God's grace above,
As Aristotle does assure,
Will make his kingdom long endure.
James the apostle this reveals:
He who perverted justice deals
The doom of him who others damns,
And with no pity others slams,
The same himself may judgment fear
When in his time of need severe
He'll find no pity for his shield;
For those who are by Pity healed
It's by the wounds of Christ achieved.
Moreover it may be conceived
As consonant with reason, and
It is what nature's laws demand.
The Wisdom of Cassiodorus
Cassiodorus makes it plain,
"Where pity dwells, safe is the reign."
The Wisdom of Tullius
And Tullius has this to say,
"A king who does to pity pay
His homage in a way sincere,
Will have grace for his shield and spear
That unto to kings gives victory."
Alexander and the Worthy Knight
In Alexander's history
I read how he a worthy knight
From sudden wrath and not from right
Attacked, and for his life he pled,
To which the king in answer said,
"There's no one who's as high as me."
"That know I well my lord," said he;
:"From thee I don't appeal, my Lord,
But from the fury of thy sword
Unto thy pity is my plea."
The king well understood and he,
Was givien pity out of grace.
The Wisdom of Constantine
And I read in another place,
Thus Constantine one time explained:
"That Emperor who is constrained
To be both piteous and kind,
He qualifies to be enshrined
By all of those who call him lord."
I find in old books, they record
A story most exemplary
Of Trajan who was known to be
A Roman ruler, just and kind.
As he sought to improve his mind
With one whose wisdom oft he sought,
He said that his desire was not
To be an Emperor to gain
A lot of worldly honors vain,
Nor in harsh rule to take delight;
But that with fair
decrees he might
His lords and common people please,
For with his manner it agrees,
With love their loyalty to gain,
And not with fear of legal pain.
For when a thing for fear is done,
It ends up benefiting none;
But where a king will pity show,
His people more good fortune know,
And great contentment there shall be
Which otherwise he would not see.
The Jew and the Pagan
So Pity is affirmed by grace,
The wise philosopher a place
In writings done in days of old
Gave to a weighty lesson told
Unto the king of Macedon:
Between Cairo and Babylon,
When summer came with blazing heat,
It happened that two men did meet
While entering a mountain pass,
And one was riding on an ass.
They bantered as they both did wend
Toward that wooded valley’s end,
And one of them asked of the other,
“What are you, my dearest brother,
Which religion is your guide?”
“I am a pagan,” he replied,
“And by the laws I daily use,
I may not, by my faith, refuse
To love all men alike, in which
I must love all, both poor and rich:
When they are glad, I shall be glad,
When they are bested, I’ll be sad;
So shall I live in unity
With every man, of each degree,
For just as to myself I would
Do right, to everyone I should
Be gracious and of pleasant air.
And thus, in gentle words and fair,
I’ve told my faith, my law, my creed,
And, if a friend is what you need,
Tell what you are; I’d love to learn.”
The other answered him in turn:
“I am a Jew, and by my laws,
I shall embrace no other’s cause,
Or keep good faith, in word or deed,
Unless he’s doubtless of the creed
Of Jewry, just as much as I:
Or else I’ll truly, by and by,
Bereave him of both life and good.”
The pagan heard and understood,
And thought this was a frightful law.
And thus, with many a wise old saw,
In talking, to the road they turned.
The day was hot, the white sun burned,
The pagan rode the ass, with all
The goods he carried, large and small,
Trussed up in a large pack he had.
The Jew, untrue and wholly bad,
Who went along on foot beside,
Bethought himself how he might ride,
And with sly words, all worldly-wise,
Unto the pagan, in fair guise,
He said: “O, now it shall be seen,
Just what it is you really mean,
For if your law is certainly
As you have told, it seems to me,
That you should witness my distress,
Who am so full of weariness
That I can scarcely walk with you,
And let me ride a mile or two,
So that my body I may ease.”
The pagan wished not to displease
In what was asked, and from pity
He softened, both to know and see
Complaints such as the other had,
And since a heart he would make glad,
Dismounted, sensing nothing strange.
Thus was there made a novel change:
The pagan walked, the Jew aloft
Was set upon the donkey, soft
To sit upon; they bantered fast
Of this and that, until at last
The pagan might go on no more,
And prayed unto the Jew, therefore
To let him ride a little while.
The Jew, in thinking to beguile,
Rode off anon, at rapid pace,
And to the pagan turned his face
And said, “You’ve done as you thought right,
In what you promised to requite,
To succor me when I had need,
And that according to your creed,
As you unto its law must hold.
And in such wise as I have told,
I think for my part, as you see,
As per the law of old Jewry
To practice, and to do my duty.
So, your ass and all your booty
Go with me, for them I seize,
And knowing that you’ve lost your ease,
I’m glad, and not discomfited.”
And when these words the Jew had said,
In greatest haste, he rode away.
The pagan knew not what to say
Or do, except kneel on the ground,
His hands held upwards, heaven-bound
His prayers; and said, “Oh, thou high Truth,
Who loves all righteousness, forsooth,
Unto thy doom, Lord, I appeal;
Behold and judge thou my ordeal,
With humble heart, I thee beseech
Thy mercy and thy vengeful reach;
Unto thy judgment I leave all.”
And thus, in sorrow’s wretched thrall,
This gentle pagan made his prayer;
And then he rose, and in despair,
Went on his way, and with each stride,
He cast his eyes from side to side
So that the Jew he might then see,
But for a time, this could not be;
Until at last, by fall of night,
As his god wished, the way was right,
For this god held the mountain trail;
And then he looked down in a vale,
And thereupon the Jew, alas!
All bloody, dead upon the grass,
And strangled by a lion, lay.
And, looking up and down the way,
The pagan found his ass close by,
His harness at the ready, nigh
As whole and sound as when he left,
And when the Jew made him bereft,
Whereof he thanked his god, kneeling.
Thus to man stood God, revealing
Pity does Pity deserve,
For if a man will Pity serve,
As Aristotle bears witness,
God shall his foemen so repress
That they shall lie beneath the boot.
Pity is called the very root
Where virtues spring, and as to all
Misfortunes that may yet befall
In any land, lack of Pity
Is cause of such adversity,
As daily shown to eyes that see
The wider world discerningly.
How good that every man, therefore,
Take heed of what I said before,
For of this tale, and others too,
These noble princes onetime drew
Both evidence, and learning’s prize,
As he may find in sundry wise,
Whoever these old books has read.
And though they lie in earth, quite dead,
Their good names shall not die, for they
Knew Pity’s laws, and would obey
And do the deeds of her mercy.
He that this tale will readily
Retell, as Aristotle told,
He may the will of God behold
Upon the point where this tale ended,
Pity being there commended,
Which with Charity does serve,
For both a single law observe.
To speak of Pity I propose,
Which from the spring of mercy flows.
A man will oft himself cause hurt
To help another danger skirt,
For this fair child of Charity,
Can suffer nothing wrong to be
Allowed, if such he may prevent.
Thus every living man is meant
To pity show; but none, I feel,
More than a king, who on the wheel
Of Fortune haunts the highest place:
For in a king if, by God's grace,
His Pity steady is and stable,
Only then the land is able
To be blessed by Pity such
As may be shown by his own touch,
Which may the entire kingdom save.
And so a king should wield the stave
Of Pity; for this story's told
By one Valerius of old
Of Codrus, Athens' king whose reign
Was by a Dorian campaign
In peril placed by threat of war:
And so his prospects to explore,
Consulting with Apollo he
The auspices of war would see.
This oracle he trusted so,
Gave him by his reply to know
Of two directions he might choose:
He either would his body lose
And in the battle butchered be,
Or choose to save himself and see
His citizens in shackles clad
But he, who perfect Pity had
According unto his belief
His people thought to give relief,
And from a fatal wound he bled.
Where now is such another head,
Which for the limbs would choose to die?
It's obvious a king's heart by
A sense of pity should be guided,
To those men who with him sided;
But for enemies as well
It may great adulation spell,
If he remembers Pity's salve,
Where he in victory could have
Resorted unto vengeance he,
Recalling Pity, an esprit
Of kindliness is seen to show,
Then he the sort of speech will know
Which in the world does foster fame,
And gives a prince a worthy name.
Pompey and Tigranes
I read how once the great Pompey,
Whose laws must all of Rome obey,
Engaged, in his asthenia,
Tigranes of Armenia,
Who long had been his mortal foe.
But this old King of kings did go
Down to defeat, whence unto Rome
He was by Pompey led back home
As prisoner, where his poor plight
He did endure both day and night,
To have a crownless head consigned,
Within strong prison walls confined;
And he with great humility
Did suffer his adversity.
Upon his patience Pompey dwelt
And for him great compassion felt,
So that up on his lofty dais
This King of kings he did embrace,
As one who Pity should be shown,
Restoring him unto his throne,
His regal crown he did regain
O'er all Armenia to reign,
Said Pompey, " 'Tis a greater thing
To make than to undo a king,
For him who both results can choose."
Thus they, who once had traded coups.
At last their angry hatchets buried;
Yet was justice not miscarried
And no party was offended,
For which Pompey was commended.
No king may himself excuse,
Unless pure justice he pursues.
Requiring that with Pity he
Must steer far clear of cruelty.
Now cruelty's one of those sins
That first with tyranny begins,
Against which criminal offense
God's objurgation is intense,
Whose power no man may withstand
It's always been so in the land,
That God will bring a tyrant down.
Where Pity's shown, though, by the crown,
No crisis shall for long persist
To cause woe, but with God's assist
Such episodes will be redressed.
For Pity is that virtue blessed,
Which never fails the ruthful person;
Cruelty, though it may worsen,
Reigning for a little while,
God will not long upon it smile.
Examples of this oft are found
Of those who for this fate are bound.
Justinian and Leontius
Of cruelty I would discuss
A tyrant named Leontius,
Who rose in Rome to rulership
By loosening the lawful grip
Of merciful Justinian.
And since of mercy he had none,
He cut off both his lips and nose,
So that the people would suppose
That he no longer could command.
But He who does for mercy stand,
The most high God, did so ordain,
That in Leontius's reign,
When he was strongest in his rage,
Then he'd be shoved right off the stage.
Tiberius assumes the reigns,
And for Leontius ordains
A punishment most apropos;
That this cruel man might justice know
His nose and both his lips he lost,
So he'd appreciate the cost
Paid by one worthier than he.
Lo, thus replaced was cruelty
By Pity, which we see once more
Supreme in all that country, for
There of Bulgaria the king
Performed a very noble thing:
Justinian, from jail he freed,
Then to the throne he did accede.
Phalaris and the Brazen Bull
About Phalaris histories tell,
A king, bloodthirsty as all hell,
Who was by cruelty inflamed,
Which could by Pity not be tamed.
It's said he was the first to make
Seaworthy galleys for the sake
Of fighting bloody battles, for
His heart forever was at war
With Pity, charity, and grace,
Which in his person had no place;
But all whom he could he'd destroy,
And therein would he take great joy.
Of counselors he had a ton,
Among which was a certain one
From Athens, Perillus by name,
Who thought about how he might claim
The favor of this tyrant king.
And from his own imagining
He out of brass a bull did make,
And on the side, a man to bake,
There was a door to cast one in,
Whose time for torture should begin
By fire, which men beneath it lit.
And for effect he fashioned it,
That when a victim loud would scream,
It from the bull's wide mouth would seem
A roaring bellowing to be
And not a screaming voice that we
Would recognize as from man's throat.
But he, who does all guile promote,
The devil, unto hell confined,
First prompted, then him undermined,
That when for guilt he fell from grace
Perillus occupied the place,
And was himself the very first
To get that punishment accursed
Which he for other men had meant:
Him do no other men lament.
Of tyranny and cruelty
By this a king can clearly see,
If he exhibits traits like these
Then all mankind he will displease
And find that God on him has frowned.
Examples plentiful abound
Of other kings to make this clear,
From ancient times, as you shall hear.
Diomede and Hercules
Cruel Diomede who had two mares,
And who for man's life nothing cares,
Did often to these mares, instead
Of corn or straw or grain, men fed,
So that Lampon and Dinos dined
Upon a diet of mankind;
Till for his labor number seven
Hercules was sent by heaven
Punishment for Diomede
To mete out. Thus with that same deed
With which he had caused others pain,
He died a substitute for grain,
No Pity from their mouths him wrested,
Till his horses him digested.
Concerning Lichaon we read
How he, contrary to the creed
Of nature, visitors would slay
And then their bodies would fillet
For others in his house to eat.
But Jupiter, that god elite,
Outraged by this revolting thing
Took vengeance on this cruel king,
So that he from a man deranged
Into a feral wolf was changed:
And thus his meanness was revealed,
That for a long time he'd concealed;
For wolf like, now is plainly seen
That hidden nature, cruel and mean.
Which deeply in him was ingrained.
Why tyranny is so disdained,
Examples like this one explain;
Inevitably they pertain
To those whose stars have risen in
A time of war, when they to win
Have been by Fortune set on high,
No matter though, the reason why
A tyrant soars, he'll crash and burn,
Then will the tables on him turn,
And what he did to others will
To him be done, a bitter pill
Of vengeance sent from God above.
For he who has no tender love
To save men from a deadly fate,
Of guilt will carry such a weight,
That when for mercy he would plead.
His cries for help God shall not heed.
The Noble Lion
In nature books we notice that
The lion in his habitat,
Which fiercely does pursue his prey,
If he a man finds in his way,
Will slay him, if he does not yield.
But if the man down on the field
Would know to fall before his face,
A sign of mercy and of grace,
The lion's nature would require
That he would then restrain his ire;
His raging fury now defused,
He'd turn away somewhat bemused,
To kill the man no more inclined.
How then should some dictator find
The people's favor, if he harms
A man who had laid down his arms,
And solely at his mercy stands?
But to the point, in sundry lands
There have been tyrants, and will be,
Incapable of charity,
Whose hearts will ne'er to mercy bend
That in their tyranny they'd tend
A little more humane to be;
But like the raging of the sea
No Pity in the tempest shows,
So Pity out the window goes
With that excess of cruelty
We in the hearts of tyrants see:
To illustrate this point I find
A tale, which does now come to mind.
Cyrus the Great and Tomyris
In old books it's recorded thus,
There was a duke named Spartacus,
Who was a ruthless warrior.
A cruel man, and conqueror
Commanding with an iron fist.
In him no mercy did exist,
For when the victory he'd won,
His lust for blood had just begun,
He massacred and made no truce,
And ransom would not be of use
In saving any soldier's life,
But all fell by the sword and knife,
Such pleasure in man's blood he took.
But nonetheless, so says the book,
As fate would have it he fell heir,
Grandson of Cyrus One, to bear
The crown of Persia as its king.
And when the honor of this thing
Upon him rested, if you think
His former tendency to drink
Mens' blood in tyranny was bad,
A thousandfold more lust he had
Thereafter vicious acts to do.
His nemesis, though, would ensue
As God for vengeance would provide,
When in his most exalted pride,
He in his wrath and in his keen
Resentment of the Scythian queen,
Who as Tomyris then was known,
Made war against her hated throne.
And she who would her land defend,
Her son Sargapises did send
To lead in Scythia's defense.
He roundly was defeated, whence
He taken was, with prospects dim,
By this cruel king who'd captured him,
And in his presence coldly slain.
News of this murder inhumane,
When it came to the mothers ear,
She sent for friends within the sphere
Of her command; a mighty throng
She gathered to avenge this wrong.
With this assemblage she did meet
To plan this brutal king's defeat;
All in accord were with this queen,
That in a treacherous ravine,
Through which this tyrant had to pass
A large contingent would amass
Surrounding all his forces so
That he'd have no safe place to go.
And when the time to move drew near,
She made believe that out of fear
She'd choose from her own land to flee;
When this he heard, he thought that she
Might have already from him fled,
In hot pursuit so fast he sped,
That from his ranks he got detached.
Then all those men who were dispatched
To lie in ambush at the pass,
When he came through alone, alas,
He was encircled all around
That no escape route could be found.
And when his troops arrived there died
Two hundred thousand troops allied
With this barbaric Persian king.
And thus no longer would men sing
The praise of his despotic reign.
For mercy would he cry vain
When mercy no men from him got
For he before the queen was brought
And when she did catch sight of him,
She said these words with visage grim:
"O man, who to man's nature true,
His reason, hast been faithless, you
Have lived a life worse than a beast
Which was by Pity not policed,
To cease man's blood to shed and spill.
You never yet have had your fill,
But now the time at last is here,
To end your pitiless career:
As you to other men have done,
Your end shall be a dreadful one."
Then bade this lady that men bring
A vessel to contain this king,
In which he for his guilt would pay
In an excruciating way;
She took the princes who had been
Complicit with him in his sin,
Who mercy also had denied,
And bled them slowly till they died
Into the vessel, where their blood
Did flow just like some crimson flood.
She cast this tyrant king therein,
And said to him, "Now may you win
The object of your appetite
For as in blood you took delight,
Now you may drink and have your fill."
And thus it was that by God's will,
He who from Pity turned away,
Was shown no mercy on that day,
When with no lenience he was lost.
So may this show the heavy cost
Of cruelty which has no good end;
But Pity rightly shown will tend
To win God's mercy in the case
Where reason does demand that grace
Be be shown upon the battlefield.
But when a king's afraid to wield
A weapon when his cause is just,
As pusillanimous he must
Be labeled - Pity's not his name,
Let no prince ever know this shame.
For Pity shown improperly,
To kingship may a hindrance be
In fighting for a cause that's right,
For it belongeth to a knight
To fight as gladly as to rest,
When he is on a worthy quest,
And in a righteous war engaged.
When like a lion he's enraged
And knighthood does in him arouse
The need good causes to espouse,
No Pity must be falsely feigned.
For if his manhood is restrained,
In peace or in the battle's throes,
Then justice out of kilter goes,
And knighthood next goes out the door.
I find in Aristotle's lore,
That kings inscrutable should be,
So that all men may only see
Their honor and their worthiness.
A king who rashly takes a guess
Without a valid cause to dread,
May be like one that I have read
About one time when in my youth,
Which did contain a grain of truth.
The Mountain and the Mouse
When earth was in her springtime still,
I hear that once there was a hill
Up in Arcadia which groaned
With a most dreadful din, intoned
On that most memorable day,
As though the hill in childbirth lay,
And when the pains come in its womb,
Then sounds just like the day of doom
Arouse alarming thoughts in those
Who saw not whence this thing arose,
But well enough they all did hear
This noise, which caused them all to fear,
And left them of all hope forlorn
Because of something yet unborn.
The closer came this hill to giving
Birth, the more this noise a living
Hell of anguished cries did seem;
And every man did from this scream
Run off in fear from his own house.
And in the end it was a mouse
That this hill's laboring had made;
And then they did themselves upbraid,
For feeling without cause a dread.
Thus if a king's heart round is led
By specious rumors that that he fears,
His face reflects his itchy ears
Because of some imagined fear,
When there is no real danger near.
Achilles and Thersites
Once Juvenal to his prince told
That he should emulate the bold
Achilles fierce and brave in war,
And Thersites he should abhor,
For his timidity at Troy.
Achilles found his greatest joy
In taking up his arms to fight;
But Thersites took more delight
To stand back and unarmed remain:
Thus that his prince, between these twain,
Should choose Achilles, should be clear,
For then that he was free from fear,
Would be applauded by all men.
A Time for War
We learn from Solomon's wise pen,
Just as there is a time that's right
For peace, so there's a time to fight
A war, in which with righteous zeal,
A king protects the common weal,
With his own honor on the line.
But it behooves him to decline
To fight for his renown alone;
But for the honor of his throne,
Which he's required to defend,
Must every worthy king contend.
Twixt Pity's bent to be too kind
And foolish cruelty, we find
The essence of true bravery.
A true king must know when to be
Inclined from war to shy away;
But when the time is right to slay
His foes, arrayed in battle gear,
He must not hesitate in fear,
If righteousness is on his side.
For God is mighty him to guide,
And further every cause that's just,
Unless his zeal is not robust;
Particularly for the king
God will not fail him help to bring,
For he all people represents.
Thus must occur benign events,
And God will not His help refuse,
When he the common good pursues.
To see the truth of this unfold,
Within the Bible we behold
Examples manifold, and one
I'll now relate to you, my son.
One time when Israel along
With Judah faced a mighty throng
Of sundry hostile kings who'd come
With the intent God's people from
The land of Canaan to destroy,
It happened that God would employ
A judge named Gideon to lead
His people, whence he did proceed
To send for help throughout the land,
Till he had under his command
An army thirty thousand strong,
To fight against this foreign throng
Which was preparing to invade.
But just that one forward brigade,
Of three brought by the enemy,
Was more than double that which he
Possessed, which gave him cause at length,
To doubt he had sufficient strength,
But He who can all things assist
When help from man does not exist,
To Gideon and angel sent,
And bade, before he further went,
That he should cry out and propose
To all his gathered troops that those
Who really would prefer to be
In comfort and tranquility
At home, for reasons like the need
For more security, for greed,
For cowardice, or carnal lust,
Behind the lines at home such must
may not fight of course:
This cut back on his fighting force
By twenty thousand men, about,
Who choose to go back home, then out
Of thirty thousand only ten
Remained, one third, and yet again
God sent His holy angel to
Say unto Gideon: "If you
God's help desire to have you must
Still fewer people take, and trust
That God will surely help thee still.
Therefore tomorrow it's His will,
When you unto the river come,
Whoever water takes therefrom
To drink, and both his hands does use,
These men are those whom you should choose;
The rest who from exhaustion sink,
And fall face down to take a drink,
Forsake and send them all away.
For over all things I hold sway,
And I will show you once again,
That I'll win with a few good men."
Of all this Gideon took heed,
And in the morning, that decreed
By God, he undertook to do.
And there he was left with a crew
No larger than three hundred, for
The remnant were not fit for war.
On this did Gideon reflect,
And let God's counsel him direct,
From whom he keeps complaints obscured.
And God, who'd have him be assured
That he'll prevail when in the right,
Bade him to go on that same night.
And take with him one other man
To ascertain the battle plan
Made by their heathen enemy;
This way they may more ready be
For what they afterwards would face.
This Gideon who did embrace
One Phurah, whom he trusted most,
Took him along toward that host
Down in a valley for the night,
To find out how they planned to fight;
As they on tiptoes walked around,
Two Muslim voices did resound.
Said one, "My dream interpret pray,
Which came as on my bed I lay.
I thought I saw a barley cake
Which from the hill away did break,
And rolling down at once it came;
As with premeditated aim,
Destruction in its path it brings;
The tents of both the Midian kings,
Amalekites, and Amorites,
And Amonites, and Jebusites,
And many other tents as well
Were smashed, and to the ground they fell;
A pall of gloom o'er all was cast,
And all this host was so aghast
That from pure panic I awoke."
And then the other Muslim spoke:
"This dream I well apart can take.
Gideon is the barley cake,
Which from the hill, without a pause,
Shall come and such confusion cause
Amongst ourselves and every king,
That it shall be a frightful thing.
For he shall on us bring such dread,
That if we had wings we could spread,
We would from running, in despair
Leave off, and take flight in the air,
For there shall nothing him resist."
When Gideon knew God would assist
With thanks His name he did extol,
Then quietly away he stole,
So none knew all that he had heard.
His heart with confidence now stirred
That he'd succeed, he forged ahead
The very next night, without dread,
With plans to fight this multitude.
And then a wondrous thing ensued.
So hear the cunning that he wrought:
In that small army that he brought,
There was not one who did not bring
A pot of earth, in which did swing
A burning torch for making light,
And in the other hand held tight
A trumpet carried at the side;
And as the daylight slowly died
Judge Gideon, when it was dark,
Upon his business did embark,
And in three parts he split his force,
And bade them hold a steady course,
And taught them how they should cry out
In unison and loudly shout,
And with what words this racket make,
And how they all their pots should break
Together, when they
hear his first
The same sound make, as it does burst;
For when the enemy they see,
He bade them do the same as he.
Thus quietly they march ahead
As by the noble Duke they're lead,
And when the time was right they roared
So loud they could not be ignored,
The pots they broke, and trumpets blew,
But only when he blew his too,
With such a noise that in dismay,
Men thought that heaven shook, the way
The hills unto the host replied,
Who in the valley loudly cried.
The foe saw all the hill alight,
So both from hearing and from sight,
They felt so suddenly such fear,
That they all left behind their gear,
And one and all their tents forsook,
So that no other things they took
But only with their bodies bare
They fled, as would a frightened hare.
And still upon the hill they blew,
Until the right time, which they knew
When all the enemy did flee;
When their advantage they did see
Anon they set out in pursuit.
Thus of God's grace we see the fruit
When righteous men receive his aid;
But it is often, I'm afraid,
No so, for those to vice inclined.
This tale need not be underlined
It's clear that God will not rescind
His grace to those well disciplined,
But will to them grant victory;
The lesson of this history
It's well that every king should learn;
First for himself, that he might turn
Away from evil and embrace
The good; his people for God's grace
Should also strive, and then he may
Rejoice in many a merry day,
Whatever he may have to do.
For He who from a heav'nly view
All things may prosper or impede,
In every cause, in every need,
If that a king is good He knows,
Then He will vanquish all his foes,
That none may ever do him harm;
As well he can hold back His arm,
And cause a wicked king to go
Down to defeat before his foe.
Saul and Agag
And now that Cruelty's concern
We've treated, I shall now return
To Pity, so that we may see
How it pertains to royalty,
Of this a king should well take heed,
That he must stand on knighthood's creed,
When there's a just cause to address,
Then forward he must boldly press,
No less in peace than on war's brink,
Then will him blameless all men think;
For he may go on some campaign
Where he from killing can't refrain,
Of which we this example find:
The great creator of mankind,
Through Samuel His prophet bade
That Saul the king not be afraid
Against king Agag to contend;
For God this promise did extend,
That Agag in the end would lose;
And when it happily ensues,
That Saul did Agag's army rout,
God bade that he "No mercy!" shout,
Then kill him quickly with his sword,
But God's instruction Saul ignored,
Deciding Agag not to slay:
For Agag promised on that day
A ransom, which to him he'd give,
As long as Saul would let him live;
Saul, feigning Pity, did agree.
But He who all does know and see,
The most high God, of that he feigned
To Samuel of him complained,
And word was sent, that since he let
King Agag undue mercy get,
Not only shall king Saul be slain
But no remembrance shall remain
Of his ill-fated reign, not he
Alone, but all his heirs shall be
No longer in the palace seen.
David and Joab
And thus a Prince must chose between
To little and too much, and then
Must answer unto God and men.
But ever it's been kings who claim
The right to make whole or to maim;
For ever in a monarch's hands,
As justice rightfully demands.
Both life and death are on a par.
To kill leaves on the soul a scar,
But if it's death a man deserves
And yet a king the life preserves
Of one who's guilty and should die.
Then he is not instructed by
What in the Bible's evident:
How David in his testament,
Knowing he would no longer live,
Unto his son this charge did give
That Joab he at once should slay;
And so when David passed away,
His wise son Solomon with haste
His father's testament embraced,
And on his cousin Joab turned.
Whence those who of this justice learned
Henceforth did fear him all the more,
And too, God was well pleased therefor,
That he with such a pliant heart
Would never from God's laws depart.
Yet for him Pity did not halt,
Like any king who's worth his salt,
And thus no tyranny he wrought;
He found the wisdom that he sought,
His righteousness did never cease,
So his whole reign was one of peace,
And was by deadly wars unmarred
His wisdom all men well regard
And thus with wisdom so supreme
With men most worthy of esteem
He met to hear their counsel sound;
For every worthy king is bound
Astute advisors to select
To counsel him, and to reject
The fools, for there is not one thing
That could be better for a king
Than good advice, which is the key
That will insure good polity.
The Wisdom of Solomon
In Solomon it's made quite clear,
What kind things should be held dear,
On which a worthy king depends
When he upon his throne ascends.
God bade him ask for any thing,
And said, "I'll into action swing
And what you want I'll give to you."
And he, who was to kingship new,
For his request began to pray
To God, imploring in this way:
"O King, beneath whom I shall reign,
Grant wisdom, that I might sustain
Thy people, whom I'll rule, and guide
By thy commandments to abide."
When Solomon to God thus prayed,
Concerning that request he'd made,
God was well pleased, and granted what
He had of Him requested, but
To that he added peace and health
Great fame, nobility, and wealth;
And yet the wisdom that he wanted
Trumped these other assets vaunted.
But a king who'd save his reign,
Would be well served to entertain,
Next to his faith, and to receive,
Such counsel as he can believe,
Known for their truth and righteousness.
But most of all in his noblesse
Twixt pity and severity
A king so equable shall be,
And rule with such an even hand,
That God will smile from heaven, and
All people to this noble king
Great praises to his name will sing.
In all this world there's nothing more
Important than a good king, or
To put it in another way
If some good king should go astray,
It leads to an oppressive reign,
Where common people feel the pain
As for their leader's sins they pay,
Though without any guilt are they.
Because their king at God's will grins,
The people suffer for his sins
At least in this world, though I know
Not how in heaven things will go.
Thus a good king can first his own
Sound judgment trust, but to the throne
Of God, for help he may entreat;
His rule with prudence more replete
Shall be, when his own will is pooled
With God's who never can be fooled.
That this is so may be inferred
From this tale, which in fact occurred.
Lucius and the Wise Jester
In history books on Rome we read
King Lucius one night felt the need
Unto his chamber to invite
The steward of his house, a knight,
Along with his attendant, so
That of their counsel he might know,
And by the chimney all three gather
Hopefully for more than blather,
While the jester of this king
A stool beside the fire did bring,
And fiddled with his scepter, hearing
All they spoke of, they appearing
Not to notice he was there.
The king requested that they share
Their views, and from him nothing hide,
And to his wishes they complied.
When all their counsel he did glean,
Then with a penetrating mien
One final subject he pursued,
"How am I as a monarch viewed?
Among my people? Does my name
Inspire derision, or acclaim?"
And when they'd heard these words of his,
He bade them: "Tell it like it is,
And all that's true to me disclose,
By that faith you in me repose."
The steward first upon this thing
His answer gave unto the king.
To fawn and flatter he preferred
And said: "As far as I have heard,
Your name is held in high esteem."
"You're honored." was the steward's theme,
As he the truth did seek to hide.
Then he on whom the king relied,
His sage attendant, was requested
To respond, and he attested
Mindful of his fealty,
And subtly wise: "The people see,
And they are smart enough to trust,
That with good counselors you must
As king excel, but if they're wrong
It's their fault if you seem not strong."
And thus the counsel he accuses
Partly, and the king excuses.
Then the jester, who had heard
All this baloney, so absurd,
Saw through their clever lying loath
And laughing ridiculed them both,
And then unto the king he said:
"Sire king, if in your royal head,
You were convinced there was no dearth
Within yourself of kingly worth,
You'd need no counsel for a crutch."
At this the king did marvel much,
When he so wise a jester saw,
And then within himself the flaw
In his own character was seen.
And thus the jester's insight keen,
Profound, and by God's grace inspired
Showed that good counsel is required.
His errant ways he left behind
And unto righteous ways inclined;
All wrongful laws were nullified.
And for the poor he did provide;
The people were no more oppressed,
And thus was everything redressed.
For when in wisdom king's excel
With counselors who do as well,
You can be sure it will not fail
That peace and welfare will prevail.
For then all vice will vanquished be,
With virtue seen in each decree;
Whereof our God on high is pleased,
And all those in the land are eased.
For if the common people groan,
While an uncaring, callous throne
Pays no attention to their plight,
And then, instead of doing right,
Disdainfully denies them grace,
As we have seen in many a place
There is great ruin and unrest;
As this example will attest.
Rehoboam and Jeroboam
When Solomon had gone to God
And on this earth no longer trod,
And Rehoboam his son was set
His scepter and his crown to get,
All Israel together came
Of one mind, being all the same,
They to their king a message sent
With common voice, which like this went:
"Our sovereign lord, we thee beseech
That thou receive our humble speech
And and only grant us what is right,
And what is wisdom in God's light.
Thy father, while he still did live
Had power to deprive or give,
And by things done at his behest
The common people were oppressed.
When he the temple built again,
Things never known before by men
He did, by way of levies laid,
And for this the excuse he made
Was for his projects grand to pay,
But things are not the same today;
The works o'er which he did preside
Are done, and with great wealth he died;
So that there is no further need;
And if of that thou wouldst take heed,
Then grant from taxing a reprieve,
From which we've long been made to grieve.
And since things different are today,
With loyalty we to thee pray
That thou release us from this debt,
Which on us did thy father set.
And if to do this thing you deign,
Forever we'll salute thy reign,
And all of thy commands obey."
The king heard what they had to say,
And said that he would get advice,
For which he set a time precise;
And in the meantime on this thing
He thought, and counsel sought; this king
First to the wise old men did turn
Who, when they learned of his concern,
Gave counsel to him in this way:
"With love and goodwill," they did say,
"Forgive and grant all they request
Pertaining to the tax assessed;
For so thy reign shall be secure
By something that won't make thee poor."
The king this sage advice dismissed,
And did the other group enlist,
Composed of younger men unwise,
Who all these old men did despise.
They said: "Sire it would be a shame
Forever on your worthy name,
If you do not retain the right,
While your strong hold is at its height,
Which your old father exercised.
But say with strength uncompromised
That whilst thou livest in thy land,
The smallest finger of thine hand
Shall have far greater strength to harm
Than did thy father's heavy arm.
And this as well unto them say,
'If hurtful whippings were his way,
With scorpions you shall I smite;
And where my father took a mite,
You shall require a whole lot more.'
Thus shall there lot indeed be sore,
With thy great power unrestrained
To keep them in thy bondage chained."
The path this new young king pursued
Was one the wise old men eschewed,
And that's what led to his demise.
For when it came time to arise
And speak to all the people, then
The same words which the younger men
Suggested, were the ones he used;
And when on his decree they mused,
With grievous threats devoid of grace,
Anon they all to his own face.
His kingship utterly refused
And him with great reproof accused.
His speech did cause them such disquiet,
They all started in to riot;
Like the violence that rages
When strong wind the sea engages,
That was calm, and makes it wild,
So from this king, they so reviled,
This people all together band
And forth they go out of his land;
So of the twelve tribes ten take off;
Two only at him do not scoff,
Deciding with him to remain.
Not ever to return again,
With Benjamin and Judah staying,
All the the other tribes went straying.
Israel with common voice
A king selected; their own choice
Which they among themselves did make
When Rehoboam they did forsake,
Was a poor knight named Jeroboam.
Thus they rejected Rehoboam
Who by descent was rightful heir.
This burden did the young king bear:
Because his counsel was no good,
The rightful blood no longer could
Its reign o'er all the tribes extend.
From this case we may comprehend
That young unseasoned counsel may
The king's own judgment wrongly sway.
Old age is what good counsel breeds,
And it's impassioned youth which needs
To thank the wisdom of the old;
And both these, if the truth be told,
In different ways are useful, and
A king who would preserve his land
Between them must avert a rift.
One wisdom has, the other's gift
Is strength, and both he must involve,
Or else his kingdom will dissolve.
Counsel vs. Self-sufficiency
And on this matter, touching kings,
An issue was, between two things,
Raised in a book that came to hand;
Would it be better for the land
To have a wise king on the throne,
Who credit for good deeds would own,
When he bad counsel overrides,
Or have a bad king who confides
In counselors whose virtue may
Incline him to a righteous way?
The author of this book replies,
It's better for those to be wise
Who counsel render to the throne,
For while they're many, he's alone;
And it's more likely that one basing
Moves on guidance false he's facing,
Will succumb to counsel poor,
Than that alone he them would lure
And them from vice to virtue change,
For that to happen would be strange
Therefore that land will be serene,
Whose king is led by counsel seen
Seen make him do that which he should,
His worthy course will then be good,
Twixt Pity and severity,
Where mercy's mixed with equity.
While kings are obligated to
Show Pity unto all, those true
To him, a special claim command;
Those who are loyal in his land
Are of his Pity most deserving,
They who always have been serving
Under God, with motives pure,
His governance to make secure.
A worthy ruler Antoninus
Who was also know as Pius,
"I'd prefer to spare," said he
"A single loyal man, than see
A thousand enemies be slain."
I read, this wisdom he did gain
From Scipio, who once had in
The town of Rome a Consul been.
And from examples like this one,
A king who does a country run,
And does the common people lead
Can learn and, if he will, take heed.
For nothing pleases heaven more
Than kings who wrongful rule abhor.
And all good governance is due
To Pity: thus it's my view
That Pity is what underlies
The rule of every king who's wise,
As long as it's with justice mixed.
With these two every vice is nixed,
And of all virtues have most use
A stable kingdom to produce.
Lo, thus of Policy we've raised
Four points, whose power we have praised;
First Truth and next Largesse, the salve
Of Pity, then stern Justice have
We touched upon, and yet one more,
A fifth point we shall now explore
As it to Policy pertains,
Whereby a righteous king contains
The fleshly lusts of nature; now
I'll tell, with rules of conduct, how
Man's carnal nature can be served,
And too the law of God observed.
Though woman is made for
And though one suitor many can
Desire, it need not be that way;
For when a man's wife wants to play,
Why should he seek in other fields,
For crops begetting different yields,
To borrow someone else's hoe,
And his sufficient gear forgo
Which is more suited to his needs
For plowing and for sowing seeds,
Responsive to his own command?
Thus every man should understand,
That to be true, in marriage rites
He pledges, as his troth he plights;
If he defaults, it is a lie;
His manhood forfeit is thereby,
Especially for the elite;
Old books are with this theme replete.
So just as Aristotle sought
To teach his pupil how he ought
To regulate his body, so
That carnal lust would never grow
To proper boundaries exceed.
And thus now if I may proceed
Unto the fifth point, Chastity
Which nowadays we seldom see
Considered in its proper place;
But nonetheless in special grace
All other virtues, in its glare,
Cannot with Chastity compare.
A king on high whom folks adore
Basks in great majesty, wherefore
He is anointed, honored, and
Exalted more in all the land,
Because the noble crown he wears,
Than commoners who are not heirs
Unto the glory of the throne.
A king his own good sense should hone,
Avoiding lustful errors grave,
And not so foolishly behave
That he debauchery would chose,
And thus his worthy manhood lose.
Of Aristotle I once read
How he to Alexander said:
"To make your heart with rapture race
Just look upon a woman's face,
Especially one that's white and fair.
But at the same time take great care,
Your carnal passions to confine,
So that you do not cross the line,
And thus your own good sense betray.
For on the woman none can lay
The blame, when men are self made fools;
When your own reckless passion rules,
I can the woman blameless hold.
For when with passion uncontrolled,
A man's imagination wanders
As a woman's charms he ponders
In himself he stokes the fire,
Though she herself feels no desire.
It would be wrong to put her down,
For if yourself you try to drown.
And do not try yourself to save,
The water did not misbehave!
For greed, does gold assume the guilt?
A woman has no cause to jilt
A man who true devotion shows;
But if astray his own heart goes,
The folly she may not forgive;
Though with her it is hard to live,
for something more he longs,
And yet the chase to him belongs;
The woman flees and he pursues."
And thus it is the husband who's
The cause, whoever makes the call,
That often times he takes a fall
From which he well may not arise.
But many have met this demise,
Sinking to this deluded state,
And nowadays from that same fate
Men on themselves such ruin bring;
The strong are weakest in this thing.
men it's normal to
Of one true love, but it's not right,
one's good sense
For if July sees snow and frost
And then December's dry and burned,
Then upside down the year is turned.
To see one tarnish manhood's crown,
Through actions that will bring him down,
Derailing him into the ditch,
Is like shoes neath the stockings, which
Is not the normal thing to do.
It is unfortunate, but true,
Great princes oft have in this way
For love illicit gone astray,
And thus their manhood left behind;
Examples old of this I find.
We learn from Ctesias the Greek,
Of Sardanapalus the Weak,
Who as Assyria's last king
Did ruin to his empire bring;
His torpid boredom to assuage
He fell into that that fiery rage
Of love, which turns men into fools;
His mind this rank obsession rules,
Becoming womanish against
His kind, as though a fish commenced
To make his home upon dry land.
His lust became so out of hand,
That in his chamber he remained
And was so to his women chained,
To them it seemed he was indentured,
And he rarely ever ventured
Going outside, whereupon
He might see what was going on.
But there his kissed and played in bed,
They taught him how a pearl to thread;
He braided cords, a purse he weaved:
And all this time it was perceived
By Barbarus, Prince of the Medes,
Just how this king, by counting beads,
Had lost his valor and his spine;
He took this as a sanguine sign,
To raise and army, and at last
This king down from his throne he cast,
Whose reign forever was erased.
And still, about this king unchaste,
About his shame we hear men speak.
Most love in moderation seek.
King David many had, although
To knighthood he respect did show
And always did with honor act,
Thus he, for some romantic pact
In ladies' arms to lay around,
On arms for battle never frowned.
For when lust clouds a prince's view,
That he the war does not pursue
When it is time to pick up arms,
His country often times he harms,
Emboldening the enemy
When they effete defenses see.
Full many a land has thus been lost,
And into history's dustbin tossed,
By those who carnal pleasures sought,
Which for a heavy price were bought.
Cyrus and the Lydians
For pleasure nothing's worth the price
Of an ascendancy of vice
Where men from virtue are estranged.
And strength is into weakness changed,
As in a tale I'll tell you now
Of Cyrus king of Persia, how
Once more the time for battle neared
Against a people whom he feared;
From Lydia this army hailed,
Against whom he had never failed,
No matter what he'd done before
Whenever they had been at war.
And when about his strength he thought,
And knew it had diminished not,
He schemed how he, once and for all,
Could make this mighty nation fall;
So a pretended pact of peace,
Which he assured would never cease,
He made with them, with wily speech,
While knowing that the terms he'd breach.
For it so happened in this case,
That when this people rest embrace,
In ease aplenty, uncontrolled
They revel; and, as we are told,
Excessive pleasure is the nurse
Of every lustful carnal curse.
Thus when they into lust descended,
Every thought of war was ended,
Rather all in languor lay;
They had but time to dance and play;
They put away all other things
For sensual erotic flings.
But leaving all else in the dust
They valued lechery and lust
And wanton orgies, to be chaste
Was low on their agenda placed,
Without restraint they go about.
And when the Persian king found out
That foolish ways they did pursue,
With all his power, in a coup
He came, more suddenly than thunder,
And forever put them under.
Thus to sin their land was lost,
As all that strength did lust exhaust
In those among them who were best.
Balaam and Balak
And from the Bible, too I wrest
Another tale of this same thing,
How Balak a barbaric king
When he destruction could not wreak
On Israel, nor even seek
Against them powerfully to stand,
He sought the prophet Balaam, and
Was by this man of God advised.
A group of girls he gathered, prized
For lusty youth and beauty fair,
Instructing them to go to where
The Hebrews lived: and forth they went
With painted eyes and perfumed scent,
Each clothed in a seductive way.
And when among the Hebrews they
Arrived, none seeing them refrain
Their wanton lusts to entertain,
As each his carnal pleasure sought
Which in the end was dearly bought.
For soon their strength began to fade
So that when into war they wade
They soon with stiff resistance meet,
And in confusion they retreat,
Each one upon other stumbling
All their mighty power crumbling
For ignoring God's commands.
Till Phinehas with his strong hands
Against this mighty vengeance fought,
Which by his efforts came to nought,
For God His strength behind him threw:
For when he found a couple who
Were misbehaving, he did slay
The both of them, and to decay
He left them lie there in the road;
Thus every man who past them strode
A lesson took from their misdeeds,
And unto God for grace he pleads
Where he did formerly offend;
And He, who would his mercy send,
Allowed them to forgiven be.
And thus in sundry places we
Can understand why continence
Is that which clearly makes good sense
For soldiers when a sword they'd swing;
But most of all unto a king
Belongs this virtue which is great,
For is in his hands is his land's fate,
Whether it's lost or strong remains.
Unless a king his will restrains
From ribaldry, eluding lust,
Then in a trap he will be thrust,
And if he's in that trap ensnared,
For grief he'd better be prepared.
For men may easily deduce,
Though there's a time for being loose,
That's gone when men are past their prime,
For to regret it leads in time,
And joy down into sorrow sends.
The shining sun tomorrow ends,
It's luster in the dark night lost,
Though lust in youth incurs less cost,
It can its welcome overstay,
Whenever men turn old and grey.
Solomon's and Israel's Dissolution
A king is obligated to
Himself dispassionately view,
His inner state to ascertain,
And realize no joys remain
Forever on this earth, and that
All fleshly pleasures shall go flat
When this life's lusts are all forsaken,
An example may be taken
Of a king whose appetite
Was wholly set upon delight,
In women only taking pleasure.
Still men marvel at the measure
Of his folly, Solomon
Was he, in wisdom not outdone
By any men who him preceded,
But so much his lusts he heeded
That he who God's people led
According to the law, instead
Departed so much from God's ways,
He sacrifice and worship pays,
For sundry loves in sundry places,
As he dead false gods embraces.
This once worthy sage divine,
Whose wise words will forever shine,
Turned and the mighty God forsook,
When he despised the law and took
His many wives and concubines,
And worshipped at their pagan shrines,
Where he idolatry espoused.
For she of Sidon so aroused
His lust, and him astray so led,
That he knelt down, his arms outspread
To Ashtoreth, who in her land,
As goddess, worship did command.
And she that was a Moabite
Afforded him so much delight
Through lust, which made him so obsessed,
That he Chemosh her false god blessed.
He loved an Ammonite as well,
And fell so much beneath her spell,
That he to Moloch, her false god,
Did sacrifice, and bow, and nod.
In whatsoever way she bade.
And thus did all his wisdom fade,
As he his foolish lusts pursued;
But afterwards great grief ensued.
The Shilonite Ahijah, tried
To show as prophet ere he died,
While lust did still his actions drive,
A vision of what might arrive.
One day to Jeroboam he bore
His testimony. When therefore
They met, he bade him stick around,
For on his future he'd expound.
Ahijah then his cloak took off,
And then this cloak that he did doff
Into twelve pieces he did tear
Whereof two parts for his own share
He kept, and the remaining ten,
According to God's plans for men,
He gave to Jeroboam, son
Of Nebat from Zereda, one
Of Solomon's most trusted men,
And said, "As you have witnessed when
My cloak was in twelve parts divided,
So God's power has provided
That when Solomon is gone
He has ordained that thereupon
This reign shall He of him deprive;
And since then you'll still be alive,
When that division comes about
Your share shall be, without a doubt,
What you have of my cloak received.
Believe me, you've not been deceived.
And thus shall Rehoboam bear
The cost of lechery, as heir
To Solomon's licentious ways."
And so we see it really pays
For kings to be completely chaste.
Lest they in lust unwisely waste
Themselves, and lose their kingdoms too,
Such things should every king eschew.
O, what a vile and evil sin,
That such a once wise king did in,
Where it was not enough that he
Alone should have to finished be,
But when he died and went to hell
His heritage did shrink as well,
A lesson that was at the core
Of our most recent tale; therefore
Did Aristotle on this thing
Provide much counsel to a king,
That he his sexual desire
Refrain from fanning into fire,
This keeping it, with reason guiding,
From with nature's law colliding,
So that he'll not come to grief
And have a reign that's very brief,
When lust misguided at the helm
Leads to misgoverning his realm.
For if one's not from reason swerved,
Then law and nature both are served.
And normal passion should suffice;
But if he should fall into vice
He then shall passion sorely dread.
For of a Roman I have read,
Named Caracalla, who was hooked
On lust, for everywhere, he looked
For girls with whom he went berserk,
And sometimes he was such a jerk,
That nature did herself complain
To God, who sorely did disdain
The sins in which this king was caught.
For God his punishment so wrought
That he so dearly paid for lust,
His story still evokes disgust.
But so that we will not forget
How misrule owes so great a debt
Not only unto lies and greed,
No charity for those in need,
And to injustice, but as well
To lechery, a tale I'll tell
Where all these vices you will see
All evidenced in some degree.
The Last Roman King
Viewed through a legendary cloud,
We see that Roman tyrant proud,
Tarquinius, who then was king
And wrought full many a wrongful thing.
His wives gave birth to many a son,
And Sextus was, among those, one
Who shared his father's love for spears,
So that within a few short years
With treason and with sword and lance,
Of land they won a large expanse,
For justice paying no regard;
And thus their offices they marred
By violating basic norms
Of governance, while lust informs
The carnal passions they pursue.
One time a war began to brew,
Where victory could not be gained;
They previously had been pained,
By this same Gabine folk before:
So while behind his chamber door,
When Sextus was inside his home
One evening, while he was in Rome,
He beat himself with several blows
Upon the back, until blood flows
Out from his lacerated flesh.
And then forth, with his wounds still fresh,
Away he rode, till he came nigh
Unto the town of Gabii;
When he arrived and entered, what
They saw they recognized, and shut
The gates, and all at once the lords
Did come at him with brandished swords
This Sextus seeing them advance,
Assumed a peaceful passive stance,
And said, "I'm here to do your will,
I'd rather you my blood would spill
Than by my father's hand to die."
Then with a feigned and teary eye
He bade them take a look and see
To what a grim extreme degree
His father, with his brothers all,
Who was against him filled with gall,
Had sorely beaten his own child
And then forever him exiled.
This lie he caused them to believe
And said this: "If I can achieve
My goal, there'll be a great reward,
If to me you your help afford."
And when the lords saw how upset
He was, with sorrow so beset,
They Pity felt for his great ache;
And yet they all did pleasure take
That Rome had their own son betrayed.
These Gabine lords assembled made
This Roman to their goddess swear,
That he the truth to them would bear
And with his might their strength renew;
They then in turn would promise to
Assist him with his own ordeal.
Then so that he might start to heal
They ointments did apply, and salve,
That vigor once again he'd have;
From him they nothing did withhold,
Till all the city he controlled
And turned it to designs his own.
And then he plotted to make known
To Rome how strong he had become;
He bribed a mercenary scum
And for his father to him gave
His message, and away this knave
Unto his father went to ask
His thoughts about the pending task,
And prayed that he would proffer some
Advice, the town to overcome.
And when he came to meet the king
In Rome, and talk about this thing,
There happened something as they talked
While they within a garden walked,
For when the messenger disclosed
All that which Sextus had proposed
About the city he had fooled,
Tarquinius who heard this drooled.
And then he took into his hand
A scepter, as he schemed and planned
While they around his garden walked,
While off he all the lilies knocked
Therewith, till all the flowers were cropped
As on the ground their blossoms dropped.
Then to the messenger he said:
"What I did in this flower bed,
You shall relate unto my son."
So what you've seen that I have done
To Sextus go thou now and tell."
And he no longer there did dwell,
But took his leave and went to where
His lord was waiting, to declare
All that which he at Rome had seen.
When Sextus heard, with insight keen
He realized just what it meant,
And quickly into action went,
Until he, with his bloody sword,
The heads of every Gabine lord
Had cut off; then when all was won,
The father came to join the son
Into the town with soldiers too
And all the citizens he slew;
Thus was his lust for blood fulfilled,
With no remorse for those he killed.
Then for the speed of this conquest,
A feast was held at his behest
And there they unto Phoebus made
A sacrifice with blood stained blade;
And with the Romans all assembled
There, the earth beneath them trembled
While the alter was prepared,
Beneath which flames of fire flared,
When suddenly a serpent frightful
Rose and found the fare delightful,
And the sacrifice consumed.
And thereupon the pyre that plumed
Extinguished was, and then anon,
Just as he came, so was he gone
Back down into the ground again.
Then this was heard from all these men:
"Oh lord, what might this sign portend?"
And thereupon their prayers they send
To Phoebus, that they might be told
The meaning of this, and behold
He with a ghastly voice replied
Unto these Romans, and decried
The wickedness their pride precedes,
And all of those unrighteous deeds
Which were so cruelly inhumane,
And made the sacrifice in vain,
Which may not be accepted in
The case of such infernal sin.
He in addition told them this:
"Whoever shall be first to kiss
His mother, will the vengeance take
Upon this wrong." When thus he spake
Though outwardly no sign they showed,
Inside, all hearts with gladness glowed.
There was a knight named Brutus who
On hearing this abruptly threw
Himself down prostrate on the ground
And kissed the earth. Those all around
Surmised that somehow he had slipped
And fallen down because he tripped.
But Brutus had a reason for
His actions, knowing of the lore
That earth is mother of all men,
A truth beyond the others' ken,
Who, blinded to the course he charted,
When the city they departed
And their homes in Rome they reach,
Of those who had a mother, each
Bend down and on them plant a kiss
Expecting that by doing this
They might be chosen to repay
Tarquinius, whom they would slay
Just like they'd all heard Phoebus tell.
The Rape of Lucretia
Of this thing only time can tell,
For only so long can things last,
Their fleeting glory shall fade fast.
Tarquinius unwisely made
War on a place he would invade,
With walls that he could not tear down,
Ardea was this fortress town.
So round about a siege he laid
And all within the city stayed.
When his son Sextus, full of wine,
Sat down one night prepared to dine,
He called a company of knights
In whose lewd banter he delights;
And when the last of them showed up,
And all sat down with him to sup,
Amidst their other merry jesting
Sextus hit upon contesting
Whose wife claims most commendation.
Soon there was much disputation,
When their host presumed to win.
Thus on did go their jangling din,
Until at last one Collatinus,
Who was well known for his wryness,
Said to Sextus, his first cousin;
"One deed far outweighs a dozen
Rodomontade rants, and so
If you the truth would like to know,
About who has the better bride,
Leap on your horse, and let us ride;
So that we, without being seen,
May know whose wife is like a queen.
And that shall be the truest test."
There was no single nay expressed.
They all on horseback leapt anon,
And without sleep kept riding on,
And on, and on, until they come
Unto the gates of Rome; then mum
Do all down off their steeds alight
And take a room, where out of sight
They all did don disguises so
That none would know them, then they go
Unto the palace first to see
The wife of Sextus, whether she
Would live up to his pompous praise.
And seeing her flirtatious ways
All full of levity and mirth,
Of dignity they see a dearth,
For talk ne'er to her husband turned.
And when in that place they had learned
All they desired to know, they forth
With stealth proceed to travel north
Unto Collatia's brassy gate,
Till they arrive at that estate,
Not very far removed from Rome.
Which Collatinus called his home,
His wife Lucretia, there among
Some women diligent and young,
Was busy working on a hem,
"Please hurry up," she said to them,
"We make this for my man to wear,
Who lies in great discomfort where
Unto the siege he is assigned.
And right now, if he wouldn't mind,
I would to God that he were here;
For I shall live in constant fear,
Until I hear good tidings of
The man with whom I am in love.
For as all men about him rave,
He is so daring and so brave,
That to the winds he'll caution throw,
And that's what makes me worry so,
About when they the walls assail.
But if my wishes could prevail.
Ardea down into a pit
Would sink, and then the siege would quit,
And with relief I then would sigh."
With that the water in her eye
Welled up; to cry she could not stop,
And as men see the dew bedrop
The leaves, and on the flowers alight
So on her cheek so fair and white
The woeful salty teardrops fell.
When Collatinus heard her tell
From her heart all those feeling true,
He all at once unto her flew,
And spoke these words, "Lo now, my dear,
He who before you doth appear,
Is him ye most love, as ye say."
Then she, once more in spirits gay
With her small arms did him embrace;
The once pale color in her face
Returned, and there such beauty dwelled,
That it could never be excelled.
The king's son, who was standing near,
Of this good wife did see and hear
All things which had just taken place,
His lust did all his wits efface,
And when his reason did depart
Love then came, and his fiery dart
Pierced through his heart with such a wound,
That he could not but be attuned
To that surreal blind malady,
For which no surgery could be
Of help. And yet with all this splendor
All composed was this pretender,
Passion his calm face concealed,
Congenial banter was his shield,
With consummate facility
A friendly countenance made he,
Till leaving did seem apropos.
And Collatinus too did go
Along with him, so that by night
They riding with all dispatch might
Return back to the siege once more.
But Sextus was afflicted sore
With thoughts which through his mind did fly,
That in broad daylight he did lie
Upon his bed, but not to rest,
Instead to think about the best
And fairest creature that he could
Have ever seen or ever would,
And thusly he imagines her,
As images to him occur:
First all the features of her face
Where nature on her all the grace
Of female beauty did bestow,
That none more radiant could glow;
Her yellow hair, how nicely braided,
Her attire, so well paraded,
How she spake, how she behaved,
And how she wept; all this he craved,
No detail did he overlook,
In all her gifts delight he took,
Her words and actions both enthrall,
Of womanhood she has it all.
And thus this knight's tyrannic bent,
Was softened, to a small extent,
For he was of a single mind
That he some stratagem might find,
Though it would be against her will,
His carnal lusting to fulfill;
Which love is dangerous to seek,
For in the case of honor weak,
To reconsider would be wise.
But he, whose thoughts lust underlies,
A love with tyranny infused,
As he on schemes immoral mused,
Saw how his lust to satisfy,
And said, "Fate shall not pass him by,
Who is as bold and brave as me."
Thus with self satisfaction he,
Of civilized constraints not bound,
His pathway unto treason found:
He then got up, and forth he went
On horseback, but his true intent
None knew, and that he might allay
His lust, he took the quickest way
That led to Rome's Collatian gate;
By that time it was getting late,
The sun was just about to set
When he began to cast his net
With which her virtue to ensnare.
And to avoid attention's glare,
As quietly as he could ride
He went till he was right outside
The house of Collatinus, where
He goes in with a friendly air.
As a relation in this house,
She, as a good, well-mannered spouse,
Lucretia, with good-natured cheer
And gracious welcome, drew him near,
His honor never doubting, and
She dared to ask, "How do things stand
With Collatinus at the siege,
My husband true, my lord and liege?"
He answered her with tales arising
From his very own devising,
Meant to make her heart feel blest,
So that she would not feel depressed
When she unpleasant words was spared
Concerning how her husband fared.
And thus the truth, with treason sly
Was hidden, but unto her eye
All did as honesty appear.
And as the supper time drew near,
A table for him was prepared,
But until now no word he dared
To speak, of love, in any way;
With subtlety his siege he'd lay
And with nice words his weapon's prime,
Just as the tiger bides his time
As he prepares to catch his prey.
With all the tables put away
He fraudulently feigned a yawn,
And said that sleep was coming on,
And prayed that he might go to bed.
And to oblige with haste she sped,
As she believed it proper to
Prepare with no delay undue.
Unto his chamber she him led
And took her leave; then to her bed
In her own room nearby did wend,
Persuaded that she had a friend,
When in reality a foe,
She'd gained, a harbinger of woe.
This cad, though quietly he lies,
Did oft out of his bed arise,
And went with cocked ears all about
To listen till there was no doubt
That all were sound asleep in bed.
A mantel o'er him he did spread,
And took in hand his sword unsheathed;
And as in bed she softly breathed,
God only knew what was in store
For her; for he unlatched the door
So quietly that none could hear,
And softly stalking he came near
Unto the sheets 'neath which she slept,
And with no warning in he crept,
And her with both his arms embraced.
At that this wife, demure and chaste,
A woman delicate and meek,
Her voice lost, that she could not speak
A single word, so filled with fear
Was she; and too he made it clear,
That if she made a noise or cried,
He had his sword close by his side
And would her and her family slay.
Thus was her heart in disarray,
And like a lamb held by the paws
Of feral wolves, Lucretia was
In terror, whom he naked found,
And fainted in his grip, sans sound,
So overwhelmed, she nearly died
And he who for his lust had lied,
At last achieved his lewd intent,
Then so that none would know, he went
Back to the room where he was housed.
His chamberlain he there aroused,
And they at once prepared to leave.
Thus did this prideful lecher reave
Her of her virtue, then he left
As she in bed lay thus bereft;
And when she knew that he was gone,
She begged to have some light anon
And rose up long before the day,
And cast her cheerful air away;
As one who lived in shame, alack!
She dressed herself in clothing black.
And as she carried on like this,
As water wells from an abyss,
With eyes all full of woeful tears,
Hair hanging down around her ears,
She wept but why, no man could say.
Still pitiably she did pray
That they without delay should act
To fetch her husband and, in fact,
Her husband too, to be on hand.
At once they both responded, and
With them, too, she did Brutus see,
Lucretia's cousin. Then all three
Into her chamber went; a sight
They saw, so bad they thought she might,
Well into water be transformed.
From all the tears that from her stormed.
The chamber door was bolted ere
They with her any words could share;
They saw her clothes disheveled and
How she a deep self-hatred fanned,
With hair uncombed around her head
She bowed, and wordlessly she pled
Unto husband, who was so
Affected that he fain would know
The reason for her agony;
Then to her these soft words said he,
"Pray tell us what is wrong, my dear?"
She, who did entertain the fear
That womanhood had passed her by,
From all the shame that made her cry
Directly at them could not look.
Of this all of them notice took,
And prayed that she in every way
Would not hold back what she should say
To friends, of that which her did ail,
Why she herself did so bewail,
And find out what would make her well.
And she, in whom fresh grief did swell,
Attempted then to tell her woe,
From painful shame she stammered though,
Her sentences she could not frame
To her the words just never came.
And at such times with her they plead
To keep on talking. She agreed
To tell her story, still unsaid;
And so she did, twixt shame and dread
Continue, but not without pain
Her husband who would see her gain
Composure, and start feeling good,
Gave all the comfort that he could.
He and her father swore that they
Would, for her suffereing this way
Against her will, no anger feel;
To her love for them they appeal,
As everything they all forgive.
But she, who did not wish to live,
Would no forgiveness entertain,
And said, about this wicked pain
Which was upon her body wrought,
That never shall she, for this blot
Upon her virtue, be reproved;
And so forthwith she quickly moved,
Ere any man could be aware,
And from a garment she did wear,
She took a secret sword into
Both of her hands, and thrust it through
Her heart, and as she to the ground
Was falling, she her clothes around
Her body with her hand just right
Adjusted, so that no man might
Be able any part to see,
Except what was below the knee:
And thus this wife with honor lay,
Though dying in an awful way.
There was no sorrow to surpass
That of her husband who, alas,
Upon her body fainting fell,
As did her dad; no tongue can tell
Their anguish, heartbreak, and despair.
But Brutus, who was with them there,
Unto himself his feelings kept;
But then at last to her he leapt
The bloody sword from her he tore,
And to the gods above he swore
That for this he would vengeance take.
One final gesture she did make,
One last look ere her spirit flies,
A dying sanction from her eyes,
A wordless glance that would suffice,
To say such vengeance was no vice.
So Brutus as befits a man
Of courage, did devise a plan;
Her father and her husband he
Aroused, and with great haste these three
A fitting coffin for her fetched;
Therein with tenderness they stretched
Lucretia's bleeding body thin
And crying they all went out in
The marketplace of Rome, whereon
All in the city walls were drawn
To come and gather round the bier.
With indignation they did hear
A tale with grave injustice fraught.
And thereupon was counsel sought
From all the great and small as well,
When Brutus this sad tale did tell.
And thus the citizens recalled
The sins of Sextus which appalled
The Roman people in the past,
And long before his birth a vast
Amount of grief from acts unkind,
His father's deeds, were brought to mind;
This verdict from the people came:
"From olden sin, there comes new shame.
Enough! This tyranny we must
Eradicate, that lives on lust!"
This cry went up from all the city.
To the father was no pity
Shown, and Sextus with him went,
As both were into exile sent,
Whereon good governance arose.
One more account there is which shows
That lechery and being good
Discordant are in one who would
The regal scepter have in hand;
This may a man well understand,
As from a story you shall learn,
As we to an old tale now turn.
The Daughter of Virginius
At Rome when one called Apius,
Whose other name was Claudius
Was a decemvir in that town,
Then a most dreadful thing went down
About a maid whom Livius,
Know also as Virginius,
Had fathered by his own fair wife.
Men said that so select a life
In all the town could not be found.
This fame, which traveled all around,
By Claudius ere long was heard;
Thus was his mind with lust bestirred
And all his heart was set afire,
Which made him mightily desire
The flower of her maidenhood;
He'd know if his blind lusting could
In any way be satisfied,
But it appeared he'd be denied;
On someone else she was intent,
A worthy knight of good descent,
Who as Ilicius was known.
Regard was by her father shown,
That he might share his daughter's bed.
But then, before they could be wed
Her father had to leave their home,
For all the cavalry of Rome
Was under his control and sway;
And since a war was underway,
He had to march out at the head.
Of all the army which he led.
And so the marriage he'd condoned
Was, as they all agreed, postponed.
The king, when to him was conveyed
That unto to marriage was this maid
Betrothed, a thought unto him came.
He had a brother by the name
Of Marcus Claudius, who shared
A pruriency which compared
With that to which the king inclined.
Together both of them combined
Their wits to come up with this scheme,
That Marcus now would make it seem
That she a covenant had signed
Which her exclusively did bind
To him, and to no other man;
He said, according to his plan
On each point men would testify,
So that she nothing could deny.
When they'd considered every clause
Of pertinent prevailing laws,
Then while her father was away,
They sent for her without delay;
She came and stood before the king
To have a hearing on this thing.
Her friends knew very well indeed
The contract was a phony screed,
And with the king they interceded.
On the common law they pleaded
That her father, who now stood
In combat for the common good,
And faithful to his country's call
Fought for the profit of them all
Upon the fields for battle armed,
Should not in any way be harmed
Nor shamed, while on his martial steed,
And for him thusly did they plead.
The king on hearing these appeals
Said, guided by the lust he feels,
That only two days and no more
Of respite would he offer, for
He thought that in so short a space
Her father could not homeward race.
But one thing had not reached the throne:
Already Livius had known
About the king's ignoble claim,
So that to Rome again he came
In haste upon his horse from yon
Encampment of his army on
The field, until them he rejoins.
Thus for the daughter of his loins
This worthy captain comes to speak,
Where he with consummate technique
Does all that can in court be done,
So that his daughter's case he won,
For all that Marcus had averred
The court concluded was absurd.
The king, who saw his purpose fail,
And that no covin would avail,
He, driven by his carnal lust
To violate his legal trust,
Half out of anger he adjourns
The court, their verdict overturns,
And on quite shameless shaky ground
In favor of his brother found,
And unto him this maiden gave
That she might serve him as his slave;
According, though, to his design
He thought, "She really will be mine."
His brother then would take the blame
For that which should be his own shame.
And thus this maid was victimized
By what this vile king had devised,
And since this could not be appealed,
The father knew her fate was sealed.
And since the king by lechery,
Was led to work that tyranny
In which his daughter was ensnared,
And since with falsity ill fared
Illicius, to her engaged,
The father, like a lion raged,
Which takes into account no fear,
And shows no pitying veneer,
Pulled out a sharp and gleaming blade,
Which, as the people watched dismayed,
He thrust into his daughter's side,
Then these impassioned words he cried"
'Lo, take her now, thou wrongful king,
For I'd prefer upon this thing
To be the father of a maiden,
Though she's dead, than see her laden
With a life of bitter shame
Reflecting on my noble name.'
The king then bade that he be taken,
But his men were all so shaken,
That, as with a hunted boar
When hounds, in chase and feeling sore,
Leave off and and let him go his way,
In such a manner, so to say,
This knight who his drawn sword did carry
Made his way, and all were wary
Of his strokes from which they flee;
And thus into his saddle he
Did leap, and with his sword did ride,
Stained with blood from his daughter's side;
And unto Rome he did return
To tell them there of his concern;
He said they would do well to know
About this wrong, and see that so
Much better would it be for Rome
To redress such a wrong at home,
Than go to war in some strange place
And lose at home all saving grace.
For now stands every husband's life
In jeopardy in case his wife
Or daughter others might surpass
In beauty, elegance, or class.
Of this outrageous polity
Which was so obvious to see,
Wherein the king had acted wrongly,
Oaths they swore that they would strongly
Stand up for that which was right.
And thus of one accord to fight
This menace unto Rome they go,
And as they went the crowd did grow;
This tyranny was on the tongue
Of every man both old and young
So that the secret treachery
The source of which was lechery,
Was spoken that all men might hear;
And this inflamed a widespread fear,
Dread of this peril all professed
Of him by whom they were oppressed.
Se ere worse troubles them befall
By common counsel of them all
This errant monarch they deposed,
And all of them whom they supposed
Were counselors unto the king
By law they unto judgment bring,
Where they with sentences were served,
That such bad governance deserved.
And thus chastised were the unchaste,
Whereof those men who them replaced
Might to good governance return,
As they from this example learn,
That kings in lust should never wallow
But the path of virtue follow.
Tobias and Sara
Of Policy, to end this part
Which deals with matters of the heart,
One final story I would tell
Which illustrates the point quite well
That chaste is better far than lewd,
And that all lust should be eschewed
In Media there was a maid
Who in the town of Rhages stayed,
Called Sarah, who of Raguel
The daughter was, who did excel,
In body and in visage too,
All maidens in that city who,
With looks were not as well supplied;
Thus wealthy men, who there reside,
The lusty ones who had a yen
For love, fell for this maiden then,
They longed a wedding bell to hear.
One did succeed, although I fear
His flame was false for it came of
Pure lust, and not from a pure love,
A love which did from lust arise,
A lust which led to his demise,
For on his wedding night he dies.
Before he neath the covers lies
He unto God for nothing prays
But only is with lust ablaze.
Abed, ere he was fully warm,
And would have held her with his arm,
Asmodeus, hell's fiend of lust,
Who serves, if we the books can trust,
To tempt a man in such a way,
Awaited, and ere they could play,
And he his appetite appease,
This demon did his body seize,
And from his neck wrung off his head.
The young wife, sorry he was dead,
Had no idea what this meant;
And yet this is the way it went
Not just for this first husband, but
Thereafter that's exactly what
Befell six other husbands too,
Asmodeus the same way slew
Them all, as they to hell were fetched
When they their hand toward her stretched,
Not for the law of matrimony,
But a fiery lust that's phony
Where beyond the law they go.
For those who would desire to know
What in this matter next ensued,
Hear now as I this tale conclude.
When she Tobias wedded he
By Raphael was taught to be
A man of honor, and that night
Asmodeus was not in sight;
Tobias when in bed, we're told,
His lust in such a way controlled,
That law and nature both he served;
And in that way himself preserved,
Avoiding thus the others' fate.
Here's proof we cannot overstate,
From this example one may see
That when love reaches that degree
Where marriage is the proper thing,
It's well, reminded by the ring,
From lawless lust to stay away.
For God has laws we should obey
That reason might admonish need;
Though beasts He only made to breed
By nature's laws, He unto man,
Made in His image, gave a plan
Based on his reason which, obeyed,
Will help him not to be afraid
To sublimate his lust, that he
Might not fall into lechery,
For in this way he can be true,
To nature's law and reason's too
From which no scandal can arise;
In this way Aristotle tries
To teach his pupil king, when he
First taught the lore of chastity,
But that's not all on which he dwelt,
With honesty he also dealt
Whereof a king may get a taste
For truth and justice, and how chaste,
By reasons law, he ought to be,
In all his actions one should see,
The grace of Pity. For God's hand
He should give thanks, and for his land
And people he should always pray
That they be blessed in every way
In this world and eternally
Conclusion of this Diversion
My son, as we before did see
When you, to ease your spirit sore,
Of me did earnestly implore,
To mitigate your lovelorn pain,
That I would unto you explain
The crux of Aristotle's lore,
I've done all that, and somewhat more
Of other tales I've tried to tell,
That your hearts' pains I might expel
Through anything that I can say.
My father, that's enough, I pray!
For that which you've unto me told
I give you thanks a thousand fold.
Though in my ear your tales
Yet is my fazed heart elsewhere found,
There is no way I may restrain
Myself from living with love's pain.
There is no lore however great,
That one iota might abate
Of pain, unless to sleep I went,
So that my time would not be spent
In thoughts of my love's fruitless quest;
That hurt I cannot put to rest.
And as at first, my father dear,
Regarding love more let me hear,
And from these other things desist:
If things concerning love we've missed,
Or overlooked or left behind
Which further diligence might find,
That more confession would require,
Ask now, so that ere I expire
I might amend what is amiss."
"My dear son, I assent to this.
If your confession we'd complete,
There's one more thing that we must treat
Concerning love that is depraved.
So, for the last, this point I've saved
Which your confession must include,
A great sin which must be eschewed
I'll tell you of, then on that note
I'll have to say: "That's all she wrote."