A memorial of suche Princes, as since the tyme of King Richard the seconde, haue been vnfortunate in the Realme of England.

¶ LONDINI In aedibus Johannis Waylandi, cum priuilegio per Sep­tennium.

The copy of the quenes Maiesties letters Patentes.

MAry by the grace of God, Quene of Eng­lande Fraunce and Ireland, defendour of the faith, and in earth of the Churche of Englande, and also of Ire­land, the supreme head. To ye Prynters of bookes, and booke sellers, and to al other out Officers, Minysters, and Subiectes these our letters patentes hearing or se­ing, gretyng. Knowe ye that we of oure especial grace and meare mocion: haue geuen and graunted, and by these presentes doo geue and graunte full power, licence, auctoritie, and Priuilege vnto our welbeloued Subiect John Wayland, Citezeyn and Scriuenour of Lon­don. That he & his Assignes only, and none other person or persons shal from hensforth haue auctoritie, & lybertie to prynt al and euery such vsual Primers or Manual of prayers by whatsoeuer other title y same shal or may be called, which by vs our heyres, successours, or by our clergy by our assent shalbe auctorised, set furth, and deuysed for to be vsed of all our lo­uing Subiectes thoroughout all our Realmes, and domynyons, duringe the full tyme and terme of seuen yeares next ensuing the date of these our letters Patentes. And farther that it shal not be lawful for any maner of other person▪ or persones of out said Subiectes, to Prynt or to procure to be imprinted, anye Prymers or Manuall of prayers by whatsoeuer title the same shall or may be called, or set furth, during the said tearme, nor a­ny booke, or bookes, which the saide John Waylande or his Assignes at his or theyr costes and charges shall first Prynte, or set furth during the said terme of seuen yeares next ensuing the printing of the same booke or bookes, vpon payne of forfature, and confiscacion of the same Prymers, Manuall or prayers, and bookes, [...]o thuse of vs and oure successours. Wherfore we w [...]ll and commaunde all you our Printers, and other our Subiectes that ye nor any of you, do presume, procure, or attempt to print or setfurth any maner Prymers, Manuall of prayers, booke or bookes, which the said John Wayland or his assignes shal first Print during the tyme of thys our Priuilege, and licence, vpon payne of forfature and con­fiscacion of the same Prymers, Manual of prayers, and bookes, as afor­saide. And as ye tendre oure pleasure, and wyl auoyde the con­trarie. In witnes wherof we haue caused these our letters to be made patentes. Wytnes our selfe at West­minster the foure and twentith daye of Octobre, in the fyrst yeare of our reigne.

Per brē de priuato sigillo et de data predicta.

¶ Here foloweth the Table of thys presente Booke, called the fall of Princes, and Princesses. &c. Whiche boke is deuyded in to nyne bookes, and euerye booke contayneth dyuers chapters, as here after foloweth: And fyrst of the fyrste boke, whiche contayneth xxiiii. Chapiters

  • THe Prologue of John Lidgate Monke of Bury, translatoure of this boke.
  • The fyrst Chapter of the firste booke sheweth howe Adam and Eue for theyr inobedience, were put out of Para­dyse: and howe they standinge naked be­fore Bochas, desyred hym to put theyr wofull fall fyrste in remembraunce: And howe they and theyr ofsprynge liued in so­rowe & wretchednesse: with a Lenuoye. The fyrste chapter.
  • Howe Nembroth buylded the towre of Babylone, to saue him selfe from Noes stode, whiche for his pryde and presump­cion, was put from his magnifycence, and his towre with sodayne leuyn smytten downe. The second chapter.
  • An exclamaciō of John Bochas against proude fo [...]ke, shewynge howe God maye them and theyr pryde abate, whan [...] shall please him: and by dyuers meanes & wai­es them punysh and chastice: With a len­uoy. The third chapter.
  • Howe manye yeres were betwene A­dam and Nembroth, and betwene Nem­broth and Cadmus, and of dyuers other kinges. The fourthe chapter.
  • Of Ogiges king of Thebes, leafe .vii.
  • Of a greate flode in Tessaly. leafe .vii.
  • Of goodly Jsys wyfe to Apys king of Argyue, and howe he was slayne by hys brother Diffeus. The fyft chapter.
  • Of Grisiton that eate hys members for hungre. With a Lenuoy. the sixt chapter.
  • Howe Jupiter rauyshed Europa, the doughter of kynge Agenor, and how Cadmus was sent to seke her in to diuers coū ­trees: With a Lenuoy of the translatour. The seuenth chapter.
  • A goodlye processe of Oetes kynge of Colchos, of Jason and Medea, of These­us, Sylla, of Nisus, and of dyuers other: With a Lenuoy. The eyght Chapter,
  • Of mightye Jabyn kyng of Canaan, of Quene Jocasta, and how Thebes was dystroyed: With a Lenuoy. The .ix. chap.
  • How Atreus kyng of Messene wrought againste his brother Thiestes, and howe he stewe his children, dismembred them in pieces, and made the said Thiestes to eate of their flesh and drinke of theyr blode. The tenth chapter.
  • How Atreus accused him selfe of mur­der, and his brother of auoutry, don wyth Europa the quene: With a Lenuoy: The xi. chapter.
  • Of duke Theseus, and of Ariadne that saued his lyfe in a caue, and howe he lyke a forsworne man for soke her, and wedded fayre Phedra, which afterwarde slew her selfe: a Lenuoy. The .xii. chapter.
  • How Bochas blameth theym that gy­ueth hasty credence to liers and flatterers: With a Lenuoy. The .xiii. chapter.
  • Of quene Althea, and howe Hercules by women was broughte to confusion: With a Lenuoy. The .xiiii. chapter.
  • A processe of Narcissus, Byblis, Myrra and dyuers other, their infortunes to Bo­chas complaynyng, and howe Narcissus, Byblis, and Myrra dyed at myschefe. with a Lenuoy. The fyftene chapter.
  • Of Priamus kynge of Troye: and how the monke of Burye, translatoure of thys boke, wrot a boke of the siege of Troy cal­led Troy boke. the sixtene chapter,
  • Here Bochas authoure of this boke, wryteth agayne the Surquedous pryde of them that trust to much in theyr riches. The seuentene chapter.
  • Here also John Bochas putteth a great prayse and commendacyon of suretye that standeth in pouerte: With a Lenuoy. The eyghtene chapter.
  • Of mighty Sampson, whiche tolde all his counsayle to Dalyda, wherby he was disceyued: With a Lenuoy. The nyntene chapter.
  • A chapter of Bochas dis [...]yuynge the malyce that is in Women. The twentye chapter.
  • Thexcuse of Bochas for hys wrytyng againste mysgouerned women, in maner of a Lenuoy. The. xxi, chapter
  • Of myghtye Pyrrus that slewe Pol­lycene, [Page] whiche for his pryde and auoutrye died in pouerte, and at the last was slayne by Horestes. The .xxiii. chapter
  • Of Machayre and of his suster Cana­ce. The .xxiiii. chapter.
  • The letter of complaynte wrytten by Canace to her brother Machayre. With a Lenuoy. The .xxv. chapter.
¶ Thus endeth the Table with the Cha­piters of the fyrste boke, and here foloweth the table of the se­conde boke which contai­neth .xxxi. chap­ters.
  • THe Prologue of the translatour.
  • The fryste Chapter of the se­cond boke declareth how Saule Kynge of Ierusalem borne of lowe degree, as longe as he loued God, and dradde him, and was obedient to his lawes, and ruled by good counsayle, had manye greate victories: But at the laste for his pride, presumpcion, and greate diso­bey saunce, lost his crown, and was slaine by Philistees▪ with a Lenuoy of the trans­latoure.
  • A commendacion of Bochas, vpon the vertue of Obedyence. Loke the leafe .xli.
  • Howe kynge Roboam, for gyuynge faythe to yonge counsayle loste the bene­uolence of his people, and at the last dyed a fole: With a lenuoy. The second chapter
  • A chapiter discryuinge, howe Princes beyng hedes of theyr commontees, should haue noble chiualry and true Iudges to gouerne the commons. The third chap.
  • Howe Mucius Sceuola slewe an in­nocente in stede of kynge Porcenna, that layde siege to Rome. The fourthe chapter.
  • Howe Lucrece oppressed by Tarquine slewe her selfe. The fyfth chapter.
  • Howe Rome was gouerned after the deth of Lucrece, and how Virginia was by her father slayne: with a Lenuoy. The sixte chapter.
  • Howe Ieroboam kynge of Israell, for ydolatry and disobedience, came to a myscheuous ende. The seuenth chapter.
  • Howe zareas kynge of Ethyope was slayne in battayle. The eyght chapter,
  • Howe Nadab kynge of Ierusalem lost both sceptre and crowne. The ninth chap.
  • How the vengeable prince zambrias set a towre on fyre and brente him selfe. The tenth chapter,
  • Of kyng Achab and Iesabel his wyfe. The leuenth chapter,
  • Howe the quene Athalia for her ty­ranny was slayne. The .xii. chapter
  • Howe Dydo Quene of Cartage slewe her selfe for the conseruacion of her chasti­tie: With a Lenuoy. The .xiii. chapter
  • A Lenuoy dyrecte to wydowes, of the translatour. loke the leafe .l.
  • Howe the vycious Sardanapalus king of Assirie, brent him selfe and his tresoure. The fourtene chapter.
  • A commendacion of Iohn Bochas of vertuous busynesse, rehersyng the names of dyuers founders of scyences in reprefe of ydelnesse: With a Lenuoy. The fyftene Chapter.
  • Howe Amazias in Iuda kyng, for his pryde and presumpcion was venquis [...]hed in battayle, and after slayne. The sixtene chapter.
  • Howe Osias succeadynge kynge nexte in Iuda, was smytten with lepre. The se­uentene chapter.
  • An exortacion for Princes to take hede that they do nat againe the commaunde­mentes of God. The eyghtene chapter.
  • Howe kyng Ozeas was taken by king Salmanaser, and dyed in prison. The. xix chapter.
  • Howe Senacheryb kynge of Assyrie was slayne. The twenty chapter.
  • Howe kyng Sedechyas for false for­swearing was made blinde, and slayne in pryson: with a Lenuoy. The .xxi. chapter
  • Howe kynge Astiages laboured to dis­heryte Cyrus, but God woulde nat suffre him in his malyce to preuayle: with a Lē ­uoy. The two and twenty chapter.
  • Howe Canda [...]us kinge of Lyde was made cockold. The thre and twenty chap.
  • How all thyng that king Mydas tou­ched was tourned to golde, and yet at the last he dyed in mysery and wretchednesse. The four and twenty chapter.
  • Of Balthazar kynge of Babylone, and howe Daniell expowned Mane, Techell, Phares. The fiue and twenty chapter,
  • How Cresus and Balthasar were vē ­quished by Cyrus and how the son of Cresus was slayne at the huntyng of a wilde [Page] boore. The .xxvi. chapter.
  • Howe the cruell tyraunt Cirus dely­ted euer in slaughter and sheding of blode, and so ended: With a Lenuoy. The .xxvii. chapiter.
  • Howe Amilius for couetise slewe hys brother, and how Remus and Romulus were noryshed by a she Wolfe. The eighte and twenty chapiter.
  • Howe Mecius kynge of Albanoys, for bycause he was false of his othe and pro­myse, was drawen all in pieces. The nine and twenty chapiter.
  • Howe all Prynces shoulde be true of theyr othes and promyse, in auoyding all doublenesse and discepcion. The .xxx. cha.
  • Of kinge Hostilius the fyrst that ware purple coloure, was consumed with fyrie leuyn: with a Lenuoy. The .xxxi. chapter.
¶ Thus endeth the table with the Chap­ters of the second boke▪ and here fo­loweth the table of the third boke, which contayneth .xxvii. Chapters.
  • The Prologue of the translatour. The fyrste chapiter of the thyrde boke [...]reteth: how Andalus doc­tour of Astronomy sheweth that princes shoulde nat at wite their constella­ [...]ion nor fortune, of their vnhappy falling, but their owne demerites and vicious ly­uyng. Loke leafe .lxv.
  • A disputacion bytwene Fortune and gladde pouerte. Loke leafe .lxv.
  • Howe kyng Hostilius for worshypping of false goddes, was consumed wyth fyrie leuyn. The fyrst chapter.
  • Howe Anchus kynge of Rome was murdred by Lucinyo, by the assente of hys wyfe. The .ii. chapter.
  • Howe Lucinio that murdred Anchus was after murdred him selfe: with a Len­uoy. The thyrde chapiter.
  • Howe after the offence doone to Lucre­ce by Tarquin, there was neuer kynge crowned in Rome. The fourth chapter.
  • The greuous complaynt of Lucrece for her oppressyon. The fyfth chapter
  • A complaynt of Bochas vpon Luxurie of Princes, as by ensample of manye dy­uers mischaunces declareth: with a Len­uoy. Loke leafe .lxxi.
  • How Cambyses, assentyng to the mur­dre of his brother Mergus, at y last slewe him self: and how Oropastes occupied the crowne of Perce by vniust tytell, and how he was slaine. The sixte chapiter.
  • Howe Dary obtaynyng the kingdome of Perce by sleyghte, ended with shame. The seuenth chapter.
  • How Corolyan was by Romaynes exi­led, and of the warre he made agaynste them, and howe whan he besieged theym they sente oute his mother and his wyfe, wyth other to treate for a peace, whiche they optayned: and howe he was after ex­iled agayne and slaine. The .viii. chapter.
  • Howe Melciades Duke of Athenes, with a smal nombre venquished sixe hun­dred thousand Perciens, and after by hys commens (that aye of custome desireth chaunge of Princes) was chayned in pry­son, and so dyed: With a Lenuoy. The .ix. chapter.
  • Howe Xerxses kynge of Perce, for hys rauin and couetyse was dysmembred in smal pieces: with a Lenuoy. The .x. chap.
  • How Artabanus murdred kyng Xerx­ses, and howe he was after murdred him selfe. The leuenth chapter,
  • Of duke Palantes, and the Sparte­noies that warred on them of Messene for [...]auyshyng of theyr maydens. The twelfth chapter.
  • Howe Ceson Quincius out of Rome was exyled▪ and howt Graccus Cloelly­us prince of Equoyes was take prysoner. The .xiii. chapter.
  • Bochas reherseth the tyranny of Appy­us and falsnesse of Judges: With a Len­uoy. The fourtene chapter.
  • Bochas againe the vntruthe of Jud­ges. Loke the leafe .lxxxi.
  • An exclamacion of Bochas agaynste the extorcion of the officers of Rome. The fyftene Chapter.
  • Howe Alcibyades was exiled, and af­ter brent in his bedde. The sixtene chapter
  • An exclamacyon of John Bochas, vp­on the deathe of Alcibiades: with a Len­uoy. The seuentene chapter.
  • Bochas writeth agayne the desyres of worldly people. The .xviii. chapter.
  • Bochas spekynge againe ydelnesse, re­herseth howe some men haue pleasure in one Science and some in another. The. xix chapter.
  • [Page]Howe Malleus Duke of Cartage, for hys oppression and tyranny was hew­en to peces: with a Lenuoy. The .xx. cha­piter.
  • ☞ Howe the substaunce of the hooste of Hymilcho duke of Cartage, as they went to conquere Cecile, dyed of the Pestilence, and howe he was after slayne him selfe. The .xxi. chapiter.
  • Howe Heynon Duke of Cartage was dismembred: with a Lenuoy. The two & twenty chapiter.
  • The authour agaynst couitous people loke the leafe .lxxxvii.
  • Howe Euagoras kyng of Cypre was by Artaxerses outrayed and put from his kyngdome. The .xxiii. cha.
  • Howe Theon kinge of Egypte was by Artaxerses driuen frome hys kyngdome, and howe he fledde in to Arabye. The foure and twenty chapiter.
  • Howe Amintas of Macedone kynge, had by Erudice his wyfe, Alysandre▪ Pet dica, and Philyppe, who were after slaine The .xxv. Chapiter,
  • Howe the proude tyraunte haman was hanged, and the Innocentes preserued. The .xxvi. chapiter
  • ¶ Of the two brethern, Artaxerses and Cyrus, and howe Artaxerses slewe hys chyldren and Concubynes, and howe they ended: with a Lenuoy. The .xxvii. chapit.
Thus endeth the Table with the cha­piters of the thyrde boke, and here foloweth the table of the fourth boke whiche contayneth xxvi. chapiters.

The Table of the fourth boke.

  • THe prologue of the translatour. The fyrste chapiter of the fourth boke declareth: howe Marcus Manlius wroughte for Rome towne, and howe at the laste for all hys laboure he was by the commons cast in to Tybre and so drowned.
  • How Bochas writeth in parte against suche as can nat be contente wyth suffy­saunce but vsurpe to high dignyties, with a Lenuoy. The seconde chapiter.
  • Howe Nectanabus kynge of Egypte, was by Xerxses constrayned to slye hys kyngdome. The third chap.
  • Howe Pausanias Duke of Lacedemō, was exyled by them of Athenes. The .iiii. chapiter.
  • Howe Helyarchus the tyraunt, for ex­torcion and oppression, was slayne by the knyght Leonydes. The fyfth chapter.
  • Howe the vycious Dyonis kynge of Cycyle slewe his bretherne and kynrede, and howe he was exiled and died at mys­chefe with a Lenuoy. The sixt chapter.
  • The authour againe presumptuous people & princes holding thē selfe as gods The seuenth chapiter.
  • Howe kynge Pollicrate for extorcion and tyranny was hanged, tyll euery ioynt fyl from other. The eight chapter
  • Howe the tyraunte Alexandre slewe his Philosopher Calistenes with dyuers other, for sayinge trouth: with a Lenuoy. The nynth chapter.
  • Howe Alexander kynge of Pyrothe, aduenturynge to passe the floude of Ache­ronte, was slayne therin, by them that he trusted most. The tenth chap.
  • Howe Dary kynge of Perce and Me­de, was outrayed by Alexander kynge of Macedon: with a Lenuoy. The leuenth chapiter.
  • A chapiter of Bochas, wherein he re­membreth the bataylles and losses of re­almes of antiquite, with the fallynge of dyuers nobles. The .xii. chap.
  • Howe Eumenydes was twise outraied by Antigonus, and at last dyed in pryson, With a Lenuoy. The .xiii. chapiter.
  • Howe Queene Olimpiades, for she delyted in vyces, in murdre, and in venge­aunce, dyed at mischefe: With a Lenuoy. The fourtene chapiter.
  • Howe Agathocles of low byrthe borne attaygned vnto royall dygnyte, and howe he ended in pouerte and wretchednesse: With a Lenuoy. The fiftene chapiter.
  • Howe Cassander slewe the wyfe of A­lexander and Hercules her sonne, and howe Antipater slew hys mother, and of dyuers other murders. The sixtene cha­piter.
  • Of two prefectes, Perdicas and A­mintas. [Page] The .xvii. cha.
  • How Sādrocottus borne of low degre, cherished robbours & theues. The xviii. ca.
  • Howe Seleuchus the myghtye prynce was slayne by the great Tholome kyng of Egypte. The xix. chap.
  • Howe the two sons of Queene Arcynoe wer by their mothers traitourously slaine, and she exyled, with a Lenuoy. The .xx. Chapter.
  • Howe Ceramius of Macedoyne kynge that murdred hys cosyns, was slayne in battayle by them of Fraunce. The xxi. cha.
  • How the prince Belgius was discōfited and brought to nought. The .xxii. chap.
  • How duke Bre [...]us delytyng to robbe and steale mischiuouslye ended: wyth a Lenuoy. The xxiii. chap.
  • Howe Pyrrus kyng of Pyrothe lyst not lyue in peace, but throughe pryde and pre­sumpcion in warre, came to mischaunce. The xxiiii. Chapter.
  • How the tyraūt Aristotimus by treche­rous workynge, set asyde the ryght lyne, and howe he was crowned kyng of Epiro­thes and after slayne. The .xxv. chap.
  • Howe Queene Arcinoe for her aduou­trye done wyth Demetrius husbande of Beronices, ended in sorowe. The .xxvi. ca.
¶ Thus endeth the table wyth the Chap­ters of the fourth boke, and here fo­loweth the table of the fifth boke, whiche contayneth .xxxiii. Chapters.

¶ The table of the fyfth boke.

  • IN the fyrst Chapiter of the fifth booke Bochas wryteth agaynst them that delyte in beautye and semelynesse, callynge to purpose howe a man borne in Tuscan, whiche ex­celled in beautye and fayrenesse: and for he woulde nat geue occasion to other to sinne, disfigured his visage and bodye, with ma­nye a greuous wounde and spotte, with a Lenuoy.
  • Howe the two bretherne Seleuchus and Antiochus eche of them desirynge to excell other, fyll at discorde, and so ended in mischefe. The seconde chap.
  • Howe the noble Queene Laodomya was slayne in the Temple, and of the ven­geaūce that was take vpon hym that slew her. The thyrde chapter.
  • Howe Cleomenes kynge of Macedone was slayne with his wife and chyldren. The fourth chapter.
  • Of kynge Nero, Cornely and Hany­bal. The fyfth Chapter.
  • Of the duke zantipas that was cast in­to the sea. The sixt chapter.
  • Howe Marcus Regulus of his frewyll dyed for the common weale: wyth a Len­uoy. The seuenth chapter.
  • Howe Tholome kyng of Egypte called Philopater slewe hys father and mother, and his wife, and how he spent his tyme in lecherye, and of his mischeuous ende. The eyght Chapter.
  • Howe Brithomarus and Viridoma­rus dukes of Fraunce, after great battay­les were by Romaynes slayne. The .ix. ca.
  • Howe Syphax the kynge of Numedy was taken and how he died in prison. The tenth Chapter.
  • Howe Nabyn hauyng no tytell of right but by tyranny, toke on hym to be kyng of Macedone, and howe he was slayne. The eleuenth chapter.
  • Bochas reherseth the mortall warres that hathe been betwene the Romaynes and Affricans. The. twelth cap.
  • How king Perseus was by the Romai­nes outrayed and after take. The .xiii. cap.
  • Howe the people of Achaia wyth theyr chefe citie called Cori [...]the, by Romaynes was distroyed. The fourtene chapter.
  • Howe the great Antiochus vsyng riote and vicious liuynge, by Marcus Actilius was outrayed and dyed sodayulye, with a Lenuoy. The fiftene chapter.
  • Howe Jeronimus kynge of Cyracuse was slaine, and how Scipio Affrican that laboured for the common weale of Romai­nes was exiled by them, and so died. The sixtene chapter.
  • Howe Scipio Asyan lorde of Asye, that laboured euer for the common weale was at last murdred. The seuentene chap.
  • Howe duke Philopomenes was take, put in prison and after dranke poyson and so died. The eyghtene chapter.
  • Of the thyrd Scipion Nasica that euer wrought muche for the commonty, with a Lenuoy. The .xix. chapter
  • Howe duke Ha [...]ball after many victo­rious [Page] dedes slewe hym selfe with poyson: with a Lenuoy. The twenty chapter.
  • Howe Prusias kynge of Bith [...]ye that betrayed Hanibal woulde haue dish erited hys sonne and heyre, went a beggynge in strange landes. The .xxi. chapter.
  • Howe Perses of Macedone kyng, that empoysoned his brother was by Emilyus outrayed and dyed in pryson. The xxii. ca.
  • Howe Amonyus a prynce of Antioche, delytynge in pyllage and robberye with o­ther vicious lyuynge, sted in womans clo­thyng, after taken & slayne. The xxiii. cap.
  • Howe Andriscus of low byrth borne, ha­uyng no tytle became kinge of Macedone, was taken, & died in prison. The xxiiii. ca.
  • Howe Alisander Ballas kyng of Sur­ry for extorcion, pride, & vnkyndnes, dyed at mischefe: with a Lenuoy. The xxv. chap.
  • Bochas agaynst the rebellions and sedi­cions in Rome betwene Tribunes and the commons. The .xxvi. chapter.
  • Howe the wyfe of [...]asdrubal brent her selfe and her children. The .xxvii. chapter.
  • Of Machabeus Jonathas taken by the kyng of Surry. The xxviii. ca.
  • How Demetrius the seconde lost at the last his head. The .xxix. cha.
  • Howe zebenna kyng of Surry by intru­sion entrynge had a mischeuous endynge. The .xxx. Chapter.
  • How Bitynctus kyng of Auergnoyes, by the Romaynes was taken and died in prison. The .xxxi. chapter.
  • Howe the tyraunt Euergetes wedded quene Cleopatra, and howe he slewe her sonne, exiled hys wyfe, & wedded her dou­ghter. The .xxxii. chapter.
  • How Jugurtha by intrusion was king of Numidy, slew the ryghtfull heires, and howe he was after drowned hym selfe: with a Lenuoy. The .xxxiii. chap.
Thus endeth the table with the chap­ters of the fifth boke, and here folo­weth the table of the syxt boke, which contayneth seuentene chapters.
  • BOchas syttynge in his studye all alone wryteth a great processe, how Fortune like a monstruous ymage hauyng an C [...]hādes, ap­peared vnto him and spake, and Bochas vnto her: makynge betwene them manye great argumentes & reasons of Fortunes chaunces. Leaf .cxxxiiii.
  • In ye first chapter of the syxt boke, For­tune rehearseth her condicions vnto Bo­chas, she wynge hym howe she hath many one enhaunsed for a tyme, and anone after she hath them sodaynly ouerthrowen.
  • Howe Gayus Marius of lowe byrthe borne, came to hie estate, which blent with couetyse, after many great batayls dyed at mischefe. The seconde chap.
  • Howe kynge Mithridate abode seuen yere in wyldernesse, and had great tour­mentes bothe on sea and land, by hys blode brought to vttraunce, and howe he slewe hym selfe with a sworde: with a Lenuoye.
  • Howe Eucradites kyng of Sithie, was slayne by Demetrius, and after hys car­rayne cast to houndes. The .iiii. chapter.
  • Howe Herodes king of Parthoys war­red with the Romayns, whiche after hys sonne and heyre was slayne, made his ba­starde sonne kynge, that anone after slewe hys father. The fifth chapter.
  • Howe Fimbria a consull of Rome slew hym selfe. The syxt chapter.
  • Of Albinius that was slayne with sto­nes. The seuenth chapter.
  • Howe Adrian borne of lowe degre fal­slye vsurped to be kyng of Rome, whych wt his churles was after brent. The eyghte chapter.
  • Howe Sinthonius king of Trace y all coueited, all forwent, and died in pouerte. The .ix. chapter.
  • Bochas in briefe sentence maketh a dis­cription of the kyngdome of Trace, and pasleth ouer lyghtlye vnto the accomplish­ment of hys boke. The tenth chapter.
  • Howe after manye great conquestes of duke Pompey, there beganne great warre betwene hym and Julius, and how there were thre hundred thousande slayne, and at the laste the head of Pompey smyt of: with a Lenuoy. The .xi. chapter.
  • Howe the noble Julius Cesar brent the vessel of Tholome, sloughe Achyllas, that woulde haue murdred hym, and after hys great victoryes, he hym selfe was slayne wyth bodkyns by Brutus Cassius. The twelfth chapter.
  • Howe y last Scipion cōsulere of Rome, for he woulde not lyue in seruage of Ju­lius, [Page] roue hym selfe to the hearte: wyth a Lenuoye. The thirtene chapter.
  • How Octauian succeded next, and how the murdrers of Julius dyed at mischefe. The fourtene chapter.
  • Howe Tullius was two tymes exiled, and at last slaine by Pompilius. The fyf­tene chapter.
  • A chapter agayne ianglers and diffa­mers of rethorike. The sixtene chap.
  • Howe Sextus warred agayne Tri­umuir, and of the death of great Anthony and Cleopatras. The seuententh chap.
Thus endeth the table wyth the Chap­ters of the syxte boke▪ and here folo­weth the table of the seuenth boke, which contayneth xi. chapters.
  • OF Antony sonne & heire to the great Antony, and of Cesarius, Julia, A­grippa, Cassius, and Galbus. The fyrst chapter.
  • How the tyraunt Herodes slew his wyfe and children and afterwarde hym selfe di­ed at michefe: with a Lenuoy. The ii. chap.
  • Of Antipas exiled by Octauian, and of Archelaus sonne of Herodes the seconde. The thyrde Chapter.
  • Of the strife betwene Calligula, Tibe­rius and Messalyne. The thirde chap.
  • Of the moste vicious and cruell tyrant Nero that slew Peter and Paule, and last of all hym selfe: with a Lenuoy. The fyfth Chapter.
  • How Eleazarus a Jewe borne, for ex­torcion and robbery was brought into pri­son and there ended. The syxe chapt.
  • Howe the heade of Galba was smitten of, fylled full of golde, and offred at the se­pulture of Nero. The seuenth chapter.
  • How Occho and Vitellius for glotony, lechery, ribaudy, and tyrannye, ended mis­cheuously. The eyght chapter.
  • Bochas complayneth agayne the foule vyce of glotony. The nynth chap.
  • A chapter diseriuyng the golden worlde, that is to saye, whan temperaunce had the gouernaunce: with a Lenuoy. The x. chap.
  • How the kinred of Jacob was distroied, Christ borne & crucified, Jerusalē distroy­ed: and xi. hundred .M. slayne by sworde, hungre, fyre, & pestilence. The xi. chapter.
Thus endeth the table with the chap­ters of y seuenth boke, and here fo­loweth the table of the eyghte boke, whiche contayneth xxvii. chapters.

The table of the eyght boke.

  • THe Prologne of the translatour.
  • The first chapter of the eyght boke expoundeth howe the proude tyraunt Domician emperour of Rome, and manye other emperours & nobles for their great outrage and wretchednesse ended mische­uouslye.
  • Howe Gallyen sonne of Valerian was slayne. The seconde chapter.
  • How Quintilius was murdred by wo­men. The thyrde chapter.
  • Of Aurelian in Denmarke borne. The fourth chapter.
  • Howe Probus discomfited the Romay­nes, and after was slayne. The fyfth chap.
  • Howe Clarus and hys two sonnes were mischeued. The syxt chapter.
  • How the noble Queene zenobia fought with Aurelian, and howe she was take. The seuenth chapter.
  • Howe Galerius oppressed martyrs and christes fayth, and of his mischeuous end. The eyght chapter.
  • How Maxence the emperour enemye to Christes fayth, ended mischeuouslye. The nynth chapter.
  • How Lucinius enemy to Christes faith was slayne. The tenth chapter.
  • Of Constantine and Crispus, and how Dalmacius was slayne. The eleuenth ca.
  • Of the brethren Constaunce and Con­stancius and how Magnencius & Decius murdred them selues. The twelfth chapter
  • Howe Constantine baptised by Silue­ster, was cured of his lepry. The xiii. chap.
  • Howe Julian Apostata enemy to Chri­stes fayth, by false illusion was chosen em­peroure and after slayne. The fourtenth Chapter.
  • Howe the emperour Valence slewe ho­lye hermites, shed thristen bloude, distoy­ed churches, and after was brent him selfe. The fiftene chapter.
  • Of kyng Amasicius and howe Gracian and Theodosy distroyed temples of false goddes, and howe Gracian was putte to [Page] flyght. The syxtene chapter.
  • A goodly processe howe Theodosy with prayer and small numbre gate the victorye of a great numbre. The seuentene chapter.
  • How knightes and gentle men chase A­lerike kyng, and howe the commons chase Radagassus which had a mischeuous end. The eyghtene chapter.
  • Howe Ruffyn chamberlayne with The­odosy vsurped to be Emperour, & for hys presumpsion condempned by Honorius, and hys head smyt of. The xix. chapter.
  • Howe Stillicon and other of lyke con­dicion ended mischeuously. The xx. chap.
  • A goodly processe of ye aucthor why Rome was destroyed, & for the same or like cause were diuers other realmes distroyed. The xxi. Chapter.
  • Howe the kynges Trabstila and B [...] ­surus wer brought vnto subiection & made tributaries to Theodorike, The xxii. cha.
  • Howe Philitheus loste his kingdome. The xxiii. Chapter.
  • Howe Symacke and Boes hys sonne in law were banished, and after iudged to die. The .xxiiii. chapter.
  • Of kynge Arthur and hys conquestes, and of the commodities of Englande, and how he was disceyued by his cosyn Mor­drede: with a Lenuoy. The xxv. chapter.
  • An exclamacion of Bochas agayne fol­kes y be vnkinde to theyr kynred. Fo .xvii.
  • Of Gisiuill kyng of Venandre & of thre other kinges: and how they were distroy­ed. The xxvi. chapter.
  • Howe Albuinus was murdred by hys wife Rosamonde, and howe she for her ab­hominable dealynge and vicious lyfe was slayne also. The xxvii. chapter.
Thus endeth the table with the chap­ters of the eight boke, and here folo­weth the table of the nynth boke, whyche contayneth .xxxviii. chapters.

¶ The table of the nynth boke.

  • THe first chapter of the ninth boke she­weth, howe the Emperour Mauri­cius his wyfe and his chyldren were slayne at Calcidony.
  • Of Machomet the false prophet, and howe he beynge dronke, was deuoured a­monge swyne. The seconde chapter.
  • Howe Brounchylde a quene of Fraunce slewe her kynne, and brought the lande in deuision, & after was hanged & hewen in smal peces: with a Lenuoy. The iii. chap.
  • Bochas marueyleth of the great malice and cruelte of Brunchylde. Fol .xxviii.
  • Howe Eraclius the Emperour sustay­ned heresy, fyll into dropsye and sickenesse vncurable, and so died. The fourth chapter.
  • Howe Constantine the sonne of Eracli­us for supportyng of errours and heresies was murdred in a stewe by hys owne kni­ghtes. The fyfth chapter.
  • Howe Gisulphus was slayne, and howe hys wife for her vicious liuyng ended mis­cheuously. The syxt chapter.
  • Of Justinian ye false extorcioner, which was exiled by Patrician, and after that his nose cut fro his head, and both his eyen put out. The seuenth chapter.
  • Howe Philip the emperour dyed at mis­chefe. The eyght chapter.
  • Howe Anastase was compelled to leaue the empire and lyue in pouerte. The ix. cap.
  • How the head of Lupus kyng of Lom­bardy was smyt of by Grymbaldus. The tenth chapter.
  • Howe the head of Alexius was smyt of by Compe [...]on. The eleuenth chapter.
  • How Ariperton was drowned with his rychesse. The twelfth chapter.
  • Howe Dedyre by pope Andrian & Char­les of Fraunce was put to flight and dyed at mischefe. The. The .xiii. chapter.
  • Of Pope John a woman, and howe she was put downe▪ The fourtenth Chapter.
  • Bochas counsayleth prynces to remem­bre on Arnolde. Fol .xxvi.
  • Of Charles of Lorayne that was con­founded for hungre. The fyftene Chapter.
  • Howe kynge Salamon whilom kynge of Hungry was put to flyght. The .xvi. ca.
  • How Petro kyng of Hungry was slaine. The .xvii. chapter.
  • Howe Diogenes the emperour was ta­ken, and hys eyen put out. The .xviii. chap.
  • How Robert duke of Normandy fought with the turkes, and shoulde haue had the crowne of Jerusalem, and how he dyed at mischefe. The .xix. Chapter.
  • How Joceline prince of Rages for pride, slouth, and lecherye, died in pouerte. The twenty chapter.
  • [Page]Howe the Emperoure Andronicus slewe all that were of the noble bloude, cheryshed vicious people, and howe he was after han­ged: with a Lenuoy. The .xxi. chapter.
  • Of Jsacius made blynde, and take at mischefe. The .xxii. chapter.
  • Of Henry the eldest sonne of Frederike the second, mischeued by hys father. The. xxiii chapter.
  • A commendacion of Bochas to suche as be kinde to their kinsfolke. Fol .xxx.
  • How Manfroye kyng of Poile was slaine The .xxiiii. chapter.
  • Howe Ences kinge of Sardiny dyed in pryson. The .xxv. chapter.
  • Of a nother Frederike that was slaine by the iudgement of his brother. The .xxvi. chap­ter.
  • How Manimettus and Argones dyed at mischefe. The .xxvii. chapter.
  • How Charles king of Jerusalem and Ci­cyle for his auarice and aduoutrye dyed at mischefe: with a Lenuoy. The .xxviii. chapter
  • Of Hugoline Erle of Pise slayne in prison The .xxix. Chapter.
  • Howe Pope Boniface the eyght was take by the lynage of Columpnes, and howe he eate his handes and died in prison. The thyr­ty chapter.
  • How the order of templers was founded, and Jaques with other of the order brente. The xxxi. Chapter.
  • Bochas commendeth Theodorus wyth other two Philosophers for their great paci­ence. The .xxxii. Chapter.
  • Bochas here commendeth humilite. Folli .xxxiii.
  • Howe Philippe le Bele of Fraunce was slayne with a wilde Bore, and of his three sonnes and theyr wedding. The .xxxiii. chapt.
  • How duke Gaulter of Florence for his ti­ranny, lecherye, and couetyse, ended in mis­chefe. The .xxxiiii. chapter.
  • Of Philipot Cathenoise born of low birth which came to high estate, and after how she her sonne and her doughter were brent. The xxxv. chapter.
  • How kynge Sauses was slayne by hys cosyn, which was brother to the kinge of Ar­ragon. The .xxxvi. chapter.
  • Howe Lewes kynge of Jerusalem [...]nd Cicyle was put downe. The .xxxvii. chapter.
  • Howe kynge John of Fraunce was take prysoner at Poyters by prynce Edward, and brought into England: with a Lenuoy. The xxxviii. chapter.
  • Bochas reherseth howe Fortune hathe made many hygh estates vnwarelye discend Fol .xxxviii.
  • The wordes of the translatoure where­with he endeth hys boke.
❧Thus endeth the table with the chapters of the ninth and last boke, and here after foloweth the prologue of the translatour.

The Prologue of John Lydgate monke of Burye, translatoure of this worke.

HE that sumtime did his diligēce,
The boke of Bochas, in Frēch to trā ­slate
Out of latin, he called was Laurēce:
The tyme remembred truely and the date
Is whē kyng John through his mortal fate
Was prisoner brought vnto this region,
Than he began first on this translation.
In his Prologue affirmyng of reason,
That artifirers hauyng exercise,
May chaunge and turne by good discresion
Shapes and formes, & newly them deuise:
Make and vnmake in many a sundry wise,
As Potters whiche to that craft entende
Breake and renue their vessels to amende.
Thus men of craft may of due right
That ben inuentife and haue experience,
Fantasien in their inwarde syght
Deuices newe through their excellence.
Expert masters haue therto licence
Fro good to better, for to chaunge a thinge:
And semblably these clarkes in writyng.
Thing that was made of auctors thē beforn
They may of newe finde and fantasy:
Out of olde chaffe trye out full fayre corne,
Make it more freshe and iusty to the eye.
Their subtile witte their labour apply,
With their colours agreable of hue,
To make olde thinges for to seme newe.
Afore prouided that no presumption
In their chaunging haue none aucthoritie,
And that mekenes haue domination
Ouer false Enuy, that she not present be:
But that their grounde wt perfite charitie
Conueyed be to their aduauntage,
Truely roted amidde their courage.
Thus Laurence from him enuy excluded,
Thoughe to forne him translated was this boke
Within him self▪ be fully hath cōcluded
Vpon that labour when he cast his loke,
He woulde amend it: but first he forsoke
Presumption, and toke him to mekenes,
In his prologue as he dothe expresse.
In whiche processe lyke as I am learned,
He in his tyme, of cunnyng did excel:
In their language he was requyred
Of estates whiche gan him compell,
(Among them holde of rethorike the well)
To vnderfong this labour: they him prey
And their request lowly he did obey.
Full well he felt the labour was notable,
The fall of nobles with euery circumstance
From their lordships dreadful and vnstable
Howe they fyll, to put in remembraunce:
Therin to shewe Fortunes variaunce,
That other might as in a myrrour se,
In worldly worship may no surety be.
By example, as there is no Rose
Sprigyng in gardē but there be sum thorne
Nether fayrer blossom thē nature list dispose
Thē mai their beuty as mē hath sene toforn
With bitter winds be frō the braūches born
Ne none so high in his estate contune
Fle frō the wayting & daunger of Fortune.
Wherfore Bochas for a memoriall,
Consideryng the great dignities
Of worldly princes and their power royall,
Great emperours, estates, and degrees,
How Fortune hath cast them frō their sees,
Namely such as coulde them self not know,
Full sodainly to make them lye full lowe.
This the sayd aucthour wise & ryght sadde,
Hath gadered out wyth Rethorykes swete,
In diuers bokes, whiche that he hath radde
Of philosophers and an olde Poete,
And busied him bothe in colde and heate
Out to compile and write as he fonde
The fall of nobles in many diuers londe.
Vpon whose boke in his translation,
The saied Laurence rehearceth in certaine:
And holdeth this in his opinion,
Suche language as open is and playne
Is more accepted (as it is often sene)
Thē straunge termes which be not vnder­stād
Namely to folkes, y dwel vpō the lād.
He sayeth also that his entencion
Is to amende, correct, and declare,
Not to condemne of no presumption,
But to report playnely, and not to spare
Thinges touched shortly, of the story bare,
Vnder a style briefe and compendious,
[Page]Them to prolonge when they ben vertuous.
For a story whiche is not playnely tolde,
But construed vnder wordes fewe,
For lacke of truth where they be new or old
Men by report can not the matter shew.
These okes great be not downe yhewe
Fyrste at a stroke, but by long processe:
Ne long storyes a worde may not expresse.
For whiche playnly thys noble translatour
Cast of purpose these storyes for to wryte,
And for to do his diligent laboure
As they fyll in order to endite,
That men after myght them selfe delyte
The aduentures so as they fyll in dede,
Of sundry prynces to beholde and reade.
And haue a maner contemplacion
That things al where fortune may attaine,
Be transitorye of condicion:
For she of kynde is hasty and sodayne,
Contrarious her course for to restrayne,
Of wilfulnesse she is variable,
Whē men most trust, thē is she most chaūge­able.
And for her chaunge, and for her doublenes
This Bochas biddeth y men should enclyne
To set their hartes voyde of vnstablenes,
Vpon thynges whyche that ben diuyne,
Where as ioye perpetually dothe shyne
Wythout eclipsyng, in that heauenly see
Voyde of all cloudes of mutabilitye.
Among these Bochas writeth of swetenes,
And of matters that lusty ben and glade,
And sometyme he wryteth of wretchednes,
And how fortune can floure and after fade:
Ioye vnder cloude, prosperitie in the shade,
Enterchangyng of euery maner thyng
Which y men fele here, in this world [...]uyng.
And in hys processe who so lyst beholde,
Of all estates of hygh and lowe degre,
And of prynces bothe yong and olde
Fro the beginning which in this world haue be
Lykyng in ioye or in aduersitye,
Fro the fyrst descended he adowne
Of theyr fortune by playne description.
Of the most noble he ne spareth none,
But setteth them in order cereously:
Begynneth at Idā, & endeth at kyng John,
Theyr auentures rehearsyng by and by.
Of this kyng John concludyng finally,
How y he was for all his great puissaunce,
Of price Edward take prysoner in Fraūce
Thys sayd Bochas aucthour of thys boke,
Whiche of stories had great intelligence,
Some he left and some also he toke:
Suche as he left was of no negligence,
Supposyng and demyng of credence,
All the storyes whythe that commune be
Other knowe them also as well as he.
And lest that folke would haue had disdain
Thynges cōmune for to put in memory,
Therfore Bochas thought it were but vain:
And to his name more encrease of glory
To remember no cronicle ne historye,
But tho that were for their merite notable,
Aucthorised famous and commendable.
In his labour hauyng a delite
That the matter greatly myght auayle,
Do pleasaunce to the commen profite
Of noble storyes to make a rehearsail,
Shewig a myrror how al ye world shal fail
And how Fortune for all their hye renowne
Hath vpon Prynces iurisdiction.
The whiche thyng in full sober wyse
He considered in his inwarde intent:
In his reason began to aduertyse,
Seyng of Prynces the blynde entent,
With worldly worshyp how y they be blent
As they shoulde euer their estates kepe,
And as Fortune were ylayed to slepe.
And as they had of Fortune the maistry,
Her enchaunted wyth their pocions
By some newe craft of sorcery,
Or by power of incantacions:
To make stable their dominations
Wyth yron chaynes, for to last longe,
Locked to rockes wyth adamantes strong.
Supposyng in their surquedy,
Their estates should be durable.
But Fortune can frowardly deny,
And plainly preue that they be changeable,
And fro prynces when they be most stable
Fortune full fast for all their great estate,
Vnwarely chaūgeth & saith to thē che [...]
For lordes some in their magnificence,
Of royal power, set of God tyght nought:
[Page]They not conceyue his long pacience,
Neither peyse his power in their thought:
But in their hartes if it were well sought
How he is meke, and pacient to abide,
They would of reason their pompe lay aside
But for their tariyng and their negligence,
That they to him will not returne agayne,
Yet of his mercy and his beneuolence
Without vengeaunce, rigour, or disdayne
As a meke father, in all his workes playne
Assayeth his yarde of castigation,
So for to bryng them to correction.
Some he can full fatherly chastice
Where he loueth, by punishynge of sickenes:
And of his mercy in many anotherwise,
By aduersitie of worldely distres.
And he not asketh for his kindenes
Of high ne lowe, who so can aduert,
None other treasure but a mans hart.
And as mine aucthour list to comprehende,
This John Bochas by great aucthoritie,
It is almesse to correct and amende
The vycious folke of euery comminaltie:
And by examples whiche that notable be
Of Prynces olde that sumtime did fall,
The lower people from their erroure call.
By small whelpes as sume clarkes write,
Chastised is the mighty fierce Lyon:
And whan y swerd of vengeaunce doth bite
Vpon prynces for their transgression,
The common people in their opinion
For very dread, tremble, adowne, & quake,
And by suche meanes their vyces forsake.
And suche also as haue ben defouled
In their vyces by longe continuaunce,
Or in their synnes lye ymouled,
By good exāples may cum good repentaūce
Who so repenteth the lord will him auaūce,
And him accept in lowe and high estate,
The meke preserue, & punyshe the obstinate.
This sayd matter touchyng such thinges,
Mine aucthor Bochas herafter shal declare
By exāple of prynces and of mighty kyngs,
What was their fine, & not the truth spare.
And though my style naked [...]e, and bare
In Rethorike, myne aucthour to ensue,
Yet fro the truth shall I not re [...]we.
But on the substaunce by good leiser abyde,
After mine aucthor lyke as I may attaine:
And for a part set eloquence aside,
And in this boke bewepen and complayne
The assault of Fortune, froward & sodayn:
How she ou princes hath kyd her vēgeaūce,
And of her malice, the deadly mortal chaūce
But O, alas, who shalbe my muse?
Or vnto whom shall I for helpe call?
Calliope my callyng wyll refuse,
And on Pernaso her worthy susters all:
They will their suger temper with no gall,
For their swetenes and lusty freshe singyng
Ful farre discordeth frō matter cōplayning.
My master Chaucer wt his fresh cōmedies
Is deade alas, chiefe Poete of Brytayne,
That sumtime made ful piteous tragedies,
The fall of Prynces he did also complayne,
As he that was of makyng souerayne:
Whō al this lande of ryght ought prefarre,
Sith of our langage he was y lode starre.
Senec in Rome through his hye prudence,
Wrote Tragedies of great moralitie:
And Tullius chiefe well of eloquence,
Made in his tyme many a fresh ditty:
Fraunces Petra [...]eke of Florence that city [...]
Made a boke (as I can aduert)
Of two Fortunes, wilfull and peruert.
And agaynst bothe wrote the remedies:
In bokes twayne made a diuision,
Among rehearsyng many freshe stories.
The first boke is thus conueyed doun:
A dialoge betwene gladnes and reason,
The second by me well to witnes,
Made betwene reason & worldly heauines.
The matter is wondets delectable,
Though wo with ioye haue an entresse:
And John Bochas wrot maters lamētable
The fall of princes where he dothe expresse,
How for their ioye they fyl in great distresse
All these writers through their hye renown
Great worshyp did vnto their nacion.
And semblably as I haue tolde toforne,
My ma [...]et Chaucer did his busines:
And in his daies hath him so well borne,
Out of out tonge to auoyde al rudenes:
And to reforine it wt colours of swetenes.
Wherfore let vs geue him laude and glory,
And put his name wt Poetes in memory.
Of whose labour to make mencion,
Where of right he shoulde commended be,
In youthe he made a translation
Of a boke whiche called is Trophe
In Lumbard tonge, as men may read & se:
And in our vulgare long or that he dyed,
Gaue it to name of Troylus & Creseyde.
Whiche for to reade louers them delite,
They haue therin so great deuocion:
And this Poete also him selfe to quite,
Of Boecius boke the consolation
Made in his tyme an olde translation:
And to his sonne that called was Lowys
He made a treatise ful noble & of great prise.
Vpon that labour in full notable forme,
Set them in order with their diuisions,
Mens wittes to accomply she and conforme
To vnderstande by full expert reasons,
By domifiyng of sundry mancions:
The rote out sought at the ascendent,
To forne or he gaue any iudgement.
He wrote also full many a day agone,
Dant in English, him selfe so doth expresse:
The piteous story of Ceix and Alcion:
And the death also of Blaunche the duches:
And notably did his businesse
By great auise his wittes to dispose,
To translate the Romaynt of the Rose.
Thus in vertue he set all his entent,
Idlenes and vyces for to fle:
Of fowles also he wrote the parliament,
Therin remembring of royall Eagles thre,
Howe in their choyse they felt aduersitye,
To fore nature profered the battayle,
Eche for his partye if it woulde auayle.
He did also his diligence and payne
In our vulgare to translate, and endite
Or [...]gene vpon the Maudelayn:
And of the Lyona boke he did write.
Of Annelida and of false Arcite,
He made a complaynt dolefull and piteous,
And of the broche which that Vulcanus
At Thebes wrought, full diuers of nature.
Ouide writeth: who so therof had a syght,
For high desire he shoulde not endure
But he it had, neuer be glad ne light:
And if he had it once in his myght,
Like as my master sayth & writeth in dede,
It to conserue he shoulde euer liue in dred
This poet wrote at the request of the quene
A legende of perfite holines,
Of good women to fynde out nyntene,
That did excell in bountie and fayrenesse:
But for his labour and his businesse
Was importable his wyttes to encomber,
In all this world to finde so great a nūber
He made the boke of Caunterbury tales
When the pylgryms rode on pilgrymage,
Through out Kent by hylles and by vales,
And the stories all tolde in their passage,
Endityng them full well in our language:
Some of knyghthode, & some of gentlenes,
And some of loue, and some of perfitenes,
And some also of great mortalitie,
Some of disport, cōcludyng great sentence:
In prose he wrote the tale of Mellebe,
And of his wife, that called was Prudence:
And of Grisildes perfite pacience:
And howe the monke of stories new & olde
Pyteous tragedies by the way tolde.
This sayd Poete my master in his dayes,
Made and compiled many a freshe dittie,
Complaynts, ballades, roūdels, vyrelayes
Full delectable to heare and to se:
For whiche men should of ryght and equitie
Syth he in englysh in making was the best
Pray vnto god, to geue his soule good rest.
And these Poetes that I make of mencion,
Were by olde tyme had in great deyntye:
With kynges and princes in euery regyon
Greatly preferred, after their degre.
For lordes had pleasaunce for to se,
To study among, and cast their lokes
At good leasure vpon wyse bokes.
For in the tyme of Cesar Julius,
When the triumphe he wan in Rome towne
He enter woulde the schole of Tullius,
And heare his lecture of great affection:
And notwithstāding his cōquest & renowne
Vnto bokes he gaue great attendaunce,
And in stories had great ioye & pleasaunce.
Also in this lande I dare affyrme a thinge:
There is a prynce full mighty of puissaunre,
A kynges sonne, and vncle to the kynge
Henry the syxt whiche nowe is in Fraunce,
[Page]And is lieutenaunt, & hath the gouernaunce
Of our Brytayne, through whose discrecion
He hath conserued vs in this region:
Duryng his time of full high prudence
Peace and quiet han susteined ryght:
That notwithstādyng his noble prouidēce,
He is in dede proued a good knyght,
Eyed as Argus with reason and forsight,
Of high lecture: I dare of him tell,
And truely deme that he dothe excell
In vnderstandyng, all other of his age.
And hath ioye with clarkes to commune,
And no man is more expert in langage,
Stable in study, alway he dothe contune,
Settyng aside all chaunces of fortune:
And where he loueth (if I shall not tary)
withouten cause, full lothe he is to vary.
Duke of Glocester men this prynce call.
And not withstādyng his estate & dignitie,
His courage neuer dothe appall
To study in bokes of antiquitie:
Therin he hath so great felicitie,
Vertuously him selfe to occupye,
Of vycious slouthe, he hath the maistry.
And with his prudence and his manhede
Truthe to susteyne, he fauour setteth aside:
And holy churche mainteynyng in dede,
That in this lande no herityke dare abide.
A very support, vpholde, and also gyde:
Spareth none, but maketh him selfe stronge
To punish all tho that do the church wrong.
Thus is he manly and also wise,
Chosen of God to be his owne knyght,
And of one thinge, he hath a singuler prise,
That heritike dare none come in his sight:
In Christes faith he stādeth so hole vpright
Of holy churche defence and champion,
To chastice all tho that do therto treason.
And to do pleasaunce to our Lorde Jesu,
He studieth euer to haue intelligence.
Readyng of bokes, bringeth in vertue,
Vyces excludyng, wt slouth and negligence,
Maketh a Prince to haue experience
To knowe him selfe in many soundry wise,
Where he trespaceth his erroure to chastice.
And among bokes, playnely this is the case,
This sayed prynce considered of reason
The noble boke of this John Bochas
Was accordyng in hys opinion
Of great noblesse and reputation:
And vnto princes greatly necessary
To geue exāple how this worlde doth vary.
And for these causes as in his entent
To shew the vntrust of all worldly thinge,
He gaue to me in commaundement
(As him semed it was ryght well sittyng)
That I shoulde after my small cunnyng
This boke translate, him to do pleasaunce:
To shew the chaung of worldly variaunce.
And with support of his magnificence,
Vnder the wynges of his correction,
Though that I lacke of eloquence,
I shall procede in this translation:
Fro me auoydyng all presumption,
Lowly submittyng euery houre and space,
My rude language to my lordes grace.
And as I haue one thing well in minde,
He bade I shoulde in especiall
Folow myne aucthour, written as I fynde
And for no fauoure be not partiall.
Thus I meane, to speake in generall:
And none estate singulerly depraue,
But the sentence of mine aucthour saue.
All this conceiued. I gan my style dresse,
Thought I would in my matter procede:
And for the matter obreyed heauinesse,
Of freshe colours I toke no maner hede.
But my processe playnely for to lede:
As me semed it was to me most mete,
To set apart Rethorykes swete.
Ditties of mournyng and complaynyng
Do not pertayne vnto Caliope,
Neither to the muses that on Pernaso syng,
Whiche be remēbred in numbers thrise thre:
And vnto matters of aduersitie
With their sugred aureat lycoure,
They be not willyng to do fauoure.
But of disdayne me settyng farre a backe,
To hinder me of that I woulde endite,
Hauyng no colours but only whyte & blake
To the tragedies whiche I shall write:
And for I can my selfe no better aquyte,
Vnder the support of all that shall it reade
Vpon Bochas ryght thus I will procede.

¶ Howe Adam and Eue for their Ino­bedience were put out of Paradise, and liued in sorowe and wo, they and their ofspringe: And howe they standynge naked before Bo­chas, desired hym to put their wofull fall fyrste in remem­braunce.


¶ The fyrste Chapiter.

WHan John Bocas considered had & sought
The woful fal of migh­ty conquerours,
A remembrance entred in his thought,
Rekenyng the numbre, of our predecessours:
And fyrste to mynde came the progenitours
Of all man kynde, farre yrun in age,
And toward hym holdyng their passage.
And as hym thought in his in warde syght,
In theyr cōming full pitiously tremblynge,
Quaking for age, and for lacke of myght,
Their feblenesse by signes out shewing:
And one of them first at his commyng,
Our father Adam sodenly abrayde,
And to myne auctour euen thus he saide:
Cosyn Bochas I wol well that thou lere
That art so busy to serche ouer all,
Ofinfortune the maner to enquere,
Her sodayne chaunge turning as a ball
Of [...]thly princes from their estate rial,
It is most syttyng or we a sondre twyn,
At vs twayne the processe to begyn.
Consider first the lorde in his auyse,
Whan he vs made vnto his likenesse:
He put vs both in to paradise,
[Page]There to haue lyued in parfite stablenesse:
Till the Serpent dyd his businesse,
Of false enuy, to make vs lese our grace,
Perpetually to exyle vs fro that place.
And whā Jhon Bochas naked thē behelde,
Without the hand, fourmed of nature,
Of slime of the erth in Damascene the felde
God made them aboue eche creature.
And for they should perpetually endure,
By discrecion for a prerogatife,
He endued them wyth a soule of lyfe.
Parfite of age as men of .xxx. yere:
Put them after in possession
Of Paradise, a place most entere,
And of delites a chosen mansion:
Where Adam made an imposion
To fysh and to foule, and to these beastes al,
Of very reason what men should them call.
Out of a rybbe whyle that Adam dyd slepe,
Eue was drawe ful fayre of her visage,
Al sodenly, or that he toke kepe:
After to hym ioyned in mariage
For his disport, and his auantage,
So as the lorde first wyues dyd ordeyne
Eyther for helpe, or encrease of peyne.
God vnto them gaue the soueraintie
Of Paradyse, and dominacion,
A place fulfilled of all felicitye,
The frutes be all in their subiection,
Saue that of one was made excepcion:
Whyche god forbad (the Byble can deuyse)
That they should it touche in no wyse.
All delices in that heuenly place
God gaue to them, and put in their kepyng,
To vse them euery houre and space
To theyr most ease, as was to them lyking:
Blomes, blossomes theyr fayrnes ay keping
And the frutes alwaye of one freshnesse,
For witer stormes myght do thē no duresse.
The soyle enbrouded full of sa [...]er floures,
There wedes wycke had none interesse:
For god & kynde wyth freshnesse of colours
And wt their tapites & motles of gladnesse,
Had made yt place habūdant wt at swetnes,
And fresh Flora whych is of floures quene,
Her lyuerey made of a perpetūal grene.
The trees raught almost to the heuen,
Whyche cast about a ful pleasaunt shade,
That storme, ne rayne, thūdre, wynde, ne le­uine,
No power had their leues for to fade:
For euer they were ylyke freshe and glade:
And whan they lyst they might se
In middes of ye garden of life y holesume tre
Whyche vertue had ayenst all malady,
Folke to preserue in youth in their freshnes:
Who eate thereof should neuer dye,
But lyue euer in ioy and gladnes:
And neyther fele trouble nor sickenesse,
But in that place haue alwaye hertes ease,
And suffisaunce of all y myght them please.
Euer endure and neuer fal in age:
For whyche it was called the tre of lyfe.
But whan Adam was fallen in dotage,
And ayenst god began to holde stryfe,
Throuh excitynge of her that was his wyfe,
And wylfully yaue her to assent
To breke the precepte & the cōmaundement
Of god the lord, through wylful negligence
To approche the tre that bare the name
The tre of connyng and also of science:
For of the frute who that dyd attame
He sothly should (the Byble sayth the same)
Of good & euyll haue cōnyng in his thought,
wher as toforne of euyl he knew right noght
Thus had they first of euyll, experience:
Which as toforne they knew no wickednes.
Presumpcion and inobedience
Brought thē out of ioye into wretchednesse.
For afore time (mine author bereth witnes)
Helth & goodnes were called very lyfe,
Euyl named sicknes, first rote of our strife.
In Paradyse myne auctour sayth certeyne,
The tyuers were so Orient and so fyne,
Lyke quicsiluer boylyng vp they pleyen:
And in their ronnyng very chrystallyne:
Whych from a wel heauenly and deuyne
In their vpspryngyng & aueylyng downe,
Of al pleasaunce gaue so swete a sowne
That it woulde rauysh a mans corage.
Whose baumy colour endewed al the place:
And wt the freshnes & cours of hys passage,
The holesome ayre hertes dyd embrace:
There was such plēty of plesaūce & of grace,
That euery spice, herbe, grayne, and rote,
Were foāden growyng in that gardein sote,
And there was a delectable soun
Of songe of brydes in their ermony:
The aire was clene from all corrupcion,
For therin ingendred was no malady.
There was all mirth, there was al melody,
Of ioy and blysse souerayne suffisaunce,
With al that may to hertes do pleasaunce.
And of clerkes lyke as it is tolde,
In their bokes as they determine,
Thoe in his sphere the sunne manifolde,
Was of more vertue & more clere dyd shyne
Than it doth nowe in his mighty lyne.
The mone whyter with her beames clere,
And euery sterre bryghter dyd appere.
Euery thynge was there more vertuous
Than they be nowe, who can behold and se,
For in yt place there was nothing noyous,
But perfit gladnes knit vnto surete,
Perpetuell peace ioy and prosperite:
And in that blisse to make more strong,
To their comfort god spake to them among
Of his goodnesse he bare them companye:
Shewed vnto them hys gracious presence,
Angels also their state to magnifye,
Amonge, to serue them, dyd their dilygence,
In diuers offices with humble reuerence:
And nature wrought for the nones
Of ryall purpill and ryche stones,
Tissues of gold and other ornamentes
For to enuiron their bodily beaute:
Shaping to them suche maner garnimētes
As angels vse in their felicite.
Naked they were fayrest on to se,
For whyle they stode in state of innocence,
They had of clothynge none experience.
And of their blysse to make mencion,
And of their ioyes that were celestiall,
There may be made no comparison
Of no ioy which is temporal,
Which should haue be lasting and immortal
Euer to haue lyued in mirth and gladnesse,
Saue ageyn reason of very wilfulnesse
They banished thē self out of that blisful life
Whan Adam gaue credence to a snake,
And wretchedly gan trust on his wife,
Whiche gan the apple of the serpent take,
And plesantly did a present make
Vnto Adam, as she that fyrst began
Deth to deuyse, and poyson vnto man.
But as their ioy was incomparable,
Greatest their lordship of all erthly thinge,
So their fall was to them importable.
For he that was all other surmountyng,
In Paradise reignynge as a kinge,
Was it not a dedelye mortall payne,
Fro thilke place to haue a fall sodayne▪
For thilke sorow surmounteth al sorowe
Which next foloweth felicite:
No wo more greuous at euen ne at morow,
As is in dede sodeyne aduersite,
Which commeth vnwarely after prosperite.
Ne nothinge may more hertes disauaunce,
Than of old ioy newe remembraunce.
Taketh ensample of Adam and of Eue,
Maketh of them a myrroure in your mynd,
Whether of reason it dyd thē greatly greue
For to be put, alas, so ferre behynde?
Out of that blysse they and all their kynde,
Chaungyng the state of immortalite
And became subget to deth and pouerte.
Their sodeyn change & vnware mischefe,
And their vnhappy transmutacion
It was to them full vncouth and vnlefe
For to depart fro thilke manlion,
That was so ful of delectacion:
Fro such delites sodenly to go
Into this worlde whych is so ful of wo.
There is delite, and here sorowe and care,
There is ioy, and here is heuinesse,
There is plenty, and here is euyll fare,
There is helth, and here is great sickenes:
Here troble ay mēged with vnsure gladnes,
There is ay blysse and eternall glory,
And here is mirth, but false and transitory.
Alas, howe they were blinded in their sight
Through vaynglory and false ambicion.
They went wronge they loked not a ryght:
False couetyse was theyr confucion,
Wherthrough they lost the dominacion
Of Paradise, and was both poore & thrall,
Their fredome lost and became mortal.
Vnto god they wold haue be semblable,
Lyke vnto hym good and yuell to know:
And in their trust for they were not stable,
Frō their estate they were brought ful low.
[Page]And thus the sede was fyrst ysowe,
The rote planted of disobeysaūce,
Which brought out linage to sorowe & mis­chaūce.
Thus came in fyrst through inobedience,
As by a gate, pouertye and nede:
And at their backe foloweth indigence,
Sorowe, sicknes, malady, and drede,
Exile, banyshynge, and seruitude in dede:
Whych caused man longe to contune
Vnder the lordshyp and daūger of fortune.
Thus came in also malady, and deth,
To dispoyle mankynde of hys beautye:
Long syckenesse, and pestilence that slethe
By soden stroke, whych ye no man may flye.
For vnto Adam and hys posteritie
Deth was annexed by successyon,
For hys offence, and so conueyed doun
For man to man in euery maner age.
For who so list know, sin brought in shame,
Man to be feble and faynt in hys passage.
And by processe to wexe halte and lame:
Vnto Adam thys was an vncouth game,
To be constrayned in sych apparayle
In bareyne erth to seke hys vitayle.
In hungre and thurst here he had hys lyfe,
Wyth swete and labour and tribulacions:
Endured also many a mortal styfe
Of hote and colde, ryght stronge passyons
Of elementes sodayne mutacions,
Wynde, hayle and rayne, fearful fallyng
And vnware strokes of thūder & lyghtning.
Thei stode also in domage and in drede
Of cruel beastes, Tygres, and lyons,
And of wylde beres who so taketh hede,
And in great feare of these fel dragons:
The assaut of dragons and of Scorpions.
For thilke beastes, that toforne were milde,
After their sinnyng ful ragy were & wylde.
And where thei stode first in sikernes
Of ioye and blisse, euer in one lastinge:
Out of their rest thei fil in vnsurenesse,
In sorowe, & sighing, & dolours cōplaining.
And fro their iyen continually weping,
The bitter teares day by day distil,
In this desert, for wanting of their wil.
And wheder were thei sorowful or faine,
Long tyme after their desolacion,
Whan they foūd Abell their own son slayne
By cruel Cayne to his confusion▪
The same Cayne as made is mencyon,
After that time wilde was & vagabound,
Til blind Lameth yafe hī his dethes woūd.
Adam nor Eue afore that ylke time
Had neuer sene no feest funeral.
It was of chaunge to them a new prime,
For to behold a thyng disnatural:
Brethern of one wombe by hatered eternal,
The one of hate so far hym selfe deuide,
Of false malice to be an homicyde.
And it was routh whan that they stode
For to behold their son al deed,
Layd on the grond, and bathed in his blod,
And al the soile where he lay was rede:
That whan Adam and Eue toke hede
It was to them ful great aduersite,
The newe slaughter to behold and se.
And euer among their sighes harde & sore,
The bitter weping and sorowes to auaūce,
Or they were ware their heeres woxe hore,
And age began theyr beautie disauaunce.
Their youth also by ful great displesaunce,
Began to appal or they it could aspye,
By cruel constreynt and force of malady.
And of youth fallen was their flour,
By the processe of many hundred yeres:
And by the duresse of great labour,
They wexe vnlusty, & vgly of their cheres.
Of age and deth these ben the daungers,
To say checkmate in nature it is couth,
Vnto beautie and grene lusty youth.
For whan the yeres fully passed be
Of flouring age, lastynge a season,
By processe (at eye men may se)
Beaute declineth, his blossoms fal adoune,
And littel and littel by succession
Cōmeth croked elde, vnwarely in crepynge,
With his potent ful porely manassing.
Thus to our father that called was Adam
Of creatures fayrest of al feire,
After great trauaile by processe in he came,
And began vnwarely ascend vpō the steyre
With his potent, and cast him to repeyre
With Atropose which afore shal gone,
For to attwin his liues threde anone.
And in Ebron was made his sepulture:
Ther after was bilded a mighty great cyte,
By whose story and recorde of nature
I may conclude who list to se,
That neuer man had liberte
Sithen that Adam our lord gan disobey,
Ayenst deth, but that he must obey.
In cōplaining mine autor Jhon Bochas
Ful pitiously, in hys aduertence,
Bewepeth, wayleth, and oft sayeth alas,
In apple there was so great offence,
That for a taste of inobedience
Adam, alas, should haue so great a fal,
So sodainely to die and be mortal.
Which example ought inough suffise,
In al this world though there were no mo:
To exemplify to folkes that ben wise,
How this world is a throwfare ful of wo.
Lyke false Fortune y turneth to and fro,
To make folkes whā they most clerely shine
In their estates, vnwarely to decline.
For though that thei their hedes lift a lofte,
Highe as Phebus shineth in his sphere,
Thinke them selfe (as it falleth oft)
Their renown recheth aboue ye starres clere
And howe they surmount euery sphere,
Their trust corrupt hath a sodayne fal,
For to declare you they ben mortal.
O worldly folke aduert and yene entent,
What vengeaūce and what punicion
God shal take in his iugement
For your trespas and your transgression,
Which breke his preceptes ayen al reason:
Ye haue forgotten how wt his precious blod
You for to saue he died vpon the Roode.
For if Adam for his disobeisaunce
Was by the lorde as him list ordaine,
Made first, & formed with euery circūstāce,
Of creatures to be most soueraine,
If that he was enbraced in the chaine
Of seruitude, with children ouersene,
what shal I than of other folkes sein [...]
That liue here in this deserte of sorowe▪
In this exise, of plesance desolate▪
And in this worlde both euin and morowe
Of hertely ioye stonte disconsolate▪
All destitute and also infortunate,
And forpossed with wo and worldly troble,
Euer variable and ful of chaunges double.
Ye not entende but to false couetise,
To fraude, berret, and extorcion:
Agayne god in many dyuers wise,
Againe your neighbour by false collusion,
To do hym wronge and oppression:
And worst of al, ye retche not by syn
To slee your soule, worldly good to wyn.
And if it fal your power to be but smal
To accomplyshe your auarice in dede,
Your sinful wyl assenteth ouer al,
Thing to desire of which ye maye not spede:
And thus false lust doth your bridel lede,
Trust in hauing so sore you doth assayle,
Falsly afered the world should you fayle.
And if god benigne and debonayre
With his yarde of castigacion
Chastiseth you but easely and faire,
Ye grudge against his correction:
Nothing auerting in your discrecion,
Howe god not bad vs (who can take hede)
For to striue ne wrastel in dede.
Neither our strength, ne our might to appli
Vpon the beast monstruous and sauage,
which called is the Chimere of Licy,
Specially whan he is in hys rage:
which monstre had to his auantage
Heed of a lion as bokes determine,
Wombe of a gote, and taile serpentyne,
Which was outrayed of Bellyferon,
As olde poetes make mencion:
Neither god bad not that men should gon
In to Colchos to conquere with Jason
The Flees of gold, which in that region
With firie bulles of mettal made of bras,
And by a dragon ful straitly kept was.
God bad vs not our contreys for to lete,
To vnderfonge things that ben impossible:
The Mynotaur for to slee in Crete,
Halfe man halfe bul if it be credible:
Which was a monster hateful and odible.
Sūtime brought forth in bokes ye may se
By Mynos wife, called Pasyphae.
Whose storie techeth, if thou list to here,
This vgly beast and monstruous
Through Ariadne the kings doughter dere
Was sumtime slayne by duke Theseus,
[Page]Within a caue made by Dedalus.
God biddeth vs plainely for his sake,
So great emprise for to vndertake.
He byddeth vs not to be so recheles
In perilous dedes that bene marciall,
Vs to ieoparde, as dyd Hercules,
Which by the bidding in especiall
Of Euristeus the mighty kyng royall:
Lordes of Athēs to make their honor shine,
Learned of armes the famous discipline.
Of these preceptes if we haue a sight,
And remembred of his highe bounte,
He vs cōmaundeth thinges that be lyght,
For to accomplishe with all humilite:
From our corage to auoyde all vanite,
And from our hertes to exclude ydelnesse
And this false chāge of al worldly gladnes.
For vnto a man that perfite is and stable
(By good reasō mine auctor doth wel preue)
There is nothing more faire ne agreable,
Than finally his vicious lyfe to leue.
On verye god rightfully to beleue:
Him loue & worship aboue al erthly thyngs
This passeth victory of Emperours & kin­ges.
The Lord biddeth also who so can discerne,
Of entere loue to do our labour
In this life here, so our life shal gouerne,
To father & mother that we do due honor,
And in their nede to do them socour:
And in all vertue our frendes to comfort,
And to our power in grace them supporte.
For in this world is nothing more perfite
Neither taccōplish thinge of more plesance,
Than a man for to haue delyte
In lytell good to haue suffisaunce:
And to be content in his gouernance,
Auoyde auarice, and thinke euer among
To his neighbour that he do no wronge.
Not to couet his goodes in no wise:
Him selfe gouerne like to his estate,
Not to excede, but flye and also dispise
All maner loue whych is disordinate:
Him selfe preserue from contecke & debate.
And specially to esche we it is good
Slaughter, & murdre, & sheding of bloude.
Flye from his syn, and hate for to lye:
O folde offences among haue repentaunce.
And to esche we all scorne and malory:
Ayenst vyces do almesse and penance.
And to haue most souerainly pleasaunce
To sewe the pathes of oure Lorde Jesu,
True examplayre of grace and vertue.
Which for our sake, and our redempcion,
And for our loue, was nayled on a tre:
Suffered payne and cruell passion,
And nothing asketh of high & lowe degre,
Recompensed ayenwarde for to be,
But that we set all holy our ententes
For to fulfil his commaundementes.
And of his grace here in this mortal lyfe,
As we precell of wysdome and reason,
And of his gift haue a prerogatife
Tofore all beastes by discrecion,
Therefore let vs of hole intencion
As we of reason, beastes ferre excede
Let vs be before thē in word, exāple, & dede.
Grounde our selfe first vpon humilite,
Our pompous eyen mekely to vnclose:
Enclyne our hartes & so conceiue and se,
All worldly welth shall fade as a rose:
And of meke hert let vs our selfe dispose
By this tragedy to haue knowledgynge
Of our mischefe howe rote and beginninge
Was the vice of inobedience,
Surquidy, and false disobeisaunce,
As myne anctour hath shewed in sentence.
Emprinteth it well in your remembraunce,
Be ware the serpent wyth disceiuance,
The flesh, the world, your enemies all thre,
Through their traynes ye nat disceiued be.
Your best shilde to make resistence
Ayenst their power, sothly is mekenes:
Your haburion most mighty of defence
The fendes power to venquish & oppresse,
It is to remembre deuoutly with lownes
Howe mekely Christe to pay our taunsum,
Suffred on crosse deth and passion.
Therby men may that prudent ben & wyse,
The ioyes clayme whych bene eternal:
And entre ayen into Paradise
Fro whens Adam by pryde had a fall.
To whych place aboue celestiall,
O Christ Jesu so brynge vs to that glory
Whyche by thy deth haddest the victory.


SOdeine departinge out of this feli­citie,
Into miserie and mortal heuinesse,
Vnware depriuynge out of prospe­ritye,
Chaunge of gladnes into wretchednes,
Longe languishynge in wo and bitternes,
Continuell sorow, dred, dole, & pestilence,
Were fyrst brought in by inobedience.
Adam and Eue lost their libertye,
Their fraunchise, and their blessednes:
Put in exyle and captiuitye
To lyue in wo, labour, and pensifnes,
Through false desire and pompous wilfulnes
To the serpent whan they gaue credence,
The lord mistrustyng through inobedience.
But O alas, wher as they were free,
Of ioy eternall stode in sekernes,
They were to blynde alas it was pitie
To leue their rest, and liue in wetines,
All their ofsprynge to brynge in dystresse,
Drawynge fro God hys due reuerence
Through false consentynge to inobedience.
Wherefore ye prynces auysely doth se
(As thys tragedye in maner bereth wytnesse)
Where as wanteth in any comonalte
Subiection, for lackynge of mekenes,
And wyth poore, pryde hath an enteresse:
There foloweth after through froward inso­lence,
Among the people false inobediēce.
And noble princes whych haue the souereinte
To gouerne the people in ryght wysenesse,
Lyke as ye cherishe them in peace & vnite,
Or frowardly distroy them or oppresse:
So ayenwarde their corages well dresse
Lowly to obeye to your magnificence,
Or disobey by inobedience.

Che .ii. Chapiter.

¶ Howe Nembroth bylt the tower of Baby­lon to saue him fro Noyes stode, whyche for his pryde was put fro his mag­nificence, and hys tower with so­dayne leuyn smytten downe.

MYne auctour Bochas lightly oueryode
The vengeaunces, & myscheues huge
Which y God toke with Noyes flode
Whan he sent an vniuersal deluge:
Ayenst whych there was no refuge,
Saue .viii. persons in that mortal wo
Whiche in a shyp were saued, and no mo.
Wherefore myn auctour lightly ouergoth,
Maketh of that age no special mencion,
But passeth ouer from Adam to Nembroth,
Consideryng howe in that deedly chaunce,
The lorde for syn toke so greate vengeaunce,
That by wryttynge of storyes, no victorye
Of highe ne lowe was left to memorye.
For there was laft cronicle none ne boke,
After, that made mencion
Of none auctour, who so lyst to loke:
For all was brought to destruction
By a deluge, wythout any excepcion.
For whych myne auctour trāsported his stile,
And of that tyme lyst nothynge compyle.
He founde no mater wheron he myght found,
Nor set his fote by none auctoritie,
Neyther no truth his purpose on to grounde,
Of olde wrytynge that he coude se:
For whych him thought of necessitie
The surplusage of all that tyme lete,
And after Adam with Nembroth for to mete.
And certes lyke as Bochas in hys boke
Remembreth first of Adam the story,
So next in order he the story toke
To speke of Nembroth, and his surquedye:
Whych here first (as bokes specifye)
After the flode his waues gan aswage,
Was made a lorde, to gouerne in that age.
For whan the flode began to decrece,
And God his vengeaunce gan to molifye,
Withdrawe his hand, the water tho gan cese [...]
Vpon the mounteynes high of Ermonye,
The shyp gan rest, the Byble can not lye.
And in that age called the seconde,
Lynage of man gan first to habounde.
To encrease ayen and to multiplye,
And by dyscent in bokes ye maye se
Specified the genelogye:
Howe that one Chus cosyn to Noe,
A man that tyme of greate auctorritie,
[Page]Vnto this Nembroth, the storye dothe assure
The father was as by ingendrure.
This Nembroth was mighty, large, & long,
Excelling other as of his stature,
Surquedous, hardy, and right stronge,
And in his time great labour might endure:
And in his force to much he dyd assure,
And yet was none on water ne on lande
Which durst his power presume to withstand.
And his noblesse more to magnify,
In worldly worship by reporte of his glorye,
He was called chefe prince of venery,
Desirous euer to haue the victorye
Of beastes wilde: to be put in memory,
And haue a price amonge these champions.
Tigres to daunt, eke boores and Lions,
There was no beast in wodes so sauage,
That durst ayenst him make resistence:
His furious yre so mortall was on rage:
The erth quoke for feare of his presence:
Tyll at the last in his aduertence,
As a prince deuoyed of all grace,
Ayenst god he began to compace.
He made a maner coniuracion
This frowarde Gyaunt, and a conspiracy,
Toke his counseyl by false collusion,
His might, his power, for to multiply:
And his estate for to glorifye,
Thought he woulde of his entent not fayle,
God, and heuen, proudly to assaile.
That namely God whiche gouerneth al,
He thought he woulde proudely take on hād,
Ayenst deluges if any come shall,
Of prouidence, plainely them withstande:
Him selfe to assure, & make a place on lande
That should him kepe, and be to a defence
Both ayenst god and waters violence.
And that they might accomplishe their intent,
Lyke their desire they did their labour:
Toke their counseil al by one assent,
Chose Nembroth their duke & gouernoure
Them to conuey, and do them socour:
To be their gyde to forne, as they were ware,
Towarde a countre called Sinear,
In compasse wise rounde about yclosed
With a great stode, named Eufrates:
Their strong foly whych they haue purposed,
For to fulfil they were not rechelesse,
This is to saye, they put them selfe in prese
So high a toure for to edifye,
whiche shoulde surmoūt aboue the sterry skie.
That they shoulde greued be nomore,
With no deluge brought to distruction:
Neither that no waters may thē greue sore,
This was the fine of their intencion.
And of that tower a mightie stronge dongion
Ayenst God and flodes themselfe to assure,
The hight and largenesse both of a measure.
Thus in Nembroth encrese began the name,
And in the peoples reputacion
Of golde, and richesse, he had so great a fame,
They called him God in their opinion:
Most eurous, most mighty of renowne.
The worlde also hole vnder his obeisaunce.
As God and lord he toke the gouernance.
Vnder whose might the people gan procede,
He as a lord hauinge inspection,
Percinge the bowelles of the earth in dede,
To make mighty their foundacion:
And of false glorye and vaine false ambicion,
This proude Nembroth in his appetite,
To se them worche hath ful great delite.
His ioy was and his inwarde gladnesse,
To beholde so great a company
Persen the erth by so great depenesse,
To make the ground stronge by masonry,
The worke vpwarde for to fortifye
With many a stone, huge & large of weight,
They haue it reysed vp into y ayre on height.
And finally, by mediacion
Of this great werke, Nēbroth was famous,
Takinge in hert great consolacion
That by report he was so glorious:
Of so great might, and port so pompous,
That he was so myghty, ryche and stronge,
To rease a towre so high, so large, and longe.
For to this daye touchynge the great myghte
Of this towre whych Babell men it cal,
Men fro ferre may haue thereof a sight,
It surmounteth other toures all:
Of whych werke, thus it is befal,
Of serpentes and many a great dragon,
It is nowe called chefe habitacion.
That no man dare as they it se
[Page v]For wycked eyre, and for corrupcion,
By a great space and in a great countre,
Approche no nere ye meruaylous dongion:
So venemous was that mansion
And so horible, that no man dare approche,
Lyke to a mountayne builded on a roche.
And as men say that had thereto repaire,
This tower attaineth vnto the sterres clere,
And transcendeth the region of the eire,
The stones and the siment were made of such mater
And the ioyninge so stedfast & entier,
Though fyre and water both dyd it assaile,
Litle or nought their power shoulde auayle.
It was made so mighty to endure,
So well assured by disposicion,
That in this worlde no liuynge creature
Sawe neuer none like in comparison,
Whose reryng vp was chefe occasion,
And the ryches of the masonrye
Were through Nēbroth of pride & surquedy.
Demed proudely as in his auise,
He transcended all other in noblesse:
Thought him selfe most myghty and wyse,
Felowe to God as in lykenes.
But God that can all worldly pryde oppresse
And make princes eclypsen in their glory,
Suche as trust in thinges transitory,
The same lorde of his eternall myghte,
Thys tower whyche Nembroth list to edifye,
He made wyth thunder and leuyn lighte,
Thereof to fall a full greate partie:
The boystous wyndes and the ragy skye,
And goddes power on that other syde,
Began thus abate a percell of his pryde.
And in discent, and fallynge of the stones,
Of the werkemen ful many a man was deed,
And oppressed, their backe broken and bones,
The masonry wyth their bloude was reed:
Yet proude Nēbroth that of all this was hed,
With al these signes his lorde list not knowe,
For whiche his pomp was after broughte ful­lowe
But in hys errour procedeth furth of newe,
Thought he would get him selfe a name.
Of melancoly can chaunge loke and hewe,
And began also to attempte and atame
For to encrease and magnify hys fame,
A newe tower to edify ayen,
Lyke as God had ben blynde & nothing seen.
He would haue raught vp to the sterres seuen
By thassēt of them that can him first coūsail,
Robbed god, and from him raught the heuen:
But who presumeth the lorde aboue tassayle,
It were no reason that he shoulde auayle.
Prynces may well ayenst hym cry loude,
But his power may clipse wyth no cloude.
For in the myddes of his great emprises
This proude Nembroth makynge his masōs
For to compas and cast their deuises,
Geometries in their diuisions,
But God that hath his aspections
Seynge thententes of euery erthly man,
As he that is most mighty, and best can
Ayenst their malice make resistence,
Their worldly power, their dominacion,
Of his vengeable and most magnificence,
He can chastice, and ouer whelme downe
The pride of princes in euery region:
By ensample of Nembroth as ye shal here,
Whose pompe raught aboue the sterres clere.
For whan his workemen stode at auantage,
And most were busy to hys intencion,
And before that time spake al on langage,
All sodenly by transmutacion,
There was of tounges made a diuision:
That in their workynge as they can obrayde▪
No man wyst what that other sayde.
And it is lyke accordynge wyth reason,
So as chaunge was made of their langages,
So of their hertes was made diuision,
Both of their wyll, and of their corrages:
And in ascendynge of their workynge stages,
Ther was such chan̄ge of broder vnto broder
Like straungers none knew thentēt of other.
Myne auctour troweth that this aduersitie
Was for their gilt caused by vègaunce,
Or els God of tyght and equitie
Disposed hath in his ordinaunce,
To be amonge them so great a variaunce,
That through ye world they shuld thēselfe de­uide
And fro Nembroth disceuer, & not abide.
They gan anone among thēselfe disdeyne
To accept this Nembroth for their kynge,
And amonge forsoth there was not twayne,
One of another that had clere knowynge,
Ne of their speche knewe the plaine meanyng:
[Page]For whyche y coūtre of Senaar they forsoke,
And eche of them a sondry countrey toke.
They departed and made no lenger space,
Folowyng the fortune of their diuision:
And begā to chese thē a newe dwellinge place
In the parties of many a region.
And thus Nembroth was priued & put doun,
And of Babel the mighty famous toure,
He was called no lenger possessour.
For ayenst the pryde of this Nembroth
Froward fortune gan her cours to vary,
And God also was in maner worth,
Of surquedie that he was so contrary:
And for the place was wilde and solitarye
Of thys Senaar, and furious sauage.
Nembroth gan to feble & fal in great age.
And yet some bokes of him specifye,
He waxte froward of hys condicion,
And was fyrst grounde of ydolatrie,
And fynder vp of false religion:
Causynge people to haue an opinion
Goddes to worshyp in Panimes wyse,
Founder of rightes, and of false sacrifyce.
Towarde Perce chese hys dwellynge place,
The whych countre is in the Orient,
That hys lordshyp shuld stretch a great space
He bounded hym into the Occident:
For Perce lande hath hys extent
Toward the parties of the Reed see.
And thys lande Perce who so lyst to se
As bokes olde remembre & put in mynde,
How that Perce costeth inuiron
Septemtrion, and the great Inde,
And many another myghtye region:
Where Nembroth had first dominacion.
Whyche extendeth as bokes specifye,
Out of Mede into Germanye.
But in lordeshippes as myne auctour sayeth,
Without that vertue be their true guyde,
In them there is suraūce none ne fayeth.
Thynge that passeth may no whyle abyde.
Wherefore Bochas in a spyte of pryde,
And in rebukynge of al folkes proude,
Makyng his cōplaynt cryeth to thē ful loude.

The .iii. Chapiter.

¶ An exclamaciō of Bochas ayenst al proude men, shewynge howe God maye them and their pryde abate whan hym best lyste, by manye dyuers meanes and wayes punyshe and chaslyce.

ME al proud, most ryal in your floures,
Whych that most trust to reygne long,
Dresseth vp youre roches and youre towres,
And ayenst God make youre selfe stronge:
And let your power proudly vnderfonge,
Your selfe wyth pryde for to magnifye,
Ayenst the heuin to holde the champartye:
Buyld vp your castles, reyse them vp tyghte,
Of Adamantes wyth yron stronge ybounde,
With square stones, large and huge of hyght,
Reyse vp your walles most mighty & profoūd
And shit your dūgeōs wt mighty chenes roūd,
Lette men of armes (who euer wake or slepe)
Nyght and daye your watche so straitly kepe
As god ne man in your opinions
Your fortresses myghte not assayle,
Your Castels, ne your stronge dungeons,
Stuffed wyth men & plenty of vytayle,
Lyke to stande euer and neuer for to fayle:
As god not might ayenst your false puissaūce.
Whā euer hym lyst of right to do vengeaunce.
Set afore youre eyen that ben blynd
The monstruous werke of greate Babilone:
The pride of Nēbroth that was put behinde,
Maugre his mighte, & his towre smyt doun:
For al the craft of werkemen and mason
Distroied was with a sodayne leuin,
To auenge hys pryde sent a downe fro heuin.
For though your strengthes so assured be
That none engyne may thereto attayne,
Gunne ne Bumberdes by no subtilte,
Shot of arowblast, ne touche of dundayne,
Yet god that is lord and souerayne
Which lyche desertes can both spyl & saue,
May confounde it with an erth quaue.
Myne auctour asketh what castel or towre
May be so strōge made in any wyse,
But that by meane of some false traytoure,
Or by some way that he can deuyse,
It may be lost, or solde for couetise:
And deliuered for al the stronge bondes,
[Page vi]Into the power of their enemies handes,
Or by some other sodayne aduenture.
Castels & cities and many a riche towne,
Haue be lost, they might not them assure
For to resist ayenst false trayson:
Sume haue be lost also by rebellion
And all these meanes the truth to begyn,
Is but punishynge whyche god sent for syn.
God hath a thousande handes to chastyse,
A thousande dartes of punicion,
A thousande bowes made in diuers wyse,
I thousande arowblastes bent in hys dōgeō,
Ordeyned echeon for castigacion:
But where he findeth mekenes & repentaūce,
Mercy is maistresse of his ordinaunce.
Ye that bene wyse considereth howe the rote
Of vices al is pride, ye may well se:
Pulleth him downe, and putteth vnderfote,
And taketh your counceyl of humilitie:
And if ye list to stande in surete,
Byldeth in hert for more sekernesse
A towre of vertues, grounded on mekenesse.
Whose masonry is of no costage,
Of vertues grounde and soueraine:
Blastes of wyndes and of weders rage,
Neyther no tempest hasty ne sodayne,
Pompe ne blast, though they do their payne,
This vertue mekenesse for to vndermyne,
They be to feble to make her to enclyne.
For where mekenesse is grounded verily,
Though he somtime fele aduersite,
He passeth ouer, and suffreth paciently,
And venquisheth all maner enmytie.
The assaute also and the contrariosite
Of infortune and of worldly trouble,
And of victory conquereth a Palme double.
And tho mekenes amiddes the flodes flowe
Of worldly mischefe and persecucion,
Whyle pacience in her bote doth rowe
Tho froward waues tosse her vp and downe,
A calme shall folowe of consolacion:
Whan sterne windes their blastes haue laid lowe
The name of mekenesse shal shewe & be well knowe:
She may be troubled, but ouercome neuer:
And for a tyme she may suffre werre,
But at the ende she vanquisheth euer,
On land and see whether she be nere or ferre,
To the hau [...] of life she was the lode sterre,
I take recorde of the humilite,
Of Mary so blessed mote she be.
The rote of mekenes floureth vp so faire
Whose beaute dredeth no tribulacions,
In somer ne wynter her floures not apayre,
And her frute lasteth in all maner seasons:
Pryde may assayle with his bostful sownes,
And finally for her encrease of glory,
With humblenes she wynneth the victorye.

¶ Lenuoye.

Ofolkes al that this tragedies rede,
Haueth to me kenes amonge youre ad­uertence
Of proude Nembroth also taketh hede,
How that he fel from his magnificence,
Onely for he by sturdy violence,
List of malice the mighty lorde assayle.
But in such case what myght his pride auayli
Noble princes which this worlde do possede,
Ye that be famous of wysdome and science,
And haue so many subiectes that you drede,
In gouernaunce vnder your excellence:
Let your power with mekenes so dispence,
That false pride oppresse not the poreyle,
Which to your nobles so muche may auayle.
Pride of Nembroth dyd the brydel lede,
Which him conuayed with great insolence:
Pride apertayneth nothynge to manhede,
Saue in armes to shewe his presence:
Wherfore honour, laude, and reuerence
Be to mekenes, that hath the gouernaile
Of al vertues, which man may most auayle.

The .iiii. Chapter.

How many yeres was betwixt Adam and Nembroth, and bitwixte Nembroth and Cadmus, & of other kinges.

THese olde poetes wt their sawes swete,
Ful couertly in their verses do fayne
How old Saturne was sūtimne king of Crete,
And of custome dyd hys busy payne,
And of his goodnes list to ordayne
That he shoulde as of his nature
Echon deuoure, as by his ingendrue.
In this mater shortly to soiorne,
[Page]To vnderstande of poetes the processe,
They meane plainly that this word Saturne
Doth in it selfe nothinge but Time expresse:
And Philosophers bere also wytnes,
That as in tune forth euery thing is broght,
So time ayenward bryngeth al to nought.
Clerkes also recorde in their wrytinge
Vnder support as I dare reherse,
How that fyre wasteth euery thynge:
And yron herd doth neshe thynges perce.
If ought abideth y they may not transuerce,
Yet cōmeth time and by continuaunce,
It al consumeth with his sharpe launce.
His sharpe toth of consumpcion
In stil wise doth his busy cure
For to aneantise in conclusion
Al thynge that is brought forth by nature.
By long abydyng ye may thē not assure:
For olde thynges deuoured men may se,
Ferre out of mynde, as they neuer had be.
Who can or maye remembre in any wise,
The glorious prowesse of these princes olde▪
Or the noblesse of Philosophers wyse▪
Or of poetes their feyning to vnfolde▪
Processe of yeres, alas (as I you tolde)
Deuoured hath their name & their noblesse,
Derked their renoune by foryetfulnesse.
Thus of their names is left no memory,
Tyme wt his rasour hath done so greate ven­geaunce,
Shauen away the honor & glory
Of many noble, ful mighty of puissaunce:
That there is left nowe no remembraunce
Of princes, poetes, ne Philosophers.
For whan y deth nailed them in their cofers
Cam time vpon, and by processe of yeres,
Their memory hath dusked & their minde:
And reuolucion of the heuenly spheres,
By oft turnyng, their glory hath left behind.
Thus euery thinge whiche subget is to kind,
Is in this life without more auauntage,
wasted with time and processe of long age.
In the first time from Adam to Noe
Prudent listers which list in bokes to rede,
Founde of fortune no mutabilite:
Neither of her chaūge they toke the no hede.
But from Adam there rekened ben in dede
Vnto Nembroth by turnynge of the heuen
A thousand yeres .vii. hundred and eleuen.
In which space who that considereth wel,
There ben no thinges writen in especial
Digne of memory, ne spoken of neuer a del,
which that ben notable ne historial:
But fro the time Nembroth had a fal,
Vnto Cadmus the yeres to conteine,
They were a .M. iiii. hundred and fourtene.
Touchinge this Cadmus as Bochas list en­dite,
It is rehersed b [...] Rethoriens
Howe one Vexores in bokes as they write,
was made first a kinge of the Egipciens,
whan Philosophers and nigromanciens
Began first taboūde their renoune tauaūce,
Nachor y time hauyng y gouernaūce
Of the Ebrues, as made is mencion.
After Nembroth by true rehersayle,
Thre hundred yere by computacion,
Foure score & .xii. which time it is no fayle
That Vexores begā warres & great bataile
Of volunt ayenst straunge nacions,
And to conquere Cityes, borowes, & townes
By force only, without title of ryght:
He wan al Egipt to encrease his name,
But for al that who lyst to haue a sight,
There is nowe left no reporte of his fame,
Saue Bochas wryteth howe he first dyd at­tame
Hys mighty conquest of intencion,
That the glory and the high renoune
Ascriued were vnto his worthynes:
And the residue and surplusage
Of golde & treasure of good and of richesse,
Turne should to common auauntage
Of al hys people, that euery maner age
Report mighte it was to him more nerre
Aboue singularite, his cōmon to prefer.
Also Tanais of Cithie fyrst kynge,
Whan Sarneke was duke and souerayne
Ouer the Iewes, by recorde of writynge
Two hundred yere .xl. also and twaine
After Nēbroth, this Tanais gan ordayne
A mighty power & a stronge battaile,
Them of Cithye proudly to assayle.
Conqueryng from thens vnto the yle
Called Ponte, in a ful cruel wyse:
And though his lordship lasted but a whyle
All that he wan was for couetise.
And as Bochas doth of thys folke deuise,
Proces of yeres for al their great puissaunce,
[Page vii]Hath put their names out of remembraunce.
Zoroastes also for all his great myght
Of Bactrians kyng and possessoure,
Lorde of Trace, and a full myghty knyght,
Of all his dedes and his great laboure,
Of his conquest, ne of his great honoure,
Is nothing left of writyng vs beforne,
Saue yt he lough the houre yt he was borne.
He began full sone for to be mery
With sodaine laughter at his natiuitie:
And worthy Ninus, that was kyng of Assiry
Expowned his laughter to great felicitie.
The which Ninus wan many a fayre coūtry,
And day by day his power gan encrease,
For which he would not of his cōquest cease.
For this is the maner of these conquerours,
Whan they haue had in armes victory,
Do their might, their paine, & their labours
With newe emprises to be put in memory:
For their courage surprised wt vayne glorye,
Can not be styll content in their estate,
Till their Parady say to them checkmate.
Fortune of armes (in bokes ye may read)
With a false laughter on folkes dothe smyle:
She frowarde euer ere they can take hede,
Of nature will falsely them begyle:
Conquest by warre lasteth but a while,
For who by death dothe sturdy vyolence,
God will by death his vengeaunce recōpence.
This worthy Ninus gan mightely preuayle,
Ayenst zoroastes of whom I spake tofore:
For he with hym fought last in battayle,
In whiche Ninus hath him so well ybore
That zoroastes hath the felde ylore.
And he was aucthour as bokes specify
Of false Magyke, and Nygromancy.
He fonde the nature of euery element,
Their kindely workyng, & their mutacions:
The course of starres, and of the firmamente,
Their influences, their dispositions,
Their aspectes and their coniunctions:
Wrote in pillers deuised of metall,
The seuen sciences called liberall.
Also in pillers of Brycke full harde ybake,
There were vp set, longe, large and huge,
He began also write them and vndertake,
To make them sure as for their refuge:
That they shoulde by floude, ne deluge
Defaced ben as of their scripture,
But in their grauyng perpetuall endure.
But though zoroastes these craftes out fond,
Full little ornought it myght to him auayle:
And though he were a good knight of his hōd,
He was of Ninus slayne in batrayle,
Lost his realme, and royal apparayl:
And Ninus dyed within a litle throw,
But in what wise, the story is not knowe.
Also Moydes kyng of Sodome,
I fynde of him no memory by writyng,
Saue in a story as men may reade and se,
He and his people were freell in liuynge:
But he that was of Assiriens kyng,
Through false Fortune that can so oft vary
To Babylon made them tributary.
We haue sene and redde also,
The vengeaunce and the pestilence
Done in Egypt to kyng Pharao:
For that he made a maner resistence
Ayenst God, of wilfull insolence.
Therfore his people vpon a day and he,
Were drent echone in middes of the see.
The people of God ledde by Moyses,
Without trouble of any maner wawe,
Went echone in quiet and in peas:
And Pharao as he gan after drawe
Them to pursue, by a full mortall lawe,
In his pursuite forward was atteynt,
Among the waues with his host and dreynt.
In Exodi ben these mencions,
Ceriouslye put in remembraunce.
The. xii, plages and persecutions
In Egypt done, by full great vengeaunce,
And of their treasour & their great substaūce
They were dispoyled by Ebrues (it is tolde)
Of their vessels, of siluer, and of golde.
Out of Egypt full great treasure they ladde,
Such as thē thought might most thē auaile:
And Pharao I fynde that he hadde
Two hundred chares enarmed for battayle,
Them to pursue and proudly to assayle:
And fifty thousande in whom was no lacke
Of men of armes, folowyng on horsebacke.
Two .C. thousande of fotemen him aboute,
And of Egypt all his chyualrye:
[Page]And Pharao with all his great route,
Began Israel pursue of enuye.
But for his pryde and false surquedy,
He and his people were drowned euerychone
Of all his number was left not one.
His froward hart ayenst God indurate,
Fulfilled of malyce and obstinacy,
And in his purpose proude and obstinate:
These foule vyces or he coulde them espye
From his glory and his regally,
He was doun (though he tofore was crouned)
Amidde the sea among his people drowned.

Of Ogiges kyng of Thebes.

ANother Prynce called Ogygus,
Kyng of Thebes as bokes determine:
And foūder was, thus Bochas telleth vs
Of a citye called Eleusyne.
Which stout in Grece, whose power to decline
There fyll a floude in that regyoun
Whiche ouerflowed many a royall towne.
And in Cithia that did most dammage,
Tyme of Iacob patriarke notable:
And this deluge with his waues rage
Slewe lordes many, & prynces honourable.
For dame Fortune is so deceiuable,
That she sumtime when she list disdayne,
Can folke assayle with a floude sodaine.
This floude also where it did assayle,
Wasted cornes bothe croppe and rote:
Caused also scarcitie of vytayle,
That many a man felt full vnsote.
The pore not wyst where to finde bote,
For their prynces supprised were with drede,
Through lacke of vitayle in that great nede.

Of a great floude in Tessaly.

ANother floude there was in Tessaly,
In the time when kyng Amphyon
Helde the ceptre and the regaly
Vpon Thebes, the mighty stronge towne,
Beside the kyngdome of Babilon:
The same time this floude fell doubtles,
When Gods people was ledde by Moses.
With this floude the land had ben deuoured
Of Tessaly, and of all that region,
But on Pernaso the people were succored,
And on the Roches that stode enuyron,
Founde there refuge to their saluation
And great succour, til the floudes rage
Began to decrease, withdrawe and asswage.
In olde stories also ye may se,
Whan Cecrops had first possession
Of Athens, the myghty stronge citye,
An heate there fell in that region,
By influence that descendeth downe
From the bodies aboue celestiall,
Whiche likely was for to deuoure all.
And this heate engendred with the sonne,
In diuers countreys both in length & breade
Hath his course so mightely begone,
That many folke fell in great dreade:
Ryuers, welles, who so list take hede
Consumed were and dryed vp echone,
The heat called the enbracyng of Pheton.

The .v. Chapter.

☞ Of goodly Isis wife to Apys kyng of Argyue, slayne by his brother Dyffeus.

WE haue read in stories here toforne,
How that Isis to Egypt toke her flyght
Out of Crete, the true daughter borne,
Of Promotheus, a full manly knyght:
And Isis in euery mans syght
So freshe, so goodly, wedded by her lyue,
To worthy Apys that was king of Argyue.
The whiche Isis excellent of beauty,
After tyme her father was ygraue,
She was put for more suretye
With her vncle that shoulde kepe and saue
This sayd ma [...]de y no man should her haue:
And her vncle (in Ouide ye may se)
Like as he wrote▪ was called Epymethe.
And flourynge vp in her tender age
This sayd Isis so pleasaunt was and mete,
Of semelines, of loke, and vysage,
That Iupiter the mighty kynge of Crete,
Was enuyronned with her for to mete:
And she excited of feminitie,
Enclined her hart vnto his deitie.
And for she was of her entent so clene,
Obeiyng hun in most lowly wise,
Of Argiuois he made her to be quene
Because that she was smit in couetise,
Ayenst Argus a warre she gan deuise,
And for he was vnweldy of his age,
Her to wt stand he found none aduauntage.
But yet Fortune gan vpon her frowne,
And kyng Argus through his subtiltye,
With his counsaile so prudently gan rowne,
That she was take by full great crueltie:
And her souldiours were also made to flye,
And by Argus, there gayned no raunsome,
She fettred was and put in strong pryson.
But her sonne God Mercurius,
Right freshe, ryght lusty, & full of hardines,
And of his earthly ioye so glorious,
Ayenst Argus gan his power dresse:
And so intirely did his busines,
That Argus was slaine in conclusion,
And after Isis deliuered fro pryson.
Of her sleyghtes afterwarde not feynt,
She toke a shyp and to Egypt went:
In which shyp there was a cowe depeynt.
And Theores whom Iupiter also sent,
Is gone with her bothe of one entent,
To ioyne a mariage after anone ryght
Betwene her & Apys, a prynce full of myght.
She was ryght wise aboue other creatures,
Secrete of cunnyng, well expert in science.
She taught first letters and fygures
To Egyptians, by playne experience:
Gaue them cunnyng and intelligence
To tyll the lande, taught the labourers
To sowe their graine, & multiply by peres.
And in Egypt her fame and her renowne
Began day by day, wext her worthines,
Holde of cunnyng and of reputation
By signe shewed not onely in princesse.
But she was holde among them a Goddesse:
And with worshyps whiche were diuyne,
And sacrifices to her they did enclyne.
But to declare playnly at a worde,
In middes of all her great prosperitie,
Mighty Apis her husband and her lorde,
Prince of Egypt and lorde of that country,
Sonne of Iupiter and of Niobe,
Whiche Niobe by long discendyng
The daughter was of Phoroneus y kyng.
And Phoroneus first the lawe founde
To whiche all Crete stande vnder obeysaūce
And the statutes of that myghty londe
Were ystablished by his ordinaunce.
But for to write the vnhappy chaunce
Of kynge Apys that is remembred,
He slayne was: and pyteously dismembred.
By his brother called Tyffeus,
Sumwhat of hatred, but more for couetise:
For Tyffeus was onely desitous
To reioyce in full mortall wise,
The mighty kingdom as ye haue herd deuise,
Of Argiuois to haue possession,
Preferred by murder and false succession.
And when that Isis foūde her lorde so deade,
Of entent that he were magnified:
First of wisdome she gan take hede,
Ordeyned a meane that he were deified
High among Goddes to be stellified:
In Egypt temples made to be stalled,
And God Serapis, after he was called.

The .vi. Chapter.

¶ Of Grysiton that his membres eate for honger.

WHat shall I write of case horrible
Of Grisiton, wt hōger so cōstrayned
That his life was to him self odible
In Thessaly wt indigence payned,
And pyteously his fame was disteyned
When he solde his daughter in seruage,
Liriope whiche was but yong of age.
By exchaunge of God to puruey thē vytayle,
Of very nede, he was so wo begon:
He had nothing y might his thirst auayle,
Ne staūch his hōger, but gnawyng on a bone
Wherfore he ate his membres one by one,
A prynce, alas, was it not great pitie,
To se him dye in suche aduersitie▪
We had also read full many a day tofore,
The great banishment and persecution
Of Argiuois: how kyng Gelanor [...]
Was cruelly put from his region,
And his lieges of indignacion
In his place they set one Danaus,
Sonne and also heyre to the God Belus.
The people of malyce did him so encomber,
To encrease his sorow and his aduersitie:
And fyfty daughters he had also in number,
And Edippus his brother also pardy
Had fiftye sonnes (the stories ye may se)
At wene the whiche in surety of ho [...]de
In mariage there was made a bonde.
Vnder the which compassed was treason,
Couertly, though they did it hide.
But if ye list haue cleare inspection
Of this story vpon euery side,
Reade the legende of Cupide
Which that Chaucer in order as they stode,
Compyled of women that were called good.
Touchyng the story of kinge Pandion
And of his goodly fayre daughters twayne,
How Thereus false of condicion
Them to deceiue did his busy payne:
They bothe named of beauty souerayne,
Goodly Progne, and yonge Philomene,
Bothe innoc [...]utes of intent full cleane.
Their piteous fall in open to expresse,
It were to me but a presumption,
Syth that Chaucer did his busines
In his legende as made is mencion,
Their martyrdome and their passion
For to rehearse them, did his busy payne
Is chiefe Poete called of Brytayne.
Of good women a boke he did write,
The number vncomplete fully of ninetene:
And there the story plainely he did endite,
Of Thereus, of Progne, and Philomene,
Where ye may se their legende, thus I mene:
Do them worshyp & forth their life shew
For a clere myrror because there be but fewe.
I will passe ouer, and speake of thē no more,
And vnto Cadmus forthe my style dresse:
In my wrytynge, yet it greueth me sore.
Touchynge women of fayeth or stablenes
Blessed be God I fynde none excesse,
And for there be so fewe as thinketh me.
The good shoulde be had in more deyntie.

☞ Lenuoye.

THis tragedy beareth to you wytnesse,
How Saturnus by disposition
Maliciously of his frowardnes,
Causeth of Iuno full great infection:
She of nature conueyeth the nature doun:
The ayre infect whiche no man may succour
Cōmeth death anone, & al thing doth deuour
Time frō Adam mine auctour dothe expresse
Downe to Nemrothe by computation,
His stile conueyed by great auisenes,
From zoroastes to kyng Pharaon:
Of two deluges he maketh mencion.
In Tessaly the vengeaunce gan laboure,
And in Achaia Thebes to deuoure.
Ye haue of heates hearde the excesse:
Of princes, pryncesses, full great destruction,
Of Egistus the great wretchednes,
The fury of Thereus the wo of Pandion,
Of the two sisters the confusion,
And how their fate gan vpon them loure,
Their felicitie vnwarely to deuoure.
Prynces princesses your eyen do vp dresse,
I meane the eyen of your discresion,
Se of this worlde y chaunge the doublenes,
The great vnsurenes, the variacion,
And aduert for all your great renowne
Fortuns dewes whā they most swetely shour
Than is she falsest, your glory to deuoure.

The .vii. Chapter.

¶ How Iupiter rauished Europa, & how Cad mus was sent to seke her in diuers regions.

THe rehersal of many an olde poete,
By discent the line conueyed downe:
Next Saturnus the mighty kyng of Crete,
Ioue was crowned by succession:
As next his heyre by procreacion
After his father the lande to enherite,
Raygning in Crete, as poetes list to wryte.
One of the linage as I you tolde beforne
Of the Gods, most souerayne and entere:
And though he were of bloude so high yborne
He chose Europe for to be his fere.
And downe discended frō his heauenly spere,
As he that was for all his deitie,
Surprysed in hart with her great beauty.
And she was daughter to a mighty kyng,
Called Agenor by line all discent,
Whose mighty kigdom & ryal faire dwellyng
Was in Phenice toward the orient,
And to Araby his lande was adiacent:
Farre by south as ye may read and se,
Toward the parties of the redde sea.
But Iupiter whan he did aduert
Of Europa the great semelinesse,
He thought he was wounded to the hart,
Vnto the death, beholdyng her fayrenes.
And for his cōstraynt & his mortall distresse
[Page ix]Seyng she was so fayre in his syght,
He rauished her of very force and might.
But Agenor her owne father dere,
Began on this case, full piteously complayne,
When she, alas, most goodly and entere,
Was him biraft whiche doubled al his paine.
Recure was none, though he did pleyne,
Tyll he remembryng on his regaly,
Thought he woulde sende to aspy
His sonne Cadmus her to recure ayene,
For to searche her in many a region:
Where so his labour wer fructuous or vaine,
His father set him a fell condicion,
Not to returne by none occasion,
And therupon made him to be bounde,
Tyll y he had the kinges daughter founde.
He toke his shyps by great auisenes,
And began to sayle in many a straunge see:
Did his labour and his busines:
With many a worthy that were wt him preue:
But when that he of reason did se
There was no meane for which that he was sent
For to accōplishe the fine of his entent,
With glad hart deuoyde of grutchyng,
Seyng the case frowarde and contrary,
Humble of his cheare toke his exilinge:
And of manhode list not him selfe dispayre,
But with his meyne knightly gan repayre
Towarde Grece, & piteously there to lande,
Of Appollo for to vnderstande
To what party that he might drawe,
He prayed God to wyshe him or rede,
Some token shewe or some maner sawe,
Into what Ile that he myght him spede:
Or that he woulde graciously him leade
Where as he myght builde a citye
That were accordyng to him & to his meynie
And to Appollo he did sacrifice,
And made to him his oblation:
The God requiryng goodly to deuise,
To what lande or to what region,
For his dwellyng and habitacion
He should drawe withouten more obstacle,
For him and his to make his habitacle.
And Cadmus thus before Appollo stode,
Knelyng among with full great reuerence:
And in the temple of Delphos styll abode
With hūble entendaunce & deuout diligence,
Mekely besechyng by word or by sum sentēce
That Appollo woulde to him vnclose
To what party he should him selfe dispose.
This was his aunswere in conclusion,
As the statue to him did expresse:
To go and serche countreys enuyron,
And tyll he found, do his businesse
A bulle, that were excellent of fayrenes:
Whiche by precept of Appollos lawe,
Had neuer aforne in yoke ydrawe.
And where that euer sekyng that he fonde,
A bull stande styll in his pasture,
Appollo bade vpon that same lo [...]de
Where as he seeth this syght of auenture,
That he shoulde do his busy cure
To builde a citye, he and his folkes all,
And Boecia after the Bulle it call.
And whā that Cadmus y precept vnderstode
And in searchyng did his busines,
He founde a place where a bulle stode
Feadyng hym selfe, whiche as by likenes
Was a place full pleasaunt of largesse:
Where as he stynt, he gan a citye rayse,
Which the poetes greatly cōmend and praise.
And y his buildyng myght the more auayle,
All the foreyns that did about him dwell,
Full like a knyght, by force and by battayle
Out of that countrey he did them expell:
Raysynge a citie whiche that did excell.
And as Ouide also recordeth the same,
Vnto thys day of Thebes beareth the name.
And he was not onely glorified
For rearyng vp of this great citye,
But he was also magnified
For his manhode, & his magnanimitie:
And most commended if ye list to se,
For the surmountyng & famous excellence,
Whiche that he had in wysdome and science.
For as myne aucthour, of him list indite,
Through his noble prudent puruey aunce,
He taught fygures, & letters for to write:
And made lawes of full great ordinaunce,
Among the Grekes, and set a gouernaunce
Thei [...] vycious life by vertue to restrayne,
And who outraied, was punished wt the pain
And of entent to encrease hys lynage,
[Page]And his citye also for to multiply,
He toke a wife that was but yong of age,
And she was called as bokes specify,
Hermyone: and touching her alye,
Though that she were borne of royall bloud,
She was also bothe ioly, fayre, and good.
And this was done as writeth mine auctour,
After the death of worthy Iosue:
Sothonyell beyng successour,
Hauyng the leadyng and the soueraintie
Of Israell, whan Thebes the citye
Was founded first in the dayes olde,
By kyng Cadmus, tofore as I you tolde.
Foure daughters he had by his lyue,
Full fayre echone and goodly on to se:
And their names to reherse blyue,
Semele was the eldest, and next Acthonie
The thirde in order was called Inoe
And Agane was yongest of them all,
Of the whiche daughters thus it is befall.
They were echone of port and of manere,
Full well fauoured in euery mans syght,
Right womanly, and heauenly of their chere,
And for their beauty their father anone right
As it was sittyng, wyth all his full myght
Like their estates, birthe, and also their age,
Made thē be wedded, and ioyned in mariage,
To worthy princes, his linage to auaunce.
And they encreased by procreation,
Wherof the kynge had full great pleasaunce:
And great reioysyng in his opinion,
To saue his lyne by generation,
With his neuewes and cosyns of alye,
Fro day to day, to waxe and multiply.
And this encreased his felicitie,
Whan he considered verely in dede
The riche buildynge of his royall citye,
And Fortune did his brydle leade
To great riches, in bokes as I reade,
To great nobles, hauyng great residence,
In his citye of moste magnificence.
His daughter Semele record of mine auctor,
Though she discended were of the bloud ryal,
To Iupiter she was paramoure:
And by his power supercelestiall,
She conceiued in especiall
(As poetes of her list to endite)
Him that is god of grapes redde and white.
Called Bachus: whiche hath the gouernaūce
Of wynes all and the regaly:
Wherof after was take full great vengeaūce,
For when Iuno did first espye
Of Iupiter the great auoutrye,
Of great hatred and enuyous desire,
She made Semele to be brent wt sodayn fire
By discendyng of a sodayne leuine:
And on Semele the vengeaunce downe wēt,
Fro Iuno ielous, cleped quene of heauen,
To wreke her wrath purposely ysent.
And fore the flame consumed was and spent
There was of her left no remembraunce,
But of the ende the wofull mortall chaunce.
Also Actheon the sonne of Acthonie,
To great mischefes and infortunes borne
Whose father called was Criste,
Come of the kinred that I you tolde toforne
With cruell houndes alas he was to torne:
For that he sawe, as bokes of him tell
Dyana naked, bath her in a well.
And as Poetes remember at the lest,
Whan the ladyes of Thebes the citye,
Helde of Bachus solemnely the feaste,
The yonger sister called Agane,
Daughter to Cadmus, alas it was pitie
Ayenst her owne sonne deare,
She was so wode and mortall of her cheare
Murderyng hym in full cruell wise
In her rage: she was so furious
For he lough at the sacrifyce
In Thebes done by women to Bachus.
The whiche sonne was called Pantheus,
Whom that she slewe wt a sharpe dart,
In her wodenes, as she him founde apart.
These great mischeues fell in the lyue
Of king Cadmus through his vnhappy chāce
Fortune his noblesse gan vndermyne,
And thought she would his glory disauaunce
All worldly gladnes is medled wt greuaunce.
Experience in Cadmus ye may se,
So importable was his aduersitie.
For while he sate most highest in his glory,
No part clipsed of his prosperitie,
His bryght renowne and his royall memory,
In realmes spredde, & many a farre con̄trey,
He moste wealfull in his high see,
Set wt his linage most high in noblesse,
[Page x]Than came Fortune the false enchaunteresse.
Of wilfulnesse and founde occasion
Ayenst Cadmus, and made his renowne dul:
Of his kynred by false collusion,
She gan away the bryghtest fethers pull.
And whan his shining was waxt vp to y full
After the chaunge of fortunes lawe,
His glory gan discrece and withdrawe.
It was more greuous to his dignitie.
A sodayne fall from his high noblesse,
Than if that he had neuer be
Set in the state of his great worthines:
For the furious mortall heauines
Of his kinred without any more,
Would haue greued a pore man full sore.
And amonge his sorowes euerychone,
To rehearse playnly as it was,
I dare affirme how that there was one
Most horrible & dreadfull in such a caas:
For Cadmus sonne called Athamas,
His sonne in lawe, through false melancoly,
Fell sodaynely into a frenesy.
Of whom the wife was called Inoe,
Cadmus daughter as ye haue heard expresse
Which through the cōstraynt of his infirmitie
In his rage and furious wodenes,
Thought that his wyfe was a lyonesse,
And in his wylde ymaginations
That his two children were also two lyons.
And vpon them full loude he gan to crye,
Towarde his wife in haste he came anone:
And from her armes there was no remedy,
The childe he rent, and on a craggy stone
He gan to brast it and breake it euery bone.
The whiche childe Bochas writeth thus
Full tender and yong called was Learchus.
And all this wofull and sodaine aduenture,
Of this rage whan that she toke hede,
As most sorowfull of any creature
Her other childe she hent anone for drede,
For of succour she knewe no better spede,
So as she might gan haste out of his sight.
But welaway, as she toke her to flyght
Her husbande came after pursuyng
Like a woode Lyon in his crueltie,
Downe from a hill whiche was dependyng
She and her childe fell into the see,
Was it not ruthe, was it not pitye,
A kings daughter, her lord i Thebes crouned
He to be woode, and she for feare drowned▪
Lo here the fine of Cadmus euery deale:
His children slayne, and his allies all,
And he him selfe from fortunes whele
Whan he wened leste, full sodaynly is fall.
His little suger tempred with moche gall:
For among all his mortall peynes,
His liege men of Thebes citezynes
Made ayenst him conspiration,
Put him in exile, and his wife also:
His sons & daughters brought to destruction
And to the encrease of his mortall wo,
He and his wife compelled bothe two
For very pouerte and very indigence
In their last age to purchace their dispence.
Thus of Cadmus the sorowes to discriue,
And his mischiefe to put in remembraunce:
He banished was twise by his lyue,
First by his fathers cruell ordinaunce
Of his sister to make enquiraunce:
And alder last in his vnweldy age
He was compelled to holde his passage
Out of Thebes, his wife and he alone,
In sorow wepyng to accomplishe their daies
Into Illery togither they be gone:
Their pacience put at fell assayes,
Whose bitternes felt none alaies,
Also of their ende, and vnhappy fate,
Ne of their death, I finde none other date.
Saue that Ouide maketh mencion,
And Iohn Bochas the poete excellent
Say that two brethren, zethus and Amphion
Out of Thebes by one assent,
Haue this Cadmus into exile sent,
His wyfe also: after their high noblesse,
To ende their life in sorow and wretchednes.
But the Gods of mercy and pitye,
Whā they thē saw by fortune thus cast doun,
From their estates into great pouertie,
Hauyng of them full great compassion,
They made of them a transformacion,
Of bothe twayne, them yeuyng a likenesse
Of serpentes, to liue in wyldernes.

¶ Lenuoye.

OWhat estate may him selfe assure,
For to conserue his life in sikernes?
What worldly ioy may here long endure?
Or where shall men finde now stablenes,
Sithe kinges & princes frō their high nobles
(Record of Cadmus) ben sodēly brought low
And from the whele of fortune ouerthrow?
Who may susteyne the pyteous aduenture
Of this tragedy, by writyng to expresse?
It is like to the chaunte plure
Beginnyng with ioy, endyng in wretchednes.
All worldly blisse is meinte with bitternes.
The sodayn chaūg therof may no man know
For who sytteth highest is sonest ouerthrow.
Was in this world yet neuer creature,
(Reken vp princes for all their hygh noblesse)
But fortune coulde enclyne them to her lure:
And them enperishe through her frowardnes.
Wherfore ye lordes, wt all your great riches,
Beware afore or ye daunce in the rowe,
Of such as fortune hath frō her whele throw.

The .viii. Chapter.

☞ A processe of Oetes kyng of Colchos, Ia­son, Medea, Theseus, Scilla, Nisus, and other mo.

WHan Iohn Bochas was most dili­gent
To consider the successions
Of lynages, withall his entent
In his writyng and discriptions,
To compyle the generations
Of many noble famous of estate,
I meane of suche as were infortunate,
In his serchyng he founde not out a fewe
That were vnhappy founde in their liuynge:
To his presēce anone there gan hym shewe
A multitude, full piteously wepynge:
Among whiche full dolefully playnyng,
Came forthe Oetes, & hath cōplaynt begūne,
Kyng of Colchos, and sonne vnto the sunne.
For of Phebus which is bryght and clere,
Poetes write that he was sonne and heyre,
Because he was so myghty of power,
So freshe, so lusty, so manly and ryght fayre:
But of fortune he fell in great dispayre,
Cursyng his fate, and his destayne
When Iason first entred his countrey againe
By Pelleus sent from Tessaly,
There to accomplishe by diligent labour
The great emprises through his chiualry,
(If God and fortune list do to him fauoure)
That they might winne the excellent treasour
This is to meane, that he were so bolde,
The ram to assail which bare y flece of gold.
This Iason through counsaile of Medee,
By sorcery and incantacion,
The bulle slough horrible for to se,
And vainquished the venimous dragon,
The kyng dispoyled of his possession,
Accomplished with carectis and figures
Of Colchos the dreadful aduentures.
And afterwarde when he his purpose had,
He left Oetes in full great dispayre:
And Medea forth with him he lad,
And her brother, which was the kyngs heyre.
But as I finde howe in his repayre
Out of Colchos whan they gan remue
Kinge Oetes after them gan sue,
Vpon Iason auenged for to be,
Without tariyng he folowed proudly:
The whiche thing when Iason did se,
This Medea gan shape a remedy:
She toke her brother and slewe him cruelly,
And him dismēbred as bokes make minde,
And piecemele in a felde behinde
She gan him cast all bespreint with bloude.
Wherof his father when he had a syght,
Full pale of chere still in the felde he stode,
While she and Iason toke them vnto flyght,
I trowe that tyme the most wofull wyght
That was on liue, whan he did know
His childe dismembred and abrode ysowe.
Whiche cause was, alas, and welaway
That he so stout as man disconsolate,
While that Iason fro Colches went away:
And Medea most infortunate,
Was rote and ground of this mortall debate,
For who saw euer, or redde of suche another,
To saue a straunger list to slea her brother?
Forsoke her father, her countrey and kinred,
The lande emperished through her robbery,
Of her worshyp toke none other hede,
Loue hath her brought in suche a fantasy.
And while that she abode in Tessaly,
And with Iason did there soiourne,
She made Eson to youth returne.
[Page xi]A yarde she toke that was drie and olde,
And with her herbes and commi [...]tions,
She made it boyle, in Ouide it is tolde:
And by charectes and incantacious,
And with the craft of her coniurations,
The yarde began to bud and blossome newe,
And to beare frute and leaues freshe of hew.
And semblably with her confections,
His olde humours the hath deputed cleane:
And with her lusty freshe pocions,
His empty skynne tremblyng and right leane
Pale and wanne that no bloude was sene,
But as it were a deadly creature,
All this hath she transformed by nature.
Made him lusty, and fresh of his courage,
Glad of hart, liuely of cheare and syght,
Right well chered, and clere of his vysage,
Wonders deliuer both of force and myght:
In all his members as weldy and as lyght
As euer he was, in the same estate
By craft of Medee he was lo alterate.
After all this, ayenst kyng Pelleus
She began to maligne, vncle vnto Iason,
And of enuy she proceadeth thus:
The kings daughters she draweth to her anō
Them counsaylyng that they should gone
Vnto their father, & playnly vnto him sayne,
If he desired to be yong agayne,
Full restored his force to recure,
And therwithall in lusty age floure,
She behight to do her busy cure,
Lyke his desire to helpe and socoure:
And in this matter so crafty laboure
Fynally stande in the same case,
To be made yonge as his brother was.
Touchyng whiche thing for more euidence,
This Medea hath to the daughters tolde
Of entent to yeue the more credence,
She bade thē take a ramme y was right old
And wyth a knyfe for to be so bolde
To slea the beast before them there he stode,
And in a vessell drawe out the olde bloude.
Fullye affirmyng like as it were true,
That he should be a lambe agayne.
For she by craft would his bloude remue
In such wise by euidens playne,
That of elde no token shoulde be seyne,
In all his membres as lusty and entere
As was a lambe eyned of one yere.
And here vpon in suche sleyghty wise,
She began a processe of full false treason:
The sisters made vpon the lambe to practise,
Drewe out his bloude, like her enteneton:
And she by craft of false illusion,
Blent their eyen by apparaunce in vayne,
The olde Ram to seme a lambe agayne.
Thus Medea by her sleyght compassyng
Of enuy, and venemous hatred,
Excited hath the sisters in workynge,
Ayenst their father mortally to procede:
wt sharpe kniues thei made their father blede
Amiddes the hart, throughout euery vayne,
Supposyng the sely sisters twayne
That Pelleus renued shoulde be
To youth ayen, of force and of substaunce,
But finally by treason of Medee,
He lost his life, suche was his wofull chaūce:
She this wrought onely for vengeaunce,
As rote and grounde of this cruell dede,
Ayenst the nature of all womanhede.
Supposyng in her opinion,
That the death greatly shoulde please
Of Pellius, vnto her lorde Iason,
Through great encrease set his hart at ease:
But it rebounded vnto his disease,
That finally Iason her forsoke,
For her offence, and he his way toke
Into Corynth to the kynge Creon,
Whose daughter Creusa for her great beauty
Was afterwarde wedded to Iason:
But whā this wedding was knowē to Mede
Cast she woulde theron auenged be:
Began to conspyre of malice and enuy,
And through her magyke and her forcery
In full great haste gan to ordayne
A little coffer, onely of entent:
And by her yonge fayre sonnes twayne,
With other iewels she hath it sent
Vnto Creusa makyng a present,
Whiche of malyce she list to dispose:
That whan Creusa the coffer did vnclose
The fyre brast out a full large space,
Brent Creusa by full great vyolence:
Set a fyre playnely all the place,
By enchauntment there was no resistence.
[Page]All went a fire that was in her presence,
By vengeaunce did full great domage.
But whan Iason this fire sawe in his rage,
And considered the malice of Medee,
Thought he woulde do execution,
For to punishe the great iniquitie,
Ayenst him compassed of treason:
For she of vengeaunce ayenst all reason
After that Creusa consumed was and brent,
Her owne sounes whylom that she sent
Without ruth or womanly pitye
She falsly murdred: the children that she bare
(Like a stepmother auenged for to be)
Cut their throtes, or that they were ware,
Ayenst nature, there was none other spare:
But for hatred she had vnto Iason,
After this murder she fled away anone,
So escapyng his indignation.
By craft of magike she went at libertie
To Athens, and in that region
She wedded was vnto the kyng Ege:
Not longe after a sonne by him had she,
The which child, mine auctour telleth thus,
After Medea, called was Medus.
After whose name the famous region
Ynamed was, which called is Mede.
But folowyng euer her olde condicion,
This Medea voyde of shame and dread,
Compassed hath of wilfull false hatred
That Theseus the sonne of kyng Ege,
With newe poyson shall deuoured be.
But Theseus full like a manly knyght
In repayryng home to his countrey,
Of high prudence aspied anone ryght
The mortall vengeaunce, the great crueltie,
Of this stepmother, whiche of enmitie
Concluded hath in her entencion
Him to destroy vnwarely, with poyson.
Her hart of malice, cruell, and horrible
As she that was with treason euer alied,
Whan that she sawe her purpose moste odible,
By king Egeus fully was aspied,
She hath her hart and wittes newe applied
As in their bokes poetes haue compiled,
Ayen to Iason to be reconciled.
She fled away for feare of Theseus.
Lest he would done on her vengeaunce:
And finally as writeth Ouidius,
And morall Seneke concludeth in sentaunce
In his tragedies makyng remembraunce
Howe Medea, like as poetes sayne,
Vnto Iason restored was agayne.
Touchyng the ende of their furious discorde
Poetes make therof no mencion,
Neither tell no meane how they fyll accord,
But if it were by incantation:
Whiche so well coulde turne vp so down
Sondry thinges of loue and of hatred,
And in Bochas of her no more I read.
Saue whan she had fulfilled her purpose,
Mine aucthour telleth that Iason & Mede
Restored haue ayen vnto Colchos
Her father Oetes, and from his pouertie
Brought him ayen into his royall see:
And to his crowne by force they him restore,
Touching his ende, of him find I no more.
Thus his fortune hath turned to and fro,
First like a kyng hauyng ful great riches:
After liuyng in pouertie and wo,
Sythen restored to his worthines.
Thus euer sorow is meint with gladnes,
(Who can aduert) in all worldly thing,
Record of Mynos the noble worthy kyng,
To whom I must now my style dresse,
Folowyng the traces of Bochasius.
The wiche Mynos, as Ouid doth expresse,
Touchyng his byrth he writeth playnly thus
That he was manly, wise, and vertuous:
Sonne by discent of Iupiter the great,
And of Europa, borne to be heyre of Crete.
And of his person wonders delitable,
Full renowined of wisdome, and science,
By diuers titles of laude commendable,
Of byrth, of bloud, of knighthode & prudence,
For by his study and entyre diligence,
He founde first lawes grounded on reason,
Wherby of Crete the famous region
Gouerned was, and set in stablenes,
All iniuries and wronges to reforme
Made statutes, extorcions to represse:
Of right wisenes they toke the first forme.
And that eche man shoulde him conforme
Like their degrees, subiect and souerayne:
That no man had a matter to complayne.
[Page xii]He made his lieges to liue in quiete,
Cleare shinyng in his royall noblesse,
With sword and sceptre, sittyng in his sete:
And while he floured in his worthines,
He toke a wife of excellent fayrenes,
Doughter to Phebus, in Bochas ye may se,
And she was called faire Pasiphae.
And her father by record of writyng,
In his time was holden full famous:
Of the yle of Rhodes he was lorde and kyng,
And in his dayes of port full glorious,
Right proude in armes and victorious,
Takyng witnes of Methamorphoseos,
His daughter had thre children by Mynos.
The first a sonne called Androge,
And afterward full faire daughters twayne,
Ryght goodly and womanly on to se:
But like as fortune did for them ordayne,
They felt them selues in trouble and in payn,
The one called Ariadne, & Phedra the other,
Folowyng their fate it might be none other.
Androgeus by kyng Mynos was sent
For he should profite in cleargy,
To Athens, of vertuous entent
There to study in philosophy:
And for he began to encrease and multiply,
And passe all other by study in learnyng,
And to excell his felowes in cunnyng,
They of enuy and false malice, alas,
Made ayenst him a conspiration:
And from a pinacle sacred to Pallas.
Of ful great heigth thei made him tūble doun
For which iniury, Bochas maketh mencion,
His father Mynos auenged for to be,
Layed a great power about the citie.
He cast him fully y no man shoulde him let,
But that he woulde do cruelly vengeaunce:
And rounde about so sore he them beset,
With men of armes and with his ordinaunce,
That finallye he brought them to vttraunce.
And them constrayned within a little space,
Their life, their death, submitten to his grace.
But while they made ayenst him resistence,
Supposyng his power to withstande,
Nisus that was kyng of Megarence,
Ayenst Mynos their party toke on hande:
And oft times as ye shall vnderstande,
Whan kyng Mynos did the citye assayle,
Nisus within with myghty apparayle
Vpon the walles stode in his defence,
Whan that Mynos full like a manly knyght,
Fought without, with sturdy vyolence:
Like Mars him selfe in stele armed bryght.
Wherof whan Scilla once had a syght,
Daughter to Nysus aduertyng his prowes,
Anone for loue she fell in great distresse.
She was supprised with his high noblesse:
His manly force expert many folde,
Set Scilla in great heauines,
For loue of Mynos in Poetes it is tolde,
Made her hart presume and be bolde,
First her life to put in ieopardy
Her fathers life, the citye, the cleargy.
From her hart loue hath set aside.
Ayenst nature, her bloude and her kynred,
And all frendshyp from her gan deuide:
And of her worshyp she toke no maner hede.
Loue made her cruell ayenst all womanhede,
First her hart so sore set a fire,
Her fathers death falsely to conspyre.
For kyng Mynos beyng a straungere
Was so emprynted in her opinion,
Of creatures there stode none so nere,
And for his sake by full false treason,
She compassed the destruction
First of her father, and than of the citye.
So straunge a thing alas how myght it be,
That a woman of yeres yong and tender,
Coulde ymagen so marueylous a thing?
But it falleth that creatures slender,
Vnder face of angelike lokynge,
Ben very wolues outwarde in workynge,
Also vnder coloure of their port feminine,
Some ben found very serpentyne.
Lambes in she wyng, shadowed wt mekenes,
Cruel as Tygres, who doth to them offence:
Of humble chere pretendyng a likenesse,
But wo, alas what harme doth apparence?
What damage doth counterfaite innocence?
Vnder a mantell shroude of womanhede,
Whan fayned falsenes doth the brydle lede?
For this Scilla the kynges daughter dere,
In whom he set his whole affection,
His hartes ioy, his pleasaunce most entere,
His worldly blisse, his consolation,
[Page]But she all turned to his confusion.
Not like a daughter, but like a sorceresse,
His death cōpassed the story beareth witnes.
Her father had a fatall heer that shone
Bryghter then golde, in which he did assure,
Manly to fight ayenst his mortall fone:
For in his head while it did endure,
He should vainquishe and recure,
And through his knighthode to his encrese of glory
In euery quarel wyn the victory.
But whā kyng Nysus her father lay a slepe,
Vpon a night parcell afore day,
Full secretely or that he toke kepe,
The heere of golde this Scilla cut away:
And vnto Mynos armed where he lay,
She him presented through her ordinaunce,
Of false entent him for to do pleasaunce.
But in this matter like as writeth Ouyde
Methamorphoseos, who so taketh hede,
Her father sleping, she knelyng by his side
Toke a sharpe knife without feare or dreade,
While he lay naked, she carft a two his head:
And stale away of full false entent,
And to kyng Mynos ye head she doth present.
And in her commyng to his presence,
Her fathers head when she afore him layed,
Nothing ashamed of her great offence,
Vnto Mynos thus she did obrayed,
And with bolde chere euen thus she saied:
My lorde (quod she) wt support of your grace,
Yeueth to my tale, leasure, time and space.
Certes my lorde, loue hath excyted me
And constrayned to this cruell dede,
To slee my father, destroye my citie,
To forget my worshyp, forsake womanhead:
And made me hardy to make my father blede
Thinges horrible thus haue I vndertake,
For to accomplyshe, onely for your sake.
My selfe disherited for loue of your persone,
Called in my countrey a false traytoresse:
Disconsolate, stale away alone,
Of new diffamed, and named a maistresse
Of false murder: I bryng a great witnes,
My fathers head and his deadly vysage,
Ayenst nature to further your voyage.
Wherfore I pray that ye list aduertise,
And consider like a gentle knyght,
How I for loue towarde your great empryse
And to great furtheryng also of your right
Haue first my father depriued of his myght,
Raft him his life, dispoyled his riches,
To do pleasaunce to your high nobles.
And nothing aske I vnto my guerden,
Neither to my rewarde that may auayle,
But that I might haue full possession
Of your person most worthy in battayle:
For there is no treasure y might counteruayle
To my desire, as that you woulde in dede
Goodly accept me and my womanhede.
Ye may me saue and spyll with a worde,
Make most glad, and most dolorous:
I not require of you my souerayne lorde
But that ye would be to me gracious.
For bloud, and kinne, and my fathers house,
All left behinde, if ye list aduert,
And vndeparted yeue to you my hert.
Which to your highnes ought ynough suffise,
All thing considered in your royall estate:
Conceiued also how in vncouth wise
For your loue I stande desolate,
Saue of your mercy full disconsolate:
Here is all and some, your loue I bye so sore
But ye do grace, I can say you no more.
And whan she had her tale tolde knelyng,
With a maner of pretence of womanhede,
Of all her treason a poynt not cōcelyng:
The king astonied of her horrible dede,
By great aduise peysed and toke hede,
It was not sittyng to prynce nor to kyng
To do fauour to so frowarde a thing.
With troubled hart and with a face pale,
His loke vp cast, sayed: God forbede
That euer in Cronicle, in story, or in tale,
That any man should of Mynos reade
How he supported so venemous a dede:
Fauour a woman, alas, and well away,
Whiche slough her father, whan he in bed lay▪
But for your hatefull and vnkynde rage,
I praye the gods echone, and Saturne,
For to take vengeaunce on your false outrage
Euery where, whither ye do returne:
And euery place where as ye soiourne.
Lande and sea shortly to expresse,
They ben enfect with your cursednesse.
[Page xii]Your owne mouth your outrage doth accuse,
And your actes ben so abhominable
That your giftes fully I do refuse:
They ben so frowarde, and so reprouable,
That your persone disnaturell and vnstable,
Within my courte it were a thinge not faire,
That ye shoulde abyde, or haue repaire.
Ye be so hateful on euery side
And contrarious of condicion,
I praye Cellus which oferth is gide,
And to Neptunus I make this orison,
As ferre as stretcheth their dominacion,
Vnder the bound of their regaly,
A dwellinge place that they to you deny.
Whan Minos had his answere thus deuised,
On reason grounded and equite:
And Scilla sawe howe she was dispised,
Knewe no partie, passage, ne countre,
To finde socour whether she might flye.
But dispeired lyke a traitouresse,
Towarde the see anone she gan her dresse
To entre the water plainly if she mighte,
For very shame her selfe for to shroude:
And whan the goddes thereof had a sight,
They turned her, as they y might & coude
In to a quaile, for to sing loude.
Her father Nisus they dyd also transmewe
In to a sparhauke the quaile to pursue.
This was the ende of Nisus & Scille.
And afterwarde of Athenes the toune,
Was yelded vp to stande at the will
Of kinge Minos: with this condicion
Euery yere, by reuolucion,
They of the citie should not delay
Nyne of theyr chyldren for a tribute paye.
This was by Minos the imposicion
Vpon Athenes, and of very drede
They obeyed, as made is mencion,
And their children yere by yere they lede
In to Crete, the Minotaur to fede:
Vnto this monstre ordeyned for repast,
Which at their cōming deuoured were in hast.
But or that I forther do procede
In this mater, I wyl do my cure
To declare if ye lyst to take hede,
Of this monstre to tell the engendrure,
Vncouth to heare and ayenst nature:
For by the writynge of Ouidius,
Thys vgly beaste was engendred thus.
In Methamorphoseos the maner ye may se.
Minos had a bulle of greate fayrenes,
White as milke, and the quene Pasiphae
Loued him so hote, the story bereth wytnes:
And Dedalus dyd his busines,
By subtell craft, and made his gynnes so
That ayenst kinde with her he had to do.
And conceyued a beast monstruous,
That was departed, halfe bull, halfe man:
And as the poete by writinge techeth vs,
Of al Minotaures thus the name began.
And Dedalus not longe after, whan
This mōstre was by the quene forth brought,
This subtle workmā hath an house ywroght
Called Laberinthus, diuers and vncouth,
Full of wrynkels and of straungenes,
Vgly to knowe which is north or south,
Or to what parte a man should hym dresse:
Folkes were there blent wt furious derknes.
Who that entred, his retourne was in veyn,
Wythout a clewe for to resort ageyn.
Of Minotaurus thys was the habitacle,
Lyke a prison made for turmentry:
For dampned folke a paynefull tabernacle,
For all that lay there in ieoperdy,
The monstre must deuoure them, and defy.
And specially was ordayned thys turment,
For all that were doun from Athenes sent.
But in this mater some folke vary,
And afferme how that quene Pasiphae
Of kyng Minos loued a secretarye,
Called Taurus, in Bochas ye may se:
And thus the kinge for all his ryalte
Disceiued was: for who may any whyle
Him selfe preserue, where women lyst begile [...]
For by this Taurus, Bochas bereth witnes,
Quene Pasiphae had a childe full faire.
Minos not knowing by no likenes,
But the childe was borne to be his heire.
His trust was good, he fell in no dispaire:
For some husbandes, as poetes haue cōpiled,
Whych most assure, rathest ben begiled.
Innocentes can not deme amys,
Namely of wiues that ben founde true:
Clerkes may write, but doutles thus it is,
Of their nature they loue nothynges newe,
[Page]Stedfast of hert, they chaunge not their hew.
Haukes best preued sūtime a chek can make,
Yet for a faute, the foule is not forsake.
Of this mater wryte I wyll nomore:
But aye the tribute and seruage of the toun
Procedeth forth, they cōstreyned were so sore,
Lyke as their lot turned vp and doun:
For there was made none excepcion
Of high ne lowe, neyther soure ne swete,
But as it fell, they were sent into Crete.
The statute was so inly rigorous,
They toke their sort as it came aboute:
Tyll at the last it fell on Theseus,
That he mought go forth amonge the route,
Kyng Egeus son, beynge in great dout
Touchig his life, which might not be socored,
But that he must wyth other be deuoured.
Which Theseus for hys worthynesse,
And of his knighthode for hys great encrese,
Through manly force and for his prowes,
Somtyme was called the seconde Hercules:
Among Amasones he put hym selfe in prese,
Wedded Ipolita, as bokes specifye,
The hardy quene called of Feminye.
And afterwarde to Thebes he is gone,
Holpe the ladyes in especiall,
Which that cōpleined vpon the king Creon,
Which thē distroubled, lyke their estate rial
To holde and halowe the festes funerall
Of their lordes, quenes, and princesses,
Of wifely truth to she we their kyndnesses.
For whan thys duke the maner had sene,
And of Creon the great iniquite,
To the ladyes he made deliuer ayene
The lordes bones, of ruth and of pyte:
Yet in his youth out of this cite,
He was deliuered by statute ful odible
To be deuoured of this beast horrible.
He gothe to prison for all his semelynesse,
As the statute felly dyd ordeyne:
But of ruth and tender gentylnes
Hym to preserue from that deedly payne
Of king Minos ye goodly doughters twaine
Ariadne shope a remedie,
And feire Phedra, that he shoulde not dye.
Through their helpe he hath y mōstre slaine,
That was dredful and vgly for to se:
By them he scaped, whereof he was ful faine,
Led them wyth hym towarde his countre:
And by the waye deuoyde of all pyte,
Ariadne ful falsely he hath forsake,
Ayenst his suraunce, & Phedra he hath take.
In myddes the sea he left her in an yle,
Towardes no partye she knewe no declyne:
She wepeth, she crieth, alas the hard while,
For of her fate thys was the mortall fyne:
That for pite, Bachus the god of wyne
Toke her to wife, whose croune of stones fine
Doth nowe in heauen with .ix. sterres shyne.
Thus of Theseus ye may beholde and se
To Ariadne the great vnstedfastnes.
The great vntruth, the mutabilite,
The broke assuraunce, & the newe fanglenes:
But sely women kepe their stedfastnes.
Euer vnfouled, saue sumtyme of theyr kinde,
They must thē puruey whan men be vnkind.
Of Theseus I can no more nowe sayne,
In this matter to make of hym memory:
But to kynge Minos I wyll resort againe,
To tell howe fortune euer false & transitory,
In what poyntes defaced hath his glory,
Fyrst of eche one, Bochas doth specifye,
Of Pasiphae the foule aduoutry,
Which was his wyfe, & stode well his grace.
To his pleasaunce she was most soueraine,
But a cloude of a small trespare
Made her lorde at her disdayne:
But he of wysdome bare preuily his paine.
For in suche case, this is my sentence,
Let prudent husbandes take them to paciēce.
On other thynges Mynos gan also cōplaine,
Hauynge in hert thereof full great greuaūce:
That he so lost his fayre doughters twayne,
And Minotaurus slayne wyth mischaunce.
Also to hym it was a great greuaunce
That Theseus was gone at liberte,
And from all tribute deliuered hys cite.
It greued him also in countinaunce & there
That Theseus Ariadne forsoke:
It liked him also not the manere
Vnto his wyfe that he Phedra toke.
And yet thys Phedra, lyke as sayth my boke,
Had two sonnes by this Theseus,
First Demophoon and next Antiochus.
[Page xiii]Also Theseus after gan hym drawe,
Towarde Cecile, in stele armed clene:
With Peritheus, in armes his felawe
For to rauyshe Proserpina the quene:
But of entent Phedra ful vnclene,
Loued her stepsonn, called Ipolitus,
But for he was to her daungerous
And to her lust froward and contrary,
In his apport not goodly ne benigne,
Of her false entent anon she gan to vary,
Ayenst hym full felly to maligne:
And to her prince of many token and signe
Of womanhede, she gan hym accuse,
Her auoutry falsly to excuse.
Who sayth that women can not ymagyne
In their deffence tales vntrue,
To their desire if men list not enclyne,
Neither on their feyned false wo to tue▪
Anon they can compasse thynges new,
Fyshe and finde out of their entencion,
A couert cloude to shadowe their traison.
She hath accused yonge Ipolitus
Of false auoutrye in hys tendre age:
Tolde and affirmed to duke Theseus,
With ful bolde chere, and ful playne visage,
Howe he purposed for to do outrage,
Only by force her beaute to oppresse,
Her lorde beseching, to reforme and dresse
The great iniquitie done to his wife
Whyle he was absēt, for thing y bare charge.
Wyues of tales somtyme ben inuentife
To suffre their tonges falsly flyen at large,
But folkes ye list of domage thē discharge,
Of such accusyng ne take they none hede,
Tyll the truth be tried out in dede.
I meane nothynge of wyues that ben good,
Neyther of women ye flouren in innocence:
For god forbede and the holy roode,
But men should do due reuerence
To their noblesse and their excellence:
Declare their bounte, & their vertue shewe,
And thē cherishe, because there be but fewe.
Touching the accusing ayenst Ipolitus,
Though if so were that it was fals in dede,
Yet he for shame and fere of Theseus
As in the story ye may behold and rede,
In his hert he caught a maner drede
That he alas thys sely yonge knight,
Fled & withdrewe hi out of hys fathers sight.
Hys indignacion playnly for to eschewe
Though by desert, in him there was no lacke:
Of hasty drede as he gan remewe
Or in a chare, or on horse backe,
His horse afrayde, there fel a sodeine wracke:
Doun frō a roch pendaunt as ye shall lere,
He and his chare were drowned both in fere.
Thus vngilty in his most lusty youth,
He was conueied to his distruction:
The sclander conspired as it is wele couth
By false Phedra: but in conclusion,
The sclander turned to her confusion.
For whan she wyst Ipolitus was dede
Through her defaut, anon for shame & drede
She toke a swerde full sharpe ygrounde,
And there with all she raft her hert a tweine.
Lo howe yt vēgeaūce woll euer ayen reboūde,
On them that falsely do their busy peine
To sclaunder folke: for like as they ordeine
With their diffames other folkes to wyte,
God at last their malice can aquite.
But some bokes of Phedra do recorde
That she ashamed and confuse of this dede,
Hing her selfe vp full high with a corde:
Lo how false sclaunder can quite folkes mede.
Wherefore I counsayle euery man take hede
In such maters as stande vncertaine,
From hasty langage his tonge to refraine.
Amonge these stories woful for to rede,
All besprent with teares in his face,
Full sodenly Jhon Bochas gan take hede
In middes the prease zisara came to place:
And howe that fortune gan also to manace
This proud duke, full myghty and notable,
Of kyng Jabyn called the great constable,
Of his host, leder and gouernour:
To Israell very mortall fo.
With people he rode lyke a conquerour,
And where that euer his meyny dyd go,
The earth quoke, people dredde him so:
Fled fro hys face where as he came a ferre,
Nyne hundred waynes he had for the wet,
Strōgly inarmed wt hokes made like sithes▪
Who ye approched to mayme & to wounde:
For this tirant of custome oftsithes
Had great delite the Jewes to confound,
[Page]And all tho that his swerde hath found,
Kynge Jabyn bad, prince of Canaan,
In Israel to spare childe ne man.
This zisara was sent to be their scourge
By goddes suffraunce their sinnes to chastise,
Their olde offences to punishe & to purge,
As a flagell many sondry wyse,
But whan of reason they gan better deuise,
And for their trespaces to fall in repentaūce,
God gan wt drawe the hand of his vengeaūce.
For in their mischefe they gan their lorde to knowe
Felynge the pricke of his punicion:
And mercy than hath vnbent the bowe
Of hys fell yre and castigacion,
To God they made their inuocacion,
And he them herde in their mortal drede,
In Judicum the storye ye may rede.
Howe in the whyle that this zisara
Shope hym of newe the Jewes to oppresse,
In their defence god sent them Delbora,
I prophetesse, the story bereth witnes,
To yeue thē counseil, their armeis to dresse:
And by the spirite of her prophesie,
For to wythstande the great tyrannye
Of zisara, whych was discended doun
With a great host into the felde repeired:
But Delbora of high discrecion,
Whan that she sawe the Jewes dispeired,
And for to fight their corrages sore apeired,
She made them first deuoutly in that drede
To crye to god to helpe them in their nede.
She was their iudge & their gouernes
Chefe of their counsaill, and of custome she
Causes dependinge of great auysenes,
That stode in dout, by dome of equitie,
She tried them out vnder a palme tre▪
And was not hasty no mater to determyne,
Tyll she the parties aforedyd examyne.
And whan that she herd of the cōminge
Of zisara wyth full great puissaunce,
That was constable of that mighty king,
Called Jabyn, wyth al his ordinaunce,
Vpon Jewes for to do vengeaunce:
This Delbora gan prudently entende,
The Jewes party, by wysdome to defende.
She bad Barach, her husbande, anon ryght,
Of Nemptalym .x. M. with him take,
Ayenst zisara to fyght for their ryghte,
And that he shoulde a great enarme take.
But he for drede thys iourney gan forsake,
And durst not ayenst him tho werrey
But she were present, and lyst hym to conuey.
Wel wel quod she, syth it standeth so
That of wantrust ye haue a maner drede,
I wyl my selfe gladly wyth you go,
You to support in this great nede:
But trusteth fully as ye shall fynde in dede,
That a woman, with laude, honour, & glorye
Shal fro you wyn the price of this victory.
It folowed after sothly as she sayd:
Auisely she made her ordinaunce.
And the chefe charge on her selfe she layde,
As princesse of Jewes gouernaunce.
And prudently gan her selfe auaunce,
With god conueyed & support of his grace,
With zisara to mete in the face.
And specially touchyng this viage,
God toke away the spirite and the myght
Fro zisara, his force and his corage,
That he was feareful to entre into fyght:
Kepte his chare, and toke hym to flyght.
Knowyng no place in suertie to abyde,
Tyll that Jaell a woman dyd hym hide
Within her tente, and al most dede for drede,
Vnder a mantell, desirous for to drynke,
She gaue him mylke: the slepe fyl in his heed.
And whyle that he for heuines gan wynke,
And sadly slept, she gan her to bethynke:
Thought she woulde for zisara so shape,
That with his lyfe, he should not escape.
She toke a nayle that was sharpe & long,
And couertly gan her selfe auaunce:
With a myghty hamer round and stronge.
She droue y naile, lo this was her bēgeaūce,
Through his heed: se here the soden chaunce
On tirantes that trust on Fortune,
Which wil not suffer them long to contune
In their false vsurped tiranny,
To holde people in long subieccion.
She can them blandyshe wyth her flatery,
Vnder a colour of false colluspon:
And wyth a sodaine transmutacion,
Fortune them can that poore folke trouble,
Reuerse their pride, wyth her face double.
[Page xv]What should I lengre in thys mater tary▪
Though that lordshyp be myghty & famous,
Let zisara be your examplary,
It not endureth but it be vertuous.
Conquest, victory, though they be glorious
Vnto the world, if vertue be behinde
Men not reioyse to haue theyr name in mide.
For Fortune through her frowardnes,
Hath kynges put out of their regions:
And she hath also throughe her doublenes▪
Dystroyed lynages wyth their successions▪
Made not she sometyme her translacions
Of the kyngdome called Argiuois,
To be transported to Lacidemonois▪
The same tyme whan zisara the proude
Gan goddes people to put vnder fote,
Fames trumpe blewe his name vp loude,
Wyth sacred sownes semynge wondre sote:
But al his pride was rent vp by the rote,
Whan hys glory was outward most shyning.
But who may trust in any worldly thynge▪
Folke haue afore sene the valuacion
By remembraunce of antiquitie,
Of myghty Troy, and of I lion,
After distroyed by Grekes that cyte:
To vs declarynge the mutabilite
Offalse fortune, whose fauor lasteth no while
Shewyng euer truest, whan she wol begile.
So variable she is in her delites,
Her whele vntrusty and frowardly meuyng,
Recorde I take of the Madianites,
Their vnware fal ful dolefully pleynynge.
Which shewed them selfe pitiously wepynge
To Jhon Bochas, as he in writynge sought,
How y fortune ayenst their princes wrought,
Which that gouerned the lande of Madian▪
Trustinge of pride in their greate puissaunce,
Ayenst Jewes a warre they began,
Purposinge to bringe them to vtterance.
But god that holdeth of warre the balaunce,
And can of princes oppresse the vein glory,
Yeueth where him list conquest and victory:
Not to great nōbre, nor to great multitude,
But to that party where he seeth the right.
Hys dredful hand, shortly to conclude,
So holdeth vp by grace, and yeueth lyght
The higher hand where he cast his sight,
Lyst his power and his fauour shewe,
Be it to many, orbe it vnto fewe.
The wronge party gladly hath a fall,
Though ther be Millions, many [...]o theran:
I take witnesse of Jerobaall,
Whych is also called Gedian,
That wyth thre .C. fought ayenst the fan
Of Israel, the Byble can deuyse,
Whan he to God had done hys sacrifice,
Shewyng to hym a thynge meruaylous:
Whan the fleece wyth siluer dewe ful shene
Was spreint and wet, the storye telleth thus,
And rounde about the soyle & all the grene
Was founde drye, and no drop sene:
In token onely, this duke, this knightly man,
Shulde haue the victory of all Madian.
This Gedeon toke with hym but a fewe,
Thre hundred chase, whych lapped the riuer.
God vnto hym such tokens dyd shewe,
And euidences afore that were full clere,
That he shoulde be of right good there:
And on no party hys aduersaries drede,
For nother prowes, neyther manhede.
Where god aboue holdeth champerty,
Their may ayenst hym be made no defence▪
Force, strength, wysdome, nor cheualry,
Ayenst hys might, are feble of resistence:
Thys was well preued in experience,
Whan thre .C. wyth Gedeon in nombre,
So many thousandes by grace dyd encōbre.
Thys sayd people deuided in to thre,
With their trumpettes vpon ye derke nyght,
By Gedeon that had the soueraynte,
Wyth voyde pottes & laumpes therin lyght,
And thus arayed they entred in to fyght:
But vnto them thys token was first knowe,
Whan Gedeon his trumpe dyd blowe.
They blewe echon and loud gan to crye:
Brake their pottes, and shewted anon ryght,
As the story doth playnly specifye,
Their laumpes shewed wt a full soden lyght:
Wherof their enemies astoinied in their sight,
Were so troubled vpon euery side,
That in the felde they durst not abyde.
The crie was this of them euerychon:
Thanke to ye lorde most noble and glorious,
Pryse to the swerde of myghty Gedeon,
Which vs hath caused to be victorious:
[Page]Made our enemyes most malicious,
Through influence onely of his grace,
For very feare to flye afore our face.
Thus can the lorde of hys magnificence,
The meke exalte, and the proude oppresse:
Lyke as he fyndeth in hertes difference
So of his power he can his domes dresse.
Mercy aye meint wyth his rightwysenes:
Hys iudgementes wyth long delay differred.
And or he punish pytie is aye preferred.


MYghty Princes, remembre that your power
Is transitory, and no while abiding:
As thys tragedy hath rehersed here,
By euidences notable ensuynge.
And by example in substaunce wytnessyng,
That all ty [...]antes (playnly to termpue)
Mo [...]e from t [...]eir state sodenly declyne.
Phebus the freshe in hys mydday sphere
His beames bryghtest & hotest out spredyng,
But cloudy skyes oft approch nere
To eclipse his lyght wt their vnware coming:
None erthly ioye is here longe abidynge,
Record of Tytā, whych stondmele doth shine,
Yet toward nyght his stremes doun decline.
Whan that fortune is fairest of her chere,
By apparence, and most blandishyng,
Than is she fallest ech season of the yere
Her soden cha [...]ge now vp, now down turnīg:
The nightīgale in May doth freshly sing,
But a backe wynter can somer vndermyne,
And all his freshnes sodenly declyne.
All erthly blisse dependeth in a were,
In a balaunce vneuynly hanging.
Of prīces & prīcesses most souerayne & entere
In this tragedy conceyueth by redynge,
Howe that estates by vnware chaunginge,
Somtime full worthy, their liues dyd fine,
Whā frō their noblesse they were made to de­clyne.

¶ Of mighty Iabyn kinge of Canaan of quene Iocasta, and how Thebes was distroyed.

The .ix. Chapter.

NOwe muste I wryte the greate so­beyn fall
Of mighty Iabyn, for his iniquite▪
Whyche vnto Iewes was enmye full mortal,
With scepter & crowne reigning in Canane,
And vpon Affrike had the souerainte,
Rebell to god, and lyst not hym obey,
But euer redy hys people to werrey,
The lord aboue seynge his tiranny,
Forbare his hand wyth full longe suffraūce:
And was not hasty of his obstinacy,
Lyke his desert for to do vengeaunce.
But euer thys Iabyn by continuance
Endured forth in his cursidnesse,
Tyll the swerde of goddes righwisenes
Was whet ayenst this tira [...]t, to chastise
And to represse his rebellion:
From his kyngdome (the story doth deuise)
In myddes of his pride he was pulled doun
To exemplify that such dominacion
As is found wilful truth to ouer cast,
God wyll not suffer in power long to last.
For this Iabyn was found alway frowarde,
Of high disdaine list not the lorde knowe:
Therfore his power drewe alway bacward,
And his empire was after ybrought full low.
His riall fame fortune hath ouerthrow,
His name eclipsed yt sumtime shone ful clere,
Of great Cison, besyde the ruiere.
Of quene Iocasta Bochas doth also endite,
Princesse of Thebes, a mighty great citie:
Of her vnhappes he dolefully doth write,
Imagining howe he did her se
To him appere in great aduersite.
Lyke a woman that would in teares reine,
For that fortune gan at her so disdeine.
And though she were defaced of figure,
There shewed in her a maner maieste
Of quenely honour, plainly to discure
Her infortuns, and her infelictte,
And to declare plainly how that she
Of all princesses which stode in estate
Was her selfe the most infortunate.
Which gaue to Bochas full great occasion
Whan he sawe her pitous apparayle,
For to make a lamentacion
Of vncouth sorowes, whych dyd her assaile
[Page xvi]With a tragedy to wepe and to wayle
Her importable and straunge dedely strife,
Which that she had duryng all her lyfe.
He wryte of her a story large and playne.
And of her byrth fyrst he doth diffyne:
And affyrmeth in hys boke certayne,
She was discended of a noble lyne.
In flouryng age also when she dyd shyne,
She wedded was for her great beauty,
Vnto the kyng of Thebes the citye,
Which in his tyme was called Layus.
And whan her wombe by processe dyd aryse,
The kyng was glad and also desirous,
The childes fate to know in some wise:
And thought he would go do sacrifice
Vnto Appollo, to haue knowlegynge toforne
Touching his child, whan that it was borne.
What should folow in conclusion
He was desirous and hasty for to se,
Fyrst by heauenly disposicion,
And by the fauour if it woulde be
Of Appollos myghty deite:
To haue aunswere among his wyttes al,
Of his child what fate should befall.
His answere though it were contrary
To his desire, yet was it thus in dede:
Appollo tolde hym, and lyst no lenger tary,
That this childe should verily in dede
Slee his father, and make his sides blede:
And wt his hands, there was none other wey
But on his swerde he must nedes deye.
The kyng was heuy & trist on this sentence,
Sorouful of hert, god wote, & nothyng faine:
And cast afore through his prouidence,
That his son should in al hast be slayne:
And that he would not an houre delayne
After his byrth, but bad his men to gone
Into a forest, and slee the chylde anone.
Lyke his byddyng the ministers dyd in dede,
Takyng the chylde, tendre, & yong of age,
And into a forest wyth them they gan it lede,
To be deuoured of beastes most sauage:
The mother, alas, almost fell into rage
Seyng her child so inly fayre of face
Shal thus be deed, and dyd no trespace.
Lytel wondre though she felt smert:
To al women I report me,
And vnto mothers that ben tendre of hert,
In this mater fuges for to be:
Was it not ruth, was it not pite,
That a princesse, a quene, alas,
Shuld know her child deuoured in such caas▪
After thys byrth Layus toke good kepe,
Without mercy, respite, or delay,
That vnto one whych kept his shepe
This yong chyld vpou a certayne day,
Shal be deliuered, in al the hast he may:
To thys entent it myght not be socoured,
But that it should of beastes be dettoured.
This sayd sheperde goth forth anon ryght,
The chyld beholdyng benigne of loke & face,
Thought in hert and in his inwarde light,
He shoulde do to god a great trespace
To slee this child, wherfore he did hym grace:
Toke fyrst a knife and dyd his busy payne,
Throughout his fete to make holes twayne.
Toke a smal rodde of a yonge osier,
Perced the fete, alas it was pite,
Bonde hym fast, and by good leiser
The yong childe he henge vpon a tree,
Of entent that he ne should not be
Through wylde beastes cruel and sauage,
All sodenly deuoured in their rage.
Vpon the tre whyle he henge thus bound,
Of auenture by some occasion,
A straunge sheperd hath the child yfound,
Whych of ruth and pyte toke hym doun:
Bare wyth hym home in to hys toun,
Made hys wyfe for to do her payne,
To foster the chylde wyth her brestes twaine.
And whan he was brought forth & recured,
And full made hole of hys woundes sore,
Thys yong chyld whych al this hath endured
Whan he in age began to were more,
And that nature began hym to restore,
The saide sheperde that loued hym best of all,
After his hurtes, Edippus dyd hym cal.
For Edippus is no more to saine,
Who that conceyueth the exposicion,
But fete yperced throughout both twayne,
In that langage, as made is mencion.
And to Meropa wife of king Polibion
The shepeherde of ful humble entent,
Began the child ful lowly to present.
And for she was barreyne of nature,
She and the kyng of one affection,
Toke Edippus both in to their cure,
As sonne and heire by adopcion,
To reigne in Corinth by succession:
The kyng, the quene, & of Corinth the coūtre,
Had the chylde in so great cheerte.
Let men considre in their discrecion,
Sodayne chaunge of euery maner thyng.
This childe sent out for his distruction,
And now prouided for to be a kynge:
And through fortune, aye double in working,
He that was refuse to beastes most sauage,
Is now receyued to knyghtly heritage.
Destitute he was of his kynrede,
Forsake, and abiect of bloud, and of alie,
In tēdre youth his fete were made to blede,
Henge on a tre, and began for helpe crie:
But god that can in mischefe magnifye,
And reconfort folke disconsolate,
Hath made thys childe nowe thus fortunate.
And hath prouided to be a kynges heire,
Him that stode of deth in auenture.
Fortune can shew herselfe both foule & fayre,
Folkes brought lowe, ful wel ayen recure:
And such as paciently can endure,
And lyst not grudge ayenst their chastisyng,
God out of myschefe can sodenly them bryng.
But whan Edippus was growe vp to age,
Lyke a yong prince encresynge in noblesse,
Lusty and strong, and freshe of his corage,
Of auenture it fel so in sothnesse,
Outher by strife, or by some frowardnes,
Or by sume conteke he had knowledgynge,
Howe he was not sonne vnto the kynge
As by discēt, but a ferre fortaine.
Whereupon full sore he began to muse,
And for to knowe, and be put in certaine,
Thought he would som maner practike vse:
And to the kyng he gan hym selfe excuse,
For a tyme to wythdrawe his presence,
Tyil he myght knewe by some experience,
Or by sume signe howe the matter stode.
Thought he would do his diligence
To knowe his father, & also of what bloude,
He was discended, and haue some euidence
Touching troth howe it stode in sentence:
And her vpon to be certified,
Towarde Appollo fast he hath hym hyed.
Whiche in Cirta worshypped was that time,
And gaue answere through his beite,
To tolke that came at euen and at prime,
Of euery doute and ambiguyte:
And there Edippus fallyng vpon his kne,
After hys offring, had answere anoue,
That towarde Grece he should gone
Vnto a mountaine, that Phocis bare ye name:
And there he shoulde of his kynred here.
Also lyke his fate, the answere was the same,
He shoulde slee hys owne father dere,
And after that to Thebes drawe hym nere,
Wedde his mother of very ignoraunce,
Called Iocasta, throgh hys vnhappy chan̄ce.
He list no lenger tary ne abyde,
Thys sayd Edippus, but forth goeth he:
And on hys way he began anone to ryde,
Tyi he the mount of Phocis did se,
Vnder the which stode a great countre,
Called Cetoyens, whiche that time certayne
Werreyed them that were on the moūtaine.
His father Layus through his chiualry,
With Citoyens is entred into battaile.
And Edippus came wyth the partie
Of the hyll, armed in plate and mayle.
And as they began eche other to assaile,
Among the prese at the encountrynge,
Of auenture, Edippus flewe the kyng,
Vnknowen to hym that he his father was,
Hauyng thereof no suspection:
Passed his way platly thys is the case,
And also vnknowen he came to the toun
Of mighty Thebes, wher for his hie renoun,
He was receyued wyth ful great reuerence,
Bycause that he slough in their defence
Sphinx the serpent horible for to se,
Sometyme ordained by incantacions
For to distroy the towne and the countre,
By his compassed sleightly questions
Sloughe man and chylde in all the regions,
Such as not coude by wysdome or reason,
Make of his probleme playne exposicion.
Who so passed by, he coude hym not excuse,
But the serpent woulde hym felly assaile:
With a problem make hym for to muse,
Called of some men an vncouth deuinayle.
[Page xvii]Whych for to expowne who that did assaile,
Ther was none helpe neither other remedy,
By the statute, but that he must dye.
And for all folke haue not knowledgyng
Of this demaunde, what it was in dede,
I wyll reherce it here in my wrytyng
Compendiously, that men may it rede.
First this serpent (who that list take hede)
Was monstruous, and spake ayenst nature:
And if it fyll that any creature
Man or woman, should forth by passe,
Highe or lowe of all that region,
As I sayde erst there was none other grace,
But if he made an exposicion
Of this serpentes frowarde question,
He must dye, and make no defence:
The whych demaunde was thus in sentence.
The serpent asked: what thyng may that be,
Beast or foule whan it is forth brought,
That hath no power to stand, go, nor flee:
And afterwarde, if it be well ysought,
Goth fyrst on foure, or els gothe he nought,
After by precesse, on thre, & than on twayne,
And eft agayne, as nature doth ordayne,
He goth on thre, and efte on four agayne,
Also kyndly right nature disposeth it so,
And in a whyle it foloweth in certaine,
To the matter which that he came fro,
He must of kynde resort ayen therto?
And who can not the meanynge clerely se,
He of this serpent shall deuoured be.
Which Edippus ful sobre in his entent,
Not to rekell, or to hasty of langage,
But in his hert wyth great auy sement,
And full demure of loke and of vysage,
Considred fyrst thys perilous fel passage:
Sawe wel tofore that it was no iape,
And ful prouided y no worde should escape.
At good leysar, wyth hole mynde & memorye,
Seyng the ernest of this mortal emprise,
Hys life depending bitwixe deth & victory,
Thys (quod he) plainly to deuyse,
Is fyrst a child whych may not suffyce
Whan it is borne (the truth is al day sene)
Wythout helpe him selfe to sustene.
After on four he naturally doth crepe,
For impotence and grene tendernesse,
Norices can tell that do them kepe:
But afterwarde vp he doth hym dresse,
With his two fete: the thirde to expresse,
Is hand, or benche, or support of some wal,
To holde hym vp, lest he catche a fall.
And afterward, encresyng of his myght,
To great age whan he doth attayne,
Of his nature than he goth vpryght,
Mightily vpon his legges twayne:
Than cometh age his power to restrayne,
Croked & lame lyke as men may se,
With a staffe, or potent, to make vp his legges thre,
But whan feblenesse or syckenes do assayle,
On handes and fete he must bow and lout:
For croche, or potentes, may not than auayle,
Whan lusty youth is banished and shet out.
Than eft agayne, hereof maye be no dout,
With four fete to erth he doth retourne,
Fro whe [...]s he came, there styl to soiourne.
All came fro erth, and all to the erth shal,
Agaynst nature may be no protection,
Worldly estates echone they be mortal,
There may no treasour make redempcion.
Who clymeth hiest, his fal is lowest doun.
A meane estate is best, who coude it knowe,
Betwene hye presumynge, & bowing to lowe.
For who sit hyest, stand in ieopardye,
Vnder daunger of fortune, lyke for to fall:
Mischefe and pouerte as for their party,
Ben lowest brought among these people al.
Some folke tast sugre, and sum tast call.
Salomon therfore myrrour of sapience,
Bytwene great riches and great indigence,
Asked a meane, called suffysance:
To hold hym content of cōpetent dispence,
Not to reioyce of to great haboundaunce,
And euer in pouerte to send him pacience,.
Sobre wt his plenty, in scarsnesse non offence,
As of grutching: but bitwene ioye and smart.
Thanke god of all, and euer be glad of hert.
Erth is the ende of euery maner man,
For the rich wyth great possession,
Dyeth as soone (as I reherce can)
As doth the poore in tribulacion.
For deth ne maketh no diuision,
By syngler fauour, but bitwene both ylich,
Of the poorest, & of hym that is most rich.
This said problem concluded in this case,
[Page]Whych y serpent began sleighly to propose,
That whan a childe is fyrst borne, alas,
[...]ynde to his dethwarde anon doth [...] dispose.
Eche day a iourney, there is none other glose,
Experience can tech in euery age
Howe thys worlde is here but a pilgrimage.
Thys sayde Edippus fyrste in Thebes borne,
Sent to a forest deuou [...]ed for to be,
Founde & brought forth as ye haue herde to­forne,
And after drawynge home to his countre,
Slough hys father, so infortunate was he:
Of frowarde happes followynge al hys lyue,
As this tragedy hys fortune shal discriue.
But for that he through his hye prudence,
Vnto the serpent declared euery dele,
He slough hym after, by knightly vyolence,
More by wysdome, than by armure or stele:
Stace of Thebes can tell you thys ful wele.
Whych was one cause if ye list to sene,
Wh [...]through Edippus, wedded hath y quene
Called Iocasta, princesse of that countre:
Hys owne mother, vnknowen to them bothe.
And though she were ryghte fayre vpon to se,
With this mariage y goddes wereful wroth,
For their aliaunce nature gan to loth:
That a mother as ye shal vnderstande,
Shoulde her son take to be her husbande.
There was therin no conuenience
To be supported by kynde, ne by reason,
But if it so be the heuenly influence
Disposed it by the inclinacion
Of some false froward constellacion,
Caused by Saturne, or Mars the frowarde star,
To engendre debate, or some mortal war.
In thys matter playnly thus I deme,
Of no connyng, but of opinion:
Though he were crowned wt sceptre and dia­deme
To reigne in Thebes the strōg myghty toun,
That some aspect came fro heuen adoun,
Infortunate, frowarde, and full of rage,
Which agayne kynde ioyned the mariage.
He crowned was by assent of all the towne,
Flouryng a season by soueraynte of peece:
And whyle he helde the possession,
Sonnes and doughters he had doubtles.
The fyrst sonne called Ethiocles,
Polynices called was that other,
(As sayth Bochas) the seconde brother.
Also he had goodly doughters twayne,
The eldest called was [...]ntigone,
The seconde named was Imeyne:
And both they were ryght fayre vnto se,
The quene Iocasta might no gladder be
Than to remembre whan they wexe in age,
Her goddes had encresed their linage.
It was her ioye and her felicitie,
To se her children, that were so inly fayre:
But after ioye ther cometh aduersite,
And hope assured wanhope doth oft appayre▪
Cōtrarious trust wyll gladly their repaire
Wher false wenyng in hert is cōceyued,
Through ignorāce, which hath many disceiued
What thynge in earth is more disceyuable,
Than whan a man supposeth verily
In prosperite for to stand stable,
And from his ioye is remeued sodaynly▪
For where fortune is found to hasty,
To trise folke, she is greuous to endure:
For sodayne chaunges be hatefull to nature.
Vnware wo that cometh on gladnes,
Is vnto hertes ryght passinge encombreous:
And who hath felt his parte of wealfulnesse
Sorowe suynge on, is to hym odious.
And worst of al, and most contrarious
Is whan estates highest of renoun,
Ben frō their noblesse, sodenly brought doun.
There is no glory whych that shyneth here,
That false fortune can so magnifie,
But whan his laude brightest is & clere,
She can eclips it wyth some cloudy s [...]e
Of vnware sorowe, onely of enuy:
Seeth of Edippus an open euidence,
Which by his life had experience
Of highe noblesse: and therwyth also,
Parte importable of great aduersite:
Hys ioye euer meynt wyth ful mortal wo.
For while he reigned in Thebes the citie▪
And Iocasta with ful great [...]o [...]alte,
Within the countre there fyl a pestilence,
The people infectyng with his violence.
Through all the land, and al the region,
In euery age, but most greuously
On them echone that were of that towne,
The infection spred most specially:
And of vengeaūce the swerd most rigorously,
Day by day began to byte and [...]a [...]ue,
[Page xviii]Of ech estate causyng folke to sterue.
Thus began to encrease the mortalite:
That euery man stode in ieopardy
Of their lyues throughout the countre,
So importable was their malady,
That ye might heare the people clepe and cry,
Dispeyred so were they of theyr lines,
Voyde of all socour, & of their preseruatiues.
They sought herbes, & spices in their cofers,
And began to seke for helpe & other socours:
The cause enquiringe of prudent philosofers,
And of their most experte diuinours,
Why that the goddes wyth so sharpe shours
Of pestilence, and in so cruel wyse
Lyst them, alas, so mortally chastyse.
But among all, in soth this is the case,
There was founde one ful prudent and wyse,
A prophet, called Tiresias,
Of prophecy hauyng a souerayne prise:
Which affirmed, and sayd in thys wyse,
As vnto him was shewed by myracle,
Phebus him selfe declarynge the oracle:
Cause of this syckenes and these maladies,
As the goddes plainly haue disposed,
(And Senecke writeth also in hys tragedies)
Though the cause be secrete and yclosed:
Vnto the tyme there be a kyng deposed,
Which slew his father & raft him his life,
And hath also take his mother to his wyfe,
Tyll thys be done, and execute in dede,
Ther may be made no redempcion:
But pestilence shall multiply and sprede
Euer more and more, through that region.
Tyl vnto the tyme that he be put a doun
Fro his crowne, whych not long agone
His father slough, among his mortall fone,
And hath his mother wedded also,
Agaynst lawe and agaynst al ryght:
Tyll vengeaunce vpon that crime be do,
There shalbe war, pestylence, and fighte,
Sorowe, & strife, & euery maner wight
Of veugeaunce hys neighbour shal hate,
Brother wt brother, & bloud wt bloud debate.
This is al and some, there may be no socour.
Whych brought the people in great heauynes,
For Tiresias the great diuinour,
By propher [...] told them thus expresse:
And at the last by tokens and witnes,
Men vnderstode, by signes out shewyng,
This pestilence was brought in by the kyng.
And though the people gaue no credence
To Tiresias ne to his prophecy,
The quene Iocasta caught au euidence,
And in her hert a full great fantasy,
Specially whan she dyde espie
Of Edippus the fete that were wounded,
How this tumour was on trouth ygrounded.
Because also there was a diuinour
Which tolde tofore, that Edippus shoulde be
To Layus of Thebes successour
Wherby the kyng, the quene, and the ryte,
Fyl in great trouble and great aduersite,
Well more than I by writyng can report,
For there was nothing yt myght thē recōfort.
Ful oft in the day Iocasta gan to swoune,
And kyng Edippus to sobbe, crye and wepe,
In salte teares as they them would drown:
Deth crāpishing in to their hert gan crepe,
A day cōplainyng, a night they may not slepe,
Cursynge the houre of their natiuyte,
That they should lyue that day for to se.
Their mortall chaunce, their dedly auenture,
Their fortune also whych gan on thē froun,
Inpacient, and doleful to endure,
Their froward fate, wyth their lokes broun:
The kynge foryre caste away his crowne,
And began to [...]ace, for cōstraint of his payne,
Out of his heed his wofull eyen twayne.
Day and night he cried after deth,
Hatefull to come in any mannes sight:
Most desirous to yelde vp the breth,
Woful in hert to come in any light,
Coorbed for sorow, feble to stande vpright,
And specially in hys deedly distres,
For drede and shame he dared in derkenes.
The cruel constr [...]int of his most grenance
Was, that his sonnes had hym in dispyte:
Which gan his sorowe greatly to auance,
For him to scorne was set all their delite,
Was neuer none that stode in worse plyte,
For thus lyeng and destitute of chere,
Vnto the goddes he made his prayere:
Beseching thē with a ful doleful herte,
Vpon his wo to haue sum compassion:
And that they would for to auenge his [...]inert,
[Page]Bitwene his sonnes make a diuision,
Eche to brynge other to distruction.
Thys was his prayer in substaunce,
That eche on other may take vengeaunce.
In yeres fewe, for their vnkyndnesse,
They herd his prayer as ye haue herd deuise:
The bretherne two through their cursidnes,
Eche gan other mortally dispise,
For lacke of grace, and for false couetyse:
Eche for his partie desirous in dede
Tofore other to reigne and succede.
And thus these bretherne most infortunate,
Bitwene them selfe fill at discencion:
And finally, this vnkindly debate
Brought al Thebes to distruccion.
Yet was there made fyrst a conuencion
By enterchangīg y eche should reigne a yere,
The tother absent to play, & come no nere.
This concluded by their both assent
And by accorde of that region,
Polynices rode forth and was absent,
Ethiocles toke fyrst possession:
But whan the ye re by reuolucion
Was come about, he false of his entent,
Vnto the accorde denied to assent.
Thys was a cause of theyr both striues:
Polynices was thus put out of his ryght,
Tyll Adrastus that kyng was of Argyues,
which thorow al Grece gretest was of might,
Sent vnto Thebes, Tideus a knyght,
Hys sonne in lawe, to treat of thys matter,
And the cause finally to lere:
Wher through the kyng called Ethiocles,
Would condiscende of truth and of reason,
To stynt warre, and to cherishe pece:
After the accorde and composicion
Vp to deliuer Thebes that mighty towne,
Vnto his brother, whych absēt was without,
Now that his yere was fully come about.
But he was false, and frowardly gan vary,
Ethiocles from hys conuenci [...]n:
For whych Adrastus no lenger would tary
Whan Tideus had made relacion,
But called anone throughout his region
All the worthy, both nere and farre,
Ayenst Thebes for to begyn a warre.
For thys cause lyke as ye shal lere,
Polynices to force hys partie
Ywedded had the kynges doughter dere
I meane of Adrastus, floure of chyualry,
Whan Tideus dyd him certifye
Touchinge the answere of Ethiocles,
And of his truth, how he was recheles,
False of hys promyse, & cursedly forsworne.
For to hys truth none aduertence had he,
Neyther to the accord yt was made beforne
Touchyng y deliueraūce of Thebes the citie:
But who that lyst the storye clerely se
Of these two bretherne, and their discencion,
And howe Adrastus lay to fore the toun,
And howe Tideus through his high prowes,
Fought by the way going on message:
And how of Grece all the worthines,
Wyth kyng Adrastus went in this viage,
And of the mischefe that fyll in that passage
For lacke of water, tyll that I siphile
Norishe of Ligurgus so fayre vpon to se,
Taught Tideus to fynde out a riuer,
She that dyd in fayrnesse so excell:
Ne howe the serpent most vgly of his chere,
Of [...]ig Ligurgus y childe slough at the well:
Neyther howe Amphiorax fyll doun to hel,
All to declare me semed was no nede,
For in the siege of Thebes ye may it rede
The storye hole: and made there is mencion
Of either parte, their puissaūce, & their might
And how Adrastus lay tofore the toun,
And how they inette euery daye in fyght.
And howe Tideus the famous knyght
So re [...]omed in actes marcial,
Was slayne, alas as he fought on the wal.
And howe the bretherne met among the prese,
Lyke two Tigres or lions that were wode,
With sharpe speres, this is doutlesse,
Eueryche of them shed others hert bloud:
This was the fyne, & thus with thē itstode,
Saue at their feestes called funerall,
There fell a marueyle which I tel shal.
Whan they were brent in to ashes dede,
Of their enuy there fyll a ful great wonder
Amonge the brondes and the coles rede,
Hyghe in the ayre the smokes went a sunder,
The one to one party, and that other yonder.
To declare the storye, me list not fayne,
The gret hatered y was bitwixt hem twayn.
Thus for their yre, and false discention,
All the lordes and all the chiualrye,
Were slayne of Grece, and also of the towne,
And rote of all (myne aucthour list not lye)
Was false alyaunce, and fraternall enuy:
And chefe grounde with all the surplusage,
Who serche aright, was vnkyndly maryage.
The quene Iocasta felt her part of payne,
To se her chylder eche of them slea other:
Her son, her lorde, blynde on his eyen twayne
Which to his sons was father & also brother,
Fortune would it shoulde be none other.
Also Parchas sisters which be in nūber thre,
Spanne so the threde at their natiuitie.
Also whan Iocasta stode thus disconsolate,
And sawe of Thebes the subuersion,
The countrey destroyed, and made desolate,
The gentle bloude shedde of that region:
Without comfort or consolacion,
Thought she myght be no more appeyred,
But of all hope fully loe dispayred.
Trist and heauy, pensyfe, and spake no word,
Her sorowes olde and newe she gan aduert,
Toke the sworde of hym that was her lorde,
wt which Edippus smot Layus to the hart:
She to [...]inyshe all her paynes smarte
And fro the body her soule to deuide,
Ro [...]e her selfe throughout euery syde.
She wery was of her wofull life,
Seyng of Fortune the great frowardnes,
How her diffame and slaunder was so rife,
And of Edippus the great wretchednes.
Also of her sonnes the great vnkindnes,
All these thinges weyed on her so sore,
That for distresse she list to liue no more.
Bochas writeth concernyng her fayrenes,
Constraynt of sorow caused it to fade:
The famous light also of her noblesse
And all the clearenes of her dayes glade,
With vnware harmes, she was so ouer lade,
Of very anguyshe that she her selfe did hate,
So inly contrary disposed was her fate.
Thus death deuoureth with his bitter gall
Ioye and sorow, auoyde of all mercy:
And with his dart he maketh downe to fall
Riche and pore, them markyng sodaynly.
His vnware stroke smiteth indifferently,
From him refusyng fauour and all mede,
Of all estates he taketh so little hede.
Better is to dye than liue in wretchednes,
Better is to dye than euer lyue in payne,
Better is an ende than deadly heauines,
Better is to dye than euer in wo remayne:
And where y mischefe doth folke to cōplaine
By wofull cōstraynt of long cōtinuaunce,
Better it is to dye thā liue in suche greuaūce.
Taketh ensample hereof and a priefe,
Of kyng Edyppus that was so long ago,
Of quene Iocasta that felt so great mischiefe,
And of their children remember also,
Whiche euer liued, in enuy, sorow and wo.
Fortune, alas, duryng all their dayes,
Was so frowarde to them at all assayes.
Touching Edippus processe finde I none,
What ende he made in conclusion:
Saue Bochas writ howe that kyng Creon,
Cosen and heyre by succession,
Exiled him chayned farre out of the towne.
Where he endured mischefe, sorow, and drede
Tyll Attropos vntwyned his liues threde.

☞ Lenuoy.

IN this tragedy thre thinges ye may se:
The pryde of Iabin & false presumption
Of quene Iocasta the great aduersitie,
Of kyng Edippus the inclinacion
To vyces all: and the diuision
Of the two brethren, playnly vs to assure
Kyngdomes deuided may no while endure.

☞Omne regnum in se diuisum desolabitur.

For who sawe euer kyngdome or countrey
Stande in quiete of possession,
But if there were, ryght, peace, and equitie,
And iust accorde without discention,
Voyde of vntruth and false collusion▪
Plainly declaryng by ensample and scripture
Kingdomes deuided may no while endure.
Seeth here example of Thebes the citye,
And how that noble myghty region
Through their frowarde false duplicitie,
With warre were brought to destruction,
Their promise broken, & their couert treason,
Shewed by their harmes ipossible to recure,
Kingdomes deuided may no while endure.
Princes, princesses which haue the souerain­tie
Ouer the people, and domination,
Ifye lyst longe lyue in felicitie,
Cherishe your subiectes, do none extorcion.
And aduertise, of wysdome and reason,
As this tragedy dothe to you discure,
Kyngdomes deuided may no while endure.

The .x. Chapter.

☞ How Atreus kynge of Messene wrought ayenst his brother Thiestes, slew his thre children, dismembred them in pieces & made Thiestes to eat of their flesh, & drinke of their bloud.

BOchas the Poete auctour of this boke
Him purposyng to gather and compile
Diuers stories, anone his penne he toke:
Him remembryng within a little while,
In this chapitle began direct his style
To write the story, hye and compendious,
A forne all other, of duke Theseus
Lorde of Athens, a famous great citye,
Right strong and myghty on euery side.
But at his backe Bochas did one se,
Which cryed loude, and bade he shold abide:
Bochas (quod he) fro the me list not hide
My wofull case, ne in no wise spare,
My piteous complaynt to the to declare.
I am Thiestes besprent all with wepyng,
Drowned in teares as thou maiest well se:
Sometyme sonne of the mighty kyng
Pelops, and borne also parde
Of quene Hippodamea excellent of beautye.
And for thou art desirous to endite
Of people vnhappy and their wo to write,
My will is this anone that thou procede.
Turne thy style, and take thy penne bliue,
Leaue Theseus and take of hym none hede,
But first my tragedy that thou discryue:
For I suppose that in all thy lyue,
That thou saw neuer a thing more dolorous
More vnhappy, frowarde, ne more piteous
Than is, alas, my mortall aduenture:
Incomperable, the sorow surmounting
Of quene Iocasta, most wofull creature,
Or of Edippus his fate euer complaynyng
For my complaynt hath none endyng
But lasteth euer, and beareth me witnes,
No wo resembleth vnto my heauines.
And with y worde John Bochas styll stode▪
Full soberly to geue him audience:
And in the place demurely abode.
To hear the substaunce of his mortal offence,
Whiche thus began to shewe the sentence.
O John (quod he) I pray the take good hede
My wo to write, that men may it reade.
Alas, my brother rote of vnkyndenes,
Atreus called of reason, sours and well,
And finder out of treason and falsenes,
(For all other in fraude he doth precell)
Whose couert hate is more than I can tell,
I supposyng of very innocence
In him no malice, disceite, nor none offence,
But as brother should a brother trust,
I trusted him, of hart, will, and, thought:
By apparence none other cause I wyst,
For in his person I supposed nought
That euer he culd so false a thig haue wroght
But who may soner another man deceyue,
Than he in whom no malice men conceyue▪
I demed of him as of my true brother,
Wenyng he had faythfull ben to me:
I sawe no signe, ne I knew none other,
In him suposynge no duplicitie.
But wo alas, how might it euer be,
Or who did euer in any story finde,
Bloude vnto bloude to be so vnkynde?
I will passe ouer to tell the worthines,
Touching the estates of our progenitours,
Of our kynred, and the great noblesse,
I tell nothing nether of our predecessours,
Ne of my youth, howe passed ben the floures:
I leaue all this, and vnto mynde call
The wretchednes that I am in fall.
My brother founde a false occasion
Ayenst me, and began a cause feyne
To banish me out of our region:
And began at me of hatred to disdayne,
Vpon me affirmyng in certayne
In our kingdome whiche called is Missene,
I should haue lien by his wyfe the quene.
This he compassed full falsely of malice,
Him selfe well knowyng that it was not so:
Euer founde vnkynde and misauise,
Not like my brother, but like my deadly [...]o.
And to encrease great percell of my wo,
By long processe in his entencion,
[Page xx]He [...]gined my destruction.
And his chefe cause was false couetise
Touchyng this thing which he did fame
And yet this kyngdome truely to deuise,
Should haue bē departed betwene vs twaine
But ayenst truth he did so ordayne,
Me to exyle out of that region,
Him selfe alone to haue possession.
Yet in his hart he cast an other wile,
To my vndoyng and desolation,
To the place whence he did me exile
Vnder a shadowe of false collusion,
To make a mane [...] reuocation:
Of brotherhead shewyng a pretence,
Me to restore ayen to his presence.
To be accepted as a brother shoulde:
With full accorde styll with hym to abide,
All miuries of whyche afore I tolde,
On either party forget and set asyde.
That nothing after should our loue deuide,
But of one will and one entencion,
Leade all our lyfe without deuision.
Wherof the people were full glad and lyght,
Throughout Missene that mighty region.
At my resortyng founde I euery wyght
Ready of hart and whole affection
Me to receyue into that noble towne.
And none so ready by sygnes out shewyng,
To make me chere in sothe as was the kyng.
There is no domage in comparison,
That may be lykened by no resemblaunce
To fayned truth and simulation,
Whan fraude is hyd wt a fayre countenaunce,
Pretendyng truth outward by deceyuaunce,
And vndernethe of most false entent,
Of doublenesse dareth the serpent.
As vnder flowers is shrowded the dragon,
For to betray by sodayne vyolence,
Suche folke as haue no suspection,
But truely meane in their pure innocence,
Till they be caught dispurueyed of defence:
Or as a fishe with bayte of false pleasaunce,
The hoke not sene is brought to mischaunce:
Thus semblably at my home commyng,
I was receyued with euery circumstaunce:
Lyke as halfe heyre and brother to the kynge.
And he pretendyng as by countenaunce,
That he had so inly great pleasaunce
Of my repayre, of truth he tolde so
For reioysyng that he sayed he woulde go
Vnto his gods to do some obseruaunce
For this accorde, and humble sacrifice:
Made his ministers wt faythful attendaunce
To wayte on me in all their best wise.
It nedeth not to tell ne deuise
Neither by wrytyng in bokes sor to set,
Halfe the ioye he made whan we mette.
First how frendly he did me embrace,
Of harty gladnes within his armes twaine▪
And how for ioye the teares on his face
Full entirely gan distyll and rayne:
That for my party he could not me restraine,
But that I must of frendshyp fraternall,
Wepe as did he, in his estate royall.
The wily wolfe that cast him to deuou [...]
The sely lambe whiche can no defence,
Ne none helpe him selfe to succour,
So feble he is to make resistence,
Whiche demeth truth of false apparence,
What wonder is it the fraude not conceiued
Though such lambes vnwarely be disceiued?
Though that roses at midsomer be full sote,
Yet vnderneth is hyd a full sharpe spyne:
Some freshe floures haue a full bitter rote,
And lothsom galle can suger vndermine,
In dredful stormes y sunne amōg doth shyne
And vnder a shadow of fayned frendlyheade
There is no frendshyp so perillous to dreade.
Thus remēbryng the faythful wordes stable
Of my brother shewed vnto me
At our metyng the kissyng amiable,
The assured couenauntes of our fraternitie,
But oft time men may beholde and se
That lilies growen amōg these nettles thicke
And [...]oure delice in mids these wedes wicke.
Thus while I rested in the kynges house,
Nothing aduertyng his deadly cruelty,
His old hatred was so venemous,
And so odible to destroy me:
Him selfe to auenge he toke my children thre,
And sikerly is it not a wonder,
He cut their throtes with a knife asunder.
For he thought that it did him good
Them to dismember into peces small:
[Page]And in a dessell for to gather their bloude
While they say still and loked on him pale.
This was his dede in a desert vale
Within a caue that no man should espy,
Treason conspired of his false tyranny.
This was the substaunce of his sacrifice,
To slee my childer, & make their harts blede.
I trowe the Gods therof did agrise,
Of his false offrynge whan they toke hede.
He did their membres after rost and sede,
And with this vyande most abhominable
He made me to be serued at the table.
In couert cruses (also thus it stode)
To staūch mi thirst through his cruel vēgeāce
He made me vnknowe drynke their bloud.
Was not this thing to goddes displeasaunce?
Yes I dare saye, for by demonstraunce,
Vpon this dede without more obstacle,
The sunne in heauen shewed a myracle:
Whiche sore agrysed might not beholde
With his beames theron to cast his syght,
For displeasaūce his clearenes gan wtholde
And for vengeaunce to withdraw his lyght,
The day turnyng for horrour into nyght,
Whan he shone bryghtest in his midday spere,
Shrowded his face and woulde not appere.
But I alas vpon this case horrible
That coulde not ymagyn ne thynke,
On any matter that was so odible,
Eat their fleshe, their bloude also did drynke:
Whiche so sore dothe to mine hart synke,
That I may not touchyng this aduenture
The circumstaunce for constraint discure.
It nedeth me not to make rehearsayle
Touchynge mine exyle, of all maner thinges,
Of diuers sorowes that me did assayle,
My wofull sighes, ne my greuous wepings:
Ne vpon nightes my dolorous wakinges.
My pouert, nether how I stode in drede,
To lese my life, wherof Bochas take hede.
And remembre all the circumstaunces,
If euer thou sawest of high or low degre,
More contrary or more vnhappy chauntes,
Than thou hast heard remembred here of me
Wey in balaunce my sorowes, let me se
If any sorowe or mischefe vnrecured,
May counterpayse to that I haue endured?
Mine infortunes I founde them aye so fell
Without fauour and succoure, dispurueyed.
My brother on me was euer so cruell,
That I full oft desiered to haue died:
For to this day my spirite hath ben conueyed
With sorow and wo deuoyde of all refuge,
Wherfore I pray the, O Bochas be my iuge.
And in thy writyng leaue me not behynde,
Nether in thy boke that thou not disdayne,
Among tho folke that thou haue me in mynd,
Which yt for sorow, wepe, wayle, and playne:
And thus Thiestes rehearsyng all his paine,
Like as he would him selfe in pieces rende,
Made vnto Bochas of his tale an ende.

The .xi. Chapter.

¶ How Atreus excuseth him selfe of murder, and of his brothers aduoutry done with Europa quene.

ATreus came after with a full pale chere
And of enuy full dead in his vysage,
Vnto Bochas gan to approche nere,
Like as he had be fallen in a rage,
And furiously abrayde in his langage,
How may this be that like a man were wode
Thiestes hath his venym sow abrode?
And like a rybaude falsly me accused?
Notwithstandyng that I full clearely se
Mine infortunes which may not be refused,
So sore alas they worke agaynst me.
And though Thiestes false and vntrue be,
And vnto the Bochas with a face pale
Agaynst me hath forged here a tale.
Whiche in effect shalbe found vntrue,
If I haue time my complaynt to declare:
For I purpose to tell a tale newe
Fro poynt to poynt, and for no man spare,
How he was ground and rote of all my care,
And ouer, like as it is befall,
Reherce the beginnyng of my sorowes all.
Sometime whan I raigned in Missene,
Of age lusty flouryng in my freshenes,
With my wife Europa that was quene,
Most reuomed that time of fayrenes,
Thiestes than as grounde of all falsenes,
As a traytour his tyme did espye,
Through his false fraude and flattery,
Compassed a meane within my citye,
[Page xxi]By sleighty wyles that were incomparable,
To corrupt my wiues chastitie,
My bedde defoulyng a thing intollerable,
And to the Gods very abhominable:
Vsyng the quene to his fleshely pleasaunce,
Tyll vnto the tyme that in continuaunce
She by him had sonnes two or thre,
Echone brought forth in false aduoutry:
Demyng none other but they had be
Mine owne children, till that I did espye
How this swyne through his false lechery
This Thiestes, after Europa
Lay with his daughter called Pelopeia.
And by processe forthe a chylde she brought
Called Egistus whiche whan he came to age
As saith Bochas much treason wrought:
For by his malice and his great outrage,
Destroyed was all whole the lynage
Of Tantalus, whiche by his liuyng
In Frygia raygned as lorde and kyng.
But this Egistus of whom I spake toforne
Falsely begotten (mine auctour sayth ye same)
Of Pelopeia, anone as he was borne,
To hyde the slaunder, and also the fame,
Of Thiestes, and also to saue his name,
Whan he was but a day of age,
He was out cast to beastes sauage
To be deuoured: the story is well couthe.
A melche gote God lyst for him prouide,
To foster him in his tender youthe.
He nyght and day liynge by her syde,
Within the forest thus he did abyde:
Vnto the tyme he gan growe in age,
Than to the court he holdeth his passage.
Wherfore (O Bochas) of hart I pray the,
Whiche of these stories is most terrible
Of Edippus, Iocasta, or of me▪
Tel on anone if it be possible,
Whiche of these sorowes is most penible?
Of the Thebane brethren ful of wo and tene,
Or of vs twayne brethren of Missene?
I am aknowe as for my party,
Of vengeaunce I did a cruell dede:
I slough his children of malyce and enuy,
And tosted them whan they were deade,
Onely bicause, if thou list take hede.
That he begate thē, as rote of all this stryfe,
Vpon Europa which that was my wife.
Such hatefull thinges ech man should lothe,
Which apparteyneth to murder and treson:
Thus may I saye we be vnhappy both.
He first by trespace of fornication,
Done by the quene wythin my region:
And I slaundred on that other syde,
Of hasty vengeaunce to be an homicyde.
My bedde he defouled by his aduoutry,
To God and man a thing most detestable:
And I of malice and false melancholy,
Slough his childer, & serued thē at the table.
Thus enterchaunging if it be commendable,
Eche was desyrous throughe our vnhappye chaunce
Vpon other to do vengeaunce.
Our great hatred most odious found of all,
Our crueil dedes wrought on eyther syde,
Senecke reherceth them in especiall
In his tragedies, and there he dothe deuide
Our complayntes, our malice, and our pryde
Our fatall ende in sorow and mischefe fyned,
Whan Attropos our liues threde vntwyned.
Whan John Bochas fully had espied
Of these two brethren the accusations,
And how they had maliciously replyed,
Eche agaynst other in their discentions,
He began duly to heare their mocions:
Put vp his pen, & wrote not more a word,
Of their fury, ne of their false discorde.

¶ Lenuoy.

THis tragedy sheweth a fygure,
A maner of ymage and also likenes.
How contrary it is vnto nature,
Bloude vnto bloud to shew vnkyndnes:
This wofull story can well beare witnes,
All such debates ben as ye shall fynde,
Hatefull to God and contrary vnto kynde.
For there is no more dreadfull aduenture
Than in kynred to fynde frowardnes,
Neither no domage more perilous tendure,
Than in frēdshyp whan there is straūgenes:
A maner party by example I dare expresse.
To se the tree debate agaynst the rynde,
To God right hateful, and contrary to kynd.
Euery beast, and euery creature
Loueth his sēblable of kynde right I gesse:
And whā in one truth doth tway harts assure
Vndeparted of very perfitenes,
[Page]It were a vycious frowarde cursednes▪
Their loue to vnknytte, to lose, or vnbinde,
Hatefull to God, and contrary vnto kynde.
Princes, pryncesses, do your busy cure,
Frō you to auoyd, strife, fraude, & doublenes:
Remember you vpon the vnhappy cure
Of these two brethrē, and their wretchednes,
And of their bothe malicious wilfulnes,
And of their strife, haue this well in mynde:
To God right hatefull, and contrary to kind.

¶ The .xii. Chapter.

☞ Of duke Thesius and Ariadne that saued his life in a caue, and how he like a forsworne man forsoke her, and wedded fayre Phedra, which after slewe her selfe.

A Thenes whan it was in his floures,
Was called nourish of philosophers wise
Princesse of poetes and expert oratours,
Sūme of all sciences as clarkes can deuise,
Whence all cunnyng most clearely did aryse:
Named of Grece the lanterne and the light,
Which through al erth shed his bemes bright
With noble titles which ben out of number
In euery coast his renome did shyne:
The fame therof was clipsed wt none vmber,
All other scholes it did so enlumine,
For in that citye plamely to determine,
Of the .vii. artes, as frō one head did spring
As out of riuers, streames of all cunuyng.
These sciences were called liberall,
Onely of fredome, fraunchise, and libertie,
For of a stocke that were proued thrall,
There should no braunch study in that citye:
But the ilke bloude that were founde free,
Bothe by discent, and liniall high noblesse,
There to scholey should haue entresse.
This citye was sacred to Mynerue,
For their wisdome and their sapience:
Of Mercury the feastes they obserue,
For rethorike and for eloquence.
And mighty Mars gaue them influence
With glad aspectes, their party to amende,
Nobles of knighthode, their cleargy to defēd
This toune was nobled bi title of other thin­ges
And most glorious rekened in that age,
By succession of dukes and of kynges,
Among which, duke Thesius by lynage
Sonne of Egistus, full freshe in his courage,
Excellyng all of prudence and manhede
That euer did the crowne there possede.
For to that citye through his noblesse.
In their defence, such trust, such affiaunce,
He gaue to them by his expert prowes,
Of his triumphes so great aboundaunce:
And specially their renome to auaunce,
He made them free their truage to lete,
Ayenst Mynos the mighty kyng of Crete.
For by his force (the story is well couthe)
Them to franchise and all that region,
The Mynotaur he slough in tender youth.
And afterwarde he of deuocion,
To acquite him selfe like a champion,
Therof made solemne sacrifice,
To Jupiter in most humble wise.
And of a Theatre called Maraton,
Duke Theseus had the victorye,
After he went to Colchos with Jason,
Chiefe of counsayle, as made is memory.
And by processe to augment his glory,
With Hercules his brother to conucy,
Agaynst Amasones he went to warrey.
Conquered them, his manhode was wel sene,
His force, his noblesse, in that mortall stryfe:
And after that Ipolita the quene
This Theseus toke vnto his wife.
And for his brother he ieoparded his lyfe,
Duke Perithous, whan he did vndertake
The Centaures to outray for his sake.
This Centaures poetes specifye,
And Seruius maketh mencion,
How they were sumtyme engendred on a sky
Whan first their father called Ixion
Was enamored full many a day agone,
Vpon Juno, because she was so fayre,
Gouernesse, and goddesse of the ayre.
This Ixion was her secretary.
And for her fayrenes and excellent beauty,
Loued her hote: albeit she was contrary
To his desire, Bochas read and ye may se:
Him to delude, he writeth how that she
Her selfe transformed, as she y might & could,
Into the likenes of an heauenly cloude.
[Page xxii]This Ixion playnly supposyng
It was her selfe: and euen thus he wrought
The cloude embracyng wtout more tatiynge,
Of his foly the goddesse there he sought.
And wt their medlyng forth they brought
The Centaures, these beastes matuelous,
Whiche of nature ben founde monstruous.
Halfe mā, halfe horse, departed thus in twain
And wonderfull by their discription,
Of false malyce did them selfe ordayne,
On Pirithous to make enuasion:
And him to put out of possession
Of his wife called Ipodamen,
And her to rauishe maugry all his men.
There were of thē an hundred in number,
Swift as the winde in their course runnyng
Whiche of malyce cast them to encumber,
Duke Pirithous the day of his weddyng:
And to rauysh his wyfe at their commyng,
If for his party there were no defence
Agaynst their power to make resistence.
But Theseus lyst not to delay,
Pirithous his brother to defende:
First the Centaures knyghtly he did outray,
So mortally, they durst not him offende,
After the conquest to hell they did descende,
Duke Pirithoe: and worthy Theseus,
Maugry the daunger of cruell Cerberus.
There they rauished in their mortall tene
Through their knyghthode, if ye list to lere,
Despite of Pluto, Proserpina the quene
Whiche of Jupiter was the daughter dere.
And Pirithous founde first the manere
Of wilfull force through his high renoun,
Realmes to conquere, and hold in possession.
But by writyng sothly of Duyde,
He playnly telleth how duke Theseus
Arested was in hell, and must abyde,
By the force of cruell Cerberus.
And Pluto was to hym contrarious,
Tyll Pirithous to fynde a relees,
The case declared vnto Hercules.
Whiche of his knighthode a remedy founde:
To helpe his frende did his busy paine,
First by his prowes Cerberus he bounde
At hell gates wyth a treble chayne.
And of his manhode he did so ordayne,
Duke Theseus from daunger to discharge,
Maugry of Pluto for to go at large.
They were in armes brethren bothe twayne,
Loued as brethren bothe in warre and pees,
That neither coulde vnto other frayne:
Their life to ieopard, and put thē self in prees
And both as brethren were called Hercules,
To signify (Poetes can well tell)
This name in conquest all other doth excell.
By olde tyme they that were pereles
For their nobles in diuers regions,
All they for manhode were named Hercules.
Such as were noysed for famous champions
Tygres to daunt, eke boares, and lyons:
And renoumed among them euerychone,
Bechas affirmeth that Theseus was one.
First (as I sayd) by his knyghtly trauayle
Whan Athens stode in deuision,
Among them selues by warre and battayle,
By his wisdome and his discrecion,
To set accord within that noble towne
Them that were exiled & stode in no certeyne
He of his knyghthode made thē resort ayen.
He gaue thē lawes wherby thei shold thē gye
Noble statutes founded of reason:
Set amonge them so prudent policy
In their liuyng, that no discention
Shoulde aryse by none occasion,
Among them selues in hye or lowe estate,
Prouidyng euer that there were no debate.
Thus began the city encrease and multiplye,
To waxe famous of wisdome and richesse:
There sprong the well fyrst of Philosophy,
There first of knyghthode rose the hye nobles
By Theseus, Bochas beareth wytnes,
Thus thinges two like as it is founde,
Cleargy and lawe did there first abounde.
For to set the citye in quiete
He made peace through all that region:
And of knyghthode he manly did mete
The cruell tyrant that called was Creon.
Maugre him made restitucion
Of lordes bones that were at Thebes slayn,
To the ladyes, wherof they were full fayne.
Thus through Grece his renome spradde,
His knyghtly fame began to multiply:
And long in ioye thus his life he ladde,
While that Fortune list him magnify.
[Page]But aye her ioye is meynt with some enuy,
For she froward list no more soiourne
With Theseus, but began her to face tourne
Away fro him: wexe peruerce and froward,
Of his glory, vngoodly gan to doubul,
Downe frō her whele, she made go backward
Of his good name she gan the fethers pull,
Whan his noblesse was highest at full,
I meane the full of his felicitye,
There folowed an ebbe of great aduersitie.
And moreouer her frowardly to aquite,
His vnhaps rehearsyng one by one,
One the first, as Bochas list to endite,
Was when he lay in Crete among his fone:
And out of pryson should into Grece gone,
Repayryng homeward & him selfe wtdrawe,
The Mynotaur whan he had yslawe.
The first empryse that he vndertoke,
Was whan he escaped the importable payne,
Of Mynotaurs, like as sayth my boke:
And wt him had the kings daughters twayne
That he of malice falsely list disdayne:
Ayenst [...]ryadne which did him saue
From the death, whan he lay in the caue,
Should haue ben slaine had not his socour be
In his repayre he toke therof no hede:
He left her alone in great aduersitye,
Within an yle, in mischefe, sorowe and drede.
And fayre Phedra with him he did lede,
Wedded her like a forsworne man,
Thus wt vntruth his mischefe first began.
How Phedra quither, y story is well know:
In his absence, Bochas writeth thus,
Whan that she within a little throwe
Loued agaynst kynde, her sonne Ipolitus.
But he to her was contrarious,
Woulde not assent to so foule a dede,
For shame he fled, & percel also for drede.
To his father she him did accuse,
As ye toforne haue the story sene:
And for he did her company refuse,
He went away and came neuer agayne.
For ye haue heard how that he was slayne,
Within a chare through his vnhappy chaūce:
And how Phedra through vengeaunce,
Slough her selfe, agaynst all womanhede,
Here in this boke tofore as I you tolde.
Of which thing whan Thesius toke hede,
Thought it was vēgeaunce for his offēce old:
For he not quit him like as he was beholde,
To Ariadne whiche should haue be his wyfe,
By whose succour he scaped with his lyfe.
This infortune and this vnhappy chaunce
Was to his nobles full contrarious,
The death also was to him a vengeaunce,
Of his sonne called Ipolitus:
For sorow of whom this duke Theseus
With salt teares sore began to playne,
And helde the exequies of the ilke twayne.
I trowe also it did him sore greue,
Duke Pirotheus whan he sawe deade.
Slayne with a beast, and myght not releue,
Of kig Orchus hoūd which had a treble head
Whose teeth hortible of his bloud were redde:
Whiche infortune when he gan beholde,
Vnto the death he felt his hart colde.
And for to reken the great wretchednes,
The vnhappy chaunces y fell him in his lyfe,
Among all his other great distresses,
Was none so mortall and so full of strife,
As was whan he gaue credence to his wyfe,
Phedra called, whiche of intencion
Compassed vntruely an accusation
Vpon Ipolytus, of hatred and enuy,
Because he woulde not do so great offence,
As for to assent to her lechery:
Therfore of death he felt the vyolence.
And for his father to sone gaue credence,
Bochas forbade husbandes all their lyues,
Without prefe, not leue to sone their wyues.
Neither be to hasty tales for to leue
Of flaterers, in chamber ne at the table:
Forgers of lesyngs my auctor doth wel preue
To abide wt lordes that they be not able,
Here on he maketh a chapitle notable,
And of his wrytyng this was the cause why,
That prynces should examyne eche party.
Of wisdome also, and of discrecion,
Without a prefe not be parciall,
For to a prynce it is confusion,
If betwene parties he be not found egall:
Caused many one for to haue a fall▪
God suffreth such not longe to contune
Withdraw their grace, & hindreth their fortūe
Thus Theseus for his hastines
His happe, his grace, discreased day by day.
The fame appalled of his worthines,
And frowarde fortune also in a wayte lay
For his defautes, to hinder him if she may,
Cast she woulde his nobles disauaunce:
And than his kyngdome by disobeysaunce.
From him wtdrawe honour and reuerence,
Full frowardlye through all his region
They of Athens by cruell vyolence,
Fyll agaynst him in rebellion:
That he was fayne to flye out of that towne,
Thus hath fortune darked the bryghtnes
Of all his nobles, and cast hym in distresse.
Thus was the ende by great contrarioustie,
Of Theseus, after hys dayes glade,
Whan the freshe floure of olde felicitie
Fortune aduerse made them for to fade.
Eche thyng must bowe whan it is ouerlade,
Worshyp & honour whan they brightest shine
wt vnware chaunges than rathest do declyne.

☞ Lenuoy.

THe vnsure gladnes, the ioye transitory,
The vnstable surenes, the transmutatiōs,
The clowdy brightnes, the false eclipsed glory
Of earthly prynces, whiche haue possessions,
Monarchies and dominacions,
Their sodayne chaunge declareth to vs all
Their swete suger is meynt with bitter gall.
This blynde goddesse in her consistory,
With her pleasaunce medleth discentions:
After triumphes, conquest, and victory,
Reueth from kynges their scepters & crowns
Troubleth the people with false rebellions,
Se these dukes which from the whele be fall
Al worldly suger is meynt with bytter gall.
This tragedy maketh memory
Of dukes twayne, and of their hye renounes,
And of their loue write a great history,
And how they conquered diuers regions:
Gouerned cities, countreyes, & also townes,
Tyll fortune their prowes did appall,
To shew their suger was meint wt bitter gal.
Prynces, pryncesses, se how deceptory,
Ben all these worldly reuolutions:
And how fortune in her reclinatory,
With her treacle tempreth false poysons.
So marueilous ben her confections,
Of frowardnes she wyll what so befall,
Euer with her suger of custome temper gall.

¶ The .xiii. Chapter.

¶ Here Bochas writeth agaynste them that geueth hastye credence to lyers and flatterers.

IN this chapter Bochas in sentence,
Repreueth & blameth not onely princes,
But all them that lyghtly geueth credēce
To euery tale and fable whiche is
Reported vnto them for sothfastnesse:
And list nothing do as it were due,
To proue the truth were it false or true.
All though so be in euery maner age
Folkes ben diuers of condicions,
To turne, plye, and chaunge in their courage
To outher party with sodayne mocions,
And for to bowe by transmutations
With euery wynde as the vnstable leaues,
Which hang on trees, in forestes & in greues.
But of al chaūges y chaunge is most to drede
And most fearfull is that variaunce,
Whā that princes whych may the people lede,
Ben founde vnstable in their gouernaunce:
For their nobles and their hye puissaunce
Assureth them by a maner of forme,
What euer thē list to accomplyshe & performe
To cōmen profite they most may aueyle,
Whan they ben ruled by wisdome and reason
And to the people they may most disaueyle,
Whan they lacke wytte and discrecion.
Thus betwene twayne in euery region
The people draweth, who that can discerne,
To good or badde as prynces them gouerne.
They may not be to hasty, ne to sodayne,
But do all thyng by good aduisement:
Kepe thē fro tonges yt parted be in twayne,
Not be to hasty to geue no iudgement:
And of folkes whan they ben absent,
Lieue no tales▪ neither geue no credence,
Tyll that the party may come to euidence.
Sumtime hath happed that slowe credence
Hath in some be founde full noyons,
But hasty credence I dare say in sentence,
A thousande folde is more perillous:
For vnaduised all haste is odious.
[Page]For haste full oft for lacke of reason,
Of muche people hath ben destruction.
There is no domage that men can purpose
More to be dradde nor more lamentable
Than a prynce his eares to vnclose
To euery tale and euery fable:
It is a token their hartes be not stable,
Whan they to flatterers their eares do apply
Namely to suche that can well forge & lye.
Folke ben diuers, some false, some true,
In diuers studies done their busines:
Some can study, and finde out tales newe,
And some for lucre can maintayne falsenes,
And holde vp quarels ayenst ryght wisenes.
Pretendyng truth vnder a false entent,
To hinder folkes whiche ben innocent.
Men to suppose it were a great folye
That folkes shoulde in their opinion
Speake or pronounce all on one party,
Or holde one way in their intencion:
For semblably as there is a diuision
Of courages, of hye or lowe degre,
So is there truly a great diuersitie
In rehearsall, or report of a thing.
For to his party eche man is fauourable,
Some man can say well in al his rehearsyng
Some man is double, and some disceauable:
Some men say true, and some be variable,
Wherfore a prynce of ryght as it doth seme,
Should well examen before that he deme.
For there is none more dreadfull pestilence,
Than a tonge that can flatter and fage:
For wyth his cursed crabbed vyrulence,
He enfecteth folke of euery age.
Wo to tonges froward of their langage,
And wo to tonges, false, furious, and wode,
Which of no person neuer can say good.
Bochas rehearseth, it is right well sittyng
That euery man other do commende,
And say the best alway in reportyng:
For in well saiyng no man may offende,
Where men say well god will his grace send.
After as men be, mē must their praise vpraise
Like their merites alowe them or disprayse.
But where a thing is vtterly vnknowe,
Let no man there be hasty of sentence:
For ryghtfull iudges sittyng on a rowe
Of their wisdome and of their hye prudence,
Will of trouth haue first some euidence.
(I meane such as gouerned be by grace)
Or any dome forthe of their lippes pace.
A prynce should assemble thinges twayne
Within him selfe, full prudently:
Shut vp the domes betwene lockes twayne,
One of the soule: to reason for that party
Prudence chosen, and right for the body.
And betwene them bothe or he geue sentence,
To counsayle call truth and good conscience.
First to consider wyth euery circumstaunce,
And diligently do theron his laboure,
Of discrecion to take the balaunce:
And first wey out who is the accusour,
And whether that he for falsenes or fauoure,
In his processe list to procede,
Hereof a prynce must of ryght take hede.
He must also consider by and by
What he is, that to him is accused,
And whether the accusour, be frend or enemy
Or whether he shalbe accept or refused.
In his actes this must afore be mused.
And whether he be by report of his name,
A man well noysed, or slaundred by diffame.
If Thesius thus had ben auysed,
And considered of reason the manere:
He had not so hastely deuised
His sonnes death, like as ye shall leare.
For if there had assembled be in fere,
In his person, prudence and reason,
He shoulde haue sene in his descrecion.
By knowlegyng of long experience,
Of his wyfe the great vnstedfastnes:
Which through her false compassed eloquence
Was ready euer to bryng folke to distresse.
And in his writyng Bochas beareth witnes,
Of their nature women can flatter and fage,
And be sumtyme to copious of their langage.
Also of wisdome, duke Thesius
Should haue considred afore in his entent,
How that his sonne called Jpolytus,
Of all vnclennes was founde euer innocent:
And how that he by custome made his went
Into forestes durynge his yonge age,
To hunt at beastes, which that were sauage.
Rennyng on fote, as ye shall vnderstande,
[Page xxiiii]On hilles and valeys, to eschue idlenes
Mother of vices, with his bow in hand,
Diana to serue of huntyng chefe goddesse:
Sumtime to hauke he did his busines,
Also vnto fishyng greatly he was applyed,
So that his youth was neuer vnoccupied.
Thus he liued in woodes solitary,
And of Venus dispised the seruice:
Among women he would neuer tary,
Their felowshyp he did alway despise,
For he demed by sentence of the wise,
Who toucheth pytche by a saye men may se,
It fayleth not he shall defouled be.
Jpolitus sawe wel this thing before,
Kept him at large from such contagiositie
His grene youth he would not haue it lore,
To be defouled for lacke of chastitie.
For he liued euer in virginitie,
And neuer did (Bochas will not vary)
Nothing that was vnto God contrary.
Thus of entent he kept his body clene,
Duryng his life both in thought and dede:
Whose mother was Jpolita, the quene
Of Amasones, in Ouide ye may rede.
But wo alas that Theseus toke hede,
For a tale of Phedra full of gyle,
Without gilte his sonne so to exyle.
After whose death some Poetes sayne,
Howe that Dyana for his chastitie,
Restored him vnto life agayne
By Esculapius, and gaue him lybertye
In her forestes to hunt and to go fre:
For whiche restoryng (as write Ouidius)
As twyse a man men call hym Virbius.
But Bochas here I not what he doth mene,
Maketh in his boke an exclamation,
Agaynst women, that pity is to sene:
Sayth how their life, and their generation,
Ben of their nature double of condicion.
And calleth them also, diuers and vnstable,
Beastes resemblyng, that ben insaciable.
He meaneth of women borne in Crete,
And nothyng of them y dwell in this coūtrey.
For women here all doublenes they lete,
And haue no tatche of mutabilitie:
They loue no chaunges, ne no duplicitie.
For their husbandes in causes small or great,
Whatsoeuer they say, they can not coūterplete
Blessed be god that them hath made so meke,
So humble and fearfull of their condicions:
For though men would cause and matter seke
Against their pacience, to finde occasions,
They haue refused all contradictions.
And thē submitted through their gouernaūce,
Onely to mekenes and womanly suffraunce.
I speake not of one, I speke of euerychone
That ben professed vnto lowlines,
Thei mai haue mouthes, but lāgage haue thei none
All true husbandes can beare hereof witnesse.
For wedded men, I dare full well expresse,
That haue assayed, and had experience,
Best can recorde, of wifely pacience.
For as it longeth to men to be sturdy,
And sumwhat frowarde as of their nature:
Right so can women suffer paciently,
And all wronges womanly endure.
Men shoulde attempt no maner creature.
And namely women, their mekenes to preue,
Which may wel suffer, if no man them greue.
Euery thing resorteth to his kynde,
(As Bochas writeth) sumtyme of the yere:
And who sercheth by processe he shall fynde,
That truth & vertue may neuer fade of there:
For rightwisenes will alway shyne clere.
Truth and falsnes in what they haue to done,
They may no while assemble in one persone.
Feare and flattery they ben contrary,
They may together hold no long soiour:
Neither simplesse whiche that can not vary,
May neuer accorde with a baratour.
Neyther innorence with a lesyngour,
Neither chastite can not her selfe apply,
Her to conforme vnto no rybaudry.
Eche thing hath a proper disposition,
By the ordinaunce set in their courage:
And ech man foloweth his condicion,
As of the stocke the frute hath the tarrage.
Pilgrymes may go full farre in their passage
But I dare say how farre that euer they go,
They beare some tarrage of y they came fro.
Bochas maketh an introduction
In this chapiter, of hygh noblesse
That prynces haue in their possession:
And by a maner laughyng doth expresse,
How for toset them in great sykernesse
They haue seruauntes vpon them abidynge,
[Page]And men of armes day and nyght awaytyng
That no man may enter but he haue lycence.
The froward porters standyng at the gate,
Put men abacke by sturdy vyolence:
It were full harde agaynst them to debate.
Their watches kept early and also late,
Them to assure on nyghtes whan they slepe,
The chāberlains their dores straightly kepe.
Men assigned their meates to assay,
To taste their wynes lest there were treason,
Such mortall drede these lordes do affray,
So is their surenes meynt with suspection:
Who feadeth him glaoly that feareth poyson▪
But pore folke franchised from such dreade,
Such as god doth sende, wt myrthe they fede.
But Poetes that write tragedies,
Their complàynyng is all of hye estates:
Rehearsyng euer their piteous ieopardyes,
Their sodayne chaūges, & their wofull fates,
Their deuisyons, and their mortall debates.
And euer cōclude, their dities who so canrede,
High estates stande aye most in drede.
Ground and rote of all this mortall trouble,
As Bochas writeth and beareth witnes,
Ben these lyers with their tonges double,
Them selfe aye forsyng truth to oppresse:
With whom flattery is a chiefe maistresse,
And worst of all, to their dreadfull sentence,
Is whan prynces be hasty of credence.
Hasty credence is roote of all erroure,
A froward stepmother of all good counsayle:
Ground of great hindring, a dredefull discey­uour,
Fayre of face with a perillous tayle.
Gladly concluding wt ful great disauayle.
Next neighbour vnto repentaunce,
To all that trust & haue in her pleasaunce.

¶ Lenuoy.

PRynces, pricesses cōsider how in euery age
Folkes ben diuers of their condicion:
To ply & turne and chaunge in their courage,
Yet is there none to mine opinion,
So dreadfull chaunge ne transmutation,
As chaunge of prynces, to geue iugement,
Or hasty credence without auisement.
It is well founde a passyng great domage,
Knowen and expert in euery region,
Though a tale haue a fayre vysage,
It may enclude full great deception,
Hide vnder suger ga [...]e and fell poyson,
With a freshe face of double entendem cut:
Yet geue no credence without auisement.
Let folkes beware of their laugage,
Kepe their tonges from oblocution:
To hynder or hurte by no maner outrage,
Preserue their lyppes from all detraction,
From champarty, and contradiction,
Lest that fraude were found in their entent,
Ne geue no credence without auisement.
Prynces princesses of noble and high parage,
Whiche haue lordshyp and do nination,
Voyde them asyde that can flatter and fage:
Fro tonges that haue a terrage of [...]reason,
Stoppe your eares, from their bitter soun,
Be circumspect, not hastye but prudent,
And geue no credence without auisement.

¶ The .xiiii. Chapter.

¶ Of quene Althea, and how Hercules by women was brought to con­fusion.

WHā Bochas had shewed his sētence
And declared his opinion
Against thē y wer hasty of credēce,
He begā anone to make a digression
Fro that matter: and of entencion
To serche out mo his purpose to contune,
That were downe cast & hyndred by fortune.
And as him thought he sawe a company
Of many worthy whiche did appeare:
And among all first he did espye,
Quene Althea, as she gan nygh him nere,
All be wept her face, and also her chere,
With salt teares that pitye was to sene,
Whiche some time was of Cale [...]dony quene.
She was the daughter of kynge Thestius,
Wedded to Oene of Calsidony kynge,
Of cheare and face appearing full piteous,
Her heere to torne, and frowardly liyng:
And in token also of complaynynge,
As writeth Bochas, wherof he toke hede,
Blacke was her habite, & torne was her wede
A sonne she had Melliager he hyght,
In earth was there none fayrer to se:
[Page xxv]Ryght wel fauoured in euery mans syght,
And as I fynde, at his natiuite
Present were the fatal susters thre,
With their rockes, and began to spyn fast,
And toke a brond, and in the fyre it cast:
And in that hour this was their langage:
Touchynge thys chylde we full accorded be,
And haue disposed also, the terme of his age
The space concluded of his destyne,
As long tyme who so lyst to se,
Tyll thys brond among the coles reed,
Be ful consumed into ashes dead.
But whan Althea espied their entent,
And conceyued the fyne of their sentence:
She rose vp, and the brond she hent
Out of the fyre wyth ful great diligence.
Quenched anone the fyres violence,
The dome of Parche she gan thus disobey,
The brond reseruinge vnder locke & key.
Touchyng the father of this Melliager,
Oeneus, of hym thus I rede,
Howe that he sought nighe and ferre
Goddes & goddesses, whose lyst take hede,
In hope onely for to haue great mede.
For to them al, poetes thus deuyse,
Saue to Diana he dyd sacrifyce.
Wherof she caught an indignacion:
Cast she woulde on hym auenged be.
Sent a Boore in to his region,
Full sauage and full of cruelte.
Which deuoured the frute of many a tree,
And distroyed his cornes and his vynes,
That such scarsnesse of vitayles & of wynes
Was in his land vpon euery syde,
That the people of necessite,
Compelled were among to prouyde
Some meane or way to saue their countre:
And at the last they condiscended be
That Melliager lusty of his corage,
Shoulde chose wt him folkes fresh & yonge of age
This dredeful Boore mightely to enchace.
And forth they went echon deuoyde of drede,
With round speres they gan him to manace
But Melliager made fyrst his sydes blede,
And wyth a swerde than smote of his hede.
Wherof the countre was glad and fayne,
And in this wyse the tuskye bore was slaine.
Some bokes tell of this huntyng,
That a lady whych was borne in Irge,
Called Athalanta doughter to the kyng,
To slee this Boore toke on her the charge.
And wyth an arowe made his woūdes large,
Also in Ouide, lyke as it is founde,
Because that she gaue the fyrst wounde,
Melliager anone for a memorye,
As he that was her owne chosen knight,
Gaue her the heed in token of this victory.
But his two vncles ayenst al skyl and tyghte,
Raft her the head of very force and myght:
Hauyng dispite that she in her auyse,
Of this victory shoulde beare away the price.
With which iniury. Melliager was wroth,
Agaynst them proudly gan disdayne:
Pulled out a swerde & vpon thē goeth,
And throughe hys manhode slewe his vncles twaine:
And after yt dyd his busy payne
To take the heed, and wyth humble entent
To Athalanta agayne to be present.
One of his vncles was called Flexippus
A manly knyght but yonge of age,
That other brother named Theseus.
But whan their suster herde of that outrage,
Howe they were slayne, she gan in her visage
Wexe deed and pale, alas, for her bloud:
Whan she espyed the cause howe it stode.
She had no matter god wote to be fayne,
Quene Althea to stand and beholde,
Her bretherne twayne of her son slayne
At the huntyng, of whych tofore I tolde.
Fyrst thynges twayne she gan peise & vnfold,
Of her bretherne the loue and nigh kynted,
And of her sonne the hasty cruel dede.
And remembring she casteth in balaunce
Of hertely wo that she dyd endure,
Thought if she dyd vpō their deth vengeaūce
To slee her son it were ayenst nature:
Thus in a warre longe tyme she dyd endure,
Her deedly sorowe peysyng euery dell,
Wheder she shalbe tender or eruel.
Thus tender I meane, her son for to spare,
Or punishe the dethe of her brether twayne.
Thus confortlesse al destitute and bare,
In languishing she endured forthe her payne:
And temedy can she none ordayne,
Saue faine she would auenge her if she may,
[Page]But than came forth nature and sayd nay.
It was her sonne, agaynst all kyndly ryghte
Of whom she cast auenged for to be:
To women al an vgly straunge syghte,
That a mother deuoyde of all pitie,
Shoulde slee her childe so merciles parde.
Naye not so, nature wyl not assent,
For if she dyd full sore she should repent.
But O, alas, al fatal purueyance
Kepeth his course, as some clerkes sayne:
But the wrytyng of doctours in substaunce,
And these diuynes reply there agayne,
And affirme the opinion is in vayne,
Of them that trust in fate or desteny,
For God aboue hath the soueraintie.
And of fortune the power may restrayne,
To saue and spyl lyke as folke deserue:
Ayenst his wyl they may nothynge ordayne,
Of necessite what course that they conserue.
But this matter al holy I reserue
Vnto diuines, to determyne and conclude,
Whych nat partayneth vnto folkes rude.
But Althea of Calcidony quene,
Began sore muse and henge in balaunce:
Her bretherne deed whan she dyd them sene,
Than was she meued anon to do vengean̄ce
Vpon her son, by ful great displeasance.
But as poetes lyst for to compile,
Nature her made wtdrawe her hand, a while.
Thus betwene yre and affection,
She helde her long of euery partie stable:
Tyll that she caught in her opinion
A soden rancor which made her be vengeable.
And hasty worth, which is not cōmendable,
Ayenst her son made her with her hande
Out of her chest to take the fatall brande,
[...]nd sodaynly she cast it in the fyre,
And wexed cruell agaynst all womanhede,
To execute her venomous desyre.
The fatall bronde among the coles rede
Consumed was into ashes dede,
And furiously in her melancoly,
The vengeaunce done, she thus gan to cry.
O ye Parce froward susters three
Which of Joue kepe the library,
And of children at their natiuite
Awayte the sentence whych may not vary,
Wherso it be wylful or contrary,
Vpon his domes alwaye takyng hede,
How that ye shall dispose the fatal threde,
Thou Cloto takest thy rocke on hand,
And Lachesis after doth begyn,
By great auise, who so can vnderstande,
The threde of length to drawe and to spyn.
But whan the spirite shal frō the bodye twin,
Thou Atropos doest thy busy payne,
Ful frowardly to parte the thred in twayne.
I may wel playne in such perdicion,
Not for a day, but wo alas for euer:
Ye haue vntwyned and made deuision,
Of my two bretherne, & caused thē disceuer,
That here on lyue I shal se them neuer:
And I of haste, alas why dyd I so?
Tauenge their deth haue slayn my son also.
O ye doughters of Cerberus the fell,
Whose vgly moder was the blacke nyght,
Al your kyndred and linage lyue in hell,
And for to auēge the wrong & great vuryght
Which I haue accomplished in your syght,
I wyl wyth you perpetually complayne,
Like my desert, tendure sorow and payne.
And whyle she gan wt her selfe thus stryue
Vpon her sorowes that were endlesse:
She made a swerde through her hert to riue,
Of her selfe she was here recheles.
And Bochas after among al the prese,
Sawe as hym thoughte wyth a full hidious chere,
Deed of visage, Hercules appere.
Whose father was Jupiter the greate,
His mother doughter of Amphitrion,
Called Alcumena sumtyme borne in Crete.
And as poetes reherce one by one,
So excellent was there neuer none
To speke of conquest, of victory and fame,
Here in thys world that had so great a name.
Dredful of loke he was and ryght terible,
His berde also blacke which hing lowe doun:
And al his heer as bristles were horible,
Hys robe also ful maruaylous of facion,
Was of the skynne of a fierce lyon,
Whych from his backe of very force he rent:
Within a forest a lone whan he went.
In his hand he bare a mase of stele,
Whych to beholde was wonder long & huge,
[Page xxvi]By apparence as Bochas felte wele.
Demed of reason a ryghtful iuge,
That Hercules had to his refuge,
Wysedome wt force, for to encrease his fame,
As beastes wylde for to make them tame.
And vnto Bochas he gan loude crye:
Take right good hede for it is no fable,
I for my merites to speake of chiualry
And noble triumphes, am most cōmendable:
To be preferred most worthy and most able.
Which haue accomplished al that may excel,
Through hyghe prowes yt any tong can tel.
Also of my byrth in heuyn ful yore ago,
Fully conceyued my constellacion:
Myghty Jupiter sayd vnto Juno,
On such a day in such a region,
One shalbe borne most myghty of renoun,
Noblest of nobles both in warre and pees,
Of whom the name shalbe Hercules.
The whych dome whan Juno vnderstode,
Of Jupiter conceyuing the entent,
And knewe my fate should be so good,
To Lucina her messanger she sent:
But some saythe howe her selfe downe went,
To thys goddesse, goddesse of childing,
And her besought to graunt her her askynge.
That she would from Hercules translate
The influence of his natiuyte,
Helpe to rescue his name and hys fate,
And graunt it holy to yonge Euristee.
And that Lucina present would be
The same hour by Jupiter prouyded,
It to possede all hole and vndeuided.
Thus to the mother of this Euristee,
Juno the goddes graunted her fauour:
Therby disposyng that he should be,
Mighty of puissaunce lyke an emperour.
But of his nobles the conquest & labour,
And of his manhode the prowes & pursute,
By Hercules was fully execute.
This Hercules had the trauayle,
And Euristeus bare away the name.
Also Hercules fought in plate and mayle,
And highe emprises proudly dyde attame,
But the report of hys noble fame
To Euristeus fully was ascriued,
Thus of his thanke was Hercules depriued.
Full oft in armes some man doth wele,
And oft causeth that the felde is won,
And another that dyd neuer a dele,
The price out spredeth lyke as shineth y son.
And oft it happeneth he that hath best ron,
Doth not the spere like his desert possede,
Where false fauor giueth euery mā his mede
Fame in her palice hath trūpes mo than one,
Some of golde that geueth a freshe soun:
Some man hath laude and deserueth none,
And some haue be ful worthy of renoun
Nothinge preferred by commendacion.
As by report of states hye and lowe,
So frowardly Fame her trumpe hath blowe.
Touchyng armes, the pore ne the riche
Be not of hertes echone corragious:
Neither al men may not be yliche,
Neyther of theyr name egal ne gracious.
And though the pore haue bene victorious,
Of auenture to do full wel some daye,
Other haue pinched to take his thāke away.
On sleeth the dere wyth an hoked arowe,
Whose part is none yet of the venison:
One beteth the y bush another hath y sparow
And all the byrdes in his possession.
One draweth his nettes in riuers vp & doun,
With sondry baytes cast out lyne and hoke,
And hath no parte of al that euer he toke.
An euidence hereof ye may se
Ful notable to be put in memorye,
Of Hercules and of Euriste:
For Hercules gate aye the victory,
And Euristeus receiued hath the glorye.
Thus the palme departed was in twayne,
That one reioysed, that other bare ye payne.
Euristeus was prince of Athene,
Sonne and heire by dyscent of lyne,
Vnto the kyng that called was Stellene
Vnder whose myght as Bochas dothe deter­mine
Hercules through knightly disciplyne,
Proued so most manly and most wyse,
That from al other he bare away the prise.
But wo alas that euer it should fall,
So manly a knyght so worthy and notable,
That any spotte should his price appall,
Or cause hys corage for to be vnstable.
Which is a thinge doleful and lamentable,
From his knighthode as a thinge straunge,
[Page]That euer a woman should his hert chaunge.
I wyll excuse them because their nature
Is to chaunge hertes and corrages:
Agaynst their nature no force maye endure,
For their flatery and sugred fayre langages,
Lyke Sirens full freshe of their visages,
For to chaunge of princes the noblesse,
Mo than Hercules can bere hereof witnesse.
Thus Hercules astonied and ashamed,
Vnto Bochas shewed his presence:
Said, alas my knighthode is diffamed
By a full false amorous pestilence.
So sore constrayned by mortal vtolence,
Whereby alas my manhode was applied,
By sleye of women oppressed & maistried
To take their habit & cloth me in their wede,
To shere my berde, and farce my vysage
With oyntmentes against al manhede,
To make it souple, & chaunge my langage:
And to complayne more of myne outrage,
Vpon my fyngers fyue twyse tolde,
I had ringes richely wrought of golde.
Thus was my corage chaunged femynine,
For loue of one called Iolee:
Of condicions though she were serpentyne,
Me thought she was fayrest vnto se,
That all my ioye was wyth her to be.
And that none should aperceiue my trespace,
I chaunged both habite loke and face,
And was a woman outwarde in apparence,
Of entent to haue more liberte
To vse my lustes, and haue experience
Of appetites, which that vnlefull be:
Wherof the sclaundre reboundeth vpon me.
That I dare say my outragious trespace
Doth al my knyghthode & prowes difface.
Wherof Bochas, I pray the take good hede,
For to discriue in termes playne & clere,
Mine infortune lyke as it was in dede:
That whan other conceyue the manere
Of myne vnhappes, contagious for to here,
They may by example of me do their paine,
From vicious life their hertes to restraine.
For these folles that al wysdome dispise,
And be contrary to bertuous discipline,
May gyue example to folkes that ben wise
And ben to them a lanterne of doctrine,
Vyces to eschewe, and prudently declyne
Fro fleshely lustes: for it is taught in scholes,
That wysemē al day ben ytaught by foles.
Whan Bochas had conceyued the pleynt
Of Hercules in his appering,
And how his nobles by women was ataint,
Through his disordinate liuing:
He thought anone hym remembringe,
It had be ruthe for to put in mynde
Hys vires all, and vertues left behinde.
Considered also it was impartinent
Eyther by lāgage to write ayenst al ryght,
Any thing that should in sentment
The fame amenuse of so noble a knyght,
Or to discrese in any mans syght
Hys glorious prowes, sith poetes for hys werres
Reise his renome, so highe aboue the sterres.
For he was both knyght and Philosopher,
And for his strength called a giant:
For commen profit he gan promptly profer.
Of manly corage gyue thereto full graunt,
To entre in to Egipt to slee the giaunt
Called Busyris, who of ful false entēt
Slewe al straūgers that through his kingdū wēt
For vnder a colour of liberalite,
Vnto his palys gladly he would cal
Straūgers echone y came through his cūtre,
And solemly receyue thē one and al:
And lyke a kynge, both in chambre and hal
Make them such chere in all maner thynge
As apperteyned to a worthy kyng.
But whyle his gestes lay a nyght to slepe,
This false tirant in ful cruel wyse,
Murdred them ethone or they toke kepe:
And after that, thys was also his gise,
With their bloud to make a sacrifice
To Jupiter god of that countre,
Of hole entent to please his deite.
That in his kyngdome of frutes & grayne,
The land encresed by great habundaunce:
Doun from heuin he would send thē rayne,
This meane he made & this cheuisaunce.
To murdre and slee he had so great plesaūce,
For of al thing him thought it did him good
To murdre his gestes, and to shede their blod
Whā this murdre of Busiris was couth,
That no strāgers myght passe his lād i pees:
[Page xxvii]This manly knyght yet flowryng in youthe,
Thys noble, famous, thys worthy Hercules,
Among other he put hym selfe in prees:
And lyke a gest outwarde in shewyng.
Came to the palys of Busiris the kyng.
Rebuked hym of his great outrage
Done to hys gestes, by cruel violence.
And for to make pesible that passage,
And for to auenge y his importable offence,
And of his murdre to make a recompence,
Thys Hercules slewe Busiris in dede,
And toke the bloud whych he dyd blede,
Offred it vp Jupiter to please,
For thys victory hym to magnifye.
And al Egipt thus was set in ease,
Their landes and frutes gan also multiply,
Theyr grayne encresed about on eche partye,
And to habounde by influence of rayne,
Whych afore time of vitayle was barayne.
Another giaunt called Antheus,
Kyng of Libye and gouerned al the land,
Whom Hercules most strong and coragious,
Sūtime outraid, & slewe hym with his hand.
For as they wrastled by experience he fand,
Touching the erth this giant (it is trewe)
His force, his myght, dyd alway renewe.
But whan Hercules the maner dyd espye,
Howe his strength renewed agayne so ofte:
Theragaynst he shope a remedy,
Hye in the ayre he peysed hym vp a lofte,
And with strokes harde and nothynge softe,
Backe and bone so sore he did embrace,
That he fyll deed tofore hym in the place.
But some bokes of thys giant tell,
Within his kyngdome who dyd him assaile,
He would of newe his chiualry compel
Efte agayne to mete hym in battayle:
And in this wyse full selde he dyd fayle
To aforce of newe as ye shal vnderstand,
His strength, his myght, all enemis to wt stād.
But Hercules of hye discrecion,
The felde on him manly to recure,
Had hym by sleyght out of hys region:
And as they met there of auenture,
The sayd Anthens might not endure,
But was disconfited by Hercules anone,
Maugre his myght, and his men echone.
After this conquest Hercules is gone
For exercise, his prowes for to vse
Agaynst the myghty stronge Gereon,
Kyng of Spayne, of Melleager, and Ebuse,
The whych tiraunt myght hym not excuse,
That all his labour as poetes lyst compyle,
Was from these realmes his people to exile.
Hys tiranny myght not long endure,
For Hercules that noble worthy knyght,
Made vpon hym a great disconfiture,
And slough the tyraunt as they met in fyghte:
And after that through his great myght,
Of highe prowes and magnanimyte,
Sloughe Cerberus with his heades thre.
The famous bull of the lande of Crete
Whych that distroyed all that region,
He sloughe also whan that they dyd mete:
And in Nemea he slough a feirse lyon.
And for a recorde of hys high renoun,
Of manly force his skyn away he toke,
And to his body a cote thereof he shope.
To his enemis to shewe hym more dredeful,
Therfore he ware that hidious garment.
And for he was in armes neuer founde dul,
But ylike freshe euer in his entent,
In to a mountaine anone he made hys went,
Called Erimanthus: & there in his passage,
He slewe a boar most wylde & most sauage.
Besyde a ryuer called Styphalus,
Of furious byrdes he slewe a great nombre,
Within the kyngdome of kyng Pheneus,
All the countre they dyd encombre:
For wyth their shadowe & cōtagious vmbre
On sede, on frutes, where euer they alight,
Al was deuoured in euery mannes sight.
Vpon the mountayne called Auentyne,
Which is not far from Rome the citye,
There is a wode, as cronicles determyne,
Right freshe of light and goodly on to se:
And Hercules passyng by that countre,
Fro Spaynward passyng by Itayle,
Cachus the giant dyd hym there assaile.
While Hercules among the leues grene
Layde him to slepe by sodayne auenture,
And his beastes, against the sonne shyne
While that he slepte, went in their pasture,
Came Cachus forth ful hidious of stature,
Thought he would these beastes wt him haue
[Page]Stale them echone, and hyd thē in a caue.
And lyke a thefe he made them go backward
That no man should y traces of them know:
Neyther of their passage haue no regarde,
For by their tailes he ledde them on a rowe,
In to his caue which that stode full lowe.
And for they were of excellent fayrnes,
To kepe them close he did his businesse.
Out of his slepe whan Hercules awoke,
And parceyued his oxen were away
He rose vp and cast about his loke,
Began to aspye in all the hast he may
To what partie the traces of them lay:
And while he stode thus musyng in the shade,
He herd the lowyng that his oxen made.
And by their lowing he gan anone aproche
Toward the parte wher they were kept close,
Fonde the caue vnder a myghty roche:
And proud Cachus which had thē in depose,
Agaynst Hercules he sturdely arose,
But for al that he myghte hym selfe not saue,
For he hym sloughe at thentring of the caue.
And thus his beastes he hath ayen recured,
That sempte afore inrecuperable.
After the mountaine byforce he hath assured,
Which for brigātes afore was full doutable.
But by his knyghthod it was made habita­ble,
That men myght for drede of any foe
Whan euer they would frely come and go.
Touchyng his conquest vpon Feminye,
Agaynst Amasones with Theseus he went:
The quene Ipolyta through his chiualry,
For his praye anone to hym he hent.
And Ipolita of ful true entent
Gaue vnto hym in token of victory,
A girdel of golde to haue her in memorie.
After to Affrike he went a full great pace,
Onely of purpose the gardin for to se,
Which apperteyned to kynge Athlas
That brother was to the kynge Promothee:
In astrology full wel expert was he,
And of this gardyn of whych I haue tolde,
The riche braūches & apples were of gold,
Through magike made by great auisement,
Ful streyte kepte and closed enuyron,
And y watched with a fell serpent,
That no man entred that ryche mancion.
But Hercules most mighty of renoun,
The serpēt slough through his māly pursute,
And fro the gradeyn he bare away the frute.
This said Athlas as bokes specifie,
And poetes also of him endite,
He was connynge in astronomy,
And therin did ful greatly him delite:
And many a boke he made and dyd write
With great labour and great diligence,
In hys time vpon that science,
The which were more precious than golde,
And more rich in his opinion:
But Hercules in soth as it is tolde,
Gate all the bokes through hys hie renoun:
Bare them by force out of that region,
And to Grece lyke a conquerour,
With him he brought thē for a great treasour.
Of Trace he slough the giant outragious
That sumtime was called Diomede,
Which murdred al that came to his house,
And with their fleshe his horse he dyd fede.
And through his witte labour and manhede
Of Achelous, whych was a great wondre,
He made the stremes for to departe a sondre.
And by his wisdome dyd thē so deuide,
In two parties disceueringe his passage:
For afore no man myght abyde
Of his course the furious fel outrage.
For in countreis it dyd so great domage,
Turning vpward there was non other bote,
Where euer it flowed of trees, crop and rote.
A great emprise he did also vndertake
Whan that the messe hidious and horible
Ariued vp of Archadies the lake,
Called Lerne the beastes ful odible,
Which with their teeth & mouthes terrible
Frute, grayne, & corne dyd mortally deuour.
But Hercules the countre to sucour,
Came lyke a knyght their malice for to let,
And by his prudence destroyed thē euerichon:
With in the lake the wormes vp he shet,
Saue among all behind was left one.
And against him this Hercules anone,
Of knighthod raught so great auauntage,
That to the coūtre he dyd no more domage.
Thus all that euer may rehersed [...]e,
Touching knighthode, prowes, or prudence,
[Page xxviii]Or glorious fame, or long felicitie,
This knyghtly man had most excellence,
And in armes longest experience:
And for his triumphes and actes marciall,
He set vp pillers for a memoriall.
Whiche remembred his cōquest most notable
And his dedes by grauyng did expresse,
Beyonde whiche no lande is habitable,
So farre abrode spred his noblesse.
But as the sunne leaueth his bryghtnes
Sumtime whan he is fresshest in hys sphere,
With vnware cloudes that sodaynly appere:
Semblably the nobles and the glory
Of Hercules in this vnstable lyfe,
Eclipsed was, and shadowed his memory
By Dianyra, that sumtyme was his wyfe:
For by her fraude came in the mortall stryfe,
As ye shal heare the maner and the caas,
Wherby that he lost his lyfe, alas.
Yet for her sake this most manly man,
Fought as I fynde in singuler battayle
With Acheloes sonne of the Occian,
Lyke as Poetes make rehearsayle:
And as eche other proudly did assayle,
This Hercules of knyghthode souerayne,
Sent from his head one of his hornes twain
Of kyng Oene she was the daughter dere,
To Hercules ioyned by mariage:
And as they came to a great riuere,
With sturdy waues where was no passage,
Nessus the gyaunt vgly of vysage,
To Hercules profered his seruyce,
And full falsely against him gan deuyse.
Made his promise to Hercules in dede
To put his life in great aduenture,
Ouer the streme Dianyra to l [...]de,
Because he was large of his stature.
And for she was a ryght fayre creature
Whan they passed and came to londe,
Nessus falsely woulde vpon the str [...]nd
Haue know her fleshly, like as write Ouide.
Hercules hauyng therof a syght,
As he abode vpon that otherside,
And for to auenge him of his great vnright,
[...]ake his howe and [...]ent it a [...]one ryght▪
And wyth an arrowe fyled sharpe and groūd
Gaue to Nessus his deadly fatall [...]unde.
Like a condyte gusshed out the bloude
And whan he sawe that he must dye,
To Dianyra before him there she stode,
With all his hart he her gan pray,
That in one thing his lust she would obey:
To take his shert and be not retcheles
With bloud distayned, and sende it Hercules.
There through with him to be reconsiled:
And she to him anone the shert hath sent,
Through whose venim, alas he was begiled,
For what by touching and by enchauntment,
His fleshe and bones were all to brent,
And among his deadly paynes all,
Into a rage he sodaynly is fall.
And as a beast furiously he ranne
On valeys & hylles among craggy stones,
Semblably as doth a woodeman.
Pulled vp trees and rotes all at ones,
Brake beasts hornes, & al to gnew her bones
Was it not pitie that a knyght so good,
Shold amōg bestes runne sauage & woode?
Thus ouerwhelmed was all his worthines,
And to de [...]iyne went his prosperitie.
Cause and roote of al his wretchednes,
Was for that he set all his felicitie,
To trust so much the mutabilitie,
Of these women, whyche early and soone
Of their nature brayed vpon the moone.
Alas, alas, all nobles and prudence,
Prowes of nature, force, and chyualry,
Forsyght of wisdome, discrecion, and science,
Vertuous study profityng in cleargy,
And the clere shynyng of Philosophy,
Hath through false lustes here be manaced,
By sleyght of women, darked and defaced.
O Hercules I fele my penne quake,
Mine ynke full filled with bitter teares salt,
This piteons tragedy to write for thy sake,
Whom all Poetes glorifye and exalt:
But fraude of women made thy renome halt,
And froward muses thy triūphes all to [...]end,
For to discryue alas thy fatal ende.

¶ Lenuoy.

THe sole ve [...] sauory p [...]yso [...],
The dredful [...] ioy [...], the dolorous pleasaūce
The [...], the furious [...],
Fayth dispay [...]d, [...]
[Page]Vertue exilyng where lust hath gouernaūce,
Through false luxury diffasen all nobles,
As this tragedy can beare full well witnes.
Where froward Venus hath domination
And blinde Cupide his subiects doth auaunce
And wilfull lust through indiscrecion
Is chosen iudge to holde the balaunce,
Their choyse vnlefull hath through yll chaūce
Derked of prynces the famous nobles,
As this tragedy beareth full well witnes.
O thou Hercules for all thy high renoun,
For all thy conquest, & knyghtly suffisaunce,
Thou were by women brought to confusion,
And by their fraude thy renoumed puissaūce,
Disclaundred was & brought to mischaunce
I were ashamed to write it or expresse,
Except this tragedy can beare well witnesse.
Prynces princesses, of high discretion,
This thing imprinte in your remembraunce
Of others fallyng, make your protection
You to preserue through prudent purueiaūce:
Afore prouided that your perseueraunce
Be not perturbed by no false sorceresse,
As this tragedy of other bereth witnesse.

¶ The .xv. Chapter.

☞ A processe of Narcissus, Byblis, Myrra, and of other their infortunes to Bo­chas complaynyng.

NArcissus, Byblis, and Myrra all thre,
Tofore Bochas pyteously did appeare
Their infortunes their infelicitie,
To him complaynyng with a deadly cheare:
And of their commyng to tell the manere,
Narcissus with sorow and dole attaynt,
Began first to declare his complaynt.
He was the sonne of Cephisus the flode,
And his mother called Lyriope:
And by discent borne of gentle blode:
Of creatures fayrest on to se.
And as I finde at his natiuitie,
Tyresias by spirite of prophecy,
Touchyng his fate thus gan specify.
The goddes haue prouided for him a space
To lyue in earth, and so long endure
Tyll that he knowe and se his owne face:
And for his sake full many a seruitu [...]e,
By ordinaunce of god and of nature,
Whan they him se shall fele full great payne,
If they in loue his grace may not attayne.
But he shalbe contrary and daungerous
And of his port full of straungenesse:
And in his hart right inly surquidous,
By the occasion of his natife fayrenes.
And presumyng of his semelinesse,
No woman so freshe ne so fayre of face
That able were to stand in his grace.
And for the excellence of his great beantye,
He purposed him in his tender age
Neuer in his lyfe wedded for to be,
He thought him selfe so fayre of vysage:
For whych he cast through his great outrage
Agaynst all lustes of loue to disdayne,
To hunt at beastes alone, and be slayne.
And in this whyle that he kept hym so,
In the forest and in wyldernes,
A water goddesse, that called was Ecco,
Loued him full hote for his fairenes:
And sikerly did her busines,
To folow his steppes ryght as any lyne,
To her desyres to make him to enclyne.
He heard her wele but he sawe her nought,
Wherof astonied anone he gan to enquere,
As he that was amarueyled in his thought,
Sayd euen thus: is any wyght now here?
And she aunswered the same in her manere.
What euer he sayd (as longeth to Ecco)
Without abode she sayd the same hym to.
Come nere (quod he) and began to call.
Come nere (quod she) my ioy & my pleasaūce.
He loked about among the rockes all,
And sawe nothyng beside ne in distaunce
But she abrayed and declared her greuaunce
And to him sayd: mine owne hart dere,
Ne be not straunge but let vs dwell in fere.
Nay nay (quod he) I will nothing obey
To your desires, for short conclusion:
Well leuer I had playnly for to dey
Than ye should haue of me possession,
We be nothing of one opinion.
I here you well though I no fygure se,
Go forth your way ye speake no more wt me.
And she ashamed fled her way anone,
As she that myght of him no socour haue:
[Page xxix]But dispayred this Ecco is forthe gone,
And hidde her selfe in an vgly caue,
Among the rockes is buried in her graue:
And though so be yt men her voyce may heare
After that time she neuer durst appeare.
Thus Narcissus through daunger & disdeine
Vpon the lady did cruell vengeaunce,
But whan the Goddes his cruelty had sei [...]e
Towardes him fyll a great greuaunce:
Of his vnmercy they had displeasaunce,
And right as he merciles was founde,
So wt vnmercy he caught his deadly wound.
For all daunger displeaseth to Venus
And all disdayne is lothsome to Cupide:
For who to loue is contrarious,
The god of loue will quite him on some syde,
His dreadfull arrowes so mortally deuyde,
To hurt and mayme all that be retchlesse,
And in her seruyce founde mercilesse.
And for Narcissus was not merciable
Towarde Ecco, for his great beautye,
But in his port was founde vntretable,
Cupyde thought he woulde auenged be,
As he that her prayer hearde of pitie:
Causyng Narcissus to fele and haue his part,
Of Venus brande and of her fiery darte.
And on a day whan he in wildernes,
Had after beastes runne in huntyng,
And for longe labour can fall in werines,
He was desirous to haue some refreshyng,
And wonders thurstlewe after traueylyng
Myght not endure lenger there to dwell,
And at the last he founde a cristall well,
Right freshe springyng & wonder agreable,
The water lusty and delectable of sight:
And for his thirst was to him importable,
Vpon the brynkes he fell downe ryght,
And by reflection in middes of ye water bright
Him thought he sawe a passyng faire ymage,
To hym appeare, most angelyke of vysage.
He was enamoured with the semelinesse,
And desierous therof to stand in grace,
And yet it was not but a lykelinesse,
And but a shadowe reflectyng of his face,
The whiche of feruence amorously tembrace
This Narcissus with a piteous complaynt,
Start into the well and so him selfe dreynt.
And thus his beauty, alas, was layed lowe,
His semelines put full farre abacke:
Thus whan he gan fyrst him selfe knowe
And sene his vysage in whiche was no lacke,
Presumptuous pryde caused all to wracke:
For who to much doth of him selfe presume
His owne vsurpyng wyll sonest him cōsume.
And finally as these olde Poetes tell,
This Narcissus without more succour,
After that he was drowned at the well,
The heuenly goddes did him so fauour,
They turned him into a full freshe floure,
A water lilly, whiche dothe remedy
In hote accesses as bokes specify.
After that Narcissus was at the well dreynt,
And to John Bochas declared had his wo,
Biblis appeared with teares all be spreint,
And toward him a great pase gan she go:
And her brother Camnus came also.
And of one wombe as gemelles twayne,
But she tofore her fate gan complayne.
She in her loue was not vertuous
For ayenst God and kyndes ordinaunce,
She loued her brother named Camnus:
And whan he sawe her froward gouernaūce
He vnto her gaue none attendaunce,
Though she of sleyght to accōplysh her entēt,
In secrete wise a pistle to him sent.
She sayd it was an impossible thing
Without his grace her selfe to saue,
And but he were to her assentyng,
She els playnly may not health haue.
But onely death and afterwarde her graue:
Thus in her writyng to him she did attame,
And to be couert she ne wrote no name.
But whan this pistle came to his presence,
Vertuously therat he gan disdayne:
And gaue therto no maner aduertence,
Neither toke no hede of her furious payne,
But suffred her eternally to playne.
Tyll that she was, as Ouid can wel tell
With oft wepyng transformed to a well.
Next came Myrra wyth face full piteous,
Whiche that sumtime loued ayenst nature
Her owne father called Cynarus,
For whose sake great payne she did endure.
For she [...]e durst her sorowe not discure,
Tyll her noryshe by sygnes dyd espy,
[Page]The hartily constraynt of her malady.
For her nourice of whiche I haue tolde,
Conceiued hath by open euidence,
As she knoweth both of newe and olde,
In suche matters all hole the experience,
That through long labour and great diligēce
Diuers wayes and meanes out she sought,
To her fathers bed that she Myrra brought.
With whom she had her lust and pleasaunce,
For she vnknow lay with him all nyght:
He was deceaued by dronklewe ignoraunce,
And on the morow longe or any lyght
She stale away, and went out of his sight
With her noryce whiche kept her long close,
Till vnto the tyme that her wombe arose.
But her father that was of Cypre king,
Which as I tolde was called Cynarus,
Whan he the truthe espyed of this thing,
That by his daughter he was deceiued thus,
She waxt to him loth some and odious:
Fledde from his sight, so sore she was aferde,
And he pursued after with his swerde.
In Araby the hote mighty lande,
Kyng Cynarus hath his daughter founde:
And cruelly began enhaunce his hande,
With his sworde to geue her a wounde:
But the goddes of mercy most habound,
Hath fro the death made her to go fre,
And through their power trāformed to a tree.
Which after her beareth yet the name,
Called Myrra, as she was in her life.
Out of whiche, aucthours say the same,
Distilleth a gome a great preseruatife:
And of nature a full good defensife,
To kepe bodies from putrifaction,
And them franchise from all corruption.
By influence of the sunne beames
Myrre is engendred by distyllyng of his kind
With round dropes ayenst Phebus streames,
And doun discendeth through the hard rinde,
And through the riftes also I finde
The sayd Myrra hath a childe forth brought,
In all this worlde if it were sought,
Was none so faire formed by nature.
For of his beauty he was pereles
And as Poetes recorde by scripture,
He called was the fayre Adonydes.
And to his worshyp and his great encrees,
For he of fairenes bare away the floure,
Venus him chase to be her paramour.
The whiche Goddesse gaue to him in charge,
That he should in his tender age,
In forestes while he went at large,
Hunt at no beastes whiche were sauage.
But he contrary to his disauauntage,
Through wilfulnesse, I can say no more,
Was slayne vnwarely of a Tuskye boare.
At the whiche he felly did enchace,
But of folly in vayne was his laboure,
For he lay slayne full pale of chere and face:
Whom Venus turned to a full freshe stoure,
Whiche was as bloude of purple the coloure,
A budde of golde wt goodlye leaues glade
Set in y middes whose beauty may not fade.
And whan Myrra frō Bochas was wtdraw
And declared her great aduersitie:
And of her fate tolde the mortall lawe,
Came Orpheus full vgly vnto se,
Sonne of Appollo and of Calyope,
And appeared with a full dolefull face,
Sumtime brought forthe & yborne in Trace.
Full renoumed in armes and in science,
Famous in musike and melody:
And full notable also in eloquence,
And for his soote sugred armony
Beastes and foules as poetes specify
Wodes & floudes of their course most strong,
Stynte of course, to harken his sote song.
An harpe he had of Mercurius,
With the whiche Erudice he wanne:
And to Bachus as write Ouidius,
Sacrifices solemnely he began.
And vnto hell for his wife he ran,
Her to recure with sote touches sharpe,
Whiche he made vpon his heauenly harpe.
But whan that he this labour on him toke,
I lawe was made which that boūd him for [...]
That if he backeward cast his loke,
He shold her lese and se her neuermore.
But it is sayd sythen gone full yore:
There may no lawe louers well constrayne,
So importable is their deadly payne.
If some husbands had stand in the caas
To haue lost their wiues for a loke sodayne,
[Page xxx] [...]hey would haue suffred and not sayd alas,
[...]ut paciently endured all their payne:
[...]nd thanked god y broken was the chayne,
[...]hich hath so long them in pryson bounde,
[...]hat they by grace had such a way founde.
[...]olye in pryson it is a ful great charge,
[...]nd to be stocked vnder key and locke:
[...]t is meryer a man to go at large,
[...]han with yrons to be nailed to a blocke▪
But there is a bonde that called is wedlocke
[...]ettryng husbandes so sore that it is wonder
[...]hich with a file may not be broke asunder.
But Orpheus father of hermony,
Thought Erudice y was his wife so fayre,
For her sake he felt that he must dye,
Because that he whan he made his repayre,
Of her in trouth nothing embraced but ayre
Thus he lost her there is no more to sayne,
And for the cōstraynt of his greuous payne
At his hart her partyng sate so sore,
The grene memory the tender remembraūce,
That he would neuer wine no more,
So fayre he was escaped his penaunce.
For wedlocke is a life of muche pleasaunce,
But who hath ones infarnall paynes sene,
Will neuer after come in the snare I wene.
This Orpheus gaue counsaile full notable,
To husbandes that haue endured payne,
To such as ben prudent and tretable,
One hel is dredful, but more dredful is twain
And who is ones bounde in a chayne
And may escape out of daunger blyue,
If he eft resort God let him neuer thriue.
Vpon this sentence women were vengeable,
And to his writyng full contrarious
Sayd his counsaile was not commendable,
At the feast they halowed to Bachus,
They fill echone vpon this Orpheus:
And for all his rethoryke swete,
They slough alas this laureate poete.
And of his harpe if ye lyst to heare,
The God Appollo made a translation,
Among the ymages of the starres cleare:
Wherof men may haue cleare inspection.
But fortune to his confusion
Denyed him frowarde of her nature,
Whan he was slayne fredome of sepulture.
Next Orpheus there did appeare also
Of Amasons worthy quenes twayne:
Merpesia and her sister Lampedo,
Whiche in conquest did their busy payne,
And great worshyp in armes did attayne:
Namyng them selues by writing nere & farre
Doughters to Mars which is god of warre.
Merpesia rode out in regions,
And conquered full many a great citye,
For couetise of great possessions,
To encrease her lordshyp if it would be:
And her sister kept surely their countrye,
Of all enemies so that there was no doubt,
While Merpesia rode with her host about.
But while she was in conquest most famous▪
And her enemies proudly did assayle,
Fortune anone wart contrarious,
And caused that she was slaine in battayle.
Lo what conquest or victory may auayle,
Whan that fortune doth at them disdayn,
Se here ensample by these quenes twayne.

☞ Lenuoy.

THis tragedy remembreth thynges fyue:
Of Narcissus the excellent beauty,
And of Biblis dothe also discriue,
The great luxury and dishonestye,
Myrra diffamed, turned to a tree,
To exemplify that lechery and pride,
Ben from all vertue set full farre aside.
How Orpheus endured in his liue,
Joye entermedled wyth aduersitye:
In his youth whan he did wyue
He felt in wedlocke full great felicitie:
His worldly blisse meynt with duplicitie,
As fortune her chaunges can deuyde,
Whiche from all vertue be set full farre aside.
Merpesia for her list to stryue,
Wyth wylfull warres to encrease her coūtre,
But her pompe was ouerturned blyue,
Whan in battayle vnwarely slayne was shet
For of all warre death is the fyne pardee.
So furious Mars can for her folke prouide,
Whiche from all vertue ben set farre aside.
Ye mighty princes let witte and reason dryue
Your high nobles to consider and se,
How fortune estates can depryue,
And plonge thē downe from their prosperitie,
[Page]Pride and luxury I counsayle that you flye,
Falce auarice ne let not be your gyde:
Whiche from all vertue is clene set asyde.

¶ The .xvi. Chapter.

¶ Of Priamus kyng of Troye: and how the monke of Bury translatoure of this boke wrote a boke of the siege of Troy called Troy boke.

AFter these complayntes and lamētacions
Which that Bochas did in his boke cōpile
Medled among with transmutations
Set in Ouide by full souerayne style:
Whan he on them had mused a long while
Sene the maner both of forowe and ioye,
He began to remēber of Priamus of Troy.
First of his byrthe, and of his kynrede,
How among kinges he was most famous:
And as poetes recorde of him in dede,
He descended of worthye Dardanus,
Whiche as his line declareth vnto us,
From Jupiter was lynially come downe,
Vnto his father called Laomedoun.
Of olde Troy this Laomedon was kyng,
Destroyed by Grekes he and his countrye.
After whom this Priamus raynyng,
Made there ayen a myghty strong citye:
Where he full longe in full great royaltie
With wife & childer most worthy of renoun,
With scepter and crowne held the possessioun.
Gouerned his citye in peace and rightwisnes,
And Fortune was to him fauourable:
For of all Asie the treasour and riches,
He did assemble this kyng most honourable.
And in armes, he was so commendable,
That through the worlde as far as mē gone.
Of high nobles the ronoume of him shone.
This Priamus had children many one,
Worthy princes, and of full great myght:
But Hector was among them euerychone
Called of prowes the lanterne and the lyght.
For there was neuer borne a better knyght,
Troylus in knyghthode so manly was foūd,
That he was named Hector the seconde.
But I should rehearse the manhede
Of kyng Pryam, and of his sonnes all,
And how his citye besieged was in dede,
And all the story to remembraunce call,
Betwene him and Grekes how it is befall,
The circumstaunces rehearsyng vp & doun
To set in order the first occasion
Of the siege why it was first layed
By Hercules, and also by Iason,
The maner whole in Troye boke is sayde,
Rudely endited of my translation:
Folowyng vpon the destruction
Called the second, whych by accomptes cler [...]
Fully endured the space of ten yere.
For as me semeth the labour were in vayne,
Truely also I not to what entent
That I should write it newe agayne,
For I had once in commaundement
By him that was most noble and excellent,
Of kynges all for to vndertake,
It to translate and write it for his sake.
And if ye list to wete whom I meane
Henry the fifte most myghty of puyssaunce,
Gaue me the charge of entent full cleane,
Thinge of olde time to put in remembraunce▪
The same Henry for knyghtly suffisaunce,
Worthy for manhode, teken kynges all,
With nyne worthies for to haue a stall.
To holy churche he was chefe defensoure,
In all suche causes Christes chosen knyght:
To destroy heritykes he set all his laboure,
Loued all vertues and to sustayne right,
Through his nobles, his manhode, & might:
Was diligent and did his busy payne,
To haue set peace betwene realmes twayne.
A meane in sothe England and Fraunce,
His purpose was to haue had a peace finall:
Sought out meanes wt many a circumstan̄ce
As well by treaty, as actes marciall,
Theron ieoparded lyfe, goodes and all.
But wo, alas, agaynst death is no boone,
This land may say he dyed all to soone.
For among kinges he was one of the best,
So all his dedes conueyed were by grace:
I pray to God so geue his soule good rest,
Wyth sayntes in heauen a dwellyng place.
For here with vs to little was the space
That he abode, of whom the remembraunce,
Shall neuer dye in England ne in Fraunce.
This worthy kyng gaue to me in charge
[Page xxxi]In Englysh tonge to make a translation
Out of latyn within a volume large,
Howe longe the grekes lay tofore the toun:
And how that Paris fyrst at Cytheron,
In Venus temple sleighly dyd his payne
There to rauysh the fayre quene Heleyne
In which boke the processe ye may se,
To hym how she was wedded in the toune:
And of the siege layde vnto the cyte
By Menelay and kyng Agamennon.
And many another full worthy of renoun
On eyther partie which that in battaile
Fro day to day ech other dyd assayle.
Wherto shuld I tell or what shuld I write,
The deth of Hector or of Achylles?
Or wherto should I of newe endite
How worthy Troilus was slaine in y prese?
The ende of Paris or of Pallamides,
Or the slaughter of manly Deyphebus,
Or howe his brother called Hellenus
Tolde afore howe it was great folly
That Paris should wed quene Heleyne.
And how Cassandra in her prophecy,
On this wedding fore began compleyne,
And for the constreint of her hertely paine,
How she wexe madde, & ran about the toune.
Tyl she was caught & shet vp into prison.
Al this matter ye may behold in dede,
Set by and by wythin Troye boke:
And how Creseide loued Dyomede,
Whan worthy Troylus she wilfully forsoke.
Of her nature a quarel thus she toke,
To assay both, if nede were also to feyne
To take the thirde, & leue thē both tweyne.
I passe ouer and tel of it no more,
Ne by what meanes the grekes wan y toun,
How Eneas neyther how Anthenore
Ayenst kyng Priam cōspired false traison:
Neyther howe Vlixes gate Paladion.
The deth of Priam ne of Eccuba the quene,
Ne howe Pyrrus flewe pong Pollicene.
Neyther here to write it is not mine entent,
Repeyre of grekes home in to their countre,
After the cyte at Iiyon was brent:
Neither of their mischefe they had on the see.
Neyther howe Vlixes founde Penolope,
A true wyfe though he were long her fro,
Through al Grece I can rede of no mo.
Of these matters thus I make an eude,
What fil of grekes after their viage,
To Troy boke tho folke I send,
Which haue desire to se the surplusage:
Howe grekes made fyrst their passage
Towardes Troy, besiegynge the cite,
Bede the storye ye get no more of me.

The .xvii. Chapter.

☞ Here speketh Bochas the authour of thys boke, agaynste the surquedous pryde of them that truste in rychesse, sayeng these wordes vnto them.

ME proude folkes that set your affiaūce
In strength, beaute, or in hye nobles,
If ye consider fortunes variaunce,
And coude a myrrour before your eyen dresse,
Of kyng Pryam and of his great richesse,
To se how he and his children all
From their noblesse sodainly ben fall,
Hector of knighthode called sours & wel,
Sad and demure, and famous of prudence,
Paris also in beaute dyd excell,
And Helenus in perfyt prouidence.
Troylus in armes had great experience,
Also Deyphebus preued manly on his fone,
Yet in y warre they were slaine euerychone.
Had not this kyng also as I can deuise,
By noble Heccuba whiche that was y quene▪
A doughter called Cassandra the wyse,
Her yong suster fayre Pollicene?
Alas alas what may all such pride mene.
For albeit their renome spronge ful far,
Yet are these women deuoured in the war.
Was he not mighty & strong in all thynges,
And had also of his aliaunce,
Ryght worthy princes & many rych kynges,
And nighe al Asie vnder his obeisaunce?
Holde in his tyme most famous of puissance,
Most renomed of richesse and tresours,
Tyl that fortune wyth her sharpe shoures
Whan that he satte highest on his whele,
This blind goddes began him to assaile:
Her frowarde malice he felte it ful wele,
His golde, his treasure, fyrst it gan to fayle,
And darken gan his roial apparayle.
By whych example at proud men mayse,
[Page]The vntrue trust, the mutabilite.
Which in this world is sene & founde alday.
In myddes of states in their magnificence,
Ebbe after floude maketh no delaye:
But hait her course, there is no resistence,
The tyde abydeth not for no violence.
Eche man y standeth of chaūges here in dout
Must take his tourne as it cōmeth about.
Let Priam be to you a clere myrrour,
Ye proude folkes that set your affiaunce,
In such glorye, whych fadeth as a flour,
And hath of beautie here none attendaunce.
The worlde to you cast a ful bitter chaunce:
For whan ye wene syt highest at full,
Than wil she sonest your bright feders pul.
Ye haue warnynges for to take hede
By ensample of other, clere & ryght visible,
How worldly blysse is medled al wyth drede,
And if your wittes and reasons be sencible,
Thynge sene at the eye is not incredible.
And al this doctrine is to you in veyne
If in your tyme ye haue no chaunges sene.
Wherefore Bochas vnto your auayle,
Full prudently put you at this issue:
Fyrst of al he giueth you this counsaile,
To leaue your byces and take you to vertue.
And sette your trust al wholy in Jesut
For he may best in mischiefe helpe at nede
Of worldly chaunges that ye thē not drede.

The .xviii. Chapiter.

¶ Here also Jhon Bochas putteth a greate praysynge and commendacion of suerty that standeth in pouertie vnder these wordes in sen­tence.

THese great lordshyppes, these greate dignities,
Chefe thinge annexed vnto y regaly
Whan they sytte highest in their sees,
And rounde about stante the chiualry,
Drede entreth in with paryl and enuy
And vnware chaūge, whych none may know
Whan fortune wyl make them lout low.
They may wel kepe a stately housholde,
With a vain trust their power shuld euer last,
Clad in their mātell of purpul & of golde,
And on the whele of fortune clyme vp fast,
Lyke as she myght neuer downe them cast.
But aye the clymbinge highest at all,
Alas the sorer is their vnhappy fal.
The fal of Priam and of Agamemnon,
Ought of right more to be complayned,
Whan that fortune had pulled them doun,
And of malice hath at them disdayned,
Than if they neuer to worship had attained:
But theyr fallyng was the more greuous,
Because tofore they were so glorious.
O thou pouert, meke, humble, & debonayre,
Which that kepest the lawes of nature,
For sodayne chaunges thou wilt not dispaite
So art thou franchised from fortunes lure:
All her assautes thou lowly doest endure,
That she may haue no iurisdiction,
To enterupt thy possession.
Thou settest lytel by al worldly richesse▪
Nor by his treasours which bene transitory:
Thou scornest thē that their sheltrōs dresse
Towarde batayls, for conquest & victory:
Thou dispysest al shininge of veyne glory.
Laude of triumphes whych conquerers haue sought
wt al her pillage, yu setst thē at noght.
Thou dispreisest al superfluitee.
None infortune may chaunge thy corage:
And the shippes that saile by the see
With marchandise amonge the flodes rage,
Their auentures and perillous passage,
Lyfe, body, goodes, al put in auenture,
Onely for lucre, great richesse to recure.
Of al such thyng thou takest litle hede,
Nor of the people that maners do purchase:
Nor of pleders whych for lucre & mede,
Meyntayne quarels, and questes do enbrace.
Thou thē beholdest with a ful styl face,
Their subtill working sought out for ye nones
And sodainly depart from al atones.
Thou canst in litell also haue suffisaunce,
And art content wyth ful small dispence,
For thy richesse, and thyne haboundaunce,
Without grutchyng is humble pacience.
If any man do to the offence,
Thou forgettest, and canst forgyue,
To the suffyseth so thou mayst liue.
The starred heuin is thy couerture,
[Page xxxii]In somer season vnder the leaues grene:
Thou makest thy dwellinge & doest thy selfe assure,
Ayen great heates of the son shene:
Content wt frutes, and water christal clene:
To staunche thy hūger, and thy thurstes sore,
After the season, and carest for no more.
Pouert eke lyeth the colde wynters nyght
Wrapped in strawe, without cōpleyning:
Without drede, he goeth glad & light,
And tofore theues ful merely doth syng.
She gothe also without patisyng,
Fro lande to lande amonge poore & riche,
For frende and foe to hym be both ylich.
Moral Senecke recordeth by writing,
Richest of thynges is glad pouerte:
Euer of one chere voyde of al grutching,
Both in ioye and in aduersite:
Through al the world last her liberte,
And her franchise stant in so greate ease,
That of fredom no man wyll her displese.
She is norice of study and of doctrine,
In vertuous labour doth her diligence:
And of science whych that ben diuine,
She is called mother by clerkes in sentence:
Of philosophers most had in reuerence.
Fortune and she so farre a sonder vary,
That eche to other of custome is contrary,
Her erthly ioye is for to liue in peas.
Hateth tumulte, noyse, and disturbaunce:
For her disciple called zenocrates,
In wylful pouert set holy his plesaunce.
Sober of his porte, through whose attempe­raūce,
Ful many a man by his teching,
Were brought to vertue fro vicious lyuinge.
His diete was so mesurable,
And deuoyde of superfluite,
That his corage he kepte fyrme and stable,
Fro fleshely lustes he was so attempre:
Reason maistred his sensualite,
Desyres vnleful for to set asyde,
Duryng his lyfe pouert was his gide.
His abidyng and his conuersacion
Was in places that were solitary,
Among trees & welles he bylte him a dōgiō,
With multitude he hated for to tary:
For pouert was his secretary,
Sober of his chere and stable of his entent,
And in Athenes fyrst to schole he went.
He was so mighty of authorite,
Rightwysnesse, and iustyce to obserue,
That rightful iuges his sentēce toke at gre:
He coude his mouth and tonge so preserue,
That in the temple ones of Mi [...]erue
Without oth vnto his sentence,
To that he saide the iuges gaue credence.
He asked was among great audience,
Why he was soleine of his daliaunce:
His answere was that neuer for scylence
Through litel speking he felte no greuance.
Speche vnauysed causeth repentaunce:
And recheles tonges for lacke of refreyninge,
To many a man hath be great hinderinge.
Diogenes true heire and next alied
To wylful pouert, by iust enheritaunce,
For all richesse he plainly hath defied:
To him it was so great encomberaunce,
With worldly treasour to haue aliaunce.
Hys dwellyng made within a litell tunne,
Which turned about wt concourse of the sun.
Him selfe refreshig wt hete of Phebus bemes,
For he was content god wote with ful lite:
Kyng Alexander that cōquered al realmes
Came ridyng downe & gan him selfe delyte,
This philosopher to se and visyte.
Him selfe soquestred sole from al the prees,
And came alone to see Diogenes.
Profered vnto hym great riches & treasoure,
Badde him aske what thyng that he woulde,
That might him please or do to hym succour:
But of all that he nothinge ne tolde,
But prayed him ful lowly that he shoulde
Not drawe frō him that thynge ayen al right
Which for to giue lay not in his myght.
What thyng is that quod Alexander agayne,
I haue by cōquest al erthly tresour wun?
The philosopher said he spake in vayne,
Thou hast (quod he) no lordship of the sun,
Thy shadow letteth his bemes fro my tun:
And sith thou hast no power of hys lyght,
I pray the hertely forbarre me not his sighte.
Though Alexāder was myghty of puissance,
And all the world had in his demeyne,
Yet was hys reason vnder the obeysaunce
Of fleshly lustes, fettred in a cheine:
For in hys person wyl was souereyne,
His reason bridled by sensualite,
[Page]Troublyng the fredome of ryght & equite.
For where that wyll hath dominacion
In a prince, which should sustayne ryght,
And parcial fauour oppresseth his reason,
And trouthes titel is bornedoun with myght,
And equal doome hath lost his clere light,
Though for a season they sit in hie cheyres,
Their fame shal fade within a fewe yeres.
In this make I comparison,
Bytwene Alexander and Diogenes:
That one endured but a short season,
For that he loued warre more than pees.
And for that other was not recheles,
But helde hym content wyth giftes of nature,
Vnto great age his pouert dyd endure.
Alexander was slayne wyth poysone,
In his triumphes whan he dyd excell:
But in a tunne that lay ful low downe,
Diogenes dranke water of the well.
And of their end their difference to tel,
Alexander wyth couetous was blent,
The philosopher wyth litel was content.
Blessed be pouert that may endure longe,
Maugre the fraude & daunger of fortune:
Where as kynges and emperours strong,
In their estate no whyle may contune,
And al vertues rekened in cōmune,
Twene indigence and great habundaunce,
Is a good meane content with suffisaunce.
For with great plentye men be not assured,
After their lust alway to lyue in ease:
And though y mē great tresure haue recured,
With their riches they fele many disease.
Lords haue not al thyng that may thē please,
But hertely ioy philosophers expresse,
Is grettest tresour twene pouert & riches.
For this chapiter sheweth a fygure,
A maner lykenesse, and demonstracion,
Howe Diogenes lenger dyd endure,
Than mighty Priam, or kyng Laomedon.
So to exemplifye in conclusion,
There is more trust in vertuous symplesse,
Than in presumynge of vicious false riches.
For the auoutry of Paris and Heleine,
Brought al Troye to distruccion:
Pryde and luxury were also meanes tweine,
Why grekes layd a siege to the towne,
And finally cause of their confusion.
To eyther partie losse of many a man,
The groūd conceiued why fyrst that war gā.


THis tragedy piteous and lamentable.
Ful dolorous to write and to expresse.
That worthy Priam of kinges most notable,
Was fal in pouert for al his great richesse:
Fro kyngly honour in to wretchednes:
From sceptre & croune, and from his regaly,
To mischiefe brought through false auoutry▪
Was not fortune froward and disceuable,
For to suffer by her doublenesse,
And by her course whych euer is variable,
That worthy Hector flour of al prowesse,
Should vnwarly most famous of noblesse,
Be slayne, alas chefe stocke of chiualry,
For a quarel of false auoutry?
Agamemnon accompted incomparable
Among grekes, for trouth & rightwysnesse,
To gouerne most glorious and able,
Within his paleis, the storye bereth wines,
His wife Clitimnistra through her cursednes,
Assented was to murdre hym of enuy,
For the occasion of false auoutry.
Ye noble princes cōceiue howe chaungeable
Is worldly honour, through vnstedfastnes,
Sith of king Priam the glory was vnstable?
Fixe in your minde thys mater doth impresse,
And your corages knightly doth vpdresse:
Agayne al tytles holdeth champarty,
Whych appertayneth to false auoutry.

¶ The .xix. Chapter.

Of mighty Sampson whiche tolde hys counsayle to Dalyda, where­by he was disceiued.

WHo was more stronger thā Samp­son?
None more deliuer, y byble bereth wytnesse:
Without weapen he slough a fierse lyon,
And for his enemyes to hym dyd expresse
His vncouth problem anon he gan him dresse
Agayne Philistines, and slough of thē thirty,
To paye hys promyse spoyled them by & by.
[Page xxxiii]His problem was (the text thus rehersyng
After the letter) in very sothfastnesse,
There came out mete of a thynge etynge,
And fro the strong there went out swetnes.
But hys wyfe of frowarde doublenes,
Which euer wrought to his disauayle,
Of worthy Sampson tolde the counsayle.
What is more stronge than is a lyon?
Or more swete than hony in tastyng?
But women haue thys condicion,
Of secrete thynges whan they haue knowle­ging
They bolne inwarde their hertes aye freting
Outher they must dye or discure,
So britel of custome is their nature.
This was the case, the lyon that was deed,
Agayne the sonne gapynge lay vp right:
Aswarme of been entred in his heed,
Of whom there came hony anone ryght,
And whan Sampson therof had a syght,
He fautasied in hys opinion,
Full secretly this proposicion,
As ye haue herde, & gan it forth purpose,
That philistines to hym it should expowne:
Vnder a payne the trouth to hym vnclose.
But wyth hys wife they priuely gan rown,
And she on Sāpson gan cōpleyn and frowne,
And faymngly so long vpon hym wepe,
That he coud not his coūsayle fro her kepe.
Which whan she knewe made no taryeng,
But plaine and hole she gan it to declare:
Such double trust is in their wepynge,
To kepe their tonges women can not spare.
Such wepyng wyues yuell mote they fare,
And al husbands I pray god gyue thē sorow,
That tel their counsaile at euyn or morowe.
She told thē hole she told it thē not halfe,
And Sampson than gan vpon thē smyle:
If ye not had herde it in my calfe,
Ye should not haue found it a great whyle.
Who may be sure where women lyst begyle?
Though bokes Sāpson of strēgth so cōmēde,
Yet durst he not ayenst hys wyfe offende.
This mighty Sampson did also his payne
Thre hundred foxes ones that he founde,
He toke their tailes, knit thē twayn & twain,
And amyd euerich he set a fyre bronde.
And as they ran in Phylistines lond,
So furiously vp and downe they went,
That they their frutes & their vynes brent.
Eke by trayson whan he was ones bound,
Wyth stronge cordes (as he lay a slepe)
There .iii. M. whych that Sampson founde,
To haue murdred hym or he toke kepe,
He brake his bondes and vp anone he lepe:
Of an asse he caught a chaule bone,
And a thousande he slough of them anone.
He gan to faynt, and had a sodaine lust
For to drinke, faded face and chere:
And god sent hym to staūche with hys thurst,
From the asses to the water christal clere,
Which that sprāge out large lyke a ryuere:
Refreshed his spirite whych afore gan dul,
Tyl that he had of water dronke his ful.
After he went to Gasam the citye,
Amōg hys enemys that were of great might
To his plesaunce where he dyd se,
A full fayre woman, lay wyth her al nyghte,
And on the morowe long or it was lyght,
Maugre the watch on his sholders square,
The gates strong vp to an hyl he bare.
And in a valey whych called was Soret,
Ful hote he loued Dalyda the fayre:
On whom his hert was full sure set,
She coude her fayne so meke & debonayre.
Make him such chere whan hi list repeyre,
But I dare call her Dalida the double,
Chefe rote & cāuse of al his mortal trouble.
He neuer dranke wynes whyte ne reed,
Of Nazarees such is the gouernaunce:
Rasour, ne shere, touched neuer his heed,
For in long growyng stādeth their plesaunce.
And this Sampson most myghty of substāce,
Had al his force by influence of heuyn,
By heeres weryng y were in nombre seuyn.
It was ful secre in euery mannes syght,
Among people told for an vncouth thinge,
Wherof Sampson had so great myght,
Outwarde shewyng by force of hys working:
But Dalida wyth her false flatterynge,
Woulde neuer stynt enquiring euer amonge,
Tyl y [...]he knewe wherby he was so strong.
She lyke a serpent daryng vnder flours,
Or lyke a worme that wroteth in a tre,
Or lyke an addre of many folde colours,
Righte true apperinge and fayre vpon to se,
[Page]For shrowded was her mutabilite,
With lowliheed and a fayre pretence,
Of true menynge vnder false apparence.
He ment troth and she was variable,
He was faithful and she was vntre we:
He was sted fast and she was v [...] stable,
His trust aye one, she loued thinges newe,
She weared colours of many diuers hewe.
In stede of blewe which sted fast is & clene,
She loued cha [...]nges of many diuers grene.
But to purpose for to condiscende,
Whan she of Sampson knewe al the priuite,
Her falsheed shortly for to comprehende,
She made hym slepe ful soft on her kne,
And a sharpe rasour after that toke she,
Shofe of his heeres large & of great length
Whereby alas he lost all his strength.
Domage in erth is none so greuous,
As an enemy which that is secree:
Nor pestilence none so perilous,
As falsnesse wher it is priuee,
And specially in feminitee.
For if theyr wyues be founde variable,
Where shall husbandes fynde other stable?
Thus Sāpson was by Dalida disceiued,
She coude so well flatter, forge, and fayne:
Which Philistines whan thei haue cōceyued,
Vnwarely boūd hym in a myghty cheyne,
Cast him in prison, put out his eyen twayne,
And of dispite after as I fynde,
At their quernes made hym for to grynde.
Thei made a feast stately and solempne,
Whan they had al this traison wrought:
And to rebuke him, scorne him, & condempne,
Blinde Sampson was afore them brought▪
Which greued hym ful fore in his thought,
Cast he dyd priuely in his minde,
Cauenge hys blyndnesse some maner way to finde.
And whan he had thus be thought hym long,
He made a childe hym priuely to lede,
To two postes, large, square, and stronge,
Enbraced them, or any man toke hedet
And gan to shake the without feare or drede [...]
So sturdely among hys fone al,
That the temple is vpon them fal.
Thus he was auenged on his fone,
Which that falsely dyd agaynt hym stryue:
Slough in hys dyeng, god wote many one,
More than he dyd euer afore in hys lyue.
And he was also, the date to discriue
In Israel (the Byble is myn auctour)
Twenty yere theyr iudge and gouernour.

¶ Lenuoye.

[...]Hys tragedy gyueth an euidence,
To whom mē shal theyr coūseil [...] dyscure:
For recheles tonges for lacke of prudence,
Haue do great harme to many a creature,
Whan harme is done ful harde it is to recu [...]
Beware by Sāpsō your coūsaile wel to ke [...]
Let Dalida complaine, crye and wepe.
Whilom Sampson for manhode & pruden [...]
Israel had in gouernance and cure,
Daunted Lyons through his magnifyeence▪
Made on a thousande a disconfiture:
But hys most perilous auenture,
Was whan he lay with Dalida to slepe,
Whych falsly coude complayne, crye & wepe.
Ye noble princes conceyue the sentence
Of thys story remembred in scripture,
Howe that Sampson of wylful negligence
Was shauen & shorne, diffaced his fygure [...]
Kepe your cō [...]eytes vnder couerture,
Suffre no nightworme within your co [...] [...]cr [...]
Though Dalida cōplayne, crye and wepe.

☞ The .xx. Chapiter.

A chapter of Bochas discriuyng the malice of women.

MYne aucthour Bocas reioysed in bylyue,
I dare not saye whether it was com­mendable,
Of these women the malice to dyscryue,
Generally, and writ (it is no fable)
Of theys nature how they [...]en variable,
And howe their malice best by euidente
Is knōw to them that haue experience.
They can aforce them al day men mayse,
By sp [...]guler fredom and dominacion,
Ou [...]r [...]en to haue soueraynte,
And kept them lowe vnder subiection:
And sor [...] labour in the [...] opinion [...]
By subtyl [...]ra [...] that thinge to return.
[Page xxxiiii]Which is to them denied of nature.
Bochas affirmeth and holde it for no tale.
If they want freshnes of colour,
And haue their face Jawne, swerte, and pale,
Anone they do their diligent laboure
In such anede to helpe and do socour,
Their riueled skyn abrode to drawe & strain,
Forward froūces to make thē smoth & plain.
If no rednesse in their chekes be,
Nor no lilyes dilectable and white,
Than they take tencrease their beaute,
Such oyntements as may most delite.
Wher kynde fayleth the surplusage to aquite
They can by craft so for them selfe dispose,
Shewe rednes, though there be no rose.
And for to shewe their face faire and bryghte,
With hote spices and oyntementes sote,
They can by craft counterfete a ryght:
Take in such case many an holsome rote.
Where kinde faileth connynge can do bote.
If theyr brestes vp to hye them dresse,
They cā ful wel thē bossynge downe represse.
And if they be to soft or to tendre,
They haue connyng to make them harde and round:
Their corsnes they can eke make slendre,
With poynant sauces y ben in phisike fon̄de,
Their subtel wittes in sleightes so habound,
Thynge y is croked or wrong in mās syght,
To make it seme as it went vp ryght.
They haue strictories too make theyr skyn to shine
Wrought subtilly of gōmes & of glaire,
Crafty lyes to dye their heer cytryne,
Distilled waters to make them seme fayre.
Fumigacions to rectify the ayre,
Stomagers and freshe confections,
To represse false exhalacions.
Of al these things Bochas hath most dispite,
Whan these veckes farre yron in age,
Within them selfe haue vaine glory & delite,
For to be fayre and paynt their visage:
Lyke as a paintour on an olde ymage
Layeth his collours riche & freshe of hewe,
Worme frete storkes for to make seme newe.
Their slak skyn by crafte abrode is streined,
Lyke an orenge from the galey brought:
Riche relikes about their necke is cheined,
Golde vpō golde we perle & stones wrought.
And ye their colour outward apeire nought
wt winde or sun which shuld thē stein or fade,
For vnkinde heates they vsen Citrinade.
What should I write their vncouth desiers,
Sumtyme frowarde sūtyme debonayre?
Imageninge sondry freshe attiers,
Contriued of newe many thousand payre.
Diuers deuiles to make them seme fayre:
In their apport by counterfayte lykenes
For to resemble Venus the goddesse.
Of one deuise they holde them not apayde,
They must eche day haue a straunge wede:
If any be better than other arayed,
Of frowarde grutchynge they fele their herte blede.
For eueryche thynketh verely in dede
A morow prieng in a myrrour bryght,
For to be fairest in her owne sight.
They can their eyen and their lokes dresse
To drawe folkes by sleightes to their lure,
And some whyle by their frowardnes
And fayned daunger they can of men recure
What euer they lyst, such is their auenture:
Agaynst whose sleightes force nor prudence
May not auayle to make resistence.
With constraint wepyng, & forged flatery,
Subtyll speche, ferced with plesaunce,
And many false dissimuled malady
Though ī their hertes they fele no greuaūce,
And with their couert sobre daliaunce,
Though vnderneth the double serpent dare,
Ful many one they haue broght ī their snare.
O swetnes ful of mortalitie,
Serpentyne wyth a plesant visage,
Vnstable ioy ful of aduersite,
O most chaungeable of hert and of corage,
In thy desires hauyng thys auauntage,
What euer thou lyst to daunt and oppresse,
Such is thy fraūches, Bocas bereth witnes.
Of nature they can in many wyse,
Of mighty gyantes the power wel aslake▪
What wyt of man can compas or deuise,
Their sleighty wyles dare well vndertake,
And if them lyst theron an ende make:
Fro this conceite who so that discord [...]
A thousande stories the reders can accorde.
Remembring first how Hercules stronge▪
[Page]Was brought by women to his destruction:
The quene Clitimnistra dyd also great wrōg
To murder her lorde kynge Agamemnon.
Dalyda also betrayed Sampson,
Amphiorax sanke depe downe in to hell,
Bicause his wife his counsaile did out tell.
It nedeth not make mencion
Though Phillis died through impacience,
Of longe abidinge of her Demophoon,
Nor howe that Nisus kyng of Magarence
Was by his doughters cursed violence
Vnwarely murdred, in Ouide it is told,
Whā frō his head she stale y heare of golde.
Bochas reherseth of wyues many one,
Which in their werkinge were ful cōtrarius:
But among all he writeth there was one.
Quene of Assirye & wyfe to kyng Ninus,
And by discent doughter to Neptunus,
Semitamis called in her dayes,
Which of all men woulde make assa [...]s.
She nouther spared straunger ne kynred,
Her owne son was not set asyde:
But wyth him had knowledgyng in dede,
Of whych the sclaūder went about ful wyde,
For wyth one man she could not abyde,
Such a false lust was vpon her fall,
In her corage to haue a do wythal.
And truely it doth my wyt appal,
Of thys matter to make rehersaile:
It is no reason to atwyte women al
Though one or two whylom dyd fayle,
It sitteth not nor it may not auaile
Them to rebuke that perfit ben and gode,
Ferre out of ioynt though some other stode.
The rich Rubye nor the Saphire Inde
Be not appayred of their freshe beautie,
Though among stones mē coūterfetes fynd:
And semblably though some women be
Not wel gouerned after their degre,
It not diffa [...]eth nor doth no violence,
To them that neuer dyd in their life offence.
The whyte lillye nor the holsome rose
Nor violettes sprede on bankes thicke,
Their swetnes whych outwarde they vnclose
Is not appeyred with no weedes wycke.
And though y breres & many a croked sticke
Growe in gardens among the floures fayre,
They may the vertue of herbes not apayre.
And (I dare say) that women vertuous
Ben in the vertue (of price) more cōmendable
Than there be some rekened vicious,
And of their liuinge founde also stable.
Good women ought not be partable
Of their trespasse, nor their wycked dede,
But more cōmended for their womanhed.
What is appayred of Hester the mekenes,
Though y Scilla was sturdy & vengeable?
Nor of Alceste the perfite stedfastnes
Is not eclipsed, but more acceptable,
Though Clitimnistra was founde variable:
Lyke as whā clouds their blaknes do decline
Phebus wt his beames doth more clere shine.
Ful many one haue clene ben al their lyue,
Vndefouled kept their virginitie:
And some coude against al vices striue,
Them to conserue in perfit chastitie,
Deuoyde of chaung and mutabilitie.
Thogh sūe other haue ther againe trespased▪
The laude of them is not therwith diffased.
And who euer of malice lyst accuse
These sely women touchynge variaunce,
Let them remembre & in their wyttes muse
Men be not ay stable in their constaunce:
In this worlde there is no perseueraunce,
Chaunge is ay founde in men & women both
On outher party be they neuer so wroth.
No man should the vertuous at wite
In stede of him that did the trespace,
Nor for a thefe a trewe man iudite,
Nor for the gylty an Innocent manace:
Good and wycked abyde in euery place,
Their price, their lacke, let them be reserued,
To outher party as they haue deserued.
Though Jhon Bochas in his opinion
Agaynst women lyst a processe make,
They that ben good of condicion
Shoulde ayenst it no maner quarel take
But lightly, passe and their sleues shake:
For againe good he nothinge made
Who can conceyue theffect of this balade.

¶ The .xxi. Chapter.

The excuse of Bochas for his writing ayenst misgouerned women, in sted of a Lenuoy.

YE women all that shall beholde and see,
This chapiter, and the proces rede,
Ye that ben good founde in youre de­gree,
And vertuous both in thought and dede,
What Bochas sayeth take ye no hede:
For his writinge if it be discerned,
Is not agayne them that be well gouerned.
For though it fall that one two or thre
Haue done amisse, as therof god forbed,
That other womē whych stable & faithful be,
Should be atwited of their vngoodlyhede:
But more cōmended for their womanhed.
For this scripture if it be concerned,
Is agayne them that be not well gouerned.
A galled horse (the soth if ye list se)
Who toucheth hi boweth his backe for drede,
And who is knowe vntrue in his countre,
Shrinketh his hornes whā mē speke of fals­hede,
But good women haue ful litel nede
To grutch or frowne whan ye truth is lerned,
Thoughe there be sōe yt be not wel gouerned.
Of Dalida and quene Pasiphae
Though doublenes dyd their bridell lede,
Yet of Lucrece and Penolope,
The noble fame abrode doth shyne & sprede:
Out of good corne mē may the darnel wede,
Women rebuke in their defautes querned,
And not touch them that be wel gouerned.

The .xxii. Chapter.

¶ Of myghty Pyrrus that sloughe Pollicene, whyche for hys pryde and auoutry dyed in pouerte, slayne at the last by Horestes.

BOchas musynge in hys remem­braunce,
And considerynge in his fantasy,
The vnsure truste of worldely va­riaunce,
Of men & women the chaunge and the foly:
The same tyme he sawe a company
Of myghty princes ful pitously wepynge,
To hym appere their fortune complaining.
Among other that put them selfe in pr [...]ase,
Of mighty Pirrus fyrst he had a tight:
That was the son of worthy Achilles,
Among Grekes the most famous knight,
Most commended of manhode & of might.
Son and next heire as bokes specifye,
Of Pelleus kynge of Thessalie.
This Achilles ful manly of his herte
Hurt of Hector and his wounde grene,
Slough Hector after or he dyd aduert:
The whiche Achilles for loue of Pollicene,
By compassing of Heccuba the quene,
Vnder treaty this grekes champion,
Was slayne of Paris within Troy toun.
Whose deth to auenge, Pyrrus in his tene
Furiously with face deed and pale,
Slough afterward the sayde Pollicene,
And dismembred her on peices smale:
Whiche for to heare is a piteous tale,
That a knight so vengeable was in dede,
To slee a mayde quakynge in her drede.
He coude for Ire on her no mercy haue,
But with his swerde most furious & wode,
Merciles vpon his fathers graue,
Lyke a tiraunt he shed her chaste bloud:
The dede horrible diffaced his knighthode,
That to this day the sclaunder and diffame,
By newe report reboundeth on his name.
Poetes say, and specially Ouide
Writes whan Grekes fro Troy shuld saile.
Howe their shyppes by an anker dyd ryde,
Of their purpose which long dyd thē faile:
But in this whyle he maketh re hersayle,
Out of the erth manacynge of chere,
Of Achilles an ymage dyd appere.
To grekes sayde wyth a deedly face:
I fele well mine honour and my glory,
And my nobles ful lyghtly forth doth pace
Vnkynde people, out of your memory.
Whych by me had your conquest and vyctory,
Your deuoyre doth Pollicene to take,
And on my graue a sacrifice to make.
Wyth her blode, loke ye spare nought
To spring it about my sepulture:
Thus blode for blode wyth vengeance shalbe bought,
And for my death the death she must endure.
[Page]And hole the maner of thys auenture,
And howe she dyed, in her maydenhead,
Methamorphoseos y processe ye may rede.
In hasty vengeaunce set was al hys ioye,
wt thurst vnstaūched Troyan blode to shede,
He slough Priam the worthy kyng of Troy:
And into Grece wyth hym he dyd lede
Andromada, the story ye may rede,
Weded her, and after in certaine,
By him she had worthy sonnes twayne.
But in repayryng home to his coūtre,
As Eolus dyd hys shyppes dryue,
I fynde he was a pirat of the se:
And into Grece whan he dyd aryue,
Fortune vnwarely gan agayne him stryue,
Forsoke hys wyfe let her lyue alone,
Toke another called Hermione
Which was that tyme in mariage
To Horestes son of Agamemnon:
And he alas of loues wylful rage,
Toke her by force to hys possession.
But of auoutry foloweth this guerdō,
Sodayne deth, pouerte, or shame,
Open disclaūder, great mischefe or diffame.
Eke in hys tyme thys Pirrus as I rede,
Fyll into mischefe and great pouerte:
And wyth such meyny as he dyd lede,
He was a rouer, and robbed on the see.
And as poetes reherse, ye may se,
Of such robbyng by sclaūder and diffame,
This worde Pirate of Pirrus toke y name.
And as the storye after doth deuise,
The sayde Horestes gan sykerly espye,
Wher that Pyrrus dyd sacrifyce
Tofore Appollo, that god to magnify:
Full vnwarely Horestes of enuy,
Toke a sharpe sherde or Pyrrus coud aduert
Wher that he stode & rofe hym to the hert.
This was the fyne of Pyrrus in substance,
For al his pryde and great presumcion:
Of false auoutry foloweth thys vengeaūce,
Losse of some membre, pouerte, or prison.
Or hateful sclaundre by some occasion,
Or sodayne deth, shortly in sentence,
Complete in Pyrrus, by ful clere euydence.

The .xxiii. Chapiter.

¶ Of Machayre and of hys suster Ca­nace.

AFter thys Pyrrus came Canace the faire,
Teares dystyllynge fro her eyen twayne:
And her brother that called was
And both they pitiously gan playne
That fortune gan at them so disdayne,
Hyndryng their fate by woful aduenture,
Touchig their loue which was ayen nature.
He was her brother and her loue also,
As the storie plainely doth declare:
And in a bedde they laye eke bothe two,
Reason was none why they would spare.
But loue that causeth wo and eke welfare,
Gan agayne kynde so straungely deuyse,
That he her wombe made sodenly to ryse.
And finally myne authour beareth wytnes,
A childe she had by her owne brother,
Which excelled in fauour and fayrenes,
For lyke to hym of beaute was none other,
But of their loue so gyded was the rother,
That Caribdis twene windes ful contrayre,
Hath Canace distroied, and Machayre.
For whan their father the maner dyd espie,
Of their workyng whych was so horible,
For yre almost he fel in frensy,
Whych for to appese was an impossible:
For the mater was frowarde and odible,
For whiche plainely deuoyde of al pite,
Vpon their trespas he would auenged be.
The cause knowen the father anone right,
Cast for their deth of rigour to prouide:
For whych Machaire fledde out of his sight
And from his face his presence gan to hide.
But wo alas his suster must abide,
Mercilesse for their hateful trespase,
And suffre deth there was none other grace.
First her father a sharpe swerde to her sent,
In token of deth for a remembraunce,
And whan she wist plainely what he ment,
And conceiued his rigorous ordinaunce:
Whyth whole purpose to obey his plesaunce,
[Page xxxvi]She grutched not, but lowly of entent,
Lyke a meke doughter to his desire assent.
But or she dyed she cast for to write
A lytell letter to her brother dere,
A deedly complaynt to shewe & endite,
With pale fate and a mortal there.
The salt teares from her eyen clere,
With pitous sobbing fet fro her herts brinke,
Distillyng downe to tēpre with her ynke.

☞ The .xxv. Chapiter.

¶ The letter of complaynt of Ca­nace, to her brother Machayre.

OVt of her sowne whan she abreyde,
Knowyng no meane but deth in her distres,
Too her brother full pytouslye she sayde
Cause of my sorowe, rote of my heuynesse,
That whilō was chefe sours of my gladnes,
Whā both our ioyes by wyl were so disposed,
Vnder one key our herts to be vnclosed.
Whilom thou were supporte and sykernes,
Chefe reioysyng of my worldly plesaunce:
But now thou art ground of my sicknes,
Wel of wanhope, and my deedly penaunce:
Which haue of sorow grettest habūdaūce
That euer yet had any creature,
Which must for loue the deth, alas, endure,
Thou were whylō my blysse & al my trust,
Souerayne confort, my sorowes to appese:
Spring and wel of all my hertes lust,
And nowe alas chefe rote of my disease.
But if my deth myght do the any ease,
O brother myne in remembraūce of twaine,
Deth shall to me be pleasure & no payne.
My cruel father most vnmerciable,
Ordayned hath (it nedes must be so)
In his rigour he is so vntretable,
Al mercilesse he wyll that it be do,
That we algate shall dye both two:
But I am glad sith it may be none other,
Thou art escaped my best beloued brother.
This is myne ende I may it not astert,
O brother myne there is no more to say,
Lowly besechinge the with al my hole hert,
For to remembre specially I prey,
If it befall my litel sonne to dey,
That y maist after some mynde on vs haue,
Suffre vs both to be buried in one graue.
I holde hi streitly atwene my armes twaine,
Thou & nature layde on me this charge:
He gyltlesse wyth me mast suffre payne,
And sith thou art at fredom and at large,
Let kyndnes our loue not so discharge,
But haue a mynde where euer that thou be
Ones a day vpon my chylde and me.
On the and me dependeth the trespare,
Touchyng our gylt and our great offence:
But welawaye most angelyke of face,
Our chylde yong in his pure innocence,
Shal agaynst right suffre dethes violence.
Tender of lymmes, god wote full giltlesse,
The goodly fayre y lieth here spechlesse.
A mouth he hath, but wordes hath he none,
Can not cōplaine, alas, for none outrage,
Nor grutcheth not, but lyeth here alone
Styll as a lambe most meke of his visage:
What hert of stele coude do to hym domage,
Or suffre hym dye beholdyng the mauere,
And loke benigne of his two eyne clere?
O thou my father to cruell is thy wreche,
Harder of hert, than any tigre or lyon:
To slee a chylde that lyeth wythout speche,
Voyde of all mercy and remission,
And on his mother haste no compassion.
His youth cōsidered wt lyppes soft as silke
Whych at my brest lyeth & souketh mylke.
Is any sorow remēbred by wryting
Vnto my sorouful sighes comparable?
Or was there euer creature lyuyng
That felt of dole a thinge more lamentable?
For confortlesse and vnrecurable
Are thilke heaped sorowes full of rage,
Which haue with wo oppressed my corrage.
Reken all my mischeues, in especial
And on my mischefe remembre & haue mynd:
My lord my father is my enemy mortal,
Experience yn [...]ugh thereof I finde.
For in his pursute he hath left behinde,
In distruccion of the my chyld and me,
Al ruth, al mercy, and fatherly pite.
And the my brother auoyded from his sight,
Whiche in no wyse his grace mayst attayne:
Alas that rigour, vēgeaunce & cruel right,
Shoulde aboue mercy be lady souerayne.
But crueltie doth at me so disdayne,
That thou my brother my childe & also I
Shall dye exyled, alas from all mercy.
My father whylom by many a sondry signe
Was my socour and supportacion,
To the and me most gracious and benigne,
Our worldly gladnes oure consolacion:
But loue & fortune hath tourned vpsodoun
Our grace, alas, our welfare & our fame,
Hard to recure so sclaundred is our name.
Spot of diffaming is harde to washe away,
Whan noyse abrode do folke manace:
To hynder a man theyr may be no delay,
For hateful fame flyeth far in short space?
But of vs twayne there is none other grace,
Saue onely deth, and after deth, alas,
Eternal sclaunder, of vs thus stant the caas.
Whō shal we blame or whō shal we atwite,
Our greate offence sith we maye it not hyde?
For our excuse reportes to respyte
Meane is there none except the God Cupide:
And though he woulde for vs prouyde,
In thys mater to be our chefe refuge,
Poetes say he is blynde to be a iudge.
He is depaynt lyke a blynde archere,
To marke aryght fayling discrecion:
Holdynge no measure nouther fer nor nere,
But lyke fortunes disposicion,
Al vpon hap voyde of al reason.
As a blynd archer wt arrowes sharp ygroūd,
Of auenture yeueth many a mortal wounde.
At the and me he wrongly dyd marke,
Felly to hynder our fatal auentures.
As farre as Phebus shyneth in hys arke,
To make vs refuse to al creatures,
Called vs twayne vnto the wofull lures
Of diffame, whych wyll depart neuer,
By newe reporte the noyse encresyng euer.
Odious fame with swift wynges flyeth,
But al good fame enuy doth restrayne:
Eche man of other the defautes seeth,
Yet on his owne no man wyl complayne.
But al the worlde out cryeth on vs twayne.
Whose hateful ire by vs may not be quemed.
For I must dye my father hath so demed.
Now farwel brother, to me it doth suffice
To dye alone for our both sake:
And in my most faithful humbly wyse,
Vnto my dethward thogh I trimble & quake,
Of the for euer now my leaue I take.
And ones a yere forget not but take hede,
My fatal day this letter for to rede.
So shalt yu haue of me some remēbraunce,
My name emprinted in thy kalendere,
By rehersayle of my deedly greuance:
Weare black that day & make a doleful chere.
And whan thou comest & shalt aproch nere
My sepulture, I pray the not disdaine
Vpon my graue some teares for to rayne.
Writyng her letter wrapped all in drede,
In her ryght hande her pen gan to quake:
And a sharpe swerde to make her hert blede,
In her lift hand her father hath her take.
And her most sorow was for her childes sake
Vpon whose face in her barme slepyng,
Ful many a teare she wepte in complayning.
After al thys, so as she stode and quoke,
Her chylde beholdig amyd her paynes smert:
Without abode the sharpe swerde she toke,
And roue her selfe euyn to the hert.
Her chyld fil downe which myght not astert,
Hauyng no helpe to soccour hym nor saue,
But in her bloud him selfe began to bathe.
And than her father most cruel of entent,
Badde that the childe shoulde anone be take,
Of cruel houndes in haste for to be rent,
And be deuoured for hys mothers sake:
Of thys tragedy thus an ende I make,
The processe of whych men may rede & se
Concludeth on mischefe & furious crueltie.
Remembrynge fyrst as made is mencion,
Howe that Pyrrus delited hym in dede
Whan Troye was brought to distruction,
With cruel swerde Troyan blode to shede.
But of such slaughter se here the cruel mede.
As ryght requyreth by vnware violence,
Blode shedde for blode is finall recōpence.

¶ Lenuoye.

WHan surquedy oppressed hath pitie,
And mekenes is wt tyranny bore doun
Agayne all ryght, then hasty crueltie
To be vengeable maketh no delation,
What foloweth therof by good aspection,
Se an example how Pyrrus in his tene
Of hatefull yre slough yonge Pollicene.
Kynge Eolus to outragious was parde,
And to vengeable in his entencion:
Agaynst his children, Machaire, & Canace,
So importable was his punicion,
Of haste proceadyng to their destruction.
Worse in his yre as it was well sene,
Than cruell Pyrrus whiche slewe Policene.
Noble princes, prudent and attempre,
Deferre vengeaunce of high discrecion:
Tyll your yre sum what as waged be,
Do neuer of doome none execusion.
For hate and rancour perturben the reason
Of hasty iudges, more of entent vnclene,
Than cruell Pyrrus whych slewe Policene.
¶ Thus endeth the firste Booke.
TO some folke, parcase it would seme
Touchig y chaūges & mutabilities,
By me rehearsed yt thei might deme
Of fortunes straunge aduersities,
To princes shewed, doun pulled frō their sees
These tragedies ought inough suffise,
In complaynyng which ye haue heard deuise
The story piteous, the processe lamentable,
Voyde of ioye, all gladnes and pleasaunce,
A thing to greuous and to importable,
Where as no mirth is medled with greuaūce:
All vpon complaynt standeth the alyaunce,
Most whan fortune, who y her course knewe
Chaungeth olde ioyes into sorowes newe.
For vnto him that neuer wist of wo,
Remembraunce of his olde gladnesse
Whan his welfare and pleasaunce is go,
And neuer afore knewe of heauines,
Such vnware chaūg such vncouth wretchednes
Causeth in prices through new dedly trouble
After their falling their sorowes to be double.
Olde examples of prynces that haue fall,
Their remebraunce of new brought to minde
May be a myrror to estates all,
How they in vertue shall remedies finde,
To eschue vyces of such as were made blind:
From sodayn fallyng the selues to preserue,
Long to cōtune and thanke of god deserue.
The fal of one is a cleare lanterne
To teach another what he shall eschue:
Peryll of one, is (who so can discerne)
Schole and doctrine from peryll to remue.
As men deserue suche guerdon must sue:
In vice nor vertue no man may God deceyue
Like their desertes their mede they receyue.
Who foloweth vertue lengest doth perseuer,
Be it in riches, be it in pouertye:
Light of trouth his clerenes kepeth euer,
Agayne the assautes of all aduersitie.
Vertue is cause of long prosperitie.
And whan princes frō vertue downe decline,
Their fame is shrouded vnder y cliptike line
For false fortune whiche turneth as a ball,
Of vnware chaūges though men her atwite
It is not she that yaue prynces the fall,
But vycious liuyng playnly to endyte:
Though God aboue full oft them respyte,
Longe abideth and dothe his grace sende,
To this entent they shoulde their life amende.
For their welfare and their abidyng longe,
Who aduertiseth, dependeth not on chaunce:
Good life & vertue maketh thē to be stronge,
And them assureth in long perseueraunce.
Vertue on fortune maketh a defiaunce,
That fortune hath no domination,
Wher noble princes be gouerned by reason.
But suche as list not corrected be,
By example of other for vycious gouernaūce:
And fro their vyces list not for to flye,
If they be troubled in their hygh puissaunce,
They arette it to fortunes variaunce,
Touchyng the gyltes that they did vse
Their demerites full falsly excuse.
Vertue conserueth prynces in their glory,
And confirmeth their dominations:
And vyces put their prynce out of memory,
For their trespaces and their transgressions
And in all suche sodayne mutacions
They can no refute nor no better succoure,
But agayne fortune to make their clamour.
Make an out crye of her doublenesse,
As no gylt were in their owne dede:
Thus vntruly they call her a goddesse,
Which litle or nought may helpe at such a nede
But if they had god in loue and drede,
Trusted his lordshyp, in hart, will, & thought
They should fortune playnly set at nought.
Euidence full expert and palpable,
Tofore rehearsed tolde of diuers ages:
Worldly glory is vayne and full vnstable,
With disceytes double of their vysages,
Shewyng to prynces firme of their corages,
By these ensamples howe & in what wyse,
By others fallyng they shal thē selfe chastise.
Sygnes shewed and tokens in heauen,
Diuers cometys, and constellations,
Dreadfull thunder fearfull firy leauen,
Rumours in earth, and great discencions,
Disobey saunce in sundry regyons,
Shewen examples (full wel affirme I date)
To mighty princes thē biddyng to beware
Their life to amend or the lorde do smite,
Through negligence or it be to late.
And or y swerd of vengeaunce kerue or byte
Anto vertues their vycious life translate:
[Page]Cherishyng right agaynst all wrong debate,
With dreade of God make them selfe stronge,
Than in no doubt they shall endure longe.
Who is not ware by others chastisyng,
Other by him shal chastised be:
Harde is the hart whithe for no writyng,
For no doctrine, nor none aucthoritie,
For none examples, will from his vyces flye.
To indurat is his frowarde entent,
Whiche will not suffer his hardnes to relent.
The rounde droppes of the smothe rayne,
Whiche that discende and fall from aloft,
On stones harde (at the eye it is seyne)
Perceth their hardnes, with their fallyng oft
All be in touchyng water is but soft,
The persyng caused by force nor puissaunce,
But of failyng by long continuaunce.
Semblably of ryght I dare rehearse,
Oft readyng in bokes fructuous,
The hartes should of prudent princes perce,
Soke in their mind & make them vertuous,
To eschue all thyng that is vycious.
For what auaileth the examples y they rede,
To their readyng if contrary be the dede▪
Cunnyng and dede who ran comprehende,
In clere conceites they ben thinges twayne,
And if cunnyng do the dede amende,
Than at wene thē is made a mighty chayne,
A noble thing and right souerayne.
For than of cunnyng the labour is well spent
Whan dede foloweth, & bothe ben of assent.
Thus John Bochas procedyng in his boke,
Whiche in number is called the seconde:
Gan for to write and his purpose toke,
To set in stories such as he founde,
Of entent all vyces to confounde
By examples whiche he did expresse.
And at the begynnyng of his busines
Myghty Saule to him did appeare,
Kyng of Israell piteously wepyng.
Deadly of face and with an hydous cheare,
His voyce ybroke by manifolde sobbyng:
And to mine aucthout his sorow cōplaynyng,
Requiryng hym together whan they met,
First in his boke his wofull fate to set.
Anone after I of entencion,
With penne in hande fast gan me spede
As I coulde in my translation,
In this labour further to procede:
My lorde came forth by & gan to take hede
This mighty prince right manly & right wi [...]e
Gaue me charge in his prudent auyse,
That I should in euery tragedy
After the processe made mencion:
At the ende set a remedy,
With a Lenuoy, conueyed by reason:
And after that with humble affection
To noble prynces lowly it dyrect,
By others fallyng them selues to correct.
And I obeyed his biddyng and pleasaunce,
Vnder support of his magnificence,
As I coulde, I gan my penne aduaunce,
All be I was barrayne of eloquence,
Folowing mine auctor in substaūce & sētence.
For it suffiseth playnly vnto me
So that my lord my makyng take in gre.

¶ Hovve Saule kyng of Israel borne of lowe degree as longe as he dradde God and was obediente to him, and ruled by good counsaile, made many disconfitures: but at the last for his pryde, presumption, and great disobedience, he lost his crowne, and was stayne by Philistines.

¶ The firste Chapter.

THis sayde Saule of whom I spake toforne,
Full well compacte, and large of his stature,
Of the lyne of Beniamyn eke borne,
His father Cis was called in scripture:
Whose asses whilom left their pasture,
Space of thre dayes Saule had thē sought,
Lost his labour, and founde them nought.
For they were gone out so farre on stray,
So disceuered, he ne coude them mete:
Tyll that a childe him suyng all the way,
Yaue him counsaile his labour for to lete,
And that he should go to the Prophete,
Whiche was full famous holde in Israell,
Of whom the name was called Samuel.
Whiche made Saule in his house to dyne,
Receiued him of great affection:
And by precept and ordinaunce deuyne,
Samuell made no prolongation,
But shed the holy sacred vnction,
Vpon the head of Saule downe knelyng,
And full deuoutly of Israell made him kyng
Of Gods people to haue gouernaunce,
With sceptre & crowne and whole the regaly.
And his noblesse more myghty to aduaunce,
With mekenes to rule his monarchy,
God gaue to him a spirite of prophety,
Whiche was great glory to his magnificence
Of future thinges to haue prescience.
And while yt he was meke & humble in dede,
Voyde of pryde, and false presumption,
And prudent counsayle with him did lede,
Hym to gouerne by good discretion,
He founde quiete through all his region:
No forayne enmy durst him to werrey,
While he the lorde mekely did obey.
No enemy myght ayen him recure,
Through none ēprises, but sore did him drede:
Made many great disconfiture
Through his force, knyghthode, and māhead
On Philistynes, and daunted eke in dede
Two mighty kynges, the one of Ammonites,
And another that gouerned the Moabites.
He was founde stronge and eke victorious,
The Palestines bringyng to mischaunce,
Agaynst Ydumeans so mighty and famous,
Through his myghty prudent gouernaunce,
That he their pride brought to mischaunce,
Outrayed them of wisdome and manheade,
Primo regum as ye may playnly reade.
He was the sonne called of one yere,
In Israell whan his raygne began:
Stable of hart, and benygne of chere,
Frowarde nor sturdy to no maner man.
All that whyle loue of the people he wan,
The tyme I mene while he was iust & stable
And in his workes not founde variable.
But whā that pride gan his hart enhaūce
Wilfulnes and false melancoly
Outrayed reason, to haue the gouernaunce
Of his olde famous policy:
And had forgotten in his fantasy
To know the lorde & mekely sue his lawe,
God from his crowne his grace gan wdrawe
The vnkynde worme of foryetfulnes,
In his hart had myned through the wall:
Whan to God for his kyndenes,
He gaue no laude nor no thanke at all,
Whiche had him raysed vnto estate royall
From poredegre, among all his kynne alone,
Of singuler fauour to set him in his trone.
What thig in hart may be more froward thought
Than is sodayne false presumption,
Of a wretche that came vp of nought,
To yeue him lordshyp and domination▪
[Page]And for to make a playne comparison,
Men should of reason dreade a lyon lasse,
Than the rudenes of a crowned asse.
What thing to god is more abhominable,
Than pryde vpraysed out of pouertee?
And nothing gladly is foūd more vengeable,
Than are wretches set in high degre:
For from his stocke kynd may not flye,
Eche thing resorteth howe farre euer it go,
To the nature whiche that it came fro.
Frute and apples take their tarrage
Where they first grewe, of the same tre,
And semblably eche kynred and lynage,
Ones a yere it will none other be,
By token & signe at the eye as men may se,
Draweth communely in euery creature,
Sume tetche to folow after his nature.
I write not this in rebuke of pouert,
But for suche onely as that it deserue.
God of his might as men be well expert,
May them in vertue encrease and conserue,
From all mischefe a pore man preserue,
Rayse hem on heygh to dominacions,
Through high noblesse of their condicions.
By influence God may his grace shede,
Where he findeth cause: onely by mekenes
A pore man to raise him vp in dede,
Vnto the estate of vertuous nobles,
For out of vertue cometh all gentlenes.
In pore and ryche make none exception,
But them cōmende like their condicion.
A pore man whiche that is vertuous,
And dreadeth god in his pouertie,
Eche thing eschuyng that is vycious,
And to his power doth trouth and equitie,
I dare right well say what euer that he be,
Puttyng no rebuke vnto his kinrede,
But call him gentle verily in dede.
But kyng Saule was contrarious,
Disobeysaunte founde in his workyng:
Whan God made him to be vyctorious
On Amalech, where Agag was kyng,
Him commaunded to spare no maner thing,
Man nor woman beast nor childe succoure,
But y his sworde should all thing deuoure.
But Saule wrought all in other wise,
Eche thing reseruyng y was fayre to syght,
And of entent to make a sacrifice,
After his vyctory he shope him anone ryght:
Fattest beastes he chase & hath them dight,
Toward the fyre to make his offryng,
And fro death he spared Agag the kyng.
He was reproued afterward of Samuell,
To gods biddyng for he was contrayre,
As abiect to raygne in Israell,
That all good hope in hym gan dispayre.
His grace, his myght, gan pale and appayre,
His prophecy after hath hym fayled,
And wyth a fiende he was also traueiled.
Thus frō her whele fortune cast him downe,
Aualed him from his royall se:
And God also toke away the crowne,
Both from him and his posteritie,
And set vp Dauid for his humilitie.
Lo how the lorde his domes can deuide,
To enhaunce mekenes and to abate pride.
Saule endured in his frensy,
A wicked sprite so sore him did assayle.
Vnto Dauid euer he had enuy,
That he was hardy to enter in battayle,
With a staffe slynge, voyde of plate and mayle
Slough Golyas without feare or dreade,
Pulled out his swerde and smot of his heade.
At their repayryng home out of the felde,
Whan Dauid had slayne this Goly,
Yonge maydens whan they behelde,
The great vyctory, they in their armony,
In laude of Dauid thus gan synge and cry:
Saule hath slayne a thousād with his might
Dauid ten thousand, that lusty yong knyght.
Saule disdayned and sayd frowardly,
They graunted haue a thousand to my name
And to the sonne here of Isai,
Yaue ten thousand to encrease his fame,
Whiche is to me a rebuke and a shame▪
Wherupon this Saule frete with yre,
Of yonge Dauid gan the death conspyre.
In hys hert he had a fantasy,
Of their syngyng whan that he toke hede,
Dempt it was a maner prophesy,
That Dauid preferred should be in dede,
And to the crowne after him succede:
Thought his childer as he gan diuyne,
Should be depriued of the royall lyne.
Thus day by day Saule wayes sought,
To slea Dauid playnly if he myght:
All be it so that he no malyce thought,
But euer kept him lowly in his syght.
Therfore good euer & grace on him alyght,
For aye the lorde of his magnificence,
Agayne tyrantes preserueth innocentes.
And as the bible playnely dothe vs lere,
This Dauid had in his tender age,
For his nobles the kynges daughters dere,
Called Mychol ioyned by mariage:
And whan that Saule fyli in any rage,
Dauid anone to aswage his wodenes,
Touched his harp & brought him in gladnes
Saule full oft gan Dauid to enchase,
And warrey throughout all his londes:
Through desertes him pursue & manace,
Of entent to haue shet hym vp in bondes,
Or to slea him if he come in his hondes,
But finally god through his ordinaunce,
Preserued his knyght frō al maner mischāce
Saule full oft was brought to mischefe,
Yet aye from death Dauid did him saue:
And hereof this was a speciall prefe,
Whan Dauid cut his garment in the caue,
And mo tokens if ye list to haue,
Another time Dauid also kept,
The life of Saule whan he lay and slept.
The case was this, as they were hosteyng,
Not farre a sunder Saule lay on slepe,
All his people about him sleapyng,
And vnpurueyed lyke a stocke of shepe:
Of whiche thyng Dauid toke good kepe,
Downe descended, and made no delay,
Came to the tent where kyng Saule lay.
The spete of Saule standynge at his heed,
Dauid toke it, and went his was anone:
Of his cōmyng there was no man toke hede,
For Saule slept and his men echone.
And whan that he vp to the hyll was gone,
Toward Saule agayne he cast his loke,
Made a noyse that all his knyghtes woke.
Fyrst to Abner prynce of his chyualry,
Dauid sayd these wordes in sentence▪
Abner (quod he) thou hast done great foly,
This day shewed a great negligence,
To suffer of Saule the magnificence
In peryll stande, and none hede take,
About his person to make his knights wa [...].
Thou art to blame for thy retchelesue [...]e,
To leaue the king stande in so great a drede,
In slepe to haue more sauour and swetenesse,
Than of his lyfe to take hede.
Such negligence requireth for his mede,
Death and turment by rightfull iudgement,
About a prynce whan folke be negligent.
And thou lyst to se an euidence,
How that hys lyfe stode in ieopardy:
Se here his spere & yeue thereto credence
How vnprouided ye were on your party,
Saule nor thou ye may it not denye
Your life, your deth, your power, your puissāce
This day god put whole in my gouernaunce.
But me to acquite of pure innocence,
As euery man should vnto his kyng,
And to declare in me was none offence,
Agaynst his nobles in will nor in workyng,
As God wot that knoweth euery thyng,
That I neuer by no conspiracy,
Wrought nor compassed agayne his regaly.
LO here example of perfite pacience,
Agayne malyce to shewe kyndenes:
Where Sauie shewed his mortall vyolence
Dauid acquite hym wt suffraunce & goodnes,
The tyrāt vainquished bi his prudēt mekenes
Men agayne trouth may well a warregyn,
But at thende the palme he doth aye wynne.
For of this story if that ye take hede,
Saule is fall for hys frowardnes,
Into mischefe, and into sodayne drede,
For Philistynes the byble beareth witnes,
With a great power gan thiderwards dresse,
Vpon kyng Saule auenged for to be,
Their tentes pight besyde Gelboe.
Wherof kyng Saule astonied in his hert,
Had lost his spryte of knyghtly hardines:
And specially whan he dyd aduert,
Prophete was none his harmes to redresse,
Of future thinges trouth to expresse
In Israell, whiche cast hym in great drede,
Because that tyme Samuel was deed.
For Saule had cast out all diuynes,
From Israell, and eche diuineresse:
Notwithstandyng the palestynes
[Page]Were risse agayne his power to oppresse:
And he ne knewe no maner sorceresse,
Of whom he might any counsayle take,
And he of god that time was forsake.
In this wise he stode disconsolate,
Coūsayle of God nor prophete knewe he none
But as a man most infortunate,
Vngraciously he sped him forth anone,
And secretelye this Saule is forth gone,
To a woman that should him rede and wisse,
In Israell called a phytonesse.
Whiche is a name as clarkes writen all,
And office who that taketh hede,
Soules of men agayne to clepe and call,
I mene suche that tofore were deade,
Whiche is a thing straunge for to reade,
That women should, who so list to lere,
Make soules of dead men to appere.
Vnkouth and straunge is their opinion,
And to my witte a maner impossible:
Not accordyng me semeth to reason,
Nor like a thing whiche that is credible,
That a soule of nature inuisible,
Myght appeare or shewe visibly,
Vnto the eyen which that ben bodely.
But or that I any further flyt,
Lest I were holde to presumptuous,
To diuines this matter I commit,
And wise clarkes that ben vertuous,
In their wittes subtyll and curious,
To conclude as it dothe them seme,
In this matter a trouth for to deme.
Whether it was the soule of Samuell
Or other spirite that she did call,
Whiche that tolde the kyng of Israell,
Of the battayle that shoulde after fall,
His aduenture and his mischefes all:
And of his death he tolde also in dede,
And how Dauid should after him succede.
Because onely of his disobeysaunce,
As it is written, and for his retchlesnes,
On Amalech for he toke not vengeaunce,
Thus the spirite bare to him wytnes.
Wherof Saule fyll in great heauines,
Knowing no mene to escape out of this dout,
But take his fortune as it cometh about.
Tolde him also his enemies were so wrothe,
The Philistines beside Gelboe,
In that battayle he and his children bothe,
Shoulde dye that daye of necessitie:
His chyualry shall discomfited be,
Of his raygne there is no lenger date,
For god from him his kingdom wil translate
And thus Saule returned is agayne,
His meyny after brought to disconfiture,
And whan he sawe all hys people slayne▪
And how there was no meane to recure:
In that deadly wofull aduenture,
He bad his squier take his swerde as blyue,
And through the hart that he shold him ryue.
That his enemies which were vncircumcised
Should haue no power, in story it is founde,
To haue vpon him as they haue deuised,
To yeue hym hys last fatall wounde,
His high noblesse at mischefe to confounde.
But his squyre for feare of god and drede,
Woulde not assent to do so foule a dede.
To slea his lorde he greatly was aferde,
A thing hatefull in euery mannes syght.
But Saule toke the pomell of his swerde,
And in the grounde full depe anone it pyght,
And in all haste possible that he myght,
Made the poynt in his furious payne,
To perce his hart and part it euen in twayne.
The Philistynes anone as he was dead,
Spoyled hym of his royall armure:
Dismembred him, and smote of his heade,
And in token of their disconfiture,
Toke the spoyles wyth all their busy cure,
And therof made in all their best entent,
To Astaroth of pryde a great present.
Thus was Saule slayne in sentence,
Of Philistynes vpon Gelboe,
Forsake of God for inobedience,
Abiect also from his royall see:
And thus for lackynge of humilitye,
Of god he was foreuer set asyde,
Lo here the ende of surquedy and pryde.

¶ Lenuoy.

HAue mind of Saule which to estate ryal
Frō low degre was called for mekenes,
But presūption made hym haue a fall,
Of God abiect for his frowardnes,
Lost his [...]rowne the bible beareth wytnes,
[Page xli]And cause was for his disobeysaunce,
To gods biddyng he yaue none attendaunce.
God not asketh no more of man at all
But whole hart without doublenes,
For all the gyftes whiche in especiall,
He yaue to man of his goodnes:
But he chastiseth all vnkindnes,
Suche as ben rebell for to do pleasaunce,
And to his biddyng yeue none attendaunce.
Noble prynces vertue most pryncipall
You to conserue in your high noblesse,
Is to imprynt in your memoriall,
Fayth, and equitie, all wronges to redresse:
To sustayne trouth and ryghtwysnesse,
And tofore God holde euenly the balaunce,
And to his biddyng yeue al your attendaūce.

¶ Acommendation of Obe­dience.

VErtue of vertues most of excellence,
Which y haue most souerain suffisaūce,
Is the vertue of true obedience,
Whiche set all thyng in ryghtfull gouernaūce,
For ne were not this prudent ordinaunce,
Some to obey and aboue to gye,
Destroyed were all worldly policy.
Where that vertue and hygh discrecion
Auoyded haue from them all wylfulnes,
By titles onely of dominacion
Truely lenyng vpon rightwisnes,
Wrong and errours iustly to redresse,
Of trouth I may right well affirme and say,
The people mekely their biddyng shold obey.
This noble vertue of faythfull obeysaunce,
Established vpon humilitie,
Whiche includeth no double variaunce,
In ail regions and in eche countrey,
Causeth welfare, ioye, and prosperitie:
And as vertue chefe and souerayne,
All vycious ryote it playnly doth restrayne,
Obedience eke as men may se
Falsenes exileth and all rebellion,
For by temperaunce, ryght, and equitye,
Stant the welfare of euery region,
For the mekenes and lowe subiection,
Of comonties, holde vp the regalies,
Of lordshyppes and of all monarchyes.
And no doubt whan lorshyps of entent,
Busy ben the souerayne lorde to queme,
To their subiectes do right iudgement,
In conscience as ryght and reason deme,
Than shall their crowne and dyademe,
Vpon their heade perseuer and freshly shyne,
And make subiectes to their biddyng encline.
Thus obeysaunce playnly at a worde,
In such as haue lordshyp and souerayntie,
Done of entent to their souerayne lorde,
Shall cause them raygne in long prosperitie,
And their subiectes of humilitie,
For their noble famous gouernaunce,
Aye to be ready vnder their obeysaunce.
For who y serueth the lorde of lordes all,
And hath the people in his subiection,
God wyll kepe him that he shall not fall,
Longe preserue his domination,
But agaynwarde whan wisdome and reason
Ben ouermastred with sensualitie,
Farewell the floures of their felicitye.
Obedience blunteth the sharpenes,
Of cruell swordes in tyrantes handes,
And mekenes appeaseth the felnes,
Of hasty vēgeaunce, breketh on two y bōds:
Eke pacience set quiete in londes,
And where these thre contune in comonties,
Longe peace perseuereth [...] kyngdoms & cities
Obedience dothe also restrayne,
Conspyrations and false collusions,
Whan she stant vnparted, not at wayne,
There is no dreade of no discencions:
For she combineth the true opinions,
In the harts of people, ful wel afore prouided
Vnder prynces to stand whole vndeuided.
Where princes be meke, hūble, and debonayre
Toward God of whole affection,
Theyr subiectes be gladly not contrayre,
In their seruice, by no rebellion:
For there is founde no deuision,
But head & membres eche for his partye,
Be so gouerned by prudent policy.
Contrariously Saule was put downe,
Abiect of God for his obstinacy,
Put from his scepter, his crowne, his region,
Of Israell lost all the monarchy,
For he lyst not make his alye,
Of frowardnes and wylfull negligence.
[Page]This noble vertue called obedience.
For as it longeth in kingdomes and cityes,
Vnder a keye of true beneuolence
Princes and kynges to gouerne their sees:
So apperteyneth due reuerence
To their subiectes, by obedience
To obey their lordes as they be of degre
By title of right in euery comontee.
For obeysaunce if it be discerned,
(With Argus eyen, who that taketh hede)
As ryght requyreth is not well gouerned
Whan the membres presume agayn the head:
Of gouernaunce there is no perfite spede,
From vnitie they go a froward wey,
Whan subiectes their princes disobey.

The .ii. Chapter.

☞ How kyng Roboam for geuyng fayeth to yonge counsayle, lost the beneuolence of his people, and died a foole.

VNto Bochas in order next there came
With full great dole and lamentacion,
The yonge kyng called Roboam,
Sonne and next heyre to Salomon,
Entryng by title of iust succession:
Besought mine aucthour to make of his foly,
And of his fallyng a piteous tragedy.
First whan he entred into his region,
Twelue tribes gouernyng in dede,
Ruled him selfe by will and no reason,
Kept his subiectes plainly as I rede,
Not vnder loue, but vnder froward drede:
Of olde wise (to his great disauaile)
He despised the doctrine and counsayle.
He demeaned (as it was well couth)
His scepter, his crowne and his regaly,
By such folke as floured in their youth,
Could of custome their wittes well apply
To blynde him falsely with their flattery:
Whiche is a stepmother called in substaunce,
To all vertue and all good gouernaunce.
Alas, it is great dole and great pitie
That flattery should haue so great fauour:
Whych blindeth princes that they may not se,
Misteth the eyen of euery gouernour,
That they can not knowe their owne errour.
False hony shed aye on their sentence,
A fole is he that yeueth to them credence.
They may be called the deuyls tabourers,
With frowarde sownes eares to fulfyll:
Or of Sireues the perillous bo [...]elers,
Whiche gall and hony downe distyll.
Whose drinkes ben bothe amerous and yll,
And as clarkes well deuise cunne,
Worse than the drynkes of Sirenes tuune.
Eares of prynces full well they can enoynt
With the soft oyle of adulation,
And their termes most subtylly appoynt,
Eche thing concludyng with false deception:
Aye blandishyng with amerous poyson,
And finally as the Poete sayth,
Their faith of custome conciudeth wt vnfayth.
Flouryng in words though there be no scute,
Double of hart, pleasaunt of langage,
Of true meanyng voyde and destitute,
In mustring outward preted a fayre vysage:
Who trusteth them findeth smal aduaūtage
By apparaunce and glorious freshe shewyng
Princes deceauing and many a worthy kyng
Roboam can beare full well witnes,
From him auoydyng folkes that were true,
How he was hindred by flattery and falsenes
By them that coulde forge out tales newe:
Whose counsaile after sore did him rue,
And with their fayned false suggestion,
Greatly abridged his domination.
He dempt him selfe of more aucthoritye,
Of folly, youth, and of presumption,
Than was his father in great royaltie,
And this pompous false opinion
Came into his concept by adulation:
For flatterers bare to him witnes,
How he excelled his fathers hygh nobles.
He did great rigour and oppression
Vpon his people as it was wel preued:
And to finde some mitigation,
They in matters which yt haue them greued,
Of their tributes for to be releued,
Besought he would relese thē in their nede,
But all for nought he toke therof no hede.
All olde counsayle from him he set aside,
And refused their doctrine and their lore:
And by false counsayle of folkes full of pryde▪
[Page xlii]His pore lieges he oppressed sore.
And ten kynredes anone without more,
For tyranny and misgouernaunce,
From him withdrough the trouth & lygeaūce
Thus of the kyng conceiued the rygour,
The people anone of indignacion
Stoned Adoram, whiche was collectour
Of the tributes in all his region,
From him departyng by rebellion:
Wherof astonied, to auenge his vnryght,
Into Jerusalem toke anone his flyght.
And whan they were parted from Roboam,
The ten kynredes by diuision,
Chase them a kyng called Jeroboam:
And Roboam within his royall toun,
To be auenged of their rebellion,
And for to do on them cruell iustice,
An hundred thousande he made anone to rise.
With Jeroboam he cast him for to mete,
And all at ones set in ieopardy:
But Sameas the prophete bade him lete,
And fro the warre withdrawe his party.
And more the quarell for to iustifye,
Of his peoples frowarde departyng,
It was gods wyll done for a punishyng.
Touchyng the surplus of his gouernaunce,
His royall buyldyng of many a fayre city,
His great ryche famous suffisaunce,
Of wyne and oyle hauyng great plenty,
And how his empyre encreased yeres thre,
Eke how that time he ryghtfull was in dede,
In Josephus his story ye may rede.
Of his children borne in ryght lyne,
Eyghtene wyues (as made is mencion)
I fynde he had, and many a concubyne:
Sonnes and daughters by procreation,
And how his riches and great possession,
That tyme encreased as it is well knowe,
To god aboue while that he bare him lowe.
But as mine auctour maketh rehearsaile,
In his encrease and augmentacion,
Mekenes in hert in him gan waste and faile,
And pryde entred with false presumption,
Vertue despisyng and all religion,
After whose vyces as sayth the same boke,
Wicked examples of him the people toke.
After the maners where they be good or yll,
Vsed of prynces in diuers regions,
The people is ready to vse and fulfill,
Fully the traces of their condicions:
For lordes may in their subiections,
So as them list who so can take hede,
To vyce or vertue their subiectes lede.
Thus Roboam for his transgressions
In Josephus as it is deuised,
And for his frowarde false opinions,
Onely for he all vertue hath despised,
Of God he was rightfully chastised,
In Jerusalem his chiefe royall towne,
Of his enemyes besieged enuyroun.
The kyng of Egypt a siege about him layed,
With so great people yt socour was ther none:
All be it so that Roboam abrayed,
And prayed to god to deliuer hun frō his sone
To auoyde of mercy his enemyes euerichoue
But god list not graunt his prayere,
But him chastised like as ye shall here.
Fyrst his citye and his royall towne
Deliuered was, he knewe no better succour,
Vnder a fayned false composicioun:
For at their entryng voyde of all fauoure,
Kepyng no couenaunt toke all the treasoure
Within the temple, hauyng no pitye,
But ladde it home to Egypt their countrey.
And to rehearse it is a great dole,
How Roboam as Josephus dothe declare,
Was inly proude and therwithal a foule,
And of all wysdome destitute and bare,
Vnmerciable hys people for to spare,
Hatyng good counsayle, and so in his regaly,
Raygnyng a foole, and so I let hym dye.

¶ Lenuoy.

PHilosophers conclude and deuise,
In theyr bokes of good experience,
That counsaylours, sadde, expert, and wyse,
True of their worde, stable of their sentence,
Hasty nor retchles for no vyolence,
Kepe and preserue (the trouth I dare attame)
Noblesse of princes fro mischefe and dyffame.
Hasty youth and rancour in contrarywyse,
Whyche haue to wyll all theyr aduertence,
Except them selues all other men despyse
Through their vnbrydeled furious insolence,
Nothyng aquainted wt wisdome nor prudēce,
[Page]Bryng ayenward wherof they be to blame,
Puttyng his nobles in mischefe and diffame.
Kyng Roboam agaynst ryght and iustice,
To yonge foles yaue fayth and most credence
Cruelly his subiectes to chastyce:
Whiche put his people from his beneuolence,
Threw ten kynredes from his obedience,
Which was to him by record full great shame
Puttyng his nobles in mischefe and diffame.
Noble princes do wisely aduertise
In perseueryng of your magnificence,
Of olde expert, not blent with couetise,
Take your counsayle and do them reuerence,
Eyed as Argus in their high prouidence,
Whiche conserue by report of good name,
Noblesse of prynces from mischefe & diffame.

¶ The .iii. Chapter.

☞ The office and retinue of a Kynge.

What erthly thing is more deceiuable
Thē of prīces the pōpe & vainglory▪
Which wene to stand in their estates stable,
As thei the world had conquered by vyctory,
And sodaynly be put out of memory,
Their fame clouded, alas, and their nobles
With a darke shadowe of foryetfulnes.
Wherof cometh the famous clere shinyng
Of emperous in their consistories?
Or wherof cometh their laude in reportynge,
Saue that clarks haue writē their histories.
Or where be now conquestes transitories,
Or their triūphes where should men thē find
Nad writers their prowes put in mynd.
Reken vp al, and first the worthy nyne,
In high nobles whiche had neuer peers,
The marciall actes which clearly did shyne,
Their fame vp borne, aboue al the nine sters
With loude soundes of famous clarioners,
Their glorious palmes if thei be well paysed,
By lowe labours of cōmons was first raised
Make a likenes of these great ymages,
Curiously corue out by entayle,
Head, armes, body, and their freshe vysages,
Without fete or legges may not auayle,
To stand vpryght, or nedes they must fayle:
And semblably, subiectes in commontees,
Rayse vp the nobles of princes in their sees.
As head and membres in ymages be of stone,
Other on stocke by compasse vndeuided,
And by proporcion their fetures euerychone,
Set in true order as nature hath prouided:
So y all errours through craft be circūcided
The head highest by custome as men knowe,
The body amidde, the fete beneth lowe.
Myghty princes for their high renoun,
As most worthy shall occupy the heade,
With wytte, memory, and eyen of reason,
To kepe their membres frō mischefe & dread,
Like their degrees take of them good hede,
With clere foresyght of a prudent thought,
Their fete preserue that they erre nought.
There must be hands and armes of defence,
Whiche shall the ymage manly kepe and gye
From all assautes of forayne vyolence,
Whiche shalbe named noblest of chiualry:
Their true office iustly to magnify,
Sustaine the church, & make thē selfe stronge
To se y widowes & maydēs haue no wronge.
Prudent iudges as it is skyll and ryght,
To punishe wronge & surfets to redresse
In this ymage shall occupy the syght:
For loue or hate by dome of rightwisenes,
For frende or fo, his iudgementes dresse,
So egally the lawes to susteyne,
In their workes that none errour be seyne.
Amidde this ymage there is a body set,
An aggregate of people and degrees,
By perfite peace and vnity yknet,
By the estates that gouerne commonties:
As mayres, prouostes, and burgeis in cities,
Marchauntes also whiche seke sundry lādes
With other craftes which liue by their hādes.
And as a body whiche stant in health,
Feleth no grefe of no froward humours,
So euery cōmonte continueth in great welth
Whiche is demeaned wt prudent gouernours
That can appese debates and errours,
The people kepe from all controuersy,
Causyng the welfare to encrease & multiply.
This body must haue a soule of lyfe,
To quicke the mēbres with gostlye mocions:
Whiche shalbe made of folke cōtemplatyfe,
[Page xliii]The church cōmitted to their possessions.
Which by their holy conuersacions,
And good example should as sterres shyne,
By grace and vertue the people tenlumyne.
Vpon the lyght of their condicions,
Of this body dependeth the welfare:
For in their teaching and predicacions
They should trouth to hygh & low declare.
And in their office for no drede ne spare
Vices correcte lyke as they are holde,
Syth they ben heerdes of Christes folde.
Folowyng vpon, of entent full clene
Labourers as ye haue herde deuysed,
Shal this body beare vp and sustene,
As fete & legges whych may not be dispised:
For true labour is iustly auctorised.
And ne were the plough vpholdē by trauaile.
Of kings, & princes, farewel all gouernayle.
Thus fyrst, if princes gouerned be by ryght,
And knights suffre ye people to haue no wrōg,
And trouth in iudges shew out his lighte,
And forth in cities wt loue he drawe a long,
And holy church in vertue be made stronge,
And in his labour ye plough ne fayle nought,
Than by proporciō this ymage is wrought.
This matter hole for to exemplyfy,
Kyng Roboam for a false oppression,
And for his wilful frowarde tiranny,
Lost a great party of hys region:
Wherfore let princes considre of reason,
God set the people for lordes auantage,
And not to be oppressed wyth seruage.
Vpon some princes Bochas doth complaine,
Such as haue a custome and manere
Agayne their subiectes vngoodly to disdaine,
And of pride to shewe them frowarde chere,
Counsayleth them to remembre and lere,
As this chapitre doth finally deuise,
Fyrst out of labour al lorshyp dyd aryse.

The .iiii. Chapiter.

Howe Mucius Sceuola sloughe an innocent in stede of kynge Por­cenna, that layde siege to Rome.

WHan kynge Porcenna wyth hys chi­ualrye
Agayne Romains a werre fyrst began,
The towne besiegynge on eche party
With great puyssaunce brought out of Tus­ [...]an,
In the citie there was a knightly mā,
Mucius Sceuola, which cast in their distres,
To breke y sege thorough his high prowes.
Let arme hym selfe clene in plate & mayle,
For comune profite to auaunce his corrage,
Kynge Porcenna proudly to assaile:
A tyme prouyded to his auauntage,
Through the siege to make hys passage,
And finally at his in comynge,
Jeoparte his person for to slee the kynge.
But lyke as telleth vs Tytus Liuius,
Wher Porcenna satte in his royal see,
This senatoure, this manly Mucius
Sawe a prince of great auctoritee,
The kyng resemblynge, clad in one liueree:
Atwene dece [...]nyng no maner variaunce,
Slough that prince of very ignoraunce.
But whan he knewe that he dyd faile
To slee Procenna enemy to the toun,
And sawe he had lost al hys trauayle,
He made a pitouse lamentacion,
Bycause he dyd execucion
Of ignoraunce agayne his owne entent,
To spare a tirant, and slee an innocent.
For which he was with him selfe full worth,
That he was founde so negligent in dede:
And with his hand vnto a fyre he goth,
Made it brenne bryght as any glede,
Both nerfe & bone and his fleshe to shede,
His hand cōsuming on pieces, here & yondre,
And from his arme made it parte a sondre.
And as the storye declareth vnto vs,
This manly man this noble senatour,
Afore tyme was called Mucius,
Which for y comon profite did great labour:
And for the vncouth hasty fell rigour,
Done to hym selfe, the Romaines al
Sceuola they dyd hym after call.
As moch to say by langage of that lande,
Who take a ryght the exposicion,
As a man which is without an hande:
And after hym by succession,
All his ofsprynge borne in the toun,
In remembraunce for to encrese his fame,
Of Sceuola bare after hym the name.
By this example and many other mo,
If men list her corrages to awake,
They shoulde se what perill & what wo
For comon profit men haue vndertake:
And whylom Brutus for Lucrecis sake
Tarquin chaced for his transgression,
And kynges all out of Rome toun.
Touching Lucrece example of wifely trouth,
How yong Tarquin her falsly did oppresse,
And after y whych was to great a routh,
Howe she her selfe slough for heuynesse,
It nedeth not reherse the processe:
Sith y Chaucer chefe poete of Bretaine,
Wrote of her lyfe a legende soueraine.
Rehersynge there amonge other thynges
Eche circumstaunce and eche occasion,
Why Romains exiled fyrst their kynges,
Neuer to reigne after in their toun.
As olde cronicles make mencion:
Remēbring also the vnkinde great outrage,
By Eneas done to Dido of Cartage.
Eke other stories whiche he wrote in his lyue
Ful notably wt euery cyrcūstaunce:
And their fates pitiously dyd discriue,
Lyke as they fyll, put them in remembraūce.
Wherfore if I shulde my penne auance,
After his making to put them in memory,
Men would deme it presūpcion & veine glory.
For as a sterre in presence of the sunne,
Lesyth his freshnes & hys clere lyght:
So my rudenesse vnder skyes dunne,
Dareth ful lowe and hath lost his sight,
To be compared agayne y beames bryght
Of this poete, wherefore it were but vayne,
Thinge sayd by hym to wryte it new againe.

☞ The .v. Chapiter.

¶ Howe Lucrece oppressed by Tar­quin slough her selfe.

BVT at Lucrece stynte I wyll a whyle,
It were pytie her storye for to hide,
Or slouthe the penne of my rude style,
But for her sake al matters set a side:
Also my lorde bad I should abyde,
By good auice at layser to translate,
The doleful processe of her pitouse fate.
Folowynge the traces of Collucius,
Which wrote of her a declamacion,
Most lamētable, most doleful, & most pitous,
Wher he discriueth the dolorouse treason,
Of her constrained false oppression:
Wrought & compassed, by vnware vyolence,
The lyght vntroubled of her clere conscience.
Her father whilom called Spurius
Her worthy husbande named Collatyn,
Which by the luxurie & treason odious
And viciouse outrage of Sextus proude Tar­quin,
Oppressed was & brought to her fyne,
Whose deedly sorowe in englishe for to make,
Of pitouse ruth my penne I fele quake.
This said Tarquin this yuel auised knyght,
This slaūdred man most hateful for his dede,
Came lyke a thefe alas vpon a nyght,
With naked sworde whan no man toke hede,
Vpon Lucrece she quakyng in her drede,
Lyeng a bed ferre from her folkes al,
And knewe no refuge, for helpe for to call.
He manasyng in his froward entent,
On her beholdyng with a furiouse chere,
That with his sworde but she would assente,
Her and a boy he would preint yfere.
Such one as was most vgly of manere
Most vnlykely of persone and of fame,
Thus he her thrat for to slaunder her name.
But his entent whan she dyd fele,
And sawe no meane of her woful chaunce,
The morowe after she list nothynge concele,
Told her husbande holy the gouernaunce,
Hym requirynge for to do vengeaunce
Vpon this cryme, sayde lyke a true wyfe,
She would her hert perce wyth knyfe.
In this matter this was her fantasy,
Better was to dye than to lyue in shame:
And lasse yl to put in ieopardy
Her mortal body, than her good fame.
Whan honor dieth farewel a mānes name.
Better it were out of thys life disceiuer,
Than slandrous fame to sley a man for euer.
But to that purpose her husband sayd nay,
Her father also was thereto contrary:
Makynge a promise without more delay,
To do vengeaunce howe they wyl not tary.
To her declaring with reasons debonary,
Vnder these wordes trouth & right cōserued,
[Page xliiii]To slee her selfe she hath nothynge deserued.
For sodainly and also vnauised
As a foole is trapped in the snare,
By vnware fraude vpon the practised,
Thou were disceiued plainly to declare:
Hauyng thys conceyte, harde is to repayre
The name of thē which falsly be diffamed,
Whan wrōg report y renome hath shamed.
Touchyng thy person I dare affirme & seyn,
That it were a maner impossible,
And lyke a thynge which neuer yet was seen,
That thy worshyp was found corruptyble.
But stedfast aye and indiuysible,
Vnparted, vertuous, and made strong,
And nowe desirous to auenge thy wronge.
On thy iniury we shal auenged be,
Considred first the deedly heuines,
Which thou suffredest by great aduersite,
Whan y auoutrour thy beauty dyd oppres:
And reioysyng by a false gladnes,
Maugre thy wyll as a thefe by nyght,
The encombred of very force & myght.
But if thou woldest leue all thy mourning,
And restraine thy unportable wo,
Soone shuldest yu se an egall punyshyng
Vpon thy most frowarde mortal foe:
To warne all other they shal nomore do so,
In chastisynge of false auoutry,
The and thy renome of ryght to magnify.
What was diffasyng to thy trewe entent,
Though his youth vnbridled went at large?
So for to aforce a sely innocent,
Whose wyckednes oughte to bere the charge.
And we of ryght thy conscience dyscharge
The ioye vnlefull of his false plesaunce,
With double palme thine honor doth auance.
Conceiue and se, O thou myne Lucrece,
How that reason and good discrecion,
Shoulde thy trouble & thy mournynge cece
Of ryght, restrayne thy opinion,
So rechelesly to do punicion
With knife in hande, to slee thy selfe, alas
For others gylt and dyddest no trespas.
Let be Lucrece, let be all thy dole,
Cease thy complaynt & thy wo restrayne,
Should I fro the lyue alone al sole,
And thy deth perpetually complayne▪
To put thy father in importable payne:
Of our welfare be not so rechelesse,
To dye and leaue our childre motherlesse.
Of prudence eke thou oughtest for to se
And aduertyse onely of reason,
Though of force thy body corrupt be,
Thy soule inwarde and thyne entencion
Fraunchysed ben from al corrupcion:
Offence is none, consider in thyne entent,
But wyll & hert yeue therto ful consent.
Thou were naked in thy bed, lyenge
Alone, vnware, slepynge & voide of myght,
Suspeciouslesse al of his comynge,
That tyme namely because y it was nyght:
A fearefull woman, & he a manly knyght,
Al be it so vnknightly was his dede,
Wyth naked swerde to assayle thy woman­head.
He myght thy body by force wel oppresse,
By sleyghty waies that he had sought:
But wele wote I for al his sturdinesse,
He myght neuer haue mastry of thy thought.
The body yelded the hert yelded him nought.
Ye were twaine, yu feble & he ryght stronge,
Thy trouth afforced, he werker of the wrong.
Where mightest yu haue greater price or laude
All ryght considred, trouth & equite?
Fyrst coūterpeysed his force & sleighty fraud,
Than to parseuer in feminite,
With thought enhaunced & infragilitie
Of womanheade, to haue an hert stable,
What thige in the myght be more cōmedable:
It is wel knowe yu were of herte aye one,
To all false lustes contrary in gouernaunce:
More lyke an ymage kerued out of stone,
Than lyke a woman fleshely of plesaunce
The tirant foūde thee in chere & countenaūce.
Whych euer after by womanly victory,
Shalbe ascriued to thine encrease of glory.
Thy father Brutus hath the well excused,
My selfe also, thy blood and thy kynrede:
On this matter let no more be mused,
To sley thy selfe or do thy sides blede.
Certes Lucrece thou hast ful litell nede,
It were great wronge by all our iudgement,
To spare a tirant and slee an innocent.
Thy lyfe to murdre to some it woulde seme
Thou were gylty, where as thou art clene:
[Page]Diuers wittes diuersly wyl deme,
Report thyng thou none dyddest mene.
For which thou shalt paciently sustene,
Tyll thy chaste wyfely innocence
May se hym punished for his violence.
Folke wyl not deme a person innocent,
Which wilfully whan he is not cuipable,
Yeldeth him selfe to deth by iudgement,
And neuer was a fore of no gyit partable:
His own doome vpon him selfe vengeable,
Causeth people, tho their reporte be noughte,
To deme a thinge y neuer was ywrought.
To be auenged vpon thine owne life
In excusynge of thy deedly fame,
To shewe thou art a true wedded wyfe,
wenyng by deth to get the a name,
In this deuise thou art greatly to blame:
Wher yu yet knowest thy honor clerely shyne,
To yeue the people matter to deuyne.
And with that worde Lucrece dyd abrayde,
Full deedly both of loke and chere,
To them againe euyn thus she sayde:
Let be husbande, let be my father dere,
Speke no more to me of this matere,
Lest men dempt in hindryng of my name,
Idred death more than false dyffame,
Your counsayle is I shal my lyfe conserue,
To sorowe and sclaunder, but no gladnes:
But lesse yl it is at an houre to sterue,
Than euer languish in sorowe & heuines.
Deth maketh an ende of al worldly distres,
And it was sayde syth ful yore ago,
Better is to die than euer to liue in wo.
Whan that worship in any creature
Is staine and deed by slaūdrous report,
Better is of death the dredful payne endure,
Than by false noyse aye to liue in discōfort:
Where newe & newe diffame hath his resort,
Neuer dyeth but quickeneth by y outrage,
Of hateful tonges & venimous langage.
Do your deuer to halowe & make stable,
The chast chambres of wyfely gouernaunce:
For in this case if ye be variable,
On false auoutry for to do vengeaunce,
There shal folow euerlastynge remembraūce
How true spousaile as ye haue herde deuised
In your citie is broke & not chastifed.
If ye be founde in such a case negligent
To punish auoutry of right as your charge:
Through your slouth as ye were of assent,
Luxurie vubridled shall ren abrode at large,
Who shal than your conscience discharge,
Or what woman stande in sickernes,
Of Lucrece afforced the clennes?
O dere husbande what ioy shulde it be
To thine estate in any maner place,
Lyke as thy wyfe to cherishe me
Or in thine armes me goodly to enbrace?
The gilt horrible considred & trespace,
By Tarquyn don alas, and welaway,
Which i my persō may neuer be wast away.
And father mine how shuldest thou me cal
After this day thyne owne doughter dere;
Which alas refuse of women al
That to thy plesaunce was whilom most en­tere,
Within thy house whan I did lere,
By clere example of manifolde doctrine,
Al that pertained to vertuous discipline,
Which I haue lost now in my dayes olde,
Dispaired it to recure agayne.
Myne owne childre I dare not the beholde,
Bycause the wombe in that they haue layne,
Diffouled is, and pollute in certaine:
Which was tofore in chastitie conserued,
Chastise the auoutrer as he hath deserued.
And for my part, to speke in wordes fewe,
Lenger to liue I haue no fantasie,
For where should I out my face shewe,
Or dare appere in any company,
Sith a derke spot of false auoutry,
Shal euermore whether it be false or true,
In to myne hindring y sclaundre to renewe:
Lust afforced hath a false appetite
Offrelte, included in nature:
Maugre the wyll there foloweth a delite
As some folkes say, in euery creature,
Good fame lost ful hard is to recure.
And sith I may my harmes not redresse,
To you in open my gilt I wil confesse.
Al be I was againe my wil oppressed,
There was a maner constrained lust in dede,
Which for no power might not be redressed,
For feblenesse I stand in so great drede,
For which offence deth shalbe my mede:
Sith leuer I haue with some edge tole
[Page xlv]To slee my selfe, than lyue in slaūder & dole.
O father myne spare and haue pitie,
And dere husbande rue on myne offence,
Goddes & goddesses called of chastitie,
To my trespace graunt an indulgence:
For of my gylt to make a recompence,
Where that Venus gate in me a vaūtage,
Deth shal redresse & chastise myne outrage.
For if I should make a delay
To perse my brest wt sharpnes of a knyfe,
Men would deme and say fro day to day,
To make my sclaūder more open & more rife,
Howe that I was more tendre of my life,
Thā of my worship, which is to gret a shame,
To loue my life more than my good name.
In this matter no witnes is so good,
To put awaye all false suspection,
As with a knife to shed my hert bloud,
I myght not make a better purgacion,
To al folke that haue discrecion,
Than finally by my deth to excuse,
The gylt horible of whych men me accuse.
Go forth my soule pure and immortal,
Chefe wytnes of myne innocence,
Tofore tho iudges which ben infernal
Fyrst Mynos kyng to deme my conscience,
With Radamanthus to yeue a sentence
Lyke my desertes that it might be sene,
In wyfely trouth how that I was clene.
Thou erthly body which through thy fairnes
Were to auoutry ful great occasion,
Of thy bloud shede out the rednes,
And by thy sides let it raile doun:
Stere and exite the people of this toun,
To do their deuer within a litle whyle,
For loue of Tarquyn al kynges to exile.
And fyrst I pray my husbande most entere,
Of this vengeaunce to make no delay:
With helpe and socour of my father dere,
To punyshe y auoutrer in al haste ye may.
Let him take his wages and his pay
Lyke as ye se, & plainly nowe conceyue,
For his offence the death I do receiue.
And sodaynly or they myght aduerte
She toke a knyfe, and with great violence
Through the brest euyn to the hert
She made it glyde, there was no resistence:
Ful pale & deed fyl down in their presence,
And by occasion of this piteous dede,
Tarquyn exyled and holy his kynrede.
For which cause by recorde of writyng,
Was there neuer in Rome the cite
After that day no man crowned kyng,
As in cronicles ye may beholde and se:
Thus for luxurie, and their cruelte,
Their tiranny, and false extorcion,
They were exiled out of Rome toun.

The .vi. Chapter.

¶ Howe Rome was after gouerned, and Virginea by her father slayne.

GOuerned after by other officers
As is remembred in Titus Liuius,
Called Decemuiri of diuers croni­clers:
Amonge whyche there was one Appius
A Judge vntrue, proud, & luxurious,
Which through y citie the story bereth witnes,
Behated was for his great falsenes.
And ones it fyll as he cast his loke
Vpon a maide most inly fayre of sight,
A false desire within his hert he toke
Her to dysuse, agayne al skyl and ryght:
And she was doughter to a worthy knyght,
Ful manly founde in his dedes al,
And Vyrginius y Romains did him cal.
Whose goodly doughter ye story doth vs lere,
Was after hym for his noble fame,
Virginia called most goodly and entere,
And for this cause she bare the same name.
But Appius to greatly was to blame,
Which hath conspired through his great fals­nes
If y he might, her beauty to oppresse.
This Iuge vntrue both in thought & dede,
Of law vnrightful, sought out occasion,
Made a sergiaunt of his to procede
Agayne this mayde to take an accion,
Claimed her his seruant by false collusion:
And this done was by Appius, of entent,
That he on her might yeue a iudgement.
And by this meane in his false delite,
Thought he myght her beautie best disuse,
So to accomplishe his fleshly appetite,
[Page]She beyng feble the accion to refuse:
Wherupon her father gan to muse,
Fully conceiued of Appius the maner,
In her defence wrought as ye shal here.
Whan Appius had yeuen his iudgement
Againe this mayde which afore him stode,
Her manly father most knighty of entent
Toke her apart as he thought it good,
And wyth a knyfe shed her hert bloud:
Dempt it better to slee her in clennes,
Than the tirant her beauty should oppresse.
Thus hole conserued was her virginite,
And vndefouled was her maydenhede:
For Vyrgynius to kepe her honeste,
Spared nothyng to make her sides blede.
But Appius for this horrible dede,
And Decemuiri through his vnhappye chaūce
Had in that citye neuer after gouernaūce.
As the story also maketh mencion,
Appius ashamed of this dede,
Slough him selfe fetred in prison,
Of a false iuge lo here the final mede.
And tho Tribuni in Rome gan succede,
Twene right and wronge truely to discerne,
And romayne lawes iustly to gouerne.
Men may here se as in a myrour clere,
Estates chaunged for their great offences:
And by some poore person singulere
Princes put doun from their magnificences,
Which not cōsidred in their great excellēces,
How god ordeineth his yerde in sōdry wise,
The poore sūwhile the pompous to chastise.
Here on to shewe example anone ryght,
Marked in story for a notable thynge,
Pausanias of Grece a manly knight,
Of Macedony slough Philip the Kyng:
At a table where he was sitting
Atwene Alexandre and Olimpiades,
His wrong to auenge amyddes al the prees.
Eke Salmator a knyght of low degree
For wronges done in especial
Of manly force grounded on equite
Slough of Cartage the Prince Hasdrubal
Which brother was vnto duke Haniball,
Besyde a riuer as they met in batayle,
Called Metaure which renneth in Itaile.
Wherefore ye princes if ye lyst longe endure
Be right wel ware be ye neuer so stronge,
In your lordshyppes not to much assure,
Or of surquedy the porayle to do wronge.
In your discrecion conceyuing euer amonge,
Greatest drede is that may your state assay [...],
Whan subiection doth the people fayle.

¶ Lenuoye.

THis tragedy declareth in partye
What myschefe foloweth of extorcion,
Eke of spousbrech and of auoutry,
By Tarquyn doue through false extorcion,
Vnto Lucrece wythin Rome toun:
Kynges exyled for such misgouernayle,
And false outrages done to the porayle.
Eke Appius of wylful tiranny
Agayne Virginia toke an accion,
Through a false lust of frowarde lechery,
Blent and fer derked his memory & reason:
Which was chefe cause and occasion
Why the estate of dizhom dyd fayle,
Through false outrage done to the porayle.
Kyng Philyp lost sceptre and regally,
Of Macedone the famous regyon:
Vnwarely slayne amyd his chiualry,
Sittyng at the table wt in his chefe dongeon.
And greatest cause of his fallyng doun,
Was whan fortune his pride dyd assaile,
For false outrages done to the porayle.
Duke Hasdrubal whome bokes magnify
Vp to the heuyn for hys hygh renoun,
Whose triumphes raught vp to the sky,
And had al Cartage in his subiection:
Yet was he slayne vnwarely by treason,
By a seruant, lo what it doth auayle
Treason purposed afore in the porayle.
Noble princes your reason do applye
Whych ouer the people haue dominacion,
So prudently to gouerne them and gye,
That loue and drede by true affectyon,
Preserue their hartes from false rebellion [...]
Syth to you nothynge may more preuayle,
Than true subiection expert in porayle.

The .vii. Chapiter.

❧ How Jeroboham kyng of Israel for Idolatry & disobedience came to a myscheuous ende.

NExte these storyes in Bochas as I fynde,
There dyd appere vnto his presēce,
Kynges syxe, hym praying to haue mynd
Vpon their fal by vnware violence,
From theyr estates of royal excellence.
And to fore al I fynde that there came,
Of al Israel kyng Jeroboam.
Vnto myne aucthour he gan to declare,
His deedly complaynt with a pale face:
His great mischeues and his yuel fare,
And howe he fyl downe frō his kyngly place,
Through vnhappes which dyd him enbrace,
And as this story plainly hath deuysed,
For his offences howe he was chastised.
An Idolater he was as it is tolde,
Reysed vp auters of very force & myght,
Set therupon two calfes of pure golde,
Dyd them worshyp agayne al skyl & ryght:
Gaue euel example in the peoples syght,
Whan he dyd wyth fumes and ensence,
To false ydols vndue reuerence.
Fro the temple he made the people gone,
Priestes ordained after his owne gise,
Forsoke the trybe of Leuy and Aaron,
And vpon Bethel his offryng gan deuyse:
And whyle he dyd vnleful sacrifice,
God that well knewe of hym the false entent,
From Jerusalem a prophet to hym sent.
Whych him rebuked of his misgouernaūce,
And gan the parels to hym specifye:
Told him afore for to do vengeaunce,
Of Dauid kyng there should come one Josye,
Which should his priestes that falsly coud lye,
Manly distroy & slee them al at ones,
And into asshes bren them fleshe & bones.
And in token of their distruction,
The prophet tolde among them al,
How his auters shoulde bowe doun,
And his ydols from their stage fal.
Whom that foles their goddes falsly cal
Which haue no power to helpe in no maner,
For they may neyther se, fele, nor here.
After thys prophet Jadan had tolde
These sayde signes playnly to the kyng,
His auter fyl on peces many folde:
And ouerturned backewarde his offring:
For whych the kyng furiously loking,
Put forth his hand the story maketh mynde
Bad his men the prophet take and bynde.
And as he his arme raught out on length
Had no power it to wythdrawe ageyne,
Wext vnweldy, contract, & lost his strength,
And whan the kyng these tokens hath seyne▪
And how ye prophet spake no word in veyne
Greatly astoyned coude say no more,
But praied Jadan his arme to restore.
And by his prayer and mediacion
Of his arme, after this vengeaunce,
There was anone made restitucion,
And of his payne feleth aleyaunce.
For which the kyng wt ful great instaūt
Required hym to be so graciouse,
That day to abyde and dyne in his house.
But the prophet would not assent
Nouther wyth hym to eate nor to drynke:
Toke his asse and forth anone he went,
On whose departyng y kyng gan sore thynke
And fantasies gan in his hert synke,
Specially whan he toke hede,
Of all these tokens howe they were true in dede.
God [...]ad Jadan in this great emprise
To Jeroboham fyrste whan he was sent,
Eate nor drinke in no maner wyse,
In that citie, whyle he was present:
But a nother prophet of entent
Ful olde and slygh on that other syde,
Compelled hath this Jadan to abyde.
Hym aforsyng by false collusion
To resorte agayne vnto the citye:
And to make no contradiction
With hym to dyne of fraternitye,
To hym affyrmynge it may none other be,
For god sent him as to his frende & brother,
To abyde with him & plainly with none other.
Of frendlyhede and true affection
Within his house to shewe his presence,
For a repast and refection
This is goddes wyl and fully his sentence,
To whose wordes y prophet yaue credence,
And as they sate at dyner both in fere,
God vnto Jadan sayd in thys maner.
For the brekyng of my comaundement,
Thy great offence & thy transgression,
[Page]That thou hast be so wylfull negligent,
Thou shalt endure this punicion:
Be al to torne and rent of a lyon,
And in thy countrey thou shalt not recure,
With prophetes to haue thy sepulture.
Of which thing this Jadan nothynge fayne,
Gan to departe with ful heuy thought:
Of a lion amyd of the way slayne,
But his asse harmed was right nought.
A full great maruaile if it be wel sought,
The lyon syttyng as in their diffence,
And kept them both from al violence.
Al these tokens myght not conuert
Jeroboam fro his iniquitie,
Goddes warnyng hym lyst not to aduerte,
Nor by hys prophete corrected for to be.
Wherefore god would that he should se
Vengeaunce folowe as it dyd in dede,
Both vpon hym and his kynred.
A sonne he had which fyl in great sickenes,
Called Abia the boke doth specify,
For whych the king bad the quene her dresse,
To go disgised without company,
Vnto a prophet which called was Achy.
Hym to require truely for to sey
Whether the chyld should lyue or dey.
And in his inward syght cōtemplatife,
God shewed hym by clere inspection,
Of Jeroboam how she was the wyfe,
For al her sleyghty transformacion:
For nouther fallas nor false decepcion
May be of god but it be parceyued,
For he [...]e his prophets may not be deceyued.
She came to him in straunge wede,
At the entryng he called her by her name:
Come forth (quod he) for it is no nede
To hide thy selfe as it were for shame.
For the trouth truely to attame,
God hath yeuen me fully knowledging,
What thou shalt answere & say to the kyng.
Say plainly to him, & marke in thy thought,
In thy repayre these wordes rehersyng:
Syth god hath made thee & raysed vp of nou­ght
From a seruant to reigne as a kynge,
Fro Dauids kyn most worthy reigning,
Parted the kyngdome & yeuen it vnto the,
And thou vnkynde therof canst nothyng se,
His great goodnesse is out of remēbraunce,
Fully forgeten of thy frowarde pride,
In false goddes put thyne affiaunce
God aboue falsly set asyde,
Wherefore from the anon he shall deuyde,
The kyngdome hole wythout more delay,
And fro thy lyne the crowne take away.
And for thou hast to thy confusion
Thy fayth vnfaithful to false goddes take,
Wrongly refused thy religion
Of god aboue, and playnly hym forsake,
This is the ende whych y thou shalt make:
Thee and thy kyn no man may socour,
Fleshe, skyn, & bone, houndes shal deuour.
And at thy entrynge home to the cite,
Thy sonne & his thou shalt fynde him deed:
Of al hys kin though there were none but he
Founde very good, take therof good hede.
Of whych answere y quene fil in great drede
Entryng the citie in especial,
Her childe was dede & lay colde by the wal.
Of thys warning the king toke none hede,
But made him redy wt ful great aparayle,
Forty thousande wyth him he dyd lede,
Of manly men armed in plate and maile,
With king Abias for to haue a batayle.
The whiche Abias that was of Juda kinge,
Vnto his people said at their metynge:
O noble knightes haue one thing in memory,
No man venquisheth platly to cōclude
With great people, nor getteth victory
With nombres heaped nor greate multitude:
False ydolaters god wyl them delude.
Not suffre his seruaunts that ben true & sad,
Of miscreauntes to be ouerlad.
Triumphe is none found of newe or olde,
In these Idols of stone nor siluer shene,
Nor in Calues of mettall made, or golde,
Yeue to that partie which vntruly meane.
And sithe y god knoweth our quarel clene,
Ther is no hope, force none nor myght,
With them y groūde their cause against right
Hope of victory standeth vpō right wisnes,
Of them yt cast their sinful life to amende:
And lyst forsake wrong and al falsnes,
And with hole hert vnto the lorde entende,
Which shal this day his grace to you sende,
Our true cause truely to termyne.
[Page xlvii]And thus Abias gan his tale fyne.
His preestes gan their trūpes for to blowe,
And kyng Abias through his high renoun,
Gaue to his people both to high and low
Ful manly comfort and consolacion,
And fyfty thousand by computacion
Were slayne y day which ful proudly came,
Vpon the party of kyng Jeroboam.
And al the partye of Jeroboam,
And al that were of his lyne borne,
After thys batayle vnto mischefe came,
Whan they were slayne wt hoūdes al to torne
As the prophet had thē told beforne:
But for the kyng toke therof no hede,
With soden vengeaunce god quit his mede.

¶ The .viii. Chapter.

Howe zaras king of Ethyope was slayne in batayle.

AFter hym to Bochas dyd appere
Next in ordre playnly as I fynde,
One zaras wyth a soroufull chere,
And he was kyng of Ethyope and Jude:
Whose eyen were almost wt wepyng blynde,
Prayeng myne auctour his vnhappy chaūce,
With other woful to put in remembraunce.
And that he would recorde by scripture
His sodayne fall and dolorous distresse,
And his diffamous hateful discomfiture,
With the dispoylynge of his great richesse:
And how king Asaph thrugh his high nobles,
And his people as he dyd thē assaile,
Hath him venquished & slayne in batayle.

The .ix. Chapiter.

Howe Adab kyng of Jerusalem lost sceptre and crowne.

OF Israell than came the wooful [...] kynge,
Called Adab ful pytously wepyng,
Vnto Bocas his cōplaint rehersing:
How kyng Basa by subtyll false werkyng,
With slaughter caused his fallyng,
Whan fortune gan falsely frowne,
And toke vniustly frō him sceptre & crowne.

The .x. Chapiter.

¶ Howe the vengeable prynce zambrias set a toure on fyre and brente hym selfe.

NExt came zābrias a prince vēgeable,
Whiche slough kinge Helam by false treason,
That was founde also ful vnstable:
For this zambrias of entencion,
Hath murdred him within the chefe dongeon,
Of his castel wyth a ful great route,
As he vnwarely layde a siege aboute.
But Amarin a prince of ful great might,
Came in to Tharse a famous great citye,
And cast him playnly lyke a worthy knight,
On this zambrias auenged for to be,
Hym to distroy without mercy or pitie:
But in a toure as zambrias went,
Set it a fyre and so hym selfe brent.

☞ The .xi. Chapiter.

Of king Achab and Jezabel his wife.

WIth sighes sore & wepig importable
Came kyng Achab vnto Bochas,
Whose hertelie sorowe was incōpa­rable,
And complayning ful oft sayd alas:
Besechyng him to write his woful case,
Compile his falling and the fate yfere,
Of Athalia his owne doughter dere.
To god aboue most contrarious
Thys Achab was in al his gouernaunce,
And had a wyfe cruel and lecherous,
Called Jesabel, whiche set al her plesaunce
On goddes prophetes for to do vengeaunce.
In the bible their malice men may se,
And Idolaters they were both he and she.
God for their trespaces as it was well seyne,
Afore shewed by true prophecy,
Sent thre yere neither dewe ne reyne
Vpon the erth their graine to multiplye:
Tyl eft agayne by prayer of Helye,
Holsome waters from heuin gan discend,
Which gaue thē cause their life to amend.
But his wyfe that cursed Jesabel,
To eche thing hateful which was diuine,
An hundred prophetes she slough in Israel,
Vnto Baal for they would not inclyne:
And she also slough Naboth for his vyne,
Through whose outrage & false oppression,
Achab was brought to his confusion.
Of his enemyes outrayed in bataile,
With a sharpe arow caught his fatal woūde,
Tyi al his blode by bledyng dyd faile,
About hys chare wt many droppes rounde:
That the wordes were ful true founde
Of Helias, which told him as it stode,
That hungry houndes should lycke his blod.
In a citye than called Israel
Downe from a toure ioyned to a wall,
The sayd quene called Jesabel,
Was ouer cast & had a deadlye fal:
Touching these mischeues for she was cause of all,
Beware ye princes remēbring all your lyues,
To eschue false coūsayle yeuē by your wiues.

☞ The .xii. Chapiter.

¶ How quene Athalia for her tiran­ny was slayne.

NExt to Achab in ordre dyd sue,
Athalia wt doleful countenaunce
Bocas besechyng, as hym thought due
Her sodayne fal to put in remembraunce.
Sours & chefe rote of sorow & mischance.
Is vsurpaciō and false couetise,
Lyke as her story herafter shal deuyse.
She was vpreised by fauour in thre thinges,
For father, broder, & also her husbande
Were in her tyme echone crowned kinges,
With scepter & sworde as ye shal vnderstād.
Many emprises in their daies toke on hande,
And howe fortune their highnes dyd assaile,
I cast shortly to make rehersayle.
She fyl of fortune in the vnhappye boundes,
Fyrst whan her father was wt an arow dede,
His blod vplicked wt cruel hūgry houndes,
About his chare rennyng downe ful rede:
His body pale lay who that toke hede,
Lyke a carreyne naked and dispoyled,
With foule black erth amyd the felde ysoyled.
Cause of another vnhappy heuynesse
And of her deedly desolacion,
Was the people felly dyd them dresse
Of Arabye in their rebellion,
Agayne her husband, of entencion
To robbe his treasour to their auauntage,
And take his richesse by outragious pillage.
Some of his meyny they put in prison,
There was agaynst thē made no defence:
Spared nother citie, borough, ne toun,
Slough man & chyld through sturdy violēce:
Her lorde enfect wyth sodaine pestilence,
Conceyued fully by his malady,
There was no gayne but he must nede dye.
After his deth most wretched & odible,
His body corrupt, his bowelles fyl doun:
Of his carayne the stench was so horible
The ayre enfect about hym enuyron,
With so great horrour and putrifaction,
That no man myght abyde nor endure,
To bryng his body vnto sepulture.
Her third vnhap whereof she was ful fayne,
That fortune lyst her efte assayle,
Made her vncle kyng Joram to be slayne
With an arow, as he fled in batayle:
She supposyng greatly it should auayle,
Lyke a woman most furious & wode,
She of king Dauid slough al ye rial blode.
Her purpose was to gouerne al the realme
Alone her selfe to haue dominacion,
To reigne in Juda and Jerusalem
This Athalia by vsurpacion:
And for that cause in her entencion,
With mortal sworde she made tho fyne
That were discēded frō Dauid doun by lyne.
Except one Joas she left not one a lyue.
Chyld of a yere, sonne of kyng Och [...]sy,
Whom Josaketh the story do the disctiue
Of very pitie caught a fantasy
The childe to saue that he shal not dye,
From the malice of Athalia
And she was wyfe to byshop Joiada.
She & this byshop with hole hert & entere,
Kept this chylde in ful secret wyse,
Within the temple the space of seuen yere:
And in the seuenth the storye doth deuise,
Joiada toke on him this emprise,
Yonge Joas vpon a certayne day,
By iust title to crowne him if he may.
His messangers he sendeth out anone,
Of princes, tribunes, gan a counsaile cal,
Of preestes eke and leuites euerychone:
And whan he had discured to them al
Hole his entent, thus it is befal
Sworne and assented as it was sytting,
That yonge Joas shalbe crowned kyng.
For by promise which y is diuine
(Quod Joiada) if ye take hede,
God hath behested to Dauid & his lyne,
And assured vnto his kynred
In Jerusalem how they shal succede:
And though Joas be yong & tēdre of might,
He to the crowne hath neuer the lasse ryghte.
In this matter I wyl not that ye slepe,
But to shewe your true diligence,
On four parties the temple for to kepe,
That no man entre by no violence:
And in the myddes by royal excellence,
(Quod this byshop) no man shal vs let,
On Joas heade a crowne for to set.
And whan ech thing was brought to poynt
Hys hygh estate to encrease and magnify,
The people anone whan he was anoynt,
Viuat rex they began to cry.
And whan Athalia gan this thyng espye,
For very ire and the sodayne wonder,
Of melancoly her clothes cut asonder,
Ran to the temple, and gan make a fray,
With her meyny and to crye aloude,
Bad them go sle & make no delay
The yong kyng, in al the hast they coude.
Her venym hid vnder a couerte cloude,
Al at ones her purpose to recure,
By sodaine malice she gan ye day dyscure.
The temple was kept, entre had she none,
People ordayned awaytyng for the nones:
And or she might any further gone,
Clenly armed the Centuriones
The cruel quene assayled al at ones.
And of her malice to wryte a short tale,
They slough her after at Cedron in the vale.
Lo here the ende of murdre & tiranny,
Lo here the ende of vsurpacion,
Lo here the ende of false conspiracy,
Lo here y ende of false presumcion:
Borne rightfull heyres wrongly to put them doun,
O noble princes though god make you strōg,
To ryghtful heyres beware ye do no wrong,

¶ Lenuoye.

THese tragedies to estates & degrees,
Fully declareth the decepcions
Of fortunes false mutabilitees,
Shewed in prouinces cities and eke touns:
Princes vnwarely lost their possessions,
Which for their synnes in diuerse wyse,
Had of god warnyng, & lyst not for to ryse.
Mighty princes cast downe from their sees,
Lost their liues and their regions,
Vnwarely throw from their felicitees:
Jeroboam for his oppressions,
And for his frowarde false oblacions
Done to Idols, his story doth deuyse,
Had of god warning, & lyst not for to ryse.
Achab also had great aduersities,
Through false coūsaile and exhortacions
Of Iezabel rote of iniquities,
Dyd to his people great extorcions:
She slough prophets, goddes champions,
Both he and she most cursed in their gyse,
Had of god warnyng, & lyst not for to ryse.
Athalia with her duplicitees,
And conspired false intrusions,
Slouh Dauids sede to entre their dignitees,
And possede their dominacions:
But for her hateful false collusions,
Vnwarely slayne for her great couetise,
Had of god warnyng, & lyst not for to ryse.
Princes remembre in your prosperitees,
And se afore in your discrecions:
Wrong clyming vp of states or degrees,
Outher by murdre or by false treasons,
Asketh a fal for their final guerdons.
Namely of them that the lord dispise,
And for his warnyng lyst not for to rise.

The .xiii. Chapter.

¶ Howe Dydo quene of Cartage slough her selfe for conseruacion of her chastitie.

NOwe muste I put my rude stile in prees,
To queene Dido makynge my pas­sage:
Her Lorde Siche was priest to Hercules,
Her father Belus fal in great age,
Kyng of Tire & she quene of Carthage:
And it is red in bokes that ben true,
How fyrst in Tire was found purple hewe.
Chadmus founde fyrst letters for to write,
[Page]Gaue them to Grekes, as made is mencion,
Whose brother Fenix as clerkes eke endite,
Founde first the colour of vermilion:
And of Cartage the famous mighty toun,
This sayd Dido, her story doth expres,
How she was quene and founderesse.
But her husband was chefe lorde & fyre,
Called Sicheus full famous of renoun,
Of this noble citie called Tyre,
Had great treasour & great possession:
And for enuy kyng Pigmalion
Broder to Dido this Siche slough in dede,
Of false entent his richesse to possede.
Dido this slaughter toke greuously to hert,
Sore complayning this vnhappy chaunce:
Cast she would if she might asterte,
Flye out of Tire and her lyfe auaunce,
With al the treasour & the haboundaunce,
Behynde left, whan her lorde was dede,
Her shyppes entryng went awaye for drede.
She knewe and drede the gredy auarice
Of her brother kyng Pigmalion,
And how that hateful vnstauncheable vice
Was grounde, and rote, and chefe occasion,
Why y her lord was slayne in that toun:
For whome she cried ful oft wel away,
Whose deth was cause why she fled away.
She had also this opinion,
Which caused most her hertly heuinesse:
That sith her brother Pigmalion
Had slayne her lorde for his great ryches,
If she abode that he woulde hym dresse,
Parcel for malice, parcel for couetyse,
To haue treasour some treason to practise.
And for to eschewe his malice & treason,
For her nauy she maketh ordinaunce,
By the auise of them in whom as by reason,
She should of ryght set her affiaunce:
And they ful redy her to do plesaunce,
By one assent for nothynge would fayle,
With fayre Dydo out of that lande to sayle.
In Cypres fyrst was her aryuaile:
And the [...]e she founde by the riuer syde,
Of yong maydens wt ful rych apparayle,
Sixty and ten in the same tyde,
Whiche in the temple of Venus dyd abyde,
After the custome as I can reporte,
Of Cypriens, straungers to disporte.
And in their most faythful humble wyse
After the ryghtes of Cypre the countre,
Vnto Venus eche day do sacrifice,
Them to conserue in their virginite:
Duryng their life to lyue in chastitye,
Neuer to be ioyned in mariage,
And wt quene Dydo they went to Cartage.
In their passage fyll a great myrracle
As Seruius maketh mencion,
For Dydo toke of Juno this oracle,
Outher by apparyng or by aduision,
Of Cartage to bylde that myghty toun:
And at reuerence of that great goddesse,
She to the parties fast gan her dresse
The sayd citye stately for to founde.
And her werkemen as they the erth sought
An oxes head of auenture they founde,
And to quene Dido anone the head brought,
Meninge wherof to serche out they thought:
And her clerkes in their deumayle,
Tolde it was token of seruage & trauayle.
For which she list not to buylde in that place,
But remeued as she ought of ryght,
And fro thence but a litel space,
A soyle she founde ful dylectable of sight:
And as her werkmen wyth their full myght,
The grounde gan serch or they toke hede,
The story telleth they found an horse head.
And by expownyng of her deuinours,
Founde this beast myght greatly auaile
Vnto princes and mighty conquerours,
Necessary in werre and batayle:
And for no wight her noblesse shoulde assaile,
Cartage she buylded of so great excellence,
Againe al enemyes to stand at diffence.
Some bokes declare and specify,
Dydo dyd as much land purchace,
As a skyn in rounde might occupy
Of an oxe, theron to buyld a place:
The grounde cōpassed toke a large space,
Whych strongly buylded thus it is befal,
After the skyn men Byrsa dyd it cal.
And whan this citie mightily was walled,
After a skyn wrought by good curray,
The name toke, Carta it was called:
Lether of Birsa plainly this is no nay.
Toke eke his name durynge many a day,
Carta and Birsa knit in their langage,
[Page xlix]As much to say, as this word Carthage.
And in Affryke stant this teritory,
Where she builded this citye dilectable:
Founded it in laude and memory
Of mighty Juno, the goddesse honorable.
The citye walled wt towers strong & stable,
Time of kyng Dauid, amidde the fourth age,
As I sayd erst, called it Cartage.
With great worshyp she raygned in y towne
Euer of purpose to liue in chastitie,
And rounde about floured her renowne,
Of her prudence and her honestye:
Tyll the report of her famous beautye,
Came to the eares, which gladly wil not hide
Of a kyng that dwelled there beside.
Of Musytans he was lorde and syre,
As poetes playnly lyst decryue,
Whiche in his hart greatly gan desire,
The quene Dido by her assent to wiue,
Vnto her grace if he might aryue:
But for she had auowed chastitie,
She neuer cast maried to be.
The kyng supprised wt loue in his courage.
For her wisdome, and her great bountee,
Sent for the princes of Carthage,
On this matter to haue a treatee:
To condiscende if it might be,
Like his desire in all their best entent,
Do their deuoyre to make her consent.
With his request he gan them eke manace,
If he fayled of his entencion,
Like his desire to stande in her grace,
Sayd he would be enemy to their towne:
To ordayne by force for their destruction,
Not fully sober, nor fully in a rage,
This was to them playnely his langage.
But for they knewe her great stedfastnes
And her hart very immutable,
They were aferde any word to expresse,
Lest their aunswere were not acceptable,
To his highnes, for he was not treatable,
Eke in their conceyt they gan also recorde,
To his desyre the quene would not accorde.
With good aduice an answere they puruey,
To his purpose in party fauourable,
Aferde he would their noble towne werrey,
Or of disdayne vpon them be vengeable:
But quene Dydo in her entent aye stable,
Cast she would whatsoeuer they her tolde,
Her chast auowe faythfully to holde.
She set aside of this cruell kyng
His fell manaces, and his words great,
And to her prynces for their consentyng,
Which stode in feare of y he did them threate,
She vnto them yaue a maner heate:
For they were bolde to attempt or attame,
To treate of matter rebounding to her shame
Nay rather dye (quod she) than assent
To his desires, whiche thing god forbede:
Or fro the tenter of my chaste entent
For to remeue other in thought or dede,
Whiche were disclaunder to all womanhead,
To condiscende for any manacyng,
To breake a vowe for pleasaunce of a kynge
Touchyng manaces made to the citie
For to destroy it with his great myght,
Without cause or title of equitie
To ground him a quarell agayne right,
Onely for he is blynded of his syght,
With froward lust my chaste auowe to assaile
Be ryght well sure how he therof shall fayle.
If ye were bolde and manly of courage,
For comon profite your citye to defende,
And to wtstande his vycious outrage,
To treate wt him ye would not condiscende:
But mine entent platly to comprehend,
Whether it be to you ioye or displeasaunce,
In my promise shalbe no variaunce.
My lorde Sicheus whiche, alas, is deade
Vnto the worlde, who lyst aduert,
Trust verely for manacyng nor dreade
That he shall neuer dye in myne hert:
Nor he shall neuer myne auowe peruert,
Thus auysed while that I stande fre,
Quene of Cartage to gouerne this citye.
Mine hasty answere I pray you not disdaine
But that ye list to yeue me libertye,
With your support that I may attayne,
To haue a space graunted vnto me:
This is to mene, the space of monethes thre,
My lordes will to accomplyshe of entent,
Whiche whilome made in his testament.
Vnder couloure to her aduauntage,
She toke this space, bokes specify:
[Page]That she might her citye of Cartage,
The meane time strongly fortify,
Agayne her enemies, that for no sluggardy
Of them that would her high estate confound
Vnpurueyed her city not be founde.
Whan thre monethes passed were and gone,
She after would for hartly pleasaunce,
With sundry ryghtes many mo than one,
To all her goddes do some obseruaunce:
For a speciall singuler remembraunce
Of him that was (as ye shall vnderstande)
Whilom her lorde and best beloued husband.
And more to exalt her glory and his honour,
Held his exequtes by due reuerence
Of all Cartage in the highest tower,
With brenning fire, fumes, and incence,
Her princes all beyng in presence,
To whyche she gan declare in complaynyng,
Her deadly sorow, down frō her tower loking
Farewel my frendes, farewell for euermore,
Vnto my lord my husband I must gone,
To him I meane y was my lorde of yore,
For of husbandes god wot I haue but one:
Praiyng you to report euerichone,
After my death Dydo of Cartage
Joyned was but ones in maryage.
Say to the kyng whiche you manaced,
My chaste beauty that he woulde assaile,
Go tell him how that I am passed,
And of his purpose how that he shall faile.
His manacyng shall not him auayle,
And say how Dydo dyed for the nones,
For she not would be wedded more thē ones.
Leuer I haue my life now to lose,
Rather than soyle my wydowes chastitie:
Let him go further some other to chose,
For in such case he shall not spede of me.
And with the treasure of mine honesty,
Which I haue truely obserued all my lyue,
I will depart out of this worlde now blyue.
And into fire that brent clere and bryght,
She ran in haste, there is no more to sayne:
Saue with a knyfe in euery mans sight,
Full sodaynly she rofe her hart in twayne,
Whose piteous death the city gan complayne,
Sore wepyng for wonder and for ruthe,
In a woman to finde so great a truth.
After her death they did their busines,
To holde and halowe a feast funerall:
Worshipped her like a chaste goddesse,
And her commended inespeciall
To heauenly goddes, and goddes infernall,
And wydowes all in their clothes blake,
At this feast wept for her sake.
Touching Dydo let there be no stryfe,
Though that she be accused of Ouide:
After Bochas I wrote her chaste life,
And the contrary I haue set aside.
For me thought it was better to abide
On her goodnes, than thing rehearse in dede
Which might resowne again her womanhede
To Eneas though she were fauourable,
To Itayle makyng his passage,
All that she did was commendable,
Him to receyue commyng by Cartage:
Tho some folke were large of their langage,
Amisse to expoune, by report, or to expresse,
Thing done to hym onely of gentlenes.
There shall for me be made no rehearsayle,
But as I finde wrytten in Bochas:
For to say well may much more auayle
Than froward speach in many diuers case.
But all Cartage oft sayd, alas,
Her death cōplaynyng throughout their citye
Whiche slew her selfe to obserue her chastitye.

¶ Lenuoy.

OF ayre Dydo most stable in thy constan̄ce
Quene of Cartage myrror of hie nobles
Raignyng in glory & vertuous habundaūce,
Called in thy time chefe sours of gentilnes,
In whom was neuer founde doublenes,
Aye of one hart, and so thou diddest fyne,
With light of trouth al wydowes to enlumin
Chast and vnchaunged in thy perseueraunce,
And immutable founde in goodnes,
Whiche neuer thoughtest vpon variaunce,
Force & prudence wardeins of thy fayrenes,
I haue no langage thy vertues to expresse:
By new report so clerely they shyne,
With light of trouth al widowes to enlumine.
O lode starre of all good gouernaunce,
All vycious lustes by wisdome to represse,
Thy grene youth flouryng with all pleasaūce
Thou didst it brydle wt vertuous sobernes:
[Page l]Dyane demeaned so chastly thy clennesse,
Whyle thou were sole playnely to termyne,
With light of truth al wydowes to enlumyne
Thy famous bounty to put in remembraūce,
Thou slewe thy selfe of innocent purenes,
Lest thy surenes were hanged in balaunce,
Of such that cast them thi chastitie to oppres:
Death was inoughe to beare therof witnes,
Causyng thy beauty to all clennes enclyne,
With light of vertue al widowes to enlumine

¶ Lenuoy, dyrect to wydowes of the translatoure.

O Noble matrons whiche haue suffisaūce,
Of womanhead your wittes to vpdresse
How that fortune list to turne her chaunce,
Be not to retchlesse of sodayne hastines:
But ay prouide in your stablenes,
That no such foly enter in your courage,
To folow Dydo that was quene of Cartage
With her maners haue none acquayntaunce,
Put out of minde such sottyshe wilfulnes,
To slea your selfe were a great penaunce,
God of his grace defende you and blesse,
And preserue your variant brotlenes,
That your trouth fall in none outrage,
To folow Dido y was quene of Cartage.
With couert colour and sober countenaunce,
Of faythfull meanyng pretendeth a likenes,
Counterfayteth in speache and dalyaunce,
All thinge that sowneth into stedfastnes,
Of prudence by great auisenes,
Your selfe restrayneth yonge and olde of age,
To folow Dydo that was quene of Cartage.
Let all your port be voyde of displeasaunce,
To get frendes do your busines,
And be neuer without purueyaunce,
So shall ye best encrease in ryches:
In one alone may be no sykernes,
To your hart be dyuers of langage,
Contrary to Dydo yt was quene of Cartage.
Holde your seruauntes vnder obeysaunce,
Let them neuer haue fredome nor largenes,
But vnder daunger do their obseruaunce:
Daunt their pryde, them brydle wt lownes,
And whan the serpent of newefanglenes,
Assayleth you, do your aduauntage,
Contrary to Dydo y was quene of Cartage.

¶ The .xiiii. Chapter.

☞How vycious Sardanapalus kyng of Assirie brent him selfe and his treasure.

OF Assirie to reken kynges all,
Whiche had that lande vnder sub­iection,
Last of all was Sardanapall,
Most feminyne of condicion:
Wherfore fortune hath him cast downe
And complaynyng most vgly of manere,
Next after Dydo to Bochas did appere.
To vycious lust his life he did enclyne,
Among Assyriens whan he his raigne gan:
Of false vsage he was so feminine,
That among women vpon the rocke he span,
In their habite disgysed from a man,
And of froward fleshly insolence,
Of all men he fledde the presence.
First this kyng chase to be his gyde
Mother of vyces called ydlenes,
Whiche of custome eche vertue set asyde,
In eche courte where she is maistresse,
Of sorow and mischefe is the first foundresse,
Which caused onely this Sardanapall
That to all goodnes his wittes did appall.
He founde vp first ryote and dronkennes,
Called a father of lust and lechery:
Hatefull of harte he was to sobernes,
Cherishyng surfetes, watche, and glotony:
Called in his time a prynce of baudry,
Founde reresuppers and fetherbeddes soft,
Drynke late, and chaunge his wines oft.
The ayre of meates and of baudy cokes,
Which of custome all day rost and sede,
Sauoure of spittes, ladels, and fleshe hokes
He loued well, and toke of them great hede:
And folke that dranke more than it was nede
Smellynge of wine for their great excesse,
With them to abide was holly his gladnes.
He thought also it did him good
To haue about him without skyll and right
Boystous bochers all bespreint with bloude,
And watry fishers abode aye in his syght:
Their coates poudred wt scales siluer bryght,
Dempt their odour duryng all his lyfe,
Was to his courage best preseruatyfe.
For there was no herbe, spice, grasse, ne rote,
To him so lusty as was the bordelhouse:
Nor gardeyn none so holesome nor so sote,
To his pleasaunce, nor so delicious,
As the presence of folke lecherous:
And euer glad to speake of rybaudry,
And folke cheryshe that coulde flatter & lye.
Tyll at the last God of very right
Displeased was with his condicions,
Because he was in euery mannes sight
So feminyne in his affections,
And wholy yaue his inclinations
Duryng his life to euery vycious thing,
Terrible to heare and namely of a kyng.
But as Bochas list to put in minde,
Whan Arbactus a prince of great renowne,
Sawe of this kyng the fleshely lust blynde,
Made with the people of that region
Agaynst him a coniuration,
And to him sent for his misgouernaunce,
Of high disdayne a full playne defyaunce.
Bade him beware, & proudly to him tolde
That he him cast his vicious life to assaile,
And in all haste also that he woulde
Within a fielde mete him in battayle:
Wherof astonied his hart gan to fayle,
Where among womē he sate makyng gaudes
No wight about but flatterers and baudes.
And vp he rose and gan him selfe auaunce,
No company wt him but seruauntes ryotous,
Toke the felde without gouernaunce,
No men of armes but folkes vycious:
Whose aduersary called Arbactus,
Made him proudly the felde to forsake,
And like a cowarde his castell to take.
And for his hart frowardly gan fayle
Not like a knyght, but like a loseniour,
His riche pierrey, his royal apparayle,
His golde, his iewels, his vessell, & treasure,
Was brought afore him downe fro a toure
And of his palace, & yaue his men in charge
Of cole and fagot to make a fyre large:
In whiche he cast his treasoure and iewels,
More like a beast than a manly man,
And amyd his riches, stones, and vessels,
Into the fire furiously he ranne:
This triumphe Sardanapalus wanne,
Whiche fyre consumed for his finall mede,
Brent to ashes among the coles rede.
Tofore his death bade men should write
Vpon his graue, the boke dothe specify,
With letters large this reason for to endite:
My cursed life, my froward glotony,
Mine ydlenes, myne hatefull lechery
Hath caused me with many false desire,
My last dayes to be consumpt with fyre.
This epitaphe on his graue he set,
To shew how he in all his liue
Busyed euer to hinder and to let
All maner vertue, and theragayne to striue,
Who foloweth his trace is not like to thriue:
For whiche ye prynces se for your auayle,
Vengeaunce aye foloweth vyces at the tayle.

The .xv. Chapter.

¶ A commendation of Bochas, rehersing the vertuous names of foūders of diuers scien­ces and cunnynges in reprefe of ydlenes.

THere were other that list to prouide,
False fleshly lustes, and dissolutions,
Ryote, outrage, froward disdaine and pride
Vyces to enhaunce in their affections
With many vnlefull croked condicions,
Reason auoyding as I rehearse shall,
Them selues delityng for to be bestiall.
Two maner folkes to put in remembraunce,
Of vyce and vertue to put in a difference:
The good alway hath set their pleasaunce,
In vertuous labour to do their diligence,
And vycious people in slouth and negligence,
And the report of bothe is reserued,
With laude or lacke as they haue deserued.
Men must of ryght the vertuous preferre,
And truely prayse laboure and busines:
And agayn warde disprayse folke that erre,
Whiche haue no ioye but in ydlenes.
And to compate by maner of witnes▪
Vertuous folke, I will to mynde call,
In rebukyng of kyng Sardanapall.
THe olde wise called Pitagoras,
By soūd of hāmers, auctours certifye,
Example toke, and chefe master was
That founde out musyke and melody:
[Page li]Yet of Tuball some bokes specify,
That he bi stroke of smyths where thei stode
Founde first out musyke tofore Noes floude.
And Josephus remembreth by scripture,
That this Tuball could forge wele,
First ymagined makyng of armure,
With instrumentes of yron and of stele,
And their temprures he found out euery dele
Lucius Tarquyn in story as I finde,
Founde chaynes fyrst folke to fetter & binde.
The children of Seth, in story ye may se,
Flouryng in vertue by longe successions,
For to do profite to their posteritie,
And first the craft of heauenly mocions,
Founde of sundry starres the reuolucions,
Bequeth their cunnyng of great aduauntage,
To them that after came of their linage.
For their vertue god gaue them great cūnyng
Touching natures both of earth and heauen:
And it remembred sothly by writyng,
To lasten aye for water or for leuen.
Generations there were of them seuen,
Whiche for vertue wtout warre or strife,
Traueyled in cūnyng, durynge all their life.
And for that Adam did prophecy,
Twise the world destroyed should be,
With water ones, and stande in ieopardy,
Next with fire, whiche no man might flee:
But Seths children that all this did see,
Made two pyllers where men might graue,
From fire and water the charects for to saue.
That one was made of tyles harde ybake,
Fro touche of fire to saue the scripture:
Of harde marble they did another make,
Against water strongly to endure,
To saue of letters the prynt and the figure.
For their cunnyng afore gan so prouide,
Agayne fire & water perpetually to abyde.
They dempt their cunnyng had ben in veyne,
But folke with them had ben partable,
And for their laboure should after be seyne,
They it remembred by wrytyng full notable,
And tofore god a thing full commendable,
To them that folow by scripture and writyng
Or that men dye depart their cunnyng.
For by olde time folke diuers craftes founde,
In sundry wise for occupacion,
Vertue to cherishe, vyces to confounde,
Their witte they set and their entencien,
To put their laboure in execution,
And to outrage, this is very trouth,
Fro mannes life negligence and slouth.
Olde Enoke full famous of vertue
Duryng the age, founde first of euerich one
Through his prudence, letters of Hebrue,
And in a piller they were kept of stone,
Till that the floude of Noe was gone:
And after him Cam was the seconde,
By whom mo of Hebrue letters was founde.
And Cathacrismus the first was that fande,
Letters also, as of that langage,
But letters written by Gods owne hande,
Moses first toke, moste bright of his vysage,
Vpon Syna as he helde his passage.
Whiche of carectes and names in sentence,
From other writyng had a difference.
Eke afterward as other bokes tell,
And saint Hierome rehearseth in his style,
Vnder the empyre of zorobabell,
Esdras of Hebrue gan letters first compyle:
And Abraham long erst a great while
The first was in bokes men may se,
That found letters of Ciria and Calde.
Isys in Egypt founde diuersitie
Of sundry letters parted into twaine,
First for priestes and for the comontie,
Vulgar letters she did also ordayne,
And Fenices did their busy payne
Letters of Greke to finde in their entent,
Whiche that Cadmus first into Grece sent.
Whiche in number fully were seuentene.
Whan of Troy ended was the battayle,
Pallamides their langage to sustene,
Put thre therto whiche greatly did auayle.
Pitagoras for prudent gouernaile,
Founde first out y, a figure to discerne,
The life here short & the life that is eterne.
First latin letters of our a. b .c.
Carmentes founde of full high prudence,
Great Omerus in Isidor ye may see,
Founde amonge Grekes craft of eloquence:
First in Rome by souerayne excellence,
Of Rethoryke Tullius founde the stoures,
Plea and defence of subtill oratours.
Callicrates a grauer most notable,
Of white yuore did his busines,
His hande, his eye, so iust were and so stable,
Of an ampt to graue out the likenes,
Vpon the ground as nature doth him dresse.
This craft he founde, as Sardanapall
Founde ydlenes mother of vyces all.
Of a scriueyn Bochas maketh mencion,
How in a scrowe of little quantitye,
Wrote of all Croy the destruction,
Folowyng Omerus by great subtiltye.
Whiche is had among grekes in great daintie
Because he was founde in his writyng,
So compendious the story rehearsyng.
Archimides made a chare also,
And a small shyp with all the apparayle,
So that a Bee might close them both two
Vnder his wings, which is a great maruaile
And nothing sene of all the whole entayle.
This craft he founde of vertuous busines,
To eschue the vyce of froward ydlenes.
Pan god of kynde with his pypes seuen
Of recorders, founde first the melodyes
Of Mercury that sit so hye in heauen,
First in his harpe founde sugred armonies.
Holsom wines through fined from their lyes
Bacchus founde first on vines heauy lade,
Licour of lycours, courages for to glade.
Perdry by compas founde tryangle & lyne,
And Euclyd first founde Geometrye:
And Phebus founde the craft of medicine,
Al [...]umasar founde astronomy,
And Mynerua gan chares first to gye.
Iason first sayled, in story it is tolde,
Toward Colchos to winne the flece of gold.
Ceres the goddesse founde first tylth of londe,
D [...]onysius triumphes transitory:
And Bellona by force first out fonde,
Conquest by knighthode, & in the field victory
And Martis sonne as put is in memory,
Called Etholus founde speres sharpe & kene,
To runne in warre in plates bryght & shene.
Eke Aristeus founde out the vsage
Of mylke and cruddes, and of hony sote,
Piroydes for great aduauntage
Fro flyntes smote fyre daryng in the rote.
And Pallas whiche yt may to colde do bote
Founde out weauyng this is very sothe,
Through yet prudence of all maner clothe.
And fido founde first out the science
Of measures and of proporcions,
And for marchauntes did his diligence
To finde balaunces by iust diuisions,
To auoyde all fraude in cities and in townes,
On nouther party, playnly to compyle,
Of true weyght that there were no gyle.
Compare in order clerely all these thinges,
Founde of olde tyme by diligent trauayle,
To the pleasaunce of prynces and kynges,
To shewe how much cunnyng may auayle:
And wey again warde ye froward aquitayle,
Contrariously how Sardanapall,
Founde ydlenes mother of vyces all.
Let princes all hereof take hede,
What auayleth vertuous busines:
And what damage the reuerse dothe in dede▪
Vycious life, slouthe, and ydlenes.
And these examples let them eke empresse
Amyd their harte, and howe Sardanapall,
Founde ydlenes, mother of vyces all.

¶ Lenuoy.

NOble prynces here ye may well se,
As in a myrrour of full clere euidence,
By many examples more than two or thre,
What harme foloweth of slouth & negligence
Depe imprintyng in your aduertence,
How great hindring doth wilful frowardnes
To your estate through vycyous ydlenes.
Whan reason fayleth, and sensualitye
Holdeth the brydle of lecherous insolence,
And sobernes hath lost his libertie,
And to false lust is done the reuerence:
And vyce of vertue hath an apparence,
Misleadeth prynces of wilfull retchlesnes,
To great errour of froward ydlenes.

¶ The .xvi. Chapter.

¶ How Amazias in Iuda king, for pride and presumption was vainquished in battaile, and after slayne.

IN his study as Bochas sate musyng,
With many an vncouth solemne fantasy,
To him appeared many a mighty kyng,
[Page lii]And tofore all came worthy Amazie:
His sonne also that called was Ozie,
Of Dauids bloud discended as I rede,
Eche after other in Juda to succede.
First Amazias complayned on fortune
Causing his grcuous great aduersities,
The traytoresse called in commune,
These kinges twayne castyng frō their sees:
Whose ouerturnyng from their dignities,
Vnware fallyng, dreadfull and terrible,
Ben ceriously remembred in the bible.
Their ende men may there reade and se,
How fortune their fates did entrete:
Wherfore to eschue and flye prolixitie
Of tedious thing, in this processe to lete,
And in substaunce to glea [...]e out the grete
Of their fallyng, I purpose not to spare,
Compendiously the causes to declare.
This Amazias hauyng gouernaunce
By [...]ust tytle of succession▪
The scepter of Iuda wt all y whole puissaūce
Full peasably helde in his possession:
Tyll that pryde and false presumption,
Most frowardly did his hart embrace,
Whiche all at ones made him lose his grace.
In hart he had a maner vayne glory,
Because that god made him to preuayle
In his conquest, and to haue victory
Amale [...]hites to vaynquyshe in battayle,
Eke Gabanites as he them did assayle:
Purposyng after if he might,
With Israelites of pryde for to fight.
Vnto kyng Joas of Israell he sent
Him cōmaundyng to obey his byddynge,
And be like subiecte as were in their entent
His predecessours in all maner thing,
Whilom to Dauid the noble worthy kyng,
This was his sonde to Joas plat & playne,
Whiche by a problē thus wrote to him agayn.
THe vgly thistle of the vales lowe,
Proudly presumyng aboue his degre,
To make hys pryde openly be knowe,
Sent hys message to the Cedre tre,
That his sonne might wedded be
To his daughter, althoughe in substaunce
Atwene them two was a great dis [...]ordauu [...]e
But of the forest the beastes sauagyne
In their courages had therof disdeyne,
All of assent fyersely dyd enclyne,
The thystle leaues abrode vpon the pleyne:
That there was nether lease nor pricke seyne
This was the problē which Joas by writing
Sent in a pistle to Amazie the king.
BVt Josephus in his origynall,
The sayd epistle as he doth expresse
Sayth of the vale how the pouder small
Of pryde sent to the hygh Cypresse,
That his daughter of excellent fayrenes,
Vnto his sonne playnely to discryue,
Myght be deliuered and haue her to wyue.
But a fel beast which beside stode,
Of cruell yre and indignacion,
With fete disdaynyng ye pouder cast abrode,
Hygh in the apre about him enuyron:
The whyche ensample conceyued of reason
Who that attempteth to clymbe hygh aloft,
With unware chaunge his fall is full vnsoft.
Atwene the Cedre of trees so royal,
And a sharpe thystle is no conuenience:
Nor twene a cypresse estately founde at all,
And lothsome pouder is a great difference.
For royall bloud should haue no assistence
To be ioyned nor [...]yt in mariage,
With such as bē brought forth of low parage
The Cedre is stronge & mighty of substaūce,
In his vpgrowynge ryght as any lyne:
And tho the thystle haue spottes of pleasaūce,
He hath eke pryckes small as any spyne.
And bothe natures playnly to termine,
The Cedre of kynde who loketh well about,
To no thystle should his braunches loute.
[...]olesome of odoure is the faire Cypresse,
As bokes tell and vertuous of kynde:
Dust and pouder playnly to expresse,
Troubleth the ayre and maketh folkes blynd
For whiche in spousayle cōuenient to fynde,
Let estates of their byrthe honourable,
Voyde al rascaly and wedde their semblable
But Amazias woulde not beware
For no warnyng nor for no prophecy,
But styll in hart great hatred bare
Agayne kyng Joas, of malyce and enuy.
Into a felde brought all his chyualry,
[Page]Gadred them out bothe nere and farre,
Ayenst gods will on him to gyn a warre.
And king Joas full like a worthy knyght,
Into the felde fast gan him spede:
And all the knyghtes of Juda anone ryght,
With stroke of vengeaunce wt a sodain drede,
To bid them flye god wot it was no nede:
And Amazias for all his great pryde,
Stode destitute, and no man by his syde.
With him was none left of all his meynie,
So god and Joas agaynst him wrought:
Of Jerusalem entred the citye,
And Amazie of force with him he brought.
And in the temple the treasure out he sought,
Golde and siluer and wholy their riches,
And to Samaria home he gan him dresse.
And Amazias he let out of pryson
After all this, and suffred him go fre,
To his mischefe and his confusion,
And he was deliuered from his captiuitie:
For slayne he was in Lachis the citye,
Among his frendes by dissimulation,
His death conspyred vnder full false treason,

The .xvii. Chapter.

☞ How vpon Ozias succeadyng kyng nexte in Iuda god toke vengeaunce & smote him with leprie.

AFter in Juda the mighty region,
Next Amazias Ozias gan succede,
Wonder manlye and famous of renoun,
In all his workes full prouident in dede:
And of his knighthode vaiquished as I rede
The Palestines, for all their great puissaūce,
With all Ambie he brought vnto vttraunce.
Builded townes and many a strong citye,
And vnto Egypt he his bondes set,
Made castels besydes the redde see,
And in his conquest whom that euer he met,
Of manly pryde he woulde let:
I meane all tho that were his aduersaries,
To his lordshyp to make them tributaries.
He did his labour also to repare,
Jerusalem after his ruyne,
The walles reared which on y soyle lay bare
Made newe towers ryght as any lyne,
Fanes of golde their turretes to enlumine,
And to force them, let workmen vndertake,
Square bastiles and bulwarkes to make.
He delited to make freshe gardeynes,
Diuers grayne and herbes for to knowe:
Reioysed to plante sundrye vynes,
To graffe trees and sedes for to sowe.
And straunge fruits maketh thē grow arow
And wt him had his enemyes to encumber,
Thre hundred thousand manly men in nūber.
His noble fame gan to sprede wyde,
And greatly dreade for his prowes:
Wherthrough his hart corrupted with pride,
Because onely of his great riches,
And frowardly he did his busines
For to maligne in estate royall,
Agaynst the lorde whiche is immortall.
To god aboue he gan waxe obstynate,
That by processe full small he did winne:
And sauour caught in his royall estate,
To folow his father in vnthrifty synne,
That grace & vertue from him did twynne,
In most shinyng of his magnificence,
Fortune proudly assayled his excellence.
Cast she would within a little while,
His surquedy and frowarde pride assayle:
And full vnwarely deceyue him and begyle,
To make his power to appall and fayle:
Whan that this kyng toke on the apparayle
Of a bishop of very frowardnes,
And to the temple proudly gan him dresse,
Beyng in purpose on a solemne day,
To take his waye vp to the hye alter,
Falsly vsurpyng whosoeuer sayde nay,
To sacrifyce holdyng the censere,
Tofore the alter that shone of golde so clere,
For whiche offence (the bible sayth the same)
Azarias the bishop did him blame.
Gan withstand him in the face anone,
Fourscore priestes beyng in presence
Of the kynred discended of Aaron,
Whiche forbade him and made resistence,
That with his hande he should put incence
Vpon the aulter against gods lawe,
Him chargyng boldly his presence to wtdraw
But of despite he made them hold their pees,
In payne of death began them manace:
And sodaynly among all the prees,
[Page liii]An earthquaue fill in the same place,
And therwithall in the kinges face,
Of the sunne there smote a beame so bryght,
That all his face was scorched wt the light.
He wared a leper foule and right horible,
For his offence as god list ordayne:
To euery man of loke he was terrible,
And but fewe his mischiefe gan complaine.
And a great hill ye same hour carft on twayne
Not farre aside from the towne without,
Cities destroying that stode rounde about.
On kyng Ozie god toke this vengeaunce,
For all his lordship and his magnificence,
To punishe his pride and frowarde puissaūce
And brought him lowe for his great offence,
For his person was put out of presence,
Perpetually as holy writ can tell,
Farre from all people wt lepers for to dwell.
His fleshe was troubled with diuers passiōs,
For his sickenes auoyded the citye,
In crye and sorowe and lamentacions,
His lise he lad in great aduersitie:
And so he dyed in sorowe and pouertie.
Simply buried for all his great myght,
Within an ylande that stode farre out of sight

¶ The .xviii. Chapter.

¶ In exhortation to Prynces to be aduised to do agaynst Goddes preceptes.

LEt prynces all in their prouidence,
Be right wel ware any thing to attame
Whiche vnto God should be offence,
Lest that the fyne conclude to their shame.
Let them thinke for all their noble fame,
But they repent god of his iustice,
Their froward pryde vnwarely will chastice
Let them beware of malyce to presume
Againe his churche to do o [...]encion,
For god of right all tyrantes will consume,
In full short tyme for their presumption:
Whiche will not suffer theyr dominacion
To enterrupt for all their great myght,
Nor breke the fraūches of holy churche ryght.
To prudent prynces whiche can discerne,
Let kyng Ozias considryng his offence,
Be in your mynde a myrrour and lanterne,
To holy churche to do due reuerence,
And conce [...]ue in their magnificence,
God will of ryght be they neuer so s [...]ng,
Chastyce theyr malyce though he [...]yde long.

¶ The .xix. Chapter.

How kyng Oseas was taken by kyng Salmanazer and dyed in pryson.

THere was another that called was Osce,
Which whilom raygned as I affirme dare
In Israell, whom fortune by enuy,
Made him be take or he was ware,
Besyeged about of kyng Salmanas are:
And into Assirie vnder his daunger,
The bible telleth he was a prysoner.
His cityes and townes brought to destruction
And all his people vnder longe seruage,
Were take and kept in stronge Babilon,
Suffred there great payne and domage:
And in pryson by furious outrage
This sayd Oseas in chaynes bounde sore,
For sorowe dyed of hym write I no more.

The .xx. Chapter.

¶ Howe Senacheryb kynge of Assirie slewe him selfe.

WIth these forsayde wofull kynges three,
Senacheryb of Assirye kyng,
Came to Bochas most vglye to se,
Full piteously his fate complaynyng:
And specially hys vnware chaungyng
He gan bewayle oppressed in his thought,
From hye nobles how he came to nought.
His renowne sprade through many a reme,
And all people gan hym magnifye:
A siege he layed vnto Jerusalem,
In the tyme of kyng Sedechye.
But in hys most frowarde surquedy,
Gods aungell tofore the citye,
An hundred .M. slough of his meyny.
And the more to make hym aferde,
Amyd of hys people the selfe same nyght
Gods aungell shoue away his berde
With a sharpe sworde that shone full bryght:
Left hys siege and toke hym vnto flyght,
And in a temple hys gods worshyppynge,
Slough him selfe as he sate knelyng.

¶ The .xxi. Chapter.

¶ How king Sedechy as for false for swea­ryng was slayne, and made blinde in pryson.

TOuching y cōplaynt of kyng Sedechy
And of his sorowes to shew y manere,
Holy write doth clerely specify:
Wherfore it were but vayne to tell them here,
For there men the processe may playnly lere,
How Joachim kyng of Jerusalem,
His owne brother was led out of his reame.
Wherof in hart he felt full great sore
This Sedechias as it is there founde,
Because the kyng Nabugodonosor
His brother helde strong in pryson bounde,
Fully in purpose the Jewes to confounde:
For this tyrant had in that mortall strife,
His bothers children in pryson and his wyfe.
And yet this tyrant in his tyranny,
This fauour did in his fell rage
Vnto this most wofull Sedechy,
To suffer him rayne in his great age:
From yere to yere to pay him a truage
By fayth and othe▪ and composition,
Raysed of his people and brought to Babilon
Yet Sedechias in especiall
By a maner of false felicitie,
Hym selfe reioysed in his see royall
To occupy that noble dignitie:
And so forgate the great aduersitie
Of his brother, and other frendes all,
Touching the mischefe that they were in fall.
Of pryde he fell into presumption,
Whan he remēbred his brother & his lynage,
Considered how fro kyng Salomon
He was discended by title of heritage,
Gan disdayne to pay his truage,
And to maligne in hart he was so wrothe,
And falsly brake his assuraunce and his othe.
He had a maner indignacion,
Whiche he caught of olde remembraunce
How tyme passed to kyng Salomon
By hys manly prudent gouernaunce,
Kinges about for a recognisaunce
Payed trybute, and durst it not wythsay,
Fro yere to yere his nobles to obay.
Whiche thing remembred of kyng Sedechi [...],
As he wext great & stronge in puissaunce,
Of hye disdayne his tribute gan denye,
Set aside his fayth and assuraunce,
So that his othe stode in no substaunce:
For he agaynst the kyng of Babilon,
Presumptuously fyll in rebellion.
And his kyngdome to strength and fortify,
Thought he woulde to his aduauntage
The kyng of Egypt haue on his party:
Of pryde he fell into so great outrage
That he no more woulde pay his truage,
But fynally suche wayes he hath sought,
That of his othe little he ne rought.
But wo alas it is a dolefull thing
To be remembred in hye or lowe degre,
That any prynce or any worthy kyng
Should false his othe or vntrue be,
Or that men should suche variaunce se
In their courages whiche ben so hye borne,
For any cause falsly to be forsworne.
By reporte it dothe their fame trouble,
Infortuneth and clipseth their nobles,
Whan a prince is of his heste double,
And chargeth not of wilfull rechlesnes,
Al be his promisse conclude on doublenes,
Though god awhile suffer them and respite.
At vnset houre their falsenes he will quyte.
His warnyng oft he sent to them afore
Because they lackt prudent policy,
Recorde I take of Nabugodonosor,
Whiche came vnware on kyng Sedechye,
For he his tribute gan falsely him denye:
With all his power as it did abrayed,
To Jerusalem a mighty siege layed.
They within constrayned were of nede
The kyng him self, there was no better defēce
With mans fleshe his people for to fede,
While the Caldeys by mighty vyolence
Of very force without resistence,
On false forswearyng for to take wreke,
Their mighty towers & their walles breke.
To slea and kyll they list none to spare,
Who soeuer they met or came in their [...]ight:
Sedechias left the towne all bare,
But take he was as he him toke to flyght,
In chaynes bounde and fettred anone ryght,
In whose presēce tencrease his paines anone
[Page liiii]His yonge children were slayne euerichone.
His wyues most wofull in their cheres,
Whiche in their tyme goodly were and fayre,
Deliuered were in handes of straungeres,
And more, alas, to put him in dispayre,
Into his kyngdome neuer to haue repayre,
With sharpe tonges it was to great a payne
Out of his head was rent his eyen twayne.
Of Jerusalem his citye was brent,
Playne to the grounde into ashes dede.
His great riches his treasour wholy sent
To Babilon, with stones blewe and rede,
Vessels of golde whiche richest were in dede,
Without mercy or remission,
Caldeis toke to their possession.
And thus in sorowe and in wretchednes
He dyed alas fettred in pryson,
Lo here the ende of periury and falsenes,
Lo how fortune can turne vp so doun
Of mortall men the condicion:
Now richest shynyng in hye prosperitie,
With vnware chaūge to hatefull pouertie.
Now men lift vp to royall dignities,
Now hye aloft by fulsum aboundaunce,
But what auayleth to syt in royall sees,
To folke that haue therin none assuraunce▪
Namely whan fortune holdeth the balaunce,
Whiche aye of custome vnto hye estates,
Hath a false ioy to shewe her checkmates.
Recorde I take of prynces more then one,
Their wofull fates hangyng in ieopardy,
Remembred late, and amonge eche one
The wofull fall of kyng Amazie:
His sonne eke lepre whiche called was Ozie,
And last of all how in Babylon,
Kyng Sedechias dyed in pryson.

¶ Lenuoy.

NOble prynces consider the fallas
Of fortunes frowarde flattery,
Sith her disceits in many diuers caas
How she first mocked manly Amazy,
Whiche slayne was for his surquedy,
To yeue you warning by exāple ye may rede
Whā ye sit hyghest your fall is most to drede.
And as it is remembred in Bochas,
Eke in the Bible, of king Ozie,
In his time how famous that he was
Bothe of ryches and of chyualry,
Punished with lepre bokes specify,
For his presuming, remēbryng this in dede
Whan ye syt highest your fall is most to drede
All worldly glory flyeth [...]ence a pas
I take wytnes of kyng Sedechye,
For false forsweryng he slayne was, alas,
Made blynde in pryson the story can not lye:
Thus sheweth fortune through her frowarde enuy
To you prynces if ye list take hede,
Whā ye sit hyest your fal is most to drede.

¶ The .xxii. Chapter.

☞ How kyng Astiages laboured to disherite Cyrus, but god suffred his malice not to preuayle.

AFter these kinges one folowed in y prees
And to Bochas his cōplat [...]t can discure,
He was called the great Astiages,
Whiche tolde in order his vncouth auenture:
Lorde of Asye, as bokes vs assure,
And had of treasure duryng all his life,
Aboue all kynges a prerogatyfe.
Most fortunate in all his gouernayle,
Felt of fortune none aduersitie,
Saue an heyre male nothing did him fayle:
For he most gloriously sate in his se,
Of worldly wealth he lacked no plente,
Except onely as clarkes on him wryte,
He had no sonne his kyngdome to enherite.
Whiche to his wealthe was great distres,
Least succession fayled in his lyne:
A daughter had he called Mundanes,
Out of whose wombe as bokes determyne,
He dreampt on a nyght howe he sawe a vyne,
In his auysyon with him so it stode,
Ouer all Asye his braunches spred abrode.
He had also a reuelation
Slepyng a nyght after his soupere,
Though he not knewe the exposicion,
He thought he sawe a cristallyn ryuere,
With lustye waters as any Beryll clere,
Out of her wombe with his stremes fresh,
The soyle of Asye make tender and neshe.
Touchyng this riuer and this lusty vyne,
To hym shewed in his auysion,
Within him selfe he coulde not termyne
[Page]Therof to finde no clere cōclusion:
Without some maner exposicion,
To him declared by folkes in sentence,
Whiche of suche dreames had experience.
To him he called his astronomers,
His phylosophers, and his deuynours,
That knew the meanyng of the nine spheres,
Images of stars, their houses & their towers
And such as were expert expositours:
And they were assembled euerychone,
Touching his dreme they corded all in one.
To tell him trouth they were not retchles,
Said his daughter frō whō there came a vine
She that by name was called Mundanes,
Should haue discendyng from her lyne,
Whose noble fame through Asia should shine:
Whiche should put through his renoun,
Him by force of armes out of his region.
This was his fate he might it not refuse,
The heauenly cours but it did fayle:
Wherupon he sore gan to muse,
Suche fantasies did his hart assayle.
Fill in great doubt of their diuy [...]ayle,
Thought he woulde make purueyaunce,
For to withstande gods ordinaunce.
Full harde it is to make resistence
Again thīg ordeined whē god will that it be,
And namely there where as influence,
Of heauen aboue hath shape a destiny.
Some men record that no man may it fle,
The dome of this where it holde or flyt,
To astronomers all wholy I commit.
This sayde kynge of whom I spake but late,
Cast he woulde for his aduauntage
The ordinaunce reuerse, and the fate,
Of the heauen with all the surplusage:
And yeue his daughter as in mariage,
To sum vnworthy pore infortunate,
That neuer were likely to rise to hie estate.
And in this wise kyng Astyages
Maried his daughter as in his entent,
To one vnworthy called Cambyses:
Demyng therby by short auisement,
Within him selfe that he was ryght prudent:
Wening y nobles came by discent of bloude,
And not by grace, nor as the heauen stode.
In his reason was not comprehended,
How Socrates master of Platon,
Of full low bed by birthe was discended,
And not to enherite kingdome nor regyon:
But for to haue fully possession
Of morall vertue and philosophy,
Duryng his life his witte he did apply.
He sought countreys for wisdome and science
And secrete cūnyng to serche he did his payne:
And he founde out through his diligence,
This philosopher as bokes assertayne,
To ioye reserued outher to payne,
By grace of god whiche is eternal,
How mens soules be founde aye immortall.
The great Appollo in bokes it is founde,
Gaue iudgement of equitie and ryght
That Socrates in vertue most habounde,
And most preferred in euery mans sight,
Was called of wisdome the lanterne and light
And wisest named at euen and at prime,
Of philosophers that were in his tyme.
The poete also called Euripedes,
Most honourable named in that age,
All be his mother of lyfe was retchles,
And contagious through vycious outrage,
Yet was this poete for all his vyle lynage,
Most vertuous founde at all assayes,
Of all poetes that were in his dayes.
Called in his tyme a great tragician,
Bicause he wrote many tragedyes:
And woulde of trouth spare no maner man,
But them rebuke in his poetries.
Touching the vices of fleshly fantasies,
Cōplayn in princes theyr dedes most horrible
A [...]d eche thyng punyshe that was odible.
Another called clarke Domosthenes,
The most subtyll rethorician,
And most inuentyfe among all the prees,
That euer was sythe the worlde began:
Al be of byrth he was a pore man,
Yet had he most souerayne excellence,
Among philosophers of speach and eloquence
By whiche example me semeth doubtles,
That royall bloude nor hye lynage
To mens byrthe yeueth but small encres,
Nor vnto vertue but little auauntage:
For hye nobles taketh not his courage
Of riche, nor pore, nor states souerayne,
But of his grace as god list ordayne.
Wherefore of foly kynge Astiages
Contrariously agayne al gentry,
Bad that his doughter called Mundanes,
Fyrst whan folke wyth chylde her dyd espy,
For to accomplyshe his froward fantasy,
Whan it was borne charging aboue althing,
Of Ar [...]anie to beare it to the ky [...]e
Whych in that tyme was called Harpagus,
And as I fynd he dyd in vertue floure:
And spyte had, the story telleth thus,
That beastes shoulde the litel childe deuou [...]:
But god that may in mischefe best socoure,
To kepe the chyld was not recheles,
Agaynst the malice of kynge Astyages,
Which had commaūded of malice & hatred,
Howe that this chylde grene & tendre of age,
By Harpagus shoulde be cast in dede,
To be deuoured of beastes most sauage:
But for he drede to do so great outrage,
To his shepeherde, himselfe to stand at large,
The chylde to slee he fully yaue the charge.
This heerdman al be that he was loth
To execute this woful auenture,
In to a forest forth wyth the chylde he goeth,
And gaue to beastes that litle creature:
Whom to foster by grace agaynst nature,
A wylde bytche her whelpes there forsoke,
And to her pappes the litel childe she toke.
And wt her mylke she made hym sup and dine,
And busy was for hym to enchace
Wyld foules, and beastes sauagyne,
That none ne durst nyghe to that place:
Lo, how that god dispose can his grace,
Innocentes fro mischefe to preserue,
Agayne false enuy whych would make them sterue.
O blode vnkynde founde in kynred,
For couetise O blode disnatural,
Of false malyce O blode ful of hatred,
To murdre a chyld borne of the stocke royal:
Where mannes reason is turned beastiall,
Falsy transfourmed vnto cruelte,
To slee a chylde, where beastes haue pyte.
The sely herde hath tolde his wyfe the case,
And she anone of pitye dyd aryse:
With her husbande went a ful great pase,
In to the forest, beholdyng al the gyse,
As here to fore ye haue herde deuyse.
Seyng the chylde with lippes tendre & softe,
The bytches pappes how he sokte ful ofte.
The sayd heerde called Sparagos,
His wyfe also of whom tofore I tolde,
This yong childe toke in their depose:
And in her armes [...]he softly gan it folde,
And he ful goodly her face gan beholde.
And on his maner the same whyle,
In chyldly wyse on her gan to smyte.
The childes laughter whan she dyd aduert,
With al her hole faythful diligence
She gan to cherishe it, & wyth al her herte
She yaue it soke with ful great reuerence,
All be the bytche made resistence,
Complayninge stode fully at a bay,
The lytel chylde whan she sawe led away.
Ful pitiously she gan to houle and crye,
At their departynge, dolefully complayne:
And after them ful fast gan to hye,
The childe to let she felt so great a payne.
Lo, howe that god of mercy can ordayne,
A cruel beast such sorowe for to make,
And so to mourne for a chyldes sake.
But euery thyng y god wyll haue preserued,
May not fayle to stand in si [...]ernesse,
His secrete domes ben to hym selfe reserued
There can no man expowne thē as I gesse:
For he shope fyrst that this sheperdesse
Of Sparagos the true pore wyfe,
For to be meane to saue the childes lyfe.
Home to her house the childe she led anone,
And it to fostre dyd her busines:
Of other salary god wote knewe she none,
Saue that her hert thereto dyd her dresse.
And more entierly ye story beareth wytnesse
She tendred h [...]m, & wyth more busy cure,
Than him y was her chylde borne of nature.
And as the story plainly doth expresse,
This yonge chylde as he wext in age,
Fro day to day encreased in noblesse,
Lyke for to be ryght manly of corage:
Cyrus he was called in that langage,
To say in latyn playnly in substa [...]c [...],
A man yborne to great enheritaunce.
And whan the renowne of his excellence,
By longe processe & of hys great encres,
Came by reporte vnto the audience
Of his ayel the great [...]stiages,
[Page]And how the kyng was found rechles
Called Harpagus, for to do vengeaunce
On yong Cirus, he fyll in displesaunce.
This is to meane Astiages was wroth
That Harpagus was founde merciable
Cyrus to saue, and for that he was lothe
Agaynst all ryght for to be vengeable:
To slee a chylde a thyng not commendable,
Demyng of trouth in his conscience,
God was not payed to murdre innocence.
Astiages cast hym to be wreke
On Harpagus by false collusion,
Because that his bidding he did breke,
And was contrary to his entencion
Cyrus to slee agayne all reason:
And for that cause Astiages I rede,
Of Harpagus let sley the chylde in dede.
This is to say by false compassyng,
And couert murder wrought by Astiages,
The sonne was slayne of Harpagus the king
And after rosted, alas, ful causeles,
And syth presented amonge all the prees
Tofore his father, a thynge most lamētable,
With Astiages as he sate at the table.
But whan this kyng called Harpagus,
Conceyued hath this murdre most terrible,
And howe his sonne & heire was slaine thus,
In his ire most furious and odible
In al the hast that it was possible
He is repayred home to his housholde,
And al the case to Cyrus he hath tolde.
And how his sonne was slayne for his sake,
In the most hateful odious cruelte.
Exciting him with him to vndertake
On this false murdre auenged for to be,
To him declaringe of trouth & equite,
Howe he was borne by discent in dede,
As ryght heire to reigne in Perce & Mede.
To him declaryng the story by and by
First of the dreme of Astiages,
And howe that he by fraude ful falsly
Made his doughter called Mundanes,
Porely to be wedded vnto Cambises,
Which was his mother, & how in tedre age
He was out cast to beastes ful fauage▪
By a shepherde and sheperdesse
Fostred he was in great pouerte,
And brought from beastes out of wyldernes,
Bycause god woulde he saued should be:
For thilke lorde which euery thynge may se,
Whan that he hath a thyng afore disposed
Nedes it must fal & may not be deposed.
This said Cirus at his natiuite,
Ordeyned was by reuolucion
Of the heuenly spheres in numbre thrise thre,
So stode that tyme his constellacion,
That he shoulde haue the dominacion,
Ouer al Asye by influence deuyne,
Afore fygured by spredyng of the vyne.
What may y fraude of sleyghty folke auayle,
Innocentes to put out of their ryght?
Though trouth be hyd amonges the poraile
Harde brought forth & dare nor shewe lyghte,
Yet god wyl ordayne that the beames bryght
Shal some one day shewe out his clerenes,
Maugre al tho that wold his title oppresse.
For this Cirus as clerkes of him write,
Was by the tytle of his mothers syde,
Borne to be kyng al Asye to enherite,
Al be his ayel from him woulde it deuide:
But god that can for trouth best prouide,
Hath for Cirus by processe so ordayned,
That he of Asye the lordship hath attained.
Cirus y time was growen vp wel of length,
Wel proporcioned of membres & stature,
Wonder deliuer & passynge of great strength,
Straunge emprises proudly to endure,
And to ieoparte and put in auenture
His owne person, the fame was of hym so,
Was none more lykely where men had ado.
And by the counsayle of kyng Harpagus,
Whan this Cirus was wel woxe in age,
With Perciens proude and surquedous,
And Archanites cruel of corage,
For to recure his ryghtful heritage,
Began wt Cyrus armed wyth plate & mayle
Wyth Astiages to holde batayle.
And he agaynewarde gan to take hede,
And with him toke many a worthy knyght,
With al the puissaunce of the land of Mede,
Hath take the felde the same day forth righte,
To disherite Cyrus of his ryght:
But god & trouth was atwene thē twayne
Egal iuge, their quarel to darayne.
The felde ordayned & splaied their baneres,
On eyther party ful proudly on they set:
At thassemblyng lyke lyons of their cheres,
In the face as they freshly met
With round speares sharpe groūde & whet
Tyl y Cirus of grace more than nombre.
Of his ayel the party dyd encombre.
This mighty Cirus this yonge champion,
Throughout y felde gan such slaughter make
With his knightes as he went vp & downe,
That as the deth, his fomen hym forsake:
Astiages vnder his baner take,
The felde vēquished for al his veynglorye,
To shewe that right hath alway the victory.
A man of malice may a thyng purpose
By a maner frowarde prouidence,
But god aboue can graciously dispose
Agayne such malice, to make resistence.
Men for a while may suffer violence,
And wronges great, where so yt they wende,
But trouth alway venquisheth at the ende.
Astiages foūde ful soth his dreame,
Though he agayne it made purueyaunce,
To haue depriued Cirus of his reame,
He was disceyued of his ordinaunce:
For where that god through his puisaunce
Lyst for heires iustly to prouyde,
Sleyght of man in such case is set aside.
Maugre the myght of Astiages,
Cyrus on hym made a discomfiture,
And al Asye reioysed eke in pees,
Of very right as was his aduenture:
And by iust title he dyd also recure
The land of Mede, lyke as was his fate,
And in to Perce he dyd it hole translate.
Agayne his ayel he was not vengeable,
Which had wrought to his distruction:
But was to him benygne and merciable,
And graunted hym of hole affection
The fourth part of the region
Of Archany, of whych afore I tolde,
Hym to sustayne in his dayes olde.
For kyng Cyrus would not in his lyue
Suffre his ayel, of very gentylnes,
That men should him finally depriue
Of kingly honour, for none vnkindnes:
To yeue ensample to princes in sothnes,
Though god in erth haue yeuen thē myght,
They shoulde aye mercy medle wt the righte.

¶ Lenuoye.

NOble princes your eares do encline
And considre in your discrecions,
Howe dreames shewed by influence deuyne,
Be not lyke sweuenes, but lyke auysions,
Or resemble to reuelacions:
Which though mē wold disturbe & make faile
God wyl not suffer their malice to preuayle,
Astiages dempt he sawe a vyne
Shewed of trouth and none illusions,
From his doughters wombe ryght as lyne
Spred in Asye ouer the regions,
But to dish exite by false collusyons
Yong Cirus the kynge dyd his trauaile,
But god not suffred his malice to preuayle.
Princes remembre that in honour shine
Vpon this story in your entencions,
And be well willed where god lyst forther a line
Outher to riches or dominacions:
To fauer them to their promocions,
Be not contrary in your acquitaile
Syth god wyll suffre no malice to preuaile.

The .xxiii. Chapter.

¶ Howe Candalus kynge of Lyde was made cokolde and after slayne.

WHile Jhon Bochas cast hys loke a­side,
In hys study as he sate writinge,
To hys presence came the kynge of Lyde
Called Candalus, ful pitiously playninge:
With slate teares ful lowly besechinge,
That he woulde to swage his greuaunce,
His deedly sorowe put in remembraunce.
Hys complaint was most of vnkyndnes,
For false deceite against al skil & right,
That where his trust was most of gētilnes
He mocked was, for al his great might:
For of his house there was a certaine knight
Gyges called, thinge shameful to be tolde,
To speke plaine englishe, made him cokolde.
Alas I was not auised wel beforne,
[Page]Vnkonnyngly to speake such langage,
I should haue sayde how y he had a [...] horne,
Or sought some terme wyth a fayre vysage,
To excuse my rudenesse of thys gret outrage:
And in some land Cornodo men do thē cal,
And some affirme y such folke haue no gal.
Thus was y case, whan phebus shone shene
The somer season in hys assencion,
Whan sote braūches were clad in new grene,
Heate importable had dominacion:
Whan that the quene for recreacion
Vnprouided that no man dyd her kepe,
Vpon her bed lay naked for to slepe.
And as clerkes of her beauty wryte,
There was on lyue no fayrer creature,
Nor more excellyng lyke as they endite,
Of semelynes her story doth assure,
Called for beauty cosyn to nature:
And worthy eke, if I shal not fayne,
To be compared to Grisilde or Elayne.
Kynde in her forge lyst nothyng to erre,
Whan she her wrought by greate auysenesse,
To make of beauty the very lode sterre,
And yeue her beauty, fauour & semelinesse:
But for nature had so great businesse,
To fourme a woman yt was so fresh of hue,
She had forget for to make her true.
Her eyen were very celestial,
Her heer vntressed like phebus in hys sphere,
A thyng resemblynge that were immortal,
So augelyke she was of loke and chere,
An examplary of porte, & maner,
There was no lacke saue nature through her slouth,
Had left behynde to yeue her fayth & trouth.
And on a daye as she lay sleping
Naked on bed most goodly to syght,
Ful vnwarely came Candalus the kyng
In to the cambre, wher Titan shone bryght,
And shewed her beauty to hys owne knyght:
Of entent he should beare wytnes,
Howe she excelled al other in fayrenes.
And whan Giges gan in ordre se
Of this quene the great excellence,
He was enamoured vpon her beaute:
Al the whyle he stode there in presence,
Gan ymagyn a treason in sylence,
To slee his lorde wythout longe tariyng,
Wyn the quene, and after reigne as kyng.
Thys was the ende doleful and pytous,
To be remembred hateful and terrible,
Of this noble worthy Candalus,
For of his trust to much he was credible
Vnto Gyges, that traitour was odible,
And yet more folysh wherby he lost his lyfe,
Outwarde to shewe the beauty of hys wyfe.
Though she were faire & goodly on to se
There was no trust nor no syckernes,
For other had as good parte as he,
Gyges coude beare therof wytnes:
Alas a quene or any great princesse
Assent should her fame for to trouble,
But if nature excuse them to be double.

The .xxiii. Chapiter.

How what thyng kynge Mydas tou­ched was golde, yet died he in mysery and wret­chednesse.

BVt whosoeuer was therwith loth or fayne,
Giges was after crouned kīg of Lide
Whan that hys Lorde was by trea­son slayne
Of him, the surplus Bochas set a syde:
And in hys study as he dyd abyde,
There came of Frigie Mydas the rich kyng,
Tolde myne auctour his complaynt weping.
For there was neuer by cōquest nor laboure
No kyng afore that had more rychesse,
Nor more plenty of golde nor of treasour:
At whose byrth poetes thus expresse,
About his cradel amptes gan hem dresse
While he slept, and gan about hym layne,
A ful great numbre of pured whete grayne.
Wherupon most expert diuinours
As they toke hede in their attendaunce,
Such as were best expositours
Sayd it was a token of haboundaunce,
To haue of ryches al maner suffisaunce:
And concludyng playnly gan to tell,
Howe he al other in treasour should excel.
Poetes of him wrote that were full olde,
Bachus gaue hym, the mighty god of wyne,
What he touched shal tourne in to golde
As good as that which came out of the myne,
At al assayes to be as pure and fyne:
[Page lvii]This request, as writeth Ouidius,
Was vnto Midas graunted of Bachus.
He thought golde might him most auaile,
What he handled was golde wyth touchyng:
But whan hunger his stomake gan assayle,
His bread, his mete, was golde in shewyng,
And whan he gan to fayle of his fedynge,
And founde of golde no recure to escape,
Besought Bachus some remedy to shape.
Bachus bad him go bathe in a riuere,
To wash away the colour aureate,
Wher yet is shewed the goldy grauel clere.
Whych example declareth to eche estate
That golde alone maketh men not fortunate,
For what may golde or treasour ther auayle,
Where men in hungre finde no vytaile?
Or what is worth golde, perle or stones red, bred
Grene Emeraudes, or sapirs Inde,
Whan men enfamyned haue no greyne, nor
Nor in such mischefe vitayle may none finde,
For to foster their nature & their kinde?
A barly lofe in such a distresse
More myght auayle, than al worldly riches.
This knewe Mydas & was experte in dede,
Though he of gold had so great plentie
That with metal he might him self not fede:
Which caused him of necessitie
To considre and clerely for to se,
That bread more vaileth for fostrīg of nature,
Than al riches that men may here recure.
For which this king gan hate al richesse,
Golde and treasour he had eke in disdayne:
Left his crowne and his royal noblesse,
And chase to kepe shepe vpon a playne:
All worldly worship was to him but vayne
Of melancoly, and froward pouertie
Ended his life in great aduersitye.
For of ire and impacience,
Fynally thus with hym it stode,
Furiously in his great indigence,
As writeth Bochas howe he dranke the blode
Of a bul sauagine and wode,
With loue enchaufed: made no delaies
Most be stially ended thus his dayes.

¶ The .xxv. Chapter.

¶ Of Balthasar Kynge of Babylone, and howe Daniell expowned Mane Techell Pha­res.

NExt to Bocas or that he was ware,
As he sate wrytyng wyth full great laboure,
Of Babilon cam great Balthasar,
To declare his sorowe and his langour,
Whych had misused ful falsly the tresour
And the vessels brought from Jerusalem,
Into Babilone, chefe citye of his reme.
For at a souper with his lordes al,
Whan of the vessels he dranke mighty wines,
And solemply sate in his roial stal,
And rounde aboute al his concubines,
Phylosophers, magiciens, and diuynes,
There came an hand, the byble doth assure,
And on the wall gan wryte this scripture.
Mane, techel, phares, wrytten in hys sight,
Though he the mening cōceiued neuer a dele:
Which on the wal shewed fayre & bryght,
For whose sentence auailed none appele:
But the prophet holy Daniel
Fully expowned to Balthasar the kynge,
The mistery of this derke writyng.
This worde Mane playnly & not to tary
In latyn tonge betokeneth in sustance,
The dayes counted & rekened, the numbrarye
Of thy reigning & of thy great substance.
And Techell sowneth a wayenge in balaūce,
In token thy power & kyngdome by me [...]ure,
God hath paysed, they shal no whyle endure.
Phares also betokeneth a breakyng,
In romaine tong, in to peces smale:
For thy power and frowarde rebellynge,
Shal from the hie be brought in to the vale.
This is holy writ and no fained tale,
For whan princes wil not their life redresse,
God wyl vnwarely their surquedy represse.
Thou wert by tokens warned longe afore,
By many examples, the story ye maye rede,
By the fallyng of Nabugodonosore,
And thou thereof toke ful litel hede
The lord to thank, & haue his name in drede:
For whych thou shalt within a litel throwe,
Lose scepter & crowne & be brought ful lowe.
Let princes al thys story haue in mynde,
And for them selfe notably prouyde,
And namely tho that ben to god vnkynde,
Their concubynes for to set a syde:
And make vertue for to be theyr gyde.
Voyde lechery and false presumpcion,
Which hath brought so many to distruction,
Nabugodonosor had repentaunce,
And was restored to his possessions,
But god of ryght toke sodaynly vengeaunce.
On Balthasar, for his trausgressions:
Wherefore ye princes dispose your reasons
After your merites, to haue god merciable,
For your demerites do fynde hym vēgeable.
Agaynst holy churche take no quarels,
But aduertise in your inward syght:
For Balthasar that dranke of tho vessels,
Stale fro the temple of very force & myght,
He lost lorshyp and lyfe vpon a night,
So that the kyngdome of Assirieus
Translated was to Medes & Perciēs.

The .xxvi. Chapter.

¶ Home Cresus and Balthasar were van­quyshed by Cyrus, and the sonne of Cresus slayne at the hun­tynge of a bore.

NExt to Ihon Bocas within a throw,
Wrytyng of princes many a pitous fate,
He sawe king Cresus with other on the row,
Lowly besechyng his fallyng to translate:
And howe fortune agayne hym gan debate,
And of his mischefe doleful for to rede,
For to discriue, anone he gan procede.
For as it is remembred in writyng,
As god and kynde lyst for hym ordayne,
Of Lide he was gouernour and kynge,
And lordshyp had (the storye can not fayne)
Of many kingdoms more than one or twain:
Fame in that tyme so dyd hym magnify,
That he was called floure of al chiualry.
And he was also in hys tyme founde
The most expert in werre & in batayle,
And of richesse was the most habounde
And most excellynge in conquest to preuayle:
Plenty of people, wyth royal apparayle,
And with al this to his great auauntage,
Numbre of childre tenblysse hys lynage.
In the most highest of his royal see,
And at was well & nothyng stode amis,
Yet to amenuse his felicite,
A dreme he had, and truely that was thys:
How that his sonne which called was Athis
Was take from hym, & by mortal outrage
Slayne sodenlye in his tendre age.
This woful dreme dyd him great distres,
And put his hert in great dispayre,
Standyng in feare & great heauines,
Bycause hys chylde, rendre, yonge, & fayre
Which that was borne for to be hys heyre
Shoulde causelesse in suche myschefe die,
So as his dreame afore dyd specifye.
Of this processe to declare more
How Cresus dreme fulfylled was in dede,
From Olimpus there came a wylde bore,
Most furious and sauagine of drede,
Wyth fomy tuskes which fast gan him spede,
Downe discendyng & no where lyst abyde,
Tyl that he came in to the laude of Lyde.
And gan distroy their frutes & their vines,
Where euer he came in any maner place,
Brake the nettes & the stronge lynes
Of the hunters that dyd at hym enchace:
But vnder supporte of the kynges grace
Hys sonne of whom I spake tofore,
Gate him licence to hunt at this bore.
Hys father Cresus demynge of this ease,
There was no cause of drede in no maner,
Though hys sonne were present at the chase
With other hunters suche game for to lere,
But aye fortune wyth her double there,
Is redy euer by some fatall trayne,
At such disportes some mischefe to ordayne.
For one there was whych had gouernance
Vpon this chylde to wayte and to se,
Chasyng y bore to saue hym fro myschaūce
From al domage and aduersite,
With many lusty folke of that countre,
With hornes, hoūdes, & sharpe speres groūde,
Sekyng the bore tyl they had hym founde.
And as they gan fiersly the bore enchace,
He that was charged to be the chyldes gyde
As with his speare he gan the bore manace,
The head not entred but forth gan to glyde,
[Page lviii]And on the chylde whych that stode besyde
The stroke a lyght, and or he dyd auerte
The speres heade rofe hym through the hert.
But of this chylde whan y deth was couth,
Tolde and reported holy the manere,
How he was slayne in hys tendre youth,
Borne to be heire vnto his father dere,
Cresus for sorow chaunged loke & chere:
And for constraint of dole in his vysage,
He resembled a very deade ymage.
But euery sorowe by long continuaunce
At the last it sumwhat must aswage,
For ther is none so furious greuance
Nor so mortal importable rage,
But long processe yeueth him auantage:
I meane thus, there is none so great a sorow,
But it mought cese outher eue or morowe.
Philosophers concluden and discerne
And by their reasons recorden by scripture,
Thyng vyolent may not be eterne,
Not in one poynt abydeth none auenture,
Nor a sorowe may not alwaye endure:
For stoūdemele through fortunes variaunce,
There foloweth ioy after great greuaunce.
The sorow of Cresus tho it were intollerable
And at his hert the greuaunce sate so sore,
Syth that his dole was irrecuperable,
And meane was none his harmes to restore,
Bochas writeth of his wo nomore:
But of his fal howe he fyll in dede,
To tel the maner forth he doth procede.
And for a whyle he set his style asyde,
And his processe in party he forbare,
To speke of Cresus that was kyng of Lyde
And gan resort to write of Balthasar:
Agayne rehersynge or that he was ware,
Howe myghty Cirus of woful auenture
Made on hym proudly a discomfiture,
And as it is put in remembraunce
Of Balthasar to holde vp the party,
Cresus wyth hym had made an aliaunce,
With al his puissaunce & al his chyualry:
His lyfe, his treasoure, to put in ieoparty,
Sworne in armes as brother vnto brother,
By Cirus vēquyshed the one after the other
Both their mischefe no lenger was delayed,
Al be that Cresus faught long in hys defence,
He finally by Cyrus was outrayed,
And depriued by knyghtly vyolence,
Take in the felde there was no resistence,
And rigorouslye to his confusion,
With myghty fetters cast in darke prison.
And more to encrease his gret aduersite,
A sonne of his tendre & yong of age,
That was dumbe from his natiuite,
And neuer spake word in no maner lāgage,
Cyrus commaunding by furious outrage
That Cresus shoulde by vengeable cruelte,
By a knyght of Perce in prison headed be,
And with his sworde as he gan manace,
Cresus to haue slayne wythout al reuerence,
The dombe chylde there present in the place
Which neuer had spoken, thus said in audiēce:
Withdrawe thy stroke, & do no violence,
Vnto my lorde thy fame so to confounde,
To slee a kyng that lyeth in prison bound.
The knight astonied hath his stroke forborne
Gretly abashed in that darke habitacle,
Whych herde a chyld that neuer spake toforne
Agaynst his swerde to make au obstacle,
Ran and tolde this marueylous myracle
To myghty Cirus, with euery circūstaūce,
Hopyng therby to atempre his greuaūce.
But where as tyrauntes be set on cruelte,
Their croked malice ful harde is to appese:
So indurate is their iniquite
That al in vengeaunce is set their hertes ese,
Them selfe reioysinge to se folke in disease,
Lyke as they were in their frowarde daūger,
Clerely fraunchised fro god & his power.
Thys cruel Cirus most vengeable of desire,
To execute his fel entent in dede,
Let make in haste of fagottes a gret fyre,
And gan thē kyndle wyth many coles rede,
And made Cresus quakyng in his drede,
For to be take where as he lay ful lowe,
And bad men should in to the fyre him throw.
But Iupiter whych hath his vengeaūce seyn,
Howe cruel Cirus with malice was attaynt,
From heauen sent a tempest and a reine,
That sodainely y horrible fire was quaynt:
Woful Cresus wt dredful fyre made faynt,
Escaped is his furious mortall payne,
God and fortune for hym lyst so ordayne.
This aduenture in maner marueylous,
The hert of Cirus gan somwhat tenbrace,
And caused hym for to be pitous
Agayne Cresus, and granted him hys grate,
To occupye whyle he hath lyfe and space,
The land of Lyde, except only thys thynge
He shoulde not after be called kyng.
And thus of Lyde the kynge dyd fyne,
Which toke his beginyng of one Ardisius,
And endured the space of kynges nyne,
Loke who so wyl the bokes tel thus:
Hereof no more but forth vnto Cirus,
I wyl procede wyth al my busy cure,
For to translate hys woful auenture.

The .xxvii. Chapter.

¶ How the cruell tyraunt Cirus delited euer in slaughter and shedynge of blode, and so ended.

HEyre by discent to great Astiages,
Poorely brought forthe as is made mēcion,
And had al Asie to his great encres,
Holdyng that reigne by iust succession,
In longe quyete wythout rebellion,
Tyl tyme he thought in ful frowarde wyse,
The world was smal to staunch his couetise.
He had an etyke most contagious,
Fretyng vpon hym for desyre of good,
A dropsy hateful and furious,
Of froward rage that made his hert woode,
A woluyshe thurst to shede mānes bloud,
Which ouerth warted by false melancoly,
Hys royal corage, in to tiranny.
But whan he presumptuously dyd entende
To robbe & reue folke through his pyllage,
God and fortune made hym to discende
Ful sodaynly from hys royal stage,
Demyng of pryde it was a great auauntage,
To wyn landes of very force and myght,
Tho in his cōquest were no tytle of ryght.
To wyll he yaue holy the soueraynte,
And aduertised nothyng to reason:
But preferred his sensualite
To haue lordshyp and dominacion
Aboue sad trouth and discrecion,
Whych causeth princes frō their estate roial,
Or they be ware to haue a sodayne fall.
For the lordshyp of al Asia
Might not suffise to Cirus gredinesse,
But thought he would conquere Cithia,
And there werre to encrease hys ryches,
Though he no tytle had of ryght wysnesse,
Saue false lust wherof mē shoulde haue ruth.
That wyl in princes shoulde oppresse truth.
Fyrst his Cirus al princes dyd excel
Both in conquest, victory, & batayle,
Of golde & treasure, as bokes of hym tell,
Kyngdoms to wyn he dyd most preuayle:
And yet two vyces dyd his hert assayle,
Fyrst couetise euer to encrease in good,
With a desire to shede mens bloude.
Wyth two vyces he brenned euer in one
That neuer might from his hert twyn,
Made a great army towarde Septētrion,
And cast him proudly to set on and begyn
Cithia the mighty land to wyn:
Quene Thomiris there reigninge as I fynde
Whose kyngdom ioyneth to Ethiope in Inde.
Towarde the party whych is orientall,
The see of Surry floweth full plentuous,
Downe to the see called occidentall,
And southwarde renneth to Caucasus:
And folke of Cithie that ben laborious
Which tyl the land hath not to their liuing,
But onely frutes which from therth spring.
The lande of Cithie is ryche for the nones,
For greyne & fruite a land ful couenable,
Ryche of golde perle and precious stones,
Ryght comodious and wonder dilectable:
But a great party is not habitable,
The people dredful to bylde their mancions,
For feare of deth bycause of the gryffons.
The noble fame nor the high renoun
Was not ferre knowe nor ysprad aboute
Of Thomiris quene of that region,
Nor of her noblesse within nor wythout,
Tyl that king Cirus with a ful great route,
In to Cithia gan hym proudly dresse,
The hardy quene to spoyle of her richesse.
But she her fame more to magnifie,
Gan in great haste with ful rich apparayle
Ful prudently assemble her chyualry:
And toke a felde, if he woulde her assayle
[Page lix]Redy with him to haue a batayle,
And of her meyny lyke as sayth my boke,
Vnto her sonne the thyrde parte she toke.
And yaue hym charge in the same place,
Hym selfe that daye to aquite lyke a knyght,
And for to mete Cirus in the face
And nothyng drede with hym for to fyght:
But whan kyng Cirus of him had a syght,
Cast hym that day the yong prince oppresse,
Rather by wyles than manhod or prowesse.
Fyrst he let stuffe his large pauilions
With great plenty of drinkes dilectable,
Diuers meates and confections,
Rounde aboute vpon euery table,
And in his meanyng passyng disceyuable,
Lyke as he had in maner dredful be,
Toke al his host and gan anone to fle.
This yonge prince of meanyng innocent,
Nothyng demyng, as by supposayle,
But y Cirus was with his meyny went,
And sled for feare he durst hym not assayle:
And whan he founde such plente of vytayle,
He & his knightes through misgouernaūce,
To eate and drinke set al their plesaunce.
They had of knyghthode lost the disciplyne,
Forsoke Mars & put hym out of syght,
And to Bachus their heades gan enclyne:
Gorge vpon gorge tyl it drough to nyght,
And proude Cirus came on thē anonryght,
With all hys hoost they out of their armure,
On beastial folke made a discomfiture.
Cruel Cirus left none alyue,
Of hygh nor lowe made none excepcion:
They were to feble again his might to striue,
For chefe cause of their distruction
Was drōkennesse, whych voydeth al reason,
And wyse men rehercen in sentence,
Where folke be dronken there is no resistence.
And whan thys slaughter by relacion
Reported was, & brought to the presence
Of Thomiris quene of that region,
Vnto her hert it dyd ful great offence:
But of ire and great impacience
Seyng her sonne slayne in tendre age,
For sorow almost she fyll in to a rage.
But for al her woful deedly payne,
She shewed no token of feminite:
But of prudence her weping gan restrayne,
And cast her playnly auenged for to be
Vpon kyng Cirus, and on his cruelte,
Sente out meyny to espyen his passage,
If she hym fynde myght at auauntage.
And with her meyny gā feyne a maner flight,
Vp to the mountayns dredful & terrible,
And Cirus after gan haste hym anon ryghte,
In hope to take her if it were possible:
Among whiche hilles more than it is credible
Ben craggy roches most hideous of entayle,
Perilous of passage, & voyde of al vitayle.
And Cirus ther fyl in greate daunger,
Al vnpurueyed of drogemen or of gyde:
To fostre his people vitaile was none ther,
Erryng as beastes vpon euery syde.
And they of Cithie gan for hym so prouyde,
Wherof their quene god wote was ful fayne,
At great mischefe yt al his men were slaine.
None of al was taken to raunson,
Nor he hym selfe escaped not her boundes,
Such wayte was layde to theyr distruction,
And he through perced with mortal woundes,
On peces rent as beares ben with hoūdes,
The quene cōmaūding whā he lay thus torne
To her presence his body to be borne.
Fyrst she hath charged to smyte of his heade,
Whan she hath thus the victory of hym won:
And in a bath that was all blode red,
She gan it throwe within a litel tonne:
And of dispite ryght thus she hath begonne
Most tirauntly in her woful rage,
To dead Cirus to haue this langage:
O thou Cirus that whylom were so wode,
And so thrustlewe in thy tiranny,
Agayne nature so to shede mannes bloud,
So woluyshe was thyne hateful dropsy,
That mercy none myght it modefye,
Thine etyke ioyned gredy and vnstable,
With thrust of slaughter aye to be vengeable.
It is an horrour in maner for to thynke,
So great a prince rebuked for to be
Of a woman, mannes blode to drinke,
For to disclaundre his roial maieste,
But gladly euer vengeable cruelte
Of ryght requireth wyth vnware violence,
Blod shede for blode iustly to recompence.
Of myghty Cirus the imperiall noblesse
Was by a woman vēquyshed & borne doune,
God made her chastise his furious wodnes,
And for toppresse his famous high renoun:
For where vengeaunce hath dominacion,
In worldly princes, playnly to deuyse
With vnware stroke god can thē chastise.
Thende of Cirus can bere ful wel recorde,
How god wt standeth folke y ben vengeable,
Lordshyp & mercy whan they ben at discorde,
Right wyll not suffer their state to be stable:
And for this Cirus was so vnmerciable,
He with vnmercy punished was in dede,
Deth quyt for deth, lo here his final mede.
In slaughter & blode he dyd greately delyte
For in tho twayne was his repast in dede,
He founde no mercy his vēgeaunce to respyte
Where he founde matter any blode to shede,
Such ioy he had by deth to se folke blede▪
And for the syght did him so much good,
His fatal ende was for to swym in blode.
Lo here thexequies of this mighty king,
Lo here the ende of his estate royal,
There were no flames nor brondes shinynge
To bren his body with fires funeral,
Nor obseruaunces nor offringes marciall,
Nor tombe of golde with stones rych & fyne,
Was none ordained to make with his shrine.
Epitaphie ther was none red nor songe
By no poete wyth their poetries,
Nor of his triūphes there was no bell ronge,
Nor no wepers with sobbynge tragedies:
None attendaunce but of hys enemies,
Which of hatred in their cruell rage,
Cast out his carayne to beastes most sauage.
Lo here of Cirus the finall auenture,
Which of al Asie was whylom emperour,
Now lieth he abiect without sepulture,
Of high nor low he founde no better fauoure:
Lo here the fyne of al worldly labour,
Namely of tiraunts which lyst not god drede,
But set their lust to slaughter & blodeshede.


RYghte noble prynces considre in youre syghte
The fine of Cirus pitous & lamētable
How god punisheth of equitie & ryght
Tirauntes echone cruel and vengeable:
For in his syght it is abhominable
That a prince, as philosophers write,
In slaughter of men shoulde hym selfe delyte.
This saide Cirus was a full manly knight
In begynning ryght famous and notable,
Nature yaue him semelinesse & myght,
For in conquest was none sene more able,
Tyl tiranny the serpent disceyuable
Merciles his corage dyd atwite,
In slaughter of men whan him gan delite.
Wherefore ye princes remēbre day & nyght,
Tafforce your nobles & make it pardurable,
To get you fauour & loue of euery wyght,
Which shal your states cōserue & kepe stable:
For there is conquest none so honourable
In governaunce, as vengeaunce to respite,
Mercy preferring in slaughter not delite.

The .xv. Chapiter.

¶ Howe Amilius for couetyse slough his bro­ther, and Remus and Rumulus nouri­shed by a wolfes.

AFter king Cirus Bochas did espy
Two worthy brethern wyth faces pi­tous,
Borne by discent to reigne in Albanye,
Both of one father the story telleth vs:
The one of them called Amulius
And to remembre the name of that other,
Numitor ycalled was his brother
They had a fader whyche named was Pro­chas,
Kyng of y land the story doth deuise,
After whose deth playnely thys is the case,
Amulius for false couetise,
His brother slough in ful cruel wyse,
That he vniustly by false tiranny
Might haue the kingdom alone of Albany.
This Albany by discripcion
Like as Bochas affirmeth in certeine,
Is a citye not ferre fro Rome toun,
Set on an hyl beside a large pleine:
The building stately, rych & well beseine,
Stronge walles with many a high toure,
And Ascanius was fyrste thereof foundour.
Which called was in his foundacion,
[Page liiii]Albania for the great whytnes,
There kynges after by succession
Named Albanois princes of great nobles,
And by discent the story beareth wytnes
From kyng Prochas recorde on bokes olde,
Came these .ii. brethren Rea their suster told.
Numitor slayne as made is mencion
The kyngdom occupied by Amulius,
And Rea entred in to religion,
For to be wympled in that holy house,
Sacred to Vesta wyth virgyns glorious,
There for to abyde & be contemplatife,
With other maydens duryng al her lyfe.
And thys was done whyle she was yonge of age,
By her brother, of false entencion,
That she shoulde haue no maner heritage
Nor clayme no title in that region,
Of her kynred by none occasion:
But stande professed in virginitye
To fore Vesta, and liue in chastitie.
Yet not withstanding her virginal clennesse,
She hath conceyued by natural myracle:
Gan to encrease in her holynes,
Whose wombe arose, in kīde was no obstacle,
Agayne such bolnyng auayleth no triacle:
But the goddes for her so dyd ordayne,
That she at ones had sonnes twayne.
The temple of Vesta stode in wildernesse,
Where Rea had holy the gouernaunce
Of priestly honour done to the goddesse,
Wyth many straunge vncouth obseruaūce:
But by her brothers mortall ordinaunce,
Her yong sonnes might not be socoured,
But cast out to beastes to be deuoured.
But a she wolfe whych whelped had late,
To yeue thē soke dyd her businesse,
By god ordained or by some heauenly fate,
Thē to conserue fro deth in their distres:
For holy write plainly beareth wytnes,
God can defende as it is well couth,
Children frō mischefe in their tendre youth.
But in this whyle this sayd Amulius,
That was their vncle, as made is mencion,
Agayne his suster frowarde and furious,
Made her be shyt in a ful derke prison:
And there complaynyng the distruction
Of her two children borne to her reprefe,
For very sorow dyed at great myschefe.
These sayde chyldren deuoyde of al refuse
Besyde a riuer lay pitiously crying,
From al socoure naked and destitute,
Except a wolues vpon them waityng
At whose wombe ful style they lay soukyng,
Vnto nature a thyng contrarious,
Children to souke on beastes rauenous.
But he that is lorde of euery creature
Ryght as hym lyst can both saue & spyl,
And beastes which ben rage of their nature
He can aduert, & make them lye ful styl,
Tigres & lions obedient at his wil:
The same lorde hath made a fel w [...]l [...]esse
Vnto twey children her bigges for to dresse.
And whyle thys wolues had thē in depose,
Ther came an herde called Faustulus,
Behelde their soukyng & saw thē lye ful close,
Whych sheperde was of kyng Amulius:
Caught vp these chyldrē the story telleth thus
And brought thē forth with great diligence,
Vnto his wyfe that called was Laurence.
And she for loue dyd her busy payne,
Them to fostre, tyl they came of age,
Gaue them souke of her brestes swayne,
Fro day to daye of hert and hole corage:
And they were called as in that langage,
After the storye that one of them Remus,
And the seconde was named Romulus.
Of whych brethern brefely to termyne,
The towne of Rome toke original:
Of false disclaundre fyrst began that lyne,
The rote out sought ful vicious foūde at all,
Clerely remēbred for a memorial
Their begynning grewe of such incōtinence,
As clerkes call Incestus in sentence.
Incestus is a thyng not fayre nor good
After that bokes wel deuise conne,
As trespassyng wyth kyn or wyth blode
Or frowarde medlyng wt her that is a nonne:
And thus the line of Rome was begon,
For slaughter, murder, and false robbry
Was chefe begynnynge of al their auncetry.
Of Couetyse they toke their auauntage,
Lyggers of waies and robbers openly,
Murdrers also of their owne linage,
And stronge theues gate to their company,
Spoiled al tho that past them forby,
Vnder shadowe of kepinge their beastayle,
[Page]Al maner people they proudly dyd assaile.
To [...]lee marchaūtes they had no conscience,
And for to murdre folke of euery age,
Women to oppresse of force and vyolence,
In al that countre this was their vsage:
Where they abode ther was no sure passage.
And these two brethern lyke as it is founde,
Fonde first y maner of speares sharpe groude.
Aspeare in greke called is quiris,
And for that cause the sayd Romulus,
As bokes say, and sothely so it is
He afterwarde was called Quirinus.
Which wt his brother y called was Remus,
Was in al thyng confederate & partable,
That tofore god was vicious & dampnable.
And as it was accordynge to their life,
For lacke of vertue they fyll in great diffame,
And atwene thē ther was an vncouth stryte,
Which of both should yeue the name
Vnto the citie, atwene ernest and game,
After theyr names Rome to be called,
Thus fyll the case afore or it was walled.
And therupon ful longe lasted their striues,
Which should of them haue dominacion,
Shewing their titles and prerogatyues,
Who should of them yeue name to the toun,
And reigne as kyng in that region:
There was no reason who shuld go beforne,
Bycause they were both at once borne.
But to fynishe their fraternal dyscorde,
They haue prouyded atwene thē anon ryght,
Thus condiscendyng to put thē at accorde,
Nouther by force, oppressyon, nor myght,
That whych of them sawe greatest flyght
Of byrdes flyeng high vpon an hyl,
Should name the citye at his owne wyl.
Of this accorde for to be wytnesse,
They wt them lad a ful great multitude,
Therof to yeue a dome of rightwisnesse,
Both of wyse and of people rude,
Al at ones thys mater to conclude:
And to an hyl called Auentyne,
They ben as [...]ended this matter for to fine.
And byrdes syxe to Remus dyd appere,
By augury as they gan procede,
Called vultures ful fierce in their manere,
But in numbre the double dyd excede
That Romulus sawe whan he toke hede:
Wherof ther fyll a great contrauersy,
Which of thē shoulde preuayle on his party.
Thus first of al Remus had a syght
Of sixe birdes called Vultures,
And for to auaunce & prefer hys right,
He ful proudely put him selfe in prees:
But Romulus was not recheles
His brothers clayme playnly to entrouble,
Afforced hys title with the numbre double.
Yet of his purpose one of thē must fayle,
Though it so be that they euer striue:
But Romulus gan finally preuaile,
And to the citye he forth went blyue,
And as auctours lyst echone discryue,
And in their bokes as they reherce al,
After his name Rome he dyd it cal,
And al foreins to exclude out
And agayne thē to make stronge defence,
Fyrst he began to wal it rounde aboute,
And made a lawe ful dredful in sentence,
Who clymeth the wal by any violence,
Outward or inwarde there is no more to sey
By statute made he must nedes dey.
This was enacte by ful plaine ordinaūce
In paine of deth which no man breke shal,
But so befyll Remus of ignoraunce,
Which of the statute knewe nothynge atal,
Of auenture went ouer the wal,
For whiche a knyght ordained in certayne
The saide Remus hath with a pykeis slayn.
His brother lyst not in no maner wyse
Againe the lawe to be fauourable,
But assented parcel for couetyse,
Vpon Remus to be more vengeable:
Of thys entent to make his reigne stable,
That he alone myght gouerne & non other
By no clayme brought in by his brother.
And that the people shuld thē more delite
There to abyde and haue possession,
As olde auctours of Romulus do write,
Within the boundes of the same toun,
That he deuised by great prouision,
In compas rounde so croniclers compyle,
A teritory that called was Asyle.
This Asylum by Romulus deuised,
Was a place of refuge and socours,
Like a theatre with liberties fraunchised,
For to receiue all forayne trespasours,
Theues, murdrers, wayliggers, & robbours
By great resort within the walles wide,
To foster all brybers y durst no where abide.
And with fled people fro diuers regions,
The citye gan to encrease and multiplye:
And banished folke of straunge nacions,
To finde refuge thither gan them hye.
And thus by processe gan their chiualry,
First through tyrantes retcheles of workyng
Till all the world obeyed their biddyng.
Of wilfull force without title of right
They brought all people vnder subiection,
A claime they made by violence and might,
And toke no hede of trouth nor reason,
And the first auctour of their foundation,
Was Romulus, that gathered all this route
Within the citye and walled it about.
And many day as made is mencion
He had this citye in his gouernaunce,
And was the first kyng crowned in that toun,
And raigned there by continuaunce,
Full many yeres, till the variaunce
Of fortune through her false enuye,
In Campania made him for to dye.
Vpon a day whan it gan thunder loude,
His name foreuer to be more magnified,
Some bokes saye he was rapt in a cloude,
High vp in heauen to be stellified,
With other Gods stately deified,
There to be stalled by Jupiters syde,
Like for his knightes as Mars list prouide.
Lo here of panyms a false opinion,
To Christes lawe contrary and odious,
That tyrantes should by false oppression
Be called goddes or named glorious,
Whiche by their liue were founde vycious:
For this playne trouth I dare it well tell,
They rather ben fiendes ful depe in hell.
For but in earth their dominacion
Conueyed be by vertuous nobles,
And that their power and hygh renoun
Be set on trouth and rightwisenes,
Like their estates in prince or princesse,
I dare affirme of them bothe twayne,
For vycious liuinge they must endure payne.
But whan they ben faythfull of entent,
Right and trouth iustly to maintayne,
And in their royall power be not blent,
Wronges redressyng and pore folke sustene,
And so contune with conscience so clene:
Such life more rath than pompe of warres,
Shal make thē raigne in heuē aboue y stars.
For whiche let princes vnderstand atones,
And worldly princesses wt all their riches,
That their high hornes fret wt riche stoues,
To heauen their passage dothe not dresse,
But vertuous life, chatitye, and mekenes:
Whan they list pride out of their hart arace,
That causeth thē in heauen to winne a place.
There is no more straunge abusion,
Ne tofore god greater ydolatry,
Than whan princes list catche affection
Creatures falsly to deifye,
By collusion brought in by sorcery,
Now god defende all princes well disposed,
With suche false craft neuer to be enoysed.
And their eyen by none illusions
Be not avieugled neither with hoke nor line,
Nor by no boytes of false inspections
Wrought by Cyrenes by drinke or medicine,
Whiche of their nature resemble to a shrine,
Through riches outward & beauty soueraine
And who loke inwarde be like to a caraine.
God of his grace amende all suche outrage,
In noble princes, & saue thē from such werre
And them enlumine disposyng their courage
In suche false worshyp they no more ne erre:
Like to Argus that they sene a ferre,
That no false fagyng cause thē to be blynde,
Gods nor goddesses to worship againe kynd.
And though yt Romains did worship & honor
To Romulus by a constraynt drede,
Let no man take example of their errour,
But to the lorde whose sides were made rede,
To saue mankinde and on a crosse was deed.
Let men to hym in chefe their loue obserue,
Which can thē quite better than they deferue

¶ The .xxix. Chapter.

☞ Howe Mecius kyng of Albanoys beynge false of his othe and assuraunce, was drawen into pieces.

NExt Romulus wt teares al bespraint,
Vnto John Bochas appered Mecius,
Of chere and loke & of his port faynte,
His fall declaryng frowarde & dispitous,
And he was called eke Sufficius,
Lowe of byrthe and simple in vpgrowyng,
Of Albanoys tyll fortune made him kyng.
Again whose pride the Romains gan warrey
Full mightely oppressyng his countree:
And for kyng Mecius list them not obey,
They cast them fully auenged for to be,
Because his byrthe was but of lowe degre,
And was risen vp vnto estate royall,
They thē purpose to yeue him a sodayne fall.
Hasty clymbyng of pouert set on hight
Whan wronge title maketh him to ascende,
With vnware peyse of his owne might
A sodaine fall maketh him to discende,
Whan he list not of surquedy entende
Fro whence he came, nor him selfe to knowe,
Till god & fortune his pōpe hath ouerthrow.
For this Mecius of presumption,
Thought again Romayns his pride might a­uaile,
Gan warre againe thē by rebellion,
Was not fearfull their nobles to assayle,
Till on a day was signed a battaile:
Bothe their hostes within a felde to mete,
To take their part be it soure or swete.
That tyme in Rome raigned Hostilius,
A manly man and a ful worthy knyght,
Twene him concluded and kyng Mecius
They twayne to mete in stele armed bryght,
For bothe battayles to trye out the ryght,
By iust accorde and therin not vary,
The party vaynquished to be tributary.
And wholy put him in subiection
Without entreatyng or any more delay,
And finally for short conclusion
Kyng Hostilius the triumphe wan that day,
That Albanoys coulde not say nay,
But that Romayns as put is in memory,
By singuler battayle had wonne the victory.
Thus had Romayns first possession
Of Albanoys, to obey them and to drede,
Mecius yelded and sworne to the toun
Neuer to rebell for fauoure ne for mede,
But for he was double founde in dede
Of his assuraunce, and false to their citie,
He was chastised anone as ye shall se.
Agaynst Fidinates a countrey of Itaile,
King Hostilius for their rebellion,
Cast he woulde mete them in battayle,
For common profite and for diffension
Bothe of his citye and of his royall toun:
And for to afforce his party in workynge,
Of Albanoys he sent vnto the kynge
To come in haste with his whole chyualry,
And tary not in no maner wise,
But make him stronge to sustaine his party,
Like his behest as ye haue hearde deuise.
But kyng Mecius full falsly gan practice,
A sleighty treason and a couert wyle,
Agaynst his promise the Romayns to begyle.
Yet he outwarde pretendyng to be true,
Came to the felde with ae full great meyny,
Liuyng in hope to se some chaunges newe
That he on Rome might auenged be:
And specially that he myght se
Kyng Hostilius of frowarde enuy,
That day outrayed with all his chyualry.
First when he saw the Romayns enbattailed
And Fydinates on that other side,
Their wardes ready for to haue assayled,
He couertly did on an hyll abyde,
And to nor fro lyst not go nor ryde,
Nor his person put in ieopardy:
But who was strongest to holde on y partye.
Wherof the Romayns fyll in suspection
Of kyng Mecius whan they toke hede,
Tyll Hostilius of hygh discrecion
Through his knighthode put thē out of drede▪
And gan dissunule of Mecius the falsehede,
And to comfort his knyghtes of entent,
Sayd what he did, was done by his assent.
He was full lothe that his chyualry
Should know the effect of Mecius treason,
Whiche cause myght in all or in party,
Full great hindryng by some occasion,
[Page lxii]To deme in him falsenes or treason:
Yet of trouth the story beareth witnes,
All that he ment was vntrouth and falsenes.
Thus of manhode and of high prudence
He to his knyghtes yaue hart & hardines,
Made them set on by so great vyolence
That he the felde gate of high prowes
On Fidinates, brought in so great distresse
And so outrayed of force on euery side,
Tofore Romayns that they ne durst abide.
And whan Mecius saw them thus outrayed
By a maner of fayned false gladnes,
Like as he had in hart be well apayed,
To Hostilius anone he gan him dresse,
Him selfe reioysyng by counterfayte likenes:
And for his meanyng playnly was conceiued
So as he came, ryght so was he receyued.
Thus whan Mecius stode in his presence
With a pretence of faithfull stablenes,
And all the apport of trouth in apparence
He shadowed hath his expert doublenes,
Vnder sote hony couert bitternes:
Frendly vysage wt wordes smothe & playne,
Tho mouth & hart departed were in twaine.
But Hostilius hath all his fraude espied,
And his compassed falsenes and treason,
And therupon hath iustly fantasied
A paine accordyng ypeysed of reason,
Him to punishe by a double passion:
This to mean, like as he was deuided,
A double torment for him he hath prouided.
This was his dome and his fatall payne
By Hostilius contriued of iustice,
His fete, his armes, atwene charets twayne
Naked and bare the story dothe deuise
To be bounde and knit in trauers wise,
Contrariously the horse to drawe and hale,
Tyll all his body were rent on pieces small.
And right as he was cause of great trouble,
Founde aye in dede most full of variaunce,
Therfore his payne was in maner double,
Right as him self was double in gouernaūce
False of his othe, of hest, and assuraunce,
And double in menyng as he hath perseuered
So in his ende his mēbres were disceuered.
His fete were drawe from the head asunder,
There was no ioynt with other for to abide:
Here was a legge and an arme lay yonder,
Thus eche member frō other gan deuide
And for he coulde holde in outher syde,
By false pretence to outher party true,
Him to chastice was founde a payne newe.

The .xxx. Chapter.

☞ A Chapiter howe prynces shoulde of their othes and promises be true, auoydyng all doublenes and de­ception.

SO here the ende of double false meanyng
Whā worde & hart be contrarious:
Othe and behest false founde in a kyng,
Of Albanoys as was this Mecius,
O noble prynces prudent and vertuous,
Let neuer story after more recorde
That worde & dede shoulde in you discorde.
For kyng Mecius variaunt of courage,
Whose inward menig was euer on treasō set,
Traynes contriuyng with a fayre vysage,
His thought, his harte, wt double cordes fret,
By Bochas called disceyte & false baret:
Whiche vyce discriuyng concludeth of reason,
Fraude of all fraudes is false deception.
For with a face flatteryng and peacible,
Pretendyng trouth vnder false pleasaunce,
With his panteris perillous and terrible
Trappeth innocentes wt gryns of mischaūce:
I meane disceite, that wt her countenaunce,
Folkes englueth simple and retcheles,
And than warreth vnder a face of pees.
Puissaūce of prynces famous & honourable,
Hath ben disceaued by this traytouresse,
And folke most prudēt in their estate notable
Hath be distroubled by suche doublenes:
And many a knyght victorious of prowes,
Hath ben entryked for all his hygh renoun,
By traynes founde of disceyte & treason.
Disceyte deceyueth & shalbe deceyued,
For by disceyte who is disceyuable,
Though his disceyte be not out perceyued,
To a disceyuoure disceyte is retournable:
Fraude quit wt fraude is guerdon couenable
For who with fraude fraudulent is found,
To a defrauder fraude wyll aye rebounde.

¶ The .xxxi. Chapter.

[Page] ☞ Of kyng Hostilius that first weared pur­ple hewe, consumpt with fiery leuin.

WHat shoulde I more of disceite endite,
Touching the fraude of kyng Mecius,
For I me cast now finally to write
The fatall ende of kyng Hostilius:
Whiche was the first as sayth Valerius,
In Rome citye that auctours knew,
Among kynges that weared purple hewe.
But after all his tryumphall noblesse,
And many vncouth knightly high emprise,
Fortune to appall the pryse of his prowesse,
Made him to be in full frowarde wise,
Retcheles and slowe to do sacrifice,
To Jupiter, for whiche sent from heuin,
He was consumpt with sodaine firy leuin.
Here men may se the reuolutions
Of fortunes double purueyaunce,
How ye most mighty of Romayne champions
Haue sodainly be brought vnto mischaunce:
And their outrages to put in remembraunce,
Great conquest turned to wo frō ioye,
For a rebuke I sende them this lenuoye.

¶ Lenuoy.

ROme remember of thy foundacion,
And of what people thou toke thy be­ginnynge:
Thy buildyng gan of false dissencion,
Of slaughter, murdre, & outragious robbing
Yeuyng to vs a maner knowlegyng
A false beginnyng auctours determine,
Shall by processe come vnto ruyne.
Where be thy ēperors most souerain of renoun
Kinges exiled for outragious liuyng?
Thy Senatours with worthy Scipton,
Poetes olde thy tryumphes rehearsyng?
Thy laureat knightes most stately ridyng
In high honour▪ for al their noble line,
Is by longprocesse brought to ruyne.
Where is now Cesar that toke possession
First of the empyre the tryumphe vsurpynge?
Or where is Lucan that maketh mencion,
Of all his conquest, by serious writyng?
Octauian most solemnely raignyng?
Where is become their lordshypor their lyne,
Processe of yeres hath brought it to ruyne.
Where is Tullius chefe lanterne of thy toun,
In rethorike all other surmountyng?
Morall Senec or prudent sadde Caton
Thy common profite alwaye preferryng?
Or rightful Traian most iustly in his deining
Whiche on no party list not to declyne,
But long processe hath brought all to ruyne.
Where is the temple of thy protection
Made by Virgill, most curious of buyldyng?
Ymages erect of euery region
Whan any lande was founde rebellyng
Toward that part a smal bell heard ringing,
To that prouynce the ymage did enclyne,
Which by long processe was brought to ruyne
Where is also the great extorcion
Of consules and prefectes oppressyng?
Of Dictatours the false collusion?
Of Decemuir the frowarde disceyuyng?
The great outrage in their liuyng?
Of all echeone the odious rauine,
Hath by processe them brought vnto ruyne.
Where is become thy dominacion,
Thy great tributes, thy treasures shynyng,
The worlde all whole in thy subiection,
Thy sword of vēgeaunce al people manacing
Euer gready to encrese in thy gettyng
Nothing by grace whiche that is diuine,
Which hath the brought by processe to ruyne.
In thy most hyghest exaltation,
Thy proude tyrantes prouinces conquering,
To god contrary by long rebellion,
Goddes, goddesses, falsely obeiyng,
Aboue the starres by surquedous climbyng:
Till vengeaunce thy nobles did vntwyne,
With new complaintes to shewe thy ruyne.
Lay downe thy pride and thy presumption,
Thy pompous bost, thy lordships encreasing,
Confesse thine outrage & lay thy boast adoun,
All false Gods playnly defiyng,
Lift vp thine hart vnto the heauenly kyng,
Whiche wt his bloude thy sorowes for to fyne,
Hath made thy raunsum to saue the fro ruyne
From olde Saturne drawe thine affection,
His golden worlde fully despisyng,
And from Jupiter make a digression,
His silueren tyme hartely dispraysyng:
Resort agayne wt will and whole meanyng,
To him that is lorde of the orders nyne,
[Page lxiii]Whiche mekely dyed to saue the fro ruyne.
Though Mars be myghty in his assencion,
By influence victories disposyng,
And bright Phebus yeueth consolation
To worldly princes their nobles auaunsing:
Forsake their rightes and thy false offryng:
And to that lorde bowe downe thy chyne,
Whiche shed his bloude to saue the fro ruyne.
Winged Mercury chiefe lorde and patrone
Of eloquence and of fayre speakyng,
Forsake his seruice in thine opinion,
And serue the lorde that gouerneth all thyng,
The sterred heauen the spheres eke meuyng,
Whiche for thy sake was crowned wt a spine,
His hart eke pearced to saue the fro tuyne.
Cast vp of Venus the false derision
Her fiery brande her flatteries renuyng,
Of Diana the transmutacions,
Nowe bryght, nowe pale▪ nowe clere, nowe drepyng
Of blynde Cupide the fraudulent mockyng
Of Jun [...], Bachus, Proserpina, and Lucine,
For none but Christ may saue the fro ruyne.
Voyde of Cirses the beastiall poyson,
Of Cyrenes the furious chauntynge:
Let not Medusa do the no treason
And fro Gorgones turne thy lokyng.
And let Sinderesis haue the in kepyng,
That Christ Jesu may be thy medicyne,
Agayne suche raskayle to saue the fro ruyne.
Of false ydols make abiuracion,
To Similachres do no worshyppyng:
Make thy resort to Christes passion,
Whiche may by mercy redresse thyne erryng,
And by his grace repare thy fallyng:
So thou obey his vertuous disciplyne
Trust that he shall restore thy ruyne.
His mercy is surmountyng of foyson,
Euer encreaseth without amenusyng,
Aye at full cche time and eche ceason,
And neuer waneth by none eclypsyng:
Whan men list make deuoutly their rekening
To leaue their sinne & come to his doctrine,
He ready is to kepe them from ruyne.
O Rome, Rome, all olde abusion
Of ceremonies falsly disusyng,
Lay them aside, and in conclusion
Crye god mercy thy trespace repentyng,
Trust he will not refuse thy askyng,
The to receyue to laboure in his vine,
Eternally to saue the from ruyne.
O noble prynces of high discrecion,
Sithe in this worlde is none abidyng,
Peyse conscience against wil and reason,
While ye haue leasure of hart ymaginyng,
Ye beare not hence but your deseruyng:
Let this conceite aye in your thoughts mine,
By example of Rome, how all goth to ruyne.
¶ Thus endeth the seconde boke.
LIke a Pilgryme which y goeth on fote,
And hath no horse to releue his trauail,
Hote, drye, wery, and may find no bote
Of well colde whan thyrst doth him assayle,
Wine nor lycoure that may to him auayle:
Right so fare I whiche in my busines,
No succour finde my rudenes to redresse.
I meane as thus, I haue no freshe lycou [...]
Out of the conduites of Calliope,
Nor through Clyo in rethoryke no floure,
In my labour for to refreshe me,
Nor of the sisters in number thrise thre:
Whiche with Citherea on Pernaso dwel,
They neuer gaue me drinke of their well:
Nor of their sprynges clere and cristallyn
That sprange by touchyng of the Pegase,
Their fauour lacketh my making to enlumin
I fynde their balme of so great scarcite
To tame their tunnes wt some drop of plente
For Poliphemus through his blyndnes,
Hath in me darked of Argus the brightnes.
Our life here short of wyt the great dulnes,
The heuy soule troubled with trauayle,
And of memory the blasyng brotilnes:
Drede & vncunnyng haue made a strong bat­tayle
With werines my spirite to assayle,
And wt their subtill crepyng in most quaynt,
Hath made my spirite in making for to faint.
And ouermore the fearfull frowardnes
Of my stepmother called obliuion,
Hath a bastyle of foryetfulnes,
To stoppe the passage, & shadow my reason,
That I myght haue no clere dyrection
In translatyng of newe to quycke me,
Stories to write of olde antiquitie.
Thus was I set and stode in double werre,
At the metyng of fearfull wayes twayne,
The one was this who euer list to lere,
Where as good will gan me constrayne,
Bochas to accomplyshe for to do my payne,
Came ignoraunce with a manace of drede,
My penne to rest, I durst not procede.
Thus my selfe remembryng on this boke,
It to traunslate I had vndertake,
Full pale of chere astonied in my loke,
My hand gan tremble, my pen I felt quake,
That dispayred I had almost forsake
So great a labour dredefull & importable,
It to [...]erforme I founde me so vnable.
Twe ne the residue of this great iourney
And little therof that was begonne:
I stode checkmate for feare whan I gan se
In my way how little I had [...]onne,
Like to a man that fayled day and sonne,
And had no light to accomplishe his vyage,
So farre I stode abacke in my passage.
The night came on darked with ignoraunce,
My wit was dull by clerenes to discerne
In Rethoryke for lacke of suffisaunce,
The torches out & quenched was the lantern,
And in this case my style to gouerne
Me to further I founde none other muse,
But hard as stone Pierides and Meduse.
Support was none my dulnes for to gye,
Pouertie approched in stale croked age,
Mercury absent and Philologie,
My purse aye lyght & voyde of all coynage,
Bachus farre of to glad my courage,
An ebbe of plente, scarcete at full
Which of an olde man maketh the spirite dull.
But hope and trust to put away dispayre,
Into my mynde of new gan them dresse:
And chefe of all to make wether fayre,
My lordes fredom & bounteous largesse,
Into mine hart brought such gladnesse,
That through releuyng of his benigne grace,
False indigence lyst me no more manace.
O how it is an hartly reioysing,
To serue a prynce that list to aduertise
Of their seruaūtes ye faythful iust meanyng▪
And list to cōsider to guerdon their seruice,
And at a nede list them not despyse:
But fro al daūger yt should them noy or greue,
Beth euer redy to helpe them and releue.
And thus releued by the goodly hede,
And through the nobles of this most knightly man
All mistes clered of dispayre and drede
Trust, hope, and fayth, into my hartran:
And on my laboure anone forthwyth I gan,
For by cleare support of my lordes grace,
All foraynes lettyng fro me I did enchace.
For folke that vse to make great vyages,
Whiche vnderfonge long trauell and labour,
Whē thei haue don gret part of their passages
Of werines to asswage the rygoure,
[Page]Against faintyse to fynde some fau [...],
Loke oft agayne parcell to be releue [...],
To se how muche their iourney is acheued.
Cause why they so oft loke ageyne
Backeward turne loke, and eke vysage
Is only this, that it may be seyne
To them how much is done of their vyage:
Eke wery folke that gone on pylgrimage,
Rest them some while a full large space,
Laborious sweate to wipe fro their face.
Their heauy fardell among they cast adoun,
At certaine boūdes to do their backes ease:
At welles colde eke of entencion
Drinke freshe water their greuous thurst to apease
Or holesum wynes their appetite to please,
Rekenyng the myles by computacions,
Whiche they haue past of castels & of townes
It doth them ease the number for to know
Syth they began, of many great iourneys,
Of hye mountayns, and of valeyes lowe,
And straunge sightes passyng by countreys,
The vncouth buildyng of borowes and cities
Counting ye distaunce frō townes & the spaces
This is their talking at their restyng places.
The residue and the surplusage
They reken also of their labour commyng,
Thinke it is a maner auauntage
To haue and se a cleare knowlegyng
Of thinges passed, & thinges eke folowynge:
For to their hartes it doth full great plesaūce
Whan all suche thing is put in remēbraunce.
And semblably Iohn Bochas as I fynde,
Gan turne backe his loke and countenaunce,
And to remember appoyntyng in his minde
To the stories rehearsed in substaunce,
In his two bokes of sorowes & displeasaūce,
Him selfe astonied marueilyng a great dele
The fall of prynces from Fortunes whele.
Of their vnhap as he dothe rehearce,
Towarde thē selfe the cause dothe rebounde,
Their climbyng vp the heauens for to perce,
In worldly riches to encrease and abounde,
Their gredy etike doth them selfe confounde:
And their thirst of hauyng vnstauncheable,
Cause [...] their nobles to be so variable.
Hygh climbyng vp of reason who can se,
Dulleth of braines the memoriall,
Blunteth the sight of hygh and low degre,
Whiche from aloft maketh them to haue a fal:
Men saye of olde, who that couet all
At the vnset houre suche one shall not chese,
But all his gadryng at once shall he lese.
For worldly folke whiche so hye aryse
Wyth the great peyse of worldlye abundaūce,
And with the weight of frowarde couetise,
Namely where Fortune holdeth the balaūce,
With vnware turne of some vnhappy chaūce,
This stormy quene, this double Goddesse,
Plungeth thē downe from all their riches.
Wherfore Bochas hereof to make a prefe,
Sheweth to purpose a sentence full notable:
A clere example of suche vnware mischefe,
Writeth of an auctour by maner of a fable,
Albe the menyng be full commendable,
And well accordyng in conclusion,
To the clere purpose of his entencion.

¶ Hovve Andalus doctour of Astronomy concludeth how Prynces shoulde not atwite constel­lacions nor Fortune of their vnhappy fallyng, but their demerites and vycious liuyng.

¶ The first Chapter.

AT Naples whylom as he dothe specify
In his youth whan he to schole went,
There was a doctour of Astro­nomye,
Famous of cunnyng and right excellent,
Of hym rehearsyng shortly in sentment,
His ioy was most to study and wake,
And he was called Andalus the blake.
He redde in scholes the mening of the heauen,
The kinde of starres and constellacions,
The course also of the planets seuen,
Their influence and their mocions:
And helde also in his opinions,
The fall of princes the cause well out sought,
Came of them selfe and of fortune nought.
Nor the starres was nothing to wite
By their meuyng, nor by their influence
Nor yt men should of right the heauen at wite,
For no froward worldly vyolence:
For this clarke there concluded in sentence,
How men by vertue longe may contune,
From hurt of starres or of fortune.
Their owne desert is chefe occasion
Of their vnhappe who so taketh hede,
And their demerites vnwarely put thē doun,
Whan vycious life doth their brydle lede:
Course of fortune nor of the starres rede,
Hindreth nothing agayne their felicitie,
Syth of free choyse they haue full libertye.
God punished sinne in many maner wyse,
Some he chastiseth for theyr owne auaile,
Men may of reason in suche case deuise,
Sinne aye requireth vengeaūce at his tayle:
God of fortune taketh no counsayle,
Nor from her meuyng no man is more fre,
As clarkes write, than is glad pouertee.
And vnto purpose this auctour full notable,
To his scholers there beyng in presence,
Full demurely gan reherse a fable,
With many a coloure of sugred eloquence,
Theron concludyng the sūme of his sentence,
Touching a strife whiche he did expresse,
Atwene glad pouert, & this blinde goddesse.

☞ A disputation betwene Fortune and glad pouerte.

HVod Andalus whilom of fortune
In straite place there sate glad pouert
Whiche resembled of loke & of figure
A retcheles woman most vgly vnto se,
At a narow metyng of hye wayes thre,
All to torne, to ragged, and to rent,
A thousand patches vpon her garment.
She was hydous bothe of chere and face,
And in semyng voyde of sorow and drede:
And by that way as Fortune did pace,
And of glad Pouert sodaynly toke hede,
She gan to smile and laught at her in dede,
By a maner scornyng in certayne,
Of her aray she had so great disdaine.
Whose froward laughter whā pouert did espy
How she of her had indignacion,
She rose her vp of hygh melancholy
Playnly to shewe her entencion,
Without good day or salutacion,
Doyng to Fortune no maner reuerence,
Vnder these wordes, declaryng her sentence.
O thou Fortune moste fole of foles all,
What cause hast thou for to laugh at me,
Or what disdayne is in thyne hart fall:
Spare not a deale tell on let se,
For I full little haue ado with the,
Of olde nor new I haue none aquayntaunce
Neither with the nor wyth thy gouernaunce.
And whan Fortune beholdeth the manere
Of glad Pouert, in her to torne wede,
And knew also by countenaunce and chere,
How she of her toke but little hede,
Like as she had to her no maner nede,
The whiche thinges conceyued and seyne,
To pouerty she answered thus ageine:
My scornefull laughter plainly was for the,
Whan I the sawe so megre, pale, and lene,
Naked and colde, in great aduersitie,
Scabbed, scoruy, scalled, and vnclene,
On backe and body as it is well sene,
Many a beast walke in their pasture,
Whiche day by day of new thou doest recure.
Hauyng nothing to wrap in thy head,
Saue a brode hatte rent out of nattes olde,
Full of honger for defaute of bread,
Slepyng on strawe in the frostes colde:
And where thou comest as men may behold,
For fear of the, children them withdrawe,
And many a dogge hath on thy staffe ygnaw.
To all estates thou art most odious,
Men with the will haue no daliaunce,
Thy felowship is so contracious,
Where thou abidest may be no pleasaunce:
Folke hate so deedly thi froward acquaitaūce
That finally I dare conclude of the,
Where euer thou comest thy felowshyp mē fle.
Whan glad pouert gan plainly vnderstand
The rebukes rehearced of Fortune,
The rude reasons that she toke on hande
Whiche frowardly to her she did entune,
As Pouert were a refuse in commuue,
By the repreues that Fortune on her layde,
For whiche pouerte, replyed agayne & saide.
Fortune (quod she) touching this debate
Whiche of malice thou doest againe me take,
Be well certaine touching my pore estate,
I of frewyll thy fauour haue forsake,
And though folke saye thou maiest men ryche make
Yet had I leuer be pore wt gladnes,
Than with trouble posse de great riches
For though thou seme benigne & debonayre
By a maner counterfaite apparence,
Fatte and well fedde wt rounde chekes fayre,
With many colours of trouth as in pretence,
As therof fayth were very existence,
But vnder all thy floures of freshenes,
The serpent glydeth of chaunge & doublenes
And though thy clothing be of purple hewe,
With great awaytyng of many chamberers,
Of golde and perle eche day chaunged newe,
Clothe of golde and sundry fresh attires,
And in thine housholde full many officers,
Yet I dare well put in ieoparty
With the to pleate and holde champarty.
Thus glad pouert gan waxe importune,
Of there contrary of loke and of langage,
Agayne this ladye whiche called is Fortune:
That of disdayne she fill into a rage,
Beholde quod she of pouerte the courage
In wretchednes standyng disconsolate,
How agayne me she is now obstinate?
She can not se how she stant outrayed
Farre from the fauour of my felicitie,
Yet of pride she is not dismayed
Nor list not bowe for to obey me,
Though she be cast in mendicite:
Farthest abacke I do you well assure,
In mischefe set of any creature.
But truely pouerte for all thi truaundise
Maugry thy pride and thine outrage
I shall the punishe in full cruell wise,
To make the loute vnder my seruage,
Whiche resemblest a deadly ymage
That were newe risen out of his graue,
And yet of pryde darest ayenst me raue.
But whan fortune had these wordes sayde,
Glad pouerte gan fall in great gladnes,
And agayne Fortune with a sodayne brayde,
She gan her conceit out shewe and expresse:
Fortune (quod she) though thou be a goddesse
Called of foles yet learne this of me,
From thy seruage I stande at libertie.
But if I shall algates haue ado
With the in armes moste cruell & vengeable,
Touching the quarell yt is atwene vs two,
There is one thinge to me right comfortable,
That thy courage is flikeryng and vnstable,
And where an harte is in him selfe deuided,
Victory in armes for him is not prouided.
Me list nether flatter the nor fage,
Nor the to anoynt by adulacion,
Though flattery and fayned false langage
Appropred be to thy condicion:
[Page lxvi]And in dispite of thy presumption,
I haue forsake of my fre voluntie
All the treasures of worldly vanitie.
Whylom I was as thou hast deuised
Seruaunt to the, and vnto thy treasours,
But frō thy daunger now yt I am fraūchised
Seking of the nether for helpe nor succours,
Manace kynges and mighty emperours,
For glad pouerte late neither sone
With thy riches hath nothing to done.
For though thou haue embraced in thy cheine
Worldly princes and goodes transitorye,
And ryche marchauntes vnder thy demeyne,
Yeuest to knighthode conquest and victory,
The fadyng palme of laude and vaynglory:
But whan echone thy fauour haue recured,
Thā is glad pouerte fre fro thy lure assured.
All thy seruauntes stande vnder drede,
Quakyng for feare of thy doublenes,
For neither wisdome, force, nor manhede,
Fredome, bountie, loue, nor gentilnes,
May in thy fauour haue no sykernesse,
They be so possed wt windes in thy barge:
Where as glad pouert goth fre at his large.
Thy manacyng dothe me no duresse,
Whiche worldly princes dreden euerychone,
They may well quake for losse of riches,
But I glad pouerte therof desire none:
As flow & ebbe all worldly things must gone,
For after floudes of Fortunes tide,
The ebbe foloweth and will no man abide.
Flowe and ebbe to me both aliche,
I drede nothing thy mutabilitee:
Make whō thou list either pore or ryche,
For I nothing will require of the,
Nether lordship nor great prosperitie,
For with thy gyftes who that hath to done,
Of chaunges braydeth ofter then the Mone.
Out of pouerte came first these emperours
That were in Rome crowned with laurere,
Fredom and larges made them first victours
Causyng their fame to shine bright and clere,
Till couetise brought them in daungere:
Whan they of foly in their most excellence
To thy doublenes did reuerence.
For whan fredome a prynce dothe forsake,
And couetise put awaye largesse,
And straytnes into honsholde take,
And nygardshyp exileth gentilues,
Than is withdrawe from their hye noblesse
The peoples hart, and playnely to deuise
Of their seruantes farewel al good seruice.
All suche sodayne chaunges in commune,
In this worlde vsed now fro day to daye,
Echone they come by fraude of false fortune,
Experience hath put at assay:
Loue, trouth, and fayth, be gone farre away,
And if that trust with prynces will not tary,
Little maruayle though the people vary.
For through thy chaūges of fraudulēt faire­nes
There is now vsed in euery region
Glad chere outshewed wt couert doublenes,
Vnder the curtayne of simulation:
So secrete is now adulation,
That in this worlde may be no surete,
But if it rest in glad pouerte.
Yet of thy perillous frowarde variaunce
I set no store truely as for me,
For all thy frendshyp cōcludeth wt mischaūce,
With sodayne mischefe of mutabilitie:
Which yeueth me hart to haue ado with the,
For suffisaunce in my pore estate,
Shal to thy chaūges say sodainly chekmate.
Fortune with anger almost dispayred,
Of these wordes toke full great greuaunce:
Pouert (quod she) which maist not be apayred
But I now shew agayne the my puissaunce
Men would little accompt my substaunce,
O mighty pouerte, O stronge Hercules,
Which against me puttest thy selfe in prees.
Supposest thou it should the auayle,
Other by force or by hardines
To haue ado wyth me in battayle,
Whiche am of conquest & of hygh prowes,
In armes called lady and prynces?
For there is none so myghty conqueroure
That may preuayle without my fauour.
Of these wordes pouerte nothyng aferde,
Answerde agayne thus playnly in sentence:
Though I ne haue spere, shelde, nor swerde,
Nor chosen armure to stande at defence,
Pollar, nor dagger, to make resistence,
But bare and naked, anone it shalbe seyne
If thou wt me darest wrastle on the pleyne.
Whiche shal be done vnder condicion
That none of vs shall him selfe withdrawe,
But styll abide of entencion
Till he that vaiquisheth ordeined hath a law
Such as him liketh against his felawe:
The whiche lawe shall not be delayed
To be accomplished on him that is outrayed.
Of whose wordes Fortune again gan smile,
That pouert profered so proudly to assayle,
And vpon this she stynt a little whyle,
And to pouert she put this opposayle.
Who shall (quod she) be iudge of this battaile,
Or yeue doine iustly atwene vs twayne,
Of this quarell that we shall darayne?
I aske also another question,
Touchyng thy profer of furious outrage:
Where as thou puttest a condicion
And a lawe with full proude langage,
Where shalt thou fynde pledges or hostage,
To kepe the promise which thou doest ordain
Therof to abide the guerdon or the payne?
I meane as thus if there be set a lawe
Atwene vs two, or a condicion
By surety whiche may not be withdrawe,
As vnder bonde or obligation:
But there is neither lawe nor reason
May bynde a begger if it be well sought,
Whan it is proued yt he hath right nought.
The secte of pouerte hath a protection
From all statutes to go at libertie,
And from all lawe a playne exception:
Than foloweth it if thou bynde the
To any lawe that may contriued be,
It were fraude playnely to endite,
Which hast right nought thy party to acquite
Thou art so feble if I came therto
That thou were brought vnto vtteraunce,
For no power whan that all were do
Thou shoulde fayle to make thy finaunce,
Bothe destitute of good and of substaunce:
And sithe no lawe now thy person may coart,
It were foly with suche one to ieoparte.
If I woulde compulse the to wracke,
To aske of the treasure of kyng Dary,
On that party thou standest farre abacke,
My payment so longe shoulde tarye
Indigence would the to vary:
And if I woulde thy person eke compare
To Alysaunder, thy sydes ben full bare.
And finally thou standest in suche caas
Of misery, wretchednes, and nede,
That thou mightest of reason synge alas,
Bothe forsake of frendshyp and kynrede,
And there is none dare pledge the for drede:
Yet like a fole supprised with vaynglory,
Hopest of me to wynne the vyctory.
Quod glad pouerte I doubt neuer adele
That the vyctory shall passe on my side,
Pledge and hostages let them go, farewele,
I aske no more of all thy great pryde,
But to thende that thou wylt abyde,
Pledge thy fayth, albe that some men sayth,
To trust in fortune there is full little fayth.
And for my part in this hye emprise
Sith I haue pledges nether one nor twayne
More sure hostage can I not deuise:
But if so be the victory thou attayne,
Than yelde I my body bound in a chayne,
Perpetually, like the condicion
With the to abyde fettred in pryson.
Than Fortune laught more thē she did afore
Whan she saw Pouerte so presumptuous,
In his aray all to ragged and to tore,
And had neither rent, lande, ne house:
It is (quod she) a thing contraryous
Vnto nature, who that can aduert,
To a begger to haue a sturdy hart.
And if I the vainquished in battayle,
It were to me no worshyp nor aduauntage,
What should thy body vnto me auayle
The to enpryson straytly in a cage?
It should be a charge and a costage
Thine empty wombe eche day to fyll,
If thou mightest haue vytayle at thy wyll.
And if I would my selfe to magnify,
Token of tryumphe after my chare the lede,
Men would deme it a maner mockery,
And say in scorne take of that fole good hede,
How she a begger hath ouercome in dede,
Fought with her for to encrease her name,
Which cōquest turneth to disclaūder & shame.
Yet whan I haue brought the to vttraunce,
My power shadowed and my great might.
And thine outrage oppressed by vengeaunce,
After all this as it is skyll and ryght,
[Page lxvi]It shalbe couthe in euery mans syght,
Out declared the great difference,
Atwene thy feblenes & my great excellence.
Than to represse thy surquedy at ones,
Cruel Orchus the tydogye infernall,
Shall rende thy skinne asunder frō the bones
To shew my power whiche is imperiall:
And to declare in especiall
Pouerte reclaymed vnto prydes lure,
With me to plete may no whyle endure.
And sodenly or glad pouerte toke hede,
Fortune proudly first began tassayle,
And vnwarely hent her by the hede,
Demyng of pride yt she may nat fayle,
Thrugh her power to vēquish this bataile:
But it may fall, a dwerye in his right,
To outray a gyaunt for all his gret might.
God taketh none hede to power nor strēgth,
To highe estate, nor to high noblesse,
To square limes forged on brede or length,
But to quarels groūded on right wisnesse:
For out of wronge may growd no prowesse,
For where that trouth holdeth champarty,
God wyll his cause by grace magnify.
Wherfore pouerte stronge in her entent,
Light, and delyuer, voyde of all fatnesse,
Right well brethed, & nothing corpulent,
Small of dyette, surfettes to represse,
Agayne fortune proudly gan her dresse:
And with an vgly sterne cruell face,
Gan in armes her proudly to enbrace.
Pouert was slender & might well endure,
Fortune was roūde, short of wynde, & breth:
And wombes great oppressed with armure,
For lacke of wynde the great stuffe thē sleth,
And many a man bringeth to his dethe:
For ouermoche of any maner thing,
Hath many one brought to his vndoyng.
A meane is best with good gouernaūce,
To moche is nought, nor ouer great plente,
Gretter rychesse is founde in suffysaunce,
Than in the flodes of superfluyte:
And who is content in his pouerte,
And grutcheth nat for bytter nor for sote,
What euer he be hath fortune vnder fote,
Couetyse put hym in no dispayre,
Wherfore pouerte in herte glad and lyght,
Lyft fortune full hygh vp in the eyre,
And her constrayned of very force & myght:
For glad pouerte of custome and of right,
Whan any trouble agayne her dothe begyn,
Aye of Fortune the laurer she dothe wyn.
Maugre Fortune in the eyre a lofte,
Constrayned she was by wylfull pouerte,
That to the earthe her fall was full vnsofte:
For of pouert the bony sharpe kne,
Slendre, and longe, & leane vpon to se
Hyt fortune with so great a myght,
Agayne ye hert, she myght nat stand vpryght.
To signify that pouerte with gladnesse,
Which is content with small possession,
And geuyth no force of treasour nor richesse,
Hath ouer fortune the dominacion,
And kepeth her euer vnder subiection:
Where worldly folke wt their rych aparaile,
Lyue euer in dred lest fortune wolde fayle.
The poore man afore the thefe dothe synge,
Vnder ye wodes with fresh notes shryll,
The ryche man full fearfull of robbyng
Quakyng for drede rydeth forthe full styll:
The poore at large goth wher he list at wyll,
Strongly fraūchysed frō all debate & stryfe,
The ryche aferde alway to lose his lyfe.
Thus glad pouerte hath the palme ywonne,
Fortune outrayed for all her doublenesse,
Vpon whome pouerte in haste is ronne,
And strayned her wyth so great duresse,
Tyll she confessed & playnly dyd expresse,
with faythe & hande in all her great payne,
To abyde what lawe pouerte lyst ordayne.
And in haste after this discomfyture,
Fortune began to complayne sore,
But glad pouert which al thing might indure
Charged fortune scorne her no more:
For it was sayd sythe go full yore,
He that reioyseth to scorne folke in vayne,
Whan he is lothest, shall scorned be agayne.
Yet quoth pouert though thou were dispitous
Wordes rehersyng whyche were nat fayre,
Straunge rebukes full contrarious,
And repreues many thousande payre,
Thou shalt me fynde againe warde debonaire:
For though a tong be slaundrous & vēgeable,
To slaunder againe, is nothing cōmendable.
Thou must considre touchyng oure batayle,
The ordinaunce and imposycion
That whiche of vs in conquest do preuayle,
To bringe his felowe to subiection:
He shall obey the statute of reason,
And accomplyshe of very due det,
What lawe the victoure lyst vpon hym set.
For whiche thou shalt the sayd lawe obey,
Wyth circumstaunces of the condicion,
By me ordayned, and nothynge agayne say:
Make no grutchynge nor replycation,
Consydred first the false opinion
Of them that sayne all worldly auenture
Of good and bad, abyde vnder thy cure,
Some poetes and phylosophers also,
Wold in this case make the a goddesse:
Which be disceiued I dare say both two,
And their errour and foly to redresse,
I shall withdrawe in very sykernesse,
Vnhappy auenture away fro thy power,
That she no more stand in thy daunger.
This lawe of newe vpon the I make,
That first thou shalt al open in some pleyne,
Juell auenture bynde to a stake,
Or to some pyller where she may be seyne:
To shewe example to folke in certeine
That no man shal lose her ne discharge,
But such as lyst with her to go at large.
Herof to make a declaracion,
Touching thy might of yuell auenture,
Thou shalt forgo the dominacion,
To hyndre and harme any creature,
But only foles which in thy might assure:
They of their foly may fele great domage,
Nat of thy power, but of their own outrage.
For thylke foles which that list vnbinde
This wretch called vnhappy auenture,
Of wyt and reason they make thē self blinde,
Like as the world stode in fortunes cure,
As though she might assure them & vnsure:
And them dispose to welthe or wretchednesse,
In their errour calling her a goddesse.
Such wilful wretches that them self betake,
To put their fredom in her subiection,
Of god aboue the power they forsake,
And submitte them agayne all reason,
Vnder fortunes transmutacion:
Their lyberte full falsly for to thrall,
Namely whan they a goddesse lyst her cal.
With a derke myst of variacion,
Fortune hath clouded their natural lyght,
And ouershadowed their discretion,
That they be blent in their inward syght,
For to consydre and behold a ryght,
Howe god aboue put vnder mannes cure,
Fre choyce of good his reason to assure.
The lord enlumined of his boūtuous larges,
With minde and wyt his memoryall,
Toward all vertue his steppes for to dresse:
Endued his reason for to be naturall,
Of frowardenesse tyll he waxe bestyall:
To bynde him selfe contrariously in dede,
To serue fortune, atwene hope and drede.
Thus bestyall folke made her a goddesse,
Falsly wening she might them most auayle,
Wyth her plentyes of habundaunt rychesse:
And some deme in their supposayle,
wt vnware chaūge she dare the great assayle,
Whose trust alwaye medled is with trouble,
And her plesaunce includeth mening double.
And some affyrme that she may auaunce
Conquestes great and discomfytures,
And howe it lyeth also in her puissaunce
To forther and hynder all maner creatures,
And call her princesse of al aduentures,
The rich to enhaunce by royal apparayle,
And by disdayne to hinder the porayle.
when she maketh most fulsome her profers,
Her blandisshing is farced with falshede:
whan her riches ben stuffed vp in cofers,
They ben aye shet vnder a locke of drede.
Wherfore ye rich of one thyng take hede,
As your gathering came in wyth plesaunce,
Right so your losse departeth wt mischaunce.
Your gredy thurst treasour to multiply
Causeth an etyke of no suffisaunce:
In you engendring a false dropsye,
With a sharp hunger of worldly abundaunce
Making of you a maner resemblaunce
With Tantalus, whan ye do depest synke,
Thā is your nature most thrustlew to drink
who clymbeth highest on fortunes whele,
And sodainly to rychesse dothe ascende,
An vnware turne afore sene neuer a dele,
Whan he leest weneth maketh him descende:
[Page lxviii]Fro suche chaunges who may hym defende,
But they that be wyth pouerte nat dismaide,
And can with lytell holde them selfe apayde.

The firste Chapiter.

¶ Howe kyng Hostilius worshyppyng false goddes was consumpt with firy leuyn.

WHyle Bochas gan muse in thys matter.
Consydred fyrst all worldly thynge muste fayle,
Wyth wepyng eyen there dyd apere
Prynces ye whylom were famous in Itayle,
Whiche gan their fall full pitously bewayle:
For more contrarye was their falling lowe,
That they tofore had no mischefe knowe.
For more vncouth is thylke aduersyte
Namely to princes whan it is sodayne,
Which euer haue liued in prosperite,
Hauyng on Fortune no mater to complaine,
Than of a wretche that lyuith aye in payne:
Of custome causeth conceyued the sentence,
Of ioy and sorowe a full great difference.
Of ioy passed the newe remembraunce
Whan folke ben fall from theyr felicite,
In treble wise it dothe them great greuaūce:
The vnware turne from theyr tranquilyte,
The vnsure trust and mutabilyte
In worldly power whiche they haue founde,
Vnto their hertes yeueth a greuous wounde.
But to a wretche whiche in wretchydnesse
Hath euer liued, & neuer was partable
Of no welfare nor of wyelfulnesse,
Nor neuer found Fortune fauorable,
His sorowe his myschefe ben so costomable,
That of hys paynes longe continuaunce
Dothe to his greues a maner allegeaunce.
But to Princes whiche sate so high alofte,
A sodayne fall is moste contraryous,
And their disendynge wel the more vnlofte,
In their tryumphes y they were glorious,
Reccorde I take of kynge Hostylius,
Which in Rome from his royall stall,
Whan he sate crowned, moste sodenly is fall.
It is remembred of old and nat of newe,
Of all Rome that he was lorde and syre,
The firste of kynges y weared purple hewe,
And of that Citye gouerned the empyre:
Had of Fortune all that hym lyste desyre,
Tyll that he fyll in all his regaly,
In to a frowarde deedly malady.
And of his paynes to fynde alleyeaunce,
To the temples he went on pylgrymage:
His offeryng made with deuoute obeysaunce,
Wherby somdele his paynes dyd aswage,
And he was restored of corage,
Felt hym selfe that he dyd amend,
To comon profyte agayne he gan entende.
Vpon the Albaynes reignyng in hys glory,
To great anayle of Rome the cytie,
Throughe hys Knighthode he had a gret vic­tory:
After the whiche by full great cruelte,
He beraf [...]e them fraunchyse and lyberte,
And made thē after thrugh his high renoune,
To be to Rome vnder subiectyon.
After hys conquest the story doeth deuise,
In hys noblesse full stately and royall,
He gan make a ryche sacrifyse
To queme and please for a memoriall,
After the rightes ceremoniall,
To Jupiter, by full great reuerence,
Afore his auters wyth fyres and encence.
But for that he in hys inward intent
By cyrcumstaunces of his oblacyon
Was rechelesse founde, and also neglygent,
By some frowarde false affection,
The goddes caught an indignacion:
And sodaynly discendyng from the heauin,
He was consumpt with a firy leuin.
Hys false goddes might hym nat auayle,
Jupiter, Saturnus, Mars, nor Venus,
Let all chrysten defye suche raskayle,
For to our faythe they be contrarious:
And among godds a thyng most outragious
Is whan that prynces bleut in their foly,
Lyst erthly thynges falsly deify.
For vnto God is hatefull and odyble
A withdrawyng of his reuerence,
To magnify thynges corruptible
with vndue honour, with false concupiscēce:
Wherfore ye prices beware, of high prudēce,
Lest god vnwarely punyshe your noblesse,
Make you in erth no false God nor goddes.

¶ The second Chapiter.

¶ Howe Anchus kynge of Rome was murdred by Lucinyo by the assent of his wyfe.

THynke on Anchus kynge of Rome toune,
Whyche was so noble shynynge in glorye,
Weared a crown, ful famous of renoun,
Next Hostilius as put is in memory,
Wan the palme of many a great victory:
But for al that with a ful sharpe knyfe,
He murdred was by assentyng of his wife.
He loued her best aboue eche creature,
Considred not her statery nor falsnesse,
Her double meaning vnder couerture,
Falsly blent this princes worthynesse,
To robbe & reue him of his great richesse
Was her labour, with counterfete pleasaunce,
In her entent to bring hym to mischaunce.
This anchus had a great affection
Vnto his goddes to make sacrifyses,
And to augment the religion
Of paganysme, made in sondry wyses,
Through his manhode & circūspect deuyses,
Vpon Latines rebel to his citye,
For comon profyt he made a great armye.
One of their cities called Polotory,
He knightly wan maugre al their myght:
And whan he had of them ful victory,
He abode no lenger, but anone forth ryght
Made al the people in euery mannes syght,
As prisoners, thys romayne champion,
Brought afore hym boūde in to the toun.
Eke as I fynde this Anchus nolde cease
For cōmon profyte in his affection,
Their teritories to augment and encrece,
In al the countreis about enuyron,
Towarde y riuer where Tiber renneth doun
At the which place he let edifye
A ful stronge citie, which called is Ostye.
But not withstanding al his worthynesse,
He was depriued, the story telleth so,
Of his kyngdome and his great richesse,
By a foraine, called Lucinio:
His wife Tarquild assented was therto,
By whose outrage and gredy couetyse,
Anchus was murdred in full cruel wyse.

The .iii. Chapiter.

¶ Howe Lucinio that murdred Anchus was after murdred.

THus fro the whele of fortune he is fall,
Lucinio in Rome is crowned kyng:
And the Romayns after dyd hym cal
Tarquin the olde, by recorde of writyng.
Which hath atayned by fraudulent workyng,
And by his subtyll forged eloquence,
Vnto the state of royall excellence.
He fyrst ordayned in his estate roiall,
Turneys, iustes, in Castels and cities,
And other playes called marcial,
With many famous great solempnitees,
Sessions for states and degrees:
This Tarquin eke was fyrst y did his payne
In open stretes, tauernes to ordayne.
Eke to preserue his citye out of doute
If their enemyes lyst them to assaile,
He was the fyrst that walled Rome about,
With mighty toures vnlykely for to fayle:
And had also many a strong batayle
With Sabynes, in their rebellion,
And made them subiect vnto Rome toun.
But for he was assented to depriue
Worthy Anchus from his estate royal,
And after that toke Tanquylde vnto wyue,
Which slough her lorde by treason mortal,
God would of right that he should haue a fal
The lord wyl not, which euery thinge may se,
Suffre murdre long to be secre.
For Lucinio for his great offence
Touchynge the murdre of kyng Anchus,
Yslayne was by sodayne vyolence,
Of two sheperdes, the story telleth thus,
Which of entent were contrarious
Atwene them selfe by a fayned strife,
To fynde a way to reue hym of hys life.
For while the kyng sate in iugement
Vpon their quarel for to do iustise,
Full sodaynly they being of assent,
Fill vpon him in full cruell wise.
And with an axe the story doth deuise,
One of them or any man toke hede,
On two parties rofe the kynges heed.
This thing was done by the procuryng
[Page lxi]Of two chyldre, sonnes to Anchus,
Whyche were exyled by false compassyng
Of Lucinio, agayne them moste yrous,
To hym their presence was so odyous:
But they shope tho they were out of syght,
Theyr fathers deth to auenge if they might
For of nature blode wyll auenged be,
To recompence the wrong of his kyntede:
In thys chapter lyke as ye may se,
Blodshed for blode thus bothe dyd blede,
By whyche example let prynces take hede
Howe murdre done for supplantacion,
Requireth vengeaunce for his guerdon.


THys tragedie by clere inspection
Openly declareth in substaunce,
Howe slaughter of prices causeth sub­uercyon
Of realmes, cyties put out of ordynaunce,
Of mortall were longe contynuaunce,
Blode by supplāting shed of kinges twayne,
By exāple shewed false murdre to restrayne.
The fyne declaringe of murdre & false treson,
The dede horryble cryeth aye vengeaunce,
To god aboue to caste hys eyen doune,
To punishe thys sinne throgh his puissaunce:
For i [...] is mother of myschefe and mischaunce,
Wherfore ye prynces do some lawe ordayne
Within your boundes thre vyces to restraine.
The vyce of sclaundre, murdre, and poyson,
Where euer these thre haue acquayntaunce,
They bryng in sorowe and desolacyon:
Put at a prefe by newe remembranuce,
Of falshede vsed vnder fayre countenaunce,
Wherfore ye prynces do your busy payne,
Within your boūdes these vyces to restrayne.
God defende thys noble regyon,
With these thre vyces to haue alyaunce,
For slaundre firste deuoureth hygh renoun,
And sleeth good fame thrughe false daliaunce,
Harme done, to late foloweth repentaunce,
Wherfore ye princes do a lawe ordayne,
To punish their malice fals tōges to restray­ne
God hath of murdre abhominacyon,
And false poyson dothe to hym displesaunce,
There is no payne in comparyson
Condygne to murdre, paysed in balaunce:
Wherfore ye princes make an ordynaunce
Within your boundes of some preuy payne,
By dae punishing false murdre to restrayne.
O noble prynces prouyde of reason
Agayne these vyces to make purueyaunce,
Of rygour shewe due execucion,
With your labour and hertely instaunce,
Let deth be guerdon for their fynall penaūce:
To warne other by cōstraint of their payne,
Frō these .iii. vices their corages to restrayne.

The .iiii. Chapiter.

¶ Howe for the offence done to Lucrece by Tarquyn, was neuer after crowned kyng in Rome.

TOuching this Tarquin of whō I told
As myne auctour maketh mencion,
He called was Tarquinius the olde,
Whyche longe in Rome had dominacyon:
Tyll hys kynrede and generacyon
For the offence done vnto Lucrece,
Caused of kynges the names to cece.
For his sonne which after dyd succede,
For his outrages and his extorcions,
And for many an other cruell dede,
For hys hatefull vsurpacions,
Hys frowarde lyfe and false condycions,
Among the people bothe styll and loude,
He called was Tarquinius the proude.
Full obstinat he was in his entent,
Ambicious taccroche great rychesse:
Tyll that fortune wexed impacient
Agaynst hym, in all his great noblesse,
Gan her snares and her crokes dresse,
Thought she woulde but he kept hym wele,
All sodaynlie cast him from her whele.
A sonne he had full vycious as I fynde,
To all vertue moste contrarious:
To be froward it came to hym by kynde,
And of nature proude and dispitous,
Agayne the people fell and malycious,
Nat loued but dred, for tyrany of ryght
Is thyng most hated in the peoples syght.
Thys proude Tarquin y story is well couth,
Agayne Lucrece dyd a great outrage:
Oppressed her beuty in his vnbridled youth,
Her trouth assaylyng in a furious rage.
For which hys father and hys lynage
[Page]Exyled were, and for this hatefull thynge
Ther was neuer after in Rome crowned kig.
Her body corrupt she clene of hert & thought,
By force assayled was her innocence:
Oppressed her beaute, but her spirite nought,
Her chaste wyll dyd none offence,
But entred is in to her conscience
A greate remorse, for all her wyfely trouth,
To sle her selfe, whych was to great a routh.
And for that Bochas remembreth pyteouslye
Her deedly sorowe and lamentacion,
Write her complaynt in ordre ceryouslye,
Whyche that she made for her oppression:
I folowe muste and make mencion,
After myne auctor percell rehersyng,
Touchyng her wordes sayd in her dyinge,
Albe it so by byddyng of my lorde,
Reherced haue in my translacion
After Pierms here and there a worde,
Of a full dolefull declamacion,
By hym remembred of entencion,
For her sake men myght se and rede
What wyfely trouth was in her womanhed.
And John Bochas lyst nat set a syde
But that he would reherse in sentence,
Her wofull complaynt, and therupon abyde,
Of wronges done to her innocence:
And though I can nat folowe his eloquēce,
I shall sue the trouth of rehersyng,
As in substaunce theffect of his writyng.
THe morowe next after thys foule dede,
Lucrece vp rose wt a full deadly chere,
Out of her face gone was all the rede,
And darked were her heauenly eyen clere:
All clad in blake after the maner,
Of thylke folke whyche in especiall,
Be wonte to go to feastes funerall.
All her frendes beyng in presence
Husbande, Father, with other eke also,
By and by rehersynge in sentence
The cyrcumstaunces of her hartely wo,
And or that I any further go
Vnder hope my Lorde wyll me supporte,
What that she sayd I wyll to you reporte.

The .v. Chapiter.

¶ The greuous complaynt of Lu­crece vpon her oppression.

FOr as moche (quod she) as I Lucrece
Am by the lawe ioyned in maryage,
To the mi lord whose loue shal a [...]e en­crease
Towardes the, wt all the surplusage
Of wyfely trouth, to endure all myne age
As humble subiect wt faythfull obeysaunce,
Vnder thy lordshyp & thy gouernaunce.
O Collatyn my Lorde and true husbande,
Best beloued, of hole affeccyon,
I wyll no more no quarell take on hande
Nor in no wyse take none accion,
Without that thou lyste enclyne doune
Goodly thyne eares to ye [...]e me audyence,
To that I shall reherce in thy presence.
Iniury done or any maner wronge
Agayne my worshyp or myne honeste,
By the lawe my sentence is made stronge,
It toucheth you also wele as me,
I am so holy yolden vnto the,
Thou art my heed who clerly can discerne,
Lorde and husbande my body to gouerne.
Parciall causes in sothe there may none be
Atwene vs twayne nor no disseueraunce,
For sote and bytter, ioy and aduersyte,
We must them way both in one balaunce:
Counterpayse our sorowes, & our plesaunce,
Entermedle all thynge that stant in doubte,
Receyue our Fortune as it commeth aboute.
There may atwen vs be no meaning double,
But one herte, one wyll, and one corage,
And as a woman y standeth now in trouble,
Wythout polysshyng of any fayre langage,
I must disclose to you the greate outrage,
Done vnto me, and playnly it discure,
Whyche to redresse lyeth holy in your cure.
For the mater to speake in wordes playne,
Aright out serched and the trouth out found,
As a iuste cause indifferent to twayne,
Towarde vs both the quarell doth rebounde:
And more strongly your mater for to groūde,
Reherse I wyll so that ye saufe it vouche,
A mortall wronge which ye & me doth touch.
In a castell whiche called is Collace,
Of which my lorde here hath y gouernaunce,
Tarquyn the yonge came in to that place,
I full disware to make purueyaunce,
Agayne hys commynge, or any ordinaunce,
Tofore nat warned of his offycers,
[Page lxx]Sate vnpuruayed amonge my chamberers.
Of entent to eschewe ydelnesse,
We sate and span wolles softe:
For she of vyces is a chefe maystresse,
Where she is cherysshed and yset alofte.
But of custome as I haue done full ofte,
I and my women duly as we ought,
To auoyde slouthe full busily wrought.
His entryng was meke and debonayre,
Benygne of porte, of loke and of vysage,
With a pretence of many wordes fayre,
In whose meanyng was full great outrage,
His chere contrary vnto his corage:
In thys wyse there he was receyued,
Wherby alas I falsly was disceyued.
At prime face, as me thought it due
I hym receiued at his in commyng,
Rose vp mekely, and gan hym to salue,
As apertayned in all maner thyng,
Vnto the sonne of a worthy kyng:
And truly Tarquine, for whiche I say, alas,
Me to traysh stode in the same caas.
A kynges sonne shulde of duety,
Be to women wall and protection,
Preserue and kepe them in all surety,
That no man shulde of no presumpcion
Do them no wronge nor oppression:
Rather dye than se them suffer vnryght,
Aduertysinge the offyce of a knight.
But contrary to knighthod he hath wrought,
By false outrage done agaynst me,
Wronge wayes and croked meanes sought,
Of lawes twayne to breake the liberte:
And to deface the auctorite
Of lawe Ciuile and naturall also,
In my person offendyng bothe twoe.
First by his subtyll compassyng
He gan espy thestrys of the place,
And whan a bed alone I lay slepyng,
Lyke a lyon, full sterne of loke and face,
With his left hande my throte he dyd enbrace:
And in his other helde agayne all lawe,
Me to oppresse, a naked sworde ydrawe.
Thus afforsyng my wifely chastyte,
Agayne knighthod he dyd this great offence,
My lyfe, my worshyp, put in perplexite,
Hauing no might to make resystence,
Me manasyng by deadly violence,
The one of twayne, to dye in his entent,
Or to auoutry falsly to consent.
Thus I stode sole atwene dethe & diffame,
My body corrupte, my spyrite abode clene,
My spousayle broken, and my good name
For euer disclaundred, y whilom shone shene:
Yuell fame of custom wyll alway wax grene,
Neuer dye, the people so them disporte.
The worste of thynges gladly to reporte.
Alas, alas, amonge my sorowes all
This one the moste y dothe my hert agryse,
I am nat worthy that men me shoulde call
Or haue the name in no maner wise,
For the offence whiche ye haue herde deuyse,
To be called in this wretched lyfe,
Of Collatyn from henseforthe the wyfe.
Myne eyne also be blynded with derknesse,
Only for shame to lyfte vp their syght,
Outher their stremes or beame vp dresse,
Of the clere heuen to loke vpon the lyght:
Nor I may neuer be of the nombre of ryght
Of true matrons, amonge them ferre ornere
For to be rekened in their kalendere.
Let myne iniury, and this mortall cryme
Be so punysshed of ryght and equyte,
Without delay of any lenger tyme,
That euer after it may example be
Through all the worlde, and eke in this cyte,
With suche a payne therupon deuysed,
That all auoutrors may be therby chastysed.
And if it seme in your opinyon
In this case I shulde be vnpure,
I wyll receyue iuste punycion,
And the payne paciently endure:
If it so stande that perauenture,
Ye deme of reason, that am so iust and stable,
In this mater that I be culpable.
Her tale tolde whan they longe had mused,
On this complaint in their inward sight,
Of trouth echone they helde her full excused,
Made all behest, with all their full myght
To auēge her wrong, and Lucrece anonright
Toke a sharpe knyfe or they might aduert,
And roue her selfe euyn through the hert.

☞ The complaynt of Bochas vpon the lux­ury of princes, as by examples of many dyuers myschaunces.

BOchas in hert brennyng hote as fyre,
Of very ire and indignacion,
Agayne tho princes which in their desire
Haue fully set their delectacion,
Their felycite, and their affection,
To folowe their lustes of false lechery,
Froward spousebreche, and of auoutry,
He writeth again them that seketh occasiōs,
Places of lustes, to haue their libertees,
For to fulfyl their delectacions,
And for taccōplysh their great dishonestees,
Deuyse out tauernes in borowes and citees
And sitting there among their company,
After the dede, they boste of their foly.
If any man pyntche at their outrage,
Or them rebuke for their transgressions,
They wyl answer wt froward false langage,
And for their party alledge great reasons
First how it longeth to their condicions
By right of nature, as it is well couth,
Frely to vse lechery in youthe.
Affyrme also howe lawe of kinde is fre,
And so afforce them to sustain their party,
By exāple of Dauid which y toke Bersabe,
And for her sake how he slough Vrie:
Dyd manslaughter, and false auoutry,
For them allegyng, agayne right and res [...],
For Dalida the luxurye of Sampson.
The story also they frowardly apply,
How for a woman prudent Salomon
The lord offendyng did ydolatry:
And in diffence of their opinion,
Reherse these stories for their excusacion
Of their errour, therby a price to wynne,
As tofore God lechery were no sinne.
They not consydre in their entencion,
Of these stories of euery cyrcumstaunce,
First of kyng Dauid the great contricion:
Nor vpon Samson how god toke vēgeaūce,
First how he lost his force & his puissaūce,
For his offence: they haue not this in minde,
Nor how both his eyen were made blynde.
Nor their reasons they lyst not to enclyne
For to conceyue in their discrecion,
The spyrite of wysdome heuenly and diuine,
Was take away fro prudent Salamon,
In chastising for his transgression:
And some doctours affyrme ouermore,
How Salomon repented hym ful sore.
The play of youth folke calleth lechery,
Say it is a game of nature,
And to sustayne and beare vp their party,
Howe it sit well, by recorde of scripture,
Vnto euery lyuely creature
That stant in helth, and is coragious,
Of very kynde to be lecherous.
Vicious report they haue in remembraunce,
But vertuous thynge is ferre out of mynde:
Fleshly lustes and lecherous plesaunce
In their desires be not lefte behynde,
Auauntyng, lying, they can of new out fynd,
And nowe a dayes they hold it curtesy,
Othes horrible, flateryng, and ribaudy.
In their auice they take lytel hede
Vnto the doctryne of noble Scipion,
Which commaunded in story as I rede,
To Massinissa full famous of renoun,
Not to touche by no condicion
Sophonisba fayrest of vysage,
But it were by way of maryage.
Though she were borne of the blod royal,
Her youth was set to all honeste,
Doughter and heire to noble Hasdruball
Duke of Cartage, the story ye may se:
And for her vertues of feminyte,
She wedded was of byrth as she was lyke,
To king Siphax, which reigned in Affrike.
And for to preue the great lyberte,
Which is in vertue conueyed by reson,
And the false thraldom of dyshoneste,
Of bothe to make a playne comparison,
After the doctryne of Censorin Caton,
Shewed by him to folkes commune,
That vertue neuer is subiect to fortune.
Vertue conserueth measure and reson,
Consydereth thinges afore or they befal,
Taketh none emprises but of discrecion,
And on prudence foundeth her werkes al,
Aye to her counsayle attēperaūce she doth cal
Warely prouiding in her selfe within
The end of thynges, to fore or she begyn.
This was the doctrine taught forth of Catō
Lecherous lustes to put them vnder fote,
Grauntyng to vertue the domynacyon,
Plucke vp vyces braunche, crop, and rote:
Frute of goodnes groweth vp so sote
Whan it is planted of youth in corage,
It neuer appalleth in eld of his tarage.
Caton of vertue was a chefe offyter,
Preferryng euer common commoditees
Tofore profites that wer synguler:
To enhaūce the comon in kingdōs and citees,
Their wyttes peysed and their habylytees,
Persons promoting in whō it was supposed,
That they in vertue were naturalli disposed.
Manlye in hert he was aye to sustene,
Indifferent trouth, and all iustyce:
Fleshly delytes of folke that were vncleane,
He was aye redy by rygour to chastyce.
And set lawes in full prudent wyse
For to punysh flaterours and lechours,
And such as were open auoutrours.
He had of women none opinion
With them to deale, for luste nor for beaute,
But if it were for procreacion,
So stable he was found in his degre:
The boke redyng of immortalyte
Which Plato made, the trouth well sought,
Therin concludyng how soules dye noughte,
But lyueth euer in ioy or in payne,
Thus wrote Plato in his originall.
Men may the body bi deth ful wel constrain,
But the soule aye abydeth immortal,
For which this Caton stedfast as a wal,
For comon profyte to dye was not aferd,
Whan he him self slew with a naked swerde.
But to fortune afore his dethe he saide:
O thou princes of worldly goodes vayne,
To thy flateries I neuer did abrayde,
Thy fauour is so false and vncertayn,
That neuer I faught no fraunchise to atain,
As for my selfe no perciall syngulerte,
But all for profyte touching the comonte.
Agayne Cesar I made resystence,
To conquere fredome to me, and to the toun,
Frely to eschewe his mortal vyolence,
This world dispising in mine opinion,
Our fraunchise thralled vnder subiection
Iustly forsakyng the varyaunce of this life,
My soule conueyed to be contemplatyse.
This philosopher this prudent old Caton
Tendring in hert common comodytees,
Tofore his dethe wrote of compassyon
To them that sate in royall dignitees,
Which had of vertue lost the libertees,
Princes be sechyng that were luxurous,
To take ensample, and folow kyng Drusus.
The which Drusus by succession,
Was heir to Augustus & next him emperour
Set all in vertue his affection,
And it to cherysshe did holy his labour:
To lust vnlefull he neuer gaue fauoure,
And touching loue, duryng al his lyfe,
He neuer had lust, but onely to his wife.
And in his palayes amyd of his royall se,
Of noble princes dwellyng in Rome toun,
He asked was for all his dignyte,
What maner corage of temptacyon,
Or what feruence or delectacion
Within hym selfe he had of loues play,
Sole by hys wyfe whan he a bed lay.
And lyke a prynce fulfylled of hye nobles,
Answered agayn wyth sobre countenaunce,
Touchyng such lust as foloweth fleshlynes,
Lyke as nature me put in gouernaunce,
In one alone is set al my plesaunce:
For with none other for no concupiscence,
Saue with my wyfe I neuer dyd offence.
Princes echone folowe nat the trace
Of noble Drusus, as ye shal vnderstand.
For some haue stande all in another case,
Such as can hold two or thre in hand,
Now here, now there, as botes come to land:
Not consydring their degrees nor disauayle,
Whan newfangylnes bloweth in their sayle.
Eke Bochas writeth, sōe prices haue be foūd
which viciously haue done their busy payne
Vertuous women by flatery to confound,
And tendre maydens to bring in a trayne,
Suche manaces and tormentes to ordayne,
Thē to transforme from their perseueraūce
And interrupt their virginal constaunce.
But of such folke that yeue no force of shame,
Nor drede God, such traynes to deuyse,
Husbandmen forsoth are most to blame,
with foraine women to trespace in such wise:
[Page]I trow their wiues thē may inough suffise,
For many be feble their dettes for to quite,
Though they in cha [...]ige thē self falsly delite.
Some affyrine for them self allegyng,
To such outrage that they haue licence
Frely of nature to vse their own thing,
And in such case to no wight do offence:
But froward is their errour in sentēce,
Fro bond of wedlock whan they be so vnsta­ble,
And tofore God most hatefull and dāpnable.
For she that is through her hye noblesse,
Named of clerkes which clerly can cōcerne,
Doughter of God, Lady and princesse,
Reason called to gyde folke and gouerne,
Atwene good and yuell iustly to discerne,
She hath departed playnlye to conclude,
The lyfe of man from lyfe of beastes rude.
This Lady reason sith ago full yore
Gaue vnto man wyt and discrecion,
Taught him also by her souerain lore,
Twene vyce and vertue a great diuision:
And that he should in his eleccion
Vnto all vertue, naturally obey,
And in contrary al vicious lyfe werrey.
And to enprinte in his memoriall,
How of luxurie the great dishoneste
Dissourme a man, and make him bestyal,
And disfigure, of what estate he be:
For whan that reason of high or lowe degre
Is fled away, folke may affyrme than
He is lyke a beast, rather than a man.
wherfore let princes that haue ben defectife,
To folowe their lustes of sensualite,
Shape them bi reson for to amend their life,
And to conserue and kepe their chastyte,
Both of virgins and wifely honeste:
And to punyshe al tho that lyst labour,
The honest fame of women to deuour.
For when a lechour by force, or by maistrye,
Defouled hath of virgynes the clennesse,
Widowes oppressed, and by auoutry
Assayled wiues that stande in stablenesse,
who may thā their sclaūdrous harm redres,
Whā their good name is hurt by such report?
For fame lost ones can neuer haue his resort
A thefe may robbe a man of his ryches,
And by some meane make restitucion:
And some men may disherite and oppresse
A poore man frō his possession,
And after make satisfaccion:
But no man may restore in no degre,
A mayden robbed of her virginite.
A man may also beate a castell doun,
And build it after more freshly to the syght,
Exyle a man out of a regyon,
And him reuoke wher it be wrong or right:
But no man hath the power nor the might,
For to restore the palayes virginal
Of chastyte, whan broken is the wal.
Men may also put out of seruise
And offycers remeue from their place,
And at a day whan fortune lyst deuyse,
They may agayne restored be to grace:
But there is nouther tyme set nor space.
Nor neuer in story nouther read nor seyne,
That maydenhed lost recured was ageyne.
For which men shuld haue a conscience,
Rewe in their hert and repent sore,
And haue remorse in their great offence
To rauish thing, which thei mai not restore:
For it is sayd, and hath ben sayd ful yore,
The emeraud grene of perfyte chastyte,
Stolne ones away may not recured be.
And hard it is to rauysshe a treasour
Which of nature is not recuperable,
Lordshyp may not of kyng nor emperour
Refourme a thing which is not reformable,
Rust of dyffame which is not seperable,
And maydenhed lost of newe or yore,
No man alyue may it agayne restore.
Romayns old through their pacience,
Suffred tyrauntes in theyr tyrannies
And in their cyties to do great vyolence,
The people to oppres with their robberyes:
But to punyshe they set strayte espyes,
On false auoutrours, as it is wel couth,
Widowes to rauish & maydēs in their youth.
Vpon this mater the story bereth witnesse,
Touchyng the exyle of king Tarquinius,
Afore rehersed by writing ful expresse:
The hateful death of Apius Claudius,
For his trespase done to Virginius,
The iudgementes rehersed and the payne,
And fro their offyce depriued bothe twayne.
Was nat the cytie whylom desolate
Of Sychemites for the ribaudry
Of one Sichem whiche gan a great debate,
To haue accomplyshed his foule lechery,
Whan yonge Dyna as bokes specifye,
Went rechelesly walkyng vp and downe,
To se the maydens of that royall towne?
But whan Sychem this Dyna dyd espye,
Sole by her selfe, walke in the cytie,
He begane anone assayle her by maystry,
And for to aforce her virgynyte,
Bycause she had no leyser for to fle:
Whose great offence and transgressyon,
The cytie broght vnto destruccyon.
Her father Jacob and holy her kynrede,
Agayn this Sichem gan inwardly disdayne:
Whan the fury of Mars was most to drede,
To be venged they dyd theyr busy payne:
And specially her worthy brethern twayne,
Fyll on the cyte, Symeon, and Leuy,
To auenge their suster, and stroy it fynally.
So mortally they gan with them stryue
with their swordes, ground sharp, and kene,
Of male children they left none alyue,
They were so vēgeable in their furyous tene:
The Sychemytes might not sustene
That day agaynst them to stand at defence,
So importable was their violence.
For wher that God list punish a man of right
By mortall swerde, farwel al resistence:
Whā grace faileth force goth away & myght,
Febleth of princes the magnifycence,
Chaungeth their power into impotence,
Reuerseth the kynges their stately regaly,
Example in Sichem for his false auoutry.
It was an hard dredfull punycion
That one princes trespas in lecherye,
Caused afore God that all a regyon
Distroyed was without remedy:
This story is told for to exemplify
Whan noble princes to women them submit,
Grace & al fauour anon doth from thē flyt.
Of this mater what shuld I wryte more
In Genesis the resydue ye may rede,
The dethe of Sichem and of kyng Hemore,
And howe their kingdome distroyed was in dede
Of Sychemites, lo here y finall mede
Of lechery & of his false plesaunce,
Which many a realme hath broughte to mys­chaunce.
What shuld I eft reherce agayne or write
The false auoutry of Paris and Helayne?
Their woful fate Gu [...]do dyd endyte,
Poetes echone eke dyd their busy payne,
To declare howe only by these twayne
The worthy blode, for short conclusyon,
Of Troy and Grece came to distruccion▪
But oft it falleth that muche abundaunce
Of worldli good, with great ease and riches,
In folke that set all holy their plesaunce
To folow their lusts, & froward wylfulnes,
Hath caused in landes gret mischef & distres:
Whan vicious life their corages did encōbre,
Distroied kingdoms, & people out of nombre
For whan the people through fals obstinacy
Is indurate to amend them and correct,
And wil not turne them from their lechery,
But aye be redy their soules to enfecte:
And vnto purpose my style I wyl dyrect,
To examplify howe Gabaa the town,
Was for his sinnes brought to confusion.
Whylom this people called Gabanytes
From Beniamin discended in their line,
Were aye disposed to folowe their delytes:
And of custome their wyttes dyd enclyne
In worldly plentie to flour and to shyne,
And dempt alway to them it was most due,
Of wylfulnes their lustes for to sue.
In lechery was set al their plesaunce,
And in that vice they lad moste their lyfe:
Wherby they were brought vnto mischaūce,
And many slayne by full mortal strife,
Whan the Leuyte came forby with his wife,
Full excellent of fetures and beaute,
And toke his lodging within the greate cyte.
He was ful old, and she was inly fayre,
He impotent, and she but tendre of age,
Through Gabaa making their repayre,
The cytesyns of importune rage,
Shewyng the fury of their great outrage,
So long that nyght her beauty dyd assayl,
Tyll lyfe and brethe atones dyd her fayle.
Contagious the sclaundre and the diffame,
In Judicum the story ye may rede:
Which to reherce is a maner shame,
To here the abusyon of that foule dede,
[Page]And how ye Leuite a morow gan take hede,
With piteous chere, and saw his yong wyfe,
Tofore the gate depriued of her lyfe.
He hent her vp and layde her on his asse,
To noyse this cryme vpon euery side,
Thought in such case he myght do no lasse,
Toke a sharp sword, & lyst no lenger abyde,
On twelue partes he gan her to deuide:
And to eche tribe of Jacob he hath sent,
A certayne parte, to se their iudgement.
Which thing to them was hateful & terrible,
And in their [...]ight full abomynable,
And in all haste lykely and possible,
All of one wyll and one corage stable,
On Gabaonytes for to be vengable,
They gathered haue shortly to conclude,
Tassayle that towne, a ful great multitude.
whan they first met atwen thē thus it stode,
The twelue tribes were twise put to flyghte
On either party great quantity of bloud
was shed among them in that mortall fyght:
For sixty thousand (who that co [...]pt a right)
Were slayne there, the story wyll not lye,
To auenge the sclaundre of false auoutry.
Lo here the guerdon of the froward fyres
In lecherons folke, yt wyl not staunched be,
That brent so hote through bestiall desyres,
In Gabaa the mighty stronge cyte:
Which was distroyed for his iniquite,
And almoste brought of Beniamin the line,
Through his offence to eternall ruyne.
Eke for his feruent dronken lechery,
Holophernes by Judith lost his hede:
And al his hoste and al his chiualry
Left the felde, and fled away for drede,
And he lay bathed in his bloud al rede,
Thus through their vyce if it be wel sought,
Ful many a price hath be brought to nought.
These sayd stories ought ynough suffyse,
If men wold consydre and take hede,
The great vengaunces in many sondry wise
Which God hath take for this sinne in dede,
As in their bokes they mai behold and rede:
Warnynges afore full oft put at prefe,
How they them self shal saue fro mischefe.


This tragedy yeueth vs gret warnig
Biclere examples of manifold resō,
Howe many a prince for their [...] ­uing
And many rych royal mighty toune,
Many a citie and many a region,
Haue bene euer sith full notable infamous,
For synne of princes that were lecherous.
The chosen of god Dauid the worthyking,
Prophet of prophets most souerain of reno [...],
On Bersabe for a sodayne lokyng,
To slee Vrye caught occasyon,
For which he suffred great punicion:
Chastysed of god, he and all his house:
For cause only that he was lecherous.
Great repentaunce he had & great sorowing,
And made psalmes of great contricion,
with woful teares and manyfolde wepyng,
To make a sheth for his transgression:
yeuing to princes full clere dyrection,
For to eschewe the flattery odious
And the false fraude of women lecherous.
Where was ther euer of science or conning
So renomed as was king Salomon?
yet women made him thrugh false flatering
To foraine goddes done oblacion,
Which clipsed his honor & brought his fame doun,
That was whilom moste vertuous,
Tyll he thrugh women fyl to be lecherous.
Is it not eke remembred by writing
Of Israel howe the chefe champion
Which goddes people had in his leadyng,
I mean the famous mighty strong Sāpson,
That thrugh his force torent the lion?
But Dilada with teares plentuous,
His grace bereft him, & made him lecherous
Sichem was slayne eke for the rauyshyng
Of yonge Dyna, as made is mencion:
His father Hemor brought to his endyng,
Lost his rychesse in that discencion,
And his kingdom brought to distruccion:
Lo here the end of princes vicious,
Which them dispose for to be lecherous.
It is in earth one the most perylous thinge,
A prince to be of his condicion
E [...]emynate, his wyttes enclynyng
By false desyres of fleshly mocion
To put him self vnder subieccion,
And thral resō, his tresour most precious
[Page lxxiii]To the vnleful lustes hatefull and lecherous.
This is the sentence full playnly in menyng,
Where women haue the dominacion
To holde the raine, their hokes out castyng,
That sensualitie hath iurisdiction,
To enter on reason by false intrusion,
Warre agaynst vertue most contagious,
To be vaynquished, of lustes lecherous.
It taketh fro men their clerenes of seyng,
Causeth great sickenes and corruption:
And to all vertue it is greatest hyndryng,
Maketh men seme olde as by inspection,
Appalleth their minde and disposition,
Shorteth their life, thing dredfull & piteous,
Whan they dispose them to be lecherous.
Noble prynces in your ymaginyng
Conceyue of women the false deception,
Namely of them that loue but for winnyng,
And labour aye for your possession:
Whose sugred flattery is false collusion,
Like to Syrens, with voyce melodious
Enoynt your eares to make you lecherous.

¶ The .vi. Chapter.

☞How Cambyses assentyng to the murder of his brother Mergus, at the last slough him selfe.

AFter the death of mighty king Cirus,
Next came his sonne called Cambises,
Heyre by succession, full victorious,
Whiche tofore Bochas put him selfe in prees,
And gan his complaynt, this is doubtles,
That they of Egypt in many vncouth wyse,
To sundry Goddes did sacrifice.
First vnto Apis they dyd Sacrifice,
Called Serapis their greatest god of all,
Raygnyng in Egypt most of excellence,
And god of goddes foles did him call:
And of his nobles thus it is befall,
Slayne by his brother, whiche is a wonder,
Seuered on peces, and ful farre east asunder.
And they of Egypt made their ordinaunce,
Vpon payne of death in their statute olde,
A god to call him, and do their obseruance
Within his temple, like as they were holde:
Wherof Cambises tofore as I you tolde,
All the temples of that region
Cast him by force for to throw doun.
The temple of Jupiter to robbe it by rauyne,
Called Hammon, without exception
His knightes sent to bryng it to ruyne,
But they echoue for their presumption,
With sodaine leuin were smit and beat down:
Wherof Cambises in Jsye tho raygnyng,
Had this dreame as he lay slepyng.
He drempt his brother yt called was Mergus
Should in the kingdome after him succede,
Wherof in hart he waxt so enuious,
That he purposed of rancour and hatrede
By some meane to make his sides blede:
And that his purpose should take auayle,
A magicien he toke to his counsayle.
And he was holde a full great Phylosopher,
Called Comares, full sleyghty and cunnyng:
To whō Cambises made a full large profer,
Of golde & treasure, to make him assentyng
To execute this horrible thing,
And that he would in most cruell wise,
The murder of Mergus to cōpas and deuise.
And while Cambises ordeyned this treason
To slea Mergus his owne brother dere,
God from aboue cast his eyen downe
Hym to punishe in full cruell manere:
For he waxed wode who so list to lere,
Caught a swerde, & roue his thigh on twaine
And sodaynly he dyed for the paine.
For two causes god toke on him vengeaunce,
As mine auctour Bochas doth expresse,
For his presumptuous & false disobeysaunce,
Spoyling the gods of their great riches:
And for the froward great vnkyndnes
To yeue assent to the contagious caas,
Whan y Mergus his brother murdred was.
The death of whom was chefe occasion
Of full great warre, striues, and debate,
Eke fynall cause why all the region
Of mighty Perce, stode disconsolate:
For heyre was none of high nor low estate,
By title of right, through his vnhappy chaūce
To be their kyng and haue the gouernaunce.
For the magycien called Comares,
Which [...]lue Mergus as ye haue herd expres,
Toke his brother called Dropastes,
And made him kyng, the story bereth witnes:
[Page]Because that he resembled in likenes
Vnto Mergus, of face and of stature,
To crowne him kyng therfore he did his cure
The deth of Mergus outward was not know
Nor playnly published in that region,
His body buried, and cast in earth lowe,
Of whom the murder, & fraudulent treason,
The piteous slaughter wrought by collusion,
And all the maner by processe was espyed,
So openly, it myght not be denyed.
And in what wyse the noyse gan out sprede
Touchyng this murder, odyous for to here,
Whan that Oropastes occupted in dede
The crowne of Perce, the story doth vs lere,
There was a prynce full notable and entere,
Called Hostanes that gan his wytte apply,
Of high prudence this murder out to espy.
While that Oropastes vnder a false pretence
Of Perciens was receiued for kyng,
The sayd prynce did his diligence
By inquisition to haue knowlegyng,
By what ingyne, or by what sleyghty thing,
The sayd Oropastes caught occasion,
In stede of Mergus, to occupy the croun.
On this matter he had a coniecture,
That his title was neither whole ne clere:
The trouth to trye he did his busy cure,
And to serche out wholy the manere,
He sought so farre, that he came ryght nere,
And in this case letted for no slouth,
Tyll that he had founde out the very trouth.
The case was thus playnly to termine,
He had a daughter full fayre of her vysage,
Whiche of the kyng was chiefest concubine,
By whom he thought to catche aduauntage,
And vnto her he hath sent his message,
Secretely to enquire how it stode,
Where yt the kyng were come of Cyrus bloud.
And bade that she shoulde secretly take hede,
While that he slept to do her busy payne,
With her handes for to fele his hede,
And to grope after both his eares twayne:
And if it fyll, there is no more to sayne,
Vpon his head that she none eares founde,
To tel her father of trouth as she was boūd.
This mighty prynce Hostanes knewe wele,
Ryght as it is recorded by scripture,
Touching this case how it stode euery dele,
How kyng Cambyses of sodaine aduenture,
By his liue for a forfeyture
Made of Oropastes, the story sayth not nay,
Both his two eares to be cut away.
And hereupon to be certified,
He was desierous to haue full knowlegyng,
Whiche by his daughter whan it was espyed,
Vpon a nyght liyng by the kyng,
Gropyng his head as he lay slapyng:
Full subtilly felt and toke good hede,
How he none eares had vpon his heed.
And to her father anone she hath declared
The secrenes of this auenture,
And for no feare ne drede he hath not spared,
How that it stode playnly to discure:
And first of all he did his busy cure,
All the prynces of Perce lande yfere,
To counsayle call to entreat of this mattere.
And whan they were assembled euerychone,
Of Oropastes he tolde them all the chaunce:
And how yt Mergus was murdred yore agōe
As here tofore is put in remembraunce:
Wherupon to set an ordinaunce,
And to redresse these wronges done toforne,
Of Perce lande were seuen prynces sworne.
Of one assent in their intencion,
By bonde of othe thei made their assuraunce,
And a full secrete communicacion,
To put Oropastes frō his royall puissaunce,
Whiche had all Perce vnder his gouernaūce
By a full false pretence of herytage,
For he was like to Mergus of vysage.
These seuen prynces of which tofore I tolde,
All of one hart, and by their othe ybounde,
Prudent, and manly, and of yeres olde,
Haue sought a tyme Oropastes to confound:
And wt their swerdes sharpe whet & ground,
Vnder couert in their apparayle,
Came of entent Oropastes to assayle.
And in the palays whom euer that they met,
Or agayne them made resistence,
All of accorde they fiercely on him set
But the magicien y was there in their presēce
Came agaynst them by sturdye vyolence,
And at the encountregan thē so constrayne,
That of the prynces they haue slaine twayne.
But finally the other prynces fyue,
Whan that they sawe their two feres blede,
In al the palays they left none alyue,
And kynge Oropastes quaking in his drede,
Full vnwarely or that he toke hede,
Was slayn, ther guerdoned for al his might,
Of pretence kinges yt reigne & haue no right.

The .vii. Chapiter.

¶ Howe Dary obteynyng the kingdom of Perce by sleyght, ended with shame.

AFter the deth of these Magicyens,
Was left no king to haue y gouernaūce,
Nor for to rule the lande of Perciens,
Saue fyue princes full famous of puissaunce:
Whyche made a statute and an ordinaunce,
Of one accorde by recorde of writyng,
Theron concluding who shuld be chose king.
Their sort, their hap, and all their auenture
Was yeue to fortune of thys eleccion,
And thus the prince the crowne shall recure
Among these fyue, by theyr conuencion,
For to gouern the mighty regyon,
And in that lande to reigne and contune,
Lyke as the fauour lyst ordeyn of fortune.
Thys was the statute, vpon a mornyng
All atones erly for to ryde
Atwene Aurora and Phebus vprisyng,
Vp to a hyll to houe and to abyde,
All rancour & dyscorde set asyde,
Whose horse among them was first herde neying,
Without grutching, shulde be crowned kyng.
Vpon this mater what shoulde I leger tary?
Hereon was made an othe in sykernesse,
Among these prīces one which was called Da
Aprince of Perce excellyng of noblesse,
Whych had a seruaunt y story bereth witnessery
That kept hys horse, & thought in very dede
Hys lorde he wolde preferre at suche a nede.
The sayd seruant full sleyghtly in werkyng,
His dilygence lyst nothyng to spare,
The day to fore set of their metynge,
At a place, smothe, playne, and bare,
Hys lordes horse, he made leape a mare:
And on the morowe when the princes met,
On horsbacke there hys lorde he set.
And whan the horse thyder came agayne,
Nature anone afforced his corage,
To neye loude vpon the same playne
Where as the mare had vsed her passage:
Kynde in suche case had great auauntage,
By whiche sleyght playnly to reherse,
The sayd Dary was crowned kig of Perce.
The prynces all lyke theyr conuencion,
Or Phebus shewed his firy beames bryght,
Without stryfe or contradiccion
From their horse sodaynly alyght:
And vnto Dary as lowly as they myght,
Sayd in greke or they vp rose,
Policromtudo Basileos
Which is in latyn to spake in wordes playne,
And in englyshe by expowning of scripture
After the Greke, as moche for to sayne,
As longe tyme myght the kyng endure
And lyue in helth with good auenture,
By the grace and fauour of fortune,
Vpon all Perce to reigne and contune.
Who wyll consydre euery cyrcumstaunce,
It is a meruayle nat grounded on prudence,
By such sleyght a king to haue gouernaunce,
Through tytle or clayme as of iust euidence,
So to be raysed to kyngly excellence:
But whan fortune fauoureth suche assay,
Tyll y she chaunge ther can no man say nay.
Thus was kyng Dary borne of lowe linage,
Set vp by sleyght in estate honorable,
Thought y he wolde for his auauntage,
To make his kyngdom & his reigne stable,
Wed such a wyfe as to hym was most able:
Demyng of trouth hys clayme were well a­mēded,
Of Cirus lyne if she were discēded.
To wede suche one was all his couetyse,
Stable for to reigne vpon the Perciens,
And as I fynde, in full cruell wyse
By the counsayle of false magicyens,
A werre he gan vpon the Egipciens,
Eke folily he gan for to werrey
Them of Athenes, whiche lyst hym nat obey.
And as myne auctor maketh rehersayle,
He for his pride and false presumpcion,
Was discomfyted twyes in batayle:
And neuer after, as made is mencyon,
He was nat had in reputacyon
Among Perciens, so gan his honoure fade,
Wyth sleyght he gan, with shame an ende he made.

¶ The .viii. Chapter.

¶ How Corolian by Romaynes exiled gan warre agaynst them, and how after they sent out his mother withother for peace: which had, they eft him exiled, and after was slayne.

AFter this Dary, as I rehearce can,
And mine auctour liketh to conclude,
To Iohn Bochas came Corolian,
The most wofull of that multitude:
Which gan complaine vpon the ingratitude
Of the Romayns, how they whilom in dede
Exiled his person of rancour and hatrede.
Whiche in his time would neuer ceace
Through his noblesse & hys hygh renoun,
Their common profite to augment & encrece,
And for to bringe to their subiection
Many a citye, and many a noble toun,
Yet they agaynward for all his chyualry,
Him exiled of malyce and enuy.
But whan this Marcus called Corolian,
Saw of Romayns the great vnkindnes,
Toward a countrey that called was Tuskan
Of high disdayne anone he did him dresse:
And them entreated of manly fell prowes,
To gyn a warre sythe they so manly be,
Through his cōueiyng, againe Rome y citye.
And for to put them more in assuraunce
To haue victory through their high renoun,
He tolde them playnly of a great distaunce
Of a false strife, and a discencion
That was of newe fall in Rome towne:
Wherfore they should (if it be prouided)
Cōquere thē lightly because thei wer deuided
By their assent they made a great armye,
With stuffe for war richely apparayled,
Pyght his tentes tofore that great citye,
And in the fielde stode proudly battayled:
But the hartes of Romayns haue thē fayled,
And durst not passe the gates of their toun,
There was among thē so great deuision.
Their citye stode that time destitute,
With feare supprised for lacke of gouernaūce,
Them to defende they founde no refute,
So farre enfeblished was their old puissaūce
For euer gladly where stryfe and variaunce
In any kingdome haue an enteresse,
Touchyng a defence, adue all hardinesse.
Within them selfe they stode at debate,
Afore their enemies ready for to assayle,
Comfort was none in hygh nor lowe estate,
For where discord is what auayleth coūsail?
Their fone wtout, within them selfe battayle
Brought in alas, to their confusion,
By the false serpent of dissencion.
But at the last afforced and constrayned,
They were coact after peace to seke,
The case stode so, of nede they were payned
Maugre their might their harts for to meke:
And their mischefe more to encrese and eke,
In augmentyng of their cruell fates,
They saw their enmies armed at their gates
They sent out first priestes of the toun,
With their enemies for to entrete of pees,
With humble profers, & lowe subiection:
But Corolian this is doubtles,
Againe the Romayns was so merciles
That grace none myght in his hart myne,
To their request his eares to enclyne.
Than the Romayns, the story tell can,
To Venturia made their prayere
Whiche was the mother of Corolian,
And to Volumnia his faithfull wife entere,
That they should both go in fere
Vnto that prynce, besechyng at the lest
Benignly to heare their request.
His mother first full prudently abrayde,
Vnto her sonne makyng this question,
At their metyng to hym thus she sayde:
Shall I (quod she) for short conclusion,
Of faythfull harte and true affection,
To thy presence, declare finally,
Be now receyued as mother or enemy?
After thine aunswere I must my selfe dispose
And my wittes specially apply
Cause of my cōmyng clerely to vnclose,
And tell the effect of mine ambassatry:
And my speache so gouerne and gye,
After I am receyued to thy grace,
My selfe declaryng if I haue time and space.
For like thy mother if thou receiue me,
And me accept vnto thy presence,
I must therafter so gouerned be
To tell my tale playnly in sentence,
[Page lxxv]So that thou geue me frendly audience:
And if I be not receiued in suche wise,
More strongly my tale I must deuise.
This noble prynce, this Corolian,
When that he heard his mother thus cōplaine
Full like a lorde and a knyghtly man,
Gan her embrace in his armes twayne,
In lowly wise, there is no more to sayne,
Saue like a sonne of due and ryght
To her he sayd full lyke a manly knyght:
Madame (quod he) be it to your pleasaunce
To hear my conceyt, as in this matere,
With faythfull hart & humble attendaunce
I you receyue as for my mother dere:
But and ye lyke benyngly to here,
The ingratitude done in most cruel wise
To me of Romayns, I purpose to chastise.
Ah sonne (quod she) touching their offence
Done to thy nobles, & their great outrage,
They shal by menes their trespace recōpence,
And thinke thou art borne of their linage,
And suffer yt mercy thy rigoure may asswage:
And think of nature thou maist not wel wtsay
Thing for the which thy mother doth pray.
Thou shalt not close thyne entrayles of pitie
To the requestes of me and of thy wife,
Nor gynne a warre agayne thy countrey
To stroy thy lyne by newe mortall strife,
Thy children and me to make vs lose our life:
Wey in balaunce to Romayns thy hatred,
Against the loue of me and of thy kynred.
Sende home agayn thy straunge souldiours
Which ben so redy y Romains bloud to shede,
Let stand in peace our walles & our towers,
Suffer thy grace thy rancour to excede,
So that thy pity may put away all drede:
And condiscende to receyue for hostage,
Me to be pledge for their great outrage.
Behold the wōbe in whiche thou were borne,
And se also my naked sydes twayne,
By whiche thou were fostred here toforne,
If there were lack thou woldest cry & plaine:
Remember theron and at me not disdayne,
But vnto mercy receyue this citee,
At the request here of thy wife and me.
Whilom my milke thy chrishing was & fode
To stynt thy cry whan thou diddest wepe,
Their sote drops full holsome were and good
Thy tender youth for to preserue and kepe:
And like a mother to bryng the a slepe,
I woke full oft to the I was so kynde,
Wherfore dere sōne on my request haue mind.
If that thou lyst this city now torment,
Their demerites by rygour recompence,
Punyshe me for them, and I wyll assent
To beare the gylt of their great offence:
But dere sonne let thy magnificence
Suffer of knighthode yt mercy may in dede,
Attemper thy rygour or thou to dome procede
Suffer Romayns to liue in quiete,
Graunt thē peace agayne their great outrage
Some drope of pity let in thyne hart flete,
And thinke thou art borne of their linage:
Loke vpon them with mercifull vysage,
Whiche offer them selfes as they shal fulfill,
Their lyfe, their death, all wholy at thy will.
Remember of nature how that the lyon
Set aside his rage and his wodenes
To them that mekely afore him fall doun,
His royall kinde will do them no duresse,
To exemplify to knyghtly noblesse,
wt rigorous swerd thou shalt no more manace
Them that be lowly yelden vnto thy grace.
And whan this prynce, this Corolian,
Had heard all that his mother list to sayne,
He goeth to her in all the haste he can,
Besprent wt teares y on his chekes rayne,
And her embraced with his armes twayne,
And sayde mother there may be no lettyng,
Me hole of hart to graunt your askyng.
The siege he made for to auoyde away,
And to repayre home to their countrye,
And wyth his mother and wife he was yt day
With great gladnes and solemnitie,
Anon receiued into that citye:
Like as fortune him neuer wold haue fayled,
But she fone after of newe hath him assayled.
The gery Romayns, stormy, and vnstable,
Whiche neuer in one styll coulde abide,
Against this prynce most knyghtly & notable,
For to conspyre of new they gan prouide:
And banished him to Tuskan there beside,
Where he was slayne within a little space,
For he the Romayns afore toke to grace.

☞ The .ix. Chapiter.

¶ Howe Melciades Duke of Athens with small nombre vanquished .vi. C .M. Perciēs and after by his comonte that aye of custome desyreth a chaung of princes new, he was chayned in pryson, and so dyed.

AMonge other that putte theym selfe in prees.
For too bewayle their greuous heauy­nesse,
Came of Athens Duke Melciades,
which thrugh his manhod & hygh prowesse,
And thrugh his knightly renomed noblesse,
Like as auctours his triumphes lyst cōmēd,
Faught many a batayle his city to defend.
And of victories, as it is compyled,
For comon profyt of that noble toune,
Faught wyth a tyraunt yt was tofore exiled
Called Hippias, which by false treason
Had to kyng Dary made a suggestion
Vpon Athens in al the hast he might,
To rayse al Perce agayn the town to fyght,
Sixe hundred .M. accounted was the nōbre
Of Perciens armed in plate and maile.
Them of Athenes by force to encombre,
Echone assembled them proudly to assayle:
But this Duke for nothyng wold fayle
Melciades, but knightly toke his place,
With ten thousande he met him in the face.
For both he was manly and ryght wyse,
And of his handes proued a ful good knight,
Set vpon them with so prudent auyse,
That they of Perce for all their great might,
Were four tymes put vnto the flyght
By thylke Duke, if I shall not fayne,
And by the noblesse of other knyghts twain.
Themystocles ycalled was the tone,
Which of his hand as auctours list discryue
Was in a felde proued on hys fone,
The manlyest knight in his time alyue.
Whych thylke day so proudly dyd stryue,
Agayn thē of Perce, & such a slaughter make
That fynally the field they haue forsake.
Cynegirus a knyght eke of that towne
The same day through his chyualry,
With blody swerde, as he went vp and doun,
without nombre in his melancoly
Slough Perciens, bokes specify:
That for the tyme they no refute can,
Saue to their shyppes for drede of dethe they ran.
And there he wrought a straunge marueyle
As writeth Bochas, affyrmyng it certayne:
The greatest shyp that bare largest sayle
with his righthand he gan it so restrayne,
Lyke as it had be fastned wyth a chayne,
Maugre Perciens whiche did thē sore greue
That by no craft they could it not meue.
But whan that they none other refute wyst,
Frely to escape out of his daungere,
Tyl they his right hand cut of by the wrist:
But wt his left hand he gan approche neare,
And helde it styll, an vncouth thing to heare,
That he had force so great a ship to let,
But than alas his left hand of they smet.
Yet maugre thē whan he their malice seeth,
All were it so that he had lost eche hande,
The ship he styll helde with his teeth
That they ne myght departe from the lande,
Lyke as their vessell had fal vpon sand:
Caused that day, mine auctour doth reherce,
Two hundred .M. were slain of thē of perce.
And whan this singuler mighty champion
Cinegirus most vncouth of corage
Had done this maruaile, as made is mēcion,
Of very anguish he fill into a rage,
Lyke a beest furious and sauage
Ran about, alas for lacke of mynde,
In Bochas boke no more of him I finde.
But in this proces after I beheld
Aye howe that fortune can her frends fayle,
For Melciades leder of that fielde
And gouernour of al that great batayle,
Causing victory as made is rehersayl,
yet his people of malice and of yre
Again his nobles, falsly gan conspire.
They of Athenes set him in prison,
And in chaynes mightily him bounde:
Vnkindly they yaue him this guerdon
For al the knighthod they in him found,
Yet had he suffred many a mortal wound
In their diffence, and for their libertees,
To saue their liues, their toun, & countrees.
This was the ende of duke Melciades,
Through y constreynt of his stronge bondes,
Eke they exyled the knyght Themystocles
Out of their towne to lyue in straunge lōdes,
That was so worthy proued of his hondes,
To shewe the chaunge and mutabylite
Founde in fortune, and euery comonte.

¶ Lenuoye.

THe stormy trust of euery comonte
Their gery corages and trobled cōstaunce,
In this tragedy men may behold & se:
Now vp, now doun, as fortune cast her chaū ­ce
For they of custome haue ioy & most plesaūce,
In their desyres vnstedfast and vntrewe,
To se ech day a chaunge of princes newe.
Corolyan of Rome, a chefe cytye,
Was there protectour thrugh his mighty pu­saūce,
Venquisshed their enemies, set thē in suerte,
Brought in rebelles to their obeysaunce:
But they agaynwarde of wylfull variaunce
Banysshed hym twyse, and no cause knewe
Saue for to se a chaunge of princes newe.
The knyghtly noblesse, the magnanymyte,
The polyce, the prudent gouernance
Of Melciades duke of the countre
Where yt Athens is chefe towne in substaūce,
Whan he their comon gan most to auaunce,
The more vnkyndly in honor yt they grewe,
Most they wer busy to chaūge him for a new.
Themystocles hauyng the soueraynte
Of knyghtes all that bare speare or launce,
Duryng his tyme, I take no more on me,
For cōparisons do oft tyme great greuaunce:
Sixe hundred thousande he put to vttraunce,
Vnto Athens neuer founde vntrewe,
Yet they conspyred his exyle for a newe.
What thyng may here flour in felycite
Or stande stable by longe contynuaunce?
In hyghe estates outher in lowe degre,
Nowe flowe, now ebbe, nowe ioy nowe mis­chaūce,
After as fortune holdeth the balance,
And specially false feyning and vntrewe,
Comons desyre a chaunge of princes newe.
Noble princes in your prosperite
On sodayne chaunges set your remēbraunce,
Fresshnesse of floures, of braunches y beaute,
Haue aye on chaūge a trēblyng attendaunce:
In trust of comons is no perseueraunce,
As wynter & somer be dyuers of their hewe,
So be they dyuers in chaūge of princes n [...]w.

The .x. Chapiter.

☞ Howe Xerxses kyng of Perce for his ra­uyne and couetyse was dismem­bred in to small pieces.

ANd tofore Bochas pitously wepynge
For to declare his deedly heuynesse,
Came Xerxses nexte of Perce kynge,
And gan cōplayne his dole and his distresse:
Which in thre thinges, y story bereth witnes
And as the cronycle clerly can vs tell,
All other princes in erthe he dyd excell.
In high estate was none so greate as he,
Neyther in ryches, nor worldly habundaūce,
Nor none that tyme of so great dygnite,
For as it is put in remembraunce
He had all Perce vnder his obeysaunce:
Nor neuer prince as auctours do conclude,
Hosteyed attones with suche a multitude.
Space of fyue yere he had his ordynaunce,
Seuē hundred thousāde people he dyd rayse:
Dempt of pride agayn his gret puissaunce
None erthly power myght counterpayse:
But some auctors alowe him nat nor prayse,
Bycause that he people to encombre,
Set all his trust to cōquere wt gret nombre.
But manly princes haue this opynion,
In multytude standeth nat victory,
For knightly prowesse of euery champion
Which manly cast thē in armes to haue victo­ry,
Enprynted hath fixe in his memory,
Marciall tryumphes god ne doth nat shewe,
In nombre great, no rather than in fewe.
This sayd Xerxses by recorde of auctours,
Had also, in cronycles as I rede,
Thre hūdred thousande straunge soudeours,
Without other that were of Perce & Mede:
Whiche gan the erthe for to cure and sprede,
Dried ryuers that they dyd attayne,
Karfe downe hylles, & made valeys playne.
This was chefe conceyte of his fantasies,
To haue all erthe vnder subieccion:
Thought his power raught aboue the skyes,
Of surquedy and false presumpcion:
[Page]For as he demeth in his opynion
Howe in his power playnly that it lay,
Fro god of heuin the heuyn to take away.
But thylke lorde yt can the meke enhaunce,
And from their sees the proude put doune,
And namely them yt haue no remembraunce
To aduertyse of wysdome and of reason,
To knowe the lorde most mighty of renoune,
The lorde of lords which plainly to compyle,
Wyll suffre tyrauntes to reigne but a whyle.
And one the maruayle that euer I dyd rede
Greatest, and vncouth playnly vnto me
Is howe Xerxses kynge of Perce & Mecde
For to shewe a specyall syngulerte,
Out of Asie ouer the great se
As sayth myn autour, whō I dare alledge,
In to Europe made a myghty bridge.
Some men perauēture will ther at disdayne,
And say it is a maruayle nat credyble,
Yet craft in case to suche thing may attayne,
Whych by nature semeth an impossyble:
And as to me, it is a thing odyble
Thynges to inpugne autentyke and olde,
Whiche notable clerkes in their dayes tolde.
These newe men that haue but lytell seyne
Nouther expert in crafte nor in nature,
For lacke of reason holde all such thing veyne
Though that it be remembred in scripture:
For euery maruayle and euery auenture
Is straunge to hym, as I reherce can
That lacketh ye cause wherof ye groūd began.
This sayd Xerxses had eke possession
By the tytle of his father Darye
Of all Egypt, as made is mencyon:
But they of Grece were to hym contrary,
Wherfore he cast no lenger for to tarye
This proude prince, but mightely werrey
Lacedemonoys, which wolde him nat obey.
But one that was called Demaratus
Whych of that country had afore be kyng,
And was exyled the story telleth vs,
That tyme wt Xerxses in housholde abyding,
Whyche loued that land for all his exyling,
Gaue thē warning to saue thē fro mischaūce,
Of Xerxses power and all his ordynaunce.
He wrote them letters grauen in a table,
All themprises of Xerxses out of doute,
Of all his stuffe, and people incomperable,
And of his nombre and his great rout:
The whiche table couered was without,
Full subtelly withe wexe yplaned playne,
That of his sonde there was no letter seyne.
Thus was thentent of Xerxses first discured
Vnto the grekes, and all his false workyng:
But in one thinge they greatly were assured,
Of trust they had by expert knowlegyng
In Leonidas their noble famous kyng,
Whych amōg grekes of prowes & foresight,
Was in tho dayes holde for the best knyght.
Of chyualry called the lode sterre,
The sonne of knighthod yt shone so bryghte & shene,
The bearer vp both in peace and warre
And strongest pyller, his party to mayntene:
The grekes ryght hande their noblesse to su­stene,
Carboncle of armes, myrror of policie,
And surest capitayne a felde to rule and gye.
And as myne auctour remēbreth in his boke
Howe in this case he was nat recheles,
But in all haste four thousand men he toke
To let the wayes and comyng of Xerxses:
And by an hyll called Thermophiles,
Where Perciens began first their voyage,
He knyghtly cast to stoppe their passage.
And secretly espyeng the comyng
Of kyng Xerxses with stronge apparayle,
He lyke a knyght made no tarying
Chase out .vi. hūdred armed in plate & maile,
Whiche in suche case might moste auayle,
And in defence and helpe of their countre,
Wolde rather dye, than from the felde to fle.
And couertly they toke their lodgyng,
And kept them close tyll it drough to nyght,
And at their dyner them selfe refresshyng
So as they sate in steele armed bright,
The kyng abrayde lyke a manly knyght,
In to the felde afore they shulde gone,
Ryght thus he sayd amonge them euerychon:
Syrs (quod he) nowe dyne merely,
And with good wyne afforce your corage:
Lyke good knyghtes in porpose fynally,
For lyfe nor dethe nat turning your vysage,
But of assent caste in your passage,
As ye here dyne nowe in especiall,
To suppe at night with goddes infernall.
This to meane ye shal your selfe ieoparte
As hardy knightes proudly to prouide,
Within the felde asondre nat departe,
But kepe close and for no drede deuide,
Desyre of worshyp make to be your gyde,
Your expert noblesse eternally to auaunce,
By quicke reporte of newe remembraunce.
And haue thys day nothyng in memory
Nother your ryches, blode, ne your kinrede,
Saue only hope and good trust of victory,
And hardi prowesse you to conducte and lede:
And thinke knightli what shalbe your mede
With marcial palmes your renome & name,
In the highest place set in the house of fame.
And though ye be but a fewe in nombre
Let in your hertes one thyng be fantasyed,
While diuision do the you nat encombre
Victory in armes may you nat be denied:
For nothyng is to conquest more applied,
Than true accord amōg your self to shew,
Though you in nombre be but verey few.
But by this counsayle syngulerly notable,
And by this knightes kingly good langage,
They recomforted held them selfe able
Agayne their fomen to hold their passage:
And fyrst of al of hertelye proude corage,
The Perciens more mortally to greue,
Within their tentes, they fyll on them at eue.
They of Perce ydrowned were with wyne,
This to say, through their great excesse,
They lay and slept lyke as dronkenswyne,
Their watche nat kept: lo how y drōkēnesse
Causeth oft of very rechelesnesse,
Ful many a man that wyl nat take kepe,
For to be murdred a nightes whan thei slepe
And as this kyng dyd his knyghtes lede,
The Perciens tentes assayling sodaynlye,
Or they were ware or toke any hede
Them for to affray they made an hidous cri:
Defence was none vpon their party,
For men may knowe by olde experyence,
In folkes dronke may be no resistence.
Out of nombre they slough of their fone,
And ceased nat of all the longe nyght,
Tyll on the morowe that the sonne shone,
That to beholde it was an vgly syght:
And proude Xerxses put anone to flyght,
Euer the last that wold his fone assayle,
And aye the first that fledde in batayle.
In his flight so fast away he ran,
For therin was holy all his trust,
And of great trauayle anon this Xerxes gan
Of coward drede, to haue so great a thurste,
So dry he was of salte, sond, and dust,
And by the way serching ferre and nere,
He nother founde wel ne riuere.
Of auenture amyery ground he fand,
The water troubled, and blody of colour,
And Xerxses there drāke water wt his hande
Him to refresh in his deedly labour:
And as he thought he neuer dranke lycour
To him more holsom, so strayt stode the case,
Confecte with spices, pyment, nor ypocras.
This was the first mischefe and the drede
In which Xerxes the mighti prince stode,
Here men may se such as lyst take hede
Howe gery fortune furyous and wode,
Wil not spare for riches nor for goode,
Mighty princes which lyst not God to know,
From their estates to bring them ful lowe,
O hatefull serpent of hygh presumpcion,
Aye vnstable with gredy vsurpyng,
By newe trouble of false sedicion,
Which lyst of pryde receiue no warnyng,
For nowe Xerxses of Perce & Mede kyng,
Purposed hath with odyous apparaile,
The temple of gods contagiously tassayle.
For as him thought it myght nat suffise
To great example of his contrarious pryde,
Howe here toforne god did him chastyse
By mannes hande, to set his pompe asyde:
But nowe of newe he gan agayne prouyde
By sacrylege his mighty hand to dresse,
To spoyle Appollo, & reue hym his richesse.
There was in Delos a temple thylke day,
Moste stately builded and set vp by masons
Great ymages, relyques, and ryche aray,
Of golde and stones in sondry mansyons:
And there Appollo to sondry questyous
Yaue redy answere, the story telleth thus,
And he was called Appollo Delphicus.
Four thousand men Xerxses thyder sent
By his auice chose out for the nones,
Ful clenly armed, and as they thether went
To spoyle the temple of gold and rich stones,
[Page]with sodain leuin thei wer brēt flesh & bones,
With tempest, thundre, hayl, & hydous rein,
Consumpt echone, and neuer after seyne.
The great Apollo whiche shineth bryghte in heuin
Had of this Xerxes great indignaciō,
Which made his people be consūpt wt leuin
In cruel punishing of his presumpcion:
Yet he purposed to his confusion,
Syth on the land he nothyng myght wyn,
Vpon the see a new werre to begin.
Gan to make so great an ordynaunce,
That his nauy couered all the see:
Yet Neptunus thought him not to enhaunce
Within her boundes to haue no lyberte.
For Themystocles with a small meyny
Besyde a cytie called Salamine,
Him and his shyppes brought vnto ruyne.
Yet as I fynde this proud kyng Xerxses
Had on his party Themydora, the quene
Of Halcarnois which put her self in prees
Armed in plates that shone ful bright & shene,
And thenarme of Xerxses to sustene,
This woman faught lyke a fell woluesse,
And many a greke that day she did oppresse.
It was a straunge meruayle for to here:
To se a woman so sturdy of vysage,
Yet men expert all day may se and lere,
They be by nature ful cruell of corage,
And no cowardes found of their langage:
Set at assay and than it shall be sene
Wher they be ferfull their quarell to sustene.
They mai of mekenes shew a fayre pretence,
Some serpent is of colour syluer shene:
And some floures ful fresh of apparence
Growe on thystels rough, sharp, and kene.
And some that ben angelyke to sene,
And very heuenly with their golden tresses,
Ben at a prefe verye lyonesses.
To say the sothe a poore man may be shent,
I dare no more speke of this matere,
But kyng Xerxses for all his proud entent,
All his nauy and his people yfere
Were put to flight, & outraied of their chere:
Their shyppes drowned amonge the waues rude
That none abode of al that multitude.
Kyng Xerxses hurt and wounded mortally,
Vnnethes he might the great payne endure.
His quakyng hert quit him so cowardly:
On see and lande suche was his auenture.
And yet agayne his damages to recure,
Thre hundred .M. of feyghters hee gan call,
Vpon grekes of newe for to fall.
A mighty Duke called Mardonyus,
Was captayne made his people for to lede,
But Themistocles (min auctor telleth thus)
Knowing of Xerxses the cowardnes & drede,
A lettre made for to be sent in dede:
Enfourming him by grekes greate outrage,
How of his bridge was broken the passage.
Of which maruayle when ther came tidinge
To king Xerxses, he after anon ryght
As he that was aferde of ech thynge,
Full lyke a cowarde tooke him to the flyght:
Fled in a bote lyke a coward knyght,
Of al his people there were no more yseyne,
To awayte vpon him saue a chamberleyne.
All his people departed here and yonder
Standyng in mischefe & great indygence,
To many a coast they wēt and rode asonder,
Pyned with hunger, lacked their dispence:
Punished also wyth vnware pestylence,
Feble of trauayle, myght not endure
For impotence to carye their armure.
Alas eche way lay ful of caraynes,
The soyle with blode stayned, and the grene,
The ayre terrible of pathes and of plaines,
That no man might it endure nor sustene,
The sauour was so odyous and vnclene:
Rauenous foules ful homely in their sight,
Them selfe to fede vpon the corse alyght.
Thre hundred .M. of Perciens were slayne,
Which Mardonyus afore full proudly lad,
Of which tiding king Xerxses was not fayn,
But for distresse and sorow gan to mad:
And one the last mischefe that he had
Was whan Thimon, a noble grekish knight,
Xerxes discomfited, and put his men to flight
This Thymon was sonne to Melciades,
His father whilom of Athenes kyng,
Which last of all outrayed hath Xerxses,
Saue of his ende there fyll another thyng:
Artabanus full sleyghty of werkyng
Which to Xerxses was not suspect in dede,
Compassed his dethe, in Bochas as I rede.
This Artaban was prouest of hys house,
And an officer most especyall:
With his seuen sonnes, strong, and dispitous,
Vpon a nyght furyous and fatall,
Fyll vpon Xerxses in his palayes royal:
And in his story as it is remembred,
On pieces small they haue him dismembred.
This was of Xerxses the last fynal mede,
Of his high pride the funerall guerdon:
Frō his two kingdomes of Perce and Mede
Froward fortune hath hym plucked doun:
What may auayle the dominacion
Of such princes as hold them selfe euyn
For to be egall with goddes hyghe in heuyn?
Men list not know such chaūges for no prefe,
And namely princes in their puissaunces,
Against erthly parels & all worldlye mischefe
They can prouyde them, & set ordynaunces,
As they that drede fortunes varyaunces:
But to God ward they take ful lytel hede,
For the great riches which they do possede.
If they may heare of an erthe quaue
Tofore it fall, or any token se,
Than wyl they go anon them self to saue
Out of their houses, & from the townes fle
To put their life the more in suerte,
Lest their building made of so great costage,
Fyll vpon them in that mortall rage.
Or if an horse ronne oute of his stable,
Breke his colere, thicke, double, and longe,
Men wyl ordayne a locke of yron able
To kepe hym in, be he neuer so stronge:
And thus men can redresse euery wronge
Touching the body by great auysenesse,
Saue for the soule they wyl nothing redres.
Whan a ryuer passeth ferre his boundes,
Boyleth vpward, fyndeth no resistence,
Wynneth land, and ouerfloweth groundes,
Drowneth townes with his vyolence,
Yet men wyl trauayle to fynde a defence:
To turne her cours som way shal be sought,
But toward god mē thīke lytell or nought.
Agaynst sickenes men seke medicines,
Letwaries, and dyuers pocions,
Serche in physike sondry disciplynes,
Them to dyete in their transgressions,
Restoratyues, and eke confeccions,
But vnto Godward in this present lyfe,
Men not trauayle for no confortatyfe.
Men their bodies wyl put in distresse
Of false desyre, and couetous feruence,
Only cacroche and wyn great ryches,
Suffre colde, labour, and vyolence,
And nother spare for gold, nor for dyspence,
To vnderfonge perylles, of vaynglory
Only for thynges that ben transitory.
They passe mountains, & many hidous roch,
In hope it shuld to their entent auayle,
To many mortal monstre they approche,
And many vncouth sea they sayle,
Jeopart their lyfe in warre and in batayle,
By many a daunger, & mani streyt they ride,
For worldly treasor which wyl not abide.
But toward goodes that ben perdurable,
Full lytle or nought their hertes they encline:
Nor to the heuenly company most notable,
They wyl not lyft vp nother heed ne eyne,
Toward the spheres of Phebus and Lucine,
Castyng their stremes to vs from ferre,
Which to considre all worldly men done erre.
What myght auayle the great couetyse
Of kyng Xerxses, in his estate royal?
Of the gret people which ye haue herd deuise
Ten hundred .M. the people was nat small,
But for all that he had an hydous fal,
Whan that he was (as tofore is remembred)
On pieces smale piteously dismembred.

☞ Lenuoye.

THis tragedi put vs in remembraūce
Of y vnsiker flateryng & blyndnesse
Both of fortune, and of her vatiaūce,
And of her vgly froward doublenes,
In Xerxses shewed for all his ryches:
To vs declaring plainly in figure,
A rauynous prince may no whyle endure.
Kyng Xerxses had vnder his obeysaunce
Al Perce and Mede (the stori bereth witnes)
Thought all erthe to lytell in substaunce
To staunche the etyke of his gredynesse:
A fret of hauing put him in such distresse,
Whose fyne declared by recorde of scripture,
A rauinous prince may no whyle endure.
He made also an odious ordynaunce,
Of surquedy his power for to dresse,
[Page]To robbe the gods, maugre their puisaunce,
And spoyle the temples, of their frowardnes
Take their treasors agayn all rightwisnes:
But they him shewed, of sodayne auenture,
A rauinous prince may no whyle endure.
Great Appollo toke on his men vengeaunce,
With vnware tempest for al their sturdines,
Leuin & thunder brought them to mischaūce:
Guerdon most able agayn the falsnes
In princes hertes, aye playnly to expres
Who by rauyne riches wyl recure,
God wyl nat suffre him longe to endure.
Noble princes stable in your constaunce,
Ye that desyre to stand in sykernes,
Remembre oft vpon the fatal chaunce
Of proud Xerxses, and his cursednes,
Your life disposing in your hygh nobles:
If that ye lyst your states to assure,
Eschue rauyne, and ye shal long endure.

The .xi. Chapter.

¶ How Artabanus murdred king Xerx­ses, and howe hym selfe was murdred after.

NExt these tragedies weping & dolerous
Whyle Bochas stint & wold haue be in pees,
A knight appered called Artabanus.
Whyche had aforne murdred king Xerxses,
And gan his complaynt for to put in prees:
Full concludyng, to speke in wordes playne,
Who vseth murdre by murdre shal be slayne.
This Artabanus by record of writing,
With Xerxses prouost whylom as I rede,
Falsly conspyred by sleight of his workynge,
For to be kynge bothe of Perce and Mede:
Hauing seuen sonnes which that wer in dede
Worthy knyghtes, manly, and right stronge,
Albe their father was set to do great wrong.
For he presumed by vsurpacion,
In Perce and Mede to quench y clere lyght:
And trouble the lyne of iust succession.
For so as he of force, and nat of ryght
Nothyng resemblyng to a trewe knight,
The murdre of Xerxses falsly did ordayne,
Right so he cast to murdre his sonnes twain.
And to conclude playnly, and not tarye,
This sayd kyng that called was Xerxses,
Had two sonnes, the yongest called Dary,
And that other colled Artaxerxses:
which as the story reherceth, doutles
Were by discent borne to succede
After their father, to reign in Perce & Mede.
The murdre of Xerxses outward was vn­know
Nor how Artabanus had y treson wrought,
Tyl afterwarde within a lytel throwe,
He had of newe forged out and sought
Fals odious trains, that wer neuer thought,
Told Artaxerses as he gan with him rown,
Howe Dary cast to occupy the croun.
And how the dethe of Xerxses was ordained
Only by Dary, and by none other wight.
wher vpon, which ought be complayned,
Artaxerxses prouided anon right
The slaughter of Dary, & so agayn all ryght
This younge brother in his innocence,
Was falsly slaine and did none offence.
Ye wote by whom this treson was compassed,
Twene brethern twain to make diuision,
The younger slayne and nothyng trespased,
Moste redy way to the distruccion
Of Artaxerxses, for in conclusyon,
Whan the bretherne murdred were in dede,
Artabanus thought to succede.
But Artaxerxses by playne instruccion
Of one that was called Baccarus,
By tokens knewe the couert false treason
Of this aforesayd double Artabanus:
And howe that he by traynes outragyous,
Had Xerxses slayne (as ye haue herd toforne)
And Dary appeched, wherby he was lorne.
But this vncouth straūge treason wrought
Whan Artaxerxses had knowlegyng,
By great aduise wayes he hath sought,
Artabanus to bryng vnto rekenynge:
But specyally he dred him of one thyng,
He feble was to bryng this thing about,
Of hys seuen sonnes he had so great doute.
But for to accomplyshe fully his entente
Ful secretly this was his ordynaunce,
To al the worthy he hah his letters sent
Dwellyng in Perce, vnder his obeysaunce,
Without excuse or lenger attendaunce
Armed echone, and in especyall
To come in haste, vnto his courte royall.
Cause of their cōming was to them not know
The kynges purpose was holden secre,
And kept so close both from hye and lowe,
That to his meanyng no man was priue:
Except the kyng sayd he woulde se
What number of men, if it come to nede,
In his defence he myght gather and lede.
And among other came Artabanus
Vnto the court, and list not for to fayle,
A man that was cruell and couragious,
Full of sleyghtes in all his gouernayle,
Whiche thilke tyme armed was in mayle,
For he with him none other armure lad,
Saue on his backe an haburion he had.
Than Artaxerses beyng in his strength,
To him abrayed of false affection,
For that my mayle wanteth of his length,
I woulde with the chaunge myne haburion:
The tother hauyng none euyll suspection,
Vngyrt him selfe would no lenger abide,
Bothe sworde & dagger cast thē farre aside.
And while that he threw of his haburion
And with the mayle stopped was his sight,
He being naked, for short conclusion
The king out pulleth a sworde kene & bryght
And through the hert he roue him anon right:
And after that of indignacion,
Toke his seuen sonnes, & cast them in pryson.
Of their ende what shoulde I more endite,
Nor of their death make digression?
God may his vengeaunce a while respite,
But murder wyll out & all suche treason:
And for Artabanus had a condicion
Falsely to murder (as ye tofore haue seyne)
wt vnware murder guerdoned was ageyne.
Thus euer murder requireth for his wages,
Slaunder importable odyous to heare,
A worde diffamous most foule in all lāgages
The sounde horrible by report to appeare,
A clips during whose darknes may not cleare
For this worde murder most vgly & vnfayre
By a rehearsyng infecteth all the ayre.

¶ The .xii. Chapter.

¶ How duke Palantes & Spartenoys war­red theim of Missene for raui­shyng their maydens.

AFter the death and fatall caas,
And piteous murder of Artabanus,
Next in order appeared to Bochas
A mighty duke called Palautus,
Sonne of a knyght named Arathus,
Which was exiled, though he no treasonment
Out of his citye that called was Tarent.
Vpon his exyle he sore gan complayne,
Besechyng Bochas to get him a space
Within his boke to write his greuous payne,
Albe though he whilom stode in grace,
By glad aspectes of fortunes face:
For she him raysed by fauour of her might,
To dukes estate from a pore knyght.
But cereously this matter to conuey,
How he was made duke and gouernour,
Whan Sparteyns gan mortally warrey
Against Missenes, as sayth mine auctour,
With great costage and diligent labour,
And cause was this, for they wt mighty hand
Rauished by force all maydens of the lande.
For this people now named Spartenois,
As the story clerely can deuise,
Were called afore Lacedemonois,
In armes proued manly and ryght wise:
And while they did a solemne sacrifise
Vnto their goddes, the people of Messeny.
Rauished their maydens or they it did espy.
On whiche wronge for to do vengeaunce,
The Spartenois caught indignacion,
And of assent with all their whole puissaunce,
They layed a siege rounde about the toun:
And of one wyll and one affection
They made a vowe y siege when they begon,
Neuer to depart tyll the towne were won.
Afore the towne fully ten yere they lay,
And fro the siege as they had made their othe,
They not departed neyther night nor day,
But styll abode and not a sunder gothe:
Therof their wiues at home were wrothe,
To their husbandes a messengere they sent,
Vnder these wordes, declaryng their entent.
Sayd it was not accordyng with reason
They like widowes to liue disconsolate,
Without comfort or consolation,
Farre frō their husbandes to stande desolate,
Mischeues cōsidred that fal in eche estate,
By long absence (which eche man shold drede)
[Page]Thrugh diuers sicknes y fal in womanhede.
The tyde abydeth nat for no maner man,
Nor stynt her course for no creature:
And harde it is as we reherce can,
Thynge to withstand that cometh of nature:
Harme done by kynde is froward to recure,
And there is founde full lytell sykernes,
Where as nature afforceth brotylnesse.
This lytell sonde ought ynough suffyse,
To declare domage that may fall
By longe absence, folkes that ben wise
Somtime departed agayn men may nat cal.
That seldome is sene in loue doth appall.
And nothing maketh more wyues erre
Than disceueraūce of folke that be in werre.
This was theffect plainly insubstaunce,
Sent to their hasbandes which at y sege lai,
Complayning they had had no plesaunce
Space of ten yere, as in loues play:
But desolate, in sorowe, and great affray,
Their lyfe they lad, affyrmyng in sentence,
Cause of their cs̄traīt, was their lōg absēce.
And whan the letters were at the siege rad
Tofore the cytie in all their mortal stryues,
They were astonied and gan to waxe sad,
And very wery almost of their lyues,
For to considre the complaint of their wiues:
Tyl their captayne a remedy out sought,
By whose counsayl euen thus they wrought.
First old knightes that the siege sworne
It for to accomplish, and cast them to be true
His counsayl was as they had hight beforn
To hold their promise, & therfor nothing rue:
But yonge knightes that were come of new,
Myght as they lyst frely at their wyll
Those whether they wold go or byde styll.
And herupon for their most auayle
In haste their captayne as made is remem­braūce
Of high prudence gaue them this counsaile,
hat knyghtes old, ly [...]h their assuraunce,
Shuld of the siege haue the gouernaunce:
And yong knightes most fresh & welbeseyne,
Shuld from the siege home be sent ageyne.
They made among thē a straūge ordinaunce,
At their home comyng, without difference
To enterchaūge their wyues for plesaunce:
And take her first that came to his presence,
This was thaccorde among them in sentēce,
Moste redy way to their opinion
To engendrute and procreacion.
There was amonge thē quarel nother stryfe
In this mater, nor no varyaunce,
For eueryman misused others wyfe,
To their desyres as was to them pleasaunce:
And thus children thrugh this ordynaunce
That were engendred, the case is thus befal,
Parthenois men did them after cal.
Which in our tong to speke in words plain,
After the greke who lyst consydre and se,
Is no more playnly for to sayne,
Than thilk chyldren which engendred be
In auoutry: wherfore in that countre
Parthenois of custome they were named,
Borne of wombes which that were diffamed
The false occasion of thys auoutry
Caused after great mischefe and domage,
That no man coude as for his partye,
By succession whan he came to age,
By tytle of right clayme his herytage:
For where a lyne falsly dothe procede,
Hard is to know by right who shal succede.
The disturbaunce of false succession,
And tytels claimed afforced wt great myght,
Where that auoutry hath domynacion
And is supported of wyl and not of tyght,
And claym of trouth hath lost his clere light:
Though their parties mighti be and strong,
God wyll nat suffre they shall endure longe.
And Parthenois paysing all these thynges
Howe false assuraunce was in their lynage,
The gentle bloud troubled first of kynges,
For no man knew of high nor lowe parage
His owne father, by lykelynesse of vysage:
Nor father none by his great erroure,
Coude yeue no tytle to his successour.
Whervpon folowed a great mischaunce,
Hateful to heare, through the countre:
Echeman troubled in his countenaunce
Who shulde clayme by any lyberte
To entre his lande, or to stande fre:
Such doute they had echeman for his party,
So importable was their auoutry.
This great mischefe, who so taketh hede,
By longe proces made thē to know and se
[Page lxxx]How they were able, as by likelihede,
For their outrages to fall in pouertie:
And of assent they cast them for to flie
Vnder a captain by strong and mighty hand
For that countrey to wyn some other lande.
And as I rede, they chase duke Palantus
Of whom I spake, to gouerne the passage,
Takyng no leaue the storye telleth thus:
At their departyng begynnyng their vyage,
They were so confuse of chere and of vysage,
For there was none of that great route,
To chose his father but y he stode in dout.
They helde them selues very ashamed,
And for shame out of the lande they went,
Like people disclaundered and diffamed,
Through the auoutry to which they did assēt:
And to a citye that called was Tarent,
Which stant in Poile a mighty stronge coūtry
This duke Palantus came with his meyny.
And there he put through his great myght,
The citizyns out of that citye,
And gate Tarent full lyke a manly knyght,
And there abode in long prosperitie,
As gouernour and duke of that countrey,
Tyll that his people by false collusion,
Him to depriue sought out occasion.
They him exiled whan he was fall in age,
Lo what it is in commons to assure,
Stormy of hart, vnsure of their courage,
That selde or neuer their frendshyp dothe en­dure▪
Men may to day their fauour recure,
And to morow (let set it at a prefe)
They rathest hinder whā men be at mischefe.

¶ The .xiiii. Chapter.

☞ Of Ceson Quincius exiled, and Graccus taken pry­soner.

I Can no more rehearce of Palantes
Duke and leader of Parthenois,
But I wyll tell how Ceson Quincius
Came before Bochas wt a full piteous voyce,
His tale gan how Graccus prince of Equois,
Bothe at ones gan their songe entune,
Most dolefully to playne on fortune.
This myghty prynce Ceson Quincius
Complayned first as made is mencion,
How they of Rome wer contrarious
And felly wrought to his destruction,
And full vniustly banished him the toun:
And not withstandyng he was a dictatour,
Him to cōfounde they did their busy laboure.
Cause of his exyle compassed as I rede,
That he was slowe they sayd and negligent,
Him to defende, touchyng appeale in dede
Which again him was brought of falce entet:
Yet Cyncinatus his father, by assent
Payde for amendes as sayth cronyclers,
Met out of lande draught of thre arblasters.
Yet his enemies would not be content,
But procede that he was exiled,
Did extorcion of his iudgement,
As in his story full playnly is compyled:
He after neuer myght be reconcyled,
Whiche I haue pitye to put in remembraūce,
So litle offēce should haue so great vēgeaūce
Graccus of Rome called Cloellus
Prince of Equois mine auctour saith ye same,
Was in his time notable and glorious,
And a great duke full renoumed of fame:
But how ye people of Equois toke their name
Vnder support that no man haue disdayne,
I will the processe here declare in certaine.
John Bochas sayth there is a nacion
Whiche that first were called Hunoys,
And secondly also by succession
Of full long tyme named Anathois:
And alderlast men called them Equois,
Like as I trow (mine auctor saith the same)
Of horse most swyft, they toke first the name.
And as it is remembred in sentence,
By their manhode, and famous hardines
Agayne Alexander they made strong defence
On horsbacke through their great swiftnes:
Besyde the hyll (playnly to expresse)
Whiche in cronicles is called Caucasus,
Thys people of Equois were vyctoryous.
To theyr nobles playnly as I fynde,
Nothyng in earth was more expedient
In their cōquest of Ethiope and Iude,
As horse most swyft, seruyng their entente:
Therby conqueryng all the Oryent,
So great prowes was in their passage,
That Equois brought all Egypt to seruage.
Thus where euer Equois did abyde,
They gate great good to their possession:
And Graccus was their gouernour and gide
Whiche by his strength and false suggestion,
Againe the Romayns fyll in great rebellion,
But to wt stand him they sent out anonryght,
Cincinatus proued a full good knyght.
He was well trusted and knowe in the toun,
And for his prudence chosen a Dictatour,
His lyuelode small and his possession,
Albe he was a worthy warriour:
Whiche hath vainquished by his knyghtly la­bour,
The said Graccus, for all his worthy power,
And home to Rome brought him prysoner.
Cyncinatus in his chare was set,
Called Quincius for this great victory,
And most solemnely wyth Senatours met,
Which yaue to him for to encreace his glory,
Laude of tryumphe, to put him in memory:
And Graccus after for his rebellion,
With chaynes bounde, cast in darke pryson.
And there he dyed in full great mischefe,
After his conquestes, first famous & notable,
An euidence to vs and a great prefe
How fortune is aye false and vnstable,
Euer double, frowarde, and deceyuable,
The fall of Graccus declare gan full wele,
That whylom sate so hygh vpon her whele.

¶ The .xiiii. Chapter.

¶ Here Bochas rehearseth the tyranny of Apyus, and falsenes of iudges.

NOt wt standynge Bochas before hath tolde,
Of Apius the falsenes importable,
And his outrages & surfetes many folde,
To be remembred hatefull and repreuable,
Yet as hym thought it was here cōuenable,
To more rebuke and spottyng of his name
New to rehearse his slaunder and defame.
The great offences of this Apius,
And oppression that he vpon him toke,
Made hym grow so inly couetous,
Through his rauyne yt all the people quoke:
As ye may se in the seconde boke,
Where myne auctour doth clerely specify
His fraude in domes, and his lechery.
Eke thys tyrant remembred ye may rede,
Chiefe iudge he was with other officers,
Called decemvir, & through his pryde in dede
Agayn the custome of theim y were his feres,
He made be borne standerdes and baneres,
In otherwyse, of hygh presumption,
Then vsed were beforne in Rome toun.
These iudges had a custome and manere
Like their estates, in theyr gouernaunce,
Eche after him to haue borne a bannere,
Where they went, suche was their ordinaūce
By twelue sergeaūtes numbred in substaūce:
But Apius of pryde and great outrage,
Y chaunged hath that custome and vsage.
He fyrst ordeyned eche should in his place
Of Decemvir, haue a banner borne
In their walkyng the people to manace,
An hundred men of armes them beforne,
And twenty ouer (by a statute sworne)
Wherby the citye bare great coste in dede,
And all the people were put in feare & drede.
To se the sargeaūtes walke in plate & mayle
They thought it was a maueylous working
Judges to go wyth suche apparayle
In their proceadyng as eche had ben a kyng:
And whole the entent of Apius menyng
Was that he should of power and myght,
Do what hym lyst were it wronge or ryght.
The ryghtfull punyshe, and the gylty spare,
Fauour wronge for brybes and for mede,
The people oppressed stode in sorow and care,
Founde no succoure to helpe thē at their nede:
Lawe was there none, for reasō lay by drede,
Wyll was iudge, and pleasaunce equitie,
And thus by maistry was gouerned the citye.
And as it is remembred by Bochas,
Apius was lecherous of nature,
And caught a quarel as ye haue herd the caas
Agaynst Virginia, a mayde clene and pure:
And for he should nothyng in her recute
Touchyng his lust, her father in that stryfe
With a sharpe sworde made her lose her lyfe.
And for thys tyrant by false rybaudry
Caused her death by hasty vyolence,
And for he should her beauty not maistry
Diyng a mayde in her chaste innocence,
Therfore he was demed in sentence
As is to fore made cleare mencion,
[Page lxxxi]For to be chayned and dye in pryson.
Eke Decemvir lost their power,
And neuer in Rome after bare no name,
Nor of that sect was made none officer:
And among all Apius bare the blame,
Whose cryme reboūdeth to his eternal shame
As ye haue heard, who that can discerne,
And thā Tribunes were chose for to gouerne.
And in Bochas like as it is found,
The sayd iudges in mischefe did fyne,
While Apius lay in pryson bounde
Exiled were all that other nyne,
The good, the treasure of them & their lyne,
Acheted was for short conclusion,
To cōmon profite and encrease of the towne.

¶ Lenuoy.

THis little tragedy dothe shortly deuyse
What mischefe foloweth for the great vn­right
Vsed in iudges, in many sundry wise:
For whan fauour blinded hath their syght,
And innocence is borne downe wyth myght,
In hys quarell pouerte may not procede,
Bicaue that trouth oppressed is with mede.
A iudge should of equitie despyse
To take gyftes of any maner wyght,
And ready be all wronges to chastice,
From all gyftes turne away his syght,
His hondes close, his eares stoppe aryght,
And be aye ware for frendshyp, hate & drede,
That trouth be not oppressed wyth mede,
The noble doctryne and vertuous emprise
Of philosophers that had so great insyght,
Was to these iudges y prudent were & wise
For frende or foe their domes be so dyght
Of ryght wisenes that the sunne bryght
Eclypsed neuer, lest men for their falsehede,
Report the right was put abacke for mede.
Noble prynces supportours of iustise,
Called lode starres to yeue the people lyght,
On Apius let iudges not practise,
Let trouthes lāpe be clere both day & nyght,
Your office paysed that longeth to a knyght,
Hold vp the balaūce of dome in your māhede,
That law in iudges be not corrupt with mede

¶ Bochas agaynst the vntruth of iudges.

SVyng vpon the death of [...]pius,
And hys rebukes for hys greate ou­trage,
Bochas by writyng wext som▪what yrous,
Againe iudges false, & thought in his corage,
They should be sad and demure of age,
And their lyfe by vertue shoulde drawe
To kepe the preceptes & statutes of the lawe.
They ought of reason them selfe to habyle
To haue science of phylosophy,
And know theyr textes of canon and ciuyle,
And therupon their wittes whole to apply:
For cunnyng iudges by prudent policy
Cause ordinaunces in lawe comprehended,
Through rightful doom gretly to be cōmēded
Justice of lawe dothe realmes enlumine,
Susteineth trouth, supporteth innocence,
Of rauynours boweth down the chyne,
Punysheth robbers for their great offence:
Sluggy truauntes for theyr negligence,
And fayned beggers that greatly disauayle,
Constrayneth them to labour and trauayle.
Founders of lawe by antiquitie,
Caused in landes was suffred none erroute,
And made of prynces the royall magestie
To shyne in worshyp, by diligent labour:
Wrested courages of many conquerour,
That their tryūphes no further shuld attaine
Than lawe of god and nature dyd ordaine.
Wyll was that tyme vnder subiection
Of ryght wisnes, by trouth full wel cōceiued:
Sensualitye was seruaunt to reason,
And froward lust was vnder locke ykeyed,
Sentence of statutes was not disobeyed:
The ryche did ryght through euery lande,
Pore folke lyued by labour of their hande.
Lordshyp y tyme anoyded mayntenaunce,
Holy churche lyued in perfitnesse,
Knighthode tho dayes for trouth whette his laūce
And false extorcion had none entresse,
Marchaūtes winning came al of rightwisnes
Artificers the worke day were not ydell,
And busines of labour helde the brydell.
Women that age farced were nor horned,
Nor theyr tayles were not serpentyne,
Wise men of foly, nor clarkes wer not scorned
Whyche in scyence most freshely dyd shyne,
Lawe disherited none heyres from theyr lyne:
[Page]Lesyngmongers found y time no socours,
And flaterers were made thā no cōfessours.
This golden world flouryng in vertue,
Borne vp by loue, grounded on stablenes,
Of auoutry sprange out none issue:
Prices wt doctrine established their nobles,
Preesthod in praier, knighthod in worthines
Ech thing by law stode vnder gouernaunce,
Marchaūts by mesure & iust peis of balaūce.
First Phoroneus by dyligent laboure
Fonde out lawes, y kyng was of Argyues,
The grekes study he giit wt great honoure,
This politick prīce auoided thē from striues,
His statutes kept duryng all their lyues,
Found first the maner (Bochas doth deuyse)
Howe to Jupyter was made sacrifyse.
Eke mighty Minos whilom kinge of Crete,
Ordayned lawes agayne transgressions,
To feare by rygour foles that were vnmete,
And staunche of surfetes all occasyons,
Made for robbers mightye stronge prisons:
And Dedalus his chefe artificere,
Made laborinthes by diligence entere.
And Mercurie borne by the stode of Nyle
As writeth Lactance, was of Egipt kynge,
Vnto marchauntes dyd lawe firste compyle
Of weight and mesure, to vse in chaffaryng:
And for his wisdome and excellent connyng,
Of olde poetes that whilom were so wyse,
He called was God of marchaundyse.
Solon also the best lawes made
As Valery writeth, him self to magnify:
Athenienses therof were full glad
His great wysdome whan they did espy,
They fonde therin so muche policy,
And euer he was redy for to debate
Agayne tyrauntes, so sore he dyd them hate.
Kyng Lygurgus yet whilom dyd his cure
To make lawes to comon auauntage,
And that they shuld perpetually endure
He made his people be sworne of euery age,
While that he went out on pilgrimage
Fro point to point to kepe them in certaine,
Vnto time that he came home agayne.
And for his lawes wer of great substaunce,
And profitable to euery comonte,
He chase to liue in exile and penaunce,
Neuer to resort againe to his cite:
That his statutes by eternite
Shuld nat be broke, as ye haue herd toforne,
By the cōuencion to which they were sworn.
To comon profite had he such tendernesse,
That he forsoke his kingdome and kinrede
To liue in exile, his story beareth witnes:
But or he dyed, as he lay bedrede,
He bad his bones shuld be cast in lede
Amid the see, fer out from the strande,
That his statutes might in their strēgth stād.
He eschued eueryche occasyon
As a thyng hatefull, which was not fayre,
That his forsayd royall mighty toun
Shuld breke their oth, because of his repair:
But touching that he put them in dispayre,
Cast him neuer resort in their dayes
Lest they wold breke the sētēce of his lawes.

The .xv. chapter.

¶ Here Bochas maketh an exclamacion of the extorcion of the officers of Rome.

JOhn Bochas here maketh a digressiō,
And by rebuking cast him to assayle
Thylke officers ye wer in Rome toun,
Which by extorcion oppressed the porayle,
And agayne iudges also of Itayle,
And namely them that for lucre or mede
Set trouth asyde and toke of it none hede.
He maketh agayne them an exclamacion,
Such as to vertue were contrarious:
And vnder colour and occasyon
Of their offyce lyst to be lecherous,
Like condicioned vnto Apius,
And fynally as it was after sene,
False in their domes, & of their life vnclene.
O (quod Bochas) O trouth, o thou iustise,
Whych in your nobles whilom dyd excel,
Where in effect is now your exercyse,
Wher is your wonning alas wher do ye dwel,
Of your practike ful few men can tel,
So fer put backe is nowe your disciplyne,
Your kyn exyled, and your noble lyne.
Aduocates that nowe done occupye
Your olde sees, and places full royall,
All to falshede their wyttes they apply,
[Page lxxxii]Suche couetyse now reigneth ouer all:
Causes of ciuile, and causes crymynall
Their domes take, wher they be fals or true,
All after wyll, by statutes chaunged newe.
There ben eke other called accessours,
Syttyng by iudges, to yeue them counsayle,
Which may full well be called rauenours,
For they nat labour but for theyr auayle:
A nombre of robbers folow at theyr tayle,
To pylle the people, as ye haue hard to forne,
Bare as a shepe, that is but newe shorne.
There is no more in this matter to sayne
Saue onely this, trouth stant desolate,
And rightwisnes dare to no wight cōplayne,
With wrong oppressed, weping & desolate,
Wherfore ye prynces that syt in high estate,
Such thing to mēde, but ye better hede take,
God shal wt you a full harde rekenyng make.
Your office is in your magnificence
Twene man & man all wronges to redresse,
And wher a matter is agayne conscience
It to refourme onely of ryghtwysenesse,
To stāde by trueth, mayntayne no falsenesse,
And let wise counsayl such matters examine
Or ye of haste theron determine.
Haue suche thynges in your mynde amonge
Thynke god wyll quyte lyke as ye deserue,
Ye spot your noblesse yf that ye do wrong
His sworde of punishyng drede or it kerue:
Let your reason and conscience conserue
Your noble estates, & thinke like your werkīg
The lord of you wyl aske a rekenyng.

The .xvi. Chapiter.

❧Of Alcibiades exyled, and after brent in hys bedde.

AFter other that put them selfe in prees
Tofore Bochas their cōplayntes to dis­cure,
Came of Athenes Alcibiades,
That time alyue the fayrest creature:
And as it is remembred by scripture,
He was discrete, and was at all assayes
One the strongest and manly in hys dayes.
He was first borne of full high linage,
Aboue all other of most semelynesse,
Well proporcioned and hardy of corage,
Loued and fauoured for his great fayrenesse:
Famouse in knyghthode for hys worthinesse
Subtyll witted, and coude by cloquen [...],
Boche comprehende vnder shorte sentence.
His wyt enclined to manyfolde sciences,
Had of conyng a passyng retentife,
Loued clerkes, & fond them theyr dispences,
Suche as in practife he saw most inuentife,
To rede in bokes reioysed all hys life,
Kept what he redde in his memoriall,
And of wyse counsaile was none to hym egal.
An vncle he had ycalled Perycles
Which stode in daunger of excessife spendyng,
Yet in hys youth thys Alcibiades
Seyng hys vncle pensiefe in lokyng,
Cast of wisdom to remedy that thyng,
And for to aswage hys heartes heuynesse,
Gaue hym this counsail by great auisenesse.
Fyrst to rehearse how the matter stode
And of hys vncles wofull hygh distresse
Ther was to him delynered a sūme of goode
To repayre the temple of a goddesse
Called Minerna, but for the great excesse
Of hys dispences he stode somwhat in drede,
Touching thacoūpt, y he muste yelde in dede.
Alcibiades here vpon musyng,
To hys vncle gaue counsayle in sentence:
Vncle (quod he) let be your thynkyng,
And for your selfe shape thys diffence,
Nat for tacoūpt by meane of your prudence:
Afore prouided, with face & chere vnfayned,
To suche duresse, that ye be nat constrayned.
And whan Pericles his coūsaile aduertiseth
Fonde to his worshyp it was resonable,
And by good layser, him selfe ful wel auiseth,
And by prouision prudent and notable
Saued hys estate frō eche thyng reprouable:
So that he stode, touching thys matter,
As for accomptes out of all daunger.
Alcibiades of Athens chefe capteyne
From day to day waxt vp to great encres,
Suche another was ther no where seyne,
Them to gouerne, bothe in werre & pees:
And all the citye by assent hym chees
Of theyr nauy in especiall
Vpon the see, to be theyr admyrall.
For his knighthod they sent hym out aferre
To Cathenoys to be theyr gouernour,
[Page]Gayne Cyracusenes for to gin a werre:
First there receiued wt glory & gret honoure,
But in the end of his great laboure,
Fortune that is aye varyaunt and vnstable,
Was to this duke nat founde fauourable.
He was accused to them of the toun,
Which in Athenes had gouernaunce,
That he was gilty in party of treason,
By thē reuoked for al his great puissaunce
Of Capitaynship, and by their ordinaunce
And fortunes false mutabylitie
Vnwarely depriued from all dignitie.
But for him selfe thus he gan prouide,
Went into exyle not fer from that countre,
In to a cytie that called was Elyde,
There for to haue fredom and lyberte,
And of hys lyfe, to stand in suerte:
For in Athenes they wolde haue him deed,
Vnto their goddes to offre vp his heed.
But whan he was of their entent certayne,
To Lacedemone he toke the ryght way,
And by relacion there he herd sayne
Howe Cathemenses were put to afraye
In a batayle vpon a certayne daye,
Which that they held to their aduersytee
Gayne Cathenoys, as they fought on the see.
But the cause of this discomfyture
As was tolde Alcibiades,
Was by thre captayns through misauenture,
Which in their leading were found recheles,
The chefe of them named Demosthenes
The tother called the story telleth vs,
The tone Niceas, the tother Eurilocus.
Alcibiades hauyng herof tiding
To auenge his wrong put him selfe in prees,
Of Lacedemon he gothe fyrst to the kyng
Which of trouth was called Agydes,
Beseching him to graunte to his encres
Certayne soudyours out of hys countre.
For to werrey of Athenoys the cyte.
Thus he waxte stronge of noble prouydence,
Had great people vnder his gouernaunce,
And lyke a duke made strong in hys defence,
The people gadred to his obeysaunce,
That other princes that wer of hye puisaūce
Gan haue enuy of wylful frowardnesse,
And to malygne agayne hys hyghe noblesse.
For selde or neuer in any regyon
Prowesse of armes, noblesse of chyualry,
Encrease of ryches, report of high renoun,
Fame of connyng in craft or in clergy,
May no wher dwell without some enuy:
From whose malyce as folke expert may se,
Saue only wretches no man hath lyberte.
For which this prince as put is in memory,
Escaped nat for all his hygh parage,
But that some enuyed at his glory:
For in this life no man hath auauntage
Agayne tonges, nor odyous false langage,
To stop such venym this is the best obstacle
That mē with suffraūce tempre their triacle,
The clere prowesse of Alcibiades
Stayned the nobles of other prynces al,
His eure hym raised vp to so great encres,
To the highest trone of fortunes hall:
Such fatal grace is vnto hym fal
That in tho dayes playnlye this is no fable,
There was no knight to him resemblable.
In his exyle so clere his renome shone,
And through Grece gaue as gret bryghtnes,
As doth a ruby aboue eche other stone:
Yet for to clips and shadow his worthynes
Lacedemonois dyd their busynesse,
Such as nat myght to his nobles attayne,
By false report his renome to restraine.
Awayt was layd to take him at mischefe,
And many traynes wer serched out & s