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Maistur in magesté, maker of Alle,

Endles and on, euer to last!

Now, god, of pi grace graunt me pi helpe, 4 And wysshe me with wyt þis werke for to end! Off aunters ben olde of aunsetris nobill, And slydyn vppon shlepe by slomeryng of Age: Of stithe men in stoure strongest in armes, 8 And wisest in wer to wale in hor tyme,

true stories have
been all but

bat ben drepit with deth & pere day paste,
And most out of mynd for pere mecull age,
Sothe stories ben stoken vp, & straught out of forgotten; while

12 And swolowet into swym by swiftenes of yeres,

Ffor new

þat ben now, next at our hond,
Breuyt into bokes for boldyng of hertes ;
On lusti to loke with lightnes of wille,
Cheuyt throughe chaunce & chaungyng of


Sum tru for to traist, triet in þe ende,
Sum feynit o fere & ay false vnder.
Yche wegh
as he will warys his tyme,

20 And has lykyng to lerne pat hym list after.
But olde stories of stithe pat astate helde,
May be solas to sum þat it segh neuer,

(fol. 2 a.) Invocation.

Of the noble deeds of our ancestors,

and of the stout and wise in war,

of those of more modern times, recorded in books "for boldyng of hertes,

some are true and some are false.

Each desires to learn what he likes best.

But old stories of renowned deeds

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Now of Troy forto telle is myn entent euyn,
Of the stoure & pe stryfe when it distroyet was.
pof fele yeres ben faren syn þe fight endid,
And it meuyt out of mynd, myn hit I thinke
Alss wise men haue writen the wordes before,
32 Left it in latyn for lernyng of vs.

But sum poyetis full prist þat put hom perto,
With fablis and falshed fayned pere speche,
And made more of þat mater pan hom maister


36 Sum lokyt ouer litle and lympit of the sothe.
Amonges pat menye,-to myn hym be nome,-
Homer was holden haithill of dedis.
Qwiles his dayes enduret, derrist of other


Be writyng of wees pat wist it in dede,
With sight for to serche, of hom þat suet after,
To ken all the crafte how pe case felle,

By lokyng of letturs pat lefte were of olde.

40 bat with the Grekys was gret & of grice comyn.

He feynet myche fals was neuer before wroght,
And traiet pe truth, trust ye non other.


Of his trifuls to telle I haue no tome nowe,
Ne of his feynit fare þat he fore with:
How goddes foght in the filde, folke as pai were,
And other errours vnable þat after were knowen,
That poyetis of prise have' preuyt vntrew:

Ouyd and othir þat onest were ay,
Virgill þe virtuus, verrit for nobill,
Thes dampnet his dedys & for dull holdyn.
But pe truth for to telle & pe text euyn
Of pat fight how it felle in a few yeres,
hat was clanly compilet with a clerk wise,
On Gydo, a gome, þat graidly hade soght,
And wist all be werks by weghes he hade,

That bothe were in batell while the batell last,



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And euper sawte & assemely see with pere een.
Thai wrote all þe werkes wroght at þat tyme,
In letturs of pere langage, as pai lernede hade:
60 Dares and Dytes were duly pere namys.
Dites full dere was dew to the Grekys,
A lede of pat lond & loged hom with :
The tothyr was a Tulke out of Troy selfe,
64 Dares, pat duly the dedys be-helde.

Aither breuyt in a boke on pere best wise,
That sithen at a cité somyn were founden
After at Atthenes as aunter befell;


68 The whiche bokes barely bothe as pai were,
A Romayn ouerraght & right hom hym-seluyn,
That Cornelius was cald to his kynde name.

He translated it into latyn for likyng to here, 72 But he shope it so short pat no shalke might Haue knowlage by course how pe case felle ; ffor he brought it so breff, and so bare leuyt, bat no lede might have likyng to loke perappon, 76 Till pis Gydo it gate, as hym grace felle,

And declaret it more clere & on clene wise.



All þe dedes by dene as pai done were ;

84Of Dukes full doughty, and of derffe Erles,


That assemblid to pe citie pat sawte to defend :
Of pe grekys pat were gedret how gret was pe

How mony knightes pere come & kynges enarmed,

And what Dukes thedur droghe for dedis of


What Shippes pere were shene, & shalkes with in,


which is compiled from the works of

In this shall faithfully be founden to the fer In this history

there is a faithful account of the deeds as they were done;


Dares and Dictys the historians.

80 How be groundes first grew, & pe grete hate,

Bothe of torfer and tene pat hom tide aftur.

And here fynde shall ye faire of þe felle peopull, of the origin and
What kynges pere come of costes aboute:

progress of the
war; of the Kings,
Dukes, and Earls
who fought on
either side;

(fol. 8 a.)

Dares, who was present at the deeds which he recorded, wrote his history of the Trojan war in Greek.

Cornelius Nepos translated it into Latin, but so briefly that the work had to be amended by


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of the ships and barges that were brought from Greece; of the battles that were fought, and those who fell in battle; of the truces and

(fol. 3 b.) treasons that took place; in short, of every event from first to last.

Bothe of barges & buernes pat broght were fro
grese :

And all the batels on bent pe buernes betwene.
92 What Duke pat was dede throughe dyntes of


Who ffallen was in ffylde, & how it fore aftur :
Bothe of truse & trayne pe truthe shall pu here,
And all the ferlies pat fell vnto the ferre ende.
96 ffro this prologe I passe & part me per with,

ffrayne will I fer and fraist of þere werkes,
Meue to my mater and make here an ende.

Explicit Prologue.

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Here begynnes the first Boke. How Kyng
Pelleus exit Eason to get he files of Golde.


In Tessaile hit tyde as thus in tyme olde, 100 A prouynce appropret aperte to Rome, An yle enabit nobli and wele

With a maner of men, mermydons called: There was a kyng in pat coste pat pe kithe ought, 104 A noble man for pe nonest is namet Pelleus.

That worthy hade a wyfe walit hym-seluon, The truthe for to telle, Tetyda she heght: bes gret in pere gamyn gate hom betwene, 108 Achilles by chaunce chiualrous in armes.

(More of thies Myrmydons mell I not now,
Enabit in (pat aile,) [ne] Etill will I ferre,
How Mawros were men made on a day

112 At pe prayer of a prinse pat peopull hade lost.)

This Pelleus pert, prudest in armys,
Hade a broper of birthe born or hym-seluyn,
That heire was & Eldist, and Eson he hight.
116 Till it fell hym by fortune, faintyng of elde,
Unstithe for to stire, or stightill the Realme,
And all were, & weike, wantide his sight,
Of Septur and soile he sesit his brothir,
And hym crownede as kyng in þat kithe riche.
Eson afterwarde erdand on lyffe,

Endured his dayes drowpyaite in age,



As Ovid openly in Eydos tellus,

How Medea the maiden made hym all new,


The scene of the following story is laid in the province of Thessaly.

(MS. has "ytaile." Story of the golden fleece

Pelias, King of Iolcus: Aeson his brother.

(fol. 4 a.)

(all = auld, old.)

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