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To all the grete of Grece, fro Agamynon & hym,


Book VIII.

Vnder sailes of those souerains, samyn to wend Couriers are

3648 By currouris to yche cost, kynges to warne:

And all agreit to pe gate with a gode wille.

The first of po freikes, pat to the fight come,

despatched with the message.

Was Achilles, a choise kyng & cheuallrus in Achilles.


3652 And Patroculus the proude, a prise mon of werre ; Patroclus.

With Diomed, a doughti mon & dernist of hond,—
A stronge man in stoure & stuernist in fight.
Sone the cause was declaret with a clene wit,
3656 Of the dede, ilke-a-dele, to po derfe kynges;

And opunly, by one assent þai ordant hom all,
With grym ost for to go & a grete nauy,

Elan fuersly to fecche, and hor fos qwell,
3660 And venge on pere velany & pere vile harme.
And for explait of pere spede, pai spekyn in fere
To chese hom a cheftayn to be chefe of pem all,
To be prinse in pat prise and pe prese haue;
3664 All the ost for to honour & his hest kepe,

And be gouernett by this grete by grement
of hom.

ben by assent of pose souerans somyn, þai yode
And walit hom a wegh by wit, as hom thoght.

3668 To Agamynon þai giffen þe gouernaunce hole,
ffor worthiest of wit þat worship to haue;
And ordant hym Emperour by opyn assent,
With power full playn þe pepull to lede,
3672 And obey to pat bolde his biddyng to wirke.


Pollux the pert kyng and his pere Castor,
When hor sister was sesit, saies me the story,
In hope for to hent hir, highit to be se

3676 With a nauy full noble anon by hom seluyn ;

The Troiens to take was pere intent euyn,


every part.)

(fol. 57 b.)

Agamemnon is chosen to lead the expedition.

Castor and Pollux pursue the


Book VIII.

A storm bursts over them.

(fol. 58 a.)

And hor sister to sese, with sailyng þai wend.
Sum tellyn pis tale, & for true holdyn,

3680 þat þai bode not the biddyng of pe buerne

But when tithyng was told of hor triet sister, pai fore to pe fome, as I before saide.

But how it tide of pat tale this is tru sothe,— 3684 To pe water pai went, po weghis to gedur, Paris to pursew with prise men of Armes. Thai sailit not sounde, sothely to telle,

Two dayes by dene, as hom dere felle,

3688 When the heuyn in hast hepit with cloudis,
Wex merke as þe mydnight; mengit þe ayre;

No light but of Laite, pat launchet aboue;
Thunret full throly; thrappit the windes;
(MS. has "sailes.") 3692 Sodenly po sail[er]es were sorely bestad.
With a ropand rayne rugh was the se.
The wyndes full wodely wackont anon,
Rut vp the rughe se on rokkes aboute;

Sails and ropes

are torn away.

3696 As hilles hit hepit in a hond while.

So pe bre and the brethe burbelit to gedur, þat hit spirit vp spitiously fyue speire lenght With walter and wawes, pat pe wynd dryues 3700 All fore as a fyre þe firmament ouer.

With an ugli noise noye for to here,

Hit sundrit pere sailes & pere sad ropis ;
Cut of pere cables were caget to gedur.

("tylude"=tilde, 3704 All þere takyll was tynt, tylude ouer borde; The nauy wex nakit; noy was on honde.

turned, cast.)

The ships are shattered on the rocks; Castor

The shippis with shire wynd shodert in twyn,
Dryuen furth on the depe dole to be-holde.

3708 The two brether were abidyng bothe in a shippe,
hat was stird with the storme streght out of


Rut on a Rocke, rof all to peces.

The bordes all to brast, brusshet in the water;


3712 The Dukes were drounet, & oper dere folke. All the sort þat hom suet sunkyn to ground A brode in the breme se, barges & other.

And syn the dethe was in doute of po dere


3716 Ne non certayn cold say, ne for sothe telle,

What worth of po wight in the wilde se ;
The gentils aiuges hom two iuste goddis,
Lyuond in the lofte with lordships in heuyn,

3720 Tran[s]late truly into triet ioy.

And poites haue put of po prise brethir, þat þai Rauichit were radly into pe red ayre, And set in a seigne pat zodias is callid; 3724 That demyt is to pis day duly with clerkes, Gemini Aiugget in þere iuste artis. ffor the sun vnder zodias settis hym to leng Two dayes betwene, & dryues no ferre

3728 Mo in his mouyng þen any mone other.

But, what is sothely be said of po sure brethur,
ffor pe sute of pere sister somyn were pai drounyt.
Let Poyetis go play hom, & passe to our tale.

3732 Here Darys in his dyting duly auisys

ffor to telle in his tale pe tulkes of Grece ; Of pere shap for to shew and pere shene colour, Of the worthiest pere were, to wale hom be nom. 3736 pus he breuyt in his boke of po breme kynges, ffor he segh hom in sight at sembles full ofte, (As in tymes of tru, þaire tentes with in)

And waited hom wele; for þe wegh thoght

3740 To

myn hom in makyng in maner as þai were.


Agamynon þe gay was of a gode mykull;
His colour of pat kyng all of clene qwite.

He was store man of strenght, stoutest in armes,


Book VIII.

and Pollux and all their company perish.

Fables concerning
Castor and

(fol, 58 d.)

Agamemnon was tall, large-limbed, noble, and free.

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Among the

Greeks he had no

3744 With lymes full large; light of his will,
Meke as a maiden, mery with all;
Wode in his wrathe, wild as a lion,

He was witty per with, & wegh hardy,
3748 And of faciund full faire, fre of his speche.
Menelay the mighty was of meane shap,

Noght so large of his lymes as his lefe brother;
In mesure was made of a medull size,

3752 Betwene the large & the litill; likyng of colour
Auntrus in armys, eger of wer,

A bolde man in batell, & of breme wille.
Achilles the choise was of chere faire,

3756 Likyng & luffly, a large man with all.

Crispe herit was the kyng, colouret as gold.
Stokyn ene out stepe with a streught loke;
His loke was full louely, when ledys were opyn.
3760 With a brest þat was brode, byg of his shulders;
Grete armys in the gripe, growen full rounde;

equal in strength 3764 or in battle.

A large man of lenght with limis full brode. A stythe man in stoure, storest of wille, Was no greke on pat grounde of so great strenght, Ay bowne vnto batell, boldist in armys, Godely of giftes, grettist in expense, Ay furse on his fos, and to fight Redy. Tantalus, a huge, 3768 Tantelus the tore kyng was a tulke hoge,

burly, strong

man, was

well coloured;

and had large

gray eyes that squinted.

Ajax Elius, a very tall, largelimbed man:

given to lying.

Borly of brede, & of big strenght;

Wele colouret by course, clene of his face,
Rede roicond in white, as pe Roose fresshe;
3772 With grete Ene & gray, gleyit a litill;
Meke of his maners, & manly in werre.

Aiax oelius was outrage grete,

Brode of his brest, byg in his armys;

3776 A large man of lyms, lengest of stature.
Costius clothyng ay be kyng weiret;

Noght lowrand with laithe chere lese for to



Telamon truly was a tulke full faire, 3780 Blake horit, aboue breghis and other

Serklyt of hom seluyn, semly with all.

A Sotell man of song with mony sere notys,

And mellit hym with musike & myrthes also. 3784 He was doughty of dedys, derfe of his hond;


Book VIII.

Telamon the beautiful; his black hair in ringlets over his brow; a great lover of music.

Pompe and proude wordis ay pe prinse hated.
Ulexes the lefe kyng was loueliest of other,
He was the fairest by ferre of all the felle grekes, fairest, the falsest

3788 And falsest in his fare, and full of disseit.

of wordye.

Vndertaker of treyne, of talkyng but litill, Neuer myrth in his mouthe meuyt with tong : Sad of his semblaundes, sober of chere. 3792 And of facound fairest with a fre speche, He hade no make of po men in meuyng Dyamede pe doughty was a dere kyng, Stronge of his stature, stithe in his armys, 3796 Brode in his brest, byg in his shulders, With a loke pat was laithe like out of wit. ffals of his forward, felle of his hond,

A derffe man in dede, dyssirus of batell. 3800 Vnsober with seruaundes, sorofull in hert, Dredfull in dole for dissait þat he vsit. Lusty to lechery, vnlell of his trouthe,

And mony harmes hepit for hete of his loue. 3804 Off Duke Nestor to deme, doughty in werre,

He was long & large, with lemys full grete.
A ffreike þat was fre, and a feire speiker,
Wise in his wordys, witté of counsaille;

3808 Tru of his trowthe, tristy to loue,

Meke of his maners malise to pese ;

And if he walte into wrathe, wode as a lyon,
But he lengit not long in his lothe hate;

3812 ffaithfull of frendship to frekys þat he louyt,
The hertist to helpe of all the high kynges.
Protheselus the pert kyng was of pure shap,

Ulysses, the loveliest, the

of the Greeks; none could equal him in eloquence.

(fol. 59 b.)

Diomedes the doughty was a strong, well-buil man, with a scowling look. He was false, cruel, quarrelsome, lecherous, and deceitful.

Nestor, the brave and wise, was tall, strong, and well-built; truthful, trusty, and faithful.

Protesilaus, a

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