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Well wallit to wale, with water aboute; 4868 And perfore sothly I say, hit semis vnto vs, bai are feler of folke, & fuerser by the halfe, With more plenty of pepull, & pe province hor



Book XII.


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And yche freike is pere frynd to filsom pere spede. Fulsum, to 4872 his I say not, for sothe, supposyng in hert


I say not this
through doubt of
our success;
nor do I deem it
impossible to take

þat of our dede shuld be doute,-I dem it not so.
Ne I put not vnpossible 30n place for to take,
And all pere folke in fight with forse to distroy; and destroy the

4876 Ne the Cité to sese and serche within,

city but that we may work wisely and with

And all the toures of the toun tumbell to ground; discretion.

But þat louyng & lose shuld lenge of our dedis, And our werkes all wisely wroght by discrecioun, 4880 þat we fare with no foly ne fonnyng of pride.

Hit has fallyn vnto fele men, fer in tymes past,
hat hastely on hede has highit to a note,

And keppit no counsell, ne no clene rule,

4884 But put hom with pride a purpos vnto,


Hit rapit to repentaunse & mony ranke harmys.
This knowis all the company, pat the kyng knows that Priam


Noght leng sithen but late, a lede of his owne
4888 Made on a message vnto our menes londis,
ffor his sustor Exiona to send hym agayne:

This couet the kyng, keppit he no more.
And we, as vnwise men, welt into pride;

This assembly

sent a message to us lately, and asked us only to send back his

sister Hesione; and that, like fools, we answered him with scorn.



(fol. 76 b.)

4892 Answarth hym awterwart with angur & skorne, ill-naturedly,
With thretyng vnthriuand of our thro hertes;
And manast his messanger with malicous pride.
Hade we herkont hym hyndly, hedit his wille, listened to his

4896 Done his dissyre, deiret not our seluyn,

Had we but

request, the harms and sorrow that

not have befallen


The harme & the hardgrem, þat highet vs after, followed would And this sorow in Sitheria had sothely not fallyn; Ne Elan, ne other mo honerable of grece, 4900 Had not laithly bene laght, & led vnto Troy ;

Book XII.

And, what fortune shall befall us, no one can tell,

Therefore, sirs, if you wish to avoid all the perils of war, and to save our people,

let us send a message to Priam, and promise to grant him Hesione if he will send

back Helen and the rest of our people; and

redress the wrongs done to us by Paris.

(MS. has ruder.') And if Priam refuse this offer,

we shall have two friends to fight in our cause: Right, that constrains us for the loss of our goods, and Peace,

Ne we, pat are wonyn ouer the wale streames, bat worthy to wyn with weppon in fight, Hade not faren so far our fos to distroy, 4904 Ne so long fro our londes lengit away.

And, what fall shalbe fortune, no freke can vs

telle :

Wethur worship or wo: wete we not all?
perfore, sirs, me semys, if you so like,

4908 Yf ye deme it be don, & in dede holde,
To put of all perells & our pepull saue;

All chaunse to exchewe, & cheue vs the bettur
Our worship to wyn, & no wegh hurt;

4912 þat we may saile hom in sound & our sute haue;
Let make vs a message to the mon Priam,
hat is kyng of the coste & the kythe ow,
And wilne hym wisely, þat worthy, to send

4916 Honerable Elan & other of our pepull:

And redresse vs the domage, þat he don has By Paris his proude son, in our prise londis. If þat souerayne accept this sothly with hert, 4920 And do it in dede, as our dissyre wille,

We may wend hom with worship & our wille

And saue so our seluyn & our sute hole;
Nauther redur ne rape to pis rem do.

4924 And if Priam with pride this purpos refuse,
Two frendes haue fully to fight in our cause:

On is right, þat vs riches for rape of our godes;
And pes, þat we proffer our pouer to extaint.

that we proffer to 4928 Thurgh the world shall it wend our werke at

prevent the

exercise of our


(fol. 77 a.)

The Trojans will
be accounted
fools; but never
one will blame us.

pis tyme.

Ay the mo, pat our mesure maynly may here,

The lengur vs luff shall till our last end;

And the Troiens be told as for triet foles,

4932 Ne excusit of skathe & sklaunder of pride,

To macche vs with monhede & might of our selfe,


And wyn hom in wer with weppon in fight. Neuer buerne will vs blame, ne ban for our dede, 4936 Ne wegh will vs wite to pe worldes end.

Ses now, your seluyn, my saghis vnto,
And deuys of pis dede as you dere think."
When the souerain hade said, þen sesit he here,
4940 And mony of po mighty menyt þer agayn,
Noght semond, pai said, ne sittyng to do;
And part of pat pepull prouyt hit for wit;
And o sithin, all samyn assentid perto.
Two chere men þai chese on þis choise erend,-
(Onest & abell Vlexes was one,


And Dyamede, pe derfe kyng demyt þat other)—
Aionet to pis iornay iustly to-gedre.

4948 Stiden vpon stithe horse stird to the Cité,
And wenton in wightly po worthy hom seluon.
Entred into Elion, þat honerable Palis,

Lightyn at the low, leftyn paire horses,

4952 Gone vp by the greses all of gray marbill,
Hit into the halle of the high kynge.
Hade meruell full mekull of pat mayne place,
Of the walles pat wroght were wondurly faire,
With high toures full torrit all the toun vmbe.
Yet meruelt hom more ymyddes the halle
Was a tre, þat was tried, all of tru gold,
Meruelous & mekyll men to be-hold.


4960 The bole was of bright gold, bret to pe myddes,
Largior pen a lawriall & lengur with all,
(xij cubettes by course all of clene heght)
hat fourmyt was full faire to pe fre boghes.
The brede of his bowes borly to se,
Large and longe, (light as the sun)



ffro the dese to the dorse doblit on brede

And the sydys, by a sercle of þe same hall.
The braunches were borly, sum of bright gold,
Sum syluer for sothe, semlist of hew;

Book XII.


'Devise now as

ye think best,'

The council is divided;

some condemn, and some approve the proposal. At last all accept it, and Ulysses and Diomede are sent as messengers to Priam.

They arrive at the palace and pass into the hall.

They are

astonished at the greatness of the city; its walls and towers, &c. But they are more astonished

by a tree of gold,

set in the centre

of the great hall.

It was twelve cubits high, and finely formed.

(fol. 77 b.) The boughs spread from the dais to the doors, and from wall to


Some of the branches are of

gold, and some

Book XII.

of silver; with

leaves of the same. The buds and

fruit are of

many kinds, and shimmer among the leaves like precious stones.

Ulysses and

Diomede are led through many long chambers, till they reach the one where Priam

was seated among his lords.

They make no obeisance, and sit

down before the


With leuys full luffly, light of þe same; With burions aboue bright to be holde; 4972 And frut on yt fourmyt fairest of shap,




Of mony kynd þat was kuyt, knagged aboue,
bat shemert as shire as any shene stonys.
Long abodyn thies buernes in the bright hall,
Or pai comyn to the kyng by course for to

Led were po lordes pro mony long chaumburs,
Goand vp by degres purgh mony gay Alys,
And past into a proude chaumbur þere Priam
was set,

Among lordes of his londe & ledis of his owne.
pai salut not þat souerain with no sad wordes,
Ne worshippit no wegh þat hym with stode;
But euyn agaynst þat gret þai gone for to sit,
In the ffrount of po folke & pe fre kyng.
ben auntred Vlexes and his erund said,
And warpet pies wordes as ye wete shall.

(MS. has "Sais")

"Agamemnon asks you to restore Helen in safety,

(fol. 78 a.)

and to make

restitution for

the harms done

by your son




"Sir Priam! thof we prise not þi person to hailse,

Ne worship the as worthy, no wonder pou haue; ffor we haue þe in hate as our hede ffoo :

And an enmy to anoper nothing it semys, Hailsyng ne hynd speche with no hede bare. 4992 Agamynon the gret, pat on pi ground lys,

Hase made vs as messengers at this mene tyme,—
Hyder send vs to say to pi selfe euyn,

He biddes the full barly the bright qwene Elan, 4996 That you caght fro his kyng, & oper kyd pepull, Send hom in sound & safly to hym,


And stifly restore o the stithe harmys;
All Redurs to riche with pi Ranke goodes,
That you pild in his prouynse by Paris þi son.


Iff yow do pus in dede, hit doghis the bettur:

Book XII.


And yf pou set noght our saghe, se what will If you will not


Of harme in a hond qwhile highand the to! 5004 Thou bes ded for pe dede dernly þi selfe;

All þi pepull be perisshit & put out of lyue;
Thy Cité & pi Sid londe sesit in were,

Betyn and brent doun vnto bare askes;

5008 The Rewme þurgh Riden, robbed þi goodis, Set vnder seruage & sorow for euer!'

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do so, see what will befall you!"


When Priam persayuit had all his proude wordes,

He onswared Vlixes vne vponone,

5012 Withouten counsell of knightes or any kyde Priam replied:


ffull soberly he said all in sad speche,

"Me meruells full mekill of your mayne prete, And angers me full euyll your angard desyre, 5016 When ye couet by course, with vnkynd fare,

Satisfaccioun to be sent fro my selfe euyn,

Syn ye are cause of þis care, & curstly haue don. My souerayn ye slogh, & my sybbe fryndes; 5020 My folke put into pyne, pild all my Rewme; Moche disseese ye me did, no redresse made. Exiona, my suster, in seruage ye put,

And fele of my ffryndes into fer londes,

5024 In hordam & harlatry vnhyndly to lye;

Not keppit hir kyndly, as a kynges doughter,
But laithly in lechery, lengyng to dwelle:
And menen me with manas Amendes to bede!

5028 I wold sothely, my Selfyn, sittyn with the harme
Of the dethe & the dole of my dere fader,
In obryggyng of batell, & blode to be spilt.
And on message I made a mon of myn owne,
5032 Antinor I ordant pat erende to wende,

"I marvel at your threat, and at your demand for satisfaction; seeing that ye are the cause of all

this trouble.

(fol. 78 b.)

For myself, I

'would have borne

the loss of my father; and I sent Antenor to you, promising to

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