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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
bat ben drepit with deth & pere day paste,
12 And swolowet into swym by swiftenes of yeres,
þat ben now, next at our hond,
Sum tru for to traist, triet in þe ende,
20 And has lykyng to lerne pat hym list after.
(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
Now of Troy forto telle is myn entent euyn,
But sum poyetis full prist þat put hom perto,
36 Sum lokyt ouer litle and lympit of the sothe.
Be writyng of wees pat wist it in dede,
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,
Of his trifuls to telle I haue no tome nowe,
Ouyd and othir þat onest were ay,
That bothe were in batell while the batell last,
And euper sawte & assemely see with pere een.
Aither breuyt in a boke on pere best wise,
68 The whiche bokes barely bothe as pai were,
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 :
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
progress of the
(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
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
And all the batels on bent pe buernes betwene.
Who ffallen was in ffylde, & how it fore aftur :
ffrayne will I fer and fraist of þere werkes,
Here begynnes the first Boke. How Kyng
PELIAS AND JASON.
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,
112 At pe prayer of a prinse pat peopull hade lost.)
This Pelleus pert, prudest in armys,
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.)