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of the noble deeds

and of the stout and wise in war,

true stories have been all but

Maistur in magesté, maker of Alle,

(fol. 2 a.) Endles and on, euer to last!

Now, god, of þi grace graunt me pi helpe, 4 And wysshe me with wyt þis werke for to end ! Off aunters ben olde of aunsetris nobill,

of our ancestors, 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,

bat ben drepit with deth & þere day paste, And most out of mynd for þere 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

peopull ;
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 þat hym list aster.

But olde stories of stithe pat astate helde,
May be solas to sum þat it segh neuer,

of those of more modern times, recorded in books

for bolding of hertes,

some are true and some are false.

Each desires to learn what he likes best.

But old stories of renowned deeds

recorded by men who witnessed them may delight some who never saw thein.

Be writyng of wees pat wist it in dede,
24 With sight for to serche, of hom þat suet after,

To ken all the crafte how pe case felle,
By lokyng of letturs þat lefte were of olde.

The Poet declares his subject and the authors from whom he has drawn his information.

(fol. 2 6.)


ow of Troy forto telle is myn entent euyn, 28 Of the stoure & pe stryfe when it distroyet was.

hof 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 berto,
With fablis and falshed fayned bere speche,
And made more of þat mater þan hom maister

were :

Homer, who is not to be trusted, tells how the

gods fought like men, and

other such trifles.

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

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

Of his trifuls to telle I haue no tome nowe,
44 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 prenyt vntrew :
48 Ouyd and othir þat onest were ay,

Virgill þe virtuus, verrit for nobill,
Thes dampnet his dedys & for dull holdyn.

But þe truth for to telle & þe text euyn
52 Of þat fight how it felle in a few yeres,

þat was clanly compilet with a clerk wise,
On Gydo, a gome, þat graidly hade soght,

And wist all þe werks by weghes he hade,
56 That bothe were in batell while the batell last,

Guido de Colonna is the author of the following story,




the historians,

deeds which he


translated it into


And euper sawte & assemely see with pere een. which is compiled

from the works of Thai wrote all þe werkes wroght at þat tyme,

In letturs of þere langage, as þai lernede hade :
60 Dares and Dytes were duly þere namys.

Dares and Dictys
Dites full dere was dew to the Grekys,
A lede of pat lond & loged hom with :

(fol. 3 a.)
The tothyr was a Tulke out of Troy selfe,
64 Dares, þat duly the dedys be-helde.

Dares, who was

present at the Aither breuyt in a boke on pere best wise,

recorded, wrote That sithen at a cité somyn were founden

his history of the

Trojan war in
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. Cornelius Nepos
He translated it into latyn for likyng to here, Latin, but so

briefly that the 72 But he shope it so short þat no shalke might

work had to he

amended by Haue knowlage by course how þe case felle ; ffor he brought it so breff, and so bare leuyt,

bat no lede might have likyng to loke þerappon,
76 Till bis Gydo it gate, as hym grace felle,

And declaret it more clere & on clene wise.
In this shall faithfully be founden to the fer in this history

there is a faithful ende,

account of the

deeds as they All be dedes by dene as þai done were ;

were done;
80 How þe groundes first grew, & be grete hate,

Bothe of torfer and tene þat hom tide aftur.
And here fynde shall ye faire of pe felle peopull, of the origin and
What kynges þere come of costes aboute :

war; of the Kings,

Dukes, and Earls Of Dukes full doughty, and of derffe Erles, who fought on

either side ;
That assemblid to be citie þat sawte to defend :
Of þe grekys þat were gedret how gret was þe

How mony knightes pere come & kynges enarmed,
88 And what Dukes thedur droghe for dedis of

progress of the



What Shippes þere were shene, & shalkes with in,

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Bothe of barges & buernes þat broght were fro

grese :

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 5.) treasons that took place; in short, of every event froin first to last.

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

hond, Who ffallen was in ffylde, & how it fore aftur : Bothe of truse & trayne þe truthe shall þu here,

And all the ferlies þat fell vnto the ferre ende. 96 ffro this prologe I passe & part me þer 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 be files of Golde.

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

In Tessaile hit tyde as thus in tyme olde, 100 A prouynce appropret aperte to

An yle enabit nobli and wele
With a maner of men, mermydons called :

There was a kyng in þat coste þat þe kithe ought, 104 A noble man for þe nonest is namet Pelleus.

That worthy hade a wyfe walit hym-seluon,
The truthe for to telle, Tetyda she heght:

Þes gret in pere gamyn gate hom betwene, 108 Achilles by chaunce chiualrous in armes.

(More of thies Myrmydons mell I not now,
Enabit in (þat aile,) [ne] Etill will I ferre,

How Mawros were men made on a day
112 At þe prayer of a prinse þat peopull hade lost.)

This Pelleus pert, prudest in armys,
Hade a broßer 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,
120 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,
124 How Medea the maiden made hym all new,

(MS. has
Story of the
golden fleece

Pelias, King of Iolcus: Aeson his brother.

fol. 4 a.)

(all = auld, old.)

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