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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
Ffor new þat ben now, next at our hond,
Yche wegh as he will warys his tyme,
But olde stories of stithe pat astate helde,
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,
To ken all the crafte how pe case felle,
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,
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, -
Qwiles his dayes enduret, derrist of other
He feynet myche fals was neuer before wroght,
Of his trifuls to telle I haue no tome nowe,
How goddes foght in the filde, folke as pai were,
That poyetis of prise have prenyt vntrew :
Virgill þe virtuus, verrit for nobill,
But þe truth for to telle & þe text euyn
þat was clanly compilet with a clerk wise,
And wist all þe werks by weghes he hade,
Guido de Colonna is the author of the following story,
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 :
Dares and Dictys
(fol. 3 a.)
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
A Romayn ouerraght & right hom hym-seluyn,
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,
And declaret it more clere & on clene wise.
there is a faithful ende,
account of the
deeds as they All be dedes by dene as þai done were ;
Bothe of torfer and tene þat hom tide aftur.
war; of the Kings,
Dukes, and Earls Of Dukes full doughty, and of derffe Erles, who fought on
either side ;
progress of the
What Shippes þere were shene, & shalkes with in,
Bothe of barges & buernes þat broght were fro
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,
Here begynnes the first Boke. How Kyng
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
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,
Þes gret in pere gamyn gate hom betwene, 108 Achilles by chaunce chiualrous in armes.
(More of thies Myrmydons mell I not now,
How Mawros were men made on a day
This Pelleus pert, prudest in armys,
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,
Of Septur and soile he sesit his brothir,
Eson afterwarde erdand on lyffe,
As Ovid openly in Eydos tellus,
Pelias, King of Iolcus: Aeson his brother.
fol. 4 a.)
(all = auld, old.)