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Book XII.

forgive all

injuries, if you

would restore my sister.

Ye dishonoured my legate and

despised my name.

I will not now

yield to your demand because of a wild threat.

Be it known to Agamemnon and his people that I seek not their peace, but, as

mine enemies,

that they may perish."

(In MS. lines 5048 and 5049 are transposed.)

Diomedes laughed
and said :-
"If we two cause
you such anger,
you shall have
abundance of
it when a hundred
thousand Greeks
surround you.

(fol. 79 a.)

And sent for my Sustor, sothely, to you ;
And all giltes for-gyffen & greuans of old.
And of the awthwart onswares & angur to hym,
5036 All the wise how it was ye wetyn your selfe.

Hit is knowen to your kynges & comyn with all,
Of the dishonour ye did to my dere legat,

And with spite in your speche dispiset my


5040 Here is plainly no place in pis plit now,
Your wille for to wirke for no wild threte.

I hope the grekes in hor grem shall neuer so gret worthe,

To oppresse me with power, ne my plas take, 5044 Ne my godis to gripe agaynes my wille.

I will Agamynon hit wete, & his weghes all,
hat for pes to his pepull pray will I neuer,
Ne folowe on hor frendship, þat me so foule

5048 But I wond for my worship as wetheruns shuld
die !

And ye, so rebell and roide with your rugh speche, Wynnes yow now wightly for woche of my sight!

While I se you in certain I sourde full of yre, 5052 And bolne at þe brest all for bale angre!”



When the worthy hade his wordes warpit to end,
Diamede full depely drough out a laughter,
And said to pat suffrayn sittyng agayne :—
"Now kyng, yf we be cause of þi kene yre,
And pou vnsaght of þi sight sothely of vs two,
While pou lyues in þis londe, leue for trew,
Withouten noy be pou neuer, & þin ene opon,
5060 Syn the grekes on the ground are of so gret




The weghes to wound & warpe vnto dethe. 5064 And if pou sothely of sorow set be so full, ffor two buernes all bare & of body nakyd,

I hope your bolnyng with brest, & your brethe leue Toqwhiche pouer, playnly, pou proues no strenght, 5068 Ne no suertie, may saue fro pere sid harmys." Mony knightes in the courte, pat by the kyng stode,

Wex wroth at his wordes, walt into yre; Warpit out wordes full swice at the kyng, 5072 And drogh taward Diamede to dere hym anon, ffor to britton pat buerne for his bolde speche.


And pou faithly shall fynd, in a felle haste,
A hundrith thowsaund pro men priuand in


Priam pen presit vp fro his proude sete,

Bade hom blym of hor brathe or hor bare lyues, 5076 pat no gome shuld hym greue with no grym


And a wise man witterly his wordes to suffer.
As it is fre to a fole foly to carpe,

So is it wit, a wiseman his wordis to listyn,5084 Laghe at it lightly and let it ouer pas;

ffor in speche may men spie the speker to know,
And wete, by his wordes, the wit þat he beires.
I wold sothely, my-seluyn, suffer full harde,
Or any messanger were mysdon, or marrit with

Within my courtte, or my cumpany, for
cause here.



Book XII.

And if your

sorrow be so full
on account
of two unarmed

men, I hope
your bursting

breast may save you from the harms of such an army."

Enraged by the speech of

Diomedes, the knights of the court threaten to kill him.



"A wise man
should not be

Ne negh hym with noy for noght þat he said.
"Syn the wit of no wise man shuld walt into
Ne be fuerse on a fole, þat foutly hath wroght; angry with a fool,
ffor it falles to a fole his foly to shew,

who has done

Priam prevents them.

I would suffer much before any

messenger were injured within my

court, or in my company.

Book XII.


compose yourselves, and do him no injury."

(fol. 79 b.)

Eneas, who sat next the king, then angrily said:

"Sir King! a
fool must not be
favoured to speak

You would doon me to death for

such bold words;

and any o e,

except your Majesty, who

should dare to speak so, ought to die.

I therefore command him to

leave this place on pain of his life."

ffor lightly a litil thyng, a lose may be tynt, And a fame be defoulede, & fatid for euer; 5092 perfore set you full sone, sober your wille,

And non proffer, apon payne, to prese hym no more,


Ne to warpe hym no worde, þat worship may hyndur."

ben set pai sone, as said hom the kyng.


5096 And Eneas efterward etlid to say,

bat sete by the souerayne, non sothely betwene,
Breke out full boldely all in breme wordis,
And spake full dispitously with a sprete felle :-
"Sir kyng, it sittes not, sothely, for right,
A fole to be fauoret folili to speke.

But wo vnwisely with wordis walis his speche,

Hit is skille for his skorne, þat he scathe thole,

5104 And not cherist, but chastist, by charge of his foly.

I might sothely so say, here syttyng yow by, hat ye wold deme to dethe for my derfe wordes, pat right wold & reason by rewle of my-seluyn. 5108 And, saue your magiste so mykell, þat men will


He, þat warpes thies wordes in his wild foly, Shuld degh, for his'derfenes, by domys of right; hat so dispitously hath spoken in spit of your person,

5112 And meuyt your magesty with his mad wordes,
And angert vs all angardly sore,

With presumpcoun & prise of his proude hert.
I bid perfore barly, þat he bove herchyn,

5116 And pas fro this place o payn of his lyfe.

If he faine will foly for a fyn wit,

And gyrt on no grete wordis to greue vs no more."





Then Dyamed, the derfe kyng, withoutyn dyn


"You, frynde, with pi fare, what freike so pou be, “Friend, I
I wote, by your wordes, pou ert no wise juge;
But I deply dissyre in dedis to come,

desire to thank
thee for thy
friendship and
thy threat.

hat I may fynd þe before pi frendship to ponke, 5124 And mede the after mesure of þi meke wille, To thanke the of þi thret and pi pro wordis. Now I se well, for-sothe, sely is the kyng, bat kepis the for counsell clene for hym seluyn, silly, who keeps

(fol. 80 a.)

I see now plainly, that the king is

5128 þat well con his worship wisshe hym to saue,

you as a

And rede hym to redurs, pat rixles to shame!"
pen Vlixes, with vtterans vne vpponone,

The derfe wordis of Diamede dullit with speche;

5132 And wysely he waynet all his wild yre,

To prevent strife,
Ulysses then

þat he nomore in pe mater shuld mene at pat addressed the



5140 Gone to pe grekes in a grete hast;

Lighten at pere logges, leuyn þere horses,
And ferdon on fote fairly to-gedur;
Into the Emperours awne tent entrid belyue,
5144 Ther all the grete were gedrit Agamynon before
And toldyn all tomly, as hom tide hade,

The purpas of Priam tho prinses vntill.

Thai hade meruell full mekyll in hor mynd all, 5148 Of his authwart onswares, þat hym arghet no

Book XII.


"We clearly

And to Priam [the] price kyng prestly he said: (MS. has "to")
"Kyng, we haue clenly consaiued þi wille.
To Agamynon agayne we go with our onsware,
All þi saghes, for-sothe, pat souerain to telle !"
And so pai past fro pat pales, preset vnto horse, Agamemnon,”
Lepyn on lightly, launchet on hor way,

your answer, and
we shall now go
to report it to


Then po Kynges in counsell castyn hom anon,
And ordant on all wise paire enmeis to greue
Be wiles of wer, as ye shall wete after.

Ulysses and Diomedes ride with all haste to the tent of Agamemnon and report the answer of Priam.

The council determine to prosecute the


(fol. 80 b.)

While the Greeks
lay at Tenedos
a council of war
was held.


thus addressed the leaders:

"Noble sirs!

First of all, we must have food for our soldiers;

and to supply
so large an army,
we must have it
in abundance.

Therefore, let us


xiij Boke. How the Grekys sent Achilles and Thelefon for vitaill for the Ost into Messam.

5152 KYNGYS and knyghtes and other kyde Dukes,

All the souerayns hade selly, as I said ere,

Of priam, the price Kyng, þat prudly hade saide.

Than gedrit were the grekes on a ground faire, 5156 Besyde tenydon truly, to talke of hor dedis.

Ordant by the emperour opunly to holde

A counsell in the case, with knowyng to all, And procede on hor purpos, as prise men of wer.

When the souerayns assemblit were, as I said first,

Agamynon, the gouernour, graithit hym to speike,

To po worthy thiez wordis warpit anone :— "Noble sirs, in this note hit nedis vs to haue 5164 ffode till our folke, the formast of other,

bat no hongur vs happyn to harme in our werre, While our buernes in batell abiden here stille : hat we faint not in fight, ne feble of strenght. 5168 And mykyll is the mete so mony bus haue,

If we shall proffet with proues, or any fose wyn: ffor pere as failes the fode, faint is the pepull; And pere hongur is hote, hertis ben febill. 5172 perfore, highly in hast, I hold for pe best,


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