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Now voucheth sauf this day, or hit be nyght,
That I of you the blisful soun may here,
Or see your colour lyk the sonnė bright

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That of yelownesse hadde never pere. Ye be my lyf! ye be myn hertės stere!1 Quene of comfort and of good companye! Beth hevy ageyn, or ellės mot I dye.

Now, purse, that be to me my lyvės light

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And Saveour, as doun in this worlde here,
Out of this toun help me thorogh your myght,
Syn that ye wole not been my tresorére;
For I am shave2 as nye as is a frere.
But yet I pray unto your curtesye,
Beth hevy ageyn, or elles mot I dye!

and lady and sovereign of all other lands, and is blessed and hallowed with the precious body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ; in the which land it pleased him to take flesh and 5 blood of the Virgin Mary, to environ 2 that holy land with his blessed feet; and there he would of his blessedness shadow him in the said blessed and glorious Virgin Mary, and become man, and work many miracles, and preach and 10 teach the faith and the law of Christian men unto his children; and there it pleased him to suffer many reprovings and scorns for us; and he that was king of heaven, of air, of earth, of sea, and of all things that are contained in 15 them, would only be called king of that land, when he said, "Rex sum Judeorum," that is to say, I am king of the Jews; and that land he chose before all other lands, as the best and most worthy land, and the most virtuous land of all 20 the world; for it is the heart and the middle of

all the world; by witness of the philosopher, Suffice unto thy thyng though hit be smal; For hord hath hate and clymbyng tikeĺnesse, who saith thus, "Virtus rerum in medio conPrees hath envye, and wele blent 1 overal; sistit;" that is to say, "The virtue of things is Savour 2 no more than thee bihove shal; in the middle;" and in that land he would lead Werk wel thy-self, that other folk canst rede,3 25 his life, and suffer passion and death from the And trouthė shal delivere, it is no drede.

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Jews for us, to redeem and deliver us from the pains of hell, and from death without end, which was ordained for us for the sin of our first father Adam, and for our own sins 30 also:

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THE BALLAD OF GOOD COUNSEL OR
TRUTH

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(After 1386)

Flee fro the prees, and dwelle with sothefast

nésse

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Tempest thee noght al croked to redresse
In trust of hir that turneth as a bal:
Greet resté stant in litel besynesse;
An eek be war to sporne ageyn an al;
Stryve noght, as doth the crokke with the wal.
Daunte thy-self, that dauntest otherės dede.
And trouthe shal delivere, it is no drede.

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Wherefore every good Christian man, that is of power, and hath whereof, should labour with all his strength to conquer our right heritage, and drive out all the unbelieving men. For 35 we are called Christian men, after Christ our father. And if we be right children of Christ, we ought to claim the heritage that our father left us, and take it out of heathen men's hands.

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THE PROLOGUE

Forasmuch as the land beyond the sea, that is to say, the Holy Land, which men call the land of promise or of behest, passing all other 50 lands, is the most worthy land, most excellent,

1 Rudder.

1 Makes blind.
• Distress thyself.
7 Subdue.

40 And forasmuch as it is long time passed that there was no general passage or voyage over the sea, and many men desiring to hear speak of the Holy Land, and have thereof great solace and comfort, I, John Maundeville, knight, 45 albeit I be not worthy, who was born in England, in the town of Saint Albans, passed the sea in the year of our Lord Jesus Christ 1322, on the day of St. Michael; and hitherto have been a long time over the sea, and have seen and gone through many divers lands, and many provinces, and kingdoms, and isles, and have passed through Tartary, Persia, Ermony (Armenia) the Little and the Great; through Lybia, Chaldea, and a great part of Ethiopia; through Amazonia, India the Less and the Greater, a great part; and throughout many other isles that are about India; where dwell many divers folks, and of divers manners and

2 Go about in.

This famous travel book and collection of marvels 55 was long supposed to be the composition of one, Sir John Mandeville, who had actually travelled in the countries he mentions. It is now known to be a translation of a French original, supposedly by Jean de Burgogne (d. 1372), which in turn was a compilation from various classical and medieval writers.

laws, and of divers shapes of men. Of which lands and isles I shall speak more plainly hereafter. And I shall devise you some part of things that are there, when time shall be as it may best come to my mind; and especially for them that will and are in purpose to visit the holy city of Jerusalem, and the holy places that are thereabout. And I shall tell the way that they shall hold thither; for I have ofttimes passed and ridden the 10 there are in other isles about, of the which

it were too long to tell.

way, with good company of many lords: God be thanked!

other isle are people that go upon their hands and feet like beasts, and are all skinned and feathered, and would leap as lightly into trees, and from tree to tree, as squirrels or 5 apes. .. And in another isle are people that go always upon their knees, and at every step they go it seems that they would fall; and they have eight toes on every foot. Many other divers people of divers natures

And ye shall understand that I have put this book out of Latin into French, and translated it again out of French into English, that every 15 man of my nation may understand it; and that lords and knights and other noble and worthy men that know Latin but little, and have been beyond the sea, may know and understand, if I err from defect of memory, and may redress it 20 natural law they are full of all virtue, and

And beyond that isle is another isle, great and rich, where are good and true people, and of good living after their belief, and of good faith, and although they are not christened, yet by

eschew all vices.

and amend it. For things passed out of long time from a man's mind or from his sight turn soon into forgetting; because a man's mind may not be comprehended or withheld, on account of the frailty of mankind.

KING ALEXANDER AND THE ISLE OF
BRAGMAN

And that isle is called the isle of Bragman, and some men call it the Land of Faith; 25 and through it runs a great river called Thebe.

WONDERS OF THE ISLES ABOUT JAVA

From that isle, in going by sea towards the south, is another great isle, called Dondun, in 30 which are people of wicked kinds, so that the father eats the son, the son the father, the husband the wife, and the wife the husband.

And in general all the men of those isles, and of all the borders thereabout, are truer than in any other country thereabout, and more just than others in all things.

And because they are so true, and so just, and so full of all good conditions, they are never grieved with tempests, nor with thunder

The king of this isle is a great and powerful 35 and lightning, nor with hail, nor with pestilence, lord, and has under him fifty-four great isles, which give tribute to him; and in every one of these isles is a king crowned, all obedient to that king. In one of these isles are people of great stature, like giants, hideous to look upon; 40 They believe well in God that made all

nor with war, nor with famine, nor with any other tribulation, as we are many times amongst us for our sins; wherefore it appears evident that God loveth them for their good deeds.

and they have but one eye, which is in the middle of the forehead; and they eat nothing but raw flesh and fish. And in another isle towards the south dwell people of foul stature and cursed nature, who have no heads, but their eyes are 45 without sickness, when nature faileth them for in their shoulders. old age.

things, and worship Him; and they prize no earthly riches; and they live full orderly, and so soberly in meat and drink, that they live right long. And the most part of them die

And it befell, in king Alexander's time, that he purposed to conquer that isle; but when they of the country heard it, they sent messen

In another isle are people who have the face all flat, without nose and without mouth. In another isle are people that have the lip above the mouth so great, that when they sleep in the 50 gers to him with letters, that said thus:sun they cover all the face with that lip. And in another isle there are dwarfs, which have no mouth, but instead of their mouth they have a little round hole; and when they shall eat or drink, they take it through a pipe, or a pen, or 55 and all the goods of our country are in common.

"What may we be now to that man to whom all the world is insufficient? Thou shalt find nothing in us to cause thee to war against us; for we have no riches, nor do we desire any;

such a thing, and suck it in. And in another isle are people that have ears so long that they hang down to their knees. And in another isle are people that have horses' feet. In an

Our meat, with which we sustain our bodies, is our riches; and instead of treasure of gold and silver, we make our treasure of acorns and peas, and to love one another.

"Our wives are not arrayed to make any man pleased. When men labour to array the body, to make it seem fairer than God made it, they do great sin; for man should not devise nor ask greater beauty than God hath ordained him to have at his birth. The earth ministereth to us two things: our livelihood, that cometh of the earth that we live by, and our sepulchre after our death. We have been in perpetual peace till now that thou art come to disinherit us; and 10 And there have mountains and hills been, and

that is towards the east, at the beginning of the earth. But this is not that east that we call our east, on this half, where the sun rises to us; for when the sun is east in those parts 5 towards Terrestrial Paradise, it is then midnight in our parts on this half, on account of the roundness of the earth of which I have told you before; for our Lord God made the earth all round, in the middle of the firmament.

valleys, which arose only from Noah's flood, that wasted the soft and tender ground, and fell down into valleys; and the hard earth and the rock remain mountains, when the soft

also we have a king, not to do justice to every man, for he shall find no forfeit among us; but to keep nobleness, and to show that we are obedient, we have a king. For justice has among us no place; for we do to no man 15 and tender earth was worn away by the water, otherwise than we desire that men do to us, and fell, and became valleys. So that righteousnes or vengeance have nought to do among us; so that thou mayest take nothing from us but our good peace, that always hath endured among us." And when 20 as I have heard say of wise men beyond, I king Alexander had read these letters, he thought that he should do great sin to trouble them.

Of Paradise I cannot speak properly, for I was not there. It is far beyond; and I repent not going there, but I was not worthy. But

shall tell you with good-will. Terrestrial Paradise, as wise men say, is the highest place of the earth; and it is so high that it nearly touches the circle of the moon there, as the

THE HILLS OF GOLD AND THE TERRESTRIAL 25 moon makes her turn. For it is so high that

PARADISE

the flood of Noah might not come to it, that would have covered all the earth of the world all about, and above and beneath, except Paradise. And this Paradise is enclosed all about

Towards the east of Prester John's land 1 is a good and great isle called Taprobane, and it is very fruitful; and the king thereof is rich, 30 with a wall, and men know not whereof it is; and is under the obeisance of Prester John. And there they always make their king by election. In that isle are two summers and two winters; and men harvest the corn twice a year; and in all seasons of the year the gar- 35 entry, which is closed with burning fire, so dens are in flower.

for the wall is covered all over with moss, as it seems; and it seems not that the wall is natural stone. And that wall stretches from the south to the north; and it has but one

that no man that is mortal dare enter.

Beside that isle, towards the east, are two other isles, one called Orille, the other Argyte, of which all the land is mines of gold and silver. 40 And those isles are just where the Red Sea separates from the Ocean Sea. . .

And in the highest place of Paradise, exactly in the middle, is a well that casts out the four streams, which run by divers lands, of which the first is called Pison, or Ganges, that runs throughout India, or Emlak, in which river are many precious stones, and much lignum aloes, and much sand of gold. And the other river is called Nile, or Gyson, which goes

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In the isle, also, of this Taprobane are great hills of gold, that ants keep full dili- 45 through Ethiopia, and after through Egypt. gently.

And the other is called Tigris, which runs by
Assyria, and by Armenia the Great. And the
other is called Euphrates, which runs through
Media, Armenia, and Persia. And men there

And beyond the land, and isles, and deserts of Prester John's lordship, in going straight towards the east, men find nothing but mountains and great rocks; and there is the dark 50 beyond say that all the sweet waters of the region, where no man may see, neither by day nor night, as they of the country say. And that desert, and that place of darkness, lasts from this coast unto Terrestrial Paradise, where Adam, our first father, and Eve were 55 put, who dwelt there but a little while; and

world, above and beneath, take their beginning from the well of Paradise; and out of that well all waters come and go. The first river is called Pison, that is, in our language, Assembly; for many other rivers meet there, and go into that river. And some call it Ganges, from an Indian king, called Gangeres because

1 Prester John was a supposed Christian king of a great land in Asia, the extent and location of which were very vague.

2 Aloes-wood, a soft, aromatic wood, often burnt for a perfume.

it ran through his land. And its water is in some places clear, and in some places troubled; in some places hot, and in some places cold. The second river is called Nile, or Gyson, for it is always troubled; and Gyson, in the language of Ethiopia, is to say Trouble, and in the language of Egypt also. The third river, called Tigris, is as much as to say, Fast Running; for it runs faster than any of the others. The fourth river is called Euphrates, that is 10 in his service and worship; and in no thing for

many thousands to be lost that night, some in water, some in fire, some by sudden death, and some to be damned without end. And for these goodnesses and mercies thank thy 5 God with all thine heart, and pray him to give thee grace to spend, in that day and evermore, all the mights of thy soul, as mind, reason, wit, and will, and all the mights of thy body, as strength, beauty, and thy five wits,

to say, Well Bearing; for there grow upon that river corn, fruit, and other goods, in great plenty.

feit again his commandments, but (be) ready to perform works of mercy, and to give good example of holy life, both in word and in deed, to all men about thee.

And you shall understand that no man that is mortal may approach to that Paradise; for 15 by land no man may go for wild beasts, that are in the deserts, and for the high mountains, and great huge rocks, that no man may pass by for the dark places that are there; and by the rivers may no man go, for the water runs 20 so roughly and so sharply, because it comes down so outrageously from the high places above, that it runs in so great waves that no ship may row or sail against it; and the water roars so, and makes so huge a noise, and so 25 great a tempest, that no man may hear another in the ship, though he cried with all the might he could. Many great lords have essayed with great will, many times, to pass by those rivers towards Paradise, with full great 30 companies; but they might not speed in their voyage; and many died for weariness of rowing against the strong waves; and many of them became blind, and many deaf, for the noise of the water; and some perished and were lost in 35 the waves; so that no mortal man may approach to that place without special grace of God; so that of that place I can tell you no

more.

John Wyclif

c. 1324-1384

Look afterwards that thou be well occupied, and in no time idle for temptation. Take meat and drink in measure, not too costly nor too licorouse,' and be not too curious 2 thereabout, but such as God sendeth, with truth take it, in such measure that thou be fresher in mind and wits to serve God, and algates thank him for his gift. Over this, look thou do right and equity to all men, both to sovereigns, peers,5 subjects, or servants; and stir all men to love truth and mercy, and over these charity; and suffer no man be at dissension, but accord them if thou mayest in any good manner. Also most of all things dread God and his wrath, and most of all things love God and his law and his worship; and ask not principally worldly meed,' but in all thine heart desire the bliss of heaven, through the mercy of God and thine own goodness of life. . . . And in the end of the day think where thou hast offended God, and how much and how often, and therefore have entire sorrow, and amend it while thou may. .. If thou be a priest, and especially a curate, live thou holily, passing others in holy prayer and holy desire and 40 thinking, in holy speaking, counselling, and true teaching, and ever that God's hests and his gospel be in thy mouth, and ever despise sin, to draw men therefrom. And that thy deeds be so rightful, that no man shall blame 45 them with reason, but thine open deeds be a true book to all sogettis and lewd men,10 to serve God and do his hests thereby. For ensample of good, and open and lasting, stirreth rude men more than true preaching by the naked word. And waste not thy goods in great feasts of rich men, but live a mean 11 life of poor men's alms and goods, both in meat and drink and clothes; and the remnant give truly to poor men that have naught of their

A SHORT RULE OF LIFE

A SHORT RULE OF LIFE FOR EACH MAN IN GENERAL, AND FOR PRIESTS AND LORDS AND LABOURERS IN SPECIAL, HOW EACH MAN SHALL BE SAVED IN HIS DEGREE, IF HE WILL HIMSELF. 50 First, when thou risest or fully wakest, think on the goodness of God; for his own goodness and none other need he made all things of naught, both angels and men, and all other creatures good in their kind. The second time 55 think on the great passion and wilful death that Christ suffered for mankind. . . And think the third time, how God hath saved thee from death and other mischiefs, and suffered

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own, and may not labour for feebleness or sickness, and then thou shalt be a true priest both to God and man.

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If thou be a lord, look thou live a rightful life in thine own person, both anent God and 5 man, keeping the hests of God, doing the works of mercy, ruling well thy five wits, and doing reason and equity and good conscience to all men. The second time, govern well thy wife, thy children, and thy homely meyne 12 in 10 God's law, and suffer no sin among them, neither in word nor in deed, upon thy might, that they may be ensamples of holiness and righteousness to all others. . . . The third time, govern well thy tenants, and maintain 15 them in right and reason, and be merciful to them in their rents, and worldly merciments, 13 and suffer not thy officers to do them wrong nor extortions, and chastise in good manner them that rebel against God's hests and vir- 20 tuous living, more than for rebellion against thine own cause or person. . . . If thou be a labourer, live in meekness, and truly and wilfully 14 do thy labour; that if thy lord or thy master be an heathen man, that by thy 25 meekness and wilful and true service, he have not to gruche 15 against thee, nor slander thy God nor Christendom. 16 And serve not to Christian lords with gruching," nor only in their presence, but truly and wilfully in their 30 absence, not only for worldly dread nor worldly reward, but for dread of God and good conscience, and for reward in heaven. For that God that putteth thee in such service wots 18 what state is best for thee, and will reward 35 thee more than all earthly lords may, if thou doest it truly and wilfully for his ordinance. And in all things beware of grucchyng against God and his visitation, in great labour and long, and great sickness, and other adversi- 40 ties; and beware of wrath, of cursing and waryying, 19 or banning, of man or of beast. And ever keep patience, and meekness, and charity, both to God and man. And thus each man in these three estates oweth 20 to live, to save 45 That we have trespassed, púrsue to amend, himself and help others; and thus should good Praying our Lady, well of allé grace, life, rest, peace, and charity be among Christian To bringe us unto that blissful place, men, and they be saved, and heathen men Where she and all good women shall be infere® In heaven above, among the angels clear. soon converted, and God magnified greatly in all nations and sects, that now despise him 50 and his law, for the wicked living of false Christian men.

And through the woman shall we come to reste,

165

And be y-saved, if that our selfė lest; Wherefore, me thinketh, if that we had grace, We oughten honour women in every place. Therefore I read that, to our lives ende,

Fro this time forth, the while that we have space,

170

175

16 Christianity.

17 Complaining, grudging.

18 Knows.

19 Cursing, condemning.
20 Ought.

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FIFTEENTH AND EARLY SIX-
TEENTH CENTURIES

ENGLISH FOLLOWERS OF CHAUCER

From A PRAISE OF WOMEN

For this ye knowe well, though I would lie,

135

In women is all truth and steadfastness;
For in good faith I never of them sye1

But much worship, bounty, and gentleness,
Right comyng, fair, and full of mekeness,
Good and glad, and lowly, I you ensure,
Is this goodly angelic creature.

Lo, what gentleness these women have,

If we could know it for our rudeness!
How busy they be us to keep and save,

Both in health, and also in sickness!
And always right sorry for our distress,
In every manner; thus they shewe ruth,
That in them is all goodnesse and truth.

And if it hap a man be in disease, 2

She doth her business and her full fain
With all her might, him to comfórt and please
If fro his disease she mightė him restrain;
In word nor deed, I wis, she will not feign, 145
But with all her might she doth her businéss
To bringe him out of his heaviness.

140

And but your word wol helen hastily
My hertes wounde, whyl that hit is grene,
Your eyen two wol slee me sodenly,

1 Saw.

I may the beauté of hem not sustene.
2 Discomfort.
Pleases.

4 Lost.

150

And since in them are gentleness and trouth, 155
Worship, bounty, and kindness evermore,
Let ne'er this gentylnessé through your slouth
In her kind truth be aught forlorė,3

That in woman is, and hath been full yorė;
For in reverence of the heaven's Queen,
We ought to worship all women that been.
For of all creátures that e'er were born,

This wot ye well, a woman was the beste:
By her recovered was the bliss that we had
lorne,1

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MERCILES BEAUTE

Your eyen two wol slee me sodenly,
I may the beauté of hem not sustene,

So woundeth hit through-out my herté kene.

3 At all lost or diminished. $ Together.

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